PROGRAM

 

Nova Frontier Film Festival in partnership with Restoration Art, launches with a compelling line up of films, panels and VR, showcasing films and art about and from the African Diaspora, Middle East, and Latin America that reflects the festival’s mission: to promote intercultural understanding and intellectual engagement through the arts, reflecting and celebrating the diversity that surrounds us. The festival was founded by multimedia artist and filmmaker, Billy Gerard Frank, and Filmmaker and actress Lydia Darly. The festival will be taking place  at the Billie Holiday Theatre on Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY, Sept 7th to 9th. 

We are thrilled to have in the program, films produced by Iranian Youth Cinema Society (IYCS), whose films have played at international film festivals, and won multiple award. Also in the program is Goût Bacon, 2018 César consideration, coming from Nova Frontier LAB collaborations with 1000 Visages that mentors marginalized youth in Paris Suburbs. Their work garnered major attention at Cannes when the Netflix produced film, Divines, directed by 1000 Visages founder, Houda Benyamina won the Camera d’Or. A CIAMBRA Executive produced by Martin Scorsese is a feature film from rising director Jonas Carpignano (Mediterranea), which exposes the complex social fabric of Southern Italy, where Italians, Romani, and African migrants coexist in uneasy tension. It Must Make Peace, directed and produced by Paul R. Chandler and Brian Melnyk is a feature length documentary that takes us on a journey into the music scene in Mali, once a paradise for music-lovers, now, traditional music and dance is rapidly losing ground to globalization, a declining economy and religious radicalization. Diamond, Backpacks, and a Matchbox directed by Wafa Tadjin is a feature length documentary that lyrically chronicles the ongoing plights of Syrian refugees, recounting their personal upheavals and hopes, both on an emotional and physical scale.  The VR African Lounge features the following 360 titles: (Jim Chuchu/The Nest (Let This Be A Warning), Jonathan Dotse (Spirit Robot) and Ng’endo Mukii (Nairobi Berries), from the South African base incubator, Electric South, that collaborates with artists across Africa, creating emerging tech-driven stories. Their works depict an African perspective on the global stage; sparking new ideas in future storytelling. 

This year’s festival focuses on themes of Immigration, Identity, and Interculturalism, with a curated program of over 22 films (shorts, features, documentaries), VR, and panels, culled from open submissions and invited filmmakers. The films and panels attempt to interrogate and address timely and pressing global issues on immigration, wars, the aftermath of war, with the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The filmmakers focus their lens on people caught up in the maelstrom of wars, oppression, and displacement, giving voice and humanity to them, which most westerners learn about via soundbites in the media. In most cases, these are filmmakers coming from countries like Iran and the Middle East that have been banned and boycotted from Europe and USA, with no access to financial institutions to submit their films to festivals. 


 

OPENING NIGHT CEREMONY

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 7th

Opens with three short films that capture the mission of Nova Frontier Film Festival and this year’s theme of  Immigration, Identity and Intercultural. 

 

6:30PM

Director Alassane Sy - Sénégal/UK
Fiction - 30 MIN

Fallou is the story of a young man who has been sent from Senegal to London by a marabout linked to an extremist group. Fallou will discover London’s energy, music and people. He will make new friends and eventually make a choice: stay faithful to his marabout or embrace the exciting life of this new city.

Director Alice Diop - France
Documentary - 40 MIN

Towards tenderness' - four young men speaking freely, locked in their sexual and romantic representations or on the verge of getting out of it. Winner of 2017 César Award for Best Short Film

Directors Mohammad Bakhshi & Saeid Ahanj - Iran
Narrative - 15 MIN

A group of Arabian spoken asylum seekers arrive to an English spoken country border and can't keep going. They conflict with border soldiers everyday till a deaf-mute baby becomes a catalyst for better communication between two groups.

Total Running Time: 85 minutes

 

IDENTITY

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 8th

11AM

Directors Mona Eldaief & Jehane Noujaim - Jordan
Documentary - 75 MIN

Rafea: Solar Mama is the story of a Bedouin woman from the northeastern desert in Jordan who struggles against the patriarchal rules of her society to get a transformative education as a solar engineer at the Barefoot College in India and empower the women of her village back home.

 

12:30PM - SHORT FILM PROGRAM 1

Director Maya Cozier - Trinidad
Narrative - 29.00 MIN

Bartholomew, a retired civil servant, takes a leisurely drive downtown, where Shanice mistakes his car for a taxi. After much resistance, he agrees to take her to her destination. Along the way, they encounter a wide diversity of Trinidadian characters, from cross-dresser Hott Pepper to gang member Tan Tan. What follows is a long day of reckoning with memories, friendships and revelations.

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Lala's World

Director Aurélie Harp - USA
Documentary - 12 MIN

"LaLa’s world" is a short documentary around LaLa Zannell, a Lead Organizer in the Trans community, and the first trans woman of color at the White House briefing for Women’s History Month, that aims to better understand the daily challenges of NYC trans women of color and to create a stage where transgender and non-transgender people can break stereotypes and connect on a human level.

Director Hsu Chien - Brazil
Narrative - 15 MIN

Morena is a beautiful travesti of program, who rediscovers Reinaldo, her older brother and homofóbico. The past of the brothers reappears, because it was because of all the hatred and violence caused by Reinaldo that Morena ran away from home and left her city at the age of 10. In this fateful encounter, Morena discovers that Reinaldo is looking for sex travestis, and realizing that the older brother does not recognize her in women's outfits, Morena takes the chance to take revenge on the one who made her so bad.

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Goût bacon

Director Emma Benestan - France
Narrative - 12:45 MIN
A coming of age story set in Paris's banlieues. After a rumor started by a an ambigious Snapchat message, two friends, Bialal and Adil, start off on a quest for girls to save their reputation. But the journey is far from the one they imagined.

Total Run Time: 63:45 MIN

 

3PM - PANEL ON IDENTITY

We seek here to open a dialogue, an investigation on the subject of cultural identity in context of gender, equality, race and place, against emerging global visual and creative forms of representation today.

Moderator: Aurélie Harp

Panel: Lala Zanell, Kearra aMaya gopee, Qais Assali, Or ZubalskyPamela Sneed

 

                                                 

4PM - SHORT FILM PROGRAM 2

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Mañana

Director Camilio Palacios - Colombia
Narrative - 8 MIN

A woman abused by her husband has the option of leaving him immediately upon entering a doctor's office where a female psychologist and a male physician offer her help. In the midst of indecision and fear, she must also deal with the tension generated by the doctor's condescension towards the two women.

Agya

Director Curtis Essel - Ghana
Documentary - 4:39 MIN

Agya is a conversation with a father named Yaw. The short film is broken down into a FIVE part series depicting the stages of his experience as a father of four. Initiated with the subject of ‘intention’, Yaw delves into how he did not intend to have children - describing fatherhood as 'an unplanned venture’ he wasn’t prepared for. We are taken on a journey of areas he constantly deals with and explores from the idea of ‘absence’ to ‘adoption’ then finally landing on ‘hope’.

Directors Fanny Liatard & Jérémy Trouilh - France
Narrative - 15:30 MIN

Youri is 20 years old and he has always lived with his mother in a social housing district near Paris. But his building is going to be demolished because of an urban renovation project. Youri doesn't accept the idea of leaving his home : that's his spaceship.

Director Araz Pourvatan - Iran
Narrative - 14:50 MIN

Turkan's father takes her to the university to pick up her diploma in order to apply for a job found by her uncle. But there is something going on at the university and she is hiding it from her father.

Director Ymane Fakir - Morocco
Narrative - 9:17 MIN

In a house where time is suspended, two women, the wardens of this space busy themselves with nondescript chores and come to a stand still like statues in this museum of intimacy, filled with things and memories in waiting. The slow passing of the shots, the ghostly walking to and fro, the silence sometimes interrupted by a voice telling a fragmented story, all these hint at a subdued drama.

Director Mohammad Poustindouz - Iran
Narrative - 9 MIN

Grey Umbrella is an adaptation of a short story by Argentinean writer Fernando Sorrentino, called,There’s a Man in the Habit of Hitting me on the Head with an Umbrella. The story is of a man with a bad habit, until a man with an umbrella enters his life.

Total Run Time: 60:36 MIN

 

5:30PM - Women in Film: Promises are easy, change is hard. 

According to the annual Celluloid Ceiling Study, women comprised 11% of writers, 20% of executive producers, 26% of producers, 22% of editors, and 6% of cinematographers in 2017. These numbers for women's behind the scenes employment support Manohla Dargis's statement in the New York Times that the film business treats women as "a distraction, an afterthought, and a problem". This panel seeks to have an honest conversation amongst women working in Film and Television industry today.

Moderator: Kashanna Evans 

Panel: Lauren Beck, DeirdRa Govan, Christiane Seidel, Nicole Franklin                         

6:45PM

Director Amirah Tadjin - Jordan/Lebanon
Documentary - 75 min

In this lyrical homage to the pains of plight, Diamonds, Backpacks and a Matchbox chronicles the ongoing aftermath of the revolution, recounted by some of it's ‘survivors'. These survivors, known to us simply as Syrian Refugees, recount their personal upheavals and hopes, both on an emotional and physical scale.

8:15PM

Director Jonas Carpignano - Italy/USA
Narrative - 1:58 MIN

A CIAMBRA, a small Romani community in Calabria, Pio Amato is desperate to grow up fast. At 14, he drinks, smokes and is one of the few to easily slide between the region's factions - the local Italians, the African refugees and his fellow Romani. Pio follows his older brother Cosimo everywhere, learning the necessary skills for life on the streets of their hometown. When Cosimo disappears and things start to go wrong, Pio sets out to prove he's ready to step into his big brother's shoes but soon finds himself faced with an impossible decision that will show if he is truly ready to become a man. Executive produced by Martin Scorsese from rising director Jonas Carpignano (Mediterranea).

IMMIGRATION

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 9th

 

11AM - SHORT FILM PROGRAM 3

Director Alexis Gambis - USA
Narrative - 4:51 MIN

A young Mexican biologist living in New York discusses the reasons for her transformation...into a Monarch butterfly.

Director Christine Chen - USA
Narrative - 20:18 MIN

A Syrian refugee adapts to life in an unfamiliar country after her husband's immigration visa is unexpectedly rejected. My Heart was qualified for the 2018 Oscar Academy.

Director Josza Anjembe - France
Narrative - 21:38 MIN

Seyna, a teenager originating from Cameroon is passionated by the history of France, where she grew up. She aims to integrate a very renowned graduation cursus dedicated to Politics. Approaching 18 years old, her wish is to acquire French citizenship but her father is opposed to it.

Director Meschida Philip - Grenada
Documentary - 11:18 MIN

Scars Of Our Mothers' Dreams is a film that offers a unique, intimate glimpse into the complexities of parental migration through the lenses of children left behind. Years after her own personal struggle to overcome the feeling of childhood abandonment, filmmaker Meschida Philip, returned to Grenada in search of others with similar childhood experiences, to find out how their lives were impacted after their parents migrated.

Director Randall Christopher - Argentina
Documentary - 15 MIN

Set in Argentina 1960, this true crime documentary follows the story of secret agent Zvi Aharoni as he hunted down one of the highest ranking Nazi war criminals on the run.

Director Nadine Naous - France
Narrative - 33:22 MIN

It is a critical time: France is about to elect a new president. A freshly naturalized kiosk owner gets ready to vote for the first time and wonders whether it is still a meaningful civic act. She asks her clients for help, and each one gives his or her two cents about democracy.

TOTAL RUN TIME: 105:45 MIN

 

1PM

Director Paul R. Chandler - MALI
Documentary - 124 MIN

Told through the captivating stories of musicians and artists, both young and old, the West African nation of Mali strives to preserve its music and deep cultural roots in the face of poverty, conflict and the influences of the West.

3PM - Displaced: a conversation on Refugees and Immigration today. 

This panel explores the sentiments of global refugees, migrants, and domestically displaced people today as a result of war and terror. We will discuss the current political climate in America in light of the ban against Muslim countries entering the USA, and border control with Mexico. During this discussion we will also tackle the hardships that not only artists, filmmakers, and creatives face, but those affected by these new policies as a whole. According to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNHCR), OVER 65 million people are displaced abroad, or within their own borders.

Moderator: Parissah Lin

Panel: Paul R chandler, Brian Melnyk, Meschida PhilipCurtis Essel

 

VR EXPERIENCE

Saturday 2-8 / SUNDAY 11-4

We are pleased to present NEW DIMENSIONS in VR, storytelling: The African Lounge. The following 360 titles: (Jim Chuchu/The Nest (Let This Be A Warning), Jonathan Dotse (Spirit Robot) and Ng’endo Mukii (Nairobi Berries), introduces the works of Electric South.  Elecctric South is a South African base incubator for tech driven stories, supporting African artists in a spectrum of creative disciplines to explore 360 filmmaking. They works depict African perspectives on the global stage; sparking ideas in future African creators. The films were first shown at EFM Africa Hub in Berlin Film Fesstival, 2017, and have subsequently had successful festival runs, including screenings at the Tribeca Film Festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest , Sydney Film Festival and locally at Encounters South African International Documentary Festival and Durban FilmMart.  

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The Other Dakar

Director Selly Raby Kane - Senegal
Narrative - 7:35 MIN
A Senegalese girl is chosen to journey through the surreal, invisible life-force of her city. Combining design and mythology, the 360 experience revives a sense of community in Dakar.

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Spirit Robot

Director Jonathan Dotse - Ghana
Documentary - 8:38 MIN

VR documentary which explores the Chale Wote Street Art Festival in Accra.

Director Ng'endo Mukii - Kenya
Narrative - 7:51 MIN

Two women and a man wrangle. Each must hollow out the other's core for fruits promised but only ever borne in dreams. A poetic symphony on Nairobi.

The Nest Collective - Kenya
Narrative - 10:38 MIN

Let This Be A Warning explores a future in which a group of Africans have left Earth to create a colony on a distant planet. They respond with disquiet to the arrival of an uninvited guest.

 

OUR JURY

The environment Matamba grew up in in Gabon is one of a thousand realities, where the spirit world plays an integral part of life and oral tradition is society’s foundation. Over the past years, she’s lived successively in Europe and America, becoming a global citizen, delving in her native culture to make sense of the various worlds she became familiar with and using it as a connector with the many communities from the Diaspora she went on knowing.

After obtaining a Postgraduate Degree in Fashion & Luxury Management at the Institut Francais de la Mode in Paris in 1997, she pursued a career as a special events producer in the luxury industry in New York, managing often larger than life productions for over 10 years, executing concepts created by fashion designers to showcase their latest creations or products to select audiences. She left the fashion industry in 2011 to immerse herself in intense self-studies of screenwriting and directing in New York where she is based. Matamba is a self-taught filmmaker whose first job in the film industry was an internship on Tanya Hamilton’s Night Catches Us in 2009 where she was given a scenic artist credit. She perfected her craft at Ela Thier’s Independent Film School in New York City.

She made two experimental shorts in 2014, A Walk in Beauty and A Walk in Purpose. A Walk in Purpose screened at various festivals and shows in Europe and the USA. Her third film, the narrative short Telesourd, shot in 2015, is currently doing the festival circuit globally. It screened at AFRIFF2015 and LAFF2016 among others, and was awarded “Prix du Public” at Festimaj 2016, and “Coup de Coeur du Jury” at Festival Sourd Metrage 2015. He fourth installment, DD Teddy Bear, was released early 2016.

