November 24, 2017 – Bitch, Director Marianna Palka

In this biting domestic story, Jill, a lonely, unfulfilled housewife with four unruly children, paces on her dining room table with a belt around her neck, contemplating a desperate end. Her husband, Bill, focused on his identity as breadwinner and an affair with a lusty co-worker, is as oblivious to Jill’s growing terror that she will do something destructive as he is to the panic at his unraveling company. Meanwhile, dogs bark and howl through the night, as one persistent mutt continually stalks the family’s yard. When Jill’s psyche finally breaks, she takes on a vicious new canine persona. Marianna Palka writes, directs, and stars as Jill in this dark and provocative film, balancing a whip-smart, deeply unsettling take on the horrors of a crumbling nuclear family with a palpable sensitivity for her character’s plight and perfectly timed comedic flourishes. Jason Ritter delivers a beautifully tragicomic performance as Bill, who’s transformed by bizarre crisis from an indifferent hound of a man entirely untethered from his family to their unexpected emotional anchor. Director and lead actor Marianna Palka joins us in a conversation about her go-for-broke approach to the story and performance.

For news and updates go to: darkskyfilms.com/bitch

Opening November 24th in Los Angeles at the Laemmle’s Music Hall 3

“A satirical scream of rage against patriarchal prerogatives, this feminist horror-comedy, written and directed by Ms. Palka, has a vicious edge… Palka carves a black and biting niche between a man and a woman, a space where chaos and psychological unease demand to be reckoned with.”Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

“Marianna Palka is fearless. She wrote, directed and starred in a movie that has her acting like a rabid dog for most of its duration. It’s a bold move, and one that pays off in a big way.”Meredith Borders, Birth Movies Death

“Vicious feminist satire…Palka recalls Michael Haneke, but with an eye for surreal black comedy that suggests the anything-goes weirdness of Quentin Dupieux.“Eric Kohn, Indiewire

November 24, 2017 – Porto, Director Gabs Klinger

In the haunting, intimate tale PORTO Jake (Anton Yelchin) and Mati (Lucie Lucas) are two expats who experience a brief but intimate connection in the ancient Portuguese city of Porto. He’s an American loner exiled from his family. She’s a student from France embroiled in an affair with one of her professors. After spotting each other from a distance at an archeological site and then again at a train station and a café, Jake works up the courage to approach Mati and they embark on a night of carefree intimacy. This romantic encounter is viewed from years later, both characters still haunted by the powerful connection they shared. Using a mix of film stocks and art direction that evokes a bygone era of European cinema, Porto delivers a cinematic form of saudade – a Portuguese word that describes an emotional state of nostalgic longing for a person or place that one has loved. Director, writer, editor, and producer Gabs Klinger stops by to talk about his bittersweet, heartbreaking, soaring ode to romantic love.

For news and updates go to kinolorber.com/film/porto

New York, NY – November 17 at Landmark Sunshine Cinema

Los Angeles, CA – November 24 at Landmark Nuart Theatre

“A swirling examination of love in all its bittersweet splendor.” – David Ehrlich, Indiewire

“Ravishingly shot. A film that’s in love with love, in love with cinema.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“An extraordinary and delicate depiction of a fleeting passion. Touches on the most tender and incisive heights of each crest of the European New Wave.” – Richard Whittaker, The Austin Chronicle

“Yelchin’s acting is superb in its minimalism, expressing sensitivity, yearning and sorrow with subtle intensity.” – Catherine Sedgwick, The Upcoming

November 24, 2017 – Strad Style, Director Stephan Avalos

It’s a story that beggars belief—a bipolar practitioner of “candle magick” living in a dilapidated farmhouse in rural Ohio with a lifelong obsession for building violins (and covered in tattoos of master builders such as Stradivarius) convinces a world-renowned soloist via social media that he is capable of creating a perfect replica of the world’s most valuable violin, Guarneri’s Il Cannone. A quirky look into one man’s DIY enthusiasm and perseverance when facing down a self-created, impossible task, Strad Style is the feel-good doc of 2017. Stefan Avalos is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Having started his life as a classically trained violinist and knowing the obsessions that are part of the violin-world, he became intrigued with the story of Daniel Houck, while working on a broader documentary about New vs old violins. While this movie is still in process, “Strad Style” emerged as a story that became HIS obsession. Stefan joins us to talk about the making of this magical documentary.

For news and updates go to: stradstyle.com

“One of Slamdance 2017’s documentary treasures, Strad Style is as deeply heartfelt as it is riveting.” – Kathy Zhou, Slugmag

“- irresistible, way-stranger-than-fiction documentary” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

I LOVED LOVED LOVED Strad Style and have not been able to stop recommending it to anyone who will listen. – MoviePro

“a beautifully shot shaggy-dog story with an overcoming-adversity theme and fairy-tale outcome Hollywood would kill for, which leaves audiences applauding through tears.” – Adam Patterson, Film Pulse

“Wonderful; so funny and strange and human. An amazing portrait of a fascinating character, beautifully told with enormous suspense and tenderness.” – Mary Ann Johanson, Film Filosopher

November 17, 2017 – The Light of the Moon, Director Jessica M. Thompson

THE LIGHT OF THE MOON is the story of Bonnie, a young and successful Latina architect, sexually assaulted while walking home from an evening out with friends in Brooklyn. At first, she attempts to keep the assault a secret from her long-term boyfriend Matt, but the truth quickly emerges. Bonnie emphatically denies the impact of what has just happened to her. She fights to regain normalcy and control, but returning to her old life is more complicated than expected. Her attempt to recapture the intimacy she previously had with Matt falters and cracks begin to surface in their relationship. Another attack in the neighborhood only drives Bonnie further into denial, before an encounter with an at-risk woman forces her to face the truth and confront her own self-blame. Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Short Term 12) gives a powerful and moving performance as Bonnie, a woman who maintains her dignity and sense of humor as she deals with the aftermath of a life-altering experience. Written and directed by Emmy-nominated Australian filmmaker Jessica M. Thompson in her feature film debut, THE LIGHT OF THE MOON is a powerful reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the importance of relationships in the face of a tragedy.

For news and updates go to: thelightofthemoonfilm.com

The Light of  the Moon opens Friday November 17 at the Laemmle Monica Theatre with Q&A Friday, Saturday and Sunday

11/17 ~ Panel with filmmakers.

11/18 ~ Talkback hosted by Julie Rosing, producer-host of the Lady Parts Justice podcast ReproMadness with LPJ founder Lizz Winstead, co-creator of The Daily Show.

11/19: Seed&Spark/Big Vision screening with talkback hosted by Emily Best, the founder of Seed&Spark, and Amy Rosner, co-director of the upcoming documentary Second Assault.

“A clear-eyed film that’s clinical in its specifics.” – Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times

“The Light of the Moon isn’t a film you forget easily. It takes on a global issue and acts as if it’s something small, resulting in a film that feels both vitally important and imminently personal.” – Ryan Morris, Film Inquiry

“As a resource for those looking to understand the process of recovery, it’s hard to imagine a more comprehensive or sympathetic look at the challenge of surviving.” – Teo Bugbee, New York Times

“With the wider cultural conversation about rape culture, especially in the U.S., raging in the media, this honest and complex engagement with the subject is particularly welcome.” – Leslie Felperine, Hollywood Reporter

“[This] simply-structured film is harrowingly effective in its streamlined, low-frills way: sensitive without ever being sanctimonious, brutally frank without ever lapsing into exploitation.” – Andrew Barker, Variety

November 17, 2017 – Mr. Roosevelt, Director, writer Noël Wells

Noël Wells portrays Emily, a talented but hard-to-classify comedic performer who left behind her home and boyfriend to pursue career opportunities in L.A. When a loved one falls ill, Emily rushes back to Austin where she’s forced to stay with her ex-boyfriend (Nick Thune) and his new-and-improved girlfriend (Britt Lower), a totally together woman with a five-year plan.  Though Emily is the same, everything else is different: her house has been smartly redecorated, her rocker boyfriend is training to be a real estate agent, and her old haunts show serious signs of gentrification. Holed up in her own guest room, Emily–who has no idea what she’ll be doing five days from now, let alone five years– is forced to question everyone’s values: are they sell-outs or have they just figured out what makes them happy? And is she following her dreams or is she just a self-absorbed loser? Director, writer and producer Noël Wells stops by for a conversation about her funny and touching film about reconciling your past with your present.

For news and updates go to: facebook.com/PaladinFilm

“Wells doesn’t just focus on her laugh-out-loud funny performance or insightful script: she displays a real eye for the cinematic with shot-on-film visuals that elevate her movie and lavish attention on its Texas setting.” – Kimber Myers, Los Angeles Times

“It’s a reminder that the 21st century is going to be full of coming-of-age films about 30-year-olds, and it’s compelling evidence that that might be alright.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

“Ms. Wells is 10 times funnier and smarter than Louis CK. Her film is a reminder of what a crime sexism is. It not only harms women, it prevents the real cream from rising to the surface.” – Louis Proyect, counterpunch.org

“Creatives have stories to tell. This is Noël Wells’ story to tell. And good storytelling like Mr. Roosevelt is why we watch independent films. It’s a good story and a good start for Wells.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat

November 17, 2017 – The Divine Order, Director Petra Volpe

Winner of the Audience Award for Best Narrative Film at the Tribeca Film Festival, The Divine Order is set in Switzerland in 1971 where, despite the worldwide social upheavals of the previous decade, women were still denied the right to vote. When unassuming and dutiful housewife Nora (Marie Leuenberger, winner of a Best Actress award at Tribeca) is forbidden by her husband to take a part-time job, her frustration leads to her becoming the poster child of her town’s suffragette movement. Her newfound celebrity brings humiliation, threats, and the potential end to her marriage, but, refusing to back down, she convinces the women in her village to go on strike…and makes a few startling discoveries about her own liberation. Uplifting and crowd-pleasing, this charming, captivating film is a time-capsule that could not be more timely. Director Petra Volpe joins us to talk about the story behind a struggle for human rights and the women who made history,

For news and updates go to: zeitgeistfilms.com/film/thedivineorder

Follow The Divine Order on facebook.com/DivineOrder

Switzerland’s submission for the Academy Awards Best Foreign-Language FilmWinner – Audience Award for Best Feature – Tribeca Film Festival 2017

Winner – Audience Award for Best Fiction – Traverse City Film Festival 2017

“A gentle, unassuming picture, it does have a satisfying, feelgood trajectory and empathetic central performance from Marie Leuenberger.” – Wendy Ice, Screen International

“‘The Divine Order’ effectively illustrates how peer pressure can influence the political process.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“Within the story’s sometimes too-neat outline, Volpe lets most of her characters breathe.” – Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times

“Essential viewing for those interested in a wider perspective on feminist challenges.” – Ben Orndorf, Blue-ray.com

November 17, 2017 – Holy Air, Director Shady Srour and Producer Ilan Moskovitch

Holy Air is the story of Adam, a Christian Arab living in Nazareth – member of a vanishing minority within a minority in the Holy Land and the Middle East. His wife Lamia is a strong, beautiful and progressive Arab woman, who runs a foundation for women’s rights. When Adam hears that Lamia is pregnant and his father falls very ill, he evaluates his life and realizes that he has not achieved much. Despite all his business ideas failing so far, he gives one last try to make it big. And what’s better to sell in the Holy Land other than the very air that Virgin Mary breathed during her annunciation? But in order to, as one priest tells Adam during confession, bring such product into the market he needs to find allies from the three cultures ruling over Nazareth – the Jewish politicians, the Muslim mafia boss and the Catholic church officials. In a politically unstable world where religion is just another merchandise, can the Holy Air be Adam’s salvation or is it just an illusion? Director and writer Shady Srour joins us to talk about his contemporary comedy that not only transcends barriers of religion, gender, and culture, but is also intelligent and funny.

