The Chelsea Film Festival 9th annual edition in 2021 presented 141 Films from 21 countries. The Official line up included 24 Features (Narrative and Documentary), 94 Short Films, 17 TV Series/Pilots and 6 VR experiences showcased on Film Festival Plus from October 14-17, 2021.
A MODERATE FOLLY By Wilson Mbiavanga
99 min | Drama, Crime | United States | 2020
Synopsis: Jack, the Brawler of Sugarland, is a drunk and grieving priest who soon finds solace when a naive little girl stumbles upon his chaotic life.
AN INTRUSION By Nicholas Holland
98 min | Drama, Crime, Thriller | United States | 2021
Synopsis: As his family begins to experience a series of home invasions at the hands of an anonymous stalker, Sam fears it is related to his recent infidelity after the individual reveals their knowledge of it to him through a series of threatening emails. As he attempts to survive these attacks and identify this individual to keep his secret from his family, Sam must confront the reality that the affair may have nothing to do with this person’s motivations. It may be related to something far more sinister and unforgiving.
AMERICAN DESERT By Adrian Bartol
82 min | Drama | United States | 2020
Synopsis: It’s 2010, Matt Benning 24, has returned from Afghanistan to a wrecked economy. Demons of war haunt him, a romance blossoms, all as he drags his unwilling soul to normalcy. But for him, destiny is no cookie cutter house. A vortex of drug use and violence corners him into working for a psychopathic meth dealer. His only escape then becomes surrendering to the majestic and unforgiving isolation of the American Desert…
BONE CAGE By Taylor Olson
89 min | Drama | Canada | 2020
Synopsis: Jamie works a wood processor, clear-cutting for pulp in small-town Nova Scotia. At the end of each shift, he walks through the destruction he has created looking for injured animals and rescues those he can. Adapted from a play by Nova Scotian author Catherine Banks, Bone Cage is a first feature from Halifax actor/filmmaker Taylor Olson that sensitively excavates the tragedy of how young people in rural communities, employed in the destruction of their environment, treat the people they love at the end of their shift.
COVID-19 GROUND ZERO By Mustafa Ozgun
86 min | Drama | France, United States | 2021
Synopsis: Based on true stories from frontline hospital workers.
COVID-19 GROUND ZERO captures a slice of life of New York City between February and May 2020, through the courageous, heart-wrenching account of a dedicated frontline hospital nurse, and her boyfriend, a Broadway technician recently laid off, set against the chaotic political backdrop, the pandemic that engulfed NYC and the Black Lives Matter protests.
A compelling story of love, compassion and determination.
EAST OF MIDDLE WEST By Brian Lucke Anderson
106 min | Drama, Mystery | United States | 2020
Synopsis: In a small, Midwestern town, everyone has secrets that simmer just below the surface. An outcast teenage boy and a widowed father’s worlds collide after a split second mistake leaves the stain of blood on all of their hands.
GOOD LIFE By Bonnie Rodini
110 min | Drama | South Africa | 2021
Synopsis: Olive Pappadopoulous, 35, an Oral Hygienist, flees Cape Town for Greece to try outwit a broken heart, but is faced with the local villagers hostility and is befriended by a 7 year old refugee who teaches her how to live “The Good Life”.
JACK AND THE TREEHOUSE By Jim Schneider
77 min | Drama | United States | 2021
Synopsis: A 10-year-old tries to stop his Dad from selling the family land.
LIE HARD By Ian Niles
88 min | Comedy, Crime | United States | 2020
Synopsis: To impress his girlfriend’s wealthy parents, a pathological liar borrows $4 million from a crime syndicate to purchase a mansion. Unfortunately for him, all debts need to be paid back.
THE PARENT By Vlad Furman
115 min | Drama | Russia | 2021
Synopsis: The struggle for a daughter addicted to heroin makes her father get to know the shadow life of St. Petersburg. Not trusting the police, together with a friend, they begin to unravel the tangle of the drug dealer network, hoping to stop the wave of drug addiction that swept the city in the 90s. 20th century Will they have the determination to make it to the end?
SHELTERED By Ravi Shawn Jha
90 min | Comedy | United States | 2021
Synopsis: At the start of 2020 Covid lockdown, a privileged journalist obsesses over proving his neighbors are dealing drugs
SURVIVING ON LES By Anthony Amatullo
80 min | Comedy | United States | 2021
Synopsis: NYC’s Lower East Side isn’t NYC’s Lower East Side anymore. Immigrants and their decades-old businesses have been pushed out. Hipsters and their high-rise hotels, juice and coffee bars, boutiques and clubs have pushed their way in, and a turf war is on. It’s tough to survive on the LES these days.
BERRIGANS: DEVOUT AND DANGEROUS By Susan Hagedorn
80 min | Documentary | United States | 2020
Synopsis: Devout and Dangerous is the story of an American family who is on the FBI’s Most Wanted List in 1970 for their opposition to the Vietnam War and continues resisting for the next half century.
BIRTHGAP: CHILDLESS WORLD By Stephen Shaw
89 min | Documentary | United Kingdom | 2021
Synopsis: Birth rates around the industrialized world have been falling for decades, yet few of us have been thinking about the social and economic impact that communities will need to prepare for. Birthgap is a journey through many of these societies to better understand why this phenomenon is happening in the first place, and how it will drastically affect young and old alike. Data scientist Stephen J. Shaw takes us on an evolving and emotional journey of discovery through three chapters. This documentary will change people’s understanding of the world we live in today, and for some, will change their lives.
COLONIZATION AND BLACK SLAVERY IN THE FRENCH WEST INDIES By Jocelyn Jonaz Catan
72 min | Documentary | Martinique | 2020
Synopsis: This film could be titled: “Racism in the Name of Capital and Religion” or “Global Racism Origin and Spread”
The UN has declared 2015-2025 the decade for people of African descent. One might wonder why so late?
We are more than two billion Afro-descendants. Our post-colonial slavery societies mostly suffer from a manifest imbalance of racism where hatred of black is visceral. Where does this fact come from?
Why has the word of “black” never been heard or really taken into consideration? Why are police assassinations in the United States so trivialized? Why has skin color become so important? Why have the resistance fighters or the fugitives of the slave society, or the black Negroes not been so respected, valued by us? Why has ancestral animism been so repressed and abandoned?
These are the main reasons for this unusual film, but so necessary in these current times.
The words of the historian, the psychiatrist, the lawyer, storytellers and activists are heard with accuracy and justice.
CONTENT IS KING By Jaime Zevallos
64 min | Documentary | United States | 2021
Synopsis: Actor-director Jaime Zevallos (Cloak & Dagger) is in production on the film, which will look at how actors are increasingly becoming multi-hyphenates and turning to social media platforms to create their own narratives.
ENOUGH!: LEBANON’S DARKEST HOUR By Daizy Gedeon
95 min | Documentary | Australia | 2021
Synopsis: This is the first feature documentary to be released since the August 4, 2020’s Beirut port explosion and the most controversial film about Lebanon that lifts the veil on the endemic culture of corruption that has resulted in the country’s complete economic, social and political collapse.
HANDMADE IN BANGLADESH By Florian Wehking, Liz Bachhuber
76 min | Documentary | Germany | 2020
Synopsis: HANDMADE IN BANGLADESH tells the stories of average working people who live in a rich cultural heritage of artisan handicraft and creativity. They invent many ways of recycling in order to make a living out of basically nothing, looking at it from the perspective of the affluent West, in the sense that “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” In this way Handmade in Bangladesh offers an alternative point of view to the often one-sided, negative media image of this young, independent country.
IRAQ: DESTRUCTION OF NATION 1990-2001 By Jean-Pierre Canet
55 min | Documentary | France | 2020
Synopsis: Convinced that the great powers would let him do as he wished, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait on 2 August 1990. Without really seeking out a diplomatic solution, America, Great Britain and France agreed that Iraq was to be punished. The Gulf War (January – February 1991) was as rapid as it was devastating: a deluge of fire struck Iraq, razing its infrastructure to the ground. 100 000 soldiers and at least 60 000 civilians died. A twelve-year long embargo would follow, during which the Iraqi people would pay for their President’s megalomania. Hundreds of thousands of children would die from malnutrition; Iraqi society would regress as the young found themselves in the grasp of rampant Islamisation. Far from having brought about Saddam Hussein’s fall, the embargo had strengthened his regime.
JUAN By Louise Heem
72 min | Documentary | France | 2020
Synopsis: Jean was adopted in Paraguay in 1987 when he was a few months old. He’s been living in the North of France since then. He’s been thinking since his adolescence to go back to his native country in order to look for his biological mother. After numerous doubts due to his fear that his mother might refuse to see him, Jean finally decided to look for her. Thirty years after his arrival in France, he flies to Asunción with his cousin Louise.
PAVE THE ROAD By Kelly Mason
75 min | Documentary | Costa Rica | 2020
Synopsis: Kelly Mason’s poetic memoir, self-shot over a decade, documents hers’ and her children’s compassionate separation from their father to pave a new road, not only for the well-being of the broken family but for the planet itself.
STEM CELLS: THE REVOLUTION By Ralph Moffetone
40 min | Documentary | United States | 2021
Synopsis: A documentary about recent innovations in stem cell technology featuring luminaries in the field and patients who have experienced miraculous recoveries.
THE UNITED STATES OF FASHION: DESIGNER ELIE TAHARI By David Serero
65 min | Documentary | United States | 2021
Synopsis: Fashion Designer and Mogul Elie Tahari, has been living the American Dream for more than 50 years. He came to New York in 1971 with less than $100 in his pocket, slept on benches in Central Park, and went on to build a billion-dollar fashion empire.