Friday, September 13 – Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, Director Janice Engel

RAISE HELL: THE LIFE & TIMES OF MOLLY IVINS tells the story of media firebrand Molly Ivins, six feet of Texas trouble who took on the Good Old Boy corruption wherever she found it. Her razor sharp wit left both sides of the aisle laughing, and craving ink in her columns. She knew the Bill of Rights was in peril, and said “Polarizing people is a good way to win an election and a good way to wreck a country.” Molly’s words have proved prescient. Now it’s up to us to raise hell! Director Janice Engel (Ted Hawkins Amazing Grace, Jackson Browne: Going Home, Addicted and What We Carry) joins us for a lively conversation on a journalist who did not shy away from confronting and shaming the most powerful institutions, political interests and the people who protected them from her righteous anger and lacerating wit.

About Molly Ivins: Molly Ivins was a nationally-syndicated political columnist and author, who remained cheerful despite the state of politics in this country and her own physical trials. She emphasized the more hilarious aspects of both state and national government, and consequently never had to write fiction. Ivins was from Houston, Texas, graduated from Smith College in 1966, then from Columbia University’s School of Journalism with a Masters in 1967. Ivins won many awards too numerous to list for her writing, courage, and truth telling. Her freelance work appeared in The Nation, The Progressive, Mother Jones, Esquire, Harper’s, Atlantic, and Playboy. She was also known for her essays on National Public Radio as well as media appearances around the world. Ivins wrote seven books, several of which were best-sellers including; BUSHWHACKED: Life in George W. Bush’s America with Lou Dubose in 2003 and WHO LET THE DOGS IN? Incredible Political Animals I Have Known in 2004. Molly was President of the Board of the Texas Democracy Foundation publisher of the venerable Texas Observer, which was her spiritual home and love. She found her voice at the Observer and helped sustain them and lead countless other young writers in seeking out the “good” stories and bring them to the public.

“The best way to get the sons of bitches is to make people laugh at them.” Molly Ivins

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: mollyivinsfilm.com

Social Media:

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instagram.com/mollyivinsfilm

Engel gives “Raise Hell” such momentum – it’s a whoosh of a movie – that you are quickly swept up in its sights and sounds. There’s a lot to take in.” – Manohla Dargis, New York Times

“There was never anybody like Molly Ivins before, and never will be again, and this documentary does a fine job of capturing what made her special.” – Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com

“Smart and entertaining, just like its subject.” – Caryn James, Hollywood Reporter

“It’s a rare documentary indeed that so expertly captures the singular essence of its subject, and [Molly] Ivins is restored to vivid and vital life, if not in the flesh than in the mind and spirit.” – Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle

Friday, September 6 – Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, Co-directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice is a love song to one of the most memorably stunning voices that has ever hit the airwaves, Linda Ronstadt. She burst onto the 1960s folk rock music scene in her early twenties as the lead singer of the Stone Poneys, Ronstadt eventually branched out to begin her decades long career as a solo artist, touring the world selling out stadiums and, at one point, setting the record as the highest paid female artist in rock. Most remarkable to this day is her interest in and willingness to jump into new and challenging styles of music, including opera, jazz, and Mexican folk, excelling fantastically with each. Ronstadt has also been an outspoken political advocate for causes such as same-sex marriage and the inhumane treatment of undocumented immigrants, never shying away from fighting for what she believes both on and off the stage. Oscar-winning directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (The Times of Harvey Milk, The Celluloid Closet, Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt, Howl, Lovelace and End Game) use deep-cut archival footage, and Ronstadt’s own astute recollections, to celebrate an artist whose desire to do justice to the songs that touched her soul made generations of fans fall in love with her – and with the sound of her voice. Co-directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman join us to talk about a remarkable singer /artist and an even better person.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: lindaronstadtmovie.com

For more on the films of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman go to: tellingpictures.com

Social Media:

facebook.com/RonstadtMovie

twitter.com/RonstadtMovie

instagram.com/RonstadtMovie

“She shows herself to be one of its indispensable interpreters, as a vocalist and also as a thinker – covering a sprawling landscape with elegance, passion and insight.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

“It captures the life and career of a rock ‘n’ roll star who never looked back, never apologized, never compromised.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“Astutely chronicling an amazing musical career that ended prematurely due to Parkinson’s disease, Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice will delight the singer’s old fans and likely make her many new ones as well.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

“An excellent retrospective and celebration of Ronstadt’s trailblazing career.” – Sophia Stewart, Nonfics

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, Director Stanley Nelson

Acclaimed filmmaker and recipient of the MacArthur Program Fellow Fellowship  Stanley Nelson takes us on a journey through the life of a musical giant in his latest documentary film MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL. Miles Davis was many things including a horn player, bandleader, innovator. He was elegant, intellectual, vain, callous, conflicted, controversial, and mercurial. Miles Davis was also embodiment of cool. The man with a sound so beautiful it could break your heart. The central theme of Miles Davis’s life was his restless determination to break boundaries and live life on his own terms. It made him a star. For the people who loved him most, it also made him incredibly difficult to live with. Again and again, in music and in life, Miles broke with convention—and when he thought his work came to represent a new convention, he changed it again. Miles’s bold disregard for tradition, his clarity of vision, his relentless drive, and constant thirst for new experiences made him an inspiring collaborator to fellow musicians and a cultural icon to generations of listeners. It made him an innovator in music—from bebop to “cool jazz,” modern quintets, orchestral music, jazz fusion, rock ’n’ roll, and even hip-hop. Featuring never-before-seen archival footage, studio outtakes, and rare photos, MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL tells the story of a truly singular talent and unpacks the man behind the horn. Director and producer Stanley Nelson joins us to talk about the life and times of a music genius and the uncompromising life he led.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: milesdavismovie.com

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool –  Landmark Theatre on Pico Blvd with a Q&A featuring Director Stanley Nelson, Friday 8/30 and Saturday 8/31 – 7:10 PM screening and Sunday 9/1 – 4:10 PM screening

Social Media:

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twitter.com/milesdavisfilm

instagram.com/milesdavismovie

Stanley Nelson:

twitter.com/StanleyNelson1

twitter.com/firelightmedia

twitter.com/panthersdoc

twitter.com/slavetradefilm

twitter.com/hbcurising

92% on Rotten Tomatoes

“You’ll want to listen to Miles’ music after watching the film and, when you do, you might feel it a little deeper.” – Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Times

“Miles Davis – The Birth of Cool is a must see for anyone, anywhere in any lane of life that has an infinite love of music. Especially jazz. Stanley Nelson’s best work to date pulling back the curtain on an underrated musical Picasso – Miles Davis” – Carla Renata, The Curvy Film Critic

“While previous books and films made Miles Davis look like a magical character, Nelson’s ‘Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool’ depicts the musician as what he was – a man who was driven by his art and chained by the racist society he was born into.” –  Jonita Davis, Black Girl Nerds

“If you’re a Miles Davis fanatic from way back and think you already know everything about him, the movie, with its sharply edited interviews and stunning archival reach, fills in nuances of the man that feel fresh and new.“ – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

American Factory, Co-directors Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar

AMERICAN FACTORY tells the story of a Chinese billionaire opening a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant in Dayton, Ohio, hiring 2,000 blue-collar Americans still recovering from the effects of the 2008 recession. Working side-by-side with experienced Chinese workers, the locals are optimistic about the future for the first time in almost a decade. But early days of hope give way to setbacks as high-tech China collides with working-class America, and issues of language and culture become seemingly insurmountable walls between clashing factions. AMERICAN FACTORY, the new film from Academy Award®-nominated directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, documents the revitalization of one long-shuttered factory while providing a startling glimpse into a global economic realignment now playing out in towns and cities across the country — and around the world. Granted generous access to the factory, and with the in-depth participation of its employees, Bognar, Reichert and their team spent three years following Fuyao Glass America’s launch of a state-of- the-art glassmaking facility employing hundreds of Chinese and thousands of Midwestern workers in the American heartland. Capturing surprisingly candid moments of people ranging from the visionary billionaire who financed the enterprise to American and Chinese workers on the factory line, AMERICAN FACTORY presents a microcosmic view of a global phenomenon that could represent a new normal for the American working class. Co-directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert join us for a lively conversation on the challenges of telling a multifaceted of people desperate for a new beginning working for an employer who sees the workplace from a point of view rooted in a culture a half a world away.

About the Filmmakers: STEVEN BOGNAR & JULIA REICHERT (Directors, Producers) are Oscar®-nominated documentary filmmakers whose work has screened at Sundance, Telluride, SXSW and other major festivals, as well as on HBO and PBS. Their film A Lion in the House, a co-production with ITVS, premiered at Sundance, screened on the PBS series “Independent Lens” and won a Primetime Emmy®. Their film The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant premiered at the 2009 Telluride Film Festival, screened on HBO, and was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short in 2010. Their films have, for the most part, told stories of rank-and-file citizens grappling with questions of agency and how to have a decent life. Julia Reichert’s work, in particular, spanning 50 years of filmmaking, has a through-line of concern for working-class and women’s stories. Julia Reichert was also Oscar®-nominated for her documentary feature films Union Maids (1977) and Seeing Red: Stories of American Communists (1983). Her first film, Growing Up Female, was selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. She is the 2018 recipient of the IDA Career Achievement Award. Bognar’s films Personal Belongings, Picture Day and Gravel all premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

 

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For news and updates go to: netflix.com

American Factory opens in Los Angeles on Wednesday, August 21 at the Landmark Theatre

Social Media: twitter.com/jeffreichert

WINNER – Best Director – 2019 Sundance Film Festival – U.S. Documentary Competition

OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2019 True/False Film Festival

OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2019 Tribeca Film Festival –

Opening Night, Critics’ Week

OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2019 Full Frame Film Festival

95% on Rotten Tomatoes

“FASCINATING. A sprawling cinema-verite account, it examines the real tensions of international businesses in human terms.” – Eric Kohn, Indiewire

 “INTIMATE AND EPIC. 30 years after Roger And Me, a similarly vital story updated and made relevant for our globalised age.” – Anthony Kaufman, Screen

“Of all the documentaries you see this year, this one most potently embodies the ever-changing sense of the words “Made in America.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

“American Factory demands comparison to Barbara Kopple’s Oscar-winning masterpiece American Dream with its frank and laudably objective portrait of the USA’s working class and its struggle for prosperity.” – Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

Unmasking Jihadi John: Anatomy of a Terrorist, Director Anthony Wonke and Journalist Richard Kerjab

Mohammed Emwazi was a grade school student in London with a promising future ahead of him in 1995. By 2014, he had become known as “Jihadi John,” a masked ISIS terrorist in Syria who internationalized his notoriety by broadcasting his beheadings of Western hostages on the internet. UNMASKING JIHADI JOHN: ANATOMY OF A TERRORIST includes rare footage of Emwazi as a young boy in London and interviews with his schoolteachers who reveal that he lived a relatively comfortable and normal childhood. His behavior grew more disconcerting in his teenage years. Emwazi’s brutality is illustrated through harrowing, first-hand accounts from his surviving hostages, and the collaboration between the world’s leading intelligence agencies, including the CIA and Britain’s intelligence agents, who ultimately tracked him down and ended his life.  UNMASKING JIHADI JOHN: ANATOMY OF A TERRORIST examines what propelled Emwazi’s journey down a violent path despite US and British authorities being aware of his extremism. It also highlights the self-declared operational failures by counter-terrorism officials as Emwazi became ISIS’s chief executioner and propagandist.  Joining us on Film School Radio will be Oscar®-nominated, BAFTA and Emmy®-winning director Anthony Wonke (HBO’s “The Battle for Marjah”), and BAFTA-winning producer and investigative journalist Richard Kerbaj for a conversation on the how and why a schoolboy and promising soccer player morphs into a sadistic killer.

UNMASKING JIHADI JOHN: ANATOMY OF A TERRORIST debuts WEDNESDAY, JULY 31 (8:00-9:40 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

 

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For news and updates go to: hbo.com/documentaries

For more HBO / Cinemax programming go to: hbo-cinemax

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“This is a superior doc, just know when to briefly look away.” – Anne Brodie, What She Said

“Part high-tech manhunt and part brutal captivity narrative, “Unmasking Jihadi John: The Anatomy of a Terrorist” is one documentary unlikely to leave anyone in its viewing audience bored.” – David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun

“This is a film that spends much of its time on observation and analysis of the known facts… This makes it feel rather dry in places but avoids any glamorisation of its subject.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“In terms of cinematography and editing, Jihadi John: Anatomy of a Terrorist is well-executed, and it’s certainly informative.” – Amy Glynn, Paste Magazine

For Sama, Directors Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts

FOR SAMA is both an intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war. A love letter from a young mother to her daughter, the film tells the story of Waad al-Kateab’s life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama, all while cataclysmic conflict rises around her. Her camera captures incredible stories of loss, laughter and survival as Waad wrestles with an impossible choice– whether or not to flee the city to protect her daughter’s life, when leaving means abandoning the struggle for freedom for which she has already sacrificed so much. FOR SAMA took home the Best Documentary Award at this year’s 2019 Cannes Film Festival, FOR SAMA had its world premiere at SXSW Film Festival where it won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for Best Documentary.  Since then, it continues to gather more awards every time it screens.  The growing awards list includes the aforementioned SXSW; Cannes Film Festival; and Sheffield Doc/Fest; Telluride MountainFilm; Nantucket Film Festival; River Run; LA Asian Pacific Film Festival; Hot Docs; and Newport Beach Film Festival. Co-directors Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts join us for a conversation on the courage to document the unimaginable horror of a brutal regime and what it means to believe in something so deeply that you are willing to risk everything for it. 

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: ForSamaFilm.com

For Sama – Q&A with directors Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts and  Dr. Hamza al-Kateab following the 4:30 pm show on Sunday, 7/28.

Social Media:

facebook.com/forsamafilm

twitter.com/forsamafilm

instagram.com/forsamafilm

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

WINNER – Best Documentary – 2019 Cannes Film Festival
WINNER – Documentary Grand Jury Prize – 2019 SXSW Film Festival
WINNER – Audience Award – 2019 SXSW Film Festival
WINNER – Jury Prize – 2019 HotDocs Film Festival
WINNER – Grand Jury Award – International Docu – 35th LA Asian Pacific Film Festival
WINNER – Indomitable Spirit Award – 2019 MountainFilm
WINNER – Special Jury Mention – 2019 Sheffield Doc/Fest
WINNER – Audience Award – 2019 Sheffield Doc/Fest
WINNER – Best Documentary Jury Prize – 2019 Newport Beach Film Festival
WINNER – Audience Award – 2019 Nantucket Film Festival
WINNER – Best Cinematography – 2019 RiverRun Film Festival

“Simple in concept and shattering in execution, blending hard-headed reportage with unguarded personal testimony, it’s you-are-there cinema of the most literal order.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“For Sama is undoubtedly difficult to watch, but you cannot close your eyes when watching such an urgent film. An endlessly powerful and absolutely essential work, it’s a must-see when it is released this autumn.” – Musanna Ahmed, Film Inquiry

“If not turning away is how we must confront the violence, inhumanity and senselessness of war, this brutal, heart-wrenching film is essential viewing.” – Loren King, AWFJ Women on Film

“For Sama is an astonishing achievement. A moving memorial to all who died in the pursuit of freedom.” – Rob Aldam, Backseat Mafia

Sea of Shadows, Director Richard Ladkani

A looming disaster in one of the most spectacular environments on Earth sparks a rescue mission unlike any other in SEA OF SHADOWS, a riveting new documentary with the intensity of a Hollywood thriller from National Geographic Documentary Films and winner of the Sundance audience award. When Mexican drug cartels and Chinese traffickers join forces to poach the rare totoaba fish in the Sea of Cortez, their deadly methods threaten to destroy virtually all marine life in the region, including the most elusive and endangered whale species on Earth, the vaquita porpoise. SEA OF SHADOWS follows a team of dedicated scientists, high-tech conservationists, investigative journalists and courageous undercover agents as well as the Mexican Navy as they put their lives on the line to save the last remaining vaquitas and bring the vicious international crime syndicate to justice. Director Richard Ladkani (The Ivory Game, The Devil’s Miner) talks about the monumental challenge of saving a highly intelligent mammal from a desperately poor community who see the black market totoaba and the vaquita as a way to spare their family from a life of poverty and degradation.

 

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For news and updates go to: nationalgeographic.com/films/sea-of-shadows

For screening information go to: nationalgeographic.com/films/sea-of-shadows

Social Media:

facebook.com/seaofshadowsSOS

twitter.com/seaofshadowsSOS

instagram.com/seaofshadows

For more about the filmmaker:

malaikapictures.com

richardladkani.com

“Sea of Shadows is truly horrifying.” Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

“An environmentally conscious, unabashedly heart-grabbing exposé.” –  Guy Lodge, Variety

“Ladkani has a way with conveying just how big the stakes are and brings them to land.” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest

“Sea of Shadows may still raise awareness about the plight of other sea creatures still under threat from illegal nets sweeping the bottom of the ocean, killing everything unfortunate enough to swim in its wake.” – Monica Castillo, Remezcla

Barbara Rubin & The Exploding NY Underground, Director Chuck Smith

Underground filmmaker Barbara Rubin’s 1964 art-porn masterpiece “Christmas on Earth”, made when she was only 18 years old, shattered creative and sexist boundaries and shocked NYC’s experimental film scene. Working with Jonas Mekas at the Filmmaker’s Coop, Rubin was instrumental in creating NYC’s thriving underground film community and a rare female voice in a world of powerful men. A rebellious Zelig of the Sixties, she introduced Andy Warhol to the Velvet Underground and Bob Dylan to the Kabbalah. But beyond shaping the spirit of the Sixties, Barbara was seeking the deeper meaning of life. After retiring to a farm with Allen Ginsberg, she shocked everyone by becoming a Hasidic Jew. How and why did one of the 1960’s freest spirits submit to a religious life? For years, 94-year-old filmmaker Jonas Mekas has saved all of Barbara’s letters and cherished her memory. Working with Mekas’ footage and rare clips from the Andy Warhol archives, the film takes us inside the world and mind of Barbara Rubin; a woman who truly believed that film could change the world and then vanished into obscurity. Director Chuck Smith joins us for a conversation on the life and times of a gifted artistic protégé and the impact she had on the people who loved her.

 

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For news and updates go to: barbararubinmovie.com

Opening in Los Angeles June 14 at Laemmle Music Hall 
Additional screenings on June 17 at:

Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles
Laemmle Playhouse 7 in Pasadena

Laemmle Town Center 5 in Encino
Laemmle Claremont 5 in Claremont

Social Media:

facebook.com/Barbara-Rubin-the-Exploding-NY-Underground

instagram.com/barbararubinfilm

Doc/NYC 2018 – Grand Jury Prize Winner

** NY Times Critics Pick**

“An Overlooked Filmmaker Gets Her Due” – Glenn Kenny The New York Times

“Barbara Rubin & the Exploding NY Underground,” an informative and overdue documentary… – Sheri Linden The Hollywood Reporter

This bold, enthusiastic documentary details the unsung yet important role played by its subject in the 1960s artistic counterculture.” – Nick Schager Variety

“An evocative portrait of a vibrant and mysterious artist.  It’s a riveting tale of an extraordinary, seemingly uncontrollable force, a supremely talented woman dealing with mental illness, a central figure in an artistic movement who was gone too soon.” – This Week in New York

…pound for pound, minute for minute, there are few biographical documentaries more impressive than this.” – Joshua Brunsting Criterioncast

A forgotten 1960s film pioneer receives her due.” – what (not) to doc

This One’s for the Ladies, Director Gene Graham

Every Thursday Night hundreds of women gather for a potluck celebration and the chance to throw singles at the hottest dancers in New Jersey, The Nasty Boyz – featuring Satan, Mr. Capable, Fever, Young Rider and lesbian ‘dom’ dancer Blaze. THIS ONE’S FOR THE LADIES isn’t just about the tips or the dancing. It’s a heartwarming story of friendship and the resilience that comes from community. Hilarious, eye-opening, and breathtakingly sexy, THIS ONE’S FOR THE LADIES is a virtual how to guide for letting go of your troubles and having a good time. Director Gene Graham (The Godfather of Disco) joins us to talk about the respect he has for all of the people, patrons and strippers, in his film, how the film Magic Mike and the lack of people of color in it “inspired” his nuanced, multi-layer response.

