NHdocs: The Third Annual New Haven Documentary Film Festival
June 2-12, 2016
All screenings are FREE and open to the public.
They take place at the Whitney Humanities Center Auditorium
53 Wall Street, New Haven, CT
(unless otherwise noted)
Download Our Printable GRID schedule HERE
DAY 1: Thursday, June 2nd
7 pm: Midsummer in Newtown (Lloyd Kramer, 2016) 81 min
In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, a theater production comes to Newtown, Connecticut, seeking to cast local children in a rock-pop version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The project is aimed at healing the hearts and minds of a community devastated by the school shooting that occurred just over one year prior to production.
Followed by a Q & A with director Lloyd Kramer and producer Braden Bergan.
DAY 2: Friday, June 3rd
7 pm: Be a Man (Ray Harrington, 2015) 99 min
What does it mean to be a man? Comedian Ray Harrington has struggled with that question all of his life. Like many, he was raised by a single mother without any male influences to guide his awkward stumble into manhood. Now with a baby on the way, Ray realizes that before he can be a father, he needs to know what it means to be a man. Be A Man is a personal and heartwarming look at one man’s struggle to find his place in the world. Often laugh out loud funny, the film is wonderfully touching as Ray and his film crew welcome the viewer in as another friend on the journey of examining manliness and masculinity in modern culture.
Followed by a Q & A with CT-born and raised director and star Ray Harrington.
NHdocs After Dark
9:15: VHS Massacre (Tom Seymour and Ken Powell, 2016) 72 min
This award winning, lively documentary explores the rise and fall of physical media and its effect on Independent and cult films. Ranging from the origin of home movies through the video store era, it’s sure to entertain. With icons like Joe Bob Briggs (MonsterVision), Lloyd Kaufman (Toxic Avenger), Greg Sestero (The Room), Debbie Rochon (Return to Nuke ‘Em High), Deborah Reed (Troll 2), Mark Frazer (Samurai Cop), James Nguyen (Birdemic) and many others.
Followed by a Q & A with Tom Seymour, Ken Powell and Carmine Capobianco.
New England premiere!
11:00 pm: Skin in the Game: The Raven Riley Story (David Pilot, 2016) 80 min
Sarah was just the girl next door –but to millions of her fans, she was Raven Riley – a rising star in the wild new world of internet adult teen. SKIN IN THE GAME follows Raven’s ride to fortune and fame, the highs and hazards of the virtual realm, and the unexpected consequence of this American dream-come-true. Director Producer David Pilot explores Sarah’s coming-of-age journey with her business partners, and with Kevin, her dedicated boyfriend, and charismatic co-star.
(The Festival has rated this film NC-17, no one under the age of 18 will be admitted to this screening)
Followed by a Q & A with New Haven-based director David Pilot.
DAY 3: Saturday, June 4th
11 am: Panel on Guerilla Filmmaking. Rm 208, Whitney Humanities Center
uerilla Filmmaking: a crash course on how to fund, schedule, shoot, edit, and distribute your beautifully shot and great sounding film, on a micro budget. And even turn a profit on the back-end.
With filmmaker Gorman Bechard (director of 7 completely crowd-sourced feature films), award-winning cinematographer Adrian Correia, producer Colleen McQuaid, and sound recordist Aaron Miller. Make sure to bring a large notebook, this is going to be two semesters of film study in two hours!
GAn Afternoon of films @ the New Haven Free Public Library
133 Elm St. New Haven, CT
1:30 pm: Black Panthers: A New Haven Perspective @ the New Haven Free Public Library
Mayday (May 1st Media, 1970) A Treasure from the Yale Film Archive. – 23 min
“Next Question”: The May Day 1970 Oral History Project (Elihu Rubin and Elena Oxman, 2002) 30 min
Call it counter programming but when Stanley Nelson’s Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (2015) dropped New Haven from his epic documentary, NHdocs went to the archives to reassert a part of that history.
With Elihu Rubin and former Black Panther George Edwards leading the Q & A.
