Friday April 20, 2018 – Keep the Change, Director Rachel Israel

In Rachel Israel’s endearing feature debut Keep the Change, we meet aspiring filmmaker David (Brandon Polansky), mandated by a judge to attend a social   program at the Jewish Community Center, who  is sure of one thing: he doesn’t belong there. But when he’s assigned to visit the Brooklyn Bridge with the vivacious Sarah (Samantha Elisofon), sparks fly and his convictions are tested. Their budding relationship must weather Sarah’s romantic past, David’s judgmental mother (Jessica Walter), and their own pre-conceptions of what love is supposed to look like. Under the guise of an off-kilter New York romantic comedy, Keep the Change does something quite radical in offering a refreshingly honest portrait of a community seldom depicted on the big screen. Rarely has a romcom felt so deep and poignant. Thoroughly charming and quite funny, the film’s warmth and candor brings growth and transformation to the characters, and ultimately, to us. Director and writer Rachel Israel stops by to talk about her friendship with lead actor Brandon Polansky, making the short film version of Keep the Change as well as the personal and artistically rewarding process of making this beguiling film.

For news and updates go to: kinolorber.com/film/keepthechange

Social Media:

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Best U.S. Narrative Feature – Tribeca Film Festival
Best New Narrative Director – Tribeca Film Festival
Special Mention, Nora Ephron Prize – Tribeca Film Festival

“This gently humorous, fiercely honest indie film is a step forward in the quest for a move inclusive Hollywood, which seems to one of the themes of the cultural moment.” – Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic

’“Keep the Change” is not a seamlessly crafted movie, but it’s awfully tenderhearted and thoroughly disarming. It deserves to be widely seen.’ – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

“What distinguishes it are Israel’s empathetic characterizations – she’s known Polansky for 15 years – and the winning performances, not only by the leads but also by the supporting players” – Mark Jenkins, Washington Post

“Hilarious and warm, finding its own voice as Israel creates a special space for her cast to shine, preserving idiosyncrasies and timing to best reinforce the unusual atmosphere of pure personality on display.” – Brian Orndorf, blu-ray.com

“An ode to self-discovery and acceptance that’s as funny as it is sweet.” – Nick Schager, Variety

Friday, April 13, 2018 – The Endless, Co-directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead

Following their Lovecraftian modern cult classic SPRING, acclaimed filmmakers Moorhead and Benson return with this mind-bending thriller that follows two brothers who receive a cryptic video message inspiring them to revisit the UFO death cult they escaped a decade earlier. Hoping to find the closure that they couldn’t as young men, they’re forced to reconsider the cult’s beliefs when confronted with unexplainable phenomena surrounding the camp. As the members prepare for the coming of a mysterious event, the brothers race to unravel the seemingly impossible truth before their lives become permanently entangled with the cult. Co-director Justin Benson (Aaron Moorhead) stops by to talk about this remarkably accomplished, mind-bending cinematic journey into the unknowable.

For news and updates go to: theendless-movie.com

The Endless on Social Media:

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“The Endless isn’t just terrific – it’s poised to be that breakout genre hit that It Follows and The Babadook were in past years. ” – Jamie Righetti, /FILM

“Unique, mind-bending delights…Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson are wizards of ingenuity ” Peter Debruge, VARIETY

“The Endless will fuck your brain…Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead deliver an enticing, mysterious genre experiment that stands to be their best work yet. ”- Brad Miska, BLOODY DISGUSTING

“(Justin) Benson and (Aaron) Moorhead are in every frame of this film. Together they give the cosmos-mangling insanity a grounded truth and a light hilarity” – Richard Whitaker, Austin Chronicle

“The Endless feels like a thunderstorm. It brews slowly, softly, and then in the blink of an eye, has consumed you, booming with fury and jaw-dropping force.” – Kristy Puchko, Pajiba

“The Endless [is] a meta-commentary of the nature of storytelling and a self-examination of the creative mind, the film will likely have its audience questioning their perception of time as they look to sky for falling photographs.” – Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Screen Anarchy

 

Friday, April 13, 2018 – Where is Kyra, Director Andrew Dosunmu

Presenting Michelle Pfeiffer in one of the most acclaimed performances of her storied career, Andrew Dosunmu’s WHERE IS KYRA?  tells the story of Kyra Johnson,  a middle-aged divorcee who moves into her elderly mother’s Brooklyn apartment while she looks for work and tries to get back on her feet.  When her mother suddenly dies, Kyra is left without any support, both emotional and financial, and finds herself with very few options–none of them good.  Despite a blossoming affair with a sympathetic neighbor (Kiefer Sutherland) with struggles of his own, Kyra can’t accept that her once-tidy life has fallen apart, and she resorts to increasingly desperate measures to hold onto what little she has left. Another unique and evocative portrait of life in contemporary New York City, WHERE IS KYRA? is Dosunmu’s follow-up to his award-winning feature, Mother of George,  widely considered one of the best independent films of recent years. Re-teaming with writer Darci Picoult, cinematographer Bradford Young (Academy Award-nominated for Arrival, Selma), and composer Philip Young, Dosunmu brilliantly conveys the plight of a strong-willed, capable woman who nonetheless finds herself slipping through society’s cracks, and toppling from a stable, secure life to the very edge of ruin. Director Andrew Dosunmu joins us to talk about take on the “invisible” people living at the margins of our major urban centers, a collective loss of empathy, and the impact his photo-journalism work had on the making of this starkly beautiful film.

 

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“This woman may be lost to the world, but in Dosunmu’s quietly shattering vision, she is also unexpectedly, triumphantly found.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

“It’s a performance of such nuance and vulnerability, so quietly catastrophic in communicating this woman’s accumulation of loss.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone

“Where Is Kyra? finally allows [Pfeiffer] to explore the darker, unvarnished side of her talent and gives her the opportunity to do perhaps the best work of her lengthy, eclectic career.” – Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com

“A shattering portrait of a luckless woman unable to pull out of the tailspin that is her life, “Where Is Kyra?” is a powerfully moody character study anchored by a remarkable performance from Michelle Pfeiffer.” – Tim Grierson, Screen International

“Rarely on film has the sheer debilitating exhaustion of poverty been so clearly conveyed.” – Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice

Friday, April 13, 2018 – I Am Evidence, Co-directors Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandhbir

I AM EVIDENCE exposes the alarming number of untested rape kits in the United States through a character–driven narrative, bringing much needed attention to the disturbing of how the criminal justice system has historically treated sexual assault survivors.  Why is there a rape kit backlog? What can we do to fix the problem? This film explores these questions through survivors’ experiences as they trace the fates of their kits and re-engage in the criminal justice process. I AM EVIDENCE illuminates how the system has impeded justice while also highlighting those who are leading the charge to work through the backlog and pursue long-awaited justice in these cases. In this film, we seek to send a clear message to survivors that they matter, that we as a nation will do everything possible to bring them a path to healing and justice, and that their perpetrators will be held accountable for their crimes. Trish Adlesic (Co-director / Producer) and Geeta Gandbhir (Co-director / Supervising Editor) join us to talk about the institutional breakdown in American judicial system, putting an end to a scandalous epidemic of justice denied and working with I AM EVIDENCE producer Mariska Hargitay.

For news and updates go to: iamevidencethemovie.com

Take action at: iamevidencethemovie.com/action-center

“It’s full of fighting spirit and the conviction that society can do better.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“The film is intense, making for one of the sniffliest audiences in which I’ve ever been included, so viewer discretion is certainly advised. But with that kind of emotional power too comes the intellectual and statistical weight we need to enact change.” – Jacob Oller, Paste Magazine

“Most of all, Adlesic and Gandbhir’s cameras listen to their stories, and give them the attention they deserve. For once.” – Jason Bailey, Flavorwire

Friday, April 13, 2018 – 20 Weeks, Director Leena Pendharkar

The poignant new film by director Leena Pendharkar 20 WEEKS follows a young couple navigating their first pregnancy, who during a routine scan discover a health condition that could gravely impact their baby, which forces them to re-examine their relationship and their future. 20 WEEKS gives an honest, modern and intimate look at the pressures surrounding pregnancy and relationships. The film is particularly timely as the right to choose is being threatened in today’s political climate and currently in the US, 43 states have enacted abortion restrictions at different stages of pregnancy. The film stars Anna Margaret Hollyman (MR. ROOSEVELT, SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE) and Amir Arison (“The Blacklist”). Pendharkar’s first feature, RASPBERRY MAGIC, which starred Bella Thorne and Alison Brie, screened in more than twenty-five festivals, winning numerous awards. 20 WEEKS earned strong reviews after premiering at last year’s Los Angeles Film Festival and has been screening in various festivals across the country throughout the fall and winter. Director Leena Pendharkar stops by for a conversation on her thoughtful and intimate tale of a couple under duress dealing with crippling uncertainty.

 For news and updates go to: 20 Weeks

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“20 Weeks is the type of film that will spark a conversation…it raises big questions that you can’t help but think about for hours, if not days, after seeing the film… This is the very definition of brave filmmaking and is something that deserves to be seen” – Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment

“The story of 20 WEEKS is not about the baby, but it’s about the real struggle parents face when doubt is cast over the future of their unborn child” – Alan Ng, Film Threat

”A beautifully crafted, 90-minute piece with a powerful script that generates real life conversations… a phenomenal film” – Erica Sharp, SoCal Muse

“Compelling if difficult viewing for anyone interested in seeing a variety of parental experiences on screen.” – Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times

April 6, 2018 – Lowlife, Director Ryan Prows

When a simple organ harvesting caper goes awry, a twist of fate unites three of society’s forgotten and ignored: EL MONSTRUO, a disgraced Mexican wrestler working as hired muscle for a local crime boss. CRYSTAL, a recovering addict desperate enough to arrange a black market kidney transplant to save her husband’s life. And RANDY, a loveable two-strike convict fresh out of prison, cursed with a full-face swastika tattoo and a best friend guilting him into some hair-brained kidnapping scheme. In LOWLIFE we follow  the sordid lives of these small-time criminals collide, as they fight tooth and nail to save a pregnant woman from a certain, and surely gruesome, death. Director Ryan Prows joins for a lively conversation on his hard-charging, high-energy debut feature film.

 

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For news and updates  go to: lowlifethemovie.com

facebook.com/lowlifethemovie

“The result is a film that’s as brutal in its imagery as it is funny in its execution.” – Jared Mobarak, Film Stage

“A captivating feature debut despite some missteps, it flashes back to a time when every other filmmaking newcomer wanted to be Quentin Tarantino; surprisingly, it does not provoke the weary eye-rolling that greeted so many of those films.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

“A movie with the sole purpose of an adrenalin rush, designed to strap you to your seat, entertain you, and spit you back into reality, exhausted but satisfied.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

“Lowlife is such a wild ride that any cinema showing it might want to consider installing seat belts on their chairs. Every second is electrifying.” – Mike McGranahan, Aisle Seat

“Nicely calibrates a twisty course between straight crime melodrama and black comedy, one that has cult-following potential among adventurous genre fans.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“Throughout its swirling stories, Lowlife does an impeccable job of teasing, pulling back, and delivering, whether it be violence, drama, or the intermittent moment of temporary joy.” – Scott Beggs, Nerdist

Friday, April 6, 2018 – Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, Mike Dougherty, Director of Programming

The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is a nonprofit organization devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture by showcasing films, supporting emerging filmmakers, and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora. Each year the festival features a rich mix of film programs designed to build and support the growing interest in the Indian entertainment industry. This includes programming that cultivates an audience for Indian films while supporting filmmakers of Indian descent in career development as they navigate the larger studio system in Hollywood. The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, runs from Wednesday, April 11 – 15 at Regal Live in downtown Los Angeles, featuring programs that include One-on-One program where film industry professionals from major and independent production and distribution companies are invited to participate in meetings with the IFFLA filmmakers; and panel discussions with speakers from the film industry. We are joined by IFFLA’s Director of Programming Mike Dougherty to talk about the past, present and future of Indian cinema and the increasing acceptance among mainstream American film lovers.

 

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For news, updates and screening information go to: Indianfilmfestival.org

facebook.com/indianfilmfestival

Friday, March 30, 2018 – King in the Wilderness, Director Peter Kunhardt

King in the Wilderness chronicles the final chapters of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, revealing a conflicted leader who faced an onslaught of criticism from both sides of the political spectrum. While the Black Power movement saw his nonviolence as weakness, and President Lyndon B. Johnson saw his anti-Vietnam War speeches as irresponsible, Dr. King’s unyielding belief in peaceful protest became a testing point for a nation on the brink of chaos. Dr. King’s leadership during the bus boycotts, the sit-ins and the historic Selma to Montgomery marches is now legendary, but much of what happened afterward – during the last three years of his life – is rarely discussed. It’s a time when Dr. King said his dream “turned into a nightmare.” From the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 to his assassination in 1968, King remained unshakably committed to nonviolence in the face of an increasingly unstable country. The documentary debuted at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and is directed by Peter Kunhardt (HBO’s Emmy-winning Jim: The James Foley Story). Drawing on conversations with those who knew Dr. King well, including many fellow members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), King in the Wilderness reveals stirring new perspectives on Dr. King’s character, his radical doctrine of nonviolence and his internal philosophical struggles prior to his assassination in 1968. The documentary also features interviews with Andrew Young and Jesse Jackson, archival footage, behind-the-scenes video of Dr. King’s private moments, intimate archival photographs and phone conversations recorded by President Johnson, who were both ally and adversary in King’s fight for civil rights. Director Peter Kunhardt talks about his moving, insightful and illuminating film about an extraordinary human being.

 

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For news and updates go to: hbo.com / King in the Wilderness

For more on Peter Kunhardt’s remarkable filmography go to: kunhardtfilms.com

Twitter: #KunhardtFilms #HBO #HBODocs

“It veers from the very public to the deeply personal, including heart-wrenching scenes of King’s father collapsing with grief over his son’s coffin.” – Jocelyn Noveck, Associated Press

“The movie humanizes King, in occasionally startling ways.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“The film’s message remains timely, shaped by the voices and vivid recollections of King’s intimate associates in the struggle for equality.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

“Employs a simple and straightforward method to extraordinary effect.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Friday, March 30, 2018 – The Green Fog, Director Guy Maddin

Guy Maddin and collaborators Galen and Evan Johnson made this ode to VERTIGO and the city of San Francisco for the closing night world premiere gala of the 2017 San Francisco International Film Festival. The iconoclastic Winnipeg-based filmmakers, working together since 2015’s THE FORBIDDEN ROOM, set themselves the challenge and constraint to remake VERTIGO, creating what they call a “parallel-universe version.” Using Bay Area-based footage from hundreds of sources—studio classics, ’50s noir, documentary and experimental films, and ’70s prime-time TV—and employing Maddin’s mastery of assemblage technique, seen in work like MY WINNIPEG and BRAND UPON THE BRAIN, the result exerts the inexorable pull of Hitchcock’s twisted tale of erotic obsession while paying tribute to the City by the Bay and the ways it looks and feels through the medium of cinema   Composed by Jacob Garchik and performed by Kronos Quartet, the film’s score nods to Bernard Hermann’s classic VERTIGO music as it collides and converses with Maddin and Johnsons’ irreverent and loving footage to create a distinctive musical extravaganza. Through 12 features and many shorts, adventurous artist Guy Maddin exhibits the rare ability to simultaneously subvert and honor the craft of  filmmaking. His credits include the Emmy Award-winning ballet film Dracula: Pages From A Virgin’s Diary (2002); The Saddest Music in the World (2003); My Winnepeg (2007) and US National Society of Film Critics Best Experimental Film Prize-winners Archangel  (1990) and The Heart of the World (2000). Guy Maddin talks about the “City by the Bay,” scriptwriting, storytelling and his favorite film, Vertigo.

 

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For news and updates go to: balconyfilm.com/the-green-fog

“First and foremost, “The Green Fog” is a marvel of film scholarship that looks backward and forward from the Hitchcock masterpiece.” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times

“The Green Fog fairly closely follows the structure of Hitchcock’s film; achieving that in itself is some sort of accomplishment. However, it’s not so much an assemblage as it is a conjuring.” – Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice

“The film is a brilliant exercise in meta-narrative, which raises questions galore about reality and representation, time and space, genre and gender, individual and urban identity, cinematic suture and casting. Mainly, though, it’s just very, very funny.” – Geoff Andrew, Sight and Sound

“The work of a sensibility as impish as it is scholarly, animated by a mischievous sense of the medium’s possibilities” – Justin Change, Los Angeles Times

“It demonstrates the act of creation as a perpetually reconstructive effort…” – Lawrence Garcia, Cinema Scope

Friday, March 30, 2018 – Defining Hope, Director Carolyn Jones

We aren’t dying the way we used to. We have ventilators, dialysis machines, ICUs—technologies that can “fix” us and keep our bodies alive—which have radically changed how we make medical decisions. Defining Hope takes on the topic of dying in our death-denying culture, no matter how sick we get, there is always “hope.” The will to live is a powerful force, and eventually we will all have to make individual decisions when faced with very complex choices. Filmmaker Carolyn Jones spent four years interviewing and photographing nurses for the groundbreaking American Nurse book and film, and another year of research and interviews focused on what Dying in America looks like, all of which has led her to making this new film, the culmination of a journey, called Defining Hope. Defining Hope is a story about people weighing what matters most at the most fragile junctures in life, and the nurses who guide them. It’s a documentary that follows patients with life-threatening illness as they make choices about how they want to live, how much medical technology they can accept, what they hope for and how that hope evolves when life is threatened. It is optimistic and reminds us that we have choices in how we die. Defining Hope is critical and relevant right now, with our rapidly aging population and incalculable challenges in healthcare and end-of-life care. Director Carolyn Jones (American Nurse) joins us for a conversation on her empathetic, clear-eyed look at death and living.

 

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For news and updates go to: hope.film

WINNER – Best Premiere for Documentary Feature 2017 Heartland Film Festival

DEFINING HOPE DEBUTS ON PBS/PUBLIC TELEVISION STATIONS NATIONWIDE ON APRIL 1, 2018 VIA AMERICAN PUBLIC TELEVISION

“Shining a light on hospice and palliative care, approaches that are still considered alternative, Defining Hope builds a persuasive case for the ways they empower patients and their loved ones.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

Friday, March 30, 2018 – A Suitable Girl, Co-directors Sarita Khurana and Smriti Mundhra

A Suitable Girl follows three young women in India struggling to maintain their identities and follow their dreams amid intense pressure to get married. Ritu, Dipti and Amrita represent the new India. Educated, financially stable and raised with a mix of traditional and contemporary values in the urban cities of Mumbai and New Delhi, they have access to the world in ways their mothers did not. Yet their lives take a dramatic turn when the pressure to settle down and get married hits. Career aspirations become secondary to the pursuit of a husband, and the women struggle with the prospect of leaving their homes and families to become part of another. Documenting the arranged marriage and matchmaking process in vérité over four years, the film examines the women’s complex relationships with marriage, family and culture; the many nuanced ways society molds them into traditional roles; and a rarely-seen portrait of India’s urban middle class. Co-directors Sarita Khurana and Smriti Mundhra join us for a conversation on the underlying changing social, economic and cultural dynamics influencing a generation young women growing up in modern India.

 

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For news and updates go to: asuitablegirldoc.com

“This is a film full of love, colour and warmth, and it takes a nuanced view of its subject, but the loneliness saturating some of the celebrations is palpable.” –  Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“Movingly chronicles its subjects’ emotional travails and the societal and family pressures they face.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

“A Suitable Girl proves a somber lament for a part of the world still clinging to its restrictive past, at great cost to (particularly) its female population.” – Nick Schager, Variety

“Regardless of your background, it’s impossible to not be moved by A Suitable Girl.” – Clay Cane, BET