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 experience 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.
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 Crash 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
Bill Plympton is considered the King of Indie Animation and is the only person to hand draw an entire animated feature film. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, he graduated from Portland State University in Graphic Design. Plympton moved to New York City in 1968. He began his career creating cartoons for publications such as New York Times, National Lampoon, Playboy and Screw. In 1987 he was nominated for an Oscar® for his animated short “Your Face”. In 2005, Bill received another Oscar® nomination, this time for a short film “Guard Dog”. “Push Comes to Shove” another short film, won the prestigious Cannes 1991 Palme d’Or. After producing many shorts that appeared on MTV and Spike and Mike’s, he turned his talent to feature films. Since 1991 he’s made 9 feature films, 6 of them, “The Tune”, “Mondo Plympton”, “I Married A Strange Person”, “Mutant Aliens”, “Hair High” and “Idiots and Angels” are all animated features. His latest feature animated film is Cheatin’ is a fateful tale of a bumper car collision, Jake and Ella meet and become the most loving couple in the long history of Romance. But when a scheming “other” woman drives a wedge of jealousy into their perfect courtship, insecurity spells out an untimely fate. With only the help of a disgraced magician and his forbidden “soul machine,” Ella takes the form of Jake’s numerous lovers, desperately fighting through malfunction and deceit as they try to reclaim their destiny. Animator / director Bill Plympton joins us to talk about his latest, magically adult tale of love and fidelity.
“At a time when so many computer-generated features have an increasingly homogenized look, Plympton is a welcome reminder that the art of animation is too protean to be limited to a single visual style, medium or point of view.” – Charles Solomon, LA Times
“Strife and sexual humor reign in this energetic romp, one of Bill Plympton’s best longform animated works.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety
“It’s pleasingly old-school stuff that harks back to older, non-realist, counter-cultural schools of cartooning, a style through-line that reaches back to the very early days of Winsor McKay, through Tex Avery shorts and Ralph Bakshi in his Fritz the Cat-heyday.” – Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter
Winner of the Prix du Jury at Annecy 2014
Nominated for 3 Annie Awards
Opening night film for the 2014 Slamdance Film Festival
Best Animated Film at the Gujun International Film Festival
You want to put her in a home; you tell her; tell her now!’ hisses one brother to the other. But Mother won’t go, and their own lives unravel as she clings on. Innovative life-size animated characters tell the stark and darkly humorous tale of caring for an elderly parent. Daisy Jacobs is a British animation director, based in London. She studied at the National Film and Television School and at Central St Martins School of Art. The Bigger Picture is her MA graduation film. Previous films include Don Justino de Nevem (2011) and Tosh (2012). In her films, Daisy has moved from 2D hand-drawn animation to a hybrid of stop- motion and life-size painted animation. In The Bigger Picture, two-metre tall 2D and 3D painted characters interact with real sets. Director / writer / animator Jacobs stops by to talk about her unique and compelling animated masterpiece.
2014 – Edinburgh International Film Festival, Innovation Award
2014 – Festival de Cannes (Cinefondation), Troisieme Prix,
2014 – Manchester KinoFilm Festival, Best Short Animation
2014 – Annecy Animation Festival, Cristal for a Graduation Film
2014 – Edinburgh International Film Festival, Innovation Award
2014 – Hiroshima Film Festival, Grand Prize, Oscar Qualifying
FEAST is a new short from first-time director Patrick Osborne (Head of Animation, PAPERMAN) and Walt Disney Animation Studios, is the story of one man’s love life as seen through the eyes of his best friend and dog, Winston, and revealed bite by bite through the meals they share. Osborne is behind Walt Disney Animation Studios’ new short FEAST, taking the film from conception to completion. Osborne joined Disney as an animator on the 2008 feature film BOLT and went on to work on the PREP & LANDING movies andDisney’s 2010 hit TANGLED. Osborne served as Head of Animation for Disney’s’ OSCAR®-winning short PAPERMAN, and acted as Co-Head of Animation for the upcoming feature BIG HERO 6 prior to assuming full-time directing duties for FEAST. Prior to joining Disney, the Cincinnati, Ohio, native was lead character animator on THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. He also worked as an animator on I AM LEGEND, SuRF’S uP and OPEN SEASON. Osborne, who earned a BFA with a focus in computer animation from Ringling College of Art and Design, got his start as a kid making movies with his brothers on their parents’ camcorder. His fascination with visual effects was elevated to a career goal when his dad gave him a book about the making of JURASSIC PARK. Director Osborne joins us to talk about Oscar nominated film and the challenges and rewards of having the final say on his own animated film.
2015 Annie Awards Nomination
Audience Award Winner: 2014 Hamptons International Film Festival
Zeitgeist Films is proud to present the US Theatrical release of ROCKS IN MY POCKETS, the debut animated feature by Signe Baumane. ROCKS IN MY POCKETS had its World Premiere at the 2014 Karlovy Vary Film Festival where it won the FIPRESCI Prize and was the first animated feature ever to take part in the Karlovy Vary International Competition. In the animated gem ROCKS IN MY POCKETS Latvian-born artist and filmmaker Signe Baumane tells five fantastical tales based on the courageous women in her family and their battles with madness. With boundless imagination and a twisted sense of humor, she has created daring stories of art, romance, marriage, nature, business, and Eastern European upheaval—all in the fight for her own sanity. Employing a unique, beautifully textured combination of papier-mâché stop-motion and classic hand-drawn animation (with inspiration from Jan Svankmajer and Bill Plympton), Director Baumane stops by to talk about her poignant and often hilarious tale of mystery, mental health, redemption and survival.
Q & A with Signe Baumane at the Laemelle Royal in Los Angeles Saturday, September 13th and Sunday, September 14th.
The film will open at the Laemmle Royal at 11523 Santa Monica Blvd in Los Angeles on September 12th with a national release to follow.
“Boasting a narrative of extraordinary complexity and density, stuffed with irony, humor and tales-within-tales… a fascinating and very personal look at mental illness, as well as familial and societal dictates and dynamics.” –Alissa Simon, VARIETY
“With ‘Rocks In My Pockets,’ Signe Baumane presents a sharp, surprising and funny animated feature, plumbing the depths of depression via her family history. Guided by Ms. Baumane’s almost musically accented voice-over, this hand-drawn debut feature is based upon the mental struggles of her Latvian grandmother and other relatives. It’s told with remorseless psychological intelligence, wicked irony and an acerbic sense of humor.” – Nicholas Rapold, NEW YORK TIMES
“Signe Baumane examines her family members’ history with mental illness (as well as her own struggles) with humor, delicacy and eye-catching animation techniques… Her commitment and talent is overwhelming, and her production is about as “independent” as it gets. Because Baumane had total control over the movie, we’re treated to splendid and surreal images like these.” – Whitney Matheson, USA TODAY
Directed by acclaimed filmmaker James Franco, and based on the chilling novel by Cormac McCarthy, Child of God, tells the provocative story of Lester Ballad (Scott Haze), a dispossessed, violent man, attempting to exist outside the social order. Consecutively deprived of parents and housing and driven by famished loneliness, Ballard descends literally and figuratively to the level of a cave dweller as he falls deeper into crime and degradation. Set in a small town in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Tennessee in the 1960s, Child of God is structured in three segments with each segment describing Ballad’s ever-growing isolation of from society and social mores. Lead actor Haze join us to talk about how his approach to this breakout role.
Now in its 20th year, running from June 11-19, the Los Angeles Film Festival, presented by Film Independent, showcases diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision in new American and international cinema, and provides the movie loving public with one-of-a-kind events featuring critically acclaimed filmmakers, film industry professionals, and emerging talent from around the world. The Festival’s signature programs include the Filmmaker Retreat, Music in Film at The GRAMMY Museum®, Celebrating Women Filmmakers, Master Classes, Spirit of Independence Award, LA Muse and more. Over 200 features, shorts, and music videos, representing more than 40 countries, make up the main body of the Festival.
Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound – Director William (Joe) Saunders
Billy Mize pioneered a musical revolution that became known as The Bakersfield Sound, which enjoyed enormous popularity in the sixties, producing such talented artists as Merle Haggard and Buck Owens. During the height of Bakersfield’s popularity, Nashville snubbed their loud, electric twang in an attempted to distance itself from rock ‘n’ roll artists, like Elvis Presley, and move to a smoother, acoustic sound. While Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound follows Mize’s personal story, it also defines and explains the Bakersfield Sound. The film explores how Mize made it to the brink of super-stardom, turned it down to be a father, befell horrible tragedy, and climbed his way back into the spotlight. In the prime of his career, just after being nominated for Single Record of the Year (his competition included Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Glen Campbell), Mize and his wife, Martha, are beset with horrific personal tragedy. Director, producer, editor and Mize’s own grandson, William (Joe) Saunders talks about the professional and personal journey that making Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound has been for him and his family.
For news and updates on Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound go to: http://www.billymizemovie.com/
Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story – Director NC Heiken
Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story tells the story of a prodigal alto sax player who, like so many of his fellow musicians of the era, saw his career plagued by drug addiction. What sets Frank apart is not just his exceptionally beautiful, classic alto playing, but also the amazing fact that he survived 30 years of revolving door incarceration and drug abuse and went on to a much heralded comeback career in the last 22 years of his life. His story is one of brilliant promise in his youth, a journey through the depths of hell, and redemption through his art. Sound of Redemption tells the story of his life and transformation through interviews with fellow musicians and people who were close to him, intercut with footage of Frank, and tracks of his very emotional music. Director NC Heikin joins us for a conversation on the tragedy and triumphs that is Frank Morgan’s story.
For news and Updates on Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story go to: http://www.thefrankmorganproject.com/index.html
Ralph Steadman is the last of the original Gonzo visionaries. Made over the course of fifteen years, “For No Good Reason,” explores the connection between life and art through the eyes of seminal British artist, Ralph Steadman. Insightful, humorous, and visually stunning, this is a study in honesty, friendship and the ambition that drives an artist. Ralph’s rise to prominence began in the early 1970’s during the fallout from the love and hope that had swept the western world during the 1960’s. This legendary time for music, literature, art and philosophy was the catalyst, along with his developing relationship with writer Hunter S Thompson, for Ralph to express and chart the wreckage that followed; a large-scale disintegration of a demoralized counter-culture. His art gained recognition in the press and popular-culture publications, both in the U.K. and U.S., for its bold comment on his fiercely heart-felt politics. Director Charlie Paul and Producer Lucy Paul joins us to talk about one of the world’s most electrifying and insightful painter / cartoonist / satirist.
“There’s no more exciting effect in the documentary than the look of pure pleasure on Depp’s face as he stands by Steadman’s drawing table, peeking over his shoulder as he attacks a sheet of paper.’ – Mark Feeney, Boston Globe
“Ralph Steadman is one of the greatest, most underappreciated living artists, so it’s wonderful that this celebratory documentary has arrived. It also happens to be one of the finest docs ever made about an artist.” – David Noh, Film Journal International
In 1974, Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky, whose films EL TOPO and THE HOLY MOUNTAIN launched and ultimately defined the midnight movie phenomenon, began work on his most ambitious project yet. Starring his own 12-year old son Brontis alongside Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, David Carradine and Salvador Dali, featuring music by Pink Floyd and art by some of the most provocative talents of the era, including H.R. Giger and Jean ‘Mœbius’ Giraud, Jodorowsky’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel DUNE was poised to change cinema forever. Director Frank Pavich joins us to talk about the power of Dune’s narrative and the visionary zeal Jodorowski brought to his singular vision.
“Mindblowing” – Variety “
“A surprise Cannes hit was Frank Pavich’s JODOROWSKY’S DUNE .” – IndieWire
“Fascinating, informative and funny. – The Toronto Star
“It’s also clear that we are all the better for Frank Pavich’s wonderful contribution of JODOROWSKY’S DUNE.” – Twitch.com
“Arguably the most legendary of unmade film projects.” – film.com (Top 10 favorite films at Cannes)
“Never before has there been a documentary about lost cinema quite like JODOROWSKY’S DUNE.” – thefilmstage.com
Based on the classic Belgian book series by Gabrielle Vincent, Ernest & Celestine won France’s César Award for Best Animated Feature, and nominated for this year’s Oscar for Best Animated Feature, tells the story of a mouse named Celestine, an artist and a dreamer who forms an unlikely bond with a troubadour bear named Ernest. But it isn’t long before their friendship is put on trial by their respective bear-fearing and mice-eating communities. Like a gorgeous watercolor painting brought to life, a constantly shifting pastel color palette bursts and drips across the screen, while wonderful storytelling and brilliant comic timing draw up influences as varied as Buster Keaton, Bug Bunny and the outlaw romanticism of Bonnie and Clyde. Bringing it all together is the on-screen chemistry between the two lead characters – a flowing, tender and playful rapport that will put a smile on your face and make your heart grow. Co-director Benjamin Renner stops by Film School for a conversation on his beguiling collaboration with co-directors Vincent Patar and Stephane Aubier.
“MAGICAL! ENCHANTING! AN ABSOULTE DELIGHT!”
“From its inventive visuals to its unruly heroes, Ernest & Celestine is an equal pleasure for children and adults. A modern-day period piece, a fabulous fable, a most fortunate use of animation artistry!” – Los Angeles Times
“EXTRAORDINARY!” “To call it one of the most beautiful animated films in recent years is not enough. It is simply enchanting!” – Le Monde
“AN UTTER SUCCESS!” “Sublimely elegant, endearing, gorgeous, delightful! This is an artful, handcrafted, and unforgettable piece of animation!” – IndieWire
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 ten wonderful films nominated for the Live Action and Animated Short Film Academy Awards.
“The fact that dedicated committees of conscientious human beings who know a lot about how movies are made weeded through hundreds and hundreds of submissions and picked their favorites … is something to be grateful for.” – Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com
“See them all … You won’t be sorry.” – Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
“There isn’t a bad film in this bunch …” – Anders Wright, San Diego Union-Tribune
What happens when documentary filmmakers—whose mission is to probe, explore, and Reveal—take as their subject one of the world’s greatest living magicians, whose life and art are basically off limits to probing, exploration and revelation? More than a decade in the making, Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay is the captivating result of this curious conundrum: a mesmerizing journey into the world of modern magic and the small circle of eccentrics who were its perpetual devotees. Award-winning co-directors Molly Bernstein and Alan Edelstein will join us for an informative and entertaining conversation on the making of a film about Ricky Jay, master magician, actor, artist, enigma.
Special Appearance at the Nuart Theatre (Los Angeles, CA)
Star and subject of film Ricky Jay, producer/director/editor Molly Bernstein and producer/co-director Alan Edelstein will appear in person on Friday, May 17 for a Q&A after the 7:30pm show. They will also appear on Saturday, May 18 for a Q&A after the 7:30pm show.
“Wonderfully engaging!” – New York Magazine
“Full of happy surprises. Card tricks that leave his audience speechless.” – David Edelstein, New York Magazine
“He puts on a smashing show, whether on or off the stage… Mr. Jay proves a hugely entertaining guide…” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
“A riveting look at Mr. Jay’s arduous, arcane pursuits through the prism of those who taught and inspired him to be one of the world’s great magicians. Some of his illusions are so stunning that they leave spectators teary-eyed – out of amazement, or perhaps fear.” – Robert P. Walzer, Wall Street Journal
Painstakingly created over the course of the last fifteen years, Chris Sullivan’s debut animated feature is an absolute marvel to behold. Employing multiplane cut-outs, drawings on paper and stop motion (all shot on 16mm), Sullivan weaves a psychologically dense chronicle of a crumbling Rust Belt town, and the intermingled lives of three lonely souls who work at its local newspaper. Unfolding like a vision quest from the mind of a memory-haunted insomniac, it tenderly navigates its ugly characters down twisted paths upon which their pasts, fears, and longings converge. This is a totally singular and eerie landscape, dotted with ghost-ridden farmhouses, midnight car accidents, late night radio broadcasts and the world’s oldest cat. Painted with frequent strokes of unexpected humor and rendered with a beautifully rough hewn craft emphasizing its characters’ fragility, it emerges as a quiet feature-length epic unlike anything you’ve ever seen: adult, complex and brimming with the irrepressible spirit of American independent filmmaking.. Director/ Writer/ Producer Chris Sullivan joins us for an extended conversation on this stunningly original animated film. Be sure to see Chris Sullivan for the 8:00 PM Friday and 7:00 PM Saturday screening at the Cinefamily – 611 N. Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles.
“CRITICS’ PICK! A dark and painful fantasy for grown-ups… A work of obsessive artisanal discipline and unfettered artistic vision. You have never seen anything like it. This remarkable film…conducts its inquiry into the darkest zones of the human heart in a spirit at once anguished and playful…A wonder.” – A.O. Scott, The New York Times
“Emotionally raw, thoroughly original…The entire world he’s built is constructed of ugliness shot through with moments of unexpected beauty. His narrative is the same… small moments of beauty and redemption sneak through.” – Ian Buckwalter, NPR online
“A sprawling, slithering, stream-of-consciousness tale… a moribund, rust-belt dreamland. This is the rare animated feature whose subtext is as rich as its sensuality… CONSUMING SPIRITS (is) not only a monstrous visual achievement, but one of the most uniquely humanistic animated features of all time.” –Joseph Jon Lanthier, Slant
“Every frame in Chris Sullivan’s American Gothic saga aches and echoes from a place of unique artistry, meticulous craftsmanship and great imagination. It is the little touches, the small world-building and grounding details that make CONSUMING SPIRITS feel so rich and so worthwhile. It is adult animation at its best and most unique, and a film which exudes the true spirit of American independent filmmaking.” – Ben Umstead, TwitchFilm.com
It’s time to start talking Oscars. This week on Film School we’ll be talking about the Academy Award nominated films in the short form categories, Live-Action, Animated and Documentaries. Joining us will be Carter Pilcher. Carter founded Shorts International in 2000. Coming from a background in both investment banking and law, Carter has made Shorts International the world’s leading short movie Entertainment Company, functioning as distributor, broadcaster and producer. 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.
Based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel, is a magical adventure story centering on Pi Patel, the precocious son of a zoo keeper. Dwellers in Pondicherry, India, the family decides to move to Canada, hitching a ride on a huge freighter. After a shipwreck, Pi finds himself adrift in the Pacific Ocean on a 26-foot lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, all fighting for survival. Writer David Magee talks about the challenges and rewards of adapting a sprawling, best seller into a powerful three-dimensional drama.
That Ang Lee has managed to turn the limitations of the material into his adaptation’s greatest strength make “Life of Pi” into a significant achievement for the filmmaker in spite of blatant problems with structure, dialogue and other surface issues. – Eric Kohn, IndieWire
Melds a harrowing high-seas adventure with a dreamy meditation on the very nature of storytelling. – Justin Chang, Variety
An interview with TOMM MOORE the director of THE SECRET OF KELLS, the animated story of the boy behind the famed Book of Kells. The Book of Kells is a stunningly beautiful manuscript containing the Four Gospels. It is Ireland’s most precious medieval artifact, and is generally considered the finest surviving illuminated manuscript to have been produced in medieval Europe. Our hero, young Brendan lives in a remote medieval outpost under siege from barbarian raids. But a new life of adventure beckons when a celebrated master illuminator arrives from foreign lands carrying an ancient but unfinished book, brimming with secret wisdom and powers. To help complete the magical book, Brendan has to overcome his deepest fears on a dangerous quest that takes him into the enchanted forest where mythical creatures hide. It is here that he meets the fairy Aisling, a mysterious young wolf-girl, who helps him along the way. But with the barbarians closing in, will Brendan’s determination and artistic vision illuminate the darkness and show that enlightenment is the best fortification against evil? Moore is co-Founder and company director of Cartoon Saloon. He has worked on almost every Cartoon Saloon production in various capacities including directing and designing commercials for clients including Cadburys and the Irish Independent, illustrating graphic novels and children’s books and working as animation artist on several tv series and feature film productions.