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
Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood is the deliciously scandalous story of Scotty Bowers, a handsome ex-Marine who landed in Hollywood after World War II and became confidante, aide de camp and lover to many of Hollywood’s greatest male — and female — stars. In the 1940s and ’50s, Scotty ran a gas station in the shadow of the studio lots where he would connect his friends with actors and actresses who had to hide their true sexual identities for fear of police raids at gay bars, societal shunning and career suicide. An unsung Hollywood legend, Bowers would cater to the sexual appetites of celebrities – straight and gay – for decades. In 2012, he finally spilled his secrets in the New York Times bestselling memoir “Full Service,” which revealed a dramatic, pre-Stonewall alternate history of Hollywood. While the studio PR machine were promoting their stars as wholesome and monogamous,Bowers was fulfilling the true desires of many of them. This cinema-vérité documentary tells his story, as well as presents eye-opening takes on icons from the Hollywood Golden Age including Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Lana Turner, Ava Gardner and many more. Director Matt Tyrnauer (Studio 54, Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, Valentino: The Last Emperor) joins us for spirited conversation on the days when the Hollywood PR machine mattered more than the lives of the artist who made it successful and the role Scotty Bowers played in breaking that stranglehold on them.
“Scotty” is more than just a portrait of the man, also serving as a history lesson on how the film industry once tried to project a repressive, clean-cut image to satisfy moral watchdogs” – Tim Grierson, Screen International
“A nicely filled-out look at different eras, one secrecy-ridden and dedicated to the preservation of illusion, the other wide open and blasé about personal predilections.” – Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter
“There’s plenty of gossip to be found here, but there’s also no shortage of humanity.” – Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
“The present-day footage is more compelling than any of the gossipy bits, which turn out to be the hook that pulls the film into more fraught and complex directions.” – Kevin Ritchie, NOW Toronto
“’Scotty and the Secret History’ is a fascinating portrait that neither lionizes nor judges its subject. It merely lets you take him for what he is.” – Jason Bailey, Flavorwire
Netflix newest series Dark Tourist is the latest project of New Zealand journalist / filmmaker David Farrier, (Tickled), the doc that uncovered an unbelievable tickle fetish empire. In the new NETFLIX series, Farrier travels around the world trying to find the most dangerous and scariest experiences available to tourists. In the show we see a wounded Farrier going into an eerie hospital, being at the center of a war zone, a man breaking a statue on his own head, a killer named Popeye holding the gun at someone, and a woman telling Farrier to stay back because she doesn’t want him to be “possessed.” In one Los Angeles based episode Farrier is warned that he’ll be hurt, drowned, and buried. And yet nothing seems to deter this intrepid thrill seeker. Dark Tourist Director and creator David Farrier joins us to talk about the where, why and WTF of his newest adventure.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s most beloved creations. The frolicking tale of lovesick young aristocrats, energetic but inept rustics, and mischievous woodland spirits is a staple of stage and screen. In the past, filmed adaptations have emphasized the play’s traditional, Elizabethan qualities. This production however is a fresh and stylish reinvention that takes an entirely different approach.The story takes place in present day Hollywood – a place where glamorous stars, commanding moguls, starving artists and vaulting pretenders all vie to get ahead. Hollywood is sometimes called “The Dream Factory,” and like the world of Shakespeare’s Dream, it’s a place where fantasy and reality collide.In the tradition of Baz Luhrmann’s rapturous reimagining of Romeo + Juliet, this modern vision breathes new life into a classic tale. Combined with a cast of established and emerging stars, as well as a pulsing original soundtrack, the film will appeal to ardent fans of the Shakespeare as well as audiences discovering Shakespeare for the first time. Director and screenwriter Casey Wilder Mott talk with us about the challenges and rewards of re-imagining one of the Bard’s most endearing plays.
“If you’re hoping to see a production just like the one that would have been done in 1596, this ain’t it. But Mott’s version is a hell of a good time in its own right.” – Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com
“Mott’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” may not have a high bar to reach to be better than average as filmed Shakespearean comedies go. But by any standard, it’s a modest, resourceful and unexpected delight.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety
“Darned if Casey Wilder Mott’s feature directorial debut doesn’t prove to be a disarmingly effective, visually vibrant frolic.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times
“Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth and indulge in a film I feel certain Shakespeare himself would enjoy.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat
“A vibrant dose of California dreamin’.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter
Izzy is the textbook definition of a hot mess. She wakes up hungover from a one-night stand, puts on her stained clothes from the night before and plans to start yet another aimless day. That is, until she finds out that her ex is getting ready to celebrate his engagement to her former best friend. Izzy has to make it to the other side of town to break them up, and nothing will stand in her way. Further proving that she’s one of the most promising new actresses working today, Mackenzie Davis plays Izzy with a manic energy that is utterly electrifying. Featuring a killer supporting cast made up of Carrie Coon, Haley Joel Osment, and Alia Shawkat,Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town is a chaos-filled ride through Los Angeles, one that introduces a bold new voice in indie cinema. Director and writer Christian Papierniak talks about the making of his kinetic, off-kilter vehicle for the amazing MacKenzie Davis and working with a brilliant cast of supporting performers.
Izzy Klein has (barely) graduated from college, broken up (sorta) with her boyfriend, and is stranded in New York City with a bad case of pre-real-world millennial-itis. Unsure of what the next step is, her movie star little sister Sabrina convinces her to move back home to Los Angeles and into her shared apartment with movie star boyfriend Sebastian, where they can keep an eye on rudderless Izzy. Emotionally unable to deal with the loss of her father, and slightly distracted by her mother Deb’s newfound love affair with loopy yogi Amythyst, Izzy funnels her energy into dating a colorful bouquet of five complicated and spectacular men: Aaron, Ross, Logan, Mikey, and Charlie, over the course of the next year. Coping just barely with the help of her trusty notebook, she falls in and out of some not so romantic romances, and figures out that when it totally feels like the end of your story, it’s often just the beginning. Written by Madelyn Deutch and directed by Lea Thompson (Some Kind of Wonderful, Back to the Future) The Year of Spectacular Men is a charming, beguiling observational comedy about family, relationships, and facing an uncertain future. Director Lea Thompson joins us for a lively conversation on working with her daughters, Madelyn and Zooey, independent filmmaking, and the joys of creativity.
In the hip Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook, single dad and record store owner Frank played by Nick Offerman (Parks and Rec) is preparing to send his hard-working daughter Sam played by Kiersey Clemons (Dope) off to college, while being forced to close his vintage shop. Hoping to stay connected through their shared musical passions, Frank urges Sam to turn their weekly “jam sesh” into a father-daughter live act. After their first song becomes an Internet breakout, the two embark on a journey of love, growing up and musical discovery. In addition to Offerman and Clemons, Hearts Beat Loud also stars Ted Danson (Cheers), Sasha Lane (American Honey), with Blythe Danner (Meet the Parents) and Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine). Director Brett Haley sits down for a conversation on the power of music, the bond of a dad and daughter and his endearing, funny and touching film, Heart Beat Loud.
“Hearts Beat Loud steals your heart, makes it beat faster and you’ll love this story out loud.” – Jamie Broadnax, Black Girl Nerds
“Both actors are capable of projecting nuclear levels of charisma, so it’s fun just to watch them share the screen.” – Jason Bailey, Crooked Marquee
“The real charm isn’t in the way the story unfolds, but in the human moments shared onscreen. Offerman and Clemons feel at first like an unlikely pair, but their chemistry is genuine.” – Neil Miller, Film School Rejects
“Kiersey Clemons proves she’s the real deal. As for the film around her, Haley’s 21-drum solo salute to the passage of time is, like Frank, merely fine.” – Amy Nicholson, Variety
“Hearts Beat Loud will put a spring in your step. The music is great, the story is heartwarming, plus Offerman and Clemons make a great father/daughter duo.” – Fred Topel, Monsters and Critics
Directed by Slamdance Film Festival co-founder Dan Mirvish (BETWEEN US) from a long-lost script by Oscar/Pulitzer-winning cartoonist and screenwriter Jules Feiffer (Mike Nichols’ CARNAL KNOWLEDGE, Robert Altman’s POPEYE) based on characters that date back to 1957, BERNARD AND HUEY is the story of roguish Huey (David Koechner, ANCHORMAN) and nebbishy Bernard (Oscar-winner Jim Rash, THE WAY WAY BACK), who are unlikely collegiate friends in late 1980s New York. Years later, a bedraggled Huey crashes at Bernard’s upscale bachelor pad. As the two reconnect, Bernard falls in love with Huey’s estranged daughter Zelda (Mae Whitman, GOOD GIRLS), an aspiring graphic novelist who’s got a seductive new creative partner, Conrad (Eka Darville, JESSICA JONES). Huey slowly gets his mojo back and tries to seduce the various women in Bernard’s life, including his off-again girlfriend Roz (Sasha Alexander, RIZZOLI & ISLES) and colleague, Mona (Nancy Travis, SO I MARRIED AN AXE MURDERER), while reconnecting with his ex-wife(Bellamy Young, SCANDAL) and brother (Richard Kind, ARGO). As Bernard and Huey return to their old ways, at least one of them finds himself in danger of marrying a woman old enough to be his wife. An award-winning film that’s screened at over 25 festivals in 5 continents, BERNARD AND HUEY is a particularly timely story of two men behaving badly, and the smart women who rein them in. Director Dan Mirvish joins us for a conversation on getting older, acknowledging that we get older, love, romanced the genius of Jules Feiffer.
In this raucous new comedy, Social Animals Zoe Crandle’s life didn’t exactly turn out the way she planned. She’s facing eviction, her business is going under and she is resigned to a life of one-night stands. Just when it seems her whole world is unraveling, she meets Paul, a fellow loveable loser, and the pair have an instant connection. There’s only one problem, Paul is married. With help from her best friend, Zoe devises a plan to save her business and salvage her love life. Social Animals is an honest, uncompromising comedy of modern relationships that stars Noël Wells, Josh Radnor, Aya Cash, Carly Chaikin, Fortune Feimster and Samira Wiley. Director and writer Theresa Bennett stops by to talk about the perils and rewards of low budget filmmaking and working with a talented cast of rising talents.
“‘Social Animals’ has its funny business and lightness, and the picture’s comfort with sexuality is refreshing, but there’s realism just underneath the surface that’s intriguing.” – Brian Orndorf, blu-ray.com
“This rom-com from writer and first-time director Theresa Bennett is easy viewing.
Street Food Cinema is the ultimate outdoor movie experience! Founded in 2012 by the dynamic husband and wife team of Steve Allison & Heather Hope-Allison, Street Food Cinema has developed a strong community of entertainment and food enthusiasts across Los Angeles. Every Saturday throughout the summer, Street Food Cinema features beloved cult classic movies on a huge 50 foot screen alongside LA’s favorite food trucks like Cousins Maine Lobster, Street Kitchen LA and Churro Stix as well as emerging music artists such as Alex G., Past Action Heroes and The Urban Renewal Project: punctuated with themed audience games hosted by professional comedians to complete the interactive experience. Their Season 6 opener in 2017 was the worlds biggest La La Land screening AND the biggest Street Food Cinema to date at over 5,000 attendees. With their visionary idea to take the outdoor movie experience to fully inclusive night out –they incorporated a variety of fascinating food trucks, pre-movie live entertainment and cool interactive experiences to massive audience appeal in three major markets: Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix. Their 7th season offers so many exciting titles, beginning with the incredible 2018 Oscar nominees“Get Out” and “I, Tonya” on May 5th,“The Greatest Showman” on June 16th, “Lady Bird” on July 21st and “Coco” on October 27th. As well as anniversary screenings for beloved fan favorites “Dazed & Confused” starting our season on April 28th, “The Land Before Time” on May 19th, “The Big Lebowski” on June 9th, “Mrs. Doubtfire” on June 16th, “Stand and Deliver” on June 23rd, “The Sandlot” on June 30th, “Grease” on July 21st, “Mamma Mia!” on August 4th, “Casablanca” on August 25th, “The Wedding Singer” on September 1st, “Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist” on September 8th, “Practical Magic” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” on September 29th and “Twilight” and the original cult classic “Halloween” on October 13th. We’ll also debut our first double-feature PJ party“The Craft” & “Teen Witch” on September 15th and many more great films. Co-founder of Street Food Cinema Heather Hope-Allison (Steven Allison) joins us to run down the upcoming films, where they will be screening and all of the family-friendly options available to film lovers in Southern California.
When UCLA Film & Television Archive launched its annual UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema in 1990, it was the first showcase for new Iranian films in the U.S. It has been a platform for exciting new voices in cinema as well as a dialogue to foster cultural understanding—and in that time Iranian filmmakers have moved to the forefront of the cinematic world. It has also been a barometer of global politics. In partnership with Farhang Foundation, this year’s UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema offers Los Angeles the chance to see a stellar lineup of new Iranian films that includes four Los Angeles premieres and three U.S. premieres, along with the revival of a modern classic. From fraught intimate relationships to big social issues, these expertly crafted films reveal the complexities – and universalities – of contemporary Iran. The annual celebration, now entering its 28th year, showcases the best in contemporary Iranian Cinema. Paul Malcolm is the film programmer for UCLA Film & Television Archive where he began in 2007. He was an associate programmer of feature and short films for the Los Angeles Film Festival 2006-2010. As adjunct faculty at Chapman University, he has taught classes on the history and aesthetics of 3D cinema and film reviewing at Chapman University. He was also assistant film editor and film critic for the LA Weekly from 1998-2006. Malcolm graduated from USC with a BA in journalism and he received his MA in Film Studies from UCLA. He is a Sundance Institute Arts Writing Fellow (2001).
Visual Communications, the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center, announced its outstanding program of films and events for the upcoming 34th edition of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) running MAY 3 – MAY 12, 2018. The all encompassing annual film celebration is presented across Los Angeles in West Hollywood, Downtown LA, Little Tokyo, Koreatown, and Hollywood. Visual Communications proudly celebrates the Film Festival’s 34 years as Southern California’s largest and most prestigious film festival of its kind. LAAPFF launches the celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month through this year’s slate of over 100 films from both Asian Pacific American and Asian international artists. For over three decades, the Festival has presented nearly 5,000 films by Asian Pacific American and Asian International talent. This year, 39 feature films and 79 shorts from the over 800 submissions will be showcased during the ten-day fest. The Festival opens with the Los Angeles premiere of Aneesh Chaganty’s feature debutSEARCHING starring John Cho and Debra Messing giving audiences an early chance to see the movie that took the NEXT audience award and the Alfred P. Sloan award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Other programs includeCENTERPIECE FILMS will feature two outstanding world premieres with IN THE LIFE OF MUSIC and FICTION & OTHER REALITIES. Centerpiece Films will be presented on Saturday, May 5th at the Aratani Theatre at the Japanese American Community and Cultural Center (JACCC) in Little Tokyo – Downtown Los Angeles. The CLOSING NIGHT FILM will be the Los Angeles premiere of the acclaimed 2018 Sundance World Documentary Special Jury Award winner MATANGI/ MAYA/ M.I.A., directed by Stephen Loveridge. Inspired by her roots, M.I.A. created a mashup, cut-and-paste identity that pulled from every corner of her journey; a sonic sketchbook that blended Tamil politics, art school punk, hip-hop beats and the voice of multicultural youth. Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival Co-Director David Magdael will join us to talk about this years’s exciting festival line up.
Centuries ago, many cultures believed the Earth was a flat disc. As scientific thought and technology evolved, the Earth was revealed to be a globe, a view that’s widely accepted today—but not by everyone. In Daniel J. Clarks feature documentary, Behind the Curve explores the internet fueled resurgence of the flat Earth movement. These conspiracy theorists deny the scientific model of the globe and join together through conventions, forums and online platforms to discuss their belief system. On the other end of the spectrum, the scientific community aims to counter this resurrected myth, resulting in an ever- growing public battle of conspiracies and anti-intellectualism. Giving a well-rounded look at all sides of the debate, Behind the Curve shows that no matter where you stand on this issue, the conversations and people around it are anything but flat. Director Daniel J. Clark joins is to talk about all of the various factions and personalities that make up flat-earth society and his film’s debut at the 2018 Hot Docs Film Festival.
“Unlike a few other films about people who hold questionable beliefs, Behind The Curve is a remarkably clear-eyed look at the Flat Earth movement, in which people around the globe (but mostly in America) labour to convince the rest of us that our planet is flat – more like a terrarium, really – but sinister forces have gone to elaborate lengths to keep it quiet.” – Norman Wilner, NOW
Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami is an electrifying journey through the public and private worlds of pop culture mega-icon Grace Jones.The documentary contrasts musical sequences with intimate personal footage, all the while brimming with Jones’s bold aesthetic. A larger-than-life entertainer, an androgynous glam-pop diva, an unpredictable media presence – Grace Jones is all these things and more. Sophie Fiennes’s documentary goes beyond the traditional music biography, offering a portrait as stylish and unconventional as its subject. Taking us home with her to Jamaica, into the studio with long-time collaborators Sly & Robbie, and backstage at gigs around the world, the film reveals Jones as lover, daughter, mother, and businesswoman. But the stage is the fixed point to which the film returns, with eye-popping performances of “Slave to the Rhythm,” “Pull Up to the Bumper,” “Love is the Drug,” and more. Jones herself has said watching the film “will be like seeing me almost naked” and, indeed, Fiennes’s treatment is every bit as definition-defying as its subject, untamed by either age or life itself. Director Sophie Fiennes (Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, Legend of Leigh Bowery) joins us to talk about the dynamic in-concert performances, her access to Grace and her startling candor concerning her public and private life and the critical recognition the film has garnered.
“Brilliantly and beautifully engaged in the present. A sparkling example of how to document our icons. Allows us to appreciate the reality of the artist in her most candid moments, in her own words, which is way more interesting than what we’d find in yet another standard biopic.” – Daisy Jones, VICE
“Pure energy, fierce, and empowering. If you want a rock-n- roll, sexy, feel good, empowering film, pull up to the theater in your most audacious outfit and get ready for the Grace Jones experience.” – The Huffington Post
“A celebration of art and life. Jones herself has promised the film ‘will be like seeing me almost naked.’” – Michael-Oliver Harding, Interview Magazine
“A sumptuous sensory treat.” – Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter
“A true testament to the power of style.” – Caitlin Agnew, The Globe and Mail
“The film feels as epic as the artist herself. A mix of concert doc and intimate verité, Fiennes has crafted a film that feels like Stop Making Sense via Frederick Wiseman. As an intimate look at Jones the film succeeds, as a powerful testament to her talent the film soars.” – Jason Gorber, BirthMoviesDeath