Space Dogs, Co-directors Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter

In their mesmerizing new film, SPACE DOG, Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter chronicle the legacy of Laika, a stray dog picked up by the Soviet space program on the streets of Moscow, the first living being to orbit the earth when she was launched into space on Sputnik 2. Kremser and Peter trace the persistence of her memory and legacy into the present day. As the capsule containing the lifeless body of Laika re-entered Earth’s orbit and began to burn up, the narrator announces “What had been a Moscow street dog had become a ghost.”The ghost Laika lives on in the present-day strays of SPACE DOGS. Photographed at ground level with wandering, hypnotic camera movements, the strays are seen navigating the urban environs of modern Moscow. In hewing closely to the dog’s point of view, the city is rendered as a strange, alien environment. Pulsating music from buildings and unidentified passerby take on an unfamiliar quality as the dogs explore this strange new world. Archival footage of the Soviet space program is interwoven throughout the film, reveling in the bizarre tests and procedures the canines were subjected to in preparation for space travel. Co-directors Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter join us for a conversation on their fascinating project that features stunning cinematography and meditative pacing that recalls the work of Andrei Tarkovsky, and how SPACE DOGS de-centers humans in order to uncover a forgotten history.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: icarusfilms.com/if-spaced

For more about the filmmakers go to: raumzeitfilm.com

About the filmmaker – Director ELSA KREMSER Born 1985 in Austria, Elsa Kremser studied Film at the University of Vienna and the Filmakademie Ludwigsburg. As an author and producer, she realized several documentaries that were shown worldwide. Her diploma film NEBEL premiered at the Berlinale. She was a jury member of Visions du Réel and participated in the Nipkow Grand and the EuroDoc program. In 2016 she founded the Vienna-based production company RAUMZEITFILM together with Levin Peter. As a directing duo, they are currently working on their first fiction feature, THE GREEN PARROT, which received the Berlinale Kompagnon Script Award. Their recent documentary SPACE DOGS premiered at Locarno IFF where it received two special jury mentions. It was presented at over 50 festivals worldwide and awarded as the “Best Austrian Film 2019” at the Viennale.

About the filmmaker – Director LEVIN PETER Born 1985 in Germany, Levin Peter studied at the Filmakademie Ludwigsburg where he realized several documentaries that were shown worldwide. His diploma film BEYOND THE SNOWSTORM won the German Upcoming Film Award and was presented as a Guest at the Berlinale. He was a jury member at Visions du Réel and received the Nipkow and the Gerd Ruge Grant. In 2016 he founded the Vienna-based production company RAUMZEITFILM with Elsa Kremser. As a directing duo, they are currently working on their first fiction feature, THE GREEN PARROT, which received the Berlinale Kompagnon Script Award. Their recent documentary SPACE DOGS premiered at Locarno IFF where it received two special jury mentions. It was presented at over 50 festivals worldwide and awarded as the “Best Austrian Film 2019” at the Viennale.

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“Brutal but also deeply sensitive; a complex work that got under my skin.” —Film Comment

“No one leaves this movie unchanged.” —Publico

“Radical and rigorous; one of the documentaries of the year.” —Film Idea

“Like Disney directed by Andrei Tarkovsky.” —CineVue

“Undoubtedly the most exciting film at Locarno: a philosophical film that does what cinema has to do: show unseen images.” —Deutchland Funk

“Successfully subverts the anthropocentric gaze to illustrate the violent way humans inhabit space.” —Little White Lies

“A total work of art, foreshadowing a near future in which man is no longer the center of the world.” —Kino Zeit

“Ingenious; Kremser and Peter connect a roughly hewn space traveling animal history with modern stray subjects.” —IonCinema

“The scariest film of the year.” —CineEuropa

Feels Good Man, Director Arthur Jones and Giorgio Angelini

In November 2016, a nasty election cycle had exposed a seismic cultural rift, and the country suddenly felt like a much different place. For underground cartoonist Matt Furie, that sensation was even more surreal. Furie’s comic creation Pepe the Frog, conceived more than a decade earlier as a laid-back humanoid amphibian, had unwittingly become a grotesque political pawn. FEELS GOOD MAN is a Frankenstein-meets-Alice-in-Wonderland journey of an artist battling to regain control of his creation, while confronting a disturbing cast of characters who have their own peculiar attachments to Pepe. Now, as Pepe continues to morph around the world – FEELS GOOD MAN offers a vivid, moving portrait of one man, one frog, and the very strange reality we’ve all found ourselves living in. Director Arthur Jones and Producer Giorgio Angelini stop by to talk about their mind-blowing journey into an internet / social media / 4Chan rabbit hole where a hippy-dippy cartoon character becomes an avatar and unfathomable messenger of hatred and bigoted propaganda.

 

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

To watch Feels Good Man go to: feelsgoodman.watch

For more on Pepe the Frog creator mattfurie.com

About the filmmakers: Arthur Jones – Director / Animator / Writer FEELS GOOD MAN is Jones’s directorial debut, but he’s uniquely suited to tell the story. He’s a cartoonist who came up in the same indie comics scene as the film’s subject, Matt Furie. Jones published a book of his illustrations in 2011: Post-it Note Diaries (Penguin/Plume Paperbacks). Over his career, he’s art directed animation and motion graphics for journalists and documentary filmmakers, working with companies including The New York Times, VICE, The Center for Investigative Reporting and The International Consortium of Journalists. Recently he’s been a part of several documentary features: Seed Money: The Chuck Holmes Story (2015), BUNKER 77 (Amazon Studios, 2017), Owned, A Tale of Two Americas (2018) and Hal (Oscilloscope Films, 2018). Jones is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. For more on the work of Arthur Jones go to: futuresmells.com

Giorgio Angelini: Producer / Writer / Cinematographer came into film from a longer, multi-faceted career in the creative arts. After touring in bands like The Rosebuds and Bishop Allen for much of his 20s, Giorgio enrolled in the Masters of Architecture program at Rice University during the depths of the 2008 real estate collapse. It was during this tumultuous time that the seeds for Giorgio’s directorial debut, OWNED: A Tale of Two Americas began to take shape. Following graduate school, Angelini began working with the boutique architecture firm, Schaum Shieh Architects, where he designed the White Oak Music Hall in Houston, Texas, as well as the headquarters for The Transart Foundation for Art and Anthropology, which won the Architect’s Newspaper’s “Design of the Year” award in 2018. 

WINNER – U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker – 2020 Sundance Film Festival
WINNER – Best Feature Documentary – 2020 Lighthouse International Film Festival
Official Selection – 2020 True/False Film Festival
Official Selection – 2020 Big Sky Documentary Festival
Official Selection – Festival Favorites – 2020 SXSW Film Festival

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94% on Rotten Tomatoes

“You’ve just got to see it. It is chilling, hopeful, terrible, and wonderful—and made with care, gorgeous animation, and perfect pacing.”Allen Salkin, Los Angeles Magazine

“An expansive forensic look at the life cycle of an idea, a warp-speed analysis of internet sociology, and a harrowingly modern fable about innocence lost.“ – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

“It’s mesmerizing and kind of trippy, but also makes the film feel like a one-of-a-kind creation in the greater context of the Pepe the Frog legacy…an outstanding documentary.” 9/10 – Alex Billington, FirstShowing

“The most urgent and poignant political documentary of the year.” – Matt Patches, Polygon

The rePRO Film Festival and mama.film Co-founders Lela Meadow-Conner, Mallory Martin and Debby Samples

