May 2-7, 2017

2017 Showcase Films

Rob Shirakbari

J.R. (Rob) Shirakbari is a composer, arranger, producer, engineer, musician and writer, originally from Monticello, Arkansas. Rob has worked intimately on the stage and in the studio with the world’s finest artists. Today, Rob Shirakbari is the Music Director for Dionne Warwick, and for many years he was the arranger and Music Director for Burt Bacharach.
A musical Renaissance Man, Rob is at equal ease playing Debussy on the piano or rocking a B3 organ, orchestrating and conducting for a symphony orchestra or thrashing a Les Paul through a Marshall, programming a drum beat or grooving on an electric bass.
Rob has recorded, arranged, produced and played with so many of the world’s greatest artists, including: Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crow, Whitney Houston, Chrissie Hynde, Ray Charles, Faith Hill, Aretha Franklin, Isaac Hayes, Deborah Harry, Adele, Elvis Costello, LeAnn Rimes, Rufus Wainwright, Garth Brooks, Michael Bublé, Peabo Bryson, Foster, Gloria Estefan, Barry Manilow, Olivia Newton-John, Patti LaBelle, Smokey Robinson, Johnny Mathis, Natalie Cole, George Duke, Ron Isley and many more. For the 72nd Academy Awards in 2000, Rob was one of the musical directors, along with Burt Bacharach and Don Was.
After many years living and working in Los Angeles, Rob is again residing in his home state of Arkansas with his wife, the British singer Rumer, and their son, Denny. They recently released This Girl’s in Love: A Bacharach and David Songbook, for Warner UK in 2016. Rob will also be releasing his eagerly awaited first solo album, Theme, a collection of neo-romantic classical compositions in late 2017.

Samsung STEAM Live Stage

Dance Dudes

Lewis Grady is elected President of the Mens Association at Skyline High School. The Vice Principal immediately charges him with the dubious task of restoring school spirit and unity to Skyline High. Together with his awkward and incredibly average two best friends, Lewis concocts a plan to create a men’s drill and dance team, which actually works, but infuriates the coach of the award winning girl’s drill team.

Through Our Lenses with Snapchatter CyreneQ

Through Our Lenses’ is a Snapchat-made documentary told by 25 individuals inviting us to get a glimpse of their daily life. Each storyteller captured and edited their own documentary with only a smartphone and the app Snapchat. By allowing the storytellers to document themselves, it gives the most authentic representation of their lives, through their very own lenses. Come see the story of artists, musicians, nomads, thrill seekers and so much more, told and created by the amazing individuals themselves. This is a non-ticketed event.

Sonic the Hedgehog: Just a Guy

A CGI showcase episodic starring Sega’s iconic Sonic the Hedgehog, directed by Natalys Raut Sieuzac (USA/Japan/France). When Sonic insults his friend Mike the Ox by calling him “just a guy,” the village teaches Sonic the important lesson that it’s better not to judge or label anyone. We all are special. This is a non-ticketed event.

Saban’s Power Rangers

The film follows five ordinary teens who must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove – and the world – is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so, they will have to overcome their real-life issues and before it’s too late, band together as the Power Rangers. Moderated panel discussion with actress Becky G (Trini/yellow ranger) to follow.

Special Screening: Everything, Everything

“Everything, Everything” tells the unlikely love story of Maddy, a smart, curious and imaginative 18-year-old who due to an illness cannot leave the protection of the hermetically sealed environment within her house, and Olly, the boy next door who won’t let that stop them.

Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities

A haven for Black intellectuals, artists and revolutionaries—and path of promise toward the American dream—Black colleges and universities have educated the architects of freedom movements and cultivated leaders in every field. They have been unapologetically Black for 150 years. For the first time ever, their story is told. Directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson, Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities examines the impact HBCUs have had on American history, culture, and national identity. Following the screening, a moderated discussion with the film’s producer Cyndee Readdean to follow.

Relocation Arkansas

Dir: Vivienne Schiffer and Johanna Demetrakas (USA) 2016
This film explores the effect of the Japanese American incarceration experience in Arkansas during WWII on the generation that was born after the camps closed, the unlikely tale of those Japanese Americans who remained behind, and the even more unlikely tale of how a small town Arkansas mayor became a legend in the Japanese American community. Themes surrounding the complexity and hypocrisy of race relations in America and the journey toward forgiveness and understanding across cultural boundaries are just two of the many reasons this compelling story must be told.
Following the screening, the filmmakers will be led in a conversation moderated by MSNBC’s Richard Lui that will center on the meaning of home, healing, and hope.

The Flute of Krishna, 1926

BFF Legacy Programming Series:

This short film, under 10 minutes long, is an early color film made by Eastman Kodak. Martha Graham, famed American modern dancer and choreographer, created this work. “The Flute of Krishna” was performed in front of the camera in Rochester, NY, by professional dancers that were a part of Graham’s dance troupe.

Mike Champlin, of DeBergerac Productions in Rochester, NY, will provide context in his remarks about how this important work came to be made. As an added treat, there will also be a screening of 3-minute color film test featuring some of the earliest color motion picture images known to exist.

The White Raven, 1917

Introduction by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Curatorial Staff member, Ali Demorotski.

Nan Baldwin (Ethel Barrymore) finds herself as a dance hall singer in a Western town after the death of her father, who was swindled by an unscrupulous partner. She’s in misery over her fate and auctions herself off to the highest bidder. The winner is a stranger (William B. Davidson) who realizes she’s not hard and bitter like the other dance hall girls and offers to stake her operatic ambitions for an I.O.U. Nan realizes her dreams of stardom as an opera singer and has her revenge on her father’s tormentor. Her goals accomplished, Nan returns to Alaska and awaits the coming of the stranger to claim her. To her surprise, the young man shows her the I.O.U. and then destroys it. Thus, Nan finds that the payment of herself is the realization of her own desires.

This silent film will feature live piano accompaniment by David Drazin. Drazin is the official silent-film pianist at the Chicago School of the Art Institute Film Center. He has provided live piano accompaniment for silent-film screenings from coast to coast.

Film provided by The Eastman Museum, Rochester, New York

The Forever Tree

Tawny Bennett, an antiquarian’s apprentice, receives a visitor in the middle of the night with a mysterious clue to a legend which threatens to disrupt her quiet life.

Mom’s Night Out

Hardworking mom Allyson has a crazy night out with her friends, while their husbands watch their children.
Directors: Andrew Erwin (as The Erwin Brothers), Jon Erwin (as The Erwin Brothers)
Writers: Jon Erwin (as Jonathan Erwin), Andrea Gyertson Nasfell (as Andrea Nasfell)
Stars: Sarah Drew, Sean Astin, Patricia Heaton

Stuart Little

The Little family adopt a charming young mouse named Stuart, but the family cat wants rid of him.
Director: Rob Minkoff
Writers: E.B. White (book), M. Night Shyamalan (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Stars: Michael J. Fox, Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie

The Karate Kid

Work causes a single mother to move to China with her young son; in his new home, the boy embraces kung fu, taught to him by a master.
Director: Harald Zwart
Writers: Christopher Murphey (screenplay), Robert Mark Kamen (story)
Stars: Jackie Chan, Jaden Smith, Taraji P. Henson

The Smurfs

When the evil wizard Gargamel chases the tiny blue Smurfs out of their village, they tumble from their magical world into New York City.
Director: Raja Gosnell
Writers: J. David Stem (screenplay), David N. Weiss (screenplay) | 5 more credits »
Stars: Hank Azaria, Katy Perry, Jonathan Winters

War Room

A seemingly perfect family looks to fix their problems with the help of Miss Clara, an older, wiser woman.
Director: Alex Kendrick
Writers: Alex Kendrick, Stephen Kendrick
Stars: Priscilla C. Shirer, T.C. Stallings, Karen Abercrombie

A League of Their Own

Two sisters join the first female professional baseball league and struggle to help it succeed amidst their own growing rivalry.
Director: Penny Marshall
Writers: Kim Wilson (story), Kelly Candaele (story) |
Stars: Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Lori Petty


When bitten by a genetically modified spider, a nerdy, shy, and awkward high school student gains spider-like abilities that he eventually must use to fight evil as a superhero after tragedy befalls his family.
Director: Sam Raimi
Writers: Stan Lee (Marvel comic book), Steve Ditko (Marvel comic book) | 1 more credit »
Stars: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Willem Dafoe

Resident Evil: Final Chapter

Alice returns to where the nightmare began: The Hive in Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse.

Spider-Man 2

Peter Parker is beset with troubles in his failing personal life as he battles a brilliant scientist named Doctor Otto Octavius.
Director: Sam Raimi
Writers: Stan Lee (comic book), Steve Ditko (comic book) | 4 more credits »
Stars: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina

Underworld: Blood Wars

Vampire death dealer, Selene (Kate Beckinsale) fights to end the eternal war between the Lycan clan and the Vampire faction that betrayed her.

Spider-Man 3

A strange black entity from another world bonds with Peter Parker and causes inner turmoil as he contends with new villains, temptations, and revenge.
Director: Sam Raimi
Writers: Sam Raimi (screenplay), Ivan Raimi (screenplay) | 5 more credits »
Stars: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Topher Grace

Annie (2014)

A foster kid, who lives with her mean foster mom, sees her life change when business tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks makes a thinly-veiled campaign move and takes her in.
Director: Will Gluck
Writers: Will Gluck (screenplay), Aline Brosh McKenna (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Stars: Quvenzhané Wallis, Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx

Miracles from Heaven

A young girl suffering from a rare digestive disorder finds herself miraculously cured after surviving a terrible accident.
Director: Patricia Riggen
Writers: Christy Beam (book), Randy Brown (screenplay)
Stars: Jennifer Garner, Kylie Rogers, Martin Henderson

Hamlet, 1921

Introduction by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Curatorial Staff member, Ali Demorotski.

Danish silent movie-star, Asta Nielsen formed her own production company to make this film, in which new elements are combined with features and lines familiar from Shakespeare’s version of the legend. The most important of these changes sees Hamlet made into a female character – a princess forced to masquerade as a man by her scheming mother.

This silent film will feature live piano accompaniment by David Drazin. Drazin is the official silent-film pianist at the Chicago School of the Art Institute Film Center. He has provided live piano accompaniment for silent-film screenings from coast to coast.

Film provided by The Eastman Museum, Rochester, New York


STEP chronicles the senior year of a girls’ high-school step dance team against the background of inner-city Baltimore. These young women find a unity through their team that pushes them to challenge themselves on and off the stage. Empowered by their teachers, teammates, counselors, coaches and families, they chase their ultimate dreams: to win a step championship and to be accepted into college. This all female school is reshaping the futures of its students’ lives by making it their goal to have every member of their senior class accepted to and graduate from college, many of whom will be the first in their family to do so. Emotionally inspiring, STEP embodies the true meaning of sisterhood through a story of courageous young women worth cheering for.

3 Generations

3 GENERATIONS tells the stirring and touching story of three generations of a family living under one roof in New York as they deal with the life-changing transformation by one that ultimately affects them all.

DC Super Hero Girls: Intergalactic Games

Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Bumblebee and Katana square off against Korugar Academy in the Intergalactic Games, but trouble is in the air as Lena Luthor takes advantage of the gathering of the Supers to enact her villainous plan. It’s up to the DC Super Hero Girls to fight the forces of evil and protect their school. With Wonder Woman’s strength, Supergirl’s speed, Batgirl’s strategic knowledge, Poison Ivy’s ability to make things grow, Harley Quinn’s energy, Bumblebee’s ability to shrink, and Katana’s fearless personality… anything is possible.


11-year-old orphan, Félicie (Elle Fanning) has one dream – to go to Paris and become a dancer, while her best friend Victor (Nat Wolff), an imaginative but exhausting boy with a passion for creating, has a dream of his own – to become a famous inventor. In a leap of faith, Victor and Félicie leave their orphanage in pursuit of their passions.

Despite the Falling Snow

In 1950s Moscow, communist Katya secretly spies for the Americans in the Cold War arms race. When she lands her biggest assignment, stealing secrets from rising government star Alexander, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with him.


A young street artist in LA is caught between his father’s obsession with lowrider car culture, his ex-felon brother, and his need for self-expression.

Paris Can Wait

Anne is at a crossroads in her life. Long married to a successful, driven but inattentive movie producer, she unexpectedly finds herself taking a car trip from Cannes to Paris with a business associate of her husband. What should be a seven-hour drive turns into a carefree two-day adventure replete with diversions involving picturesque sights, fine food and wine, humor, wisdom and romance, reawakening Anne’s senses and giving her a new lust for life.

6 Below, Presented by E1

When a snowstorm strands former professional hockey player Eric LeMarque atop the Sierra Nevada Mountains for eight days, he is forced to face his past and come to terms with his personal demons and rediscover the power of faith within him in order to survive.


A little girl searches for her missing dog, Momo.