Monthly Film Festival

November 20, 2022 10:00am PST - 10:30pm PST
Industry Delegates
Nina Weinstein
Amanda Hillsberg
Holly Stanton
Blake Levin
Bonnie Abaunza
Social Impact Producer
Jessica Grimshaw
Anonymous Content
Andy Caley
My Life TV

NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA) presents its annual line-up DocuSlate documentary program, spotlighting documentary filmmaking from around the world with a selection of international features and short documentaries across six programs. 

The morning begins with the paired presentation of Jim Bernfield’s debut feature Me To Play and Anthony Scalia’s short documentary Bendix: Site Unseen, which each explore their subjects’ particular and at times humorous approaches to disability.  Bendix: Site Unseen profiles the intricate daily life of a blind single father with a sharp sense of humor who runs a diner alongside his children. Me To Play, which premiered at Slamdance, is an engrossing portrait of two veteran actors with Parkinson’s disease who apply their craft pointedly by performing  Samuel Beckett’s “Endgame,” written following the playwright’s mother’s own death from the disease, which posits “there’s nothing funnier than unhappiness.”  

Next, we have the West Coast Premiere of  Jack C. Newell’s How (not) to Build a School in Haiti, a complex and layered example of  how even the best intentioned international aid projects can fall apart when power dynamics are not accounted for and passions run high. The film hopes to ignite conversations that re-envision the NGO sector and efforts to fight global poverty.

The afternoon’s programming continues with feature documentary AIDS DIVA: The Legend of Connie Norman, which is preceded by short documentary Goor-Jigeen (Man-Woman), in a pairing which highlights modern and historical LGBTQ+ rights movements. Goor-Jigeen (Man-Woman), directed by Alberto Amoretti, offers a rare insight into the heavily criminalized gay community in Senegal. AIDS DIVA: The Legend of Connie Norman is as punchy and charming as its subject, the outspoken and tireless early 90’s trans activist Connie Norman. The film is directed by Dante Alencastre, whose award-winning work documenting the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals and communities has been widely screened in festival and educational settings alike. 

The line-up next presents the pairing of Juliana Curi’s feature documentary UÝRA – The Rising Forest and Chiara Hollender’s short  Women of the Earth, Twila, which each explore indigenous connection to land. Women of the Earth, Twila features a protagonist who teaches younger generations about the abundance of their traditional lands.  UÝRA – The Rising Forest, a debut feature from director Juliana Curi, vividly shows us the Brazilian Amazon through the eyes of  a trans indigenous artist who is fighting to save it. 

The evening continues with With This Breath I Fly by Sam French and Clementine Malpas. This award-winning documentary offers a strikingly intimate portrait of two Afghan women in prison for “moral crimes,” as well as a scathing analysis of the wider systems, both local and international, complicit in their suffering. It was produced in cooperation with the Afghan Film Project, a non-profit dedicated to fostering Afghanistan’s film industry and nurturing the next generation of Afghan filmmakers. It is a first feature project for both of its co-directors, who have extensive experience producing work in the region, including Sam French’s Oscar-nominated short “Buzkashi Boys,”  the first narrative film since 2001 to be filmed entirely on location in Afghanistan. 

The night concludes with DocuSlate Shorts, a powerful collection of documentary short films that explore a variety of  individual perspectives, social issues and slice of life portraits. Included are insights into one man’s life in the Canary Islands, a cinephile’s journey to honor Akira Kurosawa, a farming community in Texas fearful of encroaching development, the proliferation of self-managed abortion options,, the life of a  man beloved by his community who lost his home following a hospitalization, and the generational legacy that lives in maize seeds. 

  • Programs 1-4 moderated by Filmmaker, TV Director and NFMLA Board Member Varda Bar-Kar
  • Programs 5-6 moderated by Filmmaker and Producer Alessandra Pasquino

NFMLA showcases films by filmmakers of all backgrounds throughout the year, across both our general and InFocus programming. All filmmakers are welcome and encouraged to submit their projects for consideration for upcoming NFMLA Festivals, regardless of the schedule for InFocus programming, which celebrates diversity, inclusion and region by spotlighting  communities of filmmakers within our filmmaking community as part of our monthly program. This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Schedule Details

Program #1 – Feature – Me To Play [plays with short Bendix: Site Unseen]
10:00 AM – 11:45 AM – Program
11:45 AM – 12:00 PM – Audience Q&A

