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2014 Independent Film Week Includes Latest From Barry Jenkins, Alistair Banks Griffin, Passon, Frammartino & Landes

On the heels of the 39th edition of the Toronto Int. Film Festival (Sept 4-14), IFP’s Independent Film Week is where a plethora of fiction, non-fiction and new this year, web-based series from the likes of Desiree Akhavan and Calvin Reeder find future coin. Sectioned off as projects at the very beginning of financing to those that are nearing completion, there happens to be tons of Sundance alumni in the names below. Among those that caught our attention we have Medicine for Melancholy‘s Barry Jenkins’ sophomore feature, produced by Bad Milo!‘s Adele Romanski, Moonlight is about “two Miami boys navigate the temptations of the drug trade and their burgeoning sexuality in this triptych drama about black queer youth”. Concussion‘s Stacie Passon digs into the thriller genre with Strange Things Started Happening. Produced by vet Mary Jane Skalski (Mysterious Skin), this is about “a woman who has agreed to take in her grandson in his last year of high school becomes increasingly worried that the boy poses a threat to her and her elderly husband.”

Cannes Directors’ Fortnight alumni in Michelangelo Frammartino (Le Quattro Volte) will shore up with Tarda Primavera – a fantasy film that begins around a strange event of a whale’s stranding, an old Pinocchio begins to remember and have dreams of his past, while Alistair Banks Griffin (Two Gates of Sleep) sticks to the genre waters as well with Oyster, which tells the story of a twenty-year-old Therese struggles to save her debt-ridden oystering family from destruction after the man who she was arranged to marry dies unexpectedly. Monos sees Alejandro Landes (Porfirio) and Alexis Dos Santos (Unmade Beds) share writing and directing duties on a project set “faraway Colombian mountaintop, eight kids with guns carry out a mission: watching over a hostage and a milk cow.”

On the docu-front from past Sundance winners, Blood Brother‘s Steve Hoover happens to find himself in tough surroundings with Gennadiy, which focuses on one person’s work “rescuing drug-addicted kids from Mariupol’s streets, using any means necessary. But Ukraine’s civil unrest could threaten everything that he has fought for.”

Here are the list of projects.

Afronauts directed and written by Frances Bodomo, cinematography by Joshua Richards. At the height of the U.S./U.S.S.R. space race, the Zambia Space Academy also hopes to put its “spacegirl” Matha Mwamba on the moon. (Historical Fiction)

All That We Love directed by Yen Tan, written by Yen Tan and Clay Liford, produced by Jonathan Duffy and Kelly Williams. The death of a beloved pet compels a middle-aged man to examine the fragility of his present relationships. (Drama)

Big Man directed and written by Rashaad Ernesto Green, produced by Reinaldo Marcus Green. An aging powerlifter from the South Bronx attempts to break the world record in bench press. (Drama)

Chickenshit directed and written by Jessica dela Merced, produced by Gigi Dement and Elena Engel. After her father dies in a fire in Detroit, a young girl schemes to capture the arsonists responsible with the help of her misfit friends. (Coming of Age)

Colony directed and written by Pulkit Datta. Against the backdrop of heated elections, five residents of a middle-class Delhi neighborhood confront their secrets and desires, jeopardizing the future of their community forever. (Drama)

Dust directed by Will Joines, written by Karrie Crouse. Trapped by increasingly horrific dust storms, a young mother haunted by the past becomes convinced that a mysterious presence is threatening her family. (Dramatic Thriller)

Freeland directed and written by Mario Furloni and Kate McLean. A wayward daughter returns to her aging mom’s marijuana farm and is forced to confront dangerous truths in order to save her childhood home. (Drama)

Glass directed and written by Lily Baldwin, produced by Ariana Garfinkel, Nancy Schafer, and Kim Sherman. Fantasism and the corrosive seduction of being seen: “Glass,” a visceral, true-crime thriller about a schizophrenic stalker and an unguarded dancer in our privacy-gone world.(Dramatic Thriller)

Gordon directed and written by Laura Moss, produced by Forest Conner. The story of a misdiagnosed sociopath and his attempts to date women without killing them. (Dark Comedy)

Jonathan directed by Bill Oliver, written by Bill Oliver and Peter Nickowitz. A young man falls in love and begins to expand his life, despite an unusual condition in which he shares a body with his brother. (Drama)

Ladyworld directed and written by Amanda Kramer, produced by Laura Heberton and Kim Sherman. Nine teenage girls at a birthday party at an isolated country house slowly turn on one another after they are trapped by a massive earthquake. (Dramatic Thriller)

Likable Characters directed by Street Phillips, written by Teddy Wayne and Amber Dermont, produced by Streeter Phillips and Marjon Javadi. A successful young male novelist, struggling to write his next book, spends the summer at an artists’ colony and falls under the spell of a slightly older and wiser female writer. (Coming of Age

My Bare Hands directed and written by Joshua Sternfeld. A twenty-something slacker must return home for a week, to care for his father who has Alzheimer’s disease. Father and son battle for point-of-view of the story’s reality. (Fantasy)

Oscillate Wildly directed by Travis Mathews, written by Travis Mathews and Keith Wilson, produced by Travis Mathews and Andrew Carlberg, cinematography by Keith Wilson. When his disability check arrives much reduced, a hot-headed young gay man with cerebral palsy must confront the disability he’s let define his whole being. (Drama)

Palimpsest directed by Michael Tyburski, written by Michael Tyburski and Ben Nabors, produced by Ben Nabors. Peter, a successful House Tuner who calibrates the sounds of people’s homes, meets Ellen, a client whose problem he cannot solve. (Drama)

Penny directed by John Dilley, written by John Dilley and Seth Corr. Forced to hire a wildly optimistic recovering addict, a cynical HR rep takes it upon herself to prevent him from relapsing into destructive old habits. (Comedy)

Untitled China Revolution Movie written by Colin Jones and Alison Klayman, Directed by Alison Klayman. A young American working for a Chinese actress becomes entangled in the relationships and catastrophes on the set of a blockbuster film shooting in China. directed and written by Peter Vack. Rachel was sold into product assessment slavery where her job is to analyze Jacob Performance, the most famous teenage pop star in the world. (Drama)

RBC’S Emerging Storytellers
Web Storytellers Spotlight

Home Page written by Emma Needleman, directed by Paul Gale, and produced by Amanda Warman.Recent college grad Reed wants to make a billion dollar smartphone app, but first he has to win over a pair of tough potential investors: his parents. (Comedy- Web Series)

Middle Americans directed, produced, and edited by Rachel Morgan, written by Rachel Morgan and Sarah Tyler. Determined to find her missing father, Aslaug Slaug travels to North Dakota with her temperamental friend who’s obsessed with becoming an exotic dance superstar. (Comedy)

Origin of Shame written and directed by Desiree Akhavan, produced by Elisabeth Holm and Susan Leber. Mining the most absurd stories inspired by Desiree Akhavan’s most delightfully absurd adolescence, ORIGIN OF SHAME follows Desiree’s shame spiral toward (kinda) understanding sex. (Animation)

Red Clay directed and written by Mark Ennis, produced by Kent Kirkpatrick. On a remote reservation on the US/ Mexico border, a tight knit group of Native mobsters make a devil’s pact with a Mexican cartel. (Mystery/Crime Thriller)

Slow Blood directed and written by Calvin Reeder. A supernatural comedy about a rodeo clown who falls in love with a prostitute at an occultist brothel. (Dark Comedy)

Understudies directed by Daniel Zimbler, written by Elisabeth Gray and Daniel Zimbler, produced by Rob Cristiano, executive produced by Daniel Zimbler and Elisabeth Gray, cinematography by Lance Kaplan. It’s showtime for failing actress Astoria Bagg when she lands a life-changing role in Broadway’s “Twilight at Tiffany’s.” But as Astoria soon discovers, big breaks aren’t always what they seem… (Comedy)

Zero Point directed by Gregory Bayne, written and produced by Gregory Bayne and Christian Lybrook. When children begin dying mysteriously, Dr. Alex Embry, driven by a hidden tragedy, becomes obsessed with finding the cause. (Sci-Fi)

Independent Filmmaker Labs

Documentary Labs

The Dream of the Audience: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha directed by Woo Jung Cho, produced by Woo Jung Cho and Cindy Yoon. An artist transcends her profound sense of displacement by re-imagining home as a dream space where she and her audience can collaborate in storytelling.

Mad Tiger directed by Jonathan Yi and Michael Haertlein and produced by Josh Koury.Best friends, Yellow and Red, tour the United States in a Japanese performance-art punk band. Their relationship is tested when Red quits after fifteen years.

Man of the Monkey directed by David Romberg, written by Betsy Kagen, and produced by Robert Girvin. A filmmaker’s journey to a remote Brazilian island to search for the story of a scary man living in isolation with his chimpanzee wife.

Quest: The Fury and the Sound directed and produced by Jonathan Olshefski.
A family running a hip hop studio from their North Philadelphia home struggles against apathy, addiction, and violence as they strive to inspire their community.

Romeo is Bleeding directed by Jason Zeldes and produced by Michael Klein. A young poet, Donte Clark, pits his artistic ambitions against the harsh realities of his notoriously violent hometown, Richmond, CA.

The Seventh Fire directed by Jack Pettibone Riccobono; written by Jack Pettibone Riccobono and Shane Slattery-Quintanilla; produced by Jack Pettibone Riccobono, Jihan Robinson, Joey Carey, and Shane Slattery-Quintanilla; and executive produced by Natalie Portman, Chris Eyre, Gavin Dougan, Sydney Holland, Erik Fleming, Stefan Nowicki, and Lonnie Anderson. An Ojibwe community in rural Minnesota is caught between the violent rise of Native American gangs and the struggle for cultural identity.

(T)error directed by David Felix Sutcliffe and Lyric Cabral; produced by David Felix Sutcliffe, Lyric Cabral, and Christopher St. John; and executive produced by Eugene Jarecki. (T)error is the first film to explore an active counterterrorism investigation, from the perspective of the suspect and the informant assigned to set him up.

T-Rex directed by Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper; produced by Zackary Canepari, Drea Cooper, and Sue Jaye Johnson; and executive produced by Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper. A documentary about seventeen-year-old Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, from Flint, MI, who became the first woman to win the middleweight gold medal in Olympic boxing.

Very Semi-Serious directed by Leah Wolchok, produced by Leah Wolchok and Davina Pardo, and executive produced by Deborah Shaffer. Very Semi-Serious is an offbeat meditation on humor, art and the genius of the New Yorker cartoon.

Where The Marsh Meets The Lake (working title) directed by Sharon Shattuck and produced by Martha Shane and Sharon Shattuck. Her wedding approaching, the director returns home to ask her transgender father, Trisha, and her straight-identified mother, Marcia, how their love survived against all odds.

Narrative Labs

Beatbox written by Andrew Dresher, directed by Andrew Dresher, produced byJon Furay, Chip Hourihan, and Adam Penenberg. A down-on-his-luck musician charts a new path when he is introduced to a group of Brooklyn beatboxers. (Musical)

Christmas, Again written by Charles Poekel, directed by Charles Poekel, produced byClare Paterson. Neighborhood encounters and a mysterious woman force a lonely Christmas tree salesman to confront his past. (Drama)

Embers written by Claire Carré and Charles Spano, directed by Claire Carré, produced by Charles Spano and Melvut Akkaya. After a global epidemic, those who remain search for meaning and connection in a world without memory. (Sci-Fi)

Jackrabbit written by Carleton Ranney and Destin Douglas, directed by Carleton Ranney, produced by Destin Douglas, Rebecca Rose Perkins and Joe Stankus. A computer prodigy joins forces with a solitary hacker in order to uncover the dangerous truth behind their friend’s mysterious suicide (Sci-Fi).

Only A Switch written and directed by Michael Vincent, produced by Chadd Harbold and Jenn Wexler, executive produced by Peter Phok and Jacob Jaffke. Two lovers are on the run in this psychedelic fairytale that blurs lines of sexuality and identity. (Fantasy)

Out of My Hand written by Donari Braxton, directed by Takeshi Fukunaga, produced by Donari Braxton. A struggling Liberian rubber plantation worker risks everything to discover a new life as a yellow cab driver in New York City. (Drama)

Some Beasts written by Cameron Nelson and directed by Cameron Nelson, produced by Courtney Ware and Ashley Maynor. A young farmhand, fleeing his past, finds refuge in the hills of Appalachia where an elderly recluse and a feral child haunt the savage wild. (Dramatic Thriller)

Songs My Brothers Taught Me written and directed by Chloe Zhao, produced by Mollye Asher, Nina Yang Bongiovi, Angela Lee, and Forrest Whitaker. A spirited Lakota girl’s faith in her family and community is tested when her brother threatens to leave the only place they’ve ever known.

Take Me To The River written, directed and produced by Matt Sobel. A teenager’s plan to come out at the family reunion gets derailed when a bloodstain on his cousin’s dress makes him the suspect of abuse. (Drama)

Those People written and directed by Joey Kuhn, produced by Joey Kuhn, Kimberly Parker, Sarah Perlman Bremmner. A young painter is torn between a lifelong obsession with his infamous best friend and a promising new romance with an older, foreign pianist. (Drama)

No Borders International Co-Production Market

A Paso de Mangles written by Gloria La Morte and Paola Mendoza, directed by Paola Mendoza, produced by Gloria La Morte and Johnny Hendrix, and executive produced by Liz Manne. The story of three women in a small town on the Pacific Coast of Colombia whose interlocking stories shed light on the horrific reality of sexual assault in Colombia’s decades long armed conflict. (Drama)

Away from Everywhere directed by Justin Simms, produced by Barbara Doran, Michael Dobbin and Brad Gover, written by Mark Hoffe. A struggling writer emerges from rehab and reunites with his estranged brother, but soon descends into a tragic love triangle and is forced to confront a devastating reality. (Drama)

Black Sunshine written and directed by Akosua Adoma Owusu, produced by Akosua Adoma. A young Albino girl tries to balance her life between her demanding mother and her rejecting environment, a mythical reality is presented to her, but the path it leads to might be darker than she thinks. (Supernatural Thriller)

Children of the Fall written and directed by Eitan Gafney, produced by Yafit Shalev. Rachel Strode is a young, American woman with a dark secret in her past, who comes to Israel in the fall of 1973 to volunteer in a Kibbutz. What begins as a time of fun and celebration of youth turns into a menacing and bloody night of terror that will give a new meaning to Yom Kippur. (Horror)

Corpse Men produced by Isaac Moganjane and John Volmink. A team of soldiers is sent into an abandoned Middle-Eastern village to rescue one of their own. During their search, they unearth an ancient and terrifying force. (Horror)

The Cycle written by Sara Ishaq, directed by Musa Syeed, produced by Sara Ishaq and Nicholas Bruckman. A Yemeni teenager builds a motorcycle to track down his father’s killer, breaking tribal law and risking a war to get his revenge. (Dramatic Thriller)

Dara Ju written and directed by Anthony Onah, produced by Anthony Onah, Justin Begnaud, Catherine Davila and Daniel Davila, and Kishori Rajan. A young Nigerian-American financier struggles with love, family, and a prescription drug dependency as his ambitions steer him down a criminal path. (Drama)

Dead, End or: How I Learnt to Stop Living and Love Being Officially Dead written and directed by Dev Benegal, produced by Dev Benegal and Satish Kaushik and executive produced by Aseem Chhabra. A man who is declared dead by the shady Governor of Departments (GoD) has to fight to prove he’s still alive. (Comedy)

Family written and directed by Veronica Kedar,produced by Mosh Danon. Home is where the hurt is and Lily Brooke will do anything to make it go away. (Drama)

Fish written and directed by Esset Akçilad, produced by Sara Merih Ertas and Engin Yenidünya. Living in pre-furnished, identical looking flats, the lives of residents of Kader Apartmani (Destiny Building) are about to radically change when 8 year old Akin and his family move in to the building.(Drama)

Francis Turnbull written by David Schwab, directed by Terry George, produced by Wren Arthur and Oren Moverman. 1963. Cape Canaveral. As his parent’s marriage falls apart, 15-year-old, barely four foot tall Francis Turnbull sets off to find a miracle cure to help him grow (Drama)

In the Shade of the Trees written and directed by Matias Rojas Valencia, produced by Giancarlo Nasi. Thinking of a better future, a boy is enrolled by his peasant mother in a mysterious boarding school for German settlers, not knowing that he will be the victim of one of the darkest chapters in the recent history of Chile. (Drama)

Keep Them From the Wolves written and directed by Ryan O’Nan, produced by Erika Milutin, Dori Sperko and Joseph Restaino, executive produced by Randall Emmett. A young man, terrified of being a father, is forced to care for a 6-year-old Croatian girl that he is told is his daughter. (Coming of Age)

La Barracuda written by Jason Cortlund, directed by Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin, produced by David Hartstein and Laura Heberton, and executive produced by Bruce Beresford. A strange woman comes to Texas to meet her half-sister and stake a claim to the family’s outlaw music legacy –one way or another. (Thriller)

Level 16 written and directed by Danishka Esterhazy, produced by Stéphanie Chapelle, Liz Jarvis, Judy Holm and Michael McNamara. In a repressive boarding school, two sixteen year old girls struggle to uncover the reasons for their imprisonment and try to find a means of escape. (Thriller)

Lily of the Valley written and directed by Delphine Gleize, produced by Jerome Dopffer. The tale of twin sisters who meet who meet for the first time at 40 years old and learn, unwittingly, to become absolutely inseparable. (Comedy)

Los Valientes written and directed by Aurora Guerrero, produced by Chad Burris. A gay, undocumented Latino finds love and hope in the most unlikely of places – the very world he believes he can never be himself. (Drama)

Mantra – The Song of Scorpions written and directed by Anup Singh, produced by Saski Vischer. Twenty-three year old Nooran is a singer, a scorpion healer and a medicine woman. Living a free-spirited, independent life, Nooran suffers a calculated, violent attack that sets her on a mystical journey to avenge her and find the song that will heal her. (Drama)

Marjoun and the Flying Headscarf written and directed by Susan Youssef, produced by Susan Youssef and Man Kit Lam, executive produced by Charlie Dibe and Frans Van Gestel. With her father imprisoned on terrorist-related charges, a teenage in Arkansas searches for identity in her headscarf and a motorcycle. (Coming of Age)

The Men From the Water produced by Frederico Esteban, directed by Fernando Lopez. In the middle of a war zone, Víctor Erralde begins a quest through the dead, looking the meaning of his own life. (Drama)

Microchip Blues written and directed by Aaron Beckum, produced by Riel Roch Decter and Sebastian Pardo. Fed up with his mundane existence working at the microchip factory, Jimmy teams up with a washed up mystic scientist to build the world’s fastest microchip, win back his girlfriend and save his factory from going quantum. (Comedy)

Modern Primitives produced, written and directed by Michael Wechsler, executive produced by Wendy Pronin Herst, Rick Porras, Khush Singh and Shawn Singh. A sick young man with overbearing parents falls in love with his beautiful neighbor but their romance becomes increasingly turbulent as the convictions of her past life as a polar bear become stronger. (Drama)

MOM written and directed by Jacob Chase, produced by Jennifer Dubin, Jenny Jue and Cora Olson. After Marion is confronted with the loneliness of her only child growing up and becoming a new parent himself, she does what any rational mom would do: she kidnaps her grandson to raise as her own. (Thriller)

Monos written and directed by Alejandro Landes and Alexis Dos Santos, produced by Fernando Epstein. On a faraway Colombian mountaintop, eight kids with guns carry out a mission: watching over a hostage and a milk cow. (Dramatic Thriller)

Moonlight written and directed by Barry Jenkins, produced by Adele Romanski. Two Miami boys navigate the temptations of the drug trade and their burgeoning sexuality in this triptych drama about black queer youth. (Drama)

Natural Justice written by Dennis Venter, directed by Thaddeus O’Sullivan, produced by Roberta Durrant. Set in South Africa, an Irish AWOL soldier on the run from the law risks his anonymity to assist an overzealous policewoman solve a child trafficking case. (Thriller)

Nessun Dorma written by Matteo Servente and Melissa Sweazy, directed by Matteo Servente, produced by Matteo Servente and Ryan Watt. An imaginative 11-year-old boy barrels into a rural town in a stolen Trans-Am, upending the routines of a widowed police dispatcher and a secretive barber. (Drama)

Overlap written by Lisa Rubin, directed by Brooke Sebold, produced by Susan Stover. OVERLAP centers on two women in crisis – one straight, one lesbian – who begin a passionate and addictive sexual affair, escaping their mundane lives and long-standing relationships. (Drama)

Oyster written and directed by Alistair Banks Griffin, produced by Alistair Banks Griffin and executive produced by Eric Overmeyer. Twenty-year-old Therese struggles to save her debt-ridden oystering family from destruction after the man who she was arranged to marry dies unexpectedly. (Thriller)

Patti Cake$ written and directed by Geremy Jasper, produced by Dan Janvey and Michael Gottwald. Patricia Dombrowski, aka Patti Cake$, aka White Trish, is a big girl with big dreams of rap superstardom. Stuck in Lodi , New Jersey, Patti battles an army of haters as she strives to break the mold and take over the rap game. (Coming of Age)

Salvation produced, written and directed by Carmen Sangion. A young man searches for his estranged sister, a stripper reconnects with her abandoned son and a doubtful priest is forced to confront his past. (Drama)

Seeds written by Steve Weisman and Owen Long, directed by Owen Long, produced by Chris Haney, Anthony Ambrosino and Steve Weisman. When his increasingly depraved behavior spirals out of control, eccentric billionaire Marcus Milton retreats to his family home along the New England coast. But instead of finding solace, Marcus is haunted by his darkest fears and deepest desire. (Horror)

Shale written and directed by Jed Cowley,produced by Traci Carlson and Kate Allgood Cowley, executive produced by Giles Andrew. A submissive 70 year-old housewife makes the terrifying decision to leave her domineering husband after 50 years of marriage and faces the consequences that follow. (Drama)

Sin Muertos No Hay Carnaval written by Andres Crespo, directed by Sebastian Cordero and produced by Arturo Yepez, directed by Sebastian Cordero and. A suspenseful thriller about a former wealthy young man whose only financial resource to give his family an honorable life is a piece of land where 150 poor families have settled. He will have to confront his own morality as he finds himself in a corrupt and violent world. (Thriller)

Strange Things Started Happening written and directed by Stacie Passon, produced by Mary Jane Skalski. A woman who has agreed to take in her grandson in his last year of high school becomes increasingly worried that the boy poses a threat to her and her elderly husband. (Thriller)

Tarda Primavera written and directed by Michelangelo Frammartino, produced by Marta Donzeli. After watching the strange event of a whale’s stranding, an old Pinocchio begins to remember and have dreams of his past. (Fantasy/Transmedia).

We The Animals written by Jeremiah Zagar and Dan Kitrosser, directed by Jeremiah Zagar, and produced by Jeremy Yaches. Based on the bestselling novel by Justin Torres, We the Animals is about the brutal love of a multi-racial working class family, seen through the eyes of the youngest son, as he discovers his heritage, his sexuality and his madness. (Coming of Age)

Wounded written and directed by Maxwell McGuire, produced by Michael Dobbin. On a remote hunting trip, a military veteran and his son witness a fatal gunshot, spiraling into a life or death battle for survival. (Thriller)

Spotlight on Documentaries

#Single: girl behind the camera directed and produced by Paula Schargorodsky, written by Paula Schargorodsky and Julieta Steinberg, and executive produced by Julie Goldman. An Argentine woman shares her intimate search for love, answers and happiness: must she settle down or remain a free spirit in order to be happy?

500 Years directed by Pamela Yates and produced by Paco de Onís. The first trial in history to judge the genocide of indigenous peoples in the Americas unleashes a battle for the soul and destiny of a nation.

Almost Sunrise directed by Michael Collins and produced by Marty Syjuco. Almost Sunrise is the inspiring story of two friends, ex-soldiers, who embark on an epic journey across America to heal from war.

American Warlord directed and produced by Tony Gerber, written by Johnny Dwyer, and executive produced by Johnny Dwyer and Lynn Nottage. The story of Charles Taylor’s American-born son’s transformation from American teen with hip-hop ambitions to one of his father’s most feared enforcers in Liberia’s civil war.

Big Sonia directed by Leah Warshawski and Todd Soliday and produced by Leah Warshawski. “National treasure,” local celebrity, Holocaust Survivor – Sonia (88) grapples with retirement from John’s Tailoring, the last shop standing in a giant dying suburban mall.

The Bill (working title) directed, written, and produced by Ramona Diaz. The Bill is set in the Philippines, one of the world’s poorest and most populous countries, and its struggles with reproductive health policy—in the legislature, where laws are debated, and in a hospital, the busiest maternity ward on the planet.

The Birth of Saké directed by Erik Shirai and produced by Makoto Sasa. A small group of workers must brave unusual working conditions to bring to life a 2,000 year old tradition known as saké. Surrounded by 1,000 competitors, Yoshida must surface as a worthy contender in a market overrun by choices.

Blunderbust directed by Michael Dweck and produced by Michael Dweck, Ben Correale, and Gregory Kershaw. Blunderbust is the story of a small town American racetrack fighting for survival when land hungry corporations come to town.

Boone directed by Christopher LaMarca and executive produced by Laurie Collyer. Boone explores the unsentimental journey of three young goat farmers and the gritty, complex reality of living off the land.

¡Brimstone and Glory! directed by Viktor Jakovleski and produced by Benh Zeitlin, Dan Janvey, and Affonso Goncalves. ¡Brimstone and Glory! is an immersive look at the National Pyrotechnic Festival in Tultepec, Mexico, an event that combines monumental fireworks with conflagrant celebration.

Care directed by Deirdre Fishel and produced by Tony Heriza. Nearly everyone will eventually need elder care, but can we count on it? Care reveals how our broken system is failing both elders and caregivers.

A Family Affair directed and written by Tom Fassaert, produced by Wout Conijn and Sigrid Dyekjær, and executive produced by Wout Conijn. What to do with a grandmother who wants to sleep with you?

Forever Pure directed by Maya Zinshtein, produced by Geoff Arbourne, and executive produced by John Battsek. Beitar Jerusalem Football Club is on dangerous ground as they fight to keep their club “forever pure.”

Gennadiy directed by Steve Hoover and produced by Danny Yourd. Gennadiy spent years rescuing drug-addicted kids from Mariupol’s streets, using any means necessary. But Ukraine’s civil unrest could threaten everything that he has fought for.

The Guys Next Door directed and produced by Amy Geller and Allie Humenuk.
Two girls, gay dads, a surrogate and donor eggs – a poignant and amusing family portrait that explores what factors influence who we become.

HAVEABABY.COM directed by Amanda Micheli, produced by Amanda Micheli and Serin Marshall, and executive produced by Julie Goldman. Some think an in vitro fertilization contest sounds crazy, but for countless Americans desperate to start a family, this social media sweepstakes is their only hope.

Hondros: A Life in Frames directed and written by Greg Campbell and produced by Mike Shum and Daniel Junge. A journey to the world’s most dangerous places to uncover the surprising and poignant details of the life and career of late photojournalist Chris Hondros.

The Jerusalem Syndrome directed by Beth Earl and produced by Tim Williams. The line between religious belief and insanity begins to blur when 12 psychotic patients enter a community house in Jerusalem.

Just Kids directed and written by Tamar Tal and produced by Tamar Tal, Hilla Medalia, and Neta Zwebner-Zaibert. Three Italian-born Israeli brothers who had long gone their separate ways search for the cave that saved their lives during the Holocaust, uncovering forgotten truths and discovering secrets about each other and themselves along the way.

Kiryas Joel directed by Jesse Sweet and produced by Hannah Olson. Kiryas Joel chronicles a year-in-the-life of the controversial Hasidic community, Kiryas Joel, New York. To outsiders, it’s a small-town theocracy; to insiders, it’s Judaism’s best hope.

Land of Songs directed by Aldona Watts and produced by Aldona Watts and Julian Watts. In a region of Lithuania known as the “Land of Songs,” five grandmothers may be the last voices of their village’s ancient folk singing tradition.

Les Blank: A Quiet Revelation directed, written, and produced by Gina Leibrecht and executive produced by Harrod Blank. Les Blank: A Quiet Revelation will reveal the creative force behind this legendary filmmaker and how he used film as a means to express those things he loved most about the world — all the while preserving this national treasure’s legacy for generations to come.

Lucchy directed and written by Pablo Levinas and Mark Monroe and produced by Daniel Chalfen and Mark Monroe. The devastating effect of American immigration policy is exposed when a child guitar prodigy’s rock and roll road-trip across the USA takes a tragic turn.

Madina’s Dream directed by Andrew Berends and produced by Mariah Wilson. An unflinching glimpse into Sudan’s growing humanitarian crisis through the stories of both rebels and refugees fighting for their lives on the country’s embattled border.

Maya Angelou: The People’s Poet directed by Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack. The People’s Poet is the first feature documentary to tell the full story of the remarkable writer, performer, activist Maya Angelou.

Mothership: The Untold Story of Women and Hip Hop directed by Lisa Cortés, written by Bill Adler, and produced by Tony Gerber and Lynn Nottage. An intimate look at the ups and downs of the women of hip-hop, narrated in the first-person by a handful of the women — artists and executives — who have done much more than most to shape the culture during the last 30 years.

The Movie About Anna directed by Alexandra Sichel and Elizabeth Giamatti and produced by Elizabeth Giamatti. Filmmaker Alex Sichel creates a fictional alter ego, played by Lili Taylor, who teaches her how to navigate gracefully through life with an incurable disease.

The Newark Project: Safe Passage directed by Derek Koen and produced by Ouida Washington. Six students in Newark, New Jersey struggle to build a future as one of the most troubled cities in America tries to fix a “failing” education system.

No Le Digas a Nadie (Don’t Tell Anyone) directed by Mikaela Shwer and produced by Katie O’Rourke and Alexandra Nikolchev. As the “Dear Abby” of the undocumented community, Angy Rivera steps out of the shadows with young immigrant activists to claim their future in America.

Nuns On The Bus directed by Melissa Regan and produced by Melissa Regan, Ariana Garfinkel, and Todd Shaiman. Sister Simone Campbell leads a bold group of rebel nuns on a road trip for justice, compassion, and community.

NUTS! The Brinkley Story directed by Penny Lane and produced by Penny Lane and Caitlin Mae Burke. NUTS! The Brinkley Story is the mostly-true story of John Romulus Brinkley, who in 1917 discovers that he can cure impotence by transplanting goat testicles into men. After that, the story only gets weirder…

Obit directed, written, and produced by Vanessa Gould and executive produced by Sally Rosenthal. LIFE ON THE DEAD BEAT: an inside look at the famed New York Times obituary writers as they reflect on death, deadlines and the cycles of life.

Old South directed and produced by Danielle Beverly and executive produced by Marco Williams. Two Southern communities steeped in history – one black, one white – collide while striving to keep their respective legacies relevant in a changing America.

The Patriarch directed and written by Danae Elon and produced by Danae Elon and Paul Cadieux. A mysterious and dark story that delves into a closed world of monastic faith.

Phantom Cowboys directed by Daniel Patrick Carbone and Annie Waldman and produced by Annie Waldman and Ryan Scafuro. A portrait of the social and geographical landscape of small town America, through the eyes of the teenage boys who call these places home.

A Photographic Memory directed by Rachel Seed and produced by Rachel Seed and Jessica Wolfson. A photographer goes on a transformative journey to learn about her late mother by revisiting the same iconic photographers her mother interviewed in the 1970s.

Pizarro directed by Simon Hernandez Estrada and produced by Christian Bitar Giraldo. This film follows the personal quest of a woman to reconstruct her life and the life of her father, in order to reconcile with him.

Return to Timbuktu directed by Michael Meredith, produced by Alex Gibney, T Bone Burnett, and Amit Nizan, and executive produced by Wim Wenders. Return to Timbuktu is a documentary about a daring musical quest to restore the soul of a war-torn nation.

The Sensitives directed by Drew Xanthopoulos and produced by David Hartstein. Set in remote American edgelands, The Sensitives captures the exodus from mainstream society of those fleeing the toxic triggers of a debilitating and taboo illness.

The Settlers directedand written by Shimon Dotan, produced by Shimon Dotan and Jonathan Aroch, and executive produced by Charles Ferguson. With unprecedented access, The Settlers offers the first ever comprehensive look at the Israeli settlement phenomenon from its dramatic origins right up until today.

The Silence of Others directed, written, and produced by Robert Bahar and Almudena Carracedo. After decades of silence, lawyers and victims attempt to bring crimes of Spain’s 40-year Franco dictatorship before a court for the first time in history.

The Silk Railroad directed by Martin DiCicco and produced by Martin DiCicco and Kakha Matcharashvili. Wealth, opportunity, and discord collide along the route of a railroad being constructed between Europe and Asia.

Supergirl directed by Jessie Auritt and produced by Jessie Auritt, Carmen Osterlye, and Justin Levy. Naomi Kutin seems like a typical eleven-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl. Watching her deadlift 265 pounds at an international powerlifting competition tells a different story.

Thank You for Playing directed, written, and produced by David Osit and Malika Zouhali-Worrall. Ryan, an indie video game developer, is creating a poetic video game to document his experiences raising Joel, his 5-year-old son who has terminal cancer.

Three Days To See directed by Garrett Zevgetis; produced by Ariana Garfinkel, Jeff Consiglio, and Jordan Salvatoriello; and executive produced by Kevin Bright. A passionate young woman, who is legally blind and diagnosed with autism, charts an unexpected course toward adulthood, love, and her own sense of identity.

Through You Princess directed and written by Ido Har and produced by Liran Atzmor. Samantha could never even imagine that someone is listening to her on the other side of the world. Kutiman is inspired by her songs, and he’s about to increase the numbers who likes her music in ways that she can’t even imagine.

The Trials of Spring directed by Gini Reticker, produced by Beth Levison and Razan Ghalayini, and executive produced by Gini Reticker, Abigail Disney, and Zainab Salbi. Against the backdrop of the Arab uprisings, The Trials of Spring features women from the region who risk everything to fight for human rights.

Uncle Howard directed and written by Aaron Brookner, produced by Aaron Brookner and Paula Vaccaro, and executive produced by Jim Jarmusch. Burroughs: the Movie launched the career of filmmaker Howard Brookner; 25 years later his nephew seeks to discover Brookner’s work and the legacy of a life cut short by the plague of AIDS.

Welcome to Leith directed and produced by Michael Nichols and Christopher Walker and executive produced by Jenner Furst and Joey Carey. Oil + Ghost Town = Takeover.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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