Islam and the Future of Tolerance, Co-director Jay Shapiro (Desh Amila)

The riveting and illuminating documentary, Islam and the Future of Tolerance follows prominent atheist philosopher Sam Harris and Islamist-turned-liberal-Muslim Maajid Nawaz, after publicly clashing in a debate over the concept of Islamic reform in the Muslim world. The two men reconnect several years later in an attempt at civil and honest dialogue. Sam and Maajid attempt to explore their real or imagined divides by clearly and rationally dissecting their disagreements. Through the course of their discussions, they tackle troubling passages from the Quran, the importance of the precision of language and terms (such as “Jihadism,” “Islamists,” and “radical,”) and the difficulty in finding helpful and honest responses in a fraught political terrain. Ultimately, this unlikely collaboration sheds light on the many confusions that afflict the public conversation about Islam and emphasizes how the virtues of open dialogue can help foster both understanding and tolerance in an increasingly polarized world.

 

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Sam Harris entered life as a public intellectual after 9/11 and soon found himself regarded as a leading voice of the “New Atheist” movement, along with Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett. He spent much of the next decade writing books such as The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation,and The Moral Landscape and publicly engaging religious scholars and apologists in highly contentious conversations.

Maajid Nawaz was arrested and thrown into an Egyptian prison, where he spent four years  before beginning his slow journey out of radical Islamism. By the time he emerged, he had decided to dedicate his life’s work to reforming Islam from within. He started Quilliam, a counter-extremism organization.

Islam and the Future of Tolerance tells the story of an unlikely conversation on a topic of grave importance, and how it changed two foes into friends. Director Jay Shapiro joins us to talk about his engaging and enlightening documentary.

For news and updates go to: islamandthefutureoftolerance.com

Watch the debate featuring Maajid Nawaz on the Australian Public Affairs program: Think

December 14 – Springsteen on Broadway, Director Tommy Zimny

SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY is a solo acoustic performance written and performed by Tony Award, Academy Award, and 20-time Grammy Award winner Bruce Springsteen. Based on his worldwide best-selling autobiography Born to Run and nothing short of the theater event of the year, SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY is a unique evening with Bruce, his guitar, a piano, and own stories—including a special appearance by Patti Scialfa. The intimate performance features personal anecdotes and songs including “Born to Run,” “Thunder Road” and “Brilliant Disguise.” SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY was filmed live for Netflix at Jujamcyn’s Walter Kerr Theatre and directed and produced by Emmy Award-winner Thom Zimny (“Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: Live in New York City (2001)”). In addition to Zimny, the Netflix original special is produced by the same team that produced “Springsteen On Broadway,” including Springsteen manager Jon Landau, Springsteen tour director George Travis, and Landau Management partner Barbara Carr. Director Thom Zimny joins us for a conversation on his working relationship with one of the singular musical artist in recording history and the challenge of capturing the intimacy of a live, Broadway experience.

 

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Springsteen on Broadway on netflix.com

Social Media

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Facebook/brucespringsteen

“Springsteen has mastered the dynamics needed to keep a mostly talking, partly singing show riveting for a running time that’s epic by monologists’ standards, if not his own.” – Chris Willman, Variety

“For nearly three hours, Springsteen jokes, rails, wails, and yes, plays his heart out, providing an achingly raw, often disarmingly honest breakdown of his life.” – Chris Evangelista, Slashfilm

“Not only does “Springsteen on Broadway” work on its own as a Netflix special, it gives you all the same feels seeing the show live at the Walter Kerr Theater brought out.” – Joey Madison, AwarsCircuit.com

December 14 – Avicii: True Stories, Director Levan Tsikurishvili

AVICII: TRUE STORIES, a compelling new documentary film by Levan Tsikurishvili, reveals the unvarnished truth behind the success of Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter and artist Avicii (A.K.A. Tim Bergling). One of the world’s highest grossing live music artists whose seemingly sudden decision last year to quit doing live shows came as a complete shock to his fans and the industry. The film traces the artist/DJ’s life from his beginnings, all the way to the joy of his success, from his chart-topping global radio hits and subsequent struggles with his physical and mental health. Tsikurishvili followed Bergling for over four years, and captured fly-on-the-wall footage of his experiences and thinking. Featuring appearances by colleagues such as Chris Martin, Nile Rodgers, David Guetta, Tiësto and Wyclef Jean, AVICII: TRUE STORIES is a cautionary tale that explores the taxing nature and intensity of fame from the artist’s point of view as much as it is a film for Avicii’s die-hard fans.

I wanted to do a brutally honest film about Tim as a person and not only about Avicii. Everybody knows Avicii but very few people know Tim. I think this documentary really shows Tim’s struggle and strength of character. Being a worldwide superstar artist is not as easy as it looks on Instagram. – Director Levan Tsikurishvili

 

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For news and updates go to: aviciitruestories.com

“Compelling and Cautionary Tale” – Variety

“Insight into the life of a special young artist” – Cine Magazine

“Truthful, thought provoking…compelling documentary – 5 stars” – one EDM

“An unusually sincere documentary that – unlike AMY – ends with a personal triumph.” – Alfred Bos, IndieBioscoo

December 14 – Tyrel, Director Sebastian Silva

In Director Sebastián Silva latest film. Tyrel, Tyler (Jason Mitchell) and his friend John (Christopher Abbott), two young restaurateurs from New York City, push a car along a back road high on a cold, snowy day in the Catskills Mountains. Tyler and John are on their way to a weekend getaway to celebrate the birthday of Pete (Michael Cera), one of John’s old friends, at a cabin in the woods. Tyler needs the excursion, even though he will be among mostly strangers, because the home he shares with his Puerto Rican girlfriend is packed with her visiting family – and the ailing, elderly mother to whom she is devoted. What could be better than a jocular, beer-soaked weekend in the country with a bunch of his buddy’s friends? Well, nothing … except that an empty gas tank is only the first in a series of discomforting moments Tyler encounters and engenders over the next 48 hours. Writer/director Sebastián Silva’s deploys his signature handheld style probing subtext and body language, TYREL conjures an undeniable underlying tension and it marks his most radical character exploration yet—a timely, provocative, and brilliant observation of the idea of otherness in today’s American climate. Director Sebastián Silva (The Maid, Nasty Baby, Crystal Fairy) joins is for a lively conversation on male bonding, tribalism, race, working with this outstanding cast of actors and undermining expectations.

 

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For news and updates go to: tyrelmovie.com

Social Media

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twitter.com/MagnoliaPics

“CRITIC’S PICK. UNNERVINGLY SHARP, AGONIZINGLY DEAD-ON.  The stranger “Tyrel” gets, the more accurate it feels.”  – Bilge Ebiri, The New York Times

 “A bracing and disturbing exception to the cultural norm. Silva expertly invests Tyrel with a rich and visceral unease that cuts to the everyday heart of living in a fraught cultural mixing pot.” – Chuck Bowen, Slant

December 7 – Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes, Director Alexis Bloom

Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes deftly fuses the personal, the political and the just plain surreal as it charts the origin, rise and downfall of Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. Variously called a bulldog, a kingmaker, and the Ernest Hemingway of campaign advisors, Ailes was the wizard of Oz. But he collected talent like dolls, and became consumed by paranoia about his own personal security. The son of a factory foreman, Ailes had a hand in political campaigns in almost every state in the country. He was a key advisor over the last half century to presidents Nixon, Reagan and George H.W. Bush. When President Obama called him “the most powerful man in media” he basked in the glow, and posed smiling alongside the Democratic president he had done everything to undermine. Ailes fashioned Fox News into a ratings powerhouse, with more viewers than all its direct competitors, combined. But he was forced out by the Murdoch family in 2016, amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment. How did a tap-dancing hemophiliac become one of the most powerful and divisive executives in American media? Director and producer Alexis Bloom (Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds) stops by to talk about one of America’s seminal figures and how he has shaped the destiny of the Republican Party and the future of American democracy.

 

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For news and updates go to: divideandconquerfilm.com

85% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Ultimately, “Divide and Conquer” offers useful lessons – and maybe even a little hope – for people on both sides of the national divide, about just how we came to this terrible, but not irreversible, place.” – Michael O’Sullivan, Washington Post

“Alexis Bloom’s keenly insightful and deeply depressing documentary is probably best viewed not as a record of the past but a document of what’s to come.” – Chris Barsanti, Slant Magazine

“A well-made documentary that leaves you with the imprint of Roger Ailes’ domineering arrogance, and the way he used it to shape American political reality and, finally, the world.” – Owen

Ghostbox Cowboy, Director John Maringouin

John Maringouin’s brilliant, darkly comedic morality tale examines a wildly ambitious Westerner who tries to get in on China’s tech boom and finds that he may not be up to the task. Texan Jimmy Van Horn (David Zellner) is a cowboy huckster who arrives in the booming city of Shenzhen with a couple of bitcoins and huge ambitions of parlaying them into economic success. Lucky for Jimmy, he’s got a friend holding open the back door to this “accidental Shangri-La” – Bob Grainger (Robert Longstreet) – who’s gotten new teeth, a blonde wig and looks twenty years younger. He promises to do the same for Jimmy in 6 weeks. Director and writer John Maringouin (BIG RIVER MAN) develops a startling visual language in this excitingly fresh, complex perspective on China’s economic growth – and the gold rush mentality it inspires. Director John Maringouin joins us for a free-wheeling conversation about his funny, surreal and enthralling tale of the wild west cowboy capitalism that China is now living through.

 

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For news and updates go to: ghostboxcowboy.com

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88% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Stylish, comic and shameless, with a gonzo, midnight movie tone.” – David D’Arcy, Screen International

“”Ghostbox Cowboy” truly defies categorization, and remains so unpredictable that no single viewing can resolve the fertile ideas it puts on the table about globalization, innovation, and the role of individuality in a fast-paced world that rejects it.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

“Fascinating, atmospheric, and utterly strange in ways both good and bad, Ghostbox Cowboy pulls back the curtain on those trying to export the American dream and reaping the whirlwind.” – Joe Blessing, The Playlist

“‘Ghostbox Cowboy’ is fascinating, atmospheric and utterly strange.” – Joe Blessing, The Playlist

December 7 – Bob Lazar, Area 51 and Flying Saucers, Director Jeremy Corbell

In the highly entertaining and jarring documentary BOB LAZAR: AREA 51 AND FLYING SAUCERS the curtain is pulled back on Area 51, flying saucers from another world – and the program to create a fierce, new technology that could easily change everything about the world we think we know. Bob Lazar remains the singular most famous and controversial name in the world of UFOs. The reason you know about Area 51 is because Lazar came forward and told you about it. His disclosures have turned his life upside-down and he has tried to stay out of the spotlight. For this reason, he has never let any filmmaker into the private world of his daily life – that is – until now. BOB LAZAR: AREA 51 AND FLYING SAUCERS explores Lazar’s claims through the lens of thirty years – providing rare and never before revealed footage – guaranteed to alter the landscape of the debate. Director Jeremy Corbell joins us to talk about the fantastical and yet credible story of a seemingly honest and sincere messenger telling the world that we are not alone.

