2017 Program

First Night Program
November 3, 2017 - 7:00pm

Download a PDF of the 2017 Program

The 11 films that make up the First Night Program are presented under the title “Broken Tongue,” and represent artists from 11 different nations.

I wanted to curate a program that explored the idea of legacy and just how powerful the past can be.  We all know that to truly be able to navigate the complicated and challenging paths our lives often take, it is essential that we continually take stock of not just what has sustained us, but also what has challenged us.

To me, legacy is not just the formal history we leave on this earth as a record of our humanity.  It is also the story of how that history influenced both the good and the bad choices we made.  We are all people who speak, at times, in broken tongues.  In one moment we are the harsh voices of our mistakes.  In the next we are the shouts of our revelations and victories.  And more often than we want to admit, we are the false voices of our own insecurities.

This program ends with Fiona Godivier’s revelatory film “Across My Land,” and with an act of violence so innocent that it is astonishing.  It is a bold reminder of a difficult lesson—that our history is being written every second of our lives.  Every moment is precious. The path only becomes clear when we speak honestly and compassionately and fully aware of our humanity.

     —Barry Smoot. Festival Director



Matinee Program
November 4, 2017 - 2:00pm

The 10 films that make up the Matinee Program are presented under the title “Numbered Days,” and represent artists from 9 different nations.  We are living in a time of unrest and chaos.  This is not something that is unprecedented, but the global scope of the societal dysfunction we are experiencing is unique in a modern age.  Currently, there are 65.3 million people, or one person in 113, physically displaced from their homes either by conflict or persecution.  In 2017 alone, hate crimes have increased 20 percent in major US cities, and this percentage continues to rise.

This program is about cause and effect.  It is about generational influence.  It is about standing up to fear and having the courage and the humanity to choose new beginnings.  I was also overwhelmed by the number of films submitted to us this year that dealt with this global conflict from the perspective of its effect on young people.  We are all born into innocence.  Prejudice, intolerance, hate, and greed are all learned behaviors.  What drives us apart and what instills in us the capacity for these destructive feelings is simple—it is fear.

The Program concludes with Ifunanya Maduka’s beautiful documentary portrait of a young woman who chose to endure.  The film details a 2014 incident in Nigeria during which 276 school girls were kidnapped by the terrorist organization Boko Haram.  To tell this story, young filmmaker Maduka chose to explore the idea of hope, not defeat.  We cannot let fear close our eyes.  The only way for us to effect change is to understand with each numbered day we fail to speak out against what is wrong with the world, we are part of the problem.
      —Barry Smoot, Festival Director



Second Night Program
November 4, 2017 - 7:00pm

The 11 films that make up the Closing Night Program are from 10 different nations and are presented under the title, “Restoration."  I believe that there are barbarians in our midst who will stop at nothing to cleanse the world of anyone who does not meet the expectations of their beliefs and what they perceive as the “purity” of their convictions.  Millions of people are currently at their mercy.

I also know that the world is populated by a much larger majority of people 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.

This program is about small moments of humanity.  It is about the strength it takes to live as a person who chooses to survive and to embrace the better angels of our nature.

     —Barry Smoot, Festival Director