November 24, 2017 – Bitch, Director Marianna Palka

In this biting domestic story, Jill, a lonely, unfulfilled housewife with four unruly children, paces on her dining room table with a belt around her neck, contemplating a desperate end. Her husband, Bill, focused on his identity as breadwinner and an affair with a lusty co-worker, is as oblivious to Jill’s growing terror that she will do something destructive as he is to the panic at his unraveling company. Meanwhile, dogs bark and howl through the night, as one persistent mutt continually stalks the family’s yard. When Jill’s psyche finally breaks, she takes on a vicious new canine persona. Marianna Palka writes, directs, and stars as Jill in this dark and provocative film, balancing a whip-smart, deeply unsettling take on the horrors of a crumbling nuclear family with a palpable sensitivity for her character’s plight and perfectly timed comedic flourishes. Jason Ritter delivers a beautifully tragicomic performance as Bill, who’s transformed by bizarre crisis from an indifferent hound of a man entirely untethered from his family to their unexpected emotional anchor. Director and lead actor Marianna Palka joins us in a conversation about her go-for-broke approach to the story and performance.

For news and updates go to: darkskyfilms.com/bitch

Opening November 24th in Los Angeles at the Laemmle’s Music Hall 3

“A satirical scream of rage against patriarchal prerogatives, this feminist horror-comedy, written and directed by Ms. Palka, has a vicious edge… Palka carves a black and biting niche between a man and a woman, a space where chaos and psychological unease demand to be reckoned with.”Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

“Marianna Palka is fearless. She wrote, directed and starred in a movie that has her acting like a rabid dog for most of its duration. It’s a bold move, and one that pays off in a big way.”Meredith Borders, Birth Movies Death

“Vicious feminist satire…Palka recalls Michael Haneke, but with an eye for surreal black comedy that suggests the anything-goes weirdness of Quentin Dupieux.“Eric Kohn, Indiewire

November 24, 2017 – Strad Style, Director Stephan Avelos

It’s a story that beggars belief—a bipolar practitioner of “candle magick” living in a dilapidated farmhouse in rural Ohio with a lifelong obsession for building violins (and covered in tattoos of master builders such as Stradivarius) convinces a world-renowned soloist via social media that he is capable of creating a perfect replica of the world’s most valuable violin, Guarneri’s Il Cannone. A quirky look into one man’s DIY enthusiasm and perseverance when facing down a self-created, impossible task, Strad Style is the feel-good doc of 2017. Stefan Avalos is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Having started his life as a classically trained violinist and knowing the obsessions that are part of the violin-world, he became intrigued with the story of Daniel Houck, while working on a broader documentary about New vs old violins. While this movie is still in process, “Strad Style” emerged as a story that became HIS obsession. Stefan joins us to talk about the making of this magical documentary.

For news and updates go to: stradstyle.com

“One of Slamdance 2017’s documentary treasures, Strad Style is as deeply heartfelt as it is riveting.” – Kathy Zhou, Slugmag

“- irresistible, way-stranger-than-fiction documentary” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

I LOVED LOVED LOVED Strad Style and have not been able to stop recommending it to anyone who will listen. – MoviePro

“a beautifully shot shaggy-dog story with an overcoming-adversity theme and fairy-tale outcome Hollywood would kill for, which leaves audiences applauding through tears.” – Adam Patterson, Film Pulse

“Wonderful; so funny and strange and human. An amazing portrait of a fascinating character, beautifully told with enormous suspense and tenderness.” – Mary Ann Johanson, Film Filosopher

November 10, 2017 – Mr. Fish: Cartooning From the Deep End, Director Pablo Bryant

Provocative, funny, intelligent and fiercely political, audiences had better be ready to dive in for the new documentary feature MR. FISH: CARTOONING FROM THE DEEP END. Directed by Pablo Bryant, will have its NYC Premiere at the DOC NYC 2017. In this documentary we discover the dangerously funny cartoonist Mr. Fish, struggling to make a living in an industry that is dying out. In a world where consumerism is king, and opportunities are few, will this uncensored artist find a way to sell his art, or be forced to sell himself out?  After a rousing, standing ovation laden World premiere, comes word that director Pablo Bryant’s MR. FISH: CARTOONING FROM THE DEEP END has won the 2017 Hiscox Audience Award for Best documentary at at the Austin Film Festival. Director Pablo Bryant joins us for a lively conversation on free speech, our political culture, and the artistic sensibilities of today’s most scathing and insightful political satirist.

For news and updates go to: mrfishmovie.com

Check out Mr. Fish’s art at: mrfishmovie.com/gallery

 

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Screening times:

Sun., Nov. 12, 2017, 4:30 PM – Cinepolis Chelsea Cinemas

Mon., Nov. 13, 2017, 10:15 am – IFC Center

October 27, 2017 – Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold, Director Griffin Dunne

Across more than 50 years of essays, novels, screenplays, and criticism, Joan Didion has been our premier chronicler of the ebb and flow of America’s cultural and political tides with observations on her personal – and our own – upheavals, downturns, life changes, and states of mind. In the intimate, extraordinary documentary JOAN DIDION: THE CENTER WILL NOT HOLD, actor and director Griffin Dunne unearths a treasure trove of archival footage and talks at length to his “Aunt Joan” about the eras she covered and the eventful life she’s lived, including partying with Janis Joplin in a house full of L.A. rockers; hanging in a recording studio with Jim Morrison; and cooking dinner for one of Charles Manson’s women for a magazine story. Didion guides us through the sleek literati scene of New York in the 1950s and early ’60s, when she wrote for Vogue; her return to her home state of California for two turbulent decades; the writing of her seminal books, including Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Play It as It Lays, A Book of Common Prayer, and The White Album; her film scripts, including The Panic in Needle Park; her view of 1980s and ’90s political personalities; and the meeting of minds that was her long marriage to writer John Gregory Dunne. She reflects on writing about her reckoning with grief after Dunne’s death, in The Year of Magical Thinking (winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction), and the death of their daughter Quintana Roo, in Blue Nights. With commentary from friends and collaborators including Vanessa Redgrave, Harrison Ford, Anna Wintour, David Hare, Calvin Trillin, Hilton Als, and Susanna Moore, the most crucial voice belongs to Didion, one of the most influential American writers alive today. Director Griffin Dunne (American Werewolf in London, After Hours) joins us for a conversation on “Aunt Joan” and her fiercely personal body of remarkable body of fiction and non-fiction.

To view Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold go to: netflix.com

 

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“Access is almost everything for a documentary filmmaker, and the entree Griffin Dunne had to his celebrated subject makes all the difference in “Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“A documentary that’s incisive and haunting, like Didion’s best writing.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“This is an intensive appreciation of perhaps the greatest living American essayist, and one of the best ever. It plays like a finely tuned authorized biography.” – Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News

October 27, 2017 – International Documentary Association (IDA) Executive Director, Simon Kilmurry

International Documentary Association (IDA) is fiercely committed to protecting and defending the rights of documentary filmmakers to practice their craft, seek and reveal truth in their films, and make and sell their work freely in a fair marketplace. We strenuously uphold the principles of free speech and believe that documentary films, however provocative they may be, should never be silenced by an authority, corporation or legal system that may feel threatened by their content. Where filmmakers are under fire, and their predicament stands to set precedent for us all, the IDA brings together the weight of our community to fight for their rights in the courts, the press, congress or wherever that threat may lie. IDA is the only group advocating specifically for the documentary filmmaking community. In many ways, this makes IDA’s advocacy work the most important and relevant work we do. If documentary films better inform your world, if you believe in freedom of speech, if you are concerned that the media space grows ever smaller and cherish the diversity that independent voices bring, and if you’re a fan of David (over Goliath) then you probably share our values. Documentary storytelling expands our understanding of shared human experience, fostering an informed, compassionate, and connected world. The International Documentary Association (IDA) is dedicated to building and serving the needs of a thriving documentary culture. Through its programs, the IDA provides resources, creates community, and defends rights and freedoms for documentary artists, activists, and journalists. Executive Director Simon Kilmurry joins us to talk about IDA, the screening series currently underway and the state of documentary filmmaking in 2017.

 

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For news and updates go to: documentary.org

Watch some of the year’s best film through the IDA’s documentary screening series

Support Documentary filmmaking and watch great films by becoming an IDA member

October 20, 2017 Animation is Film, Founder Eric Beckman

GKIDS, the acclaimed producer and distributor of animation for adult and family audiences, Annecy International Animation Film Festival, the world’s leading animation Festival and Market, and Variety magazine, have announced the launch of ANIMATON IS FILM, an annual animation film festival in Los Angeles. The first edition will run October 20-22 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theater in Hollywood (Mann’s Chinese Theater) with a showcase of 20 programs including feature films in competition, special presentations, retrospectives and short film programs. ANIMATION IS FILM aims to fill a gap in the US market by establishing a world class animation festival on par with the major events in Europe and Asia – and locating it in the world capital of animated filmmaking. The Festival will be a vocal advocate  in the heart of Hollywood, for excellence in animation, and for filmmakers who push the boundaries of their art to the fullest range of expression that the medium is capable of. GKIDS and Animation is Film founder Eric Beckman stops by to talk about his love of animation and the endless possibilities for enriching and entertaining filmmaking contained in it.

For information and updates go to: animationisfilm.com

 

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Dates: The festival will be the weekend of Friday, October 20 through Sunday, October 22, 2017.

Location: Films will be screened at 6801 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatre Multiplex on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Click here to meet the filmmakers of Animation is Film

Animation is Film Festival seeks to:

Present a highly selective, annual showcase of the best new works of animation from around the world, with programs for both adults and families.

• Champion and support filmmakers who use animation to pursue unique cinematic visions and who are unconstrained by conventional notions of what animation is capable of.

• Champion and support women filmmakers.

• Champion and support filmmakers from a wide range of cultural, economic, national and geographic backgrounds.

• Have a positive impact on Los Angeles’ diverse communities by making the Festival programs available to the widest range of audiences.

DINA, co-directors Antonio Santini and Dan Sickle and film subject Dina

DINA, an outspoken and eccentric 49-year-old in suburban Philadelphia, invites her fiancé Scott, a Walmart door greeter, to move in with her. Having grown up neurologically diverse in a world blind to the value of their experience, the two are head-over-heels for one another, but shacking up poses a new challenge. Getting married in a few weeks and there’s still so much to do. She has to move her boyfriend, Scott, from his parents’ house to her apartment, and settle him in to only the second home he’s ever had, all while juggling his schedule as an early morning Walmart door greeter. She has to get her dress, confirm arrangements with the venue, and make peace with her family, who remain nervous for their beloved DINA, after the death of her first husband and the string of troubled relationships that followed. Throughout it all, in the face of obstacles large and small, DINA, remains indomitable. She’s overcome tragedy and found the man she wants and is bent on building the life for herself that she believes she deserves. DINA captures the cadences and candid conversations of a relationship that reexamines the notion of love on-screen. DINA is unstoppable, a force of nature, and as the star of her own life story, she’s an unconventional movie protagonist the likes of which hasn’t been seen before. Co-directors Antonio Santini and Dan Sickle join us to talk about their empathetic, moving and enveloping documentary.

For news and updates go to: dina.film

facebook.com/TheDinaMovie

 

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**Winner – Grand Jury Prize – US Documentary – 2017 Sundance Film Festival

“DINA comes from a deep place of love…Alternately comic and tragic and best when its both at once, DINA humanizes a world of people who were only dehumanized because we allowed them to be… Whereas most docs about ‘different’ people are content to flatter our empathy, DINA aims to deepen it.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire 

“We come to understand that the camera’s distance from its subjects as an act of respect that allows the complex, funny, and indomitable personalities to shine through.” – Christopher Gray, Slant Magazine

“A sensitive snapshot of two ordinary people on the autism spectrum who are determined to carve out a meaningful future together.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

“The rapport between the filmmakers and their principal characters is so comfortable, it occasionally feels as if we are watching a scripted film.” – Peter DeBruge, Variety

School Life, Co-directors David Rane and Neasa Ni Chiandain

This observational documentary follows a year in the lives of two inspirational teachers at Headfort, the only primary-age boarding school in Ireland. Housed in an 18th century estate, school life embraces tradition and modernity. For John, rock music is just another subject alongside Maths, Scripture and Latin, taught in a collaborative and often hilarious fashion. For his wife Amanda, the key to connecting with children is the book, and she uses all means to snare the young minds. For nearly half a century these two have shaped thousands of minds, but now the unthinkable looms: what would retirement mean? What will keep them young if they leave? Co-directors David Rane and Neasa Ni Chiandain stop by to talk about gaining the trust of a remarkably dedicated couple who have given their lives to the students and a way of life at Headfort and the joy of documenting an academic culture that celebrates and elevates young minds.

For news and updates go to: schoollifefilm.com

 

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Opens in Los Angeles on Friday, September 15 at the Laemmle Monica Film Center

“‘School Life’ is as charming, intimate and warm-hearted an observational documentary as you’d ever want to see.”  – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“The filmmakers demonstrate mastery of documentary style by achieving an extraordinary level of on-camera comfort with their subjects, intimate access where everyone seems unaware they are being filmed.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat

“It’s the kind of school that could never exist in today’s America: It’s too freewheeling, too unstructured. Maybe it won’t exist in Ireland much longer either, so it’s a good thing that School Life manages to capture its weird, wonderful world.” – Josh Modell, AV Club

“A celebration of the importance of teachers and putting faith into the next generation of kids, School Life is quite the pleasing little documentary.” – Alex Lines, Film Inquiry

August 11, 2017 – Ingrid Goes West, Director Matt Spicer

Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) is an unhinged social media stalker with a history of confusing “likes” for meaningful relationships. Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) is an Instagram-famous “influencer” whose perfectly curated, boho-chic lifestyle becomes Ingrid’s latest obsession. When Ingrid moves to LA and manages to insinuate herself into the social media star’s life, their relationship quickly goes from #BFF to #WTF. Built around a brilliantly disarming performance from Aubrey Plaza, Ingrid Goes West (winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at Sundance) is a savagely hilarious dark comedy that satirizes the modern world of social media and proves that being #perfect isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Director Matt Spicer joins us to talk about his scalpel sharp tale about celebrity and validation.

For news and updates go to: ingridgoeswestfilm.com

“Plaza shines here in her most multifaceted role to date, fearless in her willingness to take Ingrid to cringe-worthy depths with a chameleonic precision.” – Jen Yamato, Los Angeles Times

“Shiny pop satire with a humming undercurrent of existential dread, Ingrid Goes West is a clever, corrosive little trick of a movie, a neon candy heart dipped in asbestos.” – Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

“Matt Spicer’s social media satire is a bonbon spiked with wit and malice. Plaza and Olsen, both toxic perfection, show us a nightmare world of Insta-obsessives that’s all too recognizable as our own.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“It is entertaining, and often touching, even if it pulls back right when it should be going totally nuts.” – Bilge Emir, Village Voice

August 11, 2017 – The Last Dalai Lama?, Director Mickey Lemle

 

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For over a thousand years, Tibetan Buddhist psychology has taught techniques for overcoming negative, afflictive emotions, such as anger, greed, jealousy, sloth and ignorance.  In the film THE LAST DALAI LAMA?, His Holiness explains that Tibetan Buddhism is both a religion and a “science of the mind”; he also shares his crystallized understanding of the nature of mind, and its part in the creation and alleviation of all of our suffering.  Believing that this precious wisdom belongs to the world, twenty years ago The Dalai Lama challenged a select group of world-renowned Neuroscientists and Mind/Brain researchers to look into the workings of the mind, and to prove scientifically that “Tibetan Buddhist technologies” for overcoming afflictive emotions are skills that can be learned by anyone. The Dalai Lama commissioned Dr. Paul Ekman and his daughter Dr. Eve Ekman to come up with an “Atlas of Emotions” as a way of understanding the effects of emotions on having a tranquil mind.  Being able to recognize the patterns, triggers and responses to emotions is the first step in dealing with them.  In a moving sequence with a high school class in British Columbia, His Holiness The Dalai Lama is able to share his passion for the subject. His urgency and dedication come through in THE LAST DALAI LAMA? as he now turns 82, and must deal with the questions of aging and death, and whether he will reincarnate as The Dalai Lama, or if he will be the last of the lineage that has existed for a millennia. Director Mickey Lemle joins us to talk about his three decade friendship with His Holiness and the profound impact he has had on  politics, culture and a deeper understanding of our shared human nature.

For news and updates go to: thelastdalailamafilm.com/

The Last Dalai Lama opens on Friday, August 11 at the Laemmle Monica Center in Santa Monica for tickets and showtimes

Join Director Mickey Lemle for a Q & A following the Friday, Saturday and Sunday 7:30pm screenings

“You want the chance to bask in his presence and come out with a heightened sense of what he’s about. “The Last Dalai Lama?” accomplishes that, and with an offhand eloquence, though it’s a sketchy, catch-as-catch-can movie …” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“A surplus of wisdom and benevolence radiates from “The Last Dalai Lama?”’ – Helen T. Verongos, New York Times 

“The more an audience member sees the beauty left in the Buddhist leader’s wake, the more it become clear that his influence has the power to continue generations beyond his passing.” – Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle

August 4, 2017 – Some Freaks, Director Ian MacAllister McDonald

When high school senior Matt (Thomas Mann) meets fellow outcast Jill (Lily Mae Harrington), he falls more in love than he thought possible. However, after graduation comes and Jill moves cross-country to go to college, she loses more than 50 pounds and changes her appearance entirely – much to Matt’s surprise when he arrives to visit her six months later. While Matt struggles to accept Jill’s new choices, Jill begins to question whether Matt is really the man she wants to date. As the distance widens between them, the characters are propelled onto a collision course with brutality and loss, forcing them to confront who they are, who they were, and who everyone thinks they’re supposed to be. Also starring Ely Henry, Lachlan Buchanan, and this feature by writer-director Ian MacAllister-McDonald. McDonald joins us to talk about his touching, heartfelt feature film debut.

For new and updates go to: somefreaksthemovie.com

Special added event: Please join us for a Q&A session after the 7:20PM show on Friday 8/4. Participants will be writer/director Ian MacAllister-McDonald along with cast members Thomas Mann, Lily Mae Harrington, Ely Henry, and Lachlan Buchanan.

!00% on Rotten Tomatoes

Facebook @SomeFreaksfilm

Twitter@SomeFreaksFilm

Instagram@SomeFreaksFilm2016

“All the actors are good, but Harrington is remarkable. It’s not just the physical changes in her character, but the genuineness with which she inhabits her”. – Billy Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic

“Playwright Ian MacAllister-McDonald’s debut feature is a refreshingly grounded, unsentimental yet empathetic slice of D-list teenage life that goes a bit overboard in its final act.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“The characters are authentic and deeply felt.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat

“Brittle and beautifully-acted and cleverly written “find your tribe” high school romance.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

July 21, 2017 – Swim Team, Director Lara Stolman

 

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SWIM TEAM is a feature documentary chronicling the rise of a competitive swim team made up of diverse teens on the autism spectrum. Based in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, the cast of SWIM TEAM is largely Latino and Asian, minorities that are underrepresented in competitive swimming and underserved in autism intervention and education. SWIM TEAM follows three of the team’s star athletes, boys on the cusp of adulthood as they face a future of exclusion and dependence. But everything changes when they come together as a team with parent coaches who train them with high expectations and zero pity. As the team vies for state and national Special Olympics championships, SWIM TEAM captures a moving quest for inclusion, independence  and a life that feels winning. Director Lara Stolman joins us for to talk about the struggles and triumphs of Mikey, Kelvin and Robbie and the people who love them.

For news and updates go to: swimteamthefilm.com

“The breaststroking, freestyling young athletes in “Swim Team” couldn’t be more different in terms of personality, drive, appeal and, of course, developmental challenges, and it gives this film from Lara Stolman its particular character, heart and verve.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“Swim Team is long enough to break and warm your heart in equal measure – which is about what you’d expect from a documentary about teenagers with autism who are training to compete in the Special Olympics.” – Ella Taylor, NPR

“This isn’t “just” a film about special needs. It’s about special kids – and the very special adults who advocate for them.” – Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger

“Well paced and well produced, Swim Team is engaging throughout and would be easy to enjoy as light viewing, but there’s more going on beneath the surface.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

Lost in Paris, co-directors Fiona Gordon and Dominique Abel

 

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Filmed in Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon’s signature whimsical style, LOST IN PARIS stars the filmmakers as a small-town Canadian librarian and a strangely seductive, oddly egotistical vagabond. When Fiona’s (Gordon) orderly life is disrupted by a letter of distress from her 88-year-old Aunt Martha (delightfully portrayed by Oscar nominee Emmanuelle Riva) who is living in Paris, Fiona hops on the first plane she can and arrives only to discover that Martha has disappeared. In an avalanche of spectacular disasters, she encounters Dom (Abel), the affable, but annoying tramp who just won’t leave her alone. Replete with the amazing antics and intricately choreographed slapstick that has come to define Abel and Gordon’s work, LOST IN PARIS is a wondrously fun and hectic tale of peculiar people finding love while lost in the City of Lights. Co-directors Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon join us to talk about their warmhearted, funny and embracing ode to love.

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

“Gordon and Abel incorporate elements of lighthearted musicals and silent-film comedy (a scene atop the Eiffel Tower evokes the derring-do of Harold Lloyd) and provide themselves plenty of opportunities to stretch their pliant, wiry physicality.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice

“An exquisite miniature puzzle-box pop-up-book of a movie. All is color and light and exhilaration here, a fantastical lark that is sheer mischievous joy.” – MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Philospher

“Cruel comic mishaps may be this movie’s raison d’être, but they are softened at every turn by the gentle humanity of the city’s inhabitants, and by the unspoken sense that everything will turn out fine in the end.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

“Rather than reinventing the wheel, Abel and Gordon keep turning it with their own intimate touch.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

“Always inventive and occasionally hilarious.” – Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

** LAFF – Your Own Road, Director Brandon Buczek

 

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An idealistic recent film school graduate with few local professional options takes a road trip from Ohio to Los Angeles with his anxious best friend, his troubled high school sweetheart, and a hitchhiker hippie, to chase his dream of becoming a filmmaker. Your Own Road is about not letting extenuating circumstances determine your path in life. Brian (ASHTON MOIO) wants to make films but whether it’s his parents’ wishes, his geographical location, or just his self-doubt, the world seems stacked against him. Brian hits the road to break away from what is expected of him and pursue what he truly wants out of life. Along for the ride is his best friend Dan (AMIR MALAKLOU) whose whole  life is structure and routine until his   abusive ex-girlfriend dumps him and his plans go out the window. Brian also “accidently” invites his next-door-neighbor and hormer crush, Ally (CORTNEY PALM), who abuses prescription drugs to deal with her depression from caring for her grandmother with Alzheimer’s. Along the road they meet vibrant characters none more so than Ariel (KYM JACKSON), an Australian hitchhiker hippie who is not all that she seems, who they pick up in Colorado going in no place in particular. Each one of these characters takes the journey to California for unique reasons but they all find their inner selves traveling through such a diverse and sometimes scary country. Director and writer Brandon Buczek joins us to talk about his debut film world premiere at the 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival.

** Screening at the Los Angeles Film Festival 

For news and updates go to: filmindependent.org/la-film-festival

Instagram: @yourownroadfilm

Catching Feelings, Director / Writer Kagiso Lediga

Max  Matshane  (Kagiso  Lediga),  is  a  34-year  old  author  who  wrote  a  South African bestseller  in  his  20’s,  but  whose  star has  waned  and  now  finds  himself  as  a disgruntled  professor,  teaching  creative writing  at  the  local  university. Max  lives in  a  leafy  Johannesburg  suburb  with  his exceptionally  beautiful  wife,  Samkelo (Pearl  Thusi),  whose  career  is  on  the  rise as a reputable  journalist. Despite  their love  for  each  other,  their  relationship has  hit  a  rut.  Max  now  spends  his  time at  dinners  and  events,  musing  over  his frustrations  with  his  key  conspirator  and sounding  board,  Joel  (Akin  Omotoso), who  himself  has  his  hands  full  with  an illicit affair. A  wintery  Johannesburg  sets  the  scene, as  it  brings  with  it  a  very  successful  and flamboyant  author,  Heiner  Miller  (Andrew Buckland),  who  abandoned  South  Africa for greener pastures and now returns to  do  a  residency  in  Max’s  department.  But  after  Heiner  suffers  a mild  heart  attack, Max is  forced  to  bring him into his own home to recuperate. Instantly,  tensions  rise  as  the  infectious joie  de  vivre  of  Heiner  is  set  on  a  collision course  with  the  mundane  life  that  Max and  Sam  have  cultivated.  With  new questions  about  love  and  truth  thrust upon  them,  Max  and  Sam  are  faced  with an  unexpected  crossroad,  as  they  search for reason and purpose to life. Director and writer Kagiso Lediga joins usto talk about his edgy, sophisticated and funny feature and its debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival.

Los Angeles Film Festival Screening Time:

Sunday, June 18th at 6:10pm (ArcLight Culver City)

For news and updates go to: bigdog.digitalworkshop.tv/CatchingFeelings or go to: diprente.co.za/portfolio/catching-feelings

facebook.com/FeelingsMovie

Radio Dreams, Director Babak Jalali

 

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RADIO DREAMS, winner of the 45th Rotterdam International Film Festival’s Tiger Award, is the newest feature film from Iranian-British director Babak Jalali (FRONTIER BLUES). RADIO DREAMS creates the bizarre yet very real world of PARS-FM – a Farsi-language radio station broadcasting from the heart of San Francisco. The story unfolds over a single day as the station’s program manager, Hamid – a brilliant, misunderstood Iranian writer (played by the “Iranian Bob Dylan” Mohsen Namjoo) – prepares for a triumphant broadcast – a live performance pairing Metallica and Kabul Dreams, Afghanistan’s first rock band. Meanwhile, Hamid must juggle a dysfunctional mix of on-air talent, station managers, and performers while fending off the owner’s plans to wrest control of the station. RADIO DREAMS brings to life the sometimes bizarre experience of immigrants pursuing dreams in the U.S.A. with the perfect mixture of honesty, art, and socio-political topicality served up in an ingenious, offbeat transmission.

For news and updates go to: radiodreamsthemovie.com

facebook.com/radiodreamsmovie

WINNER – Tiger Award for Best Picture – 45th Rotterdam International Film Festival
WINNER – Best Director – Tarkovsky International Film Festival
WINNER – Best Actor – Durban International Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION – Viennale, Milano, Munich, San Francisco, and Seattle International Film Festivals

Screenings in Southern California:

Opens in the Los Angeles area on Friday, June 9 

at Laemmle’s Ahrya Fine Arts (Beverly Hills)

at Laemmle’s Town Center (Encino)

and at Edwards Westpark 8 (Irvine)

“The quirky setups, oddball interactions and erratic conflicts … provide ample doses of amusement and provocation to keep things afloat.” – Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times

“There are traces of early Wim Wenders in this story of immigrants adrift in a world not their own, trying to make the best of things.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

“Royami is the heart of the film: It is his sincere and artistically principled dream of a musical union between East and West, between Metallica and Kabul Dreams, that fuels the film’s engine.” – Catherine Bray, Variety

“The film examines, with wit and patience, the hard work of community-building – and the toll on someone far from home, doing work that’s not his calling.” – Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast, Director Danny Gold

 

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If You’re Not In The Obit, Eat Breakfast asks the question, “What’s the secret to living into your 90s – and loving every minute of it?” In this feature documentary, irrepressible writer-comedian Carl Reiner (who shows no signs of slowing down at 95) tracks down several celebrated nonagenarians, and a few others over 100, to show how the twilight years can truly be the happiest and most rewarding. Among those who share their insights into what it takes to be vital and productive in older age are Mel Brooks, Dick Van Dyke, Kirk Douglas, Norman Lear and Betty White. Adding spice to this inspiring documentary are admirers from the younger set, including comedian Jerry Seinfeld (who’s already reserved the stage at Caesar’s Palace for his 100th birthday show), longevity expert Dan Buettner, and Van Dyke’s much-younger wife Arlene, who’s got all she can handle keeping up with her exuberant husband on the dance floor. Directed by Danny Gold, If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast is an entertaining look at how we all can overcome our society’s fear of aging, and how anyone, with a good dose of humor, can live well into their 90s.

For news and updates go to: If You’re Not the Obit, Eat Breakfast

Premiere Airing on HBO – June 5th at 8 PM 

“If only every inspirational documentary could be as delightfully diverting as “If You’re Not In the Obit, Eat Breakfast” …” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times

Eliza Sherman’s Revenge, Director / Writer Gregory Fitzsimmons

 

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Ten years ago, Eliza Sherman was humiliated by people she thought were her friends. Now, after an unorthodox encounter, she finds herself newly endowed with special powers.  So she decides to lure her old nemeses to a house in the Hollywood Hills under the guise of a birthday party for ’80s heartthrob Richard Grieco. By spiking the salsa, she brings about a drug induced slumber party — trapping everyone in the house with a good, old-fashioned forcefield.  Battle lines are drawn, and relationships are put to the test. Eliza’s plans to punish her houseguests repeatedly go awry as her powers prove to be no match for fate.  She must conquer her ego and stop screwing up the space-time continuum if she wants to find peace, and ultimately win the heart of her one true love. It’s twenty-four hours of mayhem, marijuana, Mexican food, and (almost) murder in this pitch-black, supernatural revenge comedy. Forgiveness is overrated. Director Gregory Fitzsimmons joins us to talk about his  quirky, off-kilter time-warped comedy.

For news and updates got to: elizashermansrevenge.com

Dances With Films

Saturday June 3, 9:30pm – TCL CHINESE THEATRE – HOLLYWOOD, CA  

Buster’s Mal Heart, Director Sarah Adina Smith and Producer Jonako Donley

 

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Buster’s Mal Heart is a bold thriller peppered with dark humor and interlocking mystery, an eccentric mountain man is on the run from the authorities, surviving the winter by breaking into empty vacation homes in a remote community. Regularly calling into radio talk shows — where he has acquired the nickname “Buster” — to rant about the impending Inversion at the turn of the millennium, he is haunted by visions of being lost at sea, and memories of his former life as a family man. Buster (Rami Malek) was once Jonah, a hard-working husband and father whose job as the night-shift concierge at a hotel took its toll on his psyche and, consequently, his marriage to the sensitive Marty (Kate Lyn Sheil) — until a chance encounter with a conspiracy-obsessed drifter (DJ Qualls) changed the course of their lives forever. As the solitary present-day Buster drifts from house to house, eluding the local sheriff at every turn, we gradually piece together the events that fractured his life and left him alone on top of a snowy mountain, or perhaps in a small rowboat in the middle of a vast ocean — or both, in this visceral mind bender that will provoke discussion long after it turns your world upside-down. Director and writer Sarah Adina Smith and Producer Jonako Donley join us to talk about her wildly entertaining tale.

For news and updates go to: bustersmalheart.com

“A film that’ll break your heart as much as it’ll scramble your brains.” – Paste

“A dark psycho-horror drama that pulls you relentlessly further into the abyss.” – Monsters and Critics

“A storyboard of surreal puzzle pieces that snap together then suddenly split apart.” – The New York Times

“An affecting brainteaser with echoes of Lynchian dissociation.”  – John Defore, Hollywood Reporter 

“Fantastic, thought-provoking, off-beat, and hilarious.” – Ryland Aldrich, Screen Anarchy 

“Genre bending… touching and terrifying.” – Kalyn Corrigan,  Birth.Movies.Death 

Malek has the range to be utterly charming, utterly creepy, or both at once.” – Geoff Berkshire, Variety

“Unclassifiable… a bold, original thriller” – Stephen Saito, The Moveable Fest

Mammoth Lakes Film Festival – Shira Dubrovner, Founder and Festival Director

 

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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 SMOKETommy 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 OUTLONE 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 CHALLENGEDINA, 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.

For ticket sales and updates go to: mammothlakesfilmfestival.com

Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story, Director Daniel Raim

 

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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.

For news and updates go to: Harold and Lilian: A Hollywood Love Story

**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

Bang!, The Bert Berns Story, Co-director Brett Berns

 

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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.

For news and updates go to: bangthebertbernsstory.com

facebook.com/bangthebertbernsstory

“[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

Tomorrow Ever After, Director / Writer Ela Thier

 

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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 

For news and updates go to: tomorroweveraftermovie.com  

“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**

One Week and 1 Day, Director Asaph Polonsky

 

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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.

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

“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

“A sweet and subdued look at the absurdity of life after death.” – David Ehrlich, INDIEWIRE

“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 

“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…A Joan Kron Film, Director Joan Kron

 

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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.

For news and updates go to: takemynoseplease.com

See “Take My Nose Please” next Thursday evening (5:15 PM) at Big Newport Theatre in Fashion Island for the Newport Beach Film Festival

Check out a recent article from the Wall Street Journal on Take My Nose Please