December 15, 2017 – Wormwood, Director Errol Morris

On November 28th, 1953, mild-mannered military scientist Frank Olson plunged from the window of his 13th-floor New York hotel room and died. His cause of death was described as a “fall or jump” and though many questions remained about the exact circumstances, the case was left unsolved, and Olson’s wife and three young children attempted to move on. Over two decades later, in June of 1975, the Rockefeller Commission issued a comprehensive, high-profile report on myriad illegal CIA activities that featured a passing mention of a 1953 incident in which an army scientist was purposefully drugged with LSD without his knowledge and died from a fall a few days later. This revelation sends the Olson family, led by oldest son Eric, on a decades-long hunt for answers that takes them to the highest corridors of power in the U.S. government and close to some of its darkest secrets. Acclaimed storyteller Errol Morris weaves this mystery into a six-part story exploring the limits of our knowledge about the past and the lengths we’ll go in the search for the truth. Wormwood is the saga of one man’s obsessive, sixty-year quest to identify the real circumstances about his father’s death that tells a hidden history of key events of the second half of the 20th Century. Was Frank’s death an accident? Did he commit suicide after a bad drug trip? Or was he murdered for knowing too much? In Wormwood, Morris connects Frank’s story to the Korean War, mind control experiments, illegal germ warfare, brainwashing, Manchurian candidates, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and more.

For news and updates go to: netflix.com/wormwood

“Wormwood is more concerned with its intellectual and philosophical musings on the intangibility everything about this case represents, but it comes at the cost of an emotional impact that’s always just beneath the surface.” – Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist

“With “Wormwood,” Morris reclaims the approach he popularized by employing accomplished performers such as Molly Parker, Tim Blake Nelson, Peter Sarsgaard and Bob Balaban to bridge the gap between fact, presumption and fantasy.” – Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times

“Redefining what a documentary can do and be, Morris’ epic proves a tragedy of systemic corruption, personal mania, and the inability to grasp that which one knows exists, but remains just out of reach.” – Nick Schager, The Daily Beast

“heir testimonies unfolds alongside a series of dramatic reenactments that may or may not illustrate the precise nature of the events being described. The result is a documentary-fiction combination like nothing seen before.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

“It has an eerie, something-is-happening-here-but-you-don’t-know-what-it-is-do-you-Mr.-Jones vibe that evokes mid-century American cold war paranoia” – Jordan Hoffman, Vanity Fair

December 15, 2017 – For Ahkeem, Co-directors Landon Van Soest (Jeremy S. Levine)

“People been labeling me a bad kid all my life. You don’t have to really do nothing, people just expect it. So you start to expect it of yourself.” – Daje Shelton

Beginning one year before the fatal police shooting of a Black teenager in nearby Ferguson, Missouri, For Ahkeem is the coming-of-age story of Daje Shelton, a Black 17-year-old girl in North St. Louis. She fights for her future as she is placed in an alternative high school and navigates the marginalized neighborhoods, biased criminal justice policies and economic devastation that have set up many Black youth like her to fail.  After she is expelled from her public high school, a juvenile court judge sends Daje to the court-supervised Innovative Concept Academy, which offers her one last chance to earn a diploma. Over two years we watch as Daje struggles to maintain focus in school, attends the funerals of friends killed around her, falls in love with a classmate named Antonio, and navigates a loving-but-tumultuous relationship with her mother. As Antonio is drawn into the criminal justice system and events in Ferguson just four miles from her home seize the national spotlight, Daje learns she is pregnant and must contend with the reality of raising a young Black boy.  Through Daje’s intimate story, For Ahkeem illuminates challenges that many Black teenagers face in America today, and witnesses the strength, resilience, and determination it takes to survive. Co-director Landon Van Soest joins us to talk about his collaboration with co-direct Jeremy S, Levine and their incredibly intimate, troubling and surprisingly hopeful tale.

For news and updates go to: forahkeemfilm.com

Twitter: #forahkeem

Instagram: @for_ahkeem_film

Facebook: @forahkeemfilm

“A special achievement…As close as documentaries come to putting us inside the mind of someone who society easily overlooks.” – RogerEbert.com

“Masterful…shows us the undeniable power of cinema.” – Huffington Post

“One of the most powerful documentaries ever crafted about the current nature of race relations in America.” – Toronto Film Scene

“A bracing story of grit in a world of social injustice.”  – Los Angeles Times

“For Ahkeem is THE millennial documentary on Black girlhood.” – Jet

“Hands-down one of the best documentaries of 2017…essential viewing.” – Under The Radar Mag

“Compelling…a vivid example of the incontrovertible fact that Black lives matter.” – IndieWire

“Incredibly moving.” – Paste Magazine

“A remarkable experience.” – The Knockturnal

December 8, 2017 – Quest, Director Jonathan Olshefski and Producer Sabrina Schmidt Gordon

QUEST is Jonathan Olshefski’s moving chronicle of a close-knit African-American family living in North Philadelphia. Beginning at the dawn of the Obama presidency, the film follows the Raineys: father Christopher “Quest” Rainey, who juggles various jobs to support his family; Christine’s “Ma Quest,” who works at a women’s shelter; Christine’a’s son William, who is undergoing cancer treatment while caring for his baby son; and PJ, Quest and Christine’a’s young daughter. In a neighborhood besieged by inequality and neglect, they nurture a community of hip hop artists in their home music studio. It’s a safe space where all are welcome, but this creative sanctuary can’t always shield them from the strife that grips their neighborhood. Epic in scope, QUEST is a vivid illumination of race and class in America, and a profound testament to love, healing and hope. Filmed with vérité intimacy for almost a decade, QUEST has swept top documentary awards at festivals across the country since it premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, including the Grand Jury prize at the Full Frame Festival, as well as nominations for Best Documentary at the upcoming Independent Spirit and Cinema Eye awards. Quest will open in New York on Friday, December 8 at the Quad Cinema and in Los Angeles on December 15. Director Jonathan Olshefski and Producer Sabrina Schmidt Gordon join us for a conversation on their beautifully rendered story of  family, race and hope.

