2019 TIFF Roster

2019 Teaneck International Film Festival Film Roster

A House Divided

SHORT - 13 MINUTES

Directed by Alice Guy Blache

Description: An unhappy husband and wife decide to "live separately together,” communicating only through notes after each mistakenly thinks the other is having an affair. An exploration of marriage, domestic space and new heterosocial workplaces of the early twentieth century. Released May 2, 1913, Solax Film Company, Fort Lee, NJ.

Sponsored by Fort Lee Film Commission | Barrymore Film Center

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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 Temple Emeth Social Action Committee

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Always in Season

Documentary - 89 minutes

Directed by Jacqueline Olive

Description: Claudia Lacy wants answers. When her 17-year-old son, Lennon, is found hanging from a swing set in Bladenboro, North Carolina, the authorities quickly rule his death a suicide. In light of suspicious details surrounding his death, and certain that her son would not take his own life, Claudia is convinced Lennon was lynched. The filmmaker follows one African American family’s personal experience with a justice system that has failed so many, while also hinting at the promising first steps of a nation trying to reconcile.

Sponsored by Temple Emeth Social Action Committee

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Arthur Mitchell Tribute

DOCUMENTARY | SHORT - 8 MINUTES

Directed by Daniel Schloss

Description: A brief tribute to the first African American principal dancer with New York City Ballet and founder of the ground-breaking Dance Theatre of Harlem fifty years ago.

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

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

Talkback with Rachel Carey, director | Cait Cortelyou, film producer & actress | 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 | Jodie Foster, Academy Award winning actress, Executive Producer & Narrator | Tom Meyers, Fort Lee Film Commission | Senator Loretta Weinberg |


Carl Laemmle: A film by James L. Freedman

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 Jewish Community Council | Sen. Loretta Weinberg

Talkback with James L. Freedman, director


The Counter: 1960

DRAMA | SHORT - 20 minutes

Directed by Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd

Description: Set in 2017, three conscious (woke) Black college students find themselves seated at a lunch counter in 1960. Will they be served? A critical conversation about inter-generational social issues begins.

Sponsored by YWCA of Northern NJ

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Distorted Democracy: The Fight Against Gerrymandering

documentary | short - 10 minutes

Directed by Juan Yepes

Description: In our democracy, every voice should be heard, and every vote should count equally. But in North Carolina and other states across the country, politicians are choosing their voters instead of the other way around. Voters were silenced in North Carolina when politicians gerrymandered the state during the redistricting process.

Sponsored by Puffin Foundation, Ltd. | League of Women Voters of Teaneck

Talkback with Juan Yepes, director


Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles

documentary - 92 minutes

Directed by Max Lewkowicz

Description: The story behind one of Broadway's most beloved musicals, Fiddler on The Roof, and its creative roots in early 1960s New York, when "tradition" was on the wane as gender roles, sexuality, race relations and religion were evolving. The film explores a variety of international productions of the show, detailing how individuals of many cultures see themselves in the residents of Anatevka.

Sponsored by Jewish Standard

Talkback with Zalmen Mlotek, artistic director of National Yiddish Theater-Folksbiene & music director of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish


First Day Back

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drama | short - 21 minutes

Directed by Deshawn Plair

Description: It’s the first day back at school for the faculty and students of Lincoln High School in Philadelphia, after a fight between two students from rival neighborhoods resulted in the death of a fellow student, left others injured and changed the community forever.  On this first day back, everyone struggles to adjust to the new normal – metal detectors, clear backpacks, and security escorts – with arguments erupting among teachers on the best way to protect the students and themselves.

Sponsored by Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence | Teaneck Board of Education

Talkback with Deshawn Plair, Director / Co-Writer / Producer | Sade Oyinade, Co-Writer / Producer | Etienne Maurice, Co-Producer / Actor | Sheryl Lee Ralph-Hughes, Executive Producer


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 Sen. Loretta Weinberg

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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 | St. Anastasia’s RC Church

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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

Talkback with Brandon Polansky, actor


The Last Suit

Drama - 91 minutes

Directed by Pablo Solarz

Description: Abraham Bursztein, an 88-year-old Jewish tailor, runs away from Buenos Aires to Poland, where he proposes to find a friend who saved him from certain death at the end of World War II. After seven decades without any contact with him, Abraham will try to find his old friend and keep his promise to return one day.

Sponsored by Age-Friendly Teaneck | Addie Wijnen

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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 Rotary Club of Teaneck

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


Maiden

DOCUMENTARY | Sports - 97 minutes

Directed by Alex Holmes

Description: The story of Tracy Edwards, a 24-year-old cook on charter boats, who became the skipper of the first ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989. This is a grueling yachting competition that covers 33,000 miles and lasts nine months.

Sponsored by Sandi Klein’s Conversations with Creative Women | YWCA of Northern NJ

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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.


Pete Seeger’s Legacy: If I Had a Hammer

DOCUMENTARY - 90 minutes

Directed by Christopher Lukas

Description: The film looks back at Pete Seeger’s life and times. Unlike previous Seeger films, this program not only assesses Seeger’s political and social efforts but shows the effect of those efforts on a wide range of people and, most importantly, upon the rivers and waters of the world.

Sponsored by The Puffin Foundation, Ltd.

Talkback with Christopher Lukas, director


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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Summer

drama | short - 18 minutes

Directed by Pearl Gluck

Description: Two teenage girls at a Hasidic sleepaway camp in upstate New York explore a forbidden book, which leads them to a sexual awakening that neither one of them is prepared to encounter.

Sponsored by TBD

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Suppressed: The Fight to Vote

documentary | short - 30 minutes

Directed by Robert Greenwald

Description: Voter suppression has become one of the biggest dangers of American elections. During the 2018 midterm elections, millions of voters experienced suppression ranging from voter purges, to poll closures, to long lines of over 4 hours, to strict voter ID issues that disproportionately block Brown and Black citizens from their constitutional right to vote. This is an emotionally gripping look at Georgia’s election involving Stacey Abrams with compelling and irrefutable evidence of suppression.

Sponsored by Puffin Foundation, Ltd. | League of Women Voters of Teaneck | Bergen County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

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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.

Talkback with Dr. Farah Jasmine Griffin


Two Beats One Soul

DOCUMENTARY - 74 minutes

Directed by Sara Nesson & Bille Woodruff

Description: Teaneck residents and husband and wife music producers Ray Chew and Vivian Scott Chew (Dancing with the Stars) embark on an ambitious two-week journey to Cuba to create a collaboration of sounds originating from Afro-Caribbean roots that have evolved into what we now consider modern day Salsa music. Bringing together multiple artists from the U.S. and Cuba, the film shines a light on Cuban culture and takes the viewer through the creative processes and challenges of producing an album while providing an auditory sensation that touches the soul. Audiences will feel the passion, positive energy, triumph and love that keep this musical marriage strong.

Sponsored by The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., Bergen / Passaic Chapter

Talkback with Vivian Scott Chew | Ray Chew (via Skype) | Antonio Martinez, Executive Producer | Josh Milan, Songwriter & Producer


Working Woman

DRAMA - 93 minutes

Directed by Michal Aviad

Description: Life at work becomes unbearable for Orna. Her boss appreciates and promotes her, while making inappropriate advances. Her husband struggles to keep his new restaurant afloat, and Orna becomes the main breadwinner for their three children. When her world is finally shattered, she must pull herself together to fight, in her own way, for her job and a sense of self-worth.

Sponsored by YWCA of Northern NJ

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