Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival

Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival

Saturday, May 15, 2021 from 12:00am to 3:38am


The MSP Film Society is celebrating the 40th Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. The new, hybrid format will combine virtual events with an array of outdoor screenings in both Minneapolis and St. Paul.


Available: 5/14/21 12:00 AM - 5/23/21 11:59 PM

14 Days, 12 Nights

Isabelle is a mother whose grief over the accidental death of her adopted daughter, Clara, is overwhelming. Acting on an impulse to learn more about the young woman, she travels to Vietnam to try and find her daughter’s birth mother. Canada’s submission to the Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film.

Isabelle Brodeur (Anne Dorval) is an oceanographer whose adopted daughter has died. Months later, still reeling from Clara’s death, Isabelle travels to Vietnam, to her daughter’s birthplace, and immerses herself in the culture. Finally she meets her daughter’s former nanny, who leads her to the mother, Thuy Nguyen (Leanna Chea), a tour guide in Hanoi. When Isabelle books a private excursion with Thuy, the two mothers reveal their innermost thoughts. Inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, director Jean-Philippe Duval has crafted an exquisite film whose many silences convey multitudes.

Director: Jean-Philippe Duval
Runtime: 99 min

9 Days in Raqqa

Raqqa, Syria, the former capital of the Islamic state, was a city under siege. Bombed, wrecked, barely holding on, it struggles to rebuild. Leila Mustafa is a Kurd and Syrian and the new mayor of Raqqa. When a French writer crosses the border to meet her, she has 9 days to live with Mustapha and tell her story in a book.

Leila Mustapha is an engineer by training, a woman dedicated to science and education, elected to be leader of the Raqqa Civil Council (RCC) at age 30, the de facto mayor. During the war, she fled with her family when ISIS took control; now, she has been chosen to lead a city that, according to the UN, is 80% destroyed, the streets littered with landmines. Over 150,000 people have returned to Raqqa, and, with Mustapha’s leadership, the RCC has helped open hundreds of schools and businesses, and restore democracy. Even with her successes, she is still a woman in a world controlled by men, and hers is no easy task.

Director: Xavier de Lauzanne
Runtime: 88 min

After America

In 2019, director Jake Yuzna put out an open call in Minneapolis to criminal justice de-escalators to explore, through performance, the failures they saw in their work and in daily life. The result is an unconventional and eye-opening look at life in America.

A vivid and genre-bending tableau of seemingly unconnected characters–a corrections officer, a Somali writer, a gay and deaf model, and others–created through improvisation, conventional scripting and nonfiction, the stories merge together to create “a singular portrait of the pain and unrest bubbling under the surface of the American way of life.” After America audaciously captures the anxieties facing Minneapolis and America as a whole.

Director: Jake Yuzna
Runtime: 125 min

Air Conditioner

In this strange and beguiling film, air conditioners--central to life in Angola--begin to suddenly fall out of windows in the capital Luanda, maiming and even killing people. When his broiling boss demands an air conditioner, Matacedo must wander his beloved city and find one that works.

No one understands this bizarre phenomenon--air conditioners leaping from windows in what appears to be an almost suicidal plunge. And now poor security guard and former soldier Matacedo (Jose Kiteculo) must travel Luanda’s simmering downtown to find a working unit. There, he communicates telepathically with others (or is that his PTSD?) and meets the very strange Mr. Mino (David Caracol), who may hold all the secrets. Written, produced and shot entirely in Angola by the cinematic collective Geração 80, directed by Fradique, Air Conditioner evokes David Lynch and is a unique, unsettling and visionary cinematic experience.

Director: Fradique
Runtime: 72 min

Ane is Missing

In the Basque Country, Spain, Lide works a job as a security guard at a contentious railway construction site opposed by much of the community. When her daughter, Ane, vanishes, Lide needs to find out if it’s a kidnapping, or worse--is Ane involved in something over her head? Winner of three Goya Awards: Best Lead Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best New Actress.

Watching over the controversial construction site, tense, and literally putting out fires (from firebombs thrown onto the site), Lide returns home exhausted every night. One evening, she discovers her teenage daughter, Ane, is not there, nor has she been in her bed at all. Enlisting the help of her ex-husband to find the girl, Lide discovers that the truth reveals unpleasant compromises.

Director: David Pérez Sañudo
Runtime: 98 min


A dream; a meditation upon the interconnectedness of all things and the role in which the human animal finds itself indelicately balanced.

Director: Michelle Brost
Runtime: 10 min

As You Like It

An animated adaptation of the famous play by William Shakespeare, transposing the setting to a Southeast-Asian environment.

Director: Hannes Rall
Runtime: 27 min


For attractive Russian émigré nurse and single mother Asia, motherhood has always been an ongoing struggle rather than an obvious instinct.

Becoming a mother early on shaped her relationship with her teenage daughter Vika (played to perfection by Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Shira Haas, “Unorthodox.”) Despite living together, Asia and Vika barely interact. Asia concentrates on her job and her affair with a married doctor while Vika hangs out at the skate-park with her friends. This routine is shaken when Vika's health deteriorates rapidly. Asia must step in and become the mother Vika so desperately needs. In this quiet, emotional acute drama, Vika's illness turns out to be an opportunity to reveal the great love within this small family unit. Chosen to represent Israel in this year’s race for Best International Feature, Asia is the winner of nine Israeli Academy Awards, including Best Film and kudos for both actresses. (Alissa Simon)

Director: Ruthy Pribar
Runtime: 85 min


Luisa is an architect, who teaches creative workshops in her spare time. One day, she discovers 17-year-old Yuli in the school bathroom. She has failed to induce an abortion, and Luisa takes the girl in under her wing, in Paz Fábrega’s warm and meditative feature.

40-year-old Luisa is happy, expressive, and finds meaning in the art classes she teaches to children. After class one day, she discovers a very ill Yuli, five months along and unable to tell her mother. Luisa opens her home to Yuli and accompanies her to various appointments over the preceding months establishing a deep, unconventional bond. Paz Fábrega’s Aurora exudes love and respect, and the chemistry between Rebecca Woodbridge’s Luisa and Raquel Villalobos’ Yuli anchors the film, which avoids melodrama to focus on the small profundities of life.

Director: Paz Fábrega
Runtime: 92 min


When a young social elite at the turn of the nineteenth century explores life as a modern woman, she risks losing the man she loves and a certain future.

Director: Julie Anne Koehnen
Runtime: 15 min

Away We Go

The bond between a sister and brother remain strong through all of life’s ups and downs.

Director: Owen Royce
Runtime: 9 min

Back to the Wharf

Song Hao was a young man with a promising future. Ready for college, he pushes himself harder and harder, until fate throws him a curve. Believing he’s killed a man and orphaned a child, he flees his small town. But when his mother’s funeral calls him back home, has he reopened deadly grievances?

The intersection of ambition and privilege with morality and guilt are never more acute than in Xiaofeng Li’s piercing neo-noir. Song Hao should be the portrait of modern Chinese success: smart, driven, ready for his future. But when he’s told his place at university has been given to someone else, both he and his ambitious father are thrown for a loop. Soon, an accidental death sends Song to distant lands; it’s only upon his return fifteen years later that the outrages of the past will become the tragedies of the present. Xiaofeng Li’s third feature examines the ethical and spiritual consequences of a rapidly developing China.

Director: LI Xiaofeng
Runtime: 119 min


Balloon finds Drolkar, the wife of a Tibetan sheep farmer, who is pregnant yet again, in violation of China’s family planning policies. Their faith dictates they keep the baby, but failing to abort it will result in a fine that will destroy the family farm.

Two children find a white balloon under their mother’s pillow. Unbeknownst to them, the balloon is a ******. Instead of high comedy, director Tseden examines the trials and tribulations of a family of sheepherders in Tibet trying to keep within China’s family planning policies. Already raising three children, the family finds itself in the crosshairs when the mother, Drolkar, becomes pregnant again, and the fines imposed for another baby are enough to ruin the family finances. However, their Buddhist beliefs tell them that the souls of the dead make a home in unborn children, making an abortion unthinkable.

Director: Pema Tseden
Runtime: 102 min


Based on Mohawk filmmaker Tracey Deer’s own childhood, Beans is the story of a 12-year-old girl coming of age during the tumultuous summer of the 1990 Oka Crisis.

Her name is Tekahentahkhwa, but everyone calls her Beans. As Beans (Kiawentiio) and her close-knit family debate whether or not she should attend an elite private school, a stand-off over land rights escalates between their Mohawk community and the Canadian government. Joining Indigenous activists on the frontlines, Beans experiences tense conflict and racist violence firsthand. Isolated behind the barricades, Beans befriends a group of older teens and finds herself on a precipitous edge--on one side the innocence of a protected childhood, and on the other the complex responsibilities of adulthood. Coping with traumatic racial hostilities and eager to prove herself, Beans faces challenging questions about how to fit in, how to survive, how to pursue her dreams and stand with her people for what’s right. (Deb Girdwood)

“I want our children to grow up confident that they are safe in this world – and that their lives and dreams are important. For that to happen, we need social and racial equity. I made this film to inspire audiences to open their hearts and minds to living as allies of Indigenous people.

Director: Tracey Deer
Runtime: 92 min

Becky Doll • Young Fresh Fellows

The lesson is simply, listening brings back what is missing, listen. This young girl may have died in this metaphor, but with the Becky Doll’s encouragement, she lives on.

Director: Scott Ferril
Runtime: 4 min

Berlin Alexanderplatz

An African immigrant struggles to make a new life for himself in the big city in director-co-writer Burhan Qurbani’s audacious, neon-lit reinterpretation of Alfred Doblin’s 1929 novel, a modernist classic. Forget the 1980 R.W. Fassbinder version; this is a film with its finger on the pulse of our time.

After surviving his perilous journey, Francis (the charismatic Welket Bungué) vows to become a good man, but he soon realizes how difficult it is to be righteous when you are an illegal refugee in Germany – without papers, without a nationality and without a work permit. When he receives an enticing offer for easy money from the psychopathic gangster Reinhold, Francis initially resists temptation, but eventually he is ****** into Berlin's underworld and his life spirals out of control. Winner, Best Film, Best Actor, Stockholm Film Festival; Best Supporting Actor, Best Score, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, German Film Awards. (Alissa Simon)

Director: Burhan Qurbani
Runtime: 183 min

Beyond the Line

A wheelchair dreams of one day being fast like a racing car.

Director: Jinuk Choi
Runtime: 4 min

Big Happiness

Big Happiness is a personal exploration of adoption, identity, and colorblindness growing up in a transracial family.

Da Hee Kim is a Korean adoptee who grew up in Minnesota. As someone who has been disconnected from their culture and heritage, she is very interested in exploring themes around identity. Her short film, Big Happiness, will be her debut as a director. She has produced award-winning short narrative and documentary films. Da Hee is a candidate at CalArts for an MFA in FIlm & Video production.

Director: Matthew Koshmrl, Da Hee Kim
Runtime: 15 min

BJ's Mobile Gift Shop

A young Korean-American hustler runs throughout the city of Chicago making sales out of his “mobile gift shop”.

Director: Jason Park
Runtime: 16 min


A mockumentary-style TV series about Patty Lee Casting, a Minneapolis-based casting office that pines for the good old days when the local film industry was booming.

Screening as a part of Shorts: Lighter Fare

Director: LJ Johnson
Runtime: 18 min

Brooklyn Red Caps

Otis Hughes is the 73 year-old captain of the Brooklyn Red Caps, a multi-generational cycling group that includes cyclists of all levels.

Director: Jasia Kaulbach
Runtime: 5 min


Brian, a CEO of a major car company, wakes up on a desolate beach buried up to his neck in sand. His captor? Mara, a member of an environmental terrorist organization.

Director: Isaac Calvin, Seth Calvin
Runtime: 12 min

Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Water

In 1989, dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones created D-Man in the Waters, a ground-breaking ballet as a direct response to the AIDS crisis, which had devastated the New York arts community and claimed the lives of untold artists, including Jones’ dance company co-founder and life partner, Arnie Zane.

Masterfully weaving interviews and archival footage, directors Rosalynde LeBlanc (who danced in Jones’ company) and Tom Hurwitz tell the story of this now legendary ballet, and also follow dance students at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles as they prepare a performance of D-Man under LeBlanc’s tutelage almost three decades later.

Director: Rosalynde LeBlanc, Tom Hurwitz
Runtime: 90 min

Captains of Zaatari

Two teenagers are stuck in Zaatari, the world’s largest camp for Syrian refugees. Both are stars of the camp soccer team, but one also excels in the classroom, while the other relies solely on the sport as an escape. Will the arrival of a world-famous soccer club deliver their dreams, or crush them?

Zaatari, Jordan: the world’s largest camp for Syrian refugees is a place that possesses little hope. Fawzi and Mahmoud are a pair of teenagers like any other, dreaming of adulthood, obsessed with soccer. Mahmoud is a dedicated student, as well as a soccer star; Fawzi has dropped out but is captain of the camp soccer team. When scouts from a Qatari sports academy descend upon Zaatari, these teenagers might just find a way out. Making his feature film debut, war journalist Ali El Arabi demonstrates a keen eye and a big-hearted sensitivity toward the boys and their families.

Director: Ali El Arabi
Runtime: 73 min

Careless Crime

Four extremists in modern-day Iran plan to set fire to a movie theater screening a film called Careless Crime… which is about a movie screening of The Deer… which is what was playing in real life in another theater 40+ years ago when extremists burned it down to protest the Shah in Shahram Mokri’s mind-bending film-within-a-film-within-a-film.

When the Rex Cinema was burned down, killing almost 500 people, it was considered the moment that launched the Islamic Revolution that toppled the Shah. In Careless Crime time twists and bends, the present appears as the past and vise-versa, and nothing is as it seems. Juggling disparate narrative threads that suddenly connect to one another, Mokri weaves together a story that is at once devastating as it is thrilling and thought provoking.

Director: Shahram Mokri
Runtime: 134 min


Few true stories tread the thin line between good and evil as precariously as that of Jan Mikolášek, a 20th century Czech herbal healer whose great success masked the grimmest of secrets.

Mikolášek won fame and fortune treating celebrities of the interwar, Nazi, and Communist eras with his uncanny knack for “urinary diagnosis”. But his passion for healing welled up from the same source as a lust for cruelty, sadism, and an incapacity for love that only one person could ever quell – his assistant, František. As a show trial threatens to pry open these secrets and undo him, Jan’s dichotomies are put to a final test, with the fate of his life’s only love in the balance. A personal tale as replete with twists as the century itself, and a reflection on the price one pays for single-mindedly following one’s calling.

Director: Agnieszka Holland
Runtime: 118 min

Charlotte's Photographs

The forgotten snapshots of a nurse in 1940's Minneapolis take us into the world of women's work in this animated musical documentary.

Director: John Akre
Runtime: 10 min

The Club of Ugly Children

When President Isimo declares “Keep it clean!” he doesn’t mean the city streets, he means ridding the schools of children who don’t fit into narrowly defined ideals of beauty. Paul, one of the “ugly” boys, escapes in Jonathan Elbers’ engaging and entertaining dystopian thriller.

Paul (Sem Hulsmann) has always just wanted to be a normal kid. But when President Isimo (Roeland Fernhout) is elected on the “Keep it clean!” platform, Paul’s world becomes undone. When he and a bunch of other “unattractive” children are bussed away from their school, they soon realize they’re being isolated. Paul and his cohorts escape and with other kids, they form the Club of Ugly Children, an underground resistance to challenge the President, and the adults who support him. Soon, the resistance grows too big for even the President to stop. Director Jonathan Elbers, who wrote the screenplay, took sentences from the speeches of current demagogues (as of 2020) for President Isimo, and created a daring, enjoyable and thought-provoking entertaining thriller for the whole family. Winner, New York International Children’s Film Fest Audience Choice Award.

Director: Jonathan Elbers
Runtime: 90 min

The Co-op Wars

The Co-op Wars is preceded by the short film Old Met

Today, Co-ops are multi-million dollar businesses, so successful they’ve prompted mainstream grocery stores to stock organic food. But in the 1970s, it almost ended before it began, as internecine battles and even hostile takeovers threatened this burgeoning movement.

In 1970s Minnesota young people were eager to bring the rising counterculture to their kitchen tables. And so, co-ops were born, grocery stores for the people, run by the people. But what did they mean? Well, different things to many different people, as it turns out. In Deacon Warner’s surprising documentary, we see the rise of the co-op movement in Minnesota, the struggles to define their meaning, and even villains and plot twists right out of Hollywood. Not a mere examination of a distant historical moment, The Co-op Wars is a thought-provoking documentary about the very meaning of food and the way it’s marketed, sold, and consumed.

Director: Deacon Warner
Runtime: 59 min

Copycut Scanfill

Photos collapse and colors collide in this jauntily abstracted cartoon!

Director: Colin Stanhill
Runtime: 5 min

Dawn Chorus

A man is haunted by a cosmic entity.

Screening as a part of Shorts: Relationships

Director: Jaafar Alnabi
Runtime: 8 min

Department Of Injustice

A fictional caller contacts the U.S. Department of Justice to report an incident of killing by the police. ?Department of Injustice? comments on the state of justice and accountability regarding police violence in America, in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Screening as a part of Shorts: Seeking Justice

Director: Travis Wood
Runtime: 5 min

Devil's Pie — D'Angelo

Devil’s Pie—D’Angelo follows Grammy Award-winning singer D’Angelo, one of the most successful R&B acts in recent years, but whose struggle with numerous demons--not to mention a public eager to sexualize and hound him--made him walk away from the business for 14 long years.

This revealing cinematic portrait stitches together never-before-seen live footage along with unguarded interviews with the man, his friends, and colleagues past and present, that illuminate a struggling artist at once vulnerable and thoroughly committed to his music.

Director: Carine Bijlsma
Runtime: 83 min

Do I Qualify for Love?

The autobiographical story of trans-masculine, disabled, nonbinary, award-winning filmmaker, Atlas O. Phoenix (formerly Ayesha Adu,) as they revisit a physically abusive night with their parents.

Director: Atlas O. Phoenix
Runtime: 14 min

The Dog Who Wouldn't Be Quiet

Sebastian is a quiet, unassuming man who loves a dog who likes to bark. He can’t leave the dog at home, can’t take it to work, so he has to find a new job. When a meteorite hits, poisoning the air, Sebastian’s almost otherworldly compassion is suddenly his greatest gift.

Now Sebastian (Daniel Katz) must find work, and, suddenly, he is the father of a new baby. Navigating these twists and turns, he takes them all in stride, calmly and without anger. But then a meteorite strikes the earth, poisoning the air, though only at a height of 4 feet--meaning you have to either wear an oxygenated bubble or crouch everywhere. And now Sebastian’s profound kindness, his patience, and his observational skills are precisely what this world needs.

Director: Ana Katz
Runtime: 73 min

Downstream to Kinshasa

20 years after the devastating Six-Day War, a battle between Rwandan and Ugandan forces that was part of the larger Second Congo War, a group of survivors journeys down the Congo River, seeking compensation that has been promised them for years.

Focusing on these nine citizens of Kisangani, which was caught in the middle of this deadly battle, director Dieudo Hamadi continues his cinematic focus on his native Congo. The citizens of Kisangani were maimed by the heavy shelling and gunfire. But they’re on the rebound, using musical theater to express their pain, sorrow, and even joy. Now they are demanding the financial compensation from the government that has been promised them and journey down the Congo River to get it.

Director: Dieudo Hamadi
Runtime: 90 min

Empty Places

Completed before the global lockdown, Empty Places is an ode to the melancholy of machines.

Director: Geoffroy de Crécy
Runtime: 9 min

End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock

In 2016, members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe established a camp called Sacred Stone with the intent of stopping the Dakota Access oil pipeline, which desecrated ancient burial and prayer sites. Director Shannon Kring filmed the epic story of the Indigenous women who led this peaceful rebellion.

When Dakota Access bulldozed the peaceful protestors, and police attacked with dogs and pepper spray, over 10,000 protesters were on site, including Kring, who followed these events with her camera for four years. The film features interviews with many Indigenous leaders such as Sky Roosevelt-Morris, an activist in her 20s, and Phyllis Young, a member of Standing Rock who has been an activist for four decades. Featuring shocking, never-before-seen footage of the brutality the activists faced, as well as poignant stories of their resistance, End of Line is a must-see documentary.

Director: Shannon Kring
Runtime: 87 min

Endless Yesterdays

In the 1960s, racing driver Max Harper's career becomes overshadowed by guilt and PTSD following the death of his teammate.

Director: Ryan Alexander Huang
Runtime: 16 min

Enemies of the State

In 2010, the FBI raided the home of 25-year-old Matt DeHart for child pornography. What at first seems like an open-and-shut case, spirals into claims of a government cover-up involving Wikileaks and Anonymous. Sonia Kennebeck’s new documentary is a bizarre spy story with twists, turns, double-crosses and paranoia.

After their son was imprisoned on these charges, Paul and Leann DeHart work to clear their son’s name, eventually freeing him on bond and seeking asylum in Canada. A judge agrees that the pornography charges are potentially false, and that the FBI was instead seeking Matt’s computer for his alleged hacking and feeding of information to Wikileaks and Anonymous. But even this thread becomes complicated when it’s revealed that Paul and Leeann were once intelligence operators. And why was Matt seen at the Russian embassy?

Director: Sonia Kennebeck
Runtime: 103 min

Europa Europa

As World War II splits Europe, sixteen-year-old German Jew Salomon (Marco Hofschneider) is separated from his family after fleeing with them to Poland, and finds himself reluctantly assuming various ideological identities in order to hide the deadly secret of his Jewishness. He is bounced from a Soviet orphanage, where he plays a dutiful Stalinist, to the Russian front, where he hides in plain sight as an interpreter for the German army, and back to his home country, where he takes on his most dangerous role: a member of the Hitler Youth. Based on the real-life experiences of Salomon Perel, Agnieszka Holland’s wartime tour de force Europa Europa is a breathless survival story told with the verve of a comic adventure, an ironic refutation of the Nazi idea of racial purity, and a complex portrait of a young man caught up in shifting historical calamities and struggling to stay alive. (The Criterion Collection)

Director: Agnieszka Holland
Runtime: 112 min


In the face of daily micro-aggressions (and worse) from his German work colleagues, a prickly Kosovo-born pharmaceutical engineer becomes increasingly paranoid and plunges into an identity crisis.

In his second feature, director-writer Visar Morina (Babai) creates a knock-out experience with claustrophobic cinematography, intelligent production design and edgy soundscapes complementing brilliant performances by Mišel Maticevic as the beleaguered professional, and Toni Erdmann’s Sandra Hüller as his out-of-patience wife who asks, “Did it ever occur to you that it’s not because you’re a foreigner, but because you’re an *******?” This subtle and uncompromising drama about exclusion vs. inclusion is contemporary German story telling at its best, encompassing relationship drama, family drama, male pride and a mystery. Variety calls it “a nervily comic, impressively poised psychodrama.” Winner, Best Film, Sarajevo Film Festival; German Screenplay Award; Gunter Rohrbach Filmpreis, Best Film, Best Male actor. Kosovo’s submission to the Academy for Best International Film. (Alissa Simon)

Director: Visar Morina
Runtime: 121 min


This poignant drama based on real events takes place in a small town in Serbia, where Nikola, a day laborer and loving father of two, must give up his children to social services after poverty and hunger drive his wife to commit a desperate act.

Until he can provide adequate conditions for their upbringing, the children will remain in foster care. Despite Nikola’s best efforts and several appeals, the head of the social services center refuses to return his children. But when Nikola discovers the local administration may be corrupt, he decides to travel across Serbia on foot and take his case directly to the national ministry in Belgrade. Against all odds and driven by love and despair, this father refuses to give up on justice and his right to raise his children. Winner, Audience Award, Ecumenical prize, Berlin Film Festival.

Director: Srdan Golubovic
Runtime: 120 min


A beautifully-made film that astutely balances dry humor with important contemporary drama, this clever, impressively scripted and wonderfully performed feature manages the rare feat of being compassionate and provocative while also delivering striking moments of absurdist humor.

In a period when the subject of immigration is very much in the headlines this is very much a film for our times. It centers on Svetlana (Svetlana Yancheva, a dead ringer for Frances McDormand, as is her tough-as-nails character), a widowed, former school teacher in a blighted village in Eastern Europe. Several of the locals nurse an unrequited passion for Svetlana, but she brusquely dismisses their advances. These rejections help fuel small-town xenophobia into overdrive when Svetlana takes in Bamba (Michael Fleming), a Malian doctor trying to make his way to Germany. Winner, Grand Prize, Tallinn Black Nights; Best Film, Varna. Please be aware: some dialogue contains racial slurs. (Alissa Simon)

Director: Ivaylo Hristov
Runtime: 100 min

Fire in the Mountains

Chandra and her husband, Dharam, run a homestay for tourists in a small Himalayan village, making little money. When Chandra wants to treat her paralyzed son with modern medicine and Dharam wants to pay for a ritual to remove a curse, their disagreement threatens to split the family apart.

Catering to tourists, Chandra often has to fight with other innkeepers to land guests for little profit. And mountain life has other disadvantages: their son Prakash is paralyzed, and getting him down the mountain for medical care and schooling is an enormous effort. Soon, Chandra and Dharam’s worldviews collide, as she wants her son to have medical treatment, and he wants a shaman to treat the boy, both of which cost a lot of money, and may cost them their marriage. The debut feature from writer-director Ajitpal Singh, Fire in the Mountains is a lush and heartbreaking account of a family on the edge.

Director: Ajitpal Singh
Runtime: 83 min

The Fire Next Time

Rioting spreads as social inequality causes tempers in a struggling community to flare, but the oppressive environment takes on a life of its own as the shadows of the housing estate close in.

Director: Renaldho Pelle
Runtime: 8 min


He may be god enough, but is he good enough? A slightly surreal comedic exploration of a bodybuilder’s self-loathing and self-loving.

Director: Josefin Malmén, David Strindberg
Runtime: 5 min

The Game

A whistle. All eyes on the referee in the football stadium. Now he has to decide.

Director: Roman Hodel
Runtime: 18 min

Good Medicine

The music video for Cryote's new single, "Good Medicine".

Director: LJ Johnson
Runtime: 4 min

Green Grass

Two hopeful migrants make the arduous journey to what they’re sure must be a better life only to confront the reality that their destination may no longer be the place they believed it was.

Director: Michael Greco
Runtime: 8 min

The Hands of an Elder

The importance of Cree culture in an ever-changing world.

Director: Dinah Sam
Runtime: 5 min


This refreshing, humorous, warts and all creative biopic doesn’t let pesky facts get in the way of a good story. Director Slávek Horák (Home Care) takes artistic license with certain details of history to stress the irony and absurdity of Václav Havel’s metamorphosis from celebrated playwright to banned and jailed human rights activist to eventual President of Czechoslovakia.

Concentrating more on Havel’s personal evolution (here prodded by the many women in his life) and various emotional truths, this vibrant dramedy doesn’t shy from depicting the great man’s weaknesses but it also shows him as generous and modest, an entertaining, talented writer who ultimately steps out of his comfort zone to become politically engaged. While some viewers may take issue with the elisions and composites of Horák’s approach, others will be inspired once again by Havel’s courageous battle against oppression and the sacrifices he made. (Alissa Simon)

Director: Slávek Horák
Runtime: 104 min

Here We Are

This moving tale of parental devotion focuses on stubborn, proud, aging divorcé Aharon, who has devoted his life to raising his son Uri.

Aharon (Shai Avivi, in a career best performance) and Uri (Noam Imber) live together in a gentle routine, away from the real world. But Uri is autistic, and now as he becomes a young adult his mother feels it might be time for him to live in a specialized home. Unconvinced that Uri is ready for this move, Aharon decides to run away with his son, taking him on an unpredictable, secret road trip. As their adventure goes off the rails, Aharon must face the fact that perhaps it is he who is not ready for change. Part of the 2020 Cannes label selection. Winner, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Screenplay, Ophir Awards; Audience Award, Boston Israeli Film Festival. (Alissa Simon)

Director: Nir Bergman
Runtime: 92 min


In this beautiful and unflinching coming-of-age story, a young woman is accepted to college but hasn’t got the money to escape her forlorn midwest town. Looking for the cash, she joins forces with a reckless scrap metal crew.

In a forgotten pocket of Southern Ohio where American manufacturing and opportunity are drying up, a determined young woman finds a ticket out when she is accepted to college. Alongside her older brother, Ruth Avery (Jessica Barden) joins a dangerous scrap metal crew in order to pay her way. Together, they spend one brutal winter working the scrap yards during the day and stealing valuable metal from the once thriving factories by night. With her goal in sight, Ruth finds that the ultimate cost of an education for a girl like her may be more than she bargained for, and she soon finds herself torn between a promising future and the family she would leave behind.

Director: Nicole Riegel
Runtime: 90 min

Hotel Coppelia

During the 1965 Revolution in the Dominican Republic, freedom fighters struggled to reinstate President Juan Emilio Bosch Gaviño to power. When the American military invades, the soldiers hole up in a seaside brothel, and suddenly a forlorn band of prostitutes is forced to pick sides.

Things are growing more and more tense in Santo Domingo. The military ousted democratically elected President Bosch, and the revolution slowly builds, coming to a head in April, 1965. A group of prostitutes run a cabaret, entertaining the locals, and not questioning their clients’ politics in any way. But when the revolutionaries take over, prompting an American invasion, suddenly the brothel is overrun with Yankee soldiers, most of whom are eager to take advantage of the women. Now these women face a new struggle: business as usual, or fight for their country and protect their dignity at the same time?

Director: José María Cabral
Runtime: 113 min


Just as we were settling into lockdown and adjusting to a new normal, the universe dealt us a most devastating hand. Pets aren't just pets, they're family.

Director: Justin Christopher Ayd
Runtime: 5 min

Hunger Ward

Filmed inside two of the most active therapeutic feeding centers in conflict-ridden Yemen, Oscar-nominated Hunger Ward documents two women fighting to thwart the spread of starvation against the backdrop of a forgotten war. The film provides unflinching portraits of Dr. Aida Alsadeeq and Nurse Mekkia Mahdi as they work to save the lives of hunger-stricken children within a population on the brink of famine. With unprecedented access within a sensitive conflict-zone, HUNGER WARD reveals the bravery of deeply committed doctors working in the middle of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis

Screening as a part of Shorts: Documentaries

Director: Skye Fitzgerald
Runtime: 40 min

I Was, I Am, I Will Be

After a Kurdish gigolo and an airline pilot meet at a Turkish resort, their lives change in unexpected ways.

Given the opportunity to study and work in Germany, Baran (Ogulcan Arman Uslu) moves from a troubled past to a complicated present, with the prospect of a promising future not far from his grasp. Meanwhile, his mentor, Marion (Anne Ratte-Polle), bravely confronts unanticipated challenges. In his assured second feature, director-co-writer Ilker Çatak, a former Student Oscar-winner, boldly challenges stereotypes and expectations to create a touching humanist drama. Winner, Best Actress, Bavarian Film Awards; Best Actor, Best Screenplay, Film Fest München.

Director: Ilker Çatak
Runtime: 120 min

Ice Ball

Legendary polar explorer, Will Steger, inspires a community by preserving the forgotten craft of ice harvesting.

Director: Nathaniel Schmidt
Runtime: 14 min

Ignited States

A bold and scrappy documentary that follows a modern-day uprising in Minneapolis and beyond, as protestors demand justice for George Floyd.

Director: Jud Nichols
Runtime: 30 min

In France Michelle is a Man's Name

Michael, a young trans man, returns home to the rural American West after years of estrangement from his parents.

Director: Em Weinstein
Runtime: 12 min

In Passing

After years apart, two Venezuelan-American sisters confront their demons and say goodbye, one last time.

Director: Martin Blanco
Runtime: 8 min

In The Meantime, With You

When closeted Bryant is caught by his tormentors from high school, he decides to leave everything behind; except not without gifting his two best friends something that'll change their lives forever.

Director: Conner Evert
Runtime: 12 min

Invisible Valley

Coachella Valley. The name conjures up images of the Coachella Music Festival; swaying palm trees and lush golf courses; entertainers relaxing poolside; and tourists galore. But director Aaron Maurer’s Invisible Valley captures the area as an organic whole, one that encompasses a vast range of economic disparity and living conditions.

In Aaron Maurer’s fascinating and illuminating documentary, the struggles of undocumented farmworkers are juxtaposed against the relaxed lifestyles of wealthy snowbirds and the hedonistic indifference of music festival-goers. Shot over the course of one year, Maurer explores the vast history of Coachella, including the ecological tragedy of the Salton Sea, and ponders its looming future.

Director: Aaron Maurer
Runtime: 87 min

Jagged Walker

The woman portrayed in Jagged Walker claims “nasty” as feminine power. She transforms into her true self by unplugging misogynistic misconceptions.

Director: Sofie Reed
Runtime: 4 min


After a strange encounter in an elevator, a businesswoman is convinced she is being followed by the building's nighttime janitor.

Director: Isaac Carlton
Runtime: 4 min

Karen Dalton: In My Own Time

Even the most devoted fans of the 1960s folk music scene often fail to recognize the name Karen Dalton. But this singular talent influenced a number of musicians, including the likes of Bob Dylan and Nick Cave. Directors Robert Yapkowitz and Richard Peete’s intimate documentary reveals a name you’ve probably never heard of, and will not soon forget.

Twice divorced by the time she was 21, Dalton grabbed her twelve-string guitar, long-neck banjo and her kids and headed to Greenwich Village. There, her hauntingly distinct voice and lovely melodies captivated adoring audiences, including the many established musicians. Though she recorded only two albums, which Cave has described as occupying "a despairing world," Dalton developed a devoted following. Directors Yapkowitz and Peete unearth hard-to-find radio interviews, lost photos, and Dalton’s own gorgeous music to create a portrait of a beautiful and troubled soul.

Director: Robert Yapkowitz, Richard Peete
Runtime: 85 min


KEON, a young Black photographer, meets up with his brothers, Amiri and Dre, and they embark on a journey to acquire a new camera to complete his college entrance portfolio.

Director: E.G. Bailey
Runtime: 27 min

Kitchen Dance

A conceptual short dance film that explores the multi-dimensional lives of women and their work.

Director: Maribeth Romslo
Runtime: 8 min

The Last Station

A man is overcome with memories and desire as he waits in the station where he last saw her.

Director: Josh Cisewski
Runtime: 7 min

Latinos in Taiwan

The story of three Latino Chefs in Taiwan, and their motivation to cook Latino food, and share their Latino culture with the local Taiwanese.

Director: Gustavo Vera
Runtime: 5 min

Life Crime

Reggie Austin is in San Quentin prison, serving a life sentence. When a film crew goes to the prison to film a documentary and stage a concert to honor sax great Frank Morgan (who once served there), Reggie steps up to perform. It changes his life forever.

Serving 35 years behind bars for second-degree murder, Reggie Austin’s story dares to ask the question “What is a just sentence?” Denied bail 12 times over almost four decades, the concert helped Austin to convince a parole board to let him out. In San Quentin to film a documentary about saxophone legend Frank Morgan, who was in prison for his own drug addictions, director NC Heikin uncovered Reggie Austin’s story as well. Featuring incredible musical footage of the prison concert, as well as Austin’s performance at the Frank Morgan Taos Jazz Festival when he’s freed, Life Crime is a beautiful and probing documentary that pulls no punches.

Director: NC Heikin
Runtime: 79 min

Lily Topples The World

Lily Havesh is a young woman with a unique passion… for assembling and toppling dominoes. Director Jeremy Workman follows Lily around the world as she created dozens of mind-bending moving sculptures. From executive producer Kelly Marie Tran comes this awe-inspiring SXSW prize-winner.

20-year-old Lily is a modern sensation, one of the world’s great domino artists, the term used to describe the dedicated and endlessly inventive people who design, build — and then topple over — elaborate domino structures. Lily’s temporary, in-motion creations, featured in can-you-top-this videos, have garnered over a billion views on her own YouTube channel, Havesh5. Shot over the course of 3 years, Lily Topples the World is a whimsical and fascinating look at a woman whose work is no mere novelty, but, potentially, a thriving business, and an inspiration for women and other young domino artists the world over. Featuring appearances by Jimmy Fallon, Katy Perry, Will Smith, Casey Neistat, and many more.

Director: Jeremy Workman
Runtime: 90 min

Little Girl

“When I grow up, I’ll be a girl.” So claims 3-year-old Sasha, whose working-class parents struggle to help her navigate in a world that doesn’t want to accept that just because Sasha was born a boy, she is truly a little girl.

Following the family starting when Sasha was 7, director Sébastien Lifshitz crafts a remarkable documentary about one of the most determined and likeable people you will ever meet. Sasha has known she is a girl since age 2, and the rest of her small town in France has to just keep up. As her father says, “It’s not a question of ‘tolerating,’ it’s Sasha and that’s it.” But the family’s acceptance doesn’t mean the town is on board, as Sasha has to face indifferent doctors, a school that forces her to wear gender-specific boys clothing, and the little indignities that follow anyone whose dream bothers their community.

