It’s a weekend full of LEF-supported screenings at IFFB!

Here are 3 LEF-supported films and 1 LEF-supported panel for you to add to your IFFB schedule!

IVAN AND IVANA/Directed by Jeff Silva

In many movies about survivors of war, the happy ending consists of their arrival in the United States, where life for them—we are led to believe—will finally be stable and free. IVAN & IVANA does not exactly begin where those other films leave off; rather, it begins nearly six years after the titular couple arrives in the U.S. after leaving a devastated Kosovo. Living in sunny San Diego with a house and a couple of expensive cars, the charismatic duo at first seems, inexplicably, to have achieved the American Dream in only a few short years. But a mere scratch below this shiny surface reveals that Ivan and Ivana have fallen into the American nightmare: they are drowning in debt, much of it incurred during the real estate bubble.

Over the course of the next five years, director Jeff Silva pays visits to Ivan and Ivana to see how life in America has changed them. The result is an intimate portrait of a couple, told through snapshots of their everyday lives amid profound global events. Though the film’s scope is, in many ways, enormous—from the effects of U.S. involvement in the Kosovo war to the global economic recession—its focus is very personal, as Ivan and Ivana draw us in like old friends, always ready with a sarcastic quip as they reveal their vulnerabilities with striking honesty and a heavy dose of irony.

—Kristina Aikens

Screening times: 2:30 PM Sat, Apr 30  Somerville Theatre 2, 8:15 PM  Sun, May 01 Somerville Theatre 2

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RAISING RENEE/Directed by Steven Ascher and Jeanne Jordan

Charismatic painter Beverly McIver has secured her status as a rising star of the New York art scene, earning numerous awards and grants, when a casual promise from her past comes due and rocks her personal and professional foundations. Years ago, Beverly assured her mother Ethel that she would care for her mentally disabled older sister, Renee, when Ethel no longer could. But only when Ethel is diagnosed with cancer does Beverly begin to realize the gravity of her potential obligations.

Directors Steven Ascher and Jeanne Jordan (SO MUCH SO FAST, IFFBoston 2006 Audience Award winner) follow Beverly and Renee to Arizona, where they begin their experimental cohabitation. Renee’s highly routinized lifestyle may not seem so demanding upon first glance: she enjoys making and selling woven potholders, keeping track of locals’ birthdays, and talking to people. But for the fiercely independent Beverly, who has spent decades crafting a life of solitary creativity and focused artistic ambition, Renee is not so much a pleasant companion as she is a reminder of what could have been in New York.

Framed by Beverly’s remembrances of growing up black in 1960s Greensboro, NC, and punctuated by her breathtakingly honest paintings, RAISING RENEE reminds us of family’s capacity not only to love and support, but to inspire.

—Sandra L. Frey

Screening time: 5:00 PM Sun, May 01 Somerville Theatre 1

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WE STILL LIVE HERE/Directed by Anne Makepeace

Anne Makepeace’s extraordinary film documents the origin and continued efforts of the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project. The indigenous Wampanoag Nation of southeastern Massachusetts is noted for aiding the Pilgrims after their arrival in the so-called “New World” four centuries ago. That foreign invasion ultimately resulted in the rapid decline of their once-thriving culture. The tribes lost their lands and became subject to the laws of the dominant culture, and soon their language began to recede as the native-speaker population dwindled in the years following the American Revolution.

Centuries later, after dreaming that her ancestors were attempting to communicate with her in a language she didn’t understand, Jessie Little Doe Baird was struck with the realization that that language was Wampanoag, and that it had to be restored. Under her direction, the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project was established in 1993 to spearhead the daunting, yet essential task of restoring the dormant language from existing seventeenth-century texts.

Now, 150 years after the last known native speaker died, a new generation of speakers is emerging from this program and speaking Wampanoag, renewing it as a living language. Their strides have rescued a language on the verge of extinction and provided significant insight into the values, history, and complex cultural traditions of the community it represents. This accomplishment reflects the first time a Native American language with no living speakers has been restored as a means to celebrate and communicate with the past while forging a robust future for the Wampanoag people.

—Callista Burns

Screening time: 2:15 PM Sat, Apr 30 Brattle Theatre

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And of course please come to our panel examining how to know if that idea you’ve had bouncing around in your head would really make a good film or not. With the pedigree of the panel, I’m sure great advice, good stories, and warnings born of experience will abound!

LEF Foundation & DocYard Present:
When Does a Story Become a Film?: From Idea to Documentary

Sunday, 5/1 at 3pm – Somerville Theatre Microcinema
Featuring Steven Ascher & Jeanne Jordan (RAISING RENEE), Ian Cheney (A CITY DARK), and Annie Sundberg (BURMA SOLDIER)
Moderated by Chico Colvard, director of IFFBoston 2010 Audience Award winner FAMILY AFFAIR.


– Sara

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