When did you last watch an Iranian film? Or better yet, where is the last time you saw or learned anything about Iran? Odds are the news is where most Americans encounter any stories about Iran and usually, it’s not good news. Well, filmmaking is quite alive in Iran and the stories they tell are not what’s on the newscaster’s minds. They are mostly about the lives of everyday Iranians who experience the joys and sorrows of working hard and getting to tomorrow. Included in IRAN: Axis of People is a documentary about an Iranian girl who just wants to ride her bike on the city street but is reprimanded again and again for doing so as a girl. Gando is another documentary that relates the story of a girl who went to the river to fetch some water but encountered a crocodile?! This is evidently a regular problem for this village. Then there are several stunning animations about the worlds we humans have created around us. Iran truly is an axis around which stories of everyday people’s lives rotate. Films on this reel include…

ONE NICE DAY – An elementary school teacher is given the opportunity to give away one new bookbag to a student in his class. To decide, everyone writes a name on a piece of paper and tosses it into a bag. The teacher will pull out the winner. Little did he know… the fix was in! 🙂  (2014 / 3 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Sousan Salamat / live-action / Persian w/English subtitles)

BORDERLESS – Delaram is a teenage girl who was born with Down syndrome. She is very aware of being treated differently by others and feels that there is a border between everyone she encounters. Delaram has come up with a unique coping mechanism to maintain happiness in her life. The imagination can be a powerful tool. (2020 / 13 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Behrad Sahebgharani / live-action / Persian w/English subtitles)

GANDO – In the Sistan and Baluchistan provinces of Iran running water is scarce. Villagers must go to local ponds and rivers to get what they need on a daily basis. Once you are on the river bank you must be very careful because gando (Iranian crocodiles) live there as well. This documentary tells the story of a nine-year-old girl named Hawa who lost her arm one-day getting water. It’s also a story about, despite the gando being a threat, the villagers respect the gando because they believe they help bring the water.  (2020 / 8 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Teymour Ghaderi / documentary / Persian w/English subtitles)

WOODEN SWORD – Two young boys meet on a park bench while waiting for their fathers to return. Little do they know their fathers have not formed a friendship similar to what they just have. Is what they see next might stay with them forever. (2019 / 7 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dirs Behzad Alavi, Sousan Salamat/ live-action / Persian w/English subtitles)

THE ROTATION – There is a war between two tribes over claiming the sun in the sky. As a result of that war, the sun is annihilated and the volcano erupts. Those two tribes perish and a new sun is made by lava. Several centuries pass and the new tribes continue to war over their claim to the sun in the sky. The sad cycle continues.  (2020 / 7 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Hazhir As’adi / animation / no dialogue)

RAINBOW – A young flower vendor working a street corner comes across something that is not his. The events that follow show his regret and misunderstanding of other people’s intentions. (2020 / 11 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Mohammad Khalili/ live-action / Persian w/English subtitles)

A GIRL FROM PARSIAN …is an insightful documentary about a group of young Iranian women who wish to ride their bikes and the resistance they encounter from men of all ages. (2019 / 20 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Parinaz Hashemi Mobarakeh / documentary / Persian w/English subtitles)

THE ELEVENTH STEP – A little lion cub, born in a zoo, lives in a cage that is only ten steps long. On the eleventh step he bangs his head against the bars, but one day the zookeeper leaves the cage door open….  (2020 / 11 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Maryam Kashkoolinia / animation / Persian w/English subtitles)

RAYA – Raya’s family is having a dispute with the landlord and eviction is on the horizon. She and several of her friends also have a problem with a teacher at school and they decide to take matters into their own hands. Raya learns the hard way how not to deal with problems she might have with other people. Thankfully she demonstrates this knowledge shortly after. (2019 / 14 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Sepideh Berenji / live-action / Persian w/English subtitles)

 

Community: A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. Sometimes you might feel a part of this group and other times not so much. Life in school, with family or even as part of a world community can be challenging at times. In this compilation of shorts, you will see how others try to live in a community that isn’t exactly a natural fit. A Norwegian man creates a song about his favorite Indonesian food. What follows is nothing short of bizarre. Then there is Zara and her zombie family who have all the best intentions but are unaware of other people’s levels of disgust. Finally, when one friend cheats off another’s test, how willing should he be to turn him in? Include on this reel are…

