It's Day 9 of 10, the final "full" day of HSDFF. We will be honest, EVERYTHING on today's schedule is a highlight! You can't miss with any of these docs. Plus filmmakers are in attendance at all screenings today! Then the night comes to an end with the awards ceremony at 6:30 pm, our official Closing Night Film MADE IN JAPAN at 7 pm, and an amazing closing night after party at 9 pm!  Keep reading for all the details. 

Saturday, October 17 • 10:00am - 10:50am


D: Lara Firestone | USA | 29 min

At 30, John Bramblitt suffered a horrific seizure that cost him his sight. John suffered from epilepsy, surviving 4 to 6 seizures a day. Now, living in darkness and unsure where to go from here, the young man, who'd always loved to sketch, picked up his first paint brush. John taught himself to paint by applying his drawing skills and using orientation mobility training to navigate his way on the canvas. He perfected his technique, testing materials and now paints lifelike portraits with impeccable detail. In March 2015, a story was posted on Reddit, Buzzfeed and Huffington Post, and John is now being bombarded with orders. John's inspiring story is a living lesson to pursue your passion no matter what hurdles life may bring.

In Attendance: Director Lara Firestone and subject John Bramblitt

Saturday, October 17 • 10:15am - 12:05pm

The Seventh Fire

D:Jack Pettibone Riccobono | Germany | 78 min | Regional Premiere

Terrence Malick presents this haunting and visually arresting nonfiction film about the Native American gang crisis. When Rob Brown, a Native American gang leader on a remote Minnesota reservation, is sentenced to prison for a fifth time, he must confront his role in bringing violent drug culture into his beloved Ojibwe community. As Rob reckons with his past, his seventeen-year-old protégé, Kevin, dreams of the future: becoming the most powerful and feared gangster on the reservation.

Nominated Best Documentary East End Film Festival, UK

In Attendance: Director Jack Pettibone Riccobono, subject Rob Brown both via Skype


Saturday, October 17 • 11:00am - 12:50pm

Hot Sugar’s Cold World

D: Adam Bhala Lough | USA | 87 min | Regional Premiere

Hot Sugar’s Cold World is fly-on-the-wall look into the life of a modern-day Mozart, Nick Koenig (Hot Sugar) as he creates one-of-a-kind music made entirely out of sounds from the world around him. Nick lives every young musician’s dream, but when his internet- famous girlfriend, (rapper Kitty) goes on tour and they split, he flies to Paris where he grew up, to move on with his life, while hunting for increasingly unique and exotic sounds to sample and turn into beats. Through his journey, Hot Sugar goes on some crazy adventures, meets some fascinating people and learns what it takes to survive as an artist. From  Executive Producers David Gordon Green, Danny McBride and Jody Hill.

World Premiere SXSW, Official Selection Hot Docs,  BFI London FF

In Attendance: Director Adam Bhala Lough


Saturday, October 17 • 12:15pm - 1:45pm

Sailing a Sinking Sea    (Arkansas)

D: Olivia Wyatt | USA | 65 min

A feature-length experimental documentary exploring the culture of the Moken people of Burma and Thailand. The Moken are a seafaring community and one of the smallest ethnic minority groups in Asia, traditionally spending eight months out of the year in thatch-roofed wooden boats. Wholly reliant upon the sea, their entire belief system revolves around water. Sailing A Sinking Sea weaves a visual and aural tapestry of Moken mythologies and present-day practices. As a viewer you will swim under the sea past fishes and mermaids, sail boats across turquoise waters, land on 13 different islands, step inside sea shanties on stilts, delve into the minds of shamans, become possessed through the worship of sea gods, dance between lovers and emerge drenched in Moken mythology.

Official Selection SXSW, Hot Docs, BFI London FF

In Attendance: Director Olivia Wyatt


Saturday, October 17 • 1:00pm - 2:00pm

The Conversation - New York Times Op Docs Series

The Conversation  is a series of 5 minute films about race in America. The series provides a safe space for communication and honest, sometimes painful, revelations on the subject, and aims to become a source of resolution, opening up dialogue to make room for fresh voices, new ideas and ultimately, change.

Featuring Conversation Shorts:

  • A Conversation With My Black Son
  • A Conversation With White People on Race
  • A Conversation About Growing Up Black
  • A Conversation with Police About Race  

In Attendance: Filmmaker Joe Brewster, co-director of  the  award-winning documentary American Promise, will host a conversation on the series with the HSDFF audience. Click here for more information about each "Conversation".

Op-Docs is a forum for short, opinionated documentaries, produced with creative latitude by independent filmmakers and artists.

Saturday, October 17 • 2:10pm - 4:00pm

Imba Means Sing

D: Danielle Bernstein | USA | 75 min | Arkansas Premiere

IMBA MEANS SING is the story of one little boy who is a big star. As the celebrity    drummer from the Grammy-nominated African Children’s Choir, Moses relies on his youthful resilience. Growing up in the slums of Kampala, Uganda, Moses and his family lack enough resources for    him to even attend the first grade. Moses is only eight-years-old when the film begins– yet he knows all too well that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to secure his future and change the course of his family’s life. We follow Moses as he works for an education and spreads the magic of his African childhood.

