United Kingdom, 2017, 16 minutes
Director: Sean Mullan
Through horses, a man feels an irrepressible duty to move in harmony with his pain. This film explores the infinite momentum of life via an energy never destroyed, only transformed.
USA, 2017, 40 minutes
Director: Thomas Lennon
Academy Award® nominated Knife Skills follows the launch of an haute cuisine restaurant in Cleveland, staffed by men and women recently released from prison. In this improbable setting, we discover the challenges of men and women finding their way after their release. We come to know three trainees intimately, as well as the restaurant’s founder, who is also dogged by his past. They all have something to prove, and all struggle to launch new lives; an endeavor as pressured and perilous as the ambitious restaurant launch of which they are a part.
The Kodachrome Elegies
USA, 2017, 11 minutes
Director: Jay Rosenblatt
Kodachrome was a filmstock noted for its rich tones and vibrant colors. The Kodachrome Elegies is a short experimental documentary that evokes the bygone era of Kodachrome’s pinnacle. Filmmaker, Jay Rosenblatt, unwinds big and small stories from the archival Kodachrome material, creating a personal narrative against the background of the musical soundtrack. While it is a paean to this lost filmstock, the film suggests the end of an era and the loss of innocence.
Canada, 2017, 22 minutes
Directors: Pablo Alvarez Mesa, Fernando López Escrivá
On Colombia’s Caribbean coast, it’s a workday like any other for the men of a fishing family. The filmmakers capture the small details of their work, with all its repetitive but exact motions. Games of dominoes, conversations, cooking, and even song fill the long waits that punctuate the fishermen’s days. La Pesca is a poetic view of men’s everyday lives, observing them closely on land before following them on an underwater sensory immersion, where their bodies and nets dance ballet. In this short, the passage of time becomes as important as the fishing it portrays.
The Last Animals
USA, 2017, 92 minutes
Director: Kate Brooks
The Last Animals is about an extraordinary group of people who go to great lengths to save the planet’s last animals. This documentary follows the conservationists, scientists, and activists battling poachers and trafficking syndicates to protect elephants and rhinos from extinction. The Last Animals follows the struggle on Africa’s front lines, behind the scenes in Asian markets, and here, the U.S. The film takes an intense look at the global response to this slaughter and the measures to genetically rescue the Northern White Rhinos from the edge of extinction.
Letters From Baghdad
USA, 2016, 94 minutes
Directors: Zeva Oelbaum , Sabine Krayenbühl
Letters from Baghdad tells the extraordinary story of Gertrude Bell, the most powerful woman in the British Empire in her day. Even more influential than her friend Lawrence of Arabia, Bell shaped the destiny of Iraq after World War I in ways that still reverberate today. Using stunning, never-seen-before footage of the region, the film chronicles her extraordinary journey into both the uncharted Arabian desert and the inner sanctum of British colonial power.
Life in Strides
USA, 2017, 18 minutes
Director: Patrick Foust
Jake, a young man with autism, has become a champion in therapeutic horseback riding. Jake’s mother Joanne has been by his side throughout his riding career, helping her son stay calm on his horse. Now, Jake is put to the test as he enters his first non-therapeutic riding competition, where the event is beyond Joanne’s control and Jake must compete as an equal with other riders.
Albania, 2017, 53 minutes
Directors: Suela Bako, Yllka Gjollesha
Light portrays the life and work of well-known Albanian photographer Gjon Mili. The film focuses on his innovative and pioneering techniques in photography. It documents the making his famous photograph: Stop-Action Photograph Drop of Water as it Falls and Splashes.
Germany, Finland, India, 2016, 71 minutes
Director: Rahul Jain
Director Rahul Jain portrays the rhythm of life and work in a gigantic textile factory in India. Moving through the corridors of the enormous structure, the camera takes the viewer to a place of dehumanizing physical labor, highlighting the huge divide between first world and developing countries. Since the 1960s, India has undergone unregulated industrialization, exemplified by its numerous textile factories.
USA, 2017, 18 minutes
Director: Adrienne von Wolffersdorff
The Memoir is a documentary about the filmmaker’s grandma, Ceil, a 96-year-old woman who is in the process of writing her memoir. Grandma Ceil grew up on a cattle ranch in Northern California and at this moment in her life she is reminiscing about her childhood as she struggles to complete her book in the face of encroaching old age. The filmmaker explores Grandma Ceil’s past, as well as her creative process, in an effort to understand what inspires Grandma Ceil to stay motivated.
My Mother Is Pink
Denmark, 2017, 75 minutes
Director: Cecilie Debell
When Malou Gabriella sets off with her son, Michael, in her bright pink campervan it’s to heal their relationship. Clubbing their way across the country, the two exchange memories and Malou explains why she could not have been there for the young Michael. A deeply unusual and highly surprising family story.
Saturday, March 24
SCA Brent Auditorium, 11:30 a.m.
France, 2017, 6 minutes
Directors: Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata
Academy Award® nominated, Negative Space tells the bittersweet story of a relationship between a father and his son, Sam. Always leaving on business trips, the father connects with Sam by teaching him how to pack a suitcase efficiently. Sam says “Some guys bond with their dads shooting hoops or talking about Chevrolets. We did it over luggage. The funeral was terrible—my Dad laid out in that big carton and me thinking, Look at all that wasted space.”
USA, 2017, 17 minutes
Director: Abhi Singh
No Vacancy explores the struggles of San Francisco artists as they contend with exorbitant rent prices, developers looking to convert art spaces into luxury condos and a city that isn’t paying attention to them. All the artists in the film face the prospect of being priced out of San Francisco in the near future. These artists are the cultural fabric of a city that doesn’t have room for them anymore.
USA, 2016, 80 minutes
Director: Penny Lane
Nuts! is a feature length documentary about Dr. John Romulus Brinkley, an eccentric genius who built an empire in Depression-era America with a goat testicle impotence cure and a million watt radio station. Using animated reenactments, interviews, archival footage, and a hilariously unreliable narrator, Nuts! traces Brinkley’s rise from poverty and obscurity to the heights of celebrity, wealth, and influence in Depression-era America.
USA, 2017, 68 minutes
Director: Rachel Shuman
One October is a lyrical, loving portrait of New York City and its people in October 2008. On the eve of Obama’s historic election and an unprecedented economic crisis, we follow Clay Pigeon, an intrepid radio host, as he takes to the streets and delves into the preoccupations of everyday New Yorkers facing the promise and uncertainty of change. The film celebrates the resiliency of the human spirit and the beauty that lies in the rich cultural tapestry of a dynamic metropolis.
USA, 2017, 28 minutes
Director: Annie O’Neil
Phil has stage 4 cancer but dreams of walking the 500-mile-long spiritual pilgrimage known as the Camino de Santiago in Spain. He does the next best thing: he builds a Camino behind his house and traces his route along a map of Spain. Phil gets a clean scan and his doctors grant him permission to miss one chemo treatment. He flies to Spain and walks the actual Camino de Santiago. Along the way he realizes his true pilgrimage is the one he travels within.
Pink or Blue
Canada, 2012, 3 minutes
Director: Jake Dypka
Pink or Blue is a collaboration project based around the theme of gender. Commissioned to open the Saatchi showcase in Cannes it used 3D technology to allow the viewer to switch between two different versions of the film depending which set of glasses they view it through. Although it will be screened at SDFF in 2D, the film remains a poetic narrative punctuated by a series of gender based images. Pink or Blue is a clever experiment in social commentary.
Saturday, March 24
SCA Brent Auditorium, 11:30 a.m.
Purge This Land
USA, 2017, 80 minutes
Director: Lee Anne Schmitt
Purge This Land is an essay film centered around the legacy of the radical abolitionist John Brown. The title is taken from John Brown’s letter of 1859: “I…am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.” Purge This Land uses the image and legacy of John Brown to contemplate the culpability of White America in the ongoing disenfranchisement of Black America.
Rebels on Pointe
USA, 2017, 90 minutes
Director: Bobbi Jo Hart
Rebels on Pointe is a cinéma vérité documentary film celebrating Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo; the all male, drag ballet company founded on the heels of New York’s Stonewall riots. The company has a cult following around the world. The film combines behind-the-scenes access, intimate character-driven personal stories, and amazing performances shot around the world. Rebels on Pointe reveals that a ballerina is not merely a woman dancing, but an act of revolution in a tutu.
Revisiting the Dubhs Ridge
Germany, 2017, 25 minutes
Directors: Howard Steen, Guus Floor
Two lifelong adventurers embark on a sailing voyage to the Isle of Skye on the West Coast of Scotland. They resolve to revisit the Dubhs Ridge, a classic mountaineering route which they climbed back in their youth. Although Roger has multiple sclerosis, they have years of experience overcoming challenges in the mountains and on the high seas. However, they are not quite prepared for the difficulty which awaits them. As their dreams collide with reality they need help to make the trip a success.
Right Between Your Ears
USA, 2016, 63 minutes
Director: Sheila Marshall
Many people have a strong sense that their views are right and couldn’t possibly be wrong. So how do we come to hold an unshakable conviction and why is it hard to consider that we could be mistaken? This film follows the lives of of four everyday people who became convinced of their teacher’s belief that the world would end soon. We follow them as they abandon their lives and prepare for the end.The follow up interviews alone are worth the price of admission.
Iran, 2017, 26 minutes
Director: Hamid Jafari
In the south of Iran, a woman goes to the mountain every day with her sledgehammer and crowbar, breaks rocks, and sells them to support her family. Filmed without narration or dialogue, this short film is a powerful and poetic story of a woman’s life.
Ireland, Spain, 2016, 99 minutes
Directors: Neasa Ní Chianáin and David Rane
This observational documentary follows a year in the lives of two inspirational teachers at Headfort, the only primary boarding school in Ireland. Housed in an 18th century estate, school life embraces tradition and modernity. For John, rock music is just another subject alongside Maths, Scripture and Latin. For his wife Amanda, the key to connecting with children is the book. For nearly half a century these two have shaped thousands of minds, but now the unthinkable looms: what would retirement mean? What will keep them young if they leave?
USA, 2017, 6 minutes
Director: Chris Filippone
In the shadow of the global metal trade, a metal scrapper hunts the streets of Oakland searching for his day’s keep. This is a wordless diary of a day in the life of a lone recycler.
Canada, 2016, 24 minutes
Director: Aeyliya Husain
When the Americans declared war on Iraq in 2003, Franco Pagetti was there with his camera poised and ready to document the war as he saw it. He was one of two photographers working for TIME Magazine (2003-2008) during a war that lasted far longer than predicted. Photographs from each major conflict have told stories that reveal a truth about war not printed in the headlines. What are the stories from the Iraq War? What truths will these images reveal?
USA, 2017, 95 minutes
Director: Hugh Gibson
After surviving decades of street life, three social workers help their community, while struggling with past demons. Filmed over five years, The Stairs movingly defies preconceptions about drug use and sex work, revealing a surprising world that is often misunderstood.
Sununú: The Revolution of Love
United Kingdom, 2017, 25 minutes
Director: Olivia Crellin
Trans Dad Fernando Machado became an international news sensation when he announced he was pregnant with his trans girlfriend Diane Rodriguez in Ecuador last year. This film is an intimate and touching portrayal of a couple coming to grips with parenthood while they challenge complex ideas of gender roles. With exclusive access to the new family in its earliest days, we see how this remarkable duo balance parenting with a career in activism.
Scotland, 2017, 11 minutes
Director: Thomas Hogben
Every crooked lateral incisor or overzealous premolar tells a story. Teeth explores the relationship we have with these dental companions and how they impact our lives.
Norway, 2016, 14 minutes
Director: Halvor Nitteberg
Thea is a 12 year old who likes to play football and to be with her friends. So why does she want to grow up to be an air ambulance pilot? Although Thea has a serious and dramatic type of epilepsy, she is able to share her thoughts with us about the things that she enjoys in her life. We follow Thea through her long hospital stay and subsequent homecoming to her brothers and friends. Her creativity blossoms in the hospital where she creates a special gift.
Three Red Sweaters
USA, 2016, 8 minutes
Director: Martha Gregory
A filmmaker explores memory and the way that we use technology to record our lives; sometimes at the expense of being present for them. She uses her grandfather’s 16mm home videos as her medium. This journey into family archives employs a very personal story to examine how memory is captured as a moment in time, and breathes new life into what was once thought lost forever.
USA, 2017, 87 minutes
Director: Anne A Makepeace
Two strong Native American women, both chief judges in their tribe’s courts, strive to reduce incarceration rates and heal their people by restoring rather than punishing offenders, modeling restorative justice in action. Tribal Justice follows the cases and lives of local tribe members as they pass through state and tribal courts.
USA, 2017, 84 minutes
Director: Jamie Meltzer
Christopher Scott was released from prison after serving 13 years for a murder he didn’t commit.This sounds like a nightmare, but it’s not uncommon. At his exoneree support group meeting, Chris presents his idea that exonerees could become detectives, investigate the cases of other wrongfully convicted prisoners, and prove their innocence. True Conviction follows Chris and his team as they work to realize this dream of becoming detectives.
Austria, 2017, 80 minutes
Director: Stefan Wolner
Martin Habacher from Austria is not even supposed to still be alive. The doctors predicted an early death for him shortly after his birth. Martin was born with brittle bone disease—yet his physical fragility ultimately made him a stronger personality than one might expect at first glance. Today, Martin, the smallest YouTuber in Austria, vehemently and humorously advocates for tolerance and the breaking down of barriers, both in his everyday life and in our minds. An uplifting view of a life well lived despite handicaps.
USA, 2017, 97 minutes
Director: Jennifer Brea
Jennifer Brea is an active Harvard PhD student about to marry the love of her life when suddenly her body starts failing her. Hoping to shed light on her strange symptoms, Jennifer grabs a camera and films the darkest moments as they unfold before her eyes, The camera follows as she is derailed by M.E. (commonly known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), a mysterious illness some still believe is “all in your head.”
USA, 2017, 70 minutes
Director: Erin Heidenreich
In the Taliban controlled area of Waziristan, where sports for women are decried as un-Islamic, and girls rarely leave their houses, young Maria Toorpakai defies the rules by disguising herself as a boy, so she can play sports freely. As she becomes a rising star, however, her true identity is revealed, bringing constant death threats on her and her family. Undeterred, they continue to rebel for their freedom.
Violin Making: One Man’s Journey
USA, 2017, 11 minutes
Director: Chip Curry
In this film, we enter the shop of Andrew Carruthers to experience the craft and art of violin making. As his new instruments are played by a violinist in the San Francisco Symphony and a bluegrass fiddle player, we see that violin construction itself becomes a performance. Carruthers details how he uses Japanese philosophy in his quest to honor the violin making of the old masters, and at the same time honors his own creativity.
Voices Beyond the Wall
USA, 2017, 88 minutes
Director: Brad Coley
Spencer Reece, an award winning American poet and Episcopal priest, comes to live and teach poetry for a year at Our Little Roses, the only girls’ orphanage in Honduras. The poems that emerge reveal wisdom far beyond the authors’ years. The girls’ poetry, and their reflections on the process of writing it, operates both as the emotional spine of the movie and an inspiration for its mosaic structure.
The Washing Society
USA, 2018, 44 minutes
Directors: Lynne Sachs, Lizzie Olesker
When you drop off a bag of dirty laundry, who’s doing the washing and folding? The Washing Society brings us into New York City laundromats and the experiences of the people who work there. We observe these disappearing neighborhood spaces and the continual, intimate labor that happens there. The juxtaposition of narrative and documentary elements in The Washing Society creates a dream-like yet very real portrayal of a day in the life of a laundry worker, both past and present.
USA, 2017, 24 minutes
Director: Maya Craig
Water Town follows the current and former mayors of Weed, California on their quest to win the spring water back from the corporations they believe are stealing it from them only to sell it to Crystal Geyser. Offbeat humor sets the tone for a David and Goliath battle, highlighting the absurdities of wealth inequity and challenging the viewer to consider whether water is a right or a commodity.
USA, Canada, 2017