The rePRO Film Festival begins its inaugural run this August 12-16. The virtual film festival is dedicated to exploring women’s reproductive healthcare, awareness, advocacy and bodily integrity in America. The lineup of films includes documentaries and narratives dealing with women’s rights, endometriosis, illegal sterilization, access to abortion, and reproductive justice for women of color, among other topics. rePRO Film Festival, will host five days of features, short films and themed-conversations focused on a range of topics including healthcare access, fertility, pregnancy, sexual education, abortion, and issues related to the gender spectrum. In-festival moderated conversations will include call-to-action messaging on how people can get involved in a corresponding initiative or topic. The conversations, designed to spotlight the creators who dare to tell stories about women’s reproductive rights, and to showcase courageous advocators, will be available online for free globally. All feature films playing the rePRO Film Festival are directed by women, and all filmmakers, including shorts filmmakers, are being paid to screen their films. The pay-what-you-can film ticket proceeds for films at the festival will be converted to donations to be split evenly among five beneficiary non-profit organizations – SisterSong, Endometriosis Foundation of America, Center for Reproductive Rights, URGE and Trust Women. Tickets are on sale online at repromamafilm.org. Tickets are all pay-what-you-can ($5, $10 or $15) with a limited number of complimentary vouchers available upon request to ensure access for all. rePro Film Festival and festival sponsor mama.film founders Lela Meadow-Conner, Mallory Martin and Debby Samples join us to talk about the launch of their deep dive into the issues, challenges and stories that face 49% of the world’s population and the people who love them.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: repromamafilm.org

About MAMA.FILM – Through the power of cinema, mama.film (link), a 501c(3) non-profit organization, unites nurturers of all kinds to ignite conversation and to reflect upon our shared human experience. Founded in 2019, in a pop-up microcinema in a shipping container in Wichita, Kansas, mama.film has since been awarded expanded programming to Cleveland, and to a virtual platform. Film selections include stories and topics that amplify and explore the evolving realities of the human condition and that spark dialogue and reflection. mamafilm is committed to representing the realities and complexities of a diverse range of nurturers, across race, class, geography, sexual preference, ability and generation.An emphasis is placed on independent and foreign films that are grounded in authentic storytelling. mamafilm is committed to supporting the work of creators who are  nurturers and caregivers. Initial support for rePRO by mama.film was generously provided by a grant from the George R. Tiller, M.D., Memorial Fund for the Advancement of Women’s Health at the Wichita Community Foundation. Follow @mamafilm1 on Instagram or Twitter for updates, or follow rePRO by mama.film on Facebook for more updates.

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The Sunlit Night, Writer Rebecca Dinerstein Knight

In Director David Wnendt (Wetlands) beguiling new film, The Sunlit Night, summer is off to a terrible start for Frances (Jenny Slate). Her art school project fails, her boyfriend unceremoniously kicks her out of his Hamptons home, and, to top it all off, her younger sister reveals she’s engaged just moments before her parents announce their separation. Hoping to invigorate her work and expand her horizons Frances hastily takes an opening for an art residency in Norway and heads off to an isolated island where the sun never sets. In a remote village, among the locals, she meets a fellow New Yorker (Sharp), who has come in search of a proper Viking funeral only to find that the Chief (Galifianakis) is but a re-enactor from Cincinnati. The eclectic crew ranges from “home” to “lost,” within the extreme and dazzling landscape of the Far North. Under a sun that never quite sets, and the high standards of an unforgiving mentor, Frances must navigate between ambition, desire, obligation, and risk in order to find a way forward. Author and screenwriter Rebecca Dinerstein Knight joins us to talk her collaboration with actor / producer Jenny Slate and director David Wnendt and finding the right mixture of understated drama and absurdist spirit that informs this charming gem of a film.

 

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For news and updates go to : The Sunlit Night

About the filmmaker(s): “I wrote The Sunlit Night as a stranger in a foreign land: no Jewish New Yorkers had ever moved to the Norwegian Arctic for no reason before, so the locals told me, on the island I had come to share with them, 95 miles north of the Arctic Circle and floating in the Norwegian Sea. Without any Norwegian ancestry to justify my journey, I could only explain my sudden relocation to the Lofoten Islands as a search for beauty, an opportunity to test language against a supreme landscape. I wanted to write about rapture. In the story that resulted, and in our faithful film, the gruffness of ancient mountain rock meets the unpredictable softness of goat’s fur; cultures clash and form new harmonies. Living alone at the top of the planet drove me to ask what connection means. What makes a person feel at home in the world, and who is responsible for the warmth of a welcome? Can geography exert emotional force? How can a woman communicate herself in the absence of common language and custom? How does the practice of art transcend practical circumstances? This is a movie about stretching oneself over the abyss of the unknown and touching the other, quieter side. The blankness and newness that open up there carry the risk of incredible loneliness, and the promise of wild revelation.” Writer Rebecca Dinerstein Knight  

Director David Wnendt made his mark at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival with Wetlands, adapted from the best-selling novel by Charlotte Roche. His next film, Look Who’s Back, grossed over $20 million and was released by Netflix. Wnendt’s debut film, Combat Girls, earned him the Bavarian Film Award for best young director and the Prix Genève Europe for best fiction script by a newcomer. Wnendt was one of Variety’s “10 Europeans to watch” for 2016.

The Killing Floor, Director Bill Duke

Praised by The Village Voice as the most “clear-eyed account of union organizing on film,” THE KILLING FLOOR tells a true story of how a group of black and white slaughterhouse workers attempted to break race barriers to build an interracial union for the first time in the brutal stockyards. Damien Leake (SERPICO, APOCALYPSE NOW) stars as Frank Custer, a young black sharecropper from Mississippi – one of tens of thousands of southern blacks who journeyed to the industrial north during World War One, hoping for more racial equality. When Frank lands a job as a laborer on “the killing floor” in one of Chicago’s giant meatpacking plants., he finds a place seething with racial antagonism and decides to support the union cause. His best friends from the South, distrustful of the white-led union, turn against him. As racial violence explodes in the notorious Chicago Race Riot of 1919, management is able to further divide the workforce to defeat the union, and Frank must forge a new path. Director Bill Duke ( A RAGE IN HARLEM, DEEP COVER) stops by to talk about the challenges of making a sweeping historical film on a PBS budget, bringing together a talent group of mostly unknown African-American actor and the joy of seeing his groundbreaking and newly relevant film restored and revisited.

For news and updates go to: filmmovement.com/the-killing-floor

Watch The Killing Floor: filmmovement.com/in-theaters

About The Killing Floor: The film was shot in 1983 in Chicago, working with local union crews and with many talented Chicago actors. It was made in the midst of the Reagan Era and shortly after the election of Chicago’s first African-American mayor, Harold Washington. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, foundations, corporations and dozens of national and local unions, THE KILLING FLOOR premiered on PBS’ American Playhouse series in 1984 to rave reviews. In 1985 the film was invited to Cannes and won the Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Award. Featuring a screenplay by Obie Award-winner Leslie Lee, based on an original story by producer Elsa Rassbach and directed by Bill Duke (A RAGE IN HARLEM, DEEP COVER), THE KILLING FLOOR. New 4K restoration. Preserved by UCLA Film & Television Archive, laboratory services and DCP by UCLA Film & Television Archive Digital Media Lab, with a special thanks to Elsa Rassbach, Sundance Institute Collection at UCLA Film & Television Archive.

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Rich and revealing, a cry of historical dimensions….” — Variety

 “A classic study in class hate, greed and stubborn idealism.  You won´t forget it.” — Newsday

 “Brilliantly captures the drama of the moment as well as the historical forces that produced it.” — The Journal of American History

“…a particularly brilliant example of a cinema which knows how to use all the resources of fiction, without ever allowing its historical documentary side to be marred.” – La Revue du Cinema

“…fascinatingly recreated period reality, in performances that combine political faith with artistic force….” – London Evening Standard

“A very powerful, very surprising film….” – Le Monde

 “As compelling dramatically as its historical analysis is fascinating …Surprising that a film from the U.S. can be so frank and explicit in its exposure of the class struggle.” — Sight & Sound

Sometimes Always Never, Director Carl Hunter

In the latest collaboration between director Carl Hunter and writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce SOMETIMES ALWAYS NEVER follows a stylish tailor and wayward father, Alan, (Bill Nighy) who is has spent a big chunk of his adult life playing the word game Scrabble. At the expense of his other relationships Alan has spent years searching tirelessly for his missing son, Michael, who stormed out over a game of Scrabble. With a body to identify and his family torn apart, Alan must repair the relationship with his youngest son, Jack (Sam Riley) and identify an online player who he thinks could be Michael, so he can finally move on and reunite his family. A quirky mystery / comedy starring the BAFTA winner Bill Nighy (Love Actually, Shaun of the Dead), SOMETIMES ALWAYS NEVER is a story about redemption, family, and finding the right words. Director Carl Hunter joins us to talk about his on-going work with screenwriter working with Cottrell-Boyce, and the photo that convinced lead actor Bill Nighy to join the project and striking the right visual look for his thoughtful, wryly funny film.

 

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For news, virtual screenings and updates goto: sometimes-always-never.com

About the filmmaker: Carl Hunter is a director, screenwriter and also the bass player for Liverpool band, The Farm, who had a number 1 LP, Spartacus in 1991, 3 top 10 singles and spent a total of 50 weeks in the official top 40s for both LPs and singles. He has been making films, producing and directing, since the late 1990s and in 2019 he directed his first feature film, Sometimes, Always, Never, starring Bill Nighy and produced by Hurricane Films. In 2007, Carl produced and co-wrote the feature film, ‘Grow Your Own.’ He’s currently developing his next ideas with writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce.

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“…charming, elegant, whimsical and unexpectedly moving gem.” – Chris Hunneysett, Daily Mirror (UK)

“It’s universally well acted and it’s directed with an inventive, original visual style that matches the audacity of basing a film on Scrabble, by TV director Carl Hunter. The end result is unusual, intriguing and endearing.” – Alexa Dalby, Dog and Wolf

“It’s Nighy who will have you enthralled. He delivers a subtle, nuanced performance that allows the actor to shine while in full support of his costars.” – Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times

“Screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce, who adapted the film from his own short story, has crafted a joy of a script, which seeds its themes as elegantly as Nighy’s character, Alan, a Scrabble-obsessed tailor, wears his suits. – Wendy Ide, Observer (UK)

American High, Founder Jeremy Garelick

Yale graduate Jeremy Garelick started in the mailroom at the Creative Artists Agency, before going on to work as assistant to legendary writer/director, Joel Schumacher on Tigerland, Bad Company, Phone Booth, and Veronica Guerin. Jeremy made his feature screenplay debut with the Vince Vaughn vehicle The Break-Up and followed that by teaming up with Todd Phillips to pen the production draft of The Hangover, establishing himself as the go-to A-list comedy writer in Hollywood. In 2015 Jeremy directed his first feature film, The Wedding Ringer starring Kevin Hart and Josh Gad. Between writing, directing, and show running his Netflix original limited series, Best. Worst. Weekend. Ever., and executive producing his YouTube Red original, Side Swiped, Jeremy also formed his own production company, American High. Staked with a $45 million film fund, American High has shot five indie comedies in Garelick’s recently acquired school-turned-studio in Syracuse, NY, including Big Time Adolescence, starring Pete Davidson, Jon Cryer, and Sydney Sweeney, which was recently invited to compete in dramatic competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. In addition, American High Founder Jeremy Garelick is set to direct and produce a slate of three higher budget high school comedy features in 2020.

 

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For news and updates go to: americanhigh.com

 

About American High: Do for this generation what John Hughes did for the audiences of the 1980’s. Embrace the R-rated reality of high school and tell stories from eclectic characters from diverse backgrounds as they navigate the most formative (and often most hilarious) years of their lives. Why high school? Simple. Because it is one of the only shared experiences that we all go through. It’s where every challenge feels like life and death, where every victory is your greatest accomplishment. It’s a world of firsts. It’s where you first snuck out of your house and got in real trouble. Where you first learned how to drive and crashed into a lake. It’s your first kiss. The first time you touched a boob or someone touched yours. Where you discover who your friends are, the music you love, the movies you love, what your style is, who you are. In 2019 American High produced HULU’s very first original film, THE BINGE, starring Vince Vaughn and directed by American High founder Jeremy Garelick.

American High is using its sound stages for manufacturing 3-D Face Shields for our COVID first responders, Watch this video and go to the American High website to see how you can join them. 

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

Raising Buchanan, Creator and Actor Amanda Melby

Inspired by a couple of true presidential corpse stories: the 1876 plot to steal Abraham Lincoln’s body, and the exhumation of Zachary Taylor in 1991, RAISING BUCHANAN took the idea of presidential corpse stealing to extraordinary lengths of dark comedy delight with terrible dead presidents. Because there’s certainly something to be learned from terrible presidents, as well as laughing at them. Finding their inspiration in the off-kilter tone of the dramatically rooted comedies of Alexander Payne, the Coen Brothers, and Hal Ashby, the RAISING BUCHANAN stars Amanda Melby (Candid Camera), René Auberjonois (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), Cathy Shim (Reno 911!), Robert Ben Garant (Reno 911!), Terence Bernie Hines (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), Jennifer Pfalzgraff  (21 Grams), Steve Briscoe (Covet), Lynnette ‘L.A.’ Brown (Kerry and Angie), and M. Emmet Walsh (Blade Runner). Produced by Melby and Joe Gruberman (Eleven Eleven), this award-winning feature film swept the film festival circuit racking up multiple awards, including: Best Feature, Best Dramedy, Best Actress (Melby) and Best Screenplay (Bruce Dellis), among others. Creator and lead actor Amanda Melby stops by for a lively conversation on her wryly funny and endearing film, Raising Buchanan, and her collaboration with the late, great René Auberjonois.

 

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For news and updates go to: raisingbuchanan.com

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“Auberjonois is so good as the feckless leader, nobly defending his poor decisions, that it makes you long for a full one-man show that will never come.” – Josh Bell, Crooked Marquee

“Surely, Buchanan was never going to earn the kind of cinematic lionization that so many American filmmaking greats (like Steven Spielberg and John Ford) gave to good old Abe Lincoln, but he could have done a whole lot worse than this.” – Nick Rocco Scalia. Film Threat

“Simply as a showcase for two of the best character actors of the last fifty years, Raising Buchanan deserves praise.” – M.V. Moorhead, Phoenix Magazine

BULL, Director Annie Silverstein

The quietly powerful new film from award-winning director Annie Silverstein BULL focuses on a  14-year-old Kris (Amber Havard), who, after trashing her neighbor’s house in a fit of youthful defiance, seems destined to follow in her mother’s footsteps to the state penitentiary. To make amends, she is forced to help Abe Turner (Rob Morgan), an ex-bull rider scraping by on the Texas rodeo circuit, with errands at home and at his work. While traveling with Abe, she discovers a passion for bull riding.  Yet, as Kris sets out to learn the dangerous sport, bad influences lure her back into delinquent ways. Meanwhile, Abe struggles with the aches and pains of growing older and aging out of the only life he has ever known. Together, Kris and Abe forge an unexpected connection, helping each other see new possibilities and hope for the future before it’s too late. Director and writer Annie Silverstein stops by to talk about the inspiration for BULL and how her experience as a social worker informs her instincts as a filmmaker.

 

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About the filmmaker – Annie Silverstein is an award winning filmmaker and media educator based in Austin, Texas. Her films have screened at international festivals including Cannes, SXSW, Silverdocs and on PBS Independent Lens. Her latest film, SKUNK, won first prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival–Cinéfondation. Before attending film school, Annie spent ten years as a youth worker and community media educator. She co-founded and served as Artistic Director at Longhouse Media, an indigenous arts organization based in Seattle. For her work there, Annie received the National Association for Media Literacy Award for outstanding contributions made in the field of media education. Annie is a lecturer at the University of Texas-Austin, where she earned her MFA in Film Production. Annie was named one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine and was selected for the Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Labs for Bull, her feature debut. Annie recently premiered Bull at the Cannes Film Festival in Un Certain Regard.

For news, screenings and updates go to: samuelgoldwynfilms.com/bull/

For more on Annie Silverstein got to: anniesilverstein.com

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“The fact that this never comes across as maudlin is tribute to a director who knows her way through dark places, and a pair of actors who can create a quiet storm.” – Steve Pond, TheWrap

“By resisting sentimentality, the filmmaker, alongside her naturalistic actors, allows us to sit inside the characters’ despair so that we appreciate the intensity of its stifling oppression.” – Tim Grierson, Screen International

“As she proved with her superb, award-winning 2014 short film Skunk, Silverstein portrays marginal lives with unflinching honesty and heart-wrenching humanity.” – Loren King, AWFJ Women on Film

“[Director] Silverstein makes a strong case that these people have something worthwhile to say to viewers. There is a grace and tenderness to the movie that are hard to resist.” – Daniel Eagan, Film Legacy

Selah and the Spades, Director Tayarisha Poe

SELAH AND THE SPADES tells the beautifully complex story of an insulated world at an elite Pennsylvania boarding school, Haldwell, where the student body is run by five factions. Seventeen-year-old Selah Summers (Lovie Simone) runs the most dominant group, the Spades, with unshakable poise, as they cater to the most classic of vices and supply students with coveted, illegal alcohol and pills. Tensions between the factions escalate, and when Selah’s best friend/right hand Maxxie (MOONLIGHT’s Jharrel Jerome) becomes distracted by a new love, Selah takes on a protégée, enamored sophomore Paloma (Celeste O’Connor), to whom she imparts her wisdom onruling the school. But with graduation looming and Paloma proving an impressively quick study, Selah’s fears turn sinister as she grapples with losing the control by which she defines herself. In her feature debut, writer/director Tayarisha Poe immerses us in a heightened depiction of teenage politics. This searing character study encapsulates just how intoxicating power can be for a teenage girl who acutely feels the threat of being denied it. Exciting newcomer Lovie Simone’s performance beautifully embodies both Selah’s publicly impeccable command and the internal fears and uncertainty that drive it. Director and writer Tayarisha Poe joins us for a lively conversation on her own high school experience, The Godfather, the importance of showcasing powerful young women and the remarkably talented actors who make Selah and the Spades so riveting.

 

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Selah and the Spades premieres April 17 on Amazon Prime

About the filmmaker: Director / writer Tayarisha Poe is a storyteller from West Philadelphia who believes that all stories are inherently multi-sensory and multi-dimensional, and thus should be told that way. She was chosen as one of the 25 New Faces by Filmmaker Magazine in 2015, and in 2016 she received the Sundance Institute’s Knight Foundation Fellowship. In 2017 she was selected for the Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Labs. Her first feature film, SELAH AND THE SPADES, premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

For more about Tayarisha Poe go to: tayarishapoe.com

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#jointhespades

 

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Selah and the Spades shows a great deal of promise for writer/director Tayarisha Poe, who demands your attention with style and story in her directorial debut.” – Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com

“Quietly confident in its unconventional yet clear point of view, Selah and the Spades signals a bright future for a promising young filmmaker.” – Beandrea July, Hollywood Reporter

“The level of craft in Poe’s feature debut exceeds that of directors with more experience and portends a long career with more wonderful art to come.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat

“More than the sheer delight of watching a powerful Black girl, Selah and the Spades is an earnest celebration of youth and power -something long-reserved for white teens while excluding young people of color.” – Aramide Tinubu, Shadow and Act

Sister, Director Siqi Song

A man thinks back to his childhood memories of growing up with an annoying little sister in China in the 1990s. What would his life have been like if things had gone differently?

Directors Statement – The genesis of SISTER came from a question I get asked a lot throughout my childhood: What is it like to grow up with a sibling? As a “Little Sister” myself, I was born as the second child in my family at the height of China’s One Child Policy. At that time, it’s really hard to have a second child in one family. Luckily, my parents put in a lot of effort to keep me and raise me. Otherwise, I would not have existed and lived a life. Although many other “Second Child” in my generation never had a chance to get born. Therefore most of my friends don’t have siblings. Growing up with my brother has been a privilege and a bittersweet experience for me. Throughout my childhood, the question that had been asked a lot by friends is that, what is it like to grow up with a sibling? So, I have been telling stories about me and my brother since I was a kid. And I have heard stories of my friends and cousins could not have little sisters and brothers because of the one-child policy. The narrator of this film, for example, told me that he lost a younger sister when he was four years old. He always imagines how his life would be if his sister was ever born. So, I want to make a film to tell my friends what it is like to grow up with a sibling. More importantly, I also want to tell the stories of my friends, who would’ve had a different life if their siblings were born. This film is dedicated to this group memory. – Siqi Song

Director’s Biography – Siqi Song is a Chinese writer, director and animator, currently based in Los Angeles. Her animated films have been recognized internationally by Sundance, SXSW, BAFTA, and ASIFA-Hollywood. Siqi is an alumnus of California Institute of the Arts and China Central Academy of Fine Arts. She is named a Film Independent Directing Fellow in 2018 and BAFTA Los Angeles Newcomer in 2019. 

 

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For news and updates go to: songsiqi.com/sister

Trailer for Sister: vimeo.com/260285746

For news and updates go to: songsiqi.com/sister

Twitter@siqi.song

facebook.com/siqisong.hello

 

AWARDS

Best Animated Short – 92nd Academy Award – Shortlist

Jury Award for Best Animation – Aspen Shortsfest, USA (Academy Award®-qualifying)

Light in Motion Award for Best Animation – Foyle Film Festival, Ireland (Academy Award®-qualifying)

Jury Award for Animated Short – Austin Film Festival, USA (Academy Award®-qualifying)

Best Short Animation – Hollyshorts Film Festival, USA (Academy Award®-qualifying)

Best in Show – SPARK Animation, Canada (Academy Award®-qualifying)

Jury’s Choice Award – The 7th China Independent Animation Film Forum, China

Jury Prize for Graduation Film – 20th Bucheon International Animation Film Festival, Korea

Jury Award for Narrative Short – Austin Asian American Film Festival, USA

Audience Award for Narrative Short – Austin Asian American Film Festival, USA

Audience Award – MONSTRA | Lisbon Animated Film Festival, Portugal

46th Annie Award – Nominated for Best Student Film

 

Slamdance Film Festival, Co-founder and President Peter Baxter

It all began when a group of cheerful, subversive filmmakers weren’t accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. Unwilling to take “no” for an answer, they instead started their own event – Slamdance: Anarchy in Utah. 26 years later, Slamdance has become a year-round organization fostering the development of unique and innovative filmmakers. The organization now consists of the Film Festival, Screenplay Competition and Slamdance Studios. It has also created Slamdance On The Road, a traveling theatrical showcase that brings popular Slamdance films to audiences that otherwise would not have the opportunity to see them. Dan Mirvish, Jon Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn and Peter Baxter are the founding forefathers who, along with co-conspirator Paul Rachman, fought for truly independent filmmakers by giving them a voice in 1995 at the very first Slamdance Film Festival. Since then, the festival takes place every January in the breathtakingly stunning, snow-capped mountains of Park City, Utah at the exact same time as the Sundance Film Festival, to provide a more authentic representation of independent filmmaking. Up-and-coming writers, directors and producers, alongside seasoned veterans and film lovers, converge for the weeklong celebration of independent cinema, realizing that Slamdance is a great place to find those next, great, visionary films. Slamdance lives and bleeds by its mantra By Filmmakers For Filmmakers. No other film festival in the world is entirely run and organized by the creative force that can only be found in filmmakers. Slamdance adamantly supports self-governance amongst independents, and exists to deliver what filmmakers go to festivals for – a chance to show their work and a platform to launch their careers. The festival has earned a solid reputation for premiering films by first-time writers and directors working within the creative confines of limited budgets. Co-founder and President Peter Baxter joins us to talk about this year’s Slamdance, the groundbreaking films and the innovative new distribution and digital initiatives being launched by Slamdance.