For news and updates go to: firstrunfeatures.com – Quest

 

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“[A] superb film. A living, breathing, stunning documentary study of an African-American family in North Philadelphia weathering a tumultuous decade.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“Class and race intersect meaningfully in the wonderful documentary Quest, a decade-plus labor of love.” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

“Recalls Steve James’ Hoop Dreams in both the way it captures people over a long period of a time and in how it finds the profound in the everyday, the universal in the specific.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

“A sweeping and intimate documentary about the struggles of an average American family.” – Jude Dry, Indiewire

“Quest may be one of the most important films about the American experience ever filmed.” – Jason Gorber, POV Magazine

December 8, 2017 – The Rape of Recy Taylor, Director Nancy Buirski

The Rape of Recy Taylor tells the not so-long-ago story of how a 24-year-old black mother and sharecropper, Recy Taylor, was gang raped by six white boys in 1944 Alabama. Common in the Jim Crow South, few women spoke up in fear for their lives. Not Recy Taylor, who bravely identified her rapists. The NAACP sent its chief rape investigator Rosa Parks, who rallied support and triggered an unprecedented outcry for justice.  The Rape of Recy Taylor exposes a legacy of physical abuse of black women and reveals Rosa Parks’ intimate role in Recy Taylor’s story. An attempted rape against Parks was but one inspiration for her ongoing work to find justice for countless women like Taylor. The 1955 bus boycott was an end result, not a beginning.  More and more women are now speaking up after rape. The Rape of Recy Taylor tells the story of black women who spoke up when danger was greatest; it was their noble efforts to take back their bodies that led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott and movements that followed. The 2017 Global March by Women is linked to their courage. From sexual aggression on ‘40s southern streets to today’s college campuses and to the threatened right to choose, it is control of women’s bodies that powered the movement in Recy Taylor’s day and fuels our outrage today. Director Nancy Buirski (By Sidney Lumet, Afternoon of a Faun, The Loving Story) stops by for a conversation on a remarkably prescient and moving story of courage and the struggle to overcome America’s system of institutional injustice.

For news and updates go to The Rape of Recy Taylor film

 

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Social Media

facebook.com/TheRapeofRecyTaylor

twitter.com/RecyTaylorFilm

instagram.com/augustafilms

Screening Friday, December 8 at the Laemmle Monica Theatre in Santa Monica

“The Rape of Recy Taylor combines archival footage, home movies, and “race films” along with current interviews to tell Taylor’s story, which director Nancy Buirski broadens into a larger discussion about gender and race.” – Tricia Olszewski, Washington City Paper

“Forceful family interviews, immersive location visits, letters, testimony and articles from Afr-Am papers bring you into 1944 Alabama night…supported by NAACP’s Rosa Parks.” – Nora Lee Mandel, FF2 Media

“Buirski’s weaving together of material is most impactful in these mid-feature scenes, unspooling a rich and horrifying world that goes far beyond just Taylor’s experiences.” – Kate Erbland, IndieWire

“With lucidity and deep feeling, Nancy Buirski’s documentary maps an ugly trail of injustice and then widens its lens to pay tribute to the women of color whose refusal to be silent helped drive the evolution of the Civil Rights movement.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

December 8, 2017 – Naples ’44, Director Francesco Patierno, Producers Francesca Barra and Davide Azzolini

In 1943 a young British officer, Norman Lewis, entered a war-torn Naples with the American Fifth Army. Lewis began writing in his notepad everything that happened to him during his one-year stay observing the complex social cauldron of a city that contrived every day the most incredible ways of fighting to survive. These notes turned into the masterpiece NAPLES ‘44. This film adaptation imagines Lewis returning to the city that charmed and seduced him many years later. Filmmaker Francesco Patierno combines riveting archival war footage with clips from movies set in Naples from the 1950s and 60s (featuring Marcello Mastroianni, Alan Arkin, Ernest Borgnine) and the voice of Oscar-nominated actor Benedict Cumberbatch to portray a city that was as much a victim of the war as any individual, but that has come back to life with all the charisma of Vesuvius, its very own volcano. This visionary reminiscence is made up of flashbacks between the places of the present that Lewis revisits and the stories of the past. Cumberbatch gives life to Lewis’ words through the stories and fortunes of the people he meets, by the end of this intimate nostalgic journey we can fully share with him a deep feeling for the city. Director Francesco Patierno and Producers Francesca Barra and Davide Azzolini stop by to talk about this stunning, intimate evocation of a time and place from the not-too-distant past that has much to teach us today.

For the latest on Naples ’44 go to: Naples ’44 at First Run Features

Naples ’44 opens Friday, December 8 at the Laemmle Monica in Santa Monica

 

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“A riveting film, a complex portrait of the mystery of Naples.” – Corriere della Sera

“If it weren’t for the time-chiseled patina on the footage dug out from archives, the powerful images of Vesuvius erupting, or the Caravaggio-esque faces of the faithful praying, there really wouldn’t be much difference between the Naples of this time and the cities martyred by the conflicts of today, like Aleppo, like Mosul.” – Il Mattino

“Magnificent. (An) elegant, moving, balanced war diary.” – Il Foglio

“Naples ’44 is a harrowing portrait of a defiant population which after suffering great losses, finally drove out its Nazi occupiers, and did survive.” Patrick McGrath, New York

