DOCUMENTARY

ANNOUNCEMENT: Rainy Season

Rainy SeasonRainy Season

Director: Joan Widdifield

Genre: documentary short, ethnographic, social justice

Status: Completed

Country of Production- USA

Synopsis
An intimate story about a family’s unexpected change of fate, set in the larger context of post-war Vietnam. A rubber tree farming family comes to grips with their changed lives after their youngest son finds a leftover American mortar. With unprecedented access in rural Vietnam — shot over five years under the radar of the Vietnamese government — RAINY SEASON captures the land’s sumptuous beauty and reveals the sorrows that it harbors.

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Changing Minds at Concord High School

Changing Minds at Concord High School

Director: Susan Weiser-Finley

Genre: Educational, Independent, Coming of Age, Science, Urban, Social Issue, Spiritual, News, Health/Medical

Status: Completed

Country of Production – USA

Changing Minds

 Synopsis 
This is a real story of change, remarkable change in a population often thought to be unchangeable.

Concord High is a transfer school in Staten Island, NY. A last hope, last chance to graduate high school; most of its students have histories of trauma and academic failure. The film follows the entire school as they participate in a semester-long mindfulness-training program.

The additional twist here is that the students both helped to film the experience and conducted a scientific study – of their classmates! – comparing the effects of mindfulness training with that of a placebo group. It also included a science curriculum on the neuroscience of mindfulness – how it can change our brains for the better. Tracy Dennis, Ph.D., psychology professor at Hunter College was the lead scientist on this project, so the kids were her research assistants.

Inspired by the concept of ‘neuroplasticity,’ they posed the question: Would mindfulness practice for just three minutes a day help Concord’s students cope with anxiety and destructive emotions and improve their ability to learn?

At the start, the students, many of whom had experienced tremendous challenges, and obstacles in life, were failing high school. They didn’t believe as a group that change for them was really possible.

Our film ends on the day of their graduation.

“Even though you can’t control most of what happens in life, you CAN change your mind,” says one reformed skeptic.

‘I’m not a quitter,’ another student agrees.

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Dog Down

Dog Down

Director: John LeBlanc

Genre:  Family, Educational, Human Rights, Social Issues, Biography 

Status: Completed

Country of Production –  USA

Dog Down

 Synopsis 
This remarkable story of an unlikely journey to freedom begins at a point of renewal. Discarded, unadoptable dogs like Lindy are given a chance to survive and even thrive. Inmates like Perry redeem their dignity by training these dogs in basic obedience. In parallel, these men are transformed by the dogs’ unconditional love, which in turn “trains” the men to respect themselves and others.

These dogs become the good dogs they always had inside themselves. These men become the real men they were meant to be. Perry says “This program has really opened me up. It’s opened my eyes. It’s brought me to a new level of responsibility.” Men, once hardened to the world, begin to soften inside as they realize they have done a good thing and can have a positive impact.

Dog Down. Dogs learn basic commands such as “Down!”—that can save their lives. Man Up. The men begin to take responsibility, gain confidence and learn to get along with others—qualities that transform their lives. Win-Win. Everyone benefits. Dogs are placed in loving homes and their human families gain a well-trained companion; these men are better prepared to care about those around them and gain confidence for when they are to be released; society as a whole is improved. Dog Down. Man Up. Win-Win.

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution

Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution

Director: Matthew VanDyke

Genre:  Independent, Human Rights, War, Reality, Social Issue, News

Status: Completed

Country of Production – USA

Not Anymore

Synopsis 
A short film about the Syrian struggle for freedom as experienced by a 32 year old rebel commander, Mowya, and a 24 year old female journalist, Nour, in Aleppo, Syria. The film clearly and concisely shows why Syrians are fighting for their freedom, told through the emotional words of two powerful characters whose lives have been torn apart by war.
Nour is a schoolteacher-turned-journalist who faces death on the front lines to tell the world about the war. The film’s title is derived from the opening line of the film, when Nour says, “I used to wear fancy dresses and high heels. Not anymore.” Now she wears body armor and a helmet. She is fearless, but lives with the pain of friends who have been tortured, raped, and murdered by the Assad regime. She tells not only her story, but theirs, and in so doing she shows the audience what life is like for a Syrian girl who is spending her 20s in war as everything she loves is destroyed.
Mowya is a young rebel commander who bears the scars, physical and psychological, of seven months of torture. But this hasn’t broken his spirit. With incredible wit he tells his story. With disbelief and sadness he walks the streets of ancient Aleppo, telling of how life used to be in a thriving, vibrant city whose heart, as Mowya says, has stopped. With a great deal of charisma he clearly articulates why the Syrian people are fighting for their freedom.

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ANNOUNCEMENT: THE SILENT EPIDEMIC- The Untold Story of Vaccines

THE SILENT EPIDEMIC- The Untold Story of Vaccines

Director: Gary Null

Genre:  Educational, Independent, Health/Medical, Science, Reality, News

Status: Completed

Country of Production – USA

130805-Silent-Epidemic-cvr-smSynopsis

Silent Epidemic is the first documentary to investigate thoroughly the true medical record and the historical evidence about vaccine marvels.

Conventional medicine has herald the invention of vaccines as a miracle of modern science. It claims that vaccines have been proven to prevent and eradicate infectious diseases. We are told that vaccines are safe and effective, and that ‘herd immunity’ can be achieved if a high percentage of a population is vaccinated. However, does the science support these claims? 
A factual science based review and evaluation of vaccines and their impact on our health. Experts detail how fraught the widespread use of vaccines is for our current and future generations.

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Music City USA

Music City USA

Director: Chris McDaniel

Genre:  Educational, Environmental, Reality, Music, Period/Historical

 Status: Completed

Country of Production – USA

Music City USA

Synopsis 
Nashville, currently based on music, wasn’t always Music City. Find out how this printing and Insurance mecca became the music capital of the world, and see how the devastating flood of 2010 tried to get them down, but thanks to this thriving music community, a city was reborn. Resilience in the form of the artists, entertainers and musicians that put the MUSIC in MUSIC CITY. This documentary begins by showing you what Nashville used to be. Why Nashville was settled and how she grew into such a rich cultural town. From the Opry to the current superstars of ALL kinds of music, Nashville boasts the greatest musicians and recording studios on earth. Country superstars call Nashville home, but non country musicians have been recording there for years; Lionel Richie, Air Supply, Tesla, The Wailers, Brett Michaels, Queen of Rock a billy Wanda Jackson and more, none of which have country roots, but all make a point to call Nashville their recording homes. From Gospel to Bluegrass and Rockabilly to Country, heartland’s music has been generated here, but the days of country being the only influence are long gone. Rock superstars like The Black Keys, The Kings of Leon, and Jack White of the White Stripes all call Nashville home. These musicians helped a city pull together after the flood of 2010 and I feel that this story is not only important and educational, but a must see for anyone that believes in the empowering qualities of art, music and creativity.

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ANNOUNCEMENT: FEMME- Women Healing the World

FEMME- Women Healing the World

Director: Emmanuel ITIER

Genre:  Educational, Religious, Spiritual, Environmental, Culture, Social Issue, Art, News, Biography

Status: Completed

Country of Production – China, USA

Femme-The-Movie-Vision-FIlms

Synopsis 
“Femme” is a quest to look for the most important and influential women around the World, in our daily life, and through Religion, Spirituality, Science, History, Politics, Philosophy and Entertainment. We will meet and interview various leaders in each field as well as the common women living in the many geographical areas that we will visit. . It’s an invitation to elevate our school of thinking and change our code of acting with each other. We want to re-affirm the necessity for a strong female presence in all aspect of our life and to help people understand there is a need to go beyond our differences. It’s about complementary and balance of energies, of spiritualities. It’s a message of Peace, Unity and Connectivity. It’s about recognizing the Goddess inside all women.

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Oracles of Pennsylvania Avenue

Oracles of Pennsylvania Avenue

Director: Tim Wilkerson

Genre:  Drama, Period/Historical, Social Issue 

Status: Completed

Country of Production – Egypt, USA

OoPA2

Synopsis 
One cold morning in December of 1982, Norman David Mayer pulled a white panel truck up to the base of the Washington Monument and threatened to blow it up with a thousand pounds of TNT if the government and the press did not dedicate more of its time and resources to the dialogue on nuclear disarmament.

Twenty five years later, three tenacious hangers on (inspired partly by Norman and the first domestic terrorist act in the US capitol) are still holding a round the clock, all weather, anti-nuclear vigil in front of the White House. Neighbors to five sitting U.S. Presidents, these vigilers have endured police brutality, vicious weather, Supreme Court battles, and their own internal struggles in order to maintain one of the longest standing protests against nuclear weapons and U.S. foreign policy ever staged in America. The three protesters (Thomas, Ellen and Connie) have been called crazy by many, and the vigil itself has been called an aesthetic blight on the stately beauty of the nation’s most important residence. Yet, they have an international following which sends them both well wishes, and often times large delegations of visitors. And far from merely sitting still for twenty-five years, the vigilers have traveled to speak before the World Court at The Hague, and to confer with peace groups in Japan. They have also garnered citations from the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Alex and Ali

Alex and Ali

Director: Malachi Leopold

Genre:  Drama, Romance, Thriller, Human Rights, Social Issue 

Status: Completed

Country of Production – USA

AlexandAli

Synopsis 
In 1967, my uncle Alex was serving with the Peace Corps in Iran. While there, he met Ali, an Iranian whom Alex considers his soulmate. The two fell in love, and kept their relationship secret for 10 years. When the Islamic Revolution erupted in the late 70‘s, Alex was forced to leave Iran – and Ali. But they kept in touch through letters, phone calls, and emails.

During their correspondence, both personal and geopolitical events keep them apart. The U.S. gets entangled in numerous Middle East conflicts; Alex contracts HIV, and can’t leave the U.S. due to his dependency on drug programs; and when two of Ali’s brothers unexpectedly die of cancer, he takes the responsibility of supporting their 5 children.

In May of 2012 – with growing hostility for LGBT globally, and the U.S. and Iran seemingly on the brink of war – everything changes. As a documentary filmmaker and human rights advocate, I help my uncle Alex (68), and Ali (61), reunite for the first time in 35 years.

They meet for 2 weeks in Istanbul, with Alex hoping that they will rekindle their relationship, and that Ali will agree to go through the process of obtaining refugee status, in order for them to spend the rest of their lives together in the U.S.

Set against Istanbul’s beauty and collision of East-meets-West, the camera follows the men as their best-laid plans are turned upside down, revealing emotionally painful twists and turns that transform both of their lives forever.

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Janie Charismanic

Janie Charismanic

Director: Ila Duncan

Genre:  Romance, Independent, Music.

Status: Completed.

Country of Production – USA

janiecharismanic

Synopsis
Kicked out of her band and dumped by her manager boyfriend, Janie turns to old friends for help and finds none. With no where left to go, she calls Max, her oldest connection to the world of rock and roll, who pulls some strings to get her a job in an office. Bored and depressed, she makes no effort at work until her co-worker, Kevin, tries to befriend her to improve her performance as part of the team. The deeper he digs, the more genuinely interested he becomes, and finds himself standing up for Janie in the office. As their relationship develops, Janie opens up and rediscovers her old energy and charisma, but with it comes the urge to move on. Worried that she is getting too comfortable as an office drone, and too close to Kevin, Janie takes off when her ex calls, begging her to rejoin the band. She falls back into her old lifestyle of performing and partying, but she can’t quite forget about Kevin. When the band comes back through town on tour, she invites him to the show and convinces him to join them for the weekend, then for the work week. Kevin barely thinks twice about blowing off his responsibilities to be with her. Caught in the whirlwind of music and being together, everything seems perfect until Janie goes too far, gets arrested and a psychiatric evaluation reveals she is bi-polar. Kevin is all she has left, but can he take that responsibility?

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