 

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For news and updates go to: TheLazarStory.com

December 7 – The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows, Founder and CEO Ron Diamond

The 20th anniversary of the award winning The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows presents 15 thought-provoking, poignant, and very funny animated shorts from around the world. In a year when the best and worst of human nature has been on constant display, the works in this year’s show remind us of both the universality of shared ideals, as well as the diverse challenges we face. For 20 years, The Animation Show of Shows  has been presenting new and innovative short films to appreciative audiences at animation studios, schools and, since 2015, theaters around the world. Over the years, 38 of the films showcased in The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows  went on to receive Academy Award® nominations, with 11 films winning the Oscar®. The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows  not only has something for everyone, but is a remarkable and insightful microcosm of our world. According to founder and curator Ron Diamond, “Animation is such a flexible and open-ended medium that it lends itself to exploring the innumerable aspects of what it means to be human, and this year’s program, as much as any of our past presentations, really illuminates human strengths and foibles, and the bonds that unite us across cultures and generations.” Ron Diamond joins us to talk about this year’s latest collection of wonderfully creative, insightful and entertaining animation from across the globe. 

 

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For news and updates go to: animationshowofshows.com

Social Media

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Upcoming Los Angeles area screenings:

The Vista Theatre at 4473 Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles

Tuesday December 11 – 2:45pm, 5:30pm, 8:45pm

Wednesday December 12 – 2:45pm, 5:30pm, 8:45pm

Thursday December 13 – 2:45pm, 5:30pm

Glendale Laemmle Theatres – Friday, December 14

207 N. Maryland Ave. Glendale, CA

Call: 310-478-3836 for screening times

December 7 – United We Fan, Director Michael Sparaga

Fans, stars, creators and more come together to explore the history and evolution of TV’s save-our-show fan campaigns in Michael Sparaga’s (The Missing Ingredient) humorous and heartfelt feature documentary UNITED WE FAN. From the letter-writing and product mail-ins of yesterday to the social media and crowdfunding campaigns of today, UNITED WE FAN goes beyond the headlines to give viewers deeper insights into fandom, community and identity. For most viewers, it’s simply a disappointment when their favorite TV series is cancelled. But the fans of some series take the loss a lot harder. And they fight back. UNITED WE FAN chronicles the stories of those passionate individuals and their unique crusades to save their beloved shows. Declared “a joy to watch” by POV Magazine, UNITED WE FAN intertwines the remarkable stories of Kaily, Dorothy and the Trimbles while also taking time to delve into the inspiring campaigns to save Designing Women, Quantum Leap, Chuck, Longmire, Jericho, Veronica Mars, Roswell and the Rosetta Stone of rescued TV series Star Trek. “UNITED WE FAN is not a movie about television’s wackiest fans,” said director Michael Sparaga, “rather, it’s a love letter to the inspiring people who have formed communities and fought tirelessly against seemingly impossible odds to give viewers everywhere more seasons of some of television’s most iconic shows.” Director / Writer / Producer Michael Sparaga joins us to talk about the men and women whose embrace and affection for specific television series goes way beyond passive entertainment into the realm of a life affirming connections to the creators, performers and characters who have enriched their lives via episodic storytelling.

Social Media

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twitter.com/unitedwefandoc

instagram.com/unitedwefandoc

UNITED WE FAN is available on multiple VOD platforms beginning December 4

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“A cheery collage of anecdotes about how popular culture brings people together and inspires them to fight for the things they love.” – Norman Wilner, Toronto Now

“It’s a fun film to watch, but also one that makes us question how far we’re all willing to go to save our favourite series from extinction, and where the future of such fan campaigns might be going from here.” – Andrew Parker, The Gate

“United We Fan is a brisk, enjoyable look at the way TV fan culture has evolved since the days when Star Trek first flirted with cancellation.” – Jesse Schedeen, IGN Movies

“What United We Fan does very well is that the documentary offers a blueprint for the many television fans wanting to save their favorite series.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

Life Underground, Director Hervé Cohen

LIFE UNDERGROUND is a groundbreaking trans-media project that invites visitors on a journey through the subways of the world and into the personal stories of their passengers. Its main component is an interactive web documentary. LIFE UNDERGROUND has also become an immersive multimedia installation for museums and public spaces (including subway stations) featuring the same content but on large screens with a multi-track soundscape. Shot in over 17 cities, across 4 continents, in over 11 languages, by director Hervé Cohen this interactive web documentary and immersive media installation takes viewers on a journey into the subways of the world through the personal stories of passengers. Hervé Cohen is an award-winning filmmaker and cinematographer and has traveled the world to capture compelling stories for international productions. He has also shot two feature narratives, in San Francisco and in Haiti (the 2017 Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film, AYITI MON AMOUR). LIFE UNDERGROUND is nominated for Best Short Form Series by the International Documentary Association. Director Hervé Cohen joins us to talk about his enlightening and humanizing look at a world where people have much more in common than not.

 

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To watch the film go to: life-underground.com

Social Media

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instagram.com/lifeunderground2018

twitter.com/lifeunderdoc

People’s Republic of Desire, Director Hao Wu

In an increasingly digital universe where live streamers earn as much as $200,000 a month, can virtual relationships replace real-life human connection? PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF DESIRE tells the stories of two such online stars who have risen from isolation to fame and fortune on NASDAQ-listed YY, China’s largest live streaming platform. Live-streaming  showrooms have become virtual gathering places for hundreds of millions – from the super rich who lavish these online stars with digital gifts, to poor migrant workers who exhaust meager savings idolizing them. All of these characters are brought together in a series of bizarre online talent competitions, where they discover that happiness in their virtual world may be as elusive as in the real one. Director Hao Wu talks with us about his mind-boggling, high-energy documentary that chronicles a technical /social revolution taking place in the world’s most populous country.

 

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For news and updates go to: desire.film

SOCIAL MEDIA

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WINNER – Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature at SXSW

WINNER – Grand Jury Award for International Doc at Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

WINNER – Best Cinematography at CAAMFest

WINNER – Best International Director at Doc Edge Festival

96% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Tragic and terrifying in equal measure, Hao Wu’s look at China’s live-streaming culture offers a dark window into our collective future.” – IndieWire

“Provocative and unsettling as it brings us on a guided tour through the digital marketplace for something resembling human contact.” – Variety

“Yes, Black Mirror is already here.” – Ars Technica

“The ability of “People’s Republic of Desire” to show these familiar desires playing out in futuristic surroundings is invariably surprising and never less than compelling.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“A microcosm of the bizarre fantasy economy and complex, parasitic interdependencies of late capitalism as a whole.” – Katie Rife, AV Club

The Cleaners, Co-Director Moritz Riesewieck (Hans Block)

The riveting new documentary film THE CLEANERS takes us into the hidden third world shadow industry of digital cleaning, where the Internet rids itself of what it doesn‘t like. Here we meet five “digital scavengers” among thousands of people outsourced from Silicon Valley whose job is to delete “inappropriate” content of the net. In a parallel struggle, we meet people around the globe whose lives are dramatically affected by online censorship. A typical “cleaner” must observe and rate thousands of often deeply disturbing images and videos every day, leading to lasting psychological impacts. Yet underneath their work lie profound questions around what makes an image art or propaganda and what defines journalism. Where exactly is the point of balance for social media to be neither an “unlegislated” space nor a forum rife with censorship? THE CLEANERS struggles to come to terms with this new and disconcerting paradigm. Evolving from a shared social vision of a global village to a web of fake news and radicalization, the film charts the rise and fall of social media’s utopian ideology.  We talk about THE CLEANERS role managing what is seen and not seen on the internet, who are they, what are the criteria and why are the companies who are paying them so determined to remain hidden. Co-director Moritz Riesewieck (Hans Block) joins us for an engaging and provocative conversation on the lack of transparency and unaccountability from the people who have promised the world the opposite.

For news and updates go to: The Cleaners

92% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The chilling, morally hyper-conscious film “The Cleaners”… introduces us to a handful of these hidden, meagerly paid office workers, cogs in a shadow business headquartered mainly in Manila in unassuming buildings.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“The Cleaners is a riveting piece of work, prompting reflection on a whole range of big, urgent questions.” – Jake Wilson, The Age Australia

“It is the starting point for a wide-ranging examination of complex issues surrounding freedom of speech, censorship and corporate responsibility.” – Allan Hunter, Screen International

“With its excellent cinematography, ominous tone and incredibly relevant subject matter, The Cleaners is a masterclass in documentary filmmaking.” – Adam Patterson, Film Pulse

The World Before Your Feet, Director Jeremy Workman

There are 8,000 miles of roads and paths in New York City and for the past six years Matt Green has been walking them all – every street, park, cemetery, beach, and bridge. In the entertaining new documentary THE WORLD BEFORE YOUR FEET we’re taken on a bird’s eye tour through the city’s five-boroughs. It’s a journey that stretches from the barbershops of the Bronx to the forests of Staten Island, from the Statue of Liberty to Times Square, with Matt amassing a surprisingly detailed knowledge of New York’s history and people along the way. Something of a modern-day Thoreau, Matt gave up his former engineering job, his apartment, and most of his possessions, sustaining his endeavor through couch-surfing, cat-sitting and a $15-per-day budget. He’s not sure exactly why he’s doing it, only knowing that there’s no other way he’d rather spend his days. Executive produced by Oscar® nominee Jesse Eisenberg, THE WORLD BEFORE YOUR FEET is a tribute to an endlessly fascinating city and the freedom to be found, wherever you live, in simply taking a walk. Jeremy Workman is known for such documentaries as Magical Universe (IFC Films),Who Is Henry Jaglom? (First Run Features), and the “One Track Mind” segment of True New York (First Run Features). Jeremy’s documentaries have played at such film festivals as SXSW, Tribeca, DocNYC, Hamptons, Slamdance, Melbourne, AFI, Woodstock, Big Sky Documentary, IFFBoston, among several others. Director Jeremy Workman stops by to talk about what motivates this urban John Muir’s curiosity about the most famous city in the world.

 

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For news and updates go to: theworldbeforeyourfeet.com

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Filmmaker Workman, who’s behind [Green] every step of the way without ever getting in the way, allows the city and its colorful denizens to take center stage.” = Michael Rechtschaffen, Los Angeles Times

“Short of walking with Green, a film is an ideal way to share in his knowledge. And after watching “The World Before Your Feet,” it’s difficult to look at the city the same way.” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times

“Jeremy Workman connects Matt Green’s foot journey to the real-time scale of New York City and to the soul of its citizens. This inspired documentary is perfect.” – Cole Smithey, ColeSmithey.com

“What Green ultimately does, as one interviewee describes it, is show us the “heart, soul, and pulse” of New York City.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

Astral, Director Chris Mul

ASTRAL is the story of a son coming to terms with the explanation of his mother’s untimely death. Searching for answers, Alex turns to spiritual contact after the relationship with his father breaks down. As a student of metaphysics, Alex learns of the “scientific” premise of astral projection-the ability to project your spirit into an unseen spatial dimension. Attempting to astral project, Alex becomes plagued by shadow spirits-malevolent entities vying to enter his body to access our world. Alex soon learns that he is not the only member of his family to have been besieged by such beings, as his mother’s dark past is brought to his attention. ASTRAL was co-written by Chris and Michael Mul and is Chris Mul’s directorial debut. The film stars Frank Dillane (FEAR THE WALKING DEAD) and features a bright up-and-coming cast of young actors.  Vertical Entertainment will release ASTRAL in a multi-city theatrical release with markets including LA and NY among others on November 23. The film will also be made available on digital platforms such as iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Xbox, Fandango Now, Direct TV, Dish Network and through local cable providers. Director and co-writer Chris Mul (Michael Mul) joins us to talk about shooting his slick and stylish psychological thriller on an insanely tight production schedule while trying to optimize the performances from talented cast of young actors.

 

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For news and updates go to: Facebook.com/HorrorGeeklife

The Great Mother, Co-director Dave LaMattina (Chad Walker)

Nora Sandigo is a fierce immigration activist who serves as the legal guardian for U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants who have been deported. Were it not for her, many would be forced into the foster care system, keeping them legally separated from their parents. THE GREAT MOTHER profiles this inspiring woman, who not only provides economic, legal and emotional support for her charges, but lobbies Congress for immigration reform despite an increasingly hostile political climate. Filmed over two years, and encompassing both the 2016 election and its aftermath, the film captures two of the most tumultuous years on record for immigrants. THE GREAT MOTHER is a personal look at immigration through the eyes of Nora Sandigo, legal guardian to over 1,000 US-born children of undocumented immigrants. Without Nora as their guardian, if the parents of these US-citizen children are deported, the kids will be sent to foster care. After three months, they can be adopted, ending any chance of a reunion. With Nora as the guardian, however, not only will the kids never enter foster care, but Nora will also battle to keep their parents from being deported. THE GREAT MOTHER captures the tension of the 2016 election and its aftermath, the film captures the most tumultuous years on record for immigrants in a deeply personal way. Co-director Dave LaMattina (Chad Walker) joins us to talk about the heartbreaking reality that immigrant refugees face and the collateral damage that comes with a broken immigration system

For news and updates go to: greatmotherfilm.com

Social Media:

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Monrovia, Indiana – Director Frederick Wiseman

Located in mid-America, MONROVIA, INDIANA, (population 1,063) founded in 1834, is primarily a farming community. MONROVIA, INDIANA is about the day-to-day experiences living and working in Monrovia, with emphasis on community organizations and institutions, religion and daily life in this farming community. These towns were once the backbone of American life. While their number and populations have shrunk, the importance of rural America as a formative center of American politics and values was demonstrated in the 2016 presidential election. The film explores the conflicting stereotypes and illustrates how values like community service, duty, spiritual life, generosity and authenticity are formed, experienced and lived. MONROVIA, INDIANA gives a complex and nuanced view of daily life in Monrovia and provides some understanding of a rural, mid-American way of life that has always been important in America but whose influence and force have not always been recognized or understood in the big cities on the east and west coasts of America and in other countries. Since  1967,  Frederick  Wiseman  has  directed  42 documentaries — dramatic, narrative films that seek to portray ordinary human  experience in a wide  variety  of  contemporary social  institutions. His films include TITICUT FOLLIES, HIGH  SCHOOL, WELFARE, JUVENILE COURT, BOXING GYM, LA  DANSE,  BALLET, CENTRAL PARK, BALLET, LA COMEDIE FRANCAISE, BELFAST, MAINE, and EX LIBRIS – The New York Public Library. At the 2016 Academy Awards ceremony Frederick Wiseman received an Honorary Award (Governors Awards) for a lifetime of brilliant filmmaking. He joins us to talk about his latest cinematic treasure, Monrovia Indiana.

 

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For news and updates on all of Frederick Wiseman’s work go to: zipporah.com

“He’s arguably the most brilliant, brave and innovative person working in his field.” – Terry Atkinson, Los Angeles Times

“Rigorously shot, impeccably edited and at times startling in their beauty, these films usher us into often otherwise anonymous spaces and lives, and help make the invisible visible.” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

Social Media: facebook.com/pages/Zipporah Films

90% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The result is surprisingly companionable and enjoyable, an unhurried look at a location that is in no kind of rush, a place that is concerned most of all with preserving the way it’s always been.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“Legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman turns his camera on a pro-gun, pro-God Midwestern town and gives us a landmark view of what it looks like to live in Trump’s America.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“A calmly analytical film in which-as ever in Wiseman’s work-extended discussions and public debates are developed with an absorbing dramatic power.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker

“The unavoidable political implications of “Monrovia, Indiana” give its observations an undeniable urgency.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

I Am the Revolution, Director Benedatta Argentieri

I AM THE REVOLUTION is the inspiring documentary about three women fighting for freedom and gender equality – Selay Ghaffar, Rojda Felat, and Yanar Mohammed- while living in three of the worst countries in the world for women: Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq. Each country reflects the groundswell of feminist revolutions: political revolution in Afghanistan, armed in Syria, and grassroots activism in Iraq. Taking a journalistic approach, the film challenges the images of veiled, silent, and timid women in the Middle East and instead shows the strength of women rising up on the front lines, in remote villages, and in city streets, to claim their voice and their rights. Director Benedetta Argentieri is an independent journalist and director based in New York and I AM THE REVOLUTION is her second film. Since 2014 she has been covering the Iraqi and Syrian war, with several trips on the ground. Her work as a journalist has appeared in publication that include including Reuters, The Sunday Times, Quartz, and Corriere della Sera. In 2016 she co-directed with Bruno Chiaravalloti and Claudio Jampaglia, “Our War”, a documentary about foreigners joining the Kurds in Syria to fight the Islamic State. In 2013 she co-produced “Capulcu-Voices from Gezi”, a documentary about the revolt that occurred in Gezi Park in Istanbul, Turkey, which won several awards including the Amnesty International award. Director Benedatta Argentieri to talk about her thrilling and enlighting look at three extraordinarily brave women and the people who support their groundbreaking movement.

For news and updates go to: possibilefilm.com – I Am the Revolution

Social Media

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Of Fathers and Sons, Director Talal Derki

Syrian-born filmmaker Talal Derki (Return to Homs) travels to his homeland where he gains the trust of a radical Islamist family, sharing their daily life for over two years. His camera focuses primarily on the children, providing an extremely rare insight into what it means to grow up with a father whose only dream is to establish an Islamic caliphate. Osama (13) and his brother Ayman (12) both love and admire their father and obey his words, but while Osama seems content to follow the path of Jihad, Ayman wants to go back to school. Of Fathers and Sons was shot between Summer 2014 and September 2016. During that time, Talal Derki and Director of Photography, Kahtan Hasson, spent about 300 days with Abu Osama’s family. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for World Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, Of Fathers and Sons is a work of unparalleled access that captures the chilling moment when childhood dies and jihadism is born. Director Talal Derki joins us to talk about his own personal journey through a devastated country and a troubled society, looking for answers to desperate questions about the future of his country and the future of his own family’s need to flee into exile.

 

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Winner – World Cinema Grand Jury Prize, 2018 Sundance Film Festival

Winner – Filmmaker Award, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Of Fathers and Sons succeeds in transporting us behind “enemy” lines for a rare glimpse of a world that seems exotic and threatening” – Screen Daily

“A chilling look at extremism on its home front.” – The Film Stage

“Merely being present to bear witness to this side of the Syrian border would make “Of Fathers and Sons” well worth watching, but Derki is so scrupulous in what he reveals about how ingrained the beliefs of the Islamic jihadis are.” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Feast

“What makes the film all the more poignant is the fact that the children are, of course, despite all this, like kids anywhere else.” – Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film

“An admirably audacious feat of documentarian access, Of Fathers and Sons is of obvious topical and anthropological interest as a glimpse into the gradual radicalization of young males and the deep community ties which underpin the process.” – Neil Young, Hollywood Reporter

The Last Race, Director Michael Dweck

Long Island was the birthplace of American stock car racing. At its peak, there were over forty racetracks on Long Island, but today, only one remains: Riverhead Raceway. This quarter-mile track somehow managed to slip through the cracks as progress transformed Long Island from a stretch of sand with sleepy main streets and mom and pop farm stands, to a maze of highways connecting shopping malls to buy-in-bulk shopping centers.  When it was built in 1949, the racetrack sat on the edge of a small country road surrounded on every side by miles of farmland. The land the track sits on is valued at well over ten million dollars, while the money that it generates in ticket sales on summer weekends is barely enough to keep the lights on. The fact that the Riverhead Raceway remains open defies the laws of capitalism, and the only thing standing in the way of the bulldozers are 87-year-old Barbara and Jim Cromarty. Barbara and Jim bought the track in 1977 and they continue to run it even as multi-million dollar offers roll in, tempting them toward a well-deserved retirement. Barbara and Jim fight to keep it open because they understand that Riverhead carries the burden of being the last bastion of stock car racing on Long Island, and when Riverhead goes, it’s all over. THE LAST RACE is a cinematic portrait of a Long Island stock car race track as its 87 year-old owners struggle to maintain an American racing tradition in the face of a real estate development boom. The film merges image and sound in a unique narrative form to bring the audience into the world of grassroots racing culture and explores a story that subtly grapples with questions of blue collar American identity that have taken on a profound relevance in the current political era. Director Michael Dweck talks about the community and the loss of a place where people have come to laugh, cheer and share in the ties that bind.

 

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Beautiful and Immersive” – Los Angeles Times

“Exhilarating! Dweck’s stoically composed, strangely mesmerizing film makes a strong case for the humble speedway’s soul.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“The film will likely endure as a testament to the resilience of a community dedicated to long-established racing traditions.” – Justin Lowe, Hollywood Reporter

“Photographer Michael Dweck captures a vanishing piece of Americana.” – Sean P. Means, Salt Lake Tribune

“First rate!’ – IndieWire

Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain, Director Alex Winter

Always one step ahead in signaling technology’s seismic shifts, Alex Winter has built up a body of work that documents how innovation changes the way people live their daily lives. DOWNLOADED explored the downloading revolution and how Napster and file-sharing took on the music industry, leaving musicians wondering about royalty payments and copyrights. DEEP WEB revealed a new kind of internet: decentralized, encrypted and dangerous; with particular focus on the FBI capture of the Tor hidden service Silk Road, and the judicial aftermath. In his newest documentary TRUST MACHINE: THE STORY OF BLOCKCHAIN, narrated by Rosario Dawson, Alex Winter drills down on blockchain, the decentralized technology that supports cryptocurrencies. Why are banks terrified while UNICEF Ventures embraces it to help refugee children? Winter follows tech innovators striking a raw nerve as banks and network pundits rush to condemn volatile cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. British hacktivist Lauri Love fights extradition—his computer skills perceived a threat to the US government. Through the film, Winter reveals that the proponents of the blockchain—a verified digital ledger—are already using the technology to change the world; fighting income inequality, the refugee crisis and world hunger. Director Alex Winter joins us for a conversation on a technology that has the potential to uplift and / or wreak havoc on human civilization and why we should care.

 

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80% on Rotten Tomatoes

“You’re not going to come out of this understanding bitcoin and the other virtual currencies completely, but you will know a lot more coming out than you knew going in.” – Tony Medley, Tolucan Times

“A digestible intro to a potentially world-changing concept.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

“[Alex Winter’s] latest film, “Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain,” is a heady, globe-spanning investigation.” – Gary Kramer, Salon

“Winter lies somewhere in-between with an agenda to shed light on real world applications in order to pique interest, demystify, and cut through the [talking head] bullshit.” – Jared Mobarak, The Film Stage

Team Khan, Co-directors Blair McDonald and Oliver Clark

.TEAM KHAN is a fly-on-the-wall documentary about professional boxer Amir Khan, filmed between 2014 and 2016. Khan was born and raised in Bolton, Greater Manchester, to a Punjabi Rajput family. He  was the WBA light-welterweight world champion from 2009 to 2012, and the IBF title in 2011. As an amateur, Khan won a silver medal in the lightweight division at the 2004 Olympics, becoming Britain’s youngest boxing Olympic medallist at the age of 17. He is also one of the youngest ever British professional world champions, winning the WBA title at the age of 22. Outside of boxing, he has worked as a philanthropist and mixed martial arts promoter. TEAM KHAN follows Khan as he chases a fight with the unbeaten superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. Outside of the ring Amir must grapple with the significance of family, fame, and religion, as he grows from being boxing’s golden child into a man. Under the guidance of new trainer Virgil Hunter, Amir first puts on a stunning performance in beating former world champion Devon Alexander in Las Vegas. Buzz around a potential showdown with Mayweather grows, but he opts instead to fight Manny Pacquiao instead. Amir then goes on to defeat Chris Algieri in Brooklyn by unanimous decision. Mayweather again looks over Amir as his opponent, and then retires from boxing. TEAM KHAN follows Amir has he looks for a way to achieve the elusive goal of becoming a world champion. Co-directors Blair McDonald and Oliver Clark join us for a conversation on their first feature length documentary and this charismatic superstar, dedicated to his family and completely determined to reach the summit of his profession.

 

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For news and updates go to: teamkhanmovie.com

Team Khan opens in Los Angeles Friday, November 16 at the Laemmle Playhouse 7, 673 Colorado Blvd. Pasadena

Krieg, Director Jeff Fry

In Jeff Fry’s directorial debut KRIEG, an elite German SS mountain unit commits atrocities against their Partisan prisoners while attempting to locate a French Underground transmitter. Ashamed of his involvement, one of the unit’s officers, Konrad Winter, is compelled to leave camp and seek out the resister’s transmitter in order to prevent further crimes. During his search he discovers a downed American aircraft. In a redemptive twist of fate, Winter embarks on a mission to save the wounded American bombardier by delivering to the very enemy for whom they are searching. KRIEG is a richly textured film that follows the journey of a soldier whose remorse for inaction in the face of murder compels him to risk all to protect a wounded enemy airman. KRIEG is an anti-war film that challenges our conceptions of war and how the enemy behaves, blurring the boundaries between nations to teach us that wars are not fought on the battlefield, but in the hearts of men. KRIEG stars Heiko Obermoller (“A Cure For Wellness”), Scott Bailey (“Timeless”), Alexander Schottky (“Nikola”), Zoey Sidwell (“How To Get Away With Murder”), Alex DeVorak (”Night of the Dead: Leben Tod”), Rene Heger (“Circle”), Marko Janovic (“Then What Happened?”), Amanda Michaels (KRIEG), Sierra Willis (“Forerunner”), Chad Evans (KRIEG), Joshua M. Bott (“Loser’s Lounge”), John Gillen (“Surge of Power: The Revenge of the Sequel”), Matt O’Hare (“Wearing Hitler’s Pants”), Ken Collins (“Cape Fear”), and Alison Lees-Taylor (“Escape From Tomorrow”). With an unprecedented thirty-three awards and an additional thirty nominations, KRIEG continues its incredible film festival awards sweep. Director Jeff Fry joins us for an in-depth conversation on the blood, sweat and tears that went into his “American foreign film” as well as the personal satisfaction of working with a dedicated group of film professionals who made it all possible.

For news and updates go to: krieg-the-movie.com

“Looks crisp and impressive on the big screen and is studded with solid performances from top to bottom.” – Boyd van Hoeji, Hollywood Reporter

Welcome to the Men’s Group, Actor David Clennon

WELCOME TO THE MEN’S GROUP is an emotional roller-coaster through the often bumpy inner terrain of the male psyche, as we hear the men open about their lives, sharing truth, telling lies, and revealing secrets they dare not discuss in their lives. WELCOME TO THE MEN’S GROUP is largely inspired by the phenomenon of the “Men’s Movement” of the past 30 years that was championed by writers like the poet Robert Bly and his bestselling book “Iron John” which explored the need for men to reconnect to their authenticity through storytelling, myth and ritualized gathering. WELCOME TO THE MEN’S GROUP takes us inside the intimate dynamic of an all-male support group (Timothy Bottoms, Stephen Tobolowsky, Terence Rotolo, Mackenzie Astin, Joseph Culp, Ali Saam, Phil Abrams, and David Clennon) when they gather one morning for a ritual breakfast and their unique form of male bonding—One Sunday a month, these eight men refrain from beer and football to sit in a circle where they share their personal issues, in the noble hope of becoming a bit more evolved than their fathers. Award winning actor David Clennon (The Right Stuff, Being There, Syriana, Thirtysomething, Missing) joins us to talk about the male psyche, challenges and rewards of working within a strong ensemble cast and the legendary filmmaker Hal Ashby.

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“The Hangover this is not. Instead, it explores men trying to support each other but ending up triggering each other, escalating tensions as more and more secrets are revealed until the startling, cathartic climax. Like The Big Chill, it’s ensemble acting at its finest, and like Sideways, it’s an insightful exploration of men’s issues that will appeal to both men and women. The story is complex, beautifully written, deftly filmed.” – New Times 

“Welcome to the Men’s Group is full of surprises. It promised to be cutting-edge, but wow, Welcome to the Men’s Group was so much more than I had expected! It will make you laugh, it will make you cry. This is a film that changes the rules.” – Agenda Magazine

Room for Rent, Director Matthew Atkinson

In Matthew Atkinson’s debut feature, Room for Rent, our “hero” Mitch Baldwin (Mark Little) is in a deep rut. He lives with his parents and has no intention of leaving. At 18, Mitch won the County Lottery, $3.5M dollars. 12 years later he’s broke, has no friends or love life, and is a laughing stock. With his dad retiring, talk of selling the house pushes tensions to a breaking point. Mitch convincingly suggests renting their spare room for extra cash. Tentative, his parents agree. Quickly, a charming, yet peculiar stranger shows up at their front door willing to pay cash – this is Carl Lemay Brett Gelman). Mitch sets rules for Carl, but the family’s routine is instantly upset. Mitch notices mysterious details about Carl; his car’s license plates are missing, his back story is vague, and he seems set on pushing Mitch out of his comfort zone. Yet Mitch is disarmed by Carl’s charm and confides in him about some of his regrets. To Mitch’s dismay, Carl begins to use the information to undermine Mitch and expose his faults. A battle of wits breaks out and turns into all-out war involving deception, humiliation, spying and revenge. The question is how far are these two prepared to go?Writer and director Matthew Atkinson joins us for a conversation on his entertaining, quirky and funny film with a crackling good ensemble cast (Mark McKinney, Carla Gallo, Stephanie Weir and Patrick J, Adams) of new and veteran performers.

 

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88% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Hilarious, off-beat comedy“ – The Silver Screen Analysis

“…Room for Rent is a funny, light comedy that stays a step ahead of the audience. It’s solid story and with solid performances worth checking out.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat

“Atkinson directs from a script that pays homage to Alfred Hitchcock…the way that Gelman interacts with Little, the threats take the film to the next level.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

“A quirky comedy with a lot of ‘tude mostly in the shape of high school lottery winner Mitch who burned through $3.5 M and wound up in his parents’ spare room.” – Anne Brodie, What She Said

Lucha VaVoom, Director Ben Churchill

Lucha VaVOOM: Inside America’s Most Outrageous Show is the documentary that explores the fascinating cast of characters behind Lucha VaVOOM — an enthralling combination of high-octane Mexican wrestling, retro-style burlesque dancing, and witty commentary provided by Hollywood’s most celebrated comedians. Discover how this family of wildly creative and passionate performers from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, and gender orientations come together to create a unique shared experience. As the costumes, alter egos, and flamboyant performances are put on display, these masked marvels reveal their truest selves, offering up stories of perseverance, equality, and self-acceptance. Lucha VaVOOM: Inside America’s Most Outrageous Show takes you onstage, backstage, and into the minds of the wrestlers, dancers, and producers who provide a show that is not only entertaining, but has the power to change people’s perspectives. Director Ben Churchill joins us totalk about capturing the on-stage energy of the performances and the bond between the performers and the audience.

 

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“I love Lucha VaVoom. It’s seriously crackers and great fun.” – Eric Idle, Monty Python

“It’s enough to make even the most jaded Hollywood insider jump up and yell “Smackdown!” – Rolling Stone

“A madcap mix of Mexican wrestling, comedy, and vintage burlesque. I love, love, love it.” – Vanity Fair