A-Z Feature Films 2022

Young people everywhere are fighting for human rights, climate justice, dignity, freedom of expression, access to education, safe food, and clean water. Alone, against all odds, sometimes risking their lives and safety, teens around the globe are standing up to protect and care for those directly in harm’s way. At a time when everything seems to be or has been falling apart, these young leaders show us all how to live.

In small town British Columbia, Mike Drinkwater (Daniel Doheny), lives with his idiosyncratic and mostly absent dad, Hank (Eric McCormack)–both in desperate need of a role model. At school Mike is relentlessly bullied by star athlete, Luke. Of course Luke and Mike’s dads had a teenage rivalry decades before in the same class. Next door to the Drinkwaters, Wallace has moved in with her welcoming Filipino grandparents. Wallace takes a reluctant shine to Mike as she comes to terms with the loss of her parents and makes her way in a new town.

Gabi just wants to be Gabi–a noble quest for any young person trying to stay true to themselves–and yet it’s not always as easy as it sounds. From as young as 8 years old, Gabi asserts the astute observation that there is no remarkable difference between boys and girls, the difference seems to be the way boys are treated in comparison to girls. During these five formative years, debut documentary filmmaker Engeli Broberg patiently peers into an intimate world, as if a fly on the wall of Gabi’s gender evolution.

A Cambodian Buddhist, sci-fi – yes, you read that right! Nano technology has advanced to the point that the economically privileged live in an augmented reality. Unfortunately, not everyone in Phnom Penh has the means to be linked into the network. In fact the closest most in Tralop Bek come to ever being augmented is when scientists pay residents of the impoverished community to be test subjects for their new augments. Prompted by vivid dreams of his past lives, 13 year old Leng set out to find a rare golden statue believed to be taken from his home by the French, centuries ago. As they follow clues to find the statue, Leng and a local street scavenger, Srey Leak unearth unsettling information about Leng’s true identity.

Growing up in Aleppo, Syria, 12-year-old Lamya’s curious mind meets a fascinating muse in the poems of Rumi. Her tutor has offered the poems as a topic of study, to discuss Rumi’s life as a refugee. Taken by his words, Layma cannot conceive his full impact, until she too, like Rumi, finds herself fleeing her home, destined toward an unknown future. With her mother distraught and her community in ruin, with danger around every corner, Lamya escapes the turmoil through her dreams, her vast imagination, and the comforting words of this great poet (from the book her beloved teacher gave her and has now become her only earthly possession). The parallels of Rumi’s story, set in1221, form an alternate reality in which Lamya meets Rumi to connect with his experience in new and surprising ways.

Martin hates the idea of spending any time away from his gadgets and the conveniences of modern life. He’s going to need to get over himself, because his parents have signed him up for two weeks at a summer camp. The other kids all know each other from years of summers together in this most special spot. This year however, it would seem their idyllic green get away is under threat of disappearing. Without the comforts of technology, Martin will be challenged to either join the group or remain an outcast.

It’s 1941, and twelve-year-old Rolf and his father, Ludwig, must leave their hometown to escape Nazi persecution. On the border with Spain, they meet their guide: Núria, a girl only slightly older. Rolf, a city boy, and Núria, a country girl, embark on a dangerous journey through the Pyrenees, on a path that will teach them to trust and learn from each other.

Introverted Masha sees herself as an outsider, unless she’s with Yana and Senia who share her non-conformist status. While she is trying to navigate the intensity of high school and her pre-graduation year, Masha falls in love in a way that forces her out of her mostly isolated comfort zone. Stop-Zemlia is a radical, authentic, and sensitive glimpse at the unsettling feeling of uncertainty and the reality of friendship and social status and its impact on young growth.

In 1988, in Saint-Élie-de-Caxton, an eleven year old boy is worried for his grandmother’s life. Ill and weakened, the elderly storyteller tries to convince her grandson that Death no longer exists. Her story will bring back to life the extraordinary people from the village in 1927 who, by using incredible tricks, will eliminate the looming Death that threatens them. From now on, death will coincide with the birth of legends.

When nine year old Matin finds out that his older sister has cancer, he resolves to grant her the one wish she’s always had: to wear a wedding dress. Part road-trip, part philosophical adventure, Ziba’s Wish celebrates the momentum of youthful optimism, tugging on the heart strings, it invites a glimpse of the region we rarely get to see.


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