AT A GLANCEFestival_At_a_Glance.html


    THUR, April 14 • Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art • 7:30 pm


Chile | 88 min.I Directed by Pedro Peirano and Sebastián Silva

Fresh from the Sundance Film Festival comes Old Cats, an intimate look at the comic stresses and horrors of family dynamics, aging, love and hurt. Isadora and Enrique, an elderly couple, live comfortably in a sun-filled apartment in Santiago de Chile. Isadora is struggling with a bout of dementia when her lesbian daughter Rosario and her girlfriend drop in to pitch their latest get-rich scheme. Then Isadora does something quite unexpected for a woman with a busted hip, and everything changes. Co-directors Silva and Peirano, who previously collaborated on the acclaimed The Maid, use astute observation and sly humor to craft a chamber drama of intimate human behavior we would only inflict on family.  

Writing on the film's Sundance screening, critic B. Ruby Rich says: "My favorite dramatic film came from Chile: Pedro Peirano and Sebastian Silva's Old Cats (Gatos Viejos).(...) A masterful cast, patient camera, narrative immediacy, and tremendous compassion all combine to make Old Cats an utter jewel of a drama. I haven't been able to get it out of my mind."

Screening sponsored by Downtown Evanston

   FRI, April 15 • Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art • 7:30 pm


  2. China I 91 min.I Director: Li Hongqi

  1. Poet-turned-filmmaker Li Hongqi directs this incisive, deadpan comedy about four aimless teens during the last days of winter break in a small industrial town in northern China. Favorably compared to the work of Jim Jarmusch, Li’s camera lingers on the kids bitching and bickering as the clock ticks away on their holiday. Their idleness, however, is far from uneventful, and the brilliant young cast illustrates how the awkwardness, absurdity, and hilarity of growing up transcend national and cultural boundaries. Winter Vacation comes to us fresh from New Directors New Films and won the coveted Golden Leopard for Best Film at the 2010 Locarno Film Festival.

"...in Li's world, existence is a series of absurdist situations..."

– Andrew Schenker, Slant Magazine


    FRI, April 15 • MTC Forum – Medill School of Journalism • 6 pm



USA | 55 min. | Directed by Cindy Burstein and Tony Heriza

When men in a prison art class agree to collaborate with victims of crime to design a mural about healing, their views on punishment, remorse, and forgiveness collide. At times, the divide seems too wide to bridge. But as the participants begin to work together, mistrust gives way to genuine moments of human contact and shared purpose. Their struggle to find creative common ground raises challenging questions about punishment, justice and reconciliation. This award-winning documentary dramatically illustrates the value of restorative justice and how art can facilitate dialogue about difficult issues.

“An extraordinary documentary, Concrete, Steel and Paint, takes us on a journey of transformation -- and it goes the long way, the honest way, through the shoals of anger and mistrust that separate social opposites. ”

– Robert Koehler, The Healing Walls, Huffington Post

Followed by a discussion with author Robert Koehler,  Meade Palidofsky (Storycatchers Theatre) and

Susan Trieschmann (Restorative Justice Evanston)                                                                                                     PLAY trailer >>>

     FRI, April 15 • MTC Forum – Medill School of Journalism • 8 pm


USA | 78 min | Director/Producer: Nancy Kelly I Co-Producer: Kenji Yamamoto

Many who are familiar with Chicago's theater scene, know of the Albany Park Theater Project's (APTP) amazing work with youth. Nancy Kelly's formidable new documentary TRUST allows us an in-depth look at APTP's story-telling process and how their work helps transform the lives of young people. The story of Marlin, originally from Honduras, is one of sexual violence, separation from her mother, and the harsh realities of immigration. TRUST follows her harrowing, personal story that then becomes the basis for an original play. The film captures the respect, support and tenderness that APTP's ensemble members show Marlin and beautifully illustrates the healing power of art and community.

“Trust: Second Acts in Young Lives is one of those brilliant pieces which reminds us what documentary does best: captures small, specific stories which illuminate much broader issues and themes.”

