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Saturday, July 27 through
Saturday, August 3, 2024
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2023 Films and Events

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26.2 TO LIFE explores the transformative power of San Quentin State Prison's 1000 Mile Club, in which incarcerated men are coached by elite marathoners who come into the prison to train the runners for an annual marathon that takes place behind the walls of the prison. With a zero percent recidivism rate among the club's released members, the 1000 Mile Club shows how powerful community engagement can be, not just for the runners, but also for the volunteer coaches who gain a complex understanding of who ends up in prison and why and what true rehabilitation looks like.
Jo Standish, a passionate young pilot, is challenged by her grandmother to live her life on her own terms, but she finds herself at a crossroads when that could mean revealing her grandmother's long-buried secrets. When she returns to Molokai, Hawaii in 1977 for her grandfather’s funeral, she discovers that her grandmother’s quickly encroaching short-term memory loss reveals some long-hidden secrets. She's determined to discover whether or not her grandmother is an infamous aviatrix, why she's hidden on this island for so long, and if the truth will change her career and fortune.
Ariel - Back to Buenos Aires is the story of a brother and sister who return to Argentina, the country of their birth, for the first time in their adult lives. Against the backdrop of the glamorous tango clubs of Buenos Aires, they uncover dark family secrets and the reason why their parents emigrated to Canada.
Dusty & Stones intimately chronicles the remarkable ride of cousins Gazi “Dusty” Simelane and Linda “Stones” Msibi, a determined duo of struggling country singers from the tiny African Kingdom of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) who long for their big break. When they are unexpectedly invited to record their songs in Nashville and to compete in a Texas battle of the bands, Dusty and Stones embark on their long-awaited first pilgrimage to the ancestral heart of country music. Over a momentous ten-day road trip through the American South, Dusty and Stones bring their music to life in a top Nashville recording studio, explore the storied locales of their favorite country songs, and excitedly engage with the culture they’ve long felt part of from afar. But this sense of kinship is abruptly thrown into question when Dusty and Stones arrive in the small town of Jefferson, Texas to compete in the battle of the bands. There, the hostile leader of the local backing band threatens to derail their debut American performance. As their family and friends back home wait for good news, a shell-shocked Dusty and Stones take the stage and fight to bring home an award for Swaziland.
Feast Your Ears: The Story of WHFS 102.3 will take you on a trip back to the 60s, 70s and 80s, when ''free form'' progressive FM radio was in its heyday in America. Broadcasting from ''high atop the Triangle Towers'' near Washington, DC, the legendary and beloved WHFS was more than just a local radio station - it was the voice of a generation. Hear from local, national and international musicians, the HFS deejays, record label veterans, journalists, historians, fans, and more as they reflect on a time when the music united a tribe who spoke out via the radio waves about war, equality, and a time of great social, cultural, and political upheaval.
Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project is a feature documentary that takes us through the mindscape of legendary poet Nikki Giovanni as she reflects on her life and legacy. Nikki’s voice guides us across time and space, through dreams and remembrances, and across decades of American history as the film reimagines her most iconic work with visual lyricism fit for a poet. Present day finds Nikki in a late chapter of life, reckoning with health struggles and the inevitable march of time. However, in her art and dreams, Nikki ventures beyond her own lifetime to Middle Passage and Mars, always keeping hold of possibility. She urges us to dream of a better future where equity and justice reign and Black women lead, calling us to action with an unforgettable mantra: “We’re going to Mars.”
The renowned playwright and director James Lapine casually meets the 86-year-old Rose Styron - poet, journalist, human rights activist, and widow of the famed author William Styron - and is promptly invited to lunch. Expecting a couple of great stories, he brings along his camera. Fascinated by her tales, Rose becomes his Scheherazade over a period of six years as he learns of the fascinating and complicated life she has led and the people she has known, and along the way, he learns something about himself, too.
When an obsessive-compulsive teenager discovers her new home is haunted by the ghost of its previous occupant, she searches for a way to help him move on, only to discover they have far more in common than expected - and, in the process, they forge a connection that makes it hard for both of them to let go.
