NOVA FRONTIER FILM FESTIVAL & LAB is a timely film festival, and non-profit youth Lab committed to enhancing and incubating the works of filmmakers and artists from the African Diaspora, the Middle East, and Latin America. The Lab, which is a core component of what we do, teaches filmmaking and media arts, offers mentorship and career opportunities to underserved youth in Brooklyn and the other boroughs of New York. We are expanding our borders next year to include Marseille, France and Ghana, Africa.
The annual program of dramatic and documentary films, shorts, virtual reality, experimental, performances, and panel discussions takes place on September 20th-22nd, 2019, at the renowned Billie Holiday Theatre through our partnership with Restoration Art in Brooklyn, NY. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Restoration Art and Billie Holiday Theatre was founded during the civil rights movement and are central Brooklyn institutions, deeply committed to supporting revolutionary art makers; bringing culture to the Brooklyn community and New York.
The selections in our 2019 program focus on themes of Immigration, Identity, and Social Justice, by filmmakers and artists embracing and exploring multitudes of dimensions to understand systemic injustices; war; inequality; exile; migration. They act with an empowered and critically self-reflective sense of agency and urgency to mobilize their resources to bring us fresh; pressing stories that capture our interconnectedness, and encounters with uncertainties -- stories that communicate and reflect on a postmodern global reality, empathetically informing us of our sense of humanity.
We are excited by the large submissions and inclusion of voices by Women filmmakers with strong female protagonists, films telescoping individualized and idiosyncratic POV and related issues affecting women– women as agencies of their narratives, and some instances their bodies. Meryem Benm'Barek-Aloïsi, feature film, Sofia, (winner of the best screenplay award at Cannes, Un Certain Regard section in 2018) shed light on sensitive and complex issues surrounding pregnancy outside of marriage in her own country Morocco. In Yasmina by Claire Cahen & Ali Esmili, fifteen-year-old Yasmina is the young promise of a football team. When her father is arrested for illegal immigration, Yasmina has to decide whether to hide or to play the most important game for her future. Catherine Cosme's film, Family, Lisa gives refuge to a Somalian family, while they are waiting for their notification to foreigner’s services. In Lisa's house, two worlds are meeting, between benevolence and difficulty in communicating as doubt and anxiety arise. Liberty, by Faren Humes cast a
sensitive focused lens on the lives of vulnerable African-American adolescents, and members of a black community in Miami’s Liberty City, threatened by gentrification and displacement, and trauma. In our Virtual Reality section, the award-winning documentary Send Me Home, by filmmaker Cassandra Evanisko and Lonelyleap team, Rickey Jackson spent four decades in prison for a murder he did not commit, before a witness recantation led to his immediate exoneration and release. This is a surreal and important 360° portrait of one of the longest-serving exonerees in U.S. history.
All the films offer an unapologetic gaze of how filmmakers are tackling global issues affecting people today, which is fundamental to Nova Frontier Film Festival and Lab identity, as a festival engaged in global dialogue, cross- cultural fertilization, and praxis. In a world of power politics, imperialistic intrusion everywhere by government and authoritarian entities, a world that is increasingly driven by acts of terror and war against terror; socio-economic inequality, comprehending human connectedness may well be essential to the ethical future of the planet.
OPENING NIGHT CEREMONY
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 20TH
Opens with four short films that capture the mission of Nova Frontier Film Festival and this year’s theme of Immigration, Identity and Social Justice.
Director Claire Cahen & Ali Esmili France
(2019) Short Fiction - 22 Mins - (Rated G)
Fifteen-year-old Yasmina is the young promise of a football team. An excellent player and very plucky, she is determined to make a name for herself in the world of sport. When her father is arrested for illegal immigration, Yasmina has to decide whether to hide or to play the most important game for her future.
Director Carolina Markowicz Brazil
(2019) Short Fiction - 15:15 Mins - (Rated G)
When Jonathas's adoptive family placement does not go smoothly, he has to come to terms with a new reality. A testament to the unique directorial vision of Carolina Markowicz, The Orphan is both visually fierce and beautifully realized.
Director Jeremy Giroux France/Morocco
(2018) Short Fiction - 27 Mins - Rated G
Casablanca. Samir, a young Moroccan, lives off of small shady deals. One day, he is hired to empty a warehouse for a trafficker and meets Kai, an injured illegal immigrant who is trying to make the crossing. At first hostile, Samir ends up helping him. A troubling relationship begins...
