The feature film debut of director Darius Marder,Sound of Metal, chronicles the life of Ruben, (Riz Ahmed) an itinerant punk-metal drummer. During a series of adrenaline-fueled one-night gigs, Ruben begins to experience intermittent hearing loss. When a specialist tells him his condition will rapidly worsen, he thinks his music career — and with it his life — is over. His bandmate and girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke) checks the recovering heroin addict into a secluded sober house for the deaf in hopes it will prevent a relapse and help him learn to adapt to his new situation. But after being welcomed into a community that accepts him just as he is, Ruben has to choose between his equilibrium and the drive to reclaim the life he once knew. Utilizing startling, innovative sound design techniques, director Darius Marder takes audiences inside Ruben’s experience to vividly recreate his journey into a rarely examined world. Director and screenwriter Darius Marder joins us for a conversation on technical challenge of creating a cinematic language to meet the demands of telling Ruben’s complex story, creating an environment for remarkable performances from Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke and Paul Raci and his collaboration with fellow director Derek Cianfrance (The Place Beyond the Pines).
About the filmmaker – DARIUS MARDER (Director, Writer) is a writer and director making his narrative feature directorial debut. His film Loot was awarded the Best Documentary Feature prize at the 2008 Los Angeles Film Festival, received five Cinema Eye Honors Award nominations and earned Marder an Independent Spirit Award nomination in the Truer Than Fiction category. Marder then co-wrote The Place Beyond the Pines with Derek Cianfrance and Ben Coccio. The original screenplay won the trio a PEN Literary Award in 2014. The following year Marder and Cianfrance co-adapted S.C. Gwynne’s Pulitzer Prize finalist Empire of the Summer Moon for Warner Bros. The film will go into production in 2021 with Cianfrance directing.
“As Ruben’s fear and rage begins to open itself to the unknown, the movie reaches toward something profound – finding real, furious power in the spaces between the sound.” – Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly
“An engrossing deeply affecting, meticulously crafted movie. The tone is straightforward and naturalistic. The camera focuses on intimate connections between the characters. This is a thoughtful, grounded, human scale film.” – Karen Gordon, Original Cin
“The film is profound, frightening, uplifting and, yes, actually breathtaking at times, and you’re not likely to take your hearing for granted anytime soon afterward.” – Brian Truitt, USA Today
“It’s a devastating, poignant, and ultimately hopeful film, especially for a side of humanity that rarely sees itself portrayed on screen.” – David Fontana, Film Inquiry
In her riveting feature film debut, THE SOUNDING, Catherine Eaton also stars as Liv, a young woman who has never spoken, raised on a remote island by her grandfather Lionel (Harris Yulin, “Ozark”). When Lionel discovers he’s dying, he calls the driven, privileged son (Teddy Sears, “The Flash”) of his best friend to the island and asks him to protect Liv’s independence, alongside Lionel’s attorney (Frankie Faison, “The Wire”). That night, as Lionel is reading to Liv, his voice fails him. Liv picks up the book of Shakespeare and begins – first reading, then weaving a new language from Shakespeare’s words. She is committed to a psychiatric hospital and becomes a full-blown rebel in the hospital; her increasing violence threatens to keep her locked up for life as she fights for her voice and her freedom. At a tipping point for otherness in our current climate, THE SOUNDING champions it. Director Catherine Eaton joins to talk about the origin story for THE SOUNDING, the challenges and rewards of being on both sides of the camera and the supportive cast and crew who made the film such a success.
About the Filmmaker – Catherine Eaton’sfeature debut as a director and writer, The Sounding has won two-dozen awards on the festival circuit. She was chosen for Tribeca Film Festival’s ”Through Her Lens” Lab and Grant for emerging female directors, and was selected as a Shadowing Director for show runner Ryan Murphy’s Half Program on the hit Fox show “9-1-1.” Her pilot script “Breaking News” – based on her personal experience working with freelance news crews in conflict zones – was selected for IFP’s Project Forum and as a finalist for the Screenwriters Colony. Catherine shared an Emmy with the production team on “The Human Toll of Ethanol” for Bloomberg TV, and did freelance production work for various news crews for five years. As an actor, she’s been seen on Broadway, TV and film, and was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Catherine teaches Screenwriting at Harvard University.
When it was released in 1987, The Monster Squad was deemed a failure by critics and was, according to the box office, a film no one cared about. But over the last three decades, word of mouth has turned this sleeping hit into a cultural phenomenon. WOLFMAN’S GOT NARDS explores the relationship a dedicated audience (including celebrities and filmmakers) has with The Monster Squad. The film takes an in-depth look into the film’s conception, response, cult status, and revival. Through interviews with the cast, crew, screenwriters, directors, academics and original reviewers as well as through never-before-seen footage, it turns the lens on an audience of self-proclaimed misfits who have kept The Monster Squad alive for more than 30 years. Director Andre Gower and Monster Squad member, Sean, joins us for a lively conversation on the unlikely saga of a box-office bomb that, like the squad, refuses to give up, and a community of fans that continues to grow.
About the filmmaker – Director André Gowerhas 40 years of experience in the entertainment industry, making him one of the most recognizable child stars of his generation. His body of work includes network series, movies of the week, and features. He is best known for playing the lead character in the cult classic The Monster Squad. Currently, André heads Fitterpiper Entertainment, a production company focusing on young independent filmmakers, new concepts from industry veterans, experimental digital concepts and short films with a roster of production professionals. He also co-hosts the short film series ‘Short Ends’ (Nerdist/ALPHA) and a podcast, ‘Squadcast with Ryan and André.
“There’s so much to cover, and Gower and his crew do an astounding job of being as thorough as possible.” – Kyle Anderson, Nerdist
“Watching these films – and this documentary – generates the type of joy we only felt as kids, as well as evoking the warm fuzzy feeling that nostalgia brings.” – Katie Driscoll, Starburst
“As a whole, I cannot recommend Wolfman’s Got Nards enough for those who love The Monster Squad, for fans of the horror genre, or even for anyone who has ever felt misunderstood by the world at large.” – Heather Wixson, Daily Dead
Inspired by a New York Times No. 1 bestseller,The Way I See It is an unprecedented lookbehind the scenes at two of the most iconic presidents in American history, Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan, as seen through the eyes of renowned photographer Pete Souza. As official White House photographer, Souza was an eyewitness to the unique and tremendous responsibilities of the most powerful person on Earth. Award-winning filmmaker Dawn Porter’s The Way I See It also reveals how Souza transforms from a respected photojournalist to a searing commentator on the issues we face as a country and a people. The Way I See It also traces Souza’s fearless public transformation from chronicler of history to critic of an administration he believes is destroying the legacy of empathy, honor and hope that he witnessed during his 13 years at the White House.Inspired by his two bestselling books, Obama: An Intimate Portrait and Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents, and featuring more than 400 of his photos, the film is an emotional and stirring reminder of America’s pledge of a government for and by the people. Director Dawn Porter joins us for a conversation about the personal journey of an accomplished photojournalist turned activist and when it comes to the most powerful person in the world, why judgement, perspective, honor, and empathy matter.
MSNBC Films premiere Friday, October 9th, 10:00pm EDT
About the filmmaker – Dawn Porter (Director, Producer) is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work has appeared on HBO, PBS, Discovery and Netflix, among others. A two-time Sundance Film Festival director, Porter may be best known for her film Trapped, which explored laws regulating abortion clinics in the American South. The film won the Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking at Sundance in 2016, in addition to a Peabody and numerous other awards. Porter’s 2013 documentary Gideon’s Army premiered on HBO and won Best Editing at Sundance. Gideon’s Army was nominated for both an Independent Spirit Award and an Emmy Award, and is part of the U.S. Department of State’s American Film Showcase. More recently, Porter completed John Lewis: Good Trouble, a feature documentary about the late congressman that will be distributed by Magnolia Pictures and CNN Films. Porter has been commissioned to make films for the Center for Investigative Reporting, Time and Essence magazines, The New York Times Op Docs and Amazon. Her work has received generous support from the MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute, Sundance Film Institute, Chicken & Egg Pictures and other esteemed organizations. The filmmaker is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and the Directors Guild of America.
“If you’ve seen Dawn Porter’s John Lewis documentary, you’ll fall in love with this candid look behind the scenes with a former White House photographer in her new documentary The Way I See It.” – Carolyn Mauricette, View From The Dark
“It’s effective because it gives us momentary relief and validates our rage while asking once again for us to have hope and to keep moving ahead.” – Allyson Johnson, The Young Folks
“Chief White House Photographer Pete Souza and the makers of The Way I See It kindly remind us what decency looked like not so long ago.” – Brigid Presecky, Impressionist Media
“Filmmaker Porter delivers a blisteringly-paced documentary that is, virtually from start to finish, nothing short of fascinating…” – David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews
In 2013, inspired by the book Wines of Lebanon by Michael Karam, filmmakers Mark Johnston and Mark Ryan set out to change the perceptions of the Middle East – and in particular the tiny nation of Lebanon – by examining an enigmatic and misunderstood part of the world with winemakers who had a story to tell. Co-directors Johnston and Ryan released their first award-winning documentary The Invisible Front, but by then, they were already in Lebanon recording stories of courage, adventure and determination. There, they met Michael Karam, and two became three. Wine and War: The Untold Story of Wine in the Middle East tells the story that starts in the 2nd BC, when the Phoenicians, the ancient Lebanese, with their awesome trading empire gave the gift of wine to the then known world.They were the first wine merchants! In doing so, the Lebanese became the masters of crisis management, a skill personified by Lebanon’s winemakers who for thousands of years have gone about their work in war, famine, occupation and the constant hum of political instability. Co-directors Mark Ryan and Mark Johnston join us to talk about the amazing resilience of the Lebanese people and how wine is such a powerful thread in their shared history.
About the filmmaker – Mark Johnston is an executive producer and documentary filmmaker who is known for tackling a full range of near-impossible production challenges with a proven track record of creative development in complex and cross-functional multicultural environments. Mark has invested all his savings to make documentaries. He doesn’t own a home. He literally once moved into a mini van to save money to film a documentary. Mark’s passion for the work takes him to the farthest places on the globe and he always strives to do what he can to help each project realize its full potential. Big budget or big challenge, domestic or around the globe… Mark has done it all with calm collection and inventive problem solving be it feature film documentaries, TV campaigns, brand funded content, animated short films, live event programming, experiential projects, the Lanzarote Iron Man, En Svensk Klassiker, Vasaloppet, and the Stones 100k Ultra Marathon.
About the filmmaker – Mark Ryan, Director / Producer. Over the past two decades, Mark has been a producer, director, and cinematographer on five continents and the North Pole. Early in his career, Mark was part of a film crew that was the first in thirty years to be given unprecedented access to the Hopi Indians of Arizona. This experience cemented Mark’s desire to sensitively tell the stories of other people. Mark has a number of film credits under his belt including the James Beard Award-winning short films The Scent of Black and Stewards of the Land. He’s also served as a producer on the MTV hit show PimpMy Ride. A Los Angeles native, Mark is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a BA in Cinema Production. He also holds a post-graduate degree from Central St. Martins School of Fine Art in London. Today, Mark combines his love for adventure, travel, and hearing the stories of other people with best practices for capturing scenes of film to create stunning imagery for clients around the world.
InterReflections explores deep social issues. In three timelines our main story takes us into the future when ecological crisis and inequality has destabilized society. John Taylor, a defected government intelligence agent turned revolutionary leader, is captured by his former colleague and nemesis, Simon Devoe. Simon leads a government spy agency, encouraging John to join him to avoid punishment. Simon humors John as they debate ideas about humanity, seeing no possibility of John’s escape. But John has a secret. Our second timeline follows a woman in modern day, experiencing life as a horror show, reflecting issues such as racism and environmental destruction. Fired from her job, she sets about finding another. Her journey transforms her. Timeline three takes place 100 years forward as four academics of this future talk about the way things used to be in the early 21st century. They speak of “The Great Transition,” a dramatic global revolution that changed everything for the better. Director Peter Joseph (The New Human Rights Movement,The Zeitgeist Movement) joins us for a conversation about his genre-shattering approach to filmmaking and what his film’s vision says about the world we live in.
In his thoroughly documented and clarion call to action, Dan Partland’s latest documentary, #UNFIT: The Psychology of Donald Trump, provides a platform for a number of prominent mental health professionals to present their observations on camera as part of their ethical “Duty to Warn” the public of imminent danger presented by President Donald Trump. After years of empirical observation these leading mental health professionals, discuss DSM-5 disorders, their danger, and the doctor’s own Duty to Warn, They introduce the syndrome known as malignant narcissism and explain how it is responsible for some of history’s cruelest kinds of inhumanity.They liken it symptoms to the behavior of the most powerful human being on earth, a man with the capacity to launch several thousand nuclear weapons on his command, Donald Trump. Medical doctors and mental health professionals go on camera, on the record, for the record – it’s an eye-opening discussion, analysis, and science-based examination of the behavior, psyche, condition, and stability of President Donald Trump. #UNFIT also examines Trump’s effect on our citizenry, culture, and institutions. Director Dan Partland joins us for a spirited conversation on Trump’s constant perversion of truth, his appeal to tribalism, and the way he has undermined the pillars of civil society, a free press, and an independent judiciary.
About the filmmaker Dan Partland director/producer/writer of both documentary films & television for over 20 years. His work has found success in theatrical, art-house, cable, and network outlets and includes some landmark films of the American Independent Cinema. In the 15 years that the Emmys have recognized primetime nonfiction series, Partland’s shows have been nominated for best in class 5 times, and in 3 different sub-genres; Reality, Nonfiction format, and Documentary. Partland has twice won nonfiction series Emmys and in 2011 and 2012 was nominated by the Producers Guild of America for Nonfiction Producer of the Year. In 2001, Partland won an Emmy (Best Non-Fiction Program) for his work on the ground-breaking 13-part doc series American High on Fox. Partland served as the Supervising Producer and a Director of the critically acclaimed show that is widely regarded as one of the progenitors of the current doc series genre. Partland’s work has spanned several nonfiction genres. He produced and directed How To Raise An Olympian, a winter Olympics special for NBC and was Showrunner for the multi-award-winning CNN archival series The Sixties. Partland was the Executive Producer and Showrunner of A&E’s Intervention for over 150 episodes, garnering countless awards and accolades including the Emmy for best reality series. Partland spent the early days of his career working under Albert Maysles, a founding filmmaker of the cinema verité movement. While on staff at Maysles Films, Partland worked on the dozens of documentary films and television commercials that the legendary company produced during his tenure. Partland is founder and President of DOCSHOP Productions. docshopproductions.com
#UNFIT is sharp, cohesive, and illuminating, with alarming insights.— Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times
#UNFIT is an Incisive documentary with freshly perceptive nuances.— Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“Mental-health professionals, bound by ethics to point out danger, discuss how President Donald Trump is uniquely dangerous, a literal menace to society. Nay, not ‘discuss’: they are screaming it.” – MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Filosopher
“With stunning editing and a slew of thorough and reasoned criticism, this could be the nonfiction movie treatment of Trump to beat this year.” – Harvey S. Karten, Shockya.com
Based on the best-selling novel by Bonnie Jo Campbell, ONCE UPON A RIVER is the story of Native American teenager Margo Crane (Kenadi DelaCerna) in 1970s rural Michigan who after enduring a series of traumas and tragedies, sets out on an odyssey on the Stark River in search of her estranged mother. On the water, Margo encounters friends, foes, wonders, and dangers; navigating life on her own, she comes to understand her potential, all while healing the wounds of her past. ONCE UPON A RIVER features newcomer Kenadi DelaCerna, John Ashton (Midnight Run, Gone Baby Gone), Tatanka Means (The Son, Saints & Strangers, Tiger Eyes), Ajuawak Kapashesit (Caleb, Outlander), Sam Straley (Hala,.Chicago P.D.), Coburn Goss (Man of Steel, What Women Want), Lindsay Pulsipher (True Blood, Justified, Hatfields & McCoys), Kenn E. Head (ER, Chicago Fire). Director Haroula Rose joins us for a conversation on her collaboration with author Bonnie Jo Campbell, bringing her background in music into the filmmaking world and bringing the role of Margo to life through the stellar performance of newcomer Kenadi DelaCerna.
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.
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.
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.
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
“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 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.
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.
In Director David Wnendt (Wetlands) beguiling new film, TheSunlit 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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)
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.
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.
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.
“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
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.
“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
The quietly powerful new film from award-winning director Annie Silverstein BULL focuses on a14-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.
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.
“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 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.
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.
“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
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.
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.
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.
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).
Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival 2019
Official Selection, New York Film Festival 2019
Mati Diop, Mary Pickford Award Winner, Toronto InternationalFilm 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
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.
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.
Inspired by Lewis Hyde’s beloved classic The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World, GIFTis 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).