This year’s Meet the Press Film Festival returns to the East Coast this year and unveiled its 2022 programming slate today.
This year’s festival — the sixth in franchise history and in New York for the first time — will take place November 15 and once again bridge the gap between political journalism and short film documentaries, with this year’s documentaries spotlighting issues like global migration, equality in sports, civil and gender rights, and racism in the criminal justice system.
The films include two world premieres, including an all-new NBC News Digital Docs production in partnership with Focus Features, Dear Noah: Pages from a Family Diary, which tells the story of a family’s move from Texas to protect the safety of their transgender teenager. The slate of films — which also features several New York premieres.
Following each documentary showing, filmmaker will join in in-depth conversations moderated by NBC News correspondents and anchors, including Chuck Todd; Andrea Mitchell; Craig Melvin; Savannah Sellers; Symone Sanders-Townsend; and NBC News Studios head of documentary Molly O’Brien.
Over the last five years, the MTP Film Festival has screened nearly 100 short documentary films from nine countries. The festival has screened more than a dozen Oscar and Emmy nominees including Lead Me Home, showcased at last year’s film festival, and Knife Skills, Edith + Eddie and Heroin(e) in 2018. Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re A Girl), featured at the film festival in 2019, won the 2020 Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject at the 92nd Oscars.
This year’s lineup includes:
SEEKING REFUGE, FINDING HOME
Kivu, Hong Kong, Milwaukee — people move across the globe, seeking shelter from violence and oppression. These films tell the stories of migrants from the Balkans, Iraq, China and Congo, as they resettle in cities around the world.
More Than I Remember, Directed by Amy Bench (U.S. – 14 min.)
Separated from family by a bombing, 14-year-old Mugeni traverses the globe to reunite with her lost relatives and lift up the Banyamulenge people.
The Flagmakers, Directed by Cynthia Wade & Sharon Liese (National Geographic, 40 min.)
Flags at the largest American flag factory in the country are stitched by refugees and immigrants whose stories redefine what it is to be American.
Freedom Swimmer, Directed by Olivia Martin-McGuire (U.K. – 15 min.)
A grandfather’s perilous swim from China to Hong Kong parallels his granddaughter’s participation in protests as she faces pressure to escape Hong Kong.
WHEN SHE STANDS HER GROUND
What happens when “universal” rights are tested by women? In Alabama, Brittany Smith’s case calls into question the purpose of “stand your ground” laws. And in Russia, activist Anastasia Shevchenko pays a heavy price for standing up to President Vladimir Putin.
State of Alabama vs. Brittany Smith, Directed by Ryan White (Netflix, 40 min.)
Unfolding in real time by focusing on the experience of one woman on trial for murder, the film is a layered examination of gender, the American south, domestic and sexual violence and the failures of our criminal justice system.
Anastasia, Directed by Sarah McCarthy (UK – 26 min.)
Russian activist Anastasia Shevchenko comes to grips with the loss of her daughter after two years of house arrest for speaking out against the government.
THE WIN: WHEN ATHLETES SHAKE THE WORLD
Sports opens the doors for stories untold. In Cleveland, a city reconsiders the meaning of a century-old mascot. And in New York, an identity is reformed by the electric performance of one player.
Deerfoot of the Diamond, Directed by Lance Edmands (U.S. – ESPN, 27 min.)
The legacy of Louis Sockalexis, the first Native American to play professional baseball and inspired Cleveland to name their team “The Indians,” is reexamined.
38 at the Garden, Directed by Frank Chi (U.S. – HBO, 38 min.)
In a hostile time for Asian Americans, the revisiting of an unlikely athlete’s story gives hope and shatters stereotypes on sport’s biggest stage.
MY HOME, MY LAND
Lands change, but home remains a sanctuary — until it isn’t. Through three stories about land and shifting laws, we see how the meaning of home changes for the young, the old and the eternal habitants of lands.
Dear Noah: Pages from a Family Diary, Produced by Matthew Kwiecinski and Christine Nguyen (U.S. – NBC News Digital Docs / Focus Features, 27 min.)
World premiere. A family in Texas grapples with their decision to move out of the state to keep their transgender teenage son, Noah, safe.
Long Line of Ladies, Directed by Shaandiin Tome and Rayka Zehtabchi (U.S. – 22 min.)
A girl and her community prepare for her Ihuk, the once-dormant coming of age ceremony of the Karuk tribe of Northern California.
Heart Valley, Directed by Christian Cargill (U.K. – 19 min.)
Heart Valley follows a day in the life of Welsh shepherd Wilf Davies, whose connection to nature provokes questions about what we should truly value.
Martha Mitchell and Sally Schmitt — they should be household names. After all, one stood up to a president and the other helped launch the most famous restaurant in America. These films tell the stories of women who lived life on their own terms.
The Martha Mitchell Effect, Directed by Anne Alvergue (U.S. – Netflix, 40 min.)
She was once as famous as Jackie O. And then she tried to take down a President. The Martha Mitchell Effect is an archival documentary portrait of the unlikeliest of whistleblowers: Martha Mitchell.
Best Chef in the World, Directed by Ben Proudfoor (U.S. – The New York Times, 20 min.)
Sally Schmitt, founder of the legendary restaurant The French Laundry, tells her story as a pioneering chef of California cuisine.
CHANGING THE SYSTEM
Changes in views over judicial accountability, drug-related crimes and systemic racism are at the root of these films, which examine how gaps in the criminal justice system can leave people behind bars for years.
The Sentence of Michael Thompson, Directed by Kyle Thrash and Haley Elizabeth Anderson (U.S. – MSNBC Films, 25 min.)
Michael Thompson, the longest serving non-violent offender in Michigan history, reaches for a chance at freedom after 25 years in prison.
Living While American, Directed by Sosena Solomon (U.S. – 25 min.)
A freshman Philadelphia city councilman brings police to the table to reduce traffic stops by 30 percent, reducing interactions between officers and people of color.
The Recall, Directed by Sosena Solomon (U.S. – MSNBC Films, 18 min.)
World premiere. California Judge Aaron Persky was recalled in 2018 after his decision in the infamous Brock Turner assault case, raising questions about accountability.