Sundance ’21 | Non-Fiction

by FilmGordon Stafff

A Concerto is a Conversation / U.S.A. (Directors: Ben Proudfoot, Kris Bowers) — A virtuoso jazz pianist and film composer tracks his family’s lineage through his 91-year-old grandfather from Jim Crow Florida to the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Dear Philadelphia/ U.S.A., United Kingdom (Director: Renee Osubu) — With the help of their family, friends, and faith, three fathers unravel the incomparable partnership of forgiveness and community in North Philadelphia. International Premiere

The Field Trip/ U.S.A. (Directors: Meghan O’Hara, Mike Attie, Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck) — A group of fifth-graders learns what it takes to get ahead in the modern American workplace. World Premiere

My Own Landscapes / France (Director: Antoine Chapon) — Before going to war, a former military game designer made video game scenarios that prepared soldiers for cultural shocks and healed trauma. Once back from the war, his relationship with his identity, with life, and with the video game changed.

The Rifleman / U.S.A. (Director: Sierra Pettengill, Screenwriters: Daniel Garber, Sierra Pettengill) — Told entirely through archival material, tracing Harlon Carter, considered the “father of the modern NRA,” across the decades, revealing the links between the National Rifle Association, the U.S. Border Patrol, and gun culture.

Snowy/ U.S.A. (Directors: Kaitlyn Schwalje, Alex Wolf Lewis) — Snowy, a 4-inch-long pet turtle, has lived an isolated life in the family basement. With help from a team of experts and his caretaker, Uncle Larry, we ask: Can Snowy be happy and what would it take? World Premiere

Spirits and Rocks: an Azorean Myth/ Switzerland, Portugal (Director: Aylin Gökmen) — On a volcanic island, inhabitants are caught in an unending cycle: the threat of impending eruptions, and the burden of past traumas, looms over them. Some draw upon myth and religious beliefs to interpret their precarious situation; others demonstrate resilience. International Premiere

Tears Teacher/ Japan (Director: Noemie Nakai) — Yoshida is a self-proclaimed “tears teacher.” A firm believer that regular crying promotes healthier living, he’s made it his mission to make more people weep.

This is the Way We Rise / U.S.A. (Director: Ciara Lacy) — An exploration into the creative process, following Native Hawaiian slam poet Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, as her art is reinvigorated by her calling to protect sacred sites atop Maunakea, Hawai`i.

To Know Her / U.S.A., Hong Kong (Director: Natalie Chao) — A poetic exploration of the camera’s gaze and a family’s relationship with the filmmaker’s mother. International Premiere

When We Were Bullies / U.S.A., Germany (Director and Screenwriter: Jay Rosenblatt) — A mind-boggling “coincidence” leads the filmmaker to track down his fifth-grade class – and fifth-grade teacher – to examine their memory of and complicity in a bullying incident fifty years ago. World Premiere

Up at Night / Democratic Republic of the Congo, Belgium (Director and Screenwriter: Nelson Makengo) — As dusk fades and another night without electricity falls, Kinshasa’s neighborhoods reveal an unstable environment of violence, political conflict, and uncertainty over the building of the Grand Inga 3 hydroelectric dam, promising a permanent source of energy to the Congo. U.S. Premiere

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