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FILMS THAT MAKE US CARE

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ABOUT THE FESTIVAL

The Global Cinema Film Festival of Boston (GCFF) in partnership with WCF studios/films LLC is committed to bringing the best of global cinematography to Boston. Our unflinching mission is to give filmmakers an opportunity to spotlight stories that deserve global attention. We take pride in being a platform that exhibits unflinching human rights films that make us care. Our 2020 program will showcase unconventional styles that speak to the evolution of the narrative and documentary form. Through the visual language of film, we will explore sensitive stories captured by unflinching lenses held by filmmakers with the audacity to inform, inspire and visually transport audiences to that sacred place called the cinema. 

Our 5th annual global event includes dependent films from  different countries around the globe, with MA & North American premieres, director Q & As and critically acclaimed official selections that have been featured in major international award competitions including the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

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2020  OFFICIAL SELECTIONS 


Softie | 2020| Kenya | 96 MIN

DIRECTOR: Sam Soko

CATEGORY: DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM 

SUBTITLES: Yes with English subtitles

PREMIERE STATUS: East Coast Premiere 

Boniface “Softie” Mwangi has long fought injustices in his country as a political activist. Now he’s taking the next step by running for office in a regional Kenyan election. From the moment Boniface decides to run, telling his wife, Njeri, in passing with a hesitant laugh, he responds to each challenge with optimism. But running a clean campaign against corrupt opponents becomes increasingly harder to combat with idealism alone. And Boniface soon finds that challenging strong political dynasties is putting his family at risk. Should country really come before family, as he’s always believed?

Director Sam Soko captures a charming idealist’s transformation through his grassroots campaign, while exploring the complexities of balancing Boniface’s deep love of country with the needs of his family. Moments with Njeri and their children deepen our understanding of the aspiring elected official, offering introspective respites from the turbulent pace of the campaign. Though set against the backdrop of a country in transition, Soko’s film goes beyond politics to reveal what fuels one activist’s need to push for change.



Influence | 2020 | South Africa/Canada | 105 MIN

DIRECTORS: Diana Neille & Richard Poplak

CATEGORY: DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM

SUBTITLES: Yes with English subtitles

PREMIERE STATUS: East Coast Premiere  

This story of influence and weaponized communication centers on the infamous Lord Tim Bell and his associates, known for their controversial geopolitical spin-doctoring. Bell, who started his career in advertising, had an affinity for difficult briefs and “people with problems,” as he liked to call them. He designed campaigns for unpopular politicians, dictators, disgraced companies, and celebrities the same way he put together product branding—by being concise and brutal. In 1987 he cofounded Bell Pottinger, which quickly became one of the most influential reputation-management companies in the world—until one of those campaigns incited racial division in South Africa and ruined BP’s reputation to a degree beyond spinning. Its cause of death was shrewdly described by the New York Times as “acute embarrassment.”

Using a fascinating blend of archival footage and interviews with Bell and the people who worked with, for, or against him, filmmakers Diana Neille and Richard Poplak conduct an impressively thorough investigation into the politicization of modern communication. Influence is terrifyingly relevant in our current era of alternative facts and theatrical politics.


This Being Human

| 2019 | Iraq, Turkey, United States| 13  Minutes

DIRECTOR: Aimie Vallat

CATEGORY: DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM

PREMIERE STATUS: New England Premiere

SUBTITLES: Yes with English subtitles

A portrait of a young Iraqi who left everything behind at 15, in a solo quest for a more peaceable future; Hameed’s salvation is education in the US bound by a big altruistic dream.


This short documentary also explores the life of a young refugee who left everything behind in war torn Iraq at age 15 in a solo quest for a brighter more peaceable future. 


FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS

United Nations Association Film Festival, 

The Hague Global Cinema Festival

Running Home

| 2019 | Algeria, Canada, Spain | 30 Minutes

DIRECTOR: Michelle-Andrea Girouard

CATEGORY: DOCUMENTARY  SHORT FILM

PREMIERE STATUS: New England Premiere

SUBTITLES: Yes with English subtitles

When Inma learns her biological mother was Sahrawi, she runs a marathon in the Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria where she must confront a painful history she had long ignored. 


Running Home is ultimately a love story—different threads of one overarching cloth showing the viewer love in its myriad forms: mother and daughter love, love for the motherland, love for one’s identity, and love between intimate friends (filmmaker and subject). 


Devine Melodies

| 2019 | Colombia | 33 Minutes

DIRECTOR: Lucas Silva

CATEGORY: NARRATIVE SHORT FILM

PREMIERE STATUS: North American Premiere

SUBTITLES: Yes with English subtitles

Pacho and Genaro are two farmers of African descent that live on the banks of the Guapi River, they are great musicians from the ´marimba’ ( balafon) tradition. One day, Pacho has to build a new instrument, for the burial rites of a little kid. The building of it turns into a mystical experience that is going to change his life forever.

FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS

Festival Panorama de Cine Colombiano


I Love You I Miss You I Hope I See You Before I Die

 | 2019 | Denmark, USA | 76 Minutes

DIRECTOR: Eva Marie Rodbro

CATEGORY: DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM

PREMIERE STATUS: North American Premiere 

A harsh and dreamy story of a young girl and her longing heart. Through Betty, living below the poverty line in suburban Colorado Springs, we experience a tight family clan of children born by children born by children where love and dependency go hand in hand.

FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS

IDFA


Love Child | 2019 | Denmark, Iran | 

112 Minutes

DIRECTOR: Eva Mulvad

CATEGORY: DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM

PREMIERE STATUS: New England Premiere 

SUBTITLES: Yes with English subtitles

LOVE CHILD offers a poignant portrait of Leila and Sahand, an Iranian couple who, outlawed for their love, flee the country with their four-year-old son, Mani. In Tehran, they committed the crime of having a secret affair while being married to other people and were forbidden to get divorced. Neither could they acknowledge that Mani was an illegitimate child since adultery can be punished with execution in Iran. Intimately filmed over five years, we follow their quest to be together, battling with both Iranian and European law, their lives in limbo.

FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS

Toronto IFF, DOC NYC, IDFA



Born In Evin

| 2019 | France, Germany, Italy | 98 MIN

DIRECTOR: Maryam Zaree

CATEGORY: DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM

PREMIERE STATUS: North American Premiere 

SUBTITLES: Yes with English subtitles

Born in Evin follows filmmaker and actress, Maryam Zaree, on her quest to find out the violent circumstances surrounding her birth inside one of the most notorious political prisons in the world. Exactly forty years have passed since the monarchy of the Shah of Iran was toppled and the Islamic Republic declared. 


In the 1980’s Ayatollah Khomeini,the so-called religious leader, had tens of thousands of political opponents arrested, persecuted and murdered. Among them the filmmaker’s parents who, after years in prison,managed to seek asylum in Germany. The family never talked about their persecution and imprisonment. Maryam Zaree faces the decades-long silence and explores her own questions about the place and the circumstances of her birth.

FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS

Berlinale



Mater

| 2019 | Croatia | 93 Minutes

DIRECTOR: Jure Pavlovic

CATEGORY: NARRATIVE FEATURE FILM   

PREMIERE STATUS: North American Premiere 

SUBTITLES: Yes with English subtitles

Jasna returns to her home town to take care of her dying mother. But even when lying bedridden, her mother’s immobile body still radiates daunting authority over those who surround her.


As days go by, Jasna gets tangled in the web of grudges that she was desperately trying to escape. Will she finally confront her mother or lose herself in her smothering embrace?

FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS

Tallin Black Nights


Village of Women | 2019 | Armenia | 83 MIN

DIRECTOR: Tamara Stepanyan

CATEGORY: DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM

PREMIERE STATUS: North American Premiere 

SUBTITLES: Yes with English subtitles

A village where women, children and elderly reside. Men leave 9 months of the year to Russia to work. Summer, a slow and friendly atmosphere; women do the hay, cut the grass and store for the winter. Fruits will be canned to be eaten during the cold winter. The sun arouses a certain laziness, a sensual relaxation. Autumn, with it’s different shades of red, is the season of birth and potato harvest. Women and men find intimacy in the coldness of winter, hence women give birth in October and November. Fathers meet their children in December. Preparations start now to welcome men, waiting is long and tiring. 


Winter is near, a form of suspense sets in: whose husband will come first ? The men arrive with the snow. The women are shy, they need time to exist in the presence of men. The children are happy to be close to their fathers. Spring sets in, the atmosphere becomes tensed. Men depart for the land of tsars. She is weak and sad, but needs to find strength to take care of the children.

FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS

2019 Dok Leipzig

The Sea Between Us

 | 2019 | Lebanon, Canada | 102 MIN

DIRECTOR: Marlene Edoyan

CATEGORY: DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM

PREMIERE STATUS: North American Premiere 

SUBTITLES: Yes with English subtitles

The Sea Between Us transports us to the city of Beirut in Lebanon, 25 years after the end of a bloody civil war and into the lives of two strong and charismatic women, Hayat & Wafaa. With children of their own, they must now face the challenging task of passing on the civil war’s violent legacy onto a new generation. The film puts a human face on the impact of sectarian division, nationalism and intolerance and shows that hope for peaceful coexistence is cross cultural, universal and part of the human experience. 


Through the intimate stories and memories of these two protagonists of different backgrounds, we understand why Beirut’s neighbourhoods still feel walled in by invisible boundaries and why achieving forgiveness and reconciliation is so complex in a country that is still broken over religious and political ideology.


FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS

IDFA


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