Life, Animated, Director Roger Ross Williams

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From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams (“Music by Prudence”), is the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. This emotional coming-of-age documentary follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence. The subject of his father Ron Suskind’s New York Times bestseller, Owen was a thriving three-year-old who suddenly and inexplicably went silent—and for years after remained unable to connect with other people or to convey his thoughts, feelings or desires. Over time, through repeated viewings of Disney classics like The Little Mermaid and The Lion King, Owen found useful tools to help him to understand complex social cues and to re-connect with the world around him. Life, Animated evocatively interweaves classic Disney sequences with vérité scenes from Owen’s life in order to explore how his identification and empathy for characters like Simba, Jafar and Ariel gave him a means to understand his feelings and allowed him to interpret reality. Director and Producer Roger Ross Williams (God Love Uganda) joins us to talk about the challenge of presenting a balanced portrait of Owen Suskind and his family.

For news and updates go to: lifeanimateddoc.com/

Winner of the Audience Award – San Francisco Film Festival

Winner of the Audience Award – Full Frame Film Festival 

Winner of the Directing Award – Sundance Film Festival, Life, Animated

“A captivating portrait of a young man for whom Disney animated movies have provided a powerful lifeline to progress, language and understanding. – Justin Chang, Variety

“Williams smartly devotes large portions of the documentary to Owen on his own, letting him explain his fears himself rather than relying on the other Suskinds for clarification and translation. – Noel Murray, A.V. Club

“Incredibly moving documentary takes us into the interior life of an autistic person, and explores how films helped him communicate with the outside world.” – Lanre Bakare, The Guardian

“Instead of false hope, it offers up possibility, the chance of a stimulus that might get past the blocks of developmental disorder.”- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

March of the Living, Director Jessica Sanders

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MARCH OF THE LIVING tells the story of the last generation of Holocaust survivors traveling to Poland with thousands of teenagers from around the world to revisit the sites of the Holocaust and retrace the Death March from Auschwitz to Birkenau, in a journey of remembrance. Filmed in Brazil, Germany, Poland, Israel and the US, the film tells the moving story of the survivors’ hope of passing down their history and memory of the Holocaust to the next generation. MARCH OF THE LIVING follows survivors and teens from Sao Paulo, Los Angeles and Berlin on an emotional journey as they confront the enormity of the past and the possibility of hope in a visit to Israel on its 60th anniversary. A contemporary and unique look at the Holocaust, the film features striking cinematography of the concentration camps today and images and artifacts never seen. MARCH OF THE LIVING raises questions about Holocaust memory as it relates to genocides worldwide today, and about what will happen when the remaining survivors, now in their 80’s and 90’s, will be gone. MARCH OF THE LIVING director and writer Jessica Sanders joins us to talk about the desire of Holocaust survivors to share their memories and the hope that the world will say once and for all never again to racism, indifference, anti-semitism and injustice.

For news and updates on Jessica Sanders go to: jessicasandersfilm.com

For news and updates on March of the Living go to: www.visitfilms.com

MARCH OF THE LIVING will be available on VOD 
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
on iTunes and Amazon Prime


iTunes Link: https://itunes.apple.com/movie/march-of-the-living/id1111106663

Vimeo On Demand Link: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/marchoftheliving

The Idol, Director Hany Abu-Assad

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“The Idol” is two-time Academy Award nominated Director Hany 
Abu-Assad’s new film. Hany is only one of three foreign language 
filmmakers nominated for two Oscars in this century! “The Idol” which World Premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival is an inspirational, upbeat, crowd-pleasing change-of-pace based on the true story of the young man who escaped from Gaza into Egypt (and finally Lebanon) for a chance to be crowned Arab Idol champion. To so many with conflict, destruction and despair but to Mohammed Assaf, and his sister Nour, Gaza is their home and their playground. It’s where they, along with their best friends Ahmad and Omar, play music, football and dare to dream big.  For Mohammed and Nour, nothing less than playing the world famous Cairo Opera Hall will do. It might take them a lifetime to get there but, as Mohammed will find out, some dreams are worth living for. Along the way, Mohammed will experience tragedy and loss. The world around him will shatter. Mohammed knows he has a rare gift. Mohammed auditions for Arab Idol, the most popular show in the Arab world, are taking place in Cairo. Somehow, he finds a way and makes it in front of the judges in Egypt. From there, destiny awaits, a chance to change his life and give a voiceless people the greatest feeling of all: the freedom to love, live and feel free. Director and writer Hany Abu-Assad joins us for a conversation on the challenges and rewards of bringing this revelatory story to life.

