This year’s mini-fest sequel is one for the books. For the first time in our conference history, we’ll be screening films under the stars! Join us on the evenings of Monday, October 9 and Tuesday, October 10 for must-see cinema on the seafront lawn of The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort. The rest of our carefully curated slate will unspool inside the hotel. But whether indoors or out, expect the best in current documentary and fiction film-making exploring themes of disability and diversity, together with expert commentary and lively audience participation. As ever at this much-anticipated festival, we will showcase critically acclaimed works and use them as a catalyst for discussion, healing and change.
Curator – Laura Blum
Laura Blum is a curator, journalist and producer based in Manhattan. Laura has curated numerous film series, including a critically acclaimed Czech film retrospective at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. She covers movies and art for the Grumbacher arts site thalo.com and writes a film blog at FilmFestivals.com. Her independent production credits include The Cry and Becoming Barack, and in her former position as head of film and TV development at Sony BMG Music Entertainment, she collaborated on music-themed documentaries from John Denver Remembered to P!nk in Europe. Laura co-edited the global bestseller Mating in Captivity, collaborated on the national bestseller The Thanksgiving Celebration and contributed to More Than a Movie: Ethics in Entertainment. She regularly speaks about film for universities, cinema clubs and festivals, including Wesleyan University, Talk Cinema and the Furman Film Series.
In her early career as political analyst, she spent nearly a decade writing and reporting in the Middle East, North Africa and France, including positions as author and researcher with The Center for Strategic and International Studies, Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and The Hebrew University’s Truman Institute. Laura holds an M.A. in Middle Eastern and International Affairs from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a B.A. in History and Art Design from Duke University. She is fluent in French, Spanish and Hebrew, and proficient in Arabic.
Film Schedule & Synopsis
Turtle (105 min, India) 2016
Janaki, a divorcee helping to save endangered sea-turtles in Goa, provides the shelter of her beach house to a suicidal young man. Just as turtle moms must lay their eggs and hope for the best from their offspring, so, too, Janaki creates an emotional incubator until her houseguest can swim away on his own. This exquisitely realized social drama is a template for non-judgmental, non-intrusive communication and healing. Winner, Best Feature at India’s National Film Awards. Q&A with actor/producer/psychiatrist Dr. Mohan Agashe.
Directed by: Sumitra Bhave, Sunil Sukthankar, https://www.facebook.com/Kaasav.movie/
God Knows Where I Am (97 min, USA) 2016
After one of the coldest winters on record, a woman’s body is found in an abandoned New Hampshire farmhouse. Her journal reveals her name, Linda Bishop, and offers clues about how she came to this unfortunate end. Using Linda’s own words, full of poignancy and humor, this award-sweeping film composes a poetic eulogy to a once-vivacious woman who succumbed to mental illness, and masterfully indicts a flawed mental health-care system. Q&A with Jedd and Todd Wider.
Directed by: Jedd Wider, Todd Wider, http://godknowswhereiam.com
Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw (56 min, USA) 2015
The odyssey of “the female Michael Jordan” from troubled family life to basketball superstardom reveals a long-hidden battle with mental illness and near-suicide. Chronicling Holdsclaw’s athletic accomplishments and personal challenges, this award-winning documentary, narrated by Glenn
Close, provides an intimate and instructive portrait of one person’s struggle for mental health recovery despite public stigma.
Directed by: Rick Goldsmith, https://kovnocommunications.org/films/mindgame-the-unquiet-journey-of-chamique-holdsclaw/
Sanctuary (87 min, Ireland) 2016
Like any couple, Larry and Sophie want to be alone, together. But they both have intellectual disabilities, and by attempting to be intimate, they’re breaking the law in Ireland. Will love triumph? Both hilarious and heartbreaking, Sanctuary follows the pair on a romp through Galway that reveals the ethical dilemmas complicating their—and their friends' and caregivers'—lives.
Directed by: Len Collin, http://www.lencollin.co.uk/page5/
The View from Tall (87 min, USA) 2016
Precocious, isolated and bullied by her fellow highschoolers, Justine reluctantly begins therapy in the messy wake of an affair with her English teacher. After a few rocky sessions, she forms an unlikely bond with Douglas, her therapist, who is in a wheelchair and nurses demons of his own. Told with a sardonic wit, The View from Tall is a tender story of self-discovery at more than one age. Q&A with co-director/writer Caitlin Parrish.
Directed by: Caitlin Parrish, Erica Weiss, https://www.facebook.com/theviewfromtall