Film + Video Festival

Film + Video Festival

Now in its 46th year, the Film Festival underscores the power of media to raise awareness and be a catalyst for change. Rich storytelling on topics ranging from health care to education to social and racial issues helps us understand the challenges facing our world in personal and powerful ways.

Saturday, April 6

We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân a film by Anne Makepeace
9 - 10 a.m.
Celebrated every Thanksgiving as “the Indians” and then largely forgotten, the Wampanoag of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard are now saying loud and clear and in their Native Tongue, “Âs Nutayuneân — We Still Live Here.” This is the first time a language with no speakers for generations has been revived in a Native American community. The film is inspiring indigenous people throughout the United States and around the world to redouble their efforts to preserve and revitalize their languages and cultures. Watch the Trailer

Monica and David a film by Alexandra Codina
10 - 11:15 a.m.
Like many other couples blissfully in love, Monica and David are getting married. Yet unlike most married couples, Monica and David have Down Syndrome. Filmmaker Alexandra Codina, Monica’s cousin, offers an intimate glimpse into the first year of marriage for this charismatic young couple and reveals the joys and struggles that are much the same as that of any newlyweds: A longing for independence, desire for children, and questions about future livelihood. Watch the Trailer

Brooklyn Castle a film by Katie Dellamaggiore
12 - 1:45 p.m.
At junior high school I.S. 318 in Brooklyn, N.Y., it isn’t sports or music that reigns supreme among the students—it’s the game of chess. With 26 national championship titles won by the school, chess is a way to a better future. “Brooklyn Castle” follows five young adults who share their stories while engaged in competitions around the country. With budget cuts looming, the students, along with their dedicated teachers and coaches, fight to keep the program alive. Watch the Trailer

La Source a film by Jordan Wagner, Brandon Vedder, and Patrick Shen
2 - 3:15 p.m.
Josue Lajeunesse grew up in the rural town of La Source, Haiti, where the residents live without plumbing or electricity and must embark on a treacherous hike up a mountain every day in order to obtain clean water. Now working as a janitor at Princeton University by day and a cab driver by night, Lajeunesse is convinced there must be a better way for his hometown friends and family to live. Together with his carpenter brother, Chrismedonne, who still lives in Haiti, Lajeunesse decides to organize an effort to finally bring clean water to La Source. Watch the Trailer

Granito: How to Nail a Dictator a film by Peter Kinoy, Pamela Yates, and Paco de Onís
3:30 - 5:15 p.m.
In a milestone for justice in Central America, a Guatemalan court recently charged former dictator Efraín Rios Montt with genocide for his brutal war against the country’s Mayan people in the 1980s. “Granito: How to Nail a Dictator” tells the story of how a film can aid a new generation of human rights activists to tip the scales of justice. Watch the Trailer

DownEast a film by Ashley Sabin and David Redmon
5:30 - 7 p.m.
For the residents of Gouldsboro, Maine, a large sardine cannery that had been a source of livelihood for hundreds of workers—many of them elderly—has succumbed to the economic downturn and closed its doors for good. The close-knit town’s new legion of unemployed must now stake their only hope on an unlikely outsider, Italian immigrant Antonio Bussone, who attempts to transform the defunct factory into a new lobster processing facility. Watch the Trailer

Henry Hampton Award: DETROPIA
8:30 - 10:30 p.m.
Separate registration is required for this event.

Detroit is on the brink of bankruptcy. In the past 10 years it has lost 25 percent of its population and 50 percent of its manufacturing jobs. City officials are in the midst of the most dramatic "downsizing" of an American city ever seen, including demolishing thousands of homes and cutting basic services. DETROPIA tells the evocative story of Motor City protagonists striving to make ends meet, refusing to abandon hope, and working to help the city envision a radically different. Watch the Trailer
Cohosted by the Council on Foundations, Media Impact Funders, and Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy.

Sunday, April 7

Media Impact Film Discussion

9–11 a.m.
Join Media Impact Funders for a discussion about one of the conference’s main themes—safe communities—right before the opening plenary on the same subject. With two Henry Hampton Award-winning films—"DETROPIA" and "The Interrupters"—as the backdrop of the conversation, we’ll focus on fiscal collapse, gun violence, and the fight to rebuild our cities. You’ll hear from J. Mikel Ellcessor, general manager of WDET; filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady; reporter Alex Kotlowitz of WBEZ's This American Life Harper High stories; and Justine Nagan, executive director of Kartemquin Films. The discussion, moderated by Media Impact Funders Executive Director Vincent Stehle, will also delve into urban decay, violence, and poverty in Chicago and Detroit, and how media projects like "The Interrupters" and "DETROPIA" are advancing promising solutions to seemingly intractable problems.

Meet the Filmmakers: The House I Live In a film by Melinda Shopsin, Christopher St. John, Sam Cullman, and Eugene Jarecki
1:45 - 3:45 p.m.
America’s “war on drugs” officially began 40 years ago under the leadership of then President Richard Nixon. Over the course of four decades, America’s drug problem has only become worse. What went wrong? Filmmaker Eugene Jarecki offers a comprehensive view of contemporary drug culture and examines the realities of a broken system whose very existence, he argues, is making the problem worse rather than better. Watch the Trailer

Slavery By Another Name a film by Sam Pollard, Catherine Allan, and Douglas A. Blackmon
1:45 - 3:45 p.m.
"Slavery By Another Name" explores the little-known history of the re-enslavement of African Americans from the Civil War to World War II. The film tells how even as chattel slavery came to an end in the South in 1865, thousands of African Americans were pulled back into forced labor with shocking force and brutality. It was a system in which men, often guilty of no crime at all, were arrested, compelled to work without pay, repeatedly bought and sold, and coerced to do the bidding of masters. Tolerated by both the North and South, forced labor lasted well into the 20th century. Watch the Trailer

Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare
a film by Susan Froemke and Matthew Heineman
4:15 - 5:30 p.m.
What went wrong with America’s health care system, and how can it be fixed? Filmmakers Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke examine the nuts and bolts of the current battle raging over a health care system that is seemingly broken. Drawing from personal stories and the ongoing efforts of those trying to make a positive difference, this film focuses on finding workable solutions. Watch the Trailer

Detropia a film by Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing
8:30 - 10:00p.m.
Once it may have been music, manufacturing, or automobiles that defined Detroit. Now, it is its near dissolution and the scrappy residents fighting to keep it alive. While we meet numerous remarkable characters striving to make ends meet and to make sense of their city teetering on the brink of collapse, it is Detroit itself that emerges as the central and most evocative character. The intricate rhythms of desolation, survival, and rebirth make “DETROPIA” a worthy heir of one of the founding glories of the documentary cinema—the city symphony. Watch the Trailer

Monday, April 8

The Weight of the Nation - Challenges a film by John Hoffman
9:45 - 11:30 a.m.
The fourth and last film in HBO’s ambitious “The Weight of the Nation” series is “Challenges.” It examines the severity and origins of the obesity epidemic, explores the challenges confronting people who struggle with obesity, and looks at opportunities for communities to fight the epidemic. Besides facing an increased risk of premature death, people who are obese are at greater risk of serious medical conditions. In addition, obesity has a much broader impact: It not only drives up health care costs for patients and families, it costs businesses—and the country—billions of dollars in lost productivity and higher employee health costs. Watch the Trailer

The Light in Her Eyes a film by Laura Nix and Julia Meltzer
11:45a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Houda al-Habash, a conservative Muslim preacher, founded a Qur’an school for girls in Damascus, Syria, 30 years ago. Every summer, her female students immerse themselves in a rigorous study of Islam. A surprising cultural shift is underway—women are claiming space within the mosque. Shot right before the uprising in Syria erupted, “The Light in Her Eyes” offers an extraordinary portrait of a leader who challenges the women of her community to live according to Islam, without giving up their dreams. Watch the Trailer

Bully a film by Cynthia Lowen and Lee Hirsch
1:45 - 3:30 p.m.
Director Lee Hirsch tackles the topic of bullying in this sensitive examination of a crisis in American society. The film follows five students and their families over the course of one school year as their lives are affected in different ways by bullying. With new insight into what it’s like to be victimized, teachers, parents, administrators, and the kids themselves look for solutions in the midst of their frustration, anger, and despair. Watch the Trailer

The City Dark a film by Ian Cheney
3:45 - 5:30 p.m.
Is darkness becoming extinct? When filmmaker Ian Cheney moves from rural Maine to New York City and discovers streets awash in light and skies devoid of stars, he embarks on a journey to the brightest and darkest corners of America, asking astronomers, cancer researchers, and ecologists what is lost in the glare of city lights. Blending a humorous, searching narrative with poetic footage of the night sky, "The City Dark" provides a fascinating introduction to the science of the dark and an exploration of our relationship to the stars. Watch the Trailer

Media Impact Celebration: Woody Wickham Award for To The Arctic
6:30 - 9:30 p.m.
Dinner, Screening, and Discussion. Separate registration is required for this event.

Watch an unforgettable journey into the lives of a mother polar bear and her two seven-month old cubs as they navigate the changing Arctic wilderness they call home. Join the filmmaker and funders concerned about environmental issues for a lively dinner and discussion, and honor Tom and Sonya Campion for their philanthropic work. There is a separate fee for this event. Watch the Trailer
Cosponsored by the Council on Foundations, Media Impact Funders, Mission Investors Exchange, MacArthur Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, and the Environmental Grantmakers Association.

Tuesday, April 9

I Learn America a film by Gitte Peng and Jean-Michel Dissard
9:45 - 11:30 a.m
At the International High School at Lafayette, a public school in New York City dedicated to serving newly arrived immigrant teenagers, students from more than 50 countries come together in a unique educational experience. Over the course of a year in "I Learn America," four teenagers strive to master English, adapt to families they haven't seen in years, confront adolescence, and search for a future of their own. Life is often confusing, lonely, and discouraging for our characters, but with courage, love, and humor, they persevere. Through their eyes, we learn America. Watch the Trailer

The Council on Foundations is a national nonprofit association of more than 1,700 grantmaking foundations and corporations. As the leading advocate for philanthropy, we strive to increase the effectiveness, stewardship, and accountability of our sector while providing our members with the services and support they need to advance the common good.