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Ultrasound directed by Rob Schroeder
Ultrasound directed by Rob Schroeder

The 7th Mammoth Lakes Film Festival (MLFF) will take place in-person from September 22-26, 2021, at venues across Mammoth Lakes, California.

The festival will open on September 22 with the West Coast Premiere of “Ultrasound,” the feature debut by director Rob Schroeder, based on the graphic novel Generous Bosom. Cast includes Vincent Kartheiser, Chelsea Lopez, Breeda Wool and Tunde Adebimpe. Closing night on September 26 will feature the West Coast Premiere of “First Step” directed by Brandon Kramer, a documentary that follows Van Jones as he draws storms of controversy for working across party lines on a landmark criminal justice reform bill.

“This has been undoubtedly a tough year for everyone,” said Festival Director Shira Dubrovner. “But we are excited to return to some semblance of normalcy with this year’s in-person festival. The community of filmmakers that we bring together in Mammoth Lakes is truly remarkable. While we are taking every precaution to keep it safe, we are delighted to create this unique event and return to the shared cinematic experience.”

2021 Mammoth Lakes Film Festival Feature  Film Line-up

Core Competitions

North American Narrative Features:

Ultrasound (USA) – After a strange sexual encounter, Glen and Cyndi become unwitting test-subjects in a mind control experiment. They search for answers as their own memories become tools for manipulation. Directed by Rob Schroeder. Written by Conor Stechschulte. West Coast Premiere

Man Under Table (USA) – A beleaguered man trying to write a movie gets pulled into everyone else’s projects as he hallucinates his way through L.A.’s bizarre indie film scene. Directed and written by Noel David Taylor. West Coast Premiere

Social (USA) – Gary, who’s been diagnosed with social anxiety, lives a lonely lifestyle suffering mild panic attacks. In a brash attempt to make a friend, he meets Alexis, who has been diagnosed with ADD. Together they attempt to find the one person who Gary has never had anxiety around, his high school girlfriend Kayla. Directed and written by Miles Triplett. West Coast Premiere

What Josiah Saw (USA) – In this thrilling and suspenseful Southern Gothic tale, three siblings are all living twisted lives as a consequence of buried family secrets. Eventually they reunite at the old farmhouse to dig up their past sins. Cast includes Robert Patrick (Terminator 2 ), Nick Stahl (In The Bedroom), Scott Haze (Child of God), Kelli Garner (Lars and the Real Girl), Tony Hale (Veep) and Jake Weber (Dawn of the Dead). Directed by Vincent Grashaw. Written by Robert Alan Dilts. US Premiere

International Narrative Features:

A Trip to the Moon (Iran) – Sounds are mechanical waves remaining in the space without disappearing. Zoya has gone to the Moon. Now, Farid needs to build his device to recover those sounds. Directed and written by Mohammadreza Shayan-Nejad.

History of the Occult (Argentina) – It’s the final broadcast of ‘60 minutes to Midnight’, the most famous journalism show on TV. Tonight’s guest is Adrian Marcato, who might expose a conspiracy that links the Government with an actual Coven. Meanwhile, a group of journalists race against time to locate the mysterious object that will allow Marcato to make his on-air confession. Directed and written by Cristian Ponce. North American Premiere

Hurrah, We Are Still Alive! (Poland) – There’s high-stakes personal and political intrigue as a commune of filmmakers awaits the return of the Director, their leader, who has disappeared without a trace. In this debut feature from visual artist Agnieszka Polska, the narrative weaves in and out of a rich and colorful dream state. Directed and written by Agnieszka Polska. West Coast Premiere

Isaac (Lithuania) – A lavishly realized, three-part epic, set in motion by events in 1941 Lithuania, when activist Andrius Gluosnis kills a Jew named Isaac in the Lietukio garage massacre. Years after the incident, Gluosnis is haunted by guilt. Directed and written by Jurgis Matulevičius. West Coast Premiere

North American Documentary Features:

Larry Flynt for President (USA) – “Larry Flynt for President” chronicles the wild ride of the Hustler Magazine publisher’s campaign for president in 1983. It’s the story of a quintessential outsider, whose fight to expose hypocrisy and bigotry nearly cost him his life. Directed by Nadia Szold. West Coast Premiere

LIGO (USA) – The riveting inside story of the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of gravitational waves from deep space, 2015-1017, which launched a radical new era in astronomy. This discovery topped “National Geographic’s” list of “The top 20 Scientific Discoveries of the Decade.” Directed and written by Les Guthman.

I’m an Electric Lampshade (USA) – An offbeat, heart-warming portrait of the world’s least likely rock star. This documentary-narrative hybrid feature tells the story of Doug McCorkle, a buttoned-up, mild-mannered corporate accountant. After retiring at age 60, Doug puts his marriage and life savings on the line to chase his wildest dream. Directed and written by John Clayton Doyle.

Fearless (USA) – An intimate portrait of a boxing gym in the small town of Conroe, Texas. The film is constructed as an allegory for the challenges faced by people of color and immigrants in the US. Directed and written by Wojciech Lorenc.

International Documentary Features:

Beautiful Idiots (Austria/Greece) – Set against the great Greek economic crisis, Beautiful Idiots chronicles the absurd trials and errors of two complete film idiots in their attempt to capture the chaos. With their ambitious narrative, they not only try to turn the tables on European macro-economics, but also reverse their own fate and fortune. Directed by Michael Ginthoer. Written by Michael Ginthoer and Christos Chassapis. World Premiere

El Father Plays Himself (UK) – A young film director returns to Venezuela, inspired to make a film based on his father’s life in the Amazon jungle. He casts Father to play himself. What starts as an act of love and ambition — filmmaking to more deeply understand the self, and the other — spirals into a process which confronts Father’s struggles with addiction and his life devoid of his son. Directed by Mo Scarpelli. West Coast Premiere

Everyone Wants To Be the Next Weismann (Spain) – Contemporary art collector Martín Solo, the first to discover the great Richard Weismann, takes on the challenge of introducing the world to his unique vision of art by opening his private museum to the public. To do this, Martín prepares a retrospective of his latest discovery: Mu Pan, a Taiwanese, Brooklyn-based artist whose fantastical works criticize and reflect the violence and brutality of society. Directed by Alberto Triano.

The Renegades (Germany) – Meral is looking for her baby brother Ferhat, a missing ISIS member. Oliver, a convicted terrorist, is trying to find his way back into western society. They are connected through one fateful photograph – can Oliver help Meral to find some answers? The documentary deals with one of the most disturbing events in recent history, as more than 5,000 young people left Europe to join ISIS. Directed by Lisa Maria Hagen and Mariam Noori. US Premiere

A Castle with Red Walls (Iran) – A film about Iranian filmmaker Davoud Roustaee, who made more than 100 movies that have all been banned from being screened, both before and after the Islamic revolution. He is the only director who ever succeeded in making a movie in the red-light district of Tehran, in spite of laws that strictly forbid it. Directed and written by Abbas Raziji. North American Premiere

Spotlight Presentations:

Faya Dayi (USA/Ethiopia/Qatar) – A sublime work of trance-state cinema, the debut feature by the Mexican Ethiopian filmmaker Jessica Beshir is a hypnotic immersion in the world of rural Ethiopia, a place where one commodity—khat, a euphoria-inducing plant once prized for its supposedly mystical properties—holds sway over the rituals and rhythms of everyday life. As if under the intoxicating influence of the drug itself, Faya dayi unfurls as a hallucinogenic cinematic reverie, capturing hushed, intimate moments in the existences of everyone from the harvesters of the crop to people lost in its narcotic haze to a desperate but determined younger generation searching for an escape from the region’s political strife. Directed by Jessica Beshir.

First Step (USA) – In a divided America, Van Jones controversially works across party lines on landmark criminal justice reform and a more humane response to the addiction crisis. Attempting to be a bridge builder in a time of extreme polarization takes him deep into the inner workings of a divisive administration, internal debates within both parties, and the lives of frontline activists fighting for their communities. Directed by Brandon Kramer. West Coast Premiere

Short Films

The festival will also feature a Short Films Program of 32 Narrative Shorts, fourteen documentary shorts and eight animation shorts, as well as a program of four episodics and a program of fifteen music videos.

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