Mito-Kids: Documenting Life is a short documentary about four teenage sisters who have grown up with disabilities that stem from mitochondrial disease, a chronic, genetic disorder that occurs when the mitochondria of the cell fail to function properly. This video family history follows the Dole family as they are diagnosed with a series of diverse medical problems including diabetes, deafness, seizures, fatigue issues, thyroid problems and dementia. Frustrated by the lack of information available, they look for answers, while maintaining a focus on living their lives to the fullest. Marc Dole is the father of these four young women and the film’s producer and director.
Upstream to Downstream (In Our Bloodstreams) examines the systems of our culture, of which we are all participants; we dump unfathomable amounts of pollutants and DNA altering chemicals into our streams and rivers which eventually end in the ocean. It was once believed that waters were so vast, that whatever was dumped into it was somehow absorbed and made inert, or cleansed by the water. However, what goes around – comes back around, either by drinking water, consumption of contaminated foods, or loss of marine habitats’ ability to sustain life. Baker says, “Water is our lifeblood.” This eerie short in the style of flowing painterly public-service-announcement examines a need to restructure our water, waste, and energy systems – but first our way of thinking. Maine Ecological Artist and Film Director, Krisanne Baker makes a case for the changing of our cumulative consumerist practices in this experimental documentary short.
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.
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.
Stephen Pace: Maine Master is part of a series of documentaries about Maine artists. Pace, who spent extended summers in the fishing village of Stonington, Maine, spent 50 years as a second generation abstract expressionist in New York after WWII where he met Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso. On the GI Bill in Mexico he met and became a protégé of American painter Milton Avery. Upon moving to New York City he found himself in the swim of the art world making friends with Franz Kline, Jackson Pollack, and Hans Hofmann amongst others. The Whitney Museum accepted his work in their Biennials seven times. This film chronicles Pace and his wife Pam’s last days in Maine closing his studio and summer home while being celebrated by neighbors and the community that loved them most.
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.
Nine young gay men are interviewed in this unconventional documentary short. All nine men come from various areas across the country (Massachusetts, California, Texas, Indiana, Florida, Michigan, & New Jersey). However, none of the men are seen on screen, instead nine straight actors portray and lip-sync their appearances. The majority supports the minority in this film, as topics range from stereotypes to coming out, civil rights, and personal opinions.
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.