A documentary about Rochester plus its relationship with photography kicks off the 2018 One Take Film Festival (OTFF), and an inside look at an activist’s fight to ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State closes the second year of The Little’s ode to documentaries.
OTFF takes place Thursday, April 19 to Sunday, April 22, 2018. The festival has grown out the Little Theatre's highly successful monthly documentary series – One Take: Stories Through the Lens – that began in 2012. It celebrates and promotes the art of non-fiction filmmaking and stimulates public understanding and appreciation of documentary film. The festival is a four-day celebration of education, art, music, food, empowerment, and film. The festival brings together filmmakers and audiences for direct engagement after each event. OTFF debuted in May 2017.
All screenings will take place at the Little Theatre (240 East Ave.), except Ex Libris: New York Public Library will screen at the Dryden Theatre (900 East Ave.) 2 p.m. Sunday, April 22. Full lineup and more available at otff.org/films.
6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19
1:15 p.m. Saturday, April 21
Rochester is a city defined by photography. Once dominated by Kodak, the city now faces a new digital future. Photo City presents a portrait of photography itself as told through the lens of the citizens of a place defined by the art form. Photo City focuses on the lives of the city’s photographic and creative community as they struggle to maintain a link to their analogue past and to forge an identity in this new digital age. Directors John Murphy and Traolach O’ Murchú will fly in from Ireland for the April 19 screening.
COMMUNITY PARTNER: EXPLORE ROCHESTER
BOOM FOR REAL: THE LATE TEENAGE YEARS OF JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT
9:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19
Filmmaker Sara Driver explores the pre-fame years of the celebrated American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and how New York City, its people, and shifting arts culture of the late 1970s and ‘80s shaped his vision. Conveying Basquiat’s personal magnetism, eccentricity and non-stop creativity, the doc serves as another chapter in the ongoing effort to rescue Basquiat from his own hype. Post-screening Skype Q&A with director Sara Driver.
COMMUNITY PARTNER: WALL\THERAPY
12TH AND CLAIRMOUNT
6:30 p.m. Friday, April 20
In July 1967, Detroit experienced one of America’s most violent civil disturbances. To tell that story in an emblematic way, this film fuses rare archival footage from the era - including newsreel, educational films and more than 400 reels of home movies donated by Detroiters - along with illustrations. The narrative combines contemporary interviews, oral histories, radio broadcasts and dispatch recordings to create an immersive film experience that transports the audience back in time to explore the causes and aftermath of Detroit’s most pivotal moment in history. Director Brian Kaufman will be at The Little for a post-screening Q&A.
COMMUNITY PARTNER: ROCHESTER CITY NEWSPAPER
9:15 p.m. Friday, April 20
Forty years after the death of Elvis Presley, a musical road trip across America in The King’s 1963 Rolls Royce explores how a country boy lost his authenticity and became a king while his country lost her democracy and became an empire. Featuring cameos from the likes of Alec Baldwin, Chuck D, Emmylou Harris, Ethan Hawke, and Mike Myers, the doc travels the deep south to New York to Las Vegas and beyond as a tapestry of individuals join the journey, expressing themselves in words and song.
COMMUNITY PARTNER: RECORD ARCHIVE
BECOMING WHO I WAS
4 p.m. Saturday, April 21
Padma Angdu’s world turns upside down when the monastery where he belonged expels him. Although he is recognized as a ‘Living Buddha’ in Ladakh, the only thing that holds him together is the unfaltering love of his teacher. High expectations from his community leads the young Rinpoche into rebellion as he enters into adolescence. After having waited years in vain for his disciples from Tibet, the soon-to-be teenage Rinpoche and his aging teacher embark on an epic journey towards Tibet, in search of an answer.
COMMUNITY PARTNER: WHITE LOTUS BUDDHIST CENTER
6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 21
At the age of 84, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. But the unique personal journey of this diminutive, quiet warrior’s rise to the nation’s highest court has been largely unknown, even to some of her biggest fans – until now. Making the biggest splash at this year’s Sundance Fim Festival, RBG is a revelatory documentary exploring Ginsburg’s exceptional and inspirational life and career.
COMMUNITY PARTNER: MONROE COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION (MCBA)
MINDING THE GAP
9:30 p.m. Saturday, April 21
Bing Liu’s lovely portrait of wayward men stumbling into early adulthood functions both as a snapshot of their tumultuous lives and Liu’s own experience alongside them. Combining first-rate skate video footage with a range of confessional moments, Minding the Gap is a warm-hearted look at the difficulties of reckoning with the past while attempting to escape its clutches - it contains a staggering degree of maturity for a movie directed and focused on such young subjects. Often troubling and deeply moving, it is a story about the ways that generational violence and poverty affect families and cities. As a work of nonfiction, it’s stunning; as a piece of storytelling, it’s heartbreaking. Includes a post-screening Q&A with director Bing Liu.
COMMUNITY PARTNER: BIG BROTHERS/BIG SISTERS OF GREATER ROCHESTER
EX LIBRIS: NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
2 p.m. Sunday, April 22 at Dryden Theatre (900 East Ave.)
In this, the 42nd documentary by Frederick Wiseman (recipient of an Honorary Oscar in 2016), the legendary filmmaker brings his incisive vision behind the scenes of one of the world’s greatest institutions of learning, capturing the vast programmatic scope of NYC’s library system. With 92 branches throughout Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, the library is committed to being a resource for all the inhabitants of this multifaceted and cosmopolitan city, and beyond.
COMMUNITY PARTNER: FRIENDS AND FOUNDATION OF THE ROCHESTER PUBLIC LIBRARY
6:30 p.m. Sunday, April 22
A hopeful documentary about fighting with your whole heart, Unfractured follows introspective biologist and mother Sandra Steingraber as she reinvents herself as an outspoken activist and throws herself into an environmental war that many believe is unwinnable.
Branded a “toxic avenger” by Rolling Stone, Sandra quickly emerges as a leader of New York’s biggest grassroots movement in decades. Determined to win an uncompromising battle with the oil and gas industry, Sandra decides she must fight with her whole heart—devoting all her time, energy, and money to the cause. But as the film opens, her personal life is thrown into crisis when her husband Jeff begins having one stroke after another. She knows her family needs her at home, but Sandra can’t stop—not until she and her allies win a state-wide ban on fracking.
COMMUNITY PARTNER: PACHAMAMA ALLIANCE
ONE TAKE SHORT FILMS BY WESTERN NEW YORK FILMMAKERS
10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 21
COMMUNISTS IN THE SUMMER HOUSE by Camille Howard
Explore one of the most fundamental rights of passage with this light-hearted documentary that focuses on the menstrual experience of women of all ages!
DON’T DEFINE ME by Don Casper
An artist shares intimate moments with people affected by HIV, creating watercolor portraits that capture their image, thoughts, feelings, joys and challenges.
Matt & His Dad Visit Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum by Matthew Ehlers
In quiet Jupiter, Florida there once was a museum created by the legendary Burt Reynolds. Before it was demolished in 2012, Matthew Ehlers and his father were able to sneak a camera into the museum and document this amazing cultural oddity.
MY BROTHER BLAKE by Joey Ressler
As a twin, it is hard to find your identity, but for Blake, it’s even harder. Share this journey through mental illness, drug addiction, and gender transition in one tumultuous year.
PHILIP JAMISON PIANOS by Elkin Jaramillo
A brief look into the world of Philip Jamison, seasoned piano tuner.
PLANTING IN CONCRETE by Kaitlyn Dolan
Parker Booth is one of 2,000 Iroquois people living just south of Syracuse in the Onondaga Nation, and remains dedicated to traditional indigenous ways of life.
RINGSIDE by Nathaniel Silverman
Ringside follows Phil Greene and Future Boxing Club in Rochester, New York as they make champions both in and out of the ring.
WATKINS GLEN RACING HISTORY by Mike Martinez & Kevin VanValkenburgh
This film traces the history of Watkins Glen International from its start on the streets of Watkins Glen, NY in 1948 to one of the most famous race tracks in the world.
Passes and tickets: All-access pass prices are $80 for a regular pass and $65 for seniors, students, along with members of The Little and the Roc Doc Group. Passes are on sale now.
For individual shows, general admission tickets are $11 and $7 for members of The Little and the Roc Doc Group. Individual tickets go on sale Monday, April 2.
Festival favorites return: Staples of the first OTFF, including a program of short movies from Western New York filmmakers, festival house band Guy Higgins and Friends, along with the Virtual Reality Garden, return for 2018. The VR Garden is a series of virtual reality films presented with Frameless Labs and the MAGIC Center at Rochester Institute of Technology.
More on the festival at OTFF.org.