Mount Shasta International Film Festival


Mount Shasta International Film Festival

The Mount Shasta International Film Festival took place at
in Mount Shasta, California    

October 8th, 9th, & 10th, 2004

Daughters of Everest Daughters Of Everest (USA)
Jury award at the 2004 Telluride Film Festival
56 min. documentary
Directed by Sapana Sakya and Ramyata Limbu
Director Sapana Sakya conducted a Q&A with the audience

Daughters of Everest is a captivating documentary about the first-ever expedition of Sherpa women to climb Mount Everest. This riveting documentary gives a close-up account of the Everest expedition. Although the Sherpa people are legendary for their unmatched skill in mountaineering, Sherpa women are discouraged from climbing Everest, relegated instead into support roles in the climbing industry of Nepal. Told from a woman's perspective rarely seen on Everest or off, this film is both a dramatic, captivating Everest story and an absorbing portrait of the Sherpa community. This inspiring film is sure to be a 'must see' event for climbers of Mount Shasta.

The Snow Walker (Canada)
103 min. feature
Directed by Charles Martin Smith

No English-language writer has captured the essence of arctic life better than Farley Mowat, perhaps the most dynamic man of letters in Canadian history. The events of Snow Walker are set in the summer/winter of 1953-54, and feature a cocky pilot with an inability to see beyond himself. While on a routine job ferrying cargo, he picks up a sick Inuit woman and the two begin a plane ride back home. Engine troubles ensue, and the plane goes down - stranding the pair, who have to work together to survive, in the middle of a vast and desolate area of the Arctic outback. The two protagonists forge a bond of friendship and love. Yet how they wring that relationship out of their hardship is the subtle, beautiful and sometimes terrible strength of this modest film. The film is enjoyable and captivating.

Autumn Spring Autumn Spring (Czechoslovakia)
95 min. feature
Directed by Vladimir Michalek

In this soothing comedy from Czechoslovakia, the incorrigibly irresponsible codger is one of those old folks who refuses to play by the rules or act his age. Breaking the rules means racking up expensive restaurant bills, staging madcap pranks, and impersonating others. The movie was written expressly for its late star, Vlastimil Brodsky, (Closely Watched Trains and Jacob the Liar) whose wife in the film was a close friend for 55 years, and the two perform as a long-married couple with emotional resonance. The writing, acting and meaning behind the film creates an uplifting and deep feeling for what's beautiful within the human spirit.

Cosmopolitan (USA)
53 min. feature
Directed by Nisha Ganatra

A suddenly single bachelor, an oddly attractive neighbor and a popular women's magazine are the ingredients of this delicious romance that spins a modern love story that is uniquely its own. From Nisha Ganatra, director of Chutney Popcorn, and Sabrina Dhawan, writer of "Monsoon Wedding," and starring Genie award-winner Roshan Seth and Academy Award nominee Carol Kane, Cosmopolitan mixes the bittersweet comedy of real life with the intoxicating magic of rediscovered love.

The Return The Return (Russia)
Winner of the Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival, 2003.
105 min. feature
Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev

In contemporary Russia young brothers Vanya and Andrey have grown a deep attachment to each other to make up for their fatherless childhood. Running home after a fight with neighborhood kids, the boys are shocked to discover their father has returned after a twelve-year absence. With their mother's uneasy blessing, Vanya and Andrey set out on what they believe will be a fishing vacation with their taciturn father.

Though at first ecstatic to be reunited with the father they've only known from a faded photograph, the boys strain under the weight of their dad's awkward and increasingly brutal efforts to make up for a missing decade of parental supervision. Vanya and Andrey find themselves alternately tested, scolded, scrutinized and ignored by their father through a changing series of encounters and hardships.

The Return is a psychological thriller, which calls on the universal hunger for love and acceptance between sons and fathers. Unlike other films, which are lush and provide tremendous detail, this Russian film has a sparse look and feel asking the viewer to work their intelligence. There is a deliberate and artistic avoidance of providing all the answers. Instead, The Return makes you think, feel and contemplate.

Zus & Zo (Netherlands)
2002 Academy Award Nominee, Best Foreign Film.
100 min. feature
Directed by Paula Van Der Oest
* Sexual situations

Rising auteur Paula Van Der Oest is in full command of her considerable talent with Zus & Zo, the Dutch Art House hit about three wacky sisters trying to save their family inheritance from their supposedly gay brother, who suddenly appears with fiancee in tow. If he gets married, their mother's will stipulates that he inherits a small family hotel in Portugal. This winning comedy joyfully embraces every possible permutation of love; cupid, it turns out, is indeed blind, and doesn't care much about gender either.
Zus & Zo Netherlands

About Baghdad About Baghdad (USA)
102 min. documentary
Directed by Adam Shapiro

An extremely timely and thought-provoking film, About Baghdad revolves around the return of Sinan Antoon, an Iraqi poet, to his native Baghdad, after twelve years of exile in the United States. The viewer sees Antoon searching for the familiar places and faces he left behind only to discover that they've been covered under by tyranny, time, sanctions and yet another war. Included among Iraqis interviewed from all walks of life are: a childhood friend, a middle-class woman, a thirty-something cab driver, a women's rights activist, intellectuals, a retired 70-year-old-man, an artist, three high-school girls, and a female lawyer who was imprisoned and tortured in Saddam's time.

These characters reflect on how they survived Saddam's tyranny, UN sanctions and three wars, and share their views and feelings about a precarious present and an uncertain future being shaped by American military presence. This important, candid and balanced film sharpens the focus and encourages public dialog on America's role in international affairs just weeks before the federal election.

The Butterfly (France)
Winner of the Best International Feature at the 2004 St. Louis International Film Festival.
85 min. feature
Directed by Philippe Muyl

The Butterfly is the story of eight-year-old Elsa (Claire Bouanich) and her mom Isabelle (Nade Dieu), who move in next to Julien (Michel Serrault), an ornery old entomologist with a lavish butterfly collection in his apartment. Her mother is hardly ever home, and Elsa soon grows attached to her neighbor. When Julien sets out on a weeklong hike in search of a rare and beautiful butterfly, Elsa hides herself in his car.

The dialogue and interaction between Michel Serrault and eight-year-old Claire Bouanich is fun, poignant and realistic. The film is a fable using the mystical butterfly as a way of showing the search for beauty. Great film for everyone.
The Butterfly

Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey (USA)
40 min. documentary
Directed by Steve McNicholas & Luke Creswell

Exploring rhythm, song and dance around the world, the new large-format film Pulse is a vibrant, toe-tapping experience. Your guide for the journey is the acclaimed group of professional performers.

Travel from New York City to the American Southwest, Africa, South America, Asia and Europe. Along the way, meet gumboot dancers, taiko drummers, djembe players, bell ringers, flamenco dancers, marching bands, street performers and everyday people living out loud. Underneath it all is the beat, the pulse of music and dance.

Behind Enemy Lines (Israel)
64 min. documentary
Directed by Dov Gil-Har

In this riveting documentary, an Israeli police officer and a Palestinian journalist - once friends, now on bitterly divided sides of a conflict - reunite for an emotional journey through Jerusalem and the landscape of the Intifada, as each attempts to convince the other of his own truth. Benny Hernes, a captain in the Israeli police force, and journalist Adnan Joulani first met and formed a surprising and optimistic friendship on a peace mission to Japan in 2000.

Since then, a member of Adnan's family has been killed by settlers. Benny has become a settler and trains special Israeli forces to combat Palestinian militants. Benny and Adnan agree to meet again, spending four days traveling to locations that each has chosen to represent his own reality in the conflict. Director Dov Gil-Har's moving and compassionate documentary shows how two men struggle to find a way past the violence that separates them, and for a moment to see through the other's eyes. Behind Enemy Lines is a courageous and inspiring film that will remain with the audience long after the screen fades to black.
Behind Enemy Lines

Hair High Hair High (USA)
77 min. feature animation
Directed by Bill Plympton
* Sexual situations and violence

Buckle your seatbelt, return your tray to the upright position and prepare to enter the zany animated world of Bill Plympton's latest feature animation Hair High. This irreverent spoof of 1950's teen and horror movies is full of looniness and a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor. Nothing is sacred here, with sexual innuendoes and dismemberment showing up where you least expect them. The story revolves around high school king and queen, Cherri and Rod, who rule their domain. When Spud, the new kid in town accidentally offends both Cherri and Rod, this gothic high school comedy careens off in many unexpected directions. This humorous tale will appeal to people who love absurd animation.

Finding Home (USA)
Winner of the Best Director and Best Actress awards at the Monaco International Film Festival
Named 'Best of the Festival' at both the 2004 Sarasota and Nashville Film Festivals.
124 min. feature
Directed by Lawrence David Foldes
Producer Victoria Paige Meyerink and Director Lawrence David Foldes conducted a Q&A with the audience

Centerpiece Gala Event

A young woman struggles to reclaim her life and love when she is forced to return to her grandmother's remote island inn and confront her family's troubled past. Filmed on spectacular locations in coastal Maine, this stunning widescreen Super 35mm production is a powerful story of forgiveness, reconciliation and redemption.

Finding Home stars Academy Award winner Louise Fletcher (One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest), Academy Award nominees Genevieve Bujold (Anne Of The Thousand Days), Justin Henry (Kramer vs. Kramer), Jason Miller (The Exorcist) and rising young stars Johnny Messner (star of Anacondas) and Lisa Brenner of Mel Gibson's The Patriot. Steven Spielberg, John Landis, Michael Cimino and Arthur Hiller personally consulted on this heartfelt drama that film critic Rex Reed of The New York Observer hails as "Honest and relevant, intense and riveting, it's a cause for rejoicing."
Finding Home

No Excuses No Excuses (USA)
71 min. documentary
Directed by Matt Martin

No Excuses portrays six featured athletes as they see themselves: handicapped but proudly independent competitors with a fierce desire to live their lives to the fullest and to be athletes in the complete sense of the term. The filmmakers travel with the 2002 U.S. disabled ski team across Europe, Canada and the United States during their three-month world cup season, culminating at the Salt Lake City Paralympic Games. At these games, paralyzed, one-legged and blind athletes reach speeds of up to 70 miles per hour on the Olympic downhill course.

During this historic season, the 22 athletes on the U.S. Disabled Ski Team compete to win another Nations Cup, but especially to win acceptance of disabled skiing as legitimate sport. No Excuses captures the individual struggle of athletic endeavor and an honest acknowledgement of ongoing grief without the sentiment and pity common in typical media coverage of the disabled. This is an inspirational film for athlete and non-athlete alike.

Read My Lips (France)
115 min. feature
Directed by Jacques Audiard
* Sexual situations and violence

This film is a combination thriller and character study about a young woman who is partially deaf. She practically runs the property development company for her boss, yet receives no acknowledgment for being so capable. Everything changes when her job is to train a new employee who has just been released from prison. It's fascinating to watch as the young woman changes character and melds into the rough and tough life of the ex-con employee. What complicates things is that she becomes romantically involved with the ex-con trainee as he prepares for a robbery. This compelling film presents the universal dilemma of good meeting bad.
Read My Lips

Dreamkeeper Dreamkeeper (USA)
130 min. feature
Directed by Steve Barron
This Hallmark Entertainment film was nominated for two Emmys in 2003. It is a magnificent film that introduces a smorgasbord of different Native American legends.

Old Pete Chasing Horse, otherwise known as Grandpa, is the storyteller of the Pine Ridge Reservation. Nearing a century old, it's Grandpa's duty to share the legends of his people, lest the stories lose their power. The film has Grandpa driving his angry grandson, 17-year-old Shane Chasing Horse, to the All Nations ceremony in New Mexico. As he tells each story the film switches into the legend with beautiful cinematography and acting. The mythology of these tales all come back and relate to the dilemma young Shane Chasing Horse is going through. Fortunately, Old Pete Chasing Horse has a wise and powerful sense of humor coupled with patience that enables his grandson to learn and grow from the tales. Dreamkeeper is filled with beauty, depth, and powerful feelings. It was acted, scripted and collaborated with Native Americans, consequently the film has tremendous dignity and respect. It is important and illuminating storytelling for the entire family.

Little Kings (USA)
Won best feature at the ninth annual Palm Beach International Film Festival, and best screenplay 2004.
99 minutes feature
Directed by Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno
* Sexual situations

Little Kings is a zesty family comedy from a variety of ingredients: love, adultery, sibling rivalry, the occult, incest, union troubles and more. The Italian-American brothers feature all their complex and humorous foibles with the women in their lives, while director Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno counters the men's shenanigans with a heartfelt expression of what women think and need. The film astutely scrutinizes what it means to be an Italian-American male and celebrates the community's vibrancy and loyalty.

The talented cast of New York actors makes the most absurd situations seem realistic which heightens the fun of this film.
Little Kings

Robot Stories Robot Stories (USA)
85 min. feature
Directed by Greg Pak

Winner of over 30 awards, Robot Stories is science fiction from the heart, four stories starring Tamlyn Tomita (Joy Luck Club, Babylon 5) and Sab Shimono (The Big Hit, Suture) in which utterly human characters struggle to connect in a world of robot babies and android office workers. The stories include: My Robot Baby, where a couple must care for a robot baby before adopting a human child; The Robot Fixer, which follows a mother trying to connect with her dying son by completing his toy robot collection; Machine Love, in which an office worker android learns that he, too, needs love; and Clay, where an old sculptor must choose between natural death and digital immortality. John Petrakis of the Chicago Tribune calls the film "one of the most moving pieces I've seen all year" while Entertainment Insiders calls it "the kind of science fiction sophisticated audiences crave and deserve."

American Yearbook (USA)
American Yearbook was the winner of the 2004 Audience Award at Dances with Films Festival and an official selection of the 2004 Filmstock Festival in Luton, England.
97 min. feature
Directed by Brian Ging
Director Brian Ging led a discussion on bullying and related violence issues.
* Violent situations

First-time Director Brian Ging has created a powerful, raw and troubling feature narrative that sharply focuses on the deeply-rooted problem of bullying found in schools across the country. American Yearbook follows the true-to-life story of a high school dreamer, Will, whose hope of being a successful photographer is ripped from his grasp, as he is relentlessly targeted by a vicious pack of school bullies. Will befriends a mysterious, brooding character named Chance, who convinces Will that they should acquire a gun and 'pull a Columbine'. Amanda, the girl that Will adores, pleads with him to set aside revenge and talk Chance down. Can even Will stop what Chance has begun? And is Will's desire for revenge too strong for him to simply walk away?
American Yearbook

Whose Is This Song? Whose Is This Song? (Bulgaria)
Nominated for the European Film Academy Documentary in 2003.
70 min. documentary
Directed by Adela Peeva

Whose Is This Song? documents Director Adela Peeva's search for a Song that everybody in the Balkans claims is theirs. Filmed in Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia, Serbia and Bulgaria, the people of the Balkans fervently lay claim to the Song whether in the guise of love song, a religious hymn and even as a song inciting a call to battle. This funny, dramatic and heartfelt search for the truth about a Song entertainingly illustrates a universal truth: the right to possess something once you're sure it's yours (though facts may sometimes prove otherwise). Whose Is This song? shows how powerful music is to the human heart.

Bluegrass Journey (USA)
86 min. documentary
Directed by Ruth Oxenberg & Rob Schumer

Musically depicting many of the traditional roots and some of the more far-reaching branches of bluegrass music, Bluegrass Journey employs verite footage, thoughtful interviews and vividly captured extended performances to weave a seamless tapestry that transports and enraptures the devoted fan and newcomer alike. Musical performances by such bluegrass luminaries as the Del McCoury Band, Peter Rowan, Tim O'Brien, Tony Rice, Jerry Douglas, Rhonda Vincent, Nickel Creek and many others, create an indelible impression that leaves no doubt about why this timeless music has exploded in popularity in recent years. Exhilarating, joyous and rich, intelligent and timely, Bluegrass Journey will leave you wanting to hear more.
Bluegrass Journey

Mount Shasta International Film Festival