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2022 Trenton Film Festival

Thank you to all of the filmmakers, attendees and volunteers who helped make this year's festival a success. Let's do it all again in 2023!


2022 Award Winners

NARRATIVE FEATURE: Sweet Disaster (dir. Laura Lehmus, Germany)
NARRATIVE SHORT: Anagnorisis (dir. Arturo Dueñas Herrero, Spain)
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: Absolute Power: NASDAQ Exposed (dir. Bryan O’Connell, United States)
DOCUMENTARY SHORT: It Takes A Circus (dir. Sarah D. Collins and Zoe Chiriseri-Ramushu, United States)
ANIMATION: Mate (dir. Rusty Eveland, United States)
EXPERIMENTAL: MeTube: August Sings "Una Furtiva Lagrima" (dir. Daniel Moshel, Austria)

AUDIENCE AWARD / JAMES SOLHEIM AWARD FOR BEST FILM OF THE YEAR: Spirit Hand (dir. Jack Diehl, United States)
 Honorable Mention: I Don't Know Joe (dir. Joe Fernandes, United States)


Tickets and Passes

August 26 through August 28, 2022
Location: Mill Hill Playhouse, Trenton, NJ
Our box office is now closed. The links below are for reference only.

Tickets and Passes
🎟 Single Screening Tickets

General admission: $8 per event • Students with ID: $5 per event.
👇🏾👇🏾👇🏾 Scroll down to the film listings to purchase individual tickets for each screening.

🎟 All-Festival Passes

Purchase All-Festival Passes
All screenings August 26-28, 2022
General admission: $25 • Students with ID: $15


Covid-19 Health Precautions

All event attendees are required to show an ID and proof of vaccination to be admitted, and everyone must wear a mask at all times.

Screening Blocks

Friday, August 26, 6:00 PM

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Mate (dir. Rusty Eveland, United States, animation, 5:45 min.)
Mate is a charming and clever stop-motion animation about a world without humans where shopping carts try to find a purpose and a mate with the help of a scrap-metal flower. 

Sweet Disaster (dir. Laura Lehmus, Germany, narrative, 1 hr., 30 min.)
Sweet Disaster is a sweet film that follows Frida who unexpectedly becomes pregnant just before the father of her child breaks up with her to reunite with his ex. Serious health problems force Frida to rest, but she still tries to get Felix back, using absurdly exaggerated and comical methods. 


Friday, August 26, 8:00 PM

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Jing (dir. Gianluca Zoppa, Italy, narrative, 9:06 min.)
A Chinese woman meets the son she had to give up for adoption years before and tries to make a connection. But the connection turns out to have a surprising twist.

Wisper (dir. Russ Emanuel, United States, narrative, 1 hr., 30:18 min.)
Wisper is based on a real unsolved murder of a middle-class African American family in Fort Lee, New Jersey, in the summer of 2016, where three children and their mother were found shot to death in their large suburban home. In an effort to cope, the father begins to document his ordeal in videotapes and diaries, which loosely form the basis for the film.


Saturday, August 27, 11:00 AM

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In Darkness (dir. Reza Saied, Iran, narrative, 7:40 min.)
A little girl is awakened by her father's aggressive voice and fears he is arguing with her mother. But is he?

Shadow (dir. Farzin Taheri, Iran, narrative, 15:54 min.)
In an almost wordless film, Shadow tells the story of an elderly man who tries to commit suicide, but during his attempt, strange things happen in the house that make him change his decision. 

Vow (dir. Amirhossein Aliyazdi, Iran, narrative, 11:58 min.)
Vow is a tense dramatic narrative short that follows Mailad, who makes a vow to help his dying mother recover, but fears to carry it out. 

A Narration of a Funeral (dir. Amir Sedghinir, Iran, narrative, 12:40 min.)
When a family member dies of Covid, the children mistakenly claim and bury the body of the wrong person. What to do? Fight the bureaucracy or let sleeping dogs lie?

Slight Pain (dir. Pouya Nabi, Iran, narrative, 29:54 min.)
A stylish, reverse chronology film that tells the story of a woman who decides to murder her abusive father with the help of her lover. What begins as a joke becomes a reality. 

Lifeline: The Brothers Who Hold the Same Breath (dir. Abdullah Sahin, Turkey, narrative, 19:47 min.)
Two brothers named Hayati and Saffet sell all their possessions to secure a treasure map. Thanks to Saffet’s knowledge of astronomy, they find the treasure, but then there is a twist.


Saturday, August 27, 1:30 PM

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Foresters (dir. Mahdi Kamranirad, Iran, narrative, 10 min.)
Foresters is a thought-provoking film about a group of teenagers who kidnap a little boy whose father might be planning to destroy their forest and take him to be interviewed by their activist? terrorist? leader. 

The Badger (dir. Kazem Mollaie, Iran, narrative, 1 hr., 33:30 min.)
The Badger an interesting crime drama that creatively tells the story of Soodeh Sharifzadegan when her eleven-year-old son, Matiar, is kidnapped. Soodeh is forced to ask for the ransom money from her ex-husband, Peyman. After Matiar’s release, Soodeh realizes that it was all her son’s plan to provide the grounds for his father’s return. 


Saturday, August 27, 3:45 PM

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Absolute Power: Nasdaq Exposed (dir. Bryan O’Connell, United States, documentary, 1 hr., 31:17 min.)
Absolute Power: Nasdaq Exposed follows the aftermath of a scandal at Nasdaq, which cost investors billions of dollars by listing fraudulent companies from China on its exchange. The company turns on a longtime ally and Chinese-born consultant, Benjamin Wey, in an attempted scapegoating turned decade-long, racially charged vendetta.


Saturday, August 27, 5:45 PM

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Nanmin (dir. Adam Shaw, United States, documentary, 19:22 min.)
Nanmin, which means “refugee” in Japanese, gives a glimpse into the life of an asylum seeker, a migrant detention center, and the harsh parole system in Japan. The film includes interviews with activists, lawyers, and refugees. 

The Last Photo (dir. Mehmet Akif Güler, Turkey, documentary, 19:58 min.)
A photographer in a Syrian war zone is injured, loses an arm, and tries to get back his purpose in life. A very simple story of a disabled refugee who is still full of grit and determination uses subtle metaphors, like the cracked lens of the camera, very well.

Stalking Chernobyl: Exploration after Apocalypse (dir. Iara Lee, United States, documentary, 56:58)
Stalking Chernobyl: Exploration after Apocalypse is a documentary that examines the underground culture of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone told from many perspectives of the authorities, the tour guides, the stalkers, the liquidators, even the lovers—with nice appreciation of the rivalries and hostilities among them. 


Saturday, August 27, 8:00 PM

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La Machetera (dir. Yanet Pavon Bernal, Italy, narrative, 1 hr., 32:55 min.)
Inspired by true events, La Machetera tells the story of a headstrong city woman struggling to compete with local male canecutters in rural 1978 Cuba to support her fragile husband and win a Russian-manufactured Lada automobile. 


Sunday, August 28, 12:30 PM

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Anagnorisis (dir. Arturo Dueñas Herrero, Spain, narrative, 15 min.)
Anagnorisis tells the story of a doctor who tries to help a patient remember his past, not anticipating how traumatic that past is.

Road Dogs (dir. Emma Thomason, Australia, narrative, 10:53 min.)
Road Dogs is an action-packed film based on a true story that involves a group of people who must try to survive after being held captive at gunpoint by a group of deranged men while traveling back home to South Sudan via the Juba-Nimule highway. 

My Border, My Forest (dir. Giorgio Milocco, Italy, narrative, 17:47 min.)
My Border, My Forest is a foggy and mysterious film about Ivan, a sixty-year-old worker born in former Yugoslavia, who one day decides that the time has come to undertake a journey that will take him back to the places of his childhood, trying to solve the sense of guilt that he feels since he was a child. 

A Dead Sea (dir. Nahd Bashir, Israel, narrative, 12:22 min.)
Based on a real incident, this story follows Kamel, a Palestinian man with autism who travels to the Dead Sea to receive treatment in seawater for his psoriasis. An innocent encounter with a little girl leads to misunderstanding and tragedy. 

Dajla: Cinema and Oblivion (dir. Arturo Dueñas Herrero, Spain, documentary, 15 min.)
A film festival briefly breaks the monotony of life in a refugee camp in southern Algeria. When the event ends, life (and oblivion) continues.

From Trash to Treasure: Turning Negatives into Positives in Lesotho (dir. Iara Lee, United States, documentary, 24:30 min.)
From Trash to Treasure is a beautiful documentary about creative people in the poverty-stricken country of Lesotho that gives exposure to inspiring artists and activists that you don’t hear much about.


Sunday, August 28, 2:30 PM

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The Dealer (dir. Stephanie Cobban, United Kingdom, experimental, 3:15 min.)
The Dealer illustrates a clever and creative poem about a dealer on the streets selling some unexpected goods. 

Elegy for Unfinished Lives (dir. Adam E. Stone, United States, experimental, 2 min.)
Elegy for Unfinished Lives is a creepily evocative film of a poem accompanied by the original art of ghost women. 

MeTube: August Sings “Una furtiva lagrima” (dir. Daniel Moshel, Austria, experimental, 8 min.)
This weird, imaginative film is the third part of an internationally award-winning MeTube short film series. This time the intergalactic music nerds August and Elfi conquer the opera stage and orchestrate their final adventure in an opulent manner. 

Poetry, New York (dir. Patrick Pfister, Spain, documentary, 56:36 min.)
From the director’s statement: “Poetry not only exists in New York City, it thrives. The list of scenes is as overwhelming as the racket. Poetry cafes, venues, and clubs. Poetry associations and festivals. Readings, spoken word, open mic, slams. On any given day a poetry event is taking place somewhere. In Brooklyn, the Bowery, the Bronx, a Harlem night, a backroom brothel, around the corner, up the street, down the block, in a cafe, in an auditorium, in a bedroom, in a quiet heart.”


Sunday, August 28, 4:00 PM

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Love from Kepler 22B (The Black Joy Galaxy) (dir. Lugene Rihki Kennebrew, United States, narrative, 3:44 min.)
In the Afrofuturist Love from Kepler 22B (The Black Joy Galaxy) it’s 2099 and American colonizers on Mars are massacred for trying to force the native inhabitants into the same supremacist colonization they ran on planet Earth. Now the continent of Africa and planet Kepler 22b are all that remain. 

Matched (dir. Russell Sorbello, United States, narrative, 15:50 min.)
Matched is a creative and funny story of two entities named Mac and Pam who become mysteriously drawn to one another.

David (dir. Shelby O’Boyle, United States, narrative, 7:04 min.)
A young girl is desperately trying to contact a lost loved one through a Ouija board, but she meets multiple obstacles along the way.

Bliss (dir. Mark L. Mazzeo, United States, narrative, 3:29 min.)
A cute spoof of the impact of social media follows Cindi who has a passion for cooking. That passion is tested when she posts a picture of her latest creation and doesn’t get the likes she expects. 

Spirit Hand (dir. Jack Diehl, United States, narrative, 14:58 min.)
After finding herself as a spirit back on Earth, Jesse must try and reconnect with her living girlfriend, Abigail. 

Resolve (dir. Marta Borowsky, Canada, narrative, 12:30 min.)
Resolve explores forgiveness, the ways we hurt one another, and mental health in a fresh, modern way, and from an open minded and compassionate point of view.

I Don’t Know Joe (dir. Joe Fernandes, United States, narrative, 5:30 min.)
New Jersey stand-up comedian directed this film searching for answers to his problems. But will he listen? 

Brando’s Spoon (dir. Mac Brydon, United States, narrative, 7:10 min.)
Two brothers at odds bicycle across New York City in hopes of locating a beloved family heirloom.

Signing Off (dir. Chandler Wild, United States, narrative, 9:34 min.)
Signing Off is a poignant, powerful, original, and evocative film of the last night at indie jazz radio station WJRA before its frequency is sold to a conglomerate. In between tracks DJ Benedict and programmer Sam hash out a friendship built on a lifestyle that’s ending. 


Sunday, August 28, 6PM

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Delta Haints—Cars Hiss by My Window (dir. Kurt St. Thomas, United States, experimental, music video, 4:17 min.)
In Delta Haints’s music video cover of “Cars Hiss by My Window” by The Doors, the song is revamped with a jazzy feel and transports us (literally) to the city of New Orleans. 

It Takes a Circus (dir. Sarah D. Collins and Zoe Chiriseri-Ramushu, United States, documentary, 28:14 min.)
Trenton’s own Circus Squad takes the stage: a group of kids tell their stories and share their dreams of escaping the violence that has marred their young lives while hanging upside down. 

You Woman!!! (dir. Rosemarie Wilson, United States, experimental, 3:59 min.)
You Woman!!! is a celebration of all that the ladies do through spoken word and was created to send a message, because every woman wears different hats. 

The Remedy (dir. Boris Tsessarsky, United States, documentary, 60 min.)
The Remedy is an interesting look into the lives of aspiring New Jersey hip-hop artists Freddy Salgado (Face Cadet), a self-taught musician and Ecuadorean immigrant, and Serenity AKATDB, a queer African American woman, and their thoughts on how their music fits into the genre. 


Sunday, August 28 8:00 PM

Awards Ceremony & Closing Reception

Free and open to all at 8 p.m. Sun., Aug. 28
Audience members are encouraged to vote for their favorites, and a prize will be awarded to the audience's favorite film. Additionally, our panel of judges will award best film to one production in each category.

PREVIOUS FESTIVALS

2020-20212019 • 2018 • 2017 • 2016 • 2015 (Archives coming soon.) • 2018 • 2017 • 2016 • 2015 (Archives coming soon.)


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