2016 NDFF Official Selections

 

We are thrilled to announce the Official Selections for the 2016 Newburyport Documentary Film Festival.

 

Animation Hotline
Dustin Grella; 7 min
https://www.facebook.com/animationhotline
Shorts Block #1, Saturday, September 17 at 2:30 pm
Firehouse Center for the Arts

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Animation Hotline is a series of over 150 crowd-sourced telephone answering machine messages that have been being animated since 2011. This documentary collection focuses on real life stories.

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond the Wall
Bestor Cram; 91 min
Filmmaker Q&A
beyondthewallfilm.com/
Sunday, September 18 at 1:45 pm
Firehouse Center for the Arts

Most people will be released from prison, but what happens to them when they leave? Through the personal stories of six former prisoners documented over four years in Lawrence and Lowell, MA prisons, Beyond the Wall bears witness to the challenges of life on the outside.

 

Blindsided
Lisa Olivieri; 60 min
Filmmaker Q&A
http://www.lisaolivieri.com/
Sunday, September 18 at 12:00 pm
Firehouse Center for the Art
(
Shown with The Hidden Harpist)

Blindsided documents 15 years in the life of Patricia Livingstone, a feisty artist losing her sight and hearing while trying to survive her abusive girlfriend. Combined with Patricia’s unique collection of home videos, the film documents the couple’s romance, abuse, break up and, finally, friendship. This epic story – conveyed with a tone set by the quirky humor of Patricia’s narration – shines a light on domestic abuse, disability, forgiveness, and what it truly means to be independent.

 

Dog Power
Kale Casey; 33 min
Filmmaker Q&A
www.dogpowermovie.com/
Shorts Block #2, Sunday, September 18 at 1:45 pm
The Screening Room

An introduction to the world’s fastest sprint sled dogs, their human teammates, and the incredible variety of dog-powered sports they are involved in. The ultimate manifestation of the human-animal bond is within the reach of everyone. You don’t need fancy equipment, fancy dogs, or snow. All you need is your dog, a harness and you.

 

Food Fight: Inside the Battle for Market Basket
Jay Childs; 109 min
Filmmaker Q&A
www.foodfightfilm.com/
Sunday, September 18 at 4:00 pm
Firehouse Center for the Arts

Throughout the summer of 2014, a corporate food fight played out in dozens of communities impacting tens of thousands of workers and the economies of three states. When the faction of the Market Basket board headed by Arthur S. Demoulas fired his cousin and arch-rival Arthur T. Demoulas as long-time CEO of the successful supermarket chain, it set off a firestorm that sparked one of most unique corporate dramas in American history.

 

Hearing is Believing
Lorenzo DeStefano; 100 min
Filmmaker Q&A
Rachelflowersfilm.com
Saturday, September 17 at 2:30 pm
The Screening Room

Born 15 weeks premature, Rachel Flowers lost her eyesight due to Retinopathy of Prematurity. When she was two she began picking up melodies and was soon playing every song she heard by ear. She had perfect pitch and started her formal musical education at four. Rachel spent the next 10 years studying at the Southern California Conservatory of Music. This is a portrait of a tight knit American family living paycheck to paycheck in working class Oxnard, California, with Rachel’s stunning music as the soundtrack.

 

In Pursuit of Silence
Patrick Shen; 81 min
http://pursuitofsilence.com
Sunday, September 18 at 6:30 pm
Firehouse Center for the Arts

As much a work of devotion as it is a documentary, In Pursuit of Silence is a meditative exploration of our relationship with silence and the impact of noise on our lives. From causing aggressive behavior to hundreds of thousands of heart attacks around the world, there is no aspect of human life that noise does not infringe upon. Silence as a resource for respite and renewal from the sensory onslaught of our modern lives is now more important than ever before.

 

Insatiable: The Homaro Cantu Story
Brett Schwartz; 98 min
http://www.insatiablemovie.com/
Saturday, September 17 at 10:30 am
The Screening Room

Filmed over a period of three years, Insatiable follows Chef Homaro Cantu at a pivotal moment in his career when he shifts from avant-garde celebrity chef into his final role — an idealistic humanitarian dedicated to solving some of the most vexing problems in the world. Insatiable takes you on a dizzying and thrilling ride with Cantu, in a story that moves from redemption and inspiration to tragedy and back again.