In Attendance: Producer Erin Bernhardt

Special Guests: The Arkansas Baptist College Choir


Saturday, October 17 • 2:15pm - 4:00pm

Queen Mimi

D: Yaniv Rokah | USA | 75 min | Regional Premiere

Marie “Mimi” Haist defied her adulterous husband and moved onto the streets in her 50s, living in parking lots and doorways until finding her “home” one stormy night between rows of washers in a Californian laundromat. Encouraged to stay by a more than generous laundry owner, Mimi’s ‘the past is the past’ philosophy endeared her to regular fluff and fold clients and, after more than 20 years, Mimi has made some unlikely friends, ranging from local loves to Hollywood A-listers Zach Galifianakis and Renee Zellweger. Filmed over 5 years by barista/actor/director Yaniv Rokah while he worked at a cafe across the street, Queen Mimi is the story of an unlikely hero. Now 89, Mimi reminds us to never give in and never give up, and that if you ever find yourself in the gutter, to never stop looking at the stars.

Winner Best Documentary Manhattan FF, Winner Best Director St Tropez FF, Official Selection, Official Selection Bahamas International FF

In Attendance: Director Yaniv Rokah


Saturday, October 17 • 4:00pm - 5:40pm

Monsieur Le President

D: Victoria Campbell | USA | 72 min | Regional Premiere

Filmed over three years in the aftermath of the 2010 Haitian earthquake, Monsieur le Président follows the ascension and confusing downfall of Gaston Jean Edy. The American filmmaker enters Haiti just days after the earthquake with a camera and a small valise of medical supplies. There she meets Gaston, a well-beloved voodoo priest in the Christ-Roi section of Port-au-Prince, who, with nothing but hustle and hope, revives a defunct neighborhood clinic and staffs it with a doctor and nurses. Gaston is a neighborhood hero, and the filmmaker works closely with him, but as their friendship grows, the story takes a sinister turn. No one is a hero. Nothing is what it seems.  

Official Selection Tribeca FF, Official Selection Doc NYC

In Attendance: Director Victoria Campbell


Saturday, October 17 • 4:10pm - 5:50pm

In a Perfect World

D: Daphne McWilliams | USA | 75 min | Regional Premiere

What it is like to be a male child raised by a single mother?  The inspiration for the film came from the director’s own relationship with her son who has had a largely absentee father. Over the course of several years, Daphne McWilliams began interviewing men about the relationships they had with their mothers and, to varying degrees, their absentee fathers. At the same time, she was raising her own son, Chase, as a single parent. She noticed that as Chase entered his teens, their relationship took a dramatic turn as he began coping with his most formative years and becoming an adult without the consistent presence of his own father. McWilliams realized it was time to turn the camera on her own family to document her son’s painful abandonment issues while seeking to help him express and understand his feelings. Both a deeply personal and introspective portrait of a modern family as well as a probing cinematic essay examining one of society’s major ailments.

Official Selection for Los Angeles Film Festival

In Attendance: Director Daphne McWilliams

Saturday, October 17 • 6:30pm - 7:00pm

Awards Ceremony

Saturday, October 17 • 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Made in Japan

Sponsored in part by Hot Springs National Park Sister City Foundation and Japan Foundation New York

D: Josh Bishop | USA | 90 mins I Arkansas Premiere

Made in Japan is the remarkable story of Tomi Fujiyama, the first female Japanese country music star. From playing the USO circuit throughout Asia to headlining in Las Vegas and recording 7 albums for Columbia records, Tomi’s career kicked into gear with a 1964 performance at The Grand Ole Opry where she followed Johnny Cash and received the only standing ovation of the night. Forty years later, Tomi and her husband Shoishi Bamba  set out on a journey through Japan and across the United States to fulfill a dream of performing at The Opry one more time. Made in Japan is a funny, poignant multi-cultural journey through music, marriage, and the impact of the corporate world on the dreams of one woman.  Narrated by actor Elijah Wood.

Screening will be followed by a Q & A with Tomi Fujiyama who will perform at the after party sponsored by AY Magazine and Arkansas Money and Politics, catered by Central Park Fusion.

In Attendance: Director Josh Bishop, subject Tomi Fujiyama


Saturday, October 17 • 8:30pm - 11:00pm

Tented Closing Night Event
Sponsored by AY Magazine and Arkansas Money and Politics

Live: Japan’s First Lady of Country Music Tomi Fujiyama will raise the roof with her special brand of country music from both sides of the Pacific. Gourmet fare and an assortment of wines from different regions, courtesy of AY Magazine and Arkansas Money and Politics, and catered by premiere restaurant Central Park Fusion.

All sponsors, donors, VIP passholders, filmmakers and special festival guests welcome.

Saturday, October 17 • 11:00pm - 2:00am

Low Key Arts Closing Night Late-Night After Party  

Join us for an after party like no other at Low Key Arts! Dance late into the night as we celebrate the completion of the 24th Annual Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. DJ Kramer will be spinning LIVE!

Open to VIP pass holders, filmmakers and sponsors.

Click here to view the HSDFF schedule!

Click here to buy your HSDFF pass today!

HSDFF runs October 9-18, 2015 at the Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa. For more information on the festival visit www.hsdfi.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on the latest news and information.

Thank you to Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival Presenting Sponsor Deltic Timber Corporation!