An unbeatable team of five teenage friends, the Peppercorns, unites to find out who is behind the kidnapping of a missing oceanographer who has discovered a means of getting rid of plastic waste in the ocean. A race against time begins to save her life and their future.
PCFF Winner Audience Choice Award Best Documentary 2020
Microplastic Madness is an inspirational and optimistic take on the local and global plastic pollution crisis as told through an urban youth point of view with a powerful take action message.
Fifth graders from PS 15 in Red Hook, Brooklyn -a community on the frontline of climate change that was severely impacted by Superstorm Sandy- spent 2 years investigating plastic pollution. Taking on the roles of citizen scientists, community leaders, and advocates, these 10-11-year-olds collect local data, lead community outreach, and use their impressive data to inform policy, testifying and rallying at City Hall. They take a deep dive into the root causes of plastic pollution, bridging the connection between plastic, climate change, and environmental justice before turning their focus back to school. There they take action to rid their cafeteria of all single-use plastic, driving forward city-wide action and a scalable, youth-led plastic-free movement.
With stop-motion animation, heartfelt kid commentary, and interviews of experts and renowned scientists who are engaged in the most cutting edge research on the harmful effects of microplastics, this alarming, yet charming narrative, conveys an urgent message in user-friendly terms with a take action message to spark youth-led plastic-free action in schools everywhere.
2016 Festival Flashback!! Five years ago we invited this thought-provoking documentary to our festival. With the situation in the Middle East still far from resolution, this film speaks volumes about the hurdles people face to live in peace.
ALMOST FRIENDS is a documentary about two Israeli girls—an Arab and a Jew—who live only 40 miles away but in many ways live worlds apart. Participating in an online program that fosters educational exchange and friendship, the two girls correspond with caution and eventually meet face-to-face. The experience is profoundly moving for them, their families, and the audiences who see this touching film. But when conflict spans generations, change is slow and “almost” anything might be a start…
Families in Flight
Regional conflict across the globe has forced many families to unwillingly leave their homes. These are stories of families on the move in an effort to survive. Stories include a boy from Syria who tries to reconnect with his traumatized mother. Another film is of a Syrian family that gets separated en route to Germany. You might view a “refugee/immigrant” in a very different way after experiencing their stories.
Multi-national / In English or w/English subtitles / 70 min / Age 10+ / (real life-threatening and life-taking stories from refugees)
Film lineup is subject to change without notice.
Ten year old Adnan has fled Syria with his mother after their family were killed and their neighbourhood destroyed. Now settled in the UK, he must use all his creativity to break through her PTSD or risk losing her forever.
UK, 2019 / in Arabic with English subtitles / Steven Chatterton, Mark Arrigo / 15 min / Live Action.
199 little heroes: Rania from Syria
Rania lives in one of the biggest refugee camps in the world in Za’atari, Jordan. Her parents and her siblings share a small container. Not all the children in the camp go to school but Rania does. It helps alleviate her pain of living where she is. She wants to become a civil engineer and longs to return to Syria.
Germany-Jordan, 2018 / in Arabic with English subtitles / Gessie George / 8 min / Documentary.
Nestled in Kashmir valley lies a small village on the India-Pakistan border always caught in the crossfire between the two warring nations. One night an eight year old girl ‘Nooreh’ discovers that the gun battle rages when she sleeps and the bloody duel stops when she keeps her eyes open.
India, 2018 / in Kashmiri with English subtitles / Ashish Pandey / 22 min / Live Action.
Traces of Little Feet
Amir is a ten-year-old boy from Syria. He and his mother arrived in Germany as refugees one year ago. Their experience on getting to Germany could be seen as just as perilous as staying.
Germany, 2019 / in Arabic and German with English subtitles / Murad Atshan / 17 min / Live Action.
A Celebration is a short drama about 8-year-old Ada who tries to convince her newly immigrated mother to celebrate Thanksgiving by cooking a turkey. However, when Ada sets to celebrate Thanksgiving like a “true Canadian”, she discovers what it means to be an immigrant family.
Canada, 2019 / in English and Turkish with English subtitles / Mahsa Razavi / 11 min / Live Action.
The Girl at the End of the Garden
A slapstick comedy about an unhappy young girl whose life is turned upside-down when she finds a mysterious runaway with psychic powers in her back garden.
Ireland, 2019 / in English / Bonnie Dempsey / 14 min / Live Action.
“Microplastic Madness – Brooklyn kids take on plastic pollution” is an inspirational and optimistic take on the local and global plastic pollution crisis as told through an urban youth point of view with a powerful take action message.
