Friday, April 18, 2014 – Watermark, Director Jennifer Baichwal

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Award winning filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier, and renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky, beautifully weave together diverse stories from around the globe that eloquently detail humanity’s relationship with water through the ages: how we are drawn to it, how we use it, and the magnitude of our need for this rapidly depleting resource.  Full of soaring aerial perspectives, this film shows water as a terraforming element and the scale of its reach. This is balanced by forays into the particular: a lingering memory of a stolen river, a mysterious figure roaming ancient rice terraces. These images, both beautiful and haunting, create a compelling global portrait that illustrates humanity’s past, present and future relationship with the natural world. In WATERMARK, the viewer is immersed in a world defined by a magnificent force of nature that we all too often take for granted – until it’s gone. Director Baichwal (Manufactured Landscapes) talks about the many ways that water shapes our lives and how humans attempt to shape water.

“A Canadian photographer dedicated to chronicling how man affects the environment turns his attention from land to water with mesmerizing results.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

“These exceptionally gifted filmmakers are simply best at the long view of the human species and its impact.” Ty Burr, Boston Globe

“Always arresting and sometimes troubling, “Watermark” neither lectures nor argues.’ – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

“An immersive experience, with stunning visual language, that will transform the way we think about water, and our relationship to it” – Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Friday, April 18, 2014 – Soft in the Head, Director Nathan Silver

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Thrown out of her New York City apartment, Natalia, a 25-year-old hot mess, relies on the kindness of friends and strangers. Seemingly unaware of the havoc she wreaks, she skips from one place to another, including her best friend’s, where she crashes a holiday meal and seduces the best friend’s socially inept brother. Natalia ends up staying at a shelter run by genuinely good Maury, who takes an interest in making her life better — but life is not that simple, and tragedy ensues. With a menagerie of New York characters, set against the backdrop of a homeless shelter, a religious household, and the cacophonous streets of New York, SOFT IN THE HEAD is a look at how easy it is to lose one’s head in the big city, particularly for those already lost. Director Nathan Silver (The Blind and Exit Elena) joins us to discuss his uncompromising new project.

For more news on Soft in the Head go to: konecfilms.com/Soft-in-the-Head-1

“Nathan Silver’s raucous, disturbing new film is a shrewdly conceived yet emotionally unhinged blend of uproarious situations and devastating outcomes” -The New Yorker

“SOFT IN THE HEAD confirms Silver’s talent and his status as one of the most interesting emerging directors in U.S. indie film” -Filmmaker Magazine

“…the audience must sink or swim. The sensation is at once maddening and, for its daredevil embrace of naturalism, absolutely thrilling.” -The Wall Street Journal

“A riveting NYC-set drama” –indieWIRE

“John Cassavetes-like slice of lowlife” -The Boston Globe

“Silver does something like deconstructing love to the bones only to reconstruct it again, unpredictably and powerfully, at the end of the film” -Cinema Scope

“Another noteworthy film from Nathan Silver, whose cinema of discomfort is a welcome aside in the realm of independent cinema” -IonCinema

Friday, April 18, 2014 – Hank and Asha, Director / Producer / Writer James E. Duff

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A romance, the film tells the story about two young people – an Indian woman studying in Prague – and a lonely New Yorker  – using technology in a specific way to help tell their story. They begin an unconventional correspondence through video letters – two strangers searching for human connection in a hyper-connected world. When their relationship deepens, they must decide whether or not to meet face to face. Winner of the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2013 Slamdance Film Festival, “Hank and Asha” is a film about identity, longing, and the irresistible appeal of entertaining life’s what-ifs. Director / Producer / Writer James E. Duff talks about making the jump from teaching film in Kenya, to making  his feature film debut based in New York City.

Director / Producer / Writer James E. Duff with Producer Julia Morrison and special guests will be doing a Q&A’s at North Hollywood’s Laemmle NoHo: Friday 4/18 after the 7:30pm screening Sat 4/19 after the 7:30pm screening Sunday 4/20 after the 3:10pm and 5:20pm screenings. Check it out at: http://www.laemmle.com/theaters/23

For more news on Hank and Asha go to: http://www.hankandasha.com/

“Hank and Asha”: James E. Duff’s infectiously sincere love story centers on Asha (Mahira Kakkar), an Indian film student studying in Prague, and Hank (Andrew Pastides), an emerging filmmaker living in New YorkDuff doesn’t force any answers, instead presenting a quiet, thoughtful portrait of love caught in the pull between hyper-connectivity and loneliness.” – Indiewire

“extremely entertaining… Mahira Kakkar[‘s] charismatic joy and energy drives the film forward…. It’s the type of performance that can’t help but make you smile and, when things do get more emotional, you’re already so engaged with her character that you feel that much more for Asha. … In the end, Hank and Asha is a very entertaining film that is far more interesting in its execution than it may seem in simple explanation. It has the feel of a crowd-pleaser, and it wears its heart on its sleeve. With a character like Asha, how could it not?” – Mark Bell, Film Threat

