Hunger Ward – Director Skye Fitzgerald

Filmed from inside two of the most active therapeutic feeding centers in Yemen, HUNGER WARD documents two female health care workers fighting to thwart the spread of starvation against the backdrop of a forgotten war. HUNGER WARD provides an unflinching portrait of Dr. Aida Al Sadeeq and Nurse Mekkia Mahdi as they try to save the lives of hunger-stricken children within a population on the brink of famine. HUNGER WARD is the third installment of Director Skye Fitzgerald’s Humanitarian Trilogy, focused on the global refugee crisis. The first film, 50 FEET FROM SYRIA focused on doctors working on the Syrian border and was Oscar® shortlisted. The second, LIFEBOAT documents search and rescue operations off the coast of Libya and was nominated for an Academy Award® and national Emmy®. Director Skye Fitzgerald (Lifeboat, 50 Feet from Syria, Finding Face) joins us for a conversation on the making of his 2021 Oscar® Shortlisted Hunger Ward documentary, how little American mass media has talked about the ongoing genocidal war against a defenseless civilian population – done with diplomatic,  political backing by the Trump Administration, as well as, intelligence and logistical support from the US military – and what we can do to stop it.

For news and updates go to: hungerward.org

2021 Oscar® shortlist – Best Documentary (Short form)

About the filmmaker – Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Documentary Branch). Oscar/Emmy/IDA-Nominated Director Skye Fitzgerald is directing The Humanitarian Trilogy: HUNGER WARD (2020) documents the impact of the war and famine in Yemen on children, families, and health care workers. LIFEBOAT (2018) highlights search and rescue operations off the coast of Libya and was nominated for an Academy Award® and national Emmy® award. 50 FEET FROM SYRIA (2015) focuses on doctors working on the Syrian border and was voted onto the Oscar® shortlist. Fitzgerald was also inducted as an honorary member into SAMS (Syrian American Medical Society) for his work with Syrian refugees and named a Distinguished Alumnus at his alma mater EOU for documentary work. As a Fulbright Research Scholar Fitzgerald directed the film Bombhunters and has since worked with the Sundance Institute, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the State Department, the Paul Robeson Fund and Mountainfilm. As a Director of Photography, Fitzgerald lenses work for major clients including Dateline, VICE, Mercy Corps, CNN, the Discovery, Travel, History and Animal Planet Channels. For more on Skye Fitzgerald go to: spinfilm.org

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/spinfilm
twitter.com/spin_film
instagram.com/spin_film
instagram.com/explore/tags/skyefitzgerald
#HungerWard
#LifeboatFilm
#50FeetFromSyria

Critical reactions to Skye Fitzgerald’s work:

“…a rare look inside the human impact of the war in Yemen” – Jane Ferguson – PBS NewsHour

“Once you see it, you won’t forget it.” – Sarah Larson – THE NEW YORKER 

“Fitzgerald has sought to harness this art-form to draw attention those who are struggling to obtain their most basic, fundamental human freedoms. LIFEBOAT…is vitally important.” – US HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION 

“…deftly addresses the most critical humanitarian issue of our time and those who are doing something about it.” – Michael Brody – Programmer Crested Butte FF  

“…visually brutal…a harrowing package.”  – VARIETY  

Do Not Split – Director Anders Hammer

Filmed across an entire year, DO NOT SPLIT takes us within the heart of the 2019 Hong Kong protests, capturing the determination and sacrifices of the city’s youth as their movement becomes symbolic for a generation’s rebellion against the political systems of two governments. Armed with umbrellas, gas masks, social media, and sheer determination, the protestors risk their lives, safety, and futures against the police’s tear gas, armed vehicles, and violence. Anders Hammer’s powerful film paints a nuanced and sobering picture of the challenges faced by the protestors,  joining student leaders and protestors on the ground to give an expansive and first-hand portrait of the unrest that prompted a government’s backlash, the passage of the new Beijing-backed national security law, and captured the attention of the world. Director Anders Hammer joins us to talk about the history of Hong Kong’s relationship to the British empire and the handover to the People’s Republic of China, the 20-year deterioration of civil and political rights as well as the determined bravery of the student led protestors determined to resist the tightening grip of an increasingly oppressive regime.

