December 15, 2017 – Wormwood, Director Errol Morris

On November 28th, 1953, mild-mannered military scientist Frank Olson plunged from the window of his 13th-floor New York hotel room and died. His cause of death was described as a “fall or jump” and though many questions remained about the exact circumstances, the case was left unsolved, and Olson’s wife and three young children attempted to move on. Over two decades later, in June of 1975, the Rockefeller Commission issued a comprehensive, high-profile report on myriad illegal CIA activities that featured a passing mention of a 1953 incident in which an army scientist was purposefully drugged with LSD without his knowledge and died from a fall a few days later. This revelation sends the Olson family, led by oldest son Eric, on a decades-long hunt for answers that takes them to the highest corridors of power in the U.S. government and close to some of its darkest secrets. Acclaimed storyteller Errol Morris weaves this mystery into a six-part story exploring the limits of our knowledge about the past and the lengths we’ll go in the search for the truth. Wormwood is the saga of one man’s obsessive, sixty-year quest to identify the real circumstances about his father’s death that tells a hidden history of key events of the second half of the 20th Century. Was Frank’s death an accident? Did he commit suicide after a bad drug trip? Or was he murdered for knowing too much? In Wormwood, Morris connects Frank’s story to the Korean War, mind control experiments, illegal germ warfare, brainwashing, Manchurian candidates, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and more.

For news and updates go to: netflix.com/wormwood

“Wormwood is more concerned with its intellectual and philosophical musings on the intangibility everything about this case represents, but it comes at the cost of an emotional impact that’s always just beneath the surface.” – Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist

“With “Wormwood,” Morris reclaims the approach he popularized by employing accomplished performers such as Molly Parker, Tim Blake Nelson, Peter Sarsgaard and Bob Balaban to bridge the gap between fact, presumption and fantasy.” – Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times

“Redefining what a documentary can do and be, Morris’ epic proves a tragedy of systemic corruption, personal mania, and the inability to grasp that which one knows exists, but remains just out of reach.” – Nick Schager, The Daily Beast

“heir testimonies unfolds alongside a series of dramatic reenactments that may or may not illustrate the precise nature of the events being described. The result is a documentary-fiction combination like nothing seen before.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

“It has an eerie, something-is-happening-here-but-you-don’t-know-what-it-is-do-you-Mr.-Jones vibe that evokes mid-century American cold war paranoia” – Jordan Hoffman, Vanity Fair

December 8, 2017 – Naples ’44, Director Francesco Patierno, Producers Francesca Barra and Davide Azzolini

In 1943 a young British officer, Norman Lewis, entered a war-torn Naples with the American Fifth Army. Lewis began writing in his notepad everything that happened to him during his one-year stay observing the complex social cauldron of a city that contrived every day the most incredible ways of fighting to survive. These notes turned into the masterpiece NAPLES ‘44. This film adaptation imagines Lewis returning to the city that charmed and seduced him many years later. Filmmaker Francesco Patierno combines riveting archival war footage with clips from movies set in Naples from the 1950s and 60s (featuring Marcello Mastroianni, Alan Arkin, Ernest Borgnine) and the voice of Oscar-nominated actor Benedict Cumberbatch to portray a city that was as much a victim of the war as any individual, but that has come back to life with all the charisma of Vesuvius, its very own volcano. This visionary reminiscence is made up of flashbacks between the places of the present that Lewis revisits and the stories of the past. Cumberbatch gives life to Lewis’ words through the stories and fortunes of the people he meets, by the end of this intimate nostalgic journey we can fully share with him a deep feeling for the city. Director Francesco Patierno and Producers Francesca Barra and Davide Azzolini stop by to talk about this stunning, intimate evocation of a time and place from the not-too-distant past that has much to teach us today.

For the latest on Naples ’44 go to: Naples ’44 at First Run Features

Naples ’44 opens Friday, December 8 at the Laemmle Monica in Santa Monica

 

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“A riveting film, a complex portrait of the mystery of Naples.” – Corriere della Sera

“If it weren’t for the time-chiseled patina on the footage dug out from archives, the powerful images of Vesuvius erupting, or the Caravaggio-esque faces of the faithful praying, there really wouldn’t be much difference between the Naples of this time and the cities martyred by the conflicts of today, like Aleppo, like Mosul.” – Il Mattino

“Magnificent. (An) elegant, moving, balanced war diary.” – Il Foglio

“Naples ’44 is a harrowing portrait of a defiant population which after suffering great losses, finally drove out its Nazi occupiers, and did survive.” Patrick McGrath, New York

December 1, 2017 – Ayiti Mon Amour, Director and Writer Guetty Felin

According to one of many Haitian beliefs, we are born from water and so to water our souls return… but only for a year and a day, after our demise.  Guetty Felin’s AYITI MON AMOUR is set in a land inhabited by spirits looking for their final resting place, mourners seeking closure and ordinary individuals engaged in a precarious dance of survival. It spins the magic neo-realist  tale of Orphée an awkward teen grieving the loss of his father. One day after a freak encounter with an underwater sea creature he develops special electrifying powers, but with power comes certain responsibilities…The world seems to be changing much too rapidly for Jaurès the old fisherman. These days Jaurès is obsessed with the environmental degradation, the rising temperature of the sea and the drought that is starving his cows. But what pre-occupies Jaurès the most is his beloved wife Odessa who is bedridden and homesick. Jaurès is determined to do everything to make her well again even if it means putting his own life in peril…Lastly, there’s the beautiful mysterious Ama, part muse, part wandering soul but also the main character of a novel by an uninspired writer. After five years of waiting for him to complete his masterpiece, she decides to leave him and his story, and sets out to live her own life. With AYITI MON AMOUR the island nation of Haiti has its first ever entry in the Academy Awards category of Best Foreign Language Film. It is also  the first narrative feature entirely shot in Haiti by a Haitian-born female director, Guetty Felin. She joins us to talk about her warm-hearted, humane film and its celebration of her native country.

