Rise of the eSports Hero

Directed by Stephen Gillis, Erica Landrock; Produced by Erica Landrock; Written by Stephen Gillis, Sheona McDonald

Writer/Director: Stephen Gillis; Director/Producer: Erica Landrock; Writer: Sheona McDonald

This documentary explores the sub-culture of pro-gaming through the lives of North America’s top eSports team, Team Evil Geniuses as they tour the world competing for money, fame and glory. Chris “HuK” Loranger is one of Canada’s finest eSports exports and self-proclaimed diva. Greg “IdrA” Fields is a legend in the Starcraft community but is now disillusioned with his once passion. Geoff “iNcontroL” Robinson, a former college football captain turned pro-gamer, is now at a crossroads between his career and his bride to be, a Miss USA pageant contestant. Evil Geniuses’ CEO, Alexander Garfield, is faced with the growing pains of being on the leading edge of a burgeoning multi-billion dollar industry as he must deal with balancing sponsors and managing egos all while trying to lead his team into the biggest season of their career.

43 minutes

With Paper Hands

Written/Produced by Zachary Burke; Directed by Sarah Plonski

Written/Produced by Zachary Burke; Directed by Sarah Plonski

Explore the dazzling artistry of the Paperhand Puppet Intervention, a North Carolina based company that transforms paper, fabric, and paint into masks, shadow puppets, even giant puppets that stand 30′ tall for use in their engaging theatrical performances. This documentary explores the unique ability of puppetry to engage audiences on a visceral level, draw them into fantastical worlds, and spark the imagination in a way that makes artists like Jan Burger and Donovan Zimmerman stand out, even in a culture saturated with entertainment media.

11 min

Backyard Blockbusters

Backyard Blockbusters

Written/Directed/Produced by John E. Hudgens

For years, people have been making home movies, many times using pop culture properties that they may not own, but love. In recent years, these types of projects have come to be known as “fanfilms.” Backyard Blockbusters looks at the history and influence of the fanfilm genre, as well as the copyright and fair use problems these films create, featuring highlights from and interviews with the creators of many popular films.

119 min

When The Zombies Come

When The Zombies Come

Produced/Directed by Jon Hurst

At a hardware store in the middle of nowhere fans of The Walking Dead have turned their love of zombies into an obsession which has warped the way they see the store and costumers.

9 min.

Zero Killed

zero killed

Directed/Written/Produced by Michal Kosakowski

Zero Killed delves into the minds of seemingly average people who agree to participate in video dramatizations of their darkest desires to murder another human being. This documentary revisits the horror through interviews with these would-be-killers and clips of the dramatizations made ten years before. Zero Killed depicts how violence takes place on both camera and in our minds.

80 min

Devoted to the Dark Side

devoted to the dark side

Directed/Produced by Adam Ruckersfeldt

The 501st Legion is a worldwide costuming organization devoted to creating and wearing replica costumes of popular villains from the Star Wars series. Go behind the masks and discover the intense devotion the Legion members have to bringing their passion to life and sharing their dedication to the epic saga everyone has grown to know and love.

9 min

Four Days at Dragon*Con

Written/Produced by Gordon Ray, Jack Walsh; Directed by Jack Walsh

As any visitor to Dragon*Con knows, every Labor Day weekend, tens of thousands descend upon Atlanta for the largest convention of geeky pop-culture fandom in the Southeast. From science fiction celebrities and their obsessive fans to colorfully costumed characters engaged in mock combat, this documentary explores the Woodstock for nerds known as Dragon*Con.  Featuring interviews with fans, staff, performers, artists, stars and would-be superheroes, Four Days at Dragon*Con examines the sense of community and acceptance that draws together what is often seen as a marginalized subculture.  With footage of the magnificent Dragon*Con parade, the greatest collection of homemade costumes to be found anywhere, and a stirring climax centered around an ambitious attempt to break the world record for dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,”  Four Days at Dragon*Con is quirky and fascinating fun.

(Screened out of competition)

55 min

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The Pledge (Panata)

Written/Directed/Produced by Scott Wurth

Tap ‘Philippines’ and ‘Crucifixion’ into your computer and you will have no difficulty finding gruesome and disturbing images of men nailed to crosses, surrounding by rubber-necking tourists and locals determined to party.

Passion Plays and pageants are common throughout the Christian world in the week before Easter. In the Philippines, these bloody re-enactments of the passion of Jesus Christ have become notorious because they are so literal.

During Holy Week, hooded penitents walk the barrios, scourging themselves with whips until their blood runs into the dust.

On Holy Friday, dozens carry heavy wooden crosses through the streets. A chosen few are part of well-rehearsed pageants, which follow the 14 Stations of the Cross to a makeshift Calvary where three crosses are erected. The ‘nailings’ then begin.

For Westerners, sneering at a ritual they see as a mixture of religious kitsch, Big-Brother voyeurism and medieval mortification rites, conducted by the poor and ignorant, is the easy option.

Scott Wurth’s revealing documentary ‘PANATA’ (The Pledge) resolutely goes behind the clichés. Over five years, the Australian film-maker visited Pampanga province during Holy Week. By filming widely and speaking to everyone, from bishops and priests to the inmates of a local prison, a more complex and thought-provoking view of the practices emerges.

They will not easily give it up.

25 min

Conventional Wisdom

Written/Directed/Produced by Kenney Broadway

In 2008, I took a camera crew and a list of questions with me to Dragon* Con in Atlanta, Georgia on a mission to gain a better understanding of why everyday adults would travel from all across the country and spend outrageous amounts of money just to dress up in costumes and act silly for four days straight. What I found more often than not was that the costumes did not transform these enthusiasts, rather their fantastic outfits allowed them to express something fundamental and real about their personalities. As I came to understand their mutual respect for one another I realized they were more than a community. They are a family.

23 min

Pulp Fiction Art: Cheap Thrills and Painted Nightmares

Writer/Producer/Director: Jamie McDonald

Pulp Fiction Art: Cheap Thrills & Painted Nightmares brings the lost art of pulp fiction magazines back to life. It tells the story of the unique art form the pulps unleashed on depression-era America. Pulp publishers had to work especially hard to get cash strapped Americans to buy their magazines. Therefore the covers were bold, audacious, and at times, controversial.  This documentary includes an exclusive look at the world’s largest pulp art collection, and interviews with some of the very few pulp artists still living.

59 min

The Curling Stones

Writers: Jason Young; Producers: Jason Young, Pascal Franchot; Director:Pascal Franchot

Inspired by the Olympic sport of curling, Canadian artist Jason Young, creates a “curling” match installation out of highly polished aluminum “curling-stone” sculptures. The warm or cool color inlayed stones leak their colors as they glide down a rink of resin that mutates color as each team takes a turn. “Sweepers” use blowtorches to accelerate the stones as they advance toward the “spotter” in front of the target at the far end. The game is over when all eight stones have been thrown.

5 min

Cannes Do

Writer: Anat Levy; Producer/Director: Steve Tobenkin

This isn’t a documentary about gun control, terrorist attacks, or the failing American health care system. It’s about something much more personal. It’s about three men deciding to create their own destinies, when fate hasn’t stepped up to the plate. Although Ken, Todd and Steve have successful careers as a lawyer, graphic novelist and advertising executive, they’ve each heard the siren call of Hollywood. When they couldn’t get their projects ‘greenlighted’ by the big Hollywood studios, they decided to ‘greenlight’ themselves. How far are they willing to go to produce and sell their own project, knowing that the odds are against them?

59 min

Tree of Knowledge

Writer/Director/Producer: Gregory Walsh.

This documentary short depicts the efforts of the Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia to erect a non-religious display on the lawn of the county courthouse in West Chester, Pennsylvania, already adorned with a Christmas tree and Menorah. Amid mixed reactions and controversy from the citizens of West Chester, the Freethought Society affirms the importance of bringing visibility to an often unheard minority.

13 min

Striking Metal (Tira Bakal)

Writer/Director/Producer: Scott Wurth.

Since 1963, when members of Matias Santos’ family became sick, with some dying, Matias made a pledge to God by imitating the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ in an act to save them. Through a grueling event called “Tira Bakal”, the Santos family honors their late grandfather’s pledge in a tradition that not only involves a family but has engulfed a community.

25 min

Springbringer: Songs from the World of New Nature

Writer/Director/Producer: Jukka Eronen.

Springbringer is an epic, poetic and dream-like music fantasy movie from Finland. It is an enchanting journey to the world of New Nature which is full of wonders, swans, animals, spirits and changing seasons: “Three thousand suns ago… A seed falls from the sky. It lands on the bottom of a pond. The beautiful seed begins to sprout and rises to surface. A sprite is born. Swans gather around her as she calls them. The pond starts to effervesce. The sprite sends the swans on a voyage to the Moon. They must fly there before the sky freezes over.”

20 min