November 8 – The Kingmaker, Director Lauren Greenfield

Centered on the indomitable character of former first-lady Imelda Marcos, THE KINGMAKER examines, with intimate access, the Marcos family’s improbable return to power in the Philippines. THE KINGMAKER explores the disturbing legacy of the Marcos regime and chronicles Imelda’s present-day push to help her son, Bongbong, win the vice presidency. To this end, Imelda confidently rewrites her family’s history of corruption, replacing it with a narrative of a matriarch’s extravagant love for her country. In an age when fake news manipulates elections, Imelda’s comeback story serves as a dark fairy tale. Director Lauren Greenfield (Generation Wealth, The Queen of Versailles,Thin) joins us to talk about a powerful political family, led by a single-minded matriarch, determined to return to re-capture the corrupted glory of  her family’s discredited regime.

 

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About the filmmaker, Lauren Greenfield Named by the New York Times as “America’s foremost visual chronicler of the plutocracy,” Emmy Award–winning filmmaker/photographer Lauren Greenfield has produced groundbreaking work on consumerism, youth culture and gender for the last 25 years. Her films Generation Wealth, The Queen of Versailles and Thin and photography books Generation Wealth, Fast Forward and Girl Culture have provoked international dialogue about some of the most important issues of our time. The Queen of Versailles was the opening night film of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Best Documentary Director Award and was named by Vogue as  one  of  the  top  documentaries  of  all time. Her record-breaking Super Bowl ad #LikeAGirl (250+ million views) earned her 14 Cannes Lions and the Most Awarded Director by Ad Age, making her the first woman to top this list. Generation Wealth (Amazon Studios) opened the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, screened at Berlinale and received a Writers Guild nomination. The companion exhibition received The Paris Photography prize, has traveled around the world and opens at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Copenhagen) in Fall 2019. In 2019, Greenfield launched Girl Culture Films to address the lack of diversity of directors in the advertising industry.

For news, theatre screening and updates go to: thekingmakerfilm.com

Social Media:
facebook.com/laurengreenfield
twitter.com/lgreen66
instagram.com/greenfield_lauren

 

OFFICIAL SELECTION – Venice International Film Festival

OFFICIAL SELECTION – Telluride Film Festival

OFFICIAL SELECTION – Toronto International Film Festival

 “Jaw dropping. Lauren Greenfield proves the perfect person to infiltrate Imelda Marcos’ psyche.”- Peter Debruge, Variety

 “An enraging portrait of entitlement, opulence and corruption. Greenfield shows a knack for illuminating the oddly hypnotic allure of obscene, tacky wealth.” – Tim Grierson, Screen International

 “Eye opening. Lauren Greenfield transforms an absorbing look at the life and legacy of Imelda Marcos into a fascinating documentary about the Marcos family’s troubled history – and the disturbing ways that it’s making a comeback today.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

:Marcos innately understands the importance of image, but she seems to have underestimated her inquisitor, who uses well-chosen historic footage and powerfully-edited interviews with other Filipinos to gradually expand the canvas.” – Elizabeth Weitzman, TheWrap

November 8 – Disco’d, Director Matthew Siretta and Producer Sam Mantell

Between 2015 and 2016, the number of homeless people in Los Angeles County rose 23% to nearly 58,000. DISCO’D is a character-driven portrait of individuals who were living on the street at the time of filming. This riveting, on-the-ground documentary film captures the moment-to-moment uncertainty and endless instability of life on the streets. Immersive and intimate, highlighting issues of displacement, affordable housing, addiction, consumerism, and sanitation, DISCO’D examines the nature and complexities of homelessness. Navigating through the streets with those who live there, DISCO’D tells a story of those affected by homelessness in Los Angeles. We have seen homeless communities sweep into all parts of the city in recent years. Director, / Producer / Editor  Matthew Siretta and Producer / Sound Engineer Sam Mantell join us to talk about his unsettling film that captures the chaos and sheer hopelessness of the men and woman with no where else to go.

Filmmaker(s) statement: “As filmmakers, we tried to explore human connections by examining interpersonal relationships, and self-reflection, while maintaining a firm look at the people who live within this uneasy margin of society. By facilitating a conversation about these individuals’ relationships with themselves, others, and the city that contains them, we can intimately recognize and connect with them in a very real way. From the beginning, our intention was to make a film that felt personal and experiential, with a narrative that emerged from the frame of human behavior. We wanted to focus on the visceral aspects of their stories, relating to them through feeling, expression, action, and reaction. For us, it was important to remain open to discovery, new connections, and interesting juxtapositions. As they share their lives with us, we come to understand what it means to feel “disco’d” on the streets of Los Angeles. We hope this film is a powerful portrayal that can positively impact the ideas and thoughts viewers may have around what it means to experience homelessness in Los Angeles. That said, we hope that you find the film consistent with our efforts, as we’ve attempted to create a meaningful portrait on homelessness in Los Angeles.” – Matthew Siretta and Sam Mantell

 

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

Social Media:
facebook.com/DiscodMovie
twitter.com/discodmovie
instagram.com/discodmovie
Sam Mantell: twitter.com/slmantell
Matthew Siretta: twitter.com/MATTHEW_SIRETTA

 

“Important doc on LA homeless.” – Sean Baker, @Lilfilm

“Siretta meant to nab his hero Frederick Wiseman as his mentor and he succeeded, so maybe keep an eye peeled.” – Pamela Cohn,  Filmmaker Magazine

“Impressed with the film, particularly as a first-time feature. Raw, accomplished filmmaking. It’s very strong…and some of the characters are extraordinary.” – Jim Kolmar,  SXSW Film Festival

“…A deeply engrossing portrait of Los Angeles homeless life.” – Harry Vaughn,  Sundance Film Festival

“The film provides its subjects the agency to tell their own stories, without judgment or suggestion. The camerawork and editing are sharp and well-suited to the film’s narrative.” – David Wilson,  True/False Film Festival

November 1 – St. Louis Superman, Director Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan

Bruce Franks Jr. is a 34-year-old battle rapper, Ferguson activist and state representative from St. Louis, Missouri. Known as Superman to his constituents, he is a political figure the likes of which you’ve never seen – full of contradictions and deep insights, who has overcome unspeakable loss to become one of the most exciting and unapologetic young leaders in the country. This short verité documentary follows Bruce at a critical juncture in his life, when he is forced to deal with the mental trauma he’s been carrying for the nearly 30 years since his 9-year-old brother was shot and killed in front of him, in order to find peace and truly fulfill his destiny as a leader for his community.  Co- director Smriti Mundhra  (Sami Khan) join us to talk about how a dynamic and charismatic man from a traumatized community took tragedy and turned into action.

About the filmmakers: Smriti Mundhras A SUITABLE GIRL  premiered at Tribeca in 2017 and won the Albert Maysles Award for Best New Documentary Director. KHOYASami Khan’s feature debut, was selected for the Tribeca Film Institute’s Tribeca All Access® fellowship.

 

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Social Media:
twitter.com/smritimundhra
facebook.com/smriti.mundhra
facebook.com/SamiKhan
twitter.com/samikhanfilm

 

Awards Shortlists:

Cinema Eye Honors – Short Listed – Best Short

DOC NYC – Best Shorts Short List

WINNER AUDIENCE AWARD – BEST SHORT DOC  – 2019 HOT DOCS FILM FESTIVAL – 2019 AFI DOCS FILM FESTIVAL – 2019 TRAVERSE CITY FILM FESTIVAL

WINNER – SPECIAL JURY AWARD  – 2019 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

WINNER – BEST SHORT DOC  – 2019 BIG SKY DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL

WINNER – BEST DOCUMENTARY – HEARTLAND FILM’S 2019 INDYSHORTS FILM FESTIVAL

“Thank you Mr. Mundhra. The film is powerful and simple.” – Lapacazo Sandoval, Los Angeles Sentinel

Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound, Director Midge Costin

Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound reveals the hidden power of sound in cinema . . . and our lives. Few have “ears to hear” or comprehend the emotional storytelling impact sound plays in so-called visual media. Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas have both declared  “sound is 50% of the movie,” with Steven Spielberg noting, “Our ears lead our eyes to where the story lives.” Through film clips, interviews and archival footage–an enlightening and nostalgic look at many of Hollywood’s biggest box office hits–the film captures the history, impact and unique creative process of this overlooked art form and the artists behind it. Filled with insights from legendary directors–including George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Barbra Streisand, Robert Redford, David Lynch, Ang Lee, Sofia Coppola and Ryan Coogler, among others–who share revealing stories about the award-winning work their sound collaborators help to create. In Making Waves, we witness the wild creativity of some of the industry’s most-respected key sound designers–including Oscar winners Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now), Ben Burtt (Star Wars), Gary Rydstrom (Saving Private Ryan) and Lora Hirschberg (Inception); and Oscar-nominees Cece Hall (Top Gun), Anna Behlmer (Braveheart) and Bobbi Banks (Selma)–who, in pursuing their art and desire to push the medium, are the very people who will go down in the history of cinema as developing sound into the immersive storytelling force it is today. Audiences will discover many unsung collaborators for the key creative artists they are, in a domain that has for too long been characterized as “technical.” Director Midge Costin joins us to evangelize on the power and glory of sound and the visionaries who have pioneered a new frontier in cinema.

 

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

Social Media:

facebook.com/makingwavesmovie

twitter.com/makingwavesmov

instagram.com/makingwavesmov

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Accessible, illuminating and entertaining, it’s a documentary of huge value, something that will enhance not just your understanding but your future experience of film.” – Emma Simmonds, The List

“A practically perfect primer for anyone interested in the history and craft of filmmaking, answering most of the pertinent, baseline questions while leaving plenty of room for supplemental research.” – William Bibbiani, TheWrap

“Provides an exhaustive history of the medium right before our ears and eyes, jumping quickly from decade to decade and bringing it all together as a comprehensive cinematic dissertation of aural complexity.” – John Fink, The Film Stage

“Making Waves will likely inspire viewers to seek out their favorite films and experience them with fresh ears.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

Independent Lens, Executive Producer Lois Vossen

The acclaimed PBS documentary series Independent Lens, recently honored with two Peabody Awards, a Primetime Emmy nomination and 12 News & Documentary Emmy nominations, returns for a new season on Monday, October 28.This year’s premiere is Made in Boise, an engrossing look at the complex and controversial world of gestational surrogacy told through the stories of four women carrying babies for gay men and infertile couples in the conservative heartland of Idaho — the unofficial “surrogacy capital” of the United States. Also on the fall schedule is Decade of Fire, which travels back to the 1970s when the South Bronx was burning, to showcase the dedicated citizens who outlasted the flames and saved their community; The Interpreters, a moving look at the Afghan and Iraqi interpreters who risked their lives aiding American troops and who now struggle to find safety and security for themselves and their families; Conscience Point, which unearths the deep clash of values between the Native American Shinnecock of Long Island and their affluent Hamptons neighbors; and Attla, the rousing story of Alaska Native George Attla, who with one good leg and a determined mindset went on to become a champion dogsled racer. Other highlights of the Winter/Spring 2020 slate include Always in Season, a harrowing look at the history of lynching and the 2014 case of Lennon Lacy, a North Carolina teen who died under unexplained circumstances; Bedlam, a psychiatrist’s chronicle of what mental illness means in the U.S. today, interwoven with the story of how the system tragically failed his own sister; and Rewind, a devastating, autobiographical documentary about the far-reaching consequences of multigenerational child sexual abuse. Independent Lens Executive Producer Lois Vossen joins us to talk about the fundamental principles to support filmmakers telling stories about their communities and commitment to showcase thought-provoking documentaries about the issues that divide us and the ideals and beliefs that bind us together.

 

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

Social Media:
facebook.com/independentlens
twitter.com/independentlens
instagram.com/independentlens

 

Independent Lens upcoming schedule:

Made in Boise by Beth Aala (Monday, October 28) Go inside the lives of four surrogates and the intended parents whose children they carry. As the number of surrogate births surge across the country, a surprising epicenter of the movement is Boise, Idaho, where hundreds of women are choosing to be surrogates. For gay couples, single men, and those who struggle with infertility, this booming industry is often the last resort to biological parenthood. The film follows the four women as they navigate the rigors of pregnancy and the mixed feelings of their own families, who struggle to understand their choice to risk the physical and emotional complications of carrying babies for someone else.

Decade of Fire by Vivian Vázquez Irizarry, Gretchen Hildebran and Julia Steele Allen (Monday, November 4) In the 1970s, the Bronx was on fire and close to a quarter-million people were displaced when their close-knit, multiethnic neighborhood burned. While the abandonment of landlords and dwindling support from government officials led to the devastation, Black and Puerto Rican residents were blamed. Now, Bronx-born Vivian Vázquez Irizarry explores the truth about the borough’s untold history and reveals how her community chose to resist, remain and rebuild.

The Interpreters by Andrés Caballero and Sofian Khan (Monday, November 11) More than 50,000 local interpreters helped protect U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, enabling soldiers to communicate with the local population. But those who took the job were often considered traitors. In the aftermath of war, some have been able to leave their home countries and reach safety, while others still languish in hiding and fear for their lives.

Conscience Point by Treva Wurmfeld (Monday, November 18) In Long Island’s Hamptons, one of the wealthiest areas in the nation and an epicenter of the luxury property boom, a clash of values is taking place. The original inhabitants of the beautiful peninsula — the Shinnecock Indian Nation — find themselves squeezed onto a tiny, impoverished reservation. Over hundreds of years they have seen their ancient burial grounds plowed up for the widening of roads, mega-mansions, and ultra-exclusive golf courses like the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. Now Shinnecock activists and long-standing residents, including farmers and fishing communities, are taking a stand against a never-ending tide of wealthy transplants, overdevelopment, pollution, congested highways and skyrocketing property taxes.

Attla by Catharine Axley (Monday, December 16) The inspiring but little-known story of legendary Alaska Native dogsled champion George Attla, who — with one good leg and fierce determination — rose to international fame. In the final chapter of his life, Attla emerges from retirement to mentor his 20-year-old grandnephew. With their sights set on reviving proud cultural traditions, the pair embark on a journey to compete in the world’s largest dogsled sprint race, one that has seen a steep decline in Native competitors.

Fantastic Fungi, Director Louie Schwartzberg

Fantastic Fungi, the engaging and informative documentary directed by Louie Schwartzberg, is a consciousness-shifting film that takes us on an immersive journey through time and scale into the magical earth beneath our feet, an underground network that can heal and save our planet.  Through the eyes of renowned scientists and mycologists like Paul Stamets, best-selling authors Michael Pollan, Eugenia Bone, Andrew Weil and others, we become aware of the beauty, intelligence and solutions the fungi kingdom offer us in response to some of our most pressing medical, therapeutic, and environmental challenges. When so many are struggling for connection, inspiration and hope, Fantastic Fungi brings us together as interconnected creators of our world. Directed by the pioneer of time-lapse photography, Louie Schwartzberg (Netflix’s “Moving Art”, Wings of Life for Disneynature, and Mysteries of the Unseen Worlds 3D Imax for Nat Geo still playing in theaters) Narrated by Academy Award-Winner Brie Larson.  Director Louie Schwartzberg joins us to talk about the amazing world of fungus and the burgeoning field of scientific research into the thousands of positive, possibly planet saving benefits that can be realized from the magical spores.

 

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

FANTASTIC FUNGI Q&A’s with director Louie Schwartzberg following the 7:40 pm show on Friday, 10/25 and Saturday, 10/26 at the Monica Film Center.

Social Media:

facebook.com/FungiFilm

twitter.com/FantasticFungi

instagram.com/fantasticfungi

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Fantastic Fungi makes the case that the answers to disease, anxiety, depression and global warming might be found underfoot. And they’re tasty to boot.” – Michael J. Casey, Boulder Weekly

“Louie and his team have accomplished an amazing task – with beautiful imagery, celebrating the quality of nature we have now. Fantastic Fungi is a film that serves to be a bridge of understanding to connect these ideas. By investing in these fungal networks we invest in the webs of life. Time is short. We need to bring this knowledge to the forefront of public consciousness.” – PAUL STAMETS

“One of the year’s most mind-blowing, soul-cleansing and yes, immensely entertaining triumphs.” – Matt Fagerholm, RogerEbert.com

“Louie Schwartzberg’s lightly informative, delightfully kooky documentary, “Fantastic Fungi,” offers nothing less than a model for planetary survival.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

Diego Maradona, Director Asif Kapadia

In this brilliant followup to his award-winning documentaries (SENNA, AMY) DIEGO MARADONA captures the athletic brilliance and maddening duality of a soccer player widely considered to be best player in the world from the moment he burst onto the scene in his native Argentina. And yet success proved elusive. He failed at Barcelona. He was considered a problem player, too interested in partying. Meanwhile, having never won a major tournament, the ailing Italian football giant SSC Napoli were perennial underachievers. Their fanatical support was unequalled in both passion and size. But how they ached for success… On 5th July 1984, Diego Maradona arrived in Naples for a world-record fee and for seven years all hell broke loose. The world’s most celebrated football genius and the most passionate but dangerous city in Europe were a perfect match for each other. Diego Maradona was blessed on the field and treated like a God off it; the charismatic Argentine loved a fight against the odds and led Naples to their first-ever League title. It was the stuff of dreams. But there was a price… Diego could do as he pleased while performing miracles on the pitch, but as time passed, darker days closed in. Italy turned on him. The third film from the Academy Award-winning & multi-BAFTA-winning team behind SENNA and AMY (director Asif Kapadia, producer James Gay-Rees, editor Chris King, composer Antonio Pinto), and also Paul Martin, DIEGO MARADONA was constructed from over 500 hours of never-before-seen footage from Maradona’s personal archive. DIEGO MARADONA is crafted in the style of SENNA and AMY. It is the definitive feature documentary on the charismatic enigma that is Maradona. In a city where even the devil would need bodyguards, Diego Maradona became a god. Maradona in Naples is the story of his life, the wild and unforgettable story of an unrivalled talent. He was a rebel, cheat, hero and god. This is a story of glory, despair and betrayal, a tale of corruption and, ultimately, of redemption. Director / Producer Asif Kapadia joins us to talk about the enigma of “Diego” and “Maradona.”

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to:hbo.com/documentaries/diego-maradona

For news, updates and screenings go to: diegomaradona.movie

Social Media and tags:

facebook.com/hbodocs

twitter.com/HBODocs

#HBO

#HBODocs

#DiegoMaradona

#HBOSports

Asif Kapadia:

facebook.com/DiegoMaradonaMovie

twitter.com/asifkapadia

twitter.com/MaradonaMovie

instagram.com/diegomaradonamovie

website: diegomaradona.movie

“MESMERIZING… one of the most colorful and fascinating personalities in all of sports, with a life story bordering on the mythic. You may know outlines of the soccer legend’s life, but there’s no way you won’t learn something from DIEGO MARADONA, Asif Kapadia’s absorbing and exhaustive new film.” – Jocelyn Noveck, Associated Press

“a fame-technique movie, measured in crowd roars, off-field revelry, media run-ins, and fan scrums as dizzying accoutrements to success, but also – when Maradona succumbed to scandals surrounding women, an unclaimed son from an affair, cocaine, loyalty, and powerful mob friends – in how those same trappings can suddenly turn vicious, and a hero’s fall can go shockingly unsupported.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“[Kapadia] has edited cruddy video footage (some of which appears barely more than camcorder-grade) and photographs into a movie so fluid that it moves like a Hollywood production. He also dispenses with much of the filler common to documentaries… It is exhausting and exhilarating, cheap looking and slick, a documentary for Maradona fans but also for many others besides.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“Asif Kapadia has put together an extraordinarily intimate account of [Diego Maradona’s] rise and fall, enriched by grainy but graphic footage recording every phase of his life.” – Sandra Hall, Sydney Morning Herald

The Cave, Director Feras Fayyad

Oscar nominee Feras Fayyad (“Last Men in Aleppo”) delivers an unflinching story of the Syrian war with his powerful new documentary, THE CAVE. For besieged civilians, hope and safety lie underground inside the subterranean hospital known as the Cave, where pediatrician and managing physician Dr. Amani Ballor and her colleagues Samaher and Dr. Alaa have claimed their right to work as equals alongside their male counterparts, doing their jobs in a way that would be unthinkable in the oppressively patriarchal culture that exists above. Following the women as they contend with daily bombardments, chronic supply shortages and the ever-present threat of chemical attacks, THE CAVE paints a stirring portrait of courage, resilience and female solidarity. Director and writer Feras Fayyad stops by to talk about the unbelievable courage of the hospital staff led by Dr. Amani Ballor, and the volunteers as they keep an otherwise harrowing day-to-day nightmare from devolving into soul-destroying chaos.

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: nationalgeographic.com/films/the-cave

The Cave opens on October 18 at the Laemmle Royal Theatre in Los Angeles

SocialMedia:

facebook.com/natgeodocs

twitter.com/NatGeoDocs

instagram.com/explore/tags/thecavedocumentary

**WINNER – Audience Award – Toronto International Film Festival 2019

**WINNER – Audience Award – Camden International Film Festival 2019

**SPECIAL JURY MENTION – Camden International Film Festival 2019

“Miraculous. A standout. Feras Fayyad’s powerful portrait audaciously puts women’s imperative contribution to survival front and center.” – Tomris Laffly, Variety

“Look no further than The Cave for a portrait of true heroism. Provides astonishingly immediate and gripping footage of the collective effort to survive. The Cave ranks among the best of films to portray the tragedy of the Civil War in Syria and the resilience of the everyday people who keep the spirit of the nation alive.” – Pat Mullen, POV

“Emotionally Moving. Both intensely real and a carefully wrought work of cinema.” – Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter

“Gripping. Unprecedented. A real-time thriller. Fayyad excels at finding small moments that take on poetic resonance.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

On the President’s Orders, Directors James Jones and Olivier Sarbil

ON THE PRESIDENT’S ORDERS tell the searing story of President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody campaign against drug dealers and addicts in the Philippines, told with unprecedented and intimate access to both sides of the war – the Manila police, and an ordinary family from the slum. Shot in the style of a thriller, this observational film combines the look and feel of a narrative feature film with a real life revelatory journalistic investigation into a campaign of killings. The film uncovers a murky world where crime, drugs and politics meet in a deathly embrace – and reveal that although the police have been publicly ordered to stop extra-judicial killings, the deaths continue. Director / Producer James Jones and Director / Cinematographer Olivier Sarbil join us for a conversation on the challenges of gaining access to the police, the victims of police violence and the draconian drug policy being enforced by a dictatorial, human-rights abusing regime.

 

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About the filmmakers:

Director and Producer – James Jones is an award-winning British director who makes documentary films for international television and theatrical release. His documentaries tackle important issues through powerful personal stories told in a filmic style and narrative. He has made films about police shootings in America, suicide in the military, wars in Ukraine and Gaza, and undercover investigations in Saudi Arabia and North Korea. His background in current affairs investigations means the films still have a hard journalistic edge while using the craft techniques of documentary. His films have won two Emmys, three DuPonts, a Grierson, a Rory Peck, a Frontline Club, a Royal Television Society, a Broadcast Award, two Overseas Press Club of America, two Golden Nymphs, and a Venice TV Award, as well as being nominated five times at the BAFTAs. Recently, he co-directed the Emmy-winning Mosul with Olivier Sarbil.

Cinematographer and Director – Olivier Sarbil is an award-winning French documentary director and Emmy-winning cinematographer based in London. Over the past decade, Olivier has covered conflicts and critical social issues across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America. With strong visual storytelling, Olivier’s films are intimate and human, conveying emotions through beautiful and cinematic imagery. His work has been recognized with awards from a variety of organizations, including, Emmy for Outstanding Cinematography, DuPont, Royal Television Society, One World Media, Overseas Press Club of America, Broadcast Awards, Bayeux-Calvados for war correspondents (twice), Golden Nymph, Rory Peck, Venice TV Award, Frontline Club, Grand Award and Gold Medal at the New York Festivals International TV & Film. His imagery has also garnered a BAFTA Nomination for Best Cinematography.

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

ON THE PRESIDENT’S ORDERS Q&A with filmmakers James Jones and Olivier Sarbil will participate following the 7:40 pm show on Friday, 10/18  at the Monica FIlm Center

Social Media:

twitter.com/OnThePresident

@oliviersarbil

@jamesjonesfilm

@OnThePresident

“A shockingly alarming investigation produced with the sensibilities of a social realist drama, Sarbil and Jones’ nonfiction warning should petrify U.S. viewers immeasurably.” – Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times

“A wholly cinematic, sensory experience, with straight-ahead reportage electrified by glaring streetlights and a panicked urban wall of sound…” Guy Lodge, Variety

“On the President’s Orders is the disturbing observational documentary we’ve needed about the Philippines drug war, made with finesse and astonishing access.” Musanna Ahmed, Film Inquiry

“A riveting account of the consequences of unfettered demagoguery.” – Justin Lowe, Hollywood Reporter

GIFT, Director Robin McKenna

Inspired by Lewis Hyde’s beloved classic The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World, GIFT is a richly cinematic film, interweaving character‐driven stories. On North America’s Pacific Northwest Coast, a young Indigenous artist and carver undertakes the elaborate preparations for a potlatch – to make a name for himself by giving everything away. In Rome, Italy, a factory occupied by migrant families is transformed into a living museum, protected by a barricade of art : a model of resistance, and an invaluable gift.  In the pirate utopia of Burning Man, a mutant bumblebee art car distributes honey in a post-­apocalyptic desert landscape. Meanwhile, in Auckland, New Zealand, artist Lee Mingwei prepares to launch Sonic Blossom – a “transformative gift” of song. GIFT is a tribute to something that can’t be measured or counted, bought or sold. Exploring the parallels between artists’ work and a gift economy, it’s a reflection on the creative process, the reasons we “labour in service of our gifts”, and a celebration of the imagination. Director Robin McKenna joins us to talk about her beautifully meditative film about paying forward human connection and how communities can re-imagine the meaning of wealth and prosperity.

About the filmmaker: Robin McKenna is director, producer and writer of GIFT, a feature-length documentary and crossmedia project inspired by Lewis Hyde’s classic bestseller The Gift. She is currently making Thanadoula, a short animated documentary fairytale about a real-life “death doula”, in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada – and Medicine, a feature-length documentary over a decade in the making, about ayahuasca, medicine and healing, with Dr. Gabor Maté. She directed Genevieve Bujold: ArtVie, a short film tribute to Bujold on 16mm, for the Governor General’s Awards for the Performing Arts in 2018. Robin grew up in Montréal, and began making films with La course destination monde. Her cinematography credits include City of Borders (Berlinale, Hot Docs 2009) and The Take with Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis (AFI Best Documentary 2004).

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: giftitforwardproject.com/the-film

GIFT opens at the Laemmle Monica Film Center on Friday, October 11. On Saturday, October 12 John Densmore (The Doors) and director Robin McKenna will participate in a Q&A following the 7:45 pm show.

Social Media:

facebook.com/GIFTdocumentary

instagram.com/giftdocumentary

“For many people, Gift will live up to its title.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

“Documentarian Robin McKenna’s intelligent and life affirming documentary Gift will make viewers consider how they give, receive, and create art in a fresh, new light.” – Andrew Parker, The Gate

“A documentary showing how art keeps moving in circles of sharing, giving, and generosity.” – Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice

Midnight Traveler, Producers Emelie Mahdavian and Su Kim

In 2015, after Hassan Fazili’s documentary Peace in Afghanistan aired on Afghan national television, the Taliban assassinated the film’s main subject and put a price on Fazili’s head. Fearing for their survival, the Fazili family, Nargis, Zahra, and Fatima fled Kabul for Tajikistan. Yet after 14 months spent submitting asylum applications that were rejected again and again, they were deported back to Afghanistan. It was at this juncture that Fazili picked up his cell phone and hit the record button and with that Midnight Traveler began to take shape. Chronicling every step from inside the action, Fazili, his filmmaker wife, and their young daughters trek across Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Serbia—scurrying through perilous landscapes, huddling in freezing forests, cramming into rattling vehicles. As they endure smugglers, gangs, and refugee camps, the camera witnesses not only the danger and desperation but also the exuberance and tenderness of this irresistible, loving family. For Fazili, framing their story becomes an assertion of control, humanity, and self-expression in a situation where none exists. With its radical subjectivity, visceral footage, and poetic form, Midnight Traveler is a migration story like no other. Producer Su Kim and Producer / writer / editor Emilie Mahdavian join us for a look at at Hassan and his remarkably resilient family as they attempt to overcome institutional and deadly political obstacles in their fight for freedom as seen through the eyes of his children, Zahra and Nargis and wife, Fatima. A fight for freedom that they have to win.

 

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

For news and screening information go to: midnighttravelerfilm.com

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*WINNER* SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2019

World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for No Borders

BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2019

Prize of the Ecumenical Jury – Special Mention

100% on Rotten Tomatoes 

“Modest but full of urgency, MIDNIGHT TRAVELER uses the power of smart phones to reveal a migrant family’s search for a safe haven. Gretchen Jude’s percussive, electronic score helps hold it all together. [The film] stands as a family’s joint testimony, heartfelt and heartbreaking, particular yet hauntingly representative.” – Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter

“Has a home-movie quality that’s enormously effective in putting a human face on a global crisis.” – Scott Tobias, Variety

“What makes [the film] so moving, though, is the portrait that Fazili and Hussaini paint of both themselves as full, ungainly people, with flaws and hopes and perfections and their daughters who, in a way, are the stars [of the movie]. A languid, poetic film. [The parents] meditate on family, fear, equality, Islam, and the banality of everyday life. Throughout, though, it is hard not to forget that MIDNIGHT TRAVELER is a film of life or death which the score constantly reminds, and which infuses tensions into the narrative’s nooks and crannies.” – Gary Garrison, The Playlist

“A remarkable achievement…an affecting, essential documentary. The suffering, fear and humiliation that they experience is balanced by moments of warmth and an artist’s magpie eye for unexpected glimpses of beauty…While there have been numerous documentaries which deal with the plight of asylum seekers, there have been few which have shown, with this level of intimacy, the journey of a family from certain danger to an uncertain fate. It’s a film which deserves to be as widely seen as possible.” – Wendy Ide, Screen International

Always in Season, Director Jacqueline Olive

Claudia Lacy wants answers. When her 17-year-old son, Lennon, was found hanging from a swing set in Bladenboro, North Carolina, the authorities quickly ruled his death a suicide. In light of suspicious details surrounding his death, and certain that her son would not take his own life, Claudia is convinced Lennon was lynched. Jacqueline Olive’s unwavering debut film ALWAYS IN SEASON puts Lacy’s pursuit for justice into a wider historical context, inspiring a powerful discussion about lynching across racial lines. Appalling accounts of lynchings carried out at the beginning of the twentieth century provide a necessary historical framework, while an annual lynching reenactment in Monroe, Georgia, offers insight into the enduring legacy of racial violence in America. Olive’s layered exploration follows one African American family’s personal experience with a justice system that has failed so many, while also hinting at the promising first steps of a nation trying to reconcile. Olive’s film honors and acknowledges the injustices that have been inflicted, while emphasizing that only through the uncomfortable conversations and acceptance of our nation’s history will we begin to heal together. Director / Producer Jacqueline Olive joins us for a conversation on the bitter, pernicious and deadly legacy of the Confederacy and the enslavement of human beings in service to big business interests.

About the filmmaker: Director / Producer Jacqueline Olive is an independent filmmaker and immersive media producer with fifteen years of experience in journalism and \film. Her debut feature documentary, Always in Season, premiered in competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was awarded the Special Jury Prize for Moral Urgency. Jackie also co-directed the award-winning hour-long film, Black to Our Roots, which broadcast on PBS in 2009. Jackie has received artist grants and industry funding from Sundance Institute, Independent Television Service, Ford Foundation, Firelight Media, and more. She was recently awarded the Emerging Filmmakers of Color Award from IDA and the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation.

 

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

Always in Season opens in LA on Friday, September 27 at the Laemmle Music Hall – A Q&A with Director Jacquelin Olive will follow the 7:30 PM screening

Social Media:

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“‘Always in Season’ makes a powerful case that the history of lynching in the American South is not just history – that murders still haunt the present-day sites where they occurred, and that such killings can and do happen today.” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times

“A nuanced, layered reminder of how far we still have to go to correct the injustices of this country’s past and present.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

“Although difficult to watch, the film is invaluable in its exploration of lynching as a form of racial terrorism.” – Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader

“Olive paints a portrait of righteous rage and determination.” – Keith Uhlich, Hollywood Reporter

Jim Allison: Breakthrough, Director Bill Haney

JIM ALLISON: BREAKTHROUGH is the astounding, true story of one warm- hearted, stubborn man’s visionary quest to find a cure for cancer. The film traces Allison’s remarkable life from his school-boy days in Friday Night Lights, Creationist Texas all the way to Stockholm where, in December of 2018, he accepted the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Director Bill Haney is an award-winning documentarian, serial inventor and entrepreneur, who has founded more than a dozen companies, two of which develop drugs to cure cancer and neurological diseases. Meeting Allison in the labs of MD Anderson, Haney was immediately captivated by Jim’s empathy and pathos as much by his scientific accomplishments. Today, Jim Allison is a name to be reckoned with throughout the scientific world — a 2018 Nobel Prize winner for discovering the immune system’s role in defeating cancer but for decades he waged a lonely struggle against the skepticism of the medical establishment and the resistance of Big Pharma. Using intimate interviews with Allison and a set of scientific leaders, paired with the use of graphics and archival material, JIM ALLISON: BREAKTHROUGH takes us into the inspiring and dramatic world of cutting-edge medicine, and into the heart of a true American pioneer, in a film that is both emotionally compelling and deeply entertaining. Director Bill Haney (The Price of Sugar, The Last Mountain, A Life Among the Whales) stops by to talk about this highly entertaining, informative story about an innovator, free-thinker, honky-tonk musician and a true iconoclast.

 

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For news and updates go to: breakthroughdoc.com

For Jim Allison: Breakthrough screenings go to: breakthroughdoc.com/screenings

Jim Allson: Breakthrough opens in LA on Friday 9/27 at the Laemmle Monica Film Center

Social Media:

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“Breakthrough remains loyal to its academic source material in a way that’s clear enough for any viewer to follow… [and] Haney seems to have made all the right filmmaking choices, from balancing the science and sentimental to picking his subject at the perfect time…” ~ Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica

“In a time when cynicism and skeptics run rampant, Breakthrough looks to offer a moment of comfort and hope via the story of Jim Allison.” ~ Dino-Ray Ramos, Deadline Hollywood

“In a field you’d never think of as having rock stars, Allison is a rock star of immunology. The filmmaker, Bill Haney, is a rock star among documentarians for bringing us this wonderful, hopeful film about a man and a Breakthrough achievement.” ~ Bradley Gibson, Film Threat

“Breakthrough demonstrates that the treatment is not a miracle, but the result of some wild but meticulous thinking by a true medical hero.” ~ Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter

“Breakthrough is an engaging and entertaining film because Allison is a fascinating subject. He’s blunt and honest and colorful.” ~ Sophie Novack, Texas Observer

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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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

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:

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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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Stanley Nelson:

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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

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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:

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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:

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instagram.com/seaofshadows

For more about the filmmaker:

malaikapictures.com

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“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:

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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