My first thought when looking at the complete line-up for this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival?
[Begin Texas Accent] Ho-ly Shit! [/Texas Accent]
This is going to be one hell of a year in Austin. It is going to be just as busy, if not busier than Sundance, but thankfully I will have a few other FSR staffers in tow as we make our way to the Lone Star state to catch an awesome menu of film goodness. They say everything is bigger in Texas; the beers, the steaks, the hats and now even the film festivals. I am most excited to finally see Austin, a city that is becoming a cornerstone of the independent film world. It has been home to countless talents, including Quentin Tarantino, Richard Kelly and Robert Rodriguez. It is also home to Harry Knowles and Ain’t It Cool News, one of the pioneers of movie websites.
But enough about Austin the city, lets talk about the festival that it will be hosting from March 7-15. Below you will find the complete list of Official Selection of films, broken into their respective categories. There are some fantastic films here that I saw at Sundance (American Teen, Assassination of a High School President, Choke, Gonzo) and some new films that I am very anxious to see (Harold and Kumar, 21, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Second Skin). As well, the most exciting part of the film festival experience is discovering great films that you didn’t see coming. I have a feeling there are a few in here that will just blow me away, so stay tuned as we begin our coverage of SXSW ’08!
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION
Director: Michael Tucker & Petra Epperlein Fidelis. Cloer is a self-confessed war profiteer who found The Perfect War when the US invaded Iraq. It wasn’t about selling a dozen cars, or even a hundred, it was a thousand-car war where security would become the ultimate product.
Director: Caroline Suh. The campaign for student body president at Stuyvesant, perhaps the most prestigious public high school in the country, is almost as sophisticated as any presidential election. But unlike presidential candidates, they also have to do their homework, take their SATs and write their college applications.
Full Battle Rattle
Directors: Jesse Moss & Tony Gerber. A feature documentary about life inside the US Army’s Iraq Simulation in California’s Mojave Desert. The film follows one Army Battalion’s efforts to pacify the town of Medina Wasl, one of thirteen villages in the simulation, as it tips precariously on the brink of civil war.
Directors: Stephen Higgins & Nina Gilden Seavey. The epic tale of David Fandila’s quest to become the world’s top-ranked bullfighter. Heart-wrenching setbacks and thrilling successes dramatize his three-year journey across Spain and Latin America and into the pages of bullfighting history.
Director: Daryl Wein. A look at the life of Richard Berkowitz, a revolutionary gay S&M hustler turned AIDS activist in the 1980s, whose incomparable contribution to the invention of safe sex has long since been forgotten.
Some Assembly Required
Director: Dori Berinstein. Over 2000 kids. 400 teams nationwide. Eight months of brainstorming, designing and building. One goal: to create the next great toy.
They Killed Sister Dorothy
Director: Daniel Junge. On February 12th, 2005, a 73 year-old Catholic nun from Ohio, was shot six times at point blank range and left to die on a muddy Amazon road. Who was this woman, and why was she killed? What will become of her murderers, and who else was involved? What are the implications of her murder and these trials on the future?
We Are Wizards
Director: Josh Koury. An entertaining and comprehensive portrait of the passionate culture of Harry Potter fans.
NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION
Director/Writer: Mark Webber. Young love, drugs and poverty collide in the city of Philadelphia creating a beautiful tale of hope and the power of coming together. Starring: Lou Taylor Pucci, Frankie Shaw, Tariq Trotter, Rosario Dawson, Noamie Harris, Paul Dano
The Lost Coast
Director/Writer: Gabriel Fleming. As a group of old high school friends wander through San Francisco on Halloween night, two of them are forced to confront their unspoken sexual history. Starring: Ian Scott McGregor, Lucas Alifano, Lindsay Benner, Chris Yule
My Effortless Brilliance
Director: Lynn Shelton. Successful and self-involved novelist Eric Lambert Jones has been unceremoniously dumped by his life long buddy, Dylan. In an attempt to piece together the fractured friendship, Eric takes a side trip from his latest book tour to drop in on Dylan, newly settled in the picturesque backwoods of Washington state. Starring: Sean Nelson, Basil Harris, Calvin Reeder, Jeanette Maus
Older Than America
Director: Georgina Lightning. A woman’s haunting visions reveal a Catholic priest’s sinister plot to silence her mother from speaking the truth about atrocities that occurred at a Native Indian boarding school. Starring: Adam Beach, Tantoo Cardinal, Bradley Cooper, Georgina Lightning, Wes Studi
Paper Covers Rock
Director/Writer: Joe Maggio. The story of Sam, a troubled young woman who loses custody of her six year-old daughter in the wake of an unsuccessful suicide attempt. Starring: Jeannine Kaspar, Sayra Player, Clint Jordan, Tom Brangle
Up With Me
Director: Greg Takoudes. When Francisco, a teenager from Harlem, is admitted to an upstate boarding school on scholarship, he is torn between his life at home (his loyal girlfriend and his jealous best friend) and the new environment. Starring: Francisco Vicioso, Erika Rivera, Brandon Thorpe, Justin Coltrain
Director/Writer: Jake Mahaffy. The chaotic journey of one man trying to succeed in a business that doesn’t exist. Starring: Jeff Clark, Paul Mahaffy
Director/Writer: Mary Bronstein. A maddeningly oblivious, tyrannical and emotionally stunted young woman tries her best to negotiate two toxic friendships. Starring: Mary Bronstein, Amy Judd, Greta Gerwig, Sean Williams
A Necessary Death
Director: Daniel Stamm. “Documentary Filmmaker looking for suicidal individual to follow from first preparation to final act.” Cut from 142 video tapes, this project sheds light on the tragedy following the infamous internet ad. Starring: GJ Echternkamp, Matt Tilley, Valerie Hurt, Michael Traynor
The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela
Director/Writer: Olaf de Fleur. Raquela is looking for a way out of her tireless job as a “ladyboy” prostitute, which brings her to Iceland with some unexpected outcomes. Starring: Raquela Rios, Stefan Schaefer, Olivia Galudo
Director/Writer: Jonas Cuaron. An impossible romance between Molly, a 21 year-old American, and Diego, a Mexican in the throes of puberty. Starring: Eireann Harper, Diego Catano
Director: Rachel Goslins. A charismatic black woman at the University of Alabama runs for Homecoming Queen, going up against a century of ingrained racial segregation, internal black politics, and a secret association of all-white fraternities.
Director: Brandon Linden. A married Chicago Public School Teacher spends part of her summer vacation visiting outlet malls across the Midwest. At her penultimate stop, in Pleasant Prairie Wisconsin, she meets a young man who works at the mall. A relationship develops that makes them both question their lives and their futures. Starring: Lepolion Henderson, Angela Harris, Alissa Bailey, Joyce Porter
Flying On One Engine
Director: Joshua Z Weinstein. The documentary story of an Indian-American surgeon who, despite being critically ill himself and living in a one-room Brooklyn apartment, travels back to India every year to perform marathon surgery “camps” where he repairs the cleft lips of 700 children in a week.
Director/Writer: Jennifer Phang. As troubling signs of global cataclysms accelerate, a brother and sister react to their father’s desertion and the powerful presence of their mother’s new boyfriend. Starring: Sanoe Lake, Alexander Agate, Julia Nickson, Ben Redgrave
Director/Writer: Danny Jacobs & Darren Grodsky. When Peter Hadley, a promising yet disillusioned medical student, stumbles upon an eccentric community of marijuana farmers, his life will never be the same. Starring: Fairuza Balk, Peter Bogdanovich, Frances Conroy, Madison Davenport
I’ll Come Running
Director: Spencer Parsons. A young American woman finds herself drawn to a last-minute trip to Denmark, so that she can learn more about the man she loves. Starring: Melonie Diaz, Jon Lange, Christian Tafdrup
Director/Writer: Russell Friedenberg. Recently escaped from Trinity Psychiatric Center, a pair of patients hit the road on a mission to inscribe an addendum to the Ten Commandments in order to save the world. Starring: Christian Campbell, Russell Friedenberg, Chris Kriesa, Heather Rae
In A Dream
Director: Jeremiah Zagar. The chaotic story of Julia Zagar and her husband Isaiah Zagar, a renowned mosaic artist, who for the past 30 years has covered more than 40,000 square feet of Philadelphia top to bottom with tile, mirror, paint, and concrete.
