MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival is sharing a first look at several of the feature films that will be available during the upcoming MNFF6: Online festival Aug. 27-Sept. 3. The full lineup is now on the MNFF website, coinciding with the launch of Festival Pass sales.
“Our Middlebury New Filmmakers ‘Class of 2020’ will unfold, uniquely, online,” said MNFF Artistic Director Jay Craven. “We’re deeply sorry to miss our festive annual in-person event. But we promise a satisfying state-of-the art online viewing environment — and an intimate and illuminating series of interviews with filmmakers and special guests. We hope you’ll join us.”
“The Accused: Damned or Devoted?” — In Pakistan, the blasphemy law prescribes a compulsory death sentence for disrespecting The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and life imprisonment for desecrating the Holy Quran. “The Accused” follows the stories and fate of four people accused of blasphemy. The most famous of them is Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who claims she was falsely accused by her Muslim co-workers after a disagreement. Directed by Mohammed Naqvi, MNFF Returning Honoree.
“August” — Cuba, summer 1994. In the midst of “período especial,” one of the greatest crises in the country’s history, thousands of Cuban rafters try to reach the United States illegally, never sure if they’ll make it there alive. With holidays starting, Carlos plunges into a carefree August. Little does he know about the country’s uncertain future, until one by one, neighbors and friends leave in search of a better life. Directed by Armando Capo.
“Desert One” — In April 1980, the U.S. government launched Operation Eagle Claw, its response to the American hostage crisis that was happening in Iran at that time. The film explores the different aspects of the failed mission through interviews with the hostages, soldiers, commanders and President Carter himself. Directed by Barbara Kopple, MNFF Returning Honoree.
“Finding Yingying” — Yingying Zhang, a 26-year-old Chinese student, comes to the U.S. to study at the University of Illinois in Champaign. Within weeks of her arrival, Yingying disappears from the campus. Through exclusive access to Yingying’s family and boyfriend, the film closely follows their journey as they search to unravel the mystery of her disappearance. Directed by Jiayan “Jenny” Shi.
“For the Love of Rutland” — In 2016, Stacie Griffin is barely scraping by in the small city of Rutland, Vermont. Manufacturing jobs have moved out, the opioid crisis has moved in — Stacie collects bottles to stretch her husband’s unemployment benefits, while she raises her kids and keeps herself off heroin. So when Rutland’s mayor takes the controversial step of accepting 100 Syrian refugees, unlikely hero caught in a flashpoint. Directed by Jennifer Maytorena Taylor.
“Freeland” — An aging pot farmer suddenly finds her world shattered as she races to bring in what could be her final harvest, fighting against the threat of eviction as the ensuing legalization of the California cannabis industry rapidly destroys her idyllic way of life. Directed by Kate McLean and Mario Furloni.
“Jimmy Carter: Rock and Roll President” — If it hadn’t been for a bottle of scotch and a late-night visit from musician Gregg Allman, Jimmy Carter might never have been elected the 39th President of the United States. Directed by Mary Wharton.
“The Rabbi Goes West” — A fish out of water documentary about a young and charismatic Hasidic Chabad rabbi who moved from Brooklyn to Bozeman, Montana to bring his brand of Judaism to the American west. Directed by Amy Geller & Gerald Peary.
“Murmur” — Donna has recently been convicted of “Driving While Impaired” and is ordered to perform community service at the local animal shelter. When an elderly dog is to be euthanized, Donna decides to take the dog home and realizes his companionship can ease her loneliness. Donna begins to take home more and more animals. Directed by Heather Young.
“WBCN and the American Revolution” — The amazing, untold story of the early days of Boston’s radical underground radio station WBCN, set against the dazzling and profound social, political, and cultural changes that took place both in Boston and nationally during the late-1960s and early-’70s. Directed by Bill Lichtenstein.
For the full lineup of the MNFF6: Online festival, or Festival Passes, go online to middfilmfest.org