2020 Sarasota Film Festival

In a small village nestled amongst the mountains of land-locked Lesotho, an 80 year old widow awaits the return of her only surviving family member: her son, a migrant worker labouring in a South African coal mine. It is Christmas and he is due home. Sombre messengers deliver the news: her son has died in a mining accident. Distraught by the sudden news of his untimely death, Mantoa struggles to find meaning in her existence.

An invisible wall of bewilderment arises and stands between Mantoa and the outside world. God, the village, and reality too, appear further and further away. Consumed by grief, her yearning for death and reuniting with her family steadily grows. She yearns to be laid to rest in the local cemetery with her loved ones.

Mantoa winds up her affairs early and makes arrangements for her own burial. Her plans are punctuated when she learns that the village is to be forcibly resettled due to the construction of a dam reservoir. The land will be flooded and the cemetery desecrated. Mantoa’s resolve is unwavering; igniting a collective spirit of defiance within the community. In the final dramatic moments of her life, Mantoa’s legend is forged and made eternal.

The Artist's Wife

2020 Sarasota Film Festival

The Artist’s Wife centers on Claire, portrayed by Lena Olin (The Unbearable Lightness of Being; Enemies, A Love Story). As the wife of famed artist Richard Smythson, played by Bruce Dern (Nebraska; Coming Home), Claire was once a promising painter herself, but now lives in the shadow of her husband’s illustrious career. While preparing work for a new show, Richard is diagnosed with dementia. As his memories and moods become lost and erratic, Claire attempts to shield his illness from the art community while trying to reconnect him with his estranged daughter and grandson from a previous marriage. Challenged by this turn of events, Claire must decide whether to stand with her husband in the shadows or step into the spotlight herself.

I'll Meet You There

2020 Sarasota Film Festival

Majeed Khawar is the painted picture of the American dream – he moved, alone to a foreign land at 17 and through resourcefulness and determination he made a good life for himself. On the outside, at 43, he has done well, is respected at work and after the early death of his wife, has been a single father to a confident, rebellious seventeen year old daughter DUA. But within himself, Majeed struggles to connect both with his Islamic community and the community of police officers he has dutifully served with, for decades. Dua , a lead performer for Devon’s dance team in Chicago’s bustling South Asian bubble, lives for dancing. It has become a salve to heal the wounds of her deceased mother. Majeed and Dua plod through their lives, waiting until Dua is headed to college, when Majeed’s orthodox and ailing father, BABA arrives from Pakistan, without notice and for treatment. Perhaps the source of Majeed’s inability to connect with his community, Baba introduces his conservative morality to Dua, a move that rubs salt on old wounds for Majeed. Majeed, Dua and Baba dance uneasily around old feelings, new worries and the conflicts that arise through generational differences. With the arrival of Baba, Majeed and Dua’s internal discord is heightened. Majeed is further tested when he is asked to work undercover at the local mosque that now, his father frequents. Initially offended at the discriminatory undertones of this investigation, Majeed decides it is best to be the man on the ground to protect the interests of the Muslim community. While undercover, Majeed re-discovers his connection to his faith and a secret about his father that cracks the ground beneath his feet. Both Majeed and Dua have to face the crossroads of being true to themselves and their individual identities against the expectation of tradition and the influence of Baba.

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