Hannah Dweck & Yael Luttwak | Washington, DC | 75 min
Three women, all previously incarcerated for nonviolent crimes, grapple with the harsh realities of life outside of prison. Illuminating the hopes, dreams, desires, and disappointments of its protagonists, Guest House chips away at our preconceived notions about individuals navigating the American criminal justice system.
Chelsea Hernandez | Austin, TX | 73 min
In Texas, workplace safety (not to mention fair pay) for immigrants is hardly a priority. But a movement for justice is changing the conversation. In Building the American Dream, a Mexican family campaigns for a safety ordinance. A Salvadoran couple owed thousands in back pay fights for their children’s future. And a bereaved son battles to protect others from preventable tragedy. Their stories of courage and community offer up shocking truths about the American Dream.
Lev Omelchenko | Atlanta, GA | 51 min
Seventeen years after immigrating to the United States, filmmaker Lev Omelchenko returns to the Ukraine to visit his only living grandparent, Lida, on her 70th birthday. Still tending to farm animals on ancestral land in rural Solonitsa, Lida lives alone in the home she built with her late husband. This documentary portrait offers up a day in her life, one complicated by the unexpected arrival of her grandson.
Danny Madden | Los Angeles, CA | 86 min
In a quiet southern town, popular and charismatic theatre kid Krista finds herself increasingly drawn to Nito, the new student in her high school who catches her attention with his impressive skating videos. The two share an easy rapport and quickly grow close. Unbeknownst to her, their lives and that of her gun-loving neighbor, Adam, will soon become intertwined—until they reach a breaking point. Beast Beast premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
Tim Tsai | Visalia, CA | 69 min
In 1979, a Vietnamese refugee shot and killed a white crab fisherman on the public docks of Seadrift, Texas. What began as a dispute over fishing territory erupted into violence, igniting a maelstrom of boat burnings, KKK intimidation, and other hostilities against Vietnamese living along the Gulf Coast. Set during the early days of postwar Vietnamese arrival in the US, Seadrift examines the circumstances that led to the shooting, and the unexpected consequences that followed.
Stephanie Saxemard | Saint Esprit, Martinique | 49 min
On the night of September 18, 2017, Hurricane Maria struck the island of Dominica. For several days, the country was engulfed in silence, completely cut off from the rest of the world. From the neighboring island of Martinique, a film crew decided to brave the stormy waters of the Dominican channel to establish contact.
Bill and Turner Ross | New Orleans, LA | 98 min
Genre: Documentary/Narrative Hybrid
In the shadows of the bright lights of Las Vegas, it’s last call for a beloved dive bar known as the Roaring 20s. That’s the premise, at least; the reality is as unreal as the world the regulars are escaping from. Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets is a mosaic of disparate lives, teetering between dignity and debauchery, reckoning with the past as they face an uncertain future, and singing as their ship goes down. Indie Grits alumni and filmmaking duo Bill and Turner Ross (Western, 2015) return with an elegiac portrait of a tiny world fading away but still warm and beating with the comfort of community. Their beguiling approach to nonfiction storytelling makes for a foggy memory of experience lost in empty shot glasses and puffs of smoke. Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
Raúl O. Paz Pastrana | Denver, CO | 83 min
Every year, hundreds of thousands of Central American migrants begin a treacherous journey northward, passing through Mexico to reach the United States. Director Raúl O. Paz Pastrana spent four years embedded with these migrants, capturing their day-to-day struggles as well as their ingenuity, courage, and grim humor. Met with resistance from increasingly hostile governments, and confronted by life-threatening circumstances, Pastrana’s subjects are steadfast in their resolve to reach the US.
Elizabeth Coffman & Mark Bosco | Chicago, IL & Washington DC | 97 min
“Lives spent between the house and the chicken yard,” Flannery O’Connor once quipped, “do not make exciting copy.” And yet the iconic American writer’s seemingly banal life was replete with the stuff of compelling biography. Animated sequences, archival footage, and audio recordings of O’Connor (as well as present-day readings from admirers like Tommy Lee Jones and Alice Walker) offer a rare glimpse into the psyche of a uniquely southern artist.
Hannah Black & Megan Petersen | Wilmington, NC | 84 min
Summer 1993. Trapped in a small southern town afflicted by the worst drought in recent memory, recent high-school grad Sam (in cahoots with her younger brother, Carl, who is fascinated with weather) hatches a plan to steal her mother’s ice cream truck and head west in pursuit of a big storm. The two reconnect with their estranged sister, Lillian, and their friend Lewis, for a life-altering adventure on the road.
Ja’Tovia Gary | Dallas, TX | 42 min
Filmed on location in Harlem and in Claude Monet’s historic gardens in Giverny, France, The Giverny Document is a poetic meditation on safety and bodily autonomy among Black women. This distinctive experimental feature utilizes direct animation techniques, woman-on-the-street interviews, and montage-style editing to explore the creative virtuosity of Black femme performance figures, simultaneously interrogating the histories of those bodies as spaces of forced labor and commodified production.
Rachel Reichman & Deborah Shaffer | Brooklyn, NY | 75 min
88-year-old Audrey Flack holds a unique place in the history of contemporary American art. An abstract expressionist, photorealist, and creator of monumental public sculptures, Flack has always been a trailblazer. Queen of Hearts accompanies Flack on her latest creative journey, and offers insights into her struggles as the parent of a child with autism.
Megan Q. Daniels & Manie Robinson | Pittsboro, NC | 65 min
A group of transgender ministers in North Carolina reckon with prejudice in their communities, as well as their families. As they challenge the status quo of silence and shame, their journey puts them face to face with governing bodies within their church in this emotional chronicle of individual authenticity and collective spirituality.
Alexander John Glustrom | New Orleans, LA | 75 min
“We’re in downtown Mossville,” Stacey Ryan says. “Population: one.” A once-thriving Louisiana community founded over a century ago by the formerly enslaved, Mossville has been ravaged by industrialization, with chemical spills and other hazardous incidents poisoning the landscape—and its people. In spite of an ongoing site development project by the South African corporation Sasol, Ryan resists calls to leave, clinging steadfastly to his ancestral home.