January 24 – Island of the Hungry Ghosts, Director Gabrielle Brady

ISLAND OF THE HUNGRY GHOSTS takes place off the coast of Indonesia, in the Australian territory of Christmas Island, inhabited by migratory crabs traveling in their millions from the jungle towards the ocean, in a movement that has been provoked by the full moon for hundreds of thousands of years. Poh Lin Lee is a “trauma therapist” who lives with her family in this seemingly idyllic paradise. Every day, she talks with the asylum seekers held indefinitely in a high-security detention centre hidden in the island’s core, attempting to support them in a situation that is as unbearable as its outcome is uncertain. As Poh Lin and her family explore the island’s beautiful yet threatening landscape, the local islanders carry out their “hungry ghost” rituals for the spirits of those who died on the island without a burial. They make offerings to appease the lost souls who are said to be wandering the jungles at night looking for home. ISLAND OF THE HUNGRY GHOSTS is a hybrid documentary that moves between the natural migration and the chaotic and tragic migration of the humans, which is in constant metamorphoses by the unseen decision-making structures. Director Gabrielle Brady joins us to talk about her beautiful and quietly powerful tale of desperate people trapped in a place of pervasive uncertainty and a woman trying to help them cope.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: christmasislandfilm.com

** 2020 Spirit Award nominee for Best Documentary **

Tribeca Film FestivalAward for best documentary film

Mumbai International Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for best film

IDFAHuman rights award

Adelaide international Film Festival Winner best documentary film

 

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“ Island of the Hungry Ghosts is one of the year’s most impressively made documentaries, a film that’s as occasionally surreal as it is persistently moving. Island of the Hungry Ghosts is a true discovery.” – JOSHUA BRUNSTING, CRITERION CAST

“A documentary overflowing with empathy, poetry, and elemental power.”  – HUBERT VIGILLA, FLIXIST

“Hauntingly beautiful Island of the Hungry Ghosts combines multiple narratives…into one glorious whole… A mesmerizing work of visual wonder, the breathtaking images forming an evocative setting for a vital discussion of human rights… A stunning, visceral first feature, announcing the director as a major talent to watch”  – CHRISTOPHER LLEWELLYN REED, FILM FESTIVAL TODAY

“The best documentary award goes to a film that demonstrates extraordinary mastery of the full symphonic range of cinematic tools: cinematography, editing, score, sound design and, perhaps greatest of all, an exquisite use of metaphor. To a film that moved us deeply, impressed us immensely and made us feel we were witnessing nothing less than the emergence, fully formed, of a major new cinematic talent” – TRIBECA JURY

** Slamdance Film Festival – Bastards’ Road, Director Brian Morrison

BASTARDS’ ROAD tells the story of the many combat veterans, like Jon Hancock who are navigating the complicated transition back to civilian life. After years of struggling, Jon decided to take an epic journey across the country – on foot. Walking nearly 6,000 miles alone, Jon confronts the demons that had overtaken his life. Visiting his fellow 2/4 Marines – known as the The Magnificent Bastards – and families of their fallen along the way, Jon finds a mission greater than his own redemption. Veterans everywhere are struggling with PTSD. They are taking their own lives at an alarming rate – 50% higher than non-veterans. With remarkable honesty, insight and humor, Jon’s journey is uniquely positive. It’s about changing the ways one relates to traumatic memories. It’s about beginning the healing process. Director Brian Morrison joins us to talk about the raw emotions and the deep pain of men and woman who have done what their country asked them to do.

For news and updates go to: bastardsroad.com

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Competition Documentary Feature Film
Premiere: Sunday, January 26th at 1pm in the Ballroom Screening Room
Second Screening: Thursday, January 30th at 6pm in the Gallery Screening Room

 

Slamdance Film Festival Headquarters
Treasure Mountain Inn
255 Main St.
Park City, UT

 

Veteran Suicide Statistics

More than 60,000 Veterans died by suicide from 2008-2017.
The suicide rate for Veterans is 50% higher than it is for non-veterans.
The suicide rate among Veterans aged 18-34 increased 76% from 2005-2017.

