TAHOE FILM FEST

December 3 – 6, 2020

IMPORTANT COVID INFORMATION – As per an order issued by our Governor, movie theaters are allowed to operate at a 50% capacity. All of our venues are being cleaned and sanitized with cleaning supplies that are required and issued by the State. Throughout the film fest, social distancing and wearing face coverings will be required. Please try to purchase your tickets online if at all possible as we are trying to limit person-to-person contact. However, theater box offices will be open for ticket sales with social distancing and protections in place. We take this very seriously and believe that it is safe to go to the theater and watch these incredible films. Please, if you feel as though you have any symptoms whatsoever you should remain at home in isolation.

PURPLE MOUNTAINS

PURPLE MOUNTAINS

2020 (USA) 53 minutes
Directed by: Josh “Bones” Murphy

Professional snowboarder and mountaineer Jeremy Jones has an intimate relationship with the outdoors. It’s his escape, his identity, and his legacy. But over the course of his 45 years in the mountains, he’s seen many things change: more extreme weather, fewer snow days, and economic strain on mountain towns. Motivated by an urge to protect the places he loves, Jeremy sets out on a physical and philosophical journey to find common ground with fellow outdoor people across diverse political backgrounds. He learns their hopes and fears while walking a mile in their shoes on the mountain and in the snow. With intimacy and emotion set against breathtaking backdrops, Purple Mountains navigates America’s divide with a refreshing perspective: even though we may disagree about climate policy, our shared values can unite us.

Jeremy Jones in attendance

Watch the trailer.

SOLVING FOR Z

SOLVING FOR Z

2020 (USA) 27 minutes
Directed by: Teton Gravity Research

How much can we gain from the mountains? How much can we lose? Between our own perceptions and the reality of the hazards, how much space exists? And in that gap, how do knowledge, skills and chance influence our fate? Solving for Z, a Patagonia Films and Teton Gravity Research collaboration, explores Teton-based IFMGA guide, skier and father Zahan Billimoria’s relationship with risk, and finding both purpose and tragedy in the mountains.

Courtesy of Patagonia Films

PUBLIC TRUST

PUBLIC TRUST

2020 (USA) 96 minutes
Director: David Byars
Exec Producer: Robert Redford

In a time of growing polarization, there is one thing a majority of Americans still share and agree on: our 640 million acres of public lands should be protected. These wild places are intrinsic to our national identity, offer a solution to mitigate the climate crisis, provide habitat to animals large and small, and offer the most magnificent landscapes in the world. PUBLIC TRUST focuses on three land-based conflicts—the slashing of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah; the potential destruction of the Boundary Waters Wilderness in Minnesota; and the de facto sale of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The film makes a clear case for protecting our public lands and how the extractive industries, driven by only greed and profit, are trying to rob us and future generations of our shared American heritage.

Courtesy of Patagonia Films

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AKASHINGA: THE BRAVE ONES

AKASHINGA: THE BRAVE ONES

2020 (USA) 13 minutes
Directed by: Maria Wilhelm
Executive Producer: James Cameron


With many of Africa’s species reaching levels near extinction, Akashinga is a radical, new and highly effective weapon against poaching. Founded in Zimbabwe by anti-poaching leader Damien Mander, the women-only team of rangers, drawn from the abused and marginalised, is revolutionising the way animals are protected, communities are empowered— and its members’ own lives are being transformed. Mander’s innovative approach to conservation calls for community buy-in rather than full-on armed assault against poachers. If a community understands the economic benefits of preserving animals, then it will eliminate poaching without an armed struggle. 

Courtesy of National Geographic Films

Watch the trailer.

THAT’S WILD

THAT’S WILD

2020 (USA) 63 minutes
Directed by: Michiel Thomas

Being a teenager and growing up in downtown Atlanta can be difficult as highlighted by these three real-life protagonists in That’s Wild. Clifford tries to fill the void of his incarcerated father, Ahmani struggles with the aftermath of a homeless childhood, and Nicholas grapples with episodes of depression. When the boys sign up for the after-school program, Wilderness Works, they quickly begin to unpack the negative pressures that dominate their day-to-day lives. An adventurous backpacking summer trip in the heart of the Colorado wilderness, takes these teenagers through rapid rivers, high-altitudes and 12,000 ft snow capped peaks, all while overcoming their own personal mountains.

Watch the trailer.

UNNUR

UNNUR

2020 (USA) 17 minutes
Directed by: Chris Burkard

After a near-death experience, an Icelandic photographer and former kayaker discovers a newfound passion for surfing and a new perspective worth living for with the birth of his daughter Unnur.

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THE NEW WEST AND THE POLITICS OF THE ENVIRONMENT

THE NEW WEST AND THE POLITICS OF THE ENVIRONMENT

2020 (USA) 90 minutes
Directed by: Jon Christensen
Produced by: Matthew Crotty
Featuring: Harry Reid

As a Congressman and Senator, Harry Reid created Nevada’s first national park and protected more than 4 million acres of wilderness. He brokered historic pacts to end water wars on the Truckee and Carson Rivers that reframed water in the West, as well as set in place new agreements at Lake Tahoe and other signal public lands and water deals. He also sparked a renewable energy revolution in the Southwest. Reid has been the architect of a Western strategy built on a pragmatic approach to environmental politics that was about getting things done across the aisle. While focusing on his passionate connection to the environment in a state not known as a bastion of green thinking, let alone politics, the documentary points the way forward for a pragmatic environmental politics in the American West.

Watch the trailer.

KISS THE GROUND

KISS THE GROUND

2020 (USA) 84 minutes
Directed by: Joshua Tickell
Featuring: Ian Somerhalder, Ray Archuleta, John Wick, Gisele Bundchen, Tom Brady, Jason Mraz, Rosario Dawson, Patricia Arquette and Governor Gavin Newsom

Kiss the Ground is a powerful, gripping and compelling documentary that is narrated by Woody Harrelson. It deals with a revolutionary group of activists, scientists, farmers and politicians, all of which join forces in a global movement of “regenerative agriculture,” which could be essential in balancing our climate, replenishing our vast water supply, and help feed the world. Science experts and celebrity activists are unveiling ways in which the earth’s soil may be the key to combating climate change and helping to preserve our planet Earth.

Watch the trailer.

REBUILDING PARADISE

REBUILDING PARADISE

2020 (USA) 91 minutes
Directed by: Ron Howard

On November 8, 2018, tucked in the Sierra Nevada foothills, the picturesque town of Paradise would be changed forever. The Camp Fire, one of California’s deadliest and most destructive fires in history, displaced over 50,000 residents, leaving the community in ashes. In the aftermath of the haunting images of thick smoke and raging fires, Ron Howard’s documentary follows a group of residents as they struggle to rebuild their lives. While coping from the trauma and grieving their loved ones, they must wrestle with the logistics and bureaucracy of rebuilding their community. A sincere portrait of humanity, REBUILDING PARADISE is a tribute of resilience in the face of uncertainty.

Courtesy of National Geographic

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NOMAD: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF BRUCE CHATWIN

NOMAD: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF BRUCE CHATWIN

2020 (USA) 85 minutes
Directed by: Wernor Herzog

When Bruce Chatwin was dying, his friend Werner Herzog made a final visit. As a parting gift, Chatwin gave him his rucksack. Thirty years later, Herzog sets out on his own journey, inspired by Chatwin’s passion for the nomadic life. Werner Herzog turns the camera on himself and his
decades-long friendship with the late travel writer Bruce Chatwin, a kindred spirit whose quest for ecstatic truth carried him to all corners of the globe. Herzog’s deeply personal portrait of Chatwin, illustrated with archival discoveries, film clips, and a mound of “brontosaurus skin,”
encompasses their shared interest in aboriginal cultures, ancient rituals, and the mysteries stitching together life on earth.

Watch the trailer.

PARASITE

PARASITE

2019 (SOUTH KOREA) 132 minutes
Directed by: Bong Joon Ho

Meet the Park Family: the picture of aspirational wealth. And the Kim Family, rich in street smarts but not much else. Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together and the Kims sense a golden opportunity. Masterminded by college-aged Ki-woo, the Kim children expediently install themselves as tutor and art therapist, to the Parks. Soon, a symbiotic relationship forms between the two families. The Kims provide “indispensable” luxury services while the Parks obliviously bankroll their entire household. When a parasitic interloper threatens the Kims’ newfound comfort, a savage, underhanded battle for dominance breaks out, threatening to destroy the fragile ecosystem between the Kims and the Parks. By turns darkly hilarious and heart-wrenching, PARASITE showcases a modern master at the top of his game.

Winner – (6) Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Production Design, Best International Film

Watch the trailer.

CRITICAL THINKING

CRITICAL THINKING

2020 (USA) 117 minutes
Directed by: John Leguizamo
Produced by: Scott M. Rosenfelt

The film is based on the true story of a 1998 Miami Jackson High School chess team. Rampant poverty, broken families, and a prejudiced system push underprivileged youth to the fringes of society. But for a magnetic group of teens, there’s a reprieve. A game where it’s not about where you come from, but how you play. Mr. “T” Martinez (played by Leguizamo), a chess militant and passionate coach, leads them to a completely foreign field of battle: the National Chess Championship. With an underfunded school district, Martinez and his team can’t just waltz into the arena. They have to fight for it. Chess runs parallel to their own experiences as Martinez teaches them that the power of Critical Thinking can not only save their kings, but also their lives.

John Leguizamo’s directorial debut

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CITIZEN PENN

CITIZEN PENN

2020 (USA) 93 minutes
Directed by: Don Hardy

Over the past decade, much of Sean Penn’s energy has gone into supporting the people of Haiti after the devastating earthquake of 2010, which claimed a quarter of a million lives and displaced many more. Penn arrived with a small team of volunteers and urgently needed supplies. Penn opted to stay on the island for months, taking over leadership of the largest refugee camp when the US military left. The film is a vivid account of first-person activism, life and death in a disaster zone, and one man’s dedication to direct action.

Winner – Best Documentary – Heartland Film Festival

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GUNDA

GUNDA

2020 (NORWAY) 93 minutes
Directed by: Victor Kossakovsky
Executive Producer: Joaquin Phoenix

In a remarkable feat of vérité filmmaking, documentarian Victor Kossakovsky gently immerses us in the life of a Norwegian farm through intimate, unspooling encounters with two clever cows, a scene-stealing, one-legged chicken, and the majestic Gunda—the eponymous mother pig who has recently given birth to a rambunctious bunch of piglets. Shot in sharply textured black-and-white, and eschewing any dialogue or music, Kossakovsky chronicles their joy and their pain with great empathy and respect. GUNDA movingly recalibrates our moral universe, and reminds us of the inherent value of life and the mystery of all animal beings. The work is a compassionate tale with its simplicity, wonder, and urgency.

Watch the trailer.

EMA

EMA

2019 (CHILE) 107 minutes
Directed by: Pablo Larrain
Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Mariana Di Girolamo

Adoptive parents Ema (Variety’s 10 To Watch 2020’s Mariana Di Girolamo) and Gastón (Gael García Bernal) are artistic free spirits in an experimental reggaeton dance troupe whose lives are thrown into chaos when their adopted son Polo is involved in a shockingly violent incident. As her marriage crumbles in the wake of the couple’s decision to reverse the adoption, Ema embarks on an odyssey of liberation and self-discovery as she dances and seduces her way into a daring new life.

Spanish with English subtitles

Winner – Venice Film Festival
Winner – Miami Film Festival

Watch the trailer.

SIBYL

SIBYL

2020 (FRANCE) 100 minutes
Directed by: Justine Triet

A sly, sultry character study from filmmaker Justine Triet, SIBYL follows a psychotherapist (Virginie Efira) who decides to quit her practice and return to writing instead. As Sibyl starts dropping patients, she begins to struggle with excess time and a lack of inspiration–until she gets a call from Margot (Adèle Exarchopoulos), a young actress wrapped up in a dramatic affair with her costar, Igor (Gaspard Ulliel), who happens to be married to the film’s director (Sandra Hüller). Becoming further enmeshed in Margot’s life, Sibyl starts to blur past and present, fiction with reality, and the personal with the professional as she begins to use Margot’s life as source material for her novel.

French with English subtitles

Cannes Film Festival – Nominated – Palme d’Or

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SHIRLEY

SHIRLEY

2020 (USA) 107 minutes
Directed by: Josephine Decker
Cast: Elizabeth Moss, Michael Stuhlbarg, Logan Lerman, Victoria Pedretti, Odessa Young

As renowned for her morose nature as she is for her horror fiction, writer Shirley Jackson (Elizabeth Moss) is crafting yet another masterpiece when the arrival of newlyweds Fred and Rose disrupt her creative process and marriage to literary critic – and philandering professor – Stanley Hyman (Michael Stuhlbarg). As Stanley spars to maintain academic dominance over his would-be protégé Fred, Rose attempts to dampen her own ambitions and adjust to married life while living under the roof of their fiery intellectual hosts with quicksilver loyalties and myriad neuroses. When the motives of Shirley’s literary muse prove elusive, Rose’s curiosity and trusting nature make her tender prey for a brilliant author whose only allegiance is to her work.

Winner – Sundance Film Festival

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CLEMENCY

CLEMENCY

2019 (USA) 112 minutes
Directed by: Chinonye Chukwu
Cast: Alfre Woodard, Richard Schiff, Aldis Hodge, Wendell Pierce

How do you salvage your marriage when you are struggling to salvage your soul, your sense of self, and your sense of right and wrong? Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard) is a prison warden who, over the years, has been drifting away from her husband while dutifully carrying out executions in a maximum security prison. When she strikes up a unique bond with death-row inmate Anthony Woods (Aldis Hodge), a layer of emotional skin is peeled back, forcing Bernadine to confront the complex—and often contradictory—relationship between good intentions, unrequited desires, and what it means to be sanctioned to kill. Clemency is an absorbing and penetrating character study that pulls into deep focus the various ways in which people facing impossible ethical circumstances strive to achieve some state of grace.

Winner – Sundance Film Festival – Grand Jury Prize

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MONSTERS & MEN

MONSTERS & MEN

2019 (USA) 96 minutes
Directed by: Reinaldo Marcus Green
Cast: John David Washington, Anthony Ramos, Cara Buono, Nicole Beharie

This is the story of an event that’s all too familiar in American society: The shooting of an unarmed black man during an altercation with police officers. This act of violence, occurring on a street corner in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn, is the starting point and exploration of a community in the wake of yet another controversial police intervention. The narrative is divided between a witness to the incident who captured everything on camera, a conflicted cop who experiences systemic racism while still defending his force, and a high school athlete politicized by the shooting. Though the three men cross paths only briefly, it is through powerful moments of prolonged eye contact that the narrative throttle is passed from one to another. As the film changes protagonists, deeper questions are asked about truth, prejudice, justice and how to do the right thing.

Winner – Sundance Film Festival – Special Dramatic Jury Prize

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BLOOD ON THE WALL

BLOOD ON THE WALL

USA (2020) 93 minutes
Directed by: Nick Questad, Sebastian Junger

Immigration under the current administration is indelibly marked by powerful media images of migrant caravans, thousands of Central American families walking hundreds of miles through Mexico desperate to attain asylum in the United States. Acclaimed filmmaker Sebastian Junger (Academy Award®-nominated RESTREPO and KORENGAL) reteams with Nick Quested (Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS) and National Geographic to chronicle the course of events that would transform Acapulco from tourist destination to murder capital in less than a decade. As explicit in its indictment as it is in its graphic presentation of the horrors these families are desperate to escape, this documentary is a wake-up call to those who refuse to acknowledge the role the U.S. has played in allowing drugs and money to move effortlessly across the same border where endangered families are refused entry each day.

Courtesy of National Geographic

Watch the trailer.

THE CAVE

THE CAVE

2019 (USA) 107 minutes
Directed by: Feras Fayyad

Director Feras Fayyad returns to his native, Wartorn Syria to follow a dedicated team of female doctors who treat casualties in an underground hospital while battling systemic sexism. Shot from 2016 to 2018, the film takes us to a subterranean landscape that feels akin to the post-apocalyptic.  With life too dangerous above ground, survivors create a network of secret tunnels under the city for an underground hospital maintained by women doctors. Great care is taken to visualize the landscape and its memorable occupants with artful cinematography. The heart of the film is Dr. Amani, a young Syrian woman operating in unimaginable conditions with great humor and fortitude. When not tending to patients – many of whom are small children – she’s forced to justify her work to chauvinistic men who insist that a woman should be at home fulfilling domestic duties, not running a hospital.

Nominated for Academy Award – Best Documentary 2020
Winner – Primetime Emmy Award
Winner – Toronto Film Festival

Watch the trailer.

ELLA FITZGERALD: JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS

ELLA FITZGERALD: JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS

2020 (USA) 89 minutes
Directed by: Leslie Woodhead

Ella Fitzgerald was a teenager living on the streets of Harlem when she won a 1934 talent contest at the Apollo Theatre. Within months of her appearance, she was the star attraction of ‘Chick Webb and His Orchestra’. ELLA: JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS illustrates her sublime transformation across six decades, reconstructing the stale stock narrative into a well-rounded examination of her mixed fortunes. A resolute survivor with an adventurous bandleader’s instincts, versatile Ella evolved with the music and demonstrated an impressive mastery of swing, bebop, scat, and jazz. Rare media details the shifting socioeconomic conflicts that haunted a woman moving in relatively progressive circles, forced to navigate the confusing intersection of celebrity, racism, and gender-charged industry politics.

Featuring interviews with Tony Bennett, Jamie Cullum, Laura Mvula, Johnny Mathis, Smokey Robinson, Cleo Laine, Andre Previn, Norma Miller, Patti Austin, Izsak Perlman, Margo Jefferson, Will Friedwald and a rare interview with Ella’s son, Ray Brown Jr.

Watch the trailer.

BILLIE

BILLIE

2020 (USA) 96 minutes
Directed by: James Erskine


To make this film about the incomparable Billie Holiday, director James Erskine had access to a treasure trove of previously unheard material. In the 1970s, Holiday biographer Linda Lipnack Kuehl recorded hundreds of hours of interviews with the jazz singer’s friends, lovers, musicians, relatives, even the fed who busted her for drugs in 1947 and the oddly jolly pimp who had her turning tricks at 13. Her life was rough, and Billie doesn’t shy away from the wreckage. But out of that pain and a voracious lust for life arose the greatest jazz singer of the century. Featuring generous clips of her performances — her wrenching London rendition of Strange Fruit will chill your bones — and unfiltered insights from Sylvia Syms, Tony Bennett, Count Basie, John Hammond and many others, Billie is essential viewing for anyone who’s fallen under the spell of the great Lady Day.

Watch the trailer.

THE GIFT: THE JOURNEY OF JOHNNY CASH

THE GIFT: THE JOURNEY OF JOHNNY CASH

2019 (USA) 94 minutes
Directed by: Thom Zimny
Featuring: Robert Duvall, Dwight Yoakum, Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris, John Carter Cash, Rosanne Cash and others

Johnny Cash stands among the giants of 20th century American life. But his story remains tangled in mystery and myth. This documentary, created with the full cooperation of the Cash estate and rich in recently discovered archival materials, brings Cash the man out from behind the legend. Taking the remarkable Folsom Prison recording as a central motif and featuring interviews with family and celebrated collaborators, the film explores the artistic victories, the personal tragedies, the struggles with addiction, and the spiritual pursuits that colored Johnny Cash’s life.

Watch the trailer.

LAUREL CANYON: A PLACE IN TIME

LAUREL CANYON: A PLACE IN TIME

2020 (USA) 157 minutes
Directed by: Allison Ellwood
Part 1 – 79 mins
Part 2 – 78 mins
Featuring: Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, The Doors, Linda Ronstadt, Eagles, Jackson Brown, Alice Cooper, The Byrds, The Monkees, Frank Zappa and many more

Laurel Canyon pulls back the curtain on a mythical world and provides an up-close look at the lives of the musicians who inhabited it. Through a wealth of rare and newly unearthed footage and audio recordings, the series features an intimate portrait of the artists who created a musical revolution that changed popular culture. Uniquely immersive and experiential, this event takes us back in time to a place where a rustic canyon in the heart of Los Angeles became a musical petri dish.

Watch the trailer.

MILES DAVIS: THE BIRTH OF COOL

MILES DAVIS: THE BIRTH OF COOL

2019 (USA) 114 minutes
Directed by: Stanley Nelson

Newly released archival material, interviews with pre-eminent historians and personal friends like Quincy Jones, illustrate a man of intensity and devotion to his craft. Despite the indignities of America during the time of segregation, nothing was going to stop Davis from realizing his dream: to create a new form of musical expression. Davis worked like a physicist with his collaborators to push musical experimentation and widen the tones and lyricism of jazz—the effects of which are felt to this day. As the film delves into his past loves, personal relationships, and addictions, a clearer portrait of Davis the man emerges. Davis is fearless and engaging throughout, and his intellectual fervor is only tempered by his insecurities. An epic biopic collects the strands of a creative life and weaves them together for us to understand one of the great modern American artists like never before.

Watch the trailer.

JIMMY CARTER: ROCK & ROLL PRESIDENT

JIMMY CARTER: ROCK & ROLL PRESIDENT

2020 (USA) 96 minutes
Directed by: Mary Warton
Featuring: Jimmy Carter, Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks, Chuck Leavell, Nile Rodgers, Willie Nelson, Roseanne Cash, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Buffett, Bono, Andrew Young, Madeleine Albright

If it hadn’t been for a bottle of scotch and a late-night visit from musician Greg Allman, Jimmy Carter might never have been elected the 39th President of the United States. This fascinating documentary charts the mostly forgotten story of how Carter, a lover of all types of music, forged a tight bond with musicians Willie Nelson, the Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan and others.

Low on campaign funds and lacking in name recognition, Carter relied on support from these artists to give him a crucial boost in the Democratic primaries. Once Carter was elected, the musicians became frequent guests in the White House.

Watch the trailer.

Founding Partners

 
Crystal Bay Casino
Sierra Sun
TERC
North Lake Tahoe Visitors and Convention Bureau
Coldwell Banker
 

Signature Partners

 
Mt Rose
Hyatt Regency
Welk Resorts
Best Western Truckee Tahoe
Cedar House Sport Hotel
Reno Tahoe
Tito’s Handmade Vodka
The Row
Northstar California
 

Business Partners

 
Raleys
Tahoe Water Association
Plumas Bank
Truckee Airport – Community Partner
Tahoe Daves