The 2018 Ridgefield Independent Film Festival (RIFF) is committed to showcasing independent films that enlighten, entertain, and inspire moviegoers through compelling visual storytelling. RIFF revealed its lineup of feature films and shorts. This year’s festival presents 103 independent films from 20 countries around the world. Films featured in the festival run the gamut from thought-provoking documentaries, compelling dramas and comedies by emerging and seasoned filmmakers, to engaging and innovative shorts, animation, and family-friendly programming. Tickets to the festival are on sale now at riffct.org. The 2018 Ridgefield Independent Film Festival runs October 18-21.
“RIFF 2018 has been reimagined and programmed as a film-lover’s festival with something for everyone,” says RIFF Festival Director Megan Smith-Harris. “This year we have an incredibly strong documentary slate—dramatically paced, issue-oriented films that are destined to ignite thoughtful conversation during post-screening filmmaker Q&As. Equally compelling are our range of narrative features, several which are debut features by exciting new filmmakers. RIFF is committed to nurturing the talents of the next generation of filmmakers not only by showcasing and championing their work but also by offering cash awards in every genre category. We wouldn’t have a film festival if it weren’t for the dedication and creativity of the filmmakers so we want to treat them royally and make sure they keep coming back!”
Eighteen feature documentaries, 13 narratives and 72 shorts will make their Connecticut debut over the course of the 4-day festival. The program also offers themed film events taking place throughout the festival. PSYCH NIGHT showcases an array of mind-bending programming with a 90-minute block of shorts ranging from psychological thriller to campy horror and surreal to sci-fi. The evening culminates with the East Coast Premiere of High Resolution, the debut feature by up-and-coming filmmaker Jason Lester based on the recent cult novel, Tai Pei. ALT NIGHT features edgier fare dealing with personal identity, dysfunctional relationships, and sexuality. Also on PSYCH NIGHT is a searing film from the Netherlands, Find This Dumb Little Bitch and Throw Her Into a River based on real events that unfolded on YouTube. OH CANADA showcases films by Canadian filmmakers, notably Mary Goes Round by Molly McGlynn about a substance abuse counselor with a substance abuse problem, and The Guardians by Tessa Moran & Ben Crosbie a documentary about an indigenous community in Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve that must confront internal divisions and illegal loggers to recover the ancient forest they nearly destroyed; COMEDY FEST presents a curated selection of some of the best comedy shorts from around the world; FAMILY FRIENDLY SHORTS spotlights animated shorts and films that both kids and their parents will enjoy.
The 2018 film selections are listed below. For screening dates, times and locations click here to access the 2018 RIFF Film Guide.
2030, directed by Johnny Boston.(103 minutes | 2018 | USA) – Johnny Boston was 10 years old when he first met FM-2030, a futurist who intended to live forever. But in 2000, after his body ceased to function, FM was cryonically preserved. Sixteen years later, an unexpected call places FM’s future in Johnny’s hands. Featured in the documentary are author, computer scientist, inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil; science and technology advocate, engineer and inventor Dean Kamen; biomedical gerontologist and Chief Science Officer of SENS Research Foundation Aubrey de Grey and more. *A Joe Consentino Emerging Filmmaker Award Nominee.
After the film: A conversation with Director Johnny Boston.
Catching Sight of Thelma & Louise directed by Jennifer Townsend. (88 minutes |2016| USA) – Catching Sight of Thelma & Louise takes the viewer on a dramatic and exciting ride beginning with Thelma and Louise taking off for the weekend and continuing until they fly off the cliff at the end. Clips from the original film serve as a catalyst for intimate, personal stories of women’s experience in the real world. Our guides on this journey are filmgoers who responded to a survey about the iconic ‘mother film’ 26 years ago. Catching Sight of Thelma & Louise enriches the viewer’s appreciation of the reasons behind Thelma & Louise’s hold on popular culture. Catching Sight of Thelma & LouiseTrailer
After the film: A conversation with Director Jennifer Townsend.
Concerto directed by Christina Cassidy. (74 minutes |2017| USA) – Concerto is about two talented and accomplished brothers who were raised by a brilliant but highly disturbed father. It provides a rare glimpse into the lives of two artists as they look back on the ghosts of their past, and highlights the struggles that young, gifted children must often endure at the hands of demanding parents. Christopher Rex is the principal cellist of the Atlanta Symphony, Artistic Director of the world-renowned Amelia Island Chamber Orchestra Festival, and the Principal Cello Chair at Mercer College, in Macon, Georgia. Charles Gordon Rex, Jr., is a first violinist with the New York Philharmonic, and performs as a soloist with orchestras across the country. Concerto includes interviews with renowned musical director Zubin Mehta and world-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and friends and family of the Rex brothers. ConcertoTrailer
After the film: A conversation with Director Christina Cassidy and musician Charles Rex.
Danseur directed by Scott Gormley. (70 minutes |2018| USA) – Enter any dance studio in the United States and the classes will be brimming with little bunheads dreaming of crossing the stage at Lincoln Center. But you will be hard pressed to find a single boy among them. In Danseur we will explore why in a country that strives for gender equality, where young women are encouraged to cross the gender barrier and participate in male-dominated fields, especially by their parents, does this disparity exist? Why is it more socially acceptable for parents (fathers, in particular) to encourage their sons to participate in all other physical pursuits (ie: sports, fitness) but not the ballet? A recent survey revealed that nearly 95% of male ballet dancers stated that they faced physical or verbal attacks because of dance. Breathtaking dance footage combined with intimate interviews. Danseur Trailer
SPECIAL EVENT - After the film: A conversation with Director Scott Gormley and danseur Alexander Charles, who studied
ballet at the Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance PLUS a Dance After Party at the Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance
Dawnlanddirected by Adam Mazo. (86 minutes |2018| USA) – A story of stolen children and cultural survival; inside the first truth and reconciliation commission for Native Americans.
