2017 Official Film Selections

The 2017 West Chester Film Festival is presented by the West Chester Business Improvement District.

Our Film Venues are Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center and Chester County Historical Society.

A System of Justice
Jane Wells/NY/USA/Documentary/Female Filmmaker/US Premiere/9:20

In 2014, Glenn Ford was exonerated after spending 33 years on death row for a crime he did not commit. After his release Ford suffered further injustices: he was diagnosed with late stage lung cancer and Louisiana State refused to pay any compensation for his time in prison. An intimate portrait of Ford as he nears death, A System of Justice seeks to succinctly explain the devastating human consequences of the broken criminal justice system in the United States.

Ave Maria

Basil Khalil/United Kingdom/Comedy/14:40

The Nuns of the ‘Sisters of Mercy’ Convent, in the middle of the West Bank wilderness, have their daily routine of silence and prayer disrupted when a family of Jewish settlers come knocking at their door for help after crashing into the convent’s wall.

Watch the trailer.



Bon Voyage

Marc Wilkins/Switzerland/Drama/20:00

During a holiday cruise a sailing yacht encounters a sinking refugee boat. – Inspired by the current events in the Mediterranean sea.

Watch the trailer.


Simon Williams/Australia/Art/Experimental/U.S. Premiere/13:22

An inspiring journey that dives deep into the reflection of one man coming to terms with the breathtaking nature of time.


 Broken Pines

Annie Pace/CA/USA/Student Drama/World Premiere/11:10

Two young sisters are stuck on a camping trip with their constantly fighting parents. While the older sister copes by isolating herself, she doesn’t realize she is leaving her younger sister alone and struggling.

Watch the trailer.




Business Unusual

Daniel Malakai Cabrera/CA/USA/Comedy/18:50

David, a kind and creative sad sack, finds himself in the (very) windy city for the most important business proposal of his life, only to be confronted by his nemesis and former boss, the brash, rude and bullying Chip. Thrown off his already weak game, David’s first attempt at a pitch starts off dreadfully but as luck would have it, he is interrupted and asked to return the following day. With an extra day to prepare, David retreats to his hotel where an odd but magical set of bartenders and a chance meeting give him the courage and creative spark to carry the day.

Watch the trailer.

Childhood Tears

Sarah Barbault & Emilie Barbault/France/Drama/Female Filmmaker/19:45

The last pure day of a happy young girl, the first night of a broken life…

Watch the trailer.




Cup of Tea

Jitendra Rai/India/Drama/3:12

A young photographer stands at the edge of a lake as she takes pictures of the beauty surrounding her. She breathes in the clean air and closes her eyes as she takes it all in, forgetting her troubles for a moment.  She notices a young village kid smiling at her. She smiles back. Suddenly, she’s jolted back to reality when the young delinquent picks up her bag and makes a run for it. She chases him through the beautiful landscape as he whips through jungles and open fields and villages. He’s very familiar with the place and she doesn’t have a chance.  Just when hope seems to be at an end, she finally finds the kid, and what she sees overwhelms her and melts her heart.  Cup Of Tea is a short film about the potential we all have to change someone else’s life, and while you’re doing that, might as well change it for the better.


Kris and Kurtis Theorin/PA/USA/Student Drama/World Premiere/10:10

Lifelong friends November and Rosie, a popular YouTube duo, are hosting a live stream tour of November’s new apartment, an event that forces them to confront their impending separation and uncertain future in real time and online in front of their 500,000 YouTube fans.




Enemies Within

Sélim Azzazi & Benjamin de Lajarte/France/Drama/27:30

In the 90’s, during the algerian civil war, terrorism reaches France. Two men. Two identities. One fight.

Watch the trailer.




Everything Is One Thing

Sarah Barbault/France/Drama/Female Filmmaker/World Premiere/19:56

Gideon just lost his mother. He’s American and visits in Paris, France, his mom’s friend, a painter, Annie. She’s taking care of her niece, a 8-month pregnant young woman Marie. Gideon and Marie will begin to learn more about each other…

Fabrizio’s Initiation

Mariano Biasin/Argentina/Comedy/North American Premiere/17:00

What happens after you falling in love.  And before growing up.

