We’ve entered a time where the power of negative partisanship has sorted us along lines of race and religion. These two factions have exploited race and religion, two of the most visceral things you can think of in terms of the human experience, and they’ve locked them in partisan identities.” The latest documentary from filmmakers Jeanine Butler and Catherine Lynn Butler AMERICAN HERETICS: THE GOSPEL OF POLITICS takes audiences into the buckle of Bible belt where a group of defiant ministers, congregations, and community leaders are challenging deeply rooted fundamentalist Christian doctrine in favor of a Gospel of Inclusion. Labeled as “heretics” for their beliefs and actions, they refuse to wield their faith as a sword sharpened by literal interpretations of the Bible. Especially those fundamentalist Christian interpretations that continue to justify nationalism and hack away at landmark civil rights protections for women, minorities, immigrants, and the LGBTQ communities. This poignant story challenges what we think we know about the Christian heartland by offering a rare personal glimpse into the contentious and often misunderstood history of religion, race, and politics in America. These Heretics are still interested in saving you from hell, but’s the earthly one, where poverty, discrimination and nationalism oppresses “…those who are the least among us.” Director / Producer Jeanine Butler (Documenting the Face of America) and Producer Catherine Lynn Butler (Journey of the Universe) stop by to talk about their journey into America’s Bible Belt and the growing movement to embrace a more tolerant perspective of spiritual enlightenment.
Mohammed Emwazi was a grade school student in London with a promising future ahead of him in 1995. By 2014, he had become known as “Jihadi John,” a masked ISIS terrorist in Syria who internationalized his notoriety by broadcasting his beheadings of Western hostages on the internet. UNMASKING JIHADI JOHN: ANATOMY OF A TERRORIST includes rare footage of Emwazi as a young boy in London and interviews with his schoolteachers who reveal that he lived a relatively comfortable and normal childhood. His behavior grew more disconcerting in his teenage years. Emwazi’s brutality is illustrated through harrowing, first-hand accounts from his surviving hostages, and the collaboration between the world’s leading intelligence agencies, including the CIA and Britain’s intelligence agents, who ultimately tracked him down and ended his life. UNMASKING JIHADI JOHN: ANATOMY OF A TERRORIST examines what propelled Emwazi’s journey down a violent path despite US and British authorities being aware of his extremism. It also highlights the self-declared operational failures by counter-terrorism officials as Emwazi became ISIS’s chief executioner and propagandist. Joining us on Film School Radio will be Oscar®-nominated, BAFTA and Emmy®-winning director Anthony Wonke (HBO’s “The Battle for Marjah”), and BAFTA-winning producer and investigative journalist Richard Kerbaj for a conversation on the how and why a schoolboy and promising soccer player morphs into a sadistic killer.
UNMASKING JIHADI JOHN: ANATOMY OF A TERRORIST debuts WEDNESDAY, JULY 31 (8:00-9:40 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
“Part high-tech manhunt and part brutal captivity narrative, “Unmasking Jihadi John: The Anatomy of a Terrorist” is one documentary unlikely to leave anyone in its viewing audience bored.” – David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun
“This is a film that spends much of its time on observation and analysis of the known facts… This makes it feel rather dry in places but avoids any glamorisation of its subject.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
William Neal’s documentary LONG GONE WILD focuses on the plight of captive orcas, picking up where Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s acclaimed documentary BLACKFISH left off while telling a uniquely new and different story… LONG GONE WILD centers on five primary areas: (1) The Blackfish Effect (what it did and didn’t accomplish i.e., SeaWorld took a major hit to its bottom line, but the 20 orcas are still there); (2) The case against captivity (orcas are forced to live in barren concrete tanks); (3) Orcas as sentient animals (their great capacity to think, feel, communicate, and empathize); (4) The Whale Sanctuary Project and its model seaside sanctuary for retired orcas – providing a safe, permanent home in their natural habitat; and, (5) The ominous threat to orcas posed by Russia and China, triggered by the explosive growth of mega-aquariums in China. Director, producer and writer Bill Neal joins us for a conversation on the set-backs and steps being taken around the world to defend and enhance the lives of these magnificent mammals.
