On February 15, 2005, our dear friend Madelyn Osur lost her battle with breast cancer. Madelyn had been an active member of the Festival’s Operations Committee for the past ten years, served on the Board for seven years, and for the past five years served as Chair of the Film Selection Committee. In her memory, one film is selected each year from the Festival line up that we feel best exemplifies Madelyn’s spirit – her zest for life, her caring and generous nature, and her ever-optimistic attitude.
“Madelyn loved films that were a poignant, but never sloppy, examination of the human condition–from a woman’s perspective. Films that explored relationships–especially between women, most especially between mothers and daughters–were high on her list as were films on subjects of personal interest–dance, animals (especially cats), and anything Jewish. If it was a little quirky or unusual, that was good, too. She gravitated toward the new take on everyday life realities and honest treatment of universal truths. No matter the subject, however, Madelyn never compromised her commitment to excellence in filmmaking and film quality in choosing festival films.” – Jody Alyn, Board Member.
It is our hope that with every “Madelyn’s Choice” selection we are all reminded of the kind of person she was, the values she held, and the unparalleled commitment she had to not only this event, but to everything in her life.
Gramma and Ginga
Genevieve “Gramma” Musci (104) and her sister Arlena “Ginga” Bashnett (99) never expected to be famous. But when Gramma’s grandkids began taking videos of the sisters when they argued (which was all the time) and posted them on social media, the internet exploded. Something about their tell-it-like-it-is personalities and their incessant-yet-loving cursing struck a chord with people everywhere and “The Girls” soon had millions of adoring fans. An intimate portrait of these two lovable centenarians, this film chronicles Gramma & Ginga’s unexpected rise to fame and takes viewers home to their small West Virginia town, where they reminisce and share their stories of the past hundred years— the good, the bad, the ugly and the laugh-out-loud hilarious.
Madelyn's Choice Award Winners
A near college graduate, Danielle, gets paid by her sugar daddy and rushes to meet her neurotic parents at a family shiva. Upon arrival, she is accosted by various estranged relatives about her appearance and lack of post-grad plans, while her confident ex-girlfriend, Maya, is applauded by everyone for getting into law school. Danielle’s day takes an unexpected turn when her sugar daddy, Max, arrives at the shiva with his accomplished wife, Kim, and crying baby. As the day unfolds, Danielle struggles to keep up different versions of herself, fend off pressures from her family and confront her insecurities without completely losing it.
From Schubert to Strauss, Bach to… Billy Joel, Itzhak Perlman’s transcendent violin playing evokes the depth of the human experience. This enchanting documentary details the virtuoso’s own struggles as a polio survivor and Jewish émigré, and reminds us why art is vital to life.
Vilde (12 ) wants to be the first female ‘Halling’ folk dance champion. A traditional dance for men only. Her greatest challenge isn’t the competition – she’s convinced that her strength and passion for dance and life are helping her beloved grandfather to win his fight against cancer. A beautifully crafted portrait of two generations of sports champs and a affectionate/loving grandfather-grandchild bond.
The latest film from legendary documentarian Albert Maysles (GREY GARDENS, GIMME SHELTER), IRIS pairs the late 88-year-old filmmaker (who passed away on March 5) with Iris Apfel, the quick-witted, flamboyantly dressed 93-year-old style maven who has had an outsized presence on the New York fashion scene for decades.
The Loving Story, a documentary film, tells the story of Richard and Mildred Loving to examine the drama, the history, and the current state of interracial marriage and tolerance in the United States. The documentary was filmed in High Definition video and 16mm film. It is intended for a wide audience through theatrical release, festival screenings, community screenings, national television broadcast, web-based broadcast, and DVD and educational distribution. The film has enjoyed sold-out screenings at festivals and special events since its World Premiere at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in April 2011.
Winner of the Cadillac People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival 2009 ‘The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls’ tells the story of the world’s only comedic, singing, yodeling lesbian twin sisters, Lynda and Jools Topp, whose political activism and unique brand of entertainment has helped change New Zealand’s social landscape. In the process, they have become well-loved cultural icons.
The filmmaker becomes fascinated by a homeless Japanese-American artist who lives near her New York City apartment. When 9/11 threatens him, she brings him to her home, and embarks on a journey to confront his painful past. An intimate exploration of the lingering wounds of war and the healing powers of friendship and art.
Kathryn: The Story of a Teller, gives us a glimpse into the life of an extraordinary woman whose phenomenal memory reaches back to conversations with people who lived before the Civil War. Pioneering female journalist, collector of tales, “the queen of…