Program #2 – Feature – How (not) to Build a School in Haiti
12:00 PM – 12:15 PM – Pre-Reception
12:15 PM – 1:45 PM – Program
1:45 PM – 2:00 PM – Audience Q&A

Program #3 – Feature – AIDS DIVA: The Legend of Connie Norman [plays with short Goor-Jigeen (Man-Woman)]
2:00 PM – 2:15 PM – Pre-Reception
2:15 PM – 3:45 PM – Program
3:45 PM – 4:00 PM – Audience Q&A

Program #4 – Feature – UÝRA – The Rising Forest [plays with short Women of the Earth, Twila]
4:00 PM – 4:15 PM – Pre-Reception
4:15 PM – 6:00 PM – Program
6:00 PM – 6:15 PM – Audience Q&A

Program #5 – Feature – With This Breath I Fly
6:15 PM – 6:30 PM – Pre-Reception
6:30 PM – 7:45 PM – Program
7:45 PM – 8:15 PM – Audience Q&A

Program #6 – DocuSlate Shorts
8:15 PM – 8:30 PM – Pre-Reception
8:30 PM – 10:15 PM – Program
10:15 PM – 10:30 PM – Audience Q&A

Event Location

Event Entrance
1139 S. Hill Street, Los Angeles 90015

Parking (fee)
1133 S Olive St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Feature - Me To Play [plays with short Bendix: Site Unseen]
Bendix: Site Unseen Thumbnail
Bendix: Site Unseen
Dir. Anthony Scalia & Prod. Anthony Scalia, Erin DuBee
26 Mins | USA
Me To Play
Dir. Jim Bernfield & Prod. Jim Bernfield
72 Mins | USA
Feature - How (not) to Build a School in Haiti
How (not) to Build a School in Haiti
Dir. Jack C. Newell & Prod. Dinesh Das Sabu, Sebastien Narcisse
90 Mins | Haiti, USA
Feature - AIDS DIVA: The Legend of Connie Norman [plays with short Goor-Jigeen (Man-Woman)]
Goor-Jigeen (Man-Woman)
Dir. Alberto Amoretti, Writ. Alberto Amoretti, Giovanni Hänninen & Prod. Alberto Amoretti, Giovanni Hänninen
30 Mins | Italy
AIDS DIVA: The Legend of Connie Norman Thumbnail
AIDS DIVA: The Legend of Connie Norman
Dir. Dante Alencastre, Writ. John Johnston & Prod. Dante Alencastre, John Johnston
65 Mins | USA
Feature - UÝRA – The Rising Forest [plays with short Women of the Earth, Twila]
Women of the Earth, Twila
Dir. Chiara Hollender, Writ. Chiara Hollender & Prod. Chiara Hollender, Lauren Nolan
29 Mins | USA
UÝRA – The Rising Forest
Dir. Juliana Curi, Writ. Martina Sönksen & Prod. João Henrique Kurtz; Lívia Cheibub
72 Mins | Brazil, USA
Feature - With This Breath I Fly
With This Breath I Fly Thumbnail
With This Breath I Fly
Dir. Sam French, Clementine Malpas & Prod. Leslie Knott, Sam French
78 Mins | Afghanistan, UK, USA
DocuSlate Shorts
La Isla de Alfredo (Alfredo’s Island)
Dir. Curtis Matzke, Writ. Curtis Matzke & Prod. La Selva Ecosistema Creatiu
6 Mins | Spain
Kurosawa’s Grave
Dir. Ben Lopez, Writ. Ben Lopez & Prod. Sebi Lee
14 Mins | USA, Japan
Dir. Kyle Ward, Writ. Kyle Ward & Prod. Kyle Ward
5 Mins | USA
Abortion: Add to Cart
Dir. Jessica Sarah Flaum & Prod. Geneva Faye
35 Mins | USA
Black Before Blue Thumbnail
Black Before Blue
Dir. Tracey Lincoln, Writ. Tracey Lincoln & Prod. Tracey Lincoln, Yadira Espinal, Samantha Thomas, Oscar Joel Bryant Foundation
33 Mins | USA
My Name is Nobody Thumbnail
My Name is Nobody
Dir. Christine Kenton, Writ. Christine Kenton & Prod. Christine Kenton
20 Mins | USA
Seeds, The Legacy of the Land
Dir. Fernando Valencia, Writ. Santiago Villalobos-Villalobos & Prod. Cristóbal Camarena González Rubio
16 Mins | Mexico