Got an email from some folks working with Silverdocs saying I left out many female filmmakers from my recent post, so here they are. Festival takes place June 20-26.
SILVER SPECTRUM (in no particular order)
BALLAD OF GENESIS AND LADY JAYE, THE / USA, 2011, 72 minutes (Director: Marie Losier)—Genesis Breyer P-Orridge has been a key figure of the underground music scene in the pre-punk Throbbing Gristle and post-punk Psychic TV for more than 30 years. Yet his most memorable performance may be when he became a she in an attempt to resemble his beloved partner, Lady Jaye.
BEING ELMO: A PUPPETEER’S JOURNEY / USA, 2011, 76 minutes (Director: Constance Marks)—Elmo is an instantly recognizable icon that brings joy to people all over the globe on Sesame Street, but who is the man behind the lovable red puppet? BEING ELMO traces Baltimore native Kevin Clash’s early beginnings from backyard puppet shows to working with his idol, Jim Henson, and creating one of the most famous puppet characters in the world.
BETTER THAN SOMETHING: JAY REATARD / USA, 2011, 89 minutes (Directors: Alex Hammond, Ian Markiewicz)—BETTER THAN SOMETHING documents the prolific and notorious career of the late Jay Reatard, an iconic underground garage rocker. Through candid interviews about his 15-year career, the film captures a remarkably open and eerily prophetic depiction of the rocker only months before his untimely death. East Coast Premiere.
BUCK / USA, 2010, 88 minutes (Director: Cindy Meehl)—Cindy Meehl’s lyrical film profiles the real-life inspiration for the bestselling book and hit film THE HORSE WHISPERER, Buck Brannaman. Based on his own harrowing experiences growing up, Buck’s remarkable rapport with animals helps fix horses with people problems.
HOT COFFEE / USA, 2011, 88 minutes (Director: Susan Saladoff)—Using the infamous lawsuit against McDonalds for injuries caused by hot coffee as a jumping-off point, this film illuminates the tactics used by big business to fight against the average person’s ability to hold companies responsible for injurious and careless behavior, and to vilify those who dare to sue.
MISS REPRESENTATION / USA, 2011, 90 minutes (Director: Jennifer Siebel Newsom)—As mainstream media becomes a more ubiquitous presence in our everyday lives, its messages gain strength. When women are objectified in media, to what extent does that objectification affect a new generation of girls and women from realizing their full potential?
PRICE OF SEX, THE / USA, 2011, 72 minutes (Director: Mimi Chakarova)—The sex trafficking world of Eastern Europe has many integral players: the women who have been sold and enslaved as prostitutes, the pimps, the crooked cops and the families. Filmmaker and photojournalist Mimi Chakarova takes the audience on an intimate journey through this dark world with unprecedented access.
SEMPER FI: ALWAYS FAITHFUL / USA, 2011, 75 minutes (Directors: Rachel Libert, Tony Hardmon)—Retired Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger devoted 25 years of service to the U.S. Marines. When his 9-year-old daughter dies from a rare form of leukemia in 1985 while living at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Ensminger wants to know why. His exhaustive search for answers leads him to a shocking discovery: the very organization that was supposed to protect its own—the Marine Corps—has been covering up one of the worst cases of toxic water contamination in history.
SOUND IT OUT / UK, 2011, 78 minutes (Director: Jeanie Finlay)—In the past five years, more than 500 record stores have closed in the UK, but SOUND IT OUT isn’t an elegy to their passing. It’s a celebration of a record store in blighted northeastern England that continues to provide its eclectic clientele a place to discover elusive treasures. East Coast Premiere.
TO BE HEARD / USA, 2010, 87 minutes (Directors: Roland Legiardi-Laura, Edwin Martinez, Deborah Shaffer, Amy Sultan)—Three teens from the South Bronx struggle to change their lives when they start to write poetry. Karina, Pearl and Anthony are enrolled in an alternative poetry workshop called Power Writing. With a trio of dedicated teachers behind them, the teens are encouraged to articulate their dreams on paper and allow the language to lead to transformation in their everyday lives.
WHERE SOLDIERS COME FROM / USA, 2011, 91 minutes (Director: Heather Courtney)—From rural America to Afghanistan and back again, the film chronicles three childhood friends who join the National Guard and find themselves risking life and limb to detonate roadside bombs. This four-year journey follows them from being teenagers stuck in their sleepy northern Michigan town to 23-year-old combat veterans trying to start their lives again.
STERLING SHORT COMPETITION
5 PICTURES OF A FATHER / Denmark, 2010, 21 minutes (Director: Nadia Josefine El Said)—What does a father mean to a daughter? Filmmaker Nadia Josefine El Said poses that question to a handful of women who share their poignant personal stories, told in beautifully crafted vignettes using stylish graphics, drawings and staged tableaux.
BARBER OF BIRMINGHAM: FOOT SOLDIER OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, THE / USA, 2011, 26 minutes (Directors: Robin Fryday, Gail Dolgin)—When lifelong barber James Armstrong served as a foot soldier in the 1950s civil-rights movement, fighting for all African-Americans to have the right to vote, he could scarcely have imagined the fulfillment of an elusive dream: the election of the first African-American president.
BATHING MICKY / Sweden, 2010, 14 minutes (Director: Frida Kempff)—Ebba “Micky” Heyman has experienced a great deal in her 100 years. As she spends four seasons swimming regularly in the ocean with her friends at a local bathing club, Micky reflects on her remarkable life, including marriage, motherhood and surviving during the Nazi occupation of Denmark.
FLYING ANNE / The Netherlands, 2010, 2011 (Director: Catherine Van Campen)—Eleven-year-old Anne enjoys riding her bike, climbing fences and jumping on her trampoline, yet she also has to run in circles, always to the right, and lick everything in sight. Anne has Tourettes syndrome, and more than wanting to be like everybody else, she wishes others would understand her better.
HUMANOIDS / Brazil/ Scotland, 2010, 12 minutes (Director: Mariana Oliva)—Director Mariana Oliva follows a group of scientists working to create robots that are capable of almost anything including playing soccer. This striking film takes a fascinating look into human’s relationship with technology as we move into a future with seemingly endless possibilities.
KISS THE PAPER / USA, 2010, 20 minutes (Director: Fiona Otway)—Letterpress printmaking has experienced a renaissance among design junkies, but it’s always had a refuge in Alan Runfeldt’s barn. He loves the singular beauty of hand-set type, but he feels an even deeper loyalty to his outmoded, cumbersome machines and the purposeful way they put ink on paper.
LOST EVERY DAY / UK, 2010, 10 minutes (Director: Michelle Coomber)—What would it be like to get lost every day of one’s life? Even in one’s own home? This intriguing film introduces us to a woman who has a rare condition that makes the familiar become frequently unfamiliar, thus requiring her to asses her environment anew each and every day.
MINKA / USA/ Canada, 2011, 16 minutes (Director: Davina Pardo)—In 1967 an American journalist and a Japanese architect became the unlikely owners of an enormous rundown farmhouse in Japan, which they transported from the Japanese Alps to the Tokyo suburb of Kamakura. MINKA is an intimate story about architecture, memory and the meaning of home.
MIRACLE ON 22ND STREET / USA, 2010, 7 minutes (Directors: Sarah Klein, Tom Mason)—What would you do if you began receiving hundreds of letters from children at your home addressed to none other than Santa Claus? Two big-hearted New York City men, Jim and Dylan, must deal with this very dilemma when mysterious wish lists to the man in the red suit start regularly appearing in their mailbox.
NIGHT AT THE DANCE / USA, 2011, 13 minutes (Director: Annie Silverstein)—Two-steps and polkas abound in this warm-hearted look at the vanishing Czech dancehalls of Texas, which once numbered over 1,000. Elderly Texans, the descendants of Czech and German immigrants, gather to dance polkas and the two-step at Tom Sefcik Hall, a social hotspot in the community of Seaton, population 60.
OH GOD, DEAR GOD / Poland, 2010, 12 minutes (Director: Julia Poplawska)—Filmmaker Julia Poplawska captures the quiet charm of an elderly Polish couple who observe the world around them from the front porch of their cabin home. Fretting over the most mundane of happenings, this couple conveys beauty in the ordinary and the familiar intimacy that comes from spending a lifetime together.
OIL & WATER / UK, 2011, 10 minutes (Directors: Gemma Atkinson, Fred Grace)—Set against the backdrop of a derelict garage, Darren from the East End of London waxes not so whimsical about his tumultuous love and a rage that can barely be contained.
RAY’S BIRDS / USA, 2010, 7 minutes (Director: Deborah Stratman)—Beautifully shot on 16mm, artist and filmmaker Deborah Stratman offers a tender homage to Ray Lowden and the homegrown aviary he lovingly created to house 72 large birds of prey.
TOBACCO GIRL / Germany, 2010, 30 minutes (Director: Biljana Garvanlieva)—Mumine, a 14-year-old Turkish girl who works on her family’s tobacco farm, has the hopes of any teenage girl: to catch the eye of her crush and go to college. But her family is focused only on marrying her off to obtain a dowry. Will her struggle for independence win her the life of her dreams?
TUGS / USA, 2011, 10 minutes (Director: Jessica Edwards)—The busy New York harbor sets the backdrop to this delightful film about some of the hardest working and most beloved boats on the waterways: tugboats. While the marine towing industry has evolved over time, the maritime traditions of family, community and hard work persevere.
TWINSET / UK, 2010, 12 minutes (Director: Amy Rose)—A towering British cross-dresser regularly shares tea and cakes with polite silver-haired ladies at a local church in Essex, who accept him unreservedly. He can’t say the same of his own mother. In TWINSET, filmmaker Amy Rose addresses issues of identity, love and affirmation with a playful touch.
TWO / Australia/UK, 2010, 17 minutes (Director: Maya Newell)—Julian is a middle-aged British man who celebrates his birthday every year his second birthday. Fetishistic, voyeuristic and empathetic, TWO documents the second birthday party of a man who longs for the safety of the crib, his favorite nanny and the love and care given to children.