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500 Years
How could genocide occur in a country without its citizens ever knowing? In this sweeping documentary, filmmaker Pamela Yates gives a powerful new voice to the previously silenced Mayan people of Guatemala, who suffered the slaughter of entire villages in the 1980s under former president Rios Montt. The murders committed by Montt and his army, backed by the Reagan administration, went mostly unnoticed by the Mayans’ fellow countrymen, many of whom still do not believe a genocide ever occurred. Yates juxtaposes moving interviews with Mayan survivors and footage of Montt’s 2013 trial, which culminated in a fierce citizen uprising that flooded the streets of Guatemala with protestors demanding long-overdue justice. “500 Years” is an important and inspiring film that bears witness to the stories and strength of Guatemala’s indigenous people.
Film Info
Section:Documentary
Cinema Salon
Original Title:500 Años
Release Year:2017
Runtime:105 min.
Rating:NR
Production Country:USA
Original Language:Spanish
Subtitles:English
Cast/Crew Info
Director:Pamela Yates
Produced by:Paco de Onis
Cinematography:Melle van Essen
Rene Soza
Editing By:Peter Kinoy
Cast:Irma Alicia Velàsquez
NimatujMatilde
Terraza Gallego
Daniel Pascual Hernàndez
Andrea Ixchìu Hernàndez
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ACORN and the Firestorm
An essential part of documentary filmmaking’s DNA is the capacity for nuance, a trait the world of 24-hour cable news does not share. This is demonstrated all too clearly in this riveting look at a heated scandal of the 2000s, the explosive political collapse of the longstanding nonprofit ACORN. The community organizing group that played a critical role in the 2008 election of Barack Obama, once boasting over 500,000 members worldwide, was taken down by a pair of undercover conservative activists posing as a prostitute and a pimp. The carefully staged operation, orchestrated by Andrew Breitbart, led to ACORN’s eventual bankruptcy, setting the stage for today’s polarized political climate and the rise of Breitbart News. A compelling cautionary tale, this true-life political thriller shines an unquestionably fascinating light on our troubled present.
Film Info
Section:US Documentary
Cinema Salon
Release Year:2017
Runtime:84 min.
Premiere Status:Midwest Premiere
Rating:NR
Production Country:USA
India
Original Language:English
Cast/Crew Info
Director:Reuben Atlas
Sam Pollard
Produced by:Reuben Atlas
Sam Pollard
Cinematography:Frank Larson
Spencer Chumbley
Naiti Gamez
Natalie Kingston
Editing By:Francisco Bello
Music By:Khari Mateen
Cast:Bertha Lewis
Hannah Giles
Wade Rathke
Maude Hurd
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All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone
Independent journalist I.F. Stone built a legacy uncovering the deception of the powers that be, inspiring generations of maverick journalists to do the same. Using archival footage and new interviews, this sobering documentary is less a portrait of the legendary news figure than it is a critique of the mainstream media and a call to arms for the necessarily adversarial relationship of journalists to government, particularly in times of crisis and war. Stone’s work through the latter half of the 20th century is portrayed as hugely influential and, in the context of the chaos of the 2016 presidential election, as the type of reporting needed now more than ever. Writers like John Carlos Frey, Matt Taibbi, Glenn Greenwald, Amy Goodman, and others are presented as following in Stone’s footsteps, which are traced backwards to McCarthyism and through the Vietnam and Iraq Wars. This debut documentary from TV news veteran Fred Peabody, which also features a talking head appearance from our own
Film Info
Section:Foreign Documentary
Cinema Salon
Don't Miss
Release Year:2016
Runtime:91 min.
Rating:NR
Production Country:Canada
Cast/Crew Info
Director:Fred Peabody
Produced by:Jeff Cohen
Andrew Munger
Steve Ord
Peter Raymont
Cinematography:John Westheuser
Editing By:Jim Munro
James Yates
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The Blood is at the Doorstep
On April 30th, 2014, Dontre Hamilton, an unarmed, schizophrenic black man dozing in a Milwaukee park, was shot 14 times in broad daylight by a police officer responding to a non-emergency complaint from a Starbuck’s employee. This emotionally and politically charged documentary traces the events surrounding his tragic death, focusing on the Hamilton family as they grieve and work for justice. When rising tensions in the the city’s black community led to large-scale protests, Dontre’s initially-reluctant brother and mother became committed activitists for police reform and mental health advocacy. Filmed over the course of three years, documentarian Erik Ljung intimately captures a family trying to put their lives back together, a police department under fire, and a community in crisis. Opening with a recreation of the event that captures the chaotic incident with shocking realism, “The Blood is at the Doorstep” is an essential document of the ongoing epidemic of police violence, and is
Film Info
Section:US Documentary
Cinema Salon
Don't Miss
Release Year:2017
Runtime:98 min.
Rating:NR
Production Country:USA
Cast/Crew Info
Director:Erik Ljung
Produced by:Erik Ljung
Cinematography:Erik Ljung
Daniel Thomas Peters
Editing By:Michael T. Vollmann
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City of Ghosts
It is not easy to follow the overwhelming tragedy going on right now in Syria. But if you only watch one thing, make it this definitive Syria documentary about the citizen journalist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS). These brave Syrian journalists are capturing the everyday horror of living under ISIS in the city of Raqqa through photos, videos, and written testimonies. They do so at great personal risk to themselves and their families, and many have paid the ultimate price. Oscar nominee Matthew Heineman (“Cartel Land”) trains an unflinching eye on RBSS’ heroic actions and the trauma its members experience as a result, whether they remain at home, or continue to face persecution abroad from both ISIS loyalists and anti-refugee protestors. “City of Ghosts” reveals the harsh truth of ISIS’ impact in the Middle East and the deadliness of daring to rise against them. This remarkable film about true heroes is absolutely necessary viewing
Film Info
Section:US Documentary
Travel Ban
Cinema Salon
Don't Miss
Release Year:2017
Runtime:92 min.
Rating:R
Production Country:USA
Original Language:Arabic
English
Subtitles:English
Cast/Crew Info
Director:Matthew Heineman
Produced by:Matthew Heineman
Cinematography:Matthew Hamachek
Pax Wessermann
Mathew Heineman
Editing By:Matthew Heineman
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I Am Evidence
All across America, thousands of rape kits sit in storage, remaining untested and ignored each year. Tens of thousands of rape victims have experienced unimaginable trauma, only to be disregarded by the same system that invasively tests them and promises to bring them justice. Only eight states have laws forcing police departments to test rape kits. Michigan is not one of them. Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy has made it clear that her mission lies in righting these egregious wrongs. She is joined by directors Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir, and producer Mariska Hargitay (“Law & Order: SVU”) as they interview experts, victims, and scholars to figure out how and why this backlog happened, how rape kit testing would prevent further crimes, and how all of us can be agents for the changes that need to be made.
Film Info
Section:US Documentary
Cinema Salon
Don't Miss
Release Year:2017
Runtime:89 min.
Rating:NR
Production Country:USA
Cast/Crew Info
Director:Trish Adlesic
Geeta Gandbhir
Produced by:Mariska Hargitay
Cinematography:Tony Hardmon
Nadia Hallgren
Editing By:Geeta Gandbhir
Viridiana Lieberman
Richard Hankin
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Quest
Spend eight years getting to know one of the most incredible American families you’ll ever get to meet, edited down from 300 hours of vérité footage to an intimate, moving, inspirational, heartbreaking portrait. Jonathan Olshefski’s living, breathing, stunning documentary study of an African-American family in North Philadelphia weathering a tumultuous decade gives the world the Rainey family, who open up their basement studio to local musicians and young rappers, offering a creative sanctuary away from the strife that grips their neighborhood. Both personal tragedy and national events punctuate their day-to-day life as they raise their own two children in the face of immense adversity and work tirelessly to prove that love and music can heal and conquer all.
Film Info
Section:US Documentary
Cinema Salon
Don't Miss
Release Year:2017
Runtime:104 min.
Rating:NR
Production Country:USA
Cast/Crew Info
Director:Jonathan Olshefski
Produced by:Sabrina Schmidt Gordon
Cinematography:Jonathan Olshefski
Editing By:Lindsay Utz
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A River Below
This isn’t another sad doc about mankind’s wanton destruction of an endangered species. Rather, it’s an exploration of the good and bad of modern media activism, told through the story of the Amazon pink river dolphin. And it’s provocative to the extreme, refusing to back away from the painful, knotty mess that arises from media crusades. When it comes to activism, there’s almost nothing more powerful than an unforgettable image with its capacity to inspire and transform. Richard Rasmussen, well-known host of a popular NatGeo wildlife show, knows this well. He’s the Steve Irwin of Brazil, using in-the-wild confrontations with deadly creatures to call attention to conservation efforts. When he determines to do something about the siege on dolphins in Brazil and Colombia, he convinces a group of villagers to allow him to film them illegally killing a pregnant dolpin, which they chop up and use to catch lucrative piracatinga scavenger fish. After the footage airs on a popular Sunday night
Film Info
Section:Foreign Documentary
Cinema Salon
Release Year:2017
Runtime:86 min.
Premiere Status:Midwest Premiere
Rating:NR
Production Country:Colombia
USA
Original Language:English
Portuguese
Spanish
Subtitles:English
Cast/Crew Info
Director:Mark Grieco
Produced by:Torus Tammer
Cinematography:Helkin René Díaz
Editing By:Dan Swietlik
Music By:Tyler Strickland
Cast:Richard Rasmussen
Fernando Trujillo
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Tom of Finland
This slyly witty, and lightly kinky, crowd-pleaser traces the path of Finnish cult-artist Touko Laaksonen from his WWII military service to his worldwide acceptance as an artist, better known as Tom of Finland. Finland was not always one of those liberal socialist utopias Scandinavia seems to specialize in. As LGBT rights go, it was as repressive as everywhere else in the 1950s. One gay man’s rebellion took the form of art: his aggressively, frankly idealized hypermasculine drawings fought the stereotype of homosexuals as feminine by going as far as he could in the opposite direction. In this tour de force biopic, Pekka Strang plays the artist over a span of half a century, tracing his art’s path from being illegal and hidden to being celebrated in museum retrospectives and even on stamps. Director Dome Karukoski brings it all to life, creating a moving portrayal of the man behind the legendary images.
Film Info
Section:Foreign Fiction
Cinema Salon
Documentary
Original Title:Touko
Release Year:2017
Runtime:115 min.
Rating:NR
Production Country:Finland
Sweden
Denmark
USA
Germany
Original Language:English
Finnish
German
Subtitles:English
Cast/Crew Info
Director:Dome Karukoski
Produced by:Aleksi Bardy
Miia Haavisto
Annika Sucksdorff
Screenwriter:Aleksi Bardy
Cinematography:Frank Lasse
Editing By:Harri Ylönen
Cast:Pekka Strang
Lauri Tilkanen
Werner Daehn
Jessica Grabowsky
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