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.
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).
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
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.
Twitter: @Zookeepers – #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
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.
“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
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 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.
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.
“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
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.
“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
ASPERGER’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
Director / 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.
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.
★★★★★ “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
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
Academy 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.
“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)
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.
“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
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.
“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
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 portrait 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.
“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
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.
** 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
On January 9, 2006 the New York Times sent shockwaves through the literary world when it unmasked “it boy” wunderkind JT LeRoy, whose tough prose about his sordid childhood had captivated icons and luminaries internationally. It turned out LeRoy didn’t actually exist. He was dreamed up by 40-year-old San Francisco punk rocker and phone sex operator, Laura Albert. Director Jeff Feuerzeig’s AUTHOR: THE JT LEROY STORY takes us down the infinitely fascinating rabbit hole of how Laura Albert – like a Cyrano de Bergerac on steroids – breathed not only words, but life, into her avatar for a decade. Albert’s epic and entertaining account plunges us into a glittery world of rock shows, fashion events, and the Cannes red carpet where LeRoy becomes a mysterious sensation. As she recounts this astonishing odyssey, Albert also reveals the intricate web spun by irrepressible creative forces within her. Her extended and layered JT LeRoy performance still infuriates many; but for Albert, channeling her brilliant fiction through another identity was the only possible path to self-expression. Director Jeff Feuerzeig join us for a lively conversation on how Laura’s life, her traumas and innate brilliance made JT Leroy such a hugely fascinating saga, on and off the screen.
“Wildly entertaining. The movie this crazy, endlessly fascinating story deserves.” – Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine
“Four stars. Endlessly riveting. Albert is a hell of a storyteller.” – Nigel Smith, The Guardian
“Strange, existential and ultimately thrilling.” – Steven Zeitchik, Los Angeles Times
“A fascinating treatise on creative desire and fame, as compelling as anything the writer herself dreamed up.” – Eric Kohn, Indiewire
Richard Linklater: Dream is Destiny takes the viewer from the Academy Awards for the acclaimed, Boyhood, and an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Linklater’s latest film, Everybody Wants Some. Throughout the film, Richard Linklater himself addresses his own life at mid-career point, at times while embarrassed and shy. He tells of the influential array of filmmakers, playwrights and criminals that continue to form his own independent work, and the philosophical modalities which have guided the path; all in conversation with Louis Black, an Austin-based journalist who has known him since the 1980’s. Other interviews include Ethan Hawke, Jack Black, Jonathan Demme, Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Adair and Julie Delpy, members of the Linklater family, Clark Walker and more. Richard Linklater: Dream is Destiny was produced for PBS’ American Masters series is an unusual look at a fiercely independent style of filmmaking that arose from Austin, Texas in the 1980s/ early 90’s. It is an unconventional look at how Linklater’s films of that period, Slacker, Dazed and Confused and Before Sunrise, sparked a low budget, in your own backyard movement in this country and around the world. Co-directors and co-producers Louis Black and Karen Bernstein joins us for a spirited conversation on what makes Richard run, the early days of the Austin film scene and how Linklater has influenced and mentored many of the independent film world’s brightest talents.
“It’s shamelessly partial but also warmly pleasurable, partly because Mr. Linklater is an engaging and humble conversationalist who moves easily to the beat of his own soundtrack.” – Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times
“A documentary portrait of the director of ‘Boyhood’ and ‘Dazed and Confused’ is full of revealing offscreen footage as well as a pinpoint feeling for the filmmaker’s visionary humanism.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“Warm, familial and unhurried portrait of the great Austin auteur provides a good overview of an underappreciated director’s work and unusual approach.” – Chris Barsanti, Film Journal International
“Black and Bernstein understand what it is that makes Linklater so curious, and in chronicling his career in such a clear and entertaining way, they’ve put together a worthwhile and winning portrait of a very special filmmaker.” – Adam Chitwood, Collider
Inventive and wildly fun, NUTS! recounts the unbelievable true story of John Romulus Brinkley, a Kansas doctor who in 1917 discovered that he could cure impotence by transplanting goat testicles into men. From there, the story only gets more bizarre. Mixing hand-drawn animated reenactments, interviews, archival footage, and a very unreliable narrator, NUTS! traces Brinkley’s rise from poverty and obscurity to the heights of celebrity, wealth, and influence. Along the way, he transplants thousands of goat testicles, amasses an enormous fortune, is (sort of) elected Governor of Kansas, invents junk mail and the infomercial, builds the world’s most powerful radio station, and generally annoys the heck out of the establishment. Filmmaker Penny Lane has skillfully borrowed a page from her subject – charming viewers into believing the unbelievable, building their trust and excitement, until the final chapter bares the painful truth and reveals the doctor for what he truly was. NUTS! reminds us that our love of (and need for) compelling narratives is exactly what makes us so endlessly susceptible to being conned. Director Penny Lane stops by for a conversation on Brinkley, our collective need to believe in something and any contemporary parallels to be drawn from this bizarre story.
NUTS! had it’s World Premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing.
“Mixing droll animation, stock footage and a restrained number of talking head interviews, the director Penny Lane’s biography has all the whimsy of a tall tale, until a late change in tone surprises with genuine emotion.Nuts! is really a kick.” – The Guardian
“Don’t let the synopsis fool you, there’s much more here than a simple movie about a guy who likes to put goat balls in people…[Lane] explores the peculiar and undeniably fascinating story of Brinkley in what is easily an early contender doc of the year…Nuts! is a film you’ll definitely want to check out.” – Film Pulse
“Penny Lane is a documentarian who blends the archival with the personal in powerfully emotive ways… [she] is now firmly ensconced as a leading voice among her documentary filmmaking peers. “ – Vimeo
“What won’t spoil the film is my spewing praise for Lane’s craft… Lane is the answer to a question more people should be asking: who’s the great documentarian of this generation?” – The Verge
“In keeping with a recent trend in documentary filmmaking, nontraditional, sometimes controversial storytelling techniques will be on full display, Mr. Cooper said. The director Penny Lane, for instance, uses animated re-enactments and “one seriously unreliable narrator” to trace the “mostly true” story of a man who found success selling a goat-testicle impotence cure..” – New York Times
From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams (“Music by Prudence”), is the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. This emotional coming-of-age documentary follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence. The subject of his father Ron Suskind’s New York Times bestseller, Owen was a thriving three-year-old who suddenly and inexplicably went silent—and for years after remained unable to connect with other people or to convey his thoughts, feelings or desires. Over time, through repeated viewings of Disney classics like The Little Mermaid and The Lion King, Owen found useful tools to help him to understand complex social cues and to re-connect with the world around him. Life, Animated evocatively interweaves classic Disney sequences with vérité scenes from Owen’s life in order to explore how his identification and empathy for characters like Simba, Jafar and Ariel gave him a means to understand his feelings and allowed him to interpret reality. Director and Producer Roger Ross Williams (God Love Uganda) joins us to talk about the challenge of presenting a balanced portrait of Owen Suskind and his family.
Winner of the Audience Award – San Francisco Film Festival
Winner of the Audience Award – Full Frame Film Festival
Winner of the Directing Award – Sundance Film Festival, Life, Animated
“A captivating portrait of a young man for whom Disney animated movies have provided a powerful lifeline to progress, language and understanding. – Justin Chang, Variety
“Williams smartly devotes large portions of the documentary to Owen on his own, letting him explain his fears himself rather than relying on the other Suskinds for clarification and translation. – Noel Murray, A.V. Club
“Incredibly moving documentary takes us into the interior life of an autistic person, and explores how films helped him communicate with the outside world.” – Lanre Bakare, The Guardian
“Instead of false hope, it offers up possibility, the chance of a stimulus that might get past the blocks of developmental disorder.”- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE is a zany tale of a defiant city kid, Ricky, raised on hip-hop and foster care, gets a fresh start in the New Zealand countryside. He quickly finds himself at home with his new foster family: the loving Aunt Bella, the cantankerous Uncle Hec, and dog Tupac. When a tragedy strikes that threatens to ship Ricky to another home, both he and Hec go on the run in the bush. As a national manhunt ensues, the newly branded outlaws must face their options: go out in a blaze of glory or overcome their differences and survive as a family. Equal parts road comedy and rousing adventure story, director Taika Waititi (WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, upcoming THOR: RAGNORAK) masterfully weaves lively humor with emotionally honest performances by Sam Neill, Rima Te Wiata, Rachel House and Julian Dennison. A hilarious, touching crowd-pleaser, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE reminds us about the journey that growing up is (at any age) and those who help us along the way. Producer Carthew Neal (Tickled, A Band Called Hook Ups) joins us to talk about how Barry Crump’s classic book, Wild Pork and Watercress found its way into the hands of the talented director and writer Taika Waititi and onto the screen.
