The Idol, Director Hany Abu-Assad

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“The Idol” is two-time Academy Award nominated Director Hany 
Abu-Assad’s new film. Hany is only one of three foreign language 
filmmakers nominated for two Oscars in this century! “The Idol” which World Premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival is an inspirational, upbeat, crowd-pleasing change-of-pace based on the true story of the young man who escaped from Gaza into Egypt (and finally Lebanon) for a chance to be crowned Arab Idol champion. To so many with conflict, destruction and despair but to Mohammed Assaf, and his sister Nour, Gaza is their home and their playground. It’s where they, along with their best friends Ahmad and Omar, play music, football and dare to dream big.  For Mohammed and Nour, nothing less than playing the world famous Cairo Opera Hall will do. It might take them a lifetime to get there but, as Mohammed will find out, some dreams are worth living for. Along the way, Mohammed will experience tragedy and loss. The world around him will shatter. Mohammed knows he has a rare gift. Mohammed auditions for Arab Idol, the most popular show in the Arab world, are taking place in Cairo. Somehow, he finds a way and makes it in front of the judges in Egypt. From there, destiny awaits, a chance to change his life and give a voiceless people the greatest feeling of all: the freedom to love, live and feel free. Director and writer Hany Abu-Assad joins us for a conversation on the challenges and rewards of bringing this revelatory story to life.

For news and updates go to: adoptfilms.com/the-idol

“Mr. Abu-Assad, who wrote the script with Sameh Zoabi, mounts an idealistic appreciation of music as a way of bridging boundaries through a unifying appeal to beauty, gliding past differences in the soulful pleasure of song.” – New York Time

“It’s about art overcoming setbacks and bringing happiness to a region beset by troubles, the sort of cheerful story that speaks a universal language to any audience.” – Minneapolis Star

“Assaf’s 2013 Arab Idol victory occurred around the time the campaign in this week’s Weiner began, and both are recent period pieces about how the media can influence politics, for good and ill. The Idol ends on a far more hopeful note, to put it mildly.” – SF Weekly

Friday, May 20, 2016 – Weiner, co-directors Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg

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Anthony Weiner was a young congressman with one of the most promising careers in Washington when a sexting scandal forced a humiliating resignation. Made with unprecedented access as he mounts his New York City mayoral campaign, WEINER is a thrilling look inside his impending political meltdown. What begins as an unexpected comeback takes a sharp turn once Weiner is forced to admit to new sexting allegations. As the media descends and dissects his every move, Weiner desperately tries to forge ahead, but the increasing pressure and crippling 24-hour news coverage halt his political aspirations dead in their tracks.  WEINER teeters between political farce and personal tragedy.  Filmmakers Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg stop by for a conversation on how gaining the trust and confidence of Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner has given us a remarkably complex and nuance window into one of the highest profile and most tragic political scandals of the last 20 years.

For news and updates go to: ifcfilms.com/films/weiner

A “you are there” doc shot and edited with a bent toward dramatic, cinematic storytelling. – Noel Murray·A.V. Club

Directed by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg from a structure they hammered out with Eli B. Despres, Weiner is a tabula rasa doc — one of the most provocative of its kind I’ve seen. – David Edelstein·Vulture

A fly-on-the-wall account of scandal-plagued former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner’s failed 2013 bid to become mayor of New York. – Geoff Berkshire·Variety

The rise, fall, rise and fall again of an American politician with a quick wit and even quicker Twitter fingers. – Gersh Kuntzman·New York Daily News

“One of the best documentaries ever made about a political scandal. Weiner is nothing less than a true American tragedy – but this hilarious and humbling portrait rightly sees him as so much more.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone

Margarita with a Straw, Director Shonali Bose

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In Margarita with a Straw Indian writer/director Shonali Bose beautifully portrays the story of a luminous Indian teenager with cerebral palsy who leaves her homeland to study in New York, falls in love with a young blind woman, and begins a remarkable journey to self-discovery and independence.  Bose was inspired to write this humane story by her cousin’s experience with cerebral palsy. Margarita with a Straw features award-winning performances from some of India’s most acclaimed actors, including Kalki Koechlin as Laila in a remarkable and life affirming portrayal.  Margarita with a Straw is told with insight and humor.  Director Shonali Bose joins us for a conversation on censorship, changing perceptions within her home country of India on same sex relations and how her own life experience inspired the making of this warm hearted film.

Official Facebook page for Margarita with a Straw

For news and updates go to: margarita-with-a-straw

Margarita, With a Straw California is opening on May 20th at:

LOS ANGELES. Arena Theater in Hollywood. Arena Cinema in Hollywood

On Friday May 20 there is a pre-screening reception at 7pm and a Q&A with Director Shonali Bose following the 7:40pm show. Join her for Q&A’s after the following showtimes: Sat 4 pm, Sun 5 25pm.

