2015 New Hope Film Festival offers worldly, provocative taste of modern filmmaking

New Hope Film Festival

The annual New Hope Film Festival is underway, and this year’s wide range of entries from around the world holds something for everyone.

This sixth annual version of the event is running until Aug. 2 at the New Hope Arts Center, 2 Stockton Ave, and many of this year’s selections are U.S. and world premieres.

New Hope Film Festival was the creation of D. F. Whipple, a writer and local resident who assembled others who “shared his passion for discovering and nurturing independent filmmakers, especially those who have been overlooked by established festivals.”

The line-up includes 80 films from 16 countries: United States, Sweden, Germany, Australia, South Africa, Canada, France, Bahrain, Puerto Rico, Georgia, Indonesia, United Kingdom, Taiwan, South Korea, Italy, and the Russian Federation.

The festival will also honor Susan Seidelman with a Lifetime Achievement Award on Aug. 2 for her contributions to film, and  a special screening of Ms. Seidelman’s 2011 directorial work, Musical Chairs on Aug. 2nd.

Among this year’s standouts is Platinum Rush, a debut documentary film by songwriter Scot Sax scheduled for July 28. After decades as a successful songwriter for Warner Chappell and as a musician fronting RCA Records’ Wanderlust, “Sax set out on a mission to uncover what drives artists to write songs and to keep writing while making the necessary sacrifices long after the glitter of pop music and youth fades,” according to the film’s promo material. Platinum Rush is a documentary about the serious and, at times, hilarious high-octane world of songwriters — what they’ll do to make it, and how people who actually made it feel now.

Another entry making waves is Inside Peace, screening Aug. 1. The film from director/producer Cynthia Fitzpatrick focuses on a group of tough guys doing hard time in a Texas prison who “begin a journey of change when they enroll in a Peace Class at the Dominguez State Jail in San Antonio.”

Initially they are drawn to the class to get free pencils, paper, and an hour of air conditioning. But each man’s perspective shifts as he participates in the class. We witness their evolution as they travel from fear to openness, from hate to self-love, from isolation to a sense of community and from the impossible to the possible.

When released from prison, their road becomes most treacherous, according to the film synopsis. “Out on the mean streets once again, the power of their new-found inner strength is tested as they navigate society’s roadblocks, dangers both new and old, and struggle to avoid the temptation to return to their past ways.”

the syndrome

“The Syndrome”

Perhaps the most explosive film at this year’s festival is The Syndrome, in which Director Meryl Goldsmith teams with Award-winning investigative reporter Susan Goldsmith to uncover the origins of “the myth of Shaken Baby Syndrome.” The film documents the “unimaginable nightmare for those accused, and shines a light on the men and women dedicating their lives to defending the prosecuted and freeing the convicted.” Syndrome premieres on Aug. 1.

For more info on all the entrants, visit the 2015 Program Guide on the festival’s website — it includes the schedule, venues, a description for each film, and other important information about the festival. Printed guides are available for purchase at the New Hope Arts Center, and at New Hope Photo, 358 W. Bridge St.

Tickets can be purchased online.

About the author

Charlie Sahner

“Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy." - Einstein

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