On Monday, the Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) announced the full slate of films for the 2018 edition, including selections for the Competition and Spotlight sections, World Cinema Narrative and World Cinema Documentary sections, and Shorts Programs, as well as signature programs, including Views From Long Island; Air, Land & Sea; Compassion, Justice & Animal Rights; and Conflict & Resolution.
In addition, the festival revealed the anticipated films, such as the Friday Centerpiece: Yorgos Lanthimos’ much-anticipated The Favourite. Starring Academy Award-winning actresses Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, and Golden Globe-winning actress Olivia Colman,
Marielle Heller’s Can You Ever Forgive Me?, a biopic based on the life of writer Lee Israel and starring Academy Award-nominated actress Melissa McCarthy, will screen as the Sunday Centerpiece.
The festival also added two films to the Spotlight section. First, Academy Award-winning director Steve McQueen’s Widows, a story of four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities, starring Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis, along with Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki and Cynthia Erivo.
The second Spotlight is the East Coast premiere of HIFF alum Felix Van Groeningen’s Beautiful Boy, starring Academy Award-nominated actor Timothée Chalamet and Golden Globe-nominated actor Steve Carell, adapted from father and son David and Nic Sheff’s best-selling memoirs about a son’s struggle with drug addiction that threatens to tear a family apart.
“We are proud to share the full lineup for this year’s edition and have two of this year’s most anticipated films, helmed by dynamic and exciting female characters, serve as our Centerpieces,” Hamptons International Film Festival Executive Director Anne Chaisson says. “We look forward to audiences perusing our film guide and enjoying all the gems that have been selected for one of our strongest slates yet.”
This year’s Narrative and Documentary Competition slate offers a wide variety of stories to audiences and represents the best of the industry. HIFF also announced that the Competition slate consists of 50% female directors and 50% male directors. Overall, the festival’s full slate is 47% female directors.
Narrative Competition films include the New York premiere of Yen Tan’s 1985, the U.S. premiere of Eva Trobisch’s All Good, Ali Abbasi’s Border, the U.S. premiere of Zsófia Szilágyi’s One Day, and Dominga Sotomayor’s Too Late to Die Young.
Documentary Competition Films include the world premiere of Jesse Sweet’s City of Joel, Alexis Bloom’s Divide And Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes, the East Coast premiere of Shannon Service and Jeffrey Waldon’s Ghost Fleet, and the New York Premiere of Daniel Zimmerman’s Walden, as well as the East Coast premiere of the previously announced The Last Race from Michael Dweck, also screening in the Views From Long Island Section.
As part of HIFF’s Signature Programs, the Views From Long Island section will also include Black Mother, directed by Khalik Allah, about two different worlds on the island of Jamaica, through the lens of an intimate documentary portrait; as well as the world premieres of Emily Anderson’s short film Only the Wind Is Listening, set against the backdrop of an unforgiving Montauk winter, and Ross Kauffman’s Still Play with Trains, where John Scully reconstructs his idyllic 1950s childhood in the form of one of the world’s largest model train sets in his East Hampton basement.
The Air, Land & Sea program will present Academy Award-nominated director Rory Kennedy’s Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow, a Discovery Channel documentary chronicling the history and exploration of America’s space force, as well as Nicolas Brown’s The Serengeti Rules, about five international scientists during the 1960s and their attempt to learn more about the planet. The section will also include the previously announced U.S. premiere of Grit, directed by Sasha Friedlander and Cynthia Wade.
The Compassion, Justice, & Animal Rights program will include a world premiere presentation of Rob Fruchtman and Steven Lawrence’s The Cat Rescuers, about four activists in Brooklyn setting out to provide housing for the over one million cats abandoned in New York City. The section will also include the previously announced East Coast Premiere of Richard Miron’s For the Birds.
The Conflict & Resolution program will include five films: the New York premiere of Talal Derki’s Of Fathers and Sons, which provides a look at war-torn Syria through the eyes of a photojournalist posing as pro-jihadist; the New York premiere of Chris Martin’s Under the Wire, about the final mission of war correspondent Marie Colvin and photographer Paul Conroy; Charles Ferguson’s Watergate, examining the Watergate scandal from new interviews and subjects from all sides of the investigation; and Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar’s The Silence of Others, about six individuals looking to bring those responsible for Spain’s 40-year dictatorship to justice. The section will also include the previously announced New York premiere of Ísold Uggadóttir’s And Breathe Normally.
“We are delighted to bring our audiences films of great importance and understanding with new perspectives through our Signature Programs,” HIFF Artistic Director David Nugent says. “We hope our audiences can take as much delight in this year’s program as we have in creating it, during yet another groundbreaking year for the film industry.”
HIFF also announced eight programs of short films this year, including Narrative and Documentary Short Film Competitions; New York Women In Film and Television: Women Calling the Shots; Zoom! Shorts For All Ages; University Short Films Showcase; Let’s Go Crazy; Never Going Back Again; Please Don’t Tell; and five short films that will play before features.
Academy Award-winning director Damien Chazelle, whose film First Man will screen in the Spotlight section; Emilio Estevez, whose film The Public will screen in the Spotlight section; and Academy Award- and Golden Globe-nominated actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, who stars in the festival’s Opening Night film The Kindergarten Teacher, will all participate in the festival’s “A Conversation With…” series. All events will take place at Bay Street with Gyllenhaal on Friday, October 5 at 3 p.m., Estevez on Saturday, October 6 at 3:30 p.m., and Chazelle on Sunday, October 7 at 12:30 p.m.
The festival is also presenting a special screening of Dava Whisenant’s Bathtubs Over Broadway, winner of the 2018 SummerDocs Audience Award.
HIFF also announced an immersive storytelling and VR experience The Hidden, a political thriller that literally drops you in the middle of a high-stakes game of cat and mouse without telling you who is hunting whom. This will be available for audiences at Mulford Farm in the afternoons on October 5–8.
The festival will feature their Winick Talks at Rowdy Hall, hosting morning conversations with special guests in East Hampton, including a #MeToo focused panel with the one-year anniversary of the global movement for change on Friday, October 5; Breakthrough Artists panel with Kayli Carter, Cory Michael Smith and Amandla Stenberg on Saturday, October 6; and a VR-focused panel bringing together project creators and virtual reality experts to examine what the future of VR means for the ways we interact with visual entertainment and the arts on Sunday, October 7.
Previously announced talent attending include: Alan Alda, Bob Balaban, Matthew Broderick, Bill Camp, Kayli Carter, Damien Chazelle, Jamie Dornan, Emilio Estevez, Rupert Everett, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Hedges, Matthew Heineman, Alessandro Nivola, Rosamund Pike, Cory Michael Scott, Josh Singer, Amandla Stenberg, George Tillman Jr., and Dolly Wells.
Passes and packages for the 2018 festival are now on sale. The full online film guide is now available at hamptonsfilmfest.org, and individual tickets will go on sale on Monday, September 24. Additional announcements will be made soon.
Scroll down for a synopsis and info for each film in the 2018 Hamptons International Film Festival, which takes place over Columbus Day Weekend, October 4—8.
For more information, visit hamptonsfilmfest.org.
2018 Hamptons International Film Festival Lineup:
OPENING NIGHT FILM
THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER (USA)
East Coast Premiere, Director: Sara Colangelo
Writer/director Sarah Colangelo (LITTLE ACCIDENTS, HIFF 2014 and Screenwriters Lab 2013) returns to the festival with her prize-winning sophomore feature. Based on Nadav Lapid’s 2014 Israeli drama, THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER follows Lisa Spinelli (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a Staten Island teacher who accidentally discovers her young student’s prodigious gift for poetry. Desperately seeking her own creative recognition, Lisa’s fascination with the boy quickly unravels into an all-encompassing fixation. Anchored by Gyllenhaal’s fearless performance, THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER is a electrifyingly unpredictable morality tale about the precarious line between protection and obsession.