Fifth graders from PS 15 in Red Hook, Brooklyn -a community on the frontline of climate change that was severely impacted by Superstorm Sandy- spent 2 years investigating plastic pollution. Taking on the roles of citizen scientists, community leaders, and advocates, these 10-11 year olds collect local data, lead community outreach, and use their impressive data to inform policy, testifying and rallying at City Hall. They take a deep dive into the root causes of plastic pollution, bridging the connection between plastic, climate change, and environmental justice before turning their focus back to school. There they take action to rid their cafeteria of all single-use plastic, driving forward city-wide action and a scalable, youth-led plastic-free movement.
With stop-motion animation, heartfelt kid commentary, and interviews of experts and renowned scientists who are engaged in the most cutting edge research on the harmful effects of microplastics, this alarming, yet charming narrative, conveys an urgent message in user-friendly terms with a take action message to spark youth-led plastic free action in schools everywhere.
USA / 2019 / 75 min / All Ages
To a stranger, he is an eccentric Singaporean obsessed with toilets, but to those who know him, he is ‘Mr. Toilet’. A former entrepreneur, Jack Sim, uses humor to campaign for something no one dares talk about: poo and where it goes. It’s a crisis impacting over two billion people. Having established UN World Toilet Day, Sim plunges into his biggest challenge yet when asked to help resolve the sanitation problem in India. But with few resources and no real governmental support, Mr. Toilet discovers there is a price to pay for being the world’s #2 hero. This is a very thought provoking documentary that will hopefully inspire many conversations. (WARNING: the “s”-word referring to poo is said at least 200 times.)
USA / 2019 / in English and English subtitles / 86 min / 10+ (mild profanity, visuals of sewerage, mention of rape)
This documentary offers an extraordinary and tender examination of family life in ways that feel both personal and universal. When their mother is imprisoned, Ale and his sister Rocio’s relationship is faced with the greatest challenge possible: they must work together to parent their two young siblings.They promise to help each other and keep their family together until their mother is released, but as undocumented Honduran immigrants, living, working and studying in Mexico is difficult. Soon the prison wall that keeps their mother away gives rise to other emotional barriers that prevent the brother and sister from understanding each other. Just as they start to lose hope the family’s life takes an unexpected twist.
Important note from the director:
In 2014 I worked for a non-profit organization which helps convicted women, overseeing their cases and helping their re-introduction to society. I met Rocío and Alejandro’s mother on one of my visits to prison, and I was immediately struck by her energy and clear-headedness in such a terrible environment. The other inmates had a great respect for her.
The moment I pointed my camera at them and conducted my first interview I felt drawn to them, and I was particularly intrigued by the way they were handling the situation. The whole thing seemed to me like an extremely difficult predicament, but here I saw two courageous individuals with a great sense of humor who were willing to keep fighting. And I deeply admired them.
I later found out more about their story. Their life had been full of ups and downs from an early age, but the family had stayed together and remained strong through all of it. That history had turned them into very unique individuals; they were a great, tight-knit family and their ties were deep and complex.
How do children born into poverty find hope? This documentary follows the lives of a garbage picker, a music teacher and a group of children from Cateura, Paraguay. In this slum, they create musical instruments entirely out of garbage: first out of necessity, but the project became so much more. LANDFILL HARMONIC brings us on their journey from local village orchestra to world traveling (internet fueled) troupe whose trajectory of success is enhanced by their trash-into-music message.
Winner of the 2015 Audience Choice Award SXSW
Winner of the 2015 Audience Choice Award AFI
Tenth-grade filmmaker Bailey Webber is on a mission that starts when her school district, in a misguided attempt to address childhood obesity, forces its schools to perform Body Mass Index (BMI) tests on selected students. After a sixth grader voices her protest against the “fat letters,” Webber recognizes the injustice of telling children they are fat if they don’t fall within a narrowly accepted range. Her keen inquiry includes a relentless chase after the bureaucrat who sponsored the law. Whether staging a vigil at the state house or interviewing health experts, Bailey never loses her cool, pursuing with poise and charm. Her dogged pursuit is always done with poise and immense charm. THE STUDENT BODY is a sophisticated, smart, steadfast, sensitive and often humorous chronicle of two brave girls who expose the hypocrisy of grownups who think they are safeguarding youth.
“No matter what we do, is it really going to make a difference?” This corrosive statement becomes the core of “ReGENERATION,” a documentary that succeeds as a lightning rod for social change through thought and action. Strongly calling out the apathy of the current generation of youth and young adults, the film, narrated by Ryan Gosling, presents a cross-section of perspectives from a society fed more through corporate media than by truth. Unique commentary on the problems facing our society are explored through an inspired collective of musicians (STS9), a 20-something conservative family and a group of five suburban high school students looking for their place in the world. As the powerful evidence of our reliance on technology, disconnection with nature, excessive consumption and loss of history add up, leading scholars from around the world (including Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky), journalists (Amy Goodman) and media personalities, Mos Def and Talib Kweli) stimulate the discussion with their wisdom and personal reflections. As engaging as it is insightful, ReGENERATION stands to be heard and energizes audiences to join its march to a world of passionate action.