After the film: Q&A with Senior Advisor Chris Newell of Mashantucket, CT
For the Birdsdirected by Richard Mirron.(92 minutes |2018| UK) – A woman’s love for her pet ducks, chickens, geese, and turkeys—all 200 of them—ignites a battle with local animal rescuers and puts her marriage in jeopardy.
From Seed to Seeddirected by Katharina Stieffenhofer. (86 minutes |2017| USA) – When Terry and Monique left the opera to pursue their true passion—ecological farming—their story of community and resilience took center stage. We follow their young family and a diverse group of farmers and scientists as they blend age-old traditions with cutting edge science to develop improved methods for growing food ecologically and in a changing climate.
After the film: Q&A with filmmaker Katharina Stieffenhofer
Intelligent Livesdirected by Dan Habib.(70 minutes |2018| USA) – From award-winning filmmaker Dan Habib comes Intelligent Lives, a catalyst to transform the label of intellectual disability from a life sentence of isolation into a life of possibility for the most systematically segregated people in America. Intelligent Lives Trailer
After the film: A Skype Q&A with filmmaker Dan Habib.
CLOSING FESTIVAL FILM: Purple Dreams directed by Joanne Hock. (72 minutes |2017| USA) – Purple Dreams reveals an extraordinary ARTS in Education success story. This inspirational documentary shadows six at-risk black high school students on an emotionally powerful three-year journey of transformation in a racially biased City. With access to the Arts and academic mentors, our at-risk youth have the potential to break the cycle of poverty in a single generation. These students struggle with homelessness, low-income neighborhoods, gang-related violence and single parent households as they further their education with a triumphant musical production that propels them into a world of opportunity they never expected. PURPLE DREAMS Trailer
SPECIAL EVENT - After the film: A conversation with Executive Producer Robin Grey along with Purple Dreams documentary subjects
Theater Arts teacher Corey Mitchell and dancer Javontre Booker moderated by Tony Award-winning actor/arts activist James Naughton.
Rise of the Warrior Apes directed by James Reed. (82 minutes |2016 |UK) – This documentary tells the epic, 20-year story of an indomitable chimpanzee troop in Uganda. With a population three times larger than any other known to science, the incomparable success of the Ngogo chimps has been shrouded in mystery for decades. Through the extraordinary lives of a handful of individual chimp characters we experience a political drama and bloody conflict that unfolds deep in the African jungle. Using previously unseen archival footage, witness testimony from the scientists who have lived alongside them since the study began in 1993, the film chronicles the rise of a true chimpanzee empire. It is a story of unbreakable friendship, fierce rivalry, and unparalleled ambition
After the film: A conversation with cinematographer and documentary subject Bill Wallauer.
SAY HER NAME: The Life and Death of Sandra Blanddirected by David Heilbroner and Kate Davis. (105 minutes | 2018 |USA) – In 2015, Sandra Bland, a politically active 28-year-old black woman from Chicago was arrested for a traffic violation in a small Texas town. Three days later, Sandra was found hanging from a noose in her jail cell. Though ruled a suicide, her death sparked allegations of racially-motivated police murder and Sandra became a poster child for activists nationwide, leaving millions to question, “What really happened to Sandra Bland?” SAY HER NAME: The Life & Death of Sandra BlandTrailer
SPECIAL EVENT Sponsored by Sacred Heart University
After the film: A conversation with Oscar-nominated, Connecticut based Directors Kate Davis and David Heilbroner,
and Sandra Bland’s sisters Sharon Cooper andShanté Needham.
The Devil We Knowdirected by Stephanie Soechtig.(95 minutes | 2018 |USA) –When a handful of West Virginia residents discover DuPont has been pumping its poisonous Teflon chemical into the air and public water supply of more than 70,000 people, they file one of the largest class action lawsuits in the history of environmental law. As the citizens of Parkersburg rise up against the forces that polluted their town, the story builds out to dozens of other American cities. In fact, as many as 110 million Americans may be drinking water tainted with PFAS chemicals. Exposure to this class of chemicals has even become a global phenomenon, spreading to places like Italy, the Netherlands, and China. Parkersburg is ground zero for this story, but this clearly is not about one place or one chemical: because of the power of the chemical lobby, PFOA is one of more than 80,000+ untested chemicals that have been approved for use, their dangers unknown. The Devil We Know Trailer
(**NOTE: There are TWO docs with the same name!)
The Guardiansdirected by Tessa Moran & Ben Crosbie.(70 minutes | 2018 |USA) –An indigenous community in Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve must confront internal divisions and illegal loggers to recover the ancient forest they nearly destroyed. Like the millions of monarchs that also call this forest home, their survival depends on it.
The Guardiansdirected by Billie Mintz.(104 minutes |2018 |Canada) –The Guardians exposes predatory laws in Nevada that allow vulnerable seniors to be kidnapped from their homes and have their assets ceased. Also 14 animated, dramatic, and comedy shorts on a wide range of topics.
After the film: A conversation with Director Billie Mintz.
The Limits of My Worlddirected by Heather Cassano. (70 minutes | 2017 |USA) – The film follows a nonverbal young man’s transition from the school system into adulthood. Brian has autism and faces the daily challenges of adjusting to his new life. Filmed from the intimate perspective of his older sister, filmmaker Heather Cassano, this documentary seeks to understand Brian’s personality beneath his disability. The Limits of My World is an autistic coming of age story, exploring what it means to be a nonverbal disabled person in a neuro-typical society. The Limits of My World Trailer
After the film: A conversation with Director Heather Cassano.
