2019 Teaneck International Film Festival Film Roster

Stay tuned for more additions as we continue finalizing our 2019 roster!

A Night at the Garden

DOCUMENTARY | SHORT - 7 MINUTES

Directed by Marshall Curry

Description: Archival footage of an American Nazi rally that attracted 20,000 people at Madison Square Garden in 1939, shortly before the beginning of World War II.

Sponsored by TBD

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Ask for Jane

DRAMA | HISTORY - 108 minutes

Directed by Rachel Carey

Description: In 1969, when a pregnant student at the University of Chicago attempts to take her own life, Rose and Janice find a doctor willing to perform an abortion in secret to save the woman’s life. Sparked by this experience, they form the Jane Collective: a secret organization to help other women obtain safe and illegal abortions. Operating like a spy network, complete with blindfolds and code names, the Janes help thousands of women - but they can’t hide from the police forever.

Sponsored by National Council of Jewish Women, Bergen County Section | Stanton Strong | Wise Older Women

Talkback with Rachel Carey, director | Heather Booth, one of the original “Janes” | Angela Bonavoglia, award-winning author and journalist on women’s issues


Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache

DOCUMENTARY - 103 minutes

Directed by Pamela B. Green

Description: Over the span of her career, Alice Guy-Blache produced or directed 1,000 films, including 150 with synchronized sound during the ‘silent’ era. Her work includes comedies, westerns and dramas, as well as films with groundbreaking subject matter such as child abuse, immigration, Planned Parenthood, and female empowerment. She also etched a place in history by making the earliest known surviving narrative film with an all-black cast. After a decade of making films at Gaumont she had a second decade-long career in the U.S., where she built and ran her own studio in Fort Lee, NJ.

Sponsored by Fort Lee Film Commission | Barrymore Film Center

Talkback with Pamela B. Green, director | Tom Meyers, Fort Lee Film Commission | Senator Loretta Weinberg


Carl Laemmle

DOCUMENTARY - 91 minutes

Directed by James L. Freedman

Description: The extraordinary life story of Carl Laemmle, the German-Jewish immigrant who founded Universal Pictures, and saved over 300 Jewish families from Nazi Germany. Laemmle fought against Thomas Edison’s attempt to monopolize the film industry and in the process, created an entire city built for the sole purpose of making movies.

Sponsored by TBD

Talkback with James L. Freedman, director


Framing Agnes

documentary | short - 20 minutes

Directed by Chase Joynt

Description: In the late 1950s, a woman named Agnes approached the UCLA Medical Center seeking sex reassignment surgery. Her story was long considered to be exceptional and singular until never-before-seen case files of other patients were found in 2017.

Sponsored by TBD

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Gay Chorus Deep South

DOCUMENTARY | Music - 100 minutes

Directed by David Charles Rodrigues

Description: In response to a wave of discriminatory anti-LGBTQ laws and the divisive 2016 election, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus embarks on a tour of the American Deep South. Over 300 singers traveled from Mississippi to Tennessee through the Carolinas and over the bridge in Selma. They performed in churches, community centers, and concert halls in hopes of uniting us in a time of difference.

Sponsored by Teaneck Community Chorus

Talkback with TBD | Performance by Teaneck Community Chorus and Stonewall Chorale


Hesburgh

documentary - 106 minutes

Directed by Patrick Creadon

Description: Hesburgh offers a unique glimpse at more than fifty years of American history as seen through the eyes of the long-time president of the University of Notre Dame and America’s most well-known priest. Educator, civil rights champion, advisor to presidents, envoy to popes, theologian and activist, Hesburgh was called on by countless world leaders to tackle the most challenging issues of the day. He built a reputation as a savvy political operator with a penchant for bridging the divide between bitter enemies. Through it all, he remained a man armed with a fierce intelligence, a quick wit and an unyielding moral compass -- a timeless example of bipartisan leadership that would serve us in today’s increasingly polarized times.

Sponsored by Martin Luther King Birthday Committee

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It Must Schwing – The Blue Note Story

documentary | music - 115 minutes

Directed by  Eric Friedler

Description: In 1939, Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff, two young émigrés from Berlin, founded the legendary jazz label Blue Note Records in New York. Dedicated exclusively to the recording of American jazz, Blue Note developed its own unmistakable recording style and sound. The impressive roster included Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter, Thelonious Monk and Quincy Jones. At a time when African American musicians in the USA were discriminated against and ostracized, Blue Note records respected them as artists and equals. Not only did the label value their talents, it also gave them a much-needed platform. “It Must Schwing” tells the moving story of two friends, united by a passionate love for jazz, and of their profound belief in equality and freedom for every single human being.

Sponsored by TBD

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Keep the Change

comedy | romance - 94 minutes

Directed by  Rachel Israel

Description: When aspiring filmmaker David is mandated by a judge to attend a social program at the Jewish Community Center, he is sure of one thing: he doesn’t belong there. But when he’s assigned to visit the Brooklyn Bridge with the vivacious Sarah, sparks fly and his convictions are tested. Their budding relationship must weather Sarah’s romantic past, David’s judgmental mother, and their own pre-conceptions of what love is supposed to look like.

The filmmaker does something quite radical in casting actors with autism to play characters with autism, offering a refreshingly honest portrait of a community seldom depicted on the big screen.

Sponsored by TBD

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Leona

Drama - 95 minutes

Directed by Isaac Cherem

Description: A young Jewish woman from Mexico City finds herself torn between her family and her forbidden love. Ripe with all the drama and interpersonal conflicts of a Jane Austen novel, watching her negotiate the labyrinth of familial pressure, religious precedent, and her own burgeoning sentiment is both painful and beautiful – there are no easy choices to be made and the viewer travels back and forth with her as she struggles with her heart to take the best path.

Sponsored by TBD

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Little Miss Westie

DOCUMENTARY - 75 minutes

Directed by Dan Hunt and Joy E. Reed

Description: Little Miss Westie chronicles a year in the life of two transgender siblings as they navigate puberty, a local beauty pageant, and transitioning in the Trump era. The film takes its title from the Little Miss Westie pageant, where Ren hopes to compete as the first transgender girl.

Sponsored by TBD

Talkback with Joy E. Reed, director | Chris and Shelley McCarthy, parents of the two transgender siblings


Miriam Lies

Drama - 90 minutes

Directed by Natalia Cabral & Oriol Estrada

Description: Miriam anxiously awaits the day of her fifteenth birthday party. Her family can’t wait to meet Jean-Louis, her Internet boyfriend set to accompany her. But when Miriam sees Jean-Louis for the first time and realizes he’s black, a quiet middle-class world of good intentions will begin to crumble.

Sponsored by TBD

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NYICFF Kid Flicks One

kids | animated shorts - 60 minutes

Hosted by Bob McGrath of Sesame Street

Description: Catch the best short films from around the world for ages 3-7 ! Presented in partnership with the New York International Children’s Film Festival. Thanks to a grant from the Puffin Foundation, Ltd., children are admitted free with a paying adult.

Sponsored by Puffin Foundation, Ltd.


Sanju

biography | Drama - 155 minutes

Directed by Rajkumar Hirani

Description: Few lives in our times are as dramatic and enigmatic as the saga of Sanjay Dutt. Coming from a family of cinema legends, he became a film star, and then saw dizzying heights and darkest depths: adulation of die-hard fans, unending battles with various addictions, brushes with the underworld, prison terms, loss of loved ones, and the haunting speculation that he might or might not be a terrorist. Sanju is in turns a hilarious and heartbreaking exploration of one man’s battle against his own wild self and the formidable external forces trying to crush him..

Sponsored by NPZ Law Group, Global Immigration Attorneys

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Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

DOCUMENTARY - 119 minutes

Directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Description: This artful and intimate meditation on the legendary storyteller examines her life, her works and the powerful themes she has confronted throughout her literary career. Toni Morrison leads an assembly of her peers, critics and colleagues on an exploration of race, history, America and the human condition.

Sponsored by Bergen County (NJ) Chapter of The Links, Inc.

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