Spies of Mississippi, Director Dawn Porter

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Spies of Mississippi tells the story of a secret spy agency formed by the state of Mississippi to preserve segregation and maintain “the Mississippi way of life,” white supremacy, during the 1950s and ‘60s. The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission (MSSC) evolved from a predominantly public relations agency to a full-fledged spy operation, spying on over 87,000 Americans over the course of a decade. Weaving in chilling footage of Ku Klux Klan rallies and government propaganda films alongside rare images and interviews from the period, Spies of Mississippi tracks the Commission’s hidden role in many of the most important chapters of the civil rights movement, including the integration of the University of Mississippi, the assassination of Medgar Evers, and the KKK murders of three civil rights workers in 1964. Director Dawn Porter joins us to talk about the impact the MSSC had on the African-American community then and now.

No matter how many times you’ve seen the history documented, it remains eye-opening; no matter how many times you’ve heard it, it’s worth hearing again.” – Los Angeles Times

“Peer into the history of the South, and it’s not hard to find things that once might have seemed acceptable to many people but today register as appalling. “Spies of Mississippi” is such an exploration, one with an especially clear parallel to today.” – New York Times 

“Spies of Mississippi is as cohesive as it is engaging, another interesting portrait of a time in our past too often regarded as a sort of ancient history. Here, the links between the activities of the Sovereignty Commission and our government’s activities today are made clear, ending on a disturbing but thought provoking final note that asks the viewer to always question the morality of a government that spies on its citizens.” – Indiewire

Finding Vivian Maier, Co-Directors John Maloof and Charlie Siskel

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A mysterious nanny, who secretly took over 100,000 photographs that were hidden in storage lockers and discovered decades later, is now considered among the 20th century’s greatest photographers. Maier’s strange and riveting life and art are revealed through never before seen photographs, films, and interviews with dozens who thought they knew her. Co-directors John Maloof and Charlie Siskel join us to talk about a woman who fiercely protected her privacy and asserted her independence from the bourgeois values of the families she lived with. In FINDING VIVIAN MAIER, a nanny from Chicago has taken her place among the most accomplished photographer’s of the 20th Century.

At the Landmark, on Friday, March 28 for a Q&A after the 7:40pm show, and on Saturday, March 29 for Q&A after the 7:40pm show Co-director/co-writer Charlie Siskel and producer Jeff Garlin will appear in person. Read Kenneth Turan’s Los Angeles Times review!

For more on Finding Vivian Maier go to: http://www.findingvivianmaier.com/

“This initially playful, ultimately haunting look at the once-secret career of street photographer Vivian Maier is an aptly obsessive study of obsession.” – Variety

“Riveting documentary about one of the 20th century’s greatest photographers. It’s no ordinary artist biopic. Haunting.” – Indiewire

 “…fascinating interviews with the people who knew her — or, more accurately, didn’t know her. A spellbinding, thoughtful examination of the artistic temperament.” Flavorwire

“Haunting and Powerful. A fascinating tale. (Critic’s Pick)” –
The Village Voice

Jodorowski’s Dune, Director Frank Pavich

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In 1974, Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky, whose films EL TOPO and THE HOLY MOUNTAIN launched and ultimately defined the midnight movie phenomenon, began work on his most ambitious project yet. Starring his own 12-year old son Brontis alongside Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, David Carradine and Salvador Dali, featuring music by Pink Floyd and art by some of the most provocative talents of the era, including H.R. Giger and Jean ‘Mœbius’ Giraud, Jodorowsky’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel DUNE was poised to change cinema forever. Director Frank Pavich joins us to talk about the power of Dune’s narrative and the visionary zeal Jodorowski brought to his singular vision.

“Mindblowing” – Variety “

“A surprise Cannes hit was Frank Pavich’s JODOROWSKY’S DUNE .” – IndieWire

Fascinating, informative and funny. – The Toronto Star

“It’s also clear that we are all the better for Frank Pavich’s wonderful contribution of JODOROWSKY’S DUNE.” – Twitch.com

“Arguably the most legendary of unmade film projects.” –  film.com (Top 10 favorite films at Cannes)

“Never before has there been a documentary about lost cinema quite like JODOROWSKY’S DUNE.” – thefilmstage.com

Anita: Speaking Truth to Power, Director Freida Lee Mock

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ANITA tells the story about a young, brilliant African American Anita Hill who accuses the Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of unwanted sexual advances during explosive Senate Hearings in 1991 and ignites a political firestorm about sexual harassment, race, power and politics that resonates 20 years later today. ANITA is a dramatic look at the consequences to a private citizen acting out of a civic duty to ‘speak truth to power.’ For the first time on film Anita Hills speaks about her experience in the Senate Hearings, her impact on issues of sexual harassment, workplace rights for women and men, social justice and equality. The film is about the empowerment of girls and women, and men, through the extraordinary story of Anita Hill.Academy Award winning director Freida Lee Mock joins us for a conversation on the impact of Hill’s attempt to speak truth to power and the dominant political realities of her time.

“It conveys Ms. Hill’s journey from an accuser alone to an activist who shares with, and listens to, others.” – New York Times

“Hill’s enduring strength and character is the emotional center, but the scandal’s residual trashiness, enduring mystery and elusive justice up the entertainment quotient.” – Film Journal International

“If you can’t place the name, or want to know more, “Anita” is a splendid place to start.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Ernest and Celestine, Director Benjamin Renner

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Based on the classic Belgian book series by Gabrielle Vincent, Ernest & Celestine won France’s César Award for Best Animated Feature, and nominated for this year’s Oscar for Best Animated Feature, tells the story of a mouse named Celestine, an artist and a dreamer who forms an unlikely bond with a troubadour bear named Ernest. But it isn’t long before their friendship is put on trial by their respective bear-fearing and mice-eating communities. Like a gorgeous watercolor painting brought to life, a constantly shifting pastel color palette bursts and drips across the screen, while wonderful storytelling and brilliant comic timing draw up influences as varied as Buster Keaton, Bug Bunny and the outlaw romanticism of Bonnie and Clyde. Bringing it all together is the on-screen chemistry between the two lead characters – a flowing, tender and playful rapport that will put a smile on your face and make your heart grow. Co-director Benjamin Renner stops by Film School for a conversation on his beguiling collaboration with co-directors Vincent Patar and Stephane Aubier.

For more on Ernest and Celestine: www.gkids.tv/ernest

“MAGICAL! ENCHANTING! AN ABSOULTE DELIGHT!”
“From its inventive visuals to its unruly heroes, Ernest & Celestine is an equal pleasure for children and adults. A modern-day period piece, a fabulous fable, a most fortunate use of animation artistry!” – Los Angeles Times

“EXTRAORDINARY!”
“To call it one of the most beautiful animated films in recent years is not enough. It is simply enchanting!” – Le Monde

“AN UTTER SUCCESS!”
“Sublimely elegant, endearing, gorgeous, delightful! This is an artful, handcrafted, and unforgettable piece of animation!” – IndieWire

100% FRESH – ROTTEN TOMATOES!

Particle Fever, Director Mark Levinson

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Particle Fever follows six brilliant scientists during the launch of the Large Hadron Collider, marking the start-up of the biggest and most expensive experiment in the history of the planet, pushing the edge of human innovation. As they seek to unravel the mysteries of the universe, 10,000 scientists from over 100 countries joined forces in pursuit of a single goal: to recreate conditions that existed just moments after the Big Bang and find the Higgs boson, potentially explaining the origin of all matter. But our heroes confront an even bigger challenge: have we reached our limit in understanding why we exist? Director Mark Levinson, a physicist turned filmmaker, joins us to talk about the celebration of discovery and the revealing stories behind this epic machine

For more information on Particle Fever: particlefever.com/

“The bracing scientific rigor and intellectual derring-do presented in “Particle Fever” are most welcome.” – Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

“The film allows for our awe. It also demonstrates that science is the most human of activities, with all that that implies.” – Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

“A fascinating nonfiction celebration of human curiosity and endeavor, Particle Fever gives viewers a shotgun-seat to history that plays out on a very relatable plane.” – Brent Simon, Paste Magazine

Shirin in Love, Director Ramin Niami

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Love has no borders and therein lies the premise of the charming, new Iranian-American romantic comedy “Shirin in Love.”  Nazanin Boniadi plays Shirin, an absent-minded, young Iranian-American living in “Tehrangeles” (the large Iranian community in Los Angeles) with her overbearing mother and empathetic father.   Despite being engaged for years to a successful Iranian plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, Shirin finds herself breaking loyalty and tradition when she falls in love with a mysterious young man who lives in a lighthouse in northern California.  As her secret unravels and cultures clash, Shirin discovers what it ultimately means to be true to herself. Director Ramin Niami joins us to talk about his cross-culture dramedy on love and family.

Director Ramin Niami will be presenting Shirin in Love at the 8:10 PM screening, Saturday, March15th at the AMC Theatres (Block 30) in the City of Orange.

For more on Shirin in Love: shirininlove.com/

“Shirin in Love, like its protagonist, looks ditzy at first but quickly becomes a thinking woman’s romantic comedy, making a lie of recent media claims that the genre is defunct.” – Marsha McCreadle, Film Journal International

In Fear, Director Jeremy Lovering

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In Jeremy Lovering’s chilling new film, IN FEAR, a young couple fights to survive one night-turned-nightmare. Driving to a music festival, Tom and Lucy have plans to stay at a countryside hotel. But with hotel signs leading them in circles and darkness falling, they soon become lost in a maze of country roads…and the target of an unknown tormentor.  Reminiscent of vintage psychological thrillers and bolstered by newcomers Iain De Caestecker and Alice Englert in its main roles, IN FEAR plays out in real time and hinges on a claustrophobic, unrelentingly tense visual style. Looking to shed pretense and genuinely scare his actors, Lovering withheld the script and often concealed what was about to happen to the characters. Add a dark forest, and the fear became real. Director Lovering stops by for a conversation on the risk/reward of using young actors and improvised scripting for his debut feature film.

“Grips like a 4×4, even as the escalating tension threatens to spin out of control.” – Nigel Floyd, Time Out

“Crisp camerawork and amplified sound yield paranoia aplenty in this sharp-looking Sundance midnight movie, making it hard to imagine another director getting anywhere near this much mileage out of three actors and a car.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

“A smart, disturbing exercise in anxiety.”  – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian UK

It’s one of the year’s best horror movies, full stop. – Charlotte O’Sullivan, This is London

Kids for Cash, Producer Lauren Timmons

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KIDS FOR CASH is a riveting look behind the notorious scandal that rocked the nation when it first came to light in 2009. Beginning in the wake of the shootings at Columbine, a small town in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania elected a charismatic judge who was hell-bent on keeping kids in line. Under his reign, over 3,000 children were ripped from their families and imprisoned for years for crimes as petty as creating a fake MySpace page. When one parent dared to question this harsh brand of justice, it was revealed that the judge had received millions of dollars in payments from the privately-owned juvenile detention centers where the kids—most of them only in their early teens—were incarcerated. Producer Lauren Timmons joins us to talk about his remarkable, frightening film and the on-going wreckage done by a small cadre of judges to the lives of thousands of families.

“Without sensationalizing his already scandalous material, Mr. May arranges the contributions of reporters, lawyers and anguished relatives of young offenders into a shocking and impartial portrait of justice denied and childhoods erased.”  – Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times

“[A] harrowing documentary.” – Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

“Kids for Cash is… an honest investigation—unprejudiced toward its subjects, thorough in its research, comprehensive in its intellectual framework—and it’s a tragedy.” – The Nation