Riverside Saginaw Spring Film Festival • April 25-28 at The Court Theatre

    icon Apr 09, 2019
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The Riverside Saginaw Film Festival is having a mid-year festival that will be running from  April 25-28 exclusively at the Court Theatre in Saginaw.They will be screening seven newly-released films (each film screened twice) and all are winners from major fesivals like Cannes, Sundance, SXSW and Cinetopia.

For 12 years the Riverside Saginaw Film Festival has hosted a four-day festival in November at various venues throughout the city. This year it decided to expand. “One of the perennial challenges for Riverside is  ‘so many films, so little time,’” says Irene Hensinger, the director of the all-volunteer festival.

“Now, with the 1938-built Court Theatre beautifully restored and open again, this is an opportunity to have a mini-festival and show some brand new films that have won awards at recent major festivals.”  The event will also serve as the official grand opening of the privately-owned Court Street Theatre, she said.

Chief among the films being screened is a Lebanese movie titled “Capernaum,” about a hard-luck 12-year-old boy who sues his parents for the “crime” of giving him life.  It won the 2018 Grand Jury Prize at Cannes and was nominated as best foreign film at the Oscars and Golden Globes.

“I saw ‘ Capernaum’ in Los Angeles earlier this year,” says Hensinger. “It is a narrative story but puts a real-life face on the current issues of the middle east, and those fleeing strife simply to survive. Its young charismatic star was in real life a refugee. It is a film that will stay with you for a long time.”

The three documentaries deal with a Mexico City family who runs an ambulance company, a wild beekeeper in the Balkans and two playful canines in a Chilean skate park. The other movies depict the early life of the Swedish author of “Pippi Longstocking,” a suburban American woman who enters a puzzle tournament, and a police officer suffering a somewhat comedic meltdown.

Tickets are $6 at the door for each showing.

Following are synopses of the seven films showings along with links for trailers to view.

Becoming Astrid (2018, Sweden, biography/drama, 123m, not rated)                                                                           Showing Friday • April 26 • 2:00 PM & Sunday • April 18 • 11:00 AM

A depiction of the early tumultuous years of Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, the world's third most-translated children's writer She is credited for more than 100 books, including "Pippi Longstocking," "Emil of Lönneberga" and "The Six Bullerby Children."

Winner of the audience choice award at the Chicago International Film Festival.



Capernaum (2018, Lebanon, drama, 123m, R)                                                                                                          Showing Saturday • April 27 • 2:00 PM & Sunday April 28 • 8:00 PM

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Nadine Labaki's “Capernaum” ("Chaos") tells the story of Zain (Zain al Rafeea), a 12-year-old Lebanese boy who sues his parents for the "crime" of giving him life.

The gutsy streetwise child flees his negligent parents, survives through his wits on the streets, takes care of an Ethiopian refugee and her baby son, is jailed for a violent crime, and finally seeks justice in a courtroom.

The was made with a cast of non-professionals playing characters whose lives closely parallel their own. When the non-actors's instincts diverged from the written script, Labaki adapted the screenplay to follow them.

Was nominated for a best foreign film Oscar and Golden Globe.



Puzzle  (2018, U.S., drama, 103m, R)                                                                                                                               Showing Thursday • April 25 • 5:00 PM & Saturday • April 27 • 11:00 AM

A wife (Kelly Macdonald) with two grown sons, who has a talent for assembling jigsaw puzzles,  sneaks away from her suburban town and goes to New York City, where she partners with a man for a puzzle tournament in Atlantic City.

As she experiences independence for the first time, she begins to view her value and the pieces of her own life in a whole new ligh

Premiered at Sundance.



Midnight Family (2019, Mexico, documentary, 90m, not rated)                                                                                     Showing Thursday • April 25 • 8:00 PM & Sunday • April 28 • 5:00 PM

In Mexico City's wealthiest neighborhoods, the Ochoa family runs a for-profit ambulance, competing with other unlicensed EMTs for patients in need of urgent care. In this cutthroat industry, they struggle to keep their financial needs from compromising the people in their care.

The director spent 100 days over three years filming the family, with one camera in the front and one in the back of the ambulance.

Grand Jury Prize nominee at Sundance.



Thunder Road (2018, USA, comedy/drama, 92m, not rated)                                                                                              Showing Friday • April 26 • 5:00 PM & Saturday • April 27 • 8:00 PM

A police officer faces a personal meltdown following a divorce and the death of his mother.

Winner of a grand jury award at SXSW Festival.



Honeyland (2019, USA, documentary, 87m, not rated)                                                                                                 Showing Friday • April 26 • 11:00 AM & Sunday • April 28 • 2:00 PM

Nestled in an isolated mountain region deep within the Balkans, Hatidze Muratova lives with her ailing mother in a village without roads, electricity or running water. She's the last in a long line of Macedonian wild beekeepers, eking out a living farming honey in small batches to be sold in the city.

Hatidze's peaceful existence is thrown into upheaval by the arrival of an itinerant family, who upsets the natural order and provokes a conflict with Hatidze that exposes the fundamental tension between nature and humanity, harmony and discord, exploitation and sustainability.

Even as the family provides a much-needed respite from Hatidze's isolation and loneliness, her very means of survival are threatened.

Winner of the grand jury prize, cinematography and documentary awards at Sundance.



Los Reyes (2018, Chile, documentary, 87m, not rated)                                                                                                Showing Friday • April 26 • 8:00 PM & Saturday • April 27 • 5:00 PM

Los Reyes ("The Kings") is the oldest skatepark in the Chilean capital of Santiago. This story is about the real kings there: Football and Chola, two stray dogs who have made their home in this open space full of hurtling skateboards and rowdy teenagers.

The energetic Chola loves to play with the balls she finds lying around. The older dog, Football, looks on impatiently and barks at Chola until she finally drops the balls.

The teenagers around them come from very different, sometimes troubled backgrounds. They each have their own story, which they recount  in voiceover.

The camerawork centers almost entirely on the subtle interaction between the two dogs as they play with a ball, a stick, a stone and each other.


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