In Balachine’s Classroom – Director Connie Hochman

The genius of George Balanchine (1904-1983), the man who reinvented ballet for the 20th century, is celebrated in this homage to his nonpareil choreography, the basis of his body of work for the New York City Ballet and the technique taught at the world-renowned School of American Ballet. Some of Balanchine’s greatest stars describe the inventiveness, precision, speed, and musicality he demanded: Jacques d’Amboise (“It’s like I was a pupil of Einstein”), Merrill Ashley (“a privilege of a lifetime”), Gloria Govrin, Suki Schorer, Edward Villella, and Heather Watts (“He was some kind of mad scientist”). Balanchine instilled in  each of them an abiding, obsessive love of dance and an almost religious desire to pass along his artistry and vision. The depth of Balanchine’s passion – and theirs – is dazzling, as is much of the never-before-seen footage of him in the classroom. Director Connie Hochman joins us for a conversation on the impact George Balanchine had on the trajectory of ballet in America, the dancers who’s lives he changed and his living legacy in the people who continue to teach new dancers in a manner that reflects their interpretation of the Master’s credo.

 

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For news and updates go to: zeitgeistfilms.com/film/inbalanchinesclassroom

Opens at Laemmle Theaters in LA – September 24

About the filmmaker – Connie Hochman was a professional ballet dancer with Pennsylvania Ballet where she performed many of George Balanchine’s masterworks. As a child in the 1960s, Connie trained at the School of American Ballet and danced alongside the New York City Ballet, with Balanchine at the helm. During these years, she witnessed a profound bond between the master and his dancer-disciples, which continued to inspire and fascinate her. Decades later, Connie’s childhood memories of Balanchine, combined with a desire to understand more, led her on a mission to solve a mystery. What exactly happened in Balanchine’s classroom, where he developed the dancers and the dancing to serve his choreographic vision? In 2007, Connie began a series of interviews with former Balanchine dancers – ninety in all – to explore the phenomenon of Balanchine’s classroom. Why did he teach and not just choreograph? What did he teach? How did he teach? How did his daily class relate to his ballets? Their remembrances of his unorthodox methods and transformative teaching form the basis of IN BALANCHINE’S CLASSROOM. In addition to the dancer interviews, Connie launched an extensive search for visuals that would bring the story to life. She discovered a trove of never-before-seen archival footage of Balanchine in America. With approval from The George Balanchine Trust, Connie traveled around the country and to Europe to film Balanchine’s former dancers staging his ballets, teaching classes, and passing on their knowledge to today’s generation. This wealth of material formed the foundation for In Balanchine’s Classroom.

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“In mathematics, there was Newton; in psychology, there was Freud; and in American ballet, George Balanchine was a foundational genius.” – Teo Bugbee, New York Times

“This insightful documentary tribute goes beyond the usual biographical tidbits.” – Todd Jorgenson, Cinemalogue

“We are treated to an impressive amount of never seen before footage from Balanchine’s class archives, as well as rehearsal and performance video featuring the disciples or the man himself.” – Hanna B, Film Threat

Aware: Glimpses of Consciousness – Co-directors Eric Black and Frauke Sandig

In the mind expanding documentary AWARE: Glimpses of Consciousness a number of intriguing questions are What is consciousness? Is it in all living beings? What happens when we die? Why do we seem to be hardwired for mystical experience? In these times of existential crisis, there has been an explosion of research into consciousness. After four centuries of silence, scientists are confronting the “Big Questions”, cutting a window into a realm previously held tight by philosophy and religion: AWARE follows six brilliant researchers, approaching the greatest of all mysteries from radically different perspectives, from within and without: through high-tech brain research and Eastern meditation, by scientifically exploring inner space through psychedelic substances and by investigating the consciousness of plants. Scientists are arriving at new insights – some of which have been integral to Indigenous knowledge for millenia. AWARE opens as a science film but emerges well beyond the explicable, ultimately leading one on a voyage upon the ocean of consciousness, a contemplative, sensual, cinematographic meditation. The networks of consciousness are reflected in ‘grand’ imagery revealing the vast interconnectedness of Nature – from the smallest organisms, to the world of plants and animals and on to the cosmos. AWARE invites one to experience the awe and mystery of life as the researchers do, to dive in with them, returning to see the world anew, to review long-held beliefs and assumptions and initiate one’s own oceanic journey. Ultimately, to be aware one is aware. Joining us to talk about this beautiful film are the co-directors and co-writers of AWARE: Glimpses of Consciousness Frauke Sandig and Eric Black.

 

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For news and updates go to: aware-film.com

For more about Frauke Sandig & Eric Black go to: umbrellafilms.org

About the filmmakers – As an independent film production, Umbrella Films produces feature documentaries by the acclaimed filmmakers Frauke Sandig and Eric Black. Their award-winning films have been successful worldwide on public television, educational and entertainment platforms, in theatres and festivals like Sundance Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, IDFA, Karlovy Vary IFF, Visions du Réel Nyon, Hot Docs Toronto, Sheffield DocFest, Hof International Film Festival, DokLeipzig, Vancouver IFF, San Francisco IFF, MOMA New York and many others. For more about Frauke Sandig & Eric Black go to: umbrellafilms.org

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The Most Beautiful Boy in the World – Co-directors Kristina Lindström and Kristian Petri

The year is 1970. The world-famous Italian director, Luchino Visconti is visiting Stockholm due to his new film Death in Venice, based on Thomas Mann’s 1912 novel of the same name. He is looking for a young boy to play the role of Tadzio, a young polish noble. At this point, Visconti has traveled around the whole world and filmed hundreds of boys and finally, after a number of screen tests, fifteen year old Stockholmer Björn Andresen is given the part. When the film premieres in London 1971, in the presence of Queen Elisabeth and princess Anne, Visconti declares the young Björn Andresen ”the most  beautiful boy in the world”. But the moniker became an epithet that has  come to haunt him for the rest of his life. He became an icon all over the world, and just like his role figure Tadzio, the object for men who desire young boys. Today, almost 50 years later, Björn is struggling with addiction and questions like why he never loved himself. He is also discovering the truth behind his mother’s disappearance and finding the clues to who his father is. THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOY IN THE WORLD is a deeply personal and cinematic film about a person reconciling his past and taking control of his life. But it is also a unique look behind the scenes of one of the world’s greatest film classics, Death in Venice, the structures of power and the cause of it, which recently has become known as #metoo. Co-directors Kristina Lindström and Kristian Petri join us to talk about approaching Björn Andresen gaining his trust enough to once again be scrutinized by the probing eye of filmmakers, this time with very different intentions. 

 

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For news and updates go to: themostbeautifulboy.com

The Most Beautiful Boy screening at LA’s NuArt Theatre 9/24 – 10/7

About the filmmaker – Kristina Lindström (director) is a filmmaker, journalist, and author. She has worked at SVT as a producer, project manager, and filmmaker. She has directed highly acclaimed documentaries about some of Sweden’s most famous names and faces, including Astrid (2014) and Palme (with Maud Nycander, 2012). Among others, Lindström has been awarded The Publicists big award, the Linné Prize, Kristallen, Stockholm’s Culture Prize, and the Ikaros Award.

About the filmmaker – Kristian Petri (director) is a filmmaker, writer, and culture journalist with a distinctly personal voice that transcends genre and form. Petri won Best Direction at the Guldbagge Awards for his first feature film, Between Summers (1995), which was selected for the prestigious Quinzaine des Realisateurs in Cannes. Many of his films, including The Well (2005), Details (2003), and Tokyo Noice (2002) have been critically celebrated and have been nominated for and received a number of national and international awards.

83% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The Most Beautiful Boy in the World is one of the few documentaries to dwell so gravely and persuasively on how sudden fame can ruin a young life, bypassing any perks of stardom.” – Vogue

“On a very essential level, The Most Beautiful Boy In The World looks human beauty in the eye: both the atavistic emotions it provokes and its impermanence.” – Fionnuala Halligan, Screen International

“What makes this sad film bearable is that, this time, the camera feels more like a friend than a predator. Its presence gives Andresén the strength to confront his past instead of obliterating it with drink.” – Sarah Kent, The Arts Desk

“A deeply empathetic psychological portrait about a shy, sensitive boy who turned into a contemplative, harried man weighed down by things he was once too young to even realise.” – Ella Kemp, iNews.co.uk

“His grief is palatable. If utterly sad, it’s still incredibly immersive, a quality that reverberates throughout, a testament to Lindström and Petri’s directorial talents.” – Daniel Theophanous, One Room With A View

Civil War (Or Who Do We Think We Are) – Director Rachel Boynton

Urgent and nuanced, Civil War (or, Who Do We Think We Are) travels across the United States, exploring how Americans tell the story of their Civil War. Filmed from the last year of Obama’s presidency through the present, it interweaves insightful scenes and touching interviews filmed North and South, painting a uniquely crafted, multi-faceted portrait of the American psyche and the deep roots of its turbulent times. With subtlety and determination, Civil War portrays a nation in denial, haunted by an embittered past and the stories it refuses to tell. Director Rachel Boynton (Our Brand is Crisis, Big Men) joins us for a conversation on the winding journey she began in the hopes of understanding the long-held and deeply rooted “stories” we tell ourselves about the war that nearly destroyed any semblance of a United States and how we might be able to break through the mythology to reach a point where a more perfect union is possible.

 

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Beginning October 24 Civil War will be streaming at Peacocktv.com

About the filmmaker – Rachel Boynton produced and directed the feature-length documentary Our Brand Is Crisis, filming for three years on two continents. Winner of the International Documentary Association’s Best Feature Documentary Award and nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, it was named the #3 movie of 2006 by New York Magazine, and appeared on several other “Best of 2006” lists, including those of the New York Times and the LA Weekly. The film aired internationally on the BBC, HBO Latin America, ARTE, VPRO, and the CBC among others and was televised in the United States on The Sundance Channel. Our Brand Is Crisis also screened at multiple festivals worldwide including SXSW, the 34th New Directors/ New Film Series presented by New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, where Rachel was the winner of the Charles E. Guggenheim Emerging Artist Award. Currently George Clooney’s company, Smokehouse, plans to remake Our Brand Is Crisis as a fiction feature. Rachel’s other credits include associate producer for the feature documentary Well-Founded Fear, producer/ director/ cinematographer for Pageant Perfect, and associate producer of People Like Us: Social Class in America. She has managed shoots across America, worked on films in Cuba and France, and directed casting for reality-based commercials.

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The film takes familiar topics and looks at them in a whole new way. It is interesting to see how different parts of the country look at the Civil War.” – Nathaniel Muir, AIPT

“Its thesis that the North won the Civil War and the South won the Reconstruction … will be revelatory to young students, and anyone whose past schooling glossed over or distorted the deeper meaning of those events.” – Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com

“An alarming and vital stepping stone toward truth and, above all, democracy. The more we face the harsh truths about history or the present without any sugar coating, the closer we’ll be to democracy.” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru

“Interviewing teachers, students, Confederate buffs and state politicians, Boynton delves into the abyss dividing Americans in terms of what we know about our own history and how what we know differs by region, self-selection and heritage.” – Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

“No, there’s not a happy ending to “Civil War.” But there’s also no shortage of provocative inquiry, or empathy, or understanding.” – John Anderson, Wall Street Journal

OVID.tv Co-founder Jonathan Miller

In a media environment dominated by increasingly concentrated corporate interests, a growing group of distribution companies who have long championed the best in independent features, documentaries, and social issue films, have joined forces to help launch an innovative subscription streaming service, OVID.tvOVID.tv is an innovative subscription video-on-demand service launched with a collaborative effort between Docuseek, LLC and eight founding content partners. Today OVID works with thirty content partners from around the world. OVID.tv includes titles from 30 different film distribution companies, most of which  you can explore on Ovid.tv’s Content Partners page. Examples include Bullfrog Films, The dGenerate Films Collection, Distrib Films US, First Run Features, Grasshopper Film, Icarus Films, KimStim, The British Film Institute, and Women Make Movies. Most of the films on OVID.tv are not available on any other streaming platform, and OVID.tv will be adding even more films every week. Despite the odds and with little capital, Icarus Films, Docuseek, and our partners have decided that the time has come to step forward and build a new, independent space, dedicated to the films that we believe in and care about, and that we believe you care about, and value as well. September spotlight on award-winning Chilean  filmmaker Ignacio Agüero with 11 of his acclaimed documentaries including 100 Children Waiting for a Train and The Other Day. OVID.tv co-founder Jonathan Miller joins us to talk about an affordable option for film lovers looking for the highest quality cinema experience presented by people who share your passion.

 

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For more on the available films, subscription rates go to: OVID.tv

About OVID: OVID.tv is an innovative subscription video-on-demand service launched with a collaborative effort between Docuseek, LLC and eight founding content partners. Today OVID works with thirty content partners from around the world.  Ovid.tv includes titles from 30 different film distribution companies, most of which you can explore on Ovid.tv’s Content Partners page. Examples include Bullfrog Films, The dGenerate Films Collection, Distrib Films US, First Run Features, Grasshopper Film, Icarus Films, KimStim, The British Film Institute, and Women Make Movies. OVID is available in the U.S. and Canada. New subscribers can sign-up for a free 7-day trial. Afterwards, subscriptions are just $6.99/month or $69.99 for an annual subscription. OVID.tv: metafilm is its recently launched blog – http://metafilm.OVID.tv

September 2021 highlights include:

  • Spotlight on award-winning Chilean filmmaker Ignacio Agüero with 11 of his acclaimed documentaries including 100 Children Waiting for a Train and The Other Day.
  • 2K restoration of Helene Klodawsky’s Painted Landscapes of the Times, introducing Sue Coe’s passionate art focused on human rights and equality, and exploring her vision.
  • Based on a real story, Etzel Baez’s narrative feature 339 Amín Abel Hasbun. Memory of a Crime, an intriguing account of the murder of a student leader in the Dominican Republic accused of kidnapping a US Embassy official.
  • From Spain, David Trueba’s narrative feature On this Side of the World, a deep and global look at migrations, borders and the most insurmountable walls erected by mankind.
  • Shu Lea Cheang’s witty narrative Fresh Kill envisions a post-apocalyptic landscape strewn with electronic detritus and suffering the toxic repercussions of mass marketing in a high-tech commodity culture.
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FAUCI – Co-directors John Hoffman and Janet Tobias

FAUCI delivers a rare glimpse into the long-standing professional career and personal life of the ultimate public servant, who after a lifetime of service faced his biggest test: a pandemic whose ferocity is unmatched in modern history. But that has come at a cost as he has also faced attacks from adversaries in a nation increasingly divided by political party lines — with science increasingly caught in the crosshairs. A world-renowned infectious disease specialist and the longest-serving public health leader in Washington, D.C., who has served under seven presidents, Dr. Fauci has overseen the U.S. response to 40 years’ worth of outbreaks, including HIV/AIDS, SARS and Ebola. FAUCI is a revealing and intimate portrait of the man mostly known only from appearances on the news. The film features insights from former President George W. Bush, Bill Gates, Bono, former national security advisor Susan Rice, National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins, former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Tom Frieden, journalists Laurie Garrett and The New York Times’ Apoorva Mandavilli, and key AIDS activists, among others. Dr. Fauci’s family, friends and former patients also provide more personal commentary about the man, his personality, and what makes him who he is. Co-directors by John Hoffman and Janet Tobias join us to talk about a dedicated public servant who has spent the vast majority of his life in service to a greater, and healthier good.

 

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For news and updates go to: films.nationalgeographic.com/fauci

For more on the library of documentaries on NatGeo go to: films.nationalgeographic.com

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88% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Fauci is a refreshing figure and a standard-bearer for the truth.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

“This is the kind of movie that makes you grateful not just for expertise but for sanity in high places-something we used to take for granted, but which now seems precious as gold.” – Dennis Harvey, 48 Hills

“through a mix of archival footage and interviews that smoothly segue between the past and present, [directors John Hoffman, Janet Tobias’] documentary proves a tribute to a legitimate national hero.” – Nick Schager, The Daily Beast

“Where the filmmakers’ approach sets itself apart… is in juxtaposing the bookending health catastrophes of Fauci’s career as an especially illuminating lens through which to examine his drive, decisions and personality.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“A fittingly sober and unflashy biodoc…” – David Ehrlich, indieWire

Fire Music – Director Tom Surgal

Although the free jazz movement of the 1960s and ‘70s was much maligned in some jazz circles, its pioneers – brilliant talents like Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, and John Coltrane – are today acknowledged as central to the evolution of jazz as America’s most innovative art form. FIRE MUSIC showcases the architects of a movement whose radical brand of improvisation pushed harmonic and rhythmic boundaries, and produced landmark albums like Coleman’s Free Jazz: A Collective Inspiration and Coltrane’s Ascension. A rich trove of archival footage conjures the 1960s jazz scene along with incisive  reflections by critic Gary Giddins and a number of the movement’s key players. FIRE MUSIC tells the exciting history behind the free jazz movement. This incredible music documentary focuses on a new form of jazz that began in the late 1950s. This new jazz was separate from the happy sounding commercial jazz music that made jazz a well known music genre all over the world. This free jazz was angrier and more emotional because the music reflected the turbulent times. The musicians behind this free jazz sound were ignored by mainstream media and as a result created their own subculture. Today free jazz has the largest audience in its 50 year plus history. FIRE MUSIC will stand as the first serious attempt to capture the sights and sounds of one of the most innovative movements in music history. Director Tom Surgal joins us for a conversation on the contentious birth and begrudging acceptance that has morphed into a celebration of the musicians who pushed the boundaries of America’s greatest contribution to the world of music.

