Film Festival and Other Media Programs
Sponsored by the APA Ad Hoc Committee on Films and Other Media
All films and other media programs will be held within the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the Screening Room (Room 201, Level Two).
Beginning in 2014, the APA Film Festival will feature films from around the globe. Films from Brazil, Canada, Germany, Guatemala, Israel, Japan, Norway, and Spain are highlighted this year. The most promising and cutting-edge works from professional and psychologist filmmakers were selected for screening.
Note: Times listed are approximate within 5–10 minutes.
Disclaimer: Research, conclusions, viewpoints and comments expressed by program participants in the annual convention of the American Psychological Association are those held expressly by the individual presenter and do not reflect the policy of the American Psychological Association. Likewise, the content of the films and other media shown during the convention reflect the viewpoints of the filmmaker and producers and not those of the American Psychological Association.
Thursday, Aug. 7
Wizard of the Desert
Produced by Mary Cimiluca, Noetic Films Inc. This is a mesmerizing and insightful look at the life and contributions of Milton H. Erickson. Director Alex Vesely documents Erickson’s youth and early professional career prior to the development and evolution of his hypnotic methods. This is an informative, innovative and compelling film replete with interviews and stories from those who knew him.
Produced by Karen Forman. This short presents a humorous look at how psychological terminology can be used to identify or avoid the core issues in relationships. Roommates Donna and Leslie examine how they trigger one another in the hope of improving their relationship.
Seeking Asian Female
Produced by Debbie Lum, New Day Films. This documentary follows the search of an older white male, Steven, for an Asian bride. Steven is in his 60s, and his life centers around his quest to marry an Asian woman. Using mail-order catalogues and online dating services, he develops relationships with younger women living in Asian countries. The film follows his relationship with a working-class woman from China, Sandy, and the first year of their life together in America.
11:15 a.m.– 12:10 p.m.
Concrete, Steel, & Paint
Produced by Cindy Burstein and Tony Heriza, New Day Films. Can inmates and victims unite and create a community mural? What happens when inmates and victims try negotiating one vision for the mural? How can art help in making connections, increasing communication and healing a community?
Horsim/Bonim (Hebrew: Destroy/Build)
Written and directed by Jonathan “Johnny” Sharir, B.F.A. Productions. An Israeli real estate developer is ready to begin construction on a dream project when his past and present collide and alter his plans, leading him to reconsider what is most important to him. (Foreign entry: Israel)
Film Festival Shorts: Parent–Child Relationships
Produced and directed by Seo-Young Jun. This compelling documentary examines the complex emotions experienced by a daughter when she loses her mother. The mother-daughter relationship is explored through death, grief, and coping.
Dan Behind His Eyes
Produced and directed by Sheri Kebbel, Say True Films. This inspirational documentary short explores the relationship between a father with ALS and his 13-year-old daughter. The strength of family, power of art, technology, and hope are all examined.
APA Film Festival Honorable Mention: Short Film
The Last Frontier
Written and produced by Lindsay Foster. In this film, a mother-daughter road trip offers an opportunity for personal transcendence. We witness the perseverance of two women in their quest for authenticity of self and soul. (Foreign entry: Germany)
Zack and Addie
Written and produced by Rob Florence, Annunciation Films. This feature-length documentary tells the story of Zack and Addie, two residents of post-Katrina New Orleans. It chronicles how they met and fell in love, then discusses the events leading up to and following Zack’s gruesome murder of Addie and subsequent suicide. The film presents interviews with the people who knew them to better understand the complexities of their relationship and the causes of this tragedy.
Friday, Aug. 8
Out of Control: The Power of the Unconscious Mind
Distributed by Films Media Group. Are we in control of our mind, or is our mind in control of us? Research in neuroscience shows that the role of the conscious mind is much smaller than was previously thought.
Film Festival Shorts: Issues Confronting Adolescents
Written and directed by Elisa Fernanda Pirir Ruiz. This film is about stigma and how family and friends respond differently to a diagnosis of a mental illness versus a physical illness, even when the symptoms are the same. The filmmakers’ eye for rich visual detail is brilliant. (Foreign entry: Guatemala and Norway)
APA Film Festival Award: Best Short Film
Written and produced by Tara-Nicole Azarian. This provocative short documents the connection between cyber-bullying and teen suicide. The message is powerful and should be shared with all teens using electronic communication.
Written and directed by Sascha Hughes-Caley. In this deeply disturbing film, artist Sascha Hughes-Caley juxtaposes the audio from the Steubenville High School rape case with images of hunters and their prized prey. Hughes-Caley attempts to show how the victim was treated as prey by her male classmates. Viewer discretion is advised. Not recommended for children.
Film Festival Shorts: Sport and Fitness
Back on My Feet
Distributed by Matt Curran Productions. This uplifting documentary short introduces the Back on My Feet program, which empowers the homeless and helps them to get “back on their feet” through employment, housing and organized running.
The King of Size
Produced and directed by Peter Dowd. This documentary short introduces Tony Natalie, an intense, competitive weightlifter obsessed with becoming bigger and stronger than everyone else. He continues to train despite experiencing major injuries. How big is big enough? This is a fascinating examination of the price of pursuing glory.
11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Discussion: Saving Face
Distributed by Women Make Movies. This thought-provoking documentary explores the horrors some women endure and their strength as they overcome fear. Follow two brave Pakistani women as they recover mentally, physically and judicially after brutal acid attacks at the hands of their husbands.
APA Film Festival Award: Best Feature Film
The New Black
Distributed by California Newsreel. Set in Maryland after the passage of a marriage rights bill, this film highlights the diverse perspectives within the African-American community on LGBT issues. It addresses the intersectionality of African-American and LGBT identities and experiences, exploring homophobia, the role of the church and how gay rights are positioned within the larger civil rights movement. Both perspectives (LGBT-affirmative and anti-marriage) are presented through interviews with individuals within the community.
Film Festival Shorts: LGBT Issues
Families Are Forever
Distributed by Caitlin Ryan, PhD, Family Acceptance Project. This thought-provoking documentary chronicles a devout Mormon family’s powerful journey from knocking on doors to support California’s Proposition 8 to accepting their 13-year-old gay son and the LGBT community.
Always My Son
Distributed by Caitlin Ryan, PhD, Family Acceptance Project. This documentary explores how culture and religion can paralyze a family when their child is gay. Share the journey of a Mexican-American family from living in silence to supporting their son and other LGBT teens.
I’m Just Anneke
Distributed by New Day Films. This is the story of a gender-fluid 12-year-old girl who is taking hormone blockers that delay puberty so she can decide if she wants to be male, female or somewhere in between when she grows up.
Bone to Brain
Written and directed by Rachel Greco, Fairfield University. Meet Nicki, a young woman diagnosed with bone cancer at age 13 and brain cancer at 21. This thought-provoking documentary explores the power of art and healing, acceptance and progress.
Discussion: “Blue Jasmine”
This Woody Allen film is about a woman who derives her self-worth from how she is perceived by others. She wanders about with little understanding of herself or the people around her. And as we know, being blind to the world is particularly dangerous to our mental health. “Blue Jasmine” is multi-layered, complex yet profoundly simple, and most of all, entertaining.
Saturday, Aug. 9
Saving 10,000: Winning a War
Produced and directed by Rene Duignan. This feature-length documentary focuses on the suicide epidemic in Japan. Suicide rates in Japan are significantly higher than in many other countries. This film chronicles the prevalence of suicide, how suicide relates to Japanese culture and attempts to address the epidemic. (Foreign entry: Japan)
Film Festival Shorts: Veterans’ Issues
Out of Step
Produced and directed by Lynn Estomin, Women’s Film Project. In this film, the experiences of four female veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are powerfully expressed through dance, music and cinematography. How do these veterans rebuild after so much has been shattered?
APA Film Festival Award: Best Avant Garde Film
Written and produced by Michael Wert. This compelling documentary short examines the psychological consequences of war and the postwar treatment endured by WWI veterans. Those who survived the war had little hope of finding support or help. (Foreign entry: Canada)
Christmas Hear Kids
Written and directed by Chris Purnell. This compelling film examines the turmoil endured by adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and the lengths they will go to to get retribution and justice.
Discussion: Performing Girl
Produced and distributed by Crescent Diamond. This film presents an inspiring look at D’Lo, a Sri Lankan-American writer/actor/comedian who identifies as transgendered. Uplifting, heartwarming, and funny, it reveals much about his journey to understand his sexuality and gender identity, as well as their impact on his family and culture.
12:10 – 1:20 p.m.
Film Festival Shorts: Loneliness, Death, and Dying
Night Blooming Flower
Written and directed by Karl Nussbaum, Film Crash/Sputnik Studios. This film is about flowers in a hospital room and how they become a silent witness to the dying process. The vivid images of the moment of leaving serve as a meditation on death, memory, and acceptance.
APA Film Festival Honorable Mention: Avant Garde
Produced and directed by Yolanda Centeno. This film is about Pedro, a depressed, lonely chess prodigy stuck in a double bind (zugzwang). Paralyzed by his hatred, he can’t decide on his next move in life or chess. (Foreign entry: Spain)
Produced and directed by Tim Nowitzki. This film, “I am self-sufficient,” explores the natural dichotomy in self–imposed loneliness and the permanent state of hope. (Foreign entry: Germany)
Drops of Smoke
Produced and directed by Ane Siderman, Accorde Films. Bibi, a 70-year-old widow isolated by loneliness, reaches out to a younger woman whose circumstances are also bleak. The two women bond in the hope of transforming their destinies. (Foreign entry: Brazil)
Discussion: Transforming Loss — A Documentary
Written and directed by Judith Burdick. This inspirational documentary examines and demonstrates the many positive ways people cope with loss through death. Follow six families as they embark on the grief process and evolve from surviving to thriving.
Written and directed by Helen Hood Scheer. This cinéma vérité documentary explores the life of a beloved druggist as he navigates the profound divide between his public persona and personal life. Follow Don Colcord as he contends with individual obligation in the face of private grief and ambivalence.
Set in Los Angeles in the not-so-distant future, this Spike Jonze film is about the evolving nature of intimate relationships. Could people really fall in love with delightfully charming, intelligent, devoted characters on their phones? We will have to see. Attachment in intimate relationships is a profoundly complex phenomenon, and this notion of intimacy between humans and technology is just beginning. Who knows with certainty where we are headed?
Sunday, Aug. 10
Just Trial and Error: Conversations on Consciousness
Distributed by Films Media Group. New Scientist magazine describes this British documentary as “a meditation on consciousness in today’s society.” The filmmakers make a passionate plea for placing greater value on qualitative approaches to consciousness.
Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines
Directed and distributed by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, New Day Films. How are women portrayed in the superhero world? What if we created a female superhero that did not fit the stereotype? What would she look like? This documentary explores the untold story of the American superheroine, examining gender stereotypes perpetuated in the superhero and comic book world, and beyond.
Struggle in Paradise
Written and directed by Stuart Perlman, PhD. Psychologist Stuart Perlman takes us on a riveting journey into the world of homelessness in Venice Beach, California, via portraits and narrative. As Perlman paints, tragic stories are transformed and imbued with dignity.
APA Film Festival Honorable Mention: Feature Film
11:35 a.m.–12:45 p.m.
Produced and directed by Jan Krawitz. This compelling, thought-provoking and honest film explores what motivates individuals to act with extreme compassion. Follow Kathy, who is undergoing kidney dialysis, and Ellie, a stranger and willing donor.
12:55 – 1:55 p.m.
Pursuit of Truth — Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse Seeking Justice
Written and produced by Valerie Gibson, Vertigo Charitable Foundation. This powerful film chronicles the plight of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse who are seeking justice. Serious questions about the legal process, retraumatization of survivors, and necessary systemic changes are addressed.