In 2016, she produced award winner director Ekwa Msangi’s film, Farewell Meu Amor, which premiered at the Zanzibar Film Festival 2016; as well as Gabon filmmaker Fernand Lepoko’s upcoming feature film, Matris. She is currently in post-production on a series of 8 short films she wrote, directed and produced, shot in February and April 2017 in Libreville, Sens Dessus Dessous.

 

 

Stephen Winter is an award-winning filmmaker, writer and artist whose new series Adventures in New America, an afrofuturistic polyglot sci-fi radio political satire premieres Fall 2018 on the Night Vale Network. His 2015 feature film Jason and Shirley was called “one of the year’s finest” by Richard Brody in The New Yorker. Jason and Shirley played AGO in Toronto and had a sold-out 2 week run at MoMA in New York. His award winning 1996 debut film Chocolate Babies premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, won awards at SXSW, Urbanworld and OutFest and enjoyed a 2016 revival at New York's Anthology Film Archives and at the Los Angeles Hammer Museum in 2018.In 2004, Stephen was co-director of MIX NYC experimental queer film festival and produced Jonathan Caouette’s landmark “narci-cinema” feature documentary Tarnation (A.O. Scott, New York Times) which premiered at Sundance, Cannes, LAIFF and NYFF. He has worked creatively with Lee Daniels on The Butler, The Paperboy, Precious, Shadowboxer, John Cameron Mitchell (Shortbus, Hedwig & The Angry Inch), John Krokidas (Kill Your Darlings), David France (The Death & Life Of Marsha P. Johnson, How To Survive A Plague), Xan Cassavetes, Zoe Cassavetes, Allen Hughes, Gus Van Sant and Steve Harvey. His short play Be Still was included in 24 by 24: The 24 Hour Plays Anthology, published by Playscripts.

Stephen has taught revolutionary cinema at Cornell University, Pratt University, Brooklyn College and Williams College. MFA at New York University Tisch School of the Arts, BFA School of the Art Institute of Chicago and certification at the African-American owned-and-operated Community Film Workshop of Chicago. In June of 2018, Stephen participated in Ryan Murphy's Half-Initiative, which aims to make Hollywood more inclusive by creating equal opportunities for women and people of color behind the camera. Stephen shadowed director Gwyneth Horder-Payton on the season one finale of Pose (FX).

Valentina Caniglia AIC IMAGO is known for her work on the film "The Stand", her astonishing lighting and camera work caught the attention of American Cinematographer magazine which featured an exclusive article in March 2017 issue. She also known for her 2nd unit Cinematography work on the Netflix original series Gypsy starred Naomi Watts, "Without Grace" with Emmy award winner Ann Dowd, a period film "Madeline's Oil" where she won Best Cinematography award at the Louisiana International film festival, and "Pomegranates and Myrrh", winner of the Golden Dagger for Best Cinematography, premiered in USA at Sundance film Festival, the film received the Audience Award at Doha Tribeca Film Festival handed out by Robert De Niro. "Fred Won't Move Out" nominated for best cinematography by the AIC IMAGO award starring Elliott Gould, and the critically acclaimed film "Assolo" described by the world critics to be a movie with an astonishing and elegant Cinematography. In addition, Valentina Caniglia has been filming as a Director of Photography for HBO, Amazon Prime, Channel Plus, RAI and Netflix. As well as numerous nationally aired commercials for British Airways, Ford, Nike, Novomatic, GBX Shoes all received the Telly Award. Valentina's other work include the film "Return To Sender" starring Bill Cobbs, directed by Oscar winning producer Ravi Malhotra. Valentina's work on the film was the subject of an article featured in American Cinematographer. Valentina made also her mark in the music video world where she lensed music videos for The Roots, Aesop Rock, Fast Cars, which achieved the first position on the MTV Music Videos Awards. In 2012, Valentina Caniglia was bestowed the honor of being invited to join the European Federation of Cinematographers IMAGO, the Association of Cinematographers (AIC).

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