By Melissa Silverstein | Women and Hollywood May 31, 2011 at 2:15AM
Here are the women directed films that will be screening at the Silverdocs Documentary Film Festival from June 20-26. Just a note, the opening, closing and centerpiece films are all directed by men. They will also be highlighting the body of work of Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker.
BETTER THIS WORLD / USA, 2011, 97 minutes (Director: Katie Galloway, Kelly Duane de la Vega) — When two Midland, Texas, activists make Molotov cocktails at the 2008 Republican Convention, a dramatic story unfolds, with multiple domestic terrorism charges, an entrapment defense and a surprising FBI informant. The film sets in high relief the impact the war on terror has on civil liberties and political activism in a post-9/11 world.
BOB AND THE MONSTER / USA, 2011, 85 minutes (Director: Keirda Bahruth) — Bob Forrest first made his name as an outspoken indie-rock hero and popular front man for the band, Thelonious Monster. But it is his role as one of the most influential drug counselors in the U.S. today that he would cherish most. Shot over six years, the film offers an inspiring example of how one man was able to overcome his demons and use his success to help others do the same.
THE LEARNING / USA/Philippines, 2010, 90 minutes (Director: Ramona Diaz) — This absorbing documentary follows four teachers from the Philippines who are recruited to work in the American public school system. Leaving behind husbands, children and extended families who depend heavily on them, Dorotea, Rhea, Grace and Angel spend one year teaching in Baltimore public schools, where they can make up to 25 times their salaries versus in the Philippines.
THE LOVING STORY / USA, 2011, 75 minutes (Director: Nancy Buirski) — Mildred and Richard Loving never imagined that their unassuming love story would be the basis of a watershed anti-miscegenation civil rights case. But in 1967, when this soft-spoken interracial couple are exiled from Virginia – the only home they have ever known – for the mere crime of falling in love and getting married, they feel they have no choice but to fight back.
OUR SCHOOL / Romania/Switzerland/USA, 2011, 93 minutes (Director: Mona Nicoara, Miruna Coco-Cozma) — Shot over the course of four years, OUR SCHOOL follows the attempt to integrate isolated rural Roma (or “gypsy”) children into the mainstream school system of Romania. Focusing on seven-year-old Alin, 12-year-old Beni and 16-year-old Dana, this fascinating film takes an unflinching look at the challenges of a longstanding tradition of prejudice.
BAKHMARO / Georgia/Germany, 2011, 58 minutes (Director: Salome Jashi) — Incredibly visually striking, BAKHMARO is a quiet, unhurried film about the persistence of hope in the face of irrelevancy. A restaurant where nobody goes and a staff that serves no one in a building in rural Georgia’s Guria region are at the center of this compellingly claustrophobic documentary.
GRANDE HOTEL / Belgium/Mozambique/Portugal, 2010, 57 minutes (Director: Lotte Stoops) — The Grande Hotel in Beira, Mozambique, once a luxurious haven in the Portuguese colony, is a shadow of its former self since closing in 1963. The film traces the history of the building, from its opening in 1954, with 110 sumptuous guest rooms, to today, when the abandoned hotel serves as a home to more than 2,500 people who live in its crumbling ruins.
EL VELADOR (THE NIGHT WATCHMAN) / Mexico, 2011, 72 minutes (Director: Natalia Almada) — The turmoil of Mexico's bloodiest conflict since the revolution plays out in subtle yet poignant detail as filmmaker Natalia Almada quietly observes the daily routine of Martin, the night watchman and groundskeeper of the cemetery that houses the remains of Mexico's most notorious drug lords.