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Banksy Most Wanted

From humble beginnings as a Bristol graffiti artist to perpetrator of a million dollar art stunt at Sotheby's, Banksy's meteoric rise to fame has made them a household name and their art instantly recognizable. But throughout their career, one question has dogged the celebrated provocateur: who is the person behind the name? In a day and age where anonymity seems impossible, Banksy has managed to remain a mystery. In Banksy Most Wanted, directors Aurélia Rouvier and Seamus Haley do a deep dive into the many differing theories about the artist's true identity. Could Banksy be the lead singer of Massive Attack? An unassuming former Catholic schoolboy? The creator of virtual band Gorillaz? Rouvier and Haley explore all of these possibilities through testimonials from collectors, journalists, agents, and fans. The result is an investigation not only into who Banksy is but also the deep impact their art has had on the world.
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In the Peruvian Andes, indigenous farmer Máxima Acuño lives in harmony with nature, farming her own land and raising sheep to support her family. Surrounded by crystalline lakes and rich meadows, Máxima considers the land her “mother”—providing everything she needs. Not far from this mountain paradise lies the enormous Yanacocha gold mine, owned by the American Newmont Mining Corporation and co-funded by the World Bank. When the mine seeks to expand its operations, Maxima’s land is in their way, and the mine owners enlist the services of the Peruvian government police to intimidate and pressure her into leaving her home. To defend her family and way of life, Máxima hires a lawyer and becomes an eco-warrior, enlisting the support of the local community. Máxima even wins the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in her quest for justice in this stirring David-versus-Goliath document of environmental and human rights—which won the Audience Award at this year's Hot Docs.
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Ruth: Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words

Near the beginning of Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Freida Lee Mock’s intimate profile of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Justice becomes visibly moved when a group of high school students presents her with a painting of herself. Unlike a portrait by a different artist some years earlier that had depicted her bigger than her actual diminutive size, this painting is an accurate portrayal. It is a revealing moment: Ginsburg wants to be seen not as larger than life, but really as she is. By relying on Ginsburg’s own words and actions, as illuminated by carefully culled archival footage and interviews, Mock covers the full breadth of Ginsburg’s life, views, and career. Furthermore, Mock succeeds in creating a compelling portrait as authentic, poignant, and powerful as the Justice herself.
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Weed & Wine

In this beautifully crafted documentary, the lives of two intergenerational families of farmers on two separate continents are interwoven with surprising parallels. On a cen­turies-old, bio­dy­nam­ic vine­yard in the South­ern Rhône of France, Hélène Thibon and her son carry on the long-standing tradition of wine-making. All the way over in Humboldt County, California, Kevin Jodrey runs a state-legal organic cannabis farm and hopes his somewhat reluctant son will eventually take over. As the families adapt their businesses to the changing times, they face a number of similar challenges and successes. Working with the earth and the changing environment can prove to be as unpredictable as melding one’s family with business. With gorgeous cinematography and an evocative score by Max Avery Lichtenstein, Weed & Wine captures the complexity and strength of familial bonds, as these two families, separated by a vast ocean, balance tradition and innovation while preparing the businesses
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MVFF Conversation: Viola Davis, Tribute & Mind the Gap Award—Actor of the Year

Viola Davis has rightly gained incredible recognition for her work. She’s the first Black woman to attain that great trifecta of acting: two Tony Awards, for Fences and King Hedley II; an Oscar®, also for Fences; and an Emmy® for How to Get Away with Murder. She is an artist of the highest order, whose brilliance as an actor and producer and whose dedication to speaking out with eloquence and wisdom on issues of equality, especially for women and Black women, have established her as one of the great performers and spokespeople of our time. She finds the heart and soul of her characters, giving them a fullness of life, a sense of their hopes and aspirations, so that we as audiences understand the human spirit more deeply. Think of Mrs. Miller in Doubt, the complexity of Annalise in How to Get Away with Murder, and her deep work as characters written by August Wilson.
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Mind the Gap 1: The Evolution of Black Women's Roles Onscreen

This roundtable explores Black women's roles in film and television and the evolution from the monolithic images of Black female servitude that pervaded early Hollywood content to the modern approaches that take into account the plurality of Black women’s experience.
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Mind the Gap 2: Rethinking Classics: Towards a More Democratic Global Canon

For as long as there has been a film canon, it has been dominated by white heterosexual men as creatives, educators and critics. This canon has in recent times come under increased pressure to open up to a broader spectrum of authors and perspectives. Challenging this canon involves questioning the criteria and the conventions for films to be considered “worthy” of being an important film as well as who is making those decisions. This conversation explores how to shift the decision-making on what enters the international canon towards a broader, more inclusive and ultimately more democratic pool can be achieved at a global level.
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Mind the Gap 3: Changing the Industry from the Inside

By creating awareness and a conversation around discrimination, marginalization, and underrepresentation, these are organizations, collectives and initiatives striving to address the fundamental systemic inequities of the film industry and effect change from the inside. This conversation explores how these industry players are using their power and clout to create structural change across Hollywood and beyond.
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Mind the Gap 4: Building Your Own Table & Chairs

As a response to the many ism’s that are endemic to the film industry, these organizations, collectives and initiatives have chosen to focus their attention on building alternative networks, platforms, and eco-systems—alongside the mainstream industry—in which their communities can flourish, create power structures and set their own rules. As opposed to working towards having a seat at the table, these industry players have opted to create their own table.
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Mind the Gap 5: Directors Forum and Keynote

2020 will go down as the year when everything changed—in ways both daunting and exciting. Where will it all lead? With theaters closed, festivals cancelling or re-inventing, online platforms springing up, zoom rooms and virtual events becoming ubiquitous, words like “pivot” and “nimble” have peppered daily discussions about work, life and navigating radical change. It seems like a 20-year growth spurt packed into a single year. This program considers what things will return and what will have shifted as we imagine the future for independent filmmakers. The program includes a keynote by an industry leader and a roundtable of directors whose work was released this year discussing their experiences of navigating 2020 and their insights about how this year’s challenges may inform innovations in the post-pandemic world of film.
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5@5 Kilburn Towers

"I am a street watching the people walk as I listen to conversations glisten as they start to talk." In this documentary shorts program, we present a collection of true-life tales from Bay Area directors about extraordinary individuals. In Peter Spirer’s Sacheen, Breaking the Silence (US 2019, 25 min), Sacheen Littlefeather tells the real story about the courageous moment she refused the Oscar® on behalf of Marlon Brando at the 1973 Academy Awards® and raised awareness for Native American people. Harris Cohen’s Phyllis: A Self Portrait (US 2020, 10 min) is an inspirational portrait of Phyllis Thelen, a 93-year-old working artist and force of nature. Caregiver: A Love Story from Kevin Gordon & Jessica Zitter (US 2020, 23 min) challenges viewers to acknowledge the growing strain placed on family caregivers and to envision a new approach in caring for the dying. In Deanne Fitzmaurice’s Small Footprint (US 2019, 4 min), we meet the Goepels who are an inspiring s
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5@5 Living in Chicago

“Will you show me someone who may treat me kind, or is this world I live in just a frame of mind?” The urge to test the bonds of old friendships and feel out new tenuous connections make for some very thoughtful and uplifting stories. A shark and a dinosaur find some common worldviews when two costumed sidewalk sign-spinners meet at a fateful intersection in Jason Satterlund’s charming Signs (US 2020, 16m). A woman pitching a TV pilot finds that the memory of a physical trauma can have some incredibly bad timing in Heather Jack’s very touching Avalanche (US 2019, 13m). Infidelity and suspicion have a tense dance between two construction workers on the scaffolding of a highrise in Topping Out (New Zealand 2020, 15m), the directorial debut of actress Kerry Fox (An Angel at My Table).
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9to5: The Story of a Movement

From the filmmakers of the Oscar®-winning documentary American Factory (DocLands 2019), 9to5 is a rousing look at the historic intersection of the women’s movement and the labor movement in the 1970s, when secretaries all over the nation decided that they were done with making the boss’ coffee and ready to start a revolution. Celebrated documentarians Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar dig deep into a wealth of archival footage and bring this fascinating chapter of social justice into sharp focus, delivering an astute oral history of the movement directly from the women who created and fostered it.
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Babenco: Tell Me When I Die (Babenco: Alguém Tem que Ouvir o Coração e Dizer Parou)

The late Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Héctor Babenco says goodbye on his own terms—through cinema—in this meditative and often moving documentary, which won the Best Documentary on Film award at the Venice Film Festival. Directed by his wife, actress Bárbara Paz, Babenco: Tell Me When I Die chronicles Babenco’s final days as he faces cancer and reflects on movies, his childhood, and his encroaching mortality. Clips from his indelible films—including Pixote, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and Ironweed—interweave with moments from his daily routine. In between medical treatments, he focuses on his latest (and last) project, an autobiographical portrait of a dying artist starring Willem Dafoe. Tell Me When I Die is both playful and melancholy, with Babenco and Paz essentially collaborating on a film that celebrates their love while also offering a glimpse into how one prepares for the end. Babenco died in 2016 at the age of 70, but this thoughtful, dreamlike re
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Bandar Band

Director of 2002’s Women’s Prison and prolific producer of women’s issue films, Manijeh Hekmat brings her keen documentary eye and deep empathy for Iran’s regular folk to this song-infused road movie shot against the cataclysmic floods that submerged large swaths of the country in the spring of 2019. For Bandar Band’s three youthful musicians traveling to Tehran in hopes of a big break, the capital city means more than just a chance at stardom; it’s a gateway to the wider world. But roads have become rivers, and bridges impassable barriers as the waters rise. Encounters along the way with friends, rescue workers, and the displaced, tend to buoy the trio’s resolve, but as they find themselves fording the same waters time and again, their against-all-odds gumption begins to sink. By the end, an unreachable Tehran becomes less a metaphor for a better life than a reminder that what one does along the journey may be worth more than the destination itself.
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Belly of the Beast

A woman in a California prison sends an impassioned, desperate letter to an ambitious lawyer pleading for help, setting off a shocking investigation into the Department of Corrections' dark history of forced sterilizations. Filmed over seven years, Erika Cohn's searing documentary centers on these two tenacious women: Kelli Dillon, a formerly incarcerated Black woman who finds out she was sterilized without her consent while in prison, and Cynthia Chandler, a nonprofit lawyer based in the Bay Area. Conducting surveys among the other inmates, Dillon discovers a disturbingly common occurrence and teams up with Chandler in pursuit of justice. Belly of the Beast chronicles the legal drama as Dillon and Chandler seek to hold the Department of Corrections responsible for the rampant crimes uncovered, many of which targeted women of color. Cohn's film is a deeply probing look at this seemingly impossible battle, as well as an exposé of modern-day eugenics in the United States.
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The Big Scary "S" Word

Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign brought unprecedented focus on the notion of socialism in the context of the United States. Since then, socialists have won seats in both houses of Congress while others equate socialism with totalitarianism. This thorough, thoughtful, and engaging film tracks the history of socialism in America and dispels many of the myths that are so often promulgated in public discourse.
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Helloooooo, world—meet Binti!! She is a 12-year-old vlogger celebrating her 1,000th YouTube subscriber and ready to take the internet by storm. Binti and her Congolese father, Jovial, live in Belgium without legal documentation, trying to stay one step ahead of the law as they pursue their dreams of being artists and making a home. A chance encounter with a troubled boy, Elias, and his single mom changes the course of all their lives as Binti and Elias join forces to improve the world, starting with saving the endangered okapi… and perhaps the romantic fate of their parents as well. This award-winning debut packs a punch with an incredibly charming cast (including father and daughter actors who bring vivid warmth to the roles of Jovial and Binti), bright and energetic storytelling, and a real-world look at immigration that brings a complex issue into relatable focus for kids and adults. Age 9+
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