Los Punks: We Are All We Have, Director Angela Boatwright

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In the high energy, Slamdance favorite, Los Punks: We Are All We Have the underground punk rock backyard scene in Los Angeles pops off the screen. Punk rock is thriving in the backyards of South Central and East Los Angeles. A cobbled-together family of predominantly Latino teens and young adults comprise the scene: bands, fans, production, marketing, and security interwoven into a sub-culture of thrash and noise and pits. The sense of belonging is palpable, emotional bonds fosteredLos Punks poster III among good families and those broken, poverty and wealth, adolescence and maturity, with the music emanating a magnetic chorus for all to sing together. Los Punks: We Are All We Have is a documentary feature film honestly and sincerely portraying this vibrant, “DIY” community. Photographer and filmmaker, Director Angela Boatwright talks about her experiences and impressions of a thriving, vibrant underground music scene that is hiding in plain sight.

For news and updates go to: lospunksfilm.com

Los Punks: We Are All We Have will be released on iTunes on Friday, May 27.

“A bracing look at a thriving underground of punk bands and backyard-party concerts.”
– Dennis Harvey, Variety

“A phenomenon that demands respect whether you like the music or not.”
– John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

“Superbly crafted. Every aspect of the film plays together like a symphony.” 
– Joshua Brusting, CriterionCast

“The best film of Slamdance 2016 that I’ve seen is Angela Boatwright’s ‘Los Punks: We Are All We Have’” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

One of TwitchFilm.com‘s Top Picks of Slamdance

Holy Hell, Director Will Allen

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In 1985, recent film school graduate Will Allen became a member of The Buddhafield, a Los Angeles area spiritual group. Also acting as the group’s official videographer, he began to document first-hand their activities, which centered on the mysterious leader they called The Teacher, or Michel. Over time, the group’s dark side began to surface as total devotion turned to paranoia, until finally, unexpected truths about their enlightened leader were revealed – all in front of Allen’s camera. This incredible, 22-year archive of video footage became the basis for HOLY HELL. Now, for the first time since he left the group, Allen turns the camera on himself and asks fellow ex-cult members to come to terms with their past and the unbelievable deceit they experienced.  Director Will Allen joins us to talk about what it is like on the inside and what he has taken away from his experience.

For news and updates go to: holyhellthedocumentary.com

Opening May 27th at the Laemmle’s Monica Film Center

“An unprecedented close-up look…a documentary suspense film in which we watch with bated breath as the mask is slowly pulled off. ” ★★★★ – Owen Gleiberman, BBC

“A documentary villain for the ages.” ★★★★ – Daniel Schindel, The Film Stage

“A unique, captivating look at 22 years inside the Buddhafield Cult.”  – Justin Gerber, Consequence of Sound

 

The Idol, Director Hany Abu-Assad

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“The Idol” is two-time Academy Award nominated Director Hany 
Abu-Assad’s new film. Hany is only one of three foreign language 
filmmakers nominated for two Oscars in this century! “The Idol” which World Premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival is an inspirational, upbeat, crowd-pleasing change-of-pace based on the true story of the young man who escaped from Gaza into Egypt (and finally Lebanon) for a chance to be crowned Arab Idol champion. To so many with conflict, destruction and despair but to Mohammed Assaf, and his sister Nour, Gaza is their home and their playground. It’s where they, along with their best friends Ahmad and Omar, play music, football and dare to dream big.  For Mohammed and Nour, nothing less than playing the world famous Cairo Opera Hall will do. It might take them a lifetime to get there but, as Mohammed will find out, some dreams are worth living for. Along the way, Mohammed will experience tragedy and loss. The world around him will shatter. Mohammed knows he has a rare gift. Mohammed auditions for Arab Idol, the most popular show in the Arab world, are taking place in Cairo. Somehow, he finds a way and makes it in front of the judges in Egypt. From there, destiny awaits, a chance to change his life and give a voiceless people the greatest feeling of all: the freedom to love, live and feel free. Director and writer Hany Abu-Assad joins us for a conversation on the challenges and rewards of bringing this revelatory story to life.

For news and updates go to: adoptfilms.com/the-idol

“Mr. Abu-Assad, who wrote the script with Sameh Zoabi, mounts an idealistic appreciation of music as a way of bridging boundaries through a unifying appeal to beauty, gliding past differences in the soulful pleasure of song.” – New York Time

“It’s about art overcoming setbacks and bringing happiness to a region beset by troubles, the sort of cheerful story that speaks a universal language to any audience.” – Minneapolis Star

“Assaf’s 2013 Arab Idol victory occurred around the time the campaign in this week’s Weiner began, and both are recent period pieces about how the media can influence politics, for good and ill. The Idol ends on a far more hopeful note, to put it mildly.” – SF Weekly

Friday, May 20, 2016 – Weiner, co-directors Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg

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Anthony Weiner was a young congressman with one of the most promising careers in Washington when a sexting scandal forced a humiliating resignation. Made with unprecedented access as he mounts his New York City mayoral campaign, WEINER is a thrilling look inside his impending political meltdown. What begins as an unexpected comeback takes a sharp turn once Weiner is forced to admit to new sexting allegations. As the media descends and dissects his every move, Weiner desperately tries to forge ahead, but the increasing pressure and crippling 24-hour news coverage halt his political aspirations dead in their tracks.  WEINER teeters between political farce and personal tragedy.  Filmmakers Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg stop by for a conversation on how gaining the trust and confidence of Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner has given us a remarkably complex and nuance window into one of the highest profile and most tragic political scandals of the last 20 years.

For news and updates go to: ifcfilms.com/films/weiner

A “you are there” doc shot and edited with a bent toward dramatic, cinematic storytelling. – Noel Murray·A.V. Club

Directed by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg from a structure they hammered out with Eli B. Despres, Weiner is a tabula rasa doc — one of the most provocative of its kind I’ve seen. – David Edelstein·Vulture

A fly-on-the-wall account of scandal-plagued former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner’s failed 2013 bid to become mayor of New York. – Geoff Berkshire·Variety

The rise, fall, rise and fall again of an American politician with a quick wit and even quicker Twitter fingers. – Gersh Kuntzman·New York Daily News

“One of the best documentaries ever made about a political scandal. Weiner is nothing less than a true American tragedy – but this hilarious and humbling portrait rightly sees him as so much more.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone

Margarita with a Straw, Director Shonali Bose

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In Margarita with a Straw Indian writer/director Shonali Bose beautifully portrays the story of a luminous Indian teenager with cerebral palsy who leaves her homeland to study in New York, falls in love with a young blind woman, and begins a remarkable journey to self-discovery and independence.  Bose was inspired to write this humane story by her cousin’s experience with cerebral palsy. Margarita with a Straw features award-winning performances from some of India’s most acclaimed actors, including Kalki Koechlin as Laila in a remarkable and life affirming portrayal.  Margarita with a Straw is told with insight and humor.  Director Shonali Bose joins us for a conversation on censorship, changing perceptions within her home country of India on same sex relations and how her own life experience inspired the making of this warm hearted film.

Official Facebook page for Margarita with a Straw

For news and updates go to: margarita-with-a-straw

Margarita, With a Straw California is opening on May 20th at:

LOS ANGELES. Arena Theater in Hollywood. Arena Cinema in Hollywood

On Friday May 20 there is a pre-screening reception at 7pm and a Q&A with Director Shonali Bose following the 7:40pm show. Join her for Q&A’s after the following showtimes: Sat 4 pm, Sun 5 25pm.

“MARGARITA WITH A STRAW is an unexpected delight of charm and substance.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“An acting triumph. Kalki is amazing . . . her spirit flying as she tastes the delights and dilemmas, from crushes to creative pushes, of a college student’s life.” – Times of India

“A coming-of-age tale that treats its subject with the sensitivity it deserves …” – The Huffington Post

“Emotionally direct study of disability and sexuality… Big issues handled with dignity.” – The Guardian

Almost Holy, Director Steve Hoover

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ALMOST HOLY follows Pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko as he attempts to rescue homeless and drug-addicted Ukrainian youth, utilizing highly controversial “tough love” methods in which he forcibly abducts street kids.  A powerful portrait of a unorthodox folk hero, the film serves as a eye-opening look into Ukraine’s rapidly evolving social and political reality. The critically acclaimed sophomore feature documentary from director Steve Hoover (Sundance Grand Jury and Audience Award winner Blood Brother) is executive produced by Terrence Malick and features a score by Atticus Ross (Gone Girl, The Social Network). The film premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival. Director Steve Hoover stops by to talk about a courageous man on a crusade to impact the live and the surroundings of the most vulnerable.

For news and updates go to: almostholyfilm.com

Almost Holy opens May 20th at the Los Angeles – Sundance Sunset 5
Q&A with the subject, Gennadiy Mokhnenko, following the 7:00pm screening on Friday and Saturday.

“Almost Holy” captures something meaningfully urgent in the brutal day-to-day of tough love amid a world of tougher indifference. – LA Times

Almost Holy has the feel of following an embedded journalist on one of those raw, ground-level views of a problem you’d never considered before but now, by virtue of good reporting, feels urgent and alive. – Village Voice

There have been numerous criticisms of Mokhnenko’s tactics over the years… But one has to wonder: if Hoover’s side shows a man striving to ensure that children no longer die in the streets from drug addiction, who’s on the other side? – IndieWire

Bridgend – Director Jeppe Rønde’s

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BRIDGEND premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, winning 3 of the 6 main awards – Best Actress, Best Cinematography and Best Editing. Based on a real life, mysterious teenage suicide cluster that took place in a former coal mining province in Wales, filmmaker Jeppe Rønde followed teenagers in the area for six years, and wrote the narrative script based on their life stories. Shot entirely on location in Wales, many of the local teenagers act in the film as well. Deftly structured around young heroine Sara (an award-winning performance from Hannah Murray from UK’s Skins and Gilly on Game of Thrones), the film paints a sensitive exploration of natural adolescent confusion, romanticism, and sadness, set amidst rugged natural landscapes and spectacular cinematography. This is filmmaker Jeppe Rønde’s fiction film debut. Director Jeppe Rønde joins us to talk about his haunting and mysterious tale of lost youth and intense love.

Bridgend is being released theatrically as well as through the stream service FANDOR

To sign up and watch Bridgend go to: fandor.com/

“Hannah Murray is excellent! This is ripped-from-the-headlines cinema reformulated as real-world horror film, with a shivery stylistic nod to the crime drama of Rønde’s homeland.”  – Variety

“Haunting! (Hanna) Murray’s Tribeca win for Best Actress is well deserved. A provocative film that eventually blazes to a searing finish.” – The Playlist

“15 Must-See Movies at Tribeca Film Festival 2015. While the movie could have played the story for cheap creeps, (Filmmaker) Ronde instead puts a sharp focus on how its heroine’s natural adolescent confusion, romanticism and sadness are magnified by the continuing loss of her peers.” – Rolling Stone

“Throughout, (Filmmaker) Ronde’s visuals are intense and exhilarating.” – Screen Daily

Friday, May 13, 2016 – Dogtown Redemption, Director Amir Soltani

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Shot over 7 years, Dogtown Redemption follows the lives of three street recyclers in an area of West Oakland, California nicknamed “Dogtown”: Jason Witt, the Olympic champion of recycling, who often hauls a shopping cart that weighs over a ton; Landon Goodwin, a former minister who struggles with his own fall from grace; and Miss Hayok Kay, the daughter of a prominent Korean family and drummer for a 1980s punk band, now at the mercy of the elements and predators. Each survives by redeeming bottles, cans, and Independent Lensassorted other recyclables at Alliance Metals, the neighborhood recycling company which functions as both a financial hub and community center. The poignant personal stories of Jason, Landon and Miss Kay reveal the art, science, economics and politics of recycling: what it offers, how it touches the poor, and why it matters to all of us. Filmmakers Amir Soltani and Chihiro Wimbush wanted to provide a different perspective on the homeless. The film reveals them to be hard-working, entrepreneurial individuals, who — despite the many daunting challenges facing them — work incredibly hard to make their own way in the world.  Dogtown Redemption premieres on Independent Lens Monday, May 16, 2016, 10:00-11:00 PM ET (check local listings) on PBS.

For news and updates go to: dogtownredemption.com/

Dogtown Redemption is a remarkable documentary that offers a gritty yet intimate portrayal of a group of social outcasts usually dismissed as “poachers”—those nameless individuals glimpsed, if at all, on the margins of the urban landscape…” – The Berkeley Daily Planet

“Documentarians Amir Soltani and Chihiro Wimbush put their lens on downtrodden but hardworking street people in West Oakland who eke out an existence by collecting tin cans, plastic and other recyclables for cash. Gaining remarkable access to those who live in the shadows, the filmmakers show us the humanity of these forgotten folks and get them to open up. The film doesn’t sugarcoat the recyclers’ problems, and also provides the point of view of neighbors who don’t appreciate their presence, but this is a film that wears its considerable heart on its sleeve.” – San Francisco Gate

Fursonas, Director Dominic Rodriguez

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Approaching a community filled with so many rumors and misconceptions is no easy task. FURSONAS  director Dominic Rodriguez is not without his own biases, but instead of attempting to deny this fact, he faces it head on, unafraid to be shot down by his subjects. FURSONAS is a whistleblower film that oscillates between the fantastic and the unusual, with moments of awe and wonder slapped against harsh reality. The audience can delight in infiltrating the fun and sometimes-dark secrets of an escapist group. Whether or not you’ve heard of furry fandom, this documentary transcends its bizarre premise to tell a universal story of identity and community. Like a small town in Middle America, you’ll find friends in the most unusual places and unexpected enemies around every corner. Unlike a small town in Middle America,  you’ll find furries. FURSONAS was directed by first-time filmmaker Dominic Rodriguez.  Dominic, also a Furry, stops by to talk about the ins and outs of Furrydom, AnthroCon, Furry issues and perceptions and his own journey into this outré world.

Gravitas Ventures will release the film on VOD and across all other digital platforms on May 10, 2016.

For news and updates go to: ursonasdoc.com

My Father’s Vietnam, Director Soren Sorensen

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A personal film about a public subject, MY FATHER’S VIETNAM explores the human bonds forged and shattered by war. Set against the backdrop of never-before-seen photographs and 8mm footage of the Vietnam War, the film is the story of three soldiers, only one of whom made it home alive. MY FATHER’S VIETNAM  won the Soldiers and Sacrifice Grand Prize at the 2015 Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF) and the Best Picture Documentary at the 2016 Flagler Film Festival. MY FATHER’S VIETNAM was directed by first-time filmmaker Soren Sorensen. Gravitas Ventures will release the film on VOD and across all other digital platforms on May 24, 2016, to coincide with Memorial Day Weekend. Director Sorensen joins us to talk about his father and the other soldiers that went to Vietnam and never truely came back.

For news and updates go to: My Father’s Vietnam

“I give this film my highest praise. I want people to see it to understand the deep thinking that went into the tough decision made by most veterans to serve in that lengthy and controversial military engagement—now remembered as the Vietnam War. Many veterans paid a high price. The tribute to the fallen is breathtaking.” Jan Scruggs Founder, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund

My Father’s Vietnam is a powerful and gripping story—a worthy testament to complex lives and impossible choices made by young people coming of age while the world was in flames. These accidental heroes—soldiers, resisters, the women who waited and worried—emerge as fully human beings thrust into situations not of their making, struggling to make sense and create meaning out of chaos. This is a dazzling documentary and a necessary addition to the chronicle of the Viet Nam years.” Bill Ayers, Author, Fugitive Days

Elstree 1976, Director / Writer Jon Spira

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ELSTREE 1976 explores the lives of the actors and extras behind one of the most celebrated science fiction films in cinematic history: STAR WARS. A captivating look at the unheralded stars of George Lucas’s original film – from the man behind film’s most iconic villain, to the actor whose character was completely cut from the final film – the documentary delves into the eccentric community these individuals have formed and how the Star Wars franchise – which spans five decades from A NEW HOPE to THE FORCE AWAKENS –  from Millennium Falcon Pilots to uncredited Temple Guards to Darth Vader himself, ELSTREE 1976 shows the profound impact that STAR WARS had on all involved, no matter the role. Director and writer Jon Spira joins us to talk about his own journey into their world.

For news and updates go to: filmrise.com/elstree-1976/

** New York Times Critics Pick

** LA Times Critics Pick

“A sweet, quietly funny, fascinating and contemplative study of 10 character actors and extras, none of whom had any idea back in the 1970s they’d forever be defined by the one or two days they spent on the set of a sci-fi movie.” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun Times

“In telling a small story of bit players, the director, Jon Spira, captures a more universal picture of the droplets of fame created by a pop-culture tidal wave.” – Neil Genzlinger, New York Times

“It finds a way of proving valuable not just to fans, but to Force agnostics as well.” – Oliver Lyttelton, The Playlist

The Professor: Tai Chi’s Journey West, Director and co-producer Barry Strugatz

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THE PROFESSOR is the first major feature documentary about the martial art of Tai Chi and one of its greatest masters, Cheng Man-Ching, the man who brought the Chinese practice to the U.S. during the turbulent 1960s. Professor Cheng Man-Ching (1901-1975) is considered one of the greatest Tai Chi masters of modern times. Strugatz’s documentary tells the story of the man who overcame cultural divides to bring ancient traditions to the Western world, in the process teaching Westerners how to seek an ethical, open-minded and joyful way of life with Tai Chi – not only as a martial art, but also as a spiritual practice and form of mindful exercise.
Part of a centuries-old Chinese lineage, Tai Chi is an ancient form of exercise originally created as a fighting art. Known as the “Supreme Ultimate” martial art, it is deeply rooted in classic Chinese culture and philosophy, combining mental concentration with slow, controlled movements to focus the mind, challenge the body, and improve the flow of ”chi” – the life energy thought to sustain health and quiet the mind.

Filmmaker Barry Strugatz, a student of Tai Chi, became aware that the legacy of Cheng Man-Ching as a transformational figure was in danger of being lost. Strugatz has written screenplays for Jonathan Demme (Married to the Mob), Meryl Streep (She-Devil) and directed Melissa Leo in From Other Worlds. THE PROFESSOR is his first documentary. He joins us to talk about how Cheng Man-Ching impacted the physical, psychological and spiritual lives of countless lives.

For news and updates go to:firstrunfeatures.com/professor.html

Director Barry Strugatz will participate in a Q & A after the 7:40 PM screenings at the Music Hall on Friday and Saturday, May 6 and 7.

“East engagingly meets West in ‘The Professor: Tai Chi’s Journey West,’ an affectionate documentary portrait of Cheng Man-Ching, the Chinese master who brought Tai Chi to New York during the groovy but stressed-out ’60s.” 
- Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times

“Must-see!” – Brigid Brown, BBC America

“Forms a sort of oral history of Cheng and his methods… The documentary succeeds in highlighting Cheng’s importance, not in making tai chi relevant to a wider audience.” – Daniel Eagan, Film Journal International

“For those of us who study these arts and are certainly familiar with Professor Cheng Man-Ching the chance to see any footage of him in action at all is a real treat. Excellent.” – Steven Ruskin, AV Maniacs

“Sweet… it’s refreshing to watch a film about a man who has helped so many individuals grow.” 
- Ross Anthony, Hollywood Report Card

“VERY MOVING. It reveals how completely universal and accessible Tai Chi is to anyone. A perfect martial art for this time of fear and anger.” – Julie Taymor, Award-Winning Broadway & Film Director

Rabin In his Own Words, Director and Erez Laufer

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RABIN IN HIS OWN WORDS is an “autobiography” of sorts, the story is told entirely in the voice of former Israeli Prime Minister, former head of Israeli Defense Forces Yitzhak Rabin. Through a combination of rare archival footage, home movies and private letters, his personal and professional dramas unfold before the viewer’s eyes – from his childhood as the son of a labor leader before the founding of the State of Israel, through a change of viewpoint that turned him from a farmer into an army man who stood at some of the most critical junctures in Israeli history. RABIN IN HIS OWN WORDS brings the man – flesh and blood – back to life, if only momentarily. The film combines rare archives that, since they were originally broadcasted 40 years ago, have not been seen or heard, a private 8 mm mostly shot by Rabin, a super 8 mm of Rabin in color in 1948 shot by American couple visiting Israel, and private letters to his sister his father and to his wife Leah.  Director Erez Laufer is the co-Editor of two Oscar nominated documentaries: Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker’s The War Room (1993) and Laura Poitras’ My Country My Country (2006) His own film Mike Brant, Laisse-moi t’aimer won the 2002 Israeli Academy Award for Best Documentary, and had its international premiere at the Directors Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival 2003. Director Laufer stops by to talk about his fascinating portrait of a man in the middle of many of the Middle East’s defining historic events and how his words resonate today.

For news and updates go to: menemshafilms.com/rabin

“In His Own Words is a deeply involving look at the man’s entire life, using archival footage, home movies, private letters but most of all filmed interviews Rabin gave, to let us hear him tell his own story just about from cradle to grave.” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times

“Rabin’s consistent, thoughtful self-criticism and colorful storytelling animate what might otherwise be a pat, or at least familiar, history of Israel in the 20th century. By making it specific, Laufer makes it new.” – Diana Clarke, Village Voice

“A thoroughly fascinating, captivating, well-edited and provocative documentary. It should be mandatory viewing for anyone even remotely interested in politics and history.” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru

Now Playing in Select Theaters


New York, NY – Lincoln Plaza Cinema

Los Angeles, CA – Laemmle’s Royal Theatre

Starts May 13th

Encino, CA – Laemmle’s Town Center 5