Trapped in the hotel of her husband’s various business meetings, a woman finds herself adrift between lives when she is approached by a stranger with vivid memories of an affair with her that she can’t remember. She’s always sitting there with her husband. He’s always getting up to take a meeting. The other man always comes and sits, the stranger, who always insists on his account of their past affair, and every time he does, it’s more convincing. Acclaimed Russian actress Alisa Khazanova makes her directorial feature film debut this intriguing and intimate thriller “Middleground” for a limited theatrical release and global VOD/Digital release beginning on June 8th, 2018. Director Alisa Khazanova joins us for a conversation on her Lynchian tale of a woman’s very shifting perception of reality.
In a farmhouse basement on the Iowa countryside, eccentric collector Mike Zahs makes a remarkable discovery: the showreels of the man who brought moving pictures to America’s Heartland. Among the treasures: rare footage of President Teddy Roosevelt, the first moving images from Palestine, a lost relic from magical effects godfather Georges Méliés. These are the films that introduced movies to the world. And they didn’t end up in Iowa by accident. The old nitrate reels are just some of the artifacts that belonged to William Franklin Brinton. From thousands of trinkets, handwritten journals, receipts, posters and catalogs emerges the story of an inventive farmboy who became America’s greatest barnstorming movieman. As Mike uncovers this hidden legacy, he begins a journey to restore the Brinton name that takes us to The Library of Congress, Paris and back for a big screen extravaganza in the same small-town movie theater where Frank first turned on a projector over a century ago. By uniting community through a pride in their living history, Mike embodies a welcome antidote to the breakneck pace of our disposable society. Saving Brinton’s co-director Andrew Sherburne joins us to talk about this moving a portrait of this unlikely Midwestern folk hero, at once a meditation on living simply and a celebration of dreaming big.
88% – Rotten Tomatoes
“The movie’s hands-off approach does often amount to something poignant.” – Wesley Morris, New York Times
“A charming tribute to one remarkably dedicated cinema fan and historian, and to his decades-long hard work to save an essential piece of the pop-culture past and cultivate its story for the future.” – MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Filosopher
“… a marvelous documentary about saving the past and why it’s important to remember it.” – Linda Cook, Quad City Times
“Anyone who loves movies is bound to love Saving Brinton” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
In the hip Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook, single dad and record store owner Frank played by Nick Offerman (Parks and Rec) is preparing to send his hard-working daughter Sam played by Kiersey Clemons (Dope) off to college, while being forced to close his vintage shop. Hoping to stay connected through their shared musical passions, Frank urges Sam to turn their weekly “jam sesh” into a father-daughter live act. After their first song becomes an Internet breakout, the two embark on a journey of love, growing up and musical discovery. In addition to Offerman and Clemons, Hearts Beat Loud also stars Ted Danson (Cheers), Sasha Lane (American Honey), with Blythe Danner (Meet the Parents) and Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine). Director Brett Haley sits down for a conversation on the power of music, the bond of a dad and daughter and his endearing, funny and touching film, Heart Beat Loud.
95% Rotten Tomates
“Hearts Beat Loud steals your heart, makes it beat faster and you’ll love this story out loud.” – Jamie Broadnax, Black Girl Nerds
“Both actors are capable of projecting nuclear levels of charisma, so it’s fun just to watch them share the screen.” – Jason Bailey, Crooked Marquee
“The real charm isn’t in the way the story unfolds, but in the human moments shared onscreen. Offerman and Clemons feel at first like an unlikely pair, but their chemistry is genuine.” – Neil Miller, Film School Rejects
“Kiersey Clemons proves she’s the real deal. As for the film around her, Haley’s 21-drum solo salute to the passage of time is, like Frank, merely fine.” – Amy Nicholson, Variety
“Hearts Beat Loud will put a spring in your step. The music is great, the story is heartwarming, plus Offerman and Clemons make a great father/daughter duo.” – Fred Topel, Monsters and Critics
Directed by Slamdance Film Festival co-founder Dan Mirvish (BETWEEN US) from a long-lost script by Oscar/Pulitzer-winning cartoonist and screenwriter Jules Feiffer (Mike Nichols’ CARNAL KNOWLEDGE, Robert Altman’s POPEYE) based on characters that date back to 1957, BERNARD AND HUEY is the story of roguish Huey (David Koechner, ANCHORMAN) and nebbishy Bernard (Oscar-winner Jim Rash, THE WAY WAY BACK), who are unlikely collegiate friends in late 1980s New York. Years later, a bedraggled Huey crashes at Bernard’s upscale bachelor pad. As the two reconnect, Bernard falls in love with Huey’s estranged daughter Zelda (Mae Whitman, GOOD GIRLS), an aspiring graphic novelist who’s got a seductive new creative partner, Conrad (Eka Darville, JESSICA JONES). Huey slowly gets his mojo back and tries to seduce the various women in Bernard’s life, including his off-again girlfriend Roz (Sasha Alexander, RIZZOLI & ISLES) and colleague, Mona (Nancy Travis, SO I MARRIED AN AXE MURDERER), while reconnecting with his ex-wife (Bellamy Young, SCANDAL) and brother (Richard Kind, ARGO). As Bernard and Huey return to their old ways, at least one of them finds himself in danger of marrying a woman old enough to be his wife. An award-winning film that’s screened at over 25 festivals in 5 continents, BERNARD AND HUEY is a particularly timely story of two men behaving badly, and the smart women who rein them in. Director Dan Mirvish joins us for a conversation on getting older, acknowledging that we get older, love, romanced the genius of Jules Feiffer.
76% on Rotten Tomatoes
“Devoted Feifferites, not to mention fans of Mr. Rash and Mr. Koechner, who get to flex their muscles nicely here, will be well sated.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times
“Mirvish has stylishly blended the past and present for a comfortable vibe that makes the film fun and cool despite the ridiculous relationship chaos swirling around.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat
“As you might hope for a film with a script from the great Jules Feiffer, Dan Mirvish’s Bernard and Huey bristles with anxious, circuitous, hilarious talk.” – Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
“Feiffer’s distinctive writing resonates even decades later.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
NOSSA CHAPE tracks the rebuilding of the Chapecoense football club in Brazil after a November 28, 2016 airplane crash left only three players alive. Through exclusive access to the families of the deceased, the new team and three severely injured recovering players, the documentary investigates the community’s many challenges in the aftermath of tragedy. The town finds itself divided by a desire to respect the memory of those they lost while also preparing to move the club into its future. The citizens and team must find a way to unite around a common identity. From fairytale to tragedy to triumph once more. The unique story of Chapecoense — a football club from a remote Brazilian city that miraculously qualifies for the final of the Copa Sudamericana, only to face destruction when the plane flying them to the game crashes, killing the entire team except for three players. How will those who remain alive handle the tragedy? Co-director Michael Zimbalist (Two Escobars) joins us to talk about the tragedy and the resurrection of a city, team and three Nossa Chape players’ incredible story.
88% on Rotten Tomatoes
“A rising-from-the-ashes-of-tragedy documentary that underlines how well the filmmaking Zimbalist Brothers know South America, know Brazil and know futbol.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation
“Charged and poignant.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter
“From finger pointing to shared sadness, and moments of unexpected communion and joy, Nossa Chape is most engrossing when it pulls back from individual players, and takes in the whole stadium.” – Richard Whittaker, Austin Chronicle
“Nossa Chape has an urgency and poignancy that several narrative dramas only wish they could achieve.” – Bobby LePire, Film Threat
One of the distinguished voices in American independent film, Matthew Porterfield his back with a riveting new film. Sollers Point tells the story of Keith (McCaul Lombardi), a twenty-four-year-old newly released from prison and living with his father (Jim Belushi) under house arrest in Baltimore. Keith is struggling to reestablish himself, and break free of the bonds forged behind bars, within a community scarred by unemployment, neglect, and deeply entrenched segregation. His intentions are in the right place and he possesses an aggressive desire to get back on his feet, but as he taps into all his familiar resources, he finds that he may be reverting to his old ways. Director / writer Matt Porterfield (Putty Hill, Hamilton, I Used to Be Darker) joins us for a conversation on the inherent hurdles to untangling from a criminal justice system and chronic social malaise that pulls people back into it’s stifling grasp.
86% on Rotten Tomatoes
“What “Sollers Point” accomplishes is a singular balancing act, compensating for the mood of heavy discouragement with only the slenderest thread of hope.” – Michael O’Sullivan, Washington Post
“‘Sollers Point’ is an intimate and wise character study, not only of an unformed young man but also of a neighborhood struggling to preserve itself in the face of economic decline.” – Joe Blessing, Playlist
“Sketching Keith’s inner conflicts and practical struggles with a graceful, mood-rich lyricism, Porterfield presses gently but painfully on some of the most inflamed and sensitive parts of American society.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker
“The journey is everything in Sollers Point… By film’s end, you understand that life, and hopefully growth, goes on. There’s real beauty in coming to grips with that.” – Chrs Kaltenbach, Baltimore Sun
A mother struggles to accept the man her adult son has become. Directed by Leah Patterson, Bridget and Iain is the story of a mother’s love for her adult son. Bridget, (Vivienne Powell) who tries to do everything ‘right’, learns the limits of her power to manage others. Her son Iain (Damian Sommerlad) is charming, funny, and at times kind. He’s also an addict. Worried sick, Bridget finally gets support to make the changes that need to happen. The film charts the shifting relationship between Bridget and Iain as it reaches crisis point. It’s about maturation, change, and the struggle of trying to help someone you love while possibly enabling the very behavior you see as destructive. Bridget and Iain will resonate with anyone who has experienced the impact of any form of addiction in their lives or who have family members with mental health problems, or challenging relationships. Bridget and Iain Producer Diana C. Zollicoffer brought together an all-female crew for the production. Zollicoffer has also produced the environmental/social justice documentary “Forgotten Bayou” numerous short films and web series including Schmoolie the Deathwatcher (winner of the 2015 San Antonio Film Festival). She recently directed the pilot episode of “Annny Minute Now” and assisted in developing the characters and storyline for the web series. She co-wrote “Free Agent: The Benjamin Brown Story” to be directed by Mykelti Williamson (Purge, Fences, Forest Gump), and has several projects that she is developing and two of which, with the intention to direct. Bridget and Iain recently screened at the Cannes Global Women of Color in Film Day and the Cannes Court Métrage Short Film Corner. Producer Diana C. Zollicoffer joins us to talk about her award winning new film.
