MLK/FBI – Director Sam Pollard

MLK/FBI is the first film to uncover the extent of the FBI’s surveillance and harassment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Based on newly discovered and declassified files, utilizing a trove of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and unsealed by the National Archives, as well as revelatory restored footage, the documentary explores the government’s history of targeting Black activists, and the contested meaning behind some of our most cherished ideals. MLK/FBI is an essential expose of the surveillance and harassment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (labeled by the FBI as the “most dangerous” Black person in America), undertaken by J. Edgar Hoover and the U.S. government. Featuring interviews with key cultural figures including former FBI Director James Comey, MLK/FBI tells this astonishing and tragic story with searing relevance to our current moment. Directed by Emmy® Award-winner and Oscar®-nominee Sam Pollard, MLK/FBI recounts a tragic story with searing relevance to our current moment. Sam Pollard joins us for a conversation on how incredibly important Dr. King work and influence continues to illuminate every aspect of race relations, criminal justice, housing, wealth inequality, education access and political leadership.

 

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Sam Pollard is an Emmy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated director and producer. His films for HBO, PBS, and the Discovery Channel include the documentaries Four Little Girls, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, Slavery by Another Name, Sammy Davis, Jr.: I Gotta Be Me, ACORN and the Firestorm, Why We Hate, and Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children.  Pollard also directed two episodes of the groundbreaking series Eyes on the Prize. Since 1994 Pollard has served on the faculty of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and lives in New York City.

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WINNER – Visionaries Tribute Lifetime Achievement Award 2020
WINNER – Career Achievement Award – IDA Documentary Award 2021
WINNER – Best Archival Doc – Critics Choice Documentary Awards 2020
NOMINEE – Best Feature – IDA Documentary Awards 2021
NOMINEE – Best Director – IDA Documentary Awards 2021
OFFICIAL SELECTION – Double Exposure Investigative FF 2020
OFFICIAL SELECTION – Masters – DOC NYC 2020

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“RIVETING. A timely reminder that King’s struggle for racial justice wasn’t straightforward, nor is it close to complete.” – THE ATLANTIC, David Sims

“A blunt fable of state power and a nuanced essay on the fallibility of heroes and the ethics of historical inquiry. Rigorously focused on the facts of the past, the movie is also as timely as an alarm clock.” – THE NEW YORK TIMES, A.O. Scott

“SEARING. Serves as a chilling reminder that white supremacy is not solely a partisan problem; it’s a cruelty baked into the fabric of our political system, poisoning it at every level. Change comes when we allow ourselves to challenge the stories we have been told about our history.” – THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, Jourdain Searles

“It’s an argument for the humanity of our revolutionaries, flaws and all, a humanity that has been either systematically denied, or weaponized against them.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service

Nasrin – Director Jeff Kaufman and Producer Marcia S. Ross

Directed, produced, and written by Jeff Kaufman and produced by Marcia S. Ross (Terrence McNally: Every Act of Life) NASRIN is an immersive portrait of one of the world’s most courageous human rights activists and an outspoken leader of Iran’s remarkably resilient women’s rights movement. She is currently in the fifth week of a hunger strike and serving a long sentence in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison. Millions of people from over 200 nations have called for Nasrin’s release including President-elect Joe Biden; journalist Christiane Amanpour; journalist/activist Gloria Steinem; author Margaret Atwood; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, and many others. Secretly filmed in Iran by men and women who risked arrest, NASRIN features interviews with acclaimed filmmaker Jafar Panahi, Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, journalist Ann Curry, and Nasrin’s husband and fellow-activist Reza Khandan. NASRIN is narrated by Oscar® winning actress Olivia Colman and also features an original song by Tony Award®-winning composers Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and performed by 4-time Grammy® winner Angélique Kidjo. In addition, Washington Post columnist and former political prisoner Jason Rezaian serves as one of the film’s Executive Producers. Director Jeff Kaufman and Producer Marcia S. Ross join us to talk about one of the world’s most courageous woman and about the daily challenges she and other civil and women’s rights activist face in one of the world’s most repressive regimes.

Update on Nasrin: As of today, Nasrin Sotoudeh has been ordered back to prison in Iran. Earlier last month, she was released from prison due to health reasons and the corona -19 virus. Then, she had just ended her 40+ day hunger strike at the end of October in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison. Please join us in telling her story and amplifying her voice for her freedom. Nasrin hashtag #StandUp4NASRIN continues to grow daily.

 

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About the filmmaker – Jeff Kaufman produced, directed, and wrote the documentaries Every Act Of Life (2018 Tribeca premiere, aired June 2019 on American Masters), The State of Marriage, Father Joseph, The Savoy King: Chick Webb and the Music That Changed America, Brush With Life: The Art of Being Edward Biberman, and Education Under Fire, plus a number of short films for Amnesty International, and programs for The Discovery Channel, and The History Channel. He also edited/designed a book based on the film Every Act Of Life, contributed cartoons to The New Yorker, and illustrations to The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, wrote/illustrated several children’s books, and hosted daily radio shows in Vermont and Los Angeles.

About the filmmaker – Marcia Ross produced the documentaries Every Act Of Life, The State of Marriage, Father Joseph, and The Savoy King. Additionally she has an over 3-decade career as an independent casting director and casting executive, serving 16 years as EVP for Casting at Walt Disney Motion Pictures, and 5 years as VP for Casting and Talent Development at Warner Brothers TV. Some of her film and television credits include Clueless, Cujo, thirtysomething, Murder in Mississippi, 10 Things I Hate About You, The Princess Diaries, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, The Lookout, Enchanted, Oblivion, and Parental Guidance. She has received career achievement awards from the Casting Society of America and the Hollywood Film Festival.

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“A terrific documentary by Jeff Kaufman.” – Peter Rainer, FilmWeek (KPCC – NPR Los Angeles)

“Nasirin reaffirmed my faith in the humanity and courage of those in Iran who struggle against a repressive regime.”- Robert Denerstein, Denerstein Unleashed

“Nasrin is a moving portrait of an unforgettable fighter and a vital film that should be seen by audiences around the globe.” – Loren King, AWFJ Women on Film

“This is fortitude writ large.” – Brian Shaer, Film Threat

Wander Darkly – Director Tara Miele

In WANDER DARKLY filmmaker Tara Miele explores grey, fuzzy light between reality and the sub-conscious In the aftermath of a traumatic incident, Adrienne (Sienna Miller) finds herself in a disorienting state of limbo, unstuck in time and witnessing life from a distance. Forced to confront her troubled relationship with her longtime partner, Matteo (Diego Luna), and the future of their infant daughter, Adrienne must relive and renegotiate the events of the recent past—and solve the mystery of the accident. Stepping into the shadows with Matteo, Adrienne looks for clues about what went wrong between them. Gently moving between the enigmatic and the romantic,  WANDER DARKLY traverses genre borders, taking us on a journey that is both uncanny and emotionally resonant. Miller gives a wonderfully layered performance, navigating the film’s demanding tonal shifts. Luna is both elusive and engaged, walking the line between the film’s ethereal and earthly planes. Writer-director Tara Miele’s joins us for a lively conversation on her highly affecting existential drama that explores how we build narratives of love and loss from the fragmented memories of our lives and how we all live in a world where navigating the overwhelming truths of or daily lives can help us discover the love that binds us to each other as we face an uncertain future.

 

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

About the filmmaker – Tara Miele is a filmmaker originally from Long Island. She built her career working in both film and television, including directing three micro-budget features. She is perhaps most well known for her work that went viral in 2016 with the short film Meet a Muslim. Miele aims to create socially conscious work, and when she isn’t doing that, she is raising two daughters. Both love that their mom went viral. Tara became known for the viral video ‘Meet a Muslim’ which she created to combat Islamophobia. The video has been shared around the world over 45 million times. For television she directed the backdoor pilot Green Arrow and The Canaries, and has directed episodes of Arrow, Batwoman and Hawaii Five-0, as well as four micro budget feature films. She is a graduate of Ryan Murphy’s Half Foundation and the CBS Directing Initiative. Looking forward, Tara aims to create more socially conscious work in an effort to build bridges and conversations.

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“Miller helps this emotionally complicated material to succeed. She is willing to take Adrienne to dangerous and unlikable places and is believable as a possible ghost, a shattered trauma survivor, and a romantic heroine.” – Anita Katz, San Francisco Examiner

“[A] beautiful film.” – Sheila O’Malley, RogerEbert.com

“Miller and Luna are superb, traversing a range of emotional material without a false note. It’s their anger, their confusion, and their love that breathes life into the movie.” – Karen Gordon, Original Cin

“Sienna Miller and Diego Luna put on a clinic in screen chemistry in this melancholy puzzle-picture romance.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

“Miele directs her two leads to excellent performances, and she’s willing to take risks as a filmmaker.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

Tandem Pictures, Founder Julie Christeas and COO Jonathan Blitstein

Tandem Pictures is a leader in conceiving and implementing eco-sustainable filmmaking practices in the indie film space, with all of their productions following Environmental Media Association standards and the Producers Guild’s Green Best Practices. They’re also an advocate for how these practices – from using hybrid vehicles on set, to having the sound and camera teams use rechargeable batteries, to composting and using metal straws – can and should be adopted industry-wide. Female owned and operated, it is Tandem’s mission is to bring female talent and narratives to the forefront. They embrace female-centric storytelling, and pride themselves on the fact that the casts and crews of their films are composed of underserved and underrepresented minority groups, LGBTQIA, and women.  tandempictures.com

 

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ABOUT TANDEM PICTURES Since 2010, TANDEM PICTURES has elevated and given a platform to misrepresented and underrepresented ideas. We are filmmakers, driven by justice and representation for both people and the planet. We strive to not only tell stories, but to share learnings with the industry in order to grow positive filming practices across our community.  Past films include acclaimed festival films THE SURROGATE, BLOODSTRIPE, THE EYES OF MY MOTHER, THE SLEEPWALKER, WILDLIKE, GHOST TEAM and more.  tandempictures.com

JULIE CHRISTEAS – Tandem Pictures – Founder, Chief Executive Officer        Julie’s recent films include BLACK BEAR (Sundance 2020) starring Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Abbott and Sarah Gadon which will be released later this year by eOne/Momentum and THE SURROGATE (SXSW 2020/Monument Releasing) . She also executive produced the cult horror favorite THE EYES OF MY MOTHER (Sundance 2016/Magnet Releasing), MONOGAMY (Best NY Narrative, Tribeca Film Festival 2010), the feature doc DUKALE’S DREAM starring Hugh Jackman, and GHOST TEAM starring Jon Heder, David Krumholtz, Justin Long, Amy Sedaris and Melonie Diaz. Previously she produced BLOOD STRIPE (Jury Prize for Best Narrative Film, LA Film Festival 2016), WILDLIKE starring Bruce Greenwood and Brian Geraghty (HIFF), and THE SLEEPWALKER starring Christopher Abbott and Brady Corbet (Sundance 2014/IFC). 

JONATHAN BLITSTEIN – Tandem Pictures – Co-owner, Chief Operating Officer Jonathan’s most recently produced the acclaimed films THE SURROGATE, and BLACK BEAR (SUNDANCE, EOne/Universal release) starring Aubrey Plaza. Prior to Tandem he worked in production and branded entertainment for Vudu, Sony and Disney, supporting Fortune 500 Brands such as Walmart, Sprint and Covergirl. At Oracle (formerly CrowdTwist), he initiated the creation of Marvel Studios’ first nationwide fan loyalty program Marvel Insider. In his early career, he made two micro-budget feature films LET THEM CHIRP AWHILE and ANOTHER KIND which both premiered at the Woodstock Film Festival which were distributed on Netflix and VOD. Early career roles include marketing arthouse films such as Park Chan Wook’s OLD BOY, and Noah Baumbach’s SQUID AND THE WHALE. 

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Crock of Gold, A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan – Director Julien Temple

If future generations look back at what it was truly like to be both human and alive in the late 20th century, they will be hard put to find a more powerful and enlightening testament than the songs of Shane McGowan. In a world where music has become increasingly sanitized and unable to venture beneath the surface clichés of human emotion, Shane’s songs stand out in ever greater relief. A cinematic exploration of Shane MacGowan’s story, Julien Temple’s film CROCK OF GOLD details Shane’s explosive existence, from his salad days, growing up in Ireland, to time spent on the mean streets of London and embracing the punk scene. To forming the Pogues and the conquering the known universe, we discover MacGowan’s passions, his humor and deep knowledge of music, history, spirituality & popular culture. For this is Shane’s story. A vision of the world through the eyes of the great punk poet himself and an intimate cast of close friends and family members, all channeled through  director Julien Temple’s inimitable and eternally vibrant lens. Director Julien Temple joins us for an enlightening conversation on MacGowan’s unusual childhood living on a farm without electricity, his collaboration with Johnny Depp and his respect and admiration for an artist that has stay faithful to his love of music and his country, no matter the cost.

 

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

Director’s Statement – In a world where music has become increasingly sanitized and unable to venture beneath the surface clichés of human emotion, none has bared their soul like Shane McGowan. His unique ability to plumb the dark recesses of the human soul, while in the very same breath celebrating its capacity to find healing transcendence, in both love and the sublime mysteries of existence, goes a long way to making sense of who we actually are. His work is raw, unflinching and unashamed, reflecting all the many places Shane inhabits – the invisible world, hedonism, alcoholism, God, redemption and romance, in all their respective grit and glory. And so, here, via the inventions of the Pogues and the Popes, via the hits, the flops, the fallouts of fame. Via the triumphs and the disasters. Via the love, the hate. Via the bodily abuse and miraculous survival against the odds. And above all else, via the songs… Shane’s incomparable songs, we join Shane, in this film, in his never-ending search for that elusive ‘Crock of Gold’… – Julien Temple

About the filmmaker – Julien Temple became established as one of the early pioneers of music videos, directing such diverse talents as; Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols, David Bowie, Kinks, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Janet Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Pete Doherty and many more. He has directed feature films including the musicals ‘Absolute Beginners’ and ‘Earth Girls Are Easy’. Other directing credits ‘Pandaemonium’, selected as the Gala film at the Toronto Film Festival 2000 and winner of the Evening Standard best British actor award for Linus Roache. Temple’s feature documentary about the Sex Pistols ‘The Filth & The Fury’ screened in official selection at both the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals 2001. In 2005 he directed ‘Glastonbury’, a vivid chronicle of the past thirty years of the music festival. ‘The Future Is Unwritten’, a film to celebrate the life of Joe Strummer, premiered at Sundance in 2007. His recent films include ‘Oil City Confidential’ a documentary about the forgotten precursors of punk, Dr. Feelgood, which won the main prize at the 2009 Turin Film Festival, ‘Imaginary Man’ a film about songwriter Ray Davies for BBC One Imagine and ‘Kinkdom Come’ about his brother Day Davies. Temple’s feature documentary ‘Requiem For Detroit’ won a Grierson Award for Best Historical Documentary 2010. He is currently working with producer Jeremy Thomas to develop ‘You Really Got Me – The Kinks’, the story of Ray and Dave Davies, the brilliant love hate sibling creative force behind the legendary band.

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95% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Crock of Gold” isn’t intended as a lament for an artist derailed by his worst impulses, though. Instead, it’s a celebration of what MacGowan accomplished at his peak, as well as an explanation of the experiences that informed his music. – Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times

“Temple has always used archive material playfully; here, it’s particularly riotous, like a chaotic patchwork quilt tacked together by one of Shane’s drunk aunties. – Wendy Ide, Observer (UK)

“Bold and crass, insightful and fascinating. Director Julien Temple makes clear that this is a complex artist, with a multi-faceted personality, who has changed greatly over the years.” – Deirdre Molumby, entertainment.ie

“The director Julien Temple – who has excellent documentaries on the Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer and other galvanic musicians under his belt – is very good at this sort of thing.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

Queen of Hearts: Audrey Flack, Director Deborah Shaffer

Octogenarian artist Audrey Flack has always been a trailblazer. QUEEN OF HEARTS: AUDREY FLACK, a documentary from Oscar® and Emmy® Award-winning director  Deborah Shaffer (The Wobblies, To Be Heard) and co-director/editor Rachel Reichman (Hitchcock/Truffaut, A Letter to Elia), is an intimate portrait of her life and work, as she returns to her canvas for the first time in decades, revealing her longtime struggles as an artist and mother to find her rightful place in the art world. At 88 years-old, Audrey Flack holds a unique place in the history of contemporary art in America. Feminist, rebel, mother, painter, sculptor and teacher, Audrey’s often controversial 40-year career evolved from abstract expressionism in the 1950s to photorealism in the 1970s. One of the first women ever included in the famed Janson’s History of Art, Audrey continues to create, explore, and inspire with her unique style and indomitable spirit. QUEEN OF HEARTS follows Flack as she takes her work in a brand new direction and reveals her long-term struggles as the mother of a child with autism. Flack has something deep and genuine to communicate to the world. Director Deborah Shaffer joins us for a conversation on getting to know her endlessly fascinating, multi-talented subject who is still testing, still experimenting, still searching.

 

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For news and updates go to: audreyflackfilm.com

About the filmmaker – Academy Award winning filmmaker Deborah Shaffer began making social issue documentaries as a member of the Newsreel collective the ‘70’s. She co-founded Pandora Films, one of the first women’s film companies, which produced several shorts. Her first feature documentary, The Wobblies, premiered at the New York Film Festival in 1979. During the 80’s Shaffer focused on human rights in Central America and Latin America, directing many films including  Witness to War: Dr. Charlie Clements which won the Academy Award for Short Documentary in 1985, and Fire From the Mountain and Dance of Hope which both played at the Sundance Film Festival. Shaffer directed one of the first post-September 11 films, From the Ashes: 10 Artists  followed by From the Ashes: Epilogue, which premiered at the Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals. She is also the Executive Producer of the Academy Award-nominated short Asylum, and has directed numerous acclaimed public television programs on women and the arts. She directed and produced To Be Heard, which won awards at numerous festivals and aired nationwide on PBS. She has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Irene Diamond Lifetime Achievement Award by the Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

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“a thoroughly engaging documentary portrait of an artist…[and] the perfect introduction to its subject, comprehensive in its detail and captivating in its approach.” – Christopher Reed, Hammer to Nail

“…what’s refreshing about Deborah Shaffer and Rachel Reichman’s look is how intimate and personal it feels, grounding a remarkable woman in a very personable and extraordinary light.”-Tynan Yanaga, Film Inquiry

“…she has been an incredible photorealist, armed with a convincing spray brush. Now, the artist finally gets her due in this documentary about her life.” – Nadja Sayej, Forbes

TIME, Director Garrett Bradley

Fox Rich is a fighter. The entrepreneur, abolitionist and mother of six boys has spent the last two decades campaigning for the release of her husband, Rob G. Rich, who is serving a 60-year sentence for a robbery they both committed in the early 90’s in a moment of desperation. Combining the video diaries Fox has recorded for Rob over the years with intimate glimpses of her present-day life, TIME director Garrett Bradley paints a mesmerizing portrait of the resilience and radical love necessary to prevail over the endless separations of the country’s prison-industrial complex. Bradley won the U.S. Documentary Directing Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and is the first Black woman to be awarded the prize with TIME, her documentary feature debut. Director and producer Garrett Bradley joins us to talk about her beautifully rendered look into the most intimate moments of a determined matriarch and a family grappling with a life lived under the relentless cloud of uncertainty.

 

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To watch beginning on October 16 go to: amazon.com/TIME-Garrett-Bradley

TIME will open in select theaters on October 9 ahead of its global launch on Amazon Prime Video on October 16.

About the filmmaker – Garrett Bradley works across narrative, documentary, and experimental modes of filmmaking to address themes such as race, class, familial relationships, social justice, southern culture, and the history of film in the United States. Bradley has received numerous prizes which include the 2019 Prix de Rome, and the 2017 Sundance Jury Prize for the short film “Alone,” which was released by The New York Times OpDocs And became an Oscar Contender for short nonfiction filmmaking, included in Academy Shortlist. Bradleys work can be seen across a variety of spaces including her Second Unit Directing work on Ava DuVernays “When They See Us” and the 2019 Whitney Biennial. In December of this 2019, Bradley’s first solo exhibition opened at The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH), curated by Rebecca Matalon. In January of 2020, Bradley became the first Black American woman to receive Best Director at the 2020 Sundance Film festival for her first feature length documentary, “Time.” For more go to: garrettabradley.com

Sundance 2020 – Directing Award: U.S. Documentary

The Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2020 – The Charles E. Guggenheim Emerging Artist Award

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“A vibrant cubist portrait, alive with shadings of Rich’s vulnerability and the psychic bruises from dealing with an indifferent correctional system, expensive lawyers and unresponsive courts.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

“A formally stunning masterwork of empathy, exhaustion, love, and rage.” – Jordan Raup, The Film Stage

“While gripping from start to finish, there isn’t a minute of “Time” that feels engineered for our entertainment.” – David Ehrlich, indieWire

“Transcendent yet down-to-earth.” – Beandrea July, Hyperallergic

“It’s an enormous achievement to crystallize two decades of both fighting and loving in 81 minutes, as Bradley never takes Rich’s voice away to patronize or preach to the viewer about what we should care about.” – Ella Kemp, WeLoveCinema

Belly of the Beast, Director Erika Cohn

BELLY OF THE BEAST shines a white hot spotlight on the pastoral farmlands surrounding the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF), the world’s largest women’s prison. For decades CCWF concealed the reproductive and human rights violations transpiring inside its walls. A courageous woman, Kelli Dillon, who was involuntarily sterilized at the CCWF, teams up with a radical lawyer, Cynthia Chandler, to stop these violations. Together they spearhead investigations that uncover a series of statewide crimes, primarily targeting women of color, from inadequate access to healthcare to sexual assault to illegal sterilization. With a team of tenacious heroines, both in and out of prison, they take to the courtroom to fight for reparations. But no one believes them. As additional damning evidence is uncovered by the Center for Investigative Reporting, a media frenzy and series of hearings provide hope for some semblance of justice. Yet, doctors and prison officials contend that the procedures were in each person’s best interest and of an overall social benefit. Invoking the weight of the historic stain and legacy of eugenics, BELLY OF THE BEAST presents a decade long, infuriating contemporary legal drama. Director Erika Cohn (The Judge, When the Voices Fade) joins us for a conversation about her incredible tale that chronicles the rampant abuse of incarcerated women, being coerced by a prison-based culture of medical personnel actively subverting their basic human rights.

 

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

About the filmmaker – Director Erika Cohn is a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning director/producer who Variety recognized as one of 2017’s top documentary filmmakers to watch and was featured in DOC NYC’s 2019 “40 Under 40.” Most recently, Erika completed The Judge, a Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated film about the first woman judge appointed to the Middle East’s Shari’a courts, which premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS’ 2018 Independent Lens series. Erika co-directed/produced, In Football We Trust, an Emmy award-winning, feature documentary about young Pacific Islander men pursuing their dreams of playing professional football, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS’ 2016 “Independent Lens” series. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including a Director’s Guild of America award for her fiction short film, When the Voices Fade. Erika grew up attending the Sundance Film Festival as a native Utahn, where she first began her career and later studied at Chapman University (California) and Hebrew University (Jerusalem) where she received degrees in Film Production, Middle East Studies, and Acting Performance. In 2013, Erika founded Idle Wild Films, Inc., which has released three feature documentaries and produced numerous branded content and commercial spots, including Gatorade’s “Win from Within” series, for which she received a 2016 Webby award nomination. Belly of the Beast is her third feature-length documentary. For more about Erika Cohn go to: idlewildfilmsinc.com

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“A harrowing documentary about the practice of forced sterilization.” – Evan Dossey, Midwest Film Journal

“Inside the belly of documentarian Erika Cohn’s Beast lurks a monstrosity more appalling than horror fiction.” – Scott Marks, San Diego Reader

Driving While Black, Co-directors Dr. Gretchen Sorin and Ric Burns

DRIVING WHILE BLACK: RACE, SPACE AND MOBILITY IN AMERICA is a ground-breaking, two-hour documentary film by acclaimed historian Dr. Gretchen Sorin and Emmy–winning director Ric Burns. Chronicling the riveting history and personal experiences – at once liberating and challenging, harrowing and inspiring, deeply revealing and profoundly transforming  –  of African Americans on the road from the advent of the automobile through the seismic changes of the 1960s and beyond – DRIVING WHILE BLACK explores the deep background of a recent phrase rooted in realities that have been an indelible part of the African American experience for hundreds of years – told in large part through the stories of the men, women and children who lived through it. The documentary draws upon the wealth of recent scholarship – and based on and inspired in large part by Gretchen Sorin’s recently published study of the way the automobile and highways transformed African American life across the 20th century – the film examines the history of African Americans on the road from the depths of the Depression to the height of the Civil Rights movement and beyond, exploring along the way the deeply embedded dynamics of race, space and mobility in America during one of the most turbulent and transformative periods in American history. Co-directors Gretchen Sorin and Ric Burns join us to talk about the crippling impact of systemic racism and the continuing stain of America’s original sin.

 

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For  more on the story and history behind the the film go to: dwbfilm.com

DRIVING WHILE BLACK will air on PBS on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 9:00 p.m. (check local listings).

About the filmmaker – Gretchen Sullivan Sorin, Project Director & Senior Historical Advisor Dr. Gretchen Sullivan Sorin is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Cooperstown Graduate Program. Her dissertation and upcoming book form the basis of the scholarship for this project. Her research explores the role that the automobile played in the lives of African Americans during the Jim Crow era, the way that African Americans expressed middle class American values through car ownership, and how cars helped change deeply entrenched racial etiquette. Sorin received her Ph.D. in history from the University at Albany in 2009. For more on the work of Dr. Gretchen Sorin go to gpmuseumstudies.org

About the filmmaker – Ric Burns is an internationally recognized documentary filmmaker and writer, best known for his eight-part, seventeen and a half hour series, New York: A Documentary Film, which premiered nationally on PBS to wide public and critical acclaim when broadcast in November 1999, September 2001, and September 2003. Burns has been writing, directing and producing historical documentaries for over 25 years, since his collaboration on the PBS series The Civil War, (1990), which he produced with his brother Ken and co-wrote with Geoffrey C. Ward.  Since founding Steeplechase Films in 1989, he has directed some of the most distinguished programs for PBS including Coney Island (1991), The Donner Party (1992), The Way West (1995), Ansel Adams (2002), Eugene O’NeillAndy Warhol (2006), We Shall Remain: Tecumseh’s Vision (2009), Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World (2010), Death and the Civil War (2012), American Ballet Theatre (2015), Debt of Honor (2015), The Pilgrims (2015), VA: The Human Cost of War (2017), and The Chinese Exclusion Act (2018). His work has won numerous film and television awards including six Emmy Awards, two George Foster Peabody Awards,  two Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Awards,  three Writer’s Guild of America Awards for Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Writing;  the Eric Barnouw Award of the Organization of American Historians, and the D.W. Griffith Award of the National Board of Review. Find out more about Ric Burns and Steeple Chaase Films at: ricburns.com  And dwbfilm.com

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The Way I See It – Director Dawn Porter

Inspired by a New York Times No. 1 bestseller, The Way I See It is an unprecedented look  behind the scenes at two of the most iconic presidents in American history, Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan, as seen through the eyes of renowned photographer Pete Souza. As official White House photographer, Souza was an eyewitness to the unique and tremendous responsibilities of the most powerful person on Earth. Award-winning filmmaker Dawn Porter’s The Way I See It also reveals how Souza transforms from a respected photojournalist to a searing commentator on the issues we face as a country and a people. The Way I See It also traces Souza’s fearless public transformation from chronicler of history to critic of an administration he believes is destroying the legacy of empathy, honor and hope that he witnessed during his 13 years at the White House. Inspired by his two bestselling books, Obama: An Intimate Portrait and Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents, and featuring more than 400 of his photos, the film is an emotional and stirring reminder of America’s pledge of a government for and by the people. Director Dawn Porter joins us for a conversation about the personal journey of an accomplished photojournalist turned activist and when it comes to the most powerful person in the world, why judgement, perspective, honor, and empathy matter.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: focusfeatures.com/the-way-i-see-it

Check out the future of voting at: headcount.org

In select theaters Friday, September 18th

MSNBC Films premiere Friday, October 9th, 10:00pm EDT

About the filmmaker – Dawn Porter (Director, Producer) is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work has appeared on HBO, PBS, Discovery and Netflix, among others. A two-time Sundance Film Festival director, Porter may be best known for her film Trapped, which explored laws regulating abortion clinics in the American South. The film won the Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking at Sundance in 2016, in addition to a Peabody and numerous other awards. Porter’s 2013 documentary Gideon’s Army premiered on HBO and won Best Editing at Sundance. Gideon’s Army was nominated for both an Independent Spirit Award and an Emmy Award, and is part of the U.S. Department of State’s American Film Showcase. More recently, Porter completed John Lewis: Good Trouble, a feature documentary about the late congressman that will be distributed by Magnolia Pictures and CNN Films. Porter has been commissioned to make films for the Center for Investigative Reporting, Time and Essence magazines, The New York Times Op Docs and Amazon. Her work has received generous support from the MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute, Sundance Film Institute, Chicken & Egg Pictures and other esteemed organizations. The filmmaker is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and the Directors Guild of America. 

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“If you’ve seen Dawn Porter’s John Lewis documentary, you’ll fall in love with this candid look behind the scenes with a former White House photographer in her new documentary The Way I See It.” – Carolyn Mauricette, View From The Dark

“It’s effective because it gives us momentary relief and validates our rage while asking once again for us to have hope and to keep moving ahead.” – Allyson Johnson, The Young Folks

“Chief White House Photographer Pete Souza and the makers of The Way I See It kindly remind us what decency looked like not so long ago.” – Brigid Presecky, Impressionist Media

“Filmmaker Porter delivers a blisteringly-paced documentary that is, virtually from start to finish, nothing short of fascinating…” – David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews

Dick Johnson is Dead, Director Kirsten Johnson

A lifetime of making documentaries has convinced award-winning filmmaker Kirsten Johnson of the power of the real. But now she’s ready to use every escapist movie-making trick in the book – staging inventive and fantastical ways for her 86-year-old psychiatrist father to die while hoping that cinema might help her bend time, laugh at pain and keep her father alive forever. The darkly funny and wildly imaginative DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD is a love letter from a daughter to a father, creatively blending fact and fiction to create a celebratory exploration of how movies give us the tools to grapple with life’s profundity. DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD was filmed, produced and directed by Kirsten Johnson (Cameraperson), produced by Katy Chevigny and Marilyn Ness, co-produced by Maureen A. Ryan and executive produced by Megan Ellison. Director Kirsten Johnson joins us for conversation on her approach to working along side her dad, making the personal universal and how sharing her own acquired wisdom has impacted her life.

 

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

Watch it: netflix.com/Dick Johnson is Dead

About the filmmaker – Kirsten Johnson is a cinematographer and director interested in addressing the changing dimensions and urgent ethical challenges of documentary camerawork. Her most recent film, CAMERAPERSON, premiered at Sundance 2016, was shortlisted for an Academy Award, won the National Board of Review “Freedom of Expression” prize, and was awarded three 2017 Cinema Eye Honors, including ‘Outstanding Nonfiction Feature’. CAMERAPERSON was named one of the ‘Top Ten Films of 2016’ by The New York Times and The Washington Post, was the Grand Jury Prize Winner of 9 international festivals, won the ARRI Cinematography Award, and is distributed by The Criterion Collection. Her short, THE ABOVE, premiered at the 2015 New York Film Festival and was nominated for the International Documentary Association ‘Best Short Award’ for 2016. Kirsten’s camerawork has appeared in the Academy Award-winning CITIZEN FOUR, Cannes Premiere RISK, Academy Award-nominated THE INVISIBLE WAR, Tribeca Documentary Winner, PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL, Cannes winner FAHRENHEIT 9/11, and Emmy Award-winning LADIES FIRST. She shared the Sundance 2010 Cinematography Award with Laura Poitras for their work on THE OATH. She and Katy Chevigny co-directed the Berlinale premiering DEADLINE, which won the Thurgood Marshall Award. She teaches “Visual Thinking” in the NYU Graduate Journalism Department. In 2017, she was awarded the Chicken and Egg Breakthrough Filmmaker Award and she is currently a Sundance Art of Nonfiction Fellow. She is a 2017 Guggenheim Fellow and was recently invited to be one of the 4% of ASC members who are women. 

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“A deeply moving vision of life in the face of bodily death and the threatened loss of selfhood, as well as a loving unpacking of the lifetimes of memories from which families are made.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker

“Instead of pushing her father’s death to the back of her mind, Johnson embraces it fully and even has fun with it. She takes her heartache and turns it into joy.” – Brianna Zigler, Little White Lies

“Unabashedly toying with the conventions of obituary, the documentation of the infirm, and the memorialization of a parent, the end result is a triumph.” – Jason Gorber, POV Magazine

“A touching and funny meditation on embracing life and fearing death at the same time.” – Eric Kohn, indieWire

Herb Alpert Is… Director John Scheinfeld

With his trumpet he turned the Tijuana Brass into gold, earning 15 gold and 14 platinum records; He has won nine Grammys Awards between 1966 and 2014, and received the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama in 2012. Herb co-founded the indie label, A & M Records with his business partner, Jerry Moss, which recorded artists as varied as Carole King, Cat Stevens, The Carpenters, Janet Jackson, Peter Frampton, Joe Cocker, Quincy Jones, Sergio Mendes, and The Police. A&M would go on to become one of the most successful independent labels in history. He has shown his striking work as an abstract painter and sculptor, worldwide. And through the Herb Alpert Foundation, he has given significant philanthropic support of educational programs in the arts nationwide, from the Harlem School of the Arts and Los Angeles City College to CalArts and UCLA. John Scheinfeld’s documentary Herb Alpert is… profiles the artist, now 85, mostly from the perspective of colleagues like Questlove, Paul Williams, Sting, and Bill Moyers. In their words, the shy, unassuming trumpeter is a musical, artistic and philanthropic heavyweight. Director John Scheinfeld stops by to talk about many facets of Alpert’s personal and public life that make him the compelling and warm-hearted person he is.

 

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

For more on the work and latest news go to: herbalpert.com

About the filmmaker – John Scheinfeld – From pop culture to politics, sports to world religions, Venice and Toronto film festivals to PBS, Emmy®, Grammy® and Writers Guild Award nominee John Scheinfeld is a critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker with a broad range of subjects and productions to his credit. In addition to directing, writing and producing Herb Alpert Is…, Scheinfeld is in post-production on a primetime documentary special about comedy legend Garry Marshall that will air on ABC in the Spring of 2020. Another Scheinfeld feature documentary, Sergio Mendes: In The Key of Joy, had its World Premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in January 2020 and will be released worldwide on multiple media platforms later in the year. Previously, his feature documentary, Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, was an official selection of the Telluride Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival before playing on 175 theater screens worldwide during the spring of 2017. In November 2017 it was the season premiere of Independent Lens, the largest showcase for independent documentary film on television. Scheinfeld is best known for two widely acclaimed feature documentaries: The U.S. vs. John Lennon, which tells the true story of the US government’s attempt to silence the beloved musician and iconic advocate for peace and Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?, a compelling yet wildly entertaining documentary about one of the most talented and uncompromising singer-songwriters in pop music history. For more on the work of John Scheinfeld go to: crewneckproductions.com

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“The story of Herb Alpert is a lot more than a snappy greatest hits collection; it’s a deep dive into the agonies and ecstasies that drive profoundly creative people.” – Bill Newcott, The Saturday Evening Post

“This movie will likely go down as the definitive documentary about Alpert and, as such, it’s not a bad way to be remembered.” – James Berardinelli, ReelViews

“This documentary is a joyous celebration of Herb Alpert’s life and career as it examines his roots not only as a musician but as a painter, sculptor, businessman and philanthropist.” – Charles Koplinski, Reel Talk with Chuck and Pam

“You’ll probably come away from Herb Alpert Is… not only admiring the man but wishing you were him.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

Blood on the Wall, Director Nick Quested

In Central America, a caravan of migrants seeking a better life heads north to the United States, as narco-traffickers — part of the cause for the caravan — move drugs and money back and forth across the same border. From Academy Award-nominated director Sebastian Junger and Emmy-winning producer Nick Quested, BLOOD ON THE WALL explores the depths of corruption plaguing Mexico and Central America and the policies of the past that have made it impossible for everyday people to find justice. Filmed in 2018 and 2019, just as the caravans made international news, BLOOD ON THE WALL is both intimate and wide-ranging as it follows a 17-year-old journeying from Honduras, a mother and daughter and their family trying to make the life-threatening trek easier for their kids, and smugglers and traffickers who reveal what set them on their own path. Using the same on-the-ground journalism and granular point of view that co-directors Sebastian Junger and Nick Quested used in Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS, Korengal, and the Oscar-nominated Restrepo, BLOOD ON THE WALL brings the humanity of the migrants to the forefront and untangles how politics, the drug trade, violence, and the desire for safety result in unbelievable anguish happening in plain sight. Co-director Nick Quested joins us to talk about the extraordinarily violent and unstable circumstance these immigrants navigate and the palpable sense of cynical betrayal that the US and Mexico deploy against them.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: nationalgeographic.com/blood-on-the-wall

For more on sebastianjunger.com

About the filmmaker – Co-director Nick Quested is executive director and owner of Goldcrest Films, where he has built one of the premiere documentary brands in the world, winning two Emmys for his work. Quested has served as a producer on over 35 films, including Sebastian Junger’s The Last Patrol, Korengal, and the PGA- and twice Emmy-nominated Which Way Is the Front Line From Here?; the Oscar-nominated Restrepo; and National Geographic Doc Films’ duPont Award-winning Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS. Quested is also an award-winning music video director, working with such artists as Dr. Dre, Nas, Puffy, Sting, Master P, Cash Money, and Trick Daddy. His credits include “Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives,” “Rubble Kings,” “Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer,” “Smash and Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers,” “Stolen Seas,” “The List,” “Tell Spring Not to Come This Year,” and “Doin’ It in the Park: Pick-Up Basketball, NYC.”

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“The film’s two brutal narratives – the caravans and the web of narco-trafficking – don’t always coalesce and may have benefited from a longer format.” – Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times

“A very hard and complicated story to tell. But Junger and Quested are more than up to challenge in Blood on the Wall.” – David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun

The Artist’s Wife, Director Tom Dolby

Claire (Lena Olin) lives a quiet domestic life in the Hamptons as the wife of celebrated artist Richard Smythson (Bruce Dern). Once a promising painter herself, Claire now lives in the shadow of her husband’s illustrious career. While preparing work for his final show, Richard’s moods become increasingly erratic, and he is diagnosed with dementia. As his memory and behavior deteriorate, she shields his condition from the art community while trying to reconnect him with his estranged daughter, Angela (Juliet Rylance) and grandson from a previous marriage.  Challenged by the loss of her world as she knew it, Claire must now decide whether to stand with Richard on the sidelines or step into the spotlight herself. Director Tom Dolby (Call Me My Your Name, Little Men, Regarding Susan Sontag, Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood) stops by to talk about his compelling, clear-eyed look at a loving couple’s faltering attempts to find a way forward.

 

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

About the filmmaker – Tom Dolby’s feature film writing and directing debut, Last Weekend, starring Patricia Clarkson, was released in 2014 by IFC/Sundance Selects and called “Chekhovian” by The New York Times, with Ms. Clarkson’s performance hailed as “terrifically nuanced, heartbreaking, and often very funny” by the San Francisco Chronicle.  Dolby is the founder of Water’s End Productions, where he and his team have developed a slate of narrative features and documentaries with the goal of supporting provocative and challenging human stories. The company funded the development of the Academy Award-winning film Call Me By Your Name, on which he served as an Executive Producer.  Dolby and Water’s End have also produced the critically acclaimed films Little Men, Regarding Susan Sontag, Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, The House of Tomorrow, and Little Woods, among others. Upcoming projects include an adaptation of the novel Women in Sunlight by New York Times bestselling author Frances Mayes (Under the Tuscan Sun). Dolby is also the author of four novels, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Village Voice, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among others. Born in London and raised in San Francisco, he is a graduate of Yale University, where he received his B.A. in the history of art. He lives in Los Angeles with his two daughters. For many years, he had a house in Wainscott, NY, right next to East Hampton

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“The emotions are powerfully put on screen by two great veterans.” – Alci Rengifo, Entertainment Voice

“Bruce Dern and Lena Olin are fantastic here.” – Joey Magidson,Awards Radar

“A really beautiful portrait of a relationship.” – Lael Loewenstein;FilmWeek (KPCC – NPR Los Angeles)

“By refusing to compromise about life’s messiness, it makes an art of chaos in elegantly composed vignettes filmed with a chilly beauty, and gives us an ending that is maddening, yet absolutely true.” – Andrea Chase,Killer Movie Reviews

All In: The Fight for Democracy, Co-directors Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortes

ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY is a riveting examination of voter suppression in the United States of America. The film weaves rich archival storytelling with the personal experiences of experts, activists, and would-be voters deprived of their rights. Current activism as well as historical insight expose what corrupted our democracy from the moment it was founded. Every time we the people take a step toward a more just and equal nation — granting rights to the disenfranchised, from women’s suffrage to desegregation — new forces and obstacles emerge that require us to fight for the right to vote once again. Stacey Abrams, the former Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives and the first female African-American major-party gubernatorial nominee, offers an insider’s look at the patchwork of laws and barriers designed to hinder voting. Many U.S citizens remain unaware of this dangerous threat to their basic right to wield their power and raise their voices at the polls.ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY explores fundamental questions: Who gets to participate in our democracy, and who is pushed aside? How can we all fight back? Voting is the cog that makes the machinery of democracy work — and if the machinery breaks for some, it will eventually break for all. Co-directors Liz Garbus (Nothing Left Unsaid, I’lll Be Gone in the Dark, Lost Girls) and Lisa Cortes (The Apollo, The Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion, The Woodsman) join us to talk about how incredibly important voting rights are in determining the outcome of our elections and out quickly they can be taken away.

 

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ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY will open in select theaters on September 9th and will be available on Amazon Prime Video on September 18th.

About the filmmaker – Liz Garbus is a two-time Academy Award®-Nominee, two-time Emmy Winner, Peabody Winner, Grammy Nominee, DGA Nominee, BAFTA-nominated director. LOST GIRLS (Netflix, 2020) is Garbus’ narrative feature debut, starring Amy Ryan, Gabriel Byrne, and Thomasin McKenzie. When Mari Gilbert’s daughter disappears, police inaction drives her own investigation into the gated Long Island community where Shannan was last seen. Her search brings attention to over a dozen murdered sex workers Mari will not let the world forget. LOST GIRLS will premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and then will be released in theaters and on Netflix.For more on the work of Liz Garbus go to: storysyndicate.com/work

About the filmmaker – Lisa Cortes Executive producer After graduating she went into the music business where she worked with Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin, the founders of Def Jam. Cortes then joined the staff at Mercury Records. After leaving the music industry, Cortes turned her interests to film. She enrolled at the School of Visual Arts in New York and later the New York Film Academy. A producer and close friend, Lee Daniels, was producing Monster’s Ball and Cortes and Daniels together subsequently collaborated on movies such as Woodsman (2004), Shadowboxer (2005), Tennessee (2008), and Precious (2009). Cortes founded her own company, Cortes Films in 2010. Cortes Films has produced two films Happy Birthday to a Beautiful Woman: a Portrait of My Mother, a film about Mickalene Thomas’ mother and her struggle with aging and kidney disease, and Kwaku Ananse a film about West African fables of Kwaku Ananse and a young woman named, Nyan Koronhwea, attending her estranged father’s funeral while trying to come to terms with her father’s double life. 

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“A documentary of supreme relevance that has the effect, at once chilling and rousing, of a political cautionary tale.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“All In: The Fight for Democracy is a must-watch documentary…” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

“Voter suppression is broken down within an inch of its life with this informative, no holds barred documentary from Liz Garbus and Stacey Abrams. Our vote has never counted more and been more crucial. Don’t let you democracy be robbed!” – Carla Renata, The Curvy Film Critic

“Stacy Abrams’ urgent, powerful , and compelling documentary about voter rights and the attempt to suppress them could and should have a real world impact this election season.” – Pete Hammond, Deadline Hollywood Daily

Epicentro, Director Hubert Sauper

EPICENTRO, a richly textured portrait of the resilient people of Cuba directed by renowned documentarian Hubert Sauper (We Come As Friends, Oscar-nominated Darwin’s Nightmare). Winner of the 2020 Sundance Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema Documentary, the film launches in virtual cinemas through Kino Marquee starting Friday, August 28. EPICENTRO is an immersive and metaphorical portrait of post-colonial, “utopian” Cuba, where the 1898 explosion of the USS Maine still resonates. This Big Bang ended Spanish colonial dominance in the Americas and ushered in the era of the American Empire. At the same time and place, a powerful tool of conquest was born: cinema as propaganda. In his latest film, Hubert Sauper explores a century of interventionism and myth-making together with the extraordinary people of Havana—who he calls “young prophets”—to interrogate time, imperialism and cinema itself.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: kinolorber.com/film/epicentro

About the filmmaker: Hubert Sauper is an Academy Award–nominated director, cinematographer, writer, and producer living in France. Best known for his documentaries We Come As Friends (2014) and the Academy Award-nominated Darwin’s Nightmare (2004), he has been recognized for his work with more than 50 film awards, among them a European Film Award, a French César, and awards at the Berlin, Venice and Sundance film festivals. Hubert is a visiting professor at several universities, including Harvard, Yale and Columbia.

Winner: Grand Prize, World Documentary – Sundance Film Festival

“A brilliant mixture of historical-poetic analysis and a ground-level journey among the denizens of Havana… The director’s remarkable eye for lived-in detail and for spectacular imagery will mesmerize you.” – Bilge Ebiri, Vulture

“Acclaimed nonfiction filmmaker Hubert Sauper turns his rigorous but compassionate gaze on this fascinating place in Epicentro… Sauper and his co-editor… work the material with a remarkable fluidity and gracefulness that’s consistently engaging and surprising.” – Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter

“[A] tender portrait of Cuba. Politics, people and the power of cinema are brought together to create a mosaic-like reflection on Cuba’s history… Epicentro shines in Sauper’s many encounters with the people of Cuba.” – Alan Hunter, Screen International

Coup 53, Director Taghi Armirani and Editor Walter Murch

While making a documentary about the Anglo-American coup in Iran in 1953, director Taghi Amirani and editor Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now, Godfather IIdiscovered extraordinary, never-before-seen archival material that had been hidden for decades. The 16mm footage and documents they uncovered not only allowed them to tell the story of the overthrow of the Iranian government in unprecedented detail, but it also led to explosive revelations about dark secrets buried for 67 years. Working with Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Schindler’s List, The English Patient) to help bring the lost material to life, what begins as a historical documentary about four days in August 1953 turns into a live investigation, taking the filmmakers into uncharted cinematic waters. Ten years in the making, COUP 53 tells the story of the 1953 the Anglo-American coup d’état that overthrew Iran’s government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh and reinstalled the Shah. The CIA/MI6 covert action was called Operation Ajax. It was all about Iran’s oil and who gets to control and benefit from it. BP was at the heart of this story. Shot in seven countries, featuring participants and first-hand witnesses, and unearthing never seen before archive material, COUP 53 is a politically explosive and cinematically innovative documentary that lifts the lid on secrets buried for over sixty-six years. Director Taghi Armirani and Editor / Writer Walter Murch join us to talk about their own journey to tell the definitive story behind one of the 20th Century’s most consequential geo-political events.

 

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For news and updates go to:coup53.com

To watch go to: coup53.com/screenings

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“A MASTERPIECE OF POLITICAL INTERVENTION. Beyond extraordinary.” – Ariel Dorfman, Author and human rights activist

 “BREATHTAKING. THE MOST ENTHRALLING AND REVELATORY DOCUMENTARY I’VE SEEN OVER THE PAST YEAR. Remarkable. Taghi Amirani’s passionate and fearless work grew from an impudent home movie into a magnum opus.” – Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

 “As compelling as a John Le Carré novel or a Costa-Gavras classic.” – Allan Hunter, Screen International

 “This is big.” – Werner Herzog, Filmmaker

The Fight, Co-director Eli Despres (Elyse Steinberg and Josh Kriegman)

From the team that directed the jaw-dropping, award winning documentary on the life and mayoral campaign of former congressman Anthony Wiener (Weiner) comes THE FIGHT. Only days after the 2017 inauguration of Donald Trump, furious Americans gathered at airports across the country in protest of the Muslim ban. But it was the efforts of the American Civil Liberties Union, waging the fight in federal court, that turned the tide, staying the executive order on grounds of unconstitutionality. The ACLU has never granted access to its offices, even as its battles—on the fronts of abortion rights, immigration rights, LGBT rights and voting rights —have become more timely and momentous than ever. Rousing, inspiring and slyly humorous, their THE FIGHT follows four seismically important cases and a handful of magnetic attorneys. These lawyers may not know how to charge a cell phone or operate a stand-up desk but have persuaded Supreme Court Justices, beating back serious encroachments upon our freedoms. An antidote to endless news cycles filled with tweet tantrums, THE FIGHT inspires with the story of front-line warriors in the battle for the American soul. Co-director Eli Despres (Elyse Steinberg and Josh Kriegman) joins us to talk about this entertaining, fast-paced, and highly engaging peek behind the curtain of the self-effacing attorneys and their support team as they scramble to maintain and bolster many of the most substantive constitutional protections under constant assault.

 

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For news and updates go to: fightthefilm.com

The Fight is available for viewing at: fightthefilm.com/watch-at-home

The Fight is available for viewing at: fightthefilm.com/watch-at-home

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WINNER – U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award forSocial Impact Filmmaking – Sundance 2020

“Inspiring, infuriating, and unbounded. Filled with raw emotion and real world immediacy.”Kate Erbland, IndieWire

“A celebration of the lawyers on the front lines in the Trump age. Captures the intense emotion of the moment.”Beandrea July, The Hollywood Reporter

“A powerful, necessary, and illuminating look at the ACLU as it tries to navigate the age of Trump’s presidency” – Jason Gorber, POV Magazine

“In a moment divided into heroes and villains, there’s an urge for the film to go deeper into how, exactly, these lawyers use the Constitution as a cape.” – Amy Nicholson, Variety

“A gorgeous, enraging, and uplifting film.”Chris Hayes, MSNBC

We Are The Radical Monarchs, Director Linda Goldstein Knowlton

Set in Oakland, a city with a deep history of social justice movements, WE ARE THE RADICAL MONARCHS documents the Radical Monarchs – an alternative to the Scout movement for girls of color, aged 8-13. Its members earn badges for completing units on social justice including being an LGBTQ ally, the environment, and disability justice. The group was started by two, fierce, queer women of color, Anayvette Martinez and Marilyn Hollinquest as a way to address and center her daughter’s experience as a young brown girl. Their work is anchored in the belief that adolescent girls of color need dedicated spaces and that the foundation for this innovative work must also be rooted in fierce inter-dependent sisterhood, self-love, and hope. WE ARE THE RADICAL MONARCHS follows the first troop of Radical Monarchs for over three years, until they graduate, and documents the Co-founders struggle to respond to the needs of communities across the US and grow the organization after the viral explosion of interest in the troop’s mission to create and inspire a new generation of social justice activists. Director / Producer Linda Goldstein Knowlton (Somewhere Between, Dream,Girl, Whale Rider, The Shipping News) joins us to talk about the positive role-modeling, the sense of community connection and empowerment that the Radical Monarchs has brought into the lives of these young women of color.

 

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For news and updates go to: wearetheradicalmonarchsmovie.com

We Are the Radical Monarchs airs Monday, July 20 at 9 PM – PBS series POV

About the filmmaker Linda Goldstein Knowlton (Producer/Director) is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, working in documentary and scripted feature films, as well as television.  In 2016, she Executive Produced the documentary DREAM,GIRL, which premiered at The White House.  The film showcases the stories of inspiring and ambitious female entrepreneurs. Goldstein Knowlton directed and produced one of the six, Emmy-nominated documentaries for the PBS MAKERS: Women Who Make America series.  The film, WOMEN AND HOLLYWOOD, aired in October, 2014 and includes interviews with  Jane Fonda, Shonda Rhimes, Lena Dunham, Ava Duvernay, Glenn Close, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Alfre Woodard, Hunger Games producer Nina Jacobson, among many other notable women. Prior to that, she produced CODE BLACK, Best Documentary winner at LA Film Festival and the Hamptons International Film Festival, and the basis for the CBS one-hour drama of the same name. Previously she directed and produced SOMEWHERE BETWEEN, which won the Sundance Channel Audience Award at the Hot Docs Film Festival, and was released theatrically in over 80 cities across the US. For her directorial debut, she co-directed THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SESAME STREET, which debuted at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival in competition and aired nationally on PBS. Linda started her career producing feature films, including the award-winning WHALE RIDER and THE SHIPPING NEWS.

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Welcome to Chechnya, Director David France

In this searing documentary, WELCOME TO CHECHNYA, Academy Award –nominated director David France (How To Survive A Plague) brings us a terrifying real-life thriller that shadows a group of brave activists risking their lives to confront the ongoing anti-LGBTQ persecution in the repressive and closed Russian republic of Chechnya. In recent years, tens of thousands of LGBTQ people in the republic have suffered detention, torture and sometimes death at the hands of the authorities. But a small network of queer activists have mobilized into action, smuggling people in need out of their communities, securing visas and sheltering them in safe houses. Shot with astonishing access, largely with hidden cameras that keep rolling throughout every moment of escape, and employing a revolutionary face-swapping technique to protect the anonymity of its endangered subjects, WELCOME TO CHECHNYA exposes these under-reported atrocities, while highlighting an extraordinary group of heroic people confronting a brutal system. Director David France joins us for a conversation on the remarkably effective facial technology used by France to protect the identity of the film subjects and on the Russian republic’s pogrom against defenseless people being tortured and killed because of their sexual identity.

 

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For news and updates go to: welcometochechnya.com

Welcome to Chechnya premieres on HBO June 30

Director’s Statement: In my work as a journalist and author over many years, I have focused closely on the stories of outsiders and people who society has pushed to its margins – the disregarded, the ignored, the hated. When I turned to documentary filmmaking, I chose outsider activism as my subject. My first film, HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE, documented the work of early AIDS activists, ordinary people with no training who marshalled the intricate details of virology to change the course of the epidemic. Next, I opened up the story of early gender radicals in THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON, which chronicled not only the founding of the modern LGBTQ movement but also the founding of the first transgender rights organization in 1970. WELCOME TO CHECHNYA completes this trilogy. It follows a group of ordinary humans who have done something extraordinary, and asks the question that has long preoccupied me: What makes a person assume enormous risk and responsibility when others might turn the other way?  What does it take, in other words, to be a hero?When I left their underground pipeline for the last time, knowing I could never go back once it became known I was reporting on their work, I wept with gratitude for the work they are doing. And for the opportunity they gave me to witness bravery of the most unvarnished kind: selfless, humane, and entirely queer. – David France

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“No one has ever found such a deep and humanitarian use of a ‘deep fake’.” – Zep Armentano, El Cinefil

“David France has created a true masterwork of LGBT empathy, working both as a devastating portrait of hate as well as a rallying cry to arms. This is one of the best documentaries of the year.” – Redmond Bacon, Culture Vultures

“Undoubtedly a magnum opus of sorts on human rights documentation” – Jessica Pena, Jumpcut

“Gripping, essential viewing” – Matthew Jacobs, HuffPost

“Welcome to Chechnya is as fearless as its subjects, unafraid to show the violence and emotional torture of these people.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

Bully, Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn, Director Ivy Meeropol

BULLY. COWARD. VICTIM. THE STORY OF ROY COHN takes an unflinching look at the life and death of infamous attorney Roy Cohn. Cohn first gained prominence by prosecuting Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in what came to be known as the “atomic spies” case. The documentary draws on extensive, newly unearthed archival material to present the most revealing examination of Roy Cohn to date. Director Ivy Meeropol (“Indian Point,” HBO’s “Heir to an Execution”) brings a unique perspective as the granddaughter of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, having  spent much of her life feeling both repelled and fascinated by the man who prosecuted her grandparents, obtained their convictions in federal court, and then insisted on their executions. The documentary is a riveting profile chronicles Cohn’s life from the late 1950s as chief counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy, when he first began wielding political power, through the 1980s, when he became a darling of the Reagan White House, a rabid anti-homosexuality activist and political mentor to Donald J. Trump before meeting his death from AIDS in 1986.  BULLY. COWARD. VICTIM. THE STORY OF ROY COHN includes numerous interviews, including John Waters, Cindy Adams, Alan Dershowitz, Nathan Lane and Tony Kushner, whose 2018 Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning revival of “Angels in America” featured Lane as Cohn. Lane offers insight into how devastatingly dangerous the actual Roy Cohn was and how he wielded power through invective and innuendo.Director Ivy Meeropol joins us to talk about one of the most renowned and reviled political figures of the last 60 years as well as the lasting impact he had on her own life, family and the country.

 

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BULLY. COWARD. VICTIM. THE STORY OF ROY COHN debuts on HBO Thursday, June 18 at 9 PM (ET) and will also be available to stream on HBO GO, HBO NOW, and on HBO via HBO Max and other partners’ platforms. June 19 marks the 67th Anniversary of the execution of Meeropol’s grandparents, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

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“In its loosely anecdotal way it may bring us a notch or two closer to who Roy Cohn was.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“The film might complicate who Cohn was, but it does not try to humanize his actions-and some aspects of his life, his choices, and what he might’ve been thinking still remain shrouded in mystery to this day.” – Michelle Jaworski, The Daily Dot

Disclosure, Director Sam Feder

DISCLOSURE (formerly titled Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen) is an unprecedented, eye-opening look at transgender depictions in film and television, revealing how Hollywood simultaneously reflects and manufactures our deepest anxieties about gender. Leading trans thinkers and creatives, including Laverne Cox, Lilly Wachowski, Yance Ford, Jen Richards, Mj Rodriguez, Jamie Clayton, and Chaz Bono, share their reactions and resistance to some of Hollywood’s most beloved moments. Grappling with films like A Florida Enchantment (1914), Dog Day Afternoon, The Crying Game, and Boys Don’t Cry, and with shows like The Jeffersons, The L-Word, and Pose, they trace a history that is at once dehumanizing, yet also evolving, complex, and sometimes humorous. What emerges is a fascinating story of dynamic interplay between trans representation on screen, society’s beliefs, and the reality of trans lives. Reframing familiar scenes and iconic characters in a new light, director Sam Feder (Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger) invites viewers to confront unexamined assumptions, and shows how what once captured the American imagination now elicit new feelings. DISCLOSURE provokes a startling revolution in how we see and understand trans people. Director Sam Feder joins us for a conversation on the prejudice and crippling stereotypes being pushed out by film and television as well as barrier breaking stories being told by filmmakers, writers and artists

 

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For news and updates go to: disclosurethemovie.com 

Watch: Disclosure premieres June 19 on Netflix

Statement from the filmmakers: DISCLOSURE shows audiences that decades-old stereotypes, memes, and tropes in the media both form and reflect our understanding of trans issues. They have shaped the cultural narrative about transgender people, and inform everything from dating and domestic violence, to school policy and national legislation. Since 80% of the population have never met a transgender person, all they know is rooted in media depictions, which are predominantly problematic and have rarely included participation by actual trans people. Disclosure is aimed at that 80%. 

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“A thoughtfully crafted film that puts underheard voices first.” – Beandrea July, Hollywood Reporter

“Crafted with obvious love, Feder beautifully guides the audience through the many pitfalls transgender people have faced along the road to representation.” – Ian Thomas Malone, FanSided

“(Disclosure) not only leaves us with the hope that things will improve, but it also shows us how much better the industry is when everyone is included, represented, and respected.” – Norman Gidney, Film Threat

“In making the film, Feder and Cox are rewriting the very history they set out to tell, adding one more title to “positive representation” list. That alone is worth coming out for.” – Jude Dry, indieWire

The Grey Fox, Producer Peter O’Brian

Francis Ford Coppola protégé Phillip Borsos directs The Grey Fox, an elegiac, low-key tale about real-life bandit Bill Miner that has become a classic of Canadian cinema. Having been released from jail in 1901 following a 33-year prison sentence for robbing stagecoaches, Bill Miner (Richard Farnsworth) finds himself living in a society that has completely changed from the one of his youth. He tries to put his life of crime behind him and settle down in Washington state with his sister, but the quiet life does not suit him. He feels restless but uncertain as to how to proceed next. The answer comes to him when he sees Edward S. Porter’s The Great Train Robbery. Soon, Miner has slipped over the border into Canada and, along with his new partner, Shorty (Wayne Robson), robs the Canadian Pacific Railway Trans-continental Express. Later, while laying low after the crime in a remote corner of British Columbia, he meets the beautiful, strong-willed photographer Kate Flynn (Jackie Burroughs). In writing this script, Borsos reportedly made heavy use of contemporary court documents and testimonies. Producer Peter O’Brian stops by to talk about his collaboration with director Phillip Boros and Richard Farnsworth and The Grey Fox 4K Restoration is being released through Kino Marquee.

 

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Watch The Grey Fox and support local theatres – kinomarquee.com/the-grey-fox

Kino Marquee is a new initiative that creates “virtual cinemas” for temporarily closed independent theaters. Local audiences support their community’s theater in these uncertain times by buying a virtual “ticket” to watch the film. Their ticket purchases directly support their local art house as all revenue is being shared between distributor and exhibitor, just as if they bought their ticket at the theater’s box office. Kino Marquee currently works with over 350 art house theaters across the nation.

Farnsworth is a superb camera subject, with a lulling sexual presence. [Director Phillip] Borsos is an inspired image-maker.” – Pauline Kael, The New Yorker

 “One of the loveliest adventures of the year…director Phillip Borsos is able to make this a human story and still keep it exciting as an action picture.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

 “Terrific. Richard Farnsworth is a delight…remarkably appealing with a face the camera adores.” – Vincent Canby, The New York Times

“Fits beautifully between McCabe and Mrs. Miller and Unforgiven, each of them stories about characters coming to term with changing times. There are even echoes of The Irishman, and the newly-refreshed film is ripe for reconsideration.”  – Jason Gorber, Slashfilm

Defending Jacob, Executive Producer Mark Bomback

Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student. Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own – between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive. The Apple+TV limited drama series is a gripping, character-driven thriller based on the 2012 New York Times best selling novel of the same name by William Landay. Creator and Executive Producer Mark Bomback joins us to talk about how he and his creative team, including director Morten Tyldum, brought this complex and nuanced tale to life.

 

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To watch Defending Jacob go to: tv.apple.com/us/show/defending-jacob

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“One thing that’s evident from the outset is that all of the actors are perfect for their roles. Jaeden Martell, in particular, is still a young actor, but he handles the dark material with ease, and I appreciated the way the journey began with him.” – Paul Dailly, TV Fanatic

“The director applies an autumnal hue, with a color range of frosty blues that really adjusts to the atmosphere of slowly crumbling feelings.” – Jorge Loser, Espinof

“Chris Evans does some of the best work of his career as Andy… He expertly conveys Andy’s desperate, ferocious need to protect his son, his genuine love for his wife – and the haunting memories that jolt him awake in the middle of the night.” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

“The pilot does a remarkable job of building up the situation and its main players, but leaving enough in a nebulous spot that there’s still some doubt and some questions to dig deeper into.” – Kevin Lever, Tell-Tale TV

Planet of the Humans, Director Jeff Gibbs

Released on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and in the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic, PLANET OF THE HUMANS takes a harsh look at how the environmental movement has lost the battle through well-meaning but disastrous choices, including the belief that solar panels and windmills would save us, and by giving in to the corporate interests of Wall Street. PLANET OF THE HUMANS is the debut movie from director Jeff Gibbs, whom Executive Producer Michael Moore calls “a brave and brilliant filmmaker whose new voice must be heard.” Gibbs is a lifelong environmentalist and longtime collaborator of Moore’s with whom he co-produced Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11. Gibbs has dared to say what no one will — that “we are losing the battle to stop climate change because we are following environmental leaders, many of whom are well-intentioned, but who’ve sold out the green movement to wealthy interests and corporate America.” This film is the wake-up call to the reality which we are afraid to face: that in the midst of a human-caused extinction event, the so-called “environmental movement’s” answer is to push for techno-fixes and band-aids. Moore and Gibbs decided that with the American public — and much of the world – confined to their homes and suddenly having to consider the role humans and their behavior have played in our fragile ecosystem, the moment was too urgent to wait until later this year for the film’s planned release. Director / Producer / Writer / Editor and Cinematographer Jeff Gibbs joins us for a free-wheeling conversation on the hard truths we all face and the dawning realization that we have allowed ourselves to be lulled into believing the billionaire class is going to ensure a sustainable collective future.

 

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For news and updates go to: planetofthehumans.com

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“This is perhaps the most urgent film we’ve shown in the 15 year history of our film festival” – Filmmaker Michael Moore, Founder, Traverse City Film Festival

“A delusion-shattering documentary on how the environmental and green energy movements have been taken over by capitalists.” – Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice

“A bleak picture of a near future that mankind’s very existence is irrevocably condemning.” – Simon Foster, Screen-Space

“This doc, directed by long-time Michael Moore collaborator Jeff Gibbs, advocates passionately for a planet suffering from environmental devastation but offers few glimmers of hope.” – Liam Lacey, Original Cin

“From the warnings of the 1950s to the 21st-century corporate takeover of green energy, a grim look at humanity’s fate as the planet heats up. Is there any hope? This feels like only half the story.” – MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Filosopher