CLOSING NIGHT FILM
East Coast Premiere, Director: Joel Edgerton
As the son of a Baptist pastor growing up middle-class in the Arkansas suburbs, Jared (Academy Award® nominee Lucas Hedges) seems to be the model son of a loving family. Excelling in school and in a committed relationship, Jared’s heavily conditioned image is shattered when a friend outs him to his community, leading his parents (Academy Award winners Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe) to send him to Refuge, a church program that aims to reinforce gender roles and heal those with the “disease” of homosexuality. Based on Garrard Conley’s memoir of the same name, director and co-star Joel Edgerton delivers a refreshingly empathetic take on the difficulty of retaining a sense of one’s self in a circumstance that aims to erase it.
THE FAVOURITE (Ireland/UK/USA)
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
As England wages war with the French in the early 18th century, a frail and increasingly unstable Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) sits on the throne while Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz)—her advisor, confidant, and trusted friend—leads the country in her stead. Their mutually beneficial arrangement is threatened by the arrival of Sarah’s cousin Abigail (Emma Stone), who sees becoming the Queen’s preferred companion as her best chance of returning to her aristocratic roots. As Sarah and Abigail’s battle of wills intensifies within the labyrinthian confines of the royal palace, director Yorgos Lanthimos and his three brilliant leads dial up the savage humor in this delightfully unhinged tale of lies and deceit within Queen Anne’s kingdom.
FIRST MAN (USA)
East Coast Premiere, Director: Damien Chazelle
Academy Award-winning director Damien Chazelle reteams with his LA LA LAND leading man Ryan Gosling for a riveting look at the eight years that defined the life of Neil Armstrong, from his entrance in NASA’s astronaut program to his era-defining moon landing in 1969. Adapted from James R. Hansen’s biography by Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Josh Singer (SPOTLIGHT, HIFF 2015), Chazelle portrays the period with the same visceral intensity that drove the program to push humankind to previously unknown heights. Rounded out by an ensemble cast including Claire Foy, Corey Stoll, Jason Clarke, and Kyle Chandler, FIRST MAN is an awe-inspiring look at the defining moment of the last century.
CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? (USA)
East Coast Premiere, Director: Marielle Heller
After spending decades as a successful biographer of female celebrities and public figures, real-life author Lee Israel (Academy Award nominee Melissa McCarthy) finds herself out of work in the 1980s, as the industry moves away from respectability and into the depths of tabloid culture. Realizing she has an uncanny ability to replicate the voices of her literary idols, Israel sets out on a new venture: forging historical letters and selling them on the black market, with the help of an ex-con old friend (Richard E. Grant). Following up her 2015 debut THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, director Marielle Heller has created a charmingly mischievous comedic drama about the lengths one woman must go to to stay afloat.
A PRIVATE WAR (USA)
East Coast Premiere, Director: Matthew Heineman
In an industry defined by those willing to place themselves in the midst of tremendous danger, photojournalist Marie Colvin (Academy Award nominee Rosamund Pike) distinguished herself as one of the world’s most celebrated war correspondents. In his feature narrative debut, acclaimed documentary filmmaker Matthew Heineman (CARTEL LAND, CITY OF GHOSTS) pays tribute to Colvin’s extraordinary life both on and off the battlefield. Portrayed with rebellious conviction by Pike, and aided by a supporting cast including Jamie Dornan and Stanley Tucci, A PRIVATE WAR is a thrilling look at one individual’s devotion to bringing a voice to the voiceless.
BEAUTIFUL BOY (USA)
East Coast Premiere, Director: Felix van Groeningen
Adapted from father and son David and Nic Sheff’s best-selling memoirs, HIFF alum Felix van Groeningen (THE MISFORTUNATES, HIFF 2009 and THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN, HIFF 2013) chronicles the struggle with drug addiction that threatened to tear their family apart in this emotionally charged drama. Passionately led by Academy Award®-nominees Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet (following up his breakthrough role in last year’s CALL ME BY YOUR NAME), BEAUTIFUL BOY portrays their story as a heartbreaking—and ultimately inspiring—story of a family struggling to stay on top of the waves of recovery and relapse as Nic moves in and out of his father’s life.
BEN IS BACK (USA)
U.S. Premiere, Director: Peter Hedges
On Christmas Eve, the Burns family is stunned by the unexpected arrival of their son Ben (Academy Award® nominee Lucas Hedges), returning home for the first time after entering rehab for opioid addiction. His mother, Holly (Academy Award winner Julia Roberts), is quick to eagerly welcome her son in, while the rest of the family are more skeptical of the reasons for his surprise return. As Ben is torn between proving his sobriety and falling into his old ways, Roberts perfectly portrays a mother struggling with her own warring instincts in this affecting look at one family’s struggle with a national epidemic.
U.S. Premiere, Director: Nadine Labaki
Scraping by on the chaotic streets of Beirut, 12-year-old Zain (Zain al Rafeea) is one of many children born into an uncertain future in the city’s slum. Living a deeply troubled life on the streets and branded the sole caretaker of an abandoned toddler, Zain makes the desperate move of suing his negligent parents for giving him life and trapping him in a hostile world. Utilizing a cast of non-professional actors (including two revelatory performances from its child leads), Lebanese director Nadine Labaki’s Cannes Jury Prize-winner is a stirring slice of social-realist protest cinema, driven equally by righteous anger and enduring empathy, and sure to be one of the most talked about films of the year.
EVERYBODY KNOWS (France/Spain/Italy)
East Coast Premiere, Director: Asghar Farhadi
Transplanting his trademark psychological drama from his native Iran to the foothills of Spain, two-time Academy Award-winning director Asghar Farhadi (THE PAST [HIFF 2014], THE SALESMAN [HIFF 2017]) returns with a story of secrets and intrigue in Spanish wine country. Returning to her childhood home to celebrate a family wedding, Laura (Penélope Cruz) finds long-simmering tensions coming to the surface when her daughter suddenly disappears amidst a power outage, with her distanced family and ex (Javier Bardem) the most likely suspects. Beautifully realized and constantly engrossing, Farhadi has crafted another masterful thriller with a deep ensemble cast of Spanish legends, led by Bardem, Cruz, and Bárbara Lennie.
GREEN BOOK (USA)
East Coast Premiere, Director: Peter Farrelly
It’s 1962 America, and impeccably stylish jazz musician Don Shirley (Academy Award® winner Mahershala Ali) needs to hire a bodyguard to get him safely from venue to venue on his upcoming Southern tour. Enter Tony “Lip” Valelonga (Viggo Mortensen): a loud-mouthed Italian-American bouncer who’s quicker to enter a situation fists first if it means coming out on top. Together, the unlikely pair set out on a road trip through the American South, using the Negro Motorist Green Book as a guide to find welcoming lodging; along the way, they forge a surprising camaraderie in this heartwarming and comedic true story.
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Inspired by the early 1970’s Mexico City of his childhood, celebrated auteur Alfonso Cuarón (GRAVITY, CHILDREN OF MEN, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN) returns with this semi-autobiographical look at a middle-class family making a life for itself within a time of political turbulence and patriarchal rule. Filmed on a giant canvas in 65mm and utilizing stunningly detailed black and white photography, ROMA recreates the world of his past with a cinematic grandeur and vibrancy. Acting as his own cinematographer and working with a remarkable cast of largely unknown actors, Cuarón places the viewer in the middle a world alive with the anxious energy of the period, while paying respect to the individuals that would help to shape his life.
THE HAPPY PRINCE (Germany/Belgium/Italy)
Director: Rupert Everett
In the final three years of his life (1897-1900), Oscar Wilde finds himself adrift. Coming off the heels of his trial for indecency and subsequent imprisonment, Wilde lives out his last days in exile, moving between a small group of enduring friends (Colin Firth, Edwin Thomas) under assumed names and torn between whether to go back to his ex-lover (Colin Morgan) or estranged wife (Emily Watson). Written, directed by, and starring Rupert Everett as the ailing Wilde, THE HAPPY PRINCE is at once a moving evocation of the literary genius’ final act and a stirring paean to the brilliant wit that endured to his last moments.
THE HATE U GIVE (USA)
Director: George Tillman Jr.
As a way to escape the limited options of the streets she grew up on, sixteen-year-old black teenager Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) is torn between two lives: one at school amidst her predominantly rich, upper-class white classmates, and another within her working-class neighborhood. But Starr’s dual life is torn apart when a reunion with a childhood sweetheart ends in tragedy at the hands of a local police officer, forcing her to take a side amidst a swelling of protests in the local community. Adapting Angie Thomas’s award-winning novel to the big screen with the same sense of urgency that shot it to the top of the bestsellers list, THE HATE U GIVE is a stirring look at one teenager’s personal awakening.
THE PUBLIC (USA)
East Coast Premiere, Director: Emilio Estevez
As the day’s activities wind down and library workers Stuart (Emilio Estevez) and Myra (Jena Malone) prepare to close for the day, a group of homeless patrons decide to stage an act of rebellion when they refuse to leave the building to find somewhere to sleep in the wintry night. Soon the scene outside becomes a carnival of riot gear-wearing officers and local news reporters, leading to a standoff between the city’s have’s and have-not’s. Aided by a deep supporting cast, including Jeffrey Wright, Michael K. Williams, and Alec Baldwin, writer, director, and star Emilio Estevez continues to showcase his skills as a gifted multi-hyphenate force with his latest ode to the struggles of the disenfranchised.
TO DUST (USA)
Director: Shawn Snyder
Shmuel (Geza Rohrig, last seen at HIFF with 2015’s SON OF SAUL), a Hasidic cantor living in upstate New York, is unable to cope with the untimely death of his wife. Struggling to find religious solace in the face of tremendous grief and plagued by nightmares about his wife’s decaying body, Shmuel looks to Albert (Matthew Broderick), a community college biology professor, to teach him more about the decomposition process facing her. In director Shawn Snyder’s darkly comic first feature, the two form an unlikely bond via clandestine biological experiments, despite the blasphemous consequences.
Director: Steve McQueen
From Academy Award-winning director Steve McQueen (12 YEARS A SLAVE) and co-writer and bestselling author Gillian Flynn (GONE GIRL) comes a blistering, modern-day thriller set against the backdrop of crime, passion and corruption. WIDOWS is the story of four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities. Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, tensions build when Veronica (Oscar winner Viola Davis), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki) and Belle (Cynthia Erivo) take their fate into their own hands and conspire to forge a future on their own terms. WIDOWS also stars Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall, Daniel Kaluuya, Lukas Haas and Brian Tyree Henry.
Director: Paul Dano
In 1960s Montana, Jerry Brinson (Jake Gyllenhaal) finds his family at yet another crossroads when he loses his job at the local golf course. With a wildfire raging in the surrounding mountains, Jerry decides to join a group of firefighters and leaves his wife Jeanette (Carey Mulligan) and teenage son (Ed Oxenbould) on their own in their small town, where both begin to question the stability of the life they’ve known for so long. With this astonishingly well-realized directorial debut, Paul Dano reveals himself to be a director of considerable emotional depth in this melancholic look at the steady decline of the nuclear family, anchored by Mulligan’s towering central performance.
CITY OF JOEL (USA)
World Premiere, Director: Jesse Sweet
50 miles north of New York City lies the town of Monroe, where one of the fastest-growing Hasidic communities in the country thrives deep within the Hudson Valley. As the 25,000+ population within the village of Kiryas Joel looks to expand their city, the neighboring villages of non-Hasids see the encroaching community as a burgeoning power grab, leading to an increasingly tense standoff between locals. Shot over several years with seemingly boundless access, Emmy-winning director Jesse Sweet’s documentary observes the simmering tensions that have come to define the community of Monroe, and the myriad ways in which the town’s divide echoes the country’s as well.
DIVIDE AND CONQUER: THE STORY OF ROGER AILES (USA)
Director: Alexis Bloom
At the time of his death in May 2017, a mere four months after the inauguration of Donald Trump, Former Fox News head Roger Ailes left behind undoubtedly one of the largest legacies of any individual on the American political landscape. Looking at the legacy of the man who was both the leading strategist behind the election of numerous Republican presidents and one of the first larger-than-life figures to be taken out of power by accusations of sexual misconduct, filmmaker Alexis Bloom sheds light on the multitude of ways in which the story of Ailes’s rise to power reflects the story of the modern Republican party, as well as the disquieting history of abuse that followed it.
GHOST FLEET (USA)
East Coast Premiere, Director: Shannon Service, Jeffrey Waldron
Amidst the unsustainable expansion of Thailand’s fishing market, the global fishing industry has engaged in the illegal practice of holding workers against their will for years at sea, with little hope of returning to their families. Defying threats of torture and imprisonment to those who attempt to escape, many workers have jumped ship and found themselves taking refuge in local jungles. Following Thai human-rights activist Patima Tungpuchayakul and her team as they set off on a mission to rescue the prisoners who have successfully escaped to the southern islands of Indonesia, GHOST FLEET is an eye-opening expose of the ways in which slavery continues to exist in the modern world, and an inspiring look at those devoting their lives to ending it.
THE LAST RACE (USA)
East Coast Premiere, Director: Michael Dweck
Long Island is the birthplace of American stock car racing, but today, only one racetrack remains: Riverhead Raceway. Established in 1949 on an initially rural part of Long Island, the land has seen its value skyrocket in the subsequent years. With the track now worth over $10 million, the octogenarian owners Barbara and Jim Cromarty struggle to keep the bulldozers at bay. In his debut feature, acclaimed visual artist Michael Dweck explores the issues of class divide and corporate interest that have impacted both the racing industry and region as a whole in this beautiful, visceral, mesmerizing ode to a dying American tradition.
*Also screening as part of View From Long Island section.
New York Premiere, Director: Daniel Zimmermann
On a gentle day, deep in an Austrian forest, we hear the sudden sound of a chainsaw sending a fir tree to the ground, and thus begins Daniel Zimmerman’s formally fascinating and uncompromising experimental documentary. Entirely comprised of thirteen 360° panning shots, WALDEN follows the tree’s lumber from its harvest in the Austrian wilderness around the globe, as it slowly makes its way across towns, ports, and continents. Equal parts challenging and hypnotizing, Zimmerman’s film is a rhythmic rumination on the role nature plays in all of our lives, both as individuals and as those living in a world defined by globalization.
New York Premiere, Director: Yen Tan
In the years since his departure, twenty-something Adrian (Cory Michael Smith) has long since left behind the speed and politics of his small Texas hometown. Returning to his family for his first Christmas in years, he finds himself torn between the desire to make the most of their time together and the need to tell them the real reason for his visit. Inspired by his award-winning short film of the same name, director Yen Tan’s 1985 is a nostalgia-tinged look at the lingering feelings left in the wake of leaving one’s hometown, and the awkward tension that comes with determining how much of yourself you can still reveal to those you’ve left behind.
ALL GOOD (Germany)
U.S. Premiere, Director: Eva Trobisch
When an encounter at her school reunion ends in an non-consensual sexual encounter, Janne’s immediate response is to use the same rationale that has driven much of her adult life: “If you don’t see any problems, you don’t have any.” But Janne’s silence soon creates deafening rifts with her partner, family, and co-workers that threaten to destroy the personal and professional relationships she’s worked so hard to maintain. Mesmerizingly led by Aenne Schwarz’s lead performance, debut filmmaker Eva Trobisch has crafted a nuanced and powerful look at the destructive instinct to refuse to define yourself as the victim.
Director: Ali Abbasi
Tina (Eva Melander), a reclusive customs officer whose enlarged face and pronounced overbite make her immediately stand out, has a unique skill: her sense of smell allows her to identify contraband coming through the border. One day, a mysterious man sets off her senses and places her on a strange path that will lead her to discover the origin of her gifts. Based on Let the Right One In author John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novella, director Ali Abbasi has crafted a consistently surprising genre hybrid. Winner of the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes, BORDER straddles the line between romance, fantasy, and horror in its examination of one person’s struggle to realize her place in the world. Selected as Sweden’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar®.
