Lois Vossen is the Executive Producer of Independent Lens and has been with the show since its inception as a primetime series on PBS. Lois is responsible for commissioning new films, programming the series and working with filmmakers on editorial and broadcast issues. Independent Lens films have received 17 Emmy Awards, 16 George Foster Peabody Awards, five Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Journalism Awards and eight Academy Award nominations. The series was honored in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 with the International Documentary Association (IDA) Award for Best Series. Before joining ITVS, Lois was the Associate Managing Director of Sundance Film Festival and Sundance Labs. Lois is a member of the Television Academy Board of Governors, representing the documentary branch. She has served on the jury at Shanghai Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, SXSW, DOC New Zealand and Palm Springs International Film Festival, among others. Under her leadership, films funded or co-produced by Independent Lens include I Am Not Your Negro, Always in Season, Bedlam, One Child Nation, Black Memorabilia, The King, People’s Republic of Desire, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, TOWER, Newtown, Best of Enemies, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, (T)ERROR, The House I Live In, The Invisible War, and The Trials of Muhammad Ali, among many others. Widely regarded as one of the most influential supporters of independent and documentary filmmaking, Lois Vossen joins us for a conversation on the role that Independent Lens /POV and Public Broadcasting has had in maintaining the highest standards for innovative storytelling in non-fiction cinema.
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. 24 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.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, toprovide 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 being launched by Slamdance.
ASHLEY CONNOR is a New York based director of photography. Her work on Josephine Decker’s BUTTER ON THE LATCH and THOU WAST MILD AND LOVELY prompted New Yorker critic Richard Brody to name her, alongside Darius Khonji and Fabrice Aragno, as one of the year’s best cinematographers. Her breadth of style can be seen in work as diverse as Dustin Guy Defa’s PERSON TO PERSON (Sundance ’17) and Adam Leon’s TRAMPS (TIFF ’16), as well as in popular music videos for artists including Jenny Lewis, Angel Olsen and Maggie Rogers. She had two films premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, Josephine Decker’s MADELINE’S MADELINE and Desiree Akhavan’s Grand Jury Prize winning THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST starring Chloe Moretz and Sasha Lane. Most recently she shot two pilots for A24/Hulu and has three more films coming out in 2018: Olivia Newman’s FIRST MATCH (SXSW 2018 Audience Award Winner, Netflix produced), Alex O Eaton’s MOUNTAIN REST and an Untitled Daniel Scheinert film. Ashley Connor stops by for a conversation on her work on Josephine Decker’s Madeline’s Madeline’s Madeline and her Spirit Award nomination for her cinematography.
Featuring a heartwarming performance by Molly Ringwald, ALL THESE SMALL MOMENTS tells the story of a teenage boy’s infatuation with a woman he sees on the bus thatfurther complicates his already tumultuous adolescence. ALL THESE SMALL MOMENTS is firmly rooted in the bewildering tangle of human relationships. A husband and wife who are trying to find their way back to themselves, because they’ve drifted too far and no longer recognize each other; an adult woman and a teenage boy who somehow fill a void in each other; and an almost accidental friendship that grows to be much more. ALL THESE SMALL MOMENTS is a portrait of adolescence and aims to capture a time period that, if we make it out unscathed, defines us. Director and screenwriter joins us for a conversation on the working with a cast of established actors like Molly Ringwald, Brian D’arcy James and Jemima Kirke and young actors like Brendan Meyer, Harley Quinn Smith and Sam McCarthy. Director and writer Melissa B. Miller Costanzo talks about getting her first feature film off the ground, enlisting actress Molly Ringwald to be a part of her project and channeling her own adolescent experiences into the performances of her talented cast.
“A beautifully accomplished first film.” Caryn James, Hollywood Reporter
“All These Small Moments reminded me a great deal of two films in particular: that of the recent Lady Bird and this year’s very underseen and underrated Blame.” – David Fontana, Film Inquiry
“Authenticity of character is All These Small Moments’ strongest suit because each proves honest whether or not their inclusion in the larger story does.” – Jared Mobarak, The FIlm Stage
“Despite being overly tidy and commonplace in its plot, [director Melissa B.] Miller-Costanzo succeeds in deliberately avoiding resolution, and while that’s bound to frustrate people, it’s key to the movie’s payoff.” – Kyle Kohner, The Playlist
Lunacy Productions helmed by prolific producer Stu Pollard is excited debut for you their latest film “Rust Creek,” which is being distributed theatrically by IFC Midnight beginning January 11th, 2019.“Rust Creek” starring Hermione Corfield (“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”), Jay Paulson (“Mad Me”), Sean O’Bryan (“Olympus Has Fallen”), Micah Hauptman (“Homeland”), Daniel R. Hills (“The Resident”), Jeremy Glazer (“Letters From Iwo Jima”), and John Marshall Jones (Con Air”); chronicles the presence of mind and skill an ordinary woman, utilizes while summoning extraordinary courage to survive a nightmare odyssey in this harrowing survival thriller. Thisfilm takes the woman in jeopardy premise and turns it on its head with agility and smarts. This is the latest female driven (both in front of & behind the camera) film from Pollard & his team at Lunacy. Lunacy’s teamareincrediblycommitted to supporting gender parity in filmmaking, producing several films featuring female protagonists (This Is Home, Rust Creek, Short History, Plus One) and working with female filmmakers like Jen McGowan (“Rust Creek”), Ani Simon Kennedy (“Short History of the Long Road”), and documentarian Alex Shiva (“This Is Home: A Refugee Story”) among others. Half of the department heads on “Rust Creek”are women and for many of the female crew, “Rust Creek”was their first feature film or their first opportunity in an elevated position (including DP Michelle Lawler, make-up artist Allie Shehorn, art director Priyanka Guterres, and postproduction supervisor Alex Jensen). Pollard has also directed two features: NICE GUYS SLEEP ALONE and KEEP YOUR DISTANCE. In his spare time he teaches at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and Film Independent. He holds a degree in business from Georgetown and an MFA in film from USC, is a member of the DGA and PGA, and serves on the boards of the Louisville Film Society and GU’s Alumni Board of Governors. Director, producer and head of Lunacy Productions Stu Pollard joins us to talk about his company’s commitment to gender equity on both sides of the camera.
Gilda Radner puts a smile on the faces of people who remember watching her as one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live, where she created and portrayed such now-classic comic characters as Roseanne Roseannadanna, Emily Litella and Lisa Loopner. LOVE, GILDA, directed by Lisa D’Apolito, is a true autobiography, told in Gilda’s words and in her own voice. Working with the Radner Estate, D’Apolito unearthed a collection of diaries and personal audio and videotapes documenting her childhood, her comedy career, her relationships and ultimately, her struggle with cancer. This never-before-seen footage and journal entries form the narrative spine of the documentary, allowing Gilda to tell her own story– through the laughter and sometimes the tears. Incredibly, she was able to find humor in even the darkest of times. Gilda’s spirit lives on in comedy as a female trailblazer who continues to inspire many present day comedic performers, including Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, and Cecily Strong. Also interviewed are SNL original cast members– Chevy Chase, Laraine Newman and Paul Shaffer– as well as, Lorne Michaels (SNL creator and producer), Alan Zweibel (SNL writer), Stephen Schwartz (Broadway composer); Andrew Alexander (CEO of Second City) and long-time friend Martin Short. LOVE, GILDA Director Lisa D’Apolito talks about the unique window her loving film provides into the honest and whimsical world of a beloved performer whose greatest role was sharing her own story.
“A splendid tribute to one of America’s comedy legends.” – J.R. Kinnard, Film Inquiry
“We come away with the portrait of someone who was never just going along for the ride, but who was always questioning and challenging herself, working toward professional excellence and hoping for an ideal romance.” – Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
“‘Laughter – that’s what hugs me and holds me,’ she confides on those muddy cassettes. So does the warm, tender embrace of “Love, Gilda.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times
“All the laughs-as well as the tears-in the too-brief but shining life of a true comic genius are present and accounted for in this essential, intensely moving doc.” – David Noh, Film Journal International
In Director Sebastián Silva latest film. Tyrel,Tyler (Jason Mitchell) and his friend John (Christopher Abbott), two young restaurateurs from New York City, push a car along a back road high on a cold, snowy day in the Catskills Mountains. Tyler and John are on their way to a weekend getaway to celebrate the birthday of Pete (Michael Cera), one of John’s old friends, at a cabin in the woods. Tyler needs the excursion, even though he will be among mostly strangers, because the home he shares with his Puerto Rican girlfriend is packed with her visiting family – and the ailing, elderly mother to whom she is devoted. What could be better than a jocular, beer-soaked weekend in the country with a bunch of his buddy’s friends? Well, nothing … except that an empty gas tank is only the first in a series of discomforting moments Tyler encounters and engenders over the next 48 hours. Writer/director Sebastián Silva’s deploys his signature handheld style probing subtext and body language, TYREL conjures an undeniable underlying tension and it marks his most radical character exploration yet—a timely, provocative, and brilliant observation of the idea of otherness in today’s American climate. Director Sebastián Silva (The Maid, Nasty Baby, Crystal Fairy) joins is for a lively conversation on male bonding, tribalism, race, working with this outstanding cast of actors and undermining expectations.
“CRITIC’S PICK. UNNERVINGLY SHARP, AGONIZINGLY DEAD-ON. The stranger “Tyrel” gets, the more accurate it feels.” – Bilge Ebiri, The New York Times
“Silva’s most political work yet–though it is sly and subtle, the intention is palpable, the emotions elicited all too real, and ultimately, “Tyrel” proves to be a fascinating entry in his body of work.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service
“This is a fast and lean film, an absolute workout for its outstanding cast and a devilish roller coaster ride for audiences.” – Jordan Hoffman, Vanity Fair
“Every time this fly-in-the-buttermilk scenario leans toward satire, it reminds you that you’re really watching a horror movie.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone Magazine
John Maringouin’s brilliant, darkly comedic morality tale examines a wildly ambitious Westerner who tries to get in on China’s tech boom and finds that he may not be up to the task. Texan Jimmy Van Horn (David Zellner) is a cowboy huckster who arrives in the booming city of Shenzhen with a couple of bitcoins and huge ambitions of parlaying them into economic success. Lucky for Jimmy, he’s got a friend holding open the back door to this “accidental Shangri-La” – Bob Grainger (Robert Longstreet) – who’s gotten new teeth, a blonde wig and looks twenty years younger. He promises to do the same for Jimmy in 6 weeks. Director and writer John Maringouin (BIG RIVER MAN) develops a startling visual language in this excitingly fresh, complex perspective on China’s economic growth – and the gold rush mentality it inspires. Director John Maringouin joins us for a free-wheeling conversation about his funny, surreal and enthralling tale of the wild west cowboy capitalism that China is now living through.
“Stylish, comic and shameless, with a gonzo, midnight movie tone.” – David D’Arcy, Screen International
“”Ghostbox Cowboy” truly defies categorization, and remains so unpredictable that no single viewing can resolve the fertile ideas it puts on the table about globalization, innovation, and the role of individuality in a fast-paced world that rejects it.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire
“Fascinating, atmospheric, and utterly strange in ways both good and bad, Ghostbox Cowboy pulls back the curtain on those trying to export the American dream and reaping the whirlwind.” – Joe Blessing, The Playlist
“‘Ghostbox Cowboy’ is fascinating, atmospheric and utterly strange.” – Joe Blessing, The Playlist
WELCOME TO THE MEN’S GROUP is an emotional roller-coaster through the often bumpy inner terrain of the male psyche, as we hear the men open about their lives, sharing truth, telling lies, and revealing secrets they dare not discuss in their lives. WELCOME TO THE MEN’S GROUP is largely inspired by the phenomenon of the “Men’s Movement” of the past 30 years that was championed by writers like the poet Robert Bly and his bestselling book “Iron John” which explored the need for men to reconnect to their authenticity through storytelling, myth and ritualized gathering. WELCOME TO THE MEN’S GROUP takes us inside the intimate dynamic of an all-male support group (Timothy Bottoms, Stephen Tobolowsky, Terence Rotolo, Mackenzie Astin, Joseph Culp, Ali Saam, Phil Abrams, and David Clennon) when they gather one morning for a ritual breakfast and their unique form of male bonding—One Sunday a month, these eight men refrain from beer and football to sit in a circle where they share their personal issues, in the noble hope of becoming a bit more evolved than their fathers. Award winning actor David Clennon (The Right Stuff, Being There, Syriana, Thirtysomething, Missing) joins us to talk about the male psyche, challenges and rewards of working within a strong ensemble cast and the legendary filmmaker Hal Ashby.
“The Hangover this is not. Instead, it explores men trying to support each other but ending up triggering each other, escalating tensions as more and more secrets are revealed until the startling, cathartic climax. Like The Big Chill, it’s ensemble acting at its finest, and like Sideways, it’s an insightful exploration of men’s issues that will appeal to both men and women. The story is complex, beautifully written, deftly filmed.” – New Times
“Welcome to the Men’s Group is full of surprises. It promised to be cutting-edge, but wow, Welcome to the Men’s Group was so much more than I had expected! It will make you laugh, it will make you cry. This is a film that changes the rules.” – Agenda Magazine
In Matthew Atkinson’s debut feature, Room for Rent, our “hero” Mitch Baldwin (Mark Little) is in a deep rut. He lives with his parents and has no intention of leaving. At 18, Mitch won the County Lottery, $3.5M dollars. 12 years later he’s broke, has no friends or love life, and is a laughing stock. With his dad retiring, talk of selling the house pushes tensions to a breaking point. Mitch convincingly suggests renting their spare room for extra cash. Tentative, his parents agree. Quickly, a charming, yet peculiar stranger shows up at their front door willing to pay cash – this is Carl Lemay Brett Gelman). Mitch sets rules for Carl, but the family’s routine is instantly upset. Mitch notices mysterious details about Carl; his car’s license plates are missing, his back story is vague, and he seems set on pushing Mitch out of his comfort zone. Yet Mitch is disarmed by Carl’s charm and confides in him about some of his regrets. To Mitch’s dismay, Carl begins to use the information to undermine Mitch and expose his faults. A battle of wits breaks out and turns into all-out war involving deception, humiliation, spying and revenge. The question is how far are these two prepared to go?Writer and director Matthew Atkinson joins us for a conversation on his entertaining, quirky and funny film with a crackling good ensemble cast (Mark McKinney, Carla Gallo, Stephanie Weir and Patrick J, Adams) of new and veteran performers.
Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom) tells the provocative story of legendary director Orson Welles during the final 15 years of his life. No longer the “wonder boy” of Citizen Kane, Welles in 1970 was an artist in exile looking for his Hollywood comeback with a project called The Other Side of the Wind. For years, Welles worked on his project about an aging film director trying to finish his last great movie. Welles shot the picture guerrilla-style in chaotic circumstances with a devoted crew of young dreamers, all the while struggling with financiers and fate. In 1985, Welles died, leaving as his final testament the most famous unfinished film in movie history. The negative stayed in a vault for decades until now. With revelatory new insights from Welles collaborators including Peter Bogdanovich, Frank Marshall, Oja Kodar and daughter Beatrice Welles, They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead is the untold final chapter of one of the greatest careers in film history: brilliant, innovative, defiant and unbowed. Director Morgan Neville (20 Feet From Stardom, Won’t You Me My Neighbor, Cool School) joins us for a conversation about his hurly-burly look at the making of a ragged masterpiece by cinema’s greatest auteur.
“The impeccably assembled production employs Neville’s virtuoso touch to provocative effect.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times
“For cinephiles, it’s a high-calorie, clip-and-interview-laden feast of biography, insight, and gossip.” – Robert Abele, The Wrap
“Neville’s film may reveal little that hardcore Wellesians don’t already know. But it offers a lively evocation of the great man’s brilliance, waywardness and pained relationship to Hollywood history.” – Jonathan Romney, Screen International
“A fascinating account of an agonizing creative process.” – Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter
“A cinephiles’ delight.” – Kimberly Myers, The Playlist
An inspired labor of love for zine-making (Exploding Cat) teens Sandi Tan, Jasmine Ng and Sophie Siddique, Shirkers was a Singapore-made 1992 cult classic—or it would have been, had the 16mm footage not been stolen by their enigmatic American collaborator Georges Cardona, who disappeared. More than two decades later, Tan, now a novelist in L.A., returns to the country of her youth and to the memories of a man who both enabled and thwarted her dreams. Magically, too, she returns to the film itself, revived in a way she never could have imagined. Shirkersmade its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018, where Sandi Tan received the World Cinema Documentary Directing Award, and went on to tour festivals all over the world, including True/False, HotDocs, CPHDOX, Sheffield Doc/Fest, Full Frame, San Francisco Intl. Film Festival, AFI Docs and more. Director Sandi Tan talks about her 25-year relationship with her friends, then and now, Exploding Cat and her thoughts on losing and then rediscovering a crucial part of her life.
“Wildly delightful… teeming with incident and personality… No amount of caustic self-criticism from Tan can dampen the thrill of witnessing the vibrancy and bounteous energy of everything captured within the frame.” – Eric Hynes, Film Comment
“Shirkers has the handmade delicacy of a scrapbook come to life… [Sandi Tan] has produced a remarkable statement on the formation of a creative identity across many years and life experiences.” – Eric Kohn, Indiewire
Forty years ago, Dorothea (Tyne Daly) and Greta (Elisabeth Henry) moved to the town of Checkford and bought an abandoned bread factory that they transformed into an arts space. Here they host movies, plays, dance, exhibits and artists. It’s where civic groups and immigrant communities can meet, where there are after school programs for children. Now a celebrity couple—performance artists from China—have come to Checkford. They’ve constructed a huge building, the FEEL Institute, down the street. It is a strange sight for a small town. Dorothea and Greta learn about a new proposal to give all the funding from the school system for their children’s arts programs to the FEEL Institute. Without this funding, the Bread Factory would not survive. They quickly rally the community to save their space. The commercial forces behind the FEEL Institute fight also, bringing a young movie star to town to help make their case. The school board meeting turns into a circus where the fate of the Bread Factory hangs in the balance.
Bread Factory, Part Two: Walk with Me a While
Checkford hasn’t been the same since the school board meeting. Mysteriously, the reporter who runs the local newspaper disappears. Bizarre tourists start to show up, then come mysterious tech start-up workers. With all the new people, real estate is booming. Amidst all these distractions, Dorothea and Greta try to continue their work. They are rehearsing a production of HECUBA by Euripides. On the day they open the play, Dorothea gets the news that the Bread Factory will lose an essential piece of their funding. The beautiful opening night performance of HECUBA plays to a tiny audience. Brokenhearted, Dorothea and Greta must decide whether to give up their work at the Bread Factory because their community and support has disappeared, or to continue in their struggle to build community through art.
Patrick Wang was born in Texas, the son of Taiwanese immigrants. He is author of the books THE MONOLOGUE PLAYS and POST SCRIPT, an interactive book about the making of THE GRIEF OF OTHERS.His first film IN THE FAMILY was released to critical acclaim in the US and France and hailed “an indie masterpiece” by Roger Ebert. He was named one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine, and the New York Times remarked, “This is a career to keep an eye on.” Director and writer Patrick Wang joins us for a conversation on his brilliant, funny, touching, humanist rumination on art, relationships and MAY RAY.
Under the guidance of acclaimed South African storyteller, Gcina Mhlophe, five orphaned children from Swaziland collaborate to craft a collective fairytale drawn from their darkest memories and brightest dreams. Their fictional character, LIYANA is brought to life in innovative animated artwork as she embarks on a perilous quest to rescue her young twin brothers. The children’s real and imagined worlds begin to converge, and they must choose what kind of story they will tell – in fiction and in their own lives. This genre-defying film weaves an original animated hero’s journey with poetic documentary scenes to create an inspiring tale of perseverance. LIYANA is a tribute to creativity, the strength of the human spirit, and the healing power storytelling.Critically acclaimed, and executive produced by award-winning actress, Thandie Newton, LIYANA has won more than 25 jury and audience awards and screened at more than 80 film festivals around the world including the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival and MoMA’s Doc Fortnight. Co-directors Amanda and Aaron Kopp join us for a conversation on their enchanting, inspiring and wildly creative film.
John Zbikowski (Michael Kelly) is a down-on-his-luck, small town bookie having a hard time collecting on outstanding debts. After a one night stand with an ex-girlfriend (Pamela Adlon), John strikes up an unlikely friendship with her 12-year old son, Brian (Jesse Ray Sheps), and develops a plan to recoup the money owed to him by taking bets on Brian’s Youth League Baseball games. Written by Timothy Brady and directed by John Hyams, All Square features a line up of first rate actors that include;Michael Kelly (“House of Cards”), Jesse Ray Sheps (Collateral Beauty), Josh Lucas (Home Sweet Alabama), Pamela Adlon (Californication, Louie), Tom Everett Scott, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Yeardley (The Simpsons). Director John Hyams joins us to talk about his funny, messy and endearing story of a man trying hard to not wear his heart on his sleeve.
Winner – 2018 Narrative at Monmouth Film Festival – Best Feature
Winner – 2018 Newport Beach Film Festival – Best Film
Winner – 2018 Newport Beach Film Festival – Best Screenplay, Timothy Brady
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
“Kelly is a king among mordant underplayers. Yulin, a stalwart character actor, is reliably terrific. Adlon and Josh Lucas bring added value to their also-familiar characters.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times
“A casually profane and frequently uproarious working-class dramedy about a small-time bookie who turns a big profit – for a while – by taking bets on Little League games.” – Joe Leydon, Variety
“Kelly gets a well-earned leading man turn in the amiable indie comedy-drama “All Square” playing a surly, but likable bookie in a small Maryland town.” – Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times
“All Square is proof that Hyams is way more than just an “action movie director”, and can work well with a talented ensemble of performers, while still exploring the surface of their universe with a documentarian’s eye for East Coast life.” – Jacob Knight, Birth.Movies.Death.
When Elan and Jonathan lose their beloved grandmother, Annette Ontell, they face a profound question: When a loved one dies, what do we do with the things they leave behind? Housewife, fashion designer, and beloved family member, Ontell lived seven decades in the same house—306 Hollywood Avenue in Hillside, New Jersey. Turning documentary on its head, the Bogaríns embark on a magical-realist journey to discover who their grandmother really was, transforming her cluttered New Jersey home of 71 years into a visually exquisite ruin where tchotchkes become artifacts, and the siblings become archaeologists. By turns elegiac, celebratory, and edgy, with extrapolations ranging from the Rockefellers to Rome, 306 Hollywood moves unexpectedly but inevitably, like a beautiful murmuration of birds. With help from physicists, curators and archivists—and the added inspiration of a decade of interviews with the vivacious octogenarian herself—they excavate the extraordinary universe contained in Annette’s home. 306 HOLLYWOOD playfully transforms the dusty fragments of an unassuming life into an epic metaphor for the nature of time, memory and history Co-directors Jonathan Bogarín (Elan) joins us for a conversation on celebrating family, peering into the unknown, why understanding the past can help us live better in the present.
“The movie’s blend of charm and philosophical inquiry makes it at once structurally daring and a total crowd-pleaser, sure to find appreciative audiences who will see echoes of their own clutter-filled lives in its story.” – Eric Kohn, Indiewire
“One of the more universal and relatable films you’re ever likely to see. It’s such a little story you may wonder about why it was being told at all, except that it’s a story likelyto touch anybody who has ever lost a loved one, which makes it a very big story.” – Daniel Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter
“It’s unforgettable. 306 HOLLYWOOD feels like a whole new way of tackling documentaries. This ‘magical-realist doc’ pushes subjectivity into poetry.” – Tasha Robinson The Verge
“Part biopic, part magical-realist rumination, the two [filmmakers] offer the genre a new format and the ordinary a beautiful homage.” – Deanna Janes, Harper’s Bazaar
Nina Geld is an up-and-comingcomedian in New York City. She’s funny, smart and has worked hard to build a career for herself in the male-dominated world of stand-up. When it comes to romantic relationships though, Nina’s life is a mess. When we meet her, she has picked up a random guy in a bar and brought him home, only to find Joe, a married policeman, waiting for her against her wishes. Unable to stand-up for herself, Nina sleeps with Joe again, bringing up old issues of self-hatred. Nina decides to focus on work and later gets Larry Michaels, producer of the legendary television show, Comedy Prime, to come see Nina’s stand-up. Amazingly, he asks Nina to audition! She will need to create characters impersonations and move to LA to audition. In LA, she meets Rafe Hines, a dream-come-true, quintessential good-guy who makes all of Nina feel good. But when Joe shows up in LA unexpectedly Nina has to deal with her past. Finally confronting the truth in such a public setting has terrifying and unexpectedly liberating consequences. Director / Producer / Writer Eva Vives joins us for a conversation on her sharp-edged, drama about a woman driven by demons, trauma and a dark need to embrace her pain.
“Vives’ filmmaking is confident, threading the needle on some emotionally complex scenes, but the film works because of Winstead’s bravura performance, taking Nina to a place of raw, deep emotional honesty.” – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times
“A striking and at times uncomfortably personal feature debut from writer-director Eva Vives that makes good on its title by not shying away from the emotional damage that makes its protagonist so compelling.” – Peter Debruge, Variety
“The movie is carried by Winstead’s mesmerizingly mercurial performance, and not just because she does pitch-perfect impressions of, among others, Kristen Stewart and Werner Herzog.” – Ella Taylor, NPR
“There are three main reasons you should seek out Nina: The phenomenal Winstead, a refreshing female character that manages to be truly hilarious, and a script that keeps a wonderful balance of humor and pain.” – Kristy Strouse, Film Inquiry
The comedy-drama MORNING, NOON & NIGHT explores a day-in-the-life of six people battling different addictions. The characters feel all-too familiar as they could be your neighbor, your family or even yourself. The film functions as a mirror examining three college students, a history teacher, a lawyer and a top executive as they struggle to make it through a single day. According to director, producer and writer Josh Becker, “Everybody struggles with something. The real question asked is how does anyone get through life? After all, reality is just a crutch for people who can’t handle drugs.” Director Josh Becker joins us to talk about his collaborations with fellow director Sam Rami (Evil Dead, Army of Darkness) and Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, Bubba Ho-tep) and his film’s raw, unflinching farce about the hypocrisies and denials that are the daily reality of people who are living lives in a suffocating bubble.
This Teacher follows a French Muslim woman (Cesar-winnerHafsia Herzi) as she travels to New York City to visit her childhood best friend from the rough neighborhoods outside of Paris. When the reunion proves disastrous, Hafsia steals her friend’s credit card and identity, and disappears to a remote cabin upstate. Deep in the woods and alone for the first time in her life, she experiences a divine revelation of an existence without borders. But when she discovers that she’s not alone on the property, Hafsia’ssojourn in nature gradually descends into a terrifying study of the intolerance and suspicion she encounters and reflects back to an Islamophobic America.Written and directed by Mark Jackson featuring a score composed from the Grammy nominated Dave Eggar, the film stars: Cesar-winner Hafsia Herzi (The Secret of the Grain) Sarah Kazemy (Circumstance) Lucy Walters (Power), Kevin Kane (Inside Amy Schumer), and Lev Gorn (The Americans). Jackson’s previous films have won 17 awards including an Independent Spirit Award and a Gotham Nomination. Jackson is also a Sundance, Cinereach and Skywalker Sound Fellow. Director and writer Mark Jackson (War Story, Without) joins us for a conversation on This Teachers’ premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival, intolerance and not being afraid to love.
This Teacher (LAFF World Premiere screening at September 22nd, 2018 at 4pm (with red carpet media check-in at 3pm) at ArcLight Culver City.
The Wrong Todd – Directed by Rob Schulbaum
Resistant to change, Todd (Jesse Rosen) finds himself at a crossroads when his girlfriend Lucy (Anna Rizzo) is offered a promotion on the other side of the country. Before he can decide whether to stay or go, Todd’s evil twin from a parallel universe arrives to take his place, and Todd must face the prospect of a world without Lucy.With the reluctant help of Lucy’s brother, Dave (Sean Carmichael), Lucy and Todd must confront the barriers to their relationship, their perception of self, and the laws of the universe itself to distinguish the wrong Todd from the right one. The Wrong Todd is a new take on a sci-fi-fi comedy drama with the added bonus of an evil twin from a parallel universe. The Wrong Todd is about championing love, accepting change, and realizing what you’ve taken for granted before it truly is too late.Inspired by the works of Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Harold Ramis (Groundhog Day)The Wrong Toddanswer the question so many people think but never articulate “what is wrong with me?” Starring Jesse Rosen (The Art of Being Straight), Anna Rizzo (Lost in Bloom), Sean Carmichael (Trinity), Derek K. Moore (Ghostbusters), and Erin Rose. Director Rob Schulbaum (Family Guy), joins us to talk about his directorial debut.
We The Coyotes – Co-directors Hanna Ladoul and Marco La Via
Making the films USA debut (it world premiered in the Acid section of Cannes this spring), We The Coyotes by first-time feature filmmakers Hanna Ladoul and Marco La Via, was inspired by the adventure and challenges of their own early days in Los Angeles. Enveloped in the love bubble a young couple, played by Morgan Saylor (Homeland) and McCaul Lombardi (Sollers Point), arrive from their cross-country trip from the midwest to stay with her aunt Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad), where we continually see them encounter the challenges of their first day in Los Angeles.The city is as much a character in this intimate drama as this young couple, as they find their hopes often crushed under the realities of what you encounter in any major city, much less the city of dreams.Not unlike countless twenty-somethings over the decades, our westward-bound couple in We The Coyotes arrive in Los Angeles with half-formed plans and half-empty pockets, but we see how tensions bend and shape them while the will to survive drives them on. Co-directors Hanna Ladoul and Marco La Via stop by to talk about their unvarnished, thought provoking film.
Although Hal Ashby directed a remarkable string of acclaimed, widely admired classics throughout the 1970s—HAROLD AND MAUDE, THE LAST DETAIL, SHAMPOO, COMING HOME, BEING THERE—he is often overlooked amid the crowd of luminaries from his generation. Amy Scott’s HAL is an exuberant portrait that explores that curious oversight, using rare archival materials, interviews, personal letters, and audio recordings to reveal a passionate, obsessive artist. Ashby was a Hollywood director who constantly clashed with Hollywood, but also a unique soul with an unprecedented insight into the human condition and an unmatched capacity for good. His films were an elusive blend of honesty, irreverence, humor, and humanity. Through the heartrending and inspiring HAL, you feel buoyed by Ashby’s love of people and of cinema, a little like walking on water. On camera interviews his many collaborators, including Oscar®-winning actors Lee Grant, Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, Louis Gossett Jr, Jeff Bridges and more recall how they were empowered by Ashby and granted them artistic freedom. Contemporary directors include Alexander Payne, Judd Apatow, Lisa Cholodenko, and David O. Russell attest to the quiet but powerful influence Ashby has had on their own filmmaking. Behind the camera colleagues Norman Jewison, Robert Towne, Haskell Wexler, and Pablo Ferro stand witness to Ashby’s brilliance as a filmmaker and the forces that led to his undoing. Director Amy Scott joins us to talk about her artistic connection to Hal Ashby, as editor and director, and her desire to correct many of the lingering misperceptions of Ashby through her riveting and loving film about a true maverick.
“If there’s still the sense that Ashby isn’t as sanctified as American New Wave stalwarts Coppola or Scorsese, Amy Scott’s breezy tribute of a documentary is out to correct that oversight.” – Robert Abele, TheWrap
“A vivid portrait of artistic integrity and complete commitment to the art of filmmaking.” – J.R. Kinnard
“Hal is a loving tribute to a filmmaker who rarely gets the attention he deserves.” – Brian Thompson, Film Threat
“Just before the documentary slips into hero worship, Amy Scott pries beneath the calm surface of her bearded and bespectacled subject to reveal the silent rage that fueled his work.” – A.J. Serrano, Slant Magazine
One the 2018’s most provocative and wildly entertaining documentaries is Calling All Earthlings. Director Jonathan Berman’s new film explores the Integratron, a mid-century dome created by one-time Howard Hughes confidante, George Van Tassel. Van Tassel claimed to have combined extraterrestrial guidance with the work of inventor/physicist Nikola Tesla and other alternative scientists, to build an electromagnetic time machine he dubbed “The Integratron.” Was he deluded? Or could the dome actually break through the boundaries of space, time, and energy?FBI agents try to halt the growing army of outliers who gather in the desert to create a threatening reality on the edge of the midcentury American Dream. An empathetic enquiry into an archetypical countercultural movement, the story is told by relatives, neighbors, skeptics, believers, scientists, healers, artists, and historians, including Dr. Kevin Starr, the preeminent historian of California; Eric Burdon, musician and area resident, and futurists JJ and Desiree Hurtak. Berman’s film My Friend Paul (2000), about his relationship with his bipolar best friend. He is director and producer ofTheShvitz(1994), a film about the last traditional steam baths in New York. Berman also co-wrote the story for the independent comedy On The Run, andwas the American producer on ClaudiaHeuermann’s Sabbath in Paradise, which featured Harvey Pekar and John Zorn. Director Jonathan Berman’s documentaries explore third places, those beyond home or work.Berman joins us for a lively conversation on his endlessly fascinating film that never fails to educate, enlighten and entertain.
In Andrew Bujalski’s comedyLisa (Regina Hall) is the last person you’d expect to find in a highway-side “sports bar with curves,”– but as general manager at Double Whammies, she’s come to love the place, and its customers. An instinctive den mother, she nurtures and protects her ‘girls’ on the staff fiercely — but over the course of one trying day, her optimism is battered from every direction… Double Whammies sells a big, weird American fantasy, but what happens when reality pokes a bunch of holes in it?
Director Andrew Bujalski’s Statement –It seems like just about the simplest business concept you could imagine — “What if all the waitresses in this restaurant wore tight, cleavage-y halter tops?”— but I couldn’t get over how bizarre it ultimately was. No culture besides present-day America would ever produce mass-scale demand for such a place, a business that seems about 10% strip club and 90% TGI Friday’s / Applebee’s / Chili’s / Cracker Barrel. Strippers are supposed to make men feel like badass transgressors. But these women are just supposed to make you feel normal — the proverbial “red-blooded American male.” You don’t see many stories set in this slice of Americana, and with good reason. It does not lend itself to grand dramatic arcs, or, really, to gut-busting comedy. But it certainly is full of contradictions, and incredibly fertile with opportunities for subtle spiritual conflicts. I couldn’t pretend to untangle these from an insider’s perspective, so I dreamed up a kind of outsider character, Lisa the general manager, to walk in there with a spirit of openness and love — and plenty of her own pathologies–to see what she might discover in there. While it is a very specific story in many ways, I hope that anyone who’s ever worked for a living will relate. Most of us have to buy/sell one crazy “concept” or another to pay our bills, and some days, you’re not sure if your humor and dignity will survive to the end of the shift…
Director and writer Andrew Bujalski (Beeswax, Computer Chess, Results) joins us to talk about his insightful “girl power” comedic drama with a ground-level take on masculine hurly-burly in a vanishing American paradigm.
“Its light, sweetly frisky exterior and easygoing pace camouflages what a subtle and brilliant piece of bracing social commentary it is; a deft portrait of sisterhood existing under the thumb of capitalistic patriarchy.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service
“Hall’s superb, deeply felt performance keeps the movie grounded, allowing the supporting cast to provide hilarious liftoff at regular intervals.” – Mike D’Angelo, AV Club
“Bujalski frames most of Support the Girls as an almost real-time delineation of chaos, but his storytelling elegance – delicate, nearly invisible foreshadowing; cogent evocations of backstory – adds reflective layers to the surface anarchy.” – Danny King, Village Voice
“The sharp-elbowed humor is laced with aching tenderness, tightrope-tense frustrations over money and love, and an underlying mix of social pathologies that bubbles through the show-biz surfaces…” – Richard Brody, New Yorker
“Hall’s performance – tender, tough, empathetic, controlled – crumples from tears to laughter in a blink. It’s phenomenal.” – Amy Nicholson, Variety
First-time filmmaker Bing Liu’s documentary Minding the Gap is a coming-of-age saga of three skateboarding friends in their Rust Belt hometown hit hard by decades of recession. In his quest to understand why he and his friends all ran away from home when they were younger, Bing follows 23-year-old Zack as he becomes a father and 17-year-old Keire as he gets his first job. As the film unfolds, Bing is thrust into the middle of Zack’s tumultuous relationship with his girlfriend and Keire’s inner struggles with racial identity and his deceased father. While navigating a complex relationship between his camera and his friends, Bing explores the gap between fathers and sons, between discipline and domestic abuse, and ultimately that precarious chasm between childhood and becoming an adult. Director Bing Liu joins us for a lively conversation on masculinity, adulthood, the joy of skateboarding and the crippling legacy of domestic violence.
“One of the year’s great, small treasures, Bing Liu’s extraordinary documentary “Minding the Gap” is like a deluxe skateboarding video, yet so much more.” – Jeffrey M. Anderson, San Francisco Examiner
“”Minding the Gap” is a personal documentary of the highest sort, in which the film’s necessity to the filmmaker-and its obstacles, its resistances, its emotional and moral demands on him-are part of its very existence.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker
“With infinite sensitivity, Mr. Liu delves into some of the most painful and intimate details of his friends’ lives and his own, and then layers his observations into a rich, devastating essay on race, class and manhood in 21st-century America.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times
“Even some of the best coming-of-age films cannot capture the beautiful and awful tangible qualities of real life that may only exist in documentaries, and Bing Liu has caught lightning in a bottle.” – Musanna Ahmed, Film Inquiry
Madeline (Helena Howard) has become an integral part of a prestigious physical theater troupe. When the workshop’s ambitious director (Molly Parker) pushes the teenager to weave her rich interior world and troubled history with her mother (Miranda July) into their collective art, the lines between performance and reality begin to blur. The resulting battle between imagination and appropriation rips out of the rehearsal space and through all three women’s lives. Writer/director Josephine Decker has long been an independent filmmaker to admire, utilizing a welcome expressionistic approach that imbues her subjects with a vibrant sense of urgency. Anchored by a virtuoso performance from newcomer Helena Howard, whose powerful screen presence commands attention, Decker’s film displays a rare sensitivity for capturing the messy struggles of discovering a sense of one’s self that defies easy narrative categorization. Producers Krista Parris and Elizabeth Rao joins us to talk about this immersive “psychological horror” narrative, collaboration in creative process, the casting of newcomer Helena Howard.
“An ecstatically disorienting experience that defines its terms right from the start and then obliterates any trace of traditional film language, achieving a cinematic aphasia that allows Decker to redraw the boundaries between the stories we tell and the people we tell them about.” – David Ehrlich, INDIEWIRE
“In her third film, writer-director Josephine Decker confirms her position as the American indie queen of improv, whose self-styled mission it is to push the outer limits of film language into the stratosphere.”Deborah Young, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
“Among its other astonishments, Josephine Decker’s new feature, MADELINE’S MADELINE, does something very simple: it dispels the shibboleth that movies spotlighting strong and original performances differ from ones that innovate at the level of cinematic style. MADELINE’S MADELINE does both, with equal intensity. Decker’s film, in its dramatic contours, is an utterly clear and classical drama about a Queens family.” – Richard Brody, THE NEW YORKER
“One of this year’s headiest, most dazzlingly assured moviegoing experiences.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
In her latest project,SNAPSHOTS, legendary actor Piper Laurie plays family matriarch Rose.. The story will resonate with every person who has lived through the complexity of family relationships, It reminds us that if we are loved no secret is too difficult to hear and accept. Or is it? Rose (Gran) is the matriarch. She has lived in this house for over fifty years. She and her deceased husband Joe raised their daughter Patty in this home. Patty, now a widow in her early 50’s, lives in St. Louis. Each year Patty and her newly married daughter Allison spend a laughter filled girl’s weekend with Gran. This year will be different. Piper Laurie joins us for a conversation on the making of her latest project (Snapshots) in a legendary film career that includes three Academy Award nominated performances (The Hustler, Carrie, Children of a Lesser God) and an Emmy nomination for David Lynch’s groundbreaking television serial (Twin Peaks).
“Performances all around are strong, with Piper Laurie’s Rose taking the lead and directing us through the story’s narrative. We are invited to soak in the retro atmosphere as the story unfolds at a leisurely pace.” – Paul Parcellin, Film Threat