For the latest news go to: facebook.com/AyitiMonAmourMovie or belle moon productions

 

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**OFFICIAL SELECTION – Toronto International Film Festival**

**OFFICIAL SELECTION – San Francisco International Film Festival**

**OFFICIAL SELECTION – Eurasia International Film Festival**

**WINNER – BlackStar Film Festival – Best Feature Narrative**

**WINNER – Festival Internacional de Cine America – Best Cinematography**

**NOMINATED – Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam – Yellow Ribbon Award**

November 24, 2017 – Porto, Director Gabe Klinger

In the haunting, intimate tale PORTO Jake (Anton Yelchin) and Mati (Lucie Lucas) are two expats who experience a brief but intimate connection in the ancient Portuguese city of Porto. He’s an American loner exiled from his family. She’s a student from France embroiled in an affair with one of her professors. After spotting each other from a distance at an archeological site and then again at a train station and a café, Jake works up the courage to approach Mati and they embark on a night of carefree intimacy. This romantic encounter is viewed from years later, both characters still haunted by the powerful connection they shared. Using a mix of film stocks and art direction that evokes a bygone era of European cinema, Porto delivers a cinematic form of saudade – a Portuguese word that describes an emotional state of nostalgic longing for a person or place that one has loved. Director, writer, editor, and producer Gabe Klinger stops by to talk about his bittersweet, heartbreaking, soaring ode to romantic love.

For news and updates go to kinolorber.com/film/porto

 

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New York, NY – November 17 at Landmark Sunshine Cinema

Los Angeles, CA – November 24 at Landmark Nuart Theatre

“A swirling examination of love in all its bittersweet splendor.” – David Ehrlich, Indiewire

“Ravishingly shot. A film that’s in love with love, in love with cinema.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“An extraordinary and delicate depiction of a fleeting passion. Touches on the most tender and incisive heights of each crest of the European New Wave.” – Richard Whittaker, The Austin Chronicle

“Yelchin’s acting is superb in its minimalism, expressing sensitivity, yearning and sorrow with subtle intensity.” – Catherine Sedgwick, The Upcoming

November 10, 2017 – Mr. Fish: Cartooning From the Deep End, Director Pablo Bryant

Provocative, funny, intelligent and fiercely political, audiences had better be ready to dive in for the new documentary feature MR. FISH: CARTOONING FROM THE DEEP END. Directed by Pablo Bryant, will have its NYC Premiere at the DOC NYC 2017. In this documentary we discover the dangerously funny cartoonist Mr. Fish, struggling to make a living in an industry that is dying out. In a world where consumerism is king, and opportunities are few, will this uncensored artist find a way to sell his art, or be forced to sell himself out?  After a rousing, standing ovation laden World premiere, comes word that director Pablo Bryant’s MR. FISH: CARTOONING FROM THE DEEP END has won the 2017 Hiscox Audience Award for Best documentary at at the Austin Film Festival. Director Pablo Bryant joins us for a lively conversation on free speech, our political culture, and the artistic sensibilities of today’s most scathing and insightful political satirist.

For news and updates go to: mrfishmovie.com

Check out Mr. Fish’s art at: mrfishmovie.com/gallery

 

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Screening times:

Sun., Nov. 12, 2017, 4:30 PM – Cinepolis Chelsea Cinemas

Mon., Nov. 13, 2017, 10:15 am – IFC Center

November 3, 2017 – BPM, Director Robin Campillo

2018 Official Oscar® Entry – FRANCE Best Foreign Language Film BPM tells the story of how a passionate group of Parisian activists goes to battle for those stricken with HIV/AIDS, taking on sluggish government agencies and major pharmaceutical companies in with bold, invasive actions. The organization is ACT UP – the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power – and its members embrace their task as a literal life-or-death mission. With more than 6,000 new diagnoses made each year in France, there is no time to waste. And yet, the officials and the corporations are not moving fast enough. “BPM” tells the story of that fight from the inside-out. Amid the rallies, fierce debates and ecstatic dance parties, intimate connections are made and vibrant life rages against death. As the activists scramble from boisterous street demonstrations and boardroom face-offs to dance floors pulsing with light and rhythm, Nathan and Sean’s relationship deepens. They confess individual memories of sexual initiation that are profoundly tied, in different ways, to the emerging AIDS crisis, and sexual intimacy itself becomes a kind of resistance. As Sean gets sicker, their passion sparks against the shadow of mortality, and the activist community of activists plots its most dramatic protest yet. Director and writer Robin Campillo joins us for a conversation on his intimate and thoughtful tale of activism and struggle in the face of intractable indifference and antipathy.

For news and updates fo to: bpm.film

 

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France’s entry for 2017 Academy Award Best Foreign Language Film

Opening at the Laemmle Royal Theatre on Friday, November 3, go to: laemmle.com/theaters

98% Rotten Tomatoes

“In its balance of resistance, agony, and joy, BPM (Beats Per Minute) approaches this subject with the nuance and empathy it deserves.” – Josephine Livingstone, New Republic

“BPM is vital for the history it depicts, but it’s also important in the here and now, as a testament to public action – even messy, not-always-effective public action.” – David Edelstein, New York Magazine

“In spite of its historical specificity, “BPM” never feels like a bulletin from the past. Its immediacy comes in part from the brisk naturalism of the performances and the nimbleness and fluidity of the editing.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

“In its balance of resistance, agony, and joy, BPM (Beats Per Minute) approaches this subject with the nuance and empathy it deserves.” – Josephine Livingstone, New Republic

“BPM is vital for the history it depicts, but it’s also important in the here and now, as a testament to public action – even messy, not-always-effective public action.” – David Edelstein, New York Magazine

“In spite of its historical specificity, “BPM” never feels like a bulletin from the past. Its immediacy comes in part from the brisk naturalism of the performances and the nimbleness and fluidity of the editing.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

October 27, 2017 – God’s Own Country, Director Francis Lee

In the compelling feature film debut of Francis Lee God’s Own Country Johnny Saxby works long hours in brutal isolation on his family’s remote farm in the north of England. He numbs the daily frustration of his lonely existence with nightly binge-drinking at the local pub and casual sex. When a handsome Romanian migrant worker arrives to take up temporary work on the family farm, Johnny suddenly finds himself having to deal with emotions he has never felt before. An intense relationship forms between the two which could change Johnny’s life forever. This growing chemistry between them results in an intense, instinctive sexual encounter. With both lads struggling to come to terms with what their time on the moor really meant and what they want from each other. With the future of the farm, his father’s life and his fledgling first relationship all hanging in the balance, Johnny feels more isolated and powerless than ever. Sent back to the farm on their own by Deirdre to tend to the animals, Johnny and Gheorghe slip into an unspoken domestic life. But soon Gheorghe’s contract will come to an end… Director Francis Lee joins us to talk about this simple story of struggling people living on the edge drawn into an emotionally complex tale.

For news and updates go to: samuelgoldwynfilms-Gods Own Country

 

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Official Selection

Sundance Film Festival 2017

Berlin International Film Festival 2017

San Francisco International Film Festival

“There will be many people who see themselves in the furtive glances and mud-covered kisses from which “God’s Own Country” weaves its harsh but hopeful narrative, and they will do so while witnessing a finely crafted piece of cinema.” – Jude Dry, IndieWire

“A rigorously naturalistic drama that yields stirring performances from the collision between taciturn demeanors and roiling emotional undercurrents.” David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

“Skipping some of the more predictable narrative obstacles we’ve come to expect from the coming-out drama, this sexy, thoughtful, hopeful film instead advances a pro-immigration subtext that couldn’t be more timely …” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“This is one of the most assured, fully-formed British debuts of recent years.” – Paul O’Callaghan, Sight and Sound

October 20, 2017 – Tom of Finland, Actor Pekka Strang

This stirring biopic follows the life of the artist Touko Laaksonen (Pekka Strang), known to the world as Tom of Finland, whose proudly erotic drawings shaped the fantasies of a generation of gay men, influencing art and fashion before crossing over into the wider cultural consciousness. But who was the man behind the leather? After serving in the army in WWII, Touko returned to repressive Finnish society of the 1950s, haunted by traumatic experiences. Moving in with his affectionate but unenlightened sister Kaija (Jessica Grabowsky), he fell in love with her lodger, handsome dancer Veli (Lauri Tiklanen), who Kaija also fancied. Unable to express his feelings openly, Touko poured them into his drawings, creating his vision of the hypermasculine leatherman. Soon his art was famous under his secret pseudonym, but getting it published was a struggle that took Touko to California, where he and his art were finally embraced amid the sexual revolution of the 1970s. Tom’s story is one of love, courage and perseverance, mirroring the gay liberation movement for which his leather-clad studs served as a defiant emblem. Finland’s Official Selection for Best Foreign Language Film consideration at the 90th Academy Awards. Actor Pekka Strang joins us for a conversation on his nuanced and winning portrayal of an iconic artist and unexpected champion of equal rights for the LGBTQ community.

For news and updates go to kinolorber.com/film/Tom of Finland

facebook.com/tomoffinlandmovie

 

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Tom of Finland opens on October 20, 2017 at the Landmark Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles with a Q&A with actor Pekka Strang after the Friday 7 PM screening.

For tickets and showtimes go to landmarktheatres.com/nuart

“Though not explicit per se, Tom of Finland is quite visceral; you can practically smell this movie, with many scenes reeking of cigarettes, sweat, and …” – Sherilyn Connelly, SF Weekly

“Pekka Strang does a fantastic job as Laaksonen; his playfully nuanced performance adds to the beautifully sedate way in which the story is told.” – Linda Marric, HeyUGuys

“Karukoski’s film at least honors its subject’s work in some key respects: It’s handsome, smoothly executed and eager to entertain.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“Strang and Grabowsky deliver fantastic, in-depth performances, shaping the siblings’ personalities with sensitive resoluteness.” – Filipe Freitas, Film Threat

Year By The Sea, Director Alexander Janko

Winner of 16 festival awards – from Audience Choice to Best Feature/Actress/Music and Screenplay – YEAR BY THE SEA chronicles empty-nester Joan Anderson’s (Karen Allen) decision not to follow her relocated husband to Kansas. Instead, she retreats to Cape Cod to rediscover herself and redefine her life. Plagued with guilt, she questions her decision until stumbling upon a spirited mentor, Joan Erikson (Celia Imrie) – author and wife of famed psychologist Erik Erikson (Alvin Epstein), who coined the term “identity crisis.” With a support group that includes her literary agent and a host of locals, Joan learns to embrace the ebb and flow of life – ultimately discovering the balance between self and sacrifice, obligation and desire. YEAR BY THE SEA, based on the New York Times and international best-selling memoir by Joan Anderson and starring highly acclaimed screen and stage actress Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Animal House). Written, directed and composed by Alexander Janko, YEAR BY THE SEA will open at Lincoln Plaza and Landmark Sunshine in New York on September 8 and at Laemmle Royal, Town Center and Playhouse 7 in Los Angeles on September 15. Director Janko joins to talk his life-affirming tale of friendship, love and pushing against expectations.

For news and updates go to: YearByTheSea.com

 

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Opens at Lincoln Plaza Cinema & Landmark Sunshine in New York – September 8

Opens at the Royal, Town Center and Playhouse 7 in Los Angeles – September 15

4 AUDIENCE CHOICE

Rhode Island International Film Festival

Naperville Independent Film Festival

Berkshire International Film Festival

Vail Film Festival

ACTOR AWARDS

Best Actress (Karen Allen) — Hamilton Film Festival

Best Actress (Karen Allen) — Naperville Independent Film Festival

“[Year by the Sea] is not a film trying to show the extraordinary in the mundane, but rather create a space for characters like Joan to figure out what they can become.” – Jose Solis Mayen, The Film Stage

“The movie is not entirely my cup of tea, although it is refreshing in its depiction of diverse, older female characters.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

“As it charts its familiar course, the film has soothing, even therapeutic value.” – Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

“A life-affirming, breathtaking, and inspirational film that will nourish your heart, mind and soul. It’s the perfect antidote to Hollywood’s blockbusters. Karen Allen gives the best performance of her career! What a triumph!” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru

September 1, 2017 – Viceroy’s House, Director Gurinder Chadha

New nations are rarely born in peace… India, 1947: Lord Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) is dispatched, along with his wife Edwina (Gillian Anderson), to New Delhi to oversee the country’s transition from British rule to independence. Taking his place in the resplendent mansion known as the Viceroy’s House, Mountbatten arrives hopeful for a peaceful transference of power. But ending centuries of colonial rule in a country divided by deep religious and cultural differences proves no easy undertaking, setting off a seismic struggle that threatens to tear India apart. VICEROY’S HOUSE delves into the “upstairs/downstairs” real-life history of Lord Mountbatten and his family in 1947 India from the perspectives of both the Mountbattens and the people of India. The story of India’s partition is not only a story of independence, but also one of the greatest refugee crisis in history. With sumptuous period detail, director Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham) brings to life a pivotal historical moment that re-shaped the world.

For news and updates go to: Viceroy’s House 

Viceroy’s House at IFC Films

“At the end of this sprawling, passionate but generously non-partisan epic, a moving coda reveals the director’s personal stake in telling the story her way. You should stay for the credits.” – Ella Taylor, NPR

“The film carries a trace of the sweep of a great screen epic along with the straightforward, explanatory qualities of mass-audience TV, and is never less than absorbing.” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times

“sing the trappings of old-fashioned romanticism, Chadha envisions the cataclysmic upheaval of millions in the traumatic lives of a few.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice

August 4, 2017 – Columbus, Director Kogonada

When a renowned architecture scholar falls suddenly ill during a speaking tour, his son Jin (John Cho) finds himself stranded in Columbus, Indiana – a small Midwestern city celebrated for its many significant modernist buildings. Jin strikes up a friendship with Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), a young architecture enthusiast who works at the local library. As their intimacy develops, Jin and Casey explore both the town and their conflicted emotions: Jin’s estranged relationship with his father, and Casey’s reluctance to leave Columbus and her mother. With its naturalistic rhythms and empathy for the complexities of families, debut director Kogonada’s COLUMBUS unfolds as a gently drifting, deeply absorbing conversation. With strong supporting turns from Parker Posey, Rory Culkin, and Michelle Forbes, COLUMBUS is also a showcase for its director’s striking eye for the way physical space can affect emotions. Director Kogonada s a proud immigrant, born in Seoul and raised in the Midwest. He has been noted by Filmmaker Magazine (25 New Faces of Independent Film) and The New Yorker for his visual work and film criticism commissioned by the Criterion Collection and Sight & Sound. He joins us to talk about his emotionally powerful, visually stunning feature film debut.

facebook.com/ColumbusMov

96% on Rotten Tomatoes

Independent Film Festival of Boston

Special Jury Prize – Narrative Feature

“The seeming miracle of Columbus is its mixture of formal precision with a philosophical grasp of human mystery.” – Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine

“‘Columbus’ is a feast for the eyes, but its more lasting impression is on the heart.” – Kate Erbland, IndieWire

“The movie leaves quite a bit to the eye of the beholder, but it’s always worth looking at.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“As a movie about intimacy Columbus is a masterpiece.” – Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic

“Columbus crept up on me so gradually and quietly that I don’t even know when I started to love it. When it was over, though, I was left with a sweet aftertaste that stayed with me for hours.” – Angie Han, Slashfilm

“A clever and compelling exploration into how physical structures can come to represent emotional landmarks in our personal lives.” – Jordan Hoffman, Vanity Fair

** LAFF – What We Started, Co-Directors Bert Marcus and Cyrus Saidi

 

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WHAT WE STARTED aims to establish itself as the defining film of the electronic music genre.  Through an artfully crafted narrative and stunning visual techniques, the film delves into the highly popular world of electronic dance music, providing backdoor access to a widely misunderstood, self-driven and well-insulated industry on its way to global domination.  Presently, the genre is booming at a pinnacle higher than ever before, however most do not realize that electronic dance music began as an underground movement that originated in America.  The film sets out to illuminate this rich history: from its underground inception in the late 1980s in America to the musicians and fans of this genre that relentlessly fought for their rights around the world, both in the dance club and on the streets, to find a safe space to express themselves, to the development of this modern, mainstream revolution that has taken the world by storm. Specifically, and with unprecedented access, WHAT WE STARTED follows industry pioneers, like Carl Cox, who are juxtaosed by the journey of a young, superstar of today, Martin Garrix.  These dichotomous journeys of past and present are carefully interwoven to illuminate all viewpoints and highlight the momentous and groundbreaking time that electronic dance music is experiencing presently, while also leaving open the question of what will happen next for this incredible genre of music. WHAT WE STARTED Co-directors Bert Marcus and Cyrus Saidi join us to talk about the history of today’s dynamic soundtrack and their film’s world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

For news and updates go to: bertmarcus.com/what-we-started/

** For news and updates go to: filmindependent.org/la-film-festival

World Premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival

Thursday, June 15, 5:30 p.m. – Arclight Santa Monica

 Press and Industry screening

Monday, June 19, 1:30 p.m. – Arclight Culver City

The Green Fog – A San Francisco Fantasia, Composer Jacob Garchik


 

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Jacob Garchik, multi-instrumentalist and composer, was born in San Francisco and lived in New York since 1994. At home in a wide variety of styles and musical roles, he is a vital part of the Downtown and Brooklyn scene, playing trombone with the Lee Konitz Nonet, Ohad Talmor/Steve Swallow Sextet, Mary Halvorson Octet, and the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble. He has released 4 albums as a leader including “The Heavens: the Atheist Gospel Trombone Album”. He co-leads Brooklyn’s premiere Mexican brass band, Banda de los Muertos. Since 2006 Jacob has contributed dozens of arrangements and transcriptions for Kronos Quartet of music from all over the world. He composed the score for Kronos for the documentary “The Campaign” (2013), and “The Green Fog” (2017) directed by Guy Maddin. He has created arrangements for vocalists Anne Sofie von Otter, Angelique Kidjo, Laurie Anderson, Rhiannon Giddens, kd lang, Natalie Merchant, Tanya Tagaq, and Alim Qasimov. Garchik returns to San Francisco Sunday, April 16 for a live performance during the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival’s closing night screening of The Green Fog – A San Francisco Fantasia. Commissioned by the San Francisco Film Society, that reimagines one of the most iconic San Francisco films of all time, Vertigo, as a visual collage by award-winning filmmaker and cultural iconoclast Guy Maddin. The Green Fog will screen at the historic Castro Theatre on Sunday, April 16 at 7:00 pm, followed by the Closing Night Party at Mezzanine. Jacob Garchik joins us for a conversation on collaborating with director Guy Maddin and his own musical journey.

 For news and updates go to: jacobgarchik.com

For news and updates on the 2017 San Francisco International Film Festival go to: sffilm.org/festival

I Called Him Morgan, Director Kasper Collin

 

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On a snowy night in February 1972, legendary jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan was shot dead by his common-law wife, Helen, during a gig at a club in New York City. The murder sent shockwaves through the jazz community, and the memory of the event still haunts the people who knew the Morgans. Helen served time for the crime and, following her release, retreated into obscurity. Over 20 years later, a chance encounter led her to give a remarkable interview. Helen’s revealing audio “testimony” acts as a refrain throughout the film, which draws together a wealth of archival photographs and footage, interviews with friends and bandmates and incredible jazz music to tell the ill-fated pair’s story. Part true crime tale, part love story, and an all-out musical treat, I CALLED HIM MORGAN is a chronicle of the dramatic destinies of two unique personalities and the music that brought them together. Swedish filmmaker Kasper Collin’s I CALLED HIM MORGAN is also a love letter to two unique personalities and the music that brought them together. A film about love, jazz and America with cinematography by Bradford Young (DOP, Selma).

For news and updates go to: icalledhimmorgan.com

Los Angeles Area: Laemmle’s Monica Film Center in Santa Monica and Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 in Pasadena. 

“Layering experiences and impressions, music and image, Kasper Collin’s remarkable film is less concerned with history than with effects, influences that stretch across time, ideas that shape art.” – Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters

“The interview-“an amazing document,” Collin says-enriches the documentary and transforms it into a story within the story.” – Michael J. Agovino, Village Voice

“This is not a lurid true-crime tale of jealousy and drug addiction, but a delicate human drama about love, ambition and the glories of music.” – A.o. Scott, New York Times

“Collin’s film brings out these stories with a wealth of details energized by the experiences and the insights of his interview subjects as well as an engaging range of archival images and clips.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker

“Quite simply, the greatest film about a jazz musician ever. Do not miss this story of a career cut short by a “Frankie and Johnny” tragedy.” – Louis Proyect, CounterPunch

Zookeeper’s Wife, Director Nikki Caro

 http://www.kuci.org/podcastfiles/683/FS-3-31-17-Caro-Zookeeper.mp3

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The time is 1939. The place is Poland, homeland of Antonina (two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain) and her husband, Dr. Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh). Devoted to each other, the couple thrive as personal and professional partners; the Warsaw Zoo flourishes until the entrance is slammed shut and the zoo is crippled in an attack as the entire country is invaded by the Germans. The couple is forced to report to the Reich’s newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl, Captain America: Civil War). Heck envisions a new, selective breeding program for the zoo. Antonina and Jan fight back on their own terms, and covertly begin working with the Resistance – realizing that their zoo’s abandoned animal cages and underground tunnels, originally designed to safeguard animal life, can now secretly safeguard human life. As the couple puts into action plans to save lives out of what has become the Warsaw Ghetto, Antonina places herself and even her children at great risk. Director Niki Caro (Whale Rider, North Country) directs the movie from a screenplay by Angela Workman, adapted from Diane Ackerman’s nonfiction book of the same name and based on Antonina’s diaries. Director Niki Caro joins us for a conversation on her beautiful and moving historic drama.

For news and updates go to: focusfeatures.com/thezookeeperswife

Facebook:/TheZookeepersWife

Twitter: @Zookeepers – #TheZookeepersWife

Instagram: @TheZookeepersWife

“A fundamental sense of empathy may not be especially cinematic, but that’s no reason to ignore it (and Chastain, who strikes a wonderful balance with Heldenbergh, is masterful at expressing stoicism without ever tipping into sanctimony).” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

“Subtle yet striking, this is a film that is filled with the power of exquisitely executed storytelling.” – Chelsey Grasso, The Film Stage

“”The Zookeeper’s Wife” may have appeal to history buffs of that turbulent time but the story has a more universal appeal about love and compassion for all animals, even us humans.” – Robin Clifford, Reeling Reviews

“It imbues a pessimistic view of the seemingly bottomless depths of human cruelty with sorrowful tragic force.” – Kenji Fujishima, Slant Magazine

HyperNormalisation, Director Adam Curtis

 

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In Adam Curtis’s acclaimed BBC documentary, HyperNormalisation, he employs masterfully edited found footage to investigate how, at a time of confusing and inexplicable world events, politicians and other power brokers construct new, slippery realities. Curtis tells a story that begins in 1975 in New York and Damascus, and ends with today’s world.          

Adam Curtis on his work and HyperNormalisation: ”Those in power in society – the politicians, the journalists, the experts – maintain their power by telling us stories about the world. Those stories tell us what is true and what is false, what is right and wrong, and what is real – and what is illusion. But there come times when these stories begin to break down. And people start to distrust those in power – and their definition of what is real and what is fake. At that point you enter the Zone. The film Hypernormalisation tells the story of how we got to this place. It is also about the new systems of power that we cannot see – because we are trapped inside the Zone.”

Adam Curtis is an award-winning widely influential documentary filmmaker and journalist. He works for BBC television in London. His acclaimed films include The Century of the Self (2002), The Power of Nightmares  (2004), All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (2011), Bitter Lake (2015) – and most recently HyperNormalisation..  His films go back into the recent past to tell dramatic stories that lead the viewer to look again at the present day – and help them make sense of it. They try to show how power really flows in today’s complex society, not just through politics – but through science, public relations and advertising, psychology, computer networks and finance. Curtis has also done live shows with the immersive theatre group Punchdrunk and the band Massive Attack. His films have been shown at the Cannes film festival and have won awards – including 6 BAFTAs. Curtis joins us to talk about power, journalism, the world as is understood today and his work.

For news and updates go to: bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis

“I want to be Adam Curtis when I grow up.” – Oscar-winning filmmaker Errol Morris

“Hypernormalisation” feels like a greatest hits compilation of familiar Curtis themes — the decline of political power in a corporate age, the rise of global terrorism, America’s tortuous secret history in the Middle East, the hollow narcissism of cyberspace. But this also is a dazzling and thought-provoking film that blurs the line between op-ed journalism and mesmerizing audio-visual art.” – Hollywood Reporter

“‘HyperNormalisation’ is a searching and essential document of our times, a movie that leaves us, as in its opening shot, groping through a pitch-black forest with only a flashlight, wondering what lies in all that terrifying darkness that no one has found a way through.” – The New Yorker

Slamdance, Co-founder and President Peter Baxter

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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. 22 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 peter-baxter-slamdanceindependent 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.

For news and updates on 2017 Slamdance Film Festival go to: slamdance.com/

Slash, Director Clay Liford

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Neil (Michael Johnston) is an introverted, questioning high school freshman. Lacking any friends IRL, his main social outlet is the steamy fan fiction he writes about Vanguard, the brawny, galaxy-hopping hero of a popular sci-fi franchise. When his stories are exposed in class Neil is mortified, but the slightly older, effortlessly cool Julia (Hannah Marks) comes to his defense. An erotic fan fic writer herself, Julia pushes Neil to publish his stories to an online “adult” forum, where they quickly grab the attention of the site moderator, Denis (Michael Ian Black). When Neil is invited to present his work at a comic con live-read event, he has to face the fact that Denis’ interest in him may be more than simply professional… perhaps like his own feelings for Julia. Director Clay Liford stops by to talk about his endearing, beautifully rendered story of angst, creativity and self discovery.

For news and updates go to: slashthemovie.com

“An effortlessly engaging dramedy that somehow manages to sustain an air of buoyant sweetness even while repeatedly referencing erotic fantasies and sexual anxieties.” – Joe Leydon, Variety

“This sweet-natured coming-of-age movie, written and directed by Clay Liford, is perhaps more complicated than most by having characters whose sexual orientations aren’t settled.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“Charming and slightly, beautifully dangerous”BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH

“Effortlessly engaging”VARIETY

“Grounded, funny, and relatable”AIN’T IT COOL NEWS

Friday, November 25, 2016 – Blue Jay and Asperger’s Are Us, Director Alex Lehmann

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BLUE JAY is the story of former high school sweethearts Jim (Mark Duplass) and Amanda (Sarah Paulson) who have been out of touch for more than 20 years — but by sheer coincidence, they run into each other at a grocery store back in their alpine hometown of Crestline, California. Jim’s mother has died and he’s here to put her house on the market. Amanda is visiting her pregnant sister. They get to talking, first over coffee, then over beer and jellybeans. Before they know it they’re at Jim’s mother’s house, where everything sends them spiraling back into the past. Jim and Amanda’s lives have taken different directions, yet here they are, reconnecting like nothing has changed. This is one of 2016’s best films.

For news on Blue Jay go to: blue-jay

“Though the film largely trains on the simple, dialogue-fueled interaction of two people, it feels more spectacular than theatrical, showcasing the acting prowess of two master performers feeding on mutual chemistry and performative bravado.” – Joey Nolfi, Entertainment Weekly

“Even after twenty years apart, Amanda and Jim can ask each other the questions no one else would dare to, and understand the answers that go beyond words.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice

aspergers-are-us-film-posterASPERGER’S ARE US is the story of the members of the comedy troupe “Asperger’s Are Us,” whose “condition” make it easier to associate with a faceless audience than with their own families. No matter who the crowd, best friends Noah, New Michael, Jack and Ethan have one simple mantra: “We would much rather the audience appreciate us as comedians than people who have overcome adversity.”   In this coming-of-age heartfelt documentary, this band of brothers finds themselves at a crossroad. With real life pulling them apart, they decide to plan one ambitious farewell show before they all go their separate ways. People with Asperger’s don’t deal well with uncertainty, and this is the most uncertain time in their lives.

“Asperger’s Are Us” rarely stretches to be funny or poignant or touching, and that makes this documentary all the more of each.” Ken Jaworowski, New York Times

“The four young men at the heart of this documentary will easily find a home in all but the hardest of hearts.” – Kimber Myers, LA Times

“Warm, funny and enormously entertaining.” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru

For news on Asperger’s Are Us go to: facebook.com/aspergersareus/

alex-lehmannDirector / cinematographer Alex Lehmann was born in France and studied film at Emerson College in Boston.  ASPERGER’S ARE US is his first documentary feature, it premiered this year at SXSW and was the first Netflix acquisition of the festival. Alex most recently released BLUE JAY starring Mark Duplass and Sarah Paulson which marked his second collaboration (ASPERGER’S ARE US) with the Duplass Brothers. Alex has mostly worked in the industry as a cinematographer, most recently having shot the upcoming Katherine Keener political drama Little Pink House. He and Mark Duplass met on the set of “The League”, where Alex served as a camera operator. Alex stops by for a lively conversation on is collaboration with Mark and Jay Duplass and the on-set challenges / rewards of shooting and directing and bonding with a troupe of four very funny performers.

For more on Alex Lehmann go to: facebook.com/mralexlehmann

Friday, November 25, 2016 – Notes on Blindness, Co-directors Peter Middleton and James Spinney

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Based on the Emmy Award-winning short film of the same name, Notes on Blindness is the debut feature from writer / directors Peter Middleton and James Spinney. In 1983, after decades of steady deterioration, writer and theologian John Hull became totally blind. To help him make sense of the upheaval in his life, he began documenting his experiences on audio cassette. Drawing on John’s original audio recordings, Notes on Blindness is a poetic and intimate story of loss, rebirth and transformation, charting his extraordinary journey into ‘a world beyond sight’. To compliment this archive material, the filmmakers recorded over twenty hours of audio interviews with John and his wife Marilyn. These audio interviews are interwoven throughout the film’s soundtrack, forming a lyrical narration, with the couple reflecting on events from a distance of thirty years. This wealth of documentary audio material is embedded within cinematic interpretations, in which actors play John and his family, lip-synching to this documentary audio. This innovative creative approach liberates the scope of the film to explore the interior aspects of John’s journey into blindness – John’s dream life, his memories and flights of imagination. Writer / directors Peter Middleton and James Spinney join us for a conversation on the their innovative approach to conveying the experience of blindness and the challenges of telling this deeply personal story of love and triumph.

Story of film subject John Hull: John M. Hull taught for 30 years at the University of Birmingham until his retirement in 2002. He was the first professor of Religious Education in the UK and recipient of the prestigious William Rainey Harper award from the Religious Education Association of the US and Canada. This award is only held by 12 international scholars, and is presented to ‘outstanding leaders whose work in other fields has had a profound impact upon religious education’, including luminaries such as Marshall McLuhan, Margaret Mead and Paolo Freire.

For news and updates go to: notesonblindness.arte.tv/en/

★★★★★  “The genius of the film is in allowing us to understand and visualise the world of blindness… A beautiful, accessible and thoughtful work of art.”   THE GUARDIAN, Charlie Phillips

★★★★★ “A visionary, lyrical film” THE TIMES, Kate Muir

★★★★★ “Articulate, eloquent and soul-searching” OBSERVER, Mark Kermode

★★★★★ “Remarkable… a haunting, throat-catching documentary that shares some of the lyrical power of Clio Barnard’s The Arbor or Carol Morley’s Dreams of a Life.”  THE LIST, Allan Hunter

★★★★★ “Beautiful and reassuring, Notes On Blindness is a moving and inspiring film” DAILY MAIL, Libby Purves

‘I, Daniel Blake,’ ‘American Honey,’ ‘Notes On Blindness,’ ‘Under The Shadow’ Lead British Indie Film Award Nominations DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD

Friday November 25, 2016 – Finding Kukan, Director Robin Lung

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In the late 1930s China is in dire straits. The country will collapse under Japan’s military juggernaut if it doesn’t get outside help. Chinese American firebrand Li Ling-Ai jolts Americans into action with a new medium — 16mm Kodachrome color film. She hires photo-journalist Rey Scott to travel to China and capture a citizen’s perspective of the war-torn country, including the massive bombing of the wartime capital Chungking (now Chongqing). Their landmark film KUKAN screens for President Franklin Roosevelt at the White House, is called “awesome” by the New York Times, and receives one of the first
kukan-film-posterAcademy Awards for a feature documentary in 1942. Why have we never heard of Li Ling-Ai?
And why have all copies of KUKAN disappeared? FINDING KUKAN uses rare and unseen archival footage to create an unforgettable portrait of a female filmmaking pioneer, and sheds light on the long history of racial and gender discrimination behind the camera, which continues to reverberate in Hollywood today. Director / Producer Robin Lung stops by to talk about the 7-year quest to find the answers to a multitude of questions.

For news and updates go to: nestedeggproductions.com/

“Totally absorbing.” Louis Proyect (Rec Arts)

“Amazing.” “If you love movies or history see this film.” Steve Kopian (Unseen Films)

“4 stars” John Soltes (Hollywood Soapbox)

Friday, November 11, 2016 – Dog Eat Dog, Director Paul Schrader

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Starring Nicolas Cage and Willian DaFoe, Dog Eat Dog is the story of when three desperate ex cons are offered a job by a Mexican mob boss, they know they should refuse, but the payoff’s too rich to turn down. It’s enough to buy their way out of the Life and start over. All they have to do is kidnap the kid of a colleague who’s ripping the mob boss off.  But the abduction goes awry when the kidnappers are forced to kill an unexpected intruder who turns out to be the child’s father — the very man the mob boss intended to extort. Now unwelcome in the underworld and on the run for murder, the ex cons find themselves as the most wanted fugitives in the City of Angels. And each vows that none of them will ever go back to prison. No matter what the cost. Director, screenwriter Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Cat People, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, Auto Focus, Light Sleeper) joins us totally about his latest film as well as his remarkable career in filmmaking.