MATHILDA AND THE SPARE HEAD – A girl tries hard to be the smartest student for her mother finds out a brain can only handle so much! (2020 / 13 mins / Lithuania / dir Ignas Meilūnas / animation / in Lithuanian w/English subtitles)

CRAMMING – Close friends Alex and Yan Bo, eighth-graders, cram for a test in a prestigious prep school. Once they’re accused of cheating off of one another, their friendship is threatened. (2020 / 15 mins / USA / dir Dan Perlman / live-action / in English and Spanish w/English subtitles)

LEARNING TO FLY – A young girl, upset that her mom won’t teach her how to ride a bike, meets a young boy who agrees to help her and they spend the day riding and talking about life. (2020 / 10 mins / USA / dir Nicolas Alayo / live-action / in English)

FAMILY BONDS tells the story of the little fox Hugo and his unconventional family to which love is more important than heritage. (2019 / 17 mins / Germany / dir Maria Schmidt / animation / no dialogue)

A SPECIAL GIFT: A Troublemaker’s Story – Lili, Stretch and ZéGordo (aka the Troublemakers) decide to surprise their friend Rosita by decorating her school for the neighborhood’s annual Christmas dinner, but they didn’t expect to deal with Stinky who is a jealous kid and is willing to spoil the decorations and the event altogether. (2019 / 7 mins / Mozambique / dir Nildo Essá / animation / in Portuguese w/English subtitles)

HELP I’VE GONE VIRAL! – A short documentary about Audun Kvitland who makes a love song about an Indonesian food dish called Nasi Padang after having been on vacation in the country. The song goes viral and is immediately heard by millions after he posted it on Youtube. Kvitland is invited back to Indonesia not knowing what to expect, but immediately after landing, he is greeted by a hallway of drummers at the airport. From then on he undertakes a funny, quirky and unexpected journey where people are united across cultures, languages and traditions over food and music. (2020 / 20 mins / Norway / dir Audun Amundsen / documentary / in English, Norwegian and Indonesian w/English subtitles)

ZARA AND THE OTHERS: Miss Miss – Zara has never heard of a “Miss-competition”, she only knows the girls in class say it’s a way to decide who the prettiest girl is. When Zara’s wacky dad brings a bucket of fresh moose poop to the event, things take an unexpected turn… (2020 / 13 mins / Norway / dir Nils Johan Lund & Bjørn Sortland / animation / Norwegian w/English subtitles)

 

 

France was the number two country from which we received submissions this year. (U.S. was #1, can you guess #3? The answer is at the end of the film synopsis!) With so many good ones to choose from we NEEDED to have a French film reel this year. The language is common between them but the styles run the gamut. Some highlights include two eight-year-olds who decide to embark on their own Montreal adventure, earthworms singing about their role in what could be your backyard, and a kingdom where “fashion rules the day”…until Ridicule arrives! Film on this reel include…

SONG OF AUTUMN (CHANSON D’AUTOMNE) is one of a series of animated shorts that are inspired by the poems of Paul Verlaine. Young filmmakers who have just graduated from French animation schools interpret Verlaine’s poems in film. PCFF is showing three of these films this year.  (2020 / 3 mins / France / dir. Jean-Baptiste Marchand / animation / in French w/English subtitles)

WEDNESDAY (MERCREDI)  Iris and Leo are waiting for their school bus, just like any other day. This morning, however, it does not arrive. Facing no rules but their own, the two eight-year-olds embark on an urban adventure, one they shall never forget, roaming the streets of Montreal.  (2020 / 10 mins / Canada / dir. Lisa Delhom & Jérémy Paquet / live-action / in French w/English subtitles)

DOLIUM PÉPLUM – Recreating battle is one of the oldest games children play. In this short film from France, a vineyard is the setting for two epic forces to fight to the bitter end. (A little irony for U.S. viewers with the red vs. blue costumes.) A super creative short film with make-it-yourself costumes, weapons and battle accoutrements, you will sense the influences of classic battles depicted from Braveheart, Henry V, Kurosawa and even a little Monty Python. 🙂  (2020 / 9 mins / France / dir. Théo Nodet / live-action / in French w/English subtitles)

THE JELLYFISH (LA MEDUSE) – In an ocean infested by plastic, a little being leaves his reef and goes on an adventure on a jellyfish… (2019 / 4 mins / France / dir. Mélanie Peltier / animation / no dialogue)

