IFP Congratulates Our 10 Alumni Films at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival! 
ACORN and the Firestorm

By the people and for the people, community organizing group ACORN became a major player in the 2008 presidential election that resulted in Barack Obama's victory. Conservatives took issue with the group, firing accusations of voter fraud and government waste at the left-leaning organization. The burgeoning right-wing opposition found unexpected allies in James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles. The pair of young conservatives and amateur journalists posed as a pimp and prostitute to try to expose ACORN's business practices via a hidden camera. The ensuing political drama spawned the now-omnipresent Breitbart Media, drove an even deeper wedge between Democrats and Republicans, and served as a prescient foreshadowing for much of today's political climate. A comprehensive non-fiction political thriller, Reuben Atlas and Sam Pollard's blow-by-blow account of the ACORN scandal encapsulates the conflicts and contradictions of our political present.
An alumnus of Spotlight on Documentaries at IFP Film Week.  More Info
The Departure  
Directed and Produced by Lana Wilson

Lana Wilson follows up her award-winning documentary After Tiller with this lyrical, intimate character study of the complex figure Ittetsu Nemoto, an aimless and rebellious former punk rocker-turned-Buddhist priest. Most famously, he is renowned in Japan for saving the lives of countless suicidal men and women through his wise and compassionate counsel. But Nemoto is now approaching middle-age with a wife and young boy of his own, when he learns his life is at risk from heart disease, compounded by the heavy emotional workload of supporting those who no longer want to live. When saving others takes such a toll, can he find the resiliency to save himself? The Departure is an intimate portrait of one quietly extraordinary man who has helped so many learn to live, and now must find the strength to learn from his own advice.

An alumnus of Spotlight on Documentaries at IFP Film Week. More Info
For Ahkeem         

Directed by Jeremy S. Levine and Landon Van Soest, Produced by Nicholas Weissman and Iyabo Boyd

The death of unarmed Black teenager Mike Brown at the hands of police is the sociopolitical background of this coming-of-age documentary about 17-year old Daje Shelton. She wants what countless Hollywood stories tell us young women in America want: good grades, good friends, and the perfect boyfriend. Instead, she runs afoul at her high school, is expelled, and given a last chance to graduate by attending an alternative program at the Innovative Concept Academy. Over the next two years, Daje struggles with typical teen growing pains, falling in love and fighting with mom, but also must increasingly combat the institutional and social roadblocks that keep black teens like her from succeeding in America. Through this intimate, cinematic tale of one teen's true story, For Akheem offers nuance to her story.

An alumnus of Spotlight on Documentaries at IFP Film Week. More Info

Directed by Greg Campbell, Written by Greg Campbell and Jenny Golden, Produced by Michel Litvak, Gary Michael Walters, Daniel Junge, Mike Shum, Geoff McLean, and Greg Campbell, Executive Produced by Jake Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker

Beginning with the war in Kosovo in 1999, award-winning photographer Chris Hondros served as witness to over a decade of conflict before being killed in Libya in 2011. Director and childhood friend Greg Campbell takes the audience on a stunning journey, retracing the path of Chris's career as a journalist, while also revealing the little-known backstories that accompany some of his most influential photographs. The extraordinary life of the photojournalist, as captured by Director Campbell, is not just about the two- time Pulitzer Prize finalist and a winner of numerous photojournalism awards, but a portrait of the man behind the lens - a man of great sensitivity, who had an impact that extended beyond the moments he captured with his camera. Through the eyes of those around him - his colleagues, friends, and subjects of his photos - the film reveals how his experiences, with all the danger, the challenges, and the people involved, made him who he was.

An alumnus of No Borders at IFP Film Week. More Info
Love After Love         

Directed by Russell Harbaugh, Written by Russell Harbaugh and Eric Mendelsohn, Produced by Lucas Joaquin, Lauren Haber, and Michael Prall

When their family's patriarch loses a harrowing battle against a fatal disease, Suzanne (Andie MacDowell) and her middle-aged sons, Nicholas (Chris O'Dowd) and Chris (James Adomian), must navigate through their increasingly unstable lives without his support. Over the course of several years, their family must endure an emotional gauntlet of domestic hardships. They face painful break-ups, failed careers, and dangerously concealed depression. Through it all, one essential truth remains: even without a father figure's presence, a family's bond is the most important thing of all. With shades of John Cassavetes and Kenneth Lonergan, director/co-writer Russell Harbaugh's Love After Love cuts to the core of what it takes to recover from the most intimate tragedies: losing a beloved family member. Funny without overplaying its comedy and touching minus fits of melodrama, Love After Love hums with universality and the everyman charms of average people overcoming life's emotionally grandiose obstacles.

An alumnus of No Borders at IFP Film Week. More Info
No Man's Land         

Directed by David Byars, Produced by David Byars, Morgan Spurlock, Jeremy Chilnick, David Holbrooke, David Osit, Rachel Traub, and Stash Wislocki

In January 2016, armed protestors in Oregon occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to call attention to what they felt was an intrusion by the federal government into their right to make a living. In a larger sense, the "patriot community" introduced itself as disgruntled American citizens with grounds for airing their grievances against a federal government that didn't have their best interests at heart. The federal government begged to differ. David Byars' No Man's Land offers a detailed account of the impasse, displaying unprecedented access to the protagonists of this incident, and culminating in a thrilling climax that resulted in the arrest and acquittal of occupation leaders Ammon and Ryan Bundy, and left another man dead. The film presents an unbiased snapshot of a crisis that ultimately proved a foreshadowing of our current political climate, and what may turn out to be a blueprint of future domestic encounters between our government and civilians.

An alumnus of Spotlight on Documentaries at IFP Film Week. More Info
The Sensitives         

Directed by Drew Xanthopoulos, Produced by David Hartstein

In Drew Xanthopoulos' intimate and cinematic documentary, we meet Joe, a patriarch whose affliction is so all-encompassing that he's indifferent to his long-suffering wife; and twin brothers Sam and Nathan, musicians who are no longer able to breathe outside of their real-life sterile "plastic bubble," and whose mother, Karen, developed her illness when she was only 17. These characters all suffer from debilitating sensitivities to their environment. Whether from ambient chemicals, genetics, electricity, or even psychogenic reasons, the cause is not clear, but the reality of the effects on these individuals is undeniable. Fortunately, Susie Molloy, a quiet firebrand who is chemically sensitive herself, seeks to help. In her, those afflicted by this modern malady have found an advocate whose mission is to de-stigmatize this community, and in telling their stories, Xanthopoulos has crafted a film itself as deeply sensitive as its title suggests.

An alumnus of Spotlight on Documentaries at IFP Film Week. More Info

Directed and Produced by Oren Jacoby

When one thinks about New York City's art scene in the early 1980s, Jean-Michel Basquiat is typically the first name that comes to mind. Back in those days, however, Richard Hambleton was just as notorious within the city's artistic genius circle. Not unlike today's Banksy, Hambleton created his singular paintings-black, ghost-like silhouettes plastered on Manhattan's buildings walls-out of plain sight, earning him a larger-than-life reputation. Just like that, though, Hambleton disappeared from the NYC art scene, succumbing to drug abuse and homelessness. Shadowman revisits Hambleton's bygone legacy, and finds him today, still painting and unrecognized among New York City's street art legends.

An alumnus of Spotlight on Documentaries at IFP Film Week. More Info
True Conviction        

Directed by Jamie Meltzer, Produced by David Alvarado, Kate McLean, and Michael May

There's a new detective agency in Dallas, Texas, started by three exonerated men with decades in prison served between them who look to free innocent people behind bars. True Conviction follows these change-makers as they not only try to rebuild their lives and families, but also attempt to fix the criminal justice system. Director Jamie Meltzer takes viewers into the real-life crime drama that surrounds these freedom fighters on their quest for justice. Brought together through the painful experiences of serving time in jail for crimes they didn't commit, these brave men embark on a journey of a lifetime to free those wrongly accused and still behind bars. As the drama unfolds, we are given privileged access and insight not only into the personal lives and struggles of the detectives, but also to the difficulties they face in the pursuit of justice. True Conviction is an incredible portrait of those who are able to overcome their past, and use the knowledge and lessons from the journey to help others and effect real change.

An alumnus of Spotlight on Documentaries at IFP Film Week. More Info
When God Sleeps        

Directed by and Written by Till Schauder, Produced by Sara Nodjoumi and Till Schauder

"My songs didn't make me famous. The fatwa did." When God Sleeps unfolds against the backdrop of the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks in the Bataclan concert venue and European right-wing backlash against Middle-Eastern refugees. It deftly weaves the journey of exiled Iranian musician Shahin Najafi with historical context and intimate biographical detail, rooting the narrative in Najafi's immediate and unavoidable reality, living under a fatwa issued against him by hardline Shiite clerics. As Najafi juggles a personal life and budding romance in Cologne, far from loved ones, with a professional career whose high profile may cost him his life, he spars with bandmates who are ambivalent about the peril his status places on their lives, and battles German police who refuse to see the death threat on his head as a legitimate danger. With camerawork that underlines the intimate aspect of this film, we bear witness to the life of an outspoken artist defying powerful men intent on silencing him.

An alumnus of Spotlight on Documentaries at IFP Film Week. More Info
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