Director: Sébastien Lifshitz
Runtime: 85 min

Love, It Was Not

It seems unimaginable: a relationship between a Jewish prisoner and an Austrian SS officer at Auschwitz driven more by affection than the dynamics of power? But the taboo romance between beautiful, young Slovak inmate Helena Citron and her not-much-older captor Franz Wunsch is superbly chronicled in this fascinating documentary.

Director Maya Sarfaty uses a chorus of voices as well as artfully deployed archival photos and footage to show the liaison’s repercussions on the couple’s lives and those of their families. Astonishingly, the story of Helena and Franz does not end after her miraculous liberation. Thirty years later, a letter arrives from Wunsch’s wife begging Helena to testify on Wunsch’s behalf in an Austrian court. The result of long years of research, the film is remarkable not only for its unusual central story and unique creative execution, but also for its extensive eyewitness testimonies. Throughout, Sarfaty makes clear the ever-present pressures of Helena’s situation. (Alissa Simon)

Director: Maya Sarfaty
Runtime: 83 min


The colorful luzzo boats, for generations made out of wood, painted in bright yellows, reds, greens, and other colors, are a trademark of Maltese fisherman. When Jesmark finds his precious boat leaking, it might spell disaster, in this Sundance award-winning drama from director Alex Camilleri.

Jesmark is overwhelmed. Even without the leak, his livelihood is threatened by diminishing harvests, by corporate fishing, and by an ecosystem on the verge of collapse. With the leak compounding his troubles, and his newborn son requiring medical care, Jesmark turns to a black-market fishing operation that may destroy him, body and soul. One of the very few films shot in Malta and concerning a Maltese subject, Alex Camilleri spent years befriending Maltese fishermen, whom he cast in his film, most notably lead actor Jesmark Scicluna.

Director: Alex Camilleri
Runtime: 94 min

Ma Belle, Ma Beauty

Bertie and Fred are musicians, living a somewhat carefree life in the French countryside. Fred’s a musician from France, Bertie’s a New Orleans jazz singer struggling with depression. When Lane, an old flame, shows up, she reignites passion in both in Marion Hill’s gorgeous and surprisingly emotional debut that earned a Sundance Audience Award.

Bertie (Idella Johnson) is having a hard time adjusting to France, refusing to learn the language and grieving the recent death of her mother. Fred (Lucien Guignard) is doing his best to help, and when Lane (Hannah Pepper) arrives, also from New Orleans, this one-time-paramour might just be the thing to help Bertie adjust. In her feature debut, Marion Hill takes viewers on a luscious tour of the Cevennes region of France, in a film brimming with life and love.

Director: Marion Hill
Runtime: 93 min

Make Him Known

Four-time WNBA champion Maya Moore has been fighting for the release of a wrongfully convicted man named Jonathan Irons, who has inspired her pursuit of criminal justice reform.

Director: Rudy Valdez
Runtime: 21 min

Marvelous and the Black Hole

Sammy (Miya Cech) is grieving the death of her mother and wrestling with the turbulence of being a teenager. When she meets Marvelous Margot (Rhea Perlman), a surly magician, her life changes in ways she never imagined.

Rebellious and despairing, Sammy destroys one of the school’s toilets, and with the threat of a summer school for delinquents hanging over her, she serendipitously meets the Marvelous Margot, perhaps the most feisty magician you’ll ever meet. The two form an unlikely friendship and Sammy discovers magic, both real and fantastical. Kate Tsang’s debut is an endearing coming-of-age comedy that gleefully employs sleight of hand to reveal rays of light in the darkest moments.

Director: Kate Tsang
Runtime: 81 min

Master Servant

An ambitious, young railroad executive comes face to face with his own moral decay in his blind pursuit of wealth and status.

Director: Julie Anne Koehnen
Runtime: 12 min

Meat the Future

By 2050, the worldwide demand for meat is expected to double. Faced with the dual challenges of international meat producers not being able to meet demand and the destructive environmental impact of harvesting animals, former Mayo Clinic cardiologist Dr. Uma Valeti thinks he has the answer.

This is the story of “cell-based” meat, also known as “cultivated” or “clean” meat, the process of growing animal cells in a controlled environment, and potentially a revolution in food production. Director Liz Marshall follows cardiologist-turned-entrepreneur Dr. Uma Valeti, the co-founder and CEO of Memphis Meats, which is one of the leading producers of cell-based meat, as he spreads the gospel of this type of meat, its sustainability, and, of course, its taste. Set aside your preconceptions, Meat the Future may make you yearn for a laboratory grown chicken nugget in the near future.

Director: Liz Marshall
Runtime: 90 min


Crafted from a desire to examine the Mekong River, the tenth largest in the world, MEKONG 2030 is a collection of five short narrative films that imagine the future of this important tributary.

The Mekong River flows through six countries, China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. It provides food and water, as well as tourism, and innumerable livelihoods. Like most natural resources in the 21st Century, the Mekong has been plundered by corporate interests, threatening everyone who is affected by the river. The five short films in MEKONG 2030 seek to bring different cultural perspectives to the value and beauty of the river, featuring five directors from every country on the Mekong (except China). “[A]thoughtful, multi-faceted anthology focusing on the ecological, spiritual and human repercussions of the exploitation of nature, in this case, of the Mekong River Delta.

Director: Anocha Suwichakornpong (The Line), Pham Ngoc Lan (The Unseen River), Kulikar Sotho (Soul River), Anysay Keola (The Che Brother), Sai Naw Kham (The Forgotten Voices of the Mekong)

Runtime: 94 min

Memory House

In this haunting film, Cristovam is an Indigenous Black man from rural northern Brazil, who has recently relocated to the south to work in a milk factory run by a strange community of Austrians. After another day of abuse and indignity, he retreats to a house of oddly familiar antiques, and enters a hallucinatory world, trapped within the collective memories of generations of victims of colonization.

Cristovam (Antônio Pitanga) is barely getting by, financially and psychologically. After dedicating a life to the company, he now must take a cut in wages, and his whole world seems to collapse. One night, he finds himself in the abandoned shack he’s taken up residence, and the artifacts within speak to his struggle, and the struggle of people like him, opening vistas of Brazil’s not-so-distant past, a legacy of violence and racism. Part folklore, part surrealistic horror, and entirely original, Memory House is like nothing you’ve ever seen, a visually stunning film with a simmering performance by Pitanga. Selected for the 2020 Cannes Film Festival.

Director: João Paulo Miranda Maria
Runtime: 87 min

MeTube: August sings 'Una furtiva lagrima'

Intergalactic music nerds August and Elfi conquer the opera stage and orchestrate their final adventure in an opulent manner.

Director: Daniel Moshel
Runtime: 10 min

Mickey On The Road

Mickey and Gin Gin are best friends in Taiwan, two young women, rebellious and seemingly going nowhere. Mickey cares for her depressed mom, Gin Gin gets by as a Go-Go dancer. When Gin Gin discovers a pregnancy by a boyfriend who lives in Guangzhou, China, they take a road trip that will change their lives.

Mickey is tough and devout, a martial-arts practitioner who is exhausted with her life. Gin Gin has bleached blonde hair and dances, but her more upbeat world is rocked when she discovers she’s pregnant and her boyfriend is ghosting her. He lives in Guangzhou, Mickey’s father, who abandoned the family years ago, also lives there and owns a factory. And so, the friends pack their bags and travel, not only to find these reckless men, but perhaps to discover something about themselves as well. Director Mian-Mian Lu’s debut is a bittersweet and beautiful story of friendship and liberation.

Director: Mian Mian LU
Runtime: 95 min

Microplastic Madness

Can 11 year-olds take on plastic pollution? Fifth graders from Brooklyn spend two years leading a challenge against the pervasive use of plastics, asking probing questions about the local and global impacts on people, wildlife, and water systems. Using their own data to testify and rally City Hall, the young activists take action in their lunchroom to eliminate single-use plastic.

Documenting a citizen science project, Microplastic Madness features empowered city kids telling their own story of environmental activism with animated student artwork illustrating their findings. Following interviews and discussions with teachers, workers, community members and scientists about root causes and inequitable impacts of pollution, the kids take their rally to the streets to get the attention of lawmakers and politicians. Providing an essential educational platform for climate justice, Microplastic Madness is an all ages testimonial, an urgent message, and a refreshing wake up call that inspires individual change and collective accountability to the children who most clearly see our future. (Deb Girdwood)

Recommended for ages 9+

Director: Atsuko Quirk, Debby Lee Cohen
Runtime: 76 min

Mogul Mowgli

MC Zed (Riz Ahmed) is a talented and angry young man, a British-Pakistani rapper seemingly at odds with the world and his family in equal measure. He’s channeled that anger into music, but on the cusp of stardom, his own body betrays him.

Zed, short for Zaheer, decides to visit his family in the UK before embarking on a tour that will launch his career. At home, trying both to reconnect with his roots and appease his more conservative family, he is struck by an autoimmune disease. His dreams fading quickly, Zed is falling apart physically, mentally and emotionally, his condition triggering terrifying hallucinations. As in his Oscar-nominated turn in Sound of Metal, Ahmed is electrifying, this time with his talents as one of the world’s great rappers also on display to augment a blistering performance.

Director: Bassam Tariq
Runtime: 89 min

The Monopoly of Violence

As part of the so-called “yellow vest” movement, French citizens took to the streets to oppose government policies. The state responded with unprecedented levels of police violence. Filmmaker and journalist David Dufresne gathered a cross-section of citizens to argue, discuss and examine the role of violence in French society, and, by extension, the world.

Launched in 2018, the gilet jaunes, or “yellow vest,” movement took over France, a peaceful protest to oppose government policies and call attention to the rising economic inequality plaguing that country. According to polls, the protestors were made up of the left, the right, and even the indifferent. Police response was swift, violent, and in some cases, deadly. Using never-before-seen footage and interviews with citizen leaders, intellectuals, victims of police assault and the police themselves, David Dufresne has created a compelling cinematic statement that is sure to raise more questions than it answers.

Director: David Dufresne
Runtime: 86 min

Mr. Jones

Agnieszka Holland’s thriller, set on the eve of world WWII, sees Hitler’s rise to power and Stalin’s Soviet propaganda machine pushing their “utopia” to the Western world. Meanwhile an ambitious young journalist, Gareth Jones (James Norton) travels to Moscow to uncover the truth behind the propaganda, but then gets a tip that could expose an international conspiracy, one that could cost him and his informant their lives. Jones goes on a life-or-death journey to uncover the truth behind the façade that would later inspire George Orwell’s seminal book Animal Farm.

Director: Agnieszka Holland
Runtime: 119 min

My Brother Chases Dinosaurs

Jack’s younger brother, Gio, has Down syndrome. When they were little, Jack interpreted his parents’ explanation of Gio being “special” to mean he must have superpowers. As they grow older, teenage Jack grows increasingly self-conscious and struggles to redefine himself apart from his ebullient family.

Ready to turn a new page, Jack and his best friend leave their small town in Northern Italy to bus to a big city high school donning reinvented, cool identities. At his new school, Jack decides it might be easier to pretend Gio doesn’t exist. But when he joins a teen band to impress his first crush Arianna, Jack is quickly in over his head as his new friends intersect with his real life. When the truth comes out, Jack must face the harm that he’s done and rediscover how his brother’s energy, vivacity, and unique perspective can indeed change the world. Based on Giacomo Mazzariol’s YA novel and the true life story. Winner, Young Audience Award, European Film Academy. (Deb Girdwood)

Content advisories: teen drinking and smoking, some mature language

Recommended for ages 12+

Director: Stefano Cipani
Runtime: 102 min

My Dad is a Sausage

In this charming film for the entire family, introverted Zoë (12), the youngest of three siblings, is struggling to find her own voice at school. At home, she is best buddies with her father (Johan Heldenbergh, currently on-screen in the Oscar-nominated Quo Vadis, Aida?). When Dad suddenly burns out on his bank job and inexplicably decides to become an actor, the rest of the family thinks he's having a breakdown.

His wife, a type A executive at her family’s chocolate factory, is most concerned. But Zoë believes her dad is an amazing actor waiting to be discovered and vows to help him however she can. Spiced with innovative animation, this contemporary dramedy about a family that reinvents itself is essentially a buddy movie with a father and his daughter in the leading roles. It shows the importance of following your dreams in spite of the doubts of others. (Alissa Simon)

Director: Anouk Fortunier
Runtime: 83 min

My Donkey, My Lover and I

Eager for the perfect summer vacation with her very married lover, Antoinette receives a disappointing shock: he’s going on a trip with his wife instead. So Antoinette decides to climb the mountain herself in this heartfelt comedy.