“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” takes a troika of familiar story types – the plucky kid, the crusty geezer, the nurturing bosom – and strips them of cliché.” – Manohla Dargis, New York Times
“Every once in a while, a small, unheralded film comes along, so smart and funny, such a pleasure to experience, you can’t believe your luck. “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” is such a film.” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times
“It’s off-beat in all the best ways, has fantastic actors all delivering fantastic performances, and is a uproarious adventure with endless heart.” – CinemaBlend.com
“An oddball and oddly affecting take on two misfits finding their metaphorical partner-in-crime match.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone
Fifty years ago, the name “Kitty Genovese” became synonymous with urban apathy after 38 eyewitnesses did nothing while an attacker stabbed her to death on a street in New York City. “For more than half an hour,” The New York Times report began, “38 respectable, law-abiding citizens watched a killer stalk and stab a woman in three separate attacks.” Forty years later, her brother Bill Genovese, who was 16 at the time of his sister’s death, decides to re-examine the details of the crime. THE WITNESS is a probing and deeply personal investigation into one of the most iconic crimes in New York history, featuring interviews with those closest to the murder including the surviving witnesses to Kitty’s death. It offers an illuminating look into the way stories take form and their rippling effects on the lives they touch. THE WITNESS, a gripping and emotional documentary look at the mythic death and little-known life of Kitty Genovese, is the directorial debut of New York screenwriter (“The Conspirator”) James Solomon. James sits down to talk about Kitty’s brother and his personal story and how Kitty’s tragic story came to condemn a city and define an era.
Pasadena – Laemmle Playhouse 7 – TICKETS – opens 6/17
Director James Solomon will participate in a Q&A on Saturday, June 18th after the 3pm screening.
Santa Monica – Laemmle Monica Film Center – TICKETS – opens 6/17
Director James Solomon will participate in Q&As on Friday, June 17th and Saturday, June 18th after the 7:20 screenings.
THE WITNESS will also open in Los Angeles on June 17 at the Edwards Westpark 8 in Irvine and the Laemmle Claremont 5 in Claremont.
New York Times Critics’ Pick
“STUNNING!” – Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal
“EXTRAORDINARY!” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker
“ASTONISHING!” – Alexander Nazaryan, Newsweek
“FASCINATING!” – Jordan Hoffman, The Guardian
“A VISUALIZED SERIAL!” – John Surico, Vice
“A RIVETING DEEP DIVE INTO A CULTURAL FLASHPOINT!” – Jason Bailey, Flavorwire
In Margarita with a Straw Indian writer/director Shonali Bose beautifully portrays the story of a luminous Indian teenager with cerebral palsy who leaves her homeland to study in New York, falls in love with a young blind woman, and begins a remarkable journey to self-discovery and independence. Bose was inspired to write this humane story by her cousin’s experience with cerebral palsy. Margarita with a Straw features award-winning performances from some of India’s most acclaimed actors, including Kalki Koechlin as Laila in a remarkable and life affirming portrayal. Margarita with a Straw is told with insight and humor. Director Shonali Bose joins us for a conversation on censorship, changing perceptions within her home country of India on same sex relations and how her own life experience inspired the making of this warm hearted film.
Official Facebook page for Margarita with a Straw
For news and updates go to: margarita-with-a-straw
Margarita, With a Straw California is opening on May 20th at:
LOS ANGELES. Arena Theater in Hollywood. Arena Cinema in Hollywood
On Friday May 20 there is a pre-screening reception at 7pm and a Q&A with Director Shonali Bose following the 7:40pm show. Join her for Q&A’s after the following showtimes: Sat 4 pm, Sun 5 25pm.
“MARGARITA WITH A STRAW is an unexpected delight of charm and substance.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety
“An acting triumph. Kalki is amazing . . . her spirit flying as she tastes the delights and dilemmas, from crushes to creative pushes, of a college student’s life.” – Times of India
“A coming-of-age tale that treats its subject with the sensitivity it deserves …” – The Huffington Post
“Emotionally direct study of disability and sexuality… Big issues handled with dignity.” – The Guardian
BRIDGEND premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, winning 3 of the 6 main awards – Best Actress, Best Cinematography and Best Editing. Based on a real life, mysterious teenage suicide cluster that took place in a former coal mining province in Wales, filmmaker Jeppe Rønde followed teenagers in the area for six years, and wrote the narrative script based on their life stories. Shot entirely on location in Wales, many of the local teenagers act in the film as well. Deftly structured around young heroine Sara (an award-winning performance from Hannah Murray from UK’s Skins and Gilly on Game of Thrones), the film paints a sensitive exploration of natural adolescent confusion, romanticism, and sadness, set amidst rugged natural landscapes and spectacular cinematography. This is filmmaker Jeppe Rønde’s fiction film debut. Director Jeppe Rønde joins us to talk about his haunting and mysterious tale of lost youth and intense love.
Bridgend is being released theatrically as well as through the stream service FANDOR
To sign up and watch Bridgend go to: fandor.com/
“Hannah Murray is excellent! This is ripped-from-the-headlines cinema reformulated as real-world horror film, with a shivery stylistic nod to the crime drama of Rønde’s homeland.” – Variety
“Haunting! (Hanna) Murray’s Tribeca win for Best Actress is well deserved. A provocative film that eventually blazes to a searing finish.” – The Playlist
“15 Must-See Movies at Tribeca Film Festival 2015. While the movie could have played the story for cheap creeps, (Filmmaker) Ronde instead puts a sharp focus on how its heroine’s natural adolescent confusion, romanticism and sadness are magnified by the continuing loss of her peers.” – Rolling Stone
“Throughout, (Filmmaker) Ronde’s visuals are intense and exhilarating.” – Screen Daily
A personal film about a public subject, MY FATHER’S VIETNAM explores the human bonds forged and shattered by war. Set against the backdrop of never-before-seen photographs and 8mm footage of the Vietnam War, the film is the story of three soldiers, only one of whom made it home alive. MY FATHER’S VIETNAM won the Soldiers and Sacrifice Grand Prize at the 2015 Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF) and the Best Picture Documentary at the 2016 Flagler Film Festival. MY FATHER’S VIETNAM was directed by first-time filmmaker Soren Sorensen. Gravitas Ventures will release the film on VOD and across all other digital platforms on May 24, 2016, to coincide with Memorial Day Weekend. Director Sorensen joins us to talk about his father and the other soldiers that went to Vietnam and never truely came back.
“I give this film my highest praise. I want people to see it to understand the deep thinking that went into the tough decision made by most veterans to serve in that lengthy and controversial military engagement—now remembered as the Vietnam War. Many veterans paid a high price. The tribute to the fallen is breathtaking.” Jan Scruggs Founder, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund
“My Father’s Vietnam“ is a powerful and gripping story—a worthy testament to complex lives and impossible choices made by young people coming of age while the world was in flames. These accidental heroes—soldiers, resisters, the women who waited and worried—emerge as fully human beings thrust into situations not of their making, struggling to make sense and create meaning out of chaos. This is a dazzling documentary and a necessary addition to the chronicle of the Viet Nam years.” Bill Ayers, Author, Fugitive Days
ELSTREE 1976 explores the lives of the actors and extras behind one of the most celebrated science fiction films in cinematic history: STAR WARS. A captivating look at the unheralded stars of George Lucas’s original film – from the man behind film’s most iconic villain, to the actor whose character was completely cut from the final film – the documentary delves into the eccentric community these individuals have formed and how the Star Wars franchise – which spans five decades from A NEW HOPE to THE FORCE AWAKENS – from Millennium Falcon Pilots to uncredited Temple Guards to Darth Vader himself, ELSTREE 1976 shows the profound impact that STAR WARS had on all involved, no matter the role. Director and writer Jon Spira joins us to talk about his own journey into their world.
** New York Times Critics Pick
** LA Times Critics Pick
“A sweet, quietly funny, fascinating and contemplative study of 10 character actors and extras, none of whom had any idea back in the 1970s they’d forever be defined by the one or two days they spent on the set of a sci-fi movie.” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun Times
“In telling a small story of bit players, the director, Jon Spira, captures a more universal picture of the droplets of fame created by a pop-culture tidal wave.” – Neil Genzlinger, New York Times
“It finds a way of proving valuable not just to fans, but to Force agnostics as well.” – Oliver Lyttelton, The Playlist
THE PROFESSOR is the first major feature documentary about the martial art of Tai Chi and one of its greatest masters, Cheng Man-Ching, the man who brought the Chinese practice to the U.S. during the turbulent 1960s. Professor Cheng Man-Ching (1901-1975) is considered one of the greatest Tai Chi masters of modern times. Strugatz’s documentary tells the story of the man who overcame cultural divides to bring ancient traditions to the Western world, in the process teaching Westerners how to seek an ethical, open-minded and joyful way of life with Tai Chi – not only as a martial art, but also as a spiritual practice and form of mindful exercise. Part of a centuries-old Chinese lineage, Tai Chi is an ancient form of exercise originally created as a fighting art. Known as the “Supreme Ultimate” martial art, it is deeply rooted in classic Chinese culture and philosophy, combining mental concentration with slow, controlled movements to focus the mind, challenge the body, and improve the flow of ”chi” – the life energy thought to sustain health and quiet the mind. Filmmaker Barry Strugatz, a student of Tai Chi, became aware that the legacy of Cheng Man-Ching as a transformational figure was in danger of being lost. Strugatz has written screenplays for Jonathan Demme (Married to the Mob), Meryl Streep (She-Devil) and directed Melissa Leo in From Other Worlds. THE PROFESSOR is his first documentary. He joins us to talk about how Cheng Man-Ching impacted the physical, psychological and spiritual lives of countless lives.
“East engagingly meets West in ‘The Professor: Tai Chi’s Journey West,’ an affectionate documentary portrait of Cheng Man-Ching, the Chinese master who brought Tai Chi to New York during the groovy but stressed-out ’60s.” - Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times
“Must-see!” – Brigid Brown, BBC America
“Forms a sort of oral history of Cheng and his methods… The documentary succeeds in highlighting Cheng’s importance, not in making tai chi relevant to a wider audience.” – Daniel Eagan, Film Journal International
“For those of us who study these arts and are certainly familiar with Professor Cheng Man-Ching the chance to see any footage of him in action at all is a real treat. Excellent.” – Steven Ruskin, AV Maniacs
“Sweet… it’s refreshing to watch a film about a man who has helped so many individuals grow.” - Ross Anthony, Hollywood Report Card
“VERY MOVING. It reveals how completely universal and accessible Tai Chi is to anyone. A perfect martial art for this time of fear and anger.” – Julie Taymor, Award-Winning Broadway & Film Director
RABIN IN HIS OWN WORDS is an “autobiography” of sorts, the story is told entirely in the voice of former Israeli Prime Minister, former head of Israeli Defense Forces Yitzhak Rabin. Through a combination of rare archival footage, home movies and private letters, his personal and professional dramas unfold before the viewer’s eyes – from his childhood as the son of a labor leader before the founding of the State of Israel, through a change of viewpoint that turned him from a farmer into an army man who stood at some of the most critical junctures in Israeli history. RABIN IN HIS OWN WORDS brings the man – flesh and blood – back to life, if only momentarily. The film combines rare archives that, since they were originally broadcasted 40 years ago, have not been seen or heard, a private 8 mm mostly shot by Rabin, a super 8 mm of Rabin in color in 1948 shot by American couple visiting Israel, and private letters to his sister his father and to his wife Leah. Director Erez Laufer is the co-Editor of two Oscar nominated documentaries: Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker’s The War Room (1993) and Laura Poitras’ My Country My Country (2006) His own film Mike Brant, Laisse-moi t’aimer won the 2002 Israeli Academy Award for Best Documentary, and had its international premiere at the Directors Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival 2003. Director Laufer stops by to talk about his fascinating portrait of a man in the middle of many of the Middle East’s defining historic events and how his words resonate today.
“In His Own Words is a deeply involving look at the man’s entire life, using archival footage, home movies, private letters but most of all filmed interviews Rabin gave, to let us hear him tell his own story just about from cradle to grave.” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times
“Rabin’s consistent, thoughtful self-criticism and colorful storytelling animate what might otherwise be a pat, or at least familiar, history of Israel in the 20th century. By making it specific, Laufer makes it new.” – Diana Clarke, Village Voice
“A thoroughly fascinating, captivating, well-edited and provocative documentary. It should be mandatory viewing for anyone even remotely interested in politics and history.” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru
Now Playing in Select Theaters
New York, NY – Lincoln Plaza Cinema
Los Angeles, CA – Laemmle’s Royal Theatre
Starts May 13th
Encino, CA – Laemmle’s Town Center 5