A dramatic expedition into an unknown world, The First Patient challenges audiences to embrace their curiosity and courage as they follow first year medical students through gross anatomy – the dissection of the human body. The Mayo Clinic School of Medicine granted unprecedented access to veteran filmmaker Chip Duncan and The Duncan Entertainment Group team to explore a world long considered taboo. The documentary proves both entertaining and emotional as the camera follows a diverse group of students, faculty and body donors on this life-affirming journey inside the human body. The First Patient provides dynamic insights into medical science, teamwork, death, and spirituality as students discover what it means to be a doctor … and what it means to be a human being. Director Chip Duncan joins us to talk about the importance for these medical students to past the uneasiness of working on a cadaver and see it as a invaluable teaching tool and a gift from the recently departed.
“The First Patient may be too graphic for some viewers. But underneath the layers of formaldehyde-treated flesh, there’s real heart and deserved wonder at the human body.” – Kimber Myers, Los Angeles Times
“The First Patient presents a respectful, informative, and surprisingly emotional look at a taboo subject.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat
Set against the backdrop of the physician shortage and opioid epidemic in rural America, THE PROVIDERSfollows three healthcare providers – a doctor, a nurse practitioner, and a physician assistant – in northern New Mexico. They work at El Centro, a group of safety-net clinics that offer care to all who walk through the doors, regardless of ability to pay. Amidst personal struggles that reflect those of their patients, the journeys of the providers unfold as they work to reach rural Americans who would otherwise be left out of the healthcare system. With intimate access, the documentary shows the transformative power of providers’ relationships with marginalized patients. THE PROVIDERS will screen as part of DOC NYC festival on Friday, November 9.
Directors’ Statement — Laura Green and Anna Moot-Levin: Given the political and discursive tension over the future of American health care, this film has a particular urgency at this historical juncture. New Mexico is one of the country’s poorest and most rural states and opted to expand medicaid under the ACA. However, the challenges in rural healthcare go far beyond the ameliorating effects of the ACA. THE PROVIDERS reflects the ways poor health is created at the structural level by a lack of public health resources and access to care – in 2016, there were 70,000 preventable deaths in rural areas, and on average life expectancy in rural areas is two years shorter than in urban areas. Set on the frontlines of rural healthcare under the medicaid expansion, the film takes an intimate journey with those who remain marginalized and difficult to reach within traditional healthcare delivery models. We hope the film will inspire more young people to go into rural healthcare, and we are developing an outreach campaign that will target both rural high schools and medical education institutions, including medical schools, nurse practitioner programs, and physician assistant programs.
Co-directors Laura Green and Anna Moot-Levin join us to talk about the health care crisis that is ravaging rural America.
An inspired labor of love for zine-making (Exploding Cat) teens Sandi Tan, Jasmine Ng and Sophie Siddique, Shirkers was a Singapore-made 1992 cult classic—or it would have been, had the 16mm footage not been stolen by their enigmatic American collaborator Georges Cardona, who disappeared. More than two decades later, Tan, now a novelist in L.A., returns to the country of her youth and to the memories of a man who both enabled and thwarted her dreams. Magically, too, she returns to the film itself, revived in a way she never could have imagined. Shirkersmade its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018, where Sandi Tan received the World Cinema Documentary Directing Award, and went on to tour festivals all over the world, including True/False, HotDocs, CPHDOX, Sheffield Doc/Fest, Full Frame, San Francisco Intl. Film Festival, AFI Docs and more. Director Sandi Tan talks about her 25-year relationship with her friends, then and now, Exploding Cat and her thoughts on losing and then rediscovering a crucial part of her life.
“Wildly delightful… teeming with incident and personality… No amount of caustic self-criticism from Tan can dampen the thrill of witnessing the vibrancy and bounteous energy of everything captured within the frame.” – Eric Hynes, Film Comment
“Shirkers has the handmade delicacy of a scrapbook come to life… [Sandi Tan] has produced a remarkable statement on the formation of a creative identity across many years and life experiences.” – Eric Kohn, Indiewire
Forty years ago, Dorothea (Tyne Daly) and Greta (Elisabeth Henry) moved to the town of Checkford and bought an abandoned bread factory that they transformed into an arts space. Here they host movies, plays, dance, exhibits and artists. It’s where civic groups and immigrant communities can meet, where there are after school programs for children. Now a celebrity couple—performance artists from China—have come to Checkford. They’ve constructed a huge building, the FEEL Institute, down the street. It is a strange sight for a small town. Dorothea and Greta learn about a new proposal to give all the funding from the school system for their children’s arts programs to the FEEL Institute. Without this funding, the Bread Factory would not survive. They quickly rally the community to save their space. The commercial forces behind the FEEL Institute fight also, bringing a young movie star to town to help make their case. The school board meeting turns into a circus where the fate of the Bread Factory hangs in the balance.
Bread Factory, Part Two: Walk with Me a While
Checkford hasn’t been the same since the school board meeting. Mysteriously, the reporter who runs the local newspaper disappears. Bizarre tourists start to show up, then come mysterious tech start-up workers. With all the new people, real estate is booming. Amidst all these distractions, Dorothea and Greta try to continue their work. They are rehearsing a production of HECUBA by Euripides. On the day they open the play, Dorothea gets the news that the Bread Factory will lose an essential piece of their funding. The beautiful opening night performance of HECUBA plays to a tiny audience. Brokenhearted, Dorothea and Greta must decide whether to give up their work at the Bread Factory because their community and support has disappeared, or to continue in their struggle to build community through art.
Patrick Wang was born in Texas, the son of Taiwanese immigrants. He is author of the books THE MONOLOGUE PLAYS and POST SCRIPT, an interactive book about the making of THE GRIEF OF OTHERS.His first film IN THE FAMILY was released to critical acclaim in the US and France and hailed “an indie masterpiece” by Roger Ebert. He was named one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine, and the New York Times remarked, “This is a career to keep an eye on.” Director and writer Patrick Wang joins us for a conversation on his brilliant, funny, touching, humanist rumination on art, relationships and MAY RAY.
The informative and heartwarming new documentary film, Weed the People examines why marijuana / cannabis has been off-limits to America’s doctors and researchers for the past 80 years, despite decades of science from on the plants anti-cancer properties. Armed with only these laboratory studies, desperate parents obtain cannabis oil from underground sources to save their children from childhood cancers. “Weed the People” follows these families through uncharted waters as they take their children’s survival into their own hands. Some of their miraculous outcomes beget the unsettling question at the heart of the film: If weed is truly saving lives, why doesn’t the government want people to access it? Abby Epstein has been producing and directing documentaries for over ten years with her partner, Ricki Lake. Their first collaboration was the celebrated feature documentary The Business of Being Born, which premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival. The Businessof Being Born enjoyed a successful theatrical release and had its broadcast premiere on Showtime. Director Abby Epstein talks about the racist, xenophobic history of marijuana in America, the draconian laws and the federal government’s resistance to allowing medical research, despite holding a number of marijuana patents and the courageous journey of parents trying to save the lives of their cancer stricken children.
“Though the film seems pretty thoroughly convinced on this topic, its main argument should ring true even for skeptics: We won’t know the answers if, thanks to the drug’s Schedule I status in the US, scientists remain unable to study its effects.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter
“Weed the People is one part didactic, one part polemic, and one part human story. The documentary methodically alternates among these three, ultimately landing a compelling, if at times sentimental and anecdotal argument.” – Natalia Winkelman, Film Threat
“Passionate, fact-based arguments back up this brilliant re-branding of the “legalize weed” debate.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation
“An inspirational documentary that gives the 411 on using 420 to treat children with cancer.” – Gary M. Kramer, Film Journal International
Today, art is spectacle, big bucks and front-page news. As a society, we have become less concerned with the aesthetic and social values of art, and more concerned with brand names and the business of it all. Can the value of art really be measured in dollars and cents? How are these values assigned and who assigns them? Does the art market have a chilling effect on our great museums and the ability of the public to engage in the art of our time? Nathaniel Kahn’s (My Architect)new documentary THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING explores these questions and demystifies the rarefied world of contemporary art in a dynamic and entertaining way. With unprecedented access to artists, dealers, collectors and auction houses, the film takes us deep into a hidden world where nothing is what it seems. In revealing scenes and interviews, we come to understand how the art market actually works and we confront the challenges of being an artist in the current environment— where success can come at lightning speed, only to evaporate next season, and where even the most revered creators must find ways to block out the temptations of the market if they wish to remain in control of their creative process. THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING offers a complex portrait of a late capitalist society confronting itself. While holding a funhouse mirror up to our consumerist culture, the film ultimately reaffirms the transcendent power of art itself and the deep need we have for it in our lives. Director Nathaniel Kahn stops by to talk about how the art world got to this over-heated, crazed marketplace where many wealthy “art lovers” know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
“If you are a devotee of the arts, an artist, or just a fan of good documentary filmmaking, check out The Price of Everything as soon as you can.” – Lorry Kikta, Film Threat
“[A] colorful and inquisitive cinematic essay on the state of the art world…” – A.O. Scott, The New York Times
“A fascinating and insightful look at the dynamics between contemporary art and commerce….” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru
“The Price of Everything” exalts in the spirt of art over commerce, yet what’s thrilling about the film — and what echoes in your mind after it’s over — is that it captures all the ways those two forces can’t be separated.” Owen Gleiberman, Variety
Under the guidance of acclaimed South African storyteller, Gcina Mhlophe, five orphaned children from Swaziland collaborate to craft a collective fairytale drawn from their darkest memories and brightest dreams. Their fictional character, LIYANA is brought to life in innovative animated artwork as she embarks on a perilous quest to rescue her young twin brothers. The children’s real and imagined worlds begin to converge, and they must choose what kind of story they will tell – in fiction and in their own lives. This genre-defying film weaves an original animated hero’s journey with poetic documentary scenes to create an inspiring tale of perseverance. LIYANA is a tribute to creativity, the strength of the human spirit, and the healing power storytelling.Critically acclaimed, and executive produced by award-winning actress, Thandie Newton, LIYANA has won more than 25 jury and audience awards and screened at more than 80 film festivals around the world including the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival and MoMA’s Doc Fortnight. Co-directors Amanda and Aaron Kopp join us for a conversation on their enchanting, inspiring and wildly creative film.
For 33 months, from 1978 to 1980, STUDIO 54 was the place to be seen in Manhattan. A haven of hedonism, tolerance, glitz and glamour, Studio was very hard to gain entrance to and impossible to ignore, with news of who was there filling the gossip columns daily. Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, two college friends from Brooklyn, succeeded in creating the ultimate escapist fantasy in the heart of the theater district. Rubell was the outgoing bon vivant who wanted to be everybody’s friend and was photographed with every celebrity du jour who entered the club and Schrager was the behind-the-scenes creative mastermind who shunned the limelight. STUDIO 54 was an instant success and a cash cow, but the drug-and-sex-fueled dream soon imploded in financial scandal and the club’s demise. With unprecedented access to Schrager, who tells the whole unvarnished story for the first time, and a treasure-trove of rare footage, director Matt Tyrnauer (Valentino: The Last Emperor, Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, Citizen Jane) constructs a vivid, glorious portrait of a disco-era phenomenon, and tells the story of two friends who stuck together through an incredible series of highs and lows.A favorite at the Sundance and Tribeca film festivals, STUDIO 54 Director Matt Tyrnauer joins us to talk about his fascinating documentary look at the rise and fall of the legendary ‘70s New York nightclub.
“Studio 54 is resonant because it offers such a reasonable and poignant answer.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire
“Matt Tyrnauer’s thrilling and definitive documentary captures the delirium – and the dark side – of the legendary New York disco.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“It’s a cultural piece of history that paints a picture of an era of New York that had a significant effect on the world. And it goes without saying, changed the nightclub industry forever.” – Dante James, Film Threat
“A hugely entertaining exploration of the mythology of the legendary nightclub as something truly worth celebrating, and a towering Scorsese-esque drama of the men who invented it brought down by hubris.” – MaryAnn Johanson
On the streets of Baltimore, shooting is rampant, the murder rate is approaching an all-timehigh and the distrust of the police is at a fever pitch. With nerves frayed and neighborhoods in distress, dedicated community leaders, compassionate law-enforcement officers and a progressive young city councilman try to stem the epidemic of violence. Filmed over three tumultuous years covering the lead up to, and aftermath of, Freddie Gray’s death in police custody, CHARM CITY is an intimate cinema verité portrait of those surviving in, and fighting for, the vibrant city they call home. Director and producer Marilyn Ness (Cameraperson; Trapped; E-Team), and film subject Alex Long join us to talk about the work of the Rose Street Community Center in providing the basic services; trash collection, gang mediation and his own brand of de-escalation training, and bring a sense of hope to a neighborhood known as the “Middle East.”
“The film captures up close the way violence transforms neighborhoods and families with an immediacy that transcends headlines or sensationalism.” – Ben Kenigberg, New York Times
“Even when the epidemic of violence touches a beloved character, Ness’ careful quilting of compassion and action across her years of filming suggests a fight that won’t diminish for these citizens.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times
“It all adds up to an even-handed issue film featuring those who are working to change the face of one of the U.S.’s most violent cities.” – Tanner Tafelski, Village Voice
The hard-hitting new documentary Fail State explores how tens of thousands of unsuspecting students fall victim to predatory and fraudulent for-profit colleges each year. These profit-driven schools are high tuition, low-quality, often lack proper accreditation, or are so poor in reputation that employers do not recognize their credentials. What’s more, these colleges derive nearly all of their revenue—tens of billions of dollars a year—from the federal government in the form of student financial aid. Executive produced by news legend Dan Rather, Fail State investigates the dark side of American higher education, chronicling the decades of policy decisions in Washington, D.C. that have given rise to a powerful and highly-predatory for-profit college industry. With echoes of the subprime mortgage crisis, the film lays bare how for-profit colleges exploit millions of low-income and minority students, leaving them with worthless degrees and drowning in student loan debt. Director Alexander Shebanow joins us to talk about the rise, fall, and resurgence of the for-profit college industry, revealing its Wall Street Backing and the lawmakers enabling widespread fraud and abuse in American higher education.
“At a time when the US is beginning to reckon with the economic and social costs of having an undereducated population, Fail State is a useful contribution to ongoing debates.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
“[Fail State] remains a truly eye-opening and crucial exposé of yet another way, not unlike during last decade’s subprime mortgage crisis, that vulnerable Americans get hurt just by trying to better their lives.” – Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles
John Zbikowski (Michael Kelly) is a down-on-his-luck, small town bookie having a hard time collecting on outstanding debts. After a one night stand with an ex-girlfriend (Pamela Adlon), John strikes up an unlikely friendship with her 12-year old son, Brian (Jesse Ray Sheps), and develops a plan to recoup the money owed to him by taking bets on Brian’s Youth League Baseball games. Written by Timothy Brady and directed by John Hyams, All Square features a line up of first rate actors that include;Michael Kelly (“House of Cards”), Jesse Ray Sheps (Collateral Beauty), Josh Lucas (Home Sweet Alabama), Pamela Adlon (Californication, Louie), Tom Everett Scott, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Yeardley (The Simpsons). Director John Hyams joins us to talk about his funny, messy and endearing story of a man trying hard to not wear his heart on his sleeve.
Winner – 2018 Narrative at Monmouth Film Festival – Best Feature
Winner – 2018 Newport Beach Film Festival – Best Film
Winner – 2018 Newport Beach Film Festival – Best Screenplay, Timothy Brady
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
“Kelly is a king among mordant underplayers. Yulin, a stalwart character actor, is reliably terrific. Adlon and Josh Lucas bring added value to their also-familiar characters.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times
“A casually profane and frequently uproarious working-class dramedy about a small-time bookie who turns a big profit – for a while – by taking bets on Little League games.” – Joe Leydon, Variety
“Kelly gets a well-earned leading man turn in the amiable indie comedy-drama “All Square” playing a surly, but likable bookie in a small Maryland town.” – Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times
“All Square is proof that Hyams is way more than just an “action movie director”, and can work well with a talented ensemble of performers, while still exploring the surface of their universe with a documentarian’s eye for East Coast life.” – Jacob Knight, Birth.Movies.Death.
In Brampton’s Own Dustin Kimmel has decided to call it a career and return to his small hometown where he was once a celebrated athlete. After 12 years of withstanding the rigors of minor league baseball in hopes of making it to the big leagues, Dustin discovers much has changed since he’s last been back as he struggles to fit in. His old friends have started families, his ex-girlfriend is now engaged, his mom is selling his childhood home and moving in with her new boyfriend, and the only person who wants to hang out with Dustin is Gavin, a 40-year-old Brampton lifer who still wears his varsity football letterman jacket around town. Having neglected to prepare for life after baseball, Dustin’s trip home forces him to confront the very decisions that led to his current purposeless state. BRAMPTON’S OWN stars Alex Russell (Chronicle, Only The Brave) who plays Jim Street on CBS’ SWAT and Rose Mclver (CW’s iZombie), and in supporting roles; Spencer Grammer (Rick and Morty), Scott Porter (Dear John), with John Getz (The Social Network), and Jean Smart (FX’s Legion). Director and writer Michael Doneger (The Escort, This Thing With Sarah) talks about working with young and talented actors, intimacy, following your dreams and knowing when its time to move forward.
Drawn from a cache of personal video recordings from the past 22 years, director Steve Loveridge’s Sundance award winning MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. is a startlingly personal profile of the critically acclaimed artist, chronicling her remarkable journey from refugee immigrant to pop star. She began as Matangi. Daughter of the founder of Sri Lanka’s armed Tamil resistance, she hid from the government in the face of a vicious and bloody civil war. When her family fled to the UK, she became Maya, a precocious and creative immigrant teenager in London. Finally, the world met her as M.I.A. when she emerged on the global stage, having created a mashup, cut-and-paste identity that pulled from every corner of her journey along the way; a sonic sketchbook that blended Tamil politics, art school punk, hip-hop beats and the unwavering, ultra-confident voice of a burgeoning multicultural youth. Never one to compromise on her vision, Maya kept her camera rolling throughout. MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. provides unparalleled, intimate access to the artist in her battles with the music industry and mainstream media as her success and fame explodes, becoming one of the most recognizable, outspoken and provocative voices in music today. Director Steve Loveridge joins us to talk about his long-time friendship with Mathangi Arulpragasam AKA Matangi / Maya / M.I.A. and how that friendship was tested during the making of this revelatory, illuminating window into her world.
“If there is one note that rings clear through all the xeroxed, glitchy, abrasive background noise, it is that of authenticity and sincerity.” – Jessica Kiang, Playlist
“Inspires deep respect for the fierce and independent artist she is.” – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times
“It is the synthesis of these contradictions, and how they’ve illuminated M.I.A.’s career path that makes up the spine of Loveridge’s fascinating portrait.” – Piotr Orlov, NPR
“Loveridge celebrates the mashup aesthetic that enabled the artist to find a voice, and reveals that reconciling contradictions… is key to both Arulpragasam’s music and the life she’s constructed with audacity and wit.” – Serena Donadoni, LA Weekly
SADIE is the story of a 13-year-old girl who lives at Shady Plains Trailer Park with her mother while her father serves repeated tours in the military. Her dad has broken many promises that he will return, but Sadie (Sophia Mitri Schloss) idolizes him and believes in his cause, so she waits, preserving his place on the home-front. Less patient is her mom, Rae (Melanie Lynskey) who stopped receiving letters or calls from her husband years ago. She has been half-heartedly dating the counselor from Sadie’s school, Bradley (Tony Hale) but it isn’t until a mysterious newcomer moves in next door that she truly considers moving on. Rae’s best friend is Carla (Danielle Brooks,) who works at the local bar and has a penchant for unavailable men. Carla’s son Francis (Keith L. Williams) and her retired father Deak (Tee Dennard) are Sadie’s charge and confidante, respectively. The arrival of Cyrus (John Gallagher, Jr.) disrupts the balance of life at Shady Plains. When Sadie sees a relationship developing between Cyrus and Rae, she pledges to come between them, whatever it takes. Cyrus becomes the enemy, and if she’s learned nothing else from the world she inhabits, it’s that the enemy deserves no mercy. Director and Writer Megan Griffiths joins us to talk about her gritty, heartfelt drama about class, addiction and growing up on the margins.
”Equal parts coming-of-age story and slow-burn thriller, writer-director Megan Griffiths’ quietly absorbing and methodically disquieting drama is a genuine rarity.” – Joe Leydon, Variety
“…as a character study of a young, simmering, resentful girl cheated by circumstance and life at a crucial age, the drama’s combative, aggrieved center is earned, authentic and genuinely tragic.” – Ally Johnson, The Playlist
“Set in the close-knit, secret-filled world of a trailer park, the film is an emotionally violent coming-of-age story crafted with vivid detail.” – John Fink, The Film Stage
“By once again venturing into a place that few too other filmmakers are willing to look, Griffiths delivers a drama that crackles with a sense of discovery, not only for the characters onscreen, but for audiences who so rarely see people who could so easily be their neighbors given the dignity of having their stories told on screen.” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest
When Elan and Jonathan lose their beloved grandmother, Annette Ontell, they face a profound question: When a loved one dies, what do we do with the things they leave behind? Housewife, fashion designer, and beloved family member, Ontell lived seven decades in the same house—306 Hollywood Avenue in Hillside, New Jersey. Turning documentary on its head, the Bogaríns embark on a magical-realist journey to discover who their grandmother really was, transforming her cluttered New Jersey home of 71 years into a visually exquisite ruin where tchotchkes become artifacts, and the siblings become archaeologists. By turns elegiac, celebratory, and edgy, with extrapolations ranging from the Rockefellers to Rome, 306 Hollywood moves unexpectedly but inevitably, like a beautiful murmuration of birds. With help from physicists, curators and archivists—and the added inspiration of a decade of interviews with the vivacious octogenarian herself—they excavate the extraordinary universe contained in Annette’s home. 306 HOLLYWOOD playfully transforms the dusty fragments of an unassuming life into an epic metaphor for the nature of time, memory and history Co-directors Jonathan Bogarín (Elan) joins us for a conversation on celebrating family, peering into the unknown, why understanding the past can help us live better in the present.
“The movie’s blend of charm and philosophical inquiry makes it at once structurally daring and a total crowd-pleaser, sure to find appreciative audiences who will see echoes of their own clutter-filled lives in its story.” – Eric Kohn, Indiewire
“One of the more universal and relatable films you’re ever likely to see. It’s such a little story you may wonder about why it was being told at all, except that it’s a story likelyto touch anybody who has ever lost a loved one, which makes it a very big story.” – Daniel Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter
“It’s unforgettable. 306 HOLLYWOOD feels like a whole new way of tackling documentaries. This ‘magical-realist doc’ pushes subjectivity into poetry.” – Tasha Robinson The Verge
“Part biopic, part magical-realist rumination, the two [filmmakers] offer the genre a new format and the ordinary a beautiful homage.” – Deanna Janes, Harper’s Bazaar
Nina Geld is an up-and-comingcomedian in New York City. She’s funny, smart and has worked hard to build a career for herself in the male-dominated world of stand-up. When it comes to romantic relationships though, Nina’s life is a mess. When we meet her, she has picked up a random guy in a bar and brought him home, only to find Joe, a married policeman, waiting for her against her wishes. Unable to stand-up for herself, Nina sleeps with Joe again, bringing up old issues of self-hatred. Nina decides to focus on work and later gets Larry Michaels, producer of the legendary television show, Comedy Prime, to come see Nina’s stand-up. Amazingly, he asks Nina to audition! She will need to create characters impersonations and move to LA to audition. In LA, she meets Rafe Hines, a dream-come-true, quintessential good-guy who makes all of Nina feel good. But when Joe shows up in LA unexpectedly Nina has to deal with her past. Finally confronting the truth in such a public setting has terrifying and unexpectedly liberating consequences. Director / Producer / Writer Eva Vives joins us for a conversation on her sharp-edged, drama about a woman driven by demons, trauma and a dark need to embrace her pain.
“Vives’ filmmaking is confident, threading the needle on some emotionally complex scenes, but the film works because of Winstead’s bravura performance, taking Nina to a place of raw, deep emotional honesty.” – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times
“A striking and at times uncomfortably personal feature debut from writer-director Eva Vives that makes good on its title by not shying away from the emotional damage that makes its protagonist so compelling.” – Peter Debruge, Variety
“The movie is carried by Winstead’s mesmerizingly mercurial performance, and not just because she does pitch-perfect impressions of, among others, Kristen Stewart and Werner Herzog.” – Ella Taylor, NPR
“There are three main reasons you should seek out Nina: The phenomenal Winstead, a refreshing female character that manages to be truly hilarious, and a script that keeps a wonderful balance of humor and pain.” – Kristy Strouse, Film Inquiry
The Sentence draws from hundreds of hours of footage, filmmaker Rudy Valdez shows the aftermath of his sister Cindy’s 15-year sentence for conspiracy charges related to crimes committed by her deceased ex-boyfriend—something known, in legal terms, as “the girlfriend problem.” Valdez’s method of coping with this tragedy is to film his sister’s family for her, both the everyday details and the milestones—moments Cindy herself can no longer share in. But in the midst of this nightmare, Valdez finds his voice as both a filmmaker and activist, and he and his family begin to fight for Cindy’s release during the last months of the Obama administration’s clemency initiative. Whether their attempts will allow Cindy to break free of her draconian sentence becomes the aching question at the core of this deeply personal portrait of a family in crisis. Director Rudy Valdez stops by to talk about his intimate, and loving family saga that support each other no matter the cost.
**WINNER: Sundance 2018 Audience Award: U.S. Documentary**
**WINNER: 2018 Traverse City Film Festival Roger Ebert Prize For Best Film By A First Time Filmmaker**
**2018 Locarno International Film Festival Official Selection**
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
“THE SENTENCE is poised to do for unjust sentencing what AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH did for climate change. If Al Gore was the hero Americans at Sundance and beyond needed in 2005 — a welcoming, professorial face to associate with the fight against environmental catastrophe — Shank and her daughters offer the criminal justice equivalent, giving a human access point to what many experts describe as a sociological disaster.”– Steven Zeitchik, The Washington Post
“The Sentence is so committed to its concentration on emotion and heart that it’s difficult not to get carried away and it feels almost churlish to quibble with the intellectual responses it barely aspires to.” – Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter
“The Sentence is a powerful film full of rich, raw emotions as all parties explore their vulnerabilities.” – John Fink, The Film Stage
The comedy-drama MORNING, NOON & NIGHT explores a day-in-the-life of six people battling different addictions. The characters feel all-too familiar as they could be your neighbor, your family or even yourself. The film functions as a mirror examining three college students, a history teacher, a lawyer and a top executive as they struggle to make it through a single day. According to director, producer and writer Josh Becker, “Everybody struggles with something. The real question asked is how does anyone get through life? After all, reality is just a crutch for people who can’t handle drugs.” Director Josh Becker joins us to talk about his collaborations with fellow director Sam Rami (Evil Dead, Army of Darkness) and Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, Bubba Ho-tep) and his film’s raw, unflinching farce about the hypocrisies and denials that are the daily reality of people who are living lives in a suffocating bubble.
From award-winning documentary filmmaker Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and world-renowned photographer and mountaineer Jimmy Chin, the directors of “MERU,” comesFREE SOLO, a stunning, intimate and unflinching portrait of free soloist climber Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the face of the world’s most famous rock … the 3,200-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park … without a rope. Celebrated as one of the greatest athletic feats of any kind, Honnold’s climb set the ultimate standard: perfection or death. Succeeding in this challenge places his story in the annals of human achievement. FREE SOLOis an edge-of-your seat thriller and an inspiring portrait of an athlete who challenges both his body and his beliefs on a quest to triumph over the impossible, revealing the personal toll of excellence. As the climber begins his training, the armor of invincibility he’s built up over decades unexpectedly breaks apart when Honnold begins to fall in love, threatening his focus and giving way to injury and setbacks. Vasarhelyi and Chin succeed in beautifully capturing deeply human moments with Honnold as well as the death-defying climb with exquisite artistry and masterful, vertigo-inducing camerawork. Co-director Chai Vasarhelyi (Jimmy Chin) talks about getting to know Alex Hennold, preparing to document one of the most dangerous climbs on the planet and living life with intention.
“A brilliant documentary.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
“…a miraculous opportunity for the rest of us to experience the human sublime.” – The New York Times
“One of the most arresting documentaries of the year.”– Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair “A stunning…real-world thriller.”– Eric Kohn, IndieWire “Literally breath-taking.”– Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
For four decades, the Mill Valley Film Festival (MVFF) has maintained its position as a vital showcase of the global film community, attracting iconic red-carpet talent, emerging filmmakers, passionate audiences and astutely curated premieres. A destination event for film lovers, drawn by an exciting, diverse program of mainstream studio features and independent visions from around the world, set against the stunning backdrop of Northern California, MVFF also hosts an impressive array of panels, conversations, receptions, parties and live music performances, featuring many of the most acclaimed and in-demand artists and industry professionals of our time. With a reputation for launching new films and creating awards season buzz, MVFF has a knack for spotting emerging talent as well as drawing legendary artists. Known as the filmmaker’s festival, MVFF welcomes more than 200 filmmakers and guests from around the world and has hosted such luminaries as Nicole Kidman, Holly Hunter, Ang Lee, Todd Haynes, Mira Nair, Brie Larson, Costa-Gavras, Damien Chazelle, Marcel Ophuls, Amy Adams, Steve McQueen and Greta Gerwig. Mill Valley Film Festival Director of Programming Zoe Elton, joins us to talk about “the filmmaker’s festival,” and this year’s exciting line-up of documentary, foreign, animated, short and narrative films.
BISBEE ’17 is a non-fiction feature film by Sundance award winning director Robert Greene set in Bisbee, Arizona, an eccentric old mining town just miles away from both Tombstone and the Mexican border. Radically combining documentary and genre elements, the film follows several members of the close knit community as they collaborate with the filmmakers to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Bisbee Deportation, where 1,200 immigrant miners were violently taken from their homes by a deputized force, shipped to the desert on cattle cars and left to die. Bisbee was once known as a White Man’s Camp, and that racist past lingers in the air. As we meet the townspeople, they begin to confront the violent past of the Deportation, a long-buried secret in the old company town. As the 100th anniversary of Bisbee’s darkest day approaches, locals dress as characters on both sides of the still-polarizing event, staging dramatic recreations of scenes from the escalating miner’s strike that lead to the Deportation. Spaces in town double as past and present; re-enactors become ghosts in the haunted streets of the old copper camp. Richard plays the sheriff in a Western, Fernando portrays a Mexican miner in a Musical, a local politician is in her own telenovela. These and other enacted fantasies mingle with very real reckonings and it all builds towards a massive re-staging of the Deportation itself on the exact day of its centennial anniversary. Director Robert Greene (Actress, Kate Plays Christine) joins us for a conversation on his latest provocative and compelling new film.
“‘Even though “Bisbee ’17′ depicts a wholesome and harmonious community undertaking, it is a profoundly haunted and haunting film.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times
“The director purposefully pulls us this way and that, weaving cinematic spells and then yanking us out of them; as viewers, we are both inside and outside the story.” – Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice
“The film is rich and multifaceted, as Greene employs an array of styles (historical reenactments, direct cinema-style portraiture, musical numbers) to investigate the complex relationship between Bisbee’s past and present.” – Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader
“The result is a singularly American riff on The Act of Killing, a fascinating and dream-like mosaic that’s less driven by residual anger than by cockeyed concern, less interested in exhuming the past than in revealing its value to the present.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire
“Bisbee ’17 is a fierce, lyrical probe into the soul of a town haunted by a history it would rather forget. It’s also an unsettling cipher for America, in a year when the ghosts of our past revealed themselves in frightening ways.” – Alissa Wilkinson, Vox
It’s the Summer of ’87, and Gio (Spencer Boldman), an Italian kid from Queens, has little on his mind but cars and girls. Gio thinks he’s got it all figured out until he meets Jessica (Emily Ratajkowski), a nice Jewish girl from Long Island who likes to go undercover for illicit thrills on the wrong side of the tracks. An affectionate look at the youth culture of a bygone era, CRUISE celebrates the joys of muscle cars, Motorola pagers and endless summer nights.CRUISE also stars Sebastian Maniscalco, Lucas Salvagno, Kathrine Narducci, Noah Robbins, and Gino Cafarelli. Director and writer Robert Siegel (Big Fan, The Wrestler and The Founder) joins us to talk about his coming-of-age story, his own attraction to outsider culture and the scarcity of red-blooded American actors.
After marrying a successful Parisian writer known commonly as “Willy” (Dominic West), Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Keira Knightley) is transplanted from her childhood home in rural France to the intellectual and artistic splendor of Paris. Soon after, Willy convinces Colette to ghostwrite for him. She pens a semi-autobiographical novel about a witty and brazen country girl named Claudine, sparking a bestseller and a cultural sensation. After its success, Colette and Willy become the talk of Paris and their adventures inspire additional Claudine novels. Colette’s fight over creative ownership and gender roles drives her to overcome societal constraints, revolutionizing literature, fashion and sexual expression. Director and screenwriter Wash Westmoreland stops by to talk about the story behind a remarkable trailblazing feminist, writer, performer and cultural icon whose influence has inspired artists for the last 100 years.
“Knightley is exceedingly well-equipped to carry this magnificent film on her own — an Oscar-nominated performance for sure.” – Jeanne Kaplan, Kaplan vs. Kaplan
“A witty, spirited portrait of the great French writer and libertine during the early Belle Époque years of her career.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
“This timely and gorgeously shot account of a beloved French writer foregrounds Colette’s remarkable freedom from conventional norms as she finds her artistic voice.” – Erica Abeel, Film Journal International
“At first presenting itself as a tightly corseted Big Eyes set during the Belle Époque, Colette erupts into a fun, frothy, and unmistakably feminist biopic.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire
“The film has a towering performance from Keira Knightley, who plays Colette with such warmth and fiery feminism, that it would be hard not to make woman’s past run parallel with today’s world.” – Jordan Ruimy, The Playlist
The International Documentary Association (IDA) is dedicated to building and serving the needs of a thriving documentary culture. Through its programs, the IDA provides resources, creates community, and defends rights and freedoms for documentary artists, activists, and journalists. IDA is the only group advocating specifically for the documentary filmmaking community. In many ways, this makes IDA’s advocacy work the most important and relevant work we do. Documentary storytelling expands our understanding of shared human experience, fostering an informed, compassionate, and connected world. The Enterprise Documentary Fund is one of the many logistical and financial programs offered by IDA.
About the Enterprise Documentary Fund:
“In the face of an all-out assault on the press, IDA is committed to standing behind the independent storytellers and watchdogs that make up our community—in large part, through the newly created Enterprise Documentary Fund. Made possible by a generous grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the fund will disburse $1 million per year for the next four years, in the form of production grants up to $100,000 and development grants up to $15,000. The fund is intended to support primarily mid-career filmmakers producing feature-length, in-depth explorations of original, contemporary stories with a journalistic foundation or that incorporate journalistic practice into the filmmaking process. The mission of the Enterprise Documentary Fund is admittedly ambitious: It seeks to provide valuable resources and support systems (not unlike those in newsrooms) for filmmakers taking on the critical stories of our time. Originally sparked by the findings in “Dangerous Documentaries,” the fund is a response to pleas from filmmakers themselves. In interviews recently conducted by Toni Bell, IDA’s Filmmaker Services Manager, filmmakers reiterated the major findings in “Dangerous Docs”: They want access to information about digital and physical security, research databases, legal and other experts, public relations strategists and mentors. Exercising our rights to free speech and freedom of the press are critical for a healthy democracy. As I write this, these rights are clearly under assault, and we owe it to ourselves and to the public to staunchly call ourselves journalists and artists—they are not mutually exclusive.” – Carrie Lozano, Director of the Enterprise Documentary Fund
Chicago’s Oak Park and River Forest High School’s (OPRF) student population encompasses a racial, economic and cultural mix that reflects the nation as a whole. Located in a mostly affluent, progressive suburb, the school attracts families of all races and means, many of whom make great sacrifices to secure their children a place there. But even in this diverse and liberal community, ensuring an educational experience that equally benefits all students poses challenges for the school’s dedicated and well-meaning teachers, administrators and parents. In the multipart unscripted documentary series AMERICA TO ME, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interupters, Life Itself, Abacus: Small Enough to Jail) and his team follow a diverse selection of the school’s 3,400 students, including artists, athletes, scholars, underachievers and iconoclasts, to present an indelible account of their dreams, fears, triumphs and aspirations. Posing complex and controversial questions, the film wrestles with crucial issues, including the effects of race and privilege on education as seen through the eyes of young Americans on the precipice of adulthood. Candid and relatable portraits of 12 students who are just beginning to come into their own provide moving insights into the teenage search for personal identity in today’s world. Director Steve James joins us with his impressions on the state of secondary education, how best to facilitate better outcomes for students and the role racial stereotyping plays in achieving success.
“The 10-part documentary series from Steve James (Hoop Dreams) is profound and thoughtful, taking a detailed look at inequality in America through the lens of a storied high school in Chicago.” – Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic
“[America to Me] is an invaluable look at where inequity begins, as well as the difficulty of getting to the place where it ends.” – James Poniewozik
“Even in a series this expansive, you keep wishing you could spend more time with more people, but its scope allows James and his team to show both victories and defeats fade into the past, how fragile and yet how resilient its protagonists can be.” – Sam Adams, Slate
“[James] captures the specific moments that are hard to explain without being there – like a young black girl who feels uncomfortable with a white teacher’s constant attempts to relate to her – and the larger systemic issues that are harder to upend.” – Ben Travers, IndieWire