Free Events (Sept. 24th)

Restoration and History of Old Betsy Cannon


Rutherford B. Hayes: Young Lawyer in Fremont


Tales of Fort Stephenson


Walking Tour of Fort Stephenson Battle Sites



Divided We Fall: Unity Without Tragedy

Divided We Fall: Unity Without Tragedy brings ordinary citizens together to wrestle with the complex issues that divide our nation. Breaking out of partisan echo chambers to listen to one another, the participants – equal numbers of whom strongly approve and disapprove of President Donald Trump – explore what it means to be an American.

Director: Larry Andersen
On August 5, 2016, Larry Andersen, an editor/videographer, was sitting on his sailboat moored in Boston Harbor talking with Tom Cosgrove, a strategist, at his cabin in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania. Together, they hit on the idea of a new reality TV concept to bridge the deep divides in our democracy. The result is Divided We Fall.

Price: $7 per ticket (also part of the $30 2-Day and $60 All-Access passes)

FRIDAY 3:30pm
FRIDAY 5:30pm
2-Day Pass

Royaye Kaghazi
The story of this film is about an albino teenage boy who falls in love with a young girl.

Director: Ali Atshani
Ali Atshani was born in Isfahan. In 2002, Ashtani directed a documentary called Unfinished which is about religious rituals in Iran. In 2004 and 2006, Atshani made two long movies called The Forgotten Positives and One Step to God. In 2007, Ali Atshani directed another movie called Banana Skin. From 2007 to 2009, Atshani received various awards in the domestic film festivals. In 2009, he directed Democracy Tou Rouze Roshan with an outstanding team of Iranian superstars. This movie was based on the outcomes of 2009 presidential elections in Iran and the related political events. It faced harsh reactions from the government and underwent heavy censorship before screening in 2011. In 2011, Atshani made The President’s Cellphone which was considered critical towards the Iranian president in those days. Atshani also made the first 3D movie in the history of Iranian cinema; Mr. Alef. In 2013, Atshani directed his fifth long movie called Negar’s Role. In 2015, Atshani directed his sixth movie in Germany called Paradise.

Price: $7 per ticket (also part of the $30 2-Day and $60 All-Access passes)

FRIDAY 3:15pm
SATURDAY 12:45pm

Finding Courage
A former journalist for the Chinese Communist Party (Yifei Wang), living in exile in San Francisco, struggles to settle into life in America while working to heal her family’s wounds from their tragic past. She is seeking justice for the murder of her sister at the hands of the Chinese authorities. Rare undercover footage of a meeting with the director of the labor camp where Yifei’s sister was killed reveals shocking admissions of torture, slave labor, corruption, and a general disregard for human life pervading the camp system today. Exclusive interviews with former Chinese Communist Party officials provide a unique insight into the hidden world of terror that many Chinese citizens live without ever knowing that life can, and does, exist with freedom outside their world.

Director: Kay Rubacek
Formally trained in the visual arts, Kay was a producer/writer in the gaming industry and international media for 15 years before transitioning into filmmaking. She is now a producer, director, and writer for Swoop Films. Kay has been an advocate for and a writer on China-related issues since 2001 when she was arrested for protesting on Tiananmen Square in Beijing and experienced the inside of a Chinese prison.

Price: $7 per ticket (also part of the $30 2-Day and $60 All-Access passes)

FRIDAY 8:00pm
SATURDAY 10:30am

Truth is the Only Client
The Kennedy Assassination—just about everybody knows something about it, and all have an opinion about what happened. Was it a lone gunman or conspiracy, “magic bullet” or the laws of physics, exhaustive investigation, or government cover-up? Countless books and movies have sought to explain or expose the “truth” behind the events of November 22, 1963 while really mostly just muddying the waters. Popular fictional films dramatize events yet they are often considered factual and many misconstrue them as history. Literally, thousands of books, articles, television shows, and films have sought to expose a conspiracy and espouse one theory after another. But none of these have relied on extensive interviews with the men who actually conducted the investigation, until now.

Directors: Todd Kwait and Rob Stegman
Todd Kwait and Rob Stegman met on their first day of college at Boston University, beginning a decades-long friendship. Their other collaborations include Pack Up Your Sorrows: A Story of Illness, Hope and Transformation on the topic of living with Bipolar Disorder, the biographical documentary Tom Rush: No Regrets (2013), and 2012’s For the Love of the Music: The Club 47 Folk Revival (now available on DVD, CD & Streaming). Tom Rush Celebrates 50 Years of Music, a DVD and CD of Tom Rush’s 2012 Symphony Hall concert, and several music videos.

Price: $7 per ticket (also part of the $30 2-Day and $60 All-Access passes)

FRIDAY 7:30pm

SHORT FILMS (Sept. 30 – Oct 1)

The Militiaman
In the hills of rural Pennsylvania, the leader of a local militia must prepare his men for the turbulent political landscape of 2020 while at war with his own conscience.

For over ten years, 48-year-old Iraqi War Veteran and machinist Christian Yingling have commanded a troop of private militiamen and women concerned with the
government’s infringement on their constitutional rights. The group practices paramilitary drills stockpile food and ammo and attends gun rights rallies in preparation for a doomsday scenario. Now that a worldwide pandemic has hit, followed by a summer of racial injustice protests and a Presidential election like no other, Christian—out of work and nearly out of money—must confront his allegiance and choose to act or not.

Director: David Peter Hansen
David Peter Hansen is a first-time documentary filmmaker and journalist from Denmark, currently based in New York. He has worked and lived in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. David Peter holds an M.S. in Journalism (Documentary Specialization) from Columbia Journalism School and an M.A. in Conflict, Security, and Development from the University of Bradford.

The Last Race
In the midst of a whirlwind electoral campaign in America’s heartland, a political novice navigates the contours of newfound love.

Director: John Haley
John Haley is a documentary filmmaker based in the Midwestern United States whose stories center on the intersection of personal identity or a particular place and broader societal structures. Thematically, John’s films grapple with contentious issues such as the death penalty and electoral politics through the lens of specific characters, locations, or events; John seeks to contextualize these forms of structural violence through distinct perspectives in the pursuit of nuance and a more truthful, holistic understanding of reality. John attempts to reveal truth carefully and gently, slowly expanding upon stories at the individual level until they are realized fully within the scope of their larger societal implications.

Monumental Devotion: The McKinley National Memorial
The PBS Western Reserve documentary Monumental Devotion: The McKinley National Memorial tells of the public’s admiration of President William McKinley, plus his loving relationship with his wife. It centers on McKinley’s life as president and, ultimately, the construction of a monument in Canton, Ohio, for his final resting place.

Throughout the production, we see evidence of devotion to President McKinley. A striking example is the reported gratitude of some of the memorial workers—former slaves who wanted to contribute to the legacy of a president who fought for the North and opened the military to Black soldiers in the Spanish-American War. We can appreciate the workers’ efforts as we explore a part of the monument the public never sees: the formidable steps between the inner and outer domes that lead to a breathtaking view of Canton.

This program includes a discussion with Michelle Gullion of the First Ladies National Historic Site and Mark Holland of the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum.

Price: $7 per ticket includes all 3 short films (also part of the $30 2-Day and $60 All-Access passes)

FRIDAY 5:00pm
SATURDAY 12:00pm


Red Carpet Event featuring Keynote Speaker Dr. Robert Schmuhl

Your red carpet experience begins when you arrive at the historic Strand Concert Theater in downtown Fremont.  The paparazzi will be eager to snap your photo as you walk the red carpet and pose with your favorite presidential cutouts.

Craft beer samples will be available for a fee during the cash bar which starts at 5:45pm.  Dinner, which will be a gourmet baked potato bar with various toppings, is served at 6:15pm in the beautiful theater hall.  You will be welcome to the evening by film festival organizers and local officials.

After dinner, at 6:45pm, hear Keynote Speaker Dr. Robert Schmuhl, discuss the changing shape of the Presidency throughout American history.  Schmuhl is Professor Emeritus in American Studies and Journalism at the University of Notre Dame.  He is the author/editor of fifteen books, including his newest expanded edition, The Glory and the Buden: The American Presidency from the New Deal to the Present, which will be published October 1, 2022.

Price: $35 ticket price includes dinner, also included in the $60 All-Access Pass (beer and wine samples are an additional cost)