An eccentric young girl has her dreams of traveling to America dashed after her grandmother takes a tumble down the stairs. Their desolate hot springs resort is left in her care, along with a debilitating debt. What’s more, a strange young foreigner stumbles upon the resort with limited funds and even more limited Chinese. Join these two in an unusual partnership as they try to keep the resort afloat, while discovering its hidden romantic secrets. Welcome to the Happy Days will invite you on the vacation of a lifetime with its comic book-style storytelling and vibrant colors of a pre-WWII resort.
Danny, a Taiwanese-American man, and his boyfriend Tate, long to have a baby, but the journey becomes more complicated by Danny’s well-intentioned but meddlesome mother who wants to control every aspect of the process from Taipei. Baby Steps is a Taiwan-US co-production, produced by Oscar-winning producer Li-Kong Hsu (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Wedding Banquet, Eat Drink Man Woman) and Stephen Israel (Swimming With Sharks).
In 1991, a man makes a promise to create a detailed account of the Black Kites (a specie of eagle) of Taiwan. Produced by the Raptor Research Group of Taiwan, Fly, Kite Fly! follows Chen-Chung Shen, a.k.a Mr. Eagle, on a 20-year journey across Taiwan as he observes its 200 remaining Black Kites. The film chronicles a story of rapid urbanization, conservation, and the dangers of pesticide use, through the plight of the Black Kites, borrowing the voice of famous director and scriptwriter, Wu Nien Zhen. Carefully shot scenes of the Black Kites playfully gliding over Taiwan’s coast will inspire the same desire to protect these precious creatures as it did for Mr. Eagle almost 20 years ago.
A tale of home spanning decades in war and peace, filmed over five years, the documentary tells the story of “wansei”, or Japanese who were born in Taiwan during the colonial period. After WWII, they were forcibly deported back to Japan, despite having spent almost two decades of their life in Taiwan. Now, advanced in age and with children and grandchildren of their own, the wansei are returning to Taiwan once more. Intimate and moving, the documentary explores the power of memory, nostalgia, and the lasting place of home in our hearts.
Based on a true story, up and coming directors Yu-Chieh Cheng and Lekal Sumi weave a wonderfully shot story about aboriginal rights. When Panay, a college-educated single mother, returns to her home village to attend to her sick father, she discovers a plan to turn their lands into large resorts. Rekindling her love for her home, she works with the villagers to revive the village and save their lands.
In this kinetic horror/kung-fu mash-up, an innocuous-seeming dry cleaners fronts for a hitman-for-hire operation. When a nameless contract killer becomes haunted by his former targets, he enlists a psychic for help, but their quest to make peace with the past puts them at odds with his ruthless employer. Colorful and brimming with unforgettable characters, The Laundryman puts the stylish influences of Wong Kar-Wai on the spin cycle. (Chicago Film Festival)
On the surface The Fits is a simple story about an 11-year-old girl joining a local dance group, but this mesmerising film is truly about bodies, movement, individualism and the group. The title puns on physical fitness, fitting in (Toni’s brother boxes in the gym next door to the rehearsal space, and Toni works out there too), and the unexplained physical spasms that befall several of the dancers.
Filmed in countries all over the world, from the brightest runways to the darkest slums, and featuring interviews with the world’s leading influencers including Stella McCartney, Livia Firth and Vandana Shiva, The True Cost is an unprecedented project that invites us on an eye-opening journey into the lives of the many people and places behind our clothes. A portion of proceeds will be donated to Battered Women’s Support Services and the screening will include a pop-up shop by My Sister’s Closet.
Ben Foster is Lance Armstrong, multiple Tour de France champion, cancer survivor, and, as we all now know, cheat. Scripted by John Hodge (Trainspotting) and directed by British veteran Stephen Frears (The Queen; Philomena), The Program fairly rockets through the early stages, tracing Armstrong’s meteoric rise - and concurrent investment in performance-enhancing drugs - in bold, brash strokes, before zeroing in on the crusading Irish journalist David Walsh (Chris O’Dowd), apparently the only man in cycling to smell a rat.
Set in a remote forest ashram in India, the film explores the daily life of the followers of Swami Dayananda, one of the last teachers of Vedanta. Rather than focus on the Swami or the intricacies of his teachings, Gurukulam places the audience in the ashram, evoking a visceral presence of the place and a tactile sense of the sacred.
A musical journey through the swamps of the Louisiana Bayou, the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta and Moonshine soaked BBQs in the North Mississippi Hill Country. Visiting the last original blues devils, many in their 80’s, still living in the deep south, working without management and touring the Chitlin’ Circuit. Let Bobby Rush, Barbara Lynn, Henry Gray, Carol Fran, Lazy Lester, Bilbo Walker, RL Boyce, Jimmy ’Duck’ Holmes, Lil Buck Sinegal, LC Ulmer and their friends awaken the blues in all of us.