2014 Fresno Film Festival

April 25-27, 2014

A three-day celebration of cinema from around the world, the Fresno Film Festival champions the voices of independent, experimental, and multicultural filmmakers. The 10th annual festival, presented by Fresno Filmworks at the historic Tower Theatre, will feature exclusive programs of award-winning short and feature-length movies from all over the world, including special filmmaker appearances and Q&A sessions.

Festival Lineup

Like Father, Like Son

Friday, April 25, 2014 @ 7:00 pm

Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, the Japanese family drama “Like Father, Like Son” delicately tells the story of Ryota, a hard-working perfectionist who begins to question his role as a father after learning life-changing news. Out of the blue, Ryota and his wife, Midori, receive a phone call from the hospital where their child was born. They discover that the hospital mistakenly gave them the wrong baby and that their 6-year-old son is, in fact, not their son. With this revelation, Ryota feels forced to make a decision and to choose between the son he has raised for the past six years and the son who has been raised by another family—but is biologically his. The Los Angeles Times says that master director Hirokazu Kore-eda powers the film with “innate restraint and natural empathy,” as all parties involved face the ever-prominent question of nature vs. nurture. In Japanese, with English subtitles.

Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Japan (2013) • 120 minutes • Not rated

Kristopher Watanabe, PT at Advanced Physical Therapy

With Opening Night Reception
At the conclusion of “Like Father, Like Son,” join the Filmworks board in welcoming visiting filmmakers and the public to the festival. Admission to the champagne reception is included with a festival pass or with admission to the opening night film.

2014 Shorts Program #1

Saturday, April 26, 2014 @ 1:00 pm

Fresno Film Festival Short Film Competition
With filmmaker appearances and post-screening Discussion Circle
NOTE: This program is family friendly.

Butterfly Dreams
Director: Venkat Krishnan • USA/India • 23 minutes

In the drama “Butterfly Dreams,” 9-year-old Sumi works in a garment factory in rural India. Exploited as a child laborer by her bosses, she must find a way to pursue her dream of learning how to read and write. When an educated stranger comes to town, Sumi sees her chance to leave the factory. In Tamil, with English subtitles.

Young Americans
Director: Kevin Lacy • USA • 30 minutes

On the verge of aging out of foster care, 17-year-old Mercedes needs money and she needs it now in the coming-of-age crime drama “Young Americans.” She decides to manipulate Denver, a former high school classmate with a massive crush on her, to plan and execute a bank robbery.

Around the Corner
Directors: Jacalyn White and Joell Hallowell • USA • 13 minutes

The experimental biography “Around the Corner” tells the story of one very hot summer day in 1968, when two young girls took an endless, unforgettable drive with their mother. The filmmakers cobble together a collage of images and music to re-create one seemingly simple, yet surprisingly complex, round-trip to town and back.

Families Are Forever
Director: Vivian Kleiman • USA • 21 minutes

The documentary “Families Are Forever” tells the story of Tom and Wendy, devout Mormon parents living in a conservative community. They attend church every Sunday, actively serving in their ward, raising five children, and knocking on doors to promote support for California’s Proposition 8 to prevent same-sex marriage. Then one day, Wendy reads 13-year-old Jordon’s diary and discovers he is gay, changing their lives forever.

Dance of the Books
Director: Lorena Fernández Carrillo • USA/Spain • 4 minutes

In the stop-motion animated film “Dance of the Books,” see what surprises these timid books are hiding on a stormy night. Our reader details the launch of an artistic counter-strike for the hearts of the world.

The Fresno Bee

The Rocket

Saturday, April 26, 2014 @ 4:00 pm

Winner of the Audience Award and Best Narrative Feature honors at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival, the Australian family drama “The Rocket” follows the journey of Ahlo, a 10-year-old Laotian boy who is believed to bring misfortune on his village, in a land scarred by war. His neighbors blame Ahlo for a series of disasters, and he begins a quest to prove that he is not cursed. After his family loses its home and is forced to move, Ahlo meets Kia, a spirited 9-year-old orphan, and her eccentric James Brown-loving uncle, Purple, during his travels in finding a new home. To refute his bad luck, Ahlo enters himself into a lucrative but dangerous competition known as the Rocket Festival, and he builds a giant rocket to compete. The Los Angeles Times says the movie “carries a touch of fable and a powerful sense of place in its melding of history’s dark undertow and a child’s optimism.” Featuring a stunning lead performance from former street kid Sitthiphon Disamoe, and co-starring veteran actor and comedian Thep Phongam. In Lao, with English subtitles.

Director: Kim Mordaunt
Australia/Laos/Thailand (2013) • 96 minutes • Not rated

With short film: Sinceridad
Director: Andrea Casaseca Ferrer • Spain • 2 minutes

In the dramatic comedy “Sinceridad,” David must confess the news to his parents after lunch. What is not yet known is the impact it will have on them.

With post-screening Discussion Circle
Join anthropologist and scholar Dr. Kao-Ly Yang to talk about the film. Yang has traveled extensively in Laos and she specializes in Southeast Asian Studies, especially in the Hmong ethnic group in Laos and Thailand and its diaspora in France and the United States. She teaches French and Hmong at both Fresno City College and at Fresno State. Moderated by Filmworks board member Mary Husain.


Saturday, April 26, 2014 @ 7:30 pm

Winner of the Jury Prize, Un Certain Regard, at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and also a Best Foreign Language Film nominee at the 2014 Academy Awards, “Omar” unfolds as a gripping thriller about betrayal—both suspected and real—in the Occupied Territories. The movie follows the story of Omar, a Palestinian baker by day who routinely evades surveillance bullets and climbs over the separation wall to visit his secret love, Nadia. By night, however, Omar acts as a freedom fighter alongside childhood friends Amjad and Tarek to strike at the Israeli military. After being arrested in the killing of an Israeli soldier and tricked into an admission of guilt by association, he agrees to work as an informant, which leads him into a game of cat-and-mouse with the military police. Unsure of who he can trust on either side, Omar’s feelings begin to mirror that of his country: deeply torn and conflicted. It soon becomes evident, though, that he survives for his love of Nadia. In Arabic and Hebrew, with English subtitles.

Director: Hany Abu-Assad
Palestine (2013) • 98 minutes • Not rated

Kamal & Aimee Abu-Shamsieh

With short film: Green Acres
Director: James Beck • USA • 6 minutes

In the animated adventure “Green Acres,” a parched tortoise wanders through a vast desert desperately in search of water. He comes across an oasis only to find that trespassers are unwelcome. Somehow, he must slip past the wall of defenses to quench his thirst.

2014 Shorts Program #2

Sunday, April 27, 2014 @ 2:00 pm

Fresno Film Festival Short Film Competition
With filmmaker appearances and post-screening Discussion Circle

The Hero Pose
Director: Mischa Jakupcak • USA • 12 minutes

In the comedic drama “The Hero Pose,” 8-year-old Mia wants to do anything but hang out at her dad’s house trying to sell a car that doesn’t run. But her dad, Joe, has more real concerns that he’s grappling with.

Park 51
Director: Christopher Capelluto • USA • 22 minutes

Against the backdrop of the 2010 protests against the controversial Ground Zero mosque proposal in New York City, the drama “Park 51” tells the story of a struggling Iraq War veteran who saves the life of a Muslim man from a hate crime.

Director: David Dibble • USA • 10 minutes

In the romantic comedy “Adonis,” a young man named Kip uses a dating service that employs an irresistibly cute dog named Adonis. Used as a chick magnet to get guys dates, Adonis must reach deep into his bag of tricks to help his client, Kip.

Finding Me
Director: Richard Card • USA/Turkey • 18 minutes

The drama “Finding Me” tells the story of Katie, a young American woman who decides to travel to a foreign land in search of her identity.