This is Home: A Refugee Story directed by Alexandra Shiva. (92 minutes |2018|USA) –This film is an intimate portrait of four Syrian refugee families arriving in America and struggling to find their footing. Displaced from their homes and separated from loved ones, they are given eight months of assistance from the International Rescue Committee to become self-sufficient. As they learn to adapt to challenges, including the newly imposed travel ban, their strength and resilience are tested. After surviving the traumas of war, the families arrive in Baltimore, Maryland and are met with a whole new set of challenges. They attend cultural orientation classes and job training sessions where they must “learn America” – everything from how to take public transportation to negotiating new gender roles. This is Home: A Refugee Story goes beyond the statistics, headlines, and political rhetoric to tell deeply personal stories, putting a human face on the global refugee crisis. THIS IS HOME: A Refugee Story Trailer
After the film: A conversation with Director Alexandra Shiva Cinematographer Laela Kilbourn,Chirs George Executive Director of IRIS,
and an IRIS Refugee Ambassador (a refugee recently resettled in Connecticut)
Tre Maison Dasandirected by Denali Tiller. (94 minutes |2017|USA) – Tre Maison Dasan is an intimate portrait of three boys growing up, each with a parent in prison. Directly told through the child’s perspective, the film is an exploration of relationships and separation, masculinity, and the added complexities of coming of age in America when a parent is behind bars. Tre is a tough 13-year-old who hides his emotions behind a mask of tough talk and hard edges. Maison is a bright eyed 11-year-old whose Asperger’s is present through his encyclopedic mind and deep love for those around him. Dasan is a sensitive 6-year-old with an incredible capacity for empathy and curiosity. Their parents are not incarcerated for the low-level offenses that have become well known in conversations around mass-incarceration, but their histories and relationships beg many questions about justice, and the lasting and rippling effects of a system at large. *A Joe Consentino Emerging Filmmaker Award Nominee. Tre Maison Dasan Trailer
After the film: A conversation with Producer Rebecca Stern and Stephanie and Dasan Lopes,
the mother and son featured in Tre Maison Dasan.
Vermont Fancydirected by Kathleen Dougherty Huxley. (50 minutes |2018 |USA) – Candid and articulate, Doug Densmore is a single farmer in rural Vermont, struggling with the consequences of his choice of lifestyle and the existential problem of what happens in the future as he ages and faces losing the ability to maintain his farm. Vermont Fancy Trailer
SPECIAL EVENT - After the film: A conversation with Director Kathleen Dougherty Huxley and documentary subject, Doug Densmore. A post-screening Pancake Breakfast will be served to ticket holders with Vermont Fancy Maple Syrup courtesy of Doug Densmore at the Ridgefield Playhouse.
Are You Glad I’m Here directed by Noor Gharzeddine. (85 minutes | 2018 |Lebanon/USA) – A millennial American girl befriends a Lebanese housewife and disrupts her ordered life; one night they become accidental partners-in-crime. *A Joe Consentino Emerging Filmmaker Award Nominee. Are You Glad I’m HereTrailer
After the film: A conversation with Director Noor Gharzeddine.
Beauty Markdirected by Harris Doran. (87 minutes | 2017 | USA) – An empowering story inspired by true events, Beauty Mark follows a poverty-stricken young mother who is forced to move when her house is condemned. With no money and no options, she must confront her abusive past to save her family. Beauty Mark Trailer
Beyond the Riverdirected by Craig Freimond. (61 minutes | 2017 | South Africa) – Duma is a talented young man who feels trapped by his surroundings and finds himself on the wrong side of the law. After a near miss with the cops, he finds an escape in the world of canoeing, an old passion. Steve is a nine-time Dusi gold medalist whose marriage is on the verge of collapse. His passion for the sport is fueled by his wanting to escape from something in his past that continues to haunt him. The two men find themselves attempting the three-day Dusi Canoe Marathon as a doubles pair. But, there are a few things they must overcome not least of which are the completely different worlds they come from. To realize their dream, they must work together both in the boat and beyond the river. Inspired by the true story of Siseko Ntondini and Piers Cruickshanks, who together won gold in the 2014 Dusi.
Dad Is Pretty directed by Park-soo-min & Kim seung-hyeob. (92 minutes | 2017 | Republic of Korea) – Duk-jae is being overlooked at his marketing job and sublimates his unhappiness by getting drunk after work. His boss tells him he’ll be fired if he doesn’t land a contract renewal for Club Hawaii, an establishment where men come to cross-dress in a safe and fun environment. The club owner is willing to renew the contract but only on one condition: that Duk-jae participate to get into the mindset of the membership. *A Joe Consentino Emerging Filmmaker Award Nominee.
Find This Dumb Little Bitch and Throw Her Into a River directed by Ben Brand. (Narrative Feature | 87 minutes | 20178 |The Netherlands) – In 2010, a teenage girl in Bosnia was filmed throwing live puppies into a fast-flowing river. The video, which was shot by her older brother and uploaded onto his YouTube page, quickly went viral and sparked outrage around the world. Find This Dumb Little Bitch and Throw Her Into a River Trailer
High Resolutiondirected by Jason Lester.(96 minutes | 2018 |USA) In this adaptation of Tao Lin’s beloved cult novel Taipei, Erin is swept into the world of Paul Chen, a mysterious, charismatic author, who proposes documenting every aspect of their courtship in an epic laptop-filmed “documentary.” *A Joe Consentino Emerging Filmmaker Award Nominee.
After the film: A conversation with Director Jason Lester.
Mary Goes Rounddirected by Molly McGlynn. (84 minutes | 2017 | Canada) – When a substance abuse counsellor gets arrested for a DUI and returns to her hometown of Niagara Falls, she learns that her estranged father is dying of cancer and wants her to form a bond with her teenaged half-sister that she’s never met. *A Joe Consentino Emerging Filmmaker Award Nominee. Mary Goes RoundTrailer
Nosotrosdirected by Felipe Vara de Rey. (93 minutes | 2017 | Spain) – Nosotros follows a group of five friends during the weekend of the Spanish presidential election held in December 2015, probably the most important one in Spain’s recent history due to the deep political and financial crisis in Southern Europe. Our five protagonists are in a crucial moment in their lives; as Spain decides its future, all of them will have to make a decision that could shake the grounds on which they are building their existence.
The California Nodirected by Ned Ehrbar.(84 minutes | 2017 | USA) – A listless Angeleno discovers he's in an open marriage. *A Joe Consentino Emerging Filmmaker Award Nominee. The California No Trailer
After the film: A conversation with director Ned Ehrbar
The Divine Order directed by Petra Biondina Volpe. (96 minutes | 2017 | Switzerland) – The Divine Order is set in Switzerland in 1971 where, despite the worldwide social upheavals of the previous decade, women were still denied the right to vote. When unassuming and dutiful housewife Nora is forbidden by her husband to take a part-time job, her frustration leads to her becoming the poster child of her town’s suffragette movement. Her newfound celebrity brings humiliation, threats, and the potential end to her marriage, but, refusing to back down, she convinces the women in her village to go on strike...and makes a few startling discoveries about her own liberation. Uplifting and crowd-pleasing, this charming, captivating film is a time-capsule that could not be timelier. The Divine Order Trailer
Wake. directed by Cyrus Mirakhor. (94 minutes | 2018 | USA) – A widowed mortician, struggling with agoraphobia, is given a birthday gift from her mother and daughter as a joke. The gift, a life-size male doll named Pedro, goes from funny to fantastical, complicating her ties with her family as well as a budding relationship with a documentary filmmaker.
OPENING NIGHT FILM:Wildlife directed by Paul Dano. (104 minutes | 2018 | USA) – Fourteen-year-old Joe is the only child of Jeanette and Jerry—a housewife and a golf pro—in a small town in 1960s Montana. Nearby, an uncontrolled forest fire rages close to the Canadian border, and when Jerry loses his job—and his sense of purpose—he decides to join the cause of fighting the fire, leaving his wife and son to fend for themselves. Suddenly forced into the role of an adult, Joe witnesses his mother’s struggle as she tries to keep her head above water. Wildlife stars Carey Mulligan, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ed Oxenbourgh and Bill Camp. WildlifeTrailer
After the film: A Prosecco & Dessert Reception in the lobby of the Ridgefield Playhouse
All is Not Lost directed by Natalie Gee Cyrus. (16 minutes | 2018 | USA) – A quirky dramedy about the highs and lows of senior age, illness and how rivalry exists at any stage in the game. Growing old is compulsory, but growing up is not. All is Not LostTrailer
After the film: A conversation with Director Natalie Gee.
Fragments directed by Christina YR Jun.(13 minutes | 2016 | USA) – When a struggling single mother and recovering addict finds herself in need of a lifeline, she discovers that her only source of solace may be her old demons. *Student Film.
Good to the Last Drop directed by Joanne Hudson.(8 minutes | 2017 | USA) – A man returns to his cabin for the end of the world.
After the film: A conversation with filmmaker Joanne Hudson.
Knuckles directed by Laura Groombridge. (9 minutes | 2017 | Australia) – A man tangled in the violent criminal world of bare knuckle fighting pursues a misguided attempt at redemption.
Peggie directed by Rosario Capozzolo. (10 minutes | 2017 | Italy) – Inspired by true events, the film addresses the theme of dementia to travel through time. A special gift has Peggie, on a quiet California afternoon, moving from one room to another in her home, crossing different epochs of her life. Only one person, who is apparently a stranger to her, will pull her back and bring her home. Like every day for the last ten years.
The Absent City directed by Iulia Enkelana.(9 minutes | 2018 | Romania) – 'The place where I come from doesn’t wait for anyone. (...) It’s a mixture of violence and beauty.' *Student Film.
The Door directed by Reem Morsi.(20 minutes | 2016 | Canada) – The Door follows a Syrian refugee family who moves to Canada after suffering a terrible loss. Each of the family members grieves the loss in their own way; Hashem, an eight-year-old goes mute, his grandmother silently grieves the loss of her country and daughter by staying in bed, while his father suppresses his grief to be strong and support his family. While Hashem and his grandmother face the loss in their own unique way, the father's repressed trauma starts to take over his life and haunt him and his family in ways he can't escape.
The Wave directed by Alicia Rose.(7 minutes | 2016 | Australia) – The Wave is a romantic comedy about a woman with a pet hate who meets the perfect man under unfortunate circumstances. Alex and Marcus were destined to meet...just not in the way they had intended. But they are proof that when love matters most, honesty sometimes doesn't. Alex learns that finding the perfect man (and traffic) can drive you to do crazy things.
Two Strangers Five Times directed by Marcus Markou. (12 minutes | 2018 | Greece) – Alistair and Samir meet five different times, but it is only when the meet as old men that they can finally put their prejudices aside and meet as friends. This film champions friendship and compassion over separation and distrust.
59 Moroccan Seconds directed by David Helfer Wells.(1 minute | 2018 | USA) – A quick and dazzling series of intense time-lapse animations add up to a 59 second movie giving the viewer a sample of the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Morocco.
3000 Miles directed by Sean Wang.(5 minutes | 2017 | USA) – On July 5th, 2016, Sean Wang moved across the country to work and live in New York City for one year. This is a personal documentary of his year, chronicled by voicemails left by his mom.
Cat’s Cradle directed by Jonathan Napolitano.(12 minutes | 2017 | USA) – Shortly after retiring, Bruce and Terry Jenkins of Lutz, FL, transformed their 1920’s farmhouse into a hospice and senior living facility for cats.
