2017 Festival Schedule

Here are the films, panels, and parties from the 2017 Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival. To learn more details about any film or event, just click or tap on the title.  *Denotes filmmakers that were in attendance.


<strong>Town Hall Theater |</strong> Immortality

Immortality | 145m | Narrative | Mehdi Fard Ghaderi

North American Premiere.

“When I try to imagine you, I feel kind of immortality; when I call you, I feel kind of immortality; when I look at you, I feel kind of immortality; when I touch you, I feel kind of immortality; when I smell you, again I feel kind of immortality.” – Director Mehdi Fard Gharderi

<strong>Marquis Theater |</strong> Napalm Mayhem: A Hand Animation | Killed In Action | Death In The Wilderness

Napalm Mayhem: A Hand Animation | 4m | Experimental | Oscar

New England Premiere.

This film explores the meaning, morals and consequences of war, by placing the characters right in the middle of an event that has had historians frowning for decades – The Vietnam War. The audience sees the transition of people, while trying to fight for their beliefs, turn into monsters.

Killed In Action | 13m | Narrative | Christine Weatherup

Vermont Premiere.

Set in 1948, Killed In Action is about an encounter between a troubled WWII veteran and the widowed wife of a fellow soldier. She invites the veteran over for dinner, planning to reminisce and celebrate the life of her deceased husband, but instead the vet decides to tell her the truth about what really happened overseas. They must decide whether to confront the truth, or live in the reality that they choose.

Death in the Wilderness | 40m | Documentary, VT Collection | Kevin Thornton*

A young Civil War widow searches for the body of her husband a year after he is killed in action in Virginia. In the years following the war she struggles to preserve his memory and find meaning in his death.


<strong>Town Hall Theater |</strong> Breakfast of Dreams | Eyes of Exodus | 8 Borders, 8 Days

Breakfast of Dreams | 15m | Documentary | Mark Robertson

World Premiere.

A true story about old age, and the distance one man goes for love (and breakfast). After suffering a debilitating stroke and losing his wife to cancer, Nils, a 78 year old from Lier, Norway, embarks on a 750km journey to order the Breakfast of Dreams from a café in Germany that he and his wife used to visit together.

Eyes of Exodus | 27m | Documentary | Alexandra Liveris

Vermont Premiere.

Four days during the Syrian migrant crisis on the most remote island in Greece reveals an intimate and complicated relationship between refugees and locals, fear and hope, and the healing versus destructive force change bears on love at a personal and national level.

8 Borders, 8 Days | 61m | Documentary | Amanda Bailly

A single mother shows us the consequences of closing America’s doors to families fleeing war. With no answer to her application for resettlement in the US, and every other path to safety closed off, a smuggler’s raft to Europe was the only way out. 8 Borders, 8 Days is her story; the intimate details of why a fiercely-determined mother is willing to risk her children’s lives for a better future and an immersive experience of their eight-day journey to safety.

<strong>Marquis Theater |</strong> Gathering Time | Sunlight Man

Gathering Time | 8m | Documentary, VT Collection | Corey Hendrickson*

World Premiere.

Meghan Stotko and Andy Paonessa tap 1200 trees by hand, producing wood fired Maple Syrup to support their farmstead in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. With little dialogue and no narration, this observational documentary reveals the labor and landscape of this time honored tradition.

Sunlight Man | 98m | Documentary, VT Collection | Joel Gardner*


Sunlight Man is Joel Gardner’s personal documentary probing the deep flaws his father, novelist John Gardner, struggled to overcome on his journey to literary stardom. John Gardner endured a childhood trauma. Though passionate, charismatic, generous and gifted, he waged a losing battle against his self- destructive nature. Joel comes to terms with his grief as he traces the arc of his father’s brief, brilliant life in a compassionate story of redemption, and ultimately forgiveness.

Opening Night

<strong>6:00pm | Town Hall Theater |</strong> Doors Open

*Opening Night Ticket Required*

6:30pm: Introductions by Festival Producer, Lloyd Komesar.

<strong>7:00 pm | Town Hall Theater |</strong> Take My Nose... Please | On-Stage Conversation w/ Director Joan Kron, hosted by Jay Craven

*Opening Night Ticket Required*

Take My Nose… Please | 92m | Documentary | Joan Kron*

First time documentary filmmaker Joan Kron has crafted an hilarious, biting documentary that looks at the role comedy has played in exposing the pressures on women to be attractive – and society’s consequent relationship with plastic surgery. An on-stage conversation with Joan Kron will follow the screening, hosted by Jay Craven.

<strong>9:00pm | Swift House Inn |</strong> Opening Night Party

*Opening Night Ticket Required*

The festivities continue at one of Middlebury’s most beautiful settings.


<strong>Town Hall Theater |</strong> An Autobiography | Good Funk

An Autobiography | 34m | Narrative | Mari Mantela

Vermont Premiere.

Two days before her retirement, Anja makes a decision: she will not leave her work in a rental cars parking hall deep underground, a place where she has worked like a queen bee, nursing cars and the mechanics around her. But when the boss upstairs sends a young trainee down who is ready to replace her, Anja is forced to face the fact – her life as she knows it is coming to an end.

Good Funk | 73m | Narrative, VT Collection | Adam Kritzer*


Set in a Brooklyn neighborhood on the verge of gentrification, “Good Funk” tells the story of three generations of citizens, Afro-Caribbean immigrants, whose lives intersect through acts of kindness. The product of an educational training and literacy program that recruited young Brooklynites to learn filmmaking craft, share their stories, and collaborate for pay on a feature film production, the film is a portrait of love enduring and a testament to discovering family in unexpected places.

