March 19, 2024

Salem Film Fest – Six to Watch – transformation, confrontation, and the relentless pursuit of justice and self-identity

by cns2020

Choose How to Share

Featured image for “Salem Film Fest – Six to Watch – transformation, confrontation, and the relentless pursuit of justice and self-identity”

Dive into the heart of human resilience, struggle, and the indomitable spirit of change with six profound documentaries featured at this year’s Salem Film Fest. These films, each unique in their narrative, invite us on journeys of transformation, confrontation, and the relentless pursuit of justice and self-identity. From the digital battlefields of gaming culture to the physical and ideological treks across landscapes and societal norms, these stories are more than mere observations—they are calls to understanding, empathy, and action. As Salem Film Fest 2024 unfolds, we’re spotlighting these compelling documentaries that deserve your attention, each offering a window into the lives of individuals challenging the status quo, fighting for their rights, and carving out spaces of belonging in a complex world. Join us in celebrating these tales of courage, creativity, and the human capacity to break through barriers.


After coming out as a trans woman, world-record-holding gamer, Narcissa Wright loses her massive fanbase. To win them back, she attempts to set a new world record in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, while live-streaming every minute of her mythic quest. Drawing from an archive of more than 3,000 hours of Narcissa’s livestreams, intimate verite, and 8-bit animation, BREAK THE GAME is a moving exploration of gamer culture, the realities of online harassment, and the mental health implications of living a digital life.

*CONTENT WARNING: This film contains scenes of intense emotional distress that some may find intense, including references to suicidal ideation and transphobia. Viewer discretion is advised.*



Felize and Marcela, a couple who both use wheelchairs, lead a movement to secure a monthly pension for people with disabilities. Together they assemble and inspire a caravan of hundreds of people with disabilities, battling cold and hunger on a 35-day, 250-mile journey over the Andes to the Bolivian capital. Facing tear gas from the police and vitriol from their fellow citizens, these activists roll into La Paz to rewrite national history.



Taft High School in the South Bronx is known for being the first high school in the country to have metal detectors. But one group of pioneering young women on the school’s wrestling team wants to change that legacy and their lives.

Shirley works hard for a college scholarship, Nyasia is determined to become stronger, Mariam juggles her academics and sports, and Alba, who just immigrated, searches for a home. Shot over many years, the film weaves together practices, matches, and at home, creating an intimate portrait of four young women, and a team, who view wrestling as a way to transform their lives.



CITIZEN SLEUTH is an entertaining and insightful exploration of the true crime genre and the impact a powerful story can have on communities. In 2011, 20-year-old Jaleayah Davis died in an incident that was ruled accidental yet featured some bizarre circumstances. Emily Nestor created the podcast Mile Marker 181 – the resting place of Davis’ car – to investigate the case. As her series progressed, Nestor attracted millions of listeners, captivated by stories of potential police corruption and contradictory accounts by the victim’s friends. However, as Chris Kasick’s film highlights, Nestor’s investigation was less than watertight. And as facts emerged, that sat uneasily next to Nestor’s assumptions, the role of the truth appeared to become less essential to her. Six to Watch.


BRING THEM HOME / AISKÓTÁHKAPIYAAYA tells the story of a small group of Blackfoot people and their mission to establish the first wild buffalo herd on their ancestral territory since the species’ near-extinction a century ago, an act that would restore the land, re-enliven traditional culture and bring much-needed healing to their community. Narrated by award-winning Blackfeet/Nez Perce actor Lily Gladstone.



The Body Politic is a harbinger of hope in a country plagued by gun violence. Brandon Scott, a young Mayor who grew up during Baltimore’s most troubling years sets out, with unyielding idealism, to change the course of his battered and beloved city. Scott is elected Mayor amid the George Floyd uprising, and introduces an ambitious plan for violence reduction and police reform that he promises will lower the city’s murder rate. Pundits claim Brandon’s political health and the city’s health are tied to the number 348 – the total murders Baltimore had the previous year, more homicides than NYC, a city fifteen times its size. After entering office and barely getting a chance to enact his first safety reforms, violence surges to new highs. As the media and political foes attack his holistic approach, Brandon’s commitment to his principles put his political future at risk.


Salem Film Fest (SFF) is an annual documentary film festival held in Salem, Massachusetts. It’s renowned for showcasing a wide array of independent documentaries from around the globe, emphasizing thought-provoking stories, innovative filmmaking, and compelling subjects. Since its inception in 2007, SFF has grown to become the largest international documentary film festival in Massachusetts.

The festival is a community-centered event, mostly run by volunteers and organized by the non-profit Salem Community Arts Center, Inc. It has a mission to bring the world’s best documentaries and their creators to Boston’s North Shore, offering a platform for filmmakers to present their work and engage with audiences through Q&As and other special events.