The Velvet Underground Played at My High School, Director Robert Pietri

On December 11, 1965, The Velvet Underground played their first concert (and their first paid gig) at the most unlikeliest of places: a high school auditorium in Summit, New Jersey. They opened for a popular local band called The Myddle Class, who had a top 40 hit on the AM radio. The audience was packed with Myddle Class fans, who were mostly sheltered kids from this picture-perfect town some 25 miles west of New York City — kids who were just discovering the Beatles but who were still dancing the Lindy, the Waltz, and the Cha Cha at school dances. It was in this atmosphere that the black-leather-clad Velvets hit the stage blasting loud, droning, screeching music laced with drug-and sex-infused lyrics. On the stage for merely 20 minutes, they performed three songs, ending with “Heroin,” and the audience responded with, as one of the band recalled in 1983, a “murmur of surprise that greeted our appearance” that “increased to a roar of disbelief as we started to play” and “swelled to a mighty howl of outrage and bewilderment…” Half the audience walked out. Director Robert Pietri joins us for a lively conversation on this little known cultural event, his friendship with award-winning cinematographer, eye-witness and inspiration for the film Tony Jannelli and the creative process he used to tell this story.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: cornerbarpictures.com/velvet-underground-played

To watch: click on PBS POV

About the filmmaker: Writer/Director Robert Pietri, winner of several award-winning shorts and a feature length film, has been working on commercial/media related projects since graduating from NYU Grad Film program. His commercial clients include Pure Digital, the City of New York, TORAY, NYU, and Amazon Studios. He has been the recipient of grants from Fox Searchlab and IFP. Before filmmaking, he worked for years as an art director at MetaDesign, Razorfish, and Imaginary Forces.

 
Best Documentary Short at the Seattle Wine & Film Festival
Winner – Music Award Short at Docutah
Best Documentary Short Film Winner at the Sydney World Film Festival

 

Social Media
twitter.com/robertpietri
instagram.com/the_pietri
@robertpietri

 

Blood Rider, Director Jon Kasbe

In the riveting new short format documentary film, BLOOD RIDERS, from director Jon Kasbe (When Lambs Become Lions, Nascent, Mipso in Japan), focuses on the crippling blood shortage crisis and standstill traffic that plagues most hours of the day in Nigeria. On far too many days it can take over 24 hours to transport blood to patients in critical need. Joseph, one of the city’s motorcycle “blood riders,” can deliver blood to hospitals in under an hour. For mothers in labor, particularly in the case of Deborah dealing with a difficult delivery, this is often the difference between life and death.  Director Kasbe gives us an incredible sense of intimacy with his characters. BLOOD RIDERS puts us  there on the motorcycle and in the delivery room with Deborah and her husband. It boggles the mind. Director Jon Kasbe joins us for a conversation about the dire situation facing the people of Nigeria, a country of inadequate infrastructure, substandard health care capacity and systemic corruption, where a few dedicated people are determined to come to the aid of the most vulnerable among them.

 

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For news and updates go  to: jonkasbe.com/#/blood-rider

About the filmmaker: Jon Kasbe is an Emmy Award-winning Australian-Indian director and cinematographer. His debut feature, “When Lambs Become Lions,” was a 2017 Sundance Documentary Fund recipient, won Best Editing at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, and was nominated for two 2019 IDA Awards in Best Cinematography and Best Editing. The film was released theatrically across the United States by Oscilloscope Laboratories and is now available on Apple TV and Amazon. His short films have screened at festivals worldwide and been recognized by SXSW, Hot Docs, Webbys, Vimeo Staff Picks, Camerimage Film Festival, Sheffield Film Festival, and National Geographic. In 2018 he was selected for DOC NYC’s inaugural 40 Under 40 list. He is currently developing a new film in Concordia Studios Artist-in-Residence.  For more about his filmology go to: jonkasbe.com

2040, Director Damon Gameau

Award-winning Director Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film) embarks on a journey to explore what the future could look like by the year 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to us to improve our planet and shifted them rapidly into the mainstream. Structured as a visual letter to his 4-year-old daughter, Damon blends traditional documentary with dramatized sequences and high-end visual effects to create a vision board of how these solutions could regenerate the world for future generations. Director Damon Gameau joins us to talk about the how current, scalable technologies are available that can mitigate the damage being done by the scourge of climate damage and move us toward a cleaner, sustainable life for the planet and humanity.

 

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For news and updates go to: madmanfilms.com.au/2040film

For news and updates go to: whatsyour2040.com

Watch 2040 at togetherfilms.org/2040-screenings

Get Involved 

“We have partnered with the curriculum experts at Cool Australia to build a comprehensive package of units of work for upper primary and secondary. These free lesson plans are learning recipes for teachers that utilise short clips from the film to support classroom learning, providing step-by-step instructions, student workshops and engaging content. We interviewed over 100 children from around the world for 2040 and asked them what their hopes and dreams were for the future. It is a world they will be inheriting from us so we have to show them that solutions exist, that there are people who care deeply about their future, and that wonderful careers await with genuine purpose and meaning.” – Damon Gameau 

Visit the “Resources for Teachers” page and sign-up to our Schools Mailing list to learn more about opportunities for schools and to receive updates on when localized curriculum resources will be available in your country.

Social Media
facebook.com/2040Film
twitter.com/2040Film
instagram.com/2040film

 

“2040 might just shift your world for the better.” – Liam Maguren, Flicks.co.nz

“Gameau pulls away from the apocalyptic doomsaying hard-wired into so much of the enviro-debate…Wisely, his speculations are restricted by the self-imposed discipline that they all need to be rooted in practices that already exist. A very smart move.” – Jim Schembri, 3AW

“None of the ideas explored here are purely theoretical or pie in the sky. Whether technological or systems-based solutions, they all exist now and could be massively expanded to huge global benefit.” –Lynden Barber, Limelight

“Gameau defaults to the position of inspiring people rather than alarming or overwhelming them. You leave the film wanting more, not less, of these sorts of productions.” – Luke Buckmaster, Guardian

“You can’t please everyone. Gameau is at least doing what he can to talk about some big problems, in an entertaining and accessible way.” – Paul Byrnes, Sydney Morning Herald

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) Director Carole Dysinger

In Afghanistan, many young girls are not able to participate in sports. cultural and religious norms, along with other factors such as safety concerns and years of warfare,have resulted in limited athletic and recreational opportunities for women and girls, especially those who come from impoverished neighborhoods. But there is a new generation of afghan girls who believe they can do anything. LEARNING TO SKATEBOARD IN A WARZONE (IF YOU’RE A GIRL) tells the story of young afghan girls learning to read, write – and skateboard – in Kabul.

Director’s Biography: Carol Dysinger is a filmmaker, writer, artist, and educator, whose contemporary work offers a counter-narrative to traditional stories of conflict. She is in the midst of a trilogy on Afghanistan and America post 9/11. Alternating between fiction and documentary storytelling practices throughout her career, she had made a lifelong inquiry into the mechanics of story and the role storytelling plays in what we come to believe is true. She began in the theatre as an actor, moved into editing music videos for the clash in New York, and has won many awards for her short narrative work. She then moved on to write screenplays for 20th Century Fox, Disney, and HBO independent and has edited feature-length narrative and documentary films. in 2005, she traveled solo to Afghanistan with camera in hand to make her feature directorial debut, camp Victory, Afghanistan, which screened at MOMA, SXSW, human Rights Watch and at the Hague. ONE BULLET AFGHANISTAN is the second in the trilogy about the human impact of international conflict post 9/11 currently being completed in Denmark. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2018, a new work in multimedia installation, which draws from decades of memoirs and family history, footage shot over 15 years in Afghanistan, and brings it together to take down the veil between human experience, story, and history.

 

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Awards:

Nominee – Best British Short Film – BAFTA Awards 2020
Winner – Best Short – IDA Documentary Awards 2019
Best Documentary Short – Tribeca Film Festival 2019
Youth Vision Award – United Nations Association Film Festival 2019

Best Documentary Short – Flyway Film Festival 2019

Audience Choice Award For Best Documentary Short – Santa Fe Independent Film Festival 2019

Festivals/Screenings:

DOC NYC Shorts Shortlist
SFFILM Doc Stories
AFI Meet The Press Film Festival
Traverse City Film Festival
Mill Valley Film Festival
Film Independent The New Wave Screening Series Scad Savannah Film Festival
Social Justice Film Festival
Original Thinkers Festival
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
Santa Fe Independent Film Festival
United Nations Assocation Film Festival Washington West Film Festival
Hamptons Doc Fest
Nevada City Film Festival
Paris Surf & Skateboard Festival
Chagrin Documentary Film Festival
Louisville’s International Festival Of Film
Flyway Film Festival

Life Overtakes Me, Co-directors John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson

LIFE OVERTAKES ME tells the story of traumatized children of the refugee diaspora who are in such profound despair that they withdraw into a coma-like state. in Sweden, over 400 refugee children have been afflicted with this life-threatening psychosomatic illness, and the film will accompany two of them and their families on their frightening odyssey through Resignation Syndrome.

Directors Biographies: Producers/Directors John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson make documentary essays. their films have addressed such disparate subjects as tourism in Paris, the Vietnam War, and homelessness, and have screened at festivals worldwide, from Sundance and San Francisco to Leipzig, Sao Paulo, and Seoul, and have appeared on PBS and at museums including NY MOMA. their recent film Tokyo Waka premiered theatrically at Film Forum in New York. their work has been supported by artist fellowships from the Bogliasco Foundation, the Cité Internationale Des Arts in Paris, the Victoria College of Art in Melbourne, the Japan-U.S. Friendship commission, and the California Arts Council. Samuelson taught in the Documentary Film and Video M.F.A. program at Stanford University for thirty years, serving as program Director for ten years. She was nominated for an academy award for Arthur and Lillie and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Haptas is a freelance documentary editor.

 

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Awards: Full Frame Audience Award – Short

Festivals/Screenings: Sundance Film Festival, Full Frame Film Festival

In the Absence, Director Yi Sueng-Jun and Producer Gary Byung-Seok Kam

When the passenger ferry MV Sewol sank off the coast of South korea in 2014, over three hundred people lost their lives, most of them schoolchildren. Years later, the victims’ families and survivors are still demanding justice from the national authorities.

Director’s Biography: Yi Seung-Jun’s work focuses on the life of unseen minorities, which has informed his signature style of filmmaking. he has directed several feature-length documentary films. CHILDREN OF GOD (2008) follows a group of siblings who eke out an existence on the sacred Bagmati River in Nepal. the feature made its rounds on the international film festival circuit, including hot Docs Festival and Jeonju Film Festival, where it won the NETPAC award. Yi received a Sundance institute grant and served as director, director of photography, and editor on his subsequent documentary, the critically lauded PLANET OF SNAIL (2011), which follows Young-chan, who has been deaf and blind since childhood, as he gently moves through life with his partner Soon-ho. PLANET OF SNAIL was a darling of the festival circuit, either receiving nominations or winning awards at Tribeca Film Festival, Amsterdam international Documentary Film Festival (Best Feature-length Documentary in 2011), Dubai international Film Festival, Silverdocs and Documenta Madrid, and others. his next film, WIND ON THE MOON (2014), which he wrote, directed, edited and served as director of photography, recounts the journey of a mother and her daughter, who was born deaf and blind, as they navigate the world. he received grants from the Sundance institute, Tribeca institute and Korean Film council to make the film. his feature documentary film, CROSSING BEYOND was the international Olympic committee’s official film of the Pyeongchang Winter Games and travelled to the Busan international Film Festival, Tokyo international Film Festival, Black Nights Film Festival (Tallinn), and more. Most recently, Yi directed SHADOW FLOWERS (2019), which premiered at international Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.

 

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Awards:

Nominee – 2020 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject
Nominee – 2019 International Documentary Association Awards, Best Short Nominee – 2019 Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, Best Short Documentary Winner – 2018 DOC NYC, Short Jury Award
Winner – 2019 AFI DOCS, Grand Jury Prize for Short Film
Winner – 2019 World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest, Long Form – 1st Prize Winner – 2019 Indy Shorts, Documentary Audience Choice Award

Festivals/Screenings:

DOC NYC 2018 – World Premiere
International Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) 2018 – International Premiere AFI DOCS 2019
Indy Shorts 2019
Meet The Press Film Festival with AFI 2019
Pittsburgh Shorts 2019