Fantastic Fungi, the engaging and informative documentary directed by Louie Schwartzberg, is a consciousness-shifting film that takes us on an immersive journey through time and scale into the magical earth beneath our feet, an underground network that can heal and save our planet. Through the eyes of renowned scientists and mycologists like Paul Stamets, best-selling authors Michael Pollan, Eugenia Bone, Andrew Weil and others, we become aware of the beauty, intelligence and solutions the fungi kingdom offer us in response to some of our most pressing medical, therapeutic, and environmental challenges. When so many are struggling for connection, inspiration and hope, Fantastic Fungi brings us together as interconnected creators of our world. Directed by the pioneer of time-lapse photography, Louie Schwartzberg (Netflix’s “Moving Art”, Wings of Life for Disneynature, and Mysteries of the Unseen Worlds 3D Imax for Nat Geo still playing in theaters) Narrated by Academy Award-Winner Brie Larson.Director Louie Schwartzberg joins us to talk about the amazing world of fungus and the burgeoning field of scientific research into the thousands of positive, possibly planet saving benefits that can be realized from the magical spores.
“Fantastic Fungi makes the case that the answers to disease, anxiety, depression and global warming might be found underfoot. And they’re tasty to boot.” – Michael J. Casey, Boulder Weekly
“Louie and his team have accomplished an amazing task – with beautiful imagery, celebrating the quality of nature we have now. Fantastic Fungi is a film that serves to be a bridge of understanding to connect these ideas. By investing in these fungal networks we invest in the webs of life. Time is short. We need to bring this knowledge to the forefront of public consciousness.” – PAUL STAMETS
Director Irene Taylor Brodsky once again turns the camera on her deaf parents and, now, her 11-year-old deaf son Jonas, who has cochlear implants and is discovering a profound world of hearing—and music in this deeply personal story, Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements. As Jonas learns the first movement of Beethoven’s iconic sonata on the piano, his grandparents, deaf for nearly 80 years, watch with deepening awe what time and technology have bestowed their grandson. But when Jonas struggles with the sound of his mistakes, Beethoven’s own musical journey comes to life in an animated world of watercolor and haunting soundscapes. As the great composer loses the sense that brought him so much music and fame, Jonas’s grandfather Paul loses his grasp on his mind. Their lives weave a sonata over three centuries, about all we can discover once we push beyond what has been lost. Director Irene Taylor Brodsky joins us to talks about this very personal and deeply affecting tale of three threads that run through her family and the most celebrated deaf musician of all time, Ludwig von Beethoven. Director / Producer / Editor /Cinematographer talks about the personal and professional challenges of focusing on members of her family and how the power of music has resonated brought hope and healing.
DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT:I can hear, but deafness consumes me. I am a daughter of deafness and, now, a mother too. After I discovered my son, Jonas, was going deaf as a toddler, my sound designer told me we could reproduce his gradual disconnect from hearing. As a filmmaker, that enthralled me. As a mother, it frightened me. I’ve been down this road before. My first feature documentary, Hear and Now, about my deaf parents’ problematic journey into the world of sound, showed me how much film can be a catalyst for empathy. So when my son told me he wanted to learn the Moonlight Sonata, composed by Beethoven as he went deaf, I was cautious but resolute, and began filming. Then, my father developed dementia, and soon their three storylines revealed an eerie parallel. Paul’s loss of mind was a clue to what Beethoven might have felt losing something so precious to him. As Jonas learned to play the sonata, I read Beethoven’s letters and listened to his canon over and over again. I felt assured that my son could find his own true expression, shaped by deafness, just like Beethoven did. In Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements we portray sound and memory through animation, and we use vast archives of home movies, vérité footage, immersive soundscape and original score to craft a rich mosaic of what it means to find vital expression in the midst of loss.—Director Irene Taylor Brodsky
“A powerful film about parents and children, though told with enough restraint that its more affecting moments might sneak up on you.” – Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com
“It is a very moving film by veteran documentarian Irene Taylor Brodsky about deafness, music, raising children and your parents getting old.” – John Anderson, Wall Street Journal
“The film is refreshing in its willingness to countenance multiple viewpoints and look at what’s right for individuals rather than taking sides in one of the more heated debates within the Deaf community.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
Big Data has surpassed oil as the world’s most valuable asset. It’s being weaponized to wage cultural and political warfare. People everywhere are in a battle for control of our most intimate personal details.From award-winning filmmakers Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, THE GREAT HACK uncovers the dark world of data exploitation with astounding access to the personal journeys of key players on different sides of the explosive Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data scandal.Academy-Award nominees Amer and Noujaim (The Square, Control Room, Startup .com) continue their tradition of exploring the seismic ripples of social media with this riveting, complex film. THE GREAT HACKforces us to question the origin of the information we consume daily. What do we give up when we tap that phone or keyboard and share ourselves in the digital age?THE GREAT HACK is co-directed by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, with a production team led by Geralyn Dreyfous, Judy Korin and Pedro Kos. Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim join us to talk about Big Data, the expectation of privacy and where we go from here.
“You leave with a clear sense of how one company [sold] democracy down the river, not to mention having your fingernails chewed down to the quick.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone
“A thrilling yarn of political espionage and fascinating characters… However, this isn’t hollow entertainment. The film insists upon the gravity of the situation, toggling effortlessly between the micro and the macro lens on this tale.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service
“[A] gripping, challenging documentary by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, about the biggest scandal of our time: the gigantic question mark over the legality of the Brexit vote.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
“Pondering individual data rights and the sinister side of widespread connectivity, co-directors Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer diligently inspect how our innocent likes and shares became the building blocks of Brexit and Trump.” – Tomris Laffly, Time Out
The BlackStar Film Festival (BlackStar) returns August 1-4, 2019 with a stellar slate of black, brown and indigenous films from around the globe. The BlackStar Film Festival is an annual celebration of the visual and storytelling traditions of the African diaspora and of global communities of color, showcasing films by black, brown and indigenous people from around the world. Continuing its legacy of discovery and excellence, audiences can expect must-see film premieres, poignant artist discussions, and discover new cinematic favorites from this year’s class of emerging filmmakers. Founded in 2012 by Maori Karmael Holmes, BlackStar has become the hottest event on the film festival calendar. With a program unlike any other, BlackStar is the destination to discover new artists voices from Black and global indigenous filmmakers. Artists including Terence Nance (An Oversimplification of Her Beauty; HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness), and Matthew A. Cherry (9 RIdes; ABC’s Whiskey Cavalier), and Nijla Baseema Mu’min (Jinn) have shared their work at the festival and from BlackStar cultivated a fanbase that has grown with their careers.
This year’s festival features sneak preview of Hip-Hop: The Songs That Shook America, a new documentary series directed by directed Erik Parker and One9.
From Executive Producers Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Shawn Gee, and Alex Gibney,Fear No Gumbo, a documentary feature directed by Kimberly Rivers Roberts, about the 13 years since the deadly Category 5 Hurricane Katrina that made landfall on Florida and Louisiana and the corruption and systemic racism that still victimizes the residents that returned after Katrina.
A new documentary from Emmy Award-winning director andMacarthur “genius” fellow Stanley Nelson (The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution). Boss which explores over 150 years of African American entrepreneurship, from bondage to billion dollar moguls.
Academy Award-winningdirector, Roger Ross Williams (Music By Prudence, God Loves Uganda) will be on-hand for the debut of his latest documentary The Apollo chronicling the unique history and contemporary legacy of New York City’s landmark Apollo Theater.
Panels and Awards:
BlackStar will present the Luminary Award to Marcia Smith, President of Firelight Media.
To commemorate the 30th anniversary of Do The Right Thing, filmmakerSpike Lee and activist Tarana Burke will discuss the possibilities of using radical storytelling to center social justice and foster narrative change.
For the last 20 years the Newport Beach Film Festival has brought the best of classic and contemporary filmmaking from around the world to Orange County. Under the direction of CEO and Co-founder Gregg Schwenk and the festival’s staff have been committed to entertaining and 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. The Community Outreach Program was created with the idea that film offers new perspectives and possibilities for a changing world. Each year, the Festival partners with over 40 non-profit organizations and pairs each philanthropic organization with a film that aligns with their mission. The Festival gives non-profit organizations a forum to voice their message to large audiences and spread awareness of their organization and mission through the medium of film. Areas of focus include the arts, health and human services, the environment, education, children’s causes, seniors’ and veterans’ programs, and alumni clubs. CEO and Co-founder Gregg Schwenk joins us to talk about a remarkable festival line-up of comedies, dramas, short films, action sports, classics, documentaries, musicals and foreign film excellence.
