THANK YOU so much to ALL! 

As we prepare to enter into the Thanksgiving and Holiday season, the Arlington International Film Festival would like to express our gratitude to all our sponsors, judges, volunteers, organizations, partners, high school students, musician, viewers, followers and indie filmmakers around the world that partner with us to produce this annual festival.                

We are grateful to be part of Arlington and the greater Boston community and it is our pleasure to bring cultural, educational and social events to our community. Wishing you all Happy Holidays and...   

We look forward to seeing you in 2017!


2016 AIFF PROGRAM

DOCUMENTARIES

Jiáolián/Coach: (75 min)

Esteban Arguello | Doc | 75 min | 2015 | USA-China

This is the story of 27-year-old Norman de Silva, who overnight was given the head coaching job of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) Foshan Long Lions. Although basketball has been in China for over a hundred years, their professional league is still very young. In an effort to make the CBA  games more exciting and to enhance the training and development of local players, the CBA allows each team to contract up to two American players and an American coach. For Norman, China is an opportunity at the job he's always wanted, but as he delves deeper into the lives of his players he sees kids that have been put through exhausting and mundane drills for years to become model athletes. In order to win, Norman has to help his players fall in love with basketball again.  

Official Selection of the Sebastopol Doc FestEthnografilm Festival, Paris,D.C. Asian American FF, Washington DC and Frozen River Film Festival. 


Paper Lanterns (60 min)

Barry Frechette | Director | Doc | 2015 | USA

Q&A w/Filmmaker — with Director Barry Frechette

On August 6, 1945, the atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima. Little known is the fact that among the estimated 140,000 casualties of that day were 12 American prisoners of war held at the Hiroshima Military Police Headquarters since July 28, when they had been shot down during a bombing raid. For decades, many of the families of these 12 Americans were never informed as to the fate of their loved ones. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Mr. Shigeaki Mori, himself a hibakusha (A-bomb survivor), the names of these 12 are now included in the Hiroshima Peace Museum, and the relatives have learned the truth. Paper Lanterns documents the story of Mr. Mori and his dream of reaching out to the relatives of these lost American airmen. 

Official selection of the United Nations Association Film Festival and Hiroshima International Film Fes


Clarence (76 min) 

Kristin Catalano | Director | Doc | 76 min | 2015 | USA

After 50 years away from academia, 85-year-old WWII Vet, Clarence Garrett, returns to UW-Milwaukee to fulfill his biggest regret–not earning his Bachelor’s Degree. While Clarence’s drive and determination are idealistic, the reality of his age is undeniable. When unforeseen circumstances land him in the hospital, he is forced to abandon his goal of graduation to survive a critical operation.

Official selection of the Rome International Film Festival, Skyline Indie Film Festival, Austin Film Festival and winner of the Best Doc Feature in the Beloit International Film Festival


Imber's Left Hand (62 min)

Richard Kane | Director  | Doc | 62 min | 2014 | MA

Q&A w/Richard Kane, Filmmaker, Co-producer Melody Lewis-Kane & Rebecca Nemser, Art Critic - Hosted at 13Forest Gallery - 167 Massachusetts Ave.., Arlington

Imber’s Left Hand is a love story between two artists faced with one’s death and how art and love transform the tragedy into the brightest affirmation of life. Imber’s switch to painting left handed and the black humor with which he dances with his dying is a celebration of life and community.  “This beautiful film takes the wind out of you", Boston Globe. “A masterpiece", Maine Telegram.

 It has won BEST FILM AUDIENCE AWARD's at Four film festivals: Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Boston Jewish Film Festival, Best Film Audience Award at the Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival, Best Documentary Audience Award at the New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival, and Best Film Audience Award at the Hartford Jewish Film Festival (tie).


Najia Beta (50 min)

Arthur Musah, Writer/Director/Producer | Doc | 62 min | 2016|Ghana/Nigeria/USA

Q&A w/Writer/Director Arthur Musah

Arthur Musah is a filmmaker from Ghana and Ukraine. His latest documentary NAIJA BETA premiered in April 2016 at the Pan African International Film Festival in Cannes. Arthur studied filmmaking in the MFA program at the University of Southern California as an Annenberg Fellow, and holds a bachelor’s and a master’s in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Instimintute of Technology (MIT).