For news and updates go to: Holy Water

“As a wry commentary on religious tourism, and the limited avenues of prosperity for occupied, idealistic Arabs, “Holy Air” is tartly effective.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“With a masterful sense of framing, Srour and cinematographer Daniel Miller turn beautifully composed shots into absurdist delights with a simple twist.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice

November 10, 2017 – Mr. Fish: Cartooning From the Deep End, Director Pablo Bryant

Provocative, funny, intelligent and fiercely political, audiences had better be ready to dive in for the new documentary feature MR. FISH: CARTOONING FROM THE DEEP END. Directed by Pablo Bryant, will have its NYC Premiere at the DOC NYC 2017. In this documentary we discover the dangerously funny cartoonist Mr. Fish, struggling to make a living in an industry that is dying out. In a world where consumerism is king, and opportunities are few, will this uncensored artist find a way to sell his art, or be forced to sell himself out?  After a rousing, standing ovation laden World premiere, comes word that director Pablo Bryant’s MR. FISH: CARTOONING FROM THE DEEP END has won the 2017 Hiscox Audience Award for Best documentary at at the Austin Film Festival. Director Pablo Bryant joins us for a lively conversation on free speech, our political culture, and the artistic sensibilities of today’s most scathing and insightful political satirist.

For news and updates go to: mrfishmovie.com

Check out Mr. Fish’s art at: mrfishmovie.com/gallery

 

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Screening times:

Sun., Nov. 12, 2017, 4:30 PM – Cinepolis Chelsea Cinemas

Mon., Nov. 13, 2017, 10:15 am – IFC Center

November 10, 2017 – What Haunts Us, Director Paige Goldberg Tolmach

WHAT HAUNTS US tells the real story behind the town that remained silent but the outcome was that of suicide by the victims.  This film is a cautionary tale for parents and their children and a horrifying example of what happens when one stays quiet about sexual abuse/molestation. WHAT HAUNTS US tells the story about  the 1997 class of Porter Gaud High School in Charleston, South Carolina that graduated 49 boys. Within the last 35 years, six of these boys committed suicide. Filmmaker Tolmach graduated from Porter Gaud, and now she digs deep with this film in discovering the dark secrets that have lingered and haunted this community that she so loves.  The six boys that committed suicide featured in the film didn’t have to die if they would have spoken out and not remained quiet about what had happened to them.  However, the shame associated with this nightmare often weighs more on the victims – only to keep them silent. WHAT HAUNTS US is not a new story, but it is the continuing common tale of sexual abuse, molestation, shame and a community’s silence so that “no one rocks the boat” rings all too true to this day. Until, we as concerned people speak up, these crimes against innocent victims will continue. Director Paige Goldberg Tolmach joins us to talk about an all to familiar tale that haunts the lives of former students of a prestiges prep school.

For news and updates go to: whathauntsusfilm.com

facebook.com/whathauntsus

WHAT HAUNTS US will screen at DOC NYC on Monday, 11/13! 

November 10, 2017 – The Price, Director Anthony Onah and Producers Krishori Rajan and Justin Begnaud

The Price is an intimate immigrant story about Seyi, a bright young Nigerian-American working on Wall Street, navigating complicated family expectations, a turbulent romantic relationship, and a system of cultural complexities caused by class and race. With a dying father, a burgeoning romance with a white girlfriend, and dangerous new business opportunities, Seyi’s life is in a delicate balance. When his ambition drives Seyi to morally dubious waters, secrets threaten to erupt and shatter his world. Seyi must confront himself and decisions he has made, facing the crimes of the past in a desperate attempt to salvage the present. Director, producer, writer Anthony Onah and Producers Krishori Rajan and Justin Begnaud join us to talk about making of this heartfelt tale of family, career and modern love.

For news and updates go to: the-price

 

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“Feels lived-in and genuine” RogerEbert.com

“Delivers on it’s promise of sharing a piece of the immigrant experience that needs to be told” – The Austin Chronicle

“[Onah] elevates a modest story to a grand scale thriller” – The Moveable Fest

“A Brilliant Examination of the Pressure Linked to the Struggle Between Familial Obligations & Crushing Personal Ambition” – Aramidew Tinubu, Shadow and Act

November 3, 2017, – A River Below, Director Mark Grieco

A documentary as dramatic, ambiguous, and multilayered as any fiction film, A RIVER BELOW examines the efforts of two conservationists in the Amazon to bring about change by using the national media, only to discover the consequences of their actions come with a high price. A RIVER BELOW provides an eye-opening look at what happens when passion and opinion trump reason and morality. The crux of the story questions the truth in images, its manipulation to get the public’s attention and, ultimately, who pays the price for someone else’s passion for radical change.

A RIVER BELOW explores these ideas and moral questions, but ultimately it is the story about the massacre of this incredible dolphin, the people out there trying to save them, and the ethical dilemmas we face with what must be done to achieve sudden change. There is no doubt that we are living in an extinction crisis and there is very little time left to save certain species – that is the view of the river from above. My hope is that this film will take audiences on the plunge to ask, “Who do we want out there saving in our name and at what long-term cost?” It is a mirror held up to the documentary and a journey into ourselves as we attempt to better this messy world.” – Director Mark Grieco

facebook.com/ARiverBelow

 

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100% Rotten Tomatoes

“The truth turns into a tangled mess in “A River Below,” a bold and urgent documentary whose seemingly straightforward story quickly runs awry.” – Ken Jaworowski

“Díaz’s sublime cinematography and the way Grieco teases out the knotty narrative make for a haunting exploration of an ethical morass, where vilification is easy, but deconstructing power much more difficult.” – Daphne Howland, Village Voice

“[It] is pure investigative journalism. It trusts no one and questions every side of the story — even the possible coercion of illegal activities by one of its stars while those he coerced have threatened to shoot him in the head if he ever turns up again” – Jacob Oller, Paste Magazine

“The film’s moral argument sets it apart from films like Blackfish – this is more or less an investigation into an investigation.” John Fink, The Film Stage

November 3, 2017 – BPM, Director Robin Campillo

2018 Official Oscar® Entry – FRANCE Best Foreign Language Film BPM tells the story of how a passionate group of Parisian activists goes to battle for those stricken with HIV/AIDS, taking on sluggish government agencies and major pharmaceutical companies in with bold, invasive actions. The organization is ACT UP – the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power – and its members embrace their task as a literal life-or-death mission. With more than 6,000 new diagnoses made each year in France, there is no time to waste. And yet, the officials and the corporations are not moving fast enough. “BPM” tells the story of that fight from the inside-out. Amid the rallies, fierce debates and ecstatic dance parties, intimate connections are made and vibrant life rages against death. As the activists scramble from boisterous street demonstrations and boardroom face-offs to dance floors pulsing with light and rhythm, Nathan and Sean’s relationship deepens. They confess individual memories of sexual initiation that are profoundly tied, in different ways, to the emerging AIDS crisis, and sexual intimacy itself becomes a kind of resistance. As Sean gets sicker, their passion sparks against the shadow of mortality, and the activist community of activists plots its most dramatic protest yet. Director and writer Robin Campillo joins us for a conversation on his intimate and thoughtful tale of activism and struggle in the face of intractable indifference and antipathy.

For news and updates fo to: bpm.film

 

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France’s entry for 2017 Academy Award Best Foreign Language Film

Opening at the Laemmle Royal Theatre on Friday, November 3, go to: laemmle.com/theaters

98% Rotten Tomatoes

“In its balance of resistance, agony, and joy, BPM (Beats Per Minute) approaches this subject with the nuance and empathy it deserves.” – Josephine Livingstone, New Republic

“BPM is vital for the history it depicts, but it’s also important in the here and now, as a testament to public action – even messy, not-always-effective public action.” – David Edelstein, New York Magazine

“In spite of its historical specificity, “BPM” never feels like a bulletin from the past. Its immediacy comes in part from the brisk naturalism of the performances and the nimbleness and fluidity of the editing.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

“In its balance of resistance, agony, and joy, BPM (Beats Per Minute) approaches this subject with the nuance and empathy it deserves.” – Josephine Livingstone, New Republic

“BPM is vital for the history it depicts, but it’s also important in the here and now, as a testament to public action – even messy, not-always-effective public action.” – David Edelstein, New York Magazine

“In spite of its historical specificity, “BPM” never feels like a bulletin from the past. Its immediacy comes in part from the brisk naturalism of the performances and the nimbleness and fluidity of the editing.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

October 27, 2017 – The Work, Director Jairus McLeary

The riveting documentary THE WORK, set inside a single room in Folsom Prison, follows three men from outside as they participate in a four-day group therapy retreat with level-four convicts. Over the four days, each man in the room takes his turn at delving deep into his past. The raw and revealing process that the incarcerated men undertake exceeds the expectations of the free men, ripping them out of their comfort zones and forcing them to see themselves and the prisoners in unexpected ways. THE WORK offers a powerful and rare look past the cinder block walls, steel doors and the dehumanizing tropes in our culture to reveal a movement of change and redemption that transcends what we think of as rehabilitation. Director Jairus McLeary joins us to talk about the men, inmates and outsiders, the program and the challenges of making a film about men seeking to reclaim their lives.

For news and updates go to: theworkmovie.com

For news and doing your part to continue The Work go to: insidecircle.org

 

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Starting October 27 The Work opens at the Laemmle Monica Center in Los Angeles / Santa Monica 

“A simple, tense, gritty auditing of a collective unburdening that obviously brings some needed clarity, and the promise of rehabilitation, to some hurt, searching souls.” – Robert Abele, TheWrap

In its visceral purity, the film drags male toxicity up into the light, offering it as a cure for itself. – Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine

The Work makes gruelling viewing at times – it’s more like psychotherapy than entertainment – but, by the end, viewers will feel as if they’ve been on the same rewarding journey as the subjects. – Geoffrey McNab, Independent (UK)

“The Work chronicles a kind of breakneck psychoanalysis in which the origins of problematic behavior are dramatically expunged in public.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

“No filmmaker could have written a richer set of masculine archetypes as these real individuals represent, each equally totemic in his defining idiosyncrasies and in his historically male characteristics.” – Sean L. Malin, Austin Chronicle

October 27, 2017 – Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold, Director Griffin Dunne

Across more than 50 years of essays, novels, screenplays, and criticism, Joan Didion has been our premier chronicler of the ebb and flow of America’s cultural and political tides with observations on her personal – and our own – upheavals, downturns, life changes, and states of mind. In the intimate, extraordinary documentary JOAN DIDION: THE CENTER WILL NOT HOLD, actor and director Griffin Dunne unearths a treasure trove of archival footage and talks at length to his “Aunt Joan” about the eras she covered and the eventful life she’s lived, including partying with Janis Joplin in a house full of L.A. rockers; hanging in a recording studio with Jim Morrison; and cooking dinner for one of Charles Manson’s women for a magazine story. Didion guides us through the sleek literati scene of New York in the 1950s and early ’60s, when she wrote for Vogue; her return to her home state of California for two turbulent decades; the writing of her seminal books, including Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Play It as It Lays, A Book of Common Prayer, and The White Album; her film scripts, including The Panic in Needle Park; her view of 1980s and ’90s political personalities; and the meeting of minds that was her long marriage to writer John Gregory Dunne. She reflects on writing about her reckoning with grief after Dunne’s death, in The Year of Magical Thinking (winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction), and the death of their daughter Quintana Roo, in Blue Nights. With commentary from friends and collaborators including Vanessa Redgrave, Harrison Ford, Anna Wintour, David Hare, Calvin Trillin, Hilton Als, and Susanna Moore, the most crucial voice belongs to Didion, one of the most influential American writers alive today. Director Griffin Dunne (American Werewolf in London, After Hours) joins us for a conversation on “Aunt Joan” and her fiercely personal body of remarkable body of fiction and non-fiction.

To view Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold go to: netflix.com

 

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“Access is almost everything for a documentary filmmaker, and the entree Griffin Dunne had to his celebrated subject makes all the difference in “Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“A documentary that’s incisive and haunting, like Didion’s best writing.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“This is an intensive appreciation of perhaps the greatest living American essayist, and one of the best ever. It plays like a finely tuned authorized biography.” – Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News

October 27, 2017 – International Documentary Association (IDA) Executive Director, Simon Kilmurry

International Documentary Association (IDA) is fiercely committed to protecting and defending the rights of documentary filmmakers to practice their craft, seek and reveal truth in their films, and make and sell their work freely in a fair marketplace. We strenuously uphold the principles of free speech and believe that documentary films, however provocative they may be, should never be silenced by an authority, corporation or legal system that may feel threatened by their content. Where filmmakers are under fire, and their predicament stands to set precedent for us all, the IDA brings together the weight of our community to fight for their rights in the courts, the press, congress or wherever that threat may lie. IDA is the only group advocating specifically for the documentary filmmaking community. In many ways, this makes IDA’s advocacy work the most important and relevant work we do. If documentary films better inform your world, if you believe in freedom of speech, if you are concerned that the media space grows ever smaller and cherish the diversity that independent voices bring, and if you’re a fan of David (over Goliath) then you probably share our values. Documentary storytelling expands our understanding of shared human experience, fostering an informed, compassionate, and connected world. The International Documentary Association (IDA) is dedicated to building and serving the needs of a thriving documentary culture. Through its programs, the IDA provides resources, creates community, and defends rights and freedoms for documentary artists, activists, and journalists. Executive Director Simon Kilmurry joins us to talk about IDA, the screening series currently underway and the state of documentary filmmaking in 2017.

 

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For news and updates go to: documentary.org

Watch some of the year’s best film through the IDA’s documentary screening series

Support Documentary filmmaking and watch great films by becoming an IDA member

October 27, 2017 – God’s Own Country, Director Francis Lee

In the compelling feature film debut of Francis Lee God’s Own Country Johnny Saxby works long hours in brutal isolation on his family’s remote farm in the north of England. He numbs the daily frustration of his lonely existence with nightly binge-drinking at the local pub and casual sex. When a handsome Romanian migrant worker arrives to take up temporary work on the family farm, Johnny suddenly finds himself having to deal with emotions he has never felt before. An intense relationship forms between the two which could change Johnny’s life forever. This growing chemistry between them results in an intense, instinctive sexual encounter. With both lads struggling to come to terms with what their time on the moor really meant and what they want from each other. With the future of the farm, his father’s life and his fledgling first relationship all hanging in the balance, Johnny feels more isolated and powerless than ever. Sent back to the farm on their own by Deirdre to tend to the animals, Johnny and Gheorghe slip into an unspoken domestic life. But soon Gheorghe’s contract will come to an end… Director Francis Lee joins us to talk about this simple story of struggling people living on the edge drawn into an emotionally complex tale.

For news and updates go to: samuelgoldwynfilms-Gods Own Country

 

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Official Selection

Sundance Film Festival 2017

Berlin International Film Festival 2017

San Francisco International Film Festival

“There will be many people who see themselves in the furtive glances and mud-covered kisses from which “God’s Own Country” weaves its harsh but hopeful narrative, and they will do so while witnessing a finely crafted piece of cinema.” – Jude Dry, IndieWire

“A rigorously naturalistic drama that yields stirring performances from the collision between taciturn demeanors and roiling emotional undercurrents.” David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

“Skipping some of the more predictable narrative obstacles we’ve come to expect from the coming-out drama, this sexy, thoughtful, hopeful film instead advances a pro-immigration subtext that couldn’t be more timely …” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“This is one of the most assured, fully-formed British debuts of recent years.” – Paul O’Callaghan, Sight and Sound

October 20, 2017 – One of Us, Co-directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady

In their new documentary ONE OF US, acclaimed observational filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (JESUS CAMP, DETROPIA) take a deep and moving look at the lives of three individuals who have chosen to leave the hugely insular world of Hasidic Judaism. The film follows Etty, a mother of seven, as she decides to leave a violent marriage and divorce her husband; Ari, a teenager on the verge of manhood who is struggling with addiction and the effects of childhood abuse; and Luzer, an actor who, despite having found success in the secular world, still wrestles with his decision eight years earlier to leave the Hasidic community. Produced over three years, ONE OF US offers unique and intimate access to the lives of all three as they deal not only with questions of their beliefs but also with the consequences of leaving the only community they have ever known. With their trademark sensitivity and keen interest in the nature of faith, Ewing and Grady chronicle these journeys towards personal freedom that comes at a very high cost. Co-directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady join us for a conversation on their emotionally wrenching look into a world of dogmatism, ostracism and community.

Directors’ Statement – We have always been drawn to stories that put the nature/nurture debate into stark relief. Are some of us just born with an unshakable need to question the status quo, despite the consequences? The three main subjects of One of Us are jumping head first into the unknown.  Their rocky journey from insular Hasidic Brooklyn out into the secular world – with its emphasis on radical individualism – is fraught with both doubt and exhilaration. These three brave people are bucking the exacting rules of their ultra-orthodox community to experience the world for the first time as true individuals. Their journey is a profoundly human one that took us by surprise. One of Us is the most thought-provoking film we’ve ever made. We are excited to hear audiences weigh in on the vexing question of what price we’re all willing to pay to forge our own identity.

One of Us is available on Netflix

To find out more about the films of Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing go to: lokifilms.com

facebook.com/One-of-Us-Film

 

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“It’s incisive in its condemnation of the oppression innate in the social structure of Brooklyn’s Hasidic communities.” – Christopher Gray, Slant Magazine

“Employing intimate, evocative aesthetics to amplify their material’s heart-wrenching power, the filmmakers craft a harrowing portrait of trauma, bravery and insular societal oppression.”Nick Schager, Variety

“Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady have made their most powerful and complex film.” – Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter

October 20, 2017 – The Departure, Director Lana Wilson

THE DEPARTURE, Lana Wilson’s (After Tiller) poetic and deeply moving look at a former punk-turned-Buddhist priest in Japan who has made a career out of helping suicidal people find reasons to live. One of the discoveries of the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and featured at some of the world’s top documentary festivals, THE DEPARTURE follows a 44-year-old Tokyo native, Ittetsu Nemoto loves riding his motorcycle and dancing all night in clubs. But he’s also a Rinzai Zen priest, who lives with his wife, mother and baby son at a temple in the remote countryside of Gifu prefecture, Japan. There, over the last ten years, he has become famous for his work in combating suicide. But this work has come increasingly at the cost of his own family and health, as he refuses to draw lines between the people he counsels and himself. With astonishing access and artistry, Wilson’s camera captures Nemoto at a crossroads, when his growing self-destructive tendencies lead him to confront the same question his patients ask him: what makes life worth living? Director Lana Wilson (After Tiller) joins us for a conversation about death, love, priorities and family.

For news and updates go to: thedeparturefilm.com

 

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The Departure opens in Los Angeles at Laemmle’s Monica Film Center on Friday, October 20 with other cities to follow.

“A beautiful, wise, and deeply empathetic immersion into one fascinating character’s unique approach to suicide prevention. A quietly impressive work whose images, characters, and ruminations linger on long after the lights come up.” – Scott Macaulay, Filmmaker Magazine

 “An intimate, deeply felt engagement with profound matters of life and death.” – Allan Hunter, Screen International

“Immensely moving. Lyrical and deeply meditative… digs deep into major questions without being afraid of the answers.” – Kate Erbland, Indiewire

“Incredible. A portrait of unbelievable humanity.” – Nick Allen, Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com

 “A poetic meditation on what it means to be human and what it means to be alive.” – Helen Kaplow, Indie NYC

“Nemoto’s teaching is as much about embracing life as it is about facing death.
He offers hope for all.” – Joan Oliver Duncan, Tricycle Magazine

October 20, 2017 Animation is Film, Founder Eric Beckman

GKIDS, the acclaimed producer and distributor of animation for adult and family audiences, Annecy International Animation Film Festival, the world’s leading animation Festival and Market, and Variety magazine, have announced the launch of ANIMATON IS FILM, an annual animation film festival in Los Angeles. The first edition will run October 20-22 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theater in Hollywood (Mann’s Chinese Theater) with a showcase of 20 programs including feature films in competition, special presentations, retrospectives and short film programs. ANIMATION IS FILM aims to fill a gap in the US market by establishing a world class animation festival on par with the major events in Europe and Asia – and locating it in the world capital of animated filmmaking. The Festival will be a vocal advocate  in the heart of Hollywood, for excellence in animation, and for filmmakers who push the boundaries of their art to the fullest range of expression that the medium is capable of. GKIDS and Animation is Film founder Eric Beckman stops by to talk about his love of animation and the endless possibilities for enriching and entertaining filmmaking contained in it.

For information and updates go to: animationisfilm.com

 

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Dates: The festival will be the weekend of Friday, October 20 through Sunday, October 22, 2017.

Location: Films will be screened at 6801 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatre Multiplex on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Click here to meet the filmmakers of Animation is Film

Animation is Film Festival seeks to:

Present a highly selective, annual showcase of the best new works of animation from around the world, with programs for both adults and families.

• Champion and support filmmakers who use animation to pursue unique cinematic visions and who are unconstrained by conventional notions of what animation is capable of.

• Champion and support women filmmakers.

• Champion and support filmmakers from a wide range of cultural, economic, national and geographic backgrounds.

• Have a positive impact on Los Angeles’ diverse communities by making the Festival programs available to the widest range of audiences.

October 20, 2017 – Tom of Finland, Actor Pekka Strang

This stirring biopic follows the life of the artist Touko Laaksonen (Pekka Strang), known to the world as Tom of Finland, whose proudly erotic drawings shaped the fantasies of a generation of gay men, influencing art and fashion before crossing over into the wider cultural consciousness. But who was the man behind the leather? After serving in the army in WWII, Touko returned to repressive Finnish society of the 1950s, haunted by traumatic experiences. Moving in with his affectionate but unenlightened sister Kaija (Jessica Grabowsky), he fell in love with her lodger, handsome dancer Veli (Lauri Tiklanen), who Kaija also fancied. Unable to express his feelings openly, Touko poured them into his drawings, creating his vision of the hypermasculine leatherman. Soon his art was famous under his secret pseudonym, but getting it published was a struggle that took Touko to California, where he and his art were finally embraced amid the sexual revolution of the 1970s. Tom’s story is one of love, courage and perseverance, mirroring the gay liberation movement for which his leather-clad studs served as a defiant emblem. Finland’s Official Selection for Best Foreign Language Film consideration at the 90th Academy Awards. Actor Pekka Strang joins us for a conversation on his nuanced and winning portrayal of an iconic artist and unexpected champion of equal rights for the LGBTQ community.

For news and updates go to kinolorber.com/film/Tom of Finland

facebook.com/tomoffinlandmovie

 

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Tom of Finland opens on October 20, 2017 at the Landmark Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles with a Q&A with actor Pekka Strang after the Friday 7 PM screening.

For tickets and showtimes go to landmarktheatres.com/nuart

“Though not explicit per se, Tom of Finland is quite visceral; you can practically smell this movie, with many scenes reeking of cigarettes, sweat, and …” – Sherilyn Connelly, SF Weekly

“Pekka Strang does a fantastic job as Laaksonen; his playfully nuanced performance adds to the beautifully sedate way in which the story is told.” – Linda Marric, HeyUGuys

“Karukoski’s film at least honors its subject’s work in some key respects: It’s handsome, smoothly executed and eager to entertain.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“Strang and Grabowsky deliver fantastic, in-depth performances, shaping the siblings’ personalities with sensitive resoluteness.” – Filipe Freitas, Film Threat

DINA, co-directors Antonio Santini and Dan Sickle and film subject Dina

DINA, an outspoken and eccentric 49-year-old in suburban Philadelphia, invites her fiancé Scott, a Walmart door greeter, to move in with her. Having grown up neurologically diverse in a world blind to the value of their experience, the two are head-over-heels for one another, but shacking up poses a new challenge. Getting married in a few weeks and there’s still so much to do. She has to move her boyfriend, Scott, from his parents’ house to her apartment, and settle him in to only the second home he’s ever had, all while juggling his schedule as an early morning Walmart door greeter. She has to get her dress, confirm arrangements with the venue, and make peace with her family, who remain nervous for their beloved DINA, after the death of her first husband and the string of troubled relationships that followed. Throughout it all, in the face of obstacles large and small, DINA, remains indomitable. She’s overcome tragedy and found the man she wants and is bent on building the life for herself that she believes she deserves. DINA captures the cadences and candid conversations of a relationship that reexamines the notion of love on-screen. DINA is unstoppable, a force of nature, and as the star of her own life story, she’s an unconventional movie protagonist the likes of which hasn’t been seen before. Co-directors Antonio Santini and Dan Sickle join us to talk about their empathetic, moving and enveloping documentary.

For news and updates go to: dina.film

facebook.com/TheDinaMovie

 

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**Winner – Grand Jury Prize – US Documentary – 2017 Sundance Film Festival

“DINA comes from a deep place of love…Alternately comic and tragic and best when its both at once, DINA humanizes a world of people who were only dehumanized because we allowed them to be… Whereas most docs about ‘different’ people are content to flatter our empathy, DINA aims to deepen it.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire 

“We come to understand that the camera’s distance from its subjects as an act of respect that allows the complex, funny, and indomitable personalities to shine through.” – Christopher Gray, Slant Magazine

“A sensitive snapshot of two ordinary people on the autism spectrum who are determined to carve out a meaningful future together.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

“The rapport between the filmmakers and their principal characters is so comfortable, it occasionally feels as if we are watching a scripted film.” – Peter DeBruge, Variety

Una, Director Benedict Andrews

UNA, based on David Harrower’s play ‘Blackbird’ follows a young woman’s journey to reclaim her past. Fifteen years earlier, UNA ran away with an older man, Ray, a crime for which he was arrested and imprisoned. When she comes across a photo of him in a trade magazine, UNA tracks him down and turns up at his workplace. Her abrupt arrival threatens to destroy Ray’s new life and derail her stability. Unspoken secrets and buried memories surface as Una and Ray sift through the wreckage of the past. Their confrontation raises unanswered questions and unresolved longings. It will shake them both to the core. UNA gazes into the heart of a devastating form of love and asks if redemption is possible. Bolstered by the remarkable performances of Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelson, UNA rips at the fragile facade of two irreparably damaged people forced to reconcile entangled their past. Director Benedict Andrews talks about the making of his complex, intimate and relentlessly raw tale of abuse, and unresolved emotion.

For news and updates go to: westendfilms.com/una

 

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“Una is an inquiry into the complicated bond between a predator and his prey. Yet Harrower does not play monsters and victims.” Ella Taylor, NPR

“Be warned: the film — perhaps unsurprisingly — is heading somewhere pretty dark, but you can’t fail to be impressed by this cleverly constructed and brilliantly acted piece.” Matthew Bond, The Mail

“What gives Una its unnerving tension is not just the skill of these two performers locked together in their unsettling combat, but the realization that no matter what she ends up doing to him, it won’t fix what has already nearly destroyed her.” – Chris Barsanti, Pop Matters

Blood Stripe, Director Remy Auberjonois and Co-writer, Actor Kate Nowlin

Blood Stripe: A scarlet stripe that runs down the dress trousers worn by officers of the United States Marine Corps 

Our Sergeant returns home after a third tour with the Marines. Unable to sleep, wracked by paranoia and anxiety, it is clear that in addition to the scars she bears on her body, Our Sergeant carries unseen wounds. When a boisterous homecoming party provokes an explosive outburst, Our Sergeant has nowhere to turn, and so she runs… deep into the North Woods. Discovering a picturesque summer camp on a lake, Our Sergeant seeks refuge and at first, finds solace. But she cannot outrun her own heart of darkness and the pristine wilderness becomes fraught with peril. Actor (Weeds, Veep) and director and writer Remy Auberjonois joins us for a conversation on his compelling and complex portrait of a returning soldier (Kate Nowlin) on the brink. 

For news and updates go to: bloodstripefilm.com

The Blood Stripe opens at the Laemmle Music Hall Friday, October 13

 

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“5 stars. One of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. ‘Blood Stripe’ is a towering achievement.” – James McDonald, Irish Film Critic

“Veteran actor Remy Auberjonois’ polished feature debut provides an impressive showcase for co-scenarist Kate Nowlin as a career Marine derailed by PTSD upon return to civilian life.” –   Dennis Harvey, Variety

“A strong performance by Kate Nowlin as a U.S. Marine returning from her latest tour of duty in Afghanistan fuels this study of post-traumatic stress disorder, though the strength of actor Remy Auberjonois’ tense and troubling directing debut lies in its rejection of easy diagnoses.” – Justin Chang, LA Times

“Nowlin breathes life into an atypical female anti-hero, presenting a different kind of woman rarely seen on screen. Bringing both an intimidating physicality and a keen sense of fragility, her performance sells the film’s emotional authenticity and gives it a humane depth that draws us deep into her character’s haunted world. Simply put, her performance feels like lighting in a bottle.” – CromeYellow

UNREST, Director Jennifer Brea

Jennifer Brea is a Harvard PhD student soon to be engaged to the love of her life when she’s struck down by a mysterious fever that leaves her bedridden. She becomes progressively more ill, eventually losing the ability even to sit in a wheelchair, but doctors tell her it’s “all in her head.” Unable to convey the seriousness and depth of her symptoms to her doctor, Jennifer begins a video diary on her iPhone that eventually becomes the feature documentary film Unrest.  Once Jennifer is diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), commonly called chronic fatigue syndrome, she and her new husband, Omar, are left to grapple with how to live in the face of a lifelong illness. Refusing to accept the limitations of bedbound life, Jennifer goes on an inspiring virtual voyage around the world where she finds a hidden community of millions confined to their homes and bedrooms by ME. These patients use the internet, Skype and Facebook to connect to each other — and to offer support and understanding. Many ME patients have experienced uncertainty, confusion and even disbelief from the medical community and society as a whole. After all, it’s easy to ignore a disease when patients are too sick to leave their homes. In Unrest, Jennifer shares her pain and the most intimate moments of her life in order to offer hope and visibility to those who suffer alone in dark, silent rooms. Though Jennifer and Omar may have to accept that they will never live the life they originally dreamed about, together they find resilience, strength, and meaning in their community and each other. Director, subject and activist Jennifer Brea joins us to talk about her journey, illness and her determination to make things better for people living with ME.

For news and updates go to: unrest.film

Help raise awareness and take action, go to: unrest.film/time-for-unrest

facebook.com/unrestfilm

 

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“The movie delivers a striking degree of emotional authenticity with its home footage, allowing it to become more about its central couple’s resilience than the hardships that tests their bond.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

“It powerfully insists on giving a voice to victims whose greatest challenge, apart from their symptoms, is surmounting a world of indifference.” – Daniel M. Gold, New York Times

“It’s a film that’s remarkably intimate, deeply edifying and a stirring call to action.” – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times

“Brea shot much of the film on her iPhone, which often gives it the tone of a found-footage horror film. Making it all the more horrifying is the fact that not only is it real, but it’s while Brea is unable to stand up or often even move beyond crawling.” – SF Weekly

I Am Another You, Director Nanfu Wang

When Chinese filmmaker Nanfu Wang (Hooligan Sparrow) first came to America, Florida seemed like an exotic frontier full of theme parks, prehistoric swamp creatures, and sunburned denizens. As she travels wide-eyed from one city to another, she eventually encounters a charismatic young drifter named Dylan. Fascinated by his rejection of society’s rules and unsure of his past, Nanfu follows Dylan with her camera on a journey that spans years, takes her across America, and explores the meaning of freedom. But as Nanfu delves deeper into Dylan’s world, she discovers something that calls her entire worldview into question. Director, Producer, Cinematographer & Editor Nanfu Wang is an award-winning filmmaker based in New York City. Her feature debut Hooligan Sparrow was shortlisted for the 2017 Academy Award for best documentary feature. Since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival 2016, Hooligan Sparrow has screened at more than 100 festivals in over 25 countries including Hot Docs, Sheffield, Full Frame, and Human Rights Watch Film Fest. It opened theatrically across North America and was later released on POV, Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes. It has won over twenty awards internationally including a Cinema Eye Honor for the Best Debut Film, the George Polk Award for the journalistic achievement, and the Truer than Fiction Award at the Independent Spirit Awards. Wang was honored by the International Documentary Association with the 2016 Emerging Filmmaker Award. Director Nanfu Wang joins us to talk about Dylan, freedom, travel and her own experience on the streets.

For news and updates go to: iamanotheryoufilm.com

facebook.com/iamanotheryoufilm

 

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Opens in Los Angeles October 6, 2017 at Laemmle Monica Film Center 1332 2nd St. Santa Monica, CA 90401

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

Awards:

Winner: SXSW LUNA Chicken & Egg Award for Best Documentary Feature directed by a woman

Winner: SXSW Special Jury Award for Excellence in Documentary Storytelling 

“Cinematic Poetry” – The Hollywood Reporter
“Intimate…eye opening” – Screen International

An excellent, intuitive study of American wanderlust. – Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

“‘I Am Another You’ poses tricky questions about the relationship between filmmaker and subject, and maybe between filmmaker and audience.” – Ben Kenigsberg

“What begins as a celebration of reckless freedom, then turns into a revelation of a broken soul, becomes something deeper …” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety