Narrative + Documentary Feature Films
Documentary, 97 minutes
Remember Highlights, that magazine you perused in the dentist’s waiting room as a child to distract yourself from dread of the cavity drill? It’s still going, still a family business, and still based in a stately mansion in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Tony Shaff’s doc gives us a ringside seat for the production of the magazine’s 70th anniversary issue, introducing us to the editorial staff members committed to keeping Highlights relevant and fun in a changing world.
Director: Tony Shaff
Producers: Rebecca Green, Laura D. Smith
Recently Screened At: SXSW (World Premiere), Cleveland International Film Festival, Cinetopia
Scheduled to Attend: Rebecca Green, Producer
Screening Details: 9/29 | 6pm | State Theatre AND 10/1 | Noon | Delta College Planetarium [BUY TICKETS]
We’ve paired this charming animation to screen before the film.
It Should Be Easy Animation, Comedy | 2 minutes
It’s not easy providing tech support for a senior, especially if she’s your Mom. In Ben Meinhardt’s charming animated short, a put-upon tech worker tries to walk his mother through her computer issues as a sci-fi apocalypse of machines gone wild unfolds in her living room.
Director: Ben Meinhardt | Recently Screened At: SXSW
Drama, 79 minutes
After the sudden loss of a family member, three suburban siblings struggle to move forward. This sparsely scripted film is occasionally (and oddly) narrated by the family dog, Leadbelly, challenging us to make sense of its tragic circumstances along with its central characters. A stylish, intelligent, surprising debut from Anna Nilles and Marco Jake.
Cast: Annie Brennan, Caitrin Gallagher, Eli Rubenstein
Writers, Directors, & Producers: Anna Nilles & Marco Jake
Recently Screened At: Prairie State Film Festival, Filmfestival Kitzbühel
Scheduled to Attend: Anna Nilles, Marco Jake, Malcom McGuire, Michael Benassi
Screening Details: 9/30 | 6:30pm | Scottish Rite Cathedral AND 10/1 | 4:30pm | Delta College Planetarium [BUY TICKETS]
Closing Night Film
Comedy, 87 minutes
HHM Jury Nomination: Best Supporting Actor (Pablo Schreiber)
Joe’s buddies have set the stage for a gonzo bachelor party with a cabin in the mountains and plenty of beer, but Joe arrives with the ultimate buzzkill: his fiancée has dumped him for another dude. To cheer him up, Joe’s posse gets the bright idea of kidnapping the dude and tying him up in the basement. It has all the makings of a disaster, till Joe and the dude form the unlikeliest friendship ever in this bright comedy from Joey Kern.
Cast: Adam Brody, Tyler Labine, Pablo Schreiber, Zachary Knighton, Joey Kern, Toby Huss
Writer & Director: Joey Kern
Producers: Brandon Evans, Patrick Rizzotti
Recently Screened At: Tribeca Film Festival, Newport Beach Film Festival, CayFilm Cayman International Film Festival
Scheduled to Attend: Joey Kern
Screening Details: 10/1 | 7pm | State Theatre [GET TICKETS]
Documentary, 82 minutes
HHM Jury Nomination: Best Cinematography, Best Score
Two descendants of an Irish king journey to the island where he once presided — not to reclaim the land, but to surf the waves. Mark Covino captures the surprising, scenic, and brave adventures of a family estranged by time and distance, but united by a peculiar devotion to the dangers of the sea.
Cast: Mike Carney, Jerry Hayes, Andrew Jacob
Director: Mark Covino
Producers: Jack Kane, Rick Gibbs, John Crane, James H Crook Jr
Recently Screened At: IFFBoston, Dingle International Film Festival, Woods Hole Film Festival (Best Cinematography)
Scheduled to Attend: Mark Covino
Screening Details: 10/1 | 2pm | State Theatre [GET TICKETS]
Comedy, Foreign Language (Portuguese/Spanish), 86 minutes
HHM Jury Nomination: Supporting Actor (Gastón Ricaud), Supporting Actress (Ana Pauls)
Caco plans on surprising his girlfriend with a marriage proposal, but instead catches her in the act of cheating on him – worst of all with an Argentinean. Vadão, Caco’s best friend, drags him on a revenge trip from Brazil to Argentina. Vadão is in high adventure mode, while Caco is focused on getting his ex-girlfriend back.
