Buddy Games, Director Josh Duhamel

Josh Duhamel (Transformers) stars in this wild and hilarious, no-holds-barred comedy. After six lifelong friends have a five year falling out, Bob (Duhamel), aka “The Bobfather”, reunites his pals for the Buddy Games, an insane competition of absurd physical and mental challenges with the chance to win a $150,000 pot. Now all bets are off, as the determined dudes fight, claw, and party for the big bucks in this star-studded bro-fest featuring Dax Shepard (CHiPs), Olivia Munn (Office Christmas Party) and Kevin Dillon (“Entourage”). Director / Producer / Co-screenwriter Josh Duhamel stops by to talk about collaborating on the script and the actual “Buddy”games with Bob Schwartz and Jude Weng, pulling together a great comedic cast and discovering a love for directing his own projects.

 

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For news and updates go to: paramountmovies.com/movies/buddy-games

Director’s Statement – At its core, BUDDY GAMES is a comedy, but it is also an homage to the lifelong friendships I’ve built. For many years, my friends and I have had an annual weekend of games and debauchery – everything from classic ping pong competitions to naked paintball (right off the bat, I can tell you that this is like nothing anyone has ever seen from me before). The concept always seemed like a great premise for a movie, and while I’ve always wanted to direct, I knew that the best way to start that journey in my career was to write something myself. So, I sat down with Bob Schwartz (the real life “Bobfather”) and Jude Weng to write a script based on the shenanigans that my buddies and I have done for over 20 years. My hope is that BUDDY GAMES not only shocks people and makes them curl over with laughter, but that it also resonates with people when they think of their own group of buddies, the crazy situations they find themselves in, and how much more important those friendships become as we get older. I couldn’t be more grateful for the insanely talented cast and crew who really helped tell this story. As is the goal for the audience, I think that everyone involved in this project was able to draw upon their own personal relationships, relish in the camaraderie, and have a hell of a lot of fun thinking about beating their best buddies in the ultimate competition that would win them bragging rights for life. – Josh Duhamel

Social Media
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twitter.com/joshduhamel
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@joshduhamel

Koko-Di Koko-Da, Director Johannes Nyholm

In his follow-up to the acclaimed debut feature film, The Giant, Johannes Nyholm’s Koko-Di Koko-Da recounts the story of Elin and Tobias, a happily married couple who regularly vacation with their young daughter. The family is on a dreamy holiday when an innocuous case of food poisoning derails their plans and forever alters the course of their lives.Three years later, the once loving couple is on the road again to go camping, looking for one last chance to go back to the way things used to be. But what once was is lost, and our characters instead find themselves having to relive the same nightmarish events, as that day and the horrors it brings repeat themselves infinitely. Together, they must overcome their trauma, reconcile with their past and fight for their lives. Over, and over, and over again. Discerned through a dreamlike fabric, a story emerges about relationships in general, grief and reconciliation in particular, and love as a healing force. Director Johannes Nyholm stops by to talk about the mind-bending, Federico Fellini meets Rod Sterling mise-en-scène inhabiting this profoundly passive-aggressive tale of trauma, loss and truly terrible camping strategies.

 

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To watch the film on-line go to: laemmle.com/film/koko-di-koko-da

Director’s Statement – The setting is those wee hours of the morning when dreams are at their most relentlessly untamed. This is also when the seed for many of my films comes to me. I’m sweating, struggling to go back to sleep and plagued by scattered thoughts. Suddenly they come together, leading me into a fairy tale. I write it down and then I can sleep. “Koko-di Koko-da” was both written and takes place during such a time – this nightmarish landscape between wakefulness and sleep. The film is deeply personal and a means to confront my own worst fears, much like the way the characters in the film are forced to confront theirs. It’s a universal narrative about a relationship that is falling apart. The main reason for making this film is that I’m fascinated by the everyday situations and power struggles lurking beneath the surface in relationships; what is not said, what is embedded between the lines. The love and happiness they once shared has evaporated, and so has the care they used to show for each other. Over and over again, we see them pushed yet again onto the same stage, the open glen in the woods, and into the airless tent. We observe them from above, like gladiators clashing repeatedly, without any opportunity to escape – be it from their tormenters or from each other. They are forced to confront each other, to display emotions, to be pushed around, humiliated, spat upon, tormented; in short – to be together. Any attempts to get away inevitably lead back to the same claustrophobic scenario. Made up of dreams, this story is also structurally constructed like a dream – or more specifically, a nightmare. Taking us through a labyrinth in time, like a dark grinding thought, never letting go, stuck on repeat. Presenting minor variations, but always with the same horrific outcome. – Johannes Nyholm

Social Media
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instagram.com/nyholmjohannes
@johannesnyholm

“Johannes Nyholm follows up his masterful debut, 2016’s The Giant, with this often inexplicable yet increasingly captivating endeavor…” – David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews

“Though at times tasteless and barely coherent, the story is oddly affecting, the very strangeness of Nyholm’s folkloric vision and its unnerving execution pulling you in.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

“It works as a parable for what happens to grief when it is left un-exorcised and unexpressed.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

“Writer-director Johannes Nyholm (The Giant, 2016) takes all the grief, loss and bitter recriminations of this Swedish couple and drops them into the realm of myth, dream and folklore.” – Anton Bitel, Sight and Sound

J.R. “Bob” Dobbs and the Church of the Subgenius, Director Sandy K. Boone and Church co-founder Dr. Philo Drummond

What started out as an inside joke amongst two self-proclaimed weirdos in Ft. Worth, Texas soon becomes much more than they bargained for when they decide to turn their conservative southern ideology on its head and invent a new religion all their own and all is chronicled in the rousing new documentary, J.R. “Bob” Dobbs and the Church of the SubGenius. The film features appearances from Church devotees Richard Linklater, Penn Jillette and Nick Offerman. The Church of the SubGenius has been called “the most aggressively preposterous theology the world has ever known!” But what is the Church? And who is J.R. “Bob” Dobbs? And why is his name always in quotes? Filmmaker Sandy K. Boone explores the underground movement that has galvanized the imaginative, the artistic, the nerdy, even the deranged – to examine the simmering dystopia in their culture, and do absolutely nothing about it… except, maybe, poke fun at it all. Director Sandy K. Boone and co-founder Dr. Philo Drummond (Reverend Ivan Stang) join us for a lively conversation on how the Church’s subversive and deliberately chaotic anti-dogma was unleashed on an unsuspecting world of pinks and normals.

 

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

For more about J.R. “Bob” Dobbs and the Church go to: subgenius.com

Director Statement – My late husband, filmmaker David Boone, and I moved to Austin in the early 1980s to join the film department at the University of Texas, write scripts, make films and raise our family. The Austin Chronicle was a new venture back then and the original TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE was just being filmed. Austin was being called The Third Coast by longtime friends: directors Jonathan Demme and John Sayles, and singer-songwriter David Byrne of the Talking Heads.In fact it was David’s film INVASION OF THE ALUMINUM which first caught the attention of Jonathan Demme, who went on the present it and five other Austin films at the Collective for Living Cinema in 1981 in New York. Three decades later, INVASION had become a Texas cult classic and I proudly produced a restoration of the film as part of JONATHAN DEMME PRESENTS: MADE IN TEXAS – SIX FILMS FROM AUSTIN, which premiered at SXSW in 2015. At that screening, Richard Linklater shared that seeing the MIT films years earlier at an art gallery screening in Houston actually inspired his move to Austin. In recent years I have co-founded several Austin based film companies with a shared mission to encourage local indie filmmakers, foster creative talent, and perpetuate a sense of community through filmmaking. Diving deeper into the world of film, I served as an associate producer on RICHARD LINKLATER – DREAM IS DESTINY, which premiered at Sundance in 2016. I then went on to executive produce films such as Ethan Hawke’s BLAZE, Karen Skloss’ THE HONOR FARM, and Keith Maitland’s Emmy winning documentary, TOWER. Currently I’ve just wrapped directing and producing my first feature documentary, J.R. “BOB” DOBBS AND THE CHURCH OF THE SUBGENIUS, a look inside the Church of the SubGenius, of which my late husband was an early disciple.

WINNER – Grand Jury Award, Texas Feature (DIFF 2019)
WINNER – Best International Documentary (MDFF 2019)
WINNER – Best Documentary Feature (Blow-Up Filmfest Chicago 2019)

 

Social Media
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twitter.com/SandyKBoone1
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instagram.com/subgeniusmovie
@SubGeniusMovie 

 

“Boone gives us both a nostalgic account on this underground movement and how their sci-fi inspired dystopia applies to each decade of history, up till today, where the documentary earns its whole-hearted earnestness.” – Alex Lines,Film Inquiry

“J.R. “Bob” Dobbs and the Church of the SubGenius captures a period in history when rebelling against the boundaries of reality could still be a positively charged, life-altering experience.” – Cheryl Eddy, io9.com

“This (mostly) playful, always thoughtful documentary is an unusual cautionary tale about what happens when society abandons absurdity as release and distraction.” – Andrea Chase, Killer Movie Reviews

“A wild, an engrossing look at a fascinating sliver of off-the-wall Americana, a minor religious movement that just sort of happened while two friends were messing around.” – Brent McKnight, The Last Thing I See

Wolfman’s Got Nards, Director Andre Gower

When it was released in 1987, The Monster Squad was deemed a failure by critics and was, according to the box office, a film no one cared about. But over the last three decades, word of mouth has turned this sleeping hit into a cultural phenomenon. WOLFMAN’S GOT NARDS explores the relationship a dedicated audience (including celebrities and filmmakers) has with The Monster Squad. The film takes an in-depth look into the film’s conception, response, cult status, and revival. Through interviews with the cast, crew, screenwriters, directors, academics and original reviewers as well as through never-before-seen footage, it turns the lens on an audience of self-proclaimed misfits who have kept The Monster Squad alive for more than 30 years. Director Andre Gower and Monster Squad member, Sean, joins us for a lively conversation on the unlikely saga of a box-office bomb that, like the squad, refuses to give up, and a community of fans that continues to grow.

 

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

About the filmmaker – Director André Gower has 40 years of experience in the entertainment industry, making him one of the most recognizable child stars of his generation. His body of work includes network series, movies of the week, and features. He is best known for playing the lead character in the cult classic The Monster Squad. Currently, André heads Fitterpiper Entertainment, a production company focusing on young independent filmmakers, new concepts from industry veterans, experimental digital concepts and short films with a roster of production professionals. He also co-hosts the short film series ‘Short Ends’ (Nerdist/ALPHA) and a podcast, ‘Squadcast with Ryan and André.

Social Media
twitter.com/andregower
twitter.com/thesquaddoc
instagram.com/thesquaddoc
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instagram.com/gravitasventures
@thesquaddoc
@andregower
@GravitasVOD

“Wolfman’s Got Nards is a well-made documentary that does right by The Monster Squad.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

“There’s so much to cover, and Gower and his crew do an astounding job of being as thorough as possible.” – Kyle Anderson, Nerdist

“Watching these films – and this documentary – generates the type of joy we only felt as kids, as well as evoking the warm fuzzy feeling that nostalgia brings.” – Katie Driscoll, Starburst

“As a whole, I cannot recommend Wolfman’s Got Nards enough for those who love The Monster Squad, for fans of the horror genre, or even for anyone who has ever felt misunderstood by the world at large.” – Heather Wixson, Daily Dead

Shithouse, Director Cooper Raiff

Cooper Raiff’s extraordinarily assured debut film, SHITHOUSE, follows a lonely college freshman Alex (Cooper Raiff) during his first year at college and first time away from home. Alex has closed himself off from his classmates, who all appear to have this whole “college thing” figured out. Among thousands of kids trying their best to make college work, He feels alone and depressed. Home is 1500 miles away and he’s struggling to find a reason not to go back. Maggie (Dylan Gelula, First Girl I Loved), Alex’s sophomore RA, has been crushing college since day one. Today though, Maggie is dealt an unexpected loss. After a party at Shithouse, Maggie wants some company and finds it in Alex. Two young people raised in very different households, Alex and Maggie challenge each other and grow up together. Desperately clinging to his social breakthrough, Alex pulls out all the stops with one more night at Shithouse, hoping to rekindle that moment of connection. Director / Producer / Writer / Editor / Actor Cooper Raiff joins us to talk about the challenge of making his debut feature film, SHITHOUSE, while taking on a multitude of roles and winning the 2020 SXSW Grand Jury Prize for his first film.

 

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

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize (Narrative Film) at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival

Social Media
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https://twitter.com/cooperraiff2
instagram.com/shithousemovie
instagram.com/coop_myself
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@shithousemovie
@cooperraiff2

“One of the most extraordinary debuts on the list of SXSW selections for this year”Richard Whittaker, The Austin Chronicle

“Charmingly funny and surprisingly sweet” Matt Delman, Hammer to Nail

“Whenever “Shithouse” starts drifting towards a more generic energy, or gets the tiniest bit too plotty for its own good down the home stretch, Gelula is there to bring things back on course.”David Ehrlich, Indiewire

“Cooper Raiff is breakthrough filmmaker and actor to watch and these are immensely fascinating characters in all of their anxiety, naivety, vulnerability, pain, and palpable growth as human beings” – Robert Kojder, Flickering Myth

SOFTIE, Director Sam Soko

The directorial debut of Sam Soko, SOFTIE is an intimate look at the life of Boniface Mwangi, a daring and audacious Kenyan photojournalist and activist who fights for Kenyan citizens to change a corrupt political system; his supportive wife Njeri stands by him and was often protesting alongside him. Now that they three small children, her priorities have shifted. Boniface on the other hand, decided to take his ideas further and run for political office. He claims he is fighting for his children and their future, but after receiving serious threats of violence, Njeri worries he is risking the safety of their entire family.  Boniface is forced to face a difficult choice – which should come first, family or country? SOFTIE, the winner of the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing at the Sundance Film Festival, is now streaming as part of Hot Docs Film Festival Online. SOFTIE will have its North American broadcast premiere on October 12 as a part of the award-winning PBS documentary series POV. Director Sam Solo joins us for a conversation on his intimate, moving portrait of Boniface “Softie” Mwangi, a man willing to sacrifice everything for his country, his wife, Njeri and his family.

 

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

WINNER – Special Jury Award for Editing – 2020 Sundance Film Festival

About the filmmaker – Sam Soko is a director and producer based in Nairobi. His work on sociopolitical projects in music and film has allowed him to connect and work with artists around the world. He is co-founder of LBx Africa, a Kenyan production company that produced the 2018 Academy Award–nominated short fiction film Watu Wote. The film Softie is his first feature documentary project.

About the subject – Boniface “Softie” Mwangi has long fought injustices in his country as a political activist. Now he’s taking the next step by running for office in a regional Kenyan election. From the moment Boniface decides to run, telling his wife, Njeri, in passing with a hesitant laugh, he responds to each challenge with optimism. But running a clean campaign against corrupt opponents becomes increasingly harder to combat with idealism alone. And Boniface soon finds that challenging strong political dynasties is putting his family at risk. Should country really come before family, as he’s always believed?

Social Media
twitter.com/softiethefilm
instagram.com/softiethefilm
twitter.com/toni_producer
instagram.com/eyesteelfilm
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@softiethefilm
@sokosam
#Softiethefilm

 

“Eye-opening as “Softie” is as an immediate account of toxic Kenyan politics, it’s an equally moving marriage story, unsentimental but generously sympathetic in its study of a family brought to the brink of collapse for a greater good cause.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“A marvel of narrative storytelling…” – Filmmaker Magazine

“Softie is a compelling act of defiance, made more alarming by the violent events documented throughout the film, including the torture and murder of an official charged with keeping the elections fair and safe.” – John Fink, The Film Stage

“Softie is a grim assessment of both the cost of revolution and modern-day manhood.” – Aramide Tinubu, Shadow and Act

Dick Johnson is Dead, Director Kirsten Johnson

A lifetime of making documentaries has convinced award-winning filmmaker Kirsten Johnson of the power of the real. But now she’s ready to use every escapist movie-making trick in the book – staging inventive and fantastical ways for her 86-year-old psychiatrist father to die while hoping that cinema might help her bend time, laugh at pain and keep her father alive forever. The darkly funny and wildly imaginative DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD is a love letter from a daughter to a father, creatively blending fact and fiction to create a celebratory exploration of how movies give us the tools to grapple with life’s profundity. DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD was filmed, produced and directed by Kirsten Johnson (Cameraperson), produced by Katy Chevigny and Marilyn Ness, co-produced by Maureen A. Ryan and executive produced by Megan Ellison. Director Kirsten Johnson joins us for conversation on her approach to working along side her dad, making the personal universal and how sharing her own acquired wisdom has impacted her life.

 

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

Watch it: netflix.com/Dick Johnson is Dead

About the filmmaker – Kirsten Johnson is a cinematographer and director interested in addressing the changing dimensions and urgent ethical challenges of documentary camerawork. Her most recent film, CAMERAPERSON, premiered at Sundance 2016, was shortlisted for an Academy Award, won the National Board of Review “Freedom of Expression” prize, and was awarded three 2017 Cinema Eye Honors, including ‘Outstanding Nonfiction Feature’. CAMERAPERSON was named one of the ‘Top Ten Films of 2016’ by The New York Times and The Washington Post, was the Grand Jury Prize Winner of 9 international festivals, won the ARRI Cinematography Award, and is distributed by The Criterion Collection. Her short, THE ABOVE, premiered at the 2015 New York Film Festival and was nominated for the International Documentary Association ‘Best Short Award’ for 2016. Kirsten’s camerawork has appeared in the Academy Award-winning CITIZEN FOUR, Cannes Premiere RISK, Academy Award-nominated THE INVISIBLE WAR, Tribeca Documentary Winner, PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL, Cannes winner FAHRENHEIT 9/11, and Emmy Award-winning LADIES FIRST. She shared the Sundance 2010 Cinematography Award with Laura Poitras for their work on THE OATH. She and Katy Chevigny co-directed the Berlinale premiering DEADLINE, which won the Thurgood Marshall Award. She teaches “Visual Thinking” in the NYU Graduate Journalism Department. In 2017, she was awarded the Chicken and Egg Breakthrough Filmmaker Award and she is currently a Sundance Art of Nonfiction Fellow. She is a 2017 Guggenheim Fellow and was recently invited to be one of the 4% of ASC members who are women. 

Social Media
twitter.com/RIPDickJohnson
twitter.com/Cameraperson16
twitter.com/MarilynNess9
instagram.com/dickjohnsonisdead
facebook.com/dickjohnsonisdead
@Cameraperson16
@MarilynNess9
@RIPDickJohnson
@Netflix
#DickJohnsonIsDead

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“A deeply moving vision of life in the face of bodily death and the threatened loss of selfhood, as well as a loving unpacking of the lifetimes of memories from which families are made.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker

“Instead of pushing her father’s death to the back of her mind, Johnson embraces it fully and even has fun with it. She takes her heartache and turns it into joy.” – Brianna Zigler, Little White Lies

“Unabashedly toying with the conventions of obituary, the documentation of the infirm, and the memorialization of a parent, the end result is a triumph.” – Jason Gorber, POV Magazine

“A touching and funny meditation on embracing life and fearing death at the same time.” – Eric Kohn, indieWire

Get Duked!, Director Ninian Doff

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.

 

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Watch Get Duked! at amazon.com/Get-Duked!

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

Social media
twitter.com/NinianDoff
instagram.com/niniandoff
@NinianDoff
@procrastibot

“Fabulously funny and subversive.” – Anne Brodie, What She Said

“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

“A rambunctious film shot through with daft humour and an endearing, toxic masculinity-smashing sweet streak.” – Jamie Dunn, The Skinny

“An anarchic, pitch black, generation gap horror comedy that’s also one of the funniest films in a year where we are desperately in need of a laugh.” – James Croot, Stuff.co.nz

Nena Erb, Editor, Emmy®-nominated (HBO’s Insecure)

Nena Erb, an ACE and Emmy®-winning editor, for her work can be seen on HBO’s Emmy®  nominated and Peabody award-winning series  INSECURE, episode Lowkey Trying directed by Kerry Washington. As both an Asian American and person of color, she is committed to advancing the stories of others. She is thrilled to be a continuing part of the team showing the reality of life for modern women of color in America.  Her work can also be seen on Apple TV’s groundbreaking Little America series. As an immigrant herself, she’s excited to help shape standout episodes for this series this season including The Son, tackling a gay man’s struggle for safety and love as he attempts a harrowing immigration to the United States and The Silence, which charts love among immigrants in a situation where sound/speaking is forbidden. Emmy nominated editor Nena Erb joins us to talk about the career decision that brought her to the editing suite and why mentoring others is her way of helping others “get into the room” where they can have a positive impact on the stories being told.

 

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For the latest on the work of Nena Erb go to: nenaerb.com

To find out more go to: hbo.com/insecure

About the filmmaker: Nena Erb, a gifted ACE and Emmy®-winning editor born in Taipei, Taiwan and based in Los Angeles. Her family immigrated to the US in the late 70’s to live in a democracy and have the right to vote. Raised in an Asian American immigrant family, Nena’s father wanted her to be a doctor and her mother wanted her to be a pianist with the LA Philharmonic.  Nena wanted to be Andy Warhol. After graduating with an art degree, a friend brought her into the entertainment industry and she started working in various capacities in production. It was her stint as an associate producer that gave her the opportunity to work closely with editors. This proved to be a defining moment for her interest in post-production. Since then, Nena has been the editor on productions for HBO, Universal, CBS, Apple, and others.  She is experienced in multiple genres from drama series to feature films, documentaries and comedy.  In 2016, she received an Emmy® award for her work on HBO’s documentary series Project Greenlight.In addition, she has received two ACE Eddie nominations for her work, one for HBO’s Peabody award-winning series INSECURE and the other for CW’s acclaimed seriesCrazy Ex-Girlfriend. Currently, she is editing Little America, an anthology series on America’s immigrants, produced by Kumail Najiani, Emily V. Gordon, Alan Yang, and Lee Eisenberg

The rePRO Film Festival and mama.film Co-founders Lela Meadow-Conner, Mallory Martin and Debby Samples

The rePRO Film Festival begins its inaugural run this August 12-16. The virtual film festival is dedicated to exploring women’s reproductive healthcare, awareness, advocacy and bodily integrity in America. The lineup of films includes documentaries and narratives dealing with women’s rights, endometriosis, illegal sterilization, access to abortion, and reproductive justice for women of color, among other topics. rePRO Film Festival, will host five days of features, short films and themed-conversations focused on a range of topics including healthcare access, fertility, pregnancy, sexual education, abortion, and issues related to the gender spectrum. In-festival moderated conversations will include call-to-action messaging on how people can get involved in a corresponding initiative or topic. The conversations, designed to spotlight the creators who dare to tell stories about women’s reproductive rights, and to showcase courageous advocators, will be available online for free globally. All feature films playing the rePRO Film Festival are directed by women, and all filmmakers, including shorts filmmakers, are being paid to screen their films. The pay-what-you-can film ticket proceeds for films at the festival will be converted to donations to be split evenly among five beneficiary non-profit organizations – SisterSong, Endometriosis Foundation of America, Center for Reproductive Rights, URGE and Trust Women. Tickets are on sale online at repromamafilm.org. Tickets are all pay-what-you-can ($5, $10 or $15) with a limited number of complimentary vouchers available upon request to ensure access for all. rePro Film Festival and festival sponsor mama.film founders Lela Meadow-Conner, Mallory Martin and Debby Samples join us to talk about the launch of their deep dive into the issues, challenges and stories that face 49% of the world’s population and the people who love them.

 

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

About MAMA.FILM – Through the power of cinema, mama.film (link), a 501c(3) non-profit organization, unites nurturers of all kinds to ignite conversation and to reflect upon our shared human experience. Founded in 2019, in a pop-up microcinema in a shipping container in Wichita, Kansas, mama.film has since been awarded expanded programming to Cleveland, and to a virtual platform. Film selections include stories and topics that amplify and explore the evolving realities of the human condition and that spark dialogue and reflection. mamafilm is committed to representing the realities and complexities of a diverse range of nurturers, across race, class, geography, sexual preference, ability and generation.An emphasis is placed on independent and foreign films that are grounded in authentic storytelling. mamafilm is committed to supporting the work of creators who are  nurturers and caregivers. Initial support for rePRO by mama.film was generously provided by a grant from the George R. Tiller, M.D., Memorial Fund for the Advancement of Women’s Health at the Wichita Community Foundation. Follow @mamafilm1 on Instagram or Twitter for updates, or follow rePRO by mama.film on Facebook for more updates.

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Spinster, Director Andrea Dorfman

SPINSTER drops us into the life of Gaby (Chelsea Peretti). Gaby wants desperately to find real love. Recently dumped and on the brink of forty, she feels she doesn’t matter to anyone. Her best friend is pre-occupied with her kids, her family doesn’t get her, and running her own catering business, mostly weddings, serves as a constant reminder of the love that has eluded her. Gaby’s greatest fear, that she’ll end up a lonely and pathetic spinster, seems to be her destiny. After a frenzy of dating leaves her exhausted and demoralized, she admits she might never find love and must create a Plan B. Gaby begins  to build a meaningful and connected life. But when a chance romantic encounter with Mr. Right threatens to uproot her, she realizes the value of her life, even if it doesn’t involve romance. Written by Jennifer Deyell and anchored by a beautifully nuanced performance from Chelsea Peretti (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), SPINSTER Director Andrea Dorfman joins us to talk about her witty, beguiling comedy about being honest with oneself and embracing life.

For news and updates go to: /andreadorfman.com/spinster

SPINSTER will released August 7 through Vertical Entertainment on VOD and Digital platforms including iTunes, Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Fandango Now and all major cable/satellite platforms.

About the filmmaker: Andrea Dorfman is a filmmaker, animator and artist. She directed the feature films Parsley Days (2000), a TIFF top ten film, the critically acclaimed Love That Boy (2003) featuring a young Ellen Page, the musical drama, Heartbeat (2014), and the soon-to-be released comedy, Spinster, starring Chelsea Peretti. The short film, There’s A Flower in my Pedal (2005), was runner up to Best Short at TIFF and her documentary, Sluts (2006), won Best Documentary at the Atlantic Film Festival. Dorfman also made several animated films including two with the National Film Board of Canada – the Emmy nominated, Flawed (2010) and Big Mouth (2012). She recently shot and directed the feature doc, also produced by the NFB, The Girls of Meru (2018) and it’s currently screening at film festivals around the world. Her short live action-animation video collaboration with poet-musician, Tanya Davis, How to Be Alone  (2010), has garnered over 8 million YouTube hits and was adapted to a book, illustrated by Dorfman and published by HarperCollins. She also adapted and illustrated  Flawed,  released as a YA graphic memoir by Firefly Canada in 2018. Dorfman occasionally teaches at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and was the co-creator of Blowhard, a thematic storytelling series that ran for 7 years in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

The Sunlit Night, Writer Rebecca Dinerstein Knight

In Director David Wnendt (Wetlands) beguiling new film, The Sunlit Night, summer is off to a terrible start for Frances (Jenny Slate). Her art school project fails, her boyfriend unceremoniously kicks her out of his Hamptons home, and, to top it all off, her younger sister reveals she’s engaged just moments before her parents announce their separation. Hoping to invigorate her work and expand her horizons Frances hastily takes an opening for an art residency in Norway and heads off to an isolated island where the sun never sets. In a remote village, among the locals, she meets a fellow New Yorker (Sharp), who has come in search of a proper Viking funeral only to find that the Chief (Galifianakis) is but a re-enactor from Cincinnati. The eclectic crew ranges from “home” to “lost,” within the extreme and dazzling landscape of the Far North. Under a sun that never quite sets, and the high standards of an unforgiving mentor, Frances must navigate between ambition, desire, obligation, and risk in order to find a way forward. Author and screenwriter Rebecca Dinerstein Knight joins us to talk her collaboration with actor / producer Jenny Slate and director David Wnendt and finding the right mixture of understated drama and absurdist spirit that informs this charming gem of a film.

 

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For news and updates go to : The Sunlit Night

About the filmmaker(s): “I wrote The Sunlit Night as a stranger in a foreign land: no Jewish New Yorkers had ever moved to the Norwegian Arctic for no reason before, so the locals told me, on the island I had come to share with them, 95 miles north of the Arctic Circle and floating in the Norwegian Sea. Without any Norwegian ancestry to justify my journey, I could only explain my sudden relocation to the Lofoten Islands as a search for beauty, an opportunity to test language against a supreme landscape. I wanted to write about rapture. In the story that resulted, and in our faithful film, the gruffness of ancient mountain rock meets the unpredictable softness of goat’s fur; cultures clash and form new harmonies. Living alone at the top of the planet drove me to ask what connection means. What makes a person feel at home in the world, and who is responsible for the warmth of a welcome? Can geography exert emotional force? How can a woman communicate herself in the absence of common language and custom? How does the practice of art transcend practical circumstances? This is a movie about stretching oneself over the abyss of the unknown and touching the other, quieter side. The blankness and newness that open up there carry the risk of incredible loneliness, and the promise of wild revelation.” Writer Rebecca Dinerstein Knight  

Director David Wnendt made his mark at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival with Wetlands, adapted from the best-selling novel by Charlotte Roche. His next film, Look Who’s Back, grossed over $20 million and was released by Netflix. Wnendt’s debut film, Combat Girls, earned him the Bavarian Film Award for best young director and the Prix Genève Europe for best fiction script by a newcomer. Wnendt was one of Variety’s “10 Europeans to watch” for 2016.

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story, Co-Executive Producer and Director Maggie Kiley

Maggie Kiley is the Executive Producer and one of the series directors for the second season of USA Network’s high profile series, DIRTY JOHN: THE BETTY BRODERICK STORY. This season is special for the fact that all eight episodes were directed by women. Kiley directed four out of the eight episodes, including the season premiere and finale. DIRTY JOHN: THE BETTY BRODERICK STORY follows the tumultuous relationship of Betty and Dan Broderick, played by Amanda Peet and Christian Slater, as their marriage turns into what was called one of “America’s messiest divorces” even before it ended in double homicide. DIRTY JOHN: THE BETTY BRODERICK STORY follows a high society woman, mother of four, driven to the edge by her husband’s lies, manipulation, and psychological abuse, that slowly escalates as his extra-marital affair is revealed, a bitter divorce ensues, and blood is shed. This is a warts-and-all depiction of the extremes of erratic behavior provoked under pressure. The creative juggernaut known as Maggie Kiley takes time out of her very busy life to talk with us about her love for storytelling, mentoring other artists and working with her beloved actors.

 

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For news and updates go to: maggiekiley.com

About the filmmaker: Award-winning filmmaker Maggie Kiley, is an alumnae of AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women, both a Fox and Film Independent Directing Fellow. She was recently as the first director chosen for Ryan Murphy’s Half Initiative, which has led to gigs helming episodes of American Horror Story: CultScream Queens, and 9-1-1. Her credits reflect her diversity, since she has made contributions to CW’s Katy Keene, Riverdale, Marvel’s The Gifted, Netflix’s What/If and Syfy’s George R. R. Martin’s  Nighflyers, to name just a few. Kiley recently signed a major  exclusive, multi-year overall deal at Warner Bros TV. Under the pact, she will render director and executive producer services for the studio, in addition to developing new TV projects for broadcast, cable and streaming services. She was the first woman in 30 years to have a TV deal at WBTV like this. Maggie Kiley began her career as an actor with the Atlantic Theatre Company in New York City before making the transition from acting to directing with her award winning short film, Some Boys Don’t Leave. The film stars Jesse Eisenberg and Eloise Mumford and played over 50 festivals, garnering top honors at Tribeca and Palm Springs. Kiley received the Panavision New Filmmaker Grant for her debut feature, Brightest Star which starred Chris Lowell and Allison Janney. Her second feature, Dial a Prayer, released in 2015 starred Brittany Snow and William H. Macy. Her third feature was a thriller with Anna Camp, titled Caught marking the last of three features films in three years.

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Bully, Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn, Director Ivy Meeropol

BULLY. COWARD. VICTIM. THE STORY OF ROY COHN takes an unflinching look at the life and death of infamous attorney Roy Cohn. Cohn first gained prominence by prosecuting Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in what came to be known as the “atomic spies” case. The documentary draws on extensive, newly unearthed archival material to present the most revealing examination of Roy Cohn to date. Director Ivy Meeropol (“Indian Point,” HBO’s “Heir to an Execution”) brings a unique perspective as the granddaughter of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, having  spent much of her life feeling both repelled and fascinated by the man who prosecuted her grandparents, obtained their convictions in federal court, and then insisted on their executions. The documentary is a riveting profile chronicles Cohn’s life from the late 1950s as chief counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy, when he first began wielding political power, through the 1980s, when he became a darling of the Reagan White House, a rabid anti-homosexuality activist and political mentor to Donald J. Trump before meeting his death from AIDS in 1986.  BULLY. COWARD. VICTIM. THE STORY OF ROY COHN includes numerous interviews, including John Waters, Cindy Adams, Alan Dershowitz, Nathan Lane and Tony Kushner, whose 2018 Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning revival of “Angels in America” featured Lane as Cohn. Lane offers insight into how devastatingly dangerous the actual Roy Cohn was and how he wielded power through invective and innuendo.Director Ivy Meeropol joins us to talk about one of the most renowned and reviled political figures of the last 60 years as well as the lasting impact he had on her own life, family and the country.

 

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BULLY. COWARD. VICTIM. THE STORY OF ROY COHN debuts on HBO Thursday, June 18 at 9 PM (ET) and will also be available to stream on HBO GO, HBO NOW, and on HBO via HBO Max and other partners’ platforms. June 19 marks the 67th Anniversary of the execution of Meeropol’s grandparents, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

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“In its loosely anecdotal way it may bring us a notch or two closer to who Roy Cohn was.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“The film might complicate who Cohn was, but it does not try to humanize his actions-and some aspects of his life, his choices, and what he might’ve been thinking still remain shrouded in mystery to this day.” – Michelle Jaworski, The Daily Dot

Sometimes Always Never, Director Carl Hunter

In the latest collaboration between director Carl Hunter and writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce SOMETIMES ALWAYS NEVER follows a stylish tailor and wayward father, Alan, (Bill Nighy) who is has spent a big chunk of his adult life playing the word game Scrabble. At the expense of his other relationships Alan has spent years searching tirelessly for his missing son, Michael, who stormed out over a game of Scrabble. With a body to identify and his family torn apart, Alan must repair the relationship with his youngest son, Jack (Sam Riley) and identify an online player who he thinks could be Michael, so he can finally move on and reunite his family. A quirky mystery / comedy starring the BAFTA winner Bill Nighy (Love Actually, Shaun of the Dead), SOMETIMES ALWAYS NEVER is a story about redemption, family, and finding the right words. Director Carl Hunter joins us to talk about his on-going work with screenwriter working with Cottrell-Boyce, and the photo that convinced lead actor Bill Nighy to join the project and striking the right visual look for his thoughtful, wryly funny film.

 

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For news, virtual screenings and updates goto: sometimes-always-never.com

About the filmmaker: Carl Hunter is a director, screenwriter and also the bass player for Liverpool band, The Farm, who had a number 1 LP, Spartacus in 1991, 3 top 10 singles and spent a total of 50 weeks in the official top 40s for both LPs and singles. He has been making films, producing and directing, since the late 1990s and in 2019 he directed his first feature film, Sometimes, Always, Never, starring Bill Nighy and produced by Hurricane Films. In 2007, Carl produced and co-wrote the feature film, ‘Grow Your Own.’ He’s currently developing his next ideas with writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce.

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“…charming, elegant, whimsical and unexpectedly moving gem.” – Chris Hunneysett, Daily Mirror (UK)

“It’s universally well acted and it’s directed with an inventive, original visual style that matches the audacity of basing a film on Scrabble, by TV director Carl Hunter. The end result is unusual, intriguing and endearing.” – Alexa Dalby, Dog and Wolf

“It’s Nighy who will have you enthralled. He delivers a subtle, nuanced performance that allows the actor to shine while in full support of his costars.” – Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times

“Screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce, who adapted the film from his own short story, has crafted a joy of a script, which seeds its themes as elegantly as Nighy’s character, Alan, a Scrabble-obsessed tailor, wears his suits. – Wendy Ide, Observer (UK)

Crystal Swan, Director Darya Zhuk

CRYSTAL SWAN is set in Belarus a few years after gaining independence in 1990. This vibrant debut feature film by director Darya Zhuk follows the path of young Velya (Alina Nasibullina), who dreams of moving to Chicago where she hopes to pursue her passion for house music.  However, obtaining a U.S. visa proves daunting. After purchasing blank letterhead and forging proof of employment, Velya realizes the American consulate plans to call the fake phone number on her application to confirm her employment. Velya’s only solution is to go to the small factory town and convince the family connected to the phone number to help her. She locates the cramped Soviet apartment on the other end of the line, overrun by a family preparing for the wedding of their son. But Velya’s presence soon upends both the family’s and the town’s order, with potentially disastrous consequences for all. Director Darya Zhuk joins us to talk about where the story behind Crystal Swan came from, casting Velya and how her debut feature film reflects a story about a woman and her country, where feelings of self and belonging are yet to be defined.

 

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For news and updates go to: loco-films.com/crystal-swan

Crystal Swan is available to watch on MUBI

Director’s statement – I’m a Belarus-born film director living in New York. I spent most of my young adult life straddling two worlds: the world of my freshly independent home-country, just starting to define its identity after the split from the Soviet Union, and my new home in America where I stayed after finishing an undergraduate degree at Harvard. Most of this straddling, I spent standing in long cues to the US Embassy in Minsk. I visited my parents a lot, and the visa requirements were quite brutal. It’s in this long line to the embassy that I first thought of Crystal Swan. People waiting on the permission to go to America were like prisoners waiting for the verdict, – they were so stressed out that they often shared their whole life stories with strangers next to them. I wanted to explore what this process of like. My protagonist Velya is a DJ dreaming to go to Chicago to visit the birthplace of house music. We meet her in one of these cues to the embassy. She is young and full of illusions, she still feels like she is the center of her world. She is an archetypal American character placed in the post-Soviet mess. Freedom she seeks is not available, and in the reality where she lives, the individualism doesn’t always win. Her beliefs and approach to life are constantly challenged with every step of her journey. Can she be a free agent in an unfree world? The unfreedom of people around is what stops my main character from reaching her goal. The history, the trauma of the previous history, catches up with her through the abusive actions of the people who surround her. – Darya Zhuk, Director, Co-screenwriter

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Official Oscar Entry for Foreign Language Film – Belarus 
Best Director – Bridge of Arts Film Festival
Best Actress – Bridge of Arts Film Festival
Best Actress – Cineuropa Film Festival
Best Film – Bratislava Film Festival (Fipresci Jury)
Best Debut of 2018 – Russian Critics Guild
Best Picture – Tbilisi Film Festival

 

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Crystal Swan feels like a poison-tipped letter from the filmmaker to her home country that is also an engrossing work of social criticism.” – Phil Guie, Film-Forward.com

“If something stands out above all it’s the excellent performance of Alina Nasibullina, an actress with a lot of presence that dominates the screen at all times.” – Jaime Fa de Lucas, Culturamas

“While some nuances may go over the heads of international audiences, its core social and economic frustrations are universal ones, driven by Velya’s fundamentally sympathetic wanderlust.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“[Crystal Swan] is so effective at capturing the hopefulness of someone who’s seized by the promise of a better life, and the desperation she feels when that promise starts to slip through her fingers.” – David Ehrlich, indieWire

You Don’t Nomi, Director Jeffrey McHale

In YOU DON’T NOMI, a chorus of film critics and fervent devotees explore the complicated afterlife of 1995’s biggest film flop, Paul Verhoeven’s salacious SHOWGIRLS from disastrous release to cult adoration and extraordinary redemption 25 years later. Showgirls was met by critics and audiences with near universal derision. YOU DON’T NOMI traces the film’s redemptive journey from notorious flop to cult classic, and maybe even masterpiece.The film features Adam Nayman (Vice Guide to Film), April Kidwell (I, Nomi) and Peaches Christ (Milk) as well as archive interview footage with the cast and crew of Showgirls. While SHOWGIRLS is the main subject of YOU DON’T NOMI, the documentary is also a retrospective of Verhoeven’s directing career from RoboCop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Starship Troopers and Elle, among others. It explores the themes that unite his films, while showcasing Verhoeven as a genius and as a controversial figure all at the same time. Director Jeffrey McHale joins us to talk about his own Showgirls odyssey and how he came to document the subculture that celebrates a film that cinephiles often vilify and embrace at the same time.

 

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For news, screenings and updates goto: youdontnomifilm.com

Available Tuesday, June 9 on Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Google Play & Fandango NOW

About the filmmaker Jeffrey McHale, Director / Producer / Editor, is a documentary filmmaker based in Los Angeles. His feature film debut, YOU DON’T NOMI, is the zenith of what he calls his “Showgirls adventure.” While McHale’s inspiration for You Don’t Nomi originated with the unexpected viral success of his 2010 trailer mashup of Paul Verhoeven’s  Showgirls and Darren Aronofsky’s Black SwanNomi also synthesizes recurring themes in McHale’s work, including the examination of queer subcultures and the exploration of how identities are articulated. As a television editor, McHale’s work includes acclaimed technology and science news series TechKnow for Al Jazeera English and most recently the groundbreaking World Cup docuseries Phenoms for Fox. Earlier projects, including documentary shorts and music videos, have screened at NewFest, Frameline, Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival, and the Melbourne Queer Film Festival. A native of Michigan, McHale began his career at WGN America after studying film at Columbia College Chicago.

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89% on Rotten Tomatoes

“You Don’t Nomi makes a compelling case that the much-maligned pop-culture landmark can be judged as either tawdry rubbish or subversive comic triumph.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

“This is the most thoughtful deconstruction of a film imaginable, as well as an ideal festival choice for those who used to buy DVDs just for the commentaries.” – Kent Turner, Film-Forward.com

“While far from a straightforward documentary about a widely marginalized film, You Don’t Nomi reminds us that it’s okay to like things with rough edges, that streamlined perfection is overrated…” – Chuck Foster, Film Threat

“Nomi leaves it up to audiences to decide if Showgirls is trash, a masterpiece, or a “masterpiece of trash,” but one thing is certain: no matter how good or how bad one considers the film’s objective quality, one can enjoy Showgirls all the same.” – Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

Raising Buchanan, Creator and Actor Amanda Melby

Inspired by a couple of true presidential corpse stories: the 1876 plot to steal Abraham Lincoln’s body, and the exhumation of Zachary Taylor in 1991, RAISING BUCHANAN took the idea of presidential corpse stealing to extraordinary lengths of dark comedy delight with terrible dead presidents. Because there’s certainly something to be learned from terrible presidents, as well as laughing at them. Finding their inspiration in the off-kilter tone of the dramatically rooted comedies of Alexander Payne, the Coen Brothers, and Hal Ashby, the RAISING BUCHANAN stars Amanda Melby (Candid Camera), René Auberjonois (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), Cathy Shim (Reno 911!), Robert Ben Garant (Reno 911!), Terence Bernie Hines (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), Jennifer Pfalzgraff  (21 Grams), Steve Briscoe (Covet), Lynnette ‘L.A.’ Brown (Kerry and Angie), and M. Emmet Walsh (Blade Runner). Produced by Melby and Joe Gruberman (Eleven Eleven), this award-winning feature film swept the film festival circuit racking up multiple awards, including: Best Feature, Best Dramedy, Best Actress (Melby) and Best Screenplay (Bruce Dellis), among others. Creator and lead actor Amanda Melby stops by for a lively conversation on her wryly funny and endearing film, Raising Buchanan, and her collaboration with the late, great René Auberjonois.

 

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For news and updates go to: raisingbuchanan.com

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facebook.com/raisingbuchananmovie
twitter.com/raisingbuchanan
instagram.com/raisingbuchanan

 

“Auberjonois is so good as the feckless leader, nobly defending his poor decisions, that it makes you long for a full one-man show that will never come.” – Josh Bell, Crooked Marquee

“Surely, Buchanan was never going to earn the kind of cinematic lionization that so many American filmmaking greats (like Steven Spielberg and John Ford) gave to good old Abe Lincoln, but he could have done a whole lot worse than this.” – Nick Rocco Scalia. Film Threat

“Simply as a showcase for two of the best character actors of the last fifty years, Raising Buchanan deserves praise.” – M.V. Moorhead, Phoenix Magazine

The Plagiarists – Screenwriters Robin Schavoir and James N. Kienitz Wilkins

Co-written by experimental filmmakers James N. Kienitz Wilkins and Robin Schavoir (who, along with Paul Dallas, served as producers), The Plagiarists is at once a hilarious send-up of low-budget American indie filmmaking and a probing inquiry into race, relationships, and the social uncanny. A young novelist (Lucy Kaminsky) and her cinematographer boyfriend (Eamon Monaghan) are waylaid by a snowstorm on their way to visit a friend in upstate New York and are taken in by the kindly yet enigmatic Clip (Michael “Clip” Payne of Parliament Funkadelic), who puts them up for the night. But an accidental discovery months later recasts in an unnerving light what had seemed like an agreeable evening, stoking resentments both latent and not-so-latent. Exhilaratingly intelligent and distinctively shot on a vintage TV-news camera, The Plagiarists is a work whose provocations are inseparable from its pleasures. Screenwriters James N. Kienitz Wilkins and Robin Schavoir join us to talk about whip-smart project, as well as their creative process, white privilege, blending together acting styles and Dogma 95.

Background – The Plagiarists is a dramatic comedy about the clash of money and culture, reality and desire, race and identity. It’s a social satire about who has the privilege to say what in today’s world. It was conceived as a playful critique of the mannerisms of “indie film” used by aspiring filmmakers to denote authenticity of performance, often resulting in the casual perpetuation of stereotypes. The Plagiarists is at once the thing it mimics: a completely independent micro-budget feature shot entirely on vintage news cameras from the 1980s, despite a contemporary subject matter. The camera cited in the story is also the production camera, recording on real Betacam SP videotape (sourced from eBay) to create a visual style reflecting the internal debate over obsolescence, nostalgia, and the heavy weight of originality.

 

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For news and updates go to: kimstim.com/film/plagiarists

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twitter.com/automaticmoving
twitter.com/hashtag/jamesnkienitzwilkins

“An adventurous comic thumping worth the working over of your sensibilities.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“Its crude imagery and the sharp editing that implicitly contradicts it are deliberate components of a termite-like digging into the permutations of postmodern cultural work.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

“The Plagiarists’ perfectly judged mimicry of independent cinema illustrates the profound effect a lack of diversity has on the type of art that gets made.” – Patrick Gamble, CineVue

“The film improves upon reflection, raising, as it does, some knotty questions about originality in art and in life, as well as provocatively positing that even a copy of a copy of a copy has the potential to move hearts and minds.” – Keith Uhlich, Hollywood Reporter

Saint Frances, Director Alex Thompson

Flailing thirty-four-year-old Bridget (Kelly O’Sullivan) finally catches a break when she meets a nice guy and lands a much-needed job nannying six-year-old Frances (played by a scene-stealing Ramona Edith-Williams). But an unwanted pregnancy introduces an unexpected complication. To make matters worse, she clashes with the obstinate Frances and struggles to navigate a growing tension between Frances’s moms. Amidst her tempestuous personal relationships, a reluctant friendship with Frances emerges, and Bridget contends with the inevitable joys and shit-shows of becoming a part of someone else’s family. Director Alex Thompson joins us to talk about his collaboration with screenwriter / lead actor Kelly O’Sullivan, the casting of Frances and his approach to guiding this beautifully rendered story of three women and a child in search of family, love and power over their own lives.

 

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An open letter from Saint Frances writer and lead actor, Kelly O’Sullivan When I got pregnant in my early thirties and knew immediately I would get an abortion, I had no idea what to expect. My mom got me the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” pregnancy book one Christmas, hoping I would hurry up and give her a grandchild, but nobody proudly hands you a guidebook on what to expect with abortion. I had no idea my abortion could be induced just with pills, and I had no idea how long my post-abortion bleeding would last. Women and girls are encouraged, outrightly or subliminally, to keep abortion, postpartum depression, periods, or any other innate part of womanhood that’s considered messy, “gross,” or shameful to ourselves. That makes for lonely, confusing, and isolating experiences. When my Mom finally learned what this movie was about, she said, “Well, you’re the first one in our whole family to get an abortion!” And I clarified, “Maybe I’m just the first person you know about.” Saint Frances endeavors to normalize and destigmatize those parts of womanhood that we’re encouraged not to talk about. I wanted not only to talk about these subjects, but to show them onscreen unapologetically, realistically. This movie could be called “There Will Be Blood 2,” and a sense of humor is a vital intention of the film. Saint Frances tries to show that abortion doesn’t always have to equal trauma, periods shouldn’t equal shame, and postpartum depression shouldn’t equal isolation. This story and these characters are filled with sincerity, empathy, humor and 6 tons of love. And there’s that healthy amount of blood. Thank you for watching. I truly, truly hope you enjoy. – Kelly O’Sullivan

For news and updates go to: saintfrances.oscilloscope.net

For more on the work of Director Alex Thompson go to: runawaytrainchicago.com

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98% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Kelly O’Sullivan writes and stars in the small masterpiece that’s both thought-provoking and wildly entertaining.” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

“I believe that everyone, especially women, should check out Saint Frances. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and it will make you think. That doesn’t happen all that often in the same movie.” – Lorry Kikta, Film Threat

“O’Sullivan and her creation are riveting, and when the film comes to an emotional end that hinges on all its early strengths, the result is satisfying and hard-won, a coming-of-age story told on just a slight delay.” – Kate Erbland, indieWire

“With a warm heart and a nonjudgmental mind, “Saint Frances” weaves abortion, same-sex parenting and postpartum depression into a narrative bursting with positivity and acceptance.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

Film Festival Day, Lela Meadow-Conner, Film Festival Alliance Executive Director

The Film Festival Alliance announced it will team with Theatrical-At-Home to present the inaugural Film Festival Day on Saturday, April 11. 30 FFA member film festivals will participate in a virtual screening of Gary Lundgren’s PHOENIX, OREGON, which will benefit each of the film festivals with a share of the evening’s proceeds.

Among the 30 participating film festivals are; Alexander Valley Film Festival (CA), Ashland Film Festival (OR), BendFilm (OR), Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival (IL), Buffalo International Film Festival (NY), Cambria Film Festival (CA), Cinetopia Film Festival (MI), Cucalorus Film Festival (NC), Durango Independent Film Festival (CO), Heartland Film Festival (IN), Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival (MI), Indy Film Fest (IN), Interfaith Film & Music Festival (NY), Flyway Film Festival (WI), Free State Festival (KS), Golden State Film Festival (CA), New Filmmakers Los Angeles (CA), Orcas Island Film Festival (WA), Oxford Film Festival (MS), Phoenix Film Festival (AZ), Poppy Jasper International Film Festival (CA), Sidewalk Film Festival (AL), Scottsdale International Film Festival (AZ), Skyline Indie Fest (VA), South Georgia Film Festival (GA), St. Louis International Film Festival (MO), Tallgrass Film Festival (KS), The Valley Film Festival (CA), Vermont International Film Festival (VT), and Woods Hole Film Festival (MA).

 

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Film fans from across the country will be able to select their festival of choice when purchasing tickets and box office revenue will be generously split with that organization. All ticket purchases will receive a one-time link to watch the movie at home as well as a free digital copy upon its official release this summer. Film festivals across the nation have endured more than 175 cancellations, postponements and quick pivots in the wake of COVID-19, with an estimated economic impact of more than $1.4 million for this group of organizations alone. Of the participating festivals, which come from 19 states, they have combined audiences of more than 200,000, support more than 5,500 filmmakers and collectively screened over 3,700 films in the last year.

Gary Lundgren’s PHOENIX, OREGON is about two friends, a graphic novelist and a chef, who defy a midlife haze by seizing an unlikely opportunity to reinvent their lives by quitting their jobs to restore an old bowling alley and serve the “world’s greatest pizza.” The film stars an impressive lineup of indie film stalwarts and comedy favorites including James Le Gros (DRUGSTORE COWBOY, LIVING IN OBLIVION), Lisa Edelstein (“House”), Jesse Borrego (“Fame,” BLOOD IN BLOOD OUT), Reynaldo Gallegos (AMERICAN SNIPER), Diedrich Bader (NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, OFFICE SPACEN, “Veep”), and Kevin Corrigan (THE DEPARTED, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, TRUE ROMANCE).  Watch the trailer for Phoenix, Oregon

To purchase tickets go to: shop.jomafilms.com/Phoenix, Oregon – Film Festival Day

ABOUT FILM FESTIVAL ALLIANCE  Film Festival Alliance creates a collaborative global community for mission-driven film festivals. FFA advocates for a sustainable and inclusive environment for our industry within the cinema exhibition ecosystem and creates a powerful collective voice for film festivals and the people who run them. Founded in 2010 as a program of IFP, Film Festival Alliance (FFA) was established in 2015 as an independent non-profit networking organization, and now serves a membership of more than 180 organizations and individuals – representing a diverse array of size, geographic location and annual budget. FFA presents year-round professional development, and engagement opportunities around the country, offers valuable money-saving benefits and creates a collective community for festival professionals. FFA works year-round to celebrate and support the art of film, filmmaking and film presentation by connecting festival professionals with one another, and with other industry stakeholders including the greater filmmaking community.

Banana Split, Director Benjamin Kasulke

It’s the end of April’s (Hannah Marks, Slash) senior year of high school, when she and longtime boyfriend Nick (Dylan Sprouse, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody) break up. While getting trashed at a house party, she bumps into Dylan’s new squeeze, Clara (Liana Liberato, also in To the Stars), a recent transplant from Fresno. BANANA SPLIT is set against the backdrop of April’s last days before heading off to college. Her plans for her last few high school months are about to hit a snag when she becomes best friends with her ex-boyfriend’s new squeeze. Usual teen social norms mean that they have to hate each, but it turns out they have way more in common than a mutual beau. Over the summer Clara and April develop a perfect kindred-spirit friendship in ways they never thought possible, all while working overtime to keep their relationship secret from Nick. Director Benjamin Kasulke (Your Sister’s Sister, Safety Not Guaranteed), stops by to talk about working with co-writer / co-star Hannah Marks, making the transition from cinematographer to director and finding the sweet spot of believability in this very entertaining teen drama / comedy.

 

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About the filmmaker
Benjamin Francis Kasulke is a director, cinematographer, and Stranger Genius Award recipient born in 1977 in Syracuse, NY. After earning degrees in film from Ithaca College and FAMU  (Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts) in Prague, he worked as a negative cutter with the Image Treasury in Seattle. His cinematographer career began while working extensively with the local dance film community, which he turned into collaborations with the likes of Guy Maddin, Lynn Shelton, Megan Griffiths, and Colin Trevorrow. He became a vital component of the Pacific Northwest film community, acting as cinematographer on such films as Humpday and The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle (both SIFF 2009), The Freebie (SIFF 2010), The Off Hours (SIFF 2011), Your Sister’s Sister (SIFF 2012), Safety Not Guaranteed (2012), Touchy Feely (SIFF 2013), Laggies (2014), and My Last Year With The Nuns (SIFF 2014). Banana Split marks his feature directorial debut.

For news and updates go to: facebook.com/bananasplitmov

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91% on Rotten Tomatoes

“[Banana Split] understands, perfectly, the enormous pressure teenagers face.”—Refinery29

“It is absolutely lovely. If I was going to watch a movie virtually this weekend, I would absolutely pick this one.” – Amy Nicholson, FilmWeek (KPCC – NPR Los Angeles)

“Like any romance, “Banana Split” is constrained to some familiar beats, but Kasulke, Marks, and Power have such a handle on what makes the film tick – and Marks and Liberato are so charming and fun – that even expected turns feel clever and fresh.” – Kate Erbland, indieWire

“Bolstered by a thoughtful script and beautifully authentic performances, Banana Split provides a fresh take on the coming-of-age romantic comedy.”

“Banana Split” is a supremely well written film, showing Hannah Marks not only to be a tremendous actress, but a wonderful screenwriter as well. She’s phenomenal on both ends. – Joey Magidson, Hollywood News

Phoenix Oregon, Director Gary Lundgren

PHOENIX OREGON is the story of two friends, a graphic novelist and a chef, seizing an unlikely opportunity to reinvent their lives, quit their jobs to restore an old bowling alley and serve the “world’s greatest pizza.” Phoenix, Oregon stars James Le Gros (Drugstore Cowboy, Living in Oblivion), Lisa Edelstein (Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, House), Jesse Borrego (Fame, Blood In Blood Out), Reynaldo Gallegos (Triple Frontier, American Sniper), Diedrich Bader (Napoleon Dynamite, Office Space, Veep), and Kevin Corrigan (The Departed, Pineapple Express, True Romance). PHOENIX OREGON takes a comedic look at the existential crisis many face when trying to find meaning and relevancy at midlife. Despite controlling bosses, dead-end jobs, and broken relationships, the two leads must awaken hibernating courage and resilience in order to take new risks and keep dreams alive. Director and writer Gary Lundgren (Calvin Marshall, Redwood Highway, Black Road) stops by to talk his own midlife angst and inspiration for this disarming gem of a film, working with a stellar cast and his love for the Pacific Northwest.

 

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

For more about the work of Gary Lundgren go to: jomafilms.com

For information on Phoenix Oregon screenings in Southern California go to: laemmle.com/film/phoenix-oregon

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“Walks a gorgeous line between pathos and comedy… having more to say about depression, anxiety, art, friendship and love than any dozen movies I’ve seen in the theater this year.” -SOURCE WEEKLY

 

Honesty Weekend, Director Leslie Thomas

Premiering at the Pasadena International Film Festival HONESTY WEEKEND begins when John and Ada’s therapist challenges them to be completely honest with each other for an entire weekend, a young married couple attempts to execute this advice over two days with good friends at a country house. At first amused by the couple’s newfound honesty, soon everyone is infected with the “honesty virus”. Secrets spill and desires flare to life. And when husband John’s sexy lesbian friend Delaney arrives to stir the pot, the whole thing heats up until it boils over. At the heart of this relationship comedy is a young marriage in trouble, but look deeper and you’ll see the angsty discomfort of early thirty-somethings struggling to embrace intimacy and true adulthood. In this grounded, smart, funny film writer-director Leslie Thomas exercises her distinct comedic voice and a wry understanding of our poignant and ridiculous human blind spots. HONESTY WEEKEND stars Adam Bartley (This Is Us), Sabina Gadecki (L.A.’s Finest), Dioni Michelle Collins (General Hospital), Pete Ploszek (Captain Marvel), Evan Watkins (College Humor Originals),  Allan Wasserman (Big), and Susan Walters (The Vampire Diaries). Director and writer Leslie Thomas joins is for an engaging conversation on a compressed shooting schedule, holding out for the right cast of actors, as well as the challenges and rewards of being a first time director.

 

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For news and updates go to: honestyweekend.com

Honesty Weekend screens at PIFF on Saturday, March 14 at 6:15 PM

About the filmmaker: LESLIE THOMAS produced the 2018 Emmy-winning documentary feature KEVYN AUCOIN Beauty & The Beast In Me (now on Netflix). She is the showrunner of ratings record breakers HALLOWEEN, HOLIDAY & KIDS BAKING CHAMPIONSHIPS on Food Network. She’s a playwright and a California native who studied Film & TV at Loyola Marymount University. Honesty Weekend is her first feature.

For more on the work of Leslie Thomas go to: puttimedia.com

 

Extra Ordinary, Co-directors Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman

Rose, a sweet, lonely driving instructor in rural Ireland, is gifted with supernatural abilities. Rose has a love/hate relationship with her ‘talents’ & tries to ignore the constant spirit related requests from locals – to exorcise possessed rubbish bins or haunted gravel. But! Christian Winter, a washed up, one-hit-wonder rock star, has made a pact with the devil for a return to greatness! He puts a spell on a local teenager- making her levitate. Her terrified father, Martin Martin, asks Rose to help save his daughter. Rose has to overcome the fear of her supernatural gift & work with Martin to save the girl, get the guy and be home in time for a light snack…maybe a yogurt or something… Co-directors Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman join us for a conversation on the making of their oddly endearing, winning comedy about everyday apparitions, Rose, Martin Martin and Christian and reconnecting with their Talents. 

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: crankedupfilms.com/extraordinary

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twitter.com/ExtraOrdFilm
twitter.com/CrankedUpFilms
instagram.com/crankedupfilms

 

“A near-perfect balance of outrageousness and subtlety. It’s a special film with a large imagination.” – Brian Orndorf, Blu-ray.com

“A fun, heart-warming and genuinely funny film, prepare for belly laughs and warm fuzzy feelings. Buoyed by great comedic, chameleon-like performances, and a rich fictional world, Extra Ordinary is extraordinarily charming.” – Kat Hughes, THN

“Extra Ordinary, writing-directing duo Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman’s feature film debut, is a remarkable achievement – a wholly unique cinematic experience that is grounded with a lot of heart.” – Sarah McIntyre, RTÉ (Ireland)

“A cracking debut feature from Irish writer-directors Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian