2009 Online New England Film Festival
I Covered My Eyes investigates childhood notions of threat and safety by juxtaposing TV news broadcasts of tragic world events with home movie footage. The project was first conceived after seeing the televised images broadcast live on September 11 2001, and wondering what children must be feeling upon witnessing this horrific act within our own borders.
Soon after, director Paul Turano wrote a list of the tragic events he distinctly remembered witnessing on TV as a child in the 1970s and early 1980s. By adopting a child’s perspective, the film evokes his experience of learning about the outside world through news broadcasts, and the accompanying realization of threatened safety from forces outside his immediate family and community. As the sense of vulnerability grows throughout the film from abstract threats to more immediate and actual ones, the seemingly innocent and idyllic world of his childhood becomes overshadowed by an increasing awareness of its fragility and precariousness.
Virginia Lee Burton—A Sense of Place explores the life and art of Virginia Lee Burton [1909-1968], considered to be one of the most significant children’s book author and illustrators of the 20th century. For 70 years, her classic books, including the beloved Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and the Caldecott Award-winning, The Little House, have engaged generations of readers young and old. Burton was also a talented textile designer and established a highly successful textile collective known as The Folly Cove Designers, in the Folly Cove area of Gloucester, Massachusetts. These handcrafted designs with motifs from nature rendered in bright colors were sold nationwide. Through never-before-seen archival materials, location footage and interviews with family, friends and scholars, this film reveals that Burton was a true Renaissance woman whose art and literature remain an enduring part of America’s cultural heritage.
John is the heart-rending tale of a budding infatuation that leads to a heady and emotional high school hookup that tumbles forth into a tragic and painful rejection. A young boy comes of age and finds love and companionship in an unexpected place.
White Elephants is a sensitive, slice-of-life story involving a young couple going through the normal course of their day, while coming to terms with an unexpected medical diagnosis. The film is a reflection on the unfortunate hardships that can befall any couple, the decisions we are sometimes forced to make, and the ability to support one another as best as one knows how.
Though it has been over a decade since South Africa has become a free and democratic country, human rights violations still occur. Forced evictions of informal settlements, reminiscent of those that occurred during the apartheid regime, have uprooted people from their homes and displaced them in distant locations. Alfred ‘General’ Moyo is one of these evicted persons who have become a part of the Landless People’s Movement in an effort to resist the unlawful and unconstitutional removal of settlements in the Johannesburg area by the provincial government.
Larry, a 93 year-old widower confined to a nursing home, remembers a time when he had more spring in his step. Based on real audio recordings from 2002, animator Kristen Palana uses individually painted digital images to imagine and recreate her grandfather’s first attempts to woo his beloved Roz. Set in both 1943 and 2007, Larry and Roz is a three and a half minute glimpse into one couple’s six decade relationship.
Through a series of interviews conducted with several members of the filmmaker’s family, this film investigates a traumatic event that her mother experienced when she was six-years old. The length of time my mother was there, when this occurred, and if it even occurred are constantly being debated throughout the piece. While memory can be one way of attempting to compile ourselves into coherent individuals, this piece seeks to explore how the boundaries of “who we are” are shaped not only by our own memories but how we negotiate them with others.
A Work In Progress is a short experimental film that illustrates one way of understanding how life works, through knitting. In this film, the needles never stop knitting, motions never cease, and the most important people never truly leave. Scenes and sounds from a classic French film put you in a state of nostalgia no matter what year you were born. Yet it’s the unmistakable scratch of super 8 home movies fused with intimate and far away views of the knitter that stitch together the idea that our lives begin way before we know and will always be “a work in progress.”
After a crushing breakup, Michael journeys through the five stages of grief. With the help of psychologist Dr. Lieber, he conquers his demons, stops obsessing and finally finds true happiness. Kind of. Sort of. Maybe.