HUMAN AFFAIRS is a compassionate drama about a young, successful theatre couple in New York City who meet their surrogate mother for the first time, and embark on a startling and intimate weekend of surprises and emotional revelations. Featuring powerful performances from Kerry Condon (Better Call Saul, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri) and Dominic Fusuma (13 Hours, Focus) and a standout portrayal by young French actress Julie Sokolowski (star of Bruno Dumont’s Hadewijch) as Genevieve, the film also features David Harbour (Stranger Things). Writer / director / actor Charlie Birns has crafted a nuanced debut feature drama about embarking on the precarious closeness of surrogacy while bravely searching for human connection. Featuring exquisite cinematography by Sean Price Williams, (Good Time and Heaven Knows What with the Safdie Brothers, Listen Up Philip and Queen of Earth with Alex Ross Perry), the film experiments with new modes of cinematic storytelling, employing raw performance, unexpected sound design, editing, narration and the use of still photography to dazzling effect. Director Charlie Burns joins us for a conversation on the challenges and rewards of directing his first feature film and the film’s debut at the 2018 Slamdance Film Festival.
Slamdance Film Festival narrative feature “Quest,” starring: Dash Mihok (“Ray Donovan,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” and “Romeo + Juliet”), and Lou Diamond Phillips (“La Bamba,” “Courage Under Fire,” and “Young Guns”) is included in the Slamdance 2018 Special Screening section. “Quest,” a beloved audience award winner that debuted at the Mill Valley Film Festival this fall, and has continued to win award after award throughout it’s festival journey. Quest’s will debut on Monday, January 22nd, 2018, at the Slamdance Film Festival. This powerful film addresses the brutality of child abuse in a way we haven’t seen before, winning praise from the foster child community, among others who see the plight of this epidemic firsthand. Quest is a story that speaks to the power of love, and it’s ability to reach us even through the darkness and pain that surround us. Based on a true story, the film follows an uncertain friendship between a 12-year-old graffiti addict “ Mills” (Greg Kasyan, in his debut role), who faces abuse from his stepfather (Lou Diamond Phillips), and a devoted teacher & coach named Tim Moellering (Dash Mihok), who believes there is no such thing as a bad kid – only a bad situation. Based on the stories of their lives in the Bay Area of California, the first draft of Quest was written together by first time director Santiago Rizzo, and his mentor & teacher Tim Moellering (whom has sadly since passed away from Pancreatic Cancer before he could see the film made). Director, producer and writer joins us for a conversation on his debut film.
SLAMDANCE SPECIAL SCREENINGS
Monday, January 22, 6:30 PM
Wednesday, January 24, 12:30 PM
Treasure Mountain Inn — Ballroom
Berkeley Video & Film Festival
Won, Grand Festival Award for Best Film
Mill Valley Film Festival
Won, Audience Award for U.S. Cinema Indie
Napa Valley Film Festival
Won, Audience Award for Favorite Narrative Feature
Won, Audience Award for Favorite Actor
Won, Jury Award for Best Lounge Feature
Oldenburg Film Festival
Won, Seymour Cassel Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor
Nominated, German Independence Award – Audience Award for Best Film
introducing us to the charismatic Gabriel Cordell. After hitting rock-bottom, this newly sober paraplegic attempts to save his gang-banger (and barely out of rehab) nephew’s life by bringing him along on a record breaking 3,100-mile wheelchair trek across the United States. This intense trip will challenge Gabriel physically and emotionally as he becomes a vision of hope for countless strangers along his journey. Gabriel’s support crew is an unlikely team, that become a family. All of them are from very different backgrounds and each dealing with their own issues – PTSD, homelessness, unemployment, family estrangement and sobriety struggles. What started out as a challenge to push an unmodified wheelchair from California to New York, morphs into a most transcendent journey that fills your heart for long after the movie ends and the screen grows dark. In an age divided, Roll With Me ignites our common humanity and urges us to find our inner hero or heroine. We can be heroes…every single day that we reach outside of ourselves. Director Lisa France joins us to talk about her own journey and the challenges involved with a cross-country trek with 9 people in a small SUV and no film making experience.
“Roll With Me” Slamdance Film Festival Premiere & Red Carpet:
Monday, January 22nd
3:30pm— Red Carpet
4:00pm— Festival Premiere Screening
5:40pm — Q&A to follow with cast & filmmakers.
*Select tickets for screening still available upon request.
Location: The Ballroom at Treasure Mountain Inn
Virginia Film Festival
Won, Audience Award for Documentary Feature
Woodstock Film Festival
Won, Carpe Diem Andretta Award
Runner Up, Audience Award
Ivan Williams is a partner and Scenario’s executive vice president of finance. After a successful career as a senior business leader at major energy companies (ARCO and BP), he has been active starting up a media technology company, and executive producing feature films, Broadway musicals, musical recordings, theatrical plays, and Web tv shows. A member of Film Independent and the Sundance Institute, Ivan holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Oregon State University, and is a Dean’s M.B.A. Scholar at the UC Irvine Paul Merage School of Business, and a veteran Naval Reserve intelligence officer. An active contributor to his alma maters, Ivan serves as a member of the board of directors for Oregon State University’s Alumni Association, and is active with the University of California Irvine as chairman of the Dean’s Arts Council of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, serving as a member of the Graduate Division’s Dean’s Leadership Council, as an entertainment industry advisory board member for the Cybersecurity Policy & Research Institute, and a founding board member of the L.A./Orange County Anteaters in the Arts organization. Ivan joins us for a conversation on the his latest projects and the exiting future of digital film and arts at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at the University of California, Irvine.
