2009 | Czech Rep | NR | 90 min.
In 2003, the city of Prague saw its first organized mass bike ride in protest against the city’s insane traffic congestion. Five years later, more than five thousand bikers were supported by the city on a ride organized by Auto*Mate (“Checkmate to Cars”), an initiative created as a call to arms for the citizens of Prague to band together for a healthier and livelier city. Thisplayful, lighthearted and deeply personal essay film by one of the movement’s founders uses six years of footage, combining animation and home movies to protest against the tyranny of “our automobile-automatic society” and to show how Prague has begun to reclaim its urban space. In Person (Pending): Director Martin Marecek
Showtime: Saturday, July 31, 2010, 6 pm, Milliken Auditorium Buy Tickets Now!
American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein
2009 | USA, Canada | PG | 84 min.
The son of concentration camp survivors and a fierce, outspoken critic of Israeli and American policy regarding Palestine, Jewish-American professor Norman Finkelstein courts and combats controversy at every turn. Finkelstein travels far and wide as he works to dismantle what he describes as “the Holocaust industry,” in which Israel exploits the Holocaust to divert attention from their oppression of Palestinians. What emerges is a portrait of a passionate renegade whose zealous fervor has made him enemies throughout the academic community (he’s been fired from two universities), but whose strength of conviction prevents anything from detering him from his mission. In Person: Directors David Ridgen and Nicholas Rossier
Showtimes: Friday, July 30, 2010, noon, State Theatre and Sunday, August 1, 2010, 9 pm, Milliken Auditorium Buy Tickets Now!
2009 | USA | NR | 70 min.
On Nov. 4, 2008, Americans went to the polls to vote in an historic election, and filmmaker Jeff Deutchman launched an experiment in filmmaking as a socially collaborative endeavor by giving cameras to 20 filmmakers around the country and the world, and asking them to film the historic day from 5 am to 4am the next morning. The result is an exhilarating look at the incredible day when a country built on the backs of African slaves elected its first African-American president, and a film that’s particularly poignant two years later. In Person: Director Jeff Deutchman
Showtime: Sunday, August 1, 2010, 6 pm, City Opera House Buy Tickets Now!
8: The Mormon Proposition
2010 | USA | R | 80 min.
This enraging, devastating doc stirs emotions on both sides of the gay marriage debate. It pulls the veil off the recent passing of California’s Prop 8, a constitutional amendment redefining marriage to exclude same-sex couples — one of few times in modern U.S. history that a state has voted to take away people’s rights. Director Reed Cowan, himself gay and raised Mormon, uncovers a twenty million dollar paper trail and depicts the way the Mormon Church funneled out-of-state money into support of the ballot measure. In Person: Reed Cowan and Co-Director Steven Greenstreet
Showtime: Friday, July 30, 2010, 3 pm, City Opera House Buy Tickets Now!
2010 | Italy | NR | 93 min.
It’s 2009, and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a man who once described himself as the “Jesus Christ of politics,” sees his ratings drop following news of corruption and sex scandals; meanwhile, the historic town of L’Aquila is devastated by an earthquake. Where most see disaster, Berlusconi sees opportunity, so he swoops into L’Aquila for photo-ops and promises new housing for displaced victims. A year later, over two thirds of evacuees remain in limbo. Satirist Sabina Guzzanti’s latest skewering of Italian politicians was the controversial toast of Cannes this year. In Person: Sabina Guzzanti
Showtimes: Friday, July 30, 2010, noon, City Opera House and Saturday, July 31, 2010, 9 pm, State Theatre Buy Tickets Now!
2009 | USA | NR | 107 min.
Natural gas: America’s great hope for energy independence! Or is it? Josh Fox assumes the role of citizen-journalist to investigate “fracking”—hydraulic drilling for natural gas—after a company offers him big bucks for a lease on his family home in rural PA (which happens to sit on top of one of the world’s largest reserves of natural gas). From Congressional hearings that exempted natural gas companies from the Safe Drinking Water Act to kitchens where tap water can be lit on fire, this enlightening and darkly humorous film sheds light on an issue at the forefront of American energy and environmental policies. In Person: Josh Fox
Showtimes: Friday, July 30, 2010, 9:30 am, Lars Hockstad and Saturday, July 31, 2010, 3 pm, City Opera House Buy Tickets Now!
2009 | Israel | NR | 76 min.
Now we can also outsource our pregancies to India! Israeli filmmaker Zippi Brand Frank tracks the globalized business of baby making from an Israeli businessman to egg donors in the US and a surrogacy center in India — a business advertisedas a cost-effective option for Western clients who are unable to conceive on their own. Balancing between the Israeli entrepreneur who launched the pregnancy outsourcing business and a fertility specialist who runs a surrogacy clinic in India offering good paying jobs to poor women with few other opportunities, Brand presents a complex subject with a delicate touch.
Showtime: Sunday, August 1, 2010, 3 pm, City Opera House Buy Tickets Now!
The Elephant in the Living Room
2010 | USA | NR | 103 min.
Far from their native jungles and deserts, exotic animals are kept as pets in homes and backyards all across America. In Ohio, Tim Harrison acts as animal control for some of the world’s deadliest animals on a daily basis. Hitch a ride in Harrison’s pickup truck as he helps build cages for one man’s pair of adult lions and attends an auction where a father buys his son a baby alligator — as Harrison puts it, “You can buy a cobra, but you can’t buy common sense.” An expertly crafted and eye opening film for people on both sides of the animal rights issue. In Person: Michael Webber, Tim Harrison
Showtimes: Thursday, July 29, 2010, 9 pm, Old Town Playhouse and Sunday, August 1, 2010, 9:30 am, Lars Hockstad Buy Tickets Now!
2009 | Palestine | NR | 82 min.
Along a stretch of the Israel-Palestine border, the Israeli government is building a wall that cuts through several Palestinian communities, including the village of Budrus (pop. 1,500). An unlikely hero emerges to protect the village’s interests: unassuming family man turned activist Ayed Morrar decides that nonviolence is the answer. Like a Palestinian MLK, he organizes a diverse coalition, uniting disparate Palestinian political factions as well as Israeli and international objectors. One of this year’s great and most hopeful docs. In Person: Director Julia Bacha
Showtimes: Wednesday, July 28, 2010, noon, State Theatre and Wednesday, July 28, 2010, 9 pm, Old Town Playhouse Buy Tickets Now!
2009 | USA | NR | 88 min.
Let’s say you’re a movie-loving Mormon who wants to check out “Titanic,” but your religious leaders won’t let you because Kate Winslet gets naked. What do you do? In the early 2000s, you’d go to a Utah video store that rented “clean” versions of Hollywood blockbusters, with the R-rated bits removed. This art vs. religion doc tracks the rise and fall of these doit-yourself censors who incurred the litigious wrath of 16 Hollywood directors (including Redford, Scorsese and Spielberg) for sins against copyright. In Person: Directors Andrew James and Joshua Ligairi
Showtimes: Friday, July 30, 2010, 9 pm, City Opera House and Sunday, August 1, 2010, 3 pm, Old Town Playhouse Buy Tickets Now!
2009 | USA | NR | 82 min.
Doomsayer Michael Ruppert is given the floor for the full 82 minutes of this beyond-sobering doc to deliver his unhindered view of the coming political and environmental apocalypse. If you take Ruppert at his word (and it’s harder than you’d think to dismiss his logic), he’ll have you believing that in the not-too-distant future, our entire industrial and economic infrastructure will collapse once fossil fuels become too expensive and we’re left without a viable alternative. This mesmerizing documentary ranks high in the running for horror film of the year.
Showtime: Saturday, July 31, 2010, pm, Milliken Auditorium Buy Tickets Now!