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Sunday September 8th

Floor 17 at Ramada Apollo
8:00 PM


When we watch a film has a significant impact on how it resonates within us.  A song comes out during a certain transitional phase of our lives….we see a film that just so happens to be in sync with what we are experiencing in real time…it amplifies our feelings because shared experience is an integral part of what defines us.

People often ask me “What is my favorite film? ” It is infuriating…what decade? What genre? Impossible to answer…but I am going to have to say…Hedwig has always been in my top 5.

“Wig in a Box” from the film is what did it for me.  Sitting in painfully suburban Albuquerque I needed to go “out there”…beyond the confines of the Spielbergian 80s to satisfy my Grass is Greener complex…I had to go on a quest to find something that was missing inside of me.
I did and it has been the adventure of a lifetime.

“The Strangest Things Seem Suddenly Routine..” Hedwig came along when I had lost my way. On a constant search for something. Not knowing what or whom exactly that something was.
How am I identifying with a German trans-musician a decade older than I?
It was the wig.  I have been constructing my identity the entire time.
The identities we form to cope, as Carl Jung would theorize…to discover the Self through individuation…the negotiation of our conscious and subconscious self…
In a way…we all wear a wig, or a mask, or some consciously contrived mechanism to express that extension of us yearning to communicate itself to the rest of the world while still protected behind the safe confines of the construction.

It serves a purpose…and then the time comes to shed the wig…as seen in the dénouement of Hedwig …we find ourselves vulnerable but stronger. That which we are searching for has been with us all along.

Bottom line, Hedwig is about love. And wholeness.
Yet without the capability to laugh and embrace the self-deprecation, we would never heal. Humor is the balm of all ills in the world.

It is an absolute pleasure as a producer and scholar to make this available to people who have treasured this classic since its release…and to introduce it to those that have never seen it for a new wave of appreciation in retrospect. And did I mention the co-writer and one of the stars, Stephen Trask, will be in attendance for more of this conversation? How did I get to be so lucky?!

So it is with great humility and gratitude that I present Hedwig and the Angry Inch as our closing night feature. This is a pinnacle and honor for me in my career, to be able to express my love for this work of art and to be able to share it, is something I will never forget.

Alexandra Nakelski

Come join us a top the awesome roof top venue of Floor 17 for our spectacular closing night! Q and A with Stephen Trask and Closing Night Party with DJ to follow!
Buy Tickets here!

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Start location Map

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Thursday September 5th

Meet near Amsterdam Central Station
6:00 PM- 8:00 PM-

Start location Oosterdokskade 8, 1011 AE Amsterdam


Scenic canal cruise to pre launch the festival!    6:00 PM- 8:00 PM- Meet near Amsterdam Central Station Unlimited Drinks (beer, wine & soda)!! Two tickets are available on our Kickstarter rewards for this epic adventure… Mingle with the Filmmakers be part of the official entourage! Then join all of us on our way over to the acoustic night with Stephen Trask!

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Located in the beautiful Jordaan area of Amsterdam’s city centre and opened by Paulo Xisto from legendary Brazilian metal band, Sepultura, BR020 is a place for rock music lovers of all ages. Laid-back atmosphere, wide selection of beers and spirit and, above all, respect to vinyl! BR020 features an always-evolving vinyl wall, with a selection of LP’s covers curated by friends and guests. Every Wednesday night BR020 presents Rosewood Sessions, live local and touring singer-songwriters, on Amsterdam’s best small-scale acoustic sound-stage. Rosewood Sessions is hosted by Manifesto Film Festival’s Steve Armor and sponsored by Taylor Guitars.

Voted one of the 10 best pubs in Amsterdam according to Webster’s Guides…

Thursday September 5th, 9pm

Acoustic Night with Stephen Trask at BR020!
September 5th, Thursday- 9pm
(Free entrance- donations for the festival welcome!-purchase own drinks)

Marnixstraat 325H, 1016 TC Amsterdam, Netherlands

Here at this iconic setting, Mr. Trask has graciously agreed to play a set for us!  It’s an intimate bar with capacity for roughly 60 people. So get there early to grab a good spot! First come first serve.

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Friday September 6th

Girls of the Sun  (Dir. Eva Husson, 2018)
English Subtitles
Friday September 6th 2019
6:45PM- 9:15 PM
Run Time 1hr 55 min
Q and A -30 min
Actress Zübeyde Bulut in attendance!
Rialto Theater
Ceintuurbaan 338, 1072 GN Amsterdam


Closing Night Reception to Follow! Only 5 euro with your film ticket/10 euro to general public. All access badges free.