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More than 50,000 local interpreters helped protect U.S. troops on the ground during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, enabling soldiers to communicate with the local population. But those who took the job were often considered traitors in their own countries. From the acclaimed filmmakers of “Gaucho del Norte,” Andrés Caballero and Sofian Khan, comes the new feature documentary The Interpreters, making its World Premiere at Telluride Mountainfilm Festival on Memorial Day Weekend on Saturday, May 26 and Monday, May 28. The film tells the story of three interpreters woven together over the course of two years, following them as they struggle for safety in the aftermath of war and attempt to rebuild their lives. “The idea for The Interpreters came after meeting Phillip Morris,” said directors Andrés Caballero and Sofian Khan. “We were immediately curious about his journey from the moment he started working with U.S. forces until his arrival to the U.S. with the help of Paul Braun. But simply telling Phillip’s journey would not be enough to tell the full story. We also wanted to know about the stories of the interpreters who were still in hiding, waiting for their Special Immigrant Visas, and those who had given up on the visas and left for Europe as refugees. Our goal with the film is to inform viewers about an important issue, which became even more relevant after the last U.S. election, without overshadowing the personal journeys of the characters.” Co-directors Andres Caballero and Sofian Khan stop by to talk about the challenges and imminent danger that thousands of men and women have faced by assisting US soldiers attempting to connect with local communities.
The Interpreters will have its world premiere at Telluride Mountainfilm Festival on Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday, May 26 and Monday, May 28.
Filmworker is an observation on how legends and legendary works are created. The complex, productive and interdependent relationship between Leon Vitali and Stanley Kubrick was founded on devotion, artistic passion, sensibility, sacrifice and the grueling joy of the creative process. It’s a rare person who would give up fame and fortune to toil in obscurity for someone else’s creative vision. Yet, that’s exactly what Leon Vitali did after his acclaimed performance as ‘Lord Bullingdon” in Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon. On the brink of a successful acting career, the young actor stepped back from the limelight in order to become the right-hand man to perhaps the most influential and ground-breaking filmmaker of his time, Stanley Kubrick. Vitali played a crucial part in the director’s career, working tirelessly in close collaboration with Kubrick in helping to make and maintain his extraordinary legacy of work. Vitali’s unique working relationship with Kubrick is explored through anecdotes about his candid, funny (and sometimes shocking) experiences with the director, enhanced with a rich variety of previously-unseen archival materials including photos, videos, letters and notebooks from Vitali’s personal collection, and brought together through interviews with actors, family, and key film industry professionals who worked with both Kubrick and Vitali. Filmworker. Director Tony Zierra joins us to talk about the creative process, Stanley Kubrick and his closest and most dedicated collaborator, Leon Vitali, who once described his own occupation simply as “Filmworker.”
93% on Rotten Tomatoes
“Movie love at its purest. A celebration of its anonymous inhabitants’ role in bringing our collective dreams to life.” – Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post
“Five stars! Tender. A revealing and stirring celebration of one of cinema’s unacknowledged heroes.” – Gwilym Mumford, The Guardian
“An arresting cinemaniac documentary. Pure candy for Kubrick buffs.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“Revealing. A fascinating portrait of Stanley Kubrick’s devoted aide de camp. Honors the hard-working, often unacknowledged craftsmen in the film industry.” – Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter
“Catnip to Kubrick obsessives.” – Tim Grierson, Screen Daily
“The ultimate fan story: a tale of what it means to live vicariously through a genius.” – Ben Kenigsberg, RogerEbert.com
Street Food Cinema is the ultimate outdoor movie experience! Founded in 2012 by the dynamic husband and wife team of Steve Allison & Heather Hope-Allison, Street Food Cinema has developed a strong community of entertainment and food enthusiasts across Los Angeles. Every Saturday throughout the summer, Street Food Cinema features beloved cult classic movies on a huge 50 foot screen alongside LA’s favorite food trucks like Cousins Maine Lobster, Street Kitchen LA and Churro Stix as well as emerging music artists such as Alex G., Past Action Heroes and The Urban Renewal Project: punctuated with themed audience games hosted by professional comedians to complete the interactive experience. Their Season 6 opener in 2017 was the worlds biggest La La Land screening AND the biggest Street Food Cinema to date at over 5,000 attendees. With their visionary idea to take the outdoor movie experience to fully inclusive night out –they incorporated a variety of fascinating food trucks, pre-movie live entertainment and cool interactive experiences to massive audience appeal in three major markets: Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix. Their 7th season offers so many exciting titles, beginning with the incredible 2018 Oscar nominees “Get Out” and “I, Tonya” on May 5th,“The Greatest Showman” on June 16th, “Lady Bird” on July 21st and “Coco” on October 27th. As well as anniversary screenings for beloved fan favorites “Dazed & Confused” starting our season on April 28th, “The Land Before Time” on May 19th, “The Big Lebowski” on June 9th, “Mrs. Doubtfire” on June 16th, “Stand and Deliver” on June 23rd, “The Sandlot” on June 30th, “Grease” on July 21st, “Mamma Mia!” on August 4th, “Casablanca” on August 25th, “The Wedding Singer” on September 1st, “Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist” on September 8th, “Practical Magic” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” on September 29th and “Twilight” and the original cult classic “Halloween” on October 13th. We’ll also debut our first double-feature PJ party “The Craft” & “Teen Witch” on September 15th and many more great films. Co-founder of Street Food Cinema Heather Hope-Allison (Steven Allison) joins us to run down the upcoming films, where they will be screening and all of the family-friendly options available to film lovers in Southern California.
Season 7 Season Line-Up available at: streetfoodcinema.com/home/los-angeles
The story of why and how more than 3 million high school students take the SAT or ACT, the college entrance exams required by most four-year colleges, is vividly dissected in THE TEST & THE ART OF THINKING. For decades there have been questions about exactly what these tests measure, what role they play in the admissions process and how predictive they are of academic success. The anxiety-provoking exams, and the multibillion-dollar test-prep industry that has grown up around them, have also become lightning rods in the ongoing national debate over equity in educational opportunity. No matter what age the child, they will have, or have had, a lot of pressure to perform well on these tests. There is also much money to be made from students and their parents in education particularly when it comes to the SAT/ACT with the not-for-profit College Board and the thousands of independent tutors reaping millions of dollars in profits. THE TEST & THE ART OF THINKING traces the history and evolution of the SAT/ACT as a major player on the pathway to higher education in America, and documents its current power in our culture. Director Michael Arlen Davis examines this controversy through interviews with students, parents, counselors, test-prep professionals and academics, to provide a fascinating look at this uniquely American rite of passage and how it reflects deeper issues in our educational system — and our society as a whole. Davis joins us for a lively conversation on how we got here and other options that may provide viable alternatives.
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
“It’s a brutal takedown of a practice now warping K-12 education and should embarrass every school that still requires them.” – Daphne Howard, Village Voice
“It’s a film that doggedly questions an exam that affects the futures of millions and feeds the fortunes of several big industries.” – Ken Jaworowski, New York Times
“Most sobering in Davis’ film is the assembled confab of prep tutors sharing their unvarnished thoughts about the College Board’s pointless, periodical test fixes, practically cackling at how easily the board’s self-importance has kept them in business.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times
Conveying Basquiat’s personal magnetism, eccentricity and non-stop creativity without romanticizing him, BOOM FOR REAL: THE LATE TEENAGE YEARS OF JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT serves as another chapter in the ongoing effort to rescue the artist from his own hype. To tell this story, Driver, who was part of the New York arts scene herself, worked closely and collaboratively with friends and other artists who emerged from that period. Drawing upon their memories and anecdotes, the film also uses period film footage, music and images to visually evoke the era, drawing a portrait of Jean-Michel and Downtown New York City-pre AIDS, President Reagan, the real estate and art booms – before anyone was motivated by money and ambition. BOOM FOR REAL: THE LATE TEENAGE YEARS OF JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT follows Basquiat’s life pre-fame and how New York City, the times, the people and the movements surrounding him formed the artist he became. Using never-before-seen works, writings and photographs, director Sara Driver worked closely and collaboratively with friends and other artists who emerged from that period: Jim Jarmusch, James Nares, Fab Five Freddy, Glenn O’Brien, Kenny Scharf, Lee Quinones, Patricia Field, Luc Sante and many others. Sara Driver made her directorial debut with the short film YOU ARE NOT I in 1981, which she adapted from the 1948 Paul Bowles short story of the same name. The film, named as one of the best movies of the 1980s in a Cahiers du Cinéma critics’ poll, was lost for many years until its rediscovery in 2008 among Bowles’ belongings in Tangier. Director Sara Driver joins us for engaging conversation with one of the late-twentieth century’s brightest and innovative artist.
88% on Rotten Tomatoes
“A treasure. A transporting doc about the early career of Basquiat and the environment where he flourished. Conveys his personal magnetism, eccentricity and non-stop creativity without romanticizing him.” – John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
“Vivid and beautifully meditative. It shows how one of the most emblematic American artists of the late 20th century found his voice in the rubble.” – Chris Barsanti, AV Club
“Movingly remembers him -forever young- as unique figure who connected punk, hip hop, hardcore, DIY films, gallery, graffiti and street art, across genres, classes, and races.” – Nora Lee Mandel, FF2 Media
“Driver does a great job of showing how Basquiat’s graffiti smears were more than just a subjective piece of art but also spoke candidly to social commentary on race, poverty, and oppression.” – Jamie Broadnax, Black Girl Nerds
Fourteen-year-old Eleanor (ADELINA AMOSCO) is tormented at school because of the large red birthmarks across her face. Eleanor’s devoted teacher Ms. Gutierrez (KATHLEEN CHANGHO) encourages her to ignore her bullies and focus on her studies. But when things get really bad, Eleanor runs away from school to work in a restaurant run by Alex (ROD RODRIQUEZ), a grown man with whom she is having a casual affair. At home, Eleanor is raised by her grandmother (SHIRLEY CUYUGAN O’BRIEN), who dotes on her granddaughter even though she does not understand her. Eleanor prefers to be alone. At night, if she gazes at the water stains on her bedroom wall, they transform into mountains, leading into a vast, desolate landscape. In this world, Eleanor is alone and free. One day the kids start to tease Eleanor, “who’s the father?” and she discovers a baby crying alone in her dreamed landscape. When another student, Carly (VANESSA CARMONA) asks Eleanor what happened to her baby, Eleanor breaks down and attacks her. Eleanor is arrested and confined until Ms. Gutierrez is able to get her released and enrolled in a new school. Eleanor wants to succeed there, but the pressure of her impending assault trial and the increasing complexity of her life in her dreamed world may push this hope out of her reach. Director Cath Gulick joins us to talk about her haunting, lyrical portrait of a young woman searching for her own place in a hostile world.
When UCLA Film & Television Archive launched its annual UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema in 1990, it was the first showcase for new Iranian films in the U.S. It has been a platform for exciting new voices in cinema as well as a dialogue to foster cultural understanding—and in that time Iranian filmmakers have moved to the forefront of the cinematic world. It has also been a barometer of global politics. In partnership with Farhang Foundation, this year’s UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema offers Los Angeles the chance to see a stellar lineup of new Iranian films that includes four Los Angeles premieres and three U.S. premieres, along with the revival of a modern classic. From fraught intimate relationships to big social issues, these expertly crafted films reveal the complexities – and universalities – of contemporary Iran. The annual celebration, now entering its 28th year, showcases the best in contemporary Iranian Cinema. Paul Malcolm is the film programmer for UCLA Film & Television Archive where he began in 2007. He was an associate programmer of feature and short films for the Los Angeles Film Festival 2006-2010. As adjunct faculty at Chapman University, he has taught classes on the history and aesthetics of 3D cinema and film reviewing at Chapman University. He was also assistant film editor and film critic for the LA Weekly from 1998-2006. Malcolm graduated from USC with a BA in journalism and he received his MA in Film Studies from UCLA. He is a Sundance Institute Arts Writing Fellow (2001).
WHAT: UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema sponsored by Farhang Foundation
All films originate from Iran and are in Persian or Azari with English subtitles.
WHEN: April 28 – May 19, 2018
WHERE: UCLA’s Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90024
TICKETS: Regular screenings: $10 general admission available here.
Visual Communications, the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center, announced its outstanding program of films and events for the upcoming 34th edition of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) running MAY 3 – MAY 12, 2018. The all encompassing annual film celebration is presented across Los Angeles in West Hollywood, Downtown LA, Little Tokyo, Koreatown, and Hollywood. Visual Communications proudly celebrates the Film Festival’s 34 years as Southern California’s largest and most prestigious film festival of its kind. LAAPFF launches the celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month through this year’s slate of over 100 films from both Asian Pacific American and Asian international artists. For over three decades, the Festival has presented nearly 5,000 films by Asian Pacific American and Asian International talent. This year, 39 feature films and 79 shorts from the over 800 submissions will be showcased during the ten-day fest. The Festival opens with the Los Angeles premiere of Aneesh Chaganty’s feature debut SEARCHING starring John Cho and Debra Messing giving audiences an early chance to see the movie that took the NEXT audience award and the Alfred P. Sloan award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Other programs include CENTERPIECE FILMS will feature two outstanding world premieres with IN THE LIFE OF MUSIC and FICTION & OTHER REALITIES. Centerpiece Films will be presented on Saturday, May 5th at the Aratani Theatre at the Japanese American Community and Cultural Center (JACCC) in Little Tokyo – Downtown Los Angeles. The CLOSING NIGHT FILM will be the Los Angeles premiere of the acclaimed 2018 Sundance World Documentary Special Jury Award winner MATANGI/ MAYA/ M.I.A., directed by Stephen Loveridge. Inspired by her roots, M.I.A. created a mashup, cut-and-paste identity that pulled from every corner of her journey; a sonic sketchbook that blended Tamil politics, art school punk, hip-hop beats and the voice of multicultural youth. Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival Co-Director David Magdael will join us to talk about this years’s exciting festival line up.
Centuries ago, many cultures believed the Earth was a flat disc. As scientific thought and technology evolved, the Earth was revealed to be a globe, a view that’s widely accepted today—but not by everyone. In Daniel J. Clarks feature documentary, Behind the Curve explores the internet fueled resurgence of the flat Earth movement. These conspiracy theorists deny the scientific model of the globe and join together through conventions, forums and online platforms to discuss their belief system. On the other end of the spectrum, the scientific community aims to counter this resurrected myth, resulting in an ever- growing public battle of conspiracies and anti-intellectualism. Giving a well-rounded look at all sides of the debate, Behind the Curve shows that no matter where you stand on this issue, the conversations and people around it are anything but flat. Director Daniel J. Clark joins is to talk about all of the various factions and personalities that make up flat-earth society and his film’s debut at the 2018 Hot Docs Film Festival.
“Unlike a few other films about people who hold questionable beliefs, Behind The Curve is a remarkably clear-eyed look at the Flat Earth movement, in which people around the globe (but mostly in America) labour to convince the rest of us that our planet is flat – more like a terrarium, really – but sinister forces have gone to elaborate lengths to keep it quiet.” – Norman Wilner, NOW
Warrior Women is the untold story of American Indian Movement activists who fought for civil rights in the 1970s, and the children who served as their inspiration and their cohorts. The film is anchored by one of the Red Power Movement’s most outspoken Lakota leaders, Madonna Thunder Hawk, and her daughter Marcy Gilbert. Together, they weathered some of the most turbulent battles for Native sovereignty in the modern era: Thunder Hawk as an activist and mother, Marcy as a teenager growing into a young woman while sharing her mother with a movement that was bigger than either of them. Thunder Hawk lived through a time when Natives were ashamed to be themselves and violently pressured to conform to white culture or punished for holding on to what little Native identity they had left. She did not want her children to live through a continuation of that history. Now, forty years later, Madonna is moving into the twilight of her life, fighting the inevitable slowing she dreads. She constantly worries aloud who she will “pass the torch” to. Warrior Women unveils not only the women’s perspective on history, but also real-life activism echoing far beyond news events into generations to come. Co-directors Elizabeth Castle and Christina D. King stop by to talk about the Native American struggle for human rights and social justice and the strong women who continue to fight for their homeland, values and people.
Made following the discovery of amateur footage shot in China in 1966 during the first and most radical stage of the Cultural Revolution, IN THE INTENSE NOW speaks to the fleeting nature of moments of great intensity. Scenes of China are set alongside archival images of the events of 1968 in France, Czechoslovakia, and, to a lesser extent, Brazil. In keeping with the tradition of the film-essay, they serve to investigate how the people who took part in those events continued onward after passions had cooled. The footage, all of it archival, not only reveals the state of mind of those filmed—joy, enchantment, fear, disappointment, dismay—but also sheds light on the relationship between a document and its political context. What can one say of Paris, Prague, Rio de Janeiro, or Beijing by looking at the images of the period? Why did each of these cities produce a specific sort of record? Narrated in first person, the film reflects on that which is revealed by four sets of images: footage of the French students’ uprising in May of 1968; the images captured by amateurs during the invasion of Czechoslovakia in August of the same year, when forces led by the Soviet Union put an end to the Prague Spring; shots of the funerals of students, workers, and police officers killed during the events of 1968 in the cities of Paris, Lyon, Prague, and Rio de Janeiro; and the scenes that a tourist—the director’s mother—filmed in China in 1966, the year of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Director João Moreira Salles joins us to talk about family, memories, politics, the immediacy of the moments that made up one of history’s most consequential years.
92% on Rotten Tomatoes!
”Find solace, enlightenment and surprise in João Moreira Salles’s ‘In the Intense Now,’ a bittersweet, ruminative documentary essay.” —A. O. Scott, The New York Times
“Melancholy, inspiring and evocative.” —J. Hoberman, The New York Review of Books
“One of the 10 best films of Berlin Film Festival! Remarkably resonant and personal.” —Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“Spellbinding! The [Chicago Film Festival’s] most ambitious documentary is a meditation on cameras in times of political spectacle.” —Bill Stamets, Chicago Sun-Times
“Recommended! A dazzling, true-world dreamscape; deeply personal even as the kaleidoscopic imagery bursts forth in grandiloquent poetry. Cataclysm awaits. So much history ahead. Such dense, ordered beauty behind.”—Ray Pride, Newcity Film
“A rich, immersive contemplation of the emotional battery life of revolutions, Brazilian filmmaker João Moreira Salles’ remarkable, deeply felt essay film ‘In the Intense Now’ examines 1968’s turbulence in four countries through the prism of what its amateur documentarians filmed.”—Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times
Library Award and Best Soundtrack Award, 2017 Cinéma du Réel Film Festival
Best Documentary, 2017 Civil Society of Multimedia Authors (SCAM)
Panorama Selection, 2017 Berlinale Film Festival
U.S. Premiere, 2017 Chicago International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2017 It’s All True International Documentary Festival
A film within a film IN THE LAST DAYS OF THE CITY, Tamer El Said’s ambitious debut feature, tells the fictional story of a filmmaker from downtown Cairo played by Khalid Abdalla (The Kite Runner, United 93, Green Zone, The Square) as he struggles to capture the soul of a city on edge while facing loss in his own life. IN THE LAST DAYS OF THE CITY is a haunting yet lyric chronicle of recent years in the Arab world, where revolutions seemed to spark hope for change and yield further instability in one stroke. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Shot in Cairo, Beirut, Baghdad and Berlin during the two years before the outbreak of revolution in Egypt. Throughout, friends send footage and stories creating a powerful, multilayered meditation on togetherness, the tactile hold of cities, and the meaning of homeland. Shot in 2008 and completed in 2016, the film explores the weight of cinematic images as record and storytelling in an ongoing time of change. IN THE LAST DAYS OF THE CITY is a multi-layered stories are a visually rich exploration of friendship, loneliness and life in cities shaped by the shadows of war and adversity. Director, producer and writer Tamer El-Said joins us for a conversation on his remarkably accomplished film debut.
Caligari Film Prize at Berlinale
Critics Award for Best Arab Film in 2016, Arab Cinema Center
Grand Prix of New Horizons International Film Festival
Grand Prix of Festival des 3 Continents, Nantes
Best Film, San Francisco Arab Film Festival, USA, 2016
Best Director at Buenos Aires International Film festival (BAFICI)
82% on Rotten Tomatoes!
“Without doubt the most important event in Egyptian cinema, if not Arab cinema, in a very long time.” — Jean-Michel Frodon, Slate.com
“A melancholic love-hate poem to Cairo and the role of filmmakers in any city in pain.” —Jay Weissberg, Variety
“Majestic… a lionhearted elegy for the Egyptian capital, artistic heritage in the Arab world, inspired politics, and hope itself” —Kaelen Wilson-Goldie, Artforum
“Beautifully lensed and complexly edited in a dense patchwork of people, feelings and events” —Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter
When she was a young lawyer, Kholoud Al-Faqih walked into the office of Palestine’s Chief Justice and announced she wanted to join the bench. He laughed at her. But just a few years later, Kholoud became the first woman judge to be appointed to the Middle East’s Shari’a (Islamic law) courts. THE JUDGE offers a unique portrait of Judge Kholoud—her brave journey as a lawyer, her tireless fight for justice for women, and her drop-in visits with clients, friends, and family. With unparalleled access to the courts, THE JUDGE presents an unfolding vérité legal drama, with rare insight into both Islamic law and gendered justice. In the process, the film illuminates some of the universal conflicts in the domestic life of Palestine—custody of children, divorce, abuse—while offering an unvarnished look at life for women and Shari’a. Director and producer Erika Cohn stops by to talk about her warm, moving portrait of a dedicated professional officer of the court determined to see that men and women receive the highest level of justice.
100% on Rotten Tomatoes!
“The documentary is an inspiration to women – not just in the Middle East – who are determined to rise to the top of their professions, despite the odds being stacked against them.” – Gayle MacDonald, Globe and Mail
“There are scandalously few female-empowerment documentaries about Arab women that also aim to counter Islamophobia, which is why Erika Cohn’s “The Judge” is a welcome addition.” – Jay Weissberg, Variety
“This skillfully conceived documentary focuses on a charismatic Muslim judge, a woman appointed to the Palestinian Shari’a court.” – Maria Garcia, Film Journal International
“The Judge is packed tight; it’s enlightening and suspenseful and paced for maximum enjoyment.” – Daphne Howland, Village Voice
In the piercingly straightforward documentary The Heart of Nuba we meet the only surgeon within 200 miles, Dr. Tom Catena does his best to save lives in the midst of carnage and terror, treating as many as 400 patients a day at Mother of Mercy Hospital, nestled in the heart of the Nuba Mountains. The region is the latest target of Omar al-Bashir, a man wanted by the International Criminal Court for committing crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. Surrounded by a country at war, living under the constant shadow of aerial bombardment, Dr. Tom Catena and his mostly local staff defy Bashir’s ban on humanitarian aid, and work tirelessly to serve the Nuba people. This population of one million Muslims, Christians, Animists and Africans of traditional belief have lived together harmoniously for centuries. Now, together with ‘Dr. Tom’, they struggle to survive. His patients come to him from hundreds of miles away on foot, in carts, or often cradled in their mother’s arms. Welcome to the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, an area of the world so void of humanitarian and media attention that years of war go ignored, and cries for help go largely unheard. Here, this lone American surgeon tends with equal compassion to patients ranging from malnutrition and leprosy, to grave wounds inflicted by the indiscriminate bombings ordered by their own president, Omar al-Bashir. When a government can attack defenseless men, women and children with supersonic bombers,and it doesn’t make anyone’s newswire, something is terribly awry. Dr. Tom’ and his staff defy Bashir’s ban on humanitarian aid, work tirelessly to save the lives of the Nuba people, and bring hope to one million people who would be otherwise forgotten. Director Kenneth Carlson joins us to talk about Dr. Tom’s selfless work, the people of the region and the impact that The Heart of Nuba is having on their plight.
100% on Rotten Tomatoes!
“Absorbingly, unfussily captures Catena’s daily challenges and feats while also painting a vivid, often heartbreaking portrait of a forgotten people trapped in an underreported sociopolitical nightmare.” – Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
“The film is worth seeing because it’s a moving and remarkable story and it represents a great cause.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times
“A most down-to-earth saint presented in the most refreshingly candid manner.” – Louis Project, counterpunch.org
“The only surgeon for hundreds of miles, Tom Catena earns $350 a month but given his dedication to the poor people in Sudan’s Nuba mountains, he should be nominated for sainthood.” – Harvey S, Karten, schockya.com
Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami is an electrifying journey through the public and private worlds of pop culture mega-icon Grace Jones. The documentary contrasts musical sequences with intimate personal footage, all the while brimming with Jones’s bold aesthetic. A larger-than-life entertainer, an androgynous glam-pop diva, an unpredictable media presence – Grace Jones is all these things and more. Sophie Fiennes’s documentary goes beyond the traditional music biography, offering a portrait as stylish and unconventional as its subject. Taking us home with her to Jamaica, into the studio with long-time collaborators Sly & Robbie, and backstage at gigs around the world, the film reveals Jones as lover, daughter, mother, and businesswoman. But the stage is the fixed point to which the film returns, with eye-popping performances of “Slave to the Rhythm,” “Pull Up to the Bumper,” “Love is the Drug,” and more. Jones herself has said watching the film “will be like seeing me almost naked” and, indeed, Fiennes’s treatment is every bit as definition-defying as its subject, untamed by either age or life itself. Director Sophie Fiennes (Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, Legend of Leigh Bowery) joins us to talk about the dynamic in-concert performances, her access to Grace and her startling candor concerning her public and private life and the critical recognition the film has garnered.
90% on Rotten Tomatoes
“Brilliantly and beautifully engaged in the present. A sparkling example of how to document our icons. Allows us to appreciate the reality of the artist in her most candid moments, in her own words, which is way more interesting than what we’d find in yet another standard biopic.” – Daisy Jones, VICE
“Pure energy, fierce, and empowering. If you want a rock-n- roll, sexy, feel good, empowering film, pull up to the theater in your most audacious outfit and get ready for the Grace Jones experience.” – The Huffington Post
“A celebration of art and life. Jones herself has promised the film ‘will be like seeing me almost naked.’” – Michael-Oliver Harding, Interview Magazine
“A sumptuous sensory treat.” – Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter
“A true testament to the power of style.” – Caitlin Agnew, The Globe and Mail
“The film feels as epic as the artist herself. A mix of concert doc and intimate verité, Fiennes has crafted a film that feels like Stop Making Sense via Frederick Wiseman. As an intimate look at Jones the film succeeds, as a powerful testament to her talent the film soars.” – Jason Gorber, BirthMoviesDeath
In Rachel Israel’s endearing feature debut Keep the Change, we meet aspiring filmmaker David (Brandon Polansky), mandated by a judge to attend a social program at the Jewish Community Center, who is sure of one thing: he doesn’t belong there. But when he’s assigned to visit the Brooklyn Bridge with the vivacious Sarah (Samantha Elisofon), sparks fly and his convictions are tested. Their budding relationship must weather Sarah’s romantic past, David’s judgmental mother (Jessica Walter), and their own pre-conceptions of what love is supposed to look like. Under the guise of an off-kilter New York romantic comedy, Keep the Change does something quite radical in offering a refreshingly honest portrait of a community seldom depicted on the big screen. Rarely has a romcom felt so deep and poignant. Thoroughly charming and quite funny, the film’s warmth and candor brings growth and transformation to the characters, and ultimately, to us. Director and writer Rachel Israel stops by to talk about her friendship with lead actor Brandon Polansky, making the short film version of Keep the Change as well as the personal and artistically rewarding process of making this beguiling film.
Best U.S. Narrative Feature – Tribeca Film Festival
Best New Narrative Director – Tribeca Film Festival
Special Mention, Nora Ephron Prize – Tribeca Film Festival
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
“This gently humorous, fiercely honest indie film is a step forward in the quest for a move inclusive Hollywood, which seems to one of the themes of the cultural moment.” – Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic
’“Keep the Change” is not a seamlessly crafted movie, but it’s awfully tenderhearted and thoroughly disarming. It deserves to be widely seen.’ – Glenn Kenny, New York Times
“What distinguishes it are Israel’s empathetic characterizations – she’s known Polansky for 15 years – and the winning performances, not only by the leads but also by the supporting players” – Mark Jenkins, Washington Post
“Hilarious and warm, finding its own voice as Israel creates a special space for her cast to shine, preserving idiosyncrasies and timing to best reinforce the unusual atmosphere of pure personality on display.” – Brian Orndorf, blu-ray.com
“An ode to self-discovery and acceptance that’s as funny as it is sweet.” – Nick Schager, Variety
Following their Lovecraftian modern cult classic SPRING, acclaimed filmmakers Moorhead and Benson return with this mind-bending thriller that follows two brothers who receive a cryptic video message inspiring them to revisit the UFO death cult they escaped a decade earlier. Hoping to find the closure that they couldn’t as young men, they’re forced to reconsider the cult’s beliefs when confronted with unexplainable phenomena surrounding the camp. As the members prepare for the coming of a mysterious event, the brothers race to unravel the seemingly impossible truth before their lives become permanently entangled with the cult. Co-director Justin Benson (Aaron Moorhead) stops by to talk about this remarkably accomplished, mind-bending cinematic journey into the unknowable.
The Endless on Social Media:
96% on Rotten Tomatoes!
“The Endless isn’t just terrific – it’s poised to be that breakout genre hit that It Follows and The Babadook were in past years. ” – Jamie Righetti, /FILM
“Unique, mind-bending delights…Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson are wizards of ingenuity ” Peter Debruge, VARIETY
“The Endless will fuck your brain…Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead deliver an enticing, mysterious genre experiment that stands to be their best work yet.”- Brad Miska, BLOODY DISGUSTING
“(Justin) Benson and (Aaron) Moorhead are in every frame of this film. Together they give the cosmos-mangling insanity a grounded truth and a light hilarity” – Richard Whitaker, Austin Chronicle
“The Endless feels like a thunderstorm. It brews slowly, softly, and then in the blink of an eye, has consumed you, booming with fury and jaw-dropping force.” – Kristy Puchko, Pajiba
“The Endless [is] a meta-commentary of the nature of storytelling and a self-examination of the creative mind, the film will likely have its audience questioning their perception of time as they look to sky for falling photographs.” – Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Screen Anarchy
Presenting Michelle Pfeiffer in one of the most acclaimed performances of her storied career, Andrew Dosunmu’s WHERE IS KYRA? tells the story of Kyra Johnson, a middle-aged divorcee who moves into her elderly mother’s Brooklyn apartment while she looks for work and tries to get back on her feet. When her mother suddenly dies, Kyra is left without any support, both emotional and financial, and finds herself with very few options–none of them good. Despite a blossoming affair with a sympathetic neighbor (Kiefer Sutherland) with struggles of his own, Kyra can’t accept that her once-tidy life has fallen apart, and she resorts to increasingly desperate measures to hold onto what little she has left. Another unique and evocative portrait of life in contemporary New York City, WHERE IS KYRA? is Dosunmu’s follow-up to his award-winning feature, Mother of George, widely considered one of the best independent films of recent years. Re-teaming with writer Darci Picoult, cinematographer Bradford Young (Academy Award-nominated for Arrival, Selma), and composer Philip Young, Dosunmu brilliantly conveys the plight of a strong-willed, capable woman who nonetheless finds herself slipping through society’s cracks, and toppling from a stable, secure life to the very edge of ruin. Director Andrew Dosunmu joins us to talk about take on the “invisible” people living at the margins of our major urban centers, a collective loss of empathy, and the impact his photo-journalism work had on the making of this starkly beautiful film.
80% on Rotten Tomatoes!
“This woman may be lost to the world, but in Dosunmu’s quietly shattering vision, she is also unexpectedly, triumphantly found.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
“It’s a performance of such nuance and vulnerability, so quietly catastrophic in communicating this woman’s accumulation of loss.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone
“Where Is Kyra? finally allows [Pfeiffer] to explore the darker, unvarnished side of her talent and gives her the opportunity to do perhaps the best work of her lengthy, eclectic career.” – Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com
“A shattering portrait of a luckless woman unable to pull out of the tailspin that is her life, “Where Is Kyra?” is a powerfully moody character study anchored by a remarkable performance from Michelle Pfeiffer.” – Tim Grierson, Screen International
“Rarely on film has the sheer debilitating exhaustion of poverty been so clearly conveyed.” – Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice