Shira Dubrovner, longtime resident of Mammoth Lakes, is a community organizer and leader, arts advocate, and film lover who followed her lifelong passion for cinema to become the founder of the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival. Shira is also the Artistic Director of this well regarded theatre company. After her experience creating a successful theatre in Mammoth (established at the Edison Theatre, which will serve as one of the key screening venues during this year’s film festival), she decided to introduce the community to her other passion – independent film – by creating the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival. This year’s Mammoth Lakes Film Festival is a five-day festival that screens independent features and shorts in the spectacular setting of Mammoth Lakes—California’s premier mountain resort, high in the Eastern Sierras from May 24 – 28, 2017, Memorial Day weekend. The 3rd Annual Mammoth Lakes Film Festival, taking place in the magnificent mountain setting of Mammoth Lakes, California, has announced its line-up of screenings, which will include premieres, festival favorites and classic films. The five-day festival will take place May 24-28, 2017, beginning on Wednesday with the Opening Night Screening of Cheech and Chong’s much-loved first feature UP IN SMOKE. Tommy Chong, one of its stars as well as its uncredited co-director, will be present for a Q&A after the screening, which is followed by the Gala Opening Night Party at the Sierra Events Center. Saturday evening will feature the SIERRA SPIRIT AWARD CENTERPIECE GALA & SCREENING: A Night with John Sayles. The evening will begin with a screening of his 1983 film BABY IT’S YOU starring Rosanna Arquette and Vincent Spano, followed by a conversation with Sayles and a presentation of the Sierra Spirit Award. Sayles’s credits include THE BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET, MATEWAN, EIGHT MEN OUT, LONE STAR, and THE SECRET OF ROAN INISH, amongst others. In addition to the two classic films representing the work of Chong and Sayles, an additional 18 features will be screened over the five days of the festival. Feature documentary films in competition will include EIGHT (US Premiere), FOREVER B, (World Premiere), THE ISLANDS AND THE WHALES, OLANCHO, RAT FILM, STRAD STYLE and WHAT LIES UPSTREAM. Spotlight Screening Documentaries not in competition will include THE CHALLENGE, DINA, and MACHINES. Feature narrative films in competition will include NEIGHBORHOOD FOOD DRIVE, WITHDRAWN, SPACE DETECTIVE. Foreign films in competition will include COLD BREATH, THE ERLPRINCE, THE FIXER and THE GREAT UNWASHED (U.S. Premiere). The final Narrative Feature, not in competition, will be the rave-reviewed Sundance hit MENASHE, which has been picked up by A24 for distribution. In addition to the Opening Night Gala and the Sierra Spirit Award Event, there is a Filmmakers Bash on Saturday evening at Rafters featuring the band Jelly Bread and the Awards Ceremony on Sunday, May 27 at the Sierra Events Center. Founder and Director Shira Dubrovner joins us to talk about this year’s festival highlights.
In the new documentary Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story, Award-winning director Daniel Raim (The Man on Lincoln’s Nose, Something’s Gonna Live) brings to life a fascinating and moving account of the romantic and creative partnership of storyboard artist Harold Michelson and film researcher Lillian Michelson: two unsung heroes of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story spans the Golden Age of Hollywood through New Hollywood and beyond. It’s a portrait of a time, and an intimate chronicle of their epic journey of life, love, family, and making great movies. Harold and Lillian worked on hundreds of renowned films including The Ten Commandments, The Apartment, The Birds, Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, The Graduate, Rosemary’s Baby, Fiddler On The Roof, Scarface, Full Metal Jacket and many more. Although the couple was responsible for some of Hollywood’s most iconic examples of visual storytelling, their contributions remain largely uncredited. Through an engaging mix of love letters, film clips and candid conversations with Harold and Lillian, Danny DeVito, Mel Brooks, Francis Ford Coppola and others, this deeply engaging documentary from Academy Award®-nominated director Daniel Raim (who first encountered Harold Michelson as a student at the AFI Conservatory in 1997), chronicles their remarkable marriage and extraordinary careers through six decades of movie-making history. Harold and Lillian’s story humanizes Hollywood—an industry sustained by numerous hard-working cinema artisans; master craftsmen and craftswomen who give their lives, their genius and their hearts to the movies. Beyond Harold and Lillian’s contribution to cinema, their story can’t be told without weaving in their 60-year marriage—a creative, challenging, and profoundly loving partnership. Director Daniel Raim stops by for a conversation on his loving tribute to a beguiling pair of artists, partners and lovers.
**100% on RottenTomatoes
Truly charming…A terrifically moving human story!” – Glenn Kenny, Vanity Fair
“CRITICS’ PICK! Charming… Like flipping through misplaced leaves in a photo book, the documentary maintains a free-flowing tone as it uncovers the work that went into creating some of the indelible scenes in Hollywood history.” – Monica Castillo, The New York Times
“For an hour and a half, this charming little movie, with its chatty talking heads and its sweet-natured subjects, offers a glimpse into the lives of two fascinating people whom I had never heard of, and who shared an unlikely life filled with achievements and setbacks, wonder and pain.” – Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice
“One of the very best documentaries ever made about movies…I have rarely seen any movie, fact or fiction, that was quite so suffused with love—movie love and human love—as this one.” – David Noh, Film Journal
“An awesome film… funny, heartbreaking, and packed with delicious film lore.” – Ken Kwapis, Director of The Office
You may have never heard of Bert Berns, but you know the enduring songs he’s written and produced: Twist & Shout, Cry to Me, Tell Him, Piece of My Heart, Cry Baby, Hang On Sloopy, I Want Candy, Everybody Needs Somebody to Love – Berns’ career IS Rock and Roll. Berns sessions made legends of Solomon Burke, The Isley Brothers, The Drifters, Ben E. King, and Wilson Pickett. He helped launch the careers of Van Morrison and Neil Diamond and produced some of the greatest soul music ever made. Filmmaker and son of Bert Brett Berns brings his late father’s story to the screen through interviews with those who knew him best and rare performance footage. Included in the film are interviews with Ronald Isley, Ben E. King, Solomon Burke, Van Morrison, Keith Richards and Paul McCartney. Narrated by E Street Band guitarist Stevie Van Zandt, about the life and career of Bert Berns, the most important songwriter and record producer from the sixties that you never heard of. His premature death at 38 cut short a seven-year streak of hits, rooted in his early Brill Building and 1650 Broadway days, through his tenure at Atlantic Records to the formation and success of his own labels Bang Records and Shout Records. First-time director Brett Berns joins us to talk about a father he never knew and his amazing musical legacy.
“[The] impressive lineup of interview subjects properly tells the story of a man whose contributions to popular music have been largely unheralded.” Noel Murray, LA Times
“It has a ton of heart and a bevy of interesting interviewees who paint a clear and coherent picture of who Bert Berns was inside and outside of the music biz… It’s a must see for any fan, new or old.” Anthony Ray Bench, Film Threat
“If you love the music Berns made, you’ll love this movie; if you don’t, I feel for you, but “Bang!” might nevertheless entertain with its dish.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times
In Tomorrow Ever After Shaina is an historian who lives 600 years in the future. War, poverty, pollution, greed, exploitation, depression, loneliness: these are things that she’s read about in history books. And while she studied this dark period of history, in which money was viewed as more important than people, she has never, in the flesh, seen humans hurting other humans. Until now. While visiting a group of physicists who experiment with time travel, Shaina is accidentally stranded in the year 2015. Here she involves herself with a group of friends who are as lovable as they are flawed. As the harsh realities of their lives unfold, she learns what no history book could have taught her. Old habits, however, are hard to break, and Shaina can’t help but assume that everyone around her is honest, generous, and caring, as she works to recruit the help that she needs to get back home. While most futuristic films depict a dystopia that is even colder and more mechanical than our own, this film takes a bold departure from the sci-fi genre by exploring the possibility of a future in which caring and compassion govern our societies. What if the future of humanity and the planet turns out exactly as we would want it to be? Director and writer Ela Thier joins us for a conversation on her sweet, insightful and humorous rumination on the past, present and hopeful future
“Built around Thier’s dignity and gentle humor… she emanates charismatic warmth and seems genuinely engaged with the film’s theme of compassion in an era of despair.” – Chris Packham, The Village Voice
“Held up brilliantly its premise …Played with touching insight and natural beauty …[Thier] provided me with a new sense of wonder for my fellow humans.” – E. Nina Roth, Huffington Post
“Simultaneously funny and tear-jerking” – Allison Tate, The Advocate
“It is a rare film that insinuates itself so gently into your consciousness, and then opens up like a stealth bomb inside your mind and heart.” – Dorothy Woodend, Alliance of Women Film Journalist
**2016 Fort Lauderdale international Film Festival – Winner Best American Indie**
**2016 Moondance International Film Festival – Winner Best Feature Film and the Audience Choice Award**
**2016 Flickers Rhode Island International Film Festival – Winner Best Director**
In the Jewish religion, a week of sitting Shiva (or mourning the deceased) is called for after a funeral. However, for Eyal and Vicky, a week is hardly enough time to properly mourn the loss of their 25-year-old son Ronnie. A married couple edging into the back half of middle age, the two find themselves reacting to the end of Shiva in markedly different ways. A return to routine seems to be in order for Vicky, a teacher, as she finds herself back at school trying to abruptly kick out the substitute assigned in her stead. Meanwhile, shopkeeper Eyal opts for a total abdication of routine, as he steals his dead son’s bag of medical marijuana, and proceeds to get high, play ping-pong and judge air guitar routines with his neighbor’s stoner son Zooler. As the world refuses to accommodate Vicky and Eyal’s sensitivities during their time of bereavement — taxi drivers are still difficult, neighbors are still obnoxious, and grave diggers are just as indifferent as anyone else in the service industry — the two grieving parents find themselves acting out in outlandish ways as they attempt to regain a sense of control over their lives. Asaph Polonsky’s debut feature ONE WEEK AND A DAY juxtaposes the grieving process against the immutable fact that, despite the most painful losses imaginable, the world stops for no one’s mourning. With endearing performances from Shai Avivi and Evgenia Dodina as Eyal and Vicky, and Tomer Kapon as Zooler, ONE WEEK AND A DAY provides a nuanced perspective on loss that’s as funny as it is insightful. Director Asaph Polonsky joins us to talk about his thoughtful and nuanced film of loss, grieve and resilience.
“Tears of laughter and tears of grief are both in abundant supply in Asaph Polonsky’s uproariously funny and heart-wrenchingly moving ONE WEEK AND A DAY.”Ben Croll, THE WRAP
“The strength of Asaph Polonskys debut feature is that it’s actually a bittersweet comedy-drama in which the pain is as real as the frequent chuckles.” ”Boyd van Hoeij, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
“A sweet and subdued look at the absurdity of life after death.”David Ehrlich, INDIEWIRE
“Asaph Polonsky’s moving, deceptively simple film ONE WEEK AND A DAY looks at that supremely difficult day after the shiva ends.”Hannah Brown, THE JERUSALEM POST
“Polonsky resists easy sentimentalisation…the moments of stillness have real potency.”Wendy Ide, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL
TAKE MY NOSE PLEASE is a seriously funny and wickedly subversive look at the role comedy has played in exposing the pressures on women to be attractive and society’s desire/shame relationship with plastic surgery. More than 15 million cosmetic procedures were performed in the US in 2014. And 90% of them on were done on women. Yet, for those who elect to tinker with Mother Nature, especially for high-profile women, plastic surgery is still a very dark secret. Funny women, though, are the exception. From Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers to Roseanne Barr and Kathy Griffin, comedians have been unashamed to talk about their perceived flaws, and the steps taken to remedy them. TAKE MY NOSE PLEASE follows two comedians as they deliberate about going under the knife. Emily Askin, an up-and coming improv performer, has always wanted her nose refined. Jackie Hoffman, a seasoned headliner on Broadway and on TV, considers herself ugly and regrets not having the nose job offered in her teens. And maybe she’d like a face-lift, as well. As we follow their surprisingly emotional stories, we meet other who have taken the leap – or held out. Putting it all in perspective are psychologists, sociologists, the medical community and cultural critics. And for comic relief and the profundity only comedians can supply. The film includes commentary from Roseanne Barr, Phyllis Diller, the late Joan Rivers,Judy Gold, Julie Halston, Lisa Lampanelli, Giulia Rozzi, Bill Scheft, and Adrianne Tolsch. Director Joan Kroc joins us to talk her engaging. lively, funny and enlightening debut film.
It’s the summer before 6th grade, and Clark (Armani Jackson) is the new biracial kid in a very white town. Discovering that to be cool he needs to act ‘more black’, he fumbles to meet expectations. Meanwhile, his urban intellectual parents Mack (Nelsan Ellis) and Gina (Melanie Lynskey) try to adjust to small-town living. Accustomed to life in New York, the tight-knit family is ill-prepared for the drastically different set of obstacles that their new community presents. They soon find themselves struggling to understand themselves and each other in this new context. Based on a true story, LITTLE BOXES is a poignant comedy about understanding identity, featuring a cast that also includes, Oona Laurence, Janeane Garofalo and Christine Taylor. Director Rob Meyer joins us to talk about his funny, insightful and complex film.
“Even as some of the supporting players and subplots veer toward caricature, the family dynamics at the film’s center remain entirely relatable.“ – Geoff Berkshire, Variety
“Writer Annie J. Howell and director Rob Meyer stack up their woes without making them feel contrived, so when the breakdown comes, it’s real, and it’s heartbreaking.” – Jason Bailey, Flavorwire
“Jackson, Lynskey and Ellis all deliver effortless performances that further illuminate an essential narrative.” – Reel Talk Online
“Countless movies have examined what happens when a country mouse goes to the city; this one shows that leaving a gentrified urban oasis for a small-town world can be just as jolting.“ – Neil Genzlinger
TICKLING GIANTS is a great story about the power of political satire in the face of oppression. In the midst of the Egyptian Arab Spring, Bassem Youssef makes a decision that’s every mother’s worst nightmare… He leaves his job as a heart surgeon to become a full-time comedian. Dubbed, “The Egyptian Jon Stewart,” Bassem creates the satirical show, Al Bernameg. The weekly program quickly becomes the most viewed television program in the Middle East, with 30 million viewers per episode. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart averaged two million viewers. In a country where free speech is not settled law, Bassem’s show becomes as controversial as it popular. He and his staff must endure physical threats, protests, and legal action, all because of jokes. As Bassem attempts to remain on the air, keep his staff safe, and not get arrested, he continues to let those in power know they’re being held accountable. Despite increasing danger, the team at Al Bernameg employ comedy, not violence, to comment on hypocrisy in media, politics, and religion. Directed by Sara Taksler TICKLING GIANTS follows the team of Al Bernameg as they discover democracy is not easily won. The young women and men working on Bassem’s show are fearless revolutionaries, who just happen to be really, really funny. The subject of Tickling Giants, Bassem Youssef joins us for a conversation on the cost and consequences of speaking out.
“Tickling Giants surprises us on several levels. It reveals Egypt’s familiar Arab Spring experience through a lens, that of satiric comedy, which is very different from the way we usually see it. And it has the personal element of Youssef’s involving story.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“Mostly, the movie makes you understand how every society – and ours more than ever – needs people like Bassem Youssef to demonstrate that laughter will always be one of the essential ways to keep power in check.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“There’s a lot to laugh at, and to learn from, in “Tickling Giants,” a documentary that starts off by telling the story of one man and ends up speaking volumes about satire, freedom of expression and political pressure.” – Ken Jaworoski, New York Times
“Media are their own giant, they shape beliefs and create community, instill hope and fear. Perhaps it’s a lesson that will be taken seriously by viewers in the US.” – Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters
Jack (Owen Campbell) is a high school student who lives with his single mother Karen (Mary Stuart Masterson) in a nondescript suburban town. Considered a social outcast and loner, Jack is friendless until Karen’s new boyfriend Tom (Scott Cohen) moves in and brings his son Mark (Charlie Heaton) into their lives. The two outsiders quickly bond and form a tight friendship and, after a chance encounter at a diner, bring fellow student Sarah (Amandla Stenberg) into their group. The three teens become each other’s saving grace until changing relationships and emerging secrets force them to look at themselves and see how far they are willing to go live the lives they choose.
Director Miles Joris-Peyrafitte: “I love movies, but I’ve always struggled with the “coming of age” genre. I think there is something inherently condescending about it. Obviously this doesn’t span across the whole genre; but I think a lot of times when these stories are told by “adults,” there can be this sort of romanticization of youth which misses the things I think are so important about that age, namely the intensity and stakes that every action carries. There isn’t nostalgia in youth, it is immediate and hard. That was really why I wanted to tell this story now, I wanted to make this kind of film while I was still young enough to not miss it.”
U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award Winner – Sundance Film Festival 2016
Official Selection – San Sebastian Film Festival 2016
“Joris-Peyrafitte shows confidence and talent beyond his years, with an artful eye for imagery and a truthful ear for dialogue.” – Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com
“The setup is common enough, but though you can check off the usual ingredients in what follows – sex, drugs, a glance at Kurt Cobain – this is the furthest thing from a social-issue teen drama.” – Ella Taylor, NPR
“Captures the dreamy intimacy of those teenage relationships where boundaries between friendship and love prove porous.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice
“A promising and impressively self-assured debut for 23-year-old filmmaker Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, “As You Are” is crafted with the confidence and skill of a veteran, but also the youthful eye of someone not far removed from his protagonists.” – Geoff Berkshire, Variety
KIKI, a dynamic coming of age story about agency, resilience and the transformative artform that is voguing. KIKI offers riveting and complex insight into the daily lives of a group of LGBTQ youth-of-color who comprise the “Kiki” scene, a vibrant, safe space for performance created and governed by these activists. In this film collaboration between Kiki gatekeeper, Twiggy Pucci Garçon, and Swedish filmmaker Sara Jordenö, viewers are granted exclusive access into this high-stakes world, where fierce Ballroom competitions serve as a gateway into conversations surrounding Black- and Trans- Lives Matter movements. This new generation of Ballroom youth use the motto, “Not About Us Without Us,” and KIKI in kind has been made with extensive support and trust from the community, including an exhilarating score by renowned Ballroom and Voguing Producer Collective Qween Beat. Twiggy and Sara’s insider-outsider approach to their stories breathes fresh life into the representation of a marginalized community who demand visibility and real political power. Following its festival debuts, including a World Premiere at Sundance, KIKI will open in U.S theaters and on VOD starting February 24, 2017 in Los Angeles and in New York on March 1, 2017. Director Sara Jordenö joins us to talk about her vibrant, intimate and liberating new film.
Director Sara Jordenö and stars will participate in Q&A’s after the 7:10 shows and introduce the 9:55 shows at the Monica Film Center on Friday and Saturday, February 24 and 25.
“Exhilarating – a must-see” – Manhola Dargis, NY Times
“Joyous, genuinely inspiring” – Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair
“Wonderfully alive and emotional” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times
“Sad, proud, loud, funny, energetic and affecting” – Fionnuala Halligan, Screen Daily
“It’s an ultimately uplifting film and one that doesn’t patronize or placate” – Lanri Bakare, The Guardian
“KIKI never fails to pay homage to the past historical context of the scene while looking towards its future” – Katie Walsh, The Playlist
A real-life ‘Breaking Bad’ for the psychedelic set, THE SUNSHINE MAKERS reveals the fascinating, untold story of Nicholas Sand and Tim Scully, the unlikely duo at the heart of 1960s American drug counter-culture. United in a utopian mission to save the planet through the consciousness-raising power of LSD, these underground chemists manufactured a massive amount of acid, including the gold standard for quality LSD, ‘Orange Sunshine,’ all while staying one step ahead of the Feds. From the producer of SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN and LISTEN TO ME MARLON, THE SUNSHINE MAKERS premiered last year at the prestigious DOC NYC film festival to critical acclaim. The documentary has thrilled audiences with its stranger-than-fiction look into the lives of two “LSD evangelists.” Director Cosmos Fielding Mellen joins us for a conversation on his clear eyed look back on the good, the bad and the trippy from the golden age of raised consciousness.
“Theirs is a story about the marriage of idealism and criminality, and it’s recounted in amusing and thrilling detail by The Sunshine Makers…the rare documentary to function as time capsule, philosophical inquiry, and rollicking thriller all at once – as well as a cautionary tale about the crazy lengths people will go to experience a heavenly high. Riveting.” – THE DAILY BEAST
“…it’s an astonishing tale…providing further evidence, not that any was needed, that truth is stranger – and oftentimes a lot more fun – than fiction.” – HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
“For a documentary about two men who were big-time drug dealers back in the day, The Sunshine Makers is a quaint, damn-near-adorable bit of nostalgia.” – Craig D. Lindsey, Village Voice
It all began when a group of cheerful, subversive filmmakers weren’t accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. Unwilling to take “no” for an answer, they instead started their own event – Slamdance: Anarchy in Utah. 22 years later, Slamdance has become a year-round organization fostering the development of unique and innovative filmmakers. The organization now consists of the Film Festival, Screenplay Competition and Slamdance Studios. It has also created Slamdance On The Road, a traveling theatrical showcase that brings popular Slamdance films to audiences that otherwise would not have the opportunity to see them. Dan Mirvish, Jon Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn and Peter Baxter are the founding forefathers who, along with co-conspirator Paul Rachman, fought for truly independent filmmakers by giving them a voice in 1995 at the very first Slamdance Film Festival. Since then, the festival takes place every January in the breathtakingly stunning, snow-capped mountains of Park City, Utah at the exact same time as the
Sundance Film Festival, to provide a more authentic representation of independent filmmaking. Up-and-coming writers, directors and producers, alongside seasoned veterans and film lovers, converge for the weeklong celebration of independent cinema, realizing that Slamdance is a great place to find those next, great, visionary films. Slamdance lives and bleeds by its mantra By Filmmakers For Filmmakers. No other film festival in the world is entirely run and organized by the creative force that can only be found in filmmakers. Slamdance adamantly supports self-governance amongst independents, and exists to deliver what filmmakers go to festivals for – a chance to show their work and a platform to launch their careers. The festival has earned a solid reputation for premiering films by first-time writers and directors working within the creative confines of limited budgets. Co-founder and President Peter Baxter joins us to talk about this year’s Slamdance, the groundbreaking films and the innovative new distribution and digital initiatives being launched by Slamdance.
Neil (Michael Johnston) is an introverted, questioning high school freshman. Lacking any friends IRL, his main social outlet is the steamy fan fiction he writes about Vanguard, the brawny, galaxy-hopping hero of a popular sci-fi franchise. When his stories are exposed in class Neil is mortified, but the slightly older, effortlessly cool Julia (Hannah Marks) comes to his defense. An erotic fan fic writer herself, Julia pushes Neil to publish his stories to an online “adult” forum, where they quickly grab the attention of the site moderator, Denis (Michael Ian Black). When Neil is invited to present his work at a comic con live-read event, he has to face the fact that Denis’ interest in him may be more than simply professional… perhaps like his own feelings for Julia. Director Clay Liford stops by to talk about his endearing, beautifully rendered story of angst, creativity and self discovery.
“An effortlessly engaging dramedy that somehow manages to sustain an air of buoyant sweetness even while repeatedly referencing erotic fantasies and sexual anxieties.” – Joe Leydon, Variety
“This sweet-natured coming-of-age movie, written and directed by Clay Liford, is perhaps more complicated than most by having characters whose sexual orientations aren’t settled.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times
“Charming and slightly, beautifully dangerous” – BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH
“Effortlessly engaging” – VARIETY
“Grounded, funny, and relatable” – AIN’T IT COOL NEWS
HARRY BENSON: SHOOT FIRST charts the illustrious career of the renowned photographer who initially rose to fame alongside The Beatles, having been assigned to cover their inaugural trip to the United States in 1964. With unprecedented “behind the scenes” access, Benson captured some of the most vibrant and intimate portraits ever taken of the most popular band in history. His extensive portfolio includes iconic images of Winston Churchill, Bobby Fischer, Muhammad Ali, Greta Garbo, Michael Jackson, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Robert F. Kennedy assassination, and his work has appeared in publications including Life, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Now 86, workaholic Benson has no intention of stopping. Co-director Justin Bare (SCATTER MY ASHES AT BERGDOF’s), joins us for a lively conversation on this charismatic and remarkable artist.
“The film captures not only Harry’s boldness and bravery in pursuing controversial subjects, but also his disarming personality and his ability to achieve intimacy with his subjects.” – Katie Walsh,
“Iconic shutterbug Benson is captured in all his funny, feisty, gritty and graceful complexity in this spellbinder of a doc from Justin Bare and Matthew Miele with images that take the breath away.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“He can shoot fast and make art,” a friend says, and “Harry Benson: Shoot First” makes that point again and again.” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times
“Don’t blink — not even once. That’s the best advice for viewers of the dazzling new documentary Harry Benson: Shoot First.” – Isaac Guzman, Time Magazine
BLUE JAY is the story of former high school sweethearts Jim (Mark Duplass) and Amanda (Sarah Paulson) who have been out of touch for more than 20 years — but by sheer coincidence, they run into each other at a grocery store back in their alpine hometown of Crestline, California. Jim’s mother has died and he’s here to put her house on the market. Amanda is visiting her pregnant sister. They get to talking, first over coffee, then over beer and jellybeans. Before they know it they’re at Jim’s mother’s house, where everything sends them spiraling back into the past. Jim and Amanda’s lives have taken different directions, yet here they are, reconnecting like nothing has changed. This is one of 2016’s best films.
“Though the film largely trains on the simple, dialogue-fueled interaction of two people, it feels more spectacular than theatrical, showcasing the acting prowess of two master performers feeding on mutual chemistry and performative bravado.” – Joey Nolfi, Entertainment Weekly
“Even after twenty years apart, Amanda and Jim can ask each other the questions no one else would dare to, and understand the answers that go beyond words.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice
ASPERGER’S ARE US is the story of the members of the comedy troupe “Asperger’s Are Us,” whose “condition” make it easier to associate with a faceless audience than with their own families. No matter who the crowd, best friends Noah, New Michael, Jack and Ethan have one simple mantra: “We would much rather the audience appreciate us as comedians than people who have overcome adversity.” In this coming-of-age heartfelt documentary, this band of brothers finds themselves at a crossroad. With real life pulling them apart, they decide to plan one ambitious farewell show before they all go their separate ways. People with Asperger’s don’t deal well with uncertainty, and this is the most uncertain time in their lives.
“Asperger’s Are Us” rarely stretches to be funny or poignant or touching, and that makes this documentary all the more of each.” Ken Jaworowski, New York Times
“The four young men at the heart of this documentary will easily find a home in all but the hardest of hearts.” – Kimber Myers, LA Times
“Warm, funny and enormously entertaining.” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru
Director / cinematographer Alex Lehmann was born in France and studied film at Emerson College in Boston. ASPERGER’S ARE US is his first documentary feature, it premiered this year at SXSW and was the first Netflix acquisition of the festival. Alex most recently released BLUE JAY starring Mark Duplass and Sarah Paulson which marked his second collaboration (ASPERGER’S ARE US) with the Duplass Brothers. Alex has mostly worked in the industry as a cinematographer, most recently having shot the upcoming Katherine Keener political drama Little Pink House. He and Mark Duplass met on the set of “The League”, where Alex served as a camera operator. Alex stops by for a lively conversation on is collaboration with Mark and Jay Duplass and the on-set challenges / rewards of shooting and directing and bonding with a troupe of four very funny performers.
When David Wilson’s young wife falls victim to cancer, he is left a single working dad with the sole responsibility of caring for his autistic son. Patrick (Julian Feder), who prefers to be called Po, is a gifted but challenged child who was very close to his mother and unable to communicate his own sense of loss. As father and son struggle to deal with life after mom, they each begin to withdraw. David (Christopher Gorham) is consumed by the high-pressure job he’s close to losing, and Po copes with the bullying in his sixth-grade classroom by escaping into his magical fantasy world, the Land of Color, where he’s just a typical carefree boy with a rich cast of companions. The challenge of serving as the single parent of a special-needs child creates a growing divide between father and son, threatening to separate David and Po permanently. Based on a true story, the bonds of love between a grieving father and son are tested in the most real way in PO. Director / Producer John Asher joins us to talk about this deeply personal story of struggle and renewal.
Po opens in in the Los Angeles area on November 25, 2016 at Laemmle’s Music Hall 3 in Beverly Hills. There will be Q&As opening weekend with director John Asher and star Julian Feder on Friday, November 25 and Saturday, November 26 following the 7:30pm shows and on Sunday, November 27 following the 2:30pm show.
**WINNER** Best Actor – Albuquerque Film & Media Experience 2016
**WINNER** Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking – Music – Newport Beach Film Festival 2016
**WINNER** Best Feature Film – Palm Beach International Film Festival 2016
**WINNER** Breakthrough Feature – San Diego Film Festival 2016
**WINNER** Breakthrough Feature – San Diego International Film Festival 2016
**WINNER** Rising Star, Best Film – WorldFest Houston 2016
**NOMINATED** Best Original Song – Feature Film
Hollywood Music in Media Awards 2016
In Tony Stone’s latest film, Peter and the Farm, Peter Dunning is the proud proprietor of Mile Hill Farm, which sits on 187 acres in Vermont. The land’s 38 harvests have seen the arrivals and departures of three wives and four children, leaving Peter with only animals and memories. The arrival of a film crew causes him to confront his history and his legacy, passing along hard-won agricultural wisdom even as he doubts the meaning of the work he is fated to perform until death. Haunted by alcoholism and regret, Peter veers between elation and despair, often suggesting to the filmmakers his own suicide as a narrative device. He is a tragedian on a stage it has taken him most of his life to build, and which now threatens to collapse from under him. Peter and The Farm sifts through the potential energy of a human life, that which is used and that which is squandered. Imbued with an aching tenderness, Tony Stone’s Peter and The Farm is both a mosaic of its singular subject’s transitory memories and reflections—however funny, tragic, or angry they may be. Director Tony Stone (Severed Ways, Out of Our Minds) joins us to talk about his beautiful, haunting and heartbreaking, film.
Twitter – #PeterAndTheFarm
“FOUR STARS. Dunning recounts spellbinding tales-he’s a hell of a character.” – Nigel Smith, The Guardian
“A BEAUTIFUL DOCUMENTARY with a rueful, cantankerous yet hugely charismatic figure at its center, rendered with a texture as rich as the soil through his fingers.” – Scott Tobias, Variety
“A NEAR-MASTERPIECE. A consistently lively and surprising film. Powerfully sad but very funny, too.” – Noel Murray, A.V. Club
“BEAUTIFULLY OBSERVED. A penetrating portrait of a complicated personality, inseparable from his environment.” – David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
“Entertaining and heartbreaking.” – Noel Murray, Indiewire
Elaine, a beautiful young witch, is determined to find a man to love her. In her gothic Victorian apartment she makes spells and potions, and then picks up men and seduces them. However, her spells work too well, leaving her with a string of hapless victims. When she finally meets the man of her dreams, her desperation to be loved will drive her to the brink of insanity and murder. With a visual style that pays tribute to Technicolor thrillers of the ‘60s, THE LOVE WITCH explores female fantasy and the repercussions of pathological narcissism. Director, writer, producer, editor,, production and sound designer Anna Biller’s 35mm cult feature VIVA and her 16mm art-film shorts have screened at major film festivals and art spaces around the world, and her work has been discussed in academic cinema journals. She is known for her use of classic and outdated film genres to talk about female roles within culture, coding feminist ideas within cinematic aesthetics and visual pleasure. She joins us to talk about her latest film THE LOVE WITCH, and discuss why she made it using only traditional film processes and her interest in emulating the look and feel of classic cinema.
““Biller shot it, ravishingly, on 35mm and furnished every frame with uncanny precision; the result really could pass as a relic of the era. That it’s quite funny and charming seems almost beside the point.”- Calum Marsh, THE VILLAGE VOICE
“Sex, death, Satanic rituals, God-level costume design, and cinema’s greatest tampon joke ensue, as Biller spins an arch but hyper-sincere story about the true price of patriarchy. A spellbinding homage to old pulp paperbacks and the Technicolor melodramas of the 1960s, Anna Biller’s THE LOVE WITCH is a throwback that’s told with the kind of perverse conviction and studied expertise that would make Quentin Tarantino blush.” – David Ehrlich, INDIEWIRE
“At once hilarious and grotesque, with awe-inspiring costume and set designs that hark back to such low-budget curiosities as Hammer horror movies and the erotic cinema of Radley Metzger, Biller’s vision is less nostalgic throwback than genre-recalibration, putting a woman in a position of power as a perpetrator of violence against men.” – Craig Hubert, ART INFO
“A metaphysical astonishment. The costumes and furnishings, Biller’s own handmade versions of the era’s candy-coated extravagances, are as exquisitely arch and theatrical as the performances and the action, which—for all their comic exaggeration—echo with an uncanny symbolic power.” – Richard Brody, THE NEW YORKER
DANNY SAYS is a documentary on the life and times of Danny Fields. Since 1966, Danny Fields has played a pivotal role in music and “culture” of the late 20th century: working for the Doors, Lou Reed, Nico, Judy Collins and managing groundbreaking artists like the Stooges, the MC5 and the Ramones. DANNY SAYS follows Fields from Harvard Law dropout, to the Warhol Silver Factory, to Director of Publicity at Elektra Records, to “punk pioneer” and beyond. Danny’s taste and opinion, once deemed defiant and radical, has turned out to have been prescient. DANNY SAYS is a story of marginal turning mainstream, avant-garde turning prophetic, as Fields looks to the next generation. DANNY SAYS is lead by Fields voice and is largely crafted from over 250 hours of present-day interviews and items from Danny Fields’ immense archive (thousands of photographs, audio cassettes, ephemera). Director Brendan Toller (I Need That Record) joins us for a conversation on the wild, hedonistic, boundary pushing times when Danny Fields was the first and last word on music that changed American culture.
“One of those colorful non-famous characters whom “everyone” knows gets his due in this lively doc celebrating both him and the music scene in which he thrived.” – David Noh, Film Journal International
“Music buffs will want to see all these now-famous folks in their obscure early days. But they’ll come away admiring a man they’ve barely heard of before.” – Noel Murray, LA Times
“Danny Says is that delightful case in film where the subject whose raison-d’etre is explored is an immeasurably influential person you may not have known about.” – Charles Sternberg, Under the Radar
“Rock gadfly Danny Fields’ reminiscences of the 1960s and 1970s are pure gold in Brendan Toller’s documentary.” – Dennis Harvey
1967: the height of the Cold War, Tte CIA suspects there is a Russian mole inside of NASA, sabotaging the Apollo program. They send two young agents on a mission to go undercover, posing as documentary filmmakers to capture NASA’s race to the moon. The real mission – use their access and technology to hunt down the leak. But what they discover is far more shocking than soviet spies… Their government may be hiding a secret about Apollo that could define the decade, and the White House will stop at nothing to silence anyone who learns it. Operation Avalanche, Director Matt Johnson’s follow-up to the widely-acclaimed The Dirties, is another fake documentary film starring Johnson and collaborator Owen Williams, once again as young would-be filmmakers. This time, though, the DV cameras and school-shooting plot are swapped out for 16mm and the faking of the moon landing. Director Matt Johnson and Producer Matthew Miller join us for a conversation on the inspiration for Operation Avalanche , striking the right tone and the wide variety of reactions of filmgoers to the “conspiracy.”
“A bold, imaginative and refreshingly diverting “documentary” that’s occasionally uneven in tone, and most fun and clever when it doesn’t take itself too seriously.” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guide
“Matthew Johnson may not have his big breakout with Operation Avalanche, but there is enough here to suggest that he possesses the triple-threat skills to build a comedy auteur career on the model of (hyperbole alert!) Woody Allen or Albert Brooks.” – Michael Agresta, Austin Chronicle
“A film for nerds, of the film, science and conspiracy variety. The attention to detail is astounding and the obsession with art and history is infectious.” – William Babbiani, CraveOnline
“Operation Avalanche” weaves well-known conspiracy theories into a goofily entertaining satire of youthful ambition co-opted as a tool of government intrigue.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times