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

Bigger Picture film posterYou 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, The Feast, Director Patrick Osborne

Feast film posterFEAST 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

Friday, January 9, 2015 – Beloved Sisters, Director Dominik Graf

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Beloved Sisters depicts the unconventional romance between two aristocratic sisters and a rebellious poet who took the European literary world by storm in the late eighteenth century.  As the German Enlightenment flourishes in Weimar, vibrant Caroline von Beulwitz (Hannah Herszsprung) finds herself in an unhappy marriage to provide for her mother and shy younger sister Charlotte von Lengefeld (Henriette Confurius).  When both sisters fall for outspoken writer Friedrich Schiller (Florian Stetter), their desire ignites a journey of shared passion and creativity.  Charlotte and Schiller marry so that the lovers may pursue their ménage à trois under the guise of convention, but as Caroline reveals herself to be a talented author in her own right, the trio’s fragile equilibrium is threatened and the sisters’ once unbreakable connection is irrevocably changed.   In this sweeping yet intimate romantic drama, which is also Germany’s official submission to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, acclaimed director Dominik Graf illuminates the lives of two bold young women and one of classical literature’s most celebrated figures with charm and contemporary energy. Director Graf joins us to talk about his intimate, beautifully rendered film.

For news and updates on Beloved Sisters go to: musicboxfilms.com/beloved-sisters

“Enthralling and gorgeously mounted. An unusually intelligent costume drama of bold personalities torn between the stirrings of the heart and the logic of the mind.” – Scott Foundas, Variety

“Lush, riveting…a fascinating ménage a trois…a heady portrait of women who flout the strictures of their time to become agents of their own destiny.” – Erica Abeel, Huffington Post

“Think of it as Graf’s The Age of Innocence, a sumptuous phasing through the textures that entrap those unfit for times defined by emotional repression. See it when you most need it and this film might change your life.” – Scout Tafoya, RogerEbert.com

Academy Awards 2015 – Official Foreign Language Submission

Winner! Bavarian Film Awards 2014 – Best Cinematography, Michael Wiesweg

Berlin International Film Festival 2014 Golden Berlin Bear Nominee – Director, Dominik Graf

Friday, January 9, 2015 – Match, Director Stephen Belber

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Patrick Stewart gives a captivating performance in this witty, emotionally gripping adaptation of director Stephen Belber’s own Tony Award-nominated play. Stewart stars as Tobi, an eccentric, pot-smoking Manhattan ballet instructor whose quiet life is interrupted by the arrival of a young couple (Carla Gugino & Matthew Lillard) from Seattle, presumably there to interview him about his colorful life as a dancer in the 1960s. As Tobi spins salacious tales from his former career, an ulterior motive for the couple’s visit emerges, forcing the trio to confront a secret that may connect them all. Driven by Stewart’s tour-de-force performance, Match moves masterfully between razor-sharp comic banter and heartrending poignancy. Director Stephen Belber stops by Film School for a conversation on adapting his own play for the big screen.

For news and updates on Match go to: ifcfilms.com/films/match

“…this is Stewart’s show, and it’s a dynamite role for anyone, never mind the screen’s beloved Professor Xavier.” – The Playlist

“Stewart is given the role of a lifetime… a simply unforgettable performance. A must see.” – Pete Hammond, Deadline

Goodbye to All That – Director Angus MacLachlan

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Paul Schneider (Parks and Recreation) stars as a newly single dad navigating the good, the bad, and the weird of the 30-something singles scene in this whip-smart comedy. When his wife unexpectedly informs him that she wants a divorce, well-meaning but oblivious husband Otto Wall (Schneider) finds himself thrust back into bachelorhood. Cue a hilarious sequence of romantic encounters—from reconnecting with a former crush to online dating—as Otto searches for the real thing amidst a string of one night stands. Directed by the acclaimed writer of Junebug, this sexy farce co-stars Anna Camp, Heather Graham, Amy Sedaris, and Melanie Lynskey. Director Angus MacLachlan joins us for a conversation on his first feature film’s exploration of maintaining relationships, love, perceptions and modern dating.

For news and updates on Goodbye to All That go to: ifcfilms.com/films/goodbye-to-all-that

“Goodbye to All That” is very evenhanded in assessing its characters’ flaws, and it never sentimentalizes.” – Stephen Holden, New York Times

“The film’s tone remains playful — there are even some broad, laugh-out-loud moments involving a sex toy — but poignant little moments sneak in, hinting at darker, more troubling themes. “ – Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine / Vulture

“Goodbye To All That never dares to sentimentalize, but the performances and tones are so well played that the movie is tenderly wistful in all the exact moments.”– The Playlist

Winner of the Best Actor Award at Tribeca Film Festival, Paul Schneider.

The Barefoot Artist, Co-director Glenn Holsten and Daniel Traub

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Lily Yeh is a global artist who is fueled by a belief that art is a human right, and that artists can create a foundation for profound social change. Slight of frame, but large in spirit and vision, the 70-year-old artist was born in China, lives in Philadelphia, and now, as constant traveler, the world is her canvas. The Barefoot Artist explores two sides of Lily’s life that are connected parts of the same journey: her international ventures helping to heal weakened spirits in communities in North America, Africa, China, and India, and a personal journey within, to repair her own fractured family. To embrace the latter, Lily embarks on a trip to China to trace her father’s life, in hopes of resolving life-long guilt that was passed from father to daughter. The Barefoot Artist traces Lily’s evolution as an artist – from her first exposure to Chinese landscape painting as a young girl in China to the hauntingly beautiful memorial she designed to honor the victims of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. It shows her methodology for community building – using art as the foundation – which she has developed over many years as she has worked in impoverished communities around the world. Finally, it reveals the source of her quest, and the personal costs of a life committed to the public. Co-directors Glenn Holsten and Lily’s son Daniel Traub stop by Film School to talk about the life and times of a remarkable artist and healer.

For news and updates on The Barfoot Artist go to: barefootartistmovie.com/film

“”The Barefoot Artist” is an engaging portrait of Lily Yeh, a Chinese emigre to the U.S. who has made her major imprint creating collaborative art with residents in areas torn by war, poverty and other hardships.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“A remarkably restrained and intuitively beautiful portrait of the relationship between art, its audience and the sadness of both its inspiration and its creator.” – Daniel Walber, Nonfics

“A poignant documentary about the transformative power of art.” – Michael Rechtshaffe, Los Angeles

The Joe Show, Director Randy Murray

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Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the world’s most famous and entertaining law enforcement officer, knows that in today’s politically competitive world of instant fame, politicians need their time in the spotlight. And Joe loves the spotlight. Response time is compromised for screen time, credibility for celebrity and safety for soundbites. Joe’s desire for fame corrupts everything he stands for and the voters cheer as ratings soar. Eight years in the making, The Joe Show is a wildly entertaining yet important case study of the increasingly dysfunctional relationship between modern media, politics and law enforcement in America. It’s a tragi-comedy of historic significance. Can democracy survive when entertaining voters is more important then protecting them. Director Randy Murray stops by to talk about Sheriff Arpaio’sharsh  law enforcement practices and their diminishing public support.

For news and update on The Joe Show go to: joeshowdoc.com

“An equally entertaining and infuriating overview of a very American self-made phenomenon.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“You begin to wonder where reality ends and Arpaio’s own world begins. (There doesn’t seem to be a lot of overlap.)” – Bill Goodykontz, Arizona Republic

John De Simio, Executive Vice President – Broadcast Film Critics Association

John De Simio II 

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John De Simio has worked nearly four decades in the entertainment industry, starting with various entertainment Public Relations agencies representing personalities, television shows such as “Happy Days”, “Laverne and Shirley”, “Mork and Mindy”, and “Taxi” as well as television and motion picture production companies. He later held the posts of National Publicity Director with Twentieth Century Fox and Senior Vice President with Castle Rock Entertainment. At the latter, he supervised all the company’s motion picture and television publicity campaigns, which included “When Harry Met Sally…” “City Slickers”, “Misery”, “A Few Good Men”, “Honeymoon in Vegas” and “Shawshank Redemption” among others, as well as the hit NBC series “Seinfeld”. He then shifted his career focus and now serves as Executive Vice President and Board member for the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA). John joins us to talk about BFCA’s Critic’s Choice award nominations and the live broadcast of the BFCA award show, Thursday, January 15th on the A&E network.

Difret – Writer / Director Zeresenay Berhane Mehari

Difret Film poster 

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Three hours outside of the city of Addis Ababa, a bright 14-year-old girl, Hirut, is on her way home from school when men on horses swoop in and kidnap her. The brave teenager grabs a rifle and tries to escape, but ends up shooting her would-be husband. In her village, the practice of abduction into marriage is common and one of Ethiopia’s oldest traditions. Enter then Meaza Ashenafi, an empowered and tenacious young lawyer. She arrives from the city to represent Hirut and argue that she acted in self-defense. Meaza boldly embarks on a collision course between enforcing civil authority and abiding by customary law, risking the ongoing work of her women’s legal-aid practice to save Hirut’s life. Based on a real-life story, DIFRET goes beneath the layer of polite social customs to explore an aggressively rooted patriarchy that perpetuates inhospitable conditions for women in Ethiopia and portrays the complexity of a country’s transformation toward equal rights, featuring the courageous generation that dares to own it. Writer / director Zeresenay Berhani Mehari joins us to talk about a story that challenges a culture of inequality.

For news and updates on Difret go to: difret.com

“A quiet and powerful drama.” Hollywood Reporter

“Deftly examines the issues facing women and girls in Ethiopia.” CNN

“Nuanced and inspiring.” Cultural Weekly