HIFF 2013: Day 2 Highlights

Day One of HIFF 2013 is in the history books, but there are still four more days of films, filmmakers, panels, and parties on the horizon. If you’re looking for some things to do today—and it’s so hard to decide!—of course we have suggestions. 

Just yesterday, the short film Slomo was shortlisted for the 2014 Oscar for Documentary Short Subject. In addition to this film, the shorts program Passion and Outcry also includes two-time Academy Award®-winners Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s The Battle of AMFAR and the story of two very different women––icon Elizabeth Taylor and scientist Dr. Mathilde Krim––who joined forces to create America’s first AIDS research foundation. Dr Krim will be in attendance today—this is a must-see!

Today’s screening of the Sloan Prize-winning film Decoding Annie Parker includes a fascinating panel following the film, which will include both the director Steven Bernstein and Anne Parker, the subject of the film! Annie Parker (Samantha Morton) finds out she has breast cancer, a devastating blow to a woman who’s already lost her mother and sister to the same disease. Mary-Claire King (Helen Hunt) is a geneticist researching the still unknown link between DNA and cancer in the wake of skeptical colleagues and funding challenges. Based on a true story, Bernstein’s film catalogues Annie’s and Mary-Claire’s personal and emotional struggles with delicacy and humor, crafting an inspiring human story at the center of a monumental breakthrough in medical science. Interview with the Filmmaker.

Last night’s premiere included an impromptu singalong! This hugely entertaining documentary tracks the supernova career of one of our most beloved modern composers. Marvin Hamlisch, the film composer of such classics as The Way We Were and The Sting, and the writer of Broadway’s most successful show of all time, A Chorus Line, is a real showman with a love for theatrics. Don’t miss this rousing biographical portrait of a household name, bursting with Hamlisch’s hit music and featuring interviews with dozens of performing legends.

“As long as there’s a camera, the revolution will continue,” says one of the young subjects of The Square. Two years of struggle (through the summer of 2013) are shown through the eyes of a group of protesters from all walks of society that first came together in Tahrir Square during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. In addition to winning the Audience Award at the recent Toronto International Film Festival, The Square received an honorable mention in our Films of Conflict and Resolution section, and the Brizzolara Family Foundation is bestowing a $2,000 cash prize to the filmmakers.

For decades, on the outskirts of the Scotland, the enigmatic Megan Boyd learned and perfected the obscure craft of fly-making for fisherman. She twirled bits of feather, fur, silver, and gold into elaborate fishing flies, at once miniature works of art and absolutely lethal. Hailed by some—including Prince Charles—as some of the best flies ever made, they have garnered her and her techniques a cult-like status. Acclaimed director Eric Steel captures the beauty and mysticism of Boyd and the fly fishing art in this lyrical documentary. Screening in the Views From Long Island and Focus on UK Film sections at HIFF 2013. Interview with the filmmaker.

Curtains of rain spoil the vacation that divorced dad Alberto has eagerly arranged at a hot springs; because he seldom sees his kids, he refuses to allow anything to ruin his plans. Nothing could be worse for teenage Lucía than to be cooped up indoors with Dad and little brother Frederico. But the springs are closed until further notice, and Lucía’s adolescent rebellion clashes against her father’s efforts toward quality family time. A taught, wondrous gem, Tanta Agua captures the emotions of this universal domestic transition in the most naturalistic sense, even given the meteorological impediments.

Eliane Raheb’s directorial debut is an incisive look at the psychological aftermath of the Lebanese Civil War. Assaad Shaftari was a high-ranking intelligence officer for an extreme right Christian faction during the war, and Maryam Saiidi is a mother still relentlessly seeking answers as to why her son, a student and Communist Party member, disappeared. Not only does Raheb bring their stories together, she instigates meetings between the two. We witness a soldier’s attempts at atonement and a mother’s rage, and learn that even after 30 years Lebanon is a country not completely healed from its past. Screening in Films of Conflict and Resolution.