Watch the trailer.






Saman Hosseinpuor/Iran/Student Comedy/World Premiere/4:00

An old couple are living in an apartment, the man is sleeping and the woman is doing housework. The lady wants to change the fish tank’s water but it slips out of her hand and falls on the ground. They’ve ran out of water and there’s no water for the fish. But with the help of the man they find water for it.

Watch the trailer.


Fisher Cove

Sean Skene/Canada/Drama/World Premiere/8:29

A tenacious fisherman and his dog hunt down a powerful creature that does not belong in Falcon Lake. ‘Be Careful What You Fish For.’

Watch the trailer.





Shannon Van Metre/WA/USA/Comedy/Female Filmmaker/World Premiere/18:01

A well-meaning dad overtakes his son’s hobbies, until the hobby strikes back.  Starring James Tupper who recently portrayed Nathan in HBO’s Big Little Lies.



Lluis Quilez/Spain/Drama/U.S. Premiere/30:00

The world had ended.  He thought he was alone.

Watch the trailer.






Nick LeDonne/NJ/USA/Animation/5:40

An abstracted animated documentary based off of Nick LeDonne’s personal struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts after a near attempted hanging in November 2014. His feelings of depression are personified through a dark luring fog and a loving mother desperately trying to keep her son alive.

Watch the trailer.


He Said

Tara Lynn Orr/CA/USA/Drama/Female Filmmaker/World Premiere/14:07

A chance encounter at a bar changes the lives of two unsuspecting young people…forever.





I’ve Got Your Back

Sebastian Lagerkvist/Sweden/Drama/15:00

A couple of young friends are going to a party when things start to go wrong.  Based on a true story.

Watch the trailer.




Juliet Remembered

Tamzin Merchant/United Kingdom/Drama/Female Filmmaker/World Premiere/18:49

A former actress with dementia cannot recognize her son, but remembers every line of her favorite role: Shakespeare’s Juliet.

Watch Behind the Scenes.




Just Like A Human

Jake Hunsicker/PA/USA/Drama/7:20

Mary is struggling to make ends meet, but continues to look to help others, despite the harsh world around her.





La Femme et Le TGV (The Woman and The Train)

Timo von Gunten/Switzerlend/Drama/30:00

Sometimes life seems to pass at 300km/h. A touching story between a lonely woman and a TGV train driver. Inspired by true events and with actress Jane Birkin in the leading role.

Watch the trailer.




Last Night in Edinburgh

Bita Shafipour/United Kingdom/Drama/Female Filmmaker/US Premiere/20:55

Beautiful teenager Zahra tells her boyfriend about her family trip abroad, and he jokes that he won’t let her get married off overseas. Meanwhile, her younger sister Hoda auditions for Hamlet, surprising her teachers with a tomboy approach. At the airport, mother, father, and daughters must all decide what is right for themselves and one another, with the fate of the family resting in each of their hands.

Le Potager (The Potager)

Grégoire Berthon/France/Art/Experimental/US Premiere/10:59

When a man crushes his cigarette into the ground of his vegetable garden, he doesn’t realize the outcomes of his deed. The cigarette butt, as a seed would, has unexpectedly grown into a new cigarette overnight.  Stunned by the phenomenon, he decides to henceforth plant day-to-day used objects. His imagination will take him further…



Les Frémissements du Thé
(The Way of Tea)

Marc Fouchard/France/Drama/U.S. Premiere/20:39

A small town in Northern France, Alex, a young skinhead, enters Malik’s grocery store.

Watch the trailer.


Like A Butterfly

Eitan Pitigliani/Italy/Drama/US Premiere/28:00

When you are young and you can’t see the true meaning of this life, only a wise old man can show you the way.  Starring Ed Asner.

Watch the trailer.




Long Live the Mish

Shelly Maxwell/PA/USA/Documentary/Female Filmmaker/World Premiere/10:09

The story of The Mishawaka, an amphitheater in Colorado, rises and falls in a mirror reflection of the rugged canyon in which it has resided for the past 100 years. This film captures ‘The Mish’ rising from the ashes and reaffirming itself as a musical gathering space for both fans and performers from all parts of the nation.

Watch the trailer.

Movie Night

Hamish McCollester/CA/USA/Comedy/13:25

A married couple discovers there’s something very special about their neighborhood DVD-rental kiosk.





Piscina (Pool)

Leandro  Goddinho/Brazil/Drama/U.S. Premiere/29:47

On a quest to understand her grandmother’s past, Claudia meets Marlene, an old woman who’s created an homage to her memories inside an empty pool.

Watch the trailer.


Tom Quigley/PA/USA/Art/Experimental/World Premiere/11:22

Saint is a supernatural origin story about Mikolaj Stawac, a devout and peace-loving Catholic turned ruthless vigilante hero by an injustice done to him, his father, and his Polish comerades at the outset of World War II. By renouncing the traditional notion of heaven in the moment in which he is murdered, and embracing a commitment of his life force to the cosmos instead, he begins a mysterious and perpetual cycle of death in battle and subsequent reincarnation here on Earth. Now finding himself in the modern-day United States, he attempts to understand his existence with the help of his psychiatrist, Sarah, but cannot escape what has become an addiction to vanquishing the unholy.

Watch the trailer.


João Inácio/Brazil/Drama/North American Premiere/10:41

Shala is the story about Pedro, a young boy living in an orphanage in Amazon who has a hard time being adopted because of several prejudices, which includes the cruel indifference of adoptive parents towards children in his age group.  The boy creates situations to draw the attention of adoptive parents, while at the same time creating an imaginary friendship with his only toy, a doll named ‘Shala.’




Jamie Donoughue/United Kingdom & Kosovo/Drama/21:06

Based on true events, ‘Shok’ is set during the escalation of the Kosovan War when the country was occupied by Serbia…   Our story follows two young Kosovan boys, Petrit and Oki, the best of friends. After Oki buys a bike, Petrit is desperate to have one of his own. Ever the businessman Petrit finds a niche dealing Rizla papers to the Serbian troops. However with tensions and violence escalating in the country, many would see this as traitorous. Building a steady network of contacts, Petrit drags Oki into ever more dangerous situations. One soldier spots Oki’s bike and takes it to give to his Serbian nephew which he feels is ‘justice’. Lucky to get away with their lives and losing the one possession that means everything to him, the boys friendship looks doomed forever. Days later we see both boys on a bus traveling to school. The bus is stopped at a checkpoint. The soldiers discover Kosovan books in Oki’s bag, this combined with the inability to speak Serbian means Oki is in serious trouble. At the last moment Petrit speaks up and takes responsibility for the books in order to protect his friend. The boys make up, realising their friendship is more important than any possession. Oki stays over at Petrit’s house, the best of friends again. All seems well until early in the morning we hear the sound of Serbian tanks rolling into the town and the boy’s lives are changed forever…

Watch the trailer.

Shy Guys

Fredric Lehne/NJ/USA/Comedy/U.S. Premiere/8:16

Strangers (Tony winner Reed Birney and Blake DeLong) bravely confront and resolve one of the most terrifying and perplexing scourges to ever afflict mankind…while standing at urinals with their willies out.

Watch the trailer.



Sid and Marge Have A Problem

Catherine Hatcher/TX/USA/Comedy/Female Filmmaker/US Premiere/9:10

Poor Sid Greenbaum can’t sleep. He wakes his wife to complain of a problem and, after seeing the problem, she tells him that he must seek medical attention! But the voluptuous EMT who arrives on the scene isn’t going to help remedy his particular situation…




Kristof Deak/United Kingdom & Hungary/Drama/24:48

Is it better to stand up or to fit in? ‘Sing’ is a childhood drama set in 1990s post-socialist Budapest, Hungary. Based on a true story, it follows an award winning school choir and the new girl in class who just might uncover the dark truth behind their fame.

Watch the trailer.



Sleep On It

Nathan Breton/NY/USA/Comedy/5:00

Doug’s new bed changes his life.






Still Here

Ryan Kreston/PA/USA/Drama/16:55

Still Here takes place four years after an unexplained event causes all life on Earth to instantly freeze in time. Anything with a heartbeat was instantly shutdown the moment the stillness hit, except for one. Unaffected by the catastrophic event that turned his family and friends into statues, Cody is left to navigate the crowded yet desolate world the stillness has left behind. After years of searching for survivors, Cody retreats to a cabin in the woods as a way to remove himself from the world left behind. At first, life in the woods is promising but, with little to distract him, Cody’s sense of hopelessness begins to creep back in as he struggles to live in such an empty world. Still Here follows that struggle as Cody tries to adapt and survive in a world void of love, companionship, and life.


Emilia Zielonka/Poland/Drama/Female Filmmaker/US Premiere/24:54

Irka and Miosz – a teenage couple. They lock themselves in a hotel room for a single night. Their plan seems to be perfect. One thought guiding them: our love is everlasting. That night at the hotel will change everything.

Watch the trailer.

The French Revolution

Hai Afik/Israel/Student Drama/US Premiere/20:53

A noisy disturbance from some youths on the street erupts into Noni and Tamar’s home, shattering their evening. The frightening scenario that follows raises ethical questions for both of them that will test their relationship to the limit.

Watch the trailer.



The Gift of the Woods

Kris & Kurtis Theorin/PA/USA/Student Animation/3:44

An oddly touching dark animated fairytale about a girl who finds a doll in the woods.

Watch the trailer.



The Mother

Paolo Monico/USA/Drama/11:05

When a hardened widow receives an unexpected visit, she is given the chance to shed light on her husband’s death.

Watch the trailer.





The Kid + The Guy

Tyron Seeto/Australia/Student Comedy/World Premiere/18:00

A guy sneaks into his old primary school to finish something he started years earlier, only to run into a kid. They strike up a deal to help each other out.





The Little Dictator

Nurith Cohn/Israel/Comedy/Female Filmmaker/US Premiere/28:18

Professor Yossi Kleinmann, a religious Jew, gets stuck with a calamitous moustache at the 90th birthday party of his wife’s grandmother, a Holocaust survivor. The rest is history.

Watch the trailer.




The Open Patient

Brett  Abramsky/NC/USA/Documentary/World Premiere/15:40

Two brain cancer patients face down a life-altering diagnosis by opening their healthcare journeys for all to see. The results–open data, new insights, bold innovation, and critical support–are a revelation for the healthcare industry and patients everywhere.We’d like to introduce you to Liz and Steven. Both have brain cancer. And both advocate for greater access to patient data.Access to health data affects us all. Initiatives like OpenNotes facilitate transparent communication between doctors and patients, using doctors’ notes as a starting point.The Open Patient tells the story of how open healthcare data is changing the patient/doctor relationship–and the healthcare industry as a whole.

Watch the trailer.

The Owl and The Lemming

Roselynn Akulukjuk/Canada/Animation/Female Filmmaker/3:33

The oral history of Inuit is filled with many folktales, legends, and myths. In this traditional story, a young owl catches a lemming to eat. Inuit stories are often instructive, and with this fable, children quickly learn the value of being clever and humble, and why pride and arrogance are to be avoided.

This short puppet film utilizes composited photographs and a set made with actual Arctic plants and lichen to create an authentic retelling of this ancient Arctic fable. This short film provides a glimpse of traditional Inuit values and beliefs.

The Reinvention of Normal

Liam Saint-Pierre/United Kingdom/Documentary/World Premiere/7:45

‘Go straight off the wall’ said his dad and Dominic does just that. The film follows Dominic Wilcox, an artist / inventor / designer, on his quest for new ideas….Transforming the mundane and ordinary into something surprising, wondrous and strangely thought provoking.

The Rifle, The Jackal, The Wolf, & The Boy

Oualid Mouaness/CA, USA & Lebanon/Drama/18:53

Two brothers cross the line when they use a household rifle without their father’s consent.

Watch the trailer.




The Telegram Man

James Francis Khehtie/Australia/Drama/14:00

The Telegram Man explores the impact of World War II on a close-knit Australian farming community.

Watch the trailer.




Trunk Space

Max Silver/MA/USA/Drama/World Premiere/13:38

When Anna and Priss pick up a hitchhiker in the middle of the desert, their road trip takes a turn for the worse.

Watch the trailer.