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Documentary Shorts #2

From preserving Indigenous traditions and ancesoral lands to creating life-changing opportunities for inner city youth though hands-on music education, the characters in this collection of documentary short films fervently work to create a better tomorrow for all.

In this program

Neer(ing) Perfection

Directed by Cole Gibson

This piece is about transformation, specifically about DeNeer Davis’ transformation from violence and drug abuse to someone bettering her community through art, education, and kindness. Growing up in Wilmore, an inner-city neighborhood in Charlotte, North Carolina, she experienced frightening brushes with violence. Basketball looked to be DeNeer’s exit, but a life-altering injury in college closed that door. She found art while rehabilitating from her injury. Art changed DeNeer’s livelihood, leaving a job at a warehouse to create and sell work full-time. However, she soon learned that to be successful took more than changing her vocation, which started her on a journey of self-realization and healing through self-guided spirituality. What began with street art, led to clothing design, and ultimately to giving back to the community from which DeNeer came.

The Forest Beyond

Directed by Fred Bahnson, Jeremy Seifert

Though Senen Kaisi has lived her entire life in the Peruvian Amazon, she has never seen a virgin forest. As a young Shibibo woman living along the Ucayali River in the community of Santa Isabel de Bahuanisho, she grew up hearing about the massive bahuanisho trees for which her community was named. In recent years, illegal loggers, colonizing settlers, and palm plantations have increasingly devoured Shipibo’s ancestral forests, and now Senen Kaisi vows to discover the primary forests of her people’s lands. She sets off on a journey up the Ucayali River by boat, then travels by motor car deep into the jungle to a remote Shipibo community on Lake Imiria, where she meets Sanken Kena, an elderly woman who is one of the Shipibo’s forest guardians. Together the two women travel into the forest, where Senen Kaisi experiences an awakening, vowing to return to her village as a protector and restorer of her people’s forests.


Directed by Alex Astrella

UNBREAKABLE shares Serena Young’s life story of overcoming a polio diagnosis on her path to becoming a successful orthopedic surgeon against all odds.

Head Up Eyes Forward

Directed by Will Rooney

Landon and Ryan, brothers just three years apart in age, were inseparable for 24 years. Ryan lived an adventurous lifestyle, bound by a high risk, high reward philosophy, while Landon was trapped by depression and anxiety. Then tragedy struck, changing one’s perspective of the world around him forever. Through years of heartache, separation and struggle in the aftermath, a simple painting shined light on a new mission and a desire to lead a life with a head up and eyes forward.

Mani En Ise (Water is Alive)

Directed by Joshua Duane Clark

Dr. Crystal “Red Bear” Cavalier-Keck is the co-founder of 7 Directions of Service and a prime example of an everyday person accomplishing extraordinary things. The film follows her as she advocates for the Rights of Nature for the Haw River, cultivates intersectional coalitions with and among marginalized communities, and preserves her Indigenous traditions, wisdom, and culture.

The Orchestra Chuck Built

Directed by Christopher Stoudt

In 2016, the League of American Orchestras conducted a study that revealed a shocking statistic: only 1.8% of the professional orchestra workforce in the United States is Black. From an old church recreation room in the inner city of Los Angeles, former lawyer-turned-conductor Chuck Dickerson is on a mission to change that. Through The Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA)—the largest majority Black orchestra in the country—Chuck is creating life-changing opportunities for his community that did not previously exist. THE ORCHESTRA CHUCK BUILT is a loving portrait of a tireless mentor and a testament to the transformative power of music.

Dates & Times


The Independent Picture House

Fri, Sep 29
5:00 pm