2014 Film Guide

Alex & Ali

Director: Malachi Leopold

This documentary tells the story of Alex, a former Peace Corps volunteer who spent a decade living in Iran. While there, Alex met and fell in love with Ali, an Iranian whom Alex considers his soul mate. When the Islamic revolution erupted in the late 1970′s, Alex was forced to leave Iran – and Ali. But the two men kept their relationship alive through letters, phone calls, and emails. In May 2012, documentary filmmaker and human rights advocate Malachi Leopold followed Alex to Istanbul, where Alex and Ali reunited for the first time in 35 years, hoping to rekindle their relationship. The film follows the men as their best-laid plans are turned upside down, revealing emotionally painful twists and turns that transform their lives forever.
Country: Iran, USA
Runtime: 83 min


Alone: Teens in Solitary Confinement

Director: Daffodil Altan

It’s an epidemic of what some call state-sanctioned torture in America: the solitary confinement of thousands of incarcerated teenagers, locked in cells the size of small bathrooms for up to 23 hours a day. This film investigates New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex, where unconvicted teens often find themselves confined in ‘the box’ for months at a time. It takes a candid and critical look at one of the most controversial forms of incarceration affecting adolescents in the United States; a form of punishment shrouded in secrecy.
Country: USA
Runtime: 21 min


Art As a Weapon

Director: Jeffrey Durkin

Street art, Buddhism, and social change collide on the Burmese border at the first school teaching street art as a form of non-violent struggle. 8200 miles away, well-known grafitti-artist Shepard Fairey is creating art for the same reasons and illustrates how art can be used as a weapon for change.
Country: Burma, USA
Runtime: 75 min


Behind the Blue Veil

Director: Robyn Symon

Beyond the mystical city of Timbuktu Mamatal, the son of a Tuareg chief sets out on a journey across the Sahara to save his culture, known as the blue people of the Sahara. But when the North African government of Mali collapses, he finds himself and his people caught up in an international crisis, a battle between the Tuareg fighting for independence and Al Qaeda bent on taking over the Sahara to plot future terrorist attacks. This compelling documentary by Emmy winning producer/director Robyn Symon is the first exclusive look behind the international headlines of the crisis in the Sahara and exposes the government corruption and neglect of an indigenous people who might be the only hope for defeating Islamic radicals in the region.
Country: Republic of Mali
Runtime: 52 min


Being Ginger

Director: Scott P. Harris

At first glance, this film seems to be a comedy about a red haired man trying to find love. But through revealing moments, whimsical animation, and real interviews, a universal story arises. We are all different. We all have aspects of our lives that set us apart from the crowd and greatly affect us. In Scott’s case, it’s his red hair. Through captivating storytelling, we journey with Scott as he lets the viewer into his thoughts, experiences, and internal processing of how his red hair has influence over his life and how it makes him feel about himself. Finding oneself through finding love and acceptance is a universal experienced. So, while the film’s title highlights red hair, it is about much, much more. Everyone should watch this film and reflect on what makes them ‘ginger’ in their own life.
Country: UK
Runtime: 69 min



Director: Joe Mallick

Eighty campers with special needs spend their summer with eighty counselors at a camp that challenges the definition of normal. This film will explore the struggles of living with special needs and a camp dedicated to providing friendship.
Country: USA
Runtime: 58 min


City of the Damned

Director: Nate Skeen

This short film focuses on LGBT rights in the face of the brutal anti-homosexuality bill before the Ugandan Parliament. Although the death penalty has been withdrawn from the bill due heavily to international pressure, punishments are harsh and public opinion remains the biggest threat to the Ugandan LGBT community. The daring non-governmental organization Youth on Rock Foundation is fighting against this stigma by promoting economic empowerment among its members.
Country: Uganda
Runtime: 15 min


Connected By Coffee

Director: Aaron Dennis

This feature film tells the story of Latin American coffee farmers and how our daily brew is deeply connected to a troubled past and hopeful future. Following a 1000-mile journey from Mexico to Nicaragua, the film will show how equitable trading relationships are empowering communities and bringing social justice.
Regions: North & South America
Runtime: 69 min


Dreaming On – The Story of the Quandamooka People

Director: Marcia Machado

A documentary film about an aboriginal island community’s passion and determination to never relinquish their land and culture. This film recounts the personal stories, history and culture that has been passed on from generation to generation and brings us to the present struggles and successes of a strong aboriginal community off the coast of Southeast Queensland, Australia.
Country: Australia
Runtime: 66 min