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT – Why would somebody walk that far, for so long? That’s what I asked myself after seeing a news story on TV about somebody I went to high school with. I didn’t know him back then, but we shared many mutual friends. When I first contacted Jon on his walk I knew nothing about what he’d been through. The military was a foreign world to me. None of my family or friends had served. All I had to go on was that he was a Marine and had PTSD. But I was immediately drawn to his story and we quickly took steps to organize a trip for me to follow him for a few days. Over the course of the last 8 months of Jon’s walk, I was able to make a handful of trips to capture pieces of his journey. We became great friends. Most days it was just him and I, but I was lucky enough to meet many guys Jon served with, as well as several Gold Star families of their fallen. It was eye-opening to see Jon’s transformation in their presence. He smiled brighter, laughed harder and cried less. It’s like they kept the best versions of themselves for each other. I learned about the tremendous weight they carry day after day, the scars of war that will never heal, the lost brothers whose ultimate sacrifices they never stop thinking about. But I also learned about strength and selflessness that goes way beyond what most of us as civilians can comprehend. Together, they reminded each other how important it is that they are still here. – Brian Morrison

** Slamdance Film Festival – Ask No Questions, Director Jason Loftus

In ASK NO QUESTIONS Chinese State TV blames his faith for a fiery public suicide, Chen Ruichang is detained in a Clockwork Orange-style brainwashing facility and forced to accept the government’s account. But Chen, a former insider of the state TV himself, believes it was all a government plot. A CNN reporter smuggled out footage of the event that day, but was then muzzled by Beijing. Now, her eyewitness testimony helps untangle an intricate conspiracy, as Chinese authorities begin pressuring the filmmaker’s family and business associates. The terrifying danger of a government nefariously crafting the narrative & imprisoning its citizens who practice Falun Gong in China in the gripping feature documentary ASK NO QUESTIONS from filmmakers Jason Loftus (The Bleeding Edge, Human Harvest) and Eric Pedicelli (Black Code, Tin City Voices), which world premieres on Saturday, January 25th. In the vein of a journalistic true crime documentary, painting the scope of the crime, and the depths of the investigation. The story leads into allegations of criminal conduct at a governmental scale. Evidence is credibly presented, shocking, and thorough. Director Jason Loftus stops by for a conversation on the terrifying reach of a totalitarian state power structure and the impact it can have on those who dare challenge it.

For news and updates go to: asknoquestionsfilm.com

Social Media
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Slamdance Competition Documentary Feature Film
Premiere: Saturday, January 25th at 10:30m in the Gallery Screening Room
Second Screening: Wednesday, January 29th at 6pm in the Ballroom Screening Room

 

Slamdance Film Festival Headquarters
Treasure Mountain Inn
255 Main St.
Park City, UT

 

January 17 – Walk Run Cha Cha, Director Laura Nix

WALK RUN CHA-CHA has been nominated for Documentary Short Subject at the 92nd Academy Awards®. Directed by Laura Nix, the film follows Paul and Millie Cao, who lost their youth to the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Forty years later, they have become successful professionals in Southern California-and are rediscovering themselves on the dance floor. WALK RUN CHA CHA is now streaming on New York Times Op-Docs.

About the Filmmaker: Director Laura Nix Laura Nix is an award-winning fiction and nonfiction filmmaker based in Los Angeles. WALK RUN CHA-CHA is adapted from a feature-length documentary in progress. It was produced by Concordia Studio for The New York Times Op-Docs and premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. Laura’s work also includes  other work includes her feature documentary INVENTING TOMORROW, about teenagers from around the globe tackling environmental issues through science,  THE YES MEN ARE REVOLTING, a comedy about activism and climate change, the documentary THE LIGHT IN HER EYES, about a Syrian Qur’an school for women and she was a writer on the Emmy-nominated documentary CALIFORNIA STATE OF MIND: THE LEGACY OF PAT BROWN. In 2001, Nix co-founded the production company Automat Pictures, where she produced and/or directed over 100 presentations, including the feature documentary WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT: THE STORY OF HEDWIG, which played in over a dozen film festivals in the U.S. and worldwide. Previously she was a member of Oscar-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s production company Telling Pictures, where she was Associate Producer on THE CELLULOID CLOSET.

For news and updates go to: feltfilms.com

Walk Run Cha Cha is now available at nytimes.com/Op-Docs

 

*** 2020 Oscar nomination for Best Documentary (Short) *** 

 

Official Selection – Tribeca Film Festival 2019

Winner – Grand Jury Trống Đồng Award for Best Short – Viet Film Fest 2019

Official Selection – SFFILM Doc Stories 2019

 

Social Media

twitter.com/feltfilms

https://twitter.com/WalkRunChaCha

@feltfilms

 

“Laura Nix’s WALK RUN CHA-CHA is a moving, poignant portrait of two aging refugees who have endured a great deal, and who now face one of life’s biggest challenges: figuring out how to stay in love. Through them, Nix also evokes the textures, tastes, and sounds of Vietnamese refugee life, and mixes them in with everything that is good about the United States. Ultimately, WALK RUN CHA-CHA is an optimistic film about both love and hope—the hope that our country will continue to believe in welcoming strangers from other lands, who in the end are not that strange at all.” – Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer

 

January 17 – Slamdance Film Festival, Co-founder and President Peter Baxter

It all began when a group of cheerful, subversive filmmakers weren’t accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. Unwilling to take “no” for an answer, they instead started their own event – Slamdance: Anarchy in Utah. 26 years later, Slamdance has become a year-round organization fostering the development of unique and innovative filmmakers. The organization now consists of the Film Festival, Screenplay Competition and Slamdance Studios. It has also created Slamdance On The Road, a traveling theatrical showcase that brings popular Slamdance films to audiences that otherwise would not have the opportunity to see them. Dan Mirvish, Jon Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn and Peter Baxter are the founding forefathers who, along with co-conspirator Paul Rachman, fought for truly independent filmmakers by giving them a voice in 1995 at the very first Slamdance Film Festival. Since then, the festival takes place every January in the breathtakingly stunning, snow-capped mountains of Park City, Utah at the exact same time as the Sundance Film Festival, to provide a more authentic representation of independent filmmaking. Up-and-coming writers, directors and producers, alongside seasoned veterans and film lovers, converge for the weeklong celebration of independent cinema, realizing that Slamdance is a great place to find those next, great, visionary films. Slamdance lives and bleeds by its mantra By Filmmakers For Filmmakers. No other film festival in the world is entirely run and organized by the creative force that can only be found in filmmakers. Slamdance adamantly supports self-governance amongst independents, and exists to deliver what filmmakers go to festivals for – a chance to show their work and a platform to launch their careers. The festival has earned a solid reputation for premiering films by first-time writers and directors working within the creative confines of limited budgets. Co-founder and President Peter Baxter joins us to talk about this year’s Slamdance, the groundbreaking films and the innovative new distribution and digital initiatives being launched by Slamdance.

 

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For news and updates go to: slamdance.com
Check out the film schedule at slamdance 2020 schedule

 

Slamdance Film Festival – January 24-30 at the Treasure Mountain Hotel in Park City, Utah

 

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instagram.com/slamogram

 

January 17 – Disturbing the Peace, Director York Alec Shackleton

A small-town marshal who hasn’t carried a gun since he left the Texas Rangers after a tragic shooting must pick up his gun again. This time to do battle with a gang of outlaw bikers that has invaded the town to pull off a brazen and violent heist. DISTURBING THE PEACE features Guy Pearce (Memento, L.A. Confidential), Devon Sawa (The Fanatic, Final Destination) and Barbie Blank (“WWE Raw”, “Clash Time”.) The film is written by Chuck Hustmyer (End of a Gun, House of the Rising Sun) and directed by York Alec Shackleton (211, Kush). Director, writer and producer York Alec Shackleton joins us to talk about his heist gone wrong film thriller.

About the director: York Alec Shackleton is a filmmaker and former professional snowboarder, widely known for his early films dealing with edgy real-life tales of troubled youth and lives gone wrong. A direct descendant of famed arctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, York was born and raised in Southern California. His father, Richard, was best known as the writer for much of Lenny Bruce’s comedy material and served as tour manager. Growing up around these types of artists instilled a keen sense of creativity and inspired a yearning to be in the entertainment business from the very beginning. His films, past and future include the documentary LAS PARADITAS, which explores the rampant violence and exposing the corruption that surrounds the prostitutes of Tijuana, Mexico. Followed by the thriller PRETTY PERFECT, starring Sarah Sutherland in her first feature film and Christopher McDonald, about a man dealing with paranoid schizophrenia and delusional behavior. York’s other work includes producing and editing the 2008 feature DOCUMENTARY URBAN STRUGGLE: THE BATTLE OF THE CUCKOO’S NEST, exposing the burgeoning days of the punk scene at the now infamous Cuckoo’s Nest club, in Southern California. In 2012 he followed this by producing and editing and the documentary CLOCKWORK ORANGE COUNTY, featuring early concert clips from Iggy Pop, The Ramones, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, and the Circle Jerks among others.

For news and updates go to momentumpictures.net/films

Social Media
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twitter.com/disturbingthepeace
#DisturbingThePeace

January 10 – Two films by Director Rosine Mfetgo Mbakam

Chez Jolie Coiffure

In Rosine Mbakam’s loving and intimate documentary we get to know shop owner, businesswoman Sabine. Recruited by a Lebanese maid agency, Sabine leaves Cameroon and embarks for Lebanon. After many years of servitude, she escapes to Belgium, but her arrival there is complicated by the fact that she enters illegally, by way of Greece and Syria. She settles in Matonge, the African quarter, where she becomes the manager of the beauty salon Chez Jolie Coiffure. Sabine attaches a hair weave and gets to work. Her hands move quickly and precisely, as she tightly braids the hair in front of the sign in her salon promising African, European, and American-style coiffure. Sabine is a larger than-life personality crammed into a tiny, glassed-in shop in the largely immigrant Brussels district of Matonge. Here, she and her employees fit extensions and glue on lashes while watching soaps, dishing romantic advice, sharing rumors about government programs to legalize migrants, and talking about people back home in West Africa. Patrons, many of them undocumented immigrants, are not only be made to feel beautiful but can also escape the daily difficulties and harsh realities of their lives.

For news, screenings and updates go to: icarusfilms.com/if-chez

“Critic’s Pick! Rosine Mbakam makes a remarkable debut; demonstrates a mastery of perspective, a rare ability to include the camera in community.” —The New York Times

“Intense vulnerability makes the film emotionally gripping; the contrast between a public storefront and intimate confessions makes it engrossing… Unequivocally extracts a powerful sense of empathy—and urgency.” —Vox Magazine

“Immersive, provacative; a warm, appealing portrait. Mbakam’s portrait is knit as tightly as the braids Sabine weaves.” —Film International

“A must-see! Highly revealing, an atypical and timely portrait of the intersection between the immigrant experience and female identity.” —IndieWire

“An original filmmaker of exquisite sensibility; one of the foremost filmmakers of creative nonfiction working right now.” —The New Yorker

Chez Jolie Coiffure and The Two Faces of a Bamileke Woman are also available at ovid.tv

Social Media
twitter.com/hashtag/RosineMbakam
twitter.com/IcarusFilms
twitter.com/OVIDtv

 

The Two Faces of a Bamileke Woman

Filmmaker Rosine Mbakam left Cameroon at 27 to live in Belgium. Seven years later—having studied film and married a European—she returns to make what she calls a journey into darkness—to the village of her birth, and later to the capital city of Yaoundé, where her mother now lives most of the year. In the village of Tonga, her mother, Mâ Brêh, shares memories of the horrors of the war against French colonizers, and of daily life for a Cameroonian woman in an arranged marriage—a fate Rosine herself barely escaped, leaving the family of an angry ex-fiance behind. As she spends more time with her mother and the women around her, Rosine reveals the strength of their solidarity and their ability to face adversity.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: icarusfilms.com/if-bamil

“Critic’s Pick! Mbakam demonstrates a mastery of perspective, a rare ability to include the camera in community.” —Teo Bugbee, The New York Times

“Wrought with bliss and wonder; an exciting contribution to the canon of contemporary African cinema.” —Alexandra M. Thomas, Yale University, in the journal H-Black Europe

“An honest, captivating documentary essay.” —Jagoda Murczyńska, AfryKamera

“Touching; Mbakam is a cinematic artist… Reveals much about gender and family relations in postcolonial Africa.” —Carmela Garritano, Texas A&M University, in the journal African Studies Review

“Extraordinary in substance and style. An original filmmaker of exquisite sensibility; one of the foremost filmmakers of creative nonfiction working right now.” —Richard Brody, The New Yorker

January 6, Limerence, Director Tammy Minoff

LIMERENCE cleverly tips the scales on Hollywood’s approach to a romantic comedy. Women get to see themselves in female lead Rosemary—as complex, independent and real, breaking the stereotypes society has fed us. Rosemary (Tammy Minoff), an aspiring painter and free spirit, moves to Venice where she hooks up with Tom (Matthew Del Negro), a local gallery director. Their intense chemistry quickly and unexpectedly evolves into a serious relationship. This passionate romance is juxtaposed with Tom’s best friends, May (Jennifer Lafleur) and Donald (Evan Arnold), dealing with the monotony of their long marriage and the possibility of starting a family. Complicating everything is Leo, Rosemary’s oft inappropriate yet earnest best friend from high school Leo (Billy Aaron Brown). All their feelings about the nature of love will put their relationship choices to the test and the answers aren’t always black and white. LIMERENCE world premiered at the Other Venice Film Festival, winning Best Audience Award, before going on to win Best Feature at the SOHO International Film Festival. LIMERENCE will make its global VOD/Digital & DVD release across platforms everywhere on January 7th, 2020 through Gravitas Ventures, a Red Arrow Studios company. Director, producer, writer and lead actor Tammy Minoff joins us for a conversation on her honest and engaging look into romance, love, expectations and walking your own path.

 

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