Welcome to the Larry411.com Guest Columnists! April 27, 2013
In my travels to the best film festivals in…
The Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBIFF) has announced its highly anticipated film lineup and list of special guests for the 20th edition, March 26 - April 2, 2015, featuring 12 World Premieres and 15 U.S. Premieres. PBIFF (www.pbifilmfest.org) will present features, documentaries, and short films from the U.S. and around the world, including Bulgaria, Venezuela, France, England, Israel, the Philippines, Costa Rica, Spain, Russia, Slovakia, Australia, Canada, Cuba, The Netherlands, East Timor, and Germany, to name just a few, and will play host to filmmakers, producers, and actors to represent and discuss their films.
"For our 20th year, we have gone all out to dazzle and surprise our audiences like they’ve never seen before," comments Randi Emerman, President and CEO of PBIFF. "The year’s Palm Beach International Film Festival has a sparkling array of fantastic movies and a list of visiting filmmakers and talent that will bring the best of the world to the shores of South Florida. We are thrilled to welcome old and new friends such as Shira Piven, who’s shown three films at the festival; Ellar Coltrane, who has taken the industry by storm with his incredible performance spanning over 12 years in Boyhood; Tom Arnold, who will attend with his film Any Day; and a nod to the late Michael Clarke Duncan whose last film, The Challenger, will make its World Premiere, to name just a few. And the best part, is there’s more to come!"
Opening Night kicks off with Welcome To Me, directed by longtime PBIFF friend Shira Piven, and starring Kristen Wiig, James Marsden, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Wes Bentley, Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack, and Linda Cardellini. A woman suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder (Wiig) becomes an overnight celebrity after a huge lottery jackpot allows her to launch her own off-the-wall talk show. In Welcome to Me, director Shira Piven explores what happens when a commonly held fantasy comes true for a complicated person, and a story of good luck evolves into a compelling and darkly humorous drama. Director Piven will attend. Opening Night festivities will take place Thursday, March 26 at Muvico Parisian 20, followed by a party at Revolution.
The fest will close on Thursday, April 2, with While We’re Young, directed by Noah Baumbach, starring Amanda Seyfried, Naomi Watts, Ben Stiller, Adam Driver, and Charles Grodin. Noah Baumbach’s exploration of aging, ambition, and success stars Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts as a middle-aged couple whose career and marriage are overturned when a disarming young couple enters their lives. While We’re Young is an openly funny cross-generational comedy of manners about aging, ambition, and success, as well as a moving portrait of a marriage tested by the invading forces of youth. No film has better captured the weird, upended logic of urban sophisticates: the older ones embracing their iPads and Netflix, the young ones craving vinyl records and vintage VHS tapes. Powered by Stiller and Driver's note-perfect lead performances and loose, comic turns by Watts and Seyfried, While We’re Young is a complete pleasure to watch. The film, released by A24, will open in NY & LA on March 27, Nationwide April 10. The screening will take place at Cinemark Palace 20, followed by the “It’s a Wrap” party at Yoko San, Asian Sake Lounge in downtown Boca Raton.
PBIFF will present some exciting activities this year, including these highlights:
Screenings of this year’s films will be held at Muvico Parisian 20 and IMAX at CityPlace in West Palm Beach, Cobb Downtown at the Gardens in Palm Beach Gardens, and Cinemark Palace 20 in Boca Raton.
Passes are on sale now! Platinum passes are available for $450, which include priority admission for one to the Opening Night Film and Party, Spotlight Screening and party, a private VIP Party with filmmakers and visiting dignitaries, all regular festival screenings and seminars, and the Closing Night Film and "It’s A Wrap" event; Premiere passes are available for $225, which provide admission to the Opening and Closing night films and parties and Filmmaker Awards, Private VIP Party, as well as all regular festival screenings; Gold passes are available for $175, which provide admission to all regular festival screenings, parties and seminars, along with the Closing Night Film and "It’s A Wrap" Party. Individual tickets for special events are also available. As always, individual screening tickets will be available and will cost no more than a regular movie ticket. They can be purchased at the respective theaters’ box offices during the festival.
The Palm Beach International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization supporting film programs in local schools and dedicated to making a difference in the lives of future filmmakers by helping them fulfill their dreams to one-day work in the world of film.
For more information, please visit the festival web site at www.pbifilmfest.org.
20TH PALM BEACH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
10% My Child, Israel
Directed by Uri Bar-on
Cast: Udi Persi, Yali Friedman, Vered Feldman, Gur Bentwich, Edan Alterman
Franny is seven. Her mother's new boyfriend is 26-year-old Nico. In order to be with mom, Nico has to win over the little girl’s heart. He wants to be a filmmaker but couldn't even finish his graduation film. The first time they meet, Franny finds Nico in mom’s bed. Now Nico and Franny need to find a way to get along, love each other, and hate each other. Mostly, they do all three in the same frame.
45 Minutes to Ramallah, Germany – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by Ali Samadi Ahadi
Cast: Karim Saleh, Navid Akhavan, Julie Engelbrecht
Rafik is a Palestinian who’s left his home and family in Eastern Jerusalem. He agrees to return for his brother Jamal’s wedding. When their father suddenly dies, the brothers are forced to smuggle his remains across the border to his birthplace in Ramallah. Usually it takes 45 minutes to drive from Jerusalem to Ramallah. But when their car gets stolen – with the dead body in the trunk – this alleged short trip turns into a turbulent adventure.
Any Day, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Rustam Branaman
Cast: Sean Bean, Kate Walsh, Eva Longoria, Tom Arnold, Shane Black
Vian, a 40-year-old boxer and alcoholic, is found guilty of manslaughter. After release from prison he begins to rebuild his life with the reluctant help of his sister, Bethley. His search for a job looks hopeless until he meets Roland, the quirky owner of a pizza place. Good fortune strikes again when he meets Jolene, who gives into his advances with help from Bethley's son, Jimmy, who has his own problems in the form of school bullies.
Anywhere Else, Germany
Directed by Ester Amrami
Cast: Neta Riskin, Golo Euler, Hana Laslo, Hana Rieber, Dovaleh Reiser, Romi Abulafia
Imagine you left your home to move far away. You got carried away by a wind of change and became untrue to yourself. You reinvented yourself and felt free. But pressure arises within you…a slight longing soon becomes a gaping hole. The feeling is distinct, almost tangible, but words fail you. You return to where everything began, your home, yet the terrible void remains and you begin to wonder: was it always part of me?
Arlo & Julie, USA
Directed by Steve Mims
Cast: Ashley Spillers, Alex Dobrenko, Mallory Culbert, Hugo Vargas-Zesati, Chris Doubek
A neurotic couple’s obsession with a mysterious puzzle comically unravels their world, disconnecting them from reality and jeopardizing their fragile relationship.
Beatriz’s War, Australia/Timor-Leste – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by Bety Reis
Cast: Irim Tolentino, Jose da Costa, Augusta Soares, Osme Gonsalves, Gaspar Sarmento
East Timor’s first feature film is the haunting, passionate story of one woman’s conviction to remain true to the man she loves and the country for which she fought. The setting is Portuguese Timor during the Indonesian occupation of the small colony. Beatriz’s young husband disappears during a brutal massacre by occupying Indonesian forces. 16 years later she is troubled by his return. Is this mysterious stranger her husband, an impostor, or a spirit?
Directed by Evangelos Giovanis
Cast: Malcolm McDowell, Jane Seymour, Keith Carradine, Mike Starr, Vinessa Shaw, Mike Doyle, Ethan Embry, George Giovanis
Fatally ill, Garvey (Malcolm McDowell) thinks he has figured out how to die alone. But when his beloved wife Evelyn (Jane Seymour) goes missing on their anniversary, he must live to save her. A star-studded cast in a dark comedy that will leave you breathless.
Bulgarian Rhapsody, Bulgaria – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by Ivan Nitchey
Cast: Kristyan Makarov, Tatyana Lolova, Moni Moshonov, Angela Nedyalkova, Dimitar Rachkov
It’s the summer of 1943. 17-year-old Moni and Giogio meet Shelly on a short trip across the border in Greece. But the boys, Jews from “Greater Bulgaria,” must adhere to the racist laws of Germany, their national’s ally in war. The fate of the three teens mirrors the lives of the Balkan Jews during World War II, challenged to survive the horrors of that period, filled with fear and hope. Bulgaria’s submission to the 2015 Academy Awards.
Directed by Marty Madden
Cast: Gary Cole, Lusia Struss, Erik Scott Smith, Zoe Perry, Dani Fish, Ali Stroker, Tim Monsion
A reluctant faith healer tries to escape his past by working as a ranch hand for a widower and his daughter. He becomes a part of their family and falls in love with the local girl who helps out at the ranch, giving him hope that he may have finally found a new home. But his dreams are shattered when his predatory evangelist mother tracks him down, stopping at nothing to get him back on the revival circuit.
Cut Bank, Canada
Directed by Matt Shakman
Cast: Teresa Palmer, Liam Hemsworth, Billy Bob Thornton, John Malkovich, Bruce Dern, Oliver Platt
Dwayne McLaren (Liam Hemsworth) dreams about escaping small town life in Cut Bank, Montana, “the coldest spot in the nation,” with his vivacious girlfriend Cassandra (Teresa Palmer). When Dwayne witnesses an awful crime, he tries to leverage a bad situation into a scheme to get rich quickly but he finds that fate and an unruly accomplice are working against him. Thrust into the middle of a police investigation spearheaded by the local sheriff (John Malkovich), everything goes from bad to worse in this all-American thriller. Directed by Matt Shakman and also starring Billy Bob Thornton, Bruce Dern, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Oliver Platt.
Dawn, UK/Germany/Israel/Switzerland – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by Romed Wyder
Cast: Joel Basman, Liron Levo, Moris Cohen, Sami Heuberger, Sarah Adler, Jason Isaacs
Palestine 1947, under British mandate. Zionists are fighting for a Jewish state. A member of the armed Jewish underground is sentenced to death by British authorities. In return, his comrades kidnap a British officer. If the British hang their friend at dawn, one of them will shoot the officer. In the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “Dawn” sheds a new light on a key moment in history that mirrors the current political disputes.
Flow, Spain – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by David Martinez
Cast: Juan del Santo
Walter Mann is about to fulfill the dream of his life -- to star in his own play. But something unexpected will blow up his plans. This is the story of a man who suffers an interior fight where darkness and light are the rivals -- a trip where, finally, one side must prevail. “Flow” describes the bitterness in human beings, the thorny and delicate subject of forgiveness, and reconciliation with oneself and with life.
Frances Ha, USA
Directed by Noah Baumbach
Cast: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Michael Esper, Adam Driver, Michael Zegen
Frances (Greta Gerwig) lives in New York, but she doesn't really have an apartment. Frances is an apprentice for a dance company, but she¹s not really a dancer. Frances has a best friend named Sophie, but they aren't really speaking anymore. Frances throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as their possible reality dwindles. Frances Ha is a modern comic fable that explores New York, friendship, class, ambition, failure, and redemption. (IFC Films)
Haven, Israel – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by Amikam Kovner
Cast: Nevo Kimchi, Lana Ettinger, Oshri Cohen, Rotem Zisman Cohen Nevo Kimchi, Lana Ettinger, Oshri Cohen, Rotem Zisman Cohen
2006, the Second Lebanon War. Like many who live in the north of Israel, Motti and Keren, a young religious couple, seek refuge to the south. Yali and Boaz, a young bourgeois couple from Tel Aviv, invite them to stay in their apartment. This seemingly simple act of courtesy brings undesired results as conflicts and painful reminders begin to arise. A beautifully intense character study in human emotions.
In Silence, Slovakia
Directed by Zdeněk Jiróský
Cast: Judit Bárdos, Ján Gallovic, Kristína Svarinská, Ján Ctvrtník
The music of Chopin, Liszt, and Rachmaninov is used to convey the brutality and reality of Nazi rule in Slovakia. The film fluidly moves between the real, remembered, and imagined. “In Silence” underscores the transformational power of music to illuminate even the darkest days. Emotionally immersive and aesthetically satisfying, “In Silence” is a poetic journey, mapping out fragments of the destinies of four Jewish musicians.
Directed by Philippe Barassat
Cast: Jérémie Elkaïm
After losing his job, Aldo, a young male nurse, finds his calling as a sexual assistant for the disabled. This will transform them, and him, in unimagined and delightful ways. One of the festival’s most provocative films, “Indesirables” tackles taboos and breaks new ground – occasionally shocking, yet tasteful – and is best appreciated by open-minded, mature audiences.
Is That You?, Israel
Directed by Dani Menkin
Cast: Alon Aboutboul, Naruna Kaplan de Macedo, Suzanne Sadler, Rani Blair
Ronnie, a 60-year-old Israeli film projectionist, has been fired from his job. He travels to America in a search for Rachel, the love of his youth. Ronnie enlists his brother to help with the search. On the road, Ronnie finds Myla, a documentary film student, who’s making a movie about regrets. Ronnie is the perfect character for Myla's story and, in return for following his search, Myla is helping him find his way.
Kicking and Screaming, USA
Directed by Noah Baumbach
Cast: Josh Hamilton, Samuel Gould, Catherine Kellner, Jonathan Baumbach, John Lehr
Paralyzed by postgraduation ennui, a group of college friends remain on campus, patching together a community for themselves in order to deny the real-world futures awaiting them. Academy Award–nominated screenwriter Noah Baumbach’s hilarious and touching directorial debut was one of the highlights of the American independent film scene of the nineties. Stingingly funny and incisive, Baumbach’s breakthrough features endlessly quotable dialogue, delivered by a stellar ensemble cast. (Criterion)
Let’s Go, Germany
Directed by Michael Verhoeven
Cast: Alice Dwyer, Maxim Mehmet, Naomi Krauss, Katharina Nesytowa, Monika Manz
In 1968, 20-year-old Laura returns to Munich for her father’s funeral. Overcome with grief, Laura and her mother must face the family’s traumatic history. Having survived the Holocaust, Laura’s parents had started a new life in post-War Germany, but horrific experiences haunted them. In the face of another tragedy, will Laura come to understand her parent’s traumatic past? A biting commentary on post-War German society through the cinematic adaptation of the autobiographical novel by Laura Waco.
Living With the Dead, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Christine Vartoughian
Cast: Emily Jackson, Craig Kelly, Selenis Leyva, Chris Riggi
Max McLean, 18, can't get out of bed. Since her boyfriend Adam killed himself, Max has been using sex and drugs to ignore the pain. One day she wakes up in the hospital after a nearly lethal dose of sleeping pills. Haunted by visions of Adam, Max runs away and meets a bizarre but endearing boy named Ish. He helps her find the strength to overcome her demons and free herself from the past.
Pitchipoi, France – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by Charles Najman
Cast: Xavier Galais, Laurent Lacotte, Sabrina Seyvecou, Michele, Moretti, Denis Lavant
Julien Schulmann is a comedian. He's just lost his father, a Polish Jew who survived the concentration camps. Before dying, Julien's father had drawn up a will stipulating this his other son, Pierre, should be the one to spread his ashes over his homeland. The problem is, Pierre has been missing for two years. The family preference for Pierre opens a deep wound in Julien that gradually sheds light on an unspeakable secret…
Pretend We’re Kissing, Canada – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by Matt Sadowski
Cast: Zoe Kravitz, Dov Tiefenbach, Tommie-Amber Pirie
Benny needs to get out of his head and start doing instead of thinking. It’s holding him back from growing up and finding love, and he’s made all too aware of it by his obnoxious agoraphobic hippie roommate. When he meets and falls for Jordan, a dorky girl hell-bent on fate and finding magical love, he realizes that he might be able to move forward in life…if he can only get out of his own way.
Route 30 Three!, USA – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by John Putch
Cast: David Cowgill, Nathalie Boltt, Dan Poole, Ray Ficca, Alicia Fusting, Molly Lahr, Kevin M. Horton, Noah Applebaum, Katie Rayle, Lee Wilkof, Daniel Riordan, Raffy DiLibero, Ed Gotwalt
“James Bond” meets “Blazing Saddles.” The final chapter of the trilogy focuses on the mysterious disappearance of Rotten Egg, a camera that reveals the truth in every photo, and a man’s quest to become ‘less’ boring. Tork is visited by the CIA and a hidden past is revealed that changes the course of his life forever. A comedy that delivers a romantic and upbeat message about relationships and the truth behind every story.
