August 18, 2017 – The Fencer, Director Klaus Härö

In Klaus Härö’s beautifully rendered tale a young man, Endel Nelis, arrives in Haapsalu, Estonia, in the early 1950s. Having left Leningrad to escape the secret police, he finds work as a teacher and founds a sports club for his students. Endel becomes a father figure to his students and starts teaching them his great passion – fencing, which causes a conflict with the school’s principal. Envious, the principal starts investigating Endel’s background… Endel learns to love the children and looks after them; most are orphans as a result of the Russian occupation. Fencing becomes a form of self-expression for the children and Endel becomes a role model. The children want to participate in a national fencing tournament in Leningrad, and Endel must make a choice: risk everything to take the children to Leningrad or put his safety first and disappoint them. Director Klaus Härö (The New Man, Mother of Mine, Elina – As If I Wasn’t There) joins us to talk about his heart-wrenching, superbly crafted true story about character and resistance in a time of political repression.

For news and updates go to: thefencermovie.com

“This well-acted, smoothly crafted drama tells a story of cross-generational bonding in the face of historical oppression, in touching if unsurprising fashion.” – Justin Chang, Variety

“A feel-good, well-acted, visually evocative foreign-language biopic about a master fencing teacher in Soviet-controlled 1950s Estonia who changed the lives of his students.” – Simi Horowitz, Film Journal International

“n affecting portrait of a decent man who risks his life to uphold a bond of trust with his students. Though squarely in the tradition of Dead Poets Society and The Bad News Bears, the film offers higher stakes and, consequently, a bigger payoff.” – Marilyn Ferdinand, Chicago Reader

August 11, 2017 – Ingrid Goes West, Director Matt Spicer

Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) is an unhinged social media stalker with a history of confusing “likes” for meaningful relationships. Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) is an Instagram-famous “influencer” whose perfectly curated, boho-chic lifestyle becomes Ingrid’s latest obsession. When Ingrid moves to LA and manages to insinuate herself into the social media star’s life, their relationship quickly goes from #BFF to #WTF. Built around a brilliantly disarming performance from Aubrey Plaza, Ingrid Goes West (winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at Sundance) is a savagely hilarious dark comedy that satirizes the modern world of social media and proves that being #perfect isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Director Matt Spicer joins us to talk about his scalpel sharp tale about celebrity and validation.

For news and updates go to: ingridgoeswestfilm.com

“Plaza shines here in her most multifaceted role to date, fearless in her willingness to take Ingrid to cringe-worthy depths with a chameleonic precision.” – Jen Yamato, Los Angeles Times

“Shiny pop satire with a humming undercurrent of existential dread, Ingrid Goes West is a clever, corrosive little trick of a movie, a neon candy heart dipped in asbestos.” – Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

“Matt Spicer’s social media satire is a bonbon spiked with wit and malice. Plaza and Olsen, both toxic perfection, show us a nightmare world of Insta-obsessives that’s all too recognizable as our own.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“It is entertaining, and often touching, even if it pulls back right when it should be going totally nuts.” – Bilge Emir, Village Voice

August 11, 2017 – The Last Dalai Lama?, Director Mickey Lemle

 

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For over a thousand years, Tibetan Buddhist psychology has taught techniques for overcoming negative, afflictive emotions, such as anger, greed, jealousy, sloth and ignorance.  In the film THE LAST DALAI LAMA?, His Holiness explains that Tibetan Buddhism is both a religion and a “science of the mind”; he also shares his crystallized understanding of the nature of mind, and its part in the creation and alleviation of all of our suffering.  Believing that this precious wisdom belongs to the world, twenty years ago The Dalai Lama challenged a select group of world-renowned Neuroscientists and Mind/Brain researchers to look into the workings of the mind, and to prove scientifically that “Tibetan Buddhist technologies” for overcoming afflictive emotions are skills that can be learned by anyone. The Dalai Lama commissioned Dr. Paul Ekman and his daughter Dr. Eve Ekman to come up with an “Atlas of Emotions” as a way of understanding the effects of emotions on having a tranquil mind.  Being able to recognize the patterns, triggers and responses to emotions is the first step in dealing with them.  In a moving sequence with a high school class in British Columbia, His Holiness The Dalai Lama is able to share his passion for the subject. His urgency and dedication come through in THE LAST DALAI LAMA? as he now turns 82, and must deal with the questions of aging and death, and whether he will reincarnate as The Dalai Lama, or if he will be the last of the lineage that has existed for a millennia. Director Mickey Lemle joins us to talk about his three decade friendship with His Holiness and the profound impact he has had on  politics, culture and a deeper understanding of our shared human nature.

For news and updates go to: thelastdalailamafilm.com/

The Last Dalai Lama opens on Friday, August 11 at the Laemmle Monica Center in Santa Monica for tickets and showtimes

Join Director Mickey Lemle for a Q & A following the Friday, Saturday and Sunday 7:30pm screenings

“You want the chance to bask in his presence and come out with a heightened sense of what he’s about. “The Last Dalai Lama?” accomplishes that, and with an offhand eloquence, though it’s a sketchy, catch-as-catch-can movie …” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“A surplus of wisdom and benevolence radiates from “The Last Dalai Lama?”’ – Helen T. Verongos, New York Times 

“The more an audience member sees the beauty left in the Buddhist leader’s wake, the more it become clear that his influence has the power to continue generations beyond his passing.” – Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle

August 11, 2017 – All the Rage: Saved by Sarno, Director Michael Galinsky

Filmmaker Michael Galinsky takes you on his 12-year journey to heal his back. Suffering from chronic back pain and weeks of living and sleeping on the floor, Galinsky found healing through his work directly with Dr. John Sarno at NYU Medical Center. Sarno had changed shock jock Howard Stern’s life. Veteran Senator Tom Harkin was inspired to campaign for his cause, and he gave comedian Larry David “the closest thing to a religious experience” he’s ever had. Sarno’s best selling book “Healing Back Pain” was first published in the 1980’s, and when co-director Galinsky’s father read it, he was cured of chronic whiplash. This artful and personal film, ALL THE RAGE – SAVED BY SARNO, braids Galinsky’s universal story of pain and emotion together with the story of Dr. Sarno’s work, connecting the audience to both the issues and the emotions at play. Featuring interviews with Howard Stern, Larry David, journalist John Stossel, Dr. Andrew Weil, Senators Bernie Sanders and Tom Harkin, and other luminaries, ALL THE RAGE offers a profound rethink of our health care. Director Michael Galinsky stops by to talk about his own back pain and journey to find out the connection between the body and personal trauma. 

For news and updates go to: alltheragedoc.com

All The Rage: Saved by Sarno screens at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles, 9036  Wilshire Blvd. beginning Friday, August 11. Join Director Michael Galinsky and special guests this weekend.

Friday 8/11: 2:20 Director Michael Galinsky joined by Adam Heller of Zero Pain Now

4:50 Director Michael Galinsky joined by Dr. David Schechter 

7:20 Director Michael Galinsky joined by writer Director Jonathan Ames

Saturday 8/12: 2:20 Director Michael Galinsky

4:50 Director Michael Galinsky joined by Alan Gordon of the Pain Psychology Center

7:20 Director Michael Galinsky joined by Alan Gordon of the Pain Psychology Center

Sunday 8/13: 2:20 Michael Galinsky with Jennifer Huggins, Cinical Psychologist

4:50 Michael Galinsky with guest

“This isn’t a conventional documentary, but it’s a damn adventurous film.” – John Everhart, Under the Radar

“”All the Rage” overrides most of its shortcomings by keeping a breezy tone and by showing Dr. Sarno to be a convincing speaker, as well as an affable and somewhat crusty character.” – Ken Jaworosky, New York Times

August 4, 2017 – Icarus, Director Bryan Fogel

 

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In the truly audacious documentary ICARUS, director Bryan Fogel’s bold gambit was this: to investigate doping in sports, Fogel (an amateur bike racer) would dope himself, observe the changes in his performance, and see if he could evade detection. In doing so, he was connected to a renegade Russian scientist, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, a pillar of his country’s “anti-doping” program. Over dozens of Skype calls, urine samples, and badly administered hormone injections, Fogel and Rodchenkov grow closer despite shocking allegations that place Rodchenkov at the center of Russia’s state-sponsored Olympic doping program. When the truth is more complex than imagined, and accusations of illegalities run to Russia’s highest chains of command, the two realize they hold the power to reveal the biggest international sports scandal in living memory. Exemplifying the special bond between filmmaker and subject, this is a vital portrait of the sacrifice some people will make to stand up for truth. ICARUS places you at the heart of an international game of cat and mouse, where a miscalculation can cost you your life. Director Bryan Fogel joins us to talk about his unbelievably prescient film.

