2014 Films

October Gale Canada Ruba Nadda Ruba Nadda Daniel Iron This dramatic thriller stars brilliant indie actor Patricia Clarkson in the role of Helen Matthews, a woman in the process of carefully reclaiming her life. She reopens her Northern Ontario cottage while a storm starts whipping up a powerful sense of menace. Suddenly a strange man with a gunshot wound washes up and into Helen’s life. Who is he and what does he want? Characters are slowly revealed, taking us from one surprise to another. Although the film is clearly drawing on the revenger thriller genre, it so masterfully reimagines our expectations that you will leave breathless with satisfaction.
I Love Madrid Spain Nadia Mata Nadia Mata Nadia Mata Noel travels to Madrid to spend a romantic weekend with Carlos. After waking up in her new lover’s apartment alone, she discovers she’s accidentally been locked inside. Spanish filmmaker Mata casts a gently comic eye on the gap between our expectations and what life may actually have in store for us.
Por Siempre Jamón Spain Ruth Díaz Ruth Díaz Jaime Martin Lots of bride have pre-wedding jitters on their big day and many call on their best friend for emotional support. But in this slyly clever comedy, the situation is more complicated than it appears on the surface.
My Daphne Canada Sandi Gisbert Sandi Gisbert Sandi Gisbert In this deeply felt film, a stern young mother is visited by older versions of her daughter. Overwhelmed by her older daughter’s resentment towards her, the mother reaches for the front door, and is relieved to find her daughter, back to her young self, playing outside once again.
Shadowy Hearts Café Canada Martine Blue Martine Blue Martine Blue Hearts Café seems like a tame enough place for a date and a bite to eat. But beware--you may get exactly what you ordered.
La Puglia È la Morte Sua Italy Silvia Cannarozzi Michele Marino Silvia Cannarozzi Confident and headstrong, Aspasia doesn’t just manage to cheat death, she gets him fired. When Death comes knocking, Aspasia lets him in with a sigh. As she begins preparing her last meal, she teaches him a thing or two about manners and good eating. Suddenly, Death’s visit becomes the beginning of a whole new life.
Elevator Canada Kim Barr Miranda Handford Miranda Handford Two unfortunate people heading to an interview for the same job are stuck in an elevator. The confined space becomes the perfect amphitheatre for this study of communication, trust, and vulnerability. As the unceasing pacing persists, the unvoiced needs intensify, and the unkind sighs get louder, the tension quickly inflates. Finally, it explodes, leaving the two captives wide open to one another.
Cycle Canada Raquel Sancinetti Raquel Sancinetti This is a clever and sombre animation about the engulfing cycles driven by technology and consumerism. It’s easy to talk about the hell-in-a-handbasket trajectory we’re heading in, but it’s hard to capture its nature and complexities quite as piercingly as this film manages.
Given Your History Canada Molly McGlynn Molly McGlynn Laura Pearlmutter An honest look at two sisters trying to move on after their mother’s death from breast cancer, this film is beautifully shot and truthfully acted by Katie Boland and Rachel Wilson.
Girl Egypt Sondos Shabayek Sondos Shabayek Marianne Khoury From the perspective of one girl, filmmaker Shabayek takes us on a casual walk through a Cairo street. As her smile fades, this one girl becomes many, and we are provided a glimpse into the daily struggle of women in Cairo.
Silence is Golden Australia Katherine Rogers Katherine Rogers Katherine Rogers A clever testament to enjoying your own excellent company. Adios, fellas.
Boarding Canada Jenina MacGillivray Jenina MacGillivray Mark Hoffe/NIFCO This is the debut film from Jenina MacGillivray, the winner of the 2014 RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award, and it shines with talent. Boarding is about unexpected kindness and the places it can take us, and the script is taut and on point. This is a beautifully executed film.
Our Heart and Hands Canada Jim MacDonald Jessica Butler Jessica Butler Many form of visual art in Newfoundland and Labrador elicit the powerful symbiosis of earth and water, but perhaps none so intimately as pottery. Jessica Butler invites us into the St. John’s Battery for a glimpse of the creative lives of Isabell St. John and Erin Callahan St. John.
Marées II Canada Elisa Moar Elisa Moar Wapikoni Mobile Oh, to live in this gorgeous world of movement, music, and color! Luckily, watching it is just as peaceful.
From the Ground Tier to a Sparrow Batch Canada Marlene Creates Marlene Creates Marlene Creates Marlene Creates is an environmental artist and poet who lives in Portugal Cove, NL. In this video-poem, she transports viewers to a small piece of the boreal forest where she lives and works, allowing them to experience firsthand the many subtle variation in ice and snow along the nearby Blast Hole Pond River–variations that have spawned a fascinating variety of colorful terms in Newfoundland’s traditional dialect.
Outside In Canada Anne Troake This film from iconic director Anne Troake (the mastermind behind My Ancestors Were Rogues and Murderers) examines the body, up close and personal, and its boundaries–or apparent lack thereof–in the natural environment. Unsurprisingly, the project was chosen to represent Newfoundland in the Venice Biennale.
E-Team USA Ross Kauffman, Katy Chevigny Ross Kauffman, Katy Chevigny Katy Chevigny, Ross Kauffman, Marilyn Ness The reporting in this doc is as thorough and unflinching as its subjects. Anna Neistat, Ole Solvang, Fred Abrahms, and Peter Bouckert work for Human Rights Watch, smuggling themselves into countries whose leaders have turned on their citizens. Often interviewing people in piles of smoking rubble while planes circle overhead, this team gave the world some of the first conclusive reports of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of sarin gas against his own people. Though human rights abuses are stories of their own, E-Team is a masterfully executed character profile of these four investigators, their stories heavily intertwined with those of decimated villages and inhabitants. go ahead and try not to throw a fist in the air when Abrahms, in the Hauge, testifies against Slobodan Milošević.
Cast No Shadow Canada Christian Sparkes Joel Thomas Hynes Chris Agoston, Christian Sparkes, Allison White The union of Joel Thomas Hynes and Christian Sparkes is dark, rich, and unsettling. This film has many surprises peeking around its magnificent crags. And then there’s Percy Hynes-White, the film’s young star. We’ve seen glimpses of his baffling talent in other films, but it’s here, as we look into his big, wise eyes, that we truly get to see something otherworldly in his skill. This is an unbeatable team. Sure enough, this film swept the Atlantic Film Festival Awards. Brace yourselves.
In the Deep Canada Nimisha Mukerji Nimisha Mukerji Jodi’s mother passed away five years ago, and since then, her father has pretty well stopped living himself. With a beautifully understated script, the filmmaker crafts a touching portrait of a father and daughter moving through grief towards a new understanding of connection and happiness.
Dog Sitting in Eastern Passage Canada Martha Cooley Martha Cooley Through a series of animated photographs the landscape of Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia, comes alive in this short personal reflection on lost love by filmmaker Martha Cooley.
Re: Jess USA Talia Alberts Talia Alberts Dena Greenbaum In a world of social media, news travels fast and remains forever. In this improvised drama, a 20-something Brooklynite must confront digital reminders and remnants when he receives tragic news from a college friend. Though the story of the film was written before shooting, the dialogue and many of the key moments on film were improvised on set.
Stan USA Meirav Haber Meirav Haber Meirav Haber In this clay-animation short, Stan is born with a hell of a problem: an unfortunate resemblance to the devil. While forced to live a life of solitude, he remains hopeful, seeking connection and persisting despite all odds. Stan’s life is finally destined to change when a strange delivery arrives at his door.
Histories de Bus Canada Tali Tali Tali Created by Canadian animator Tali, this comic tale is inspired by the filmmaker’s misadventures as a school bus driver in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Our protagonist dreams of becoming a bus driver in order to cruise down quiet country lanes and connect with nature, her young charges and their parents. But in life and on the road, there are surprises around every corner. Unique, witty and touching.
Things I Learned About Sex and Dogs Australia Janet Duncan Janet Duncan Janet Duncan File this one under “Attraction: The simple yet euphemistic/painful/awkward and tantalizingly-sweet Truths Of”. May or may not be for those whose Yorkshire Terrier has eclipsed its state of pet-ness. By the way, did you know that down under, pt-procreation-prevention is unabashedly called de-sexing?
Portraiture USA Judy Suh Judy Suh Judy Suh Through an apt lens, young artist Christoph mourns a mentor, Anthony, while tasked with making sense of his myriad of silenced creative objects left in wake. The filmmaker should be proud of the film’s eloquent score, subtle narrative details and candid, haunting performance by Jay Disney.
Canuck Black UK Rebecca Archer Dan Rosen Charlotte Campbell Contrasting animation styles flash viewers back through the woefully-fuzzy youth of Salinger-reading, pipe-smoking Canuck, under interrogation for a grizzly grisly crime of revenge. Will the evidence lay the mysterious truth bear? Dial “M” for mayhaps.
Blackout Canada Sharron Mirsky Sharron Mirsky Sharron Mirsky Infusing imagination into individual experiences of the 2003 Northeastern Blackout’s impact on Toronto, this animation shares a brief though bolstering message about the real power of electricity–and of going without it.
Cancergirl Canada Allison White Allison White Allison White 17-year old Sara is eager to face down the crossroads of high school graduation. Factor in her uncertainty about making it to that very point alive, and you have an energized short about the fierce line between facing reality, and being OK with it.
Un Uccello Molto Serio Italy Lorenza Indovina Lorenza Indovina Daniele Segre Hell hath no fury like a spouse paranoid–as it turns out or Matteo after one wild night of passion. This hilarious canticle on the finer points of being a stand-up guy brings “the morning after” to new level after surreal new level in a fabulously compact…package. Ravello leaps into the filmmaker’s self-punishing world of physical comedy with an earnestness that few places have refined better than Italy. Ten points if you notice that painting in the background at the halfway point.
Meeting Jeff Canada Laura Nordin Samara Stern Adam Park Boy meeting girl are surprised with risky territory to cross on their first date. But in this uber-brief liaison, the real fault proves to be in something entirely other than their stars.
Two Penny Road Kill Canada Lisa Rose Snow Lisa Rose Snow Lora Campbell Animal Control Office Lou tries to make the best of being there for the fur-bearing lost and fallen. After coming upon one curious ultimate roadside sacrifice, he finds the best may be just yet to come. The filmmaker has managed to find a comedic light in a completely unconventional (and thankless) place.
Tears of Inge Canada Alisi Telengut Alisi Telengut Alisi Telengut This richly colorful interlude showcases the filmmaker’s award-winning hand-painted frame-by-frame animation to tell a deceptively simple Mongolian story about mending broken bonds.
Obvious Child USA Gillian Robespierre Gillian Robespierre Elisabeth Holm This superb comedy comes to us with a fair bit of 21st century controversy–that is, the old A-word. Jenny Slate plays Donna, a stand-up comedian. It’s a brutal, nakedly candid world. Today’s female comedians tend to play it more honestly with their own insecurities and life challenges, daring us to take them seriously. When Donna becomes unexpectedly pregnant, the comical becomes even more personal. This is perhaps the first really strong comedy to deal directly with abortion, and so concequently it has faced weird marketing challenges. As a first feature from director Robespierre it’s a brilliant gesture of confidence, and we applaud its expert blend of tones and themes.
We Were Wolves Canada Jordan Canning Jordan Canning, Steve Cochrane Jordan Canning This is a tale of two brothers, Nick and Danny. One married and ostensibly settled, the other wilder and an emotional anarchist. Peter Mooney and Steve Cochrane are the superb actor who play the brothers, utterly convincing in their roles as testosterone-heavy siblings with grudges, slights, and secrets. We Were Wolves well conveys the intimacy of place and character. By the time these two brothers work through their stuff you’ll want to howl at the moon right along with them.
Web Junkie Israel/USA Hilla Medalia, Shosh Shlam Hilla Medalia, Shosh Shlam Hilla Medalia, Shosh Shlam, Neta Zwebner-Zaibert When told he has “failed to perceive what reality is”, 16-year old Hope (“tricked” by his father into one of China’s 400 Internet addiction camps) simply asks “What is reality?”. This astonishing, provocative doc demands conversation in response to this question, addressing a potent social phenomenon-turned-illness. For internet addicts, their counsellors and families, “withdrawal” is its very opposite–a return–and a rebuilding of an existence more empowering than the virtual. Must-see.
Fed Up USA Stephanie Soechtig Mark Monroe, Stephanie Soechtig Eva Marson, Sarah Olsen, Stephanie Soechtig Narrated by Katie Couric, this documentary presents us a scating indictment of added sugar in processed food, and “Big Sugar”, the industry that relies on our ignorance of its harm. While government crank our dietary guidelines and launch obesity-fighting initiatives, statistics show that Americans–and indeed North Americans–are getting bigger. Focusing on childhood obesity, this doc posits that huge and unnecessary amount of added sugar in our food is largely to blame. You’ll look at your next meal differently after watching this film.
Transit Game Canada/USA/Lebanon Anna Fahr Anna Fahr Anna Fahr Director Fahr is to be condemned for this un-self conscious gem which reveals a beautiful glimpse of hope for the Middle East. A roadside encounter between two exiled Palestinian kids and a Syrian refugee, this film illustrates the worth of paying it forward.
Quelle Affaire Canada Ruth Lawrence Ruth Lawrence Ruth Lawrence Set to a precise and poignant poem written by Danielle Deveraux, this film is the cinematic realization of her careful words. Made through the Nickel’s Cinepoetry program, this lyrical short was filmed entirely on an iPhone and edited on a Mac.
Papa USA Natalie Labarre Natalie Labarre Natalie Labarre Few relationships are as classically complex–or as irreplaceable–as that of father and daughter. Fall in love (and laugh out loud) with this tender rendering of the animator’s own sublimely unconventional childhood with her mechanically-fascinated Dad.
Sadie Canada Latonia Hartery Emily Bridger Deanne Foley Under the close watch of a rural NL community, a nurse from away tries inobtrusively to help teenage Sadie grieve the loss of her parents and adapt to new guardians. Loneliness, isolation, and uncertainty–the impact never looms far from the surface.
Monsieur Pug Canada Janet Pearlman Janet Pearlman Janet Pearlman Okay. So you know how you’ve noticed a certain ubiquitousness of pugs and smartphones right? Okay, cat videos are also pretty ubiquitous. Okay, okay, they’re utterly ubiquitous. But I’m telling you, the pugs, the smartphones…think about this. Seriously. I you haven’t turned off that smartphone by now, you might as well spot the nearest mailbox and make a run or it.
American Gladiators USA Lara Gallagher Lara Gallagher Lara Gallagher Battles to the death aren’t just fought by the biggest and strongest…in this semi-autobiographical tribute to rivalry, siblings Jean and Mae must level an especially fraught playing field when it becomes apparent that one of them aces a life-threatening illness.
Kaupunki Etsii Klovnia Canada Sandine Brodeaur-Desrosiers Prettu Puranen Sandine Brodeaur-Desrosiers This uniquely Finnish-Canadian collaboration welcomes you to the world’s unhappiest city, where laughter is the illicit medicine of choice, and a revolution may be nigh. Caution: use only as directed. May contain 500-year old punchlines, babies, and clowns.
Bring Your Friends Canada Katie Duff Katie Duff, Matthew Finateri Katie Duff A joyous celebration of good food, good ethics, and good music. Bring your friends, bring your family, bring everybody!
Song for Cuba Canada Tamara Segura González Tamara Segura González Annette Clarke/NFB The ties to home can be overwhelming in both their strength and fragility. Directed by Tamara Segura González, winner of the 1023 Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award. This is a warm, moving film in which entire histories are replayed in brief moments.
How to be Deadly Canada Nik Sexton Edward Riche, Nik Sexton Mary Sexton If you don’t laugh at least once a minute we’ll send you to a friggin counsellor. This film is the hilarious issue o Sexton & Son, the Mary-Nik force of nature that created some o the most memorable local characters we’ve ever seen. Wisely milking his hugely popular YouTube sensation, a short featuring the loveably stunned Donnie Dumphy, Nik Sexton and co-writer Ed Riche extended the concept into this feature film. Donnie is still perched uneasily on the eve of a dirt bike competition, surrounded by equally loveable idiots and hooligans as always. This is a side of St. John’s we rarely see on screen,the weed-informed well-meaning but aimless subculture inhabited by townie millennials. A caution: there’s a steady stream of necessary profanity, befitting this crowd, sure. It’s F***ing deadly!
Ukraine is Not a Brothel Australia/Ukraine Kitty Green Anonymous Jonathan Auf Der Heide, Kitty Green, Michael Latham From the get go, this fascinating doc grabs attractive perceptions about the status of women by the scruff and shakes. Australian with Ukraine heritage, Kitty Green spent fourteen months following high-profile topless protest organization FEMEN from their 2-bedroom HQ in Kiev. As Green’s cameras capture their hyper-sexualized battle against the exploitive shaming of Ukrainian women, she wins the group’s trust–fueling a revolution of the contradictions manipulating both their work and their self-perception.
Heartbeat Canada Andrea Dorfman Andrea Dorfman Jay Dahl, Bill Niven This film is live-action embroidered with filmmaker Dorman’s familiar whimsical illustrations that capture the essence of her character’s quests for meaning. Justine is in that icky in-between stage of life, nursing her ego after a long overdue breakup and not quite sure of what or who she wants in her future. She hasn’t played guitar in a long time, but that instrument just might be the key to her transformation. Music makes people come together.
Count Crankepanse and the Curious Cube Canada Melanie Gillam Melanie Gillam David Martingale, Jim Grace In this digital animation film made at CNA, student Melanie Gillam pays loving homage to an early style of animated cartoons. Out for a walk in his monochromatic world, Count Crankepanse encounters a colorful conundrum.
FRAMED: Odd Socks Canada MENTOR FILMMAKERS: Allison White, Peter Walsh FRAMED COORDINATOR: Eilish Mc Brearty This film is a hilarious short film about a fighting couple, a sock puppet and the power of suggestion. Made in Corner Brook with mentor Allison White during our annual FRAMED West workshop at the Grenfell campus. This film is a fantastic short doc made with mentor Peter Walsh, in partnership with For the Love of Learning. The doc examines Chris Evans, owner of Fogtown Barber, and his embracing of the straight edge lifestyle.
The Gallant Capitan Australia Katrina Mathers Graeme Base Merrin Jensen An imaginative young boy and his faithful cat set sail for adventure on the high seas, in this heartwarming and exquisetly animated short film inspired by Graeme Base’s picture book The Legend of the Golden Snail.
Kuekuatsheu Mak Muak/Wolverine and Loon Canada Navarna Igloliorte In a film that surfs the line between documentary and drama, Innu elder Mani Katnen Nuna tells a group of youth an ancient legend about Wolverine and Loon. As the tale begins, the youth become the animals they are hearing about. In a tent outside Sheshatshiu, Labrador, they discover the eerie stor yof how Wolverine’s trickster ways forever transformed Loon into the bird that we know today.
Little Dancer Canada Deschanel Li Deschanel Li Miao Song A charming mini-doc about Timmy, a shy 4-year old Montreal boy, whose life begins to change when his family enrolls him in dance class. The film was made by Timmy’s 13-year old sister, Deschanel Li, who clearly loves documentary filmmaking almost as much as she adores her little brother.
Freestyle USA Lexi Lefkowitz Lexi Lefkowitz Shannon Silva During a regular day at swim practice, Violet, an isolated but spunky 7-year old, tries to fit into a world she doesn’t quite understand. With a head full of dreams and a body that wants to dance, she operates the only way she knows how.
Emma Makes Movies Canada Maryse Chapdelaine Mélanie Léger This delightful documentary introduces us to 13-year old Emma Carroll of Shédiac, New Brunswick, who has already found her path in life: she’s a filmmaker. Inspired by her dreams, favorite movies, and books, she creates short film with her iPod featuring the children attending her mother’s home daycare.
Before the War Canada Tamara Segura González Tamara Segura González Tamara Segura González Tamara Segura González was the winner of the 2013 RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award, and this is was the world premiere of her winning film. An incisive, nuanced look at a family crumbling after their father returns home for a war, this film showcases Tamara’s love and understanding of the human heart.
Relative Happiness Canada Deanne Foley Lesley Crewe, Deanne Foley, Ian MacLeod, Sherry White Avi Federgreen, Alan Collins, Jill Knox-Gosse, Lynne Wilson This film tells the story of Lexie Ivy, who owns and operates a Nova Scotia B&B. Her thinner, blonder sister is getting married and Lexie is somewhat urgently seeking an appropriate date. Misdirected hopes and mishaps ensue. As will all of filmmaker Foley’s earlier work, the focus is on women, both young and old, who end up discovering all their strength and potential through a series of unexpected and often comic circumstances. With almost an exclusively female cast and crew, this film is in itself a testament of creative girl power.
Elling Lien