The Polk County Film Initiative Presents
Tryon International Film Festival 

Short Documentary Films

Blind Adventure Camp


Rod Murphy, Director - USA       


Every summer, blind and visually impaired teenagers from around the U.S. converge on a Western North Carolina, sleep-away, adventure camp and take on the same exhilarating adventure activities (rock climbing, ziplining, rafting) any sighted teen would. Along the way these kids find courage, self-confidence and community in this wilderness setting and among each other.

We Drive It.


Robert Kinlaw, Director - USA        


One impoverished area of North Carolina is giving it a shot.

At the North Phillips School of Innovation, freestyle rapping before tests is just another part of the day.



Kelsey Doyle, Director - Kenya/USA   


Naretoi, which means "women helping women" in Maasai, is a documentary film that follows a group of Maasai and American women on a self supported expedition to the summit of Mt. Kenya. The film offers a rare insight into the harsh realities of Maasai women’s lives. Maasai still live as pastoralists in a deeply traditional, patriarchal, and polygamous culture. Most Maasai women have never left their village and few make any decisions without permission from their husbands or fathers - their focus is on survival. Doing anything solely for themselves is an intangible luxury not afforded to women in Maasai culture, especially something like climbing a mountain without any involvement or assistance from men. From putting on pants, hiking boots, being in a climate below 65 degrees for the first time to carrying a heavy backpack - every element of climbing Mt. Kenya is completely foreign to Maasai women, let alone the challenges of a 16,355 foot summit. The women overcome cultural and language barriers to collectively conquer a large mountain and empower each other in the process. The mountain is a symbol for the challenges that we all face as women fighting uphill battles to gain equality in our lives.

Open My Eyes


Negin Allamehzadeh, Director - Iraq, Jordan, United States

Qusay Hussein landed in Austin, Texas, with absolutely no idea where he was going. Blinded by a suicide bombing in Iraq in 2006, he was eager to try somehow to make a new life in the United States. “I needed to go to a country that believes in me,” he says. “When people think ‘refugee,’ I’m one of them. [But] people don’t identify me, I identify myself.”

In this intimate documentary, Qusay shares his extraordinary journey—from struggling with the painful aftermath of the attack in Iraq, to rebuilding his life at a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Jordan, to reinventing himself again in the US. After three years of reconstructive surgery and intensive rehabilitation, Qusay is now preparing for the next challenge.

“Open My Eyes” is the story of one refugee—one young man among the 70.8 million displaced people worldwide who have surmounted unimaginable obstacles on their way to find safety. The film reminds us of our shared humanity, and the far-reaching ripple effects of compassion and care.

Rooting for Roona


Pavitra Chalam, Director - India  


Rooting for Roona is the story of a little girl named Roona Begum. Roona was born with a birth defect that caused her head to swell to a size the world had never seen. Her parents, Abdul and Fatema, were told by local hospitals that nothing could be done. They took her home and waited for the inevitable. Then one day a photograph of Roona went viral and triggered an amazing chain of events. This is the story of one family and how they raise an extraordinary child against insurmountable odds.

I'll Love You Till the End


Bex Singleton, Director - UK     


I’ll Love You Till the End is an intimate film that sensitively examines the experience of those bereaved when someone they love takes their own life. Through recounting her own experience of her father’s suicide, and capturing revealing interviews with mothers’, sisters and brothers, director Bex Singleton opens a window into what happens for those left behind when every 40 seconds someone in the world takes their own life.

To Be in Moab


Stuart Ruston, Director - USA       


Moab, Utah is known for it’s breathtaking scenery, mountain climbing, hiking trails and roaring rivers, but for members of The Phoenix, a sober active community, the isolated landscape represents much more… Traveling from across the country, 200 members gather for an annual rejuvenating weekend of exercise, recovery and gratitude as they share their stories of what led them to be in Moab.

Made with Love


Nathan Agin, Director - USA        


Made with Love is a ten minute documentary about Lipstick Lex, an ambitious unconventional artist that only uses lipstick to create her art. She creates art by kissing canvases and painting with lipstick. In this documentary, we step into Alexis Fraser’s life in Sarasota, Florida. We explore the origins of her unique art style, what it means to her and the beautiful impacts it has made within communities. This film also explores the conflict that Lex faces in her life, from struggling to learn the business aspect of her career, to balancing her full-time career with being a mother of 2 young children. Made with Love concludes with an inspirational message from Lex for all the people out there trying to become their best selves and manifest their goals into reality.

