Festival Schedule By Day

Here are the films, panels, and parties from the 2016 Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival. To learn more details about any film or event, just click on the title.

Opening Night

7:00pm | Town Hall Theater | Walk With Me: The Trials of Damon J. Keith | On-Stage Conversation: Director Jesse Nesser and Judge Damon J. Keith talk with Jay Craven

*Opening Night Ticket Required*

6:00pm Doors Open

6:30pm Introductions

Opening Night Film: Walk With Me: The Trials of Damon J. Keith

He was an ordinary “colored” man from Detroit. He became a controversial federal judge who would shape civil rights law and challenge a sitting president. Decades later, his rulings resonate in a nation still arguing about “which lives matter.” It may be the greatest story you’ve never heard. ON-STAGE CONVERSATION to follow – Director Jesse Nesser and Judge Damon J. Keith talk with Federal District Judge Jeff Crawford and MNFF’s Jay Craven.

9:00pm | Swift House Inn | Opening Night Party

The festivities continue at one of Middlebury’s most beautiful settings. Opening Night Ticket Holders Only.

10:30am

Town Hall Theater | Clean | Bloom of Youth| Girl Asleep

Clean | 5 min | Narrative | Gabriel Wilson

A young man battles his compulsions on his way to school in New York City.

Bloom of Youth | 17 min | Narrative | Hanching Howard Zheng

A young man returns home after graduating from college to propose to his sweetheart and open a school to better their small Chinese village. However, a mother’s dreams and senseless violence create obstacles that love must overcome.

Girl Asleep | 77 min | Narrative | Rosemary Myers

In this vibrant portrayal of Australian adolescence, Greta Driscoll’s bubble of obscure loserdom is burst when her parents throw her a surprise 15th birthday party and invite the whole school! Perfectly content being a wallflower, suddenly Greta’s flung far from her comfort zone into a distant, parallel place — a strange world that’s a little frightening and a lot weird, but only there can she find herself. Equal measures Wes Anderson and Lewis Carroll, GIRL ASLEEP is an enchanting journey into the absurd — and sometimes scary — depths of the teenage mind.

Marquis Theater | Flight | Mr Ready | The Magic Shoes | The Kid

Flight | 10 min | Narrative | Naomi Saito

When a snowy owl shows up in Connecticut, a young bird watcher is determined to find it–and she won’t let a busy mom, a broken bike, or a bully get in her way.

Mr Ready | 14 min | Narrative | John W Galvin

It’s ‘Mr Rogers’ meets ‘The Real World’ in this Short that shows definitively that kids don’t come with an owners manual! When Albert’s time comes to take over Mom’s shift as the ‘Man of the House’, he quickly finds himself faced with the one thing he never expected: Everything that matters…to his Son. What will he do? Is he ‘Ready’ for the job? Discover with him what happens when he uses the same analogy his Dad used on him all those years ago…on the next generation!

The Magic Shoes | 19 min | Narrative | Sahand Nikoukar

Los Angeles, 1992. Nine year­-old Kamron and his family have just moved to the country from Iran in search of the American Dream. Left out of the recess basketball games, Kamron fantasizes about impressing his classmates with high­flying dunks ­ if only he had the right shoes to pull them off! With the Persian New Year approaching, Kamron is certain that his parents will grant his wish and buy him the new Air Jordans, but when his parents can’t afford the pricey shoes Kamron is disappointed with a box of budget sneakers. Kamron decides to take matters into his own hands ­ he’ll get those Air Jordans one way or another.

The Kid | 68 min | Narrative | Charlie Chaplin

“A comedy with a smile – and perhaps a tear” – so opens this 1921 silent comedy-drama that will kick off the kids-friendly block at the Middlebury Marquis on Friday, August 28th at 10:30am. The film follows Charlie the Tramp as he finds The Orphan and takes him in, and their adventures that ensue. Written, producer, directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin, “The Kid” was Chaplin’s feature directorial debut and enjoyed huge success at its release. The Library of Congress preserved the film in the United States National Film Registry in 2011.

Dana Auditorium | Still Gay | Suicide Kale

Still Gay | 13 min | Narrative | Allie Miller

Best friends, Brittany and Reed, come out to their religious parents at their joint 16th birthday party, landing them on a bible camp retreat for misguided teens. Assuming that there must be others like them, they decide to pursue love interests in an attempt to have their first queer experiences. Brittany courts mysterious bad girl Mia, while Reed fawns over a flamboyant counselor named Todd. On the last night of camp, however, their advances quickly go awry.

Suicide Kale | 78 min | Narrative | Carly Usdin

Emotional chaos ensues over the course of one lunch when new couple, Jasmine and Penn, find an anonymous suicide note at the home of the happiest people they know, Billie and Jordan.

Marquis Screening Room | The Sweet Hereafter

The Sweet Hereafter | 112 min | Narrative | Atom Egoyan

A small community is torn apart by a tragic accident which kills most of the town’s children. A lawyer visits the victims’ parents in order to profit from the tragedy by stirring up their anger and launching a class action suit against anyone they can blame. The community is paralyzed by its anger and cannot let go. All but one young girl, left in a wheelchair after the accident, who finds the courage to lead the way toward healing.

1:30pm

Town Hall Theater | The Graveyard Shift | Circle | Life, Animated

The Graveyard Shift | 3 min | Family | Lara Arikan

It’s long past midnight when the tired and jumpy waitress decides to go and investigate the ominous noise she hears right outside the roadside coffee shop she’s working at. She discovers that a she is being attacked by a Zombie! The zombie lazily wobbles inside the shop and corners the poor waitress behind the counter. How will she save herself? What will it take?

Circle
| 11 min | Narrative | Alexander Heringer

The short film “Circle” depicts a young woman in despair, who after experiencing a tragic loss escapes into the seemingly perfect past. She loses herself in vivid memories and starts to neglect her real life. A constant inner struggle emerges between past and present, distorting her perception of reality. Ahmad Saleh, a young Palestinian screenwriter wrote “Circle” to cope with the losses he endured during the crises in Palestine.

Life, Animated
| 89 min | Documentary | Roger Ross Williams

From Academy Award winning director Roger Ross Williams, LIFE, ANIMATED is
the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak
as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by
immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. This
emotional coming-of-age story follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and
takes his first steps toward independence.

Marquis Theater | Small Talk | Drug Mule | Legend of Swee' Pea

Small Talk |
7 min | Documentary | Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell

A young woman returns to her childhood neighborhood to document their daily activities but finds the outdoor bustle less active during winter season.

Drug Mule | 9 min | Narrative | David Spaltro

Mexican drug enforcement agents get an unwelcome surprise when they suspect an American mother with a 10-year old son of smuggling.

Legend of Swee’ Pea | 80 min | Documentary | Benjamin May

Lloyd Daniels’s unlikely rise to the NBA is the stuff that myths are made of: the most sought after college basketball recruit of his generation, he got busted buying cocaine in a police sting operation, and two years later was almost killed after getting shot three times in the chest while negotiating an $8 drug deal. Yet, in spite of this, he somehow managed to make it to the NBA­­ without having played a single college game, with remnants of bullets still in his body, and with years of crack addiction behind him. This film documents Lloyd’s struggle to survive the perilous streets of New York, to navigate in the world of high stakes professional sports, and to overcome a lifetime of addiction.

Dana Auditorium | Whisper | Black Canaries | Krisha

Whisper | 11 min | Narrative | Jo Lewis

A young woman travels to a remote beachside cabin in an attempt to finally quit her heroin habit. While there she accidentally sets in motion a chain of sinister events. Hauntingly beautiful, Whisper is a modern day ghost story that will keep you gripped from start to spine-chilling finish.

Black Canaries | 19 min | Narrative | Jesse Kreitzer

Isolated, desperate, and haunted by his coal-stained birthright, Clarence Lockwood continues his daily descent into the accursed Maple mine—even after it has crippled his father and blinded his youngest son. Set in 1907 and based on director Jesse Kreitzer’s own coalmining ancestry, Black Canaries is a powerful meditation on patrimony, loyalty, and love.

Krisha | 82 min | Narrative | Trey Edward Shults

When Krisha shows up at her sister’s home on Thanksgiving, her close and extended family greet her with a mixture of warmth and wariness. Almost immediately, a palpable unease permeates the air as Krisha tries to make up for lost time. As Krisha’s attempts at reconciliation become increasingly rebuffed, tension and suspicion reach their peak. Long-buried secrets and deep-seated resentments come to the fore as everyone becomes immersed in an emotionally charged familial reckoning.

Marquis Screening Room | No Signal | The Prison in Twelve Landscapes

No Signal | 6 min | Short | Kimberly Arthurs

A celebration of the uncanny. A closer look at the past four years of one girl’s life and her close encounters, highlighting a strange perspective of everyday monotony. It’s happening now. Everywhere. All of the time.

The Prison in Twelve Landscapes | 90 min | Documentary | Brett Story

A meditation on the prison’s disappearance in the era of mass incarceration, The Prison in Twelve Landscapes unfolds as a journey through a series of ordinary places across the USA where prisons do work and affect lives: from a California mountainside where female prisoners fight the region’s raging wildfires, to a congregation of chess players in Manhattan who did their time becoming masters of the game, to an Appalachian coal town betting its future on the promise of prison jobs.

4:00pm

Edgewater Gallery at The Falls, 1 Mill St | Book to Film: A Conversation with noted author Russell Banks

Join distinguished American author Russell Banks for a conversation with Jay Parini on the subject of the novel as source material for feature films. Find out how one’s book actually does get made into a film – or not, in many cases. Russell Banks is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist for “Continental Drift” and “Cloudsplitter” and is a winner of the Literature Award from The American Academy of Arts and Letters. Two of his novels, “The Sweet Hereafter” and “Affliction” have been made into widely acclaimed films, with “The Sweet Hereafter” having won the Grand Prix and International Critics Award at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. Jay Parini is a poet, novelist, critic, screenwriter and the Axinn Professor of English at Middlebury College. His novel, “The Last Station,” made it to the big screen in 2009 with leads Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren. Both Russell and Jay will be signing their books at Vermont Book Shop following this event – a great opportunity to meet them personally.

5:00pm

Sparkling, 56 College St. | Filmmakers Champagne Reception

Filmmakers Only, Please.

Marquis Theater, 65 Main St.| Festival Happy Hour --OPEN TO ALL--

Enjoy the great food and full bar in the Café at the Marquis. Open to All!

7:15pm

Town Hall Theater | The Best and Worst Days of George Morales' Unnaturally Long Life | Coming Through the Rye

The Best and Worst Days of George Morales’ Unnaturally Long Life | 24 min | Narrative | Benjamin Dohrmann & Seth Cuddeback

George and Susie own a restaurant. They have been happily married for forty years. They are also immortal.

Coming Through the Rye | 95 min | Narrative | James Sadwith

Inspired by the filmmaker’s own true story, the film – set in 1969 – follows a 16 year old boy who is desperate to be a worldly adolescent. After stumbling through disastrous relationships at boarding school, and, accompanied by a local town girl, he travels the mountains of New Hampshire in search of J.D. Salinger, the reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye.

Marquis Theater | Pony | Busking Turf Wars

Pony | 31 min | Narrative | Candice Carella

Claudia, a hardworking single mom, has to go out of town on an important last minute business trip, forcing her to leave her 5 year old daughter Miko with uncle Jeff, a rock musician in his 50’s who is still running on fumes of his glory days.Spending the weekend looking after a spirited 5 year old, Jeff must suspend his delusions of grandeur and face reality. Miko is the catalyst for him to re-evaluate his life and reconnect with the inspiration that originally led him to music and he is able to gently guide her to a nascent understanding of life’s vicissitudes.

Busking Turf Wars | 73 min | Narrative | Peter Trifunovic

For Steven Lockmoore, busking is a way of life. He’s worked hard for his place on the street and is passionate about the community of which he is a part. And whilst he may not be the most gifted musician on the street, he has a love for what he does and a yearning to entertain. But when a rival musician appears on the scene, Steven must fight to protect his territory or else lose it forever.

Dana Auditorium | Elegy | God Knows Where I Am

Elegy | 22 min | Narrative | Yousef Kargar

An old man, an expectation, a hope…

God Knows Where I Am | 97 min | Documentary | Jedd & Todd Wider

God Knows Where I Am is the story of Linda Bishop, a well-educated New Hampshire mother who suffered from severe bipolar disorder with psychosis, who was intermittently incarcerated and homeless, inevitably being committed for three years to a state psychiatric facility. Successfully fighting her sister‘s protective attempts to be named her legal guardian, Linda was able to refuse treatment and eventually procured an early, unconditional discharge. Upon her release, she wandered ten miles down the road from the hospital; broke into an abandoned farmhouse and for the next four months lived off of rainwater and apples, through one of the coldest winters on record. Unable to leave the house, she became its prisoner, and remained there, a prisoner of her own mind, eventually starving to death. Her body was discovered several months later and with it a diary that Linda kept documenting her journey. The diary is poignant, beautiful, funny, spiritual, and deeply disturbing. It is one of the only known instances of someone documenting their own starvation.

Marquis Screening Room | Hold It Down | Takin' Place

Hold It Down | 30 min | Documentary | Jacquelynne Causey

One in 68 Americans are living with autism and 1% of the world has a type of Autism. Mute until the age of three, our film tells the story of Justin Fisher a battle rapper in Denver who is using music to overcome his struggles with autism.

Takin’ Place | 85 min | Documentary | Cyrus Dowlatshahi

‘TAKIN’ PLACE’ is an observational documentary film directed by Cyrus Dowlatshahi about ordinary people and everyday life on the South Side of Chicago. As they work, chill, hustle and survive, Dowlatshahi it feels the common aspects of all neighborhoods and communities around the world: a desire to share, grow and celebrate.

9:00pm – 11:00pm

Edgewater Gallery at The Falls, 1 Mill St. | Friday Night Party

Great way to wrap up the day. Music provided by local favorites Cooper and Lavoie. Passholders Only, Please.

9:00am

The Middlebury Inn - on the patio, 14 Court Sq | Coffee with... Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard --OPEN TO ALL--

Join actors Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard for conversation and coffee in a lively exchange with Jay Craven. Coffee provided by the Middlebury Inn. Open to all. Open to All!

10:30am

Town Hall Theater | The Last Bay Scallop? | Tested

The Last Bay Scallop? | 30 min | Documentary | John Stanton

The waters off Nantucket island support the last viable bay scallop commercial fishery on the east coast. But scientists estimate that it could fade into history within a decade. What will be lost in off-season economy and the island culture that grew up around the scallop fishery, if that dire prediction comes true? Can the town and local scientists repair the harbor’s water quality and save the bay scallop?

Tested | 72 min | Documentary | Curtis Chin

“Tested” looks at the lack of racial diversity at the top public high schools in New York City by following a dozen families from different racial, socio-economic and religious backgrounds as they prepare to pass the grueling entrance exam.

Marquis Theater | Blind Date | The Laughter Life

Blind Date | 35 min | Documentary | Maya Albanese & Nicole Ellis

Technology is transforming the way we date and find love. Mobile apps like Tinder and websites like OkCupid are whetting our appetite for instant visual gratification. But, if you’re single and blind, you face a distinct set of challenges in finding love. A digital divide has emerged between sighted and blind people in search of long-lasting partnerships. Blind Date is a short documentary following three blind New Yorkers on their quests for lust and love in the digital age.

The Laughter Life | 76 min | Documentary | Juliet Werner

The Laughter Life follows a week in the professional life of the young comedians who write and star in Studio C, a popular sketch comedy television show viewed by tens of thousands of people weekly. But theirs is not your typical comedy success story, as the cast and crew behind the program are practicing Mormons living in the deeply observant community of Provo, Utah. The film explores the tension inherent in creating “clean” comedy that will satisfy both the demands of the network and the cast’s desire to generate a funny final product.

Dana Auditorium | Lambing Season | Legs: A Big Issue in a Small Town

Lambing Season | 24 min | Documentary | Andrew Baker

Lambing Season pursues the idea of a man – writer/sheep farmer/good sport Don Mitchell – in his golden years, with its attendant baggage and freedoms, but the material drifted toward something deeper and more richly faceted. It is finally a film about identity: choosing it, chasing it, losing it, and finding all manner of new ones among mapless backroads.

Legs: A Big Issue in a Small Town | 77 min | Documentary | Beatrice Alda & Jennifer Brooke

Legs: a Big Issue in a Small Town is a light-hearted look at what it means to live in a small town–with all of the pros and cons that come with it. When a controversial piece of art gets publicly displayed, opinions start flying and feisty people take action. The film reveals a town chock full of lively characters and conflicts, as those who live there struggle to define their community. Is it an accepting, welcoming place to live? Maybe, but if you look closer, there are cracks in the veneer and the town is not all that it appears to be.

Marquis Screening Room | Child For Sale | The Left Behind

Child For Sale | 13 min | Documentary | Bill Ross, Turner Ross

In the United States alone, roughly 300,000 children are bought and sold for sex. Sex slavery is a growing and lucrative epidemic that is often more profitable than the drug trade. The perception is that these girls (and also boys) are prostitutes who entered sex work out of necessity or by choice. This concept didn’t make sense to high schooler Fiona Bock. Why would someone her own age “choose” to be a sex worker? The truth is, they didn’t.

The Left Behind | 78 min | Narrative | Oliver Salk

Set on the sprawling campus of a prestigious New England boarding school, The Left Behind closely follows the lives of John, Ismene, and Charlie as they fight to understand and reconcile the sudden and mysterious death of their best friend Finn.

1:30pm

Town Hall Theater | 40th Anniversary Tribute Screening of Harlan County USA | On-stage Conversation with Barbara Kopple and Jay Craven

Harlan County USA | 103 min | Documentary | Barbara Kopple

The epic “Brookside Strike” of 180 coal miners and their wives against the Eastover Coal Company in Harlan County, Kentucky became the subject of Barbara Kopple’s first feature documentary. By living with the striking miners for years, Kopple passionately portrays the miners’ struggle to establish more secure lives. Oscar-winning Harlan County, USA is a true landmark in the history of American documentary filmmaking. ON-STAGE CONVERSATION to follow – Barbara Kopple will join Jay Craven on-stage following the screening.

Marquis Theater | Partners | Oasis | My Blind Brother

Partners | 6 min | Narrative | Joey Ally

Professional and life partners Kate and Leigh have shared everything for years, from their apartment to the popular bar they co-own. When a slump in their sex life forces them to reconsider their relationship they must confront how intertwined their lives have become.

Oasis | 9 min | Narrative | Aidan Kahn

Max is driving out to the country to spend the summer on a friend’s family ranch when he sees a beautiful girl standing in front of a roadside gas station. He imagines how awful her life must be that she should have to live in the middle of nowhere. He then imagines taking her back to the city with him, saving her from what he imagines to be her dead-end, dust-bowl life. Smitten, Max decides to go talk to her, but he quickly realizes his assumptions may have been all wrong.

My Blind Brother | 85 min | Narrative | Sophie Goodhart

Robbie (Scott) is a handsome but cocky blind athlete. Bill (Kroll) is his less handsome, guilt-ridden brother, whose role in life is to serve as his brother’s eyes. After guiding Robbie through a marathon, Bill thinks his job is done. But Robbie wants his brother to guide him on a sponsored swim across the lake in their small town. Although exasperated, Bill relents. At a bar the same evening, he meets Rose (Slate) who thinks she’s responsible for the death of her ex-boyfriend, and the two connect over their shared guilt. Bill thinks he has found his soul mate until she won’t give him her number the following morning. He’s consoled when Robbie tells him he’s off the hook for training—until he finds out that his brother’s new guide is Rose–a woman both brothers quickly begin to fall for. Their feelings escalate over the weeks leading up to the swim, causing tension between the two of them that boils over while in deep water.

Dana Auditorium | Man in Ceiling | (Dis)honesty: The Truth About Lies

Man in Ceiling | 16 min | Narrative | Joshua Fu

Ryan, a slacker in his mid-20s, gets a temp job in a cubicle farm. He volunteers to pull an all-nighter to finish a time-sensitive project. But late at night, alone in the office, Ryan discovers a dying, disheveled man hiding in the ceiling…Kafka meets computers in “Man in Ceiling,” a tale of one man at the foot of the corporate ladder meeting another at the end of his rope.

(Dis)honesty: The Truth About Lies | 89 min | Documentary | Yael Melamede

It’s human nature to lie; we all do it! From scandalous headlines to little white lies, (Dis)Honesty – The Truth About Lies explores the complex impact dishonesty has on our lives and everyday society. Interweaving groundbreaking experiments from celebrated behavioral economist Dan Ariely with personal stories from individuals affected by the unraveling of their lies, Ariely and a team of scientists uncover our propensity to be dishonest—sometimes even unknowingly. What’s revealed is a fascinating look at the forces behind our collective behavior and the many truths behind lies.

Marquis Screening Room | The Deal | Zephyr

The Deal | 15 min | Narrative | Daniel Kaminsky

Before his debilitating car accident Bryce was the star quarterback. Monica was his prom queen and James was a loser. But high school was a lifetime ago, and now everyone’s changed: Becca’s skinny, Hector’s a star and James is everyone’s best friend. But when Monica suddenly disappears at James’ party, Bryce knows exactly who to blame — but in order to find the truth he might lose more than he bargained for.

Zephyr | 79 min | Narrative | Liam O’Connor-Genereaux

​​It’s summer in New England and April just turned 18. Her ​big ​plans include throwing her songwriting book in a car and flooring it. ​However, this birthday​ it​ looks like ​she​’ll be​ watching punk-rock has-beens at her local high school. The best conversation she’s had ​today is with her Mother’s gravestone. ​Really, the only way her life could turn around is if three thieves on the run crashed the concert, impersonated the warm-up band, dressed up as a purple gorilla and then grabbed April and took her to the place where comfort zones catch fire.

4:00pm

Town Hall Theater, 68 S Pleasant St | Film As Journalism: Op Docs at The New York Times

The New York Times Op-Docs series invites both renowned and emerging filmmakers to contribute new short opinion documentaries reflecting a wide series of styles and subject matter, including current affairs, contemporary life, and historical subjects. Now in its fifth season, the Op Docs initiative at The New York Times is part of the growing “Film As Journalism” phenomenon. Lindsay Crouse, The Times’ Coordinating Producer of Op Docs, will present several of these excellent short documentaries. She will offer background and context on the entire Op Docs program and address how it advances the journalistic enterprise of the online edition of America’s leading newspaper.

The Middlebury Inn - on the patio, 14 Court Sq | New Currents In Documentary Filmmaking

Documentary filmmakers are widening their influence in American society. Join an outstanding panel of prominent filmmakers as they explore the diverse aesthetics being employed in creating documentaries, the wide-ranging outcomes their work has on societal issues and legal cases, and their ability to make a living in this exciting but challenging field. Panelists include Barbara Kopple [“Harlan County, USA,” “Hot Type: 150 Years of The Nation,” and “Miss Sharon Jones!”]; Tony Stone [“Peter And The Farm”]; Todd Wider and Jedd Wider [“God Knows Where I Am”]; Amy Geller and Allie Humenuk [“The Guys Next Door”]; and John Stanton [The Last Bay Scallop?].”

5:00pm

Middlebury Inn - on the porch, 14 Court Sq.| Festival Happy Hour --OPEN TO ALL--

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

7:15pm

Town Hall Theater | How You Look At It | Year By The Sea

How You Look At It | 10 min | Narrative | Wendy Seyb

HOW YOU LOOK AT IT is a Silent Comedy short film inspired by the Carl Jung quote, ‘It all depends on how we look at things, and not how they are themselves.’ The story is about how love at first sight changes a man’s perspective of the world around him. With a little help from his inner theme songs, his environment comes together to support his quest to be with his new sighted love…or at least, say hello to her.

Year By The Sea | 114 min | Narrative | Alexander Janko

After 30 years as a wife and mother, an empty nester retreats to Cape Cod rather than follow her relocated husband to Kansas. Intent to rediscover herself but plagued with guilt, she questions her decision until stumbling upon a spirited mentor. Supported by her literary agent and a host of locals, including a sexy fisherman, our heroine learns to embrace the ebb and flow of life—ultimately discovering the balance between self and sacrifice, obligation and desire.

Marquis Theater | Here | Captain Fantastic

Here | 6 min | Narrative | Lisa Bass

A relationship unravels over an unmade bed.

Captain Fantastic | 118 min | Feature | Matt Ross

Ben Cash and his wife Leslie raise their six children deep in the wilderness of Washington state. Isolated from society, Ben and Leslie devote their existence to educating their kids to think critically, training them to be physically fit, guiding them in the wild without technology and demonstrating the beauty of co-existing with nature. When Leslie dies suddenly, Ben must take his sheltered offspring into the outside world for the first time.

Dana Auditorium | One Last Sigh Before Nightfall | Peter And The Farm

One Last Sigh Before Nightfall | 28 min | Narrative | Heikko Deutschmann

To avoid compulsory retirement and the loss of their unemployment benefits, Alfons and Carl have to attend a job center initiative to improve their team working ability. They hike through Lappland in teams of two. As soon they meet, all the problems that have ruined their lives surface and the two men need to realise that there is only one way to solve them: friendship.

Peter And The Farm | Documentary | 91 min | Tony Stone

Peter Dunning is the proud proprietor of Mile Hill Farm, which sits on 187 idyllic acres in Vermont. The land’s 38 harvests have seen the arrivals and departures of three wives and four children, leaving Peter with only animals and memories. The arrival of a film crew causes him to confront his history and his legacy, passing along hard-won agricultural wisdom even as he doubts the meaning of the work he is fated to perform until death. Haunted by alcoholism and regret, Peter veers between elation and despair, often suggesting to the filmmakers his own suicide as a narrative device. He is a tragedian on a stage it has taken him most of his life to build, and which now threatens to collapse from under him. At once a postcard from paradise and a cautionary tale for our times, Peter and The Farm sifts through the potential energy of a human life, that which is used and that which is squandered.

Marquis Screening Room | This Modern Man Is Beat | And Then I Was French

This Modern Man Is Beat | 17 min | Narrative | Alex Merkin

In a world of cultural confusion and erroneous judgment, Habib bin Habib al Fulan pawns his guitar and reconciles with his wife through self-delusion.

And Then I Was French | 106 min | Narrative | Claire Leona Apps

Sensitive wallflower Cara exists quietly in her humdrum life until the appearance of charismatic Jay unlocks powerful desires within her. When Jay’s beautiful French lover arrives, Cara’s journey to self-discovery takes a dark and unexpected turn, with tragic consequences, as Karma rears its head once more.

9:00pm-11:30pm

The Marble Works - on the lawn facing Otter Creek Falls, 137 Maple St. | Saturday Night Dance Party, featuring Eli “Paperboy” Reed --OPEN TO ALL--

Hosted by American Flatbread, come enjoy food and drink and the rockin’ soul sounds of Eli “Paperboy” Reed. FREE ADMISSION! OPEN TO ALL!

8:30am

Carol's Hungry Mind Cafe, 24 Merchant Row | Filmmaker Mingle --OPEN TO ALL--

A good chance to interact with filmmakers at Middlebury’s classic gathering spot for coffee and conversation. Open to All!

10:00am

Town Hall Theater | Between The Lines | In-between

Between The Lines | 8 min | Narrative | Rollo Hollins

Two young actors, strangers, are thrown together in a casting before spending a fleeting summer rehearsing and learning to fall in love on stage. As they are gently guided by their director (cupid), their own feelings take over.

In-between | 90 min | Narrative | Henrik Kolind

The first days of a relationship can feel like a delicate dance – are you moving too fast? Too slow? What’s really going on inside your partner’s mind? In-between explores the vulnerabilities of falling in love as it follows two teenagers over the span of one consequential day on the streets of Copenhagen. The narrative feature aims to explore how one day can make a change for the rest of your life – because what do you do with life when you find yourself in-between?

Marquis Theater | Ribbons | Saving Jamaica Bay

Ribbons | 9 min | Narrative | Brandon Cordeiro

Ribbons explores the life of an eight year­-old boy when his mother brings him to an AIDS memorial service by the sea. His community’s inspirational response to the epidemic is ever present; an event that, as an adult, helps him understand the power of forming a bond with a kindred tribe.

Saving Jamaica Bay | 76 min | Documentary | Dan Hendrick

Saving Jamaica Bay tells the story of how one community fought the government and overcame Hurricane Sandy to clean up and restore the largest open space in New York City, which had become a dumping ground for garbage, sewage, sludge and bullet-riddled mobsters. Narrated by actress Susan Sarandon, the film includes interviews with the community activists who led the fight, and state and city officials.

Dana Auditorium | Hot Type: 150 Years of The Nation | On-Stage Conversation with Barbara Kopple and John Nichols (National Correspondent for The Nation)

Hot Type: 150 Years of The Nation | 93 min | Documentary | Barbara Kopple

‘The Nation’ is a vivid look at America’s oldest continuously published weekly magazine. Centered through Editor Katrina vanden Heuvel, as well as an impressive array of passionate writers, the film is a journey into the soul of American Journalism. With unfettered access and unfiltered honesty, ‘The Nation’ captures the day-to-day pressures and challenges of publishing a weekly magazine, as well as illuminating how the past continuously ripples through and shapes current events. It is the story of The Nation – and the nation – evolving into the future, as it is guided by its remarkable past. ON-STAGE CONVERSATION to follow: filmmaker Barbara Kopple and John Nichols, National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation, join Jay Craven in an exploration of the issues raised by the film.

Marquis Screening Room | Freedom & Unity Collection TV Collection

Freedom & Unity Collection TV Collection | 72 min | Shorts

Freedom and Unity TV is an annual film contest for young Vermonters who have made short films about their lives, passions and interests in their home state of Vermont. The films are judged by professionals in the film industry and awarded prizes. In 2016, 94 films were submitted. This is a selection of some of the winning films.

Young and Queer in VT by Alex Escaja (11:05)
This film takes a look on the stories of a handful of LGBTQ+ youth in the state of Vermont, who talk about their own experiences here in Vermont and give some tips on allyship, and their hopes for the future. (High School entry)

The Richer Whiter State — Seeing Race in Vermont by Laurel and Alyssa Chen (14:55)
The Richer Whiter State contrasts the colorblind view of race that is commonplace in Vermont with the real stories and experiences of People of Color in Vermont public schools. (Young Adult entry)

Peace or Prozac by Leah Kaliski (2:40)
This is the story of my depressive episode in 9th grade, told entirely in pictures. (High School entry)

The Ghastliness by Chico Eastridge (15:00)
A blood spoiling, hyper-fear induced nightmare of horror and chaos, based on true events, true stories, and the Truman Doctrine of 1947. (Young Adult entry)

European Skull Mounts by Sam Scott (4:00)
This film documents how to make a skull mount. (High School entry)

Spartan Rugby by Mike Odell (2:12)
This is a story about my Brother’s rugby team: I want to be just like him and maybe someday play on the team too. (High School entry)

Lost then Found: The Lost Boys of Sudan Encounter a Whole New World by Jayne Billings (9:58)
The story of several ‘lost boys of Sudan’ who are relocated to Vermont. (Middle School entry)

Poem for a Friend or Stranger by Charlotte Keathley (14:42)
A personal exploration and expression about the value of the natural world. (High School entry)

1:00pm

Town Hall Theater | Soliloquy | Sonita

Soliloquy | 14 min | Short | Heidi Latsky

“Soliloquy” is a magnifying glass, an entree into the internal worlds of everyone in it. A poetic interweaving of ten movement portraits, it addresses our propensity to judge people by their physical appearance and embraces difference and the inherent isolation of being human with fierceness, frankness, and celebration.

Sonita | 90 min | Documentary | Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami

Sonita is an 18-year-old female, an undocumented Afghan illegal immigrant living in the poor suburbs of Tehran. She is a feisty, spirited, young woman who fights to live the way she wants, as an artist, singer, and musician in spite of all her obstacles she confronts in Iran and her conservative patriarchal family. In harsh contrast to her goal is the plan of her family – strongly advanced by her mother – to make her a bride and sell her to a new family. The price right now is about US$ 9.000.

Marquis Theater | Freakwave | Concealed

Freakwave | 21 min | Narrative | Pennie Hunt

When a rule-abiding official, responsible for the issuing of identity cards and passports, is confronted by a mysterious shipwrecked hobo she is drawn into a wave of surreal events that soon brings her orderly world crashing down upon her.

Concealed | 87 min | Narrative | Shane T. Hall

Max, a struggling actor living in South Africa, has flown into Sydney, Australia for the audition of his life. As soon as he lands things start to go horribly wrong when his girlfriend Sallie disappears. Frustrated with the police’s lack of progress in finding her, Max embarks on a desperate search with the help of childhood friend Richard. The pair’s search pushes them to both external and internal extremities in their desperate plight to find Sallie.

Dana Auditorium | Page One: Inside The NY Times | On-Stage Conversation with Hamilton Boardman (Sr. Editor, The NY Times) and Jay Craven; The Changing Face of Journalism in the Age of New Media

Page One: Inside The NY Times | 92 min | Documentary | Andrew Rossi

With the Internet surpassing print as the main news source and newspapers all over the country going bankrupt, “Page One: Inside The New York Times” chronicles the transformation of the media industry at its time of greatest turmoil. The film closely examines the vibrant debates, tenacious jockeying for quotes, and skillful pitching required of a great news organization. What emerges is a nuanced portrait of journalists continuing to produce extraordinary work under increasingly difficult circumstances. ON-STAGE CONVERSATION to follow. After the screening, Hamilton Boardman, Sr. Editor of The New York Times and publisher of the online edition, talks with Jay Craven on how The New York Times has further evolved since the film’s release in 2011. Panel (to follow) also includes “The Changing Face of Journalism in the Age of New Media,” with participants including Hamilton Boardman; Lindsay Crouse, Coordinating Producer, Op Docs, The New York Times; John Nichols, The Nation; Angelo Lynn, Publisher, Addison Independent; Paula Routly, Publisher, Seven Days; John Van Hoesen, Senior VP/Chief Content Officer, VPR. Moderated by Jay Craven.

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Marquis Screening Room | Selling Rosario | Wallabout

Selling Rosario | 16 min | Narrative | Iana Simeonov, Michael Winokur

A family of migrant workers send their 12-year-old daughter and her outlaw cousin into the night on the promise of a stranger. “Selling Rosario” is the story of a young girl growing up in a migrant labor camp and her parents’ risky plan to get her out of an unsafe, squalid environment. At the sight of an apparent drug deal we expect the worst for Rosario, until an unexpected twist.

Wallabout | 102 min | Narrative | Eric McGinty

A single woman struggles to rebuild her life in Brooklyn, New York after having spent 10 years in Europe as the unrecognized muse to a famous filmmaker. Wallabout is an intimate account of an overeducated and underemployed outsider who survives by her wits and determination as she navigates an often hypocritical and corrupt society. It’s an urban meditation on artistic perseverance and the eternal search for family.

4:00pm

Town Hall Theater | Genesis | Phil's Camino | Radical Grace

Genesis | 3 min | Short | Roman Hill

From chaos, matter flows and creates a structure.

Phil’s Camino | 27 min | Documentary | Annie O’Neil & Jessica Lewis

Free spirit Phil, a man living with Stage 4 cancer and dreaming of walking the 500 mile spiritual pilgrimage Camino de Santiago across Spain. Unable to make the trip, he does the next best thing: he builds a camino in the forest behind his house, starts to walk, and traces his progress on a map. Phil’s journey is one of hope, acceptance, and freedom, and is sure to inspire anyone who has ever dreamed of doing something that sounded impossible. Upon reaching ‘Santiago de Compostela’ — without ever leaving his backyard — Phil gets a clean scan and his doctors grant him a ‘chemo holiday’, or permission to miss one chemo treatment. He now has 28 days to go and walk the ancient route in Spain. Along the way he realizes his true pilgrimage is the one he travels within.

Radical Grace | 75 min | Documentary | Rebecca Parrish

When the Vatican reprimands American sisters — citing their “radical feminism” — they become the spiritual and symbolic center of a battle for the heart of the Catholic Church. Radical Grace follows three fearless nuns who risk their place in the Church to follow another higher calling: social justice.

Marquis Theater | Unspoken | The Guys Next Door

Unspoken | 15 min | Narrative | Todd Sandler

When Brenda and Phil make the devastating decision to take their newborn daughter off life support, they must retreat to separate corners to grieve. Once Brenda gets the go-ahead to try again, they come out fighting, wondering if they can retrieve the trust and courage they once had together to take another chance on building their family.

The Guys Next Door | 74 min | Documentary | Amy Geller & Allie Humenuk

THE GUYS NEXT DOOR is an intimate portrait of a real “Modern Family:” Meet Erik and Sandro, a gay couple whose friend Rachel is a surrogate for their two daughters. Rachel, who is in her mid-40s, is married to Tony and they three children. Together, they form a unique extended family. Elegantly shot and edited, told with candor and humor, THE GUYS NEXT DOOR in an inspiring story of family, friendship and gay rights.

Dana Auditorium | Real Ethereal | Huntwatch

Real Ethereal | 10 min | Short | Evan Mann

Enter into a world of stop-motion animation, cotton ball bliss and otherworldly creatures. Real Ethereal transforms the everyday into a mysterious wonderland of sound, texture and everything unusual.

Huntwatch | 88 min | Documentary | Brant Backlund

Violent confrontation boils over in Canada as activists, fishermen and politicians battle over the fate of baby seals. In 1969, a charismatic activist, Brian Davies, set out on a personal crusade to save them. Little did he know the fight would last the rest of his life. All sides are fighting dirty. Davies hopes that he will live to see a victory for his seals, while the sealing industry scrambles to keep the hunt alive.

Marquis Screening Room | Sunday 1287 | Broke

Sunday 1287 | 10 min | Narrative | Brandon del Pozo

Vanessa’s family takes her to her boyfriend’s apartment so she can leave him, this time, for the last time. Sunday 1287 is based on the experiences of the Brooklyn-born writer/director, a former NYPD Precinct Commander who is now the Chief of Police of Burlington, Vermont.

Broke | 95 min | Narrative | Heath Davis

A disgraced sports star earns a second chance through the support of his number one fan.

6:30pm

Town Hall Theater, 68 S. Pleasant St. | Closing Ceremonies & VTeddy Awards Presentation

Join us for the joyful VTeddy Awards presentations for Best Feature Narrative, Best Short Narrative, Best Feature Documentary, Best Short Documentary, Audience Award/Feature, Audience Award/Short and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Award for Best Integration of Music Composed For Film.

7:30pm

Town Hall Theater, 68 S Pleasant St | Closing Night Film: Miss Sharon Jones! | On-Stage Conversation with Barbara Kopple

Miss Sharon Jones! | 93 min | Feature | Barbara Kopple

On the eve of the release of her new album, internationally recognized soul singer Sharon Jones was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Tour dates were cancelled, the album pushed back and Sharon entered into a fight for her life and career. Miss Sharon Jones! intimately follows this intense and courageous year in Sharon’s life.
The latest documentary feature from Barbara Kopple closes the 2nd Annual Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival with a flourish. ON-STAGE CONVERSATION to follow: Barbara Kopple and Jay Craven will appear following the screening for a final Q&A.

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