 

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For news, screenings and updatesfiremusic.org

The Story of Free Jazz – In the late 1950s, after the Abstract Expressionists had taken the art world by storm and the Beats had forever changed the face of literature, a new radical form of Jazz erupted from New York’s Lower East Side. This new music was a far cry from the toe-tapping, post-Bebop sound of the Jazz mainstream popular in the day. This was an angry form of Jazz that mirrored the more turbulent times in which it was being played. The young mavericks who pioneered this movement came to create some of the most unconventional sounds ever heard. They eschewed every preconceived notion of what music was, abandoning melody, tonality, set time rhythms, the very concept of composition itself, creating new songs spontaneously, on the fly. This coming together of these like-minded artists, iconic figures such as Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler, Sun Ra, Eric Dolphy and John Coltrane, was one of those remarkable phenomena that rarely occur in the course of history. Like all the groundbreaking artistic movements that had preceded them, the early progenitors of the Free Jazz scene were initially met with skepticism and outright disdain. They were accused of being anti-Jazz, and the music they played was dismissed as being pure noise. Undeterred by their critics, they soldiered on in relative obscurity and in the process created one of the most influential bodies of work of the contemporary age. Turned away by nightclubs and ignored by the mainstream media, these cutting edge trailblazers were driven to create their own subculture. They self-released their own albums and found unconventional places in which to perform, like coffee houses and lofts, eventually forming their own communally-run venues. The ’60s was a politically charged era, and no music reflected the tenor of the times better than Free Jazz. The resounding cries of atonal saxophones and the spastic pounding of drums reflected the growing indignation of a youth in revolt. As the ’70s wound down, America embarked on a new era of conservatism. As Reagan assumed power, a new breed of musician lay claim to the Jazz idiom. These young Turks denigrated the great Free Jazz innovators who had preceded them, and sought instead to champion a revisionist brand of Jazz, what fabled soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy dubbed “Re Bop.” With the advent of popular Jazz becoming even more mainstream, an already marginalized form be- came even more pushed to the outer fringe. But Avant Garde Jazz managed to persevere. As the ’80s progressed, a new development started to occur. The Post-Punk enthusiasts who comprised the whole Alternative Rock Nation, discovered their kindred souls in the sonic blasters of the Free Jazz scene. The music actually enjoys a larger audience today than it ever has. This is the story of an irrepressible art form that has inspired generations of fans the world over. The originals that bucked convention in order to mold their radical sound must have their story told, as their fire will burn forever.

About the filmmaker – Writer / Director Tom Surgal is known for directing a series of groundbreaking music videos for leading alternative bands like Sonic Youth, Pavement and The Blues Explosion. Tom was initially mentored in filmmaking by Brian DePalma and would go on to work in a wide range of film production jobs, including production design and casting. Tom is also a musician who has performed regularly with Nels Cline (Wilco), Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Jim O’Rourke and Mike Watt (Minutemen, The Stooges) and is co-leader of the improvisational ensemble White Out. He is also a curator who has programmed celebrated music series at various downtown New York venues, including an entire month of shows at John Zorn’s hallowed performance space The Stone. Tom is recognized as a leading authority on Avant-Garde Jazz and boasts one the world’s largest collections of Free Jazz recordings

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Whether you’re already into this stuff or just dipping your toe into the Kool-Aid,Fire Musicdelivers all the brimstone and more. Just be ready.” – Chuck Foster, Film Threat

”As a fan of improvisational music myself, the 88 minutes of this movie constituted a too-short heaven on earth. I’d binge on an expanded series, honestly.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

“There’s plenty in Fire Music for both free jazz aficionados and neophytes, but there’s no doubt this is a doc that gives this music its due.” – Stephen Silver, Splice Today

“Featuring past and recent interviews with many of the key figures and generous doses of archival photographs and vintage performance footage, the film should be on any serious music lover’s must-see list.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain – Director David Midell

From writer and director David Midell comes a socially conscious drama thriller, THE KILLING OF KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, shot in real-time, tells the true story of the final hours of the life of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. (Frankie Faison).  The elderly African American veteran with bipolar disorder was killed in 2011 during a conflict with police officers who were sent to his home to check on him, when his medical alert device was mistakenly activated. Despite Chamberlain informing the officers there was a mistake and he did not have an emergency, they were recorded taunting him, ridiculing his military service, howling racial epithets at him, and finally, the officers broke his door down and shot him twice in the chest, and no charges were brought against the police in a 2012 jury trial. Academy Award-winner Morgan FreemanTHE KILLING OF KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, starring Frankie Faison (The Wire), is a multi award-winning film comes at an important time in the national conversation about how our criminal justice system treats people of color, people in low-income areas, and people living with mental health challenges, echoing recent high-profile incidents involving George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others. Director David Midell (Nightlights) joins us to talk about the real life tragedy that inspired the film, hewing as closely as possible to the circumstances and reactions that led to the needless death of a man who did nothing to warrant the brutal end to his life and the challenges of filming in very close quarters.

 

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For news and updates: kennethchamberlainmovie.com or killingofkcfilm.com

About the filmmaker – Writer / Director and Indie Spirit Award Nominee David  specializes in telling true stories in narrative form. His projects have been seen in theaters across the country, on major television networks, and on worldwide streaming platforms. The films he has written and directed have won dozens of awards at film festivals, a coveted Prism Award from the Entertainment Industries Council.In 2020 he was was announced as one of the “25 Screenwriters to Watch”.  from the Austin Film Festival, the preeminent writer’s festival in the country. His passion is telling stories that entertain as well as inform.

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Faison is juggling a lot with his portrayal of Chamberlain, and he is flat-out brilliant.” – Josh Kupecki, Austin Chronicle

“The entire cast breathes life into characters in ways that will haunt audiences long after the film ends.” – Dwight Brown, National Newspaper Publishers Association

“A scarring film that will leave you speechless. Frankie Faison gives the performance of his career.” – Federico Furzan, Movie-Blogger.com

“Shot in real time in a dingy apartment and a stairwell, the dramatic dynamism and ensemble acting the filmmaker has achieved showcase true independent filmmaking at its finest…This film will make you grieve.” – Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

I Am Not Alone – Producer Alec Mouhibian (Garin Hovannisian)

In this timely documentary. I AM NOT ALONE follows the remarkable journey of a man who put on a backpack on Easter day in 2018, and went live on Facebook to announce that he was beginning a walk across Armenia. His mission: to inspire a velvet revolution — and topple the corrupt regime that enjoys absolute power in his post-soviet nation. With total access to all key players, I AM NOT ALONE tells the miraculous true story of what happens in the next 40 days. Garin Hovannisian’s gripping documentary deftly follows the efforts led by journalist, politician, and activist Nikol Pashinyan to prevent the election of the country’s president, Serzh Sargsyan, as the new prime minister — a move that would essentially put Sargsyan in control of Armenia for life, making him a de facto dictator. I AM NOT ALONE chronicles an unforgettable political drama that is an emotional and inspiring roadmap for how a true democratic movement can achieve profound change against all odds. It is packed with rich and memorable characters, plot twists, and a true hero’s journey. Producer Alec Mouhibian joins us to talk about the Nikol Pashinyan’s history of challenging the powerful, the history of the region that includes Armenia and the strength and determination of the Armenian people to survive and thrive.

 For news and updates go to: iamnotalonefilm.com

Watch in the Los Angeles area go to: laemmle.com/film/i-am-not-alone

To watch virtually go to: watch.laemmle.com

Director’s Statement – For as long as I can remember, I’ve been going out to the protests.As a kid in the late 1980s, I’d sit on my father’s shoulders and head to Liberty Square to demand our independence from the Soviet Union. I remember the euphoria, in 1991, when Communism fell — and Armenia was free again. But it did not take long for the old soviet symptoms to reappear. Corruption and poverty plagued our country. As the oligarchs grew rich and powerful, the people lived in misery. There never was a fair trial in Armenia, and never a free election.  So we began to protest our own rulers. That’s me in the black shirt, by the way. That’s my father to my left. In 2013 he ran for president against the all-powerful military commander Serzh Sargsyan. The official results gave him 37%, but the people knew the truth. The picture captures us moments before we reached the riot police at Baghramyan Boulevard.We lost that year. Just like we’d lost the year before. And would lose the year after. But it didn’t matter. We made a promise to each other that we would never stop fighting. We would never give up the struggle. We saw ourselves as flakes of snow, quietly gathering upon a mountain, preparing for the day when a final flake would fall — and set off the avalanche. And as we struggled for democracy, I filmed. Every time a new protest erupted, I picked up my camera and headed for the streets. I filmed the peaceful youth protests of Electric Yerevan. I filmed the violent uprising of the Daredevils of Sassoun. In my apartment in Armenia, I have a box full of hard drives that contain thousands of hours of footage of fading movements, failed revolutions, unfinished movies.So when on Easter Sunday 2018 a man put on a backpack and announced that he was going to walk across Armenia and inspire a revolution, I had no reason to believe that this time would be different. I just did what I’d always done. I picked up my camera and headed for the streets. It did not cross my mind that I was making a film, or that an avalanche was coming.  – Garin Hovannisian

About the filmmaker – Alec Mouhibian is a writer, filmmaker, and comedian from Los Angeles. With Garin Hovannisian, he co-wrote/directed the feature film 1915 (2015). He is also the producer of Children of War (2017) and has covered Armenia’s struggle for freedom for American magazines since 2012. He is the co-founder of Avalanche Entertainment, through which he is creating a variety of forthcoming projects for film and television, including Red Curtain, an anthology series set in the post-Soviet world.

