In My Fathers House (2015 US Doc)
IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE explores identity and legacy in the African-American family, as Grammy award-winning rapper Che ‘Rhymefest’ Smith and his long-lost father reconnect and try to build a new future in Chicago’s turbulent South Side. Himself a child of a broken home, Che hasn’t seen his father, Brian, in over 20 years, and presumes him dead. But after buying his father’s childhood home, Che sets out to find him, and learns that his is now a homeless alcoholic living only several blocks away/ The film offers a probing take on memory and identity in a family two generations removed from slavery as it tracks Che and Brian’s shared journey to create a new legacy for themselves, their community and the next generation of family.
Peace Officer (2015 US doc)
PEACE OFFICER is a documentary about the increasingly militarized state of American police as told through the story of ‘Dub’ Lawrence, a former sheriff who established and trained his rural state’s first SWAT team only to see that same unit kill his son-in-law in a controversial standoff 30 years later. Driven by an obsessed sense of mission, Dub uses his own investigation skills to uncover the truth in this and other recent officer-involved shootings in his community, while tackling larger questions about the changing face of peace officers nationwide.
T(Error) (2015 US doc)
(T)ERROR is the first documentary to place filmmakers on the ground during an active FBI counterterrorism sting operation. Through the perspective of “Shariff”, a 63-year-old Black revolutionary turned informant, viewers get an unfettered glimpse of the government’s counterterrorism tactics and the murky justifications behind them. Taut, stark and controversial, (T)ERROR illuminates the fragile relationships between individual and surveillance state in modern America, and asks who is watching the watchers.
He Named me Malala (2015 US/Germany doc)
HE NAMED ME MALALA is an intimate portrait of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai, who was targeted by the Taliban and severely wounded by a gunshot when returning home on her school bus in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. The then 15-year-old was singled out, along with her father, for advocating for girls’ education, and the attack on her sparked an outcry from supporters around the world. She miraculously survived and is now a leading campaigner for girls’ education globally as co-founder of the Malala Fund. Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman) shows us how Malala, her father Zia and her family are committed to fighting for education for all girls worldwide. The film gives us an inside glimpse into this extraordinary young girl’s life – from her close relationship with her father who inspired her love for education, to her impassioned speeches at the UN, to her everyday life with her parents and brothers.
“One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”
The Wanted 18 (2014 Palestine, Animated Film)
THE WANTED 18 is a Canadian-Palestinian animated documentary about the efforts of Palestinians in Beit Sahour to start a small local dairy industry during the First Intifada, hiding a herd of 18 dairy cows from Israeli security forces when the dairy collective was deemed a threat to Israel’s national security. The film combines documentary interviews with those involved in the events, archival footage, drawings, black-and-white stop-motion animation as well as re-enactments, and was co-directed by Canadian filmmaker Paul Cowan and Palestinian visual artist and director Amer Shomali.
The film has been selected as the Palestinian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards.
Taxi Teheran (Iran 2015 doc)
Internationally acclaimed director Jafar Panahi drives a yellow cab through the vibrant streets of Tehran, picking up a diverse (and yet representative) group of passengers in a single day. Each man, woman, and child candidly expresses his or her own view of the world, while being interviewed by the curious and gracious driver/director. His camera, placed on the dashboard of his mobile film studio, captures a spirited slice of Iranian society while also brilliantly redefining the borders of comedy, drama and cinema.
Mediterranea (Italy 2015 drama)
This remarkably timely, eye-opening film charts the death-defying struggle of African migrants as they risk everything to start a new life in Europe. Ayiva (first time actor Koudous Seihon in a revelatory performance) and Abas (Alassane Sy) are close friends from Burkina Faso determined to make it to Italy in order to find work and provide for their families back home. But even after surviving the harrowing journey-desert bandits, a treacherous sea voyage, arrest-nothing can prepare the two men for the hostility and violence that awaits them. A gripping tale of survival told with vivid realism, Mediterranea immerses viewers in the heart of a humanitarian crisis that for far too many is a lived reality.
Landfill Harmonics (Paraguay/US 2015 doc)
The story develops in one of the poorest slums in Latin America. Just outside Asuncion, Paraguayans capital; Cateura is the city’s trash dump. It is built on a landfill. Here, people live in a sea of garbage. And they live from garbage. Every day, tons of rotting detritus spill from trucks and people swarm over it to pick the pieces of trash that are their livelihood.
The people of Cateura may be the poorest of the poor but they are proud and the life of their slum is vibrant. Family bonds, rivalries and friendships are intense.
Surrounded by stories of drug-violence, alcoholism and destitution, they make herculean efforts to reaffirm their life and dignity.
A few years ago, one of the garbage pickers, “Cola”, an untutored genius of the slum, got together with local musician Favio Chávez to make instruments for the children of the slum. There was no money for real instruments so together they started to make instruments from trash – violins and cellos from oil drums, flutes from water pipes and spoons, guitars from packing crates.
With children like Ada and Tania and with the support of many in the slum, Favio slowly put together one of the world’s most unlikely orchestras. It is entirely made of garbage.
Racing Extinction (US/ China/ UK 2015 doc)
In RACING EXTINCTION, a team of artists and activists exposes the hidden world of extinction with never-before-seen images that will change the way we see the planet. Two worlds drive extinction across the globe, potentially resulting in the loss of half of all species. The international wildlife trade creates bogus markets at the expense of creatures that have survived on this planet for millions of years. And the other surrounds us, hiding in plain sight — a world that the oil and gas companies don’t want the rest of us to see. Using covert tactics and state-of-the-art technology, the Racing Extinction team exposes these two worlds in an inspiring affirmation to preserve life as we know it. From the Academy Award® Winning Filmmakers of “The Cove”
Meet the Patels (Comedy US/India 2015)
MEET THE PATELS is a laugh-out-loud real life romantic comedy about Ravi Patel, an almost-30-year-old Indian-American who enters a love triangle between the woman of his dreams … and his parents. Filmed by Ravi’s sister in what started as a family vacation video, this hilarious and heartbreaking film reveals how love is a family affair.
Fresh out of a breakup with his secret white girlfriend, who his parents knew nothing about, and freaked out that he’s almost 30 and single, Ravi goes on a family vacation to India with his head and heart spinning.
Ravi is willing to do whatever it takes to find love—but there’s one tricky detail to consider: In his family, everyone has the last name Patel. Patels marry other Patels. It’s not incest, it means they are from the same 50-square mile radius in India. Struck with how overwhelmingly happy the marriages are of his Patel family and friends, Ravi enters a fool-proof Patel matchmaking system and embarks on a worldwide search for another American Patel just like him.