2018 Festival Films

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ABU

2017 | Canada/Pakistan | 80 Minutes | Documentary

Director: Arshad Khan

Abu is a journey to the center of a fragmented family while they grapple with religion, sexuality, colonialism and migration. Through a tapestry of narratives composed of family footage, observation and classic Bollywood films, gay-identifying Pakistani-Muslim filmmaker Arshad Khan takes viewers through the tense relationships between family and fate, conservatism and liberalism and modernity and familiarity.  

Sunday, September 23 | 8:00 PM Regent Square Theatre    Buy tickets here

Saturday, September 29 | 7:00 PM Harris Theater Buy tickets here

CONTENT ADVISORY: Sexual thematic content

 

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ALIFU THE PRINCE/SS

2017 | Taiwan | 91 Minutes | Drama

Director: Yu Lin Wang

Alifu is an Taiwanese-indigenous, twenty-something man who works at a salon in the city. He has a dream – to fully transition into a woman. However, as an only “son” he is under pressure to succeed his father as chief of the tribe. Peizhan, a lesbian and Alifu’s roommate and colleague, is always on his side. However, she gradually finds out her feelings toward Alifu are not so platonic after all. Alifu the Prince/ss treats our heroes as human beings yet still captures the struggles of the LGBT community with eloquence and poise.

Monday, September 24 | 7:00 PM Regent Theater  Buy tickets here

Friday, September 28 | 8:30 PM Frick Fine Arts  Buy tickets here

CONTENT ADVISORY: Sexual content, language

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AVA

2017 | Canada/Iran | 103 Minutes | Drama/Thriller

Director: Sadaf Foroughi

Sadaf Foroughi's semi-autobiographical film debut focuses on teenager Ava's coming of age in a strict, traditional society and an even more strict, traditional household.  After committing an act of rebellion, Ava must navigate her relationship with her parents, peers and teachers as her rage grows against both the people in her life and social restrictions in Iran.  Dark and riveting, Ava explores the youths’ need to be heard and understood.

Tuesday, September 25 | 6:30 PM Harris Theater  Buy tickets here

Saturday, September 29 | 7:00 PM Frick Fine Arts  Buy tickets here

CONTENT ADVISORY: Brief scenes of violence, self harm

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Bitter Melon

2018 | US | 97 Minutes | Dark Comedy

Director: H.P. Mendoza

This home-for-the-holidays dark comedy is the story of gay Filipino-American Declan who returns to his San Francisco childhood home for Christmas where his brother Troy lives with their mother, his wife and daughter, ruling the house with fear and intimidation, going so far as physically abusing his wife. During the holiday vacation, Declan fantasizes about murdering his abusive brother, but, as tension grows, will it remain only a fantasy?  H.P. Mendoza handles both themes of domestic abuse and homosexuality with deft assuredness, making the audience see gay Declan and abusive Troy as complex characters with real motivations.

Tuesday, September 25 | 8:30 PM Waterworks Cinemas  Buy tickets here

Wednesday, September 26 | 8:30 PM Cranberry Cinemas  Buy tickets here

CONTENT ADVISORY: Explicit sexual content, violence

 
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DISAPPEARANCE (Centerpiece)

2017 | Iran/Qatar | 88 Minutes | Drama

Director: Ali Asgari

Disappearance follows a young couple, Sara and Hamed, who are caught between tradition and modernity. After mysterious circumstances involving an intimate act, numerous hospitals turn Sara away from the medical attention she desperately needs because she has no father or husband with her to approve of her treatment.  Caught at the crossroads of personal morals and the ethics of the community as they face their uncertain future, Sara and Hamed endure a struggle that couples around the world are still forced to confront.

Thursday, September 27 | 7:00PM Regent Square Theatre  Buy Tickets Here

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chumbak

Director: Sandeep Modi

Fifteen-year-old Mumbai resident Baalu dreams of escaping his wretched life as a busboy by starting a small business of his own. Having exhausted all means, a desperate and broke Baalu and his street-smart friend Dhananjay (a.k.a Disco) make a plan to put together the money with the only way they can think of - the infamous “Nigerian SMS Scam.” However of the hundreds expected to respond to his text messages, none but one man falls for it: the intellectually disabled, poor villager Prasanna. Baalu becomes caught between his guilt of stealing from this marginalized man and his own drive to fulfill his ambitions, and he finds that he must reexamine his life choices and decide what kind of man he wants to become. Anchored by the sensitive performances from Swanand Kirkire and Sahil Jadhav, Chumbak relies on its simple concept and brilliant execution to explore what it means to be human in the modern world.

Saturday, September 22 | 7:30 PM Regent Square Theatre
Buy tickets here

 
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COLOURS OF LIFE

2017 | India | 117 Minutes | Drama

Director: Prakash Bharadwaj

Colours of Life tells the story of a single working mother, Chandrima, and her adult daughter Esha as they grow apart while living under the same roof.  Esha’s suicide attempt forces both mother and daughter to confront the changes in their relationship over the past few years. As Charmida starts to understand Esha’s perspective and discover a side of her daughter she never knew, Esha, in turn comes to realize that Changrima was always her closest friend.

Sunday, September 23 | 4:00 PM Regent Square Theatre   Buy Tickets here

CONTENT ADVISORY: Self harm

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DAHA

2017 | Turkey | 115 Minutes | Drama

Director: Onur Saylak

In Onur Saylak's debut feature, fourteen-year-old Gaza helps his domineering father smuggle refugees from war-torn countries to Europe, giving them temporary lodgings and scant food until they attempt the crossing. Gaza dreams of escaping this life, but can't help being drawn into a dark world of immorality, exploitation, and human suffering. Gritty and disturbing, Daha asks the question: can you avoid becoming a monster when you've been raised by one?  

Tuesday, September 25 | 8:30 PM Harris Theater Buy tickets here

Friday, September 28 | 9:00 PM Alumni Hall Auditorium Buy tickets here

CONTENT ADVISORY: Rape/Violence/Language

 
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Dynamite Graffiti

2018 | Japan | 138 Minutes | Drama

Director: Masanori Tominaga

In the 1980’s, Akira Suei achieved fame as the chief editor for several pornography magazines, although his reputation as a trendsetter was under constant scrutiny due to the magazines’ taboo material. The film follows Suei from a traumatic event in his youth (involving his mother, the next door neighbor, and a bundle of dynamite) to Tokyo, where he climbed the ladder from lowly graphic designer to the chief editor of his own magazine due to his aggressive, raw style which attracted a variety of talented people who helped bring about a revolution in the Japanese magazine industry

Wednesday, September 26 | 8:30 PM Regent Square Theatre Buy tickets here

Saturday, September 29 | 9:00 PM Frick Fine Arts Buy tickets here

CONTENT ADVISORY: Nudity and explicit sexual situations, violence  

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MARLINA THE MURDER IN FOUR ACTS

2017 | Indonesia, France, Malaysia, Thailand | 93 Minutes | Revenge

Director: Mouly Surya

In the deserted hills of an Indonesian island, Marlina, a young widow, is attacked and robbed of her cattle. To defend herself, she kills several men of the gang. Seeking justice, she goes on a journey of empowerment and redemption. But the road is long especially when the ghost of her headless victim begins to haunt her.  This gripping revenge thriller shows Marlina in a personified feminist rage like no other that will audiences talking about it for years to com.

Sunday, September 23 | 7:30 PM Frick Fine Arts Buy tickets here

Saturday, September 29 | 8:45 PM Harris Theater Buy tickets here

CONTENT ADVISORY: Violence

 
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MAYURAKSHI

2017 | India | 100 Minutes | Drama

Director: Atanu Ghosh

Mayurakshi follows Aryanil, who has traveled from Chicago to Kolkata to meet with and care for his aging father, Sushobhan, who is in poor health.  With dementia phasing out his immediate past, Sushobhan tends to be silent, irritable, and fretful. The son, with his failed marriages behind him, faces life numbly and without hope. When Sushobhan starts asking for the mysterious Mayurakshi, Aryanil realizes he has more on his plate than he originally anticipated.  

Sunday, September 23 | 6:15 PM Regent Square Theatre Buy tickets here

Saturday, September 29 | 5:00 PM Frick Fine Arts Buy tickets here

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Missing johnny

2017 | Taiwan | 104 Minutes | Drama

Director: Huang Xi

Following Hsu’s move to Taipei by herself, she starts receiving a series of wrong-number calls for the mysterious Johnny.  As her emotions stir, Hsu attempts to put Johnny’s life together piece by piece. Lee, her landlord’s son, becomes increasingly obsessed with Hsu and her new bird.  Feng is a wandering foreman hired by Lee’s mother to start a renovation site nearby their apartment, who becomes overcome with paranoia when his car breaks down on the way to Lee’s.  The three Taipei residents’ lives merge and intertwine due to Hsu’s lost bird, and the transient beauty from the exchange blooms into serendipity and awe.

