Opening Night Film
Writers: Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani | Director: Michael Showalter
Based on the screenwriters’ real-life courtship: Pakistan-born comedian Kumail and grad student Emily fall in love, but they struggle with cultural differences and the unexpected impact of a mysterious illness. Featuring Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, and Ray Romano.
Opening Family Film
Original Story: Brian Fee, Ben Queen, Eyal Podell, Jonathon E. Stewart | Screenplay: Kiel Murray, Bob Peterson, Mike Rich | Director: Brian Fee
Continuing NFF's opening day Disney•Pixar tradition! Lightning McQueen sets out to prove to a new generation of racers that he's still the best race car in the world. Featuring Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, and Armie Hammer.
Directors: Nick Broomfield, Rudi Dolezal
This moving documentary offers a candid look at Whitney Houston, who was the most awarded female recording artist of all time, and died tragically at the age of 48.
Closing Night Film
Directors: Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk
More timely than ever, this follow-up to the Oscar-winning An Inconvenient Truth - a film which brought climate change into the popular consciousness a decade ago - charts Vice President Al Gore's continuing mission to solve our climate crisis before it's too late.
Writers/Directors: Lisa Addario, Joe Syracuse
An exiled dictator in hiding teaches a rebellious suburban teen how to overthrow the "mean girls" in her high school. Featuring Michael Caine, Odeya Rush, and Katie Holmes.
Writer/Director: Adam Rifkin
Former box office superstar Vic Edwards (Burt Reynolds) is forced to reassess his life when he is invited to a film festival to receive a lifetime achievement award. Featuring Ariel Winter, Chevy Chase, Clark Duke, and Ellar Coltrane.
Writer: Julie Rudd | Director: Alethea Jones
Four very different moms gather for a ladies’ night out that takes unpredictable but hilarious twists and turns. Featuring Katie Aselton, Toni Collette, Bridget Everett, Molly Shannon, Adam Scott, and Adam Levine.
Writer/Director: Geremy Jasper
Straight out of Jersey comes Patricia Dombrowski, AKA Patti Cake$, an aspiring rapper on an unlikely quest for glory. Featuring Danielle Macdonald, Bridget Everett, and Cathy Moriarty.
Director: Rory Kennedy
The remarkable story of a pioneering figure who changed the landscape of big wave surfing forever.
Writer/Director: Taylor Sheridan
An FBI agent teams with a veteran game tracker to investigate a murder that occurred on a Native American reservation. Featuring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen.
Feature Films | Documentary
Documentary Features Presented by
Director: Pamela Yates
The third film in a 35-year trilogy which contributed to the downfall of Guatemala’s dictator. This sweeping story of resistance focuses on the nation’s indigenous Mayan population, poised to reimagine their society. Co-presented with Facing History and Ourselves.
Director: Jon Kean
Six courageous Holocaust survivors detail how they forged new lives after their liberation from Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Directors: David Alvarado, Jason Sussberg
A famous television personality struggles to restore science to its rightful place in a world hostile to evidence and reason.
Director: Alexandra Dean
The story of the glamorous Austrian-born Hollywood actress, focused on her groundbreaking but under-acknowledged work as an inventor.
Directors: Catherine Gund, Daresha Kyi
A portrait of iconoclastic singer Chavela Vargas, who was legendary throughout Latin America for her romantic songs, had a love affair with Frida Kahlo, and served as a muse to Pedro Almodóvar.
Director: Matthew Heineman
An immersive profile of a group of anonymous Syrian citizen journalists who risk their lives to stand up against ISIS and report the truth of the Syrian conflict to the outside world.
Directors: Dan Sickles, Antonio Santini
An unforgettable couple, both on the autism spectrum, navigate the complexities of sex and romance in this Sundance Grand Jury Prize winning film.
Directors: Jeremy S. Levine, Landon Van Soest
In this intimate coming-of-age story, a young African-American teenager is determined to make a better future for herself in her rough St. Louis neighborhood.
Director: Erik Nelson
The tragic fate of an Iraq veteran who was making a controversial political film fuels conspiracy theories in this insightful film executive produced by Werner Herzog.
Directors: Trish Adlesic, Geeta Gandbhir
Produced by Mariska Hargitay (Law and Order: SVU), this eye-opening documentary investigates the alarming backlog of untested evidence kits that have denied justice to sexual assault survivors.
Directors: Laura Dunn, Jef Sewell
A profile of the changing landscapes and shifting values of rural America, as witnessed by influential farmer, activist, and author Wendell Berry.
Director: Ema Ryan Yamazaki
The story of Hans and Margret Rey, who fled Nazi-occupied Europe as refugees, carrying with them one of the most beloved children’s book characters of all time.
Director: Jody Hassett Sanchez
Who gets to decide what is good art? A competition touting the biggest cash prize in the art world demonstrates what happens when the cultural elite butts up against Midwest populism.
