salemfilmfestlogoIt’s day four of the 8th annual Salem Film Fest! Alas, our time on the ground in Salem has ended, but we saw six terrific films; it was to have been seven, but we bailed on the last show on Friday, as we were quite beat! But just because we’re leaving doesn’t mean the Fest is over – on the contrary, there’s FIVE more big days to go!

Here’s today’s lineup – film descriptions are from the Salem Film Fest official site at!

Sunday, March, 8, 2015

Caffe Graziani
Start your day with a delicious breakfast in the company of filmmakers and film lovers from all over the world. Cash breakfast.

PEM Morse Auditorium
Filmed over three years on China’s railways, THE IRON MINISTRY traces the vast interiors of a country on the move: flesh and metal, clangs and squeals, light and dark, language and gesture. Scores of rail journeys come together into one, capturing the thrills and anxieties of social and technological transformation. THE IRON MINISTRY immerses audiences in fleeting relationships and uneasy encounters between humans and machines on what will soon be the world’s largest railway network.

CinemaSalem One
Rahsaan Roland Kirk (1935-1977) was more than a blind musician who could play three horns at once, more than one of the most exciting and amazing sax players who ever lived. Beyond the ability to play multiple melodies at the same time, he was a warrior against racial injustice, fought for people with disabilities, and was a tireless campaigner for a wider appreciation of jazz in America (what he termed “Black Classical Music”). Packed with electrifying archival footage of Kirk and his music, intimate interviews, and inspired animated sequences, THE CASE OF THE THREE SIDED DREAM is an absorbing look at the man who wouldn’t even let partial paralysis keep him from pursuing what he called “The Religion of Dreams.”

PEM Bartlett Gallery
Moderated by Jennifer Merin, EDA Award Jury Chair, Alliance of Women Film Journalists – NYC; Film critic at Women’s eNews; Cinema Citizen blog. At the heart of a good documentary is the heartbeat of the film’s lead characters, and they’re often people who’ve experienced traumatic, life changing events or situations. The documentarians on our panel have witnessed their subjects’ troubles in a most intimate way. We ask them to describe their relationships with their subjects, to tell us how they balance the requisite empathy and objectivity to tell the story, and how they know when it’s time to disengage and complete their films. Core questions that reveal the challenges and solutions facing filmmakers telling the stories of people experiencing difficult life situations. Scheduled to participate:  Jack Schurman (dir.) WILD HOME; Erinnisse and Patryk Rebisz (co-dir.) SHOULDER THE LION; Morgan Schmidt-Feng (dir.) ON HER OWN;  Jonathan Howells (dir.) ALFRED & JAKOBINE; Marie-Lou Gingras (editor) ONCE UPON A CRIME: THE BORRELLI – DAVIS CONSPIRACY. Free Admission.  Tickets will be available at the Salem Film Fest table at PEM 15 minutes in advance on a first-come, first-served basis.

12:15 pm THE OPTIMISTS (also showing at 4:15 PM)
CinemaSalem Screening Room
The Optimists are a volleyball team of women in Hamar, Norway, aged 66 to 98. They practice weekly, but have not played a match for 30 years. Now there is finally a match, but who is the other team? According to rumor, it’s a group of handsome Swedish gentlemen across the border. ON-LINE TICKETING NO LONGER AVAILABLE. A LIMITED NUMBER OF TICKETS AVAILABLE AT  CINEMA SALEM.

PEM Morse Auditorium
A refreshingly candid documentary film about four-time Olympic champion diver Greg Louganis. The film follows Louganis over the past three years as he struggles with financial security and reunites with the sport he once dominated but did not feel welcome in. The threat of losing his house during the recent financial crisis forces Louganis to re-evaluate the choices, relationships, and missed opportunities of his career. With unprecedented access, the film reveals the complicated life of an athlete whose grace, beauty, and courage sparked a worldwide fascination with diving. It chronicles Louganis’ rise from a difficult upbringing to nearly universal acclaim as the greatest diver ever, and from a pioneering openly gay athlete with HIV to an overlooked sports icon. BACK ON BOARD: GREG LOUGANIS is the engrossing story of an American legend as he re-emerges on the world stage to combat prejudice, promote tolerance, and return to the diving world after a long period of absence to act as a mentor to the next generation.

CinemaSalem One
SEX AND BROADCASTING is a hilarious and heartfelt documentary about New Jersey’s WFMU, the strangest and (some say) greatest radio station in the world – and one man’s determination to keep it free and independent. As station manager Ken Freedman sprints to keep up with an ever-changing media landscape, he stares down the barrel of the Great Recession while having to keep his rebellious DJ army united. After three decades at the station, Ken is strapped to this dream. But will his efforts be enough to keep it alive?

PEM Barlett Gallery
Moderated by Loren King, Correspondent and “Scene Here” Columnist, The Boston Globe.
Massachusetts has a long and storied tradition of documentary filmmaking. Are you curious about what documentaries are currently in production in the Bay State and the surrounding area? Join us for a spirited discussion with local filmmakers as they talk about their upcoming films and learn more about the local documentary film community and some of the organizations that work with filmmakers to make their films a reality. Free Admission.  Tickets will be available at the Salem Film Fest table at PEM 15 minutes in advance on a first-come, first-served basis.

2:15 pm TOP SPIN (also showing at 6:30 & 8:15 PM)
CinemaSalem Screening Room
And you thought you knew how to play ping pong? Watch and learn how the game is meant to be played as you follow the journey of these three teenagers in their quest to represent the US at the Olympics. Filled with excitement, athleticism, skill, and grace, this is definitely not the game you thought it was. ON-LINE TICKETING NO LONGER AVAILABLE. A LIMITED NUMBER OF TICKETS AVAILABLE AT  CINEMA SALEM.

CinemaSalem One
Cairo, Egypt. 20 million people. 23,600 miles of road. 14 million vehicles. Taxis, buses, donkey carts, and swarms of people, all jockeying to move through the obstacle course that is their daily lives. Cairo traffic is a chaotic experience where rules are constantly challenged: an elaborate dance of leading and following, flow and resistance, and impeccable, almost miraculous timing. CAIRO DRIVE is an intimate documentary that explores the life of one of the world’s most populated cities – from its streets. Shot in 2009-2012 (before and during the Egyptian revolution, and ending with the most recent presidential elections), the film explores the country’s collective identity, inherent struggles, and the sentiments that lead through the historic changes taking place in Egypt today. Egyptian/American filmmaker Sherief Elkatsha rides through the congested streets alongside a diverse cast of characters – from taxi drivers to ambulances, from traffic cops to private citizens – capturing the unspoken codes of conduct, frustrations, humor, fatalism, and life-or-death decisions of driving in a city where the only rule is: there are no rules.

PEM Morse Auditorium
In SHIELD AND SPEAR, music and art serve as a gateway through which to open a dialogue about social and political issues in South Africa that also resonate in countless other countries around the world. Given South Africa’s history, it’s only natural that issues of race, identity, and cultural heritage impact the work of artists and affect the ways their work is perceived by an audience. The apartheid system still affects younger artists, black or white, working in South Africa today. Indeed, the artists and musicians in this film tackle stereotypes in various ways – some use humor or shock to play with their racial identity; some revolt against their heritage; while others embrace and celebrate it. This story explores what comes after the jubilation and celebration of a newly-won freedom when you’re faced with the real complexities of being a “Rainbow Nation”.

6:05 pm WILD HOME
CinemaSalem One
WILD HOME follows Bob Miner, a Vietnam Veteran who has found his way back to the world by rehabilitating abused and abandoned animals deep in the woods of Maine. Along with his wife, Julie, they’ve built a kingdom where they care for lions, tigers, hyenas, kangaroos, black bears, and over 200 other species of animals. Bob has had a rare connection to animals all his life. When he was injured in Vietnam, he returned home where he suffered a series of strokes and was confined to a wheelchair. He began taking care of animals as a form of therapy and gradually he built his own world with them. With the help of the animals and his wife Julie, Bob learned to walk again and eventually built the entire Animal Kingdom with his own hands. In WILD HOME, the events that occur day to day in the park are interspersed with Bob’s musings on life and the tours he gives to the public in order to educate them on the different species of animals, what they teach us about ourselves, and the importance of their preservation.

CinemaSalem One
In 1955, newlyweds Alfred and Jakobine made an epic, four-year journey around the world in an old London taxi. When it was over, Alfred left Jakobine without warning – breaking her heart. Now, at 84 years old, Alfred Hobbs wants to restore the old taxi, drive it across America with their son, and offer Jakobine one last ride “before it’s too late.” 40 years after he left her, she has a deep love/hate regard for Alfred. How will she react to this “gesture” and how will her “new” husband of 30 years handle it?  ON-LINE TICKETING NO LONGER AVAILABLE. A LIMITED NUMBER OF TICKETS AVAILABLE AT  CINEMA SALEM.