 

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For news and updates go to: thisonesfortheladiesmovie.com

For more about the filmmaker go to: determinedpictures.com

**WINNER – SPECIAL JURY RECOGNITION – SXSW

OFFICIAL SELECTION – SFFILM FESTIVAL

OFFICIAL SELECTION – SHEFFIELD DOC FEST

OFFICIAL SELECTION – AFI DOCS

“Showcases a vibrant and thriving community of dance shows and the people who enjoy them, and finds the humanity behind the G-strings.” – Jude Dry, Indiewire

“Gene Graham talks more eloquently about poverty, race, police than most works I’ve seen specifically about those things” – Carvell Wallace (NYT, New Yorker, GQ, Slate)

“A rowdy snapshot of this underground scene, where muscular, tattooed, and (yes) rock-hard guys bump, grind, gyrate and do far, far nastier things.”  – Nick Schager, The Daily Beast

The Proposal, Director Jill Magid

In the quietly powerful documentary, THE PROPOSAL, director Jill Magid explores the life, death and profoundly moving work of Luis Barragán.  Known as “the artist among architects,” Barragán is among the world’s most celebrated architects of the 20th century. Upon his death in 1988, much of his work was locked away in a Swiss bunker, hidden from the world’s view. In an attempt to resurrect Barragán’s life and art, boundary redefining artist Jill Magid creates a daring proposition that becomes a fascinating artwork in itself—a high-wire act of negotiation that explores how far an artist will go to democratize access to art.

Director’s Statement – The Proposal is my first feature film and the last chapter of a larger project I began in 2013 called The Barragán Archives. The project explores the contested legacy of Luis Barragán, Mexico’s most famous architect, and how his legacy is affected by the fact that a private corporation, Vitra, owns his archives and controls the rights in his name and work. For more than twenty years, this corporation has made his work largely inaccessible to the public. The film questions whether a single actor should be exclusively in control of how the world can engage with Barragán’s work. Almost as an invitation for image-making, Barragán was known to adjust a buildings’ design so that it would photograph better. With this film, I wanted to capture the overwhelming beauty of his work while simultaneously questioning the legal challenges one faces to do so. The film is in itself a proposal: A way to elicit dialogue about access to legacy and its proprietary nature, and not simply if the proposal will be accepted. – Jill Magid.

 

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

For more about the director go to: jillmagid.com/film

THE PROPOSAL opens in Los Angeles on May 31st at the Monica Film Center, with national rollout over the following weeks. Director Jill Magid will participate in a Q&A following the 7:40 pm show on Friday, 5/31 and Saturday.

“Captivatingly wily. ‘The Proposal’ meditates on the meaning of artistic legacy. Most of all, it shines an ingeniously media-savvy spotlight on Barragán’s work.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, THE NEW YORK TIMES – Critic’s Pick

“A thoughtful, elegantly hypnotic exploration of ownership, access, and moral responsibility. “A multi-layered and thought-provoking work of art. Magid’s inspired response to a complex situation makes for an intriguing and approachable film.” – Allan Hunter, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL

“The documentary doesn’t bring closure to her fight for Barragán’s archive, but it will work its way under a viewer’s skin and leave them with persistent ideas to consider.” – Dan Schindel, HYPERALLERGIC

With its measured pacing and haunting ambience, Magid’s hypnotic film is an engaging examination of artistry, diplomacy, and posterity at a crossroads.” – Manuel Betancourt, REMEZCLA

“Beguiling. An unforgettable consideration of who should have ownership of an artist’s legacy.” – Stephen Saito, MOVEABLE FEST

Halston, Director Frédéric Tcheng and Producer Roland Ballester

America’s first superstar designer, Halston rose to international fame in the1970s, creating an empire and personifying the dramatic social and sexual revolution of the last century. Reaching beyond the glamour and glitz, acclaimed filmmakers, Director Frédéric Tcheng and Producer Roland Ballester reveal Halston’s profound impact on fashion, culture, and business. HALSTON captures the epic sweep of the life and times of the legendary designer Roy Halston Frowick, the man who set women free with his unstructured designs and strove to “dress all of America.” Framing the story as an investigation featuring actress and writer Tavi Gevinson as a young archivist diving into the Halston company records, Tcheng expertly weaves rare archival footage and intimate interviews with Halston’s family, friends and collaborators including Jacqueline Kennedy, Liza Minelli, Andy Warhol and Iman. What results is a behind-the-headlines look into the thrilling struggle between Halston’s artistic legacy and the pressures of big business. Director Frédéric Tcheng and Producer Roland Ballester join us to talk about a designer, artist and fashion mogul who drove himself as fast and as far as anyone before him.

 

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For news and updates go to: halston.film

HALSTON opens in Los Angeles on May 31 at Landmark’s NuArt Theatre. Friday 5/31 and Saturday 6/1 a Q&A with Director Frédéric Tcheng and Producer Roland Ballester following the 7 PM screening.

Social Media:

facebook.com/halstonfilm

twitter.com/halstonfilm

instagram.com/halstonfilm

“Halston is thrilling stuff for fashion nerds, as well as a poignant character study of a misfit ultimately undone by an excessive hunger to prove himself.” – Variety

“The expansive scope of this tribute seems entirely fitting for an industry giant who put America on the global fashion map.” – The Hollywood Reporter 

“This film was an amazing exploration of an artist who lived to create. When his work was devalued, he had nothing to live for anymore. Tcheng does Halston proud, honoring his life’s work in this very entertaining dramocumentary.” – Katrina Olson, Calgary Movies

“Halston is tailor-made for fashionistas. Frédéric Tcheng’s breezy, docudrama offers a serious assessment of the fashion designer’s achievements, accessorised with enough gossip, conflict and celebrity to attract a wider audience.” – Allan Hunter, Screen International

General Magic, Co-director Matt Maude (Sarah Kerruish) and film subject Marc Porat

