2009

Best Animation
Animation
United States
Runtime:
4 minutes
23 seconds
Director:
Elliot Cowan

REIFF 2009

In this 8th stressful adventure, Boxhead and Roundhead attempt to relax on a peaceful Sunday morning. The Universe however, has other plans. Edward Gorey meets Kubrick in this tale of mayhem, destruction and hot tea.

Best Experimental
Experimental
United States
Runtime:
18 minutes
Director:
Barbara Klutinis

REIFF 2009

Found footage interweaves an account of Rosemary Kennedy's lobotomy procedure in 1941 with an overview of the psychosurgery movement of the 1930's-1960's in the US.

Honorable Mention
Documentary Short
United States
Runtime:
18 minutes
Director:
Francis Cairo

REIFF 2009

What does it say about American politics when a billionaire donor dresses up like King George III on Capitol Hill, and publishes a major Republican newspaper, and no one seems to care? A journalist goes inside the creepy world of Reverend Moon, the '70s cult leader turned conservative newspaperman...the L Ron Hubbard of the Far East

Honorable Mention
Documentary Feature
United States
Runtime:
Director:
Cyndi Moran, Eric Scholl

REIFF 2009

Leo Abshire may be the best musician most people have never heard of. He was a world-class musician and instrument maker who played for royalty, presidents, and at the Olympic Games in Atlanta. However, outside of Cajun music circles, he was relatively unknown, at least in the United States. He worked on the Louisiana and Texas oilrigs and factories until his retirement in 1995. But for decades, he was a living embodiment of the traditions of Cajun culture, and made it his life's work to pass those traditions on to a new generation of musicians. Leo Abshire played his music because he had to, because it was a part of who he was and where he came from.

He was a hard working, humble man who didn't look or act the part of a great musician, but as Prof. Barry Ancelet points out, 'When he picked up a fiddle, he was transformed.' Cajun music fans know Leo Abshire from his early playing with Joe Bonsall, his later work with D.L. Menard and Eddie LeJeune, and from his world-famous Mardi Gras jam sessions. 'It's In the Blood' tells the story of Mr. Abshire’s music, and places it within a broader context of what it means to be part of the long and unique Cajun tradition. The documentary features music by Leo Abshire and the Olde Tymer's Cajun Band, and interviews with Cajun musical legends Doug Kershaw, D.L. Menard, and Steve Riley.

Honorable Mention
Narrative Feature
United States
Runtime:
Director:
Dorothy Lyman

REIFF 2009

Manningtree, New Jersey is a little town on the brink of extinction. The 19th century storefronts of Old Town are being threatened by an international development cabal, North Sea Assets. North Sea is preparing to raze Old Town and replace it with a massive mall/luxury condo complex named – incongruously – Cortona. If Cortona is built, a dozen mom and pop businesses will be bought out and uprooted, and if anyone refuses to sell, North Sea Assets is prepared to use eminent domain law to pry the Old Towners off of their property.

When Lizzie receives official notice from the Town of Manningtree that the powers that be intend to plop the grotesque Cortona right in the middle of Old Town, Lizzie vows to fight the invasion. Invoking the spirit of her countryman, William Wallace, aka Braveheart, Lizzie enlists the aid of antique dealer Bernie Depper, her Paisley Set staff, Tiny’s Aunt Connie Provenzano, and the whole town, in her struggle to fend off the developers.

Honorable Mention
Narrative Short
United States
Runtime:
9 minutes
30 seconds
Director:
Prashant Nair

REIFF 2009

Max & Helena tells the tale of how Max fell in love with Helena, fell out of love with French food and discovered every corner of New York City in the process. Shot in 3 days on a D-SLR in New York City, Max & Helena is a final project for an NYU Continuing Education Class.

 

Honorable Mention
Animation
Canada
Runtime:
5 minutes
Director:
Callum Paterson

REIFF 2009

In a forest of corduroy and felt, the splendid bird of paradise 'Bonefeather' and his beady-eyed neighbor sing, dance and battle for the chance to mate with a beautiful female.

Honorable Mention
Experimental
United States
Runtime:
10 minutes
Director:
Jennifer Hardacker

REIFF 2009

The life of a garden after dark: Balinese dancers sway on the petals of clematis flowers, Russian singers perform in a calla lily. In The Nightgardener disparate images that capture an idea about the humanity of the world play on floral screens.

2010

Best of the Fest
Documentary Feature
Australia
Runtime:
1 hour(s)
18 minutes
Director:
Violeta Ayala, Daniel Fallshaw

REIFF 2010

Australian-based filmmakers Violeta Ayala and Dan Fallshaw originally set out to make a documentary about an under-reported land dispute in Northern Africa. Once they started shooting, however, they gradually stumbled on a story about modern slavery that has become hugely controversial.

In 2007, Ayala and Fallshaw were drawn to the cause of the Polisario Liberation Front, which represents the Sahrawi people (meaning people of the Sahara), who have long struggled for control of the Western Sahara against the competing interests of Morocco and other factions. The two spent several weeks in a refugee camp controlled by the Polisario. Inside the camps, a complex hierarchy exists between the white Arabs and blacks, all of whom consider themselves Sahrawi. The filmmakers focused on a black woman in her thirties named Fetim Sellami, who is reunited with her mother through a United Nations programme. Sellami has a noticeably servile relationship with an older white woman named Deido. Upon further questioning, the filmmakers recorded persuasive testimony that a form of slavery continues to be practiced. The existence of modern slavery has been detailed in books like Kevin Bales's Disposable People, but rarely has it been covered on film as intimately as in Stolen.

The Polisario staunchly maintains that it forbids slavery. When Ayala and Fallshaw raised the topic in the camps, they soon found themselves unwelcome. Fearing that their tapes would be seized, the filmmakers buried them in the desert and fled. Stolen turns into a tale of suspense and political intrigue as the filmmakers struggle to recover their tapes. Placing themselves in the story, Ayala and Fallshaw document their own moral quandaries. They include a statement by Sellami maintaining that she's not a slave, contradicting what others say. The filmmakers don't purport to have all the answers, but they do raise important questions. You can expect a heated discussion after each screening.

Reviews

"Pacy, exciting and hugely engrossing" Variety
"Riveting stuff" The Toronto Star
"Stolen is a dramatic and complex exploration of modern slavery, not to mention a fascinating study of the perils of documentary filmmaking" The Globe and Mail
"You really have to see it to believe it. Its like a spy story." ABC Movie Time

Feature Film Award
Narrative Feature
United States
Runtime:
1 hour(s)
37 minutes
Director:
Martha Stephens

REIFF 2010

Set among the Eastern Kentucky Coalfields, Passenger Pigeons quietly interweaves four separate story lines over the course of a weekend as the town copes with the death of a local miner.

When his brother dies in a mining accident, Moses drives cross country in his beat up Dodge Dart to bury him. He spends his weekend aimlessly wandering around the town he tried to forget, while reconnecting with his sister-in-law and young nephew. Buck and Nolan, two suits from the coal company, arrive in town to oversee the mine inspections. On the eve of his retirement, Buck trains his replacement, Nolan, on the ins and the outs of the coal business. After a mix up with the motel reservations, the odd couple finds themselves out of their element, camping in the woods.

With the mines shut down and the effects looming over, two young lovers, Elva and Jesse, go on a 'vacation' a few counties away. Trying to forget the endless tragedy that comes with working in the mines, Jesse seeks escapism while Elva can only think of the dangerous possibilities if Jesse returns to work. When a mountain top removal protest gets canceled, a young activist from Washington D.C. takes it upon herself to spread the message around town. Finding her attempts to explain the dangers of surface mining to be a lost cause, Robin is surprised when a retired miner takes an interest in what she has to say.

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