This year I am an intern at the Montclair Film Festival. The festival was originally scheduled to take place in May, but was postponed until October because of the pandemic. The festival has a selection of online screenings and drive-in cinema experiences. There are panels, Q&A’s, and special guests. Today I want to share with you some of the films/panels I am most excited for. Let’s begin!

MontclairFilm on YouTube

1. Surge (2020) – 93 minutes

A documentary film with a pre-recorded Q&A that is available for online viewing from Saturday, October 17 to Sunday, October 25.

Hannah Rosenzweig and Wendy Sachs are the directors and producers of this documentary about the record number of first-time female candidates who ran, won and upended politics in the historic 2018 midterm elections. Following three candidates in Texas, Indiana and Illinois who each were looking to flip their red district to blue (including Lauren Underwood, the youngest black woman to ever be elected to Congress), Surge explores the dynamic campaigns of this new generation of politician, driven to service and representation as a way of counteracting the historical underrepresentation of women in the American political landscape, while inspiring hope for enduring change.

2. I Am Greta (2020) – 97 minutes

A documentary on Greta Thunberg available for virtual screenings in CT, NY, and NJ only from Friday, October 23 to Sunday, October 25, including a Q&A with the producer, Cecilia Nessen.

In August 2018, Greta Thunberg began a “school strike for climate,” sitting in front of the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm to draw attention to her concern about the government’s inaction on the urgent issue of climate change. I AM GRETA follows her story from its origins, creating a powerful portrait of a committed thinker and advocate whose decision to speak up in the face of indifference continues to shape our world.

3. Equity Panel

This panel is part of the Storyteller Series and is presented in partnership with Audible. It’s available for virtual screening from Saturday, October 17 to Sunday, October 25.

2020 has been a watershed moment in the documentary filmmaking community, as organizations like Brown Girls Doc Mafia build community, develop resources and networks, and engage in an organized effort to create opportunities and representation for women of color in all areas of non-fiction filmmaking. The panel of women in non-fiction film explore the impact of their work on the field of documentary films, the challenges ahead, and the solutions and resources being developed that are creating systemic change in the documentary film community.

4. Environmental Shorts

These 2 documentaries on the environmental concerns of Greenland and Japan are available from Saturday, October 17 to Sunday, October 25. There is a pre-recorded Q&A with director Dan McDougall (Open Water) and Otto Bell (The Toxic Pigs of Fukushima).

Open Water (2019) – 14 minutes (In English and Greenlandic with English subtitles)

A glimpse into the lives of three Greenlanders: a hunter, a ship’s captain and a fisherman, individuals whose very existence and heritage is intertwined with the Arctic Ocean.

The Toxic Pigs of Fukushima (2020) – 35 minutes (in Japanese with English subtitles)

The Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 triggered a tsunami, nuclear meltdown and mass evacuations in Fukushima Prefecture. Today, as part of a Government push to encourage resettlement, local hunters have been enlisted to dispose of radiated Wild Boars that roam the abandoned streets and buildings.

5. Case Study: Palm Springs

Presented in partnership with Audible and part of the Storyteller Series, this conversation is available from Saturday, October 17 to Sunday, October 25.

One of the best comedies of the year, PALM SPRINGS was the breakout hit of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Join star and producer, Andy Samberg, star Cristin Milioti, Director Max Barbakow, and writer Andy Siara as they discuss the creative process behind their hilarious mindbender of a film, and their experience with bringing the movie into the world in a year unlike any other.

Thank you for reading. Be sure to check out Montclair Film Festival‘s website if you are looking for some fun, new films to watch while you are at home. I find it so exciting to learn about new creatives and watch their work. Let me know if you check out any of these films! You can check out the festival on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.

P.S. Shoutout Montclair Film Festival for all the information about the films that is provided in this post. They are great at writing concise, interesting summaries of a film, panel, or Q&A. Also, some of these films/panels have geographical limitations, you can learn more on the Montclair Film Festival website here.

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