2019 Official Film Selections

The 2019 West Chester Film Festival is presented by our generous sponsors.

Our Film Venue is Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center.

A Night at the Garden (Oscar Nominee)
Marshall Curry/NY/US/Documentary/7:06

In 1939, 20,000 Americans rallied in New York’s Madison Square Garden to celebrate the rise of Nazism, an event largely forgotten from American history. A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN, made entirely from archival footage filmed that night, transports audiences to this chilling gathering and shines a light on the power of demagoguery and anti-Semitism in the United States.

Watch the A Night at the Garden trailer.

Animal Behaviour (Oscar Nominee)
Alison Snowden & David Fine/Canada/Female Filmmaker/Animation/14:00

Dealing with what comes naturally isn’t easy, especially for animals.

Watch the Animal Behaviour trailer.

Are You Volleyball?!
Mohammad Bakhshi/Iran/Drama/15:00

A group of asylum seekers at the border of an English-speaking county conflict with soldiers daily until a deaf-mute child becomes a catalyst for better communication between the groups.

 Black Sheep (Oscar Nominee)
Charlie Phillips/United Kingdom/Documentary/26:30

Everything changed for Cornelius Walker on the 27th November 2000 when Damilola Taylor was killed in what became one of the UK’s most high-profile murder cases.  Damilola was eleven – the same age as Cornelius. He lived five minutes away. He had the same colour skin.

Watch the Black Sheep trailer.

Caroline (Oscar Nominee)
Celine Held/TX/US/Female Filmmaker/Drama/11:52
When plans fall through, a six-year-old is faced with a big responsibility on a hot Texas day.
Watch the Caroline trailer.

Chateau Sauvignon: terroir
D.M. Night Maire/NY/US/Drama/13:11

‘Chateau Sauvignon: terroir’ follows the isolated adolescent son of a storied vintner family who finds himself torn between obeying his father’s callous restrictions and preventing his ailing mother from deteriorating further. When a doting woman and her indifferent son arrive seeking a tasting and tour of the winery, Nicolas sees an opportunity to help care for his mother, as well as prove his worth to his choleric father. However, his wayward plan quickly takes a turn for the worse, and his missteps puts his family’s secretive murderous ways in peril of being unearthed.
Chuchotage Barnabás Tóth/Hungary/Comedy/16:07 During a professional conference in Prague, two simultanous interpreters in the Hungarian booth realize that only one person is listening to them. Watch the Chuchotage trailer.
Cross My Heart
Sontenish Myers/NY/US/Student Filmmaker/Female Filmmaker/Drama/13:32

An American teenage girl visits her family in Jamaica and uncovers a secret that changes the way she sees the people she loves. This film explores the culture of silence amongst women, the kinds of secrets we keep and who they’re actually protecting.

Watch the Cross My Heart trailer.

Detainment (Oscar Nominee)
Vincent Lambe/Ireland/Drama/29:48

Two ten year old boys are detained by police under suspicion of abducting and murdering a toddler. A true story based on interview transcripts and records from the James Bulger case which shocked the world in 1993.

Watch the Detainment trailer.

Maryam Ahmadi/Iran/Female Filmmaker/Drama/10:00

A few young men are in a very weird situation with each other, insofar as each one does not see the other one and denies his existence.

Watch the Difference trailer.

Difficult People
Sohil Vaidya/CA/US/Drama/19:34

Akash, an aspiring graffiti artist, lives with his father Sudhakar in an old building in Mumbai.  Akash’s mother has recently died. Apart from the demise of the most beloved person, Akash and his father Sudhakar has one more thing in common: stubbornness! While standing against his father’s conventional approach, Akash struggles to find his creative expression in the vast liberating spaces of the Mumbai.

Watch the Difficult People trailer.

Everything’s Fine: A Panic in D Major
Zack Morrison/NJ/US/Student Comedy/13:55

A musical comedy about a woman at the onset of her quarter-life crisis and her existential journey through the various stages of anxiety in song and dance. 

Watch the Everything’s Fine: A Panic in D Major trailer.

Fauve (Oscar Nominee)
Jean-Christophe J. Lamont/Canada/Drama/15:52

Set in a surface mine, two boys sink into a seemingly innocent power game with Mother Nature as the sole observer.

Watch the Fauve trailer.

Friendly Neighborhood Coven
Michelle Bossy/NY/US/Female Filmmaker/Comedy/12:29

When a struggling single mother finds out her 15-year-old daughter is pregnant, she turns to help from an unlikely source-her long-estranged friend’s thoroughly modern coven.

Watch the Friendly Neighborhood Coven trailer.

Abtin Mozafari/Iran/Art/Experimental/10:00

A fantasy short film with a critical point of view about the horrible situation in Syria. “This is the first episode of my episodic film and I’m going to make the next three episodes. In this film, you will see a container and the story of the container will be told in the second episode.”

Watch the Genesis trailer.

Good Mourning
Jack McCafferty/PA/US/Comedy/15:51

After his best friend passes away, a young man must fulfill the deceased’s final request to throw him the best funeral ever thrown. Full of booze, stories and heartfelt goodbyes, it’s a send off to a guy who lived life to the fullest. 

Kori Feener/WI/US/Female Filmmaker/Documentary/17:17

At fifteen, Grace seeks independence and understanding in what role faith and science play in living with Friedreich’s Ataxia.

Grandpa Walrus
Lucrèce Andreae/France/Female Filmmaker/Animation/14:45

On the windy and cloudy beach, Granny is praying, Mum is shouting, the sisters don’t care, Lucas is alone. Grandpa was a weird guy, now he’s dead.

Watch the Grandpa Walrus trailer.

Hoan Alone
Aaron Johnson/WI/US/Documentary/8:30

Milwaukee’s Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge is the crown over Summerfest and has become one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. But it’s also a popular site for suicides. This animated documentary explores the issues of the bridge and suicide through three intimate interviews. Follow animator, Aaron Johnson, as he shares the stories of Dave, John, and Mary.

Watch the Hoan Alone trailer.

Nicolas Boucart/France/Drama/27:11

On a small island crowned with sharp cliffs, a single house looks out to sea. Obsessed by the dream that humans may one day fly like birds, an inventor experiments with his machines on this parcel of abandoned land. For this man, only a pure, light, and naive person would be capable of this feat. Recruited from the continent, eleven-year-old Joseph seems to be the perfect candidate.

Watch the Icare trailer.

Il etait une fois mon prince viendra
Lola Naymark/France/Female Filmmaker/Comedy/15:00

In the storeroom of the bakery where she works, twenty-seven-year-old Luna dreams of a Prince Charming and a life in a castle. On the same day, she will cross paths with a trash can full of dollar notes and a young man who stutters. What do we do with our childhood dreams when we are nearly thirty years old?

Insane Love
Eitan Pitigliani/Italy/Drama/20:00

Alessandro is a young Italian fashion model whose life seems to have reached a dead end when, one day, walking down the streets of Rome, he bumps into Sophia, a young girl from Argentina, with whom he falls desperately in love, right from the very first moment he sees her. Loving her becomes the whole purpose of his life, to the point that it seems to take him to another world. When the story with Sophia ends, Alessandro finds himself alone, face to face with reality.

Watch the Insane Love trailer.

Muriel Naim/CA/US/Drama/19:00
An exploration of the intricate relationship between a Christian and a Jewish boy in 1942 Poland.
Watch the Janek/Bastard trailer.
Justin Geller – Thought It Would Be A Good Story
Jon Rehr/PA/US/Documentary/6:16

After getting diagnosed with a super rare form of leukemia at 30, Justin’s doctor convinced him to donate sperm before starting an experimental cancer treatment. Without hesitation Justin walked into that sperm bank thinking he would just leave with a funny story. 10 years later he ended up with a lot more.  Filmed and made by a crew from Philadelphia PA!

Kill The Engine
Derek Frey/PA/US/Comedy/10:19

Three broken men decide to kill themselves by carbon monoxide poisoning, but the group suicide is foiled when the vehicle of their demise fails to start.

Late Afternoon (Oscar Nominee)
Louise Bagnall/Ireland/Female Filmmaker/Animation/9:23

Emily finds herself disconnected from the world around her. She drifts back through her memories to relive different moments from her life. Emily must look to her past so that she may fully connect with the present.

Watch the Late Afternoon trailer.

Loser Leaves Town
Eric Johnson/NJ/US/Drama/12:00

An 11-year-old luchador uses his vivid imagination to make it through the toughest weekend of his life.

Magic Alps
Andrea Italia/Italy/ Drama/14:45

When an Afghan refugee arrives in Italy with his goat to seek asylum, an Italian immigration officer finds himself in a difficult position because he doesn’t know what to do with the animal. Based on a true story.

Watch the Magic Alps trailer.

Marguerite (Oscar Nominee)
Marianne Farley/Canada/Drama/Female Filmmaker/19:09

For several years now Marguerite, a diabetic woman in her seventies, has been getting daily visits from Rachel, her home health nurse. In spite of her declining condition, Marguerite has been gradually emerging from her loneliness as she experiences moments of tenderness and sensuality, under Rachel’s care. Discovering Rachel’s homosexuality plunges Marguerite into her own unacknowledged desires and unfulfilled longing. As Rachel becomes aware that Marguerite was never able to surrender to her heart’s desire, she is moved to help her make peace with her past in a moment of unalloyed intimacy. 

Watch the Marguerite trailer.

May Day
Olivier Magis/Belgium/Drama/21:00

In Thierry’s living room, several people have gathered. None of them know each other but they are all there to try and fulfil the same dream. They want to find a job… and quickly. But we’re in Brussels, so nothing goes quite as planned.

Watch the May Day trailer.

My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes
Charlie Tyrell/Canada/Documentary/13:38

Filmmaker Charlie Tyrell seeks to better understand his emotionally distant late father through the personal belongings he left behind… including a stack of VHS dirty movies. Narrated by David Wain.

Watch the My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes trailer.

One Small Step (Oscar Nominee)
Shaofu Zhang/CA/US/Animation/7:40

What does it take to achieve your dreams? An ambitious young girl endeavors to realize her aspiration of becoming an astronaut with the support of her humble father.

Watch the One Small Step trailer.

Ayat Asadi Rahbar/Iran/Drama/30:00

Raheel, an Afghan national, has illegally traveled to Iran to look for her husband, but some problems come up that leave her no hope to move ahead.

Watch the Raheel trailer.


Shadow Animals
Frida Martensson/Sweden/Drama/Female Filmmaker/21:35

Marall follows her parents to a party and they want her to behave. As the evening progresses she finds the adults’ behaviour increasingly strange. Everyone at the party is trying to fit in, but not everyone succeeds. Marall also seems to be the only one seeing the shadow circulating inside the house. Shadow Animals is a dance-based drama about the discovery of human behaviour.

Watch the Shadow Animals trailer.

Short Wave
Mohamad Esmaeeli/Iran/Drama/15:00

Early in the morning, a worker, tired of night work, comes back home. The speech of a dictator from a loudspeaker in the street disturbs his rest. He decides to stifle the annoying noise as best he can, but on this path, he loses himself.

Watch the Short Wave trailer.

Simple Things
Chad Scheifele/PA/US/Drama/17:30

An anxiety-stricken young man finds himself in a dangerous state of mind when a mysterious stranger shows up at his door and challenges his outlook on life, which ultimately may mean the difference between life and death.

Skin (Oscar Winner)
Guy Nattiv/CA/US/Drama/20:00

A small supermarket in a blue collar town, a black man smiles at a 10 year old white boy across the checkout aisle. This innocuous moment sends two gangs into a ruthless war that ends with a shocking backlash.

Watch the Skin trailer.

The Driver Is Red
Randall Christopher/CA/US/Animation/14:45

Set in Argentina 1960, this true crime documentary follows the story of secret agent Zvi Aharoni as he hunted down one of the highest ranking Nazi war criminals on the run. 

Watch the The Driver Is Red trailer.

The Fox
Sadegh Javadi Nikjeh/Iran/Animation/9:45

A young fox on the verge of experiencing his first love got trapped by a hunter. The Hunter ties his dog collar bell on the fox’s neck and leaves him in the wood. And then the fox begins his effort to survive and love and revenge.

Watch The Fox trailer.

The Helping Hand
Brenden Hubbard/PA/US/Drama/10:00

From the Academy Award winning team behind the short film “Curfew.” A couple looking for an escape from developing their newborn child, turns to a new monitoring technology to handle the process.  After years of neglecting their own duties the couple learns what the device was developing.

The Hoaxing
Bevin McNamara/CA/US/Drama/11:48

A young artist couple moves into a painter’s studio where the previous tenant hacked two people to death. The couple quickly discovers the studio harbors dark secrets.

The Legend of Upper Melinda Witch
Brian Pennington/MD/US/Drama/9:41

A part of the upcoming horror anthology “Black Hills Night Hike,” the film brings the local Maryland legend to the screen for the first time.  Set in the 1600’s, a woman accused of witchcraft is savagely executed after threats to return from the grave.

The Race
Dina Rudick/MA/US/Documentary/Female Filmmaker/10:22

A young, idealistic Huntington’s Disease researcher comes face-to-face with three generations of a family devastated by the fatal, incurable disease she studies. For the scientist, who has never met anyone with Huntington’s Disease, the stakes of her research become real. For a Huntington’s Disease patient at the center of the story who is watching her mother sicken, fearing her own demise, and afraid for her two kids, it’s a mother’s plea – and a race against time.

The Replacement
Sean Miller/IL/US/Student Drama/15:00

On election night, a janitor feels cheated out of a life he might have lived when his own clone becomes the President. He goes on a bender to seek justice, encountering new forms of prejudice, dismissal, and classism. In a society where the morality around cloning is dividing the masses, physically looking like the newly elected President has its own dangers.

Watch The Replacement trailer.

The Right Choice
Tomisin Adepeju/United Kingdom/Drama/9:56

With the help of The Adviser, a husband and wife must answer three seemingly harmless questions to create their perfect designer baby.

Watch The Right Choice trailer.

The Science of Collective Discovery
Brett Abramsky/NC/US/Documentary/18:28

The story of how citizen scientists are making groundbreaking discoveries using open hardware in their own backyards.

The Slab
Sam Lewis/CT/US/Documentary/7:30

SlEW illustrates his short story, ‘Into The Forest’, during the summer of 2018. Three chapters, over the course of three months, written and illustrated on a slab of concrete! This short film/documentary shares not only the conceptual story that was written but the adventure of creating it on the slab.

Lucas Sachs/AL/US/Drama/17:48

With a mysterious object in tow, two thieves head into the backwoods of New Zealand to meet their buyer, where they soon find they are out of their element amongst the bush…and the locals.

Sara Litzenberger/NY/US/Animation/Female Filmmaker/2:49

Undiscovered explores the real reason there are no good photos of Sasquatch–not because he’s secretive, but because he’s un-photogenic. His attempts to jump into a photo before scaring away the hikers who are taking them are thwarted by the usual suspects–food in his teeth, closed eyes, mussed-up hair, an out-of-focus shot–resulting in deleted photos every time. Dejected, Sasquatch accepts his fate as a cryptid without a head-shot when he’s caught by surprise by one straggling hiker.

Watch the Undiscovered trailer.

Weekends (Oscar Nominee)
Trevor Jimenez/CA/US/Animation/15:06

“Weekends” is the story of a young boy shuffling between the homes of his recently divorced parents. Surreal dream like moments mix with the domestic realities of a broken up family in this hand animated film set in 1980’s Toronto.

Watch the Weekends trailer.

Who Said You Can’t Dance
David Block/PA/US/Documentary/11:43

If you think that a wheelchair user is incapable of dancing, then think again. Wheelchair users, whether athletically mobile or not can learn to dance with a standing partner.

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