Windup – Director Yibing Jiang and Artistic Director Glenn Keane

The animated short film based on her own childhood experience in Wuhan China, WINDUP, tells the story of a father trying to stay connected with his unconscious daughter through music. He plays a windup music box and hopes she can hear it while fighting with his own emotions to stay strong. Meanwhile, his daughter follows the melody in her dreams and looks for a way back. WINDUP is a nine-minute animated short written and directed by an emerging female Chinese filmmaker Yibing Jiang, and Animation Director Jason Keane. Keane has a long family legacy in animation, which includes, his grandfather Bill Keane (Family Circus comics) and his uncles Jeff Keane; and Glenn Keane, (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Tarzan, and Tangled). WINDUP was also a collaboration with artists working remotely from around the world, created in real-time with Unity. At a time when we are feeling isolated, craving connection and preoccupied with the health and well-being of loved ones, the theme of the film is an uplifting and universal one that highlights the fragile nature of life, love, resiliency and the healing power of music, told through the eyes of a father and the special bond he shares with his ailing young daughter. Director Yibing Jiang and Artistic Director Jason Keane stop by to talk about their work and vision for this heartwarming and beautiful animated film.

 

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To find out more or to watch go to: unity.com/demos/windup

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Film Maudit 2.0 – Executive Director Leo Garcia and Artistic Director Patrick Kennelly

January 12-24 2021, Highways, the legendary Los Angeles Performance Space and Gallery presents its Second Annual Film Maudit 2.0 festival showcasing and celebrating new outré, unusual and startling films. The festival will feature over 125 works of cinema from 25 countries including films rarely if ever, seen in festivals: works addressing socio-political issues and taboo subject matter that challenges conventional artistic assumptions and sexual mores.Virtual, online screenings of 18 feature films, 21 shorts programs, specially commissioned programs, and new film scored performed by artists who reflect the diversity of Los Angeles. Included are a range of narrative, documentary and experimental films that are deliberately bold, extreme, confrontational and unusual. Film Maudit 2.0 highlights this year include the U.S. premieres of Feature Films: Mathius Marvellous Shop, a Spanish/German surrealistic satire; Kriya, a magical Indian thriller, and the Los Angeles premieres of Woman of the Photographs; a powerful Japanese film about image and reality for a beautiful model; The Columnist, a darkly comic horror film from The Netherlands; A Dark, Dark Man, the Kazakhstan/France thriller just long-listed for the Golden Globes; and Darkness (Buio) the first feature film by Donatello Award-winning director Emanuela Rossi. Other special programs include a special fundraising screening of erotic art pioneers Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens’ Water Makes Us Wet, featuring a live stream Q&A with both; new, original music scores performed live to silent films, and multiple Feature and Shorts Programs that showcase works from 25 countries in 16 uniquely curated categories from ‘Ms. Fear’ to ‘Shattering Form’ – with animated documentaries to experimental works handmade on film; extreme horror to comic surrealism. There is a special focus on works in Film Maudit’s BEHOLD section, which includes NSFW! curated by Planet Queer, Hi Kicks Entrails, curated by performance artist Ironstone, and QLX: the Performance of Queer Latinx.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: filmmaudit.org

All films at the festival are free and available online January 12 through 24. Reservations are required and can be made for each program via Film Maudit 2.0’s Screening Portal: filmmaudit.org/filmmaudit

Film Maudit 2.0 festival is inspired by French avant-garde filmmaker and writer Jean Cocteau who created the original Festival du Film Maudit (literally “cursed films”) in 1949 aiming to celebrate overlooked, shocking and experimental films. Film Maudit 2.0, in its 2nd year, showcases a counter-cinema will blend of narrative, documentary and experimental films that in their style and/or subject matter, are deliberately bold, extreme, confrontational, troubling, shocking and/or unusual. The festival is funded in part by the California Arts Council, Los Angeles County Department of Cultural Affairs and the City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs CAP Program.

About HIGHWAYS – Film Maudit 2.0 is co-presented by and takes place at Southern California’s boldest center for new performance and media arts, Highways Performance Space & Gallery in Santa Monica, CA. In its 31st year, Highways continues to be an important alternative cultural center in Los Angeles that encourages radical artists from diverse communities to develop and present innovative new works. Described by the Los Angeles Times as “a hub of experimental theater, dance, solo drama and other multimedia performance,” Highways promotes the development of contemporary socially involved artists and art forms. Under the helm of Executive Director, Leo Garcia, Highways has received funding and support from organizations such as the The James Irvine Foundation, Metabolic Studio, California Community Foundation, Liberty Hill Foundation, The Warhol Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and The Roy Cockrum Foundation. Leo Garcia is an award-winning playwright, filmmaker, visual artist and actor who has produced over 800 performance works as Artistic Director-turned-Executive Director of Highways since 2003. highwaysperformance.org

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Music Got Me Here – Director Susan Koch

From award-winning director Susan Koch’s comes new feature documentary, MUSIC GOT ME HERE. The film follows the against-all-odds, true-life journey of Forrest Allen – a story of the power of music to heal and transform lives, often in miraculous ways. A snowboard accident leaves Forrest Allen, age 18, trapped inside himself, unable to speak or walk for almost two years. Tom Sweitzer, an eccentric music therapist with a troubled childhood who credits music with saving his own life, is determined to help Forrest find his voice. He dresses up in costumes and makes up silly songs.  For months, Forrest doesn’t even acknowledge him. Then, one day Forrest painstakingly types with one finger on his Dynavox: “Please help me find my voice”. Tom begins by teaching Forrest to breathe…then hum. After many months of painstaking practice, the hums turn into Forrest’s first two words. Director and writer Susan Koch joins us to talk about her uplifting tale of overcoming hardship, physical, spiritual and psychological as well as underscoring the pre-cognitive connective that humans share and with it our brains can be rewired to overcome trauma.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: musicgotmehere.com

Winner of the Best Social Impact Award at the Greenwich International Film Festival,MUSIC GOT ME HERE was filmed over the course of five years and features interviews with renowned soprano and music therapy advocate Renee Fleming and National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins. MUSIC GOT ME HERE, is currently screening at Laemmle Virtual Cinema.

About the Director – Emmy and Peabody award-winning filmmaker Susan Koch’s films and non-fiction television shows have appeared on ABC, NBC, PBS, HBO, Showtime, MTV, ESPN, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic, CNN, and American Movie Classics. Koch’s documentary Kicking It, about homeless soccer players who compete in an international tournament, premiered at the Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals and was broadcast on ESPN. Koch’s other films include the award-winning documentaries Reel Models:  First Women of Film (AMC), Mario’s Story (Showtime), City at Peace (HBO) and The Other City (Showtime). Koch is the Executive Director of the Middleburg Film Festival, located in Middleburg, Virginia, outside Washington, D.C.

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Feels Good Man, Director Arthur Jones and Giorgio Angelini

In November 2016, a nasty election cycle had exposed a seismic cultural rift, and the country suddenly felt like a much different place. For underground cartoonist Matt Furie, that sensation was even more surreal. Furie’s comic creation Pepe the Frog, conceived more than a decade earlier as a laid-back humanoid amphibian, had unwittingly become a grotesque political pawn. FEELS GOOD MAN is a Frankenstein-meets-Alice-in-Wonderland journey of an artist battling to regain control of his creation, while confronting a disturbing cast of characters who have their own peculiar attachments to Pepe. Now, as Pepe continues to morph around the world – FEELS GOOD MAN offers a vivid, moving portrait of one man, one frog, and the very strange reality we’ve all found ourselves living in. Director Arthur Jones and Producer Giorgio Angelini stop by to talk about their mind-blowing journey into an internet / social media / 4Chan rabbit hole where a hippy-dippy cartoon character becomes an avatar and unfathomable messenger of hatred and bigoted propaganda.

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: feelsgoodmanfilm.com

To watch Feels Good Man go to: feelsgoodman.watch

For more on Pepe the Frog creator mattfurie.com

About the filmmakers: Arthur Jones – Director / Animator / Writer FEELS GOOD MAN is Jones’s directorial debut, but he’s uniquely suited to tell the story. He’s a cartoonist who came up in the same indie comics scene as the film’s subject, Matt Furie. Jones published a book of his illustrations in 2011: Post-it Note Diaries (Penguin/Plume Paperbacks). Over his career, he’s art directed animation and motion graphics for journalists and documentary filmmakers, working with companies including The New York Times, VICE, The Center for Investigative Reporting and The International Consortium of Journalists. Recently he’s been a part of several documentary features: Seed Money: The Chuck Holmes Story (2015), BUNKER 77 (Amazon Studios, 2017), Owned, A Tale of Two Americas (2018) and Hal (Oscilloscope Films, 2018). Jones is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. For more on the work of Arthur Jones go to: futuresmells.com

Giorgio Angelini: Producer / Writer / Cinematographer came into film from a longer, multi-faceted career in the creative arts. After touring in bands like The Rosebuds and Bishop Allen for much of his 20s, Giorgio enrolled in the Masters of Architecture program at Rice University during the depths of the 2008 real estate collapse. It was during this tumultuous time that the seeds for Giorgio’s directorial debut, OWNED: A Tale of Two Americas began to take shape. Following graduate school, Angelini began working with the boutique architecture firm, Schaum Shieh Architects, where he designed the White Oak Music Hall in Houston, Texas, as well as the headquarters for The Transart Foundation for Art and Anthropology, which won the Architect’s Newspaper’s “Design of the Year” award in 2018. 

WINNER – U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker – 2020 Sundance Film Festival
WINNER – Best Feature Documentary – 2020 Lighthouse International Film Festival
Official Selection – 2020 True/False Film Festival
Official Selection – 2020 Big Sky Documentary Festival
Official Selection – Festival Favorites – 2020 SXSW Film Festival

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94% on Rotten Tomatoes

“You’ve just got to see it. It is chilling, hopeful, terrible, and wonderful—and made with care, gorgeous animation, and perfect pacing.”Allen Salkin, Los Angeles Magazine

“An expansive forensic look at the life cycle of an idea, a warp-speed analysis of internet sociology, and a harrowingly modern fable about innocence lost.“ – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

“It’s mesmerizing and kind of trippy, but also makes the film feel like a one-of-a-kind creation in the greater context of the Pepe the Frog legacy…an outstanding documentary.” 9/10 – Alex Billington, FirstShowing

“The most urgent and poignant political documentary of the year.” – Matt Patches, Polygon

Ursula von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own, Director Daniel Traub

In URSULA VON RYDINGSVARD: INTO HER OWN filmmaker Daniel Traub nimbly illuminates the fascinating journey of Ursula von Rydingsvard – from her difficult early life in a family of nine emigrating to the US after five years in post-WWII German Displaced Persons camps, a traumatic first marriage, her arrival in 1970s New York to establish herself as an artist, and the staggering, triumphant body of work she subsequently produced. Von Rydingsvard is one of the few women in the world working in monumental sculpture. Von Rydingsvard’s work has been featured in the Venice Biennale and is held in the collections of some of the world’s great museums, including New York’s =Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. But she may be best-known for the stunning “Scientia” at M.I.T. which evokes the power of nature and the firing of brain synapses. imposing pieces painstakingly crafted with complex surfaces. URSULA VON RYDINGSVARD: INTO HER OWN, goes behind the scenes with von Rydingsvard, as she and her collaborators – cutters, metalsmiths, and others – produce new work, including challenging commissions in copper and bronze. But the film also delves into the artist’s personal life, and how it has shaped her work. In conversations with curators, patrons, family, and fellow artists, we come to know von Rydingsvard as a driven but compassionate sculptor with a deep commitment to her art and the world around her.  Director Daniel Traub joins us to talk about von Rydingsvard’s creative process and how the materials she uses to create her complex and challenging sculptures influence her artistic approach.

 

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For news and updates go to: intoherownfilm.com

About the filmmaker: DANIEL TRAUB  Director / Producer / Cinematographer is a New York-based filmmaker and photographer. He lived in China from 1998 to 2007, working as cinematographer on documentary films for various networks and production companies, including PBS, German television ZDF and Arte. More recently, Traub directed the feature-length Barefoot Artist about Lily Yeh and her collaborative artworks in war-torn communities and Xu Bing: Phoenix about the condition of Chinese migrant laborers. Traub’s photographs have been exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at the Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago, Slought Foundation in Philadelphia and the Lianzhou Foto Festival in China. His work can be found in public and private collections, such as The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

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“A welcome cinematic account of her work.” – Glenn Kenny, The New York Times

“This compelling documentary portrait is a quiet ode to a woman whose approach to form and material are unmatched in the art world.” – Vancouver Int’l Film Festival

“While director Daniel Traub has little time to dive too deeply, the documentary serves as a fascinating glimpse into an artist’s work, inspirations and process.” – Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times

“A fascinating and streamlined look at the renowned sculptor as we get a behind the scenes look at her creative process.” – Joe Friar, The Victoria Advocate

Beyond the Visible, Hilma af Klint, Director Halina Dyrschka

Hilma af Klint was an abstract artist before the term existed, a visionary, trailblazing figure who, inspired by spiritualism, modern science, and the riches of the natural world around her, began in 1906 to reel out a series of huge, colorful, sensual, strange works without precedent in painting. The subject of a recent smash retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, af Klint was for years an all-but-forgotten figure in art historical discourse, before her long-delayed rediscovery. Halina Dryschka’s dazzling, course correcting documentary describes not only the life and craft of af Klint, but also the process of her mischaracterization and her erasure by both a patriarchal narrative of artistic progress and capitalistic determination of artistic value. Director Halina Dyrschka joins us to talk about her own journey in making this compelling and powerful film and the importance of shattering the art world narrative of marginalizing woman artists.

 

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About the filmmaker – Director Halina Dyrschka was born in Berlin, Germany and is active as a director and producer. After studying acting, classical singing and film production she founded the company AMBROSIA FILM in Berlin. Her first film as a director the short film “9andahalf’s Goodbye” was shown at over 40 film festivals worldwide and has won several awards. BEYOND THE VISIBLE – HILMA AF KLINT marks her directorial feature documentary debut and is the first and only film on the Swedish artist Hilma af Klint.

For news, screenings and updates go to: zeitgeistfilms.com/film/beyondthevisiblehilmaafklint

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“One needn’t have a B.F.A. to see the striking resemblances between Klint’s works, painted years earlier, and those of vastly more lauded male artists who came later.” – Kenneth R. Morefield, 1More Film Blog

“Beyond the Visible should reach the general public as a needed and welcome corrective, shining a light on yet another dynamic, trailblazing woman denied her rightful place in history, until now.” – Loren King, AWFJ Women on Film

“Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint reminds us that just because we do not yet know them, does not mean that there are not more than enough women artists to entirely populate their own club of geniuses – and that in itself makes the film worthwhile.” – Lee Jutton, Film Inquiry