Monday, July 16, 2012

Announcing 2012 Award Winners

New Hope Film Fest recognized the following films at our 3rd Annual Awards Ceremony. Top jury awards will be announced through a superbanner on Variety.com's Film channel from July 30-August 5.

Brush (Shiyan Zheng, Australia)

Jury Awards

 

Best Picture (Danny Award)

Winner - Brush (Shiyan Zheng, Australia)
Honorable Mention - Dalai Mongol (Levi Chen, Mongolia, USA)
Nominees - Steve Phoenix: The Untold Story, A Rogue in Londinium, The Pact, No One Will Know, The People You Know, Blame It On Immigration

Best Documentary 

Winner - Only a Number (Steve Besserman, USA)
Honorable Mention - Let Us Talk (John Lavall, Sierra Leone, USA)
Nominees - Empire: The Whitewater Story, Street Journeys, Axis of Light, Don't Know, We'll See, From Nomad to Nobody, The Grove

Best Short Film 

Winner - Cluck (Michael Lavelle, Ireland)
Nominees - Can't Dance, The Ballad of Sandeep, La Piece, Not Dark Yet, Kiyumi's Poetry, Little Ones, Grounded

Best Music Video 

Winner - No Head (Gabriella Loutfi, Joyous Noise, Radio Mojo, USA)

Indie Spirit Award 

Winner - Steve Phoenix: The Untold Story (Bill Haley, USA)
Honorable Mention - A Rogue in Londinium (Whitney Hamilton, USA)
Nominees - The Pact, No One Will Know, Halloweenville, 7 Years Underground, For Goodness Shakes!

Artistic Spirit Award

Winner - Empire: The Whitewater Story (Daniel Doran, USA)
Nominees - The Cost of Creativity, Blame It On Immigration, Knocking on the Devil's Door, Anecdote, Grounded, Dalai Mongol


Best Student Film

Winner - Hath No Man (Linus Koh, Australia)
Honorable Mention - Waiting for the Turning of the Earth (David Evan Giles, Australia)
Nominees - Erik Zamani, European Son, Heartland, I Am Alive, Faceless, Heavy


New Hope Award

Winner - Running Through: The Jordan Culbreath Story (A. D. Pearson, USA)
Honorable Mention - Ordinary Joe (Carlo Gennarelli, USA)
Nominees - RETT, YERT, No Greater Pain, The Last Race, Project Hopeful, Run

Cultural Spirit Award

Winner - Let Us Talk (John Lavall, Sierra Leone, USA)
Nominees - Knocking on the Devil's Door, Carbon for Water, No Greater Pain, Broken On All Sides, Heartland, Street Journeys

Bufonesco Award (Best Comedy)

Winner - The Pact (Matt Toronto, USA)
Nominees - For Goodness Shakes!, Chin Up, The Ballad of Sandeep, European Son, Can't Dance, Delivery Boy, Elevator)

Retro Sensation Award

Winner - Strumpet (Wolfgang Lehmkuhl, USA)
Honorable Mention - Black Mask (Filipe F. Coutinho, Portugal, USA)
Nominees - For Goodness Shakes!, Behind the Scenes: Silver Patriot

GLTB Spirit Award

Winner - The Grove (Andy Abrahams Wilson, USA)
Nominees - Anecdote, Little Ones, Times Dances On, Un Buen Hijo 

Best Animated Short Film

Winner - Squeaky Business (Cheryl Cabrera, USA)
Nominees - Ad & Subtract, Elevator

Audience Choice Awards


Best Feature Film - Dalai Mongol (Levi Chen, Mongolia, USA)
Best Documentary - Dancing on a Volcano (Gary Merz, Chile, USA)
Best Short Film - Bump (Marc Dickerson, USA)
Best Student Film - For Goodness Shakes! (Tyler Merens, USA)
Best Mid-Atlantic Film - Broken On All Sides: Race, Mass Incarceration and
     New Visions for Criminal Justice in the U.S. (Matthew Pillischer, USA)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Erik Zamani

Hi everyone! I just got to screen another short film I wanted to spread the word about, Sezen Kayhan's Erik Zamani (A Time for Plums)--it's a deeply-felt, whimsical film I think NHFF filmgoers will love. I hope you had a great time at last week's festival, and found some new favorite films!

Erik Zamani
Dir. Sezen Kayhan

Sezen Kayhan’s Erik Zamani  (Time of the Plums) follows a little girl with a secret, and the enigmatic, animated way she perceives. The film also captures something of Toni Morrison’s or Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s magical realism. Erik Zamani is set in the real world but vibrates with imaginative energy: pink and purple chimes tinkle as the protagonist (the unnamed little girl) walks by; yellow sun falls on her grandfather’s face so she can see every contour and shadow. The most striking image of the film is a painting that melts to the little girl’s touch: as the colors run together, the face in the painting morphs through grotesque and gorgeous shapes. This shot alone makes it difficult to imagine Erik Zamani is a student film.
Kayhan also pays great attention to sound design. Ambient noises are amplified, and form a striking contrast against silent moments. Both become uniquely important to the story and the little girl’s perception, as well as the viewer’s. As integral as the visual is, the aural landscape of Erik Zamani creates the feeling that objects have a life of their own.
As the close tie between character and environment suggests, meaning comes from internal realities, not external ones, in Erik Zamani. In contrast to Jean Renoir’s films, for instance, where meaning comes largely from social interactions, inner realities, and the ways they mark one’s experience matter to Kayhan. The world of the film also seems deeply personal, as the last line of the film indicates—this is a world that is thoughtfully, tenderly rendered.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Panel Discussion on Race and Incarceration

One of the benefits of a cutting-edge, independent film festival like NHFF is the chance to explore meaningful subject matter, and whether you agree or not with a filmmaker's perspective, such opportunities present a valuable opportunity to enrich our culture.

Monday night at New Hope Arts Center is such a night, as debut director Matthew Pillischer has organized a serious panel discussion that will follow his screening of Broken on All Sides: Race, Mass Incarceration & New Visions for Criminal Justice in the U.S. 

Panelists will include Angus Love, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project and Board Member of the Pennsylvania Prison Society. Also invited but still unconfirmed are several representatives of the New Jersey Association on Correction and Therea Shoatz of Philly's Human Rights Coalition.

This is New Hope Film Festival's first-ever panel discussion. The audience will have a chance to ask questions during a Q&A.

The show begins Monday, July 9th at 7 pm.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Heavy

In this haunting and beautifully produced short, a preacher struggles to keep his wife alive throughout her several suicide attempts, but soon realizes that the only way to save her soul is to sacrifice his own.

Heavy is a first project for writer/director Jessica Nicholas, a university student in Southern California, yet it exhibits nothing but professional quality throughout. You can watch the trailer here: Heavy Trailer

Friday, June 29, 2012

Un Buen Hijo (A Good Son)

Ausencio secretly nurtures his desire to one day become a drag performing artist. When a drag queen invites him to join her show and his father discovers his secret, he is forced to decide whether he will pursue his dream or remain on his family farm to fulfill what is expected of him. In the end, he learns that he doesn't have to leave all that is known to him to be himself. 

This charming and thought-provoking film comes to New Hope Film Festival as a joint production that originated in Mexico and the United States, a fitting metaphor for warm relations between these neighboring countries. This is Executive Producer and Director Juan Gil Garcia's first project. 


You can watch the trailer here: Un Buen Hijo Trailer

Monday, June 25, 2012

Brush

On the eve of moving into their new studio, Aaron, a struggling young painter, proposes his plans of giving up his art to pursue a normal, safe life with his fiance, Beth. But selfish actions soon threaten their relationship in this sophisticated and deeply psychological love story. 


A first feature film for Australian director Shiyan Zheng, NHFF Official Selection Brush will screen at The County Theater on Tuesday, July 10 at 7:00 pm. Tickets are available through The County's box office. Come join us for this exciting world premiere! 

You can watch the trailer here: Brush Trailer

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Empire: The Whitewater Story

Empire: The Whitewater Story follows intrepid young filmmakers Daniel Doran and John Varga as they tackle the raging rivers of New York State. This bold and adventurous film showcases some of the finest whitewater New York has to offer, and in doing so, tells the story of a group of people who use New York State waterways as a vehicle to find the things that we all search for in life. 

New Hope Film Festival is presenting this exciting and beautifully produced film at our special matinee price of $6.00 ($5.00 in advance and $4.50 in advance for members). The filmmakers will be here in New Hope to lead the Q&A afterwards. You can watch the trailer here: 





 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Life Through a Lens


Here's my take on Life Through a Lens, another fantastic addition to the NHFF line-up. 
It will screen during the "Mothers and Daughters," show, July 8th @ 12pm. To purchase tickets, follow this link

Life Through a Lens
Dir. Ellenor Argyropoulous

Ellenor Argyropoulous’s Life Through a Lens follows shy Rose (Rowan Davie) as she makes her future daughter-in-law, Lilly’s (Lily Hall), wedding dress. By spending time with Lilly, Rose finds new confidence—not the overvaulting, conventional kind, but just enough. Just enough to do something different: to display the photos she loves, to try a new camera, or confront her past. Some of what the film has to say about bonds between women—that they are more intuitively, deeply felt than ties between women and men—is essentialist. This is also, though, one of the film’s most important effects. Life through a Lens passes the Bechdel test that most films (even award-winning ones) fail, and while that test is not strictly a barometer of quality, it does matter.[1] Argyropoulous not only treats female relationships with emotional intelligence and respect, but with a time investment rare even in independent cinema. 

In its story and aesthetic, Life Through a Lens also captures the photographic image’s capacity to bridge gaps. Rose enjoys taking pictures, but seals the envelopes of her developed photos without ever looking at them. Her increasing ability to look at her work, talk about it, and replace pictures of strangers with those of her family is symbolic and psychological—it allows her to get to know a mother she never met, and integrate her past and present. There is also something so lovely about the director’s pairing of words like “chrysanthemum” with a sepia photo—throughout, the film’s mindful pairing of word and image allows the viewer to experience these elemental features of cinema in a fresh, light, and beautifully rendered way. It is refreshing to see technology, the filmic apparatus itself, as the conduit of human connection instead of a barrier to it—the unironic celebration of the photograph is what makes Life Through a Lens worth seeking out.


[1] A fascinating way to measure women’s systemic underrepresentation in film, this test was created by Allison Bechdel in her comic, Dykes to Watch Out For. To pass, a film need only include two, named female characters talking to each other about something other than men—most films, from Lord of the Rings to Up, fail. For more information on the test, and truly awesome film reviews and pop culture commentary check out: Feminist Frequency

Hath No Man


I had the chance to screen some awesome short films this week, including Hath No Man, which will have its NHFF debut during the "Knocking on Devil's Door" group of films (called a show), July 13th @ 6:45pm. 

I cannot recommend this movie highly enough, I hope you all get to check it out! 

Hath No Man
Dir. Linus Koh

Hath No Man is an immediately engrossing film. In fifteen minutes, it does what other films cannot do in two hours: approximate war’s immediacy, vicserality, and even something of the spiritual. The film revolves around two soldiers, Pascal (William Emmons) and John (Lliam Murphy), and the image of hands on a rosary. The meaning of that image changes each time it is shown, and while revealing those shifts here would spoil the film, they demonstrate a masterful attention to detail and story.

There is nothing “student” about this film, nor do the characters feel like “short film” characters. They have histories and unspoken understandings, communicated in impressively nuanced dialogue and performances. The depth of Pascal and John’s characterization is all the more remarkable considering there are only three minutes of dialogue in the fifteen minute movie. Subtle movements, like the edge in John’s words or Pascal’s Gregory Peck/George Clooney smile, are all-important in expressing the soldiers’ intimate, rambunctious bond. This is to say nothing of the cinematography that turns flying particles, weeds, and dirty faces into things of beauty.

For anyone who is as bored as I am with ironic hipster nonsense, this is the film that will wake you up: the one that treats life with the fresh, honest engagement it deserves, without devolving into melodrama. It is the kind of film that reminded me why I love movies, and while I could write pages about it, the words that resonated through my mind after watching were simply “this is what film can do.”

To purchase tickets for "Knocking on the Devil's Door," (where Hath No Man will screen), follow this link

The Tattoo LIfe: The Rich Cahill Documentary

Rich Cahill is a tattoo artist, painter, musician, and protester. After starting a successful chain of tattoo shops, Immortal Ink, Rich sold his business to start a fresh art studio and tattoo shop in nearby Frenchtown, New Jersey where he can express himself in his own unique way. The Tattoo Life is the story of Rich's career and a portrait of his life, all leading up to his Frenchtown Studio. 

Directed by Jon Reino (Downward, Official Selection 2011 New Jersey International Film Festival and 2011 Cape May Film Festival), this slice of local, riverside, bohemian culture is screening on Saturday, July 14 along with films from New Hope and Lambertville. You can watch the 7-minute trailer here: The Tattoo Life Trailer

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Ballad of Sandeep

After his IT job is outsourced to Bangalore, Sandeep Majumdar (Deep Roy) sets up a remote access in his apartment, tricking his former company into believing that he is really working from India. Operating under the alias Sudesh Patel, he soon catches the eye of the company's vice president, who wants to promote him. 


Anyone upset by Corporate America's outsourcing and downsizing epidemic will love this short film, which is at turns hilarious and sharply satirical. You can catch the trailer here: 



Monday, June 11, 2012

Little Ones

Andy and Gordon, a middle aged gay couple, needed to decide whether to purchase a vacation home or adopt a child. They chose the vacation home. Now their life is an exercise in nurturing instincts gone wrong. When Gordon invites the newlywed couple from next door for dinner, both couples collide with realities they wish to avoid, leading to an explosive and darkly comic evening. 

Returning Brooklyn filmmaker Marc Parees has an upscale and wonderfully comic touch, all of which is on full display in this GLTB short. You can watch the trailer here: Little Ones Trailer

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Not Dark Yet

After completing a substance abuse program, Ringo vows to face the last thing that stands between his future and the past: his father. 


New York State filmmaker Brian Paccione demonstrates a sensational touch with relationships, lighting and mood in this 21-minute short. Watch the trailer here: Not Dark Yet Trailer

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Lonely Bones


Directed by Kevin Walker, this 30-minute documentary focuses on Johnson Cemetery in Camden, New Jersey, one of the poorest cities in the United States. Johnson Cemetery is the final resting place for over 120 members of the United States Colored Troops, the African American soldiers who fought valiantly for the North during the Civil War. Yet today, the legacy of these soldiers lies buried under dirt, debris and the detritus of the drug trade: Johnson Cemetery, long neglected, has essentially become a needle park. 

Click the window above to watch the trailer on YouTube. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Monday Morning

Rose has not seen her two grandchildren, Hayden and Emma, in years. But when an unexpected event places the kids on her doorstep one night, the three get to know each other once again whether they like it or not—something that proves a lot more challenging when tensions are high, emotions are laden, and time is short. 

Written and directed by Meghan Hughes, a student at Temple University when she made the film,  Monday Morning tells a tender story, and does so with both maturity and compassion. You can watch the trailer here:




Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Only a Number

This is a true story of the struggle to survive, to love and to remember. 

Director Steve Besserman's mother is a Holocaust survivor with dementia. Over thirty years ago, she documented the horrors she endured at the hands of the Nazis and how she met the filmmaker's father in a concentration camp: separated by barbed wire and both physically and psychologically ravaged by starvation and brutality. 

Yet they fell in love, giving each other the strength and will to survive. 

On his journey of discovering his parents' past, this probing and delicate filmmaker visited the sites of the ghettos, concentration and labor camps as they are today, finding visual remnants of the past in the present. What lies within the tangles of his mother's memory lies beneath these locations that time may have changed, but can never erase. 



Watch the trailer here: 

 

Monday, May 28, 2012

For Goodness Shakes!

On the Set of For Goodness Shakes!
Two flappers in the 1920s go in search of milkshakes, which have recently become illegal. Oh, no! What will these intrepid young ladies, determined to have their milkshakes, do next?

Shot in two days on West Chester University's campus in the style of the silent era, this delightful, 6-minute short will kick off New Hope's 2012 festival on Friday, July 6 at 7 pm. Producer/director Tyler Mertens, a college student and native of New Hope, is making his world debut, as are co-writers Alissa Conway and Tricia Finn. 


Watch this trailer and brighten your day:



Friday, May 25, 2012

Liking Men

After a traumatic sexual assault, a woman embarks on a restless odyssey of healing. While receiving the guidance of a wise woman, her journey takes a surprising direction as she tries to reconnect physically with her husband. 

This sensitive film by producer Di Koob and director Heather de Michele, both from California, examines the personal cost of a woman victimized by a terrible crime while also revealing her courage to heal. 


You can watch the trailer here:









Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Piece-Coin (La Piece)


The Piece-Coin (La Piece) tells the story of an old man who tries to buy a coffee with a pierced coin (French Franc) on the morning of 9/11. The old man comes back regularly in the cafe, but most of the customers are drawn to a television that feeds live reports on the staggering tragedy. 



Montreal director Marc Joly-Corcoran, a Phd candidate in film studies, employs a sophisticated eye in this short. You can watch the trailer here: 



Sunday, May 13, 2012

Dalai Mongol

An achingly beautiful creation of award-winning musician Levi Chen, whose accomplishments include winning Music Video of the Year at the 2007 Los Angeles Music Awards, Dalai Mongol takes viewers on a dreamlike journey through the enchanted landscapes of Mongolia as a man and woman, on separate spiritual quests, yearn to find themselves and one another. 

The film's only dialog comes in the form of musician Levi Chen's serene and majestic notes as well as songs from his latest album. Dalai Mongol's blend of nature and music narrate an inspiring and timeless tale of faith, triumph and love despite all odds. 

Watch the trailer here:


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Halloweenville

Filmmakers and Lambertville residents Gary P. Cohen, Paul Kaye and Jann Kniskern set out to discover why New Hope's across-the-river neighbor, Lambertville, has taken to celebrating Halloween the way New Orleans takes to Mardi Gras. The town of artists, musicians and restaurateurs lavishes an extraordinary amount of love, energy and money on trick-or-treating, haunted houses, decorations and events. 3000 people come out on Halloween each year to take part. This documentary attempts to find out the why and the how. 

You can check out the trailer for his neat, offbeat film here:   
 


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Rogue in Londinium

An artist, Richard Rhys, is suspected of responsibility for the Ripper crimes in Victorian London. Through a twist of fate, he's introduced to a wealthy and philanthropic socialite, Victoria Thornton. Her compassion for him changes his heart and stokes his artistic talents. In turn, his charm awakens her desire. A great love affair begins, but when a third person enters their lives, the picture darkens.

Steeped in gothic imagery and Victorian-era sexuality, this feature film by returning auteur Whitney Hamilton, whose two screenings at New Hope Film Festival are characterized by passion and a burning desire to capture true-to-life history, A Rogue in Londinium is an imaginative take on art and the human psyche. 


You can watch the trailer here (parental discretion advised): A Rogue in Londinium Trailer

Broken On All Sides

More African Americans are under correctional (prison) control today than were enslaved in 1850. This provocative documentary dares to ask why.

Produced and directed by Matthew Pillischer, who bases himself in Philadelphia, Broken On All Sides: Race, Mass Incarceration & New Visions for Criminal Justice in the U.S. explores mass incarceration across the U.S. and the intersection of race, poverty, the criminal justice and penal systems. The film centers around Michelle Alexander's theory in her groundbreaking book, The New Jim Crow, wherein the system incarcerates people of color at disproportionately high rates. The movie dissects the War on Drugs and 'tough on crime' movement, illustrates how the emerging Occupy movement offers hope for change, and explores possible reforms and solutions to ending mass incarceration and this new racial caste system. 

Watch the trailer on the film's website: Broken On All Sides Website

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Pact

Their love lives in shambles, two brothers make a pact: no women for a year! The pact holds them under an almost magical spell as they take turns trying, but failing, to break it. Written by Aaron and Matt Toronto, this lively and hilarious slice of American life is screening at New Hope on Sunday, July 15. 

Check out the trailer here: The Pact Website

Dancing on a Volcano

Dancing on a Volcano is the tale of Nadja Hammermann, a young Austrian
Jew. She was a strong-willed artist who, in 1939, came to Paris
seeking exit visas for her family from the Chilean consul general,
Armando Marine. A single kiss was the price Nadja had agreed to pay in
exchange for Armando's help, a kiss that developed into a secret
romance. Armando liberated hundreds of refugees from the Nazis under
Nadja's influence. In 1941, Nadja and Armando left Paris and, through
her great artistic talent, found a future in New York City, where she
became a senior illustrator for the New York Times.

But could love endure a life in exile? Visit the Facebook page for this beautiful documentary to learn more and watch a preview.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Waiting for the Turning of the Earth

Barry Otto and Anne Louise Lambert
It's not every day that you meet a man on the beach in his pajamas. It's even less often that you find he brought his bed with him. A gentle film about life, death and forgiveness, starring two of Australia's best loved actors, Waiting for the Turning of the Earth takes you to a stirring place and holds you there.  



Australian Director David Evan Giles will be in New Hope for the screening. Check out the film's blog and watch the trailer here: 





Let Us Talk (Leh Wi Tok)

Radio Moa Market Reporter Jinnah Arumah Kpundeh
Leh Wi Tok is a documentary by returning filmmaker John Lavall, whose film Home Across Lands screened during New Hope's 2010 debut festival. The film profiles radio pioneer Andrew Kromah and his efforts to grow an independent network of community-based radio stations in his home country of Sierra Leone. 

Road to Radio Moa in Kallahun


Amidst flagrant and persistent political harassment plus financial and technical woes, Kromah literally puts his life on the line to bring information to his listeners and offer a platform for disparate and often unheard voices. 

This gorgeous and powerful film is important for anyone who values freedom of expression. You can watch the trailer here: Leh Wi Tok

 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Street Journeys

In the heart of Nairobi, where abandoned children wander the streets with no relief from the grim realities of poverty, hope for the future was dim until renowned Kenyan actress Anne Wanjugu restored the children's spirit through the healing power of theater. But when an unexpected event put their resilience to the test, the children were forced to draw on their own strength; they needed to glean lessons of faith, family, and the spirit without their mentor.
 



The inspiring story of Anne Wanjugu and the former street children who reside at her home in Shangilia Mtoto Wa Africa (Rejoice, Child of Africa) culminates in a triumphant journey from the makeshift stage of a small Nairobi church to the bright lights of Broadway.


Watch the preview here:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ordinary Joe

Joe Sciacca is a beer-swilling, blue-collar roofer and Vietnam vet from Long Island. By all appearances, his life is decent but unremarkable.

Yet complex motives drive him to return to Vietnam, travel its back alleyways, and do something extraordinary for those who've been overlooked. Those who are truly poor, or disabled, and in need of someone who cares.

This is the story of Joe and his journey of hope to a land where he once fought a war—a place where he's fighting for change. You will find the trailer here: Ordinary Joe Trailer

Sunday, April 15, 2012

2012 Lineup

Hey everyone!

Our judges have selected 83 films from 13 countries for this year's 3rd Annual New Hope Film Festival. The remarkable slate of films includes 8 full-length features, 16 documentaries, 30 shorts and 29 student films. The countries represented include: USA, Mexico, UK, Spain, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Mongolia, Chile, Argentina, Singapore, Japan and Turkey.

Although we received more submissions than last year, our judging standards were higher than ever, making this the most competitive year in our history. Watch NHFF's blog for sneak peeks on selected films, then check out the Official Guide for our lineup and schedule. The Guide will be launched in a free, online format on or about June 15th; online ticket sales will be announced shortly thereafter.

Congratulations to all of the filmmakers who submitted their films this year! Anyone who makes a movie is an achiever.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Fishing in Esperanza

A journey from civilized chaos
Into the deep rivers of the Amazon jungle,
To a small community called Esperanza,
Where life is still in harmony with nature—
And where a father and son are waiting for 

The fish to bite.

Produced and directed by Anders Flatlandsmo of Norway and filmed in Peru, Fishing in Esperanza is a poetic short film about hope. On different levels, the film tells the story of a filmmaker, a fisherman, and a community as all wait for an incident to take place.


To watch the trailer, you'll need to visit the production company's website, click on Overview, scroll down to the film listing and click Play. Here's a link: Nabis Film Website

 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Steve Phoenix: The Untold Story

In this delightfully offbeat cult film, a small time cable TV reporter with dreams of the big time stumbles into a story far stranger than he ever imagined. It takes him on a journey into an underground world of subversion, talk radio and garage bands. Along the way, he discovers a shocking truth about the American way.

A first feature for producer/director Bill Haley, Steve Phoenix: The Untold Story is a movie buff's treat. Visit the Steve Phoenix Movie Facebook Page and watch the trailer here:



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Heartland

After losing their beloved daughter to a rare heart condition, two Iowa parents transformed their grief into a force for good by establishing the Erika Kate Foundation, a national assistance program for families with children who have been diagnosed with life threatening heart conditions. Heartland is a tribute to their philanthropy and a memorial for their daughter's tragically short life.

Originally from Taiwan, New York-based producer/director Hai-Tao Wu created Heartland as a graduate student final project. Here is the trailer: Heartland Trailer

Run

Tom, a brilliant 15-year-old footballer, destined for greatness, collapses on the football pitch. He wakes up in a hospital bed and his nightmare begins. His younger brother, Chris, desperately tries to pull Tom out of his spiraling depression, but Tom retreats into a silent world.
 

Will Chris be able to save Tom, or will the tragedy destroy Tom’s spirit forever? Produced, written and directed by United Kingdom filmmaker Shelagh Mcleod, this passionate, earnest short film is based on a true story. Watch the trailer here: 





Monday, March 19, 2012

No Greater Pain

Mothers In Charge is a Philadelphia organization with the dual mission of assisting women who have lost children to violence and raising awareness about violence and justice issues. Dorothy Johnson-Speight started the organization in 2004 after the death of her son. Since then, she has been the voice of countless mothers who have lost their loved ones; Johnson-Speight works endlessly to achieve justice.

Produced by Stephen McWilliams of Villanova University, No Greater Pain is a demonstrative challenge to senseless violence and its repercussions. Here is the preview:



Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Grove

More Americans have been lost to AIDS than in all the U.S. wars since 1900. But few know of the existence of the national AIDS memorial, a seven-acre grove and sanctuary hidden in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. The Grove shows how one community responded to its overwhelming grief, and how the seeds of a few visionaries blossomed into something larger and more provocative than they could have imagined. How do we mark a time of unimaginable loss? And what does it mean to be a national memorial? 

Produced and directed by Andy Abrahams Wilson, this 2012 Official Selection won Best Documentary Feature honors at the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival. The Independent Weekly calls The Grove, "A heartrending work that provokes questions about the narrative of history and the intentions of memorials." Watch the trailer for this moving documentary here:


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Grounded

This fantastical sci-fi short from Los Angeles, California dramatizes an astronaut's visit to a hostile, extrasolar planet. In addition to creating a space adventure, writer/director Kevin Margo uses his ethereal canvas to explore deeper issues of aging, cyclical trajectories and multi-generational behavior, and does so with special effects rarely seen in the indie film fest world.

Space and indie fans alike, you can check out the trailer and post comments here: Grounded Preview

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hath No Man

A citizen of Singapore, filmmaker Linus Koh presents a gripping struggle between faith and war in this Swinburne University of Technology final project.

An Australian World War II veteran walks into a church and as he sits down, he reminisces of his time in the war. Emanating from Crete, 1941, his memories take him through the vents of a German ambush that changed everything. Hath No Man tells a story of camaraderie, friendship and love between an Australian war cameraman and his battlefield comrade.

Beautifully shot in Australia on Arri Alexa, the Red Camera and 16mm, Hath No Man demonstrates why sophisticated cinephiles watch student films. Parental discretion advised for this preview: Hath No Man Trailer


Carbon for Water

In Kenya's Western Province, most drinking water is contaminated. The wood many Kenyans use to boil this water to make it safe is increasingly valuable. Women and girls, who bear the responsibility for finding water and fuel, often miss school or work while seeking both fuel and water. Some even encounter sexual violence. Yet waterborne illness remains a daily—and life-threatening—reality for them and their families. 

Co-Directed by Evan and Carmen Elsa Lopez Abramson, Carbon For Water introduces audiences to the inspiring people who face these hardships and explores one company's innovative solution for improving the health of millions of Kenyans and the environment in which they live. 

Watch the preview for this 2012 Official Selection here: Carbon for Water Preview

Sunday, March 4, 2012

From Nomad to Nobody

Shot on location in Tibet and northern India, this documentary by Canadian filmmaker Michael Buckley reveals his personal take on the plight of Tibetan nomads who have been forcibly relocated by Chinese officials—shifted off their traditional grazing lands into concrete ghettos—and marginalized.

This world premiere film is now a 2012 Official Selection of New Hope Film Festival. You can watch the preview here: