In the 1960s, the hippies championed the idea of a sexual revolution. They received neither Fatwas nor bodyguards. In director Nefise Ozkal Lorentzen latest film, SEYRAN ATES: SEX, REVOLUTION AND ISLAM we follow the work of Seyran Ateş – a Turkish-German lawyer, feminist, and one of the first female imams in Europe – is fighting for a sexual revolution within Islam. In return, she was shot, received fatwas and death threats, and now has to live under constant police protection. Seyran believes the only way to fight against radical Islam is through Islam, which is why, in her liberal mosque, there is no gender segregation or exclusion based on sexual orientation. This is the story of Seyran’s personal and ideological fight for the modernization of Islam. Her quest for change takes her on a journey around the world, meeting with different people connected through faith, from sex workers in a German brothel to Uyghur LGBTQ youth and traditional female imams in China. It is also a journey through Seyran’s life, from her humble beginnings as a Muslim girl in Turkey’s slums to a female leader daring to challenge her own religion. Seyran rebels against extremism and hate in the name of peace and love. Director Nefise Ozkal Lorentzen (Gender Me, A Balloon for Allah, Manislam) joins us for a conversation on bravery and the tenacity of Seyran Ates as well as the people who have supporter her and the incremental progress she is making.
About the filmmaker – Nefise Özkal Lorentzen is a Turkish-Norwegian writer, filmmaker and associate professor at The faculty of Audiovisual Media and Creative Technologies at Innland University, Norway. She received her B.A in Political Science at Bosphorus University in Istanbul and her M.A in Media and Communication at the University of Oslo. Over the past two decades she has produced and directed several controversial documentaries related to Islam. As a result of her dedication to LGBTQ rights and human rights activism through her films, she’s been named one of the TOP 10 immigrant role models in Norway. Her trilogy of films entitled, Gender Me (2008), A Balloon for Allah (2011) and Manislam (2014), brings alive these untold stories through public visibility. Nefise has received several awards and nominations, and her films have premiered in prestigious festivals such as IDFA, Rhode Island Film Festival, and Göteborg Film Festival among others. She was nominated for the History Makers Award in NYC. Utilizing her workshop concept, “gender activism through films”, she has cooperated with various NGOs in Indonesia, China, Bangladesh, Turkey, Germany, USA etc. She hopes one day gender segregation and violence against women will be a long-forgotten aspect of history.
“Nefise Ozkal Lorentzen’s documentary has some mannered, staged elements that are an unnecessary distraction. But its content, and subject, have a galvanizing power nonetheless.” – Dennis Harvey, 48 Hills
In this twisted tale of a soon-to-be-married Hollywood agent receives a mysterious letter for an anonymous sexual encounter and becomes ensnared in a sinister world of lying, murder, and infidelity in this scintillating satire.Written and directed by PJ McCabe and Jim Cummings, THE BETA TEST is a dark satire thriller of Hollywood power dynamics and the vast interconnectivity of digital culture today. This winding thriller displays the problematic nature of the entertainment industry and humanity’s willingness to jeopardize our happiness in small and constant decisions. It asks the question “In the age of internet consumerism and digital tracking, does anyone truly have privacy? And can we ever truly rest without having all the answers?” Co-directors / co-writers Jim Cummings and PJ McCabe join us for a conversation on this fantastical, thrill-ride through the avaricious landscape that defines “Hollywood,” and the pursuit of power, money and sex.
About the filmmaker – JIM CUMMINGS (Director/Writer/”Jordan”) is a Sundance and South by Southwest Winning filmmaker from New Orleans. He is a champion of the digital independent filmmaking renaissance and is very vocal at film festival happy hours and on social media about DIY filmmaking. His films Thunder Road and The Wolf of Snow Hollow have been showcased and praised around the world for their genre-fluid aesthetics and his new film The Beta Test is no different. He lives in Los Angeles and treats his home like a film studio.
About the filmmaker – PJ MCCABE (Director/Writer/”PJ”) is a writer, director, and actor from Philadelphia. His films have been showcased at Sundance, South by Southwest, and Fantasia Film Festivals. His most recent feature and directorial debut (The Beta Test) premiered at Berlinale and the Tribeca Film Festival. He has also written and developed multiple projects for such networks as FX and Hulu. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and his dog.
“Who knew erotic thrillers could be funny? Apparently, Jim Cummings and PJ McCabe did, because they somehow found a way to create a viewing experience that was both tantalizing and wickedly hilarious in The Beta Test.” – Heather Wixson, Daily Dead
“A delicious fermentation of Hitchcock, American Psycho, and Entourage, The Beta Test is a seductively dark and deviously amusing film that titillates and tantalizes.” – Kat Hughes, Film Disclosure
“As a thriller, the anxiety and uncertainty ramps up minute by minute, mostly due to how Jordan reacts to absolutely everything and everyone around him.” – Katie Hogan, FILMHOUNDS Magazine
From Emmy® Award-winner Rex Miller and Academy Award®-nominated and Emmy® Award-winning filmmaker Sam Pollard comes a new documentary about the first male African American, CITIZEN ASHE.The filmis an exploration of the legacy of tennis great and humanitarian Arthur Ashe. Ashe, who would have turned 78 last month, died of AIDS-related complications in 1993. His storied tennis career is only surpassed in esteem by his off-court activism on behalf of civil rights, global human rights, and compassion for those afflicted by HIV. Using a blend of archival newsreel and family footage, Miller and Pollard take viewers along Ashe’s personal evolution, beginning with a youth deeply influenced by his early tennis mentor and the death of his mother. His elegant technical form helped him play at the highest of elite levels in tennis, a sport which, even today, has few non-white professional players. Contemporary interviews with Ashe’s widow, Jeanne Moutousammy-Ashe, his brother, Johnnie Ashe, as well as fellow tennis legends Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Donald Dell, and Lenny Simpson, and activist Prof. Harry Edwards, illustrate the cultural resonance of his historic Grand Slam wins, and how he managed a quiet, stoic dignity in public, despite the racism he endured throughout his life and career. He really is an inspiration who used his celebrity to focus attention on injustice in America, and beyond. Co-director Rex Miller (Sam Pollard) joins us to talk about the life and times of the country’s greatest male African-American tennis champion and a humanitarian of the highest order.
About the filmmaker – Director/Cinematographer Rex Miller is a visual storyteller with an extensive background as a photographer/filmmaker, having started originally as a photographer working for local, national and international newspapers and magazines in New York City, after growing up there on the blue collar streets of Queens. His mother emigrated to NY from Jamaica, West Indies and is of Poruguese, African, Indian and Jewish descent. His photography clients have included ABC News, American Express, Atlantic Records, Calvin Klein, CBS, Forbes, John Kennedy, Jr., John McEnroe, McDonald’s, Musician, Newsweek, New York Magazine, The New York Times, Nickelodeon, the Robin Hood Foundation, Rolling Stone, Spin, Sony Music, and Time. In 1997 Miller completed “All The Blues Gone”, a hardcover book/CD package documenting Mississippi blues culture. “All The Blues Gone” has been widely exhibited in the U.S. and overseas. For the last 15 years, he has been directing, producing and shooting independent documentary films, as well as content for television. His work has appeared on HBO, PBS National, Tennis Channel, Starz, and screened at major national and international film festivals, including Sundance, Venice, Berlin, NY Film Festival, Full Frame and South Africa. He has been part of 2 Peabody-Award-Winning projects, several Emmy winners and was twice nominated for an Emmy for Cinematography. Recent projects as Director include the documentaries, ALTHEA (2015, PBS), SOMAY KU: A Uganda Tennis Story and Behind These Walls, both of which aired on Tennis Channel. Recent work as Cinematographer includes the documentaries Private Violence (HBO) and The Loving Story (HBO), the series A Chef’s Life (PBS—currently in Season 5) and work for the directors Steven Cantor, Sam Pollard, AJ Schnack, Jesse Moss, Brad Lichtenstein, Cynthia Hill and Katy Chattoo Boerum. He recently shot an 8-hour Verite series on the NASCAR team Hendrick Motor Sports. He is currently Directing/Producing a feature documentary on 1968 and Arthur Ashe. For more go to: rexpix.com
“It’s a compelling life story of a man who refused to be bullied, eschewing use of his early celebrity as a tool in the thick of the civil rights struggle, only to eventually become a leader in the fight for racial justice and equality.” – Tambay Obenson, indieWire
“Less a tennis documentary than about the evolution of a tennis star, a Black American who figured out how to engage with the world beyond established rules and white lines both literal and figurative.” – Robert Abele, TheWrap
“There is gravitas in every minute…The film also goes a long way to restore Ashe to the conversation. He was a great athlete and citizen of the world, on and off the court, and every generation should be reminded of that.” – Jeff York, The Establishing Shot
Charlie Chaplin’s iconic Tramp character made him the most famous person in the world. But who was THE REAL CHARLIE CHAPLIN? From the award-winning creative team behind NOTES ON BLINDNESSand LISTEN TO ME, MARLONcomes an innovative portrait of a complex figure whose life was as extraordinary as his art. It traces Chaplin’s journey from the slums of late-Victorian London to the bright lights of Hollywood at the dawn of cinema. Movies that transcended language brought him unparalleled fame and fortune, a studio empire to enact his obsessive creative vision, before political controversies and personal scandals threatened his ascendancy. With unprecedented access to the Chaplin archives, the film combines dramatic reconstructions with previously unheard recordings, intimate home movies and behind-the-scenes material, interwoven with his newly restored classics. It explores how – as the Little Tramp – Chaplin’s pioneering movie comedy finds new depths, replaying childhood traumas in THE KID and THE GOLD RUSH, spiraling into creative obsession in the making of CITY LIGHTS, protesting inequality in MODERN TIMES, before confronting the rise of fascism in THE GREAT DICTATOR. The film reveals a figure whose creative passion was mirrored by a turbulent personal life. And the climactic re-staging of an infamous press conference reveals how the killing of his beloved Tramp character threatens his standing with the American public, as the Hollywood press and the F.B.I. conspire to exile him from the country where he made his name. Co-directors James Spinney and Peter Middleton join us for a conversation on their revelatory and compelling look into the life and times of an immensely talented artist / comedian / writer / director / businessman who instantaneously connected with people from around the world, propelling his Tramp persona to a level of fame seldom seen.
About the filmmaker(s) – Writer/Directors – Peter Middleton & James Spinney have been working together for the past decade on a range of creative non-fiction projects. In 2014 they adapted the audio diaries of Australian theologian John Hull into a series of short films, including the Emmy Award-winning NOTES ON BLINDNESS. Their debut feature of the same name premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016. It went on to earn six nominations at the British Independent Film Awards (taking home the award for Best Documentary) and was nominated for three BAFTAs, including Best Documentary and Outstanding British Film. THE REAL CHARLIE CHAPLIN will be their second feature.
Director’s Statement (edited) – It begins with his eyes. When Chaplin looks at you, he demands your attention. In a flash, there’s a feeling of intimacy, like he’s telling you a secret. It has been just over a century since people felt this connection for the first time. As moving picture houses sprung up across the world, hundreds of millions of people looked at him looking back at them from the screen. We felt it watching Chaplin’s films as students. By coincidence, we now live in the South London neighborhood where he grew up, meters from where he trained to be an acrobat. Locals still run Chaplin tours from his birthplace on East Street to the Lambeth Workhouse, where he was consigned as a 7-year-old. Every day we walked the streets that Chaplin recreated in his Hollywood studio – the streets that he returned to time and again as the Tramp. Making the film, we found ourselves searching for Chaplin in the Tramp and the Tramp in Chaplin. You can’t see one without looking at the other. In The Circus, the Tramp wanders into a mirror maze, only to find hundreds of versions of himself looking back at him. “There are more Chaplin rumors, legends, accounts, reports and beliefs than cling to many a system of religion,” wrote a journalist just a few years after he first shuffled onto the screen. Since then, his life and work has been deconstructed in hundreds of books, in dozens of languages. Chaplin’s refined voice is captured on the reel-to-reel tape recorder of LIFE Magazine reporter Richard Meryman. The 1966 recording was meant for transcription and on first playback was almost inaudible. Careful digital restoration salvaged the faint signal from the noise, transporting us to the Manoir de Ban, Chaplin’s home in the foothills of the Alps. The house is now a museum, where we restaged the interview to intercut with photographs taken of Chaplin as he told his story. “My version,” Chaplin tells Meryman, “is the most authentic one,” before describing the creation of the iconic costume. “The moment I put on those clothes, I felt so free,” he remembers. No one more embodied the transcendent ideals of silent cinema, known at the time as “visual esperanto” because it crossed continents and social barriers. The Tramp has no name, no fixed address, no family. He defies the contours of identity, blurring gender and sexuality, upending authority, and class. “Talking is an artificial thing,” Chaplin says in the LIFE interview. “Whereas movement is as near to nature as a bird flying.” These approaches are tied together by the voice of another South Londoner, our narrator Pearl Mackie, chasing these different Chaplins, real and counterfeit, rooting out imitators, impersonators and imposters. “Who is the real Charlie Chaplin?” asked newspapers as the Chaplin craze swept through America. He remains elusive, even to those closest to him. “I grew up with the icon,” his daughter Jane told us, “but I had no idea who the man was.” Listening to Jane and her siblings Geraldine, Michael and Eugene, it was moving to hear Chaplin alive in their memories, still being reprocessed, still evading grasp. In the Tramp’s universe, nothing is stable, everything is temporary. Wherever he ends up at the end of the film – whether he’s rich or poor, under a roof or out on the road – it all disappears when the credits roll. As the next film begins, the world resets. And he looks at us, like we’re seeing him for the first time. – James Spinney & Peter Middleton
“The crystal clear, cleaned up audio recordings of Chaplin and those in his orbit especially stand out.” – Kent Turner, Film-Forward.com
“”The Real Charlie Chaplin” can serve as a step forward for documentaries about film history and an exemplar for those to come: that you can appreciate art without ignoring the faults of the artist, as so many have tried to do in the past.” – Christian Blauvelt, indieWire
“Chaplin was a charmer and a scoundrel, a sweetheart and a monster, not to mention a celebrity of scandalous appetites. All of that is covered, quite ingeniously, in “The Real Charlie Chaplin.”” – Owen Gleiberman. Variety
“Combines an engaging bonanza of familiar and rarer film clips and other archival material with previously unheard audio and deft dramatic reenactments to form a cradle-to-grave account of the legend’s long and winding life.” – Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
HBO’s LISTENING TO KENNY G, part of the Music Box series, directed by Penny Lane (“Hail Satan?”) and executive produced by Bill Simmons (HBO’s “Andre The Giant,” “Showbiz Kids”)takes a humorous but incisive look at the saxophonist Kenny G, the best-selling instrumental artist of all time, and quite possibly one of the most famous living musicians. Through several interviews with renowned jazz critics, music professors and writers, and including a new in-depth, intimate interview with the artist, LISTENING TO KENNY G is a multifaceted exploration of the two extremes between the musician’s critics and his superfans, revealing a meditation on the larger idea of artistic taste and how our musical preferences define us. Alternatively playful and probing, the documentarytraces the artist’s career through pivotal moments: playing “Songbird” on The Tonight Show, his monumental record sales, his crushing reviews, his newfound fans on social media and his recent collaborations with Kanye West, The Weeknd and others. Dismissed by the media and mocked by the jazz establishment, Kenny G nevertheless embraces his detractors. Aware of how he is often perceived, he nevertheless strives to perfect his craft and to continually move forward in a changing musical landscape. What emerges in LISTENING TO KENNY G is the portrait of an obsessive musician who still practices three hours a day in an effort to rise above his critics and to satisfy his fans, while also exceling at many of his hobbies, including golfing, flying, and investing. Award-winning director Penny Lane joins us for a conversation on her own perceptions of Ken Gorelick and how they changed over the course of making his wildly entertaining profile of a perfectionist with a perceptive view of himself and a drive to be the best at whatever he sets his mind to.
About the filmmaker – Penny Lane, a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow, has been making innovative nonfiction films for over a decade. In 2018 she was honored with a Chicken & Egg Breakthrough Award, received the Vanguard Award at SF DocFest, and was admitted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She has been honored to receive mid-career retrospectives at the Museum of the Moving Image, San Francisco DocFest, Open City Documentary Festival and Cinema Moderne. Penny has made five feature-length documentaries, most recently LISTENING TO KENNY G (Toronto 2021) for HBO. Previously, she directed HAIL SATAN? (Sundance 2019), THE PAIN OF OTHERS (Rotterdam 2018), NUTS! (Sundance 2016) and OUR NIXON (Rotterdam 2013).For this and other work she has been awarded grants and fellowships from Sundance Institute, Creative Capital, Cinereach, TFI Documentary Fund, Wexner Center for the Arts, Jerome Foundation, Catapult Film Fund, MacDowell, Yaddo and many other organizations. She’s won many awards (including a Sundance Jury Prize for Editing) but is probably most proud of being “Most Badass!” at the Iowa City Documentary Film Festival in 2009. Penny’s short films are distributed by VTAPE and include titles such as THE VOYAGERS (2010), JUST ADD WATER (2016) and WE ARE THE LITTLETONS: A TRUE STORY (2004). Her 2005 half-hour documentary THE ABORTION DIARIES has screened in at least 42 states & worldwide at over 350 different community venues, ranging from bars to art centers to clinics to colleges, and on Yes! Television and Free Speech TV. In 2006, Penny was given a Choice USA “Generation Award” for her work on this film. Penny received her MFA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her BA from Vassar College. She was a college professor for over a decade, teaching film, video and new media art at Colgate University, Bard College, Hampshire College and Williams College. And yes, Penny Lane is her real name. For more: pennylaneismyrealname.com
“Mocking Kenny G has become a three-decade game of one-upmanship. And who better than Penny Lane to serve as a sort of devil’s advocate, so to speak.” –Daniel Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter
“A revisionist joyride that’s one of the most entertaining nonfiction efforts in recent years.” –Christian Blauvelt, IndieWire
“Lane takes what sounds like the lamest and squarest of subjects on paper . . . and turns it into something brilliant . . . a hugely entertaining essay about the perceived incompatibility of popularity and artistic success, as well as the seemingly impossible debate about what distinguishes good art from bad.” –Pat Mullen, POV Magazine
“More than a mere biography of one of the most famous and divisive jazz musicians of all time, the great Lane uses Kenny G to unpack how passionate we can get about musical taste.” –Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
“[Penny Lane] proves yet again that nobody can tonally marry edification and entertainment onscreen so effortlessly. It’s masterful.” –Jared Mobarak, The Film Stage
Jim Finn’s inspired real-life story of the South Korean director kidnapped in the 70’s to invigorate the North Korean film industry, THE JUCHE IDEA follows Yoon Jung Lee, a young video artist invited to work at a Juche art residency on a North Korean collective farm. The story is told through the films she made at the residency as well as interviews with a Bulgarian filmmaker and even a brief sci-fi movie. Jim Finn’s THE JUCHE IDEA is an uproarious and provocative deconstruction of North Korean propaganda and philosophy. Mixing together eye-popping archival footage with deadpan re-enactments, Finn has created a complex docu-fiction that is equally thought- provoking and entertaining. Translated as self- reliance, Juche (CHOO-chay) is a hybrid of Confucian and Stalinist thought that Kim Jong-il adapted from his father and applied to the entire culture. In The Juche Idea, a sympathetic South Korean filmmaker visits a North Korean artists’ colony to bring Juche ideas into the 21st century.She ends up producing hilariously stilted shorts, including a nonsensical sci-fi story and the enigmatic “Dentures of Imperialism.” THE JUCHE IDEA is both sardonic satire and historical excavation, an exuberant collage that reveals the absurdity at the heart of Kim-Jong-il’s regime. Director Jim Finn joins us for a free-wheeling conversation on the wildly imaginative nature of his filmmaking, Ulysses S, Grant as the most prolific killer of fascist… ever,and the importance of Juche for all comrades.
About the filmmaker – Jim Finn’s movies have been called ‘Utopian comedies’ and ‘trompe l’oeil films’. His Communist Trilogy is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. “Steeped in the obsolete language of revolutionary art,” The New York Times wrote that “Mr. Finn’s meticulous, deadpan mockumentaries often play like unearthed artifacts from an alternate universe.” His work has screened at international, avant-garde and underground film festivals like Rotterdam, Validivia, BAFICI, Edinburgh and the New York Film Festival as well as museums, universities, cinematheques and microcinemas. He was born in St. Louis in 1968 to a family of Midwestern Catholic salespeople. For more go to: jimfinn.org
The Annotated Field Guide of Ulysses S. Grant – For four years in the 1860’s half of the United States was held hostage by an unrecognized white supremacist republic. Shot on 16mm in national military parks, swamps, forests and the suburban sprawl across the former battlefields, The Annotated Field Guide of Ulysses S. Grant follows General Grant’s path liberating the southern United States. It focuses not only on his battles but on massacres committed by Confederate armies and the role of enslaved people in the war.
La Trinchera Luminosa del Presidente Gonzalo – A recreation of one day at the Canto Grande prison in Peru, following women guerrillas from the Maoist Shining Path movement in their morning marches to their bedtime chants. Kept isolated in their own cellblocks, the guerrillas refused to acknowledge that they were imprisoned. Their cellblocks were another front in the People’s War: “shining trenches of combat”. This film shows the intense indoctrination and belief system of the brutal Latin American insurgency.
Interkosmos – In the 1970s, the East Germans hatch a top-secret plot to establish Communist colonies on the moons of Saturn and Jupiter. (And many more)
“Like a Saturday Night Live sketch devoted to Kim Jong-il.” – Mike Hale, The New York Times
“Steeped in the obsolete language of revolutionary art, Mr. Finn’s meticulous, deadpan mockumentaries often play like unearthed artifacts from an alternate universe.” – Dennis Lim, THE NEW YORK TIMES
“The evidence that current filmmaking is brimming with original, standard-breaking creations has to include the work of Jim Finn, whose brilliant ‘The Juche Idea’… effectively completes a trilogy of ultra-compact features that boldly upturn notions of documentary and fiction, propaganda thought, reality and restaging, and even what an ‘experimental film’ actually is. To say that these films open up new possibilities for satire, ideas and language isn’t an overstatement.” – Robert Koehler, VARIETY
In this, raw, poignant, and deeply personal story, ANONYMOUS SISTER, two-time Emmy winner filmmaker Jamie Boyle turns the camera on her own family when her mother and sister become dependent on opioids. Drawing upon footage shot for over 30 years, Boyle creates a poignant and timely study of the deadliest man-made epidemic in United States history.ANONYMOUS SISTER is an eye-opening look at what it means to suffer, to survive, and to experience life in all of its pain and beauty. Featuring preeminent voices from Colorado’s state government, renowned healthcare organizations, community activist groups, and those directly affected, this film in intended to kick off a nationwide campaign to deepen the understanding of the opioid epidemic, reduce opioid prescribing, and strip away the harmful stigma associated with substance use disorder. Director Jamie Boyle (Take a Vote, Jackson) joins us for a conversation on the enormous scope of opioid distribution, misinformation, fraud, legalized bribery, and lack of accountability regarding of Big Pharma, generally, and Purdue Pharmaceutical / Sackler family in particular bear responsibility for a scourge that has devastated millions of people’s lives and the impact addiction has had on her family.
Director’s Statement – “The camera makes you forget you’re there. It gives you both a point of connection and a point of separation.”So begins Anonymous Sister––a visual memoir that chronicles a time in my life when a handheld Super 8 camera was the only thing that stood between me and the inconceivable reality on the other side of the lens, as I watched my loved ones succumb to an unknown, unnamed epidemic. ANONYMOUS SISTER is a recounting of what the opioid crisis looked like before it was labeled as such, when it entered your home under the guise of standard healthcare, when those to whom we entrust our lives became the greatest threat to it, when there was nothing left to do but bear witness. ANONYMOUS SISTER began as a teenage girl’s scream into the wind. I was drawn to the camera at a very young age, unaware that it would become my sole weapon against a tidal wave of misinformation disseminated by some of the most powerful and corrupt forces in the world. To document the life going out of someone is an excruciating thing. To do it when it is your mother’s life, your sister’s, may seem to be a form of self-torture. It certainly walks a tenuous line between preservation and destruction. What it did was offer me a way to look at something that I couldn’t otherwise. That camera would accompany me on my darkest days and suspend time, holding them alive and breathing for one more moment.A decade after her and my mom escaped the deadly, and horrifyingly common, toll of opioid addiction, my sister announced she was pregnant. It would be her first major interaction with the medical community since getting off opioids. This time, when I looked at life through a camera, what I saw was the unspeakable ramifications of human vice and corruption, staggering numbers of sisters and mothers gone, millions of lives irreparably altered, and sky-high rates of opioid prescribing. I saw a nation haunted by the ghosts of its needlessly dead, with no way to stop the destruction in the face of a system that consistently sacrifices lives at the altar of the almighty dollar. The end result speaks to the pull of escape, of refuge, and the various places we seek it––substances, money, work, family, art. It leaves us with unanswered, uncomfortable questions about what happens when those needs inevitably collide, when human life becomes a casualty of human greed. This film is our story. It belongs to all of us. Because when all is said and done, my family’s story is unique in only one respect—we lived to tell it.
About the filmmaker – Jamie Boyle is a two-time Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker living and working on the unceded Indigenous land of the Lenape peoples, also known as Brooklyn, NY. Her work has played at Sundance, SXSW, LA Film Fest, Full Frame, Hot Docs, True/False, DOC NYC, Human Rights Watch, and others. She was recently selected for the 2019 DOC NYC 40 Under 40 list. She was the editor, producer, and cinematographer for Jackson (SHOWTIME), winner of the 2018 News & Documentary Emmy for Outstanding Social Issue Documentary. Jackson premiered at the LA Film Festival and was awarded Best Documentary at over fifteen festivals. She edited Trans in America: Texas Strong, winner of the 2019 News & Documentary Emmy for Outstanding Short Documentary. She was the Associate Editor and Production Manager on E-TEAM (Netflix), which won the 2014 Sundance Film Festival Cinematography Award and was nominated for two News and Documentary Emmys, including Best Documentary. Most recently, she directed, filmed, and edited Take A Vote, a short documentary spotlighting the fight against voter suppression. She taught at the Bronx Documentary Center and as a guest lecturer at Columbia University.
Director Phillip Barantini’s BOILING POINT, takes deep dive into the internal dynamics roiling thru one of the hottest restaurants in London on the busiest night of the year. A charismatic, commanding head chef Andy Jones (Stephen Graham) balances along a knife’s edge as multiple personal and professional crises threaten to destroy everything he’s worked for. A surprise visit from a health and safety inspector sets the staff on edge as the overbooked hotspot begins to fill with guests. Jones alternately berates and cajoles his diverse staff, trying his best to diffuse tensions between management and his crew, while catering to the ridiculous demands of customers.Co-written with James Cummings (A Place for Everything),Along with Stephen Graham,BOILING POINT,stars, Vinette Robinson, Alice Feetham, Hannah Walters, Malachi Kirby, Izuka Hoyle, Taz Skyler, Lauryn Ajufo, Daniel Larkai, Lourdes Faberes, Jason Flemyng, Ray Panthaki. Nominated for 11 British Independent Film Awards (BIFA), including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography and Best Breakthrough Performance. We are joined by Director Phillip Barantini to talk about his kaleidoscopic look inside the controlled chaos of a bustling restaurant as well as all of the volatile personalities he manages to blend together in this exceptionally accomplish slice of gourmet filmmaking.
