BEFORE STONEWALL tells the story of the 1969 the police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village, leading to three nights of rioting by the city’s gay community. With this outpouring of courage and unity the gay liberation movement had begun. BEFORE STONEWALL pries open the closet door, setting free the dramatic story of the sometimes horrifying public and private existences experienced by LGBT Americans since the early 1900’s. Revealing and often humorous, this widely acclaimed film relives the emotionally-charged sparking of the contemporary Lesbian and Gay rights movements, from the events that led to the fevered 1969 riots to many other milestones in the brave fight for acceptance. Experience the fascinating and unforgettable, decade-by-decade history of homosexuality in America through eye-opening historical footage and amazing interviews with those who lived through an often brutal closeted history. The recently restored version of BEFORE STONEWALL, supervised by Co-director Greta Schiller and underwritten by First Run Features, is being released for a 2019 theatrical run in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Co-director Robert Rosenberg joins us to talk about the making of the landmark film and how it helped change perceptions of the LGBTQ community.
Avant-garde Russian filmmaker Kirill Serebrennikov (The Student) returns to the big-screen with a tribute to the early years of Russian rock with LETO. Leningrad, in the summer, early eighties. Smuggling LP’s by Lou Reed and David Bowie, the underground rock scene is boiling ahead of Perestroika. LETO tells the tale of Viktor Tsoi (Theo U) and the Kino group, about his relationship with Mike Naumenko (Roma the Beast), his wife Natalya (Irina Starshenbaum) and many who were in the vanguard of the rock movement Leningrad in 1981. This is a story about Leningrad of the 80s, about love, searching and high hopes – about a mood that will stay with us forever. LETO is full of music that the characters live and breathe: the Kino group, Mike Naumenko, the cult tracks of that time. Mike and his beautiful wife Natasha meet with young Viktor Tsoï. Together with friends, they will change the trajectory of rock n’roll music in the Soviet Union. Co-writers Mikhail Idov and Lili Idova join us to talk about theworking with avant-garde Russian filmmaker Kirill Serebrennikov, celebrating a time of artistic freedom and indelible impression that these artists had on the people who connected to their enthusiasm.
“Weaving a glancing love triangle into a poignant observation on the waxing and waning of creativity, Serebrennikov revels in radiant black-and-white scenes of urban grit.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times
“Far from an angry political screed, it feels both removed from its fraught larger context and shrewdly, poignantly attuned to it.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
“Leto is a gorgeous, endlessly charming romance drama that’s part jukebox musical and part anthropological document. With revolution on the periphery, Leto is a superb picture.” – Joshua Brunsting, The CriterionCast
“There is a sprawling sense of time and place to Leto, which blows out the running to over two hours, yet there is not a frame of the film one would want to see excised.” – Simon Foster, Screen-Space
THE EDGE OF DEMOCRACY is a cautionary tale for these times of democracy in crisis, the personal and political fuse to explore one of the most dramatic periods in Brazilian history. THE EDGE OF DEMOCRACY captures thepersonal journey of filmmaker Petra Costa (ELENA, Olma and the Seagull) into politics watching her country fall into disarray, echoing the undoing of so many democracies around the world. Combining unprecedented access to leaders past and present, including Presidents Dilma Rousseff and Lula da Silva, Costa witnesses their rise and fall and the tragically polarized nation that remains. Through the stories of her mother and father, Costa documents the rebirth of a democratized Brazil following years of authoritarian rule under a military dictatorship. She traces the impeachment of Rousseff, the imprisonment of de Silva, and the rise of the far right. Was Brazil’s democracy a short-lived dream? Merging the personal and the political, Costa delves to the heart of her country’s unfolding identity crisis, examining widespread institutional corruption while connecting her own family’s complex past to Brazil’s current crisis. Capturing a unique historical moment, A NETFLIX original documentary production, THE EDGE OF DEMOCRACY examines the forces at play in the global erosion of democracy. Director Petra Costa joins us for a conversation about Brazil’s past, present and future and how the political trajectory of her beloved country is increasingly relevant to our own.
“Directed by Petra Costa, this completely fascinating documentary provides an unexpectedly compelling inside look at the political earthquakes that have been roiling Brazil for several years.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“A dense, complex undertaking Costa impressively wraps her arms – and our minds – around, made even more daunting by the dual purpose “The Edge of Democracy” serves as both an immediate witness to an extraordinarily precarious historical moment.” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest
Assia Boundaoui’sdeeply personal investigative documentary THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED about the Arab-American neighborhood outside of Chicago where director she grew up. It is a community where most of her neighbors think they have been under surveillance for over a decade. While investigating their experiences, Assia uncovers tens of thousands of pages of FBI documents that prove her hometown was the subject of one of the largest counter-terrorism investigations ever conducted in the U.S. before 9/11, code-named “Operation Vulgar Betrayal.” With unprecedented access, THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED weaves the personal and the political as it follows the filmmaker’s examination of why her community fell under blanket government surveillance. Assia struggles to disrupt the government secrecy shrouding what happened and takes the FBI to federal court to compel them to make the records they collected about her community public. In the process, she confronts long-hidden truths about the FBI’s relationship to her community.THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHEDfollows Assia as she pieces together this secret FBI operation, while grappling with the effects of a lifetime of surveillance on herself and her family. Director / Producer Assia Boundaoui talks about her own determination to hold the FBI and the government accountable, the impact the FBI surveillance has had on her family and community and the bigger question, why?
“Expanding its scope beyond Bridgeview and Islamophobia, it looks at the larger question of how the United States government has targeted minority groups throughout its history.” – Kimber Myers, Los Angeles Times
“Equal parts angry and anxious, Boundaoui’s smart, unsettling documentary functions both as a real-world conspiracy thriller and a personal reflection on the psychological strain of being made to feel an outsider in one’s own home.” – Guy Lodge, Variety
“A quietly unsettling first-person doc,The Feeling of Being Watched proceeds as a head-on exploration of the gray area between fear and certainty.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter
“This should be required viewing for all Americans, but especially those who think they couldn’t possibly be living in a surveillance state.” – Leah Pickett, Chicago Reader
Routinely dismissed by film critics as a lesser genre artistically, romantic comedies aren’t simply traditionally beloved, but also a true art form which has produced some of the most classic and enduring films we know today. These films should receive the recognition they deserve along with an experience to bring together a community of film fans that flock to them. To remedy that perception, there is ROMCOM FEST. Rom Com Fest is founded by Miraya Berke, female entrepreneur – founder of Pop Productions event boutique studio and co-founder of Dessert Goals, the popular dessert festival in New York and Los Angeles. With a background in events and partnership and a personal love of romantic comedies, she is passionate about the romantic comedy genre and its legitimization in the eyes of film fans, filmmakers, and critics, in addition to the pure enjoyment of the films themselves. The first ever Rom Com Fest will take place June 20-23 in Los Angeles at Downtown Independent. In addition to a mix of new and classic rom com film screenings, we will host engaging activities and events to connect the community of rom com lovers. Highlights include a 20th anniversary screening of 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU, A special screening of the classic NEVER BEEN KISSED (curated by actress Rachel Bloom), the west coast premiere of actor Joe Cross’ directorial debut SUMMER NIGHT, a late night CBD screening of HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK, and more. Festival founder and director Miraya Berke joins us to talk about her love of film and her desire to create a unique filmgoing experience.
ICE ON FIRE, an eye-opening documentary that focuses on many never-before-seen solutions designed to slow down our escalating environmental crisis, goes beyond the current climate change narrative and offers hope that we can actually stave off the worst effects of global warming. Eleven years after Conners’ first collaboration with Executive Producer Leonardo DiCaprio on “The 11th Hour,”which emphasized the problems of climate change, ICE ON FIRE instead focuses on the cutting-edge research behind today’s climate science – and the innovations aimed at reducing carbon in the atmosphere, which could pave the way for a reduction in the global temperature rise and a benefit to the planet’s life systems. ICE ON FIRE emphasizes the importance of an immediate, two-pronged approach to reversing the crisis: reducing carbon emissions through traditional renewable energy sources and new ones, like tidal energy, and implementing “drawdown” measures, focusing on methods for drawing down and sequestering carbon, including direct air capture, sea farms, urban farms, biochar, marine snow, bionic leaves and others. Director Leila Conners joins us to talk about the looming catastrophe and the emerging and encouraging techniques and technologies that can provide a sustainable path forward.
Underground filmmaker Barbara Rubin’s 1964 art-porn masterpiece “Christmas on Earth”, made when she was only 18 years old, shattered creative and sexist boundaries and shocked NYC’s experimental film scene. Working with Jonas Mekas at the Filmmaker’s Coop, Rubin was instrumental in creating NYC’s thriving underground film community and a rare female voice in a world of powerful men. A rebellious Zelig of the Sixties, she introduced Andy Warhol to the Velvet Underground and Bob Dylan to the Kabbalah. But beyond shaping the spirit of the Sixties, Barbara was seeking the deeper meaning of life. After retiring to a farm with Allen Ginsberg, she shocked everyone by becoming a Hasidic Jew. How and why did one of the 1960’s freest spirits submit to a religious life? For years, 94-year-old filmmaker Jonas Mekas has saved all of Barbara’s letters and cherished her memory. Working with Mekas’ footage and rare clips from the Andy Warhol archives, the film takes us inside the world and mind of Barbara Rubin; a woman who truly believed that film could change the world and then vanished into obscurity. Director Chuck Smith joins us for a conversation on the life and times of a gifted artistic protégé and the impact she had on the people who loved her.
“Barbara Rubin & the Exploding NY Underground,” an informative and overdue documentary… – Sheri Linden The Hollywood Reporter
“This bold, enthusiastic documentary details the unsung yet important role played by its subject in the 1960s artistic counterculture.” – Nick Schager Variety
“An evocative portrait of a vibrant and mysterious artist.It’s a riveting tale of an extraordinary, seemingly uncontrollable force, a supremely talented woman dealing with mental illness, a central figure in an artistic movement who was gone too soon.” – This Week in New York
…pound for pound, minute for minute, there are few biographical documentaries more impressive than this.” – Joshua Brunsting Criterioncast
In Richard Miron’s surprising and empathetic FOR THE BIRDS, we follow an unusual woman named Kathy who lives with 200 pet chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys. What starts as a story seemingly about Kathy’s battle with local animal advocacy groups slowly transforms into an intimate drama about her relationship with her husband Gary, and the toll the birds have taken on their marriage and her well-being. Filmed over the course of five years, this sensitive tale of one woman’s world breaking down—poignant and absorbing in equal measure—is ultimately one of hope about the possibility of regaining one’s life. Director Richard Miron stops by to talk about winning the Murphy’s confidence and trust, following his filmmaker’s instinct to stay with a story with more than its share of twists and turns and crafting a compassionate portrait of beautifully flawed people.
A motorcycle cop, Officer Frank Shankwitz, is still haunted by the traumatic separation from his father when he was a boy. After surviving a near-fatal accident and being framed for police brutality, his whole world falls apart. Unexpectedly, he finds hope in the shape of a terminally ill boy, who reunites him with his father after 28 years. To honor the boy, he creates the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The cast of Wish Man includes Kirby Bliss Blanton (“Project X,”), Robert Pine (“CHiPs,” “Independence Day”), Danny Trejo(“Machete,” “Con Air”), Bruce Davison (“X-Men,” X”-Men 2,” “Longtime Companion”), Frank Whaley (“Pulp Fiction,” “Field of Dreams,” “The Doors”), Tom Sizemore (“Saving Private Ryan,” “Heat”), Dale Dickey (“Winter’s Bone,” “Hell or High Water,”), Larry Wilcox (“CHiPs,” “Lassie”), Fay Masterson (“Eyes Wide Shut,” “The Quick and the Dead,”), and Steven Michael Quezada (“Breaking Bad,””).The story of Frank Shankwitz is brought to life by director Theo Davies and the performance of Australian actor Andrew Steel as Frank Stankwitz.
Saturday, June 15 – Raceland, Director Scott Bloom
Raceland is the story of Blake and Lloyd, two old friends from the bayou. As kids they were thick as thieves and had the kind of close friendship that songs are written about. After being separated for a number of years, they’ve rekindled their friendship anew, present day. During a day of fishing, Lloyd is tragically injured and Blake steps up to nurse him back to health. It’s during their concentrated time alone together that they realize the love they had for each other back when they were kids, did not disappear… it’s just buried under years of social cues and macho veneer. Director, Producer and Writer Scott Bloom joins us to talk about the story behind Raceland, his own transition from documentary to narrative filmmaking and the film’s premiere at the Dances with Films Festival.
Wednesday June 18 – Gutterbug, Director Andrew Gibson
GUTTERBUG is a film about a young man’s human experience as he struggles with the demands of conformity. After running away from home, Bug finds his place in the underbelly of society, among the counter culture of anti-establishment street punks. He is driven by conflict: between morality and survival, life and death, love and anger, being a decent person and not giving a fuck. Homelessness, mental health, drug addiction, family and violence will carry our plot. His desire to cut ties with his past life is outweighed by a powerful pull back to true north, brought on by a series of sentimental flashbacks which spark a journey back to his family. Back to the only thing that makes life worth living. He could do without the possessions and he could do without a house, but he sees it is impossible to live without a home. Today is Bug’s birthday, this is his story. Director and writer Andrew Gibson stops by to talk about the guerrilla filmmaking that brought Gutterbug to life, hanging out with the “right” crowd and the upcoming West Coast premiere at the Dances with Films Festival Wednesday, June 19 at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
Money, power, politics, drugs, scandal, and fast cars. The incredible story of John DeLorean is the stuff of a Hollywood screenwriter’s dreams. But who was the real John DeLorean? To some, he was a renegade visionary who revolutionized the automobile industry. To others, he was the ultimate con man. For the first time, Framing John DeLoreanrecounts the extraordinary life and legend of the controversial automaker, tracing his meteoric rise through the ranks of General Motors, his obsessive quest to build a sports car that would conquer the world, and his shocking fall from grace on charges of cocaine trafficking. Interweaving a treasure trove of archival footage with dramatic vignettes starring Alec Baldwin,Framing John DeLoreanis a gripping look at a man who gambled everything in his pursuit of the American Dream. Co-directors Don Argott (The Art of the Steal) and Sheena M. Joyce (The Atomic States of America) talk about the complex, brilliant and driven man behind the salacious headlines and explore with us just how far was he willing to go to realize his dreams.
“A smart, hook-filled blend of documentary and fictionalized re-enactments…” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times
“Framing John DeLorean deftly tells the bigger-than-life tale of one man’s bold quest to build a timeless sports car.” – Ryan McCaffrey, IGN Movies
“Most compelling of all are the interviews with the two people who come closest to answering, or at least addressing, the question that overwhelms this entire project: DeLorean’s daughter Kathryn and son Zach.” – ElizabethWeltzman, The Wrap
“Framing John DeLorean is an entertaining, high wire filmmaking experiment that does well by the controversial visionary at its centre.” – Andrew Parker, The Gate
The documentary FREE TRIP to EGYPT is the brainchild of Canadian-Egyptian entrepreneur Tarek Mounib to build a bridge of mutual understanding and friendship with the very people who fear him. Traveling across the United States to find Americans concerned about an Islamic threat, he makes them an intriguing offer – a free trip to Egypt. With initial reactions ranging from suspicion to hostility, Tarek Mounib embarks on a mission. Traveling from sunny California to a Trump Rally in Kentucky, from a small town in the heart of Georgia, to Union Square in NYC, they cobble together a diverse group of people – including a school teacher, police officer, Marine Corps veteran, single mom, preacher and beauty pageant queen. All have preconceptions and misgivings, but are open and courageous enough to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Arriving in Cairo, the Americans spend 10 days paired with locals just as diverse as them – and possibly with just as many misconceptions. What happens when a retired teacher and her husband are united with a young Egyptian revolutionary? Or when a Christian missionary and a born-again, former Miss Kentucky are housed with an orthodox Muslim family where the mother wears a burqa? Or when a police officer faces off with a radical, left-leaning journalist? The answers are provocative, surprising, funny, magical, emotional, revealing, enlightening and ultimately life-changing, in other words, all things human. When people look beyond their ethnicity, political affiliations, religious beliefs, economic status and connect at a human level, it¹s a transformative and universal message for everyone to come together and join the global #PledgeToListen initiative, a social media revolution of acceptance. Director Ingrid Serban and Producer Tarek Mounib talk about the challenges and rewards of working on the revelatory and heartwarming FREE TRIP to EGYPT.
Q&A immediately following 7:10 PM Screening withCreator/Producer Tarek Mounib and Director Ingrid Serban
“Gently observing how many of our fellow Americans are full of fear while trying, in its tiny way, to do something about that, Ingrid Serban’s Free Trip to Egypt offers just that to a handful of travelers.”– John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter
THE LAVENDER SCARE is the first documentary film to tell the little-known story of an unrelenting campaign by the federal government to identify and fire all employees suspected of being homosexual. In 1953, President Eisenhower declared gay men and lesbians to be a threat to the security of the country and therefore unfit for government service. His directive triggered the longest witch hunt in American history. Over the next four decades, tens of thousands of government workers would lose their jobs for no reason other than their sexual orientation. But the actions of the government had an unintended effect. They inadvertently helped ignite the gay rights movement. In 1957, after thousands had lost their jobs, a Harvard-trained astronomer named Frank Kameny became the first person to fight his dismissal. His attempts to regain his job evolved into a lifelong fight for the rights of LGBT people. The Lavender Scare is a compelling story of one man’s fight for justice. And it is a chilling reminder of how easy it can be, during a time of fear and uncertainty, to trample the rights of an entire class of people in the name of patriotism and national security. Director Josh Howard (60 Minutes) joins us to talk about Senator Joseph McCarthy, scare tactics, blind prejudice and the willful destruction of thousands of peoples lives.
“Glenn Close’s voice-over is used to try to smooth over jumps forward and backward in time, but keeping all the players here in balance proves difficult for first-time director Josh Howard. – Dan Callahan, The Wrap
“This powerful doc is sadly all too relevant.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
“Thoroughly researched and evidenced, wonderfully detailed, informative and authoritative but always in touch with the human story at its heart. – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
“The Lavender Scare is a must watch for everyone in today’s political climate regardless of sexual orientation.” – Beth McDonough, After Ellen
An expectant couple’s intimate weekend turns to terror when they discover their secluded country inn is a haunted maternity home where unwanted infants and mothers were murdered. Inspired by the true story of the infamous ‘Butterbox Babies’,THE CHILD REMAINS is a twisting supernatural thriller and homage to slow-burn vintage horror like The Shining, Rosemary’s Baby and Session 9. Starring Cannes’ Best Actress winner Suzanne Clement (Mommy), Allan Hawco (Hyena Road), Shelley Thompson (Labyrinth) and genre hero Geza Kovacs (Scanners, The Dead Zone), THE CHILDREMAINS is a character-driven, psychological scary movie for adults that will leave audiences breathless. Director Michael Melski stops by to talk about the real-life horror story behind THE CHILD REMAINS, filming in his hometown in beautiful Nova Scotia and putting together a first rate cast of accomplished actors.
In the quietly powerful documentary, THE PROPOSAL, director Jill Magid explores the life, death and profoundly moving work of Luis Barragán.Known as “the artist among architects,” Barragán is among the world’s most celebrated architects of the 20th century. Upon his death in 1988, much of his work was locked away in a Swiss bunker, hidden from the world’s view. In an attempt to resurrect Barragán’s life and art, boundary redefining artist Jill Magid creates a daring proposition that becomes a fascinating artwork in itself—a high-wire act of negotiation that explores how far an artist will go to democratize access to art.
Director’s Statement – The Proposal is my first feature film and the last chapter of a larger project I began in 2013 called The Barragán Archives. The project explores the contested legacy of Luis Barragán, Mexico’s most famous architect, and how his legacy is affected by the fact that a private corporation, Vitra, owns his archives and controls the rights in his name and work. For more than twenty years, this corporation has made his work largely inaccessible to the public. The film questions whether a single actor should be exclusively in control of how the world can engage with Barragán’s work. Almost as an invitation for image-making, Barragán was known to adjust a buildings’ design so that it would photograph better. With this film, I wanted to capture the overwhelming beauty of his work while simultaneously questioning the legal challenges one faces to do so. The film is in itself a proposal: A way to elicit dialogue about access to legacy and its proprietary nature, and not simply if the proposal will be accepted.– Jill Magid.
