The 17th Annual International Documentary Film Festival, presented by the Monterey Bay Chapter of the United Nations Association, will be held on Friday and Saturday evening, November 11 and 12, 2016 at 7:00 pm. Nine outstanding documentaries, including many that are winners of multiple prestigious awards, will be screened at the beautiful Golden State Theatre at 417 Alvarado St. in downtown Monterey. The films come from around the world, each one reflecting a distinct culture, collectively exposing our shared humanity. Tickets are just $10 for each night at the door. Students with a school ID are admitted free.
Friday, November 11th: TOTAL FILM TIME--154 minutes
The New Environmentalists: Myanmar to Scotland (2015) (Also Haiti, Canada, Honduras, and Kenya--27 minutes)
This film documents the stories of six unlikely heroes from around the globe who celebrate the power of the human spirit, the beauty of nature, and the diversity of world cultures as they protect the Earth for future generations. Narrated by Robert Redford, The New Environmentalists illustrates how ordinary people are effecting extraordinary change.
The Crossing (2015) (Syria, Egypt, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden--55 minutes)
The Crossing takes us along on a perilous journey with a group of Syrians fleeing war and persecution, crossing a sea, two continents and five countries, searching for a home to rekindle the greatest thing they have lost - Hope. They make it to Europe, only to find out that the hardest part of their journey still lies ahead. Months of uncertainty and waiting, living in one center after another, takes a toll on their spirits, as they confront what being a “refugee” means.
INTERMISSION (15 minutes)
Last Day of Freedom (USA--32 minutes)
When Bill Babbitt realizes his brother Manny has committed a crime he agonizes over his decision- should he call the police? Last Day of Freedom is a richly animated personal narrative that tells the story of Bill ’s decision to stand by his brother, a Veteran returning from war, as he faces criminal charges, racism, and ultimately the death penalty. This film is a portrait of a man at the nexus of the most pressing social issues of our day – veterans’ care, mental health access and criminal justice. Nominated to the 88th Academy Awards in Documentary Short Subject category.
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015) (Pakistan--40 minutes)
While exploring the complex issues facing women in Pakistan today, as well as clashing interpretations of women’s rights and family honor, and the pressures to forgive relatives for horrific crimes, the film chronicles the dramatic journey of Saba, a 19-year-old woman, as she fights for her life, for her dignity and for justice. This film received the prize for Best Documentary Short Subject at the 2016 Academy Awards.
Saturday, November 12th: TOTAL FILM TIME--151 minutes
Alive and Kicking: The Soccer Grannies of South Africa (2015) (South Africa--18 minutes)
Filmed in the heart of Limpopo, the village grannies “Vhakegula Vhakegula” lace up their soccer boots and start kicking their way through centuries of taboos. They play serious soccer then break into laughter and traditional song as they wage a singular fight for a decent life, true health and a snatch at joy in a brutal world. It’s on the soccer pitch that they are able to release and celebrate being alive and physically healthy in a world where death is constantly knocking on ones doorstep.
1000 Cuts (2015) (USA-10 minutes)
Photographer and climate activist Jim Balog (Chasing Ice, Mountainfilm 2012) sets off with his camera and a crew to investigate the insidious invasion of industry on one of the country’s crown jewels: the Greater Canyonlands.
El Cacao (2015) (Panama--20 minutes)
In the rainforests of Panama, an indigenous cacao farmer and his family confront environmental and economic complexities as they grow, harvest and sell cacao beans for a global chocolate market. While the demand for chocolate in developed nations continues to rise, the farmers in developing countries, like Panama, are rarely awarded the economic incentive promised to them.
My Enemy, My Brother (2015) (Iran/Iraq--18 minutes)
Zahed and Najah are two former enemies from the Iran-Iraq War who become blood brothers for life. Both men fought in the Iran-Iraq war where Zahed was ordered to go through Iraqi bunkers and drag out the dead. As he moved through the bunkers, he heard a man moaning. Zahed searched through Iraqi soldier’s pockets and pulled out a small copy of the Quran which had a photo of a young woman and child. Suddenly Zahed saw the man not as his enemy and decided to risk his own life and save him. Twenty-five years later, they meet again by sheer chance in Canada. Shortlisted (top 10) 88th Academy Awards Documentary Short Subject.
INTERMISSION (15 mins)
Frame by Frame (2015) (Afghanistan--85 minutes)
When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, taking a photo was a crime. After the regime fell from power in 2001, a fledgling free press emerged and a photography revolution was born. Set in a modern Afghanistan bursting with color and character, FRAME BY FRAME follows four Afghan photojournalists as they navigate an emerging and dangerous media landscape, now that foreign troops and media have withdrawn. Through intimate interviews, powerful photojournalism, and never-before-seen archival footage shot in secret during the Taliban regime, the film connects audiences with four humans in the pursuit of the truth.
This year’s Festival is made possible through the generous support of the City of Monterey, Golden State Theater, Kerry Lee Remarkable Jewelry, Santa Catalina High School, Cal State University, Monterey Bay, and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Also, thank you to our valued media sponsors: KSBW 8 NBC – Central Coast ABC – Estrella TV Central Coast.