The following films were screened at the 8th Annual Newburyport Documentary Film Festival, which took place from September 24 to 26, 2010.
2012 AWARD WINNERS
Best Feature Film
Best Short Film
Calling My Children
Best New England Film
Hyman Bloom: The Beauty of All Things
Calling My Children David Binder; USA 35 min
Gail Farrow, a devoted mother and wife, died when she was just 27. She left behind four young sons, Ronald Jr., Frank, Kenny and Benny, and her husband Ronald.
David Binder began photographing Gail and her family in 1987, documenting Gail’s last year of life and her family’s early adjustment to continuing without her.
With insight and honesty, his film and photographs explore the pieces Gail left—photographs, letters, guidance and memories… Twenty years after her death, Gail’s hopes for her family collide with the reality of their lives. Calling My Children is a testament of a family’s life and a mother’s love.
Club Native Tracey Deer; USA 79 min
Club Native is a documentary that examines the present-day reality of Aboriginal identity. With moving stories from a range of characters from her Kahnawake Reserve, Mohawk filmmaker, Tracey Deer, reveals the divisive legacy of more than a hundred years of discriminatory and sexist government policy to expose the lingering “blood quantum” ideals, snobby attitudes and outright racism that threaten to destroy the fabric of her community.
A Drop in the Bucket Lauren Shaw; USA 23 min
This film is about providing safe water for the people of Cambodia, who lost everything to mass genocide: their doctors, lawyers, schools, religion, and most importantly their way of life. Over the last two years, fifteen wells have been built with the help of Sambrothers.org. In 2009 the effects of the wells have had on the lives of the people are seen. By telling this story, some of the complexities and challenges involved in giving are revealed. Although this story is a drop in the bucket, it is one filled with possibility, opportunity, and promise.
Hyman Bloom: The Beauty of All Things Angelica Brisk; USA 57 min
Painter Hyman Bloom is one of the forefathers of abstract art in America. His career flourished in the 1940’s and 50’s garnering the highest praise in both art and popular press. His intense beliefs about composition and masterful command of color were breathtaking and are admired by artists to this day. But Hyman’s decision to continue exploring figurative work when the art world was moving towards total abstraction and his habitual disdain for the public eye brought him from being one of the infamous “Bad Boys from Boston” to a man little known in the mainstream art scene. The film highlights a body of work that is a vibrant manifestation of Bloom’s imagination and his dedication to envision what others didn’t dare.
Lessons from the Night Adrian Francis; Australia 9 min
As dusk approaches and workers stream out of the city, Maia, a Bulgarian immigrant, is about to begin her day. She reflects on life, work and toilet bowls as she goes about her nightly cleaning round through silent, empty spaces.
Loving Lampposts Todd Drezner; USA 84 min
What would you call a four year old who caresses all the lampposts in the park? Quirky? Unusual? Or sick? Such labels are at the center of the debate about autism. Is it a disease or a different way of being–or both? After his son’s diagnosis, filmmaker Todd Drezner visits the front lines of the autism wars. We meet parents desperate for a cure, visit conferences where vendors hawk vitamins and hyperbaric chambers, hear from advocates who fight for ‘neurodiversity,’ and follow a group of autistic children and adults whose lives show that ‘if you’ve met one autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person.
Do it Again Robert Patton-Spruill; USA 85 min
Follow Geoff Edgers, a Boston Globe reporter, as he chases after his favorite rock band – and his own, personal quest. Among those you’ll meet along the way: Sting, Zooey Deschanel, Paul Weller, Robyn Hitchcock, Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey, Clive Davis and Warren Zanes.
Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone (107min) – Chris Metzler & Lev Anderson
Family Affair Chico Colvard; USA 80 min
At 10 years old, Chico Colvard accidentally shot his older sister in the leg. This seemingly random act detonated a chain reaction that exposed unspeakable realities and shattered his family. Thirty years later, Colvard ruptures veils of secrecy and silence again. As he bravely visits his relatives, what unfolds is a personal film that’s as uncompromising, raw, and cathartic as any in the history of the medium.
It’s More Expensive to Do Nothing Alan Swyer; USA 60 min
It’s More Expensive to Do Nothing explores the dark and often disregarded world of criminal justice, the revolving door of institutionalization, the complexities of remediation, and the programs that have worked to help nonviolent ex-offenders succeed as self-sufficient members of society.
Mother of Normandy: The Story of Simone Renaud Doug Stebleton; USA 68 min
This is the story of one remarkable woman, whose devotion to a generation of heroes transcended all boundries. Madame Simone Renaud witnessed the liberation of France on June 6, 1944 for a very unique point the- the small town of St. Mere Eglise- the first town liberated in the D Day invasion. It was here that she & her husband, the mayor of St. Mere Eglise watched the triumph & tragedy unfold during a day that defined history. And it was here that so many American soldiers, who gave their lives to protect freedom and democracy, found their final resting place. Madame Renaud spent a lifetime tending to the graves of those American soldiers and corresponding with their loved ones back home. She became friend, family and touchstone to those whose lives were forever changed by D Day. The mark she left is indelible. Her story is too.
My Kidnapper Mark Henderson; USA 83 min
In 2003 Mark Henderson was one of eight backpackers taken hostage whilst trekking in the Colombian jungle. What had started as an innocent tourist adventure, ended up as 101 terrifying days of captivity and uncertainty about his future. Eleven months after his release Mark received an email from Antonio, one of his kidnappers, and one of the other hostages received a facebook friend request from Antonio’s girlfriend, another of their captors. That email was the start of a five-year correspondence between hostage and kidnapper that eventually drew Mark back to the one part of the world he thought he’d never see again and face to face with the man who had once held the key to his freedom.
ORGASM Inc Liz Canner; USA 73 min
In the shocking and hilarious documentary ORGASM INC., filmmaker Liz Canner takes a job editing erotic videos for a drug trial for a pharmaceutical company. Her employer is developing what they hope will be the first Viagra drug for women that wins FDA approval to treat a new disease: Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD). Liz gains permission to film the company for her own documentary. Initially, she plans to create a movie about science and pleasure but she soon begins to suspect that her employer, along with a cadre of other medical companies, might be trying to take advantage of women (and potentially endanger their health) in pursuit of billion dollar profits. ORGASM INC. is a powerful look inside the medical industry and the marketing campaigns that are literally and figuratively reshaping our everyday lives around health, illness, desire — and that ultimate moment: orgasm.
Streetball Demetrius Wren; USA 78 min
Eight men from the streets of Cape Town band together to fight for their place in society through a fast-paced game of street soccer.
The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls Leanne Pooley; New Zealand 84 min
Fun, disarming and musically provocative, the Topp Twins are New Zealand’s finest lesbian country and western singers and the country’s greatest export since rack of lamb and the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.
Toyland Ken Sons; USA 68 min
Toyland takes you inside the high stakes world of the 23 billion dollar toy industry, where fun and fortune awaits those who know how to get inside the mind of a child. Meet the people behind the biggest playthings in history as we follow the ups and downs of game designer, Tim Walsh as he tries to takes his own invention to market. From paper to prototype, we follow Walsh along his winding road to Toy Fair, the largest trade show for toys in the western hemisphere, with frustrating pitches to Hasbro, Spin Master, and others along the way. Will his toy light up the imagination of kids everywhere or never see the light of day?