2015 TIFF Roster

2015 Teaneck International Film Festival Film Roster

AKA Doc Pomus

Documentary - 99 minutes

Directed by Peter Miller & Will Hechter

Description: 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.

Talkback: Sharyn Felder - Doc Pomus's daugther

Links: Official Site - IMDb - Facebook

Sponsored by Teaneck Rotary


Documentary - 77 minutes

Directed by Rex Miller

Description: 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.

Talkback: Rex Miller-Director, Leslie Allen-Former Tennis Pro, Anthony Cureton - President NAACP Bergen County

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

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

Documentary - 113 minutes

Directed by Stanley Nelson

Description: 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.

Talkback: Laurens Grant, Producer and other special guests 

Links: Official Site - Facebook 

Boxed In

Short Feature - 29 minutes

Directed by Tasha Smith

Description: 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.

Talkback:  to discuss mental health in the African American Community with Executive Producer Sidra Smith, Psychotherapist Dr. Alicia Terry Henderson and Jamisin Saracino, Director of Advocacy & Community Education/Care Plus NJ. 

Links: IMDb

Dil Dhadakne Do

India-Musical, Comedy, Drama - 170 minutes

Directed by Zoya Akhtar - Hindi with English subtitles

Description: 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.

Links: IMDb - Facebook

Sponsored by NPZ Law Group, Global Immigration Attorneys


Comedy, Drama - England - 94 minutes

Directed by John Goldschmidt

Description: 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.

Links: Official Site - IMDb 

Sponsored by Heritage Pointe of Teaneck


Drama, Thriller - Pakistan - 93 minutes

Directed by Afia Nathaniel

Description: 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.

Talkback: Afia Nathaniel - Director

Links: Official Site - IMDb - Facebook 

Sponsored by Teaneck Community Chorus

Félix and Meira

Drama - Canada - 105 minutes

Directed by Maxime Giroux - Yiddish and French with English subtitles

Description: 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.

Links: IMDb


Drama - USA - 103 minutes

Directed by Peter Sollett

Description: 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.

Talkback: Steven Goldstein and State Senator Loretta Weinberg

Links: Official Site - IMDb - Facebook

Sponsored by Buddies of New Jersey, Inc.

The Hunting Ground

Documentary - 103 minutes

Directed by Kirby Dick

Description: 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.

Talkback: Journalist, Attorney and Playwright Cindy Cooper, who has been writing in depth about the issues raised by campus assault, Healing Space Clinical Supervisor, Steve Oretski, and Sofie Karasek, featured in documentary

Links: Official Site - IMDb - Facebook

Sponsored by YWCA of Bergen County and HealingSpace

I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story

Documentary - 90 minutes

Directed by Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker

Description: 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.

Talkback: Bob McGrath and other guests

Links: Official Site - IMDb - Facebook

Sponsored by Wendy Dessanti and Weichert Realtors

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

Description: 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.

Thanks to a grant from the Puffin Foundation, children will be admitted free when accompanied by an adult.

Locked Out

Short - 5 minutes

Directed by Juan Mejia and Juan Castaneda

Description: 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.”

Talkback: Juan Mejia-Director, Juan Yepes-Producer and Melissa Cox-Producer

Links: Official Site

Losing Ground

Drama - 1982 - 86 minutes

Directed by Kathleen Collins

Description: 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.

Talkback: Nina Collins-Daughter of deceased filmmaker Kathleen Collins, Seret Scott - lead actress, Ronald Gray-Co-producer and cinematographer and Michael Minard - writer of the film's score

Links: Official Site - IMDb

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

Margarita, With a Straw


Romantic, Drama - India - 100 minutes

Directed by Shonali Bose - Hindi with English subtitles

Description: 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.

Talkback: Gena Lentz- Pediatric Physical Therapist

Links: Official Site - IMDb - Facebook

Sponsored by League of Women Voters and Limitless Arts/PAS at BergenPAC

The New Girlfriend

Drama, Mystery - France - 109 minutes

Directed by Francois Ozon - French with English Subtitles

Description: 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.

Links: Official Site - IMDb - Facebook


Germany Silent Feature - 95 minutes

Directed by F.W. Murnau - English subtitles

Description: An unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Nosferatu is the quintessential silent vampire film, crafted by legendary German director F. W. Murnau. Live musical accompaniment provided by German virtuoso, Markus Horn 

Talkback: German composer Markus Horn

Links: Official Site - IMDb 

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

Return of the River

Documentary - 55 minutes

Directed by Jessica Plumb and John Gussman

Description: 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.

Links: Official Site - IMDb 

Sponsored by Teaneck Creek Conservancy


Documentary - 100 minutes

Directed by Aviva Kempner

Description: 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.

Links: Official Site - IMDb - Facebook

Sponsored by Five Star Premier Residences of Teaneck

Secrets of War

Drama - The Netherlands - 95 minutes

Directed by Dennis Bots, Dutch with English Subtitles

Description: 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.

Links: Official Site - IMDb 

Sponsored by Dutch Culture USA and Addie Wijnen

She’s Beautiful When She's Angry

Documentary - 92 minutes

Directed by Mary Dore

Description: This documentary resurrects the buried history of the outrageous, often brilliant women who founded the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1971.

Links: Official Site - IMDb - Facebook

Sponsored by Corethia V. E. Oates, Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley and YWCA Bergen County

Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story

Documentary - 84 minutes

Directed by NC Heiken

Description: The late jazz saxophonist Frank Morgan's tale of redemption from drug addict, conman and convict to beloved elder statesman of jazz.

Links: Official Site - IMDb - Facebook 

Taking Chance

Short, Narrative - 13 minutes

Directed by Jerry Lamothe

Description: 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.

Links: IMDb 

Sponsored by Five Star Premier Residences of Teaneck

Thao’s Library

Documentary - 88 minutes

Directed by Elizabeth Van Meter

Description: 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.

Talkback: Elizabeth Van Meter - Director

Links: Official Site - IMDb - Facebook 

When Voices Meet

Documentary - South Africa - 86 minutes

Directed by Nancy Sutton Smith

Description: An accident during a bar mitzvah celebration leads to a gender rift in a devout Orthodox community in Jerusalem, in this rousing, good-hearted tale about women speaking truth to patriarchal power. When the women’s balcony in an Orthodox synagogue collapses, leaving the rabbi’s wife in a coma and the rabbi in shock, the congregation falls into crisis. Charismatic young Rabbi David appears to be a savior after the accident, but slowly starts pushing his fundamentalist ways and tries to take control. This tests the women’s friendships and creates an almost Lysistrata-type rift between the community’s women and men.

Links: Official Site - IMDb - Facebook 

Sponsored by WOW (Wise Older Women) and the Puffin Foundation, Ltd.


Documentary - 68 minutes

Directed by Melissa Donovan - Amharic and English with English subtitles

Description: 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.

Talkback: Melissa Donovan - Director

Links: Official Site - IMDb

Sponsored by WOW (Wise Older Women) and the Puffin Foundation, Ltd.