Empire of Main Street directed by Jessica Congdon.(24 minutes | 2018 | USA) – A tireless entrepreneur jump-starts the transformation of a neglected vacation town, until her ambition pushes her to the brink. Empire on Main Street Trailer
Family Rewritten directed by Yasmin Mistry.(14 minutes | 2018 | USA) – Despite battling Cystic Fibrosis, Camilla, age 16, identified as a typical middle-class American teenager until the thread that held her family together suddenly snapped. Just months before her 18th birthday Camilla found herself in foster care, but instead of feeling ashamed, she made a conscious decision to not let the situation define her. Family RewrittenTrailer
John Hemmer & The Show Girls directed by Kirsten Larvick.(35 minutes | 2017 | USA) In this intimate portrait, a one-time entertainer reflects on the heyday of America’s nightclub era with his band of showgirls and performers as they share histories and consider the rigors and rewards of growing older. Despite life’s challenges, Hemmer, along with his showgirls, resurrect the Latin Quarter’s legacy and discover a new purpose along the way.
After the film: A conversation with Director Kersten Lavrick.
Orchard House: Home of Little Women directed by Jan Turnquist. (27 minutes | 2018 | USA) – Viewers are transported to a 350-year-old home in Concord, Massachusetts with an American literary pedigree unlike any other. It is here at Orchard House that the classic novel Little Women was written and set. With literary giants such as Ralph Wald Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne as neighbors and friends, this unique home inspired Louisa May Alcott to write a book that has never been out of print. Little Women has been translated into over 50 languages, taught in schools worldwide, and has redefined American literature. Orchard House: Home of Little WomenTrailer.
After the film: A conversation with Director Jan Turnquist and Executive Producer Justin King.
The King directed by Aleksander Krzystyniak. (10 minutes | 2018 | Poland) – In this speeding like an express train world, seemingly outlandish pacifist but in silence he shows what is the most precious in life. And he's doing it in paradise, where he is king of the world, his own world.
Trap Fishing directed by David Helfer Wells. (7 minutes | 2017 | USA) – Meet the Wheelers, one of the last remaining trap fishing families in Rhode IslandLearn the art of trap fishing and what it takes to make a living on the water.
Unwelcome directed by Ida Theresa Myklebost. (15 minutes | 2017 | USA) – In Unwelcome we meet six-year old Menwar, who lives in a tent at a gas station in Greece. He and his family fled the bloody conflict in Syria, hoping to start a new life. But when they finally reached Europe, they found a continent that did not want them; a continent that had closed its borders. With heartwarming moments and humor, Unwelcome offers a unique invitation into the lives of these children who so violently have been forced to flee their homes. UnwelcomeTrailer
After the film: A conversation with filmmaker Theresa Myklebost
Agua Vivabydirector and animator Alexa Lim Haas. (7 minutes | 2018 | USA) – A Chinese manicurist in Miami attempts to describe feelings she doesn't have the words for.
Disillusionment of the 10 PT Font directed by Greg Condon. (1 minute | 2017 | USA) – A collection of playfully animated words, created on a typewriter.
In a Nutshell bydirector and animator Fabio Friedli. (6 minutes | 2017 | Italy) – From a seed to war, from meat to love, from indifference to apocalypse. An attempt to capture the world in a nutshell.
Labyrinth bydirectors Stepan Koval & Oleksandr Kolodii. (8 minutes | 2017 | Ukraine) – What about the labyrinth, except that it is a labyrinth? LabyrinthTrailer
Late Afternoon directed by Louise Bagnall. (10 minutes | 2017 | Ireland) – Award-winning animated film. Emily finds herself disconnected from the world around her. She drifts back through her memories to relive different moments from her life. Emily must look to her past so that she may fully connect with the present. Late Afternoon Trailer
Surprise directed by Paulo Patricio. (9 minutes | 2017 | Portugal) – Award-winning animated film. A short experimental/documental animation based on a real conversation between a mother and her 3-year-old daughter that recovers from a cancer. While the daughter draws memories from the treatment, the conversation wanders into shadows and light, following the unsettled thread of affections, of disease, of love bonding mother and daughter, of life.
The Driver is Red directed by Randall Christopher. (15 minutes | 2017 | USA) – Award-winning animated documentary. Set in Argentina 1960, this true crime documentary follows the story of secret agent Zvi Aharoni as he hunted down one of the highest ranking Nazi war criminals on the run. The Driver is RedTrailer
The Flight directed by Alain Bidard. (4 minutes | 2018 | Martinique) – The psychological journey of a climate refugee who lost his house and his entire family during hurricane Maria. This is the story of his journey from the darkness back to the light.
Two Balloons directed by Mark C. Smith. (9 minutes | 2018 | USA) – Award-winning animated film. Two adventurous lemurs navigate their dirigibles halfway around the world to a place where happenstance and fate threaten to disrupt their reunion
THEMED FILM EVENTS
PSYCH NIGHT AT THE RIDGEFIELD THEATER BARN
Friday, October 19, 2018
Time: 7:00- 9:00PM
Just in time for Halloween, an evening showcasing an array of mind-bending programming with a 90-minute block of shorts ranging from psychological thrillers to campy horror; and from sci-fi to surreal.
