DOCUMENTARY SHORTS PROGRAM A (Running time: 72 minutes)
Both programs show Sunday, Feb. 26 Joe’s Violin – dir. Kahane Cooperman, USA, 24 minutes Synopsis: 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.
Extremis – dir. Dan Krauss, USA, 24 minutes Synopsis: 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 Miles – dir. Daphne Matziaraki, USA, 22 minutes Synopsis: 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.
DOCUMENTARY SHORTS PROGRAM B (Running time: 81 minutes) Watani: My Homeland – dir. Marcel Mettelsiefen, 39 minutes Synopsis: 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, 41 minutes Synopsis: 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.
Spain’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. After a chance meeting, middle-aged Julieta (Emma Suarez) learns that her long-lost daughter has resurfaced in Madrid. This begins a complex reflection by Julieta into her checkered past, flashing back 30 years to the moments that defined her current life. This drama, based on the stories Chance, Soon and Silence by Alice Munro, is written and directed by legendary Spanish master Pedro Almodóvar. Here are extended excerpts from San Francisco Chronicle’s Mick La Salle’s ‘Highest Rating’ review: “’Julieta’ stands with the best films of its director, Pedro Almodóvar, but it’s a different kind of Almodóvar film. It’s a film of moment-by-moment virtuosity, and yet it’s without any of the director’s signature flashiness. Here he does a lot with a little, while he usually does a lot with a lot. … It’s a rare film that can burrow deep into your spirit and make you feel, “OK, yes, this is life.” ‘Julieta’ touches the essential.”
Germany’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Winfried doesn't see much of his working daughter Ines, a 30-ish corporate-management exec. The suddenly student-less music teacher decides to surprise her with a visit after the death of his old dog. It's an awkward move because serious career woman Ines is working on an important project as a corporate strategist in Bucharest. Practical joker Winfried loves to annoy his daughter with corny pranks. Father and daughter reach an impasse, and Winfried agrees to return home to Germany. Enter flashy "Toni Erdmann": Winfried's smooth-talking alter ego. Disguised in a tacky suit, weird wig and even weirder fake teeth, Toni barges into Ines' professional life, claiming to be her CEO's life coach. As Toni, Winfried is bolder and doesn't hold back, but Ines meets the challenge. The harder they push, the closer they become. In all the madness, Ines begins to understand that her eccentric father might deserve some place in her life after all. “If you’re looking for the best and most beguiling foreign-language film of the year, you’ll find it in Maren Ade’s German father-daughter story that will leave you laughing and choking back tears, often simultaneously.” –Peter Travers, Rolling Stone.
Through the story of a man shipwrecked on a tropical island inhabited by turtles, crabs and birds, The Red Turtle recounts the milestones in the life of a human being.
Japanese animation powerhouse Studio Ghibli explores a new creative direction after the retirement of its founder Hayao Miyazaki with this realistically drawn feature created in partnership with Dutch animator Michaël Dudok de Wit. This tale of a shipwrecked man who establishes a family and a new life on an island inhabited only by majestic animal life is told without dialogue. “Critic’s Choice. A prize-winner at Cannes, this immersive, meditative, stunningly beautiful animated feature is concerned with the rhythms of the natural world and the mysteries and wonders of ordinary life. ‘The Red Turtle’ intends to enlarge our spirit as well as dazzle us, and in this it succeeds.” — Kenneth Turan, L.A. Times.