Cast: Felipe Rocha, Daniel Furlan, Leandra Leal, Gastón Ricaud, Ana Pauls
Director: Fernando Fraiha
Co-Director: Jiddu Pinheiro
Writers: Thiago Dottori, Pedro Aguilera, Jiddu Pinheiro and Felipe Sant’Angelo
Producers: João Queiroz, Justine Otondo, Fernando Fraiha and Guilherme Keller
Associate Producers: Bianca Villar and Karen Castanho
Executive Producers: Rachel Braga, Justine Otondo and Luis Sartor
Recently Screened At: Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival, Brooklyn Film Festival (Best New Director), Chicago Latino Film Festival
Screening Details: 9/29 | 8:15pm | Delta College Planetarium [GET TICKETS]
The short film Swipe Right will play at before the feature.
Comedy | 9 minutes
Dating apps offer users new control over their romantic entanglements, but sometimes the best encounters are unplanned. When a hot British guy buys Katie a beer, she quickly forgets the Tinder date who stood her up. Things move fast but don’t go entirely as expected in Kendall Goldberg’s madcap short.
Cast: Cameron Kelly, Jimmy Seargeant, Maile Flanagan, Trevor Stevens, Ryan Stiffelman, Tom Teller | Writer & Director: Kendall Goldberg | Producers: Amber Berck, Kendall Goldberg | Recently Screened At: American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at Cannes 2017, LA Shorts, Austin Film Festival
Fits and Starts
Comedy, Drama, 96 minutes
HHM Jury Nomination: Best Feature Film
Jennifer and David aren’t exactly a New York power couple. While Jennifer’s star has risen with her first novel’s publication, her partner and literary mentor David has struggled in her shadows. When the two get separated on the way to a publisher’s salon in the suburbs, David is left to fend for himself amongst a collection of oddballs from the margins of the city’s intelligentsia. Laura Terruso’s comedy features a bevy of inspired cameos including an operatic interlude by Michigan native and polymath performer Joseph Keckler.
Cast: Wyatt Cenac, Greta Lee, Maria Dizzia, Alex Karpovsky, Ben Sinclair, Onur Turkel, John Rothman, Louis Cancelmi, Larry Murphy, Sam Seder
Writer and Director: Laura Terruso
Executive Producer: Stacey Parks
Producers: Margherita Arco, Neda Armian, Laura Terruso
Recently Screened At: SXSW (World Premiere), Sarasota Film Festival, Nantucket Film Festival
Screening Details: 9/29 | 2pm | Scottish Rite Cathedral AND 10/1 | 4:30pm | Scottish Rite Cathedral [GET TICKETS]
This animation will play before the feature.
Animation, Drama, Musical | 8 minutes
A happy stick figure is born into a tall tower lined with balls. With practice, he finds he can manipulate the balls to make lights, colors, and sounds. But there is one big ball that lords it over stick boy that he can’t reach. Seyed Tabatabaei’s provocative entry from Iran uses computer animation to raise deep questions about man, God, and balls.
Writer & Director: Seyed M. Tabatabaei | Producer: Simin Farrokh Ahmadi | Recently Screened At: WV FILMmakers Festival (Best Animation), Nahal Student Short Film Festival – Tehran (Best Animation)
Michigan Matinee, Sci-Fi, Drama, 86 minutes
What’s done is done, but not for Doug. He’s a depressed tea store barista visited by a time-traveling nut job who offers him the opportunity to remake his life … all he’s got to do is kill someone. Now Doug has three days before his consciousness and physical form cease to exist and his friend from the future wants to make sure he spends his time wackily. The first feature from Detroit filmmakers Rob and Joshua Cousineau, this gonzo sci-fi comedy shows the team’s promise.
Cast: Joshua P. Cousineau, Connor Sweeney, Claire Sloma, Phreddy Wischusen
Directors: Robert Cousineau, Chris Rosik
Writers: Joshua Cousineau, Robert Cousineau, Doug Kolbicz
Producer: James McGovern
Recently Screened At: GenreBlast Film Festival
Scheduled to Attend: Robert Cousineau, Chris Rosik, Joshua P. Cousineau, Claire Sloma, Doug Kolbicz
Screening Details: 9/30 | 2:30pm | Scottish Rite Cathedral [GET TICKETS]
Kate Can’t Swim
Comedy, 87 minutes
Kate is almost thirty, almost engaged, almost settled in her career as a writer—but is deeply dissatisfied. When Kate’s best friend Em returns from Paris with a surprising new lover in tow, Kate and her boyfriend spend a weekend in upstate New York with the new couple. As Kate struggles with her suspicions about Em’s new lover, dormant feelings about her own life arise, forcing her to decide whether to stay on her current life path or to burn it down and forge a new one.
Cast: Celeste Arias, Grayson DeJesus, Jennifer Allcott, Josh Helman
Director: Josh Helman
Co-Director: Evan Jonigkeit
Writers: Jennifer Allcott, Josh Helman
Producers: Jennifer Allcott, Samuel R. Syrop, Evan Jonigkeit, Zosia Mamet
Recently Screened At: Slamdance Film Festival (Jury Special Mention), Brooklyn Film Festival (Best Editing, Lead Male), Omaha Film Festival
Screening Details: 9/29 | 4pm | Scottish Rite Cathedral [GET TICKETS]
Lost in Paris
Comedy, Foreign Language (French, English), 83 minutes
Fiona travels to Paris following a letter of distress from her 88-year-old Aunt Martha. Upon arrival she discovers that Martha has disappeared. In an avalanche of spectacular disasters, she encounters Dom, the affable, but annoying tramp who just won’t leave her alone. Fiona searches for Martha with Dom a few steps behind in a film full of amazing antics and intricately choreographed slapstick.
Cast: Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, Emmanuelle Riva, Pierre Richard
Writers, Directors, & Producers: Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon
Producers: Charles Gillibert, Christie Molia
Recently Screened At: Telluride, Denver International Film Festival (Rare Pearl Award), Mill Valley Film Festival (Audience Award)
Screening Details: 9/29 | 6pm | Scottish Rite Cathedral AND 9/30 | Noon | State Theatre [GET TICKETS]
We’ve paired this frisky short to play before the feature.
Dark Comedy | 5 minutes
Ryan’s so desperate to communicate with his deceased girlfriend that he resorts to a medium, but a Ouija board séance quickly reveals that she’s getting a little frisky in the great beyond. Mondo Ghulam’s mischievous comic short reveals the pleasures and perils of sexting with spirits.
Cast: David Anderson, Sarit Wilson Chen, Clare Almond, Angela Peters, David Sayers, Cyril Cottrell, Laura Evelyn | Director: Mondo Ghulam | Writer: Leander Thom | Producers: Benedetta Basile | Recently Screened At: Calgray Underground Film Festival, Portland Comedy Film Festival, LA Comedy Festival
Drama, 86 minutes
HHM Jury Nominations: Best Cinematography, Best Score, Lead Actor (Mitchell Slaggert)
Centered on a young man stuck in the North Carolina back country with his single father, this film has all the elements of one of those morality tales of meth, opioid, and/or family abuse, but that’s not at all what it turns out to be. Moss’s Dad is an artist who carves masterpieces out of driftwood. His best friend is an African-American hippie on a homemade houseboat who smokes and sells a lot of dope but seems to get along just fine. And Moss’s big encounter on his 18th birthday involves an older woman who introduces him to magic mushrooms and more in Daniel Peddle’s trippy, quiet, and beautifully atmospheric drama.