The Drop Box

Director: Brian Ivie

One winter, a pastor finds an abandoned infant on his church steps, and builds ‘a drop box’ to rescue any future foundlings. This is the story of a selfless man who has built his life around caring for the unwanted.
Country: South Korea
Runtime: 78 min


Forest Keepers

Director: Matthew Blake

This film takes us deep into the rainforests of southwestern Uganda. There, members of the Batwa tribe are trying to rebuild a culture intricately woven into the rhythms of the rain forest, decades after they were expelled by government troops eager to expand lucrative tourism in their native forests. In response, some Batwa have launched the amazing “Batwa Experience,” where tribal elders show younger generations the forest ways in which their people used to live. Can the Batwa keep their culture in the face of the twin forces of expulsion and modernization?
Country: Uganda
Runtime: 14 min



Directors: Dusan Harminc & Matt Mullins

Self-financed with a $1000 budget as an art experiment by Dusan Harminc and Matt Mullins, ‘Forward’ (Wisconsin’s state motto) is an activist-level view of the uprising that swept state senators out of office, triggered the third governor recall election in American history, and inspired the Occupy movement that swept the country. This film uses the reflections of people involved in the protests of winter 2011 to show what galvanized non-radicals into a movement that quickly drew international attention to Madison, Wisconsin for political action unlike anything seen in America since the Vietnam War.
Country: USA
Runtime: 77 min


From The Shadows

Director: Matt Antell

In Japan, when it comes to child custody, possession is 100% of the law. This film is an examination of child custody after divorce/separation involving Japanese nationals with a special focus on instances of parental child abduction.
Country: Japan, USA
Runtime: 89 min


The Hill

Director: Lisa Molomot

Clinging to the last affordable housing in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, a group of African-American neighbors fight to save their homes from destruction when the City of New Haven proposes a huge new school complex on their property.  Taking their case all the way to federal court, this unlikely group of neighbors band together with preservationists and civil rights advocates in this story about 21st century racism.
Country: USA
Runtime: 60 min


Kara Women Speak

Director: Jane Baldwin

This short film takes the form of a photo-montage and features the voice of a Kara woman expressing her concerns about the uncertain fate of her people and all agro-pastoralists living in the Omo River-Lake Turkana watershed. The images and story featured shine a light on the consequences of multi-national hydroelectric power projects and land grabs that threaten the people of the Omo River Valley.  Like many indigenous cultures in the developing world, the Kara are a community living on the verge of displacement from their ancestral land, and loss of cultural identity.
Country: Ethiopia
Runtime: 8 min


The Last Killing

Director: Satinder Kaur

This powerful film shows the resolve of a group of Punjabi Sikhs who have faced indescribable hardships and terror on their journey to bring to justice those who had destroyed their families.The Last Killing is the story of how an ordinary man became a whistleblower to the extrajudicial killings in Punjab, India, and his 20 year fight for justice on behalf of the victim families.
Country: India
Runtime: 23 min


The Last 40 Miles

Director: Alex Hannaford

A condemned man takes his last journey: from his solitary cell on death row in the east Texas town of Livingston, to the execution chamber 40 miles away in Huntsville. During the journey, his memories, the unlikely warmth of the guard escorting him, and his ever-present hope keep him company. Based on a true story.
Country: USA
Runtime: 14 min


New Kentucky Home

Director: Elijah McKenzie

Over a thousand refugees come to Louisville each year. In the face of overwhelming odds, they find hope in their new Kentucky home.

Country: USA
Runtime: 26 min


The No Name Painting Association

Director: Joe Griffin

A documentary about the Wuming (No Name) group of renegade Chinese artists who painted forbidden images during the Chinese Cultural Revolution and pioneered the Contemporary Chinese Art Movement.
Country: China
Runtime: 23 min


Out of the Shadows

Director: Juliana Brown

This film tells the story of Fernanda Marroquin, a 22-year-old undocumented immigrant living in Philadelphia who is ‘undocumented, unafraid, and unapologetic.’ Fernanda is one of a growing group of youth who call themselves the DreamActivists–brought here as children they played no role in their own illegal immigration, yet find themselves reaching adulthood unable to work, receive financial aid for college, or even get a driver’s license. The DreamActivists take to the streets, risking arrest and deportation to take a stand against the system that they feel has betrayed them. We join Fernanda as she comes out of the shadows and fights for her rights and a future in the country she has called home for over ten years.
Country: USA
Runtime: 24 min


Overpass Light Brigade

Director: Dusan Harminc

This short film tells the story behind Wisconsin’s Holders of the Lights using innovative time-lapse photography and interviews with founding members and other activists. The film showcases the group’s simple, beautiful approach to performance art and action that beckons any who want to creatively join public discourse and voice concerns an elitist political system clamors to quiet.
Country: USA
Runtime: 6 min


Preempting Dissent

Director: Andy Opel

This film documents the rise of the militarization of public space and the new contours of free of speech and public assembly — a policing protocol often referred to as the ‘Miami Model’.  From less-lethal technologies to new spatial tactics, protest policing has undergone a transformation that has grave impacts for public participation and democratic processes the world over. The film is produced from creative commons videos, photos, sound and music files from activists and artists from around the world.
Country: Canada, France, USA
Runtime: 41 min


The Refugees of Shangri-la

Director: Doria Bramante

After being torn from paradise and surviving twenty long years in refugee camps, the Kingdom of Bhutan’s forgotten exiles abandon hopes of returning home and seek a future in a far off place called America.
Country: Bhutan, USA
Runtime: 56 min


Solitary Confinement

Director: Raquel Salvatella de Prada

This film is a visual representation on an excerpt  from prisoner Chris McBride’s letter to the newspaper Indy Week. This piece attempts to visually communicate, in less than two minutes, the amount of time a prisoner spends in a very small confinement, the minuscule amount of time spend outside the cell and the psychological impact this can have.
Country: USA
Runtime: 2 min


A Song for Naija

Director: Ray McNally

As Nigeria is torn by violence and corruption, ‘A Song for Naija’ tells the inspirational story of young Nigerian leaders in business, entertainment, and civil society who are coming together and speaking out for change, forging a powerful coalition using music, technology and social media. Together, they’re inspiring young Nigerians to rise and take a stand. Featuring top Nigerian hip-hop artists Banky W, eLDee, Wizkid, Niyola, Skales, 2Face and others.
Country: Nigeria
Runtime: 28 min


Through Gay Eyes

Directors: Deb Fowler and Connor Crosby

This film project gives a voice to the embedded furtive lifestyle of gays.  You’ll delve into personal stories that tap every realm of life and social context.  ”Through Gay Eyes” extends beyond “coming out” stories and delivers a profound realization that there still exists a silent and stifling vein in our society.  Gay partners, parents and individuals tell their stories and rip the veil – emblazoning a promise toward our perpetual path of the Civil Rights Movement.
Country: USA
Runtime: 33 min


Under the Mango Tree

Directors: Ashley Moradipour & Devyn Bisson

This short film trains a sharp eye on the war-ravaged north of Uganda, where one bold NGO is taking dramatic steps to bring together former rebel soldiers and victims of their violence. Grassroots Reconciliation Group works in northern Uganda, setting up fascinating workshops and programs among small rural communities where former fighters and victims of their brutality work side by side in trying to rebuild lives ripped apart by decades of wanton violence. The film profiles two such families, including one where a notorious ex-fighter and a woman abducted into sexual slavery as a child, try to heal themselves by starting their own family.
Country: Uganda
Runtime: 18 min


Wheelchair Diaries:  One Step Up

Director: Reid Davenport

This film introduces viewers to three Europeans with disabilities.  Gavin is a 39-year-old Dubliner whose perspective on disability and accessibility changed when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 15 years ago. Matthieu is a 23-year-old law student at Sorbonne University in Paris who has been confined to a wheelchair his entire life because of spinal muscular atrophy and wants to practice law in the U.S. because of its superior accessibility. Francois is a 33-year-old journalist with cerebral palsy who has a radio broadcasts about handicapped topics and advocates for disability rights in his native-city of Brussels. Hear the personal stories that will put living with disabililities in a light that is rarely shone in the media.
Country: Ireland, France, USA
Runtime: 27 min


When I Was Young I Said I Would Be Happy

Director: Paul J. Lynch

This feature length documentary shows the transformation achieved by twelve orphan genocide survivors in Rwanda after participating in a new form of sustainable humanitarian aid called Project LIGHT.  Using a train the trainer model, these young ambassadors were trained to heal their Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and their hearts as well as teach others to do the same. In only two short years they paid forward their healing to hundreds, from Rwanda to Sandy Hook, Connecticut.
Country: Rwanda, USA
Runtime: 77 min