 

Jackson
Maisie Crow; 91 min
Filmmaker Q&A
www.jacksonthefilm.com
Saturday, September 17 at 12:30 pm
The Screening Room

filmstrip_single.psdAbortion remains legal in the United States but anti-abortion efforts have succeeded in making it virtually inaccessible in some places and in the Deep South, often unthinkable. At one time Mississippi had fourteen abortion clinics. Now only one remains. 
Since the passage of Roe v. Wade more than four decades ago, the self-labeled “pro-life” movement has won significant cultural, political and legal battles. Now, the stigma of abortion is prolific in Mississippi and women in poverty and women of color are particularly vulnerable.

 

 

Jarvis Rockwell
Loren Miller and Rachel Victor; 40 min
Filmmaker Q&A
Shorts Block #1, Saturday, September 17 at 2:30 pm
Firehouse Center for the Arts

Though he frequently posed for his father’s most famous works, life wasn’t a Norman Rockwell painting. Instead, Jarvis Rockwell grew up in a family far more emotionally complex than is generally known. Leading his younger brothers through an unusual childhood, he was determined to forge his own path. Experimenting in various art media, captured by a strange obsession, Jarvis found intriguing ways to express his unique artistic vision and to reconcile with his father.

 

JOANI: Queen of the Paradiddle
Tina Gordon; 31 min
Filmmaker Q&A
Shorts Block #1, Saturday, September 17 at 2:30 pm
Firehouse Center for the Arts

In 1935, at eight years old, Joani Hannan picked up a pair of drumsticks and beat her path in entertainment history. Joani was a pioneering female jazz drummer who traveled the world in the USO and played alongside Marilyn Monroe in “Some Like It Hot.” Despite the challenges and constraints of the 50s and 60’s for women and queers, Joani transcended stereotypes exemplifying to all who she met – the strength, self-love and courage to be true to oneself no matter what.

 

Land Grab
Sean O’Grady; 76 min
http://www.landgrabfilm.com
Sunday, September 18 at 10:30 am
Firehouse Center for the Arts

Land Grab is the story of an eccentric finance mogul’s dream to create the world’s largest urban farm in his hometown of Detroit, and the political firestorm he unintentionally ignited by announcing that he would spend $30 million of his own fortune to build this farm in one of the most economically devastated neighborhoods of the bankrupt Motor City.

 

Pet Fooled
Kohl Harrington; 70 min
Sunday, September 18 at 10:30 am
The Screening Room

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Pet Fooled takes viewers on a journey with two Chicago-based veterinarians who help uncover the inner workings of the multi-conglomerate operated, billion-dollar pet food industry that has gone unchallenged until now.

 

 

 

 

 

Pigheaded
John Kinhart; 90 min
Filmmaker and Skip Williamson Q&A
https://www.facebook.com/pigheadedmovie/
Saturday, September 17 at 12:15 pm
Firehouse Center for the Arts

Pigheaded tells the provocative life story of underground cartoonist and subversive satirist Skip Williamson. His unapologetic art exemplified the spirit of the 60’s counter-culture movement. Williamson helped lead the burgeoning Underground Comix scene five decades ago as a founder of Bijou Funnies one of the earliest and longest running titles of that Movement. This film faithfully portrays his life as a rebellious artist, irreverent pig head and loving family man.

 

Seven Days a Week
Tal Amiran; 10 min
www.facebook.com/sevendaysaweekfilm/
Sunday, September 18 at 12:00 pm
The Screening Room
(
Shown with The Frozen Chosen)

For the last 36 years, Paul has opened his North London paper stall at 4:40am, seven days a week, every week of the year. Now 66, and with his time selling papers nearing an end, Paul reflects on his life in the paper booth and what the future holds for the stall he inherited from his father.

 

SINCE: The Bombing of PAN AM Flight 103
Phil Furey; 84 min
Filmmaker Q&A
www.since103.com/the-film
Saturday, September 17 at 4:30 pm
Firehouse Center for the Arts

270 lives ended in one horrific moment on December 21, 1988 when a terrorist bomb planted by Libya destroyed NY-bound Pan Am Flight 103 over the quaint, rural village of Lockerbie, Scotland. This film tells the story of a handful of those victims and their families, as well as the strong group of survivors who banded together for a difficult fight for truth and justice.

 

Soy Cubana
Jeremy Ungar; 17 min
Filmmaker Q&A
www.soycubanamovie.com
Shorts Block #2, Sunday, September 18 at 1:45 pm
The Screening Room

Winners of the 2016 CUBADISCO Award for best vocal group, the Vocal Vidas are a female a cappella group from Santiago de Cuba – the cradle of Afro-Cuban music. This documentary explores their unique sound and tells the story of crafting a musical career in a society in which artistic merit is not measured solely by economic success.

 

Starring Austin Pendleton
Gene Gallerano and David Holmes; 20 min
www.starringaustinpendleton.com
Shorts Block #2, Sunday, September 18 at 1:45 pm
The Screening Room

The quintessential character you might just recognize. Follow Austin as he reflects on his life and craft, while his A-list peers discuss his influence, dogged determination and what it means to be an original in today’s celebrity-obsessed world.

 

The Frozen Chosen
Elizabeth Gardner; 72 min
Filmmaker Q&A
www.frozenchosenmovie.com
Sunday, September 18 at 12:00 pm
The Screening Room
(
Shown with Seven Days a Week)

Some four thousand new evangelical churches are “planted” annually in the United States, springing up in schools, cafes and movie theaters replete with rock bands, new-age names and bathtub baptisms. But when a young modern-day missionary couple named David and Betsy Hill buck convention and plant their church in Boston, amongst the most secular cities nationwide, they soon find themselves at odds with the predominant culture. The Frozen Chosen follows the Hills’ unvarnished quest to win souls and build their fledgling congregation and in doing so illuminates the larger story of a fundamentalist faith struggling to remain “culturally relevant” in an increasingly polarized society.

 

The Guys Next Door
Amy Geller and Allie Humenuk; 74 min
Filmmaker Q&A
asquaredfilms.com
Sunday, September 18 at 4:00 pm
The Screening Room

The Guys Next Door ​is an intimate portrait of a real-life Modern Family. Meet Erik and Sandro, a gay married couple with two daughters birthed by their close friend Rachel. Rachel is married to Tony and they have three biological children. Together they form a unique extended family. Spanning over three years, this documentary tackles some of the most pertinent issues of our time: gay marriage and parenting, surrogacy as a path to having children, the uncertainties of nature vs nurture. Told with candor and humor, The Guys Next Door ​is an inspiring story of family, friendship and gay rights.

 

The Hidden Harpist
Eleanor Levine; 4 min
Filmmaker Q&A
Sunday, September 18 at 12:00 pm
Firehouse Center for the Arts
(
Shown with Blindsided)

Ellie Denison, a student at Wheaton College, decided she wanted to play harp for the rest of her life, but when she realized that would include performance, she began to hate the instrument. Now she struggles with having a purpose for her harping; is it enough just to play for herself?

 

The Opening Act
Linda Chorney; 64 min
Filmmaker Q&A
www.theopeningactmovie.com
Friday, September 16 at 7:30 pm
Firehouse Center for the Arts

In this profoundly personal, funny documentary, we accompany the director in the passenger seat as she enlists friends, family and strangers in the production of a wild music video for a new song. Along the way, she attempts to answer the paradoxical questions many artists ask themselves: “What defines success?” This DIY candid, hand-held, humorous, emotional film gives you a glimpse of what it takes for a recording artist who’s always almost “making it” to stay in the biz.

 

The Slippers
Morgan White; 90 min
www.facebook.com/theslippersdocumentary
Saturday, September 17 at 10:30 am
Firehouse Center for the Arts

The Slippers pulls back the Wizard’s curtain on the unbelievable story and cultural impact of Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz. Through first-hand accounts and archival interviews, we follow the life of the Ruby Slippers after their sale at the famed 1970 MGM auction. They have been bought, stolen, and coveted by many. They are considered the most important piece of Hollywood memorabilia and the catalyst for the creation of Hollywood memorabilia collecting.

 

The Song of the Broad Axe
Erin Murphy and Nina Schmir; 30 min
Filmmaker Q&A
www.axemaine.com
Shorts Block #2, 
Sunday, September 18 at 1:45 pm
The Screening Room

This poetic documentary uses an iconic object to explore the lives of people who have chosen to live a more purposeful life – one that involves using an axe on a daily basis. This film gives a glimpse into the lives of competitive axe throwers, axe historians, axe makers, and home builders. Ultimately The Song of the Broad Axe is a film about finding your place in the world and the tools that you use to do it.

 

What Tomorrow Brings
Beth Murphy; 90 min
Filmmaker Q&A
principlepictures.com/what-tomorrow-brings
Saturday, September 17 at 7:30 pm
Firehouse Center for the Arts

With unprecedented access, What Tomorrow Brings goes inside the very first girls’ school in one small Afghan village. Never before have fathers here allowed their daughters to be educated, and they aren’t sure they even want to now. And although remarkable changes happen when a community skeptical about girls’ education learns to embrace it, the threats that girls face – from forced marriage to Taliban attack – loom large. Filmmaker Beth Murphy embeds herself in this school and community for a most intimate look at what it really means to be a girl growing up in Afghanistan today.