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86% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The best film I’ve seen in ’20…should be an Oscar contender…absolutely outstanding — stranger than fiction and tremendously inspiring.” – Scott Feinberg, Hollywood Reporter

“This unbelievably inspiring film is for anyone who doesn’t believe in the power of protests” – Musanna Ahmed, Film Inquiry

“I Am Not Alone is an inspiring portrait of democratic self-determination.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

“The magnificent I Am Not Alone is a call to action to all of us, for none of us are alone when we stick together. It’s a comforting thought in these perilous times.” – Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Hammer to Nail

“While unabashedly pro-Pashinyan, the film reveals a bit more than it probably intends to about what it takes to bring about mass political change in the age of social media, neoliberal branding, and shifting global ideologies.” – Michael Sicinski, Cinema Scope

Too Soon: Comedy After 9/11 – Co-directors Nick Scown & Julie Seabaugh

Too Soon: Comedy After 9/11 follows the halt and gradual rebirth of comedy following the events of September 11, 2001. In the immediate aftermath, stand-up comics, broadway performers, The Onion satirical newspaper, late-night talk shows and institutions like Saturday Night Live learn how to navigate the new landscape. When the tragedy is used to justify the Iraq War, a wave of political awakening sweeps through comedy, helping to transform Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert into folk heroes. This type of biting political humor becomes more commonplace through the late Aughts as traditionally under-represented comics dispel terrorist stereotypes. Entering the modern era, where media once asked, “Will We Ever Laugh Again?” jokes specifically addressing the attacks are now prevalent on TV shows, films, and podcasts. And if we can appreciate jokes about 9/11, we can use humor to get through anything. Too Soon: Comedy After 9/11 features interviews with David Cross, Janeane Garofalo, Marc Maron, Matthew Broderick, Aasif  Mandvi, Rob Riggle, Nathan Lane, Gilbert Gottfried, Cedric the Entertainer, Chris Kattan, Lewis Black, Doug Stanhope, Jimmy Carr, Russell Peters and many more. Co-directors Nick Scown and Julie Seabaugh stop by to talk about how stand-up comedians, Broadway performers, late-night hosts, Saturday Night Live cast members, The Onion staffers and a plethora of performers managed to help their audience laugh even in the darkest of days.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: TooSoonDoc.com

About the filmmaker – Nick Fituri Scown is an Emmy-nominated Libyan-American filmmaker who was named one of the 25 Screenwriters to Watch by the Austin Film Festival this year. His narrative feature debut Pretty Bad Actress featuring Heather McComb and Jillian Bell was released by MVD Entertainment. Nick never expected to understand more about his own ethnic background in the process of making this documentary. As the son of a Libyan exchange student and a farm girl from Utah, his Muslim and Mormon DNA gives him a unique bond with the performers featured in the segment focusing on comics of Middle Eastern heritage. He embraces the film as an opportunity to highlight the positive aspects of his culture that are often buried in the media landscape. 

About the filmmaker – Julie Seabaugh is an award-winning comedy journalist who has covered the art form for The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, GQ, The A.V. Club, Vulture, and numerous other outlets. Her appreciation of modern roasting culminated in the 2018 book Ringside at Roast Battle: The First Five Years of L.A.’s Fight Club for Comedians. She is producer and host of 2020 SiriusXM special Hope on Top: A Mitch Hedberg Oral History and is currently co-authoring a comedy memoir from stand-up and actor Byron Bowers. For a good fifteen years, Julie was the only full-time freelance comedy journalist in the United States. Now as a first-time filmmaker, she sees notable similarities between the two worlds. Both are male-dominated fields of self-starters motivated by different priorities than those toiling in the 9-to-5 world. Their practitioners process information and share their findings. Amid print journalism’s continued erosion, Too Soon has provided Julie an avenue to ask comedians questions in new ways, utilizing a new format. 

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“The film ably captures what that moment was like, and provides some insight, while also avoiding the off-putting smugness that’s often endemic to documentaries about comedy,” – Stephen Silver, Splice Today

“Too Soon manages to effectively detail the months and years where comedy changed forever.” – Joel Fisher, Battle Royale With Cheese

“There is a humanity in the documentary that is felt the entire time. Footage & interviews depict why comedians were having such trouble figuring out the situation.” – Nathaniel Muir, AIPT

Blood Brothers: Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali – Director Marcus A. Clarke

For three pivotal years, Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X forged a brotherhood that would not only change both men but change the world. Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali tells the extraordinary story behind the friendship —and the ultimate falling out— of two of the most iconic figures of the 20th century. Few people understand the bond these men shared. In this new feature-length documentary from producer Kenya Barris, director Marcus A. Clarke offers a fresh perspective by using insider voices and never-before-seen footage to chart this most complex of friendships, tracing the near simultaneous and symbiotic rise of the charismatic and outspoken Olympic champion who charmed the nation, and the ex-con-turned intellectual revolutionary who railed against oppression. Through interviews with those closest to them — Malcolm X’s daughter Ilyasah Shabazz, Ali’s brother Rahman and daughters Maryum and Hana — and cultural luminaries such as Cornel West and Al Sharpton, the film illuminates their meeting, bonding, and eventual falling out over discord within the leadership of the Nation of Islam. Director Marcus A. Clarke joins us for a conversation about the brief but transformative relationship that developed between these two giants of the late 20th century civil rights, and anti-war movements. Clarke also talks about the powerful forces that eventually broke their bond, to the lasting regret of Muhammad Ali.

 

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To watch: go to netflix.com/BloodBrothers

Inspired by the book “Blood Brothers” written by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith, the film is directed by Marcus A. Clarke (Unsolved Mysteries, Rapture), produced by Kenya Barris and Jason Perez and executive produced by Erynn Sampson, Jonathan Chinn, Simon Chinn, Simon George and Marcus A. Clarke.

About the filmmaker – is a Brooklyn-born director & producer who directed Apple’s feature-length documentary, The WIZRD, following Atlanta rap superstar Future. Most recently he directed three episodes of Netflix’s reboot of Unsolved Mysteries V1 produced by 21 Laps, and three of eight installments in the Netflix Original Hip Hop docuseries Rapture, produced by Mass Appeal a 2018 SXSW selection. Clarke has 20 years+ of experience working in commercial production, television and film. In his early years he worked as a film runner for Spike Lee’s Forty Acres and a Mule Filmworks, was a production manager at table-top commercial co. Santiago Inc., and got an early start as a commercial first assistant director.His producer credits include CNN Films & Mass Appeal’s feature-length documentary on hip-hop fashion Fresh Dressed (Sundance Selection, 2015) and Nas Live From the Kennedy Center: Classical Hip-Hop (2018), which was the first hip hop documentary selection released as part of PBS’s critically-acclaimed Great Performances series.#bloodbrothers

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86% on Rotten Tomatoes

“[Blood Brothers offers a cerebral, engrossing and fascinating examination of why this partnership played a bigger part in history than viewers might think.” – Andrew Murray, The Upcoming

“Powerfully illustrates the personal risks each man took in the service of freedom and equality for all Black people.” – Ronda Racha Penrice, TheWrap

“[An] informative and engaging documentary.” – Sheila O’Malley, RogerEbert.com

“The result is thought-provoking, resonant, often touching.” – Lisa Kennedy, Variety

Turning Point, 911 and The War on Terror – Director Brian Knappenberger

The September 11, 2001 attacks changed the world in ways that have taken decades to understand. Twenty years later, following the longest war in American history and with Afghanistan once again under Taliban control, TURNING POINT: 9/11 AND THE WAR ON TERROR answers the questions: Who attacked the U.S. and why? What breakdowns in intelligence allowed it to happen? How did decisions at the highest levels of three administrations in the war on terror bring us to this moment? The series features a wide range of interviewees including officials from multiple U.S. presidential administrations, former CIA members, and U.S. military veterans as well as Afghanistan National Army soldiers, Taliban commanders, members of the Afghan government, Afghan warlords, and Afghan civilians – many who had never spoken on camera before. It also spotlights the voices of survivors of the attacks themselves. The 5-part Netflix docu-series is a vital and illuminating chronicle of the 9/11 attacks and how those events changed the course of history. Director Brian Knappenberger joins us for an informative conversation on his sprawling, multi-part series that traverses the many twists and turns in the fight against terrorism and the impact that this protracted war and frustratingly unfocused goal of ending this deadly modern day scourge.

 

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To watch Turning Point go to: netflix.com/TurningPoint

Director’s Statement – The September 11, 2001 attacks changed the world in ways that have taken decades to understand. Twenty years later, following the longest war in American history and with Afghanistan once again under Taliban control, TURNING POINT: 9/11 AND THE WAR ON TERROR answers the questions: Who attacked the U.S. and why? What breakdowns in intelligence allowed it to happen? How did decisions at the highest levels of three administrations in the war on terror bring us to this moment? The series features a wide range of interviewees including officials from multiple U.S. presidential administrations, former CIA members, and U.S. military veterans as well as Afghanistan National Army soldiers, Taliban commanders, members of the Afghan government, Afghan warlords, and Afghan civilians – many who had never spoken on camera before. It also spotlights the voices of survivors of the attacks themselves. The 5-part docuseries is a vital and illuminating chronicle of the 9/11 attacks and how those events changed the course of history. – Brian Knappenberger

About the filmmaker – Brian Knappenberger is an Emmy nominated, award winning director of documentaries and series including Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press and The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez. His film The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, won a WGA award for Best documentary Screenplay and was shortlisted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He runs the Los Angeles based production company Luminant Media.

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“Director Brian Knappenberger’s five-part docuseries… remains an upsetting, enraging, and largely even-handed history lesson about the past two decades.” – Nick Schager,The Daily Beast

“With the 20th anniversary of the attacks, Turning Point was always going to be timely. It’s become even more crucial in the aftermath of the US’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s ensuing takeover.” – Clémence Michallon, Independent (UK)

“It’s insightful, enlightening and compelling documentary making that not only remembers a dark moment in human history, but also addresses the impact and legacy of the action taken in response.” – James Croot, Stuff.co.nz

No Responders Left Behind – Director Rob Lindsay

In the spring of 2019, former host of The Daily Show Jon Stewart gave an impassioned speech during his testimony to the U.S. Judicial Committee, where he criticized Congress for not providing aid to thousands of sick and dying 9/11 First Responders. Jon’s speech went viral almost immediately.  However, the journey that brought him to that fateful hearing began eighteen years earlier by the most unlikely of people: a construction worker named John Feal. For nearly two decades, John Feal dedicated his life fighting for the rights of First Responders and volunteers who came to help in the 9/11 rescue and recovery operations. John wasn’t just an advocate, he was also a fellow responder who was injured working on the pile. Together, John Feal and Jon Stewart put an international spotlight on the injustices being served to the entire 9/11 community. Their relentless  activism resulted in the U.S. Senate passing the Zadroga Act and Victims Compensation Fund, a health and compensation bill that gives medical and financial assistance to thousands of terminally ill 9/11 First Responders. NO RESPONDERS LEFT BEHIND follows John and Jon over the span of several years during their grassroots social advocacy campaigns. These two unsung heroes inspire and encourage a whole new generation of people to dedicate their lives to activism. John and Jon never took no for an answer. Instead, they fought tirelessly for years so that all the heroes of 9/11 were taken care of. NO RESPONDERS LEFT BEHIND shines a light on a group of grass root social activists who took on the government and won— simply because it was the right thing to do. Director Rob Lindsay stops by to talk about the protracted and insanely frustrating journey for the men and women who devoted their waking life to securing the legislation to provide appropriate medical care, as well as how the making of No Responders Left Behind changed him.

 

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For news and updates go to: paradoxpictures.net/no-responders-left-behind

About the filmmaker – Rob Lindsay, writer, producer, director and President of Paradox Pictures Inc., an independent film and television production company, specializing in comedy and documentary productions. Paradox is currently adapting the Governor General’s Award Winning novel, “Go-Boy!” into a feature length documentary. They are also currently shooting the documentary “Relics of the Future” featuring award winning photographer Toni Hafkenscheid.

Streaming Exclusively on discovery+

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“Feal – who was injured by falling steel while managing World Trade Center debris removal – is blunt and funny in a way that helps cut through the movie’s hurried, sound-bitey, fundamentally televisual quality.” – Nicolas Rapold, New York Times

Anne at 13,000 FT – Director Kazik Radwanski and Actor Deragh Campbell

Anne hasn’t been the same since the jump. While skydiving for her best friend Sara’s bachelorette party, the 27-year-old felt focused, free, above it all. Back on the ground, the pressures of her daily life threaten to overwhelm her. Her coworkers at the daycare center are constantly questioning the way she connects with the children. At Sara’s wedding, she meets a nice guy named Matt, but she can’t help bringing him into ever-more-awkward social situations. ANNE AT 13,000 FT chronicles the stressful circumstances that continue to mount as Anne prepares for another jump. ANNE AT 13,000 FT pairs of two of the brightest young stars in cinema, director and writer Kazik Radwanski (Tower, How Heavy This Hammer) and rising talent Deragh Campbell (I Used to Be Darker). From the hurly-burly of the opening skydive to moments of Anne’s frenetic tantrums, ANNE AT 13,000 FT reveals a director and star in search a woman of the brink. Director and writer Kazik Radwanski and actor Deragh Campbell join us for a conversation on their collaborative efforts to capture the shattering chaos of Anne’s daily life with an unflinching rawness, and how the piercingly honest dialog and tight camera evoke the work of John Cassavetes, Sean Baker and Harmony Korine.

 

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For news and updates go to: cinemaguild.com/anneat13000ft

Awards:
Toronto Film Critics Association: Winner – Best Canadian Film
Toronto International Film Festival: Platform Prize – Honorable Mention
 
Four Canadian Screen Award Nominations:
Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Matt Johnson)
Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Deragh Campbell)
Achievement in Direction (Kazik Radwanski)
Best Canadian Film

Vancouver Film Critics Circle:
Winner – Best Actress in a Canadian Film (Deragh Campbell)
Winner – Best Supporting Actor in a Canadian Film (Mattt Johnson)
 
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91% on Rotten Tomatoes

“A brief, bracing burst of microbudget indie filmmaking at its most powerful.”  – Jessica Kiang, Variety

“The spirit of John Cassavetes is alive and well in Radwanski’s approach, and Campbell delivers as a next-gen Gena Rowlands.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire 

“If there is justice in the Canadian film world… then Anne at 13,000 ft will be the film to launch both its director and star into the international  stratosphere.” – Barry Hertz, Globe and Mail

“Campbell’s performance and her ferociously committed turn as Anne is an astonishing feat. This is an emotionally charged and physically demanding performance fuelled by passion and rage.” – Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

“Electrifying, steadily building in intensity and empathy until we know precisely how Anne feels.” – Norman Wilner, NOW Toronto

Mogul Mowgli – Director Bassam Tariq

Bassam Tariq’s narrative feature debut, MOGUL MOWGLI is a bold, vital and electrifying exploration of heritage and identity. Coming off his historic Academy Award Best Actor nomination for SOUND OF METAL, Riz Ahmed, inhabits the character of Zed or Zaheer, a British Pakistani rapper, who, on the brink of his first international tour decides to fly home to the UK to visit the family he has not seen in two years. In the midst of his attempt to reconnect with his parents, particularly his father, he is suddenly struck down by an autoimmune disease. As his condition worsens and his big breakthrough moment is in danger of vanishing into thin air, Zed descends into a physical and emotional crisis, amplified by vivid hallucinations. MOGUL MOWGLI was recently nominated for Best British Film at the 2021 BAFTA and received six 2020 British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) nominations, with Ahmed winning Best Debut Screenwriter. Ahmed won the 41st London Critics’ Circle Film Award for British/Irish Actor of the Year (for body of work) for performances including Zed in MOGUL MOWGLI. Director and writer Bassam Tariq stops by for a conversation on the challenge of navigating the multiple worlds that Zed lives in, collaborating with Riz Ahmed and incorporating the lessons learned from his work in documentary filmmaking into the world of narrative story-telling.

 

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For screenings and updates go to: strandreleasing.com/films/mogul-mowgli

About the filmmaker – Bassam Tariq is a writer and director from New York. He recently won the Short Film Jury Prize at Sundance for Ghosts of Sugar Land (2019) which is distributed by Netflix. His first feature documentary, These Birds Walk, premiered at SXSW and is distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories. These Birds Walk was recently named one of the 50 best foreign films of the 21st century by the New Yorker. Bassam is a TED Fellow and was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film”. He was an inaugural fellow of the Sundance’s Art of Non-Fiction Residency and participated in the 2017 Sundance Screenwriters’ Intensive. Mogul Mowgli is his debut narrative feature. He lives between New York and Texas with his two boys and wife. 

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93% on Rotten Tomatoes

“A poignantly propulsive and furiously constructed story by director Bassam Tariq about inherited pain of the flesh and the soul.” – Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times

“Tariq stitches domestic drama, satire and magical realism into a tissue of moods and meanings, held together by the shattering credibility of Ahmed’s performance.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

“This is an intimate story, sometimes uncomfortably so, but it’s also an expansive one, about whether our societies allow people to live outside prescribed boxes and whether it accepts them when they do.” – Emily Zemler, Observer

“In its entirety, Mogul Mowgli is a cinematic experience that will resonate with the heart and enlighten the mind.” – Stephanie Archer, Film Inquiry

“An uneasy jolt of (pop) culture clash and assimilation angst. Unsettling and electrifying; near-nightmarish and absolutely mesmerizing. Riz Ahmed oozes sweat and rage, pride and power.” – MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Filosopher

Wild Indian – Director Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr.

In Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr’s debut feature film Wild Indian follows Makwa, a young Anishinaabie boy, looking for a way to escape his troubled life by playing with his friend Ted-O. One day Makwa shockingly murders a schoolmate, and the two boys cover it up. Now as adults, the two men must come to terms with what happened. Decades after covering up his classmate’s murder, Michael (Michael Greyeyes) has moved on from his reservation and fractured past. When a man who shares his violent secret seeks vengeance, Michael goes to great lengths to protect his new life with his wife (Kate Bosworth) and boss (Jesse Eisenberg) from the demons of his past. Director Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr. joins us to talk about his debut feature film that showcases an amazing performance by Michael Greyeyes that brings to life a scathing study of trauma, anger, conciliated redemption in the context of “making it” in a colonial society.

 

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To find out more about Wild Indian go to: Vertical Entertainment 

To watch Wild Indian go to: tv.apple.com/us/movie/wild-indian

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88% on Rotten Tomatoes

“It’s clear there’s no happy ending in store…Yet there is undeniable joy in discovering a master of the screen acting art, buoyed by an insightful script and splendid cast, fully formed yet somehow just arrived.” – Bill Newcott, The Saturday Evening Post

“Whatever its merits as a self-contained and freestanding story, Wild Indian may one day be regarded as a major work, not just within the context of its director’s career, but cinema as a whole.” – Matt Zoller Seitz,

“No one involved comes through unscathed, including the viewer, but it opens a window to understand the pain that’s been inflicted on indigenous peoples. It’s a positive step for anyone willing to take it.” – Bradley Gibson Film Threat

“Wild Indian is a ruthlessly efficient, stripped-down neo-noir and potent expression of cultural, generational trauma, immediately announcing writer-director Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr. as a talent to watch.” – Shaun Munro, Flickering Myth

“Wild Indian is a complex story that is meticulously crafted, touching on themes like generational trauma and abuse that refuses to shy away from the truth.” – Alysha Prasad, One Room With A View

Yakuza Princess – Actor Masumi

Based on the acclaimed graphic novel “Samurai Shiro” by Danilo Beyruth and set in the expansive Japanese community of Sao Paulo, Brazil — the largest Japanese diaspora in the world — YAKUZA PRINCESS follows orphan Akemi, played by pop star MASUMI, who, upon turning 21, discovers that she is the heiress to half of Japan’s expansive Yakuza crime syndicate. After forging an uneasy alliance with an amnesiac stranger, Shiro, played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers (History Channel’s The Vikings) who believes an ancient sword binds their two fates, Akemi unleashes war against the other half of the syndicate who wants her dead.  Starring MASUMI, an emerging talent starring in her first film role, as well as Rhys Meyers, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Toshiji Takeshima, Eijiro Ozaki, and Charles Paraventi. Lead actor Masumi joins us to talk about this rip-roaring, violent action-thriller from director and co-writer Vicente Amorim, as well as how and why she decided to make the jump from music to movies, and how the training for the role of Akemi helped transform her into a princess.

 

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For screenings and updates go to: yakuzaprincessfilm.com

To watch go to: magnetreleasingfilms.com/nowplaying

About the actor – MASUMI is a child of both Japan and the US. Born in Palos Verdes, California, her formative years saw her move between Tokyo, New York, Washington DC, and finally Dallas – where she began her singing and songwriting career. After a short period in Japan, she enrolled in the Los Angeles College of Music. Masumi has performed internationally in Sweden, NY, Italy, Tokyo. In 2019, she has started her acting career and was offered the title role in the Warner Brothers film, “Yakuza Princess” – her first feature and also her first protagonist role – in which she speaks both English and Japanese. 

Director’s Statement – Yakuza Princess is a thriller with a very strong emotional drive. This drive is powered by Akemi, who comes of age while having to learn how to fight (quite literally) and becoming who she was always meant to be. The film showcases a very complex, broken, family dynamic, with themes such as identity and belonging, the longing for (and rejection of) a father- figure as pivot points around which we see her trajectory unfold. The Yakuza Princess brings strong Japanese elements from the jidaigeki tradition of masters such as Mizoguchi or Kurosawa, the vibrant aesthetics of animes such as Akira and the violence derived from the new Ronin classics by Takashi Miike and Takeshi Kitano. As in those films, no punches are pulled. The Japanese neighborhood’s settings in São Paulo play a major role in the choreography of chases, fights and shootouts. Brazil’s own clique of the Yakuza, its corrupt police, and its own brand of domestic violence are present in the fringes of a greater, very elaborate, action canvas that will be grounded in the character’s traits and will lead their arcs. The sword heightens the film’s supernatural tone. The Muramasa is at the heart of the quest Akemi has to go through. It is a cursed, blood-thirsty weapon, that when wielded by Akemi transforms her into a killing machine and, nonetheless, helps her bridge the gap into fulfilling her destiny, even if it has a (very) dark side to it. In a movie where no one is really who they seem to be, we tell the story through reflections, transparencies and layers that veil and disguise the characters’ every move. We have built a desaturated version of the 90s neon noir, without its corny excesses. On one hand, we are welcome by a sense of familiarity and, on the other, like Akemi herself, we’ll be waking from a long nightmare – one that we do not control, one that only Akemi can end with the power she discovers to have when the Muramasa (the cursed samurai sword) is in her hands. – Vicente Amorim 

About the filmmaker – Director Vicente Amorim is one of the most acclaimed Brazilian directors today. He has helmed ten feature films and five TV series. He has debuted as a director with the feature The Middle Of The World (2003). Among his films are the international A Good Man (2008), starring Viggo Mortensen; and the action thrillers Motorrad (2017) and The Division (2020), the latter also adapted for a TV series. Yakuza Princess is his second feature film with an international cast and crew. Presently, he is in post-production of his third international feature, the drama Duetto, shot in Brazil and Italy, with a mixed cast including Michelle Morrone (365 Days) and Giancarlo Giannini (007 – Quantum of Solace). 

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“It’s an irresistible guilty pleasure.” – Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News

“There’s lots of great action, numerous twists and turns and more than one bad guy to defeat in Vicente Amorim’s movie.” – Rob Aldam, Backseat Mafia

“There are several moments of bold and bloody action, but it doesn’t hinge everything on stunt sequences, enabling the film to take its power from [character] Akemi’s emotional journey.” – Douglas Davidson, Elements of Madness

“An action-packed pleasure that happily doesn’t forsake human drama.” – Mike McGranaghan, Aisle Seat

The Big Scary “S” Word – Director Yael Bridge

The Big Scary “S” Word  chronicles the history of socialism in America. Though the policy agenda of the emerging democratic socialist left may not be quite front and center in a Biden administration, its influence is clear in the polling numbers that show bipartisan majorities supporting policies like Medicare for All, and in the new administration’s emphasis on expanding democracy and alleviating economic inequality. With passage of transformative pieces of legislation like HR1 and the PRO Act uncertain given the realities of the senate filibuster, this film reminds viewers that the fight to empower workers has always been a powerful force for social and political progress in the United States. Featuring new and archival interviews with Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cornel West, and Naomi Klein, The Big Scary “S” Word explores the rich history of the American socialist movement. Weaving together hidden episodes of history and verité footage, the film shows that, contrary to popular belief, socialism is in fact deeply American and led to popular government programs such as public schools and Medicare. Activists and journalists explain how the 2008 financial crisis, the Wall Street bailout, the Occupy Movement, and the ascension of politicians like Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez have pushed a new generation to embrace the language of socialism. Director Yael Bridge (Saving Capitalism) stops by for a conversation on the historical rabbit hole of deceitful rhetoric, hysteria and obfuscation that has marred any reasonable understanding of socialism and why he decided to embark on a project to present a clear-eyed history of socialism’s impact on America’s success.

 

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For news and updates go to: socialismmovie.com

Greenwich Entertainment will release The Big Scary “S” Word – the directorial feature debut of Yael Bridge (producer of Saving Capitalism) – across in theaters on Friday, September 3 timed with Labor Day Weekend.

About the filmmaker – Yael Bridge is an Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker. Her first feature, The Big Scary “S” Word, explores the history and resurgence of socialism in the United States and premiered at Hot Docs 2019. She produced Left on Purpose, winner of the Audience Award at DOC NYC. Most recently, she produced Saving Capitalism, starring former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, which was nominated for an Emmy Award in Business and Economics. She was also the director of productions at Inequality Media, making viral videos that tackled complex political issues and gained over 100 million views in 2016. She holds an MFA in documentary film and video from Stanford University and an MA in media studies from the New School. She resides in Oakland, where she works as a filmmaker and film educator. 

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Lively, engaging, persuasive. A minor miracle, First rate! Yael Bridge’s The Big Scary ‘S’ Word provides a persuasive analysis of the topic, as well as considerable argument for the notion that the basic principles of socialism are (as one interviewee here puts it) “as American as apple pie’.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“To my Fox News-loving dad, the documentary The Big Scary ‘S’ Word would be a straight-up horror movie. Universal health care! Strong unions! An even more unkempt-than-usual Bernie Sanders excoriating the 1 percent! It’s enough to make the blood run cold.” – Rob Thomas, The Capital Times

“It’s punchy, fast moving, well-edited, highly informative and most of all, entertaining.” – Daniel Garber, Cultural Mining / CIUT Radio

“Next time you think that the word “socialism” should be bleeped, remember the advantages that you get from our government.” – Harvey S. Karten, Big Apple Reviews

Unapologetic – Director Ashley O’Shay

After two police killings, Black millennial organizers challenge a Chicago administration complicit in state violence against its Black residents. Told through the lens of Janaé and Bella, two fierce abolitionist leaders, UNAPOLOGETIC is a deep and insightful look into the Movement for Black Lives, from the police murder of Rekia Boyd to the election of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. The release of UNAPOLOGETIC serves as a nod to Black August, an annual commemoration to remember Black freedom fights and political prisoners, highlighting Black resistance against racial oppression. Notable historical moments include the March on Washington (1963), the Haitian Revolution (1791), and Nat Turner’s Rebellion (1831). The film captures tensions between a police board led by Lori Lightfoot (now Chicago Mayor) and abolitionist organizers at Chicago Police Department Headquarters. Director Ashley O’Shay joins us for a conversation on why she chose to follow Janae and Bella, her abiding commitment to a historically crucial moment in the American experiment and why the voice of Black women are uniquely qualified to play a critical role in our collective future.

For news, screenings and updates go to: unapologeticfilm.com

Opening September 3rd – Laemmle Monica in Santa Monica

Director’s Statement – I never imagined that I was on the precipice of capturing what will likely be one of the biggest movements of all time. What is so captivating to witness is the tapestry of this Black queer feminist movement that lies at the helm of fighting for all Black rights. After a historical summer of Black uprising last year, we are elated to share this story with a theatrical release. This Chicago story resonates with communities throughout the world, as more and more citizens organize for Black liberation. We must continue to uplift Black feminist leaders like Janaé and Bella, and we look forward to engaging with the people, organizations and partners through our screenings, talkbacks, and panels. – Ashley O’Shay

About the filmmaker – Ashley O’Shay (Director/Producer) is a director-DP based in Chicago, IL, whose work focuses on illuminating marginalized voices. She has collaborated with a number of national brands, including Nike, Vox, Wilson Tennis, and Dr. Martens. Most recently, she filmed an international commercial spot for Wilson Tennis, with over 1M views in digital markets. In 2020, she captured the final episode of Dr. Martens’ “Tough As You” series, starring the band Phony Ppl, accruing over 65K views on social and web. Her work also appeared in the critically-acclaimed Lifetime docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly. Although she has crafted many short films, Unapologetic is her first venture into the feature world. The film premiered at the 2020 BlackStar Film Festival, and was shortlisted for the International Documentary Association Awards.

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“What makes Bonsu and Gambrell’s resolve so rousing is that they openly embrace the steep uphill battle they face.” – Courtney Small, POV Magazine

“An 86-minute, truth-telling syrup of a film.” – Robert Daniels, RogerEbert.com

“Ashley O’Shay gives us an intimate and candid look at two young Black women and their fight for justice in the documentary, Unapologetic.” – Carolyn Mauricette, View From The Dark

“With these young women putting their bodies and minds on the line in the fight for justice, looking at their personal lives is just as meaningful.” – Arionne Nettles, Chicago Reader

Black Magic Live: Stripped – Producer / Creator Jean Claude LaMarre

BLACK MAGIC LIVE: STRIPPED is a no-holds-barred documentary behind the scenes of Las Vegas’ only black male revue show, uncovering the often complicated lives of its male strippers. Through the eyes of owner Eurika Pratts and CEO LaMarre, and its all-black staff and cast, explore the challenges, struggles and growing pains the show and its core group of dancers have overcome during their four succesful years on the Strip. Director Jean Claude LaMarre joins us for a conversation on the re-release of his first film,  Higher Ed challenges of creating a television series and an all black revue, breaking into a “resistant” Las Vegas business establishment and  carving out a successful career as a filmmaker. And the behind-the-scenes documentary introduces audiences to a colorful cast of Black Magic characters.  Director Jean Claude LaMarre joins us for a conversation on the re-release of his first film, Higher Ed challenges of creating a television series and an all black revue, breaking into a “resistant” Las Vegas business establishment and carving out a successful career as a filmmaker.

For news and updates go to: lightyear.com

Black Magic Live: Stripped available VOD/Digital on 9/7 and DVD on 9/21

About the filmmaker  – Writer director and actor, Jean Claude LaMarre is considered somewhat of a maverick among his peers. He began his career as an actor when he was discovered by Spike Lee and cast in the critically acclaimed film MALCOLM X, followed by a role in Albert and Allen Hughes sleeper hit DEAD PRESIDENTS. His commitment to tackling unconventional stories about the Black experience has resulted in a string of indie hit films in the specialty and television market since 2002. Notable projects include: the urban cult favorites, GANG OF ROSES (2003), a revisionist all-female Western, starring Lil Kim, Stacy Dash, Macy Gray, LisaRaye and Bobby Brown and the seven PASTOR JONES (2005 – 2013) movies starring LaMarre in the title role; the Fox dramedy, NORA’s HAIR SALON (2004), the biographical drama SUGAR VALENTINE (2005); and the efficacious comedies HIGHER ED (2001) starring Hill Harper, Leila Arcieri and Aries Spears and GO FOR BROKE (2002) starring Pras Michel and Michael A. Goorjian. In 2017, Jean Claude entered the reality television space, as the creator and executive producer of “Vivica’s Black Magic” for Lifetime. As the director of the Pilot episode, which became the highest tested pilot for Lifetime Network, the show was immediately ordered to series in an unprecedented multi-million dollar commitment for 8 episodes. In 2018, Jean Claude directed Patriot Pictures’ KINKY (2018), a sexually charged romance drama starring Dawn Richards and Robert Ri’chard.

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Kipchoge: The Last Milestone – Director Jake Scott

Kipchoge: The Last Milestone is a cinematic portrait of world record marathon holder Eliud Kipchoge as he prepares to break one of the last milestones in sporting history: the sub-two hour marathon. It follows his journey from his training grounds in Kenya, to the high-tech facilities in Europe, to his record attempt in Vienna. His motto: no human is limited. Kipchoge: The Last Milestone offers unprecedented access to Eliud, capturing the Kenyan marathon runner’s preparation ahead of his attempt to achieve the seemingly impossible. The film also takes a personal look at the athlete with footage from Kipchoge’s home in Kenya, interviews with those closest to him, the daily rituals of his life and the dynamics within his team and community. Director Jake Scott joins us for a conversation on working with Executive Producer Kevin Macdonald as well as the technical and logistical challenges of capturing behind-the-scenes team of specialist and the graceful choreography of the runners and the amazing Eliud Kipchoge. 

 

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For news and screenings go to: kipchogemovie.com/watch-at-home

About the director – Jake Scott is an Emmy-winning and Grammy-nominated director. A partner in the Ridley Scott Creative Group, Jake is also a founder of music video production company Black Dog Films. Jake’s recent work includes the Clio and One Show award-winning ‘Runaway Train 25’; a world-first geo-located music video with Jamie N Commons, Skylar Grey and Gallant reinterpreting Soul Asylum’s original song and video for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Jake’s 2019 film, American Woman made its debut at TIFF, with reviewers citing Sienna Miller’s performance as career defining. Commercial work includes the multi award-winning Johnnie Walker ‘Gentlemen’s Wager’ films featuring Jude Law and Giancarlo Giannini, the famous trilogy of Budweiser Clydesdale Super Bowl commercials and three short films for HBO Voyeur, a ground-breaking multimedia campaign which won a Cannes Grand Prix and Cannes Cyber Lion. Jake also directed Nike’s Emmy-winning commercial, ‘Move.’ Jake gained early directorial prominence with his award-winning music video for REM’s ‘Everybody Hurts’. He made his feature film debut with Plunkett & Macleane, with Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller and Liv Tyler. He also directed ‘Welcome to the Rileys’, starring Kristen Stewart, James Gandolfini, and Melissa Leo. For more go to: rsafilms.com/us/directors/jake-scott

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“Indeed, it’s the behind-the-scenes elements of Jake Scott’s documentary which makes it such an interesting film.” – Rob Aldam, Backseat Mafia

Mr. Soul! – Director Melissa Haizlip

From 1968 to 1973, the public television variety show SOUL!, guided by the enigmatic producer and host Ellis Haizlip, offered an unfiltered, uncompromising celebration of Black literature, poetry, music, and politics—voices that had few other options for national exposure, and, as a result, found the program an improbable place to call home.  The WNET-based series was among the first to provide expanded images of African Americans on television, shifting the gaze from inner-city poverty and violence to the vibrancy of the Black Arts Movement. With participants’ recollections and illuminating archival clips, Mr. SOUL! captures a critical moment in culture whose impact continues to resonate, and an unsung hero whose voice we need now more than ever to restore the SOUL of a nation. Director / Producer / Writer and the niece of Ellis Haizlip, Melissa Haizlip joins us for a lively conversation on the joy and passion that her uncle brought to all of his artistic projects but none more than this resounding response to a constipated white culture that marginalized outside voices with a joyous ode to the astounding depth and breath of Black Culture.

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: mrsoulmovie.com

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Mr. Soul! is coming to HBO MAX streaming begins August 22

** Mr. Soul!’s Show Me Your Soul – 2021 Oscar® Shortlisted for the Best Song

About the filmmaker – Melissa Haizlip, Producer, Director, Writer is an award-winning filmmaker based in New York. Her work responds to pressing social issues at the intersection of racial justice, social justice, activism, and representation. Female transformation and empowerment are at the core of all of her ideas, with the goal being to advocate and amplify the voices of women and people of color. Melissa’s feature documentary, Mr. SOUL!, has been shortlisted for the Oscars, for Best Original Song. Mr. SOUL! has been nominated by the Guild of Music Supervisors for Best Music Supervision for a Documentary. Mr. SOUL! is also nominated for three NAACP Image Awards, including Outstanding Documentary (Film), Outstanding Writing in a Documentary (Television or Motion Picture), and Outstanding Breakthrough Creative (Motion Picture). Mr. SOUL! won the 2020 Critics Choice Documentary Award for Best First Documentary Feature. Melissa’s two-channel art films have been exhibited by the Hammer Museum Los Angeles Biennial, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Melissa has been awarded grants from the Ford Foundation JustFilms, National Endowment for the Humanities, International Documentary Association, National Endowment for the Arts, Black Public Media, Firelight Media, ITVS, Awesome Without Borders, and Puffin Foundation. Melissa went to Yale University. She’s currently co-executive producing a docu-series on women in hip-hop for Netflix.

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96% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Mr. Soul! is an effulgent and joyous celebration of the life-changing public broadcasting program. … Imagine for a moment what pop culture might be like without Questlove and you may have a small sense of what things would be like without SOUL!.” – Douglas Davidson, CLTure

“There’s a sense of overpowering love and gratitude for Haizlip that’s beautiful and wholly felt throughout Mr. Soul!’s runtime, and it’s as warm and comforting as the hot milk cake that Haizlip’s mom used to make for him.” – Jenny Nulf, Austin Chronicle

“Broad in scope and rapidly paced, the film can feel as if it’s bursting at the seams. But it acutely conveys the radical joy that “Soul!” inspired, barely contained in the movie’s running time.” – Devika Girish, New York Times

“Mr. SOUL brings the amazing individual that was Ellis Haizlip back into the forefront of his and our cultural history.” – Robert Daniels, 812filmreviews

“[Mr. Soul!] highlights black excellence and champions equality, tolerance and inclusion … that it manages to b funny, charming, and uplifting is icing on the cake.” – Victor Stiff, Goomba Stomp

“A rich and illuminating piece of cultural history.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

Rose Plays Julie – Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor

This gripping and beautifully rendered drama from filmmakers Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor, Rose Plays Julie, tells the tale of Rose, a young veterinary student who has wanted to know who her biological parents are and the facts of her true identity for as long as she can remember. Rose (Ann Skelly) decides to contact Ellen (Orla Brady), the birth mother who gave her up for adoption. But Ellen, now a successful London-based actress, doesn’t want to know her. Undeterred, Rose presses forward. And curiosity leads her to discoveries that shake the fragile identity she has built for herself. With Rose Plays Julie co-directors Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor have crafted a slow-burn thriller that builds a sense of dread inside an exquisite world of immaculate architecture, rendered through an icy performance style and enveloped by a claustrophobic soundtrack. Ann Skelly and Orla Brady are both exacting and measured in their delivery, as the film takes us through longing and revenge to arrive at the dark places of power and its abuses. Joining us to talk about their meticulous work of Rose Plays Julie are co-directors Christine Malloy and Joe Lawlor. The filmmaking duo work under the moniker of Desperate Optimists, having spent years making atmospheric cinema that often wades into the deep psychology of identity, personal trauma, as they dive into the complicated and the inherently elusive nature of justice.

 

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For news and updates go to: filmmovement.com/rose-plays-julie

For more on the film go to: samsonfilms.com/rose-plays-julie

About the filmmakers – Born in Dublin, Ireland, Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor studied theatre in the UK in the late 80s at Dartington College of Arts, graduating in 1992. From 1992 to 1999 they devised, directed and performed in six internationally acclaimed touring theatre shows under the company name, desperate optimists, before shifting their attention towards moving image based work. Between 2000 and 2003 they directed a number of episodic, interactive works for the internet, and large-scale community video projects for galleries. Between 2003 and 2010 Molloy and Lawlor, produced, wrote and directed 10 acclaimed short films, under the title CIVIC LIFE. HELEN, their debut feature film, premiered at the 2008 Edinburgh International Film Festival before screening at over 50 film festivals worldwide. They live in London with their daughter. For more go to: molloyandlawlor.com

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92% on Rotten Tomatoes

“[T]here is no doubt about the chillingly accumulated potency and force of this movie, or the quality of the performances. It is a really powerful film and Brady’s final dialogue scene exerts a lethal grip.” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“…powerful…. Ann Skelly is magnificently perplexing as Rose/Julie.” – Jonathan Romney, Film Comment

“Christine Malloy and Joe Lawlor’s film is one of the best screen depictions of the internal struggle of being adopted, perfectly realising a character’s permanent sense of existential displacement, and constant worries that she’s not living the life she was intended for. I was absolutely floored by this film….” – Alistair Ryder, Film Inquiry

“Its emotional dilemmas, depictions of trauma, revenge and fractured family ties are handled with such skill and sense of purpose, it is truly exemplary film-making.” – Martyn Conterio, CineVue

“Dark and involving, this slow-burn Irish drama dives into a remarkably involving situation that encompasses a variety of taboo themes….” – Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

BIX: “Ain’t None of Them Play Like Him Yet” – Director Brigitte Berman

BIX: “Ain’t None of Them Play like Him Yet” chronicles the life and music of cornetist / pianist / composer Leon “Bix” Beiderbecke, regarded by many as jazz’s man who got away. Born 1903 in Davenport, Iowa into an upper middle-class family, Beiderbecke became a legend even in his short lifetime, bringing an amazing new energy and unprecedented maturity to the music and influencing generations of musicians. After years of battling alcoholism, Bix died in Sunnyside, Queens on August 6, 1931. The cause of death was given as lobar pneumonia. He was 28. Using archival photographs and rare footage (including the three sole momentary fragments capturing Bix on film) and interviews with friends and colleagues (including jazz greats Hoagy Carmichael, Doc Cheatham, Artie Shaw, et al.), Berman’s acclaimed documentary paints a vivid portrait of a vanished era and brings to life the only trumpeter Louis Armstrong regarded as an equal (the quotation in the film’s title was once spoken by Armstrong). Long cherished by aficionados as the greatest film ever made about a jazz musician, BIX has also been one of the most difficult to see, with few theatrical screenings, a fleeting home video release and never available via streaming. Academy Award winning director Brigitte Berman (Artie Shaw: Time is All You Got, River of My Dreams) joins us to talk about the blazing comet of a musician who was fundamental to the development of America’s most vital musical genre, jazz, as well as the impact his playing had on those who played with him and those who heard him.

 

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A new restoration of the long-unseen documentary BIX: “AIN’T NONE OF THEM PLAY LIKE HIM YET” (1981), Canadian filmmaker Brigitte Berman’s vivid portrait of the legendary jazz musician Leon “Bix” Beiderbecke, will have its world premiere at Film Forum on Friday, August 6, the 90th anniversary of Beiderbecke’s death.

About the filmmaker – Brigitte Berman is an Academy Award®-winning Canadian producer, director, writer and editor who was born in Frankfurt, Germany. Her work in the film and television industry encompasses more than thirty-five years. She has produced and directed over two hundred documentaries, dramatic features and movies made for TV, both independently and at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In 1989 she left the CBC to strike out on her own. Her filmography includes the award-winning BIX: “ain’t none of them play like him yet”, the Academy Award®-winning ‘ARTIE SHAW: Time Is All You’ve Got’ and The Circle Game. She is currently in pre-production on her next feature documentary.

 

“What makes it extraordinary is the story it tells of an uncanny musician and his beautiful playing and songs.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

“An excellently filmed version of a musical legend, with the added impact of a tragedy…it is not a tale of self-destruction but of an innocent figure, fantastically gifted with everything but worldly wisdom.” – Variety

“A masterful job of evoking the 1920s Zeitgeist with a superb soundtrack.” – Leonard Feather (jazz musician and historian)

“Berman captures Bix fully… In the end, BIX is about the artist – any artist with a talent he can’t contain or fully express. There’s thus an audience far beyond those of us in the Bix brigade.” – Charles Champlin, Los Angeles Times

Bigger Than Us – Director Flore Vassuer – Film subjects: Melati Wijsen & Mary Finn

In her galvanizing debut feature documentary, Bigger Than Us, Director Flore Vassuer follows an international collection young people working to bring long term solutions to seemingly intractable social, political and economic issues. For six years, Melati Wijsen, 18, has been fighting the plastic pollution that is ravaging her country, Indonesia. Like her, a generation is rising up to fix the world. Everywhere, teenagers and young adults are fighting for human rights, the climate, freedom of expression, social justice, access to education or food. Dignity. Alone against all odds, sometimes risking their lives and safety, they protect, denounce and care for others. The earth. And they change everything.  Melati goes to meet them across the globe. She wants to understand how to hold on and continue her action. From the favelas of Rio to the remote villages of Malawi, from makeshift boats off the island of Lesbos to Native American ceremonies in the mountains of Colorado, Rene, Mary, Xiu, Memory, Mohamad and Winnie reveal a magnificent world, one of courage and joy, of commitment to something bigger than oneself. At a time when everything seems to be or has been falling apart, these young people show us how to live. And what it means to be in the world today. Director Flore Vassuer as well as film subjects and activists Melati Wijsen and Mary Finn join us for an engaging conversation on how these inspiring young people are working to bring their passion, energy and desire to work across cultural, religious and political divides to find sustainable solutions. 

 

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For news and updates go to: biggerthanus.film

Cannes Official Selection – Special Screening 2021

About the filmmaker – An entrepreneur in New York at the age of 24, Director Flore Vasseur lived through the Internet bubble, September 11 and a capitalist system that was cracking on all sides. Since then, she has written books, articles and television documentaries to understand the end of one world and the emergence of another. With her four frighteningly lucid novels, she attacks the grip of finance and the madness of a world based on technology. She questions our relationship to power, the elite in panic mode and asks the question: who governs? Alongside this approach of deciphering and sometimes denouncing, she undertakes a long-term work on the trail of rights defenders and whistleblowers. In Moscow, she directed Meeting Snowden about the former NSA contractor. Her latest book, What Remains of Our Dreams, is an investigative novel about the little-known real-life story of Aaron Swartz, the child prodigy of code who wanted us to be free, persecuted by the Obama administration. A logical continuation of her fifteen years of investigation and writing, Bigger Than Us is her first documentary film. Basically, her work is about free will, commitment and courage. The desire to live and to be worthy. 

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