THE NATURAL ORDER OF THINGS  (L’ORDRE DES CHOSES) -An unintelligent insect, at the lower level of the food chain, survives its position as prey in the forest. But suddenly, the established order is overthrown. The insect provokes a sequence of accidents that build upon the other. (2019 / 4 mins / France / dir Luce Grosjean / animation / in French w/English subtitles)

WORMS OF EARTH (TERRE DE VERS) – Naked, slimy and rampant bros; No legs, no teeth, and no toes; We dig with no mischief, your burden we relief; We’re at your service, there is no artifice; The Earthworm team is here, as tight as musketeers. The lyrics say it all! (2019 / 8 mins / France / dir Hélène Ducrocq / animation / in French w/English subtitles)

LUPIN – A young wolf ventures out of his burrow for the first time, while his mother is busy hunting. Lost and frightened, he finds shelter in a garden. Jeanne, Gaston and Louis, the hunters’ children, find him and decide to bring him back to his home in the woods. (2020 / 11 mins / France / dir Hélène Ducrocq / animation / in French w/English subtitles)

CONQUISTADOR is one of a series of animated films that are inspired by the poems of Paul Verlaine. Young filmmakers that have just graduated from French animation schools interpret the poems into their visions on film. PCFF is showing three of them this year. (2020 / 3 mins / France / dir Jérémie Cousin / animation / in French w/English subtitles)

THE FAITHFUL FISH (LE POISSON FIDÈLE) – What would you do with a sculpin (a non-edible fish) that keeps biting on to your hook? Three children on vacation near a lake in Maine try and try and try to catch another fish. (2019 / 8 mins / Belgium / dir Atelier Collectif / animation / in French w/English subtitles)

PROMENADE SENTIMENTAL is one of a series of animated films that are inspired by the poems of Paul Verlaine. Young filmmakers that have just graduated from French animation schools interpret the poems into their visions on “film”. PCFF is showing three this year. (2020 / 3 mins / France / dir Emily Tronche / animation / in French w/English subtitles)

À LA MODE – In a kingdom tormented by fashion crazes, a queen and her court must always keep up with the new trend. If not, an abominable monster will consume them: the Ridicule. But with the arrival of a disarmingly natural cowboy, this nation of fashion victims laughs, and a simple question arises: what if the Ridicule isn’t what we think?  (2020 / 9 mins / France / dir Jean Lecointre / animation / in French w/English subtitles)

ATHLETICUS: One Rink for Two – Flamingoes are rehearsing their figure skating number when the ice rink is invaded by a troop of elephant hockey players. The winner of this power play will find their time on the ice trunk-ated! (Ouch!) (2019 / 3 mins / France / dir Nicolas Deveaux / animation / no dialogue)

VANILLE – Vanille, a young Parisian girl who recently arrived in Guadeloupe, dives into an adventure tinged with mystery, meeting picturesque characters and a magic flower. These are holidays that promise to be rich in twists and turns! PCFF’s first film ever from Guadeloupe! And it’s soooo good! (2020 / 30 mins / France & Guadaloupe / dir Guillaume Lorin / animation / in French w/English subtitles)

 

 

 

 

Who or what do you care for? Sometimes those who care for others are not whom you would think. The stories told on this reel include a witch’s attempts to placate a baby she originally cared for in quite a different way, a fox who takes a baby bird “under his wing”, and a mother who decides it’s time to tell her daughter about her birth mother. They all share a theme about someone caring for another who is quite unlike themselves. Included on this reel are…

THE MAGIC FOREST AND THE THINGS – A six-year-old narrator teams up with an illustrator to tell a story about a land that has apple, chocolate, and dog food trees. (It’s not on any map!) Things go awry when a giant is asked to pick these trees for people to build their houses with. The giant was all too obliging to the point of picking almost all the trees! The people then realized you MUST be more efficient with the way you use these resources if everyone is going to have a home to live in. They adjust their ways and high fives all around! (2020 / 4 mins / USA / dir. Dave Russo / animation / in English / all ages)

THE PROMISE (PCFF 2021 Winner Children’s Hospital Jury Prize!) – The Promise is an urban fairy tale that plays out on the mean streets of a suffering city. Here, a young thief tries to snatch an old woman’s bag but she cannot have it without giving something in return: “the promise”. It is the beginning of a journey that will change her life and a chance to change the world for good. (2020 / 7 mins / UK / dir. Chi Thai / animation / in English / all ages)

THE LEAF – A larger than life sailor gets an autumn leaf from a small girl. It reminds him of his home and for how long he has not been there. He runs home to meet his old parents. What will he find? (2020 / 6 mins / Belarus / dir. Aliona Baranova / animation / non-dialogue / all ages)

THE FOX AND THE BIRD – A solitary fox finds itself improvising fatherhood for a freshly hatched baby bird. Two paths cross and a family is formed until fate reminds each of the life it is meant to lead. (2018 / 12 mins / Switzerland / dirs. Sam and Fred Guillaume/ animation / non-dialogue / all ages)

THE WITCH AND THE BABY – An aging witch needs a baby for a spell to make her young again. But when she brings home a recalcitrant infant things don’t go according to plan. (2020 / 5 mins / Russian Federation / dir. Evgenia Golubeva/ animation / in English / all ages)

AURORA – Once upon a time, there was a little girl who fell in love with a beautiful horse named Aurora. This expressive animation evokes children’s drawings and the texture of storybook illustrations. Aurora is a bittersweet story about love, friendship, and growing up. (2020 / 5 mins / USA-Canada / dir. Jo Meuris / animation / in English / all ages)

TOBI AND THE TURBOBUS is a heartwarming story about growing up in a wolf pack and finding the right place for yourself. Sometimes this requires leaving old friendships behind in order to start new, more supportive ones in the future. (2020 / 7 mins / Germany / dir. Verena Fels / animation / in English / all ages)

REHAK – A young girl discovers Rehak, a magical drawing hidden behind her bedroom wallpaper. She thinks she has found a new friend when in fact someone else has found an old one. (2020 / 7 mins / UK / dir. Pierre B / live-action & animation / in English / all ages)

TWO DIFFERENT KINDS OF LOVE – A young girl is old enough to start to learn about her adoption story. Her mother’s explanation shows she has given this conversation a lot of thought! (2020 / 6 mins / USA / dir. Alyce Vest / animation / in English / all ages)

MAÏJA – In the Nordic Islands, Maïja, a young girl, waits for the return of her father, away at sea. But the weather is worsening and her father is not coming back. (2019 / 7 mins / France / dirs. Arthur Nollet, Maxime Faraud, Mégane Hirth, Emma Versini, Julien Chen, Pauline Charpentier / animation / no dialogue / all ages)

ROSE – Rose’s life-long security blanket represents her mother’s love, which she clings onto as a toddler, tosses aside as a teen, and realizes she desperately needs at the start of adulthood.  (2020 / 3 mins / USA / dir. Emily Kimes / animation / in English / all ages)

ATHLETICUS: The Encounter – A turtle “meeting” a puffin leads to the birth of an epic figure skating couple! (2019 / 3 mins / France / dir. Nicolas Deveaux / animation / no dialogue / all ages)

STOLEN KISSES – “When my grandmother had to move to an elderly home because she had dementia, I thought things would go downhill from there. But on the contrary. She met a man there, Rinus also diagnosed with dementia, and they fell in love. Unfortunately, he got mentally worse than her and had to move away to another home. I was shocked that nobody asked my grandmother and their feelings were so easily dismissed. Although my grandmother forgot a lot of things, she kept on asking me where Rinus was. Her feelings for him she did not forget.  I wanted to tell this story. But since there are already many films with the theme of dementia, I thought it would be enlightening to see the story through a child’s eyes. Children also experience these sorts of things and can give us a fresh, sometimes funny, perspective. My grandmother died on October 20th, 2020 aged 96. She hadn’t yet seen my film, but I’m proud to have this also in loving memory of her.” – Lidi Toepoel (Director)  (2020 / 14 mins / Netherlands / dir. Lidi Toepoel / live-action / in Dutch w/English subtitles / Ages 8+)

 

Sometimes a carefully placed kiss on the cheek can stay with you longer than a clumsy vampire’s bite to the neck. This first feature starring Zoe Kazan (“It’s Complicated,” “Revolutionary Road”) is on one level a very simple story: a look at the quiet emotional crises of a 20-year-old college student on spring break. But it has been crafted with such a skilled, subtle hand that it holds our interest without noticing how it’s done.

“The Exploding Girl” confronts the mysteries of everyday life by focusing not on life’s dramatic moments but on the low-key spaces in between. With all of the awkwardness that never makes it into a Hollywood film, this is a great film for teens coming of age to see with Mom or Dad.

Reviews:

“This quietly poetic little gem contains many beautiful things, not least of which is leading lady Zoe Kazan, who lets every scene billow and swirl around her effortlessly.” Joe Neumaier – New York Daily News

“The Exploding Girl” is a lovely, languorous film that does much with little and leaves you feeling like you’ve witnessed some minor miracle. Kazan’s done some good work in supporting roles, but this should put her on the map as the real deal.” Laura Clifford – Reeling Reviews

This suspenseful story carries a strong warning about the Internet as it is evolving today. When one computer-savvy teenager unwittingly cracks a security code to an international site that most people use every day…havoc ensues. With ingredients of uncommon-nerd heroes, Takeshi Murakami-designed internet avatars and of course, teenage crushes: This film will keep you glued to your seat, laptop, Smartphone …

Kenji, a teenage math prodigy, is recruited by his secret crush for the ultimate summer job – passing himself off as her boyfriend for four days during her grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration. But when Kenji solves a 2,056-digit math riddle sent to his cell phone, he unwittingly breaches the security barricade protecting OZ: a globe-spanning virtual world where millions of people and governments interact through their avatars, handling everything from online shopping and traffic control to national defense and nuclear launch codes. Now a malicious AI program called the Love Machine is hijacking Oz accounts, growing exponentially more powerful and sowing chaos and destruction in its wake.

This intriguingly intelligent cyberpunk/sci-fi story is a visual tour-de-force, especially the amazing world of OZ: a hallucinatory pixel parade of cool avatar designs, kung fu jackrabbits, toothy bears and a bursting rainbow of colors.

REVIEWS:

“A stunning mixture of hand-drawn and CGI visuals in an endlessly colorful world filled with grotesque, razor-sharp toothed avatars. Its thematic ambition and dazzling visual style ultimately make it one of the more rewarding anime efforts to reach these shores!” – Hollywood Reporter

“A whirlwind of a film! Further proof Japan does grown-up children’s stories better than the United States!” – The New York Times

Meet some eccentrics, visionaries, and just plain folks who have transformed their autos into art works, led by director/narrator/Camera Van owner Harrold Blank. Subjects featured include world-renowned spoon bender Uri Geller and his fork-and-spoon-covered “Peace Car,” Howard Davis’s “Telephone Car,” and religious folk artist Leonard Knight, who’s painted his vehicles as well as most of an entire mountain in the desert as a testament to his faith. On a humorous and touching journey, we find that an art car has the power to change perspective in an increasingly homogeneous world.

In partnership with RISD Museum and Gallery Night Providence, PCFF 2014 brought back one of 2013’s audience favorites for a command – and free! – performance. “Le Tableau” is set within the world of an idyllic but incomplete painting, long ago abandoned by its painter. In his absence, the figures in the painting have taken over the narrative to serve their own ends. After the screening, you will be invited to explore, with the guidance of museum educators, RISD’s own collection of All-Dones, Sketchies and Halfies!

REVIEWS:

“Enchanting! This consistently enjoyable, inventive and beautifully crafted tale is a color riot suitable for all ages! A constant feast for the eyes!” – Variety (8/12)

Despite Alfie’s close-knit, loving family, he’s always felt that he didn’t quite fit in. On the night of his seventh birthday, he finds out that he was right—he’s actually a werewolf! Alfie tries to keep this new identity a secret, but his brother, Timmie, finds out and tries to convince him to use his awesome powers against the school bullies. As Alfie thinks carefully about the consequences of using his powers, he learns even bigger lessons about balancing his life while accepting the werewolf within.

** USA PREMIERE** 

While attending a super-cool summer camp where campers compete to build the highest multi-story, self-standing structure possible using scrap wood, a best friendship between two adolescent boys is greatly tested. A series of misunderstandings and hurtful slights, some intentional and some not, creates a building tension that grips the viewer’s attention—and empathy—to the end. Director Marien Rogaar has constructed a film with an amazingly caring hand. Don’t miss this USA PREMIERE!