“Captivatingly wily. ‘The Proposal’ meditates on the meaning of artistic legacy. Most of all, it shines an ingeniously media-savvy spotlight on Barragán’s work.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, THE NEW YORK TIMES – Critic’s Pick
“A thoughtful, elegantly hypnotic exploration of ownership, access, and moral responsibility. “A multi-layered and thought-provoking work of art. Magid’s inspired response to a complex situation makes for an intriguing and approachable film.” – Allan Hunter, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL
“The documentary doesn’t bring closure to her fight for Barragán’s archive, but it will work its way under a viewer’s skin and leave them with persistent ideas to consider.” – Dan Schindel, HYPERALLERGIC
With its measured pacing and haunting ambience, Magid’s hypnotic film is an engaging examination of artistry, diplomacy, and posterity at a crossroads.” – Manuel Betancourt, REMEZCLA
“Beguiling. An unforgettable consideration of who should have ownership of an artist’s legacy.” – Stephen Saito, MOVEABLE FEST
America’s first superstar designer, Halston rose to international fame in the1970s, creating an empire and personifying the dramatic social and sexual revolution of the last century. Reaching beyond the glamour and glitz, acclaimed filmmakers, Director Frédéric Tcheng and Producer Roland Ballester reveal Halston’s profound impact on fashion, culture, and business. HALSTONcaptures the epic sweep of the life and times of the legendary designer Roy Halston Frowick, the man who set women free with his unstructured designs and strove to “dress all of America.” Framing the story as an investigation featuring actress and writer Tavi Gevinson as a young archivist diving into the Halston company records, Tcheng expertly weaves rare archival footage and intimate interviews with Halston’s family, friends and collaborators including Jacqueline Kennedy, Liza Minelli, Andy Warhol and Iman. What results is a behind-the-headlines look into the thrilling struggle between Halston’s artistic legacy and the pressures of big business. Director Frédéric Tcheng and Producer Roland Ballester join us to talk about a designer, artist and fashion mogul who drove himself as fast and as far as anyone before him.
“Halston is thrilling stuff for fashion nerds, as well as a poignant character study of a misfit ultimately undone by an excessive hunger to prove himself.” – Variety
“The expansive scope of this tribute seems entirely fitting for an industry giant who put America on the global fashion map.” – The Hollywood Reporter
“This film was an amazing exploration of an artist who lived to create. When his work was devalued, he had nothing to live for anymore. Tcheng does Halston proud, honoring his life’s work in this very entertaining dramocumentary.” – Katrina Olson, Calgary Movies
“Halston is tailor-made for fashionistas. Frédéric Tcheng’s breezy, docudrama offers a serious assessment of the fashion designer’s achievements, accessorised with enough gossip, conflict and celebrity to attract a wider audience.” – Allan Hunter, Screen International
ARTIFISHAL is a film about wild rivers and wild fish. It explores the high cost – ecological, financial and cultural – of our mistaken belief that engineered solutions can make up for habitat destruction. The film traces the impact of fish hatcheries and farms, and the extraordinary amount of American taxpayer dollars wasted on an industry that hinders wild fish recovery, pollutes our rivers, and contributes to the problem it claims to solve. ARTIFISHAL also dives beneath the surface of the open-water fish farm controversy, as citizens work to stop the damage done to public waters and our remaining wild salmon. Director Josh Murphy joins us for a conversation on the devastating consequences that fish hatcheries are having on the salmon and other native species, the damage being done vital eco-systems and the enormous cost of a failed system.
Call to Action:
Wild salmon and southern resident killer whales are on the brink of extinction. Now a misguided plan to feed the starving whales with hatchery salmon will push both endangered species closer to the edge, while costing taxpayers millions of dollars per year. Hatcheries and over harvest, along with net-pen fish farms and dams, are key contributors to the catastrophic decline of wild Chinook salmon and southern resident killer whales in the Pacific Northwest. Now, Washington state’s Orca Task Force recommendations include a plan to “feed the orcas” with 60 million more hatchery salmon per year. The proposed budget requests up to $87 million dollars to fund this plan for 10 years. Science tells us this won’t work: orcas need larger wild salmon, while adding more hatchery fish further weakens the wild-salmon gene pool. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) have the power to make this change.Patagonia’s petition calls on NOAA Regional Administrator Barry Thom, WDFW Director Kelly Susewind, and our elected decision makers to stop wasting money on failed plans and invest in science-based solutions: reduce hatchery production, remove dams and change how we harvest salmon.
In the late 1980s, the Detroit Red Wings hockey team was a laughing stock, often called the “Dead Wings.” After a wealthy pizza magnate bought the failing franchise, he appointed an unorthodox General Manager to build a championship team. Throwing off conventional wisdom, the new GM looked to America’s mortal enemy in the Cold War, the Soviet Union itself. Through a plot that sounds like a spy novel, the Red Wings organization brought on one Russian after another, sneaking them out under cover of night and whisking them to the Motor City, only to find that the new players faced another problem: Integration. THE RUSSIAN FIVE follows the stories of the five Russian players that emigrated to America, took root in Detroit, Michigan, and struggled to fit in, all while training day and night to become Stanley Cup champions. The new immigrants had to learn to communicate with their teammates, assimilate into the culture, and become Americans. THE RUSSIAN FIVE is the true story of immigrants that became American heroes, teammates that became family, and a scrappy, resilient city that became Stanley Cup Champions, twice. It’s a story about hopes and dreams becoming reality, and the harsh reality of dreaming big. The names Fedorov, Larionov, Fetisov, Kozlov, and Konstantinov are legend now in the Motor City and their influence is still felt throughout the National Hockey League today. Director Joshua Riehl stops by to talk about the long and winding journey of five gifted athletes who changed the course of North American hockey.
“One of the most dramatic and emotional of sports stories gets the expert film it deserves in “The Russian Five,” a documentary that is moving in ways you won’t see coming.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“It’s a story fans already know well, but “The Russian Five” lays it out in a compelling, easily digestible fashion. And it shows how without a major assist from Russia, Detroit would have never become Hockeytown.” – Adam Graham, Detroit News
“I know a good story when I see one and … this new passionately-realized debut feature from director Joshua Riehl got me involved in its sport, its personalities and its man-made mythos.” – Glenn Dunks, The FIlm Experience
“Timely, insightful, well-structured and thoughtful…” – Michael Ward, Should I See It
ECHO IN THE CANYON celebrates the explosion of popular music that came out of LA’s Laurel Canyon in the mid-60s as folk went electric and The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield and The Mamas and the Papas gave birth to the California Sound. It was a moment (1965 to 1967) when bands came to LA to emulate The Beatles and Laurel Canyon emerged as a hotbed of creativity and collaboration for a new generation of musicians who would soon put an indelible stamp on the history of American popular music. Featuring Jakob Dylan, the film explores the beginnings of the Laurel Canyon music scene. Dylan uncovers never-before-heard personal details behind the bands and their songs and how that music continues to inspire today. Echo In The Canyon contains candid conversations and performances with Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr, Michelle Phillips, Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Roger McGuinn and Jackson Browne as well as contemporary musicians they influenced such as Tom Petty (in his last film interview), Beck, Fiona Apple, Cat Power, Regina Spektor, and Norah Jones.ECHO IN THE CANYON is directed by former music journalist, record producer and label executive Andrew Slater. Andrew Slater joins us to talk about connecting the lasting impact of the “Canyon’s” rock royalty with their modern day torchbearers and his enlistment of Jakob Dylan to be a tour guide and music director.
“I have a feeling Echo in the Canyon will be watched for decades into the future as the essential document of a very specific time and place that changed music forever.” – Andy Howell, Film Threat
“Rich with revealing observations and engaging anecdotes, Slater’s documentary skirts the nostalgia trap by engagingly connecting with an impressive lineup of contemporary singer-songwriters…” Justin Lowe, Hollywood Reporter
“A richly evocative and entertainingly anecdotal overview of the 1960s Laurel Canyon music scene and its influence on contemporary artists.” – Joe Leydon, Variety
“Echo In the Canyon has the timeless appeal of a tasty riff. It’s the sunny equivalent of a tourist bus trip past the homes of famous rock stars, and director Andrew Slater carefully avoids the dark alleys.” – Noah Gittell, Washington City Paper
The searing new documentary from Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar, THE SILENCE OF OTHERS asks the question, “What if in the ‘60s you were sadistically tortured for your political beliefs – and the man responsible (Antonio González Pacheco, aka “Billy the Kid”) is now your neighbor?” The bloody Spanish Civil War (1936-39) was followed by the Generalissimo Francisco Franco dictatorship that ended only with his death in 1975 – after which a law granted amnesty for crimes committed throughout this period.THE SILENCE OF OTHERS tackles the legal/political questions that this enforced obliviousness has created, and equally compelling, the existential conundrum of living in a nation in which no one has been charged with the murder of hundreds of thousands, buried in more than 2000 mass graves. A new movement in Spain confronts these hard truths. With the rise of authoritarian regimes around the world – and with human rights abuses being committed on our own border – this film could not be more timely. THE SILENCE OF OTHERS won Best Documentary at the Goya Awards (Spain’s Oscar equivalent), as well as more than 30 honors from international festivals (Berlinale, IDFA, Sheffield, etc.) and was among the films shortlisted for the 2019 Best Documentary Oscar. The film has become a phenomenon in Spain, where more than a million people have seen it. Co-directors Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar join us for a conversation on the decades long search for justice by the families and the victims and why it matters.
Written and directed by Storm Saulter (“Better Mus’ Come”), SPRINTER follows Akeem Sharp (newcomer Dale Elliott), nicknamed the Rasta Rocket for his once-in-a-generation speed, who is set to be Jamaica’s next big track-and-field sensation. Akeem hopes his rise in athletics will take him to the U.S. to reunite him with his mother, who has supported the family while living as an illegal resident for over a decade. But Akeem’s rising star is weighed down by turmoil at home: a volatile father, and an unruly older brother who insinuates himself into Akeem’s career as a means of escaping – or perhaps enhancing – his scam artist hustle. The film also stars Kadeem Wilson (Ghett’ A Life), Dennis Titus (The Mighty Quinn), Shantol Jackson (Yardie), Bryshere Y. Gray (Empire), with Lorraine Toussaint (Selma, Orange is The New Black), and David Alan Grier (In Living Color) with songs by Grammy Award winning artist NE-YO and Jamaican dancehall performer Shenseea. Director and co-writer Storm Saulter (Robert A Maylor) joins us to talk about creating a beautiful film rooted in a heartfelt drama about a Jamaican family struggling with separation and the jolt of sudden success.
“A beautiful and triumphant film. What the film also importantly illustrates is the struggle so many immigrants’ families feel when mothers or fathers are forced to separate from their children in order to find a better life in another country so they can send money back home.” – The Knockturnal
“Saulter displays a great eye with his thoughtfully shot drama that captures life in Jamaica in a way that is rarely seen on screen.” – The Los Angeles Times
“One of those rare films that will grow by the positive word-of-mouth. Every single frame is beautiful to look at and under director Saulter’s expert eye, he makes Jamaica look like a paradise lost which matches the intensity of the story. Powerful. A must see.” – Los Angeles Sentinel
WRESTLE takes us inside the lives of four members of the high school wrestling team at Huntsville’s J.O. Johnson High School, a longstanding entry on Alabama’s list of failing schools. Teammates Jailen, Jamario, Teague, and Jaquan face challenges far beyond a shot at the state championship: splintered families, drug use, teenage pregnancy, mental health struggles, and run-ins with the law threaten to derail their athletic success and lock doors that might open their future. Their tough-love coach Chris Scribner isn’t off the hook, either; he must come to terms with his own past while unwittingly wading into the complexities of race, class and privilege. Director Suzannah Herbert and co-director Lauren Belfer captured over 650 hours of footage during the team’s final season to create this closely observed, deeply affecting depiction of growing up disadvantaged in America. Wrestle premieres on Independent Lens Monday, May 20, 10:00-11:30 PM ET (check local listings) on PBS and will also be available simultaneously for online streaming at pbs.org.
Suzannah Herbert (Director/Writer/Producer), originallyfrom Memphis, Tennessee, is a documentary filmmaker. Her NYU Tisch senior thesis, Home Game, premiered at DOC NYC. Herbert was the associate producer on Free Angela & All Political Prisoners, directed by Shola Lynch, and has since worked as an assistant editor on Michael Moore’s Where to Invade Next and Fahrenheit 11/9, and Martin Scorsese’s upcoming documentary, Rolling Thunder Revue, about Bob Dylan’s pivotal 1975 tour. Herbert made her feature directorial debut with Wrestle, which won 11 awards on the 2018 festival circuit, and was distributed theatrically by Oscilloscope in 2019.
Lauren Belfer (Co-Director/Writer/Lead Producer) is a producer and filmmaker based in Brooklyn. Most recently she was the line and field producer on Martin Scorsese’s Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story (Netflix 2019), and she has frequently collaborated with Michael Moore, having worked on Fahrenheit 11/9, Trumpland, and the Oscar-shortlisted Where to Invade Next. Belfer produced the narrative feature After Louie (BFI 2017), starring Alan Cumming, and the documentary Hotline (Hot Docs 2014). Belfer’s directorial debut, Wrestle, garnered 11 awards on the festival circuit, including two audience awards and the Maysles Brothers Award for Best Documentary Film.
“Profiling four members of an underdog high-school wrestling team in Huntsville, Alabama, “Wrestle” constructs an empathetic portrait of a mat that’s anything but level.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times
“Wrestle will completely suck you in from beginning to end. It’s is a heartbreaking, yet honest look at the more poverty-torn cities in our country.” – Dante Jones, Film Threat
“Sometimes hopeful, other times heartbreaking, Wrestle is an honest portrait of disadvantaged American youth that will inspire empathy and leave viewers with lots to ponder.” Kieran Fisher, Nonfics
“One reason “Wrestle” is so effective is that director Herbert and cinematographer Sinisa Kukic made the decision to move to Huntsville for the duration of the shoot.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
Academy Award-winning Passion Pictures and HHMI Tangled Bank Studios present one of the most important but untold science stories of our time, THE SERENGETI RULESis a tale with profound implications for the fate of life on our planet. Beginning in the 1960s, a small band of young scientists, Bob Paine, Tony Sinclair, Mary E. Power, John Terborgh, Jim Estes, and Sean B. Carroll headed out into the wilderness, driven by an insatiable curiosity about how nature works. Immersed in some of the most remote and spectacular places on Earth—from the majestic Serengeti to the Amazon jungle; from the Arctic Ocean to Pacific tide pools—they discovered a single set of rules that govern all life. Now in the twilight of their eminent careers, these five unsung heroes of modern ecology share the stories of their adventures, reveal how their pioneering work flipped our view of nature on its head, and give us a chance to reimagine the world as it could and should be. Director Nicolas Brown joins us to talk about the far-reaching implications of the groundbreaking work done by Bob Paine on the importance of “keystone” species and the tremendously important work done by his colleagues since then can lead to a restoration of the natural order and help humanity reverse an ecological catastrophe.
