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

As You Are, Director Miles Joris-Peyrafitte


 

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Jack (Owen Campbell) is a high school student who lives with his single mother Karen (Mary Stuart Masterson) in a nondescript suburban town. Considered a social outcast and loner, Jack is friendless until Karen’s new boyfriend Tom (Scott Cohen) moves in and brings his son Mark (Charlie Heaton) into their lives. The two outsiders quickly bond and form a tight friendship and, after a chance encounter at a diner, bring fellow student Sarah (Amandla Stenberg) into their group. The three teens become each other’s saving grace until changing relationships and emerging secrets force them to look at themselves and see how far they are willing to go live the lives they choose.

Director Miles Joris-Peyrafitte:  “I love movies, but I’ve always struggled with the “coming of age” genre. I think there is something inherently condescending about it. Obviously this doesn’t span across the whole genre; but I think a lot of times when these stories are told by “adults,” there can be this sort of romanticization of youth which misses the things I think are so important about that age, namely the intensity and stakes that every action carries. There isn’t nostalgia in youth, it is immediate and hard. That was really why I wanted to tell this story now, I wanted to make this kind of film while I was still young enough to not miss it.”

For news and updates go to: asyouare.movie

U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award Winner – Sundance Film Festival 2016

Official Selection – San Sebastian Film Festival 2016

“Joris-Peyrafitte shows confidence and talent beyond his years, with an artful eye for imagery and a truthful ear for dialogue.” – Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com

“The setup is common enough, but though you can check off the usual ingredients in what follows – sex, drugs, a glance at Kurt Cobain – this is the furthest thing from a social-issue teen drama.” – Ella Taylor, NPR

“Captures the dreamy intimacy of those teenage relationships where boundaries between friendship and love prove porous.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice

“A promising and impressively self-assured debut for 23-year-old filmmaker Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, “As You Are” is crafted with the confidence and skill of a veteran, but also the youthful eye of someone not far removed from his protagonists.” – Geoff Berkshire, Variety

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

Dark Night, Director Tim Sutton


 

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A haunting, artfully understated critique of American gun culture, Tim Sutton’s third feature is loosely based around the 2012 massacre in Aurora, Colorado that took place during a multiplex screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.” Employing a documentary-style technique and a cast of non- professional actors, DARK NIGHT follows the activities of six strangers over the course of one day, the shooter among them. Shot by veteran French DP Helene Louvart (PINA), DARK NIGHT is essential viewing, not only for art-house filmgoers, but for anyone invested in the debate over gun violence in America as well.  Helene Louvart has served as cinematographer on more than 65 feature films, 50 short feature films, documentaries, and television projects, including French director Agnès Varda “The Beaches of Agnès (French: Les plages d’Agnès) She won The César Award for Best Documentary Film in 2009. Also, she worked with Alice Rohrwacher, and shot the italian drama “The Wonders” (Italian: Le meraviglie) It was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, where it was awarded with the Grand Prix. “Dark Night” was her first collaboration with Tim Sutton. Tim Sutton is the writer and director of two critically acclaimed feature films. PAVILION was a New York Times Critic’s Pick in 2013 and MEMPHIS was the winner of the inaugural Ven- ice Biennale College-Cinema grant in 2013, had its world premiere at the 70th Venice Film Festival, and international premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. MEMPHIS was also selected as one of The New Yorker Magazine’s Top 10 Films of 2014. Director Tim Sutton joins us to talk about his hauntingly poignant meditation on American gun culture and the vulnerability of life.

For news and updates go to: cineliciouspics.com/dark-night

“Haunting” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

“A mysterious elegy of a film, pregnant with both the beauty of the everyday and the menace of impending violence.” – A.A. Dowd, A.V. Club

“A thought provoking requiem” – Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist

“Sundance at its best” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

“Chilling” – Variety

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

facebook.com/agoodamerican

twitter.com/AGAmovie

“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

slamdance logo 2 

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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/

Trespass Against Us, Director Adam Smith

Trespass Against Us poster 

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TRESPASS AGAINST US is set across three generations of the Cutler family who live as outlaws in their own anarchic corner of Britain’s richest countryside. Chad Cutler (Michael Fassbender) is heir apparent to his bruising criminal father, Colby (Brendan Gleeson) and has been groomed to spend his life hunting, thieving and tormenting the police. But with his own son, Tyson (Georgie Smith) coming of age, Chad soon finds himself locked in a battle with his father for the future of his young family. When Colby learns of Chad’s dreams for another life he sets out to tie his son and grandson into the archaic order that has bound the Cutler family for generations. He engineers a spectacular piece of criminal business involving a heist, a high-speed car chase and a manhunt, which leaves Chad bruised and bloodied and with his very freedom at stake. With the law cracking down and his father tightening his grip, Chad is forced into increasingly desperate measures. Featuring incredible performances – and an astonishing score by The Chemical Brothers – TRESPASS AGAINST US is at once an exhilarating crime thriller and a profoundly moving story about love and family. TRESPASS AGAINST US director ADAM SMITH (Director) is an award-winning film, television drama, documentary and music-video director. Smith is best known for his long-term collaboration with the Chemical Brothers, and the critically acclaimed concert film Chemical Brothers: Don’t Think he directed.  Director Adam Smith joins us to talk about his feature film debut and the riveting performances turned in by his three lead performers.

For news and updates go to: trespass-against-us

“Even when Trespass Against Us slumps toward the same generational conflicts at the heart of so many recent indies, these actors refuse to reduce their characters into any recognizable archetypes.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

“Dynamic storytelling and powerful performances bring out the pathos in an unusual tale of conflicting loyalties set on the criminal edges of a traveling community.” – Screen International

“At this point we should just accept that Michael Fassbender can play anything. In Trespass Against Us, he turns up his charisma and blunts his native intelligence, and the mixture works remarkably well.” – Norman Wilner, NOW Toronto

“It all boils down to the complicated relationships of fathers and sons, but with some riveting action and heart-tugging drama, Trespass Against Us ends up as thrilling must-see.” – Peter Turner, Starburst

The Mute’s House, Director Tamar Kay

the-mutes-house 

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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

Slash, Director Clay Liford

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Neil (Michael Johnston) is an introverted, questioning high school freshman. Lacking any friends IRL, his main social outlet is the steamy fan fiction he writes about Vanguard, the brawny, galaxy-hopping hero of a popular sci-fi franchise. When his stories are exposed in class Neil is mortified, but the slightly older, effortlessly cool Julia (Hannah Marks) comes to his defense. An erotic fan fic writer herself, Julia pushes Neil to publish his stories to an online “adult” forum, where they quickly grab the attention of the site moderator, Denis (Michael Ian Black). When Neil is invited to present his work at a comic con live-read event, he has to face the fact that Denis’ interest in him may be more than simply professional… perhaps like his own feelings for Julia. Director Clay Liford stops by to talk about his endearing, beautifully rendered story of angst, creativity and self discovery.

For news and updates go to: slashthemovie.com

“An effortlessly engaging dramedy that somehow manages to sustain an air of buoyant sweetness even while repeatedly referencing erotic fantasies and sexual anxieties.” – Joe Leydon, Variety

“This sweet-natured coming-of-age movie, written and directed by Clay Liford, is perhaps more complicated than most by having characters whose sexual orientations aren’t settled.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“Charming and slightly, beautifully dangerous”BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH

“Effortlessly engaging”VARIETY

“Grounded, funny, and relatable”AIN’T IT COOL NEWS

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

Friday, December 9, 2016 – Friday, December 9, 2016 – Disturbing the Peace, co-directors Stephen Apkon (Andrew Young) and Producer Marcina Hale

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DISTURBING THE PEACE follows a group of former enemy combatants – Israeli soldiers from the most elite units, and Palestinian fighters, many of whom served years in prison – who have come together to challenge the status quo and say “enough.” The film traces their transformational journeys from soldiers committed to armed battle to non-violent peace activists and their founding of Combatants for Peace. The Combatants for Peace, a group of Palestinians and Israelis working together to promote human rights and peace for all, are the only bi-partisan, non-violent activist group of enemy combatants working together in an ongoing armed conflict in the world today.  They are an inspiring modern day example of the importance of using nonviolent solutions to our conflicts. Their personal stories tell an inspiring story of the human potential that is unleashed when people have the courage to follow the power of their own consciences. Co-directors Stephen Apkon and Andrew Young joins us to talk about just how far cooperation and rapprochement between Israelis and Palestinians has come and how much further it needs to go before there is justice in this troubled region.

For news and updates go to: disturbingthepeacefilm.com

100% on Rottentomatoes!

“Their stories are compelling – and persuasive.” – Andy Webster, New York Times

“Well-chosen news and archival clips, footage from CFP’s provocative rallies, plus a series of skillful and useful reenactments help flesh out this inspiring portrait.” – Gary Goldstein, LA Times

“Effectively illustrates the universality of suffering by juxtaposing the stories of people on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” – Matt Fagerholm, RogerEbert.com

“By focusing on combatants from both sides who came together to bring about change, Disturbing the Peace is a rejoinder to pessimism, delivering a message of hope that lands with some success.” Stephen Mayne, Under the Radar

Friday, December 9, 2016 – Harry Benson: Shoot First, Co-director Justin Bare (Matthew Miele)

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HARRY BENSON: SHOOT FIRST charts the illustrious career of the renowned photographer who initially rose to fame alongside The Beatles, having been assigned to cover their inaugural trip to the United States in 1964. With unprecedented “behind the scenes” access, Benson captured some of the most vibrant and intimate portraits ever taken of the most popular band in history. His extensive portfolio includes iconic images of Winston Churchill, Bobby Fischer, Muhammad Ali, Greta Garbo, Michael Jackson, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Robert F. Kennedy assassination, and his work has appeared in publications including Life, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Now 86, workaholic Benson has no intention of stopping. Co-director Justin Bare (SCATTER MY ASHES AT BERGDOF’s), joins us for a lively conversation on this charismatic and remarkable artist.

For news and updates go to: magpictures.com/harrybenson

“The film captures not only Harry’s boldness and bravery in pursuing controversial subjects, but also his disarming personality and his ability to achieve intimacy with his subjects.” – Katie Walsh,

“Iconic shutterbug Benson is captured in all his funny, feisty, gritty and graceful complexity in this spellbinder of a doc from Justin Bare and Matthew Miele with images that take the breath away.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“He can shoot fast and make art,” a friend says, and “Harry Benson: Shoot First” makes that point again and again.” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times

“Don’t blink — not even once. That’s the best advice for viewers of the dazzling new documentary Harry Benson: Shoot First.” – Isaac Guzman, Time Magazine

Friday, December 9, 2016 – The Ruins of Lifta, Director Oren Rudavsky

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In this new documentary from filmmakers Menachem Daum and Oren Rudavsky (Hiding and Seeking, A Life Apart), audiences will travel to Lifta—the only Palestinian village abandoned during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that has not been destroyed or repopulated by Jews. Lifta, at the western entrance to Jerusalem, is rarely a destination on any tourist map despite its significant history. The village is now threatened by an Israeli development plan that would convert it into an upscale Jewish neighborhood and forever change its character. With the support of the Palestinian and Jewish Coalition to Save Lifta, Lifta has become a battleground between developers, the Israeli Land authority, and its defenders. Lifta’s unique history and architectural treasures have made it a candidate to become a UNESCO World Heritage site, pending far from certain Israeli government approval. Oren Rudavsky (director, co-producer and director of photography) was co-producer and co-director of HIDING AND SEEKING and A LIFE APART. Rudavsky is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and has received awards and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the New York State Council for the Arts and more. His most recently completed film COLLIDING DREAMS is a feature length documentary that was supported by a media grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Director Oren Rudavsky stops by to talk about his remarkable film and the chance for some form of reconciliation in this troubled land.

For news and updates go to: firstrunfeatures.com/ruinsoflifta

“Watching these sturdy carriers of suffering inevitably argue, your spirits may sink. But you also can’t help but notice that the rocky terrain requires them at times to hold on to each other.” – Robert Abele, LA Times

“A vital study of loss and memory. Grounded in the art of listening, ‘The Ruins of Lifta’ builds a powerful, personal, political conversation between Palestinians and Israelis looking to live differently. The result is necessary viewing.” – Diana Clarke, Village Voice

“The Ruins of Lifta offers a muscular example of ability of documentaries to make the political intensely personal. More painfully, it’s also a case study in the limits of benign intention.” – Ella Taylor, NPR

“A thoughtful lesson in history – and listening.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter