Whether it’s celebrating people who have fish-related surnames, decorating dioramas for land snails, gluing broken turtle shells back together, or forging deep connections with chimpanzees, these short films demonstrate that humans are at their finest when inspired by other living creatures.
Whether it’s basket making in Northern Quebec, or selling plastic toys in urban China, this collection of short films calls attention to our increasingly complex and contradictory relationship with our stuff.
Long misunderstood by the medical system, and often perceived to be a psychological issue, the commonality of symptoms shared by people who have been diagnosed with M.E. indicates that there is something else at work. Made with unflinching honesty, Unrest is as much a memoir of Jennifer and Omar’s life together, as it is a medical mystery.
The only thing sweeter than the cream puffs in Maite Alberdi’s charming film are the warm and funny interactions between middle-aged students, all of whom have Down syndrome. Many of the residents have worked in the school bakery for forty years, but the pull of adulthood, and all it represents — sex, marriage, and family — has taken hold.
In North Philadelphia, the Raineys are a regular African-American family who stay strong and loving despite ongoing adversity. Jonathan Olshefski’s powerful documentary follows Christopher and Christine’a, their teenage daughter Patricia (PJ), and Christine’a’s older son William over a ten-year period. The spectacular power of Quest comes from its complete lack of sentimentality. Its unflinching honesty reflects how the Raineys themselves are unapologetically candid, and relentlessly courageous. This is a family with a deep bond of love and faith, and this timely film has a lot to teach us.
Like the beautiful Hawaiian archipelago where the film is set, Cyrus Sutton’s Island Earth is a complex mix; at once hopeful and celebratory, but interwoven with notes of hardship and despair. The film examines how former plantation fields are now used for open air field- testing of restricted-use pesticides.
When James Pollard is given a terminal cancer diagnosis, he sets about orchestrating his own death. Like any good theatre producer, he researches options into different modes of burial, and the best means and methodologies of preserving his body after death. This may sound slightly morbid, but the practicality, and often surprising amounts of humour, with which James contends with his situation allows for an openness and freedom in dealing with death.
Fattitude tackles the subject of body size prejudice from a multiplicity of perspectives including race, class, and gender. Featuring interviews and analyses from a broad range of writers, academics, activists, and artists, Fattitude assails a complex tangle of cultural and social constructs — everything from economic status to the politics of being seen.