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2018-2019 Season

Hearts Beat Loud

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Hearts Beat Loud (USA)

Location: SilverCity
Show times: 6:30 & 8:30 pm

Director: Brett Haley
Cast: Nick Offerman, Kiersey Clemons, Toni Collette, Blythe Danner
Running Time: 97 minutes
Language: English
Rating: PG

Sarasota Film Festival: Best Narrative Feature: Traverse City Film Festival: Best U.S. Fiction Film; Wisconsin Film Festival: Audience Award, Best Narrative Feature

“One of the nicest things about “Hearts Beat Loud,” and there are several nice things, is the way that Offerman and Clemons seem like father and daughter.”—Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

Frank (Nick Offerman, (TV’s Parks and Recreation) owns a record shop in Brooklyn, where his passion for music is still felt through the torn posters on the wall and makeshift record crates. A widower, Frank has raised his daughter, Sam (Kiersey Clemons, The Only Living Boy in New York), alone for the last 11 years, and he’s having trouble coming to terms with her imminent departure for university.

While Sam is taking summer school in preparation, Frank convinces her to take a study break for a jam session, where they create their first original song, “Hearts Beat Loud.” Realizing the song’s potential, Frank uploads it to the internet. When he hears their song playing in a coffee shop, he wants to pursue the band and Sam’s talents as a musician and songwriter.

While Sam discourages him, she struggles with leaving in her own ways: her discovery of her passion for music and her relationship with her girlfriend Rose (Sasha Lane, American Honey; The Miseducation of Cameron Post) create emotional turmoil that serve as fodder for her songwriting talents. Director Brett Haley (I’ll See You in My Dreams; The Hero) moves the audience through emotionally charged moments with beautiful original music written by his longtime collaborator Keegan DeWitt. At the heart of the film is a story about family, saying goodbye, and making way for new beginnings.

Angelique’s Isle

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Angelique’s Isle (Canada: Northern Ontario)

Location: SilverCity
Show times: 6:30 & 8:20 pm

Directors: Marie-Hélène Cousineau, Michelle Derosier
Cast: Julia Jones, Tantoo Cardinal, Aden Young, Charlie Carrick
Runtime: 90 minutes
Language: English and Anishinaabemowin with English subtitles
Rating: PG

Based on the novella, “Angelique Abandoned”, by James R. Stevens which was inspired by the true story of a 17-year-old Anishinaabe woman, Angelique’s Isle is a harrowing true tale of perseverance and survival on Lake Superior. Young Angelique (Julia Jones) finds her new-found contentment in marrying Charlie (Charlie Carrick) a Métis voyageur, suddenly threatened when Charlie signs on with slippery wheeler-dealer Cyrus Mendenhall (Aden Young) to search the shores of Lake Superior in 1845 for a rich copper strike.

Despite the warnings from her grandmother, Green Thunderbird (Tantoo Cardinal), Angelique agrees to accompany Charlie with Mendenhall’s expedition.
Upon discovering what looks to be a huge copper boulder on Isle Royale, Mendenhall asks the couple to remain behind to guard the find while his group goes back for reinforcements and supplies. However, as the weeks pass, Charlie and Angelique soon realize that they must fend for themselves.

As winter comes, they endure the increasing cold and a dwindling food source. While the harsh winter has a dire effect on Charlie, Angelique is left to face her inner demons and reconcile her true identity as she struggles to survive. In light of the messages sent by her grandmother, Angelique realizes that perhaps it is her rich indigenous roots that will be the source of her salvation.

An impressive, regionally-produced film, Angelique’s Isle draws greatly from the mood of the rugged northern Ontario landscape, which includes Thunder Bay and Terrace Bay. Local audiences will recognize Fort William Historic Park and the shoreline around Chippewa Park/Fort William First Nation. The cast also features local performers including Pierre Schreyer, Dennis Dubinsky, Anthony Rock, Jessie McKay and Gabe Ferrazzo.

NOSFA is pleased to feature Angelique’s Isle for its Thunder Bay premiere.

Beast

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Beast

Location: SilverCity
Show times: 6:30 & 8:30 pm

Director: Michael Pearce
Cast: Jessie Buckley, Johnny Flynn, Geraldine James
Runtime: 107 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 14A

Toronto Film Festival Nomination: Platform Award; Miami Film Festival Nomination: Best Screenplay; London Film Festival Nomination: First Feature

“There is nothing more enjoyable than a film that shatters your expectations, turning a confident hunch about what’s coming next into smithereens of doubt. The British thriller “Beast” does it strikingly well.”—Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

In Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the identity of the Beast is never in any doubt. But in Beast, writer/director Michael Pearce’s powerful debut feature, that one-word title leaves room for debate. Just who is this Beast?

The story is set on Jersey, a channel island with a population of about 100,000. The chief suspect is Pascal Renouf (Johnny Flynn), a dark anti-hero of the Wuthering Heights variety. The police think he might be behind a recent spate of murders, but the first time we meet him, he’s rescuing a young woman named Moll (Jessie Buckley) from an impulsive first date that’s about to become an assault.

Moll’s attraction to Pascal is problematical. She may have started from a sense of obligation. She may be keeping it up just to annoy her family, especially her icy, imperious mother (Geraldine James), or because no one else is willing to give this rough guy a break. Whatever her reasons, she definitely exists inside her own troubled bubble. She drinks, sometimes wanders, suffers nightmares – and there’s nothing normal about the way she eats cake.

But Pearce cleverly steers us into this dark drama Moll-first. She may be just as bleak and tormented as her beau, but because she talks more and is surrounded by family, we feel we know her better. Pascal is a poacher with a police record, which is difficult to spin as anything other than a negative.

Ireland’s Buckley delivers a disturbing yet measured performance, with Flynn providing the perfect counterpoint. Who is the Beast? Perhaps it’s the prurient viewer who decides to brave this twisted tale. Beast is a thrill ride, a plunge into darkness that feels like it may never pull up.

Leave No Trace

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Leave No Trace (USA)

Location: SilverCity
Show times: 6:30 & 8:30 pm

Director: Debra Granik
Cast: Ben Foster, Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, Dale Dickey
Running Time: 109 minutes
Language: English
Rating: PG

Independent Film Festival of Boston: Best Narrative Feature; Taormina International Film Festival: Best Screenplay

“Debra Granik’s drama about a damaged war vet (Ben Foster) living off the grid with his teen daughter, brilliantly played by breakout star Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, is hypnotic, haunting and one of the year’s best.”—Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Following her breakout hit Winter’s Bone, Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace is an intimate and complex coming-of-age story following a father and daughter struggling to maintain their unconventional lifestyle, set against the rugged terrain of the Pacific Northwest.

Will (Ben Foster, Hell or High Water, The Messenger) is a PTSD-inflicted veteran and widower living off the grid with his daughter, Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies), in a public park near Portland. When Tom makes a mistake that alerts the authorities to their existence, the family is removed from the park and placed in a home by state officials. Immersed in a world she has never experienced, Tom is drawn to the friendships, community, and comforts of her new surroundings. Meanwhile, Will is confronted with the triggers of the modern world.

Leave No Trace is a surprisingly endearing portrait of a father and daughter forced to contemplate whether family survival means sticking together or letting go. The lush Oregon landscape expertly contrasts the tension-filled narrative, with Foster delivering one of his most memorable performances to date — though it’s McKenzie who truly makes her mark. From the director who launched Jennifer Lawrence’s career, Leave No Trace is sure to make McKenzie a newcomer to watch.

Blindspotting

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Blindspotting (USA)

Location: SilverCity
Show times: 6:30 & 8:30 pm

Directed by: Carlos Lopez Estrada
Cast: Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs
Running Time: 95 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 14A

Cinetopia Film Festival: Director’s Award; Nashville Film Festival: Best Original Song; Palm Springs International Film Festival: Directors to Watch Award.

“A funny and relevant new Oakland-set buddy dramedy….about two friends, one white, one black.”—Leslie Katz, San Francisco Examiner

The debut feature from Carlos López Estrada, Blindspotting is written by its two stars – Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs (Broadway’s Hamilton) –and set in Oakland, California, from which both men hail. It’s a raw, personal story that combines biting humour and stark violence to showcase the sharp racial and class inequalities in many America’s urban centers. Painful to watch, at times, it is also very, very funny and a work of gloriously intelligent cinema.

The movie opens with Collin (Diggs) counting down the three days left on his probation in a halfway house. He works for a moving company, firing humourous barbs back and forth with best friend Miles (Casal) as they do their pick-ups. Collin is black, Miles white, though both are from the same Oakland ‘hood. Collin seeks to re-establish himself as a trustworthy member of society. Miles is his support system, but also a potential hindrance to growth.

Blindspotting (the term means the inability to see what is right in front of you) follows Collin and Miles as they struggle to define themselves in a universe that already has them pegged as losers. Their comic misadventures, often buoyant and a delight to behold, are always one step away from tragedy. As Collin’s probation countdown inches towards zero, it is unclear how the story will end, and on which genre it will settle.

And that is the great strength of the film: we’re never sure where it will go, and so expect the unexpected. The powerful performances provide ample support to the twisting narrative which sees a cathartic conclusion. With director López Estrada’s additional fine flourishes, the movie becomes a magnificent meditation on the state of the nation, and a profoundly rewarding viewing experience.

Three Identical Strangers

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Three Identical Strangers (USA)

Location: SilverCity
Show times: 6:30 & 8:35 pm

Director: Tim Wardel
With: Robert Shafran, David Kellman, Eddy Galland
Running Time: 96 minutes
Language: English
Rating: PG

Berkshire International Film Festival: Best Documentary Feature, Audience Award, Jury Award Documentary Director; Chicago Film Critics Festival: Audience Award, Documentary; Sundance Film Festival: Special Jury Prize, Documentary.

“A documentary with a story so outlandish it might well have been rejected by a Hollywood studio had a screenwriter pitched it as the basis of a fictional movie.” Peter Howell, Toronto Star

In Tim Wardle’s Sundance Special Jury Prize– winning documentary, a chance encounter brings three identical triplets together nearly two decades after they were separated at birth and adopted by separate families. However, their elation at their reunion is soon undermined by the realities of fame, family, and a creeping suspicion that something sinister tore them from one other in the first place.

Robert Shafran arrives at college ready to reinvent himself, but when strangers continue to refer to him as “Eddy,” their welcomes quickly become unnerving. Robert soon finds himself face-to-face with his exact double: Eddy Galland. The pair’s astonishment at finding each other and the incredible story of their past and chance meeting is quickly picked up by local media, catching the attention of David Kellman, their identical triplet. With the three brothers happily reunited and busy taking full advantage of their newfound celebrity, their parents take up the less pleasant task of investigating what separated the three young men in the first place.

When their questions are met with evasive and unsatisfactory responses from the triplets’ adoption agency, a larger conspiracy bubbles to the surface, with an indeterminate number of victims at play. A film of triumph and tragedy, and a true testament to the power of documentary film, Wardle’s Three Identical Strangers leads its audience through an emotional journey about how we understand our families and ourselves.