The Favourite

The 26th Hamptons International Film Festival which will take place over the upcoming Columbus Day Weekend, October 4 to 8, 2018, unveiled the full slate of films.   The festival also revealed the anticipated films, Yorgos Lanthimos’ THE FAVOURITE, starring Academy Award®- winning actresses Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz and Golden Globe®-winning actress Olivia Colman, about two cousins fighting to be the court favorite of Queen Anne, which will serve as the Friday Centerpiece; and Marielle Heller’s CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?, which wll screen as the Sunday Centerpiece, a biopic based on the life of writer Lee Israel and starring Academy Award®-nominated actress Melissa McCarthy.

The festival added two films to the Spotlight section: Academy Award®-winning director Steve Mc Queen’s WIDOWS, starring Academy Award®-winning actress Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki and Cynthia Erivo, the story of four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities; and the East Coast Premiere of Felix Van Groeningen’s (HIFF 2009 & 2013 alum) BEAUTIFUL BOY, starring Academy Award®-nominated actor Timothée Chalamet and Golden Globe®-nominated actor Steve Carell, adapted from father and son David and Nic Sheff’s best-selling memoirs about a son’s struggle with drug addiction that threatens to tear a family apart.

This year’s Narrative and Documentary Competition slate offers a wide variety of stories to audiences and represents the best of the industry with the Competition slate consisting  of 50% female directors and 50% male directors. Overall, the festival’s full slate is 47% female directors. Narrative Competition films include the New York Premiere of Yen Tan’s 1985, the U.S. Premiere of Eva Trobisch’s ALL GOOD, Ali Abbasi’s BORDER, the U.S. Premiere of Zsófia Szilágyi’s ONE DAY, and Dominga Sotomayor’s TOO LATE TO DIE YOUNG.

Documentary Competition Films include the World Premiere of Jesse Sweet’s CITY OF JOEL, Alexis Bloom’s DIVIDE AND CONQUER: THE STORY OF ROGER AILES, the East Coast Premiere of Shannon Service and Jeffrey Waldon’s GHOST FLEET, and the New York Premiere of Daniel Zimmerman’s WALDEN, as well as the East Coast Premiere of the previously announced THE LAST RACE from Michael Dweck, also screening in the Views From Long Island Section.

As part of their Signature Programs, the Views From Long Island section will also include BLACK MOTHER, directed by Khalik Allah, about two different worlds on the island of Jamaica, through the lens of an intimate documentary portrait; as well as the World Premieres of Emily Anderson’s short film ONLY THE WIND IS LISTENING, set against the backdrop of an unforgiving Montauk winter and Ross Kauffman’s STILL PLAY WITH TRAINS, where John Scully reconstructs his idyllic 1950s childhood in the form of one of the world’s largest model train sets in his East Hampton basement.

The Air, Land & Sea program will present Academy Award®-nominated director Rory Kennedy’s ABOVE AND BEYOND: NASA’S JOURNEY TO TOMORROW, a Discovery Channel documentary chronicling the history and exploration of America’s space force, as well as Nicolas Brown’s THE SERENGETI RULES, about five international scientists during the 1960s and their attempt to learn more about the planet. The section will also include the previously announced U.S. Premiere of GRIT, directed by Sasha Friedlander and Cynthia Wade.

The Compassion, Justice, & Animal Rights program will include a World Premiere presentation of Rob Fruchtman and Steven Lawrence’s THE CAT RESCUERS, about four activists in Brooklyn setting out to provide housing for the over one million cats abandoned in New York City alone. The section will also include the previously announced East Coast Premiere of Richard Miron’s FOR THE BIRDS.

The Conflict & Resolution program will include five films: the New York Premiere of Talal Derki’s OF FATHERS AND SONS, which provides a look at war-torn Syria through the eyes of a photojournalist posing as pro-jihadist; the New York Premiere of Chris Martin’s UNDER THE WIRE, about the final mission of war correspondent Marie Colvin and photographer Paul Conroy; Charles Ferguson’s WATERGATE, examining the Watergate scandal from new interviews and subjects from all sides of the investigation; and Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar’s THE SILENCE OF OTHERS, about six individuals looking to bring those responsible for Spain’s 40-year dictatorship to justice. The section will also include the previously announced New York Premiere of Ísold Uggadóttir’s AND BREATHE NORMALLY.

In the World Cinema Narrative section the slate includes the addition of the U.S. Premiere of “I DO NOT CARE IF WE GO DOWN IN HISTORY AS BARBARIANS” directed by Radu Jude, as well as NON-FICTION, directed by Olivier Assayas, and PRIVATE LIFE, directed by Tamara Jenkins; in addition to the previously announced World Premiere of ASK FOR JANE directed by Rachel Carey; the U.S. Premieres of LETO directed by Kirill Serebrennikov, STYX directed by Wolfgang Fischer, and WOMEN AT WAR directed by Benedikt Erlingsson; the New York Premiere of BIRDS OF PASSAGE directed by Christina Gallego and Ciro Guerra (Colombia’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar®); and BURNING directed by Lee Changdong, COLD WAR directed by Pawel Pawlikowski, DEAD PIGS directed by Cathy Yan, THE GUILTY directed by Gustav Möller, HAPPY AS LAZZARO, directed by Alice Rohrwacher, SHOPLIFTERS directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda (Japan’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar), and WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY directed by Madeleine Olnek.

In the World Cinema Documentary section, the full slate includes the addition of Academy Award®-winning director Morgan Neville’s THEY’LL LOVE ME WHEN I’M DEAD; the U.S. Premiere of THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING, directed by Tom Donahue; MARIA BY CALLAS, directed by Tom Volf, MONROVIA, INDIANA, directed by Frederick Wiseman, and TIME FOR ILHAN, directed by Norah Shapiro; as well as the previously announced World Premieres of HENRI DAUMAN: LOOKING UP, directed by Peter Jones, and THE PANAMA PAPERS directed by Alex Winter; the East Coast Premiere of MAKING THE GRADE, directed by Ken Wardrop; the New York Premiere of THE TRUTH ABOUT KILLER ROBOTS, directed by Maxim Pozdorovkin; A MURDER IN MANSFIELD, directed by Barbara Kopple, THE PROPOSAL, directed by Jill Magid, ROLL RED ROLL, directed by Nancy Schwartzman, SHIRKERS, directed by Sandi Tan. World Cinema Documentary is sponsored by Investigation Discovery.

HIFF also announced eight programs of short films this year, including Narrative and Documentary Short Film Competitions; New York Women In Film and Television: Women Calling the Shots; Zoom! Shorts For All Ages; University Short Films Showcase; Let’s Go Crazy; Never Going Back Again; Please Don’t Tell; and five short films that will play before features.

Academy Award®-winning director Damien Chazelle, whose film FIRST MAN will screen in the Spotlight section; Emilio Estevez, whose film THE PUBLIC will screen in the Spotlight section; and Academy Award®- and Golden Globe®-nominated actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, who stars in the festival’s Opening Night film THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER, will all participate in the festival’s signature program “A Conversation With…” series. All events will take place at Bay Street with Gyllenhaal on Friday, October 5th at 3:00PM, Estevez on Saturday, October 6th at 3:30PM, and Chazelle on Sunday, October 7th at 12:30PM.

The festival will present a special screening of Dava Whisenant’s BATHTUBS OVER BROADWAY, winner of the 2018 SummerDocs Audience Award, sponsored by Candescent Films.

HIFF will feature an immersive storytelling and VR experience THE HIDDEN, a political thriller that literally drops you in the middle of a high-stakes game of cat and mouse without telling you who is hunting whom, which will be available for audiences at Mulford Farm in the afternoons on October 5-8. This program is presented with the support of the Organización Latinoamericana de Alcaldes (OLA).

HIFF also announced the jury members for the 2018 festival. The Narrative Jury will include Geralyn Dreyfous, Academy Award®-winning producer of BORN INTO BROTHELS, THE SQUARE and THE INVISIBLE WAR and founder of the Utah Film Center and co-founder of Impact Partners Film Fund, Jamie Patricof, producer of THE AFTER PARTY, THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE, CAPTAIN FANTASTIC and BLUE VALENTINE, and Linus Sandgren, FSF, Academy Award®-winning Cinematographer who collaborated on films including FIRST LAND, LA LA LAND, JOY and AMERICAN HUSTLE. The Documentary Jury will currently include Rory Kennedy, Academy Award®-nominated director of films including ETHEL, LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM and the upcoming ABOVE AND BEYOND: NASA’S JOURNEY TO TOMORROW, screening at the festival. Additional jurors will be announced in the coming weeks.

2018 Hamptons International Film Festival Lineup

OPENING NIGHT FILM

The Kindergarten Teacher
The Kindergarten Teacher

THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER (USA)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Sara Colangelo
Writer/director Sarah Colangelo (LITTLE ACCIDENTS, HIFF 2014 and Screenwriters Lab 2013) returns to the festival with her prize-winning sophomore feature. Based on Nadav Lapid’s 2014 Israeli drama, THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER follows Lisa Spinelli (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a Staten Island teacher who accidentally discovers her young student’s prodigious gift for poetry. Desperately seeking her own creative recognition, Lisa’s fascination with the boy quickly unravels into an all-encompassing fixation. Anchored by Gyllenhaal’s fearless performance, THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER is a electrifyingly unpredictable morality tale about the precarious line between protection and obsession.

CLOSING NIGHT FILM

BOY ERASED
East Coast Premiere
Director: Joel Edgerton
As the son of a Baptist pastor growing up middle-class in the Arkansas suburbs, Jared (Academy Award® nominee Lucas Hedges) seems to be the model son of a loving family. Excelling in school and in a committed relationship, Jared’s heavily conditioned image is shattered when a friend outs him to his community, leading his parents (Academy Award® winners Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe) to send him to Refuge, a church program that aims to reinforce gender roles and heal those with the “disease” of homosexuality. Based on Garrard Conley’s memoir of the same name, director and costar Joel Edgerton delivers a refreshingly empathetic take on the difficulty of retaining a sense of one’s self in a circumstance that aims to erase it.

FRIDAY CENTERPIECE

THE FAVOURITE (Ireland/UK/USA)
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
As England wages war with the French in the early 18th century, a frail and increasingly unstable Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) sits on the throne while Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz)—her advisor, confidant, and trusted friend—leads the country in her stead. Their mutually beneficial arrangement is threatened by the arrival of Sarah’s cousin Abigail (Emma Stone), who sees becoming the Queen’s preferred companion as her best chance of returning to her aristocratic roots. As Sarah and Abigail’s battle of wills intensifies within the labyrinthian confines of the royal palace, director Yorgos Lanthimos and his three brilliant leads dial up the savage humor in this delightfully unhinged tale of lies and deceit within Queen Anne’s kingdom.

SATURDAY CENTERPIECE

FIRST MAN (USA)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Damien Chazelle Academy Award®-winning director Damien Chazelle reteams with his LA LA LAND leading man Ryan Gosling for a riveting look at the eight years that defined the life of Neil Armstrong, from his entrance in NASA’s astronaut program to his era-defining moon landing in 1969. Adapted from James R. Hansen’s biography by Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Josh Singer (SPOTLIGHT, HIFF 2015), Chazelle portrays the period with the same visceral intensity that drove the program to push humankind to previously unknown heights. Rounded out by an ensemble cast including Claire Foy, Corey Stoll, Jason Clarke, and Kyle Chandler, FIRST MAN is an awe-inspiring look at the defining moment of the last century.

SUNDAY CENTERPIECE

CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? (USA)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Marielle Heller After spending decades as a successful biographer of female celebrities and public figures, real-life author Lee Israel (Academy Award® nominee Melissa McCarthy) finds herself out of work in the 1980s, as the industry moves away from respectability and into the depths of tabloid culture. Realizing she has an uncanny ability to replicate the voices of her literary idols, Israel sets out on a new venture: forging historical letters and selling them on the black market, with the help of an ex-con old friend (Richard E. Grant). Following up her 2015 debut THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, director Marielle Heller has created a charmingly mischievous comedic drama about the lengths one woman must go to to stay afloat.

SPOTLIGHT SECTION

A PRIVATE WAR
A PRIVATE WAR

A PRIVATE WAR (USA)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Matthew Heineman In an industry defined by those willing to place themselves in the midst of tremendous danger, photojournalist Marie Colvin (Academy-Award® nominee Rosamund Pike) distinguished herself as one of the world’s most celebrated war correspondents. In his feature narrative debut, acclaimed documentary filmmaker Matthew Heineman (CARTEL LAND, CITY OF GHOSTS) pays tribute to Colvin’s extraordinary life both on and off the battlefield. Portrayed with rebellious conviction by Pike, and aided by a supporting cast including Jamie Dornan and Stanley Tucci, A PRIVATE WAR is a thrilling look at one individual’s devotion to bringing a voice to the voiceless.

BEAUTIFUL BOY (USA)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Felix van Groeningen
Adapted from father and son David and Nic Sheff’s best-selling memoirs, HIFF alum Felix van Groeningen (THE MISFORTUNATES, HIFF 2009 and THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN, HIFF 2013) chronicles the struggle with drug addiction that threatened to tear their family apart in this emotionally charged drama. Passionately led by Academy Award®-nominees Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet (following up his breakthrough role in last year’s CALL ME BY YOUR NAME), BEAUTIFUL BOY portrays their story as a heartbreaking—and ultimately inspiring—story of a family struggling to stay on top of the waves of recovery and relapse as Nic moves in and out of his father’s life.

BEN IS BACK (USA)
U.S. Premiere
Director: Peter Hedges
On Christmas Eve, the Burns family is stunned by the unexpected arrival of their son Ben (Academy Award® nominee Lucas Hedges), returning home for the first time after entering rehab for opioid addiction. His mother, Holly (Academy Award® winner Julia Roberts), is quick to eagerly welcome her son in, while the rest of the family are more skeptical of the reasons for his surprise return. As Ben is torn between proving his sobriety and falling into his old ways, Roberts perfectly portrays a mother struggling with her own warring instincts in this affecting look at one family’s struggle with a national epidemic.

CAPERNAUM (Lebanon)
U.S. Premiere
Director: Nadine Labaki
Scraping by on the chaotic streets of Beirut, 12-year-old Zain (Zain al Rafeea) is one of many children born into an uncertain future in the city’s slum. Living a deeply troubled life on the streets and branded the sole caretaker of an abandoned toddler, Zain makes the desperate move of suing his negligent parents for giving him life and trapping him in a hostile world. Utilizing a cast of non-professional actors (including two revelatory performances from its child leads), Lebanese director Nadine Labaki’s Cannes Jury Prize-winner is a stirring slice of social-realist protest cinema, driven equally by righteous anger and enduring empathy, and sure to be one of the most talked about films of the year.

EVERYBODY KNOWS (France/Spain/Italy)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Transplanting his trademark psychological drama from his native Iran to the foothills of Spain, two-time Academy Award®-winning director Asghar Farhadi (THE PAST [HIFF 2014], THE SALESMAN [HIFF 2017]) returns with a story of secrets and intrigue in Spanish wine country. Returning to her childhood home to celebrate a family wedding, Laura (Penélope Cruz) finds long-simmering tensions coming to the surface when her daughter suddenly disappears amidst a power outage, with her distanced family and ex (Javier Bardem) the most likely suspects. Beautifully realized and constantly engrossing, Farhadi has crafted another masterful thriller with a deep ensemble cast of Spanish legends, led by Bardem, Cruz, and Bárbara Lennie.

GREEN BOOK (USA)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Peter Farrelly
It’s 1962 America, and impeccably stylish jazz musician Don Shirley (Academy Award® winner Mahershala Ali) needs to hire a bodyguard to get him safely from venue to venue on his upcoming Southern tour. Enter Tony “Lip” Valelonga (Viggo Mortensen): a loud-mouthed Italian-American bouncer who’s quicker to enter a situation fists first if it means coming out on top. Together, the unlikely pair set out on a road trip through the American South, using the Negro Motorist Green Book as a guide to find welcoming lodging; along the way, they forge a surprising camaraderie in this heartwarming and comedic true story.

ROMA (Mexico)
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Inspired by the early 1970’s Mexico City of his childhood, celebrated auteur Alfonso Cuarón (GRAVITY, CHILDREN OF MEN, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN) returns with this semi-autobiographical look at a middle-class family making a life for itself within a time of political turbulence and patriarchal rule. Filmed on a giant canvas in 65mm and utilizing stunningly detailed black and white photography, ROMA recreates the world of his past with a cinematic grandeur and vibrancy. Acting as his own cinematographer and working with a remarkable cast of largely unknown actors, Cuarón places the viewer in the middle a world alive with the anxious energy of the period, while paying respect to the individuals that would help to shape his life.

THE HAPPY PRINCE (Germany/Belgium/Italy)
Director: Rupert Everett
In the final three years of his life (1897-1900), Oscar Wilde finds himself adrift. Coming off the heels of his trial for indecency and subsequent imprisonment, Wilde lives out his last days in exile, moving between a small group of enduring friends (Colin Firth, Edwin Thomas) under assumed names and torn between whether to go back to his ex-lover (Colin Morgan) or estranged wife (Emily Watson). Written, directed by, and starring Rupert Everett as the ailing Wilde, THE HAPPY PRINCE is at once a moving evocation of the literary genius’ final act and a stirring paean to the brilliant wit that endured to his last moments.

THE HATE U GIVE (USA)
Director: George Tillman Jr.
As a way to escape the limited options of the streets she grew up on, sixteen-year-old black teenager Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) is torn between two lives: one at school amidst her predominantly rich, upper-class white classmates, and another within her working-class neighborhood. But Starr’s dual life is torn apart when a reunion with a childhood sweetheart ends in tragedy at the hands of a local police officer, forcing her to take a side amidst a swelling of protests in the local community. Adapting Angie Thomas’s award-winning novel to the big screen with the same sense of urgency that shot it to the top of the bestsellers list, THE HATE U GIVE is a stirring look at one teenager’s personal awakening.

THE PUBLIC (USA)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Emilio Estevez
As the day’s activities wind down and library workers Stuart (Emilio Estevez) and Myra (Jena Malone) prepare to close for the day, a group of homeless patrons decide to stage an act of rebellion when they refuse to leave the building to find somewhere to sleep in the wintry night. Soon the scene outside becomes a carnival of riot gearwearing officers and local news reporters, leading to a standoff between the city’s have’s and have-not’s. Aided by a deep supporting cast, including Jeffrey Wright, Michael K. Williams, and Alec Baldwin, writer, director, and star Emilio Estevez continues to showcase his skills as a gifted multi-hyphenate force with his latest ode to the struggles of the disenfranchised.

TO DUST (USA)
Director: Shawn Snyder
Shmuel (Geza Rohrig, last seen at HIFF with 2015’s SON OF SAUL), a Hasidic cantor living in upstate New York, is unable to cope with the untimely death of his wife. Struggling to find religious solace in the face of tremendous grief and plagued by nightmares about his wife’s decaying body, Shmuel looks to Albert (Matthew Broderick), a community college biology professor, to teach him more about the decomposition process facing her. In director Shawn Snyder’s darkly comic first feature, the two form an unlikely bond via clandestine biological experiments, despite the blasphemous consequences.

WIDOWS (UK/USA)
Director: Steve Mc Queen
From Academy Award®-winning director Steve Mc Queen (12 YEARS A SLAVE) and co-writer and bestselling author Gillian Flynn (GONE GIRL) comes a blistering, modernday thriller set against the backdrop of crime, passion and corruption. WIDOWS is the story of four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities. Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, tensions build when Veronica (Oscar® winner Viola Davis), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki) and Belle (Cynthia Erivo) take their fate into their own hands and conspire to forge a future on their own terms. WIDOWS also stars Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall, Daniel Kaluuya, Lukas Haas and Brian Tyree Henry.

WILDLIFE (USA)
Director: Paul Dano
In 1960s Montana, Jerry Brinson (Jake Gyllenhaal) finds his family at yet another crossroads when he loses his job at the local golf course. With a wildfire raging in the surrounding mountains, Jerry decides to join a group of firefighters and leaves his wife Jeanette (Carey Mulligan) and teenage son (Ed Oxenbould) on their own in their small town, where both begin to question the stability of the life they’ve known for so long. With this astonishingly well-realized directorial debut, Paul Dano reveals himself to be a director of considerable emotional depth in this melancholic look at the steady decline of the nuclear family, anchored by Mulligan’s towering central performance.

DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

CITY OF JOEL (USA)
World Premiere
Director: Jesse Sweet
50 miles north of New York City lies the town of Monroe, where one of the fastestgrowing Hasidic communities in the country thrives deep within the Hudson Valley. As the 25,000+ population within the village of Kiryas Joel looks to expand their city, the neighboring villages of non-Hasids see the encroaching community as a burgeoning power grab, leading to an increasingly tense standoff between locals. Shot over several years with seemingly boundless access, Emmy®-winning director Jesse Sweet’s documentary observes the simmering tensions that have come to define the community of Monroe, and the myriad ways in which the town’s divide echoes the country’s as well.

Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes
Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes

DIVIDE AND CONQUER: THE STORY OF ROGER AILES (USA)
Director: Alexis Bloom
At the time of his death in May 2017, a mere four months after the inauguration of Donald Trump, Former Fox News head Roger Ailes left behind undoubtedly one of the largest legacies of any individual on the American political landscape. Looking at the legacy of the man who was both the leading strategist behind the election of numerous Republican presidents and one of the first larger-than-life figures to be taken out of power by accusations of sexual misconduct, filmmaker Alexis Bloom sheds light on the multitude of ways in which the story of Ailes’s rise to power reflects the story of the modern Republican party, as well as the disquieting history of abuse that followed it.

GHOST FLEET (USA)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Shannon Service, Jeffrey Waldron
Amidst the unsustainable expansion of Thailand’s fishing market, the global fishing industry has engaged in the illegal practice of holding workers against their will for years at sea, with little hope of returning to their families. Defying threats of torture and imprisonment to those who attempt to escape, many workers have jumped ship and found themselves taking refuge in local jungles. Following Thai human-rights activist Patima Tungpuchayakul and her team as they set off on a mission to rescue the prisoners who have successfully escaped to the southern islands of Indonesia, GHOST FLEET is an eye-opening expose of the ways in which slavery continues to exist in the modern world, and an inspiring look at those devoting their lives to ending it.

THE LAST RACE (USA)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Michael Dweck
Long Island is the birthplace of American stock car racing, but today, only one racetrack remains: Riverhead Raceway. Established in 1949 on an initially rural part of Long Island, the land has seen its value skyrocket in the subsequent years. With the track now worth over $10 million, the octogenarian owners Barbara and Jim Cromarty struggle to keep the bulldozers at bay. In his debut feature, acclaimed visual artist Michael Dweck explores the issues of class divide and corporate interest that have impacted both the racing industry and region as a whole in this beautiful, visceral, mesmerizing ode to a dying American tradition. *Also screening as part of View From Long Island section.

WALDEN (Switzerland/Austria)
New York Premiere
Director: Daniel Zimmermann
On a gentle day, deep in an Austrian forest, we hear the sudden sound of a chainsaw sending a fir tree to the ground, and thus begins Daniel Zimmerman’s formally fascinating and uncompromising experimental documentary. Entirely comprised of thirteen 360° panning shots, WALDEN follows the tree’s lumber from its harvest in the Austrian wilderness around the globe, as it slowly makes its way across towns, ports, and continents. Equal parts challenging and hypnotizing, Zimmerman’s film is a rhythmic rumination on the role nature plays in all of our lives, both as individuals and as those living in a world defined by globalization.

NARRATIVE COMPETITION

1985 (USA)
New York Premiere
Director: Yen Tan
In the years since his departure, twenty-something Adrian (Cory Michael Smith) has long since left behind the speed and politics of his small Texas hometown. Returning to his family for his first Christmas in years, he finds himself torn between the desire to make the most of their time together and the need to tell them the real reason for his visit. Inspired by his award-winning short film of the same name, director Yen Tan’s 1985 is a nostalgia-tinged look at the lingering feelings left in the wake of leaving one’s hometown, and the awkward tension that comes with determining how much of yourself you can still reveal to those you’ve left behind.

ALL GOOD (Germany)
U.S. Premiere
Director: Eva Trobisch
When an encounter at her school reunion ends in an non-consensual sexual encounter, Janne’s immediate response is to use the same rationale that has driven much of her adult life: “If you don’t see any problems, you don’t have any.” But Janne’s silence soon creates deafening rifts with her partner, family, and co-workers that threaten to destroy the personal and professional relationships she’s worked so hard to maintain. Mesmerizingly led by Aenne Schwarz’s lead performance, debut filmmaker Eva Trobisch has crafted a nuanced and powerful look at the destructive instinct to refuse to define yourself as the victim.

BORDER (Sweden/Denmark)
Director: Ali Abbasi
Tina (Eva Melander), a reclusive customs officer whose enlarged face and pronounced overbite make her immediately stand out, has a unique skill: her sense of smell allows her to identify contraband coming through the border. One day, a mysterious man sets off her senses and places her on a strange path that will lead her to discover the origin of her gifts. Based on Let the Right One In author John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novella, director Ali Abbasi has crafted a consistently surprising genre hybrid. Winner of the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes, BORDER straddles the line between romance, fantasy, and horror in its examination of one person’s struggle to realize her place in the world. Selected as Sweden’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar®.

ONE DAY (Hungary)
U.S. Premiere
Director: Zsófia Szilágyi
40-year-old Anna (Zsofia Szamosi) has defined her life by being dependable. While working diligently to take care of her three children, she increasingly pushes the growing distance between her and her husband to the back of her mind, until she receives a piece of news that will threaten the steady world she’s worked so hard to maintain. Taking place over the course of a single 36-hour period, director Zsófia Szilágyi’s fearless debut feature is a remarkable piece of social realist cinema. Winner of the FIPRESCI prize in the Critics Week section at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and aided by Szamosi’s intensely committed lead performance, ONE DAY announces Szilágyi as a major talent.

TOO LATE TO DIE YOUNG (Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Netherlands, Qatar)
Director: Dominga Sotomayor
Taking place in the days between Christmas and New Year’s Day in the 1990 summer that would bring democracy to Chile, a group of families have recently moved to start a new life for themselves in the rural country. Within the course of this single sun-soaked week, 16-year-old Sofia finds herself in her own period of enormous transition, as she begins to take the first tentative steps into adulthood within the mountain enclave she now calls home. Taking viewers far beyond the city scenes that defined the period and into the foothills below the Andes, director Dominga Sotomayor crafts a beautifully naturalistic coming-of-age film, propelled by the wistful energy of a time defined by optimistic transition.

WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY

HENRI DAUMAN: LOOKING UP (USA)
World Premiere
Director: Peter Jones
As one of the preeminent photographers of the 20th century, self-taught Henri Dauman took the international photojournalism scene by storm with his cinematic images that redefined the methods of capturing historical icons. Leaving behind his past as an orphaned Holocaust survivor, Dauman created a new life for himself in New York City, where his timeless style quickly gained momentum amidst high society and celebrity culture. Exploring both the photographer’s traumatic past and the contrasting vibrancy of the city that would define his work, director Peter Jones’s film is a testament to the resilience and perseverance of the man behind the camera.

MAKING THE GRADE (Ireland)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Ken Wardrop
Across Ireland every year, 30,000 students prepare for the piano exams that will determine whether they proceed in their studies towards the coveted Grade Eight— considered the pinnacle of musical education. Spanning generations, proficiency levels, and a multitude of perspectives, documentarian Ken Wardrop provides a panoramic look at students working to define their relationship with both the piano and the teachers guiding them forward. MAKING THE GRADE is simultaneously a charming study of teacher-student relationships, an enduring tribute to the importance of perseverance, and a nostalgic look at the different ways people find fulfillment through the arts.

MARIA BY CALLAS (France)
Director: Tom Volf
Upon her untimely death in 1977, the name Maria Callas was inseparable from the art form that she helped to define in the 20th century. One of the most celebrated opera singers of the modern era, Callas rose to prominence in the years following World War II, as her unrivaled voice—and much discussed private life—captivated audiences worldwide. Culled from a treasure trove of archival footage, interviews, rare live footage, and personal Super 8 recordings, director Tom Volf creates a loving portrait of Maria through her own words, never losing sight of the woman behind the voice.

Monrovia, Indiana
Monrovia, Indiana

MONROVIA, INDIANA (USA)
Director: Frederick Wiseman
Turning his attention away from the large-scale city institutions that have defined his work for much of the past decade, legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman aims his camera towards the residents of Monrovia, Indiana: a small midwest town with a population of just over 1,000. Observing life in this middle-American community, Wiseman moves between a variety of locales, ranging from the churches and farms that have defined the region for centuries to the gun shop visits, school performances, and Freemason society meetings that showcase the town’s daily rituals. Through it all, Wiseman creates a remarkable space for contemplation of a type of community rarely depicted on screen, despite the undeniable role these towns play in contemporary American politics.

A MURDER IN MANSFIELD (USA)
Director: Barbara Kopple
Academy Award® winner Barbara Kopple’s latest documentary explores the ramifications of a horrific crime that shook the small town of Mansfield, Ohio. In 1990, 12-year-old Collier stepped onto the witness stand during the most explosive murder trial in the history of his hometown. Many locals still remember the boy’s dramatic testimony—blaming his father, a prominent doctor, for the murder of his mother Noreen. Twenty-six years later, Collier returns, seeking to heal the lingering trauma associated with the crime and confront his imprisoned father, who continues to withhold his admission of guilt in the events that changed so many lives.

THE PANAMA PAPERS (USA)
World Premiere
Director: Alex Winter
Leaked by an anonymous source to journalists in 2015, The Panama Papers were an explosive collection of 11.5 million documents, exposing the use of secretive offshore companies to enable widespread tax evasion and money laundering. Largely viewed as the largest data leak in history, the release of the Papers had wide-reaching implications, incriminating 12 current or former world leaders, 128 politicians or public officials, and various celebrities and public figures (among others). In his expansive documentary, director Alex Winter speaks to the journalists who worked to ensure the release, and examines how it reshaped our understanding of corruption amidst the highest forms of government, along with the ongoing effects on global inequality.

THE PROPOSAL (USA)
Director: Jill Magid
Hidden away in a vault in Switzerland lies the professional archive of Mexico’s most renowned architect Luis Barragán, now fiercely protected by its sole owner, who has almost completely restricted access to the public over the last 20 years. Determined to relocate the archive back to Mexico City, American conceptual artist, writer, and filmmaker Jill Magid initiates a dialogue with the owner, and in the process, begins to construct her own piece ruminating on the dangers of cutting off accessibility to an artist’s work from the outside world. With this provocative and haunting film, Magid challenges the perception of who truly controls an artist’s legacy and how the world should engage with their work.

ROLL RED ROLL (USA)
Director: Nancy Schwartzman
In 2012, the sleepy town of Steubenville, Ohio made international news when a whistleblowing blogger discovered a set of disturbing online evidence documenting the sexual assault of a teenage girl by star members of the high school football team. Examining the complicated motivations of the perpetrators, bystanders, and community leaders who actively denied and dismissed the event, documentarian Nancy Schwartzman attempts to unpack the harmful attitudes at the core of their unconscionably complicit behavior. Timely and undeniably affecting, ROLL RED ROLL goes behind the headlines to uncover the deeply entrenched, social media-fueled “boys will be boys” culture at the root of sexual assault in America.

SHIRKERS (USA)
Director: Sandi Tan
Spending her days seeking refuge in zines, bootlegs, and American independent cinema, teenager Sandi Tan found herself among the first generation of Singapore’s burgeoning counterculture movement when she began working on her DIY-labor of love film SHIRKERS in the early 90s. But Sandi and her co-conspirators’ dreams of beginning a new film movement were crushed when Georges, her mysterious American mentor, disappeared with the entirety of the footage without warning. Two decades later, Tan and her collaborators return to the footage they lost in order to grapple with the movement their optimism inspired—and the man who tore it away from them—in this singular look at one artist’s attempt to reckon with the past.

THEY’LL LOVE ME WHEN I’M DEAD (USA)
Director: Morgan Neville
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND was to be Orson Welles’s grand comeback, until years of financial, legal, and creative issues halted the completion of the CITIZEN KANE director’s final work. Now nearly 50 years later, Oscar®-winning documentary director Morgan Neville (20 FEET FROM STARDOM, WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR) looks back at the winding and nearly unbelievable story of the making of the film, created guerrilla-style by a director living in exile, and the decades of failure that came to define the project’s legacy. Aided by Peter Bogdanovich, Frank Marshall, Beatrice Welles, and other living collaborators, THEY’LL LOVE ME WHEN I’M DEAD is a lively tribute to one of cinema’s true giants.

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING (USA)
U.S. Premiere
Director: Tom Donahue
One year after the Harvey Weinstein allegations ignited the #MeToo movement, THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING offers a comprehensive look at the film industry’s role in reinforcing gender dynamics over the last century, and the resounding call for action pushing back. Speaking with a tremendous group of Hollywood’s biggest names, including Meryl Streep, Jessica Chastain, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Reese Witherspoon, and countless others, the film stands as a timely testament to the urgent need for change facing both the entertainment industry and society as a whole.

TIME FOR ILHAN (USA)
Director: Norah Shapiro
On November 8, 2016, Ilhan Omar—a young, hijab-wearing mother-of-three—made history as the first Somali Muslim woman to be elected to legislative office in the United States. With incredible access to Omar’s campaign, documentarian Norah Shapiro follows the candidate and her team on the trail as they attempt to unseat the 43-year incumbent in a hard-fought race to represent the country’s largest Somali community. At a time of tremendous political turmoil, TIME FOR ILHAN intimately chronicles the inspiring journey of one of the nation’s brightest rising political stars and offers a fresh perspective on the American Dream.

THE TRUTH ABOUT KILLER ROBOTS
New York Premiere
Director: Maxim Pozdorovkin
As defined by science fiction giant Isaac Asimov, the first law of robotics states, “A robot may not injure a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.” So what happens once we live in an era where the law has already been broken? Using three recent case studies of moments in which robots have caused the death of a human as a starting point, director Maxim Pozdorovkin creates an equally thought-provoking and wryly provocative survey of just how much we’ve allowed robots into our lives, and the extent to which our often unnoticed reliance on machines may have already defined our fate.

WORLD CINEMA NARRATIVE

ASK FOR JANE (USA)
World Premiere
Director: Rachel Carey
Between 1969 and 1973, The Jane Collective operated underground in Chicago, helping over 11,000 women receive safe, illegal abortions throughout the metropolitan area, learning and performing the procedure on their own in an era that refused to make them legally available. Before disbanding in the wake of Roe v. Wade in 1973, the group operated like a spy network throughout the city and provided a necessary public service to the women of Chicago. Exploring the story of Jane’s founding with a ensemble cast including Emmy® nominee Alison Wright, Tony® nominee Saycon Sengbloh, and Ben Rappaport, ASK FOR JANE is a timely reminder of the necessity of reproductive healthcare in the modern day.

Birds of Passage
Birds of Passage

BIRDS OF PASSAGE (Mexico, Colombia, Denmark)
New York Premiere
Director: Christina Gallego, Ciro Guerra
In the follow-up to his visually stunning foreign language Oscar®-nominated EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT (HIFF 2015), director Ciro Guerra depicts a single Colombian family who find themselves increasingly forced into the violence and capitalist pull of the country’s burgeoning drug trade. Co-directed alongside his longtime collaborator Cristina Gallego, BIRDS OF PASSAGE provides a visceral and multi-faceted look at the two-decade rise of the Colombian drug trade through the eyes of the indigenous communities who both helped to shape it and were subsequently devastated by it. Sprawling in scope and filled with a sense of surreal beauty, Guerra and Gallego deliver an unparalleled crime saga. Selected as Colombia’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar®.

BURNING (South Korea)
Director: Lee Chang-dong
Years after leaving his small northern hometown for Seoul, an aspiring writer (Yoo Ahin) unexpectedly runs into a childhood acquaintance (Jeon Jong-seo). Their chance encounter soon blossoms into a tentative relationship, until her return from an impromptu trip with a mysterious new companion (Steven Yeun, The Walking Dead) sets in motion an accidental love triangle that soon morphs into something much more sinister. Based on Haruki Murakami’s short story Barn Burning, director Lee Changdong’s masterful film became one of the most celebrated titles of the last decade upon its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival—an exhilarating thriller that is as precise as it is undefinable.

COLD WAR (Poland)
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
In the midst of tremendous political upheaval, two folk musicians meet in post-war Poland, where one attempts to escape a troubled past while the other increasingly questions the pair’s role in the country’s propaganda machine. Soon they fall in love and find fame in the smoke-lit bars of Eastern Europe, setting in motion a relationship that will span decades and cross borders. Sumptuously shot in beautiful black and white, Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski (in the follow-up to his Foreign Language Academy Award® winner IDA) returns to his home country with an achingly seductive tale of love and loss.

DEAD PIGS (USA/China)
Director: Cathy Yan
Against the backdrop of urban development, gentrification, and thousands of discarded pigs mysteriously floating down the Yangtze River, a brassy salon owner, lonely busboy, trust-fund princess, expat architect, and bumbling farmer find their lives unexpectedly converging in Cathy Yan’s sprawling directorial debut. Yan, a participant in the 2016 HIFF Screenwriters Lab and the recipient of support from the inaugural Melissa Mathison Fund, effortlessly weaves together the individual narratives of five Shanghai residents in her biting satire. Based on true events, DEAD PIGS is a wicked and whimsical examination of contemporary China’s ongoing clash between traditionalism and modernization.

THE GUILTY (Denmark)
Director: Gustav Möller
Following a suspension, police officer Asger Holm (a hypnotic Jakob Cedergren) is reassigned as an emergency dispatcher. During one seemingly typical night he receives a unusually distressing call, and slowly realizes that the woman on the other end of the line has been kidnapped. Confined to his desk with only his direct line of communication to aid him, Holm must act without delay in order to save her. Winner of audience awards at Sundance, Rotterdam, Montclair and more, first-time director Gustav Möller experiments with the boundaries of traditional narrative to create one of the year’s most suspenseful thrillers.

HAPPY AS LAZZARO (Italy)
Director: Alice Rohrwacher
Within an impoverished Italian countryside estate, a group of sharecroppers spend their days harvesting tobacco for their overbearing Marchesa, while the wide-eyed, innocent local Lazzaro (first-time actor Adriano Tradiolo) is at once beloved and taken advantage of by his fellow workers. This life continues on in the town, until Lazzaro’s involvement in a kidnapping scheme at the hands of the Marchesa’s entitled son sets in motion a string of events that will push him towards a place and time far from his rustic home. Blending the lines between Italy’s history of neo-realism and bucolic fables into a transfixing parable of the country’s modern day society, director Alice Rohrwacher’s (CORPO CELESTE, HIFF 2011) third feature is a stunning achievement of contemporary European cinema.

I DO NOT CARE IF WE GO DOWN IN HISTORY AS BARBARIANS (Romania/Czech Republic/France/Bulgaria/Germany)
U.S. Premiere
Director: Radu Jude In the latest provocation from Romanian director Radu Jude, local theater director Mariana Marin (Ioana Iacob) prepares to stage a public recreation of the 1941 Odessa Massacre, an often-ignored ethnic cleansing in which tens of thousands of Ukrainian Jews were murdered at the hands of Romanian soldiers. As Mariana attempts to push back on both calls for censorship from a city representative looking for a more traditional display of nationalist pride and a burgeoning mutiny amongst her cast of local volunteers, Jude crafts a timely and constantly engaging examination of the ways in which barbarism is not only defined by its perpetrators, but by those insistent on pushing it to the sidelines of history as well.

LETO (Russia)
U.S. Premiere
Director: Kirill Serebrennikov
As the political repression of the USSR enters its final decade, Mike Naumenko (Roman Bilyk), frontman of the early 1980s Leningrad band Zoopark, welcomes a new singer that will soon break out far past the reach of their comparatively underground rock scene. Looking back at the music landscape of his youth, director Kirill Serebrennikov has crafted a sprawling portrait of a vibrant scene alive with the riotous, uncontrollable energy of the era. Filled with an electrifying soundtrack, LETO provides a nostalgic, yet un-romanticized look at a period that seemed to exist almost entirely outside of both what had come before and was yet to come in its native country.

NON-FICTION (France)
Director: Olivier Assayas
Internationally acclaimed French auteur Olivier Assayas (CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA, HIFF 2014) returns to the festival with this charmingly playful comedy. Facing both a rapidly changing industry and the lingering feeling that his relationship with his wife (Juliette Binoche), a professional actress, is growing stale, publishing executive Alain (Guillaume Canet) struggles to find his place while dealing with an oafish author (Vincent Macaigne) and significantly younger new recruit (Nora Hamzawi). As his perfectly cast ensemble move between dinner parties and bedrooms, Assayas crafts a deliciously mischievous look at the difficulty of adapting to today’s new-media world.

PRIVATE LIFE (USA)
Director: Tamara Jenkins
Feeling the pressure of repeated failed attempts to have a child, middle-aged New York couple Rachel (Kathryn Hahn) and Richard (Paul Giamatti) seem to have run out of options when their step-niece Sadie (HIFF 2018 Breakthrough Artist Kayli Carter) arrives at their doorstep looking for a place to crash. When Sadie agrees to donate her eggs and become the last piece of their fertility puzzle, the three form an unconventional bond as they set about creating a family. With her first film in 10 years, director Tamara Jenkins (THE SAVAGES) and her wonderful cast craft a knowingly tender portrait of the pressures facing one middle-class family.

MANBIKI KAZOKU(Shoplifters) by KORE-EDA Hirokazu
MANBIKI KAZOKU(Shoplifters) by KORE-EDA Hirokazu

SHOPLIFTERS (Japan)
Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
The winner of the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, prolific Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda (LIKE FATHER LIKE SON, HIFF 2013) returns to the festival with a nuanced, heartbreaking look at a family of misfits living in the margins of contemporary Tokyo. Making a life for themselves by shoplifting from local grocery stores and finding food where they can, the film’s central family find their impoverished but tranquil life threatened when they take a young girl under their wing, and her abusive parents fight back for custody. An impassioned plea for those struggling to stay afloat, this is another must-see from one of international cinema’s greatest filmmakers. Selected as Japan’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar®.

STYX (Germany/Austria)
U.S. Premiere
Director: Wolfgang Fischer
Rike (Susanne Wolff), a forty-year-old woman working contentedly as a successful doctor in the city, finally fulfills a lifelong dream when she uses an annual holiday to set sail on a solo voyage from Gibraltar to Ascension, an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Following an intense storm, Rike’s holiday is interrupted by the discovery of a badly damaged and overloaded refugee boat, with over one hundred passengers’ lives threatened and her calls for help unanswered. Director Wolfgang Fischer crafts a stunning story of survival, as well as a striking allegory for the sometimes impossible task of acting to save those imperiled by an impassive system.

WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY (USA)
Director: Madeleine Olnek
Literary icon Emily Dickinson (Molly Shannon) breaks free from her public persona as a famously prudish spinster and claims her status as a vibrant lesbian hero. Balancing raucous humor with tender romance, Shannon establishes Dickinson as a spirited artist who drew inspiration from her passionate, lifelong affair with her secret lover, Susan Dickinson (Susan Ziegler). In the delightfully irreverent WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY, writer/director Madeleine Olnek refreshingly upends the false narratives that have historically dominated the poet’s life and work, and examines the way we as a society choose to write and remember our powerful women.

WOMAN AT WAR (France/Iceland/Ukraine)
U.S. Premiere
Director: Benedikt Erlingsson
Fifty-year-old choir teacher Halla (Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir) has, on the surface, an uneventful life in her Icelandic countryside home. By day a pillar of the local community, Halla leads a secret life as an eco-terrorist, devoting herself to a campaign against the aluminum industry by sabotaging local electric pylons and spearheading factory sieges. When the balance of her dual life is threatened by the approval of a longstanding adoption request, she is forced to decide whether to sacrifice the cause for the desire to settle down. Examining the nuanced relationship between the personal and the political with an unexpectedly offbeat, comic tone, WOMEN AT WAR is a stirring tale from emerging Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson.

VIEWS FROM LONG ISLAND

BLACK MOTHER

BLACK MOTHER (USA)
Director: Khalik Allah
Filmmaker, photographer, and Long Island resident Khalik Allah’s second feature is, much like his debut film FIELD N*****, a mesmerizing documentary portrait. Allah casts his lens on two dissonant worlds on the island of Jamaica, showcasing the sacred and profane alike. Switching among multiple formats, from the raw texture of super 8mm film, to videotape, to HD video, Allah skillfully creates another intimate and daring portrait of kaleidoscopic beauty, revealing Jamaica—the birthplace of his mother—as a blessed place, dreamlike, full of rhythm and seduction.

THE LAST RACE (USA)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Michael Dweck
Long Island is the birthplace of American stock car racing, but today, only one racetrack remains: Riverhead Raceway. Established in 1949 on an initially rural part of Long Island, the land has seen its value skyrocket in the subsequent years. Now worth over $10 million, the octogenarian track owners Barbara and Jim Cromarty struggle to keep the bulldozers at bay. In his debut feature, acclaimed visual artist Michael Dweck explores the issues of class divide and corporate interest that have impacted both the racing industry and region as a whole in this beautiful, visceral, mesmerizing ode to a dying American tradition. *Also screening as part of Documentary Competition Section.

ONLY THE WIND IS LISTENING (USA)
World Premiere
Director: Emily Anderson
Set against the backdrop of an unforgiving Montauk winter, the lives of a fisherman and a writer intertwine as they attempt to navigate off-season loneliness. *Also screening as part of the Shorts Playing Before Features.

STILL PLAYS WITH TRAINS (USA)
World Premiere
Director: Ross Kauffman
In the basement of his East Hampton home, John Scully reconstructs his idyllic 1950s childhood in the form of one of the world’s largest model train sets. *Also screening as part of the Shorts Playing Before Features.

AIR, LAND, AND SEA

ABOVE AND BEYOND: NASA’S JOURNEY TO TOMORROW (USA)
Director: Rory Kennedy
On the eve of its 60th Anniversary, Academy Award®-nominated director Rory Kennedy charts the history of The National Aeronautics and Space Administration with a look at its myriad contributions to space exploration and its continued work investigating the effects of climate change throughout the world. Touching on both the many epoch defining moments created throughout NASA’s history and the intensely personal commitment required by the men and women who made them possible, Kennedy has crafted a consistently inspiring tribute to an organization that reminds us of the infinite reach of the human spirit.

GRIT (USA)
U.S. Premiere
Directors: Sasha Friedlander, Cynthia Wade
In 2006, international drilling company Lapindo carelessly unleashed an unstoppable toxic mudflow into East Java—burying dozens of nearby villages and displacing tens of thousands of Indonesians in the process. Documentarians Sasha Friedlander and Cynthia Wade (Academy Award® winner for FREEHELD) focus the tragedy around 16- year-old survivor Dian, a survivor who is routinely ignored by her government, despite the unforgiving sludge continuing to engulf her home for over a decade. Chronicling the teenager’s transformation from a young girl into an outspoken advocate for her community, GRIT is a timely showcase of the urgent need for political activism, the duty to hold those in power accountable, and the perseverance of the human spirit amidst social and environmental strife.

THE SERENGETI RULES (UK/USA)
Director: Nicolas Brown
In the 1960s, five international scientists set out into the wilderness with an insatiable desire to learn more about the balance of life on earth— and, in the process, redefined our understanding of ecosystems around the world. Now in the twilight of their celebrated careers, these five unsung heroes of modern ecology share how their pioneering work forever altered our view of nature, and how their findings may help combat the effects of climate change. Featuring gorgeous photography from some of the most exotic and remote places around the world, Nicolas Brown’s THE SERENGETI RULES is a beautiful ode to the Earth and those endeavoring to protect it.

COMPASSION, JUSTICE, AND ANIMAL RIGHTS

THE CAT RESCUERS (USA)
World Premiere
Director: Rob Fruchtman, Steven Lawrence
Throughout the United States, an estimated 70 million cats live abandoned without a home, with over one million stray or feral cats roaming the streets of New York City alone. In an effort to counter the increasingly uncontrollable issue of the city’s abandoned cat population, hundreds of animal welfare activists have taken to the streets to attempt to humanely help the animals through new techniques and adoption pushes, often at great expense to their personal lives. Following four of these volunteer activists working in Brooklyn, THE CAT RESCUERS is an eye-opening look at a too often undiscussed issue facing the city, and the courageous few doing what they can to help.

FOR THE BIRDS (USA)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Richard Miron
One day on her property in upstate New York, Kathy Murphy finds a duckling in her yard and decides to take it in. A decade later, her (and her husband’s) home is overrun with over 200 fostered birds, including chickens, geese, ducks, and turkeys. Shot vérité-style both at the couple’s farm and throughout the ensuing court battles with local activists and animal welfare officers, director Richard Miron empathetically documents the resulting strains on Kathy’s marriage and mental health as she fights to keep her birds, while shining a necessary light on the rarely-discussed issue of animal hoarding. Demonstrating that significant life changes are achievable, Kathy’s journey highlights the importance of community in the road to recovery, giving hope to all that struggle to face life’s challenges.

CONFLICT & RESOLUTION

AND BREATHE NORMALLY (Iceland/Sweden/Belgium)
New York Premiere
Director: Ísold Uggadóttir
The disparate paths of a struggling Icelandic single mother and an asylum-seeking Guinea-Bissauan woman interweave in Ísold Uggadóttir’s (Screenwriters Lab 2015) award-winning first feature. Though they are initially divided by political and cultural discord, the two women gradually form an unlikely bond outside of the pre-ordained paths expected from their socio-political realities. Akin to the social-realist work of Ken Loach and the Dardennes Brothers, AND BREATHE NORMALLY is a sharply observed and unsentimental exploration of the migration crisis, and confirms Uggadóttir’s status as a rising star of Icelandic cinema.

OF FATHERS AND SONS (Germany/Syria/Lebanon)
New York Premiere
Director: Talal Derki
Posing as a pro-jihadist photojournalist making a documentary on the Islamic Caliphate, Syrian filmmaker Talal Derki returns to his homeland, where he gains the trust of a radical Islamist family led by al-Nusra general Abu Osama. Filming their lives over the course of two years, with a particular attention paid to the general’s son Osama, Derki intimately examines the daily jihadist teaching and tutelage given in a town ravaged by conflict and destruction. Winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, OF FATHERS AND SONS is a revelatory and disquieting examination of the conditions that lead to radicalization.

THE SILENCE OF OTHERS (Spain/USA)
Director: Almudena Carracedo, Robert Bahar
At the risk of being forgotten by an apathetic system, the survivors of Spain’s 40-year dictatorship set out on a quest for justice in Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar’s Berlinale Peace Prize-winning documentary. The filmmakers follow the group over the course of six years as they come together and bravely confront the remaining perpetrators of Franco’s regime with an unprecedented international lawsuit. Executive produced by Pedro Almodovar, THE SILENCE OF OTHERS is a powerful and provoking tribute to the courageous individuals determined to hold those responsible accountable, and a reminder that those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.

UNDER THE WIRE (U.K.)
New York Premiere
Director: Chris Martin
In February of 2012, war correspondent Marie Colvin (also the subject of HIFF 2018 Spotlight selection A PRIVATE WAR) illegally crossed the border into Syria with her photographer, Paul Conroy. Ignoring the government’s refusal to allow foreign journalists into the country, the two were among the first to attempt to cover the story of civilians trapped in the besieged city of Homs, where they found a ravaged war zone that only one of them would ultimately survive. Grippingly recounting their moment-by moment journey into Homs, UNDER THE WIRE is a chilling tribute to the courageous bravery that led Colvin and Conroy to their final mission together.

Watergate
Watergate

WATERGATE (USA)
Director: Charles Ferguson
Few moments loom larger on the collective conscious of contemporary American history than the Watergate investigation, and the subsequent resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974. Now over 40 years later, filmmaker Charles Ferguson utilizes new interviews with surviving subjects from all sides of the investigation—including reporters, prosecutors, senators, congressmen, and former members of the Nixon administration—to shine a new light on the landmark case. Following up his 2008 expose on the financial crisis INSIDE JOB, which landed him an Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature, Ferguson’s WATERGATE is a stunning, all-encompassing look at a scandal that, until recently, stood without parallel in US politics

SPECIAL SCREENING

BATHTUBS OVER BROADWAY (USA)
Director: Dava Whisenant
As a writer for The Late Show with David Letterman, Steve Young waded through thousands of record bins in search of quirky albums to showcase on the recurring segment “Dave’s Record Collection.” Steve’s quest for offbeat records eventually brought him to the largely unknown world of “industrial musicals”: full productions put on by major companies to dazzle their employees during annual sales meetings. As Steve’s initial interest quickly morphs into a full-blown obsession, director Dava Whisenant follows him on his odyssey to speak to those who helped create these outrageous Broadway-style shows, while shedding hilarious light on the industry of corporate-sanctioned musicals. Winner of HIFF SummerDocs Audience Award, sponsored by Candescent Films.

IMMERSIVE STORYTELLING & VR

THE HIDDEN
From Annie Lukowski and BJ Schwartz – the creators at Vanishing Point Media, and with the support of the ACLU and Samsung, THE HIDDEN is a political thriller that literally drops you in the middle of a high stakes game of cat and mouse without telling you who is hunt- ing whom. In a manner only possible in VR, The Hidden will have you experience the pulse-pounding fear and turmoil of an ICE Raid from every perspective. In the end the viewer is left with larger questions about the state of social justice in modern America.

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