Compartment No. 6 – Director Juho Kuosmanen

2022 Oscar© Shortlisted for Best International Feature

In the slow-burn character study by award winning director Juho Kuosmanen, COMPARTMENT No. 6 follows the trek of a young Finnish woman as she escapes an enigmatic love affair in Moscow by boarding a train to the arctic port of Murmansk in search of ancient petroglyphs. Forced to share the long ride and a tiny sleeping car with a Russian miner, the unexpected encounter leads the occupants of Compartment No. 6 to face the truth about their own yearning for human connection.  COMPARTMENT No. 6 was co-written and directed by Juho Kuosmanen, and features brilliant performances by Seidi Haarla and Yuri Borisov.  COMPARTMENT No. 6 is based on Rosa Liksom‘s 2011 novel of the same name.  The film was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival as well as the Finnish entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards. The film was recently shortlisted for Best International Feature Film. Director / co-writer Juho Kuosmanen joins us for a conversation on his inspiration for this muted love story, the logistical challenges of filming in Arctic-like weather, and the stellar performances from his lead performers.

For news and updates go to sonyclassics.com/film/compartmentno6

For more go to: totem-films.com/compartment-n6

Independent Spirit Award for Best International Film.

Compartment No. 6 is short listed for the Academy Award in the International Feature Film category

About the filmmaker – Juho Kuosmanen was born in Kokkola, Finland, and is now based in Helsinki. Since graduating from ELO Helsinki Film School he has directed for film, theatre, and opera. His short films include Roadmarkers (2007), Citizens (2008), and The Painting Sellers (2010), and he directed the feature The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki (2016), which screened at the Festival. Compartment No. 6 (2021) is his latest film.

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/SonyClassics
twitter.com/sonyclassics
twitter.com/kuosmane79
instagram.com/juhokuosmanen
instagram.com/sonyclassics
#CompartmentNo6
@SonyClassics
#Hyttinro6
#JuhoKuosmanen
#SeidiHaarla
#YuriBorisov

 

87% on Rotten Tomatoes

“It makes for a take on the love story as fresh, resonant and honest… as you’ll find in a contemporary film.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“An intimate and endearing story of discoveries, chance encounters and indelible life lessons where the journey is more important than the final destination.” – Rene Sanchez, Cine Sin Fronteras

“Seida Haarla gives a winning, intelligent performance as a naturally very clever person made to feel small and helpless in a strange land. But Yuriy Borisov pops from the first moments you see him…” – Mark Asch, Little White Lies

“Compartment No. 6 is a profound character study that evolves in time into something of a romantic drama. The smart ending ensures that we come away with more than that.” – Barbara Goslawski, That Shelf

“It’s a picture that is witnessed, that is felt, and that is experiential. No amount of recounting can do justice to what exactly it feels like to view Juho’s texturous tale…” – Taylor Baker, Drink in the Movies

“An engrossingly offbeat rail movie (…) Fully modulated yet natural performances by the two leads, Seidi Haarla and Yuriy Borisov, walk us through the human condition with the nuances of a big Russian novel.” – Deborah Young, The Film Verdict

Lunana – A Yak in the Classroom – Director Pawo Choyning Dorji

2022 Oscar© Shortlisted for Best International Feature

In this beautifully rendered gem of a film, Lunana – A Yak in the Classroom, a young teacher in modern Bhutan, Ugyen, shirks his duties while planning to go to Australia to become a singer. As a reprimand, his superiors send him to the most remote school in the world, in a village called Lunana, to complete his service. He  finds himself exiled from his Westernized comforts after an arduous 8 day trek just to get there. There he finds no electricity, no textbooks, not even a blackboard. Though poor, the villagers extend a warm welcome to their new teacher, but he faces the daunting task of teaching the village children without any supplies. He wants to quit and go home, but he begins to learn of the hardship in the lives of the beautiful children he teaches, and begins to be transformed through the amazing spiritual strength of the villagers. Director and writer Pawo Choyning Dorji stops by to talk about his home country of Bhutan and his nation’s aspirational motto “Gross National Happiness”, the challenges of making a film in a community with no modern utilities and the joy that comes from facilitating a spectrum of disarming performances from people who had never seen a film before his arrival.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

For more go to: samuelgoldwynfilms.com/lunana-a-yak-in-the-classroom

filmsboutique.com/news/post/lunana-shortlisted-for-the-oscars

Shortlisted for the International Feature Film Academy Award, First Bhutanese Film to Submit for Oscar in 23 Years

Opens January 21st in New York, Miami, San Francisco, and in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Royal

Director’s Statement – The film was shot on-location at the world’s most remote school, in the village of Lunana. The village is a settlement that’s sits along the glaciers of the Himalayas, only accessible through an 8-day trek over some of the highest mountains of the world. There are only 56 people in the village, most of whom had never seen the world outside their village. The word ‘Lunana’ literally means the dark valley; a valley so far and distant that the light doesn’t even reach it. So isolated is the village that even to this day, there are no electricity and cellular network connections. Due to the lack of facilities, the production of the film was totally dependent on solar charged batteries. Though extremely challenging, I specifically wanted to shoot the movie in Lunana, inspired by the purity of the lands and the people. I also wanted everyone involved in the production to experience this life changing journey, so that the authenticity of experience could translate on to the film.  The major themes of the story are ‘the search for happiness and a sense of belonging’, and these are universal themes that everyone can relate to irrespective of one’s culture and background. However I wanted to present those themes through a medium like Lunana, a world and a people that are so different from not only the rest of the world, but from also Bhutan itself. I wanted to show that even if in such a unique world, the hopes and dreams that connect humanity are the same. 

About the filmmaker – Pawo Choyning Dorji (Director & Writer) is a writer, photographer and filmmaker from the Kingdom of Bhutan. Pawo’s introduction to film came in 2012 when he worked as Khyentse Norbu’s assistant for the later’s feature; Vara: A Blessing. In 2016 he produced the critically acclaimed Bhutanese feature Hema Hema: Sing me a song while I wait. The film had its world premiere at the 69th Festival del film Locarno and went on to win the Special Mention at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom is his Directorial debut. 

SOCIAL MEDIA
instagram.com/lunana.film
instagram.com/stories/pawo
twitter.com/goldwynfilms
instagram.com/goldwynfilms

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“DELIGHTFUL. Gloriously filmed on staggeringly beautiful locations around the most remote school on Earth and wonderfully performed by a cast comprised almost exclusively of first-time actors, this big-hearted crowd-pleaser marks a bight debut for writer-director Pawo Choyning Dorji.” – Richard Kuipers, Variety

“The story arc of Lunana may offer few surprises but Dorji handles it with confidence and buckets of charm.” – Allan Hunter, Screen International

“Only Bhutan’s second submission to the Oscars … [it’s] such a wonderful film I’m not sure many would have had a chance to see.” – Edward Douglas, The Weekend Warrior

Simple as Water – Director Megan Mylan

2022 Oscar© Shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature

SIMPLE AS WATER is a soft-spoken meditation on love, displacement, and fracturing familial relations from Academy Award-winner Megan Mylan. Closely-observed portraits of Syrian families filmed across five countries reveal the impact of war, separation and displacement, SIMPLE AS WATER takes us into Syrian families’ quests for normalcy and through the whirlwind of obstacles—to building life anew. As a conflict at home forces separation and movement to unfamiliar ground, Mylan’s cinematic lens finds the powerful yet everyday acts of nurturing and kinship, traveling with her protagonists as they build a new sense of belonging. From brotherly protection, motherly love, and the playful guidance of a sibling, these closely observed scenes show touching stories of resilience and reveal ties that bind families together in the face of adversity. Filmed in Turkey, Greece, Germany, Syria and US, Mylan’s sensitive camera amplifies the universal importance of family. Oscar®-winning director Megan Mylan (Lost Boys of Sudan, Smile Pinki.) joins us for a conversation on her extraordinarily intimate and empathetic multi-part story of four families looking for a semblance of humanity and relieve from implacable state run-institutions. 

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

To watch go to: hbo.com/simple-as-water

For more about Megan Mylan go to: principeproductions.org

Simple As Water has been “Shortlisted” for Best Documentary Feature

About the filmmaker – Director / Producer / Editor Megan Mylan creates intimate observational films on complex global issues. She won an Academy® Award for her documentary Smile Pinki and an Independent Spirit Award for Lost Boys of Sudan which was short-listed for an Oscar® and named a New York Times Critics’ Pick. Her films have screened theatrically and on television throughout the world including HBO, PBS, ARTE, BBC, NHK, NDTV, Sundance Channel, Doordarshan and TV Brasil. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and multiple Emmy® nominations. She served for several years on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Executive Committee for Documentary. Before beginning in documentary, Megan worked with Ashoka, an international development non-profit, in the U.S. and Brazil. She has a Bachelor’s from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Masters’ degrees in Journalism and Latin American Studies from UC Berkeley where she was also guest director of the Graduate Documentary program. For more about Megan Mylan go to: principeproductions.org

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/hbodocs
twitter.com/MeganMylan
#SimpleasWater
@MeganMylan

100% in Rottten Tomatoes 

“Superb … A level of deep, intimate access and rapport that few filmmakers can hope to achieve … ‘Simple’ unfolds more like a riveting neorealist drama.” – INDIEWIRE

“Stirringly shot … a viewing experience that is at once intimate and expansive.” –  Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times

“The poetic lyricism of Mylan’s film is what makes it stand out … Despite the heartrending storylines, there are also go-karts and balloons, and plenty of smiles and kisses. It’s a stunning achievement to make a film about the Syrian refugee crisis so beautiful and endlessly watchable.” – Hammer to Nail

“‘Simple as Water’ is anything but simple when it comes to its technical achievements, weaving together familiar immigrant narratives in ways that still manage to surprise and stun.” – Claire Shaffer, New York Times

Ferroequinology – Director Alex Nevill

FERROEQUINOLOGY follows the travels of two artists enthralled by the uncanny lure of locomotion set out on journeys across America. Andrew Cross chases freight trains through the Black Rock desert in Nevada in pursuit of a perfect landscape shot. McNair Evans travels on an Amtrak train from San Francisco to Portland, sharing stories and making portraits with fellow passengers. Desolate carriages take on an otherworldly presence and time loses its grasp in this study of photographers in motion, capturing slow travel in today’s increasingly fast-paced society. Railroad documentaries hold a significant place in film history. From Auguste and Louis Lumière’s early experiments in The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station to the iconic John Grierson narrated Night Mail or D. A. Pennebaker’s Daybreak Express – the movement, machinery, infrastructure and culture surrounding railroads has fascinated filmmakers since the birth of cinema. FERROEQUINOLOGY draws on this established tradition and brings this potent documentary theme into focus for the contemporary era. Gravitating toward collaborators with particularly artistic sensibilities, Nevill set about filming in ways that engaged directly with their creative work. Shooting in black and white helped to distance the film’s cinematography from each character’s photographic project and reflected the romanticized gaze many of these enthusiasts brought to their images as well as their often sentimental relationship with railroads. Director Alex Nevill joins us for a conversation on his own fascination with trains drew him into a further exploration of this world, meeting McNair and Andrew and the films selection for the 2022 Slamdance film festival.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

For news and updates go to: ferroequinology.net 

2022 slamdance.com/festival

FERROEQUINOLOGY, literally meaning the study of iron horses, is a feature-length documentary with luminous black and white cinematography, directed by Alex Nevill about the passion and artistry of railroad photography. Having made its World Premiere at Chichester Film Festival (UK) in August 2021, Ferroequinology comes Stateside for its North American Premiere at Slamdance Film Festival. The film will screen via Slamdance’s virtual portal from Jan. 27-Feb. 6, 2022. More information at slamdance.com/festival

Director Alex Nevill joins us for a conversation on his own fascination with trains drew him into a further exploration of this world, meeting McNair and Andrew and the films selection for the 2022 Slamdance film festival on Friday, Jan. 28th at 4pm PT/7pm ET and available on the festival platform through Feb. 6th.

About the Filmmaker: Alex Nevill (Director/Cinematographer) is a filmmaker and cinematographer based in London, UK. He has photographed several independent feature films as well as short projects with Creative England, Channel 4 and Film London. Nevill directed Fishcakes & Cocaine, a short documentary supported by the British Film Institute, which premiered at Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival before screening at the London and Glasgow short film festivals. He holds an MFA in film practice from the Screen Academy Scotland and completed his PhD at the University of the West of England. Alongside his film work, he teaches at Kingston School of Art where he is Course Leader for the BA Filmmaking degree.

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/ferroequinologyfilm 
facebook.com/SlamdanceFilmFestival
twitter.com/slamdance
instagram.com/slamogram
@ferroequinologyfilm
@SlamdanceFilmFestival
@Slamdance

Wojnarowicz: F**ck You F*ggot F**ker – Director Chris McKim

2022 Oscar Shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature

Wojnarowicz: F**ck You F*ggot F**ker is a fiery and urgent documentary portrait of downtown New York City artist, writer, photographer, and activist David Wojnarowicz. As New York City became the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, Wojnarowicz  weaponized his work and waged war against art world’s indifference to the plague until his death from is in 1992 at the age of 37. Exclusive access to his breathtaking body of work – including paintings, journals, and films – reveals how Wojnarowicz emptied his life into his art and activism. Rediscovered answering machine tape recordings and intimate recollections from Fran Lebowitz, Gracie Mansion, Peter Hujar, and other friends and family help present a stirring portrait of this fiercely political, unapologetically queer artist. Director Chris McKim (Out of Iraq, Tammy Faye: Death Defying) joins us for a conversation on the life and times of artist David Wojnarowicz, why his art defied easy consumption and how his fury defined his art and challenged the straight world’s cruel ambivalence during the scourge of the AIDS epidemic. 

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

For news and screenings go to: kinolorber.com/film/wojnarowicz

About the filmmaker – Emmy award-winning filmmaker & TV producer Chris McKim graduated from Penn State University’s film program in 1995. He soon hopped a train for New York City and began his career at Miramax Films where he worked till 2000, first as international marketing manager before moving to post-production. In 2001, he met Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey of World of Wonder which was the start of countless creative adventures beginning with documenting the making of their scripted feature “Party Monster.” Chris was with former televangelist Tammy Faye Messner as she began chemotherapy while directing and producing “Tammy Faye: Death Defying” about her battle with cancer. He’s bounced around the world with Big Freedia as showrunner and executive producer of the docuseries “Big Freedia Queen of Bounce,” and for 4 years, he shared a cubicle with RuPaul, helping to create the ground-breaking juggernaut “RuPaul’s Drag Race” as showrunner & executive producer of the first 4 seasons. In 2016, he co-directed and produced the Emmy-winning documentary “Out of Iraq” which had a special screening at the United Nations hosted by US Ambassador Samantha Power. In addition to directing and producing the award-winning documentary “Freedia Got a Gun,” which was selected for the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival and premiered on NBC’s Peacock, he directed and produced the feature documentary Wojnarowicz: F–k You F-ggot F–ker about 80s artist, writer and activist David Wojnarowicz which was selected for the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival and Hot Docs.

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/kinolorberinc
twitter.com/KinoLorber
instagram.com/kinolorber
instagram.com/burnspookybunny
@kinolorberinc

 96% on Rotten Tomatoes

“a wondrous, intimate, and often outrage-inspiring biographical portrait. Deeply moving. One of the best movies of the year.”  – Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Evocative, first-rate… there’s considerable beauty and invention on display here, as often there was even in David Wojnarowicz’s most enraged work.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“Critic’s Pick! [An] exemplary documentary on the artist… which is also a mini-chronicle of the East Village art scene of 1970s and ’80s New York.” – Glenn Kenny, The New York Times

“Restless and bracing, Wojnarowicz gives a notorious life its due… leaves you breathless at the heights of personal expression he achieved.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“A stirring requiem of rage and resistance.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter 

Salt in My Soul – Director Will Battersby and Diane Shader Smith (Mallory’s Mom)

SALT IN MY SOUL is the story of a woman, Mallory Smith, wise beyond her years who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of three. In her twenty five-year battle with the deadly disease, Mallory carved out a life that most of us don’t come close to. Based on the bestselling posthumously published memoir of the same name, SALT IN MY SOUL is a documentary and classic coming of age story about a young woman figuring out how to live while dying. Using Mallory’s posthumously published 25,000-page secret diaries, hundreds of hours of newly  discovered footage, and audio recordings, the film offers Mallory as the narrator of her own extraordinary chronicle. Director Will Battersby and Mallory’s mom, Diane Shade Smith join us for a conversation on the honest approach that Salt in My Soul takes in telling Mallory’s story, the resolve of the young women to live beyond medical, social and personal expectations this disease imposed on her and the determined search by her dad for a identify a viable therapy to save her life.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

For news and updates go to: saltinmysouldoc.com

About the filmmaker – Will Battersby (Filmmaker) has been producing documentaries and features for 15 years. His first documentary as producer,  Trumbo, won the National Board of Review Freedom of Speech award. The film, about blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, was released by Samuel Goldwyn Films and had its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. SALT IN MY SOULis Will’s second documentary as director. The first, The Canal, will be released by Showtime which is currently adapting it into a limited series. Will is producing alongside Patricia Arquette, who will also direct. The Canal  is the first feature documentary about the environmental tragedy in the Love Canal neighborhood of Niagara Falls and the extraordinary group of working-class women who fought to save their families.  Will’s narrative feature credits include: SXSW favorite The Spine of Night, a hand-drawn animated fantasy film that RLJE released in October 2021, which stars Richard E. Grant, Lucy Lawless and Patton Oswalt; Stephen King’s A Good Marriage starring Joan Allen; They Remain starring Will Jackson Harper, and The Bleeding House, the first feature from Emmy Award-winning writer/director Philip Gelatt (Love, Death & Robots). Will served as Head of Development on Alex Gibney’s Oscar-nominated documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, and Stephen Soderbergh’s Bubble.

About the subject – Mallory Smith, who grew up in Los Angeles, was a freelance writer and editor specializing in environmental issues, social justice, and healthcare-related communications. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University and worked as a senior producer at Green Grid Radio, an environmental storytelling radio show and podcast. Her radio work was featured on KCRW, National Radio Project, and State of the Human. She was a fierce advocate for those who suffered from cystic fibrosis, launching the viral social media campaign Lunges4Lungs with friends and raising over $5 million with her parents for CF research through the annual Mallory’s Garden event. She died at the age of twenty-five on November 15, 2017, two months after receiving a double-lung transplant. Mallory’s Legacy Fund has been established in her memory at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

About the bookSALT IN MY SOUL: An Unfinished Life, by Mallory Smith, is a powerful, intimate, and inspiring portrait of a brave young woman living with chronic illness. Mallory understood that patient voices need to be amplified in order to improve healthcare, that the intersection of human behavior and nature is critical to environmental sustainability, and that love and friendship give life meaning. As Mallory’s body deteriorated, she sharpened her mind, crystalized her thinking, and honed her writing skills. In her 2500 pages of private journal entries, she created poetry out of prosaic experiences.  Beautifully written, provocative, and peppered with insights, SALT IN MY SOUL reminds us to follow Mallory’s mantra and “Live Happy.” For more information about the book SALT IN MY SOUL: An Unfinished Life please go to: penguinrandomhouse.com/books/salt-in-my-soul-by-mallory-smith

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/SaltInMySoulDoc
twitter.com/Battersby4Will
twitter.com/dianeshadersmth
twitter.com/SaltInMySoulDoc
instagram.com/SaltInMySoulDoc
#saltinmysouldoc

Three Songs for Benazir – Co-director(s) Elizabeth Mirzaei (Gulistan Mirzaei) and Producer Omar Mullick

2022 Oscar© Shortlisted for Best Documentary Short

Co-directors Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei insightful documentary, 3 SONGS FOR BENAZIR tells the story of Shaista, a young man who—newly married to Benazir and living in a displacement camp in Kabul—struggles to balance his dreams of being the first from his tribe to join the Afghan National Army with the responsibilities of starting a family. Gulistan and Elizabeth Mirzaei’s remarkable access sheds light on the experience of modern-day Afghans who live, love, and seek space for themselves amid constant instability. Co-director Elizabeth  Mirzaei (Gulistan Mirzaei) and Producer Omar Mullick join us for a conversation on their strikingly intimate portrait of a young man in love determined to break free of his tribal bonds, defying his elders, in order to make his mark in the hyper-violent world of 21st century Afghanistan.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

For more news and updates go to: threesongsforbenazir.com

Watch on Netflix

3 Songs for Benazir shortlisted for 2022 Oscar© – Documentary Short

Nominated for the 15th Annual Cinema Eye Honors

About the filmmaker(s) – Elizabeth and Gulistan Mirzaei’s first feature film, LAILA AT THE BRIDGE, screened and won awards at numerous festivals including CPH:DOX, Locarno, Edinburgh, Bergen, and Santa Barbara among others. Their first short film, THREE SONGS FOR BENAZIR, had its world premiere at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in 2021, where it won the Jury Award for Best Short. Elizabeth and Gulistan’s films have also been supported by the Tribeca Film Institute, CalHumanities, Women in Film, Points North Institute, IFP,  and the Bertha Foundation. They founded Mirzaei Films to be an indigenous window into modern-day Afghanistan, making films that are recognized for their intimacy, rare access, and how they challenge perceptions of Afghanistan. They are based between California and Afghanistan and have two daughters together. For more go to: mirzaeifilms.com

About the filmmaker – Trained as a photographer, Omar Mullick’s work was published in The New York Times, Foreign Policy Magazine, National Geographic and TIME, and received awards from the Doris Duke Foundation, the Western Knight Center for Journalism, Annenberg and Kodak. He was the director and cinematographer on the 2013 feature film THESE BIRDS WALK, the film went on to be named as one of the Best films of the Year by the New Yorker Magazine, Indiewire, and Sight + Sound Magazine. New Yorker’s film critic Richard Brody praised it as one of the best foreign films of the 21st Century. Since then Omar has been a director and cinematographer on a number of feature films and series, including THE VOW for HBO and as a director for ZeroPointZero on CNN’s new travel / food series titled NOMAD. He is also in completion on a feature non-fiction film on Whistleblowers for Amazon Films. In 2021 Omar was a screenwriter and cinematographer on his first fiction film TU ME RESEMBLE which premiered at the Venice Film Festival. In 2012 Filmmaker Magazine named Omar one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film. He won a Broadcasting and Television award in 2015 for his work on the coal industry in the Appalachias and was nominated for an Emmy in 2019 for a film on Yemenis caught in limbo during their civil war. His clients include HBO, Amazon, National Geographic Explorer, Netflix, PBS, Al Jazeera and Discovery. Trained as a photographer, Omar’s work was published in The New York Times, Foreign Policy Magazine, National Geographic and TIME, and received awards from the Doris Duke Foundation, the Western Knight Center for Journalism, Annenberg and Kodak.

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/threesongsfilm
twitter.com/mirzaeifilms
twitter.com/cerulean_blue
instagram.com/gulistanmirzaei
instagram.com/omullick

Full Frame Documentary Film FestivalJury Award, Best Short “The jury honors a film that exemplifies the power and beauty of observational filmmaking. Deeply situated and attentively witnessed, Three Songs for Benazir is a concisely constructed character study that also implicitly evokes structural, societal, psychological, and political realities—centered in a camp in Kabul yet echoing far beyond—without need for exposition or over-emphasis. The specifics of Shaista’s struggle, the totality of his confinement, are clearly and evocatively conveyed through an elliptical structure, and extended to an expertly edited finale that haunted us and kept us talking long after the film had ended.”

Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America – Co-directors Emily and Sarah Kunstler – Writer and Subject Jeffery Robinson

Interweaving lecture, personal anecdotes, interviews, and shocking revelations, in Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America, criminal defense/civil rights lawyer Jeffery Robinson draws a stark timeline of anti-Black racism in the United States, from slavery to the modern myth of a post-racial America. In Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America, Robinson faces his largest audience, asking all of us to examine who we are, where we come from, and who we want to be.  Anchored by Robinson’s Town Hall performance, the film interweaves historical and present-day archival footage, Robinson’s personal story, and vérité and interview footage capturing Robinson’s meetings with Black change-makers and eyewitnesses to history. From a hanging tree in Charleston, South Carolina, to a walking tour of the origins of slavery in colonial New York, to the site of a 1947 lynching in rural Alabama, the film brings history to life, exploring the enduring legacy of white supremacy and our collective responsibility to overcome it. Co-directors Emily and Sarah Kunstler and Producer / Subject Jeffery Robinson join us for a conversation on the why and how American social, political and economic “progress” is inextricably entangled with the 400 year long suppression of black people and the systemic racism supported by many of America’s social and political institutions.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

For in theatre and virtual go to: sonyclassics.com/film/whoweare

For news and updates go to: thewhoweareproject.org

More from the filmmakers at: off-center.com/who-we-are

About the filmmaker – Jeffery Robinson (Producer/Writer) is the founder and CEO of The Who We Are Project, which aims to become one of the central voices in correcting the American narrative on our shared history of anti-Black racism. The Who We Are Project will correct this false narrative and provide an objective and true account that exposes the role of white supremacy and anti-Black racism throughout American history. Reckoning with our true history is the only way for our country to move towards a path of racial equity and justice.  Jeffery is a former Deputy Legal Director and Director of the ACLU’s Trone Center for Justice and Equality. Since graduating from Harvard Law School in 1981, Jeffery has four decades of experience working on criminal and racial justice issues. In 2015, Jeffery joined the ACLU and on April 1, 2021, he left the ACLU and launched The Who We Are Project. Jeffery is a nationally recognized trial attorney and respected teacher of trial advocacy. Further, he speaks nationally to diverse audiences on the role of race in the criminal justice system and the history of anti-Black racism in this country. One of Jeffery’s groundbreaking presentations forms the basis of the feature-length documentary entitled “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America.” 

About the filmmakers – Emily Kunstler (Producer/Director/Editor) and Sarah Kunstler (Producer/Director) are the founders of Off Center Media, a documentary production company dedicated to racial justice and social change. For over 20 years, sisters Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler have been making films that have helped to stay executions, convince decision makers to reopen cases, and exonerate the wrongfully convicted. In 2009, the sisters completed William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe, an award-winning feature documentary, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, and opened the 2010 season of POV on PBS. In 1999, the Kunstlers produced their first film,  Tulia, Texas: Scenes from the Drug War, a short documentary that exposed a racist drug sting that led to the incarceration of over 10% of the African American community of a small Texas town. The success of this documentary as a tool for organizing, advocacy, and ultimately, justice, inspired Emily and Sarah to form Off Center Media. Off Center exposes injustice through the creation and circulation of media. The recently completed production on Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America , a documentary feature about 400 years of white supremacy based on a talk by renowned attorney Jeffery Robinson. For more go to: off-center.com

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/WhoWeAreDocumentary
facebook.com/thewhoweareproject.org
twitter.com/emily_kunstler
twitter.com/Who_We_Are_19
twitter.com/sonyclassics
instagram.com/whoweareproject
instagram.com/emkunstler
instagram.com/skunstler
instagram.com/sonyclassics
@sonyclassics
@Who_We_Are_19
@emily_kunstler
@WhoWeAreDocumentary
#WhoWeAre
#OfficialTrailer
#SonyClassics

 

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The simplest thing to say about SXSW Documentary Spotlight Audience Award winner Who We Are is that it should be part of the standard curriculum in every school in America.” – Michael King, Austin Chronicle

“Robinson is a precise, empathetic and informed speaker and a righteous man who, in sisters Emily and Sarah Kunstler’s documentary, is every teacher you might have ever wished for as a student, but who deserves a larger stage.” – Fionnuala Halligan, Screen International

“Required viewing for everyone, even though there’s nothing particularly new in it.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat

“…(Jeffery) Robinson underscores the fact that many of the most revered figures of American history relied on, defended, and outright benefitted from the ownership of enslaved people.” – Michael Ward, Should I See It

“The movie features compelling interviews and information but puts an overwhelming emphasis on bigotry inflicted on Black men. The documentary should have been more inclusive of other people of color who experience racism too.” – Carla Hay, Culture Mix

Audible – Director Matt Ogens

2022 Oscar© Shortlisted for Documentary Short

AUDIBLE is a cinematic and immersive coming of age documentary following Maryland School for the Deaf high school athlete Amaree McKenstry and his close friends as they face the pressures of senior year and grappling with the realities of venturing off into the hearing world. Amaree and his teammates take out their frustrations on the football field as they battle to protect an unprecedented winning streak, while coming to terms with the tragic loss of a close friend. This is a story about kids who stand up to adversity. They face conflict, but approach the future with hope – shouting to the world that they exist and they matter. Director Matt Ogens joins us for a conversation on the project he re-visited over the course of a decade, why it was important that the film me made for the deaf as much as the hearing and the importance that sound played in the making of Audible.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

To watch go to: netflix.com/Audible

For more go to: mattogens.com

About the filmmaker – Matt Ogens is an award-winning filmmaker known for capturing an evocative visual and narrative aesthetic across a variety of media including documentary, narrative, and branded content. His breakthrough documentary CONFESSIONS OF A SUPERHERO premiered at SXSW to critical acclaim, and he subsequently went on to earn a Primetime Emmy Award for his ESPN 30 for 30, FROM HARLEM WITH LOVE about the Globetrotters. Recent projects include the two-time Emmy-nominated documentary series WHY WE FIGHT, which Ogens created and executive produces, the Emmy-nominated LA LOUVRE, an augmented reality film directed for RYOT and Huffington Post, and two films for the UFC’s 25 YEARS IN SHORT series which was nominated for an Emmy Award and won a Clio. His last feature HOME + AWAY, which follows high school athletes living on the US/Mexico border, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. On the advertising side, Ogens collaborates with top agencies and brands, helming major campaigns, which has garnered several prominent awards including a SXSW Interactive Award, Clios, One Show, and Cannes Lions. Most recently, he directed a Super Bowl campaign for Verizon titled THE TEAM WHO WOULDN’T BE HERE, earning three Cannes Lions, four Clio Awards, a Webby Award, and a One Show Award. Launching in 2021, Matt’s forthcoming Netflix Original documentary AUDIBLE is a coming-of-age story told from the perspective of Deaf high school students. The entire film is communicated through sign language. For more go to: mattogens.com 

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/ogens
facebook.com/netflixus
twitter.com/mattogens
instagram.com/mattogens
#audibledocumentary
#suicideawareness 
#audibledocumentary 
#slcadmovierecommendation 
#youarenotalone 
#deafcommunity

 

ÁGUILAS – Co-directors Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and Maite Zubiaurre

2022 Oscar© Shortlisted for Documentary Short

The eye-opening documentary film from co-directors  Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and Maite Zubiaurre, AGUILAS, tells the story of the Águilas del Desierto, a group of volunteers who look for migrants who go missing crossing the border—often finding only their remains. Once a month, along the scorching southern desert border in Arizona, one group of searchers, the Aguilas del Desierto, set out to recover missing loved ones. These  volunteers comprised of construction workers, gardeners, domestic laborers by trade, carry out their solemn task. Águilas poetically lays bare the tragic reality of migrant death by venturing deep into the wilderness of the borderlands. Co-directors Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and Maite Zubiaurre join us for a conversation on this little known story of selfless service, the United States policy of deliberately funneling refugees into the most dangerous terrain along our shared border and thousand of people who’s remains are found and the thousands more who the desert will never give us back.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

For more information go to: gonella-productions.com/aguilas

For news and updates go to: aguilasdocumentary.com 

Watch now at: youtube.com/ÁGUILAS

Watch now at: newyorker.com/watch/Aquilas 

About the filmmaker – Kristy Guevara-Flanagan has been making documentary and experimental films for nearly two decades, starting with a 1999 experimental documentary about a blow-up doll. Her first feature-length film, Going on 13 (2009), covers four years in the lives of four adolescent girls; it premiered at Tribeca and was broadcast on PBS. Kristy also produced and directed several short films, including El Corrido de Cecilia Rios (1999) which chronicles the violent death of 15-year-old Cecilia Rios. It was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival and subsequently broadcast on the Sundance Channel. Her feature, Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines (2013), traces the evolution and legacy of the comic book hero Wonder Woman as a way to reflect on society’s anxieties about women’s liberation. The film garnered numerous awards, premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival and was broadcast on the PBS series Independent Lens in 2013. Her recent short,  What Happened to Her (2016) premiered at the Hot Docs Canadian Film Festival, where it  received an honorable mention for best short. What Happened to Her and her in progress feature documentary, Body Parts,continues her exploration on the themes of gender and representation.  Kristy’s work has been funded by ITVS, the Sundance Institute, the Tribeca Institute, Latino Public Broadcasting and California Humanities. She is now an Associate Professor at UCLA.

About the filmmaker – Maite Zubiaurre was born in Bogotá, Colombia, and grew up in Germany and Spain. She has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Columbia University and is a Professor in the Humanities at UCLA. Before joining UCLA, Maite taught at UT Austin, UNAM (Mexico), ITAM (México), and USC. She is the author of numerous books and articles, and has recently published a co-authored monograph on urban humanities and new practices of reimagining the city (MIT Press), and a book on the cultural uses of contemporary waste that reflects upon urban refuse and upon the archival practices of the personal belongings that migrants leave behind along the US-Mexico border (Vanderbilt UP). She is presently working on a co-authored monograph on cultural representations of migrant death at the US-Mexico border; directing a research team working on a digital “thick” map of the US-Mexico borderlands; and co-writing and co-producing a feature documentary on border art with Emmy-awarded Tijuanan film collective Dignicraft. She is co-PI and core faculty of the Mellon Urban Humanities Initiative, where she teaches border studies and Mexican cultural studies and street art, and co-PI of the Mellon Sawyer Seminar on “Sanctuary Spaces: Reworlding Humanism.” Maite Zubiaurre is also  a visual artist and collagist: under the name of Filomena Cruz she has initiated a number of artistic interventions, among them her longstanding  Venice, CA installation “The Wall that Gives/El muro que da.”

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/aguilasdoc
instagram.com/aguilasdoc
instagram.com/vaquerafilms
@aguilasdoc
@aguilasdoc
#POVonPBS 
#POVShortsPBS 
#Documentaries 
#PBS #foryourconsideration

A Broken House – Director Jimmy Goldblum

2022 Oscar© Shortlisted for Documentary Short

Jimmy Goldblum’s poignant documentary short A BROKEN HOUSE follows  Mohamad Hafez from the time he received a single-entry visa to study architecture in the United States, and his life-altering realization that if he couldn’t return home to Syria, he could make home. A skilled architectural model-maker, he spent his years in exile sculpting life-like renditions of his Damascus neighborhood. When the civil war broke out and his parents fled to the United States as refugees, Mohamad’s bottled-up frustration erupted on his models. In a fit of mania, he broke his artworks, leaving them shattered, bombed-out replicas of the Syrian buildings he saw on the news. And yet, when word of his broken pieces spread, Mohamad became an inspiration to refugees and immigrants in the diaspora who dreamed of homes that only existed in memories. ‘Hiraeth’ is a film about loss and love, responsibility and identity — about homesickness for the places to which we can no longer return. Director Jimmy Goldblum stops by to talk about the heartbreaking Hafez family saga as they navigate the shattering impact that the Syrian war has had on their country, community and their fracturing family.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

For more go to: jimgoldblum.com/abrokenhouse

For news and screening go to: a broken.house

Also available at: pbs.org/pov/a-broken-house

Check out all of the shortlisted films at: oscars.org/94th-shortlisted

About the filmmaker – Jimmy Goldblum (d.g.a.) is an Emmy Award-winning Director & Producer based in Altadena, CA. He recently directed the pilot of “Unsolved Mysteries,” the reimagining of the 80s cult series; produced by 21 Laps (“Stranger Things”), “Unsolved” spent its first 10 days on Netflix as the most watched series in the world. He also directed an episode of the Apple+ / A24 series, “HOME;” and directed episodes of the critically acclaimed documentary series, “Chef’s Table” for Netflix (IDA Winner – “Best Documentary Series”). He had previously directed and produced Tomorrow We Disappear, a feature documentary about India’s last colony of magicians, acrobats, and puppeteers. It premiered in competition at the Tribeca Film Festival, and IndieWire listed it as one of the “20 Best Documentaries of 2014.” Jimmy’s short documentary, “A Broken House,” premiered at at Academy-qualifying festivals Hot Docs, Hamptons Film Festival, and Aspens ShortFest, and is being released in 2021. It won Best Short Documentary at Salem Film Festival.  His interactive documentary for the Pulitzer Center, “Live Hope Love,” a poetic exploration of the HIV crisis in the Caribbean, won an Emmy for “New Approaches to Documentary” and a Webby for “Best Art Website.”

