Facebook Twitter Google+ Instagram YouTube

 October 9-12, 2014 

2014 Festival Archive


In Pleased to Meet Me, six musicians who have never met come together for one day to create a band, and maybe fulfill a dream. Starring John Doe (Roadhouse, Boogie Nights), Academy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Aimee Mann and Loudon Wainwright III, the film is based on the “This American Life” story “Everyone Speaks Elton John.”

Rocker Pete Jones (Doe) is in trouble. He’s solo in his personal and professional life and he can’t seem to finish his long-awaited album. Threatened with bankruptcy and a lawsuit from his label, Pete turns to his lost love and former producer turned radio reporter Laura Klein (Mann) for help. Together, they take an eclectic group of musicians who have never met and create a band for a day.

The 24-hour experiment will be recorded for Laura’s syndicated radio show and provide her an opportunity to establish a life out from under Pete’s shadow. For Pete, it’s a chance to re-mix his personal and creative life, provided he can get his ego out of the way. For the unknown band, it’s a time to see if they have what it takes to realize, or say goodbye to, the dream of making it in the music business.

Pleased to Meet Me (Southwest Premiere) Opening Night Film
Dir. Archie Borders
180 Degrees
USA/2013/88 min.


Heaven Adores You is an intimate, meditative inquiry into the life and music of Elliott Smith (1969-2003). By threading Smith’s music through the dense, yet often isolating landscapes of the three major cities he lived in – Portland, New York City and Los Angeles – Heaven Adores You presents a visual journey and an earnest review of the singer’s prolific songwriting and the impact it continues to have on fans, friends, and fellow musicians.

Heaven Adores You (Arizona Premiere) Closing Night Film
Dir. Nickolas Rossi
Heaven Adores You, LLC.
USA/2014/104 min.


Burnout is a comedy starring Tarah DeSpain as Ada, your average girl-next-door pot dealer. When a vote to legalize marijuana passes, she finds her livelihood suddenly threatened and must go on a journey of self discovery, which may or may not involve “modeling” her feet. What happens when the demand for the girl with the really good drugs becomes obsolete? She may just burn out.

Burnout (Southwest Premiere) Centerpiece Film
Dir. Lydia Hyslop
USA/2013/77 min.


When big news comes in for the constant bachelor Shawn, he makes it a mission to visit everyone who has shunned him for years. This includes his old friend Greg – a children’s musician living in the cozy, domestic confines of Brooklyn. After the two hit some hilarious re-acquainting pains, they soon hit the American road for a trip that will show them the gifts and the costs of real friendship.

Based on an original screenplay, These Hopeless Savages stars Matt Dellapina (‘Safe’, ‘The Quitter’, ‘Person of Interest’, ‘True Story’) alongside Sean Christopher Lewis (‘God’s Country’), MacKenzie Meehan (‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’, ‘White Collar’, ‘Mildred Pierce’) and newcomer Maria Vorhis in this bromantic comedy/drama co-directed by Sean Christopher Lewis and Kaitlyn Busbee (‘Molly’s Girl’).

These Hopeless Savages (Southwest Premiere)
Dir. Sean Lewis & Kaitlyn Busbee
Working Group Pictures
USA/2014/84 min.


2014 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award Winner Alive Inside is a joyous cinematic exploration of music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity. Director Michael Rossato-Bennett chronicles the astonishing experiences of individuals around the country who have been revitalized through the simple experience of listening to music.

This stirring documentary follows social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, as he fights against a broken healthcare system to demonstrate music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it. Stories from family members who have witnessed the miraculous effects of personalized music on their loved ones are coupled with illuminating interviews with experts, including renowned neurologist and best-selling author Oliver Sacks and musician Bobby McFerrin.

Alive Inside (Tucson Premiere)
Dir. Michael Rossato-Bennett
Projector Media
USA/2014/78 min.


Banjo Romantika leads viewers through Czech Bluegrass’s fascinating history and introduces the musicians who play this unique bluegrass hybrid.

Czechs first heard bluegrass during World War II when the Armed Forces Network broadcast American music for soldiers. The music represented freedom to dissatisfied Czechs living in a communist state. Czechs’ love for the music was solidified when Pete Seeger visited and performed in 1964. Inspired by classic American bluegrass sounds, an assortment of musicians from across the formerly communist Czech Republic have melded the past, the political and the present into a lively musical tradition entirely its own.

Banjo Romantika: American Bluegrass Music & The Czech Imagination (Southwest Premiere)
Dir. Shara Lange
RTVF/East Tennessee State University
USA/2013/65 min.


Desert Dreams invites others to experience a world of wonder, as if seen through the eyes of a child. This chronicle of a year in the Sonoran Desert of the American Southwest showcases 182 species of plants and animals in a cycle of five seasons: Dry Summer, Wet Summer, Autumn, Winter, and Spring. HD video and time-lapse imagery captured over four years blend seamlessly with stills from the filmmaker’s archive compiled over three decades. The supporting sound track combines natural sounds with a kaleidoscope of world flute and percussion vignettes performed by musician Gary Stroutsos. Twenty-nine musical instruments with “earth tones” can be heard in this film, including Chinese bamboo Dize & Xiao flutes, the African clay pot udu drum, a Cuban Marimbula thumb piano, a Middle Eastern frame drum, the Brazilian Gourd & String Berimbau, and rim flutes indigenous to the American Southwest, among others.

Desert Dreams
Dir. Thomas Wiewandt
Wild Horizons Productions
USA/2013/52 min.


The Last Kamikazis of Heavy Metal tells the story of five young guns from Chicago’s underground music scene who prove that the hardworking musician needs no more than his own bootstraps and band mates to rise to success. Brought together by their passion for rock and roll and by their allegiance to the legacy of heavy metal, the members of HESSLER will pursue their dreams no matter what it takes. After ruthless lineup changes, founder Igz Kincaid finally believes he has found the missing pieces to the puzzle he has always envisioned as his destiny. Embarking on a cross-country journey, playing in some of America’s most infamous venues, the survival of the band will be put to the test. Follow these hungry musicians from coast to coast, as a story of sacrifice, identity and the ultimate immigrant’s journey unravels… accompanied by the sound of heavy metal’s last kamikazis.

The Last Kamikazis of Heavy Metal (Arizona Premiere)
Dir. Marina & Biliana Grozdanova
El Jinete Films
USA/2014/90 min.


10 years ago, Robyn Celia and Linda Krantz moved from NYC to the nearly deserted Pioneertown, CA in hopes of reviving Pappy and Harriet’s, one of the last remaining original honkytonks in the country. Today, the venue has become a major destination deep in the Mojave Desert and has attracted artists and musicians from all over the world – ranging from Victoria Williams to Robert Plant to Vampire Weekend.

The Pioneertown Palace (Arizona Premiere)
Dir. Andrew McAllister
Bag of Tricks / Filmwelder Industries
USA/2014/9 min.


Before Benito departs on his tedious journey of selling crop insurance to farmers, he happens upon an attractive young lady named Ana. Obliging to her simple request of hitching a ride, Ana playfully tries to pull Benito out of his insurance folder and into her world. She teaches him that if you’re always looking at the road ahead, you’ll miss what your passing.

Call It Blue (Arizona Premiere)
Dir. Julia Hendrickson
Ryerson University
CANADA/2014/13 min.

A Bottle’s Odyssey

A plastic bottle goes on an epic odyssey to find its way back to its owner.

A Bottle’s Odyssey (Arizona Premiere)
Dir. Nik Kleverov
USA/2014/1 min.

Where We Start From

When a man becomes mesmerized by a woman he sees at a coffee shop, an unforeseen, spiraling love story is set in motion.

Where We Start From (Southwest Premiere)
Dir. Ben Mears
Blvd. K Films
USA/2014/12 min.

“Rollin and Tumblin” by Quarter Royale

Two-time TFMF alumni Gene Torres returns with a brand new music video for Tucson’s own blues rock outfit Quarter Royale. Only this time, not only is he behind the camera but he’s rocking the bass guitar!

“Rollin and Tumblin” by Quarter Royale (World Premiere)
Dir. Gene Torres
Lillirun Records
USA/2014/3 min.

“New Life” by Brianna Lea Pruett

Folk singer-songwriter from the mountains of Northern California, Brianna Lea Pruett’s musical expression reflects a confluence of experience and influence. Brianna plays a blend of indie-minded folk and blues suffused by the music of her Appalachian roots and her Native American heritage. From the album “Gypsy Bells” on Phoenix’s Canyon Records.

“New Life” by Brianna Lea Pruett (World Premiere)
Dir. Adam Murphy & Stan Okumura
Canyon Records
USA/2014/3 min.

When You Were Mine

Ian and Anita escape unseen pursuers and arrive at a cabin in the desert. They seek a few days of solace together, but it becomes clear their relationship is ending. Ian has changed. The question is, into what?

When You Were Mine (Southwest Premiere)
Dir. Michelle M. Witten
Vanishing Angle
USA/2014/15 min.

The OceanMaker

After the seas have disappeared, a courageous young female pilot fights against vicious sky pirates for control of the last remaining source of water: the clouds.

The OceanMaker (Southwest Premiere)
Dir. Lucas Martell
Martell Animation
USA|BELIZE/2014/10 min.

The Letdown

After finally getting a date with her crush, Natalie looks forward to a night that will hopefully end with her first kiss…

The Letdown (World Premiere)
Dir. Ashley Foxx
University of Arizona
USA/2014/8 min.

Strum Strum

Sean is a quiet traveller staying at backpackers lodge. While playing guitar, he attracts Lisa, a fun loving English girl. Together they jam, sing and share through the power of music.

Strum Strum (Southwest Premiere)
Dir. Paul Wong
P. Wong Films Ltd
NEW ZEALAND/2013/18 min.


Running: is it a passing fad or a lifestyle choice?

Runner (Arizona Premiere)
Dir. Herminio Cardiel
Mailuki Films
SPAIN/2014/4 min.

Mi Momento

A couple argues about who is the “lead singer” in their relationship.

Mi Momento (US Premiere)
Dir. Mikel Bustamente
Mailuki Films
SPAIN/2014/3 min.

Long Way

Stranded at school on Halloween, two young boys set out on a daunting walk home. When they become would-be trick-or-treaters, their journey gets derailed and they find themselves lost and alone in the city.

Long Way (Tucson Premiere)
Dir. Josh Kasselman
Limitrophe Films
USA/2014/7 min.


A young man’s attempt at a first contact with a love interest is hijacked in a most entertaining way.

C.T.R.L. (Southwest Premiere)
Dir. Mariana Conde
Stugoo Ltd.
UK/2014/3 min.

The Sarangi Player

The story of Santhosh Bhanu, who lives in the streets of Mumbai and supports his family of five by playing the Sarangi on the local trains.

The Sarangi Player (North American Premiere)
Dir. Anu Varghese
Odyssey Filmworks

The Curse and the Symphony

Chronicling former punk musician Nathan Felix and his eight-year effort to break into the elite world of classical music, in spite of having no formal musical training, he attempts to get his symphony performed by a full orchestra for the first time.

The Curse and the Symphony (Arizona Premiere)
Dir. David Schulte
Misfit Cat Productions
USA/2013/19 min.

The Characteristics of C-Minor

Musician Nick Knox is likely the sweetest guy you’ll ever meet. But when you see him on stage – trancelike behind the keyboard, growling into the microphone – that sweet character you thought you knew slips into a minor key.

The Characteristics of C-Minor (Southwest Premiere)
Dir. J.Ollie Lucks, Max Bellamy
NEW ZEALAND/2014/15 min.

Johnny’s SpeakEasy

Get an inside look at Ann Arbor’s oldest underground music venue and all the amazing talent that have graced its stage. Johnny’s SpeakEasy is a short documentary about a music lover, his venue, and the importance of house concerts in an increasingly difficult time for musicians to make a living.

Johnny’s SpeakEasy (World Premiere)
Dir. Cruce Grammatico & Charlie Steen
ThoughtWell Media
USA/2014/11 min.


social network social network social network social network social network