The Marconi Bros.
Directors/Writers: Marco Ricci, Michael Canzoniero. Anthony and Carmine Marconi have been dutifully serving out life sentences in the family carpet business. Their opportunity to escape occurs when they meet the undisputed king of the Long Island wedding video business. Starring: Brendan Sexton III, Dan Fogler, Jon Polito, Zoe Lister Jones
Medicine For Melancholy
Director/Writer: Barry Jenkins. A love story of bikes and one-night stands told through two African-American twenty-somethings dealing with issues of class, identity, and the evolving conundrum of being a minority living in a rapidly gentrifying San Francisco. Starring: Wyatt Cenac, Tracey Heggins
Director: Alex Cannon, Michael Lerman. In the wake of a brief, but intense relationship with Shaina, David struggles to find the same connection with Cara, his new flame and Shaina’s former best friend. Starring: Jerzy Gwiazdowski, Leah Goldstein, Shonda Leigh Robbins, Peter Davenport Swan III
The New Year Parade
Director/Writer: Tom Quinn. When Mike and Lisa separate, their children suffer quietly in the middle of the annual Mummer’s Parade. Starring: Greg Lyons, Jennifer Welsh, Andrew Conway, MaryAnn McDonald
One Minute to Nine
Director: Tommy Davis. A haunting and touching documentary look at one family, thrown into the disturbing reality that follows a history of domestic abuse, as one member prepares to serve a jail sentence.
The Ostrich Testimonies
Director: Jonathan VanBallenberghe. The dramatic story of the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch near Tucson, Arizona, where in 2002, two hot-air balloons triggered a stampede of 1,600 ostriches.
The Pleasure of Being Robbed
Director: Josh Safdie. A curious and lost Eléonore looks for something everywhere, even in the bags of strangers who find themselves sadly smiling only well after she’s left their lives. They owe her their thanks. Starring: Eléonore Hendricks, Josh Safdie, Wayne Chin, Francesca & Miranda LaPrelle
Director/Writer: Frank V. Ross. Leading very separate lives, Christy and her boyfriend Buddy live together in her parent’s basement with their baby Mikey. As they struggle with the realities of their lives, questions are formed about obligations, consequences, and all the identities we employ to get through the day. Starring: Anthony Baker, Tamara Fana Sasha Gioppo, Allison Latta
Director: Alex Karpovsky. Fanatical birdwatchers have descended upon a small town in the Arkansas bayou in hopes of finding the celebrated Ivory Billed Woodpecker. Declared extinct in the 1940s, the bird has apparently been spotted by numerous experts over the past few months. The news is miraculous, yet concrete proof remains elusive. Starring: Jon E. Hyrns, Wesley Yang, Ken Parham
Director: Robert Luketic. Based on the true story of a group of MIT students who, under the guidance of a cryptic professor, take Vegas casinos for millions through the mathematical art of counting cards. Starring: Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, Laurence Fishburne
Director: Nanette Burstein. A documentary on seniors at a high school in a small Indiana town, and their various cliques.
Assassination of a High School President
Director: Brett Simon. A rookie journalist for the school paper unravels a mysterious plot involving the class president, drugs, and a ring of stolen test scores in this noir caper set at a quirky Catholic High School. Starring: Reece Thompson, Mischa Barton, Melonie Diaz, Bruce Willis
At the Death House Door
Director: Steve James & Peter Gilbert. An investigation of the wrongful death of Carlos DeLuna, who was executed in Texas on December 7, 1989, after prosecutors ignored evidence inculpating a man, who bragged to friends about committing the crimes of which DeLuna was convicted.
Director/Writers: Jay Duplass & Mark Duplass. An in-depth study of the relationship dynamics for a group of desperate actor friends. And a bag. And a head. Starring: Steve Zissis, Ross Partridge, Greta Gerwig, Elise Muller
Director: Ceri Levy. An in-depth and revealing glimpse at the cryptic cartoon band, Gorillaz.