SOCIAL MEDIA
instagram.com/abrokenhouse
instagram.com/jimmygoldblum
instagram.com/povdocs
instagram.com/newyorkermag

Day of Rage – Co-producer Malachy Browne (David Botti)

2022 Oscar© Shortlisted for Documentary Short

DAY OF RAGE chronicles the January 6, 2020 attack on the United States Capitol,  arguably the most widely documented act of political violence in history. During a six-month investigation The New York Times obtained analyzed and mapped out thousands of hours of video to provide the most complete account of the Capitol riot to date. DAY OF RAGE charts in chilling detail how the peaceful transition of power was disrupted by rioters who stormed a seemingly impenetrable seat of government. Viewers gain critical insights into the character and motivation of the rioters by experiencing the day through their cellphone videos police body cameras surveillance footage inside the Capitol and the internal radio recordings detailing how the officers responded. Co-producer Malachy Browne (David Botti) joins us to talk about the methodical way in which a large team of New York Times reporters, social media experts and investigators, from the newspaper’s Visual Investigations Unit, pieced together this harrowing and eye-opening account of the attack on the our nation’s Capital and it’s intended objective, to sabotage the will of the American people by negating the results of a freely decided election through violence and lend support to the efforts of a major political party’s plan of organized sedition.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

Watch at: youtube.com/Day of Rage

The New York Times Visual Investigations site

Sign up for The New York Times Visual Investigations newsletter

2022 Oscar© Shortlisted for Documentary Short

Shortlisted – IDA Documentary Awards – Best Short

SOCIAL MEDIA
twitter.com/dayofrage
twitter.com/malachybrowne
twitter.com/bottidavid
@DayOfRage
#January6

Lead Me Home – Director Jon Shenk and Pedro Kos

2022 Oscar© Shortlisted for Documentary Short

Collaborating as co-directors award winning filmmakers Pedro Kos and Jon Shenk bring us into the multi-faceted homelessness crisis in the documentary LEAD ME HOME. In this world tents become bedrooms; trucks become washrooms; parks become kitchens, love occurs, as does strife and violence. People make homes for themselves wherever they end up. The pair set out to depict the stories of people living on the street who, were it not for a vast set of unfortunate circumstances—addiction, mental illness, sexual abuse, homophobia, healthcare costs, disability—would be living no differently from those sleeping comfortably mere blocks or even just floors away. In the shadow of boundless real estate development proliferating in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle, Kos and Shenk filmed the daily lives of more than two dozen subjects over three years to provide a slice-of-life portrayal of what  it’s like to experience homelessness in America today. Conceived as a two-part visual symphony shot in distinct production periods, the film opens a window into a parallel world hiding in plain sight and challenges the audience to feel the scale, scope and diversity of unsheltered America. Lead Me Home marks the first time Emmy winners Pedro Kos and Jon Shenk have co-directed together and is a co-production of Netflix and Actual Films, produced by Bonni Cohen, Serin Marshall and Richard Berge.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

Available on Netflix

For news and updates go to: leadmehomefilm.com

To learn more aboout th issue go to: leadmehomefilm.com/learn

Turn knowledge into action: leadmehomefilm.com/community-resources

About the filmmaker – Co-Director Pedro Kos’ latest documentary feature film REBEL HEARTS, which he directed, wrote, and edited premiered in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and is being released worldwide by Discovery+ in the summer of 2021. Prior to that he wrote and produced Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer’s Netflix Original Documentary THE GREAT HACK which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for a BAFTA award. His feature directorial debut BENDING THE ARC (co-directed with Kief Davidson) premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Previously, he edited Jehane Noujaim’s Academy Award nominee THE SQUARE which earned Pedro an Emmy Award for Best Editing for a Non-Fiction program, Lucy Walker’s Academy Award nominee WASTE LAND and THE CRASH REEL (2013 SXSW Film Festival Audience Award winner), Jon Shenk’s THE ISLAND PRESIDENT (2011 TIFF Documentary People’s Choice Award winner) among others. Pedro is from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and received his B.A. in Theater Directing from Yale University.

About the filmmaker – Co-Director Jon Shenk has been directing and shooting documentaries for 25 years. His most recent film, LEAD ME HOME (co-directed with Pedro Kos) tackles the crisis of homelessness in the United States. Prior to that, he photographed and co-directed three films with his partner, Bonni Cohen: ATHLETE A (Netflix), AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER (Participant Media/Paramount), and AUDRIE & DAISY (Netflix). His past films also include THE ISLAND PRESIDENT, LOST BOYS OF SUDAN, BLAME SOMEBODY ELSE, and THE BEGINNING. For his work, Jon has won the Independent Spirit Award, IDA’s Pare Lorentz Award, the Peabody Award, a Grierson Award, a Critics Choice Award, and two Emmy Awards. He served as Director of Photography for the 2008 Academy Award-winning SMILE PINKI.

SOCIAL MEDIA
twitter.com/LeadMeHomeFilm
twitter.com/NetflixFilm
twitter.com/jonshenk
twitter.com/Actualfilms
twitter.com/bcactual
instagram.com/leadmehome.film
@LeadMeHomeFilm
@ActualFilms
@bcactual
@jonshenk

Takeover – Director Emma Francis-Snyder

2022 Oscar© Shortlisted for Best Documentary Short

The Oscar© shortlisted documentary TAKEOVER takes a long overdue look at the true history of a nearly forgotten event through the voices of the Young Lords, a collection of politically engaged young Puerto Rican men and women.  On July 14, 1970, a group of Young Lords made history when they occupied Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx — known locally as the “Butcher Shop.”  The activists barricaded themselves inside the facility, demanding safer and more accessible health care for the community. Originally a Chicago-based street gang, the Young Lords turned to community activism, inspired by the Black Panthers and by student movements in Puerto Rico. A Young Lords chapter in New York soon formed, agitating for community control of institutions and land, as well as self-determination for Puerto Rico. Their tactics included direct action and occupations that highlighted institutional failures. Through archival footage, re-enactments and contemporary interviews, the documentary above shines a light on the Young Lords’ resistance movement and their fight for human rights. The dramatic takeover of Lincoln Hospital produced one of the first Patient’s Bill of Rights, changing patients’ relationship with hospitals and doctors nationwide. Director Emma Francis-Synder joins us to talk her own discovery regarding the impact that the Black Panther Party had on the Young Lords, the impact that they had on New York City and the Puerto Rican community, reaching out to the surviving Young Lords and why grassroot action remains the most effective way to affect positive change.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

For news and updates go to: marketroadfilms.com/takeover

Watch at: nytimes.com/TAKEOVER

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/marketroadfilms
twitter.com/MarketRoadFilms
twitter.com/Emmacfs_
twitter.com/takeoverthefilm
instagram.com/marketroadfilms
instagram.com/emmacfs_

#a23120About the filmmaker – Emma Francis-Snyder is a New York-based activist, documentary filmmaker, and archivist. With her debut film, Takeover, she is a 2020 Open Society and Ford Foundation: Just Films grantee. Francis-Snyder received support from The Gotham and was a 2017 UnionDocs Summer Fellow.

The Queen of Basketball – Director Ben Proudfoot

2022 Oscar© Shortlist for Best Documentary Short

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ben Proudfoot’s, QUEEN OF BASKETBALL, unravels the story behind one of the all-time greatest women’s basketball players. Born to African American sharecropper parents, one of eleven children, living in poverty, in the Deep South, picking cotton with her siblings in order to keep her family afloat. She learns how to play basketball in high school and less than two years after graduating she carries a little known Mississippi college, Delta State, to three consecutive Women’s national  basketball championships. She is picked to play on America’s Women’s Olympic basketball team to play in the first ever Olympic basketball tournament for women. She scores the first and second basket in women’s Olympic history. Soon after she becomes the first woman drafted (Utah Jazz) to play in the NBA. But have you ever heard of Lusia (Lucy) May Harris? Director Ben Proudfoot (Concerto is a Conversation) joins us to talk about one of the most accomplished and under-appreciated athletes who’s legacy off the court as a mother, daughter, wife and activist for equality rival her amazing athletic career as well as the happenstance that spurred Proudfoot into making this beguiling documentary.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

Watch at: nytimes.com/video/the-queen-of-basketball

* Latest News – 2022 Oscar Shortlist for Best Short Documentary

World Premiere – 2021 Tribeca Film Festival

For more news and updates go to: breakwaterstudios.com

Director’s statement – When I first googled Lucy’s name at the suggestion of a colleague and learned how she was the first and only woman officially drafted to the NBA, how she had scored the first basket in women’s Olympic history, and how, as a young Black woman from a tiny town and college in the Mississippi Delta, she led her team to three national titles in the mid-70s — I wondered how I had never heard of her, and where she was today.And when I had the opportunity to visit with her at her home in Mississippi, it became clear that Lucy’s story was much more than just a basketball story, and Lucy far more than an elite athlete and pioneer, but a gifted and open storyteller with a clarion memory.We were having great trouble finding photos and especially film of Lucy playing (How strange, I thought!), until I walked into the Delta State University Archives to pick up a single reel of 16mm film, apparently the only remaining footage of the great Lucy Harris that they had. I was met by a friendly archivist. As I was signing the paperwork to borrow the film so we could scan it, I offhandedly prodded, as a documentary filmmaker often does, “So this is all you have of Lucy, huh? No other photos or tapes or anything?” The archivist cocked her head and her eyes showed confusion. “Uh, no, there’s more.” My pen stopped involuntarily, and I turned my head. “Oh?” I asked. “Yes,” she said, “there’s a lot more.”From dozens of uncatalogued bankers boxes in the back corner of the DSU vault, our team digitized nearly ten thousand film negatives and sixteen thousand feet of film, nothing short of a documentary treasure that had laid in waiting for nearly half a century. The visual legacy of Lusia “Lucy” Harris, as told from memory in her own voice, painted a portrait of one of the most important American athletes of the 20th century. – Ben Proudfoot

About the filmmaker – Ben Proudfoot is the Oscar® nominated creative force behind Breakwater Studios. Dedicated to the art of the short documentary, the studio’s work has been recognized by the Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca, Hot Docs, The Emmys, The Webbys, James Beard Foundation, and Telluride among others. His recent film A Concerto is a Conversation, co-directed by Kris Bowers and executive produced by Ava DuVernay, debuted at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, was released by The New York Times Op-Docs, and received an Academy Award® nomination for Best Documentary Short Subject. Proudfoot was named one of Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30” for his leadership and innovation in the brand-funded documentary space. He hails from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is a graduate of the University of Southern California. Proudfoot is an accomplished sleight-of-hand magician and has performed at The Magic Castle in Los Angeles. For more: breakwaterstudios.com

SOCIAL MEDIA
twitter.com/bgproudfoot
twitter.com/breakwaterstud
twitter.com/SHAQ
instagram.com/queen_of_basketball_film
instagram.com/bgproudfoot
instagram.com/lusiaharris
instagram.com/shaq
instagram.com/breakwaterstudios
#QueenOfBasketball
#TheGOATYouNeverHeardOf

 

The Sleeping Negro – Director Skinner Myers

Skinner Myers’ debut feature film THE SLEEPING NEGRO Confronted with a series of racially charged incidents, a young black man must overcome rage, alienation, and hopelessness in order to find his own humanity. The young black man, simply identified as “Man,” must resolve the personal meaning of his blackness when his white boss orders him to commit fraud to benefit the corporation. Struggling with an overwhelming sense of shame for going through with the illegal demand, Man seeks consolation by discussing his unease with a black former friend and his white fiancé. In the aftermath of these confusing, frustrating and maddening interactions, Man realizes he’s been looking at his life through the wrong lens. Following on the footsteps of the LA Rebellion filmmakers, Charles Burnett (The Killer of Sheep) and Billy Woodberry (Bless Their Little Hearts), director Skinner Myers tells a very personal and intimate Black story in a radically non-traditional cinematic style as a means to express freely his feelings as a Black man in America. Director, co-producer, writer and lead actor Skinner Myers joins us for a conversation on the production challenges of a filming in Los Angeles on a micro-budget, juggling the responsibilities in front and behind the camera and the significance of author / provocateur James Baldwin.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

For news and updates go to: thesleepingnegro.com

For more go to: skinnermyers.com

Director’s Statement – I have constantly battled with the rage that has accompanied my experiences of surviving as a Black individual in America as well as in the rest of the world. I’ve sought to deal with that rage through my creative work, whether it be in my music, photography, acting or filmmaking. I became tired of repeatedly being informed that my art didn’t conform to what was profitable. I took all the irritation and rage that had built up up over the years and wrote this film. I wanted to find a creative way to work through my struggles. Thus, was born THE SLEEPING NEGRO. My objective with this film was threefold: I wanted to make a film that echoed my personal journey as a black man/artist; I wanted to poke the bear of White Supremacy while scrutinizing the mental gymnastics that Blacks have to perform in order to keep from going insane under such a system; and I wanted to show how the transactional nature of capitalism exploits and destroys black lives. I love surreal cinema because I feel it yields a space for work that doesn’t fit into the status quo. My intention was to visually call upon the work of filmmakers like Andrei Tarkovsky, Djibril Diop Mambety, Steve McQueen, Mahamat Saleh Haroun, Billy Woodberry, and Alexandro Jodorowsky. The style of THE SLEEPING NEGRO is dramatic surrealism, and it visualizes how my black mind processes what happens to me and around me as I go through this thing called life. To say this film was a challenge to create would be an understatement. I started shooting with only a small amount of cash in my pocket. My thought was that I would use the footage as a teaser to raise the rest of the funds to finish the film. I never used the footage as a teaser, but I raised money in spurts over a three-month stretch. It was tough to keep everything organized given everyone’s schedule, but we pulled it off. When it was all said and done, we spent nine half-days shooting THE SLEEPING NEGRO. My goal with this project is that it will provoke individuals to reexamine their perspective on the world. I hope you enjoy THE SLEEPING NEGRO.  – Skinner Myers 

About the filmmaker – Writer / Director Skinner Myers is an award-winning filmmaker who currently resides in Los Angeles, California. Skinner wrote and directed four short films: CHIMERA, THE LAST SUPPER, OBSCURED, and NIGGER, while studying film at USC School of Cinematic Arts. His sixth film, LA TIERRA DEL EXODO, played in over 90 festivals worldwide and garnered a ton of awards and Best Screenplay, and Best Short Film. His film, FRANK EMBREE, took home the Grand Jury Award at Hollyshorts Film Festival and was in the Oscar competition for Best Short Live Action. His film, NIGHTMARES BY THE SEA, premiered at the Art Film Festival in Cannes and his ninth film is still on the festival circuit. His feature film debut, THE SLEEPING NEGRO, will have its World Premiere at the 2021 Slamdance Film Festival in Joshua Tree, California. Myers has studied at Columbia, Brooklyn College, the USC School of Cinematic Arts and is currently pursuing a PhD in Film Philosophy from the University of Amsterdam. For more go to: skinnermyers.com

SOCIAL MEDIA
twitter.com/TSNFilm_
instagram.com/thesleepingnegrofilm
instagram.com/explore/tags/skinnermyers
@TSNFilm_

100% on Rotten Tomatoes 

“Myers’ brisk film is more monologue than movie, but undeniably essential in jolting everyone out of the collective complacency induced by the false perception of progress for all in this country.” – Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times

“A superb character study of a black man, how he sees himself and how he was treated by society, it is surreal yet real and terrifying.” – Ulkar Alakbarova, moviemovesme.com

“Myers suggests we are all corruptible by a white man in a high tower but ends with a slightly more human slant and a reminder that all actions come with consequences.” – Michael J. Casey, Michael J. Cinema

“Skinner Myers effectively presents the issues so that the collective, global “we” must stop, ask questions, and wrestle with a very complicated problem.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat

“Though often abstract in its imagery, the film’s blistering commentary remains firmly rooted in our present reality.” – Mark Hanson, Slant Magazine

“Remaining asleep to Myers as an African-American is a sin, but so is to be completely awake to the point where love for the self is all but embraced. In this impassioned, vigorous, lucid cinematic journey, the bleak, bruised-yet-fighting spirit of one Kendrick Lamar’s and every other prominent African artist strikes like lightning, and resonates like thunder. Like the greats, Myers, is a voice in his lane to place one’s focus on; his artistry effortlessly commanding, a feat implying many more to be accomplished in a budding career in American independent filmmaking”  – LOUIE BAHAROM, cinephiliaph.wordpress.com

The Super Bob Einstein Movie – Director Danny Gold

From the team behind HBO’s “If You’re Not In The Obit, Eat Breakfast” and “The Bronx, USA” HBO’s THE SUPER BOB EINSTEIN MOVIE celebrates the life and legacy of the late actor, writer and producer Bob Einstein. Written, produced, and directed by Danny Gold, THE SUPER BOB EINSTEIN MOVIE features some of Einstein’s greatest comedic contributions, including his iconic alter-ego Super Dave Osborne, his work both behind and in front of the camera on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” and his defining role as the unforgettable Marty Funkhouser on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” THE SUPER BOB EINSTEIN MOVIE explores Einstein’s unlikely discovery and enduring career, sharing the many evolving layers of Einstein’s comedy from the people that knew him best including comedic peers, Larry David, Cheryl Hines, Susie Essman, Jimmy Kimmel, Norman Lear, David Letterman, Steve Martin, Rob Reiner, Jerry Seinfeld, and Sarah Silverman, as well as many additional friends & family members. Director and producer Danny Gold joins us to talk about one of the most revered comedic talents in the history of television and the brother of another comedic genius, Albert Brooks.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

Watch at: hbo.com/movies

About the filmmaker –  Danny Gold is a seasoned director, producer, and writer with expertise in developing, producing and directing original material across multiple platforms including television, new media, feature films and theater. Danny has produced and directed projects for the History Channel, MTV, ABC Family (now Freeform), and HBO as well as Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros., Sony, Dreamworks, The Weinstein Company and Disney. He also has extensive background in feature films including developing and Executive Producing the “Agent Cody Banks” franchise for MGM. Danny co-directed the award winning feature documentary “100 Voices: A Journey Home”. Danny’s previous directorial effort, “If You’re Not In The Obit, Eat Breakfast”, starring Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Dick Van Dyke, Norman Lear, Kirk Douglas, Betty White, Tony Bennett and Jerry Seinfeld. Danny Gold is a member of the Directors Guild of America. The Super Bob Einstein Movie features a number of interviews with Einstein’s comedian peers including Larry David, Cheryl Hines, Susie Essman, Jimmy Kimmel, Norman Lear, David Letterman, Steve Martin, Rob Reiner, Jerry Seinfeld, and Sarah Silverman, as well as many additional friends & family members. The Super Bob Einstein Movie will be airing on HBO beginning Tuesday, December 28.mod3productions.com

SOCIAL MEDIA
twitter.com/REELDEEL
twitter.com/HBO
twitter.com/HBOMax
twitter.com/HBODocs
instagram.com/hbomax
instagram.com/hbo
#SuperBobEinstein
@HBODocs
#HBODocs

The Novice – Director Lauren Hadaway

In Lauren Hadaway’s award-winning feature film debut, THE NOVICE, Isabelle Fuhrman plays Alex Dall, a queer college freshman who joins her university’s rowing team and undertakes an obsessive physical and psychological journey to make it to the top varsity boat, no matter the cost. Intent on outperforming her teammates, Alex pushes herself to her limits—and beyond, alienating everyone around her in the name of success. Furhman’s fierce lead performance collides with Lauren Hadaway’s bold direction and dynamic editing, creating a visceral window into a cutthroat world. THE NOVICE’s stylish cinematography and a seductive soundtrack complete the experience, evoking the romance and danger of falling in love; the attraction, the drama and the fallout. This unapologetic debut from Hadaway, based on her personal experience as a competitive collegiate rower, heralds a bold new voice in storytelling. Inspired by her own experience nearly destroying herself while rowing competitively in college, THE NOVICE is a thrilling take on the coming-of-age story, starring Isabelle Fuhrman  (Orphan), Amy Forsyth (Beautiful Boy), and Dilone (Halston). At its Tribeca Film Festival premiere in June it won multiple awards including Best US Narrative, Best Actress, and Best Cinematography. Director / writer Lauren Hadaway joins us for a lively conversation on the lived experience of her own story and it’s impact on The Novice, her ambitious blending of soundtrack, sound design and kinetic visual look into a cohesive whole and the performances she pulled from her superb cast, led by Isabelle Fuhrman.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

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

The Novice – In Theaters and On Digital, 2021

THE NOVICE will be released by IFC on December 17

About he filmmaker – Lauren Hadaway is an LGBTQ+ writer and director with a background in sound editing and mixing. She briefly worked as a Dallas-based reality TV editor before moving to Los Angeles in 2012 to pursue a career in post-production sound. She built a career as an ADR supervisor on films including Whiplash, Justice League, The Conjuring 2, and The Hateful Eight before transitioning into writing and directing. Hadaway is a 2018 Outfest Screenwriting Lab Fellow. She is a 2018 Outfest Screenwriting Lab Fellow. At its 2021 Tribeca Film Festival premiere in June The Novice won multiple awards including Best US Narrative, Best Actress, and Best Cinematography.

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/IFC
twitter.com/IFCFilms
twitter.com/ifcmidnight
twitter.com/LaurenHadaway
twitter.com/isabellefuhrman
instagram.com/thenovicemovie
instagram.com/existentialtexan
instagram.com/isabellefur
instagram.com/ifcfilms
instagram.com/ifcmidnight
@existentialtexan
@thenovicemovie
@IFCMidnight
@IFCFilms
#ifcfilms
#TheNovice

96% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The Novice’ is an unflinching portrait of the pursuit of being best. When it’s over, you’ll question if the price owed is worth it given the hauntingly intelligent portrait.” – Murjani Rawls, Substream Magazine

“A film this raw made with such a steady, assured hand only comes along once in a while. We should take notice.” – Jourdain Searles, Hollywood Reporter

“Isabelle Fuhrman boldly pushes her troubled character to greater and greater extremes, daring the audience to recoil at the lengths this young woman will go to reach her dream.” – Tim Grierson. Screen International

“Lauren Hadaway has made a sports movie, a queer romance, a thriller, and, ultimately, a character study.” – Drew Gregory, Autostraddle

“The Novice takes a harrowing and effective look at the dark side of being an overachiever. Isabelle Fuhrman gives a noteworthy performance as a college student who finds out the hard way that winning isn’t worth it if you lose yourself in the process.” – Carla Hay, Culture Mix

AGNES – Director Mickey Reece

From the filmmakers who brought you CLIMATE OF A HUNTER, we are excited to share Mickey Reece’s new film AGNES, which will be open theatrically and on VOD starting December 10 this year. AGNES is the story of a nun’s disturbing behavior as it sparks rumors of demonic possession at a remote Roman Catholic Carmelite convent. When a priest in waiting and his disillusioned mentor are sent to investigate, their methods backfire, leaving a wake of terror and trauma.  After attempting to exorcise the dark entity from Sister Agnes, Father Benjamin and Father Donaghue realize they’re dealing with something much darker. Anchored by an array of captivating performances from Molly C. Quinn, Ben Hall, Sean Gunn, Jake Horowitz, and Chris Browning along with Agnes’ haunting images will stay with you long after the final credits. AGNES co-writer (John Selvidge) and director Mickey Reece joins us for a conversation on his expansive perspective on faith and religious dogma and how he has brilliantly subverted traditional horror story cliches with humor and humanity, turning them into something much more compelling.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

For news and updates go to: magnetreleasing.com/agnes

Theatrical screenings at: magnetreleasing.com/agnes/screenings

To watch at home: magnetreleasing.com/agnes/watch-at-home

About the filmmaker – Mickey Reece is a writer/director from Oklahoma City. His style has been self described as “people talking in rooms”. Since 2008, Oklahoma filmmaker Mickey Reece has written, directed, and produced over twenty no-budget feature films, each one a unique experiment in form, genre and aesthetic, and most of which feature the same cast of eccentric actors culled from his local arts community. The “Flyover Fassbinder’s” prolific filmography includes, Climate of the Hunter, Agnes, Belle Île, Alien, Suedehead, T-Rex. His latest film, Agnes, is being released by Magnet Releasing, a film platform of Magnolia Pictures. 

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/MagnoliaPictures
twitter.com/MagnoliaPics
twitter.com/MagnetReleasing
twitter.com/AgnesTheMovie
twitter.com/MollyQuinn93
twitter.com/omni4
instagram.com/magnoliapics
instagram.com/mickeyreece
instagram.com/agnesthemovie
instagram.com/magnetreleasing
instagram.com/mollycaitlynquinn
@MagnoliaPictures
@agnesthemovie

“The film is a thoughtful examination of the human desire for it and the accompanying hope that it may exorcise the emptiness we feel.” – Diego Semerene,

“Reece is very much an actors’ director and he draws out splendid performances from his cast in what, for all its blackly comic moments, is a gentle, thoughtful fable about faith and the role it plays in many people’s lives.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“The temptation will be to declare that Agnes is two films when really it’s just one extraordinarily clever, unimpeachably ethical treatise on sexual repression, spiritual isolation, and the profound loneliness that derives from it. It’s so good.” – Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central

“I can only hope that as Reece’s career progresses, he gets bigger and better budgets. His vision is certainly deserving of that, and Agnes is just more proof in the pudding.” – Lorry Kikta, Film Threat

“Agnes is … a drama of isolation and melancholy, and an investigation of the ways in which faith both shields us from and disguises the harsher realities of a mundane world.” – Matt Lynch, In Review Online

Explant – Director Jeremy Simmons

The eye-opening documentary, EXPLANT, examines the #1 cosmetic surgery in the world today – breast enlargement. Iconic media personality Michelle Visage (RuPaul’s Drag Race), who has had breast implants most of her adult life,  believe they are making her sick – and she’s not  alone. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of women have come forward with similar beliefs, clashing the the medical establishments claim’s that implants are completely safe. The EXPLANT follows Michelle Visage on her personal journey to have her implants removed.  It also takes a deep dive into the stranger-than-fiction history of the breast implant. From interviews with the first-ever recipient of the modern-day implant to a confession from a whistleblower, the film shows how complications and auto-immue issues have shadowed implants for decades – and why the medical establishment is reluctant to warn patients of these risks. EXPLANT is produced by World of Wonder co-founders Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey and directed by Emmy-winning filmmaker Jeremy Simmons, with executive producers Michelle Visage and David Case. Director Jeremy Simmons joins us for a conversation on the history of implants, the benefits as well as the potential medical complications, the implant manufacturers resistance to honest inquiry and obfuscation of medical research by them and the determined courage of the film’s subject, Michelle Visage, to seek out her truth regarding the impact that implants have had on her life. 

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

For news and updates go to: worldofwonder.com/explant

EXPLANT is now available at: Paramount+.com

About the filmmaker – Jeremy Simmons has created, directed, and produced over 100 hours of documentary and reality programming, including the Emmy® Award-winning documentary, The Last Beekeeper, the Sundance Channel, GLAAD award winning docu-series,  Transgeneration, and the upcoming limited series  Homemade Astronauts, a Discovery+ original about everyday people, shooting for the stars.Jeremy Simmons, the Emmy and GLAAD award winning director of World of Wonder’s subversive documentary project, EXPLANT.  The film premiered at Tribeca at Home and is set to launch on December 15.

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/jeremy.william.simmons
instagram.com/solitarycameraman
instagram.com/michellevisage

The Cannons – Co-directors Steven Hoffner & Producer AJ Messier

2021 DOCNYC – Feature Documentary

THE CANNONS is an immersive feature documentary following the day-to-day lives of Coach Neal Henderson and his team of young African American hockey players in the longest serving minority hockey program in North America, the Fort Dupont Hockey Cannons in Washington DC. The goal of the Cannons is to provide educational purpose and teach young people discipline, via sports activities, to establish self-esteem, a sense of purpose, and to offer an incentive to excel academically. THE  CANNONS chronicles one pivotal hockey season, following the lives of two Black teenage hockey players and one legendary coach, in one of America’s toughest neighborhoods: Southeast, Washington DC. Part coming of age story, part social-political commentary on the Black American experience, the film chronicles  the Fort Dupont Cannons, one of America’s only predominately Black hockey teams, as they must overcome the challenges of life on and off the ice. THE CANNONS is a story about hope; the power of sport; and the pursuit of the American Dream. Co-directors Steven Hoffner and AJ Messier join us for a conversation on the different paths that led them into the lives of Neal Henderson and the remarkable extended family of Cannons’ players, parents, supporters and alums.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

For news and screenings go to: thecannonsdocumentary.com

About Coach Neal Henderson – Mentor. Teacher. Coach. Father. Philosopher. Coach Neal is widely recognized in Washington DC as the Godfather of hockey to countless African-American youth. He is responsible for helping to foster and develop young minds as dedicated athletes and engaged students, keeping them in skates and off the streets. He’s not only recognized in his community for his accomplishments, but throughout the country as a torch bearer for the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, and most recently, as an inductee of the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 2019. Neal has volunteered over 40 years of his life to The Cannons, a legacy that has inspired others to follow in his footsteps. 

About the filmmaker – Director/Producer/Shooter/Editor Steven Matthew Hoffner is an award winning producer and director with over almost two decade’s worth of experience working in scripted, documentary, and branded content. After graduating from the University of Toronto in 2006, Steven was hired by the National Hockey League, where he worked as a Features Producer for NHL Studios, creating original documentaries and editorial features. His first half hour documentary Behind the Stripes: A Ref’s Life, debuted on the NHL Network to critical acclaim and helped pioneer the HBO 24/7 series that soon followed. While with the NHL, Steven produced sports and lifestyle content for HBO, NBC, and CBC that registered millions of views and web awards for original series such as NHL Life, Off-Season Workouts, and the Draft Profiles. In 2016 Steven created 383 Pictures and has turned his focus to developing long form scripted and unscripted television content. The feature documentary set in Washington DC titled, “The Cannons” is scheduled for release in 2021; the crime-thriller drama television series Keep Six, as well as other scripted and unscripted projects to be released in 2021 including “Live the Dream” and Georgia”.383pictures.com

About the filmmaker – Co-Director/Producer AJ Messier AJ’s career in photography took shape with his move to Toronto in 2010. As a photographer, he has done work for the NHL, the ROM, Hockey Canada, the Hockey Hall of Fame, and Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games. Some of his work has appeared in such magazines as  Macleans, Sports Illustrated, Sportsnet, the Hockey News and Stand Up Journal.  AJ has since turned his focus to directing and producing, as he co-directed and co-produced the feature documentary “The Cannons” with Steven Hoffner.

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/383pictures
twitter.com/TheCannonsDoc
twitter.com/Hoffner_Steven
instagram.com/thecannonsdocumentary
instagram.com/stevenhoffner
instagram.com/photog_in_flops
@Hoffner_Steven
@TheCannonsDoc

 

Punch 9 for Harold Washington – Director Joe Winston

2021 DOCNYC – Feature Documentary

In this epic story of American politics, race, and triumph against all odds, director Joe Winston chronicles the captivating rise, surprising reign, and enduring legacy of Chicago’s first African American Mayor, Harold Washington. Steeped in archival footage capturing a 1980s Chicago rife with corruption and discrimination, PUNCH 9 FOR HAROLD WASHINGTON features candid interviews with Rev. Jesse Jackson, David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett and others on the frontlines and in the backrooms of power as it follows the charismatic politician’s  shrewd maneuverings, stinging betrayals, and unlikely victories. Inspiring and compelling, Washington’s journey continues to resonate for a city and nation confronting the same enduring social issues. Director Joe Winston, along with producers Raymond Lambert and Sonya Jackson, premiere the first feature documentary to tell Washington’s story in a moment that could not be more timely. As racism in American politics has taken an ugly turn, while minorities and women are gaining political clout they’ve never had before, a showdown is inevitable.  While PUNCH 9 FOR HAROLD WASHINGTON is a thrilling story with unforgettable characters, it’s also a playbook for how to restore our American democracy. Director Joe Winston (What’s the Matter with Kansas, Flannery) joins us to talk about a dynamic, committed reformer, proponent of racial equity and the politician that broke the parade of corrupt, white establishment, racist, machine political hacks.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

For news and updates go to: facebook.com/Punch9HaroldWashingtonMovie

Director’s Statement – I have lived my entire life in Chicago, and I grew up in the Hyde Park neighborhood, home to the University of Chicago, and, especially at that time, truly one of the city’s most integrated neighborhoods. When Harold Washington ran for mayor in 1983, I was sixteen, and Harold lived just a few blocks from my high school. The brutal, racist campaign against Washington was an eye-opener for me; I wrote about it for the school newspaper. Later, when Harold took office, parents of friends went to work for his administration. He was a local hero; as teens, his swagger, humor and vocabulary alone were enough for us to love him. Once I was with a gaggle of friends and we crashed an event where Mayor Washington was speaking, and I shot some Super-8 movie film of him – just to capture a bit of Harold’s inimitable speaking style. The white backlash to Harold’s mayoralty was dubbed “Council Wars” by a local comedian, a term that caught on immediately. For my friends and I, this cemented the notion of a fight between Good and Evil that was unfolding daily in Chicago’s City Hall. As kids, we didn’t truly understand the machinations of Chicago politics – but we all understood racism and injustice. Years later, when Barack Obama made Chicago proud again as our nation’s first African-American President, I braced myself for the inevitable backlash. After all, I’d seen it before. So I was surprised, and frankly more than a little annoyed, by all the folks I met, mostly well-meaning white liberals, who seemed to think that America’s racial divide had been healed by Obama’s election. “Are you kidding me?” I would retort, “Don’t you remember Harold Washington?” Sure enough – once Obama took office, the very same political battles of Chicago in the 1980s erupted on the national scene. For me, it was like watching a Twilight Zone episode, a Sisyphusian struggle America was doomed to repeat. The fact that Harold was in danger of being Santa-Claus-ified, or worse, largely forgotten, impelled me to make a film about him. First, I looked around to see what was out there – there were no movies that told the story I was drawn to. The project intimidated me, though. The sheer scope of information required to understand how a big city like Chicago works, what it means to be a leader who tries to change old, corrupt ways of doing business. Could I truly do Harold justice? Did enough film, video and sound exist to tell the story? Do I have the filmmaking chops to make an exciting movie about city council meetings? Once Obama left office – for a successor determined to erase his accomplishments – we all noticed a sea change in how our film proposal was received. No one missed the national and present-day implications of Harold Washington’s story. As with many projects like this one, “Punch 9” has been years in the making. Not only did we have raise the money, everyone’s least favorite part of independent documentaries, but we also had to track down enough news and documentary footage, still photos, newspapers, radio programs, even a “Honkies For Harold” button, to find what we needed to tell Washington’s story. – Joe Winston

About the filmmaker – Winston has worked as an editor, producer, and director for more than 25 years. He produced and directed “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” which Roger Ebert named as one of the Ten Best Documentaries of 2009. He edited “Flannery,” winner of the 2020 Ken Burns Prize, which debuted on American Masters in 2021. In 2013, he field produced “Citizen Koch,” which was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. 

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/Punch9HaroldWashingtonMovie
instagram.com/joewinston4778
instagram.com/explore/tags/punch9forharoldwashington
#Punch9

 

Storm Lake – Co-directors Jerry Risius and Betty Levison

In this eye-opening look into decline and the importance of small town journalism, Storm Lake follows Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Art Cullen and his family as they fight to unite and inform their Iowan farming community through their biweekly newspaper, The Storm Lake Times—come hell or pandemic. Dark clouds hang over the cornfields of Storm Lake, Iowa, which has seen its fair share of change in the 40 years since Big Agriculture came to town. Farmers blow their life savings on new equipment they hope will keep their livelihoods intact. Migrant workers flock here—welcome and not—for their slice of the American Dream. The people of Storm Lake confront a changing and precarious existence. Enter: Art Cullen and his family members who deliver local news and editorials on a shoestring budget for their 3,000 readers. This paper means a fighting chance for their beloved hometown, and by hook or by crook, they’ll make the most of it. There’s simply too much at stake. Co-directors Jerry Risius and Betty Levison and Storm Lake Times Editor-in-Chief Art Cullen join us for a conversation on the decline of local news, quantifiably and qualitatively, why it matters and why Art Cullen and his family’s business are the lynch-pin of a functioning democracy.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

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

About the filmmaker – Jerry Risius, Director, Director of Photography – With over 25 years experience as DP on such projects as The Kingmaker (Toronto Int’l Film Festival 2019),  Generation Wealth (Sundance 2018), Seeing Allred (Sundance 2018/Netflix), Brave New Voices (HBO 2009), The Devil Came on Horseback (Sundance 2007), and more recently, as a Field Producer/DP on Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and Parts Unknown series, Brooklyn-based Jerry Risius grew up on a hog farm about an hour from Storm Lake and brings a depth of filmmaking experience along with a local perspective that very few can. Jrisius.com.

About the filmmaker – Beth Levison is an Emmy- and Peabody-winning producer/director based in NYC. Her most recent producing efforts include Women in Blue (Tribeca  Film Festival 2020/Independent Lens) and Emmy-nominated Made in Boise (AFI DOCS 2019/Independent Lens). Previous producing credits include 32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide (HBO 2017), Emmy-nominated  Personal Statement (PBS 2018), and her independent directorial / producing debut, Lemon  (PBS 2011). Beth is the founder of Hazel Pictures, a co-founder of the Documentary Producers Alliance (DPA), producing faculty with the School of Visual Arts (SVA), and a member of AMPAS. Hazelpictures.com

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/StormLakeMovie
facebook.com/TheStormLakeTimes
twitter.com/stormlakemovie
twitter.com/SLTimes
instagram.com/stormlakemovie
instagram.com/beth_lev
instagram.com/hazelpicturesny
@StormLakeMovie
@SLTimes
@itvsindies
@beth_lev
@independentlens
#StormLake
#StormLakePBS
#Pulitzer
#ArtCullen
#LizGilman

 

88% on Rotten Tomatoes

“STORM LAKE is an elegiac heartland portrait…colored by the hope of endurance, both for the newspaper and the community it represents.”” – The Hollywood Reporter

“Jerry Risius and Beth Levison’s warm and biting profile of the editorial team that puts out The Storm Lake Times stirs up hope that small local newspapers, and journalism itself, can survive.” – The Boston Globe

“Beth Levison and Jerry Risius’s profound documentary is simultaneously a love letter to and a eulogy for local news—even more than that, it’s a sincere inquiry into the meaning of community and the role played by the dissemination of information in holding together further distabled societal connections. I laughed out loud at times and tearfully celebrated and mourned this endangered medium.” – Chicago Reader

“STORM LAKE reminds us that we cannot be complacent. We cannot take democracy for granted. And local reporting is a mainstay of an informed citizenry and therefore democracy.” – Des Moines Register

The Slow Hustle – Director Sonja Sohn

From director Sonja Sohn (Baltimore Rising) tar of HBO’s The Wire, comes THE SLOW HUSTLE, an American tale of how the culture of corruption penetrates the system at every level, destroying lives, as ordinary citizens, hardworking local journalists, and a few rebellious public servants endeavor to pick up the pieces. When Baltimore police detective Sean Suiter is shot and killed on duty the day before he is scheduled to testify before a federal grand jury, a mystery unravels that raises questions about what story he was going to tell about his fellow officers. The infamously corrupt Gun Trace Task Force is the focus of an investigation that exposes members of an elite task force as a criminal gang and that proves to be one of the dirtiest police units in US history. THE SLOW HUSTLE follows Detective Suiter’s widow and children as they work to uncover clues and hold the Baltimore Police Department and City Hall accountable. Meanwhile dogged journalists strive to crack the case, including D. Watkins, author of We Speak for Ourselves: How Woke Culture Prohibits Progress, and Justin Fenton, author of We Own This City: A True Story of Crime, Cops, and Corruption. At the vortex lies Detective Sean Suiter, with the conflicting theories of his death and the complexities of his life, creating a dizzying portrait of the human challenges of modern policing in the age of rising violent crime and police. Director Sonja Sohn joins us to talk about how the death of Detective Sean Suiter’s unsolved death has affected the lives of the Suiter family and the corrosive impact that the scandal has had on the Baltimore Police Department, and the standing of Baltimore’s political establishment.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

To find out more go to: hbo.com/movies/the-slow-hustle

The Slow Hustle premieres on HBO December 7

Backstory – Directed by Sonja Sohn of Baltimore Rising and HBO’s The Wire, The Slow Hustle is a searing inside look at one of the country’s most corrupt police departments in Baltimore, MD, through the story of a respected, veteran police officer’s mysterious death and the efforts of local journalists, family members and activists to find answers. The film is a captivating and poignant commentary on the state of our criminal justice system and the lengths a community will go to uncover the truth. Coming after the heavily covered BLM protests last year ignited from the unfortunate murders of individuals like Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Ahmaud Aubery, the documentary is a much-needed analysis of the rampant corruption present in local police departments and how that history has disproportionately affected marginalized communities. After Baltimore Police Detective Sean Suiter is killed in the line of duty, the tragedy soon becomes enmeshed in a widening corruption scandal that threatens to unravel the public’s already strained relationship with law enforcement. Directed by Sonja Sohn of Baltimore Rising and HBO’s The Wire, The Slow Hustle is a searing inside look at one of the country’s most corrupt police departments.

About the filmmaker – Director / Producer / Writer / Actor Sonja Sohn started as a slam poet. While performing her work on stage, she was spotted by producer Marc Levin who offered her a role in his film Slam. She also wrote lyrics and co-wrote the script for the film. Slam went on to win the Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic Film at the Sundance Film Festival. After debuting in Slam, Sohn appeared in minor roles in films such as Shaft and Bringing Out the Dead. She also starred in independent films PerfumeG and The Killing Zone. Through the five seasons of the HBO series The Wire, she held a starring role as Detective Kima Greggs. She struggled during the first season of The Wire and considered quitting as she had trouble recalling her lines. She has also guest-starred on many episodes of Cold Case as “Toni Halstead”. She won the supporting television actress award at the 2008 Asian Excellence Awards for her character on The Wire. Sohn made her directorial debut with the 2017 HBO documentary Baltimore Rising about the 2015 Baltimore protests and community organizing that arose in response to police violence.

SOCIAL MEDIA
twitter.com/SonjaSohn
twitter.com/HBO
twitter.com/HBOMax
twitter.com/HBODocs
instagram.com/sonjasohn
instagram.com/hbomax
instagram.com/hbo
@HBODocs
@SonjaSohn
#theslowhustle
#HBODocs

The Murders at Starved Rock – Director Jody McVeigh-Schultz

THE MURDERS AT STARVED ROCK explores this 60-year-old murder mystery. The convicted killer, Chester Weger, maintains his innocence after sixty years in prison and seeks exoneration. Haunted by the murders in his hometown, David Raccuglia has spent the last 15 years delving into the case files, convinced that the whole truth has yet to be uncovered. As a child growing up in LaSalle, David lived in fear of Weger, who was characterized as the local “bogeyman.” Further complicating David’s search for answers is the role his own father played in the trial; Anthony Raccuglia was the determined, young prosecutor who put Weger behind bars, believing steadfastly in his guilt. With a complicated father/son relationship at its core, THE MURDERS AT STARVED ROCK traces a twisting path of inconsistencies, cover-ups and lies, unearthing new clues and potential suspects while questioning the very nature and reliability of memory. At the heart of THE MURDERS AT STARVED ROCK is David’s tension-filled interview with his late father that speaks to the divisive feelings that the case still engenders. Hard-boiled investigators, local reporters, family members and eccentric townsfolk, each with their own theories, also lend their insight to the series and a wealth of archival materials transports us back to 1960. Several interviews with Weger himself reveal a sympathetic man steadfast in his claims of innocence, but is he an unreliable narrator of his own story? Director Jody McVeigh-Schultz (McMillion$, Drunk History, Last Chance U) joins us for a conversation on the fascinating trajectory of this thoroughly engaging docu-series, the wide-ranging reaction to the murders from the people living in LaSalle, the impact that David’s film project has had on his own family and the ambiguity that continues to shadow this tragic tale.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

For news and updates go to: hbo.com/murders-at-starved-rock

HBO documentary series, THE MURDERS AT STARVED ROCK debuts with the first two episodes back-to-back TUESDAY, DECEMBER 14 (8:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT) and concludes with the final episode Wednesday, December 15 at (8:00-9:00 p.m. ET/PT). From the producers of “McMillion$,” the three-part documentary series will air on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.

About the filmmaker – Jody McVeigh-Schultz was raised near Philadelphia and attended USC to study Film/TV Production. In 2021 he directed and co-executive-produced HBO’s three-part documentary series The Murders at Starved Rock. He’s been nominated for three Emmys for his editing on HBO’s McMillion$ and Comedy Central’s Drunk History. He’s also known for his work on Netflix series Last Chance U (which he also co-produced), Last Chance U: Basketball, Cheer, Exhibit A, animated comedy Big Mouth, and Howard Zinn’s feature documentary The People Speak. In 2016, Gravitas Ventures released his writing and directing debut, narrative feature, Echo Lake, which won “Best Director” and “Best Film” in its festival run. For more go to: chodyms.portfoliobox.net

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/jodymcvs
twitter.com/HBODocs
instagram.com/HBOMax
instagram.com/HBO

The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses – Co-directors Steven Latham and Conrad Stanley

THE MUSTANGS: AMERICA’S WILD HORSES takes audiences on an odyssey throughout America to places few people have seen or even know about. There are more than 80,000 wild horses on our public lands and more than 50,000 in government corrals.  THE MUSTANGS also shines a spotlight on the work of Operation Wild Horse, an organization, that pairs mustangs and veterans with PTSD.  Centered around the history and current situation of these American icons, the film’s soundtrack features American musical stars including Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris. The original song “Never Gonna Tame You,” is performed by Platinum-selling artist Blanco Brown and written by legendary songwriter Diane Warren, a 12-time Oscar® nominee and GRAMMY®, Emmy® and two-time Golden Globe® award winner. THE MUSTANGS: AMERICA’S WILD HORSES is an amazing story about America’s wild horses from their turbulent history to their uncertain future. Co-directors Steven Latham and Conrad Stanley join us for a conversation on these iconic American animals, how close they came to extinction, the heroic efforts of a housewife / farmer from Nevada literally changed the fate of these magnificent creatures and the amazing production team that includes Robert Redford, Patti Scialfa Springsteen and USA Olympic Equestrian Silver Medalist Jessica Springsteen.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

For news and updates go to: themustangsfilm.com

Ways to watch: VUDUAmazon PrimeApple TVGoogle Playvimeo

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/TheMustangsFilm
twitter.com/TheMustangsFilm
@TheMustangsFilm
#PattiScialfa
#JessicaSpringsteen
#RobertRedford
#WildHorses

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“A lovely, essential portrait that’s also a little dull. It sometimes feels more like a promotional film than penetrating documentary.” – Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times

“The film’s production quality is rich with dazzling visuals of desert landscapes and mustangs galloping across the plains, making The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses a delight to watch.” – Jordan Elizabeth, Common Sense Media

“An engrossing documentary introduces the viewer to these free souls whose existence is in peril.” – Jeanne Kaplan, Kaplan vs. Kaplan

“A friendly, lyrical, and stirring documentary…” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

The Great Balloon Bomb Invasion – Director Stuart Chait

The Great Balloon Bomb Invasion challenges what most Americans were taught that the United States mainland was not attacked during WWII. But it was. Between 1944 and 1945, the Japanese launched more than 9000 bomb-rigged balloons across the Pacific, resulting in tragic deaths in Oregon. These lethal “Fu-Go” bombs reached as far east as Indiana and as far south as Texas…but only 300 have ever been found, leaving potentially thousands of deadly bombs scattered across the US. For the first time ever, an investigation is  launched into  the hidden history of this attack, with a high-tech hunt for the unexploded remnants. Director / producer / filmmaker  Stuart Chait, (Lost Gold, 10 Things You Don’t Know About) making his feature directorial debut with The Great Balloon Bomb Invasion joins us for a conversation on how he came to know about this little know story and why a small band of dedicated bomb sleuths are actively trying to track down these very dangerous World War II “artifacts”.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

The Great Balloon Bomb Invasion is now streaming on discover+

About the filmmaker – Born and raised in Rochester, New York, Stuart Chait is a writer, producer, and director based in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of Boston University’s Film and Television Program, as well as its Playwriting Program. He has worked on top documentary television programs for History, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and Travel Channel – including The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents, covering the entire legacy of the U.S. Presidency, and the innovative history series 10 Things You Don’t Know About, with punk rock icon Henry Rollins.

SOCIAL MEDIA
twitter.com/discoveryplus
instagram.com/discoveryplus
#greatballoonbombinvasion
#discoveryplus

The Rise and Fall of Lularoe – Producer Stephanie McNeal

This eye-opening, revealing new documentary, THE RISE AND FALL OF LULAROE, pulls the curtain back on Mark Stidham and DeAnne Brady’s multi-level marketing company through interviews with retailers, warehouse workers, designers and others. Through a partnership with BuzzFeed Studios and journalist Stephanie McNeal’s in-depth investigation, THE RISE AND FALL OF LULAROE uncovers parts of the story that haven’t been heard before, including recent developments and first hand accounts from sources who are speaking out for the first time. The film shines a light on present day LuLaRoe at the company’s most recent incentive trip in Cancun, Mexico called LuLaRoe D.R.E.A.M 2021. Here, we meet LuLaRoe’s first ever retailer and see that the company is still going strong, despite the growing community of Facebook activists, including former customers and  retailers, who are determined to stop at nothing to take down the organization. Experts in the documentary reflect on how LuLaRoe seduced thousands of recruits, some of whom ended up risking their homes, their bank accounts, and their relationships with close family and friends – all in an effort to be their own boss by selling LuLaRoe leggings. THE RISE AND FALL OF LULAROE explores the  psychological techniques used by multi-level marketers, and how the company harnessed the full power of social media to onboard a massive pool of retailers. Senior culture writer for BuzzFeed News and consulting producer, Stephanie McNeal joins us to talk about her long-time interested in the general subject of multi-level marketing and her specific interest in LuLaRoe and the impact it has had on the lives of thousands of retailers, warehouse workers, designers and others.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

For more about The Rise and Fall of Laluroe go to: discoveryplus.com

The film will world premiere December 13th on discovery+, the definitive non-fiction, real-life subscription streaming service.

Producer Statement – As a senior culture writer and reporter at BuzzFeed News, I specialize in covering internet culture, the influencers and creators who shape it, viral trends, pop culture, how social media impacts our IRL world. I also write a newsletter about influencer culture, which you can subscribe to here. I am also active on Instagram, where I provide daily updates and commentary on the latest happenings in the influencer world and other musings about pop culture. I have covered LuLaRoe since the first class-action lawsuit in 2017, publishing a 10,000-word feature in 2020 that is the basis for the documentary on Discovery Plus, to be released December 2021. I served as a consulting producer on the film, and appeared in at as an expert. A highlight of 2021 for me has been participating in a documentary film, The Rise and Fall of LuLaRoe, based on a 10,000-word feature I wrote for BuzzFeed News in 2020. I served as a consulting producer and appeared in the film (for more information, click the page above.) I am represented by Leila Campoli at Stonesong Literary Agency. On my website you can find examples of some of my favorite things I have done recently. – Stephanie McNeal

Examples of Stephanie McNeal’s LuLaRoe reporting

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/discoveryplus
twitter.com/discoveryplus
twitter.com/stephemcneal
instagram.com/discoveryplus
instagram.com/stephemcneal
instagram.com/buzzfeed.studios
@BuzzFeedNews
@discoveryplus
#TheRiseAndFallOfLuLaRoe

The Feast – Director Lee Haven Jones

THE FEAST seamlessly drops us into a family gathering at their lavish contemporary home made of glass and steel in the Welsh mountains. The matriarch is hosting a dinner party with her politician husband on behalf of a businessman hoping to buy land in the area for mineral mining. Unbeknown to them the owners of a neighboring farm are the only other guests and will be charmed into selling parcels of their farmland. The family’s two adult sons are reluctant dinner party guests. One is a London hipster struggling with addiction issues and the other is a doctor training for an ironman event. The family’s values and beliefs are challenged by the arrival of the young woman, Cadi, they have hired to act as waitress for the evening.  Her presence forces the characters to face their shortcomings and question their relationship with the land they claim to belong to. Cadi’s influence grows in strength and the family’s behavior becomes increasingly extreme until they face the horror of what they represent and tragedy changes everything forever. Director Lee Haven Jones (DOCTOR WHO, THE BAY, VERA) joins us for a conversation on the inspiration for THE FEAST, the use of the native language in telling the story, the significance of Welsh folklore in connecting people to their land and culture.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

For news and updates go to: fcfilms.com/films/the-feast

Director’s statement – On the face of it THE FEAST is a supernatural revenge horror that delivers all the thrills and spills that audiences expect of a genre film – the relentless slow burn of intrigue and suspense, the blood and gore. But as a cinematic piece it also functions on the level of parable. An allegory of sorts, it is a contemporary morality tale about the importance of being true to yourself and your community, and offers a stark warning against the consequences of greed and avarice. Rooted in the potent mythical tales of Wales where women are made of flowers and transform into animals, the film is singularly Welsh in tone but also universal in theme. Elucidating what Camille Paglia would refer to as the age-old battle between Culture and Nature, the film charts the struggle between those values that give structure and form to the world that Glenda and Gwyn inhabit – society, wealth, progress – and the indiscriminate forces of nature as embodied by Cadi that challenge this world order.  Moreover, thematically the film is preoccupied with the increasingly urgent issue of environmental sustainability, exploring how humankind exploits the land and abuses the earth. An environmental horror film with an eye to the ticking-clock of climate crisis, THE FEAST’s horrifying, blood-soaked conclusion suggests that our fragile planet will sooner or later take revenge on humanity for the devastation we have caused.  A meditation on family and history, greed and responsibility, identity and difference, THE FEAST intends to offer the viewer an intravenous injection of mood as well as an engaging edge-of-your-seat tale. Bringing together forensic performances, searing cinematography, a spine-tingling score and environmental politics, THE FEAST is a striking addition to the horror genre and a compelling piece of work that aims to blister the imagination, prick the conscience and scorch the heart.  Considering the film in its context as a contemporary Welsh-language film, it also becomes a tale of the individual’s responsibility to tradition, history and a language that exists against the odds despite sharing a land border with England whose language has colonized large swathes of the world.  Many who are unfamiliar with Wales will be unaware of the language’s existence but to those who know of the fragile cultural and linguistic ecosystem that exists in our small nation the film speaks keenly of the individual’s responsibility to sustaining a culture and language in the age of globalization. – Lee Haven Jones

About the filmmaker – Lee Haven Jones, director was born in Mountain Ash, Lee graduated from the University of Exeter with a first-class honours degree in Drama and won the Cameron Mackintosh Foundation Scholarship to study acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Indulging his passion for film, he directed his first screen project in 2009, picking up a nomination for Best Documentary at the Celtic Media Festival.  He has since directed a number of drama projects, both in English and Welsh, including DOCTOR WHO, THE BAY, VERA, TIR, WIZARDS VS ALIENS, THE INDIAN DOCTOR and CASUALTY.  He won the BAFTA Cymru Best Director award for his work on THE INDIAN DOCTOR and was nominated for the Best Director award for a 3rd time in 2016 for 35 DIWRNOD. Lee’s first short WANT IT premiered at BFI Flare in 2015 and played at festivals worldwide.  It is now available to buy through Peccadillo. He has just completed his first feature GWLEDD (THE FEAST) which premiered at SXSW, and has won awards at festivals in South Korea, Switzerland and Portugal.  He recently directed forthcoming ITV drama series THE LONG CALL.

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/IFCFilmsOfficial
twitter.com/ifcfilms
twitter.com/LeeHavenJones
instagram.com/ifcfilms
instagram.com/leehavenjones
@LeeHavenJones
@ifcmidnight
@IFCFilms
@IFCFilmsOfficial

 

“The Feast is a blazing meal of fire and brimstone: there is no mercy for the wicked, who are on the receiving end of a zealous fury that can’t be stopped.” – Natasha Alvar, Cultured Vultures

“A new Thanksgiving tradition for horror aficionados with iron-clad stomachs and an appetite for visually striking scares that unsettle through thorny symbolism before their bloodletting begins in earnest.” – Isaac Feldberg, Inverse

“The Feast is unrelenting, captivating and unforgiving, and Jones is a visionary; between this and Prano Bailey-Bond’s exceptional Censor, it’s a genuine mystery why anyone but the Welsh are even bothering to make horror films right now.” – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, AWFJ Women on Film

“Among the smartest, most literate, and goriest of SXSW’s Midnighters, The Feast is hands down the best of the section. A film that will amply reward repeated viewings, The Feast is a folk horror fan’s dream come true.” – J Hurtado, ScreenAnarchy

“If you love a good, slow burn with betrayal and elements of folk horror, The Feast is definitely up your alley, and I hope you get to see it very soon. It’s truly excellent.” – Lorry Kikta, Film Threat

Seyran Ates: Sex, Revolution and Islam – Director Nefise Ozkal Lorentzen

In the 1960s, the hippies championed the idea of a sexual revolution. They received neither Fatwas nor bodyguards. In director Nefise Ozkal Lorentzen latest film, SEYRAN ATES: SEX, REVOLUTION AND ISLAM we follow the work of Seyran Ateş – a Turkish-German lawyer, feminist, and one of the first female imams in Europe – is fighting for a sexual revolution within Islam. In return, she was shot, received fatwas and death threats, and now has to live under constant police protection. Seyran believes the only way to fight against radical Islam is through Islam, which is why, in her liberal mosque, there is no gender segregation or exclusion based on sexual orientation. This is the story of Seyran’s personal and ideological fight for the modernization of Islam. Her quest for change takes her on a journey around the world, meeting with different people connected through faith, from sex workers in a German brothel to Uyghur LGBTQ youth and traditional female imams in China. It is also a journey through Seyran’s life, from her humble beginnings as a Muslim girl in Turkey’s slums to a female leader daring to challenge her own religion. Seyran rebels against extremism and hate in the name of peace and love. Director Nefise Ozkal Lorentzen (Gender Me, A Balloon for Allah, Manislam) joins us for a conversation on bravery and the tenacity of Seyran Ates as well as the people who have supporter her and the incremental progress she is making.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

For updates go to: integralfilm.com/seyran-ates-sex-revolution-and-islam

About the filmmaker – Nefise Özkal Lorentzen is a Turkish-Norwegian writer, filmmaker and associate professor at The faculty of Audiovisual Media and Creative Technologies at Innland University, Norway. She received her B.A in Political Science at Bosphorus University in Istanbul and her M.A in Media and Communication at the University of Oslo. Over the past two decades she has produced and directed several controversial documentaries related to Islam. As a result of her dedication to LGBTQ rights and human rights activism through her films, she’s been named one of the TOP 10 immigrant role models in Norway. Her trilogy of films entitled, Gender Me (2008), A Balloon for Allah (2011) and Manislam (2014), brings alive these untold stories through public visibility. Nefise has received several awards and nominations, and her films have premiered in prestigious festivals such as IDFA, Rhode Island Film Festival, and Göteborg Film Festival among others. She was nominated for the History Makers Award in NYC. Utilizing her workshop concept, “gender activism through films”, she has cooperated with various NGOs in Indonesia, China, Bangladesh, Turkey, Germany, USA etc. She hopes one day gender segregation and violence against women will be a long-forgotten aspect of history.

SOCIAL MEDIA
facebook.com/seyranatesfilm
twitter.com/seyranatesfilm
twitter.com/SeyranAtes
instagram.com/neflor
instagram.com/integral_film
@seyranatesfilm

“Nefise Ozkal Lorentzen’s documentary has some mannered, staged elements that are an unnecessary distraction. But its content, and subject, have a galvanizing power nonetheless.” – Dennis Harvey, 48 Hills