Cat Noir (Animated Short | 5 minutes | 2018 | Switzerland) – A letter, a broken heart. The sound of the rain. A black cat, a plan.**Student Film. Cat Noir Trailer
Real Artists directed by Cameo Wood. (Narrative Short | 12 minutes | 2017 | USA) – Against all odds, Sophia Baker just scored her dream interview at the world-famous Semaphore Animation Studios -- who’d have thought a fan edit of one of their hit films could land her a shot at a job? But when she meets arch, mysterious executive Anne Palladon, she soon learns all is not as she expects behind the curtain. Every instinct Sophia has ever had about art in filmmaking is about to be challenged. Based on Nebula, Hugo and World Fantasy Award-winning author Ken Liu’s short story of the same name, Real Artists asks a poignant question: In a dystopian near-future where big data, AI and natural language processing learn and create quickly and at massive scale, what role can a single artist play? Is Sophia a creative rebel who can make a difference? Or is the situation more serious than that? Real Artists Trailer
Garden Partydirected by Théophile Dufresne, Florian Babikian, Gabriel Grapperon, Lucas Navarro, Vincent Bayoux, Victor Caire. (Animated Short | 7 minutes | 2016 | France) – In a deserted rich house, a couple of amphibians explore their surroundings and follow their primal instinct. Garden Party Trailer
Gotasdirected by Sergio Morcillo.(Narrative Short-Horror | 15 minutes | 2018 | Spain) – Marta is a teenager whose parents died two years ago. One night, while alone at home, she will discover the truth about the pain that is tormenting her. Graphic Images
Heat Deathdirected by Ellie Larkin. (Animated Short | 2 minutes | 2017 | UK) – An experimental stop-motion about climate change deniers, and us if we listen to them. Set in the far-off future after we’re dead and gone, some of our fossils are still repeating the same old things. **Student Film
Perfect Towndirected by Anaïs Voirol.(Animated Short | 5 minutes | 2017 | Switzerland) – In search of perfection a whole city obeys to selection. A constant struggle. Trying and trying again. Where is the difference between endurance and madness? **Student Film
Future Selfdirected by Sean Lewis.(Narrative Short-Sci-Fi/Horror | 7 minutes | 2018 | USA) – Jeffrey has a crush on Teegan. Teegan doesn't know who Jeffrey is. Luckily, VHS tapes keep showing up in the local mini-libraries around town to tell Jeffrey how to change that fact, for better or worse.
Taste the Spiderdirected by Brian Dorrington.(Narrative Short-Campy /Horror | 12 minutes | 2018 | USA) – A young couple’s relationship is poisoned when a spider invades their home.
After the film: A conversation with Director Brian Dorrington.
The Merciless Beauty directed by Michael Groom.(Narrative Short-Ghost Story | 14 minutes | 2017 | UK) – Johnny is a farmhand in the splendor of the English Lake District: he leads a life of introspection, until the strange appearance of a mysterious beautiful woman. Unsure if she's a figment of his imagination or an actual physical being, Johnny succumbs to obsession. A sensuous, timeless tale of love, infatuation, lust and the all- consuming bittersweet melancholy of suffering and heartache, based on the narrative poem “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” by John Keats.
After the film: A conversation with Director Michael Groom.
Disco Babydirected by Katie Falk. (Animated Short | 3 minutes | 2018 | USA) – Communicating with others is hard! Especially if you don’t exist on the same spectral plane. Can you be friends with someone who likes different music than you? Or who died in 1978? Disco Baby, a coming of age stop motion ghost story, answers these questions and more. *Student Film
Milkdirected by Santiago Menghini. (Narrative Short-Horror | 9 minutes | 2018 | USA) – On a late night, a young teen goes into the kitchen for a glass of milk. Upon encountering his sleepless mother, he quickly realizes things are not as they seem.
The Quarrydirected by Eddie Kagutuzi. (Narrative Short-Sureal/Experimental | 8 minutes | 2018 | Uganda) – It could be the dawn of time, or the end of time. The Quarry Trailer
The Replacementdirected by Sean Miller. (Narrative Short-Sci-Fi | 15 minutes | 2017 | USA) – On election night, a janitor feels cheated out of a life he might have lived when his own clone becomes the President. He goes on a bender to seek justice, encountering new forms of prejudice, dismissal, and classism. In a society where the morality around cloning is dividing the masses, physically looking like the newly elected President has its own dangers. The Replacement Trailer
High Resolutiondirected by Jason Lester.(96 minutes | 2018 |USA) In this adaptation of Tao Lin’s beloved cult novel Taipei, Erin is swept into the world of Paul Chen, a mysterious, charismatic author, who proposes documenting every aspect of their courtship in an epic laptop-filmed “documentary.” **A Joe Consentino Emerging Filmmaker Award Nominee.
After the film: A conversation with Director Jason Lester.
FAMILY SHORTS AT THE RIDGEFIELD LIBRARY
Saturday, October 20, 2018
Time: 1:30- 3:00PM
An afternoon spotlighting animated shorts and films that will appeal to children and their parents alike.
The Cook & The Chef directed and animated by Andre Sitolini. (Animated Short | 6 minutes | 2018 | Canada) – In a town famous for their popular master chef, a young cook competes against him to prove his worth.*Student Film.
Wild Ice Backcountry Skatingproduced by Cale Green and Paxson Woelber. (Documentary Short | 3 minutes | 2017 | Canada) – Backcountry skating is the practice of hunting for wild ice, whether on a river, lake, glacial lagoon, or inside an ice cave. Stunning cinematography filmed in south central and southeast Alaska over the course of two winters Wild Ice Backcountry Skating features Nordic bladers, hockey players, and figure skaters. Locations include Kenai Lake, the Portage Lagoons, Turnagain Arm, Wasilla Lake, Sheridan Glacier, Byron Glacier, and Portage Glacier.
Krasnoludki directed and animated by Roman Burnakov. (Animated Short | 5 minutes | 2018 | Belarus) – A boy’s toy is broken and krasnoludki (small elves) living in his house secretly help him.
Girls Level Up directed and animated by Anne Edgar. (Documentary Short | 10 minutes | 2017 | USA) – An inspiring voice in the conversation about the future of women in the video game industry, Girls Level Up, profiles a “Girls Make Games” summer camp where girls are given three weeks to make their own video game demo. Camp founder Laila Shabir, who grew up in a conservative Muslim neighborhood in the Middle East before coming to the United States, provides a unique perspective on the challenges facing girls who love video games and dream of making them.
