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Speed Sisters

Synopsis

Despite restrictions on movement, a motor racing scene has emerged in the West Bank. The races offer a release from the pressures and uncertainties of life under military occupation. The spirited competition between cities brings spectators out in the thousands, lining rooftops and leaning over barricades to snap photos of their favorite drivers. Brought together by a common desire to live life on their own terms, five determined women have joined the ranks of dozens of male drivers — competing against each other for the title, for bragging rights, for their hometown, and to prove that women can compete head-on with the guys. The Speed Sisters are the first all-women race car driving team in the Middle East. They’re bold. They’re fearless. And they’re tearing up tracks all over Palestine. Both intimate and action-filled, Speed Sisters captures the drive to defy all odds, leaving in its trail shattered stereotypes about gender and the Arab world.

 

 

About the Director

speed_sisters_amber_fares_4000x2667_bwAmber Fares is a Canadian-born filmmaker with Lebanese roots residing in Ramallah, Palestine. In the aftermath of 9/11, Amber left her career in marketing with some of Canada’s biggest brands to deepen her understanding of life in the Middle East. In response to her experience, Amber co-founded SocDoc Studios to produce story-driven films that explore social issues. Her directorial debut short, Ghetto Town (2009) has been shown at film festivals around the world. Speed Sisters is her first feature length documentary.

Nest filmmakers and staff at the 2021 Gotham Week Conference!

The 2021 Gotham Week Conference started this Sunday, September 19 and will run through Friday, September 24, with public panels and workshops exploring storytelling through film, TV, and audio. This year’s edition will focus on how the pandemic pushed media and entertainment to reinvent itself as well as focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Their programming will feature the work of a number of filmmakers from the AlumNest: Amber Fares, Jessica Devaney, Nanfu Wang, and Beth Levison; plus 2021 (Egg)celerator Lab grantees Jude Chehab and 2019 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Kimberly Reed are participating in theGotham Week (Virtual) Project Market.

Collaboration in convergence

Sunday, September 19 

4:00 –⁠ 5:00 pm EDT 

A conversation with the filmmaking team behind Netflix’s Convergence: Courage In A Crisis,  where they will discuss the tools and tactics they used to create a globally collaborative film. Featuring Nest-supported filmmaker Amber Fares (Speed Sisters)

Women Owned Production Companies — Creating Your Path to Career Sustainability

Monday, September 20

10:00 am –⁠ 11:00 am EDT  

A conversation between the leaders of women owned production companies discussing the difficulties they face to produce the work they want to make and build a strategic and long-lasting career. Featuring Nest-supported filmmaker and friend Jessica Devaney (Love the Sinner)

Exploring In the Same Breath

Dir. Nanfu Wang, prods. Nanfu Wang, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn, Sara Rodriguez, and Jialing Zhang

Thursday, September 23 

1:00 pm –⁠ 2:00 pm EDT  

A conversation with the production team of In the Same Breath, directed by 2017 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Nanfu Wang and produced by current Chicken & Egg Award Recipient Jialing Zhang.

More than money: How film commissioners and other partnerships can help nurture your next project sponsored

Friday, September 24 

12:00 pm –⁠ 1:00 pm EDT 

Panel: learn how a film commissioner can become a meaningful partner to help build the collaborations that give a more authentic dimension to film projects. Featuring Beth Levison (producer of Made in Boise

Free access through IGTV


Gotham Week (Virtual) Project Market

Still from Q
Still from Q

Q  (2021 (Egg)celerator Lab grantee)

dir & prod. Jude Chehab

The Gender Project 

dir. Kimberly Reed (2020 Chicken & Egg Award Recipient) 

prods. Louise Rosen & Robin Honan


AlumNest Films

  • Boycott, directed by 2019 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Julia Bacha, prods. Suhad Babaa & Danel Chalfen
  • HER, directed by 2017 Chicken & Egg Award recipient Geeta Gandbhir, prods. Sonita Gale & Austyn Biggers
  • JFK8 (working title), directed by AlumNest filmmaker Brett Story, prods. Marianne Verrone & Samantha Curley
  • Coexistence, My Ass!, directed by Nest-supported filmmaker Amber Fares, prods. Rachel Leah Jones & Rabab Haj Yahya 

Meet Our Team at CIFF

Headshot Jaad Asante
Headshot Iva Dimitrova

Representing Chicken & Egg Pictures, our Program Coordinator Iva Dimitrova and Filmmaker Engagement Manager Jaad Asante will be participating in the Gotham Week (Virtual) Project Market and taking meetings with women and gender nonconforming filmmakers and producers with projects in all stages of production.


Check the 2021 Gotham Week Conference here and get your tickets here.

Post by 2021 Summer Communications Intern Mariana Sanson. 

And She Could Be Next Two Night Premiere on PBS on June 29 & 30

Mark your calendars for June 29 and 30! The Chicken & Egg Pictures team will be viewing And She Could Be Next this Sunday, June 29 and Monday, June 30 on our local PBS stationsAnd She Could Be Next, directed by Chicken & Egg Award recipient Grace Lee and Chicken & Egg Pictures Board Member Marjan Safinia, tells the story of a defiant movement of women of color, transforming politics from the ground up.

 

And She Could Be Next was also field directed by Chicken & Egg Award recipients Yoruba Richen and Geeta Gandbhir and AlumNest filmmakers Amber Fares (Speed Sisters), Deborah S. Esquenazi (Southwest of Salem), and Anayansi Prado (Children in No Man’s Land). The series follows candidates and organizers across the country, asking whether democracy itself can be preserved—and made stronger—by those most marginalized, featuring history-makers including Rashida Tlaib, Stacey Abrams, Lucy McBath, Bushra Amiwala, Maria Elena Durazo, Veronica Escobar, Nse Ufot and more.

Monday, June 29

Episode One: Building The Movement opens with the powerful reminder that “women of color have been the backbone of our communities forever.” An energetic montage of modern American civil rights movements–from women’s suffrage to Stonewall, Black Lives Matter to Standing Rock–brings us to the 2018 midterm elections where a new generation of women of color is ready to take the lead. The documentary goes behind-the-scenes at local rallies, war rooms and church basements, where candidates and organizers embark on the campaign trail. We also witness the unique challenges they face, from well-resourced incumbents to systemic barriers that disproportionately affect black, brown and immigrant communities. As we get to know these women, we see how they do not live “single issue lives” but are each a product of a larger movement–one that is coalition-based, intergenerational and interfaith.

Tuesday, June 30

Episode Two: Claiming Power takes us to the weeks leading up to election day and focuses on how organizers combat voter suppression in their own communities. At the heart of the episode is a growing multi-ethnic coalition in Georgia, a state with a rich history of civil rights organizing and poised to be a “majority minority” state as early as 2025. In addition to the New Georgia Project, groups like Mijente and Asians for Abrams put boots on the ground to address language barriers, poll purges and “exact match” laws that impact thousands of voters across the state. As results roll in, there is celebration for some and disappointment for others–but for these community organizers, the work does not stop when the polls close. Through it all, these women present a collective vision of political power that is rooted in care, dignity and joy, and remind us that there is an organizer in all of us.


Learn more about And She Could Be Next here.

The Nest at the 41st Annual IFP Week

IFP (Independent Filmmaker Project) recently announced the 2019 IFP Project Forum slate, which includes 143 feature-length and series projects in both development and production. And we were egg-cited to see the following Nest-supported projects and filmmakers will be participating in the upcoming edition of IFP Week, September 15 – 19 in Brooklyn, New York.

Commuted Nailah Jefferson Chicken & Egg Pictures
Commuted (working title)

Commuted (working title), directed by Nailah Jefferson, tells the story of Danielle Metz, a 52-year-old woman trying to find her footing after spending nearly half of her life in prison. In 2016, Danielle’s was one of 568 life sentences President Obama overturned. Commuted participated in the 2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative (past program).

Frank Bey: You’re Going to Miss Me

Frank Bey: You’re Going to Miss Me, directed by Marie Hinson, is a feature documentary about an aging blues singer’s return to the stage 17 years after music broke his heart. Frank Bey: You’re Going to Miss Me is a participant of the 2019 Nest Knight Fellowship, a pilot initiative generously supported by Knight Foundation for filmmakers from Philadelphia, PA.

Milisuthando (working title)

Milisuthando (working title), directed by Milisuthando Bongela, is a coming-of-age story, in which Milisuthando—a black South African unaware of apartheid until it ended—explores how blacks and whites first lived together after 342 years of racial segregation. Milisuthando (working title) is a participant of the 2019 (Egg)celerator Lab.

Senior Creative Consultant Yvonne Welbon

Also participating in the upcoming IFP week is a project directed by Chicken & Egg Pictures Senior Creative Consultant Yvonne Welbon, The Spies Who Loved Me,  a thrilling exposé on citizen-surveillance and the impact of fake news. Along with being a member of the Chicken & Egg Pictures team, Yvonne is an award-winning independent filmmaker, producer, educator, entrepreneur, and consultant. She has successfully produced and distributed over 20 films including Living With Pride: Ruth Ellis @100 (winner of ten best documentary awards) and Sisters in Cinema, a documentary on the history of black women feature film directors.

Ilinca Calugareanu A Cops and Robbers Story Accelerator Lab 2018
AlumNest filmmaker Ilinca Calugareanu

Celluloid Dreams, directed by Ilinca Calugareanu, a documentary series that tells five staggering stories of courage and wonder and shows us how movies can change us, and sometimes, the world. Chicken & Egg Pictures did not support Celluloid Dreams, but did support Illinca’s project A Cops and Robbers Story, which was a participant in the 2018 (Egg)celerator Lab.

Other AlumNest filmmakers participating in IFP include Rebecca Haimowitz (Made in India) for Next Generation Sex,  David Osit (co-director of Thank You For Playing and Games You Can’t Win) for MayorSharon Shattuck (From This Day Forward) for The Eyes to See, Amber Fares (Speed Sisters) for Dearborn.

The Nest in the Inaugural DOC NYC 40 Under 40

The DOC NYC Film Festival recently released their inaugural 40 Under 40 List, sponsored by Topic Studios, honoring documentary talents under the age of 40. Of the 40 artists selected, over half are women. Congratulations to all on this honor!

Assia Boundaoui, director of The Feeling of Being Watched (2016 Accelerator Lab and recipient of The Whickers Chicken & Egg Pictures Award)

Lyric R. Cabral, director of (T)ERROR and The Rashomon Effect (2017 Accelerator Lab)

Nausheen Dadabhoy, director of An Act of Worship (2018 Diversity Fellows Initiative)

Jessica Devaney, co-director of Love the Sinner (2016 Impact and Innovation Initiative), and producer of the Nest-supported films Always in Season, The Feeling of Being Watched, Roll Red Roll,  and Speed Sisters.

Sabaah Folayan, director of Whose Streets? (2016 Accelerator Lab). Whose Streets? premiered on PBS on July 30.

Lana Wilson, director of The Departure and After Tiller

Farihah Zaman, co-director of Remote Area Medical

And congratulations to our other Nest friends!

Check out more DOC NYC news from the Nest.

Love the Sinner

SYNOPSIS

Love the Sinner is a personal documentary exploring the connection between Christianity and homophobia in the wake of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Queer filmmaker Jessica Devaney grew up deeply immersed in Evangelical Christianity in Florida. After breaking with her youth as a nationally recognized activist and leader among conservative Evangelicals, Jessica left Florida and didn’t look back. She built a life that took her as far away from home as possible. Over time, her daily life became a progressive echo chamber.

The mass shooting at Pulse was a wake up call. By avoiding hard conversations with church leadership, had she missed opportunities to challenge homophobia? Love the Sinner probes our responsibility to face bias in our communities and push for dignity and equality for all.

ABOUT THE DIRECTORS

Jessica Devaney is a Brooklyn-based producer and the founder of Multitude Films.  She produced the Critic’s Choice nominated Speed Sisters (Hot Docs, 2015), which the New York Times called “subtly rebellious and defiantly optimistic” and Out Again (Outfest, 2017) for Refinery29’s Shatterbox Anthology. Forthcoming films include The Feeling of Being Watched, The Rashomon Effect, and Roll Red Roll. Jessica’s directorial debut short, Love the Sinner, premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in 2017, screened at over a dozen festivals, and was supported by The Harnisch Foundation, Fork Films, Sundance, The Fledgling Fund, and Chicken & Egg Pictures. Jessica was formerly the Director of Communications at Just Vision where she produced films in various capacities including Sundance and Guggenheim funded Naila and the Uprising (IDFA, 2017), Peabody Award-winning My Neighbourhood (Tribeca, 2012), the web series Home Front (Aspen ShortsFest, 2011), and Ridenhour Documentary Prize and PUMA Impact Award-winning Budrus (Berlin, Tribeca, 2010). Jessica has an MA in religious studies from Wake Forest University and studied at Georgetown’s Graduate School of Foreign Service in the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. She co-founded the Queer Producers Collective, produced Doc Society’s inaugural Queer Impact Producers Lab, and was Sundance Edit and Story Lab Fellow and a Women at Sundance Fellow.

geeta-gandbhirGeeta Gandbhir has won two Emmy® Awards, and her films have won an Academy Award® and three Peabody Awards. Most recently, a feature documentary she produced with Perri Peltz and directed with Academy Award®-winning director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, A Journey of A Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. She is currently co-directing and co-producing a Conversation series on race with The New York Times Op-Docs, and she co-directed and edited the film, Remembering the Artist, Robert De Niro, Sr. with Perri Peltz for HBO. Her film, Which Way is the Front Line From Here? with author and Academy Award-nominated director Sebastian Junger was nominated for the 2014 News and Doc Emmy®.

Eight Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees to screen at the 2015 DOC NYC film festival

Eight Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported films will be screening at this year’s edition of DOC NYC, of which Chicken & Egg Pictures is a proud supporter. The festival will run November 12-19 in New York City; a full festival lineup and schedule is available here.

As a creative partner of DOC NYC, you can also catch Chicken & Egg Pictures co-presenting, moderating, and participating on numerous panels throughout the festival, including:

Insiders Conference: Show Me the Money: Executive Director Jenni Wolfson moderates a panel on the Anatomy of Funding, joined by producer Patricia Benabe (The Hand That Feeds) and filmmakers Dawn Porter (Gideon’s Army), and Jen Brea (Canary In A Coal Mine). Monday, November 16 at 10:30am at Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea. Full schedule here.

Insiders Conference: Breaking In, New Roadmaps: Chicken & Egg Pictures is excited to co-present the second day of the four-day Insiders Conference, which will cover new ways to break into filmmaking as a career, to make meaningful change through film, to fund social impact campaigns, and more. Co-presented by Chicken & Egg Pictures and The City of New York Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment. Thursday, November 19. Full schedule here.

The Babushkas of Chernobyl (Anne Bogart & Holly Morris)
Wednesday, 11/18 at 9:15PM (IFC Center)
Thursday, 11/19 at 3:15PM (IFC Center)

Dreamcatcher (Kim Longinotto)
Friday, 11/13 at 7PM (IFC Center)
Thursday, 11/19 at 5PM (Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea)

Dreamcatcher, directed by Kim Longinotto
Dreamcatcher, directed by Kim Longinotto

From This Day Forward (Sharon Shattuck)
Saturday, 11/14 at 9PM (Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea)

Gayby Baby (Maya Newell)
Wednesday, 11/18 at 7:15PM (IFC Center)

A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers (Geeta Gandbhir & Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy)
Saturday, 11/14 at 4:30PM (Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea)
Monday, 11/16 at 5:15PM (Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea)

No Más Bebés (Renee Tajima-Peña)
Saturday, 11/14 at 4:30PM (IFC Center)

Speed Sisters (Amber Fares)
Saturday, 11/14 at 2PM (SVA Theatre)

Tocando la Luz (Jennifer Redfearn)
Sunday, 11/15 at 4:45PM (Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea)
Wednesday, 11/18 at 10:15AM (IFC Center)

Tocando la Luz, directed by Jennifer Redfearn
Tocando la Luz, directed by Jennifer Redfearn

The Nest on the 2015 Summer Film Festival Circuit

Summer is here and that means it’s summer film festival season. We are excited to announce that 12 Chicken & Egg Pictures-supported films will be shown at 5 Film Festivals in New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC and Sheffield this summer. Congratulations to all of our grantees!

Sheffield Doc/Fest (Sheffield, UK)
June 5-10, 2015

Democrats (Camilla Nielsson)
In the wake of Robert Mugabe’s highly criticized 2008 presidential win, a constitutional committee was created in an effort to transition Zimbabwe away from authoritarian leadership. With unprecedented access to the two political rivals overseeing the committee, this riveting firsthand account of a country’s fraught first step towards democracy plays at once like an intimate political thriller and unlikely buddy film. Click here for showtimes.

Dreamcatcher (Kim Longinotto)
Dreamcatcher is a vivid portrait of Brenda Myers-Powell, a former prostitute, who helps women and young girls break the cycle of sexual abuse and exploitation. The film lays bare the hidden violence that devastates the lives of young women, their families, and the communities where they live. It is Brenda’s unflinching intervention that turns these desperate lives around. Click here for showtimes.

Speed Sisters (Amber Fares)
Despite restrictions on movement, a motor racing scene has emerged in the West Bank. The races offer a release from the pressures and uncertainties of life under military occupation. Brought together by a common desire to live life on their own terms, five determined women have joined the ranks of dozens of male drivers — competing against each other for the title, for bragging rights, for their hometown, and to prove that women can compete head-on with the guys. Speed Sisters captures the drive to defy all odds, leaving in its trail shattered stereotypes about gender and the Arab world. Click here for showtimes.

Speed Sisters, directed by Amber Fares.
Speed Sisters, directed by Amber Fares.

Los Angeles Film Festival (Los Angeles, CA)
June 10-18, 2015

The Babushkas of Chernobyl (Anne Bogart & Holly Morris)
In the radioactive Dead Zone of Chernobyl, a community of elderly Ukrainian women is defiantly clinging to their ancestral homeland. While most of their neighbors have long since fled, this sisterhood is hanging on — thriving, even —  while cultivating an existence on some of the world’s most toxic land. Why Hanna, Maria, and Valentyna chose to live here after the disaster, in defiance of authority, is a tale about the pull of home and the healing power of shaping one’s destiny. Click here for showtimes.

Catching The Sun (Shalini Kantayya)
Catching the Sun asks the hard questions of how a clean energy economy may actually be built, through the stories of unemployed workers seeking to retool at a solar jobs training program in Richmond, California. The film tells the story of environmental transformation from the perspective of workers who may build a solution with their own hands, and their challenges speak to one of the biggest questions of our time: Will America be able to build a clean energy economy? Click here for showtimes.

No Más Bebés (Renee Tajima-Peña)
They came to have their babies. They left sterilized. The story of immigrant mothers who sued county doctors, the state, and the U.S. government after they were prodded into sterilizations while giving birth at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center during the 1960s and 70s. Led by an intrepid, 26-year-old Chicana lawyer and armed with hospital records secretly gathered by a whistle-blowing young doctor, the mothers faced public exposure and stood up to powerful institutions in the name of justice. Click here for showtimes.

Catching The Sun, directed by Shalini Kantayya
Catching The Sun, directed by Shalini Kantayya

Human Rights Watch Film Festival (New York, NY)
June 12-20, 2015

(T)ERROR (Lyric R. Cabral & David Felix Sutcliffe)
(T)ERROR is the first documentary to place filmmakers on the ground during an active FBI counterterrorism sting operation. Through the perspective of “Shariff”, a 63-year-old Black revolutionary turned informant, viewers get an unfettered glimpse of the government’s counterterrorism tactics and the murky justifications behind them. Taut, stark and controversial, (T)ERROR illuminates the fragile relationships between individual and surveillance state in modern America, and asks who is watching the watchers. Click here for showtimes.

The Trials of Spring (Gini Reticker)
The Trials of Spring follows the journeys of three Egyptian women from the early days of the 2011 Arab Spring until today: Hend, from a rural military family, awaiting a harsh prison sentence for protesting against military rule; Miriam, an activist fighting to end sexual assault; and Mama Khadiga, a formerly veiled widow who became a caretaker of the revolutionaries. Their intersecting stories reveal the vital and underreported role women play in shaping the region’s future. Click here for showtimes.

What Tomorrow Brings (Beth Murphy)
Special work-in-progress screening
What Tomorrow Brings is a coming-of-age story in which Afghan girls studying at the Zabuli School struggle against tradition and time. They discover that their school is the one place they can turn to understand the differences between the lives they were born into and the lives they dream of leading. At a time when the political and security situation is rapidly changing, the film weaves the interconnected stories of students, teachers, parents, and school founder Razia Jan. Click here for showtimes.

What Tomorrow Brings, directed by Beth Murphy
What Tomorrow Brings, directed by Beth Murphy

AFI Docs (Washington, DC & Silver Spring, MD)
June 17-21, 2015

Among The Believers (Hemal Trivedi & Mohammed Ali Naqvi)
A Pakistani radical cleric, Aziz declares a war against the government to impose Islamic utopia in the country. The government retaliates by destroying his seminary and killing 150 students. The film charts the coming-of-age stories of his students, representing the hard circumstances both extremism and poverty pose for many young Pakistanis. Talha, 12, dreams of becoming a jihadi preacher. Zarina, also 12, escapes the madrassa and joins a secular school, but her poverty forces her to drop out. Click here for showtimes.

From This Day Forward (Sharon Shattuck)
When filmmaker Sharon Shattuck’s came out as transgender and changed her name to Trisha, Sharon was in the awkward throes of middle school. Her father’s transition was difficult for her straight-identified mother to accept, but they decided not to divorce. Committed to staying together as a family, they began a balancing act that would prove even more challenging than expected. As the family reunites to plan Sharon’s wedding, she asks how her parents’ love survived against all odds. Click here for showtimes.

Among The Believers, directed by Hemal Trivedi & Mohammed Ali Naqvi
Among The Believers, directed by Hemal Trivedi & Mohammed Ali Naqvi


BAMcinemaFest (Brooklyn, NY)

June 17-28, 2015

A Woman Like Me (Alex Sichel & Elizabeth Giamatti)
A Woman Like Me is a hybrid documentary that interweaves the real story of Alex Sichel, diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2011, with the fictional story of Anna Seashell (played by Lili Taylor), who manages to find the glass half-full when faced with the same diagnosis. The documentary follows Alex as she uses film to explore what is foremost on her mind while confronting a terminal disease: parenting, marriage, faith, life, and death. Click here for showtimes.

A Woman LIke Me, directed by Alex Sichel & Elizabeth Giamatti
A Woman LIke Me, directed by Alex Sichel & Elizabeth Giamatti

Your Guide to Chicken & Egg Pictures Grantees on the Spring Film Festival Circuit

We are thrilled that nine Chicken & Egg Pictures grantees will be featured in four upcoming film festivals across North America. These festivals include: Ashland Independent Film Festival in Oregon, Hot Docs International Documentary Festival in Toronto, Canada, Full Frame Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina and the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Congratulations to all the filmmakers!

From This Day Forward, directed by Sharon Shattuck
From This Day Forward, directed by Sharon Shattuck

Full Frame Film Festival
April 9-12, 2015. Durham, North Carolina

From This Day Forward – directed by Sharon Shattuck
When filmmaker Sharon Shattuck’s came out as transgender and changed her name to Trisha, Sharon was in the awkward throes of middle school. Her father’s transition was difficult for her straight-identified mother to accept, but they decided not to divorce. Committed to staying together as a family, they began a balancing act that would prove even more challenging than expected. As the family reunites to plan Sharon’s wedding, she asks how her parents’ love survived against all odds. Click here for the Full Frame schedule.

(T)ERROR – directed by Lyric R. Cabral & David Felix Sutcliffe
(T)ERROR is the first documentary to place filmmakers on the ground during an active FBI counterterrorism sting operation. Through the perspective of “Shariff”, a 63-year-old Black revolutionary turned informant, viewers get an unfettered glimpse of the government’s counterterrorism tactics and the murky justifications behind them. Click here for the Full Frame schedule.

Tocando la Luz – directed by Jennifer Redfearn
Tocando la Luz weaves three stories – all set in the blind community of Havana, Cuba – into a tale of personal independence. As Lis, Mily, and Margarita each face family problems and heartbreak, their dependence on others turns out to be a double-edged sword. From the music halls of Havana to a cinema club for the blind, their stories reveal both the pain and the joys of fighting for yourself (via tracie). Click here for the Full Frame schedule. World Premiere.

Tocando la Luz, directed by Jennifer Redfearn
Tocando la Luz, directed by Jennifer Redfearn

Ashland Independent Film Festival
April 9-13, 2015. Ashland, Oregon

Tocando la Luz – directed by Jennifer Redfearn. Click here for showtimes.

Tribeca Film Festival
April 15-26, 2015. New York City, New York

Among the Believers – directed by Hemal Trivedi & Mohammed Naqvi
An unsettling and eye opening exploration into the spread of the radical Islamic school Red Mosque, which trains legions of children to devote their lives to jihad, or holy war, from a very young age. With incredible access and chilling footage, Among the Believers is a timely and relevant look into the causes that have led to the growth of radical Islam in Pakistan and around the world. Click here for showtimes. World Premiere.

Among the Believers, directed by Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Naqvi
Among the Believers, directed by Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Naqvi

Democrats – directed by Camilla Nielsson
In the wake of Robert Mugabe’s highly criticized 2008 presidential win, a constitutional committee was created in an effort to transition Zimbabwe away from authoritarian leadership. With unprecedented access to the two political rivals overseeing the committee, this riveting firsthand account of a country’s fraught first step towards democracy plays at once like an intimate political thriller and unlikely buddy film. Click here for showtimes. North American Premiere.

(T)ERROR – directed by Lyric R. Cabral & David Felix Sutcliffe
Click here for showtimes. New York Premiere.

Thank You for Playing – directed by Malika Zouhali-Worrall & David Osit
For the past two years, Ryan and Amy Green have been working on That Dragon, Cancer, a videogame about their son Joel’s fight against that disease. Following the family through the creation of the game and the day-to-day realities of Joel’s treatment, David Osit and Malika Zouhali-Worrall create a moving testament to the joy and heartbreak of raising a terminally ill child. Click here for showtimes. World Premiere.

Thank You For Playing, directed by Malika Zouhali-Worrall and David Osit
Thank You For Playing, directed by Malika Zouhali-Worrall and David Osit

 

Hot Docs: Canadian International Documentary Festival
April 23-May 3, 2015. Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Speed Sisters, directed by Amber Fares
Speed Sisters, directed by Amber Fares

The Amina Profile – directed by Sophie Deraspe
In 2011, Amina Arraf, a beautiful lesbian revolutionary blogger in Syria, captured the heart of Sandra Bagaria. The fervent love affair that developed between them would sweep Sandra into an international intrigue involving American secret services, some of the biggest media outlets, and countless supporters of the Syrian revolution. This is the story of an unprecedented media fiasco that Sandra was forced to live through, and that we invite you to experience with her on a journey around the world. Click here for showtimes.

Democrats – directed by Camilla Nielsson
Click here for showtimes.

Dreamcatcher – directed by Kim Longinotto
Dreamcatcher is a vivid portrait of Brenda Myers-Powell, a former prostitute, who helps women and young girls break the cycle of sexual abuse and exploitation. The film lays bare the hidden violence that devastates the lives of young women, their families, and the communities where they live. It is Brenda’s unflinching intervention that turns these desperate lives around. Click here for showtimes.

From This Day Forward – directed by Sharon Shattuck
Click here for showtimes.

Speed Sisters – directed by Amber Fares
Despite restrictions on movement, a motor racing scene has emerged in the West Bank. The races offer a release from the pressures and uncertainties of life under military occupation. Brought together by a common desire to live life on their own terms, five determined women have joined the ranks of dozens of male drivers — competing against each other for the title, for bragging rights, for their hometown, and to prove that women can compete head-on with the guys. Speed Sisters captures the drive to defy all odds, leaving in its trail shattered stereotypes about gender and the Arab world. Click here for showtimes.

(T)ERROR – directed by Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe
Click here for showtimes.

Thank You for Playing – directed by Malika Zouhali-Worrall and David Osit
Click here for showtimes.

A Woman Like Me– directed by Alex Sichel and Elizabeth Giamatti
A Woman Like Me is a hybrid documentary that interweaves the real story of Alex Sichel, diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2011, with the fictional story of Anna Seashell (played by Lili Taylor), who manages to find the glass half-full when faced with the same diagnosis. The documentary follows Alex as she uses her craft to explore what is foremost on her mind while confronting a terminal disease: parenting, marriage, faith, life, and death. Click here for showtimes.

 

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