2016 Trenton Film Festival
Thank you for a great festival!
An exploration of all things cinematic awaits at the Trenton Film Festival. This year’s festival features 55 films from 16 countries, including documentaries, narrative films, spoken word, animation and music videos by filmmakers from as close as Trenton, Jersey City and New Hope to as far away as Romania, Iran and Korea. An opportunity to experience a wide diversity of film and engage with the local Trenton film scene!
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
Wednesday, March 30
Billion Star Hotel
(Romania, Dir. Alecs Nastoiu, 92m)
In this story within a story, a homeless boy learns about life from his mentor, Papa Rudi. Rudi tells the boy of three odd characters — Sica the General, the sentimental Panait Surdu and womanizer Arthur Popescu — who meet at a turning point, on the train of life.
Total Running Time: 97 minutes
Death on a Rock
(US, Dir. Scott Ballard, 82m)
Lillian loves her job in a flower shop and has a sweet budding relationship with her boyfriend, until her life is rocked by illness. This vibrantly shot tale follows Lillian’s year of happiness, pain, and growth, told through flashbacks and drifting between memories and shifting consciousness.
Total Running Time: 89 minutes
Thursday, March 31
A Thousand Autumns
(US, Dir. Bob Krist, 17m) – Filmmaker in attendance
New Hope-based National Geographic photographer Bob Krist follows a young Icelandic farmer as he carries out the tradition of rettir, the annual movement of herds of sheep and horses from summer pasture to autumn grazing through a spectacular but unforgiving terrain.
(Netherlands, Dir. Marijn Poels, 60m)
At age 13, Maarten Vossen adopted the grave of Private First Class James E. Wickline, buried in the American Military Cemetery in the village of Margraten, Netherlands. Now as an adult, Maatren begins a quest to learn more about the soldier. His journey takes him to West Virginia where, for the first time, the unknown soldier becomes a face, a voice and a person with whom Maarten feels a kindred connection.
Total Running Time: 84 minutes
(US, Dir. Asher Grodman, 10m)
A preoccupied young man reluctantly agrees to take some time from his busy day to meet his girlfriend’s grandfather (Academy Award Winner Eli Wallach). He learns how life can change in a moment.
(Ireland, Dir. Colin Downey, 82m)
Daria is a Russian immigrant living in rural Ireland. Escaping from her abusive husband, her luck seems to change when she finds a stash of money in an abandoned shed, until someone else comes looking for it.
Total Running Time: 92 minutes
Friday, April 1
I Can’t Breathe (Racial Disparity Resolution)
(US, Dir. Nick Asenjo, 3m) – Writer Rihki Kennebrew in attendance
Part of a scholarly thesis, I Can’t Breathe is a musical composition written and performed by Rihki Kennebrew.
Driving While Black
(US, Dir. Paul Sapiano, 94m)
Driving While Black is a dark comedy, based on the police experiences of a black kid From Los Angeles. Dimitri delivers pizzas for a living – but as a young black man he is faced with daily drama from the cops while navigating the city.
Total Running Time: 97 minutes
Saturday, April 2
11:30 am – Narrative Shorts
(Spain, Dir. David P. Sañudo, 20m)
Xabier goes for a job interview, but what he doesn’t know is that he has already been selected. The job offer will pay him 80,000 if he agrees to be cloned.
Monsters and Animals
(US, Dir. Rachel Garber Cole, 13m) – filmmaker, cast and crew in attendance
This short, surreal film follows a day in the life of Alice as she navigates both human and monster interactions.
(US, Dir. Jeff Stewart, 20m) – filmmaker, cast and crew in attendance
When a former superhero/spy retires from the business of saving the world, she is forced back into action when her past comes back to hunt her.
(Greece, Dir. Konstantinos Ioannidis, Fanis Topsachalidis, 18m)
Stratos is living a carefree life in Greece during the financial crisis, thinking only of himself, until one event changes everything.
When Sanam Cried
(Iran, Dir. Fariborz Ahanin, 29m)
Six-year-old Sanam hasn’t cried since birth, and doctors are worried she will become depressed. To help out, her 11-year-old sister Saba shares a film of Sanam on the internet and asks people to send ideas on how to make her cry.
The Good Feelings
(Canada, Dir. François Landry, 12m)
Knowing of her imminent departure to the afterlife, Therese meets her children, Carole and Peter, to reveal a secret she has kept buried for many years.
Total Running Time: 112 minutes
(Iran, Dir. Yaser Talebi, 81m)
Jacob’s family worries about their son Farrokh, who left Iran to continue his studies but has not been in touch with them for a long time. With only the name of the university where Farrokh is supposedly enrolled, Jacob travels to Uppsala, Sweden to look for his son.
Total Running Time: 85 minutes
(Macedonia, Dir. Vladimir Mitrevski, 18m)
The lives of disparate characters come together in a series of events. The central figure is Bobi, a father whose child is terminally ill. With time running out, he has to find a way to pay for his child’s surgery.
(Iran, Dir. Saman Hosseinpuor, 4m)
An old couple live in an apartment. The man is sleeping and the woman is doing housework, until she runs out of water for the fish tank.
(Netherlands, Dir. John Baak, 10m)
Hotshot painter Dylan Cooper throws a party after a triumphant gallery showing of his work. While celebrating his success, Dylan’s vision starts to blur and dark spots appear in his sight.
Just Talking to Her
(Korea, Dir. Euiyoung Lim, 11m)
Chang Seop has been laid off from work, and his grown daughter has moved out. Used to putting on a suit and sharing his meals, the lonely man picks up the phone to call a telemarketer.
(Greece, Dir. Chris Moraitis, 11m)
Ten-year-old Dimitris is the only child of a rich family. The only person that took care of him, his grandmother, is dead. Now his only companion is his pet guinea pig.
The Last Request
(US, Dir. Emanuele Secci, 5m)
A woman sits on an electric chair waiting to take her last breath. She has been given time only to consume her last request.
(Italy, Dir. Luigi Iorio, 15m)
A young man is marked by pain over the loss of his mother.
(Iran, Dir. Ali Erfan Farhadi, 2m)
A man and his daughter have trouble getting a photo taken at the hospital.
(US, Dir. Joe Kraemer, 16m)
Sarah and Brandon are ex-lovers who reunite after Brandon discovers that he suffers from a rare eye disorder that is slowly causing him to go blind. He convinces Sarah to drive him back to the places in Philadelphia from their shared past so he can see them – and her – once more.
Total Running Time: 92 minutes
A Drag Queen for Kids
(US, Dir. Byron Karabatsos, 14m, East Coast Premiere) – filmmaker in attendance
This documentary short follows Philadelphia-based performer Dito Van Reigersberg and his alter ego, Martha Graham Cracker, as they prepare for and perform their show for kids “Martha Graham Cracker Meets Dr. Seuss.”
(US, Danielle Johnson, 3m, US Premiere)
A penguin and a polar bear squabble over their love for the same egg in this animated short.
The Stressful Adventures of Boxhead & Roundhead
(US, Dir. Elliot Cowan, 72m, NJ Premiere) – filmmaker in attendance
When their home is destroyed, Boxhead & Roundhead must head to the big city to battle red tape, rent, rats and the rat race to get it back. Art and industry, friendship and foul play are all in the mix in this, the most stressful adventure of all for these animated characters.
Total Running Time: 89 minutes
Love at Last
(Korea, Dir. Hyunjee Song, 6m)
Mirae is preoccupied everywhere she goes. On the other side of the city, Hyunjae urgently changes his direction in a taxi after hearing a story on the radio.
(US, Dir. Fred Zara, 85m) – filmmaker in attendance
Suffering from dyslexia, Clark Kemper never learned to read words, but learned how to read people to survive in a difficult-to-understand world. Living his life as a passive spectator, Clark works as a dishwasher by day and in quiet solitude at night, until he meets Rachel, a struggling actress with her own troubled past.
Total Running Time: 91 minutes
Sunday, April 3
11:30 am – Narrative, animated and experimental shorts
Auld Lang Syne
(UK, Dir. Bradley Porter, 16m)
It’s 2014 and time travel exists. It’s New Years Eve and the only thing that gets Laura and Simon through the day is their brief flirtation. When Simon leaves for a boy’s weekend to the year 1988, Laura gets caught in a bizarre time-shifting struggle to save him.
(Iran, Dir. Yaser Moinfar, 1m)
An animated short about driving without the law, with the law, and then with a wrong law.
Sour Goat Sock Party
(US, Dir. Adam Chinoy, 3m)
Rock reggae band, Milan and the Sour Goat, perform their single “She Said” in this sock puppet music video.
(US, Dir. Anne Murray, 3m, US Premiere)
This visual poem represents contemporary shamanism in Turkey and was created while the artist was in residence in the Cappadocia region of Turkey.
(US, Dir. Meredith Sause, 17m) – filmmaker in attendance
In this Southern Gothic dramedy, estranged sisters return home to sort through their late, hoarder-mother’s estate, and discover a family secret.
(Canada, Dir. Giacomo Cataldo, 7m, World Premiere)
Images of the past combine with opera in this musical short film.
(Greece, Dir. Antonis Tsonis, 20m)
Set against the backdrop of contemporary Athens, Greece, Leon’s best friend Ari shares tragic news about his battle with cancer. Unemployed and desperate to help, Leon makes some irreversible choices.
I You We
(Iran, Dir. Ali Erfan Farhadi, 1m)
Four children disagree while playing in kindergarten.
Patsy the Snowman
(US, Dir. B.E.F. Oakes, 2m)
Humans and animals come together to take advantage of poor Patsy the Snowman.
Janne of Love
(Bulgaria, Dir. Vilma Kartalska, 25m)
In Bulgaria, Millitsa meets a vacationing Finnish boy, Timo. Beer is flowing, temperatures rise, and so do the passions. Jump forward to Finland where Timo and Millitsa are married and communication starts to break down.
Total Running Time: 95 minutes
Pagdi (Turban) The Honour
(India, Dir. Rajeev Bhatia, 100m)
An old man loses respect due to the love interest of his son. This debut feature won two national awards for capturing the fabric of a patriarchal society that places an inordinate premium on honor.
Total Running Time: 100 minutes
3:15 pm – Narrative, documentary, and experimental shorts
Life As We Know It
(US, Dir. Frank Lettieri Jr., 14m) – filmmaker in attendance
The Share Project Poets of the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) perform original poetry inspired by life in Trenton, New Jersey.
Fashion to Die For
(US, Dir. Lynn Estomin, 6m)
Spinning spools of colors and thread, flowing ribbons of fabric and people, frantic movement of garment workers and machines, fearful searching of rescue workers and family members, set to a haunting score by Ritsu Katsumata.
A Man, A Horse: Portrait of Ramon “Tito” Moya
(US, Dir. Kevin Torres, 16m)
A documentary portrait of a young horse jockey who grew up in Newark, NJ. He shares his passion, what it takes to become a successful jockey, the dangers and glories of riding, and the difficult journey he had to undertake to achieve his goals.
(US, Dir. Omar Monge, 10m)
A fisherman makes an eerie discovery when he finds an old camera trapped in the nets.
The Things We Keep
(US, Dir. Rosalie Miller, 4m)
Grounded in nostalgia, The Things We Keep offers a glimpse of one man’s yearly sojourn into the Coconino Forest to collect firewood and re-connect with his roots.
Herons and Monks
(Canada, Dir. Elizabeth Zetlin, 10m, NJ Premiere)
This meditative film juxtaposes two species, each mesmerizing in their own way. An eighty-four-year-old monk from Bhutan creates a medicine sand mandala, while great blue herons and egrets from the Gulf of Mexico stalk their prey.
(China, Dir. Guan Xi, 23m)
After losing her lover to suicide, a young artist tries to overcome her grief by succumbing to a mysterious request by a Tibetan monk.
S.C.A.N. – Searching Alternative Nature
(Hungary, Dir. Dénes Ruzsa, Fruzsina Spitzer, 7m, US Premiere)
With the invention of the telescope, mankind is able to see a more and more detailed picture of the world around us, and see that our existence is the natural consequence of the birth, life and death of stars. Each frame in the animation was made or reproduced with a flatbed scanner.
Total Running Time: 90 minutes
(US, Dir. Lauren Hall, 11m) – filmmaker in attendance
A heartbreaking record of the struggle between a New Jersey community fighting to recover from Superstorm Sandy and a governor looking to make a name for himself in the 2016 presidential election.
PACT: A Day in the Life
(US, Dir. John Bynum, 14m) – filmmaker in attendance
This documentary follows a day in the life of Catholic Charities Diocese of Trenton’s PACT (Program of Assertive Community Treatment) Team, a group of social workers who work directly with the mentally ill of Trenton.
Made in BY
(Italy, Dir. Luigi Milardi, 52m, US Premiere)
An insider’s look at the Belarusian regime through the eyes of its most creative citizens, and the struggle for freedom of expression in Europe’s last dictatorship.
Total Running Time: 77 minutes
6:30 pm – Award Ceremony
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)
From Past Festivals