Sidewalk Traffic, USA
Directed by Anthony L. Fisher
Cast: Johnny Hopkins, Erin Darke, Heather Matarazzo, Samm Levine, Dave Hill
Declan, a 30-year-old husband and new father, is squeezed out of a promotion. He finds himself wracked by internal crises, including career envy, bitterness over bad breaks, and the still-lingering fallout from the suicide of his former creative partner. Searching for salvation, Declan surrenders to the role of stay-at-home dad. He’s forced to face his demons while pushing strollers, changing diapers, and heating up bottles, all the while working to resurrect his dreams.
Soof, The Netherlands
Directed by Antoinette Beumer
Cast: Lies Visschedijk, Fedja van Huet, Dan Karaty, Chantal Jansen, Anneke Blok
Soof is reaching 40 and has everything she ever wanted -- three children, a small catering business, a sweet husband Kasper, and a lovely home. One day, at a dinner, Soof meets Jim, a famous choreographer. There’s an immediate connection. For a moment she is noticed for who she is. But their relationship gets out of hand and Soof wonders if Kasper is still the attractive man she once fell for.
Split Gas, USA – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by Jacques Edeline
Cast: Oliver Mauldin, Jacques Edeline, Galen Howard, Peter Weidman, Mary Bogh
Jack, an easygoing grad student, posts on a campus bulletin board: 'Driving to San Francisco for Spring Break. Anyone Want a Ride? Split Gas.' The ad is answered by Oliver, a suicidal freshman, who secretly just wants a ride to the cliffs of Big Sur to jump off and kill himself. As they cruise up the Pacific Coast Highway, Jack makes it his mission to break Oliver out of his own head, while both attempt to conceal their ulterior motives for the trip.
Still, United Kingdom
Directed by Simon Blake
Cast: Aidan Gillen, Jonathan Slinger, Elodie Yung, Amanda Mealing, Clive Russell, Sonny Green, Kate Ashfield
Set in North London, “Still” is a gritty and atmospheric thriller about the violent disintegration of a man and father. Tom is stumbling blindly, his days thrown out of focus by the death of his teenage son a year earlier. A chance confrontation with a 15-year-old boy brings his life and responsibilities to the fore. A battle of wills between Tom and a gang of kids develops, as trivial and childish altercations begin to take a considerably sinister direction.
The Challenger, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Kent Moran
Cast: Kent Moran, Michael Clarke Duncan, S. Epatha Merkerson, Justin Hartley, F rank Watson, Stan Carp, Rob Morgan, Michael Rivera, Robert Pike Daniel, Ernie Sabella
Struggling Bronx auto mechanic Jaden Miller (Kent Moran) and his mother, lovingly portrayed by S. Epatha Merkerson (Law & Order), are evicted from their home. With the help of legendary trainer Duane Taylor (Oscar nominee Michael Clarke Duncan), Miller soon finds that boxing may be their ticket to a better life. Earning the title 'Bronx Boy,' Miller becomes a local hero. An inspiring tale highlighted by Michael Clarke Duncan’s final role.
The Intruder, The Netherlands
Directed by Shariff Korver
Cast: Nasrdin Dchar, Walid Benmbarek, Rachid El Ghazaoui, Betty Schuurman, Simone Milsdochter
Samir was born in Holland, son of a Moroccan father and a Dutch mother. After graduating from the police academy, he now must prove himself, and does so by infiltrating a Moroccan drug family. But Samir is confronted with long suppressed feelings -- he feels at home. The family turns out to be not as bad as he thought, while the police force isn’t as upright as he believed. Samir finds himself in a moral dilemma.
The Red Robin, USA
Directed by Michael Z. Wechsler
Cast: Judd Hirsch, Ryan O’Nan, C.S. Lee, Caroline Lagerfelt, Joseph Lyle Taylor, Jaime Ray Newman
Judd Hirsch plays a Nobel Prize-winning psychiatrist whose work with war refugees has brought him considerable fame. While doing PTSD-related work in war zones decades ago, he adopted three orphans who crossed his path. These now grown children, along with his biological son, have gathered in their childhood home to celebrate their dying father’s 75th birthday. The reunion doesn’t turn out quite as the doctor expected when adopted son Tommy accuses him of war crimes and mind control experiments.
The Road Within, USA
Directed by Gren Wells
Cast: Zoe Kravitz, Dev Patel, Kyra Sedgwick, Robert Patrick, Robert Sheehan
In this touching coming-of-age drama, a young man with Tourette's Syndrome embarks on a road trip with his recently-deceased mother's ashes. He’s joined by two other teenage residents from his behavioral clinic – a rebellious anorexic and an OCD patient. The unexpected but life-changing journey will take them all by surprise.
The Squid and the Whale, USA
Directed by Noah Baumbach
Cast: Owen Kline, Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jesse Eisenberg, William Baldwin
Based on the true childhood experiences of writer/director Noah Baumbach and his brother, “The Squid and the Whale” tells the touching story of two young boys dealing with their parents' divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980s. The film won the AFI Award for Movie of the Year in 2006 and received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
The Well, USA
Directed by Tom Hammock
Cast: Haley Lu Richardson, Booboo Stewart, Michael Welch, Jon Gries, Rena Owen
Seventeen-year-old Kendal (Haley Lu Richardson) can barely recall when her Oregon valley was still lush. It’s been a decade since the last rainfall, and society at large has dried up and blown away. When a greedy water baron lays claim to what little of the precious resource remains underground, Kendal must decide whether to run and hide or bravely fight for what little she has left in this post-apocalyptic thriller.
Directed by Suha Arraf
Cast: Nisreen Faour, Ula Tabari, Cherien Dabis, Maria Zreik
Three unmarried aristocratic Christian sisters from Ramallah are unable to come to terms with the new reality of the mass migration of Palestine’s aristocracy. Locked away in their villa, clinging desperately to their former glory, their orphan niece Badia arrives. The sisters see it as their mission to preserve the family name by finding her an eligible aristocratic Christian man. Will dragging Badia to every church event result in them finding a good husband for her?
WAX: We Are the X, Italy
Directed by Lorenzo Corvino
Cast: Gwendolyn Gourvenec, Jacopo Maria Bicocchi, Davide Paganini, Jean-Marc Barr, Rutger Hauer, Andrea Sartoretti, Andrea Renzi, Lily Bloom, Mathieu Intikalau, Muriel Gandois, Claudia Gallo, Francesca Ritrovato
A troupe of reporters is given a video by a mysterious someone. The video is the chronicle of a week-long road trip on the French Riviera left by three 30-somethings, two men and a woman, who were involved in an accident before their assignment was completed. The three share the destiny of a doomed generation.
Welcome To Me, USA – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by Shira Piven
Cast: Kristen Wiig, James Marsden, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Wes Bentley, Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack, Linda Cardellini
A woman suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder (Kristen Wiig) becomes an overnight celebrity after a huge lottery jackpot allows her to launch her own off-the-wall talk show. In “Welcome to Me,” director Shira Piven explores what happens when a commonly held fantasy comes true for a complicated person, and a story of good luck evolves into a compelling and darkly humorous drama. (TIFF) This is Shira Piven’s third film at the PBIFF.
While We’re Young, USA
Directed by Noah Baumbach
Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Naomi Watts, Ben Stiller, Adam Driver, Charles Grodin
Noah Baumbach’s exploration of aging, ambition, and success stars Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts as a middle-aged couple whose career and marriage are overturned when a disarming young couple enters their lives. (A24)
X + Y, United Kingdom
Directed by Morgan Matthews
Cast: Asa Butterfield, Sally Hawkins, Rafe Spall, Eddie Marsan, Jo Yang
A warm and inspirational drama featuring Asa Butterfield (Hugo) as a socially awkward teenage math prodigy who finds new confidence and new friendships when he lands a spot on the British squad at the International Mathematics Olympiad.
You Must Be Joking, USA
Directed by Jake Wilson
Cast: Jake Wilson, Sas Goldberg, James Wolk, Vanessa Ray, Hannibal Buress
20-something New Yorker Barb Schwartz (Sas Goldberg) somehow ended up in a life that kinda... sucks. She has a paralegal job she hates, a drab studio apartment on Roosevelt Island, and an overbearing family who never lets her forget she's still single. When she is reunited with her childhood BFF, ballet dancer Billy (Jake Wilson), she is inspired to turn her life around by revisiting her first love: comedy.
#ChicagoGirl – The Social Network Takes on a Dictator, USA
Directed by Joe Piscatella
From her bedroom in the Chicago suburbs, an American teenager uses social media to run the revolution in Syria. Armed with Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and cellphone cameras, she helps her social network on the front lines as they face snipers and shelling in the streets to expose brutal human rights atrocities. As the revolution rages on, everyone must decide the most effective way to fight a dictator: social media or AK-47s.
120 Days, USA
Directed by Ted Roach
Featuring Miguel Cortes
120 Days puts a human face on the topic of illegal immigration. The Cortes family is living a happy life in North Carolina -- working and paying taxes. Miguel's car is pulled over one day, without cause, and a new law allowing police to check immigration status sends him to prison. He's given four months to “self-deport,” faced with the heartbreaking prospect of leaving his wife and two daughters behind.
1913 Seeds of Confict, USA
Directed by Ben Loeterman
When did the Israeli-Arab conflict begin? 1913 Seeds of Conflict takes us to Ottoman Palestine, at a time when Jews, Muslims, and Christians mingle freely and gather at coffee houses to discuss their shared future. Local squabbles escalate into nationalist struggle on the eve of World War I, when a bloody incident outside the settlement of Rehovot leaves one Jew and one Arab dead, sowing the seeds of conflict.
Almost Friends, Israel
Directed by Nitzan Ofir
Two girls meet online. Samar (12) lives in Lod with her Israeli Arab mother and Palestinian father. Linor (11) lives in Tlamim, a religious Jewish village. They’re less than 42 miles apart, but a national, cultural, and ideological chasm separates them. An idea that started with innocent online correspondence, followed by face-to-face meetings, adds an exciting, stressful, and surprising new element to the girls’ lives. It engages them and their families in a deep, complex experience.
Althea, USA – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by Rex Miller
No player, not even the great Arthur Ashe, overcame more obstacles to become a champion than Althea Gibson. She was a truant from the rough streets of Harlem, a sharecropper's daughter whose family migrated north in 1930. Althea was the first African-American to play at, and win, Wimbledon and the US Open. But even when she was #1 in the world she still could not afford her own apartment, and became constantly indebted to sponsors and benefactors.
An Apartment in Berlin, Germany
Directed by Alice Agneskirchner
Attracted by its cosmopolitan and international atmosphere, Berlin has become a magnet for young Israelis. Three of them are lovingly restoring the apartment of Simon and Rosa Adler, egg merchants who came to Berlin from Galicia over 100 years ago. Along with the filmmaker they examine their own complex connections to the history of Germany while turning the apartment into a space for discussion and encounters with both the present as well as the past.
Art House, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Don Freeman
Featuring Alistair Gordon
Do you consider your home a work of art? Just wait until you see these houses. Photographer and filmmaker Don Freeman explores the handmade homes created and lived in by 11 distinguished American artists, shedding light on a unique architectural typology characterized by a D.I.Y. aesthetic, the appropriation of building techniques from art practice, and a fierce spirit of individual expression that deserves deeper examination in this age of architectural standardization.
Beneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front, USA/Israel
Directed by Wayne Kopping
A coming-of-age story which follows five Israeli high school graduates as they’re drafted into the army to defend their country. Just 18, away from their homes, family, and friends, they undergo a demanding, inspiring journey, revealing the core of who they are and who they want to be. This moving film illustrates how these young men and women are defending not only their homes, but also the values of peace, equality, opportunity, democracy, religious tolerance, and women's rights.
Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound, USA
Directed by William J. Saunders
Merle Haggard…Buck Owens…country superstars synonymous with the Bakersfield Sound, which emerged from this California farming community in the 50s. One of its founders, Billy Mize, was a talented, charismatic singer-songwriter who influenced the greats…yet didn’t become a household name himself. Why? Touring was incompatible with his only other love: family. But tragedy and hard living tore that family apart and a stroke took Billy's voice. Would he find redemption in his later years?
Calamity Jane, Wild West Legend, France – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by Gregory Monro
August 1901. On a train headed west, an old woman, lonesome and tired. She fought the Indians alongside Custer, witnessed the birth of Deadwood, and was close friends with
Buffalo Bill. She was the terror of the plains, the outrage of the saloons, the oddest of her kind. But no one ever knew who she really was. Her name was Martha Canary. You know her as Calamity Jane.
Children of the Sex Trade, Australia – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by Luigi Acquisto
Showing remarkable courage in the face of death threats, two young sisters in the Philippines help former Australian police and Special Forces officers rescue underage girls from Subic Bay’s sex bars. Michelle (16) and Marisol (19), both abused by foreign men as children, help spearhead a sting operation to rescue other young girls from a life of abuse and exploitation. A story of bravery and redemption.
Dancing Before the Enemy: How a Teenage Boy Fooled the Nazis and Lived, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Adam Bardach
Film producer Gene Gutowski (Repulsion, Cul-de-Sac, The Pianist) was 14 when first the Soviets, then the Nazis, invaded his hometown of Lwow, Poland. With a combination of chutzpah, street smarts, and an unflinching will to live, he spent the war flirting with danger as a teenage Jew hiding in plain sight. Witnessing firsthand the unspeakable horrors of the Nazi occupation, frequently cheating death himself and losing his entire family in the process, Gutowski's story is ultimately one of hope.
Dream On, USA
Directed by Roger Weisberg
Is the American Dream still a reality? In an epic road trip, political comedian John Fugelsang retraces the journey of Alexis de Tocqueville, whose study of America in 1831 came to define this as a place where anyone, of any background, could climb the ladder of economic opportunity. Produced and directed by Roger Weisberg, whose 31 previous documentaries have won over 150 awards including Emmy, duPont, and Peabody awards, as well as two Oscar nominations.
East Jerusalem, West Jerusalem, Israel
Directed by Erez Miller, Henrique Cymerman
Can music bring peace to the world? In early 2013, David Broza, the Israeli singer-songwriter, set out to realize his dream of cooperation and dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians through song. During eight days and nights of joint creation in an East Jerusalem studio a hopeful message of equality and unity arises.
Energizing Our World, Costa Rica/The Netherlands/Spain/USA
Directed by Susan Sember
Energizing Our World features top industry leaders who have become strong advocates for a sustainable Earth. They seek new ways to capture the energy of the sun, wind, and water; they harness the historical roots of the early farmers to provide healthier food; they design apparel with natural fibers; and they build self-supporting communities. It is through their voices and stories that the audience is moved to join and contribute to the prospect and promise of a better world.
Flory’s Flame, USA
Directed by Curt Fissel
Flory Jagoda is a 90-year-old US National Heritage Fellow musician. The songs from her September 2013 Celebration Concert at the US Library of Congress transport the viewer to the roots of Spanish Jewish life before the Inquisition, often considered the golden age for this community. After the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, Flory’s family carried on these traditions in the former Yugoslavia…eventually making it to America.
Forbidden Films, Germany
Directed by Felix Moeller
The Third Reich produced over 1200 feature films. Today, more than 70 years after the Nazi regime, 40 of these films remain banned from public screenings. Out of fear for their anti-Semitic and incendiary content, none of these films may be released on DVD or broadcast on television – they remain under lock and key, and can only be shown behind closed doors at scholarly events.
Havana Curveball, USA/Cuba
Directed by Marcia Jarmel, Ken Schneider
Mica is 13. An earnest kid, he takes to heart his Rabbi's Bar Mitzvah requirement to help 'heal the world.' Imagining himself savior of sorts, he launches a grand plan to send baseballs to Cuba. He knows they love baseball and have few resources -- and that they saved his grandpa's life. On a hunch, his filmmaker parents pick up their camera. Will the U.S. embargo of Cuba, and the complications of growing up, throw him a curveball?
Heart of the Shore, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Cliff Charles
In 2012 a storm named Sandy formed in the southern Caribbean and started on a wake of destruction, aided by the full moon. Sandy tore through the shores of New Jersey on October 29th. We follow the recovery of people living and working at the Jersey Shore as they battle Insurers, Mortgagors, and Governmental agencies. Their resilience and strength are tested as they learn that picking up the pieces after the storm is more difficult than surviving it.
In The Image: Palestinian Women Capture the Occupation, USA/Israel/Palestinian Territories
Directed by Judith Montell, Emmy Scharlatt
The Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem, gave video cameras to several Palestinian women on the West Bank. We see their daily struggles as human beings attempting to find justice and happiness, as they endure tear gas and harassment while capturing video of daily human rights violations and settler violence. Their portraits are built from interviews and their own vérité footage, along with interviews of B’Tselem staff revealing this unique partnership between Israelis and Palestinians.
Little White Lie, USA
Directed by Lacey Schwartz
Lacey Schwartz grew up in a typical middle-class Jewish household in Woodstock, New York, with loving parents and a strong sense of her Jewish identity. One day she discovers that her biological father is actually a black man with whom her mother had an affair. What defines our identity, our family of origin or the family that raises us? Lacey’s story is a legacy of family secrets, denial, and redemption.
Miriam Beerman: Expressing the Chaos, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Jonathan Gruber
At 90, Miriam Beerman is a survivor. This groundbreaking artist has overcome personal tragedy to inspire friends, family, peers, patrons, and students about how to remain defiant, creative and strong. Miriam has struggled with her artistic demons to create haunting images that evoke the suffering of generations of victims. The film is a memorable profile of an artist who has elevated her empathy for the plight of the world's castoffs into powerful portrayals of dignity.
Nat King Cole: Afraid of the Dark, United Kingdom
Directed by Jon Brewer
Nat King Cole was a “beacon of hope” to African-Americans in 1950s America. From director Jon Brewer, this searing and candid account of the musical legend’s “fairy tale” life of fame and fortune comes from private journals made available by his widow just preceding her death at 89. Features the last words of Maria Cole on the man she loved and the life they shared along with Cole family mementos, letters, and footage. Among the songs remastered by Capitol-EMI for the picture is “Magic Window,” an (amazing) unreleased track sung by Nat King Cole, discovered in the vaults of the Capitol building. Until now, there has been no access to Cole’s most personal records. Now the real story can be revealed.
Omo Child: The River and the Bush, USA
Directed by John Rowe
For many generations people in the Omo Valley of southwest Ethiopia believed some children are cursed, bringing disease, drought, and death to the tribe. The curse is called 'mingi' and these children are automatically killed. As a teen, Lale Labuko witnessed the horrors and decided one day he would put a stop to it. Filmed over a five year period, we follow Lale's journey as he attempts to change an ancient practice. A devastatingly powerful film.
Personal Gold, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Tamara Christopherson
After the men’s cycling team was banned from the 2012 Summer Olympics during the Lance Armstrong drug scandal, four women cyclists became America’s medal hope in London. The underfunded women turned to support from a volunteer team including their husbands and an experiment using ‘Data not Drugs’ to attempt the impossible -- win the first women’s track cycling medal in 20 years. A classic underdog story that truly touches the heart.
Pilchuck, A Dance with Fire, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by John Forsen
The Pilchuck Glass School outside Seattle started in 1971 during the peace movements, Flower Power, and the war in Vietnam. Founded by Dale Chihuly, this school is responsible for making the US Studio Glass movement what it is today. It's an international institution now, bringing students from all over the world. This is the story of its beginnings and how it's now made the Pacific Northwest the largest glass art center in the world.
Directed by Olivier Higgins, Mélanie Carrier
Mélanie and Olivier decided to cycle the North Shore of Québec, Canada to better understand the complex relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. This quest for identity would push them to travel deep inside themselves and to faraway lands. Their encounters include the surprising tale of an Aboriginal man in search of his ancestors in Normandy and the heartwrenching story of the sister of Corporal Marcel Lemay, who was killed during the 1900 Oka crisis.
Semicolon; The Adventures of Ostomy Girl, USA
Directed by Robin Greenspun
Meet Dana, a feisty, funny, and charming 25-year-old at a crossroads. But not the kind you might expect. She lives with a severe case of Crohn's Disease that she battles every day. It is unrelenting and Dana is facing major life choices. In a testament to her tenacity, this amazing woman allows the viewer to enter her world, one which is not pretty. Full of humor and surprises at the strangest times, Dana’s adventures are truly inspiring.
Sheldon Leonard’s Wonderful Life, USA
Directed by Allan Holzman
Sheldon Leonard was television’s first great comedic storyteller. After a rocky start as a Broadway actor, radio writer, and performer, he ventured to Hollywood as a character actor. With the invention of television, he found his calling as producer/director of “Make Room For Daddy," "The Andy Griffith Show," and perhaps the greatest sitcom of all time, “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” He established the role of the writer/producer, which continues today as the driving force in TV production.
Shunned, Philippines/USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Janice Villarosa
Beneath the pageant smile, sexy outfits, and colorful exterior lies the transsexuals’ day-to-day pain of achieving the ultimate goal -- to be happy with themselves and be accepted. “Shunned” is a no-holds-barred look into the lives of male-to-female transsexuals in the Philippines. We experience their struggles, battles with society, their love lives, and transitions –as they find out what it takes to be a woman.
Skydancers, USA – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by Fredric Lean
Get ready to soar! ‘Skydancers is a compelling and exciting peek into the lives of women in aerobatics, big dreams, and flying airplanes – but, most of all, a story of women who dare!
Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa, USA
Directed by Abby Ginzberg
Albie Sachs, a Jewish lawyer and anti-apartheid activist, spent six months in prison for his beliefs. He later was targeted by South African military intelligence, losing an arm in a car bomb attack. Yet, he believed that his ‘soft vengeance’ would bring freedom and democracy to South Africa. He helped draft the new Constitution and served as one of the first 11 judges on the new Constitutional Court, where he authored the decision upholding same sex marriage.
Swank Farm, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Judith Olney
After losing jobs in the post-9/11 recession, Jodi and Darrin Swank started new lives as passionate, pioneering, hydroponic farmers in Palm Beach County. Through hurricanes, near-bankruptcy, the challenges of Florida farming, and life in a trailer home with three growing children, they have emerged as major suppliers of fresh produce to area restaurants and hosts of legendary fundraising affairs – the legendary “Swank Table” events. A lesson in the rewards of giving back to the community.
The Lost Key – The Secrets of Jewish and Kabbalistic Sexuality Revealed, Venezuela
Directed by Ricardo Adler
After a traumatic divorce, Ricardo Adler sets out to discover how to achieve a fulfilling and lasting marriage. His search takes him to Rabbi Manis Friedman, who introduces him to Kabbalah´s ancient secrets to attain the highest form of intimacy. The film portrays the dramatic transformation of Ricardo's new marriage, and the reactions of other couples to this revolutionary way to sexual connection. The Lost Key could inspire society to rediscover intimacy, one bedroom at a time.
The Muses of Isaac Bashevis Singer, Israel
Directed by Shaul Betser, Asaf Galay
Nobel Prize-winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer was a charming enchanter both on the page and in his romantic life. Through poignant interviews and exclusive archival footage, we discover the unknown history of one of his most vital sources of creative inspiration: his translators. Dozens of women worked with him to open the doors to his singular Yiddish prose for the rest of the world to enjoy, and his relationships often blurred the lines between the professional and the intimate.
The Record Man, USA
Directed by Mark Moormann
KC and the Sunshine Band…the original Miami Sound…West Palm Beach’s own George McRae and his hit “Rock Your Baby”…the birth of Disco. What do they have in common? All emerged from Miami’s TK Records label and the studios of Henry Stone. From distributing records out of his '48 Packard to running the largest independent label of the ‘70s, Henry’s story spans the dramatic arc of the record business from inception through the digital age.
Walking Man, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Joshua Salzberg
After a high school loses three students to suicide in seven weeks, Mark Norwine, a suicide prevention advocate, embarks on a 200 mile walk to educate about mental health and the roots of the suicide epidemic. Mark is joined by his 23-year-old son, Eric, who recently found out about his dad's own suicide attempt. Long kept secrets about their own struggles with mental illness are revealed along the way in this vitally important film.
THE JEWISH EXPERIENCE
A Good Story, Germany
Directed by Martin-Christopher Bode
Cleaning Time, Israel – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by Alamork Marsha
Directed by Attila Hartung
Pestipop 2002, Israel – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by Nofar Volpo
Salomea’s Nose, Germany/USA
Directed by Susan Korda
I AM WOMAN
Born Again, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Francesca Mirabella
The Crossing, Italy/UK – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Nathalie Biancheri
I’ve Just Had a Dream, Spain – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by Javier Navarro
Malibu, Germany – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by Teresa Kuhn
Shifting Faults, USA
Directed by David Sowden
A Song for Manzanar, USA
Directed by Kazuko Golden, Matt Ohlson
PRIDE COMES OUT
Between The Sun and Me, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Nanako Fukui
Directed by Blake Pruitt
Directed by Stephan Kämpf & Andreas Kessler
Charlie, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Shawn Ryan
If You Could Only Be You, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Jared Kahn
Reveal, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Ryan Blitzer
Tom in America, USA
Directed by Flavio Alves
THE GOLDEN YEARS
Anything Is Possible: The Man, The Movement and The Legacy, USA – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by Rade Popovic
Simpler Times, USA – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by Steve Monarque
The Emissary, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Rudy Dobrev
The Here After, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Lauren DeFilippo
FACING THE CHALLENGE
Greater Goode, USA
Directed by Jordan Wall
Keep The Change, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Rachel Israel
Looking Out, Australia - U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by Tristan Artin
Natural Insemination, USA
Directed by Crosby Selander
SouthSouthWest, USA – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by Madison Hamburg
The Council, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Rob Margolies
The Little Violinist, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Yang Wang
5 Ways to Die, Cyprus – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by Daina Papadaki
Channeling Nora Ephron, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Kara Pellegrini-Bilof
Cops and Robbers, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Marco Ragozzino
Dating Eliza, UK – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Simon Allen
F the Moon, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Michael Dunne
I Thought I Told You to Shut Up!!, Canada
Directed by Charlie Tyrell
The Detectives of Noir Town, Australia
Directed by Andrew Chambers
The One and Only Eddie Duke, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Peter Ney
Hands on Me – Jaysin Voxx, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Carlos Hurtado
Heaven, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Daniel Feighery
Jet – Annie Minogue Band f/Mystic Bowie, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Devereaux Millburn
Patience – Line Kåsa, Norway – U.S. PREMIERE
Directed by Jonas Grimeland
Silver Girl – Vanada f/Oriana Sanders, USA/UK – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Min Reid
Tea Party, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Brian Zahm
When Girls Collide – Múm, Spain – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Javier Longobardo
VOICES OF LOCAL FILM
Good Health Hunting, USA
Directed by Brian Connors
Mama Needs A Ride, USA
Directed by Matt Florio
Pembroke Circle, USA – WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Max Rousseau
RoboCop Swede, USA
Directed by Jason Galotti
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In my travels to the best film festivals in…