Sasha Pezenik, 2016, 35 min
*Winner Documentary Short
Friday May 5th, 7:00 pm
Out of the limelight, under the streetlight, enter the world of NYC’s transgender underclass. One church opens its doors to provide meals, clothing and sometimes, a little drag show magic.
Two transgender women struggle to beat the odds. Sacha, abandoned and abused from birth, finds empowerment and beauty in her performances. Kenyatta, an HIV+ rapper, rejects drag as disrespectful to her idea of womanhood. Both women face a steep climb to stability, often taking more backward steps than forward march.
Disease, abuse, and homelessness cast long shadows. One friar, Brother Peter, makes it his mission to help build not just their self confidence – but also, build them badly needed housing within the church. This is personal: his work with this transgender population has made him accept painful secrets of his own. Though in the midst of a battle with cancer, he wins $1.8 million from the city for a housing program, only to get turned down, and out, by a fellow church leader. Peter prepares to leave the church, but without his linchpin support, the community is left in tenuous balance. Kenyatta turns to prostitution; it’s not the first time. Peter presses on to find a place to build his housing. Sacha strives to find her own voice – but will they make it?
A story of deep pain, and the stunning resilience needed to overcome it. Voices brimming with pathos, honesty, and eloquent grit, whose stories uniquely show: fly with one wing if you must, but never be afraid to fall.
Mohammad Ehsani, 2016, 35 min (Iran; English subtitles)
Documentary Short *Official Selection
Sunday May 7th, 3:00 pm
Since Lake Hamoon has gone dry, numerous environmental and social problems have appeared in Sistan region. Poverty, emigration, and the extinction of traditional and local jobs have been the result of the drying of Lake Hamoon in the southeast of Iran in Sistan and Baluchistan Province on Iran Afghanistan border.
This documentary depicts the present situation of Lake Hamoon and the problems of the people around it.
Williams Rossa Cole, 2016, 88 min
Saturday May 6th, 2pm
Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa was one of the most controversial figures in Irish history. A committed Republican, he created the concept of bombing campaigns against England in the 1800’s. His funeral in 1915 lit the fuse to revolution resulting in the rebellion of Easter 1916. Today he is still revered in Republican circles. Banished as an exile to the United States he continued to relentlessly campaign for Irish independence becoming an influential figure in Irish America.
One hundred years after his death his great grandsons investigate Rossa’s legacy and their relationship to their infamous relative. Directed by Williams Rossa Cole, this journey explores Irish American identity as descendents of one of the most notorious and revered figures in Irish history. Filmed in the centenary year of O’Donovan Rossa’s death, the grandsons find themselves not only observers of their relative’s commemorations, but actual participants.
With original music composed by James Fearnley of the Pogues.
Maciej Adamek, 2016, 51 min (Polish with English subtitles)
*Winner Documentary Feature
Saturday May 6th, 4:30 pm
In Two Worlds, 12-year-old Laura is our guide through life with her deaf parents, which is unusual, challenging, and surprisingly ordinary. Laura serves as a vessel of emotion and communication for her mother and father, playing the roles of mouth and ears, helping them with practical activities. In the film, she functions as a window into the habitual, everyday trials of the differently-abled, revealing the seamless rhythm created between her and her parents. We become witness to Laura’s adult-like sensibility towards her parents as it coincides with her youthful adolescence.
This documentary feature is a genuine capture of the intersection of two worlds; the converging of multiple perceptions and means of expression, the complications of which are diluted by the family solidarity.