Sundance ’16: “God’s Wrath,” “Peace” among doc shorts

Sol Friedman's Bacon & God's Wrath (pictured) and Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher's Peace in the Valley are among the 18 films selected for this year's documentary shorts program at the Sundance Film Festival.
December 9, 2015

Sol Friedman’s Bacon & God’s Wrath (pictured) and Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher’s Peace in the Valley are among the 18 films selected for this year’s documentary shorts program at the Sundance Film Festival.

Bacon & God’s Wrath, which held its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, documents a 90-year-old Jewish woman reflecting on her life experiences as she prepares to try bacon for the first time.

The recently launched Field of Vision – helmed by Citizenfour director Laura Poitras, filmmaker AJ Schnack and former Hot Docs programmer Charlotte Cook – will premiere two films at the festival, including Peace in the Valley, which centers on the city of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, as its inhabitants prepare to vote on LGBT rights; and Schnack’s Speaking is Difficult, which details in reverse “a scene of tragedy and chaos.”

Meanwhile, Razan Ghalayini’s Entrapped – from Field of Vision collaborator and news site The Intercept – investigates the FBI’s claims that it had uncovered a threat against a U.S. Army base in New Jersey.

Elsewhere, Juno and Men, Women & Children director Jason Reitman’s Roast Battle, chronicling an evening at the Comedy Store’s Roast Battle, will also screen at the festival.

This year’s program – which runs January 21 to 31 – is comprised of 72 short films and includes projects from across the narrative, animation and documentary spaces. Selected films will screen in Park City, Salt Lake City, Sundance and Ogden, Utah.

“In recent years, shorts have taken on a bigger presence within the film and media industries, helping more and more people feel the power and potential of these short-on-time, big-on-ideas films,” said Mike Plante, senior programmer for the Sundance Film Festival, in a statement.

The full list of non-fiction shorts playing at this year’s Sundance Film Festival can be viewed here. A selected list of projects, with descriptions provided by the Sundance Institute, are listed below:

Another Kind of Girl / Jordan (Director: Khaldiya Jibawi) — Filmed during a media workshop for Syrian girls in Jordan’s Za’atari Refugee Camp, 17-year-old Khaldiya meditates on how the camp has opened up new horizons and given her a sense of courage that she lacked in Syria.

Beneath the Embers (Bajo las Brasas) / Mexico (Directors and screenwriters: Verónica Jessamyn López Sainz, Andrea Fuentes Charles) — Isabel, a young woman from the Sierra mountains of Guanajuato, is motivated by the love of her family, and she has learned that she must sacrifice her present in order to value tomorrow’s success and achieve her dreams.

Figure / Poland, Belgium (Director and screenwriter: Katarzyna Gondek) — A gigantic figure emerges from the snow and sits on a hill with spiders, saints and bumper cars in this surreal tale about creating myths, religious kitsch and the desire for greatness. Meet the world’s largest sacral miniature park resident.

I Am Yup’ik / U.S.A. (Directors: Daniele Anastasion, Nathan Golon) — A 16-year-old Yup’ik Eskimo leaves his tiny village and travels across the frozen tundra to compete in an all-Yup’ik basketball tournament and bring pride to his village.

Mining Poems or Odes / United Kingdom, Scotland (Director: Callum Rice) — Robert, an ex-shipyard welder from Govan, Glasgow, reflects on how his life experiences have influenced his newfound compulsion to write.

The Saint of Dry Creek / U.S.A. (Director: Julie Zammarchi) — Patrick Haggerty was a teenager in rural Dry Creek, Washington, in the late 1950s. Here, he remembers the day he first had a conversation with his father about being gay.

The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Mickey Duzyj) — Haru Urara, a Japanese racehorse, became a national icon after enduring a losing streak of epic proportions. Dubbed “The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere,” she was a symbol of perseverance and inspiration during a time of economic crisis.

A Woman and Her Car / Canada (Director: Loïc Darses) — December 31, 2003: Lucie decides to write a letter to the man who abused her from the age of 8 to 12 years old and resolves to personally bring it to him, wherever he may be.

About The Author
Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.