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37 Seconds

Overprotected by her mother and exploited by her wannabe influencer cousin who claims Yuma’s drawings as her own, 23-year-old Yuma, an aspiring artist with cerebral palsy, craves a life of her own making. Played by disabled actress Mei Kayama in her triumphant screen debut, Yuma craves a bigger life where she can explore her sexuality, not shaped or limited by her disabled body. Though soft-spoken, Yuma has a spark of inner steel which reveals itself as she draws her fictional erotic manga, Hana and the Lusts of Time. Through her art, we’re privy to her inner world, a vast panorama beyond the vantage point of her wheelchair. Winner of several awards at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, 37 Seconds is an odyssey of discovery, involving love hotels, kind sex workers, and drag queens—a journey humorous and absurd but also deeply human and joyful. Tokyo’s skyline, through Yuma’s eyes, is a character unto itself, guiding her to realization and triumph.
Thu, Oct 10 6:00 PM
Fri, Oct 11 11:00 AM
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39½

Kara (Beth Lisick) is living her dream—making films and leading a rich, satisfying life in San Francisco, surrounded by art and friends. But as thirtysomething turns into almost 40, the ticking of her biological clock—and Mom’s phone calls—spur Kara into a last-ditch attempt to have it all. Director Kara Herold takes this oft-examined feminist trope and gives it an inventive spin in her quirky auto-fiction, which combines animation and absurdist comedy to narrate Kara’s pursuit of the holy triumvirate: career, kids, and romance. Bay Area literary celeb Lisick is goofily right as Kara, demonstrating a flair for physical comedy whether running through town with a big box of sperm or struggling into the lotus position in a pair of tight vinyl pants. Yet underneath the hilarity, this meta-movie, which features a film about Kara within a film about Kara by a director named Kara, poses serious questions about what it means to be a woman artist in the 21st century.
Sat, Oct 5 5:30 PM
Sun, Oct 13 5:30 PM
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5@5 Daughter of the Night

“You don't know what it's all about. You look to the left, you look to the right. The brightest day and the darkest night." These international tales dive deep into the mysterious and the unknown. A couple finds some unexpected intimacy when caught in the crossfire in Christian Walsh’s Rocket (US 2018, 6 min). Soyeon Kim’s abstract notations of life in a strange land are vividly conveyed in her Diary 2013-2018 (US 2018, 3 min). A Chinese man’s commute home is suffused with questions not easily answered in Tian Tang’s The Butcher (US 2019, 9 min). Ramazi Baranov’s Rumba azul (Mexico 2019, 2 min) explores when loss encounters Latin rhythms. A young boy finds himself in a temporal vortex in Shubham Yogi’s Glitch (India 2018, 15 min). An epic meditation on the role of storytelling and cultural rituals across two different cultures is beautifully rendered in Mehdi Tangestani’s stunning Tragodia (Iran 2019, 11 min). Memory is elusive and decay finds
Mon, Oct 7 6:15 PM
Tue, Oct 8 9:00 PM
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5@5 Feels Like Fire

"My way's easy even if you're fallen or you're struggling. There's still beauty in what we do." Stop-motion, 2D, and 3D animated shorts use wild colors and whimsical characters to explore lives both frustrated and fabulous.
Fri, Oct 4 6:00 PM
Wed, Oct 9 6:00 PM
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5@5 Festival Faves

Sun, Oct 13 5:15 PM
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5@5 Just in Time to See the Sun

“Clouds roll past and leave their thunder—Just a warning, a warning to be heard.” Not everything is as it seems and expectations are easily subverted in this collection of shorts. A gardening project reveals some darker truths in Maegan Houang’s In Full Bloom (US 2018, 10 min). Ursula Ellis’s Ava in the End (US 2019, 10 min) has a woman form an unlikely bond with her app. Two joggers in a park have a fateful encounter in Paul Urcioli’s Runners (US 2018, 16 min). A dad and his daughter share a touching outing in Max Walker-Silverman’s Lefty/Righty (US 2019, 12 min). A veterinarian’s assistant has a very tough day in Ilya Simakov’s Keep It Quiet (US 2019, 14 min). Dani Pearce’s Backpedal (Australia 2019, 5 min) explores a memory that finds deep resonance for one woman. Rich with emotion, this powerful assembly of stories is one you won’t soon forget.
Thu, Oct 10 6:15 PM
Fri, Oct 11 9:00 PM
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5@5 Life Is for Living

“In this world, there is so much anger. Our lives are in danger. We are all living in fears. We’ve got to stop the tears.” We may be living in challenging times, but today’s teen filmmakers are using film purposefully—and creatively—to tell stories that both confront and counteract the darkness. In this peer-reviewed collection of youth-made shorts, no genre is left unturned—from sci-fi to superheroes, serial-killer comedy to animated adventure: fortissimo (Lilith Jörg, Germany 2019, 2 min), The Cold Season (Josiah Stendel, US 2019, 10 min), Painting the Town: The Street Art of Detroit (William Higbie, US 2018, 10 min), BaBam (Nick Sherman, US 2019, 6 min), Pliashka (Yegor Bondarenko, Ukraine 2017, 4 min), Passenger (Cal Thacher, US 2019, 8 min), Fangs for the Memories (Mason Roech, US 2019, 5 min), The Burdens They Carry (Alyssa Andrews, US 2019, 12 min), Diluted Fear (Jared Goudsmit, US 2017, 5 min), Acceptance!!!!
Sat, Oct 5 11:00 AM
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5@5 Night Hunting Time

“But I still can't get no rest. Brain trapped on a roller coaster, got a pain in my chest.” The mind and body can be both fierce and fragile in this diverse array of shorts. The Body of Christ has a deeper meaning for one religious couple in Ben Kallam’s Washed Away (US 2019, 12 min). The intersection of female oppression and empowerment finds powerful expression in Alexia Maltner’s Guilty (Culpado) (Brazil 2018, 1 min). Two female fighter pilots find their friendship tested in Nicole Emanuele's Wingmen (US 2019, 15 min). An interracial couple in the 1950s have an all-too-real supernatural experience in Jay K. Raja’s The Bumbry Encounter (US 2018, 15 min). An olfactory expert finds his career at a crossroads in Paloma Lingwei Chen’s The Perfumer (US 2019, 24 min). And Maika Monroe (It Follows) stars as a woman forced to face what lurks in the dark of her own home in Kate Trefry’s How to Be Alone (US 2018, 13 min), wrapping up this
Thu, Oct 10 8:45 PM
Fri, Oct 11 6:00 PM
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5@5 Smooth

“And it's just like the ocean under the moon, it's the same emotion that I get from you.” Sometimes all a good story needs is two compelling characters, as each of these shorts deftly illustrates. A trans daughter has a difficult reunion with her mother in Loli Menezes’s poignant Selma After the Rain (Selma Depois da Chuva) (Brazil 2019, 11 min). A round of Seven Minutes in Heaven unearths some harsh truths for a pair of teens in Kaily Smith Westbrook’s Just Between Us (US 2018, 14 min). An unlikely couple share a soulful evening together in Julian Turner’s lovely May (US 2018, 11 min). A protective older sister spends a trying day with her younger brother in Emily Gularte’s Lizard (Lagartija) (Guatemala 2018, 8 min). Star-crossed lovers reveal perhaps too much in a lurid liaison in Amber Schaefer’s It’s Been Too Long (US 2019, 8 min). Nicolas Collins’ Prittyboi (US 2019, 4 min) is a love letter to the Bay Area and to romance on i
Tue, Oct 8 6:00 PM
Wed, Oct 9 8:45 PM
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5@5 Stone Flower

“All around there's a feeling in the air that with the grace of time we’ll be getting closer there.” May Yam’s Xmas Cake – This American Shelf-Life (US 2018, 10 min) shows how starting a go-go band was one woman's way of lashing out at antiquated gender roles. In Robin Hoskyns’ Guardians of Anja (UK 2017, 10 min), we meet the amazing creatures who are doing their part to protect the rainforests of Madagascar. With Walt Whitman: Citizen Poet (US 2019, 11 min), Haydn Reiss pays tribute to one of America’s most renowned humanists, providing an exciting introduction to Whitman's life and demonstrating why his legacy is still relevant today. In Ben Proudfoot's That’s My Jazz (US 2018, 14 min), Milton Abel, a world renowned pastry chef, reflects on his relationship with his deceased father, Milton Abel Sr., famed Kansas City jazz musician. In T.J. Parsell's The Gender Line (US 2019, 12 min), transgender musician Cidny Bullens, former rock star and mother of
Fri, Oct 4 9:30 PM
Mon, Oct 7 5:30 PM
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63 Up

TRIBUTE TO MICHAEL APTED: Michael Apted’s evolving masterwork, the Up series which has now reached 63 Up, is unique in the annals of cinema and cultural history. 7 Up was created for British television in 1964, intended as a program that looked at education in the class system in England. Apted has revisited the group of young people he documented at that time every seven years—with varying degrees of cooperation as these kids grew up. The stories are extraordinary and chronicle not just the British class system but many of our prejudices and preconceptions. Remember the little boy who wanted to be a jockey? And the one who knew exactly what university he would be going to from the age of 7? The one who became a filmmaker and refused to continue in the project. The one who became homeless. Here is the ninth in the series.
Tue, Oct 8 6:30 PM
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Active Cinema Hike

Get some fresh air and fresh ideas with filmmakers, friends, and cinephiles during this hour-long hike to the ocean through beautiful terrain. Join Festival staff and guests and exchange ideas and wisdom on filmmaking, filmmaker resources, and strategies for action. Bring water, sunblock, and wear good hiking shoes. All are welcome!
Sat, Oct 12 10:00 AM
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The Aeronauts

Spontaneous pilot (Felicity Jones) and prudent meteorologist (Eddie Redmayne) rise to new heights in this entrancing tale of a 19th-century hot air balloon expedition from British director-on-the-rise Tom Harper (Wild Rose). Five years after The Theory of Everything (MVFF 2014), reunited stars Jones and Redmayne reignite their winning chemistry amid the film’s stunning visual effects, daring stunts, and rich spectacle.
Thu, Oct 10 9:00 PM
Sun, Oct 13 2:15 PM
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Amateurs (Amatörer)

The picturesque Swedish town of Lafors has fallen on hard times: Once a thriving center of leather and textile production, outsourcing has shuttered the factories. In addition, the community’s demographics are changing: Immigrants, refugees, and the homeless are now part of the face of Lafors. To stimulate the job market, the town council decides to entice SuperBilly, a German cut-price superstore, into opening an outlet in Lafors. When councilman Musse enlists the help of high schoolers to create a promo film, the results are so hilariously bad that the town recruits a filmmaker from Stockholm. His efforts to portray the town as a bucolic Scandinavian paradise backfire badly, so plucky teenage BFFs Aida and Dana decide to take matters into their own hands, with surprising results. At once light-hearted and socially prescient, this delightfully charming and thought-provoking film is a meditation on globalism, the power of film, and what it means to "represent."
Fri, Oct 4 6:30 PM
Wed, Oct 9 9:00 PM
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Amra and the Second Marriage

Following 2016’s Barakah Meets Barakah (Saudi Arabia’s first Oscar® submission), director Mahmoud Sabbagh returns with a perceptive comedy of about the gender wars in modern-day Saudi Arabia. The filmmaker underlines the contrast between the country’s blend of old and new by satirizing gender inequality in traditional middle class society. As told through the eyes of Amra, a wife and mother of two daughters, she appears to acquiesce to her husband taking a second wife who might provide the male heir their culture and his ego demands, but Amra finds subtly subversive ways to undermine him. Amra and the Second Marriage—the first Saudi film to screen at MVFF—is a hilariously rendered and thought-provoking commentary on the clash between the nation’s ancient traditions and its modern prosperity.
Sat, Oct 5 12:00 PM
Sun, Oct 13 2:45 PM
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And Then We Danced

In Tbilisi, Georgia, teenage Merab lives in a crowded apartment where the electricity gets turned off as regularly as his phone runs out of data, forcing him to panhandle. After a lifetime of rigorous training alongside his dance/romantic partner Mary, Merab has hitched his hopes for an escape from his circumstances to a coveted slot in the Georgian National Dance Ensemble. But the tradition-bound regional ensemble leader thinks Merab is too “soft” to master the challenging, athletic choreography. The arrival of another male dancer, Irakli—gifted with perfect form and movement, and equipped with a rebellious streak and eyes full of mischief—upends Merab’s dedication to the company and his relationship with Mary, with galvanizing results. Levan Akin’s gorgeous film is a feast for the senses and an emotional tug on the heart. With his exuberant physicality, star Levan Gelbakhiani, who won the Best Actor award at the Sarajevo Film Festival, shapes Akin’s story into a joyous
Thu, Oct 10 6:00 PM
Fri, Oct 11 2:45 PM
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Animals

Laura (Holliday Grainger, Tell It to the Bees) and Tyler (Alia Shawkat, Arrested Development) are the sort of best friends who have no use for boundaries. They share clothes, an apartment, and a love of drinking and "medicating" their way into Dublin’s boho-chic demimonde. Still, all that hedonism isn’t helping Laura finish her novel. When the twentysomething writer gets engaged to a promising concert pianist, she must choose between a life where the fun never stops and a world where she has to act like a—gasp!—grown-up. A Withnail & I for millennials, Sophie Hyde’s adaptation of Emma Jane Unsworth's bestseller nails that fraught moment when the curtain comes down on the party of youth and you’re unsure what comes next. But it’s the way the killer double act of Grainger (on simmer) and Shawkat (on the boil and beautifully incendiary) captures the ebb and flow of female friendships—from late-night revelry to take-no-prisoners truth-telling—that makes Animals
Wed, Oct 9 8:15 PM
Fri, Oct 11 8:30 PM
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Arid Cut

Sandy, the ever helpful Mother Teresa of 2nd St., suffers from seizures and lives in her car with her nephew, Rail, who came up on a motorcycle from home turf in San Diego, looking for his father in a place called Arid Cut. But nobody knows where it is. His girlfriend, Mitra, is on his trail, determined to help him see what they have together, and convinced he needs her on his mission. Lucille is the Charon of this River Styx. She drives Uber and lives with her mother in a van. Kali, a working girl, is stationed on the tracks with her ineffectual pimp, Oscar. Herbie, who looks like a USC Freshman, sells meth out of Pinto’s RV in order to keep his homeless brother in school. Ziggy, Travis, and Taylor remodel homes which are suddenly being razed under Eminent Domain. The race track is being torn down and a cordon sanitaire of condos going up around the neighborhood. There’s no more West to escape to.
Sat, Oct 12 9:00 PM
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