David Lopez Retamero
Sam lives a relaxed life in the forest with his hot dog van and his bear buddy in Sam’s Hot Dogs.
Eighteen-year-old En, dreading his obligatory enlistment into Singapore’s army, moves in with his grandparents. During his stay, he becomes interested in the truth about his dead father’s past as a political activist. But the sudden death of his grandfather, coupled with his grandmother’s worsening Alzheimer’s, forces En to come to terms with the facts of his own life. Time’s erosion of memory and experience lies at the center of this gorgeously shot elegy to the past.
English, Mandarin, Hokkien with subtitles, 95 min.
A nuanced, bittersweet take on the coming-of-age film, Sasha follows a gifted young man who returns from vacation to find that his piano teacher and secret crush, Mr. Weber, is moving abroad. He tries to hide his heartbreak from others
German, Serbian, Croatian with subtitles, 101 min.
Eight-year-old Hawa meets her African refugee mother for the first time in six years in Say Grace before Drowning.
Oblivious to the civil war raging around him, Adam, a pool attendant at a private club, takes fierce pride in his job and his son. The implications of the war land at his doorstep when the club changes hands and he loses his position, replaced by his son. Seething with humiliation and envy and under pressure from military factions, Adam finds himself contemplating a shocking act of betrayal in this Cannes Jury Prize winner.
Arabic, French with subtitles, 91 min.
Ben Richardson/Daniel Bird
Seed features a surreal stop-motion world where an egg and an apple build competing broadcast towers.
When a beautiful young anatomical artist falls for a sexy doctor, it seems like a match made in heaven. But their shared fascination with the interior workings of the human body takes a disturbing turn when their obsessive interest in each other becomes more than just skin-deep. Unable to escape their desire for scientific as well as carnal knowledge, the two are drawn inexorably toward a shocking conclusion.
French with subtitles, 92 min.
Eric Liebman and Jonathan Schell
Welcome to Sedona, Arizona, and the mystical kingdom of world-renowned sex shaman Baba Dez. Dez is thrown into a tailspin when his mission to heal women with sexual dysfunctions (he’s slept with more than a thousand) drives away his one true love, Maya. He’ll try to get her back the only way he knows how
The experience of life in exile is explored through one man’s surreal nightmares and illusions in Shadows of Silence.
Tamil with subtitles, 11 min.
Three Muslims grapple with how to reconcile their beliefs with the guilt, violence, and forbidden sexuality that are woven into the fabric of their everyday lives in Berlin. As they navigate this treacherous terrain, they find themselves pulled between religious tolerance and radicalism. Burhan Qurbani’s polished feature debut already has received widespread notice for its intimate view of the tension between modern life and timeworn tradition.
German, English, Turkish with subtitles, 88 min.
A young Polish girl is faced with having to kill a beautiful fish for dinner in Fish Food. A demanding customer’s request for A Perfect Manhattan brings a bartender to the breaking point. Manbird is a poetic ode to the folkloric “pigeon man” of Chicago’s Lincoln Square. A badass female bike messenger runs roughshod over everyone in her path in Faster! Three is definitely a crowd in Commencement. In Son of None, Joshua, a seven-year-old Liberian war orphan, must realize where his true priorities lie. Two blocked screenwriters find inspiration in the sound of a typewriter from an adjoining office in Typing. Surreal encounters on a long drive across Iowa help a man come to terms with his feelings of guilt in Refuge.
In a sinister hospital, modification of physical beauty is not at all what you would expect in The Wonder Hospital (USA/South Korea). Twenty-year-old Stanley’s uneventful life with his clockwork family is turned upside down by a beautiful young lady in Stanley Pickle (UK). A young man goes on a powerful emotional journey through time and space in A Lost and Found Box of Human Sensation (Germany), featuring the voice of Joseph Fiennes. Jealousy and suspicion bubble to the surface under the photographer’s relentless gaze in A Family Portrait (UK). What you see is invariably not what you get in Moskito Bravo (France). Colorful concertinas march and swirl across the screen in The Bellows March (USA). Sam lives a relaxed life in the forest with his hot dog van and his bear buddy in Sam’s Hot Dogs (UK). Seed (Czech Republic/USA) features a surreal stop-motion world where an egg and an apple build competing broadcast towers. Lipsett Diaries (Canada) is a moving, expressionistic portrait of the troubled life of filmmaker Arthur Lipsett. Two young men named Tord spend some quality time together in the whimsical Tord and Tord (Sweden).
In Zero (New Zealand), a volatile teenager struggles to separate himself from his imprisoned father. A taxi driver flirts with his passenger only to have the tables dramatically turned in The Cassava Metaphor (Cameroon/France). Three estranged siblings reunite following the death of their mother in Domenica Cameron-Scorsese’s Roots in Water (USA). In Grandmothers (Brazil), 10-year-old Leo receives a Super 8 camera for his birthday and finds out that Monica Lewinski is Jewish, that the numbers on his grandparents’ arms are responsible for him being chubby, and that his old camera is worthless. The experience of life in exile is explored through one man’s surreal nightmares and illusions in Shadows of Silence (France/Sri Lanka). Multiple-award-winning documentary White Lines and the Fever: The Death of DJ Junebug (USA) recalls the Bronx in the early 1980s, the old-school days of hip-hop, and the dangerous underworld at the legendary club Disco Fever.
Millie is a testosterone-driven 14-year-old girl who wants to be a bodybuilder in Muscles (Australia). On a journey to find materials for their son’s tombstone, a family’s repressed feelings of loss come to the surface in The Descent (Israel). The breakup has happened but the break has not in Some Boys Don’t Leave (USA). A 10-year-old blind girl has a mysterious encounter that leads to a rare moment of freedom in the claustrophobic Rita (Italy). James Franco’s The Feast of Stephen (USA), paying homage to the work of Kenneth Anger, is an atmospheric tale of one boy’s brush with forbidden adolescent desires. Sara prepares a surprise for her wife’s birthday, but all does not go according to plan in Birthday (Sweden/Poland). In The Swimmers (Cuba), a swimming instructor teaches children to swim in a little town near Havana, but there’s only one problem: the pool is empty.
Moth follows the story of Sophie, a beautiful starlet caught up in drugs and stardom, who flies into Los Angeles from New York for a job. A young nun struggles with her desire for something she has never experienced in If I Leap. Eight-year-old Hawa meets her African refugee mother for the first time in six years in Say Grace before Drowning. In Stag & Doe, a young engaged couple decides to put their relationship to the test at a joint bachelor and bachelorette party. Will the search for a child’s bicycle unite a fragile community or ignite an explosive conflict in The Cycle? In Sisters, Charlie has no idea that her diva of a baby sister is about to reveal life-changing issues that will rock her normally carefree life.
Filled with stories of reflection and whimsy, hope and humor, grace and perseverance, LUNAFEST films are renowned for celebrating the talents and stories of women. These remarkable works captivate audiences, compel dialogue, and arm participants with both the knowledge and the motivation to make a difference in their communities. From quirky animation to touching documentaries, these 10 hand-selected films are incredibly diverse in both style and subject matter, united by a common thread of exceptional storytelling by, for, and about women.
In Sisters, Charlie has no idea that her diva of a baby sister is about to reveal life-changing issues that will rock her normally carefree life.
Two suit-clad psychics tromp across the countryside, offering their mystical services to couples who want to air their dirty laundry. The motley duo get in over their heads when their mysterious boss (Jason Isaacs, the Harry Potter series) assigns them to the case of an eccentric woman trying to locate her missing husband. Skeletons combines the mind-bending comic absurdity of Charlie Kaufman with a tantalizing glimpse into the strange, potent world of submerged memories.
The breakup has happened but the break has not in Some Boys Don’t Leave.
In this bittersweet smorgasbord of unforgettable characters, bawdy sex, and distinctly Scandinavian tragicomedy, laconic part-time gangster Ulrik (Stellan Skarsgård) leaves prison after a 12-year stint for murder. A free man, he must choose between taking revenge on the snitch who turned him in and attempting reconciliation with his family. Skarsgård delivers a deviously comic and somewhat frightening performance as a man whose gentleness has its limits.
Norwegian with subtitles, 107 min.
In Son of None, Joshua, a seven-year-old Liberian war orphan, must realize where his true priorities lie.
Juan Carlos Valdivia
Brimming with visual splendor, engrossing performances, and Juan Carlos Valdivia’s (American Visa) virtuoso direction, Southern District plants itself in the opulent mansion of a wealthy Bolivian family, steadily observing the rhythms of their excessively extravagant lives. They are not villains, but their careless hedonism and misguided sense of racial and social superiority lead them into deep waters when their money begins to dry up.
Spanish, Aymara with subtitles, 108 min.
In Stag & Doe, a young engaged couple decides to put their relationship to the test at a joint bachelor and bachelorette party.
Twenty-year-old Stanley’s uneventful life with his clockwork family is turned upside down by a beautiful young lady in Stanley Pickle.
As parole officer Jack Mabry (Oscar® winner Robert De Niro) counts the days toward a quiet retirement, he is asked to review the case of Gerald “Stone” Creeson (Oscar® nominee Edward Norton), in prison for covering up the murder of his grandparents with a fire. Now eligible for early release, Stone needs to convince Jack he has reformed, but his attempts to influence the older man’s decision have profound and unexpected consequences for them both. Stone skillfully weaves together the parallel journeys of two men grappling with dark impulses as the line between lawman and lawbreaker becomes precariously thin. Golden Globe® winner Frances Conroy also stars as Madylyn, Jack’s devout, long-suffering spouse, while Milla Jovovich delivers a startlingly raw, breakout performance as the sexy, casually amoral woman both men desire.
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In The Swimmers (Cuba), a swimming instructor teaches children to swim in a little town near Havana, but there’s only one problem: the pool is empty.
Spanish with subtitles, 12 min.
The expert swordsman Kanemi Sanzaemon is a man of principle, first and foremost. His decisive, violent handling of high-level corruption in the court of the local feudal lord landed him in solitary confinement for two years. He has now been released, with one caveat he cannot comprehend: He must serve as bodyguard to the lord he betrayed. This thrilling, masterfully stylized tale of honor combines classic samurai action with a taut story of intrigue and betrayal.
Japanese with subtitles, 114 min.