Shadow of a hurricane
Director Sandra Winther USA/UK/PUERTO RICO
(2018) Short Doc - 6 Mins - (Rated G)
Puerto Rico, the 1949 poem by Victor Hernández Cruz that extols the virtues of the US territory lays the foundation for Winther’s film. Cruz’s words with moving images of the people, homes and landscapes that belong to the island. “Shadow of a Hurricane captures the striking duality of Puerto Rico,” she says. "It's a place of both beauty and loss."
12 PM — SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 21ST
Director Mame-Fatou Niang & Kaytie Nielsen France
Documentary Feature (2017) - 1 H 18 Mins (Rated G)
Recent violence and growing nationalism in France have brought fierce debates about the country’s identity to the forefront. In Mariannes Noires, seven different French-born women of African descent confront their own unique identities and challenge the expectations of French society. While some came from great privilege, and others came from nothing at all, they each have attained a high level of success and influence, which they use to increase visibility for Black women in France. However, despite their power, their achievements, and their leadership, and no matter their class background or ancestral heritage, they all survive systemic inequality.
In this documentary, they take us through their battles and retrace their most grueling paths in order to understand the social confines that have affected them professionally, psychologically, and emotionally. They share their ideas and solutions to France’s most daunting issues at the heavy intersection of racism and misogyny, and they bravely lead the way forward.
1:30 PM — SHORT FILM PROGRAM 1
by Faren Humes (2019) - Short Fiction - US ( 16.39 Mins) (Rated G)
Best friends Milagros (Loggy) and Alex have been neighbors their entire lives in Miami’s redeveloping Liberty Square. Loggy detaches when she learns that Alex is being displaced and relocated to another community. The two are chosen to dance together at the community’s groundbreaking ceremony but their plans are derailed when the memorial of Milagro’s slain mother is confiscated. The integrity of their friendship is tested as they search for its whereabouts.
by Mirrabas khosravinezad(2018) - Short Fiction - IRAN ( 9.30 Mins) - (Rated G)
From the Iranian Youth Cinema Society (IYCS) come Azadeh, a young girl living in the village with her Family, She want go to city for visit her father for the last time, but family and societal pressures prevents her.
by Nile Saulter (2018) - Short Fiction - Jamaica (13:00 Mins) - Rated G
Plagued by dreams of a beautiful life once lived or yet to come, a scrap metal collector living on the edge of a landfill travels out of town for a job which promises to provide a spark of hope.
Marion Desseigne-Ravel (2019) - Short Fiction - France - (19:58 Mins) - Rated G
Fatiya, a confident young Muslin woman, agrees to replace her cousin at a babysitting gig. When she introduces herself to the mother of the young boy she is supposed to look after, prejudice and racism cause the afternoon to take a turn.
A sister’s hope
Michael Marantz ( 2018) Short Fiction - US (4.39 Mins) - Rated PG
Jamira Burley should be another product of the system. Instead, she has used the tragedies of her life ( the unfortunate death of her brother shot to death) to reshape her community, and disrupt the status quo.
2:45 PM — Panel discussion on Social Justice
A critical dialogue surrounding race, social justice, and inequality within France and America. The panel will also explore the similarities of structural violence, poverty and inequality experienced by youth growing up in the Banlieues in Paris, and under-represented blacks in America. Panelist include Mame-Fatou Niang, Director of Mariannes Noires, public, activist Jamira Burley, Filmmaker and composer, Michael MaranTZ, Director of A Sister’s Hope, AND Moderator Dr. Indira Etwaroo - educator, artist, scholar and Executive Director of Restoration ART and The Billie Holiday Theatre.
Meryem Benm’Barek-Aloïsi ( 2018) - Fiction Film - France/Morocco - (1h 26 Mins)
Sofia, 20, lives with her parents in Casablanca. Suffering from pregnancy denial, she finds herself breaking the law by giving birth to a baby out of wedlock. The hospital gives her 24 hours to provide them with the identification papers belonging to the father of the child before informing the authorities, and risk going to jail. Her two cousins set out on a frantic search to find him. Sofia is a portrait of a country, a portrait of women, and their complex relationship to it.
5:30 PM — SHORT FILM PROGRAM 2
Dima Hamdan (2019) - Short Fiction - GERMANY ( 20:00 Mins) - Rated G
Berlin- Wasim and his mother haven't been getting along for a while. Their fraught relationship is tested when the police orders them to evacuate their home for the night, to excavate a World War Two bomb.
El papel de Karim
Yassin Oukhiar ( 2019) - Short Fiction - SPAIN (7:00 Mins) - Rated G
Karim, an actor fed up with just playing terrorist roles, shares his sorrows with two of his friends - Dani and Bea - while having a drink. Subsequ de ent events will make that conversation especially relevant and put each of them to the test.
Dehzou Li (2019) - Short Fiction - UK - ( 12:52 Mins) Rated G
About Bintou is a short documentary about A young Malian student in Guangzhou reflects on the challenges of living abroad as an African, Muslim woman.
Only my voice
(2017) by Myriam Rey ( Short Doc - UK (12.00 Mins) - Rated G
In transit through Athens, four women from the Middle East share their stories. They all left their countries at different times in their life and for different reasons. As they preferred not to be identified, only their voices are heard. Stories of up-rootedness and contradictory sensations and personal experiences of freedom will gradually echo each other; resonating and interacting with the city of Athens.
Lines in the sand
(2018) by Jem Goulding - Short Doc - US/MEXICO (7:24 Mins) Rated G
An Impressionistic account of the children who have survived perilous border crossings, between the Mexico and the USA. Disembodied voices, coupled with subtitles and ambiguous imagery, convey the 'unseen' nature of the migrant crisis—which takes place in the middle of seas, on untrodden desert plains, and at the crux of borders, whether demarcated with high walls or roaring rivers.
6:45 PM — Panel on Immigration + Identity
A conversation on global immigration, belonging, exclusion, and borders, and the cultural consequences of migration; immigrants and migration as changing the political landscape of Europe and America, wittingly or unwittingly. We will also frame the conversation around borders (the physical and psychological construction of borders), which raise the question of whether it makes sense to have borders, or notions of a world without borders and what would that look like. Panelist include filmmaker Jem Goulding, Director of Lines in the Sand, Alexandra Delano, Professor of Global Studies at the new school university. Her current research focuses on transformative practices of solidarity across the Central America-Mexico-US migration corridor. Juan Carlos Garcia, Dreamer and Rap singer, May Malik Deputy Commissioner of External Affairs Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs NYC, Moderator, Aurélie Harp, is a French artist, producer and entrepreneur. She is also a woman rights activist and founder of the Womanity project in brooklyn, ny.
by Laura Mora Ortega (2019) Columbia-Fiction Film (1:35:00 Mins) - PG 13
Lita witnesses the murder of her own father, a university professor. Frustrated over the local police she and her family starts to investigate the murder themselves. Located at the dark and violent Medellin the quest for truth and revenge starts.
1 PM — SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 22ND
SHORT FILM PROGRAM 3
by Catherine Cosme (2018) - Short Fiction - FRANCE (24.5 Mins) - Rated G
Lisa gives refuge to a Somalian family, while they are waiting for their notification to foreigners services. In Lisa's house, two worlds are meeting, between benevolence and difficulty in communicating. In the silence, doubt and anxiety are rising. Beyond the reason?
I’m black and beautiful
Hawanatu Bangura (2019) - Short Experimental Doc - AUSTRALIA - (8.43 Mins)-Rated G
A documentary about the perception of beauty and belonging from the perspectives of Afro-Australian women.
Baloji (2018) - Short Experimental Doc - CONGO ( 14:00 Mins) - Rated G
For his latest self-directed video, Congolese-Belgian musician Baloji has created a visual declaration about the zombie-fying effects of communication technology. Tribal motifs and digital culture collide in this video from the Central African hitmaker exploring the stupefying effects of mobile technology.
James and James (2018) - Experiential Short Doc - UK/LOUISIANA - (6:00 Mins) - Rated G
Portrait of a Place: Flash a dancer meanderers among the train yards and tool sheds of New Orleans. Flash is very much an atmospheric portrait of a person and a place.
2 PM — CLOSING FILM - NEW YORK & WORLD PREMIERE
by Amilcar Navarro (2019) - Feature Doc - CUBA ( 1h33mns) - Rated G
La ENA is a visual study and meditation on Cuba's national arts school system. In an era school privatization La ENA is a love letter to the value and importance of education for all.
3:45 PM — Panel : Tilting the axis : pan-cultural storytelling today
An in-depth dialogue about diversity, representation, media and the importance of first-person perspective in pan-cultural storytelling today. We will also explore the role of the arts and artists in building cultural bridges; creating effective cross-cultural understanding, and why it’s important at this time for artists and filmmakers to become agency of their own media image. Panelist include, Nicole Chantal De Weever who is a dancer/choreographer, actor, mentor from Saint Martin, and President/Founder of Art Saves Lives Program, filmmaker Amilcar Navarro, Ubikwist magazine, editor-in-chief and creative director Giannie Couji. UBIKWIST celebrates Diversity. This biannual, international, independent publication evokes global perspective and features emerging as well as established talent across all genres of popular culture: Fashion, Beauty, Music, Art, Film, Design, Illustration and Reportage. Onyedika Chuke is an artist and archivist living and working in New York. hIS The Forever Museum Archive (2011-present), analyze GLOBAL social, cultural and political structures. Moderator Jasmine Weber, Artist and writer based in Brooklyn. She is an associate editor at Hyperallergic, particularly interested in Black art histories and visual culture.
AWARD CEREMONY - 5 PM
VR LOUNGE (SATURDAY AND SUNDAY)
by Cassandra Evanisko (2018) USA - 360 VR Doc Film, (13:38 Mins) - Rated G
Synopsis: On May 25, 1975, at age 18, Rickey Jackson was wrongfully imprisoned. He was exonerated and released on November 21, 2014, at age 57 after almost four decades in prison. Send Me Home follows Rickey through his surreal new life post-prison.
by Flight School Studio (2018) USA - 360 VR Fiction (12:00 Mins) Rated G
Synopsis: An ominous and eerie story about finding redemption in the afterlife. Set on a mysterious train rambling through an unknown void, you assist four travel companions on their journey to their final destination. Using character engagement as a method of movement, Manifest 99 explores scale and navigation unlike any other VR experience.
by Nirma Madhoo (2019) South Africa - 360 VR Experimental (7:00 Mins) - Rated G
Synopsis: Azimuth is a short fashion 360 film exploring Brutalist environments and conceptualises concrete in three elemental forms — water, solid and ether. Fashion performances are imaged for each of these states while the musical score is designed to further immerse the viewer in these environments. Conceptualised and produced in Durban and Cape Town, Azimuth is testimony of collaborative practice for future fashion new media in South Africa.
Lauren beck is a New York based photographer and producer, best known for producing critically acclaimed film Manchester by the Sea (2016) that earned her Academy Award for Best Picture nomination with Matt Damon, Kimberly Steward, Chris Moore, and Kevin J. Walsh. She recently was an Executive Producer on Luca Guadagnino's Suspiria (2018) remake, starring Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton. She was K. Period Media’s founding Producer and Production Executive. Lauren has produced short and long form projects fusing original content, emerging technology, and digital design. As Executive Producer at Moondog Edit, a New York based advertising and film production company, Lauren opened the doors to a variety of new creative territories in original content development, film, and music. Lauren was responsible for establishing a fully integrated collective of five companies including creative development, production, post-production, VFX, and music supervision to form an efficient and expansive model. With a wide range of executional expertise and armed with progressive entrepreneurial and artistic instincts, Lauren began curating and producing a talented team of writers and directors in the development of film and series.
Mona Eldaief is an Egyptian American Director and Cinematographer who has worked on project around the world. Her documentary feature credits include the award winning film, “Rafea: Solar Mama” "startup.com", “A Wedding in Ramallah,” Her “Name Is Zelda,” and “Control Room,” while television projects have included programmes for the Discovery Channel, Discovery Health, PBS, The Learning Channel, MTV News and Docs, and MTV News Choose or Loose.
Her achievements include the implementation of a video diary exchange programme between Israelis and Palestinians, which allowed young people in Israel and on the West Bank to create video diaries that were then shared to initiate an ongoing dialogue about the conflict. She was also producer for MTV News Unfiltered, a series pioneering the use of first person documentary for television.