<strong>Marquis Theater |</strong> Ten Meter Tower | The Stag's Mirror | Walking on Water

Ten Meter Tower | 15m | Documentary | Axel Danielson,  Maximilien Van Aertryck

Vermont Premiere.

A ten meter diving tower. People who have never been up there before have to choose whether to jump or climb down. The situation itself highlights a dilemma: to weigh the instinctive fear of taking the step out against the humiliation of having to climb down. “Ten Meter Tower” is an entertaining study of the human in a vulnerable position.

The Stag’s Mirror | 20m | Documentary | Robin Starbuck*

USA Premiere.

Shot in Chiapas Mexico, The Stag’s Mirror is an allegorical response to an intricate story described in Rosario Castellano’s novel, The Book of Lamentations. This poetic ethnographic film offers an alternative to the kind of documentary that either valorizes its subjects or extinguishes their power. Structurally, the film is a composite of interlaced imagery and text that establishes a break with progressive narrative and how this is represented in film.

Walking on Water | 52m | Documentary | Gianmarco D’Agostino*

USA Premiere.

The flood of 1966 in Florence through the eyes, the camera and the creativity of Beppe Fantacci, who helped the famous artisans of Florence to survive the devastation of the city. A forgotten story of desperation, creativity and recovery, the film features unreleased, amazing 16 mm color footage, and exclusive memories of the flood by families such as Bargellini, Ferragamo, Pucci, Tayar, and by gifted artisans who survived nowadays thanks to men like Beppe Fantacci.

<strong>Dana Auditorium |</strong> The Bird Who Could Fly | Abundant Acreage Available

The Bird Who Could Fly | 19m | Narrative | Raphael Sbarge

Vermont Premiere.

Arthur, a young Korean-American attorney, juggles his mother’s religious extremism with his attempts to heal his brothers’ self-destructive lives. Ultimately, he must emerge to find his own life, apart from the cultural pressures and real-life rubble from which he comes.

Abundant Acreage Available | 80m | Narrative | Angus MacLachlan

After their father dies, a middle-aged brother and sister wrestle with legacy and ownership when three brothers, whose family farmed the land for generations, return after 50 years.

<strong>Marquis Screening Room |</strong> I Am Your Friend | Julia's Piece | The Ties That Bind

I Am Your Friend | 8m | Narrative | Nicholas Payne Santos

New England Premiere.

A friendship is put to the test when two teenage boys are left alone for the weekend. As the teenagers confront their neighborhood rivals, horseplay escalates to violence throwing their loyalty to one another into question.

Julia’s Piece | 10m | Narrative | Amelia Eloisa

New England Premiere.

Julia is about to go on stage, but choreography is the least of her troubles.

The Ties That Bind | 66m | Documentary | Diana Newton*

New England Premiere.

A personal documentary that captures the filmmaker and her family’s journey of conflict and adaptation in response to her youngest sibling’s change in gender identity. A searing look at a Southern family wrestling with each other and their beliefs, the film exposes the shadow landscape of the culture wars at play and presents a complex story that weaves a portrait of family imperfections and the love that remains intact even so.

<strong>National Bank of Middlebury Community Room |</strong> Balloonfest | Cicada Music In Ohio | One October

Balloonfest | 6m | Documentary | Nathan Truesdell

Vermont Premiere.

Cleveland attempts to overcome its nickname “The Mistake by the Lake”, by launching a bunch of balloons.

Cicada Music In Ohio | 12m | Documentary | Umru Rothenberg

North American Premiere.

David Rothenberg, author of Bug Music and Why Birds Sing, heads to Ohio to play clarinet live with seventeen-year cicadas, a once-in-a-generation opportunity. He is joined by accordionist Lucia Vitková and biologist John Cooley, who is not sure if cicadas are really all that musical. Listen to the musicians and the scientist interact with the fascinating creatures, and you the viewer can decide. (*Writer David Rothenberg will attend.)

One October | 56m | Documentary | Rachel Shuman

Vermont Premiere.

Filmed in October 2008 on the eve of Obama’s historic election and an unprecedented economic crisis, this city symphony follows radio reporter Clay Pigeon as he takes to the streets of New York to talk to fellow citizens about their lives, their dreams, and their relationship with the city. These revealing interviews are woven between vivid scenes of New York’s eccentric byways, which together reveal a city—and a nation—at a crossroads.


<strong>Town Hall Theater |</strong> Manhattan | Tribute to Michael Murphy | On-Stage Conversation w/ actor Michael Murphy, hosted by Fred Strype

Manhattan | 96m | Narrative | Woody Allen

The life of a divorced television writer dating a teenage girl is further complicated when he falls in love with his best friend’s mistress.

On-Stage Conversation | Michael Murphy talks with host Fred Strype about his experiences working with director Woody Allen.

<strong>Marquis Theater |</strong> Special Screening: Black Mass | On-Stage Conversation w/ journalist Dick Lehr, hosted by Jay Craven.

Black Mass | 123m | Narrative | Scott Cooper

Based on the book by MNFF special guest Dick Lehr, the film stars Johnny Depp and portrays the true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous, violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.

On-Stage Conversation | Dick Lehr talks with MNFF Artistic Director Jay Craven about the making of Black Mass from his heralded book.

<strong>Dana Auditorium |</strong> An Outrage | The Peacemaker

An Outrage | 34m | Documentary | Hannah Ayers, Lance Warren

New England Premiere.

“An Outrage” is a documentary film about lynching in the American South. Filmed on-location at lynching sites in six states and bolstered by the memories and perspectives of descendants, community activists, and scholars, this unusual historical documentary seeks to educate even as it serves as a hub for action to remember and reflect upon a long-hidden past.

The Peacemaker | 90m | Documentary | James Demo*

“The Peacemaker “is an intimate portrait of Padraig O’Malley, an International Irish peacemaker who helps make peace for others but struggles to find it for himself. The film takes us from Padraig’s isolated life in Cambridge, Massachusetts to some of the most dangerous crisis zones on Earth – from Northern Ireland to Kosovo, Nigeria to Iraq – to chronicle, over five years, Padraig’s journey as he works a peacemaking model based on his recovery from addiction.

<strong>Marquis Screening Room |</strong> Borderline | Mrs. Drake | It's Criminal

Borderline | 16m | Narrative | Emily Sheehan*

Vermont Premiere.

“Borderline” is a short realistic drama that offers a provocative look at the consequences of addiction. Haunted by an abusive relationship with her mother, Esme struggles to keep her walls up around her new, perceptive partner Aaron, even as her world spins out of control.

Mrs. Drake | 15m | Narrative | Caitlin FitzGerald

Vermont Premiere.

Laura is a single mother struggling to maintain her own equilibrium while raising her frequently difficult son Jack. Jack comes home from school one day with a story about his teacher, Mrs. Drake, locking him in a closet. Laura is thrown into a spiral of confusion and guilt—not knowing who to believe or trust. “Mrs. Drake” will touch a nerve with anyone who is or has struggled through heartache to be a good parent.

It’s Criminal | 77m | Documentary, VT Collection | Signe Taylor*

“It’s Criminal” is a powerful critique of the economic and social inequities that divide the United States. The film offers a window into a rural jail, an Ivy League college and what happens when these worlds collide. Shot in an intimate verite style, the feature documentary shares the life-changing experiences of female prisoners and Dartmouth College students working together to write and perform an original play about the lives of the incarcerated women. It delves into privilege, poverty and injustice, and asks viewers to think about who is in prison and why — while also sharing an inspiring story about how empathy is a powerful force that can help bridge the divide.

<strong>National Bank of Middlebury Community Room |</strong> 833 | Dad's 50th Surprise Party | Where Have You Gone, Lou Dimaggio?

833 | 10m | Narrative | Vijay D. Varu

New England Premiere.

Perpetually late, Jake confides in Mrs Miller, a wheelchair bound lady, who sees the world through different eyes. If only his boss saw things that way. Ultimate happiness lies in Jake’s hands… but can he find a way to break the perpetual cycle and channel his inner hero?.

Dad’s 50th Surprise Party | 10m | Narrative, VT Collection | Matt Lennon

Two brothers team up to finally one up their prankster dad for his 50th birthday.

Where Have You Gone, Lou Dimaggio? | 75m | Documentary | Brad Kuhlman

From 1985 to1989 Lou DiMaggio, no relation to baseball legend Joe DiMaggio, was a regular at the iconic “Catch a Rising Star” comedy club in New York City. For four years Lou worked along side of and made lasting friendships with a small group of comedians who are today some of the very best in the business. Larry David, Colin Quinn, Susie Essman, Joy Behar, Jeff Garlin, and Ray Romano are just a few of Lou’s old pals who appear in the film. After moving to Los Angeles in 1989 to pursue acting, Lou, in a mysterious act of career self-sabotage, stopped doing stand up comedy forever. But why? Today Lou is an Emmy winning writer for television. He makes a quiet, modest living but a deeply repressed passion for doing stand up is beginning to emerge. “Where Have You Gone Lou DiMaggio” follows Lou as he seeks advice from celebrity friends about returning to comedy while discovering along the way the real reason why he stopped doing stand up in the first place. After all this time, can Lou once again become relevant in the world of comedy?


<strong>Town Office Building, 77 Main St |</strong> The Cutting Edge of Investigative Journalism: Dick Lehr Talks w/ Jay Craven --OPEN TO ALL--

Open to All! Acclaimed journalist and author Dick Lehr joins host Jay Craven to discuss his time on the essential Spotlight investigative team at the Boston Globe and the process of writing his riveting non-fiction work. Dick Lehr will sign his books following this event at The Vermont Book Shop, 38 Main Street.


<strong>Edgewater Gallery at The Falls, 1 Mill St |</strong> Festival Happy Hour --OPEN TO ALL--

Open to All! Enjoy the light food and array of beverages on the deck at Edgewater Gallery at The Falls.

<strong>The Diner, 66 Merchants Row |</strong> Filmmakers-Only Champagne Reception

An informal opportunity for filmmakers to meet and talk at an iconic Middlebury location.


<strong>Town Hall Theater |</strong> Blood Simple| Tribute to M. Emmet Walsh | On-Stage Conversation w/ actor M. Emmet Walsh, hosted by Jay Craven

Blood Simple | A Tribute to M. Emmet Walsh | 99m | Narrative | Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

A rich but jealous man hires a private investigator, played by the great M. Emmet Walsh, to kill his cheating wife and her new man. But, when blood is involved, nothing is simple.

The prolific actor M. Emmet Walsh joins host Jay Craven following the screening for a lively Q&A about the making of the Coen brothers’ first film.

<strong>Marquis Theater |</strong> Seared | Untouchable

Seared | 8m | Documentary | Ben Gustafson*

Beaten by a life of injustice and crime, a young man’s plan to end it all turns into a life of renewed hope and a passionate career as a chef.

Untouchable | 100m | Documentary | David Feige

After discovering that a nanny has sexually abused his daughter, the most powerful lobbyist in the state of Florida harnesses his extraordinary political power to pass the toughest sex offender laws in the nation. “Untouchable” is a film that pushes viewers toward an uncomfortable place, requiring them to walk in the shoes of those who have suffered sexual abuse, but to still bear witness to the experiences of those we most fear.

<strong>Dana Auditorium |</strong> I'm In Here | The Finger | Fun Mom Dinner

I’m In Here | 12m | Narrative | Willy Berliner

Vermont Premiere.

A man finds a family of strangers in his house and has an extremely difficult time asking them to leave.

The Finger | 10m | Narrative | Corydon Wagner*

Vermont Premiere.

A guy’s simple injury has an unexpected and profound effect on his special evening with his girlfriend.

Fun Mom Dinner | 81m | Narrative | Alethea Jones

Four moms whose only common ground is their kids’ preschool class, decide to get together for a harmless “fun mom dinner.”

<strong>Marquis Screening Room |</strong> There Are No Brothers Here | A Pact Among Angels

There Are No Brothers Here | 13m | Narrative | Emma Findlen LeBlanc*

Vermont Premiere

Based on the testimonies of detained Syrian protesters and the regime’s interrogators who tortured them, this film tells the story of Rami, a young and frightened revolutionary and Mustafa, a volatile secret police agent, struggling to wrest control of their own fates and that of their country from each other’s hands during a night of intense interrogation.

A Pact Among Angels | 95m | Narrative | Richard Angers*

Vermont Premiere.

Adrien, a solitary, middle-aged man, finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and is kidnapped by two brothers age 14 and 18 who have gotten themselves in big trouble. This starts the bizarre trio on a crazy journey that reveals each person’s true character. Linked by a common destiny, these three fragile individuals must overcome their prejudices and work together to survive.


<strong>The Lounge at Two Brothers Tavern, 86 Main St |</strong> Friday Night Party

Wrap up the day with a great get together at one of Middlebury’s favorite spots. Food courtesy of the chefs at Two Brothers Tavern. Passholders Only, Please.


<strong>Middlebury Inn Patio, 14 Court Sq |</strong> Coffee with Michael Murphy and M. Emmet Walsh --OPEN TO ALL--

Open to All! Join actors Michael Murphy and M. Emmet Walsh for conversation and coffee in a lively exchange with Jay Craven. Coffee provided by the Middlebury Inn.


<strong>Town Hall Theater |</strong> Nashville | A Tribute to Robert Altman | On-Stage Conversation w/ Michael Murphy and Allan Nicholls, hosted by Jay Craven

Nashville | 160m | Narrative | Robert Altman

Over the course of a few hectic days, numerous interrelated people prepare for a political convention as secrets and lies are surfaced and revealed.

On-Stage Conversation | Michael Murphy and Allan Nicholls talk with MNFF Artistic Director Jay Craven

As part of our tribute to the legendary director, Robert Altman, join Allan Nicholls, Altman’s top collaborator on “Nashville” and numerous other films, and actor Michael Murphy, an essential member of the Altman tribe, for a special event with MNFF Artistic Director Jay Craven following the screening.


<strong>Marquis Theater |</strong> New York International Children's Film Festival | Special Presentation

NY Int’l Children’s Film Festival : Selected Shorts  | 74m | Narrative, Family | Various

Featuring the 2017 NYICFF Grand Prize winner “Heads Together,” from Festival alumni and Academy Award nominees Job, Joris, & Marieke, this wonderful collection of short films also boasts the Grown-ups Award winner “Riceballs,” and Audience Award winner “Welcome to my Life.”

<strong>Dana Auditorium |</strong> Light Sight | The F Word | Jesús | When I Stutter

Light Sight | 8m | Narrative, Animation, Family (10+) | Seyed M. Tabatabaei

Vermont Premiere.

M.E., the imprisoned character in a room, is attracted to a hanging light and tries to catch it. But the room itself becomes an obstacle in his way.

The “F” Word | 16m | Documentary, VT Collection, Family (10+) | Sasha Whittle*

Failure is the “F” word and academic failure is a shameful topic that many students feel the effects of but never openly discuss with their peers. What does it feel like to be a struggling student in an academically rigorous school? This short documentary traces the filmmaker’s journey to understand her failures and how the educational system works in unpredictable ways.

Jesús | 13m | Narrative, Family (10+) | Brian Patterson

Vermont Premiere.

On an ordinary day, and an ordinary trip to the park, Jesús, who uses a wheelchair to get around, begins to see that his life will be different from the other kids. Comprehension is compassion.

When I Stutter | 67m | Documentary, Family (10+) | John Gomez*

New England Premiere.

A documentary that reveals the humanity that exists within an often mysterious malady. Over the course of 4.5 years, 19 people shared stories about how stuttering has impacted their lives. These stories run the gamut of human emotions, some dark, some funny, others triumphant. Interspersed throughout the documentary are “educational vignettes” that help illuminate some of the mysteries and questions that surround stuttering.

<strong>Marquis Screening Room |</strong> Special Group Screening: Jacob Burns Film Center's Creative Culture Filmmakers | Hosted by JBFC's Sean Weiner

Jacob Burns Film Center: Creative Culture Filmmakers Group Screening | 77m | Various

The Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC), a prestigious film culture and educational organization based in Pleasantville, New York, has entered into a multi-year partnership with the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival to advance the work of emerging voices in independent filmmaking. MNFF this year presents the first fruits of the JBFC’s Creative Culture program, designed to support the work of new filmmakers. The filmmakers represented at this screening are: Lucy Adams, Emily Ann Hoffman, Reweina Tessema, Stefaniya Vey, Leah Galant and Kervin Marseille. Filmmaker Alex Gonzalez will be screening his Virtual Reality film separately on Saturday, August 26 and Sunday, August 27 from 2-4p at the Marquis Theater Cafe.

<strong>National Bank of Middlebury Community Room |</strong> Master of Shadows | Stars | Then Who? | The Sunrise Storyteller

Master of Shadows: Baddest Villain of All Ninjago | 1m | Narrative, Animation, Family | Jack Nop*

World Premiere.

It’s a typical day of training in the world of LEGO Ninjago, when a mysterious villain appears at the temple gates. Six ninjas work together to fight their greatest foe yet: an ancient master who can control shadows at his will.

Stars | 5m | Narrative, Animation, Family | Hans Zhang

Vermont Premiere.

Grandpa and grandson are street sellers selling stars in a town near the shore. One night, they alas run out of the stars.

Then Who? | 13m | Narrative, Family | Sofi Taylor*

World Premiere.

Three children and their babysitter discover that the cookies from the cookie jar have been stolen. They conduct an investigation to uncover the cookie thief amongst them.

The Sunrise Storyteller | 64m | Documentary, Family | Kasha Sequoia Slavner*

Vermont Premiere.

“The Sunrise Storyteller” follows the journey of teenage filmmaker and social justice advocate Kasha Sequoia Slavner as, on her 16th birthday, she sets out across the world for six months in search of stories of hope and resilience that shine a light on what it means to be a global citizen and how we can all make a difference.


<strong>Town Hall Theater |</strong> Sisak | This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous

Sisak | 15m | Narrative | Faraz Ansari

Vermont Premiere.

Set in the fast-paced environs of the usually bustling Mumbai local train system, “Sisak” details a romance that develops slowly and intoxicatingly, nestled in the silences and quiet comforts of the end-of-day train journeys between two men. An allegory to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalizes homosexuality, “Sisak” is a return to the unspoken, unsaid and universal expressions of love.

This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous | 91m | Documentary | Barbara Kopple*

“This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous,” chronicles the quite public transition of Gregory Lazzarato, the young YouTube star, famous for his makeup tutorials and brash online presence, to Gigi Gorgeous, an up and coming model and personality. This sensitive film takes you behind the scenes as Gigi and her family navigate this new world.

<strong>Marquis Theater |</strong> Modern Houses | 32 Pills: My Sister's Suicide

Modern Houses | 18m | Narrative | Matthew Dixon*

Vermont Premiere.

“Modern Houses” is a psychological-thriller about the creative process.  Following a breakdown, Max Lin, architecture’s celebrated young star is finally ready to unveil the model that will be her greatest design.  With the client at the door and her face staring back at her from the cover of Architectural Digest, she hears a whisper.

32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide | 82m | Documentary, VT Collection | Hope Litoff

Vermont Premiere.

A few days before December 12, 2008, Hope Litoff’s sister Ruth decorated her Manhattan loft like a beautiful stage set, with 15 suicide notes surrounding her and specially selected gifts for her closest friends. Multiple bowls of cat food were left in case it took a while to find her, and every one of her hundreds of markers was in rainbow order. The police officer who came to the scene whispered, “I’ve never seen anything like this.” (Producer Beth Levison, Middlebury graduate, will attend the festival.*)

<strong>Dana Auditorium |</strong> Untitled | Lipstick Under My Burkha

Untitled | 3m | Experimental | Aurelia Thierree*

An old stone house, somewhere in the world. Against a dusky slate-gray sky, figures appear, as in a dream.

Lipstick Under My Burkha | 117m | Narrative | Alankrita Shrivistava

Vermont Premiere.

Set in the crowded by-lanes of small town India, Lipstick Under My Burkha chronicles the secret lives of four women in search of a little freedom. Though stifled and trapped in their worlds, these four women claim their desires through small acts of courage and stealthy rebellion.

<strong>Marquis Screening Room |</strong> Visitors | Offside | Two Worlds

Visitors | 15m | Narrative | Alon Juwal*

New England Premiere.

While visiting their estranged father George at his remote and isolated farm, Cole and Kayleigh find themselves facing a series of strange events and a group of uninvited visitors with mysterious and sinister intentions. An old, forgotten bond rekindles, and a once broken and divided family begins piecing itself together in order to survive, overcome and become whole again.

Offside | 16m | Narrative | Jimmy Dean

New England Premiere.

After learning from her father that she will soon lose her place on the local boy’s football team, eleven-year-old Kirsty struggles to come to terms with her evolving identity as a young woman.


Two Worlds | 51m | Documentary | Maciej Adamek

Vermont Premiere.

In this inspiring family portrait, 12-year- old Laura is our guide through life with her deaf parents, which is unusual, challenging and surprisingly ordinary.

<strong>National Bank of Middlebury Community Room |</strong> McCabe & Mrs. Miller | Tribute to Robert Altman

McCabe & Mrs. Miller | 120m | Narrative | Robert Altman

A gambler and a prostitute become business partners in a remote Old West mining town, and their enterprise thrives until a large corporation arrives on the scene. Features MNFF special guest Michael Murphy. More about the tribute.

2:00pm – 4:00pm

<strong>Marquis Theater Café |</strong> Virtual Reality Screening w/ Jacob Burns Film Center

Virtual Reality Screening | JBFC Creative Culture Filmmaker Alex Gonzalez

Ever experienced Virtual Reality? If not, be sure to check out a seven-minute VR film by Alex Gonzalez, screening as part of the Jacob Burns Film Center’s Creative Culture program on Saturday, August 26 and Sunday, August 27 from 2-4p at the Marquis Theater Cafe. The VR Experience is offered on a first-come, first-see basis and spots are limited. Please email us to reserve.


<strong>Town Hall Theater |</strong> Behind the Camera: Cinematographers and The Good Shoot, hosted by Jay Craven

Professional cinematographers Allie Humenuk, Brad Heck, Andy Mitchell and Chapin Hall share samples of their work and essential insights with Artistic Director Jay Craven in an MNFF “Craft of Filmmaking” session.

<strong>Middlebury Inn Patio |</strong> How to Get Your Film Sold: What’s Happening in Distribution?, hosted by Lloyd Komesar

Join a wide ranging discussion on the current state of independent film distribution. Featured panelists: Nancy Gerstman, Co-President and Co-Founder of Zeitgeist Films and longtime independent film distributor, and Beth Levison, founder of Early Bird Films, multiple Emmy and Peabody award-winning producer and Middlebury College grad.


<strong>Middlebury Inn Porch, 14 Court Sq |</strong> Festival Happy Hour --OPEN TO ALL--

Open to All! Enjoy the great atmosphere and food and a full array of beverages on the porch at The Middlebury Inn.


<strong>Town Hall Theater |</strong> Rated | Dina

Rated | 19m | Narrative | John Fortson*

Vermont Premiere.

Maggie, a wife and mother, must own up to her behavior when she wakes to find every adult has received a YELP-like star rating floating above their head. While most everyone has a shining 4 or 5 stars, Maggie’s got just 2.5!

Dina | 101m | Documentary | Antonio Santini, Dan Sickles

An eccentric suburban woman and a Walmart door greeter navigate their evolving relationship in this unconventional love story.

<strong>Marquis Theater |</strong> Honk: A Festival of Activist Street Bands | Among Wolves

Honk: A Festival of Activist Street Bands  | 7m | Documentary | Patrick Johnson*

Vermont Premiere.

Honk! is a festival of activist street bands who reclaim public spaces with their brash sound, political messages, and outrageous community oriented performances.

Among Wolves | 87m | Documentary | Shawn Convey*

New England Premiere.

The Wolves are no ordinary biker club as revealed in this gorgeously shot, surprisingly intimate portrait of trauma and survival. Still struggling from the aftermath of the Bosnian War, they organize charity for their small mountain town and defend the threatened herd of wild horses they first met on the frontline. It’s out there with the horses, where they confront their past and reclaim that territory as a space for healing.

<strong>Dana Auditorium |</strong> Three Red Sweaters | Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

Three Red Sweaters | 10m | Documentary, VT Collection | Martha Gregory*

Using her grandfather’s 16mm family films, a woman explores how our memories are changing now that we have the technology to document every moment of our lives.

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story | 86m | Documentary | Alexandra Dean*

The world’s most beautiful woman, actress Hedy Lamarr was also the secret inventor of technology that led to secure wifi, bluetooth and GPS communication. But her arresting looks stood in the way of her being given the credit she deserved… until now. More about Hedy Lamarr.

<strong>Marquis Screening Room |</strong> Farewell | The Sun at Midnight

Farewell | 15m | Narrative | Urs Kälin

USA Premiere.

What happens if you want to say goodbye to a loved one, to give him a proper send off, but suddenly you can no longer find him? In bizarre and comical fashion, this satirical short offers a string of mishaps that unravels the best intentions of a group of friends.

The Sun at Midnight | 93m | Narrative | Kirsten Carthew

New England Premiere.

Following her mother’s death, teenage Lia is sent to spend the summer with her Gwich’in grandmother in a small Canadian Subarctic community. Desperate to return to city life, she steals a boat and sets out into the vast Northern wilderness hoping to reach the nearest town. Lost, she is discovered by Alfred, a Gwich’in hunter who reluctantly takes her under his wing as he navigates the massive landscape in search of caribou.


<strong>American Flatbread @ Marble Works | Saturday Night Party| PASSHOLDERS WELCOME. NON-PASSHOLDERS, $20 AT THE DOOR

Hosted by American Flatbread, the Festival’s Saturday Night party brings the day to a close. Come enjoy food and drink, the entertaining Queen City Radio Players improv group and the sly, satirical songs of The Hokum Brothers.


<strong>Town Hall Theater |</strong> The 39th | One Big Home

The 39th | 31m | Documentary | Laura Fallsgraff

New England Premiere.

In one of the most brutal Chicago winters on record, Will Guzzardi trudges door to door, hour after hour, introducing himself to the residents of Illinois’ 39th District — asking for their vote in the upcoming Democratic primary for Illinois’ House. The district has been represented by incumbent Toni Berrios for 12 years, running unopposed for nearly a decade, a true machine candidate. A compelling story of one community’s decision to take back the political process.

One Big Home | 79m | Documentary | Thomas Bena*

On the island of Martha’s Vineyard, where presidents and celebrities vacation, trophy homes threaten to destroy the island’s unique character. “One Big Home” follows carpenter Thomas Bena’s journey to understand the trend toward giant houses. Feeling complicit in wrecking the place he calls home, Bena takes off his tool belt and picks up a camera. Bumping up against angry homeowners and builders, he attempts to pass a new bylaw limiting house size.

<strong>Marquis Theater |</strong> The Intentions of F. Scott Fitzgerald | Quest

The Intentions of F. Scott Fitzgerald | 17m | Narrative | Shaun Perry, Jay Perry

New England Premiere.

“The Intentions of F. Scott Fitzgerald” is a dark, existentialist comedy that follows two Australian hitmen on a routine ‘clean up’ job. Amidst a meaningful conversation about the Great Gatsby, the two find themselves in a panic as their victim makes a run for it.

Quest | 90m | Documentary | Jonathan Olshefski

A decade in the making, “Quest” is the moving portrait of the Rainey family of North Philadelphia. Christopher “Quest” Rainey, along with his wife Christine’a, aka “Ma Quest,” open the door to their home music studio, which serves as a creative sanctuary from the strife that grips their neighborhood. Over the years, the family evolves as everyday life brings a mix of joy, unexpected crisis, love, healing and hope.

<strong>Dana Auditorium |</strong> Marie Clementine | I Shot Einstein | Obit

Marie Clementine | 4m | Narrative | Aycil Yeltan

New England Premiere.

A young woman, Clementine, hurries through the woods apprehensively. After a long walk, she comes to a stop and sets her eyes on something. Marie appears in front of her. Clementine courageously reveals her body but is this the end of something or merely the beginning?

I Shot Einstein | 7m | Documentary | Dan Evans, Merass Sedek

New England Premiere.

New York, 1948. Marilyn Stafford is handed a Rolleiflex, and told she is to take photographs of Albert Einstein. “I Shot Einstein” is a documentary interview about the life and work of veteran photojournalist Marilyn Stafford, who blazed the trail for modern female photographers.

Obit | 93m | Documentary | Vanessa Gould

“Obit” is the first documentary to look into the world of editorial obituaries, via the legendary obit desk at The New York Times. The film invites some of the most essential questions we ask ourselves about life, memory and the inevitable passage of time. What do we choose to remember? What never dies?

<strong>Marquis Screening Room |</strong> Freedom & Unity/Conversations From The Open Road

Freedom & Unity/Conversations From The Open Road | 101m | Documentary, VT Collection | Various*

A selection of short films made by local Vermont teens, selected from the winners of the Freedom & Unity Youth Film Competition and the Conversations from the Open Road showcase. “Freedom & Unity TV Collection” is an annual juried film competition for young Vermonters who have made short films about their lives, passions and interests in their home state of Vermont. Conversations from the Open Road showcases the work of Vermont high school and college students, as part of a two-week digital journalism and storytelling media program.


<strong>Town Hall Theater |</strong> Unnatural Selection | Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work | Tribute to Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg

Unnatural Selection | 15m | Narrative | Geneviève Delouche

New England Premiere.

That morning, Julie’s troubles come one after another. Late for work, she gets harassed in the street by Karim and his buddy Kevin. Arriving at her office, Julie must also face the daily sexist remarks of her boss Bruno. So, when Julie discovers that the job candidate she is interviewing is none other than Karim, her street stalker, she is determined to teach him a lesson by showing him what unnatural selection really is.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work | 84m | Documentary | Annie Sundberg*, Ricki Stern*

Honoree filmmakers Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg’s documentary explores the life and career of Joan Rivers as she turns 75 years old.

<strong>Marquis Theater |</strong> The Winds of Downhill | Out of State

The Winds of Downhill | 21m | Documentary | Todd Wider*, Jedd Wider*

Vermont Premiere.

Seven homeless people share their views on life, art and beauty, as well as their fears and dreams, at a New York City soup kitchen. We are reminded that all people, regardless of how poor or mentally ill, have humanity, and it is this humanity that allows one to see the poetry that surrounds us all, despite the desperation of one’s own circumstance.

Out of State | 80m | Documentary | Ciara Lacy

New England Premiere.

Serving time thousands of miles away from home in a private prison in the Arizona desert, two native Hawaiians discover their indigenous traditions from a fellow inmate serving a life sentence. From this unlikely setting, David and Hale finish their terms and return to Hawaii, hoping for a fresh start. But as they struggle with the hurdles of life as formerly incarcerated men, one must ask: can you really go home again? (Cinematographer Chapin Hall will attend the festival.*)

<strong>Dana Auditorium |</strong> Black Dawn | Death By A Thousand Cuts

Black Dawn | 19m | Narrative | Robin Lloyd, Doreen Kraft

Using cut out and other animation techniques, the filmmakers transform paintings by prominent Haitian artists into a visually exquisite tribute to the first black republic – and second independent country in the New World. Featuring hypnotic African-Caribbean rhythms and chants, solid historical background, and a vibrant animation style, this award-winning film conveys a complex social movement through a visual language accessible to everyone..

Death By A Thousand Cuts | 73m | Documentary | Juan Mejia Botero, Jake Kheel

Eligio Eloy Vargas, alias Melaneo, a Dominican Park Ranger in the Sierra de Bahoruco National Park, was found brutally murdered by machete. At the time, he was believed to have been investigating an illegal charcoal production site often run by Haitians coming across the border into protected Dominican forests. This murder becomes the metaphor for the larger story of increasing tension between Haiti and the Dominican Republic over illicit charcoal exploitation and mass deforestation.

<strong>Marquis Screening Room |</strong> The Bracket Theory | Buckets | What's Revenge

The Bracket Theory | 20m | Narrative | Katia Koziara

New England Premiere.

Lucy longs for love, but she’s not a hopeless romantic – she’s determined to find her objectively best match. “The Bracket Theory” has four variables to consider: Intelligence, Social Aptitude, Physical Attractiveness, and Wealth, and if one person falls outside of the other’s bracket, the relationship is doomed to fail. Armed with her theory, Lucy sets out into NYC to finally find her perfect partner… and discovers it’s one she never expected.

Buckets | 14m | Narrative | Julia Jones

A girl learns the brutal sacrifices it takes to satisfy her love.

What’s Revenge | 51m | Narrative | Kat Hunt*

New England Premiere.

An innovative docu-fiction work, the film adapts elements from 70’s pulp revenge cinema to address the problems and pitfalls of relationships in the modern age. The film uses a blend of staged reenactments of real events and fictionalized scenarios inspired by the experiences of the cast and crew. A feminist piece of genre-bending film that follows two friends seeking to explain the reason behind the injustices inflicted upon them by the men in their lives.

<strong>Mahaney Center for the Arts, 72 Porter Field Rd |</strong> Special Screening: “Caregivers” Work In Progress w/ Live Performance of Original Score by Vermont Symphony Orchestra

Caregivers – A Work in Progress | Documentary | Jesse Kreitzer*

Robison Hall at Mahaney Center for the Arts, Middlebury College

Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival, Vermont Symphony Orchestra, and Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts present a first-look at a portion of Jesse Kreitzer’s latest film “Caregivers,” a documentary hybrid about eldercare in the hills of rural Vermont. Featuring a simultaneous screening of the film excerpt and a live performance by the VSO of an original score by composer Paul Dedell, audiences will glimpse an evolving one-of-a-kind cinematic process. Hosted by VSO Awardee and filmmaker Kreitzer, composer Dedell and VSO Executive Director Ben Cadwallader.

2:00pm – 4:00pm

<strong>Marquis Theater Café |</strong> Virtual Reality Screening w/ Jacob Burns Film Center

Virtual Reality Screening | JBFC Creative Culture Filmmaker Alex Gonzalez

Ever experienced Virtual Reality? If not, be sure to check out a seven-minute VR film by Alex Gonzalez, screening as part of the Jacob Burns Film Center’s Creative Culture program on Saturday, August 26 and Sunday, August 27 from 2-4p at the Marquis Theater Cafe. The VR Experience is offered on a first-come, first-see basis and spots are limited. Please email us to reserve.


<strong>Town Hall Theater |</strong> Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing | Tribute to Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg | On-Stage Conversation w/ Directors Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg, hosted by Jay Craven

Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing | 108m | Documentary |Ricki Stern*, Annie Sundberg*

A stunning recounting of the dramatic story of the Boston Marathon terrorist attacks through the emotional experiences of individuals whose lives were forever changed by them. From the events of the day to the death-penalty sentencing of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the documentary features surveillance footage, news clips, home movies and exclusive interviews with survivors and their families, as well as first responders, investigators, government officials and reporters from the Boston Globe, whose coverage won a Pulitzer Prize.

On-Stage Event | Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg talk with MNFF Artistic Director Jay Craven. Recipients of the VTeddy Award for Sustained Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking, Stern and Sundberg relate experiences and stories from their long and fruitful collaboration as directing and producing partners in the world of independent filmmaking.

<strong>Marquis Theater |</strong> The Owl and The Lemming | Pop Aye

The Owl and The Lemming | 4m | Narrative, Animation | Roselynn Akulukjuk

The oral history of the Inuit is filled with many folktales, legends and myths. In this traditional story, a young owl catches a lemming to eat but is outsmarted by the more vulnerable lemming. A brief meditation on why pride and arrogance are to be avoided, the film utilizes puppets, composited photographs and a set made with actual Arctic plants and lichen to create an authentic retelling of this ancient Arctic fable.

Pop Aye | 104m | Narrative | Kirsten Tan

On a chance encounter, a disenchanted architect bumps into his long-lost elephant on the streets of Bangkok. Excited, he takes his elephant on a journey across Thailand, in search of the farm where they grew up together.

<strong>Dana Auditorium |</strong> Monkey Business: The Adventures of Curious George's Creators

Monkey Business: The Adventures of Curious George’s Creators | 82m | Documentary, Family | Ema Ryan Yamazaki

A documentary film exploring the extraordinary lives of Hans and Margret Rey, the authors of the beloved Curious George children’s books.

<strong>Marquis Screening Room |</strong> Speak | Catching Sight of Thelma & Louise

Speak | 16m | Narrative | Laura Seay*

Vermont Premiere.

The story of a girl haunted by old traumas that threaten her ability to connect with even the most sincere suitor.

Catching Sight of Thelma & Louise | 88m | Documentary | Jennifer Townsend*

New England Premiere.

A powerful and intimate documentary that dives off the edge, into the truth of women’s experience in the world. Clips from the original film serve as a catalyst for personal stories by viewers who saw it in 1991 and wrote about it at that time in their lives. Today these same people bring us forward through time, connecting past and present, to consider what has changed in the way women are treated by the world.


<strong>Town Hall Theater | </strong> Closing Ceremonies & VTeddy Awards Presentation

Join us for the joyful VTeddy Awards with presentations for Best Feature Narrative, Best Short Narrative, Best Feature Documentary, Best Short Documentary, Audience Award/Feature, Audience Award/Short, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Award, the inaugural Jacob Burns Film Center’s Creative Culture Award and the first awarding of the Hernandez/Bayliss Prize.


<strong>Town Hall Theater |</strong> Closing Night Film: Swim Team | On-Stage Conversation w/ Director Lara Stolman, hosted by Jay Craven

Swim Team | 90min | Documentary | Lara Stolman*

Parents of a boy on the autism spectrum form a competitive swim team, recruiting other teens on the spectrum and training them with high expectations and zero pity. Swim Team chronicles the extraordinary rise of three diverse young athletes, capturing a moving quest for inclusion, independence and a life that feels winning.

On-Stage Conversation | Director Lara Stolman talks with MNFF Artistic Director Jay Craven about the making of this inspiring documentary

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