The story behind Steven Bernstein’s latest film, LAST CALL, begins in New York City as renowned poet Dylan Thomas’ (Rhys Ifans) began his final tour in 1953 – a tour that was meant to save him from ruin. The Welsh poet’s reputation for heavy drinking and philandering would soon be forgotten as eager audiences are captivated by his poetry lectures. Full of poetry, passion, and an ultimate betrayal, the poet who gave us Do not go gentle into that good night, Under Milkwood, and stories and broadcasts such as A Child’s Christmas in Wales and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog, rages, loves and fights against the gathering darkness. One day at the local White Horse Tavern, he drinks 18 double scotches, naming each one after his life experience. Soon his fantasies, his memories, and an uncertain present blend into a wild, surreal farewell to the world. Inspired by the real life of a man who was regarded as one of the twentieth century’s most influential lyrical poets, LAST CALL stars Rhys Ifans (The Fantastic Flitcrofts), two-time Academy Award-nominee John Malkovich (In the Line of Fire, Places in the Heart) as Thomas’s confidant and enabler, Dr. Felton, and in supporting roles, Rodrigo Santoro (Westworld), Romola Garai (Atonement), Tony Hale (Veep), Zosia Mamet (Girls), and Philip Ettinger. Director Steven Bernstein stops by to talk about the enduring legacy of a literary giant, pulling together a stellar collection of actors and how his love of classic TV dramas inspired his vision to work on a black and white cinematic canvas.
Sacha Polak’s DIRTY GOD is a film about a young mother from London who must pick up the pieces after an acid attack leaves her with severe facial burns. Prior to the attack, with limited education and opportunities, Jade’s main currency was her looks. Her face has been reconstructed, but her beauty is gone. Jade must set about rebuilding herself – and this is a gargantuan task. Cast adrift from her young daughter, Jade finds solace in the hidden world of online liaisons where she uncovers the passion and connection she’s craved in an often humorous and celebratory way. However, the actions of a stranger threaten to turn her life upside down once more, and those around her are ill-equipped to halt her descent. As family life and friendships start to crumble, her lowest ebb proves the inspiration that Jade needs. Jade takes drastic action, finally finding her path back to her daughter and herself. Finalist for the 2019 Sundance Grand Jury Prize (World Cinema Dramatic) DIRTY GOD is a powerful film about motherhood, courage and self-acceptance. Director Sacha Polak joins us for a conversation on how Jade’s story resonated with lead actor Vicki Knight’s own recovery and the trust and bonding that the entire cast and crew experienced during the making of this compelling film.
2019 Sundance Film Festival – World Cinema Dramatic Competition
2019 Rotterdam Film Festival – World Premiere
Dark Star Pictures will release DIRTY GOD with a virtual release through Laemmle Theaters in LA, Gateway Film Center (Virtual) in Columbus, and more theaters to be announced on November 13, 2020. The film will also be made available on digital platforms such as iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Fandango Now, Direct TV, and through local cable providers on December 15, 2020.
“a raw, brilliant film“— Film Stories
“Vicky Knight makes an electric debut“— Empire
In Central America, a caravan of migrants seeking a better life heads north to the United States, as narco-traffickers — part of the cause for the caravan — move drugs and money back and forth across the same border. From Academy Award-nominated director Sebastian Junger and Emmy-winning producer Nick Quested, BLOOD ON THE WALL explores the depths of corruption plaguing Mexico and Central America and the policies of the past that have made it impossible for everyday people to find justice. Filmed in 2018 and 2019, just as the caravans made international news, BLOOD ON THE WALL is both intimate and wide-ranging as it follows a 17-year-old journeying from Honduras, a mother and daughter and their family trying to make the life-threatening trek easier for their kids, and smugglers and traffickers who reveal what set them on their own path. Using the same on-the-ground journalism and granular point of view that co-directors Sebastian Junger and Nick Quested used in Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS, Korengal, and the Oscar-nominated Restrepo, BLOOD ON THE WALL brings the humanity of the migrants to the forefront and untangles how politics, the drug trade, violence, and the desire for safety result in unbelievable anguish happening in plain sight. Co-director Nick Quested joins us to talk about the extraordinarily violent and unstable circumstance these immigrants navigate and the palpable sense of cynical betrayal that the US and Mexico deploy against them.
About the filmmaker – Co-director Nick Quested is executive director and owner of Goldcrest Films, where he has built one of the premiere documentary brands in the world, winning two Emmys for his work. Quested has served as a producer on over 35 films, including Sebastian Junger’s The Last Patrol, Korengal, and the PGA- and twice Emmy-nominated Which Way Is the Front Line From Here?; the Oscar-nominated Restrepo; and National Geographic Doc Films’ duPont Award-winning Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS. Quested is also an award-winning music video director, working with such artists as Dr. Dre, Nas, Puffy, Sting, Master P, Cash Money, and Trick Daddy. His credits include “Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives,” “Rubble Kings,” “Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer,” “Smash and Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers,” “Stolen Seas,” “The List,” “Tell Spring Not to Come This Year,” and “Doin’ It in the Park: Pick-Up Basketball, NYC.”
WE ARE MANY focuses on February 15th, 2003, when up to 30 million people, many of whom had never demonstrated before in their lives, came out in nearly 800 cities around the world to protest against the impending Iraq War. The New York Times called this movement the “Second Superpower”. How did this day come about? Who organized it? And was it, as many people claimed, a total failure? This fearless, thought-provoking documentary is the remarkable inside story behind the first ever global demonstration and its surprising and unreported legacy. WE ARE MANY features testimony from a unique cast of direct participants, including organizers, activists, high-profile figures, and of course the public, filmed in seven countries – Italy, Spain, Egypt, Sweden, Australia, UK, and the USA. Extraordinary testimony from activists in Egypt reveals how, on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, the global anti-war protests inspired those in Tahrir Square to go on to engage in the massive democratic movement that ultimately led to the Arab Spring. In the UK, the government was defeated over the proposed invasion of Syria, a historic event that might not have transpired without the legacy of those demonstrations a decade ago. The star-studded list of contributors includes Danny Glover, actor Mark Rylance, film director Ken Loach, Prof. Noam Chomsky, musicians Brian Eno and Damon Albarn, writer and Vietnam Vet Ron Kovic (author of ‘Born on the 4th of July’), Rev. Jesse Jackson, Richard Branson, and Colin Powell’s former Chief of Staff Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, amongst others. WE ARE MANY is a bold documentary by Amir Amirani charts the birth and growth of the new people power movement, now sweeping the world, taking us up to the Arab Spring and Syria, a little over 10 years after that historic day.
About the filmmaker – Amir Amirani is a film-maker with a strong track record of work for some of the most respected series of the BBC. He has a degree in Biology from Nottingham University, and an M.Phil in International Relations from Cambridge University. Amir joined the BBC in 1992 and took up a Graduate Production Traineeship. In 1994, Amir and his brother Taghi established Amirani Films to produce documentaries for the major UK broadcasters, the BBC, Channel 4, PBS, and other international broadcasters. Amir has made films for a several of the BBC’s flagship series, including the multi BAFTA award winning Arena, Timewatch, Picture This, Correspondent and Newsnight, for which he was nominated for an Amnesty International Award. A film he directed in South Africa was nominated for the One World Broadcasting Trust Awards. Amir also works in radio, where he has produced programmes for leading series on BBC Radio 4, such as In Business, From Our Own Correspondent, The World Tonight, and single programmes such as From Tehran With Laughter. He has also directed British televisionís most popular soap opera. His journalism includes writing for the New Statesman, New Scientist,Business Traveller Asia and the Economist Intelligence Unit. His work has been well reviewed by the press.
GET DUKED! follows teenage pals from Glasgow Dean, Duncan and DJ Beatroot as they embark on the character-building camping trip — based on a real-life program — known as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, where foraging, teamwork and orienteering are the order of the day. Eager to cut loose and smoke weed in the Scottish Highlands, the trio find themselves paired with strait-laced Ian, a fellow camper determined to play by the rules. After veering off-path into remote farmland that’s worlds away from their urban comfort zone, the boys find themselves hunted down by a shadowy force hell-bent on extinguishing their futures. From writer-director Ninian Doff — making his feature debut after a slew of award-winning music videos and short films for artists including Run the Jewels, The Chemical Brothers, Miike Snow, Migos, and Mykki Blanco — comes an anarchic satire of generational politics, hip-hop-loving farmers and hallucinogenic rabbit droppings that pits the youth of tomorrow against the status quo of yesterday. GET DUKED! stars Eddie Izzard, Kate Dickie, Georgie Glen, James Cosmo and a breakout young cast featuring Samuel Bottomley, Viraj Juneja, Rian Gordon, and Lewis Gribben. Creator and director Ninian Doff joins us for a raucous conversation on the brilliance of Eddie Izzard, getting a chance to bring his music video chops to a feature film and why the Brits are so attuned to the power of satire.
About the filmmaker: Ninian Doff is a robot built by the military as an advanced ruthless killing machine. Unfortunately when they booted him up he showed no interest in murder and to their dismay started making films instead. He is considered the greatest military failure in history. Nominated for 9 British Arrows 2020 (Sainsburys and Veg Power), Grammy 2020 Best Music Video Nominated (Chem Brothers), Campaign’s Top 10 Directors 2019, Winner Shots Awards “Television Commercial of the Year – Up to and including 60 second” (Veg Power), BIFA Best Debut Director Nominated (Boyz In the Wood/ Get Duked!), Winner Just Film Grand Prix Talin Black Night Festival (Boyz In the Wood/ Get Duked!), Winner The Siren Award for Best Feature Film 2019 Lund Fantastik Film Festival (Boyz In the Wood/ Get Duked!), Winner Music video of the year Ars Independent Festival (Chemical Brothers), Nominated Best Dance Video UKMVA 2019 (Chemical Brothers), Winner SXSW Audience Award Midnighters (Boyz In The Wood), Winner of Best Director at UKMVA 2016. Winner Best Urban Video, Best Pop Video UKMVA 2016. D&AD Director Pencil 2016. Gold in FilmCraft at Europebest 2015. UKMVA 2015 Best Director Nominee. UKMVA 2104 “Best Director” Nominee. Winner UKMVA 2014 “Best Choreography”. Winner of UKMVA 2013 “Best Indie Video”. Jury and Audience award at ‘Depict13 at Brief Encounters Film Festival 2013. Nominee at UKMVA’s in last 3 years running including “Best New Director”. Selected for Saatchi and Saatchi’s New Director’s Showcase at Cannes 2012 and One Dot Zero’s “New British Talent 11”. Work has been screened at over A BILLION festivals around the world including SXSW, LA Film Festival, London Short Film Festival, Las Vegas Film Festival, Montreal Museum of Modern Art, The V&A London. For more on the filmmaker fo to: niniandoff.com
“Serves as a distinctive calling card for a gifted yet twisted comedian, one without the slightest qualms about turning a bucolic countryside jaunt into a bloody “The Hills Have Eyes”-style hunting party.” – Peter Debruge, Variety
EPICENTRO, a richly textured portrait of the resilient people of Cuba directed by renowned documentarian Hubert Sauper (We Come As Friends, Oscar-nominated Darwin’s Nightmare). Winner of the 2020 Sundance Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema Documentary, the film launches in virtual cinemas through Kino Marquee starting Friday, August 28. EPICENTRO is an immersive and metaphorical portrait of post-colonial, “utopian” Cuba, where the 1898 explosion of the USS Maine still resonates. This Big Bang ended Spanish colonial dominance in the Americas and ushered in the era of the American Empire. At the same time and place, a powerful tool of conquest was born: cinema as propaganda. In his latest film, Hubert Sauper explores a century of interventionism and myth-making together with the extraordinary people of Havana—who he calls “young prophets”—to interrogate time, imperialism and cinema itself.
About the filmmaker: Hubert Sauper is an Academy Award–nominated director, cinematographer, writer, and producer living in France. Best known for his documentaries We Come As Friends (2014) and the Academy Award-nominated Darwin’s Nightmare (2004), he has been recognized for his work with more than 50 film awards, among them a European Film Award, a French César, and awards at the Berlin, Venice and Sundance film festivals. Hubert is a visiting professor at several universities, including Harvard, Yale and Columbia.
Winner: Grand Prize, World Documentary – Sundance Film Festival
“A brilliant mixture of historical-poetic analysis and a ground-level journey among the denizens of Havana… The director’s remarkable eye for lived-in detail and for spectacular imagery will mesmerize you.” – Bilge Ebiri, Vulture
“Acclaimed nonfiction filmmaker Hubert Sauper turns his rigorous but compassionate gaze on this fascinating place in Epicentro… Sauper and his co-editor… work the material with a remarkable fluidity and gracefulness that’s consistently engaging and surprising.” – Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter
“[A] tender portrait of Cuba. Politics, people and the power of cinema are brought together to create a mosaic-like reflection on Cuba’s history… Epicentro shines in Sauper’s many encounters with the people of Cuba.” – Alan Hunter, Screen International
Joan and Tom (Academy Award® nominee Lesley Manville and Liam Neeson) have been married for many years. An everyday couple with a remarkable love, there is an ease to their relationship which only comes from spending a lifetime together. When Joan is unexpectedly diagnosed with breast cancer, the course of her treatment shines a light on their relationship as they are faced with the challenges that lie ahead and the prospect of what might happen if something were to happen to her. Co-directors Lisa Barros D’sa (Good Vibration) and Glenn Leyburn (Cherrybomb) join us to talk about their collaboration with two top tier actors, striking a balance in the tone and look for their extraordinarily empathetic look at two people who truly care about each other.
95% on Rotten Tomatoes
“A beautifully understated look at intimacy and devotion in the face of potentially devastating loss; stars Leslie Manville and Liam Neeson tap effortlessly into the relatable routines, rhythms and nuances of a lived-in, long term relationship.” – Todd Gilchrist, TheWrap
“Armed with an incandescent screenplay and unforgettable performances, Ordinary Love is affecting in its own quiet way, as it showcases a deeply moving portrait of a marriage tested under strain after a cancer diagnosis.” – Laura Delaney, RTÉ (Ireland)
“An achingly intimate portrait of a marriage weathering a storm, the third feature from directing team Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn (Good Vibrations) is anything but ordinary.” – Wendy Ide, Screen International
“Everything is completely believable, the relationship and the home clearly lived in, and it’s this that gives Ordinary Love its quiet, but sometimes overwhelming, power.” – Jack Blackwell, One Room With A View
THE NEIGHBORS’ WINDOW tells the story of Alli (Maria Dizzia), a mother of young children who has grown frustrated with her daily routine and husband (Greg eller). But her life is shaken up when two free-spirited twenty-somethings move in across the street and she discovers that she can see into their apartment. Inspired by a true story, the film was written and directed by three-time Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker, Marshall curry. Starring tony-nominated Maria Dizzia (Orange is the New Black, 13 Reasons Why, White We’re Young); Greg Keller (Law and Order); and Juliana Canfield (Succession).
About the filmmaker: Marshall Curry is a three-time academy award nominated documentary director, cinematographer, and editor. his films cover a wide range of interests and include STREET FIGHT, about Cory Booker’s first run for mayor of Newark, N.J.; RACING DREAMS, which tells the story of two boys and a girl who dream of becoming NASAR drivers; IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT, which chronicles a radical environmental group; POINT AND SHOOT, about an American who leaves home to join the Libyan revolution; and A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN, about a Nazi rally that filled Madison Square Garden in 1939. his films have won top honors at Sundance and Tribeca, played in theaters and on television around the world, and earned two Emmy nominations and two Writers Guild of America nominations. curry also Executive produced and helped to edit MISTAKEN FOR STRANGERS, a comedy documentary about the indie rock band, the National.
Awards: (Partial List)
Palm Springs Shorts Fest – Audience Award, Best Live Action Short
Traverse City Film Festival – Audience Award, Best Fiction Short
Rhode Island Film Festival – First Prize, Best Live Action Short
Woodstock Film Festival – Best Short Film
Port Townsend Film Festival – Jury Award, Best Narrative Short
Port Townsend Film Festival – Audience Award, Best Narrative Short
Santa Fe Film Festival – Audience Award, Best Narrative Short
Washington West Film Festival – Best Narrative Short
Washington West Film Festival – Best Short Film Director
Kinematic Shorts – Audience Award
Coronado Film Festival – Audience Award
Short Shorts Film Festival – Best International Actress, Maria Dizzia
Sulmona International Film Festival – Best Editing
Atlanta Shortsfest – Best Cinematography, Wolfgang Held
Adapted from the acclaimed novel NEITHER WOLF NOR DOG by Kent Nerburn the story follows a white author who gets sucked into the heart of contemporary Native American life in the sparse lands of the Dakota’s by a 95-year old Lakota elder and his side-kick. NEITHER WOLF NOR DOG takes audiences on a deeply moving road trip through contemporary Lakota life. Its humor is wry and pulls no punches, introducing deep characters and poignant vignettes that challenge the viewer to see the world differently. Neither Wolf Nor Dog was audience-financed, shot in 18-days in one of the US’s poorest region with an average crew of 2 and a 95-year-old Lakota Elder, David Bald Eagle, as the star. The Lakota actor, soldier, stuntman and musician, David Bald Eagle was left for dead during D-Day and Christopher Sweeney was awarded the Silver Star from the Gulf War. Yet it was the film’s other star, Yuchi-Muscogee Creek multi-disciplinary visual artist, poet, and actor, Richard Ray Whitman, who was never in the service, who spent the most days under fire during the 71-day occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973. Neither Wolf Nor Dog has become one of the widest released, truly self-distributed movies in years. Simpson flipped the Hollywood model upside-down by launching in small towns and it has the longest theatrical first-run of any movie in at least a decade: 131 weeks so far. Director / Producer / Writer / Editor / Cinematographer Steven Lewis Simpson joins us for a conversation on his determination to pursue own path of independent filmmaking, distribution, marketing and bringing seldom heard stories to a broader audience.
About the filmmaker: At 18 Steven Lewis Simpson was Britain’s youngest fully qualified stockbroker and trader. At 22 he moved to Los Angeles to work for the legendary Roger Corman’s Concorde Pictures. It was there Simpson shot his first feature TIES. He shot his first documentary TIMOR TIMOR in West Timor, Indonesia, produced and co-edited the award-winning surreal fairy tale, FROG which was broadcast on Canal Plus and associate produced the comedy feature, RESURRECTING BILL. His epic feature documentary A THUNDER-BEING NATION about the Oglala Lakota of Pine Ridge Reservation was released in 2016. Made over 13 years it’s the most comprehensive documentary looking at the history and contemporary life of an Indian Reservation. He capped off the trio of Native American projects with a 13 episode US TV show THE HUB about arts, culture and entertainment within Indian Country. Through this work Steven has become a well-known advocate for Native American rights and a respected figure in Indian Country. Simpson’s latest feature is an adaptation of the acclaimed Lakota Country novel NEITHER WOLF NOR DOG is being released in 2019. He is currently in post-production on the feature documentary RETURN TO TIMOR, shot in West Timor, Indonesia. For more about the filmmaker go to: stevenlewissimpson.com
“Drifting tantalisingly like a Native American variation on David Lynch’s The Straight Story, this poignant insight into the legacy of centuries of racist brutality reaches a shattering climax at the site of the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee…” – David Parkinson, Radio Times
“Drifting tantalisingly like a Native American variation on David Lynch’s The Straight Story, this poignant insight into the legacy of centuries of racist brutality reaches a shattering climax at the site of the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee…” – David Parkinson, Radio Times
Mohammed Emwazi was a grade school student in London with a promising future ahead of him in 1995. By 2014, he had become known as “Jihadi John,” a masked ISIS terrorist in Syria who internationalized his notoriety by broadcasting his beheadings of Western hostages on the internet. UNMASKING JIHADI JOHN: ANATOMY OF A TERRORIST includes rare footage of Emwazi as a young boy in London and interviews with his schoolteachers who reveal that he lived a relatively comfortable and normal childhood. His behavior grew more disconcerting in his teenage years. Emwazi’s brutality is illustrated through harrowing, first-hand accounts from his surviving hostages, and the collaboration between the world’s leading intelligence agencies, including the CIA and Britain’s intelligence agents, who ultimately tracked him down and ended his life. UNMASKING JIHADI JOHN: ANATOMY OF A TERRORIST examines what propelled Emwazi’s journey down a violent path despite US and British authorities being aware of his extremism. It also highlights the self-declared operational failures by counter-terrorism officials as Emwazi became ISIS’s chief executioner and propagandist. Joining us on Film School Radio will be Oscar®-nominated, BAFTA and Emmy®-winning director Anthony Wonke (HBO’s “The Battle for Marjah”), and BAFTA-winning producer and investigative journalist Richard Kerbaj for a conversation on the how and why a schoolboy and promising soccer player morphs into a sadistic killer.
UNMASKING JIHADI JOHN: ANATOMY OF A TERRORIST debuts WEDNESDAY, JULY 31 (8:00-9:40 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
“Part high-tech manhunt and part brutal captivity narrative, “Unmasking Jihadi John: The Anatomy of a Terrorist” is one documentary unlikely to leave anyone in its viewing audience bored.” – David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun
“This is a film that spends much of its time on observation and analysis of the known facts… This makes it feel rather dry in places but avoids any glamorisation of its subject.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
On the outskirts of Birmingham and the margins of society the Billingham family perform extreme rituals and break social taboos as they muddle through a life decided by factors beyond their control. At times shocking and laced with an unsettling humour, three episodes unfold as a powerful evocation of the experience of growing up in a Black Country council flat. Director Richard Billingham joins us for a conversation on his raw, intimate, biographical tale of dysfunctional family and fractured memories.
About the filmmaker Richard Billingham: In 1997 he was the first recipient of the Deutsche Borse Photography Prize and the following year BBC2 broadcast his film Fishtank, (47mins) produced by Artangel and filmmaker Adam Curtis. He exhibited at the Venice Biennale 2001 and was nominated for the Turner Prize, also 2001. He has made work about his immediate family, about animals in zoos around the world and about the British landscape. Recently he has written and directed his first feature film for cinema called ‘Ray & Liz’, shot on location in the Midlands where he grew up. His work is held in many collections including San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum, New York, V & A and Tate Galleries, London.
“Performed with absolute commitment by its cast (Justin Salinger and Ella Smith play the younger versions of the title characters), “Ray & Liz” is a quietly harrowing movie.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times
“Reaching backwards to understand the hardship of his formative years, [Richard] Billingham finds clarity and cinematic grace by reconciling the deep, irreparable flaws of his mother and father.” – Rhys Handley, One Room With A View
“We often say art “cuts close to the bone,” but in its depiction of clinking liquor bottles and drawers of unopened rent notices soaked in dog urine, Ray & Liz slices clean through that bone.” – Andrew Lapin, NPR
Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love is renowned filmmaker Nick Broomfield’s most personal and romantic film of his career. The Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love starts on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960, where Leonard Cohen, then a struggling and unknown fiction writer, and Marianne Ihlen, a single mother with a young son, became part of community of expat artists, writers and musicians. Never-before-seen footage shot by Broomfield and legendary documentarian D.A. Pennebaker make for a unique portrait of an idyllic 1960’s bohemia. The time on Hydra left a lasting imprint on both Marianne and Leonard, whose friendship would last another fifty years before their deaths in 2016. It was on Hydra in 1968 that director Broomfield, then aged 20, first himself met Marianne. She introduced him to Cohen’s music and encouraged Nick to make his first film. As she was with so many artists, Marianne was an enormous influence on Broomfield, who went on to direct award-winning documentaries, many about iconic music legends including Whitney Houston, (Whitney Houston: Can I Be Me) Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, (Tupac and Biggie) Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love (Kurt & Courtney). Director Nick Broomfield joins us to talk about his relationship with Marianne, the undeniable talent and charisma of Cohen, and the profound impact his time on Hydra had on his personal and professional life.
Social Media for Marianne and Leonard:
Social Media for Nick Broomfield:
“Love stories are like Tolstoy’s unhappy families: no two of them are alike. But even given that, the relationship chronicled in “Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love” has a quality very much its own.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“Broomfield’s personal engagement and his embrace of the complexities of life and love elevate this film, which travels across decades and continents to show the lasting power of one connection.” – Joe Blessing, The Playlist
“Unmissable.” – Rolling Stone
Directed by Academy Award nominated actor Greg Kinnear (As Good as It Gets, Little Miss Sunshine, The Matador) with an outstanding cast that includes; Emily Mortimer (Mary Poppins Returns), Luke Wilson (Bottle Rocket, Meadowland), Bradley Whitford (Get Out, West Wing), Jay Duplass (Beatriz at Dinner, Landline), Robert Forster (Jackie Brown, The Descendants), and Kurt Fuller (Midnight in Paris, Auto Focus). PHIL is the story of a depressed dentist whose life is falling apart. Phil is shocked when one of his patients, Michael Fisk (Bradley Whitford), a man who seemed to have the perfect life, kills himself. Determined to find out what would drive a man who had everything to end his life, Phil pretends to be a handyman and integrates himself in to the dead man’s life, befriending his wife (Emily Mortimer) and daughter. How long can Phil keep up this double life when he is determined to end his normal one? Director and lead actor Greg Kinnear joins us to talk about the challenges and rewards of a first-time director, finding the humanity in a story of personal tragedy and working with an incredibly talented group of artists.
“Greg Kinnear combines acting with directing in a role that exudes nice-guy-ness that few other performers can duplicate as well.” – Shockya.com
The documentary FREE TRIP to EGYPT is the brainchild of Canadian-Egyptian entrepreneur Tarek Mounib to build a bridge of mutual understanding and friendship with the very people who fear him. Traveling across the United States to find Americans concerned about an Islamic threat, he makes them an intriguing offer – a free trip to Egypt. With initial reactions ranging from suspicion to hostility, Tarek Mounib embarks on a mission. Traveling from sunny California to a Trump Rally in Kentucky, from a small town in the heart of Georgia, to Union Square in NYC, they cobble together a diverse group of people – including a school teacher, police officer, Marine Corps veteran, single mom, preacher and beauty pageant queen. All have preconceptions and misgivings, but are open and courageous enough to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Arriving in Cairo, the Americans spend 10 days paired with locals just as diverse as them – and possibly with just as many misconceptions. What happens when a retired teacher and her husband are united with a young Egyptian revolutionary? Or when a Christian missionary and a born-again, former Miss Kentucky are housed with an orthodox Muslim family where the mother wears a burqa? Or when a police officer faces off with a radical, left-leaning journalist? The answers are provocative, surprising, funny, magical, emotional, revealing, enlightening and ultimately life-changing, in other words, all things human. When people look beyond their ethnicity, political affiliations, religious beliefs, economic status and connect at a human level, it¹s a transformative and universal message for everyone to come together and join the global #PledgeToListen initiative, a social media revolution of acceptance. Director Ingrid Serban and Producer Tarek Mounib talk about the challenges and rewards of working on the revelatory and heartwarming FREE TRIP to EGYPT.
Los Angeles opening:
Friday, June 7 at the MONICA FILM CENTER
1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Q&A immediately following 7:10 PM Screening with Creator/Producer Tarek Mounib and Director Ingrid Serban
“Gently observing how many of our fellow Americans are full of fear while trying, in its tiny way, to do something about that, Ingrid Serban’s Free Trip to Egypt offers just that to a handful of travelers.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter
In the quietly powerful documentary, THE PROPOSAL, director Jill Magid explores the life, death and profoundly moving work of Luis Barragán. Known as “the artist among architects,” Barragán is among the world’s most celebrated architects of the 20th century. Upon his death in 1988, much of his work was locked away in a Swiss bunker, hidden from the world’s view. In an attempt to resurrect Barragán’s life and art, boundary redefining artist Jill Magid creates a daring proposition that becomes a fascinating artwork in itself—a high-wire act of negotiation that explores how far an artist will go to democratize access to art.
Director’s Statement – The Proposal is my first feature film and the last chapter of a larger project I began in 2013 called The Barragán Archives. The project explores the contested legacy of Luis Barragán, Mexico’s most famous architect, and how his legacy is affected by the fact that a private corporation, Vitra, owns his archives and controls the rights in his name and work. For more than twenty years, this corporation has made his work largely inaccessible to the public. The film questions whether a single actor should be exclusively in control of how the world can engage with Barragán’s work. Almost as an invitation for image-making, Barragán was known to adjust a buildings’ design so that it would photograph better. With this film, I wanted to capture the overwhelming beauty of his work while simultaneously questioning the legal challenges one faces to do so. The film is in itself a proposal: A way to elicit dialogue about access to legacy and its proprietary nature, and not simply if the proposal will be accepted. – Jill Magid.
THE PROPOSAL opens in Los Angeles on May 31st at the Monica Film Center, with national rollout over the following weeks. Director Jill Magid will participate in a Q&A following the 7:40 pm show on Friday, 5/31 and Saturday.
“Captivatingly wily. ‘The Proposal’ meditates on the meaning of artistic legacy. Most of all, it shines an ingeniously media-savvy spotlight on Barragán’s work.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, THE NEW YORK TIMES – Critic’s Pick
“A thoughtful, elegantly hypnotic exploration of ownership, access, and moral responsibility. “A multi-layered and thought-provoking work of art. Magid’s inspired response to a complex situation makes for an intriguing and approachable film.” – Allan Hunter, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL
“The documentary doesn’t bring closure to her fight for Barragán’s archive, but it will work its way under a viewer’s skin and leave them with persistent ideas to consider.” – Dan Schindel, HYPERALLERGIC
With its measured pacing and haunting ambience, Magid’s hypnotic film is an engaging examination of artistry, diplomacy, and posterity at a crossroads.” – Manuel Betancourt, REMEZCLA
“Beguiling. An unforgettable consideration of who should have ownership of an artist’s legacy.” – Stephen Saito, MOVEABLE FEST
CHARLIE SAYS, follows three women whose names have become synonymous with the murders of that shocked a nation and the man who ordered them on their deadly spree, Charles Manson. The women – Leslie Van Houten (Hannah Murray), Patricia Krenwinkel (Sosie Bacon), and Susan Atkins (Marianne Rendón) – remained under the spell of the infamous cult leader (Matt Smith) for years. Confined to an isolated cellblock in a California penitentiary, the trio seem destined to live out the rest of their lives under the delusion that their crimes were part of a cosmic plan, until empathetic graduate student Karlene Faith (Merritt Wever) is enlisted to rehabilitate them. Convinced the prisoners are not the inhuman monsters the world believes them to be, Karlene begins the arduous process of breaking down the psychological barriers erected by Manson. But are the women ready to confront the horror of what they did? In CHARLIE SAYS, boundary pushing auteur Mary Harron (American Psycho, I Shot Andy Warhol) presents a provocative new perspective on one of the most notorious crimes of the 20th century. Director Mary Harron joins us to talk about how these seemingly sane, likable young woman could have committed such hideous crimes and why it drove her to tell their stories.
“This is a stunning piece of American cinema that draws on the events in California to talk about the death of an era, to foreshadow a nation’s loss of hope.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
“What makes Charlie Says so original is its perspective and its willingness to depict the banality and absurdity of life with Manson rather than simply to portray him as the quintessence of evil.” – Geoffrey Macnab, Independent
“Charlie Says is absorbing if only intermittently effective, but it has the distinction of bringing a female gaze to arguably the most notorious crime spree in American history.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
Never before released in the US, Franco Rosso’s incendiary BABYLON had its world premiere at Cannes in 1980 but was deemed “too controversial, and likely to incite racial tension” (Vivien Goldman, Time Out) by the New York Film Festival that same year. Raw and smoldering, it follows a young reggae DJ (Brinsley Forde, frontman of landmark British group Aswad) in Thatcher-era Brixton as he pursues his musical ambitions, while battling fiercely against the racism and xenophobia of employers, neighbors, police, and the National Front. Written by Martin Stellman (QUADROPHENIA) and shot by two-time Oscar® winner Chris Menges (THE KILLING FIELDS) with beautiful, smoky cinematography that’s been compared to TAXI DRIVER, BABYLON is fearless and unsentimental, yet tempered by the hazy bliss of the dancehall set to a blistering reggae, dub, and lovers rock soundtrack featuring Aswad, Johnny Clarke, and others, anchored by Dennis Bovell’s (The Slits) atmospheric score. BABYLON is the product of outsiders: director Rosso (1941-2016) immigrated from Italy as a child, Stellman is the son of Viennese Jewish immigrants, producer Gavrik Losey is the son of blacklisted Hollywood director Joseph Losey, and composer Bovell immigrated from Barbados, and was falsely imprisoned for running a sound system—the script was partly based on his experiences. Beyond the significance of being the only feature film about London’s sound system scene, BABYLON unflinchingly observes the place of marginalized people in a society resistant—to the point of violence—to multiculturalism. Writer Martin Stellman joins us to talk about the impact that Babylon had on the Caribbean diaspora living in London, the neo-realism style of the film and winding path that Babylon has taken over the last 40 years.
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
“A STORY WITH LITERALLY EPIC STAKES. It’s no surprise why the film may resonate now—its themes of finding community through art and trying to exist in a society that doesn’t want you are unfortunately both timeless and extremely current.” – Jaya Saxena, GQ
“REMARKABLE. Never lets go for a moment.” – Derek Malcolm, The Guardian
“FEARLESS. Loud and musical and cheerful and funny, and also tragic.” – David Robinson, The Times“EXPLODES IN THE GUT with a powerful mix of pain and pleasure. Like the reggae music that pulses through it, Babylon is RICH, ROUGH and REAL. And like the street life of the young black Londoners it portrays, it’s THREATENING, TOUCHING, VIOLENT and FUNNY.” – Simon Perry, Variety
“FIVE STARS. One of the greatest British films.” – MOJO
“REVOLUTIONARY.” – Miguel Cullen, The Independent
Tom Volf’s MARIA BY CALLAS is the first film to tell the life story of the legendary Greek/American opera singer completely in her own words. Told through performances, TV interviews, home movies, family photographs, private letters and unpublished memoirs—nearly all of which have never been shown to the public—the film reveals the essence of an extraordinary woman who rose from humble beginnings in New York City to become a glamorous international superstar and one of the greatest artists of all time. Assembling the material for the film took director Volf four years of painstaking research, which included personal outreach to dozens of Callas’s closest friends and associates, who allowed him to share their personal memorabilia in the film. When recordings of Callas’s voice aren’t available, Joyce DiDonato, one of contemporary opera’s biggest stars, reads her words. Through Volf’s intimate portrait of Callas, we see that some commonly held beliefs about Callas, notably her reputation as a “tempestuous” diva, have no basis in fact. MARIA BY CALLAS revisits many of the most notable controversies of Callas’s life, from the “Rome Cancellation” to her conflict with the Metropolitan Opera’s Rudolf Bing, and demonstrates that, while Callas was a demanding perfectionist, she was neither capricious nor someone who made trouble for its own sake. The film also sheds new light on Callas’s relationship with Aristotle Onassis, the supreme love of her life. Director Tom Volf joins us in a conversation on the story behind his illuminating look into the complex life of a music icon and his decision to tell Maria’s story in her own voice.
Reviews: 90% on Rotten Tomatoes
“Captivating.” – The Hollywood Reporter
“Such artistry!” – Figaro Magazine
“A generous, full-throated defense of a tarnished icon.” – Variety“
“An enchanting story” – Vanity Fair
“A magnificent film” – Huffington Post
Based loosely on Scottish ghostly folklore with inspiration from Greek sirens, the tale is set in 1846 on a remote island off the west coast of Scotland, where three survivors from a mysterious sinking of their merchant ship find themselves stranded on a small misty isle. The isle’s four sole secretive residents, an old harbor man, a farmer, his niece and a young mad woman, are anything but welcoming and reluctant to aid the sailors back to the mainland. The promise of a boat never materializes leading one of the sailors to question why people had abandoned the island. Through his investigation he discovers that every year around the same date a tragedy at sea would occur and young men from the island would perish. When his two shipmates meet with fatal accidents, the myth of a ghostly siren haunting the island leads him to try and uncover the truth. Directed and co-written by British filmmaker Matthew Butler Hart (TWO DOWN), the film stars Olivier Award-winning, Tony-nominated actor Conleth Hill (HBO’s “The Game of Thrones”), Alex Hall (SUBURBICAN, BBC’s “The Miniaturist”), Fisaya Akinade (BAFTA-nominated GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS with Glenn Close and Gemma Arterton), THE ISLE co-writer and producer, Tori Butler Hart (MISS IN HER TEENS), Alix Wilton Regan (THE WIFE) and Graham Butler (Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful”). Director Matthew Butler Hart stops by to talk about his gorgeous, haunting new film.
Official Selection, Newcastle International Film Festival 2018
Winner, Jury Prize for Best Cinematography Manchester International Film Festival, 2018
Winner, Jury Prize for Best Sci-Fi/Horror Film London Independent Film Festival, 2018
“The Isle is the kind of cinema that is getting far too rare. Superbly shot, exquisitely paced and genuinely compelling and surprising – indeed astonishing – in its development of plot and character.” – Stephen Fry
“Beautifully shot… subtle and measured in execution… a refreshing entry in a genre so often saturated by repetition.” – Flickering Myth
“…genuinely surprising and engaging…innovative, finely-drawn and confident…” – Warped Perspective
“Exquisitely-wrought… quintessentially intelligent Gothic horror: all in a surprisingly large scope and absolutely unforgettable cinematic experience. “ – The 405
In Director Sebastián Silva latest film. Tyrel, Tyler (Jason Mitchell) and his friend John (Christopher Abbott), two young restaurateurs from New York City, push a car along a back road high on a cold, snowy day in the Catskills Mountains. Tyler and John are on their way to a weekend getaway to celebrate the birthday of Pete (Michael Cera), one of John’s old friends, at a cabin in the woods. Tyler needs the excursion, even though he will be among mostly strangers, because the home he shares with his Puerto Rican girlfriend is packed with her visiting family – and the ailing, elderly mother to whom she is devoted. What could be better than a jocular, beer-soaked weekend in the country with a bunch of his buddy’s friends? Well, nothing … except that an empty gas tank is only the first in a series of discomforting moments Tyler encounters and engenders over the next 48 hours. Writer/director Sebastián Silva’s deploys his signature handheld style probing subtext and body language, TYREL conjures an undeniable underlying tension and it marks his most radical character exploration yet—a timely, provocative, and brilliant observation of the idea of otherness in today’s American climate. Director Sebastián Silva (The Maid, Nasty Baby, Crystal Fairy) joins is for a lively conversation on male bonding, tribalism, race, working with this outstanding cast of actors and undermining expectations.
“CRITIC’S PICK. UNNERVINGLY SHARP, AGONIZINGLY DEAD-ON. The stranger “Tyrel” gets, the more accurate it feels.” – Bilge Ebiri, The New York Times
“Silva’s most political work yet–though it is sly and subtle, the intention is palpable, the emotions elicited all too real, and ultimately, “Tyrel” proves to be a fascinating entry in his body of work.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service
“This is a fast and lean film, an absolute workout for its outstanding cast and a devilish roller coaster ride for audiences.” – Jordan Hoffman, Vanity Fair
“Every time this fly-in-the-buttermilk scenario leans toward satire, it reminds you that you’re really watching a horror movie.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone Magazine
Located in mid-America, MONROVIA, INDIANA, (population 1,063) founded in 1834, is primarily a farming community. MONROVIA, INDIANA is about the day-to-day experiences living and working in Monrovia, with emphasis on community organizations and institutions, religion and daily life in this farming community. These towns were once the backbone of American life. While their number and populations have shrunk, the importance of rural America as a formative center of American politics and values was demonstrated in the 2016 presidential election. The film explores the conflicting stereotypes and illustrates how values like community service, duty, spiritual life, generosity and authenticity are formed, experienced and lived. MONROVIA, INDIANA gives a complex and nuanced view of daily life in Monrovia and provides some understanding of a rural, mid-American way of life that has always been important in America but whose influence and force have not always been recognized or understood in the big cities on the east and west coasts of America and in other countries. Since 1967, Frederick Wiseman has directed 42 documentaries — dramatic, narrative films that seek to portray ordinary human experience in a wide variety of contemporary social institutions. His films include TITICUT FOLLIES, HIGH SCHOOL, WELFARE, JUVENILE COURT, BOXING GYM, LA DANSE, BALLET, CENTRAL PARK, BALLET, LA COMEDIE FRANCAISE, BELFAST, MAINE, and EX LIBRIS – The New York Public Library. At the 2016 Academy Awards ceremony Frederick Wiseman received an Honorary Award (Governors Awards) for a lifetime of brilliant filmmaking. He joins us to talk about his latest cinematic treasure, Monrovia Indiana.
“He’s arguably the most brilliant, brave and innovative person working in his field.” – Terry Atkinson, Los Angeles Times
“Rigorously shot, impeccably edited and at times startling in their beauty, these films usher us into often otherwise anonymous spaces and lives, and help make the invisible visible.” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
Social Media: facebook.com/pages/Zipporah Films
90% on Rotten Tomatoes
“The result is surprisingly companionable and enjoyable, an unhurried look at a location that is in no kind of rush, a place that is concerned most of all with preserving the way it’s always been.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“Legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman turns his camera on a pro-gun, pro-God Midwestern town and gives us a landmark view of what it looks like to live in Trump’s America.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“A calmly analytical film in which-as ever in Wiseman’s work-extended discussions and public debates are developed with an absorbing dramatic power.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker
“The unavoidable political implications of “Monrovia, Indiana” give its observations an undeniable urgency.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times
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 and Daughter 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.
94% on Rotten Tomatoes
“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