5 Days, 26 Films, 6 Continents.




Anote’s Ark (directed by Matthieu Rytz, 2018, 87 minutes)

Anote’s Ark, directed by Matthieu Rytz, follows Anote Tong, the President of the Pacific Island nation of Kiribati who is determined to protect his people from rising sea levels caused by climate change, and Sermary, a local mother-of-six who is forced to migrate to New Zealand to provide for her family as a result of the changing environment. The film premiered this year at the Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Documentary category. Aligning with the BFF’s central goals in promoting social justice and engaging in new, productive dialogues, our board selected Anote’s Ark because it beautifully captures and thoughtfully conveys the inherent connection between the state of our global climate, international politics, and the real people whose livelihoods are jeopardized. (Written by Nate Merchant ’18)

Notable Festivals:

Premiere, Sundance 2018





Crime + Punishment (Directed by Steve Maing, 2018, 114 minutes)

Stephen Maing’s documentary Crime + Punishment tells the story of the NYPD12, a group of police officers who spoke out against illegal quota-based policing policies, and of police officer turned P.I. Manuel Gomez, who fights to protect the rights of young minorities who suffer because of police corruption. The film is artfully shot and compellingly told, and covers a topic that is an integral part of current civil rights conversations. A powerful statement about where we are, and what we need to do to continue the struggle for social justice, Crime + Punishment is a valuable addition to the Bates Film Festival. (Written by Jackson FrenchRobitaille ‘18)

Notable Festivals:

Premiere, Sundance 2018

True/False 2018



Special Jury Award for Social Impact, Sundance 2018





Frank Serpico (directed by Antonino D’Ambrosio, 2017, 96 minutes)

Antonio D’Ambrosio’s documentary feature Frank Serpico is the story of an NYPD officer who took a stand against corruption in law enforcement, and nearly paid for it with his life. While Serpico’s story was already immortalized by the 1973 feature film starring Al Pacino, D’Ambrosio goes directly to the controversial ex-cop to revisit the events that made Serpico’s name so well known, and to think about how the story relates to the 21st century. Frank Serpico is both an interesting inside look into the backstory of a famous crime film as well as a powerful reminder that action needs to be taken by those who witness injustice, not just those who upon whom injustice is committed. (Written by Jackson FrenchRobitaille ‘18)

Notable Festivals:

Tribeca Film Festival, 2017

New Hampshire Film Festival, 2017





Sonita (directed by Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami, 2015, 90 minutes)

Living in Iran, Afghan teenage refugee Sonita Alizadeh embraces her love for artistic expression by producing original rap music. Her powerful lyrics embody a compelling story as she campaigns against the everyday reality of forced child marriages in various cultures around the world. We chose this film because it emphasizes the importance of becoming a voice for the silent in order to promote social justice. (written by Victoria Arjoon ’19)

Notable Festivals:

Sundance 2016

True/False 2016

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2016

AFI Docs 2016

HotDocs 2016

Camden International Documentary Film Festival 2016



World Cinema Documentary Grand Jury Prize, Sundance 2016

Audience Award, World Cinema Documentary, Sundance 2016

Audience Award, Camden International Film Festival 2016

True Life Fund Award, True/False Film Festival 2016

The Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award, Full Frame 2016





Witchcraft Blue (Directed by Michael Sargent, Bates Associate Professor of Psychology, 2018, 96 minutes)

World Premiere – Bates Film Festival 2018

Witchcraft Blue is a compilation of interviews with Maine Burlesque dancers that focuses on how they have achieved positive body confidence by expressing themselves through performance. Made in Maine about Maine by a Bates faculty member, it is an excellent fit for the Bates Film Festival. (Written by Erin Fuller ‘18)







By the Time It Gets Dark (directed by Anocha Suwichakornpong, 2016, 105 minutes)

Directed by the Thai female filmmaker, Anocha Suwichakornpong, By the Time it Gets Dark, is a film that weaves together multiple story lines and characters, highlighting the various ways in which the Thai people have mourned, lived with, and remembered the Thammasat University Massacre of 1976. The film touches upon issues related to political activism, dictatorship, and threats to democracy – issues the programming committee decided would align with the festival’s theme of social justice. By including this film in our program, we hope to extend our line up in aesthetic, geographic, and political ways. (Written by Marisa Sittheeamorn ’18)


Notable Festivals:

Thai Entry at the 90th Academy Awards (Best Foreign Language Film)



Best Picture, Suphannahong National Film Awards 2016




The Father and the Bear (directed by John Putch, 2016, 85 minutes)

Father and the Bear, written and directed by John Putch, is about the collaboration between a newly assigned artistic director at a local playhouse and a retired character actor who, despite recently being diagnosed with dementia, strives to perform at his beloved summer theater one last time. The film serves as a catalyst for productive discussions about mental health and the emotional process surrounding a diagnosis. BFF believes the film will speak to local retirement communities, members of the academic science community, and caregivers who have witnessed the effects of dementia firsthand. (Written by Brian Pansius ’18)

Notable Festivals:

Stony Brook Film Festival, 2016

Reno Tahoe Film Festival, 2017

Harrisburg Hershey Film Festival, 2017

Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, 2017

Valley Film Festival, 2017



Spirit of Indie Filmmaking, 2016 Jury Award, Stony Brook Film Festival

Best of Fest, Audience Choice, 2017 Reno Tahoe Film Festival

Best Feature Film, Audience Choice, 2017 Reno Tahoe Film Festival

Best Actor, Will Love, 2017 Reno Tahoe Film Festival

Best Director, John Putch, 2017 Reno Tahoe Film Festival






The Light of the Moon (directed by Jessica M. Thompson, 2017, 90 minutes)

The Light of the Moon follows a young professional’s struggle to regain control over her life and relationships after she is raped. We decided to program this film not only because its theme of individualized recovery and discussion of sexual violence align with BFF’s social justice mission but also because it is a beautifully made film. (Written by Tessa Liebes ’19)


Notable Festivals:

South by Southwest, 2017

Mill Valley Film Festival, 2017

BFI London Film Festival, 2017

Greenwich International Film Festival, 2017

Calgary International Film Festival, 2017

Woodstock Film Festival, 2017

Cucalorus Film Festival, 2017



Audience Award Winner, South by Southwest 2017

Audience Favorite, Mill Valley Film Festival 2017





I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (directed by Danny Cannon, 1998, 100 minutes)

Co-written by Trey Callaway (Bates Parent, Class of 2020)

20th Anniversary Screening

“This follow-up to [1997’s] teens-in-jeopardy opus [I Know What You Did Last Summer] piles on the chills, thrills, and body count.” -Leonard Klady, Variety

The sequel to the horror blockbuster I Know What You Did Last Summer, this film features the return of horror villain Ben Willis and stars Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze, Jr., Brandy, and Mekhi Phifer.  Upon its release, Variety critic Leonard Klady wrote, “This follow-up to [1997’s] teens-in-jeopardy opus piles on the chills, thrills, and body count.”  With this reboot of the horror franchise in the works, it is a particularly fun time to watch or re-watch I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. (Written by Jonathan J. Cavallero, Bates Assistant Professor of Rhetoric)




White Rabbit (directed by Daryl Wein, 2018, 71 minutes)

An official selection that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018, this narrative feature follows the life of Sophia, a Korean-American artist living alone in Los Angeles. Through performance art, Sophia assumes different identities to examine and explore distinctions between Korean and Korean-American issues. We chose this film because of the way it questions the status and relationships between oppressed minority groups – all while portraying personal individual struggles to deal with mental health and loneliness. This film also deviates from the traditional hollywood narrative, taking a creative and original approach to storytelling that audiences that aren’t usually exposed to. (Written by Marisa Sittheeamorn ’18)

Notable Festivals:

Sundance, 2018







America; I Too (directed by Anike Tourse, 2017, 20 minutes)

Starring, Written, and Directed by Anike Tourse (Bates Class of 1992)

Following a very successful, on-campus, solo play during Orientation 2016, Anike Tourse returned to California and was awarded a grant by the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (or CHIRLA) to write, direct, and star in America; I Too.  Co-starring Academy Award®-nominee Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips, Blade Runner 2049), America; I Too seeks to educate marginalized populations and their allies about the legal rights of immigrants.  The film is particularly relevant today when immigrant populations are being increasingly targeted by law enforcement agencies. (written by Jonathan J. Cavallero, Bates Faculty)

Notable Festivals:

The Roxbury International Film Festival, 2017

Chicago International Social Change Film Festival, 2017

Docs Without Borders Film Festival, 2017

The Women’s Film Festival, 2018

Show Me Justice Film Festival, 2018

DisOrient, Asian American Film Festival of Oregon, 2018



Best Narrative Short, Roxbury International Film Festival, 2017




Emergency (directed by Carey Williams, 2017, 12 minutes)

A recipient of a special jury award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Emergency follows a group of students of color who debate whether or not to involve the police when they stumble upon an emergency situation. We programmed Emergency as we felt it would provide a unique platform around which further discussions regarding race and institutional relations could be explored. We felt this film had direct ties to discussions regarding security and the safety of students of color that are happening here on the Bates campus.

Notable Festivals:

Sundance, 2018

South by Southwest, 2018



Special Jury Award, Sundance 2018






Fuck (Directed by Nicole Danser, 2016, 7 minutes)

Written and Directed by Nicole Danser (Bates Class of 2015)

Told from the perspective of a female protagonist, the film shows how painful events and a lack of support can affect once promising partnerships.  Written and directed by Bates alum and current USC graduate film student Nicole Danser, the film touches on sensitive issues that the BFF programming committee felt would resonate with an audience. (Written by Jonathan J. Cavallero, Bates Assistant Professor of Rhetoric)  



The First Coast (directed by Ben Severance, 2017, 5 minutes)

Produced by Alexandra Morrow (Bates Class of 2016)

Documenting a young woman’s preparation for a road trip to capture the stories of Maine coast residents, The First Coast engages a community broader than just Bates or the immediate Lewiston-Auburn area while highlighting the issues of culture loss and preservation. (Written by Gillian Coyne ‘19)




It’s Complicated (directed by Grant de Sousa, 2017, 18 minutes)

It’s Complicated, a short film by Grant De Sousa of South Africa, offers a unique and highly entertaining blend of genres. The film follows a lonely Andy as he invites a girl whom he met online to his apartment. He falls head-over-heels for her despite his flatmate Nigel’s repeated attempts to point out her seemingly obvious flaw, that she is a ghost demon creature.  This short is sure to keep you on your feet and spark fun conversations like it did with our board. (Written by Sierra Ryder ‘18)

Notable Festivals:

LA Shorts, 2017

San Jose International Short Film Festival, 2017

Leeds International Film Festival, 2017

Flickerfest International Short Film Festival, 2018



Best Comedy, LA Shorts 2017





Lawman (directed by Matthew Gentile, 2017, 13 minutes)

Serving as a powerful love letter to classic American westerns, “Lawman”, starring Lance Reddick (HBO’s The Wire) and directed by award-winning filmmaker Matthew Gentile, reveals the untold story of Bass Reeves, an often forgotten hero of the wild west and his struggle with a uniquely difficult criminal. We chose this film because it presents racial prejudices in a historical context that resonate with the current issues of race relations in the United States. (Written by Luc Alper-Leroux ‘20)

Notable Festivals:

Woodstock Film Festival, 2016

March on Washington Film Festival, 2017

Bermuda International Film Festival, 2017

San Francisco Black Film Festival, 2017

LA Shorts, 2017

Bali International Film Festival, 2017

DC Black Film Festival, 2017



Grand Jury Prize, March on Washington Film Festival, 2017

Best Student Short, San Francisco Black Film Festival, 2017

Best Student Short, DC Black Film Festival





Negative Space (Directed by Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata, 2017, 5 minutes)

Negative Space, an Oscar-nominated animated short, uses stop motion animation to tell the story of a father and son. In just five minutes, the film shows how the pair bond over the act of packing a suitcase. The BFF programming committee was touched by the story and amazed by the animation. (Written by Jonathan J. Cavallero, Bates Assistant Professor of Rhetoric)

Notable Festivals:

Berlin Int’l. Short Film Festival, 2017
Ottawa Int’l. Animation Festival, 2017
Austin Film Festival, 2017

Annecy Int’l. Animation Film Festival, 2017

Awards: Academy Award® Nomination for Best Animated Short Film, 2017; Grand Prize, Krok Int’l. Animated Film Festival, 2017; FIPRESCI Prize, Annecy Int’l. Animated Film Festival, 2017; Audience Award, Austin Film Festival, 2017





A Place for Myself (directed by Marie-Clementine Dusabejambo, 2016, 21 minutes)

Five-year old Elikia faces discrimination from her classmates and their parents as she starts elementary school. Her mother encourages her to embrace her albinism as the pair perseveres against the prejudice of their neighbors.

The BFF Programming Committee selected this film for its message of acceptance that aligns with the festival’s mission to engage “the transformative power of our differences” that is at the core of the Bates community. In screening a short made by a female, Rwandan filmmaker in our program, we hope to celebrate the work of artists from different continents, cultures, and experiences. (written by Gillian Coyne ‘19)

Notable Festivals:

Toronto International Film Festival, 2016

African Film Festival New York, 2016

iAfrica Film Festival, 2017






Rated (directed by John Fortson, 2016, 19 minutes)

Rated premiered in March 2016, has played at over 55 festivals, and has won over 21 awards.  The film tells the story of Maggie and Brian (played by Christie Lynn Smith, the film’s co-writer, and John Fortson, the film’s director/co-writer, who are also husband and wife when they aren’t co-starring in short films), a married couple who wake up to discover that a star rating now appears above every adult’s head.  The BFF programming committee found the film’s engagement with social media-driven ratings systems and the way those systems have the potential to affect human relationships to be particularly relevant today. (written by Jonathan J. Cavallero, Bates Faculty)

Notable Festivals:

Palm Springs Shortfest, 2016

Cleveland International Film Festival, 2017

DC Shorts Film Festival, 2016

Savannah Film Festival, 2016

Sarasota Film Festival, 2016



Best Short, DC Shorts Film Festival, 2016

Best Short, Sonoma International Film Festival, 2016

Audience Award Best Comedy Short Film, Sedona International Film Festival, 2017

Finalist, Best Short Film, Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival, 2017

Audience Award Best Short Film, Annapolis Film Festival, 2017




Reel Guyana: Seascapes Compilation (created by Alexander Arjoon, 2018, 4 minutes)

Climate Change affects millions of people in every corner of the world, especially those living in underdeveloped areas. This combination of short, informative clips demonstrates the effects of rising coastal tides on both the natural and man-made sea defenses that separate the small city of Georgetown, Guyana from the powerful force of the Atlantic Ocean. Existing six feet below sea level, the densely populated capital remains vulnerable to the rising sea levels that threaten the livelihood of those living on the coast. We chose these shorts because they exemplify the importance of informing and acting in order to promote environmental justice on a global scale. (Written by Victoria Arjoon ’19)



The Real Thing (directed by Brandon Kelley, 2017, 8 minutes)

Portraying a key moment of coming of age while trans, The Real Thing tells the story of a soldier returning home from war to see his daughter who transitioned while he was on tour. We are presenting this film because it is an emotionally powerful short that reveals an important sub-narrative of the transgender experience, specifically how a transgender child comes of age. (Written by Luc Alper-Leroux ‘20)

Notable Festivals:

New York Short Film Festival, 2017

Virginia Film Festival, 2017

Bahamas International Film Festival, 2017

DC Shorts, 2017

Portland Film Festival, 2017

Vail Film Festival, 2018

Leeds Queer Film Festival, 2018



Grand Jury Prize, James River Short Films, 2017

People’s Choice Award, James River Short Films, 2017

Best Narrative Short, Audience Award, Outfest Los Angeles, 2017

Best Narrative Short, Virginia Film Festival, 2017





The River Behind My House (directed by Alexandra Morrow and Emily Dickey, 2018, 7 minutes)

(A Work in Progress Screening)

Co-Directed, Photographed, and Edited by Alexandra R. Morrow (Bates Class of 2016)

In the aftermath of Nepal’s civil war, widow Hira Bhandari and her “conflict survivor sisters” fight for justice for crimes that are still unrecognized by the state.

This film speaks directly to our theme of social justice, as well as the broader festival mission statement. We want to screen the stories that might otherwise go unshared, highlight the perseverance of these women, and bring to the screen a short that aligns with our mission to “work against structural inequalities, advocate for individuals from diverse backgrounds,” and engage in meaningful conversation with the filmmaker.  (Written by Gillian Coyne ‘19)




Small Platelet Dining (directed by John Putch, 2016, 8 minutes)

Small Platelet Dining is a horror comedy about a dinner date between a couple who met on the dating app Tinder, with a Transylvanian twist.  Written by Trey Callaway and directed by John Putch, this 9-minute short was featured in the 2016 LA Shorts Film Festival, 2016 NYC Horror Film Festival, 2017 Cleveland International Film Festival, and more.  We choose to program this short as the narrative toys with the intricacies of gender and relationships in the dating app age, and provides our audience an opportunity to engage Trey Callaway on the screenwriting, producing and directing processes. (Written by Grant DeWald ’18)

Notable Festivals:

Toronto International Short Film Festival, 2016

LA Shorts Fest, 2016

NYC Horror Film Festival, 2016

Cleveland International Film Festival, 2017



Strong at the Broken Places: Turning Trauma to Recovery (directed by Margaret Lazarus, Renner Wunderlich, and Stacey Kabat, 1998, 38 minutes)

Produced by Academy Award® winner Stacey Kabat (Bates Class of 1985)

20th Anniversary Screening

Strong at the Broken Places follows four survivors of traumatic experiences, ranging from domestic violence to living in a Khmer Rouge death camp.  We watch as their journeys take them from trauma towards recovery. This film was produced by Bates graduate Stacey Kabat and is a perfect example of the restorative potential of film and discussion. (Written by Gil Connolly ‘18)


Notable Festivals:

Woods Hold Film Festival, 1998

Washington DC International Film Festival, 1998

Columbus Film Festival, 1998

Vermont International Film Festival, 1998



People’s Choice Award, Vermont International Film Festival, 1998

Council on Crime & Delinquency PASS Award, 2000

Selection for “Outstanding Documentary Films of the Year” Screening Series, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences®, 1998





Traffic Stop (Directed by Kate Davis, 2017, 31 minutes)

Traffic Stop, an Oscar-nominated Documentary Short, serves as a platform to spark a conversation about racism and law enforcement. It tells the story of Breaion King, a 26-year-old African-American school teacher from Austin, Texas, who was stopped for a routine traffic violation that escalated into a violent arrest that left her with physical and mental bruises. Shifting between police dashcam footage and footage from Breaion’s everyday life, we meet a living hero who is committed to bettering herself and the world despite police brutality. This documentary film sheds light on abuse at the hands of law enforcement and embraces peoples’ differences; it has the ability to break down walls between groups and make way for a more inclusive world. (Written by Lena Szeto ’18)


Notable Festivals:

DOC NYC, 2017


Awards: Academy Award® Nomination for Best Documentary Short Subject; 2017 Shorts Winner DOC NYC





Where Things May Grow (directed by Zac Chia, 2016, 16 minutes)

(A Work in Progress Screening)

Written and Executive Produced by Taylor Blackburn (Bates Class of 2015)

Where Things May Grow is set in a post-apocalyptic world where a young couple may be the world’s only survivors.  What will happen when they start to accept the idea that it will only ever be the two of them for the rest of their days? Taylor Blackburn, whose Bates thesis investigated masculinity and the anti-hero in HBO’s True Detective, continues to ask probing question in her latest work – questions that the programming committee felt would resonate, especially with the BFF’s college-aged audience. (written by Jonathan J. Cavallero, Bates Faculty)