Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Shot over a six day period in Denver, Colorado, Pawned peers into a realm seldom examined and talked about: the world of the homeless. In an age when losing one's home is becoming a more tangible risk for many, filmmaker Randal Kirk decides to journey inside this alternate reality by living with homeless people and hearing them speak.
According to Kirk, "Some shared stories of tragic events that would shatter any spirit, some spoke of dreams unfulfilled and a few revealed a spirit of adventure and dreams still alive. They were a mix of heroes, artists, tragic figures and some very ordinary people just extraordinarily down on their luck."
Pawned will be screened at New Hope Film Festival along with Abandoned Heroes, a short documentary about American war veterans who also feel detached from the mainstream. Here's the trailer: Pawned
Virginia Beach filmmaker J. Darin Wales tells a tale in Plink that evokes thoughts of smoky, backwoods America, pick-up trucks and a way of life not often associated with foreign and art house films. All the more reason to add Plink to our lineup, because NHFF is a global film festival and, after all, our globe includes this land of Wales's imagination.
So here's a world premiere. We love the acting: Plink The Trailer
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
North Hollywood producer and director Bernard Garceau tells the story of a crime and its tense aftermath in this 19-minute thriller. The film was an undergraduate project at Baylor University.
The lead character has the body in a trunk, but what should he do now? Watch the trailer here: One Day
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Trace the rarefied footsteps of Agatha Christie in this rich and exquisitely shot combination of travelogue and biography by director Petra Haffter, who currently resides in Los Angeles. Executive producer Sarah Sieber is based in Leipzig, Germany.
So intimate is this film, you'll almost swear you feel the rumble of the Orient Express in your seat and sense breezes that waft through windows casually left open. Unexpectedness and wonder abound in Tracking Agatha; you are there, writing your own novel, and in style.
The documentary is narrated in English and Petra Haffter has generously provided three clips of her film, which you should preview here: Tracking Agatha
Friday, March 19, 2010
Father and Sister, an animated short film by South Korea's Soyeon Kim, will be sweeping the nation in 2010, having been accepted at Beverly Hills Short Film Festival, Memphis International Film Festival, Central Florida Film Festival and elsewhere. A prolific artist, Kim currently resides in Marina del Rey, California. Here's her website: Soyeon Kim
Told with a wry sense of humor, the story entails a chance occurrence and plenty of temptation taking place within an otherwise unassuming church. How will Kim's two protagonists, a father and a nun, handle their perilous situation?
Here's the teaser: Father and Sister
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Go cross-country with your best, shaggiest, and most cantankerous puppet friend? Why not, I suppose? In this offbeat take on the classic road trip movie, Los Angeles actor Dan Gordon—a native of New Hope's Delaware River neighbor, Yardley, and a graduate of local Pennsbury High School, I might add—makes his world debut as an executive producer.
The results are, well, scruffy...and lovable. Watch the trailer on IMDb: Chris & Steve
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Set amongst the warm breezes and sunshine of Venice Beach, California, The Ice Cream Man tells the story of a man from Moscow who suddenly finds himself jockeying for customers in a rickety ice cream truck. Executive producer and director Dylan Rush and his co-producer, Cynthia Carlomagno, both from Santa Monica's The Bus Note Press, premiered this short film in North America at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival in March 2002.
Now they get to make their splash on the East Coast. You'll find the trailer on their website by clicking on "video."
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Montreal-based Red Barlo Productions makes its world premiere with Conditional Affection, a film that addresses the psychological repercussions of adultery. This is a first project for producer/director Michael Mando and his co-producers Amber Mullin and Joseph Mroue.
The filmmakers are keenly interested in exploring moral questions and I'm looking forward to finding out where their ambitious metier takes them. Here's the trailer: Conditional Affection
Friday, March 12, 2010
Out there on the existential edge is Autology, a world premiere short film by California filmmaker Mark Preciado. This highly experimental piece captures the story of a woman searching for her voice between a daily, soul-depriving hell where no one hears her and a vocalless world where there's nothing to say.
This film preview only hints at what's in store for the audience: Autology Trailer
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Payola in exchange for getting your record on American Bandstand? Hear it from the artists themselves in this probing documentary by Arkansas producer/director Shawn Swords. Wages of Spin provocatively asserts that the game in the Philadelphia music scene from 1952 through 1963 was rigged; decide for yourself after watching this documentary.
The film has been shown to select audiences but this is a festival premiere. Filmmaker Swords plans to be at the screening in June and will field questions about his work. You can watch the trailer here: Wages of Spin
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Part biography and part testimonial, Gus: An American Icon is a tribute to Gus Giordano, the founding father of jazz dance. This lively documentary includes several extracts of his choreography, including a full performance of "Wings."
Filmmaker Pedro Brenner is screening his film for the second time at NHFF, having premiered at Chicago's Jazz Dance World Congress in 2009. You can watch the trailer here: Gus
This socially aware film by Scott Hatfield, who is based in Philadelphia, features an upbeat, catchy, MTV-styled hit on the topic of HIV/AIDS prevention. The film has been making the festival rounds since premiering at the Mid-Atlantic Black Film Festival in July 2007 and NHFF is delighted to help Hatfield & Co. get out their message.
As people walk and sing down Parliament Avenue in Kampala or share their thoughts in a roadside cafe, the vibe is always uplifting and positive in A Little Bit of Love: The Making of a Message, so the film does indeed offer hope that a little bit of love will bring better tomorrows.
Here's the trailer: A Little Bit of Love
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Filmed amidst the ruins of Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, this underground film probes the difference between entrapment and psychological freedom. Filmmakers Erin Davis and Nathan Edmondson are based in Philadelphia and this is Edmondson's first project.
Eastern State is the oldest penitentiary in the United States, and when English novelist Charles Dickens visited in 1842, he described the "slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain" at the prison as "immeasurably worse than any torture of the body."
Here's the trailer: Number 9
Monday, March 8, 2010
The Good Fight: James Farmer Remembers the Civil Rights Movement is a powerful documentary about one of the African-American Civil Rights Movement's most dynamic and relentless leaders. This is the first feature film for producer/director Jessica Schoenbaechler of Dallas, Texas.
James Farmer fought the good fight at great cost to himself and his family, and Schoenbaechler delves into this personal side of a man who's remembered for his nonviolence, dignity and effectiveness.
You can watch the trailer here: The Good Fight
With awards for Best Short Film and Best Screenplay under his belt, Puerto Rico's Julio Benito Cabrera makes his way to the mainland with Naco, the story of two brothers who are having a little too much fun with a homeless man.
And you don't wanna mess with Naco. Here's the trailer: Naco Trailer
Produced as a final thesis at New York Film Academy by Spanish producer Martin Rosete, Basket Bronx deals with an African-American kid named Alex who dreams of playing basketball. The problem: the older boys in the neighborhood insist he can't. But just as things look grim for diminutive Alex, a Chinese girl teaches him something about Zen...
You can watch the trailer here: Basket Bronx
This 16-minute drama by New Jersey-based filmmaker Sophia Eptamenitis is loosely based on her true-life experiences as a teenage cancer survivor. Anyone familiar with ABC's after school specials and CBS's Afternoon Playhouse will readily understand the intent behind this film, which is at once intensely compassionate and edifying.
When Faith, a 16 year-old girl recovering from cancer treatment, begins to reclaim her life as she once knew it, she finds that much has changed: her friends, her school, her secret crush. But what has changed most of all, the audience learns, is Faith's determination to live.
You'll find a trailer on IMDb: Invincible Summer
Sunday, March 7, 2010
This deeply unsettling and penetrating documentary by German filmmaker Gerburg Rohde-Dahl involves conversations with Berliners during and after the construction of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Through her film, Rohde-Dahl reflects upon her family's role during the Nazi era and examines the broader significance of collective guilt.
American architect of the Holocaust Memorial, Peter Eisenman, has this to say about Expansive Grounds: "I must say it is the most moving and poignant film that I have seen using a project of mine as a backdrop for another narrative. I have shown it to several people who, in their own way, have been equally moved by it."
You can watch the trailer here: Expansive Grounds
If you love gospel music and something that urges you to follow your dreams, see The New, True, Charlie Wu, a World Premiere film by Murfreesboro, Tennessee filmmaker Bob Pondillo.
The story involves Charlie Wu, a twentysomething accountant who's stuck in a career rut. He wants to break free, but can't until a woman—the Queen of his Soul—appears in a dream. That's when the par-tay begins. Here's a teaser: Charlie Wu
This 19-minute drama asks whether it's possible to be both a homosexual and a Christian in a small town. The film includes footage of Lambertville, New Jersey, which is directly across the Delaware River from New Hope.
Filmmaker Jeannie Sconzo explores her challenging material with both delicacy and grace through close-up examinations of her main characters, Jean and Maryann; the actresses who play these lead roles bring emotional weight and impact to what is already a thought-provoking theme. Here's the trailer for this East Coast Premiere: When Beliefs Are Questioned
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Do we measure our lives by numbers? Can we stand our ground in spite of them? These questions and others are explored in Annie's Life in Numbers, a 13-minute short film from Calgary, Alberta. Producer/director Michal Lavi focuses her camera on Annie, whose awkward but poetic wanderings take us on a journey of self-discovery—for Annie and ourselves.
Here's the trailer: Annie's Life in Numbers Trailer
Canadian director Candis McLean makes her festival world premiere with this hard-hitting documentary about a drama that took place on the outskirts of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The situation involved two Saskatoon constables, Dan Hatchen and Ken Munson, who were convicted and jailed for a terrible crime; but did they commit it? Or was this actually a witch hunt? Find out what happened in the shocking, so-called "Starlight Tours" episode in When Police Become Prey.
Here's the trailer: When Police Become Prey Trailer
Friday, March 5, 2010
This feature-length world premiere enters New Hope Film Festival in the Mid-Atlantic category; filmmaker Rocky Yost is based in Virginia.
A fast-paced, funny and irreverent dramedy about a young shopkeeper named Lilly Nash who takes on a you-love-to-hate-her real estate mogul named Hillary Thorn, Lilly's Thorn is as biting as it is enjoyable. Watch the sparks and jokes fly in this Capraesque tale of the little guy versus the corporate machine.
Here's the trailer: Lilly's Thorn
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Esther's Diary tells the haunting yet inspirational story of two second-generation Holocaust survivors, Maria and Sarah, who are brought together by a diary that links their family histories. Through their struggle to understand and cope with the past, they find deeper meaning in their lives today. As you'll see in the trailer, the movie features some beautifully acted scenes.
Born in Poland, debut filmmaker Mariusz Kotowski is now producing films in the United States. You can watch the trailer here: Esther's Diary Trailer
A man enters a restaurant needing cash. The employees are too broke to comply. A hair-trigger situation. How will this go down? Find out as filmmaker Rick Gioiello, who made this 9-minute short as a student final piece at an advanced directing workshop, makes his festival premiere.
Here's the trailer: The Restaurant
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
If you're the kind of person who loves to curl up on the sofa and watch a Friday night thriller, you have to check out Overload, filmmaker Robert Fritz's first full-length feature film. An intellectual and artist, Fritz is already an accomplished author and pioneer on structural dynamics, but he shows his storytelling chops—no doubt a testimony to his training at the Boston Conservatory of Music—in creating such a seat-of-pants, intelligent and creatively plotted thriller.
With its love story subplot, Overload is a worthy date movie, and if you're anything like some of the festival's judges, the film will keep you glued to your seat. Here's the Trailer.
Turkish filmmaker Bessy Adut makes her world debut with this heartfelt story of a girl who doesn't fit in. Shot as a college final project and completed in May 2009, Strange Little Girl exhibits Adut's keen eye for nuance, remarkable sensitivity, and dedication to her craft.
The youthful lead in the movie finds a way to alter her perceptions through the lens of a video camera, and through doing so, Adut alters us, as well. You can watch the trailer here: Strange Little Girl Trailer
This visually arresting and experimental film was shot entirely in the sweeping and varied landscapes of New Zealand. Montreal-based filmmaker Patrick van der Heyden is making his world premiere at New Hope.
Centering on a displaced traveler who lands in New Zealand in a fantastical way, the filmmaker takes us on a journey through some of earth's most exotic treasures. The film is better watched than described, so here's the trailer: NZ XPRESS Trailer
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
This award-winning movie by Brooklyn filmmaker Elias Plagianos has won accolades ranging from Best Feature Film to Best Director and enters our festival under the Action category. This is the producer/director's first feature film.
The plot involves two men, a wealthy businessman named Thomas Caine and a down-and-out pro wrestler named Parker, both of whom find themselves unwitting prey in an age-old conspiracy. You'll find a taste of Plagianos's imaginative thriller here: The Crimson Mask Trailer
Nollywood filmmaker Chineze Anyaene marks herself as the youngest lady in the history of Nigeria to shoot a film on 35mm with her debut, The Journey (Ije). And after witnessing the professional-level craftsmanship and acting, moviegoers will be doubly impressed to learn it was a student final project funded by Port Harcourt, Stella Maris Scholls Abuja Nigeria, Kodak and Panavision. If you're still wondering why we have a Student film category, here's your answer.
The story involves Chioma and her restless sister, Anya, who after growing up in the Nigerian countryside find themselves fighting for justice as Anya is accused of killing three people, one her husband, in a Hollywood Hills mansion. Don't miss the trailer: The Journey (Ije) Trailer
There's something poetic about premiering a film called Hope in New Hope Film Festival's inaugural year.
This 1 hour and 44 minute documentary tells the story of an Iraqi refugee, Amal Basry, who goes from watching Titanic in a Baghdad cinema to clinging to a floating body in the waters between Indonesia and Australia. Australian producer and director Steve Thomas and co-producer Kim Anning collaborated with their courageous subject in this North American premiere.
Here's the trailer: Hope Trailer
Monday, March 1, 2010
Having screened in 2009 at Asian American International Film Festival and CUNY Asian American Film Festival, this student film made its way to New Hope under our Mid-Atlantic Student category. Filmmaker Arckii MunJong Kim shot the 30-minute short as a final project.
The film tells the story of Archii, a Korean immigrant to New York City who creates art in a secret drawing room for 16 years until her American-born daughter discovers the secret, unlocking an identity crisis long hidden from view.
Here's the trailer: Fantastic Glass Portrait Trailer