Pressure Cooker

Within the first 10 minutes of this documentary filmed at Frankford High School in Northeast Philadelphia, Culinary Arts instructor Wilma Stephenson lets the students know that passing her class will be no easy feat. Her no-nonsense demeanor (more like that of a boot camp sergeant than that of a public school teacher) and tough-love nature are what immediately draw some students to her. While some will opt out of her class before the first week is even over, the ones that stay will have you cheering for them. Three students in particular (Erica, Dudley and Fatoumata) struggle to compete for scholarships to some of the best culinary colleges while fighting to overcome personal, financial and family difficulties. Documenting two semesters in a video journal style, stress levels both at home and in the classroom build, but the sheer drive and determination of these inner-city high school seniors will leave you wishing that there were more audacious characters like Wilma Stephenson and more hard-working students in every classroom. [Synopsis courtesy of Philadelphia Cinefest]

Art and Craft

Mark Landis is one of the most prolific and notorious ‘artists’ of the century. An expert forger of masterpiece art, Landis has duped curators across the nation, further befuddling them by donating his imitations instead of selling them. Many have dedicated years tracking his escapades with one burning question: “Why?” Framed around a cat-and-mouse chase between Landis and those he has hoodwinked, Art and Craft paints a richly complicated portrait of mental illness, skewed philanthropy, and the desire to feel connected. [Synopsis courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival]