“Shoplifters” is a Japanese film that will be shown at the Moab International Film Festival on March 1. [Photo courtesy of Nathan Wynn]

A film, like a book, can sometimes change a life.

That’s what happened last year when Monette Clark, who was recovering from a back injury, attended the Moab International Film Festival film showing of “What the Health” about the nation’s health and how big business influences it. The film inspired Clark to become a vegan. She lost 30 pounds, and began feeling better.

“It was definitely an exposé,” Clark said. “It opened my eyes to corruption.”

Clark is volunteering for the film festival this year, greeting guests and taking tickets for the movie screenings held at Star Hall. The sixth annual film festival begins on Friday, March 1, and runs through Sunday, March 3.

“They’re different films you wouldn’t see unless you lived in a big city,” Clark said. “I always know they will be interesting.”

Moab residents Nathan Wynn and Denise Felaar founded the nonprofit film festival six years ago to bring interesting, independent films — not your typical Hollywood fare — to the community.

This year’s film festival will kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 1, with a screening of “Shoplifters,” a film directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda.

“Shoplifters” takes place in Tokyo, Japan, and features a “dysfunctional band of outsiders” who are united by loyalty and a fondness for petty theft. The film says their “tenuous, below-the-radar existence is upended when a young son is arrested.”

The film won the Palme d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival, and was nominated for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe in 2019.

Following that film showing, a 78-minute documentary begins at 9:15 p.m. with “Do You Trust This Computer,” a documentary about artificial intelligence and its increasing impact on the world.

“Incomprehensible amounts of data are being collected, interpreted, and fed back to us in a tsunami of apps, smart devices and targeted advertisements,” according to the film festival’s website.

The festival continues at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, with the screening of “Running for Good: The Fiona Oakes Documentary,” a sports documentary by executive producer James Cromwell and award-winning director Keegan Kuhn. Both will be in attendance to answer questions after the film.

“I’m thrilled my documentary ‘Running for Good’ was selected for this year’s Moab International Film Festival,” Kuhn said. “Moab is one the most beautiful places I have ever visited and the perfect venue to feature a desert running film.”

Narrated by Rich Roll, the feature-length film follows world record marathon runner Fiona Oakes as she competes in the Marathon des Sables, a 250-kilometer race through the Sahara Desert. Oakes became the fastest woman in the world to run a marathon on all seven continents, and the North Pole — even though she was told at age 14 that she would never walk properly.

A second film on Saturday, March 2, “The Devil We Know,” is about how a West Virginian community challenged a corporation to be more environmentally responsible. It’s the story of how a chemical that was used to make Teflon products caused contamination, how all Americans are affected by the use of these chemicals in various products and how individuals can take steps to protect themselves.

“Fig Tree,” a film that takes place in Ethiopia, will be shown on Sunday at 7 p.m. Based on the writer’s childhood memories of growing up in civil war-torn Ethiopia, the film is about how plans can go wrong in times of war. The intense film shows how people are kidnapped and forced to join the military.

“We watch them all and then decide if the film meets our mission,” Wynn said.

The film festival’s mission is to “showcase stellar independent films of cultural and educational values for film-goers to enjoy,” and “share powerful stories, concepts and ideas from around the world to have a positive effect on society.”

Weekend of film kicks off Friday at Star Hall

When: March 1-3; film screenings begin at 7 p.m.

Where: Star Hall, 159 E. Center St.

Cost: Tickets $5 per show or $20 for full weekend festival pass

Info: Visit moabfilmfestival.org for more information

“They’re different films you wouldn’t see unless you lived in a big city.”