Category: 2016-2017 films

Welcome to our 2018 season of the St John Film Society. This year we will present three films, one each in February, March and April. Take a break and come out to support and share with your community. See you at the movies!
Chasing Ice

Tuesday, May 2, 2017: CHASING ICE

7:30 pm/ St. John School of the Arts $5 donation / $5 raffle ticket The raffle for this screening provided  by Tap Room & Bamboola CHASING ICE A 75-minute documentary by Jeff Orlowski In the spring of 2005, acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment for National Geographic: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk. Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers. As the debate polarizes America and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, Balog finds himself at the end of his tether. Battling untested technology in subzero conditions, he comes face to face with his own mortality. It takes years for Balog to see the fruits of his labor. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. Chasing Ice depicts a photographer trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet.   DIRECTOR: Jeff Orlowski Filmmaker Jeff Orlowski most recently served as director, producer, and cinematographer on the Sundance Award-Winning film, Chasing Ice. Orlowski’s feature length documentary was invited to screen at the White House, the United Nations and the United States Congress and has captured over 30 awards from film festivals around the world. It went on to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song, and has screened on all seven continents.    


Tuesday, April 4, 2017: FREIGHTENED

7:30 pm/ St. John School of the Arts $5 donation / $5 raffle ticket The raffle for this screening is being donated by Ocean Grill, Dancing Rooster & SPECIAL $125 GIFT CERTIFICATE FROM LA TAPA  FREIGHTENED – The Real Price of Shipping, A 90-minute documentary by Denis Delestrac   FREIGHTENED reveals in an audacious investigation the mechanics and perils of cargo shipping; an all-but-visible industry that relentlessly supplies 7 billion humans and holds the key to our economy, our environment and the very model of our civilization.90% of the goods we consume in the West are manufactured in far-off lands and brought to us by ship. The cargo shipping industry is a key player in world economy and forms the basis of our very model of modern civilization; without it, it would be impossible to fulfill the ever-increasing demands of our societies. Yet the functioning and regulations of this business remain largely obscure to many, and its hidden costs affect us all. Due to their size, freight ships no longer fit in traditional city harbors; they have moved out of the public’s eye, behind barriers and check points. The film answers questions such as: Who pulls the strings in this multi-billion dollar business?  To what extent does the industry control our policy makers? How does it affect the environment above and below the water-line? And what’s life like for modern seafarers? Taking us on a journey over seas and oceans, FREIGHTENED reveals in an audacious investigation the many faces of world-wide freight shipping and sheds light on the consequences of an all-but-visible industry. DIRECTOR: Denis Delestrac After launching his career as a writer and photographer in the United States, DENIS DELESTRAC stepped into filmmaking in 2001 when he met legendary photographer Steve McCurry, later to become the subject of The Face of the Human Condition. This was the first segment of the Nomads series that took the young director around the globe and forged his creative voice. In 2009, he teamed with executive producer Mark Achbar (Director of The Corporation) and signed Pax Americana. It received numerous accolades and led Denis to his next film Sand Wars (Gold Panda, Greenpeace Prize, Gemini Award), an epic eco-thriller unveiling a disturbing fact: sand is the most consumed resource on Earth after water, and the world’s beaches are disappearing. In the recent Banking Nature (8 Awards, including the Greenpeace Prize 2016), he investigates how the same banks and institutions that provoked the 2008 meltdown are now seeing biodiversity and endangered species as the next financial Eldorado. His films unstitch the hidden mechanics of our society, ones that blatantly stare us in the face and yet we are completely oblivious to. The force with which Delestrac exposes controversial issues has  sparked public debate and influenced political decision-making internationally, positioning him as one of the most influential investigative filmmakers this past decade.    

Faubourg Treme

Tuesday, March 7, 2017: FAUBOURG TREMÉ, The Untold Story of Black New Oreleans

7:30 pm/ St. John School of the Arts/ $10 donation  The raffle for this screening is being donated by North Shore Deli & Driftwood Dave Sushi. A 68-minute documentary by Dawn Logsdon Executive produced by Wynton Marsalis and Stanley Nelson, “Faubourg Treme” is a riveting tale of hope, resistance, and heartbreak.  It sheds important new light on both African American history and current issues of racial inequality. This is the true story of the neighborhood that inspired David Simon’s fictional HBO television series “Treme”. Past and present collide in this powerful documentary about Faubourg Treme, the fabled New Orleans’ neighborhood that gave birth to jazz, launched America’s first black daily newspaper, and nurtured generations of African American activists. Faubourg Treme is the riveting story of one community’s epic struggle for racial equality – from slave revolts and underground free black antebellum resistance, through the challenges of post-Katrina rebuilding today – all set to a fabulous soundtrack of New Orleans music through the ages. This award-winning film gives the depth of history to current racial strife and challenges viewers to think historically and critically about the links between race, class, conflict, and cultural expression in our modern communities. Long ago during slavery, Faubourg Treme was home to the largest community of free black people in the Deep South and a hotbed of political and artistic ferment. Here black and white, free and enslaved, rich and poor co-habitated, collaborated, and clashed to create America’s first civil rights movement and much of what defines New Orleans culture up to the present day. In many ways its story encapsulates the dramatic path of African American history over the centuries. Our guide through the film and three centuries of black history and culture is New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist Lolis Eric Elie (later a writer for the HBO TV series “Treme”) who decided that rather than abandon his heritage he would invest in it by rehabilitating an old house in the neighborhood. His 75 year-old contractor, Irving Trevigne, whose family has been in the construction business there for over 200 years, becomes a symbol of the neighborhood’s continuity and resourcefulness; Irving Trevigne is a man who, unlike many Americans, is deeply rooted in his community and its traditions.Renowned historians John Hope Franklin and Eric Foner and Louisiana Poet Laureate Brenda Marie Osbey explain what made Treme such a fertile ground for rebellion and creativity.  “Faubourg Treme” was largely shot before the Katrina tragedy and edited afterward, giving the film both a celebratory and elegiac tone. It is a film of such effortless intimacy, subtle glances and authentic details that only two native New Orleanians could have made it. The Treme district was damaged when the levees broke as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Many Treme residents are still unable to return home, and the neighborhood is fighting some of the same civil rights battles first launched here 150 years ago.    DIRECTOR: Dawn Logsdon is an award-winning documentary director, producer and editor based in San Francisco and...