Mysterious events surround two travelers as they make their way across a remote American landscape. On the surface all seems normal, but what appears to be a simple vacation soon gives way to a dark and complex web of secrets. THE STRANGE ONES had its world premiere at the 2017 SXSW Film Festival where it was awarded the Special Jury Recognition for Breakthrough Performance for James Freedson-Jackson.
Director’s Statement – “There is a line late in the film where two teenage characters are engaged in an awkward conversation that consists more of silence than words. “It’s crazy to think,” the girl says, “that you like, never really know a person. You know?” The idea of “not knowing” is at the core of The Strange Ones. As filmmakers, we are most interested in stories that leave a strong impression but somehow stop short of surrendering a tidy explanation, and in characters that have secrets that may or may not ever be fully revealed. There is something more satisfying in this for us – as if the truth, by virtue of remaining unseen, can expand upon speculation and become something larger, more profound, and more fascinating than a straightforward answer. Perhaps we find also that this is a more accurate reflection of real life – so often we believe we understand something or someone in their entirety, only to find out that we have only really glimpsed the surface; and that beneath lies a world of complexity that we might never fully know. In that regard, The Strange Ones is a story that presents a rather simple surface, as well as a more complicated and mysterious hidden dimension.” – Lauren Wolkstein and Christopher Radcliff.
Official Website: www.thestrangeones.com
“Secrets curl with thick dread around a man and boy on the run from a dark past in this elliptical and mysterious road movie.” – Chris Barsanti, Film International Journal
“The Strange Ones is a solid movie on first watch that becomes a seriously good movie on second watch. Maybe that’s a poor framework for an endorsement, but the film is more than the shock of its climax.” – Andy Crump, Paste Magazine
“It’s an artful, boundary-pushing debut from Radcliffe and Wolkstein, with breakthrough performances from Freedson-Jackson, and Pettyfer, perhaps signaling a new direction in his career.” – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times
“As with all great films, it takes an angle that we may have never thought of before, and one we may not soon forget.” – Fernando Andres, Film School Rejects
Grand Saline, Texas, a town east of Dallas, has a history of racism, a history the community doesn’t talk about. This shroud of secrecy ended when Charles Moore, an elderly white preacher, self-immolated to protest the town’s racism in 2014, shining a spotlight on the town’s dark past. MAN ON FIRE untangles the pieces of this protest and questions the racism in Grand Saline today. Overall, MAN ON FIRE encapsulates the racial climate in Grand Saline and chronicles Moore’s life and death, presenting Grand Saline and Moore as two pillars of the film’s narrative: one a disjointed man seeking truth and communal repentance and the other a community whose present is inextricably tied to their past. MAN ON FIRE was Joel Fendelman’s thesis film for the completion of his MFA program at the University of Texas in Austin. The film went into production late May of 2016 and was completed late May of 2017. The crew took seven trips to the Van Zandt County area to film and compile interviews as well as a weekend of filming in Austin and one in Dallas. The recreations were filmed over three days in Austin, Texas. Director Joel Fendelman joins us to talk about what led Reverend Charles Moore to commit such a radical act, his approach to telling this timely story and MAN ON FIRE’s upcoming debut at the 2018 Slamdance Film Festival.
Co-winner of the International Documentary Association (IDA) 2017 David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award
Joel Fendelman’s site
Ela Thier is a critically acclaimed writer, director and actor. She is known for creating dramedies that bring laughter and tears to diverse audiences across racial and socio-economic lines, and unifies audiences across political spectra. Thier’s critically acclaimed Tomorrow Ever After (2017) won numerous major festival awards. After a successful theatrical run Tomorrow Ever After is now available on numerous PPV and VOD platforms including iTunes and Amazon. Her award-winning feature, Foreign Letters, was distributed by Film Movement (2012) and shown at over 140 festivals world-wide. Thier directed over a dozen short films winning numerous Best Short awards. Her film, A Summer Rain, screened at hundreds of venues and became a YouTube sensation. Thier worked as a writer-for-hire on Puncture, starring Chris Evans. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and released by Millenium Films (2011). Thier is a recipient of the Jerome Foundation Film Production Grant (2015), was a nominee of the White House Project Emerging Artist Award (2010), and a recipient of the NYFA Fellowship Grant in Screenwriting (2008). Thier joins us to talk about the multi-platform release of Tomorrow Ever After, filmmaking and her own The Independent Film School workshops.
“My guiding principle has been to create the workshops that I would want to attend. I think back to my beginnings as a filmmaker and I design the workshops that I could have really used: ones that are packed with concrete information made easy to understand, and are super supportive and encouraging. My life would have been easier if I had gotten the encouragement that artists need.” – Ela Their on her Independent Film School workshops
Ela Thier brings a fresh perspective …Thier plays the kooky interloper with the same open and unguarded childlike naiveté as Robin Williams’ beloved alien Mork …Ultimately, “Tomorrow Ever After,” contains a hopeful message that somehow, the world just might end up a better place. – Kate Walsh, LA TIMES
Her writing and direction are resourceful and assured, and her performance is as delightful as it is imbued with political commentary …In its sweet but pointed way, saying a good deal with relatively little, and in unpredictable ways, the film is also a critique of art as corporate product, especially in the realm of sci-fi franchise extravaganzas. – Sheri Linden, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
Played with touching insight and natural beauty …provided me with a newfound hopefulness and a new sense of wonder for my fellow humans. – E. Nina Rothe, THE HUFFINGTON POST
Thier’s sensibility offers such a welcome break… inviting audiences to see our modern-day world through fresh eyes. – Peter Debruge, VARIETY
After ending her engagement and finding herself at a loss for inspiration actor Sadie Katz, finds herself up late at night searching the internet. In her loneliness, she keeps clicking on stories of others having magical chance encounters with her favorite actor and life guru Bill Murray. Katz shares with the audience that she finds herself at a loss as to why she needs to meet Bill Murray but, that’s part of the intrigue and pleasure of knowing that secretly we all wish we had a little Murray Magic in our life…which starts both Sadie and the audience on the quest of finding the unfindable and zany Bill Murray. The directorial debut from actress Katz (“Blood Feast,” “Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort”), “The Bill Murray Experience,” is being distributed by Gravitas Ventures across VOD platforms globally on December 19th, 2017. The documentary features: Joel Murray (“Mad Men”), P.J. Soles (“Stripes”), and the legend himself. At crossroads in her life director Sadie Katz joins us to talk about her magical quest to meet comedian and legend Bill Murray.
For the latest news an updates go to:
On November 28th, 1953, mild-mannered military scientist Frank Olson plunged from the window of his 13th-floor New York hotel room and died. His cause of death was described as a “fall or jump” and though many questions remained about the exact circumstances, the case was left unsolved, and Olson’s wife and three young children attempted to move on. Over two decades later, in June of 1975, the Rockefeller Commission issued a comprehensive, high-profile report on myriad illegal CIA activities that featured a passing mention of a 1953 incident in which an army scientist was purposefully drugged with LSD without his knowledge and died from a fall a few days later. This revelation sends the Olson family, led by oldest son Eric, on a decades-long hunt for answers that takes them to the highest corridors of power in the U.S. government and close to some of its darkest secrets. Acclaimed storyteller Errol Morris weaves this mystery into a six-part story exploring the limits of our knowledge about the past and the lengths we’ll go in the search for the truth. Wormwood is the saga of one man’s obsessive, sixty-year quest to identify the real circumstances about his father’s death that tells a hidden history of key events of the second half of the 20th Century. Was Frank’s death an accident? Did he commit suicide after a bad drug trip? Or was he murdered for knowing too much? In Wormwood, Morris connects Frank’s story to the Korean War, mind control experiments, illegal germ warfare, brainwashing, Manchurian candidates, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and more.
“Wormwood is more concerned with its intellectual and philosophical musings on the intangibility everything about this case represents, but it comes at the cost of an emotional impact that’s always just beneath the surface.” – Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist
“With “Wormwood,” Morris reclaims the approach he popularized by employing accomplished performers such as Molly Parker, Tim Blake Nelson, Peter Sarsgaard and Bob Balaban to bridge the gap between fact, presumption and fantasy.” – Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times
“Redefining what a documentary can do and be, Morris’ epic proves a tragedy of systemic corruption, personal mania, and the inability to grasp that which one knows exists, but remains just out of reach.” – Nick Schager, The Daily Beast
“heir testimonies unfolds alongside a series of dramatic reenactments that may or may not illustrate the precise nature of the events being described. The result is a documentary-fiction combination like nothing seen before.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire
“It has an eerie, something-is-happening-here-but-you-don’t-know-what-it-is-do-you-Mr.-Jones vibe that evokes mid-century American cold war paranoia” – Jordan Hoffman, Vanity Fair
“People been labeling me a bad kid all my life. You don’t have to really do nothing, people just expect it. So you start to expect it of yourself.” – Daje Shelton
Beginning one year before the fatal police shooting of a Black teenager in nearby Ferguson, Missouri, For Ahkeem is the coming-of-age story of Daje (Boonie) Shelton, a Black 17-year-old girl in North St. Louis. She fights for her future as she is placed in an alternative high school and navigates the marginalized neighborhoods, biased criminal justice policies and economic devastation that have set up many Black youth like her to fail. After she is expelled from her public high school, a juvenile court judge sends Daje to the court-supervised Innovative Concept Academy, which offers her one last chance to earn a diploma. Over two years we watch as Daje struggles to maintain focus in school, attends the funerals of friends killed around her, falls in love with a classmate named Antonio, and navigates a loving-but-tumultuous relationship with her mother. As Antonio is drawn into the criminal justice system and events in Ferguson just four miles from her home seize the national spotlight, Daje learns she is pregnant and must contend with the reality of raising a young Black boy. Through Daje’s intimate story, For Ahkeem illuminates challenges that many Black teenagers face in America today, and witnesses the strength, resilience, and determination it takes to survive. Co-director Landon Van Soest joins us to talk about his collaboration with co-direct Jeremy S. Levine and their incredibly intimate, troubling and surprisingly hopeful tale.
“A special achievement…As close as documentaries come to putting us inside the mind of someone who society easily overlooks.” – RogerEbert.com
“Masterful…shows us the undeniable power of cinema.” – Huffington Post
“One of the most powerful documentaries ever crafted about the current nature of race relations in America.” – Toronto Film Scene
“A bracing story of grit in a world of social injustice.” – Los Angeles Times
“For Ahkeem is THE millennial documentary on Black girlhood.” – Jet
“Hands-down one of the best documentaries of 2017…essential viewing.” – Under The Radar Mag
“Compelling…a vivid example of the incontrovertible fact that Black lives matter.” – IndieWire
“Incredibly moving.” – Paste Magazine
“A remarkable experience.” – The Knockturnal
In this emotionally moving documentary, Edith and Eddie, Edith Hill and Eddie Harrison get married in Virginia at ages 96 and 95. Since tying the knot, both Edith and Eddie have experienced an awakening; they have a new reason to get up in the morning. At the start of each day, he helps her put in her teeth. They enjoy exercising and relaxing by the river. They are always holding hands. We soon learn that the couple is embroiled in a legal battle between Edith’s daughters, over Edith’s estate and her rights. The daughters are unable to reach an agreement so a court has appointed an outside guardian for Edith, a stranger that has never met Edith. Stripped of her own decision making, Edith is now a ward of the state. Edith and Eddie’s marriage is in danger of being torn apart. Then things take a dramatic turn. Director Laura Checkoway joins us to talk about her partnership with executive producer Cher, the bond she formed with Edith and Eddie and the greater truth about the care of our elderly in a culture that devalues seniors but covets their assets.
OSCAR SHORTLIST – Best Documentary Short Subject
WINNER – IDA Awards (International Documentary Association) Best Short 2017
NOMINEE – Cinema Eye Honors – Best Nonfiction Short 2017
WINNER – Audience Award at Montclair Film Festival
WINNER – Jury Award for Best Documentary at Palm Springs International ShortFest
WINNER – Best Documentary Short at Nevada City Film Festival
WINNER – Jury Award for Best Documentary Short (Youth Jury) at Rhode Island
WINNER – Best Documentary Short Film at Hamptons International Film Festival 2017
“‘EDITH+EDDIE’, the heartfelt story of two elderly lovebirds, is a heavyweight contender in this year’s Oscar® race for Best Documentary Short Subject.” –AwardsCircuit.com
“Devastating… It is the mix of incredible access and a willingness to embrace a story’s shrewdly synthesized structure, running the gamut from unbelievable fantasy to unbearable nightmare, that yields an extraordinarily memorable work of nonfiction that stands among the festival’s best.” — Jordan M. Smith, NonFics.com at True/False 2017
“EDITH+EDDIE starts out feeling like an inspirational story. A black woman and white man find each other, and love, in their mid-90s. But as the couple is separated due to a legal battle, what could have been a life-affirming hug turns into something darker: an indictment of the elder-care system, with racial undertones.” — Steven Zeitchik, Los Angeles Times
“One of the most beautiful and quietly furious films I have ever seen.” – Julia Reichert, director of A LION IN THE HOUSE
“All of the things we look for in a film… challenging, universal… a gift of love and compassion.” – Paul Booth, Talking Pictures
“In just half an hour, EDITH+EDDIE captures so much about love, aging and infirmity–and speak volumes about America’s issues with elder care and guardianship.” – Norman Wilner, Now Toronto
QUEST is Jonathan Olshefski’s moving chronicle of a close-knit African-American family living in North Philadelphia. Beginning at the dawn of the Obama presidency, the film follows the Raineys: father Christopher “Quest” Rainey, who juggles various jobs to support his family; Christine’s “Ma Quest,” who works at a women’s shelter; Christine’a’s son William, who is undergoing cancer treatment while caring for his baby son; and PJ, Quest and Christine’a’s young daughter. In a neighborhood besieged by inequality and neglect, they nurture a community of hip hop artists in their home music studio. It’s a safe space where all are welcome, but this creative sanctuary can’t always shield them from the strife that grips their neighborhood. Epic in scope, QUEST is a vivid illumination of race and class in America, and a profound testament to love, healing and hope. Filmed with vérité intimacy for almost a decade, QUEST has swept top documentary awards at festivals across the country since it premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, including the Grand Jury prize at the Full Frame Festival, as well as nominations for Best Documentary at the upcoming Independent Spirit and Cinema Eye awards. Quest will open in New York on Friday, December 8 at the Quad Cinema and in Los Angeles on December 15. Director Jonathan Olshefski and Producer Sabrina Schmidt Gordon join us for a conversation on their beautifully rendered story of family, race and hope.
“[A] superb film. A living, breathing, stunning documentary study of an African-American family in North Philadelphia weathering a tumultuous decade.” – Guy Lodge, Variety
“Class and race intersect meaningfully in the wonderful documentary Quest, a decade-plus labor of love.” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
“Recalls Steve James’ Hoop Dreams in both the way it captures people over a long period of a time and in how it finds the profound in the everyday, the universal in the specific.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
“A sweeping and intimate documentary about the struggles of an average American family.” – Jude Dry, Indiewire
“Quest may be one of the most important films about the American experience ever filmed.” – Jason Gorber, POV Magazine
The Rape of Recy Taylor tells the not so-long-ago story of how a 24-year-old black mother and sharecropper, Recy Taylor, was gang raped by six white boys in 1944 Alabama. Common in the Jim Crow South, few women spoke up in fear for their lives. Not Recy Taylor, who bravely identified her rapists. The NAACP sent its chief rape investigator Rosa Parks, who rallied support and triggered an unprecedented outcry for justice. The Rape of Recy Taylor exposes a legacy of physical abuse of black women and reveals Rosa Parks’ intimate role in Recy Taylor’s story. An attempted rape against Parks was but one inspiration for her ongoing work to find justice for countless women like Taylor. The 1955 bus boycott was an end result, not a beginning. More and more women are now speaking up after rape. The Rape of Recy Taylor tells the story of black women who spoke up when danger was greatest; it was their noble efforts to take back their bodies that led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott and movements that followed. The 2017 Global March by Women is linked to their courage. From sexual aggression on ‘40s southern streets to today’s college campuses and to the threatened right to choose, it is control of women’s bodies that powered the movement in Recy Taylor’s day and fuels our outrage today. Director Nancy Buirski (By Sidney Lumet, Afternoon of a Faun, The Loving Story) stops by for a conversation on a remarkably prescient and moving story of courage and the struggle to overcome America’s system of institutional injustice.
“The Rape of Recy Taylor combines archival footage, home movies, and “race films” along with current interviews to tell Taylor’s story, which director Nancy Buirski broadens into a larger discussion about gender and race.” – Tricia Olszewski, Washington City Paper
“Forceful family interviews, immersive location visits, letters, testimony and articles from Afr-Am papers bring you into 1944 Alabama night…supported by NAACP’s Rosa Parks.” – Nora Lee Mandel, FF2 Media
“Buirski’s weaving together of material is most impactful in these mid-feature scenes, unspooling a rich and horrifying world that goes far beyond just Taylor’s experiences.” – Kate Erbland, IndieWire
“With lucidity and deep feeling, Nancy Buirski’s documentary maps an ugly trail of injustice and then widens its lens to pay tribute to the women of color whose refusal to be silent helped drive the evolution of the Civil Rights movement.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
In 1943 a young British officer, Norman Lewis, entered a war-torn Naples with the American Fifth Army. Lewis began writing in his notepad everything that happened to him during his one-year stay observing the complex social cauldron of a city that contrived every day the most incredible ways of fighting to survive. These notes turned into the masterpiece NAPLES ‘44. This film adaptation imagines Lewis returning to the city that charmed and seduced him many years later. Filmmaker Francesco Patierno combines riveting archival war footage with clips from movies set in Naples from the 1950s and 60s (featuring Marcello Mastroianni, Alan Arkin, Ernest Borgnine) and the voice of Oscar-nominated actor Benedict Cumberbatch to portray a city that was as much a victim of the war as any individual, but that has come back to life with all the charisma of Vesuvius, its very own volcano. This visionary reminiscence is made up of flashbacks between the places of the present that Lewis revisits and the stories of the past. Cumberbatch gives life to Lewis’ words through the stories and fortunes of the people he meets, by the end of this intimate nostalgic journey we can fully share with him a deep feeling for the city. Director Francesco Patierno and Producers Francesca Barra and Davide Azzolini stop by to talk about this stunning, intimate evocation of a time and place from the not-too-distant past that has much to teach us today.
“A riveting film, a complex portrait of the mystery of Naples.” – Corriere della Sera
“If it weren’t for the time-chiseled patina on the footage dug out from archives, the powerful images of Vesuvius erupting, or the Caravaggio-esque faces of the faithful praying, there really wouldn’t be much difference between the Naples of this time and the cities martyred by the conflicts of today, like Aleppo, like Mosul.” – Il Mattino
“Magnificent. (An) elegant, moving, balanced war diary.” – Il Foglio
“Naples ’44 is a harrowing portrait of a defiant population which after suffering great losses, finally drove out its Nazi occupiers, and did survive.” Patrick McGrath, New York
According to one of many Haitian beliefs, we are born from water and so to water our souls return… but only for a year and a day, after our demise. Guetty Felin’s AYITI MON AMOUR is set in a land inhabited by spirits looking for their final resting place, mourners seeking closure and ordinary individuals engaged in a precarious dance of survival. It spins the magic neo-realist tale of Orphée an awkward teen grieving the loss of his father. One day after a freak encounter with an underwater sea creature he develops special electrifying powers, but with power comes certain responsibilities…The world seems to be changing much too rapidly for Jaurès the old fisherman. These days Jaurès is obsessed with the environmental degradation, the rising temperature of the sea and the drought that is starving his cows. But what pre-occupies Jaurès the most is his beloved wife Odessa who is bedridden and homesick. Jaurès is determined to do everything to make her well again even if it means putting his own life in peril…Lastly, there’s the beautiful mysterious Ama, part muse, part wandering soul but also the main character of a novel by an uninspired writer. After five years of waiting for him to complete his masterpiece, she decides to leave him and his story, and sets out to live her own life. With AYITI MON AMOUR the island nation of Haiti has its first ever entry in the Academy Awards category of Best Foreign Language Film. It is also the first narrative feature entirely shot in Haiti by a Haitian-born female director, Guetty Felin. She joins us to talk about her warm-hearted, humane film and its celebration of her native country.
**OFFICIAL SELECTION – Toronto International Film Festival**
**OFFICIAL SELECTION – San Francisco International Film Festival**
**OFFICIAL SELECTION – Eurasia International Film Festival**
**WINNER – BlackStar Film Festival – Best Feature Narrative**
**WINNER – Festival Internacional de Cine America – Best Cinematography**
**NOMINATED – Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam – Yellow Ribbon Award**
When TV editor Ramsey Denison was jailed for simply reporting police brutality on the Las Vegas strip, he was inspired to investigate the Las Vegas Police Department. His investigation would lead him right up to the biggest mass shooting in American history. In this damning exposé, he reveals that the police know more than they are letting on about what really happened at the Mandalay Bay Resort, where 59 people were killed. Uncovering a long legacy of cavalier methods and dire consequences, civilian fatalities, unconstitutional arrests and embellished crime reports, this doc paints an incriminating picture of a police department where the officers are above the law.
By Director Ramsey Denison: “When I drove into Vegas a couple years ago, making a documentary about police corruption was the furthest thing from my mind; I’d come to relax. I’d just finished editing a programme about cops tracking down bad guys – the notion that cops could be the bad guys was not something I’d spent much time thinking about. That all changed when my friend Rhett Nielson and I saw police officers torturing a stranger. I called 911 and reported the incident. A couple minutes later, I got beat up, arrested, and thrown in jail by those same cops. I reported officers Mark Belanger, Kyle Frett, and Jared Casper but LVMPD’s Internal Affairs department decided to do nothing about it. Officer Cole Erskine’s police report was full of fiction, written to justify the brutality. The club where my arrest occurred told me they had no footage because their cameras weren’t recording that night. Without video, it was three police officers’ words against mine and Rhett’s. In a town where you can get beaten up, arrested, and thrown in jail simply for making a phone call to report police brutality, I couldn’t help but wonder what else the LVMPD has done. I discovered that behind the glittering lights, the real Las Vegas is a rigged game of corrupt policing and institutional cover ups.”
“The problems Denison uncovers serve as a warning to all Americans.” – Daphne Howland, Village Voice
“A documentary profile that blows the whistle on a disturbing pattern of excessive force and corruption within its ranks.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times
“Effective despite some storytelling flaws, the documentary is nonetheless unlikely to draw too much attention on the national stage, with fresher outrages never hard to come by.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter
On April 29, 1992, the streets and neighborhoods of Los Angeles, California started to burn just after the Rodney King verdict was announced where four white police officers caught on videotape brutally beating an unarmed black motorist (King) were acquitted of assault by a predominantly white Simi Valley jury. Violent protests, looting and arson lasted several days and left more than 50 people dead. Twenty-five years later, the acclaimed documentary LA 92 from Oscar® winning directors Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin (UNDEFEATED) explores the events leading to the violence, as well as the chaos and destruction that happened. LA 92 presents an incredibly immersive and affecting experience of a city in turmoil, without any talking heads or narration, which eerily resembles the same news stories we see on TV today in 2017. The filmmakers spent over a year searching and sifting through over 1700 hours of footage from news reports, journalists’ stories and news archives. Told entirely only through these stunning news reports and images and rarely seen archive footage, this gripping film captures the shock, disappointment and fury felt by many Angelenos, particularly those in the African American community. In the case of the King beating, it was the first time the kind of abuse many had witnessed or experienced at the hands of LAPD officers was recorded and broadcast for the world to see, leaving some with the sense that if justice did not prevail despite such graphic evidence, it never would. Named by Variety as one of the best films of 2017, LA 92 is more than a moment in time, it’s an illuminating political, cultural and social experience that elevates our collective understanding of our history and ourselves. Co-directors T.J. Martin and Daniel Lindsay join us.
“..not just a defining work on the riots and a wrenching visual essay on power, race, media, and mob violence in the modern era, but also one of the year’s best documentaries.” – Chris Barsanti, The Playlist
“The results are visceral, scary, and infuriating all over again, a true miscarriage of justice that turned into a civil uprising that asked more questions than it answered.” – Jason Bailey, Flavorwire
“An immersive, you-are-there experience that is as dramatic (or more so) as any Hollywood feature film.” – G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle
“Gives a full sense of the anarchy and rage of the post-King verdict days, thrusting us fully and disturbingly into events in very much of a You Are There manner.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
In 2010 David Crowley, an Iraq veteran, aspiring filmmaker and charismatic up-and-coming voice in fringe politics, began production on his film “Gray State.” Set in a dystopian near-future where civil liberties are trampled by an unrestrained federal government, the film’s crowd funded trailer was enthusiastically received by the burgeoning online community of libertarians, Tea Party activists as well as members of the nascent alt-right. In January of 2015, Crowley was found dead with his family in their suburban Minnesota home. Their shocking deaths quickly become a cause célèbre for conspiracy theorists who speculate that Crowley was assassinated by a shadowy government concerned about a film and filmmaker that was getting too close to the truth about their aims. Directed by “Grizzly Man” producer Erik Nelson and Executive Produced by Werner Herzog, “A Gray State” combs through Crowley’s archive of 13,000 photographs, hundreds of hours of home video, and exhaustive behind-the-scenes footage of David’s work in progress to reveal what happens when a paranoid view of the government turns inward — blurring the lines of what is real and what people want to believe. Director Erik Nelson joins us to talk about his verite-style film and the truth behind the Crowley family’s tragic deaths.
Opening Los Angeles November 24th at the Laemmle’s Music Hall 3
“A highly-topical and resonant trip down the alt-right rabbit hole…A GRAY STATE offers a powerful rebuke to the post-truth groups that subsumed both Crowley’s life and his death” – Anthony Kaufman, SCREEN DAILY
“Part suspenseful murder-mystery and part real-life political thriller, this true-crime deep-dive feels poised to be a…breakout hit ” – Jason Newman, ROLLING STONE
“The somewhat rare documentary that’s actually as illuminating as good print reporting on the same case.” – Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
“A story similar to “The Shining” but much scarier because it is true.” – Louis Proyect, COUNTERPUNCH
“[A] real-life tale that’s as unsettling as it is precisely of-the-moment.” – Godfrey Cheshire, ROGER EBERT
In this biting domestic story, Jill, a lonely, unfulfilled housewife with four unruly children, paces on her dining room table with a belt around her neck, contemplating a desperate end. Her husband, Bill, focused on his identity as breadwinner and an affair with a lusty co-worker, is as oblivious to Jill’s growing terror that she will do something destructive as he is to the panic at his unraveling company. Meanwhile, dogs bark and howl through the night, as one persistent mutt continually stalks the family’s yard. When Jill’s psyche finally breaks, she takes on a vicious new canine persona. Marianna Palka writes, directs, and stars as Jill in this dark and provocative film, balancing a whip-smart, deeply unsettling take on the horrors of a crumbling nuclear family with a palpable sensitivity for her character’s plight and perfectly timed comedic flourishes. Jason Ritter delivers a beautifully tragicomic performance as Bill, who’s transformed by bizarre crisis from an indifferent hound of a man entirely untethered from his family to their unexpected emotional anchor. Director and lead actor Marianna Palka joins us in a conversation about her go-for-broke approach to the story and performance.
“A satirical scream of rage against patriarchal prerogatives, this feminist horror-comedy, written and directed by Ms. Palka, has a vicious edge… Palka carves a black and biting niche between a man and a woman, a space where chaos and psychological unease demand to be reckoned with.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times
“Marianna Palka is fearless. She wrote, directed and starred in a movie that has her acting like a rabid dog for most of its duration. It’s a bold move, and one that pays off in a big way.” – Meredith Borders, Birth Movies Death
“Vicious feminist satire…Palka recalls Michael Haneke, but with an eye for surreal black comedy that suggests the anything-goes weirdness of Quentin Dupieux.“– Eric Kohn, Indiewire
In the haunting, intimate tale PORTO Jake (Anton Yelchin) and Mati (Lucie Lucas) are two expats who experience a brief but intimate connection in the ancient Portuguese city of Porto. He’s an American loner exiled from his family. She’s a student from France embroiled in an affair with one of her professors. After spotting each other from a distance at an archeological site and then again at a train station and a café, Jake works up the courage to approach Mati and they embark on a night of carefree intimacy. This romantic encounter is viewed from years later, both characters still haunted by the powerful connection they shared. Using a mix of film stocks and art direction that evokes a bygone era of European cinema, Porto delivers a cinematic form of saudade – a Portuguese word that describes an emotional state of nostalgic longing for a person or place that one has loved. Director, writer, editor, and producer Gabe Klinger stops by to talk about his bittersweet, heartbreaking, soaring ode to romantic love.
New York, NY – November 17 at Landmark Sunshine Cinema
Los Angeles, CA – November 24 at Landmark Nuart Theatre
“A swirling examination of love in all its bittersweet splendor.” – David Ehrlich, Indiewire
“Ravishingly shot. A film that’s in love with love, in love with cinema.” – Guy Lodge, Variety
“An extraordinary and delicate depiction of a fleeting passion. Touches on the most tender and incisive heights of each crest of the European New Wave.” – Richard Whittaker, The Austin Chronicle
“Yelchin’s acting is superb in its minimalism, expressing sensitivity, yearning and sorrow with subtle intensity.” – Catherine Sedgwick, The Upcoming
It’s a story that beggars belief—a bipolar practitioner of “candle magick” living in a dilapidated farmhouse in rural Ohio with a lifelong obsession for building violins (and covered in tattoos of master builders such as Stradivarius) convinces a world-renowned soloist via social media that he is capable of creating a perfect replica of the world’s most valuable violin, Guarneri’s Il Cannone. A quirky look into one man’s DIY enthusiasm and perseverance when facing down a self-created, impossible task, Strad Style is the feel-good doc of 2017. Stefan Avalos is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Having started his life as a classically trained violinist and knowing the obsessions that are part of the violin-world, he became intrigued with the story of Daniel Houck, while working on a broader documentary about New vs old violins. While this movie is still in process, “Strad Style” emerged as a story that became HIS obsession. Stefan joins us to talk about the making of this magical documentary.
“One of Slamdance 2017’s documentary treasures, Strad Style is as deeply heartfelt as it is riveting.” – Kathy Zhou, Slugmag
“- irresistible, way-stranger-than-fiction documentary” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
I LOVED LOVED LOVED Strad Style and have not been able to stop recommending it to anyone who will listen. – MoviePro
“a beautifully shot shaggy-dog story with an overcoming-adversity theme and fairy-tale outcome Hollywood would kill for, which leaves audiences applauding through tears.” – Adam Patterson, Film Pulse
“Wonderful; so funny and strange and human. An amazing portrait of a fascinating character, beautifully told with enormous suspense and tenderness.” – Mary Ann Johanson, Film Filosopher
THE LIGHT OF THE MOON is the story of Bonnie, a young and successful Latina architect, sexually assaulted while walking home from an evening out with friends in Brooklyn. At first, she attempts to keep the assault a secret from her long-term boyfriend Matt, but the truth quickly emerges. Bonnie emphatically denies the impact of what has just happened to her. She fights to regain normalcy and control, but returning to her old life is more complicated than expected. Her attempt to recapture the intimacy she previously had with Matt falters and cracks begin to surface in their relationship. Another attack in the neighborhood only drives Bonnie further into denial, before an encounter with an at-risk woman forces her to face the truth and confront her own self-blame. Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Short Term 12) gives a powerful and moving performance as Bonnie, a woman who maintains her dignity and sense of humor as she deals with the aftermath of a life-altering experience. Written and directed by Emmy-nominated Australian filmmaker Jessica M. Thompson in her feature film debut, THE LIGHT OF THE MOON is a powerful reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the importance of relationships in the face of a tragedy.
11/17 ~ Panel with filmmakers.
