2003 film lineup
Note: This edition of the festival presented a Brian DePalma Retrospective Tribute, as well as a Tribute to Richard Farnsworth. Films featured in those programs are duly identified at the end of their respective synopses.
Afro-Punk: The Rock And Roll Nigger Experience Dir: James Spooner. 75min. (Doc)
Race identity within the punk scene is explored as four people tackle issues of loneliness, inter-racial dating, exile, and black power, when they choose to dedicate themselves to the punk rock lifestyle. Inter-cutting interviews from scores of black punk rockers from all over the nation with scenes from the lives of the four protagonists, Afro-Punk delves into the duality experienced by people of color in a mostly white community.
Anne B. Real Dir: Lisa France. 90min. (Feature)
Set in gritty New York City, a young girl, Cynthia, struggles to express herself to the outside world. She finds a familiar and inspirational voice in Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, a book given to her by her deceased father. Cynthia begins her own diary. Her writing becomes both a personal release and a means of survival from her troubled family, but it soon falls into the hands of Deuce, an up and coming rap artist who is finding his success by using Cynthia's writing as his own. With her best friend Kitty's encouragement, and the support of her new friend Darius, the now confident Cynthia confronts Deuce in a rap battle at a local club.
Bakery, The Dirs: Salvatore Interlandi & Till Neumann. 24min. (Narrative Short)
Lorenzo, a baker's son, who unfulfilled and frustrated with the daily responsibilities of the bakery. After a long day, plagued with follies and aggravation, Lorenzo walks out on his father in order to pursue a woman and a chance for excitement.
Blow Out Dir: Brian DePalma. 107min. (Feature) - 1981
John Travolta stars in this psychological thriller, as a Philadelphia sound effects man working for a sleazy B-movie factory, who unwittingly becomes involved in a complicated game of wits when he records a car accident that may or may not be a politically motivated murder. John Lithgow joins DePalma faves, Nancy Allen and Dennis Franz, in what is probably one of the director's most visually dizzying films, where the camera dictates the atmosphere, more than any other element. (Brian DePalma Retrospective Tribute)
Burning House Of Love Dir: Chris Lopata. 15min. (Narrative Short)
Sam Kornheiser is stuck in the city after a convention, without a place to stay. When he jumps at the opportunity to take a room at an exclusive NYC hotel, he finds himself in a world of sex, drugs, and fear.
Call Of The Wild Dir: Julia Sarcone-Roach. 8min. (Animation)
Utilizing a traditional hand painted cel technique, this animated short provides a glimpse into a unique universe of characters - animals in spinning houses engaging in small domestic adventures, their lives connected by a phone line.
Dancer Dir: Orrawadee Vilaitanarak. 5min. (Experimental)
Internal duality is represented by a 'dancing' girl.'
Deprivation Dir: Jesse Scolaro. 80min. (Feature)
Thomas pays an unexpected visit to his childhood best friend, Steven, whom he hasn't seen in nearly ten years. However, it becomes apparent that his visit may be a quest for escape, not reunion. As a developing knot of tension escalates between the two of them, their friendship rapidly descends into a much darker reality.
Dressed To Kill Dir: Brian DePalma. 105min. (Feature) - 1980
Kate Miller (Angie Dickinson) is a bored and frustrated suburban housewife being stalked by a psychotic killer. Her son, Peter (Keith Gordon), teams up with Liz Blake (Nancy Allen), a street-smart hooker (!), in an effort to trap the murderer. The star-studded cast also includes some very fine performances by Michael Caine, David Margulies, and Dennis Franz, who is truly riveting, and often very funny as Detective Marino. Boasting some of the director's neatest stylization techniques and a chilling score by Pino Donaggio, the film further confirmed DePalma's aspirations of becoming a "master of suspense," second only to Alfred Hitchcock, to whom he often pays homage to. (Brian DePalma Retrospective Tribute)
Fall Short Dir: Jim McKinney. 15min. (Narrative Short)
A young professional discovers the difficulty of leaving the corporate nest. Ted Norwood summons all his resistance in order to finally quit his seemingly successful career, but first must face a powerful executive who barely even notices she's in a test of wills.
Flew, The Dir: Clifton Childree. 90min. (Feature)
A mechanical man, within an elaborate shooting gallery at a Victorian carnival, lives beyond his monotonous existence. He falls in love with a broken down ride, The Wooden Embalmer, the only view outside his window.
Going Down Dir: Dominic Inzana. 5min. (Narrative Short)
Stereotypical fears escalate to a darkly comedic confrontation as our neurotic victim makes an offer that can't be refused.
Good Things To Life: GE, PCBs, And Our Town Dir: Mickey Friedman. 85min. (Doc)
Good things to life? The people of Pittsfield, MA have a different story to tell. GE's PCBs have poisoned its workers, contaminated homes, businesses, and the Housatonic River. In response, GE workers, sportsmen, and environmentalists have waged a twenty year campaign to force a cleanup.
Greater Southbridge Dir: Rod Murphy. 84min. (Doc)
Every American has a favorite little town - a place far from the pounding of the urban drums. These quaint little towns are inevitably home to a few people who simply march to a different drummer. In this documentary, all the inhabitants seem to be marching to a drunk, blind drummer somewhere in the outer space.
Killing Zone, The Dir: Joe Brewster. 80min. (Feature)
An African born psychiatrist must grapple his own abandonment of his own country and culture, as he aspires to his American dream, a professional wife, a child, and a home in suburbia, supported by his private practice in Montclair, New Jersey. However, the price he must pay for his dream may be too high, not just for him, but for the community he and so many like him left behind in Africa, communities that here too have suffered from the flight of the African American middle class.
Loneliest Time Of My Life, The Dirs: Joel Lee Kulp & Aaron Christian Harms. 65min. (Exp)
Filmed in 16mm black & white, this 65-minute experimental-surreal-noir-fable follows 'Man,' and his fight to create something beautiful.
Match Scratch Fever Dir: Kristin Solid. 3min. (Animation)
In this elegant parable of what might be called the downside of resolve and the perils of self-actualization, a wooden match senses its destiny, and sets out on a single-minded mission to fulfill it.
Mnemosyne Dir: Dana Turken. 13min. (Experimental)
One day in the attic workshop, artisan-storyteller, Uncle Josef, realizes that the missing piece for his masterpiece sculpture is not another broken umbrella, but his partner in crime, Lucy.
No Day No Night Dir: David Baeumler. 17min. (Experimental)
Perhaps you have become...unsure. Life's riot of sights and sounds are smashed and jumbled together like an album played all in one note. How can we pull the pieces apart to examine them? And what would we discover if we did?
Our Very First Sex Tape Dir: Amy Talkington. 10min. (Narrative Short)
To spice up a soured romance, a couple checks into a motel to make their very first sex tape. Instead of turning up the heat, the camera sparks a seemingly vicious battle that yields a surprise victor
Out Of Time Dir: Omi Vaidya. 15min. (Narrative Short)
Moving into a new apartment, Paul starts a new life for himself. When the future becomes uncertain, the past comes back to get him.
Scarface Dir: Brian DePalma. 170min. (Feature)
Working from a screenplay by Oliver Stone and with a cast of greats that includes Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert Loggia, Steven Bauer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and F. Murray Abraham, director Brian DePalma reinvents, rather than remakes, the 1932 Howard Hawks classic of the same name, making his "Tony" a Cuban refugee who climbs up a ladder of crime, to the darkest corners of self destruction. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of its theatrical release, the film remains one of the director's finest works. (Brian DePalma Retrospective)
Short On Sugar Dir: Joseph Anaya. 10min. (Narrative Short)
Pam, the bohemian owner of the local coffeehouse, is struck by Cupid's arrow for Stephan, the talented and oh-so-gorgeous guitar player. Inspired by the most common of neighborly gestures, Pam devises a plan to "run into" her perfect man.
Shtickmen Dirs: Eric Jewell & Jeff Hayes. 86min. (Feature)
This mockumentary is about the desperate and hilarious nature of local stand up comedy that will leave you asking the question: "am I laughing at them or with them?"
Shudder Dir: Helen Pau. 28min. (Experimental)
This experimental fiction explores the implacable world of loss and longing, where a young boy plots a majestic vengeance against the fatal memory of his father's suicide.
Startime Dir: Michael Johnson. 15min. (Narrative Short)
This mockumentary takes you behind the scenes, where we watch three filmmakers attempt to complete a unique adaptation of Hamlet.
Straight Story, The Dir: David Lynch. 111min. (Feature) - 1999
Richard Farnsworth gives a stellar, Oscar-nominated and Spirit Award-winning performance, as Alvin Straight, a kind and gentle soul, who at 73, decides to embark on a 300-mile journey aboard his lawnmower to go visit his ailing brother, with whom he hasn't spoken in ten years. Taking its sweet time at a deliberate pace and featuring stunning American landscapes photographed by veteran cinematographer, Freddie Francis, this true story ultimately plays like a fable about the basic decency of people. (Special Tribute to Richard Farnsworth)
Treaty, The Dir: Mike Horan. 20min. (Narrative Short)
What if your fate had already been decided? That's the position that Joe, an everyman, finds himself in when he learns that his soul belongs to the Devil and that he has no choice in the matter.
They Would Love You In France Dirs: Tony J. Perri & Sheldon Strickland. 97min. (Feature)
This film takes a brutal and humorous look at the reality of three struggling Los Angeles artists, living life on the emotional edge while chasing "the dream". It is remarkably honest, as it chronicles events that define us by what we are, rather than who we are.
Try To Remember: The Fantasticks Dir: Eli Kabillio. 55min. (Doc)
This documentary tells the story of the Off-Broadway musical. The Fantasticks was performed 17,162 times at the Sullivan Street Playhouse and has played in every state and 67 countries. The show has been produced as a feature film for MGM and a television special for NBC. Jerry Orbach, F. Murray Abraham, Ricardo Montalban, Liza Minnelli, and Richard Chamberlain have all appeared in productions of the show, which has received an Obie Award, a Special Tony Award, and the prestigious ASCAP-Richard Rogers Award.
Unicorn, The Dir: Alexander Whitsett Pile. 8min. (Animation)
All he expects is a simple in and out procedure. But when Rodney finally completes his deal and gets the mysterious "stuff" from Mrs. Honey, plans go awry.
World Of Taub, The Dir: Eva Ilona Brzeski. 55min. (Doc)
There are a few shining people put on this earth that simply must have a film made about them. These people don't include celebrities, authority figures, or anyone else who has had greatness thrust upon him/her. They are people who have quietly achieved a greatness all their own, people for whom carpe diem is not a trite motivational phrase. Such a person is Stan Taub. One may look at him as the good-natured reconstructive surgeon, sculptor, inventor, ventriloquist, and filmmaker from Brooklyn, but he would tell you that that's only what he does for work. Stan Taub is a man it would be a privilege to know; then again, it's impossible to ignore a man who naturally grabs the spotlight through the sheer force of his sunny personality.