Dreaming of shaking up education in Nigeria, a team of Nigerian and Nigerian-American MIT students heads home one summer to teach technology to high-schoolers through a competitive robotics camp in Lagos. As they seek to contribute to a new and better Nigeria, their ideals are tested by reality.master’s in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


EAST L.A INTERCHANGE (56 min)                                 AIFF Jury Award for the "Best of Festival"

Betsy Kalin | Director | Doc | 2016 | East Coast Premiere

Q&A w/Betsy Kalin, Filmmaker & Ruby Gomez, Associate Producer

East L.A Interchange tells the story of working-class, immigrant  Boyle Heights, the oldest neighborhood in East Los Angeles. Targeted by government policies, real estate laws, and California planners, this quintessential immigrant neighborhood survived racially restrictive housing covenants, Japanese-American Internment, Federal redlining policies, lack of political representation, and the building of the largest and busiest freeway interchange system in the nation, the East L.A Interchange. The documentary explores how the freeways - a symbol of Los Angeles ingrained in America's popular imagination - impact Boyle Heights' residents: literally, as an environmental hazard and structural blockade and figuratively, as a conversational interchange about why the future of their beloved community should matter to all of us. The history of Boyle Heights is an example of the promise - and peril - of American progress.

Awards: Winner of Award of Excellent Indie Fest Film Awards; Best Feature New Urbanism Film Festival: 1er Place Jury Award Frozen River Film Festival; Best Doc Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival.


The Time of the Luthiers (25 min)                                         AIFF Jury Award for the "Best Short Doc"

Jorge Guerrero | Director | Doc | 2016 | Spain |USA Premiere 

For over a century Felipe Conde's family has been handcrafting Spanish guitars. From his small workshop in downtown Madrid, theirs has become one of the most prestigious brands, having among its clientele outstanding players such as Paco de Lucia and Al Di Meola, Leonardo Cohen, and Lenny Kravitz. Felipe's 20-years-old children, Maria and Felipe Junior, are now the fourth generation of their family to join the legacy business. Their father bequeathed to them all the secrets of the Luthiers trade, paramount of which is the importance of patience  and perseverance, two qualities lacking nowadays. 


Between Ala and Me (and Everyone Else) (60 min)

Kyoko Yokomad | Writer/Director | Doc | 2014 | Canada 

The film explores the challenges of fourth Canadian Muslin women making decisions either to start or stop wearing hijab, unveiling how the hijab carries many diverse meanings and messages, and its intricate and complex effects on Muslin women, their families and communities, and the larger multicultural society. 


Mystic Jungfraujoch (4 min)

Markus Eichenberger | Director | Doc |2015 | Switzerland | New England Premiere

Markus Eichenberger received permission to stay at the Jungfraujoch station high in the Swiss Alps, usually off limits to tourists, and recorded a time-lapse view from the top of Europe shot over 48 hours. Breathtaking.

Awards: Best Cinematography (Documentary) Award at Mumbai Shorts International Film Festival; Official Selection at the Vienna International Film Festival and the Madrid International Film Festival.


 

 

 

 

 


2015 AIFF PROGRAM

DOCUMENTARIES

 

INEZ: A Challenging Woman (33 min)

Trevor Birney & Eimhear O'Neill | Directors | Ireland | 2014 | Documentary

Through archival footage, an interview with Inez McCormack herself, and contributions from friends and colleagues such as Hillary Clinton, Mary Robinson and President Michael D. Higgins, this award-winning film explores the life of a remarkable woman who began her career as a civil rights activist in Northern Ireland in 1968 and continued as a passionate and effective advocate of social justice until her death in 2013.


THE VOW (40 min)
Cameron Zohoori | Director | USA | 2014 | Documentary

An in-depth look at the story of one remarkable young man, with the hope of gently provoking interesting questions about youth, family, immigration, race, and other topics important to the health of communities around the country and the world.


