April 21, 2017 – Karl Marx City, Co-directors Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker

 

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In this chilling, intimate and evocative documentary, KARL MARX CITY filmmaker Petra Epperlein returns to the proletarian Oz of her childhood, twenty-five years after the collapse of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), to find the truth about her late father’s suicide and his rumored Stasi past. The Stasi, the GDR’s Ministry for State Security, was the “shield and sword” of a ruling party that was well aware of the illegitimate nature of its power. This was, after all, a country living on one side of a wall erected—officially—not to keep the people in, but to keep the fascists out. Under the guise of combating reactionary forces, the apparatus implemented a policy of total surveillance. Much like her GDR hometown, Karl Marx City, which was redacted from public memory after German reunification, Petra Epperlein’s father erased himself. Right after the new year in 1999, he cleaned his car, burned all of his photographs and letters, and then took his own life near the house where she was raised. Had he been an informant for the secret police? Was her childhood an elaborate fiction? As she looks for answers in the Stasi’s extensive archives, she pulls back the curtain of her own ostalgia and enters the parallel world of the security state, seeing her former life through the lens of the oppressor. KARL MARX CITY Reconstructs everyday GDR life through declassified Stasi surveillance footage, the past plays like dystopian science fiction, providing a chilling backdrop to interrogate the apparatus of control and the meaning of truth in a society where every action and thought was suspect. Co-directors Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker (Gunner Palace, The Prisoner Or How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair) join us for a conversation on going home, what it means to live in a surveillance state and facing down a complex crosscurrent of family history. 

For news and updates go to: karlmarxcity.com

“… a shrewd personal inquiry into the mass psychology of fear and oppression … a film that ingeniously subverts the weaponry of Cold War-era surveillance, employing the tools of the Stasi’s intelligence-gathering operation toward a far more principled end. Whereas the secret police sought to root out and destroy even the slightest hint of subversive activity among a terrified populace, Epperlein and Tucker sift through these illicit materials — and forge their own fresh images and interviews — with an eye toward illuminating the truth and possibly even vindicating the innocent. … Shot in evocative black and white, Karl Marx City is a sleek, absorbing detective story, a fascinating primer on mass surveillance in the pre-Snowden era, and a roving memoir of East German life.” – Justin Chang, LA Times 

New York Times Critic’s Pick: “… a smart, highly personal addition to the growing syllabus of distressingly relevant cautionary political tales. … The mystery of her (Epperlein’s) father’s life and death provides Karl Marx City with suspense, and with a concrete sense of profound moral and emotional stakes. Repressive regimes excel at creating ambiguity, at making complicity easier than resistance and at blurring the lines between heroes and villains. Ms. Epperlein and Mr. Tucker, shooting in black and white and making judicious use of historical footage, brilliantly evoke a landscape of gray areas. They also uncover glimmers of decency, loyalty and solidarity — the tiny cracks in the totalitarian edifice that foretold its eventual and inevitable collapse.” – A.O.Scott, The New York Times

“[A] must-see… An essayistic, quietly moving look at another lost world… The movie draws you in quickly with its intelligence, its restrained emotions and its jaw-dropping period material, which includes some wildly creepy Stasi surveillance imagery.” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

April 21, 2017 – Finding Oscar, Director Ryan Suffern

 

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FINDING OSCAR is the feature-length documentary about the search for justice in the case of the Dos Erres massacre in Guatemala in 1982. That search leads to the trail of two little boys, Oscar and Ramiro, who were abducted during the slaughter and raised by some of the very soldiers who had murdered their families. These boys offer the only living evidence that ties the Guatemalan government to the massacre. FINDING OSCAR follows the men and women who have spent nearly two decades looking for answers—from the human-rights worker who first heard the story to the forensic anthropologists trying to identify victims and contact families. The film profiles the young Guatemalan prosecutor who took on her own government, and the U.S. immigration agents who began rounding up war criminals found living in the States. In a country built on impunity, it will take this dedicated team to find justice more than thirty years later, and uncover a truth more significant than anyone could have imagined. Filmmaker Ryan Suffern is producer and director of FINDING OSCAR, with Frank Marshall as producer and Steven Spielberg as Executive Producer. Director Ryan Suffern joins us to talk about the victims, the families, the impact that these massacres continue to have on the people of Guatemala and the continuing search of justice.

For news and updates go to: filmrise.com/finding-oscar

“A twisty, protracted fight for justice is deftly traced in “Finding Oscar,” an absorbing, if grim, documentary …” – Gary Goldstein, LA Times

“The barbarity described in “Finding Oscar” is stomach-turning, but moments of courage still shine through in this unsettling yet vital documentary.” – Ken Jaworoski, New York Times

“Suffern strikes a respectful, not entirely hopeless tone throughout, allowing those affected by the civil war in general and the Dos Erres massacre in particular to speak at length about their experiences.” – Michael Nordine, Village Voice

“An absorbing documentary about an unlikely survival story.” – Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

April 20, 2017 – Take My Nose Please…A Joan Kron Film, Director Joan Kron

 