As the #1 American musical act of the 1970s, the Carpenters were on “Top of the World,” producing a string of pop masterpieces, including “Close to You,” “We’ve Only Just Begun,” and “Rainy Days and Mondays.” But behind closed doors, Karen’s quest for perfection resulted in low self-esteem, a disheartening love life, and a public battle with anorexia nervosa, which resulted in her untimely death at the age of only 32. She was the first in a long line of celebrities to suffer from this eating disorder during an era when the vastly misunderstood phenomenon brought shame and public humiliation. For the first time, we hear Karen Carpenter’s personal struggle in her own voice through never-before-released recordings - and through the legendary voices of those who knew her and were inspired by her music. The film provides astounding new insight into the singer’s tragically short life and her enduring musical legacy.
Central Appalachia is a place of mountains and myth. Director Elaine McMillion Sheldon knows this well, calling those mountains home. Coal has had a profound influence on this community’s identity, but Sheldon dares to consider what future stories might look like outside the shadow of coal, now that ourrelationships to coal are changing. The film takes us on an alluring cinematic journey through the past, present, and future of Appalachia. Sheldon’s distinct vision remixes present-day moments of life in a coal-mining town with archival footage and atmospheric invocations of the land to create something new — a rare, nuanced depiction of this community. The end of one story welcomes the beginning of another.
Gangster to some, philanthropist to others: who was the real Edward Jones? In the 30s and 40s, this descendant of slaves becomes one of the richest men in the United States thanks to the Policy business, an illegal numbers game, that ultimately became the modern State Lottery. But in those times of segregation, his success and unfailing support to the African American community were a problem. In conflict with both the mob and the Feds, he was forced into a life on the run. Exploring the rise and fall of the most famous Policy King of all times, the filmmaker, Edward Jones’ granddaughter, uncovers an unparalleled story, while showing the lasting repercussions of his life, both within her family and for Chicago’s South Side, where he was once the embodiment of the American dream.
Nothing symbolizes "making it in America" quite like owning a home. Yet today the racial gap in home ownership is widening, and those most impacted are women of color. Set in Detroit, LOCKED OUT brings us into the lives of courageous Black women who face evictions, predatory lenders, and the trials of traditional banking as they become ground fighters in a movement to battle modern-day redlining and housing injustice so that the American Dream may become a reality for all.
More than anything 8-year-old Zelma wants love. Only love will make her complete, the Mythology Sirens insist. But love is elusive when you are an outcast at school and a loner at home. Guided by the Sirens'' hypnotic songs, Zelma tries to change herself into the kind of girl she thinks boys like - cute, weak, demurring. But there are consequences, counters Biology. Zelma has DNA, millions of neural pathways, and a vast array of chemical reactions inside her brain that make up her personality. Zelma has no choice but to be a battleground of conflicts between the Mythology Sirens and Biology as she struggles to find her own ground. Coming of age brings blood and creepy compliments. Her early sexual encounters confound her. Tragically, her best college friend Darya dies in childbirth. Zelma is comforted by marriage to Sergei, but it soon veers into domestic abuse. A second marriage to gender-bending Bo, though brief, deepens her understanding of herself and her place in the world. Zelma’s story represents a journey of all women who try to fit in - to be the best woman they could be according to standards they did not set. Narrated by Zelma from an older age, ''My Love Affair With Marriage'' has a unique perspective on growing up female in traditional society.
Filmed over an expanse of 25 years, two brothers go on a 2,000-mile road trip to solve a family mystery. Shooting on nearly every camera format imaginable, from hand-developed Super-8 film to Arri 4K, Sam Harkness and his older half brother Reed employ their creative world of fiction filmmaking to dive headfirst into dealing with the issue at hand: Sam’s mom is missing. Sam’s wetsuit and mask-wearing alter ego, the Blue Panther, bounds into frame with youthful energy and a heroic spirit of adventure. But can the Blue Panther save the day?
"Art is unquestionably one of the purest and highest elements in human happiness. It trains the mind through the eye, and the eye through the mind. As the sun colours flowers, so does art colour life." - John Lubbock
“It’s no company at all, when people know nothing and say nothing,’ she muttered.” - Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights
"In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing." - Theodore Roosevelt
“You know the message you’re sending out to the world with sweatpants? You’re telling the world: ‘I give up. I can’t compete in normal society. I’m miserable, so I might as well be comfortable.’” - Jerry Seinfeld
“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward” - Martin Luther King Jr.
