Five must-see festival films
Under-the-radar and worth watchingThe Arbor
The Plot: The (short) life and hard times of a playwright's family
trying to get by in one of England's housing projects.
Why Go: "The Arbor" is both documentary and narrative, based on the plays of Andrea Dunbar, who died at age 29; actors re-create interviews director Clio Barnard conducted with family and friends.
The Plot: An ordinary African and the president of Rwanda must decide whether to exact vengeance or turn the other cheek.
Why Go: "(In) 2008, President Kagame released a report detailing the French government's hidden complicity in the 1994 Rwandan genocide," director Deborah Scranton says. "Three weeks later, France arrested his closest aide on charges of terrorism. Procuring a copy of the French weapons sales documents was right out of a 'Bourne Identity' film."
Last Play at Shea
The Plot: A concert documentary combining the history of Billy Joel, Shea Stadium and the New York Mets.
Why Go: "Song selection and weaving three different stories to play as seamlessly as possible proved a big challenge," director Paul Crowder says. "Billy's performance is outstanding. Add the drama of the Mets' come-from-behind victories and you have a very different concert film."
The Plot: In this "Glee"-esque musical comedy, a girl named Spork navigates through the mean girls and drama of junior high.
Why Go: "It takes place in this kind of hyper-reality, but at the same time it's bathed in truth," director J.B. Ghuman Jr. says. "Plus, it's got a dance number on a Twister pad with J.J. Fad's 'Supersonic' playing!"
Into the Cold
The Plot: A documentary following two men setting out on foot to reach the North Pole.
Why Go: Sebastian Copeland fought -50 degree temps and frostbite to cover a path trod by fewer than 150 people in the 100 years since the North Pole was first conquered.