3:15 pm: Please join is in the lobby for a complimentary cup of coffee courtesy of Willoughby’s Coffee & Tea @ the New Haven Free Public Library
3:30 pm: A Program of Popular Shorts @ the New Haven Free Public Library
A Popular Stranger (Michael Finnegan, 2016) 14 min
NHdocs2015 alumni Michael Finnegan returns with a film about an inner city youth who uses music to unite a community. He uses his music not to get rich, but to influence a community from within, to come together positively, and rise above the negative environment in which he lives.
I am an Art Therapist (Sarah Hajtol, 2016) 14 min
NHdocs2015 alumni Sarah Hajtol returns with a film about eleven Connecticut residents proudly discussing their new profession: Art Therapist. Their candid responses paint a 15 minute picture of the challenging yet rewarding, frequently misunderstood yet up-and-coming field of art therapy. Who art therapists? They are artists, healers, and professionals, but above all they are just as “human” as their clients.
The Legion of the New North (Justin Liberman, 2016) 11 min
In 1978 a group of college friends inadvertently started one of the first fantasy football leagues in the world and instead of pioneering the multi billion dollar industry, they focused on a much more rewarding prize- to bust each other’s balls. The Legion of New North tells the emotional story, stretching over thirty-eight years, of one of the only things more valuable than money, friendship.
Stone by Stone (Clifton Watson, 2016) 18 min
The Black experience in America – significantly influenced by slavery and racial apartheid – has helped shape the centrality of family in the African American tradition. While celebrating their love and connection, one African American family discovers an intriguing truth about its roots. Stone BY Stone documents this family’s reckoning with its history and its efforts to ensure it is not lost to subsequent generations.
Celling Your Soul (Joni Siani, 2016) 49 min
Celling Your Soul is an honest and over due evaluation of how our devices are shaping us. It’s time to reexamine our use by asking the question: “just because we can, does it mean we should?” There’s no doubt we are swimming in cool technology, but is all this use making us happier? Media and Communications scholar Joni Siani inspires a group of students to challenge the new social norms of digital connectivity. The results: a heartwarming and eye opening understanding that people are more important than devices.
Followed by a Q & A with the filmmakers.
On Saturday night, we return to
the Whitney Humanities Center
for two programs of soul inspiring sounds…
7:00 pm: Miss Sharon Jones! (Barbara Kopple, 2015) 90 min
Two-time Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple (Harlan County, USA) follows R&B queen Sharon Jones over the course of an eventful year, as she battles a cancer diagnosis and struggles to hold her band the Dap-Kings together.
Possible Q & A with Filmmaker Barbara Kopple.
9:00 pm: Off Stage: Damon StCloud (Chris Schnabel, 2016) 16 min – Ever wonder what a musician does before a show? We follow young Jersey artist Damon StCloud before he takes the stage for his first headline show at The Space in Hamden, CT. Join us as we see the grind of being a young artist getting ready for his show.
BMAD (Anna Marra, 2016) – 32 min – Bethany Music and Dance – is a magical event, almost like a fairy tale. If you attend once, you’re guaranteed to end up going every month. This film, Anna Marra’s debut as a filmmaker, documents the headlong leap into contemporary music that BMAD represents: from folk to bluegrass, from rock to country. Bill Fisher, the event’s host, is a retired doctor with dreadlocked hair and a long grey beard who has enjoyed a second career as a square dance and contra dance caller. Since 1991, he has opened his 11-room house and attached barn every month to singers and dancers from Connecticut and beyond. But BMAD is much more than just a party: it is a community built around the love for music and the desire to transcend the social barriers that so often keep us apart.
To be followed by Live Music from Billy Fischer and Friends.
DAY 4: Sunday, June 5th
12 noon: Yale Today: A Student Triptych
Searching for Chekhov (Lara Panah-Izadi, 2015) 39 min – In this intimate documentary, follow the journey of 5 college students as they put on a production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, the play in which Chekhov reveals his inner contradictions about the artistic process. Explore the fine line between reality and fiction as the actors’ own doubts blend in with the lines of the characters they are portraying. See Academy Award Winner Kevin Kline guide these aspiring artists through a few scenes from the play, helping them overcome their insecurities about the creative process!
100 Days without Vasya (Anastasia Kostina, 2016) 32 min – Anastasia came to Yale University to pursue a PhD in Film studies, hopeful that her husband Vasya would soon be able to join her. As political tensions between Russia and the United States escalated, so too did the difficulties of Vasya’s visa process. 100 Days Without Vasya is a film about family love and bureaucracy, physical distance and emotional proximity, the hum of loneliness and the rhythm of communication technology.
We Out Here: A Film About Race at Yale (Alex Defroand, 2016) 30 min – It has been one of the most tumultuous years of Yale’s history. Undergraduates receiving death threats, senior faculty members attacking each other in national editorials, an administration scrambling for clarity and consensus, and thousands taking to the streets of New Haven to protest perceived racial injustice: debut filmmaker Alex Defroand records what it has been like to be a student on the Ivy League campus at the center of a nationwide debate about race, free expression, and the role of twenty-first century education. We Out Here is a potent and explosive chronicle of what really happened at Yale – and one that may force you to question who really has the answers. This is a work-in-progress film.
Followed by a Q & A with all of the the filmmakers.
2 pm: Middle-Schooler Shorts (from the East Lyme Public Library Movie Maker project)
CSN (Cora Muschinsky, 2016) 2 min – CSN- Cinema Shot News is a comedic blending of today’s fast paced news programs and popular films.
Wooly’s World (Jasper Wright , 2016) 2 min – “Wooly’s World” is the story of a resilient rescue dog named Wooly Bear. Inspired by Gorman Bechard’s documentary “A Dog Named Gucci,” young Jasper also considers himself an advocate for animal welfare. Wooly has lived in his forever home for almost a year now, and continues to offer exuberant affection to all. His wagging tail reminds us that Life is Good, in so many ways.
Chinawood or Hollywood? (Jasper Wright , 2016) 7 min – Is China poised to become the next Hollywood? Will Americans buy tickets to Chinese films? “Chinawood or Hollywood” is a look at the Chinese acquisition of Legendary Entertainment, and explores the cultural implications. Created as a sixth grade social studies project, filmmaker Jasper Wright recruited his uncle, Tim Williams, a Connecticut native, for his take on the subject. Tim currently serves as Director of Oregon Film in Portland. Three months after Jasper completed this film, 60 Minutes aired an episode called “Rising in the East” on the same subject. Way to go, Jasper – ahead of the breaking news curve!
Followed by a Q & A with the two filmmakers.
(The East Lyme Public Library Movie Maker project is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Connecticut State Library. Funds have also been provided by the East Lyme Public Library through its Annual Fund Drive.)
2:20 pm: Please join is in the lobby for a complimentary cup of coffee courtesy of Willoughby’s Coffee & Tea
2:30 pm: Student Shorts
Speed Fade (Clark Burnett, 2016) 13 min – Yale University – Speed Fade is a documentary that follows two expert Connecticut barbers, Merhan Cecunjanin (“MC Barber”) and Sam Flint compete in the speed fade category at the Connecticut Barber Expo, one of the largest barbering competitions and expos in the nation. Speed Fade takes you inside the art that is barbering, providing a look at both the culture of cutting and the lives of the people who do it best.
Samuel Huntington: The Humble Statesman (Allison Butler, 2016) 8 min – Eastern CT State University – Samuel Huntington, a quiet man from the quiet corner finally makes his mark known. This humble man accomplished a lot throughout his career as a lawyer, president and governor of Connecticut. This founding father has many outstanding accomplishments – But due to his quiet and humble nature, he is rarely recognized in the history books for the important change he brought to colonial Connecticut. He is eternalized through historical sites such as the Old State House in Hartford. And his legacy lives on through the Samuel Huntington Trust and his birthplace in Scotland, Connecticut.
Resistance (Gianna Llewellyn, 2016) 4 min – Fairfield University – “Resistance” recounts a story told by Joe Oppedisano when he worked at a nightclub and defended a girl being assaulted by men in the club. After bringing the girl to her car, Joe was attacked by the same men who antagonized the girl. He used his knowledge of Jiu Jitsu in order to defend himself. Joe used his experience to start his own gym, Fit Club, in which women and men of all ages could learn martial arts in order to properly defend themselves as well as strengthen themselves as individuals. Members of the gym also share their stories of success.
Eleven Years (Madeline Harris, 2016) 8 min – Connecticut College – This film explores the effects of disease on relationships by focusing on a Connecticut-based married couple. Dementia is one of the hardest diseases to cope with, but this couple proves there may be something more powerful than disease: Love.
The Movement (Shawn Antoine II, 2016) 14 min – University of Rhode Island – The Movement is a documentary by Shawn Antoine II that discuss’s the Black Lives Matter Movement and the All Lives Matter Movement. On Black Friday, November 27th 2015 I recorded young activists supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement in the lower Manhattan, New York City Area. During there protest the activists garnered a lot of attention from supporters of the Black Lives Matter moment and some attention from those who opposed the movement and instead supported the All Lives Matter movement. This Documentaries purpose is to enlighten those who don’t know much about the movement and the purpose of the movement from those who protested on Black Friday.
Love When It Rains: Behind the Scenes (Cooper Smithers, 2016) 5 min -Western CT State University – This video follows the process of students from Western Connecticut State University in making the music video for the song ‘Love When it Rains’ by The Doug Wahlberg band, a local band from Connecticut. The video includes interviews with the band members, behind the scenes footage, as well as completed footage from the music video.
Art of the Heart (Andrew Sauer, Brynn Kelly, and others, 2016) 21 min – Quinnipiac University – Seven year-old boy named Matthew Hatcher was born with half a heart. Matthew has what is known as a congenital heart defect, and by age seven, Matthew has already undergone four open-heart surgeries along with endless other procedures. However, he is one of the lucky ones. Congenital heart disease is the world’s number one birth defect, annually leaving 1 percent of all newborns in the US without fully developed heart. If undiagnosed the disease can have fatal effects. Matthew and his family through their organization Matthew’s Hearts of Hope have devoted themselves to raising awareness, passing bills to detect congenital heart disease earlier, and making life better for those coming after Matthew.
Following Amy (Brianna O’Grady, 2015) 16 min –Western CT State University – In 2006, Amy Jones began coaching competitive dance in Connecticut. She spent many years building a dance program that has been recognized nationally and internationally. As Amy’s career constantly improved, it became clear that her health did not. In the winter of 2011, Amy was diagnosed with cancer. She did not let her declining health impact her coaching. Even on her worst days, Amy would find a way to coach her teams. Amy’s younger sister, Shelley, experienced Amy’s personal and professional life first-hand. In Following Amy, Shelley shares her experience of Amy as a sister, coach, and best friend.
Gisela’s Legacy (Jamie McNeill, 2016) 40 min – Avon High School – Gisela Adamski has endured almost insurmountable odds in her life: the Holocaust, rape, cancer, and more. But she survived, and this is her legacy… Her story begins with her childhood memories and ends in the present day, providing her with a unique outlook on our world, and giving her insight into the shocking capabilities, both good and evil, of human nature. In a first, second, and third-hand account of her incredible journey, given by three generations of her family, it is evident that her past has not only influenced her, but the ones she loves the most as well.
Followed by a group Q & A with the filmmakers.
5:30 pm: Student Awards Ceremony
6:00 pm: Please join us in the lobby for a slice of brick oven pizza courtesy of Modern Apizza
7: 00 pm: The Champions (Darcy Dennett, 2015) 90 min
All odds were stacked against the pit bulls rescued from NFL star quarterback Michael Vick’s notorious dogfighting ring. Forced to fight for their lives, they were considered so dangerous both PETA and the Humane Society wanted them euthanized. But no one could have predicted how the dogs would change the lives of those who risked everything to save them.
Followed by a discussion on animal law with representative Diana Urban and Prosecutor Joseph LaMotta.
A Benefit for the New Haven Animal Shelter. (We ask that attendees bring a donation of pet foot/toys/supplies to help benefit the shelter.)
DAY 5: Monday, June 6th
7: 00 pm: Ireland’s Great Hunger and the Irish Diaspora (Rebecca Abbott & Liam O’Brien, 2015) 50 min
Explores the historical and socio-political circumstances leading to potato failure, mass starvation and death in Ireland, 1847-52. Narrated by actor Gabriel Byrne, the film includes famine scholars, descendants of famine survivors, emigrants to Quebec, and “Earl Grey” orphan women who emigrated to Australia.
8:00 pm: Letter from Italy, 1944: A New American Oratorio. (Karyl Evans, 2015) 50 min
Nominated for 2 Emmy Awards this year, the documentary takes viewers on a journey of the creation of a musical drama written by two sisters, Sarah Meneely-Kyder and Nancy Meneely, about their father, Dr. John K. Meneely Jr., a Yale-trained doctor who served as a medic in the elite 10th Mountain Division during World War II and who returned home to his family with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Followed by a Q & A with the filmmakers
DAY 6: Tuesday, June 7th
NHdocs Rocks at Café Nine
250 State St, New Haven, CT
(Please note this is our one ticketed event.
Tickets can be purchased at the link below, or at the door the night of the show.)
7:00 pm: Doors Open at Café Nine (Tickets available at www.cafenine.com)
8:00 pm: Who is Lydia Loveless? (Gorman Bechard, 2016) 110 min
An introduction of sorts to a musical life in progress, diving deep into the evolving career of a gloriously foul-mouthed former Ohio farm girl and the bandmates behind her. Lydia & co. may be on a familiar and oft-repeated journey––from tour van to rock club to recording studio and repeat––but theirs is a singular version thanks to the talented, charismatic woman at the wheel.
Followed by a Q & A with Loveless and Bechard.
10:30 pm: Live performance: Lydia Loveless
Day 7: Wednesday, June 8th
7:00 pm: Newtown Stories — Three World Premieres!
Team 26 (Sue Roman, 2016) 20 min – The shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School broke their hearts. And turned them into America’s bike messengers. Twenty-six cyclists ride 400 miles through fickle April weather from Newtown, CT to Washington DC to deliver the message to Congress that Americans are fed up with gun violence. Along the way they are cheered on by people from all walks of life. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton calls the team “a living, determined symbol of the persistence we all must have if we want to defeat gun violence in our country.”
Notes from Dunblane (Kim Snyder, 2016) 20 min – In the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that took the lives of 20 first graders and their teachers, local clergymen Father Bob Weiss receives a letter from a fellow priest in Dunblane, Scotland, whose community suffered an eerily similar fate in 1996. From across the Atlantic, the two priests forge a poignant bond through the shared experience of trauma and healing.
#WeAreAllNewtown (Kim Snyder, 2016) 20 min – Just a stone’s throw away from Newtown, CT in neighboring Hartford, Pastor Sam Saylor lost his son Shane to urban gun violence only six weeks before the tragic shooting that garnered the world’s attention. A longtime advocate of gun violence prevention in his own community, he struggles with his moral outrage at the injustice of society’s indifference to his son’s death. The unexpected alliance that develops with Sam’s suburban Newtown neighbors in their collective quest to create change offers a rare look at movement building in the making.
Followed by a Q & A with filmmakers and special guests.
Day 8: Thursday, June 9th
3:00 to 5:30 pm: Informal work-in-progress screenings by local filmmakers. Rm. 208 Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall Street.
Come and provide filmmakers with your feedback. Excerpts to be shown by Stephen Dest (I AM SHAKESPEARE: The Henry Green Story), Gorman Bechard (Normal Valid Lives), Charles Musser (For John Carlos…(Y)our Family Album), Rich and Didi Dobbs (Sean So Far) and Matt Jacobson (Long Way from Home: The Untold Story of Baseball’s Desegregation).
7:00 pm: Angel of Nanjing (Jordan Horowitz and Frank Ferendo, 2015) 70 min
The Yangtze River Bridge in Nanjing is one of the most famous bridges in China. It is also the most popular place in the world to commit suicide. For the past 11 years Chen Si has been patrolling this bridge, looking to provide aid for those who’ve gone there to end their lives. Incredibly, he has saved over 300 people.
Followed by a Q & A with the filmmakers.
8:15 pm: Please join is in the lobby for a complimentary cup of coffee courtesy of Willoughby’s Coffee & Tea
8:30 pm: Hungry Friday’s (Hannah Jannitto, 2016) 8 min
This documentary highlights the efforts of Hungry Fridays, a newly founded non-profit organization that hands out free sandwiches to the homeless once a week. The idea of Hungry Fridays was initiated when some of the members were asked for money and food during their lunch break in downtown Providence, RI. Every Thursday the members get together to prepare lunches that include a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich, a snack and an inspirational quote. All of the co-founders of Hungry Fridays had a tough life growing up so they know what it is like to be in need. Hungry Fridays is their way of giving back to the community in a positive way.
Radical Hospitality (Amanda Chemeche, 2016) 26 min
Set in the Amish heartland of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, “Radical Hospitality” tells the story of a South East Asian refugee community and their induction into a three-hundred year old, Old Order Mennonite church. Against a backdrop of anti-immigrant protest, heated political debate, and a seventy-year civil war against the Burmese government, the displaced Karenni people fight to maintain their cultural identity in a radically different world.
His Name is Midnight (Kelly Colbert, 2015) 28 min
The true story of a horse, a prince of Big Sky Country, who was bred for strength and rodeo glory but discarded through a chain of events to auction and, ultimately, human cruelty. His name and his lineage were forgotten. But his royal pedigree and his upbringing in the Badlands of Montana instilled in him the strength and tenacity that allowed him to survive his journey through neglect and starvation, until he was found and his name and heritage rediscovered.
Followed by a Q & A with the filmmakers.
Friday, June 10th to Sunday June 12th:
Revealing Scams, Lies, Trickery and Deceit:
The Documentaries of Alex Gibney.
Joint with the International Festival of Arts and Ideas.
Alex Gibney has been turning out innovative and important documentaries at an astonishing rate. We celebrate his career with a selection of his most powerful achievements, which investigate and reveal disturbing duplicities and corruption of American life. A few years ago Esquire Magazine observed that Gibney “is becoming the most important documentarian of our time.” Perhaps it is time for that kudo to be placed in the present tense.
Day 9: Friday, June 10th
7 pm: Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005) -109 min
Examines the fall of the Enron Corporation, arguably the most shocking example of modern corporate corruption. In a hyper-competitive environment, Enron traders resort to all kinds of underhanded dealings in order to make money at any cost and keep their high-paying jobs
9 pm: Taxi to the Darkside (2007) 106 min
Explores the American military’s use of torture by focusing on the unsolved murder of an Afghani taxi driver who, in 2002, was taken for questioning at Bagram Force Air Base. Five days later, the man was dead.
Day 10: Saturday, June 11th
12:30 pm: Client 9: The Rise and Fall Eliot Spitzer (2010) of 118 min
An in-depth look at the imploded political career of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. With unique access, the film explores the hidden contours of hubris, sex and power.
Followed by a Q & A with filmmaker Alex Gibney.
3:30 pm: The Armstrong Lie (2013) 122 min
Chronicles sports legend Lance Armstrong’s improbable rise and ultimate fall from grace as he is caught in an industry wide doping scandal.
Followed by a Q & A with the filmmaker Alex Gibney.
Day 11: Sunday, June 12th
12:30 pm: Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015) 120 min
Winner of three Emmy Awards including Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special, Going Clear takes a look at eight former members of the Church of Scientology, and shines a light on how the church cultivates true believers.
3:00 pm PANEL: The Documentary Art of Investigation and Revelation with Alex Gibney, Jake Halpern, and Chandra Prasad.