Here are synopses of the films for the Free Spirit Film Festival 2014. The schedule of screenings is here.
Directed by Aroop Dwivedi India 2014 Animation 14m Hindi (English subtitles)
The film is about a mother’s unconditional love for her son. It shows her perspective of having a baby and watching her son grow up, and everything that happens in the middle. The film is set in India and spans several years and several generations of one family.
An Admirer's Gift
Directed by Nikhil India 2014 Fantasy 10m:40s Silent
Fortune comes knocking at a painter's doorstep in the form of a strange mirror from a secret admirer; but not without a battle to fight. Little does he know what awaits him at the other side of the glass.
Directed by Agim Sopi Kosovo 2013 Feature 1h:50m Albanian (English subtitles)
Peter, a young man in his thirties, was born in Kosovo from a forbidden love between his mother Maria and a young Albanian man, but he is not aware of this. As a soldier in the war between Serbia and Albania, he unknowingly kills his father Dini whom he had never met.
Unable to bear the guilt, Peter escapes to the mountains with Dini's daughter Maria. During their dangerous trip Peter and Maria fall in love. As soon as they return to Peter's home in Serbia, Peter finds out that he had killed his biological father and fallen in love with his own sister. Not being able to stand this spiritual condition he commits suicide.
Directed by Ariane Boukerche France 2014 Short 17m:30s Silent
Alice is walking back to her apartment at night. Suddenly, she finds herself in the daylight walking the city streets. She meets different men and women who approach her, take her by the hand, and guide and change her.
Antar – Bridging the Gap [World Premiere]
Directed by Ninad Kulkarni India 2014 Drama 19m:10s Marathi (English subtitles)
A multi-lingual short film revolving around Aditya and Pooja, both coming from a high-class society and going on to make a documentary which changes their perceptions.
Directed by Tashi Wangyal Canada 2014 Drama 07m English/Tibetan
An immigrant father battles with his fear and prejudice of his daughter's wheelchair-bound boyfriend. However, a surprise act of kindness by the boyfriend causes the father to reassess his repugnant behaviour.
Directed by Okan Çalışkan Peru/Turkey 2014 Short 07m:28s English
The film is a mini-documentary that digs deep into the power of arts, music and human perception. The visual storytelling is completely immersive, and will lead you through a psychedelic journey so timeless that words are actually not powerful enough to tell the story on their own.
This short movie explores depths and experiences that transcend our daily routines through pictures, animations and soundscapes.
Directed by Peter Blackburn Australia 2014 Feature 1h:22m English
Filmed in one continuous take, "Eight" tracks the psychological battle that Sarah faces each day with her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Imprisoned within her mind, and shut off from the world, Sarah's only hope of escape is social worker Jane and the memory of a happy life that is slowly slipping from reach.
Directed by Dominique van Olm Canada 2014 Short 11m:17s English
Alex does not like the idea of giving up her image for the sake of her mother's wedding day and would rather be competing for a green belt in her karate tournament. After having an argument with her mother on the morning of the wedding, Alex is left standing on her front steps with the difficult decision whether to stay or go.
Directed by Roberto Santaguida Serbia 2014 Documentary 10m Serbo-Croation (English subtitles)
Joy and frustration as constructed by Goran Gostojić of Novi Sad.
Directed by Erhan Yuruk Turkey 2014 Short 05m:4s Silent
A thief steals a chain watch from a man, triggering a chain of coincidences.
Hearing in the Bardo
Directed by Isaac McCardle United Kingdom 2014 Documentary 10m Tibetan (English subtitles)
Based on the Bardo Thodol (Tibetan Book of the Dead), this film is a journey through the void between death and rebirth, exploring the Tibetan perspective of reincarnation.
Hope [World Premiere]Hoffnung
Directed by Hans Tauscheck and Dominika Smiechowska Germany 2014 Short 23m:8s German (English subtitles)
After an accident, two friends, both of them young men, end up in hospital. One of them, an enthusiastic manager is in very bad condition. The other one, Oliver, a sensitive artist, has temporary amnesia and tries to remember what happened.
It is a musical and poetic film about the symbolic and metaphysical imagination of the meaning of hope.
Kuti Khanti [World Premiere]
Directed by Simone Saibene Greece/Spain 2014 Short 04m:4s English
Kuti Khanti is a visual reflection, in the crater of the Greek island of Nysiros, from a quote from Anton Chekhov: "Maybe our universe is in the tooth of some giant."
Directed by Holger Klussmann Israel/Germany 2014 Documentary 47m:36s English
The film is a journey into biblical and today's Israel. We follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ from his place of birth in Bethlehem to the stations of the cross in Jerusalem. This is followed by a visit to Yad Vashem, the official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The journey is completed with a stay at the Western Wall.
Directed by Kees van Es Czech Republic/Hong Kong 2014 Documentary 08m English
Short film about the Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959) and his intimate relationship with his birth town Policka.
Directed by Mahmoud Yossry Egypt 2014 Short 22m:02s Arabic (English subtitles)
The director's father, a pianist who adores music, can't make a success of his career. This man has a lot of questions about the world and God, and has a lot of fears about destiny and disease and dying. He use pills to live and talk, and he sees that success and happiness seem to need hypocrisy to come about.
So he doesn't love a lot of people, and he thinks that depression and sadness don't need any direct reason. He feels that the human needs more freedom to live.
Directed by Tomislav Žaja Croatia 2013 Documentary 29m:55s Croatian (English subtitles)
In Croatia, just as in many parts of the world, people with intellectual or psycho-social disabilities who also have physical disabilities are sent to institutions in huge numbers, leaving them completely socially excluded from their communities. They are confined to residential institutions that deprive them of any control over their lives.
This happens for two main reasons: there is widespread and intense societal prejudice against them because of the way they look, and their physical environments do not accommodate their disabilities. New Day follows two women leaving the institution, after many years they spent there, and moving into a universally-designed apartment for people with disabilities -- to start new life in the community, like everybody else.
No Love Lost
Directed by Shekhar Bassi UK 2013 Drama 14m:46s English
A Jewish boy nurturing a secret romance with a Muslim girl, despite the realities of their backgrounds, is unaware he is being stalked. While the young lovers struggle to be open about their relationship, the stalker's obsession reveals a thought-provoking turn culminating in the trio coming face to face.
Directed by Beatrice Grande Italy 2014 Short 08m:49s Silent
Now here or nowhere an ancient soul surrenders to the Beauty.
Plundering Tibet [India Premiere]
A personal take on mining in Tibet
Directed by Michael Buckley Tibet/Canada 2014 Documentary 24m English
A short documentary about the dire consequences of China's ruthless mining in Tibet. As a Canadian filmmaker, the narrator has a personal take on this because of the involvement of Canadian companies in mining in Tibet -- and the railway to Lhasa. Following the arrival of the train in Tibet in 2006, large-scale mining of lithium, gold, copper, lead, crude oil, natural gas, and other resources has been under way to feed China's voracious industrial sector. The mining pollutes drinking water, kills the livestock, and degrades the grasslands on which Tibetan nomads depend.
The environmental impact may go far beyond Tibet's borders because of rivers that run downstream to ten Asian nations, as Chinese engineers are heavily damming Tibet's mighty rivers to supply power for large-scale mining operations.
Case of the Missing Cupcakes
Directed by Hair Varma and Angus Fletcher India 2014 Animation 07m English
Purple Turtle is the world's cutest turtle. A fun-filled and engaging series about the turtle, his group of friends and their everyday lives.
Purple Turtle started as a children’s book imprint of Aadarsh Pvt Ltd, and was transformed to a gender-neutral pre-school character for global audiences. Looking at the amazing response, more than 100 books were launched at Frankfurt Book Fair, 2012. Within the span of just two years, Purple Turtle books became popular with children as well as parents.
Directed by Theo Hessing India/UK 2013 Documentary 25m:30s Tibetan (English subtitles)
Lhamo Kyab, a Tibetan nomad, escapes into exile in India, only to return secretly to Tibet on a symbolic journey to highlight his people's suffering. Meanwhile, 130 Tibetans set themselves on fire inside Tibet. The film considers the implications of the sacrifices being committed by Tibetans in the name of freedom.
September Sketch Book
Directed by Ronnie Cramer United States 2014 Animation 07m:44s English
An experimental film created using old-school animation; over 5,400 drawings made with pen and paper. The film is abstract in nature, with sequences based on flags from around the world.
Soft Pong Inari
Directed by Michael Lyons and Palle Dahlstedt Japan 2014 Short 02m:5s English
A visual experiment in crowd-sourcing. Soft Pong Inari was made entirely from pre-existing photos of Fushimi Inari Shrine, available for modified re-use in the creative commons. The film explores how a multi-subjective viewpoint can express a sense of place. The soundtrack is a study by Swedish composer Palle Dahlstedt.
Tête-à-TêteHead to Head
Directed by Lisa Reznik France 2014 Short 15m:30s English
An illuminating portrayal of the intellectual connection between philosophers Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre and their vow of essential love. Tête-à-Tête explores the period when Beauvoir, 21, and Sartre, 23, met while preparing for the French national philosophy exam.
Simone de Beauvoir was a committed intellectual who was happiest writing, often in cafés. As a couple, the Beauvoir-Sartre pair became legend. Beauvoir and Sartre never married, did not live under the same roof, had an open relationship. They lived what was and would still be an unconventional lifestyle.
They Pose for Their Portraits
Directed by Liliana Colombo United Kingdom 2014 Documentary 16m:42s English
A short documentary about psychic artist Lynn Cottrell who uses her mediumistic and artistic skills to heal people. A story of love, courage, strength and faith.
This Too Shall Pass
Directed by Kristen Palana Italy 2014 Animation 03m:55s English
An animated short that takes an honest look at the extreme highs and lows of parenting young children in the 21st century. Using 2D digital painting techniques as well as rotoscoped home movies, animator Kristen Palana tries to come to terms with her conflicting feelings about the joys and hardships of parenting two spirited boys in a foreign country.
The animation is a reflection on motherhood, in which she tries to capture the extreme mood swings, longings, epiphanies, and anxieties that often color the lives of new parents who have been catapulted out of their comfort zones into a strange but also wonderful new existence.
Umformung - The Transformation
Directed by Sudeep Ranjan Sarkar India 2014 Feature 2h:6m Hindi (English subtitles)
The film is a story of intense dimensions with two parallel stories: One, that of a Buddhist monk in a search for his inner truths that takes him away from the abode of his guru in an idyllic monastery in the mountains and brings him face-to-face with prostitutes in a city brothel. His thoughts about life and enlightenment undergo a complete transformation.
Simultaneously, there is a female city builder whose belief in life is all about power, greed, and manipulation; and she does this with a vengeance. She has a past that compels her to lead a life of power; but that past turns out to be something else with devastating consequences.
Directed by Inbar Horesh Israel 2014 Fiction 27m Hebrew/Arabic/Russian (English subtitles)
Hagar comes to visit her father in a Jerusalem nursing home. Before entering his room she looks at him and chooses to escape, but a series of mishaps forces her to spend the day in the building, masquerading as a caretaker. The short visit turns into a journey between the narrow corridors of society.