After a one-year hiatus in 2011 the Newburyport Doc Film Festival returned with gusto to the scene with the BESTival – a film festival featuring some of the favorite films from previous years.
Asparagus! Stalking the American Life , Anne de Mare & Kirsten Kelly (2006 NDFF)
For 30 years, Oceana County Michigan has been the self-proclaimed Asparagus Capital of the World. Now its spear-struck residents and family farms take on the U.S. War on Drugs, Free Trade and a Fast Food Nation, all to save their beloved roots.
Elegy for the Elswick Envoy, Nancy Willis (2008 NDFF)
Disabled artist Nancy Willis is in search of a home for her much loved, but aging car—the Elswick Envoy. This unique small car was designed to be driven directly from a wheelchair. As she prepares to take possession of an ultramodern adapted Renault, Nancy sets out on a mission to ensure that her Elswick will not vanish without trace from motoring history. In this personal road movie, Nancy can see her own struggle for continuing mobility mirrored in the increasingly unreliable performance of her battered old car. This witty and moving film is a fitting tribute and final farewell to a distinguished old friend.
Motherland, Jennifer Steinman (2009 NDFF)
An honest and intimate look at the complexities of grief and healing, “Motherland” is about resilience, triumph of the human spirit and the power of unconditional love. It also reminds us of the vastly different ways in which disparate cultures confront deeply felt personal challenges. Each year over eight million families around the world suffer the loss of a child. In Jennifer Steinman’s moving and inspiring documentary film, a 17-day trip to South Africa transforms the lives of six grieving women from across the US. Unexpectedly and eight thousand miles from home, each finds comfort and healing in a landscape that appears, at first, to offer little more than melancholy.
Other People’s Pictures, Lorca Sheppherd & Cabot Philbrick (2005 NDFF)
Nine obsessive collectors share an unlikely addiction: snapshots that have been abandoned or lost by their original owners and are now for sale. Ready to pay hundreds of dollars for a single picture, they hunt for the images that feed their fantasies and quiet the voices in their heads. See what they find and learn why they want it in this surprising look at the little-known world of vintage snapshot collecting.
The Philosopher Kings, Patrik Shen (2009 NDFF)
In search of wisdom found in unlikely places, The Philosopher Kings takes us on a journey through the halls of the most prestigious colleges and universities in America to learn from the staff members who see it all and have been through it all: the custodians. This thought-provoking documentary interweaves the untold stories of triumph and tragedy from the members of society who are often disregarded and ignored, and seeks out the kind of wisdom that gets you through the day and the lessons one learns from surviving hard times, lost loves, and shattered dreams.
Ride of the Mergansers, Steve Furman, USA, (2004 NDFF)
The Hooded Merganser is a rare and exclusive duck found only in North America. Every spring in the Great Lakes region, the wary hen lays and incubates her eggs in a nest high in the trees. Just 24 hours after hatching the tiny ducklings must make the perilous leap to the ground below to begin life in the wild. The age old rite is rarely observed by humans. Filmed entirely in northern Minnesota, this film is a heartwarming blend of natural history, humor and suspense. You’ll be entertained, educated and inspired and leave with a newfound appreciation of the phrase “leap of faith.”