I AM DIVINE is the story of Divine, aka Harris Glenn Milstead, from his humble beginnings as an overweight, teased Baltimore youth to internationally recognized drag superstar through his collaboration with filmmaker John Waters. Spitting in the face of the status quos of body image, gender identity, sexuality, and preconceived notions of beauty, Divine was the ultimate outsider turned underground royalty. With a completely committed in-your-face style, he blurred the line between performer and personality, and revolutionized pop culture. I AM DIVINE is a definitive biographical portrait that charts the legendary icon’s rise to infamy and emotional complexities. Director Jeffrey talks about Harris / Divine’s journey from outsider to cultural avatar.
THE SQUARE is an immersive experience, transporting the viewer deeply into the intense emotional drama and personal stories behind the news. Centered on the activity around the landmark TAHRIR SQUARE, this film is the inspirational story of young people claiming their rights, struggling through multiple forces: from a brutal army dictatorship willing to crush protesters with military tanks, to a corrupt Muslim Brotherhood using mosques to manipulate voters. It screened at Sundance where it won the WORLD DOCUMENTARY AUDIENCE AWARD. It also won the AUDIENCE AWARD for BEST DOC., at the 2013 TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL. Diector Jehane Noujaim joins us for a conversation on the making of this phenomenal film and what lies ahead for the people of Egypt.
“The historically essential document they’ve created here pulses with an immediacy that will leave you simultaneously enlightened and stunned.” – Elizabeth Weitzman, NY Daily News
“The best documentary of the year may also have been the most dangerous to make. … Watching The Square, you can’t help but wonder how Noujaim and her crew did it.” – Andrew Romano, The Daily Beast
“Let’s cut right to the chase — Jehane Noujaim’s epic, astonishing documentary The Square is easily one of the most complex, most nuanced, and frankly most important documentaries made about the ongoing political developments in Egypt. Heck, I’ll go further, it’s one of the finer historical documentaries I think that’s ever been made, period.” – Jason Gorber, Twitch
Rocky went to India as a disillusioned tourist. When he met a group of children with HIV, he decided to stay and devote his life to them. This unmistakable power of love is celebrated in this story of one man’s decision to move to India and restart his life among the dispossessed. Winner of the Sundance 2013 Grand Jury Prize and the Sundance 2013 Audience Award, BLOOD BROTHER is a documentary feature directed by Rocky’s longtime friend Steve Hoover traces Rocky’s story of working in the village of Tamil Nadu, India since five years to present. The film illustrates his commitment to the children and their families who face life and death situations on a daily basis. Director Hoover joins for to talk about his best friend and this profoundly moving film.
American Promisespans 13 years as Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, N.Y., turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through one of the most prestigious private schools in the country. Chronicling the boys’ divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation at Manhattan’s Dalton School, this provocative, intimate documentary presents complicated truths about America’s struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity. Co-director Stephenson stops by to talk about this remarkable film and the persistent educational achievement gap that dramatically affects African-American boys at all socioeconomic levels.
“An intimate American docu-epic unlike anything that’s come before it.” – Variety
“Brewster and Stephenson’s film is destined to be a classic of the genre – an engrossing exploration of race, education, and expectations featuring strong, personable characters who the viewer feels connected to immediately.” – Documentary Channel
With God Loves Uganda, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams (Music by Prudence) explores the role of the American Evangelical movement in fueling Uganda’s terrifying turn towards biblical law and the proposed death penalty for homosexuality. Thanks to charismatic religious leaders and a well-financed campaign, these draconian new laws and the politicians that peddle them are winning over the Ugandan public. But these dangerous policies and the money that fuels them aren’t coming from Africa; they’re being imported from some of America’s largest megachurches. Using vérité, interviews, and hidden camera footage, the film allows American religious leaders and their young missionaries that make up the “front lines in a battle for billions of souls” to explain their positions in their own words. Director Williams joins us for a conversation on the Why and the How this distorted brand of Christianity has taken hold in Africa.
“Roger Ross Williams’ forceful polemic succeeds to a startling degree, rightly decrying the use of the gospel to incite homophobia, and allowing the most fervent interviewees to damn themselves with their own proselytizing words. It’s strong, head-shaking stuff…” – Variety
“Masterfully crafted and astonishingly provocative, God Loves Uganda may be the most terrifying film of the year.” – David Courier Sundance Film Festival
“A fascinating but emotionally overwhelming film.” – IndieWire
TWO: The Story Of Roman and Nyro documents the 12-year journey of legendary songwriter Desmond Child and his lifelong partner Curtis Shaw, and the extraordinary way they met and connected with Angela Whittaker, the woman who would carry their twin sons, Roman and Nyro, into the world. From preconception through the boys’ first 10 years, TWO is the personal and powerful story of these unique individuals whose lives become inextricably woven together in magical and unexpected ways. TWO is testament to the universal power and ultimate triumph of love – that it is love that makes a family, affirming modern families may be modern in their making, but timelessly human at their core. Director Heather Winters talks with us about the challenges and rewards of gaining the trust and confidence of a high-profile couple, their family and friends.
“All but the fiercely close-minded will embrace this warm tribute to an unconventional but loving family… the film does a shrewd job of exploding the idea that there is such a thing as a “normal” family. Director Winters earned the trust of all the participants, and her sensitivity produces an enlightening and heartening look at the new normal in childrearing.” – Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter
“It’s inspiring to see a film that shows what love truly means.” – Morgan Spurlock
“A feel-good documentary, and you will leave it believing in humanity again.” – Danita Steinberg, Toronto Film Scene
Dirty Wars follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, author of the international bestseller Blackwater, into the heart of America’s covert wars, from Afghanistan to Yemen, Somalia and beyond. With a strong cinematic style, the film unfolds through Scahill’s investigation and personal journey as he chases down the most important human rights story of our time. Tracing the rise of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the most secret and elite fighting force in U.S. history, Dirty Wars reveals covert operations unknown to the public and carried out across the globe by men who do not exist on paper and will never appear before Congress. In military jargon, JSOC teams “find, fix, and finish” their targets: anyone, without due process. No target is off limits for the “kill list,” including U.S. citizens. Director Richard Rowley joins us for a conversation on the wars being fought in our name, without our knowledge.
“Filed from the frontlines of the war on terror, documentarian Richard Rowley’s astonishingly hard-hitting Dirty Wars renders the investigative work of journalist Jeremy Scahill in the form of a ’70s-style conspiracy thriller. This jaw-dropping, persuasively researched pic has the power to pry open government lockboxes.” – Rob Nelson, Variety
“Dirty Wars is a focused, fascinating and frightening look at war in the 21st century, and a film you’re sure not to forget.” – Germaine Lussier, Slash Film
“Dirty Wars is a game-changing, mind-blowing film…. Dirty Wars assumes the tantalizing shape of a mystery thriller as compelling as any feature film.” – Erica Abeel, The Huffington Post
Get on board with Emmy award-winning filmmaker Harvey Hubbell V and his crew as they explore the unique nature of how each of us learn. Join Hubbell, dyslexic superstars Billy Bob Thornton and Joe Pantoliano, world-renowned brain scientists and researchers, students and advocates as they join a movement to revolutionize education. Find out what it’s like to have your brain scanned inside an MRI and visit with a group of dyslexic researchers in the jungles of Costa Rica, all the while following Hubbell through his days of growing up dyslexic before many had even heard of the word. Through the non-linear brain of Hubbell, his lens captures the otherwise complex issues of learning differences in a manner that allows the audience to recognize the differences and honor the gifts in all of us. Director Harvey Hubbell V stops by for a lively and entertaining conversation about the millions of Americans with this learning difference and the making of his informative and entertaining film.
ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW, is a bold and ingenious trip into the happiest place on earth. It was one of the most provocative films to premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. It follows an epic battle begins when a middle-aged American husband and father of two is on a family vacation. On the final day of the trip, he learns that he has lost his job. Not wanting to ruin the trip, he keeps the news to himself. He slowly loses his mind, slips into his own personal twilight zone. Director Randy Moore stops by for a conversation on how and why he was able to pull off one of the most daring film escapades in recent history.
Since the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas in May 2009, there are only four American doctors left who openly provide third-trimester abortions. After Tiller paints a complex, compassionate portrait of these physicians—Dr. LeRoy Carhart, Dr. Warren Hern, Dr. Susan Robinson and Dr. Shelley Sella—who have become the new number-one targets of the anti-abortion movement, yet continue to risk their lives every day to do work that many believe is murder, but which they believe is profoundly important for their patients’ lives.The film weaves together revealing, in-depth interviews with the doctors with intimate vérité scenes from their lives and inside their clinics, where they counsel and care for their anxious, vulnerable patients at an important crossroads in their lives. By sharing the moving stories of several of these patients, After Tiller illuminates the experiences of women who seek late abortions and the reasons why they do so. Co–director Lana Wilson joins us to talk about the challenges of finding the right balance when tackling such a emotionally charged issue.
“Debuting helmers Martha Shane and Lana Wilson manage a rare feat in After Tiller, making a calm, humanist documentary about a hot-button topic…Well contextualized and sensitively shot with extraordinary access, the pic reflects the personal, moral and ethical struggles of the doctors as well as their patients, and deserves the widest possible audience.” – Variety
“Intimate and heartfelt…Brings an emotional clarity to an issue in which every nuanced turn of phrase has been made politically complicated.” – Los Angeles Times
“One of the most courageous pieces of filmmaking I’ve ever seen. The film takes the issue out of pulpit/talk show screaming-match format and engages viewers hearts and minds, reminding us why we need to make and watch documentary films at all.” – Fandor