Director’s Statement: For decades, killer whales have been performing for sold-out audiences at aquatic theme parks like SeaWorld – and for nearly as long, there have been cries to “free the orcas.” To which park executives have answered with a simple question: Where will they go? A legitimate argument. Orcas held in captivity for much or all of their lives are simply not equipped to deal with life in the wild. But all that is about to change, thanks to the “dream team” of scientists/orca experts/engineers with The Whale Sanctuary Project. Their mission: to establish a model seaside sanctuary where whales and dolphins can be rehabilitated or can live permanently in an environment that maximizes well-being and autonomy and is as close as possible to their natural habitat. We will document this ground-breaking effort through interviews with the key players along with exclusive footage of the proposed cold-water site, the most crucial piece of a very complex puzzle. In the end, it is all about restoring something we humans have taken from these highly intelligent, socially complex animals by forcing them to live in captivity for our entertainment and amusement. And by retiring them to a seaside sanctuary, we dignify not only the orcas but ourselves. – William Neal
KINGS OF BEER features behind-the-scenes interviews with Budweiser’s top Brewmasters and experts, along with cameos by beer aficionados Aisha Tyler, Michael Voltaggio and Jay Chandrasekhar. In KINGS OF BEER, a diverse group of elite Brewmasters from 65 breweries and 23 countries, battle it out in an intense competition to brew the world’s most iconic American Lager — Budweiser. The Brewmaster who can brew the best, most consistent Budweiser over a 12-month period will bring home the Global Brewmaster Cup. Judged by an illustrious group of experts who are sequestered deep within the historic walls of the most renowned room in the brewing world — “Room 220” — most of these “key tasters” have decades of tasting experience, which has trained their palates to pick up the most minute of flavor flaws. KINGS OF BEER is a fun and thoughtful deep dive into the world of brewing and what it takes to really be at the top of your game. It’s depicted through the eyes of Budweiser’s most highly-skilled Brewmasters, whose job is to maintain the consistency of the American Lager, which is widely regarded as the single hardest beer to brew. Director Sean Mullin joins us for a frothy conversation on the art and science of brewing the world’s oldest adult libation.
About the Filmmaker – Sean Mullin – As a writer/director, his short films – SADIQ, MAN IS A BRIDGE, and THE 14th MORNING – have won numerous awards and played at film festivals around the world. His MFA Thesis Film at Columbia – SADIQ – was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for “Best Student Film.” AMIRA & SAM is his feature-length debut as a writer/director. As a screenwriter, Sean has been hired to write screenplays for Oscar Nominated Director Henry-Alex Rubin (MURDERBALL) as well as pop sensation Britney Spears. Sean’s unique background as a former army officer turned stand-up comedian informs his creative sensibility, which oscillates between comedy and drama. Prior to launching his filmmaking career, Sean was a Captain in the New York Army National Guard – where he was a first responder after the attacks of September 11th. He spent his days working as the Officer in Charge of the soldiers down at Ground Zero, and his nights performing stand-up comedy. He was a regular at comedy clubs all around the city, including Stand-Up New York, Gotham Comedy Club, and the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater.
FOR SAMA is both an intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war. A love letter from a young mother to her daughter, the film tells the story of Waad al-Kateab’s life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama, all while cataclysmic conflict rises around her. Her camera captures incredible stories of loss, laughter and survival as Waad wrestles with an impossible choice– whether or not to flee the city to protect her daughter’s life, when leaving means abandoning the struggle for freedom for which she has already sacrificed so much. FOR SAMA took home the Best Documentary Award at this year’s 2019 Cannes Film Festival, FOR SAMA had its world premiere at SXSW Film Festival where it won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for Best Documentary. Since then, it continues to gather more awards every time it screens. The growing awards list includes the aforementioned SXSW; Cannes Film Festival; and Sheffield Doc/Fest; Telluride MountainFilm; Nantucket Film Festival; River Run; LA Asian Pacific Film Festival; Hot Docs; and Newport Beach Film Festival. Co-directors Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts join us for a conversation on the courage to document the unimaginable horror of a brutal regime and what it means to believe in something so deeply that you are willing to risk everything for it.
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
WINNER – Best Documentary – 2019 Cannes Film Festival
WINNER – Documentary Grand Jury Prize – 2019 SXSW Film Festival
WINNER – Audience Award – 2019 SXSW Film Festival
WINNER – Jury Prize – 2019 HotDocs Film Festival
WINNER – Grand Jury Award – International Docu – 35th LA Asian Pacific Film Festival
WINNER – Indomitable Spirit Award – 2019 MountainFilm
WINNER – Special Jury Mention – 2019 Sheffield Doc/Fest
WINNER – Audience Award – 2019 Sheffield Doc/Fest
WINNER – Best Documentary Jury Prize – 2019 Newport Beach Film Festival
WINNER – Audience Award – 2019 Nantucket Film Festival
WINNER – Best Cinematography – 2019 RiverRun Film Festival
“For Sama is undoubtedly difficult to watch, but you cannot close your eyes when watching such an urgent film. An endlessly powerful and absolutely essential work, it’s a must-see when it is released this autumn.” – Musanna Ahmed, Film Inquiry
Winner of multiple awards at many of the world’s most prestigious film festivals, HONEYLAND tells the amazing tale of Hatidze, a woman living with her ailing mother in the mountains of Macedonia, making a living cultivating honey using ancient beekeeping traditions. When an unruly family moves in next door, what at first seems like a balm for her solitude becomes a source of tension as they, too, want to practice beekeeping, while disregarding her advice.The most awarded film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, winning the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize, a Special Jury Award for cinematography, and another Special Jury Award for Originality, HONEYLAND is an epic, visually stunning portrait of the delicate balance between nature and humanity that has something sweet for everyone. The three-time Sundance award-winning documentary film is a beautiful, heart-warming story about the last female beekeeper in Macedonia and her relationships with her beloved bees, her ailing mother, and her new neighbors. Co-directors Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov join us to talk about the remarkable and endlessly endearing Hatidze, her loving commitment to her mother, a sustainable future and her tireless bees.
WINNER: GRAND JURY PRIZE – WORLD CINEMA DOCS – SUNDANCE
WINNER: CINEMATOGRAPHY AWARD – WORLD CINEMA DOCS – SUNDANCE
WINNER: SPECIAL JURY PRIZE FOR IMPACT & CHANGE – SUNDANCE
WINNER: BEST DOCUMENTARY – MONTCLAIR FILM FESTIVAL
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
“Honeyland is a microcosmic tale of a woman whose entire way of life is threatened by leeching men and free-market capitalism. Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov bring us perhaps the documentary protagonist of the year.” – Arlin Golden, Film Inquiry
Never before has journalism in America been so hotly debated. At a time when it seems like the hard-hitting question is fighting for its right to be asked, MIKE WALLACE IS HERE turns the tough question loose on its inventor to understand how we got here and what’s really at stake. Legendary newsman Mike Wallace unflinchingly interrogated the 20th century’s biggest figures in over fifty years on the air, and his aggressive reporting style and showmanship redefined what America came to expect from broadcasters. Unearthing decades of never-before-seen footage from the 60 Minutes vault, this documentary portrait explores what drove and plagued this restless reporter, whose storied career was entwined with the evolution of journalism itself. MIKE WALLACE IS HERE is told exclusively through archival footage, without one talking-head commentary or backward-looking interview diluting the immediacy and power of Wallace’s work. The film traces his career on the air from his invention of the “tough question” in his 1950s interview show Night Beat to his news specials of the ’60s and his extraordinary four decades on CBS’ 60 Minutes, examining how his genre-defining work changed the standards of broadcast journalism for good and for ill, while unpacking the personal qualities that made Mike tick. Director Avi Belkin takes us behind the mask of the fearless inquisitor to reveal a driven man fraught with doubt and insecurities.
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
“A no holds barred, sobering look at one our most acerbic, in your face, troubled award winning journalist – Mike Wallace. CBS unlocked their vaults with exclusive archival footage, interviews and words from Wallace himself.” – Carla Renata, The Curvy Film Critic
“As Belkin’s brisk and compelling documentary fades to black, the director seems to hope that the Wallace quotation audiences cling to isn’t one of his fanged questions, but his optimism for the profession to which he dedicated his life” – Amy Nicholson, Variety
THE MOUNTAIN is a dark, hypnotic and surreal satire about repression and conformity set against the 1950’s “golden age” of American male domination. (Tye Sheridan, READY PLAYER ONE, MUD), whose mother was sent to an asylum years ago, is an introverted young photographer at loose ends, ignored by his father (cult actor Udo Kier). After the death of his father, Andy is befriended by renowned lobotomist Dr. Wallace Fiennes (Jeff Goldblum, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, JURASSIC PARK) and joins him on a tour to promote the doctor’s recently-debunked procedure. As Andy increasingly identifies with the asylum’s patients, he falls in love with a rebellious young woman, Susan (Hannah Gross), and encounters the burgeoning New Age movement of the West. Also starring Denis Lavant (HOLY MOTORS). Director and co-writer Rick Alverson (THE COMEDY, ENTERTAINMENT) joins us for a conversation on the subversive performances of Goldblum and Sheridan and the ways his harrowing, brilliant film cuts to the core of savage male brutality in the guise of “science.”
Rick Alverson Productions
Opening in Los Angeles at the NuArt Theatre on July 26 – 11272 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025
(Q&A with Jeff Goldblum and Rick Alverson following the 7:00 pm screening on Saturday, July 27th)
Official Selection at: SXSW / Venice Film Festival / Sundance Film Festival
“A beautiful… singular portrait of America’s fractured identity.” – Eric Kohn, Indiewire
“Genuinely menacing. A near-hypnotic pall of strangeness.” – Guy Lodge, Variety
“Shimmeringly surreal. Lanthimos meets Roy Andersson meets a heavy dose of lithium.” – Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
“Dark and visionary.” – Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter
“Surreally gorgeous. Replete with unsettling, rewarding pleasures.” – Leonard Goi, MUBI
Big Data has surpassed oil as the world’s most valuable asset. It’s being weaponized to wage cultural and political warfare. People everywhere are in a battle for control of our most intimate personal details. From award-winning filmmakers Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, THE GREAT HACK uncovers the dark world of data exploitation with astounding access to the personal journeys of key players on different sides of the explosive Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data scandal. Academy-Award nominees Amer and Noujaim (The Square, Control Room, Startup .com) continue their tradition of exploring the seismic ripples of social media with this riveting, complex film. THE GREAT HACK forces us to question the origin of the information we consume daily. What do we give up when we tap that phone or keyboard and share ourselves in the digital age? THE GREAT HACK is co-directed by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, with a production team led by Geralyn Dreyfous, Judy Korin and Pedro Kos. Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim join us to talk about Big Data, the expectation of privacy and where we go from here.
87% on Rotten Tomatoes
“A thrilling yarn of political espionage and fascinating characters… However, this isn’t hollow entertainment. The film insists upon the gravity of the situation, toggling effortlessly between the micro and the macro lens on this tale.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service
“[A] gripping, challenging documentary by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, about the biggest scandal of our time: the gigantic question mark over the legality of the Brexit vote.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
“Pondering individual data rights and the sinister side of widespread connectivity, co-directors Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer diligently inspect how our innocent likes and shares became the building blocks of Brexit and Trump.” – Tomris Laffly, Time Out
The BlackStar Film Festival (BlackStar) returns August 1-4, 2019 with a stellar slate of black, brown and indigenous films from around the globe. The BlackStar Film Festival is an annual celebration of the visual and storytelling traditions of the African diaspora and of global communities of color, showcasing films by black, brown and indigenous people from around the world. Continuing its legacy of discovery and excellence, audiences can expect must-see film premieres, poignant artist discussions, and discover new cinematic favorites from this year’s class of emerging filmmakers. Founded in 2012 by Maori Karmael Holmes, BlackStar has become the hottest event on the film festival calendar. With a program unlike any other, BlackStar is the destination to discover new artists voices from Black and global indigenous filmmakers. Artists including Terence Nance (An Oversimplification of Her Beauty; HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness), and Matthew A. Cherry (9 RIdes; ABC’s Whiskey Cavalier), and Nijla Baseema Mu’min (Jinn) have shared their work at the festival and from BlackStar cultivated a fanbase that has grown with their careers.
BlackStar Festival Film Highlights:
This year’s festival features sneak preview of Hip-Hop: The Songs That Shook America, a new documentary series directed by directed Erik Parker and One9.
From Executive Producers Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Shawn Gee, and Alex Gibney, Fear No Gumbo, a documentary feature directed by Kimberly Rivers Roberts, about the 13 years since the deadly Category 5 Hurricane Katrina that made landfall on Florida and Louisiana and the corruption and systemic racism that still victimizes the residents that returned after Katrina.
A new documentary from Emmy Award-winning director and Macarthur “genius” fellow Stanley Nelson (The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution). Boss which explores over 150 years of African American entrepreneurship, from bondage to billion dollar moguls.
Academy Award-winning director, Roger Ross Williams (Music By Prudence, God Loves Uganda) will be on-hand for the debut of his latest documentary The Apollo chronicling the unique history and contemporary legacy of New York City’s landmark Apollo Theater.
Panels and Awards:
BlackStar will present the Luminary Award to Marcia Smith, President of Firelight Media.
To commemorate the 30th anniversary of Do The Right Thing, filmmaker Spike Lee and activist Tarana Burke will discuss the possibilities of using radical storytelling to center social justice and foster narrative change.
On Oct. 24, 2011, 12-year-old Garrett Phillips was murdered in his home in Potsdam, a small town in upstate New York. Police quickly zeroed in on a suspect in this unthinkable crime: Oral “Nick” Hillary, a black man in the mostly white community, who was a soccer coach at Clarkson University and the ex-boyfriend of Garrett’s mother, Tandy Cyrus. WHO KILLED GARRETT PHILLIPS? chronicles the five years following the murder, as Garrett’s family and community relentlessly seek justice for Garrett, and as Nick, who maintains his innocence, fights to clear his name and take back control of his life while raising five children. Through interviews with local police investigators, District Attorneys, defense lawyers, Phillips’ family members, friends of Tandy Cyrus as well as Nick Hillary and his children, along with extensive police audio and video recordings, and courtroom footage, the film is a gripping, eye-opening look at how justice is delivered and delayed. WHO KILLED GARRETT PHILLIPS? seeks to uncover the truth behind both the tragic murder of a young boy that traumatized a town, as well as the vilification of a black man who was swept up in a quest for justice, and the enduring mysteries that remain. Directed by two-time Academy Award® nominee and Emmy® winner Liz Garbus (HBO’s A Dangerous Son and Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper, and What Happened, Miss Simone?), the captivating two-part documentary WHO KILLED GARRETT PHILLIPS? looks at the case from the initial investigation through the arrest and numerous legal twists and turns that culminated in Hillary’s trial for murder five years after the crime. Director Liz Garbus joins us to talk about how this case raises troubling questions of racial bias and issues surrounding policing and the criminal justice system.
WHO KILLED GARRETT PHILLIPS? debuts TUESDAY, JULY 23 and WEDNESDAY, JULY 24 (8:00 pm ET/PST), exclusively on HBO. The film will also be available on HBO On Demand, HBO NOW, HBO GO and partners’ streaming platforms.
On the outskirts of Birmingham and the margins of society the Billingham family perform extreme rituals and break social taboos as they muddle through a life decided by factors beyond their control. At times shocking and laced with an unsettling humour, three episodes unfold as a powerful evocation of the experience of growing up in a Black Country council flat. Director Richard Billingham joins us for a conversation on his raw, intimate, biographical tale of dysfunctional family and fractured memories.
About the filmmaker Richard Billingham: In 1997 he was the first recipient of the Deutsche Borse Photography Prize and the following year BBC2 broadcast his film Fishtank, (47mins) produced by Artangel and filmmaker Adam Curtis. He exhibited at the Venice Biennale 2001 and was nominated for the Turner Prize, also 2001. He has made work about his immediate family, about animals in zoos around the world and about the British landscape. Recently he has written and directed his first feature film for cinema called ‘Ray & Liz’, shot on location in the Midlands where he grew up. His work is held in many collections including San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum, New York, V & A and Tate Galleries, London.
“Performed with absolute commitment by its cast (Justin Salinger and Ella Smith play the younger versions of the title characters), “Ray & Liz” is a quietly harrowing movie.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times
“Reaching backwards to understand the hardship of his formative years, [Richard] Billingham finds clarity and cinematic grace by reconciling the deep, irreparable flaws of his mother and father.” – Rhys Handley, One Room With A View
“We often say art “cuts close to the bone,” but in its depiction of clinking liquor bottles and drawers of unopened rent notices soaked in dog urine, Ray & Liz slices clean through that bone.” – Andrew Lapin, NPR
A rainy night. A dazed and numb young cabdriver, Luz, drags herself into the brightly lit entrance of a rundown police station. Across town in a nightspot, Nora seductively engages police psychiatrist Dr. Rossini in a conversation. Nora is possessed by a demonic entity, longing for the woman it loves – Luz. She tells the Doctor about her old schoolmate Luz’s rebellious past at a Chilean school for girls. Increasingly drunk on her story, Rossini turns into an easy prey in Nora’s hands, but he’s soon called away to the police station to examine Luz. Supervised by his colleagues, the doctor puts Luz in a state of hypnosis that initiates a series of flashbacks, unfolding the events leading to her arrival. But the entity that has taken control of the doctor wants something more. Bit by bit it slips into Luz’ reenactment and makes old memories come to light. Shooting entirely on 16mm, first time feature film director Tilman Singer pays homage to horror masters David Cronenberg, Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci, while infusing the genre with a fresh take of his own. Director Tilman Singer stops by to talk about his mind-bending, trip through a fevered tale of “demonic” possession, ruptured identity and menacing dread.
”LUZ is a story about identity, a lack of one, or maybe even denying one’s own. For the most part this is told by forces (archetypal characters, institutions, or personifications of moral arguments) influencing and manipulating our titular character Luz. I structured the narrative as a panic attack, of repressed memories and confusion. It is purposely open to interpretation by the viewer. LUZ is a sensuous thriller that plays with the sensory perception of the audience. Initially, I wanted to write a simple story that could only be told audio-visually. How we ended up telling it cinematically, nested within diegetic flashbacks, got a little more complicated. For example, we use an additional layer of sound that adds a past reality to a present one. Given that we are observing a moment relived under hypnosis, the credibility of both realities is questioned at all times. The viewer who attempts to answer this question of credibility has to, with sharpened senses, fully engage in image and sound.”
“Working with very little resources, (writer/director) Singer creates a wholly unique story of possession, obsession, loneliness, manipulation, and ultimately self-destruction that is incredibly ambitious and impressively executed.” – Rob Dean, Daily Grindhouse
“Though there’s a split in audiences around what constitutes horror … the one thing that’s agreed upon is that the genre seeks to unsettle and provoke. In this regard, Singer’s Luz is an undeniable triumph.” – Douglas Davidson, Elements of Madness
After he’s attacked on the street at night by a roving motorcycle gang, timid bookkeeper Casey (Jesse Eisenberg) joins a neighborhood karate studio to learn how to protect himself. Under the watchful eye of a charismatic instructor, Sensei (Alessandro Nivola), and hardcore brown belt Anna (Imogen Poots), Casey gains a newfound sense of confidence for the first time in his life. But when he attends Sensei’s mysterious night classes, he discovers a sinister world of fraternity, brutality and hyper-masculinity, presenting a journey that places him squarely in the sights of his enigmatic new mentor. Audacious and offbeat, The Art of Self-Defense is an original dark comedy that takes toxic masculinity to absurd extremes. Director Riley Stearns joins us for a lively conversation on this wildly inventive, surreal black comedy.
“’Fight Club’ by way of Yorgos Lanthimos, Riley Stearns’ screed on “might is right” toxic masculinity is a giggly black comedy that cowers down a twisty-turny rabbit hole.” – Matt Oakes, Silver Screen Riot
A looming disaster in one of the most spectacular environments on Earth sparks a rescue mission unlike any other in SEA OF SHADOWS, a riveting new documentary with the intensity of a Hollywood thriller from National Geographic Documentary Films and winner of the Sundance audience award. When Mexican drug cartels and Chinese traffickers join forces to poach the rare totoaba fish in the Sea of Cortez, their deadly methods threaten to destroy virtually all marine life in the region, including the most elusive and endangered whale species on Earth, the vaquita porpoise. SEA OF SHADOWS follows a team of dedicated scientists, high-tech conservationists, investigative journalists and courageous undercover agents as well as the Mexican Navy as they put their lives on the line to save the last remaining vaquitas and bring the vicious international crime syndicate to justice. Director Richard Ladkani (The Ivory Game, The Devil’s Miner) talks about the monumental challenge of saving a highly intelligent mammal from a desperately poor community who see the black market totoaba and the vaquita as a way to spare their family from a life of poverty and degradation.
For more about the filmmaker:
“Sea of Shadows may still raise awareness about the plight of other sea creatures still under threat from illegal nets sweeping the bottom of the ocean, killing everything unfortunate enough to swim in its wake.” – Monica Castillo, Remezcla
Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love is renowned filmmaker Nick Broomfield’s most personal and romantic film of his career. The Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love starts on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960, where Leonard Cohen, then a struggling and unknown fiction writer, and Marianne Ihlen, a single mother with a young son, became part of community of expat artists, writers and musicians. Never-before-seen footage shot by Broomfield and legendary documentarian D.A. Pennebaker make for a unique portrait of an idyllic 1960’s bohemia. The time on Hydra left a lasting imprint on both Marianne and Leonard, whose friendship would last another fifty years before their deaths in 2016. It was on Hydra in 1968 that director Broomfield, then aged 20, first himself met Marianne. She introduced him to Cohen’s music and encouraged Nick to make his first film. As she was with so many artists, Marianne was an enormous influence on Broomfield, who went on to direct award-winning documentaries, many about iconic music legends including Whitney Houston, (Whitney Houston: Can I Be Me) Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, (Tupac and Biggie) Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love (Kurt & Courtney). Director Nick Broomfield joins us to talk about his relationship with Marianne, the undeniable talent and charisma of Cohen, and the profound impact his time on Hydra had on his personal and professional life.
Social Media for Marianne and Leonard:
Social Media for Nick Broomfield:
“Love stories are like Tolstoy’s unhappy families: no two of them are alike. But even given that, the relationship chronicled in “Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love” has a quality very much its own.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“Broomfield’s personal engagement and his embrace of the complexities of life and love elevate this film, which travels across decades and continents to show the lasting power of one connection.” – Joe Blessing, The Playlist
“Unmissable.” – Rolling Stone
Directed by Academy Award nominated actor Greg Kinnear (As Good as It Gets, Little Miss Sunshine, The Matador) with an outstanding cast that includes; Emily Mortimer (Mary Poppins Returns), Luke Wilson (Bottle Rocket, Meadowland), Bradley Whitford (Get Out, West Wing), Jay Duplass (Beatriz at Dinner, Landline), Robert Forster (Jackie Brown, The Descendants), and Kurt Fuller (Midnight in Paris, Auto Focus). PHIL is the story of a depressed dentist whose life is falling apart. Phil is shocked when one of his patients, Michael Fisk (Bradley Whitford), a man who seemed to have the perfect life, kills himself. Determined to find out what would drive a man who had everything to end his life, Phil pretends to be a handyman and integrates himself in to the dead man’s life, befriending his wife (Emily Mortimer) and daughter. How long can Phil keep up this double life when he is determined to end his normal one? Director and lead actor Greg Kinnear joins us to talk about the challenges and rewards of a first-time director, finding the humanity in a story of personal tragedy and working with an incredibly talented group of artists.
“Greg Kinnear combines acting with directing in a role that exudes nice-guy-ness that few other performers can duplicate as well.” – Shockya.com