How to Win at Checkers (Every Time), Director Josh Kim

Win at checkers posterSuperstar Thai actor-model  

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headlines this striking debut feature from Korean-American writer-director Josh Kim. As the now grown Oat, he recalls his childhood experience of trying to rescue his gay older brother Ek from being drafted into military service. As Ek grapples with the gritty realities of life in Bangkok – working at a bar for male hustlers and sex-workers – he has also found love with his more privileged boyfriend Jai. When the moment of truth arrives with the draft lottery these 21-year-olds must draw either a black or a red slip to possibly be conscripted into the armed forces. Director-writer Josh Kim stops by to talk about compassionate and insightful tale on brotherly love.

For news and updates go to: winatcheckers.com

Thailand’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film to the 2016 Academy Awards

“A winning drama about loss of innocence.” – The Hollywood Reporter

“Deeply felt tale of fraternal bonds splintered by social inequality reps a confident feature-length debut for the Texas-born Kim, who brings both non-native objectivity and a traveler’s eye for geographic detail to the pic’s earthy Bangkok setting.” – Variety

“One of the year’s best Thai movies…heart-warming, bittersweet tale of orphaned brothers growing up.”- The Nation

“The film has an elegiac tone, shot in warm hazy light that captures both Thailand’s vivid natural beauty and its stark poverty… It’s gritty without being exploitative, and as a story that treads a line between incendiary subjects it is admirable in its restraint.” – Eye for Film 

HBO’s Homegrown: The Counter-Terror Dilemma, director Greg Barker

HomeGrown 

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HBO documentary Homegrown: The Counter-Terror Dilemma is a timely exploration of one of today’s most divisive and pressing issues – the threat posed by homegrown Islamic extremism and the challenges of detecting and countering it. Directed by Emmy® award-winner Greg Barker (HBO’s Manhunt: The Search for Bin Laden), Homegrown: The Counter-Terror Dilemma is a gripping, insider’s account of the homegrown terrorist threat in America, told from the perspectives of those who helped construct America’s counter-terrorism machine – as well as those who are its targets. Inspired by the nonfiction book “United States of Jihad:” by Peter Bergen, who also wrote “Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden – from 9/11 to Abbottabad,” which was also the basis for Barker’s Manhunt. Bergen is a print and television journalist who conducted Osama Bin Laden’s first TV interview in 1997, in which he declared war against the United States. A former war correspondent, Barker’s other film includes Koran by Heart and the Emmy® nominated Sergio. He joins us for an in-depth conversation on the many nuanced issues that are in-play for those seeking to prevent and deter attacks on American soil.

For news and updates go to: hbo.com/homegrown-the-counter-terror-dilemma

Premieres, Monday February 8th at 9 PM (ET and Central)

2016 Academy Award Nominated Short Program, Carter Pilcher

2016 OSCAR SHORT POSTER 

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

*Diary of a Teenage Girl, director / writer Marielle Heller

Diary of a Teenage Girl poster 

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THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL is based on Phoebe Gloeckner’s novel of the same name, hailed by Salon as “one of the most brutally honest, shocking, tender and beautiful portrayals of growing up female in America.” Writer/Director Marielle Heller unlocks this diary with a richly comedic and deeply personal vision. It is a coming of age story that is as poignant as it is unsettling. Set in 1976 San Francisco, THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL begins at the crossroads of the fading hippie movement and the dawn of punk rock. Like most teenage girls, Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley) is longing for love, acceptance and a sense of purpose in the world. Minnie begins a complex love affair with her mother’s (Kristen Wiig) boyfriend, “the handsomest man in the world,” Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård). What follows is a sharp, funny and provocative account of one girl’s sexual and artistic awakening, without judgment. Minnie emerges defiant— taking command of her sexuality and drawing on her newfound creative talents to reveal truths in the kind of intimate and vivid detail that can only be found in the pages of a teenage girl’s diary. In her feature film directorial debut, director / writer Heller brings Gloeckner’s book to life through fearless performances, inventive graphic novel-like animation sequences, imagination, humor and heart.

For news and updates go to: thediaryofateenagegirl

* Spirit Award nominations for Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay and Best Female Lead (Bel Powley)

Sundance Film Festival 2015 and New Directors/New Films 2015

“What makes Minnie — on the page and now on the screen — greater than any one girl is how she tells her own story in her own soaringly alive voice”. – Manohla Dargis, New York Times

“This adaptation of Phoebe Gloeckners heavily autobiographical novel is ideally cast and skillfully handled.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“Powley, a British twentysomething whose big, curious eyes and quavering, thoughtful voice allow for a seamless transition back to her teenage years, gives a remarkable performance.” – Jesse Hassenger, A.V. Club

“It’s unlikely to make a box office splash, but it’s a startlingly tough, authentic depiction of budding womanhood.” Elaine Tang, New Republic

*Advantageous, Director and co-writer Jennifer Phang

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Advantageous is the story of a mother named Gwen (Jacqueline Kim) who just wants the best for her daughter Jules (Samantha Kim). Having recently been laid off by the Center for Advanced Health and Living, a company on the verge of a breakthrough in terms of transferring consciousness from one body to another, Gwen struggles with putting Jules into a private school that could set her up for life, ultimately wondering if she should take part in her former employer’s latest experiment to help her cause. The Center’s newest and untested health procedure offers Gwen a dangerous, life-altering chance to continue her career. To weigh her options, Gwen attempts to reconnect with an estranged relative (Ken Jeong), but as seems standard for all in this dystopian landscape, Gwen remains alienated and alone. Also starring Jennifer Ehle (The Gifted Man, Zero Dark Thirty) and James Urbaniak (The Venture Bros., Henry Fool). Director and co-writer Jennifer Phang joins us for a conversation on femininity and motherhood and how they intersect with questions of beauty, surveillance and the economy.

 For news and updates go to: advantageous.me

Winner of the 2015 Sundance Special Jury Award, Collaborative Vision

*2016 Spirit Award nomination for the John Cassavetes Award

“YOU FEEL THE NEED BOTH TO TALK TO SOMEONE IMMEDIATELY AND TO GREEDILY HORDE THE EXPERIENCE FOR YOURSELF” – THE VERGE

 “BEWITCHING” – THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

 “EXQUISITELY CRAFTED” – MOVIE CITY NEWS

 “BEAUTIFUL… IMPRESSIVE… UNIVERSALLY HUMAN… INCREDIBLY URGENT” WIRED

“A MARVEL OF A FILM… ARRESTING AND HEARTBREAKING” – CINEFILLES

 “VISUAL ALCHEMY… RENEWED MY AWARENESS OF BEING ALIVE AND PRESENT IN A CHANGING WORLD” – HAMMER TO NAIL

The Big Short, co-screenwriter Charles Randolph*

The Big Short poster 

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When four outsiders saw what the big banks, media and government refused to, the global collapse of the economy, they had an idea: The Big Short. Their bold investment leads them into the dark underbelly of modern banking where they must question everyone and everything. The Big Short is being talked about as the best picture of the year. Its script, adapted by director Adam McKay (The Other Guys) and writer Charles Randolph (Love & Other Drugs) from Michael Lewis‘s bestselling 2009 book The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, is considered one the frontrunners for the best adapted screenplay 2016 Academy Award. Randolph is an American screenwriter and producer for film and television. Randolph has written screenplays for several films and TV movies including The Life of David Gale (2003), The Interpreter (2005), and Love & Other Drugs (2010). Randolph received nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay and BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and an Academy Award nomination for co-writing The Big Short. Randolph joins us to talk about the challenge involved in writing a script about a complex event and subject that is informative, intelligent and entertaining.

For news and updates go to: thebigshortmovie.com

* Nominated for 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director (Adam McKay) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Adam McKay and Charles Randolph)

“McKay co-wrote The Big Short’s screenplay with Charles Randolph, and they know how to keep an audience engaged, broadcasting this knowledge often, as both parody and indictment.” – Chicago Reader

“A funny, energetic and self-aware film that manages to entertain without diluting the complications – or the gravity – of its subject matter.” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times

“A true crime story and a madcap comedy, a heist movie and a scalding polemic, “The Big Short” will affirm your deepest cynicism about Wall Street while simultaneously restoring your faith in Hollywood.” – A. O. Scott, New York Times

Band of Robbers, co-director Aaron Nee

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

For news and updates go to: bandofrobbersmovie.com

Special appearance by directors and cast

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

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

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

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

“A wonderfully absurd crime comedy.” – Playlist

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

Heart of a Dog, with Director Laurie Anderson

heart-of-a-dog posterIn HEART OF A DOG, musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson’s playful, lucid and heartbreaking nonfiction feature on the life and death of her dog, Lolabelle, told in a style only this unique artist could create. Taking as a jumping off point the recent passing of her beloved terrier Lolabelle, Anderson touches on what her love for her dog means to her by processing her childhood, music, and her life as an artist. Through all of it, she draws upon her childhood experiences and political beliefs as she lovingly tries to help Lolabelle’s spirit face the tribulations it will experience immediately after death (as described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead). Aided by a beautiful use of her own compositions, animation and 8 millimeter film from her family archive, Anderson creates a gorgeous, heartbreaking tapestry on love and loss – reminding us that every love story is a ghost story. Director Laurie Anderson joins us to talk about spirit and intention of Heart of a Dog, her thoughtful, funny and beautiful film.

For news and updates go to: heartofadogfilm.com

Director Laurie Anderson will be doing a Q&A for the 7:30 PM screening on Heart of a Dog on Friday, November 6

Laurie Anderson’s soundtrack for HEART OF A DOG is available at: nonesuch.com/albums/heart-of-a-dog

“Wildly innovative but also quiet and modestly scaled. A philosophically astute, emotional meditation on death, love, art and dogs.” – A.O. Scott, The New York Times

“A dog is at the heart of this film, but there’s room for all manner of extraordinary insights about finding love and giving love, being canine and being human.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

“Exceptionally potent. I could write a whole essay about the way Anderson uses her light, scintillating voice in this movie. Her incredible control of the artistic arsenal this medium provides her with-images, music, sound, language-enable her to construct a work that’s both highly intellectually engaging and provocative and also emotionally wrecking.”  – Glenn Kenny, RogerEbert.com

We Weren’t Just Bicycle Thieves, Neorealism – Director Gianni Bozzacchi

Bicycle Thieves poster 

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WE WEREN’T JUST BICYCLE THIEVES. NEOREALISM tells the story of the most important cinema trend that Italy has ever produced – Neo Realism. Born after the Second World War, this veritable cultural revolution rapidly became a boundless source of inspiration for movie-makers throughout the entire world. Even today it influences those wanting to produce quality movies characterized and identified as Italian products able to be exported as well. Director/producer Gianni Bozzacchi chronicles this amazing time in film through this new documentary featuring clips from the classic neorealisim films and interviews with the era’s great directors including De Santis, Rossellini, Visconti, De Sica, Fellini, Germi and many more.  Even today, the style and creativity associated with this period can be seen in the likes of American filmmakers such as Bertolucci, Scorcese, Coppola, Spielberg, Tarantino and others. It is precisely one of the masters of this unique current rich in different personalities who introduces the story – Carlo Lizzani – whose ‘lesson’ reconstructs the birth and development of Neorealism in Italy. It combined innovative movie techniques with a new view based on a ‘true’ interpretation of reality. Director Bozzacchi joins us to talk about the seismic shift the neorealist caused in world cinema and the impact their work continues to have filmmakers.

WE WEREN’T JUST BICYCLE THIEVES. NEOREALISM director Gianni Bozzacchi will participate in a Q&A after the 7:20 screening at the Music Hall on Friday, October 9th.

“[A] short charmer of a doc…all [the] history and critical appreciation is lightened by Lizzani’s genial goofiness.” – Village Voice

“We Weren’t Just Bicycle Thieves. Neorealism” is as breezy and affable as film histories get.” – Robert Abele, LA Times

Drunk Stone Brilliant Dead, Director Douglas Tirola

Lampoon DSBD film poster I 

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Douglas Tirola‘s outrageous documentary DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: THE STORY OF THE NATIONAL LAMPOON, is an inside look at the rise and fall of the legendary humor magazine that launched dozens of careers and broke thousands of taboos. From the 1970s thru the 1990s, there was no hipper, no more outrageous comedy in print than The National Lampoon, the groundbreaking humor magazine that pushed the limits of taste and acceptability – and then pushed them even harder. Parodying everything from politics, religion, entertainment and the whole of American lifestyle, the Lampoon eventually went on to branch into successful radio shows, record albums, live stage revues and movies, including ANIMAL HOUSE and NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION, launching dozens of huge careers on the way, including John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Christopher Guest, Richard Belzer, Gilda Radner, Brian Doyle-Murray, Bill Murray, Joe Flaherty, Harold Ramis, Michael O’Donoghue, Doug Kenney, Henry Beard, George W. S. Trow, Chris Miller, P. J. O’Rourke, Michael O’Donoghue, Chris Rush, Sean Kelly, Tony Hendra, Brian McConnachie, Gerald Sussman, Ellis Weiner, Danny Abelson, Ted Mann, Chris Cluess, Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Jeff Greenfield, and John Hughes. As well as cartoonists, photographers and illustrators appeared in the magazine’s pages, including Neal Adams, Gahan Wilson, Michael Sullivan, Ron Barrett, Peter Bramley, Vaughn Bode, Bruce McCall, Rick Meyerowitz, M. K. Brown, Shary Flenniken, Bobby London, Edward Gorey, Jeff Jones, Joe Orlando, Arnold Roth, Rich Grote, Ed Subitzky, Mara McAfee, Sam Gross, Charles Rodrigues, Buddy Hickerson, B. K. Taylor, Birney Lettick, Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo, Marvin Mattelson, Stan Mack, Chris Callis, John E. Barrett, Raymond Kursar and Andy Lackow. Director Tirola tells the story of its rise and fall through fresh, candid interviews with its key staff, and illustrated with hundreds of outrageous images from the magazine itself (along with never-seen interview footage from the magazine’s prime). Director Tirola stops by to talk about the supernova of comedic satire that was The Lampoon and its influential legacy.

For news and updates go to: magpictures.com/nationallampoon

DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: THE STORY OF THE NATIONAL LAMPOON opening in Los Angeles at the Nuart Theatre on October 2, and at Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 in Pasadena and Laemmle’s NoHo 7 in North Hollywood on October 9 (opens in NY and on VOD/iTunes September 25). 

Director Douglas Tirola will be doing a Q & A Friday, October 2nd and Saturday, October 3rd after the 7:30PM screenings.

“Punch-drunk and very much alive. A generous and briskly entertaining doc that traces the titular humor magazine’s lasting influence on American comedy  – a real nonfiction crowdpleaser. ” – Ben Kenigsberg, Variety

“Energetic, laugh-stuffed and very colorful – A lively, very entertaining look at the Lampoon’s unlikely empire.” – John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

Prophet’s Prey, Director Amy Berg

Prophet Prey film poster I 

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Prophet’s Prey, the quietly terrifying new film from Oscar-nominated director Amy Berg (Deliver Us from Evil, West of Memphis) continues her trenchant investigation of patriarchal abuse couched under the protective guise of religion, and the systemic flaws in our criminal justice system. The acclaimed documentary, which debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, is largely set against the deceptively bucolic scenery of the American heartland. Berg’s focus is the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), a polygamous, unsanctioned offshoot of the Mormon Church run by the tyrannical, self-proclaimed prophet, Warren Jeffs. To cover up his sins and elude accountability, Jeff continuously moved around the country, always choosing remote, well-guarded and monitored locations. By sequestering the FLDS members in these deceptively Eden-like settings, he was able to inculcate them and bend them to his will without any threat of outside interference. Though he was placed on the FBI’s most-wanted list and, eventually, captured and sentenced to life in prison, Warren Jeffs continues to prey on the FLDS community in absentia, his power largely unchecked and unchallenged to this very day. Director Amy Berg, the critically-acclaimed, Emmy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker joins us to talk about her compelling film and the destructive whims of a manipulative madman.

 For news and updates go to: prophetsprey.org

Prophet’s Prey opens on September 25 at the Arclight Cinemas in Los Angeles. Amy Berg will be at several screening at the Arclight. (6360 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028)

 Friday, 9/25, at the 7:15 screening: Dax Shepherd & Kristen Bell will be moderating. Sam Brower and Amy Berg will be on the panel.

On Sat, 9/26 at the 4:15 screening: Sam Brower and Amy Berg will be on the panel.

On Sat, 9/26 at the 7:15 screening: Henry Rollins will be moderating. Sam Brower and Amy Berg will be on the panel.

“Berg lays down a narrative of warped religious authority and patriarchal abuse every bit as chilling as her pedophile priest exposé, “Deliver Us From Evil.” – Robert Abele, LA Times

“As horror upon horror unfolds in Prophet’s Prey, Amy Berg’s shocking documentary about the mad polygamist Warren Jeffs and his followers, one may marvel, in horror, at the elaborate forms that deviancy can take.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

“One watches the film with an escalating sense of disbelief and horror, as Warren Jeffs is steadily revealed to be an even greater monster than we initially take him for. “ – Chock Bowen, Slant Magazine

A gripping, authoritative account of the myriad abuses of Warren Jeffs, the currently incarcerated leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. – Justin Chang·Variety

The Man Who Saved the World – Director Peter Anthony

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On September 26th, 1983, an alarm sounded to indicate that five American nuclear missiles had been launched against the Soviet Union. Russian Lt. Colonel Stanislav Petrov defied military protocol, ignoring the incoming attack that was being confirmed by all his warning systems. He followed his own sense of responsibility and declared it a false alarm. His decision spared the world a nuclear holocaust. Decades later, this forgotten hero travels to the United States to accept an award from the United Nations and finally receive acknowledgement for his historical act. The Man Who Saved the World becomes a dramatic hybrid documentary; a historical thriller, and a story of great, personal redemption. It seamlessly melds together non-fiction and narrative filmmaking depicting the actual events that took place more than thirty years ago. Stanislav Petrov reminds us how close the world came to World War III – but, he also challenges us to contemplate the true alternative to his choice: The complete annihilation of human life on earth. Featuring Kevin Costner with appearances by Walter Cronkite, Robert De Niro, Matt Damon, and Ashton Kutcher. Director / writer Peter Anthony joins us to talk about a man and an event that has been virtually unknown to the world outside a small circle of people who have long understood the impact Stanislav Petrov’s actions had on the fate of the world.

For news and updates go to: themanwhosavedtheworldmovie.com

The Man Who Saved the World screens at the Arena Theatre starting Friday, September 25.

“I was just at the right place at the right time,” Mr. Petrov says, a simple truth that becomes shocking when considering the alternative. For that alone, this account of a Cold War near miss deserves a wide audience.” – Daniel Gold, New York Times

“The Man Who Saved The World…combines elements of narrative and documentary filmmaking for a true and powerful story about (and starring, as himself) Stanislov Petrov, who actually averted a nuclear holocaust but remained unknown, until now.”
– Mitch Myers, The Hollywood Reporter

“I often get the chance to play heroes. But Stanislav is a true real-life hero.”
– Kevin Costner

A Brilliant Young Mind, Director Morgan Matthews

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Inspired by true events, A BRILLIANT YOUNG MIND tells the story of teenage math prodigy Nathan (Asa Butterfield), who struggles when it comes to building relationships, not least with his caring mother, Julie (Sally Hawkins). In his confusing world, Nathan finds comfort in the predictability of numbers. And when he’s taken under the wing of an unconventional and anarchic teacher (Rafe Spall), the pair forge an unusual friendship. Eventually, Nathan’s talents win him a place on the U.K.’s National team at the International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO) and the team travels to a training camp in Taiwan, under the supervision of enthusiastic squad leader Richard (Eddie Marsan). Featuring an all-star British cast, A BRILLIANT YOUNG MIND is directed by BAFTA award-winning filmmaker Morgan Matthews and photographed by Oscar-nominated cinematographer Danny Cohen. We are joined by the director Morgan Matthews (Beautiful Young Minds) for a conversation on the inherent advantages of moving from the documentary into narrative filmmaking, balancing multiple storylines and working with a remarkable cast of new and experienced actors.

For news and updates on A Brilliant Young Mind go to: xplusymovie.com

“A Brilliant Young Mind” is not the film you think it is. It’s better.” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times

“Hawkins gives a performance of remarkable grace and sensitivity.” – Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

“[A] deeply affecting, sensitively handled British drama.” – Leslie Felperin, Hollywood Reporter

“At the core of this tender-hearted and moving British indie film is a fascinating relationship between a single mum and her autistic teenage son.” – Dave Calhoun, Time Out

“The sensitive young genius story has been done to death, but apparently there’s still room for the gentle nuance presented in “A Brilliant Young Mind.” – New York Daily News

FICG in LA, Director & Producer Hebe Tabachnik

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The Guadalajara International Film Festival in Los Angeles or FICG in LA is a window into the world of contemporary Mexican and Ibero-American cinema and it is an extension of the Guadalajara International Film Festival. This year′s FICG in LA will be back at the Hollywood′s historic Egyptian Theatre, right in the heart of the worldwide film and entertainment industry. The festival is designed to help critically acclaimed films from Mexican and Ibero-America cinema reach a wider audience. Among this year’s attendees will be Karina García Casanova (director, screenwriter and producer Juanicas), Safa (director, El Jeremías), Sebastián Schindel (director, screenwriter, producer,Hebe Tabachnik ficg director : producer El patrón, radiografía de un crimen), Flavio Florencio (director, scriptwriter and photography, Made in Bangkok), Michael Dwyer (director, Pocha-Manifest Destiny), Verónica Sixtos (lead actress, Pocha-Manifest Destiny), Jean-Cosme Delaloye (director, screenwriter, and sound La Prenda), Carolina Ramírez (actriz principal, Ciudad Delirio), Humberto Busto (director, scriptwriter, La teta de botero), Ximena Urrutia (director, Ella), Sofía Carrillo (director, Prita Noria and La Casa Triste), and Luis Téllez (animator, screenwriter, Jacinta and La Noira). This week FICG in LA, Director / Producer Hebe Tabachnik joins us to talk about the exciting and dynamic collection of films being offered at this years festival/

For news and updates on FICG go to: ficginla.com

For more information call (424) 382-2535 or visit www.ficginla.com

Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsXflYrncGU   

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FICGinLosAngeles

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FICGinLA

I Believe in Unicorns, Director and Writer Leah Meyerhoff

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Davina is an imaginative and strong-willed teenage girl who often escapes into a beautifully twisted fantasy life. Having grown up quickly as the sole caretaker of her disabled mother, she looks for salvation in a new relationship with an older boy. Davina is swept into a whirlwind of romance and adventure, but the enchantment of her new relationship quickly fades when Sterling’s volatile side begins to emerge. I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS takes us on a road trip through the stunning and complex landscape of troubled young love. Leah Meyerhoff’s debut feature film I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS premiered in narrative competition at SXSW 2014 and traveled to over 50 film festivals around the world, winning the Grand Jury Prize at the Atlanta Film Festival, Best Score at the Nashville Film Festival, Honorable Mention at the Woodstock Film Festival and additional awards from IFP, San Francisco Film Society, Tribeca Film Institute and the Adrienne Shelly Foundation. Director and writer Leah Meyerhoff joins us to talk about her imaginative, daring and emotionally resonant feature film debut.

For news and updates go to: ibelieveinunicorns.com

For upcoming screenings go to: Unicorn screenings

I Believe in Unicorns open at the Arena Cinema Hollywood in LA this Friday, June 19th and opening in San Francisco at the Roxie Theater July 3rd. 

“Haunting, and beautiful, and as painful as love can be, “I Believe in Unicorns” left me musing on the power of our personal magic, wondering why we choose to spend it where we do.” – Huffington Post

“Writer-director Leah Meyerhoff asks a lot of Dyer for the emotionally taxing role, and Dyer flies with the challenge. She’s complete dynamite.” – Indiewire

“I Believe in Unicorns is one of the most authentic and down-to-earth coming of age stories I’ve seen in cinema.“ – Filmmaker Magazine.

“Refreshing in its sexual frankness and uniquely feminine perspective on young love’s complications, the dreamily evocative Unicorns is a beautiful 16mm nightmare.” – The Skinny

Testament of Youth , Director James Kent

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Testament of Youth is a powerful story of love, war and remembrance, based on the First World War memoir by Vera Brittain, which has become the classic testimony of that war from a woman’s point of view. A searing journey from youthful hopes and dreams to the edge of despair and back again, it’s a film about young love, the futility of war and how to make sense of the darkest times. The film features rising stars Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and the upcoming The Danish Girl), Kit Harington (Game of Thrones), and Taron Egerton (Kingsmen: The Secret Service).  Director James Kent uses his documentary background to fashion a beautifully haunting film about love, honor and perseverance. Joins us for a lively conversation on the making of his compelling new film.

For news and updates go to: sonyclassics.com/testamentofyouth/

“From first to last, “Testament of Youth” sweeps you away.” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times

“As Vera, the rebellious, moneyed young woman whose dream of graduating from Oxford is deferred when the war breaks out, Alicia Vikander is such a ferociously intuitive performer that you can’t take your eyes off her.” – Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

“Evokes the march of history with a balance and restraint exhibited by few movies with such grand ambitions.” – Stephen Holden, New York Times

Heaven Knows What, Co-directors Josh and Benny Safdie

Heaven Knows What poster 

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Harley loves Ilya. He gives her life purpose and sets her passion ablaze. So, when he asks her to prove her love by slitting her wrists, she obliges with only mild hesitation, perhaps because of her other all-consuming love: heroin. Directed by celebrated filmmakers Josh and Benny Safdie (LENNY COOKE, DADDY LONGLEGS), HEAVEN KNOWS WHAT blends fiction, formalism and raw vérité as it follows a young heroin addict (Arielle Holmes) who finds mad love in the streets of New York. The film—which world premiered at Venice (where it won the CICAE award) and subsequently played NYFF, Toronto and SXSW among other prestigious festivals—is based on Holmes’ soon-to-be-published memoir Mad Love in New York City.  Co-starring Caleb Landry-Jones (X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, BYZANTIUM), HEAVEN KNOWS WHAT also features street legend Buddy Duress and gore rap phenom Necro. Co-directors Josh and Benny Safdie stops by for a conversation on the making of their raw, disturbing and impassioned new film.

For news and updates go to: Heaven Knows What

“At the very least, the directors, Josh and Benny Safdie, have created a small, beautiful classic of street theater by rendering these public disputes within a vibrant Manhattan setting through ingenious photography.” – Nicolas Rapold, New York Times

“For much of the movie, [the Safdies] keep the camera discomfitingly close to the characters, blurring out the background and immersing us in their telescoped world.” – Scott Foundas, Variety

“I’m glad I saw this film; considered on its own merits, in terms of what I understand as its artistic goals, it’s a wrenching and finely wrought piece of work.” – Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com

“Powerful and poetic, with a lush sense of realism.” – Tomris Laffly, Film Journal International

Seeds of Time, Director Sandy McLeod

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A perfect storm is brewing as agriculture pioneer Cary Fowler races against time to protect the future of our food. Seed banks around the world are crumbling, crop failures are producing starvation and rioting, and the accelerating effects of climate change are affecting farmers globally. Communities of indigenous Peruvian farmers are already suffering those effects, as they try desperately to save over 1,500 varieties of native potato in their fields. But with little time to waste, both Fowler and the farmers embark on passionate and personal journeys that may save the one resource we cannot live without: our seeds. In the face of climate change and a growing world population, SEEDS OF TIME follows Fowler in his race against time to save some of Earth’s most precious resources: seeds. For more than 30 years, Fowler has led a distinguished career in conservation and use of crop diversity.  Academy Award-nominated director Sandy McLeod (ASYLUM) joins us to talk about a looming worldwide crisis and the potential for a viable alternative.

For news and updates go to: www.seedsoftimemovie.com

“’Seeds of Time’ offers a vital, clear-headed look at the effects of climate change on global food security.” – Gary Goldstein, LA Times

“Seeds Of Time neatly utilizes stunning nature photography, zippy animation, map-centric graphics, and stock footage to further clarify its subject matter.” – Kate Erbland, The Dissolve

Mammoth Lakes Film Festival – May 27 – 31, Founder Shira Dubrovner

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The Mammoth Lakes Film Festival, held in the scenic and majestic setting of Mammoth Lakes, California, has announced its line-up of screenings for the festival’s inaugural year. The five-day festival will take place May 27-31, 2015, and will open with acclaimed Academy Award winning filmmaker Alex Gibney’s new documentary Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine. The festival will present sixteen films in Narrative and Documentary Competition, as well as special events and screenings, and an industry panel discussion on women in the filmmaking world, with producer Allison Amon (The Queen of Versailles), actress Kristanna Loken actress (Terminator 3) and other guests. Taking place five hours north of Los Angeles by car and thirty minutes south of the entrance to Yosemite National Park, the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival will deliver an intimate and unique Shira Dubrovner MMFF founderexperience for festival goers, filmmakers, and industry guests, with the opportunity to experience screenings and events in a beautiful mountain setting. The festival will present a diverse collection of feature films – from world premieres to film festival favorites, short film screenings and Q&As over five days.  The festival will also include nightly gala events that celebrate the excitement and discovery of visionary filmmaking. Mammoth Lakes Film Festival Founder Shira Dubrovner joins us for a lively conversation on the exciting and inspiring new addition to the film festival lineup.

Ticket sales and updates for the festival go to: www.MammothLakesFilmFestival.com 

The 100-Year old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, Director and Writer Felix Hengren

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Powered by the antics of a mischievous centenarian on the run, the comic fable THE 100-YEAR-OLD MAN WHO CLIMBED OUT THE WINDOW AND DISAPPEARED abounds with irreverent charm. After a long and colorful life working in munitions and getting entangled in the Spanish Civil War, the Manhattan Project, and other definitive events of the 20th century, Allan Karlsson (Robert Gustafsson) finds himself stuck in a nursing home. Determined to escape on his 100th birthday, he leaps out of a window and onto the nearest bus, kicking off an unexpected journey involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash, some wicked criminals, and an elephant named Sonya. Like an unruly Nordic cousin of Forrest Gump, Allan’s youthful escapades and current adventures weave together into an offbeat treat for anyone who’s young at heart. Starring beloved comedian Robert Gustafsson, this fanciful spin on world history is based on a best-selling novel and also the highest-grossing Swedish film of all time. Director and writer Felix Hengren joins us for a lively conversation on challenges and rewards of adapting a beloved international best seller into film.

For news and updates go to: musicboxfilms.com/100yearoldman

Opens May 8, 2015 at Laemmle’s Royal Theatre in West L.A., Playhouse 7 in Pasadena, Town Center 5 in Encino and Regency South Coast Village 3 in Santa Ana.

Winner – Audience Award – Chicago International Film Festival 2014

Winner – Audience Award – 2015 Florida Film Festival 

Winner – Audience Favorite – World Cinema Indie Silver Award – Mill Valley Film Festival

“Wildly whimsical.” – Mark Kermode, The Observer

 “Very entertaining.” – Tim Robey, The Telegraph

 “An absurdist escapade.” – Angie Errigo, Empire

“An absurdist comic fable about an ordinary man who keeps stumbling into extraordinary circumstances.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

“The humor of this film is delivered with such deadpan panache that it’s irresistible…has a good eye for the madcap, and maintains a constant breezy mood.” – Demetrios Matheou, Screen Daily

Slow West, Director John Maclean

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A dark river of fatalism courses beneath the beautifully photographed vistas of Slow West, an intriguingly off-center Western that brings a bevy of European talent to bear on an American frontier story. Starring Kodi Smit-McPhee as a young Scotsman who’s made the journey to Colorado in search of the woman he loves, and Michael Fassbender as a wily companion who turns out to be hunting the same quarry, John Maclean’s impeccably crafted writing-directing debut at times has a distinctly Coen-esque flavor in its mix of sly intelligence, bleak humor and unsettling violence, exuding fierce confidence. Winner of the grand jury prize in the international dramatic competition at Sundance, this off-kilter take on the harsh and absurd realities of frontier life. Founding member of the Beta Band, director and writer, Maclean joins us for a conversation on the similarities and difference between the worlds of film and music and his unique on take on Western archetypes.

For news and updates on Slow West go to: a24films.com/films/slow-west/

“A neo-western that operates in purely mythic terms, Slow West evokes an 1870 America steeped in isolation, heartbreak, suffering, and misery.” – Nick Schager, Village Voice 

“An absurdist, melancholy coming-of-age tale that jumps from odd comedy to striking violence to stirring reflection.” – Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine

“Not a traditional Western by any stretch of the imagination, Slow West operates in the same manner as such haunting and off-kilter horse operas as Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man and John Hillcoat’s The Proposition.” – Creative Loafing 

“One of the most thoughtful, witty, satisfying Westerns of the last decade. “ – Flicks.co.nz

KTOWN Cowboys, Director Daniel Park

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Based on the wildly successful web-series of the same name, KTOWN COWBOYS is a bro-mantic dramedy that follows a group of ball-busting, hard-partying friends wrestling with their evolution into adulthood. As their individual struggles come to light, the group of friends band together in Koreatown and through late nights at seedy after-hour soju bars, karaoke drinking girls and even a stint in jail, each emerges as a better version of himself. Fresh of its successful premiere at SXSW, KTOWN Cowboys just won the Best Ensemble Award at the 2015 Asian Pacific Film Festival. Director / writer Daniel Park stops by to talk about the journey turning the popular web series into a feature length film, the future of the series and the cast members.

Newport Beach Film Festival, CEO and co-founder Gregg Schwenk

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The Newport Beach Film Festival seeks to bring to Orange County the best of classic and contemporary filmmaking from around the world. Committed to enlightening the public with a first-class international film program as well as providing a forum for cultural understanding and enriching educational opportunities, the Festival focuses on showcasing a diverse collection of both studio and independent films. The Festival supports the creation and advancement of innovative and artistic cinematic works from both emerging and seasoned filmmakers and proudly embraces the passion, vision, and independent spirit of these talented artists. With the integration of the local community and educational institutions, the Festival stimulates an interest in the study and appreciation of film and encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to participate. Since its inception in 2000, the Festival has presented many acclaimed films such as the U.S. Premiere of  Gregg Schwenkn NBFFCrash and other notable films including (500) Days of Summer, The Cove, Waitress, Son of Rambow, Paprika, Broken English, American Teen, Fugitive Pieces, Death Note: The Last Name, The King of Kong, Layer Cake, The Illusionist, Art School Confidential, Emmanuel’s Gift, Mad Hot Ballroom, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, Spellbound, Castle in the Sky, Born into Brothels, and Pieces of April. Through tributes, special screenings and seminars, the Festival has honored film industry notables, including Aaron Sorkin, Haskell Wexler, Robert Wise, Henry Bumstead, Elmer Bernstein, John Waters, Alan Arkin, Bruce Brown, Richard Sherman, Penelope Spheeris, and McG. Co-founder and CEO Gregg Schwenk stops by to talk about the 2015 edition of NBFF, the opening night film, The Water Diviner, directed by Academy Award winner Russell Crowe and many of this year’s special screenings and events.

Newport Beach Film Festival – Thursday, April 23rd – Sunday April 30th

For the latest news and updates go to: newportbeachfilmfest.com

White Dog, Director Kornel Mundruczó

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Winner of the Un Certain Regard Prize at the 2014 Cannes Festival, Kornel Mundruczó’s newest film is a story of the indignities visited upon animals by their supposed human superiors, but it’s also a stark, beautiful metaphor for the political and cultural tensions sweeping contemporary Europe. When young Lili is forced to give up her beloved dog Hagen because its mixed-breed heritage is deemed “unfit” by The State, she and the dog begin a dangerous journey back towards each other. At the same time, all the unwanted, unloved and so-called “unfit” dogs rise up under a new leader, Hagen, the one-time house pet who has learned all too well from his “Masters” in his journey through the streets and animal control centers that man is not always dog’s best friend. Director Kornel Mundruczó’s joins us to talk about his startling and provocative political allegory.

Opens in theatres April 3, 2015 – Nuart Los Angeles

For news and updates on White Dog go to: White Dog at Magnolia Pictures

“FIERCE AND BEAUTIFUL. Extraordinarily choreographed.” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

“REMARKABLE AND RIVETING. This surprising movie is perhaps the most memorable of all the films I saw at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. It’s haunting, and quite extraordinary.” – Pete Hammond, Deadline Hollywood

“White God confirms Mundruczó’s position as one of Europe’s most exciting, unpredictable and technically competent directors. In a world where so many filmmakers seem to rework the same material over and over, he’s a true wild card—a filmmaker with ‘un certain regard’ if ever there was one.” – Nick Roddick, Sight & Sound

“A triumphantly idiosyncratic film with smarts and visceral impact in equal measure.” – Jessica Kiang, The Playlist on Indiewire

“The more you command it to sit and stay-to settle down as a plausible plot, or to cohere as a political fable-the more it slips its leash and runs amok.” – Anthony Lane. New Yorker Magazine

Broken Horses, Director Vidhu Vinod Chopra

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Having left town as a child after the death of his father, young music prodigy, JACOB HECKUM, returns to his desolate hometown after years only to discover that BUDDY, the child-like elder brother he left behind, now works for a notorious drug gang. The gang’s ruthless boss has twisted Buddy’s simple mind and manipulated him into a killer…asurrogate son who blindly does as he is told. Jacob is unable to convince Buddy to leave his new fraternity. Drowned in guilt for having abandoned him, Jacob realizes the only way to save Buddy is from the inside out. Set in the shadows of the turbulent American-Mexican border Broken Horses is a gritty, epic thriller about bonds of brotherhood, laws of loyalty and the futility of violence. Director Vinod Chopra talks about the difference directing a film for Hollywood and Bollywood and why he wanted to make a western-style tale of love and loyalty.

In Theatres on April 10, 2015

For news and updates on Broken Horses go to: vinodchopra.com

“Beautifully written, acted and imagined. This film wraps slowly around you like a King Snake and squeezes” – James Cameron, director of Titanic and Avatar

“The greatness of Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s films come from the fact that all of his characters are driven by love.” – Alfonso Cuaron, director of Gravity