 

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For news and updates go to: slamdance.com
Check out the film schedule at slamdance 2020 schedule

 

Slamdance Film Festival – January 24-30 at the Treasure Mountain Hotel in Park City, Utah

 

Social Media:
facebook.com/SlamdanceFilmFestival
twitter.com/Slamdance
instagram.com/slamogram

 

In Bright Axiom – Director Spencer McCall and film subject Jeff Hull

The thought-provoking and intriguing new documentary IN BRIGHT AXIOM introduces us into the world of the House of Latitude. A place where absolute discretion is demanded in exchange for entry into a mysterious social experiment in the form of an elaborate immersive experience. Drawing a community of curiosity seekers, this secret society becomes a way of life for some, putting increasing pressure on the organizers to maintain this sophisticated and fantastical parallel world. From the minds who inspired AMC’s upcoming series Dispatches From Elsewhere, IN BRIGHT AXIOM weaves an intriguing cautionary tale about the unforeseen consequences of embracing the unknown.  Followers of Meow Wolf, Sleep No More,  Ingress and other immersive & augmented reality entertainment should take note. IN BRIGHT AXIOM also features never-before-seen discourse from the mesmerizing hip-hop polymath, RAMMELLZEE and original music by Justin Robbins, with additional songs from Isan, Tickles, and ü-Ziq. Director Spencer McCall has spent the last ten years orchestrating socio-reengineering and public hoax-prank performance art pieces. An avid fan of the Yes Men, McCall began by participating in Improv Everywhere inspired events, “plant” based roles in The Go Game, and location-based performances with Atmos-theater. In 2009, he became a co-creator of the Jejune Institute; a citywide alternate reality game in San Francisco that lasted three years and “inducted” over 10,000 unknowing participants. McCall took his experience working with Jejune and turned it into an award-winning documentary The Institute. The Institute is currently being remade into a series on a major television network. McCall also contributed to follow-up experience The Latitude Society; a faux secret society with an underground experiential labyrinth beneath San Francisco. Director Spencer McCall and House of Latitude founder and In Bright Axiom subject, Jeff Hull, join us for a fascinating conversation on the ebb and flow, as well as, the inherent contradiction that facilitated the unraveling of this remarkable enterprise.

 

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

For more on In Bright Axiom go to: nonchalance.com/AXIOM

For more on the work of  Spencer McCall go to: spencersreel.com

SOCIAL MEDIA
divinenonchalance.tumblr.com
twitter.com/pervasiveplay
instagram.com/divinenonchalance
#inbrightaxiom
@DOCNYCfest #docnyc

 

Atlantics, Director Mati Diop

Winner of the Grand Prix at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, ATLANTICS marks the feature narrative debut of director Mati Diop. Along the Atlantic coast of Africa, a soon-to-be-inaugurated futuristic tower looms over a suburb of Dakar. Ada, 17, is in love with Souleimane, a young construction worker. But she has been promised to another man. One night, Souleimane and his co-workers disappear at sea. Soon after, they come back to haunt their old neighbourhood by taking possession of the girlfriends they left behind. Some of the workers have come claiming revenge and threaten to burn the tower down if the developer does not pay their wages. But Souleiman has come back for Ada, so they can be together one last time. Director and writer Mati Diop joins us for a conversation on her compelling new film, finding love, and the mythology of a ghost story.

About the filmmaker: Trained in Le Fresnoy (National Studio of Contemporary Arts – a leading and very selective French artistic institution), Mati Diop directed four shorts and a medium-length film which received the “Martin E. Segal – Emerging Artist Award” of the Lincoln Center (USA) in 2016. A THOUSAND SUNS (2013), BIG IN VIETNAM (2011), SNOW CANON (2010) and ATLANTIQUES (2009) were selected and awarded in a wide number of international festivals such as the Venice International Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Rotterdam International Film Festival, the Viennale, The Indie Lisboa International Film Festival, and the FID Marseille. They were also programmed in the MoMA and in the Moving Image Museum (USA). As an actress, Mati Diop played in HERMIA Y HELENA by director Matias Piñeiro (2015), FORT BUCHANAN by Benjamin Crotty (2014), SIMON KILLER by Antonio Campos (2012) and 35 SHOTS OF RHUM by Claire Denis (2008).

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: mk2films.com/en/film/atlantics

Social Media:
facebook.com/mk2films/photos/atlantics-by-mati-diop
twitter.com/hashtag/atlantics
twitter.com/#MatiDiop

 

Grand Prix Winner, Cannes Film Festival 2019
Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival 2019
Official Selection, New York Film Festival 2019
Mati Diop, Mary Pickford Award Winner, Toronto International Film Festival 2019

 

“This shape-shifting Senegalese drama is pure cinematic poetry. Slipping in and out of modes with a magician’s confidence, Atlantics is mysterious and mythic, with a wizardly use of sound and some unforgettable images.” ★★★★★ The Telegraph – Tim Robey

“A striking work, with a lyrical, richly evocative ghost story. Exquisitely shot by Claire Mathon and lushly scored by Fatima Al Qadiri, the film pulls together some exceedingly strong components.”The Hollywood Reporter – Leslie Felperin

“Constantly intriguing, Atlantics is an intense romance notable for the craft of the filmmaking and Diop’s original approach to complex issues of love, loss and the forces for change that can rise from the ashes of tragedy.”Screen International – Allan Hunter

“A gorgeous, mesmerizing feature directorial debut. Atlantics is an absorbing, otherworldly vision of an alienated seaside life in Dakar.”IndieWire – Eric Kohn

“A romantic and melancholy film, part social commentary, part ghost tale, that works best in its evocation of loss and female solidarity.”Variety – Jay Weissberg

Independent Lens, Executive Producer Lois Vossen

The acclaimed PBS documentary series Independent Lens, recently honored with two Peabody Awards, a Primetime Emmy nomination and 12 News & Documentary Emmy nominations, returns for a new season on Monday, October 28.This year’s premiere is Made in Boise, an engrossing look at the complex and controversial world of gestational surrogacy told through the stories of four women carrying babies for gay men and infertile couples in the conservative heartland of Idaho — the unofficial “surrogacy capital” of the United States. Also on the fall schedule is Decade of Fire, which travels back to the 1970s when the South Bronx was burning, to showcase the dedicated citizens who outlasted the flames and saved their community; The Interpreters, a moving look at the Afghan and Iraqi interpreters who risked their lives aiding American troops and who now struggle to find safety and security for themselves and their families; Conscience Point, which unearths the deep clash of values between the Native American Shinnecock of Long Island and their affluent Hamptons neighbors; and Attla, the rousing story of Alaska Native George Attla, who with one good leg and a determined mindset went on to become a champion dogsled racer. Other highlights of the Winter/Spring 2020 slate include Always in Season, a harrowing look at the history of lynching and the 2014 case of Lennon Lacy, a North Carolina teen who died under unexplained circumstances; Bedlam, a psychiatrist’s chronicle of what mental illness means in the U.S. today, interwoven with the story of how the system tragically failed his own sister; and Rewind, a devastating, autobiographical documentary about the far-reaching consequences of multigenerational child sexual abuse. Independent Lens Executive Producer Lois Vossen joins us to talk about the fundamental principles to support filmmakers telling stories about their communities and commitment to showcase thought-provoking documentaries about the issues that divide us and the ideals and beliefs that bind us together.

