Three days of the best independent films screened, regional, domestic and international. Enjoy narrative and documentary features and shorts, panels with filmmaker guests and after-parties at local restaurants.
All individual screenings are $12.50
MONIFF 2017 FEATURE FILMS
THURSDAY, APRIL 20 at 7:00 PM – I, DANIEL BLAKE
Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, the latest from legendary director Ken Loach is a gripping, human tale about the impact one man can make. Gruff but goodhearted, Daniel Blake is a man out of time: a widowed woodworker who’s never owned a computer, he lives according to his own common sense moral code. But after a heart attack leaves him unable to work and the state welfare system fails him, the stubbornly self-reliant Daniel must stand up and fight for his dignity, leading a one-man crusade for compassion that will transform the lives of a struggling single mother and her two children.
FRIDAY, APRIL 21 at 11:30AM – PAPER LANTERNS
In the summer of 1945, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, “Little Boy” on Hiroshima, and three days later, “Fat Man” on Nagasaki. What few people know is that 12 American POWs were on the ground in Hiroshima, 1,300 feet from ground zero. A young Japanese boy, Shigeaki Mori, would witness the explosion and survive that day, but his life would be changed forever. Mr. Mori would go on to document the events of that day and spend over 35 years tracking down the stories of these 12 American POWs. “Paper Lanterns” is a film about the true story of what happened to POWs Normand Brissette and Ralph Neal, and Mr. Mori’s struggle to account for their story in the years and decades that followed the end of World War II.
FRIDAY, APRIL 21 at 2:30PM – THE ISLANDS AND THE WHALES
In their remote home in the North Atlantic the Faroe Islanders have always eaten what nature could provide, proud to put local food on the table. The land yields little, so they have always relied on harvesting their seas. Hunting whales and seabirds kept them alive for generations, and gave them the way of life they love; a life they would pass on to their children. But today they face a grave threat to this tradition. It is not the controversy surrounding whaling that threatens the Faroese way of life; they have discovered that their beloved whales are toxic, contaminated by the outside world. What once secured their survival now endangers their children and the Faroe Islanders must make a choice between health and tradition.
FRIDAY, APRIL 21 at 4:15PM – BIG SONIA
For years, Sonia Warshawski (90) has been an inspirational public speaker at schools and prisons, where her stories of surviving the Holocaust as a teenager have inspired countless people who once felt their own traumas would leave them broken forever. But when Sonia is served an eviction notice for her iconic tailor shop (in a now defunct mall), she’s confronted with an agonizing decision: either open up a new shop, or retire. For a woman who admits she stays busy “to keep the dark parts away”, facing retirement dredges up fears she’d long forgot she had, and her horrific past resurfaces. BIG SONIA explores what it means to be a survivor and how this affects families and generations. Will you let your trauma define you? Or will your past make you stronger?
FRIDAY, APRIL 21 at 6:45PM – POLITICAL ANIMALS
Political Animals tells the story of the civil rights struggle of this century – the gay rights movement – through the eyes off our elected women, a group often left out of gay histories until now. The film follows four groundbreaking lesbians who took the fight for the causes most personal to them and their communities off the streets and into the halls of government. Fierce, determined, focused and passionate, these visionary women had the courage and foresight to start the work of legal rights for the LGBT community. This film shows how their legislation brought about change in laws and societal acceptance, the strategies behind this incremental change, and what tough bargains had to be made to get us to where we are today.
FRIDAY, APRIL 21 at 8:30PM – THE IDOL
Based on a true story in 2013, The Idol follows the improbable and fantastic journey of Mohammed Assaf from his adventurous childhood in war-torn Gaza to the glamorous stage of “Arab Idol” in Cairo. Growing up in Palestine, the young Mohammed and his sister Nour pursue their dream of starting a band featuring Mohammed and his spectacular voice. As their ragtag band takes shape, we watch them get gigs playing at weddings around Gaza. Overcoming tragedy and poverty, Mohammed grows up and despite impossible odds, finds a way to sneak into Egypt and win a spot on TV’s “Arab Idol”. As he rises through the ranks of the competition, he gives hope to a voiceless people who root him on to a thrilling and cliffhanger finale.
SATURDAY, APRIL 22 at 9:30AM – SHORTS PROGRAM B
(N) Monty and the Furnace (:34)
(D) Seven Days A Week (:10)
(N) Welcome (:28)
(N) Good Cop (:05)
(D) Joe’s Violin (:24)
SATURDAY, APRIL 22 at 11:30AM – THE GUYS NEXT DOOR
The Guys Next Door is an intimate portrait of a real “Modern Family:” Meet Erik and Sandro, a gay married couple whose friend Rachel is a surrogate for their two daughters. Rachel, who is in her 40s, is married to Tony and they have three children. Together, they form a unique extended family. Spanning over three years, this lyrical documentary tackles some of the most pertinent issues of our time: gay marriage and parenting, surrogacy as a path to having children, and the extension and redefinition of what it means to be “an American family.” Elegantly shot and edited, and told with candor and humor, The Guys Next Door is an inspiring story of family, friendship and gay rights.
SATURDAY, APRIL 22 at 1:15PM – SHORTS PROGRAM C
(D) La Laguna (:38)
(N) Parchment Wings (:14)
(A) Noise of Licking (:09)
(D) Honk (:07)
(N) Snow Girl (:28)
(A) Splash (:04)
SATURDAY, APRIL 22 at 4:30PM – I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO
In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, “Remember This House”. The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987, he left behind only thirty completed pages of his manuscript. Now, in his incendiary new documentary, master filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin’s original words and a flood of rich archival material.
SATURDAY, APRIL 22 7:45PM – WHAT TOMORROW BRINGS
With unprecedented access, What Tomorrow Brings goes inside the very first girls’ school in one small Afghan village. Never before have fathers here allowed their daughters to be educated, and they aren’t sure they even want to now. From the school’s beginnings in 2009 to its first graduation in 2015, the film traces the interconnected stories of students, teachers, village elders, parents, and school founder Razia Jan. And although remarkable changes happen when a community skeptical about girls’ education learns to embrace it, the threats that girls face – from forced marriage to Taliban attack – loom large.