“MARGARITA WITH A STRAW is an unexpected delight of charm and substance.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“An acting triumph. Kalki is amazing . . . her spirit flying as she tastes the delights and dilemmas, from crushes to creative pushes, of a college student’s life.” – Times of India

“A coming-of-age tale that treats its subject with the sensitivity it deserves …” – The Huffington Post

“Emotionally direct study of disability and sexuality… Big issues handled with dignity.” – The Guardian

Fursonas, Director Dominic Rodriguez

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Approaching a community filled with so many rumors and misconceptions is no easy task. FURSONAS  director Dominic Rodriguez is not without his own biases, but instead of attempting to deny this fact, he faces it head on, unafraid to be shot down by his subjects. FURSONAS is a whistleblower film that oscillates between the fantastic and the unusual, with moments of awe and wonder slapped against harsh reality. The audience can delight in infiltrating the fun and sometimes-dark secrets of an escapist group. Whether or not you’ve heard of furry fandom, this documentary transcends its bizarre premise to tell a universal story of identity and community. Like a small town in Middle America, you’ll find friends in the most unusual places and unexpected enemies around every corner. Unlike a small town in Middle America,  you’ll find furries. FURSONAS was directed by first-time filmmaker Dominic Rodriguez.  Dominic, also a Furry, stops by to talk about the ins and outs of Furrydom, AnthroCon, Furry issues and perceptions and his own journey into this outré world.

Gravitas Ventures will release the film on VOD and across all other digital platforms on May 10, 2016.

For news and updates go to: ursonasdoc.com

Summer of 8, Director Ryan Schwartz

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Ryan Schwartz’s debut film, SUMMER OF 8 follows a group of close friends as they soak up their last day of summer before parting ways for college. On the beach at dawn, the friends ask themselves a question: what would make their last twenty-four hours together “perfect?” In turn, each confronts what weighs on their minds and the college-bound comrades settle in for one final sun-kissed day…and revelry-filled night. When the next dawn breaks, the friends part ways knowing they may never recapture the perfection of their final day, or the bonds they are leaving behind. A heartfelt and engaging film that includes a strong ensemble of rising stars; Carter Jenkins, Shelley Hennig, Matthew Shively, Natalie Hall, Michael Grant, Bailey, Noble, Nick Marini, Rachel DiPillo and Sonya Walger. According to director / writer Schwartz “You only get to make your “first film” once, and I wanted this film to be personal, touching and meaningful. I have always loved the wonderful lineage of coming-of-age “high school” films because they provide an opportunity to explore so many universal themes.” Director and writer Ryan Schwartz joins us for a conversation on the exhilaration and fear of the unknown, working with a group of committed young actors and making a decision and not looking back.

World Premiere – 2016 Newport Beach Film Festival

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Friday, April 8, 2016 – A Space Program, Creator Tom Sachs

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In A Space Program, internationally acclaimed artist Tom Sachs takes us on an intricately handmade journey to the red planet, providing audiences with an intimate, first person look into his studio and methods. The film is both a piece of art in its own right and a recording of Sachs’ historic piece, Space Program 2.0: MARS, which opened at New York’s Park Avenue Armory in 2012. For Space Program 2.0: MARS, Tom and his team built an entire space program from scratch. They were guided by the philosophy of bricolage: creating and constructing from available yet limited resources. They ultimately sent two female astronauts to Mars in search of the answer to humankind’s ultimate question… are we alone? Directed by Van Neistat, A Space Program is a captivating introduction to Sachs’ work for the uninitiated, and required viewing for his longtime fans. Creator Toms Sachs talks about bricolage, creating an intimate theatrical experience and the importance of Tea Ceremony and intergalactic relations.

See Tom Sachs: Tea Ceremony at the Noguchi Museum starting March 23, and Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective, 1999-2016 at the Brooklyn Museum starting April 21.

SHOW & TELL at The Cinefamily Theater
“A Curated Night of Industrial Films” with Tom Sachs & Van Niestat Friday, April 8, 2016 

For news and updates go to: zeitgeistfilms.com/film/aspaceprogram

“An alternately entrancing and amusing documentary-fiction hybrid that marries existential questions with absurdist humor.” Nick Schager·Variety

“Whatever else the film carries, it packs some serious whimsy.” Daniel M. Gold·New York Times

“Documenting Tom Sachs’s art project that imagined a journey into space, this is a funny, invigorating and inspirational ode to being the cleverest kid in the room.” Jordan Hoffman·The Guardian

Lolo, Director Julie Delpy

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Violette (Julie Delpy), a 40-year old workaholic with a career in the fashion industry falls for a provincial computer geek, Jean-Rene (Danny Boon), while on a spa retreat with her best friend. Though Jean-Rene faces a major challenge: he must win the trust and respect of  Violette’s teenage son, Lolo (Vincente Lacoste), who is determined to wreak havoc on the couple’s fledging relationship and remain his mother’s favorite. After TWO DAYS IN PARIS, TWO DAYS IN NEW YORK and SKYLAB, Julie Delpy returns with a sharp romantic comedy, alongside Dany Boon, the irresistible creator of WELCOME TO THE STICKS. Lolo recently premiered at the 2015 Venice Film Festival and North American Premiere at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. Writer / director Julie Delpy joins us for a spirited conversation on working with her own ensemble of talent and the making of films that inspire her.

For news and updates go to: filmrise.com/lolo/

Currently screening at:
Playhouse – Pasadena – TICKETS
Monica Film Center – Santa Monica – TICKETS
Noho 7 – North Hollywood – TICKETS
Music Hall – North Hollywood – TICKETS
Edward Westpark 8 – Irvine – TICKETS

“Lolo is fun and fresh to look at: Violette’s habitat is fashion-world, Centre-Pompidou new Paris, blessedly free of the Louvre-and-Seine shorthand that sells French movies to American audiences.” – Ella Taylor, NPR

“Delpy brings an unflinching perspective to the realities of balancing new love and motherhood, even while playing it for laughs.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service

“Lolo is a maternal horror film in the guise of a light romantic comedy, and therein lies much of its charm.” – Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice

“A curiously unsentimental director of romantic comedies, Julie Delpy sees romance for the work that it primarily is.” – Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine

Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, Director of Programming Mike Dougherty

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The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture by showcasing films, supporting emerging filmmakers, recognizing the leadership of entertainment industry performers and business executives, and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora. Each year the festival is held at ArcLight Hollywood and features a rich mix of film programs designed to build and support the growing interest in the Indian entertainment industry. This includes programming that cultivates an audience for Indian films while supporting filmmakers of Indian descent in career development as they navigate the larger studio system in Hollywood. IFFLA’s creative and business programs include the the One-on-One Michael Doughteryprogram where industry professionals from major and independent production and distribution companies are invited to participate in meetings with the IFFLA filmmakers; and panel discussions with speakers from the film industry. The 14th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) will take place April 6-10, 2016 at ArcLight Hollywood, the elegant, state-of-the-art facility at Sunset and Vine in Hollywood, and the festival’s home since its inception. Director of Programming Mike Dougherty join us to talk about the wide ranging films that will be showcase at this year’s festival.

For the latest news and updates go to: indianfilmfestival.org

IFFLA film guide: indianfilmfestival.org/film-guide-2016

The Confirmation, Director Bob Nelson

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Clive Owen shines in this irresistible comedy as Walt, a down-on-his luck carpenter tasked with entertaining his eight-year-old son Anthony while Anthony’s mom (Maria Bello) and her new husband are away. But when Walt’s prized toolbox is stolen, a quiet father-and-son weekend turns into an adventure of a lifetime. Aided by an oddball drywall repairman (Patton Oswalt), Walt and Anthony go on a wildly funny search for the thieves—and find something they never imagined: a true family connection. As Walt and Anthony set about finding the guys who stole the tools and improvise around their other misfortunes, they begin to discover a true connection with each other, causing Walt to become a better father and Anthony to reveal the promise and potential of the good man he will become…Director and Oscar nominated screenwriter Bob Nelson (Nebraska) joins us for a conversation on moving into the director’s chair and the challenges and rewards of working with a strong ensemble cast.

For news and updates go to: lighthousepictures.ca

Opening Friday, March 18 at the Laemmle’s NoHo 7 5240 Lankershim Boulevard • (310) 478-3836

“Feature films these days rarely come as gentle and equitable as “The Confirmation.” – Gary Goldstein, LA Times

“One of the selling points of “The Confirmation” is how it steers clear of melodrama or tidy perfection in favor of a taste of life on the margins, where even living paycheck to paycheck would be a luxury.” – Stephanie Merry, Washington Post

“In the best moments, Nelson juxtaposes … ephemeral, eternal doubt against the concrete realities of small-town American poverty and marginality.” – Adam Nayman, AV Club

“The movie’s not just good but moving, funny and true to the way people actually live in hard-times America.” – Alan Scherstuhl , Village Voice

Overlooked films of 2015 – Finders Keepers, co-directors Clay Tweel and Bryan Carberry

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In the remarkable documentary Finders Keepers Shannon Whisnant has a nose for a bargain. But when he bought a used grill at a North Carolina auction, the severed human foot he found among its ashes was not part of the deal. Soon the gruesome discovery becomes the toast of the infotainment world, and the new owner spies a golden opportunity to cash in on the media frenzy, until struggling addict and amputee John Wood recognizes his missing member and demands his own foot back. This astonishing, stranger-than-fiction tale defies definition because it uniquely traverses the quirks of a small town in the midst of a media phenomenon, while it examines manifold human paradoxes such as greed, ego, familial dysfunction, and that most elusive of all human conditions, redemption. Co-directors Bryan Carberry and Clay Tweel joins us for a conversation on their wildly entertaining, and surprisingly touching film.

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

“Filmmakers Bryan Carberry and Clay Tweel, over the film’s quick 84 minutes, find some humanity and pathos in the story, which eventually takes an unexpectedly heartwarming turn.” – Moira MacDonald, Seattles Times

“This hysterical, insightful and genuinely empathetic documentary could easily prove a specialty hit.” – Andrew Barker· Variety

“This shockingly funny, weirdly touching custody battle is as authentic as the North Carolina vernacular in which it unfolds.” – Jeannette Catsoulis New York Times

“Finders Keepers” is a thorough, frequently hilarious and ultimately touching investigation of a legal dispute between two North Carolina men, each of whom lays claim to severed human foot.” – Michael O’Sullivan Washington Post

Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong – Director / Writer Emily Ting

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In this sparkling romance, ALREADY TOMORROW IN HONG KONG, Ruby (Jamie Chung), a Chinese American toy designer from LA, visits Hong Kong for the first time on business. Finding herself stranded, she meets Josh (Bryan Greenberg), an American expat who shows her the city. Meandering through nighttime streets pulsing with energy and possibility, they fall into a winding and carefree conversation, buoyed by an undeniable attraction.  As effervescent as a perfect first date, Emily Ting’s charming directorial debut takes full advantage of the chemistry of its leads, the playfulness of their exchanges, and the magical landscape that is Hong Kong at night.  Director, writer and producer Emily Ting join us for a conversation on the making of her ode to the beauty of Hong Kong and her inspiration for a dazzling and romantic story.

For news and updates go to: alreadytomorrowfilm.com

“Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong channels Before Sunrise in a very good way.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times

“Ting, to her credit, is more interested in the battle between heart and head, instinct and obligation, than in what follows. [The film] is about ambivalence, not gratification, and is more interesting for it.” – Tom Keogh, Seattle Times

“Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong is welcome proof that they can still make romantic comedies.” – Sherilyn Connelly, Village Voice

“The film is beautifully executed, with gorgeous cinematography and a lovely sense of rhythm, long walking and talking steadicam shots juxtaposed with environment-establishing shots of the nighttime city. The editing, sound design, and music, both diegetic and non, weave together a sensory tapestry of sound and light.” – Katie Walsh, Indiewire

“Ting has a talent for natural dialogue and relatable situations and with a crisp 80 minute runtime, a nice pace as well… a highly enjoyable and impressively put together film.” – CJ Perry, Film Slate

2016 Academy Award Nominated Short Program, Carter Pilcher

2016 OSCAR SHORT POSTER 

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Since founding Shorts International in 2000, Carter Pilcher has worked to make his company the world’s leading short movie entertainment company. Shorts International has become the first choice distributor, broadcaster and producer for hundreds of films. Carter has extensive experience in short movie production and short movie entertainment. He is a voting member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and a member of the Short Film and Feature Animation Branch of The US Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) – the guys who pick the Oscars. Carter talks to us about the fifteen wonderful films nominated for the Live Action, Documentary and Animated Short Film 2016 Academy Awards.

*Diary of a Teenage Girl, director / writer Marielle Heller

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THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL is based on Phoebe Gloeckner’s novel of the same name, hailed by Salon as “one of the most brutally honest, shocking, tender and beautiful portrayals of growing up female in America.” Writer/Director Marielle Heller unlocks this diary with a richly comedic and deeply personal vision. It is a coming of age story that is as poignant as it is unsettling. Set in 1976 San Francisco, THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL begins at the crossroads of the fading hippie movement and the dawn of punk rock. Like most teenage girls, Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley) is longing for love, acceptance and a sense of purpose in the world. Minnie begins a complex love affair with her mother’s (Kristen Wiig) boyfriend, “the handsomest man in the world,” Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård). What follows is a sharp, funny and provocative account of one girl’s sexual and artistic awakening, without judgment. Minnie emerges defiant— taking command of her sexuality and drawing on her newfound creative talents to reveal truths in the kind of intimate and vivid detail that can only be found in the pages of a teenage girl’s diary. In her feature film directorial debut, director / writer Heller brings Gloeckner’s book to life through fearless performances, inventive graphic novel-like animation sequences, imagination, humor and heart.

For news and updates go to: thediaryofateenagegirl

* Spirit Award nominations for Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay and Best Female Lead (Bel Powley)

Sundance Film Festival 2015 and New Directors/New Films 2015

“What makes Minnie — on the page and now on the screen — greater than any one girl is how she tells her own story in her own soaringly alive voice”. – Manohla Dargis, New York Times

“This adaptation of Phoebe Gloeckners heavily autobiographical novel is ideally cast and skillfully handled.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“Powley, a British twentysomething whose big, curious eyes and quavering, thoughtful voice allow for a seamless transition back to her teenage years, gives a remarkable performance.” – Jesse Hassenger, A.V. Club

“It’s unlikely to make a box office splash, but it’s a startlingly tough, authentic depiction of budding womanhood.” Elaine Tang, New Republic

The Big Short, co-screenwriter Charles Randolph*

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When four outsiders saw what the big banks, media and government refused to, the global collapse of the economy, they had an idea: The Big Short. Their bold investment leads them into the dark underbelly of modern banking where they must question everyone and everything. The Big Short is being talked about as the best picture of the year. Its script, adapted by director Adam McKay (The Other Guys) and writer Charles Randolph (Love & Other Drugs) from Michael Lewis‘s bestselling 2009 book The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, is considered one the frontrunners for the best adapted screenplay 2016 Academy Award. Randolph is an American screenwriter and producer for film and television. Randolph has written screenplays for several films and TV movies including The Life of David Gale (2003), The Interpreter (2005), and Love & Other Drugs (2010). Randolph received nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay and BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and an Academy Award nomination for co-writing The Big Short. Randolph joins us to talk about the challenge involved in writing a script about a complex event and subject that is informative, intelligent and entertaining.