December 1, 2017 – Ayiti Mon Amour, Director and Writer Guetty Felin

According to one of many Haitian beliefs, we are born from water and so to water our souls return… but only for a year and a day, after our demise.  Guetty Felin’s AYITI MON AMOUR is set in a land inhabited by spirits looking for their final resting place, mourners seeking closure and ordinary individuals engaged in a precarious dance of survival. It spins the magic neo-realist  tale of Orphée an awkward teen grieving the loss of his father. One day after a freak encounter with an underwater sea creature he develops special electrifying powers, but with power comes certain responsibilities…The world seems to be changing much too rapidly for Jaurès the old fisherman. These days Jaurès is obsessed with the environmental degradation, the rising temperature of the sea and the drought that is starving his cows. But what pre-occupies Jaurès the most is his beloved wife Odessa who is bedridden and homesick. Jaurès is determined to do everything to make her well again even if it means putting his own life in peril…Lastly, there’s the beautiful mysterious Ama, part muse, part wandering soul but also the main character of a novel by an uninspired writer. After five years of waiting for him to complete his masterpiece, she decides to leave him and his story, and sets out to live her own life. With AYITI MON AMOUR the island nation of Haiti has its first ever entry in the Academy Awards category of Best Foreign Language Film. It is also  the first narrative feature entirely shot in Haiti by a Haitian-born female director, Guetty Felin. She joins us to talk about her warm-hearted, humane film and its celebration of her native country.

For the latest news go to: facebook.com/AyitiMonAmourMovie or belle moon productions

 

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**OFFICIAL SELECTION – Toronto International Film Festival**

**OFFICIAL SELECTION – San Francisco International Film Festival**

**OFFICIAL SELECTION – Eurasia International Film Festival**

**WINNER – BlackStar Film Festival – Best Feature Narrative**

**WINNER – Festival Internacional de Cine America – Best Cinematography**

**NOMINATED – Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam – Yellow Ribbon Award**

December 1, 2017 – What Happened in Vegas, Director Ramsey Denison

When TV editor Ramsey Denison was jailed for simply reporting police brutality on the Las Vegas strip, he was inspired to investigate the Las Vegas Police Department. His investigation would lead him right up to the biggest mass shooting in American history. In this damning exposé, he reveals that the police know more than they are letting on about what really happened at the Mandalay Bay Resort, where 59 people were killed. Uncovering a long legacy of cavalier methods and dire consequences, civilian fatalities, unconstitutional arrests and embellished crime reports, this doc paints an incriminating picture of a police department where the officers are above the law.

By Director Ramsey Denison: When I drove into Vegas a couple years ago, making a documentary about police corruption was the furthest thing from my mind; I’d come to relax. I’d just finished editing a programme about cops tracking down bad guys – the notion that cops could be the bad guys was not something I’d spent much time thinking about. That all changed when my friend Rhett Nielson and I saw police officers torturing a stranger. I called 911 and reported the incident. A couple minutes later, I got beat up, arrested, and thrown in jail by those same cops. I reported officers Mark Belanger, Kyle Frett, and Jared Casper but LVMPD’s Internal Affairs department decided to do nothing about it. Officer Cole Erskine’s police report was full of fiction, written to justify the brutality. The club where my arrest occurred told me they had no footage because their cameras weren’t recording that night. Without video, it was three police officers’ words against mine and Rhett’s. In a town where you can get beaten up, arrested, and thrown in jail simply for making a phone call to report police brutality, I couldn’t help but wonder what else the LVMPD has done. I discovered that behind the glittering lights, the real Las Vegas is a rigged game of corrupt policing and institutional cover ups.”

For news and updates go to: what-happened-in-vegas

 

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“The problems Denison uncovers serve as a warning to all Americans.” – Daphne Howland, Village Voice

“A documentary profile that blows the whistle on a disturbing pattern of excessive force and corruption within its ranks.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times

“Effective despite some storytelling flaws, the documentary is nonetheless unlikely to draw too much attention on the national stage, with fresher outrages never hard to come by.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

November 17, 2017 – LA 92, Co-directors T.J. Martin and Dan Lindsay

On April 29, 1992, the streets and neighborhoods of Los Angeles, California started to burn just after the Rodney King verdict was announced where four white police officers caught on videotape brutally beating an unarmed black motorist (King) were acquitted of assault by a predominantly white Simi Valley jury. Violent protests, looting and arson lasted several days and left more than 50 people dead. Twenty-five years later, the acclaimed documentary LA 92  from Oscar® winning directors Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin (UNDEFEATED) explores the events leading to the violence, as well as the chaos and destruction that happened. LA 92  presents an incredibly immersive and affecting experience of a city in turmoil, without any talking heads or narration, which eerily resembles the same news stories we see on TV today in 2017. The filmmakers spent over a year searching and sifting through over 1700 hours of footage from news reports, journalists’ stories and news archives. Told entirely only through these stunning news reports and images and rarely seen archive footage, this gripping film captures the shock, disappointment and fury felt by many Angelenos, particularly those in the African American community. In the case of the King beating, it was the first time the kind of abuse many had witnessed or experienced at the hands of LAPD officers was recorded and broadcast for the world to see, leaving some with the sense that if justice did not prevail despite such graphic evidence, it never would. Named by Variety as one of the best films of 2017, LA 92 is more than a moment in time, it’s an illuminating political, cultural and social experience that elevates our collective understanding of our history and ourselves. Co-directors T.J. Martin and Daniel Lindsay join us. 

For news and updates go to: channel.nationalgeographic.com/la-92

 

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“..not just a defining work on the riots and a wrenching visual essay on power, race, media, and mob violence in the modern era, but also one of the year’s best documentaries.” – Chris Barsanti, The Playlist

“The results are visceral, scary, and infuriating all over again, a true miscarriage of justice that turned into a civil uprising that asked more questions than it answered.” – Jason Bailey, Flavorwire

“An immersive, you-are-there experience that is as dramatic (or more so) as any Hollywood feature film.” – G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle

“Gives a full sense of the anarchy and rage of the post-King verdict days, thrusting us fully and disturbingly into events in very much of a You Are There manner.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

November 24, 2017 – A Gray State, Director Erik Nelson

In 2010 David Crowley, an Iraq veteran, aspiring filmmaker and charismatic up-and-coming voice in fringe politics, began production on his film “Gray State.” Set in a dystopian near-future where civil liberties are trampled by an unrestrained federal government, the film’s crowd funded trailer was enthusiastically received by the burgeoning online community of libertarians, Tea Party activists as well as members of the nascent alt-right. In January of 2015, Crowley was found dead with his family in their suburban Minnesota home. Their shocking deaths quickly become a cause célèbre for conspiracy theorists who speculate that Crowley was assassinated by a shadowy government concerned about a film and filmmaker that was getting too close to the truth about their aims. Directed by “Grizzly Man” producer Erik Nelson and Executive Produced by Werner Herzog, “A Gray State” combs through Crowley’s archive of 13,000 photographs, hundreds of hours of home video, and exhaustive behind-the-scenes footage of David’s work in progress to reveal what happens when a paranoid view of the government turns inward — blurring the lines of what is real and what people want to believe. Director Erik Nelson joins us to talk about his verite-style film and the truth behind the Crowley family’s tragic deaths.

For news and updates go to: firstrunfeatures.com/agraystate

 

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Opening Los Angeles November 24th at the Laemmle’s Music Hall 3

“A highly-topical and resonant trip down the alt-right rabbit hole…A GRAY STATE offers a powerful rebuke to the post-truth groups that subsumed both Crowley’s life and his death” Anthony Kaufman, SCREEN DAILY        

“Part suspenseful murder-mystery and part real-life political thriller, this true-crime deep-dive feels poised to be a…breakout hit ” Jason Newman, ROLLING STONE        

“The somewhat rare documentary that’s actually as illuminating as good print reporting on the same case.” – Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

“A story similar to “The Shining” but much scarier because it is true.” – Louis Proyect, COUNTERPUNCH 

“[A] real-life tale that’s as unsettling as it is precisely of-the-moment.” – Godfrey Cheshire, ROGER EBERT

November 24, 2017 – Bitch, Director Marianna Palka

In this biting domestic story, Jill, a lonely, unfulfilled housewife with four unruly children, paces on her dining room table with a belt around her neck, contemplating a desperate end. Her husband, Bill, focused on his identity as breadwinner and an affair with a lusty co-worker, is as oblivious to Jill’s growing terror that she will do something destructive as he is to the panic at his unraveling company. Meanwhile, dogs bark and howl through the night, as one persistent mutt continually stalks the family’s yard. When Jill’s psyche finally breaks, she takes on a vicious new canine persona. Marianna Palka writes, directs, and stars as Jill in this dark and provocative film, balancing a whip-smart, deeply unsettling take on the horrors of a crumbling nuclear family with a palpable sensitivity for her character’s plight and perfectly timed comedic flourishes. Jason Ritter delivers a beautifully tragicomic performance as Bill, who’s transformed by bizarre crisis from an indifferent hound of a man entirely untethered from his family to their unexpected emotional anchor. Director and lead actor Marianna Palka joins us in a conversation about her go-for-broke approach to the story and performance.

For news and updates go to: darkskyfilms.com/bitch

 

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Opening November 24th in Los Angeles at the Laemmle’s Music Hall 3

“A satirical scream of rage against patriarchal prerogatives, this feminist horror-comedy, written and directed by Ms. Palka, has a vicious edge… Palka carves a black and biting niche between a man and a woman, a space where chaos and psychological unease demand to be reckoned with.”Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

“Marianna Palka is fearless. She wrote, directed and starred in a movie that has her acting like a rabid dog for most of its duration. It’s a bold move, and one that pays off in a big way.”Meredith Borders, Birth Movies Death

“Vicious feminist satire…Palka recalls Michael Haneke, but with an eye for surreal black comedy that suggests the anything-goes weirdness of Quentin Dupieux.“Eric Kohn, Indiewire

November 24, 2017 – Porto, Director Gabe Klinger

In the haunting, intimate tale PORTO Jake (Anton Yelchin) and Mati (Lucie Lucas) are two expats who experience a brief but intimate connection in the ancient Portuguese city of Porto. He’s an American loner exiled from his family. She’s a student from France embroiled in an affair with one of her professors. After spotting each other from a distance at an archeological site and then again at a train station and a café, Jake works up the courage to approach Mati and they embark on a night of carefree intimacy. This romantic encounter is viewed from years later, both characters still haunted by the powerful connection they shared. Using a mix of film stocks and art direction that evokes a bygone era of European cinema, Porto delivers a cinematic form of saudade – a Portuguese word that describes an emotional state of nostalgic longing for a person or place that one has loved. Director, writer, editor, and producer Gabe Klinger stops by to talk about his bittersweet, heartbreaking, soaring ode to romantic love.

For news and updates go to kinolorber.com/film/porto

 

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New York, NY – November 17 at Landmark Sunshine Cinema

Los Angeles, CA – November 24 at Landmark Nuart Theatre

“A swirling examination of love in all its bittersweet splendor.” – David Ehrlich, Indiewire

“Ravishingly shot. A film that’s in love with love, in love with cinema.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“An extraordinary and delicate depiction of a fleeting passion. Touches on the most tender and incisive heights of each crest of the European New Wave.” – Richard Whittaker, The Austin Chronicle

“Yelchin’s acting is superb in its minimalism, expressing sensitivity, yearning and sorrow with subtle intensity.” – Catherine Sedgwick, The Upcoming

November 24, 2017 – Strad Style, Director Stefan Avalos

It’s a story that beggars belief—a bipolar practitioner of “candle magick” living in a dilapidated farmhouse in rural Ohio with a lifelong obsession for building violins (and covered in tattoos of master builders such as Stradivarius) convinces a world-renowned soloist via social media that he is capable of creating a perfect replica of the world’s most valuable violin, Guarneri’s Il Cannone. A quirky look into one man’s DIY enthusiasm and perseverance when facing down a self-created, impossible task, Strad Style is the feel-good doc of 2017. Stefan Avalos is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Having started his life as a classically trained violinist and knowing the obsessions that are part of the violin-world, he became intrigued with the story of Daniel Houck, while working on a broader documentary about New vs old violins. While this movie is still in process, “Strad Style” emerged as a story that became HIS obsession. Stefan joins us to talk about the making of this magical documentary.

For news and updates go to: stradstyle.com

 

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“One of Slamdance 2017’s documentary treasures, Strad Style is as deeply heartfelt as it is riveting.” – Kathy Zhou, Slugmag

“- irresistible, way-stranger-than-fiction documentary” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

I LOVED LOVED LOVED Strad Style and have not been able to stop recommending it to anyone who will listen. – MoviePro

“a beautifully shot shaggy-dog story with an overcoming-adversity theme and fairy-tale outcome Hollywood would kill for, which leaves audiences applauding through tears.” – Adam Patterson, Film Pulse

“Wonderful; so funny and strange and human. An amazing portrait of a fascinating character, beautifully told with enormous suspense and tenderness.” – Mary Ann Johanson, Film Filosopher

November 17, 2017 – The Light of the Moon, Director Jessica M. Thompson

THE LIGHT OF THE MOON is the story of Bonnie, a young and successful Latina architect, sexually assaulted while walking home from an evening out with friends in Brooklyn. At first, she attempts to keep the assault a secret from her long-term boyfriend Matt, but the truth quickly emerges. Bonnie emphatically denies the impact of what has just happened to her. She fights to regain normalcy and control, but returning to her old life is more complicated than expected. Her attempt to recapture the intimacy she previously had with Matt falters and cracks begin to surface in their relationship. Another attack in the neighborhood only drives Bonnie further into denial, before an encounter with an at-risk woman forces her to face the truth and confront her own self-blame. Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Short Term 12) gives a powerful and moving performance as Bonnie, a woman who maintains her dignity and sense of humor as she deals with the aftermath of a life-altering experience. Written and directed by Emmy-nominated Australian filmmaker Jessica M. Thompson in her feature film debut, THE LIGHT OF THE MOON is a powerful reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the importance of relationships in the face of a tragedy.

For news and updates go to: thelightofthemoonfilm.com

 

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The Light of  the Moon opens Friday November 17 at the Laemmle Monica Theatre with Q&A Friday, Saturday and Sunday

11/17 ~ Panel with filmmakers.

11/18 ~ Talkback hosted by Julie Rosing, producer-host of the Lady Parts Justice podcast ReproMadness with LPJ founder Lizz Winstead, co-creator of The Daily Show.

11/19: Seed&Spark/Big Vision screening with talkback hosted by Emily Best, the founder of Seed&Spark, and Amy Rosner, co-director of the upcoming documentary Second Assault.

“A clear-eyed film that’s clinical in its specifics.” – Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times

“The Light of the Moon isn’t a film you forget easily. It takes on a global issue and acts as if it’s something small, resulting in a film that feels both vitally important and imminently personal.” – Ryan Morris, Film Inquiry

“As a resource for those looking to understand the process of recovery, it’s hard to imagine a more comprehensive or sympathetic look at the challenge of surviving.” – Teo Bugbee, New York Times

“With the wider cultural conversation about rape culture, especially in the U.S., raging in the media, this honest and complex engagement with the subject is particularly welcome.” – Leslie Felperine, Hollywood Reporter

“[This] simply-structured film is harrowingly effective in its streamlined, low-frills way: sensitive without ever being sanctimonious, brutally frank without ever lapsing into exploitation.” – Andrew Barker, Variety

November 17, 2017 – Mr. Roosevelt, Director, writer Noël Wells

Noël Wells portrays Emily, a talented but hard-to-classify comedic performer who left behind her home and boyfriend to pursue career opportunities in L.A. When a loved one falls ill, Emily rushes back to Austin where she’s forced to stay with her ex-boyfriend (Nick Thune) and his new-and-improved girlfriend (Britt Lower), a totally together woman with a five-year plan.  Though Emily is the same, everything else is different: her house has been smartly redecorated, her rocker boyfriend is training to be a real estate agent, and her old haunts show serious signs of gentrification. Holed up in her own guest room, Emily–who has no idea what she’ll be doing five days from now, let alone five years– is forced to question everyone’s values: are they sell-outs or have they just figured out what makes them happy? And is she following her dreams or is she just a self-absorbed loser? Director, writer and producer Noël Wells stops by for a conversation about her funny and touching film about reconciling your past with your present.

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

 

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“Wells doesn’t just focus on her laugh-out-loud funny performance or insightful script: she displays a real eye for the cinematic with shot-on-film visuals that elevate her movie and lavish attention on its Texas setting.” – Kimber Myers, Los Angeles Times

“It’s a reminder that the 21st century is going to be full of coming-of-age films about 30-year-olds, and it’s compelling evidence that that might be alright.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

“Ms. Wells is 10 times funnier and smarter than Louis CK. Her film is a reminder of what a crime sexism is. It not only harms women, it prevents the real cream from rising to the surface.” – Louis Proyect, counterpunch.org

“Creatives have stories to tell. This is Noël Wells’ story to tell. And good storytelling like Mr. Roosevelt is why we watch independent films. It’s a good story and a good start for Wells.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat

November 17, 2017 – The Divine Order, Director Petra Volpe

Winner of the Audience Award for Best Narrative Film at the Tribeca Film Festival, The Divine Order is set in Switzerland in 1971 where, despite the worldwide social upheavals of the previous decade, women were still denied the right to vote. When unassuming and dutiful housewife Nora (Marie Leuenberger, winner of a Best Actress award at Tribeca) is forbidden by her husband to take a part-time job, her frustration leads to her becoming the poster child of her town’s suffragette movement. Her newfound celebrity brings humiliation, threats, and the potential end to her marriage, but, refusing to back down, she convinces the women in her village to go on strike…and makes a few startling discoveries about her own liberation. Uplifting and crowd-pleasing, this charming, captivating film is a time-capsule that could not be more timely. Director Petra Volpe joins us to talk about the story behind a struggle for human rights and the women who made Swiss history.

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

Follow The Divine Order on facebook.com/DivineOrder

 

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Switzerland’s submission for the Academy Awards Best Foreign-Language Film

Winner – Audience Award for Best Feature – Tribeca Film Festival 2017

Winner – Audience Award for Best Fiction – Traverse City Film Festival 2017

“A gentle, unassuming picture, it does have a satisfying, feelgood trajectory and empathetic central performance from Marie Leuenberger.” – Wendy Ice, Screen International

“‘The Divine Order’ effectively illustrates how peer pressure can influence the political process.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“Within the story’s sometimes too-neat outline, Volpe lets most of her characters breathe.” – Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times

“Essential viewing for those interested in a wider perspective on feminist challenges.” – Ben Orndorf, Blue-ray.com

November 17, 2017 – Holy Air, Director Shady Srour and Producer Ilan Moskovitch

Holy Air is the story of Adam, a Christian Arab living in Nazareth – member of a vanishing minority within a minority in the Holy Land and the Middle East. His wife Lamia is a strong, beautiful and progressive Arab woman, who runs a foundation for women’s rights. When Adam hears that Lamia is pregnant and his father falls very ill, he evaluates his life and realizes that he has not achieved much. Despite all his business ideas failing so far, he gives one last try to make it big. And what’s better to sell in the Holy Land other than the very air that Virgin Mary breathed during her annunciation? But in order to, as one priest tells Adam during confession, bring such product into the market he needs to find allies from the three cultures ruling over Nazareth – the Jewish politicians, the Muslim mafia boss and the Catholic church officials. In a politically unstable world where religion is just another merchandise, can the Holy Air be Adam’s salvation or is it just an illusion? Director and writer Shady Srour joins us to talk about his contemporary comedy that not only transcends barriers of religion, gender, and culture, but is also intelligent and funny.

For news and updates go to: Holy Water

“As a wry commentary on religious tourism, and the limited avenues of prosperity for occupied, idealistic Arabs, “Holy Air” is tartly effective.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“With a masterful sense of framing, Srour and cinematographer Daniel Miller turn beautifully composed shots into absurdist delights with a simple twist.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice

November 10, 2017 – Mr. Fish: Cartooning From the Deep End, Director Pablo Bryant

Provocative, funny, intelligent and fiercely political, audiences had better be ready to dive in for the new documentary feature MR. FISH: CARTOONING FROM THE DEEP END. Directed by Pablo Bryant, will have its NYC Premiere at the DOC NYC 2017. In this documentary we discover the dangerously funny cartoonist Mr. Fish, struggling to make a living in an industry that is dying out. In a world where consumerism is king, and opportunities are few, will this uncensored artist find a way to sell his art, or be forced to sell himself out?  After a rousing, standing ovation laden World premiere, comes word that director Pablo Bryant’s MR. FISH: CARTOONING FROM THE DEEP END has won the 2017 Hiscox Audience Award for Best documentary at at the Austin Film Festival. Director Pablo Bryant joins us for a lively conversation on free speech, our political culture, and the artistic sensibilities of today’s most scathing and insightful political satirist.

For news and updates go to: mrfishmovie.com

Check out Mr. Fish’s art at: mrfishmovie.com/gallery

 

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Screening times:

Sun., Nov. 12, 2017, 4:30 PM – Cinepolis Chelsea Cinemas

Mon., Nov. 13, 2017, 10:15 am – IFC Center

November 10, 2017 – What Haunts Us, Director Paige Goldberg Tolmach

WHAT HAUNTS US tells the real story behind the town that remained silent but the outcome was that of suicide by the victims.  This film is a cautionary tale for parents and their children and a horrifying example of what happens when one stays quiet about sexual abuse/molestation. WHAT HAUNTS US tells the story about  the 1997 class of Porter Gaud High School in Charleston, South Carolina that graduated 49 boys. Within the last 35 years, six of these boys committed suicide. Filmmaker Tolmach graduated from Porter Gaud, and now she digs deep with this film in discovering the dark secrets that have lingered and haunted this community that she so loves.  The six boys that committed suicide featured in the film didn’t have to die if they would have spoken out and not remained quiet about what had happened to them.  However, the shame associated with this nightmare often weighs more on the victims – only to keep them silent. WHAT HAUNTS US is not a new story, but it is the continuing common tale of sexual abuse, molestation, shame and a community’s silence so that “no one rocks the boat” rings all too true to this day. Until, we as concerned people speak up, these crimes against innocent victims will continue. Director Paige Goldberg Tolmach joins us to talk about an all to familiar tale that haunts the lives of former students of a prestiges prep school.

For news and updates go to: whathauntsusfilm.com

facebook.com/whathauntsus

 

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WHAT HAUNTS US will screen at DOC NYC on Monday, 11/13! 

November 10, 2017 – The Price, Director Anthony Onah and Producers Krishori Rajan and Justin Begnaud

The Price is an intimate immigrant story about Seyi, a bright young Nigerian-American working on Wall Street, navigating complicated family expectations, a turbulent romantic relationship, and a system of cultural complexities caused by class and race. With a dying father, a burgeoning romance with a white girlfriend, and dangerous new business opportunities, Seyi’s life is in a delicate balance. When his ambition drives Seyi to morally dubious waters, secrets threaten to erupt and shatter his world. Seyi must confront himself and decisions he has made, facing the crimes of the past in a desperate attempt to salvage the present. Director, producer, writer Anthony Onah and Producers Krishori Rajan and Justin Begnaud join us to talk about making of this heartfelt tale of family, career and modern love.

For news and updates go to: the-price

 

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“Feels lived-in and genuine” RogerEbert.com

“Delivers on it’s promise of sharing a piece of the immigrant experience that needs to be told” – The Austin Chronicle

“[Onah] elevates a modest story to a grand scale thriller” – The Moveable Fest

“A Brilliant Examination of the Pressure Linked to the Struggle Between Familial Obligations & Crushing Personal Ambition” – Aramidew Tinubu, Shadow and Act

November 3, 2017, – A River Below, Director Mark Grieco

A documentary as dramatic, ambiguous, and multilayered as any fiction film, A RIVER BELOW examines the efforts of two conservationists in the Amazon to bring about change by using the national media, only to discover the consequences of their actions come with a high price. A RIVER BELOW provides an eye-opening look at what happens when passion and opinion trump reason and morality. The crux of the story questions the truth in images, its manipulation to get the public’s attention and, ultimately, who pays the price for someone else’s passion for radical change.

Director Statement – “A RIVER BELOW explores these ideas and moral questions, but ultimately it is the story about the massacre of this incredible dolphin, the people out there trying to save them, and the ethical dilemmas we face with what must be done to achieve sudden change. There is no doubt that we are living in an extinction crisis and there is very little time left to save certain species – that is the view of the river from above. My hope is that this film will take audiences on the plunge to ask, “Who do we want out there saving in our name and at what long-term cost?” It is a mirror held up to the documentary and a journey into ourselves as we attempt to better this messy world.”Mark Grieco

facebook.com/ARiverBelow

 

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100% Rotten Tomatoes

“The truth turns into a tangled mess in “A River Below,” a bold and urgent documentary whose seemingly straightforward story quickly runs awry.” – Ken Jaworowski

“Díaz’s sublime cinematography and the way Grieco teases out the knotty narrative make for a haunting exploration of an ethical morass, where vilification is easy, but deconstructing power much more difficult.” – Daphne Howland, Village Voice

“[It] is pure investigative journalism. It trusts no one and questions every side of the story — even the possible coercion of illegal activities by one of its stars while those he coerced have threatened to shoot him in the head if he ever turns up again” – Jacob Oller, Paste Magazine

“The film’s moral argument sets it apart from films like Blackfish – this is more or less an investigation into an investigation.” John Fink, The Film Stage

November 3, 2017 – BPM, Director Robin Campillo

2018 Official Oscar® Entry – FRANCE Best Foreign Language Film BPM tells the story of how a passionate group of Parisian activists goes to battle for those stricken with HIV/AIDS, taking on sluggish government agencies and major pharmaceutical companies in with bold, invasive actions. The organization is ACT UP – the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power – and its members embrace their task as a literal life-or-death mission. With more than 6,000 new diagnoses made each year in France, there is no time to waste. And yet, the officials and the corporations are not moving fast enough. “BPM” tells the story of that fight from the inside-out. Amid the rallies, fierce debates and ecstatic dance parties, intimate connections are made and vibrant life rages against death. As the activists scramble from boisterous street demonstrations and boardroom face-offs to dance floors pulsing with light and rhythm, Nathan and Sean’s relationship deepens. They confess individual memories of sexual initiation that are profoundly tied, in different ways, to the emerging AIDS crisis, and sexual intimacy itself becomes a kind of resistance. As Sean gets sicker, their passion sparks against the shadow of mortality, and the activist community of activists plots its most dramatic protest yet. Director and writer Robin Campillo joins us for a conversation on his intimate and thoughtful tale of activism and struggle in the face of intractable indifference and antipathy.

For news and updates fo to: bpm.film

 

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France’s entry for 2017 Academy Award Best Foreign Language Film

Opening at the Laemmle Royal Theatre on Friday, November 3, go to: laemmle.com/theaters

98% Rotten Tomatoes

“In its balance of resistance, agony, and joy, BPM (Beats Per Minute) approaches this subject with the nuance and empathy it deserves.” – Josephine Livingstone, New Republic

“BPM is vital for the history it depicts, but it’s also important in the here and now, as a testament to public action – even messy, not-always-effective public action.” – David Edelstein, New York Magazine

“In spite of its historical specificity, “BPM” never feels like a bulletin from the past. Its immediacy comes in part from the brisk naturalism of the performances and the nimbleness and fluidity of the editing.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

“In its balance of resistance, agony, and joy, BPM (Beats Per Minute) approaches this subject with the nuance and empathy it deserves.” – Josephine Livingstone, New Republic

“BPM is vital for the history it depicts, but it’s also important in the here and now, as a testament to public action – even messy, not-always-effective public action.” – David Edelstein, New York Magazine

“In spite of its historical specificity, “BPM” never feels like a bulletin from the past. Its immediacy comes in part from the brisk naturalism of the performances and the nimbleness and fluidity of the editing.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

October 27, 2017 – The Work, Director Jairus McLeary

The riveting documentary THE WORK, set inside a single room in Folsom Prison, follows three men from outside as they participate in a four-day group therapy retreat with level-four convicts. Over the four days, each man in the room takes his turn at delving deep into his past. The raw and revealing process that the incarcerated men undertake exceeds the expectations of the free men, ripping them out of their comfort zones and forcing them to see themselves and the prisoners in unexpected ways. THE WORK offers a powerful and rare look past the cinder block walls, steel doors and the dehumanizing tropes in our culture to reveal a movement of change and redemption that transcends what we think of as rehabilitation. Director Jairus McLeary joins us to talk about the men, inmates and outsiders, the program and the challenges of making a film about men seeking to reclaim their lives.

For news and updates go to: theworkmovie.com

For news and doing your part to continue The Work go to: insidecircle.org

 

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Starting October 27 The Work opens at the Laemmle Monica Center in Los Angeles / Santa Monica 

“A simple, tense, gritty auditing of a collective unburdening that obviously brings some needed clarity, and the promise of rehabilitation, to some hurt, searching souls.” – Robert Abele, TheWrap

In its visceral purity, the film drags male toxicity up into the light, offering it as a cure for itself. – Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine

The Work makes gruelling viewing at times – it’s more like psychotherapy than entertainment – but, by the end, viewers will feel as if they’ve been on the same rewarding journey as the subjects. – Geoffrey McNab, Independent (UK)

“The Work chronicles a kind of breakneck psychoanalysis in which the origins of problematic behavior are dramatically expunged in public.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

“No filmmaker could have written a richer set of masculine archetypes as these real individuals represent, each equally totemic in his defining idiosyncrasies and in his historically male characteristics.” – Sean L. Malin, Austin Chronicle

October 27, 2017 – Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold, Director Griffin Dunne

Across more than 50 years of essays, novels, screenplays, and criticism, Joan Didion has been our premier chronicler of the ebb and flow of America’s cultural and political tides with observations on her personal – and our own – upheavals, downturns, life changes, and states of mind. In the intimate, extraordinary documentary JOAN DIDION: THE CENTER WILL NOT HOLD, actor and director Griffin Dunne unearths a treasure trove of archival footage and talks at length to his “Aunt Joan” about the eras she covered and the eventful life she’s lived, including partying with Janis Joplin in a house full of L.A. rockers; hanging in a recording studio with Jim Morrison; and cooking dinner for one of Charles Manson’s women for a magazine story. Didion guides us through the sleek literati scene of New York in the 1950s and early ’60s, when she wrote for Vogue; her return to her home state of California for two turbulent decades; the writing of her seminal books, including Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Play It as It Lays, A Book of Common Prayer, and The White Album; her film scripts, including The Panic in Needle Park; her view of 1980s and ’90s political personalities; and the meeting of minds that was her long marriage to writer John Gregory Dunne. She reflects on writing about her reckoning with grief after Dunne’s death, in The Year of Magical Thinking (winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction), and the death of their daughter Quintana Roo, in Blue Nights. With commentary from friends and collaborators including Vanessa Redgrave, Harrison Ford, Anna Wintour, David Hare, Calvin Trillin, Hilton Als, and Susanna Moore, the most crucial voice belongs to Didion, one of the most influential American writers alive today. Director Griffin Dunne (American Werewolf in London, After Hours) joins us for a conversation on “Aunt Joan” and her fiercely personal body of remarkable body of fiction and non-fiction.

To view Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold go to: netflix.com

 

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“Access is almost everything for a documentary filmmaker, and the entree Griffin Dunne had to his celebrated subject makes all the difference in “Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“A documentary that’s incisive and haunting, like Didion’s best writing.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“This is an intensive appreciation of perhaps the greatest living American essayist, and one of the best ever. It plays like a finely tuned authorized biography.” – Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News

October 27, 2017 – International Documentary Association (IDA) Executive Director, Simon Kilmurry

International Documentary Association (IDA) is fiercely committed to protecting and defending the rights of documentary filmmakers to practice their craft, seek and reveal truth in their films, and make and sell their work freely in a fair marketplace. We strenuously uphold the principles of free speech and believe that documentary films, however provocative they may be, should never be silenced by an authority, corporation or legal system that may feel threatened by their content. Where filmmakers are under fire, and their predicament stands to set precedent for us all, the IDA brings together the weight of our community to fight for their rights in the courts, the press, congress or wherever that threat may lie. IDA is the only group advocating specifically for the documentary filmmaking community. In many ways, this makes IDA’s advocacy work the most important and relevant work we do. If documentary films better inform your world, if you believe in freedom of speech, if you are concerned that the media space grows ever smaller and cherish the diversity that independent voices bring, and if you’re a fan of David (over Goliath) then you probably share our values. Documentary storytelling expands our understanding of shared human experience, fostering an informed, compassionate, and connected world. The International Documentary Association (IDA) is dedicated to building and serving the needs of a thriving documentary culture. Through its programs, the IDA provides resources, creates community, and defends rights and freedoms for documentary artists, activists, and journalists. Executive Director Simon Kilmurry joins us to talk about IDA, the screening series currently underway and the state of documentary filmmaking in 2017.

 

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For news and updates go to: documentary.org

Watch some of the year’s best film through the IDA’s documentary screening series

Support Documentary filmmaking and watch great films by becoming an IDA member

October 27, 2017 – God’s Own Country, Director Francis Lee

In the compelling feature film debut of Francis Lee God’s Own Country Johnny Saxby works long hours in brutal isolation on his family’s remote farm in the north of England. He numbs the daily frustration of his lonely existence with nightly binge-drinking at the local pub and casual sex. When a handsome Romanian migrant worker arrives to take up temporary work on the family farm, Johnny suddenly finds himself having to deal with emotions he has never felt before. An intense relationship forms between the two which could change Johnny’s life forever. This growing chemistry between them results in an intense, instinctive sexual encounter. With both lads struggling to come to terms with what their time on the moor really meant and what they want from each other. With the future of the farm, his father’s life and his fledgling first relationship all hanging in the balance, Johnny feels more isolated and powerless than ever. Sent back to the farm on their own by Deirdre to tend to the animals, Johnny and Gheorghe slip into an unspoken domestic life. But soon Gheorghe’s contract will come to an end… Director Francis Lee joins us to talk about this simple story of struggling people living on the edge drawn into an emotionally complex tale.

For news and updates go to: samuelgoldwynfilms-Gods Own Country

 

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Official Selection

Sundance Film Festival 2017

Berlin International Film Festival 2017

San Francisco International Film Festival

“There will be many people who see themselves in the furtive glances and mud-covered kisses from which “God’s Own Country” weaves its harsh but hopeful narrative, and they will do so while witnessing a finely crafted piece of cinema.” – Jude Dry, IndieWire

“A rigorously naturalistic drama that yields stirring performances from the collision between taciturn demeanors and roiling emotional undercurrents.” David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

“Skipping some of the more predictable narrative obstacles we’ve come to expect from the coming-out drama, this sexy, thoughtful, hopeful film instead advances a pro-immigration subtext that couldn’t be more timely …” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“This is one of the most assured, fully-formed British debuts of recent years.” – Paul O’Callaghan, Sight and Sound