The 8th Annual Mammoth Lakes Film Festival (MLFF) has been announced and we have the list of selected films and other festival activities. This year’s event will take place in person from May 25-29, 2022, at venues across Mammoth Lakes. As always, Brave New Hollywood will also have a presence at this year’s celebration, covering the carefully picked indie films the festival showcases. Expanding our participation with a BNH Special about the festival to air locally on Mammoth’s channel through Sudden Link (cable provider).
MLFF will open on May 25 with “Fire of Love,” a unique and visual documentary about the lives of volcanologists Maurice and Katia Krafft, featuring breathtaking, up-close footage of exploding volcanoes captured by the subjects of the film, with narration by Miranda July.
The closing night film, on May 29 will be the California Premiere of “The Pez Outlaw” directed by Amy Bandlien Storkel and Bryan Storkel, a documentary that follows a downtrodden factory worker who goes on a high-stakes adventure into Eastern Europe to bring back grey-market collectibles and starts reeling in millions.
Mammoth Lakes Film Festival is one of the most important film festivals in the U.S. for indie filmmakers.
“This has been undoubtedly a tough two years for everyone,” said Festival Director Shira Dubrovner. “But we are excited to return to some semblance of normalcy with this year’s in-person festival. The community of filmmakers that we are bringing together in Mammoth Lakes this year is truly remarkable and we are delighted to create this unique shared cinematic experience.”
Director of Programming Paul Sbrizzi added, “We scoured our submissions and reached out into the bigger world to find the most original, stylish, heartfelt and compelling work, made by filmmakers with a wide variety of backgrounds and life experiences. We pride ourselves on going beyond established, recognizable brands to focus on raw and innovative filmmaking.”
The MLFF feature film line-up is as follows:
North American Narrative Features:
Actual People (USA) – An aimless girl in her final week of college goes to absurd lengths to win the affections of a boy from her hometown of Philly and gets twisted up in anxieties about her love life, family, and future. Directed and written by Kit Zauhar. West Coast Premiere
Barber Westchester (USA) – A spectacular, surreal, animated musical dark comedy centered on an up-and-coming astronomer who is trying really hard to ignore everything in their life. When Barber gets an internship at NASA, it gets harder to ignore everything, so they have to learn how to be a person. Directed and written by Jonni Phillips. Theatrical World Premiere
Kickin Knowledge (USA) – Over the course of one thought-provoking breakfast, two immigrant cousins from Rwanda wax philosophical about failure, love, and humanity. Directed and written by Adinan Kamanzi. Theatrical World Premiere
The Civil Dead (USA) – A misanthropic struggling photographer just wants to watch TV and eat candy while his wife is out of town, but when a desperate old pal resurfaces, his plans are thwarted, with spooky consequences. Directed by Clay Tatum. Written by Clay Tatum and Whitmer Thomas. West Coast Premiere
The Noise of Engines (Canada) – Alexandre, a young firearms instructor at the Canadian customs college, makes a surprise visit to his mother, owner of a drag strip 45 kilometers from Montreal. Sexually explicit cartoons are found on the door of the local church, and Alexandre’s face is the only one recognizable in the drawings, making him the prime suspect. Directed and written by Phillippe Grégoire. West Coast Premiere
International Narrative Features:
Bloodsuckers (Germany) – August 1928. A Soviet factory worker is cast in the role of Trotsky by the director Sergei Eisenstein for his film ‘October’. But his dreams of an actor’s life are shattered when the real Trotsky falls out of favor with Stalin and he is edited out of the film; he flees his communist homeland, determined to try his luck in Hollywood. Directed and written by Julian Radlmaier. West Coast Premiere
January (Bulgaria/Portugal/Luxembourg) – Two men and a bird, trapped by a snowstorm in the middle of nowhere, try to solve a mystery while it slowly devours them. Directed and written by Andrey M. Paounov. Written by Andrey M. Paounov and Alex Barrett. North American Premiere
Jhilli (India) – Spectacular and grotesque footage of people and animals scrounging a living in the middle of Kolkata’s largest city dump, as the world outside is rapidly changing. The dump is about to be converted into a recreational park. Directed and written by Ishaan Ghose. US Premiere
Tel Aviv (Israel) – Stoic Michael and wild and free Dana are a married couple headed for an unexpected crisis that will shake their world and force them into a reckoning about their relationship and life choices. Their story is the story of contemporary Tel Aviv, its people, its voices, its beauty and ugliness. Directed and written by Marat Parkhomovsy. International Theatrical Premiere
Zeria (Belgium) – In this gorgeous, hand-crafted fantasy film, life-size puppet Gaspard is the last man on Earth and Zeria, his grandson, is the first human to be born on Mars. Gaspard tells him about his life, his fears, his loves… in the hope that Zeria will come to see him before he dies… Zeria would be the first human being to return to Earth without having ever known it. Directed and written by Harry Cleven. US Premiere
North American Documentary Features:
A Woman on the Outside (USA) – After watching the men in her life disappear to prison, Ivy League over-achiever Kristal strives to keep families connected as a social worker and by helping families visit loved ones in far-off prisons. But when her dad and brother come home, Kristal confronts the ultimate question – can she reunite her own family? Directed by Zara Katz and Lisa Riordan Seville. Written by Kiara C. Jones.
The Pez Outlaw (USA) – Steve Glew, a downtrodden factory worker from rural Michigan, goes on a dangerous, high-stakes adventure smuggling Pez dispensers into the USA from Eastern Europe, and makes millions of dollars. It’s all magical until… his arch-nemesis, the Pezident, tries to destroy him. Directed by Bryan Storkel and Amy Bandlien Storkel. California Premiere
The Quiet Epidemic (USA) – After years of living with mysterious symptoms, a young girl from Brooklyn and a Duke University scientist are diagnosed with a disease said to not exist: Chronic Lyme disease. Their search for answers leads them into a political battle fuelled by pharmaceutical company money and an old-guard medical establishment protecting its turf regardless of the human cost. Directed by Lindsay Keys and Winslow Crane-Murdoch. West Coast Premiere
Your Friend, Memphis (USA) – Memphis, a millennial with cerebral palsy, journeys in search of work, love, and freedom. Caught between the world’s expectations and his own ambitions, MEMPHIS reveals the power of dreams to sustain us, and how to persist when they don’t come true. Directed by David Phillip Zucker. West Coast Premiere
International Documentary Features:
ETERNAL SPRING (Canada/China) – The thrilling story of the takeover of a TV station in China by members of the persecuted Falun Gong religion, and its violent aftermath, rendered in a unique style of 3D animation. It shows that there is a movement inside China that works for human rights, transparency, freedom, and justice. Directed by Jason Loftus. West Coast Premiere
FURY/FURIA (Poland) – After nervous breakdown, a Polish MMA champion quits psychotherapy and starts training instead. She quickly defeats all her opponents in Poland and starts preparing for the World Championships in Las Vegas. But winning the gold medal may be just as hard as learning to deal with challenges outside the fighting cage. Directed and written by Krzysztof Kasior. West Coast Premiere
LITTLE PALESTINE, DIARY OF A SIEGE(Lebanon) – During the Syrian revolution, the Assad regime lays siege to the Yarmouk district of Damascus, which had been a Palestinian refugee camp since 1957. Abdallah Al Khatib and his friends document the daily life of the besieged inhabitants, who decide to face the bombing, displacement and hunger with rallies, studying, music, love and joy. Directed and written by Abdallah Al-Khatib. West Coast Premiere
BURIED (USA) – An avalanche of unforeseeable magnitude breaks free at the Alpine Meadows ski resort on March 31, 1982 — millions of pounds of snow hurtle down the side of the mountain. Over the next five days, through an unrelenting storm and unimaginable tragedy, innocence is lost, mortality faced and Mother Nature is reckoned with, but through it, all the rescue team never gives up hope for a miracle. Directed by Jason Drake and Steven Siig. Watch the trailer here.
FIRE OF LOVE (USA) – A spectacular documentary about the lives of volcanologists Maurice and Katia Krafft, featuring breathtaking, up-close footage of exploding volcanoes captured by the subjects of the film, with narration by Miranda July. Directed by Sara Dosa.
The festival will also feature a Short Films Program of 32 Narrative Shorts, eleven documentary shorts and 25 animation shorts, as well as a program of fifteen music videos and a screenplay competition.
MLFF jurors include: Allison Amon (EP, Superconductor), Kimberely Browning (Programmer Tribecca) Sarah Crowe (Amazon, Filmmaker), Sarah Diamond (Programmer Slamdance), Riley Folsom (UTA), Caleb Hammond (MovieMaker Magazine), Malin Kan (Programmer AFI), David Massey (Academy Award-Nominated independent filmmaker), Sandra Seeling Lipski (Founder Evolution Mallorca Int’l Film Festival), Scott Steindorff (Producer), Jacques Thelemaque (Filmmaker, Founder Filmmakers Alliance)
Over $40,000 in cash and prizes will be given out in ten categories to this year’s film in competition. Winners will be announced on May 29 at the Award Ceremony.
The last day to purchase early bird tickets and passes is May 9, 2022. The festival will be following standard Covid protocol at the time of event. All indoor events may require masks.
About the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival
The Mammoth Lakes Film Festival, held in the scenic and majestic setting of Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierra region of California, brings together world-class cinema, emerging filmmakers, industry veterans, and audiences from around the world to celebrate films with thought-provoking stories. The Mammoth Lakes Film Festival is a non-profit 501 (c)3 under the Eastern Sierra Arts Alliance, which has contributed to the arts and culture of the area through theatre and film festival programming. Visit www.MammothLakesFilmFestival.com for more information or connect on Facebook and Twitter.
2022 Mammoth Lakes Film Festival Sponsors include Panavision, Slated, PRG, Tambour Foundation, LightIron, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Mono County Mammoth Lakes Recreation and more.