Cast: Mitchell Slaggert, Christine Marzano, Billy Ray Suggs, Dorian Cobb, Erby Dalmus Burton III
Writer, Director, Producer: Daniel Peddle
Producers: John Solomon, Jacob Ingle
Executive producer: Gail Lyon
Recently Screened At: Los Angeles Film Festival
Scheduled to Attend: Daniel Peddle
Screening Details: 9/30 @ 4:30 PM | Scottish Rite Cathedral [GET TICKETS]
Documentary, 90 minutes
In the early 1970s Padraig O’Malley ran a bar in Cambridge, Massachusetts, while nursing an alcohol problem. During his recovery process, O’Malley became obsessed with international diplomacy; if war is a kind of addiction, he thought, perhaps peace could be accomplished by similar means to recovery from other addictions. Since then O’Malley has been instrumental in bringing peace to Northern Ireland, South Africa, and elsewhere. James Demo’s stunning documentary captures O’Malley late in his career, as he surveys his accomplishments and struggles to accept his own limits.
Director & Producer: James Demo
Editor: Erin Casper
Recently Screened At: Full Frame Film Festival (World Premiere), Hot Docs, Florida Film Festival (Special Jury Prize for Vision and Storytelling)
Screening Details: 9/30 @ 8:30 PM | Delta College Planetarium [GET TICKETS]
Comedy, Drama, 106 minutes
HHM Jury Nomination: Lead Actress (Brooke Purdy)
Bailey certainly can be forgiven a little road rage. She’s got an 8-year-old’s birthday party to prep for, an Alzheimer’s-afflicted father wandering somewhere around town, and a recurrent cancer in her left boob that requires immediate surgery. But with the help of good friends, her loving partner Drew, and a sense of humor as big as all outdoors she just might make it through the day. This heartwarming comedy from wife-and-husband team Brooke and Doug Purdy shows how adversity can be faced down with an appropriate arsenal of fart noises.
Cast: Brooke, Doug, Max and Scout Purdy; Mo Gaffney, Chris Mulkey, Jenica Bergere, Ryan Bollman and Michael Patrick McGill
Directors: Brooke and Doug Purdy
Writer: Brooke Prudy
Producer: Jen Prince
Recently Screened At: Cinequest, Bentonville Film Festival, Woods Hole Film Festival
Scheduled to Attend: Brooke Purdy, Doug Purdy
Screening Details: 9/30 | 8:30pm | State Theatre [GET TICKETS]
Opening Night Film
The Scent of Rain & Lightning
Drama, Mystery, 102 minutes
HHM Jury Nominations: Best Feature Film, Best Cinematography, Best Score, Lead Actress (Maika Monroe), Supporting Actress (Bonnie Bedelia)
Jody’s grief at the loss of her parents turns to rage and fear when she learns that Billy, the man convicted of killing them, is being released from prison on a technicality. A confrontation with Billy sows Jody’s doubts about the crime and leads her to uncover skeletons in the closet of her cattle-ranching family. Blake Robbins’ stylish whodunit set on the Kansas prairie features a host of excellent performances led by Will Patton as the family patriarch.
Cast: Maika Monroe, Maggie Grace, Mark Webber, Logan Miller, Will Patton, Brad Carter, Bonnie Bedelia, Justin Chatwin
Writer: Novel by Nancy Pickard, Screenplay by Casey Twenter, Jeff Robinson
Director: Blake Robbins
Producers: Casey Twenter, Jeff Robinson, Jeff Johnson, Maggie Grace, Kevin Waller
Recently Screened At: Atlanta Film Festival (World Premiere), Newport Beach Film Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival
Scheduled to Attend: Brad Carter, Casey Twenter
Screening Details: September 28 @ 8:15 PM | State Theatre [GET TICKETS]
Drama, Mystery, 93 minutes
HHM Jury Nominations: Best Feature Film, Best Screenplay, Lead Actress (Catherine Eaton), Supporting Actor (Harris Yulin)
When psychologist Michael visits the island home of his mentor Lionel, he meets Lionel’s daughter, Liv, who is a kind of conscientious objector of verbalism; she hasn’t spoken in years, though there appears to be nothing wrong with her. After Lionel succumbs to cancer, Liv finally begins speaking again, but in a surprising, archaic tongue. As he struggles to save Liv, Michael learns that it is she who may save him. This drama from Catherine Eaton (who also plays Liv) shows the Bard’s continued relevance to a modern audience.
Cast: Catherine Eaton, Harris Yulin, Teddy Sears, Frankie Faison
Writer & Director: Catherine Eaton
Writer: Bryan Delaney
Producers: Caitlin Gold, Jessica Vale, Rebecca Skloot, Braxton Pope
Recently Screened At: Cinequest (World Premiere), Arizona International Film Festival (Festival Grand Prize), Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival (“New American Visions” Audience Award)
Screening Details: 9/29 @ 8:00 PM | State Theatre & 10/1 @ 2pm | Scottish Rite Cathedral [GET TICKETS]
Stigmatic: Our Opioid Crisis
Michigan Matinee, Documentary, 58 minutes
Those not directly impacted by opioid addiction often find it easy to ignore. In this documentary filmed in Saginaw and Bay City, Garret Morgan shows how deeply addiction has penetrated the heart of middle America. In interviews with recovering addicts as well as those tasked with treating them, the film suggests this scourge can affect nearly anyone, and makes a strong plea for greater attention to a growing national health crisis.
Writers, Directors, Producers: Garret Morgan & Keith Schnabel
Producer: Sammi Schenkel
Scheduled to Attend: Garret Morgan, Keith Schnabel, Sammi Schenkel
Screening Details: 9/30 | 10:30am | Scottish Rite [GET TICKETS]
The Strange Ones
Drama, Mystery, 93 minutes
HHM Jury Nominations: Lead Actor (James Freedson-Jackson)
Sam is a kid at the edge of adolescence who’s on the run with an older boy named Nick. No one’s sure what they’re about, least of all us viewers. As they motor across a sparse landscape and hole up in an isolated cabin, the contours of their relationship grow darker, and signs emerge of the violent past they’ve left behind. Co-directors Christopher Radcliff and Lauren Wolkstein infuse this twisted coming-of-age thriller with disquieting mystery and picturesque beauty.
Cast: Alex Pettyfer, James Freedson-Jackson, Emily Althaus
Writers & Directors: Christopher Radcliff & Lauren Wolkstein
Producers: Michael Prall, Eric Schultz, Shani Geva, Sébastien Aubert, Anne Carey, Kristen Konvitz, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Mynette Louie
Recently Screened At: SXSW, Maryland Film Festival, Oak Cliff Film Festival
Screening Details: 9/30 | 2:15pm | State Theatre [GET TICKETS]
Comedy, Drama, 96 minutes
HHM Jury Nominations: Best Feature Film, Best Screenplay, Best Soundtrack, Lead Actor (Phil Hanley, Alex)
Phil’s a small-time videographer in a cold, flat town in the Midwest. When his boss sends him to shoot a swanky wedding in Mexico, Phil takes his pal Justin along to do the still photography (never mind that Justin’s barely ever picked up a camera). Pavan Moondi’s follow-up to 2015 HHM selection Diamond Tongues begins as a quirky comedy and evolves into a meditation on the feelings of mortality that come in the wake of life’s peak experiences.
Cast: Phil Hanley, Luke Lalonde, Tim Heidecker
Writer and Director: Pavan Moondi
Producers: Brian Robertson, Julia Rosenberg, Tyler Levine
Recently Screened At: Nashville Film Festival (World Premiere), Sidewalk Film Festival, Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Film
Scheduled to Attend: Pavan Moondi, Brian Robertson
Screening Details: 9/30 | 6:30pm | State Theatre AND 10/1 | 4:30pm | Scottish Rite Cathedral [GET TICKETS]
Teenage Love Bomb
Drama, Thriller, Foreign Language (Danish), 84 minutes
HHM Jury Nomination: Best Soundtrack
Thomas is a typical teenager in his Danish town. He likes to ride his bike and horse around with his kid brother. He has a crush on Vikki, the bad girl at school, and a secret admiration for her gang of toughs. One other thing: Thomas makes bombs. When he marshals his skills to impress Vikki and win the gang’s friendship, Thomas soon finds he’s in too deep. Mads Erichsen’s drama shows how adolescent issues of love, sex, and status can turn literally explosive.
Cast: Nikolaj Petersen, Maria Petersen, Elias Munk
Writer, Director, Producer: Mads Erichsen
Recently Screened At: Buster Youth Film Festival, SF Indie Fest, Machester Lift-Off Film Festival (Best Feature Live Action Narrative)
Screening Details: 9/30 | 6:30pm | Delta College Planetarium [GET TICKETS]
Dark Comedy, 84 minutes
HHM Jury Nominations: Best Feature Film, Best Screenplay, Supporting Actress (Ellie Posadas)
Betty is a love-starved loner tortured by the indignities of her job as a security guard at an anonymous strip mall. She develops a crush on Danny, who works as a bartender at a failing dive at the mall. The stage is set for love and heartbreak, but that’s only half the story; the second half is Danny’s very different perspective on the same events. Joyce Wong’s tragicomic film brings the Rashomon effect to lower-middle class suburbia, following the struggles of two flawed yet deeply sympathetic characters.
Cast: Reid Asselstine, Darrel Gamotin, Ellie Posadas
Writer and Director: Joyce Wong
Producers: Matt Greyson, Harry Cherniak, Joyce Wong
Recently Screened At: Slamdance Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (Reid Asselstine, Breakthrough Performance)
Scheduled to Attend: Reid Asselstine, Darrel Gamotin, Ellie Posadas
Screening Details: 9/29 | 8:15pm | Scottish Rite Cathedral AND 10/1 | Noon | Scottish Rite Cathedral [GET TICKETS]
What Music Do You Speak?
Documentary, Foreign Language (Spanish & French), 81 minutes
HHM Jury Nomination: Best Soundtrack
Sébastien Roger de Nuῆez, a young French filmmaker whose mother is of Argentinian descent, arrived in Argentina with a small crew and an insatiable curiosity about the country’s musical traditions. As the filmmakers cut a trail from Buenos Aires to Tilcara, they take in the sights and songs of crowded carnivals, intimate cantinas, boisterous rodeos, and indigenous ceremonies. If this sounds like a dry lesson, think again; this is a film whose music you feel, animated by de Nuῆez’s infectious enthusiasm.
Writer, Director, Producer: Sébastien Roger De Nuñez
Writer & Director: Richard Gerard
Recently Screened At: Byron Bay Film Festival (World Premiere)
Screening Details: 9/29 | 4pm | Delta College Planetarium [GET TICKETS]
We’ve paired a short musical road trip to play before the feature.
Animation, Comedy | 1 Minute
This short resembles a highly condensed Behind the Music special following the brief but bright celebrity career of an ear of corn. Mallory Grolleau’s charming minute-long animated short profiles a rock star right out of left field who gets a little too hot.
Writer & Director: Mallory Grolleau | Producer: Mathieu Faure | Recently Screened At: Food & Farm Film Festival, Animation Attack, Houston Comedy Film Festival
Drama, Foreign Language Feature, 93 minutes
This collection of four short films from the U.K. shows the lengths that refugees of oppressive and war-torn countries go to for a measure of freedom and security. A pregnant woman seeks transit out of Afghanistan; an Iranian family in Greece suffers under a cruel trafficker; an immigrant couple in London is visited by immigration officials; and a court interpreter in London suffers a moral crisis while mediating a hearing that threatens to tear apart a family. Each story hits closer to home than the last in this moving political drama.
Cast: Nabil Elouahabi, Julia Krynke, Ako Ali, Kyla Bruce
Writer and Director: Kyla Simone Bruce
Director: Amin Bakhshian
Producer: Khalid Jabaly
Recently Screened At: East End Film Festival (World Premiere), Phoenix Film Festival, Iranian Film Festival
Screening Details: 9/29 | 6pm | Delta College Planetarium [GET TICKETS]