Andrew Bird: Fever Year – director Xan Aranda

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Filmed during culminating months of the acclaimed singer-songwriter’s most rigorous year of touring, Andrew Bird crosses the December finish line in his hometown of Chicago – feverish and on crutches from an onstage injury. Is he suffering hazards of chasing the ghost of inspiration? Or merely transforming into a different kind of animal “perfectly adapted to the music hall?” FEVER YEAR is the first to capture Bird’s precarious multi-instrumental looping technique and features live performances at Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater with collaborators Martin Dosh, Jeremy Ylvisaker, Michael Lewis and Annie Clark of St. Vincent. Director Xan Aranda will join us to talk about her beautiful film and the joys of collaborating with a gifted artist.

 “Aranda’s visual prose is what’s commanding here. Fever Year is a thoughtfully delivered lyric to an artist’s verse and his still growing song.”
- CineFile / Nelson Carvajal

 “It’s a truly amazing feat to… capture the process of a year-long music tour as well as the personal life of a musician while simultaneously preserving his privacy and leaving the viewer satisfied.” The Indie-Verse / Nico Martini

 “A gently illuminating look at a brilliant maverick musician… captured with grace and delicacy.” – The Hollywood Reporter / David Rooney

Gimme the Loot – director Adam Leon

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Malcolm and Sofia, two determined teens from the Bronx, are the ultimate graffiti-writers. When a rival gang buffs their latest masterpiece, they must hatch a plan to get revenge by tagging an iconic NYC landmark, but they need to raise $500 to pull off their spectacular scheme.

Over the course of two whirlwind, sun-soaked summer days, Malcolm and Sofia travel on an epic urban adventure involving black market spray cans, illicit bodegas, stolen sneakers, a high wire heist, and a beautiful, rich girl’s necklace that is literally their key to becoming the biggest writers in the City. Director Adam Leon joins us for a conversation on his triumphant and touching look at youth in bloom.

“A celebration of outlaw creativity … [Leon] has an acute eye and ear for the sights and sounds of the real New York … and ‘Gimme the Loot’ has a lot to say about the contradictions of a place that is defined by both abundant opportunity and ferocious inequality.” A.O. Scott, The New York Times

 “This exhilarating gift of a movie marks a stellar debut for writer-director Adam Leon.”Rolling Stone

 “Only enemies of joy can stop Gimme The Loot now.”The A.V. Club 

Fourplay – director Kyle Henry

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FOURPLAY is four tales of sexual triumph and travail set in four American cities. In Skokie, a closeted lesbian woman’s infatuation with her minister’s wife is sublimated during a weekend of dog sitting; in Austin, a young couple struggle with opposing desires about conception and arrive at a startling compromise; in Tampa, a young gay Latino man plagued with self-doubt finds a surreal nirvana in a public mall restroom; and in San Francisco, a cross-dressing sex-worker faces a challenging assignment with a quadriplegic man, arranged by the man’s wife. Director Kyle Henry stops by Film School to talk about the challenges of making four films in three years and the joy of sex. Director Henry will be in-person at the Egyptian Theatre this Friday night, March 29th for a Q & A session following the 7:30 screening of Fourplay.

“…offers a unique and bold look at the complications of desire, the need for connection and the joys and perils of sexual intimacy…” – Austin American Statesman

“Funny…poignant…unconventional…” – Austin Chronicle

The Happy Poet – Paul Gordon, director and David Hartstein, producer

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THE HAPPY POET is an all-organic, mostly vegetarian comedy about Bill, a struggling poet who pours his heart, soul, and last few dollars into starting a healthy food stand, surprising friends and customers with his dry wit and offbeat passion. Motivated by help from a rag-tag group of supporters and a budding romance with a poetry-loving customer, Bill strives to make a difference in the world, until surprising complications jeopardize his new friendships and threaten Bill’s dreams for a hot dog-free future. THE HAPPY POET cleverly re-works the classic American film story of the underdog struggling against the system, adding a dose of deadpan humor and a fresh take on a young generation’s interest in the intersection of a social conscience and the food we eat. Director/ Writer/editor and lead actor Paul Gordon and Producer David Hartstein stop by to talk about their collaborative efforts on this entertaining film.

 “A genuine under-the-radar gem—the kind of quietly charming, profound film that creeps up on you. It’s also, as luck would have it, perfectly acted.” -New York Magazine

 “A deadpan charmer.” -indieWIRE  

 “A sweet, stealthy film about creating meaning in your life (and your work) in a relentlessly mercenary world. Off-handed and yet quite artfully observed.” -The Village Voice

“The poet wants to be happy but doesn’t really know how to go about it. It’s a pretty good joke, and Mr. Gordon tells it with enough discipline and invention to make a significant portion of the film funny in interesting, subversive ways. A promising debut.” -Mike Hale, The New York Times

Greedy Lying Bastards, director Craig Rosebraugh

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Melting sea ice, glacier loss and rising sea levels. Severe droughts and wildfires. Increasingly severe tornadoes, hurricanes, and flooding. Record heat waves. Climate change is no longer a prediction for the future, but a startling reality of today. Yet, as evidence of our changing climate mounts and the scientific consensus proves human causation, there continues to be little political action to thwart the warming of our planet. GREEDY LYING BASTARDS investigates the reason behind stalled efforts to tackle climate change despite consensus in the scientific community that it is not only a reality but also a growing problem placing us on the brink of disaster. The film details the people and organizations casting doubt on climate science and claims that greenhouse gases are not affected by human behavior. From the Koch Brothers to ExxonMobil, to oil industry front groups, to prominent politicians and justices, this provocative exposé unravels the layers of deceit threatening democracy and the ability for future generations to survive on planet earth. The director Craig Rosebraugh stops by Film School to talk about his compelling film and the unfolding horror show that threatens human survival.

Filmmaker Craig Scott Rosebraugh seems to take a kind of perverse glee in hauling out the worst offenders among what he calls the climate change deniers for public shaming.  – Michael O’Sullivan, Washington Post

The film’s effectiveness largely stems from the flat-out lameness of the opposition arguments, the lack of scientific credentials of those making them, and the self-interest of their corporate bosses. – Ronnie Scheib, Variety

A blistering attack on politicians, propagandists, dissemblers and other climate-change deniers. – John Hartl, Seattle Times

If I Were You – director Joan Carr-Wiggin

 

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Two women who meet by chance make a pact to fix their unhappy lives: they will each do what the other one says. But one of them has a secret. She knows her husband is sleeping with the younger woman. Madelyn’s plan backfires when Lucy, an aspiring actress, orders her to play King Lear in a very amateur production, with Lucy playing the Fool. Madelyn’s life is transformed in unexpected ways as, like Lear, she struggles with matters of mortality and betrayal, loyalty and love. Writer – Director Joan Carr-Wiggan joins us for a conversation on the complex twists and turns love and relationships take in her beguiling film.

Emperor – director, Peter Webber

 

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A story of love and understanding set amidst the tensions and uncertainties of the days immediately following the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II. On the staff of General Douglas MacArthur (Jones), the de facto ruler of Japan as Supreme Commander of the occupying forces, a leading Japanese expert, General Bonner Fellers (Fox) is charged with reaching a decision of historical importance: should Emperor Hirohito be tried and hanged as a war criminal? Interwoven is the story of Fellers’ love affair with Aya, a Japanese exchange student he had met years previously in the U.S. Memories of Aya and his quest to find her in the ravaged post-war landscape help Fellers to discover both his wisdom and his humanity and enable him to come to the momentous decision that changed the course of history and the future of two nations. Director Peter Webber (Girl with the Pearl Earring) stops by to talk about his multi-layered film on this crucial chapter of World War II history.