Ya’ know, middle school can be complicated. There’s a lot going on in these minds and bodies. This amazing short and inspiring feature film both capture how some middle schoolers are trying to figure it all out.
ZERO GRAVITY follows a diverse group of middle-school students from San Jose, CA, who compete in a nationwide tournament to code satellites aboard the International Space Station. Does Rhode Island have a middle school that participates? Join us to ask the director, Thomas Verette in a live (virtual) Q&A on February 25th at 11:00am. To sign up go to Reel Connections link on our home page.
Y’ALL R REAL ONES: U.S. Premiere! A rare glimpse into the daily lives of early adolescents in one public middle school in New York City and a glorious reminder of what school can be when everyone is together — featuring an ensemble of diverse tweens and faculty members who embrace the messiness of these joyous years. (2021 / 10 mins / USA / dir. Camilla Calamandrei / in English / ages 10+)
Dylan, age 12, copes pretty much on his own in small Western Australian town while his father is in a state of oblivion following the death of Dylan’s mother. One day at school he discovers an odd gift: the ability to craft a paper plane that flies longer and faster than any of those of his peers. So begins this charming and near-irresistible crowd-pleaser that follows Dylan as he folds his way toward the World Paper Plane Championships in Japan (and more importantly, emotionally closer to his father).
Do you have what it takes to be an astronaut? If not, do you have 30 million dollars? It won’t get you onto a NASA spaceship but it will buy a berth on a Russian one. In this documentary, computer game developer Richard Garriott realizes his dream to follow his astronaut dad’s path into space by purchasing a seat on a Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station. “Man on a Mission” shows like never before what it takes to prepare to go to space and how it feels once you get there … and back.
“…Man on a Mission will be an exhilarating documentary for anyone interested in space travel, and probably even for those who aren’t. Garriott’s journey is quite interesting and unique, beginning with his days as a young man when he came up with some of his first computer games, to his financial success investing in various companies, some of which are pioneering the idea of space tourism. If Garriott’s life had not been as interesting as it was, this documentary could have suffered, but what we end up with is a really well put together autobiographical snapshot of Garriott, and a captivating view of the Russian space program, from their intense training to the rituals they exact on Garriott before his liftoff into space.
This is a documentary that will ultimately appeal to a very wide audience. Man on a Mission should garner a fair amount of press in part due to the amazing footage of Earth Garriott captured while on his journey. Being a fan of space travel, I can’t recall seeing another documentary that so effectively captures the thrill of space travel. If you have children, I urge you to take them to see this little beauty, as it provides some of the most well-documented material on what astronauts go through during training and while in space, as well as the aforementioned footage. If you’re an adult, Garriott’s financial success story and taste for adventure should inspire you, and will hopefully encourage any naysayers in the United States that space travel is not a waste of tax-payer money, but a necessity that serves many purposes and can help to bolster the pride of a nation.” – as reviewed by Dirk Sonniksen
Gus from PCFF 2010’s “Gull Island” returns in full form with his latest nature series installment: a trip to the Bahamas to meet some of the country’s many spectacular creatures. Children will be captivated as Gus explores the pristine islands in search of lizards, iguanas and snakes. To cool off, Gus plunges into the gem-like water and snorkels with beautiful sea creatures. “Gus Outdoors: Lizard Town” is an adventurous mix of animal identification and personal encounters that delivers an entertaining, yet educational presentation that promotes a tremendous respect for nature.
“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.
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.
Over the course of a year, this witty documentary follows two urban, multiracial 11-year-olds as they explore their place in the food chain. Sadie and Safiyah talk to storekeepers, farmers, food activists, farmers to learn more about the origin of the food they eat, how it’s cultivated and how far it travels from farm to fork. The girls formulate sophisticated and compassionate opinions about urban sustainability, and by doing so inspire hope and active engagement.
Patema is a precocious teen who loves to explore the caverns and tunnels of her subterranean world until she falls into the DANGER ZONE! In her inverted gravity world, she falls upwards to the Earth’s surface and risks falling into the sky. Saved by an equally rebellious young man who is charmed by this upside-down girl, they fight to save her from the totalitarian surface government that seeks to annihilate her subterranean civilization and the freethinking people they represent. A dizzying, suspenseful animé.