Vanishing Sails shown at STJ film society

Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017: VANISHING SAIL

7:30 pm/ St. John School of the Arts/ $5 donation / $5 raffle ticket The raffle for this screening is being donated by Ronnie’s Pizza, Sam & Jacks, Best of Both Worlds.  A 90-minute documentary Filmmaker ALEXIS ANDREWS will be present for discussion This special screening of Vanishing Sail is a pre-general-release and is co-sponsored by St. John Arts Week, the St. John Historical Society, and the St. John Film Society. Vanishing Sail follows traditional boatbuilder Alwyn Enoe as he and his sons work to create a final sailing vessel before the skills introduced by Scottish ancestors, generations ago, are lost forever. Under the beautiful backdrop of The Grenadines in the Lesser Antilles, this award-winning feature documentary represents over fifteen years of research and documenting the art form of wooden boatbuilding in the Eastern Caribbean. Following Alwyn’s progress and despair over three years: from hauling trees out of the forest to a traditional launching ceremony on the bayside, Vanishing Sail weaves in stories of trade and smuggling as told by the last Caribbean sea characters. Described by Indiewire as “An insightful & poignant documentary that is part social history and part Herzogian portrait of resilience and determination in a far flung locale”, Vanishing Sail has competed in 18 film festivals receiving 5 major accolades including winning the “People’s Choice Award Best Feature Documentary” at the Trinidad + Tobago film festival. The film boasts 164 worldwide screening requests and is one of the most successful film campaigns on Kickstarter. Cutting 180 hours of footage into an 88 minute runtime keeps the film exciting, from the moment we meet the master boatbuilder to the finale: a race against time to finish the sloop before the Antigua Classics Regatta. Vanishing Sail from Indian Creek Films on Vimeo.               DIRECTOR: Alexis Andrews, Vanishing Sail’s Writer, Director, and lead Cinematographer, was born in Greece and studied photography in London before sailing to Antigua in 1985 to pursue work as a commercial photographer in the yachting industry. In 1997 he purchased an old Carriacou sloop and sailed her back to the Grenadines to meet the creator – this journey sparked a ten year photoessay tribute to the last boatbuilders on the island and ultimately lead to Vanishing Sail.    

The Wind That Blows

Tuesday Feb. 7, 2017: THE WIND THAT BLOWS

7:30pm / St. John School of the Arts / $5 donation Raffle prizes donated by: Caravan Gallery & St. John Hardware  60-minute documentary Filmmaker TOM WESTON will be present for discussion  In the mid-19th century, Yankee whalers enlisted seamen from such places as tiny Bequia in the Grenadine islands of the British West Indies. One of those men purchased two whaleboats from the Yankees and Bequia’s history of whaling began. To the consternation of many, Bequia’s whalers continue the tradition to this day. The Wind That Blows affectionately examines the lives of this unique group. These men, whose lives are entwined with nature, seek sustenance for their families and neighbors but, in the process, bestow something else: identity. Production of this award-winning documentary began in 1989 and continued through 2013. During that time, tourism established itself as Bequia’s prime industry, luring people away from the trades and traditions of the past. Hotels, new roads, an airport, and other improvements transformed Bequia’s appearance… and its soul. Amidst the clamor of globalization, The Wind That Blows gives a deserved voice to a humble community on a tiny island clinging to a proud past. DIRECTOR TOM WESTON: Tom is a New York based cinematographer having worked on a wide variety of productions in his 35-year career from Woody Allen’s “Stardust Memories” as camera assistant to camera operator on Craig Brewers indie, “Hustle and Flow”.  In recent years, he served as director of photography of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” and CBS’s “A Gifted Man.”  Other credits include camera operator and Second Unit director of photography on “Sex and the City”, “The Big C”, “The Black List” and numerous feature films.  Tom also served two terms as National Vice President of the International Cinematographers Guild.   Weston discovered the story of the whalers of Bequia in 1988 while on holiday. His vacation spun into a life altering 20-year journey to tell the small Caribbean island’s story.“Sometimes we are drawn to a story that is so filled with irony, ambiguity, beauty, dismay and truth that it compels us to take a drastic departure from our normal lives and try to capture a fleeting moment. In hindsight it may seem reckless, even foolish. So be it. This movie is my labor of love.”– Tom Weston The raffle for this screening is being donated by Caravan Gallery & St. John Hardware in Cruz Bay. $5 suggested donation / $5 raffle ticket.  This screening is being co-sponsored by CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution (CTWD)  the first full-service film distribution company in the English-speaking Caribbean, and is the reference point for producers and buyers of Caribbean-themed content.  CTWD supports community organizations and partnerships with not-for-profit organizations and charitable entities in an attempt to bring the Film Caribbean brand to communities who may not be able to see them otherwise.