** THE SERENGETI RULES – Dr. Jim Estes, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCSC and subject of the film with Dr John Terborgh, Professor of Environmental Sciences, Duke University also subject of the film will participate in a Q&A moderated by David Guy Elisco, Executive Producer, HHMI Tangled Bank Studios following the 7:50 pm show on Friday, 5/17 at the Monica Film Center.
“‘The Serengeti Rules’ celebrates not only the diversity and beauty of the natural world but also recognizes the transformative power of curiosity and knowledge.” – Kimber Myers, Los Angeles Times
“An absolutely riveting documentary about biodiversity and the need for humanity–its gravest threat–to reverse its course and preserve it. Difficult under the likes of Trump and the Koch’s but necessary.” Louis Proyect, counterpunch.com
“The great accomplishment of “The Serengeti Rules” is that it directs the viewer to see beauty in the way an ecologist might.” – Two Bugbee, New York Times
“It’s a film which sounds an alarm, but, unlike most similarly-themed pictures, one which permits a chink of light into the traditionally bleak narrative of man’s impact on the land.” – Wendy Ide, Screen International
GENERAL MAGIC takes us back tothe early 1990’s, as a team of former Apple employees form their own company and prepare to take Silicon Valley by storm. From the first smartphones to touchscreens, e-commerce, eBay to emoticons, the ideas that now dominate the tech industry and our day-to-day lives were born at General Magic, a 1989 Silicon Valley startup that you’ve never heard of. The company and the product were so ahead of their time, that it ultimately failed, and the company closed down. However, General Magic’s former employees have since gone on to found eBay, Linkedin, and Android, to developing the technology that has led to the iPhone, iPad, iPod and everything that we all use today in our daily lives. These “magicians” have become the tech innovators that now lead companies like Samsung, Apple and Facebook. GENERAL MAGIC, the film tells the story of how great vision, grave betrayal and an epic failure changed the world forever.What was once thought of as an embarrassment is now embraced as amazing.This incredibly insightful and entertaining film looks at the rise and fall of the most influential Silicon Valley company you have never heard of called GENERAL MAGIC. The film captures the spirit of those of us who dare to dream big and the life-changing consequences when we fail, fail again, and fail better. GENERAL MAGIC Co-director Matt Maude (Sarah Kerruish) and film subject Marc Porat talk abouthow this remarkable team of creatively brilliant engineers, artists and visionaries that failed and succeeded at creating a technologies that continue to have an impact on the world around us.
“A fascinating tale.” – The Hollywood Reporter
“The biggest eye-opener of Tribeca 2018,” – Film Journal
“Poignant, entertaining and full of life and lessons.”- Forbes
“Gripping material, deftly edited, “General Magic” is remarkable’’ – Barrons
“General Magic is a reminder of how compelling stories about technology can be.” – The Verge
“The footage is unbelievable. This geekily comic doc inspires big dreams at every turn.” – TimeOut
Once the center of the New York bohemia, Greenwich Village is now home to luxe restaurants, and buzzer door clothing stores catering to the nouveau riche. But one shop in the heart of the Village remains resilient to the encroaching gentrification: Carmine Street Guitars. There, custom guitar maker Rick Kelly and his young apprentice Cindy Hulej, build handcrafted guitars out of reclaimed wood from old hotels, churches, bars and other local buildings. Nothing looks or sounds quite like a Rick Kelly guitar, which is the reason they are embraced by the likes of Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Jim Jarmusch, just to name a few. Featuring a cast of prominent musicians and artists, and some virtuoso performances, the film captures five days in the life of one shop in the heart of Greenwich Village that remains resilientto an all-too-quickly vanishing way of life. Director and Producer Ron Mann stops by to talk about the guitar artisans, Rick Kelly and Cindy Hulej, their own personal journeys and the last remaining vestige of a musical community that continues to inspire musicians all over the world.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER: RON MANN – The Canadian filmmaker and producer Ron Mann is renowned for his genre-bending approach to filmmaking and documentary cinema that explores art forms and contemporary popular culture with vision and verve. From jazz (Imagine the Sound, 1981), spoken word (Poetry in Motion, 1982), comics (Comic Book Confidential, 1988), dance (Twist, 1992), marijuana (Grass, 1999), car culture (Tales of the Rat Fink, 2006), fungi (Know Your Mushrooms, 2009), and independent filmmaking (Altman, 2015) Mannʼs films invoke the ethos and spirit of his subjects in resonant and contemporary ways.
**Official Selection – 2018 Venice Film Festival**
**Official Selection – 2018 Toronto International Film Festival**
“Carmine Street Guitars” is a one-of-a-kind documentary that exudes a gentle, homespun magic”– VARIETY, Owen Gleiberman
“…an absolutely essential documentary…”– ROLLING STONE, David Fear
“At its core, this is the story of a master craftsman told whilst we watch him at work. You don’t need to know the first thing about guitars to be drawn in by it.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
“Like the great musicians who come in and out of Kelly’s shop, Mann knows how to hit the right notes and how long to hold them, creating a nice rhythm that allows the room for charming interludes” – Stephen Saito, Movable Fest