Salem Film Fest starts this weekend and runs from March 19th through the 28th. The fest is an annual Salem tradition bringing together documentary filmmakers, writers, and storytellers from all over the world to showcase their work to film enthusiasts from the North Shore and Greater Boston – and you can read more about it here.
Here are 10 Films coming this next week to the festival that we are extra excited about.
At 80 years old, artist Anton van Dalen seems to have it all: a prolific career, a house in New York’s East Village, a large family, and a pigeon coop where he lovingly cares for his flock of birds. But the veneer conceals a complex story of war, migration, family rupture, and regret. ANTON: CIRCLING HOME is a meditation on what it means to be home.
Morgan Schmidt-Feng directed ON HER OWN (SFF 2015) and Dennis Mohr directed MUGSHOT (SFF 2015).
Who says bull riding is for men only? Hop on and hold tight, as four young girls with a shared passion navigate the American rodeo circuit proving they have what it takes to succeed in the saddle. Chasing their dreams against the powerful backdrop of the American prairie and the myths of the Wild West, the girls give rodeo a new resonance while breaking free of a world which used to exclusively belong to their fathers and brothers.
Off the coast of Georgia, two brothers come of age on the barrier island Sapelo in the last remaining enclave of the Saltwater Geechee people. Their greatest joy is exploring the island like their adoptive mother and Sapelo’s matriarchal griot, Cornelia Walker Bailey, did as a child. Cornelia works to preserve what remains of this unique community, while shepherding her young sons through their complicated youth.
A 94-year-old Kenyan Grandmother with a fearless spirit must subdue malicious accusations of witchcraft that come from her own kin. Her grandson, Karisa, travels from the city to his rural home to investigate, and gradually discovers who sent the threatening letter and why. In order to overcome the imminent danger of the complaints, Karisa must navigate delicate family ties between his disputing aunties and uncles while honoring the love for his Grandmother.
Live action and animation combine to tell the story of a Japanese farming family whose life is impacted by two unthinkable nuclear tragedies. Patriarch Saichi Ouchi was a victim of the Hiroshima bombing in 1945, and the Fukushima nuclear disaster contaminated the family’s farmland in 2011, destroying their time-honored way of life. Aging oldest son, Hidekatsu, bound by duty and honor to his ancestral land, struggles to reclaim all he holds dear.
Beth Murphy directed THE LIST (SFF 2012) and Beth Balawick was a cinematographer for THE LIST, THE PEACEMAKER (SFF 2017) and DAWNLAND (SFF 2018 Special Screening), and served as the SFF Shorts Program Director in 2019.
A series of lyrical vignettes illuminates the stories of Maine’s seafolk, those whose lives and livelihoods are inextricably connected to the ocean. This atmospheric film shows the beauty, intimacy, and uncertainty that coastal dwellers face in rooting their lives in the ocean, particularly as human actions — from overfishing, to aquaculture, to warming seas — confront Maine and its people with profound change.
Ian Cheney directed BLUESPACE (SFF 2016).
In a three-year race against time, Tim Carey, a talented, yet unknown LA artist bluffs his way into winning the commission to make the largest stained-glass window of its kind. He hasn’t a clue how to make his complicated design and enlists the help of a famous glass maestro, Narcissus Quagliata. Egos clash, but the two artists come to realize it will take their combined focus to complete a masterpiece.
THE WALL OF SHADOWS
A Nepalese Sherpa family living on the edge of poverty, breaks a cultural taboo by taking part in the Himalayan expedition to Kumbhakarna – one of the most holy of mountains – to earn money for their son’s education and save him from a dangerous and degrading life working as a porter. The stakes are high. If Ngada succeeds, he will earn big money, much more than on other expeditions, and can pay for the first two years of Dawa’s medical school in Kathmandu.
Eliza Kubarska directed WALKING UNDER WATER (SFF 2015).PLAY TRAILER
THE ROAD UP
Four participants in Cara, a Chicago job-training program, struggle to find the path from rock bottom to stable employment. They are guided, goaded, and challenged by their impassioned mentor, Jesse Teverbaugh, who runs the Transformations class and is compelled to help them rebuild their lives. Their stories create a powerful mosaic of the struggles that millions of Americans face every day in a precarious and unforgiving economy.
Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel directed LOUDER THAN A BOMB, which won the Audience Award at SFF 2011.
For decades, the life of Jazz musician Billy Tipton was framed as the story of an ambitious woman passing as a man in pursuit of a music career. Tipton’s story is re-imagined and performed by trans artists as they collectively paint a portrait of an unlikely hero. The filmmakers join Tipton’s son, Billy Jr., to reckon with a complicated and contested legacy: how do you tell the story of someone who was hiding in plain sight yet desperate to be seen?
This month, Creative Collective is celebrating Women’s History Month! Follow along as we tell the stories of women small business owners and woman-led organizations.
And make sure to use the hashtags #shareHERstory, #shareTHEIRstory*, or #shareyourstory to highlight the women, the femmes/fems, and the non-binary/genderqueer individuals in your community who have and are continuing to inspire you.