Undiscovered directed by Sara Litzenberger. (Animated Short | 3 minutes | 2017 | USA) – Undiscovered explores the real reason there are no good photos of Sasquatch--not because he's secretive, but because he's un-photogenic. His attempts to jump into a photo before scaring away the hikers who are taking them are thwarted by the usual suspects--food in his teeth, closed eyes, mussed-up hair, an out-of-focus shot--resulting in deleted photos every time. Dejected, Sasquatch accepts his fate as a cryptid without a head shot when he's caught by surprise by one straggling hiker.
Deux Mains (With My Own Two Hands) directed by Michael Barocas. (Narrative Short | 4 minutes | 2018 | France) – The life of a man through his hands and those around him.
Corky directed by Ty Primosch. (Animated Short | 6 minutes | 2017 | USA) – A corkscrew with a screw loose battles a giant glass bottle to uncork seven magical lightning bugs trapped inside. CorkyTrailer
After the film: A conversation with Director Ty Primosch.
Basketball directed by Anthony Schubert. (Narrative Short | 4 minutes | 2017 | USA) – A woman struggles to learn the fundamentals of basketball and never gives up.
Unstuck: an OCD Kids Movie directed by Kelly J. Anderson. (Documentary Short | 23 minutes | 2017 | USA) – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is often viewed as a minor annoyance, or worse, something useful. But OCD is a serious mental health issue that traps millions of kids, teens, and adults in a vicious cycle of worries and rituals. While families and loved ones are desperate to help, fighting OCD takes time and specialized therapy. Unstuck documents OCD through kids’ eyes only. It avoids sensationalizing compulsions and obsessions, and instead reveals the complexity of a disorder that affects both the brain and behavior. As these six resilient kids and teens roadmap their process of recovery, the film inspires viewers to believe it is possible to fight their worst fears and beat back OCD. Unstuck: an OCD Kids MovieTrailer
After the film: A conversation with Producer Chris Baier and subjects from the film.
COMEDY SHORTS FEST AT THE RIDGEFIELD PLAYHOUSE
Saturday, October 20, 2018
Time: 4:30 – 6:00 PM
A curated selection of some of the best comedy shorts from around the world.
Soggy Flakes directed by The Affolter Bros. (Animated Short| 6 minutes | 2017 | Canada) – In a low-carb, sugar-free, gluten-intolerant world, a group of out-of-work breakfast cereal mascots form a support group to lament the golden ages of yesteryear and figure out how to swallow the bitter taste of reality.
Super 8 Daze directed by John Morgan and Rob Hampton. (Documentary Short| 14 minutes | 2017 | USA) – 1970s teenagers Rob Hampton and John Morgan filmed Super 8 epics while growing up in New England. Decades later, these mini-blockbusters gained a whole new audience once they hit the Internet, attracting the attention of numerous major websites. The two men recount all the fun, ingenuity, and mischief of their childhood filmmaking adventures--a time when dinosaurs, aliens, and killer sharks ruled the backyard! Super 8 Daze Trailer
After the film: A conversation with Directors Rob Hampton and John Morgan.
Momtress directed by Liz Samuel. (Narrative Short-Comedy | 12 minutes | 2017 | USA) – A busy Mom and actress tries to keep her life together for her kids while she struggles with aging and loss. Looking for signs that things will work out is what keeps her moving forward. MomtressTrailer
After the film: A conversation with Director Liz Samuel.
NeckFace by Llanbobl Vision. (Narrative Short-Comedy | 11 minutes | 2018 | UK) – Having dreamed of the perfect wedding, Laney wakes up with the world's most unwelcome wedding guest in her bed - NeckFace. In this dark comedy, will Laney still go through with it; after all they have spent £950 on taffeta chair ties and £200 on her mother's hat alone? NeckFaceTrailer
Four Play directed by Jack Kyser. (Narrative Short-Comedy | 20 minutes | 2017 | USA) – Two best friends decide to order escorts to their apartment, but the night doesn't go as planned.
Sac de Merde directed by Greg Chwerchak. (Narrative Short-Comedy | 13 minutes | 2018 | USA) – Based on a true story, Sac de Merde tells the tale of Mazel Mankewicz, an unlucky-in-love yet irrationally optimistic New Yorker who thinks her luck has changed when she spends the night with the man of her dreams. As it turns out, he might just be full of shit. Literally.
After the film: A conversation with the writer and star of the film Arielle Haller-Silverstone.
Level 4 directed by Charles Copsey. (Narrative Short-Comedy | 4 minutes | 2017 | UK) – Two first-time criminals find themselves out of luck when their getaway vehicle is clamped up in a multi-story car park.
ALT-NIGHT AT THE RIDGEFIELD THEATER BARN
Saturday, October 20, 2018
Time: 5:00 – 10:30 PM
An unforgettable lineup featuring edgy fare dealing with personal identity, dysfunctional relationships and sexuality
Recommended Audience: Ages 16+ (Sexuality, Language, and very brief violence)
Uber-Ex directed by Matt Braunsdorf. (Narrative Short| 17 minutes | 2018 | USA) – Kate and David are out on what feels like a rather significant date early in their relationship, but when their Uber driver turns out to be Kate’s old flame, the three passengers find themselves in the middle of a love triangle.
Two Little B*#ches directed by Emmy Harrington. (Narrative Feature | 75 minutes | 2017 | USA) – In the turmoil of an ugly breakup, Camille, unbridled and creative, seeks the help of her straight-laced and polite sister, Elena. In these sisters, we find the “good girl” who politely follows the rules and the “bad girl” who follows her heart in defiance of them. Over the course of seventy-two hours, we see the dualistic challenge many women face; it seems there is no safe way to play your cards. Either way, you’re the bitch. Two Little B*#chesTrailer
After the film: A conversation with Director Emmy Harrington.
Artifice directed by Kevin Byrnes. (Narrative Short | 4 minutes | 2017 | USA) – Artifice chronicles the demise of a relationship between an Apple iPhone and an Amazon Echo. While an esteemed director frets about the passion in their performances, we get an absurd glimpse into the future of our relationship with technology. ArtificeTrailer
The Hateful Date directed by Adam Kiers. (Narrative Short | 8 minutes | 2017 | Australia) – What if two people on a first date were honest with each?
Soft Spot directed by Justine Stevens. (Narrative Short | 13 minutes | 2017 | Canada) – When Kris’s partner Jess comes home from an evening out, the night takes an unexpected turn. Kris, struggling with the surprise death of an ex-lover, side steps Jess’s post gin and tonic come on’s and inadvertently reveals too much. In the wake of Jess’s insecurity, the two of them may have to deal with the past instead of the present issue at hand. Sexual Content.
After the film: Q&A Director Justine Stevens, Producer Ali Mashayekhi, and Writer/Actor Erin Carter
Intimity directed by Elodie Dermange. (Animated Short | 5 minutes | 2017 | Switzerland) – As she is showering, dressing, putting on her make-up, a woman bares her soul. She speaks of her fears, her complexes, and the process of accepting – even loving – herself. Sexual content.
Like Glass directed by David Armanino. (Narrative Short-Drama | 20 minutes | 2017 | USA) – Like Glass follows Zion, a club kid exploring their gender fluidity through the avant-garde scene of New York City's darkly fanciful nightlife. We witness Zion's story unfold through a stream of consciousness that weaves a fateful night out at the club with memories of the resistance they’ve faced, both at home from their partner and in public. In a society of binary gender norms, Zion is ultimately left questioning the truth and fragility of one's identity. Sexual content/Violence.
After the film: A conversation with Director Andrew Myer and Writer and Producer David Elijah.
On the Outside directed by Rishabh Arora. (Animated Short | 1 minute | 2018 | UK) – How would you confront the physical manifestations of our cyber personas? This film talks about dealing with our present media obsessed realities and the consequent isolation this causes for young people. *Student
The Things You Think I’m Thinking directed by Sherren Lee. (Narrative Short-Drama | 15 minutes | 2017 | Canada) – A black male burn-survivor and amputee goes on a date with a regularly-abled man. After the bar, they go back to his apartment, where he faces his demons as he attempts to experience intimacy for the first time since his accident, ten years ago. Sexual content.
Workplace PSA #14 directed by Ellie Larkin. (Animated Short | 30 minutes | 2018 | UK) – In this Kitty Co training video, we will learn all about how to handle harassment in the workplace.
Lifelines directed by Catharine Parke. (Narrative Short-Drama | 9 minutes | 2018 | Canada) – Overwhelmed by the trials and tribulations of high school, Arielle finds refuge in a dangerous habit – until her best friend discovers her secret.
Easy Girl directed by Adam Goldhammer & Katie McMillan. (Narrative Short-Drama | 11 minutes | 2017 | Canada) – A young woman struggling to come to terms with a traumatic sexual experience ￼finds herself in competition with her roommate over the same man. Over the course of one ￼night, a startling discovery forces her to confront her past and re-evaluate her relationships. Easy Girl is a reflection on patriarchy, rape culture and female relationships, that seeks to challenge representations of “cattiness” as a natural or inevitable relationship between women. Sexual content.
Ladybug directed by Laura Goodman. (Narrative Short-Drama | 9 minutes | 2018 | USA) – A short collection of video blogs in which a girl attempts to deal with the death of her sister. *Student Film
Find This Dumb Little Bitch and Throw Her Into a River directed by Ben Brand. (Narrative Feature | 87 minutes | 20178 |The Netherlands) – In 2010, a teenage girl in Bosnia was filmed throwing live puppies into a fast-flowing river. The video, which was shot by her older brother and uploaded onto his YouTube page, quickly went viral and sparked outrage around the world.
OH CANADA AT THE KEELER TAVERN MUSEUM
Saturday, October 20, 2018
Time: 5:30 – 7:30 PM
A variety of narrative shorts by the best of up-and-coming Canadian filmmakers.
Eros directed by Shervin Kermani. (Narrative Short | 8 minutes | 2017 | Canada) – The film explores moments between lovers that have occurred in one spot over a thousand years. ErosTrailer
Tuesdays and Thursdays directed by Reza Dahya. (Narrative Short | 9 minutes | 2018 | Canada – A man attempts to reconnect with his estranged mother but has to pass along some bad news in the process.
After the film: Q&A with Producer Ali Mashayekhi
Rake directed by Jonathan Eagan. (Narrative Short-Drama | 16 minutes | 2018 | Canada) – Tom, a thoughtful teenager who longs for acceptance, is goaded into committing an act of vandalism by the vindictive older brother of his best friend. When caught in the act, he suddenly finds himself in an altercation that ends violently, forever changing him and his relationship with his friends in ways he never imagined.
She Came Knocking directed by John Ainslie. (Narrative Short | 12 minutes | 2016 | Canada) – When a woman witness' what she believes is a husband abusing his wife, she ignores standard procedures and takes matters into her own hands. She Came KnockingTrailer
Scattered directed by Ellie Harvie. (Narrative Short | 10 minutes | 2017 | Canada) – Two women venture into the woods to scatter their friend's ashes and fumble for a way to say goodbye.
Keep Coming Back! directed by Brendan Brady. (Narrative Short-Comedy | 12 minutes | 2018 | Canada) – An unrecovered alcoholic, Patty, shows up at her local AA meeting ready to share her latest relapse story. As the story progresses we find out that her actions had serious consequences.
After the film: A conversation with Director Brendan Brady.
The Cameraman directed by Connor Gaston. (Narrative Short-Comedy | 16 minutes | 2016 | Canada) – Francis must reconcile his relationship with his abusive father who suffers from Huntington's Disease. Francis' younger brother, Ed--the cameraman--records their dysfunctional lives with his Super 8 camera. The CameramanTrailer