For news and updates go to: thebigshortmovie.com

* Nominated for 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director (Adam McKay) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Adam McKay and Charles Randolph)

“McKay co-wrote The Big Short’s screenplay with Charles Randolph, and they know how to keep an audience engaged, broadcasting this knowledge often, as both parody and indictment.” – Chicago Reader

“A funny, energetic and self-aware film that manages to entertain without diluting the complications – or the gravity – of its subject matter.” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times

“A true crime story and a madcap comedy, a heist movie and a scalding polemic, “The Big Short” will affirm your deepest cynicism about Wall Street while simultaneously restoring your faith in Hollywood.” – A. O. Scott, New York Times

Band of Robbers, co-director Aaron Nee

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Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are all grown up in this reimagined, modern day fable that finds them still searching for a hidden treasure that has eluded them since childhood. A modern-day retelling of Mark Twain’s iconic books, Band of Robbers is a comedic adventure that re-imagines the characters as grown men, and small-time crooks.  When Huck Finn is released from prison, he hopes to leave his criminal life behind, but his lifelong friend, and corrupt cop, Tom Sawyer, has other plans. Not ready to give up on his childhood fantasies, Tom forms the Band of Robbers, recruiting their misfit friends, Joe Harper and Ben Rogers, to join them for an elaborate plan to find a fabled treasure. But the plan soon unravels, thrusting the guys on a wild journey with dangerous consequences. Band of Robbers premiered to stellar reviews out of LA Film Festival this year and stars Kyle Gallner (American Sniper, Dear White People, The Finest Hours), Adam Nee (Drunk History), Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds, 500 Days of Summer, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou), Hannibal Buress (SNL Emmy-nominated writer, Broad City, Neighbors), Melissa Benoist (Glee, Supergirl), Daniel Mora (The Bridge), Eric Christian Olsen (NCIS: Los Angeles), and Stephen Lang (Avatar films, Salem). Co-director Aaron Nee stops by for a conversation on this kinetic, funny and entertaining feature debut film.

For news and updates go to: bandofrobbersmovie.com

Special appearance by directors and cast

NEW YORK: At the AMC EMPIRE 25 co-director Adam Nee and cast Kyle Gallner and Hannibal Buress will be doing a Q&A. (More details coming soon.) Later at the Nitehawk Cinema a special 12:25 AM screening will be introduced by Adam, Hannibal and Kyle.

LOS ANGELES: Co-director Aaron Nee, DP Noah Rosenthal and some of the cast will be doing a Q&A at the Laemmle Playhouse 7 in Pasadena at 7:10 PM. 

“A film that’s as hilarious as it is beautiful.” – Paste Magazine

“Wound tight by a killer premise, polished direction, and a tone as though Anton Chigurh sauntered into “Bottle Rocket.” – Indiewire

“A wonderfully absurd crime comedy.” – Playlist

“This comic take on “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” is infused with a gleefully absurdist sense of humor while retaining a childlike sense of wonder.” – Stephen Holden, New York Times

Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words, Director Stig Bjorkman

 Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words poster 

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After a chance encounter with the daughter of Ingrid Bergman, Isabella Rossellini, director, screewriter Stig Bjorkman was she presented with a proposition: ”Shall we make a film about ‘mama’?” After gaining access to Bergman’s rich posthumous work – diaries, letters, photographs, amateur movies – Bjorkman appreciation of Ingrid Bergman as a strong and most determined artist grew. Through never-before-seen private footage, notes, letters, diaries and interviews with her children, INGRID BERGMAN – IN HER OWN WORDS presents a personal portrait and captivating look behind the scenes of the remarkable life of a young Swedish girl who became one of the most beloved and celebrated actresses of American cinema. Stig Björkman, is a writer, director and film critic. His previous films about cinema include BUT FILM IS MY MISTRESS (2010) and TRANCEFORMER – A PORTRAIT OF LARS VON TRIER (1997). As a writer he has published interview books with Ingmar Bergman, Woody Allen and Joyce Carol Oates among others. Between 1964 and 1972 he worked as chief editor for the Swedish film magazine Chaplin and has, over the years, contributed to Cahiers du Cinéma and Sight & Sound. Bjorkman joins us for a conversation on the life and times of a complex and supremely talented artist.

For news and updates go to: Ingrid Bergman: Her Own Words

“A rich, generous-spirited portrait of a woman who, in her unapologetic pursuit of art, fame and personal growth, was far ahead of her time..” – Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

“Bjorkman leaves behind the image of a uniquely strong, independent woman whose relaxed modernity was way ahead of its time.” – Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter

“The exceptional home movies, many shot by Bergman herself, are an unending source of pleasure, visually reinforcing her children’s warm-hearted reminiscences: Their mother was fun to be around.” – Jay Weissberg, Variety

Christmas, Again, director / writer / producer Charles Poekel

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For a fifth consecutive December, a heartbroken Noel returns to New York City to work the night shift at a sidewalk Christmas tree lot. Devoid of any holiday spirit, he struggles to stay awake during the long, chilly nights in his trailer, while the daytime traffic keeps him from getting any real rest. As he slowly spirals into despair, he comes to the aid of a mysterious young woman in the park. Her warming presence, matched with some colorful customers, help rescue him from self-destruction. Director, writer and producer Charles Poekel stops by for a conversation on his lyrical, redemptive film about a man finding a unique take on a holiday tale.

For news and updates go to: factorytwentyfive.com/christmas-again/

Or the official Christmas Again website at: xmasagain.com

*2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominee – John Cassavetes Award*

Opens in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Noho 7 on Friday, December 11th

“Unflinching yet tender… A minor marvel of quasi-documentary discovery.” 
- Richard Brody, THE NEW YORKER -



“[A] sensitively shot slice of realism.” 
- Manohla Dargis, THE NEW YORK TIMES -



“[An] utterly likable riff on urban loneliness that never forces its themes… By merely breaking away from those clichés and carving out a charming fresh path, Poekel makes a quietly defiant statement.” 
- Eric Kohn, INDIEWIRE –

“Feels like a throwback to the kind of New York character study someone like Jerry Schatzberg (“Panic in Needle Park”) or Hal Ashby (“The Landlord”) might have dreamt up back in the ’70s.” 
- Peter Debruge, VARIETY -



“A delicate, simple film that really works… Audley does his best work to date, conveying a deepening depression that doesn’t stop this man from trying to be helpful to those around him. And Gross is a real find, completely believable in every moment as the warmth that could rescue an increasingly chilly heart.” 
- Brian Tallerico, ROGEREBERT.COM  

Entertainment, Actor Greg Turkington

Entertainment film posterENTERTAINMENT, directed by Rick Alverson and written by Rick Alverson, Gregg Turkington, and Tim Heidecker is the story of a broken, aging comedian tours the California desert, lost in a cycle of third-rate venues, novelty tourist attractions, and vain attempts to reach his estranged daughter. By day, he slogs through the barren landscape, inadvertently alienating every acquaintance. At night, he seeks solace in the animation of his onstage persona. Fueled by the promise of a lucrative Hollywood engagement, he trudges through a series of increasingly surreal and volatile encounters. In Alverson’s hallucinatory fugue, Gregg Turkington stars as The Comedian, caught in a struggle between being the center of attention and the object of alienation, occasionally challenged by an unexpected cast of characters played by Tye Sheridan, John C. Reilly, Michael Cera, and Amy Seimetz. Greg Turkington gives a brave, uncompromising performance as The Comedian in this daring and rewarding ride through a personal and cultural hellscape.

For news and updates go to: entertainment

Entertainment opens on November 19th at the Cinefamily in Los Angeles – cinefamily.org

“A Twisted Existential Comedic Masterwork” – The Playlist, Indiewire

“Like Hamburger’s meta-hacky comedy routine, the film confronts and challenges in order to produce something increasingly rare in American cinema: an active, engaged experience.” – John Semley, Globe and Mail

“I left this barbed portrait of a cracking-up comic with more than a little respect for its fearless director, Rick Alverson, and his trusting star, Gregg Turkington. You can’t deny that they’re a match made in heaven.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

“It’s a portrait of the comedy tour as odyssey of madness, a plummet into the abyss.” – A. A. Dowd, AV Club

Heart of a Dog, with Director Laurie Anderson

heart-of-a-dog posterIn HEART OF A DOG, musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson’s playful, lucid and heartbreaking nonfiction feature on the life and death of her dog, Lolabelle, told in a style only this unique artist could create. Taking as a jumping off point the recent passing of her beloved terrier Lolabelle, Anderson touches on what her love for her dog means to her by processing her childhood, music, and her life as an artist. Through all of it, she draws upon her childhood experiences and political beliefs as she lovingly tries to help Lolabelle’s spirit face the tribulations it will experience immediately after death (as described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead). Aided by a beautiful use of her own compositions, animation and 8 millimeter film from her family archive, Anderson creates a gorgeous, heartbreaking tapestry on love and loss – reminding us that every love story is a ghost story. Director Laurie Anderson joins us to talk about spirit and intention of Heart of a Dog, her thoughtful, funny and beautiful film.

For news and updates go to: heartofadogfilm.com

Director Laurie Anderson will be doing a Q&A for the 7:30 PM screening on Heart of a Dog on Friday, November 6

Laurie Anderson’s soundtrack for HEART OF A DOG is available at: nonesuch.com/albums/heart-of-a-dog

“Wildly innovative but also quiet and modestly scaled. A philosophically astute, emotional meditation on death, love, art and dogs.” – A.O. Scott, The New York Times

“A dog is at the heart of this film, but there’s room for all manner of extraordinary insights about finding love and giving love, being canine and being human.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

“Exceptionally potent. I could write a whole essay about the way Anderson uses her light, scintillating voice in this movie. Her incredible control of the artistic arsenal this medium provides her with-images, music, sound, language-enable her to construct a work that’s both highly intellectually engaging and provocative and also emotionally wrecking.”  – Glenn Kenny, RogerEbert.com

A Wonderful Cloud, Director Eugene Kotlyarenko

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When Katelyn (Kate Lyn Sheil, “House of Cards”) travels to Los Angeles in hopes of wresting control of a clothing company from her ex, Eugene (Eugene Kotlyarenko), she quickly realizes he has more than just business in mind. Unable to deny their emotional past, the pair spend the weekend trying to determine once and for all whether they have a future in store. Set in an LA full of eccentrics, this raw romantic comedy finds a former off-screen couple energetically playing out their real-world baggage in front of the camera, for laughs and tears. Director / writer Eugene Kotlyarenko joins us to talk about his subversively entertaining film.

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

“Those seeking a raucous, wholly improvised 21st-century ‘Annie Hall’ need look no further.”

“Those seeking a 21st-century ‘Annie Hall’ need look no farther” – Variety

“Hilarious” – Indiewire

“Devastatingly relatable” – Filmmaker

Manson Family Vacation, Director J. Davis

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A man’s comfortable life in Los Angeles is disrupted when his estranged brother comes to town to visit the infamous Manson Family murder sites. Together, the brothers journey from the Hollywood Hills to the Mojave Desert, and into the modern-day world of Charles Manson.Written and directed by newcomer J. Davis, MANSON FAMILY VACATION takes two very different siblings on a road trip that tests the limits of brotherly love. From The Duplass Brothers, the film features Jay Duplass, Linas Phillips, Tobin Bell (Jigsaw from the “Saw” movies), Leonora Pitts and Davie-Blue.

Director J Davis joins us for a conversation on his charming, quirky and dramatically engaging film about trust, acceptance and family.

For news and updates on Manson Family Vacation go to: theorchard.com

On iTunes & Digital VOD  starting October 6th 

Coming to Netflix October 27th

“It’s a measure of the film’s dramatic balance as well as its emotional integrity that both of these men will wind up eliciting the viewer’s sympathy and scorn at different points.” – Justin Chang, Variety

“Manson Family Vacation proves Nick and Conrad are better when they are together and Davis wisely keeps their relationship at the center of the film, no matter what the two brothers encounter on their journey together” – Allison Loring, Film School Rejects

“Unexpected and charming, Manson Family Vacation is one ride you’ll want to catch.” – Katie Walsh, The Playlist

Drunk Stone Brilliant Dead, Director Douglas Tirola

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Douglas Tirola‘s outrageous documentary DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: THE STORY OF THE NATIONAL LAMPOON, is an inside look at the rise and fall of the legendary humor magazine that launched dozens of careers and broke thousands of taboos. From the 1970s thru the 1990s, there was no hipper, no more outrageous comedy in print than The National Lampoon, the groundbreaking humor magazine that pushed the limits of taste and acceptability – and then pushed them even harder. Parodying everything from politics, religion, entertainment and the whole of American lifestyle, the Lampoon eventually went on to branch into successful radio shows, record albums, live stage revues and movies, including ANIMAL HOUSE and NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION, launching dozens of huge careers on the way, including John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Christopher Guest, Richard Belzer, Gilda Radner, Brian Doyle-Murray, Bill Murray, Joe Flaherty, Harold Ramis, Michael O’Donoghue, Doug Kenney, Henry Beard, George W. S. Trow, Chris Miller, P. J. O’Rourke, Michael O’Donoghue, Chris Rush, Sean Kelly, Tony Hendra, Brian McConnachie, Gerald Sussman, Ellis Weiner, Danny Abelson, Ted Mann, Chris Cluess, Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Jeff Greenfield, and John Hughes. As well as cartoonists, photographers and illustrators appeared in the magazine’s pages, including Neal Adams, Gahan Wilson, Michael Sullivan, Ron Barrett, Peter Bramley, Vaughn Bode, Bruce McCall, Rick Meyerowitz, M. K. Brown, Shary Flenniken, Bobby London, Edward Gorey, Jeff Jones, Joe Orlando, Arnold Roth, Rich Grote, Ed Subitzky, Mara McAfee, Sam Gross, Charles Rodrigues, Buddy Hickerson, B. K. Taylor, Birney Lettick, Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo, Marvin Mattelson, Stan Mack, Chris Callis, John E. Barrett, Raymond Kursar and Andy Lackow. Director Tirola tells the story of its rise and fall through fresh, candid interviews with its key staff, and illustrated with hundreds of outrageous images from the magazine itself (along with never-seen interview footage from the magazine’s prime). Director Tirola stops by to talk about the supernova of comedic satire that was The Lampoon and its influential legacy.

For news and updates go to: magpictures.com/nationallampoon

DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: THE STORY OF THE NATIONAL LAMPOON opening in Los Angeles at the Nuart Theatre on October 2, and at Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 in Pasadena and Laemmle’s NoHo 7 in North Hollywood on October 9 (opens in NY and on VOD/iTunes September 25). 

Director Douglas Tirola will be doing a Q & A Friday, October 2nd and Saturday, October 3rd after the 7:30PM screenings.

“Punch-drunk and very much alive. A generous and briskly entertaining doc that traces the titular humor magazine’s lasting influence on American comedy  – a real nonfiction crowdpleaser. ” – Ben Kenigsberg, Variety

“Energetic, laugh-stuffed and very colorful – A lively, very entertaining look at the Lampoon’s unlikely empire.” – John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

Becoming Bulletproof, Director Michael Barnett and Zeno Mountain Farm founder, Will Halby

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BECOMING BULLETPROOF is the award winning inspiring story of a group of talented people with disabilities from across America who come together at Zeno Mountain Farm to take part in the making of a ambitious indie film production entitled BulletproofBulletproof is a Western, complete with authentic wardrobe, saloon brawls, showdowns at the poker table, and evil villains. It’s the fruit of ideals that two brothers and their wives put into action through an inclusive film project they run in Hollywood every year at Zeno Mountain. For them, Bulletproof isn’t about actors’ limitations, “It’s all about making an awesome movie, not a statement.” A.J. Murray, 32, from Atlanta, has cerebral palsy and plays the town’s mayor. Jeremy Vest, 28, born with Williams Syndrome, plays the film’s hero, Bulletproof Jackson. Zach Gottsagen, 29, who has Down syndrome, plays the evil Grim. Judy Moscariello, 53, who also has cerebral palsy, plays a woman shattered by her lover’s murder. Weaving between 1890s period drama and present-day action, Bulletproof’s snaking plot requires mastering lines, pushing through take after take, and showing up on time in costume. As the actors grapple with these high expectations, we see the pay off: a can-do community spirit, the genesis of a riveting film, and a personally and socially transformative experience. We learn lessons about reaching our fullest potential through artistic endeavor and hear direct from actors about overcoming their exclusion and marginalization. In this way disability becomes “our” story, of who we are or may become, rather than the story of someone else.. Founder of Zeno Mountain Farm, Will Halby and Director Michael Barnett join us for a conversation on the collective bonds between cast and crew and joy that came from their collaborative effort.

For news and updates go to: becomingbulletproofmovie.com

LAEMMLE’S MUSIC HALL 3  http://www.laemmle.com/films/39730

10/2 Q&A with Director Michael Barnett, Producer Theodore James, Will Halby and cast after 7:20 PM show

10/3 Q&A with Director Michael Barnett, Will Halby and cast after 2:40PM & 7:20 PM show

10/4 Q&A with Director Michael Barnett, Will Halby and cast after 2:40 PM show

“The term “inspirational” gets bandied about a lot, but “Becoming Bulletproof” is thoroughly deserving of that tag.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, LA Times

“Barnett portrays his subjects with a sensitivity that never feels exploitative or sentimentalized, giving many of the featured players screentime to discuss their day-to-day lives or why they return year after year to Zeno.” – Monica Castillo, Village Voice

“A rare film about the disabled that shows them as the regular folks they are, and the disciplined creativity of which they’re capable.” Frank Lovece, Film International Journal

Brand: A Second Coming – Director Ondi Timoner

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BRAND: A Second Coming chronicles actor / comedian / activist Russell Brand on his journey from addict, self-proclaimed narcissist and Hollywood star living in the fast-lane to his current, and unexpected, role as political disruptor & newfound hero to the underserved. Criticized for egomaniacal self-interest, Brand injects his madness in to the world and calls for revolution. He stays the course with an irreverent courage that inspires a new generation of activists to rise up against the ever-increasing world engorged in consumerism. Can Brand rise against the roar of criticism from the very system that built him? Does he have the fortitude, resilience and commitment to keep up the fight? Will he find true happiness which has eluded him since childhood? BRAND: A Second Coming takes audiences behind the scenes of this wildly complex man for an intimate look at what drives Russell Brand as he continues to be the consummate disruptor. BRAND: A Second Coming produced, written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Ondi Timoner (DIG!, WE LIVE IN PUBLIC) joins us to talk about getting close to this kinetic, fascinating force of nature.

For news and updates go to: brandthefilm.com

Brand: A Second Coming opening in Los Angeles: arclightcinemas.com/

“Along with explaining his motivation, it rescues the underlying purpose behind his freewheeling, radical mode of expression.” – Eric Kohn, Indiewire

“A thoroughly entertaining doc that serves also as a primer on Brand’s shockingly successful comedy career and an introduction to his singular personality.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

“Even if you’re cynical about Brand’s motives, or just think that he’s a bit of berk, the film convinces you of the almost alarming sincerity of his political mission …” – Alex Needham, Guardian

“Ondi Timoner delivers an engaging portrait of Russell Brand’s journey from pop celebrity to still-funny political commentator.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

The Mend, Director John Magary and Actor Mickey Sumner

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For anyone who’s ever loathed and loved a sibling in equal measure, The Mend is the wonderfully strange and acidic debut comedy from writer / director John Magary.  Shot through with the wicked humor and anarchy of Bruce Robinson’s Withnail & I and Mike Leigh’s Naked, The Mend follows a mismatched yin-yang pair of NYC brothers, loose cannon Mat (Josh Lucas in a career-best performance) and put-upon Alan (Stephen Plunkett) as they stagger dimly towards some understanding of love, women, masculinity and what it truly means to be a brother. Featuring a gorgeous, minimalist score by Michi Wiancko & Judd Greenstein and beautiful, fluid cinematography by Chris Teague (Obvious Child), the film unfolds as three stylistically distincMickey Sumner IIt but interwoven acts, each with its own mesmerizing rhythm. With superb supporting performances by Mickey Sumner (Frances Ha) and Lucy Owen as the brothers’ sharp-tongued girlfriends. Director / Writer John Magary and Actress Mickey Sumner joins us for a conversation on the making of this ballsy, unhinged and brilliant film.

For news and updates go to: themendfilm.com/

“One of the very best American independent films you’ll see this year.” – Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine / Vulture

“A hugely promising introduction to a director who’s just getting started.” – Mike D’Angelo, AV Club

“It’s a tough film to shake, a slice-of-life that slices, knifelike” – Alan Scherstuhl, The Village Voice

“Funny, rugged and raw… John Magary digs into his characters with fresh eyes and a sly sense of adventure.” – Nicolas Rapold, New York Times

“The Mend is possibly the finest, most significant American film that 2015 has offered thus far.” – Nick Newman, The Film Stage

“My favorite narrative discovery of South by Southwest, unequivocally, was The Mend, which alternates between the restlessness and acutely observed masculine behavior of Cassavetes’ Husbands and the wit and energy of a Cukor comedy.” – Violet Lucca, Film Comment