Trenton Film Society

2018 Trenton Film Festival Schedule Comments Off on 2018 Trenton Film Festival Schedule

2018 Trenton Film Festival Schedule

2018 Trenton Film Festival

We are pleased to announce this year’s line-up for the Trenton Film Festival. Tickets and passes now on sale!

An exploration of all things cinematic awaits at this year’s festival — featuring 53 films from 16 countries, including documentaries, narrative films, spoken word, animation and music videos by filmmakers from as close as Trenton, Bradley Beach, and other parts of NJ to as far away as Kosovo, Spain, and Iran. A great opportunity to connect with fellow film lovers and filmmakers!


See as many films as you’d like for just $25!
With an all-access pass, you’ll be able to pick up one ticket for each film in the festival.
To see details and buy pass

Regular price tickets: $8



7:00 pm – Thursday Night Feature — BUY TICKETS

Light Sight
(dir. Seyed M. Tabatabaei, Iran, animation, 7.5 minutes)
Born of light, M.E. is trapped in a room. Drawn to a hanging light, he tries to catch it, but the room itself becomes an obstacle.

Blows with the Wind
(dir. Hazhir As’adi, Iran, animation, 6.5 minutes)
A scarecrow in a field finds himself becoming more and more human.

(dir. Kazem Mollaie, Iran, narrative, 81 minutes)
Dr. Ahmed Kupal is a hunter and taxidermist. On the eve of Nuroz, the Iranian New Year, he finds himself faced with an unexpected challenge.




7:00 pm – Friday Night Documentaries — BUY TICKETS

Fire and Light
(dir. Dana Johnson, US, documentary, 10.5 minutes)
Four siblings with autism find an unusual path to healing: fire dancing.

(dir. Julio Mas Alcaraz, Spain, documentary, 11.5 minutes)
One night spent with Enrique, a man who chooses to sleep every night in Terminal 4 of Madrid Airport.

@ Beautiful Mountains
(dir. Teng Chen, China, documentary, 40 minutes)
In the 500-year-old village of Meishan, over half the population has left for the cities. The film follows a 26-year-old entrepreneur who aspires to bring the internet age to his rural hometown, and a 90-year-old master of traditional dance who tries to pass on his centuries-old expertise to the next generation.

Every Ghost Has an Orchestra
(dir. Shayna Connelly, US, documentary, 7 minutes)
The universal question of what happens after we die is explored by paranormal researcher and experimental composter Michael Esposito. Warning: contains high-pitched sounds and feedback noise.

Waking a Monster
(dir. Mirjam Clement, US, documentary, 20 minutes)
Told in his own words, and through puppetry, animation and mixed media, Academy Award-winning special effects and makeup artist Howard Berger reflects on his lifelong fascination of classic movie monsters.


9:00 pm – Friday Night Shorts — BUY TICKETS

Sweet Candy
(dir. Yilmaz Vurucu, Austria, narrative, 18 minutes)
Isolated and desperate, Andreas decides to air his grievances and commit suicide live on the internet. As his broadcast goes viral, he strikes a chord with some while attracting the disdain of other.

(dir. David Moya, UK, narrative, 15 minutes)
A white man arrives at the “Transition Centre” after dying of food poisoning on a cruise. There he is informed that he cannot be white in his next life.

Johnny Thinks
(dir. Malcolm Rumbles, UK, spoken word, 3 minutes)
In the poem, “What Johnny Thinks,” Johnny is a woman trying to fit into a society that rejects her. Warning: strong language.

Return Safely
(dir. Eric Burleson, US, narrative, 12 minutes)
A young traveler must complete her quest through a harsh landscape to return a mysterious object.

Purple Dreams
(dir. Murat Sayginer, Turkey, animation, 2 minutes)
An animated film about the transition from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius.

The Manual
(dir. Wil Magness, US, narrative, 30 minutes)
In a distant future, James is the last human on Earth. Raised and protected by a humanoid robot, he is brought up on a religion ascribed in a device known as “The Manual.” As the search for other humans becomes more futile and his faith is shaken, James sets out to test one of The Manual’s core beliefs.




11:00 am – Saturday Morning Shorts — BUY TICKETS

Lunch Time
(dir. Alireza Ghasemi, Iran, narrative, 15 minutes)
A 16-year-old girl is forced to deal with the responsibility and harsh bureaucracy of identifying the body of her mother.

A Month
(dir. Zgjim Terziqi, Kosovo, narrative, 26 minutes)
Based on a true story, Ana is a quiet, unmarried 40-year-old blind woman who lives month to month with each of her four sisters, who collect government assistance for her care.

The Guy Came on Horseback
(dir. Hossein Rabiei Dastjerdi, Iran, narrative, 15 minutes)
Set in rural Iran, a father must figure out what to do when he realizes his disabled son has fallen in love with their neighbor’s daughter.

Cup of Tea
(dir. Jitendra Rai, India, narrative, 3 minutes)
A young photographer chases a child who has grabbed her bag through the jungle, until he reaches his village, and she finds something unexpected.

Wintry Spring
(dir. Mohamed Kamel, Egypt, narrative, 15 minutes)
Nour lives alone with her father and finds herself in crisis when she hits puberty and can’t tell him.

(dir. João Inácio, Brazil, narrative, 10 minutes)
A young boy who has a hard time getting adopted from the orphanage creates an imaginary friendship with his only toy, a doll named Shala.

Pale Mirrors
(dir. Salem Salavati, Iran, narrative, 15 minutes)
Shawbo finds herself with only 24 hours to become pregnant. Grasping at her last opportunity to be a mother, she visits the city prison.



1:15 pm – Saturday Afternoon Documentaries — BUY TICKETS

People First
(dir. Chelsea LoCascio, US, documentary, 5 minutes)
Students with disabilities at The College of New Jersey share their stories.

One Mother’s Fire: The Gail Minger Story
(dir. Diana Nicolae, US, documentary, 26 minutes)
After her son died in a fire at Murray State University in Kentucky, Gail Minger has not stopped searching for answers, uncovering negligence, forcing accountability, and fighting for change that can save other lives.

Weavers of Imagination
(dir. Sadegh Jafari, Iran, documentary, 21 minutes)
Unsighted men and women in Iran weave intricately patterned carpets by using Braille.

Gold Mettle
(dir. Nicholas Carney, US, documentary, 30 minutes)
Every year Villanova University hosts one of the largest Special Olympics competitions in the nation. Athletes from the Delaware County soccer team share the challenges they face on a daily basis, both on and off the playing field.

Hope Works Here: A Camden Story
(dir. Peter Prokop, US, documentary, 28 minutes)
Three students in Camden, NJ try to overcome their turbulent pasts and rewrite their future at HopeWorks, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide education, counseling and entrepreneurship to young people.


3:45 pm – Saturday Afternoon Shorts — BUY TICKETS

(dir. Ambarien Alqadar, India, narrative, 19 minutes)
When her father encounters a US veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress, Ayesha is forced to change her weekend plans with her boyfriend.

The Last Visit
(dir. Mark Clauburg, US, narrative, 19 minutes)
An accidental meeting between a recently widowed man and a young girl ends up changing both their lives.

Walk On
(dir. Megan Rossman, US, documentary, 13 minutes)
Cecilia is not your average college student. Diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome at age 13, she has been working to persevere despite her little-known disability.

The Scary Ham
(dir. Sue Mroz, US, narrative, 15 minutes)
Two sisters sort through 50 years of family memorabilia after the death of their father, and try to figure out how contend with his beloved ham.

I Promised Her Life
(dir. Robert Nazar Arjoyan, US, narrative, 15 minutes)
On the day of her daughter’s funeral, a grieving Armenian-American mother defies a centuries-old ritual and tests the limits of tradition.

Eggs and Soldiers
(dir. Imelda O’Reilly, US, narrative, 20 minutes)
A single dad gets drunk and forgets the tree on Christmas Eve. Ned, the older son, sets out to make things right and give his younger brother Marco a real Irish Christmas.


6:00 pm – Saturday Evening Shorts — BUY TICKETS

(dir. Matthew Gentile, US, narrative, 13 minutes)
1875, Indian Territory. Bass Reeves is the first African-American to be deputized by the US Marshal Service. While bringing two outlaws to justice, Bass begins to question his idea of justice and choosing to fight for a country that may never fight for him.

(dir. Yassen Genadiev, Bulgaria, narrative, 20 minutes)
Mikhail is a meticulous supervisor of a residential building near the Black Sea. His monotonous life is about to be shaken up by a new neighbor, the young and extroverted Evelina.

King Kong
(dir. Lo Xu-Ming Tong, Canada, narrative, 19 minutes)
When their mother suffers an accident, teenager Eliza must take responsibility for traveling with her younger brother Damian to Montreal to join their father.

D for Docs
(dir. Joe Sikoryak, US, narrative, 15 minutes)
Professor Marty is a documentary film teacher who thinks he has the worst class ever. Now he has to explain himself to the department chair who has come to watch his students’ final projects.

Death of an Umbrella Salesman
(dir. Steve Herold, US, narrative, 18 minutes)
A day in the life of a door-to-door umbrella salesman.

(dir. Amie Batalibasi, Australia, narrative, 19 minutes)
A young South Sudanese aspiring actress works late nights at a bar and meets an older man at a crisis point in his life. They spend a night walking around together in Melbourne, two people from different worlds who find an unlikely connection.


8:15 pm – Saturday Night Feature — BUY TICKETS

Take My Hand
(dir. Francesco Siro Brigiano, Italy, experimental, 4 minutes)
An abstract autobiographical and emotional journey. The pursuit of a visionary language, personal and poetic.

(dir. Faraz Arif Ansari, India, narrative, 15 minutes)
In a country where homosexuality is a crime, two men find themselves slowly and silently falling in love through movements and glances on the busy Mumbai train system.

Dad is Pretty (dir. Park soo-min, Korea, narrative, 92 minutes)
Middle-aged salesman Duk-jae is ignored by his wife and daughter at home and shown no respect at work. When he is given a liquor contract that no other colleagues want — for a cross-dressing club called “Hawaii” — he finds a new “family” who help him reconnect with his own.



12:30 pm – Panel Discussion (TBD)

2:00 pm – Sunday Feature Documentary — BUY TICKETS

The Best Little Coffeehouse in Maryland (dir. Cory Choy, US, documentary, 18 minutes)
Inwood House, the only apartment building in the US that is both Section 8 and dedicated to people with disabilities, is home to a monthly musical coffeehouse like no other.

The Organizer (dir. Nick Taylor, US, documentary, 100 minutes)
A portrait of Wade Rathke, the controversial founder of ACORN, which had been the largest community organization in the US before its infamous demise following several highly publicized scandals. Through archival footage and interviews, the film follows how ACORN grew to be a national powerhouse and how internal and external pressures led to its downfall.


4:30 pm – Sunday Afternoon Shorts — BUY TICKETS

The Ballad of Craig Kelly
(dir. Jeff Stewart, US, narrative, 8 minutes)
Based on the life of actor Craig Kelly, this semi-autobiographical short is a stream of consciousness narrative of a lonely man coming to terms with past, present and future mistakes.

The Poet
(dir. Adam Cushman, US, spoken word, 6 minutes)
An inspired Beat-era poet takes the stage.

North & Nowhere
(dir. Scott Ballard, US, narrative, 12 minutes)
A girl, a gun, and a last chance. Devan moves back home to care for her father, who has suffered a stroke. When her sister puts him in a care facility, it’s up to Devan and her friend Kyle to get him out by any means necessary.

(dir. Rosemarie Wilson, US, spoken word, 8 minutes)
PHAT Girl is a testament to women becoming comfortable in their own skin, flaws and all, and owning it.

Alpha Fish
(dir. Roger An, US, animation, 9 minutes)
Rodrigo, a charismatic talking goldfish, has had enough of his hapless owner Conner. Tired of performing tricks for snacks, Rodrigo has his sights on Bianca, a beautiful marine biologist.

The Dinner Scene
(dir. Nicholas Thurkettle, US, narrative, 10 minutes)
A solitary screenwriter in a café battles frustration and self-doubt to craft the most dramatically juicy scene between a couple at dinner that she can.

Expiration Date
(dir. Shunya Chang, US, animation, 4 minutes)
A poetic animated story about searching for an unexpired romance.

Jimmy Scalia: An Honest Portrait
(dir. Anthony Scalia, US, documentary, 6 minutes)
School janitor and Bobby Darin archivist, Jimmy Scalia, reflects on his life as he approaches a milestone transition.

(dir. Fred Zara, US, narrative, 16 minutes)
Eight lives intersect at a typical coffee shop one afternoon. Some are enjoying a fresh new start, some are at a crossroads, and others may be in the midst of a painful ending.

Frieda and Eddie, A Jersey Shore Love Story
(dir. Jennifer Suwak & Stephen Abruzzese, US, documentary, 24 minutes)
Frieda and Eddie met at the Jersey Shore in 1942 and dated until Eddie was drafted into the service for World War II. Separated for 50 years, they married other people and had families of their own. After both of their spouses died, they reconnected and found it’s never too late for love.


6:30 pm

Closing Night Reception and Award Ceremony — FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Join us for a reception following the last screening. Prizes will be awarded at the Closing Night Ceremony for:

James Solheim Award for Best Film
Best Documentary Feature
Best Documentary Short
Best Narrative Feature
Best Narrative Short
Best Animated Film
Best New Media (Music Video, Spoken Word Poetry, New Media)
Audience Favorite

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It’s a Wonderful Life Comments Off on It’s a Wonderful Life

It’s a Wonderful Life

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Join the Trenton Film Society and Passage Theatre for a special free screening of the 1946 holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” by Frank Capra, starring Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, a man who is about to give up on life until his guardian angel shows him how things would be different if he had never been born.

And keep the spirit going after the screening at a reception downstairs, complete with cookies and caroling!

Saturday, Dec. 16, 7:00 pm – FREE


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2017 Trenton Film Festival Award Winners Comments Off on 2017 Trenton Film Festival Award Winners

2017 Trenton Film Festival Award Winners

2017 Trenton Film Festival

Thank you to all of our filmmakers for making this year’s festival an unparalleled success! We are pleased to announce this year’s award winners:

Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?
(Israel, Dir. Tomer Heymann)

Owsia (Darkened Water)
(Iran, Dir. Alireza Dehghan)

(US, Dir. Dax Phelan)

Nothing Happened
(US, Dir. Ted Schneider)

Pasquale’s Magic Veal
(US, Dir. D.J. Higgins)

(US, Dir. Gung-Kai Koo)

Can You Decide
(Italy, Lu Pulici)

Another Time
(US, Dir. Amy Frear)

Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?
(Israel, Dir. Tomer Heymann and Barak Heymann)

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2017 Trenton Film Festival Schedule Comments Off on 2017 Trenton Film Festival Schedule

2017 Trenton Film Festival Schedule

2017 Trenton Film Festival



7:00 pm – Opening Night Feature — BUY TICKETS


(dir. Guillermo P. Bosch, Spain, 1 minute)
Kitsune, which means “spirit of the fox” in Japanese, is a short experimental animation.

Can You Decide
(dir. Lu Pulici, Italy, 5 minutes)
In this music video featuring UK singer songwriter Jon Kenzie, a lonely robot musician struggles between the desire to travel and play music throughout the galaxy or go back home to be with the one he loves.

(dir. Stuart McBratney, Australia, 91 minutes)
“Pop-Up” is a triptych of stories about people affected by one event. An unemployed father finds a camera containing a single photo of a woman’s face. Smitten, he tracks her down. A Romanian immigrant attempts to overcome her heartbreak by giving away a thousand home-made pop-up cards. A sleep-deprived theater director seeks deadly revenge on a scathing critic.



7:00 pm – Friday Night Feature — BUY TICKETS


Summer Park – Q&A with director Michael Benko
(dir. Michael Benko, China, 15 minutes)
After the death of her parents, 17-year-old Summer takes to stealing as an outlet for her harsh life. She finds solace in the company of Park, a good-hearted teenager who obsessively records conversations on a tape-recorder, and the pair go on a wild adventure through the outskirts of Beijing.

(dir. Dax Phelan, US, 80 minutes)
A year after his wife’s murder, once-successful Hong Kong businessman Leonard To is still reeling from the tragedy. Having lost his job, friends, and all sense of order in his life, Leonard becomes obsessed with a mysterious stranger he sees at his wife’s grave, believing him to be responsible for her death.

9:00 pm – Suspense/Horror Shorts — BUY TICKETS

Special Ticket Price: $6.
(Please note: some films in this program contain scenes of graphic violence.)

Hope St
(dir. Elias Ressegatti, US, 8 minutes)
A young man is about to drastically alter the course of his life. As he contemplates going through with an armed robbery, he is haunted by repeating visions of what could go wrong.

(dir. Alex Clark, Canada, 14 minutes)
A lone man is terrorized by a masked burglar late one night, but the intruder soon realizes that the man’s house is not what it seems.

Stitched – Q&A with writer/director Heather Taylor
(dir. Heather Taylor, US, 4 minutes)
A sheltered woman, reeling from the death of her mother, shows her sister how far she will go to be heard.

Third Guest
(dir. Fraser Watson, UK, 7 minutes)
A mysterious woman finds an unplanned, unwanted guest.

Wicked Conclusions – Q&A with director Philip G. Carroll and actress Chloe Hendrickson
(dir. Phillip G. Carroll Jr., US, 13 minutes)
A young woman chained up in her boyfriend’s basement must decide who the real monster is – her captor or the little boy imprisoned beside her.



12:00 pm – Narrative and Documentary Shorts — BUY TICKETS

Before Christmas – Q&A with director Chuyao (Abigail) He
(dir. Chuyao He, US, 15 minutes)
A poor Chinese family tries to find opportunity in a big city. 18-year-old Xiao Lee and his father work at a Christmas decoration factory, but Xiao Lee has hopes of becoming a singer and decides to make a change to pursue his dream.

Nobody Dies Here
(dir. Simon Panay, France, 23 minutes)
A documentary about the Perma gold mine in Benin. Some dream of finding something, others realize there’s nothing to be found. Some dig relentlessly hoping to become rich, others die in the process.

Extra 1104 – The Story of the Rockport Train Wreck
(dir. John General, US, 21 minutes)
Steaming fifty people to death, the 1925 train wreck of Extra 1104 still stands as one of the most disastrous train wrecks in New Jersey. For over 90 years, the full story of this tragedy remained largely untold. This documentary sets out to reveal what really happened on the fateful night that put courage, selflessness, and pure heroism to a true test.


1:30 pm – Documentary Shorts — BUY TICKETS

Owsia (Darkened Water)
(dir. Alireza Dehghan, Iran, 30 minutes)
The aqueduct of Yazd, Iran has supplied the city with water for 2500 years. This documentary short reveals how it is now rotting away due to pollution and bureaucracy.

Memories of Warsaw
(dir. Robert Webster, Netherlands, 41 minutes)
Dutch painter Robert Webster studied from 1967 to 1969 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. In 2015 he returned to Warsaw in search of his former sources of inspiration, showing the atmosphere of the communist period through his paintings, prints, and drawings.


3:15 pm – Narrative and Animated Shorts — BUY TICKETS


Date Night
(dir. Ross Carey, Ireland, 12 minutes)
A woman gets dressed up for a big first date. However, far more lies ahead than could be expected.

You Deserve Everything
(dir. Goran Stolevski, UK, 18 minutes)
A doctor’s tentative romance with the hospital’s Arabic interpreter is evolving into something deeper. But everything is not as it seems.

(dir. Nick LeDonne, US, 6 minutes)
In this abstract animated documentary based on the filmmaker’s personal struggle with suicidal thoughts, feelings of depression are personified through a dark luring fog and a loving mother desperately trying to keep her son alive.

Gardening at Night
(dir. Shayna Connelly, US, 12 minutes)
Samantha is powerless to help her friend Anne, who on the eve of her death, has not come to terms with her fate and remains angry and afraid. Waiting by the phone and not being able to bear the stillness, Samantha tries to put her neglected garden in order, despite the darkness.

(dir. Christian Washington, US, 5 minutes)
In this animated short film, two brothers grow up in a home where the parental structure suddenly falls apart. Sometimes the people in our lives who are hardest to love end up being the most important people we should cherish.

Everything We Wanted
(dir. Goran Stolevski, UK, 25 minutes)
A formerly wealthy cleaning woman comes face to face with the schoolgirl who derailed her life. They are each forced to face the difficult events that first brought them together.


5:00 pm – Saturday Feature Documentary #1 — BUY TICKETS


(dir. Gung-Kai Koo, US, 3 minutes)
This animated short is the filmmaker’s graduation film about positivity, negativity, and the opposite but complementary relationship between them.

Aranceri – Battle of the Oranges – Q&A with cinematographer Clement Morin
(dir. Erasmus Talbot, Sweden, 23 minutes)
The Battle of the Oranges is a unique carnival held each year in Ivrea, Italy. Celebrating the 12th century revolt of the people against a local tyrant, for three days the main squares in the old town become a temporary battleground for thousands of orange throwers. The film follows three of these combatants – their stories and their love for the orange battle.

The Promise
(dir. Zeljko M. Mirkovic, Serbia, 74 minutes)
Though now poor and deserted, Rogljevo, Serbia was incredibly prosperous a century ago, producing wines found at exhibitions in Bordeaux and Paris. When a French family moves in to grow grapes and produce wine, they believe they have discovered a promised land, one of the top five wine regions in Europe. Their arrival sparks high hopes with some villagers – and great resistance and mistrust with others.

7:15 pm – Saturday Feature Documentary #2 — BUY TICKETS


Live from the Grave with Dedgar
(dir. Walter Skold, US, 26 minutes)
This documentary short follows Dedgar the Poemobile on an epic, 7-year journey to over 500 poets’ graves. Traveling in the footsteps of Kerouac, Kesey, and Steinbeck, Dedgar spends life on the road driving to cemeteries across the land, resurrecting dead poets with the help of the living.

Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?
(dir. Tomer Heymann, Israel, 85 minutes)
Saar has never fulfilled his parents’ expectations. Ever since he defied the rules of his kibbutz seventeen years ago, as far as his family is concerned, he simply does not exist. He left Israel to live freely as a gay man in London. Diagnosed with HIV and forced to rethink his life, Saar has finally found a home singing in the London Gay Men’s Chorus where music is giving him the courage for a reunion with his family. This documentary provides a sensitive, humorous and charming record of how the now forty-year-old protagonist and his estranged parents and siblings set off to confront their disagreements and fears.


12:45 pm – We the Voters: Films for the People — FREE

We the Voters is a social impact campaign designed to inspire and activate audiences by presenting the subjects of democracy, elections, and U.S. governance through a series of films. In this program, we present 8 short films from the We the Voters campaign to help foster dialogue surrounding important issues unfolding across America.

MediaOcracy (5:31)
We Americans are stuck in social media news bubbles that block exposure to opposing points of view. Here you’ll get concrete advice from leading media experts on how to break free and get fully informed. Narrated by Glynn Washington.

Citizen Next (5:16)
What motivates the approximately 4.6 million Latino immigrants eligible for citizenship, most of whom claim Mexico as a country of origin, to seek citizenship… or not? Follow the challenges facing Latino immigrants on their path towards citizenship, into the voting booth and beyond.

#Founding Fathers (4:42)
Politicians argue over the Constitution. Luckily Jefferson, Franklin, and Madison take time out of their afterlives to answer the question: “what would the Founding Fathers do?” Starring Harold Perrineau, Mario Cantone, and Ana Ortiz.

Mission Insurable (3:25)
Secret Agent Brink must escape the villain’s lair in time to register for healthcare or have his fingers broken, which will stick him with thousands of dollars in medical costs. Many Americans know how he feels: tortured to debt.

Disrupt Lobbying (5:54)
Our inept but intrepid reporter, Josh Horowitz, enters the heart of darkness, aka Washington, D.C., planning to expose the corrupt lobbyists perverting our democracy. They exist, but he meets some lobbyists who break the stereotypes.

The Future of Social Security (4:57)
Social Security is a ‘pay-it-forward’ system that will theoretically benefit all of us. Fixes were made to take care of the retiring baby boomers, but what about millennials? Can they rely on government help in retirement?

Run Rep Run (5:00)
A day in the life of a first-time, millennial, Latina politician in a small New England city. This documentary shows how change starts at the grassroots level and grows with hard work. What would it take for you to make a difference in your town?

Why We March (4:57)
The right to assemble and speak out is written in the constitution. But do rallies and civil disobedience really provoke policy changes? We meet the people who take to the streets to “rage against the machine” and “speak truth to power.”


1:30 pm – Panel Discussion on Social Issues Filmmaking — FREE

Join us for an insightful discussion with local filmmakers interested in bringing to light social issues through their work.

Purcell Carson is a documentary filmmaker and editor. As an editor, she’s served as a lead creative partner on long-form documentaries, including the Oscar-winning Smile Pinki and the 2011 Semper Fi: Always Faithful, which won best-editing from the Tribeca Film Festival. As director, she was awarded a MacDowell Fellowship for her feature debut, Among the Perishable, a multi-character portrait of the global banana industry and has begun a series of shorts exploring the Guatemalan community in New Jersey. Purcell teaches a seminar in urban studies and film at Princeton University, where she is project director of a multi-year community-based documentary project, The Trenton Project. Purcell studied literature and history at Brown University, and received her Master’s from Stanford University.

Katherine Elisabeth Clark is a writer-director (and occasional art director), and co-founder of PopUp Anthology, a community organization created to promote local films and to encourage audiences to support local storytelling. After receiving her MFA from Columbia College Chicago, she moved to Princeton where she started her production company, Dangerous Person Productions. Katherine is currently developing her first feature, Pololia, a magical realist drama set in Hawaii and the Pacific, and attended Creative Lab Hawaii’s Writers Immersive Lab in March 2016.

Dan Preston
is a documentary filmmaker and multimedia creator, and owner of Telequest, Inc., producing projects for nonprofits, education, and businesses. As a political activist, he seeks creative approaches to solving public issues. A graduate of Yale University, Dan is a former board member of the Trenton Film Society

Evelyn Tu is a videographer, editor, and producer, and owner of Flying Camel Media. She has shot and edited more than 150 documentary shorts, a feature-length documentary, and many other projects. She began her career as a journalist and has a masters in Media Studies from The New School. She recently joined the board of the Trenton Film Society.

3:45 pm – Narrative Shorts — BUY TICKETS


Selkie – Q&A with director Amy Frear
(dir. Amy Frear, US, 8 minutes)
A wayward selkie (a seal that can turn itself into a human) has followed a school of herring up the Delaware river when her seal skin is captured by a man from the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia.

(dir. Zanyar Lotfi, Iran, 5 minutes)
A little girl just wants to do her homework, but when grandpa’s snores keep her little sibling from sleeping, things get a bit more complicated.

Honk! Honk!
(dir. Lars Fuchs, US, 9 minutes)
Lars sets out to make a film about a mild-mannered man pushed to the limits by the hazards of life in the big city. But when the results aren’t as good as he’d hoped, Lars himself is pushed to the limit – and beyond – by his own worst enemy. Himself.

The Paper Rose
(dir. Nadia Fedchin, US, 9 minutes)
An awkward band teacher starts to date again four years after the passing of his beloved wife, but his teenage daughter disapproves.

(dir. Gloria Mercer, Canada, 13 minutes)
Sophie is an unmotivated comedian. When her estranged young daughter is unexpectedly thrust back into her life, Sophie’s plans have to be reshuffled. While they both struggle to adjust to the new environment, Sophie must come to terms with the fact that she’s in over her head.

Another Time – Q&A with director/actress Amy Frear
(dir. Amy Frear, US, 24 minutes)
A twenty-something woman who may or may not be a lost time traveler deals with commitment issues and indecision in present day Philadelphia.


5:30 pm – Spoken Word, Music, and Narrative Shorts — BUY TICKETS


Primary Colours
(dir. Derek Price, Canada, 3 minutes)
A spoken word piece by Sudanese-Canadian artist Roua Aljied, aka Philosi-fire, about the realities of domestic violence and how each step a woman takes is a new color to paint on the canvas of her life.

(dir. Jake Hunsicker, US, 3 minutes)
A short film about the how the human weaknesses of fear, hate, and distrust can be resolved by simple recognition.

Nothing Happened
(dir. Ted Schneider, US, 23 minutes)
At turns comic and reflective, a man recounts his stop-and-frisk arrest and the ripples it made in his life and close relationships, wrestling with how to place what happened to him within the current national dialogue on racial profiling.

(dir. B. Stephen Stockwell, US, 9 minutes)
In this mood piece, the music of Antonin Dvorak is played by the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Spalding. Maestro Spalding is also Music Director of the Capital Philharmonic of New Jersey.

Pasquale’s Magic Veal – Q&A with director D. J. Higgins
(dir. D.J. Higgins, US, 21 minutes)
A dark comedy about a “magic piece of veal” that forces all who eat it to speak the truth. Starring Sopranos actors Vincent Pastore, Dan Grimaldi, and Artie Pasquale, it’s a Sopranos reunion that is anything but Sopranos.

6:30 pm – Closing Night Reception and Award Ceremony — OPEN TO ALL

Join us for a reception following the last screening. Prizes will be awarded at the Closing Night Ceremony for:

James Solheim Award for Best Film
Best Documentary Feature
Best Documentary Short
Best Narrative Feature
Best Narrative Short
Best Animated Film
Best New Media (Music Video, Spoken Word Poetry, New Media)
Audience Favorite

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Oscar Shorts 2017 Comments Off on Oscar Shorts 2017

Oscar Shorts 2017

Tickets Now on Sale!

February 23-25, 2017

Tickets are now on sale for our ever popular screening of Oscar-nominated documentary, live action, and animated short films in the run-up to the Sunday, February 26 Oscar awards ceremony!

Back by popular demand, our Saturday Night Double Feature will screen both the animated and live action shorts with a reception during intermission. Complimentary coffee and cookies will be served during the documentary shorts intermission on Thursday and Friday.

Enjoy refreshments and conversation with fellow film lovers while casting ballots for your picks to win the Oscars. Ballots that correctly pick the winners will be entered in a raffle to win passes to the Trenton Film Festival, March 29 through April 2.

Documentary Shorts – Two-Part Program

(Total running time: 72 minutes and 82 minutes, with a 15-minute intermission featuring complimentary refreshments. Suitable for ages 16+)

Joe’s Violindir. Kahane Cooperman, US, 24 minutes
During a drive to donate musical instruments to public schools, 91-year-old Holocaust survivor Joseph Feingold offers his beloved violin, which he has played for more than 70 years. The instrument goes to the Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls, where young musician Brianna Perez is inspired to become friends with her benefactor.

Extremisdir. Dan Krauss, US, 24 minutes
At the Intensive Care Unit at Highland Hospital in Oakland, California, palliative care specialist Dr. Jessica Zitter treats terminally ill patients. As she and her team provide the best possible care, they try to help the patients and their loved ones make critical, often heartbreaking decisions.

4.1 Milesdir. Daphne Matziaraki, US, 26 minutes
Kyriakos Papadopoulos, a captain in the Greek Coast Guard, is caught in the struggle of refugees fleeing the Middle East and traveling the short distance from the coast of Turkey to the island of Lesbos. Despite having limited resources, the captain and his crew attempt to save lives during the immense humanitarian crisis.

15-minute intermission with complimentary refreshments

Watani: My Homeland dir. Marcel Mettelsiefen, UK, 40 minutes
Four young children live with their mother and father, a Free Syrian Commander, in a warzone in Aleppo, Syria. After their father is captured by ISIS, the children flee with their mother to Goslar, Germany, in a years-long journey that will test them all as they try to find a safe home in a foreign country.

The White Helmets dir. Orlando von Einsiedel, UK, 41 minutes
In the chaos of war-torn Syria, unarmed and neutral civilian volunteers known as “the white helmets” comb through the rubble after bombings to rescue survivors. Although they have already saved more than 60,000 lives since 2013, these brave first responders continue to place themselves in danger every day.

Thursday, February 23, 6:30 pm – Buy Tickets
Friday, February 24, 7:00 pm – Buy Tickets

Live Action Shorts

(Total running time: 132 minutes. Suitable for ages 15+)

Singdir. Kristof Deák, Hungary, 25 minutes
Young Zsofi is having a hard time fitting in at her new school, and her distress grows when the choir director treats her cruelly despite her love of singing. Along with her friend Liza, Zsofi investigates the revered teacher in an attempt to reveal her true nature.

Silent Nightsdir. Aske Bang, Denmark, 30 minutes
Young Danish woman Inger volunteers at a homeless shelter in Copenhagen, where she meets and falls in love with Kwame, an undocumented immigrant from Ghana. The couple builds a life together, but a devastating secret from Kwame’s past may undermine their happiness.

Timecode dir. Juanjo Giménez, Spain, 15 minutes
Parking lot security guard Luna is bored with her uneventful daily routine but a call about a customer complaint leads her to discover how the night guard, Diego, alleviates his boredom. Soon the pair develops a relationship by communicating through the garage’s CCTV footage.

Ennemis Intérieursdir. Sélim Azzazi, France, 28 minutes
In the 1990s, as the Algerian civil war rages and terrorists infiltrate France, a French police officer of Algerian descent conducts a rancorous interview with a French-born Algerian man seeking naturalization.

La Femme et le TGVdir. Timo von Gunten, Switzerland, 30 minutes
Elise has been waving at the express train as it passes by her home every day for three decades. A letter from the train’s conductor begins a correspondence between the two, and when the train is detoured to another route, Elise goes in search of her man.

Saturday, February 25: 11:00 am – Buy Tickets
Saturday, February 25: 3:45 pm – Buy Tickets

Animated Shorts

(Estimated running time: 87 minutes. Suitable for ages 8+ except for final film.)

Borrowed Timedir. Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj, US, 7 minutes
A sheriff of the Old West returns to the scene of a tragic accident from his past that shaped his life. As memories wash over him, he is engulfed by emotion and must find the strength to carry on with his lifelong quest for redemption.

Pearldir. Patrick Osborne, US, 6 minutes
An itinerant musician travels around the country with his young daughter in their old hatchback and juggles his passion for performing with providing his daughter with a stable life. The daughter grows up with a love of music and adventure, and is able to repay her father for nurturing her creativity.

Piperdir. Alan Barillaro, US, 6 minutes
Young Piper, a sandpiper hatchling, leaves her nest for the first time to hunt for food but is too scared of the crashing waves to reach the yummy morsels hidden in the sand. After meeting an unusual ally, Piper attempts to face her fears and increase her confidence.

Blind Vaysha dir. Theodore Ushev, Canada, 8 minutes
Young Vaysha was born with unusual sight: her left eye can see only the past and her right eye can see only the future, while the present is a blind spot. Called “Blind Vaysha” by the people of her village, the girl is tormented by the two realities that she cannot reconcile.

Additional animated films highly commended by the Academy:
The Head Vanishesdir. Franck Dion, Canada, 9 minutes
Asteriadir. Alexandre Arpentinier, France, 5 minutes
Once Upon a Linedir. Alicja Jasina, US, 8 minutes

Pear Cider and Cigarettesdir. Robert Valley, Canada/UK, 35 minutes
Hard-living Techno Stypes has been Robert’s best friend since childhood, and over the years, Robert has been amazed by Techno’s ability to sabotage himself. When Techno is hospitalized in China and needs a liver transplant, Robert goes on a wild ride to get him home to Vancouver.

Important note: PEAR CIDER AND CIGARETTES will be the last film in the program. It is not appropriate for children. A Parental Guidance warning will screen prior to this short, so that parents and caregivers can usher children out of the theater if they’d like. Other than PEAR CIDER AND CIGARETTES, the program is acceptable for kids.

Saturday, February 25: 1:45 pm – Buy Tickets

Double Feature: Animated and Live Action Shorts

(Estimated running time: 92 minutes and 132 minutes, with a 30-minute reception. Suitable for ages 15+)

See both programs back to back, with a 30-minute reception during intermission. See above for film descriptions.

Saturday, February 25: 6:30 pm – Buy Tickets

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