Foyle Film Festival 2020 Announces Line-Up


Foyle Film Festival have revealed their full line-up of features for the upcoming 33rd annual Foyle Film Festival which will be entirely virtual this year, running from the 20th to the 29th November. With the film festival being entirely online this year, they are advising film lovers to book early as, like the BFI London Film Festival earlier this month, there’s limited tickets per screening online. So to book tickets, click here. Once you order a film, you will have seven days to watch it from when it premieres at the festival and once you click to watch the film, you will have unlimited access to it for 24 hours, which I believe is a fantastic idea for those afraid that they might miss out on particular set times due to work and other things that would take up their time.

 

Here is the full list of features that will be screened virtually at the 33rd annual Foyle Film Festival.

 

IRISH FEATURE

 

A GIRL FROM MOGADISHU

DIRECTOR: Mary McGuckian

STARRING: Aja Naomi King, Barkhad Abdi, Martha Cango Antonio, Orla Brady, Maryam Mursal, Luke Spencer Roberts, Stanley Townsend and Pauline McLynn

 

SYNOPSIS

Based on the testimony of Ifrah Ahmed, who – having made the extraordinary journey to escape war-torn Somalia – emerged as one of the world’s foremost international activists against Gender Based Violence and Female Genital Mutilation.

 

Fleeing war-torn Somalia in 2006, Ifrah Ahmed is trafficked to Ireland where a traumatic medical examination when seeking asylum reveals the extent of her mutilation as a child. Traumatised by the memory, she channels the experience into a force for change and emerges as a formidable campaigner against Female Genital Mutilation at the highest political echelons. The film earned the Cinema for Peace Award for Women’s Empowerment at this years Cinema For Peace Awards, and while the film did have a cinematic release in Ireland back in April, it was pretty limited due to the COVID-19 lockdowns across the country, so finally audiences here will get the chance to see the film from the comfort of their own home. The film will premiere on the 25th November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

THE CASTLE (PILIS)

DIRECTED BY: Lina Luzyte

STARRING: Barbora Bareikyte, Gabija Jaraminaite, Jurate Onaityte, Martyna Peszko and Andrei Ciopec

 

SYNOPSIS

Monika’s dream to play a one in a lifetime concert is cut short by her mother. However, she stops at nothing to pursue her dream.

 

This coming-of-age drama follows Monika, a 13-year-old Lithuanian girl who has recently moved to Dublin with her mother and demented grandmother. A passionate singer, Monika pushes her mother, a professional pianist, to keep playing with her. But mum now works in a fish factory to pay the bills. When the two are invited to play at “The Castle”, Monika’s mum refuses and won’t give Monika the 120 euros she needs to hire a keyboard. Determined to go, a desperate Monika ends up kidnapping her own granny and demanding the ransom from her mum. The film will premiere on the 26th November and you and book a virtual ticket here.

 

ARRACHT

DIRECTED BY: Tom Sullivan and Tomás Ó Súilleabháin

STARRING: Dónall Ó Héalaí, Saise Ní Chuinn, Dara Devaney, Michael McElhatton, Peter Coonan and Seán T. Ó Meallaigh

 

SYNOPSIS

Set in Ireland, 1845, the film revolves around fisherman Colmán Sharkey, who takes in a stranger, Patsy, a former soldier, who arrives just ahead of the blight – a crop disease that caused the Great Plague, killing and displacing millions of Irish people.

 

Arracht is a haunting tale of overcoming grief and the fight for survival set in Ireland, 1845 on the eve of The Great Hunger. Colmán Sharkey, a fisherman, a father, a husband, takes in a stranger at the behest of a local priest. Patsy, a former soldier in the Napoleonic wars arrives just ahead of ‘the blight,’ a disease that eventually wipes out the country’s potato crop, contributing to the death and displacement of millions. As the crops rot in the fields, Colmán, his brother and Patsy travel to the English Landlord’s house to request a stay on rent increases that Colmán predicts will destroy his community. His request falls on deaf ears and Patsy’s subsequent actions set Colmán on a path that will take him to the edge of survival, and sanity. The film marks the directorial feature debuts of Tom Sullivan and Tomás Ó Súilleabháin, with the film already gaining some hype and momentum on the film festival circuit after winning awards at the Dublin International Film Festival (Best Irish Film and Best Actor) and Glasgow Film Festival (Audience Awarrd), so I’m interested to see this film already. The film will premiere on the 27th November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

WILDFIRE

DIRECTED BY: Cathy Brady

STARRING: Nora Jane Noone, Nika McGuigan, Kate Dickie, Martin McCann, David Pearse, Aiste Gramantaite, Joanne Crawford, Helen Behan, Toni O’Rourke, Olga Wehrly, Uriel Emil and Damien Hannaway

 

SYNOPSIS

The story of two sisters who grew up on the fractious Irish border. When one of them, who has been missing, finally returns home, the intense bond with her sister is re-ignited. Together they unearth their mother’s past but uncovered secrets and resentments which have been buried deep, threaten to overwhelm them.

 

Wildfire is a drama that focuses on ‘Irish Twins’ Lauren and Kelly. You’d never see one without the other, but over the years the mystery of their mother’s death tore them apart. Kelly keen to escape their insular town drifted away and disappeared a year ago. Lauren’s life has been on hold since reporting her missing. When Kelly unexpectedly returns home, it’s a surge of every raw emotion between the sisters. But as they begin to relive memories of their mother, the sister’s become inseparable. Their bond stronger than ever and Kelly’s desire for the truth is dangerously reignited. As Kelly digs deeper, not everyone is ready. In this border town, secrets are meant to stay buried and Lauren has been keeping the biggest one of all. This drama marks the directorial feature debut of Cathy Brady, and while I just missed out on seeing the film at BFI London Film Festival, I’m glad that Foyle Film Festival will be screening it and I definitely plan to check it out this time. The film will premiere on the 28th November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

ROSE PLAYS JULIE

DIRECTED BY: Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy

STARRING: Ann Skelly, Orla Brady, Aidan Gillen, Annabell Rickerby, Catherine Walker, Joanne Crawford, Alan Howley and Sadie Soverall

 

SYNOPSIS

An adopted girl who seeks out her birth mother only to be told her mother has no desire to meet her.

 

Rose Plays Julie tells the story of a young woman searching for her biological mother. Set against a backdrop of misogyny, revenge and longing, Rose undertakes a journey that leads her to revelations that are both devastating and dangerous. Written and directed by Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy, the film has been screened at various film festivals, from London Film Festival last year to Dublin Film Festival, Galway Film Fleadh, Melbourne International Film Festival, Bari International Film Festival, Hamptons International Film Festival and Amplify Film Festival this year. Granted I’m not familiar with the film but having it close the Foyle Film Festival makes me more curious to check it out. The film will close the festival on the 29th November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

DRAMATIC FEATURE

 

FALLING

DIRECTED BY: Viggo Mortensen

STARRING: Viggo Mortensen, Lance Henriksen, Sverrir Gudmnason, Laura Linney, Hannah Gross, Terry Chen, David Cronenberg and Gabby Velis

 

SYNOPSIS

A conservative father moves from his rural farm to live with his gay son’s family in Los Angeles.

 

John lives in California with his partner Eric, and their adopted daughter Monica, far from the traditional rural life he left behind years ago. When his conservative and homophobic father Willis starts to exhibit symptoms of dementia, John brings him west, hoping he and his sister Sarah can help their father find a home closer to them. Their best intentions ultimately run up against Willis’s angry refusal to change his way of life in any way. Falling marks the directorial debut of veteran actor Viggo Mortensen, who also wrote the screenplay here. That along with the fact he stars alongside Lance Henriksen, I’m already sold on watching the film, which will be making its Northern Irish premiere here at the Foyle Film Festival. The film will open the festival on the 21st November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

ETERNAL BEAUTY

DIRECTED BY: Craig Roberts

STARRING: Sally Hawkins, David Thewlis, Alice Lowe, Billie Piper, Penelope Wilton and Morfydd Clark

 

SYNOPSIS

After Jane falls into a state of despair over her schizophrenia, she encounters new sources of love and life with surprising results.

 

Eternal Beauty tells the story of Jane who since a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia in her 20s, has had her life measured in breakdowns and institutions. Now living independently she remains upbeat, determined and easily the nicest person in her vile, self-centred family. Stopping her medication opens up a brave new world that includes an attraction to kindred spirit Mike. Eternal Beauty is written and directed by Craig Roberts, following up from his directorial debut Just Jim. The film will premiere on the 28th November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

A PERFECTLY NORMAL FAMILY (EN HELT ALMINDELIG FAMILIE)

DIRECTED BY: Malou Reymann

STARRING: Jessica Dinnage, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, Hadewych Minis and Kaya Toft Loholt

 

SYNOPSIS

Emma has a perfectly normal family until one day it turns out her dad, Thomas, is transgender. As Thomas becomes Agnete, both father and daughter struggle to hold on to what they had while accepting that everything has changed.

 

Emma has what you’d consider to be a ‘normal’ family life. That is, until one day her Dad announces that he intends to transition into a woman. Through tense therapy sessions, upsetting holidays, and acts of teenage rebellion, the family must work hard to adapt to this new way of living together, if that’s even possible. A Perfectly Normal Family is a Danish drama that marks the directorial feature debut of Malou Reymann, who co-wrote the screenplay with Maren Louise Käehne. The film will premiere on the 26th November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

DOCUMENTARY

 

UNSETTLED: SEEKING REFUGE IN AMERICA

DIRECTED BY: Tom Shepard

 

SYNOPSIS

This documentary follows the stories of LGBT refugees and asylum seekers from Africa and the Middle East as they flee persecution in their countries of origin to seek better and safer lives in the U.S

 

It is devastating to think that in over 70 countries in the world it is still illegal to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender? With some of these countries even employing the death penalty as ultimate punishment. Since Donald Trump came to power in the USA, refugees seeking asylum has decreased by 70%, meaning that some of the most vulnerable are unable to find a safe place to escape to. These are just some of the reasons that make it so important that this documentary be seen by as many people as possible. This documentary follows four brave individuals from Africa and the Middle East who have fled homophobic violence sanctioned by their home countries and families of origin. Beginning anew, Cheyenne and Mari (Angolan), Subhi (Syrian), and Junior (Congolese) face immense barriers to securing work, housing, and legal assistance. Fighting isolation and depression, they share stories that form an unflinching picture of nearly insurmountable challenges. The documentary will premiere on the 21st November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

THE BALLYMURPHY PRECEDENT

DIRECTED BY: Callum Macrae

 

SYNOPSIS

The Ballymurphy Precedent tells the unknown story of the death of eleven innocent people at the hands of the British Army in a Catholic estate in Belfast in 1971.

 

The Ballymurphy Precedent is a devastating documentary that tells the story of the death of eleven innocent people killed by the British Army on a Catholic estate in Belfast in 1971, and the fight by their relatives and survivors to discover the truth. This is a massacre that few have heard of, yet it was one of the most significant events of the Troubles, coming as it did in the first days of internment and six months before Bloody Sunday. The documentary will premiere on the 21st November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

EATING ANIMALS

DIRECTED BY: Christopher Quinn

 

SYNOPSIS

An examination of our dietary choices and the food we put in our bodies. Based on Jonathan Safran Foer’s memoir.

 

Directed by Christopher Quinn, this documentary poses the question: what is the alternative to factory farming? Nearly all of the meat, eggs, and dairy we eat comes from the industrial system known as factory farming. This system destroys our environment and harms public health, and never before has humankind caused more suffering. Based on Jonathan Safran Foer’s critically acclaimed book of the same name, the documentary puts the spotlight on the heroic farmers, whistleblowers, and innovators who are standing up, against all odds, to fight this system and provide a new way forward. Eating Animals is narrated by Natalie Portman, who also served as co-producer on the project. The film will premiere on the 21st November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

HENRY GLASSIE: FIELD WORK

DIRECTED BY: Pat Collins

 

SYNOPSIS

The worldwide travels and unique cultural finds of renowned American folklorist Henry Glassie are enthralling chronicled in this portrait by director Pat Collins.