11/18 ~ Talkback hosted by Julie Rosing, producer-host of the Lady Parts Justice podcast ReproMadness with LPJ founder Lizz Winstead, co-creator of The Daily Show.
11/19: Seed&Spark/Big Vision screening with talkback hosted by Emily Best, the founder of Seed&Spark, and Amy Rosner, co-director of the upcoming documentary Second Assault.
“A clear-eyed film that’s clinical in its specifics.” – Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times
“The Light of the Moon isn’t a film you forget easily. It takes on a global issue and acts as if it’s something small, resulting in a film that feels both vitally important and imminently personal.” – Ryan Morris, Film Inquiry
“As a resource for those looking to understand the process of recovery, it’s hard to imagine a more comprehensive or sympathetic look at the challenge of surviving.” – Teo Bugbee, New York Times
“With the wider cultural conversation about rape culture, especially in the U.S., raging in the media, this honest and complex engagement with the subject is particularly welcome.” – Leslie Felperine, Hollywood Reporter
“[This] simply-structured film is harrowingly effective in its streamlined, low-frills way: sensitive without ever being sanctimonious, brutally frank without ever lapsing into exploitation.” – Andrew Barker, Variety
Noël Wells portrays Emily, a talented but hard-to-classify comedic performer who left behind her home and boyfriend to pursue career opportunities in L.A. When a loved one falls ill, Emily rushes back to Austin where she’s forced to stay with her ex-boyfriend (Nick Thune) and his new-and-improved girlfriend (Britt Lower), a totally together woman with a five-year plan. Though Emily is the same, everything else is different: her house has been smartly redecorated, her rocker boyfriend is training to be a real estate agent, and her old haunts show serious signs of gentrification. Holed up in her own guest room, Emily–who has no idea what she’ll be doing five days from now, let alone five years– is forced to question everyone’s values: are they sell-outs or have they just figured out what makes them happy? And is she following her dreams or is she just a self-absorbed loser? Director, writer and producer Noël Wells stops by for a conversation about her funny and touching film about reconciling your past with your present.
“Wells doesn’t just focus on her laugh-out-loud funny performance or insightful script: she displays a real eye for the cinematic with shot-on-film visuals that elevate her movie and lavish attention on its Texas setting.” – Kimber Myers, Los Angeles Times
“It’s a reminder that the 21st century is going to be full of coming-of-age films about 30-year-olds, and it’s compelling evidence that that might be alright.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire
“Ms. Wells is 10 times funnier and smarter than Louis CK. Her film is a reminder of what a crime sexism is. It not only harms women, it prevents the real cream from rising to the surface.” – Louis Proyect, counterpunch.org
“Creatives have stories to tell. This is Noël Wells’ story to tell. And good storytelling like Mr. Roosevelt is why we watch independent films. It’s a good story and a good start for Wells.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat
Winner of the Audience Award for Best Narrative Film at the Tribeca Film Festival, The Divine Order is set in Switzerland in 1971 where, despite the worldwide social upheavals of the previous decade, women were still denied the right to vote. When unassuming and dutiful housewife Nora (Marie Leuenberger, winner of a Best Actress award at Tribeca) is forbidden by her husband to take a part-time job, her frustration leads to her becoming the poster child of her town’s suffragette movement. Her newfound celebrity brings humiliation, threats, and the potential end to her marriage, but, refusing to back down, she convinces the women in her village to go on strike…and makes a few startling discoveries about her own liberation. Uplifting and crowd-pleasing, this charming, captivating film is a time-capsule that could not be more timely. Director Petra Volpe joins us to talk about the story behind a struggle for human rights and the women who made Swiss history.
Switzerland’s submission for the Academy Awards Best Foreign-Language Film
Winner – Audience Award for Best Feature – Tribeca Film Festival 2017
Winner – Audience Award for Best Fiction – Traverse City Film Festival 2017
“A gentle, unassuming picture, it does have a satisfying, feelgood trajectory and empathetic central performance from Marie Leuenberger.” – Wendy Ice, Screen International
“‘The Divine Order’ effectively illustrates how peer pressure can influence the political process.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times
“Within the story’s sometimes too-neat outline, Volpe lets most of her characters breathe.” – Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times
“Essential viewing for those interested in a wider perspective on feminist challenges.” – Ben Orndorf, Blue-ray.com
Holy Air is the story of Adam, a Christian Arab living in Nazareth – member of a vanishing minority within a minority in the Holy Land and the Middle East. His wife Lamia is a strong, beautiful and progressive Arab woman, who runs a foundation for women’s rights. When Adam hears that Lamia is pregnant and his father falls very ill, he evaluates his life and realizes that he has not achieved much. Despite all his business ideas failing so far, he gives one last try to make it big. And what’s better to sell in the Holy Land other than the very air that Virgin Mary breathed during her annunciation? But in order to, as one priest tells Adam during confession, bring such product into the market he needs to find allies from the three cultures ruling over Nazareth – the Jewish politicians, the Muslim mafia boss and the Catholic church officials. In a politically unstable world where religion is just another merchandise, can the Holy Air be Adam’s salvation or is it just an illusion? Director and writer Shady Srour joins us to talk about his contemporary comedy that not only transcends barriers of religion, gender, and culture, but is also intelligent and funny.
“As a wry commentary on religious tourism, and the limited avenues of prosperity for occupied, idealistic Arabs, “Holy Air” is tartly effective.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times
“With a masterful sense of framing, Srour and cinematographer Daniel Miller turn beautifully composed shots into absurdist delights with a simple twist.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice