AINIKIEN JIDJID ILO BOÑ (THE SOUND OF CRICKETS AT NIGHT), feature film, directed by Jack Niedenthal & Suzanne Chutaro, 57 minutes, (MARSHALL ISLANDS). An elderly nuclear survivor from Bikini Atoll in the Pacific summons a mysterious ancient deity to help reunite his family. The Sound of Crickets at Night is the story of a family displaced as a result of nuclear testing on Bikini Atoll and now living in exile on Ejit Island in the Marshall Islands. Kali, a curious 10 year-old Bikinian girl, watches in dismay as her mother and father separate and leave the island. Kali is left alone to care for her elderly grandfather, Jebuki, who summons the power of Worejabato, an ancient deity from Bikini Atoll. Worejabato, appears in the form of the Stranger who is sailing across the Pacific, and who tells the grandfather that the old man must pay the ultimate price, in order to restore his family to peace. Bikini's ancient traditions, the heart-wrenching results of Marshall's nuclear legacy, and the frailties of today’s Marshallese society collide. Most of the actors are from the Bikinian community, residing in exile on Ejet Island of the Majuro Atoll. The film, entirely shot on Bikini Atoll and Majuro, is in English & the Marshallese language with English subtitles, as needed. This is the film’s US premiere, and the official Friday Opening Night film!
ALASKA WOMEN MARINERS, short documentary & television pilot film, 30 minutes, directed by Captain Anna Young, (USA). The film is about Alaska, the North Pacific Ocean & the Bering Sea, as told by the women who survived it back in the day. Our daughters, granddaughters, and other adventure junkies who make up the female captains and crews of the Alaska fishing fleet show us what it is like today. We ancient Lady Mariners pass on our history in hopes that it will give more insight into the problems facing the oceans now. This is the film’s World premiere, and the official Sunday Opening Night film!
BLACK INSIDE - THREE WOMEN'S VOICES, short public service announcement, directed by Rodney Rascona, 8 minutes, (USA). The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC) is a new initiative, led by the UN Foundation, supporting large-scale adoption of clean and safe household cooking solutions as a way to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and reduce climate change emissions. The Alliance’s founding partners have set a goal of enabling an additional 100 million homes to adopt clean and efficient stoves and fuels by 2020. This is a beautifully-filmed PSA about women and how their old, smoky cookstoves endanger their health and the health of their children, in Peru, Kenya and India, and narrated by an Oscar-winning film star. This is the film’s US premiere!
BLUE VELVET IN THE SINAI, feature documentary, 52 minutes, directed by Gulrukh Kahn (UK).This lovely film is set in the exotic Sinai desert, Egypt. It focuses on the remarkable relationship between a wild female dolphin in the Red Sea, named Olin, and a hearing- and speech-impaired Bedouin fisherman. Olin gives birth to a male calf, who develops a remarkable bond with a Bedouin child, and the family of dolphins bring healing and prosperity to the village. Each part of this story relates to larger issues such as captivity, oceanic pollution and over-fishing. Ric O'Barry (Oscar-winner for THE COVE) relates stories and evidence relating to captivity and solutions for it, as well as dolphin healing with sonar and giving birth amongst dolphins.
BROOKLYN BOHEME, feature documentary, directed by Nelson George & Diane Paragas, 75 minutes (USA). Brooklyn Boheme is a love letter to a vibrant African-American artistic community that resided in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, during the 1980′s and 1990′s, and which included Spike Lee, Chris Rock, Branford Marsalis, Rosie Perez, Saul Williams, Lorna Simpson, and Talib Kweli, just to name a few. Narrated and written by Fort Greene resident, Nelson George, this film celebrates “Brooklyn’s equivalent of the Harlem Renaissance”, and follows the rise of a new kind of African-American artist, the Brooklyn Boheme, a community of artists who made this part of Brooklyn a mecca for talented young blacks and Latinos. Brooklyn Boheme is a joyous look at a time and place with charismatic storytellers telling this amazing story, and a lively celebration of Brooklyn pride.
CAN YOU SEE ME? Short film directed by Lou Hamilton, 11 minutes (UK) A joyful and very poignant flashmob staged in Trafalgar Square, London, to protest child sex-trafficking. With professional dancers and singers from many of London’s theaters, who enthusiastically volunteered their talents (and angel wings) to support this vital cause.
CARBON FOR WATER,short documentary, directed by Evan & Carmen Abramson, 20 minutes, (USA). In Kenya's Western Province, most drinking water is contaminated. The wood many Kenyans use to boil this water to make it safe is increasingly valuable. Women and girls, who bear the responsibility for finding water and fuel, often miss school or work while seeking both fuel and water. Some even encounter sexual violence. Yet waterborne illness remains a daily, and life-threatening, reality for them and their families. Carbon For Water introduces audiences to the inspiring people who face these hardships, and explores one company's innovative solution for improving the health of millions of Kenyans and the environment in which they live.
CARRIÈRE, short film, directed by Guido de Craene, 13 minutes, (BELGIUM). A CEO of a multinational corporation has an unusual and particular way to decide which one of his employees can save his/her job. He thinks of himself as a Roman emperor who rules over life or death, as in an arena.
COST OF LIVING, short film, 20 minutes, directed by Larry LaFond & Amanda Bliss Taylor (USA) A comedy about life after global warming, in a time not too far from our own. The ice caps have melted and drastic climate change is a done deal on the over-populated Island of Pittsburgh, in this bizarre comedy. The future is funny...it just ain't pretty.
DEATH INC. short film, directed by Sandra Payne, 10 minutes, (USA). Before Pete Richards can even pick up his morning paper, he's drawn next door by the pitiable cries of the little neighbor girl, who's worried about her terrified, tree-bound kitty. Challenged by his nemesis, Skip, Pete sets his sights on rescuing the cat, no matter the consequences. When he winds up in the Grim Reaper's antechamber, Pete makes a risky decision. Will his gamble pay off?
DEDELER EN IYISINI BILIR (GRANDPA KNOWS BEST), short film, directed by Nehir Tuna, 22 minutes, (TURKEY). When Ali's father hires a new secretary, she awakens desires in Ali that the shy 22 year-old never knew he had. But working for his father, and with his mother constantly reminding him he's of the right age to marry a woman she selects for him, and while trying to be a good Muslim, greatly complicates things for him. Now he must choose between family duty and true love. Can you really make yourself and your family happy, at the same time?
DIRTY LAUNDRY, short film, directed by Stephen Abbott, 16 minutes (SOUTH AFRICA) It’s 1:AM, and Roger is doing his laundry at The Wishy Washy. For Roger this is merely routine, but tonight there seems to be something really strange in the laundromat’s water. An Africa First film. In English, Zulu & Africaans, with English subtitles, as needed.
DIVINITY ROXX: GET HERE, music video, directed by Eric Anderson, 4 minutes, (USA). A music video that artfully tackles the sticky question of how did the United States of America get in the state of divisiveness and decline that it is experiencing right now.
DRIVE DANNY DRIVE, short film, directed by Craig Pentak, 26 minutes, (USA). In a lonely, dead world of the future, one man finds solace in stories. He watches his favorite, and only, movie every night. But when his VHS is stolen, a series of remarkable events unfolds that allows him to create his own story - one which is very similar to the Hollywood movie he holds so dear.
DRUM & PLAY, short film, directed by Mohammad Alkazemi, 6 minutes, (USA). A tale of two homeless street artists faced against each other by their own ego. Will music be able to save the day?
DUST, short film, directed by Loukas Doukas, 20 minutes, (GREECE). A man's road trip will ultimately lead to a journey of self-awareness and discovery, a journey that will wake up his soul and teach him much more than a lesson in life, and he will meet a mysterious woman who will change his destiny. This is the film’s World premiere!
ELLA (She), animation film, directed by Juan Montes de Oca, 19 minutes, (SPAIN). In Palma de Mallorca, through the eyes of a 5 year-old innocent kid, a lovely and moving story unfolds of life’s coincidences, miseries and joys, as the boy learns about an old man’s stories of his ill-fated life in New York, and his long-lost love. But the boy is happy to see that, in the end, the old man finds his way to his life’s happiness, and even to the love of his life. Juan Montes de Oca has won more than 100 international awards for his animation work, and this is one of his finest and most poignant examples.
EVA, feature film, directed by Adrian Popovici, 130 minutes, (ROMANIA). War is bringing the world to its knees, and Europe's borders are collapsing. When Tudor emerges into Eva’s life for the last time, it is then that she learns the secrets of his past. A love torn apart by secrets. A life torn apart by passion. A world torn apart by war. A story about love in uncertain times. (In English)
FIGHT SCENE, short film, directed by Jim Ford, 5, minutes (USA). A man decides to walk home after his car breaks down in a really bad part of town. He isn't looking for any trouble. He just wants to get home to his wife, but some street thugs have a different plan for him. Professional stuntman Jim Ford (Knight and Day, The Surrogates, The Bounty Hunter) helms this perilous martial arts-style short film.
FINDING MANJUSHRI, short film, directed by Dolma Gunther, 22 minutes, (AUSTRALIA). A smug young Tibetan monk embarks upon an intriguing journey only to discover that the wisdom he seeks is much closer than he imagines, and much stranger than he could possibly envisage. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Himalayas, Lodro battles the elements, braves the seductions of beautiful women, chases enchanted children and encounters a magical mule that can read, in his attempt to reach the mythical mountain of Wutaishan, in search of Manjushri. This is a delightful and uplifting story, delivered with charm and humor, that explores Tibetan Buddhism's unconventional concept of wisdom, and carries a universal message that resonates across cultures.
FINE DINING, short film, 5 minutes, directed by Dean Mermell and Dana Castro (USA). Using a fantastic combination of stark realism and a surreal ambience, this delightful avant-garde film parodies our seemingly simplistic lives, as a homeless waif finds and loses love, with a little help from some exceedingly strange and silent ”friends”, in this comical, almost slapstick and thought-provoking Chaplin/Fellini-esque adventure.
FROM THE ROOFTOPS, short multi-media film, directed by Bijan Mottahedeh, 12 minutes, (USA). Between June 16, 2009, and June 21, 2009, in the aftermath of the disputed Iranian elections, an anonymous woman in Iran uploaded four videos on YouTube. It is her words which have inspired this unique film.
HOW I LOST MY BIRTHDAY, short film for kids, directed by Deja Bernhardt, 9 minutes, (USA). On the eve of her 8th Birthday, Cinta and her mother must leave the US and move to Bali, where her parents are from. Cinta does not know this move is because her parents are divorcing. During the flight she realizes she has not only lost everything else in her life but her birthday, as well as a result of crossing the International dateline. She remembers the Wayang Kulit, the Balinese Shadow Puppets that her father and her play with, and uses them to imagine a world less harsh to her little-girl heart, in this poignant coming-of-age story.
LIGHTS AND DARKS, short film, directed by Eric Kallevig, 5 minutes (USA). In this inspiring short-short film, using a laundromat as a metaphor for a world of racism, and depicting an interracial relationship and the societal views inherent in the world, the director poignantly illustrates how a single act of kindness by a child can break through one person’s lifetime of bitterness, isolation and prejudice.
LITTLE DANCER, feature film, directed by George Jecel, 104 minutes, (AUSTRIA/UKRAINE). New ways have taken over in the rural backwater of an Eastern European country. Tradition is losing out to greed and personal gain, with a steep price paid in the currency of human suffering. Tatjiana, an exceptional and gifted peasant girl, has a legitimate shot at attending the National Ballet Academy. Her dream is shared by her instructor and priest, Father Nikolai, and by her love interest, Vasa, a war-orphaned boy living in the forest by himself. As Tatjiana’s departure to ballet school draws closer, her naïve aspirations meet head-on with the brutality of a new world that is without a moral compass. In Russian, with English subtitles. This is the film’s NYC premiere, and is the official Saturday Opening Night film!
LUMINARIS, short film, directed by Juan Pablo Zaramella, 7 minutes, (ARGENTINA). In a world controlled and timed by light, an ordinary man has a plan that could change the natural order of things!
MANHATTAN MERMAID, experimental short film, directed by Tristan Von Christann, 10 minutes, (USA). A lyrical fantasia, a bold conceit, set to classical music; the citizens of Manhattan are not alone. As they go about their daily lives, mermaids are swimming, unseen, in the air all around them! Though they appear benign and compassionate, their motives are unclear. Are they guardian angels, or are they loving escorts, waiting to ease their flock to the afterlife? Content: Standard mermaid nudity.
MISSION OF MERMAIDS, short documentary, directed by Susan Cohn Rockefeller, 15 minutes, (USA). Mission of Mermaids is about the current state of the ocean. Ms. Rockefeller takes a radically personal approach in the film, based on her deep love and concern for the seas. She invokes a mythical and spiritual connection, using the metaphor of the mermaid, as well as describing dire facts: ocean acidification, over-fishing, and pollution. This personal approach offers a powerful way to open a dialogue about changing the human relationship to the sea, knitting our past reverence for the natural world with our understanding of the urgent need to change course.
MOTHER, music video for kids, directed by Leigha Stephney & Janay Stephney, 5 minutes, (USA), This original music video is about how teen bullying can lead to depression and suicide among its victims, and concludes with a PSA about how to get help. This film was directed by a teenager, for the Moondance Dolphin Award, and is the only Dolphin Award to be presented in 2012.
MY MOTHER RECEIVED A WOUND, short film, 5 minutes, directed by Eric Bosse (USA). This tongue-in-cheek, poignant little drama addresses one’s often strange relationship with good ol’ Mom. A young man willingly capitulates to Mom’s crazy wishes in an extremely odd and public way. Based on a weird-but-true story.
NATIVE NEW YORKER, short film, by Steve Bilich, director, writer, editor, cinematographer and producer, 10 minutes, (USA). This silent documentary with a stunningly beautiful, original score by William Susman, was filmed with a 1924 hand-cranked spring-wound Cine-Kodak camera. This film features Terry 'Coyote' Murphy representing the Native American influence on the isle of Manhattan. Coyote, a Shaman Trail Scout, takes a journey which transcends time, weaving from Inwood Park (where the island was traded for beads & booze), down a long native path (now more commonly known as 'Broadway'), to the lower reaches of Manhattan into 'ground zero' on September 11, 2011, which is now a sacred burial ground for not just the American Indian & the slaves of yesteryear, but also for the newest natives of this island empire, as well. This film is dedicated to all native New Yorkers!
NATSANAT, short documentary, directed by Mitchell Stuart & Cheryl Halpern, 26 minutes, (USA). 'Natsanat' (freedom) documents the heroic stories of young female freedom fighters in Ethiopia during the 20th century. These women left their families and homes to join the struggle to bring freedom, peace and democracy to their country. They serve as role models for leadership and courage for women.
NEFARIOUS: MERCHANT OF SOULS, feature documentary, directed by Benjamin Nolot, 96 minutes, (USA). This sober look into modern-day slavery is designed to explore these horrific issue of human trafficking, and uncovers the shocking truth that people are being sold in sex markets in some of the world's most 'developed' countries. Nefarious brings an array of experts from around the globe, lending their insights in a desperate attempt to find answers to one of the most terrible crises happening around the world today.