Ghosts on the Mountain
Directors: Jared Jakins and Carly Jakins • USA • 26 minutes

The documentary “Ghosts on the Mountain” examines the lifestyles of predominantly Latino H-2A agricultural guest workers in the American West. Facing the solitude and loneliness of the occupation, the men leave family and native lands to face language barriers and remote lands. In Spanish, with English subtitles.

Green Acres
Director: James Beck • USA • 6 minutes

In the animated adventure “Green Acres,” a parched tortoise wanders through a vast desert desperately in search of water. He comes across an oasis only to find that trespassers are unwelcome. Somehow, he must slip past the wall of defenses to quench his thirst.

K-Jewel 99.3 FM

Finding Vivian Maier

Sunday, April 27, 2014 @ 4:30 pm

An official selection at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and the 2013 DOC NYC festival, the American independent documentary “Finding Vivian Maier” has won praise from Variety for being “compelling, haunting, and captivating.” The movie explores the mysterious true-life story of the late Vivian Maier, a nanny who for more than four decades secretly made over 100,000 photographs of life on the streets of Chicago that went unseen during her lifetime, only to be discovered decades later hidden in abandoned storage lockers. After buying her work by chance at an auction, amateur historian and the co-director of the film, John Maloof, has crusaded to place this prolific photographer in the limelight. With the discovery, Maier—who is now considered to be one of the 20th century’s greatest street photographers—posthumously shares with us her peculiar life and her riveting art, as her story is revealed through a series of never-before-seen photographs, short films, and interviews with dozens of people who thought they knew her.

Directors: John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
USA (2013) • 83 minutes • Not rated

Fresno Arts Council

With short film: Somehow
Directors: Jacalyn White and Joell Hallowell • USA • 6 minutes

In the experimental biography “Somehow,” a girl has become trapped in her family’s home movies.

With post-screening Discussion Circle
Join commercial photographer Ryan C. Jones to talk about the film. A Fresno native now based in New York, Jones started making photos full-time in 2008, photographing weddings, working on corporate assignments, and freelancing as a photojournalist. He currently curates “An Unlikely Scene,” a global street photography project that compiles images with surreal and unpredictable elements. Moderated by Filmworks board member Jefferson Beavers.

Le Week-End

Sunday, April 27, 2014 @ 7:30 pm

An official selection at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and the 2013 New York Film Festival, the dramatic comedy “Le Week-End” tells the bittersweet story of long-married British couple Meg and Nick, played by Lindsay Duncan and Oscar-winner Jim Broadbent. In an attempt to rekindle their souring relationship, the couple revisits the magic city of Paris for the first time since their honeymoon 30 years prior. During the couple’s two-day escapade, the demanding and take-charge Meg and the melancholy and insecure Nick careen between harmony, disharmony, resignation, and back again, as they take stock of half a lifetime of deep tenderness and even deeper regret. A surprise invitation from Nick’s old friend Morgan—an amusingly boorish American academic with a fancy Parisian address, played by Jeff Goldblum—soon leads them to an unexpectedly hopeful vision of what their love and marriage might still become.

Director: Roger Michell
UK/France (2013) • 93 minutes • Rated R

L’Alliance Francaise de Fresno

With short film: Valse
Director: Christoph Keller • UK • 4 minutes

In the surreal drama “Valse,” beautiful macro photography captures an unexpected romantic encounter between two snails. But alas, it becomes an ill-fated affair.

With Festival Awards presentation
Prior to “Le Week-End,” Filmworks will present its festival awards, including juried awards for Best Short Film and the fifth annual John Kelly Award for Excellence in Cinematography.

Our 2019-20 season: Sept. 13; Oct. 11; Nov. 8-10 (Fresno Film Festival); Jan. 10; Feb. 7-8 (Oscar shorts); March 13; April 10; May 8.