ONE DAY (Hungary)
U.S. Premiere, Director: Zsófia Szilágyi
40-year-old Anna (Zsofia Szamosi) has defined her life by being dependable. While working diligently to take care of her three children, she increasingly pushes the growing distance between her and her husband to the back of her mind, until she receives a piece of news that will threaten the steady world she’s worked so hard to maintain. Taking place over the course of a single 36-hour period, director Zsófia Szilágyi’s fearless debut feature is a remarkable piece of social realist cinema. Winner of the FIPRESCI prize in the Critics Week section at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and aided by Szamosi’s intensely committed lead performance, ONE DAY announces Szilágyi as a major talent.
TOO LATE TO DIE YOUNG (Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Netherlands, Qatar)
Director: Dominga Sotomayor
Taking place in the days between Christmas and New Year’s Day in the 1990 summer that would bring democracy to Chile, a group of families have recently moved to start a new life for themselves in the rural country. Within the course of this single sun-soaked week, 16-year-old Sofia finds herself in her own period of enormous transition, as she begins to take the first tentative steps into adulthood within the mountain enclave she now calls home. Taking viewers far beyond the city scenes that defined the period and into the foothills below the Andes, director Dominga Sotomayor crafts a beautifully naturalistic coming-of-age film, propelled by the wistful energy of a time defined by optimistic transition.
WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY
HENRI DAUMAN: LOOKING UP (USA)
World Premiere, Director: Peter Jones
As one of the preeminent photographers of the 20th century, self-taught Henri Dauman took the international photojournalism scene by storm with his cinematic images that redefined the methods of capturing historical icons. Leaving behind his past as an orphaned Holocaust survivor, Dauman created a new life for himself in New York City, where his timeless style quickly gained momentum amidst high society and celebrity culture. Exploring both the photographer’s traumatic past and the contrasting vibrancy of the city that would define his work, director Peter Jones’s film is a testament to the resilience and perseverance of the man behind the camera.
MAKING THE GRADE (Ireland)
East Coast Premiere, Director: Ken Wardrop
Across Ireland every year, 30,000 students prepare for the piano exams that will determine whether they proceed in their studies towards the coveted Grade Eight—considered the pinnacle of musical education. Spanning generations, proficiency levels, and a multitude of perspectives, documentarian Ken Wardrop provides a panoramic look at students working to define their relationship with both the piano and the teachers guiding them forward. MAKING THE GRADE is simultaneously a charming study of teacher-student relationships, an enduring tribute to the importance of perseverance, and a nostalgic look at the different ways people find fulfillment through the arts.
MARIA BY CALLAS (France)
Director: Tom Volf
Upon her untimely death in 1977, the name Maria Callas was inseparable from the art form that she helped to define in the 20th century. One of the most celebrated opera singers of the modern era, Callas rose to prominence in the years following World War II, as her unrivaled voice—and much discussed private life—captivated audiences worldwide. Culled from a treasure trove of archival footage, interviews, rare live footage, and personal Super 8 recordings, director Tom Volf creates a loving portrait of Maria through her own words, never losing sight of the woman behind the voice.
MONROVIA, INDIANA (USA)
Director: Frederick Wiseman
Turning his attention away from the large-scale city institutions that have defined his work for much of the past decade, legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman aims his camera towards the residents of Monrovia, Indiana: a small midwest town with a population of just over 1,000. Observing life in this middle-American community, Wiseman moves between a variety of locales, ranging from the churches and farms that have defined the region for centuries to the gun shop visits, school performances, and Freemason society meetings that showcase the town’s daily rituals. Through it all, Wiseman creates a remarkable space for contemplation of a type of community rarely depicted on screen, despite the undeniable role these towns play in contemporary American politics.
A MURDER IN MANSFIELD (USA)
Director: Barbara Kopple
Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple’s latest documentary explores the ramifications of a horrific crime that shook the small town of Mansfield, Ohio. In 1990, 12-year-old Collier stepped onto the witness stand during the most explosive murder trial in the history of his hometown. Many locals still remember the boy’s dramatic testimony—blaming his father, a prominent doctor, for the murder of his mother Noreen. Twenty-six years later, Collier returns, seeking to heal the lingering trauma associated with the crime and confront his imprisoned father, who continues to withhold his admission of guilt in the events that changed so many lives.
THE PANAMA PAPERS (USA)
World Premiere, Director: Alex Winter
Leaked by an anonymous source to journalists in 2015, The Panama Papers were an explosive collection of 11.5 million documents, exposing the use of secretive offshore companies to enable widespread tax evasion and money laundering. Largely viewed as the largest data leak in history, the release of the Papers had wide-reaching implications, incriminating 12 current or former world leaders, 128 politicians or public officials, and various celebrities and public figures (among others). In his expansive documentary, director Alex Winter speaks to the journalists who worked to ensure the release, and examines how it reshaped our understanding of corruption amidst the highest forms of government, along with the ongoing effects on global inequality.
THE PROPOSAL (USA)
Director: Jill Magid
Hidden away in a vault in Switzerland lies the professional archive of Mexico’s most renowned architect Luis Barragán, now fiercely protected by its sole owner, who has almost completely restricted access to the public over the last 20 years. Determined to relocate the archive back to Mexico City, American conceptual artist, writer, and filmmaker Jill Magid initiates a dialogue with the owner, and in the process, begins to construct her own piece ruminating on the dangers of cutting off accessibility to an artist’s work from the outside world. With this provocative and haunting film, Magid challenges the perception of who truly controls an artist’s legacy and how the world should engage with their work.
ROLL RED ROLL (USA)
Director: Nancy Schwartzman
In 2012, the sleepy town of Steubenville, Ohio made international news when a whistle-blowing blogger discovered a set of disturbing online evidence documenting the sexual assault of a teenage girl by star members of the high school football team. Examining the complicated motivations of the perpetrators, bystanders, and community leaders who actively denied and dismissed the event, documentarian Nancy Schwartzman attempts to unpack the harmful attitudes at the core of their unconscionably complicit behavior. Timely and undeniably affecting, ROLL RED ROLL goes behind the headlines to uncover the deeply entrenched, social media-fueled “boys will be boys” culture at the root of sexual assault in America.
Director: Sandi Tan
Spending her days seeking refuge in zines, bootlegs, and American independent cinema, teenager Sandi Tan found herself among the first generation of Singapore’s burgeoning counterculture movement when she began working on her DIY-labor of love film SHIRKERS in the early 90s. But Sandi and her co-conspirators’ dreams of beginning a new film movement were crushed when Georges, her mysterious American mentor, disappeared with the entirety of the footage without warning. Two decades later, Tan and her collaborators return to the footage they lost in order to grapple with the movement their optimism inspired—and the man who tore it away from them—in this singular look at one artist’s attempt to reckon with the past.
THEY’LL LOVE ME WHEN I’M DEAD (USA)
Director: Morgan Neville
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND was to be Orson Welles’s grand comeback, until years of financial, legal, and creative issues halted the completion of the CITIZEN KANE director’s final work. Now nearly 50 years later, Oscar-winning documentary director Morgan Neville (20 FEET FROM STARDOM, WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR) looks back at the winding and nearly unbelievable story of the making of the film, created guerrilla-style by a director living in exile, and the decades of failure that came to define the project’s legacy. Aided by Peter Bogdanovich, Frank Marshall, Beatrice Welles, and other living collaborators, THEY’LL LOVE ME WHEN I’M DEAD is a lively tribute to one of cinema’s true giants.
THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING (USA)
U.S. Premiere, Director: Tom Donahue
One year after the Harvey Weinstein allegations ignited the #MeToo movement, THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING offers a comprehensive look at the film industry’s role in reinforcing gender dynamics over the last century, and the resounding call for action pushing back. Speaking with a tremendous group of Hollywood’s biggest names, including Meryl Streep, Jessica Chastain, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Reese Witherspoon, and countless others, the film stands as a timely testament to the urgent need for change facing both the entertainment industry and society as a whole.
TIME FOR ILHAN (USA)
Director: Norah Shapiro
On November 8, 2016, Ilhan Omar—a young, hijab-wearing mother-of-three—made history as the first Somali Muslim woman to be elected to legislative office in the United States. With incredible access to Omar’s campaign, documentarian Norah Shapiro follows the candidate and her team on the trail as they attempt to unseat the 43-year incumbent in a hard-fought race to represent the country’s largest Somali community. At a time of tremendous political turmoil, TIME FOR ILHAN intimately chronicles the inspiring journey of one of the nation’s brightest rising political stars and offers a fresh perspective on the American Dream.
THE TRUTH ABOUT KILLER ROBOTS
New York Premiere, Director: Maxim Pozdorovkin
As defined by science fiction giant Isaac Asimov, the first law of robotics states, “A robot may not injure a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.” So what happens once we live in an era where the law has already been broken? Using three recent case studies of moments in which robots have caused the death of a human as a starting point, director Maxim Pozdorovkin creates an equally thought-provoking and wryly provocative survey of just how much we’ve allowed robots into our lives, and the extent to which our often unnoticed reliance on machines may have already defined our fate.
WORLD CINEMA NARRATIVE
ASK FOR JANE (USA)
World Premiere, Director: Rachel Carey
Between 1969 and 1973, The Jane Collective operated underground in Chicago, helping over 11,000 women receive safe, illegal abortions throughout the metropolitan area, learning and performing the procedure on their own in an era that refused to make them legally available. Before disbanding in the wake of Roe v. Wade in 1973, the group operated like a spy network throughout the city and provided a necessary public service to the women of Chicago. Exploring the story of Jane’s founding with a ensemble cast including Emmy nominee Alison Wright, Tony nominee Saycon Sengbloh, and Ben Rappaport, ASK FOR JANE is a timely reminder of the necessity of reproductive healthcare in the modern day.
BIRDS OF PASSAGE (Mexico, Colombia, Denmark)
New York Premiere, Director: Christina Gallego, Ciro Guerra
In the follow-up to his visually stunning foreign language Oscar-nominated EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT (HIFF 2015), director Ciro Guerra depicts a single Colombian family who find themselves increasingly forced into the violence and capitalist pull of the country’s burgeoning drug trade. Co-directed alongside his longtime collaborator Cristina Gallego, BIRDS OF PASSAGE provides a visceral and multi-faceted look at the two-decade rise of the Colombian drug trade through the eyes of the indigenous communities who both helped to shape it and were subsequently devastated by it. Sprawling in scope and filled with a sense of surreal beauty, Guerra and Gallego deliver an unparalleled crime saga. Selected as Colombia’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.
BURNING (South Korea)
Director: Lee Chang-dong
Years after leaving his small northern hometown for Seoul, an aspiring writer (Yoo Ah-in) unexpectedly runs into a childhood acquaintance (Jeon Jong-seo). Their chance encounter soon blossoms into a tentative relationship, until her return from an impromptu trip with a mysterious new companion (Steven Yeun, The Walking Dead) sets in motion an accidental love triangle that soon morphs into something much more sinister. Based on Haruki Murakami’s short story Barn Burning, director Lee Chang-dong’s masterful film became one of the most celebrated titles of the last decade upon its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival—an exhilarating thriller that is as precise as it is undefinable.
COLD WAR (Poland)
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
In the midst of tremendous political upheaval, two folk musicians meet in post-war Poland, where one attempts to escape a troubled past while the other increasingly questions the pair’s role in the country’s propaganda machine. Soon they fall in love and find fame in the smoke-lit bars of Eastern Europe, setting in motion a relationship that will span decades and cross borders. Sumptuously shot in beautiful black and white, Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski (in the follow-up to his Foreign Language Academy Award winner IDA) returns to his home country with an achingly seductive tale of love and loss.
DEAD PIGS (USA/China)
Director: Cathy Yan
Against the backdrop of urban development, gentrification, and thousands of discarded pigs mysteriously floating down the Yangtze River, a brassy salon owner, lonely busboy, trust-fund princess, expat architect, and bumbling farmer find their lives unexpectedly converging in Cathy Yan’s sprawling directorial debut. Yan, a participant in the 2016 HIFF Screenwriters Lab and the recipient of support from the inaugural Melissa Mathison Fund, effortlessly weaves together the individual narratives of five Shanghai residents in her biting satire. Based on true events, DEAD PIGS is a wicked and whimsical examination of contemporary China’s ongoing clash between traditionalism and modernization.
THE GUILTY (Denmark)
Director: Gustav Möller
Following a suspension, police officer Asger Holm (a hypnotic Jakob Cedergren) is re-assigned as an emergency dispatcher. During one seemingly typical night he receives a unusually distressing call, and slowly realizes that the woman on the other end of the line has been kidnapped. Confined to his desk with only his direct line of communication to aid him, Holm must act without delay in order to save her. Winner of audience awards at Sundance, Rotterdam, Montclair and more, first-time director Gustav Möller experiments with the boundaries of traditional narrative to create one of the year’s most suspenseful thrillers.
HAPPY AS LAZZARO (Italy)
Director: Alice Rohrwacher
Within an impoverished Italian countryside estate, a group of sharecroppers spend their days harvesting tobacco for their overbearing Marchesa, while the wide-eyed, innocent local Lazzaro (first-time actor Adriano Tradiolo) is at once beloved and taken advantage of by his fellow workers. This life continues on in the town, until Lazzaro’s involvement in a kidnapping scheme at the hands of the Marchesa’s entitled son sets in motion a string of events that will push him towards a place and time far from his rustic home. Blending the lines between Italy’s history of neo-realism and bucolic fables into a transfixing parable of the country’s modern day society, director Alice Rohrwacher’s (CORPO CELESTE, HIFF 2011) third feature is a stunning achievement of contemporary European cinema.
I DO NOT CARE IF WE GO DOWN IN HISTORY AS BARBARIANS
U.S. Premiere, Director: Radu Jude
In the latest provocation from Romanian director Radu Jude, local theater director Mariana Marin (Ioana Iacob) prepares to stage a public recreation of the 1941 Odessa Massacre, an often-ignored ethnic cleansing in which tens of thousands of Ukrainian Jews were murdered at the hands of Romanian soldiers. As Mariana attempts to push back on both calls for censorship from a city representative looking for a more traditional display of nationalist pride and a burgeoning mutiny amongst her cast of local volunteers, Jude crafts a timely and constantly engaging examination of the ways in which barbarism is not only defined by its perpetrators, but by those insistent on pushing it to the sidelines of history as well.
U.S. Premiere, Director: Kirill Serebrennikov
As the political repression of the USSR enters its final decade, Mike Naumenko (Roman Bilyk), frontman of the early 1980s Leningrad band Zoopark, welcomes a new singer that will soon break out far past the reach of their comparatively underground rock scene. Looking back at the music landscape of his youth, director Kirill Serebrennikov has crafted a sprawling portrait of a vibrant scene alive with the riotous, uncontrollable energy of the era. Filled with an electrifying soundtrack, LETO provides a nostalgic, yet un-romanticized look at a period that seemed to exist almost entirely outside of both what had come before and was yet to come in its native country.
Director: Olivier Assayas
Internationally acclaimed French auteur Olivier Assayas (CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA, HIFF 2014) returns to the festival with this charmingly playful comedy. Facing both a rapidly changing industry and the lingering feeling that his relationship with his wife (Juliette Binoche), a professional actress, is growing stale, publishing executive Alain (Guillaume Canet) struggles to find his place while dealing with an oafish author (Vincent Macaigne) and significantly younger new recruit (Nora Hamzawi). As his perfectly cast ensemble move between dinner parties and bedrooms, Assayas crafts a deliciously mischievous look at the difficulty of adapting to today’s new-media world.
PRIVATE LIFE (USA)
Director: Tamara Jenkins
Feeling the pressure of repeated failed attempts to have a child, middle-aged New York couple Rachel (Kathryn Hahn) and Richard (Paul Giamatti) seem to have run out of options when their step-niece Sadie (HIFF 2018 Breakthrough Artist Kayli Carter) arrives at their doorstep looking for a place to crash. When Sadie agrees to donate her eggs and become the last piece of their fertility puzzle, the three form an unconventional bond as they set about creating a family. With her first film in 10 years, director Tamara Jenkins (THE SAVAGES) and her wonderful cast craft a knowingly tender portrait of the pressures facing one middle-class family.
Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
The winner of the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, prolific Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda (LIKE FATHER LIKE SON, HIFF 2013) returns to the festival with a nuanced, heartbreaking look at a family of misfits living in the margins of contemporary Tokyo. Making a life for themselves by shoplifting from local grocery stores and finding food where they can, the film’s central family find their impoverished but tranquil life threatened when they take a young girl under their wing, and her abusive parents fight back for custody. An impassioned plea for those struggling to stay afloat, this is another must-see from one of international cinema’s greatest filmmakers. Selected as Japan’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.
U.S. Premiere, Director: Wolfgang Fischer
Rike (Susanne Wolff), a 40-year-old woman working contentedly as a successful doctor in the city, finally fulfills a lifelong dream when she uses an annual holiday to set sail on a solo voyage from Gibraltar to Ascension, an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Following an intense storm, Rike’s holiday is interrupted by the discovery of a badly damaged and overloaded refugee boat, with over one hundred passengers’ lives threatened and her calls for help unanswered. Director Wolfgang Fischer crafts a stunning story of survival, as well as a striking allegory for the sometimes impossible task of acting to save those imperiled by an impassive system.
WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY (USA)
Director: Madeleine Olnek
Literary icon Emily Dickinson (Molly Shannon) breaks free from her public persona as a famously prudish spinster and claims her status as a vibrant lesbian hero. Balancing raucous humor with tender romance, Shannon establishes Dickinson as a spirited artist who drew inspiration from her passionate, lifelong affair with her secret lover, Susan Dickinson (Susan Ziegler). In the delightfully irreverent WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY, writer/director Madeleine Olnek refreshingly upends the false narratives that have historically dominated the poet’s life and work, and examines the way we as a society choose to write and remember our powerful women.
WOMAN AT WAR (France/Iceland/Ukraine)
U.S. Premiere, Director: Benedikt Erlingsson
Fifty-year-old choir teacher Halla (Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir) has, on the surface, an uneventful life in her Icelandic countryside home. By day a pillar of the local community, Halla leads a secret life as an eco-terrorist, devoting herself to a campaign against the aluminum industry by sabotaging local electric pylons and spearheading factory sieges. When the balance of her dual life is threatened by the approval of a longstanding adoption request, she is forced to decide whether to sacrifice the cause for the desire to settle down. Examining the nuanced relationship between the personal and the political with an unexpectedly offbeat, comic tone, WOMEN AT WAR is a stirring tale from emerging Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson.
VIEWS FROM LONG ISLAND
BLACK MOTHER (USA)
Director: Khalik Allah
Filmmaker, photographer, and Long Island resident Khalik Allah’s second feature is, much like his debut film FIELD N*****, a mesmerizing documentary portrait. Allah casts his lens on two dissonant worlds on the island of Jamaica, showcasing the sacred and profane alike. Switching among multiple formats, from the raw texture of super 8mm film, to videotape, to HD video, Allah skillfully creates another intimate and daring portrait of kaleidoscopic beauty, revealing Jamaica—the birthplace of his mother—as a blessed place, dreamlike, full of rhythm and seduction.
THE LAST RACE (USA)
East Coast Premiere, Director: Michael Dweck
Long Island is the birthplace of American stock car racing, but today, only one racetrack remains: Riverhead Raceway. Established in 1949 on an initially rural part of Long Island, the land has seen its value skyrocket in the subsequent years. Now worth over $10 million, the octogenarian track owners Barbara and Jim Cromarty struggle to keep the bulldozers at bay. In his debut feature, acclaimed visual artist Michael Dweck explores the issues of class divide and corporate interest that have impacted both the racing industry and region as a whole in this beautiful, visceral, mesmerizing ode to a dying American tradition.
*Also screening as part of Documentary Competition Section.
ONLY THE WIND IS LISTENING (USA)
World Premiere, Director: Emily Anderson
Set against the backdrop of an unforgiving Montauk winter, the lives of a fisherman and a writer intertwine as they attempt to navigate off-season loneliness.
*Also screening as part of the Shorts Playing Before Features.
STILL PLAYS WITH TRAINS (USA)
World Premiere, Director: Ross Kauffman
In the basement of his East Hampton home, John Scully reconstructs his idyllic 1950s childhood in the form of one of the world’s largest model train sets.
*Also screening as part of the Shorts Playing Before Features.
AIR, LAND, AND SEA
ABOVE AND BEYOND: NASA’S JOURNEY TO TOMORROW (USA)
Director: Rory Kennedy
On the eve of its 60th Anniversary, Academy Award-nominated director Rory Kennedy charts the history of The National Aeronautics and Space Administration with a look at its myriad contributions to space exploration and its continued work investigating the effects of climate change throughout the world. Touching on both the many epoch-defining moments created throughout NASA’s history and the intensely personal commitment required by the men and women who made them possible, Kennedy has crafted a consistently inspiring tribute to an organization that reminds us of the infinite reach of the human spirit.
U.S. Premiere, Directors: Sasha Friedlander, Cynthia Wade
In 2006, international drilling company Lapindo carelessly unleashed an unstoppable toxic mudflow into East Java—burying dozens of nearby villages and displacing tens of thousands of Indonesians in the process. Documentarians Sasha Friedlander and Cynthia Wade (Academy Award winner for FREEHELD) focus the tragedy around 16-year-old survivor Dian, a survivor who is routinely ignored by her government, despite the unforgiving sludge continuing to engulf her home for over a decade. Chronicling the teenager’s transformation from a young girl into an outspoken advocate for her community, GRIT is a timely showcase of the urgent need for political activism, the duty to hold those in power accountable, and the perseverance of the human spirit amidst social and environmental strife.
THE SERENGETI RULES (UK/USA)
Director: Nicolas Brown
In the 1960s, five international scientists set out into the wilderness with an insatiable desire to learn more about the balance of life on earth— and, in the process, redefined our understanding of ecosystems around the world. Now in the twilight of their celebrated careers, these five unsung heroes of modern ecology share how their pioneering work forever altered our view of nature, and how their findings may help combat the effects of climate change. Featuring gorgeous photography from some of the most exotic and remote places around the world, Nicolas Brown’s THE SERENGETI RULES is a beautiful ode to the Earth and those endeavoring to protect it.
COMPASSION, JUSTICE, AND ANIMAL RIGHTS
THE CAT RESCUERS (USA)
World Premiere, Director: Rob Fruchtman, Steven Lawrence
Throughout the United States, an estimated 70 million cats live abandoned without a home, with over one million stray or feral cats roaming the streets of New York City alone. In an effort to counter the increasingly uncontrollable issue of the city’s abandoned cat population, hundreds of animal welfare activists have taken to the streets to attempt to humanely help the animals through new techniques and adoption pushes, often at great expense to their personal lives. Following four of these volunteer activists working in Brooklyn, THE CAT RESCUERS is an eye-opening look at a too often undiscussed issue facing the city, and the courageous few doing what they can to help.
FOR THE BIRDS (USA)
East Coast Premiere, Director: Richard Miron
One day on her property in upstate New York, Kathy Murphy finds a duckling in her yard and decides to take it in. A decade later, her (and her husband’s) home is overrun with over 200 fostered birds, including chickens, geese, ducks, and turkeys. Shot vérité-style both at the couple’s farm and throughout the ensuing court battles with local activists and animal welfare officers, director Richard Miron empathetically documents the resulting strains on Kathy’s marriage and mental health as she fights to keep her birds, while shining a necessary light on the rarely-discussed issue of animal hoarding. Demonstrating that significant life changes are achievable, Kathy’s journey highlights the importance of community in the road to recovery, giving hope to all that struggle to face life’s challenges
CONFLICT & RESOLUTION
AND BREATHE NORMALLY (Iceland/Sweden/Belgium)
New York Premiere, Director: Ísold Uggadóttir
The disparate paths of a struggling Icelandic single mother and an asylum-seeking Guinea-Bissauan woman interweave in Ísold Uggadóttir’s (Screenwriters Lab 2015) award-winning first feature. Though they are initially divided by political and cultural discord, the two women gradually form an unlikely bond outside of the pre-ordained paths expected from their socio-political realities. Akin to the social-realist work of Ken Loach and the Dardennes Brothers, AND BREATHE NORMALLY is a sharply observed and unsentimental exploration of the migration crisis, and confirms Uggadóttir’s status as a rising star of Icelandic cinema.
OF FATHERS AND SONS (Germany/Syria/Lebanon)
New York Premiere, Director: Talal Derki
Posing as a pro-jihadist photojournalist making a documentary on the Islamic Caliphate, Syrian filmmaker Talal Derki returns to his homeland, where he gains the trust of a radical Islamist family led by al-Nusra general Abu Osama. Filming their lives over the course of two years, with a particular attention paid to the general’s son Osama, Derki intimately examines the daily jihadist teaching and tutelage given in a town ravaged by conflict and destruction. Winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, OF FATHERS AND SONS is a revelatory and disquieting examination of the conditions that lead to radicalization.
THE SILENCE OF OTHERS (Spain/USA)
Director: Almudena Carracedo, Robert Bahar
At the risk of being forgotten by an apathetic system, the survivors of Spain’s 40-year dictatorship set out on a quest for justice in Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar’s Berlinale Peace Prize-winning documentary. The filmmakers follow the group over the course of six years as they come together and bravely confront the remaining perpetrators of Franco’s regime with an unprecedented international lawsuit. Executive-produced by Pedro Almodovar, THE SILENCE OF OTHERS is a powerful and provoking tribute to the courageous individuals determined to hold those responsible accountable, and a reminder that those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.
UNDER THE WIRE (U.K.)
New York Premiere, Director: Chris Martin
In February of 2012, war correspondent Marie Colvin (also the subject of HIFF 2018 Spotlight selection A PRIVATE WAR) illegally crossed the border into Syria with her photographer, Paul Conroy. Ignoring the government’s refusal to allow foreign journalists into the country, the two were among the first to attempt to cover the story of civilians trapped in the besieged city of Homs, where they found a ravaged war zone that only one of them would ultimately survive. Grippingly recounting their moment-by-moment journey into Homs, UNDER THE WIRE is a chilling tribute to the courageous bravery that led Colvin and Conroy to their final mission together.
Director: Charles Ferguson
Few moments loom larger on the collective conscious of contemporary American history than the Watergate investigation, and the subsequent resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974. Now over 40 years later, filmmaker Charles Ferguson utilizes new interviews with surviving subjects from all sides of the investigation—including reporters, prosecutors, senators, congressmen, and former members of the Nixon administration—to shine a new light on the landmark case. Following up his 2008 expose on the financial crisis INSIDE JOB, which landed him an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, Ferguson’s WATERGATE is a stunning, all-encompassing look at a scandal that, until recently, stood without parallel in US politics.
BATHTUBS OVER BROADWAY (USA)
Director: Dava Whisenant
As a writer for The Late Show with David Letterman, Steve Young waded through thousands of record bins in search of quirky albums to showcase on the recurring segment “Dave’s Record Collection.” Steve’s quest for offbeat records eventually brought him to the largely unknown world of “industrial musicals”: full productions put on by major companies to dazzle their employees during annual sales meetings. As Steve’s initial interest quickly morphs into a full-blown obsession, director Dava Whisenant follows him on his odyssey to speak to those who helped create these outrageous Broadway-style shows, while shedding hilarious light on the industry of corporate-sanctioned musicals. Winner of HIFF SummerDocs Audience Award, sponsored by Candescent Films.
SHORT FILMS: NARRATIVE COMPETITION
New York Premiere, Director: Celine Held, Logan George
When plans for a babysitter unexpectedly fall through on a sweltering Texas day, six-year-old Caroline is faced with a big responsibility.
Director: A.V. Rockwell
A new student at a school for troubled boys struggles to overcome the hazing from his peers while reconciling the haunting memories of his past.
East Coast Premiere, Director: Lendita Zeqiraj
A Kosovan family gathering unravels into chaos with the unwelcome arrival of a young Roma boy and his dog.
SHADOW ANIMALS (Sweden)
New York Premiere, Director: Jerry Carlsson
Accompanying her parents to her very first dinner party, Marall warily observes the strange social rituals of adulthood and the consequences suffered by those who do not play along.
THIRD KIND (Greece)
New York Premiere, Director: Yorgos Zois
Three archaeologists from the future return to a long-abandoned Earth to investigate a mysterious sound.
SHORT FILMS: DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
New York Premiere, Director: Guille Isa, Angello Faccini
In a remote, coastal Colombian village where livelihoods depend on the sea, a mother teaches her reluctant daughter how to swim.
U.S. Premiere, Director: Nara Normande
A beloved friendship is gorgeously memorialized in sand from the Brazilian beaches of the filmmaker’s childhood.
JUCK (THRUST) (Sweden)
New York Premiere, Director: Olivia Kastebring, Julia Gumpert, Ulrika Bandeira
A daring mix of documentary and performance, JUCK (the Swedish word for “hump”) chronicles the trailblazing all-female dance group whose viral 2013 hit provocatively questioned the ways we define femininity.
East Coast Premiere, Director: Skye Fitzgerald
With government agencies entangled in political gridlock and the certainty that civilians must intervene, volunteers from the German nonprofit Sea-Watch bravely set out to rescue refugees from their ill-fated migration across the Mediterranean.
World Premiere, Director: Pilar Timpane, Christine Delp
In Greensboro, NC, a small church community comes together to offer sanctuary to Juana Ortega, an asylum-seeking Guatemalan grandmother threatened with deportation after 25 years of living and working in the United States.
SHORT FILMS: NEW YORK WOMEN IN FILM AND TELEVISION: WOMEN CALLING THE SHOTS
AS SHADOWS (USA)
World Premiere, Director: Alexis Vail
An encounter with two strangers at a late-night diner prompts a stranded cult member to consider her future.
CHEER UP BABY (USA)
Director: Adinah Dancyger
A non-consensual encounter with a stranger on the subway leaves a young woman grappling with her sense of autonomy.
DEATH METAL GRANDMA (USA)
Director: Leah Galant
Inge Ginsberg, a 97-year-old Holocaust survivor and celebrated songwriter for Doris Day and Dean Martin, comes out of retirement to pursue a career in heavy-metal music.
HAIR WOLF (USA)
Director: Mariama Diallo
A black hair salon in gentrifying Brooklyn finds itself haunted by a strange new monster: white women intent on sucking the lifeblood from black culture.
LESSONS FROM A SCHOOL SHOOTING: NOTES FROM DUNBLANE (USA/Scotland)
Director: Kim A. Snyder
In the wake of the tragic 2012 massacre, a grieving clergyman in Sandy Hook, CT receives a letter of comfort from a fellow priest in Dunblane, Scotland, whose community suffered a similar fate nearly fifteen years prior. Across the Atlantic, the two men form a poignant bond through the shared experience of trauma and healing.
THE LITTLE GODDESS (India)
World Premiere, Director: Gauri Adelkar
Twelve-year-old Durga faces a life-changing decision when presented with the opportunity to leave her rural Indian village.
THIN ICE (Netherlands)
International Premiere, Director: Joosje Duk
The lost-and-found booth attendant of a local ice skating rink grows increasingly nervous upon noticing a man with a suspicious backpack.
SHORT FILMS: ZOOM! SHORTS FOR ALL AGES
East Coast Premiere, Director: Liron Topaz, Pierre Perifel, JP Sans
Out in the dangerous Australian desert, a lonesome Bilby reluctantly takes responsibility of a helpless baby bird.
ELIZABETH SEES (Canada)
New York Premiere, Director: Val Magarian
Though she may have lost her sight long ago, Elizabeth has lost none of her desire to experience the beauty of the world around her.
International Premiere, Director: Abel Goldfarb
A young boy with cerebral palsy learns the value of perseverance and friendship.
ONE SMALL STEP (USA/China)
New York Premiere, Director: Bobby Pontillas, Andrew Chesworth
With the unwavering support of her humble father, an ambitious young girl dreams of becoming an astronaut.
Director: Sara Litzenberger
Like all of us, Sasquatch just wants a good photo of himself—is that too much to ask?
Director: Tyler Thompson
A weary old man who lights the stars of the sky each night finds an unlikely source of inspiration back down on the ground.
TWO BALLOONS (USA)
Director: Mark C. Smith
Seeking a life of love and exploration, two adventurous lemurs take to the skies.
TWO MEDUSAS (USA)
New York Premiere, Director: Scott Hamilton Kennedy
A funny and relatable coming-of-age story set around the drama that happens when two girls wear the same Halloween costume to the school contest.
UNIVERSITY SHORT FILMS SHOWCASE
AKEDA (THE BINDING) (USA)
New York Premiere, Director: Dan Bronfeld
The humanity of a young orphan boy is tested when a film director encourages him to give a violent performance that blends fiction with reality.
BURN BRIDGE (UK)
East Coast Premiere, Director: Rhys Marc Jones
At the risk of revealing his true feelings, a closeted teenager competes for the attention of his best friend.
DON’T CALL ME BEAUTIFUL (Australia)
International Premiere, Director: Jill Robinson
An Aboriginal woman reflects on the traumatic events of her childhood—embarking on a healing journey of self-discovery in the process.
HOW TO MAKE A BOMB IN THE KITCHEN OF YOUR MOM (USA)
World Premiere, Director: Shakti Bhagchandani
Three sisters grapple with the alluring yet toxic world of pageantry and patriotism.
SCHOOLYARD BLUES (Sweden)
New York Premiere, Director: Maria Eriksson
On the morning before the first day of school, a boy walks his younger brother through the harsh realities of both the schoolyard and the world beyond.
SHORT FILMS: LET’S GO CRAZY
ALL INCLUSIVE (Switzerland)
U.S. Premiere, Director: Corina Schwingruber Ilić
A surreal and satirical observation of a cruise holiday, where every last minute is scheduled with nonstop “fun.”
HOW TO SWIM (Israel)
New York Premiere, Director: Noa Gusakov
In the last few days of her pregnancy, a terrified mother-to-be kidnaps a maternal stranger for an afternoon of hijinks.
MILK AND COOKIES (USA)
Director: Andrew Ramsay, Patrick Mulvey
Grace is five. She wants milk and cookies. Every day. Real bad.
East Coast Premiere, Director: Andrei Huțuleac
A famous Romanian thespian is held hostage by an obsessive mother who puts all other stage moms to shame.
TO PLANT A FLAG (Norway/Iceland)
U.S. Premiere, Director: Bobbie Peers
In preparation for the 1969 lunar landing, two hapless astronauts-in-training must navigate a territory that is somehow even less hospitable than the moon: Iceland.
WITH THELMA (Belgium)
Director: Ann Sirot, Raphaël Balboni
Jean and Vincent suddenly find themselves in charge of their young niece when a volcanic eruption unexpectedly strands her parents overseas.
SHORT FILMS: NEVER GOING BACK AGAIN
THE DRIVER IS RED (USA)
Director: Randall Christopher
In 1960s Buenos Aires, an Israeli secret agent hunts down a notorious Nazi war criminal on the run.
I AM BISHA: THE REBEL PUPPETEERS OF SUDAN (Kenya/USA)
New York Premiere, Director: Roopa Gogineni
The story of one puppeteer’s quest to pull the strings of Sudan’s ruthless dictator.
MAGIC ALPS (Italy)
New York Premiere, Director: Andrea Brusa, Marco Scotuzzi
An Italian immigration officer finds himself in a difficult position when an Afghan refugee seeks asylum for both himself and his goat.
RAYMONDE or THE VERTICAL ESCAPE (France)
New York Premiere, Director: Sarah Van Den Boom
Raymonde, who has dutifully lived a life of solitude and chastity, can’t seem shake her sinful urges. More importantly, she may no longer want to…
SKIP DAY (USA/UK)
Director: Ivete Lucas, Patrick Bresnan
An intimate glimpse into a timeless teenage tradition.
WOULD YOU LOOK AT HER (Macedonia)
New York Premiere, Director: Goran Stolevski
A stubborn tomboy finds the unlikely solution to her problems in an all-male religious ritual.
SHORT FILMS: PLEASE DON’T TELL
CROSS MY HEART (Jamaica/USA)
Director: Sontenish Myers
While visiting her family in Jamaica, an American teenager becomes her cousin’s confidant—forever changing the way she sees the people she loves.
Director: Jérémy Comte
A friendly game of one-upmanship between two boys quickly escalates into a dangerous struggle for survival.
THE FIELD (France/UK/India)
East Coast Premiere, Director: Sandhya Suri
As her community struggles to survive on the harvest of the village’s last remaining cornfield, a poor agricultural laborer quietly pursues another life for herself.
MY DEAD DAD’S PORNO TAPES (Canada)
Director: Charlie Tyrell
Filmmaker Charlie Tyrell seeks to better understand his emotionally distant late father through the objects he left behind—starting with his tawdry collection of 1980s VHS pornography.
New York Premiere, Director: Kato De Boeck
Following a flirtatious encounter with two Dutch girls, Camille suddenly finds herself having to compete for the attention of her beloved older brother.
SHORT FILMS: SHORTS BEFORE FEATURES
BLACK LINE (Switzerland)
East Coast Premiere, Director: Mark Olexa, Francesca Scalisi
Ignoring the warnings broadcasted throughout her community, a woman defiantly drags a fishing net through the murky river.
DOUBLE EXPOSED (USA)
New York Premiere, Director: Julie Buck
After inheriting several Super8 movies from her late grandfather, a filmmaker ruminates on one specific double-exposed film in the collection.
ONLY THE WIND IS LISTENING (USA)
World Premiere, Director: Emily Anderson
Set against the backdrop of an unforgiving Montauk winter, the lives of a fisherman and a writer intertwine as they attempt to navigate off-season loneliness.
*Also screening as part of the Views from Long Island section.
STILL PLAYS WITH TRAINS (USA)
World Premiere, Director: Ross Kauffman
In the basement of his East Hampton home, John Scully reconstructs his idyllic 1950s childhood in the form of one of the world’s largest model train sets.
*Also screening as part of the Views from Long Island section.
WILD WILD WEST: A BEAUTIFUL RANT BY MARK BRADFORD (USA)
Director: Dime Davis
Where do artists come from? An answer explored through paper, percussion, and one provocative artist.
IMMERSIVE STORYTELLING & VR
Presented with the support of the Organización Latinoamericana de Alcaldes (OLA)
From Annie Lukowski and BJ Schwartz – the creators at Vanishing Point Media, and with the support of the ACLU and Samsung, THE HIDDEN is a political thriller that literally drops you in the middle of a high stakes game of cat and mouse without telling you who is hunt- ing whom. In a manner only possible in VR, The Hidden will have you experience the pulse-pounding fear and turmoil of an ICE Raid from every perspective. In the end the viewer is left with larger questions about the state of social justice in modern America.