FLYING PAPER (82 min)
Nitin Sawhney & Roger Hill | Directors | USA/Palestine | 2014 | Documentary

An uplifting story of resilient Palestinian youth in the Gaza Strip on a quest to shatter the Guinness World Record for the most kites ever flown. Since summer 2010, the directors began working with a great team of Palestinian youth, trained through our Voices Beyond Walls Youth Media Program to cinematically capture the culture of kite making and flying among youth.


POWER & IMPOTENCE (66 min)
Anna Recalde, Director | Paraguay | 2014 | Documentary | US PREMIERE

A Shakespearean drama about power and the fragile nature of politics. This political thriller crescendos as we follow the adventures of Fernando Lugo, former bishop (Liberation Theology movement) elected president of Paraguay in 2008 until the tragic coup d'état in 2011.


CLOSED SEA (106 min)
Stefano Liberti & Andrea Segre | Directors | Italy | 2012 | Documentary

A close up view of the plight of several African migrants and refugees trying to escape Libya in 2008. Their aim is to reach Lampedusa – a small Italian island in the Mediterranean. What makes this documentary worth watching is the revelation of what refugees must go through to apply for asylum in Europe.


REFUGIADOS SIN TIERRA (96 min)
Fernando Molina & Nicolás Bietti | Directors | Chile | 2013 | Documentary

Filmed in Chile, this documentary follows a group of people returning to their village after the eruption of a volcano despite the authorities concern for their safety.


SHOULDER THE LION (75 min)
Erinnesse Rebisz & Patryk Rebisz | Directors | USA/Poland | 2014 | Documentary

A photographer, who is blind, questions the power of images in today's visually saturated culture; due to his advanced hearing loss, a musician is forced to give up his dream and reinvent his future; a painter who lost half her brain, who was also the inspiration for the Academy Award-winning film Million Dollar Baby, searched for her place in life, unsure of what she should be to the world.  The film attempts to ask what it takes for someone to keep on going in times of such challenges.


LOST IN THE BEWILDERNESS (97 min)
Alexandra Anthony | Director | USA | 2014 | Documentary

A feature-length documentary about the filmmaker's cousin Lucas, kidnapped at age five from his native Greece, and found on the eve of his sixteenth birthday in the US. This story of international parental abduction, filmed for over twenty-five years, chronicles Lucas' journey of growth and self-discovery, and culminates with Lucas becoming a father himself. Not only a detective story but also a lyrical meditation on childhood, lost and found, and an explanation of how the themes of ancient Greek myth and tragedy, with the family at their center, are still
very much alive in the modern world. 


CAVEDIGGER (45 min)
Jeffrey Karoff | Director | USA | 2013 | Documentary

Ra Paulette digs cathedral-like, 'eighth wonder of the world' art caves into the sandstone cliffs of Northern New Mexico. Each creation takes him years to complete, and each is a masterwork. But patrons who have commissioned caves have cut off nearly all of his projects due to artistic differences.  Fed up, Ra has chosen to forego all commissions to create his own magnum opus, a massive, secret, 10-year project. CaveDigger was Oscar-nominated for "Best Short Documentary" in 2014. 


ICE WARRIORS: USA Sled Hockey (45 min)
Brian Knappenberger | Director | USA | 2014 | Documentary

The training is tough as the USA sled hockey team prepares for the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Sled hockey, called "murderball on blades," is played as aggressively as able-bodied hockey — but these players battle with their sticks, sharp sled runners and the serrated ice picks used to propel their sleds. They fight it out at eye level with a fast-moving puck in this game of force, speed and strategy.


MILL WORK (59 min)
Tom Calderwood & Reed Snyder | Directors | USA | 2015 | Documentary

The Old Schwamb Mill in Arlington, MA, begun in 1864 as a picture frame manufactory and is the rare survivor of the small, family-owned mills that helped define New England. It is the oldest continuously operating mill site in the United States. Its unique 19th century elliptical faceplate lathes, its original belt-driven shaft-and-pulley machinery, and the original hand-turning process are used to this day to create custom-made oval and circular frames.


PHOTOS BY KIRK (28 min)
Jamie Day Fleck, Director | Canada | 2015 | Documentary | WORLD PREMIERE

Photographer, Jamie Day Fleck tells the story of an Armenian Genocide survivor who immigrated to America in 1920, and worked as a photographer in the Bronx from the 1920s to 1970s.


ARCTIC DEFENDERS (90 min)
John Walker, Director | Canada | 2013 | Documentary | US PREMIERE

Set in the dramatic and alluring landscape of the north, Arctic Defenders tells the remarkable story that began in 1968 with a radical Inuit movement that changed the political landscape forever. It led to the largest land claim in western civilization, orchestrated by young visionary Inuits with a dream - the governance of their territory - the creation of Nunavut. The story reveals Canada’s misguided attempts at sovereignty in the north and finds hope and inspiration from determined people who changed the rules of the game. 


GABO: The Magic Of Reality (90 min)
Justin Webster | Director | France | 2015 | Documentary | NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE

AIFF BEST OF FESTIVAL

The film asks the question: How did a boy from a backward town on the Caribbean coast become a writer who won the hearts of millions, from the poorest to the most powerful political leaders, and whose works changed our perception of reality? The answer is the incredible story of Gabriel García Márquez, the 1982 Nobel Prize winner for Literature, who grew up in the poverty and violence of northern Colombia, and propelled by a love of life and a sensual, magical sensibility, followed a path that made him not only a pioneer of life-affirming literature, but took him to the forefront of the great political struggles of Latin America in the 70s and 80s, militant journalism and friendships with political leaders such as Fidel Castro and Bill Clinton.


LITTLE PEOPLE BIG DREAMS (90 min)
Mak CK, Director | Singapore | 2014 | Documentary | BOSTON PREMIERE

Explore the bizarre world of Dwarf Empire, a theme park where dwarves from all over China perform for gawping tourists. Director Mak CK’s camera boldly peers into the lives and dreams of these little people and the film, through their stories, touches on complex issues of exploitation and otherness, community and survival.


SEA WOMEN (23 min)
Marta Solana | Director | Spain | 2014 | Documentary

The story of women in the fisheries of Cantabria (Spain). Not only are they mothers and widows, but they also have to manage indispensable tasks of this sector and to provide support to fisher families.


NOVENA (18 min)
Anna Rodgers | Director | Ireland | 2013 | Documentary

The story of women in the fisheries of Cantabria (Spain). Not only are they mothers and widows, but they also have to manage indispensable tasks of this sector and to provide support to fisher families.


A CHANCE TO DRESS (41 min)
Alice Dungan Bouvrie | Director | USA | 2015 | Documentary

AIFF BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT

76 year old Professor Emeritus John Southard recently came out to his family, friends and M.I.T colleagues as a cross-dresser after nearly 40 years of easy collegiality. His exuberant outing is reflected, in part, by his efforts to reach out as an educator and counselor to other closeted students and faculty.


VESSEL (90 min)
Diana Whitten | Director | Netherlands | 2014 | Documentary

This multi-national award-winning documentary, written and directed by Diana Whitten, begins with a young doctor who lived by the sea, and an unlikely idea.  Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, horrified by the realities created by anti-abortion law around the world, felt compelled to challenge this.  Her method: to provide abortions on a ship in offshore waters. A fearless sea captain sails a ship through loopholes in international law, providing abortions on the high seas, and leaving in her wake a network of emboldened activists who trust women to handle abortion on their own terms.


JARDÍN BAROCCO (62 min)
Jairo López | Director | Spain | 2014 | Documentary | US PREMIERE

An experimental documentary, this film captures the performance construction of artist Roberto García Mesa in a room at the Gallery Conca Contemporary Art Space in La Laguna, Tenerife. García freely creates through poems, actions, performances, installations and graphic works, with director Jairo Lopez shooting freely with his camera. The result is a spontaneous composition guided by chance and the search for beauty between the shadows.


DREADLOCK STORY (83 min)
Linda Ainouche | Director | USA/Jamaica | 2014 | Documentary

The history of Rastafarianism is explored through the prism of hair. The spiritual significance of the much-criticized dreadlocks hairstyle as well as the roots of Rastafari culture, both of which are entangled with the Hindu tradition in Jamaica, are uncovered in revealing interviews with historian Verene Shepherd, David Hinds of the reggae band Steel Pulse, and Monty and Blade Howell, sons of Leonard ‘Gong’ Howell (‘the first rasta’).


ANGKOR'S CHILDREN (66 min)
Lauren Shaw | Director | USA/Cambodia | 2014 | Documentary

Cambodia’s cultural and artistic renaissance is recounted through the voices of three young Cambodian women from the first generation after the Khmer Rouge genocide that killed two million people, including 90% of artists and intellectuals. 


INFERNO O PARAÍSO (96 min)
German Piffano | Director | Colombia | 2014 | Documentary | MA PREMIERE

Shot over a period of ten years, “Heaven or Hell” tells the story of Jose Antonio Iglesias, an architect whose crack addiction sent his life spiraling out of control. Piffano paints a compassionate portrait of a man who faces the ups and downs of life with courage.


JOAN'S BOYS (60 min)
Catherine Von Campen | Director | Netherlands | 2013 | Documentary

Joan Sträter offers psychotherapy to out-of-control teenagers, predominantly from ethnic minorities. Mostly boys. They have all had encounters with the police, for reasons varying from robberies to abuse, skipping class or shoplifting. The documentary shows Joan counseling Alaa and Adil, fourteen-year-old twins of Moroccan origin. Joan's Boys is a film about the interaction between Joan and 'her boys', about how their often completely separate worlds can connect. The film is not just a double portrait of patient and counselor; it is also about 'looking' and 'being looked at' and how we so easily judge worlds foreign to us.


THE LONGEST KISS (73 min)
Alexandra Sicotte-Levesque | Director | Canada/Sudan | 2013 | Documentary | US PREMIERE

The meeting of the Blue and White Nile in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, is referred to as ‘the longest kiss in history’. As the Arab Spring was in full bloom, Sudan, straddled between the Middle East and Africa, and was about to split in two. Facing conflicting identities, the youth in north Sudan are faced with a stale leadership while others in south Sudan hope to start over. Focusing on the stories of six people searching for a place to call ‘home’ ahead of the south’s secession, director Alexandra Sicotte-Levesque paints an intimate and detailed portrait of the country’s complex fragmentation.


WELCOME TO THE CIRCUS (87 min)
Courtney Coulson | Director | Palestine | 2015 | Documentary
Q&A w/Filmmaker — 20 min

Set in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the Palestinian Circus School welcomes the LIDO, a circus school from France, into their home. In one month, the two schools must come together to create a mobile circus for the children of Palestine.


POWER TO THE PEDALS: Wenzday Jane and the Culture of Change (41 min)
Bob Nesson | Director | USA | 2014 | Documentary
Q&A w/FIlmmaker and subject, Wenzday Jane — 30 min

This documentary portrays the transformative vision and extraordinary efforts of Wenzday Jane, a young woman whose mechanical skills and innovative actions are reshaping her community. Wenzday goes to the heart of the sustainability issue by offering solutions, and suggests that things don’t have to be the way they are.


TASHI & THE MONK (40 min)
Andrew Hinton & Johnny Burke | Directors | USA | 2014 | Documentary
AIFF BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Q&A w/Filmmakers — 30 min

On a remote mountaintop a brave social experiment is taking place. Former Buddhist monk Lobsang was trained under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, but eight years ago he left his life as a spiritual teacher in the United States to create a unique community in the foothills of the Himalayas which rescues orphaned and neglected children. Five-year-old Tashi is the newest arrival. Her mother recently passed away and she’s been abandoned by her alcoholic father. Wild and troubled, Tashi is struggling to find her place amongst 84 new siblings. Can the community’s love and compassion transform Tashi’s alienation and tantrums into a capacity to make her first real friend?