The Artist and the Astronaut tells the unlikely love story between the artist Pat Musick, a civil rights activist, and the Apollo astronaut Jerry Carr as they participate in some of the most historic events in human history. The film is filled with never-before-seen footage of the early space pioneers and features interviews with key figures from that era. It chronicles Pat’s and Jerry’s vastly different paths as they traverse uncertain times, eventually coming together to render some of America’s most enduring art. The Artist and the Astronaut is an uplifting love story proving that curiosity, perseverance, and empathy for others can be powerful agents of change. The story of the making of this documentary is as unlikely as the story depicted in the film. Bill Muench, a full-time teacher and basketball coach, at the urging of his wife, decides to make a documentary on a local Vermont couple. He embarked on this journey with no plan or budget. In the next six years, he traveled to nine states and two continents to interview numerous Apollo Astronauts, their wives, award-winning authors, artists, art historians, and even NASA directors of mission control. Eventually teaming with music legend, Todd Hobin, they produce a story that otherwise would have never been told.
After a car accident leaves his family in need of his help, Thai returns home to Southern California, only to find his whole world in disarray. With mounting medical bills and secrets of their own, the family watches as Cher, a tough and stubborn Hmong father, suffers through the devastating effects of kidney failure. Thai struggles to choose between his fractured relationship with his family or a life free from the burden of traditions.
Textile artist Allan Brown spends seven years making a dress by hand, using only the fibre of locally foraged stinging nettles. This is "hedgerow couture," the greenest of slow fashion. It’s also the medicine that helps him survive the death of his wife, which leaves him and their four children bereft, and how he finds a beautiful way to honour her. ''Grasping the Nettle'' is at the heart of it. Making a dress this way becomes devotional, with every thread representing hours of loving attention. Over the course of seven years, Allan is transformed by the process as much as the nettles are. The challenge of making zero carbon clothing means re-learning ancient crafts: foraging, spinning, weaving, cutting, and sewing. Finally the dress is worn by one of his daughters, back in the woods where the nettles were picked. A modern-day fairytale and hymn to the healing power of nature and slow craft. "Exquisite and inspiring, beautiful and helpful for anyone suffering loss or grief." --Sir Mark Rylance
As America raced to beat the Soviet Union to the moon, a Black astronaut candidate came closer to launching into space than anyone we ever knew. In THE SPACE RACE, directors Lisa Cortés and Diego Hurtado de Mendoza profile the pioneering Black pilots, scientists, and engineers who joined NASA to serve their country in space, even as their country failed to achieve equality for them back on Earth. From 1963, when the assassination of JFK thwarted Captain Ed Dwight’s quest to reach the moon, to 2020, when the echoes of the civil unrest sparked by the killing of George Floyd reached the International Space Station, the story of African Americans at NASA is a tale of world events colliding with the aspirations of uncommon men. The bright dreams of Afrofuturism become reality in THE SPACE RACE, turning science fiction into science fact, and forever redefining what “the right stuff” looks like, giving us new heroes to celebrate and a fresh history to explore.
In 1985, Willem de Kooning's "Woman-Ochre," one of the most valuable paintings of the 20th century, was cut from its frame at the University of Arizona Museum of Art. 32 years later, the painting was found hanging in a New Mexico home.
Most people dream of a better future. Pedro, an aspiring social worker, is no different. But as a blind, undocumented immigrant, Pedro faces political restrictions to obtain his college degree, secure a job in his field, and support his family. As he finally graduates, uncertainty looms over Pedro. What starts as a journey to provide mental healthcare for his community ultimately transforms into Pedro’s path towards his own healing. Through experimental cinematography and sound, "unseen" reimagines the accessibility of cinema, while exploring the intersections of immigration, disability, and mental health.
A driven ballerina who defected from the Soviet Union because of antisemitism and lack of artistic and personal freedom toes her way from being a principal dancer of the Boston Ballet to leading a diverse group of ballet students in their difficult journey to become professional dancers as they struggle with the challenges such as physical and emotional stress of intense ballet training. It is the story of her transition to the American ballet stage that led, after a 25-year career, to a new role as a teacher, and to new challenges as she struggles to adapt to the educational styles of American ballet. This documentary is unique in that it does not look back - the film is about present life and about the future for our children and new generations.