Battle in Seattle
Director/Writer: Stuart Townsend. An all-star, edge-of-your-seat glimpse at the 1999 WTO demonstrations in Seattle, told from the perspective of protesters, police, and city officials. Starring: Martin Henderson, Charlize Theron, Woody Harrelson, Ray Liotta
Directors: Aaron Rose & Joshua Leonard. A feature documentary film celebrating the independent and D.I.Y. spirit that unified a loose-knit group of American artists who emerged from the underground youth subcultures of skateboarding, graffiti, punk rock and hip-hop.
Director/Writer: Clark Gregg. An adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel, this is the sardonic story about mother and son relationship, fear of aging, sexual addiction, and the dark side of historical theme parks. Starring: Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston, Kelly Macdonald
Director: David Modigliani. Just a short time before George W. Bush announced his intentions to run for the Presidency, the New Haven-born hopeful bought a ranch in tiny Crawford, Texas. This is what happened next.
Dreams With Sharp Teeth
Director: Erik Nelson. A documentary portrait of acclaimed author Harlan Ellison, as he looks back on his fabled and influential career as one of the world’s top genre writers for television and print.
Director: Michael Radford. In 1960s London, a talented but overlooked diamond executive is convinced to participate in a jewelry heist when a veteran janitor hatches a plan. Starring: Demi Moore, Michael Caine
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Director: Nicholas Stoller. A comic look at one guy’s arduous quest to grow up and get over the heartbreak of getting dumped. If only his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend weren’t staying at the same hotel. Starring: Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Jonah Hill, Russell Brand
Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay
Directors/Writers: Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg. The triumphant return of the two hilarious, slacker anti-heroes. This time, the boys get themselves in trouble trying to sneak a bong onboard a flight to Amsterdam. Now, being suspected of terrorism, they are forced to run from the law and try to find a way to prove their innocence. What follows is an irreverent and epic journey of deep thoughts, deeper inhaling and a wild trip around the world that is as “un-PC” as it gets. Starring: Kal Penn, John Cho, Rob Corddry, Neil Patrick Harris
Living with the Tudors
Directors: Karen Guthrie & Nina Pope. After four years of participation as costumed historical re-enactors, Karen Guthrie & Nina Pope were given unprecedented access with their cameras to the UK’s oldest and largest historical re-enactment at Kentwell Hall in rural Suffolk.
Lou Reed’s Berlin
Director: Julian Schnabel. An artful document of musical legend Lou Reed, performing his influential record, “Berlin,” to audiences in New York City.
Director/Writer: Christophe Honore. Ismaël and Julie are the ideal young Parisian couple. They both have good jobs, a great apartment and are considered part of each other’s families. After several years together, they decide to add a spark to their relationship and take on a third lover, Alice. Starring: Louis Garrel, Ludivine Sagnier, Chiara Mastroianni, Clotilde Hesme
Director: David Mackenzie. Driven to expose the true cause of his mother’s death, young Hallam Foe instead finds himself searching the rooftops of the city of Edinburgh for love. Starring: Jamie Bell, Sophia Myles, Ciaran Hinds, Claire Forlani
Director: Harmony Korine. A Michael Jackson impersonator lives alone in Paris and performs on the streets to make ends meet. At a performance in a retirement home, Michael falls for a beautiful Marilyn Monroe look-alike who suggests he move to a commune of impersonators in the Scottish Highlands. Starring: Werner Herzog, Diego Luna, Samantha Morton, Denis Lavant
New Orleans Mon Amour
Director: Michael Almereyda. A year after Hurricane Katrina, an affluent surgeon in New Orleans is attempting to get his life back on track. He is remarrying his ex-wife, renovating her house and restarting his medical practice. His plan begins to unravel when he runs into an old flame. Starring: Christopher Eccleston, Elisabeth Moss, Isabel Gillies
Nights and Weekends
Directors/Writers: Joe Swanberg & Greta Gerwig. A man and woman must face the tension that builds between them during a long-distance relationship. Starring: Joe Swanberg, Greta Gerwig, Elizabeth Donius, Jay Duplass, Lynn Shelton, Kent Osborne
Directors: Daniel O’Connor, Neil Ortenberg. Under Barney Rosset, Grove Press and Evergreen Review fought decisive battles to defeat legal censorship, and opened American life to new and dangerous currents of freedom. This is Rosset’s story.
The Order of Myths
Director: Margaret Brown. A probing and artful portrait of the divided Mardi Gras communities that still exist today in Alabama.
Director/Writer: Steven Conrad. The story of two mid-level supermarket employees who compete ruthlessly for a coveted post at a new store location. Starring: Seann William Scott, John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer, Lili Taylor
Run, Fat Boy, Run
Director: David Schwimmer. An out-of-shape divorced father makes one last attempt to win back the respect of his son, his ex-wife, and the community around him. All he has to do is finish his first marathon. Starring: Simon Pegg, Thandie Newton, Hank Azaria
Director: Juan Carlos Pineiro. An intimate look at people whose lives have become transformed by the virtual worlds in online games such as World of Warcraft, Everquest and Second Life.
Shine A Light
Director: Martin Scorsese. A career-spanning documentary on the Rolling Stones, with concert footage from their “A Bigger Bang” tour.
Shot In Bombay
Director: Liz Mermin. Yes, Bollywood makes gangster films. This fast paced documentary, populated by a charismatic and often surreal cast of characters, goes beyond the tinselly glamour of “Bollywood” to explore some of the industry’s darker sides.
Director: Kimberly Peirce. Back home in Texas after fighting in Iraq, a soldier refuses to return to battle despite the government mandate requiring him to do so. Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Abbie Cornish, Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Super High Me
Director: Michael Blieden. Comedian Doug Benson, a famous marijuana advocate, decides to test the limits of his body during two, 30-day stretches.
Then She Found Me
Director: Helen Hunt. Adapted from Elinor Lipman’s novel of the same name, Helen Hunt makes her feature directing debut with this touching story of schoolteacher April Epner and her very unlikely path towards personal fulfillment. Starring: Helen Hunt, Colin Firth, Bette Midler, Matthew Broderick
The Toe Tactic
Director/Writer: Emily Hubley. In this hybrid of live-action and animation, a young woman grieves for her father while unaware of the magical world around her. Starring: Lily Rabe, Daniel London, Kevin Corrigan, Sakina Jaffrey
Where In The World is Osama Bin Laden?
Director: Morgan Spurlock. Acclaimed filmmaker Morgan Spurlock heads to the Middle East for two reasons: to understand cultures overseas and to find Osama Bin Laden.
Wild Blue Yonder
Director: Celia Maysles. Celia Maysles had no idea her father and his brother Albert were pioneers of verite documentary filmmaking. Determined to uncover the secrets surrounding her background, Celia sets out on a quest to rediscover her father by using his own artistic process.
Director: Stephen Walker. The touching and heartfelt portrait of a New England senior citizens chorus that has delighted audiences worldwide with their covers of songs by everyone from The Clash to Coldplay.
24 BEATS PER SECOND
Blip Festival: Reformat the Planet
Director: Paul Owens. A documentary look at the movement known as ChipTunes, a vibrant underground scene based around creating new, original music using old video game hardware.
Director: Jerry Rothwell. Heavy Load are a punk outfit subject to the combustible flux of ego, ambition, fantasy, expectation and desire that fuels any emerging band. But they’re also, uniquely, made up of musicians with and without learning disabilities.
Heavy Metal in Baghdad
Director: Suroosh Alvi. Playing heavy metal in a Muslim country has always been a difficult proposition, but after Saddam’s regime was toppled, there was a brief moment for the band in which real freedom seemed possible.
Director: Negin Farsad. “Nerdcore” is the newest, dorkiest wave of hip-hop, born out of the internet and made possible by computer-obsessed geeks.
Of All The Things
Director: Jody Lambert. A Filipino concert promoter has been begging Dennis Lambert (one of the most successful and gifted songwriter/producers of the ’70s and ’80s) to come tour for decades. Thirty-five years after the release of his solo album, he finally agreed.
Rainbow Around the Sun
Director/Writer: Kevin Ely. A rock musical about the healing power of creativity. Matthew Alvin Brown stars as Zachary Blasto, a hard-drinking, talented songwriter and performer who envisions madcap musical fantasies in order to avoid dealing with the downward spiral of his personal life. Starring: Matthew Alvin Brown, Jamie Buxton, Doug Van Liew, Brian Stockton
Throw Down Your Heart
Director: Sascha Paladino. Cameras follow American banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck on his journey to Africa to explore the little known African roots of the banjo, and record an album.
The Upsetter: The Life & Music of Lee “Scratch” Perry
Directors: Ethan Higbee and Adam Bhala Lough. The fascinating story of Lee “Scratch” Perry, a visionary musician and artist from poor rural Jamaica who soon became of the most influential artists in reggae and dub.
Wesley Willis’s Joyrides
Director: Chris Bagley. A portrait of the self-proclaimed rock ‘n’ roll star and Chicago city artist, Wesley Willis.
The Wrecking Crew
Director: Denny Tedesco. You heard them playing on the Beach Boys hits, on the Mamas and the Papas’ recordings, on Frank Sinatra records, on Monkees’ singles, and they were Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound. Most likely, you never heard their name. If you knew who they were, you called them “the Wrecking Crew.”
LONE STAR STATES
Director/Writer: David Pomes. Set in the deep woods of East Texas, an abused and alienated teenage boy and his absentee father struggle to reconnect and beat their respective addictions to crystal meth amidst a family of meth addicts and a community crumbling under the meth epidemic. Starring: Anson Mount, Xander Berkeley, Ryan Donowho, Polly Cole
Directors: David Redmon & Ashley Sabin. Cecy and Camilo recently migrated to Reynosa, Mexico with a dream to buy land and build a home. A year later they return to their rural hometown to reunite with their daughter. What seems like a satisfying reunion turns into a confusing dilemma that transforms the course of their marriage.
The King of Texas
Director: René Pinnell. Although Eagle Pinnell was quickly becoming a regional film legend, his acute alcoholism and legendary ego alienated many of his friends and collaborators. Eagle remained a forgotten and mostly unsung talent throughout his life, which ended in 2002. Friends, family, and fellow filmmakers recall Eagle’s life, the excitement of working alongside him, and the burden of his addictions.
Director: Cassandra Herrman & Kelly Whalen. At the end of one of the biggest drug stings in Texas history, dozens of residents of the small farming town of Tulia had been rounded up and thrown behind bars. Of 46 people indicted for cocaine dealing, 39 were African American. In the years to follow, troubling evidence about Coleman’s investigation and his past began to surface.
Dance of the Dead
Director: Gregg Bishop. A horror/adventure that takes place on the night of the big High School Prom: the dead rise to eat the living, and the only people who can stop them are the losers who couldn’t get dates to the dance. Starring: Jared Kusnitz, Greyson Chadwick, Justin Welborn, Chandler Darby
Not Your Typical Bigfoot Movie
Director: Jay Delaney. Through the experiences of two amateur bigfoot researchers in southern Ohio, we see how the power of a dream can bring two men together and provide a source of hope and meaning.
Director: Tony Krantz. In the midst of a serial abductor/killer’s rampage, a beautiful young teen goes missing but soon turns the tables on her tormentor. Starring: Daniel Stern, Illeana Douglas, Kevin Pollak, Jere Burns
Registered Sex Offender
Director/Writer: Robert Byington. There may be one thing worse than being a sex offender sent to prison: Being a sex offender released from prison. Starring: Gabriel McIver, Kristen Tucker, Andrew Bujalski, Kevin Corrigan
Director/Writer: Edward Anderson. A late-night shuttle ride home from airport descends into darkness. Starring: Peyton List, Cameron Goodman, Cullen Douglas, Dave Power
Director/Writer: Mark Young. A man must atone for a tragic mistake by saving a little girl from a ruthless, undead preacher. Starring: Yul Vazquez, Nicole DuPort, William Forsythe
Agile, Mobile, Hostile: A Year With Andre Williams
Director: Tricia Todd. A year in the life of Andre Williams, one of the unsung heroes of the American R&B community, who walks us through the hard life he’s led over five decades of making music.
Bi The Way
Director: Brittany Blockman. This documentary looks at recent statistics, real-life stories, and more to paint a picture of the growing acceptance of bisexuality in America.
The Black List
Director: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. In a film that works as series of living portraits, twenty prominent African Americans of various professions, disciplines and backgrounds offer their own stories and insights on the struggles, triumphs and joys of black life in this country and manage to re-define “blacklist” for a new century in the process. (Regional Premiere)
Body of War
Directors: Ellen Spiro & Phil Donahue. “Support our troops” has long been a rallying cry for war proponents. But that phrase will never sound the same after you meet Tomas Young, an eloquent former soldier and current war protester.
Director: Barak Heymann. Alfonso is the lead dancer in a flamenco troupe, which rehearses in a Tel Aviv suburb After the death of his wife, he begins to obsessively court Sima, a dancer with the troupe, to the displeasure of his children, who are unwilling to accept the fact that their father might be interested in another woman.
Dear Zachary: a letter to a son about his father
Director: Kurt Kuenne. After Dr. Andrew Bagby was brutally murdered, the prime suspect (his former girlfriend) announced that she was pregnant with Andrew’s baby. Andrew’s childhood friend began this film as a way for the baby to learn about his father, until things started to take an even more unpredictable turn.
Do You Sleep In the Nude?
Director: Marshall Fine. Forty years after he blazed across the scene, Rex Reed is still going strong – a brand-name movie critic whose name and face remain easily recognizable, even if his influence has waned.
Don’t Get Me Wrong
Director: Adina Pintilie. Within a stark Romanian psychiatric hospital, patients move stones, help each other perform daily tasks and discuss the existence of God and how to stop the rain.
Director: David Zellner. A recently divorced man tries to find the one aspect of his marriage that still matters to him: his missing cat, Goliath. Starring: David Zellner, Caroline O’Connor, Nathan Zellner
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
Director: Alex Gibney. With access to never-before-seen archives, this is a fascinating documentary look at the legendary and undeniable Hunter S. Thompson.
Here Is What Is
Director: Adam Vollick & Adam Samuels. An invitation to experience a year of creation, looking over Daniel Lanois’ shoulder. His psychedelic past emerges throughout the film as the hyperrealism of the in-studio documentation is contrasted by moments of wild fantasia.
Director: Kat Mansoor. Previously renowned for his work in the comics Judge Dredd and 2000AD, Johnny now lives in an increasing state of immobility and frustration. He escapes the confines of his front room by drawing, and through the expression of his brilliant, and sometimes troubled, imagination we learn about the disease that he is forced to co-exist with.
Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry
Director: Erich Weiss. A feature-length documentary exploring the roots of American tattooing through the life of its most iconoclastic figure Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins.
Director: Grant Gee. The filmmakers investigate why Joy Division’s collective musical genius and singular vision enjoys a larger audience and influence thirty years on.?
Director: Sergei Bodrov. The first part in a planned trilogy about the epic, violent, and romantic life of Genghis Khan. Starring: Tadanobu Asano, Honglei Sun, Khulan Chuluun
The Night James Brown Saved Boston
Director: David Leaf. A documentary look at the historic James Brown concert, held just days after Martin Luther King’s assassination, when the city of Boston was ready to boil. (Work-In-Progress)
Director: Peter Galison & Robb Moss. The film is about the vast, invisible world of government secrecy. By filming people from the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, reporters, information seekers, and individuals whose lives have been marked by their encounters with the classification bureaucracy, the film probes secrecy’s relationship to fear, executive power and national security.
The Sweet Lady with the Nasty Voice
Director: Vincent Kralyevich. This documentary is the culmination of a two-year journey with Wanda Jackson, now 70, in performances across the United States and Europe.
Director/Writer: Thomas McCarthy. A college professor becomes embroiled in the lives of a young immigrant couple he discovers squatting in his Manhattan apartment. Confronted with adversity, these strangers become inextricably bound together. Starring: Richard Jenkins
Triage: Dr. James Orbinski’s Humanitarian Dilemma
Director: Patrick Reed. The former head of Doctors Without Borders returns to Africa, to confront its harsh realities.
We Dreamed America
Director: Alex Walker. A documentary that delves deep into the dark and hilarious recesses of the British Americana music scene, exploring the gritty underworld of the New British Country movement.
The Wild Horse Redemption
Director: John Zaritsky. At a prison in the high desert foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, hardcore criminals are given 90 days to tame wild mustang horses. Most of the inmates who volunteer for the program have never trained a horse before, or even ridden one.
For more, visit the festival’s official website here.