2009 Official Selections
The 27 Club (89 Minutes, USA)
Starring Joe Anderson (Across The Universe) When you're dead, you are gone. You exist only in the minds of those whom you've left behind. You become a fragment of a story, a beginning, middle, or an end. Tom is dead. Elliot has been left behind. Tom was the front man of the their successful band Finn. He died on his 27th birthday. They've spent their whole lives side by side. Elliot is left to decide if he, too, will join The 27 Club. Jimmy Hendrix, Janice Joplin, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain also belong to this infamous club – they all died at 27. As Tom and Elliot's story is revealed, and the history of their life unfolds, it's clear that it takes more than just a number to determine one's fate.
Fix (95 Minutes, USA)
Racing across LA in one, unwieldy day, documentary filmmakers Bella and Milo race from Beverly Hills to Watts to get Milo's brother Leo from jail to rehab before 8pm, or Leo goes to prison for three years. Inspired by true events, the trio documents their trip from a suburban police station through Beverly Hills mansions, East LA chop-shops, rural wastelands, and housing-projects as they attempt to raise the $5,000 required to get Leo into the rehab. Along the way they encounter dozens of colorful characters, each with their own perspective on Leo's larger than life personality and style, and each with their own excuse for why they cannot help out. In the end, it may take a drug deal to get the necessary funds for rehab.
The Project (82 Minutes, USA)
Justin and Dana, white, young, and naive, move to Brooklyn to make a documentary about inner-city life. Dana follows Thomas, a black teenager poised to rise above the pitfalls of ghetto life. Justin documents the lives of two NYPD officers, Dan Masterson and Alex Mora. Masterson is a decorated cop with a jaded view of inner-city culture. Mora is an idealistic, Latin-American rookie trying to change the world. As the filming progresses, emotions and violence get in the way of the filmmakers' objectivity, until they become active participants in the lives of those whom they were observing through the lens.
Blood River (104 Minutes, USA)
Watch out when you’re on the road, seems to be the warning from the Sitges Festival this year, because you never know who you might run into. That’s something a man and his pregnant girlfriend should also bear in mind when they set out on a route called ‘blood river’. El bad guy in this movie is a hitchhiker who recites Bible verses, but... is he really the villain or is there something dark hidden behind the placid couple? Blood River achieves the impossible: to transmit claustrophobia in one of the most wide open spaces in the United States. Like Surveillance, another road movie marked by terror, it is tinged with warm, saturated colors burnt by the desert sun. Nothing is what is seems here except fear.
Say it in Russian (85 Minutes, USA)
Andrew meets a young Russian girl, Daria, while on vacation in Europe and falls in love. He goes to Moscow, where he meets Daria's father, a rich Russian mafia oligarch, and becomes entwined with his situation, which places them both in grave danger.
Deadgirl (101 Minutes, USA)
A genre-busting odyssey that takes the conventions of the horror and coming-of-age movies and turns them on their heads. When high school misfits Rickie and JT decide to cut school and find themselves lost in the crumbling facility of a nearby abandoned hospital, they come face-to-face with a gruesome discovery: a woman whose body has been stripped naked, chained to a table and covered in plastic. At first they think she's dead, then realize she's something far more mysterious. When both react to the situation in extremely different ways, the boys soon find themselves embarking on a twisted yet poignant journey that forces them to decide just how far they're willing to stretch their understanding of right and wrong.
Six Seconds of Freedom (53 Minutes, USA)
The story of the Angola Prison Rodeo told through the eyes of the participants... convicted rapists and murderers. They do not practice. When it's rodeo time they simply put on hats and spurs and become cowboys. Often referred to Gladiators without the Lions, the Angola Prison Rodeo pits man against beast in some of the most unusual rodeo events ever witnessed. So hang on, it's one of the wildest rides you'll ever take.
An Unlikely Weapon (85 Minutes, USA)
Eddie Adams photographed 13 wars, Six American Presidents, and every major film star of the last 50 years. History would be changed through his lens. But the person Eddie found hardest to impress was himself. In 1968, in 1/500th of a second Eddie Adams photographed a Saigon police chief, General Nygoc Loan, shooting a vietcong guerilla point black. Some say that photograph ended the Vietnam war. The photo brought Eddie fame and a Pulitzer, but Eddie was haunted by the man he had vilified. He would say, 'Two lives were destroyed that day, the victim's and the general.' Other's would say three lives were destroyed. With Narration by Kiefer Sutherland and Score by Kyle Eastwood and Michael Stevens (Letters from Iwo Jima).
No Vacancy (90 Minutes, USA)
During the 42 years I have been advising governments in Africa, Asia and Latin America on population policies and family planning, the world's population has more than doubled from 3 to 6.4 billion and is headed towards 9 to 13 billion. 'No Vacancy' chronicles what education, health and contraceptive needs are required before couples have replacement size families and the actions that are taking place around the world to achieve population stabilization. From environmental deterioration to zero-based fossil-fuel economies, from the AIDS pandemic to lifting 3 billion people out of poverty, from rapid urbanization to the potential of global warming, this film both informs and entertains.
Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority (56 Minutes, USA)
In 1965, Patsy Mink became the first Asian American woman and woman of color in the United States Congress. Seven years later, she ran for the U.S. presidency and co-authored Title IX, the landmark legislation that opened up higher education and athletics to America’s women. PATSY MINK: AHEAD OF THE MAJORITY looks at Mink’s remarkable political journey, while often lonely and tumultuous, as she fought for the most disenfranchised and forgotten in society.
Courting Condi (107 Minutes, USA)
Can one man with a dream win the heart of the world's most powerful woman? This is a documentary like none other you've seen before, a musical docu-tragi-comedy! It follows a love struck soul's quest to woo Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.
Blessed is the Match (86 Minutes, USA)
Hannah Senesh parachutes into Nazi-occupied Europe to help save Hungary's Jews, only to be imprisoned alongside the person she most wants to save -- her mother Catherine. A harrowing account of the only military rescue mission for Jews during the Holocaust, Blessed is the Match is also a moving mother-daughter tale. Narrated by three-time Academy Award nominee Joan Allen.
Secrets to Love (64 Minutes, USA)
Secrets To Love is a compelling documentary about relationships, marriage and -of course- love. For just over an hour, we hitch a ride with a recent divorcee on her journey to find answers to the questions many of us ask: How do couples get to 'happily ever after?' Why is love so complicated? What, if anything, can couples do to ensure their marriage lasts a lifetime? Interviews with real-life couples and a wide range of relationship experts allow Secrets To Love to navigate swiftly through many intriguing and thought-provoking issues related to love and marriage.
Swimming Moon (4 Minutes, USA)
A being is driven to madness by the full moon, and discovers a sensitive, beautiful and deep dream world. On the night of the full moon a strange creature looks up into space from the surface of a dried out planet. Before its eyes, space becomes the sea, filled with strange and beautiful illusions.
The Things She Would Tell Me (3 Minutes, USA)
A middle age woman begins telling her life story to a co-worker over their lunchbreak. She would tell stories of being homeless and periods drug addiction.
Hope Springs Eternal (7 Minutes, USA)
Mort has been hopelessly depressed ever since the love of his life, Vida, dumped him. Now all he wants for Christmas is to die in his sleep. But poor Mort is such a loser he can't even commit suicide without blowing it and wreaking havoc on any unfortunate souls nearby. Mort brings a new level of darkness to dark comedy, but not to worry, hope springs eternal...or does it?
Incantation (1 Minute, USA)
Flying doves, boxing gloves, dark walls, bright waterfalls and other dramatic black and white images emerge in conjunction with a reading of Elinor Wylie's Incantation in Nancy J. Rodwan's animated short film of the same title. Set to a jazzy tune Incantation takes you on an enchanting journey through Wylie's charming poem.
Daniel Finds His Walking Stick (7 Minutes, USA)
Daniel Finds His Walking Stick is a collage of memories from a man suffering from Alzheimer’s. It is a funny and sad portrait of the plight of an aging lonely man in a changing world. His wife, Lydia, has been gone for 25 years and his son, Lester, for 15. However, these facts are mostly lost to Daniel as he lives in a fusion of his memories and current day. Culminating in his accounting of all the funerals he has attended and the revelation of a note left on his door, Daniel’s predicament is heartbreaking.
Outside Agitator (5 Minutes, USA)
The film chronicles one day in the life of a social activist as he tries to get his message across to the public on a busy street corner on the upper west side of Manhattan.
The Cave: An Adaptation of Plato's Allegory in Clay (3 minutes, USA)
An excerpt from Plato's Republic, the 'Allegory of the Cave' is a classic commentary on the human condition. Adapted and brought it to life by shooting over 4,000 still photographs of claymation. The look was achieved by use of candlelight in a real fire that burned at the back of the set.
Next Floor (12 Minutes, Canada)
During an opulent and luxurious banquet, complete with hordes of servers and valets, eleven pampered guests participate in what appears to be a ritualistic gastronomic carnage. In this absurd and grotesque universe, an unexpected sequence of events undermines the endless symphony of abundance.
El Espejo / The Mirror (17 Minutes, Spain)
A young painter and his girlfriend visit an old apartment for rent. What gets their attention most of all is a big old mirror that dominates the living room. The Painter is fascinated by it from the very start.
Justicia Now! (31 Minutes, Ecuador)
Justicia Now!' is a documentary about ChevronTexaco's toxic legacy in the Northern Ecuadorian region of the Amazon rainforest - and a courageous group of people called 'Los Afectados' (The Affected Ones) who are seeking justice for the ensuing cancer, sickness and death in the largest environmental class-action lawsuit in history.
Excision (18 Minutes, USA)
A neglected teen takes refuge in the dreams that used to haunt her and orchestrates a shocking plan to prove her worth to her disapproving parents.
The Beneficiary (18 Minutes, USA)
Three lives are tragically altered when an ordinary event ignites a chain reaction of paranoia and murder.
James (17 Minutes, Ireland)
James has learnt to be withdrawn and secretive in a family with long buried secrets. Lonely and confused, he is drawn to one of his schoolteachers, Mr Sutherland, focusing on him as the one person who might understand his inner turmoil. When an older man approaches him in a public toilet, James panics and calls his mother, but refuses to tell her
what happened. Late that night, James listens to his parents arguing about him. His fathers offhanded dismissal of his mothers concern results in a vicious row. When a devastated James turns to Mr Sutherland for help, the teachers response leads James to take an irrevocable step.
Caught in the Paint (6 Minutes, USA)
Caught in Paint' captures painter/sculptor Rita Blitt painting on transparent surfaces while the David Parsons Dance Co. dance in mid-air thru the painting imitating Blitt's paint strokes. Photographer Lois Greenfield shoots dynamic stills during process.
Love Grenades "Young Lovers" (4 Minutes, USA)
This is a music video for the Los Angeles based band Love Grenades, featuring their single 'Young Lovers'. This piece pays homage to Godard's film 'My Life to Live', recalling it's iconic imagery and composition as inspiration for conveying nostalgia for love lost.
Kids + Money (32 Minutes, USA)
Money talks. Teens in Los Angeles discuss money: getting it, spending it and learning to live without it. An original short film by award-winning filmmaker and photographer Lauren Greenfield, kids + money is a conversation with young people from diverse Los Angeles communities about the role of money in their lives. From rich to poor, Pacific Palisades to East L.A., kids address how they are shaped by a culture of consumerism.
Rising Tide: Hawaii Parks in Peril (12 minutes, USA)
How will the coral reefs, monk seals, native plants, and honeycreepers of Hawai’i deal with climate change? Local researchers working in the island chain’s stunning national parks tell us their concerns for wildlife, key habitats, and cultural resources.
La Tangente (13 minutes, France)
A young man washing his car offers an attractive woman a ride wherever she wants to go. The two set off on a journey with no plans and no direction, but as their relationship grows can they continue living their life of the rock-and-roll aesthetic or will they have to compromise and settle down?
Eclipse (10 minutes, India)
A non-verbal short film shot on the streets of Mumbai, India. 'Eclipse' explores the contrast between those who live on the streets and the natural beauty that surrounds them.
Sick (15 minutes, United Kingdom)
As Brian's story slides backwards through 15 years of therapy, his daughter's crashes forwards over one devastating night and they collide on that evening - the catalyst of his condition.
Grit Kids (23 minutes, United Kingdom)
The teenage brother and sister team, Pete and Katy Whittaker burst onto the climbing scene with a series of spectacular ascents on grit. In a frenzy of climbing they both stack up countless major ascents, and then one evening after school, with his whole family assembled to watch, Pete makes the terrifying first ascent of a truly iconic line at Burbage South.
El Taxista (14 minutes, USA)
On a dark night, what seems to be a routine shift for taxi cab driver, Ricardo Villamontes (Luis Robledo-American Family, Havoc), turns out to be a night where questionable morality and loneliness collide. Norma (Jana Mitsoula-Tru Calling, Stargate: Atlantis), a beautiful, broken stranger enters the cab and the ensuing events change the course of their lives forever. Nothing as it seems...our strangers soon discover the commonalities between them and the secrets they share.