The 2015 Teaneck International Film Festival
Thursday November 5th to Sunday November 8th, 2015
All About the Films
Note: Films are in English unless otherwise noted. Many films are unrated; parental caution is advised.
AKA Doc Pomus
Documentary-99 minutes
Directed by Peter Miller & Will Hechter
Talkback with director
Sponsored by Teaneck Rotary
Official Site - IMDb - Facebook - Trailer
Paralyzed with polio as a child, Brooklyn-born Jerome Felder reinvented himself first as a blues singer, renaming himself Doc Pomus, then emerged as one of the most brilliant songwriters of the rock and roll era, writing for Teaneck’s own Ben E. King, Elvis Presley, Dion, and dozens of others.  This documentary brings to life Doc’s joyous, romantic, heartbreaking and extraordinary eventful journey.
Documentary-77 minutes
Directed by Rex Miller
Talkback with director and tennis greats on opening night
There will be no talkback at Friday's Encore Screening!
Sponsored by the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. Bergen/Passaic Chapter, and the Bergen County (NJ) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated
Official Site - IMDb - Facebook - Trailer
The life and career of Althea Gibson, a truant from the rough streets of Harlem, who emerged as the first African-American woman to play and win at Wimbledon and Forest Hills in the highly segregated tennis world of the 1950s.
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
Documentary-113 minutes
Directed by Stanley Nelson
Talkback to follow with Laurens Grant, Producer and other special guests
Official Site - Facebook - Trailer
This is the first feature length documentary to explore the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American Culture and its cultural and political awakening for black people, and the painful lessons wrought when a movement derails.
Boxed In
short-feature-29 minutes
Directed by Tasha Smith
Talkback to follow on mental health in the African American Community
A black man in NYC struggles with bipolar disorder, while his girlfriend and mother learn to deal with the pain of his manic episode and struggle for mental survival.
Dil Dhadakne Do
India-musical/comedy/drama-170 minutes
Directed by Zoya Akhtar, Hindi with English subtitles
Talkback to follow
Sponsored by NPZ Law Group, Global Immigration Attorneys
Ken Naz, CEO of Eros International to be honored
IMDb - Facebook - Trailer
On a cruise to celebrate their parents' 30th wedding anniversary, a brother and sister deal with the impact of their dysfunctional family’s meddling into their romantic lives.
England –comedy/drama-94 minutes
Directed by John Goldschmidt
Talkback to follow
Sponsored by Heritage Pointe of Teaneck
Official Site - IMDb - Trailer
Curmudgeonly widow Nat Dayan (Jonathan Pryce) obstinately clings to his way of life and his livelihood as a Kosher bakery shop owner in London’s East End. With a dwindling clientele and the pressures of encroaching big box stores, Nat reluctantly enlists the help of teenager Ayyash who has a secret side gig selling marijuana to help his struggling immigrant mother make ends meet. When Ayyash accidentally drops his stash into the mixing dough, the challah starts flying off the shelves and an unlikely friendship forms between the old Jewish baker and his young Muslim apprentice.
Pakistan-drama/thriller-93 minutes
Directed by Afia Nathaniel, Urdu and Pushto with English subtitles
Talkback to follow film with director
Sponsored by The Teaneck Community Chorus
The chorus will present a short concert following the screening
Official Site - IMDb - Facebook - Trailer
In the mountains of Pakistan, a mother and her ten-year-old daughter flee their home on the eve of the girl's marriage to a tribal leader. A deadly hunt for them begins.
Félix and Meira
Canada-drama-105 minutes
Directed by Maxime Giroux, Yiddish and French with English subtitles
Talkback to follow with featured actress Melissa Weisz
Official Site - IMDb - Trailer
A young Hasidic housewife from Montreal's Orthodox Jewish community finds freedom from the strictures of her faith through her relationship with a young man who is mourning the death of his estranged father.
USA-drama-103 minutes
Directed by Peter Sollett
Talkback to follow with Steven Goldstein and State Senator Loretta Weinberg
Official Site - IMDb - Facebook - Trailer
New Jersey police lieutenant, Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore), and her registered domestic partner, Stacie Andree (Ellen Page), both battle to secure Hester's pension benefits when she is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Film features Teaneck resident and founder of Garden State Equality, Steven Goldstein, who fought the case for the couple’s rights.
The Hunting Ground
Documentary-103 minutes
Directed by Kirby Dick
Talkback to follow with journalist/attorney/playwright Cindy Cooper, who has been writing in depth about the issues raised by campus assault, Healing Space Clinical Supervisor, Steve Oretski, Allison Kiss from Clery Center.
Sponsored by YWCA of Bergen County and healingSpace
Official Site - IMDb - Facebook - Trailer
From the Academy Award-nominated filmmaking team behind The Invisible War, comes a startling exposé of sexual assault on U.S. campuses, institutional cover-ups and the brutal social toll on victims and their families.
I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story
Documentary-90 minutes
Directed by Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker
Talkback to follow with Bob McGrath and other guests
Sponsored by Wendy Dessanti, Weichert Realtors
Official Site - IMDb - Facebook - Trailer
This heartwarming doc chronicles the life of Caroll Spinney, the man who has been Sesame Street's Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since 1969.
Kid Flix Mix 2015: The Best of the New York International Children's Film Festival
Live action animated short films-60 minutes
Hosted by Bob McGrath of Sesame Street
For Children 4-8
Thanks to a grant from the Puffin Foundation, children will be admitted free when accompanied by an adult.
Official Site
Once again, TIFF presents the acclaimed New York International Children's Film Festival assortment of its best animated and live action films, for children from 4-8. Bob McGrath, of Teaneck and Sesame Street, will introduce the program, which features musical and narrative works from around the world. The collection is guaranteed to delight our youngest filmgoers.
Locked Out
short-5 minutes
Directed by Juan Mejia and Juan Castaneda
Talkback to follow with film’s directors
Official Site
Holden is just one of the 2.4 million people who was entrapped within the criminal justice system. After his release from prison he does all he can to make it in a world that does all it can to keep him “Locked Out.”
Losing Ground
drama-1982-86 minutes
Directed by Kathleen Collins
Talkback to follow with lead actress and Teaneck native Seret Scott and film’s production crew
Sponsored by the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. Bergen/Passaic Chapter
Official Site - IMDb - Trailer
Finally receiving a long overdue theatrical run, Losing Ground is one of the first feature films written and directed by a black woman and a groundbreaking romance exploring women’s sexuality and modern marriage.
Margarita, With a Straw
India-romantic drama-100 minutes
Directed by Shonali Bose, Hindi with English subtitles
Talkback to follow
Sponsored by The League of Women Voters
Official Site - IMDb - Facebook - Trailer
A rebellious young woman with cerebral palsy leaves her home in India to study in New York, unexpectedly falls in love, and embarks on an exhilarating journey of self-discovery.
The New Girlfriend
France-drama/mystery-109 minutes
Directed by Francois Ozon, French with English Subtitles
Talkback to follow
Official Site - IMDb - Facebook - Trailer
Childhood best friends Claire and Laura are utterly inseparable, so it comes as a particularly devastating blow when Laura becomes ill and dies, leaving her husband, David, to raise their newborn daughter Lucie by himself. As she stops by the house one afternoon, door unlocked, she find a strange woman holding Lucie, who, on closer inspection, turns out to be David in a blonde wig and one of Laura's dresses.
Germany-silent feature with live musical accompaniment provided by German virtuoso Markus Horn-95 minutes
Directed by F.W. Murnau, with English intertitles
World Premiere
Talkback to follow with German composer Markus Horn
Sponsored by The Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, New York
Official Site - IMDb - Trailer
An unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Nosferatu is the quintessential silent vampire film, crafted by legendary German director F. W. Murnau.
Return of the River
Documentary-55 minutes
Directed by Jessica Plumb and John Gussman
Talkback to follow
Official Site - IMDb - Trailer
A documentary infused with hope, “Return of the River” explores an unlikely victory for environmental justice and restoration. The film follows a group of committed people as they attempt the impossible: to change the public opinion of a town and eventually the nation to bring two dams down.
Documentary-100 minutes
Directed by Aviva Kempner
Talkback to follow
Official Site - IMDb - Facebook - Trailer
The son of German Jewish immigrants, Julius Rosenwald rose from door-to-door salesman to become one of the wealthiest men of early 20th century America. But his little-known legacy is only now coming to light as one of the greatest philanthropists of all time and an inspiring leader in Jewish partnerships with African Americans. Rosenwald is the story of an unsung hero who gave away nearly $1 billion dollars to fund African American initiatives in the segregated south.
Secrets of War
The Netherlands-drama-95 minutes
Directed by Dennis Bots, Dutch with English Subtitles
Talkback to follow
Sponsored by Addie Wijnen
Official Site - IMDb
Secrets Of War puts both the danger and the humanity of wartime friendships squarely on the shoulders of three children who must face extraordinary circumstances with a maturity far beyond their years.
She’s Beautiful When She is Angry
Documentary-92 minutes
Directed by Mary Dore
Talkback to follow
Sponsored by Corethia V. E. Oates, Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley
Official Site - IMDb - Facebook - Trailer
This documentary resurrects the buried history of the outrageous, often brilliant women who founded the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1971.
Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story
Documentary-84 minutes
Directed by NC Heiken
Talkback to follow
Official Site - IMDb - Facebook - Trailer
The late jazz saxophonist Frank Morgan's tale of redemption from drug addict, conman and convict to beloved elder statesman of jazz.
Taking Chance
short-narrative-13 minutes
Directed by Jerry Lamothe
Talkback to follow
Chance, a young aspiring artist from Brooklyn, wants nothing more but to achieve his dreams of making it big. He looks forward to creating music that speaks to a loving and peaceful world. However, in today's' society, such ambitions can prove difficult especially in a community where the mantra 'do or die' still has a strong hold on those around him. With the state of social media and a culture that follows your every move, Chance faces overwhelming pressure from his alpha brother and peers alike, to face a bully he would rather reason with or ignore.
Thao’s Library
Documentary-88 minutes
Directed by Elizabeth Van Meter
Talkback to follow with film's director Elizabeth Van Meter
Official Site - IMDb - Facebook - Trailer
2015 marks fifty years since the first US combat ground forces landed in Vietnam and forty years since the fall of Saigon. The ripple effect of this war continues to rage on today in the life of Thao, a 24-year-old Vietnamese woman born the victim of Agent Orange. Halfway around the world a struggling American, Elizabeth, attempts to cope with a bottomless well of depression brought on after the sudden loss of her famed younger sister. Thao and Elizabeth, two unlikely friends are brought together to reflect on the past and deal with the present, forging a bond that eventually will change both of their lives forever.
When Voices Meet
South Africa-Documentary-86 minutes
Closing Night Film
Directed by Nancy Sutton Smith
Talkback and performance to follow
Sponsored by WOW (Wise Older Women) and the Puffin Foundation, Ltd.
Eva Sandrof will be honored.
Official Site - IMDb - Facebook - Trailer
When Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison, courageous South African musicians broke through Apartheid’s barriers to form a 500-voice, multiracial children’s choir. Threatened with bombs and thwarted at every turn, they prevailed and railroaded across the country aboard The Peace Train with their intrepid leader, Sharon Katz. Winner of Best Documentary, Best Director, and Best Original Soundtrack at its US premiere at the Washington DC World Music & Independent Film Festival.
Documentary-68 minutes
Directed by Melissa Donovan, In Amharic and English with English subtitles
Talkback to follow with Director, Melissa Donovan
Official Site - IMDb - Trailer
Documentary about a young Ethiopian girl's bravery in the face of enormous odds. Living in a remote village with a rare curvature of the spine, Zemene struggles with poverty, poor education, and potentially life-threatening illnesses. But a chance encounter in the streets of Gondar with Dr. Rick Hodes sets in motion a series of events that will change Zemene's life forever. Shot throughout the beautiful countryside of Ethiopia, the film is a poetic testament to the power and bonds of compassion and the potential within us all.