Icarus opens on August 4 at the Laemmle Monica Film Center

Watch Icarus on netflix.com

87% on Rotten Tomatoes

WINNER: “Orwell Award” – 2017 Sundance Film Festival

WINNER: Audience Award – 2017 Sundance Film Festival: London

“A wildly timely movie for our current moment, as issues of cheating, illegitimacy and geopolitical bullies take center stage… engrossing, disturbing and believable” – Robert Abele, The Wrap 

“What started out as director/bicycle rider Bryan Fogel’s personal documentary takes a startling and unexpected turn into nerve-wracking thriller territory” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, it couldn’t be more timely” – Eric Kohn, Indiewire

“Takes viewers inside a world-rattling, whistleblowing controversy” – Logan Hill, Esquire 

August 4, 2017 – Columbus, Director Kogonada

When a renowned architecture scholar falls suddenly ill during a speaking tour, his son Jin (John Cho) finds himself stranded in Columbus, Indiana – a small Midwestern city celebrated for its many significant modernist buildings. Jin strikes up a friendship with Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), a young architecture enthusiast who works at the local library. As their intimacy develops, Jin and Casey explore both the town and their conflicted emotions: Jin’s estranged relationship with his father, and Casey’s reluctance to leave Columbus and her mother. With its naturalistic rhythms and empathy for the complexities of families, debut director Kogonada’s COLUMBUS unfolds as a gently drifting, deeply absorbing conversation. With strong supporting turns from Parker Posey, Rory Culkin, and Michelle Forbes, COLUMBUS is also a showcase for its director’s striking eye for the way physical space can affect emotions. Director Kogonada s a proud immigrant, born in Seoul and raised in the Midwest. He has been noted by Filmmaker Magazine (25 New Faces of Independent Film) and The New Yorker for his visual work and film criticism commissioned by the Criterion Collection and Sight & Sound. He joins us to talk about his emotionally powerful, visually stunning feature film debut.

facebook.com/ColumbusMov

96% on Rotten Tomatoes

Independent Film Festival of Boston

Special Jury Prize – Narrative Feature

“The seeming miracle of Columbus is its mixture of formal precision with a philosophical grasp of human mystery.” – Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine

“‘Columbus’ is a feast for the eyes, but its more lasting impression is on the heart.” – Kate Erbland, IndieWire

“The movie leaves quite a bit to the eye of the beholder, but it’s always worth looking at.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“As a movie about intimacy Columbus is a masterpiece.” – Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic

“Columbus crept up on me so gradually and quietly that I don’t even know when I started to love it. When it was over, though, I was left with a sweet aftertaste that stayed with me for hours.” – Angie Han, Slashfilm

“A clever and compelling exploration into how physical structures can come to represent emotional landmarks in our personal lives.” – Jordan Hoffman, Vanity Fair

August 4, 2017 – Some Freaks, Director Ian MacAllister McDonald

When high school senior Matt (Thomas Mann) meets fellow outcast Jill (Lily Mae Harrington), he falls more in love than he thought possible. However, after graduation comes and Jill moves cross-country to go to college, she loses more than 50 pounds and changes her appearance entirely – much to Matt’s surprise when he arrives to visit her six months later. While Matt struggles to accept Jill’s new choices, Jill begins to question whether Matt is really the man she wants to date. As the distance widens between them, the characters are propelled onto a collision course with brutality and loss, forcing them to confront who they are, who they were, and who everyone thinks they’re supposed to be. Also starring Ely Henry, Lachlan Buchanan, and this feature by writer-director Ian MacAllister-McDonald. McDonald joins us to talk about his touching, heartfelt feature film debut.

For new and updates go to: somefreaksthemovie.com

Special added event: Please join us for a Q&A session after the 7:20PM show on Friday 8/4. Participants will be writer/director Ian MacAllister-McDonald along with cast members Thomas Mann, Lily Mae Harrington, Ely Henry, and Lachlan Buchanan.

!00% on Rotten Tomatoes

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Instagram@SomeFreaksFilm2016

“All the actors are good, but Harrington is remarkable. It’s not just the physical changes in her character, but the genuineness with which she inhabits her”. – Billy Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic

“Playwright Ian MacAllister-McDonald’s debut feature is a refreshingly grounded, unsentimental yet empathetic slice of D-list teenage life that goes a bit overboard in its final act.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“The characters are authentic and deeply felt.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat

“Brittle and beautifully-acted and cleverly written “find your tribe” high school romance.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

July 28, 2017 – Memories of a Penitent Heart, Director Cecilia Aldarondo

Combining a wealth of recently discovered home movies, video, and written documents with artfully shot contemporary interviews and vérité footage, MEMORIES OF A PENITENT HEART is a documentary that cracks open a Pandora’s box of unresolved family drama. Originating from filmmaker Cecilia Aldarondo’s suspicion that there was something ugly in her family’s past, the film charts her excavation of the buried family conflict around her uncle Miguel’s death, and her search for Miguel’s partner Robert a generation later. After two years of dead ends, Robert turns up: but he’s not the same man. He’s reinvented himself as Father Aquin, a Franciscan monk with twenty-five years of pent-up grief and bitterness. For the first time, a member of Miguel’s family wants to hear Aquin’s side of the story—but is it too little, too late? A story about the mistakes of the past and the second chances of the present, MEMORIES OF A PENITENT HEART is a cautionary tale about the unresolved conflicts wrought by AIDS, and a nuanced exploration of how faith is used and abused in times of crisis. Director Cecilia Aldarondo is a 2017 Women at Sundance Fellow and was named by Filmmaker Magazine as one of 2015’s ’25 New Faces of Independent Film.’ She joins us to talk about her brother Miguel, a Catholic priest, her father Jorge and the ramifications of revealing her family’s hidden history.

For news and updates go to: penitentheart.com

Watch Memories of a Penitent Heart – on the PBS POV series Monday, July 31 at 10 PM

“A highly personal portrait of the importance of embracing who you have while you still can.” – Nick Schager, Village Voice

July 21, 2017 – Chasing Coral, Director Jeff Orlowski

 

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Coral reefs are the nursery for all life in the oceans, a remarkable ecosystem that sustains us. Yet with carbon emissions warming the seas, a phenomenon called “coral bleaching”—a sign of mass coral death—has been accelerating around the world, and the public has no idea of the scale or implication of the catastrophe silently raging underwater. Chasing Coral taps into the collective will and wisdom of an ad man, a self-proclaimed coral nerd, top-notch camera designers, and renowned marine biologists as they invent the first time-lapse camera to record bleaching events as they happen. Unfortunately, the effort is anything but simple, and the team doggedly battles technical malfunctions and the force of nature in pursuit of their golden fleece: documenting the indisputable and tragic transformation below the waves. With its breathtaking photography, nail-biting suspense, and startling emotion, Chasing Coral is a dramatic revelation that won’t have audiences sitting idle for long. Director Jeff Orlowski (Chasing Ice) joins us for a lively and hopeful discussion on what is happening to mother ocean and how we can avoid the catastrophic consequences of a world without coral reefs.

For news and updates go to: chasingcoral.com

“The beauty of Chasing Coral is matched only by its urgency, as director Jeff Orlowski encapsulates the issue of global climate change by showing where it’s doing real, measurable damage in real time: The world’s coral reefs.” – Sean P. Means

“The film is a devastating success, moving in its beauty and wrenching when that beauty withers.” – Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

“‘Chasing Coral’ presents the evidence with beauty, intelligence and a surprising amount of emotion.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angles Times

“The urgency of this problem requires people to become informed about the issues, starting with seeing the film either at the IFC or on Netflix.” – Louis Proyect, rec.arts.movies

July 21, 2017 – Swim Team, Director Lara Stolman

 

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SWIM TEAM is a feature documentary chronicling the rise of a competitive swim team made up of diverse teens on the autism spectrum. Based in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, the cast of SWIM TEAM is largely Latino and Asian, minorities that are underrepresented in competitive swimming and underserved in autism intervention and education. SWIM TEAM follows three of the team’s star athletes, boys on the cusp of adulthood as they face a future of exclusion and dependence. But everything changes when they come together as a team with parent coaches who train them with high expectations and zero pity. As the team vies for state and national Special Olympics championships, SWIM TEAM captures a moving quest for inclusion, independence  and a life that feels winning. Director Lara Stolman joins us for to talk about the struggles and triumphs of Mikey, Kelvin and Robbie and the people who love them.

For news and updates go to: swimteamthefilm.com

“The breaststroking, freestyling young athletes in “Swim Team” couldn’t be more different in terms of personality, drive, appeal and, of course, developmental challenges, and it gives this film from Lara Stolman its particular character, heart and verve.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“Swim Team is long enough to break and warm your heart in equal measure – which is about what you’d expect from a documentary about teenagers with autism who are training to compete in the Special Olympics.” – Ella Taylor, NPR

“This isn’t “just” a film about special needs. It’s about special kids – and the very special adults who advocate for them.” – Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger

“Well paced and well produced, Swim Team is engaging throughout and would be easy to enjoy as light viewing, but there’s more going on beneath the surface.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

Lost in Paris, co-directors Fiona Gordon and Dominique Abel

 

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Filmed in Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon’s signature whimsical style, LOST IN PARIS stars the filmmakers as a small-town Canadian librarian and a strangely seductive, oddly egotistical vagabond. When Fiona’s (Gordon) orderly life is disrupted by a letter of distress from her 88-year-old Aunt Martha (delightfully portrayed by Oscar nominee Emmanuelle Riva) who is living in Paris, Fiona hops on the first plane she can and arrives only to discover that Martha has disappeared. In an avalanche of spectacular disasters, she encounters Dom (Abel), the affable, but annoying tramp who just won’t leave her alone. Replete with the amazing antics and intricately choreographed slapstick that has come to define Abel and Gordon’s work, LOST IN PARIS is a wondrously fun and hectic tale of peculiar people finding love while lost in the City of Lights. Co-directors Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon join us to talk about their warmhearted, funny and embracing ode to love.

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

“Gordon and Abel incorporate elements of lighthearted musicals and silent-film comedy (a scene atop the Eiffel Tower evokes the derring-do of Harold Lloyd) and provide themselves plenty of opportunities to stretch their pliant, wiry physicality.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice

“An exquisite miniature puzzle-box pop-up-book of a movie. All is color and light and exhilaration here, a fantastical lark that is sheer mischievous joy.” – MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Philospher

“Cruel comic mishaps may be this movie’s raison d’être, but they are softened at every turn by the gentle humanity of the city’s inhabitants, and by the unspoken sense that everything will turn out fine in the end.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

“Rather than reinventing the wheel, Abel and Gordon keep turning it with their own intimate touch.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

“Always inventive and occasionally hilarious.” – Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

The Last Men in Aleppo, Director Feras Fayyad

 

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After five years of war in Syria, the remaining citizens of Aleppo are getting ready for a siege. We follow the volunteers from The White Helmets as they experience the daily life of death and struggle in the streets of the city. They fight for sanity in a place where war has become the norm. Khaled, Subhi and Mahmoud are among the first to enter the destroyed buildings, scouring through the rubble in search of bodies and signs of life. They now live more or less under siege and constant bombings, together with the remaining 350.000 civilians in Aleppo. They all struggle with the same dilemma: Should they flee and bring their families to safety, or should they stay and fight for their city? Director Feras Fayyad talks about the fearless actions of the The White Helmets and his gripping, harrowing and sobering documentary.

For news and updates go to: Last Men in Aleppo

“‘Last Men in Aleppo’ is likely to make you almost ashamed of your comforts and leave you with a feeling of impotence.” Glenn Kenny, The NYTimes

You should — you must — see Last Men in Aleppo to witness an ongoing tragedy. But you should also see it to learn humility.” – David Edelstein, Vulture

Feras Fayyad’s viscerally immediate, exquisitely realized portrait of the Syrian Civil Defense’s “White Helmet” volunteers.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“Last Men In Aleppo has the upsetting urgency of breaking news: There are moments that could have come straight from a live stream, given the violence that’s still rocking Syria, months after Fayyad’s cameras stopped rolling.” – A.A. Down, AV Club

Birthright: A War Story, Director Civia Tamarkin and Producer Luchina Fisher

 

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BIRTHRIGHT: A WAR STORY is a feature length documentary that examines how women are being jailed, physically violated and even put at risk of dying as a radical movement tightens its grip across America. The film tells the story of women who have become collateral damage in the aggressive campaign to take control of reproductive health care and to allow states, courts and religious doctrine to govern whether, when and how women will bear children. The documentary explores the accelerating gains of the crusade to control pregnant women and the fallout that is creating a public health crisis, turning pregnant women into criminals and challenging the constitutional protections of every woman in America. This is the real-life “Handmaid’s Tale.” Director Civia Tamarkin and Producer Luchina Fisher talk about an insidious, pernicious campaign to undermine and ultimately deny women’s control over their own body.

For news and updates go to: birthrightfilm.com

“Birthright is a stark look at how far the rights of half the US population have been eroded, and it should make anybody — no matter their feelings about abortion — sit up and take notice.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“… this film is important especially for people, like one group of interviewed high schoolers, who think that Roe v. Wade was something “learned some time ago” with no application to their own lives.” Harvey Karen, Compuserve

“A necessary, if not always well-constructed, examination of the perilous state of reproductive rights in the United States.” – Maria Garcia, Film Journal International

“The case histories are stacked to support the film’s point of view, but that doesn’t make them less painful.” – Helen Verongos, New York Times

“The film’s real strength, however, is revealed a bit late, in a series of stark portraits of women who have faced prosecution as they sought to take care of themselves.” – Daphne Howland, Village Voice

The Man in the Camo Jacket, Director Russ Kendall

 

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MAN IN THE CAMO JACKET is the story of iconic musician Mike Peters of the Welsh rock band The Alarm. The film traces his rise to fame, battles with cancer, and inspiring climb back as he enlists some of the world’s top musicians to help save the lives of cancer patients around the globe. Ultimately though, the life he saves may be his own. Filmed over the course of eight years, the film documents Mike’s journeys to the summits of the world’s tallest mountains and to the depths of his regular chemotherapy treatments and features one-of-a-kind performances from legendary rock musicians. MAN IN THE CAMO JACKET won Best Music Documentary at the 2017 Arizona International Film Festival and the Audience Award for Best Music at the 2017 Newport Beach Film Festival. Mike Peters was honored with the Humanitarian Award at the 2017 American Documentary Film Festival. MAN IN THE CAMO JACKET features Mike Peters of The Alarm, Slim Jim Phantom of Stray Cats, Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses, Billy Bragg, Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze, Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins, Richard Blade, Martha Quinn. Director Russ Kendall joins us to talk about his rousing, life-affirming new film.

For news and updates go to: maninthecamojacket.com

Nobody Speak, Trials of the Free Press, Director Brian Knappenberger

When online tabloid Gawker posted a sex tape starring former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, a high-stakes legal battle pitting privacy rights against the First Amendment ensued. Hogan won the case and the staggering settlement he received not only bankrupted Gawker, but exposed a controversial, behind-the-scenes benefactor: Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel. Taking examples like Sheldon Adelson’s purchase of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, this documentary illustrates a growing, sinister trend at odds with our country’s free press. Billionaires are tipping the balance on the public’s access to news, posing new threats to society’s relationship to the truth. Director Brian Knappenberger’s film “NOBODY SPEAK: Trials of the Free Press” premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. His previous film “The Internet’s Own Boy:The Story of Aaron Swartz” won the Writers Guild Award for Outstanding Documentary Screenplay. His other work includes “We Are Legion:The Story of the Hacktivists” and the series “Truth And Power.” Director Brian Knappenberger joins us to talk about the extraordinarily important issues raised in Nobody Speaks  and the ramifications of a brave new world where a ruling class of rich and powerful interest can determine our collective access to vital information.

Check out Nobody Speak at Netflix

“What the film offers is evidence of a pattern, the shadows of a disturbing trend that add up to a warning: If we, as a society, don’t push back against the chipping away of the freedom of information, it’s only going to get worse, until it eats us alive.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“A film about the vital importance of speaking truth to power needn’t be so concerned with dressing up its own frightful truths, but Nobody Speak still compels as an opening statement on journalism’s dubious future.” – Michael Nordine, IndieWire

“A troubling foreshadowing of things to come if journalists are threatened, sidelined or attacked by powerful institutions and people more concerned with their own interests than what’s best for the country or communities.” – Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times

“This documentary is an invigorating, disturbing portrait of the arrogance and sinister self-importance of rich people, bullying politicians and their battalions of lawyers.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

Vegas Baby, Director Amanda Micheli

 

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Executive Producer Morgan Spurlock presents director Amanda Micheli’s provocative documentary follows several aspiring parents who desperately want to have a baby but are struggling with infertility and the high cost of treatments. They place themselves in the hands of a Las Vegas doctor and his annual contest, which offers a prize of a free round of in-vitro fertilization—with no guarantee of success. Contestants post their video entries on YouTube, counting on the votes of strangers to make their dreams of parenthood come true. Despite the fact that 1 in 6 couples worldwide are unable to naturally conceive and carry a baby to term, for fear of judgment or heartache or both, infertility stories are largely kept secret. While exposing private pain online to win a contest is a brutal proposition, IVF is rarely covered by insurance in the U.S., so many infertile couples consider this a gamble worth taking. Through this controversial contest, VEGAS BABY navigates the complexities of America’s burgeoning fertility industry and unveils the class disparity within a topic that is often clouded by judgment and stereotypes.Oscar-nominated Director Amanda Micheli joins us to talk about the universal themes of desire and loss through her intimate portrait of the diverse individuals – from a devoutly Catholic Latino couple in Texas to a lesbian Lady Gaga Impersonator in New York – determined to have a baby against all odds.

For news and updates go to: Vegas Baby

“Through a humane, emotional examination of the contest… director Amanda Micheli’s documentary highlights the complexities and despair of America’s fertility industry.” – Joe McGovern / Entertainment Weekly

“The economic and emotional costs of in vitro fertilization are powerfully evident from the first moments of VEGAS BABY… having gained remarkable access to fertility patients over a two-year period, Micheli follows them through roller-coaster waves of despair and hope.” – Sheri Linden / Hollywood Reporter

“VEGAS BABY offers a look inside an otherwise intensely private sphere, marked by economic difficulties, raw emotions, and—with luck—confetti-strewn celebrations.” – Laura Regensdorf / Vogue

“New IVF Doc Exposes Underground World of Hunger Games-Esque Baby Raffles; Amanda Micheli’s VEGAS BABY explores a digital-age concept for women failing to conceive.” – Elissa Strauss / Elle

“Micheli turns an unrelenting eye on tough stories that transcend sex and gender.” – Kate Erbland / Indiewire

Food Evolution, Director Scott Hamilton Kennedy

 

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Amidst a brutally polarized debate marked by passion, suspicion and confusion, FOOD EVOLUTION, by Academy Award®-nominated director Scott Hamilton Kennedy (The Garden, Fame High, OT: Our Town), explores the controversy surrounding GMOs and food. Traveling from Hawaiian papaya groves, to banana farms in Uganda to the cornfields of Iowa, the film, narrated by esteemed science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson, wrestles with the emotions and the science driving one of the most heated arguments of our time. In the GMO debate, both pro and anti camps claim science is on their side. Who’s right? FOOD EVOLUTION shows how easily misinformation, confusion and fear can overwhelm objective analysis. How do we ensure that our food supply is safe, and that everyone has enough to eat? How do we feed the world while also protecting the planet? Has genetic engineering increased or decreased pesticide use? Are GMO foods bad for your health? And, most importantly, what data, evidence and sources are we using to approach these important questions? Enlisting experts such as Mark Lynas, Michael Pollan, Alison Van Eenennaam, Jeffrey Smith, Andrew Kimbrell, Vandana Shiva, Robert Fraley, Marion Nestle and Bill Nye, as well as farmers and scientists from around the world, this bold and necessary documentary separates the hype and emotion from the science and data to unravel the debate around food, and help audiences reach their own conclusions. In a debate in which all sides claim to be on the side of science, FOOD EVOLUTION brings a fresh perspective to one of the most critical issues facing global society today. Director Scott Hamilton Kennedy joins us for a conversation on the science of genetically modified organism and the impassioned arguments surrounding them.

For news and updates go to: Food Evolution

“Persuasive rather than polemical, it’s the unusual issue film that deals in counterintuitive reason rather than barely controlled hysteria.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“With a soft tone, respectful to opponents but insistent on the data, “Food Evolution” posits an inconvenient truth for organic boosters to swallow: In a world desperate for safe, sustainable food, G.M.O.s may well be a force for good.” – Daniel Gold, New York Times

“A polished and provocative call for activists to be as scientifically minded as they believe they are.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

Nowhere to Hide, Director Zaradasht Ahmed

 

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Nowhere to Hide follows male nurse Nori Sharif through five years of dramatic change, providing unique access into one of the world’s most dangerous and inaccessible areas – the “triangle of death” in central Iraq. Initially filming stories of survivors and the hope of a better future as American and Coalition troops retreat from Iraq in 2011, conflicts continue with Iraqi militias, and the population flees accompanied by most of the hospital staff. Nori is one of the few who remain. When ISIS advances on Jalawla in 2014 and takes over the city, he too must flee with his family at a moment’s notice, and turns the camera on himself. The film stretches over a period of five years, beginning with the hope of a better future, to witnessing the growth of ISIS (the Islamic State), and eventually the fall of Nori’s home town. As Nori keeps filming throughout this period of time, he begins to turn the camera on himself. Nori’s narrative represents persistence, hope and faith. But, in this new reality of being squeezed between two giant forces – ISIS on one side and the Iraqi militias on the other, is it possible to remain impartial and keep his family intact? Will he and his family survive, and be able to rebuild the country and the oasis that lies hidden behind the smoke and rubble? Director Zaradasht Ahmed talks with us about the utter devastation and fading hope of normality that now pervades his beloved country.

For news and updates go to Nowhere to Hide

NOWHERE TO HIDE at the Laemmle Music Hall (9036 Wilshire Blvd.) – Q&A schedule: Friday, June 30th – 7:30 p.m. : Director Zaradasht Ahmed in conversation with Documentary Editor/Filmmaker Doug Blush; Saturday July 1st – 7:30 p.m. : Q and A with Director Zaradasht Ahmed; Sunday, July 2nd – 7:30 p.m. : Director Zaradasht Ahmed in conversation with Film Critic Dan Schindel (Film School Rejects, Paste Magazine).

“As captured through the ceaselessly unflinching lens of Sharif’s borrowed video camera, “Nowhere to Hide” offers an uneasy prognosis that is at once graphically gut-wrenching and doggedly life-affirming” – Michael Rechtshaffen, LA Times

“Zaradasht Ahmed’s documentary Nowhere to Hide is a you-are-there gut-punch about Iraq after the American military’s 2011 withdrawal.” – Sherilyn Connelly, SF Weekly

“Some great documentaries cut through the inessentials and help you make sense of an apparently senseless world. Others … shock you into an even greater confoundment, demonstrating, moment by moment, how irrational the world really is.” – David Edelstein, New York Magazine

“A profoundly brave film.” – Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times

The Skyjacker’s Tale, Director Jamie Kastner

In the riveting new documentary THE SKYJACKER’S TALE, Ishmael Muslim Ali (formerly LaBeet) is the American convicted of murdering eight people on a Rockefeller-owned golf course in the US Virgin Islands. After years of trying to get his conviction overturned, he took matters into his own hands and hijacked an American Airlines plane full of passengers to Cuba on New Years Eve 1984, and got away with it. Until now. Thirty years on the FBI’s most wanted list and against the backdrop of his looming extradition to serve eight consecutive life sentences in the US, the film recounts the hijacking that got him here, re-examines his original trial and reveals a gross miscarriage of justice. In a story that is more relevant than ever with racially charged police brutality and injustice constantly in the headlines, THE SKYJACKER’S TALE captures LaBeet / Ali’s first interview since the hijacking and includes never before seen footage. Is he a heartless criminal or a victim? The audience must decide. But what emerges is a picture of American government and law enforcement attitudes and actions toward their own population that are shockingly similar to the headlines of today. Director Jamie Kastner talks about the shocking revelations surrounding the forced confessions and extraordinary legal proceedings that led to LaBeet’s desperate act.

For news and updates go to: Skyjacker’s Tale

THE SKYJACKERS TALE filmmaker Jamie Kastner will participate in Q&As following the 7:20 screenings on Friday and Saturday evening at the Monica Film Center, July 14 and 15.

“The Skyjacker’s Tale mixes archival footage with well-detailed re-creations and present-day interviews to explore a little-known chapter in U.S. colonial politics.” – Georgia Straight

“Kastner relies a little too heavily on dramatic re-enactments of Labeet’s flight to Cuba in the first section, but the film gets a lot more involving once he starts digging into the history that put Labeet on that plane in the first place.” – Peter Howell, Toronto Star

“Kastner has crafted an entertainingly kitschy version of an Errol Morris film …” – Village Voice

Sami Blood, Director Amanda Kernell

 

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SAMI BLOOD is the electrifying debut feature of writer/director Amanda Kernell. Based on her own grandmother’s life and set in 1930s Sweden during the pre-Nazi eugenics movement, SAMI BLOOD follows Elle, a young indigenous Lapland girl made to feel like an inferior species when she’s subjected to indoctrination and race biology in a Swedish boarding school. Elle escapes, and in doing so is estranged from her sister, her family and her culture. SAMI BLOOD is a unique and intimate perspective on the history of the Sami people, and tells a story of oppression that resonates across borders and generations. The film features a breakthrough performance from its young lead actress Lene Cecilia Sparrok, who has never acted before and is Sami herself.  She stars in the film alongside her sister Mia Sparrok. Director and writer Amanda Kernell joins us to talk about her heart wrenching story of a young woman struggling to find a place in an increasingly hostile world.

90% on RottenTomatoes

For news and updates go to: sami-blood.synergetic.tv

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Los Angeles Screening: Beginning June 30, 2017 at the Laemmle Monica Film Center

WINNER – Best Director of a Debut Film – 2016 Venice Film Festival

WINNER – Best Director – 2016 Toyko International Film Festival

WINNER – Best Actress – 2016 Toyko International Film Festival

WINNER – Valhalla Award – Santa Barbara Film Festival

OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2017 Sundance Film Festival

OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2016 Toronto International Film Festival

OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2017 Berlin Film Festival

“Fierce, expertly crafted” – Laura Kern, Film Comment

“A stirring debut… introduces a poised, intelligent young talent in star Lene Cecilia Sparrok.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“An attractively assembled coming-of-age story.” – Boyd Van Hoji, The Hollywood Reporter

“Sámi Blood features a winning combination of strong central performances… and an intimate, empathetic approach to a period of history which is not widely known” – Wendy Ide, Screen Daily