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TAKE MY NOSE PLEASE is a seriously funny and wickedly subversive look at the role comedy has played in exposing the pressures on women to be attractive and society’s desire/shame relationship with plastic surgery. More than 15 million cosmetic procedures were performed in the US in 2014.  And 90% of them on were done on women. Yet, for those who elect to tinker with Mother Nature, especially for high-profile women, plastic surgery is still a very dark secret.  Funny women, though, are the exception.  From Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers to Roseanne Barr and Kathy Griffin, comedians have been unashamed to talk about their perceived flaws, and the steps taken to remedy them. TAKE MY NOSE PLEASE follows two comedians as they deliberate about going under the knife. Emily Askin, an up-and coming improv performer, has always wanted her nose refined. Jackie Hoffman, a seasoned headliner on Broadway and on TV, considers herself ugly and regrets not having the nose job offered in her teens. And maybe she’d like a face-lift, as well. As we follow their surprisingly emotional stories, we meet other who have taken the leap – or held out. Putting it all in perspective are psychologists, sociologists, the medical community and cultural critics. And for comic relief and the profundity only comedians can supply.  The film includes commentary from Roseanne Barr, Phyllis Diller, the late Joan Rivers,Judy Gold, Julie Halston, Lisa Lampanelli, Giulia Rozzi, Bill Scheft, and Adrianne Tolsch. Director Joan Kroc joins us to talk her engaging. lively, funny and enlightening debut film.

For news and updates go to: takemynoseplease.com

See “Take My Nose Please” next Thursday evening (5:15 PM) at Big Newport Theatre in Fashion Island for the Newport Beach Film Festival

Check out a recent article from the Wall Street Journal on Take My Nose Please

April 21, 2017 – Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, Director John Scheinfeld

 

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CHASING TRANE: THE JOHN COLTRANE DOCUMENTARY is a thought-provoking, uplifting, powerful and passionate film about an outside-the-box thinker whose boundary-shattering music continues to impact and influence people around the world. This rich, textured and compelling portrait of a remarkable artist reveals the critical events, passions, experiences and challenges that shaped the life of John Coltrane and his revolutionary sounds. It is a story of demons and darkness, of persistence and redemption. But, above all else, it is the incredible journey of a spiritual warrior who found himself, found God, and in the process, created an extraordinary body of work that transcends all barriers of race, religion, age and geography. It is a film for anyone who appreciates the power of music to entertain, inspire and transform. The beauty, poignancy, energy, pain, joy and inspiration heard in nearly 50 Coltrane recordings from throughout his career brings alive the artist and the times in which he lived. Even those familiar with his music will be able to hear and appreciate the music of John Coltrane in a new and exciting way. Although Coltrane never participated in any television interviews (and only a handful for radio) during his lifetime, he has an active and vibrant presence in the film through his print interviews. These words — spoken by Academy Award winner Denzel Washington – illuminate what John Coltrane was thinking and feeling at critical moments throughout his life and career. CHASING TRANE: THE JOHN COLTRANE DOCUMENTARY was written and directed by critically-acclaimed documentary filmmaker John Scheinfeld (The U.S. vs. John Lennon and Who Is Harry Nilsson…?). He joins us to talk about his moving, insightful portrait of a music icon whose music and philosophy continues to inspire.

For news and updates go to: coltranefilm.com

For screenings: coltranefilm.com/screenings

“Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary unfolds the life of the galactic saxophonist whose soulful approach to music incessantly spread light, peace, and love into the world.” – Felipe Freitas, Film Threat

“Scheinfeld’s film does the hardest thing for a bio-doc to do: it gets what’s great about the artist, and moves you in the same ways their art does.” – Jason Bailey, Flavorwire

“Director John Scheinfeld’s doc is a comprehensive, engrossing and, it’s tempting to say, worshipful account of the life of the music titan.” – Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

April 7, 2017 – Tickling Giants, Subject Bassem Youssef

 

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TICKLING GIANTS is a great story about the power of political satire in the face of oppression. In the midst of the Egyptian Arab Spring, Bassem Youssef makes a decision that’s every mother’s worst nightmare… He leaves his job as a heart surgeon to become a full-time comedian. Dubbed, “The Egyptian Jon Stewart,” Bassem creates the satirical show, Al Bernameg. The weekly program quickly becomes the most viewed television program in the Middle East, with 30 million viewers per episode. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart averaged two million viewers. In a country where free speech is not settled law, Bassem’s show becomes as controversial as it popular. He and his staff must endure physical threats, protests, and legal action, all because of jokes. As Bassem attempts to remain on the air, keep his staff safe, and not get arrested, he continues to let those in power know they’re being held accountable. Despite increasing danger, the team at Al Bernameg employ comedy, not violence, to comment on hypocrisy in media, politics, and religion. Directed by Sara Taksler TICKLING GIANTS follows the team of Al Bernameg as they discover democracy is not easily won. The young women and men working on Bassem’s show are fearless revolutionaries, who just happen to be really, really funny. The subject of Tickling Giants, Bassem Youssef joins us for a conversation on the cost and consequences of speaking out.

For news and updates go to: ticklinggiants.com

“Tickling Giants surprises us on several levels. It reveals Egypt’s familiar Arab Spring experience through a lens, that of satiric comedy, which is very different from the way we usually see it. And it has the personal element of Youssef’s involving story.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“Mostly, the movie makes you understand how every society – and ours more than ever – needs people like Bassem Youssef to demonstrate that laughter will always be one of the essential ways to keep power in check.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“There’s a lot to laugh at, and to learn from, in “Tickling Giants,” a documentary that starts off by telling the story of one man and ends up speaking volumes about satire, freedom of expression and political pressure.” – Ken Jaworoski, New York Times

“Media are their own giant, they shape beliefs and create community, instill hope and fear. Perhaps it’s a lesson that will be taken seriously by viewers in the US.” – Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters

March 31, 2017 – I Called Him Morgan, Director Kasper Collin

 

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On a snowy night in February 1972, legendary jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan was shot dead by his common-law wife, Helen, during a gig at a club in New York City. The murder sent shockwaves through the jazz community, and the memory of the event still haunts the people who knew the Morgans. Helen served time for the crime and, following her release, retreated into obscurity. Over 20 years later, a chance encounter led her to give a remarkable interview. Helen’s revealing audio “testimony” acts as a refrain throughout the film, which draws together a wealth of archival photographs and footage, interviews with friends and bandmates and incredible jazz music to tell the ill-fated pair’s story. Part true crime tale, part love story, and an all-out musical treat, I CALLED HIM MORGAN is a chronicle of the dramatic destinies of two unique personalities and the music that brought them together. Swedish filmmaker Kasper Collin’s I CALLED HIM MORGAN is also a love letter to two unique personalities and the music that brought them together. A film about love, jazz and America with cinematography by Bradford Young (DOP, Selma).

For news and updates go to: icalledhimmorgan.com

Los Angeles Area: Laemmle’s Monica Film Center in Santa Monica and Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 in Pasadena. 

“Layering experiences and impressions, music and image, Kasper Collin’s remarkable film is less concerned with history than with effects, influences that stretch across time, ideas that shape art.” – Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters

“The interview-“an amazing document,” Collin says-enriches the documentary and transforms it into a story within the story.” – Michael J. Agovino, Village Voice

“This is not a lurid true-crime tale of jealousy and drug addiction, but a delicate human drama about love, ambition and the glories of music.” – A.o. Scott, New York Times

“Collin’s film brings out these stories with a wealth of details energized by the experiences and the insights of his interview subjects as well as an engaging range of archival images and clips.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker

“Quite simply, the greatest film about a jazz musician ever. Do not miss this story of a career cut short by a “Frankie and Johnny” tragedy.” – Louis Proyect, CounterPunch

March 31, 2017 – God Knows Where I Am, Co-director Jedd and Todd Wider

 

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God Knows Where I Am is the story of Linda Bishop, a well-educated New Hampshire mother who suffered from severe bipolar disorder with psychosis, who was intermittently incarcerated and homeless, inevitably being committed for three years to a state psychiatric facility. Successfully fighting her sister’s protective attempts to be named her legal guardian, Linda was able to refuse treatment and medication, and eventually procured an early, unconditional release, despite the lack of post release planning. Upon her release, she wandered ten miles down the road from the hospital, broke into an abandoned farmhouse and lived off of rainwater and apples picked from a nearby orchard for the next four months, through one of the coldest winters on record. For nearly four months, Linda Bishop, a prisoner of her own mind, survived on apples and rain water, waiting for God to save her, during one of the coldest winters on record. Unable to leave the house, she became its prisoner, and remained there, a prisoner of her own mind, eventually starving to death. Her body was discovered several months later and with it a diary that Linda kept documenting her journey. The diary, given voice by actress Lori Singer, is poignant, beautiful, funny, spiritual, and deeply disturbing. As her story unfolds from different perspectives, including her own, we learn about our systemic failure to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Over the last 16 years co-directors Jedd and Todd Wider have produced many of the most critically and commercially successful feature documentary films including, King’s Point (2012) nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short, the multiple Primetime Emmy and Peabody Award winning Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (2012) directed by Alex Gibney, the Emmy Award nominated Semper Fi: Always Faithful (2011) directed by Rachel Libert and Tony Hardmon, the multiple Emmy Award nominated Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (2010) directed by Alex Gibney Peabody Award and 2008 Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary and 2009 Emmy Award Winner for Best Documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side (2007) also directed by Alex Gibney, and many more. In 2011, Todd Wider and Jedd Wider were each nominated by the Producers Guild of America for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures. Co-director Jedd and Todd Wider join us to talk about their haunting new documentary.

For news and updates go to: godknowswhereiam.com

facebook.com/godknowswhereiamfilm

twitter.com/god_knows_where

“A film of great beauty and tenderness that gradually reveals a confounding mental illness, this film is a human story at its heart. Ultimately, it illuminates a hidden problem of vast proportion with an epic yet intimate cinematic vision.” – Jury, Hot Docs

“MUST SEE AT HOT DOCS: God Knows Where I Am will break your heart but also empower you to question, be helpful and provide encouragement to the vulnerable in our lives. God Knows Where I Am is wonderfully shot and captures the isolation, desperation and human condition at its essence.” – Thirty-Four Flavours

“Throughout the beautiful, evocative, and ultimately heartbreaking tale of Linda Bishop, the Widers use a variety of cameras and film formats to grant the movie an almost dreamlike feel, and they’re aided immeasurably by Bishop’s meticulous daily journal, which is read with tenderness and humanity by Lori Singer, bringing Bishop elegantly to life as the chronicler of her own story.” – Christopher Orr, The Atlantic

“I’ve seen God Know Where I Am three times. It’s not only rich and layered enough to hold up on every viewing, but on an emotional level, I wept profusely – again and again and yet again. This is great cinema and certainly a contender for one of the best documentaries of the new millennium. It captures profound poetic truths about homelessness, mental illness and loneliness which are rendered with such artistry and sensitivity that this is a film for the ages. 5 out of 5 stars.” – The Film Corner

March 17, 2017 – HyperNormalisation, Director Adam Curtis

 

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In Adam Curtis’s acclaimed BBC documentary, HyperNormalisation, he employs masterfully edited found footage to investigate how, at a time of confusing and inexplicable world events, politicians and other power brokers construct new, slippery realities. Curtis tells a story that begins in 1975 in New York and Damascus, and ends with today’s world.          

Adam Curtis on his work and HyperNormalisation: ”Those in power in society – the politicians, the journalists, the experts – maintain their power by telling us stories about the world. Those stories tell us what is true and what is false, what is right and wrong, and what is real – and what is illusion. But there come times when these stories begin to break down. And people start to distrust those in power – and their definition of what is real and what is fake. At that point you enter the Zone. The film Hypernormalisation tells the story of how we got to this place. It is also about the new systems of power that we cannot see – because we are trapped inside the Zone.”

Adam Curtis is an award-winning widely influential documentary filmmaker and journalist. He works for BBC television in London. His acclaimed films include The Century of the Self (2002), The Power of Nightmares  (2004), All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (2011), Bitter Lake (2015) – and most recently HyperNormalisation..  His films go back into the recent past to tell dramatic stories that lead the viewer to look again at the present day – and help them make sense of it. They try to show how power really flows in today’s complex society, not just through politics – but through science, public relations and advertising, psychology, computer networks and finance. Curtis has also done live shows with the immersive theatre group Punchdrunk and the band Massive Attack. His films have been shown at the Cannes film festival and have won awards – including 6 BAFTAs. Curtis joins us to talk about power, journalism, the world as is understood today and his work.

For news and updates go to: bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis

“I want to be Adam Curtis when I grow up.” – Oscar-winning filmmaker Errol Morris

“Hypernormalisation” feels like a greatest hits compilation of familiar Curtis themes — the decline of political power in a corporate age, the rise of global terrorism, America’s tortuous secret history in the Middle East, the hollow narcissism of cyberspace. But this also is a dazzling and thought-provoking film that blurs the line between op-ed journalism and mesmerizing audio-visual art.” – Hollywood Reporter

“‘HyperNormalisation’ is a searching and essential document of our times, a movie that leaves us, as in its opening shot, groping through a pitch-black forest with only a flashlight, wondering what lies in all that terrifying darkness that no one has found a way through.” – The New Yorker

Water & Power A California Heist, Director Marina Zenovich

 

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This thrilling investigation uncovers the high-level corruption behind California’s long-standing water crisis. Sweeping cinematography of California’s harsh, dry landscape asks us to visualize a fight for water in what feels like a modern day Chinatown. Emmy award-winning  filmmaker Marina Zenovich (“Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired”) peels back the layers of California’s convoluted water structure—wealthy water barons show their guilty hand in exploiting the state’s resource, while small farmers and neighboring towns endure debilitating drought. We see luxury crops, like almonds, on the rise and groundwater contamination increasing tenfold, pitting backroom business dealings against human and environmental costs. Water & Power: A California Heist, is a National Geographic documentary film executive produced by Academy Award winner Alex Gibney and produced by Jigsaw Productions. California has the sixth-largest economy in the world. It is home to the global entertainment and technology capitals, one of the most productive farm belts mankind has ever known and nearly 39 million residents. But the state’s continued survival is dependent on a consistent supply of fresh water, a dwindling public resource with a long history of mismanagement. Water & Power: A California Heist dives deep into the past, present and future of California’s endangered lifeblood. This natural resource is only growing more valuable as the new war for water is already upon us. This daring and extremely timely documentary asks us to question who has control of our access to our water. Director Marina Zenovich (Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired) joins us to talk about the “how and why” of the looming disaster that awaits California residents.

For news and updates go to: nationalgeographic.com

“Guided by the work of a handful of burr-like journalists, this dense and disturbing documentary dives into the regulatory quagmire of California water rights with more courage than hope.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

“While the approach taken by filmmaker Marina Zenovich, who directed 2008’s “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,” relies heavily on talking heads – Gov. Jerry Brown among them – she admittedly paints a compelling picture of timeless greed.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times

“The history of California is written in water, and in the shady deals that allow a few to control it, director Marina Zenovich shows in her fact-packed documentary Water & Power: A California Heist.” – Sean P. Means, Salt Lake Tribune

Film / Notfilm, Director, Producer, Narrator Ross Lipman

 

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In 1964 author Samuel Beckett set out on one of the strangest ventures in cinematic history:  his embattled collaboration with silent era genius Buster Keaton on the production of a short, titleless avant-garde film.  Beckett was nearing the peak of his fame, which would culminate in his receiving a Nobel Prize five years later. Keaton, in his waning years, never lived to see Beckett’s canonization. The film they made along with director Alan Schneider, renegade publisher Barney Rosset, and Academy Award-winning cinematographer Boris Kaufman, has been the subject of praise, condemnation, and controversy for decades. Yet the eclectic participants are just one part of a story that stretches to the very birth of cinema, and spreads out to our understanding of human consciousness itself. NOTFILM is the feature-length movie on FILM’s production and its philosophical implications, utilizing additional outtakes, never before heard audio recordings of the production meetings, and other rare archival elements. Director, writer, producer and narrator Ross Lipman stops by to talk about his exhilarating and illuminating film showcasing two disparate geniuses at opposite ends of their remarkable and storied lives.

For news and updates go to: milestonefilms.com/notfilm

“NOTFILM testifies to an almost inexhaustible fascination with the pleasures and paradoxes of cinema…. Notfilm finds a hitherto uncharted dimension of human and cinematic experience.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

“Completely fascinating! … A thoughtful, incisive meditation on its decades-old events, Notfilm is gossipy and philosophical by turn, joining microscopic analysis of the filmmakers’ lofty intentions with juicy morsels of information about exactly what happened when theory met practice on the steamy summer streets of New York City where Film was shot…For moviegoers who care about film not just as a title, Notfilm can be unreservedly recommended.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“(Notfilm) finds in Film genuine insights about Beckett’s work as a whole, and even about the nature of the movies.” – Siddhartha Mahanta, The New Yorker

VILLAGE VOICE CRITICS’ PICK! “Ross Lipman’s studious, rigorous, and surprisingly tender documentary…gives us access to Beckett at work” – Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

“The credits for Notfilm list Lipman as writer, photographer, editor, and narrator, but not as director. Does this imply that a director is merely the sum of the other skills? Or is it an attempt at modesty? If the latter, it is belied by the ambition, scope, research, and exhilarating sweep of his project…” – Tony Pipolo, Artforum

Kiki, Director Sara Jordenö


KIKI, a dynamic coming of age story about agency, resilience and the transformative artform
that is voguing. KIKI offers riveting and complex insight into the daily lives of a group of LGBTQ youth-of-color who comprise the “Kiki” scene, a vibrant, safe space for performance created and governed by these activists. In this film collaboration between Kiki gatekeeper, Twiggy Pucci Garçon, and Swedish filmmaker Sara Jordenö, viewers are granted exclusive access into this high-stakes world, where fierce Ballroom competitions serve as a gateway into conversations surrounding Black- and Trans- Lives Matter movements.  This new generation of Ballroom youth use the motto, “Not About Us Without Us,” and KIKI in kind has been made with extensive support and trust from the community, including an exhilarating score by renowned Ballroom and Voguing Producer Collective Qween Beat. Twiggy and Sara’s insider-outsider approach to their stories breathes fresh life into the representation of a marginalized community who demand visibility and real political power. Following its festival debuts, including a World Premiere at Sundance, KIKI will open in U.S theaters and on VOD starting February 24, 2017 in Los Angeles and in New York on March 1, 2017. Director Sara Jordenö joins us to talk about her vibrant, intimate and liberating new film.

For news and updates got to: kikimovie.com

Director Sara Jordenö and stars will participate in Q&A’s after the 7:10 shows and introduce the 9:55 shows at the Monica Film Center on Friday and Saturday, February 24 and 25.

KIKI screens starting Friday February 24th at the Laemmle Monica Film Center, visit laemmle.com for more information

“Exhilarating – a must-see” – Manhola Dargis, NY Times

“Joyous, genuinely inspiring” – Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

“Wonderfully alive and emotional” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times

“Sad, proud, loud, funny, energetic and affecting” – Fionnuala Halligan, Screen Daily

“It’s an ultimately uplifting film and one that doesn’t patronize or placate” – Lanri Bakare, The Guardian

“KIKI never fails to pay homage to the past historical context of the scene while looking towards its future” – Katie Walsh, The Playlist

Mr. Gaga: A True Story of Love and Dance – Director Tomer Heymann

Tomer Heymann’s MR. GAGA: A True Story of Love and Dance is a unique documentary experience that tells the story of the internationally acclaimed choreographer Ohad Naharin, who created the daring form of dance and “movement language” Gaga. When he was 22, he was invited to perform with the prestigious Martha Graham dance company, and attended Juilliard and the School of American Ballet simultaneously. But Ohad would not be happy until he could do exactly what he wanted. Moving back to Israel, Naharin became the Artistic Director of the Batsheva Dance Company, developing gaga within his own ensemble. Even after achieving worldwide acclaim, Naharin continues to fight every day, sometimes with his own dancers, once even with the president of Israel, to make his vision come to life. Mr. Gaga tells Naharin’s personal story of a controversial, political, and always entertaining figure, and his constant battle for artistic perfection. Eight years in the making, Mr. Gaga traces Ohad Naharin’s artistic roots using personal family footage, intimate rehearsal footage, extensive unseen archive material and stunning dance sequences. Heymann weaves a marvelous tale of what it takes to be a genius, the exhausting toll dance can take on its performers, and finally, the beauty that art can bring to this world. Director Tomer Heymann joins us for a conversation on the trials and triumphs of surpassing creativity and finding the sometimes difficult ways of expressing it.

For news and updates go to:mrgagathefilm.com

“When someone can talk as well as they create, the rewards are considerable, as the documentary “Mr. Gaga: A True Story of Love and Dance” convincingly demonstrates.” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times

“Interweaves archival film with contemporary material to masterfully portray one of the most vital dance artists of the past half-century.” – Elizabeth Zimmer, Village Voice

“Leading Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin is profiled in Mr. Gaga, possibly the most exciting documentary for fans of edgier modern dance since Pina.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“Director Tomer Heymann captures both the intimate authority of Naharin at work and then the beautiful range of movement conveyed on stage by his dancers.” – Craig Mathieson, Sunday Age

Oscar Nominated Short Filmmakers – Joe’s Violin, Director Kahane Cooperman — Pear Cider and Cigarettes, Director Robert Valley

Joe’s Violin – During a drive to donate musical instruments to public schools, 91-year-old Holocaust survivor Joseph Feingold offers his beloved violin, which he has played for more than 70 years. The instrument goes to the Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls, where young musician Brianna Perez is inspired to become friends with her benefactor. Joining us will be Director Kahane Cooperman to talk about this beautifully told story about survival, and the ties that bind us together. 2017 Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Short Film. 

For news and updates go to: joesviolin.com/

Pear Cider and Cigarettes – Hard-living Techno Stypes has been Robert’s best friend since childhood, and over the years, Robert has been amazed by Techno’s ability to sabotage himself. When Techno is hospitalized in China and needs a liver transplant, Robert goes on a wild ride to get him home to Vancouver. Director(s) Robert Valley and Cara Speller stop to discuss the creative process and determination behind their visually striking vision of friendship and heartbreak. 2017 Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Short Film. 

For news and updates go to: pearciderandcigarettes.com

SHORTSHD™TO RELEASE OSCAR® NOMINATED SHORT FILMS 2017 IN THEATRES NATIONALLY BEGINNING ON FRIDAY FEBRUARY 10

 World’s Only Short Movie Channel To Showcase Oscar Shorts Release with Theatrical Premieres of Live Action Short, Animated Short and Documentary Short Categories

This marks the 12th consecutive year of the Oscar® nominated short films theatrical experience and is the only opportunity for audiences to watch the nominated short films prior to the 89th Academy Awards® ceremony on Sunday, February 26, 2017. “This year’s Oscar Nominated Shorts are formidable storytelling at its best,” said Carter Pilcher, CEO of ShortsHD, the TV network behind the annual theatrical compilations.  “Short films are exploding in popularity around the globe, and these Oscar® noms are the pinnacle—and ShortsHD’s theatrical release is the only way to see this year’s Live Action, Animation and Documentary shorts nominees on the big screen, a delight for movie fans the world over.”  ShortsHD™ is the first high definition channel dedicated to short movies and is available on DIRECTV (Channel 573), and AT&T U-Verse (Channel 1789), CenturyLink Prism TV (1789), Verizon Fios TV, Frontier Communications (Channel 1789), Google Fiber.  ShortsHD™ is operated by Shorts International, the world’s leading short movie entertainment company with the world’s largest movie catalogue dedicated to short movies. Shorts™ is the short movie on-demand service available on iTunes movie stores in 54 countries across the globe and Amazon Instant Video. The company is headquartered in London, England with an additional office in Los Angeles and is led by Carter Pilcher, Chief Executive. Find them on Facebook: facebook.com/shortshd and twitter: twitter.com/shortshd.For a sneak peak at The Oscar® Nominated Short Films 2017 program, please visit: http://shorts.tv/theoscarshorts/

Nasser’s Republic, The Making of Modern Egypt – Director Michal Goldman

In 1952, a then-unknown young Egyptian colonel led a coup that became a revolution. Over the next 18 years, Gamal Abdel Nasser challenged Western hegemony abroad and confronted Islamism at home, and faced deep divisions among the Arabs. He emerged as a titanic figure, a champion of Arab progress and African liberation, but he could not offer democracy. Instead, Nasser established the region’s first authoritarian military regime. A man of enormous charisma and ambition, Nasser became caught in the coils of his own power, dying at the age of 52 with dreams unrealized. The Arab Spring and its aftermath are his legacy: a period of turmoil when Egyptians argued passionately about their history as a way to see what course to follow in the future. It is their voices—peasants and professors, secularists and Islamists—that drive Goldman’s essential documentary. Nasser’s Republic, The Making of Modern Egypt Director Michal Goldman’s previous film, Umm Kulthum, A Voice Like Egypt (1996), a vibrant portrait of a superstar singer, was an official selection of the New York Film Festival, winner of the Golden Plaque for Documentary at the Chicago International Film Festival, and winner of the Promoting Tolerance Award from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Goldman joins us to talk about the historic significance of Nasser’s enormous influence on Egypt , the course of the Cold War and modern day Middle East.

For news and updates go to: nassersrepublic.com

Director Michal Goldman organizes a vast amount of information to pose as many questions as answers in this immersive documentary. Narration by Palestinian actress Hiam Abbass rivets us to history and its contradictions, an ongoing story witnessed by millions.” —Judy Bloch, for the Washington, DC International Film Festival (aka FilmFest DC)

“Goldman’s [documentary] accomplishes something that most media covering events in the Middle East don’t even attempt: She provides an historical context.” —Peter Keough, The Boston Globe

“I thought we had buried him. It turns out he’s still alive.” —Khaled Fahmy, Egyptian historian, in NASSER’S REPUBLIC

“What’s impressive is how many of the necessary narrative angles are treated, raising compelling questions that resonate today. At the film’s center is an officer turned politician who is photogenic, charismatic, shrewd and sometimes reckless. The storyline is crisp, the archival footage is gripping, and the witnesses—whose passions drive the story—are compelling. From a teacher’s perspective, this film is a godsend.” —Joel Gordon, Professor of History & Director of the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies, University of Arkansas

A Good American, Director Friedrich Moser

 

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The explosion of information in the digital age left government agencies like the NSA struggling with bureaucracy and technology to keep up with the changing times. Responding to the challenge, NSA technical director Bill Binney and a small team of codebreakers develop ThinThread, an astonishingly effective data collecting and sorting program that also protects privacy. Despite its success, ThinThread is discontinued just weeks before September 11, 2001. After Binney and fellow intelligence officials challenge this decision, they find their world upended. The deeply disturbing journalistic docu-thriller about the system that could have prevented 9/11, but was stopped by lies and corruption at the NSA. The mass surveillance revealed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden was not the first scandal in the history of the American intelligence agency NSA. Friedrich Moser’s eye-opening A Good American soberly unfolds the deeply disturbing story of how corruption, lies and personal ambitions led to the closure of a cheap and effective monitoring system that demonstrably could have stopped the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The mind behind the ingenious system was former intelligence agent Bill Binney, whom Moser gives the opportunity to tell the whole story of how his brilliant system was abandoned in favor of an expensive, useless intelligence programm that in turn had the advantage of creating hundreds of jobs at the intelligence agency – and handsomely rewarded a number of former NSA employees. A Good American is a chilling docu-thriller of the most dizzying kind, and may well prove to be one of the year’s most important films. Director Friedrich Moser join us to talk about his compelling, frightening and essential documentary film.

For news and updates go to: agoodamerican.org

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“Shocking, essential documentary looks at the shameful and avoidable failure of the NSA to prevent 9/11. All Americans (and everyone else) should see this film.” – MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Philospher

“A cautionary tale of a man who sought to protect the world with an ingenious creation that could be used for ill as well as good.” – Nick Schager, Variety

“A Good American” gets bogged down in details and personnel talk, but its subjects have an urgent narrative to tell.” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times

“Slow, quiet, and infuriating …” – Daphne Howland, Village Voice

“Stunning and Deeply Disturbing.” – Jeff Stein, National Security Correspondent, Newsweek

“Powerful film – a prequel to SNOWDEN!”  – Oliver Stone

Sunshine Makers, Director Cosmos Fielding Mellen

A real-life ‘Breaking Bad’ for the psychedelic set, THE SUNSHINE MAKERS reveals the fascinating, untold story of Nicholas Sand and Tim Scully, the unlikely duo at the heart of 1960s American drug counter-culture. United in a utopian mission to save the planet through the consciousness-raising power of LSD, these underground chemists manufactured a massive amount of acid, including the gold standard for quality LSD, ‘Orange Sunshine,’ all while staying one step ahead of the Feds. From the producer of SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN and LISTEN TO ME MARLON, THE SUNSHINE MAKERS premiered last year at the prestigious DOC NYC film festival to critical acclaim. The documentary has thrilled audiences with its stranger-than-fiction look into the lives of two “LSD evangelists.” Director Cosmos Fielding Mellen joins us for a conversation on his clear eyed look back on the good, the bad and the trippy from the golden age of raised consciousness.

For news and updates go to: the-sunshine-makers

“Theirs is a story about the marriage of idealism and criminality, and it’s recounted in amusing and thrilling detail by The Sunshine Makers…the rare documentary to function as time capsule, philosophical inquiry, and rollicking thriller all at once – as well as a cautionary tale about the crazy lengths people will go to experience a heavenly high. Riveting.” – THE DAILY BEAST

“…it’s an astonishing tale…providing further evidence, not that any was needed, that truth is stranger – and oftentimes a lot more fun – than fiction.” – HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“For a documentary about two men who were big-time drug dealers back in the day, The Sunshine Makers is a quaint, damn-near-adorable bit of nostalgia.” – Craig D. Lindsey, Village Voice

Slamdance, Co-founder and President Peter Baxter

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It all began when a group of cheerful, subversive filmmakers weren’t accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. Unwilling to take “no” for an answer, they instead started their own event – Slamdance: Anarchy in Utah. 22 years later, Slamdance has become a year-round organization fostering the development of unique and innovative filmmakers. The organization now consists of the Film Festival, Screenplay Competition and Slamdance Studios. It has also created Slamdance On The Road, a traveling theatrical showcase that brings popular Slamdance films to audiences that otherwise would not have the opportunity to see them. Dan Mirvish, Jon Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn and Peter Baxter are the founding forefathers who, along with co-conspirator Paul Rachman, fought for truly peter-baxter-slamdanceindependent filmmakers by giving them a voice in 1995 at the very first Slamdance Film Festival. Since then, the festival takes place every January in the breathtakingly stunning, snow-capped mountains of Park City, Utah at the exact same time as the
Sundance Film Festival, to provide a more authentic representation of independent filmmaking. Up-and-coming writers, directors and producers, alongside seasoned veterans and film lovers, converge for the weeklong celebration of independent cinema, realizing that Slamdance is a great place to find those next, great, visionary films. Slamdance lives and bleeds by its mantra By Filmmakers For Filmmakers. No other film festival in the world is entirely run and organized by the creative force that can only be found in filmmakers. Slamdance adamantly supports self-governance amongst independents, and exists to deliver what filmmakers go to festivals for – a chance to show their work and a platform to launch their careers. The festival has earned a solid reputation for premiering films by first-time writers and directors working within the creative confines of limited budgets. Co-founder and President Peter Baxter joins us to talk about this year’s Slamdance, the groundbreaking films and the innovative new distribution and digital initiatives being launched by Slamdance.

For news and updates on 2017 Slamdance Film Festival go to: slamdance.com/

The Mute’s House, Director Tamar Kay

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Eight-year-old Yousef and his deaf mother Sahar are the last Palestinian residents of an otherwise deserted building in the Israeli part of the city of Hebron. Their island within the Jewish quarter is called “The Mute’s House” by Israeli soldiers, even though Sahar isn’t mute at all. Travel agencies have included the property in their tours. Yousef makes good use of his privilege to cross the border when he goes to school. Through the tour guides’ explanations, we learn the story of Yousef and Sahar, who bravely withstand all the threats and bullying. None of Yousef’s Palestinian classmates can come to his house, and filmmaker Tamar Kay isn’t allowed to cross the border to film the Palestinian quarter with Yousef. Despite his disability – Yousef was born with one arm – he amuses himself with the chickens, goats and rabbits that forage among the ruined neighboring houses, and he plays the guitar and video games. The Mute’s House is an intimate portrait that elegantly illustrates the absurdity of the endless conflict. Director Tamar Kay was born in Jerusalem and graduated The Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film & Television School in 2015, stops by to talk about her moving and heartbreaking portrait of life on the edge of chaos and isolation.

“If someone wrote a fictional script for a film about this story, no one would believe it.” Alan Berliner, (dir. Nobody’s Business, Emmy Award Winner)

*Winner – Special Jury Award – IDFA*

*Winner – President’s Award – Full Frame FF*

Academy Award Shortlist for Short Doc program

BRILLO BOX (3¢ OFF), Director Lisanne Skyler

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In 1969, filmmaker Lisanne Skyler’s parents bought an Andy Warhol Brillo Box for $1,000. A budding collector, her father was drawn to the work of the young, emerging artists of the time—Pop artists, Abstract Expressionists and Photorealists—and saw it as an investment. Unlike critics of the era, who panned Warhol’s consumer-themed sculptures, her mother considered it a delightful addition to the family’s Manhattan living room. Eventually the piece was traded away, largely forgotten except in family artifacts like a snapshot of baby Lisanne perched on top of the yellow cube. The filmmaker often wondered what happened to the now-iconic work that had briefly decorated her childhood. Forty years later, in 2010, the sameandy-warhol sculpture sold for $3 million at a record-breaking Christie’s auction. Fascinated by this eyebrow-raising turn of events, Skyler wondered about all of the personal decisions that shaped this object’s journey. What was the role it played in other lives, and what secrets did it hold about her own family? Colorfully blending Pop Art history with personal narrative, BRILLO BOX (3¢ OFF) follows this Warhol sculpture as it makes its way from a family home to the global art market, exploring the ephemeral nature of art and value, and the decisions that shape family history. Director and daughter Lisanne Skyler to talk about a sweeping and insightful look into the world of POP art and her own intimate family tale.

BRILLO BOX (3¢ OFF) will air exclusively on HBO in June of 2017

For news and updates go to: brilloboxmovie.com

“While tracing the 40-year journey of an Andy Warhol original from her family’s living room to the auction block, documentarian Lisanne Skyler delivers a delightful, nostalgia-tinged snapshot of the American middle class, colorfully framed by a crash course in postmodernism.” – Maggie Mackay, ASPEN INTERNATIONAL SHORTSFEST

“Brillo Box (3¢ off) is about far more than what the sculpture fetched — though that figure is staggering. It considers the aim, meaning, and collection of art. Skyler deftly weaves together photographs, interviews and observations about legacy and family, which makes her story (which is slightly heartbreaking) all the more poignant.” – Gary M. Kramer, FILM INTERNATIONAL

4.1 Miles, Director Daphne Matziaraki

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is a 41-year old local captain of the Greek Coast Guard. He has two wonderful young daughters Vivi and Melissa, and before the refugee crisis exploded in 2014, he had a “normal” life. Lesbos was a small peaceful island and is job involved routine border patrols. Him, like the rest of the crew isn’t trained to do CPR. His boat is not equipped with thermal cameras or other instruments that would help deal with such an emergency. Often times, the captain had to disobey orders and despite rough weather he would continue to go out in the sea to save as many lives as possible. There have been plenty of times that he could turn his back. But he’s choosing to do the opposite: to respond. Director Daphne Matziaraki joins to talk about her work as a photojournalist and filmmaker in Europe, Africa and the US as well as her compelling, compassionate and humanizing film on the refugee crisis gripping Europe.

For news and updates go to:4point1miles.com

Festivals and Screenings

Telluride Film Festival 2016

IDA Screening series 2016

NYC Greek Film Festival 2016

Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival 2016

SF Film Society Doc Stories 2016

IDFA, Amsterdam 2016

Awards

Gold Medal, Student Academy Award  2016

32 IDA Documentary Awards,

David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award  2016