Director: Ramona S. Diaz
An immersion into the experiences of new mothers in the world’s busiest maternity hospital, located in one of its poorest and most populous countries.
Director: Jonathan Olshefski
A portrait of a North Philadelphia family and the creative sanctuary offered by their home music studio, intimately filmed over a decade.
Directors: Pacho Velez, Sierra Pettengill
1980s news footage and videos produced by the Reagan White House reveal the first made-for-TV president, one uniquely suited to face off against a charismatic Russian rival.
Director: Neasa Ní Chianáin | Co-Director: David Rane
Set in private boarding school in Ireland - a real-life Hogwarts - a married pair of teachers contemplate retirement after more than 40 years.
Director: Owsley Brown
This portrait of a classical music school in Haiti - before and after the earthquake - is a poignant testament to resilience, hope, and the power of music.
Director: Oren Jacoby
Before Banksy, there was Richard Hambleton. A pioneer of street art in early 1980s New York City, he succumbed to personal demons - but now stands on the brink of a comeback.
Directors: Jeff Malmberg, Chris Shellen
Once upon a time there was a tiny village in Tuscany whose residents found a remarkable way to confront their issues – they turned their lives into a play each summer.
Director: Amanda Lipitz
High-school seniors in the inaugural class of the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women strive for success both academically and through their fierce step dancing team.
Director: Jamie Meltzer
A team of men, exonerated for crimes they did not commit after decades in prison, work together to investigate other wrongfully convicted innocents.
Feature Films | Narrative
Writer/Director: Angus MacLachlan
Siblings wrestle with questions of family, legacy, and generational responsibility when a group of strangers arrive possessing a surprising connection to their land.
Writer/Director: Jared Moshé
Aging sidekick Lefty Brown (Bill Pullman) has ridden with Wild West legend Eddie Johnson (Peter Fonda) his entire life. Forced out from his partner’s shadow, Lefty must confront the ugly realities of frontier justice. Featuring Kathy Baker, Jim Caviezel, and Tommy Flanagan.
Writer/Director: Laura Terruso
Struggling writer David (Wyatt Cenac) finds it hard to escape the shadow of his published wife’s success in this satire of literary world pretension.
Writer/Director: Elijah Bynum
Lonely teen Daniel (Timothée Chalamet), sent away to Cape Cod for the summer of 1991, re-invents himself when he befriends the charismatic town rebel (Alex Roe).
Director: Matt Spicer
Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) is excited to move to Los Angeles to be closer to her BFF, Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen), a “lifestyle guru” whose Instagram documents her seemingly perfect life.
Writer/Director: Gillian Robespierre | Writer: Elisabeth Holm
Secrets and lies abound in this 1990s set dramatic comedy following the dysfunctions of a Manhattan family. Featuring Jenny Slate, Jay Duplass, John Turturro, and Edie Falco.
Writer/Director: Ryan Eggold
Adam (Justin Long), still harboring feelings for his ex, Allison (Cobie Smulders), tries to brave the awkwardness of her wedding in this romantic comedy.
Writer/Director: Jeff Baena
A young servant fleeing from his master takes refuge at a dysfunctional convent in medieval Tuscany. Featuring Alison Brie, Dave Franco, Kate Micucci, Aubrey Plaza, Nick Offerman, John C. Reilly, and Molly Shannon.
Writer/Director: Russell Harbaugh | Writer: Eric Mendelsohn
After the death of her husband, a mother and her two grown sons navigate the peaks and valleys of life over the next several years. Featuring Andie MacDowell, Chris O'Dowd, and James Adomian.
Writers: Logan Sparks, Drago Sumonja | Director: John Carroll Lynch
Lucky (Harry Dean Stanton), a 90-year-old self-sufficient loner living in a desert town, embarks on a journey of self-discovery to try to come to terms with his own mortality.
Writer/Director: Michael Almereyda
In the near future, Marjorie, suffering from dementia, is told the story of her life by a hologram in the form of her late husband. What would we remember, and what would we forget, if given the chance? Featuring Jon Hamm, Geena Davis, Lois Smith, and Tim Robbins.
Writer/Director: Joshua Z Weinstein | Writers: Alex Lipschultz, Musa Syeed
Within Brooklyn’s Hasidic Jewish community, a widower struggles to prove himself a worthy father to retain custody of his son in this gentle drama.
Writer/Director: Gabe Klinger | Writer: Larry Gross
Two outsiders in Portugal - Jake (Anton Yelchin), an American loner, and Mati (Lucie Lucas), a French student - experience a brief but intimate connection that leaves a haunting impression.
Writers/Directors: Christopher Radcliff, Lauren Wolkstein
In this engrossing, atmospheric mystery, an innocent road trip into the woods by two brothers is not all as it seems. Featuring Alex Pettyfer and James Freedson-Jackson.
Narrative Shorts: Through the Fire
Looking at life’s challenges.
Director: Micah Perta | Writers: Lauren Sanderson Kilgore, Traci Terrill | Story by: Micah Perta, Traci Terrill | Featuring Olivia Wilde
Narcolepsy, siblings, nudity, and senility combine for the best kind of road trip. Or do they?
Writer/Director: Jeannie Donohoe | Featuring Rick Fox, Tye White, Jamie McShane
A rookie trying out for the boys’ basketball team makes an impression, attracting jealousy fromthe team star. Featuring former L.A. Laker Rick Fox and Tye White (The People vs. O.J. Simpson).
Writer/Director: Willy Berliner
When a man finds a family of strangers in his house who claim to have bought the place, he agrees to let them stay until they can get to the bottom of the mix-up. They never leave.
Writer/Directors: Charlotte Barrett, Sean Fallon | Featuring Lily Rabe and Eric Ladin
After suffering a miscarriage, a young couple goes ahead with their plan to attend a local comicconvention. Featuring Lily Rabe (Miss Stevens, NFF 2016) and Eric Ladin (Boardwalk Empire).
Writer/Director: Aude Cuenod
On the east side of Detroit an 11-year- old boy, grieving over the loss of his best friend,encounters an artist who makes art out of abandoned objects.
Narrative Shorts: Feeling Connected
Exploring the universal desire to connect.
Documentary Shorts: Life Journeys
Five stories to tell, five journeys to share.
Director: Maris Curran
Director Maris Curran (Five Nights in Maine, NFF 2016) creates a beautiful portrait of the life and creative world of Atlanta-based artist and musician Lonnie Holley.
Director: Nina Horowitz
A Jewish athlete is barred from competition during Hitler’s 1936 Olympic Games, despite beingthe best high-jumper in Germany and arguably the world.
Director: Ifunanya Maduka
In 2014, 276 teenage girls gathered for exams in Chibok, Nigeria—by dawn, nearly all had disappeared, and their school had burned to the ground. Jessica, an escapee, shares her haunting account of a friendship violently interrupted by Boko Haram.
Documentary Shorts: Reaching For the Stars
True stories about encountering the unexpected.
Writer/Director: Nathan Reich
A filmmaker sets out to understand the world of live-action role play through the eyes of a teenage boy and discovers things are more complicated than expected.
Directors: Maximilien Van Aertryck, Axel Danielson
Individuals must choose whether to jump or climb down a 33-foot diving tower in this entertaining study of people in a vulnerable position.
Some of the best in contemporary animation. Suitable for ages 12 and up.
Writers/Directors: Laura Naylor, Kristen Kee
In a re-imagining of a Melville classic, an unassuming Wall Street lawyer finds himself beset by a new employee, Bartleby, who refuses to work.
Writer/Director: Adrienne Dowling, Writers: Jenna Jovi, Hélène Sifre
A broken-hearted witch hauls in a merman while fishing and he falls in love with her, releasing her broken heart.
Writers/Directors: Anne Baillod, Jean Faravel
Adapted from the Hans Christian Andersen fable, this is the tale of a young merchant who tries to sell matches but ends up burning them all.
Writer/Director: Bastiaan Schravendeel
After 19-year old Esra misses her train, she kills time playing a flashy game on her smartphone, but a vintage Rubik’s Cube vies for her attention.
Live action and animated stories for children 4 and up.
Writer/Director: Adam Marko-Nord
A flying hippo seeks a pond. A little koala wants to hop like the kangaroos, and a raucous mob of elephants throw a party. These and other wild times in the animal kingdom bounce to the jazz of Swedish quintet Oddjob.
Writer/Director: Peter Stanley-Ward, Writer: Natalie Conway
Helped by flying mechanical creatures she’s made, a young inventor joins forces with a pint-sized superhero to defeat the town bullies.
Writer/Director: Lena von Döhren
High up in a maple tree a little bird cherishes and nurtures the green leaves of its home. Then a hungry caterpillar sets its sights on the appetizing leaves.
Writer/Director: Julia Pott
From a forthcoming Cartoon Network© series. Glitter glue, singing marshmallows, and dance contests figure prominently in Julia Pott’s hilarious take on adolescence at its most awkward.
Special Screening | THE ILLUMINATION
Director: Tom Scott, Dan Honan | Producer: Tom Scott, Pamela Duevel | USA / 2017 / 19 min / Documentary
In a remarkable twist of fate, the decades-long effort of one blind person, Gordon Gund, makes it possible for another, Yannick Duwe, to see.
Beach Screening | 30th Anniversary of LA BAMBA
Free community event at Children’s Beach with live music, interview with LA BAMBA star Esai Morales, followed by screening.
Writer/Director: Luis Valdez | USA / 1987 / 108 MIN
Biographical story of the rise from nowhere of early rock and roll singer Ritchie Valens who died at age 17 in a plane crash with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper. Featuring Lou Diamond Phillips, Esai Morales, and Joe Pantoliano.