The Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) unveiled the full slate of films for the 2019 edition, including additional spotlight films – Tom Harper’s THE AERONAUTS, Marc Meyers’ HUMAN CAPITAL, Scott Z. Burns’ gripping post 9/11 drama THE REPORT; François Girard’s THE SONG OF NAMES; and Bruce Springsteen and Thom Zimny’s concert documentary WESTERN STARS.
As part of the Signature Programs, the Views From Long Island section will also include the World Premieres of CONSCIENCE POINT, directed by Treva Wurmfeld, which documents the Shinecock Nation’s brutal fight for ownership in the Hamptons, and Tom Dolby’s THE ARTIST’S WIFE, which tells the story of the wife of a renowned abstract artist who is plunged into a late-life crisis when her husband is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s; and the US Premiere of Marc Meyers’ HUMAN CAPITAL, adapted from Paolo Virzì’s award-winning 2013 film and Stephen Amidon’s 2004 novel of the same name, which tells the story of two families colliding when their children begin a relationship that leads to a tragic accident. View From Long Island will also present a short sections including two shorts from HIFF Jr Educational Initiatives, HACKED and WWII, as well as WATERPROOF from filmmaker Ross Kauffman about the efforts to create safe swimming spaces in East Hampton.
The Air, Land & Sea program will present Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s EARTH, which examines the tremendous impacts of human activity in the era of the Anthropocene—looking at seven locations across the globe that have hugely transformed the planet through human behavior, as well as the World Premiere of Anthony Baxter’s FLINT, a spotlight on the economic depression and water treatment in the Midwest, narrated by Alec Baldwin. The section will also include Brett Story’s THE HOTTEST AUGUST, a complex and nuanced portrait of New York City and its inhabitants in the age of climate change, with excerpts from Zadie Smith, Karl Marx, and Annie Dillard.
The Compassion, Justice, & Animal Rights program will present David Hambridge’s KIFARU, a documentary that explores the often brutal and painstaking process of protecting and caring for Sudan, the world’s last male Northern White Rhino, and Lesley Chilcott’s WATSON, which tells the story of Paul Watson, a lifelong defender of underwater ecosystems and the wildlife living within them.
In the World Cinema Narrative section, the slate includes the addition of Sarah Gavron’s ROCKS, Bong Joon-ho’s PARASITE, Wang Xiaoshuai’s SO LONG MY SON, Ken Loach’s SORRY WE MISSED YOU, Nadav Lapid’s SYNONYMS, Kristina Grozeva’s THE FATHER; Karim Aïnouz’s THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF EURÍDICE GUSMÃO, Marco Bellocchio’s THE TRAITOR, Sandra Kogut’s THREE SUMMERS, Shannon Murphy’s BABYTEETH, François Ozon’s BY THE GRACE OF GOD, Ladj Ly’s LES MISERABLES, Jessica Hausner’s LITTLE JOE, Annabelle Attanasio’s MICKEY AND THE BEAR, and Céline Sciamma’s PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE.
In the World Cinema Documentary section, the full slate includes Matthew Miele’s ALAN PAKULA: GOING FOR TRUTH, Eva Orner’s BIKRAM: YOGI, GURU, PREDATOR, Tania Cypriano’s BORN TO BE, Alex Gibney’s CITIZEN K, Ben Steele’s IN MEMORIAM, Luke Lorentzen’s MIDNIGHT FAMILY, Jennifer Trainer’s MUSEUM TOWN, Ric Burns’ OLIVER SACKS: HIS OWN LIFE, Oren Jacoby’s ON BROADWAY, Elizabeth Sankey’s ROMANTIC COMEDY, Ed Perkins’ TELL ME WHO I AM, Ebs Burnough’s THE CAPOTE TAPES, Lauren Greenfield’s THE KINGMAKER, and Agnès Varda’s VARDA BY AGNÈS.
HIFF will present ten programs of short films this year, including Narrative and Documentary Short Film Competitions; New York Women In Film and Television: Women Calling the Shots; Explore! Shorts for All Ages; University Short Films Showcase, Just Can’t Get Enough, Kith & Kin, Simple Twist of Fate, Air, Land & Sea Shorts, and Views from Long Island Short Showcase. Additional shorts will appear before feature films and in the Virtual Reality Immersive Storytelling experience at the East Hampton Library.
For the second year, the festival will present a Virtual Reality selection, TO THE MOON created by Laurie Anderson & Hsin-Chien Huang, utilizing images and tropes from Greek mythology to take viewers from Earth to the surface of the Moon, an experience that has traveled to the Cannes and Venice Film Festivals so far.
In recognition of Brian De Palma’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the festival will present a special screening of De Palma’s iconic 1981 film, BLOW OUT. In addition, the festival will present an encore screening of Alex Holmes’ MAIDEN, winner of the 2019 SummerDocs Audience Award.
HIFF also announced the jury members for the 2019 festival. The narrative jury will include renowned American novelist, playwright, screenwriter and director Peter Hedges, whose film credits include BEN IS BACK, ABOUT A BOY, and DAN IN REAL LIFE; and Dori Begley, Executive Vice President, Magnolia Pictures. The Documentary Jury will include Jannat Gargi, Director of Feature Documentaries and Distribution at Vulcan Productions, whose documentary credits include GHOST FLEET, STEP, BALLET NOW, and BODY TEAM 12; Scott Feinberg, Awards Columnist for The Hollywood Reporter and host of “Awards Chatter” podcast; and Alison Wilmore, Film Critic at Vulture and Chair of the New York Film Critics Circle.
The 27th annual Hamptons International Film Festival will take place Columbus Day Weekend: October 10 to 14, 2019.
2019 Hamptons International Film Festival Lineup
OPENING NIGHT FILM
JUST MERCY (USA)
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
A powerful and thought-provoking true story, JUST MERCY follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned, or who were not afforded proper representation, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley (Brie Larson). One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie. In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings and overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds—and the system—stacked against them.
CLOSING NIGHT FILM
East Coast Premiere
Director: Trey Edward Shultz
Set against the vibrant landscape of South Florida, and featuring an astonishing ensemble of awardwinning actors and breakouts alike, WAVES traces the epic emotional journey of a suburban AfricanAmerican family—led by a well-intentioned but domineering father—as they navigate love, forgiveness and coming together in the aftermath of a loss. From acclaimed director Trey Edward Shults (KRISHA, HIFF 2015), WAVES is a heartrending story about the universal capacity for compassion and growth even in the darkest of times.
THE IRISHMAN (USA)
Director: Martin Scorsese
Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci star in Martin Scorsese’s THE IRISHMAN, an epic saga of organized crime in post-war America told through the eyes of World War II veteran Frank Sheeran, a hustler and hitman who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th century. Spanning decades, the film chronicles one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American history, the disappearance of legendary union boss Jimmy Hoffa, and offers a monumental journey through the hidden corridors of organized crime: its inner workings, rivalries and connections to mainstream politics
FORD v FERRARI (USA)
New York Premiere Director: James Mangold
Academy Award® winners Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in FORD v FERRARI, based on the remarkable true story of the visionary American car designer Carroll Shelby (Damon) and the fearless British driver Ken Miles (Bale), who together battled corporate interference, the laws of physics, and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford Motor Company and take on the dominating race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966.
THE TWO POPES (USA/UK/Italy/Argentina)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Fernando Meirelles
From Fernando Meirelles, the Academy Award-nominated director of CITY OF GOD, and three-time Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Anthony McCarten, comes an intimate story of one of the most dramatic transitions of power in the last 2,000 years. Frustrated with the direction of the church, Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) requests permission to retire in 2012 from Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins). Instead, facing scandal and self-doubt, the introspective Pope Benedict summons his harshest critic and future successor to Rome to reveal a secret that would shake the foundations of the Catholic Church. Behind Vatican walls, a struggle commences between both tradition and progress, guilt and forgiveness, as these two very different men confront elements from their pasts in order to find common ground and forge a future for a billion followers around the world.
A HIDDEN LIFE (USA/GERMANY)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Terrence Malick
At the dawn of the second World War, the Edenic life of peasant farmer Franz Jägerstätter (August Diehl) and his family is disrupted by the intrusion of violence and hatred developing throughout their Austrian countryside village. As their town becomes further immersed in the Third Reich’s ideologies, Franz is called in for military training, where his refusal to swear allegiance to Hitler will force him into imprisonment and away from his family back home. Telling the true story of one of the many conscientious objectors who quietly pushed back against their countries’ advances toward extremism, filmmaker Terrence Malick (THE TREE OF LIFE, THE THIN RED LINE) returns to the vast canvas of his most celebrated work in this immensely powerful rumination on the call for a higher purpose in times of unimaginable turbulence.
Director: Chinonye Chukwu
In the wake of a botched execution under her watch, prison warden Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard) finds herself questioning her position, her home life, and the ethical consequences of the work she oversees. The arrival of the newest death row inmate, Anthony Woods (Aldis Hodge, HIFF 2019 Breakthrough Artist), along with the lawyer, relatives, and protestors fighting for his release, further complicates the increasingly undeniable truth—that under her professional, strong-willed demeanor, she is quickly approaching a breaking point. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, writer-director Chinonye Chukwu’s CLEMENCY is a thought-provoking look at the psychological effects of capital punishment, anchored by Woodard’s career-best performance at its center.
East Coast Premiere
Director: Ira Sachs
Director Ira Sachs (LOVE IS STRANGE, LITTLE MEN) transplants his usual New York setting for Sintra, Portugal, where the family of Frankie (Isabelle Huppert), an aging actress, is brought together for a family holiday. As Frankie prepares to tell her family of a recent diagnosis, three generations convene amongst the gardens, villas, and beaches of the fabled coastal town over the course of a single October day. Working with a stellar ensemble cast, including Marisa Tomei, Brendan Gleeson, and Greg Kinnear, Sachs’ latest tenderly observed character drama is an affecting look at one family’s turning point.
HUMAN CAPITAL (USA)
Director: Marc Meyers
Adapted from Paolo Virzì’s award-winning 2013 film and Stephen Amidon’s 2004 novel of the same name, director Marc Meyers’ ensemble drama follows two families whose lives become hopelessly intertwined in the wake of a spontaneous financial investment. Brought together by their children’s burgeoning relationship, family man Drew (Liev Schreiber) finds himself convinced to invest in the seemingly stable hedge fund of Quint (Peter Sarsgaard), a powerful businessman with a long line of recent successes. But as his investment reveals itself to be less than secure, a car accident throws both families’ lives into turmoil. Co-starring Marisa Tomei, Maya Hawke, and Alex Wolff, HUMAN CAPITAL provides a nuanced commentary on the difficulty in disconnecting our lives from our net worth. *Also screening as part of Views From Long Island Section.
JOJO RABBIT (USA)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Taika Waititi
Growing up during the Second World War with his single mother (Scarlett Johansson), a young German boy spends his days idolizing his country’s tyrannical regime and taking comfort in the presence of his imaginary best-friend: Adolf Hitler (writer-director Taika Waititi). But the boy’s understanding of the world around him is rattled when he discovers a secret within his home. In Waititi’s outrageous “anti-hate satire,” the director weaponizes the irreverent, off-beat charms he previously lent to both independent comedies (WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS) and blockbuster superhero epics (THOR: RAGNAROK) in a wonderfully unexpected new direction. JOJO RABBIT is a deeply funny and surprisingly touching depiction of our capacity for both hate and love.
MARRIAGE STORY (USA)
Director: Noah Baumbach
Unable to reconcile their increasingly separate lives on opposite sides of the country, New York theater director Charlie (Adam Driver) and his L.A.-based wife Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) decide to end their marriage, hoping to go through the divorce proceedings as amicably and painlessly as possible. As their negotiations for custody begin to reveal the depths of the resentments that have been building for years, the pair’s once admirable intimacy gives way to a battlefield of claims and outbursts led by their team of lawyers (Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta). Intimately captured in 35mm cinematography and painfully real performances, director Noah Baumbach (THE SQUID AND THE WHALE, THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES) further refines the achingly truthful humor and heartbreak of his best work, in this searing portrait of one couple’s troubled path towards resolution.
Director: Mark Landsman
For over 60 years, The National Enquirer has been at the center of the American public’s fascination with the rich and famous, as its salacious headlines and coverage of events—ranging from Elvis’s death to the O.J. murder trial—have fueled the darkest curiosities of a hungry audience. With rare archival footage and revelations about the alleged blackmail and payoffs used to get their most defining scoops, SCANDALOUS presents an expansive and probing look into the true story of the most infamous tabloid in U.S. history, charting how it pushed its own particular brand of fake news from the fringe to the mainstream.
THE AERONAUTS (UK)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Tom Harper
In 1862, daredevil balloon pilot Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) teams up with pioneering meteorologist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) to advance human knowledge of the weather and fly higher than anyone in history. While breaking records and furthering scientific discovery, their voyage to the very edge of existence helps the unlikely pair find their place in the world they have left far below them. But they face physical and emotional challenges in the thin air, as the ascent becomes a fight for survival.
THE ARTIST’S WIFE (USA)
Director: Tom Dolby
Once a promising painter herself, Claire (Lena Olin) gave up on her own career to stand by the side of her famed abstract artist husband Richard (Bruce Dern) for over 20 years. When Richard is unexpectedly diagnosed with dementia during preparations for his latest exhibition, Claire is thrown into a crisis— suddenly torn between her husband’s erratic mood swings and the need to shield his illness from both the art community and their family. Struggling to regain control of her life, Claire takes up painting once again, and must decide whether to stay in the shadows or step into the spotlight. *Also screening as part of Views From Long Island section.
THE REPORT (USA)
Director: Scott Z. Burns
Assigned with leading the Senate’s investigation into the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program, U.S. Select Committee on Intelligence staffer Daniel Jones (Adam Driver) spent over half a decade attempting to uncover the truth of the country’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” post-9/11. Facing incredible resistance from both the CIA and government officials, Jones’s work in collaboration with the Senate Intelligence Committee and Senator Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening) would turn the tide on the public’s understanding of their Government’s use of torture, and how much was truly being kept secret during the escalation of the War on Terror. In the spirit of ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN, writer-director Scott Z. Burns’s riveting political thriller brings the compelling true story of the investigation to life.
THE SONG OF NAMES (Canada)
Director: François Girard
On the night of what is to be the first public performance of a young Polish musical prodigy, his best friend finds that the musician is missing and announces to the audience that the performance must be cancelled. Decades later, Martin (Tim Roth) begins a journey to discover what happened to his childhood friend, a once-celebrated virtuoso whose experience with the Holocaust would shape the rest of their lives. For his latest grand-scale historical drama, director François Girard returns to the sweeping themes of his breakout work, 1997’s THE RED VIOLIN, in this powerful depiction of the longstanding effect of World War II and mass execution on a generation of Europeans, aided by remarkable performances from Roth, Clive Owen, Saul Rubinek, and the two newcomer leads at its center.
WESTERN STARS (USA)
Directors: Thom Simny, Bruce Springsteen
Coming fresh off of the publishing of his memoir Born to Run and unprecedented success of his one-man show Springsteen on Broadway, Bruce Springsteen released his latest album Western Stars to widespread critical acclaim. With this film of the same name, Springsteen acts for the first time as a director, working alongside his longtime collaborator Thom Zimny to capture the sole performance of the album’s 13 tracks for a private audience in his New Jersey farmhouse. Performing alongside his wife Patti Scialfa and a 30-piece orchestra, Springsteen alternates between the songs and the stories and observations that inspired them, providing an intimate and sensitive look at one of our greatest living songwriters.
Director: Alexander Nanau
In the aftermath of a deadly fire in a Bucharest nightclub that left dozens dead, Romania’s government pledged that the over 100 citizens left injured would receive immediate and substantial treatment. But in the weeks and months that followed, what seemed like treatable injuries continued to lead to further unexplainable deaths, prompting an unlikely group of investigative journalists at the Sports Gazette to launch an investigation into what went wrong. Uncovering a scandal reaching into the highest levels of government, the team soon discovers that their story is larger than they ever imagined, leading to mass protests across Romania and the toppling of the Prime Minister. Following the investigation as it progresses, Alexander Nanau’s revelatory documentary is a powerful indictment of governmental corruption and a tribute to those working tirelessly to uncover the truth.
Director: Alla Kovgan
In the past century of choreography, Merce Cunningham is perhaps the most iconic name of his medium, with an ever-evolving body of work that forever changed the world of contemporary dance. Bringing together the last generation of dancers trained under the legendary choreographer at the Merce Cunningham Dance Company to perform his most celebrated and ambitious pieces, filmmaker Alla Kovgan presents the work in stunning 3D photography, bringing the audience as close as possible to the movements and actions of the dancers on screen. For viewers both intimately aware of and new to his work, CUNNINGHAM is a stunning profile of one of contemporary dance’s most important figures.
New York Premiere
Director: Sung-a Yoon
In one of many training centers of its kind in the Philippines, a group of women gather to prepare themselves for the life awaiting them overseas as domestic workers in the West. Training under teachers who have returned from similar work abroad, the women learn to enact the housekeeping duties their positions will require of them, while also learning to prepare for the likelihood of mistreatment and abuse that may await them. In her revealing look at the personal sacrifices and abandoned lives of a small group of Filipina workers, director Sung-a Yoon sheds necessary light on the struggle of those risking alienation, heartbreak, and abuse for the means through which to find a better life thousands of miles from home.
New York Premiere
Directors: Ivete Lucas, Patrick Bresnan
In their striking feature film debut, HIFF alums Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan immerse themselves in the rural town of Pahokee—a small, close-knit community nestled within the Florida Everglades—to observe four high-school students about to embark on their senior year. Finding themselves on the precipice of adulthood in a community where older generations have placed all of their hopes for opportunity on the youth, these students navigate the often celebratory, sometimes bittersweet rites-ofpassage that accompany this hopeful and uncertain time of transition. Imbued with warmth and intimacy, PAHOKEE is a remarkable piece of verité filmmaking that captures both the joy and heartbreak of the teenage experience.
TALKING ABOUT TREES (France/Germany/Chad/Sudan/Qatar)
Director: Suhaib Gasmelbari
Reunited after years in exile, Ibrahim, Soliman, Manar, and Altayeb, the members of the “Sudanese Film Club,” come together with a single mission: to bring back the now decaying grand cinema in the center of their city. Each a filmmaker in their own right after receiving their film education abroad, the four members now tirelessly work to try to overcome the overwhelming persecution and oppression facing the country’s artists to return a culture of cinema, and art, to Sudan. Intimately exploring the history of Sudanese cinema alongside the Film Club’s struggle against the many blockades in their way, TALKING ABOUT TREES looks beyond the headlines of the country’s ongoing crisis to shed light on the struggle for personal expression within it.
A WHITE, WHITE DAY (Iceland/Denmark/Sweden)
Director: Hlynur Pálmason
Retired from his job as a local policeman and grieving the recent death of his wife, Ingimundur (an excellent Ingvar E. Sigurðsson) channels his quietly brewing grief into the renovation of a secluded house in the remote Icelandic community they called home. But while going through a box of his wife’s old possessions, Ingimundur finds an unexpected memento that directs his detective instincts into increasingly unstable paranoia. With a tone perfectly matching its remote, isolated Icelandic setting, director Hlynur Pálmason’s remarkably confident second feature is a spellbinding, oft-kilter tale of the obsessive ends of unconditional love.
Director: Mati Diop
Along the shores of Dakar, Senegal, Ada (Mama Sané), soon to be forced into an arranged marriage with a wealthy man, falls in love with construction worker Souleiman (Ibrahima Traoré). Looking for a better future and incapable of seeing a life with Ada, Souleiman boards a small vessel with his co-workers and attempts the perilous sail to Spain, where he soon disappears and is presumed dead. In her Cannes Grand Prix-winning debut feature, French-Senegalese actress and filmmaker Mati Diop translates the collective drama of sea departures into a dazzlingly beautiful ghost story of unfulfilled love and lives lost in the search for a better future.
Director: Jan-Ole Gerster
Waking up on the morning of both the most important piano concert of her son’s career and her own 60th birthday, Lara (Corinna Harfouch) steps out of her living room window and contemplates jumping to her death. From this startling, unnerving beginning, director Jan-Ole Gerster creates a stunningly precise psychological portrait of a woman on the verge. As Lara prepares for her estranged son’s concert, she attempts to forge connections with a varied group of friends, family, and acquaintances from her past and present. Anchored by Harfouch’s masterful lead performance, Gerster’s second feature is a perfectly calibrated look at familial discord and attempts at redemption in contemporary Berlin.
THE BEST OF DORIEN B. (Belgium/Netherlands)
New York Premiere
Director: Anke Blondé
To almost everyone around her, the life of 37-year-old Dorien (Kim Snauwaert) seems to be picture perfect, with two children, a loving husband, and a thriving veterinary practice. But just as the local press reports ominous news of a “black hole” on the horizon, Dorien’s life is hit with a series of devastating setbacks: the fallout from a recent affair, her parents’ breakup, and unexpected results from a trip to the hospital. A sympathetic portrait of a life in crisis, director Anke Blondé’s THE BEST OF DORIEN B. is a warmly funny and bittersweet look at one woman’s attempts to let go from the coping mechanisms that have defined her life for so long.
THE VAST OF NIGHT (USA)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Andrew Patterson
With a summer night descending over 1950s New Mexico, the residents of a small town congregate for a high school basketball game. Amidst the action, the local radio DJ’s planned interviews with attendees are halted by the discovery of a strange frequency over the town’s airwaves by a local switchboard operator, leading the pair on an investigation deep into the darkness of their sleepy hometown. Paying loving homage to THE TWILIGHT ZONE and early Spielberg in equal parts, Andrew Patterson’s imaginative debut is a singular piece of original sci-fi, traveling through the unknown corners of our collective history.
WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY
ALAN PAKULA: GOING FOR TRUTH (USA)
Director: Matthew Miele
The director of such landmark titles as ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN and SOPHIE’S CHOICE, and producer of seminal films like TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, lauded filmmaker Alan J Pakula was unflinching in his commitment to bringing some of the most memorable films of the last half of the 20th century to the big screen. Encompassing Pakula’s personal and professional life as both a figure in the public eye and an extremely private man, director Matthew Miele (HARRY BENSON: SHOOT FIRST, HIFF 2015) brings the director to life once more with a wide-ranging group of cast and crew members from throughout his filmography, including Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Harrison Ford, Jane Fonda, Jeff Bridges, Steven Soderbergh, Dustin Hoffman, and dozens more.
BIKRAM: YOGI, GURU, PREDATOR (USA)
Director: Eva Orner
As the founder of his namesake system of hot yoga, Bikram Choudhury is responsible for leading one of the most popular movements of its kind in the last century. As the figurehead of the technique, Bikram organized the growth and teachings of the movement while consistently using his power as both leader and teacher to commit sexual harassment, intimidation, and assault. With Bikram now exiled outside of the United States as a result of multiple sexual-assault charges, BIKRAM: YOGI, GURU, PREDATOR tracks the rise and fall of Bikram yoga and its disgraced creator through extensive interviews with former employees, certified teachers, and victims fighting for their stories to be told.
BORN TO BE (USA)
Director: Tania Cypriano
Having established himself as a world-renowned plastic surgeon, Dr. Jess Ting moves into a new role as the lead gender-affirming surgeon at the Mount Sinai Center—where, for the first time ever, all transgender and gender non-conforming individuals have access to quality health and surgical care. Deftly balancing the experiences of both the doctor and his diverse group of patients, director Tania Cypriano chronicles both the joys and pitfalls that come with navigating this new territory. With extraordinary access, BORN TO BE offers a compassionate look at how one surgeon’s pioneering work has changed the lives of those who are fighting for the right to define themselves.
CITIZEN K (USA/UK)
New York Premiere
Director: Alex Gibney
In Alex Gibney’s (TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE, GOING CLEAR) revelatory new documentary, the director looks at the curious case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once said to be the wealthiest man in Russia and now the unexpected leader of a resistance movement against Putin. Taking advantage of the chaotic reorganizing of the country after the collapse of the USSR, Khodorkovsky founded Yukos, the largest oil company in Russia. Using his elevated status to propel him into the world of politics, Khodorkovsky established himself as a vocal critic of Putin’s governmental corruption, soon leading to his imprisonment for nearly a decade and shocking rebirth as a human rights advocate. Interweaving Khodorkovsky’s story with the rise of Putin’s Russia, CITIZEN K is at once both engrossing political thriller and remarkable exposé on the country’s modern history.
IN MEMORIAM (USA)
Director: Ben Steele
In the United States, an active shooter incident now occurs every 12 days. IN MEMORIAM looks at the human cost of the country’s mass shooting epidemic through the surviving communities of three of the deadliest in U.S history: the Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Music Festival, the Sutherland Springs Baptist Church in Texas, and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Moving beyond the debates that often dominate the discourse following mass shootings, filmmaker Ben Steele looks to the survivors, relatives and locals left grieving in the aftermath to examine the painful memories, lingering effects, and necessary questions left in their wake.
MIDNIGHT FAMILY (Mexico/USA)
Director: Luke Lorentzen
Mexico City has fewer than 45 government-run ambulances to serve a population of 9 million people. The void is filled by an ecosystem of private ambulances and EMTs. Documentarian Luke Lorentzen follows one of these private ambulances, run by the Ochoa family—a dad and his two teenage sons. As corrupt police officers demand higher bribes, the Ochoas are faced with some tough and morally muddled decisions about whether or not to make money off the people in their care. Lorentzen’s superb cinema verité film MIDNIGHT FAMILY is a powerful indictment of a fractured, dehumanizing, and corrupt healthcare system. .
MUSEUM TOWN (USA)
New York Premiere
Director: Jennifer Trainer
Once a flourishing textile mill town, the closing of the factories in North Adams, Massachusetts in the 1980s cast the community into becoming one of many post-industrial ghost towns scattered throughout the country. Established in 1999, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) aimed to change that definition, taking over an abandoned factory building complex and rebuilding it into what would become the largest center for contemporary art in the world. Telling the story of a one-of-a-kind institution and the ways in which it aided North Adams’s economic rebirth, MUSEUM TOWN is the remarkable story of the power that art and culture has to revitalize a community.
OLIVER SACKS: HIS OWN LIFE (USA)
Director: Ric Burns
Shortly after receiving the news of a fatal diagnosis in early 2015, world-renowned British neurologist, historian, physician, and author Oliver Sacks sat down for a series of lengthy filmed interviews to discuss the story of his life. Beginning with the difficulties of his childhood relationship with a schizophrenic older brother and growing up as a queer man in 1950s England, Sacks charts his journey towards becoming one of the foremost chroniclers of the human mind. Interweaving these interviews with recollections from his longtime partner, closest friends, family, and colleagues, director Ric Burns creates a moving portrait of one of the 21st century’s greatest minds.
ON BROADWAY (USA)
Director: Oren Jacoby
An all-star cast tells the inside story of Broadway theatre, and how it came back from the brink thanks to innovative work, a new attention to inclusion, and a sometimes uneasy balance between art and commerce. Featuring key players Helen Mirren, Christine Baranski, August Wilson, James Corden, Alec Baldwin, John Lithgow, Viola Davis, Hugh Jackman and Ian McKellen, the film goes behind the scenes of Broadway’s most groundbreaking shows, from A Chorus Line to Hamilton. Including performances by LinManuel Miranda, Patti Lupone, Bernadette Peters, James Earl Jones and Mandy Patinkin, ON BROADWAY is a hurly-burly ride through Times Square, once again the main street of American show business.
ROMANTIC COMEDY (UK)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Elizabeth Sankey
As a teenager, Elizabeth Sankey’s understanding of love, relationships, and romance was defined by her obsession with romantic comedies. Now a filmmaker herself, she returns to the films she loved, from IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT and HIS GIRL FRIDAY to RUNAWAY BRIDE and WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, to uncover the surprisingly conservative lessons they’ve messaged to popular culture for nearly a century. Using clips from countless genre hallmarks, a diverse chorus of voices, and original music by the filmmaker’s band Summer Camp, Sankey delves into the world of romantic comedies on a journey of investigation and self-discovery
TELL ME WHO I AM (UK)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Ed Perkins
Alex Lewis was just 18 when a severe motorcycle accident left him in a coma. He wakes up to an unfamiliar world, unable to remember his parents, his home, or even his own name. The only comforting presence is his identical twin Marcus, who steps in to help Alex with his arduous recovery process and to begin filling the holes in his memory. However, Alex soon realizes that the idyllic childhood Marcus has painted hides a terrible family secret. Now, after the accident, the brothers sit down to explore their past in Academy Award® nominee Ed Perkins’s heartbreaking exploration of the enduring effects of familial trauma.
THE CAPOTE TAPES (UK)
Director: Ebs Burnough
Culled from a treasure trove of never-before-heard interviews recorded for Paris Review co-founder George Plimpton’s never-completed biography, THE CAPOTE TAPES provides a revelatory glimpse into Truman Capote’s life and work. Focusing primarily on the research and writing process for Capote’s unfinished novel Answered Prayers—meant to uncover the inner workings of Manhattan high society— Capote is sensitively portrayed as a figure in both public and private life through the use of newly-filmed interviews, tapes, and animation. Using his understanding of the world of elite public figures and social circles from his previous position as a former White House adviser during the Obama administration, firsttime feature filmmaker Ebs Burnough creates a knowing portrait of Capote as few have seen him.
THE KINGMAKER (USA/Denmark)
New York Premiere
Director: Lauren Greenfield
Continuing her career-long fascination with the extremely wealthy, documentarian Lauren Greenfield (THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES, GENERATION WEALTH) profiles Imelda Marcos, the former Filipino politician and First Lady who embodied the country’s vast income disparity at the time of her husband’s ousting in 1986. Greenfield interweaves the now eighty-something Marcos’s infamous past with her current aspirations to propel the family back into power—revealing a figure utterly convinced of the righteousness of her role in her country’s history. In depicting the vast corruption and human rights violations of the Marcos era, THE KINGMAKER is a piercing gaze at the divisive legacy that continues to define the country’s current political landscape.
VARDA BY AGNÈS (France)
Director: Agnès Varda
For her final film, the late Agnes Varda leaves us with a playful, profound, and personal summation of the extraordinary career that earned her the title of godmother of the French New Wave. With her characteristically impish wit and wisdom, the beloved filmmaker and feminist icon leads an insightful and free-associative tour through her six-decade artistic journey—from classics like CLEO FROM 5 TO 7 and VOYEUR up to her more recent, Academy Award-nominated FACES PLACES. Suffused with the people, places, and things she loved, this wonderfully idiosyncratic work of imaginative autobiography is a tender and bittersweet parting gift from one of cinema’s most luminous talents.
WORLD CINEMA NARRATIVE
North American Premiere
Director: Shannon Murphy
When seriously ill teenager Milla (Eliza Scanlen) falls madly in love with smalltime drug dealer Moses (Toby Wallace), it’s her parents’ worst nightmare. But as Milla’s first brush with love brings her a new lust for life, things get messy and traditional morals go out the window. Milla soon shows everyone in her orbit—her parents, Moses, a sensitive music teacher, a budding child violinist, and a disarmingly honest, pregnant neighbor—how to live like you have nothing to lose. What might have been a disaster for the Finlay family instead leads to letting go and finding grace in the glorious chaos of life.
BY THE GRACE OF GOD (France)
East Coast Premiere
Director: François Ozon
Living with his wife and children in Lyon, Alexandre (Melvil Poupaud) has long kept the abuse he suffered at the hands of his childhood Catholic priest secret. Discovering that his abuser is still employed and working with children within the Church, Alexandre begins to find fellow victims of the highly respected clergyman, and together they set out to break the code of silence that has kept the priest in his position for decades. Based on the real case that would result in the charging of Father Bernard Preynat with the assault of over 70 children, François Ozon’s (FRANTZ, HIFF 2016) latest film is an incisive investigation into the ongoing fight for justice and accountability within the Catholic Church.
LES MISERABLES (France)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Ladj Ly
Starting his first day as a member of the Anti-Crime Squad in Montfermeil—the same Paris suburb that Victor Hugo set as the location for his eponymous novel—Stéphane (Damien Bonnard) finds himself thrown into a community rife with tension and nearing a breaking point. When a surprise ambush breaks up an otherwise routine arrest, an act of spontaneous violence at the hands of one of Stéphane’s colleagues pushes them deep into the fractured realities of the neighborhood and immigrant communities they are meant to protect. Provocatively drawing a line between Hugo’s classic and the country’s contemporary realities, director Ladj Ly’s debut is a thrillingly timely look at the crippling tensions at the core of modern France.
LITTLE JOE (Austria/UK/Germany)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Jessica Hausner
Alice (Emily Beecham, Best Actress winner at this year’s Cannes Film Festival) is equally committed to her work as a genetic plant breeder and her role as a single mother to her son, Joe (Kit Connor). After reaching a breakthrough in the development of a new species of plant—one believed to give its owner the feeling of happiness through its pollen—Alice acts against company policy and proudly welcomes her latest creation into her home as a gift for Joe. However, Alice soon comes to realize that the plant may have some unintended, and potentially dangerous, side effects, in director Jessica Hausner’s eerily oftkilter and unpredictable sci-fi thriller.
MICKEY AND THE BEAR (USA)
Director: Annabelle Attanasio
Wise beyond her years, teenager Mickey (HIFF 2019 Breakthrough Artist Camila Morrone) is trying her best to be a center of stability for her alcoholic, opioid-addicted veteran father Hank (James Badge Dale), who still hasn’t recovered from the recent passing of his wife. Feeling stuck in her small hometown of Anaconda, Montana, Mickey is dreaming of going to college and forging an independent future for herself, but the love she feels for her father pulls her back into his orbit over and over again. The recipient of HIFF’s Melissa Mathison Fund support out of our 2017 Screenwriters Lab, Annabelle Attanasio‘s feature debut is a riveting and poignant chamber piece that enthralls and heralds an impressive new directorial talent.
PARASITE (South Korea)
Director: Bong Joon-ho
For a hopelessly unemployed family of four scraping by in their subterranean Seoul apartment, the offer of a tutoring job for the wealthy Park family provides an unusual opportunity to improve their standing. With a forged degree and a sham resume, their son secures the position and opens the door for the family to one-by-one scheme their way further into the home—only to soon realize that it may be more difficult to let go of their new lifestyles than they initially believed. From there, Bong Joon-ho’s Palme d’Or winner launches into a deliriously unpredictable and entertaining assault on South Korean class struggle, culminating in an unforgettable climax and cementing the director as one of this generation’s greatest auteurs.
PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (France)
Director: Céline Sciamma
As the 18th century draws to a close, Marianne (Noémie Merlant), a young painter, is sent to an isolated island off the coast of Brittany to paint the wedding portrait of Héloise (Adèle Haenel), a young woman counting her last days of freedom before her arranged marriage to a man she has never met. As Marianne portrays herself as a companion to Héloise during the day and secretly paints the portrait meant to secure her marriage at night, the two women slowly begin to find the tenderness in each other that their society has denied them. Visually rich and intellectually provocative, director Céline Sciamma’s Cannes Best Screenplay winner is a delicate and beautifully realized period piece.
Director: Sarah Gavron
Living with her single mother and little brother in working class London, teenager Rocks (Bukka Bakray) spends most of her time roaming through the city with her supportive and energetic group of best friends. Returning home from school one day, Rocks finds her mother has disappeared, leaving her alone to take care of her brother and find a way for them to continue living under the same roof. Created in close collaboration with her cast of remarkable British newcomers, director Sarah Gavron (SUFFRAGETTE, HIFF 2015) eschews the expected beats of Rocks’ story with a remarkably honest, empathetic, and ultimately uplifting take on the power of perseverance and friendship in the toughest of situations.
SORRY WE MISSED YOU (UK/France/Belgium)
New York Premiere
Director: Ken Loach
Struggling against heavy debts and limited opportunities, Ricky (Kris Hitchen) sees a chance to remove his family from the economic hardships in which they’ve found themselves. With his limited savings, Ricky buys a van and joins a local delivery team, although he soon finds that the promises of the gig economy come with entirely new pressures to contend with. Continuing in the English working class traditions that have defined much of his work, legendary director Ken Loach (I, DANIEL BLAKE, HIFF 2016) returns at 83 years old with one of his most powerfully humane and compassionate depictions of the corroding effect of economic disparity on the country’s most vulnerable populations
Director: Nadav Lapid
Yoav (Tom Mercier) arrives in Paris in search of a new beginning. An Israeli ex-soldier, Yoav now vocally denounces his connection to his home country, refusing to speak his native tongue and believing that his future lies in full immersion into French society. Jobless, penniless, and finding his belongings stolen in the middle of the night, Yoav is taken in by a wealthy, young French couple with a curious fascination for the erratic behavior of their new housemate. Loosely based on his own experiences as an expat, Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid’s SYNONYMS is a provocative examination of national identity—wildly unpredictable, formally ambitious, and truly original. A Kino Lorber release.
THE FATHER (Bulgaria/Greece)
Directors: Kristina Grozeva, Petar Valchanov
Juggling complications at work and in his personal life, Pavel (Ivan Barnev) returns to his hometown for his mother’s funeral with much more on his mind than repairing the lingering tensions between him and his estranged father Vasil (Ivan Savov). With Vasil left mentally unsound and grief-stricken, Pavel finds his father convinced that his wife is trying to contact him from beyond the grave, forcing the men on a trip to a local psychic that will force them both to confront their years of separation. Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov’s follow-up to their HIFF 2016 Best Narrative Feature winner GLORY intimately and truthfully channels the relationship between its two protagonists with equal parts tenderness and absurdist humor.
THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF EURÍDICE GUSMÃO (Brazil/Germany)
Director: Karim Aïnouz Rio De Janeiro, 1950.
Euridice and Guida are inseparable sisters bristling at the conservative rules of their household. Although their parents’ expectations are that they will get married and start a family, both sisters have their own secret dreams, shared only with each other. Euridice dreams of studying the piano at the Vienna Conservatory, while Guida dreams of great love and of traveling across the globe. But while Euridice complies with her parents’ wishes, Guida defies them, embarrassing her father, who resorts to deceit in order to keep the sisters apart. Hélène Louvart’s luscious, light-filtered cinematography shines in Karim Aïnouz’s heady, mesmerizing exploration of arrested dreams, which won him the top prize in the Un Certain Regard section at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
THE TRAITOR (Italy)
Director: Marco Bellocchio
Based on the true story of the so-called “boss of the two worlds” Tommaso Buscetta (Pierfrancesco Favino), Italian director Marco Bellocchio’s biopic depicts the watershed trial that would mark the first time the Mafia’s sacred vow of silence was publicly broken. After being forced into exile in Brazil in the early 1980s as a brutally violent war crippled his native Sicily, Buscetta’s new life was cut short when he was apprehended and extradited by local police. With increased pressure from Italy’s crackdown on local crime syndicates, Buscetta agrees to flip against the world that created him, leading to the milestone trial that would forever change the face of the Italian Mafia.
THREE SUMMERS (Brazil/France)
Director: Sandra Kogut
Every December, between Christmas and New Year’s, Edgar and Marta host a lavish family celebration at their luxurious summer house by the beach. In 2015 all seems well, despite some tense phone calls and a guest wearing an ankle monitor. In 2016 the annual party is abruptly cancelled. What happens to the invisible people living in the orbit of the rich and powerful when their lives collapse? Through the gaze of an employee and a forgotten elderly father, we see a portrait of contemporary Brazil over three Christmas gatherings, leading up to the tragedy of 2018’s political election. The signs were all there, but we didn’t know how to read them.
SO LONG MY SON (China)
Director: Wang Xiaoshuai
SO LONG MY SON traces the lives of two families over three decades of social, political and human upheaval in China. Following the loss of a child in a tragic accident, their paths separate. Destinies ebb and flow, and fortunes are transformed under the impact of a country’s changing face. Yet even as their lives diverge, a common search for truth and reconciliation around the tragedy remains. But sometimes it can take a lifetime to say farewell. SO LONG MY SON chronicles people and a society in full transformation—in which human relationships and the tumultuous evolution of a nation are inevitably and inextricably intertwined.
VIEWS FROM LONG ISLAND
CONSCIENCE POINT (USA)
Director: Treva Wurmfeld
For decades, the home of the Shinnecock Nation has been the subject of a brutal fight for ownership in the Hamptons, with an increased push for real estate development coming to a head against both the safety margin of Long Island’s environmental equilibrium and ties to ancestral homelands throughout the region. Following longtime Shinnecock activist Becky Hill-Genia and those fighting by her side, CONSCIENCE POINT takes a ground-level approach to documenting the almost two-decade-long battle for preservation that has come to encompass not only questions of land ownership, but the moralities of environmental use and income inequality within one of America’s wealthiest zip codes.
HUMAN CAPITAL (USA)
Director: Marc Meyers
Adapted from Paolo Virzì’s award-winning 2013 film and Stephen Amidon’s 2004 novel of the same name, director Marc Meyers’ ensemble drama follows two families whose lives become hopelessly intertwined in the wake of a spontaneous financial investment. Brought together by their children’s burgeoning relationship, family man Drew (Liev Schreiber) finds himself convinced to invest in the seemingly stable hedge fund of Quint (Peter Sarsgaard), a powerful businessman with a long line of recent successes. But as his investment reveals itself to be less than secure, a car accident throws both families’ lives into turmoil. Co-starring Marisa Tomei, Maya Hawke, and Alex Wolff, HUMAN CAPITAL provides a nuanced commentary on the difficulty in disconnecting our lives from our net worth. *Also screening as part of Spotlight Section.
THE ARTIST’S WIFE (USA)
Director: Tom Dolby
Once a promising painter herself, Claire (Lena Olin) gave up on her own career to stand by the side of her famed abstract artist husband Richard (Bruce Dern) for over 20 years. When Richard is unexpectedly diagnosed with dementia during preparations for his latest exhibition, Claire is thrown into a crisis— suddenly torn between her husband’s erratic mood swings and the need to shield his illness from both the art community and their family. Struggling to regain control of her life, Claire takes up painting once again, and must decide whether to stay in the shadows or step into the spotlight. *Also screening as part of Spotlight Section.
AIR, LAND, AND SEA
New York Premiere
Director: Nikolaus Geyrhalter
With his eighth feature film in the last decade, prolific Austrian documentarian Nikolaus Geyrhalter examines the tremendous impacts of human activity in the era of the Anthropocene—looking at seven locations across the globe that have hugely transformed the planet through human behavior. With locations ranging from Spanish copper mines and Italian quarries to Canadian tar sands and Californian deserts, Geyrhalter interviews the individuals at the center of each site to ask how they view the immense environmental and technological changes taking place. Moving seamlessly between the global and individual effects in every location, EARTH is an urgent and thought-provoking meditation on the irrevocable change that has already occurred at the hands of humankind.
Directors: Anthony Baxter
More than half a century removed from its status as a leading force in the U.S. manufacturing industry, the city of Flint, Michigan, has now become synonymous with a water crisis forcing a national spotlight on issues of economic depression and water treatment in the Midwest. Narrated by Alec Baldwin and directed by HIFF alum Anthony Baxter (YOU’VE BEEN TRUMPED, A DANGEROUS GAME), FLINT reveals how the city’s life-threatening water crisis has gradually evolved into a crisis of accountability and trust in authorities, a battle between science and pseudoscience, and an institutionalized failure in local infrastructure. Looking at not only the crisis itself, but the enduring issues of partisan politics and environmental resources on which it continues to shed light, FLINT is an illuminating look at a modern American tragedy.
THE HOTTEST AUGUST (USA)
Director: Brett Story
NYC. August 2017. The summer after the presidential inauguration. A city oppressed by unrelenting heat and the tensions that have been simmering ever since the election. A city that is trying to grapple with growing anxiety over economic insecurity, rising rents, marching white nationalists and ever-present news of natural catastrophes across the country. THE HOTTEST AUGUST, director Brett Story’s latest documentary, is a complex and nuanced portrait of a city and its inhabitants in the age of climate change. Weaving in excerpts from Zadie Smith, Karl Marx, and Annie Dillard, the film offers a hypnotic glimpse into a society on the verge of catastrophe, registering the anxieties, distractions, and survival strategies that preoccupy ordinary lives.
COMPASSION, JUSTICE, AND ANIMAL RIGHTS
New York Premiere
Director: David Hambridge
Through the eyes of two new recruits joining the team of caretakers at Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy, KIFARU explores the often brutal and painstaking process of protecting and caring for Sudan, the world’s last male Northern White Rhino. With much of the species killed at the hands of poachers, the caretakers must devote every resource they have to the protection of Sudan as they attempt to fend off the many threats against the rhino’s life. Spanning the course of four years on the job, filmmaker David Hambridge creates a devastatingly resonant portrait of both the joys and heartbreak felt by each guard and their families, as they attempt to save the world’s oldest land mammals from extinction.
WATSON (USA/Costa Rica/Tonga)
Director: Lesley Chilcott
As a lifelong defender of underwater ecosystems and the wildlife within, Paul Watson has established himself over 40 years as one of the fiercest voices in the fight for marine conservation and environmental activism. Sitting down with Captain Watson to tell the story of his life, director Lesley Chilcott charts his path from being one of Greenpeace’s original co-founders (including his contentious ousting from the organization he helped to create) to his leadership of the pirate-like Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Through the use of a treasure trove of archival footage and unparalleled access, Chilcott chronicles the remarkable and inspiring story of how Watson became one of the last guardians of the sea.
CONFLICT & RESOLUTION
BELLINGCAT: TRUTH IN A POST-TRUTH WORLD (Netherlands)
Director: Hans Pool
Director Hans Pool tracks the story of several civilians who came together as Bellingcat, a collective of “citizen investigative journalists” dedicated to combating the spreading of misinformation online and working as a single unit to deploy open source investigations. Using every imaginable resource at their disposal, ranging from social media to video footage to audio analysis, the collective has uncovered several global stories—including the identification of ISIS agents as well as those responsible for the poisonings of two Russian civilians in the UK. Focusing on the team of dedicated volunteers at the group’s center and the means through which they are redefining modern journalism, BELLINGCAT sheds light on those attempting to keep journalistic integrity alive in a post-truth world.
FOR SAMA (Syria)
Directors: Waad al-Khateab, Edward Watts
Working with her co-director Edward Watts, 26-year-old Syrian filmmaker Waad al-Kateab documents the story of her life over five years during the uprising in Aleppo, as she falls in love and gives birth to her daughter Sama while cataclysmic conflict rises around her. As she is faced with the decision between leaving the city to protect her daughter’s life or continuing in her country’s struggle for freedom, al-Kateab continues to keep her camera rolling on the daily lives of her and her family. Winner of the Best Documentary and Audience Awards at SXSW and the Golden Eye Award at the Cannes Film Festival, FOR SAMA is a harrowing depiction of one woman’s fight for survival in one of the world’s most dangerous war zones.
HEARTS AND BONES (Australia)
Director: Ben Lawrence
War photographer Daniel Fisher (Hugo Weaving) returns home to Sydney from his latest assignment to begin preparations for an upcoming retrospective of his work within many of the world’s most dangerous combat zones. As he prepares for both the opening and, much to his partner’s discomfort, his next assignment abroad, he’s greeted by a surprise visitor: Sebastian Aman (Andrew Lury), a South Sudanese refugee urging Daniel to exclude photographs from a massacre in his village 15 years ago. As the two men come together, a friendship blossoms through the shared trauma they’ve worked so hard to move beyond, in this timely and affecting look at the difficulty of facing years of repression.
THE CAVE (Syria/Denmark/Germany/USA/Qatar)
New York Premiere
Director: Feras Fayyad
Coming off his Academy Award-nominated documentary LAST MEN IN ALEPPO, director Feras Fayyad returns to his native Syria, a country still ravaged by an unrelenting war that has spared nothing in its destructive wake, not even the local hospitals. In his new documentary, Fayyad covers a hidden, underground hospital called The Cave, where a dedicated team of mostly female doctors and civilians is led by Dr. Amani, a young female pediatrician. Together, they risk their lives to provide medical care to the besieged local population, ignoring the entrenched conservative and patriarchal pressures in their way. Fayyad’s tender, observational documentary captures not only the tragedy surrounding the doctors, but also the beautiful moments of generosity, compassion, and kindness that glimmer brightly among the turmoil.
THE HUMAN FACTOR (UK/Israel)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Dror Moreh
The intricacies of the volatile Palestinian-Israeli peace talks are deftly explored in Academy Award nominated director Dror Moreh’s (THE GATEKEEPERS) latest documentary. With unprecedented access to six key envoys involved in the peace talk negotiations from the late 1980s to 2000, Moreh creates a riveting behind-the-scenes look at how Bill Clinton, Yasser Arafat, and Yitzhak Rabin came within reach of pulling off the impossible, and how their dreams for a peace accord would eventually unravel in tragedy. THE HUMAN FACTOR is a fascinating look at the missed opportunities and lost chances of the negotiations, with consequences that still reverberate around the world.