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

“Dog Eat Dog occasionally positions itself as social commentary, but it’s mainly a bloody, trippy, bare-fanged pulp thriller featuring terrifically entertaining performances from old dogs Cage and Dafoe.” Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun Times

“Schrader thrusts the amoral ugliness onto the screen in puckishly cold compositions suffused with screechingly acidulous colors.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker

“A giant middle finger to anyone who’s ever forced Paul Schrader to compromise.” – David Ehrlich, Indiewire

Friday, November 4, 2016 – All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone, Director Fred Peabody

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ALL GOVERNMENTS LIE: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone is a timely documentary for audiences who are increasingly seeking alternatives to news media owned by large corporations. News events and journalistic trailblazers stretching over many decades are linked together to tell this important story. This  film will resonate with audiences in the US and worldwide, as news media ownership increasingly falls into the hands of a few giant corporations.  During this year’s election coverage, US viewers continue to get daily doses of the ever increasing corporate owned journalism passing as “breaking news.ALL GOVERNMENTS LIE explores the legacy of I.F. Stone, widely held as the conscience of investigative journalism, whose       groundbreaking reporting filled his tiny 4-page newsletter, I.F. Stone’s Weekly, from 1953 to 1971.  Stone inspired many of our current reporters who are changing the face of journalism today.  These brilliant journalists are featured in the film, including groundbreaking producer, host and author Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!), Glenn Greenwald (The Intercept), Jeremy Scahill (Dirty Wars/The Intercept), Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone), David Corn (Mother Jones), filmmaker Michael Moore (Fahrenheit 9/11), The Young Turks founder and host Cenk Uygur, along with notable opinion leaders Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader, Chris Hedges, and Carl Bernstein. Director Fred Peabody joins us for a lively conversation on the state of today’s journalism, both the good and the vapid.

https://www.allgovernmentslie.com/film

“Even if you belong to the choir it’s preaching to, it has the rare distinction of being a movie you can agree and argue with at the same time.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“In an era of disaster- and celebrity-obsessed cable news, during an election testing the virtues of objectivity, the documentary All Governments Lie is worthy testimony that many journalists are in it for the truth.” – Daphne Howland, Village Voice

 “Featuring footage from the last six decades, “All Governments Lie” is a timely, convincing documentary that will cause audiences to question what they see and read.” – Kimber Myers, LA Times

“What every aspiring journalist needs to know to battle the news media’s laziness, celebrity obsessions and for-profit strategies” – NOW Magazine

Friday, November 4, 2016 – By Sidney Lumet, Director / Producer Nancy Buirski

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Film legend Sidney Lumet tells his own story in a never-before-seen interview shot in 2008. With candor, humor and grace, Lumet reveals what matters to him as an artist and as a human being. The documentary features clips from Lumet’s films – 44 films made in 50 years – including Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, 12 Angry Men, Network and Before the Devil Knows Your Dead. Peabody and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Nancy Buirski (Afternoon of a Faun, The Loving Story) combines these elements to create a network-film-posterportrait of one of the most accomplished, influential and socially conscious directors in the history of cinema. By Sidney Lumet reveals the spiritual and ethical lessons at the core of his work. First and foremost a storyteller, Lumet’s strongly moral tales capture the dilemmas and concerns of a society struggling with essentials: how does one behave to others and to oneself? By Sidney Lumet director and producer Nancy Buirski joins us for a lively conversation on Lumet’s complex and fascinating life, the relentless honesty of his work and the horrifying incident that impacted his perception of our collective humanity.

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

News and updates for Director Nancy Buirski go to: facebook.com/nancy.buirski

“It allows Lumet to remind us, in his own voice, of the passion in his ostensible dispassion – the way he deftly subsumed self-expression within the brisk rhythms of his material and the superb performances of his actors.” – Justin Chang, LA Times

“Makes the case for Lumet not only as one of the Hollywood greats, but also one of its rare filmmakers of conscience-a passionate storyteller whose films wrestle with dilemmas of decency, justice, and fairness.” – Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

“Mr. Lumet comes across as a mensch, but he was also a complex artist whose often literally dark films were filled with shadows, rage and spit, not just nobility.” – Manohla Dargis, New York Times

“The movie is simply Lumet and his films, which turns out to be an astonishingly satisfying experience, because he’s an incredible talker, with the same earthy electric push that powers his work.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

 

Friday, October 7, 2016 – Kate Plays Christine, Director Robert Greene

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What does it mean to tell somebody else’s story? In this ingenious blend of documentary and psychological thriller, Robert Greene (ACTRESS) follows Kate Lyn Sheil (House of Cards, LISTEN UP PHILIP) through her creative process as she prepares for her next, tragic role: Christine Chubbuck, the Florida newscaster who committed suicide live on-air in 1974. As Kate investigates (and ultimately becomes obsessed with) Chubbuck’s story, she discovers that little is actually known about the real woman (despite the urban myth that her story was the inspiration for the classic Hollywood film NETWORK). Through their collaboration, Robert, Kate and cinematographer Sean Price Williams (HEAVEN KNOWS WHAT) raise questions surrounding the sometimes unstable boundaries between performance, the authentic self and the storytelling impulse. Winner of a Special Jury Prize at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, KATE PLAYS CHRISTINE is as much about unraveling a mystery as it is a document of the creative process. Director Robert Greene joins us for a conversation on blurring the line between documentaries and narrative films, just what did he learn about Christine Chubbuck’s life  and how has making KATE PLAYS CHRISTINE changed his approach to storytelling.

For news and updates go to: kateplayschristine.com

Also check out Kate Plays Christin edistributor grasshopperfilm.com

** Winner of a Special Jury Prize at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival

“Kate’s transformation shifts from merely documenting a process to questioning the motives behind it. The final result is deeply unsettling, and (likely unintentionally) a timely indictment of recent headline-making method-acting histrionics.” – Mallory Andrews, Movie Mezzanine

“ documentary Vertigo, Robert Greene’s re-creation of a woman who fell to her inner demons — something of a ghost story — feels dangerous. It pokes the bear, then slaps it.” – Joshua Rothopf, Time Out

“We are a society of gawkers,” asserts one newsperson as Sheil wrestles with the task at hand. By the end of Kate Plays Christine, Greene seems to argue that we’re all complicit in that indictment.” – Eric Kohn, Indiewire

“A tour de force in the blending and bending of genres.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker