Collection short synopsis:
People with a passion so strong, they live, practice, or focus more effort towards their goal than anything else they know. Get inspired, do stuff! This reel includes a muralist that wants to inspire creative action, two Palestinian boys needing one more soccer card for their collection and a flamingo that gives it his all on gymnastic rings. What’s your passionate pursuit?
Multi-national / In English or w/English subtitles / 75 min / Age 10+ / (one scene full of profanities)
Film lineup is subject to change without notice.
A man runs out of gunpowder tea and goes through one heck of a time trying to get more!
France, 2019 / no dialogue / Romane Faure, Nathanael Perron, Léa Detrain, Benoît de Geyer d’Orth, Pei-Hsuan Lin, Anne-Lise Kubiak / 5.5 min / Animation.
ATHLETICUS: Anneaux en gymnastique artistique
A pink flamingo manages a great score on the gymnastic rings…? Something is fishy here!
France, 2019 / no dialogue / Nicolas Deveaux / 2 min / Animation.
During the 1990 World Cup, two young Palestinian boys are looking for “Maradona’s legs”; the last missing sticker that they need in order to complete their world cup album and win a free Atari.
Germany-Palestine, 2019 / in Arabic with English subtitles / Firas Khoury / 20 min / Live Action.
My Letter to the Oil Men
Papilou is a fourteen year old boy in Nigeria that lives on the edge of a heavily polluted piece of land. His backyard contains thousands of liters of crude oil due to a leak in a pipe. It affected the food grown around him. It forced his now separated family to move to the city. Papilou wants the oil pollution to be cleaned up. He writes a letter to Shell Oil who is responsible for the pollution. A protest has to start somewhere.
Netherlands-Nigeria, 2019 / in English / Xander de Boer / 15 min / Documentary.
During the fall of the Soviet Union the thirteen-year-old Nana comes from America to a small village near Budapest, where she meets Gau, a boy her age whom she befriends immediately. When her visit to Hungary comes to an end, the friends have to say a painful goodbye. Oceans apart, Gau hatches a plan to reunite with Nana… using a catapult?! Love has no bounds.
Hungary, 2019 / in Hungarian with English subtitles / Balázs Szövényi-Lux / 27 min / Live Action.
You can outgrow the bedroom you grew up in but you really never leave it behind.
Australia, 2019 / no dialogue / Matthew Koh / 4 min / Animation.
Five Minutes to Sea
The mother issues her decree: before you get back in the water, you have to take a break and sit quietly for five minutes. For the little girl, these five minutes feel like hours. Time slows down all around her as she watches bathers enjoy a day at the beach.
Russia, 2018 / in Russian with English subtitles / Natalia Mirzoyan / 7 min / Animation.
199 little heroes: Cynthia from Burundi
12 year old Cynthia lives in the poorest area of Burundi. Both parents died from Malaria. Her days start with fetching water without having any breakfast. She walks miles to school daily to seek an education with hopes of becoming a member of Parliament some day.
Germany-Burundi, 2018 / in Kirundi with English subtitles / Lina Luzyte / 12 min / Documentary.
Spirit: A Martian Story
NASA sought evidence of life on Mars. That search begins with water, and the search for water begins with the study of the rocks and the soil. That was the historic mission of the rovers SPIRIT and OPPORTUNITY. This is SPIRIT’S story.
USA, 2019 / in English / Stimson Snead / 10.5 min / Animation-Documentary.
Rhode Island Premiere
This feature debut from Colombian writer-director Henry Rincón centers on Eduardo, a ten-year-old boy who has more than his share of harrowing challenges: he is poor, a victim of Colombia’s armed conflict, and is missing a leg from a landmine accident. Yet, with the help of his music teacher and some valiant friends, Eduardo is determined to follow through with his passion: to form a team with other children with disabilities and participate in a children’s soccer tournament.
Demolishing stereotypes without wrecking their cars, the Speed Sisters are the Middle East’s first all-female car racing team. With high-octane talent and the marketing savvy to draw attention to their camera-friendly lineup, this diverse, engaging, real-life group competes throughout the West Bank in Palestine’s makeshift motor sports circuit. They navigate Israeli checkpoints and restrictive societal expectations to evolve into potential role models for a new generation of young Arab women.
“T-Rex” is an intimate, true coming-of-age story about a new kind of American heroine. in 2012, women’s boxing debuted at the 2012 Olympics. Fighting for gold from the USA is Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, just 17 years old and by far the youngest competitor. From the hard knock streets of Flint, Mich., Claressa is undefeated and utterly confident. Her fierceness extends beyond the ring as he protects her family at any cost, even when their instability and addictions threaten to derail her dream. Claressa does have one stable force in her life. Coach Jason Crutchfield has trained her since she was just a scrawny 11-year-old hanging out at his gym. Jason always wanted a champion, but never thought it’d be a girl. Her relationships with her coach and her family grow tense as she gets closer to her dream, but Claressa is determined. She desperately wants to take her family to a better, safer place and winning a gold medal could be her only chance.
Director David Fine’s documentary takes something many American youths are familiar with (basketball), and moves us on a true-life journey to a land many of us are unfamiliar with (Iraq). The result is extraordinary. “Salaam Dunk” is an insightful look into young Iraqi life as experienced by a current women’s college basketball team. The players are a fascinating and genuinely inspiring bunch, and the squad’s mere existence provides a stirring example of the possibilities for young Iraqis outside the country’s war zones. What they overcome on the court, you have seen in other movies; what they must overcome in their Iraqi society, you have not.
Enjoy this inside look at the nuts and bolts of Indy racing cars, as large and loud as life. Mario Andretti and his son Michael race in competition with cameras mounted on their cars, capturing the speed and heart-pounding thrills of racing in a way few films have ever attempted. Paul Newman is the narrator, but the stars are the cars. “Super Speedway” and many other experiential films were the first to be shown regularly in IMAX venues.
Parkour – a movement discipline based on French military obstacle-course training – might be considered controversial, but seeing it is not. Cedric Dahl’s documentary follows five American parkour practitioners who share this passion for movement. Characterized as a physical “type of freedom,” “kind of expression,” and “state of mind,” parkour has influenced the stunts in action films from Bond to Bourne. But there’s much more to it than chasing the bad guy with acrobatic moves. As one practitioner comments, “If you listen to the movement it teaches us to touch the world and interact instead of being sheltered by it.”
Three countries. One passion. Three hundred bodies — climbing, reaching the sky to build a human tower.
In Mumbai, India, a team of men attempt to break the Indian record for biggest human tower at the one-day Dahi Handi Festival. In Vilafranca del Penedès, Spain, a group of castellers ( climbers) formed by men, women and children share their passion with the world following a tradition that goes back 400 years. A legendary coach takes his passion to Santiago, Chile, hoping to empower and help the local groups to improve their performances while unifying them as a community.
The film cuts between the three countries, leading to a major climatic scene that will take your breath away and keep you on the edge of your seat. All it takes is one shaky foot and the human tower falls, sending hundreds of bodies tumbling in the rain or into the mud or onto the crumbling pavement of a forgotten neighborhood. A passion beyond race, borders, and ages. A global story of fearless skills heart-pounding suspense and also of human connection.
Why Make Human Towers? Human towers are medicine for the soul. You risk your life for a moment of sublime camaraderie and community. Trust is paramount. All it takes is one shaky foot and the entire tower falls, sending you and hundreds of others tumbling into the air, onto each other and then onto the pavement. Building human towers is more than a quirky attraction, more than an international sport and more than a refuge for lost youth. It’s more even than a thirst for the glory of winning. A human tower, when done right, represents an unparalleled passion for human connection that goes beyond race, borders and ages. In this sense, the world’s best human tower builders represent all of us — all people, all communities, all nations — in our hope for a better future.
This powerful documentary tackles the hot-button issue of the devastating effects of head injuries in sports. With the lens focused on hockey, women’s soccer and, most disturbingly, teenage football leagues, “Head Games” makes the powerful argument that repeated blows to the head, once considered something to simply shrug off, can have fateful, long-term consequences. Academy Award-nominated director Steve James (“Hoop Dreams”) delivers compelling evidence in interviews with numerous scientists and doctors as well as athletes.
“Part of the romance of sports lies in the thrill of controlled, heroic brutality. Modern athletes are often likened to warriors: they sacrifice, put their bodies on the line and take punishment in pursuit of a noble cause. The rest of us — couch potatoes, season-ticket holders, parents on the sidelines — cheer for the toughest players and the hardest hits. Steve James’s troubling new documentary, Head Games, reckons some of the terrible costs of modern American sports culture.…Head Games is alternately sobering and terrifying. It is painful to watch a grown man struggle to recite the months of the year, and to hear about the shockingly high number of suicides among N.F.L. veterans with C.T.E. It is also chilling to watch youngsters heading out onto the field or the ice accompanied by the usual exhortations from parents and coaches to play hard.
Mr. James, whose Hoop Dreams may be the best sports documentary ever made, is motivated by a fan’s devotion as well as a journalist’s skepticism. Head Games gains credibility and power from compassion for athletes and respect for their accomplishments. But it also tries to open the eyes of sports lovers to dangers that have too often been minimized and too seldom fully understood.” – A.O. Scott, The NEW YORK TIMES (9/12)
This fascinating documentary charts the adventure of Laura Dekker, a 14-year-old Dutch sailor, who set out alone on a two-year voyage to fulfill her dream of becoming the youngest person ever to sail around the world. The journey was not without controversy, but “Maidentrip” is pleasantly free from the hysteria that surrounded Laura for more than a year. It presents her trip in a judgment-free manner. It neither suggests (as it understandably could) that 14 is an alarmingly young age to traverse the mightily unforgiving Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, nor takes a blindly positive “Ra! Ra! Go Laura!” position (as would be tempting, given that Laura proves herself an admirable rebel in many ways).
Laura is portrayed as an independent outsider, at once open-hearted, enviably confident and a bit prickly, sick of what she sees as daily life in Holland—which she sums up succinctly: “Get money, get a house, get a husband, get a baby, then die.” She pines for a truly outsized adventure. While other young record-holding sailors completed the round-world trip without lengthy stops at ports, Laura gives herself two years for the excursion, so that she can soak in the land-bound culture of the different climes where she alights (among them French Polynesia, Australia, the Galapagos Islands and South Africa). Low-key yet lyrical, “Maidentrip” illustrates in vivid colors the mundane as well as the magnificent moments at sea and underscores the courage of one young woman, battling the elements—and the courts—and enjoying every minute of it.