In the Beqaa Valley of Lebanon lies refugee camp Majdal Anjar, where a small community of the country’s approximately 1.2 million Syrian refugees live. Award-winning director (Shape of the Moon; Position Among the Stars) Leonard Retel Helmrich spent a year-and-a-half following a handful of lively and resilient characters: a love-sick young man, eager to marry despite his elders’ sharp discouragement; a conflicted teacher, passionate about her work at the camp but under pressure to return to her husband and the dangers that await her in Syria; and a family torn apart when a husband marries a second wife. Using his renowned single shot technique, Helmrich’s incredibly intimate film The Long Season captures daily life for those whose futures are postponed by war.
The Force presents a deep look inside the long-troubled Oakland Police Department in California as it struggles to confront federal demands for reform amid layers of inefficiency, corruption, and civil unrest after the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. A young police chief, hailed as a reformer, is brought in to complete the turnaround at the very moment the #BlackLivesMatter movement emerges to demand police accountability and racial justice in Oakland and across the nation. Despite growing public distrust, the Oakland Police Department is garnering national attention as a model of police reform. But just as the department is on the verge of a breakthrough, the man charged with turning it around faces the greatest challenge of his career—one that not only threatens progress already made, but the very authority of the institution itself.
US Documentary Directing Award, Sundance Film Festival 2017