MONTHLY MOVIES FROM MNFF & VTIFF
Streaming November through June – Online and on your Smart TV!
The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival [MNFF] and the Vermont International Film Festival [VTIFF] have teamed up to present Split/Screen, an online streaming monthly movie series that began in November 2020 and runs through June 2021. The two festivals are each curating a selection of four or five entertaining films in alternating months, with MNFF leading off in November, VTIFF following up with a December program and so forth in 2021. Split/Screen will be available on your phone, tablet, laptop or your big screen television.
Split/Screen continues in April with a dynamic five film offering curated by VTIFF featuring a documentary/drama hybrid, two documentaries and two dramas: Anbessa, directed by Mo Scarpelli, tells the story of ten-year-old Asalif and his mother who have been displaced from their Ethiopian farmland by the construction of a condominium. Now living on the divide between a new and ancient world, they are reminded that their country’s big dream of “progress” is not for them; Power Struggle, from director Robbie Leppzer, portrays a heated political battle as citizen activists and elected state officials—alarmed at increasing safety violations—take on the federal government and one of the biggest power companies in the U.S. to achieve a rare grassroots environmental victory; No Defense, from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sara Ganim, spotlights an environmental struggle in Oscoda, Michigan, examining contamination by PFAS (a broad group of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) emanating from the old Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda, and how a government’s conflict of interest has led to inaction and a growing water crisis in the area; This Is Not A Burial, It’s A Resurrection, directed by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, the story of an 80-year-old woman, Mantoa, who discovers on Christmas Day that her son has died in a mining accident in South Africa; and Kuessipan, directed by Myriam Verreault, a Canadian drama about two girls who grow up as best friends in a Quebec Innu community but as they mature, their lives take different paths and their personal ambitions diverge, leading them to a cultural and identity clash that tests their bond. Full descriptions and trailers for the films appear below.
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Ten-year-old Asalif and his mother have been displaced from their Ethiopian farmland by the construction of a condominium. Now living on the divide between a new and ancient world, they are reminded that their country’s big dream of “progress” is not for them. Land developers come knocking and Asalif feels his mother’s fear of further displacement. On the other side, ferocious hyenas lurk in a dark forest and local farmers speak their lore. To fight back against all that threatens his family, Asalif transforms into a lion (anbessa in Amharic). His newfound power takes him to places he never imagined inside and out of the condo until finally, Asalif must shed the lion persona and find the strength that resides in him as a boy, in order to deal with the tides of change and violence that are usurping his family, his country, and his own identity.
Filmed over five years by director Robbie Leppzer, Power Struggle portrays a heated political battle and follows the unfolding drama as citizen activists and elected state officials—alarmed at increasing safety violations—take on the federal government and one of the biggest power companies in the U.S. to achieve a rare grassroots environmental victory. The film captures perspectives on all sides of the controversy, including from local residents both for and against nuclear power, elected officials (including U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and Governor Peter Shumlin), nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen, a Vermont Yankee spokesperson, federal nuclear regulators, and many activists.
A new documentary on PFAS by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sara Ganim spotlights the contamination in Oscoda, Michigan. The film examines contamination by PFAS (a broad group of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) emanating from the old Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda, Michigan, and how a government’s conflict of interest has led to inaction and a growing water crisis in the area. No Defense looks at the struggle between the U.S. military and communities dealing with PFAS contamination from U.S. military bases. Oscoda is just one example of those communities, but this is the first documentary that specifically focuses on PFAS contamination at Department of Defense sites, of which there are hundreds around the country. More than 650 towns contaminated. Millions of Americans affected. The largest-known polluter of chemicals that are nearly indestructible is also the regulator that has failed to act. This is the story of the war on water.
The film tells the story of an 80-year-old woman, Mantoa (Mary Twala Mlongo), who discovers on Christmas Day that her son has died in a mining accident in South Africa. With no family left alive, she starts making arrangements for her own burial—only to be told by the city council that her landlocked village, Nasaretha, is about to be flooded for the construction of a dam and that its residents will be resettled in the city. But Mantoa is resolute in her desire to be buried alongside her ancestors.
Adapted from the acclaimed novel Kuessipan and co-written with the novel’s First Nation Canadian author Naomi Fontaine. Kuessipan means “your turn” in the Innu language, a title chosen to mark the notion that it is the Innu people’s turn to tell their story. The story follows two girls who grow up as best friends in a Quebec Innu community. While Mikuan has a loving family, Shaniss is picking up the pieces of her shattered childhood. As children, they promised each other to be lifelong friends. But as they mature, their lives take different paths, and their personal ambitions diverge, leading them to a cultural and identity clash that tests their bond.
MNFF will present the next Split/Screen film program from May 21-30 with specific films to be announced in early May – so watch this page. Be sure to subscribe to all MNFF programming and event updates!
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
PASSES & TICKETS
Split/Screen Monthly Passes are $40 [watch all the films for that month] and individual tickets cost $12.50. For the last remaining month that MNFF curates the Split/Screen program [May], when you purchase a Monthly Pass, you will receive immediate confirmation of that purchase from our ticketing partner Elevent. HERE IS THE BIG CHANGE FOR PASS BUYERS: In that purchase confirmation note, you will have direct access to the MNFF screening portal [watch.middfilmfest.org], just by clicking on the link you see below (that’s how it will look in the confirmation note) and then logging in using your Elevent email address and password (the exact same credentials you used to purchase this pass).
Once you’ve logged into the portal, be sure to bookmark watch.middfilmfest.org in your browser and save your Elevent password for quick access.
In other words, you will no longer receive a separate follow up email asking you to JOIN the portal. That more cumbersome approach has been eliminated. Elevent has streamlined this into a one-step process: Buy your Pass using your Elevent email address and password then login to the MNFF watch portal with the same credentials.
[Alternatively, you can navigate to the screening portal by logging into your Elevent account at goelevent.com and by clicking the blue Log In button under Virtual Subscriptions. But we recommend you use the new streamlined approach described above as your first choice.]
For Individual Ticket buyers, the process remains unchanged. If you purchase your single ticket prior to the start of Split/Screen March on March 19, you will receive immediate confirmation of that purchase but your next email from Elevent will not arrive until an hour before the film you purchased becomes available to view, which will be on the morning of March 19, the first day of streaming. Then you’ll proceed to our portal, enter the voucher code contained in that email and go right through to the film. Of course, if you buy a single ticket during the actual 10-day screening window, the “available to view” email will come to you immediately.
When VTIFF curates the monthly film program [April and June], Passes and Tickets can be purchased directly at VTIFF Split/Screen or through the links on this page of the MNFF website.
HOW TO WATCH
Whether MNFF or VTIFF is curating a monthly program, Split/Screen will be hosted by the secure online platform CineSend and will be viewable on a wide array of devices including mobile, tablet, laptop and big screen televisions. All the films will be available on demand 24/7 for the entire 10 day run either at the MNFF on line portal, watch.middfilmfest.org, for November, January, March and May, or at the VTIFF portal, watch.vtiff.org, for December, February, April and June. If you bought a Pass to MNFF6: ONLINE back in August and created a password to access the MNFF portal, that password can be reused when you buy a Pass for Split/Screen. You can also reset your password if you have forgotten that earlier one. Also, if you previously downloaded the MNFF6 app for Apple TV 4K or Roku, it will still be active for watching the Split/Screen movies on your big screen television using the same password. If you didn’t download the app, it is still available through the App Store on Apple TV 4K or Roku at no cost. Just search for MNFF6, download the app and follow the prompts to get everything synced up. If you encounter difficulties, contact us at email@example.com.
MNFF thanks our leading-edge local companies IPJ Real Estate, Silver Maple Construction and the Marquis Theatre for their sponsorship of the Split/Screen monthly movie series. We truly appreciate their support.