 

Over the last fifty years the celebrated American Folklorist Henry Glassie has been writing in-depth studies of communities and their art. Inspired by the writings and ideas of Glassie, Field Work is an immersive and meditative documentary set among the rituals and rhythms of working artists across Brazil, Turkey, North Carolina and Ireland. The process of making something out of raw materials is luminously manifested in sequences which reflect in their measured and attentive approach the actual real time process of making, of the work of hands and of the close attention the artist is bringing to the work. The film will premiere on the 21st November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

THE DIRTY WAR ON THE NHS

DIRECTED BY: John Pilger

 

SYNOPSIS

Veteran filmmaker John Pilger takes us through a history of threats to Britain’s National Health Service ,from its 1948 founding by Labor through a privatising push by Margaret Thatcher’s bureaucrats, to challenges by new Conservatives.

 

The film clearly lays out the scale and method of the market’s encroachment on the NHS. It’s increasingly difficult to trust politicians on the subject, both in government and opposition, but refreshingly, Pilger gives a platform to independent academics, researchers and medical practitioners who are able to cut through the noise and share their expert observations. The result is a damning report of decline and, as Pilger takes us back through the NHS’ history, one that began with Margaret Thatcher’s  government and has since been compounded by the Blair government and David Cameron’s coalition. The documentary will be screening for free at the Foyle Film Festival and you can book your ticket here and the film premieres on the 22nd November.

 

THE MOLE AGENT

DIRECTED BY: Maite Alberdi

 

SYNOPSIS

A private investigator in Chile hires someone to work as a mole at a retirement home where a client of his suspects the caretakers of elder abuse.

 

The Mole Agent is a documentary from Maite Alberdi, where a family becomes concerned about their mother’s wellbeing in a retirement home, private investigator Romulo hires Sergio, an 83 year-old man who becomes a new resident–and a mole inside the home, who struggles to balance his assignment with becoming increasingly involved in the lives of several residents. Definitely an intriguing documentary to check out at the Foyle Film Festival, which will premiere on the 22nd November and you can book your virtual ticket here.

 

AQUARELA

DIRECTED BY: Victor Kossakovsky

SYNOPSIS

Water and ice are shown around the world, in all of their many powerful forms.

 

Aquarela takes audiences on a deeply cinematic journey through the transformative beauty and raw power of water. Captured at a rare 96 frames-per-second, the film is a visceral wake-up call that humans are no match for the sheer force and capricious will of Earth’s most precious element. From the precarious frozen waters of Russia’s Lake Baikal to Miami in the throes of Hurricane Irma to Venezuela’s mighty Angel Falls, water is Aquarela’s main character, with director Victor Kossakovsky capturing her many personalities in startling cinematic clarity. Aquarela will premiere on the 22nd November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

THE PAINTER AND THE THIEF

DIRECTED BY: Benjamin Ree

 

SYNOPSIS

An artist befriends the thief who stole her paintings. She becomes his closest ally when he is severely hurt in a car crash and needs full time care, even if her paintings are not found. But then the tables turn.

 

An artist befriends the thief who stole her paintings. She becomes his closest ally when he is severely hurt in a car crash and needs full-time care, even if her paintings are not found. But then, the tables turn. Barbara Kysilkova’s paintings were stolen from the windows of an Oslo gallery, leading to documentarian director Benjamin Ree being interested in the story. During the trial, Kysilkova asked one of the accused, Karl-Bertil Nordland, why he took the paintings, answering ‘Because they were beautiful’. After the trial, Kysilkova contact Nordland with a rather unusual request: to paint his portrait. The Painter and The Thief was a big winner amongst film lovers at the BFI London Film Festival recently, winning the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the festival. Having seen the documentary myself, it’s an interesting look into forgiveness and redemption, a tale that is almost too good to be true as it unfolds in front of your eyes. The Painter and The Thief will premiere on the 22nd November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

THE AMBER LIGHT

DIRECTED BY: Adam Park

 

SYNOPSIS

A film about whisky, Scotland, and the weird and wonderful stuff in between.

 

In the documentary we follow Dave Broom from Glasgow to remote Islay, Elgin, Fife and Edinburgh, and explores the history of whisky and its status in Scotland. The different roles whisky has played within the communities throughout Scotland and that its taste quite literally reflects the land on which it is made. Treasured by many, the taste of whisky comes alive in the regions in which it is born, its smell awakens memories of family and community in many a Scotsman. The Amber Light was partially funded through Kickstarter and is a collaboration between Broom and online food & drinks magazine outlet The Gannet. The documentary will premiere on the 23rd November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

BEYOND THE VISIBLE: HILMA AF KLINT

DIRECTED BY: Halina Dyrschka

 

SYNOPSIS

The first abstract artist was a woman, misjudged and concealed, Hilma Klint rocks the art world with her mind-blowing oeuvre.