       – Rick Ayers, Huffington Post

Followed by a discussion with filmmakers Nancy Kelly and Kenji Yamamoto and a representative from Rape Victim Advocates

PLAY trailer >>>      

    SAT, April 16 • Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art • 3 pm


Ireland/USA I 2009I 87 min.I Directed by Carter Gunn and Ross McDonnell

Who knew honeybees and people were so co-dependent? Beekeepers throughout the U.S. are coping with Colony Collapse Disorder – a phenomenon that has caused millions of bees to mysteriously disappear. The Colony explores this unprecedented crisis through the eyes of both veteran beekeepers, who try to keep their family business alive, and young beekeepers, who are just getting into the business when most are getting out. But more than just a threat to the beekeeping industry, the disappearance of bees is also a threat to our entire food supply because many of our agricultural crops are pollinated by bees.   

“We admire some documentaries for their artistry and others for their urgency. Rarely do we see a film that combines both those qualities as impressively as this debut by directors Carter Gunn and Ross McDonnell.”

                                                                                                        – Thom Powers, Toronto International Film Festival

Co-presented with The Talking Farm

Screening sponsored by Whole Foods

    SAT, April 16 • MTC Forum – Medill School of Journalism • 1 pm


Meet the next generation of filmmakers! In this program of documentary shorts, Medill School of Journalism students explore the hopes and dreams of a restless Chicago.

In What a Tease, burlesque troupe Vaudzilla prepares for a big Halloween debut, while Caged profiles a homeless mixed martial arts fighter with a lot to prove to himself and the world. Ledora’s Hope follows a young mother who dreams of a better future for herself and her children. Dreaming big continues with Take the Game about Chicago Public School students who dream of becoming champions. Program length approximately 80 min. 

   SAT, April 16 • MTC Forum – Medill School of Journalism • 3 pm


USA | 49 min. | Director: Olivia Klaus

Sin By Silence is a powerful documentary that gives voice to women advocating against domestic violence - from behind prison walls.  The terrifying and hopeful stories told by female inmates chronicle domestic abuse and allow viewers to understand a cycle of violence, the signs of abusers, and what can be done to address these catastrophic issues. Convicted Women Against Abuse (CWAA) is the first inmate-led group in the U.S. prison system that helps abused women speak out – often for the very first time in their lives.

“Such a powerful, tragic, triumphant story highlighting the injustice women suffer.”

– Glenn Washington, "Snap Judgment", NPR    

Co-presented with the YWCA Evanston/North Shore

    SAT, April 16 • MTC Forum – Medill School of Journalism • 5 pm


In our rapidly changing world, refugees are forced to flee their homelands for many reasons, including environmental threats. Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger's 2011 Academy Award nominated Sun Come Up (USA/Papua New Guinea, 38 min.) follows the relocation of some of the world’s first environmental refugees: the Carteret Islanders in the South Pacific. When rising seas threaten their survival, the islanders face a painful decision: they must leave their beloved land in search of a new place to call home.

Also playing are:  Kim Snyder's Crossing Midnight (USA/Burma, 29 min.) about a refugee health care clinic on the Thai-Burma border; The Return of Old Man Kabura (Burundi, 7 min) by the Burundi Film Center's Patrick Ngendakumana; and two shorts by Medill students: in Dzaleka Dances, young Malawians use hip-hop to express themselves in a refugee camp; and in The Road to Amman, an Iraqi refugee reflects on her trying journey from Baghdad to Amman. Program length: 88 min.    

    SAT, April 16 • MTC Forum – Medill School of Journalism • 7:30 pm


China/USA | 85 min | A film by Lynn True, Nelson Walker, and Tserling Paro

This gorgeous documentary follows a young nomadic family as they battle the elements to herd yak in the high grasslands of eastern Tibet, considered to be the highest, coldest, and most remote corner of Sichuan Province, China. With rare access to an area seldom visited by
outsiders, Summer Pasture captures the hardships and the genuine love the young couple have for one another.  But their traditional life of "following the yak's tail" is under growing pressure from the outside world. Summer Pasture provides a deeply personal account of what it means to be a nomad in a swiftly modernizing world, and a universal story of family survival.

Preceded by Nina Sabnani's animation The Stitches Speak (India,12 min.) about traditional Indian arts.   

Screening sponsored by Mt. Everest Restaurant


    SAT, April 16 • Northwestern University: Annie May Swift Hall • 3 pm


Colombia | 75 min. | Director: Jairo Eduardo Carrillo

In Colombia, there are around a million children who are victims of the armed conflicts that have been disrupting the country for years. Based on interviews and drawings of 8 to 13 year olds, the animated Little Voices lets us see the world through the eyes of four children as they move from idyllic family scenes to encounters with military forces, paramilitaries and guerillas. In one of its first U.S. screenings, this moving film takes us along on the children's heartrending journey as they share their hopes and dreams against all odds. Preceded by two animated shorts:  Great Expectations (Romania, 3 min.) and L'Anima Mavi (Italy, 4min.)

"After ‘Waltz with Bashir,’ the animated docu genre has another impressive entry in ‘Little Voices'…" – Variety

Co-presented with Rotary Club of Evanston Lighthouse


    SAT, April 16 • Northwestern University: Annie May Swift Hall • 5 pm


USA I 95 min I Director: Storme Wood

How often do we see a comedy set in the world of religious fundamentalism? This charming indie film follows Esther, a devout young woman, who lives under the watchful eye of a conservative Christian sect.  When Esther takes a job at the local health food store, her beliefs collide with her more bohemian co-workers' views. Accused by her church of sinning, Esther’s new friends stand by her and open her mind to different experiences and provocative questions.

Filled with light comedic touches and never condescending, Paradise Recovered manages to question the spiritually abusive aspects of Esther's path without ever attacking her genuine, deeply felt faith. 

With director Storme Wood and writer/co-producer Andie Redwine in person!

    SAT, April 16 • Northwestern University: Annie May Swift Hall • 7:15 pm

Watching the Oscar nominated shorts is like attending a festival within a festival – this year's selection features a mixture of woe and whimsy. The Confession (UK, 26 min.) is the story of a 9-year old boy who innocently pulls a prank before his first confession… with tragic results. In The Crush (Ireland, 15 min.) a challenge to the death is initiated by an 8-year old boy when he meets his teacher’s boyfriend. The quest for love continues in God of Love (USA, 18 min.), when a lounge-singing darts champion receives a mysterious package of passion-inducing darts.

The sobering short Na Wewe (Belgium, 19 min.) brings viewers to the 1994 civil war in Burundi, where issues of ethnic and racial strife are sensitively illuminated.   And in Wish 143 (UK, 24 min.) viewers meet a 15-year old dying boy whose only wish is to spend an hour alone with a naked woman. Program length: 102 min.

    SAT, April 16 • Northwestern University: Annie May Swift Hall • 9:15 pm


From Chicago to Italy and New Zealand, this program of international shorts offers a great mix of animation, fiction, and documentary.  Among the Chicago-made films are Jeremy Bessoff's Red Rider's Lament (17 min), an animated Western created entirely out of paper landscapes and found objects, Arturo Cubacub's extravagantly
stylized music video S t r e t c h (4 min.) and Kate Raney's delightful animated Deux Petits Bateaux (3 min.).

From Kartemquin Films comes Justine Nagan's Sacred Transformations (9 min.) about Chicago artist Erik Spruth, who helps people transform tattoos that no longer represent who they are into meaningful new works of art. 

Also playing are Shelly Silver's experimental 5 lessons and 9 questions about Chinatown (10 min.), the sci-fi spoof Spaceslime! (8 min.) by Evanston's Paul McComas, and James Cunningham’s hilarious submarine adventure Das Tub (New Zealand, 4 min.).  Rounding out the program are Milwaukee filmmaker Shawn Monaghan's dark comedy Final Census (10 min.), the playful Turn Baby Turn (Germany) by Dagie Brundert, I Chopped Her Up (UK) by Divian Ladwa, the lyrical Nuvole, Mani (Italy) by Simone Massi,  and the animated The Face Shop by Noella Bori, and What We Do (UK) by Gareth Crook. Program length approx. 85 min.  Filmmakers in person! 

    SAT, April 16 • Evanston Public Library • 1 pm


The centerpiece of this intriguing program of international shorts is Alejandro Guerra's Native (Poland, 38 min.), an acerbic look at a sub-culture of English-speaking expats in Poland. What makes these men (and very few women) leave their own countries to choose life in Eastern Europe?  Being an English 'native speaker' means you can find work anywhere in the world – an opportunity that offers an appealing amount of freedom, even an escape from responsibility. Some engage in the local culture, others see their time there as a temporary, carefree stop on the path to adult life. 

Also playing are Lars Kornhoff's finely acted coming-of-age story Kinderspiel (Germany, 18 min.), the animated fable Last Minute (Czech Republic) by Linda Audyová, and Julia Gromskaya handpainted L'Anima Mavi (Italy), which seems to have stepped right out of a Van Gogh painting.  Other excellent international animated shorts on the program include Time for Change (New Zealand) by James Cunningham, Great Expectations (Romania) by Alexei Gubenco. and Surviving Hunger (USA) by Balgum Song. 

. Program length approx: 75 min.

    SAT, April 16 • Evanston Public Library • 3 pm


USA | 69 min. | Co-Directors: Jacqueline Richard and Margot Fassler

Choirs in congregations across the United States are shrinking, with music readership and participation down.  In African American churches, loss of the unique repertoire would be significant – both musically and culturally. 

You Can’t Sing It For Them follows Ivy League educated Jonathan Berryman, the dedicated Director of Music at one of Connecticut’s oldest black churches, WEB Du Bois Messiah Baptist.  Amidst a congregation chock-full of opinions and personalities, the film is an entertaining and illuminating look at issues that are sacred and profane, personal and institutional.  This is a film with soul!

Co-presented with Shorefront  

    SUN, April 17 • Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art • 1:30 pm


Animated shorts are entertainment for everyone! This year's Oscar-winning The Lost Thing (Australia/UK, 15 min.) follows a boy as he discovers a bizarre looking creature on the beach. The Oscar nominees in this fun line-up include Day & Night (USA, 6 min.), a story of clashing opposites, and The Gruffalo (UK/Germany, 27 min.), in which a mouse invents an imaginary monster as defense against three predators. If you’re not already an expert, Let’s Pollute (USA, 6 min.) satirically provides instructions on how to hone your polluting skills.

The travel diary Madagascar, Carnet de Voyage (France, 11min.), illustrates the people, customs and beauty of a faraway place.  In just six minutes, The Cow Who Wanted To Be A Hamburger (USA, 6 min.) tackles topics including the power of advertising and the meaning of life!   Finally, URS (Germany, 10 min.) is a boy who takes a dangerous journey with his mother who would rather stay home. Program length: 81 min.

Screening sponsored by First Bank & Trust  

    SUN, April 17 • Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art • 3:30 pm 


Russia | 75 min. I Director: Alexei Fedorchenko

The winner of multiple awards at the Venice Film Festival, Silent Souls follows the journey of Aist, an introspective photographer, and his brusque employer Miron, as they drive through the wintry Russian plains. Miron's beloved wife has died and now the men are on a melancholic road-trip to carry out funeral rites according to the ancient customs of their near-extinct tribe. Along the way, Miron shares intimate memories of his conjugal life, while Aist revisits his own memories of the past. Director Fedorchenko's exquisite painterly compositions create an almost metaphysical journey as the two men traverse both external and internal terrains, the past and the present.

    SUN, April 17 • MTC Forum – Medill School of Journalism– 1 pm


USA I 80 min. I Director: Peter Gilbert

When over 40 artists and scientists traveled on an ice-breaking ship off the coast of Greenland to see the effects of climate change first-hand, Chicago filmmaker Peter Gilbert (Hoop Dreams; At the Death House Door) was right there with them.  Led by the climate change project Cape Farewell, their goal was to formulate creative responses to global warming.  Joined by co-director Adam Singer and co-producer Zak Piper, Gilbert beautifully captures the magnificence of the arctic and the creative 'road trip' spirit that prompts jam sessions and lively debates among artists and musicians including Laurie Anderson, KT Tunstall, Jarvis Cocker, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Robyn Hitchcock, Leslie Feist, Martha Wainwright, Suzan-Lori Parks, Andrew Revkin, Chris Wainwright, David Buckland, Sophie Calle, and architect Sunand Prasad, among others.          

Filmmakers Peter Gilbert and Adam Singer in person!  

    SUN, April 17 • MTC Forum – Medill School of Journalism– 3 pm


USA | 80 min. | Director: M.T. Silvia

Relationships between mothers and daughters can be complicated – especially if the legacy of the atomic bomb divides them.  In this moving, personal documentary, filmmaker and lifelong peace advocate M.T. Silvia reaches out to two women with very different experiences of the atomic bomb:  Hiroshima survivor Emiko Okada and the filmmaker's own mother, Pauline Silvia, who did top-secret scientific research at the U.S. nuclear test site in Nevada in the 1950s.  Interwoven with information about our country's atomic legacy, the resulting story is one of forgiveness and reconciliation in the face of the continuing presence of nuclear weapons worldwide. 

With filmmaker M.T. Silvia in person!

Co-presented with North Suburban Peace Initiative 

Screening sponsored by Comix Revolution

    SUN, April 17 • MTC Forum – Medill School of Journalism– 5 pm


USA | 82 min. | Director: Lawrence Johnson

What's left behind?  When aging baby-boomers have to deal with their parents' death and remaining possessions, it falls to them to sort through the accumulations of a lifetime. Filmmaker Larry Johnson finds himself in exactly that situation when he inherits a storage unit that's bursting at the seams. Reminiscent of Alan Berliner and Ross McElwee's style of personal documentary-making, Stuff is a touching and often funny film about Johnson's unresolved relationship with his dead father and the mysteries uncovered when he inherits box after box of his dad's meticulously organized "stuff." But as we learn about Larry's father, we also begin to see that the film is as much about the filmmaker and his own foibles as it is about dad.

With filmmaker Larry Johnson in person!

Play trailer >>>

    SUN, April 17 • Evanston Public Library • 1:30 pm


USA | 57 min. | Director: Jay Rosenstein

If your child was bullied to attend religion classes would you take it all the way to the Supreme Court? That's exactly what Mrs. Vashti McCollum of Champaign, Illinois did in 1945, when her fifth-grade son refused to go to voluntary religion classes.

This inspiring, Peabody award-winning film tells the personal story behind one of the most important First Amendment cases in U.S. history – McCollum vs. Board of Education – the case that began the separation of church and state in public schools. 

    SUN, April 17 • Evanston Public Library • 3:30 pm



This program pairs two very different short documentaries about water:  Susan Edwards' Marion Stoddart: The Work of 1000 (USA, 30 min.) takes us back to the 1960s and Massachusetts' Nashua River, one of the most polluted in America. An unlikely activist, Marion Stoddart lived next to this toxic waterway and unexpectedly transformed herself from a housewife and mother to an environmental leader and citizen hero honored by the United Nations. This inspiring documentary chronicles how an ordinary woman took on big business, politicians, and public skepticism, demonstrating clearly how one person truly can make a difference. 

Chicago filmmaker Michael Sternoff's likable documentary Under the Ice (USA, 30 min) takes us on a journey to the icy waters of Wisconsin's Lake Winnebago during sturgeon spearing season. Over ten-thousand fishermen partake in this annual ritual, despite the fact that many of them will probably wait for a decade before they ever get to see a sturgeon.

Program length: 60 min.

    SUN, April 17 •  Indigo Lounge, Hilton Orrington Hotel Evanston • 7 pm


Gather with friends and visiting filmmakers, talk about the flicks you've seen and  join us for an end of the fest celebration in the Indigo Lounge of Hilton Orrington/Evanston. Free appetizers, cash bar.