2019 American Documentary Film Festival Official Selections (M thru S)

 

TICKETS Are Available For All Shows By Looking On This List, Mark Your Pick(s) And Then Find And Purchase Here Or At Theatre.

Macdella

USA / Aliya Naumoff / 9 min. WEST COAST PREMIERE Sat., March 30, 6:30 pm, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 14

A 40 year old single mother of three returns to her homeland of Liberia to run for President. In a country torn by war, disease, and corruption, she perseveres against her 19 male opponents, including the father of her youngest child, a famous African soccer player.

Madame Mars: Women And The Quest For Worlds Beyond

USA / Jan Milsapps / 32 min. SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PREMIERE Mon., April 1, 11:30 am, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 33

As a new space age dawns, have women come far enough to go farther than they ever have
before?

Maori Metal

USA / David Freid / 18 min. CALIFORNIA PREMIERE Mon., April 1, 1:30 pm, Camelot PROGRAM 35 Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot)

The family that slays together, stays together.

Matsutake Hunters

CANADA / Shannon Walsh / 19 min. WORLD PREMIERE Mon., April 1, 5:00 pm, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 40

The forest holds many mysteries. We follow some unique foragers as they hunt for the elusive and highly prized Japanese Matsutake mushroom, also known as the Pine Mushroom, in Northern British Columbia. Surprisingly, it is on formerly logged, second growth forests that the rare Matsutake flourish. Because of their high value in Japan, a unique human and non-human ecosystem, and economy, has emerged here in Northern Canada.

Midnight City

UK/ Divya Pathak / 11 min. WORLD PREMIERE Sat., March 30, 1:30 pm, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 8

Two night shift workers reflect upon their lives, loves, and losses as they water Mumbai's gardens after dark.

Modus Vivendi: The Only Way Out Of Suez Conflict, The Only Way To Save The British Pound

USA/ Summer Royal / 10 min. CALIFORNIA PREMIERE Fri., March 29, 11:30 am, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 2

The 1956 Suez Crisis is remembered for the military conflict between Egypt and imperial powers Britain and France, but most people do not realize that the conflict brought on one of the most severe financial crisis situations in modern history. This documentary takes a look at the  nuances of the involvement of the United States and President Eisenhower's attempt to stabilize Britain's financial system in order to avoid a world crisis.

Moments Of Truth

USA / Chuck Workman / 10 min. CALIFORNIA PREMIERE Fri., March 29, 7:00 pm, PALM SPRINGS CULTURAL CENTER (Camelot) PROGRAM OPENING NIGHT

A short montage/documentary with over 125 moments from significant documentaries of the past 100 years including Roger and Me, Best Boy, The War Room, Don't Look Back, The Act of Killing, Burden of Dreams, The Thin Blue Line, Woodstock, I Am Not Your Negro, Grey Gardens, and many others from Nanook to RBG with short remarks from significant filmmakers like Barbara Kopple, Ken Burns, Michael Moore, Ava DuVernay, Frederick Wiseman, Werner Herzog, and others.

Momsy

CROATIA / Josip Lukić / 51 min. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE Thurs., April 4, 1:30 pm, Camelot PROGRAM 73

During several summer days in Split I talked to my mother about everything. Really everything. We discussed her relationship with her parents and my father, her sex life and her past lovers and much more.

Monumental

USA / Hannah Mattner / 16 min. PALM SPRINGS PREMIERE Fri., March 29, 7:00 pm, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) OPENING NIGHT

Following the monumental decision to reduce the size of Bears Ears National Monument, one woman sets out to experience the land local Native Americans hold so dear to their hearts.

My Dear Kyrgyzstan

USA / Noam Argov, Alex Pritz / 13 min. PALM SPRINGS PREMIERE Sat., March 30, 1:30 pm, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 8

Emil is a social media-obsessed entrepreneur in one of the most remote places on earth: An abandoned Soviet mining village in the mountains of eastern Kyrgyzstan. Tracing his roots to the nomadic tribes that once roamed the area, Emil has returned to put his village of Jyrgalan back on the map by convincing wealthy tourists and famous bloggers to go there on vacation.

My Father's Son

ISRAEL / Hillal Rate / 32 min. INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE Thurs., April 4, 12:00 pm, Camelot PROGRAM 72

A shy 36 year old man lives together with his charismatic and elderly father in a small apartment. Together they pursue a religious, frugal way of life and rarely seek the company of others. But the loving, symbiotic relationship between them is put to the test when the son makes tentative steps towards a different future. 