“Hank & Asha might be the best modern love story since Once or Before Sunset. It’s beautifully written, tender, honest, funny and sweet without veering into melodramatic or schmaltzy territory. This is the rare love story that has both style and substance.” The NYC Movie Guru

Coming: April 30, 2014 – The M Word, Director Henry Jaglom and Actress Tanna Frederick

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The M Word follows the personal changes at a local TV station that is threatened by economic downturn, possible in-house theft and massive job loss. They decide to subvert all of this by taking on an ill-advised documentary about Menopause. In the midst of impending lay-offs, Moxie (Tanna Frederick) suddenly finds herself leading an extraordinary band of rebelling women better treatment and a more secure future. Director Henry Jaglon (Irene in Time, Festival in Cannes, Always, Can She Bake a Cherry Pie) and actress Tanna Frederick (Just 45 Minutes to Broadway, Queen of the Lot, Irene in Time, Hollywood Dreams) stop by for a free-wheeling conversation on filmmaking, comedy, acting, love, life and the shockingly taboo subject of menopause.

Coming: May 2, 2014 – Farmland, Director James Moll

Farmland film posterFarmland gives viewers a first-hand glimpse into the lives of young farmers and ranchers, their high-risk/high-reward jobs and their passion for a way of life that has been passed down from generation to generation. Most Americans have never stepped foot on a farm or ranch or even talked to the people who grow and raise the food we eat. Farmland takes an intimate look at the lives of six farmers and ranchers in their 20′s, all of whom are now responsible for running their farming business. The subjects in Farmland range from a sixth generation rancher, Brad Bellah, who runs beef cattle operations in Colorado and Texas to Sutton Morgan, a fourth generation farmer from California, who is the first person in his family to grow organic crops. FARMLAND is directed by Academy®, Grammy®, and Emmy® award-winning filmmaker James Moll (Foo Fighters: Back and Forth, Survivors of the Holocaust, Running the Sahara, and The Last Days). Director Moll stops by for a conversation on the future of an agricultural system that’s been the envy of the world.

For more news and updates on Farmland go to: www.farmlandfilm.com/

Afternoon of a Faun – Director Nancy Buirski

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Of all the great ballerinas, Tanaquil Le Clercq may have been the most transcendent. With a body unlike any before hers, she mesmerized viewers and choreographers alike. With her elongated, race-horse physique, she became the new prototype for the great George Balanchine.  Because of her extraordinary movement and unique personality on stage, she became a muse to two of the greatest choreographers in dance, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins.  She eventually married Balanchine and Robbins created his famous version of Afternoon of a Faun for her.  She had love, fame, adoration, and was the foremost dancer of her day until it suddenly all stopped at the age of 27. The ballet world has been haunted by her story ever since.  Director Nancy Buirski joins us to talk about an iconic artist with an indomitable spirit.

For updates on Afternoon of a Faun go to: http://www.afternoonofafaun.com/

“GRADE A…spooky, heartbreaking… a hymn to her rapture and infinite resilience.” – Entertainment Weekly, read review

“a magnificent behind-the-scenes view of the New York City Ballet…a compelling tale of love, friendship, and perseverance.” – San Francisco Chronicle, read review

“While it does profile the work of brilliant dancer, the film also contains two complex and moving love stories as well an account of a physically devastating tragedy followed by an extraordinary tale of struggle and survival.” – RogerEbert.com, read review

“With its extraordinary footage and a story replete with tragic ironies, Nancy Buirski’s documentary on famed prima ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq often soars” – Variety

Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell, Director Matt Wolf

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Wild Combination is director Matt Wolf’s visually absorbing portrait of the seminal avant-garde composer, singer-songwriter, cellist, and disco producer Arthur Russell. Before his untimely death from AIDS in 1992, Arthur prolifically created music that spanned both pop and the transcendent possibilities of abstract art. Now, over fifteen years since his passing, Arthur’s work is finally finding its audience. Wolf incorporates rare archival footage and commentary from Arthur’s family, friends, and closest collaborators—including Philip Glass and Allen Ginsberg—to tell this poignant and important story. Matt joins us in a conversation about art, music and Arthur’s enduring legacy.

Available on iTunes/VOD next Tuesday, April 8, 2014

“A tender, fascinating documentary that will delight the Russell cult and instantly convert new members. – New York Times 

“A profoundly moving love story” – Time Out 

“Infinite and Intimate” – Village Voice

“Pungently evokes the petrie dish of the late-1970s, early-1980s downtown” – Variety                       

“Artful… Wolf plays visual accompanist to Russell’s remarkable compositions.” -Chicago Sun-Times

“The film itself plays out like music, retaining the languid, soothing, and dreamlike aesthetic of Russell. – V Magazine 

“This is one of the finest music documentaries of recent years.” -Sight & Sound

Mistaken for Strangers – Director Tom Berninger and Producer Matt Berninger

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Hailed by Michael Moore as “one of the best documentaries about a band that I’ve ever seen” and by Pitchfork as “the funniest, most meta music movie since SPINAL TAP,” MISTAKEN FOR STRANGERS is a truly hilarious, unusual, and moving film about two brothers, Matt and Tom Berninger. Matt, the lead singer of the critically acclaimed rock band The National, finally finds himself flush with success. His younger brother, Tom, is a loveable slacker – a filmmaker and metal-head still living with his parents in Cincinnati. On the eve of The National’s biggest tour to date, Matt invites Tom to work for the band as a roadie, unaware of Tom’s plan to film the entire adventure. What starts as a rock documentary soon becomes a surprisingly honest portrait of a charged relationship between two brothers, and the frustration of unfulfilled creative ambitions. Tom and Matt join us to talk about the pursuit of artistic aspirations, family and expectations.

Available at theatres nationwide and on iTunes and VOD

 For more on how to watch Mistaken for Strangers go to: mistakenforstrangersmovie.com

“Funny, touching, and genuinely moving, this deeply personal approach plays out like a curious amalgamation of a conventional band biopic with a touch of This Is Spinal Tap thrown in for good measure. By wearing his heart on his sleeve and exhibiting an unflinching degree of honesty and passion, Berninger’s Mistaken for Strangers finds itself traversing the usual banal hero worshipping and artistic reverie of an orthodox music doc.” – Cine Vue

“Though self acknowledged humor very much pervades Mistaken For Strangers, it is an overwhelming honesty and heartwarming brotherly admiration that leaves a lingering resonance in its wake.” – IONCINEMA

“The film manages to defy every preconception…  The best documentary we have seen all year.” – New York Observer

“Strangers could not be more compelling” – Rolling Stone

Spies of Mississippi, Director Dawn Porter

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Spies of Mississippi tells the story of a secret spy agency formed by the state of Mississippi to preserve segregation and maintain “the Mississippi way of life,” white supremacy, during the 1950s and ‘60s. The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission (MSSC) evolved from a predominantly public relations agency to a full-fledged spy operation, spying on over 87,000 Americans over the course of a decade. Weaving in chilling footage of Ku Klux Klan rallies and government propaganda films alongside rare images and interviews from the period, Spies of Mississippi tracks the Commission’s hidden role in many of the most important chapters of the civil rights movement, including the integration of the University of Mississippi, the assassination of Medgar Evers, and the KKK murders of three civil rights workers in 1964. Director Dawn Porter joins us to talk about the impact the MSSC had on the African-American community then and now.

No matter how many times you’ve seen the history documented, it remains eye-opening; no matter how many times you’ve heard it, it’s worth hearing again.” – Los Angeles Times

“Peer into the history of the South, and it’s not hard to find things that once might have seemed acceptable to many people but today register as appalling. “Spies of Mississippi” is such an exploration, one with an especially clear parallel to today.” – New York Times 

“Spies of Mississippi is as cohesive as it is engaging, another interesting portrait of a time in our past too often regarded as a sort of ancient history. Here, the links between the activities of the Sovereignty Commission and our government’s activities today are made clear, ending on a disturbing but thought provoking final note that asks the viewer to always question the morality of a government that spies on its citizens.” – Indiewire

Finding Vivian Maier, Co-Directors John Maloof and Charlie Siskel

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A mysterious nanny, who secretly took over 100,000 photographs that were hidden in storage lockers and discovered decades later, is now considered among the 20th century’s greatest photographers. Maier’s strange and riveting life and art are revealed through never before seen photographs, films, and interviews with dozens who thought they knew her. Co-directors John Maloof and Charlie Siskel join us to talk about a woman who fiercely protected her privacy and asserted her independence from the bourgeois values of the families she lived with. In FINDING VIVIAN MAIER, a nanny from Chicago has taken her place among the most accomplished photographer’s of the 20th Century.

At the Landmark, on Friday, March 28 for a Q&A after the 7:40pm show, and on Saturday, March 29 for Q&A after the 7:40pm show Co-director/co-writer Charlie Siskel and producer Jeff Garlin will appear in person. Read Kenneth Turan’s Los Angeles Times review!

For more on Finding Vivian Maier go to: http://www.findingvivianmaier.com/

“This initially playful, ultimately haunting look at the once-secret career of street photographer Vivian Maier is an aptly obsessive study of obsession.” – Variety

“Riveting documentary about one of the 20th century’s greatest photographers. It’s no ordinary artist biopic. Haunting.” – Indiewire

 “…fascinating interviews with the people who knew her — or, more accurately, didn’t know her. A spellbinding, thoughtful examination of the artistic temperament.” Flavorwire

“Haunting and Powerful. A fascinating tale. (Critic’s Pick)” –
The Village Voice