For news and updates go to: adoptfilms.com/the-idol

“Mr. Abu-Assad, who wrote the script with Sameh Zoabi, mounts an idealistic appreciation of music as a way of bridging boundaries through a unifying appeal to beauty, gliding past differences in the soulful pleasure of song.” – New York Time

“It’s about art overcoming setbacks and bringing happiness to a region beset by troubles, the sort of cheerful story that speaks a universal language to any audience.” – Minneapolis Star

“Assaf’s 2013 Arab Idol victory occurred around the time the campaign in this week’s Weiner began, and both are recent period pieces about how the media can influence politics, for good and ill. The Idol ends on a far more hopeful note, to put it mildly.” – SF Weekly

Nothing Left Unsaid, Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper, Director Liz Garbus

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Gloria Vanderbilt and her youngest son, Anderson Cooper, come together with Academy Award nominated director Liz Garbus to reflect on their extraordinary personal history. Born under a name synonymous with wealth, fortune and New York royalty, Gloria Vanderbilt has lived in the public eye for over ninety years, unapologetically pursuing love, family, and career, and experiencing extreme tragedy and tremendous success side by side. Now, through Gloria’s charming and unique artwork, coupled with rare personal footage, and narrated by candid conversations between mother and son, we see her as never before. Gloria and Anderson tell the story of their pasts and presents, losses and loves, revealing how, in life, our family stories repeat themselves in the most unexpected ways. HBO will debut NOTHING LEFT UNSAID: GLORIA VANDERBILT & ANDERSON nothing left unsaid II COOPER exclusively on Saturday, April 9. Academy Award® nominated director Liz Garbus is one of the most celebrated American documentary filmmakers working today; her films have been acclaimed worldwide, and have garnered multiple Academy Award® nominations and Emmy Award wins. Garbus’ most recent documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone? was the Opening Night film of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and had its theatrical and worldwide release on Netflix in June. Garbus’ first documentary film, The Farm: Angola, USA, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, was awarded ten other festival and critics’ awards, and was nominated for an Academy Award® in 1998. She stops by to talk about a remarkably accomplished woman who has spent her entire life in the withering glare of public and the press and the complex and loving relationship she has with her accomplished son, Anderson Cooper.

GLORIA VANDERBILT TELLS THE STORY OF HER REMARKABLE LIFE IN THE POIGNANT DOCUMENTARY NOTHING LEFT UNSAID: GLORIA VANDERBILT & ANDERSON COOPER, DEBUTING APRIL 9, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO.

The Confirmation, Director Bob Nelson

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Clive Owen shines in this irresistible comedy as Walt, a down-on-his luck carpenter tasked with entertaining his eight-year-old son Anthony while Anthony’s mom (Maria Bello) and her new husband are away. But when Walt’s prized toolbox is stolen, a quiet father-and-son weekend turns into an adventure of a lifetime. Aided by an oddball drywall repairman (Patton Oswalt), Walt and Anthony go on a wildly funny search for the thieves—and find something they never imagined: a true family connection. As Walt and Anthony set about finding the guys who stole the tools and improvise around their other misfortunes, they begin to discover a true connection with each other, causing Walt to become a better father and Anthony to reveal the promise and potential of the good man he will become…Director and Oscar nominated screenwriter Bob Nelson (Nebraska) joins us for a conversation on moving into the director’s chair and the challenges and rewards of working with a strong ensemble cast.

For news and updates go to: lighthousepictures.ca

Opening Friday, March 18 at the Laemmle’s NoHo 7 5240 Lankershim Boulevard • (310) 478-3836

“Feature films these days rarely come as gentle and equitable as “The Confirmation.” – Gary Goldstein, LA Times

“One of the selling points of “The Confirmation” is how it steers clear of melodrama or tidy perfection in favor of a taste of life on the margins, where even living paycheck to paycheck would be a luxury.” – Stephanie Merry, Washington Post

“In the best moments, Nelson juxtaposes … ephemeral, eternal doubt against the concrete realities of small-town American poverty and marginality.” – Adam Nayman, AV Club

“The movie’s not just good but moving, funny and true to the way people actually live in hard-times America.” – Alan Scherstuhl , Village Voice

Friday, February 19, 2016 – ** Claude Lanzmann, Spectres of the Shoah, Director Adam Benzine

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In the Academy Award nominated short documentary film Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah director Adam Benzine explores the arduous 12-year journey that led to the creation of one of the most important films of our time. Coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the release of Shoah — Claude Lanzmann’s nine-and-a-half-hour examination of the Holocaust of European Jews — this documentary reveals for the first time the trials and tribulations the French iconoclast faced. Notably, the film features an array of previously unseen outtake footage that was shot during the creation of Shoah, to illustrate Lanzmann’s journey from the bright-eyed journalist of 1973 to the world-weary auteur of 1985. The outtake footage has been digitally restored and was provided by the United States Shoah film posterHolocaust Memorial Museum and Israel’s Yad Vashem. In addition to exploring the making of Shoah the documentary also reflects on several key points in Lanzmann’s life, including his teenage years fighting in the French resistance, his love affair with Simone de Beauvoir and his deep friendship with Jean-Paul Sartre, as well as his hopes and expectations for the future. Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah is the first major documentary to be made on the life of the 90-year-old auteur. Writer, producer and director British filmmaker and journalist Adam Benzine joins us for an in-depth conversation on the Lanzmann, the remarkable story behind the making of Shoah and the tremendous impact Shoah has had on our collective understanding of Holocaust.

For news and updates go to: lanzmannfilm.com

For the latest from Facebook go to: facebook.com/LanzmannFilm

** Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Short Film

** Embrace of the Serpent – Director Ciro Guerra and Actor Brionne Davis

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The **2016 Academy Award nominated Best Foreign Language Film is at once blistering and poetic in its examination of the ravages of colonialism and the dark shadow it casts over the South American landscape in EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT. It is director Ciro Guerra third film and the first film shot in the Amazonian rainforest in over 30 years. Filmed in stunning black-and-white, the film centers on Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and the last survivor of his people, and the two scientists (Evan and Theo, portrayed by Brionne Davis and Jan Bijvoet) who, over the course of 40 years, build a friendship with him. The film was inspired by the real-life journals of two explorers (Theodor Kock-Grünberg and Richard Evans Schultes) who traveled through the Colombian Amazon during the last century in search of the sacred and difficult-to-find psychedelic Yakruna plant. EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight section of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, where it was awarded the top prize, the CIACE Art Cinema Award, and is Colombia’s official Oscar® entry for Best Foreign Language Film. Director Ciro Guerra and Brionne Davis stop by Film School to talk about the many challenges of filming in the jungles of Brazil and the rewards of shining a spotlight on the brutality of European colonial dominance over indigenous people.

** 2016 Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film

* 2016 Spirit Award nominee for Best International Film

For news and updates go to: embraceoftheserpent.oscilloscope.net

“An intense journey and very rewarding visual feast.” Nathaniel Rogers, THE FILM EXPERIENCE

“Shot on sumptuous Super 35, the black and white photography lends itself to the film’s sorrowful ode to a world devastated, but it is the ceaseless teeming life of the soundtrack that transports the audience into the midst of the rainforest.” – Ben Nicholson, CINEVUE

“A visual astonishment… There’s no denying the film’s chastening moral conviction or the transfixing power of its black-and-white imagery.Not just an ethnographic study but also a striking act of cinematic witness.” – Justin Chang, Variety

“‘Embrace of the Serpent’ is simply a work of art, and one of the most singular cinematic experiences you could hope to have in Cannes, or anywhere really. It’s an absorbing, even thrilling head trip. It is a Heart-of-Darkness voyage of discovery. It is a lament for all the lost plants and peoples of the world.” – Jessica Kiang, Indiewire’s “The Playlist”

** A War – Director Tobias Lindholm and Actor Pilou Asbaek

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In the **2016 Academy Award nominated Best Foreign Language film A WAR, company commander Claus M. Pedersen (Pilou Asbæk) and his men are stationed in an Afghan province. Meanwhile, back in Denmark, Claus’ wife Maria (Tuva Novotny) is trying to hold everyday life together with a husband at war and three children who are missing their father. During a routine mission, the soldiers are caught in heavy crossfire and in order to save his men, Claus makes a decision that has grave consequences for not only him, but also for his family back home. Award winning director Tobias Lindholm (A Hijacking, Bodil, The Hunt) and lead actor Pilou Asbaek (A Hijacking, Bodil, Ben-Hur (2016)) join us for an insightful conversation into the brutal and amoral circumstance of an urban war environment that often leaves participants with no right answers.

** 2016 Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film

For news and updates got to: magpictures.com/awar/ 

“Rigorous and engrossing. It scrutinizes the Afghanistan conflict with consummate sensitivity and detail. A particularly gutsy showcase for Pilou Asbæk.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“Tremendous. Beautifully written. The sense of directorial sureness throughout can’t be overstated.” – Jessica Kiang, Indiewire’s “The Playlist”

“The action in “A War” unfolds so spontaneously, and unpredictably, that you share the young soldiers’ sense of danger without realizing it at first.” – The Wall Street Journal

“A tightly-wound, gripping story that evokes the pressures that these men feel and the solid bonds of attachments to their buddies. Few films have done a better job of examining the notion that there is often a difficulty between the law and justice.” – Harvey Karten, Showbiz

** SHOK – Director Jamie Donoughue and Producer-Actor Eshref Durmishi

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This **Academy Award nominated story about the friendship of two boys that is tested to its limits, as they battle for survival during the Kosovo War.  Based on true events, SHOK is set during the escalation of the Kosovo War when the country was occupied by Serbia. Two young Kosovan boys, Petrit and Oki, are best friends. After Oki buys a bike, Petrit is desperate to have one of his own. Building a steady network of clients and contacts, Petrit drags Oki into ever more dangerous situations until their lives are put at risk. Oki’s bicycle is taken away by a soldier and given to a Serbian boy instead. Escalating effects of war become even more intense for these boys and their families. And as their relationship is tested to the limits, they encounter the true intentions of the Serbians and learn the meaning of friendship. SHOK is based on true events of the film’s producer/actor Eshref Durmishi – who was a young boy during these tumultuous times in Kosovo. Director – writer Jamie Donoughue and Durmishi join us to talk about the making of this wrenching drama and the lessons learned from years of brutal civil war.

** 2016 Academy Award nominated – Live Action Short Film

For news and updates go to: shokshortfilm.com

** Chau, Beyond the Lines, Director Courtney Marsh and ** Body Team 12, Director David Darg

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Body Team 12 is tasked with collecting the victims at the height of the Ebola outbreak. These body collectors have arguably the most dangerous and gruesome job in the world. The story is told on the ground in Monrovia, Liberia through the eyes of the only female member of the team, Garmai Sumo. A mother and a caretaker, Garmai posesses a certain type of maternal heroism. And through Garmai, we see the heartbreaking, lifesaving work of removing bodies from loved ones in order to halt the transmission of the disease. Director David Darg shot the film himself at great personal risk in an effort to humanize the workers he felt were saving the world. He edited the film while in quarantine upon returning to the United States.

Director David Darg on the making of Body Team 12: “Being on the ground during the height of the viral Ebola outbreak in 2014, I was astonished by the bravery of Liberia’s Ebola body teams, and in particular, Garmai Sumo, the BT12-Dargfemale body collector featured in the film BODY TEAM 12. I was immediately inspired by her – by her fearlessness, determination and love for her community. History is defined by people who stood up against huge odds to fight immense battles. If it was not for the courage of the body teams, the Ebola epidemic would be far worse. Africa, and ultimately the world, owes so much to this small group of brave young Liberians. I hope BODY TEAM 12 earns them gratitude from people all around the globe.”

For news and updates go to: bodyteam12

** 2016 Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary – Short Subject

“… it is Body Team 12 that clutches at the heart. Not only is Sumo a redemptive presence in an apocalyptic moment in her country’s history, but she represents the best in all of us. For that reason, Darg and Mooser might just nab the Oscar.” – Film Journal

 “It’s a showcase of the human spirit and a selfless attitude to do what’s necessary for the greater good because today’s generation deserves the chance to have the same future every generation before them had. It’s also a memorial for the nameless and faceless victims… Darg gives them something with his film by immortalizing them through Sumo’s mission. And one day it’ll all be worth it.” – Jared Mubarek

Chau, Beyond the lines posterChau, Beyond the Lines Chau, a teenager living in a Ho Chi Minh care center for children disabled by Agent Orange,
battles with the reality of his dream to one day become a professional artist.

Director Courtney Marsh on the making of Chau, Beyond the Lines: “Eight years ago, I traveled to Vietnam with a classmate to make a documentary on the plight of the street kids in Ho Chi Minh City. However, not too long into our trip, we were introduced to a small care center for kids disabled by Agent Orange, tucked away in the back of a maternity hospital. When I entered, something struck deep inside me and I decided to volunteer there for a week, becoming close with the kids almost instantly. I asked them if I could film their lives, andCourtney Marsh thus, began a two month journey that would span out into my 8-year endeavor. And as I finished this film, what I saw and began to believe was the truth of the unconquerable human spirit. I focused on Chau’s story because of the relentless pursuit for his dream to be an artist. He taught me to hope in a world where, most often than not, there is a lack of such. If we could all look at the larger picture, focus on what we have rather than what we don’t have, perhaps our seemingly impossible dreams would be actually within our reach.” Director Marsh joins us for a conversation on the remarkable spirit of Chau and the impact that Agent Orange has had, and continues to have on the people of Vietnam.

 For news and updates go to: beyondthelinesfilm.com

** 2016 Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary – Short Subject

 22nd Annual Austin Film Festival – Jury Award Best Documentary Short Film

45th Annual USA Film Festival – Jury Award Best Documentary Short Film

30th Annual Fort Lauderdale Int’l Film Festival – Jury Award Best Documentary Short Film

5th Annual Irvine International Film Festival – Jury Award Best Documentary Short Film

2016 Academy Award Nominated Short Program, Carter Pilcher

2016 OSCAR SHORT POSTER 

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Since founding Shorts International in 2000, Carter Pilcher has worked to make his company the world’s leading short movie entertainment company. Shorts International has become the first choice distributor, broadcaster and producer for hundreds of films. Carter has extensive experience in short movie production and short movie entertainment. He is a voting member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and a member of the Short Film and Feature Animation Branch of The US Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) – the guys who pick the Oscars. Carter talks to us about the fifteen wonderful films nominated for the Live Action, Documentary and Animated Short Film 2016 Academy Awards.

Band of Robbers, co-director Aaron Nee

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Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are all grown up in this reimagined, modern day fable that finds them still searching for a hidden treasure that has eluded them since childhood. A modern-day retelling of Mark Twain’s iconic books, Band of Robbers is a comedic adventure that re-imagines the characters as grown men, and small-time crooks.  When Huck Finn is released from prison, he hopes to leave his criminal life behind, but his lifelong friend, and corrupt cop, Tom Sawyer, has other plans. Not ready to give up on his childhood fantasies, Tom forms the Band of Robbers, recruiting their misfit friends, Joe Harper and Ben Rogers, to join them for an elaborate plan to find a fabled treasure. But the plan soon unravels, thrusting the guys on a wild journey with dangerous consequences. Band of Robbers premiered to stellar reviews out of LA Film Festival this year and stars Kyle Gallner (American Sniper, Dear White People, The Finest Hours), Adam Nee (Drunk History), Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds, 500 Days of Summer, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou), Hannibal Buress (SNL Emmy-nominated writer, Broad City, Neighbors), Melissa Benoist (Glee, Supergirl), Daniel Mora (The Bridge), Eric Christian Olsen (NCIS: Los Angeles), and Stephen Lang (Avatar films, Salem). Co-director Aaron Nee stops by for a conversation on this kinetic, funny and entertaining feature debut film.

For news and updates go to: bandofrobbersmovie.com

Special appearance by directors and cast

NEW YORK: At the AMC EMPIRE 25 co-director Adam Nee and cast Kyle Gallner and Hannibal Buress will be doing a Q&A. (More details coming soon.) Later at the Nitehawk Cinema a special 12:25 AM screening will be introduced by Adam, Hannibal and Kyle.

LOS ANGELES: Co-director Aaron Nee, DP Noah Rosenthal and some of the cast will be doing a Q&A at the Laemmle Playhouse 7 in Pasadena at 7:10 PM. 

“A film that’s as hilarious as it is beautiful.” – Paste Magazine

“Wound tight by a killer premise, polished direction, and a tone as though Anton Chigurh sauntered into “Bottle Rocket.” – Indiewire

“A wonderfully absurd crime comedy.” – Playlist

“This comic take on “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” is infused with a gleefully absurdist sense of humor while retaining a childlike sense of wonder.” – Stephen Holden, New York Times

* AMY, Director Asif Kapadia

Amy film poster 

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From BAFTA Award-winning director Asif Kapadia (SENNA), AMY tells the incredible story of six-time Grammy-winner Amy Winehouse – in her own words. Featuring extensive unseen archival footage and previously unheard tracks, this strikingly modern, moving and vital film shines a light on our culture and the world we live in today. A once-in-a-generation talent, Amy Winehouse was a musician that captured the world’s attention with her unforgettable voice and charisma. A pure jazz artist in the most authentic sense, Amy poured her heart and soul into her music, expressing personal struggles and pain through her intimate lyrics. The combination of her raw honesty and virtuosity resulted in some of the most unique and adored songs of our time. Amy became an international sensation, experiencing a meteoric rise to fame she had never sought nor expected. The relentless and invasive media attention, coupled with Amy’s troubled relationships and addictions, led her into a tragic cycle of self-destruction, resulting in her untimely death at age 27. The film invites audiences to remember and celebrate Amy as a brilliant artist while asking ourselves how it was that we watched her disappear in front of our eyes. Director Kapadia joins us for a conversation on his powerful and at times, heartbreaking documentary about a brilliant singer, songwriter and artist.

For news and updates on AMY go to: amy-movie.com

* 2016 Academy Award nomination, Best Documentary

“It’s Amy’s words, her music, her voicemails, her home videos, her friends, her family, her tormentors, and her timeless incandescence. Look, listen and weep.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“In Kapadia’s assured and careful hands, the film becomes less a portrait of a tragic artist, whose downward spiral was exacerbated by opportunistic family members and colleagues, than a discomfiting mirror held up to her audience.” – Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

“Mr. Kapadia isn’t simply revisiting Ms. Winehouse’s life and death, but also – by pulling you in close to her, first pleasantly and then unpleasantly – telling the story of contemporary celebrity and, crucially, fandom’s cost.” – Manohla Dargis, New York Times

“Anyone with a beating heart will be forgiven for allowing it to break during this unflinching and thoughtful account of the life and death of the soul singer.” – Dave Calhoun, Time Out