Friday, August 28, 2015 – The Mend, Director John Magary and Actor Mickey Sumner

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For anyone who’s ever loathed and loved a sibling in equal measure, The Mend is the wonderfully strange and acidic debut comedy from writer / director John Magary.  Shot through with the wicked humor and anarchy of Bruce Robinson’s Withnail & I and Mike Leigh’s Naked, The Mend follows a mismatched yin-yang pair of NYC brothers, loose cannon Mat (Josh Lucas in a career-best performance) and put-upon Alan (Stephen Plunkett) as they stagger dimly towards some understanding of love, women, masculinity and what it truly means to be a brother. Featuring a gorgeous, minimalist score by Michi Wiancko & Judd Greenstein and beautiful, fluid cinematography by Chris Teague (Obvious Child), the film unfolds as three stylistically distincMickey Sumner IIt but interwoven acts, each with its own mesmerizing rhythm. With superb supporting performances by Mickey Sumner (Frances Ha) and Lucy Owen as the brothers’ sharp-tongued girlfriends. Director / Writer John Magary and Actress Mickey Sumner joins us for a conversation on the making of this ballsy, unhinged and brilliant film.

For news and updates go to: themendfilm.com/

“One of the very best American independent films you’ll see this year.” – Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine / Vulture

“A hugely promising introduction to a director who’s just getting started.” – Mike D’Angelo, AV Club

“It’s a tough film to shake, a slice-of-life that slices, knifelike” – Alan Scherstuhl, The Village Voice

“Funny, rugged and raw… John Magary digs into his characters with fresh eyes and a sly sense of adventure.” – Nicolas Rapold, New York Times

“The Mend is possibly the finest, most significant American film that 2015 has offered thus far.” – Nick Newman, The Film Stage

“My favorite narrative discovery of South by Southwest, unequivocally, was The Mend, which alternates between the restlessness and acutely observed masculine behavior of Cassavetes’ Husbands and the wit and energy of a Cukor comedy.” – Violet Lucca, Film Comment

Friday, August 21, 2015 – We Come As Friends, Director / Producer Hubert Sauper

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WE COME AS FRIENDS is one of the first releases this year for BBC WORLDWIDE NORTH AMERICA.   At the moment when the Sudan, the continent’s biggest country, is being divided into two nations, an old “civilizing” pathology re-emerges – that of colonialism, the clash of empires, and new episodes of bloody (and holy) wars over land and resources. The director of DARWIN’S NIGHTMARE takes us on this voyage in his tiny, self-made, tin and canvas flying machine. He leads us into most improbable locations and into people’s thoughts and dreams, in both stunning and heartbreaking ways. Chinese oil workers, UN peacekeepers, Sudanese warlords, and American evangelists ironically weave common ground in this documentary, a complex, profound and humorous cinematic endeavor. It is an insightful wake up call for all. WE COME AS FRIENDS  has won awards at the Sundance Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, Subversive Film Festival, Austrian Film Festival, the San Francisco International Film Festival among others. Director Sauper joins us for a wide-ranging and thoughtful conversation on colonialism, the extraordinary spirit of the Sudanese people and the extreme challenges that went into to the making of his remarkable documentary.

For news and updates go to: wecomeasfriends.com

“A SURREAL, MOVING, INFURIATING and PERSUASIVE argument that in South Sudan, there’s nothing ‘post’ about colonialism.”- Manohla Dargis, New York Times 

“PROVOCATIVE and UNAPOLOGETICALLY POLITICAL filmmaker Hubert Sauper returns to the kind of African situations that characterized his Oscar®-nominated Darwin’s Nightmare.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“A masterfully composed and suitably outraged look at the neocolonialist exploitation of South Sudan.”  Rob Nelson, Variety  

 “The beauty of Sauper’s work, as demonstrated in Darwin’s Nightmare and again here, is that it manages to propose and arrange a wealth of apparently heterogeneous material in such a way that multiple (and often parallel-running) causes and effects naturally crystalize.”  Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter

Friday, August 21, 2015 – Beltracchi, The Art of Forgery – Director Arne Birkenstock

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60 Minutes called Wolfgang Beltracchi a “con man of epic proportions” and dubbed him and his wife Helene, “the Bonnie and Clyde of the art world.” For nearly 40 years the charming and effervescent Beltracchi produced hundreds of meticulous works of art, forgeries of early and mid-20th century artists, using old canvases and distressed frames scoured from flea markets and paints whose pigments he ground himself. Arne Birkenstock’s BELTRACCHI: THE ART OF FORGERY takes into the mind and inner circle of an a artistic rogue. Amazingly, Beltracchi didn’t reproduce known paintings, but, working in an artist’s style, would create entirely new “masterpieces.” A large Max Ernst that took him three days to produce could easily fetch $5 million. Beltracchi was put on trial in 2011, but he readily admits that the handful of forgeries for which he was held accountable are just the tip of the iceberg. Many others remain on the walls of some of the world’s greatest art museums and private collectors. Director Arne Birkenstock, whose father was Beltracchi’s attorney, uses his unprecedented access to the controversial forger to capture his unique personality: a bizarre mix of candor and cunning, insouciance and joie de vivre. Birkenstock joins us for a conversation on what makes great art, how Beltracchi was able to deceive art experts, collector and museum curators and whether or not he is a great artist.

BELTRACCHI: THE ART OF FORGERY will have a one-week engagement, August 21-27 at the Laemmle’s Music Hall, 9036 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills with show times 12pm, 2:20, 7:40, 10.

Director Arne Birkenstock will participate in Q&A’s after the 7:40 screenings at the Saturday-Monday, August 22-24.

For news and updates go to: filmforum.org/film/beltracchi

“Beltracchi amassed a fortune after years of forging and selling hundreds of fake paintings. Arne Birkenstock’s documentary allows us to observe his immensely meticulous process, such as his accounting for the amount of dust within the borders of the canvases.” 
– Wes Greene, Slant 

“CRITICS’ PICK! PROVOCATIVE. The filmmakers…present the clash between Beltracchi’s views and those of the art-world cognoscenti as an opportunity for an enlightening meditation on the meaning of art and how that meaning gets lost (perhaps) through high-profile financial transactions… (The film) makes us question not only art, but the experts who claim to understand it best.” 
– Amy Brady, Village Voice

“Without a doubt he is the biggest forger of our times.”
– Vanity Fair

“A highly enjoyable look at a career spent duping the art world. Offers plenty of behind-the-scenes secrets.  Walks us through the tricks of his trade, in this case buying a genuine but worthless old painting at a flea market and using the signs of authenticity on the canvas to bolster his illusion.  This process is fascinating.”
– John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

Friday, August 21, 2015 – Station to Station, Director / Cinematographer Doug Aitken

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A high speed roadtrip through modern creativity, Station to Station is a revolutionary feature comprising 62 one-minute films highlighting an exciting and eclectic mix of artists, musicians, writers, places and perspectives. In the summer of 2013, a train designed as a kinetic light sculpture by director and ringmaster Doug Aitken traveled from New York City to San Francisco over 24 days. Aitken is an American artist and filmmaker. Defying definitions of genre, he explores every medium, from film and installations to architectural interventions. Aitken’s work leads us into a world where time, space and memory are fluid concepts. His films often explore the modern condition, and his transformative installations create immersive cinematic experiences. Rolling into ten stations on the route, the train set in motion a series of happenings, each unique to its location and mix of creative participants. The film includes profiles, intimate moments on the train, conversations, and performances at the happenings: Ed Ruscha describing the discoveries to be made in the great American landscape; Beck performing with a gospel choir in the Mojave desert; Jackson Browne reflecting on the influence of the railroad on his music, as well as many more. Director Aitken joins us to to talk about his exciting and wildly diverse kaleidoscope of experience and artistic production, as much as Station to Station is a story of our evolving creative culture.

For news and updates go to: submarinedeluxe.com

“It suggests that a one-minute part can be the whole for one viewer or that, conversely, the whole is made up of an infinite amount of smaller parts that can each tell only a small part of the story.” – Hollywood Reporter

“Banding together a community of outliers, wunderkinds and indie kids, Station to Station is a bubbling gumbo that Aitken evolves into a newly sculpted vernacular of dissolving landscapes, soundscapes and visual splendours.” – Cormac O’Brien, Little White Lies

“Watching all 62 films consecutively provides an experience every bit as exciting, thought-provoking, and ultimately ephemeral as an LED-laden train full of artists passing in the night” – Sarah Kurchak, Consequence of Sound

Friday, August 14, 2015 – MERU, Co-directors Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

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In the high-stakes pursuit of big-wall climbing, the Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru may be the ultimate prize. Sitting 21,000 feet above the sacred Ganges River in Northern India, the mountain’s perversely stacked obstacles make it both a nightmare and an irresistible calling for some of the world’s toughest climbers. In October 2008, renowned alpinists Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk arrived in India to tackle Meru. Their planned seven-day trip quickly declined into a 20-day odyssey in sub-zero temperatures with quickly depleting food rations. Despite making it to within 100 meters of the elusive summit, their journey, like everyone before them, was not a successful one. Heartbroken and defeated, the trio returned to their everyday lives, where the siren song of Meru continued to beckon. By September 2011, Anker had convinced his two lifelong friends to undertake the Shark’s Fin once more, under even more extraordinary circumstances than their first attempt. Meru is the story of that journey, an expedition through nature’s harshest elements and one’s complicated inner demons, and ultimately on to impossible new heights. Co-directors Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi join us to talk about how they were able to assemble this amazing, unbelievable story of determination, skill and willful insanity.

For news and updates go to: musicboxfilms.com/meru

MERU, opening Friday, August 14 at the Nuart Theatre for an exclusive one week engagement. Co-directors Jimmy Chin and Chai Vasarhelyi will appear in person on Saturday, August 15 for a Q&A after the 7:30pm show and introduction to the 9:45pm show; and Sunday, August 16 for Q&As after the 2:50pm and 5:10pm shows.

Winner, Sundance Audience Award – US Documentary – Winner, Telluride Mountainfilm 2015 – Charlie Fowler Award

“The best climbing movie of the year.” – Outside Magazine

“Harrowing and ultimately moving! One of the best sports documentaries of its type in recent years. Engrossing..hair-raising…a nail-biter.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“High-tech, high-octane, high-fiving…a winning combination of the gruelingly practical and the luminously cosmic. Transport[s] viewers to the roof of the world.” – Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter

“A moving tale of super human perserverance.” – The Playlist

“An irresistible white-knuckler that digs into the unique pathology of death-defying adventurers and the intense bonds that develop when they’re in peril..” – Scott Tobias, The Dissolve

Friday, August 14, 2015 – Prince, Director / Writer Sam de Jong

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Seventeen-year-old Ayoub (Ayoub Elasri) has a lot on his plate: his father (Chaib Massaoudi) is a junkie, his mother (Elsie de Brauw) is a lonely divorcé, and his sister (Olivia Lonsdale) is falling in with the wrong crowd. Haunted by his father’s terrible reputation, Ayoub can’t get the attention of Laura (Sigrid ten Napel), the most beautiful girl in the neighborhood. He does, however, gain the attention of Kalpa (Freddy Tratlehner), an eccentric, purple Lamborghini-driving, psychotically violent local criminal. Falling in with Kalpa, Ayoub tries to enlarge his status (and wallet) enough to win Laura over, but soon finds that his new life is far more than he bargained for. Director / writer Sam de Jong stops by for a spirited conversation on his exciting and challenging feature breakout film.

*2015 Berlinale – Honorary Mention: Crystal Bear for Best First Feature

“Although the disaffected youth drama knows no international boundaries, few have felt as fresh and consistently unpredictable as the slyly satirical “Prince” by Dutch filmmaker Sam de Jong.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, LA Times

“Expertly paced and gorgeous to behold, Sam de Jong’s Dutch-language directorial debut sets a stylish coming-of-age story in a bleak Amsterdam housing project.” – Ian S. Port, Village Voice

“The dialogue is stylized, part hip-hop, part American Western, and many compositions are studies in landscapes that are cool and resistant to the figures within.” – Newcity

“It revives hope for a pop-art cinema that’s capable of treating characters like actual human beings rather than pawns on a chess board.“ – Slant Magazine

Friday, August 7, 2015 – Two Step, Director / Writer Alex R. Johnson

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TWO STEP is a throwback Texas thriller in which the lives of James, a directionless college dropout, and Webb, a career criminal with his back against the wall, violently collide. Kicked out of college, James visits Grams, his only remaining family, who dies shortly after his arrival. He finds consolation in the company of Grams’ neighbor, Dot, a dance teacher, as he figures out his next move. While settling Grams’ affairs, James learns she’s been the victim of the ‘Grandparent Scam’, in which someone posing as James has been slowly bilking her out of thousands. But before James can go looking for the culprit, he shows up at the front door, desperate for money. The culprit, Webb, has his own problems in the form of Duane, who has ordered Webb to pay an old debt or else. And if Webb can’t get it from Grams, James will have to do – no matter who stands in his way. Director Alex R. Johnson drops by to talk about the story behind the story, assembling a remarkably talented cast and the lessons learned during the making of his masterful feature film debut.

For news and updates go to: twostepfilm.com

“A slow burn thriller with rich Texas flavor and delicious dialogue.” – Variety 

“Writer/director Alex R. Johnson dares honor the bygone art of cinematic storytelling. It’s a film in which costs – human, financial moral – are always fully counted and felt.” – Film Comment

The Austin-set thriller “Two Step” approaches tension a lot like the region’s barbecue, with enough methodical, indirect heat to make for plenty of flavor when it’s time to bite.” Robert Abele, LA Times

“A nasty, flawlessly acted little gem that goes deep inside its characters’ psyches.” – Stephen Holden, New York Times

Friday, August 7, 2015 – Five Star, Director / Writer Keith Miller

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After John’s absent father is struck by a stray bullet, Primo takes it upon himself to verse the young boy in the code of the streets—one founded on respect and upheld by fear. A member of the Bloods since the age of twelve—both in the film and in reality—the streets of Brooklyn are all Primo has ever known. While John questions whether or not to enter into this life, Primo must decide whether to leave it all behind as he vows to become a better husband and father. Set during those New York summer weeks where the stifling heat seems to encase everything, Five Star plunges into gang culture with searing intensity. Director Keith Miller observes the lives of these two men with a quiet yet pointed distance, carefully eschewing worn clichés through its unflinching focus. Distinctions between fiction and real life remain intentionally ambiguous, allowing the story of these two men to resonate beyond the streets, as they face the question of what it means to be a man. Director / writer Keith Miller (Welcome to Pine Hill) joins us for a conversation on his how a chance encounter became the inspiration for Five Star, the risks and the rewards of working with non-professional actors and their impact on Miller’s exceptional second feature film.

For news and updates go to: fivestarthemovie.com

“Slow and steady, and with remarkable assuredness, Keith Miller’s “Five Star” plays mean-streets drama in the lowest of keys.” -Janette Catsoulis , The New York Times

“Like John Cassavetes directing an episode of ‘The Wire’…” -Eric Kohn, Indiewire

“…powerfully affecting urban drama that tells a familiar story […] with such unusual authenticity and dramatic force that it’s as if we’re seeing it for the first time…” -Scott Foundas, Variety

“…a compelling portrait, and a refreshing take on a setting and characters too often sensationalized.” – Shadow and Act

“…a dizzying tour-de-force…” – Village Voice

Friday, July 31, 2015 – The End of the Tour, Writer David Lipsky

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THE END OF THE TOUR tells the story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter (and novelist) David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel), which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace’s groundbreaking epic novel, Infinite Jest. As the days go on, a tenuous yet intense relationship seems to develop between journalist and subject. The two men bob and weave around each other, sharing laughs and also possibly revealing hidden frailties – but it’s never clear how truthful they are being with each other. Ironically, the interview was never published, and five days of audio tapes were packed away in Lipsky’s closet. The two men did not meet again. The film is based on Lipsky’s critically acclaimed memoir about this unforgettable encounter, Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, written following Wallace’s 2008 suicide. Both Segel and Eisenberg reveal great depths of emotion in their performances and the film is directed with humor and tenderness by Sundance vet James Ponsoldt from Pulitzer- Prize winner Donald Margulies’ insightful and heartbreaking screenplay. The acclaimed author and essayist David Lipsky joins us for a lively and freewheeling conversation on his impressions of Wallace as a writer and an engaging artist.

For news and updates go to: endofthetour-movie.com

“It’s ultimately a movie – one of the most rigorous and thoughtful I’ve seen – about the ethical and existential traps our fame-crazed culture sets for the talented and the mediocre alike.” – A. O. Scott, New York Times

“The result is less portrait of an artist than snapshot of a brief, meaningful encounter, shared between two men enjoying different stages of professional success.” – A. A. Dowd, AV Club

“Road trips are a fairly routine framework for movies, often with a focus on two traveling companions. Never have I seen one that moved me so close to tears as “The End of the Tour,” which transforms that common clay into a work of beauty.” – Minneapolis Star News

“Made with love and skill, the movie deserves to be seen.” Ty Burr, Boston

“In Segel’s performance, [the film] captures the quandary of an immensely gifted and immensely troubled writer who disdained the celebrity he also, without fully fessing up to it, sought.” – Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

Friday, July 31, 2015 – Listen to Me Marlon, Director Stevan Riley

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Marlon Brando was one of the most acclaimed and influential actors of all time. He also was one of the most elusive and enigmatic. Featuring exclusive access to Brando’s previously unseen and unheard personal archive, including hundreds of hours of audio, Listen to Me Marlon sheds light on the artist and the man. Charting Brando’s exceptional career and extraordinary personal life with the actor himself as guide, the film explores his complexities, telling the story entirely in his own voice. No talking heads, no interviewees: just Brando on Brando. Unbeknownst to the public, Marlon Brando created a vast archive of personal audio materials over the course of his lifetime.  Now – for the first time – those audio recordings come to life in Listen To Me Marlon.  Charting his exceptional career as an actor and his extraordinary life away from the stage and screen, the film reveals the complexities and contradictions that were Marlon Brando by telling the story in his own words. Director Stevan Riley drops by to talk about how his unique approach allows us to dive into the inner space of Brando’s mind through the illuminating use of archival material. The result shows not how different he was from the rest of us but rather how similar.

For news and updates go to: sundance.org/projects/listen-to-me-marlon

Listen To Me Marlon opens in Los Angeles on Friday, July 31st at The Landmark followed by a national rollout.

“A masterpiece. Astonishing. Restores to Brando his rightful genius.  Director Stevan Riley approaches documentary form with the same ebullience and vigor that defines Brando’s acting, whipping his archival footage into a frenzy of sound and movement.  The result is electrifying.” – Calum Marsh, Village Voice

“The man, the Method and possibly the madness can all be seen – and heard – in Listen To Me Marlon, an intimate, impressionistic portrait of Marlon Brando partly told through his own words… Mr. Brando comes searchingly alive. The visuals – a seamless blend of moving and still material – are swell, but it’s that singular voice that carries this movie.” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

“Remarkable…An enthrallingly intimate look at the brilliant, troubled and always charismatic screen legend.” – Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter