Closing Night

BEFORE YOU KNOW IT

After the unexpected death of their eccentric playwright father, a pair of sisters find out that the mother they thought was dead is alive and starring on a soap opera in this unconventional, expectation-defying dramedy by co-writer/director/star Hannah Pearl Utt (who plays the more grounded, sensible sister Rachel).   Blending over-the-top comedic moments with a nuanced and thoughtful depiction of Rachel’s journey of self-discovery, BEFORE “BEFORE YOU KNOW IT”

2018, USA, 98 minutes, Directed by Hannah Pearl Utt
Cast: Hannah Pearl Utt, Jen Tullock, Judith Light, Mandy Patinkin

Documentary

Always in Season

Claudia Lacy wants answers. When her 17-year-old son, Lennon, was found hanging from a swing set in Bladenboro, North Carolina, the authorities quickly ruled his death a suicide. In light of suspicious details surrounding his death, and certain that her son would not take his own life, Claudia is convinced Lennon was lynched. ALWAYS IN SEASON explores the lingering impact of more than a century “Always in Season”

American Factory

When a Chinese billionaire decides to open a Fuyao factory on the grounds of a shuttered GM plant in Dayton, Ohio, and combine local labor with transplanted staff from China, the ensuing culture clash reveals deep divisions in worldwide perspectives on work, authority, and quality of life. With patience and care, Academy award-nominated master filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar mine their remarkable access to “American Factory”

Circus of Books

New England Premiere Filmmaker Rachel Mason’s parents Karen and Barry, are the proprietors of iconic L.A. pornography shop Circus of Books. Mason chronicles their life’s work as one of the biggest distributors of gay porn in the country, including their prosecution on obscenity charges and the shop’s role in offering refuge to the LGBTQ community during the height of the AIDS crisis. CIRCUS OF BOOKS “Circus of Books”

Gay Chorus Deep South

To confront a resurgence of faith-based, anti-LGBTQ laws brought about in the Trump era, Conductor Tim Seelig leads 300 singers of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus on a bus tour of the deep South. The roadtrip forces Seelig and other Chorus members who fled the South to confront their own fears, pain, and prejudices on a journey toward reconciliation. In a time of great “Gay Chorus Deep South”

Honeyland

In an abandoned Macedonian village, middle-aged Hatidze tends to her bee colonies and cares for her bedridden mother. When her tranquil life is upended by the arrival of an itinerant family with seven squalling children, Hatdize reacts with grace and a willingness to teach them her much-beloved craft, even as their actions threaten her own way of life. HONEYLAND is an enchanting glimpse into a “Honeyland”

Maiden

MAIDEN tells the heart pulsing and inspiring true story of the first all-female sailing team to race in the classic around-the-world event, known as the Whitbread. In 1989, 26 year-old skipper Tracy Edwards shocked the world as she and her crew battled misogyny, skepticism and outright disdain for their tenacity to secure a place in the male-dominated race. Edwards and her team proved themselves as “Maiden”

Making Montgomery Clift

Directed by Clift’s nephew Robert Clift and Hillary Demmon, MAKING MONTGOMERY CLIFT explores Monty’s life from the fresh and intimate perspective of his family, remaining lovers, and friends. Through their stories and voluminous audio recordings made by Monty and his family, the myth of a troubled young man struggling with his sexuality and post-car accident appearance in 1960s Hollywood is challenged—and a new Monty starts “Making Montgomery Clift”

Mike Wallace Is Here

This fascinating, unsentimental portrait of no-holds-barred newsman Mike Wallace deploys his patented relentless examination of his subjects on the man himself. The film not only rivetingly captures his life and work, but also places that work within a history of journalism that has led to the precarious tipping point that American media has currently reached. Filmmaker Avi Belkin constructs this multi-faceted, topical work entirely out “Mike Wallace Is Here”

Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements

MOONLIGHT SONATA: DEAFNESS IN THREE MOVEMENTS is a deeply personal memoir about three interconnected stories: the director’s deaf son growing up, her deaf father growing old, and Beethoven during the year he was blindsided by deafness and wrote his iconic sonata. Oscar-nominated director Irene Taylor Brodsky’s weaves a delicately moving story about three people across three centuries discovering their true voices. Preceded by: CARLOTTA’S FACE “Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements”

Museum Town

MUSEUM TOWN tells the unique story of the power of art to transform a desolate post-industrial city. In 2017, MASS MoCA became the largest museum for contemporary art in the world—but just three decades before, its vast brick buildings were the abandoned relics of a massive shuttered factory. Threaded with interviews with celebrated artists including Nick Cave and David Byrne, and featuring narration by Meryl “Museum Town”

Sea of Shadows

This documentary thriller follows undercover investigators, environmentalists, journalists, and the Mexican Navy on their desperate last-minute effort to rescue the Earth’s smallest whale—the Vaquita—from extinction as its habitat is being destroyed by Mexican cartels and Chinese mafia harvesting the swim bladder of the totoaba fish, the “cocaine of the sea.” A looming disaster in one of the most spectacular environments on Earth sparks a rescue “Sea of Shadows”

Seahorse

Freddy is 30 and yearns to start a family but for him this ordinary desire comes with unique challenges. He is a gay transgender man. Deciding to carry his own baby took years of soul searching, but nothing could prepare him for the reality of pregnancy, and the challenges of society’s fundamental understanding of gender, parenthood and family. Against a backdrop of increasing hostility towards “Seahorse”

What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael

Pauline Kael is among the most famous and pioneering film critics of the 20th century. Writing for The New Yorker and publishing a dozen best-selling books, she ruthlessly pursued what made a film work or not, and why. Her passion made her both admired and loathed by her audience. Director Rob Garver weaves archival interviews with Kael, includes commentary from Francis Ford Coppola, Paul Schrader, “What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael”

Wig

Late one night in 1984, Lady Bunny and a few friends drunkenly wandered from the Pyramid Club in New York’s East Village to Tompkins Square Park and staged an impromptu drag show. This would soon become an annual drag bacchanal that lasted until 2001. In 2018 Wigstock roared back in all its glittery glory—celebrating drag, both classic (we won’t say old) and new. WIG lovingly “Wig”

Narrative

Adam

New England Premiere Awkward teen Adam spends his last high school summer with his big sister, who throws herself into NYC’s lesbian and trans activist scene. After meeting and falling for thoughtful, savvy Gillian he realizes that she’s mistaken his gender identity and makes the fateful decision not to correct her, as he and those around him encounter love, friendship and hard truths. Director Rhys “Adam”

2018, 95 minutes, Directed by Rhys Ernst
Cast: Nicholas Alexander, Margaret Qualley, Bobbi Salvör Menuez

AN ALMOST ORDINARY SUMMER

New England Premiere Two very different families spend their holidays in the same seaside house: the aristocratic Castelvecchio’s – open-minded, eccentric, but quite selfish – and the working-class Petagna’s – very tight-knit and united around solid conservative values. What brought such distant worlds together? Tony and Carlo, the two middle-aged heads of the families, who have assembled their families to not only announce they’re a “AN ALMOST ORDINARY SUMMER”

2018, Spain, 77 minutes, Directed by Salvador Simó
Cast: Frabrizio Bentivoglio, Alessandro Gassman, Jasmine Trinca, Anna Galiena

Auggie

New England Premiere Forced into early retirement, Felix (Richard Kind) quickly finds himself bored and lonely. One day he decides to try on the augmented reality glasses he received as a retirement gift. What he discovers is a new, exciting world, wherein exists Auggie, a virtual companion who understands all of his needs and emotions. Slowly, Felix falls in love with Auggie. unleashing a chain “Auggie”

2018, USA, 81 minutes, Directed by Matt Kane
Cast: Richard Kind, Susan Blackwell, Christen Harper, Simone Policano

BUÑUEL IN THE LABYRINTH OF THE TURTLES

In Paris in 1930, Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel were main figures of the Surrealist movement, but Buñuel was left penniless after a scandal surrounding his first film L’Age d’Or. BUÑUEL IN THE LABYRINTH OF THE TURTLES tells the true story of how Buñuel made his second film using the lottery winnings of his good friend, sculptor Ramón Acín. Both a buddy adventure and fascinating “BUÑUEL IN THE LABYRINTH OF THE TURTLES”

CLEMENCY

Years of carrying out death row executions have taken a psychic toll on prison warden Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard) and caused tension with her husband Jonathan (Wendell Pierce). As she prepares to execute another inmate, Bernadine must confront the emotional demons her job creates, ultimately connecting her to the man (Aldis Hodge) she is sanctioned to kill. Alfre Woodard gives a powerhouse performance in director “CLEMENCY”

2019, USA, 113 minutes, Directed by Chinonye Chukwu
Cast: Alfre Woodard, Aldis Hodge, Wendell Pierce, Richard Schiff

DOLCE FINE GIORNATA

In this visually sumptuous film, Maria, a free-spirited Nobel Prize winner, lives surrounded by warmth and chaos in her family’s Tuscan villa while also fostering a secret flirtation with the much younger Egyptian man who runs a nearby seaside inn. After a terrorist attack in Rome, Maria stubbornly refuses to succumb to the hysterical fear and anti-immigrant sentiment that quickly emerge, but is unprepared for “DOLCE FINE GIORNATA”

DRIVEWAYS

New England Premiere Kathy (Hong Chau) brings her son Cody (Lucas Jaye) to help clean out her dead sister’s house in order to put it on the market. They soon encounter taciturn neighbor, Del (a superb Brian Dennehy), a widower and Korean War veteran who takes an interest in Cody. With a skilled hand, director Ahn uses this simple premise to explore a number of “DRIVEWAYS”

2019, USA, 83 minutes, Directed by Andrew Ahn
Cast: Brian Dennehy, Hong Chau, Lucas Jaye, Christine Ebersole, Jerry Adler

END OF THE CENTURY

New England Premiere An Argentinian man from New York and a Spanish man from Berlin hook up by chance while in Barcelona. What seems like a one-night encounter between two strangers (Juan Barberini and Ramón Pujol) becomes an epic, decades-spanning relationship, which Lucio Castro depicts in a nonlinear fashion, and in which time and space refuse to play by the rules. Castro’s inventive and enigmatic “END OF THE CENTURY”

GOOD POSTURE

New England Premiere Recent film school graduate Lilian (Grace Van Patten) comes to New York to move in with her boyfriend, only for them to quickly break up, leaving her desperate for a new home. Enter Julia Price (Emily Mortimer), a renowned and reclusive writer who provides Lilian with a small room in her Brooklyn brownstone in exchange for cooking and cleaning. They instantly clash, “GOOD POSTURE”

2019, UK, USA, 91 minutes, Directed by Dolly Wells
Cast: Grace Van Patten, Gary Richardson, Emily Mortimer

IMAGINARY ORDER

New England Premiere Cathy’s overwhelming fear that her husband’s having an affair and her teenage daughter is becoming estranged leads her to retreat to her sister’s home where she cat-sits, compulsively cleans, and spies on a neighboring family. When Cathy becomes the object of their teenage son’s obsession, he threatens to unravel everything including her precarious marriage, her daughter’s innocence, and her own wavering sanity. “IMAGINARY ORDER”

2018, USA, 101 minutes, Directed by Debra Eisenstadt
Cast: Wendi McLendon-Covey, Christine Woods, Max Burkholder

OFFICIAL SECRETS

The true story of British whistleblower Katharine Gun who leaked information to the press about an illegal NSA spy operation designed to push the UN Security Council into sanctioning the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Academy Award winning director Gavin Hood (Tsotsi) dramatizes the political dilemma Gun (and the world) was facing with detail and care, while Keira Knightley brings quiet power to her performance as “OFFICIAL SECRETS”

2018, UK, USA, 112 minutes, Directed by Gavin Hood
Cast: Keira Knightley, Matt Smith, Matthew Goode

ORAY

East Coast Premiere In an argument with his wife Burcu, Oray pronounces the Islamic word for separation, ‘talaq’. The Imam informs Oray that he must now part from Burcu for three months. Oray uses the enforced break to make a fresh start in a new town. But when Oray and Burcu reconcile, his new imam advocates a stricter interpretation of Islamic law: divorce. ORAY tells “ORAY”

SISTER AIMEE

New England Premiere In 1926, America’s most famous evangelist is looking for a way out. Fed up with her own success, she runs away with her married lover and finds herself on a wild road trip towards the border.  And that’s only the beginning in this marvelous film based (very very loosely) on a true story. In their playful feature debut, co-writer/directors Samantha Buck and “SISTER AIMEE”

2018, USA, 87 minutes, Directed by Samantha Buck and Marie Schlingmann
Cast: Anna Margaret Hollyman, Michael Mosley, Andrea Suarez Paz

SPEED OF LIFE

New England Premiere In 2016, David Bowie’s death creates a rift in time and space. June (Allison Tolman) and Edward (Ray Santiago) are in the midst of an argument when Edward falls into a wormhole created by Bowie’s death, vanishing without a trace. In 2040, June (Ann Dowd) continues to mourn Edward while facing the new society’s Orwellian dictates associated with her approaching 60th birthday. “SPEED OF LIFE”

2019, USA, 75 minutes, Directed by Liz Manashil
Cast: Ann Dowd, Allison Tolman, Ray Santiago, Vella Lovell, Jeff Perry

SWALLOW

New England Premiere Hunter (Haley Bennett) is a newly pregnant woman, living an idyllic, stay-at-home life with her picture-perfect husband. But both her pregnancy and home life bring with them a loss of control, which soon manifests into an obsession to swallow increasingly dangerous objects. With shades of Todd Haynes’ Safe,director Carlo Mirabella-Davis builds an increasingly layered portrait of a woman in search of herself. “SWALLOW”

2019, USA, 94 minutes, Directed by Carlo Mirabella-Davis
Cast: Haley Bennett, Austin Stowell, Elizabeth Marvel

SWORD OF TRUST

Couple Cynthia and Mary show up to collect Cynthia’s inheritance from her deceased grandfather, and find the only item she’s received is an antique sword that her grandfather believed to be proof that the South won the Civil War.  This unique bequeathment leads to a world of trouble as they team up with curmudgeonly pawn shop owner (wonderfully played by Marc Maron) and go on “SWORD OF TRUST”

2018, USA, 89 minutes, Directed by Lynn Shelton
Cast: Jillian Bell, Michaela Watkins, Marc Maron

THE FAREWELL

After learning their beloved matriarch has terminal lung cancer, a family opts not to tell her about the diagnosis, instead scheduling an impromptu wedding back in China as an excuse to reunite and surreptitiously say their goodbyes.  Writer/director Lulu Wang imbues THE FAREWELL with warmth and knowing wit, while the uniformly excellent ensemble cast (anchored by a breakout performance by Awkwafina) invites us to share “THE FAREWELL”

TOP END WEDDING

Lauren and Ned plans to have an impromptu wedding are derailed after her mom goes AWOL following a spat with her now comically-depressed dad.  Now they have just 10 days to find Lauren’s mother, reunite her parents, and pull off their dream wedding. Following her wayward mom’s path takes them on a madcap, picturesque journey through Australia’s far north from Darwin to the Tiwi Islands, “TOP END WEDDING”

WILD ROSE

Rose-Lynn Harlan is bursting with raw talent and charisma, but has a few obstacles as she is fresh out of jail and has two young kids to support. She wants to get the hell out of Glasgow and make it as a country singer–in Nashville, Tennessee. Rose-Lynn’s mother (played by the excellent Julie Walters) wants her to settle down and take responsibility for herself. With “WILD ROSE”

2018, UK, 101 minutes, Directed by Tom Harper
Cast: Jessie Buckley, Sophie Okonedo, Julie Walters

YESTERDAY

Yesterday, everyone knew The Beatles. Today, only Jack remembers their songs. Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is a struggling singer-songwriter in a tiny English seaside town whose dreams of fame are rapidly fading, despite the fierce devotion and support of his childhood best friend, Ellie (Lily James). Then, after a freak bus accident during a mysterious global blackout, Jack wakes up to discover that The Beatles “YESTERDAY”

2019, UK, 112 minutes, Directed by Danny Boyle
Cast: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Kate McKinnon, Ed Sheeran

Opening Night

Brittany Runs A Marathon

Brittany (Jillian Bell) is a hilarious mess of a New Yorker, but, at 27, her late night adventures are catching up to her. While attempting to score some Adderall from a doctor, she is forced to face reality. Brittany laces up her Converse and runs one sweaty block, then two. Soon she runs a mile. Brittany finally has direction—but is she on the right path? “Brittany Runs A Marathon”

2018, USA, 103 minutes, Directed by Paul Downs Colaizzo
Cast: Jillian Bell, Michaela Watkins, Utkarsh Ambudkar

Shorts Four: Queer Shorts: Women

Shorts One

MILLER & SON

A transwoman mechanic lives between running her family’s auto shop during the day and expressing her femininity at night, until an unforeseen event threatens the delicate balance.

THE MURALIST

East Village muralist Arnie Charnick celebrates his work featuring the New York of a bygone era in the lobby of one of Times Square’s oldest hotels.

Shorts Three: Queer Shorts: Men

Shorts Two: New England Shorts

Special Screenings

BABYLON

Franco Rosso’s incendiary BABYLON had its world premiere at Cannes in 1980, but went unreleased in the U.S. for “being too controversial, and likely to incite racial tension.” Raw and smoldering, it follows a young dancehall DJ in South London as he pursues his musical ambitions, battling fiercely against the racism and xenophobia of employers, neighbors, police, and the National Front. Written by Martin Stellman “BABYLON”

1980, UK, 95 minutes, Directed by Franco Rosso
Cast: Brinsley Forde, Karl Howman, Trevor Laird

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH

Brilliantly innovative, heartbreaking, and wickedly funny, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH is the landmark musical by 2019 Filmmaker on the Edge honoree John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask. A singular pop culture phenomenon that feels as vital in 2019 as it did in its Off-Broadway debut, HEDWIG is firmly established as a pop culture phenomenon, having returned to the New York stage (and winning 4 “HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH”

2001, USA, 95 minutes, Directed by John Cameron Mitchell
Cast: John Cameron Mitchell, Miriam Shor, Andrea Martin, Michael Pitt

JOHN WATERS PRESENTS: MOM AND DAD

In a screening hosted by John Waters, Nicholas Cage and Selma Blair star in this pitch-black horror-comedy about a worldwide mass hysteria where, for 24 brutal hours, parents turn violently against their own children. The reviews are almost as awesome as the movie: “Like a twisted remake of Home Alone on bath salts” –Screen Crush “Zero to 60 speedy crazy” –The Hollywood Reporter “One of “JOHN WATERS PRESENTS: MOM AND DAD”

2018, USA, 83 minutes, Directed by Brian Taylor
Cast: Nicholas Cage, Selma Blair, Anne Winters

STATE OF PRIDE

East Coast Premiere Fifty years after the Stonewall uprising, Oscar winning directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman travel to three different communities—Salt Lake City, Utah; San Francisco, California; and Tuscaloosa, Alabama—for an unflinching look at LGBTQ Pride, from the perspective of a younger generation for whom it still has personal urgency. Past struggles are revisited and trailblazers are celebrated as the millennial generation in these “STATE OF PRIDE”

SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY

Nominated for four Academy Awards including best director, SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY is the 1971 British drama written by Penelope Gilliat. It tells the story of a free-spirited young bisexual artist (Murray Head) and his simultaneous relationships with a divorced career woman (Glenda Jackson) and a middle-aged Jewish male doctor (Peter Finch). It was significant for its time with Finch’s lead gay character depicted as successful, “SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY”

1971, USA, 110 minutes, Directed by John Schlesinger
Cast: Murray Head, Glenda Jackson, Peter Finch

Spotlight

LINDA RONSTADT: THE SOUND OF MY VOICE

New England Premiere Oscar winning directors, and 2008 PIFF Faith Hubley honorees, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman return to PIFF with LINDA RONSTADT: THE SOUND OF MY VOICE. With her singular voice, Linda Ronstadt created a genre-defying career that spanned decades—from the 1960s to her retirement in 2011 due to Parkinson’s disease. There was seemingly nothing she couldn’t do—and do fantastically well:  folk, pop, country, “LINDA RONSTADT: THE SOUND OF MY VOICE”

THE APOLLO

THE APOLLO explores the rich history and contemporary legacy of the New York City landmark, and follows a new production of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me as it comes to the theater’s grand stage. Academy and Emmy Award winning director Roger Ross Williams explores the current struggle of black lives in America, the role that art plays in that struggle and the broad “THE APOLLO”

VITA & VIRGINIA

The fascinating true story about the love affair between socialite and popular author Vita Sackville-West and literary icon Virginia Woolf springs to life in this sumptuous double portrait of its two extraordinary real-life protagonists explores how their liberating affair led to one of Woolf’s greatest novels.   Rising Hollywood stars Gemma Arterton and Elizabeth Debicki provide undeniable chemistry as they embody Vita and Virginia with “VITA & VIRGINIA”

2018, Ireland, UK, 110 minutes, Directed by Chanya Button
Cast: Gemma Arterton, Elizabeth Debicki, Isabella Rossellini