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Golden Door Film Festival 2020

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Pizza Shop: An Italian-American Dream (0:56:54) - Entrepreneurs Block
What is an immigrant's typical experience in America? How does he envision the American Dream, how does he strive towards its promise of a better life for himself and his children? What does he sacrifice, and what does he gain?

PIZZA SHOP introduces us to Charlie and Fred Osso, immigrant brothers from Calabria, Italy, who have run a successful pizzeria and restaurant in a strip mall in northern New Jersey for nearly forty years. Emigrating from impoverished post-war Italy with a rudimentary elementary-school education, they had little chance for advancement. Through hard work, resilience, and the opportunities provided in the U.S., they've thrived. 

Now in their seventies, they’re facing a forced relocation, construction of a new restaurant, their sons’ attempts to update the management style, and encroaching old age. But retirement is a dirty word to these workhorses: Charlie is serious and detail-oriented, with a short fuse and a soft center, while Fred is light-hearted and easy-going, a passionate chef and bon vivant. 

With humor and compassion, filmmaker Antony Osso (Charlie’s son) explores how a Mom-and-Pop shop can be a vital hub for a community, the sacrifices parents make for their children, and what it means for immigrants when they live out the American dream.


Rake: Stories from the clam-digger (0:46:04) - Entrepreneurs Block
Highlands, New Jersey is the leading producer of hand harvested clams on United States east coast. Clamming has been a mainstay of the community's economy and culture for much of its history. In this documentary, Commercial Clam-diggers share their story of a life dedicated to clamming on the Sandy Hook Bay. 

The Silent Heroes (0:03:00) - Entrepreneurs Block
Homegrown screenprinting company shares their story

A Blind Hero - The Love of Otto Weidt (1:28:44) - A Blind Hero - Block
The projects central focus is the story of Otto Weidts life. With orders from the Wehrmacht and revenues from deals on the black market, business seems to be booming for Otto Weidt, the owner of a small Berlin brush-making workshop. Right under the nose of the Gestapo, he manages to keep his employees – who are nearly all Jewish and blind – from the clutches of the Nazis for many years. When his secretary and closest ally Alice Licht is deported to Auschwitz, Otto Weidt – himself almost completely blind – embarks on a journey to free her from the concentration camp.

One of his employees was Inge Deutschkron. Aged 91 years she acts as eye witness and narrator of the film. 


Urbex: A Memoir (1:58:00) - Urbex - Block
Urban exploration is defined as the exploration of man-made structures, usually abandoned ruins or not usually seen components of the man-made environment. Join first-time film-maker Mario Mantilla as he navigates through the thrills and dangers of this world, while ultimately aiming to discover just why it is that people are willing to risk so much to explore.

The Race Of Gentlemen (1:01:04) - The Race Of Gentlemen - Block
While the world is marching forward in the pursuit of new technology these gentlemen are stepping backwards and embracing the old technology as it relates to their passion for the “traditional’ style of hot rodding.

Filmed over a three year period, “The Race Of Gentlemen” is a revealing documentary about the men who build hot rods and gow jobs then race them in this annual event.

This subculture has gained recognition through worldwide publicity. Spectators travel from all over come to witness this event.


I Am Still Here (1:43:21) - I Am Still Here - Block
I AM STILL HERE is the story of 10-year old Layla, who was stolen from her family and thrown into America’s child sex industry. Stories of courage drawn from interviews with trafficking survivors are the foundation for the fictionalized account of Layla’s journey as she confronts the monsters of her past and embraces the hope of her future.

Reach for the SKY (1:30:00) - Reach for the SKY - Block
Every year, on the 2nd Thursday of November, the entire country of South-Korea is put to the test. That day, more than half a million senior high school students take part in the National University Exam, better known as Suneung.

‘Reach for the SKY’ tells the story of several South-Korean high school students, their families and teachers, as they prepare for the annual National Exam. The exam will not only determine where the high school seniors will attend university but ultimately also their status in the Korean hierarchical society.


Derek's Friends (0:23:20) - Five-Finger Discount - Block
Derek must let go of peculiar friends, in this tale of arrested development.

Five-Finger Discount: A Crooked Family History (0:55:00) - Five-Finger Discount - Block
Growing up in a family of crooks in a city emblazoned with crime and corruption is one thing; getting out is a whole other story. 

The documentary Five-Finger Discount is based on Helene Stapinski's best-selling true-life memoir about growing up in a family whose 4 generations of murderers, swindlers, bookies, corrupt politicians and mobster wannabes made their way in Jersey City, New Jersey, the poster child for 20th century urban sleaze. What makes the story and the documentary unique is the interweaving of this family's often-sordid saga with Jersey City’s notorious environment under the rule of Mayor Frank “I Am the Law” Hague and his City Hall machine – the gold standard for urban corruption. The film dramatically shows how the climate created at the top of the city grid trickled down to everyday family life at the bottom, affecting not only the players but their kin. 

What's more, this story of the blending of the personal with the political is told -- maybe for the first time -- from a working-class woman's point of view.

Today, Helene is a New York Times journalist and best-selling author, living in brownstone Brooklyn with her husband and children. How did she get from there to here? And how did Jersey City leave its grimy past in the dust to become the newest New York-area haven for millennials, artists and hipsters? With a documentary's nod to On The Waterfront, Five-Finger Discount uses Stapinski's first-person narration, vérité footage, intimate interviews, expert commentary and powerful stock footage to bring a working-class woman's voice and her unique, amazing story to audiences far and wide.  


The Beacon of Jersey City (0:12:30) - Five-Finger Discount - Block
A short 12 minute Documentary that explores the history of this hidden gem of Jersey City, NJ

Amazing Things Happen (0:05:30) - Autism Block
This is an introduction to autism that aims to raise awareness among young non-autistic audiences, to stimulate understanding and acceptance in future generations.

It underlines that autistic people aren neither ill nor broken. They are ordinary people with an extraordinary way of perceiving the world. 

Autistic or not, each one of us are a unique combination of habits, behaviours and idiosyncrasies that makes us who we are.


Freeman Velocity (0:16:00) Autism Block
A young teen unsuspectingly connects with his older brother, whom has Autism, as he chases down his special comic book stolen by a group of bullies.

Grounded (0:25:30) Autism Block
On a hike through the woods, a young woman attempts to tell her brother that she is moving across the country. Grounded works to chip away at the stigma of ASD, by presenting the love and frustration that can go into having a relative on the autism spectrum, and by featuring a lead character with ASD. 

Off the Rails (0:13:27) Autism Block
An autistic boy meets a girl with Asperger's. Despite their radically different characteristics, they learn to respect their differences and try to understand the world around them. 

Pousette and the Pirates (The Journey of A Show) (0:18:06) Autism Block
Margot Fitzsimmons creates a theater for young audiences show over the course of a year for children on the autism spectrum. The production is based on a story her Grandfather used to tell her Mother when she was six years old called “Pousette and the Pirates.” She develops the show in Virginia and conducts pre-show drama workshops at The Charter House School to get a better understanding of the impact theater has on children with autism. She takes what she has learned and travels to Hawaii, where she goes back to the drawing board. In the second version she includes more multi-sensory components and puppetry in her show. By the end of her journey she comes to the conclusion that a good theater for young audiences piece with multi-sensory components is not only for children on the spectrum, but is captivating for all audiences.  

Sibling Panel Discussion (1:00:00) Autism Block

The Spectrum (0:02:29) Autism Block
Quinn MacLaughlin overcame open heart surgery his first week of life, only to overcome another mountain. The Label of Autism. This is a narrative giving voice to one who is told what he isn't. Narrative Documentary treatment waiting for funding following a spectrum child finding his way against the statistical barriers to prove he is rather than the statistics of who he isn't.

To Speak on Canvas (0:11:19) Autism Block
Corey Williams, a young autistic artist, learns how to express herself in colorful ways at The Enrichment Center, a non-profit in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Corey's work touches not only her teachers and classmates, but the larger community in the arts district in this small town.

Twin Brothers Worlds Apart (0:19:33) Autism Block
Uplifting drama, based on Kevin Healey’s autobiography, about the lives of two brothers who grew up in 1980’s Stoke-on-Trent with autism. troubled by social attitude’s, bullying and lack of awareness of their disability, it portrays Kevin’s inner thoughts and experiences whilst growing up.

Life Hack (1:25:00) Life Hack - Block
White hat hacker Charlie (Derek Wilson, "Preacher") finds out that his best friend Bobby (Dylan Pinter) was caught masterbating on video and is now being blackmailed by the infamously unidentifiable Moraler - a glorified cyber bully who many believe is the mastermind behind recent anti-establishment hacks. After struggling actress Carolyn (Jessica Copeland) gets hacked, Charlie and Jack (Mike Giese) decide to embark on a tense and amusing search for the twistedly righteous Moraler before he releases Bobby’s graphic masturbation video to social media. The suspense and wit keep you captivated and laughing with cameos from Sean Kleier ("Odd Mom Out") and Devin Ratray ("Nebraska," "Blue Ruin"). "Life Hack" is an incredibly relevant comedic cautionary tale about our digital privacy…or complete lack thereof.

Wake (0:25:44) Life Hack - Block
A young woman must face her past mistakes when she returns home for the funeral of her estranged best friend.

Addle Strife (0:09:49) - Finding Eden - Block
Two US Paratroopers, who are at odds with each other, agree to track down an injured German soldier after a failed American ambush. Their hunt leads them through the French countryside to a final standoff outside a timeworn farmhouse. It is here where the men learn that revenge comes at a price.

Finding Eden (1:15:05) Finding Eden - Block
The earth is dying, and those still alive must fight to survive within the wake of unrivaled disasters. Adam is one of those men. He protects his family at all costs, but when they're suddenly taken; he stops at nothing to rescue them from the evils of the new world.'

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Golden Door Film Festival

Golden Door Film Festival

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