Friday, September 28 | 6:30 PM Frick Fine Arts Buy tickets here

Sunday, September 30 | 2:00 PM Alumni Hall Auditorium Buy tickets here

CONTENT ADVISORY: Violence

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MORI, THE ARTIST’S HABITAT

2018 | Japan | 99 Minutes | Drama

Director: Shûichi Okita

Painter Mori and his wife Hideko live surrounded by gardens and pastures away from the hustle and bustle of city life for their 52 years of marriage.  For the last 30 years, Mori has scarcely left his home, preferring to lay among the critters around his home, painting while Hideko attends to visitors.  But when developers decide to build a condominium next door, the small paradise the couple have created is at risk, so Mori and Hideko decide to take action to protect the garden that they cherish. Taking place in the more affable social atmosphere of the 1970’s, Mori, the Artist’s Habitat humorously depicts a summer-day-in-the-life of an elderly couple you’ll grow to love and root for.

Sunday, September 23 | 5:00 PM Alumni Hall Auditorium Buy tickets here

Saturday, September 29 | 3:00 PM Frick Fine Arts Buy tickets here

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nude

2018 | India | 110 Minutes | Drama

Director: Ravi Jadhav

After her husband abandons her and their 12 year old son for another woman, Yamuna is left with no choice but to move to Mumbai for survival. The job she finds is to be a nude model at an art school. She will do everything to fulfill her dream to help her son lead a successful life in future. But fearing society, she keeps her profession a secret--this award-winning film captures the poignance of being a female and being a parent in a world where neither title earns its bearer respect.

Wednesday, September 26 | 6:15 PM Regent Square Theatre Buy tickets here

Saturday, September 29 | 8:45 PM Regent Square Theatre Buy tickets here

CONTENT ADVISORY: Nudity

 
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University of Pittsburgh 2018 Japan documentary film Award Winner: Sennan Asbestos disaster

2016 | Japan   |  215 Minutes | Documentary

Director: Kazuo Hara

Sennan Asbestos Disaster is a gripping documentary about the real-life struggle of dying asbestos factory workers to get justice from the Japanese government that refused to acknowledge its complicity in their illnesses and suffering. The first new documentary from provocative filmmaker Kazuo Hara (The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On) in over a decade, Sennan Asbestos Disaster took ten years to make and is an eye-opening, heartbreaking epic of the struggle for justice against government indifference.

**Kazuo Hara will be present to accept the award.

 

Thursday, September 27 | 6:00 PM Frick Fine Arts Theater Register for free tickets here

 

 
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The third murder

 2017 | Japan                   | 124 Minutes | Crime/Suspense

Director: Hirokazu Koreeda

Leading attorney Shigemori takes on the defense of murder-robbery suspect Misumi who served jail time for another murder 30 years ago. Shigemori's chances of winning the case seem low - his client freely admits his guilt, despite facing the death penalty if he is convicted. As he digs deeper into the case, as he hears the testimonies of the victim's family and Misumi himself, the once confident Shigemori begins to doubt whether his client is the murderer after all.

Thursday, September 27 | 9:00 PM Regent Square Theatre  Buy tickets here

Saturday, September 29 | 4:00 PM Regent Square Theatre  Buy tickets here

 

 

 
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Village Rockstars

2017 | India | 87 Minutes | Coming of Age

Director: Rima Das

In a small village in northeast India, 10-year-old Dhunu dreams of having her own rock band. Her vibrant spirit, imagination and self-assurance stand out in a world where girls are expected to be timid and submissive. With her gang of boys and the support of her widowed mother, Dhunu faces the struggles of her daily life and hopes for the day she can finally play on a real guitar.  An evergreen subject, young girls pursuing their dreams is approached in a new, touching way in Village Rockstars.

Tuesday, September 25 | 6:30 PM Waterworks Cinemas  Buy tickets here

Wednesday, September 26 | 6:30 PM Cranberry Cinemas  Buy tickets here

 

 

 

 SHORT FILM PRESENTATION: CHINA

 

CHICKEN FLY

China | 14 Minutes

Director:  Luo Yunpeng

Six-year-old Xiao Duo, and proud owner of a little chick, lives with her grandfather in a remote village.  When she sees her grandfather killing a chicken to serve as their supper, she is determined to save her little chick from being killed as well.  With the full stimulation of her imagination, she does her best to help the chick fly away.

LONELY

China | 28 Minutes

Director: Zhang Heng

He Yun, a migrant filmmaker, eagerly searches for a girlfriend through WeChat.  He Yun goes out with Xiao Jing only to discover she has been his next door neighbor the entire time.  These two lonely souls grow closer until an event in Xiao Jing’s life threatens their relationship.

MATERNAL LOVE

China | 26 Minutes

Producer: Lin Ji

A mother, son, and daughter-in-law live together in a small apartment with little privacy.  The mother clearly hears when the young couple make a phone call about wanting their own place and decides to move out, but this move is harder on the mother than the couple, or the mother, have anticipated.

 

NAUGHTY BOYS

China | 18 Minutes

Director: Li Jia

Mario, returning to his grandfather’s village home, steals his grandfather’s firecracker to sell for a slingshot from his friends Locust and Little Fatty.  When Little Fatty uses the firecracker to explode a bird’s nest, passerby Old Sun tries to stop him. The friends try to exact revenge on Old Sun, but as this revenge grows more and more extreme, Mario must decide if this is the person he wants to be.

Sunday, September 23 | 3:00 PM Frick Fine Arts  Buy tickets here

 



 

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THE RETURN

2018 | Denmark/South Korea | 85 Minutes | Drama/Hybrid

Director:  Malene Choi

Based on director Malene Choi's personal experience and on stories shared by adoptees Malene encountered in Seoul while shooting the film, The Return tells the story of two Danish-Korean adoptees returning for the first time to the country where they were born.  Intrigued by the spirit of their motherland and confronted with the personal stories of the fellow adoptees they meet in Seoul, Karoline and Thomas are hurled into an emotionally disorienting journey that forces them both to question their own identity and destiny.  Quirky, yet understated and touching, The Return asks us to consider the nature vs. nurture debate on a more personal level than ever before. 

Sunday, September 23 | 5:30 PM Frick Fine Arts Buy tickets here

Saturday, September 29 | 2:00 PM Regent Square Theatre Buy tickets here

CONTENT ADVISORY: Language

 
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Smaller and smaller circles

2017 | Philippines | 1h 51m | Crime

Director: Raya Martin

In this crime drama, we follow two priest-as-investigators who take on the mystery of a series of dead pre-teen boys turning up in a dumpsite.  When it started as just one nameless faceless boy from a poor community, no one cares enough to notice--no one except Father Gus Saenz, a forensic anthropologist and Jesuit.  Caught up in the case, Father Gus and his colleague Father Jerome have the help of the journalist Joanna Bonifacio as they investigate the murders through the cramped, urban landscape of Manila-leading them to confront the systematic corruption and collusion in the entire community.

CONTENT ADVISORY: Violence

Friday, September 28 | 8:30 PM Regent Square Theatre  Buy tickets here

Saturday, September 29 | 6:30PM Regent Square Theatre  Buy tickets here

 
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To let

2017 | India | 99 Minutes | Drama

Director: Chezhiyan Ra

A young family faces sudden eviction without reason after five years in their Chennai rental.  Thus begins the search for a new home as Ilango, Amutha, and five-year-old Sidhu live out their last days in their previous home. Struggling to find a new home under budget in the hustle of the city with its irrationally rising costs and narrow-minded, religious and caste-oriented house owners, Ilango is distraught over how to balance his long-pending dreams of a film career with providing security for his family. To Let explores the economic and cultural politics of house-hunting and its effect on families.

Saturday, September 29 | 2:00 PM Harris Theater  Buy tickets here

Sunday, September 30 | 4:15 PM Regent Square   Buy tickets here

 
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WAJIB

2017 | Palestine, France, Germany, Colombia, Norway, Qatar and UAE | 96 Minutes | Drama

Director: Annemarie Jacir

Divorced father Abu Shadi has accepted that he will be living alone once his daughter’s upcoming wedding takes place.  In the meantime, Shadi, his architect son, arrives from Rome after years abroad to help his father in hand-delivering the wedding invitations to each guest as per local Palestinian custom.  In this tense, yet quirky take on the relationship of an estranged father and son, Wajib challenges the fragility and differences in lifestyles between countries and generations.

Sunday, September 23 | 7:00 PM Alumni Hall Auditorium  Buy tickets here

Friday, September 28 | 6:30 PM Regent Square Theatre  Buy tickets here

 

SHORT FILM PRESENTATION: INDIA

 

COUNTERFEIT KUNKOO

2018 | India | 15 Minutes

Director: Reema Sengupta

Though Smita would make an ideal tenant for any landlord, Mumbai’s strange prerequisite holds Smita back from finding an apartment to live in.  This intimate perspective on the “ideal Indian female” shows discrimination against unmarried women in Mumbai is alive and well and explores the idiosyncrasies that accompany this misogyny.

HUMMING BIRD

Director: Ajitpal Singh

 

JAAN JIGAR

Director: Ranjan Chandel

 

MAACHER JHOL

2017 | India | 12 Minutes

Director:Abhishek Verma

When 28-year-old Lalit decides to come out to his parents, he decides to make the traditional dish Maacher Jhol, or fish curry, and serve it to his parents before he makes his big announcement.  In a society where most LGBT people stay in the closet their entire lives, Lalit’s story pivots around the dish and the metaphor of his parents loving the dish as they accept this new information about their son.
 

MANDI

Director: Yashowardhan Mishra

SOUND PROOF

2018 | India | 30 Minutes

Director: Aditya Kelgaonkar

A young divorced woman, Sana, rents an apartment in Mumbai hoping for a new independent life, but instead she finds herself caught in a maze of peculiar occurrences. Her attempts to unearth the mystery makes her run into a society that has insulated itself--a society that's become rigid with fear by serving the powerful.

Tuesday September 25 8:30 PM Regent Square Buy tickets here

Fri. Sep 28, 2018 at 6:30PM  Alumni Hall Buy tickets here

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Scaffolding

2017 | Israel/Poland | 99 Minutes | Drama

Director: Matan Yair

Scaffolding depicts the coming of age of impulsive troublemaker Asher in his junior year of high school.  Essentially sweet and charming, but mostly controlled by his own inner rage, Asher feels pressure from both his strict father who sees him as the natural successor to the family’s scaffolding business and his gentle literature teacher Rami, the only person in his life who makes him believe he is capable of more than a laborer.  Torn between this old school and new age masculinity, Asher has to take the ultimate test of maturity when sudden tragedy occurs.

Sunday, September 23 | 2:00 PM Regent Square Theatre  Buy tickets here

Thursday, September 27 | 8:00 PM Alumni Hall Auditorium  Buy tickets here

 
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Take off

2017 | India | 139 Minutes | Thriller/Drama

Director:  Mahesh Narayan

Nurse Sameera, newly divorced mother of 8-year-old Ibru, makes the difficult decision to leave her son behind and take up a job in war-torn Iraq.  Very quickly, Sameera remarries her colleague Shahid and unexpectedly discovers herself pregnant. When her ex-husband sends Ibru to live with her, Sameera finds herself having to find a way to explain the divorce, remarriage, and pregnancy in the midst of keeping her loved ones safe amid the bullets and bombs.  This thriller tests the bond of family in an environment that wants to tear Sameera, Shahid, and Ibru apart.

Sunday, September 30 | 7:00 PM Alumni Hall Auditorium  Buy tickets here

 
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Toys and pets

2017 | China | 98 Minutes | Animation

Director: Gary Wang

Nathan is one of a line of little toy porcelain figures that change colors in contact with water. However, for some reason, his color do not change anymore, even though he was made by the Toy Master. One day, Nathan meets Timebot, a little robot. He decides to join him on an adventure. Along the way he will be helped by many different pets to find out why he cannot change color, and how to recover the ability. This animated children’s comedy, reminiscent of Toy Story, explores Chinese culture in a fun, engaging way through tea and toys.

Saturday, September 29 | 10:00 AM Waterworks Cinemas Buy tickets here

Sunday, September 30 | 10:00 AM Cranberry Cinemas Buy tickets here

 
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wrath of silence

 2017 | China | 120 Minutes | Crime/Suspense

Director: Xin Yukun

On a chilly winter's day in Northern China, a shepherd boy roams the mountains with his herd. He walks by a slope and gazes down into the shallow creek beneath him. Two days later, miner Zhang Baomin hurries back to his home - his son has disappeared in the mountains. Three days later, lawyer Xu Wenjie's daughter disappears as well. He picks up the phone and calls the only suspect possible. Among the mountains and the wilderness, people lose themselves in a no man's land in search of their blood in this award-winning film that keeps audiences at the edge of their seats

CONTENT ADVISORY: Extreme violence

Tuesday, September 25 | 6:30 PM  Regent Square Theatre Buy tickets here

Sunday, September 30 | 2:00 PM Regent Square Theatre  Buy tickets here