My Landline

USA, / Evan Barber / 8 min. CALIFORNIA PREMIERE Sat., March 30, 12:00 pm Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) Program 7

In the wake of Hurricane Irma’s devastation, a little old landline telephone became a life-line for the island dwellers of the Florida Keys.

My Paintbrush Bites

USA / Joel Pincosy / 16 min. PALM SPRINGS PREMIERE Mon., April 1, 12:00 pm, Camelot PROGRAM 34

An exploration of loneliness, fame and artistic collaboration. Metro Meteor, a successful racehorse with a unique personality, had his career cut short due to debilitating knee injuries. As is the case with many racehorses, he was headed for the slaughterhouse when Ron Krajewski, a loner with no previous horse-owning experience, decided to adopt him. As Metro’s injuries become life-threatening and Ron’s isolation deepens, they use painting as a way to cope. The results will change their lives forever.

No Longer What Was

USA / Kyle Rose / 3 min. WORLD PREMIERE Tues., April 2, 11:30 am, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 47

The Salton Sea, California's largest body of water, poses a major threat to all who live around it: and the state's reluctance to repair it is speeding up its degradation.

Noble Sissle Syncopated Ragtime

USA / Daniel Bernardi, David de Rozas / 23 min. WORLD PREMIERE Weds., April 3, 4:00 pm, Camelot  PROGRAM 64

Combining unseen period footage with original scores from that era, Syncopated Ragtime tells the story of Noble Sissle incredible life journey that spans “The Harlem Hellfighters” of World War I, Broadway Theatre, the Civil Rights movement, and decades of Black cultural production.

Occupied Cinema

SERBIA / Senka Domanović / 87 min. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE Weds., April 3, 2:00 pm, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 62

Occupied cinema is a film about guerrilla action initiated by young activists taking over privatized cinema Zvezda in Belgrade, Serbia. This activity united various social groups that shared the same ambition - to change the reality in which they live. However, their views about how that reality should look like were not the same.

Ocean Stories

USA / Greg Goggin, Patrick Creadon /  21min. WORLD PREMIERE Tue., April 2, 11:00 am, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 45

Howard and Michele Hall have made a life of diving into the unknown in search of fascinating marine subjects for their IMAX films. With over four decades of marine cinematography experience, seven Emmy awards, and countless features in the likes of National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, and NOVA, the Halls are the world’s premiere underwater filmmakers. This film takes us beneath the waves and into the alien world of the deep where the Hall's capture unique animal behaviors seldom seen and rarely recorded. It is the story of how the Hall’s found love beneath the sea, and how they use their films as a call to action to save it.

Off The Court

CANADA / Aaron Rose, Jordan Klein, Olivia Reiner /  32min. WORLD PREMIERE Sat., March 30, 4:00 pm, Camelot PROGRAM 11

Kezo Brown was supposed to be Chicago’s next basketball superstar, garnering interest from the country’s top college basketball programs during his freshman year of high school. But, one decision changed his life forever. Now, Kezo spends his days fighting for his future, both on and off the basketball court.

Olympia

USA / Harry Mavromichalis / 99 min. CALIFORNIA PREMIERE Mon., April 1, 7:00 pm, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 42

Take a poetic journey in search of one’s place in the world. This revealing and unfiltered documentary follows the life and career of Academy Award- winning actress, Olympia Dukakis.  Starting on the day she turns eighty and continuing for three years, this film deals with the struggles and pains surrounding identity and the roles placed on us by society. It is a deeply moving narrative which explores not only Olympia’s rich and storied career but her struggle to find a sense of belonging due to her ethnic roots and the dichotomy she has always felt between her American values and the values of her immigrant parents.

OYMYAKON: The Story Of The Coldest Inhabited Place

SLOVAKIA / Dominik Bari / 28min. INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE Sat., March 30, 1:30 pm, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 8

Witness a day in the life of the citizens of the coldest inhabited place on Earth and discover the challenges they face in this inhospitable landscape where the lowest ever recorded temperature stands at -71.2°C (-95.8°F).

One Word: Occupation

MEXICO / Nejemye Tenenbaum  / 24 min. WORLD PREMIERE Fri., March 29, 11:30 am, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 2

Seen through the eyes of renown social activist Gershon Baskin, we witness how Israel's military occupation devastates the lives of millions of Palestinians and at the same time harms Israeli and Jewish values. The film intertwines Baskin's compelling testimony with film and video footage, animations and rarely published photographs to recount a narrative rarely seen in the Western world.

Our Bodies Our Doctors

USA / Jan Haaken / 78 min. CALIFORNIA PREMIERE Sun. March 31, 7:00 pm, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 28

See first hand what it means to be an abortion provider today:  confronting threats of violence and facing intensified political threats and efforts to criminalize abortion. Religious control over health care is expanding, including in many pro-choice states.   The abortion debate continues to be defined by gruesome images of the anti-abortion movement.  In contrast, this film provides a crucial, hopeful point of view: an intimate glimpse into the lives of these courageous providers who have devoted their careers to ensuring women have access to skilled, compassionate care.

Our Tiospaye // Our Family

USA / Meg Griffiths / 11 min. PALM SPRINGS PREMIERE Sat. March 30, 2:00 pm, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 9

South Dakota's reservations are too often defined by deficit narratives. Poverty, unemployment, substance abuse... these themes obscure the profound relationships and rich cultural legacies that are the heart of life in Indian country. This is the story of three Pine Ridge-bound educators who arrived with radically disparate perspectives on the place. Shaped by the contours of the land, the support of their communities, and the strength of their students, each discovered a deeper purpose. Each in their own way found a tiospaye, a family.

Paige

USA / Bjarne Salen / 22 min. CALIFORNIA PREMIERE Tues., April 2, 2:30 pm,  Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 50

Follow the best female big wave surfer on the planet, Paige Alms on her journey in Hawaii to surf the biggest waves in the world while being a great inspiration to the next generation.

Patron Saint Of Jazz Fest

USA / Christopher Stoudt /  17min.  WORLD PREMIERE Tues., April 2, 11:30 am, Camelot PROGRAM 46

A loving look at the colorful fans, vibrant culture, and soulful music that make up the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The film follows three Jazz Fest “die-hards” who experience the festival with such joy and obsessive fervor that attending Jazz Fest has become not just a fun annual tradition, but a soul-nourishing act bordering on religious devotion.

Maya Bdeg'a (Pelican Hill)

USA / Dana Conroy / 4 min. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE Sun., March 31, 12:00 pm, Palm springs Cultural Center (Camelot), PROGRAM 20

A true family story of a heroic pelican takes shape on the banks of Lake Traverse as unwanted visitors approach.

Powering On

AUSTRALIA / Jeremy Rigby / 7 min.  INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE Sun., March 31, 2:30 pm, Camelot PROGRAM 23

John Rigby (91), starts his day like most working singles in Brisbane – he packs his bag for work and heads to the gym for a midweek workout.  Sounds normal, but everything about John’s story is not what it seems.  In a freak accident just months earlier, John checked himself into the hospital for an X-ray. The Doctors discovered he had two fractured vertebrae and advanced bowel cancer. Death seemed inevitable.  Just twelve weeks later, with his cancer in remission, John is back lifting weights. His sights are firmly set on defending his World Natural Body Building title.  An amazing feat, but not surprising for John, an   internationally recognized palaeobotanical scientist who has made his life's mantra to keep powering on: “Always forward, never back.”

But will he reach his goal of becoming the world’s first centenarian body building competitor?

This is an amazing true story.

Precious Stones

USA / Matthew Kaundart / 4 min.  PALM SPRINGS PREMIERE Sun., March 31, 7:30 pm, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 29

Artist Daniel Crook unpacks masculinity one painting at a time. 

Quimsacocha

CANADA / Emilie Martel / 8 min. WORLD PREMIERE Sun., March 31, 12:00 pm, Camelot PROGRAM 20

Follow the story of two indigenous locals of Quimsacocha in Ecuador, struggling to protect their land from the big corporate Canadian mining companies.

RBG

USA / Betsy West, Julie Cohen / 98 min. PALM SPRINGS PREMIERE Thurs., April 4, 7:00 pm, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 79 (CLOSING NIGHT FILM)

This Oscar nominated film and box office hit for a documentary, is co-helmed by AmDocs alum Julie Cohen, who has been to the festival no less than three times, with her works featured at the Film Fund Pitch Competition as well as Opening Night and national competitions.  This work is a biographical depiction of Ginsburg from her birth in Brooklyn, New York, her college education and subsequent career as a law professor, her appointment to the federal judiciary by President Jimmy Carter, and eventual appointment to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton.


 

Refuge

USA / David Vassar / 7 min. WORLD PREMIERE Fri., March 29, 7:00 pm, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM OPENING NIGHT

In 2017 the Air Force announced plans to take 300,000 acres from the Desert National Wildlife Refuge in Southern Nevada for use as a bombing range and military training ground. This short video explores the beauty of the Refuge and introduces two distinctly different artists who have drawn inspiration from this magnificent place.  Produced by Backcountry Pictures for Friends of Nevada Wilderness and their campaign to Save the Desert National Wildlife Refuge.


 

Respect And LOVE

USA / Angelique Webster / 15 min. CALIFORNIA PREMIERE Sat., March 30, 6:30 pm, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 14

It has been said that Gloria was the first African-American woman to sue the Catholic Church. RESPECT and Love is a short experimental documentary, in which the film-maker sits down with her mother 30 years later to gain insight on how those experiences have shaped her mother’s life.


 

Rhapsody In Black

USA / Michael Mahaffie / 11 min. PALM SPRINGS PREMIERE Weds., April 3, 4:00 pm, Camelot PROGRAM 64

A Los Angeles Radio DJ transports his audience back in time to explore historic Black Los Angeles through music.

Sacheen

USA / Peter Spirer / 25 min. SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PREMIERE Fri., March 29, 7:00 pm, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) OPENING NIGHT PROGRAM

Sacheen Littlefeather, Marlon Brando and Oscar. The real story behind the first woman to make a political statement at the Academy Awards.

Sarabande

KOSOVO / KALTRINA KRASNIQI / 36 min. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE Thurs., April 4, 1:30 pm, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 73

Sarabande started as a personal documentary on the classical music virtuoso Petrit Çeku who back in 2014 was about to record the Bach Cello Suites in Spain. But then it became a road movie on borders and illegality, to later be wrapped up into a journey of two friends traveling between the invented ideas of Orient and Occident, past and future.

Satan And Adam

USA / Scott Balcerek / 78 min. PALM SPRINGS PREMIERE Tues., April 2, 6:30 p.m., Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 54

In 1986, when harmonica player Adam Gussow asked if he could jam with one-man band Sterling "Mr. Satan" Magee it was the beginning of an unforgettable collaboration - dubbed Satan and Adam. Amidst the racial tension in New York City, this Jewish Ivy League graduate and black Mississippi blues man made an unlikely pair, but their musical stylings perfectly aligned. After a chance encounter with members of U2 and a celebrated debut record, the duo rose to international acclaim from their Harlem street corner. But as quickly as they were discovered, their meteoric rise was cut short when Mr. Satan mysteriously disappeared. The result is an odyssey 23 years in the making that captures a miraculous journey of friendship, heartbreak and the transformative power of music.

Sayeik

USA  / Luke Holton / 24 min. CALIFORNIA PREMIERE Fri., March 29, 2:30 pm, Camelot PROGRAM 4

Anthropological study suggests that contemporary relationships between U.S. and American Indian groups can be strengthened by supporting the reinstatement of native names on landmarks that have been overwritten.

Second To None

USA  / Rachel Roderman / 24 min. WORLD PREMIERE Weds., April 3, 11:30 am, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 59

Zack Dobson’s brother, Zaevion, famously died shielding friends—a symbol of America's gun-violence epidemic. Three years later, Zack is a forgotten survivor no more and wearing his brother’s number at Middle Tennessee State University during his breakout season.

Secret Histories Of Rare Treasures

USA / Bailey S. Barnard, Lisa Sweetingham, Bruce Wallin / 51 min. WORLD PREMIERE Mon., April 1, 12:00 pm, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 34

Through original and never-before-seen footage, in-depth archival research, and expert interviews, Robb Report brings these awe-inspiring narratives to life through Facebook’s innovative Watch video platform. Developed in coordination with Robb Report’s editors and produced by the brand’s in-house custom-content and video agency Robb Report Studio, the editorial series tailors its investigative reporting to execute Watch’s mission: revolutionize how viewers engage and consume video content online.

Segregated By Design

USA/ Mark Lopez /  18 min. WORLD PREMIERE Fri., March 29, 11:30 am, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 2

Richard Rothstein, author of 'The Color of Law', narrates a fast-paced motion design film that illustrates the forgotten history of how all of the nation’s metropolitan areas became segregated by “de jure” segregation, racially explicit policy on the part of the federal, state and local governments. 'Segregated By Design' explores different subjects pertaining to residential segregation like many New Deal policies, racial zoning techniques like Redlining, the creation of slums, blockbusting, slum clearance, state-sponsored violence, the immense wealth gap between white families and African-American families, the effects of segregation and the constitutional remedy for the unconstitutional segregation.

Sheep Seasons

USA / Katherine Roselli / 17 min. U.S. PREMIERE Sun. March 31, 11:00 am, Camelot PROGRAM 18

Why sheep? Sheep Seasons sweeps us into a year in the life of 18 ewes, 1 ram, and 19 lambs as they bond and separate, learn how to be sheep, grow and lose their wool. An original cello score and compelling videography immerse the viewer in sheep life.

Skindigenous

CANADA / Jason Brennan, Randy Kelly / 22 min. U.S. PREMIERE Mon., April 1, 1:30 pm, Camelot PROGRAM 35

Skindigenous is a 13-part documentary series exploring Indigenous tattooing traditions around the world. Each episode dives into a unique Indigenous culture to discover the tools and techniques, the symbols and traditions that shape their tattooing art. In this series, the art of tattoo becomes a lens for exploring some of the planet’s oldest cultures and their unique perspectives on life, identity, and the natural world.

Small Talk

USA / Paul Szynol / 8 min. CALIFORNIA PREMIERE Fri., March 29, 12:00 pm, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 2

A handful of inmates weather the slow passage of time with candid reflections on drug addiction.

Somewhere To Be

USA / Peter Odabashian / 76 min. WEST COAST PREMIERE Sun., March 31, 2:30 pm, Camelot PROGRAM 23

An eye-opening look behind the doors of a Greenwich Village senior center. Every New Yorker over sixty is welcome to come to the Center On The Square between 9 and 5, Monday to Friday and take an Italian class, have some lunch, write a poem, paint a picture, or make a friend. Using a mix of verité and interviews, this funny and moving documentary explores the human need to be with others. Veteran filmmaker Peter Odabashian's intimate camera style reveals that it’s possible to have a good life if you’re able to become part of a community, if you can find somewhere to be.

Space To Explore

USA / Katherine Dubois / 14 min. WEST COAST PREMIERE Sat., March 30, 11:30 am, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 6

On an outdoor adventure to the Mars-like terrain of Moab, Utah Natalie Panek seeks to reconcile life's stumbles, redirections and challenges in her pursuit of space travel. Natalie Panek has spent her life focused on her biggest dream - to be the first to set foot on another planet. Natalie is an aerospace engineer, a pilot, an influencer, an avid explorer, and has made it to the top 100 of astronaut candidates. In the face of sky high arches and pinnacles, breathtaking views, and a canopy of stars, it's easy to believe that all the adventure you need is right here on earth.

Spirit Song

USA / Ashley E. Davidson / 26 min. CALIFORNIA PREMIERE Mon., April 1, 1:30 pm, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 35

Inspired by 'Voices of the Guardians,' an album by Lance Bendiksen and Gareth Laffely that combines the songs and stories of Native American tribes with modern western music as a demonstration of hope and unity. Our journey begins at Skywalker Sound in California and takes us across the United States to sacred Native sites in Muscle Shoals, Alabama; Acadia, Maine; and Ketchikan, Alaska. Each place comes to life with its own stories and sounds, shaping the music of each community, and showing us just how vibrant the Native American world is

Station

KOSOVO / Leart Rama / 11 min. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE Tues., April 2, 11:30 am, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 47

Fierza Lake, high mountains on both of its sides and a small boat breaking the silence of this
small part of the world. Some movements can be seen.  From a distance, boat gazes people descending from top of the mountains and patiently waiting the only transport connecting them with the rest of the world, almost unknown to them.

Street Dreams

USA / Siobhan Mulready / 2 min. WORLD PREMIERE Tues., April 2, 1:30 pm, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 46

Humzadeas, the infamous nineteen-year-old street photographer from New York City is leading a new movement that intersects street art, danger and social media.

Structures - A Ski Track In The Cultural Landscape

AUSTRIA / Hanno Mackowitz / 12 min. NORTH AMERICA PREMIERE Mon., April 1, 5:00 pm, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 40

For the past two years Hanno Mackowitz has been filming with the 2017 Freeride World Champion skier Lorraine Huber, who’s recognized as one of the strongest and most experienced female big mountain skiers in the world today. She is a long-term competitor in the Freeride World Tour and has podiumed over twenty-five times at international freeride competitions.

Super

USA / Dana Conroy / 10 min. PALM SPRINGS PREMIERE Fri., March 29, 12:00 pm, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 2A

After a near death experience that causes him to quit drinking, Super LaBatte, a Dakota artist, ponders the meaning of addiction, purpose and culture while building his new life in retirement on the Upper Sioux reservation.

Super Cool Wins In The End

HONG KONG / Cheng Herng Shinn / 43 min. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE Tues., April 2, 11:30 am, Palm Springs Cultural Center (Camelot) PROGRAM 46

Korean pop, or K-pop, is quickly becoming a global sensation. We see this frenetic world through the eyes of a wide-eyed girl who auditions to become a star, an aging female trainee who sees her window to debut as an idol collapsing and a tormented boy idol who simply misses mum.

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