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: pbs.org/independentlens

Social Media:
facebook.com/independentlens
twitter.com/independentlens
instagram.com/independentlens

 

Independent Lens upcoming schedule:

Made in Boise by Beth Aala (Monday, October 28) Go inside the lives of four surrogates and the intended parents whose children they carry. As the number of surrogate births surge across the country, a surprising epicenter of the movement is Boise, Idaho, where hundreds of women are choosing to be surrogates. For gay couples, single men, and those who struggle with infertility, this booming industry is often the last resort to biological parenthood. The film follows the four women as they navigate the rigors of pregnancy and the mixed feelings of their own families, who struggle to understand their choice to risk the physical and emotional complications of carrying babies for someone else.

Decade of Fire by Vivian Vázquez Irizarry, Gretchen Hildebran and Julia Steele Allen (Monday, November 4) In the 1970s, the Bronx was on fire and close to a quarter-million people were displaced when their close-knit, multiethnic neighborhood burned. While the abandonment of landlords and dwindling support from government officials led to the devastation, Black and Puerto Rican residents were blamed. Now, Bronx-born Vivian Vázquez Irizarry explores the truth about the borough’s untold history and reveals how her community chose to resist, remain and rebuild.

The Interpreters by Andrés Caballero and Sofian Khan (Monday, November 11) More than 50,000 local interpreters helped protect U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, enabling soldiers to communicate with the local population. But those who took the job were often considered traitors. In the aftermath of war, some have been able to leave their home countries and reach safety, while others still languish in hiding and fear for their lives.

Conscience Point by Treva Wurmfeld (Monday, November 18) In Long Island’s Hamptons, one of the wealthiest areas in the nation and an epicenter of the luxury property boom, a clash of values is taking place. The original inhabitants of the beautiful peninsula — the Shinnecock Indian Nation — find themselves squeezed onto a tiny, impoverished reservation. Over hundreds of years they have seen their ancient burial grounds plowed up for the widening of roads, mega-mansions, and ultra-exclusive golf courses like the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. Now Shinnecock activists and long-standing residents, including farmers and fishing communities, are taking a stand against a never-ending tide of wealthy transplants, overdevelopment, pollution, congested highways and skyrocketing property taxes.

Attla by Catharine Axley (Monday, December 16) The inspiring but little-known story of legendary Alaska Native dogsled champion George Attla, who — with one good leg and fierce determination — rose to international fame. In the final chapter of his life, Attla emerges from retirement to mentor his 20-year-old grandnephew. With their sights set on reviving proud cultural traditions, the pair embark on a journey to compete in the world’s largest dogsled sprint race, one that has seen a steep decline in Native competitors.

GIFT, Director Robin McKenna

Inspired by Lewis Hyde’s beloved classic The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World, GIFT is a richly cinematic film, interweaving character‐driven stories. On North America’s Pacific Northwest Coast, a young Indigenous artist and carver undertakes the elaborate preparations for a potlatch – to make a name for himself by giving everything away. In Rome, Italy, a factory occupied by migrant families is transformed into a living museum, protected by a barricade of art : a model of resistance, and an invaluable gift.  In the pirate utopia of Burning Man, a mutant bumblebee art car distributes honey in a post-­apocalyptic desert landscape. Meanwhile, in Auckland, New Zealand, artist Lee Mingwei prepares to launch Sonic Blossom – a “transformative gift” of song. GIFT is a tribute to something that can’t be measured or counted, bought or sold. Exploring the parallels between artists’ work and a gift economy, it’s a reflection on the creative process, the reasons we “labour in service of our gifts”, and a celebration of the imagination. Director Robin McKenna joins us to talk about her beautifully meditative film about paying forward human connection and how communities can re-imagine the meaning of wealth and prosperity.

About the filmmaker: Robin McKenna is director, producer and writer of GIFT, a feature-length documentary and crossmedia project inspired by Lewis Hyde’s classic bestseller The Gift. She is currently making Thanadoula, a short animated documentary fairytale about a real-life “death doula”, in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada – and Medicine, a feature-length documentary over a decade in the making, about ayahuasca, medicine and healing, with Dr. Gabor Maté. She directed Genevieve Bujold: ArtVie, a short film tribute to Bujold on 16mm, for the Governor General’s Awards for the Performing Arts in 2018. Robin grew up in Montréal, and began making films with La course destination monde. Her cinematography credits include City of Borders (Berlinale, Hot Docs 2009) and The Take with Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis (AFI Best Documentary 2004).

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: giftitforwardproject.com/the-film

GIFT opens at the Laemmle Monica Film Center on Friday, October 11. On Saturday, October 12 John Densmore (The Doors) and director Robin McKenna will participate in a Q&A following the 7:45 pm show.

Social Media:

facebook.com/GIFTdocumentary

instagram.com/giftdocumentary

“For many people, Gift will live up to its title.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

“Documentarian Robin McKenna’s intelligent and life affirming documentary Gift will make viewers consider how they give, receive, and create art in a fresh, new light.” – Andrew Parker, The Gate

“A documentary showing how art keeps moving in circles of sharing, giving, and generosity.” – Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice

Doubting Thomas, Director Will McFadden

Black babies don’t come from white people. Except this one just did. That’s what Jen (Sarah Butler) tells her husband Tom (Will McFadden). He says he believes her. But soon, amidst a constant barrage of questions from everyone, Tom’s doubts and worst fears take hold. Both new parents are scared by the thoughts entering their minds, and scared to share them with each other. Baby Liam seems to love their dear friend Ron (Jamie Hector) – but why does that make it harder for Tom? And why do people keep confusing Ron for Liam’s father? Maybe because they’re both black. By the time a twist is revealed that could explain the baby’s appearance, it may be too late. Before Tom and Jen can accept their child, they’ll have to accept themselves… or face living their lives apart. Starring Will McFadden, Sarah ButlerJamie HectorRob Belushi, Zach Cregger,  James Morrison,  and Melora Walters. Doubting Thomas, winner of Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Audience Award, Best First Feature, will begin its theatrical run in Los Angeles on Friday, October 11th, ahead of its North American VOD / Digital release on October 15th, 2019 through  Gravitas Ventures.  Will McFadden’s  directorial debut, DOUBTING THOMAS brings unconscious racism home in the innocence of a baby. A complex tale that  touches on institutional    racism and assumed privilege, the concept for the film was born from the true story of a black man killed in police custody in a racially charged incident. That man’s son, Joseph Campbell, shares story by credit with McFadden.  Director / Co-writer / Producer and Lead Actor Will McFadden joins us to talk about his thought provoking drama that raises a multitude of questions about the relevance of family history, trust and race.

 

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

Social Media:

facebook.com/doubtingthomasmovie

twitter.com/DoubtingMovie

instagram.com/doubtingthomasmovie

“ONE OF THE BEST WRITTEN MOMENTS OF ANY MOVIE ALL YEAR, WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT RACE, PERCEPTION, AND YOUR TRUE SELF IS SINCERE. 10 OUT OF 10.” – Bobby LePire, Film Threat

“DOUBTING THOMAS IS STELLAR IN ALL ASPECTS THANKS TO THE VISION OF HELMER WILL MCFADDEN AND HIS CAST – BRAVO.” – Jason Coleman, Whysoblu

“DOUBTING THOMAS SHOWS US THAT LOVE KNOWS NO BOUNDS.” – Malie Mason, Movie Ranker

Grit, Co-director Cynthia Wade (Sasha Friedlander)

When Dian was 6 years old, she heard a deep rumble and turned to see a tsunami of mud barreling towards her village. She remembers her mother scooping her up to save her from the boiling mud. Her neighbors ran for their lives. Sixteen villages, including Dian’s, were wiped away. A decade later, nearly 60,000 people have been displaced from what was once a thriving industrial and residential area in East Java, located just 20 kilometers from Indonesia’s second largest city. Dozens of factories, schools and mosques are submerged 60 feet under a moonscape of cracked mud. The majority of international scientists believe that Lapindo, a multinational company that was drilling for natural gas in 2006, accidentally struck an underground mud volcano and unleashed a violent flow of hot sludge from the earth’s depths. Ten years later, despite initial assurances to do so, Lapindo has not provided 80% of its promised reparations to the hundreds of victims of who lost everything in the mud explosion. While the survivors live in the shadow of the mudflow and wait for restitution, they live in makeshift rented homes next to levees that hold back the still flowing mud. Dian is determined to rise out of the muddy life. She and her mother, along with many neighbors, fight against the corporate powers accused of one of the largest environmental disasters in recent history. The gripping documentary film GRIT bears witness to Dian’s transformation into a politically active teenager as she questions the role of corporate power and money in the institution of democracy itself.

