american independents

Women are in the focus of our oldest festival section in 2019, as both protagonists and directors. The section brings together five fiction features and a documentary, including a German premiere, two debut films and a tribute to the greatest soul singer of all time. And we cheated a bit: there’s a Canadian production in the program too. But let’s take things one at a time: in her magnificent western THE WIND, Emma Tammi sheds light on the lives of wives who followed their husbands out to the Wild West. Bridget, the heroine of SAINT FRANCES from Alex Thompson, is searching for her place in the world. Aaron Schimberg’s CHAINED FOR LIFE evokes associations with Tod Browning’s FREAKS, and blind protagonist Mabel is right in their midst this time. In her documentary HAIL SATAN?, Penny Lane exposes the double standards of US-American society. ARETHA FRANKLIN: AMAZING GRACE is a one-of-a-kind cinematic experience, a compelling act of musical worship and a fascinating historical document. Never before have audiences been able to witness the blessed vocalist from so close-up, so focussed and so full of humility. The concert was captured for posterity by a team led by Sydney Pollack. Due to technical and legal difficulties, the recordings were never shown to the public. Now, for the first time, 47 years later, the film can finally light up the big screen. Last but not least, the section features the Canadian thriller HARPOON by Rob Grant. “With friends like there who needs enemies?” is the operative slogan here, when a sailing trip takes an unexpected turn.

by Alan Elliott and Sydney Pollack
United States 2018 89 min English original version

by Aaron Schimberg
United States 2019 91 min English original version

by Penny Lane
United States 2019 94 min English original version

by Rob Grant
Canada 2019 83 min English original version

by Alex Thompson
United States 2019 101 min English original version

by Emma Tammi
United States 2018 85 min English original version

Shorts as openers