 

The first abstract artist was a woman: misjudged and concealed, Hilma af Klint rocks the art world with her mind-blowing oeuvre. A hundred years later she is the biggest discovery who is attracting millions of fans worldwide. Currently the Guggenheim Museum NY is showing Hilma af Klint in the first major solo exhibition in the United States. Beyond The Visible will premiere on the 23rd November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

A WORM IN THE HEART

DIRECTED BY: Paul Rice

 

SYNOPSIS

A Worm In The Heart details the lives and stories from the LGBTQ+ community across Russia.

 

Shot in six cities along the Trans-Siberian Railway, A Worm In The Heart details the current state of the Russian queer community – giving both broad societal overviews and deeply personal accounts from activists and non-activists alike. The film follows Paul Rice and Liam Jackson Montgomery, a gay couple from Ireland, as they travel on the Trans-Siberian Railway, meeting with a diverse range of LGBT+ people-from Nobel Peace prize nominees and drag queens to those who have suffered brutal homophobic and transphobic attacks. This documentary marks the directorial debut of Paul Rice and will premiere on the 24th November, where you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

RAISE HELL: THE LIFE & TIMES OF MOLLY IVINS

DIRECTED BY: Janice Engel

 

SYNOPSIS

This documentary looks at the life of Molly Ivins, an American newspaper columnist, author and political commentator.

 

This documentary that tells the story of media firebrand Molly Ivins, six feet of Texas trouble who took on the Good Old Boy corruption wherever she found it. Her razor sharp wit left both sides of the aisle laughing, and craving ink in her columns. She knew the Bill of Rights was in peril, and said “Polarising people is a good way to win an election and a good way to wreck a country.” Molly’s words have proved prescient. Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins will premiere on the 24th November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

MY DARLING VIVIAN

DIRECTD BY: Matt Riddlehoover

 

SYNOPSIS

The story of Vivian Liberto, Johnny Cash’s first wife and the mother of his four daughters.

 

My Darling Vivian tells the story of Vivian Liberto , Johnny Cash’s first wife and married to him for thirteen years, as told for the first time by their four daughters. What begins as a whirlwind summer romance turns into marriage and a life on the road, during which Johnny Cash becomes a superstar household name, painfully estranged from his first family. A classic tale of stardom, love, isolation, fear, heartbreak, and survival, My Darling Vivian is illustrated with never before seen photographs and home videos, and features the four Cash daughters (Rosanne, Kathy, Cindy, and Tara), produced by Cash’s grandson Dustin Tittle, and directed by Tittle’s husband, filmmaker Matt Riddlehoover. My Darling Vivian will premiere on the 24th November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

MARTIN MCGUINNESS – I FOUGHT, I MADE PEACE, I MADE POLITICS

DIRECTED BY: Sonia Nic Giolla Easbuig

 

SYNOPSIS

A documentary that traces Martin  McGuinness’ life from his early days defending the Bogside, to his days defending the Peace Process.

.

Martin McGuinness was a controversial figure who divided opinion. But he was also a skilled negotiator who brought people together. Martin McGuinness was a public figure for over forty years. He started as a revolutionary, then became a politician, eventually going on to hold the office of Deputy First Minister for almost a decade. This film gives a rare insight into one man’s incredible journey from a terraced house in a rundown part of Derry, to being the man who helped bring peace and a representative government to this troubled corner of Ireland. In this documentary we hear testimonies from friends, opponents, colleagues and Martin himself, as we trace his unique and eventful life. In partnership with Belfast Film Festival, this documentary will premiere for free on the 25th November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

RESILIENCE

DIRECTED BY: James Redford

 

SYNOPSIS

An exploration into the developments of medical studies where conditions like heart disease can be linked to childhood experiences.

 

Directed by the late James Redford, son of Robert Redford, this documentary reveals that toxic stress can trigger hormones that wreak havoc on the brains and bodies of children, putting them at a greater risk for disease, homelessness, prison time, and early death. While the broader impacts of poverty worsen the risk, no segment of society is immune. Resilience, however, also chronicles the dawn of a movement that is determined to fight back. Trailblazers in paediatrics, education, and social welfare are using cutting-edge science and field-tested therapies to protect children from the insidious effects of toxic stress – and the dark legacy of a childhood that no child would choose. The documentary will premiere on the 25th November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

FIVE SEASONS: THE GARDENS OF PIET OUDOLF

DIRECTED BY: Thomas Piper

 

SYNOPSIS

Director Thomas Piper filmed the garden designer Piet Oudolf over five seasons as he designed gardens from New York’s High Line and Hauser and Wirth’s prairie garden in Somerset, England to his own private garden at Hummelo in Holland.

 

After completing a feature documentary on New York’s High Line, award-winning filmmaker Thomas Piper met the inspirational designer and plantsman, Piet Oudolf, and the idea for a new project was born. Intimate discussions take place through all fours seasons in Piet’s own gardens at Hummelo, and on visits to his signature public works in New York, Chicago, and the Netherlands, as well as to the far-flung locations that inspire his genius, including desert wildflowers in West Texas and post-industrial forests in Pennsylvania. As a narrative thread, the film also follows Oudolf as he designs and installs a major new garden at Hauser & Wirth Somerset, a gallery and arts center in Southwest England, a garden he considers his best work yet. Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf will premiere on the 26th November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

MOSSVILLE: WHEN GREAT TREES FALL

DIRECTED BY: Alexander Glustrom

 

SYNOPSIS

As a centuries-old black community, contaminated and uprooted by petrochemical plants, comes to terms with the loss of its ancestral home, one man standing in the way of a plant’s expansion refuses to give up.

 

Mossville, Louisiana: A once-thriving community founded by formerly enslaved and free people of colour, and an economically flourishing safe haven for generations of African American families. Today it’s a breeding ground for petrochemical plants and their toxic black clouds.  Many residents are forced from their homes, and those that stay suffer from prolonged exposure to contamination and pollution. Amid this chaos and injustice stands one man who refuses to abandon his family’s land – and his community. Mossville: When Great Trees Fall will premiere on the 27th November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

ONE MAN AND HIS SHOES

DIRECTED BY: Yemi Bamiro

 

SYNOPSIS

One Man and His Shoes tells the story of the phenomenon of Air Jordan sneakers showing their social, cultural and racial significance and how ground-breaking marketing strategies created a multi-billion-dollar business.

 

One Man and His Shoes is a documentary all about shoes and shoe culture. Beginning in the 80s, when Michael Jordan was just a promising basketball player in North Carolina and Nike was considered to be an also-ran in the shoe business, the documentary shows how Michael Jordan and the shoes named after him revolutionised American culture. At a time when shoe companies like Converse were making cringe-worthy commercials that featured Larry Bird and several other players rapping about their shoes, Nike reinvented the game by teaming up with Michael Jordan and bringing in Spike Lee to film their commercials. If the first half of the documentary celebrates the success of Jordan and Nike, the second half takes a critical look at the violence that has sprung up over the shoes. This documentary was a big hit with audiences who caught it at the BFI London Film Festival, which will premiere at the festival on the 27th November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

PIER KIDS

DIRECTED BY: Elegance Bratton

 

SYNOPSIS

Pier kids follows Crystal LaBeija, Casper and Desean’s transition from being homeless to housed.

 

In this documentary, the audience follows the director over the course of three years as he films three gay and transgender youths of colour who, after being kicked out of their home for their sexuality, have become, like the director once was, homeless on the same street the Gay Rights Movement began so long ago. Caught up in the precariousness of survival and self-preservation, homeless queer and trans youth of colour hang out at Christopher Street Pier, forging their own chosen family. Genuine and charming, these eloquent youth must contend with overwhelming amounts of homophobia and abuse. Pier Kids will premiere at the festival on the 28th November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

THE STORY OF PLASTIC

DIRECTED BY: Deia Schlosberg

 

SYNOPSIS

We only know the end of the story…and that’s just the beginning.

 

The Story of Plastic looks at the man-made crisis of plastic pollution and the worldwide effect it has on the health of our planet and the people that inhabit it. Spanning three continents, the film illustrates the ongoing catastrophe: fields full of garbage, veritable mountains of trash; rivers and seas clogged with waste; and skies choked with the poisonous emissions from plastic production and processing. Featuring interviews with experts and activists on the frontlines of the fight, the film reveals the disastrous consequences of the flood of plastic smothering ecosystems and poisoning communities around the world, and the global movement rising up in response. The film will premiere on the 28th November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE

DIRECTED BY: Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon

 

SYNOPSIS

A documentary that examines the 1989 case of five black and Latino teenagers who were convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park. After having spent between 6 and 13 years each in prison, a serial rapist confessed to the crime.

 

Before Ava DuVernay’s limited series When They See Us came out in 2019, back in 2012 we had the documentary about The Central Park Five. In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem were arrested and later convicted of raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park. They spent between 6 and 13 years in prison before a serial rapist confessed that he alone had committed the crime, leading to their convictions being overturned. Set against a backdrop of a decaying city beset by violence and racial tension, The Central Park Five tells the story of that horrific crime, the rush to judgment by the police, a media clamouring for sensational stories and an outraged public, and the five lives upended by this miscarriage of justice. The film will be screening for free in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign, premiering on the 28th November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

WHITE RIOT

DIRECTED BY: Rubika Shah

 

SYNOPSIS

Rock Against Racism was formed in 1976, prompted by Eric Clapton. It blends fresh interviews with archive footage to recreate a hostile environment of anti-immigrant hysteria and National Front marches.

 

Rubika Shah’s documentary explores Rock Against Racism, which united punk, ska, reggae and new wave against the National Front (NF) in the 1970s. Concerned by the growing popularity of the NF and galvanised by Eric Clapton’s on-stage support for the reactionary politician Enoch Powell, a group of young Londoners wrote to the New Musical Express in 1976 urging its readers to join a “rank and file movement against the racist poison in rock music”. That’s exactly what happened: rejecting the nihilist postures of punk, bands toured the country chanting down Babylon, and radical politics found an insurgent soundtrack. The documentary will premiere on the 28th November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

LANDFALL

DIRECTED BY: Cecilia Aldarondo

 

SYNOPSIS

Landfall chronicles the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and the fraught relationship between the US and Puerto Rico.

 

This visually striking, kaleidoscopic portrait of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria criss-crosses the island to document the resilience of a community banding together to rebuild. While the devastation of María attracted a great deal of media coverage, the world has paid far less attention to the storm that preceded it: a 72-billion-dollar debt crisis crippling Puerto Rico well before the winds and waters hit. A compassionate and stirring cinematic essay, Landfall examines the dual environmental and economic crises of not only a natural disaster, but the disaster of American colonialism and its economic legacies. The documentary will premiere on the 29th November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

REBUILDING PARADISE

DIRECTED BY: Ron Howard

 

SYNOPSIS

The community of Paradise, California, a town in the Sierra Nevada foothills, attempts to rebuild after devastating wildfires in 2018.

 

On the morning of 8 November, 2018, a devastating firestorm engulfed the picturesque city of Paradise, California. By the time the Camp Fire was extinguished, it had killed 85 people, displaced 50,000 residents and destroyed 95% of local structures. It was the deadliest U.S. fire in 100 years, and the worst ever in California’s history. Over the course of a year, survivors from Paradise cope with shared trauma, displacement, and uncertainty about the future. Yet slowly, with sheer grit and determination, they begin to rebuild their lives and redefine the meaning of home. The documentary will premiere on the 29th November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

WOMEN IN BLUE

DIRECTED BY: Deirdre Fishel

 

SYNOPSIS

Documentary follows the stories of the women police officers in Minneapolis who try to reform the department and restore trust in the community after a high-profile police shooting forces its first female chief to resign.

 

Filmed between  2017 and 2019, Women In Blue follows the Minneapolis Police Department’s first female police chief as she works to reform the department to restrain bad cops and diversify the ranks by increasing the role of women (who statistically use less force than their male counterparts). After an officer-involved shooting forces the chief to resign, the new male chief selects only men as his top brass. The film will premiere on the 29th November and you can book a virtual ticket here.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.