Photo © Mark Radmilovich
8th ANNUAL SPIFFEST
October 3rd-6th, 2019
Two programs: 69 minutes and 75 minutes | One program: 143 minutes
Black Sheep – UK, 27 minutes
Director: ED PERKINS
Producers: JONATHAN CHINN and SIMON CHINN
Executive Producers for the Guardian: CHARLIE PHILLIPS and LINDSAY POULTON
Synopsis: Everything changed for Cornelius Walker on 27 November 2000 when Damilola Taylor was killed. Damilola was 11, the same age as Cornelius. He lived five minutes away. He had the same skin colour. Cornelius’s mother, scared for her son’s safety, moved their family out of London. Cornelius suddenly found himself living on a white estate run by racists. But rather than fight them, Cornelius decided to become more like the people who hated him. They became his family and kept him safe. And in return, Cornelius became submerged in a culture of violence and hatred. But as the violence and racism against other black people continued, Cornelius struggled to marry his real identity with the one he had acquired.
End Game – USA, 40 minutes
Directors: ROB EPSTEIN and JEFFREY FRIEDMAN Producers: ROB EPSTEIN and JEFFREY FRIEDMAN
Synopsis: Where will loved ones spend their last days? Who will be in the room? What feelings and secrets need to be shared with family before it is too late? Acclaimed Academy Award-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (“THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK”, “THE CELLULOID CLOSET”, “PARAGRAPH 175”) probe these questions and more in the context of two San Francisco Bay Area medical facilities on the forefront of creating new paradigms for end of life decisions with grace.
Lifeboat – USA, 40 minutes
Director: SKYE FITZGERALD
Producers: BRYN MOOSER and SKYE FITZGERALD
Synopsis: Volunteers from a German non-profit risk the waves of the Mediterranean to pluck refugees from sinking rafts pushing off from Libya in the middle of the night. “LIFEBOAT” puts a human face on one of the world’s greatest contemporary, global crises and provides a spark of hope surrounding how civil society can intervene in the refugee crisis in a meaningful way.
A Night at the Garden – USA, 7 minutes
Director: MARSHALL CURRY
Producers: MARSHALL CURRY, LAURA POITRAS and CHARLOTTE COOKE
Synopsis: In 1939, 20,000 Americans rallied in New York’s Madison Square Garden to celebrate the rise of Nazism – an event largely forgotten from American history. “A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN”, made entirely from archival footage filmed that night, transports audiences to this chilling gathering and shines a light on the power of demagoguery and anti-Semitism in the United States.
PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE. – India, 26 minutes
Director: RAYKA ZEHTABCHI
Producers: RAYKA ZEHTABCHI, MELISSA BERTON, LISA TABACK and GARRETT K. SCHIFF
Synopsis: In a rural village outside Delhi, India, women lead a quiet revolution. They fight against the deeply rooted stigma of menstruation. “PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE.” — a documentary short directed by Rayka Zehtabchi — tells their story.
For generations, these women didn’t have access to pads, which lead to health problems and girls missing school or dropping out entirely. But when a sanitary pad machine is installed in the village, the women learn to manufacture and market their own pads, empowering the women of their community. They name their brand “FLY,” because they want women “to soar.” Their flight is, in part, enabled by the work of high school girls half a world away, in California, who raised the initial money for the machine and began a non-profit called “The Pad Project.”
Estimated Running Time: 109 minutes
Madre – Spain, 19 minutes
Director: RODRIGO SOROGOYEN
Producers: MARÍA DEL PUY ALVARADO and RODRIGO SOROGOYEN
Synopsis: A single mother receives a call from her seven-year-old son who is on vacation with his father in the French Basque Country. At first the call is a cause for joy, but soon it becomes a horrible nightmare when the child tells her that he is alone and cannot find his father who left a while ago.
Fauve – Canada, 17 minutes
Director: JEREMY COMTE
Producers: EVREN BOISJOLI (ACHROMATIC MEDIA) and MARIA GRACIA TURGEON (MIDI LA NUIT)
Synopsis: Set in a surface mine, two boys sink into a seemingly innocent power game with Mother Nature as the sole observer. Alone in the wild the two boys play around. Complicity evolves into a confrontation where one wants to have power over the other. Taking proportions larger than nature, this game will not prove as harmless as they thought.
Marguerite – Canada, 19 minutes
Director: MARIANNE FARLEY
Producer: MARIE-HÉLÈNE PANISSET (LES FILMS DE L’HYDRE)
Synopsis: An aging woman and her nurse develop a friendship that inspires her to unearth unacknowledged longing and thus help her make peace with her past.
Detainment – 30 minutes, Ireland
Director: VINCENT LAMBE
Producers: DARREN MAHON, VINCENT LAMBE and ROBERT DWYER-JOYCE Associate Producer: EIBHLIN HEWITT
Synopsis: Two ten year-old boys are detained by police under suspicion of abducting and murdering a toddler. A true story based on interview transcripts from the James Bulger case which shocked the world in 1993 and continues to incite public outrage across the UK today.
Skin – USA, 20 minutes
Director: GUY NATTIV
Producers: JAIME RAY NEWMAN, ANDREW CARLBERG and TIM HARMS
Synopsis: A small supermarket in a blue collar town, a black man smiles at a 10 year old white boy across the checkout aisle. This innocuous moment sends two gangs into a ruthless war that ends with a shocking backlash.
Estimated Running Time: TBD, no more than 90 minutes
Bao – USA, 8 minutes
Director: DOMEE SHI
Producer: BECKY NEIMAN-COBB
Synopsis: In Disney•Pixar’s “BAO,” an aging Chinese mom suffering from empty nest syndrome gets another chance at motherhood when one of her dumplings springs to life as a lively, giggly dumpling boy. Mom excitedly welcomes this new bundle of joy into her life, but Dumpling starts growing up fast, and Mom must come to the bittersweet revelation that nothing stays cute and small forever. This short film from Pixar Animation Studios and director Domee Shi explores the ups and downs of the parent-child relationship through the colorful, rich, and tasty lens of the Chinese immigrant community in Canada.
Late Afternoon – Ireland, 10 minutes
Director: LOUISE BAGNALL
Producer: NURIA GONZÁLEZ BLANCO
Synopsis: Emily is an elderly woman who lives between two states, the past and the present. She journeys into an inner world, reliving moments from her life. She searches for a connection within her vivid, but fragmented memories.
Animal Behaviour – Canada, 14 minutes
Directors: ALISON SNOWDEN and DAVID FINE
Producer: MICHAEL FUKUSHIMA
Synopsis: Dealing with what comes naturally isn’t easy, especially for animals.
In “ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR”, the latest animated short from the Oscar®-winning team of Alison Snowden and David Fine (Bob’s Birthday), five animals meet regularly to discuss their inner angst in a group therapy session led by Dr. Clement, a canine psychotherapist.
Weekends – USA, 16 minutes
Director: TREVOR JIMENEZ
Producer: JEREMY SLOME
Synopsis: “WEEKENDS” is the story of a young boy shuffling between the homes of his recently divorced parents. Surreal dream-like moments mix with the domestic realities of a broken up family in this hand-animated film set in 1980’s Toronto.
One Small Step – USA, 8 minutes
Directors: ANDREW CHESWORTH and BOBBY PONTILLAS
Producer: SHAOFU ZHANG
Synopsis: Luna is a vibrant young Chinese American girl who dreams of becoming an astronaut. From the day she witnesses a rocket launching into space on TV, Luna is driven to reach for the stars. In the big city, Luna lives with her loving father Chu, who supports her with a humble shoe repair business he runs out of his garage. As Luna grows up, she enters college, facing adversity of all kinds in pursuit of her dreams.
PLUS A SELECTION OF ADDITIONAL ANIMATED FILMS