2006 Teaneck International Film Festival Film Roster

Babette's Feast 

Directed by Gabriel Axel

Description: A foodie's feast that offers as much food for thought as it does delectable cuisine. Set in an austere and isolated village in 19th century Denmark , we meet two adult sisters who live with their father, the honored pastor of a small Protestant church. After some years, after their father dies, a French woman refugee, Babette, arrives at their door, begs them to take her in, and commits herself to work for them as maid/housekeeper/cook. The sisters decide to hold a dinner to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth. Babette experiences unexpected good fortune and is allowed to take charge of the preparation of the meal. It's the feast of a lifetime for the members of the tiny church. But it's not just about the food, of course.

Sponsored by Whole Foods Market


Ballets Russes

Directed by Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine

Description:

Unearthing a treasure trove of archival footage, filmmakers Geller and Goldfine have fashioned a dazzlingly entrancing ode to the revolutionary 20 th century dance troupe known as the Ballets Russes. What began as a group of Russian refugees who never danced in Russia became not one but two rival dance troupes who fought the infamous "ballet battles" that consumed London society before World War II.

Directed with consummate invention and infused with juicy anecdotal present-day interviews from many of the company's glamorous stars, the film treats modern audiences to a rare glimpse of the singularly remarkable merger of Russian, American, European and Latin American dancers, choreographers, composers and designers that transformed the face of ballet for generations to come.

Sponsored by Classic Residence by Hyatt


Beauty Academy of Kabul

Directed by Liz Mermin

Description: What happens when a group of hairdressers from America travel to Kabul with the intention of telling Afghan women how to do hair and makeup? This engaging, optimistic documentary tracks a unique development project: a shiny new beauty school, funded in part by beauty-industry mainstays. The American teachers, all volunteers, include three Afghan-Americans returning home for the first time in more than 20 years. The film offers a rare glimpse into Afghan women's lives (including matter-of-fact stories of pre-2001 life under the Taliban) and documents the poignant and often humorous process through which women with very different experiences of life come to learn about one another. 


Been Rich All My Life 

Directed by Heather Lyn MacDonald

Description: This is the story of the Silver Belles, a group of classy, sassy hoofers who met in the 1930s as chorus dancers at the famed Apollo and Cotton Clubs. When the dancers met up again in 1985, they discovered that they'd lost none of their moves — and their performances have been packing in crowds at concert halls in New York . Jazz, a taste of history and unforgettable characters are only a few reasons to see this film. We're thrilled to welcome director Heather Lyn MacDonald and some of the Silver Belles to the Friday night screening.

Sponsored by Bergen/Passaic Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Wome


The Clay Bird 

Directed by Tareque Masud

Description: Set against the backdrop of the turbulent period in the late 1960s leading up to Bangladesh 's independence from Pakistan , the film tells the story of a family torn apart by religion and war. Anu, a shy young boy from rural East Pakistan ( Bangladesh , as it is now known) is sent away by his father Kazi, an orthodox Muslim, to a Madrasah - or Islamic- school. Far from his family and the warmth of his region's Hindu festivities, Anu struggles to adapt to the school's harsh monastic life. Touching on themes of religious tolerance, cultural diversity, and the complexity of Islam, the film has universal relevance in a crisis-ridden world.


The Dying Light 

Directed by Anthony Christiana & Joseph Christiana 

Description: This film - a world premiere at the festival — revolves around a father and two sons whose long-buried demons surface during a stay in a deserted New Jersey beach town in the off-season. When a man who has "come home to die" appears on their doorstep, the tension between the men reaches a boiling point and without fully realizing it, they find themselves standing on the threshold of life and death, struggling to find their relation to it. A 9-minute short comedy, "Soaked," by New Jersey filmmaker Stephanie Daniels, will precede this film.


Keeping Time: The Life, Music & Photography of Milt Hinton

Directed by David G. Berger and Holly Maxson, Producers. 
David G. Berger and Kate Hirson, co-directors

Description: This film vividly documents the nine-decade journey of the African- American jazz bassist and photographer Milt Hinton. Hinton chronicles his life — on camera and behind the camera — from his youth in the segregated Deep South to his position as one of the most respected elder statesman of jazz. It is a perceptive visual and oral history of the music business, race relations, opportunity and achievement in 20th Century America. The film captures Milt Hinton's extraordinary spirit and his solemn commitment to pass on what he learned and experienced to future generations. 


The Lady From Sockholm

Directed by Lynn Lamousin

Description: Here's the premise: Can a clean sock find justice in a dirty town? A sock puppet detective unravels a case involving the disappearance of high-end hosiery. The Video Association of Dallas said, "This clever film noir is as inspired by vintage children's cartoons as by Orson Welles ." Featuring an all-sock puppet cast, it has all the requisite characters of a good Raymond Chandler novel — a private eye, a double-dishing dame, hostile witnesses and plenty of dramatic tension — along with nonstop hosiery puns. This film will be shown in a program with a short, "Binta Y La Gran Idea," directed by Javier Fesser of Spain. Binta is a 7 year old girl who lives in a small village on the Casamance river in southern Senegal. Winning characters and terrific music are the foundation for this charming film.


Divine Order

Directed by Yale Strorm

Description: This film features an abundance of klezmer music, which as the film details, can break your heart or make your spirit soar. It explores the symbiotic relationship between the Rom and Jews who lived together in the Carpathian region before and after World War II and how the Rom, saved Jewish folk music until it could be returned to the Jews, allowing the rebirth of Jewish music in Hungary . Yale Strom, director, composer, musician and writer, has become the world's leading ethnographer/artist of klezmer. This film will be shown in a program with Matisyahu, a short documentary featuring the music of Matisyahu, a Hasidic Reggae/Beat Box/Rapper whose performances meld Jewish tradition with modern sounds, creating a new form of spiritual expression. The film was directed by David E. Baugnon. 

Sponsored by Temple Emeth (Man From Munkacz) and Frameworks (Matisyahu).


Premium 

Directed by Pete Chatmon, Writer/Director/Producer

Description: A romantic comedy/drama by Essex County filmmaker Pete Chatmon. This film, the perfect date movie, follows the personal and career travails of Reginald "Cool" Coolidge (played by Dorian Missick, now starring in ABC's Six Degrees). The film features an outstanding ensemble cast, including Zoe Saldana, Tonya Pinkins, Frankie Faison and Will Harper. Pete Chatmon founded his production company, Double 7 Film, in 2000 to produce short and feature films, commercials, and music videos, will attend the screening and participate in a Q&A with the audience.

 

Sponsored by Bergen County Links


Rebel Without a Pause 

Directed by Nancy Savoca

Description: This is a filmed performance of the stage act, Reno: Rebel Without a Pause, which opened in New York City in October 2001. The show features Tribeca resident and comedian/actress/writer Reno 's perspective of dealing with September 11th in public. Her rapid-fire witness to the events of September 11th and how they affected her personally and in the context of the world at-large became an emotional and cathartic work that drew beleaguered crowds (including local policemen and firefighters) searching for a way to process the complexity of the pain and find a way back to laughter. The Teaneck International Film Festival is proud to host Reno in person for a post-film discussion as well as a dinner reception after that (by reservation only).


Shakespeare Behind Bars 

Directed by Hank Rogerson and Jilann Spitzmiller

Description: This powerful and moving documentary follows the casting, rehearsal, and presentation of Shakespeare's play, The Tempest , by convicted felons inside Kentucky 's Luther Luckett Correctional Complex. Winner of eight film festival awards, the film smashes many of our long held notions about prisoners and criminals as we watch these remarkably unique actors prepare. Ultimately, we get to see the human psyche unfold in all of its complexities, as these men, ostracized from society, reveal their kindness, generosity and faith. In the process, we accompany them as they discover the power of truth, forgiveness and transformation.


Steamboat Bill, Jr.

Directed by Charles Reisner

Description: A silent 1928 classic that features one of the most famous scenes of the era (a house falling around an unscathed Buster Keaton), this film will be shown with live organ accompaniment. The plot: a young man (Buster Keaton) gets caught in the midst of a feud between his father, Steamboat Bill Sr. and rival riverboat proprietor J.J. King, and falls for King's daughter. The kids attempt to defuse the rivalry, but when Bill Sr. ends up in the clink for decking J.J., the lovebirds have their work cut out. No rating, but this comedy is suitable for children.


The Turandot Project

Directed by Allan Miller

Description: You don't have to be an opera lover to adore this film, a fascinating chronicle of an unprecedented cross-cultural collaboration. In 1997, conductor Zubin Mehta and celebrated Chinese film director Zhang Yimou joined forces on a production of Puccini's opera Turandot in the Forbidden City of Beijing. The production was an undertaking on an epic scale - and not without its struggles and challenges - with enormous sets, breathtaking hand-sewn Ming Dynasty costumes and hundreds of soldiers posing as extras. This is a gorgeous, lush film that will transport you musically and geographically.

Sponsored by K. Hovnanian's Concierge Club