Friday, February 20, 2015 – Oscar nominated Short Doc, Our Curse, Director Tomasz Śliwiński

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Our Curse is the very personal film of director, Tomasz Śliwiński and his wife, Magda Hueckel, dealing with a very rare and incurable disease afflicting their newborn child, Leo, – the Ondine’s Curse is also known as CCHS, congenital central hypoventilation syndrome. The very, very rare disease causes its victims to stop breathing during sleep and require lifetime mechanical ventilation on a ventilator. Tomasz’s first short movie The Curse was presented at many film festivals, such as Nowe Horyzonty in Wrocław and Etiuda & Anima in Kraków (where he received a distinction of FICC Jury). His next film Our Curse premiered at the 66th Locarno International Film Festival and was screened at over 45 international film events, winning 30 prizes including awards at International Festival of Short Films Aspen Shortfest, Raindance Film Festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest and nominations for the Silver Eye Award at East Silver Market 2013 and Best of IDFA at IDFA – International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. Together with Magda Hueckel (as Muzungu-art group) he creates a subjective, personal photographic document from various travels all over the world. Tomasz joins us to talk about his very personal decision to film his family life and the intimate conversations between he and his wife, Magda, have as they come to terms with a challenging new chapter of their lives.

For news and updates on Our Curse go to: leoblog.pl/en/our-curse-the-movie/

Awards:

Oscar nominated, Short Film Program, Documentary

Official Selection – Festival Del Film Locarno

Nominated for IDFA Award for Best Student Documentary 2013

Best Documentary 2014 – Aspen Shortfest

Audience Award for Best Short Film – Indie Lisboa

Winner – Sheffield Doc/Fest – Student Doc Award 2014

Winner – 2014 Heartland Film Festival

Official Selection 2014 – AFI Docs

Official Selection – Chagrin Documentary Film Festival 2014

Official Selection – Woodstock Film Festival 2014

Official Selection – 7th Annual Imagine Science Film Festival

Special Mention – 13th International Film Festival New Horizons 2013

Friday, February 20, 2015 – Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine, Director Michele Josue and Producer Liam McNiff

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Just past midnight on October 12, 1998, Matt Shepard died from a vicious anti-gay attack at the hands of confessed homophobe Aaron McKinney and his accomplice Russell Henderson. Matt’s death opened the world’s eyes to the hate and inequality the LGBT community struggles against to this very day. Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine is a powerful feature documentary about the gay young man who was tortured and murdered in one of the most notorious hate crimes in U.S. history. Directed by Michele Josue, a close friend of Shepard’s, the film revisits the shocking case with never-before-seen photos, rare video footage, and new revelations about Shepard’s all-too-brief life. Director / Producer Michele Josue and her husband, Producer Liam McNiff join us for a conversation on Matt’s life, Matt’s friends and the remarkable journey of his parents, Judy and Dennis Shepard.

For news and updates go to: mattshepardisafriendofmine.com

“Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine seeks to restore Shepard’s humanity to his name, to tell the story of the person who was murdered for being who he was. “ – John Darnielle, Slate

“The film is enough to prompt soul-searching among parents, educators and the LGBT community on how to provide adequate guidance and support for LGBT youths.” – Martin Tsai, Los Angeles Times

“This heartbreaking documentary should be shown in every high school and college – and everywhere intolerance is suspected.” Graham Fuller, New York Daily News

“This film doesn’t just revisit an atrocity, it moves through it, and finds meaning in it.” – Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com

Friday, February 13, 2015 – Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem, co-Director Shlomi Elkabetz

Gett_-_The_Trial_of_Viviane_Amsalem_(poster) 

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Winner of the Israeli Film Academy Ophir Award for Best Picture and propelled by the craft of Ronit Elkabetz (LATE MARRIAGE, THE BAND’S VISIT), one of Israeli cinema’s most acclaimed actresses, Gett: The Trial of VIvian Amsalem is an uncompromising, heart-rending portrait of a woman’s struggle to overcome an unmoving patriarchy and live a life of her own design. It’s the story of an Israeli woman (Ronit Elkabetz) seeking to finalize a divorce (gett) from her estranged husband finds herself effectively put on trial by her country’s religious marriage laws, in this powerhouse courtroom drama from sibling directors Shlomi and Ronit Elkabetz.  In Israel, there is neither civil marriage nor civil divorce; only Orthodox rabbis can legalize a union or its dissolution, which is only possible with the husband’s full consent. Trapped in a loveless marriage, Viviane Amsalem has been applying for a divorce for three years but her religiously devout husband Elisha (Simon Abkarian of CASINO ROYALE and PERSEPOLIS), continually refuses. His cold intransigence, Viviane’s determination to fight for her freedom, and the ambiguous role of the rabbinical judges shape a procedure where tragedy vies with absurdity and everything is brought out into the open for judgment.  Co-director Shlomi Elkabetz stops by to talk about this remarkable film and the impact it is having on Israeli society.

