After he’s attacked on the street at night by a roving motorcycle gang, timid bookkeeper Casey (Jesse Eisenberg) joins a neighborhood karate studio to learn how to protect himself. Under the watchful eye of a charismatic instructor, Sensei (Alessandro Nivola), and hardcore brown belt Anna (Imogen Poots), Casey gains a newfound sense of confidence for the first time in his life. But when he attends Sensei’s mysterious night classes, he discovers a sinister world of fraternity, brutality and hyper-masculinity, presenting a journey that places him squarely in the sights of his enigmatic new mentor. Audacious and offbeat, The Art of Self-Defense is an original dark comedy that takes toxic masculinity to absurd extremes. Director Riley Stearns joins us for a lively conversation on this wildly inventive, surreal black comedy.
“The Art of Self-Defense manages to clarify the filmmaker’s intriguing vision by stuffing it into a remarkably unnerving character study.” – Eric Kohn, indieWire
“”The Art of Self-Defense” may be presented as an absurdist satire, but like the best American comedies… it doubles as a keen critique of our national character.” – Peter Debruge, Variety
“’Fight Club’ by way of Yorgos Lanthimos, Riley Stearns’ screed on “might is right” toxic masculinity is a giggly black comedy that cowers down a twisty-turny rabbit hole.” – Matt Oakes, Silver Screen Riot
Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love is renowned filmmaker Nick Broomfield’s most personal and romantic film of his career. The Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love starts on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960, where Leonard Cohen, then a struggling and unknown fiction writer, and Marianne Ihlen, a single mother with a young son, became part of community of expat artists, writers and musicians. Never-before-seen footage shot by Broomfield and legendary documentarian D.A. Pennebaker make for a unique portrait of an idyllic 1960’s bohemia. The time on Hydra left a lasting imprint on both Marianne and Leonard, whose friendship would last another fifty years before their deaths in 2016. It was on Hydra in 1968 that director Broomfield, then aged 20, first himself met Marianne. She introduced him to Cohen’s music and encouraged Nick to make his first film. As she was with so many artists, Marianne was an enormous influence on Broomfield, who went on to direct award-winningdocumentaries, many about iconic music legends including Whitney Houston, (Whitney Houston: Can I Be Me) Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, (Tupac and Biggie) Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love (Kurt & Courtney). Director Nick Broomfield joins us to talk about his relationship with Marianne, the undeniable talent and charisma of Cohen, and the profound impact his time on Hydra had on his personal and professional life.
“Love stories are like Tolstoy’s unhappy families: no two of them are alike. But even given that, the relationship chronicled in “Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love” has a quality very much its own.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“Broomfield’s personal engagement and his embrace of the complexities of life and love elevate this film, which travels across decades and continents to show the lasting power of one connection.” – Joe Blessing, The Playlist
Directed byAcademy Award nominated actor Greg Kinnear (As Good as It Gets, Little Miss Sunshine, The Matador) with an outstanding cast that includes; Emily Mortimer (Mary Poppins Returns), Luke Wilson (Bottle Rocket, Meadowland), Bradley Whitford (Get Out, West Wing), Jay Duplass (Beatriz at Dinner, Landline), Robert Forster (Jackie Brown, The Descendants), and Kurt Fuller (Midnight in Paris, Auto Focus). PHIL is the story of a depressed dentist whose life is falling apart. Phil is shocked when one of his patients, Michael Fisk (Bradley Whitford),a man who seemed to have the perfect life, kills himself. Determined to find out what would drive a man who had everything to end his life, Phil pretends to be a handyman and integrates himself in to the dead man’s life, befriending his wife (Emily Mortimer) and daughter. How long can Phil keep up this double life when he is determined to end his normal one? Director and lead actor Greg Kinnear joins us to talk about the challenges and rewards of a first-time director, finding the humanity in a story of personal tragedy and working with an incredibly talented group of artists.
CHARLIE SAYS, follows three women whose names have become synonymous with the murders of that shocked a nation and the man who ordered them on their deadly spree, Charles Manson. The women – Leslie Van Houten (Hannah Murray), Patricia Krenwinkel (Sosie Bacon), and Susan Atkins (Marianne Rendón) – remained under the spell of the infamous cult leader (Matt Smith) for years. Confined to an isolated cellblock in a California penitentiary, the trio seem destined to live out the rest of their lives under the delusion that their crimes were part of a cosmic plan, until empathetic graduate student Karlene Faith (Merritt Wever) is enlisted to rehabilitate them. Convinced the prisoners are not the inhuman monsters the world believes them to be, Karlene begins the arduous process of breaking down the psychological barriers erected by Manson. But are the women ready to confront the horror of what they did? In CHARLIE SAYS, boundary pushing auteur Mary Harron (American Psycho, I Shot Andy Warhol) presents a provocative new perspective on one of the most notorious crimes of the 20th century.Director Mary Harron joins us to talk about how these seemingly sane, likable young woman could have committed such hideous crimes and why it drove her to tell their stories.
“This is a stunning piece of American cinema that draws on the events in California to talk about the death of an era, to foreshadow a nation’s loss of hope.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
“What makes Charlie Says so original is its perspective and its willingness to depict the banality and absurdity of life with Manson rather than simply to portray him as the quintessence of evil.” – Geoffrey Macnab, Independent
“Charlie Says is absorbing if only intermittently effective, but it has the distinction of bringing a female gaze to arguably the most notorious crime spree in American history.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
** Spotlight on the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
Visual Communications, the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center, announced its outstanding program of films and events for the upcoming 35th edition of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) running MAY 2 – MAY 10, 2018. The all encompassing annual film celebration is presented across Los Angeles in West Hollywood, Downtown LA, Little Tokyo, Koreatown, and Hollywood. Visual Communications proudly celebrates the Film Festival’s 34 years as Southern California’s largest and most prestigious film festival of its kind. LAAPFF launches the celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month through this year’s slate of over 100 films from both Asian Pacific American and Asian international artists. For over three decades, the Festival has presented nearly 5,000 films by Asian Pacific American and Asian International talent. This year’s festival will feature over 130 short films during the nine day fest from May 2 – May 10. These cinema gems from around the globe featuring stories about love, family, heartbreak, friendships, and self acceptance are all part of the exciting line up. The Festival opens May 2nd with the World Premiere of YELLOW ROSE directed by Diane Paragas and starring Broadway legend Lea Salonga and emerging star Eva Noblezada. Two acclaimed festival favorites will screen as the Centerpiece Films at the Festival; GO BACK TO CHINA directed by Emily Ting and MS. PURPLE directed by Justin Chon. The closing night film is the world premiere of EMPTY BY DESIGN directed by Andrea A. Walter premiering on Friday, May 10. LAAPFF Executive Director Francis Cullado of Visual Communications stops by to talk about the ever expanding interest in Asian filmmakers and the trailblazing artistry being done by them.
In Patrick Creadon’s illuminating new documentary, HESBURGH, shines a bright light on a unique public figure whom came to light during one of the country’s most divisive political and social storm. His name is Reverend Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C, president of the University of Notre Dame for more than 35 years. This revered figure worked his entire adult life to advance of peace and equal rights for all people. As the most dynamic member of the U.S. government’s Civil Rights Commission Hesburgh pushed Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson to enact legislation that culminated in the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act. HESBURGH offers a unique glimpse at more than fifty years of American history. Educator, civil rights champion, advisor to presidents, envoy to popes, theologian and activist, Hesburgh was called on by countless world leaders to tackle the most challenging issues of the day. He built a reputation as a savvy political operator with a penchant for bridging the divide between bitter enemies. Through it all, he remained a man armed with a fierce intelligence, a quick wit and an unyielding moral compass — a timeless example of bipartisan leadership that would serve us in today’s increasingly polarized times. Director Patrick Creadon (Wordplay, If You Build It , Ski Bum: The Warren Miller Story), joins us for a conversation on a man who’s life’s work harkens back to a time when compromise and cooperation were the political norms and not the exception.
“[A] thoroughly engaging documentary chronicle of the life and turbulent times of longtime Notre Dame president Father Theodore M. Hesburgh, whose tenure coincided with a particularly pivotal stretch of American history.” – Micheal Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times
“This moving, illuminating slice of American life and social history serves as a stirring example that we should all do much better. And we can start right now.” – Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
“A portrait of a man who can be seen as not merely blameless, but genuinely heroic.” – GlennKenny, New York Times
“As described by many of those who, in the movie, talk about Hesburgh, he comes across as a man of conscience and conviction, who was willing to walk his own path no matter whom he rankled or angered.” – Bob Bloom, Journal and Courier
For the last 20 years the Newport Beach Film Festival has brought the best of classic and contemporary filmmaking from around the world to Orange County. Under the direction of CEO and Co-founder Gregg Schwenk and the festival’s staff have been committed to entertaining and enlightening the public with a first-class international film program as well as providing a forum for cultural understanding and enriching educational opportunities, the Festival focuses on showcasing a diverse collection of both studio and independent films. The Festival supports the creation and advancement of innovative and artistic cinematic works from both emerging and seasoned filmmakers and proudly embraces the passion, vision and independent spirit of these talented artists. With the integration of the local community and educational institutions, the Festival stimulates an interest in the study and appreciation of film and encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to participate. The Community Outreach Program was created with the idea that film offers new perspectives and possibilities for a changing world. Each year, the Festival partners with over 40 non-profit organizations and pairs each philanthropic organization with a film that aligns with their mission. The Festival gives non-profit organizations a forum to voice their message to large audiences and spread awareness of their organization and mission through the medium of film. Areas of focus include the arts, health and human services, the environment, education, children’s causes, seniors’ and veterans’ programs, and alumni clubs. CEO and Co-founder Gregg Schwenk joins us to talk about a remarkable festival line-up of comedies, dramas, short films, action sports, classics, documentaries, musicals and foreign film excellence.
Ollie (Tessa Thompson) is barely getting by in Little Woods, an economically depressed fracking boomtown in North Dakota. She has left her days of illegally running prescription pills over the Canadian border behind, eyeing a potential new job that would finally break her out of the small town. But when her mother dies, she is reunited with her estranged sister Deb (Lily James), who faces a mounting crisis: the combined effect of an unplanned pregnancy and a deadbeat ex (James Badge Dale). The two find they have one week to settle the mortgage on their mother’s house or face foreclosure. As both bills and pressure mount, Ollie faces a choice: whether to return to a way of life she thought she’d left behind for just one more score, or to leave it all behind. Writer-director Nia DaCosta’s debut is an emotionally charged small-town thriller that weaves themes of economic downturn and the opioid crisis into its intimate story of two sisters trying to get by. An unvarnished film anchored by an authentically drawn sibling bond, LITTLE WOODS speaks to both the biggest and smallest elements of the working-class struggle in rural America. Director and writer Nia DaCosta joins us for a conversation on her debut feature film and the crushing burden of a life without options or access to opportunity or education and the toll it takes on well intentioned people.
Tribeca Film Festival – Nominated, Best Narrative Feature – Nia DaCosta
Heartland Film – Winner, Truly Moving Picture Award – Nia DaCosta
Fargo Film Festival –Winner Best Narrative Feature – Nia DaCosta
97% on Rotten Tomatoes
“DaCosta has made a suspense film in which we root for the heroes to break the law, and then she sends us home to ponder all the reasons they need to.” – Ty Burr, Boston Globe
“The film smartly never goes the direction one might assume, embracing full-blown character study that shines a scorching light on many prevailing problems within the underclass of American society” – Robert Kojder, Flickering Myth
“Nia DaCosta’s absorbing debut is laced with urgent dread, experienced by characters you care deeply about.” – Sam Weisberb, pillage Voice
“Little Woods is a story we don’t often see told from a black woman’s lens, especially not in this particular setting. It’s a story of sisters who band together and fight against every complication.” – Aramide Tinubu, Shadow and Act
Fueled by an incendiary performance by Elisabeth Moss,HER SMELLfollows Becky Something (Moss) is a ’90s punk rock superstar who once filled arenas with her grungy all-female trio Something She. Now she plays smaller venues while grappling with motherhood, exhausted band mates, nervous record company executives, and a new generation of rising talent eager to usurp her stardom. When Becky’s chaos and excesses derail a recording session and national tour, she finds herself shunned, isolated and alone. Forced to get sober, temper her demons, and reckon with the past, she retreats from the spotlight and tries to recapture the creative inspiration that led her band to success. Anchored by a towering, unflinching performance from Golden Globe and Emmy winner Moss, and supported by a stellar ensemble cast, HER SMELL examines the grit, grace and gravitas of an unforgettable fictional rock star crashing down to earth into the harsh realities of mid-life. With his deeply humane sixth feature, writer- director Alex Ross Perry (Listen Up Philip, Golden Exits) pumps up the volume and shines a light on the terrifying moment when superstardom wanes — and quiet becomes the new loud. Alex Ross Perry joins us for a lively conversation on the film’s fascinating shooting schedule, collaborating with cinematographer Sean Price Williams and working with a remarkable cast of actors.
“Elisabeth Moss turns in a five-alarm blaze of a performance as a frontwoman who makes Courtney Love look like Mother Teresa.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“Moss varies the volume and the tempo of her performance, calling forth cascades of profane invention and rills of whispery poetry, but she always stays in the same key, the key of Becky.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times
“Formally audacious and ferociously intelligent, Her Smell is Perry’s greatest achievement yet, a wild saga of prestige and madness that is ultimately rooted in the female bonds keeping women sane.” – Natalia Winkelman, The Daily Beast
“Over and above the furious-and ultimately painfully tender-drama, Perry achieves something of a new, grand version of his own cinematic music.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker
Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché,is a documentary about the first female filmmaker, Alice Guy-Blaché, which explores the heights of fame and financial success she achieved before she was shut out from the very industry she helped create. Over the span of her career, she wrote, produced or directed 1,000 films, including 150 with synchronized sound during the ‘silent’ era. Her work includes comedies, westerns and dramas, as well as films with groundbreaking subject matter such as child abuse, immigration, Planned Parenthood, and female empowerment. She also etched a place in history by making the earliest known surviving narrative film with an all-African American cast. Pamela B. Green has dedicated more than eight years of research in order to discover the real story of Alice Guy-Blaché (1873-1968) – not only highlighting her pioneering contributions to the birth of cinema but also her acclaim as a creative force and entrepreneur in the earliest years of movie-making. Green discovered rare footage of televised interviews and long archived audio interviews which can be heard for the first time in Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché, which affords Alice Guy-Blaché to tell her own story. Director Pamela B. Green joins us for a conversation on the winding journey of discovery and the exhilaration that comes from showcasing a visionary artist, producer, studio head, entrepreneur, feminist, and groundbreaking filmmaker.
“What starts as a biography turns into a detective thriller as Green crisscrosses the globe, searching for clues as to why Guy-Blaché has been forgotten.” – katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times
“A scrupulously well-researched documentary about one of early cinema’s greatest pioneers and the world’s first woman filmmaker.” – Leslie Felperin, Hollywood Reporter
“The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché is essential viewing for those who want a complete perspective on the history of film.” – Lorry Kikta, Film Threat
“In her passionate debut film, Green achieves a feat of making a two-level research project informative and entertaining. Exciting and essential documentary for film history!” – Nora Lee Mandel, Maven’s Nest
In a media environment dominated by increasingly concentrated corporate interests, eight distribution companies who have long championed the best in independent features, documentaries, and social issue films, have joined forces to help launch a new subscription streaming service, OVID.tv. Starting today, OVID.tv offers more than 350 quality documentaries and art-house films from the collections of its founding content partners: Bullfrog Films, The dGenerate Films Collection, Distrib Films US, First Run Features, Grasshopper Film, Icarus Films, KimStim, and Women Make Movies. Most of the films on OVID.tv are not available on any other streaming platform, and OVID.tvwill be adding even more films every two weeks–14 fiction feature films and one 10-part documentary series are already scheduled for release. Despite the odds and with little capital, Icarus Films, Docuseek, and our partners have decided that the time has come to step forward and build a new, independent space, dedicated to the films that we believe in and care about, and that we believe you care about, and value as well. OVID.tv co-founder Jonathan Miller joins us to talk about an affordable option for film lovers looking for the highest quality cinema experience presented by people who share your passion.
“A cornucopia of international movies and documentaries… recent ones as well as classics. It’s far better for recent movies than FilmStruck ever was, and its spectrum of new movies is far more substantial than that of Netflix, wider-ranging than that of Amazon.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker, March 22, 2019
The highly anticipated documentary AMAZING GRACE, captures the live recording of Aretha Franklin’s album “Amazing Grace” at The New Bethel Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles in January 1972.Producer Alan Elliot joins us to talk about the “making of” and the resurrection of this remarkable display of raw talent and consuming passion, the 47-year long path that Amazing Grace has taken and how its arrival in theaters fulfills Aretha Franklin’s dying wish.
The Amazing Grace backstory
In 1972 Director Sydney Pollack (Tootsie, 3 Days of the Condor, Out of Africa) was inexperienced in shooting music documentary and shot without clapper boards snapping shut at the beginning of each take to help synchronize sound and picture in post-production. As a result of this mistake, even after months of work by experts, the 20 hours of footage couldn’t be synchronized with the audio tracks. The choir director from the Watts recordings was brought in to try to lip-read the reels, but after months of work, only about 150 minutes of footage had been matched with sound, none of it adding up to a complete, useable song. Deadlines passed as the “Amazing Grace” album came out in June 1972, selling millions with no synergy. In August, Warner Bros. officially wrote off and shelved the movie. Pollack never gave up on the project, but constantly had other commitments. In 2007, dying of cancer, Pollack finally handed the documentary project over to producer and music enthusiast Producer Alan Elliott.
CRITIC’S PICK: “Nonetheless, from a distance, this is obviously one of the great music films, less epic in scope than, say, “The Last Waltz” but as glorious in communal feeling and South Los Angeles zeal as “Wattstax” (the natural partner for a double feature) and as musically imaginative as “Stop Making Sense.” What distinguishes “Amazing Grace,” what lifts it to the penthouse, is a mix of energy and moment…You get both the most lovely gaze a professional camera’s ever laid upon Aretha Franklin and some of the mightiest singing she’s ever laid on you. The woman practically eulogizes herself. Don’t bother with tissues. Bring a towel.” – Wesley Morris, NEW YORK TIMES
“The two nights of filmed performances find Franklin-accompanied by the Reverend James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir-in spectacular voice and prolific imagination. Her rapturous power and intense concentration are revealed in long, urgent closeups that seem to reflect even the cinematographers’ awed astonishment. The film is a triumph of timeless artistry over transitory obstacles; its very existence is a secular miracle.” – Richard Brody, NEW YORKER
” … A captivating artifact, the rare making-of documentary that doesn’t just comment on but completely merges with its subject. The lift-you-to-the-rafters intensity of Franklin’s voice remains so pure and galvanic that “Amazing Grace” is one of the few movies you could watch with your eyes closed, though you would hardly want to.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
From the Oscar nominated team behind the genre-defying Embrace of the Serpent,comes an equally audacious saga centered on the Wayúu indigenous people during a crucial period in recent Colombian history. Torn between his desire to become a powerful man and his duty to uphold his culture’s values, Rapayet (José Acosta) enters the drug trafficking business in the 1970s and finds quick success despite his tribe’s matriarch Ursula’s (Carmiña Martínez) disapproval. Ignoring ancient omens, Rapayet and his family get caught up in a conflict where honor is the highest currency and debts are paid with blood. A sprawling epic about the erosion of tradition in pursuit of material wealth, Birds of Passage is a visually striking exploration of loyalty, greed, and the voracious nature of change. Co-directors Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego join us for a conversation on their beautifully crafted mix of drug-trade epic and intimate family saga.
“Harrowing in its repetitive violence, but never less than fascinating as a piece of ethnology, with magic-realist dimensions, that amounts to an origin story of the Latin American drug trade. It’s an extraordinarily accomplished piece of filmmaking.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
“Imagine “The Godfather” made by dazzling Latin American directors who combine bravura filmmaking with political awareness and a probing social conscience.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“Three viewings in, I’m still flabbergasted by the scope and detail of this movie … and in awe of the way its unique cover version of a crime-doesn’t-pay story totally pays off.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone
“The ease and charisma of the performers, trained and nonprofessional actors alike, heighten the emotional impact.” – A.O.Scott, New York Times
In 19th Century Java, a brutal massacre and the murder of Sultan Hamza by Captain Van Trach and his Dutch soldiers force Arana, Jamar and Suwo – the sultan’s brother and infant sons – to flee the country, bringing them halfway around the world to the American Wild West. After working the railroads and learning the cowboy way of life, Arana tells the boys it’s time to return to their homeland and avenge their father’s death. Back on Indonesian soil, the hunt for their father’s killer begins. Along the way, they meet some villagers including Kiona, the rebellious and beautiful headman’s daughter who Suwo falls for, and soon find out that the treacherous Van Trach still rules the area. Their presence puts the village in danger, quickly turning their quest for revenge into a fight for freedom. With the odds stacked against them, Arana, Jamar and Suwo use the skills they learned from the wilds of America to face Van Trach and his army in a showdown for justice. Director Mike Wiluan joins us to talk about the universal themes that play out in the Western related genre and the expanding scope of Indonesian filmmaking.
“Energetic and well-shot with winning performances, producer turned director Mike Wiluan’s martial arts western is anything but boring.” – Jonathan W. Hickman, Daily Film Fix
“…the talent behind it is obvious, from its Indonesian and Singaporean producers down to the character players fighting for women’s rights while riding water buffaloes and firing shotguns.” – Kelly Vance, East Bay Express
“As expected, good wins over evil and the charismatic and capable brothers ride off into the sunset…but, is that the end of their adventures?” – Robin Clifford, Reeling Reviews
“[Reinout] Bussemaker’s work aside, the film as it its most impressive during the action sequences and, thankfully, it doesn’t skimp on these.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, Nadine Labaki’sCAPERNAUM (“Chaos”) tells the story of Zain (Zain al Rafeea), a Lebanese boy who sues his parents for the “crime” of giving him life.CAPERNAUM follows Zain, a gutsy streetwise child as he flees his negligent parents, survives through his wits on the streets, takes care of Ethiopian refugee Rahil (Yordanos Shiferaw) and her baby son, Yonas (Boluwatife Treasure Bankole), being jailed for a crime, and finally, seeks justice in a courtroom. CAPERNAUMwas made with a cast of non-professionals playing characters whose lives closely parallel their own. Following her script, Labaki placed her performers in scenes and asked them to react spontaneously with their own words and gestures.When the non-actors’s instincts diverged from the written script, Labaki adapted the screenplay to follow them. While steeped in the quiet routines of ordinary people, CAPERNAUM is a film with an expansive palette: without warning it can ignite with emotional intensity, surprise with unexpected tenderness, and inspire with flashes of poetic imagery. Although it is set in the depths of a society’s systematic inhumanity, CAPERNAUM is ultimately a hopeful film that stirs the heart as deeply as it cries out for action. Director and writer Nadine Labaki joins us for a conversation on her impassioned new film and how CAPERNAUM changed her and many of the cast and crew from this multi-award winning film.
“It’s a scathing commentary on the effects of poverty, the failure to properly respond to refugee crises, and simple human decency populated by those struggling just as much as the next yet have also crossed a line they cannot return from.” – Jared Mobarak, Film Stage
“It’s a deeply assured piece of direction, and though it only plays a few emotional notes, they are ones that won’t soon leave your memory. Prepare to be blown-away.” – Emily Yoshida, New York Magazine / Vulture
“A social-realist blockbuster – fired by furious compassion and teeming with sorrow, yet strewn with diamond-shards of beauty, wit and hope.” – Robbie Collins, Daily Telegraph
“Can favorably be compared to everyone from De Sica to Truffaut to ‘Slumdog Millionaire.’ A stunning piece of cinema.” – Pete Hammond, Deadline
’63 Boycott is the award-winning film directed by Gordon Quinn, the co-founder of Kartemquin Films, and produced by Rachel Dickson and Tracye A. Matthews. ’63 Boycott revisits October 22, 1963, when more than 250,000 students boycotted the Chicago Public Schools to protest racial segregation. Many marched through the city calling for the resignation of School Superintendent Benjamin Willis, who placed trailers, dubbed ‘Willis Wagons,’ on playgrounds and parking lots of overcrowded black schools rather than let them enroll in nearby white schools. Blending unseen 16mm footage of the march shot by Gordon Quinn when he was just 21 years old with the participants’ reflections today, ’63 Boycott connects the forgotten story of one of the largest northern civil rights demonstrations to contemporary issues around race, education, school closings, and youth activism. Director Gordon Quinn joins us for a conversation on his lacerating look at the historic non-violent campaign to win access to educational parity and basic human rights.’63 Boycott is an overview of how much Chicago has changed and how much remains the same.
THE DISTANT BARKING OF DOGS is set in Eastern Ukraine on the frontline of the war. The film follows the life of 10-year-old Ukrainian boy Oleg throughout a year, witnessing the gradual erosion of his innocence beneath the pressures of war. Oleg lives with his beloved grandmother, Alexandra, in the small village of Hnutove. Having no other place to go, Oleg and Alexandra stay and watch as others leave the village. Life becomes increasingly difficult with each passing day, and the war offers no end in sight. In this now half-deserted village where Oleg and Alexandra are the only true constants in each other’s lives, the film shows just how fragile, but crucial, close relationships are for survival. Through Oleg’s perspective, the film examines what it means to grow up in a warzone. It portrays how a child’s universal struggle to discover what the world is about grows interlaced with all the dangers and challenges the war presents.THE DISTANT BARKING OF DOGS unveils the consequences of war bearing down on the children in Eastern Ukraine, and by natural extension, the scars and self- taught life lessons this generation will carry with them into the future. Director Simon Lereng Wilmont and Producer Monica Hellström stop by to talk about this harrowing, intimate and loving look at Oleg and Alexandra’s claustrophobic life on the frontlines of an undeclared war.
In the endlessly clever and bittersweet documentary My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes filmmaker Charlie Tyrell Seeks to better understand his emotionally distant late-father through personal belongings he left behind… including a stack of his VHS dirty movies. Director / producer Charlie Tyrell joins us for an engaging conversation on the universality of inter-generational silence and obfuscation surrounding the backgrounds and traumas that shaped the lives of parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. And how this wall of that silence can lead to unwarranted alienation and resentment between fathers and sons.
SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY is a solo acoustic performance written and performed by Tony Award, Academy Award, and 20-time Grammy Award winner Bruce Springsteen. Based on his worldwide best-selling autobiography Born to Run and nothing short of the theater event of the year, SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY is a unique evening with Bruce, his guitar, a piano, and own stories—including a special appearance by Patti Scialfa. The intimate performance features personal anecdotes and songs including “Born to Run,” “Thunder Road” and “Brilliant Disguise.”SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY was filmed live for Netflix at Jujamcyn’s Walter Kerr Theatre and directed and produced by Emmy Award-winner Thom Zimny (“Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: Live in New York City (2001)”). In addition to Zimny, the Netflix original special is produced by the same team that produced “Springsteen On Broadway,” including Springsteen manager Jon Landau, Springsteen tour director George Travis, and Landau Management partner Barbara Carr. DirectorThom Zimny joins us for a conversation on his working relationship with one of the singular musical artist in recording history and the challenge of capturing the intimacy of a live, Broadway experience.
“Springsteen has mastered the dynamics needed to keep a mostly talking, partly singing show riveting for a running time that’s epic by monologists’ standards, if not his own.” – Chris Willman, Variety
“For nearly three hours, Springsteen jokes, rails, wails, and yes, plays his heart out, providing an achingly raw, often disarmingly honest breakdown of his life.” – Chris Evangelista, Slashfilm
“Not only does “Springsteen on Broadway” work on its own as a Netflix special, it gives you all the same feels seeing the show live at the Walter Kerr Theater brought out.” – Joey Madison, AwarsCircuit.com
In Director Sebastián Silva latest film. Tyrel,Tyler (Jason Mitchell) and his friend John (Christopher Abbott), two young restaurateurs from New York City, push a car along a back road high on a cold, snowy day in the Catskills Mountains. Tyler and John are on their way to a weekend getaway to celebrate the birthday of Pete (Michael Cera), one of John’s old friends, at a cabin in the woods. Tyler needs the excursion, even though he will be among mostly strangers, because the home he shares with his Puerto Rican girlfriend is packed with her visiting family – and the ailing, elderly mother to whom she is devoted. What could be better than a jocular, beer-soaked weekend in the country with a bunch of his buddy’s friends? Well, nothing … except that an empty gas tank is only the first in a series of discomforting moments Tyler encounters and engenders over the next 48 hours. Writer/director Sebastián Silva’s deploys his signature handheld style probing subtext and body language, TYREL conjures an undeniable underlying tension and it marks his most radical character exploration yet—a timely, provocative, and brilliant observation of the idea of otherness in today’s American climate. Director Sebastián Silva (The Maid, Nasty Baby, Crystal Fairy) joins is for a lively conversation on male bonding, tribalism, race, working with this outstanding cast of actors and undermining expectations.
“CRITIC’S PICK. UNNERVINGLY SHARP, AGONIZINGLY DEAD-ON. The stranger “Tyrel” gets, the more accurate it feels.” – Bilge Ebiri, The New York Times
“Silva’s most political work yet–though it is sly and subtle, the intention is palpable, the emotions elicited all too real, and ultimately, “Tyrel” proves to be a fascinating entry in his body of work.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service
“This is a fast and lean film, an absolute workout for its outstanding cast and a devilish roller coaster ride for audiences.” – Jordan Hoffman, Vanity Fair
“Every time this fly-in-the-buttermilk scenario leans toward satire, it reminds you that you’re really watching a horror movie.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone Magazine
The 20th anniversary of the award winning The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows presents 15 thought-provoking, poignant, and very funny animated shorts from around the world. In a year when the best and worst of human nature has been on constant display, the works in this year’s show remind us of both the universality of shared ideals, as well as the diverse challenges we face. For 20 years, The Animation Show of Shows has been presenting new and innovative short films to appreciative audiences at animation studios, schools and, since 2015, theaters around the world. Over the years, 38 of the films showcased in The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows went on to receive Academy Award® nominations, with 11 films winning the Oscar®. The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows not only has something for everyone, but is a remarkable and insightful microcosm of our world. According to founder and curator Ron Diamond, “Animation is such a flexible and open-ended medium that it lends itself to exploring the innumerable aspects of what it means to be human, and this year’s program, as much as any of our past presentations, really illuminates human strengths and foibles, and the bonds that unite us across cultures and generations.” Ron Diamond joins us to talk about this year’s latest collection of wonderfully creative, insightful and entertaining animation from across the globe.
Located in mid-America, MONROVIA, INDIANA, (population 1,063) founded in 1834, is primarily a farming community. MONROVIA, INDIANA is about the day-to-day experiences living and working in Monrovia, with emphasis on community organizations and institutions, religion and daily life in this farming community. These towns were once the backbone of American life. While their number and populations have shrunk, the importance of rural America as a formative center of American politics and values was demonstrated in the 2016 presidential election.The film explores the conflicting stereotypes and illustrates how values like community service, duty, spiritual life, generosity and authenticity are formed, experienced and lived. MONROVIA, INDIANA gives a complex and nuanced view of daily life in Monrovia and provides some understanding of a rural, mid-American way of life that has always been important in America but whose influence and force have not always been recognized or understood in the big cities on the east and west coasts of America and in other countries.Since1967,FrederickWisemanhasdirected42documentaries — dramatic, narrative films that seek to portray ordinary humanexperience in a widevarietyofcontemporary socialinstitutions. His films include TITICUT FOLLIES, HIGHSCHOOL, WELFARE, JUVENILE COURT, BOXING GYM, LADANSE,BALLET, CENTRAL PARK, BALLET, LA COMEDIE FRANCAISE, BELFAST, MAINE, and EX LIBRIS – The New York Public Library. At the 2016 Academy Awards ceremony Frederick Wiseman received an Honorary Award (Governors Awards) for a lifetime of brilliant filmmaking. He joins us to talk about his latest cinematic treasure, Monrovia Indiana.
“He’s arguably the most brilliant, brave and innovative person working in his field.” – Terry Atkinson, Los Angeles Times
“Rigorously shot, impeccably edited and at times startling in their beauty, these films usher us into often otherwise anonymous spaces and lives, and help make the invisible visible.” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
“The result is surprisingly companionable and enjoyable, an unhurried look at a location that is in no kind of rush, a place that is concerned most of all with preserving the way it’s always been.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“Legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman turns his camera on a pro-gun, pro-God Midwestern town and gives us a landmark view of what it looks like to live in Trump’s America.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“A calmly analytical film in which-as ever in Wiseman’s work-extended discussions and public debates are developed with an absorbing dramatic power.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker
“The unavoidable political implications of “Monrovia, Indiana” give its observations an undeniable urgency.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times
Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom) tells the provocative story of legendary director Orson Welles during the final 15 years of his life. No longer the “wonder boy” of Citizen Kane, Welles in 1970 was an artist in exile looking for his Hollywood comeback with a project called The Other Side of the Wind. For years, Welles worked on his project about an aging film director trying to finish his last great movie. Welles shot the picture guerrilla-style in chaotic circumstances with a devoted crew of young dreamers, all the while struggling with financiers and fate. In 1985, Welles died, leaving as his final testament the most famous unfinished film in movie history. The negative stayed in a vault for decades until now. With revelatory new insights from Welles collaborators including Peter Bogdanovich, Frank Marshall, Oja Kodar and daughter Beatrice Welles, They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead is the untold final chapter of one of the greatest careers in film history: brilliant, innovative, defiant and unbowed. Director Morgan Neville (20 Feet From Stardom, Won’t You Me My Neighbor, Cool School) joins us for a conversation about his hurly-burly look at the making of a ragged masterpiece by cinema’s greatest auteur.
“The impeccably assembled production employs Neville’s virtuoso touch to provocative effect.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times
“For cinephiles, it’s a high-calorie, clip-and-interview-laden feast of biography, insight, and gossip.” – Robert Abele, The Wrap
“Neville’s film may reveal little that hardcore Wellesians don’t already know. But it offers a lively evocation of the great man’s brilliance, waywardness and pained relationship to Hollywood history.” – Jonathan Romney, Screen International
“A fascinating account of an agonizing creative process.” – Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter
“A cinephiles’ delight.” – Kimberly Myers, The Playlist
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.