From award-winning documentary filmmaker Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and world-renowned photographer and mountaineer Jimmy Chin, the directors of “MERU,” comesFREE SOLO, a stunning, intimate and unflinching portrait of free soloist climber Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the face of the world’s most famous rock … the 3,200-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park … without a rope. Celebrated as one of the greatest athletic feats of any kind, Honnold’s climb set the ultimate standard: perfection or death. Succeeding in this challenge places his story in the annals of human achievement. FREE SOLOis an edge-of-your seat thriller and an inspiring portrait of an athlete who challenges both his body and his beliefs on a quest to triumph over the impossible, revealing the personal toll of excellence. As the climber begins his training, the armor of invincibility he’s built up over decades unexpectedly breaks apart when Honnold begins to fall in love, threatening his focus and giving way to injury and setbacks. Vasarhelyi and Chin succeed in beautifully capturing deeply human moments with Honnold as well as the death-defying climb with exquisite artistry and masterful, vertigo-inducing camerawork. Co-director Chai Vasarhelyi (Jimmy Chin) talks about getting to know Alex Hennold, preparing to document one of the most dangerous climbs on the planet and living life with intention.
“A brilliant documentary.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
“…a miraculous opportunity for the rest of us to experience the human sublime.” – The New York Times
“One of the most arresting documentaries of the year.”– Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair “A stunning…real-world thriller.”– Eric Kohn, IndieWire “Literally breath-taking.”– Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
For four decades, the Mill Valley Film Festival (MVFF) has maintained its position as a vital showcase of the global film community, attracting iconic red-carpet talent, emerging filmmakers, passionate audiences and astutely curated premieres. A destination event for film lovers, drawn by an exciting, diverse program of mainstream studio features and independent visions from around the world, set against the stunning backdrop of Northern California, MVFF also hosts an impressive array of panels, conversations, receptions, parties and live music performances, featuring many of the most acclaimed and in-demand artists and industry professionals of our time. With a reputation for launching new films and creating awards season buzz, MVFF has a knack for spotting emerging talent as well as drawing legendary artists. Known as the filmmaker’s festival, MVFF welcomes more than 200 filmmakers and guests from around the world and has hosted such luminaries as Nicole Kidman, Holly Hunter, Ang Lee, Todd Haynes, Mira Nair, Brie Larson, Costa-Gavras, Damien Chazelle, Marcel Ophuls, Amy Adams, Steve McQueen and Greta Gerwig. Mill Valley Film Festival Director of Programming Zoe Elton, joins us to talk about “the filmmaker’s festival,” and this year’s exciting line-up of documentary, foreign, animated, short and narrative films.
BISBEE ’17 is a non-fiction feature film by Sundance award winning director Robert Greene set in Bisbee, Arizona, an eccentric old mining town just miles away from both Tombstone and the Mexican border. Radically combining documentary and genre elements, the film follows several members of the close knit community as they collaborate with the filmmakers to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Bisbee Deportation, where 1,200 immigrant miners were violently taken from their homes by a deputized force, shipped to the desert on cattle cars and left to die. Bisbee was once known as a White Man’s Camp, and that racist past lingers in the air. As we meet the townspeople, they begin to confront the violent past of the Deportation, a long-buried secret in the old company town. As the 100th anniversary of Bisbee’s darkest day approaches, locals dress as characters on both sides of the still-polarizing event, staging dramatic recreations of scenes from the escalating miner’s strike that lead to the Deportation. Spaces in town double as past and present; re-enactors become ghosts in the haunted streets of the old copper camp. Richard plays the sheriff in a Western, Fernando portrays a Mexican miner in a Musical, a local politician is in her own telenovela. These and other enacted fantasies mingle with very real reckonings and it all builds towards a massive re-staging of the Deportation itself on the exact day of its centennial anniversary. Director Robert Greene (Actress, Kate Plays Christine) joins us for a conversation on his latest provocative and compelling new film.
“‘Even though “Bisbee ’17′ depicts a wholesome and harmonious community undertaking, it is a profoundly haunted and haunting film.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times
“The director purposefully pulls us this way and that, weaving cinematic spells and then yanking us out of them; as viewers, we are both inside and outside the story.” – Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice
“The film is rich and multifaceted, as Greene employs an array of styles (historical reenactments, direct cinema-style portraiture, musical numbers) to investigate the complex relationship between Bisbee’s past and present.” – Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader
“The result is a singularly American riff on The Act of Killing, a fascinating and dream-like mosaic that’s less driven by residual anger than by cockeyed concern, less interested in exhuming the past than in revealing its value to the present.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire
“Bisbee ’17 is a fierce, lyrical probe into the soul of a town haunted by a history it would rather forget. It’s also an unsettling cipher for America, in a year when the ghosts of our past revealed themselves in frightening ways.” – Alissa Wilkinson, Vox
It’s the Summer of ’87, and Gio (Spencer Boldman), an Italian kid from Queens, has little on his mind but cars and girls. Gio thinks he’s got it all figured out until he meets Jessica (Emily Ratajkowski), a nice Jewish girl from Long Island who likes to go undercover for illicit thrills on the wrong side of the tracks. An affectionate look at the youth culture of a bygone era, CRUISE celebrates the joys of muscle cars, Motorola pagers and endless summer nights.CRUISE also stars Sebastian Maniscalco, Lucas Salvagno, Kathrine Narducci, Noah Robbins, and Gino Cafarelli. Director and writer Robert Siegel (Big Fan, The Wrestler and The Founder) joins us to talk about his coming-of-age story, his own attraction to outsider culture and the scarcity of red-blooded American actors.
After marrying a successful Parisian writer known commonly as “Willy” (Dominic West), Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Keira Knightley) is transplanted from her childhood home in rural France to the intellectual and artistic splendor of Paris. Soon after, Willy convinces Colette to ghostwrite for him. She pens a semi-autobiographical novel about a witty and brazen country girl named Claudine, sparking a bestseller and a cultural sensation. After its success, Colette and Willy become the talk of Paris and their adventures inspire additional Claudine novels. Colette’s fight over creative ownership and gender roles drives her to overcome societal constraints, revolutionizing literature, fashion and sexual expression. Director and screenwriter Wash Westmoreland stops by to talk about the story behind a remarkable trailblazing feminist, writer, performer and cultural icon whose influence has inspired artists for the last 100 years.
“Knightley is exceedingly well-equipped to carry this magnificent film on her own — an Oscar-nominated performance for sure.” – Jeanne Kaplan, Kaplan vs. Kaplan
“A witty, spirited portrait of the great French writer and libertine during the early Belle Époque years of her career.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
“This timely and gorgeously shot account of a beloved French writer foregrounds Colette’s remarkable freedom from conventional norms as she finds her artistic voice.” – Erica Abeel, Film Journal International
“At first presenting itself as a tightly corseted Big Eyes set during the Belle Époque, Colette erupts into a fun, frothy, and unmistakably feminist biopic.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire
“The film has a towering performance from Keira Knightley, who plays Colette with such warmth and fiery feminism, that it would be hard not to make woman’s past run parallel with today’s world.” – Jordan Ruimy, The Playlist
The International Documentary Association (IDA) is dedicated to building and serving the needs of a thriving documentary culture. Through its programs, the IDA provides resources, creates community, and defends rights and freedoms for documentary artists, activists, and journalists. IDA is the only group advocating specifically for the documentary filmmaking community. In many ways, this makes IDA’s advocacy work the most important and relevant work we do. Documentary storytelling expands our understanding of shared human experience, fostering an informed, compassionate, and connected world. The Enterprise Documentary Fund is one of the many logistical and financial programs offered by IDA.
About the Enterprise Documentary Fund:
“In the face of an all-out assault on the press, IDA is committed to standing behind the independent storytellers and watchdogs that make up our community—in large part, through the newly created Enterprise Documentary Fund. Made possible by a generous grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the fund will disburse $1 million per year for the next four years, in the form of production grants up to $100,000 and development grants up to $15,000. The fund is intended to support primarily mid-career filmmakers producing feature-length, in-depth explorations of original, contemporary stories with a journalistic foundation or that incorporate journalistic practice into the filmmaking process. The mission of the Enterprise Documentary Fund is admittedly ambitious: It seeks to provide valuable resources and support systems (not unlike those in newsrooms) for filmmakers taking on the critical stories of our time. Originally sparked by the findings in “Dangerous Documentaries,” the fund is a response to pleas from filmmakers themselves. In interviews recently conducted by Toni Bell, IDA’s Filmmaker Services Manager, filmmakers reiterated the major findings in “Dangerous Docs”: They want access to information about digital and physical security, research databases, legal and other experts, public relations strategists and mentors. Exercising our rights to free speech and freedom of the press are critical for a healthy democracy. As I write this, these rights are clearly under assault, and we owe it to ourselves and to the public to staunchly call ourselves journalists and artists—they are not mutually exclusive.” – Carrie Lozano, Director of the Enterprise Documentary Fund
Chicago’s Oak Park and River Forest High School’s (OPRF) student population encompasses a racial, economic and cultural mix that reflects the nation as a whole. Located in a mostly affluent, progressive suburb, the school attracts families of all races and means, many of whom make great sacrifices to secure their children a place there. But even in this diverse and liberal community, ensuring an educational experience that equally benefits all students poses challenges for the school’s dedicated and well-meaning teachers, administrators and parents. In the multipart unscripted documentary series AMERICA TO ME, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interupters, Life Itself, Abacus: Small Enough to Jail) and his team follow a diverse selection of the school’s 3,400 students, including artists, athletes, scholars, underachievers and iconoclasts, to present an indelible account of their dreams, fears, triumphs and aspirations. Posing complex and controversial questions, the film wrestles with crucial issues, including the effects of race and privilege on education as seen through the eyes of young Americans on the precipice of adulthood. Candid and relatable portraits of 12 students who are just beginning to come into their own provide moving insights into the teenage search for personal identity in today’s world. Director Steve James joins us with his impressions on the state of secondary education, how best to facilitate better outcomes for students and the role racial stereotyping plays in achieving success.
“The 10-part documentary series from Steve James (Hoop Dreams) is profound and thoughtful, taking a detailed look at inequality in America through the lens of a storied high school in Chicago.” – Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic
“[America to Me] is an invaluable look at where inequity begins, as well as the difficulty of getting to the place where it ends.” – James Poniewozik
“Even in a series this expansive, you keep wishing you could spend more time with more people, but its scope allows James and his team to show both victories and defeats fade into the past, how fragile and yet how resilient its protagonists can be.” – Sam Adams, Slate
“[James] captures the specific moments that are hard to explain without being there – like a young black girl who feels uncomfortable with a white teacher’s constant attempts to relate to her – and the larger systemic issues that are harder to upend.” – Ben Travers, IndieWire
In the days following his mother’s sudden death, Socrates (Christian Malheiros), a 15-year-old living on São Paulo’s margins, faces the difficulties of surviving on his own and coming to terms with his grief.SOCRATES was produced with a crew of 16-20 year-olds from the Querô Institute, a UNICEF-supported project that provides social inclusion through filmmaking to underprivileged youths in the Baixada Santista region of São Paulo, Brazil. SOCRATES was also written by Thayná Mantesso a 20 year-old Brazilian screenwriter and graduate of the Querô Institute. SOCRATES was filmed with a micro-budget of under $20,000.Alex Moratto’s award-winning short films NOWHERE TO BE FOUND, THE PARTING and THE OTHER SIDE have screened at international film festivals. SOCRATES is Alex Moratto’s debut feature film. The film was produced by Ramin Bahrani (99 HOMES) and stars Christian Malheiros and Tales Ordakji. Director Alex Moratto joins us for a conversation on working with a young non-professionals, UNICEF and producing his debut feature film.
Hailed by critics as “immensely likeable,” “brilliant and quirky” and an “ode to the teenage science geeks on whom our future depends,” and winner of the audience award at Sundance and SXSW, National Geographic Documentary Films’ SCIENCE FAIR follows nine high school students from around the globe as they navigate rivalries, setbacks and, of course, hormones, on their journey to compete at The International Science and Engineering Fair. As 1,700 of the smartest, quirkiest teens from 78 different countries face off, only one will be named Best in Fair. The film, from Fusion and Muck Media and directed by the DuPont Award-winning and Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaking team Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster, offers a front seat to the victories, defeats and motivations of an incredible group of young men and women who are on a path to change their lives, and the world, through science. Co-directors Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster join us to talk about their entertaining, enlightening and heart-warming film.
“Endlessly delightful.” – David Edelstein, New York Magazine
“A work of profound cinematic joy, Science Fair is a winner.” – Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Hammer to Nail
“INSPIRATIONAL AND INVIGORATING.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“It’s as irresistibly entertaining, inspirational and emotionally engrossing as Spellbound. You don’t have to be into science to be entertained, moved or enlightened by Science Fair. It’s one of the best documentaries of the year.” – Avi Offer, The NYC Movie Guru
“The ultimate crowd-pleaser.” – DeAnna Janes, Harper’s Bazaar
“Unfailingly charming.” – Teo Bugbee, The New York Times
America has the most technologically advanced health care system in the world, yet preventable medical harm has become one of the leading causes of death, and the overwhelming majority of high-risk implanted devices never require a single clinical trial. In THE BLEEDING EDGE, Academy Award nominated filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering (THE INVISIBLE WAR, THE HUNTING GROUND) turn their sights on the $400 billion medical device industry, examining lax regulations, corporate cover-ups, and profit driven incentives that put patients at risk daily.Weaving emotionally powerful stories of people whose lives have been irrevocably harmed, the film asks: what life-saving technologies may actually be killing us? Director Kirby Dick and Producer Amy Ziering join us for a conversation on the lack of integrity in the medical device industry, lax regulatory oversight by the Federal Food and Drug Administration and the potentially deadly combination that it can become.
Written and directed by internationally acclaimed filmmaker and Peabody Award winner, Leon Lee, LETTER FROM MASANJIA is an astonishing & riveting documentary follows the true story of an Oregon woman who finds a desperate SOS letter penned by a political prisoner in her Halloween decorations and the nail-biting chain of events that it sparks when she takes the letter public, exposing appalling flagrant human rights violations – that leads to sweeping labor reform in China. The impact of what those two unlikely heroes have accomplished is even more profound in today’s rapidly boiling over political climate, not just in China but around the rest of the world. LETTER FROM MASANJIA is a devastating tale of human rights violations in current day China with corporate giants across the globe receiving prisoner labor efforts for Halloween decorations, asking no questions in a price for pennies on the dollar. This is the tale of one political prisoners desperate plea to alert the world to horrors most of society sweeps under the carpet. Director and writer Leon Lee stops by to talk about the hundreds of thousands of people currently incarcerated in labor camps, and the millions more living in fear as well as the people resisting a totalitarian regime.
This Teacher follows a French Muslim woman (Cesar-winnerHafsia Herzi) as she travels to New York City to visit her childhood best friend from the rough neighborhoods outside of Paris. When the reunion proves disastrous, Hafsia steals her friend’s credit card and identity, and disappears to a remote cabin upstate. Deep in the woods and alone for the first time in her life, she experiences a divine revelation of an existence without borders. But when she discovers that she’s not alone on the property, Hafsia’ssojourn in nature gradually descends into a terrifying study of the intolerance and suspicion she encounters and reflects back to an Islamophobic America.Written and directed by Mark Jackson featuring a score composed from the Grammy nominated Dave Eggar, the film stars: Cesar-winner Hafsia Herzi (The Secret of the Grain) Sarah Kazemy (Circumstance) Lucy Walters (Power), Kevin Kane (Inside Amy Schumer), and Lev Gorn (The Americans). Jackson’s previous films have won 17 awards including an Independent Spirit Award and a Gotham Nomination. Jackson is also a Sundance, Cinereach and Skywalker Sound Fellow. Director and writer Mark Jackson (War Story, Without) joins us for a conversation on This Teachers’ premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival, intolerance and not being afraid to love.
This Teacher (LAFF World Premiere screening at September 22nd, 2018 at 4pm (with red carpet media check-in at 3pm) at ArcLight Culver City.
The Wrong Todd – Directed by Rob Schulbaum
Resistant to change, Todd (Jesse Rosen) finds himself at a crossroads when his girlfriend Lucy (Anna Rizzo) is offered a promotion on the other side of the country. Before he can decide whether to stay or go, Todd’s evil twin from a parallel universe arrives to take his place, and Todd must face the prospect of a world without Lucy.With the reluctant help of Lucy’s brother, Dave (Sean Carmichael), Lucy and Todd must confront the barriers to their relationship, their perception of self, and the laws of the universe itself to distinguish the wrong Todd from the right one. The Wrong Todd is a new take on a sci-fi-fi comedy drama with the added bonus of an evil twin from a parallel universe. The Wrong Todd is about championing love, accepting change, and realizing what you’ve taken for granted before it truly is too late.Inspired by the works of Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Harold Ramis (Groundhog Day)The Wrong Toddanswer the question so many people think but never articulate “what is wrong with me?” Starring Jesse Rosen (The Art of Being Straight), Anna Rizzo (Lost in Bloom), Sean Carmichael (Trinity), Derek K. Moore (Ghostbusters), and Erin Rose. Director Rob Schulbaum (Family Guy), joins us to talk about his directorial debut.
We The Coyotes – Co-directors Hanna Ladoul and Marco La Via
Making the films USA debut (it world premiered in the Acid section of Cannes this spring), We The Coyotes by first-time feature filmmakers Hanna Ladoul and Marco La Via, was inspired by the adventure and challenges of their own early days in Los Angeles. Enveloped in the love bubble a young couple, played by Morgan Saylor (Homeland) and McCaul Lombardi (Sollers Point), arrive from their cross-country trip from the midwest to stay with her aunt Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad), where we continually see them encounter the challenges of their first day in Los Angeles.The city is as much a character in this intimate drama as this young couple, as they find their hopes often crushed under the realities of what you encounter in any major city, much less the city of dreams.Not unlike countless twenty-somethings over the decades, our westward-bound couple in We The Coyotes arrive in Los Angeles with half-formed plans and half-empty pockets, but we see how tensions bend and shape them while the will to survive drives them on. Co-directors Hanna Ladoul and Marco La Via stop by to talk about their unvarnished, thought provoking film.
On the night of the 2016 Presidential election, Cass, (Omari Hardwick) an L.A. club promoter, takes a thrilling and emotional journey with Frida (Meagan Good), a Midwestern visitor. She challenges him to revisit his broken dreams – while he pushes her to discover hers. Director / writer / editor Qasim Basir joins us to talk about his riveting and elegant depiction of relationships, intimacy, Los Angeles, race, politics, and living the life we want instead of the life we have.
“A Boy. A Girl. A Dream may seem simple but every frame is a vibrant work of a passionate filmmaker.” – Matthew Passantino, Film Threat
“From the open cityscapes to the closed confines of the rideshare, Basir packs plenty of material for audiences to digest. His use of such a turbulent time is unique and thought-provoking.” – Jonita Davis, Black Girl Nerds
“The understated performances gurgle with powerful emotions. Hardwick and Good are terrific as people trying be cool to a stranger, but failing to conceal their underlying feelings.” – Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
“Set amid a changing nation, the chemistry between the leads help A Boy, A Girl, A Dream find a love story within an ever-changing world.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies
“As Basir and co-writer Samantha Tanner make abundantly clear in this very earnest, ferociously hopeful film, we’re not going to get through this mess if we’re not pushing one another to be at our very best.” – Birth.Movies.Death.
Forty-five years after it revolutionized abortion law in America, the landmark 1973 US Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade is once again at a crossroads. In their timely new documentary REVERSING ROE, filmmakers Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg (THE DEVIL CAME ON HORSEBACK, MARATHON: THE PATRIOT’S DAY BOMBING) present a deeply illuminating look of the state of abortion and women’s rights in America. The film offers candid and riveting interviews with key figures from both sides of the divide, among them doctors Colleen McNicholas and Curtis Boyd; feminist icon Gloria Steinem; Operation Rescue president Troy Newman; and National Right to Life president Carol Tobias.Intense and unflinching in its commitment to telling the whole story, REVERSING ROE provides a gripping look at what’s happening on the ground in 2018. Drawing from a wealth of historical footage, it charts the period leading up to the Roe decision-and documents the opposition that has followed ever since.Regardless of where you stand on the issue of abortion, REVERSING ROE is essential viewing to understand how the country got here-and where it may be going. Co-directors Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg join us for an informed conversation on the long history and politics swirling around one of the country’s most divisive issues.
“As contentiousness turned into real-world consequences, “Reversing Roe” reminds us that the more women get involved regarding their rights, the more likely we’re to see a fair, principled fight.” – Robert Abele, Los Times
“Nothing new here but a good primer for those who never thought that politics has anything to do with their lives.” – Harvey S. Karten, Big Apple Reviews
“Solid and valuable but familiar.” – Caryn James, Hollywood Reporter
“Provides a clear and accessible overview of more than 50 years of the social and legal history of the issue in the United States.” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times
Hard headed Louisiana fisherman Thomas Gonzales doesn’t know what will hit him next. After decades of hurricanes and oil spills he faces a new threat – hordes of monstrous 20 pound swamp rats. Known as “nutria”, these invasive South American rodents breed faster than the roving squads of hunters can control them. And with their orange teeth and voracious appetite they are eating up the coastal wetlands that protects Thomas and his town of Delacroix Island from hurricanes. But the people who have lived here for generations are not the type of folks who will give up without a fight. Thomas and a pack of lively bounty hunters are hellbent on saving Louisiana before it dissolves beneath their feet. It is man vs. rodent. May the best mammal win. Rodents of Unusual Size is a documentary by Quinn Costello, Chris Metzler and Jeff Springer (Everyday Sunshine,The Story of Fishbone). Co-director Jeff Springer join us to talk about the other ‘beast of the Southern wild.”
Rodents is opening in Los Angeles on September 14th through September 19th @ 1:10pm, 3:20pm, 5:30pm, 8:00pm, & 10:10pm at the Laemmle’s Monica Film Center, 1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica
Opening night Q&A with filmmakers Chris Metzler, Quinn Costello, and animation director Mike Blum
BEST OF FESTIVAL AWARD – Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival
BEST DOCUMENTARY AWARD – UNA George Lindsey Film Festival
BEST DOCUMENTARY AWARD – Tupelo Film Festival
SPECIAL JURY AWARD FOR FILMS FOR OUR FUTURE – Mendocino Film Festival
EXCELLENCE IN AMERICAN PROFILES AWARD – SF Docfest
JURY AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY – Oceanside International Film Festival
92% on Rotten Tomatoes
“Rodents of Unusual Size is also a look at how human folly can contribute to environmental disaster, but awareness and ingenuity can help bail us out.” – Peter Keough, Boston Globe
“Depicting the resilience of both the nutria and the Louisianans who’ve endured their presence for many years, Rodents of Unusual Size proves enjoyably quirky and informative.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
“… a squirmy, funny, fascinating documentary that mixes history, zoology and social and cultural anthropology to examine the relationship of the giant rat to the bayou Louisianans who hunt, skin and sometimes even eat the dagger-incisored critters.” – John Beifuss, Commercial Appeal
“A bizarre and fascinating documentary that’ll make your jaw drop.” Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News
LOST CHILD follows an army veteran, Fern, who returns home in order to look for her brother, only to discover an abandoned boy lurking in the woods behind her childhood home. After taking in the boy, she searches for clues to his identity, and discovers the local folklore about a malevolent, life-draining spirit that comes in the form of a child; the Tatterdemalion. A beautifully-crafted mystery drama from award-winning director Ramaa Mosley. LOST CHILD stars Leven Rambin, Jim Parrack, John Taylor Smith, and Landon Edwards. Director / co-screenwriter (Tim Macy) Ramaa Mosley and actor Kip Collins joins us for a conversation on PTSD, self-financing your own film, the supernatural, and bracing the people of the Ozarks.
“An extraordinarily delicate balancing act between drama and horror, visually and psychologically expansive, set in a place where stories of monsters are not mere entertaining fun, and where superstition is not harmless.” – MaryAnn Johnson, Flick Filosopher
“The slow-burning thriller walks a fine line, balancing elements of psychological drama and the supernatural, with a surging undercurrent of social commentary that sneaks up on you.” – Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times
“The slow-burning thriller walks a fine line, balancing elements of psychological drama and the supernatural, with a surging undercurrent of social commentary that sneaks up on you.” – Fred Topel, Monsters and Critics
Although Hal Ashby directed a remarkable string of acclaimed, widely admired classics throughout the 1970s—HAROLD AND MAUDE, THE LAST DETAIL, SHAMPOO, COMING HOME, BEING THERE—he is often overlooked amid the crowd of luminaries from his generation. Amy Scott’s HAL is an exuberant portrait that explores that curious oversight, using rare archival materials, interviews, personal letters, and audio recordings to reveal a passionate, obsessive artist. Ashby was a Hollywood director who constantly clashed with Hollywood, but also a unique soul with an unprecedented insight into the human condition and an unmatched capacity for good. His films were an elusive blend of honesty, irreverence, humor, and humanity. Through the heartrending and inspiring HAL, you feel buoyed by Ashby’s love of people and of cinema, a little like walking on water. On camera interviews his many collaborators, including Oscar®-winning actors Lee Grant, Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, Louis Gossett Jr, Jeff Bridges and more recall how they were empowered by Ashby and granted them artistic freedom. Contemporary directors include Alexander Payne, Judd Apatow, Lisa Cholodenko, and David O. Russell attest to the quiet but powerful influence Ashby has had on their own filmmaking. Behind the camera colleagues Norman Jewison, Robert Towne, Haskell Wexler, and Pablo Ferro stand witness to Ashby’s brilliance as a filmmaker and the forces that led to his undoing. Director Amy Scott joins us to talk about her artistic connection to Hal Ashby, as editor and director, and her desire to correct many of the lingering misperceptions of Ashby through her riveting and loving film about a true maverick.
“If there’s still the sense that Ashby isn’t as sanctified as American New Wave stalwarts Coppola or Scorsese, Amy Scott’s breezy tribute of a documentary is out to correct that oversight.” – Robert Abele, TheWrap
“A vivid portrait of artistic integrity and complete commitment to the art of filmmaking.” – J.R. Kinnard
“Hal is a loving tribute to a filmmaker who rarely gets the attention he deserves.” – Brian Thompson, Film Threat
“Just before the documentary slips into hero worship, Amy Scott pries beneath the calm surface of her bearded and bespectacled subject to reveal the silent rage that fueled his work.” – A.J. Serrano, Slant Magazine
City of Joy follows the first class of students at a remarkable leadership center in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a region often referred to as “the worst place in the world to be a woman.” These women have been through unspeakable violence spurred on by a 20 year war driven by colonialism and greed. In the film, they band together with the three founders of this center: Dr. Denis Mukwege (2016 Nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize), radical playwright and activist Eve Ensler (“The Vagina Monolgoues”) and human rights activist, Christine Schuler-Deschryver, to find a way to create meaning in their lives even when all that was meaningful to them has long been stripped away. In this ultimately uplifting film, we witness the tremendous resilience as these women transform their devastation into powerful forms of leadership for their beloved country. Director, writer and editor Madeleine Gavin stops by to talk about this beautifully told story of unspeakable cruelty, remarkable resilience and unconditional love in a desperately poor country in a region of the world renown for violence.
“City Of Joy is, in as far as it goes, a powerful film, reminding viewers that survival itself is something to be proud of and consigning the notion that a raped woman is ruined forever to the dustbin of history.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film