First Night Program
November 4, 2016 - 6:59pm
Download a PDF of the 2016 Program
Five nuns in the West Bank have their daily routine of silence disrupted when a Jewish family comes knocking at their door for help.
Somewhat estranged identical twins reconnect at the largest annual gathering of twins in the world.
A theme park celebrating America’s mythic Wild West in wintery Sweden becomes a welcome home for refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war.
MAN O MAN
When Glen attends primal scream class, he releases something from deep within that knows no limits.
All These Voices
When a young SS soldier encounters a theater-troupe of survivors celebrating the end of WWII, he must come to terms with his complicity in their grief.
Mot Nord (Northbound)
This visually mesmerizing documentary showcases a subculture of skateboarders who make the frozen seashore their own personal playground.
A solitary dish washing robot living out his life in the back room of a restaurant is enlightened to the world that exists beyond his four walls, with the help of a small friend.
L’Ours Noir (The Black Bear)
Rule #1: never feed the bears. Rule #2: do not approach within 100 meters. Rule #3: avoid surprising bears. Rule #4: keep your dog on a leash. Now that you know the rules, we wish you a pleasant stay in the natural park of the black bear.
Travel along with the Voyager spacecrafts as they traverse the solar system on their planetary expedition, spanning over three decades.
The 10 films that make up the Opening Night Program are presented under the title “After Noah.” They are from 8 different countries, and they explore the cyclical nature of life and the necessity to learn from our mistakes. Filmmaker Alejandro Gonzales Iñárritu has said: “Life and death are all illusions. We are in a constant state of transformation.” The circumstances of our birth and the consequences of our death are not what define us. It is only the “in-between” that defines our humanity.
The Old Testament story of Noah has always been, to me, about the opportunity to “reset.” When the evil of mankind compelled God to destroy the world by flood, He returned the Earth to its pre-creation state. We were given a second chance. What have we done with it?
Human beings are the most inspirational and the most bewildering creations. We can be both abundantly kind and relentlessly cruel. We can celebrate our shared humanity one moment, and give in to unprecedented hate the next.
This program begins with Ave Maria, Basil Khalil’s compassionate and compelling exploration of how our history continues to divide people who were never meant to be at odds in the first place. For a brief moment in the Saudi desert, a flood of recognition and shared humanity washes the past away. What happens after Noah? The steps we take on that clean earth can move us either toward compassion or chaos. We choose. That’s what happens after Noah.
—Barry Smoot, Festival Director
November 5, 2016 - 1:59pm
The phenomenon of increasing smartphone addiction can be attributed to today’s cutting-edge technology. Staring at glowing screens instead of exploring the vast expanse of life, people are gradually alienating themselves from the loveliness of life.
A New Home
What is the biggest danger Europe faces: the crisis on its borders, or its own paranoia and fear?
La Lecon (The Lesson)
Ludovic, a weekend biker, has planned an afternoon with Axelle in a wooden shed. Despite her attraction to him, the young and bold Axelle is determined to not get caught in his game of seduction.
Emboldened by a giant block party on the evening of their high school prom, a group of students enter the night with the hope of transcending their rural town and the industrial landscape that surrounds them.
Det Lyse Mørket (Pushing Night Away)
A meeting between Eddie, who wants to die, and Kate, who is fighting to stay alive.
An ordinary school day for a teenaged girl in Istanbul and her encounters with three different men as she goes to school, plays basketball and takes a bus home.
A young woman and the man who cares for her race to find shelter in a roadside motel so they can feed her addiction, in this wordless story about desire and dependency.
A plush puppy living with his foster mom, an old petroleum lamp, goes in search for fire when his mother’s lamp goes out.
Life is disrupted for eight-year-old Aida when her father returns with a young Senegalese woman, Rama, whom he introduces as his second wife. Sensitive to her mother's distress, Aida decides to get rid of the new visitor.
The 10 films that make up the Matinee Program are presented under the title “Long Way Down,” and represent artists from 10 different nations.
I wanted to curate a program that looked at modern relationships in a unique way. I wanted to find those films that, in the simplest of terms, expose their protagonists boldly and without pretense. One of my favorite authors, Dale Peck, once said: “Sometimes when we think we’re protecting ourselves, we’re really hurting ourselves. And sometimes the people around us too.”
The higher we climb above the fray to escape the chaos of our modern lives, the farther we have to fall when that isolation leaves us defenseless. Our technology has given us false cocoons. Inside, we feel emboldened to say things that we would never say face to face. We communicate with texts and words and emails, rarely even taking the time to use our ever-present cell phones as a means to actually hear a human voice.
To be fully committed—to a person, to a cause, to a belief system—we have to be bold enough to communicate our feelings face to face. We have to expose every part of us. We have to be willing to show both the strengths and weaknesses of who we are.
True commitment requires that we stand firm. It requires that we choose not to ascend the steps that lead away from honest connections, that release us from the little wonderful and difficult things that make us human and make us valuable to each other. There is no greater commitment than to love someone for exactly who they are.
—Barry Smoot, Festival Director
Second Night Program
November 5, 2016 - 6:59pm
As thousands of men, women, and children attempt to get into Europe, a comfortable English family sets out on what appears to be a holiday.
In this dark comedy of manners, Soccer moms Jill and Lisa compete for approval and acceptance in a bizarre suburbia.
In the middle of the night, a boy wandering around an old mediterranean town accidentally witnesses a miracle that will affect his life forever.
Bacon & God’s Wrath
A 90-year-old Jewish woman reflects on her life experiences as she prepares to try bacon for the first time.
When his friend Roger is killed in a base-jumping accident, Joachim promises his expecting girlfriend to give up BASE jumping for good. Together with his best-friend Øyvind they set out to do Roger’s last jump. When a thunderstorm approaches, their friendship is put to the test…
Deux Mondes (Two Worlds)
Sami is a young Syrian refugee living in Montreal and struggling to cope with the separation from his family. A phone call is enough to destroy his world.
Today, Tony is supposed to audition for drama school. But Steven, his best friend and reading partner, doesn't show up. After having failed to find another volunteer, Tony gives up, determined never to speak to the traitor again.
A couple’s compassion is put to the test when they come across a sinking ship of refugees while on a pleasure trip across the Mediterranean.
Luna and Diego are the parking lot security guards. Diego does the night shift, and Luna works by day.
The 10 films that make up the Closing Night Program are from 12 different nations and are presented under the title, “Tribes.”
I believe that we are, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, standing at a crossroads. As a human race, we are at the brink of some tipping point. On one hand we have the Barbarians at the Gate, those who will stop at nothing to cleanse the world of anyone who does not meet the expectations of their beliefs. Millions of people are now at their mercy.
On the other hand, we have those who still believe in the absolute power of the human heart and soul—those who believe that we are perfect and imperfect at the same time, and that understanding our differences is the only way we will ever survive.
How can we have separated ourselves into such opposing factions—such Warring Tribes? This program begins with a quote from Mother Teresa. She has said that “if we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
This program is not about politics, but it is. It is not about loneliness, but it shows us the power of connecting. It is not about grief, but it honors our losses. It is not about faith, but it shows us the consequences of closing our minds. It is not a condemnation of how we have grown complacent, but a telling look at what the cost of that indifference can be.
A tribe is defined as a social division of a traditional society consisting of people linked by social, economic, religious, cultural or blood ties. It is telling that those same ties have been flashpoints for every major conflict the world has ever known. It is true. We do forget that we belong to each other.
—Barry Smoot, Festival Director