For news and updates go to: GETT: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem

Co-director Shlomi Elkabetz will be at the Royal Theatre in Los Angeles Saturday, February 14th

  • Academy Awards 2015 – Official Foreign Language Submission
  • Golden Globe Awards 2015 – Best Foreign Language Film Nominee
  • Official Selection Cannes Film Festival 2014 – Directors’ Fortnight Feature Competition
  • Winner! Israeli Film Academy Ophir Award – Best Picture
  • Winner! Jerusalem Film Festival 2014 – Haggiag Award for Best Israeli Film
  • Winner! Jerusalem Film Festival 2014 – Audience Favorite Award
  • Winner! Jerusalem Film Festival 2014 – Best Actor, Menashe Noy
  • Winner! Hamptons International Film Festival 2014 – Golden Starfish Award for Best Narrative Feature

Friday, February 13, 2015 – Firelight Media Founder and Filmmaker Stanley Nelson

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An award-winning filmmaker, Stanley Nelson has over 25 years’ experience as a producer, director, and writer of documentary films and videos. Nelson and award-winning writer and philanthropy executive Marcia Smith founded Firelight Media was founded in 2000 as an independent production company dedicated to harnessing the power of story-driven media as a platform for education and action. Best known for producing high-quality powerful productions for PBS and creating dynamic community engagement campaigns, Firelight is committed to making films about pivotal events, movements, and people in American history and in doing so has produced a number of award-winning films including Freedom Riders, Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, The Murder of Emmett Till, A Place of Our Own, and Freedom Summer. Nelson’s most recent production is Black Panthers, Vanguard of the Revolution, a documentary on the history of a group, and its leadership that remain one of the most powerful and enduring political, and social movement of the 1960’s. The film includes eyewitness accounts from the first members who joined the organization, rank and file members in cities like Chicago, Oakland, Los Angeles and New York, as well as the voices of lawyers, journalists, stanley_nelson_lgscholars, police officers, and former FBI agents. In 2008 Firelight expanded its mission and created the Producers’ Lab, a flagship mentorship program that seeks out and develops emerging diverse filmmakers. The Lab provides filmmakers with one-on-one support, funding, professional development workshops and networking opportunities. More than just a workshop, the Producers’ Lab is unrivaled in its representation of diverse producers, creating an exclusive network of talented unique storytellers that receive ongoing support from a project’s conception to its completion. Recently, Firelight Media received the 2015 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. The Award recognizes exceptional nonprofit organizations who have demonstrated creativity and impact, and invests in their long-term sustainability with sizable one-time grants. Filmmaker Stanley Nelson joins us to talk about his work with Firelight, filmmaking and promoting the works of other talented filmmakers.

For news and updates on Firelight Media go to: firelightmedia.tv

Friday, February 6, 2015 – Academy Award nominee for Live Action Short Film – Phone Call, Director Mat Kirkby

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Heather works in a helpline call centre. When she receives a phone call from a mystery man, she has no idea that the encounter will change her life forever. ‘The Phone Call’ was shot on location in London in May 2013, with Sally Hawkins having just completed filming on Woody Allen’s ‘Blue Jasmine’. Despite the fact that Sally and Jim Broadbent have both starred in Mike Leigh films, this was the first time that they had actually worked together. Mat Kirkby is a commercials/music video director workinPhone Call poster IIg out of Ridley Scott Associates in London, although he spends much of his time writing Screenplays and eating cake. His work includes videos for Adele, Basement Jaxx and Muse and adverts for Nike and Playstation. Mat appeared on the cover of Screen International as a ‘UK Star of Tomorrow’, (although the other ‘stars’ such as Gemma Arterton, Andrew Garfield and Felicity Jones all actually became stars). He is currently developing 3 features, the psychological thriller ‘Call Girl’, biopic ‘Hair of the Dog’ and comedy ‘Wingman’. Mat’s greatest achievement still remains setting the Guinness World Record for ‘most consecutive bikini-waxes in a 24 hr period’ for the Fatboy Slim video ‘Bushes’. Director Kirkby joins us for a conversation on the making of his riveting and moving film.

For news and updates on Phone Call go to: thephonecallfilm.com

Academy Award nomination for Live Action Short Film program

Friday, February 6, 2015 – “1971” Director Johanna Hamilton

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The FBI was unaccountable and untouchable until 1971, when a group of ordinary citizens uncovered its illegal domestic spying programs. On March 8, 1971, The Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI, as they called themselves, broke into a small FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, took every file, and shared them with the American public.
 These actions exposed COINTELPRO, the FBI’s illegal surveillance program that involved the intimidation of law-abiding Americans and helped lead to the country’s first Congressional investigation of U.S. intelligence agencies.
 Never caught, forty-three years later, these everyday Americans – parents, teachers and citizens – publicly reveal themselves for the first time and share their story in the documentary “1971.” Given the recent disclosures of NSA spying, this story could not be more relevant.

“1971” debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival 2014 and recently won the ABCNews VideoSource Award at the 30th Annual IDA Documentary Awards.

For news and updates on “1971” go to: 1971film.com

“Reaction to the film at Tribeca has been effusive, both from audiences and critics. At the first screening…the thunderous ovations for the…subjects of the film were extraordinary.” – Forbes

“1971 crafts a thrilling lesson about how authoritarianism can be curbed, sometimes, by one simple and well-targeted blow.” – PopMatters



“Their story is both a cat-and-mouse thriller, told in well-handled reenactments, and an examination of the abuses of government power that could hardly be timelier.” – The Wrap

WINNER AT IDA DOCUMENTARY AWARDS!


WINNER OF THE “SPOTLIGHT AWARD” AT CINEMA EYE HONORS!

Friday, February 6, 2015 – Above and Beyond, Director Roberta Grossman

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Would you risk everything – your future, your citizenship, even your life – to help a brother in need? In 1948, just three years after the liberation of Nazi death camps, a group of Jewish American pilots answered a call for help. In secret and at great personal risk, they smuggled planes out of the U.S., trained behind the Iron Curtain in Czechoslovakia and flew for Israel in its War of Independence. As members of Machal – “volunteers from abroad” – this ragtag band of brothers not only turned the tide of the war; they also embarked on personal journeys of discovery and renewed Jewish pride. ABOVE AND BEYOND is their story. Director Roberta Grossman (Hava Nagila – The Movie, Blessed is the Match: Life and Death of Hannah Senesh) joins us to talk about a small group of brave men and women who changed the world.

For news and updates on Above and Beyond go to: aboveandbeyondthemovie.com

“Soars with true adventure! A fascinating chronicle of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war through the eyes of a daring group of men.”- Sheri Linden, LA Times

“Astonishing” – Village Voice

“A moving documentary about the improbable band of mostly Jewish-American volunteers who helped build the Israeli air force and the nation itself.” – Newsweek

Friday, January 30, 2015 – Academy Award Nominee, The Bigger Picture – Director / Writer / Animator Daisy Jacobs

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You want to put her in a home; you tell her; tell her now!’ hisses one brother to the other. But Mother won’t go, and their own lives unravel as she clings on. Innovative life-size animated characters tell the stark and darkly humorous tale of caring for an elderly parent. Daisy Jacobs is a British animation director, based in London. She studied at the National Film and Television School and at Central St Martins School of Art. The Bigger Picture is her MA graduation film. Previous films include Don Justino de oscars-posters-300x213Nevem (2011) and Tosh (2012). In her films, Daisy has moved from 2D hand-drawn animation to a hybrid of stop- motion and life-size painted animation. In The Bigger Picture, two-metre tall 2D and 3D painted characters interact with real sets. Director / writer / animator Jacobs stops by to talk about her unique and compelling animated masterpiece.

Awards:

2014 – Edinburgh International Film Festival, Innovation Award

2014 – Festival de Cannes (Cinefondation), Troisieme Prix,

2014 – Manchester KinoFilm Festival, Best Short Animation

2014 – Annecy Animation Festival, Cristal for a Graduation Film

2014 – Edinburgh International Film Festival, Innovation Award

2014 – Hiroshima Film Festival, Grand Prize, Oscar Qualifying

2014 – Anibar Film Festival, Best Student Animation

2014 – Fantoche 12th International Animation Film Festival, Best Film Award

2014 – Encounters Film Festival, NAHEMI Award for Ceative Filmmaking

2014 – Animage Festival, Award for Best Technique

2014 – Message2Man Film Festival, Best Animation Film

2014 – Lille International Short Film Festival, 2nd Prix. International Competition

2014 – DOK Leipzig, 58th International Festival for Documentary and Animation Film, Silver Dove Award

Friday, January 30, 2015 – Academy Award Nominee – Animated Short Film, FEAST, Director Patrick Osborne

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FEAST is a new short from first-time director Patrick Osborne (Head of Animation, PAPERMAN) and Walt Disney Animation Studios, is the story of one man’s love life as seen through the eyes of his best friend and dog, Winston, and revealed bite by bite through the meals they share. Osborne is behind Walt Disney Animation Studios’ new short FEAST, taking the film from conception to completion. Osborne joined Disney as an animator on the 2008 feature film BOLT and went on to work on the PREP & LANDING movies andDisney’s 2010 hit TANGLED. Osborne served as Head of Animation for Disney’s’ OSCAR®-winning short PAPERMAN, and acted as Co-Head of Animation for the upcoming feature BIG HERO 6 prior to assuming full-time directing duties for FEAST. Prior to joining Disney, the Cincinnati, Ohio, native was lead oscars-posters-300x213character animator on THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. He also worked as an animator on I AM LEGEND, SuRF’S uP and OPEN SEASON. Osborne, who earned a BFA with a focus in computer animation from Ringling College of Art and Design, got his start as a kid making movies with his brothers on their parents’ camcorder. His fascination with visual effects was elevated to a career goal when his dad gave him a book about the making of JURASSIC PARK. Director Osborne joins us to talk about Oscar nominated film and the challenges and rewards of having the final say on his own animated film.

Awards:

2015 Annie Awards Nomination

Audience Award Winner: 2014 Hamptons International Film Festival

Friday, January 23, 2015 – The Duke of Burgundy, Director Peter Strickland

Duke of Burgundy posterSex, bondage, and butterflies: two women explore the extremes of carnal desire in this kinky, deliciously twisted tale of erotic obsession. In a crumbling European estate, butterfly researcher Cynthia (Sidse Babett Knudsen) and her lover Evelyn (Chiara D’Anna) repeatedly enact a sadomasochistic role-playing game, with Cynthia as the stern mistress and Evelyn her subservient sex slave. But as the lines between fantasy and reality begin to blur, and Cynthia grows increasingly uneasy with Evelyn’s insatiable appetite for punishment, their relationship is pushed to the limit. Dripping with dreamlike imagery, Gothic atmosphere, and a lush chamber pop score by Cat’s Eyes, this critically-acclaimed, darkly comic erotic fantasia is a seductive feast for the senses. THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY is the new film from Peter Strickland, the British award winning writer and director of Berberian Sound Studio and Katalin Vargar. Dripping with eroticism and dread,The Duke of Burgundy is a darkly decadent melodrama starring Sidse Babett Knudsen (Borgen, After the Wedding), and Chiara D’Anna (Berberian Sound Studio). Director / writer Strickland joins us to talk about his mesmerizing new film.

For news and updates for The Duke of Burgundy go to: The Duke of Burgundy

“Nothing if not a mood piece, but amid its atmospherics and winking asides, it’s also a fascinating portrait of a relationship.” – Sheri Linden, LA Times

“Leaves plenty to think about, but it’d be just as rewarding to turn off your mind and let the sounds and images wash over you like lapping waves.” – Matte Prigge, Metro

“At its core, this is one of the most incisive, penetrating, and empathetic films ever made about what it truly means to love another person, audaciously disguised as salacious midnight-movie fare.” – Mike D’Angelo, AV Club

“An act of cinephilic homage that transcends pastiche to become its own uniquely sensuous cinematic object …” – Scott Foundas, Variety