POLITICAL Festival 1st Scene Reading: THE JUNIOR SENTATOR FROM IDAHO, by David LeBlanc

After her horn-dog, Senator husband drops dead in the middle of an office tryst, a sarcastic, lifelong trophy wife is enlisted by a group of cynical political insiders to complete his term in office, only to find herself wholly unprepared for the political spotlight.


Narration: Steve Rizzo – 20
Darla: Kyana Teresa
Secretary #2: Geoff Mays
Secretary #1: Hannah Ehman


September 2021 Festival – Highlights and Videos

Showcase of the WINNER POLITICAL Feature FILM:

COMRADE DOV, 75min., Israel, Political Documentary
Directed by Barak Heymann

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

Goddamned communist. Internal enemy. Privileged Tel Aviv Ashkenazi.

It seems Dov Khenin has been called almost everything during his 13-year tenure as Member of Knesset for the Jewish-Arab party ‘Hadash’.

For years, director Barak Heymann has been following this leading legislator, creating a film that examines the open wounds of contemporary Israeli society: from the forced removal of the residents of Givat Amal to turbulent meetings of the Knesset’s Finance Committee, and down to the violent events at Umm al-Hiran.

“Comrade Dov” is a surprising, thought-provoking portrait of a unique politician, who refuses to give up even as reality deals him one cruel blow after another.

Project Links

Director Biography – Barak Heymann

Barak Heymann was born in 1976 in Yedidia Village in the north of Israel. He has been directing and producing documentaries for TV and cinema for more than a decade. Barak’s, and his brother Tomer’s, independent film company, Heymann Brothers Films, has produced over 20 documentaries, and some as international co-productions. Their films have premiered in numerous festivals worldwide, such as Berlinale, IDFA and Hotdocs, where they have won prestigious awards. Barak teaches in several films schools in Israel and is currently engaged in a number of ongoing projects.

POLITICAL BEST Scene Reading: CALLE OCHO, by Robert W. McKnight, Jeremy Culver

“A critical election in Florida intersects with the opportunity for real freedom in Cuba.”

Logline: When the smart and beautiful daughter of a wealthy Cuban refugee (the most powerful conservative voice in Florida) becomes a U.S. Senator, she works cleverly and clandestinely to defy both her father and accepted political precedent to abolish the U.S. Embargo.


Narrator: Kyana Teresa
Aleja: Julie Sheppard
Senator Carreras: Geoff Mays

POLITICAL Short Screenplay Reading: LONE, by Bill Redding

Story protagonist, Alice, admires legendary lawman Bass Reeves, a former slave who became a great lawman of the late 1800s. Single mom and attorney, Alice, struggles with the police injustice she sees on the streets and fights for justice with her knowledge of the law and the use of her cell phone.


Narrator: Val Cole
Alice: Kyana Teresa
Chris/Steve/Jim: Allan Michael Brunet
Cora: Hannah Ehman
Robert/Sam: Steve Rizzo

July 2021 Festival – Highlights and Videos

Best Short Film: LA MARELLE
Best Performances: DREAMER
Best Cinematography: POST-ELECTION WORKS
Best Sound & Music: THE STORY OF LILY CHEN

Theme of night: Life

NOTE: Festival took place during the COVID-19 virus lockdown so all screenings were held in private.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Videos:

festival posterPOST-ELECTION WORKS, 17min., USA, Experimental

festival posterDREAMER, 8min., USA, Drama

festival posterLA MARELLE, 3min., France, Drama

festival posterTHE STORY OF LILY LEE CHEN, 18min,. USA, Documentary

festival posterGEORGE FLOYD: SAY THEIR NAME, 7min., USA, Music Video

The beginning of a (temporary) new era.

See you at the festivals. Whenever that happens!

– Matthew Toffolo

Director Biography – Nox Yang (THE STORY OF LILY LEE CHEN)

Nox Yang is an LA-based filmmaker, a current undergraduate student in UCLA’s film and sociology departments. Growing up in China and receiving higher education in the United States, she has a focus on racial, gender, sexual, social justice issues, and has participated in making documentaries that feature Japanese American WWII internment camp survivors, formerly incarcerated African American women, sexual trafficking survivors in Hollywood #Metoo movement, etc.

This current film The Story of Lily Lee Chen, a story about a minority woman breaking into American mainstream politics in the 1980s, is her directorial debut. Her goal is to use storytelling to amplify the voice of the minority, empower the marginalized, promote justice and a greater understanding across different cultures and communities.

Director Statement

In early 2020, I started a campaign to run for International Student Representative as the first Chinese candidate in UCLA’s history.

As you can see, I came to the United States in 2018 dreaming to live in “the land of the free” but only found myself, an Asian female at the age of 18, become the minority here, along with many other people who have also been disappointed and alienated by this land – especially with the COVID-19 and the exacerbated anti-Asian sentiment, racism, and xenophobia.

Driven by the urge to speak for my community, I decided to run for that position. But it was not easy for a foreign student and a novice in political campaigns. Crippled by my lack of knowledge and experience in this American game, I lost.

A few weeks after my failed attempt, I was introduced to Lily Lee Chen through a mutual friend and was shocked to hear about her story – another foreign student who came to this country almost 60 years ahead of me, worked hard to become a US citizen, ran for office, and actually WON. However, despite having achieved incredible success as a minority woman, she experienced racial and gender prejudice no differently than I did, and fought relentlessly to combat it.

It was then I knew I wanted to tell Lily’s story.

I want her story to be a reminder: what America used to be, how it has attracted countless people like Lily and me with its promises, how much the generations before us have done to get closer to those ideals, and how it is our responsibility, as the younger generation, not to let them down.