Her lover’s idea? To follow the path that Robert Louis Stevenson took in his memoir Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes. Unwilling to play the reject, Antoinette (Laure Calamy) grabs her own donkey and hikes the Cévennes mountain trail, hoping to run into her lover for what should be a delicious confrontation. Problem is, she has to get there first. At once a hilarious slapstick, vibrant romantic comedy and gorgeous travelogue, My Donkey, My Lover & I is the perfect escape to a part of France not often seen in films. Calamy delights as the frustrated Antoinette, whose perfect foil turns out to be the donkey Patrick.

This film is part of Young French Cinema, a program of UniFrance and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.

Director: Caroline Vignal
Runtime: 97 min

Nadia, Butterfly

Whenever Nadia leaves the pool, it feels as though she’s leaving a part of herself behind. Only 21, she’s exhausted from the rigors of being an Olympic swimmer, and decides to retire from competitive swimming after the Tokyo Olympics. Now that she’s finished, where does she go next?

Nadia Beaudry (played by Canadian Olympic medalist Katerine Savard) has had it with the endless practices, the coaching, the grinding schedule. Every victory seems somehow like a loss, and losing is unthinkable. Only 21, she’s eager to go back to school and get her anatomy degree. After her last race at the Tokyo Olympics, Nadia and her best friend, Marie-Pierre (fellow swimmer Ariane Mainville), take in Tokyo’s nightspots, but Nadia can’t help but look over her shoulder with regret and relief. From professional swimmer turned filmmaker Pascal Plante, Nadia, Butterfly is an authentic and intimate look into the world of elite sports.

Director: Pascal Plante
Runtime: 107 min

Never Gonna Snow Again

On a gray, foggy morning outside a large Polish city, Zhenia (Alec Utgoff, Stranger Things), a masseur from Ukraine, enters the lives of the wealthy residents of a gated community. Using hypnotic, almost magical techniques to get a residence permit, he starts working.

The well-to-do residents in their cookie-cutter homes seemingly have it all, but they all suffer from an inner sadness, some unexplained longing. The attractive and mysterious newcomer's hands heal, and Zhenia’s eyes seem to penetrate their souls. To them, his Russian accent sounds like a song from the past, a memory of their seemingly safer childhoods. The latest from writer/director Malgorzata Szumowska (Mug, MSPIFF 2019) and her longtime collaborator Michal Englert is an unclassifiable meditation on class, immigration and global warming with touches of magical realism and moments of sober beauty and subtle humor. (Alissa Simon)

Director: Malgorzata Szumowska, Michal Englert
Runtime: 113 min

Never Turn Your Back to the Wave - The Travis Jordan Story

The family of Travis Jordan fights for justice after he is killed by Minneapolis police officers.

Director: Sequoia Hauck, Reginald Blackwell Jr., Aaron Matthew Cannon Panaligan
Runtime: 10 min

The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel

From the filmmaking team behind The Corporation, the groundbreaking documentary that exposed corporations as psychopathic “citizens,” comes The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel, which exposes their supposed turn toward being good citizens, and how this is a smokescreen for even greater malfeasance.

Directors Joel Bakan and Jennifer Abbott turn their cameras on how corporations have decided to remodel themselves as socially responsible. Featuring sharp insights from Anand Giridharadas, Robert Reich, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and US congresswoman Katie Porter, The New Corporation skewers these supposed guardians of good, who are revealed to be, as usual, wallowing in greed.

Director: Joel Bakan, Jennifer Abbott
Runtime: 106 min

Nextwave Youth Shorts

Enjoy a free program of shorts made by high school students all over the world, including right here in the Twin Cities. A showcase celebrating the finalists of MSPIFF’s Nextwave Youth Film Competition, this year’s program was selected from over 400 submissions by the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s Art Team, a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) group of young people dedicated to racial, cultural, and gender representation as a priority in their work to intentionally make space for youth of various backgrounds, and to create opportunities for emerging youth artists.

As young artists, we understand how hard it is to find balance in life during a pandemic and to continue to create art. Although the circumstances of this year made it a little difficult, it was incredibly inspiring to see the creativity that blossomed from this time. We selected these finalists based on the diversity in filmmakers, genre, and memorability. We hope you enjoy these beautiful selections of films by talented and skilled filmmakers.--Mia Art Team 2020-2021

Films are listed here in screening order.

Music for the End of the World: Would the apocalypse really be all that bad? A London teenager defies doom and embraces solitude dancing in a gas mask on a sunny hillside.
Director: Emmanuel Li | Runtime: 7 min | Fiction | Country: UK | English

Dumplings: A beautifully animated film portrays a typical Chinese-American household making dumplings together.
Director: Rebecca Feng | Runtime: 2 min | Animation | Country: USA (Kansas) | English

Notice Me: Three individuals tell stories of their journeys from homelessness to independence in a documentary made to highlight how society commonly disregards people living homeless and their hardships.
Director: Catherine Shelley | Runtime: 6 min | Documentary | Country: United Kingdom | English

Dreamer:Waiting in the shadows of the disapproving eyes of a parent, an LGBTQ+ teen dreams of showing their true self.
Director: Nickolas Krueger | Runtime: 3 min | Fiction | Country: USA (Wisconsin) | English

A Drop of Yellow: Aditi is a young workaholic data analyst who lives in a dull, gray, monotonous world. One morning, in search of something different, she discovers the magic of colors.
Director: Anikait Malhotra | Runtime: 7 min | Fiction | Country: India | English

Testing Time: The day of the test has arrived. Panic sets in as school becomes a nightmare.
Director: Simon Pasquesi | Runtime: 2 min | Fiction |Country: USA (Illinois) | English

Project LIFE: Responding to the big question, "What Is LIFE?" from four points in his lifetime, a person discovers a unique answer to the question that works for him.
Director: Arjun Rajeevan | Runtime: 8 min | Fiction | Country: India | English

Ferris Wheel: Two brothers, Ding and Balong, go to the local carnival to celebrate on the night of Ding’s birthday. When they get off the ferris wheel, a mystery appears.
Director: Karl Draizen Anganangan | Runtime: 8 min | Ficton | Country: Philippines | Tagalog

George Floyd Media Journalism: Aaliyah Demry reports on the impacts of youth activists of color in Minneapolis in a media journalism project using footage from sit-ins and protests from the George Floyd Uprisings and community interviews. Made with the Best Buy Teen Tech Center at Hope Community Center.
Director: Aaliyah Demry | Runtime: 2 min | Documentary | Country: USA (Minnesota) | English

Tea Time: The process of making tea is figuratively compared to falling into addiction, showing how easy it is to cover up a problem by obscuring it with socially accepted behaviors and denial.
Director: Zofia Zarska | Runtime: 5 min | Fiction | Country: Poland | No Dialogue

Sophie and Jacob: On a ship fleeing war torn Romania in 1939, Sophie and Jacob meet and imagine a world together. This animated historical memoir of Jewish refugees is inspired by the filmmaker’s own family story.
Director: Max Shoham | Runtime: 9 min | Animation | Country: Canada | English

091319.mov: A teen studying abroad in idyllic Hawaii during the global pandemic tries to connect to his mother through his laptop while experiencing isolation and the acute ripple effects of COVID-19.
Director: Kunwoo Kim | Runtime: 5 min | Fiction | Country: USA (Hawaii) | English, Korean

Will I Die Because I’m Black?:Made via FaceTime, a high school student in California reaches out to a friend to talk about the pain of racism and police brutality in the U.S..
Director: Christian Lee | Runtime: 2 min | Documentary | Country: USA (California) | English

X-Ray: A music video for Moyana Olivia's song "X-Ray" (featuring Mac Turner) was inspired by and incorporates footage from Minneapolis uprisings and protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. The video encourages people to take action against police brutality and vote in the November election. Made with Hope Community Center’s Best Buy Teen Tech Center.
Director: Martaize Smith (New School Media) | Runtime: 5 min | Music Video | Country: USA (Minnesota) | English

The Night of the Beast

The Night of the Beast finds us in Bogota, Colombia on a day two friends' dreams are to come true; they've got tickets to see their favorite band play for the first and maybe only time in their lives. The band: Iron Maiden! But, like metal itself, this day is a slow build filled with epic moments and pandemonium.

Vargas and Chuki are high schoolers who have a singular goal on this particular day, to rock as hard as possible at the Iron Maiden concert later that night… until bullies steal their tickets. Vargas (Daniel Esteban Reyes) is handsome and confident, but weighed down by his alcoholic father; Chuki (Esteban Galindo) is overweight and shy, but a good student with a doting mother. Faced with the tragic prospect of having to miss the show of a lifetime, will their friendship endure? Mauricio Leiva ****'s first feature about friensdhip and rock & roll reminds us of the existential pull of live music and its uniting effects.

Director: Mauricio Leiva ****
Runtime: 70 min

No Ordinary Man

“How would I summarize the story of Billy Tipton? He was a trans-masculine jazz musician.” So speaks actor and activist Marquise Vilsón, in Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt’s brilliant No Ordinary Man, the story of jazz musician and trans icon Billy Tipton.

Tipton became a legendary jazz musician in the 1940s and 50s, but his trans identity was hidden from the larger public until his death in 1989. For decades, Tipton was considered to be a woman “passing” as a man, and not trans. Directors Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt pursue Tipton’s story, examining his brilliance as a musician, his life as a whole and his disgraceful treatment by the media, both in and after his lifetime. Not just a documentary that looks at Tipton’s history, Chin-Yee and Joynt also “audition” a number of transmasculine actors to play Tipton, and use this work to reflect upon their own journeys.

Director: Aisling Chin-Yee, Chase Joynt
Runtime: 84 min

Not Going Quietly

Ady Barkan never intended to be a hero. Always passionate about social issues, he works as an organizer in California, until a diagnosis of ALS takes him to the front lines of health care reform, sometimes going face-to-face with Senators and members of Congress in the fight for affordable health care.

Ever since he was on the debate team in high school in Claremont, California, Ady Barkan has been eager to fight for social justice. When he is diagnosed with ALS at age 32, the fight became that much more real. Director Nicholas Bruckman follows Ady on his “Summer of Heroes Tour” where we see him rage against the Washington machine, grapple with his own health issues, and still be a loving father and husband.

Director: Nicholas Bruckman
Runtime: 96 min

Nudo Mixteco

Three stories become tied in a knot during the patron saint’s celebrations in San Mateo, a town in Oaxaca’s Mixteca region. Ángeles Cruz’s searing examination of sexuality in the face of masculinity in this Indigenous town is also a compassionate portrait of people in love, in danger, and in grief.

Maria has just buried her mother and, returning to her childhood home, is rejected by her father. In her grief and confusion, turns to her childhood lover, Piedad, and asks her to leave together. Esteban returns to San Mateo after three years absence to discover his wife, in her loneliness, has found another man. Sexually abused as a child, Toña relives her pain when she discovers her own daughter’s trauma at the hands of her uncle. All three stories unwind over the course of a weekend, and the inhabitants will be forever changed.

Director: Ángeles Cruz
Runtime: 91 min


A short documentary about a man's struggle with substance abuse. He recounts the beginnings of his abuse, his childhood, recovery, and his relationship with his children.

Director: Daniel Humphrey
Runtime: 18 min

Oaxacalifornia: The Return

The Mejia family emigrated from Oaxaca to Fresno, California 40 years ago. Filmmaker Trisha ZIff filmed the family in 1996, and returns now to see the changes that have settled over them, and follows the family on their return to Mexico.

Fleeing drought and the lack of opportunity, the Meija family came to California and settled in Fresno in the early 1980s. When director Trisha Ziff first met the family in the 1990s, they were still very much a part of Mexico. But today, there’s a whole new generation, seven grandchildren who speak no Spanish and who consider California their home. Mexico is a part of their past, their traditions and imagination. When the three generations return to Oaxaca, is it a visit home, or simply a vacation? Issues of identity, community and country rise to the surface and force each family member to reckon with his or her own place in the world.

Director: Trisha Ziff
Runtime: 84 min

Old Met

On a large plot of land in Bloomington, MN, the relentless forces of capitalism transform the landscape time and time again.

Director: John Haley
Runtime: 6 min

One-Way to Moscow

An excellent example of a film that highlights infamous but now forgotten history, this dramedy dusts off Switzerland’s widespread surveillance campaign near the end of the Cold War, when the paranoid government spied on over 900,000 of its supposedly free citizens, who were clandestinely monitored over their political convictions.

Director-writer Lewinsky cleverly uses the scandal as backdrop to this light-hearted romp. In 1989, good-natured but somewhat clueless policeman Viktor is sent to the Zurich Schauspielhaus to observe the left-wing theater folks. After shaving off his mustache and adding jeans and a leather jacket, he’s ready for undercover duties. But as he tries to find this Stanislavsky that everyone is always talking about, he eventually succumbs to the charm of the chaotic life of an artist. He even falls in love with the actress Odile, whom he is supposed to monitor. Now, more and more, Viktor questions his mission. (Alissa Simon)

Director: Micha Lewinsky
Runtime: 98 min

Pay Me

A tongue in cheek parody of protest songs from the 60s and 70s presenting a view of the selfish society that we can’t seem to shake.

Director: Scott Ferril
Runtime: 5 min


A dangerous intruder gives Pilar the chance to discover the wild animal within and the means to escape the post-apocalyptic village she lives in.

Director: Yngwie Boley, J.J. Epping, Diana van Houten
Runtime: 9 min

Pit Stop

A simple gas station pit stop turns into a heated battle of principles.

Screening as a part of Shorts: Lighter Fare

Director: Cody Lee Brown
Runtime: 6 min

Playing with Sharks

Valerie Taylor isn’t your typical filmmaker — she is also a champion diver and noted marine conservationist, who has dedicated her life’s work to capturing images of sharks, most famously in the blockbuster Jaws. Director Sally Aitken’s stunning documentary captures this fearless Australian photographer and activist.

With her husband, Ron, Taylor has a whole career’s worth of unbelievable underwater footage of sharks of all kinds, from around the world. As the title implies, Valerie’s passion is a reflection of her commitment and her desire to engage with sharks in her pink wetsuit. Over 80 years old now, Taylor has a lifetime of footage that Aitken assembles to give us a stunning view of the ocean as it once was, devoid of plastics and other pollution, filled with a vibrant community of sharks, which have now been reduced to a slim percentage of what they once were.

Director: Sally Aitken
Runtime: 95 min


Lying on the bed of a small room, a man is in a stalemate, unable to decide. Time is suspended within and outside of him, in the minimalist room and in the geometric city.

Director: Luís Soares
Runtime: 7 min

Present Tents

A man wakes up one morning to find an unfamiliar tent in his front yard, and all of his self-professed progressive pieties come crashing down

Director: Kevin Obsatz
Runtime: 7 min

Racc Racc - KND Steezo - Official Music Video

A bank heist themed music video shot inside of the vault of the Grain Belt brewery in Minneapolis, MN.

Screening as a part of Shorts: Music in Focus

Director: Chris Peck
Runtime: 3 min

Red Soil

Nour has just been hired as an infirmary nurse at the chemical plant that employs her father. Soon she discovers numerous employees with terminal diseases, and uncovers a pollution scam that threatens her town--and her father’s--way of life.

Fatigued after working long hours as an ER nurse, Nour (Zita Hanrot), accepts her father, Slimane’s (Sami Bouajila) suggestion to work at the infirmary at the chemical plant where he works. It seems simple, until Nour uncovers numerous terminal health issues and a vast conspiracy covering up toxic pollution. Caught between local and national interests, between the left- and right-wing, and her own father, who is desperate to keep his job in a world where jobs are scarce, Nour must summon all of her strength to fight a battle that sometimes seems she is waging all by herself.

This film is part of Young French Cinema, a program of UniFrance and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.

Director: Farid Bentoumi
Runtime: 88 min

Redemption of a Rogue

Could Irish director-writer Philip Doherty be the new Martin McDonagh? Unique and exhilarating, the former playwright’s surreally stylized debut feature is a Bible-inspired, pitch black comedy about a prodigal son returning to his rural hometown to seek salvation for his sins. And it’s a neo-musical.

Jimmy Cullen (Aaron Monaghan), left the village of Ballylough in disgrace. He returns seven years later to visit his dying father and carry out some other plans. Said father is definitely not happy to see him and his brother greets him with a headbutt. Soon, Jimmy is ready to move on, but the terms of his father’s will state that he cannot be buried on a day with rain, otherwise both sons will be disinherited. Sadly, soggy Ballylough is on the receiving end of truly Biblical downpour and Jimmy is stuck in place, trying to redeem the guilt and shame of his past. Winner, Best Irish First Feature, Best Irish Film, Galway Film Fleadh. (Alissa Simon)

Director: Philip Doherty
Runtime: 93 min


A film about loss and the journey of a beautiful, intelligent, caring, and inspirational person that served as mother, wife, and friend to some involved in this project.

Director: Kjell Kvanbeck
Runtime: 31 min


Rosario follows two Mexican sisters as they adjust to life in the US. Their struggles are told through conversations full of bickering and meals cooked with love.

Director: Rogelio Salinas de la Torre
Runtime: 7 min

Run Uje Run

The sleeper hit of Swedish cinema in 2020 and the winner of the Gold Bug for the country’s best feature, this appealing autobiographical dramedy weaves together scenes of the eponymous protagonist’s everyday life with humorous music he composes and sings.

Uje is Uje Brandelius, a very-involved father and husband, radio host and keyboard player for the pop band Doktor Kosmos. Uje and his family (all played by themselves) live an apparently harmonious and ordinary life in the Stockholm suburb of Bredäng (the subject of one of the film’s running jokes). Family dinners, homework, negotiation on drop-offs to kindergarten, and his daughter’s chess and fencing training are their main concerns. But one day, Uje learns that he has a serious illness. Faced with this crisis, he first keeps it secret, while seeking out people and situations he otherwise wouldn’t, leading to comical results. (Alissa Simon)

Director: Henrik Schyffert
Runtime: 78 min

Sad Beauty

In a heavily polluted world, a young woman mourns the disappearance of animal species. When she falls ill due to a bacterial infection, nature appears to send her a message in her hallucinations.

Director: Arjan Brentjes
Runtime: 10 min

Salt River Water Walk

Follow the Salt River Water Walkers on an Indigenous-led ceremony as they create community and build relationships with the earth through the shared goal to care for the water.

Director: Krista Davis, Jenny Zander
Runtime: 12 min

Say His Name: Five Days for George Floyd

The incomprehensible police murder of George Floyd on May 25th, sparked a global uprising, the epicenter in Director Cy Dodson's Minneapolis neighborhood, revealing an immersive observation of unrest in the days between the killing of George Floyd and the charges filed against police officer Derek Chauvin.

Director: Cy Dodson
Runtime: 20 min


Trying to find a date is hard enough in “normal” times, but when a global pandemic hits, the challenge requires ingenuity, patience… and online dating apps. Camera and sound gear in tow, director Pacho Velez traverses the streets of New York to interview a wide range of his fellow New Yorkers who, like himself, turn to various dating apps in their search for love.

“What are you looking for?” is a question that is both profound and perplexing for the single person. Seeking advice and genuinely curious, Velez approaches strangers and friends alike who represent different races, ethnicities, ages, genders, and sexual preferences. With Searchers, Velez has made a sweet, longing documentary that is relevant not only in the age of COVID, but in the age of the internet as well.

Director: Pacho Velez
Runtime: 81 min

Shadow Country

With this film about the lethal effects of nationalism, Czech director Bohdan Sláma once again proves himself a cinematic master. Filmed in starkly beautiful, black-and-white 35mm, his seventh feature encompasses the years 1930 – 1950 and follows life in the fictitious Czech village of Schwarzwald, located on the border of Austria. The population of Czechs, German-speakers and Jews are torn between conflicting identities and nationalities at the best of times, but with the advance of the Nazis, the inhabitants must choose – allegiance to the Reich and the promise of farming subsidies, or Czech nationality and poverty. Jews in the community are targeted, their businesses vandalized. Neighbors turn against neighbors and petty grudges wreak deadly consequences. Crowned best Czech film of 2020 by domestic critics, it also nabbed 6 Czech Lions.

Director: Bohdan Sláma
Runtime: 135 min

She Used to Laugh

Under the familiar glow of the spotlight, Jay wrestles with a past relationship in the only way he knows how.

Director: Greg Berman
Runtime: 10 min

Should the Wind Drop

In the landlocked Nagorno-Karabakh Republic there sits a small airport, unused. Alain (Grégoire Colin), a French engineer, is tasked with determining whether or not the new airport is structurally sound, which puts him right in the middle of the last vestiges of a civil war.

The fate of this desperately remote region, tucked within Azerbaijan but controlled by the unrecognised Republic of Artsakh, hinges on the use of this airport, and soon Alain’s objectivity is tested as his loyalty to the locals grows. Loosely based on a true story, Franco-Armenian director Nora Martirosyan shot Should the Wind Drop at the real airport. Selected for both the 2020 Cannes Film Festival and over 20 international festivals.

This film is part of Young French Cinema, a program of UniFrance and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.

Director: Nora Martirosyan
Runtime: 100 min

Sisters: The Summer We Found Our Superpowers

Two Norwegian sisters are off on an overnight hiking trip with their free-spirited father in the woods. What could go wrong? When their daring dad takes an accidental tumble into a gorge, 5-year-old Bille and 9-year-old Vega must find their superpowers to save him.

Vega’s family is not perfect. Her mother is recovering from exhaustion in a hospital and her father is a little too carefree. Her little sister Billie dresses in fantasy costumes and is enthralled by make-believe, which can sometimes be annoying. Vega is wary; she too loves the magic of hiking in the forest but not without a measure of caution. After their father’s fall, Vega is forced to face down her fears and find the way back without him. Together, both sisters learn to rely on one another’s ingenuity and unique strengths; their superpowers. An epic adventure, this entertaining family drama set in the stunning Norwegian wilderness celebrates siblings, self-reliance, and the capacity of children to see adults’ flaws and love them for them. (Deb GIrdwood)

Recommended for ages 9+

Director: Silje Salomonsen, Arild Østin Ommundsen
Runtime: 78 min


Slime, taken from Double Grave's album Goodbye, Nowhere!

Director: Adam Loomis
Runtime: 3 min

A Song Called Hate

The BDSM techno band Hatari claim to be driven by a mission to end late capitalism. With their audacious selection to represent Iceland at the shiny showbiz world of Eurovision they must confront the true cost of taking their message to a global stage. Faced with the political context of a non-political song contest, hosted in Israel, with occupied territories on their doorstep, Hatari decides to take a stand.

Ultimately, A Song Called Hate questions the role of the artist. Do they have a responsibility to engage in politics? If so, do intentions count? Or only actions? With unique access, this documentary examines how these young artists cope and how they navigate criticism when it comes from all sides. Hatari are forced to accept that everything they do might just be read as irony, because is it even possible to participate within a system while simultaneously rejecting it? (Alissa Simon)

Director: Anna Hildur
Runtime: 90 min


Eric must rely on the survival skills of an enigmatic nine-year-old boy to help him battle vicious withdrawals and self-deprivation to catalyze change within his family's cycle of addiction.

Screening as a part of Shorts: Dramas

Director: Joseph Bezenek, Ryan Reid
Runtime: 17 min

Summer of 85

Summer, 1985: teenager Alexis is out sailing off the Normandy coast, when his boat capsizes and he is saved from drowning by 18-year-old David. Soon, there is a deep bond between the two, in this nostalgic, tense, and even delightfully campy tale from director François Ozon.

Told in flashbacks, Summer of 85 is the story of young Alexis, torn between studying or continuing his blue-collar job. After the boating incident, he follows David to his home, where things move fast--he meets the boy’s mother, is showered with gifts, and romance blooms. But soon this summer romance curdles into bizarre obsession, where nothing is what it seems. Shot in 16mm, Summer of 85 is, like many Ozon pictures, a visual feast, erotic, and a tremendous thrill.

Director: François Ozon
Runtime: 100 min


Born of director Carlos López Estrada’s mind-blowing interaction with a workshop where performers from across the City of Angels recited fearlessly personal texts, Summertime is a gloriously moving narrative experiment — part urban musical and part sociological art.

Over the course of a hot summer day in Los Angeles, the lives of 25 young Angelenos intersect. A skating guitarist, a tagger, two wannabe rappers, an exasperated fast-food worker, a limo driver—they all weave in and out of each other’s stories. Through poetry they express life, love, heartache, family, home, and fear. One of them just wants to find someplace that still serves good cheeseburgers.

Director: Carlos López Estrada
Runtime: 95 min

The Sun Still Shines

Conveying a message of hope and resilience, drawings by Rita Blitt are merged with the music they inspired, composed by Michael Udow.

Director: Rita Blitt
Runtime: 4 min

Terminally Optimistic

Terminally Optimistic follows the life journeys of three women with metastatic breast cancer. Eva, Krissy and Kim are adapting to their failing bodies in a variety of ways, because they must. Life has changed drastically after diagnosis, and they must reinvent themselves and accept a new "normal." This is the story of these three METAvivors, their families, caregivers, and communities.

This intimate documentary shows the human, the ordinary, the heart wrenching. From visits to the doctors' office to research trial possibilities, to managing the everyday needs of childcare, keeping a job, attending multiple appointments in multiple locations all while fighting breast cancer. Beyond shedding light on these under-told stories, Terminally Optimistic aims to create momentum to further metastatic breast cancer research.

Director: Andrés A. Parra
Runtime: 105 min

This is My Desire

Two young Lagosians seek to escape the daily oppressions in Africa’s largest city, with aims to head to Spain and Italy to find a better life. Shot in gorgeous 35mm by twin directors Arie and Chuko Esiri, This is My Desire’s attention to exacting detail creates a layered world you’ve never seen before.

Mofe (Jude Akuwudike) an engineer who works as a handyman, scraping by day-to-day just to eat, and his dream is to end up in Spain. Rosa (Temi Ami-Williams) is a hairdresser who wants to take her pregnant, younger sister Grace (Cynthia Ebijie) to Italy, before the baby is born. Nigerian directors Arie and Chuko Esiri's split their film into two parts, “Spain” and “Italy” and their camera captures Mofe and Grace’s daily lives as they take step after step after interminable step to arrange all the necessities to leave Lagos, which itself appears almost as a character in the film, a complex and bizarre city that seems to swallow people’s lives.

Director: Arie Esiri, Chuko Esiri
Runtime: 110 min


Martin Bengtsson is one of the most promising soccer talents Sweden has ever seen. At sixteen, his lifelong dream comes true when he is bought by one of Italy’s most prestigious clubs, Inter Milan.

Yet that dream comes at a very high price in terms of sacrifice, dedication, pressure and - most of all - loneliness. Martin begins to question whether this is actually the life he yearned for. Based on Bengtsson’s memoir “In The Shadow of San Siro” and directed by Borg vs. McEnroe screenwriter Ronnie Sandahl, this fascinating look at the dark side of sports glory offers a coming-of-age drama about a young man’s burning obsession in a world where everything, and everyone, has a price tag. The marvelous lead performer Erik Enge (a multiple prizewinner for this role) poignantly depicts Martin’s struggles with the pressures of success. Winner, Best Flash Forward Film, Busan; Best Nordic Film, Göteborg; Youth Jury Prize, Lübeck. (Alissa Simon)

Director: Ronnie Sandahl
Runtime: 116 min


Cinematic magical realism meets hard-edged drama in Ida Panahandeh’s stunning look at the life of Titi, an Iranian Roma Gypsy who earns pennies cleaning hospitals, becomes a surrogate mother… and saves the world from a rogue black hole.

Working in a hospital, Titi encounters Ibrahim, a nuclear physicist suffering from a terminal illness. Taking a liking to Titi, he explains his work to her, and she believes that it is essential to the future of the planet. When he slips into a coma, his wife demands his papers are discarded, but Titi takes them home, where her husband lines his rabbit cages with them. Eight-months pregnant as a surrogate for a childless couple, Titi wanders into the sea, where her mystical powers are able to bring the professor back to life. As he searches for the papers she took, he enters the world of Titi, and nothing will ever be the same.

Director: Ida Panahandeh
Runtime: 102 min


The Moomins are beloved cartoon characters, familiar to readers around the globe. But less is known about their creator, the bisexual, Swedish-speaking, Finnish visual artist and author Tove Jansson (1914 – 2001) and her surprisingly unconventional life. This engaging biopic goes a long way towards remedying that knowledge gap.

Featuring a mesmerizing lead performance by Alma Pöysti, the sensuously textured film concentrates on a formative decade in Tove’s life (from the mid-1940s – to mid-1950s) and explores her artistic and personal passions, and the challenges they entail.

Raised in an artistic, bohemian family in Helsinki, Tove was the eldest child of a prominent sculptor father and a supportive, graphic artist mother. A firm believer that life is a wonderful adventure and one should explore all its twists and turns, we see her relationships with married socialist politician Atos Wirtanen and seductive theater director Vivica Bandler, before she meets longtime partner Tuulikki Pietillä. (Alissa Simon)

Director: Zaida Bergroth
Runtime: 100 min

The Translator

Here’s an intense and compelling story of redemption and self-sacrifice that unfolds in one of the world’s most dangerous regions: the Syria of Bashar al-Assad. While working as the Arabic-English interpreter for the 2000 Syrian Olympic team, Sami makes a fateful slip of the tongue that results in him defecting and making a life in Australia as a political refugee.

Eleven years later, Sami has already adapted to his new life, when the Syrian revolution starts. His older brother, following in the footsteps of their long-missing father, is arrested for demonstrating peacefully. Haunted by feelings of guilt for abandoning his family, Sami decides to make the perilous journey back to his turbulent homeland in order to find his brother. It’s a decision which is fraught with danger for his friends and loved ones, as well as for himself. This urgent political thriller offers a meditation on the power of language. (Alissa Simon)

Director: Rana Kazkaz, Anas Khalaf
Runtime: 105 min

The Truth About Hastings

Witness Marjorie’s 93rd birthday descend into an intergalactic psychedelic nightmare.

Screening as a part of Shorts: Documentaries

Director: Dan S
Runtime: 10 min

Try Harder!

At Lowell High School in San Francisco, the Asian American majority student body is made up of high-performing kids, who are gunning for spots at the most elite universities, and who are becoming more and more stressed as the pressure mounts to meet their own high expectations, as well as those of their parents.

Lowell High has a stellar reputation – it is, without question, the best public high school in the city. Following a diverse group of students, director Debbie Lum observes these impressive young people as they embark on the gruelling college application process, fixating over every detail in their applications to make sure they stand out. Along the way, they must confront their own limitations and face factors beyond their control (the elite colleges discriminate against schools such as Lowell with a high percentage of Asian American students). Try Harder! is a warm, yet critical, look at the system and at these students, who are brilliant, anxious, and, above all, teenagers.

Director: Debbie Lum
Runtime: 85 min


When a chase for a delicious dragonfly goes awry, a frog finds himself on a journey towards higher levels of amphibian consciousness.

Director: Tuomas Kurtakko
Runtime: 12 min

Under the Open Sky

After serving 13 years in prison for murder, ex-yakuza henchman Mikami (an outstanding Koji Yakusho) is a free man. But life on the outside is not what he expected: growing up a gangster didn’t give him the tools to navigate his new world. Writer/director Miwa Nishikawa’s diligently researched adaptation is superbly nuanced; filled with moments of humor, tenderness, and ferocity.

Mikami, now middle aged, must find his place in society. The Yakuza no longer wants this aging ex-con and Japan’s welfare system is so complex it leaves him reeling. When an idealistic TV director offers to help him re-adjust, Mikami must learn to trust, to have patience, to explore his emotions, and to finally see the open sky for the first time in his turbulent life. Audiences will be drawn to our protagonist's journey of redemption and be rooting for him the whole way.

Director: Miwa Nishikawa
Runtime: 126 min


When an explosion causes a mine to collapse in the remote Val d’Or region of Quebec, trapping several men, Maxime, a troubled young man must suppress his demons, and summon all his courage, and training, to save them.

Maxime (Joakim Robillard) is a temperamental young man, working on the rescue team at the local mine. He shares his life between his girlfriend with whom he’s patiently trying to father a child. His friend, Julien (Théodore Pellerin), was once a co-worker, but a car accident has left him disabled, for which Maxime was responsible. When the mine collapse occurs, Maxime’s determination, fueled by guilt, may help save the lives of these men, even if it costs him his own.

Director: Sophie Dupuis
Runtime: 97 min


In Undine, director-writer Christian Petzold (Barbara, Phoenix, Transit) recasts the ancient myth of a mysterious water sprite to contemporary Germany.

Lovely, melancholy Undine (Paula Beer) works as a historian lecturing on Berlin’s urban development. She knows all about the Humboldt Forum, and has a knack for dressing. She is nonchalantly beautiful, and the way she imparts her knowledge about the city that was built on a swamp is as professional as it is graceful. But Undine’s world collapses when the man she loves leaves her. Even though she soon meets another suitor, a deep-sea diver (Beer’s Transit co-star Franz Rogowski), forces stronger than she can withstand impel her to kill the lover who betrayed her. Petzold plays smartly with water motifs without allowing this gorgeously moody drama to get soggy. Winner, FIPRESCI prize, Best Actress, Berlin Film Festival. (Alissa Simon)

Director: Christian Petzold
Runtime: 90 min

Until We Find Them

An intimate portrait of two journalists seeking truth and justice for Mexico's disappeared.

Un retrato íntimo de dos periodistas que buscan la verdad y justicia para las y los desaparecidos de México.

Director: Hunter Johnson
Runtime: 30 min

The Vanishing Hitchhiker

Franz meets a young and mysterious hitchhiker who says he has had a car breakdown. After some hesitation, Franz accepts and accompanies her home.

Director: Rosario Brucato
Runtime: 16 min


A black, deaf teen wants “Waves” for prom night, but his haircut falls into the hands of an inattentive, rookie barber.

Director: Agazi Desta
Runtime: 11 min

Wet House

What is a wet house? It’s a residential facility for aging alcoholics, where they’re allowed to drink, and perhaps a last refuge in an unending storm of neglect, self-abuse and despair. Benjamin May’s compassionate documentary pulls no punches nor casts any aspersions.

Minneapolis wet houses are justified (in the eyes of the city) in that they are considered “harm reduction facilities.” Wet houses keep chronic alcohol abusers off the street, out of hospitals, and theoretically reduce the danger to themselves (and society)--all of which also saves the city money. Residents must have hit rock bottom: they have to have been in rehab numerous times, and relapsed equally as much. Director Benjamin May entered the world of the wet house and followed several residents over the course of the year, allowing their stories to shine, setting aside preconceived notions and judgment.

Director: Benjamin May
Runtime: 83 min

The Whaler Boy

Leshka lives in an isolated village on the Bering Strait, which is located between Chukotka and Alaska and divides Russia from America. He is a teenager, and like most men in his village, he is a whale hunter who leads an uneventful life out at the far edge of the world. But the internet’s recent arrival in Leshka’s village means the predominantly male population now gathers nightly in a shed to watch gorgeous girls dance on the screen of a constantly buffering erotic webcam chat site.

For most of the guys, it's just a bit of fun, but Leshka takes it seriously. He encounters a beautiful girl on the chat site and falls in love with her. Leshka determines to find the camgirl in the real world. A crazy journey, shown with breathtaking cinematography and a soupçon of surrealism, ensues. Venice Days Director’s Award; Best Director, Best Actor, Sochi Film Festival; Best Film, Pingyao Film Festival. (Alissa Simon)

Director: Philipp Yuryev
Runtime: 93 min

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit

In 1933, Anna’s German-Jewish family gets a phone call and everything changes. Anna’s father, a prominent critic of the National Socialists, is warned that he is on Hitler’s hit list, and the family hurriedly flees Berlin. Overnight, Anna must suddenly learn how to survive in an epic historical drama by Oscar-winner Caroline Link.

Allowed to take just one suitcase, 9-year-old Anna must decide which of her toys will make the trip. She leaves behind her beloved pink stuffed rabbit, which is later confiscated by the Nazis along with all the family’s possessions. Traveling from the Swiss Alps to Paris to London, Anna experiences the good in humanity while also facing discrimination, language barriers, instability and pre-war tensions. Learning to live with next to nothing, Anna cannot help but think of the beloved toy she left behind until she discovers what she’s had with her all along. Link’s moving adaptation of the best-selling novel by Judith Kerr chronicles the experiences of a family fleeing persecution through a child’s eyes. (Deb Girdwood and Alissa Simon)

Recommended for ages 10+

Director: Caroline Link
Runtime: 110 min

When We're Born

This tender, humanist social drama from Tamer Ezzat makes innovative use of music to link three stories where everyday life and ambitions conflict, forcing hard choices. The musical narration is composed by Amir Eid, lead singer/songwriter of the popular band the Cairokees.

The dreams of three Egyptians are interconnected in this exploration of the realities of contemporary life. Working-class Amin, a newly-wed, macho personal trainer, wants operate his own gym, but must put his manly pride on the line to fulfill his dream. Farah, a romantic, compassionate Coptic woman, finds herself falling in love with a carefree Muslim man. Can their relationship survive religious differences? And Beltagy (Eid) works for his wealthy father in the family business but yearns to rebel and pursue a singing career. Amid the loss of security, paralyzing traffic and family pressure, will these three make the best choices? Egypt’s 2021 Oscar submission for best international film. (Alissa Simon)

Director: Tamer Ezzat
Runtime: 105 min

Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America

As an 11-year-old, marching with his father and brother alongside Martin Luther King in the 1968 Memphis sanitation strikes, Jeffery Robinson witnessed first-hand the persecution of the peaceful protesters. The searing images made an indelible impression and, eventually, inspired him to become a criminal defense attorney. Years later, raising his then 13-year-old nephew, he struggled with how to articulate the ways in which racism in America affected both of them. For the last decade, Robinson, now the ACLU’s Deputy Legal Director, has been sharing what he learned in community centers, concert halls, and houses of worship to anyone who will listen. Directors Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler bring Robinson’s searing Town Hall talk to vivid life.

Who We Are dynamically weaves archival footage, interviews, Robinson’s personal story, and his journeys across America, to explore the legacy of white supremacy in America. With great urgency, this powerful and galvanizing documentary addresses both America’s tragic past and a reckoning with our present-day reality.

Director: Emily Kunstler, Sarah Kunstler
Runtime: 117 min


Inseparable sisters raised in a small town on the Irish border, Lauren (Nora-Jane Noone) and Kelly’s (Nika McGuigan) lives were shattered as youth with the loss of their father during the “The Troubles” and later, the mysterious death of their mother. Years on and left to pick up the pieces after her sister abruptly disappeared, Lauren is suddenly confronted with the family’s dark and traumatic past when, after being reported missing for a whole year, Kelly returns home, feral, dazed, and enraged.

The intense sisterhood reignited, Kelly’s desire to unearth their history is not welcomed by all in the small town, as rumours and malice spread like wildfire, threatening to push them over the edge. A blistering psychological portrait, Wildfire boasts radiant performances by Noone and McGuigan, who sadly passed away after a battle with cancer before the film was released.

Director: Cathy Brady
Runtime: 85 min


Like the Australian hit Animal Kingdom, this female-driven crime drama offers a radical meditation on family, loyalty, the need to belong and the seductive cycle of delinquency and corruption.

It also introduces a stunning new writing-directing talent in Jeanette Nordahl. Following a car accident, which kills her mother, 17-year old Ida moves in with her estranged aunt (an amazing Sidse Babett Knudsen) and her aunt’s grown sons. The home is filled with physical tenderness and love, but outside of the home, the family leads a violent and criminal life. When an unforeseen murder pressures the family and their loyalty to each other, tension builds as love and violence become impossible to separate. Ida is faced with the same question her mother faced before her: What are you willing to sacrifice for your family? Hers is a legacy that can feel impossible to break no matter how hard she tries. (Alissa Simon)

Director: Jeanette Nordahl
Runtime: 88 min

Window Boy Would also Like to Have a Submarine

From acclaimed Uruguayan poet and filmmaker Alex Piperno, comes this quiet, sly and meditative surrealist film about loneliness. In two seemingly disparate tales, a sailor on a cruise ship discovers a portal that takes him to a woman’s apartment in Montevideo, and a shack in rural Philippines contains an evil portent.

The young sailor washes windows on a cruise ship off the coast of Patagonia, feeling ever isolated by both his colleagues and the wealthy passengers, when he stumbles on a door he doesn’t recognize. Inside, he finds himself on dry land, in the apartment of an equally lonely soul, a woman living in Montevideo. Then, Piperno takes us to a remote Filipino countryside, where the villagers find a small hut, quaking in a strange way. With non-professional actors, labyrinthian proceedings, but a profound emotional gravitas, Piperno’s film defies explanation, and is utterly compelling.

Director: Alex Piperno
Runtime: 84 min

The Winter

Walking in a snowy forest, a peasant sees a mysterious deer and goes to follow it. The deer allures him and the peasant even wants to catch it.

Director: Xin Li
Runtime: 5 min


Eva and Carmen are two women who meet in the worst place: the doctor’s office, waiting to hear the results of their cancer screenings. So Carmen has an idea: why don’t she and Eva rent an RV with her best pal, Mar, make a list of things they’ve always wanted to do… and do them.

Carmen (Victoria Abril) is the positive type: whatever’s thrown her way, she battles life in stride. With her newly heartbroken friend Mar (Silvia Alonso), and her new friend and medical confidant Eva (María León), the three women take off in an RV in search of new adventures, without worrying whether or not they’re going to live or die. Isn’t that the right way to live, whether or not you have a terminal disease? Álvaro Díaz Lorenzo’s dramedy about sisterhood in the face of the unthinkable is playful and heartfelt, and sure to be one of the festival’s crowd pleasers.

Director: Álvaro Díaz Lorenzo
Runtime: 101 min

Women is Losers

San Francisco, late 60s. High-schooler Celina Guerrera is smart, savvy and hoping for a way out of her bleak neighborhood. When she gets pregnant by her Vietnam-veteran boyfriend and facing tragedy, Celina rolls up her sleeves… and fights.

Nothing’s easy, especially for women in the 1960s. Celina Guerrera (Lorenza Izzo) is ready to move on, but she’s pregnant by Mateo (Bryan Craig), who hasn’t got much going on. Beset by a tragedy, and college now a distant dream, Celina works multiple jobs, fighting off sexist men and a world that doesn’t value her as it should. Taking its name from a Janis Joplin, and shattering the fourth wall often, Lissette Feliciano’s film will disturb you, anger you, and ultimately make you cheer for Celina.

Director: Lissette Feliciano
Runtime: 85 min

Writing With Fire

In India, Dalits are the lowest caste, often referred to derisively as “untouchables.” In Uttar Pradesh, a northern province, a group of Dalit women do the unthinkable in any caste — they start their own news network. Khabar Lahariya, or “news wave” is India’s only all-female news network. Armed with the urge to tell the truth no matter the cost, these women fearlessly attack injustice wherever it appears. Led by their chief reporter, Meera, Khabar Lahariya is changing the world with stories writ large and small. With virtually no budget, very little salary, but an unshakable determination, this group of intrepid reporters speaks truth to power at great personal risk, and often without the support of their own families.

Director: Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh
Runtime: 93 min

Wuhan Wuhan

Following a group of citizens of Wuhan in the first days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Yung Chang’s compassionate documentary examines what it means to be human in the face of overwhelming disaster. Chang follows his subjects over February and March last year as they grapple with a virus unseen previously in human history: an ER doctor whose conscience often overwhelms him; a tough ICU nurse; a volunteer psychologist wrestling with the grief that this catastrophe has wrought; a fierce mother and her son, both COVID-19 patients, trying their best to endure and navigate the country’s health care system; and a volunteer driver for medical workers and his wife who is on the verge of giving birth to their baby. Like Camus’ The Plague, Wuhan Wuhan is a shining cinematic testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

Director: Yung Chang
Runtime: 90 min


A lonely old man pays a visit to Yoruga, one of the last animals on Earth.

Director: Federico Torrado Tobón
Runtime: 6 min

Young Roots, Deep Rhymes: a film about Priest

As a young African American artist, Priest is a role model who is calling youth to have pride in who they are and where they came from.

Director: Josh Chitwood, Morgan Chitwood

Young Warriors

Enjoy the simple pleasures of a lighthearted family road trip through Brazil. An ode to director Bárbara Cariry's childhood memories, Young Warriors is the story of a fisherman who is inspired by a dream to hit the road with his family in search of adventure and festival.

Cosme’s father’s old jeep calls to him one day. He gets it running and mother Maria gets packing. Their son Benedito and his young cousins Matheuzinho and Bruna pile in and they take off from the coast. Their destination is the city of Barbahla, to reconnect with old friends for the Festa da Pau da Bandeira, a celebration of Saint Anthony of Padua. The family takes their time, stopping as often as they like along the way. Hopping out from the breezy old jeep, the parents and three children marvel at many amusements together--extraterrestrials, dinosaurs, an old Cinema, street performers, and of course, gorgeous scenery. Young Warriors is a sunny, easygoing, unforgettable trip for all ages. (Deb Girdwood)

Director: Bárbara Cariry
Runtime: 74 min

You're the Kinda Guy

Michelle Rose's original 1950's-themed song about overlooking the many flaws of the handsome guy you know is no good.

Director: Michelle Rose, Joshua McGrane
Runtime: 5 min

Riders of the Purple Sage: The Making of a Western Opera

A lone gunman silhouetted against the fading sun, stampedes and shoot outs, a masked rider, cows, tumbleweeds, sheriffs and cowboys and cowgirls--is the stuff of a western or the stuff of an opera? Riders of the Purple Sage: the Making of a Western Opera proves it can be both.

When an American composer fled a thunderstorm and found himself in the Zane Grey Cabin in Arizona, little did he realize he was about to embark on a multi-year journey to take Grey’s most celebrated novel to the stage. Director Kristin Atwell Ford followed the production for six years, from composing to casting to set decoration, to an opening night performance featuring 84 performers backed by the talents of a legion of people who made the production come alive. Bound to be one of the seminal documentaries on opera, Riders of the Purple Sage is a love letter to westerns, to opera, and to everyone who is called to perform.

Director: Kristin Atwell Ford
Runtime: 82 min

Summer of Soul (...or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

In his acclaimed debut as a filmmaker, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson presents a powerful and transporting documentary—part music film, part historical record—created around an epic event that celebrated Black history, culture and fashion.

Over the course of six weeks in the summer of 1969, just one hundred miles south of Woodstock, The Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed in Marcus Garvey Park. The footage was never seen and largely forgotten – until now. Summer of Soul shines a light on the importance of history to our spiritual well-being and stands as a testament to the healing power of music during times of unrest, both past and present. The feature includes never-before-seen concert performances by B.B. King, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Stevie Wonder and more.

Summer of Soul premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. It will stream on Hulu in conjunction with Disney’s new BIPOC Creator Initiative; Searchlight Pictures will release it theatrically.

Director: Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
Runtime: 117 min

Dream Horse

Experience the inspiring true story of Dream Alliance, an unlikely race horse bred by small town bartender, Jan Vokes (Academy Award® nominee Toni Collette). With very little money and no experience, Jan convinces her neighbors to chip in their meager earnings to help raise Dream and compete with the racing elites. Their investment pays off as Dream rises through the ranks and becomes a beacon of hope in their struggling community.

Director: Euros Lyn
Runtime: 102 min

The Claw

Step into the pro wrestling ring with Baron von Raschke and he’ll recount his journey from shy Nebraska Olympic hopeful to international infamy. The director-producer tag team of Minneapolis-based film director Philip Harder and von Raschke’s only son Karl have created a documentary unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Using family Super 8mm footage, interviews, and raucous re-creations of real events, this sometimes-bloody-but-shockingly-tender movie follows the Baron as he steps into his memories and takes you back to the Golden Age of professional wrestling when Baron von Raschke (aka “The Claw”) reigned supreme. Featuring never before seen interviews with Mad Dog Vachon, The Destroyer, Krusher Kowalski, Greg Gagne and others who know the real story behind The Claw. This feature length film has wide appeal. Whether you’re just curious about the wacky world of wrestling or a hardcore fan, The Claw will surprise and delight you.

Director: Philip Harder
Runtime: 87 min

Riders of Justice

One of the most exhilarating and irresistible films of the year, this fabulous tragicomedy of fate starts off as a drama, mutates into a conspiracy thriller, and then swerves into wild black comedy. Military man Markus (Mads Mikkelsen as you have never seen him before), returns home to care for his teenage daughter after his wife is killed in a tragic train accident. But when a survivor of the wrecked train surfaces claiming foul play, Markus begins to suspect his wife was murdered. Helped by a group of endearing misfits, he embarks on a mission to find those responsible. The film is a fable, set in a framework of realism. It’s the tale of a group of people, all of whom have lost their sense of security as well as their lives’ foundation. But in meeting each other they eventually find love, self-respect, trust and the feeling of belonging to a place. (Alissa Simon)

Director: Anders Thomas Jensen
Runtime: 115 min

The Sparks Brothers

From director Edgar Wright comes a paean to the band Sparks, one of the most influential art rock bands of all-time, whose five-decade career defies easy categorization.

Ron and Russell Mael are Sparks, a Los Angeles art rock band whose work was influenced by 60s pop culture, movies, their mother’s Beatles fixation, and… well, probably everything including the kitchen sink. First performing in high school, the duo has spawned 25 albums so original and forward thinking they’ve changed the music scene in America and Britain forever. Director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Baby Driver) brings his own creative spark to the endeavor, incorporating animation and adopting a playful visual style, as he examines all 25 Sparks albums, making this documentary a delightful entertainment whether you’ve heard of Sparks or not.

Director: Edgar Wright
Runtime: 140 min

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