A Day in the Life of a Himalayan Shepherd


Manchhiring Tamang, Director - Nepal  


The northernmost part of the Dhading district of Central Nepal, is home to a Tamang community; an ethnic group that has been depending on cattle rearing for the last three centuries. Cattle rearing has been the community’s major profession and therefore, products from cattle such as sheep and yak has been their major source of income.
However, for the last few decades their profession has seen a major shift, especially amongst the new generation due to various reasons, including harshness of the job, rise in education which has led to job opportunities abroad, cheaper products being floated from other parts of the country and other countries.
Now this profession, amongst this simple-minded community is in the verge of extinction and the older generations are forced to think whether this will be the last generation involved in this job sector.
This documentary is based on the day of a shepherd from this culturally rich community; who is in dilemma whether to ask his children to continue his profession or to let them join other job sectors. We have tried to capture some of his thoughts, the community, the astonishing yet harsh landscape and pasture; with hopes to preserve their tradition which is unique in itself.

Mother, Daughter, Sister


Jeanne Marie Hallacy, Director - Bangladesh, Myanmar  


Amae, Thamee, Ama (Mother, Daughter, Sister) gives voice to Kachin and Rohingya women calling for an end to sexual violence in conflict.

The film revolves around the stories of four women: Shamima, a volunteer counselor working with survivors of military rape in the Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh, Dil Kayas, a teenage survivor and San Lung and Lu Ra, the sister and mother of two Kachin school teachers brutally raped and killed in 2015, allegedly by the Burmese military.

Powerful testimonies from survivors, witnesses and activists explore the far-reaching impact of sexual violence and trauma upon communities, woven with stories of couragaeous women calling for justice and an end to impunity.

401 Rogers

Steven Adam Renkovish, Director -USA 


An experimental documentary, 401 ROGERS was shot and edited by Steven Adam Renkovish. Using footage from various home movies - sourced from Super 8 and VHS tapes - 401 ROGERS is a unique meditation on family, loss, and memory.

Filmed on location in Oak Hill, WV.

My Paintbrush Bites


Joel Pincosy​, Director - USA  


A man battling reclusion and a racehorse on the brink of death save each other in unexpected ways.

Student Films



Matthew Wassong, Director - USA

In the near future, Earth has completely run out of fresh water. In a world of dehydration and desperation, a curious young man and a mysterious woman both go to great lengths to get the one thing everyone needs to survive.



Christopher W. Childers, Director - USA


An experimental micro-short exploring the discomfort of negative body image.

Midnight City


Tate Becherer, Director - USA     


Detective Sal Vallentinetti visits The Filthy Fox to further inquire about the killer behind a string of recent murders in Midnight City.

Rise from the Tide (2019)


XU Mingsheng, Director - Hong Kong    


The story takes place in a small village in China, Guangdong, 2005. Hua Xi, a girl who is left behind in the village with her grandpa by her parents who have moved to the city, has always been looking for a chance to get away from her grandpa and go to the city for good. In the conversation between Uncle Chen and the grandpa, Hua Xi learns that the volunteer education team from the city will take the best students of the ballet class to the city for a tour. She tries every way to practice ballet herself hoping that one day she can save enough money to get herself into the ballet class. One day in the swimming class, Hua Xi accidentally discovers that in the water she can easily stand on her toes and practice dancing with the buoyancy……

Mobius Dream


Jinmeng Li, Director - China    


Mobius Dream is a story about a high school girl, whose monotony school life is disturbed by the encounter of a purple-hair stranger in her dream. The fact that they have the exact same earrings in the shape of mobius boosts the girl's curiosity. This incident drives her onto a journey of self-realization.



Anthony Battaglia, Director - USA  


Julie is an intelligent, beautiful girl with an affinity for bad boys, and has had multiple abusive boyfriends in the past. But Julie decides she's had enough when her current boyfriend, Josh, crosses the line. She then plots to manipulate a new man she's just met, Daniel, to seek revenge.



Emma Keehan, Director - USA  


One masked dancer threatens the cycle of pursued acceptance met by authoritative rejection when part of her facade falls away and she can truly see.

Safe Haven


Edson Da Conceicao, Director - Netherlands  


Two innocent orphans, Maiky and Alice, are trying to survive in a world overrun by war. It seems they will never be able to escape the war but still they hold on to hope.



Sam Williamson, Director - USA  


When Lucas finds out that Driss, his best friend, has been sent back to Morocco with his uncle, decides to start a crazy adventure and go to look for him in a forbidden trip to the other side of the strait in the opposite direction that the illegal trip it is done. In Morocco he’ll meet Ibrahim, a subsaharan that is waiting for an opportunity to cross the fence in the Spanish/Moroccan border, and a another close friendship will be born between them.



Shoresh vakili, Director - Iran, Islamic Republic of


The old man of the cinema salon cleaner after the release of the movie takes care of
he stain on the screen ...

The Shadows Await


Tomas Stark, Director - Sweden


Nine year old Andrea runs away from home to help her friend who is being threatened with deportation. Can a homemade comic-book help them?

  2018 by Polk County Film Initiative - Tryon International Film Festival, 285 North Trade Street, Tryon, NC 28782 •

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