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)
Once again PCFF is delighted to offer a Spanish language shorts reel. The films of CineEspañol come from Spain, Colombia, Argentina and Mexico. A super creative mix of narratives that include a sister who will stop at nothing to bring joy to her brother’s life, a detective team that will remind you of Roger Rabbit, and a live-action film that might make you wonder if he really needs THAT chair…?! Films on this reel include…
BLUE & MALONE: Impossible Cases – Berta visits the old theater where her grandmother used to work on the eve of its demolition and finds out it’s not completely abandoned. Mortando Malone and Big Blue Cat, her old imaginary friends, are there to help with an impossible case — to recapture her capacity to dream. (2020 / 20 mins / Spain / dir. Abraham López / live action & animation / in Spanish w/English subtitles)
WILD LEA – Lea is a strong, lonely, and floral cat who discovers the complexity and the perks of friendships after falling from a tree. A very caring ragdoll named Ciro tends to her injuries and introduces Lea to his family of fixed-broken things. Unlike Lea, they have a fear of going anywhere outside the home. The day would come when they would need to overcome that fear to help their friend. Super imaginative animation where forks, toilet paper and napkins come alive! (2019 / 9 mins / Colombia / dir. María Teresa Salcedo Montero / animation / in Spanish w/English subtitles)
THE SIZE OF THINGS (El tamaño de las cosas) – Diego lives with his father in a house without things, without furniture, without anything. One day he finds a chair deep in the woods. Diego takes the chair back home but the father disagrees and orders him to return it. At night, the father recognizes the boy ́s feeling of disappointment and allows Diego to bring the chair again. Diego returns to the forest but something has happened, something really big. He can ́t bring the chair this time. (2019 / 12 mins / Colombia / dir. Carlos Felipe Montoya / live action / in Spanish w/English subtitles)
THE CHIMAI AND THE STORM – After a great storm, a very old Chimai (spiritual healer) tends to the damage created in the forest and the toppling of a massive tree. She finds an unexpected surprise and a great power is revealed. (2020 / 8 mins / Argentina / dir. David Bisbano / animation / no dialogue)
CROCODILE (Cocodrilo) WINNER 2021 Audience Choice Award Best Short Live-Action Film- As on every other afternoon, Alicia prepares a cup of tea and watches her favorite YouTube channel: VictorGaming, a role-playing video games channel. Victor, the YouTuber, is answering questions from his fans. Alicia has a very important thing to say to him. (2018 / 5 mins / Spain / dir. Jorge Yudice / live-action / in Spanish w/English subtitles)
MARIA CAMILA’S GIFT – In a park, nine-year-old Maria Camila gives any passerby a piece of paper with something written by her. Immediately after reading it, people begin to impersonate different animals. What power does María Camila have to transform them? (2019 / 12 mins / Mexico / dir. Andrés Molano Moncada / live-action / in Spanish w/English subtitles)
PCFF 2021 WINNER Special Jury Award Best Narrative Feature!
Jack raves about his younger brother Gio, whom he believes to have superpowers. As he grows older he realizes that his brother is special in other ways. In a moment of uncertainty, Jack decides to deny having a brother from his classmates. But he failed to take into account that a brother like Gio is a personality impossible to deny to anyone. The consequences are a hard lesson learned in this poignant, humorous coming-of-age-story full of clashing emotions. Will Jack dare be as natural as his brother? Based on a true story.
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.
Two orphaned siblings (ten-year-old Pari and her brother, eight-year-old Chotu) leave an abusive aunt in search for medical help to bring back Chotu’s eyesight. In a mystical tale they encounter the best and the worst of Indian society on their search for a Bollywood star who offers financial assistance. During their quest you can feel the heat, smell the curries, enjoy the colors and music from the other side of the world.
Winner BEST FILM Generation KPlus Berlin Crystal Bear 2015
Aylin, age 17, finds herself caught between worlds: A world of accepting her mother’s death or not. A world of struggling to survive as a Turkish family in Germany or returning home. Most importantly, a world of facing her fears at school to succeed or to remain in violent isolation. She finds answers in the story of Hördur (the horse): an Icelandic pony is never allowed to return once it leaves its homeland. By developing the courage to challenge her status in the world, Aylin develops a bridge to self-discovery, and like Hördur, never looks back.
“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.
This beautiful and warmhearted adventure once again demonstrates that some of the best animated films come from Japan. A loving family of river rats is driven from its riverbank home by a human construction project. Needing to find a new place to live, a father and his two young sons, Tarta and Chichi, negotiate the everyday yet unexpected dangers of a city, surviving only with the timely help of a string of unlikely friends: a dog, a cat, a sparrow, and a wise sewer-rat. Kids will delight in the eager, irrepressible Chichi, who treats their journey as a fun adventure and who has a knack for getting into trouble. Throughout, gentle lessons unfold about balancing trust and caution, coping with loss and longing, and discovering one’s strengths and proper home — all set against the backdrop of a disconnected human world unaware of its impact on nature.
Filmed against the sweeping landscapes of the remote Mongolian mountains on the Kazakhstan border, this story of self-discovery introduces us to Bazarbai, a 12-year-old nomadic boy who dreams of joining his brother in the city of Ulan Bator to make his fortune. His father, however, has other plans: to teach his son the trade of eagle hunting, a generations-long family tradition. Bazarbai does indeed travel to the city, carrying his father’s aging eagle with him. When the bird is taken from him, the boy realizes his strong bond not only with the bird, but also to his family. A metaphor for his own life’s path, Bazarbai’s journey leads him through dangers and temptations to finally accept responsibilities he must claim as his own. The cinematography plays a crucial role, as we are dazzled and moved by spectacular scenes of soaring eagles in their native habitat.
Blonde, blue-eyed, white-skinned Azur and black-haired, brown-eyed, dark-skinned Asmar are lovingly raised as brothers by Asmar’s gentle mother, who tells them magical stories of her faraway homeland and of the beautiful, imprisoned Djinn Fairy. The boys are separated by Azur’s brutal father and do not meet again until they are young adults. Grown-up Azur, now a blind beggar, and Asmar, a dashing horseman, are reunited as adversaries on a dangerous quest to find and free the Djinn Fairy.