About the filmmaker(s): Cynthia Wade’s 2008 documentary Freeheld won a 2008 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject, Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and 13 other awards. She was a lead producer on the 2015 fictionalized adaptation of Freeheld, starring Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Steve Carell and Michael Shannon. Wade’s 2013 HBO documentary Mondays at Racine was nominated for an Academy Award in 2013. She is the director of the documentaries Grist for the Mill (1999, HBO), Shelter Dogs (2004, HBO), Born Sweet (2009), Living the Legacy (2009, Sundance Channel) and Generation Startup (2016, Netflix), and producer of The Gnomist (2015, CNN). She holds a BA from Smith College and an MA in Documentary Film Production from Stanford University. Wade has won more than 45 film awards worldwide.

Co-director Sasha Friedlander directed, produced, shot and edited the feature-documentary Where Heaven Meets Hell. The film, set in East Java, Indonesia, won numerous prizes including Best Feature Documentary Film at the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival, Hawaii International Film Festival and Special Mention for Outstanding Cinematography at the LAAPFF. At the One World International Human Rights Film Festival in Prague, the Václav Havel Jury gave a Special Mention Award to Where Heaven Meets Hell for its “exceptional contribution to the defense of human rights.” The Alliance of Women Film Journalists awarded Sasha an EDA Award for Documentary Artistry in March 2013. This ITVS-funded film aired on PBS in 2013. Sasha’s has lived and worked in Indonesia. She is fluent in Indonesian and worked there as a journalist for several years. Sasha holds a BA from UCLA and an MFA in Social Documentary Film from the School of Visual Arts.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: gritdocumentary.com/

For more on co-director Cynthia Wade go to: cynthiawade.com

Grit is screening on PBS documentary film series POV on Monday September 9

Social Media:

facebook.com/gritdocumentary

twitter.com/GritDocumentary

AWARDS & NOMINATIONS

Award Winner, 2019 Colorado International Activism Film Festival

Winner, Grand Prize, Best Feature Film, 2019 Seoul Eco Film Festival

Winner, Audience Choice Award, 2019 Seoul Eco Film Festival

Winner, Best International Documentary, 2019 Ecozine International Film & Environment Festival

Excellence in Documentary Production Jury Award Winner, 2019 Ashland International Film Festival

Jonathan Daniels Social Justice Award Winner, 2019 Monadnock International Film Festival

Winner, Best Documentary Award, 2019 Environmental Film Festival at Yale

KAU KA HOKU Award Nominee, 2018 Hawaii International Film Festival

Activist Documentary Award Nominee, 2019 Movies that Matter Film Festival

Graine de Cinéphage Nominee, 2019 Festival International de Films de Femmes de Créteil

Give Me Liberty, Director Kirill Mikhanovsky

GIVE ME LIBERTY is based on his personal experience as a medical transport driver and an immigrant, director Kirill Mikhanovsky, with writer Alice Austen, create a raw feature film about the comedy and  heartbreak of people in the underprivileged communities living in a struggling American city. Medical transport driver Vic (newcomer Chis Galust) is running late, but it’s not his fault. Roads are closed for a protest, and no one else can shuttle his Russian grandfather and his emigre friends to a funeral. The new route uproots his scheduled clients, particularly Tracy (Lauren “Lolo” Spencer in a breakout performance), a vibrant young woman with ALS. As the day goes from hectic to off-the-rails, their collective ride becomes a hilarious, compassionate and intersectional portrait of American dreams and disenchantment. The characters in GIVE ME LIBERTY are drawn from the people of Milwaukee – they’re magnificently diverse and their struggle to survive is desperate, contradictory, funny and moving. Director Kirill Mahanovsky joins us for a spirited conversation on working with a cast of mostly non-professional actors, drawing upon his own work history for the story behind the film and the importance of making Give Me Liberty in his adopted hometown of Milwaukee. 

 

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

About the filmmaker: Russian-born Kirill Mikhanovsky grew up in Moscow where his early passion for cinema compelled him to skip school and go to the movie theatre across the street from his home where, often as the only person in the house, he watched countless films. After the Soviet Union collapsed, Mikhanovsky immigrated to Milwaukee, where he had a series of odd jobs, including driving medical transport for people with disabilities, and began making films. After graduating from NYU Film School, Mikhanovsky went on to make films in the US, Brazil, Russia, and South America. A Sundance Alum, his first feature SONHOS DE PEIXE won the Critics Week at the Cannes Film Festival.

Social Media:

facebook.com/gmlmovie

“Completely, delightfully unpredictable from scene to scene, ‘Give Me Liberty’ draws you in with its moving performances and blasts of broad comedy.” – Manohla Dargis, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“A wonderfully anarchic dark comedy, which deftly welds its frenetically farcical structure to a humanistic portrait of marginalized communities thrown together.” – David Rooney, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“Lyrical and touching. It’s a journey worth taking.” – Tim Grierson, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL

“Establishes writer-director Kirill Mikhanovsky as a major talent.” – Eric Kohn, INDIEWIRE

Tigers Are Not Afraid, Director Issa López

TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID is set in an unnamed Mexican northern border town.The young 10-year-old girl Estrella (Paulo Lara) has 3 wishes: The first one, that her missing mother comes back and it happens. Her mother returns but she is dead and follows Estrella everywhere. Petrified, Estrella tries to escape from her by joining a gang orphaned by violence. Soon she realizes that dead are never left behind and when you are in the middle of brutality and violence, wishes never come true the way you want them to be. A haunting horror fairytale set against the backdrop of Mexico’s devastating drug wars, TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID follows a group of orphaned children armed with three magical wishes, running from the ghosts that haunt them and the cartel that murdered their parents. Filmmaker Issa López creates a world that recalls the early films of Guillermo del Toro, imbued with her own gritty urban spin on magical realism to conjure a wholly unique experience that audiences will not soon forget. Director / writer Issa López joins us to talk about her inventive and viscerally chilling film about dreams, politics, violence against the powerless and justice.

 

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

Social Media:

twitter.com/issitalopez

instagram.com/issitalopez

AWARDS

Fantastic Fest 2017: Best Horror Director
Screamfest 2017: Best Actress, Actor, Editing, Director and Picture
Dedfest 2017: Best Picture, Audience Award
Mórbido 2017: Mórbido Award (Best Picture) & Press Award
ITHACA FANTASTIK 2017: Cinema Pur Audience Award, for Best Movie
Paris Fantastic Film Fest 2017: Best Feature, Cinema+ Award, Audience Award

10 nominations for the 2018 Ariel Awards (Mexican Academy Awards)
Best Child Actor, Best Child Actress, Best Support Actor, Best Makeup Design, Best Visual Effects, Best Editing, Best Production Design, Best Sound, Best Script, Best Director*

“Issa Lopez is an incredibly exciting filmmaker who, if there is any justice, will go onto have a career comparable to Guillermo del Toro.” – Fiona Underhill, JumpCut Online

“Heartbreaking, thought-provoking and exquisitely beautiful in equal measure, López unflinchingly rejects the fetishization of young people and their experiences so typical of narratives about childhood trauma.” – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, AWFJ Women on Film

“What it gets right, it does brilliantly. The acting is superb, the mix of fantasy and realistic drama is sublime, and the story is haunting and fascinating in equal measure.” – Bobby LePire. Film Threat

“Watching Tigers Are Not Afraid is like stepping into a enchanting nightmare. There’s an uncomfortable darkness wrapped up in a charming package.” – Kat Hughes, The Hollywood News

Driven, Director Nick Hamm

DRIVEN is a fast-paced, comedic crime thriller of a bromance gone wrong between John DeLorean, played by Lee Pace (Captain Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Book of Henry), and Jim Hoffman, played by Jason Sudeikis (Colossal, Booksmart). Set in early 1980s California, the story follows the meteoric rise of the golden boy of the automotive industry, John DeLorean and his iconic DeLorean Motor Company, through the eyes of his friendship with charming, ex-con pilot turned FBI informant, Jim Hoffman. DeLorean turned to unsavory activities to save his financially troubled DeLorean Motor Company, and it was Hoffman who was all too willing to lure the car designer / engineer into a cocaine trafficking ring set up by the FBI. Isabel Arraiza is Cristina DeLorean, DeLorean’s fashion model wife, Judy Greer (Ant-Man, Jurassic World, War for the Planet of the Apes) is Ellen Hoffman, Hoffman’s direct, no nonsense wife and Corey Stoll (First Man, Ant-Man, Midnight in Paris) is ambitious FBI Special Agent Benedict Tisa. Director Nick Hamm joins us for a conversation on the challenges of re-creating the time and place where the DeLorean / Hoffman took place and establishing a comedic tone that propels this highly entertaining story.

 

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“A joyride more interested in the journey than in any significant destination.” – Elizabeth Weitzman, TheWrap

“This is actually quite a fair amount of fun, due in no small part to the charms of Jason Sudeikis.” – Joey Magidson, Hollywood News

“Driven is a short and sweet supernatural romp that never gets boring and somehow manages to pack laughs into what could be a very intense storyline in another film.” – Lorry Kikta, Film Threat

“Once again, two fine central performances bring a clever Colin Bateman script alive, with Jason Sudeikis injecting a well of emotional depth to his portrayal of a scuzzy FBI informant with a small but troubling conscience.” – Lee Marshall, Screen International

Peanut Butter Falcon, Michael Schwartz and Tyler Nilson

THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON is an adventure story set in the world of a modern Mark Twain that begins when Zak (Gottsagen), a young man with Down syndrome, runs away from a nursing home where he lives to chase his dream of becoming a professional wrestler and attending the wrestling school of The Salt Water Redneck. Through circumstances beyond their control Tyler (LaBeouf), a small time outlaw on the run, becomes Zak’s unlikely coach and ally. Together they wind through deltas, elude capture, drink whisky, find God, catch fish, and convince Eleanor (Johnson), a kind nursing home employee with a story of her own, to join them on their journey. THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON stars Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, Thomas Haden Church, Bruce Dern, John Hawkes and newcomer, Zack Gottsagen, premiered back in March at SXSW and was a huge critical success, with a current score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film also won over fans, taking home the Audience Award for Narrative Spotlight. Co-directors and co-writers Michael Schwartz and Tyler Nilson stop by to talk about there experiences and the stacks of miracles that brought this heart-warming tale of friendship and reaching for your dreams.

 

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97% on Rotten Tomatoes

“LaBeouf brings the soul to “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” while Gottsagen brings the spirit. He has an undeniably charming screen presence, and the actor takes to this starring role with gusto.” – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times

“A heartwarming, tender and funny adventure grounded in humanism. Refreshingly witty and unconventional. It’s one of the summer’s best surprises.” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru

“What’s clear is that a lot of development time, movie resources, and A-List actors all came together to make a masterpiece of a film centering on one person…Zack Gottsagen.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat

“‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’ is a sweet, warm story about dreams and the family you choose. Zack Gottsagen is pure comedy. Shia LaBeof is giving me sexy, scruffy with substance and the pairing of these two on screen is perfection.” – Carla Renata, The Curvy Film Critic

Unmasking Jihadi John: Anatomy of a Terrorist, Director Anthony Wonke and Journalist Richard Kerjab

Mohammed Emwazi was a grade school student in London with a promising future ahead of him in 1995. By 2014, he had become known as “Jihadi John,” a masked ISIS terrorist in Syria who internationalized his notoriety by broadcasting his beheadings of Western hostages on the internet. UNMASKING JIHADI JOHN: ANATOMY OF A TERRORIST includes rare footage of Emwazi as a young boy in London and interviews with his schoolteachers who reveal that he lived a relatively comfortable and normal childhood. His behavior grew more disconcerting in his teenage years. Emwazi’s brutality is illustrated through harrowing, first-hand accounts from his surviving hostages, and the collaboration between the world’s leading intelligence agencies, including the CIA and Britain’s intelligence agents, who ultimately tracked him down and ended his life.  UNMASKING JIHADI JOHN: ANATOMY OF A TERRORIST examines what propelled Emwazi’s journey down a violent path despite US and British authorities being aware of his extremism. It also highlights the self-declared operational failures by counter-terrorism officials as Emwazi became ISIS’s chief executioner and propagandist.  Joining us on Film School Radio will be Oscar®-nominated, BAFTA and Emmy®-winning director Anthony Wonke (HBO’s “The Battle for Marjah”), and BAFTA-winning producer and investigative journalist Richard Kerbaj for a conversation on the how and why a schoolboy and promising soccer player morphs into a sadistic killer.

UNMASKING JIHADI JOHN: ANATOMY OF A TERRORIST debuts WEDNESDAY, JULY 31 (8:00-9:40 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

 

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“This is a superior doc, just know when to briefly look away.” – Anne Brodie, What She Said

“Part high-tech manhunt and part brutal captivity narrative, “Unmasking Jihadi John: The Anatomy of a Terrorist” is one documentary unlikely to leave anyone in its viewing audience bored.” – David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun

“This is a film that spends much of its time on observation and analysis of the known facts… This makes it feel rather dry in places but avoids any glamorisation of its subject.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“In terms of cinematography and editing, Jihadi John: Anatomy of a Terrorist is well-executed, and it’s certainly informative.” – Amy Glynn, Paste Magazine

Mike Wallace is Here, Director Avi Belkin

Never before has journalism in America been so hotly debated. At a time when it seems like the hard-hitting question is fighting for its right to be asked, MIKE WALLACE IS HERE turns the tough question loose on its inventor to understand how we got here and what’s really at stake. Legendary newsman Mike Wallace unflinchingly interrogated the 20th century’s biggest figures in over fifty years on the air, and his aggressive reporting style and showmanship redefined what America came to expect from broadcasters. Unearthing decades of never-before-seen footage from the 60 Minutes vault, this documentary portrait explores what drove and plagued this restless reporter, whose storied career was entwined with the evolution of journalism itself. MIKE WALLACE IS HERE is told exclusively through archival footage, without one talking-head commentary or backward-looking interview diluting the immediacy and power of Wallace’s work. The film traces his career on the air from his invention of the “tough question” in his 1950s interview show Night Beat to his news specials of the ’60s and his extraordinary four decades on CBS’ 60 Minutes, examining how his genre-defining work changed the standards of broadcast journalism for good and for ill, while unpacking the personal qualities that made Mike tick. Director Avi Belkin takes us behind the mask of the fearless inquisitor to reveal a driven man fraught with doubt and insecurities.

 

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“A compulsively engrossing account of a career notable for its gutsy, confrontational attitude toward the power brokers in business and politics.” – Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

“A no holds barred, sobering look at one our most acerbic, in your face, troubled award winning journalist – Mike Wallace. CBS unlocked their vaults with exclusive archival footage, interviews and words from Wallace himself.” – Carla Renata, The Curvy Film Critic

“As Belkin’s brisk and compelling documentary fades to black, the director seems to hope that the Wallace quotation audiences cling to isn’t one of his fanged questions, but his optimism for the profession to which he dedicated his life” – Amy Nicholson, Variety