Truth Underground

The lives of three outspoken poets intersect as they harness the power of the word. CJ Suitt confronts the racial injustice of a Southern black male. Kamaya Truitt-Martin competes in poetry slams across the country to heal a broken home. Jeremy Berggren employs art and poetry to cope with PTSD and to bear witness to the suffering of veterans. To quote the 19th-century poet John Keats said, “Truth is beauty,” and beauty is harsh.

Trilogy of a Riverbank

A stunning lament to the disappearance of Zaragoza poplar groves with a powerful and majestic blend of dance, imagery, music and sound. Reminiscent of Andrew Goldsworthy eco-art, Arantegui’s land-art works enlivened by the presence of characters show the intimate connection between human bodies and the environment as the film dives into the beauty and singularity of the landscapes of the Ribera Alta del Ebro, in Zaragoza, Spain.

Strings Attached

The Fratello Marionettes duo perform a timeless craft with consummate skill. Their youthful audiences are drawn into a magical world of beautifully made doll-like creatures come alive. Strings Attached is a blend of master puppet maker/performers putting on a show and giving us insights into their craft and their lives. They perform to beautiful music by Saint Saëns. There is laughter along the way but this video builds to a conclusion evoking deep emotions.

Rediscovering Charley Harper

Todd Oldham speaks about his discovery of Charley Harper’s art, an ongoing source of inspiration for his own practice as a designer.

Maya Angelou and Still I Rise

Distinctly referred to as “a redwood tree, with deep roots in American culture,” icon Maya Angelou gave people the freedom to think about their history in a way they never had before. From her upbringing in the Depression-era South, to her work with Malcolm X in Ghana, to her inaugural speech for President Bill Clinton, the film takes us on an incredible journey through the life of a true American icon.

Junkyard Alchemist

Renowned transformer of junk, Sebastopol’s Native Son of Florence Street, French-Canadian artist Patrick Amiot and his wife, painter Brigitte Laurent, are documented over the three years they have spent building their pièce de résistance — a 50-foot diameter carousel with 44 rideable reclaimed art pieces celebrating Canadian themes. When the carousel is complete and the dust has settled on safety and installation rigors, Amiot wonders, “will it ever spin?”

I Am Sarah Maple

British artist Sarah Maple’s art and life is on display in this documentary. Her work is unfailingly bold and brave, not for the coy or faint of heart. Her mixed heritage unapologetically influences her art as she examines her intersection of feminism, Islam and modern-day life. After one of her pieces ignites controversy and threatens her safety, Sarah Maple is forced to reexamine her work and process as she approaches her first solo show since her life-threatening incident.

Art Connect

“Art Connect” reveals the impact that art and creativity had in a group of ‘at risk’ teenagers from Laventille: the community in Trinidad and Tobago with the most violence. The story is told by these children who had access to different forms of art to express themselves. By talking, painting, singing, dancing and filming they allow us into their world.

The Yes Men Are Revolting

Legendary prankster protesters Mike Bonanno and Andy Bichlbaum chronicle their latest efforts to expose corporate greed and political malfeasance – while in the midst of their own midlife crises. Their new priorities and responsibilities start to have a noticeable effect on their creative partnership. That does not, however, stop them from continuing to make trouble — and news.

Visions of Cristina

This short captures visual artist Cristina Velasquez’ life in a few simple but effective scenes. Filmed in black & white as part of the Stanford Documentary Program.


Ron & Roland Addad are very compatible and very identical twins. Director Sami Chan walks us through a playful conversation between twin brothers and leads to their musings on twin life, identity, artistic vision, and toy collecting.


In an industry ­dominated by men, Heather Lawson defied expectations and stereotypes to become the first, and only, female production stone mason in Canada. With robust individuality, Lawson lives life on her own terms, creating one of a kind stone sculptures and exemplifying the freedom associated with being true to yourself. Part of the Breakwater Studios’ “Life’s Work” web series.

The Scenes

Although art funding is short, Mt. Diablo Elementary gives their the kids the freedom to do their own skits, and “The Scenes” is the result. Director Laura Van Zee Taylor introduces us to the 5th grade comedy troupe known as ‘What the Heck Was That’. While their public school focuses on sports and STEM, these ‘proudly-weird’ kids create their own arts education. Without any adult help and despite a few nasty bullies, these kids come together to learn, grow and shine.


Rwanda & Juliet

“Rwanda & Juliet” follows eccentric Ivy League professor Andrew Garrod to Kigali, Rwanda, where he mounts Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet with Rwandan college students from both Hutu and Tutsi backgrounds. Predominantly orphans, the cast of young Rwandans tackle their country’s past and their own futures. Hopes, expectations, pasts, personalities and cultures collide as opening night approaches.


When Gordon Kennedy’s wife Carol passed away, he sought solace in his work as an iron artist. While many metalworkers go to great lengths to prevent rust from occurring on their designs, Kennedy uses rust to his advantage. He creates abstract metal sculptures that embrace the iron’s natural evolution, using the thrill of creative self-expression to find a new perspective on life and overcome tragedy. Part of Breakwater Studios’ “Life’s Work” web series.

Part of the “Documentary Web Series” special program.

Reinventing The Reel

“Reinventing the Reel” is about contemporary independent filmmakers’ attempts to change the portrayal of LGBT characters in film. Beginning with a historical perspective of the big-studio Hollywood treatment of LGBT characters, and how that portrayal has changed, it is followed by an inside look into independent filmmakers who use tools like crowdfunding to create films where characters happen to be gay rather than that be their only reason for existing in the film.


This portrait of dancer Lauren Cuthbertson, principal dancer at UK’s Royal Ballet, reveals the brutal reality of being a top ballerina as she performs a mesmerising piece of choreography. Whether or not you like ballet this beautifully filmed short will leave you in awe as it captures all the grace and skill of this dancer in a few short minutes.

The Ox

A portrait of master woodworker and Vietnam veteran Eric Hollenbeck. This master craftsman uses vintage machines to produce custom wood products in his Eureka, California shop. Although this craft is part of his own personal journey, he also trains at-risk youth and war veterans. This film inspired the creation of the “Life’s Work” series from Breakwater Studios.


A New Color: The Art of Being Edythe Boone

Edythe Boone may be 75 years old but is still fully engaged in bringing her art to the community. Her murals grace buildings from Berkeley to San Francisco, but she is above all a community educator. Boone tirelessly teaches both young and old in her unique method of mural painting. As events unfold, her nephew dies in police custody with his last words being “I Can’t Breathe”, throwing her work into turmoil.

Mother Earth

Nova Scotia ceramicist Louise Pentz was not satisfied with her success as a production potter. In “Mother Earth”, one of Breakwater Studios’ “Life’s Work” master craftsman profiles, she outlines the impetus for her change of style and the direction it sent her. Shot in and around her studio, this film helps us understand what drives and inspires artists.


Lady Bug

“Lady Bug” dissects the life and work of master metalsmith Elizabeth Goluch. She specializes in metal insects which she hand builds in her Nova Scotia studio. In this Breakwater Studios’ “Life’s Work” production she discusses the roots of her passion for this work.


Gazelle: The Love Issue

Paulo, a performance artist from Brazil, is internationally famous in the underground scene for his alter-ego Gazelle and his publication GAZELLAND, a documentation of the gay nightlife community of London, New York and São Paulo. Paulo is also HIV-positive, and with the sudden death of his partner Eric, he embarks on a conscious transformation by filtering what matters in his life. The film brings us into Paulo’s search for a meaningful way to deepen Gazelle’s life.

Fibre & Wood

Sanna Rahola and Douglas Drdul are a couple of master craftsmen collaborating on their work. Although he is a woodcarver and she is a fiber artist, they explore techniques of combining their crafts to enhance the effects of each. This film is from the Breakwater Studios’ “Life’s Work” web series on craft in Nova Scotia.


Feelings Are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainer

In 1966, a young dancer and choreographer from San Francisco made an unconventional solo which became a decisive moment in the history of contemporary dance. Then she began experimenting with film. At the age of 56 she came out as a lesbian, and in 1997 she won the Teddy Award. Today, aged 80, she is still working on the stage, after Mikhail Baryshnikov persuaded her to make a belated comeback as a choreographer. This is the story of Yvonne Rainer: choreographer,  filmmaker, intellect, and feminist and the equally remarkable times that shaped her creative practice.

The Drybrush Master

Filmmaker Ben Tobin takes us on an exploration of the work of NY Times bestselling illustrator Greg Ruth. The film navigates through the incredible brush and ink world of Ruth’s beautifully executed story illustrations as seen in his books such as “The Lost Boy”. Viewers are treated to full screen stills of Ruth’s stunning black and white work while Ruth himself describes his technique and its evolution.


Chau, Beyond the Lines

Chau, a 16-year-old boy living in a Vietnamese peace camp that cares for kids disabled by Agent Orange, battles with the reality of his dream to one day become a professional artist and clothing designer. Chau’s unstoppable spirit plays against the backdrop of the disfigurement of those whose lives were shaped by the defoliant chemical. Oscar-Nominated for Best Short Documentary in 2016.

Unstill Lives

Unstill Lives1

The Refugee Art Project was founded by artists and academics united by their concern for the plight of refugees stuck in Australian detention centers. The collective runs weekly art classes inside these security facilities; during this process, extraordinary talents have been uncovered and a true passion for art awakened. Alongside the trauma of incarceration and the endless anguish stemming from living in a state of permanent limbo, for many detainees, art is the only dependable source of comfort and available outlet for self-expression.

Tracing Roots

Tracing Roots is a heartfelt glimpse into the world of Haida elder and master weaver Delores Churchill. The film is a portrait infused with her passion and curiosity. It is also a mystery.  follows Delores on her journey to uncover the origins of a spruce root hat found in a retreating glacier in the Northern Canada. Her search to understand the roots of the woven hat crosses cultures and borders, and involves artists, scholars and scientists. The documentary raises questions about understanding and interpreting ownership, knowledge and connection.

Screens as part of Shorts Program 2

Jury Award Winner: Los Olvidados

Mexican American Artist Ramiro Gomez attempts to capture the Mexican immigrant experience by locating his artwork in authentic environments along the border. He relates both his own personal stories and those of the immigrants as he creates and places his art. This film follows the artist as he uses his work to document those stories.



Art in motion is celebrated in Kirk, a half-hour film portrait of the great kinetic sculptor, Jerome Kirk. Initially influenced by Alexander Calder, David Smith and Harry Bertoia, Kirk’s work transcends those masters and sets entirely new standards in kinetic sculpture.  The film documents Kirk’s work, his artistic process and captures more than sixty of his works while chronicling the passion and commitment that can follow one artist throughout a lifetime.

Screens as part of Shorts Program 2