Film Guide 2019

THE CHRISTMAS GIFT “Cadoul de Craciun”

2019 Shorts Program | narrative short | 23 min On December 20, 1989—shortly after Ceausescu’s violent repression in Timisoara—a father’s quiet evening quickly descends into chaos when he learns that his young son has mailed a rather …

Directed by Bogdan Muresanu


2019 World Cinema Documentary | feature documentary | 125 min New York Premiere In Alex Gibney’s (TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE, GOING CLEAR) revelatory new documentary, the director looks at the curious case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once said to be the wealthiest man in Russia and n …

Directed by Alex Gibney


2019 Spotlight | feature narrative | 113 min In the wake of a botched execution under her watch, prison warden Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard) finds herself questioning her position, her home life, and the ethical consequences of the work s …

Directed by Chinonye Chukwu

CONNECTED “Polaczeni”

2019 Shorts Program | documentary short | 18 min New York Premiere Krzysztof, who is blind, goes skiing with his wife, Wiola. When they finally reach the summit, they must find a way to connect with one another in the surrounding fog.

Directed by Aleksandra Maciejczyk


2019 Views From Long Island | feature documentary | 75 min World Premiere • WINNER: Victor Rabinowitz and Joanne Grant Award for Social Justice For decades, the home of the Shinnecock Nation has been the subject of a brutal fight for ownership in the Hamptons, with an …

Directed by Treva Wurmfeld

A Conversation With Alfre Woodard

2019 A Conversation With | panels and events | 60 min In celebration of one of this year’s most talked about performances for her role in Chinonye Chukwu’s CLEMENCY, the festival will honor Alfre Woodard with a special A Conversation With… …

A Conversation With Brian De Palma

2019 A Conversation With | panels and events | 60 min HIFF 2019 will honor legendary director Brian De Palma with a Lifetime Achievement Award, along with a special screening of his iconic film BLOW OUT (1981) on October 12. Equally regarded as a leadi …


2019 Documentary Competition | feature documentary | 93 min • WINNER: Special Jury Prize for Artistic Vision for director Alla Kovgan In the past century of choreography, Merce Cunningham is perhaps the most iconic name of his medium, with an ever-evolvin …

Directed by Alla Kovgan


2019 Shorts Program | narrative short | 2 min Following a bike-riding lesson from her grandfather, a young girl discovers that the real adventure begins where the road ends.

Directed by Sophie Olga de Jong, Sytske Kok


2019 Shorts Program | documentary short | 9 min New York Premiere Feeling obligated to put on a brave face, a daughter calls her mother to share some difficult news.

Directed by Lizzy Hogenson


2019 Shorts Program | narrative short | 16 min US Premiere A naive young man accompanies his transgender crush to her audition for an erotic dance theater in Lahore, Pakistan. • Winner, Best Short Film at the Venice Film Festival

Directed by Saim Sadiq


2019 Short Films | narrative short | 18 min US Premiere A young art house filmmaker struggles to secure funding for his new project.

Directed by Sorayos Prapapan

EARTH “Erde”

2019 Air, Land & Sea | feature documentary | 115 min New York Premiere With his eighth feature film in the last decade, prolific Austrian documentarian Nikolaus Geyrhalter examines the tremendous impacts of human activity in the era of the Anthropocene—looking at sev …

Directed by Nikolaus Geyrhalter

THE FATHER “Bashtata”

2019 World Cinema Narrative | feature narrative | 90 min US Premiere Juggling complications at work and in his personal life, Pavel (Ivan Barnev) returns to his hometown for his mother’s funeral with much more on his mind than repairing the lingering tensions betwe …

Directed by Kristina Grozeva, Petar Valchanov

FINE “Beseder Gamur”

2019 Shorts Program | narrative short | 9 min East Coast Premiere On the way to a party, an innocuous moment triggers old dynamics between family members.

Directed by Maya Yadlin


2019 Shorts Program | documentary short | 40 min New York Premiere • WINNER: HIFF27 Audience Award for Best Short Film On the morning of November 8, 2018, a seemingly small fire broke out in Butte County, California, near the town of Paradise. Over the course of …

Directed by Drea Cooper, Zackary Canepari

FLESH “Carne”

2019 Shorts Program | documentary short | 12 min US Premiere Five women, each at a distinctly different stage of her life, share a diverse collection of experiences about the relationship they have with their bodies in this striking, mixed-media portrait of w …

Directed by Camila Kater


2019 Air, Land & Sea | feature documentary | 114 min World Premiere More than half a century removed from its status as a leading force in the U.S. manufacturing industry, the city of Flint, Michigan, has now become synonymous with a water crisis forcing a national …

Directed by Anthony Baxter


2019 Conflict & Resolution | feature documentary | 95 min • Winner, 2019 Brizzolara Family Foundation Award for Films of Conflict + Resolution Working with her co-director Edward Watts, 26-year-old Syrian filmmaker Waad al-Kateab documents the story of h …

Directed by Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts


2019 Opening, Closing, Centerpiece | feature narrative | 152 min New York Premiere • Saturday Centerpiece Academy Award® winners Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in FORD v FERRARI, based on the remarkable true story of the visionary American car designer Carroll Shelby (Damon …

Directed by James Mangold


2019 Spotlight | feature narrative | 100 min East Coast Premiere Director Ira Sachs (LOVE IS STRANGE, LITTLE MEN) transplants his usual New York setting for Sintra, Portugal, where the family of Frankie (Isabelle Huppert), an aging actress, is brought together fo …

Directed by Ira Sachs

Friday Winick Talk: THE ART OF THE SHORT

2019 Winick Talks | panels and events | 60 min We love our short films at HIFF, and with new distribution models and online platforms arriving at a record pace, there are more ways to experience short-form filmmaking than ever before! With an in …


2019 Shorts Program | documentary short | 21 min • Jury selection for Best Documentary Short Director Bassam Tariq receives a $500 cash prize and the film qualifies for consideration at the Academy Awards® for Best Live Action Short Film. In S …

Directed by Bassam Tariq


2019 Shorts Program | narrative short | 3 min World Premiere A cellphone glitch reveals more than the eye can see in this spooky tale written, directed, and starring HIFF Jr. Film Camp students.

Directed by Cooper Aiken, Beatrix Beirne, Caleb Garutti, Devon O’Halloran


2019 Conflict & Resolution | feature narrative | 111 min US Premiere War photographer Daniel Fisher (Hugo Weaving) returns home to Sydney from his latest assignment to begin preparations for an upcoming retrospective of his work within many of the world’s most dang …

Directed by Ben Lawrence