The Palm Beach International Film Festival boasts a few star-studded indie films, but the schedule also is packed with a host of alternately gritty and inspirational documentaries featuring everyday folks in extraordinary circumstances.
The festival, which kicked off on April 4, continues through Thursday. Every day, there are a dozen or so films screening at various theaters throughout Palm Beach County. You can't be everywhere at once, so below are four documentaries to consider making a priority at this year's festival.
Florida native Kevin Bradshaw is "the greatest basketball player never known." The troubled athlete broke scoring records in college and pro games, but his internal struggles led him to the brink of suicide. This film looks at Bradshaw and the woman in his life who helped him to reunite with his estranged family decades after they wrote him out of their lives.
2:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, at Cobb Theatres in Palm Beach Gardens. Buy tickets online.
Activist/actor Sean Penn is among the famous faces that appear in this 78-minute documentary about a post-earthquake Haiti. The film -- which also features residents of Haiti and other non-celebs -- is (in part) a response to the media's fixation on tragedy and scandal in the wake of the 2010 disaster. The Palm Beach International Film Festival marks the U.S. premiere of the film.
2 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, at Frank Theatres CineBowl & Grille/IMAX in Delray Beach. Buy tickets online.
In the mid-1990s, a young Thai girl was trafficked into Australia to work in a Sydney brothel at the tender age of 13. Years later, she and the disenchanted police detective who helped to investigate her case seek closure with the brothel's owner. The events in this film take place halfway around the world, but the realities of sexual slavery, exploitation, and human trafficking are evident in South Florida. (A 2011 study by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center ranked Florida as the third worst state for human trafficking in the U.S.)
5 p.m. Thursday, April 11, at Cobb Theatres in Palm Beach Gardens. Buy tickets online.
A story of the Israel and Palestine conflict told through the lens of personal loss. Bereaved families, spiritual leaders, descendants of Holocaust survivors, and former Israeli soldiers are among the people who come together to talk about the violence, death, and destruction experienced on both sides of the battle. Produced by Parents Circle - Families Forum - Bereaved Palestinian and Israeli Families.
11:30 a.m. Monday, April 8, at Frank Theatres CineBowl & Grille/IMAX in Delray Beach. Buy tickets online. AND 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, at Muvico Parisian 20 and IMAX at City Place in West Palm Beach. Buy tickets online.