GENERAL MAGIC takes us back to the early 1990’s, as a team of former Apple employees form their own company and prepare to take Silicon Valley by storm. From the first smartphones to touchscreens, e-commerce, eBay to emoticons, the ideas that now dominate the tech industry and our day-to-day lives were born at General Magic, a 1989 Silicon Valley startup that you’ve never heard of. The company and the product were so ahead of their time, that it ultimately failed, and the company closed down. However, General Magic’s former employees have since gone on to found eBay, Linkedin, and Android, to developing the technology that has led to the iPhone, iPad, iPod and everything that we all use today in our daily lives. These “magicians” have become the tech innovators that now lead companies like Samsung, Apple and Facebook. GENERAL MAGIC, the film tells the story of how great vision, grave betrayal and an epic failure changed the world forever.  What was once thought of as an embarrassment is now embraced as amazing.  This incredibly insightful and entertaining film looks at the rise and fall of the most influential Silicon Valley company you have never heard of called GENERAL MAGIC. The film captures the spirit of those of us who dare to dream big and the life-changing consequences when we fail, fail again, and fail better. GENERAL MAGIC Co-director Matt Maude (Sarah Kerruish) and film subject Marc Porat talk abouthow this remarkable team of creatively brilliant engineers, artists and visionaries that failed and succeeded at creating a technologies that continue to have an impact on the world around us.

 

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For news and updates go to: generalmagicthemovie.com

Social Media:

facebook.com/generalmagicthemovie

instagram.com/generalmagicthemovie

twitter.com/generalmagicmov

Hashtags: #generalmagicmovie   #generalmagic

“A fascinating tale.” – The Hollywood Reporter
“The biggest eye-opener of Tribeca 2018,” – Film Journal
“Poignant, entertaining and full of life and lessons.”- Forbes
“Gripping material, deftly edited, “General Magic” is remarkable’’ – Barrons
“General Magic is a reminder of how compelling stories about technology can be.” – The Verge
“The footage is unbelievable. This geekily comic doc inspires big dreams at every turn.” – TimeOut 

Scheme Birds, Co-directors Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin

** Tribeca Film Festival Spotlight

In this unforgettable documentary we meet Gemma, a teenage troublemaker, a so called ‘Scheme Bird’ who introduces us to her world. The police know her by the way she runs – and she brags that she’ll end up either ”knocked up or locked up”. But in addition to fighting she loves her grandfather Joseph. He’s been like a father to her since her own mom abandoned her as a baby because of a drug addiction. Grandpa Joseph is sick and tired of the gang fights that has plagued the area for generations. But he likes pigeons. In fact he likes pigeons more than he likes most people. And when he turns the local boxing gym into a beauty contest for pigeons things start to change. With great care the men of the scheme pick out the most beautiful pigeons and suddenly they have something to live for. But despite Joseph’s efforts Gemma isn’t interested in the birds at all. She doesn’t want to disappoint her grandpa but the violent world of the scheme is also part of who she is. But what happens when the childish games turns into serious crime? Co-directors Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin join us to talk about how they connected with Gemma, seamlessly blending into her world and can people escape patterns of destructive behavior  and find positive ways to navigate a community of “lost causes.”

For news and updates go to: filmbasen.se/projekt/scheme-birds

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché, Director Pamela B. Green

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché, is a documentary about the first female filmmaker, Alice Guy-Blaché, which explores the heights of fame and financial success she achieved before she was shut out from the very industry she helped create. Over the span of her career, she wrote, produced or directed 1,000 films, including 150 with synchronized sound during the ‘silent’ era. Her work includes comedies, westerns and dramas, as well as films with groundbreaking subject matter such as child abuse, immigration, Planned Parenthood, and female empowerment. She also etched a place in history by making the earliest known surviving narrative film with an all-African American cast. Pamela B. Green has dedicated more than eight years of research in order to discover the real story of Alice Guy-Blaché (1873-1968) – not only highlighting her pioneering contributions to the birth of cinema but also her acclaim as a creative force and entrepreneur in the earliest years of movie-making. Green discovered rare footage of televised interviews and long archived audio interviews which can be heard for the first time in Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché, which affords Alice Guy-Blaché to tell her own story. Director Pamela B. Green joins us for a conversation on the winding journey of discovery and the exhilaration that comes from showcasing a visionary artist, producer, studio head, entrepreneur, feminist, and groundbreaking filmmaker.

 

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 For news and updates go to: Benaturalthemovie.com

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché is distributed by Zeitgeist Films

For more about the filmmaker go to: pamelabgreen.com

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“What starts as a biography turns into a detective thriller as Green crisscrosses the globe, searching for clues as to why Guy-Blaché has been forgotten.” – katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times

“A scrupulously well-researched documentary about one of early cinema’s greatest pioneers and the world’s first woman filmmaker.” – Leslie Felperin, Hollywood Reporter

“The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché is essential viewing for those who want a complete perspective on the history of film.” – Lorry Kikta, Film Threat

“In her passionate debut film, Green achieves a feat of making a two-level research project informative and entertaining. Exciting and essential documentary for film history!” – Nora Lee Mandel, Maven’s Nest

Amazing Grace, Producer Alan Elliot

The highly anticipated documentary AMAZING GRACE, captures the live recording of Aretha Franklin’s album “Amazing Grace” at The New Bethel Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles in January 1972. Producer Alan Elliot joins us to talk about the “making of” and the resurrection of this remarkable display of raw talent and consuming passion, the 47-year long path that Amazing Grace has taken and how its arrival in theaters fulfills Aretha Franklin’s dying wish.

The Amazing Grace backstory

In 1972 Director Sydney Pollack (Tootsie, 3 Days of the Condor, Out of Africa) was inexperienced in shooting music documentary and shot without clapper boards snapping shut at the beginning of each take to help synchronize sound and picture in post-production. As a result of this mistake, even after months of work by experts, the 20 hours of footage couldn’t be synchronized with the audio tracks. The choir director from the Watts recordings was brought in to try to lip-read the reels, but after months of work, only about 150 minutes of footage had been matched with sound, none of it adding up to a complete, useable song. Deadlines passed as the “Amazing Grace” album came out in June 1972, selling millions with no synergy. In August, Warner Bros. officially wrote off and shelved the movie. Pollack never gave up on the project, but constantly had other commitments. In 2007, dying of cancer, Pollack finally handed the documentary project over to producer and music enthusiast Producer Alan Elliott.

 

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For news and updates go to: amazing-grace-movie.com

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

CRITIC’S PICK: “Nonetheless, from a distance, this is obviously one of the great music films, less epic in scope than, say, “The Last Waltz” but as glorious in communal feeling and South Los Angeles zeal as “Wattstax” (the natural partner for a double feature) and as musically imaginative as “Stop Making Sense.” What distinguishes “Amazing Grace,” what lifts it to the penthouse, is a mix of energy and moment…You get both the most lovely gaze a professional camera’s ever laid upon Aretha Franklin and some of the mightiest singing she’s ever laid on you. The woman practically eulogizes herself. Don’t bother with tissues. Bring a towel.” – Wesley Morris, NEW YORK TIMES

 “The two nights of filmed performances find Franklin-accompanied by the Reverend James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir-in spectacular voice and prolific imagination. Her rapturous power and intense concentration are revealed in long, urgent closeups that seem to reflect even the cinematographers’ awed astonishment. The film is a triumph of timeless artistry over transitory obstacles; its very existence is a secular miracle.” – Richard Brody, NEW YORKER

 ” … A captivating artifact, the rare making-of documentary that doesn’t just comment on but completely merges with its subject. The lift-you-to-the-rafters intensity of Franklin’s voice remains so pure and galvanic that “Amazing Grace” is one of the few movies you could watch with your eyes closed, though you would hardly want to.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

Roll Red Roll, Director Nancy Schwartzman

The gripping new documentary Roll Red Roll goes behind the headlines on a story that grabbed the national attention seven years ago. At a pre-season football party in small-town Steubenville, Ohio, a heinous crime took place: the assault of a teenage girl by members of the beloved high school football team. What transpired would garner national attention and result in the sentencing of two key offenders. But it was the disturbing social media evidence uncovered online by crime blogger Alex Goddard that provoked the most powerful questions about the case, and about the collusion of teen bystanders, teachers, parents and coaches to protect the assailants and discredit the victim. As it painstakingly reconstructs the night of the crime and its aftermath, Roll Red Roll uncovers the engrained rape culture at the heart of the incident, acting as a cautionary tale about what can happen when teenage social media bullying runs rampant and adults look the other way. The film unflinchingly asks: “why didn’t anyone stop it?” Director Nancy Schwartzman joins us to talk about life in a town where high school football is king, a “boys will be boys” ethos that can easily morph into a rape culture and how a few brave women said no more.

 

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For news and updates go to: rollredrollfilm.com

Social Media:

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“A tough but essential watch, “Roll Red Roll” documents how a sexual assault in a declining Appalachian town became an international cause célèbre.” – Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times

“Nancy Schwartzman’s devastating real-life thriller documents a shocking sexual assault in a tight-knit community, and the role of social media in compounding the felony but also helping to solve it” – Peter Howell, Toronto Star

“Documentaries don’t usually horrify the oxygen out of me, but I found myself gulping for air more than once during Roll Red Roll.” – Lena Wilson, Slate

“Roll Red Roll is often hard to watch, but [director Nancy] Schwartzman handles the subject matter with respect, grace, insight, and even hope.” – Erika W. Smith, Bust Magazine

The Brink, Director Alison Klayman

When Steve Bannon left his position as White House chief strategist less than a week after the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally in August 2017, he was already a notorious figure in Trump’s inner circle, and for bringing a far-right ideology into the highest echelons of American politics. Unconstrained by an official post – though some say he still has a direct line to the White House – he became free to peddle influence as a perceived kingmaker, turning his controversial brand of nationalism into a global movement. Alison Klayman’s THE BRINK follows Bannon through the 2018 mid-term elections in the United States, shedding light on his efforts to mobilize and unify far-right parties in order to win seats in the May 2019 European Parliamentary elections. To maintain his power and influence, the former Goldman Sachs banker and media investor reinvents himself – as he has many times before – this time as the self-appointed leader of a global populist movement. Keen manipulator of the press and gifted self-promoter, Bannon continues to draw headlines and protests wherever he goes, feeding the powerful myth on which his survival relies. Director and Cinematographer Alison Klayman (Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry, On Her Shoulders) joins us for a conversation on gaining access and the confidence of a man who has maneuvered his way into the darkest corners of white-wing global brinksmanship.

 

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For news and updates go to: thebrinkfilm.com

For more information on Alison Klayman go to: alisonklayman.com/the-brink

Social Media

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“STARTLING.” Steven Zeitchik, Washington Post.

“GRIPPING.” Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times.

“A MUST SEE.” Manohla Dargis, New York Times.

“The Brink” is an impeccably crafted verité ramble – an engaging and enraging, disturbing and highly revealing movie…” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“What makes The Brink so different from just another platform for this professional troll? Though Klayman sticks to a largely vérité approach of following her subject around and observing his various interactions, she also provides important context.” – Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine / Vulture

Combat Obscura, Director Miles Lagoze

Just out of high school, at the age of 18, Miles Lagoze enlisted in the Marine Corps. Lagoze was deployed to Afghanistan where he served as Combat Camera — his unit’s official videographer, tasked with shooting and editing footage for the Corps’ recruiting purposes and historical initiatives. But upon discharging, Lagoze took all the footage he and his fellow cameramen shot, and he assembled quite simply the very documentary the Corps does not want you to see. COMBAT OBSCURA is a groundbreaking look at daily life in a war zone as told by the Marines themselves. More than a mere compilation of violence, the edit ingeniously repurposes the original footage to reveal the intensity and paradoxes of an ambiguous war from an unvarnished perspective. Director Miles Lagoze joins us to talk about his deployment in America’s longest war, adapting to a whipsaw life of boredom, camaraderie and death and training to become a filmmaker via the United States Marine Corp.

 

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

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“The beauty of the film is its realness. All the footage is taken directly from his camera. Lagoze went on to compile all the events he felt were representative of his experience. He shows the gun fights, the cursing, the shouting, the laughter, the fear and the hostility of the men in the war. Nothing is withheld.”Jessica Duffield, VOX MAGAZINE

“War is not fought but lived, and this is as close to first-person as one can get without being there. COMBAT OBSCURA sinks deeper into darkness as it progresses, as the utter pointlessness and futility of America’s presence in Afghanistan overwhelms the troops. While we are initially invited to empathize with the Marines, their jokey comradery gives way to vicious menace. There is no apparent mission, just a loop of injuries and reprisals against an amorphous outside threat. The final two scenes are a despairing diptych. In the first, the men realize they’ve killed an unarmed shopkeeper and plot to cover it up. In the second, one of them is seriously wounded in a firefight and they scramble to get him airlifted to aid. There is no point to any of it, just horror. That is all there is to this war, and no uplifting words will ameliorate it.” – Daniel Schindel, THE FILM STAGE

“This Marine-made war documentary is so raw the corps doesn’t want you to see it. One of most genuine looks at what the Forever War was like for those who waged it.”James Clark, TASK AND PURPOSE

Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People, Director Oren Rudavsky

Joseph Pulitzer’s New York newspaper, The World, would transform American media and make him wealthy, admired and feared. Throughout his four decades as a reporter and publisher, he created a powerful artistic vehicle that spoke to an unprecedented number of readers. Towards the end of his life, both sickly and blind, Pulitzer’s commitment to fearless reporting would tested by the most powerful person in American life. Pulitzer is an American icon who spoke of “fake news” over one hundred years ago. He fought the dangers that the suppression of news had for a democracy long before our present threats to press freedom. While he is remembered for the prizes that bear his name, his own heroic battles in the face of grave illness and Presidential ire have been forgotten as has the artistry and game changing originality he brought to newspapers. How did Joseph Pulitzer, once a penniless young Jewish immigrant from Hungary, come to challenge a popular president and fight for freedom of the press as essential to our democracy? Adam Driver narrates the film. Liev Schreiber is the voice of Pulitzer. Tim Blake Nelson is the voice of Teddy Roosevelt and Rachel Brosnahan is the voice of Nelly Bly. Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People Director and Producer Oren Rudavsky is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and several National Endowment for the Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts grants. Rudavsky produced Witness Theater a film chronicling a Self help organized workshop between holocaust survivors and high-school students which will premiere in 2019. His previous films Colliding Dreams co-directed with Joseph Dorman, and The Ruins of Lifta co-directed with Menachem Daum, were released theatrically in 2016. Colliding Dreams was broadcast on PBS in May 2018.  Director Oren Rudavsky joins us for a conversation on the indispensable role Joseph Pulitzer played in the development of America’s crown jewel, freedom of the press.

 

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For news and updates go to: Josephpulitzerfilm.com

Opening March 8 Laemmle Music Hall (Beverly Hills) Towne Center 5 (Encino) and Playhouse 7 (Pasadena)

“Summarizing the great strides he made for journalism without ignoring his colorful flaws, Oren Rudavsky’s Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People is an excellent primer, not just on the man but on the birth of the modern newspaper.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

“Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People serves as a profile of the publishing giant and an important lesson on freedom of the press.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

“Newspapers have been going downhill ever since the days of “yellow journalism” but this film about one of its masters demonstrates that documentaries are better than ever.” – Louis Proyect, Counterpunch.org

United Skates, Co-directors Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler

For years, roller-skating rinks have been a constant for African-American communities across the U.S., serving as a meeting ground, a place to have fun and an incubator of iconic hip-hop talents like Queen Latifah and N.W.A. As America’s last standing roller rinks are threatened with closure, a community joins forces in a racially charged environment to save the underground African-American subculture of roller skating, which has been overlooked by the mainstream for generations – yet has given rise to some of the world’s greatest musical talents. From executive producer John Legend and first-time directors Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown, the documentary UNITED SKATES highlights the dynamic world of roller skating, showcasing African-American rinks and skaters across the country as they fight to keep the culture alive and skate their hearts out. The film features interviews with hip-hop legends like Salt-N-Pepa, Coolio, Vin Rock of Naughty by Nature and World Class Wreckin’ Cru. UNITED SKATES spotlights three skaters fighting for their community: L.A. native Phelicia, a single mom who grew up in skates and hopes to keep skating alive for her children; North Carolinian Reggie, who lives hours from any rink that offers a night for black skaters and vows to launch his own; and Buddy Love, the owner of Chicago-based Rich City Skate, who struggles to keep his rink open, despite financial pressure. Co-directors Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler stop by to talk about their infectious and insightful look at a facet of African-American life in danger of fading away.

 

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For more news and updates go to: unitedskatesfilm.com

Check out United Skates on HBO

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Reviews: 100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“This kaleidoscopically vibrant, essential-viewing survey plunges audiences into a dazzling underground scene, celebrating the endangered art form it finds there.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

“This is a passion project in the best sense of the word, a movie in which the ingenuity and dedication of the filmmakers illuminate the same qualities in their subjects.” – Two Bugbee, New York Times

“…[an] exceedingly entertaining and genuinely revealing look into a roller-skating subculture that I frankly knew next to nothing about.” – Daniel Nava, Chicago Cinema Circuit

“This is a film that paints a humanizing portrait of an endangered form of expression, risked at the hands of the micro-racism and economic tribulations faced by the African-American community.” – Laura Birnbaum, Film Inquiry

Who Will Write Our History, Director Roberta Grossman

In November 1940, days after the Nazis sealed 450,000 Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, a secret band of journalists, scholars and community leaders decided to fight back. Led by historian Emanuel Ringelblum and known by the code name Oyneg Shabes, this clandestine group vowed to defeat Nazi lies and propaganda not with guns or fists but with pen and paper. Now, for the first time, their story is told as a feature documentary. Written, produced and directed by Roberta Grossman, based upon the book Who Will Write Our History? by Samuel D. Kassow, and executive produced by Nancy Spielberg, Who Will Write Our History mixes the writings of the Oyneg Shabes archive with new interviews, rarely seen footage, and stunning dramatizations (shot on location in Lodz and Warsaw, Poland) to transport us inside the Ghetto and the lives of these courageous resistance fighters. They defied their murderous enemy with the ultimate weapon – the truth – and risked everything so that their archive would survive the war, even if they did not. Featuring the voices of three-time Academy Award nominee Joan Allen and Academy Award winner Adrian Brody, the film honors the Oyneg Shabes  members’ determination in creating the most important cache of eyewitness accounts to survive the war. Director / producer / writer Roberta Grossman joins us to talk about how her passion for social justice led her to Emanuel Ringelblum and what Who Will Write Our History can teaches about the world we live in today.

 

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For news and updates go to: whowillwriteourhistory.com

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“A vital and sobering documentary” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“Who Will Write Our History tells the courageous but mostly unknown story of a covert group known as Oyneg Shabes and how they vowed to defeat the Nazis with pen and paper.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

“The staged scenes are well acted, while readings from diaries and letters are heartbreaking.” – Ken Jaworowski, New York Times

“A deeply moving history-behind-the-history.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

Lois Vossen, Independent Lens Executive Producer

Lois Vossen is the Executive Producer of Independent Lens and has been with the show since its inception as a primetime series on PBS. Lois is responsible for commissioning new films, programming the series and working with filmmakers on editorial and broadcast issues. Independent Lens films have received 17 Emmy Awards, 16 George Foster Peabody Awards, five Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Journalism Awards and eight Academy Award nominations. The series was honored in 2013, 2014, 2015  and 2017 with the International Documentary Association (IDA) Award for Best Series. Before joining ITVS, Lois was the Associate Managing Director of Sundance Film Festival and Sundance Labs. Lois is a member of the Television Academy Board of Governors, representing the documentary branch. She has served on the jury at  Shanghai Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, SXSW, DOC New Zealand and Palm Springs International Film Festival, among others. Under her leadership, films funded or co-produced by Independent Lens include I Am Not Your Negro, Always in Season, Bedlam, One Child Nation, Black Memorabilia, The King, People’s Republic of Desire, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, TOWER, Newtown, Best of Enemies, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, (T)ERROR, The House I Live In, The Invisible War, and The Trials of Muhammad Ali, among many others. Widely regarded as one of the most influential supporters of independent and documentary filmmaking, Lois Vossen joins us for a conversation on the role that Independent Lens /POV and Public Broadcasting has had in maintaining the highest standards for innovative storytelling in non-fiction cinema.

 

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For news and updates go to: pbs.org/independentlens/films

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** 2019 Academy Award nominated ** Hale County, This Morning, This Evening, Director RaMell Ross

Acclaimed photographer RaMell Ross, 2019 Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary, has made his directorial debut with one of the most critically-acclaimed films of the year — Hale County This Morning, This Evening. An inspired and intimate portrait of a place and its people, the film looks at the lives of two young African American men from rural Alabama over the course of five years. Daniel Collins attends college in search of opportunity while Quincy Bryant becomes a father to an energetic son in this open-ended, poetic film without a traditional narrative. Distilling life to its essence, the film invites the audience to experience the mundane and the monumental, birth and death, the quotidian and the sublime. These moments combine to communicate the region’s deep culture and provide glimpses of the complex ways the African American community’s collective image is integrated into America’s visual imagination.. RaMell Ross met Quincy when he was teaching in a GED program in Greensboro, Alabama, and met Daniel when he was coaching basketball at a local high school. He shot over 1300 hours of footage over five years, which was then edited down into the final film. Director RaMell Ross stops by to talk about his meticulously assembled, ethereal ode to Black lives in Hale County, Alabama.

 

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*** 2019 Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary ***

For news and updates go to: halecountyfilm.com

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The film premieres on Independent Lens Monday, February 11, 2019, 10:00-11:30 PM ET (check local listings) on PBS

94% on Rotten Tomatoes

“At every juncture, Ross elects for ambiguity and poses a question to the viewer to answer how black bodies are viewed, encouraging the audience to perform the labour of challenging their expectations.” – Melissa Vincent, Globe and Mail

“You could call it a transcendental scrapbook, because it wipes away the muck of subjectivity that guides most movies. It turns the audience into direct receptors of experience.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“…the cinematic equivalent of a memory quilt, woven together with a deep love of community, comprised of intimate though disparate moments from others’ lives, and poetically comforting despite its historically weighty components.” – Jordan M. Smith, Film School Rejects

“Hale County is the type of film designed to violate common rules of cinema. Story gives way to lyricism; there’s little dialogue, minimal plot, minutes upon minutes of pastoral imagery…Ross’s lens captures a reality that’s rarely seen by the human eye.” – Natalia Winkelman, The Daily Beast

“It’s not every day that you witness a new cinematic language being born, but watching RaMell Ross’s evocatively titled documentary Hale County, This Morning, This Evening qualifies.” – Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice

’63 Boycott, Director Gordon Quinn

’63 Boycott is the award-winning film directed by Gordon Quinn, the co-founder of Kartemquin Films, and produced by Rachel Dickson and Tracye A. Matthews. ’63 Boycott revisits October 22, 1963, when more than 250,000 students boycotted the Chicago Public Schools to protest racial segregation. Many marched through the city calling for the resignation of School Superintendent Benjamin Willis, who placed trailers, dubbed ‘Willis Wagons,’ on playgrounds and parking lots of overcrowded black schools rather than let them enroll in nearby white schools. Blending unseen 16mm footage of the march shot by Gordon Quinn when he was just 21 years old with the participants’ reflections today, 63 Boycott connects the forgotten story of one of the largest northern civil rights demonstrations to contemporary issues around race, education, school closings, and youth activism. Director Gordon Quinn joins us for a conversation on his lacerating look at the historic non-violent campaign to win access to educational parity and basic human rights.  ’63 Boycott is an overview of how much Chicago has changed and how much remains the same.

For news and updates go to: kartemquin.com/films/63-boycott

For more about ’63 Boycott and the catalog Kartemquin films

‘63 Boycott

Winner – Best Short Documentary Award at the 2018 Nashville Film Festival

Winner – Audience Award at the 2018 Pan African African Film Festival.

Winner – Best Short Documentary at the Berlin Black International Cinema Exhibition

Winner – Best Short Documentary Roxbury International Film Festival

Winner – Best Short Documentary Adrian International Film Festival

Winner – Best Short Documentary Montreal International Black Film Festival

Winner – Jury Citation Award at the Black Maria Film Festival.

 ** ‘63 Boycott is one of 10 short documentaries to advance as a contender for Best Documentary Short at the 2019 Academy Awards.

The Distant Barking of Dogs, Director Simon Lereng Wilmont and Producer Monica Hellström

THE DISTANT BARKING OF DOGS is set in Eastern Ukraine on the frontline of the war. The film follows the life of 10-year-old Ukrainian boy Oleg throughout a year, witnessing the gradual erosion of his innocence beneath the pressures of war.  Oleg lives with his beloved grandmother, Alexandra, in the small village of Hnutove. Having no other place to go, Oleg and Alexandra stay and watch as others leave the village. Life becomes increasingly difficult with each passing day, and the war offers no end in sight. In this now half-deserted village where Oleg and Alexandra are the only true constants in each other’s lives, the film shows just how fragile, but crucial, close relationships are for survival.  Through Oleg’s perspective, the film examines what it means to grow up in a warzone. It portrays how a child’s universal struggle to discover what the world is about grows interlaced with all the dangers and challenges the war presents. THE DISTANT BARKING OF DOGS unveils the consequences of war bearing down on the children in Eastern Ukraine, and by natural extension, the scars and self- taught life lessons this generation will carry with them into the future. Director Simon Lereng Wilmont and Producer Monica Hellström stop by to talk about this harrowing, intimate and loving look at Oleg and Alexandra’s claustrophobic life on the frontlines of an undeclared war.

 

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For news and updates go to: Distant Barking of Dogs

**Spotlight Award Nominee – Cinema Eye Honors 2019

**Honorable Mention – Pare Lorentz Award – 2018 IDA Awards

**Winner – First Appearance Award – IDFA 2017

**Winner – Best Nordic Documentary – Göteborg Film Festival 2018

**Winner – Golden Gate Award – SFFILM 2018

**Winner – Fipresci Award – Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival 2018

**Winner – Best International Film – DocAviv Film Festival 2018

**Nominee – Best European Documentary – European Film Awards 2018

“Finds beauty and horror on the bleeding edge of war” – The Hollywood Reporter

“Moving and effective” – Screen Daily

“Resembles classic Terence Malick” – Point of View Magazine

“A beautiful, poetic observational documentary” – Cineuropa

“An intimate, stirring portrayal of life during wartime” – Film Pulse