Hail Satan?chronicles the extraordinary rise of one of the most colorful and controversial religious movements in American history,Hail Satan? is an inspiring and entertaining new feature documentary from acclaimed director Penny Lane. When media-savvy members of the Satanic Temple organize a series of public actions designed to advocate for religious freedom and challenge corrupt authority, they prove that with little more than a clever idea, a mischievous sense of humor, and a few rebellious friends, you can speak truth to power in some truly profound ways. As charming and funny as it is thought-provoking, Hail Satan?offers a timely look at a group of often misunderstood outsiders whose unwavering commitment to social and political justice has empowered thousands of people around the world. But with their numbers swelling and dozens of new chapters forming in cities across the globe, increased threats of violence against Satanists and disagreements within the group’s own ranks complicate the Temple’s work. As a complex and costly legal battle erupts over a similar Ten Commandments monument in Arkansas, Greaves, Blackmore, and their fellow Temple members struggle to adjust to the movement’s explosive popularity while maintaining the integrity of their core beliefs.Director Penny Lane (Nuts!, Our Nixon) once again joins us for a lively discussion on Satanic beliefs, Lucien Greaves, Jex Blackmore and the creative and subversive strategies for preserving many deeply held patriotic ideals.
“Lane sets out to subvert American history with intelligence and wit. Here, she asks us to question why certain religions are deemed “normal,” even though, notes one Temple member, Catholic mass is all about the symbolic drinking of blood.” – Amy Nicholson, Variety
“Provocative, hilarious, and latently enraging documentary about The Satanic Temple.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire
“”Hail Satan?” finds that simply presenting reason and historical precedent proves to be audacious and Lane follows the lead of her subjects in showing that it can be done with enormous amounts of fun.” – Stephen Saito, Movable Feast
“Wickedly funny, fascinating and niftily made, this crowd-pleaser will reign at festivals and prove, yet again, that the devil always has the best tunes.” – Leslie Felperin, Hollywood Reporter
Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché,is a documentary about the first female filmmaker, Alice Guy-Blaché, which explores the heights of fame and financial success she achieved before she was shut out from the very industry she helped create. Over the span of her career, she wrote, produced or directed 1,000 films, including 150 with synchronized sound during the ‘silent’ era. Her work includes comedies, westerns and dramas, as well as films with groundbreaking subject matter such as child abuse, immigration, Planned Parenthood, and female empowerment. She also etched a place in history by making the earliest known surviving narrative film with an all-African American cast. Pamela B. Green has dedicated more than eight years of research in order to discover the real story of Alice Guy-Blaché (1873-1968) – not only highlighting her pioneering contributions to the birth of cinema but also her acclaim as a creative force and entrepreneur in the earliest years of movie-making. Green discovered rare footage of televised interviews and long archived audio interviews which can be heard for the first time in Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché, which affords Alice Guy-Blaché to tell her own story. Director Pamela B. Green joins us for a conversation on the winding journey of discovery and the exhilaration that comes from showcasing a visionary artist, producer, studio head, entrepreneur, feminist, and groundbreaking filmmaker.
“What starts as a biography turns into a detective thriller as Green crisscrosses the globe, searching for clues as to why Guy-Blaché has been forgotten.” – katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times
“A scrupulously well-researched documentary about one of early cinema’s greatest pioneers and the world’s first woman filmmaker.” – Leslie Felperin, Hollywood Reporter
“The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché is essential viewing for those who want a complete perspective on the history of film.” – Lorry Kikta, Film Threat
“In her passionate debut film, Green achieves a feat of making a two-level research project informative and entertaining. Exciting and essential documentary for film history!” – Nora Lee Mandel, Maven’s Nest
In a media environment dominated by increasingly concentrated corporate interests, eight distribution companies who have long championed the best in independent features, documentaries, and social issue films, have joined forces to help launch a new subscription streaming service, OVID.tv. Starting today, OVID.tv offers more than 350 quality documentaries and art-house films from the collections of its founding content partners: Bullfrog Films, The dGenerate Films Collection, Distrib Films US, First Run Features, Grasshopper Film, Icarus Films, KimStim, and Women Make Movies. Most of the films on OVID.tv are not available on any other streaming platform, and OVID.tvwill be adding even more films every two weeks–14 fiction feature films and one 10-part documentary series are already scheduled for release. Despite the odds and with little capital, Icarus Films, Docuseek, and our partners have decided that the time has come to step forward and build a new, independent space, dedicated to the films that we believe in and care about, and that we believe you care about, and value as well. OVID.tv co-founder Jonathan Miller joins us to talk about an affordable option for film lovers looking for the highest quality cinema experience presented by people who share your passion.
“A cornucopia of international movies and documentaries… recent ones as well as classics. It’s far better for recent movies than FilmStruck ever was, and its spectrum of new movies is far more substantial than that of Netflix, wider-ranging than that of Amazon.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker, March 22, 2019
Lois Vossen is the Executive Producer of Independent Lens and has been with the show since its inception as a primetime series on PBS. Lois is responsible for commissioning new films, programming the series and working with filmmakers on editorial and broadcast issues. Independent Lens films have received 17 Emmy Awards, 16 George Foster Peabody Awards, five Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Journalism Awards and eight Academy Award nominations. The series was honored in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 with the International Documentary Association (IDA) Award for Best Series. Before joining ITVS, Lois was the Associate Managing Director of Sundance Film Festival and Sundance Labs. Lois is a member of the Television Academy Board of Governors, representing the documentary branch. She has served on the jury at Shanghai Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, SXSW, DOC New Zealand and Palm Springs International Film Festival, among others. Under her leadership, films funded or co-produced by Independent Lens include I Am Not Your Negro, Always in Season, Bedlam, One Child Nation, Black Memorabilia, The King, People’s Republic of Desire, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, TOWER, Newtown, Best of Enemies, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, (T)ERROR, The House I Live In, The Invisible War, and The Trials of Muhammad Ali, among many others. Widely regarded as one of the most influential supporters of independent and documentary filmmaking, Lois Vossen joins us for a conversation on the role that Independent Lens /POV and Public Broadcasting has had in maintaining the highest standards for innovative storytelling in non-fiction cinema.
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. 24 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.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, toprovide 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 being launched by Slamdance.
A Netflix original documentary, Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalskitakes us inside the mind of one of the last century’s great characters, offering a startling look at how history can stand in the way of true artistic genius in one generation while stepping aside to reveal it dramatically in the next. In 1968, pop culture collector Glenn Bray, who had an interest in surrealist art, happened upon an unusual book featuring the art of Stanislav Szukalski. Like most people, Bray had never heard of Szukalski, but he delighted in showing the book of drawings and photos of sculptures to his circle of friends in the underground art comic world, including Robert and Suzanne Williams and George DiCaprio, who found the forgotten Polish master’s vision far ahead of its time. It was a few years later when Bray noticed an unusual poster depicting Copernicus on the wall of a small bookstore in Tarzana – something he immediately recognized as the work of Szukalski. The bookseller informed him that the artist himself had given the poster as a gift – in fact, he lived nearby. Bray couldn’t believe it – this long-forgotten genius was still alive, and in the same area code. Featuring archival footage and dozens of interviews with Szukalski himself, Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski offers a startling look at how history can stand in the way of artistic genius in one generation while stepping aside to reveal it dramatically in the next. Director Irek Dobrowolski and Producer Stephen Cooper join us to talk about an incredible artist and incredibly complex, nearly forgotten “genius” who remained true to his inner demons.
The 20th anniversary of the award winning The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows presents 15 thought-provoking, poignant, and very funny animated shorts from around the world. In a year when the best and worst of human nature has been on constant display, the works in this year’s show remind us of both the universality of shared ideals, as well as the diverse challenges we face. For 20 years, The Animation Show of Shows has been presenting new and innovative short films to appreciative audiences at animation studios, schools and, since 2015, theaters around the world. Over the years, 38 of the films showcased in The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows went on to receive Academy Award® nominations, with 11 films winning the Oscar®. The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows not only has something for everyone, but is a remarkable and insightful microcosm of our world. According to founder and curator Ron Diamond, “Animation is such a flexible and open-ended medium that it lends itself to exploring the innumerable aspects of what it means to be human, and this year’s program, as much as any of our past presentations, really illuminates human strengths and foibles, and the bonds that unite us across cultures and generations.” Ron Diamond joins us to talk about this year’s latest collection of wonderfully creative, insightful and entertaining animation from across the globe.
LIFE UNDERGROUND is a groundbreaking trans-media project that invites visitors on a journey through the subways of the world and into the personal stories of their passengers. Its main component is an interactive web documentary. LIFE UNDERGROUND has also become an immersive multimedia installation for museums and public spaces (including subway stations) featuring the same content but on large screens with a multi-track soundscape. Shot in over 17 cities, across 4 continents, in over 11 languages, by director Hervé Cohen this interactive web documentary and immersive media installation takes viewers on a journey into the subways of the world through the personal stories of passengers. Hervé Cohen is an award-winning filmmaker and cinematographer and has traveled the world to capture compelling stories for international productions. He has also shot two feature narratives, in San Francisco and in Haiti (the 2017 Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film, AYITI MON AMOUR). LIFE UNDERGROUND is nominated for Best Short Form Series by the International Documentary Association. Director Hervé Cohen joins us to talk about his enlightening and humanizing look at a world where people have much more in common than not.
Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom) tells the provocative story of legendary director Orson Welles during the final 15 years of his life. No longer the “wonder boy” of Citizen Kane, Welles in 1970 was an artist in exile looking for his Hollywood comeback with a project called The Other Side of the Wind. For years, Welles worked on his project about an aging film director trying to finish his last great movie. Welles shot the picture guerrilla-style in chaotic circumstances with a devoted crew of young dreamers, all the while struggling with financiers and fate. In 1985, Welles died, leaving as his final testament the most famous unfinished film in movie history. The negative stayed in a vault for decades until now. With revelatory new insights from Welles collaborators including Peter Bogdanovich, Frank Marshall, Oja Kodar and daughter Beatrice Welles, They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead is the untold final chapter of one of the greatest careers in film history: brilliant, innovative, defiant and unbowed. Director Morgan Neville (20 Feet From Stardom, Won’t You Me My Neighbor, Cool School) joins us for a conversation about his hurly-burly look at the making of a ragged masterpiece by cinema’s greatest auteur.
“The impeccably assembled production employs Neville’s virtuoso touch to provocative effect.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times
“For cinephiles, it’s a high-calorie, clip-and-interview-laden feast of biography, insight, and gossip.” – Robert Abele, The Wrap
“Neville’s film may reveal little that hardcore Wellesians don’t already know. But it offers a lively evocation of the great man’s brilliance, waywardness and pained relationship to Hollywood history.” – Jonathan Romney, Screen International
“A fascinating account of an agonizing creative process.” – Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter
“A cinephiles’ delight.” – Kimberly Myers, The Playlist
Today, art is spectacle, big bucks and front-page news. As a society, we have become less concerned with the aesthetic and social values of art, and more concerned with brand names and the business of it all. Can the value of art really be measured in dollars and cents? How are these values assigned and who assigns them? Does the art market have a chilling effect on our great museums and the ability of the public to engage in the art of our time? Nathaniel Kahn’s (My Architect)new documentary THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING explores these questions and demystifies the rarefied world of contemporary art in a dynamic and entertaining way. With unprecedented access to artists, dealers, collectors and auction houses, the film takes us deep into a hidden world where nothing is what it seems. In revealing scenes and interviews, we come to understand how the art market actually works and we confront the challenges of being an artist in the current environment— where success can come at lightning speed, only to evaporate next season, and where even the most revered creators must find ways to block out the temptations of the market if they wish to remain in control of their creative process. THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING offers a complex portrait of a late capitalist society confronting itself. While holding a funhouse mirror up to our consumerist culture, the film ultimately reaffirms the transcendent power of art itself and the deep need we have for it in our lives. Director Nathaniel Kahn stops by to talk about how the art world got to this over-heated, crazed marketplace where many wealthy “art lovers” know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
“If you are a devotee of the arts, an artist, or just a fan of good documentary filmmaking, check out The Price of Everything as soon as you can.” – Lorry Kikta, Film Threat
“[A] colorful and inquisitive cinematic essay on the state of the art world…” – A.O. Scott, The New York Times
“A fascinating and insightful look at the dynamics between contemporary art and commerce….” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru
“The Price of Everything” exalts in the spirt of art over commerce, yet what’s thrilling about the film — and what echoes in your mind after it’s over — is that it captures all the ways those two forces can’t be separated.” Owen Gleiberman, Variety
Under the guidance of acclaimed South African storyteller, Gcina Mhlophe, five orphaned children from Swaziland collaborate to craft a collective fairytale drawn from their darkest memories and brightest dreams. Their fictional character, LIYANA is brought to life in innovative animated artwork as she embarks on a perilous quest to rescue her young twin brothers. The children’s real and imagined worlds begin to converge, and they must choose what kind of story they will tell – in fiction and in their own lives. This genre-defying film weaves an original animated hero’s journey with poetic documentary scenes to create an inspiring tale of perseverance. LIYANA is a tribute to creativity, the strength of the human spirit, and the healing power storytelling.Critically acclaimed, and executive produced by award-winning actress, Thandie Newton, LIYANA has won more than 25 jury and audience awards and screened at more than 80 film festivals around the world including the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival and MoMA’s Doc Fortnight. Co-directors Amanda and Aaron Kopp join us for a conversation on their enchanting, inspiring and wildly creative film.
Hard headed Louisiana fisherman Thomas Gonzales doesn’t know what will hit him next. After decades of hurricanes and oil spills he faces a new threat – hordes of monstrous 20 pound swamp rats. Known as “nutria”, these invasive South American rodents breed faster than the roving squads of hunters can control them. And with their orange teeth and voracious appetite they are eating up the coastal wetlands that protects Thomas and his town of Delacroix Island from hurricanes. But the people who have lived here for generations are not the type of folks who will give up without a fight. Thomas and a pack of lively bounty hunters are hellbent on saving Louisiana before it dissolves beneath their feet. It is man vs. rodent. May the best mammal win. Rodents of Unusual Size is a documentary by Quinn Costello, Chris Metzler and Jeff Springer (Everyday Sunshine,The Story of Fishbone). Co-director Jeff Springer join us to talk about the other ‘beast of the Southern wild.”
Rodents is opening in Los Angeles on September 14th through September 19th @ 1:10pm, 3:20pm, 5:30pm, 8:00pm, & 10:10pm at the Laemmle’s Monica Film Center, 1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica
Opening night Q&A with filmmakers Chris Metzler, Quinn Costello, and animation director Mike Blum
BEST OF FESTIVAL AWARD – Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival
BEST DOCUMENTARY AWARD – UNA George Lindsey Film Festival
BEST DOCUMENTARY AWARD – Tupelo Film Festival
SPECIAL JURY AWARD FOR FILMS FOR OUR FUTURE – Mendocino Film Festival
EXCELLENCE IN AMERICAN PROFILES AWARD – SF Docfest
JURY AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY – Oceanside International Film Festival
92% on Rotten Tomatoes
“Rodents of Unusual Size is also a look at how human folly can contribute to environmental disaster, but awareness and ingenuity can help bail us out.” – Peter Keough, Boston Globe
“Depicting the resilience of both the nutria and the Louisianans who’ve endured their presence for many years, Rodents of Unusual Size proves enjoyably quirky and informative.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
“… a squirmy, funny, fascinating documentary that mixes history, zoology and social and cultural anthropology to examine the relationship of the giant rat to the bayou Louisianans who hunt, skin and sometimes even eat the dagger-incisored critters.” – John Beifuss, Commercial Appeal
“A bizarre and fascinating documentary that’ll make your jaw drop.” Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News
Directed by Chris Paine and executive produced by Paine and Tiffany Asakawa, Do You Trust This Computer? examines the promises and perils of this developing era. Science fiction has long anticipated the rise of machine intelligence. Today, a new generation of self-learning computers has begun to reshape every aspect of our lives. Incomprehensible amounts of data are being created, interpreted, and fed back to us in a tsunami of apps, personal assistants, smart devices, and targeted advertisements. Virtually every industry on earth is experiencing this transformation, from job automation, to medical diagnostics, even military operations. Do You Trust This Computer? explores the promises and perils of our new era. Will A.I. usher in an age of unprecedented potential, or prove to be our final invention? Featuring influential minds, including but not limited to: former Google Brain co-founder & director Andrew Ng, co-founder and CEO of Affectiva Rana el Kaliouby, Osaka University robotic engineer Hiroshi Ishiguro, engineer & entrepreneur Elon Musk, OpenAI director Shivon Zilis, and co- showrunner of HBO’s Westworld, Jonathan Nolan. Director Chris Paine ((Who Killed The Electric Car?, Revenge of the Electric Car) joins us for a lively conversation on where we are and where we are heading with Artificial Intelligence.
“‘Do You Trust This Computer?’ covers the major talking points about the benefits and dangers of artificial intelligence, assembling them into something engaging and alarming – if not exactly in-depth.” – Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times
“A sleek and engaging watch.” – Ken Jaworowski, New York Times
“This documentary covers a wide array of examples of the potentially scary downside of artificial intelligence, none particularly in depth but with enough ingenuity to cause alarm.” – Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media
“here’s a lot to cram into 78 minutes. Director Chris Paine doesn’t waste any time, so you’ll need to pay attention.” – Jennie Kermode. Eye for Film
Us three. Us brothers. Us kings, inseparable. Three boys tear through their childhood, in the midst of their young parents’ volatile love that makes and unmakes the family many times over. While Manny and Joel grow into versions of their loving and unpredictable father, Ma seeks to shelter her youngest, Jonah, in the cocoon of home. More sensitive and conscious than his older siblings, Jonah increasingly embraces an imagined world all his own. With a screenplay by Dan Kitrosser and Jeremiah Zagar based on the celebrated Justin Torres novel, We the Animals is a visceral coming-of-age story propelled by layered performances from its astounding cast of Sheila Vand, Raul Castillo, and three talented, young first-time actors, Evan Rosado, Isaiah Kristian, Josiah Gabriel as well as stunning animated sequences which bring Jonah’s torn inner world to life. Drawing from his documentary background, director Jeremiah Zagar creates an immersive portrait of working class family life and brotherhood. Director and screenwriter Jeremiah Zagar joins us to talk about his gorgeous and ethereal tale of young boys struggling to find their own way in a tattered landscape of family and identity.
“Every once in a while a movie grabs you, unsuspecting, and hustles its way into your heart. Jeremiah Zagar’s “We the Animals” does that.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
“On one level… “We the Animals” is a classic coming-of age tale; on another, it’s a near perfect depiction of the emotional damage that can result from economic insecurity” – Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times
“An impressionistic swirl of a film about masculinity, about abuse, about growing up queer, about chaotic family life, about the jumble of incidents and stirrings through which a child discovers a self. – Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
“In every scene, We the Animals evokes not only the specificity of that world but the deep-seated challenges of escaping it.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire
Super close Mother Lyn and daughter Iona (Dafty One and Dafty Two) are excited for their new life in a new town. Determined to make a success of things after a tricky start, Iona becomes ‘best friends’ with Keely, Stacey and Chelsea. Used to being Iona’s bestie herself, Lyn feels left out. So Lyn also makes friends with Belinda, her neighbor. As much as Lyn and Iona pretend to each other that things are going great, things aren’t going great for either of them. Iona struggles with the girls, who act more like frenemies than friends, and Belinda won’t give Lyn her stepladders back. Both Mother andDaughter retreat into fantasy and lies. Anchored by two remarkable performances by the film’s leads, Joanna Scanlon (Lyn) and Lily Newmark (Iona) writer / director Deborah Haywood feature film debut confidently delivers a lacerating take on bullying, cruelty and mental illness.
“Pin Cushion is most emotionally piercing in depicting the daily ways in which the world still punishes this loving, mild-as-milk woman for her difference.” – Guy Lodge, Variety
“Writer-director Deborah Haywood makes her feature directorial debut with the surreal and whimsical mother-daughter nightmare Pin Cushion, driven by a singular vision and masterful control of a unique tone, which tiptoes the line of beauty and terror.” – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times
“The film is like a cross between a crocheted bunny and a nail bomb.” – Wendy Ide, Observer
“Pin Cushion is a whimsical and achingly sad story.” – Emily Sears, Birth.Movies.Death
Street Food Cinema is the ultimate outdoor movie experience! Founded in 2012 by the dynamic husband and wife team of Steve Allison & Heather Hope-Allison, Street Food Cinema has developed a strong community of entertainment and food enthusiasts across Los Angeles. Every Saturday throughout the summer, Street Food Cinema features beloved cult classic movies on a huge 50 foot screen alongside LA’s favorite food trucks like Cousins Maine Lobster, Street Kitchen LA and Churro Stix as well as emerging music artists such as Alex G., Past Action Heroes and The Urban Renewal Project: punctuated with themed audience games hosted by professional comedians to complete the interactive experience. Their Season 6 opener in 2017 was the worlds biggest La La Land screening AND the biggest Street Food Cinema to date at over 5,000 attendees. With their visionary idea to take the outdoor movie experience to fully inclusive night out –they incorporated a variety of fascinating food trucks, pre-movie live entertainment and cool interactive experiences to massive audience appeal in three major markets: Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix. Their 7th season offers so many exciting titles, beginning with the incredible 2018 Oscar nominees“Get Out” and “I, Tonya” on May 5th,“The Greatest Showman” on June 16th, “Lady Bird” on July 21st and “Coco” on October 27th. As well as anniversary screenings for beloved fan favorites “Dazed & Confused” starting our season on April 28th, “The Land Before Time” on May 19th, “The Big Lebowski” on June 9th, “Mrs. Doubtfire” on June 16th, “Stand and Deliver” on June 23rd, “The Sandlot” on June 30th, “Grease” on July 21st, “Mamma Mia!” on August 4th, “Casablanca” on August 25th, “The Wedding Singer” on September 1st, “Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist” on September 8th, “Practical Magic” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” on September 29th and “Twilight” and the original cult classic “Halloween” on October 13th. We’ll also debut our first double-feature PJ party“The Craft” & “Teen Witch” on September 15th and many more great films. Co-founder of Street Food Cinema Heather Hope-Allison (Steven Allison) joins us to run down the upcoming films, where they will be screening and all of the family-friendly options available to film lovers in Southern California.
The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is a nonprofit organization devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture by showcasing films, supporting emerging filmmakers, and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora. Each year the festival features a rich mix of film programs designed to build and support the growing interest in the Indian entertainment industry. This includes programming that cultivates an audience for Indian films while supporting filmmakers of Indian descent in career development as they navigate the larger studio system in Hollywood. The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, runs from Wednesday, April 11 – 15 at Regal Live in downtown Los Angeles, featuring programs that include One-on-One program where film industry professionals from major and independent production and distribution companies are invited to participate in meetings with the IFFLA filmmakers; and panel discussions with speakers from the film industry. We are joined by IFFLA’sDirector of Programming Mike Dougherty to talk about the past, present and future of Indian cinema and the increasing acceptance among mainstream American film lovers.
Barbara Thorson (Madison Wolfe) is your new hero. A quick-witted, sharp- tongued middle-schooler who isn’t afraid of anything. As the only girl in school carrying an ancient Norse warhammer in her purse and killing giants for a living, why wouldn’t she be? I Kill Giants is the sweeping, bittersweet story of a young girl struggling to conquer monsters both real and imagined as her world crumbles at the feet of giants bigger than any one child can handle.Based on the best-selling graphic novel by Joe Kelly. I Kill Giants features terrific performances from Zoe Saldana and Imogen Poots. Academy Award winning director Anders Walter joins us to talk about his clever, creative and emotionally resonant feature film debut.
“This intimate story about a troubled 12-year-old who’s on a mission to save her town is virtually tone perfect.” – Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times
“A sweetly imaginative, tenderly played coming of age drama.” – Allan Hunter, Screen International
“The vivid cinematography, affecting performance by Wolfe, and lack of saccharine allow the film to resonate not only with the teen target demographic but older viewers as well.” – James Beradinelli, ReelReviews
“I Kill Giants is a dark piece of work for children, which is far from a bad thing.” – Ann Storm, Film Journal International
“Like its heroine, I Kill Giants isn’t afraid to tackle the darkness or rage of little girls, or their fear and pain.” – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times
Cinequest has led the world in its showcase and implementation of the innovations that have revolutionized film making, exhibition and distribution. Over 100,000 attend CQFF, yet the three-block proximity of its state-of-the-art venues along with Cinequest’s renowned hospitality, makes the festival experience as warm and personal as it is electrifying. Cinequest presents over 90 World and U.S. premieres with groundbreaking innovations by 700+ participating filmmakers from over 50 countries each year. Set in the home of the world’s most influential media technology companies (Apple, Cisco, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, LinkedIn etc.) CQFF showcases premier films, renowned and emerging artists, and breakthrough technology—empowering global connectivity between creators, innovators and audiences. Michael Rabehl has been a member of the Cinequest team since 1994. As the Director of Programming he manages the film selection process for the festival and supervises the programming teams to create a world class line up of films and guests every year. In his role as the Associate Director he is directly involved with the strategic planning of the festival. Michael joins us to talk about the 2018 Conquest film and virtual reality line-up.
Cinequest Film and Virtual Reality Film Festival February 27 – March 11, 2018
“Move over Cannes! Of the more than 4,000 film festivals around the globe, more than half take place on U.S. soil, and many rank among the best of the best. Our panel of film experts, movie buffs and festival gurus were tasked with narrowing down the field to the best 20 film festivals in the nation before we turned it over to USA TODAY and 10Best readers to choose their favorites. After four weeks of voting, we have a winner. Cinequest Voted Best Film Festival!” — USA Today
“Technology always drives the film business. In Cinequest, we have a good window on the future. I think they’re leading the world in this regard.” — Peter Belsito, Executive Vice President, Film Finders
“This festival is one that sets the trends and is actually ahead of the trends. Other festivals are copying Cinequest; I see it all the time.” — Chris Gore, Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide and Film Threat
“At Cinequest you often haven’t heard of the film before you go see it, but the audiences come anyway. That’s a testament to the festival — that audiences are willing to take that leap of faith.” — Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times