NGUTU, short film, directed by Daniel Valledor & Filipe del Olmo, 4 minutes, (VENEZUELA). Ngutu is a big-city newspaper street vendor who can hardly sell any copies of his paper, no matter how hard he tries. Very resentful of this situation, he starts watching passers-by, to see why and how they buy other things, and suddenly has a grand idea of a crazy way finally to sell his newspapers!
NRITYAGRAM: FOR THE LOVE OF DANCE, short documentary, directed by Nan Melville, 25 minutes (USA). The classical Indian dance form of Odissi, said to have originated approximately 2000 years ago, was originally a temple dance meant to entertain the deity. The movements in Odissi mimic the serpentine poses and minutely detailed gestures of Hindu gods in ancient temple sculptures. The documentary Nrityagram: For the Love of Dance tells the story of the Nrityagram Dance Village in India, and the Dance Ensemble that has made it world-famous.
PORQUE HAY COSAS QUE NUNCA SE OLVIDAN, (BECAUSE THERE ARE THINGS YOU NEVER FORGET), short film, directed by Lucas Figueroa, 13 minutes, (ARGENTINA). This international multi-award-winning film is a poignant tale of Naples, Italy, circa 1950, and tells of four friends who are playing soccer out in the street, when their ball is accidentally kicked into the yard of an evil old lady. They’ll never be able to play with their ball again, and for that…well, the revenge can be terrible.
PUMZI, short film, directed by Wanuri Kahiu, 21 minutes, (KENYA) Pumzi is a sci-fi film set in a futuristic Africa, 35 years after World War III, “The Water War.” The outside world is deemed extinct, and leaving one’s indoor community has been outlawed. Asha, who lives and works as a museum curator in one such community, risks it all for her belief that life exists on the outside. An Africa First film. In English.
PUT IT IN A BOOK: Short film directed by Rodrigo Garcia, 30 minutes (USA) is about two brothers: when one is killed by gang violence, the other must choose between two paths, one of righteousness or one of revenge. The writer and star, Jabril Muhammad, who has Sickle Cell Anemia, was inspired by his experience working with Make A Film Foundation to realize his dream of starring in his own short film.
RIPPLE EFFECT, short film, directed by Velvet Andrews Smith, 20 minutes, (USA). A simple act of kindness between a young Afghan boy and an American soldier makes a powerful impact. In Southern Afghanistan, an eleven-year-old boy named Akhtar is desperate to save his father, who has been injured by the Taliban. When a U.S. Army Special Forces team arrives to set up a medical clinic in the village, Akhtar seeks out Jack, the American medic. Jack sees the severity of the father's condition and promises to help. In the meantime, the Americans spot Taliban activity in the surrounding hillsides. Akhtar realizes the convoy is heading into the path of a roadside bomb. With only seconds to spare, Akhtar shortcuts through the village to stop them in time.
SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME, feature documentary, directed by Sam Pollard, 90 minutes (USA). This powerful film challenges one of Americans’ most cherished assumptions: the belief that slavery in this country ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. The film tells how, even as chattel slavery came to an end in the South in 1865, thousands of freed African-Americans were pulled back into forced labor with shocking force and brutality. It was a system in which men, often guilty of no crime at all, were arrested, compelled to work without pay, repeatedly bought and sold, and coerced to do the bidding of slave-masters. Tolerated by both the North and South, forced-labor lasted well into the 20th century. For most Americans, this is an entirely new history. Slavery by Another Name gives voice to the largely-forgotten victims and perpetrators of forced labor, and features their descendants living today.
SPAGHETTI FÜR ZWEI (SPAGHETTI FOR TWO), short film, directed by Matthias Rosenberger & Betina Dubler, 19 minutes, (GERMANY). How a seemingly ordinary day becomes a significant turning point for an unremarkable man, thanks to a minimal shift of fate. A likeable but lonesome man is on his way to lunch. Awaiting him, the outside world lurks menacingly: in his imagination it swarms with would-be crooks, hussies and criminals. What should have been a routine stroll develops into a dark odyssey, triggering a troubled conflict against himself and against the world... but ultimately, it is the underdog who is victorious. In German, with English subtitles.
STRANGEFACE, short film, directed by Lynne Vincent McCarthy, 10 minutes, (AUSTRALIA). Finding a best friend can be scary. Ten year-old Ana longs for a friend, but her odd attempts to connect freak the other kids out. Retreating into the bush for another day of lone exploring, she comes upon a stranger intent on drowning a puppy in the river. Horrified, she battles her fear and confronts the man, saving the dog, and unexpectedly finding the loyal and non-judgmental companionship she has craved.
SURREAL ESTATE, short film, directed by Lori Romero, 13 minutes, (USA). 'Surreal Estate' is a dark comedy short film about a man, Mr. Smith, who attempts to rent a house, and everything that can go wrong...does. It's for anyone who has ever been to the DMV, changed checkout lines in a supermarket, or tried to navigate an automated telephone menu. It's the absurd chaos that develops in our minds as fantasy, but for Mr. Smith, it's all too real; Murphy’s Law, personified.
TANGHI ARGENTINI (ARGENTINIAN TANGO), short film, 13 minutes, directed by Guido Thys (BELGIUM). Nominated for a 2007 Academy Award for best foreign short film. This sweet story is about a middle-aged office drone who begs a co-worker to teach him to tango, in anticipation of a bind-date he found online. It’s Christmas-time, and the concept of office place gift-giving assumes a fairy-tale proportions, in this beguiling tale. Our hero wants to give something very real and very precious. Elegantly filmed and crisply edited, the 14-minute tale unfolds with wit as the unlikely duo perfect terpsichorean flourishes amid the filing cabinets. This delightfully-plotted film has a surprise ending, which is both enchanting and thought-provoking. In Dutch, with English subtitles.
THE ADVENTURES OF MWANSA THE GREAT, short film, directed by Rungano Nyoni, 24 minutes (ZAMBIA), A young Zambian boy’s wild imagination transforms his and his friends’ everyday activities into a poignant and exciting quest. An Africa First film. In Nyanja, with English subtitles.
THE AFGHAN NIGHTMARE, feature documentary, directed by Klaus Erik Okstad, 54 minutes, (NORWAY). The ambiguity of 'The Afghan Nightmare' keeps you intensely watching this film from the very start until the end. The story is told as close to the subjects as you possibly can get. Colonel Rune Solberg is commander of the NATO forces in Faryab province, and his task is to make the Afghan Forces and Provincial Authorities ready to stand on their own. His task is formidable, the Colonel must act like a soldier, talk like a diplomat and a think like a politician. The film focuses on what gradually appears to be an impossible task with an unrealistic strategy. You will get unique insight into the daily military tasks, the nightmares and the untold obstacles to western success in Afghanistan.
THE HUMAN FACTOR, short documentary, directed by Thibault Le Texier, 29 minutes, (FRANCE). “What is good for the factory is good for the home and family”, or how Taylorism came to impregnate our daily work, gestures and lives. In 1914, an engineer, who was sent to reorganize a factory, exchanges letters with his wife. As he tells her about his experiments in Taylorism, she applies it to her daily tasks at home. While he is ultimately disappointed with the Taylor system, his wife has become a true domestic engineer.
THE LAST PAPERBOY, short film, directed by Rich West, 5 minutes, (USA). The nostalgic story of the last day on the job for the very last living paperboy in America.
THE WIND FISHERMAN, short film, directed by Anna McRoberts, 12 minutes (USA). The Windfisherman lives in the windiest little town in the world, where he “fishes” for things that have blown away, and returns them to their rightful owners. His father, grandfather, great-grandfather & even great-great grandfather before him were all the town’s Windfishermen, but even though it is in his blood, it’s not in his heart, at least not until he learns one of life’s most valuable lessons, in this beautifully-filmed allegorical tale.