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Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival Announces Lineup for its 31st Edition

The 31st edition of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival is coming next month. Today, we can report the lineup for the fest, led by the Opening Night presentation of Mark Fletcher’s doc Patrick and the Whale (which we reviewed here). The whole lineup can be seen below, but it’s definitely one for documentary fans to look out for.

Here now is the lineup for the 31st Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival:

The critically acclaimed Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival announced the lineup of films and honorees for its 31st edition, which returns to the Arlington Hotel & Spa as part of this year’s screenings and presentations, taking place October 7-15. Screenings will kick off with the Opening Night presentation of Mark Fletcher’s Patrick and the Whale, followed by the Centerpiece Selections of Ben Klein and Violet Columbus’ The Exiles and Shaunak Sen’s All That Breathes, with Kathlyn Horan’s The Return of Tanya Tucker – Featuring Brandi Carlile screening on Closing Night. World premieres include Carlos Montalva and Alex Meza’s Pasta Bueno, Nick Collier’s Scout Master, and Alexander Jeffery and Paul Petersen’s You Have No Idea.

As previously announced Christine Choy (Who Killed Vincent Chin?) will receive the film festival’s Impact Award, and Brent Renaud will posthumously be honored with the Career Achievement Award.

“This year’s edition of the film festival will kick off our fourth decade celebrating the impact that documentary filmmaking has on us as we view our world through the lenses of these incredible filmmakers’ work,” said HSDFF Festival Director, Sheryl Santacruz. “Each year fills us with a renewal of enthusiasm and appreciation for the stories we get to experience in each screening, complimented by the participation of the artists and subjects themselves. The conversations, events, activities, parties, and more are going to make for a fantastic film festival and cultural event next month.”

THE GALA FILM SELECTIONS

THE EXILES ALL THAT BREATHES
The ExilesAll That Breathes
Mark Fletcher’s Patrick and the Whale will make its U.S. Premiere when it screens Opening Night on Friday, October 7. The film gives audiences a rare view – with amazing cinematography of the whale’s world under the sea. As the U.S. Centerpiece, Ben Klein and Violet Columbus’ The Exiles, reconnects noted documentarian Christine Choy with an unfinished project of hers from the late 80s via a group of Chinese dissidents who sought asylum in the states following the Tiananmen Square massacre at that time. Could reviving and releasing that film force Choy into an exile of her own? The International Centerpiece Selection of Shaunak Sen’s All That Breathes explores the connection between man and nature via two brothers raised with a tradition of the community feeding birds of prey known as kites. Now threatened by pollution, the brothers have made it their mission to care for and rehabilitate the birds. Kathlyn Horan’sThe Return of Tanya Tucker – Featuring Brandi Carlile will close out the film festival on Saturday, October 15 with the exhilarating story of country music legend Tanya Tucker’s return to the big stage spurred and encouraged by rising star Brandi Carlile.


WORLD PREMIERES
Three films will make their world premieres at HSDFF. Those films include Carlos Montalva and Alex Meza’s Pasto Bueno, about a group of Peruvian and American miners  who bond in a tragic search for one of the country’s most prized gemstones, rhodochrosite. Neil Collier’s Scout Master investigates the 1987 investigation of murders that shook a small town in Arkansas and led to the arrest of a former Boy Scout unraveling secrets and lies at the heart of one of the largest sex abuse scandals in American history. Alexander Jeffery and Paul Petersen’s You Have No Idea looks at a mother whose son was diagnosed with Autism in the early 90s when treatment options were limited. Rejecting doctors’ advice to limit his personal interaction, she instead worked to provide her son with a life filled with purpose and friendship. 


HSDFF HONOREES

 Christine Choy Brent Renaud 2
Christine Choy, Brent Renaud

A pioneer Asian American filmmaker, HSDFF Impact Award honoree Christine Choy has made more than 85 films and received over sixty international awards, including her Oscar nominated film, Who Killed Vincent Chin? (1987).She has been a recipient of numerous fellowships, among them: John Simon Guggenheim, Rockefeller, Asian Cultural Council, Fulbright Senior Research, and an award for best cinematography from the Sundance International Film Festival. Choy’s latest collaborative documentary film, The Exiles, won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2022. 

Before being killed in Ukraine in March of 2022, HSDFF Career Achievement Award honoree Brent Renaud had spent over two decades traveling the world making character driven verité documentaries. Along with his brother Craig, Renaud won almost every major award in television journalism. He won a Peabody for the Vice series Last Chance High, a Columbia Dupont Award for a New York Times story that followed the lives of children injured by the earthquake in Haiti, and another Columbia DuPont Award the following year for a documentary about the drug war in Mexico. The Renaud Brothers’ ten-part series Off to War was the first time a group of soldiers had been filmed for an entire deployment at war and won an Overseas Press Club Award, and an International Documentary Association Award. Brent Renaud also co-founded the Little Rock Film Festival, was a visiting distinguished professor of journalism ethics at the University of Arkansas, and a Harvard Nieman Fellow. An award presentation will be made with special guests and going forward the award will be known as the “Brent Renaud Career Achievement Award.”

ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

 
 BOYCOTT FINDING HER BEAT 
BoycottFinding Her Beat
 

Among the additional highlights within a schedule packed with them, are Julia Bacha’s Boycott, which profiles individuals and organizations caught in the crosshairs of new laws restricting political boycotts of Israel on its human rights record including Alan Leveritt of the Arkansas Times, Bahia Amawi in Texas, and Mik Jordahl in Arizona. Quinn Grovey and Tracy Anderson’s Growing Up Grovey looks at the life journey of the only Arkansas quarterback to ever guide the Razorbacks to back-to-back conference championships who faced his toughest opponent off the field as the full-time caregiver for his mother, Bobby Jean, who was diagnosed with dementia and the onset of Alzheimer’s. Dawn Mikkelson and Keri Pickett’s Finding Her Beat focuses on a dynamic group of women who smash gender roles in the world of Taiko drumming. 

 
AND STILL I SING IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY MARIUPOLIS 2
And Still I Sing, It Runs in the Family, Mariupolis 2
 

On the international front, Fazila Amiri’s And Still I Sing will make its U.S. Premiere at HSDFF. The film focuses on Sadiqa Madadgar and Zahra Elham as they compete to make history as the first female winner of the popular reality TV show Afghan Star and face increasing public scrutiny and danger as the season hurtles toward its final episodes. Victoria Linares’ It Runs in the Family shines a light on Oscar Torres, the filmmaker’s unknown and once world-famous queer filmmaker cousin, sending us on a journey through reconstructions of his intimate memories living in the 1950’s authoritarian Caribbean. Mantas Kvedaravicius’ Mariupolis 2 is a ragged, on-the-ground look at the present-day war in Ukraine, as seen by those who are living it. It is the final film by the late Mantas Kvedaravičius, who was captured and killed by Russian Forces while making it. 
 
Passes are on sale now. For more information on purchasing and additional details on the Hot Springs Documentary Film festival, please visit: hsdfi.org.
 
 
 

The 2022 Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival official selections:

OPENING NIGHT

 
Patrick and The Whale
Director: Mark Fletcher
Country: USA; Running Time: 72 min
Marine videographer Patrick Dykstra explores the wondrous world of whales in this breathtaking and revealing documentary. 
 

CLOSING NIGHT

 
The Return of Tanya Tucker – Featuring Brandi Carlile
Director: Kathlyn Horan
Country: USA; Running Time: 108 min
Trailblazing, hell-raising country music legend Tanya Tucker defied the standards of how a woman in country music was supposed to behave. Decades after Tanya slipped from the spotlight, rising Americana music star Brandi Carlile takes it upon herself to write an entire album for her hero based on Tanya’s extraordinary life, spurring the greatest comeback in country music history. Taking stock of the past while remaining vitally alive in the present and keeping an eye on the future, The Return of Tanya Tucker is a rousing exploration of an unexpected friendship built on the joy of a perfectly timed creative collaboration.
 
 

U.S. CENTERPIECE

 
The Exiles 
Directors: Ben Klein, Violet Columbus
Country: USA; Running Time: 95 min
Meet Christine Choy, a New York City iconoclast and unforgettable filmmaker. Born in China, Christine relocated to America at the age of fourteen, and later became a documentarian. Working as both a director and cinematographer, she developed a distinct style crafting socially conscious films, including the Oscar-nominated, Who Killed Vincent Chin. When Christine finds a box of old film reels in storage, she rediscovers an unfinished project she began in 1989: a documentary about a group of Chinese dissidents who sought asylum in the United States following the Tiananmen Square massacre. Christine decides to revive this project, traveling to Taiwan, Maryland, and Paris in order to reconnect with three prominent leaders of the Chinese democracy movement.  Her new interviews with the exiles bleed into her original archival footage, as we cut back and forth between 1989 and the present day. The exiles reflect on the decisions that changed the course of their lives forever, while Christine begins to wonder if releasing this film will force her into an exile of her own.
 
 

INTERNATIONAL CENTERPIECE

 
All That Breathes
Director: Shaunak Sen
Country: India; Running Time: 97 min
Brothers Saud and Nadeem were raised looking at a sky speckled with black kites, watching as relatives tossed meat up to these birds of prey. Muslim belief held that feeding the kites would expel troubles. Now, birds are falling from the polluted, opaque skies of New Delhi and the two brothers have made it their life’s work to care for the injured black kites. Shaunak Sen’s intricately layered portrait reveals an evolving city and a fraternal relationship bonded by purpose. The film’s patient, roaming camera skillfully uses scale and perspective to draw attention to the interconnectedness of an ecosystem — one that humans are a part of, not apart from. The social unrest that begins to materialize in the streets is seen through the perspectives of the brothers and their family, as well as the insects and animals that share the urban landscape. There is both cruelty and tenderness in nature, and Sen elegantly captures how they coexist, while emphasizing the ways in which all living beings must evolve to survive.
 
 

CHRISTINE CHOY RETROSPECTIVE

 
Who Killed Vincent Chin
Director: Christine Choy
Country: USA; Running Time: 82 min
The film recounts the murder of a Chinese American automotive engineer in a racially motivated hate crime, and how the murderer escaped justice in the court system.
 
 

BRENT RENAUD RETROSPECTIVE

 
Off to War
Directors: Brent Renaud, Craig Renaud
Country: USA; Running Time:  90 min
Members of an Arkansas National Guard unit are transformed from weekend warriors to full-fledged soldiers for the war in Iraq.
 
 

SOUTHERN FEATURES

 
A Run For More
Director: Ray Whitehouse
Country: USA; Running Time: 82 min
As a transgender woman in Texas, Frankie Gonzales-Wolfe expected to encounter resistance to her campaign for city council. She did not anticipate questioning her relationship to identity, activism, and civic engagement. On the campaign trail, she finds herself on an unexpected journey of self-discovery and healing.
 
After Sherman
Director: Jon Sesrie Goff
Country: USA; Running Time: 88 min
Beautifully layered and expressionistic, After Sherman is a story about inheritance and the tension that defines our collective American history, especially Black history. The director’s exploration of coastal South Carolina as a site of African American pride and racial trauma through Gullah cultural retention and land preservation is interrupted by the shootings at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC.
 
Blurring the Color Line
Director: Crystal Kwok
Country: USA; Running Time: 77 min
Digging into her grandmother’s past growing up Chinese in Augusta, Georgia’s Black neighborhood during Jim Crow, director Crystal Kwok complicates the black and white narrative while exposing uncomfortable truths behind today’s Afro-Asian tensions.
 
Boycott
Director: Julia Bacha
Country: USA; Running Time: 73 min
As state governments across the country pass legislation to restrict political boycotts of Israel on its human rights record, Boycott profiles individuals and organizations caught in the crosshairs of those new laws. As Alan Leveritt of the Arkansas Times, Bahia Amawi in Texas, and Mik Jordahl in Arizona each challenge local anti-boycott measures in the court system, director Julia Bacha chronicles their actions with surprising revelations and personal insights. This compelling investigation is a timely reminder of the far-reaching personal and professional implications of laws enacted at the local level that seek to limit free speech.
 
Growing Up Grovey
Directors: Quinn Grovey, Tracy Anderson
Country: USA; Running Time: 129 min
Beginning his legendary career on the Mighty Mite fields of southern Oklahoma, Quinn Grovey rose to be one of the nation’s top college quarterbacks of the late 1980s. He remains the only Arkansas quarterback to ever guide the Razorbacks to back-to-back conference championships. But after embarking on a successful career in the corporate world, the once-dazzling quarterback began to face his toughest opponent off the field. Following the deaths of his father and oldest brother, Quinn became the full-time caregiver for his mother, Bobby Jean, who was diagnosed with dementia and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in the fall of 2006. Growing Up Grovey is a documentary about football, family, and enduring one of the most baffling diseases known to man. Yet, with the same grace and determination he displayed on the football field, Quinn was able to return the unconditional love to the mom who had once taught her little boy how to love others and live life to its fullest.
 
Outta The Muck 
Directors: Ira McKinley, Bhawin Suchak
Country: USA; Running Time: 80 min
Family, football, and history come to life in an intimate portrait of the Dean family, longtime residents of the historic town of Pahokee, Florida.  We take a journey back home, with filmmaker Ira McKinley, to the land of sugarcane, as he reconnects with his niece Bridget and nephew Alvin and explores their shared family history that spans seven generations.  Told through stories that transcend space and time, Outta The Muck presents a community, and a family, that resists despair with love, remaining fiercely self-determined, while forging its own unique narrative of Black achievement.
 
Pasto Bueno 
Directors: Carlos Montalva, Alex Meza
Country: USA; Running Time: 78 min
In an abandoned tungsten mine in northern Peru, a group of Peruvian and American miners bond in a tragic search for one of the country’s most prized gemstones, rhodochrosite. This intimate portrayal of life as a miner reveals dangerous working conditions and the true cost of preserving these natural wonders. 
 
Roots of Fire
Directors: Abby Berendt Lavoi, Jeremey Lavoi
Country: USA; Running Time: 85 min
Amidst shuttered rural dance clubs and encroaching globalization, five award-winning musicians push against stereotypes of the American South and move the music of their ancestors forward. But their fans are getting older and the language is fading away. Will their efforts be enough to save a dying community?
 
Scout Master
Director: Neil Collier
Country: USA; Running Time: 80 min
An investigation into murders that shook a small town in Arkansas and led to the arrest of a former Boy Scout in 1997 unravels secrets and lies at the heart of one of the largest sex abuse scandals in American history.
 
You Have No Idea
Directors: Alexander Jeffery, Paul Petersen
Country: USA; Running Time: 90 min
When Beth’s son Evan James was diagnosed with Autism in the early 90s, treatment options were limited. Doctors offered no practical advice for daily living and advised Beth to limit his social interactions. Rejecting these notions, Beth sets out to provide her son with a life filled with purpose and friendship. This heartfelt film is a sweet testament to the power of love and community by profiling a determined mom advocating for her son.
 
 

U.S. FEATURES

 
A Decent Home
Director: Sara Terry
Country: USA; Running Time: 87 min
When housing on the lowest rung of the American dream is being devoured by the wealthiest of the wealthy, whose dream are we serving? A Decent Home addresses urgent issues of class and economic (im)mobility through the lives of mobile home park residents who cannot afford housing anywhere else. They are fighting for their homes — and their communities — as private equity firms and wealthy investors buy up parks, making sky-high returns on their investments while squeezing every last penny out of the mobile homeowners who must pay rent for the land they live on. Through the lives of the park residents we meet the film asks, how much is enough? Viewers experience the hijacking of the American Dream by the wealthiest of the wealthy in a growing age of inequity and witness the inspiring efforts of the growing group of mobile homeowners who are rising up to take it back.
 
Bad Axe
Director: David Siev
Country: USA; Running Time: 130 min
A real-time portrait of 2020 unfolds as an Asian-American family in Trump’s rural America fights to keep their restaurant and American dream alive in the face of a pandemic, Neo-Nazis, and generational scars from the Cambodian Killing Fields.
 
Billion Dollar Babies: The True Story of The Cabbage Patch Kids
Director: Andrew Jenks
Country: USA; Running Time: 93 min
This is the unbelievable, but true story of the kids who stole America’s heart, the Cabbage Patch Kids, and how they set the wheels in motion for modern-day Black Friday. Before Cabbage Patch Kids no one left a K-Mart with a bloody nose, nor could we have imagined a world where police would need to be called in to break up fights over dolls. Directed by Andrew Jenks. Executive produced by Dan Goodman, Brian Hunt, William H. Masterson III, Neil Patrick Harris. Narrated by Neil Patrick Harris.
 
Body Parts
Director: Kristy Guevara-Flanagan
Country: USA; Running Time: 86 min
Through a careful and detailed survey of film history, Body Parts studies how sex, sexuality, and nudity have been traditionally presented onscreen through the confines of the male gaze. Featuring interviews with high-profile figures in the film industry — such as Jane Fonda, Rose McGowan, and director Karyn Kusama — and utilizing incisive movie clips as archival evidence to bolster her case, Kristy Guevara-Flanagan investigates the past while looking forward to a more equitable future for women in front of and behind the camera. This galvanizing documentary examines what needs to change in the film industry to foster safe working environments and to create more inclusive representation.
 
Butterfly in the Sky
Directors: Bradford Thomason, Brett Whitford
Country: USA; Running Time: 86 min
By entertaining its young viewers with an inventive blend of storytelling and non-fiction filmmaking, the beloved educational program Reading Rainbow inspired a generation of readers. Butterfly In the Sky provides a loving and thoughtful look at the creation of the iconic television show while also examining its lasting impact on youth literacy. This heartwarming film features interviews with LeVar Burton, Whoopi Goldberg, and the Book Review Kids (now all grown up!). 
 
Deconstructing Karen
Director: Patty Ivins Specht
Country: USA; Running Time: 75 min
In this documentary feature film, white women are invited to a beautiful dinner party where the main course is a radically honest conversation about race.  While these women may never leave the table, they will go on a journey to discover the ways they uphold white supremacy every – single – day.  
 
Fashion Reimagined
Director: Becky Hutner
Country: USA; Running Time: 100 min
Although she is regularly featured in Vogue, designer Amy Powney of it-girl brand Mother of Pearl is an outsider, raised off the grid in rural England. Increasingly troubled by her role in fashion’s environmental impact, Amy makes a decision – transform her business model and make it sustainable or leave fashion entirely. Amy embarks on her quest, sparking a movement along the way.
 
Finding Her Beat
Directors: Dawn Mikkelson, Keri Pickett
Country: USA; Running Time: 89 min
For thousands of years women have been locked out of Taiko drumming. Not anymore. In the dead of a Minnesota winter, Asian drumming divas smash gender roles and redefine power on their own terms. Finding Her Beat dives into the rhythms and struggles that lead to an electrifying historic performance that changes everything.
 
Framing Agnes
Director: Chase Joynt
Country: USA; Running Time: 75 min
Weaving together a tapestry of vivid reenactments and scholarly insight, Framing Agnes uses a sparkling cast of trans all-stars to unfurl the life and times of its titular subject. “Agnes” was a transgender woman in the 1960s who boldly participated in a pioneering study on gender at UCLA under Harold Garfinkel. This daring, stylistic gem positions Agnes in her rightful place as a trans icon—someone who worked a system that wasn’t working for her.
 
I Didn’t See You There
Director: Reid Davenport
Country: USA; Running Time: 76 min
Filmmaker Reid Davenport won the Directing Award for US Documentary Features at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival for this singular, stirring self-portrait. When a massive circus tent goes up outside his Oakland apartment, a disabled filmmaker begins to reflect on his own relationship to the legacy of the Freak Show. Photographed from the perspective of his literal wheelchair, I Didn’t See You There uses the medium of film to reinvent how we tell stories about disability.
 
Lakota Nation vs the United States
Directors: Jesse Short Bull, Laura Tomaselli
Country: USA; Running Time: 120 min
A chronicle about how the Lakota Indians fight to reclaim control of the Black Hills. Will investigate how the sacred land was stolen in violation of treaty agreements and feature interviews with Indigenous citizens.
 
Let The Little Light Shine
Director: Kevin Shaw
Country: USA; Running Time: 86 min
A high-achieving elementary school just south of downtown Chicago is a lifeline for Black children until gentrification threatens its closure. When city planners impose unwanted changes, one person can easily feel helpless, but a group of people with a common cause just might find enough collective strength to fight the power. Let the Little Light Shine tells the story of the parents, teachers, administrators, and students of Chicago’s National Teachers Academy, a high-performing public elementary school in an African American neighborhood, who join forces in an effort to do just that. When the powers that be announce plans to phase out NTA’s current K-8 curriculum and transform it into a high school drawing students from other schools, the community senses gentrification at work and gets organized. Kevin Shaw’s riveting documentary captures the struggle to save NTA through all its highs and lows‚ introducing us to charismatic young leaders taking a stand to protect their academic futures.
 
Mama Bears
Director: Daresha Kyi
Country: USA; Running Time: 90 min
Usually when we say films are about transformation, we are speaking metaphorically, but Mama Bears is the story of women who have allowed nearly every aspect of their lives to be completely reshaped by love. Although they may have grown up as fundamentalist, evangelical Christians, mama bears are willing to risk losing friends, family, and faith communities to keep their children safe—even if it challenges their belief systems and rips their worlds apart. Shot in a poetic, deeply intimate style, the film uses social media posts, home movies, photos, interviews, and cinema verité to explore the complex intersections of politics, religion, faith, and true, unconditional love.
 
Retrograde
Director: Matthew Heineman
Country: USA; Running Time: 94 min
Retrograde tells the story of the last months of the 20-year war in Afghanistan through the intimate relationship between American Green Berets and the Afghan officers they trained.
 
Skate Dreams
Director: Jessica Edwards
Country: USA; Running Time: 83 min
Skate Dreams, the first feature documentary about the rise of women’s skateboarding, profiles five women from around the world pursuing social justice, equality, and personal freedom through skateboarding. From a historical reckoning with the systemic gender bias that prevented women from gaining professional advancement in the sport, through the worldwide skate competitions in the run up to the Olympics, to the groundswell of community activism advancing the recognition of BIPOC and LGBTQ skaters, Skate Dreams showcases this unheralded sport on the cusp of mainstream recognition. Featuring Mimi Knoop, Cara-Beth Burnside, Nora Vasconcellos, Nicole Hause, Tin Kouv, and Jessyka Bailey. Directed by Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Jessica Edwards (MAVIS!).
 
Still Working 9 to 5
Directors: Camille Hardman, Gary Lane
Country: USA; Running Time: 91 min
9 to 5 was the highest-grossing comedy of 1980 and is regarded today as a classic American film. Underneath its star power was a potent message about women at work. Still Working 9 to 5 examines how women’s inequality in the workplace is as highly charged today as ever. Featuring the legendary Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, and Lily Tomlin, this timely film investigates why this same conversation is still being had 40 years later…
 
The Art of Making It
Director: Kelcey Edwards
Country: USA; Running Time: 93 min
Focusing on a diverse group of compelling young artists at pivotal moments in their careers, The Art of Making It explores the forces that thrust some into the stratosphere while leaving others struggling to survive. Who gets seen, who gets left behind, and why does it matter who is anointed to tell the stories of our time? Interweaving the voices of creative luminaries and disruptors, the film is both a cautionary tale about what America stands to lose if we don’t rethink what we value and why, and a love letter to those who persevere in their artistic practice in spite of the extraordinary odds of ever achieving commercial success.
 
The Cave of Adullam
Director: Laura Checkoway
Country: USA; Running Time: 94 min
The Cave of Adullam tells the story of martial arts sensei Jason Wilson. He tenderly guides his often-troubled young Detroit students with a beautifully effective blend of compassion and tough love.
 
The Pez Outlaw
Directors: Amy Bandlien Storkel, Bryan Storkel
Country: USA; Running Time: 86 min
There was a period of time in the 90s when Pez dispensers were worth more, gram-for-gram, than cocaine or even gold. During this magical time, a small-town farmer and factory worker lived his wildest dreams, smuggling Pez dispensers into the USA from Eastern Europe and making millions of dollars. It was all wonderful until his arch-nemesis, the “Pezident”, decided to destroy him. This is the incredible fish-out-of-water story of Steve Glew, the Pez Outlaw.
 
The Thief Collector
Director: Allison Otto
Country: USA; Running Time: 89 min
After Willem de Kooning’s painting Woman-Ochre is stolen in a daring mid-day heist, a decades-long mystery vexes law enforcement and the art world at large. In this quirky and introspective true crime documentary, director Allison Otto weaves together fascinating interviews with delightful reenactments starring Glenn Howerton of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. With surprising panache in its attention to detail, The Thief Collector uniquely investigates who stole the painting and what their motivations were for committing the crime… or crimes.
 
The Time of the Fireflies 
Directors: Matteo Robert Morales, Mattis Appelqvist Dalton
Country: USA; Running Time: 52 min
At 16, Miguel left Mexico to start a new life in New York City. Thirteen years later, Miguel opens a package from his mother, where he discovers photographs that throw him back to his childhood in rural Mexico – a time when living in the US had been just a dream. These memories that have fueled Miguel’s ambitions and altruism are the same ones that keep him trapped in his past. At a turning point in his life, he shares with us his tale of resilience and determination and relates his longing for who and what he left behind.
 
Turn Every Page
Director: Lizzie Gottlieb
Country: USA; Running Time: 112 min
Follows the iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Caro and his editor, the literary giant Robert Gottlieb, in this chronicle of a unique 50-year professional relationship.
 
 

INTERNATIONAL FEATURES

 
A Thousand Fires
Director: Saeed Taji Farouky
Country: Myanmar; Running Time: 90 min
In Myanmar, home to one of the oldest oil industries in the world, married couple Thein Shwe and Htwe Tin run a family-operated, unregulated oil field. They work tirelessly, hand-drilling to modestly produce a couple of barrels of oil each week while praying their youngest son will succeed and break the cycle of poverty. A Thousand Fires captures a family in flux, offering a cinematic portrait that crackles with the rhythmic poetry of everyday life.
 
And Still I Sing
Director: Fazila Amiri
Country: Canada; Running Time: 90 min
In 2019, singers Sadiqa Madadgar and Zahra Elham compete to make history as the first female winner of the popular reality TV show Afghan Star. While venturing to break this unique glass ceiling, the singers form a close relationship with Aryana Sayeed — the only woman on the judging panel, and an outspoken advocate for gender equality in Afghanistan. With fear of the Taliban growing, the three performers face increasing public scrutiny and danger as the season hurtles toward its final episodes. Fazila Amiri’s powerful film showcases the indispensability of using your voice to create change.
 
De Humani Corporis Fabrica
Directors: Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel
Country: France; Running Time: 115 min
With a focus on five hospitals in northern Paris neighborhoods, this documentary reveals that human flesh is an extraordinary landscape that exists only through the gaze and attention of others.
 
Hidden Letters
Directors: Violet Du Feng, Qing Zhao
Country: China; Running Time: 89 min
Hidden Letters tells the story of two Chinese women trying to balance their lives as independent women in modern China while confronting the traditional identity that defines but also oppresses them. Connected through their love for Nushu–a centuries-old secret text shared amongst women — each of them transforms through a pivotal period of their lives and takes a step closer to becoming the individuals they know they can be.
 
It Runs in the Family
Director: Victoria Linares
Country: Dominican Republic; Running Time: 84 min
A revelation about Oscar Torres, her unknown and once world-famous queer filmmaker cousin, sends Victoria down a path of self-discovery through reconstructions of his intimate memories living in the 1950’s authoritarian Caribbean, as Victoria leads re-enactments of his unproduced screenplays with the family who erased him.
 
Mariupolis 2
Director: Mantas Kvedaravicius
Country: Ukraine; Running Time: 112 min
A ragged, on-the-ground look at the present-day war in Ukraine, as seen by those who are living it. The fourth and final film by the late Mantas Kvedaravičius, who was captured and killed by Russian Forces while making this film, Mariupolis 2 stands tall as a testament to the human will to live. The filmmaker’s wife, Hanna Bilobrova, managed to escape with the footage and assemble this ode to her late husband and the city of Mariupol, Ukraine.
 
Midwives
Director: Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing
Country: Myanmar; Running Time: 91 min
Hla and Nyo Nyo live in a country torn by conflict. Hla is a Buddhist and the owner of a makeshift medical clinic in western Myanmar, where the Rohingya (a Muslim minority community) are persecuted and denied basic rights. Nyo Nyo is a Muslim and an apprentice midwife who acts as an assistant and translator at the clinic.
 
Nelly and Nadine
Director: Magnus Gertten
Country: Sweden; Running Time: 92 min
Nelly & Nadine is the unlikely love story between two women falling in love on Christmas Eve, 1944, in the Ravensbrück concentration camp. Despite being separated in the last months of the war, Nelly and Nadine manage to later reunite and spend the rest of their life together. For many years their love story was kept a secret, even to some of their closest family. Now Nelly’s grandchild, Sylvie, has decided to open Nelly and Nadine’s unseen personal archives and uncover their remarkable story.
 
Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Country: Italy; Running Time: 120 min
In the early 20th century, impoverished teenage Italian cobbler Salvatore Ferragamo sailed from Naples to America to seek a better life. He settled in Southern California and became Hollywood’s go-to shoemaker during the silent era. In 1927, he returned to Italy and founded in Florence his namesake luxury brand. This feature-length documentary recounts his adventures.
 
Sansón and Me
Director: Rodrigo Reyes 
Country: Mexico; Running Time: 83 min
Director Rodrigo Reyes works as a Spanish Court Interpreter where he befriends a client, a young undocumented Mexican named Sansón, during a gang-related murder trial. When permission is denied to film Sansón, Rodrigo and he begin using hundreds of pages of letters to craft recreations of Sansón’s childhood, building a multi-layered narrative of how the failures of immigration and opportunity intersect with the criminal justice system.
 
Sirens
Director: Rita Baghdadi
Country: Lebanon; Running Time: 79 min
Lilas and Shery, co-founders, and guitarists of the Middle East’s first all-female metal band, wrestle with friendship, sexuality, and destruction in their pursuit of becoming thrash metal rock stars.
 
Tantura
Director: Alon Schwarz
Country: USA; Running Time: 85 min
In 1948 the state of Israel was established and civil war between Jews and Palestinians broke out. Over 600 Palestinian towns and villages were destroyed with their inhabitants killed or exiled in its aftermath. To Israelis, this is known as ‘The War of Independence’, to Palestinians’ it is known as ‘Nakba’ (‘The Catastrophe’). Israelis and Palestinians view these historic events completely differently. These different narratives are at the root of the conflict which continues to this day. Israeli society has been educated to look away from this dark period. ‘Nakba’ to Israelis is Taboo. Not being willing to recognize or accept any moral responsibility is one of the key elements preventing a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
 
The Delights
Director: Eduardo Crespo
Country: Argentina; Running Time: 65 min
Set in the pastoral Argentine countryside is a boarding school known as Las Delicias where students are taught standard subjects while also learning skills of farm life. The Delights is a warm coming-of-age documentary where the adventures of the film’s young protagonists glow with the infectious fervor of youth. At once moving and comic, the film evokes a universal childhood experience while remaining deeply entrenched in the specific textures and sights of this wondrous landscape.
 
Turn Your Body to the Sun
Director: Aliona van der Horst
Country: The Netherlands; Running Time: 93 min
Using his diaries and public archives, a daughter traces her silent father’s extraordinary life story as a Soviet soldier captured by the Nazis during WWII.
 
 

EPISODIC SERIES
Reciprocity Project

 
Diiyeghan naii Taii Tr’eedaa (We Will Walk the Trail of our Ancestors)
Director: Princess Daazhraii Johnson 

ᎤᏕᏲᏅ (What They’ve Been Taught)
Director: Brit Hensel 
 
SŪKŪJULA TEI (Stories of My Mother)
Director: David Hernández Palmar

Weckuwapasihtit (Those Yet to Come)
Director: Geo Neptune, Brianna Smith 
 
Weckuwapok (The Approaching Dawn)
Directors: Jacob Bearchum, Taylor Hensel, Adam Mazo, Chris Newell, Roger Paul, Kavita Pillay, Tracy Rector, Lauren Stevens 
 
Ma’s House 
Director: Jeremy Dennis
 
Pili KA Mo’o
Director: Justyn Ah Chong 
 
 

SHORT FILMS

 
Adjusting
Director: Dejan Petrović
Country: USA; Running Time: 19 min
 
After Fred
Director: Rachel Meyrick
Country: USA; Running Time: 20 min
 
American Scar
Director: Daniel Lombroso
Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min
 
Bad Hombrewood
Director: Guillermo Casarin
Country: USA; Running Time: 24 min
 
Blind Angels: Richmond, Virginia
Director: Umbreen Butt 
Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min
 
Blue Room
Director: Merete Mueller
Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min
 
CANS Can’t Stand
Director: Matt Nadel, Megan Plotka
Country: USA; Running Time: 18 min
 
Clarisa
Director: Philip Knowlton
Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min
 
Daddy Business
Director: Christopher Stoudt
Country: USA; Running Time: 21 min
 
Deerwoods Deathtrap
Director: James P. Gannon
Country: USA; Running Time: 9 min
 
Dicks That I Like
Director: Johanna Gustin
Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min
 
Eco-Hack!
Director: Josh Izenberg and Brett Marty
Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min
 
ELSA
Director: Julia Jansch
Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min
 
Elsa
Director: Cameron S Mitchell
Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min
 
Favorite Daughter
Director: Dana Reilly
Country: USA; Running Time: 20 min
 
For Love and Legacy
Director: A.K. Sandhu
Country: USA; Running Time: 20 min
 
Free to Care
Director: Chris Temple and Owen Dubeck
Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min
 
Freedom Swimmer
Director: Olivia Martin-McGuire
Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min
 
From Dreams to Dust
Director: Stephanie Tangkilisan, Muhammad Fadli
Country: USA; Running Time: 9 min
 
Full Picture
Director: Jacob Reed
Country: USA; Running Time: 12 min
 
Holy Cowboys
Director: Varun Chopra
Country: USA; Running Time: 24 min
 
I Escaped a Chinese Internment Camp
Director: Anthony Del Col
Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min
 
In Search of Boozers and Schmucks
Director: Hrag Yedalian
Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min
 
Iron Sharpens Iron
Director: John Gallen 
Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min
 
Kicking the Clouds
Director: Sky Hopinka
Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min
 
Kylie
Director: Sterling Hampton 
Country: USA; Running Time: 5 min
 
Listen To the Beat of Our Images
Director: Audrey and Maxime Jean-Baptiste
Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min
 
Long Line of Ladies
Director: Rayka Zehtabchi, Shaandiin Tome
Country: USA; Running Time: 22 min
 
Lost Art
Director: Leif Ramsey
Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min
 
Memoria(l)
Director: Ian Kelly
Country: USA; Running Time: 9 min
 
My Disability Roadmap
Director: Samuel Habib and Dan Habib
Country: USA; Running Time: 23 min
 
Party Poster
Director: Rishi Chandnna
Country: USA; Running Time: 20 min
 
Signal and Noise
Director: Jess Shane, Katie Mathews
Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min
 
Sonora
Director: Johnny Holder, Pablo Camacho
Country: USA; Running Time: 24 min
 
SOUTH
Director: Kyle Gibbins
Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min
 
Stranger at the Gate
Director: Joshua Seftel
Country: USA; Running Time: 30 min
 
Susan & Leslie
Director: Claire Barnett
Country: USA; Running Time: 5 min
 
The Act of Coming Out
Director: Alexandra Stergiou
Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min
 
The Bunker Boom: Better Safe Than Sorry
Director: Arianna LaPenne
Country: USA; Running Time: 25 min
 
The Flagmakers
Director: Cynthia Wade, Sharon Liese
Country: USA; Running Time: 35 min
 
The Originals
Director: Cristina Costantini & Alfie Koetter
Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min
 
The Panola Project 
Director: Rachael DeCruz & Jeremy S. Levine
Country: USA; Running Time: 17 min
 
To The Bone
Director: Andy Sarjahani
Country: USA; Running Time: 6 min
 
We Are Here 
Director: Doménica Castro, Constanza Castro 
Country: USA; Running Time: 9 min
 
What Are You Looking At?
Director: Liberty Smith
Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min
 
WINN
Director: Joseph East, Erica Tanamachi
Country: USA; Running Time: 17 min
 
You’ll Be Happier
Director: Daniel Lombroso
Country: USA; Running Time: 21 min

Source: Press Release

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[…] are here: by Steven Prusakowski September 21, 2022, 12:01 am 1 Comment The 31st edition of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival is coming next month. Today, we can […]

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Written by Steven Prusakowski

Steven Prusakowski has been a cinephile as far back as he can remember, literally. At the age of ten, while other kids his age were sleeping, he was up into the late hours of the night watching the Oscars. Since then, his passion for film, television, and awards has only grown. For over a decade he has reviewed and written about entertainment through publications including Awards Circuit and Screen Radar. He has conducted interviews with some of the best in the business - learning more about them, their projects and their crafts. He is a graduate of the RIT film program. You can find him on Twitter and Letterboxd as @FilmSnork – we don’t know why the name, but he seems to be sticking to it.
Email: filmsnork@gmail.com

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