I Called Him Morgan, Director Kasper Collin

 

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On a snowy night in February 1972, legendary jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan was shot dead by his common-law wife, Helen, during a gig at a club in New York City. The murder sent shockwaves through the jazz community, and the memory of the event still haunts the people who knew the Morgans. Helen served time for the crime and, following her release, retreated into obscurity. Over 20 years later, a chance encounter led her to give a remarkable interview. Helen’s revealing audio “testimony” acts as a refrain throughout the film, which draws together a wealth of archival photographs and footage, interviews with friends and bandmates and incredible jazz music to tell the ill-fated pair’s story. Part true crime tale, part love story, and an all-out musical treat, I CALLED HIM MORGAN is a chronicle of the dramatic destinies of two unique personalities and the music that brought them together. Swedish filmmaker Kasper Collin’s I CALLED HIM MORGAN is also a love letter to two unique personalities and the music that brought them together. A film about love, jazz and America with cinematography by Bradford Young (DOP, Selma).

For news and updates go to: icalledhimmorgan.com

Los Angeles Area: Laemmle’s Monica Film Center in Santa Monica and Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 in Pasadena. 

“Layering experiences and impressions, music and image, Kasper Collin’s remarkable film is less concerned with history than with effects, influences that stretch across time, ideas that shape art.” – Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters

“The interview-“an amazing document,” Collin says-enriches the documentary and transforms it into a story within the story.” – Michael J. Agovino, Village Voice

“This is not a lurid true-crime tale of jealousy and drug addiction, but a delicate human drama about love, ambition and the glories of music.” – A.o. Scott, New York Times

“Collin’s film brings out these stories with a wealth of details energized by the experiences and the insights of his interview subjects as well as an engaging range of archival images and clips.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker

“Quite simply, the greatest film about a jazz musician ever. Do not miss this story of a career cut short by a “Frankie and Johnny” tragedy.” – Louis Proyect, CounterPunch

Zookeeper’s Wife, Director Nikki Caro

 

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The time is 1939. The place is Poland, homeland of Antonina (two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain) and her husband, Dr. Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh). Devoted to each other, the couple thrive as personal and professional partners; the Warsaw Zoo flourishes until the entrance is slammed shut and the zoo is crippled in an attack as the entire country is invaded by the Germans. The couple is forced to report to the Reich’s newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl, Captain America: Civil War). Heck envisions a new, selective breeding program for the zoo. Antonina and Jan fight back on their own terms, and covertly begin working with the Resistance – realizing that their zoo’s abandoned animal cages and underground tunnels, originally designed to safeguard animal life, can now secretly safeguard human life. As the couple puts into action plans to save lives out of what has become the Warsaw Ghetto, Antonina places herself and even her children at great risk. Director Niki Caro (Whale Rider, North Country) directs the movie from a screenplay by Angela Workman, adapted from Diane Ackerman’s nonfiction book of the same name and based on Antonina’s diaries. Director Niki Caro joins us for a conversation on her beautiful and moving historic drama.

For news and updates go to: focusfeatures.com/thezookeeperswife

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“A fundamental sense of empathy may not be especially cinematic, but that’s no reason to ignore it (and Chastain, who strikes a wonderful balance with Heldenbergh, is masterful at expressing stoicism without ever tipping into sanctimony).” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

“Subtle yet striking, this is a film that is filled with the power of exquisitely executed storytelling.” – Chelsey Grasso, The Film Stage

“”The Zookeeper’s Wife” may have appeal to history buffs of that turbulent time but the story has a more universal appeal about love and compassion for all animals, even us humans.” – Robin Clifford, Reeling Reviews

“It imbues a pessimistic view of the seemingly bottomless depths of human cruelty with sorrowful tragic force.” – Kenji Fujishima, Slant Magazine

God Knows Where I Am, Co-director Jedd and Todd Wider

 

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God Knows Where I Am is the story of Linda Bishop, a well-educated New Hampshire mother who suffered from severe bipolar disorder with psychosis, who was intermittently incarcerated and homeless, inevitably being committed for three years to a state psychiatric facility. Successfully fighting her sister’s protective attempts to be named her legal guardian, Linda was able to refuse treatment and medication, and eventually procured an early, unconditional release, despite the lack of post release planning. Upon her release, she wandered ten miles down the road from the hospital, broke into an abandoned farmhouse and lived off of rainwater and apples picked from a nearby orchard for the next four months, through one of the coldest winters on record. For nearly four months, Linda Bishop, a prisoner of her own mind, survived on apples and rain water, waiting for God to save her, during one of the coldest winters on record. Unable to leave the house, she became its prisoner, and remained there, a prisoner of her own mind, eventually starving to death. Her body was discovered several months later and with it a diary that Linda kept documenting her journey. The diary, given voice by actress Lori Singer, is poignant, beautiful, funny, spiritual, and deeply disturbing. As her story unfolds from different perspectives, including her own, we learn about our systemic failure to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Over the last 16 years co-directors Jedd and Todd Wider have produced many of the most critically and commercially successful feature documentary films including, King’s Point (2012) nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short, the multiple Primetime Emmy and Peabody Award winning Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (2012) directed by Alex Gibney, the Emmy Award nominated Semper Fi: Always Faithful (2011) directed by Rachel Libert and Tony Hardmon, the multiple Emmy Award nominated Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (2010) directed by Alex Gibney Peabody Award and 2008 Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary and 2009 Emmy Award Winner for Best Documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side (2007) also directed by Alex Gibney, and many more. In 2011, Todd Wider and Jedd Wider were each nominated by the Producers Guild of America for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures. Co-director Jedd and Todd Wider join us to talk about their haunting new documentary.

For news and updates go to: godknowswhereiam.com

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“A film of great beauty and tenderness that gradually reveals a confounding mental illness, this film is a human story at its heart. Ultimately, it illuminates a hidden problem of vast proportion with an epic yet intimate cinematic vision.” – Jury, Hot Docs

“MUST SEE AT HOT DOCS: God Knows Where I Am will break your heart but also empower you to question, be helpful and provide encouragement to the vulnerable in our lives. God Knows Where I Am is wonderfully shot and captures the isolation, desperation and human condition at its essence.” – Thirty-Four Flavours

“Throughout the beautiful, evocative, and ultimately heartbreaking tale of Linda Bishop, the Widers use a variety of cameras and film formats to grant the movie an almost dreamlike feel, and they’re aided immeasurably by Bishop’s meticulous daily journal, which is read with tenderness and humanity by Lori Singer, bringing Bishop elegantly to life as the chronicler of her own story.” – Christopher Orr, The Atlantic

“I’ve seen God Know Where I Am three times. It’s not only rich and layered enough to hold up on every viewing, but on an emotional level, I wept profusely – again and again and yet again. This is great cinema and certainly a contender for one of the best documentaries of the new millennium. It captures profound poetic truths about homelessness, mental illness and loneliness which are rendered with such artistry and sensitivity that this is a film for the ages. 5 out of 5 stars.” – The Film Corner

HyperNormalisation, Director Adam Curtis

 

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In Adam Curtis’s acclaimed BBC documentary, HyperNormalisation, he employs masterfully edited found footage to investigate how, at a time of confusing and inexplicable world events, politicians and other power brokers construct new, slippery realities. Curtis tells a story that begins in 1975 in New York and Damascus, and ends with today’s world.          

Adam Curtis on his work and HyperNormalisation: ”Those in power in society – the politicians, the journalists, the experts – maintain their power by telling us stories about the world. Those stories tell us what is true and what is false, what is right and wrong, and what is real – and what is illusion. But there come times when these stories begin to break down. And people start to distrust those in power – and their definition of what is real and what is fake. At that point you enter the Zone. The film Hypernormalisation tells the story of how we got to this place. It is also about the new systems of power that we cannot see – because we are trapped inside the Zone.”

Adam Curtis is an award-winning widely influential documentary filmmaker and journalist. He works for BBC television in London. His acclaimed films include The Century of the Self (2002), The Power of Nightmares  (2004), All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (2011), Bitter Lake (2015) – and most recently HyperNormalisation..  His films go back into the recent past to tell dramatic stories that lead the viewer to look again at the present day – and help them make sense of it. They try to show how power really flows in today’s complex society, not just through politics – but through science, public relations and advertising, psychology, computer networks and finance. Curtis has also done live shows with the immersive theatre group Punchdrunk and the band Massive Attack. His films have been shown at the Cannes film festival and have won awards – including 6 BAFTAs. Curtis joins us to talk about power, journalism, the world as is understood today and his work.

For news and updates go to: bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis

“I want to be Adam Curtis when I grow up.” – Oscar-winning filmmaker Errol Morris

“Hypernormalisation” feels like a greatest hits compilation of familiar Curtis themes — the decline of political power in a corporate age, the rise of global terrorism, America’s tortuous secret history in the Middle East, the hollow narcissism of cyberspace. But this also is a dazzling and thought-provoking film that blurs the line between op-ed journalism and mesmerizing audio-visual art.” – Hollywood Reporter

“‘HyperNormalisation’ is a searching and essential document of our times, a movie that leaves us, as in its opening shot, groping through a pitch-black forest with only a flashlight, wondering what lies in all that terrifying darkness that no one has found a way through.” – The New Yorker

Cries From Syria, Director Evgeny Afineevsky

 

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CRIES FROM SYRIA will take the audience on a unique, five-year journey, from Syria to Turkey, through Jordan, Lebanon and into Europe. They will see the situation from the inside out, through the eyes of those trapped in-between – many of them children – and experience their suffering, bravery, struggle, survival and hope. In March 2011, the Syrian people, inspired by events in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, rose up against the authoritarian rule of President Bashar al-Assad. Public protests sparked by the arrest and torture of children who had been detained after writing anti-regime graffiti led to violent crackdowns. As what would become a long civil war intensified, the Islamic State and other groups began seizing Syrian territory and imposing brutally oppressive conditions of their own. Stranded between the opposing forces in the conflict, hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed, seven million have been internally displaced and more than five million have desperately tried to survive by fleeing the country. Two-thirds of those who have fled to date are women and children. CRIES FROM SYRIA is a searing, comprehensive account of the Syrian war from the inside out. The film draws on hundreds of hours of war footage from Syrian activists and citizen journalists, as well as testimony from child protestors, revolution leaders, human rights defenders, ordinary citizens and high-ranking army generals who have defected from the government. Their collective stories are a cry for attention and help from a world that little understands their reality or agrees on what to do about it. Oscar®-nominated Director Evgeny Afineevsky (Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom) joins us to talk about his unflinching look inside our own heart of darkness.

For news and updates go to: criesfromsyria.com

“If the idea of cozying up to Russia strikes you as harmless, or all those Syrian refugees are too far away to seem real, the HBO documentary Cries From Syria is something you ought to watch.” – Neil Genzlinger, New York Times

“Documentarian Evgeny Afineevsky offers a comprehensive, immensely powerful look inside the Syrian civil war through this vital film that aims for the heart with urgency.”- Tomris Laffly, Film Journal International

“It’s understandable why many people struggle to process the tsunami of devastating news coming out of Syria, but Evgeny Afineevsky’s extraordinary film vigorously cuts through the noise, and dramatically shows us the human cost of the war through the eyes of children and the innocent.” -Jamie Carmichael, President-Film at Content

“Cries from Syria is one of the most heart-rending documentaries at Sundance, with disturbing images of the civil war including infants killed by sarin gas released by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and schoolchildren tortured by the regime for writing anti-government graffiti.” -The Wrap

Water & Power A California Heist, Director Marina Zenovich

 

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This thrilling investigation uncovers the high-level corruption behind California’s long-standing water crisis. Sweeping cinematography of California’s harsh, dry landscape asks us to visualize a fight for water in what feels like a modern day Chinatown. Emmy award-winning  filmmaker Marina Zenovich (“Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired”) peels back the layers of California’s convoluted water structure—wealthy water barons show their guilty hand in exploiting the state’s resource, while small farmers and neighboring towns endure debilitating drought. We see luxury crops, like almonds, on the rise and groundwater contamination increasing tenfold, pitting backroom business dealings against human and environmental costs. Water & Power: A California Heist, is a National Geographic documentary film executive produced by Academy Award winner Alex Gibney and produced by Jigsaw Productions. California has the sixth-largest economy in the world. It is home to the global entertainment and technology capitals, one of the most productive farm belts mankind has ever known and nearly 39 million residents. But the state’s continued survival is dependent on a consistent supply of fresh water, a dwindling public resource with a long history of mismanagement. Water & Power: A California Heist dives deep into the past, present and future of California’s endangered lifeblood. This natural resource is only growing more valuable as the new war for water is already upon us. This daring and extremely timely documentary asks us to question who has control of our access to our water. Director Marina Zenovich (Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired) joins us to talk about the “how and why” of the looming disaster that awaits California residents.

For news and updates go to: nationalgeographic.com

“Guided by the work of a handful of burr-like journalists, this dense and disturbing documentary dives into the regulatory quagmire of California water rights with more courage than hope.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

“While the approach taken by filmmaker Marina Zenovich, who directed 2008’s “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,” relies heavily on talking heads – Gov. Jerry Brown among them – she admittedly paints a compelling picture of timeless greed.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times

“The history of California is written in water, and in the shady deals that allow a few to control it, director Marina Zenovich shows in her fact-packed documentary Water & Power: A California Heist.” – Sean P. Means, Salt Lake Tribune

Film / Notfilm, Director, Producer, Narrator Ross Lipman

 

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In 1964 author Samuel Beckett set out on one of the strangest ventures in cinematic history:  his embattled collaboration with silent era genius Buster Keaton on the production of a short, titleless avant-garde film.  Beckett was nearing the peak of his fame, which would culminate in his receiving a Nobel Prize five years later. Keaton, in his waning years, never lived to see Beckett’s canonization. The film they made along with director Alan Schneider, renegade publisher Barney Rosset, and Academy Award-winning cinematographer Boris Kaufman, has been the subject of praise, condemnation, and controversy for decades. Yet the eclectic participants are just one part of a story that stretches to the very birth of cinema, and spreads out to our understanding of human consciousness itself. NOTFILM is the feature-length movie on FILM’s production and its philosophical implications, utilizing additional outtakes, never before heard audio recordings of the production meetings, and other rare archival elements. Director, writer, producer and narrator Ross Lipman stops by to talk about his exhilarating and illuminating film showcasing two disparate geniuses at opposite ends of their remarkable and storied lives.

For news and updates go to: milestonefilms.com/notfilm

“NOTFILM testifies to an almost inexhaustible fascination with the pleasures and paradoxes of cinema…. Notfilm finds a hitherto uncharted dimension of human and cinematic experience.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

“Completely fascinating! … A thoughtful, incisive meditation on its decades-old events, Notfilm is gossipy and philosophical by turn, joining microscopic analysis of the filmmakers’ lofty intentions with juicy morsels of information about exactly what happened when theory met practice on the steamy summer streets of New York City where Film was shot…For moviegoers who care about film not just as a title, Notfilm can be unreservedly recommended.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“(Notfilm) finds in Film genuine insights about Beckett’s work as a whole, and even about the nature of the movies.” – Siddhartha Mahanta, The New Yorker

VILLAGE VOICE CRITICS’ PICK! “Ross Lipman’s studious, rigorous, and surprisingly tender documentary…gives us access to Beckett at work” – Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

“The credits for Notfilm list Lipman as writer, photographer, editor, and narrator, but not as director. Does this imply that a director is merely the sum of the other skills? Or is it an attempt at modesty? If the latter, it is belied by the ambition, scope, research, and exhilarating sweep of his project…” – Tony Pipolo, Artforum

As You Are, Director Miles Joris-Peyrafitte


 

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Jack (Owen Campbell) is a high school student who lives with his single mother Karen (Mary Stuart Masterson) in a nondescript suburban town. Considered a social outcast and loner, Jack is friendless until Karen’s new boyfriend Tom (Scott Cohen) moves in and brings his son Mark (Charlie Heaton) into their lives. The two outsiders quickly bond and form a tight friendship and, after a chance encounter at a diner, bring fellow student Sarah (Amandla Stenberg) into their group. The three teens become each other’s saving grace until changing relationships and emerging secrets force them to look at themselves and see how far they are willing to go live the lives they choose.

Director Miles Joris-Peyrafitte:  “I love movies, but I’ve always struggled with the “coming of age” genre. I think there is something inherently condescending about it. Obviously this doesn’t span across the whole genre; but I think a lot of times when these stories are told by “adults,” there can be this sort of romanticization of youth which misses the things I think are so important about that age, namely the intensity and stakes that every action carries. There isn’t nostalgia in youth, it is immediate and hard. That was really why I wanted to tell this story now, I wanted to make this kind of film while I was still young enough to not miss it.”

For news and updates go to: asyouare.movie

U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award Winner – Sundance Film Festival 2016

Official Selection – San Sebastian Film Festival 2016

“Joris-Peyrafitte shows confidence and talent beyond his years, with an artful eye for imagery and a truthful ear for dialogue.” – Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com

“The setup is common enough, but though you can check off the usual ingredients in what follows – sex, drugs, a glance at Kurt Cobain – this is the furthest thing from a social-issue teen drama.” – Ella Taylor, NPR

“Captures the dreamy intimacy of those teenage relationships where boundaries between friendship and love prove porous.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice

“A promising and impressively self-assured debut for 23-year-old filmmaker Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, “As You Are” is crafted with the confidence and skill of a veteran, but also the youthful eye of someone not far removed from his protagonists.” – Geoff Berkshire, Variety