For news, screenings and updates go to andershammer.com

2021 Oscar® shortlist – Best Documentary (Short form)

DO NOT SPLIT premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival; screened at CPH:DOX, Guanajuato International Film Festival, Denver Film Festival, SFFILM’s Doc Stories, Meet the Press Film Festival at AFI, and Indy Shorts International Film Festival; and received the AFI DOCS Short Film Special Jury Prize and Special Jury Recognition for Courage Under Fire at DOC NYC.

About the filmmaker – Anders Hammer has filmed and directed the documentary Do Not Split which takes us within the heart of the Hong Kong protests that started in the summer of 2019. The movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and received the Special Jury Prize at AFI DOCS and Special Jury Recognition for Courage under Fire at DOC NYC. Hammer directed the documentary series Our Allies for Field of Vision. He also directed and produced Escape from Syria: Rania’s Odyssey, which was published by The Guardian and won a Webby Award and a One World Media Award for Best Refugee Reporting in 2018. The documentary went viral and gained more than 10 million views and 100,000 shares in social media. Hammer is one of the directors of the documentary  Exit Afghanistan published by Netflix. He has directed seven documentaries for the Norwegian investigative journalism program NRK Brennpunkt and many short documentaries. Hammer lived and worked in Afghanistan for six years and has written four documentary books about the country, one of them together with the Danish author Carsten Jensen. In Norway, where Hammer was born in 1977, he has received the Fritt Ord Award (which is given in support of freedom of expression), the International Reporter’s Journalism Award and the Big Journalist Award.

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/anders.hammer
twitter.com/andershammer
instagram.com/andersshammer
instagram.com/explore/tags/donotsplit
@andershammer
@fieldofvision
@CharlotteCook
@jooeysiiu
@rossbros
@martinhorntveth
@FrittOrd
#HongKongProtests

“A visually stunning piece of reportage” – Nick Cunningham, BusinessDoc Europe

“A frenetic, urgent look at the protests that have rocked the city since June 2019” – Susannah Gruder, Hyperallergic

17 Blocks – Director Davy Rothbart

In 1999, filmmaker Davy Rothbart met Emmanuel Sanford-Durant and his older brother, Smurf, during a pickup basketball game in Southeast Washington, D.C. Davy began filming their lives, and soon the two brothers and other family members began to use the camera themselves. The result is 17 BLOCKS. Made in a unique collaboration with filmmaker and journalist Davy Rothbart, the film focuses on four generations of the Sanford Family, including Emmanuel, a promising student, his brother Smurf, his sister Denice, an aspiring cop, and his mother Cheryl, who must conquer her own demons for her family to prosper. Spanning two decades, 17 BLOCKS illuminates a nation’s ongoing crisis through one family’s raw, stirring, and deeply personal saga. Made from more than 1,000 hours of footage, it all starts on the street where they lived in 1999, 17 blocks behind the U.S. Capitol. Director Davy Rothbart joins us to talk about his profoundly moving gut punch of a film about the lives of a family fighting against the chaos and cruelty of embedded racism, broken social institutions and pervasive violence, all of it happening a little more than a stones throw from the lawmakers who step over their dead bodies on their way to “work”. God help us if you are not moved by this film.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: 17blocksfilm.com

In Virtual Cinemas Starting February 19th, 2021 

Director Davy Rothbart’s team has partnered with organizations like Everytown for Gun Safety and Black Lives Matter D.C. on screenings, and for the film’s national release, presented by MTV Documentary Films. Its national virtual release is set for February 19, 2021, streaming from nearly 100 theaters across the U.S., and viewable on computers, tablets, mobile devices, AppleTV, and Roku.

About the filmmaker – Davy Rothbart is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, bestselling author and journalist, frequent contributor to public radio’s This American Life , and the creator of Found Magazine. Rothbart’s film MEDORA, about a resilient high-school basketball team in a dwindling Indiana town, based on the NewYork Times story by Pulitzer Prize winner John Branch, was Executive Produced by Steve Buscemi and Stanley Tucci, and premiered at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival. MEDORA later aired on the acclaimed PBS series Independent Lens and won an Emmy Award.  Rothbart previously directed two documentaries about the activist band Rise Against, which became best-selling DVDs in the U.S., Canada, Germany, and Sweden. A separate short film featuring Rise Against’s song “Make It Stop” was created for Dan Savage’s It Gets Better project and later won an MTV Music Video Award.  Rothbart’s radio stories featured on This American Life have reached more than 20 million listeners, and his books FOUND and My Heart Is An Idiot have debuted on The New York Times Bestseller List. He has made multiple appearances on The Late Show With David Letterman , been featured on ABC’s 20/20, Last Call with Carson Daly, MSNBC, and NPR’s All Things Considered, and been profiled in The New Yorker and The New York Times. A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Rothbart now lives in Los Angeles, California. 

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/17BlocksFilm
twitter.com/17BlocksFilm
twitter.com/DavyRothbart
instagram.com/17blocksfilm
instagram.com/davyrothbart
@DavyRothbart
@17BlocksFilm

“An essential viewing doc about race & class in America… A documentary with Cinema Verite sensibilities and no qualms whatsoever about the honest presentation of its subjects, 17 BLOCKS is both heartbreaking and inspiring.” – Warren Cantrell, The Playlist 

“RAW AND IMMEDIATE… packs a potent emotional punch.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter 

“A remarkably raw and heartfelt piece of filmmaking… At its best, 17 BLOCKS  reminded me of the deep humanism of Steve James’ work.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

“More than just a singular achievement in documentary filmmaking, “17 Blocks” is the result of the Sanford family’s profound act of bravery. – Mark Keizer, Variety

“An absolutely devastating, powerful, and deeply moving film.“ – Tim Cogshell, FilmWeek (KPCC – NPR Los Angeles)

“There’s a searing honesty and immediacy about the footage.” – Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film

Film Maudit 2.0 – Executive Director Leo Garcia and Artistic Director Patrick Kennelly

January 12-24 2021, Highways, the legendary Los Angeles Performance Space and Gallery presents its Second Annual Film Maudit 2.0 festival showcasing and celebrating new outré, unusual and startling films. The festival will feature over 125 works of cinema from 25 countries including films rarely if ever, seen in festivals: works addressing socio-political issues and taboo subject matter that challenges conventional artistic assumptions and sexual mores.Virtual, online screenings of 18 feature films, 21 shorts programs, specially commissioned programs, and new film scored performed by artists who reflect the diversity of Los Angeles. Included are a range of narrative, documentary and experimental films that are deliberately bold, extreme, confrontational and unusual. Film Maudit 2.0 highlights this year include the U.S. premieres of Feature Films: Mathius Marvellous Shop, a Spanish/German surrealistic satire; Kriya, a magical Indian thriller, and the Los Angeles premieres of Woman of the Photographs; a powerful Japanese film about image and reality for a beautiful model; The Columnist, a darkly comic horror film from The Netherlands; A Dark, Dark Man, the Kazakhstan/France thriller just long-listed for the Golden Globes; and Darkness (Buio) the first feature film by Donatello Award-winning director Emanuela Rossi. Other special programs include a special fundraising screening of erotic art pioneers Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens’ Water Makes Us Wet, featuring a live stream Q&A with both; new, original music scores performed live to silent films, and multiple Feature and Shorts Programs that showcase works from 25 countries in 16 uniquely curated categories from ‘Ms. Fear’ to ‘Shattering Form’ – with animated documentaries to experimental works handmade on film; extreme horror to comic surrealism. There is a special focus on works in Film Maudit’s BEHOLD section, which includes NSFW! curated by Planet Queer, Hi Kicks Entrails, curated by performance artist Ironstone, and QLX: the Performance of Queer Latinx.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: filmmaudit.org

All films at the festival are free and available online January 12 through 24. Reservations are required and can be made for each program via Film Maudit 2.0’s Screening Portal: filmmaudit.org/filmmaudit

Film Maudit 2.0 festival is inspired by French avant-garde filmmaker and writer Jean Cocteau who created the original Festival du Film Maudit (literally “cursed films”) in 1949 aiming to celebrate overlooked, shocking and experimental films. Film Maudit 2.0, in its 2nd year, showcases a counter-cinema will blend of narrative, documentary and experimental films that in their style and/or subject matter, are deliberately bold, extreme, confrontational, troubling, shocking and/or unusual. The festival is funded in part by the California Arts Council, Los Angeles County Department of Cultural Affairs and the City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs CAP Program.

About HIGHWAYS – Film Maudit 2.0 is co-presented by and takes place at Southern California’s boldest center for new performance and media arts, Highways Performance Space & Gallery in Santa Monica, CA. In its 31st year, Highways continues to be an important alternative cultural center in Los Angeles that encourages radical artists from diverse communities to develop and present innovative new works. Described by the Los Angeles Times as “a hub of experimental theater, dance, solo drama and other multimedia performance,” Highways promotes the development of contemporary socially involved artists and art forms. Under the helm of Executive Director, Leo Garcia, Highways has received funding and support from organizations such as the The James Irvine Foundation, Metabolic Studio, California Community Foundation, Liberty Hill Foundation, The Warhol Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and The Roy Cockrum Foundation. Leo Garcia is an award-winning playwright, filmmaker, visual artist and actor who has produced over 800 performance works as Artistic Director-turned-Executive Director of Highways since 2003. highwaysperformance.org

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/filmmaudit2
twitter.com/filmmaudit2
instagram.com/filmmaudit2.0
@filmmaudit2.0.

What Would Sophia Loren Do? Director Ross Kauffman

What Would Sophia Loren Do? is a documentary short film that follows Vincenza “Nancy” Kulik, an Italian-American mother and grandmother living in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Nancy has seen her share of tragedy, but she has always been able to stay positive, inspired in part by another Italian mother, the movie star Sophia Loren. Nancy uses the question “What Would Sophia Loren Do?” as a guide to questions big and small. For example, “Would Sophia Loren eat whole wheat pasta?” Nancy thinks not. This phrase can also provide comfort and a source of strength in times of crisis. In 2016, Vincenza’s 51-year-old son died suddenly while undergoing a routine operation. Vincenza was devastated. She would seek solace in the love of her friends and family. But as she describes it, Vincenza also used the example of Sophia’s grace to help her get through the days and find the strength to persevere. For Vincenza, the words “What would Sophia Loren do?” have truly helped her to heal during some of the most difficult times of her life. Through the experiences of these two women we come to understand what it means to face life’s challenges with resilience and to age with courage, grit, and humor. The film debuts on Netflix on January 15 and is already heavily buzzed for the Oscar in the shorts category. There’s particular attention on Sophia this year, given her other Oscar-buzzed performance in The Life Ahead, directed by her son, Eduardo Ponti. Academy Award winning director Ross Kauffman (Born into Brothels, Tigerland) joins us to talk about the connection he shares with Vincenza, professionally and personally, and how her indomitable presence permeates this wonderfully alive story.

 

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To watch: netflix.com/Wht Would Sophia Loren Do?

In My Own Time: A Portrait of Karen Dalton, Co-Directors Robert Yapkowitz and Richard Peete

IN MY OWN TIME: A PORTRAIT OF KAREN DALTON explores Karen’s early days in Oklahoma where she experienced the harsh realities of growing up during the Great Depression and follows her through more than two decades at the margins of popular music. With two ex-husbands and two children by the time she was eighteen, she rejected the life of a housewife and set off for New York City. Constantly struggling to find her audience yet too close to her own music to compromise, Karen’s negotiations with fortune and fame were complex, but one thing is clear, she lived the music. While Karen projected a tough exterior, as a musician she was fragile and rife with insecurity. IN MY OWN TIME: A PORTRAIT OF KAREN DALTON focuses on Karen’s difficulties in pursuing success while trying to maintain a pure relationship with the creative process. Through stories from her closest friends, family and collaborators, combined with Karen’s rarely seen personal journals and poetry. We dive deep into the existential struggles she faced, and that ultimately led to her drug use and an untimely death due to AIDs related illness. Co-directors Ricahrd Peete and Robert Yapkowitz join us to talk about an artist who eschewed the spotlight, admired by her peers, difficult to know and the creator of a body of work that will inspire others for as long as music is made.

 

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Social Media
facebook.com/karendaltondocumentary
twitter.com/JULIA_HOLTER

The Velvet Underground Played at My High School, Director Robert Pietri

On December 11, 1965, The Velvet Underground played their first concert (and their first paid gig) at the most unlikeliest of places: a high school auditorium in Summit, New Jersey. They opened for a popular local band called The Myddle Class, who had a top 40 hit on the AM radio. The audience was packed with Myddle Class fans, who were mostly sheltered kids from this picture-perfect town some 25 miles west of New York City — kids who were just discovering the Beatles but who were still dancing the Lindy, the Waltz, and the Cha Cha at school dances. It was in this atmosphere that the black-leather-clad Velvets hit the stage blasting loud, droning, screeching music laced with drug-and sex-infused lyrics. On the stage for merely 20 minutes, they performed three songs, ending with “Heroin,” and the audience responded with, as one of the band recalled in 1983, a “murmur of surprise that greeted our appearance” that “increased to a roar of disbelief as we started to play” and “swelled to a mighty howl of outrage and bewilderment…” Half the audience walked out. Director Robert Pietri joins us for a lively conversation on this little known cultural event, his friendship with award-winning cinematographer, eye-witness and inspiration for the film Tony Jannelli and the creative process he used to tell this story.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: cornerbarpictures.com/velvet-underground-played

To watch: click on PBS POV

About the filmmaker: Writer/Director Robert Pietri, winner of several award-winning shorts and a feature length film, has been working on commercial/media related projects since graduating from NYU Grad Film program. His commercial clients include Pure Digital, the City of New York, TORAY, NYU, and Amazon Studios. He has been the recipient of grants from Fox Searchlab and IFP. Before filmmaking, he worked for years as an art director at MetaDesign, Razorfish, and Imaginary Forces.

 
Best Documentary Short at the Seattle Wine & Film Festival
Winner – Music Award Short at Docutah
Best Documentary Short Film Winner at the Sydney World Film Festival

 

Social Media
twitter.com/robertpietri
instagram.com/the_pietri
@robertpietri

 

Blood Rider, Director Jon Kasbe

In the riveting new short format documentary film, BLOOD RIDERS, from director Jon Kasbe (When Lambs Become Lions, Nascent, Mipso in Japan), focuses on the crippling blood shortage crisis and standstill traffic that plagues most hours of the day in Nigeria. On far too many days it can take over 24 hours to transport blood to patients in critical need. Joseph, one of the city’s motorcycle “blood riders,” can deliver blood to hospitals in under an hour. For mothers in labor, particularly in the case of Deborah dealing with a difficult delivery, this is often the difference between life and death.  Director Kasbe gives us an incredible sense of intimacy with his characters. BLOOD RIDERS puts us  there on the motorcycle and in the delivery room with Deborah and her husband. It boggles the mind. Director Jon Kasbe joins us for a conversation about the dire situation facing the people of Nigeria, a country of inadequate infrastructure, substandard health care capacity and systemic corruption, where a few dedicated people are determined to come to the aid of the most vulnerable among them.

 

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For news and updates go  to: jonkasbe.com/#/blood-rider

About the filmmaker: Jon Kasbe is an Emmy Award-winning Australian-Indian director and cinematographer. His debut feature, “When Lambs Become Lions,” was a 2017 Sundance Documentary Fund recipient, won Best Editing at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, and was nominated for two 2019 IDA Awards in Best Cinematography and Best Editing. The film was released theatrically across the United States by Oscilloscope Laboratories and is now available on Apple TV and Amazon. His short films have screened at festivals worldwide and been recognized by SXSW, Hot Docs, Webbys, Vimeo Staff Picks, Camerimage Film Festival, Sheffield Film Festival, and National Geographic. In 2018 he was selected for DOC NYC’s inaugural 40 Under 40 list. He is currently developing a new film in Concordia Studios Artist-in-Residence.  For more about his filmology go to: jonkasbe.com

2040, Director Damon Gameau

Award-winning Director Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film) embarks on a journey to explore what the future could look like by the year 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to us to improve our planet and shifted them rapidly into the mainstream. Structured as a visual letter to his 4-year-old daughter, Damon blends traditional documentary with dramatized sequences and high-end visual effects to create a vision board of how these solutions could regenerate the world for future generations. Director Damon Gameau joins us to talk about the how current, scalable technologies are available that can mitigate the damage being done by the scourge of climate damage and move us toward a cleaner, sustainable life for the planet and humanity.

 

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For news and updates go to: madmanfilms.com.au/2040film

For news and updates go to: whatsyour2040.com

Watch 2040 at togetherfilms.org/2040-screenings

Get Involved 

“We have partnered with the curriculum experts at Cool Australia to build a comprehensive package of units of work for upper primary and secondary. These free lesson plans are learning recipes for teachers that utilise short clips from the film to support classroom learning, providing step-by-step instructions, student workshops and engaging content. We interviewed over 100 children from around the world for 2040 and asked them what their hopes and dreams were for the future. It is a world they will be inheriting from us so we have to show them that solutions exist, that there are people who care deeply about their future, and that wonderful careers await with genuine purpose and meaning.” – Damon Gameau 

Visit the “Resources for Teachers” page and sign-up to our Schools Mailing list to learn more about opportunities for schools and to receive updates on when localized curriculum resources will be available in your country.

Social Media
facebook.com/2040Film
twitter.com/2040Film
instagram.com/2040film

 

“2040 might just shift your world for the better.” – Liam Maguren, Flicks.co.nz

“Gameau pulls away from the apocalyptic doomsaying hard-wired into so much of the enviro-debate…Wisely, his speculations are restricted by the self-imposed discipline that they all need to be rooted in practices that already exist. A very smart move.” – Jim Schembri, 3AW

“None of the ideas explored here are purely theoretical or pie in the sky. Whether technological or systems-based solutions, they all exist now and could be massively expanded to huge global benefit.” –Lynden Barber, Limelight

“Gameau defaults to the position of inspiring people rather than alarming or overwhelming them. You leave the film wanting more, not less, of these sorts of productions.” – Luke Buckmaster, Guardian

“You can’t please everyone. Gameau is at least doing what he can to talk about some big problems, in an entertaining and accessible way.” – Paul Byrnes, Sydney Morning Herald

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) Director Carole Dysinger

In Afghanistan, many young girls are not able to participate in sports. cultural and religious norms, along with other factors such as safety concerns and years of warfare,have resulted in limited athletic and recreational opportunities for women and girls, especially those who come from impoverished neighborhoods. But there is a new generation of afghan girls who believe they can do anything. LEARNING TO SKATEBOARD IN A WARZONE (IF YOU’RE A GIRL) tells the story of young afghan girls learning to read, write – and skateboard – in Kabul.

Director’s Biography: Carol Dysinger is a filmmaker, writer, artist, and educator, whose contemporary work offers a counter-narrative to traditional stories of conflict. She is in the midst of a trilogy on Afghanistan and America post 9/11. Alternating between fiction and documentary storytelling practices throughout her career, she had made a lifelong inquiry into the mechanics of story and the role storytelling plays in what we come to believe is true. She began in the theatre as an actor, moved into editing music videos for the clash in New York, and has won many awards for her short narrative work. She then moved on to write screenplays for 20th Century Fox, Disney, and HBO independent and has edited feature-length narrative and documentary films. in 2005, she traveled solo to Afghanistan with camera in hand to make her feature directorial debut, camp Victory, Afghanistan, which screened at MOMA, SXSW, human Rights Watch and at the Hague. ONE BULLET AFGHANISTAN is the second in the trilogy about the human impact of international conflict post 9/11 currently being completed in Denmark. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2018, a new work in multimedia installation, which draws from decades of memoirs and family history, footage shot over 15 years in Afghanistan, and brings it together to take down the veil between human experience, story, and history.

 

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Awards:

Nominee – Best British Short Film – BAFTA Awards 2020
Winner – Best Short – IDA Documentary Awards 2019
Best Documentary Short – Tribeca Film Festival 2019
Youth Vision Award – United Nations Association Film Festival 2019

Best Documentary Short – Flyway Film Festival 2019

Audience Choice Award For Best Documentary Short – Santa Fe Independent Film Festival 2019

Festivals/Screenings:

DOC NYC Shorts Shortlist
SFFILM Doc Stories
AFI Meet The Press Film Festival
Traverse City Film Festival
Mill Valley Film Festival
Film Independent The New Wave Screening Series Scad Savannah Film Festival
Social Justice Film Festival
Original Thinkers Festival
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
Santa Fe Independent Film Festival
United Nations Assocation Film Festival Washington West Film Festival
Hamptons Doc Fest
Nevada City Film Festival
Paris Surf & Skateboard Festival
Chagrin Documentary Film Festival
Louisville’s International Festival Of Film
Flyway Film Festival

Life Overtakes Me, Co-directors John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson

LIFE OVERTAKES ME tells the story of traumatized children of the refugee diaspora who are in such profound despair that they withdraw into a coma-like state. in Sweden, over 400 refugee children have been afflicted with this life-threatening psychosomatic illness, and the film will accompany two of them and their families on their frightening odyssey through Resignation Syndrome.

Directors Biographies: Producers/Directors John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson make documentary essays. their films have addressed such disparate subjects as tourism in Paris, the Vietnam War, and homelessness, and have screened at festivals worldwide, from Sundance and San Francisco to Leipzig, Sao Paulo, and Seoul, and have appeared on PBS and at museums including NY MOMA. their recent film Tokyo Waka premiered theatrically at Film Forum in New York. their work has been supported by artist fellowships from the Bogliasco Foundation, the Cité Internationale Des Arts in Paris, the Victoria College of Art in Melbourne, the Japan-U.S. Friendship commission, and the California Arts Council. Samuelson taught in the Documentary Film and Video M.F.A. program at Stanford University for thirty years, serving as program Director for ten years. She was nominated for an academy award for Arthur and Lillie and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Haptas is a freelance documentary editor.

 

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Awards: Full Frame Audience Award – Short

Festivals/Screenings: Sundance Film Festival, Full Frame Film Festival

In the Absence, Director Yi Sueng-Jun and Producer Gary Byung-Seok Kam

When the passenger ferry MV Sewol sank off the coast of South korea in 2014, over three hundred people lost their lives, most of them schoolchildren. Years later, the victims’ families and survivors are still demanding justice from the national authorities.

Director’s Biography: Yi Seung-Jun’s work focuses on the life of unseen minorities, which has informed his signature style of filmmaking. he has directed several feature-length documentary films. CHILDREN OF GOD (2008) follows a group of siblings who eke out an existence on the sacred Bagmati River in Nepal. the feature made its rounds on the international film festival circuit, including hot Docs Festival and Jeonju Film Festival, where it won the NETPAC award. Yi received a Sundance institute grant and served as director, director of photography, and editor on his subsequent documentary, the critically lauded PLANET OF SNAIL (2011), which follows Young-chan, who has been deaf and blind since childhood, as he gently moves through life with his partner Soon-ho. PLANET OF SNAIL was a darling of the festival circuit, either receiving nominations or winning awards at Tribeca Film Festival, Amsterdam international Documentary Film Festival (Best Feature-length Documentary in 2011), Dubai international Film Festival, Silverdocs and Documenta Madrid, and others. his next film, WIND ON THE MOON (2014), which he wrote, directed, edited and served as director of photography, recounts the journey of a mother and her daughter, who was born deaf and blind, as they navigate the world. he received grants from the Sundance institute, Tribeca institute and Korean Film council to make the film. his feature documentary film, CROSSING BEYOND was the international Olympic committee’s official film of the Pyeongchang Winter Games and travelled to the Busan international Film Festival, Tokyo international Film Festival, Black Nights Film Festival (Tallinn), and more. Most recently, Yi directed SHADOW FLOWERS (2019), which premiered at international Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.

 

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Awards:

Nominee – 2020 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject
Nominee – 2019 International Documentary Association Awards, Best Short Nominee – 2019 Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, Best Short Documentary Winner – 2018 DOC NYC, Short Jury Award
Winner – 2019 AFI DOCS, Grand Jury Prize for Short Film
Winner – 2019 World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest, Long Form – 1st Prize Winner – 2019 Indy Shorts, Documentary Audience Choice Award

Festivals/Screenings:

DOC NYC 2018 – World Premiere
International Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) 2018 – International Premiere AFI DOCS 2019
Indy Shorts 2019
Meet The Press Film Festival with AFI 2019
Pittsburgh Shorts 2019