About the filmmaker – After 20 years of performing in front of the camera – including roles in the massively successful BAND OF BROTHERS, CHERNOBYL, NED KELLY and HUMANS, to name a few – Philip Barantini transitioned into directing in the late 2010s, marking his first short film with the award-winning SECONDS OUT, written by and starring Robbie O’Neill. Following this, Barantini helmed the BIFA nominated short film BOILING POINT, starring Stephen Graham, which was then adapted into the hotly anticipated one-shot feature of the same name in 2021; both movies were co-written with Barantini’s frequent collaborator James Cummings. “BOILING POINT” saw its international debut in competition at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, and will premiere in the UK at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2021. Barantini is due to helm 21 LAPS ENTERTAINMENT’S THE LAST DROP, with Sharon Horgan attached. Barantini’s other directing credits include feature film VILLAIN starring Craig Fairbrass and his TV debut, BBC’s THE RESPONDER starring Martin Freeman, directing the last episode of the season, which is due for release early 2022. For more: threelittlebirdspictures.co.uk
“An exhilarating workplace drama that’s like jumping into a speeding sports car, one inexorably headed for a brick wall. But what a ride it is until it makes its final curve.” – Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
“As unlikely as it seems, a night inside an imploding restaurant creates one of the most satisfying and compelling dramas of the year.” – Brian Orndorf, Blu-ray.com
“Boiling Point is an exercise in filmmaking, but it’s also one that works on all fronts, something many others should take a look at to see how it’s done.” – Emilie Black, Cinema Crazed
“From the incredible acting to the expertly done cinematography to the at times astonishing set pieces, Boiling Point is the full meal.” – Daryl MacDonald, Film Inquiry
“Boiling Point expertly combines a masterful ensemble cast – especially Stephen Graham and Vinette Robinson – with an ambitious single-take presentation to wring maximum gut-wrenching suspense out of its drum-tight 92 minutes.” – Shaun Munro, Flickering Myth
Adrienne Shelly starred in over twenty films including Hal Hartley’s indie classics The Unbelievable Truth and Trust. She also wrote and directed several shorts and feature films including the critically acclaimed Waitress. A devoted young mother, her life was right on track until her husband Andy Ostroy found her murdered. With ADRIENNE Andy set out on a very personal journey to bring her back to life for viewers, to discover the truth about his wife’s murder and offer a rare window into how a family confronts the unthinkable Adrienne celebratesthe life and work of the late Adrienne Shelly. ADRIENNE is a personal exploration of grief. As an actor and filmmaker, Shelly strove to tell female-centric stories, including the critically acclaimed film Waitress. But Shelly would not live to see the film’s release, nor experience the smash Broadway musical based on her work. Shelley left behind a devastated husband and 2-year-old daughter. Through candid conversations with family, friends, and colleagues–including Paul Rudd, Keri Russell and Sara Bareilles–this emotional film follows Ostroy’s poignant journey to honor Adrienne Shelly’s legacy. Director Andy Ostroy joins us for a conversation on why he chose to take on this deeply personal film, and his intention to make a film that would embody the spirit of Adrienne life and art.
GRANDPA WAS AN EMPEROR follows Yeshi Kassa, great-granddaughter of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, as she embarks on a personal quest to discover what happened to her closest relatives during the coup of 1974. While Yeshi and her older sister were thousands of miles away in a British boardin school, her great-grandfather was deposed by a revolution, setting off a harrowing chain of events that would put her parents and siblings in grave danger. For the very first time, the royal family examines the events that led to the collapse of a 3,000-year-old dynasty and reflects on how, against all odds, they were able to survive this turbulent time in Ethiopian history. Director Constance Marks (Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey, Green Chimneys) joins us for a conversation on the remarkably important role that Emperor Haile Selassie played during World War II and in the post-war period of African nation’s drive to break free of colonial control and the lasting his legacy has had on the lives of his children and grandchildren as seen through the eyes of his great-granddaughter Yeshi.
About the filmmaker – Constance Marks (Producer, Director) is an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker. She is the founder and president of Constance Marks Productions, Inc., a documentary production company based in New York City. Marks began her filmmaking career over 35 years ago as an assistant editor for the renowned Cinema Verite pioneers, David and Albert Maysles. Marks’ critically acclaimed films have been shown theatrically, broadcast widely, and garnered numerous awards. Her productions include: BEING ELMO: A PUPPETEER’S JOURNEY which won the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and has been exhibited worldwide to critical acclaim, and GREEN CHIMNEYS — a full-length documentary feature film which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and aired on HBO. Marks has produced numerous films focusing on important social issues including homelessness, the elderly, experimental charter schools, teen pregnancy and substance abuse recovery residences. For more go to: constancemarks.com
LIFE OF CRIME: 1984-2020, is the culmination of 36 years of work from multiple Emmy Award-winning producer/director Jon Alpert (HBO’s “Baghdad ER”). The third and final part of an epic documentary trilogy, LIFE OF CRIME: 1984-2020 tells the full story of three friends from Newark, New Jersey whose lives have been defined by and torn apart by their addictions. With unfettered access, LIFE OF CRIME: 1984-2020 bears witness to each of their journeys in and out of prison, rehab and in occasional jobs as they struggle to end the vicious cycles of drug use and to connect with the families they left behind. Authentic to true vérité filmmaking techniques, Alpert’s camera is observational, immersive, deeply intimate and unfiltered; the vast scope of the timeline allows for an extensive window into the tragic toll that addiction can take on substance abusers and their loved ones. LIFE OF CRIME: 1984-2020 is tightly focused on three individuals living in one of the roughest parts of Newark, New Jersey: Rob Steffy, a criminal surviving by shoplifting and robbery; Deliris Vasquez, one-time girlfriend of Rob’s and the mother of two children, whose heroin addiction leads to prostitution, prison, rehab and Freddie Rodriguez, whose petty crimes and drug use land him in and out of prison. Director and Producer Jon Alpert joins us for a conversation on how he found himself being pulled into the lives of three hopelessly lost souls desperately trying to find a way out.
About the filmmaker – Director, producer, writer, cinematographer and editor Jon Alpert is a native of Port Chester, New York, In 1970 he graduated Colgate University, and has a black belt in karate. Alpert has traveled widely as an investigative journalist and has reported from Vietnam, Cambodia, Iran, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Cuba, China, and Afghanistan. He has made films for NBC, PBS, and HBO. Over the course of his career, he has won 15 Emmy Awards and three DuPont-Columbia Awards. He has been nominated for a 2010 Academy Award in the category of Best Documentary, Short Subject for China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province. He was nominated for a 2012 Academy Award in the same category for Redemption. Alpert won the Erikson Institute Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media with co-director Ellen Goosenberg Kent for their documentary War Torn: 1861-2010. In 1972, Alpert and his wife, Keiko Tsuno, founded the Downtown Community Television Center, one of the country’s first community media centers. He has interviewed Fidel Castro several times, and was one of the few Western journalists to have conducted a videotaped interview with Saddam Hussein since the Persian Gulf War. In 1991, while employed by NBC, Alpert was the first American journalist to bring back uncensored video footage from the first Persian Gulf War. The footage, much of it focusing on civilian casualties, was cancelled three hours before it was supposed to be aired, and Alpert was simultaneously fired. Later that year, CBS Evening News Executive Producer Tom Bettag planned to air the footage but this airing was also cancelled, and Bettag fired.
DON’T TRY TO UNDERSTAND: A Year in the Life of Earl “DMX” Simmons is a no-holds-barred portrait of hip-hop’s most tortured superstar. A deeply personal exploration of Faith, Addiction, Loyalty and Family, the film chronicles a year in the life of a man with a burning desire to reconcile decisions of the past. Fresh out yet another bid in Federal prison, 2019 finds Earl “DMX” Simmons at a crossroads. With an insurmountable debt owed to the IRS, an ever-growing family to feed, and immense pressure to return to the heights of yesteryear; the stakes couldn’t be higher. DON’T TRY TO UNDERSTAND in cinéma vérité style and with unfettered access, the film bears witness to a man searching for reinvention and redemption, striving to stay true to himself while reestablishing his roles as a father, an artist and an icon.We follow Earl Simmons as he navigates this difficult circumstance: from re-acclimating to society in the midst of a grueling nationwide tour, to reuniting with his estranged first-born son. The film is an intimate glimpse into a man whose future and legacy, livelihood, and liberty, are all on the line. Director Christopher Frierson (The King, Denial, Dirty Pictures) joins us to talk about Earl Simmons “DMX” from the point of view of a man facing the unavoidable questions swirling around his own mortality, family, and faith in God.
About the filmmaker – Christopher Frierson director, producer, cinematographer, is also known for his work as a producer and host for the Mass Appeal podcast and his work on numerous films between 2001 and 2020.He is most recently known for capturing and documenting the moment he is pepper sprayed by police, and going back to have a conversation with them, amidst the protests against police brutality and racism. Frierson has worked on numerous films between 2001 and 2020.He is also known for being a host on an eight episode podcast titled Freaknik: A Discourse on a Paradise Lostthat discusses the Atlanta street party scene of the 80’s and 90’s, known as Freaknik Street Parties. Most recently he directed documentary film he directed, Don’t Try To Undestand: A Year in the Life of Earl ‘DMX’ Simmons currently available on HBO and HBO MAX.
In this epic story of American politics, race, and triumph against all odds, director Joe Winston chronicles the captivating rise, surprising reign, and enduring legacy of Chicago’s first African American Mayor, Harold Washington. Steeped in archival footage capturing a 1980s Chicago rife with corruption and discrimination,PUNCH 9 FOR HAROLD WASHINGTON features candid interviews with Rev. Jesse Jackson, David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett and others on the frontlines and in the backrooms of power as it follows the charismatic politician’s shrewd maneuverings, stinging betrayals, and unlikely victories. Inspiring and compelling, Washington’s journey continues to resonate for a city and nation confronting the same enduring social issues. Director Joe Winston, along with producers Raymond Lambert and Sonya Jackson, premiere the first feature documentary to tell Washington’s story in a moment that could not be more timely. As racism in American politics has taken an ugly turn, while minorities and women are gaining political clout they’ve never had before, a showdown is inevitable.While PUNCH 9 FOR HAROLD WASHINGTON is a thrilling story with unforgettable characters, it’s also a playbook for how to restore our American democracy. Director Joe Winston (What’s the Matter with Kansas, Flannery) joins us to talk about a dynamic, committed reformer, proponent of racial equity and the politician that broke the parade of corrupt, white establishment, racist, machine political hacks.
Director’s Statement – I have lived my entire life in Chicago, and I grew up in the Hyde Park neighborhood, home to the University of Chicago, and, especially at that time, truly one of the city’s most integrated neighborhoods. When Harold Washington ran for mayor in 1983, I was sixteen, and Harold lived just a few blocks from my high school. The brutal, racist campaign against Washington was an eye-opener for me; I wrote about it for the school newspaper. Later, when Harold took office, parents of friends went to work for his administration. He was a local hero; as teens, his swagger, humor and vocabulary alone were enough for us to love him. Once I was with a gaggle of friends and we crashed an event where Mayor Washington was speaking, and I shot some Super-8 movie film of him – just to capture a bit of Harold’s inimitable speaking style. The white backlash to Harold’s mayoralty was dubbed “Council Wars” by a local comedian, a term that caught on immediately. For my friends and I, this cemented the notion of a fight between Good and Evil that was unfolding daily in Chicago’s City Hall. As kids, we didn’t truly understand the machinations of Chicago politics – but we all understood racism and injustice. Years later, when Barack Obama made Chicago proud again as our nation’s first African-American President, I braced myself for the inevitable backlash. After all, I’d seen it before. So I was surprised, and frankly more than a little annoyed, by all the folks I met, mostly well-meaning white liberals, who seemed to think that America’s racial divide had been healed by Obama’s election. “Are you kidding me?” I would retort, “Don’t you remember Harold Washington?” Sure enough – once Obama took office, the very same political battles of Chicago in the 1980s erupted on the national scene. For me, it was like watching a Twilight Zone episode, a Sisyphusian struggle America was doomed to repeat. The fact that Harold was in danger of being Santa-Claus-ified, or worse, largely forgotten, impelled me to make a film about him. First, I looked around to see what was out there – there were no movies that told the story I was drawn to. The project intimidated me, though. The sheer scope of information required to understand how a big city like Chicago works, what it means to be a leader who tries to change old, corrupt ways of doing business. Could I truly do Harold justice? Did enough film, video and sound exist to tell the story? Do I have the filmmaking chops to make an exciting movie about city council meetings? Once Obama left office – for a successor determined to erase his accomplishments – we all noticed a sea change in how our film proposal was received. No one missed the national and present-day implications of Harold Washington’s story. As with many projects like this one, “Punch 9” has been years in the making. Not only did we have raise the money, everyone’s least favorite part of independent documentaries, but we also had to track down enough news and documentary footage, still photos, newspapers, radio programs, even a “Honkies For Harold” button, to find what we needed to tell Washington’s story. – Joe Winston
About the filmmaker – Winston has worked as an editor, producer, and director for more than 25 years. He produced and directed “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” which Roger Ebert named as one of the Ten Best Documentaries of 2009. He edited “Flannery,” winner of the 2020 Ken Burns Prize, which debuted on American Masters in 2021. In 2013, he field produced “Citizen Koch,” which was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
Don Argott’s latest documentary, KEEP SWEET explores the leakage left behind by the self-proclaimed “Prophet of the FLDS”, Warren Jeffs and how Jeffs’ demands for absolute loyalty, and the complete adherence to religion dogma, requiring strict dress codes, banishing community celebrations and casting out followers who didn’t fall in line irreparably damaged the lives of so many. His controversial reign ended with a conviction for sexual assault with underage girls, landing him in jail for life. Jeffs’ downfall sent shock waves throughout the community, with some continuing to pledge their loyalty to him, while others turned their backs on Jeff’s and the FLDS religion altogether. Ten years after his arrest, those left behind attempt to rebuild their community. KEEP SWEET is an allegory for the unsettling reality we are living through in America. Can we learn how to live with one another despite our different ideologies, or are we destined to live apart? Director Don Argott (Art of the Steal, Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time) joins us for a conversation on his own perception of the FLDS people living in Colorado City, Arizona, Warren Jeffs pernicious impact on the lives of people who trusted him and lengths that people will go to for their beliefs.
About the filmmaker – Don Argott (born September 14, 1972) is an American documentary filmmaker and musician originally from Pequannock, New Jersey, and currently residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Argott has directed the documentary films Rock School (2005), Two Days in April (2007), and The Art of the Steal (2009), Last Days Here (2011), The Atomic States of America (2012), Batman and Bill (2017), Believer (2018), Framing John DeLorean (2019), and Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time (2021), Argott has also worked as a producer and cinematographer. He co-owns the production company 9.14 Pictures with producer Sheena M. Joyce. Argott has worked with film score in a rock band format, releasing original music under the name Pornosonic. Pornosonic’s work has been featured in numerous films, including Old School. Argott currently plays guitar in the proto-metal band Serpent Throne along with 9.14 Pictures editor Demian Fenton. For news and updates go to: 914pictures.com or 44blue.com
Long before documentary series were the trend, filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus created THE ENERGY WAR: FILIBUSTER a ground-breaking episodic look at Washington, D.C in 1977-78. Part Two of the series, FILIBUSTER is a real-life political drama, taking audiences behind-the-scenes during the fierce legislative battle and historic double filibuster over President Carter’s natural gas bill. Referred to as a “holy war,” the issue had evaded solutions for more than thirty years and six presidents. THE ENERGY WAR features combatants on all sides of the political aisle, from oil lobbyists to Senator Edward Kennedy to Secretary of Energy James R. Schlesinger. First aired on PBS in 1979, the series has scarcely been seen since. The documentary continues to resonate today as politicians struggle to fix our current energy crisis. Chris Hegedus, D. A. Pennebaker, and Pat Powell capture all of the drama and brinksmanship of a political era where senators did something nearly unimaginable today, they crossed party lines to negotiate an important and historically significant piece of legislation, the deregulation of the natural gas industry. Co-director Chris Hegedus joins us for a conversation on the why and how she and her collaborators were able to chronicle a ground floor, fly-on-the-wall view of political history.
About the film restoration – Pennebaker Hegedus Films and Foothill Productions have partnered to raise funds to fully restore the complete three-part, five-hour series The Energy War, part of a larger effort by The Pennebaker Hegedus Films Archive and Restoration project (PHFAR), that seeks to restore each of the more than 40 film titles in their library with the aim of housing the entire, restored collection under one roof, as an important and irreplaceable documentary film archive of our culture over the last 50 years.
About the filmmakers – D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus’ documentaries are a rich trove of extraordinary films spanning a wide range of topics — from intimate views of contemporary music (Don’t Look Back, Monterey Pop, Depeche Mode 101), to revealing looks inside the machinery of politics (The Energy War, The War Room), the arts (Company, Moon Over Broadway) and popular culture (Town Bloody Hall, Delorean, Kings of Pastry, Unlocking the Cage). Pennebaker is considered a pioneer of cinema verite filmmaking. In 1960, along with colleagues Richard Leacock and Robert Drew, he developed the first fully portable 16mm synchronized camera and sound recording system which revolutionized filmmaking and helped to create the immediate style of shooting that is widely adopted by documentary filmmakers today. Pennebaker Hegedus Films is an independent documentary film production and distribution company founded by D. A. Pennebaker. Throughout their 43-year collaboration, until his death in 2019, Pennebaker and Hegedus directed numerous films, including the Oscar nominated The War Room. Additional top tier accolades include the 2002 DGA Award to Hegedus for Startup.com, the 2004 Emmy award for Elaine Stritch at Liberty, and the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Oscar awarded to D.A. Pennebaker in 2013. Frazer Pennebaker has served as producer on every project since 1982 and along with Nate Pennebaker manages Pennebaker Hegedus Films sales and distribution.
Chris Russo’s latest documentary, LADY BUDS, follows the widely praised 2016 decision to legalize cannabis in California and six courageous women who emerge from the shadows to enter the new commercial industry. As farmers, entrepreneurs and activists, these modern-day pioneers find their initial optimism is quickly replaced with uncertainty and fear as the new legislation favors deep pocketed corporations. Those who shaped the foundations of the cannabis industry for decades soon find themselves struggling to fight for their piece of the American Dream in a market they helped create. LADY BUDS features second-generation cannabis farmer Chiah Rodriques, 72-year old African-American retired Catholic school principal turned dispensary owner Sue Taylor, Latinx queer activist Felicia Carbajal, serial entrepreneur Karyn Wagner, and Humboldt elders The Bud Sisters. Their stories speak to the many opportunities and issues facing commercial cannabis today: the complicated dynamics of raising a family on a cannabis farm, the ongoing fight for those adversely affected by the War on Drugs, educating seniors citizens about the healing power of cannabis, and honoring the LGBTQ activists who fought for legalizing medical marijuana over 25 years ago. At every turn these trailblazers defy stereotypes, while revealing that cannabis is much more than a plant, it’s a community. In her feature debut, award-winning filmmaker Chris J. Russo joins us to all about her own insightful journey into the lives and work of the women who are the backbone of the cannabis culture in California. Their struggles and triumphs paint a picture of an industry in flux as it grapples with preserving its storied heritage while looking toward the future.
About the filmmaker – Director / Producer / WriterChris J. Russo’s award-winning short films have screened all over the world, including the Sundance Film Festival, and have been broadcast on Showtime, PBS, IFC, LOGO and NETFLIX. She is a 2018 fellow of the Sundance Institute/Women In Film Financing Intensive with Lady Buds, and is also a fellow of Film Independent’s Director and Screenwriters Labs, with her project, Directed By Dorothy Arzner. Notable short film credits include, A Woman Reported, about the moments before a hate crime occurs; Size ‘em Up, a coming of age story; Straight Down The Aisle: Confessions of Lesbian Bridesmaids, winner of the Outfest Best Short Documentary Award for its poignant view on marriage non-equality (pre-Prop 8); and numerous music videos. After receiving two art degrees in Photography — a BFA from the University of Buffalo and MFA from the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY — Russo moved to Hollywood and worked for Kodak for 15 years and as a Post Production Supervisor on over 15 feature films. Russo is an exhibited fine art photographer, with recent group shows in Los Angeles, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills. She has dedicated the last four years to producing and directing Lady Buds, her first feature film which had its World Premiere at Hot Docs 2021.
“A broad and insightful overview of the subject, which is explored in considerably more depth than might have been expected from a film which is packed to the gills with high-strength weed.” – Wendy Ide, Screen International
“It’s an ultimately depressing trajectory, though the film itself remains engaging and well crafted.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety
“Lady Buds is the kind of film whose raison d’être isn’t immediately obvious, but whose storytelling is engaging enough that we’re ready for wherever the journey takes us.” – Inkoo Kang, Hollywood Reporter
With exclusive access inside one of New York’s hardest hit hospital systems during the terrifying first four months of the pandemic, Oscar®-nominated and Emmy® Award-winning director Matthew Heineman’s THE FIRST WAVE spotlights the everyday heroes at the epicenter of COVID-19 as they come together to fight one of the greatest threats the world has ever encountered. Leaving a devastating trail of death and despair, this once-in-a-century pandemic changed the very fabric of our daily lives and exposed long-standing inequities in American society. Employing his signature approach of character-driven cinema vérité, Heineman embeds with a group of doctors, nurses and patients on the frontlines as they all desperately try to navigate the crisis. With each distinct storyline serving as a microcosm through which we can view the emotional and societal impacts of the pandemic, THE FIRST WAVE is a testament to the strength of the human spirit. Director Matthew Heineman (Cartel Land, City of Ghosts, Tiger) joins us to talk about the harrowing situation he and his crew found as they documented the once-in-a-century panemic testing the men and women, staff and patients, and how they channeled their filmmaking instincts into telling an emotionally charged story that illuminates what is was like to be a part of THE FIRST WAVE.
About the filmmaker – Director / Producer / Writer Matthew Heineman is an Academy Award®-nominated and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker known for his sophisticated and immersive style. Heineman received a nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First Time Feature Film Director from the Directors Guild of America for his narrative debut “A Private War” — making Heineman and Martin Scorsese the only filmmakers ever nominated for both narrative and documentary DGA Awards. He previously directed the documentary “Cartel Land,” which was nominated for an Academy Award and won three Primetime Emmy Awards and a DGA Award; “City of Ghosts” for which he won a DGA Award; and the docuseries “The Trade,” which just won two Emmys and was honored by the International Documentary Association as the Best Episodic Series of 2018. Heineman most recently directed and produced HBO’s “Tiger,” a two-part documentary on the legendary Tiger Woods, and “The Boy From Medellín,” chronicling the life of global superstar J. Balvin over a pivotal week in his life. Up next, he is set to write and direct “Paradise,” a narrative adaptation of the true events of the 2018 Paradise Fire. For more go to: ourtimeprojects.com
“A MUST-SEE. An intimate look at the bottomless, unimaginable depths of loss as well as the indefatigable reservoir of hope that sustains humanity during its darkest moments.”– Todd Gilchrist, TheWrap
“MIRACULOUS. Breathless, soul-piercing… a courageous and astonishing cinematic time capsule.”– Tomris Laffly, Variety
“MASTERFULLY CRAFTED. A breathtaking testament to the fight to live, the calling to heal, and the power of human connection.”– Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter
“Harrowing … Extraordinary. Heineman is offering a public service by reminding us of the worst of days, but still offering hope of a way out — as long as we heed the warnings. The more opportunities to see it, the better.” – Deadline
“CATHARTIC, HEALING, AND EMOTIONAL. It will never be more urgent than it is right now.”– David Ehrlich, IndieWire
Co-directors Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh award-winning documentary WRITING WITH FIRE focuses on India’s social environment built to divide based on caste and gender and a fearless group of journalists maintain India’s only women-led news outlet.Amidst rising Hindu nationalism, the Dalit women of Khabar Lahariya—all from the Dalit (“untouchables” caste)—prepare to transition the newspaper from print to digital even though many of their reporters don’t have access to electricity at home. Armed with smartphones, Chief Reporter Meera and her team of journalists confront some of India’s biggest issues—investigating cases of caste and gender violence, police corruption, environmental injustices, and more. WRITING WITH FIRE chronicles the astonishing determination of these local reporters as they empower each other and hold those responsible for injustice to account. Reaching new audiences through their growing platform, the women of Khabar Lahariya redefine what it means to be powerful. Co-directors Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh join us for a conversation on the daily lives of these incredibly brave women, at home and on the road as journalist, gaining access and the trust of their community and how their work has served to demonstrate the power of a free press to improve lives and support a democratic society.
About the filmmaker – Director / Writer / Producer Rintu Thomas is an award winning director-producer from India and co-founder of Black Ticket Films, an agency that has been recognized for its unique visual language. Rintu’s work is supported by the Sundance Institute, Chicken & Egg Pictures, IDFA, SFF Film Fund, Doc Society, Tribeca Institute, Finnish Film Foundation and Bertha Foundation, among others. Over the last 10 years, her shorts have ranged from themes of environment and public health to women’s rights and resilience of local communities towards climate change. Her notable multiple award-winning shorts are Dilli (2010) and Timbaktu (2012). Rintu’s films have travelled to film festivals across the world, are being used as advocacy tools for social impact, included in the curriculum of universities and exhibited globally, including at the United Nations Climate Change Conference and The Lincoln Center for Performing Arts – becoming catalysts for new conversations. Rintu is a Sundance Skoll Stories of Change Fellow, a South Asia Fellow with the Japan Foundation and a recipient of the President’s Medal (2012), the highest recognition given to filmmakers in India. In 2017, she was chosen as an Adobe Young Lantern, an award that honors creative leaders of tomorrow who are shaping the industry with their artistic vision. Rintu lives between New Delhi and the mountains of Himachal Pradesh. She loves bookshops, dogs and seashores. Writing With Fire is her debut feature documentary.
About the filmmaker – Director / Writer / Producer / Cinematographer Sushmit Ghosh Sushmit Ghosh is a national award-winning director-cinematographer from India whose work has been supported by the Sundance Institute, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Tribeca Institute, Doc Society, SFF Film Fund, IDFA, The Bertha Foundation, Sorfond and the Finnish Film Foundation, among others. Sushmit is also a Sundance Fellow, who enjoys producing films that have the power to create transformative social impact. In 2009, he co-founded Black Ticket Films, a production company invested in the power of non-fiction storytelling. With a strong eye on social justice stories, Black Ticket Films’ award-winning slate of films are being used as advocacy, impact and education tools by institutions across the world. Sushmit has also served on the jury of the National Awards in India and he enjoys teaching cinema as a guest faculty at various universities. Five years in the making, Sushmit’s debut feature documentary, Writing With Fire, premiered at Sundance and went on to win the Special Jury and Audience Awards. In his spare time, you’ll find him motorcycling and hiking through the Himalayas.
“The most inspiring journalism movie — maybe ever. An essential portrait of the fight for press freedom…Writing With Fire reminds us that there are always people who, despite incredible odds, will choose to do this work.” – Jason Rezaian, Washington Post
“As this engaging and hopeful documentary by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh shows, words have the power to change things when wielded carefully…‘I believe journalism is the essence of democracy,’ says Meera. Watching this will make you believe it too.” – Amber Wilkinson, Screen International
“Insightful and inspirational…the film’s sense of intimacy and immediacy makes the viewer feel like they’re on a ride-along with the journalists…the filmmakers illuminate the change that can happen when the most marginalized members of a society empower themselves…” – Inkoo Kang, The Hollywood Reporter
“Armed with eagle-eyed filmmakers and compelling subjects, the film deftly blends the (inextricably linked) personal and professional sides of the journalists’ work, offering up a wide-ranging look at a vital outlet with so many stories to tell…the result is profound”– Kate Erbland, IndieWire
AULCIE is the incredible story of Aulcie Perry, an African American basketball player who hailed from the violence-filled streets of the 1960s Newark, New Jersy. During the summer of 1976, Aulcie Perry was spotted by a scout for Maccabi Tel Aviv while playing at the Rucker courts in Harlem and was quickly signed to play for their fledgling team. The Israeli players immediately responded to Aulcie’s leadership and that year they had what one Sports Illustrated writer described as “the most extraordinary season in its remarkable history” and what Perry later called “the best nine months of my life.” He became an overnight sensation in Israel, beloved by the fans and by his adopted country. He converted to Judaism and became an Israeli citizen. His highly publicized relationship with Israeli supermodel Tami Ben Ami became the subject of relentless media attention, making him one of Israel’s biggest stars. But his success wasn’t enough to save him from the descent into drugs and jail time, before finally finding redemption. Director Dani Menken (On the Map, Dolphin Boy, 39 Pounds of Trouble) joins us for a conversation on the remarkable and complicated tale of a legendary athlete.
About the filmmaker – Currently living in Los Angeles, California, Dani Menkin is the twice Israeli-Academy-Award-Winning filmmaker of 39 POUNDS OF LOVE and IS THAT YOU? 39 POUNDS OF LOVE was sold to HBO Documentary Films and shortlisted for the American Oscar Awards. Menkin’s award-winning film DOLPHIN BOY (co-directed with Yonatan Nir) was sold to over 20 countries around the globe and was bought by Walt Disney Pictures for adaptation. His documentary ON THE MAP is being distributed by Lionsgate in North America.
The latest documentary film from director Jesse Moss, MAYOR PETE, brings viewers inside Pete Buttigieg’s campaign to be the youngest President of the United States.providing an unprecedented intimacy with the candidate, his husband Chasten, and their ambitious team. From the earliest days of the campaign, to his unlikely, triumphant victory in Iowa and beyond, this lm reveals what really goes on inside a campaign for the highest office in the land—and the myriad ways it changes the lives of those at its center. Recently appointed U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Buttigieg serves as the first openly LGBTQ Senate-confirmed Cabinet member in U.S. history. Director Jess Moss (The Overnighters, The Family, Boys State) joins us to talk about the challenges of documenting a white hot presidential campaign and the possible next leader of the free world while chronicling the relationship of the first openly gay presidential candidate and his husband.
About the filmmaker – Director, Producer, Director of Photography Jesse Moss is an Emmy Award® and Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning director. His last lm Boys State, co-directed with Amanda McBaine, premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. The lm was awarded the Grand Jury Prize and released by Apple Original Films and A24. The lm was shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary and nominated for two Primetime Emmys. It won the 2021 Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Documentary. Former President Barack Obama included Boys State among his favorite movies of 2020. The lm won the Cinema Eye Audience Choice Prize and the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Political Documentary of 2020. Earlier work includes The Overnighters, awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, released by Drafthouse Films and Netix, and shortlisted for the Academy Award. Other work includes the Netix series The Family, and the Payday episode of the Netix series Dirty Money. He has twice been nominated by the Directors Guild of America for Outstanding Directorial Achievement. For more go to: jessemoss.com
“Jesse Moss’s compelling portrait of Pete Buttigieg sheds new light on the rare presidential contender with the X factor.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“Some of the behind-the-curtain glimpses are fascinating, from a friendly exchange with Joe Biden, his current boss, as the two run across each other on the trail to the strategizing with staff, from messaging to debate prep.” – Brian Lowry, CNN.com
“The film provides a window into what it takes to run a presidential campaign, and features fascinating intimacy with Buttigieg, his husband Chasten, and their team.” – Sarah McMullan, Stuff.co.nz
“It does have the benefit of showing a man who seems destined to remain a force in American politics, growing into the role in real time.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
A kind of spiritual sequel (and cautionary counterpoint) to Hopper’s own Easy Rider, OUT OF THE BLUE chronicles the idealism of the sixties decline into the hazy nihilism of the 1980’s. Don Barnes (Dennis Hopper) is a truck driver in prison for drunkenly smashing his rig into a school bus. Linda Manz (Days of Heaven) plays Cebe, his daughter, a teen rebel obsessed with Elvis and The Sex Pistols. Her mother (Sharon Farrell) waitresses, shoots up drugs and takes refuge in the arms of other men. Cebe runs away to Vancouver’s punk scene and ends up on probation under the care of psychiatrist Raymond Burr. After Don’s release, the family struggles to re-connect before the revelation of dark secrets leads to a harrowing conclusion. The driving force behind this long overdue restoration and redemption are John Alan Simpson and Elizabeth Karr and they join us for a conversation on where OUT OF THE BLUEfits into the filmography of outlaw artist Dennis Hopper and why film lovers should be celebrating the re-release of this raw and ragged middle finger of a film from one of cinema’s great provocateurs.
The Backstory – Despite critical acclaim at its original Cannes premiere in 1980, OUT OF THE BLUE went unreleased because it was considered too bleak for U.S. audiences. John Alan Simon, then a film critic/journalist, rescued the film from the shelf, secured distribution rights and took it on the road with Dennis Hopper back in 1982 to art house theaters across the U.S. including a 17-week record-breaking run at the Coolidge Corner Cinema in Boston and then NYC and Los Angeles theatrical releases. “It’s incredibly important to us that OUT OF THE BLUE be preserved for future generations to experience its emotional impact and as the artistic achievement that helped re-establish Dennis Hopper as an important American director,” commented Elizabeth Karr on behalf of Discovery Productions. “For me, this restoration project was pay-back for all I learned from Dennis Hopper when we originally took OUT OF THE BLUE on the road in 1982 after I rescued it from the shelf. He was an amazing artist and friend and OUT OF THE BLUE remains as unforgettable as he was and serves as an indelible tribute to the talents of Linda Manz,” John Alan Simon from Discovery Productions concluded.
Director’s statement – I was hired as an actor for ”Out of the Blue”. Two weeks in, I took over as director with full autonomy – because the 2 1⁄2 hours of film in the can was unusable. I rewrote the entire screenplay over the weekend and started shooting on Monday. In many ways, it’s maybe my best film. It’s about the society of North America; the family unit falling apart. I’m a social protest painter, I can’t help it. I don’t know much about the past, I’m not really interested in the future, or in space. I like to make things about what I see. For a person like me, it’s a miracle that I get the opportunity to direct a film. Because I don’t listen to anybody. I don’t have any collaborators except my actors. – Dennis Hopper
About Dennis Hopper: Born in Dodge City, Kansas, May 17,1936: Actor-director Dennis Hopper’s “Out of the Blue” premiered at Cannes in 1980. His directorial debut, “Easy Rider “(1969, Cannes Award “Best First Work,” was a countercultural landmark whose success helped spark the New Hollywood era of seventies filmmaking). His follow-up “The Last Movie” (1971) won the CIDALC Critics Prize Award at the Venice Film Festival. He went on to direct “Out of the Blue,”(1980) – Official Cannes selection; “Colors,” (1988) “Backtrack,” (1990) and “The Hot Spot,” (1990). His 200+ acting roles include “Rebel Without a Cause,” “Giant,” “Mad Dog Morgan,” “Apocalypse Now,” “Blue Velvet,” and “Hoosiers” (Academy Award nomination, Best Supporting Actor). Also a renowned photographer and artist, Hopper died in Los Angeles, May 29, 2010.
“Hopper, as director and uncredited writer, extends no hope whatsoever, and there’s something vital and cleansing about the movie’s thorough nihilism.” – Rob Gonsalves, eFilmCritic.com
“A haunting portrait of juvenile delinquency that ranks among the most powerful in American cinema.” – Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader
“This film is an impressive demonstration of mastery of mood and tone that affects and engages the viewer at an emotional level so deep and instinctive that it seems both primal and profound”
“n the late Dennis Hopper’s mind a better film than Bertolucci’s Luna and his own Easy Rider, the actor-director’s brilliant, still shockingly subversive 1980 cherry bomb is as sad and unsettling as dysfunctional-family dramas come.” – Aaron Hillis, Village Voice
Brittney, Aaloni, and Autumn, three spirited teenage girls living in a Texas military town, meet and befriend photographers and debut filmmakers Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt in a chance encounter one evening. During a road trip across America, documenting snapshots of carefree adolescent summers, Hill and Bethencourt are inspired to film the trio, following them to bonfire parties, fast-food outings, and bedroom hangouts where discussions around agency, opportunity, sex, and consent unfold with candor. Shot in vérité style, CUSPcaptures authentic moments of female friendship while examining what it means to confront the dark realities of female adolescence. Though the girls’ experiences arecompletely unique to their upbringing, CUSPis also a strikingly universal coming-of-age tale — and true-to-life, at turns funny, tragic, complicated, and stirring. Co-directors Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt join us for a conversation on the happenstance that brought them into these young women’s life, the sparse economic and educational opportunities available to Brittney, Aaloni, and Autumn, and the specter of violence that shadows too many of their relationships.
PARKER HILL (Director, Cinematographer, Editor) Parker Hill: Hill is a New York City–based writer-director who graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her thesis film, One Good Pitch, premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. Her short films Homing In and Sanderson to Brackettville have screened at BFI London Film Festival and online as a Vimeo Staff Pick, respectively. Cusp is her debut feature documentary.
ISABEL BETHENCOURT (Director, Cinematographer) Isabel Bethencourt is a filmmaker from a beach near Los Angeles, California. Her work as a director and cinematographer has been published by the Wall Street Journal, ESPN, GQ, and Teen Vogue. Cusp is her first feature documentary.
Director’s statement – Cusp started from a photo road trip. We were driving from Montana to Texas in an RV, and on our last night, at 2:30 in the morning, at a gas station in the middle of nowhere, we met a group of girls in a pickup truck. We were filling up our tank when a truck swerved into the station and slammed to a stop. Four teenage girls spill out of the cab, mostly barefoot, blasting music and screaming jokes at each other. They were the epitome of a wild summer night. We went over and asked to take their picture, and we immediately got along. They invited us back to their friends house to hang out, and we were thrown headfirst into their world. As they sped down a dusty back road at 70 mph, and jumped into a pitch-black river without thinking twice, we were captivated by their electric energy, the pure freedom of their adolescence in a seemingly pastoral, rural setting. We described them as the perfect combination of fearless and reckless, which both excited and terrified us. As the sun rose, we parted ways but our curiosity was sparked and we made plans to return and start filming. We were drawn back to Texas for the excitement and freedom we felt that night, and we wanted to capture their raw American teenage experience. We quickly formed a bond with the girls, and kept going back. Despite being years apart and from very different places, we became fast friends, and they were just as excited to show us what it was like to be them as we were to learn. We spent hours on bedroom floors, chatting late into the night, going to bonfire parties and 1am McDonalds runs. As we spent more time filming, we were struck by how casually and often the kids, girls and boys alike, talked about things like sexual assault and rape. They were all matter of fact about it, as if it were an inherent, unavoidable part of growing up. We noticed that the girls were continually harassed by their guy friends, and shrugged off their own experiences with assault by blaming themselves, or claiming it wasn’t a big deal. When we asked about it, we learned that almost every single girl we met has had some kind of non-consensual sexual experience, and we started noticing the ways it changed them. They taught us their methods of survival: never go to a party alone, always have a ride, never be in a room by yourself with a guy—and if you are, you have to be ready to say no. We started to understand that the fun and wild freedom of these teenage years are also laced with toxic and pervasive social norms. – Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt
“Echoing Bing Liu’s Minding the Gap, Bethencourt and Hill beautifully capture the gruelling nature of adolescence, in particular the heart-wrenching experience of growing up as a woman in the United States.” – Rafaela Sales Ross, One Room With A View
“Heartbreaking and sensitive in equal measure, a film that centers people who often fade into the background of our culture.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
“Cusp is a little staggering and incredibly beautiful… It’s to Cusp’s credit that there’s still a sense of magic and possibility throughout the film, as if the girls have some hope for their futures.” – Alissa Wilkinson, Vox
“A portrait of modern girlhood, this documentary ultimately becomes a bleak look at the normalization of sexual abuse among the very victimized young women.” – Beatrice Loayza, New York Times
Boycotts have long been a tool used by Americans rallying for political change, from civil rights leaders to anti-apartheid activists. But in recent years, 33 U.S. states have introduced anti-boycott legislation or executive orders designed to penalize individuals and companies who choose to boycott Israel due to its human rights record. In BOYCOTT, director Julia Bacha (Budrus, Naila and the Uprising) looks at the cases of a news publisher in Arkansas, an attorney in Arizona and a speech therapist in Texas whose careers are threatened by the harsh measures of these new laws. A legal thriller with “accidental plaintiffs” at the center, the film is a bracing look at the far-reaching implications of anti-boycott legislation and an inspiring tale of everyday Americans standing up to protect our rights in an age of shifting politics and threats to freedom of speech.Director Julia Bacha stops by to talk about the intensifying efforts in the public and private sectors from around the country to criminalize free speech and freedom of association. Bacha talks about the everyday efforts of private citizens to step up and take actions to stop a perniciously undemocratic movement from spreading.
About the filmmaker – Julia Bacha is a Peabody and Guggenheim award-winning filmmaker, media strategist, and the Creative Director at Just Vision, an organization that fills a media gap on Israel-Palestine through independent storytelling and strategic audience engagement. Julia started her filmmaking career in Cairo, where she wrote and edited Control Room (2004), for which she was nominated for the Writer‚Äôs Guild of America Award. Control Room became one of the highest grossing political documentaries of all time and introduced Americans for the first time to the inner workings of the Arab satellite channel, Al Jazeera. Subsequently, she moved to Jerusalem where she co-directed, wrote and edited Encounter Point (2006), which followed Palestinians and Israelis who risked their lives and public standing to promote an end to the occupation and the conflict. Encounter Point premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, won best documentary prize at the San Francisco Film Festival and was broadcast on Al Arabiya to millions of viewers. Julia then directed and produced the critically-acclaimed Budrus (2009), which chronicled the story of a Palestinian community organizer who united all Palestinian factions and Israelis to save his village from destruction by Israel’s separation barrier. Subsequently, Julia directed and produced My Neighbourhood (2012), which follows a Palestinian teenager struggling to reclaim his home in East Jerusalem from Israeli settlers. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, was released online by The Guardian and won the coveted Peabody Award. Most recently, Julia directed Naila and the Uprising (2017), which chronicles the remarkable journey of Naila Ayesh whose story weaves through the most vibrant, nonviolent mobilization in Palestinian history – the First Intifada. Julia received a Guggenheim Fellowship to produce the film, which had its US premiere at DOCNYC, European Premiere at IDFA and Middle East Premiere at the Dubai Film Festival. In addition to over thirty film festival awards, Julia is the recipient of the King Hussein Leadership Prize, Search for Common Ground Award, Ridenhour Film Prize, O Globo “Faz Diferen√ßa” Prize and the PUMA Creative Impact Award. She is a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations, an Advisory Board Member to the Tribeca Film Institute, and a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum. Her TED talk, “Pay Attention to Nonviolence” was selected as one of the best talks of 2011 by the TED curators and has been viewed by over half a million people worldwide. For more go to: justvision.org
In Robert Greene’s latest searingly honest documentary, PROCESSION, six midwestern men all survivors of childhood sexual assault at the hands of Catholic priests and clergy come together to direct a drama therapy-inspired experiment designed to collectively work through their trauma. As part of a radically collaborative filmmaking process, they create fictional scenes based on memories, dreams and experiences, meant to explore the church rituals, culture and hierarchies that enabled silence around their abuse. In the face of a failed legal system, we watch these men reclaim the spaces that allowed their assault, revealing the possibility for catharsis and redemption through a new-found fraternity. As one of the men says, “SPOTLIGHT was about trying to get in from the outside. In our film, we’re trying to get out.” Director Robert Greene (Kate Plays Christine, Bisbee ’17) joins us to talk about his collaboration with an extraordinary group of men, Joe Eldred, Mike Foreman, Ed Gavagan, Dan Laurine, Michael Sandridge and Tom Viviano as they begin the process of taking control of a narrative that has brought them immeasurable pain and rage, by telling their story of abuse on their own terms.
Opens in NY on November 12th and in LA and SF on November 19th
About the filmmaker – Robert Greene’s latest award winning film BISBEE ’17 premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. His previous film KATE PLAYS CHRISTINE won a Jury Award for Writing at Sundance 2016. Robert’s documentaries include the Gotham Awards-nominated ACTRESS, FAKE IT SO REAL and the Gotham Awards-nominated KATI WITH AN I. Robert was an inaugural Sundance Art of Nonfiction fellow in 2015 and is a three-time nominee for Best Director at the Cinema Eye Honors. The Independent named Robert one of their 10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2014 and he received the 2014 Vanguard Artist Award from the San Francisco DocFest. His first documentary, OWNING THE WEATHER, was screened at the COP15 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Robert has edited over a dozen features, including HER SMELL (2018), GOLDEN EXITS (2017), QUEEN OF EARTH (2015) and LISTEN UP PHILIP (2014) by Alex Ross Perry, Amanda Rose Wilder’s award winning APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT (2014), Charles Poekel’s Spirit Awards-nominated CHRISTMAS, AGAIN (2015) and Douglas Tirola’s HEY BARTENDER (2013). He has been a Sundance Edit Lab Advisor and was on the U.S. Documentary Jury for Sundance 2017. Robert writes for outlets such as Sight & Sound and serves as the Filmmaker-in-Chief for the Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at the University of Missouri.
Dean Martin epitomized cool. A founding member of the Rat Pack, Dean was a multi-talented performer who was part of the number one comedy act in America, a chart-topping singer for over half a century and one of the biggest stars in Hollywood and on TV. He was the consummate charmer on stage and off. Everybody loved him. Yet for all his celebrity, fame and adoration, no one ever truly knew him. King of Cool seeks to change this. Through the use of interviews with friends, family, those who worked with him and modern actors and musicians inspired by him, as well as never before seen archival footage including from his time with Jerry Lewis, his movies and his TV Variety Show and Roasts, viewers get an intimate and personal account of his life. The film dives deep to try and understand why he was such an enigma and even searches to find Dean’s Rosebud. Featuring interviews with Alec Baldwin, RZA, Jon Hamm, George Schlatter, Norman Lear, Barbara Rush, Florence Henderson, Lainie Kazan, Deana Martin, Angie Dickinson, Tommy Tune, Peter Bogdanovich, Dick Cavett, Regis Philbin, Bob Newhart, Barry Levinson, Carol Burnett, James Woods. Director Tom Donahue joins us for a conversation about one of the most accomplished entertainers to ever grace a film set, television sound stage, recording studio or nightclub, and how he brought Dean back to life through the stories told by the family and friends who knew him best.