Hard Miles directed by R.J. Daniel Hanna
Hard Miles directed by R.J. Daniel Hanna

The 15th annual Naples International Film Festival (NIFF) set for October 26-29, 2023, will open with the East Coast premiere of R.J. Daniel Hanna’s epic cycling drama, Hard Miles, and will close with a special presentation of Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, featuring a live performance of John Williams’ iconic score by the Naples Philharmonic and conducted by Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly.

R.J. Daniel Hanna’s Hard Miles tells the story of a strong-willed social worker at a youth prison (played by Matthew Modine of Stranger Things) assembling a cycling team of imprisoned teens convicts for a transformative 1,000-mile ride across the country.

This year’, NIFF’s festival will include 57 films (12 narrative features, 10 documentary features and 35 short films) representing eight countries, with several of those films including in-person post-screening filmmaker Q&A conversations.

Christian Cicerone’s Duelers will make its world premiere, Arabella Burfitt-Dons’s Grey Matter makes its U.S. premiere, and both Gilles Legardinier’s Mr. Blake At Your Service! and Ido Mizrahy’s The Longest Goodbye will make their East Coast premieres at NIFF.

Additional highlights include the world premiere of Christian Cicerone’s Duelers, a musical drama taking place on the last night before a dueling piano bar closes its doors for the last time. Arabella Burfitt-Dons’ Grey Matter receives its U.S. premiere at NIFF, which tells the tale of Chloe, a teenager who becomes a stay-at-home caregiver overnight when her grandmother is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and the pair’s resolution to enjoy one last memorable summer together. And seeing its Florida premiere, Sara Friedman’s dramatic comedy Heightened follows a young woman who returns home to Maine after a mental breakdown. Luckily, her nature-induced panic attacks subside in the company of her new supervisor, who dreams of becoming a real park ranger, and romantic feelings bloom as the two learn to lean on one another. The film features the first onscreen reunion of husband-and-wife actors Xander Berkeley and Sarah Clarke since the popular TV series 24 went off the air.

“We are thrilled to unveil this exceptional lineup of films that promises to captivate and inspire our audiences during the 15th anniversary of the Naples International Film Festival. These offerings are a testament to our unwavering commitment to the art of independent film and to the community,” said Artis—Naples CEO and President Kathleen van Bergen. “We have pulled out all the stops with this selection of films reflecting the diverse and compelling breadth of stories from around the world, and we are eager to share these cinematic treasures with our patrons.”

All screenings and associated events will be held in-person in Hayes Hall or Norris Garden on the Artis—Naples Kimberly K. Querrey and Louis A. Simpson Cultural Campus or at the festival’s new venue partner, Paragon Theaters – Pavilion.

The 2023 Naples International Film Festival (NIFF) Official Selections:


Hard Miles East Coast Premiere
Director: RJ Daniel Hanna
Country: United States; Running Time: 108 minutes
Hard Miles takes a page from the heartfelt, humor-filled coming of age sports dramas that graced our screens in the ’80s and ’90s. Inspired by true events at Ridgeview Academy, a medium-security correctional school in Colorado, the film follows beleaguered social workers Greg (Matthew Modine) and Haddie (Cynthia Kaye McWilliams) as they round up an unlikely crew of incarcerated students for a seemingly impossible bike ride from Denver to the Grand Canyon. As the beginner bicyclists battle heatstroke and physical discomfort, each of these young men eventually grow to see what they are truly capable of—physically, mentally and emotionally.


E.T (1982)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Country: U.S., Running Time: 105 min
After a gentle alien becomes stranded on Earth, the being is discovered and befriended by a young boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas). Bringing the extraterrestrial into his suburban California house, Elliott introduces E.T., as the alien is dubbed, to his brother and his little sister, Gertie (Drew Barrymore), and the children decide to keep its existence a secret. Soon, however, E.T. falls ill, resulting in government intervention and a dire situation for both Elliott and the alien.



All Happy Families Florida Premiere
Director: Haroula Rose
Country: United States; Running Time: 90 minutes
When news breaks of Will’s (played by Rob Huebel) on-set misconduct allegations—on one of America’s most beloved television series, no less—his brother Graham (Josh Radnor) and his parents, Roy (John Ashton) and Sue (Becky Ann Baker), begin to unravel. In the wake of this bombshell news, the family is forced to face their own issues—and each other. As the family reconvenes in Chicago for the weekend to fix their childhood home to rent out, the recent exposé threatens to tear them apart.

The Problem of the Hero Florida Premiere
Director: Shaun Dozier
Country: United States; Running Time: 85 minutes
It’s March of 1941, and groundbreaking author Richard Wright is teaming up with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Green to create a stage adaptation of Wright’s bestselling book, Native Son. But as opening night inches closer, their creative partnership is in tatters. The writers are stuck battling over a single page of the script, failing to see eye to eye over contentious issues of race, social justice, politics and creative agency. The argument threatens to ruin the show—and their friendship.

Scrap Florida Premiere
Director: Vivian Kerr
Country: United States; Running Time: 105 minutes
Beth (Vivian Kerr) has recently been laid off and struggles to maintain the appearance of a successful middle-class lifestyle as she bounces around Los Angeles. Hoping to land a new job and change her situation before her estranged older brother Ben (Anthony Rapp) finds out, Beth must confront her own pride and reconnect with her brother in order to provide for her young daughter, Birdy. Meanwhile, Ben and his wife, Stacy, consider a third round of IVF. Stacy, a successful attorney, must reevaluate her own conflicted relationship with motherhood.


Duelers World Premiere
Director: Christian Cicerone
Country: United States; Running Time: 99 minutes
It’s the last night at a dueling piano bar—and nobody knows it. Five performers, known as “duelers,” start their night as they always do: with lots of shots, a lot of problems and a whole lot of music. But their nightly routine quickly crumbles into an epic crisis as the news circulates that the club has been sold out from under them. Now they must grapple with messy relationships and battle personal demons—all while playing their hearts out on stage together for the last time. The entire cast in this indie music film is played by real-life duelers performing all-original music live for the cameras!

Everybody Wants to Be Loved
Director: Katharina Woll
Country: Germany; Running Time: 80 minutes
On a blisteringly hot summer day, psychotherapist Ina notices something is wrong with her—but she doesn’t have time to worry about it. Patients are waiting at the practice, her daughter is threatening to move in with her father, her boyfriend wants to emigrate to Finland and her self-centered mother is celebrating her 70th birthday. Ina just wants to please everyone—but she’s reaching her breaking point.

Grey Matter U.S. Premiere
Director: Arabella Burfitt-Dons
Country: UK; Running Time: 100 minutes
Chloe has never been close with her nan, Peg—but when Peg gets diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and moves into the family home, Chloe becomes her stay-at-home caregiver overnight. Worried about her troubled daughter’s ability to cope with the stresses of caregiving, Chloe’s mum forces her to join a local support group, where Chloe learns just how badly her nan’s disease will progress. In a moment of inspiration, Chloe confronts Peg—what does she really want to do before she forgets? With signature brazenness, Chloe helps her nan come up with a ‘f***-it list,’ and they decide to make Peg’s last memorable summer unforgettable.

Heightened Florida Premiere
Director: Sara Friedman
Country: United States; Running Time: 98 minutes
After a particularly bad panic attack mid-bar exam, Nora (Sara Friedman) returns home to live with her emotionally distant parents (Xander Berkeley and Sarah Clarke) in Maine. While she undergoes court-ordered psychiatric treatment, Nora is assigned to volunteer at her local state park. Luckily, her nature-induced panic attacks subside in the company of her new supervisor, Dusty (Dave Register), and they strike up an unlikely friendship as fellow outsiders. When Nora realizes Dusty suffers from an undiagnosed anxiety disorder, she commits to helping him pass his law enforcement exam so that he can fulfill his dream of becoming a real park ranger—all amid their blooming romantic feelings for one another.

Karaoke Florida Premiere
Director: Moshe Rosenthal
Country: Israel; Running Time: 100 minutes
Karaoke follows Tova and Meir—an old married couple with 46 years of marriage and two grown daughters. They live a comfortable life, with Meir currently on sabbatical from his academic professorship and Tova running a boutique shop. Their lives get a jolt of excitement when their new upstairs neighbor, Itzik, invites them to his penthouse for a karaoke night. An enigmatic and charismatic bachelor, Tova and Meir fall hard for Itzik’s energetic lifestyle and irresistible charm. Before long, they find themselves competing against their other neighbors—and even each other—as everyone tries to win Itzik’s prized attention.

La Syndicaliste
Director: Jean-Paul Salomé
Country: France; Running Time: 122 minutes
An investigative thriller set in the world of nuclear power and politics, La Syndicaliste follows the true story of Maureen Kearney (Isabelle Huppert), the influential head union representative of a French multinational nuclear powerhouse. A deft navigator of elite political and financial circles, Maureen becomes a whistleblower when she discovers international backroom dealings, exposing secrets that shook the French nuclear sector. Fighting against government ministers and industry leaders, Maureen worked tirelessly to bring the scandal to light and defend thousands of jobs until she was violently sexually assaulted in her own home, seemingly targeted for her attempts to reveal the truth. As her attack is investigated, new elements create doubt in the minds of detectives and lawyers, and they begin to see Maureen not as a victim, but as a suspect. Surrounded by powerful enemies and unable to trust anyone, Maureen must fight to clear her name.

Long December Florida Premiere
Director: Thomas Torrey
Country: United States; Running Time: 80 minutes
Long December is a character-driven drama that follows a struggling artist pursuing his dream of music during one December month. Channeling the spirit of singer/songwriter musicals like Once and A Star is Born—and embracing the melancholy hue of the holidays in America—Long December is a story about music, dreams and the heavy hopes we carry. The film features live, on-camera performances from noteworthy Americana music artists Jude Moses, John Mark McMillan, Margolnick and Sarah DeShields.

Mr. Blake At Your Service! East Coast Premiere
Director: Gilles Legardinier
Country: France; Running Time: 110 minutes
Based on Gilles Legardinier’s bestseller ‘Complètement Cramé!’ When Mr. Blake turns up at the Domaine de Beauvillier estate, everyone – the manor itself, along with its owner and staff – are all just as bad as he is! But unlike Mr. Blake, who has come to this familiar abode merely to collect his thoughts, the other protagonists are in the throes of tackling their respective personal problems. The arrival of this very British guest acts as a trigger, spurring them back to life, “taming” them and prompting them to start working together to restore the manor’s former beauty and revive their individual quests. The result will be a new lease of life for the Beauvillier estate and each and every one of them living on it.



Art for Everybody Florida Premiere
Director: Miranda Yousef
Country: United States; Running Time: 99 minutes
You’ve seen his cozy cottages, idyllic gardens and welcoming village streets on everything from canvas to commemorative plates. Both celebrated and disparaged for his kitschy signature settings, the “Painter of Light” Thomas Kinkade rocketed to popularity in the ’90s by marketing himself to American evangelicals and pitting himself against the elite art establishment. Yet beneath the pristine public persona were demons that would drive him to alcoholism, scandal and death from an overdose in 2012. After his passing, Kinkade’s daughters uncovered a trove of unseen, unexpectedly dark paintings, a discovery that launched an investigation into their father’s true personality.

Full Circle
Director: Josh Berman Florida Premiere
Country: United States; Running Time: 103 minutes
Faced with a traumatic injury that renders you permanently disabled, how would you reinvent yourself? In 2014, Trevor Kennison’s life was forever altered by a broken back. Wheelchair bound and uncertain of his future, Kennison found a new path—he became a remarkable sit-skiing athlete. In 1968, intrepid alpinist Barry Corbet broke his back in a helicopter crash. Frustrated by a culture that did not support the disabled, Kennison became a leader in the disability community. Full Circle follows Kennison and Corbet’s parallel stories, highlighting their shared resilience and refusal to let their passion for life be limited by their injuries.

Maestra Florida Premiere
Director: Maggie Contreras
Country: United States; Running Time: 88 minutes
In the male-dominated world of orchestral conducting, five incredible women are breaking the glass ceiling and taking center stage. Filmmaker Maggie Contreras’ directorial debut follows the inspiring work of five women who gather in Paris to partake in La Maestra, the only competition in the world for female conductors. Their stories are rich with nuance and complexity; they are mothers, daughters, rebels and leaders. In the end, it is not only their incredible talent for conducting that shines through, but also their passion, perseverance and optimism to make the world of classical music a more inclusive space.


Geoff McFetrige: Drawing a Life Florida Premiere
Director: Dan Covert
Country: United States; Running Time: 81 minutes
You may not know his name, but his art is everywhere. It’s on your Apple watch, splashed on the sides of buildings, exhibited in countless galleries around the world, in title designs for films and featured in collabs with Vans, Warby Parker, Nike and more. One of the most prolific artists of his time, Geoff McFetridge has undoubtedly influenced the way the world looks. What sets the prodigious McFetridge apart is his quest for balance as a father, ultramarathoner and designer. Deeply thoughtful and illuminating, this documentary film reveals the details of McFetridge’s life and work while delving into the universal questions of what makes a fulfilling life.

Happy Clothes: A Film About Patricia Field Florida Premiere
Director: Michael Selditch
Country: United States; Running Time: 100 minutes
Happy Clothes: A Film About Patricia Field is a candid, fly-on-the-wall glimpse into the creative process, extraordinary life and career of costume designer Patricia Field, whose unique vision has impacted fashion and popular culture for nearly six decades. When she opened her clothing store in 1960s New York City, the odds were stacked against her. But even as a gay, female first-generation American, she proved herself as a savvy businesswoman and creative genius, and her eponymous store quickly became a must-see destination for travelers from around the world for 50 years.

Immediate Family Florida Premiere
Director: Denny Tedesco
Country: United States; Running Time: 102 minutes
Immediate Family tracks the rise and collaborations of a group of legendary session musicians Danny Kortchmar, Leland Sklar, Russ Kunkel, and Waddy Wachtel through the 1970s and onward, chronicling their illustrious partnerships and their formidable record of hit-making. Directed by Denny Tedesco, whose documentary The Wrecking Crew followed the first wave of studio musicians in the 60s, the film reveals the machinery behind the booming era of the singer-songwriter, when the talents of these four musicians were in furious demand.

Karen Carpenter: Starving for Perfection
Director: Randy Martin
Country: United States; Running Time: 110 minutes
As the No. 1 American musical act of the 1970s, The Carpenters were “top of the world,” producing a string of pop music masterpieces—including Close to You, We’ve Only Just Begun and Rainy Days and Mondays. But behind closed doors, Karen Carpenter’s quest for perfection resulted in low self-esteem, a disheartening love life and a very public battle with anorexia nervosa—the eating disorder that resulted in her untimely death at the age of only 32. Karen Carpenter: Starving for Perfection is a captivating, revealing and unvarnished documentary providing astounding new insight into the singer’s tragically short life and enduring musical legacy.

The Longest Goodbye East Coast Premiere
Director: Ido Mizrahy
Country: Canada, Israel; Running Time: 87 minutes
In the next decade, NASA will send astronauts to Mars for the first time. Separated from Earth, and unable to communicate with ground in real time throughout the three-year journey, crew members will experience extreme isolation that could gravely affect their mental state and the mission. The Longest Goodbye follows a savvy NASA psychologist tasked with protecting these daring explorers, who are torn between their dream to reach new frontiers and their need to stay connected to home. This conflict, we soon realize, transcends space travel: how do we balance our drive for progress with the deep connection to our roots and each other.

Out There: A National Parks Story
Director: Brendan Hall
Country: United States; Running Time: 75 minutes
A young filmmaker sets out on a 10,000-mile exploration of the U.S. national parks with his childhood friend. Along the way, the two document conversations with the people they meet, getting to know both those who work in the parks and those who come to enjoy them. They learn that the power of the natural world is universal; people of all ages, walks of life and cultures come to the parks seeking tranquility, healing and inspiration. Featuring the stunning visuals of our sweeping American landscape, this film is a love letter to the National Park Service and its adoring supporters.

Director: Jakub Piątek
Country: United States; Running Time: 91 minutes
Every five years, contestants flock to the legendary International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, Poland. Out of 160 preliminary pianists, only 12 make it to the final. Pianoforte follows an eclectic group of young musicians from around the world who have spent their childhood preparing for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Offering a rare, behind-the-scenes look backstage at the triumphant highs and crushing lows of competition, filmmaker Jakub Piatek captures the intense practice sessions, new friendships, drama, nerves and undeniable talent of these young musicians.


A Moment for Glory
Director: Christopher Leoni
Country: United States; Running Time: 23 minutes

Autumn Leaves
Director: Elizabeth Lewis
Country: United States; Running Time: 4 minutes

Directors: Gabriel Augerai, Romain Augier, Laurie Pereira De Figueiredo, Charles Di Cicco, Yannick Jacquin
Country: France; Running Time: 6 minutes

Closing Dynasty
Director: Lloyd Lee Choi
Country: United States; Running Time: 17 minutes

The Face of Immokalee: Public Art for Social Change
Director: Tara Calligan
Country: United States; Running Time: 9 minutes

Director: Zoel Aeschbacher
Country: France, Running Time: 17 minutes

The Father, the Son and the Rav Kalmenson (Le Père, le Fils et le Rav Kalmenson)
Director: Dayan D. Oualid
Country: France; Running Time: 16 minutes

Funny Not Funny
Directors: Ben Feldman, Marc D’Agostino
Country: United States; Running Time: 14 minutes

I Am What You Imagine
Director: Matthew Modine
Country: United States; Running Time: 6 minutes

In Cod We Trust
Directors: Raphael Edwards, Seonghoon Eric Park
Country: United States; Running Time: 18 minutes

In Wonderland
Director: Andrea Camacho McCracken
Country: United States; Running Time: 13 minutes

Director: Timothy Blackwood
Country: United States; Running Time: 21 minutes

The Lost Couriers
Director: ZiDong Ma
Country: China; Running Time: 3 minutes

Mystic Tiger
Director: Marc Martínez Jordán
Country: Spain; Running Time: 15 minutes

Director: Darren Haruo Rae
Country: United States; Running Time: 21 minutes

Not the Same Clarence
Directors: Brian Russell, Samuel B. Russell
Country: United States; Running Time: 14 minutes

The Old Young Crow
Director: Liam LoPinto
Country: Japan, United States; Running Time: 12 minutes

The Orchestra Chuck Built
Director: Christopher Stoudt
Country: United States; Running Time: 23 minutes

Pickled Herring
Director: Milana Vayntrub
Country: United States; Running Time: 18 minutes

Director: Margaret Miller
Country: United States; Running Time: 10 minutes

Director: Danny Mooney
Country: United States; Running Time: 32 minutes

Director: Tristan Owen
Country: United States; Running Time: 16 minutes

Shadow Brother Sunday
Director: Alden Ehrenreich
Country: United States; Running Time: 15 minutes

Director: Zhaoshuai Wu
Country: China, Running Time: 29 minutes

Swimming Through
Director: Samantha Sanders
Country: United States; Running Time: 15 minutes

They Grow Up So Fast
Director: John F. Beach
Country: United States; Running Time: 10 minutes

To My Father
Director: Sean Schiavolin
Country: United States; Running Time: 24 minutes


Director: Alex Blair
Country: United States; Running Time: 6 minutes

Directors: Zhengwu Gu, Ling Zhao
Country: United States; Running Time: 4 minutes

Director: Samuel Benitez
Country: United States; Running Time: 6 minutes

The Girl Next Door
Directors: Dana Gilbertson, Jocelyn Sanchez
Country: United States; Running Time: 8 minutes

Hunger to Win
Director: Constantin Strother
Country: United States; Running Time: 7 minutes

Memento Mori
Director: Ines Wallisch
Country: United States; Running Time: 8 minutes

Director: Marcell Viragh
Country: United States; Running Time: 3:12 minutes

Director: Tony Shi
Country: United States; Running Time: 16 minutes

Share ...

Subscribe for Blog Updates

Sign up for our latest updates.

Please follow us to get updates online.