This film is for anyone who is about to become, is or was thirteen. Dear Thirteen is a poetic exploration of coming of age in the modern world. Weaving together stories of thirteen-year-olds from France, Australia, Mexico, Nepal and the US, video diaries and candid interviews reveal how global issues are shaping and being shaped by young people. 

How I Learned to Fly – Sofia heads to Croatia for summer break with Grandma and inadvertently discovers more family than she ever thought she had. A dark past is brought to light revealing painful secrets but start a process of healing. WARNING: This film may lead to you reconnecting with extended family. International award winner! 

 

This compilation of four films has multiple, thought-provoking topics to think about, and hopefully after, talk about. They include the struggles of young, Afghani women being musicians in a time when it looks like the Taliban will be coming back to power. Other films from the Netherlands and Argentina follow families who are dealing with children on gender journeys unfamiliar to them. The last film, 2nd Class, is quite relevant to what is happening here in our own country when it comes to reacting to white supremacists. The reel includes the following films…

SOMETHING ABOUT ALEX – A young teenager develops a close friendship with his older sister’s boyfriend, and must confront the depth of his feelings when the couple announces that they will be moving away. (2017 / 18 mins / Netherlands / dir Reinout Hellenthal / live-action / Dutch w/English subtitles)

ORCHESTRA FROM THE LAND OF SILENCE – You’ll defeat the beast with the power of music. Zohra – the first female orchestra of Afghanistan. Girls are preparing for their journey to play a concert in Europe. We see their everyday reality in contemporary Afghanistan through the eyes of 16-year-old girl Marzia. After arriving in Europe unexpected thing happens and four members of the orchestra decide to run away… (2020 / 30 mins / Afghanistan, Slovakia / dir Lucia Kasova / documentary / English, Persian and Slovak w/English subtitles)

THE NAME OF THE SON (El Nombre del Hijo) Lucho, a 13-year-old trans boy, doesn’t usually share much time with his father. When he goes on vacation with him and his younger sister, the new closeness puts their relationship to the test. (2020 / 13 mins / Argentina / dir Martina Matzkin / live-action / Spanish w/English subtitles)

2ND CLASS (2ND CLASS – 2021 Special Jury Award Best Short Live-Action Film!) This is a story about an elementary school teacher who is violently attacked one night by a neo-Nazi. After healing enough to return to the classroom she finds out that the man who attacked her is one of her student’s fathers. What does she do? And why? This film demands a conversation after viewing. WARNING: Graphic scene with profanity. Recommended age 13+ (2018 / 13 mins / Sweden / dir Martina Matzkin / live-action / Swedish w/English subtitles)

 

In a province in the middle of the Mongolian steppe, 11-year old Amra lives a traditional nomad life with his mother Zaya, father Erdene, and little sister Altaa. While Zaya takes care of the flock, Erdene works as a mechanic and sells Zaya’s homemade cheese at the local market. Their peaceful routine is threatened by the encroachment of international mining companies, digging for gold and devastating the natural habitat. Erdene is the leader of the last nomads opposing them and tries to unite and convince his comrades not to accept the compensations the companies have offered. But after Amra’s father dies in a tragic car accident, his mother wants to give up the nomad life and trade the steppe for the city. But Amra refuses and tries to carry on his father’s David vs. Goliath fight with his cleverness and the tools of an 11-year-old boy.

This stunning documentary explores lighthouses across New England (including in Rhode Island) and the sadly decaying condition of many of them. Many abandoned lighthouses haven’t been tended to in decades or since they were replaced by updated tools of navigation. Director Rob Apse captures the beauty of these American sentinels that once defined a nation’s coastline. The Last Lightkeepers highlights stories of individuals currently fighting to preserve these structures while capturing their folklore before the lights go dim forever.

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.

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…

 

Abila, 14, lives in the violent slum jungle of Kibera, in Nairobi, Kenya. He is a Luo – one of the many Kenyan tribes. He is smitten with Shiku, who is the same age, but she is a Kikuyu, and that is the problem. Boys and girls from different tribes are not encouraged to mix. But Abila has another problem. At the start of the film, he finds his father in a disturbing state. His mother says it’s a hangover, but Abila has a feeling there’s more going on. He finds out that his father’s soul has been stolen by a Nyawawa, a female spirit. Despite the hostility of the surroundings, Abila and Shiku set off together to save the soul of Abila’s father.

You could say that the location is the real protagonist of this film. Shot in 13 days, this film was made in Kibera, where more than one million people live and battle for survival. Its residents acted the film’s parts.

This film emerged from a workshop and benefited from production support by the famous German director Tom Tykwer. Above all, the camera work is of a level that is seldom seen in African pictures. The authentic background in combination with the outside support turned “Soul Boy” into a sparkling – and surprisingly professional-looking — short film.

If there were such things as candy for your eyes, “Tales of the Night” would be it. Your vision will be tempted by the detailed day-glo backgrounds bursting with color and kaleidoscopic patterns. Director Michel Ocelot (“Azur & Asmar,” PCFF 2011) blends history with fairytale as viewers are whisked off to animated enchanted lands full of dragons, werewolves, captive princesses, sorcerers and enormous talking bees. The “tales” are six fascinating and exotic fables woven together, each unfolding in a unique locale, from Tibet, to medieval Europe, an Aztec kingdom, the African plains and even the Land of the Dead.

REVIEWS:

“Instantly timeless! A triumph of intricate craftsmanship!” – Variety
“Stunning! Newcomers to Ocelot’s work will be filled with wonder!” – Screen Daily
“Both a worthy successor to the first four films by Michel Ocelot, and a proposal for an innovative new approach that transcends the boundaries of animation.” – Cahiers du cinema

What if you found something that made you wonder if you really know your dad? In tracing Kattaka’s quest to answer this question, “Wintertochter” unfolds into a road movie (from Berlin deep into Poland) about friendship between different generations and nations and the courage to face life’s difficulties. Through her inspiring trip, she comes to realize that history can shape identity, family isn’t always biological and the choices we make now can affect our future for the better.