2014 TIFF Roster

2014 Teaneck International Film Festival Film Roster


Drama - England - 105 minutes

Directed by Amma Assante

Description: This film is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate mixed race daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield and his wife, Belle's lineage affords her certain privileges, yet her status prevents her from the traditions of noble social standing. While her cousin Elizabeth chases suitors for marriage, Belle is left on the sidelines wondering if she will ever find love. After meeting an idealistic young vicar's son bent on changing society, he and Belle help shape Lord Mansfield's role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.

Links: Official Site - IMDb - Facebook 

Sponsored by the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. Bergen/Passaic Chapter, and the Bergen County (NJ) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated.


Drama - 99 minutes

Directed by Patrik-Ian Polk

Description: A young high school age singer struggles with his sexuality and the treatment of others while coming of age in a small Southern Baptist community. Shot on location in Hattiesburg, Mississippi this drama stars Academy Award Winner Mo’Nique in her follow up role to Precious and Isaiah Washington (Grey’s Anatomy). This film is an urban, southern version of the classic The Last Picture Show and follows in the footsteps of such powerful independent films as Pariah and Precious.

Talkback: With director and members of the cast and production crew

Links: Official Site - IMDb 

Boy Meets Girl

Comedy - 95 minutes

Directed by Eric Schaeffer

Description: This tender, human, sex-positive romantic comedy explores what it means to be “real”: to live and love authentically to the truth of one’s heart, regardless of the sex or small town you’re born into. Our story focuses on Ricky, a beautiful twenty-one year old trans-gendered girl living in Virginia with dreams of becoming a fashion designer in New York.

Links: Official Site - IMDb 


Drama - 85 minutes

Directed by Alton Glass

Description:A tight knit group of young high school athletes have a terrible crash after winning the state championship, a catastrophe that will shape all their lives. But as adults, some 15 years later, they come together again for a reunion that will open old wounds, expose long-hidden secrets – and pave the road to forgiveness and redemption.

Links:  IMDb - Facebook 

Ernest & Celestine

Animation - France, Belgium, Luxembourg - 80 minutes

Directed by Robert Philipson

Description: Out of all the cross-cultural encounters that have resulted in the richness of American popular music, none has been so prominent or so fraught with fraternity and conflict as the relationships between African Americans and American Jews. The film aims to tease out the strands of this cultural knot by focusing on the early performance history of the jazz standard, “Body and Soul,” one of the most recorded songs in the jazz repertoire. Composed by Jewish composer Johnny Green in 1929, the song was introduced on Broadway by Jewish torch singer Libby Holman and ushered into the jazz canon by Louis Armstrong the following year. Perfomance by Teaneck Community Chorus.

Talkback: Robert Philipson, director/writer/producer; Loren Schoenberg,National Jazz Museum in Harlem; moderated by Calvin Hill, famed bass player

Links: Official Site - IMDb - Facebook 

Every Bag Counts by Teaneck Girl Scout Troop 19

Documentary - 4 minutes

Directed by Kelly Sheehan and Jean Myers

Description: Shot entirely in Teaneck, this documentary short was deigned to convince Teaneck township residents and council to ban the use of plastic bags. They are joining in the national movement where California has started to lead the way becoming the first state in the nation to ban plastic bags for environmental reasons.

Talkback: Filmmakers, Scouts, and the Hackensack Riverkeeper

Sponsored by Teaneck Girl Scout Junior Troop 19, the Hackensack Riverkeeper, and Bergen Chapter (NJ) of The Links, Inc.

Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a

Documentary - Canada - 92 minutes

Directed by Laura Archibald

Description: Featuring poignant interviews with Pete Seeger, Kris Kristofferson, Don McLean, Peter Yarrow, Arlo Guthrie, Lucy and Carly Simon, Tom Chapin and Judy Collins, among dozens of other music luminaries, this documentary combines talking heads with rare archival footage and new live performances to tell a story about a community that created a generation-defining music.

Links: Official Site - IMDb - Facebook 

Sponsored by The Teaneck Community Chorus - Song selections from the movie sung live by Teaneck Community Chorus will follow 

In the Family

Documentary - 90 minutes

Directed by Joanna Rudnick

Description: How much would you sacrifice to survive? When Chicago filmmaker Joanna Rudnick tested positive for the "breast cancer gene" at age 27, she knew the information could save her life. And she knew she was not only confronting mortality at an early age, but also was going to have to make heart-wrenching decisions about the life that lay ahead of her. Should she take the irreversible preventive step of having her breasts and ovaries removed or risk developing cancer? What would happen to her romantic life, her hopes for a family? In the Family documents Rudnick's efforts to reach out to other women while facing her deepest fears.

Links: Official Site - IMDb

Sponsored by the Holy Name Medical Center

Joachim Prinz: I Shall Not Be Silent

Documentary - 57 minutes

Directed by Rachel Fisher and Rachel Pasternak

Description: A documentary that follows the story of Joachim Prinz, a German émigré Rabbi who practiced at Newark’s Temple B’nai Abraham who became a close confidante to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and was a largely unkown and unsung hero of the civil rights movement.

Talkback: with the directors, Deborah Prinz and Civil Rights Historian and Activist 

Links: Official Site - IMDb

Sponsored by the Martin Luther King, Jr Monument Committee

Kid Flix Mix 2014

Short Film, Animation - 60 Minutes

The Best of the New York International Children's Film Festival

Description: A kaleidoscopic showcase of the best short film and animation from around the world, for ages 4 to 8.

Hosted by: Bob McGrath of Sesame Street

  • Monstersymfonie by Kiana Nagshineh (Germany, 2012, 4 min.)
  • Hello World by Eric Serre (France, 2012, 5 min.)
  • Snowflake by Natalia Chernysheva (Russia, 2012, 5 min.)
  • Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds (2012, 7 min.)
  • What is Music? By Christian Robinson (2013, 4 min.)
  • The Lovely Letter L by Evan Spiridellis (2012, 2 min.)
  • Hopfrog by Leonid Shmelkov (Russia, 2012, 4 min.)
  • Big Block Sing-Song: Hair by Warren Brown (Canada, 2012, 2 min.)
  • The New Species by Katerina Karhánková (Czech Republic, 2013, 6 min.)
  • The Mole at Sea by Anna Kadykova (Russia, 2012, 5 min.)
  • On the Wing by Vera Myakisheva (Russia, 2012, 6 min.)
  • My Mom is an Airplane (Russia/USA, 2013, 6.5 min)

Kidnapped for Christ

Documentary - 85 minutes

Directed by Kate Logan

Description: This is the shocking story of American teenagers who were taken from their homes and shipped to Escuela Caribe, an American run Christian behavior modification program in the Dominican Republic. When a young evangelical filmmaker is granted unprecendented access to film behind the gates of this controversial school, she discovers shocking secrets and young students that change her life.

Links: Official Site - IMDb - Facebook 

The Kill Team

Documentary - 79 minutes

Directed by Dan Krauss

Description: This riveting and heart-wrenching documentary goes behind closed doors to tell the story of Specialist Adam Winfield, a 21-year-old infantryman in Afghanistan who attempted, with the help of his father, to alert the military to heinous war crimes his platoon was committing.

Links: Official Site - IMDb - Facebook 

Land Ho!

Comedy - 95 minutes

Directed by Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz

Description: A pair of ex-brothers-in-law set off to Iceland in an attempt to reclaim their youth through Reykjavik nightclubs, trendy spas, and rugged campsites. This bawdy adventure is a throwback to 1980's road trip comedies, as well as candid exploration of aging, loneliness, and friendship.

Links: Official Site - IMDb - Facebook

Sponsored by the Five Star Premier Residences of Teaneck 

Little White Lie

Documentary - 66 minutes

Directed by Lacey Schwartz

Description: Little White Lie tells Lacey Schwartz’s story of growing up in a typical upper-middle-class Jewish household in Woodstock, NY, with loving parents and a strong sense of her Jewish identity – despite the open questions from those around her about how a white girl could have such dark skin. She believes her family’s explanation that her looks were inherited from her dark-skinned Sicilian grandfather. But when her parents abruptly split, her gut starts to tell her something different.

Talkback: with director and subject of the documentary Lacey Schwartz

Links: Official Site - IMDb - Facebook

Manuscripts Don’t Burn

Drama - Iran - 125 minutes

Directed by Mohammad Rasoulof, Persian with English Subtitles

Description: This film was clandestinely produced in disavowal of a 20-year filmmaking ban passed down by the Iranian authorities. Drawing from the true story of the government's attempted 1995 murder of several prominent writers and intellectuals, Rasoulof imagines a repressive regime so pervasive that even the morally righteous are subsumed or cast aside. A lacerating and slow-burning thriller filmed in a frigid palate of blues and greys, Manuscripts Don't Burn is perhaps the most subversive and incendiary j'accuse lodged against an authoritarian regime since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Links: Official Site - IMDb 

1,000 Times Good Night

Drama - Norway,English - 111 minutes

Directed by Erik Poppe

Description: Rebecca (Juliette Binoche) is one of world's top war photojournalists, capturing dangerous and chilling images in the most dire landscapes, all in an effort to shed light on the real cost of modern war. But she's also a wife and mother, leaving behind a husband and two young daughters every time she travels to a new combat zone. After a near-death experience chronicling the ritual of a female suicide bomber, husband Marcus levels an ultimatum: give up the dangerous profession or lose the family she counts on being there when she returns from each assignment.

Talkback: Moderated by award winning author and journalist Angela Bonaviglia 

Links: Official Site - IMDb 

Sponsored by Wise Older Women (WOW) 


Musical,Drama - India - 155 minutes

Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali - Hindi with English subtitles

Description: Inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and JulietRam-Leela is an epic, visually opulent, lavish Bollywood musical. Set in Gujarat, in Northwest India, two rival clans have been warring for 500 years and find themselves in present day where Ram and Leela fight the world to live their own dreams.

Links: IMDb - Facebook 

Sponsored by Nachman, Phulwani, Zimovcak Law Group, P.C.

Refugee Kids: One Small School Takes on the World

Documentary - 39 minutes

Directed by Peter Miller and Renée Silverman

Description: This documentary follows newly arrived students at the International Rescue Committee’s intense, New York-based academic and cultural “boot camp” for children seeking asylum from the world’s most volatile conflicts. The film presents an intimate, emotionally gripping account of the students’ stories of escaping war and conflict and resettling in America, chronicling their triumphs and setbacks as their lives unfold over the course of one formative summer.

Talkback: with film's director

Links: Official Site - IMDb - Facebook

Sponsored by the Teaneck Rotary Club

Sosúa: Make a Better World

Documentary - 56 minutes

Directed by Peter Miller and Renée Silverman

Description: Sosua: Make a Better World tells the story of Jewish and Dominican teenagers in New York City’s Washington Heights, who together with the legendary theater director, Liz Swados, to put on a musical about the Dominican rescue of 800 Jews from Hitler’s Germany.

Talkback: with film's directors

Links: Official Site - IMDb 

Sponsored by the Teaneck Rotary Club


Documentary - 64 minutes

Directed by Patrick Moreau and Grant Peelle

Description: After seeing a photo of two enslaved boys in Nepal, nine year old Vivienne Harr is moved to help by setting up a lemonade stand, with the goal of making enough to free 500 children from slavery. The film examines the realities of modern-day slavery, the role we play in it as consumers, and the importance of knowing the story behind what we buy.

Links: IMDb - Facebook

Sponsored by Fair Trade Teaneck

Two Days in Harlem

Narative - 27 minutes

Directed by Noel Calloway

Description: Two Days in Harlem examines the relationship between the NYPD and the citizens of Harlem. The film takes an unbiased look at the highly publicized and polarizing stop and frisk policy as well as the role police have in the community. The story is told through the eyes of Jason Farmer a veteran NYPD Detective and Harlem native. Jason’s unique view of the community in which he lives and works offers a keen insight into the life of officers who have a difficult and often thankless job. He encounters three young men Omar, James and Eric on separate occasions and his judgment of who each of these men is will cost someone their life.

Links: Official Site - IMDb 

Sponsored by Ace Media Corp.


Documentary - 90 minutes

Directed by Anna Wexler and Nadja Oertelt

Description: Unorthodox follows the transformation of three young Modern Orthodox Jewish teenagers in their yearlong rite-of-passage journey from high school to Israel. While in Israel these teenagers are forced to confront difficult truths about belief and happiness. One of the teens is from Teaneck and many scenes are shot in town.

Talkback: with directors Anna Wexler, Nadja Oertelt and one of the subjects of the documentary

Links: Official Site - IMDb - Facebook 


 Comedy, Drama - Saudi Arabia, Germany - 100 minutes

Directed by Haifaa Al Mansour - Arabic with English subtitles

Description: An enterprising Saudi girl signs on for her school's Koran recitation competition as a way to raise the remaining funds she needs in order to buy the green bicycle that has captured her interest. Nominated for best foreign language film at the 2013 Academy Awards this charming drama gives us an in-depth look into Saudi life directed by Saudi Arabia’s first female filmmaker.

Links: Official Site - IMDb - Facebook 

Sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Teaneck


Drama - Germany - 102 minutes

Directed by Christian Schwochow, German with English subtitles

Description: Three years after her boyfriend Wassilij’s apparent death, Nelly Senff decides to escape from behind the Berlin wall with her son Alexej, leaving her traumatic memories and past behind. Pretending to marry a West German, she crosses the border to start a new life in the West. But soon her past starts to haunt her as the Allied Secret Service begin to question Wassilij’s mysterious disappearance.

Links: IMDb - Facebook 

Sponsored by the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, New York