During the last few decades in mainstream cinema, it has been prevalent to depict women as powerful action heroes, often seen in acts of unbelievable feats for their body type or skill set. The “Mary Sue” came to be.  However, what is often missing from these female action characters is that which defines the hero (male or female)…discovering inner strength and courage even and most often in times of vulnerability.  To me, the most compelling women (and men) in these genre films are those that must over come obstacles, discover their internal power and develop an arc in the journey the audience shares with them along the way.

I felt Patty Jenkins did a wonderful job in encapsulating that feminine strength in Wonder Woman and Kathryn Bigelow also did so with Angela Bassett’s character, “Mace” in Strange Days.  I am pleased to see women branching out to direct women in action films and as a result;  captures that strength that makes female heroes that resonate in genuine portrayals.  Director, Eva Husson, continues this trajectory in the 2019 Cannes sensation, Girls of the Sun.

Somewhere in Kurdistan, Bahar, commander of the “Girls of the Sun” battalion, is preparing to liberate her hometown from the hands of extremists, hoping to find her son who is held hostage.
A French journalist, Mathilde, comes to cover the attack and bear witness to the story of these exceptional warriors.
Since their lives have been turned upside down, they have all been fighting for the same cause: Women, Life and Liberty.

Kurdistan is our country of focus this year and this film really helps contextualize actual events that inspired this production. On August 3rd, 2014, in the arid Sinjar Mountains of northern Iraq, ISIS troops suddenly poured into Yazidi territory. Sinjar, then the last unconquered area between southern Iraq and Syria, was strategically important to ISIS. Two years of horror follow for the The Yazidis who are a stateless minority. Those two years pushed Yazidi women to take on a degree of societal importance that they never had before, much in the way the WWI brought European women to the forefront.

The Manifesto Film Festival is ecstatic to present Girls of the Sun as our opening night film in partnership with the Rialto Theater.  Actress Zübeyde Bulut, who plays Lamia, will be in attendance for an audience Q and A following the film hosted by Kurdish Director Mazin Sherbayani.

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Sep 07, 2019 11:00 AM

Het Ketelhuis
Saturday September 07, 2019 11:00 AM

Description of Panel

Why is John Williams and other composers of epic scores considered the “classical” musicians of modern times?  What would Star Wars be without the iconic music?  Why do sometimes we a see a film and the music instead upstages the story and is ill-fitting?  The delicate art of scoring music for film or writing diegetic musical number is often under-appreciated by many who have concluded that film is just about image…however, ever since the days of the Silent’s…music has always been utilized to convey emotion and meaning.  What exactly is sound design?  Stephen Trask, the Grammy nominated musician for his work on the musical Hedwig and The Angry Inch, will discuss his process in collaborating with John Cameron Mitchell for writing the film and how flawlessly the dialogue blends with the music to create the powerful resonance we experience when watching. Sound designers and composers Donna Kavanagh, Manifesto alumni all the way from New Zealand, and new member of the festival family with her short Drive, Director Sara T. Gama will join in on the discussion and also take questions from the audience.

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6:00 PM- 12:00 AM

Saturday September 7th
IJpromenade 1, 1031 KT Amsterdam,

6:00 PM- 12:00 AM

Tickets are limited so get yours ASAP!


All you can drink wine and beer…DJ… at the famous EYE Film Museum located on the scenic IJ river in Amsterdam…this is your chance to chat and get to know the filmmakers and entourage at the Manifesto Film Festival…last year this was the highlight of the festival…so much fun! People are still talking abut it! Everyone is welcome as long as there is space!

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Sunday September 8th 4:00 - 6:00 PM

(Dir. Steven Saporito, Zach Shaffer USA, 2008)

Ceintuurbaan 338, 1072 GN Amsterdam, Netherlands
Q and A with Steven Trask following the film!

The year was 1994. Rudy Giuliani had just been elected mayor of New York. It was before the city was gripped by terror, before Times Square was recast as a Disneyfied playground for tourists, before models and bottles infiltrated, soured and sterilized its clubs.


Many times I have described this festival as one that focuses on the “zeitgeist.” Without being too pedantic, I would like to use a definition that surprisingly both philosopher, Hegel and legendary director, John Carpenter, both have used; that people producing works of art are either consciously or unconsciously influenced by the spirit of the era.  What is going on in the world, socially, politically, globally is reflected in that art regardless of intent.  In retrospect, like anthropologists, we can examine music, film, literature etc. and learn so much about the collective consciousness…about the people and their thoughts at that particular moment in time.

It is hard to visualize a time before 9/11 anymore.  We look back at a time before rampant social media and Internet dominated our culture and it is almost like looking at ancient artifacts. A sense of innocence or grand naïveté permeated the late 20th century before the veritable fall from grace. Squeezebox is like a Polaroid photo taken, a snapshot of that delicate time in New York before 9/11…when no one could even fathom how different our lives would change after the dawn of the Millennium.  I invite the viewer to watch this documentary with this in mind, and perhaps you may agree with me that it was not so very long ago chronologically but yet feels like a lifetime ago.

“A man in a dress is strangely invincible”

Once upon a time (like the mid-’90s), a party promoter named Michael Schmidt had a novel idea: drag queens dumping the lip-synching routine to sing rock and roll live onstage. No one knew what to expect when they first opened the doors to Don Hill’s on the fateful night that SqueezeBox! was born in downtown Manhattan. With Mistress Formika presiding as hostess and den mother, the drag queens rocked New York nightlife in a way no one had ever seen before. But what began as a place for queer misfits who’d rather hear a guitar riff than a disco beat turned into a pansexual free-for-all. Straight or gay. Preppy or punk. Man or woman (or somewhere in between). All were welcome at SqueezeBox! as long as they were there to have fun. Though celebrities like John Waters, Debbie Harry, Liv Tyler, Cherie Currie and Bob Gruen were regular fixtures, the movie stars, drag queens, punks, and everyone in between partied elbow to elbow, waiting for a glimpse of what would happen next on stage.

It was 1994 and Rudolph Guiliani was just starting his first term as mayor of New York City.  New York was in transition still suffering the financial hangover of the economic devastation of the 70’s.  A deal had been cut years ago to turn the porn palaces of Times Square into the family friendly mall that it is today.  Downtown was in flux too.  The music scene shifted from the Ritz and Palladium to the much smaller Brownies, Mercury Lounge and the marginalized CBGB’s.  In this vacuum, a group of gay rock and rollers sought to create a place where they would feel comfortable.  As outcasts from both the gay and rock worlds, they wanted a place where rock bands ruled in a drag-centric gay environment.  The only rule was there was to be no lip-synching…

Following will be a Q and A with Squeezebox House band member the illustrious Stephen Trask to discuss this snapshot in time!

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Saturday September 7th 3:00 PM

Het Ketelhuis
Saturday September 7th 3:00- 5:00 pm

Description of Panel

-Identity is an elusive concept. We feel we must define ourselves using a relatively small selection of roles and conscious character traits, even if none accurately represents our notion of “Self.” The confusion surrounding our true natures is further compounded by the fact that society regularly asks us to suppress so much of our emotional, intellectual, and spiritual vibrancy.-

How has digital media and technology fostered or burdened these expressions of individuation?
The 1980s cyberpunk movement, with William Gibson’s Neuromancer as the apotheosis, thrilled science fiction audiences with dystopian visions of society completely transformed by digital technologies. Today in 2019, global society is transitioning into a universal culture dominated by these cyber spaces and in turn, the very term identity has metamorphosed into something that challenges how we previously defined humanity. Currently we are experiencing a significant epoch of change.

Professional You Tuber, Tatiana Pirogova, Professional Twitch Content Creator, Shanna Zwart, Fandom and pop culture PhD scholar, Neta Yodovich and Television and Radio broadcaster and sci-fi scholar, Laura De La O form a generationally and culturally diverse perspective in this engaging discussion and exploration of these questions. This forum is open to the public in hopes we can navigate where our species is headed in our connection or disconnection to those sitting near us or thousands miles away. Be prepares for some heated and enlightening debate!

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Friday, September 6th 2019 5:00 PM

Short Film Showcase
Mazin first screened with us back in 2016 at the Norwich Radical Film Festival with Dyab which has since gone global in winning awards and notoriety.  Not only is he an incredible filmmaker…I clearly remember him at 3 am trying to keep me up to continue the party when I had a screening the next morning! He is the true spirit of film festivals…quality film and fun loving presence.  we are so excited to have him host his own showcase this year and present our opening night film Girls of the Sun to help contextualize Kurdish cinema and its significance.

Dyab (UK/Iraq, 2016)  20:00, Short Documentary

The Deluge (Iraq/UK, 2017) 20:00, Short Documentary

Stride (Iraq/UK, 2019) 14:45

Sama (Iraq/UK, 2017) 15:01, Short Documentary


Ceintuurbaan 338, 1072 GN Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Saturday, September 7th 11:30 AM

Apocalypse Please
At The Nautilus
Run Time 1 hr 23 min
We are so pleased to have our sister festival in Latvia participate with us in 2019! Two of Astra’s films showcased at Manifesto last year and for 2019, we are pleased to have her specially curate a short film program for us! Watch this space to see date, time and content of her amazing contribution!
Astra Zoldnere is a Latvian film director, curator and researcher. In her line of work practical and theoretical aspects of film interact with each other. Her shorts Treasures of the Sea (2013) and All My Dead (2014) have been shown in many film festivals and received prizes. Her latest documentary, Blueberry Spirits, (2016) was premiered in DOK:Leipzig, screened at the Canadian Documentary Film Festival HOT DOCS and 40 other film festivals including Manifesto in 2018! Astra is a program director at Riga International Short Film Festival 2ANNAS. Since October 2018 she studies in the artistic-scientific PhD program at the Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF.
In honor of my never-ending PhD, good friend and colleague Astra curates this collection of shorts to remind me of why I am doing this important research! Enjoy her hand picked program on capitalistic apocalypse!
– Black Friday 18:00
– Waste – 5:53
– Nowhere Line: Voices from Manus Island -15:00
– YULYA fiction – 19:00
– Zombies-14:50
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Saturday, September 7th 2019 1:00 PM

Dir. Max Carlson (USA, 2019)
Starring Edi Gathegi, Tayler Buck and Martin Sheen!
Het Ketelhuis
Pazzanistraat 4, 1014 DB Amsterdam
I remember first seeing Carlson’s short, The Troll, back in 2013 screening for the Seattle International Film Festival..It was an instant favorite of mine..I don’t think they ended up screening it, however, it had always haunted me. And I was super excited to finally own my own film festival where I could screen this gem. Thomas Ohrstrom at  the Dutch Review came by to write about his favorite shorts at the festival and it impressed him just as much as it impressed me. Fast forward a year… I had seen on Facebook that Max had directed a new feature and I invited him to submit to the festival. WoW…I mean first of all it was mind blowingly awesome..but it also had Martin Sheen in it??!  Not to mention an award winning lead performance by both Edi Gathegi and Tayler Buck.  This is why I do what I do..because of films like this.
The inspiring tale of a runaway foster child who will stop at nothing to live with the only family she knows: her homeless, mentally-ill veteran father who lives on the streets of LA’s skid row.

Sunday, September 8th 1:45 PM

We’ve got a ton of local filmmakers showing up for this Q and A with the best of the best!

Rialto Theater

Pass the Dutchie 
Netherlands Short Film Showcase
Run Time 1 hr 24 min

Nothing Has to Be Official

Dir. Irma Oldenburg  (Netherlands, 2018) 28:00

*Filmmakers Irma Oldenburg and Mariëtte Faber in attendance!

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Happy New Year
Dir. Brandon Grötzinger and Wander Theunis (Netherlands, 2018) 8:51
*Filmmakers Brandon Grötzinger and Wander Theunis in attendance!
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Short Calf Muscle
Dir. Victoria Warmerdam (Netherlands, 2019) 13:00
(starring Henry van Loon!)
*Filmmakers Victoria Warmerdam – Writer/Director
Trent – Producer and Elsbeth Kasteel – Editor in attendance!
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Till the End of the World

Dir. Florence Bouvy (Netherlands, 2018) 26:00

*Director Florence Bouvy in attendance!


Sunday, September 8th 12:15 PM

Last year Steve Armor, director of the Amsterdam Film eXperience, (a mixed media and art installation festival) wowed us with a non-narrative feast for the eyes.  Armor returns this year with hand picked selections and will be in attendance for a Q and A following the film at the Rialto Theater!
Tickets: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4298438
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Amsterdam Film eXperience 2019 – Program – 59 Minutes

Estuaries 3- Bret Battey
8:46, 2018
A hypnotic drone film spawned from research in areas related to algorithmic music, haptics, and image and sound relationships.
“The Estuaries series involves visualizing Nelder-Mead optimization, a process used by mathematicians to find solutions to complex, multi-variable problems that cannot be addressed by solving equations. The music was created with my Nodewebba software, which interlinks pattern generators to create complex emergent behaviours”
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Coiled Fall- Sergej Vutuc (music by Zaïmph)
7:49, 2018
Abstract Super8 visualization by Sergej Vutuc for the drone release Coiled Fall by recording artist Zaimph (Marcia Bassett)
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SANDSCAPE | Shores- Kelly Joanne Jenkins
4:57, 2018
An award winning sensual and fluid music video by a vibrant new filmmaker, Kelly Joanne Jenkins (Amsterdam/London).
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Light Matter- Virgil Widrich
5:00, 2018
A black and white film that lets you see colors.
“Light Matter” takes advantage of a physiological phenomenon that was described by Gustav Theodor Fechner and Hermann von Helmholtz as early as the middle of the 19th century but has not yet been satisfactorily explained by science.
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Ephemeral and the Material- Bridget Hayden (music by Zaïmph)
6:30, 2019
Lush and ethereal video by artist, musician, and filmmaker Bridget Hayden for Zaïmph track Ephemeral and the Material.
Octave Nightmare- Michal Jablonski and Martinovna
6:00, 2019
Collaborative audio-visual piece by VJ and artist Martinovna to a track by deep techno DJ Michal Jablonski (Poland).
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The Magma Chamber- Written by Shantala Pèpe
Directed in collaboration with Antonin De Bemels
18:58, 2019
A woman at war with the voices that haunt her, in quest of a face lost in time. As the bonfire dies, her breath returns, a volcano stirs…
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