Shira Dubrovner, longtime resident of Mammoth Lakes, is a community organizer and leader, arts advocate, and film lover who followed her lifelong passion for cinema to become the founder of the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival. Shira is also the Artistic Director of this well regarded theatre company. After her experience creating a successful theatre in Mammoth (established at the Edison Theatre, which will serve as one of the key screening venues during this year’s film festival), she decided to introduce the community to her other passion – independent film – by creating the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival. This year’s Mammoth Lakes Film Festival is a five-day festival that screens independent features and shorts in the spectacular setting of Mammoth Lakes—California’s premier mountain resort, high in the Eastern Sierras from May 24 – 28, 2017, Memorial Day weekend. The 3rd Annual Mammoth Lakes Film Festival, taking place in the magnificent mountain setting of Mammoth Lakes, California, has announced its line-up of screenings, which will include premieres, festival favorites and classic films. The five-day festival will take place May 24-28, 2017, beginning on Wednesday with the Opening Night Screening of Cheech and Chong’s much-loved first feature UP IN SMOKE. Tommy Chong, one of its stars as well as its uncredited co-director, will be present for a Q&A after the screening, which is followed by the Gala Opening Night Party at the Sierra Events Center. Saturday evening will feature the SIERRA SPIRIT AWARD CENTERPIECE GALA & SCREENING: A Night with John Sayles. The evening will begin with a screening of his 1983 film BABY IT’S YOU starring Rosanna Arquette and Vincent Spano, followed by a conversation with Sayles and a presentation of the Sierra Spirit Award. Sayles’s credits include THE BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET, MATEWAN, EIGHT MEN OUT, LONE STAR, and THE SECRET OF ROAN INISH, amongst others. In addition to the two classic films representing the work of Chong and Sayles, an additional 18 features will be screened over the five days of the festival. Feature documentary films in competition will include EIGHT (US Premiere), FOREVER B, (World Premiere), THE ISLANDS AND THE WHALES, OLANCHO, RAT FILM, STRAD STYLE and WHAT LIES UPSTREAM. Spotlight Screening Documentaries not in competition will include THE CHALLENGE, DINA, and MACHINES. Feature narrative films in competition will include NEIGHBORHOOD FOOD DRIVE, WITHDRAWN, SPACE DETECTIVE. Foreign films in competition will include COLD BREATH, THE ERLPRINCE, THE FIXER and THE GREAT UNWASHED (U.S. Premiere). The final Narrative Feature, not in competition, will be the rave-reviewed Sundance hit MENASHE, which has been picked up by A24 for distribution. In addition to the Opening Night Gala and the Sierra Spirit Award Event, there is a Filmmakers Bash on Saturday evening at Rafters featuring the band Jelly Bread and the Awards Ceremony on Sunday, May 27 at the Sierra Events Center. Founder and Director Shira Dubrovner joins us to talk about this year’s festival highlights.
In the new documentary Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story, Award-winning director Daniel Raim (The Man on Lincoln’s Nose, Something’s Gonna Live) brings to life a fascinating and moving account of the romantic and creative partnership of storyboard artist Harold Michelson and film researcher Lillian Michelson: two unsung heroes of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story spans the Golden Age of Hollywood through New Hollywood and beyond. It’s a portrait of a time, and an intimate chronicle of their epic journey of life, love, family, and making great movies. Harold and Lillian worked on hundreds of renowned films including The Ten Commandments, The Apartment, The Birds, Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, The Graduate, Rosemary’s Baby, Fiddler On The Roof, Scarface, Full Metal Jacket and many more. Although the couple was responsible for some of Hollywood’s most iconic examples of visual storytelling, their contributions remain largely uncredited. Through an engaging mix of love letters, film clips and candid conversations with Harold and Lillian, Danny DeVito, Mel Brooks, Francis Ford Coppola and others, this deeply engaging documentary from Academy Award®-nominated director Daniel Raim (who first encountered Harold Michelson as a student at the AFI Conservatory in 1997), chronicles their remarkable marriage and extraordinary careers through six decades of movie-making history. Harold and Lillian’s story humanizes Hollywood—an industry sustained by numerous hard-working cinema artisans; master craftsmen and craftswomen who give their lives, their genius and their hearts to the movies. Beyond Harold and Lillian’s contribution to cinema, their story can’t be told without weaving in their 60-year marriage—a creative, challenging, and profoundly loving partnership. Director Daniel Raim stops by for a conversation on his loving tribute to a beguiling pair of artists, partners and lovers.
**100% on RottenTomatoes
Truly charming…A terrifically moving human story!” – Glenn Kenny, Vanity Fair
“CRITICS’ PICK! Charming… Like flipping through misplaced leaves in a photo book, the documentary maintains a free-flowing tone as it uncovers the work that went into creating some of the indelible scenes in Hollywood history.” – Monica Castillo, The New York Times
“For an hour and a half, this charming little movie, with its chatty talking heads and its sweet-natured subjects, offers a glimpse into the lives of two fascinating people whom I had never heard of, and who shared an unlikely life filled with achievements and setbacks, wonder and pain.” – Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice
“One of the very best documentaries ever made about movies…I have rarely seen any movie, fact or fiction, that was quite so suffused with love—movie love and human love—as this one.” – David Noh, Film Journal
“An awesome film… funny, heartbreaking, and packed with delicious film lore.” – Ken Kwapis, Director of The Office
You may have never heard of Bert Berns, but you know the enduring songs he’s written and produced: Twist & Shout, Cry to Me, Tell Him, Piece of My Heart, Cry Baby, Hang On Sloopy, I Want Candy, Everybody Needs Somebody to Love – Berns’ career IS Rock and Roll. Berns sessions made legends of Solomon Burke, The Isley Brothers, The Drifters, Ben E. King, and Wilson Pickett. He helped launch the careers of Van Morrison and Neil Diamond and produced some of the greatest soul music ever made. Filmmaker and son of Bert Brett Berns brings his late father’s story to the screen through interviews with those who knew him best and rare performance footage. Included in the film are interviews with Ronald Isley, Ben E. King, Solomon Burke, Van Morrison, Keith Richards and Paul McCartney. Narrated by E Street Band guitarist Stevie Van Zandt, about the life and career of Bert Berns, the most important songwriter and record producer from the sixties that you never heard of. His premature death at 38 cut short a seven-year streak of hits, rooted in his early Brill Building and 1650 Broadway days, through his tenure at Atlantic Records to the formation and success of his own labels Bang Records and Shout Records. First-time director Brett Berns joins us to talk about a father he never knew and his amazing musical legacy.
“[The] impressive lineup of interview subjects properly tells the story of a man whose contributions to popular music have been largely unheralded.” Noel Murray, LA Times
“It has a ton of heart and a bevy of interesting interviewees who paint a clear and coherent picture of who Bert Berns was inside and outside of the music biz… It’s a must see for any fan, new or old.” Anthony Ray Bench, Film Threat
“If you love the music Berns made, you’ll love this movie; if you don’t, I feel for you, but “Bang!” might nevertheless entertain with its dish.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times
In Tomorrow Ever After Shaina is an historian who lives 600 years in the future. War, poverty, pollution, greed, exploitation, depression, loneliness: these are things that she’s read about in history books. And while she studied this dark period of history, in which money was viewed as more important than people, she has never, in the flesh, seen humans hurting other humans. Until now. While visiting a group of physicists who experiment with time travel, Shaina is accidentally stranded in the year 2015. Here she involves herself with a group of friends who are as lovable as they are flawed. As the harsh realities of their lives unfold, she learns what no history book could have taught her. Old habits, however, are hard to break, and Shaina can’t help but assume that everyone around her is honest, generous, and caring, as she works to recruit the help that she needs to get back home. While most futuristic films depict a dystopia that is even colder and more mechanical than our own, this film takes a bold departure from the sci-fi genre by exploring the possibility of a future in which caring and compassion govern our societies. What if the future of humanity and the planet turns out exactly as we would want it to be? Director and writer Ela Thier joins us for a conversation on her sweet, insightful and humorous rumination on the past, present and hopeful future
“Built around Thier’s dignity and gentle humor… she emanates charismatic warmth and seems genuinely engaged with the film’s theme of compassion in an era of despair.” – Chris Packham, The Village Voice
“Held up brilliantly its premise …Played with touching insight and natural beauty …[Thier] provided me with a new sense of wonder for my fellow humans.” – E. Nina Roth, Huffington Post
“Simultaneously funny and tear-jerking” – Allison Tate, The Advocate
“It is a rare film that insinuates itself so gently into your consciousness, and then opens up like a stealth bomb inside your mind and heart.” – Dorothy Woodend, Alliance of Women Film Journalist
**2016 Fort Lauderdale international Film Festival – Winner Best American Indie**
**2016 Moondance International Film Festival – Winner Best Feature Film and the Audience Choice Award**
**2016 Flickers Rhode Island International Film Festival – Winner Best Director**
Citizen Jane: Battle for the City is a story about our global urban future, in which nearly three-fourths of the world’s population will live in cities by the end of this century. It’s also a story about America’s recent urban past, in which bureaucratic, “top down” approaches to building cities have dramatically clashed with grassroots, “bottom up” approaches. The film brings us back mid-century, on the eve of the battles for the heart and soul of American cities, about to be routed by cataclysmically destructive Urban Renewal and highway projects. The film details the revolutionary thinking of Jane Jacobs, and the origins of her magisterial 1961 treatise The Death and Life of Great American Cities, in which she singlehandedly undercuts her era’s orthodox model of city planning, exemplified by the massive Urban Renewal projects of New York’s “Master Builder,” Robert Moses. Jacobs and Moses figure centrally in our story as archetypes of the “bottom up” and the “top down” vision for cities. They also figure as two larger-than-life personalities: Jacobs—a journalist with provincial origins, no formal training in city planning, and scarce institutional authority—seems at first glance to share little in common with Robert Moses, the upper class, high prince of government and urban theory fully ensconced in New York’s halls of power and privilege. Citizen Jane: Battle for the City gives audiences a front row seat to this battle, and shows how two opposing visions of urban greatness continue to ripple across the world stage. In perilous times for the city and for civil rights, Citizen Jane offers a playbook, courtesy of Jane Jacobs, for organizing communities and speaking the truth to entrenched and seemingly insurmountable powers. Director Matt Tyrnauer joins us to talk about a citizen activist whose vision and principals resonate to this day.
“In aspritely edited feature, Tyrnauer pushes his audience to make the connection between the turbulent growth spurts of the 1950s and 1960s with today’s political aspirations.” – Flias Savada
“Jacobs argued that what looks to officialdom like disorder is actually what makes a crowded human landscape function – it’s just a more complex order. This compelling documentary lets you see the beauty she found in that complexity.” – Bob Mondello, NPR
“It’s a story that needs periodic retelling, and Mr. Tyrnauer has heightened the human drama by focusing on Jacobs, an improbable David to Moses’s Goliath.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
“A fascinating documentary captures the showdown, half a century ago, between the activist Jane Jacobs and the Trumpian urban planner Robert Moses: a fight for the future of New York.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
In the Jewish religion, a week of sitting Shiva (or mourning the deceased) is called for after a funeral. However, for Eyal and Vicky, a week is hardly enough time to properly mourn the loss of their 25-year-old son Ronnie. A married couple edging into the back half of middle age, the two find themselves reacting to the end of Shiva in markedly different ways. A return to routine seems to be in order for Vicky, a teacher, as she finds herself back at school trying to abruptly kick out the substitute assigned in her stead. Meanwhile, shopkeeper Eyal opts for a total abdication of routine, as he steals his dead son’s bag of medical marijuana, and proceeds to get high, play ping-pong and judge air guitar routines with his neighbor’s stoner son Zooler. As the world refuses to accommodate Vicky and Eyal’s sensitivities during their time of bereavement — taxi drivers are still difficult, neighbors are still obnoxious, and grave diggers are just as indifferent as anyone else in the service industry — the two grieving parents find themselves acting out in outlandish ways as they attempt to regain a sense of control over their lives. Asaph Polonsky’s debut feature ONE WEEK AND A DAY juxtaposes the grieving process against the immutable fact that, despite the most painful losses imaginable, the world stops for no one’s mourning. With endearing performances from Shai Avivi and Evgenia Dodina as Eyal and Vicky, and Tomer Kapon as Zooler, ONE WEEK AND A DAY provides a nuanced perspective on loss that’s as funny as it is insightful. Director Asaph Polonsky joins us to talk about his thoughtful and nuanced film of loss, grieve and resilience.
“Tears of laughter and tears of grief are both in abundant supply in Asaph Polonsky’s uproariously funny and heart-wrenchingly moving ONE WEEK AND A DAY.”Ben Croll, THE WRAP
“The strength of Asaph Polonskys debut feature is that it’s actually a bittersweet comedy-drama in which the pain is as real as the frequent chuckles.” ”Boyd van Hoeij, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
“A sweet and subdued look at the absurdity of life after death.”David Ehrlich, INDIEWIRE
“Asaph Polonsky’s moving, deceptively simple film ONE WEEK AND A DAY looks at that supremely difficult day after the shiva ends.”Hannah Brown, THE JERUSALEM POST
“Polonsky resists easy sentimentalisation…the moments of stillness have real potency.”Wendy Ide, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL
TAKE MY NOSE PLEASE is a seriously funny and wickedly subversive look at the role comedy has played in exposing the pressures on women to be attractive and society’s desire/shame relationship with plastic surgery. More than 15 million cosmetic procedures were performed in the US in 2014. And 90% of them on were done on women. Yet, for those who elect to tinker with Mother Nature, especially for high-profile women, plastic surgery is still a very dark secret. Funny women, though, are the exception. From Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers to Roseanne Barr and Kathy Griffin, comedians have been unashamed to talk about their perceived flaws, and the steps taken to remedy them. TAKE MY NOSE PLEASE follows two comedians as they deliberate about going under the knife. Emily Askin, an up-and coming improv performer, has always wanted her nose refined. Jackie Hoffman, a seasoned headliner on Broadway and on TV, considers herself ugly and regrets not having the nose job offered in her teens. And maybe she’d like a face-lift, as well. As we follow their surprisingly emotional stories, we meet other who have taken the leap – or held out. Putting it all in perspective are psychologists, sociologists, the medical community and cultural critics. And for comic relief and the profundity only comedians can supply. The film includes commentary from Roseanne Barr, Phyllis Diller, the late Joan Rivers,Judy Gold, Julie Halston, Lisa Lampanelli, Giulia Rozzi, Bill Scheft, and Adrianne Tolsch. Director Joan Kroc joins us to talk her engaging. lively, funny and enlightening debut film.
Jacob Garchik, multi-instrumentalist and composer, was born in San Francisco and lived in New York since 1994. At home in a wide variety of styles and musical roles, he is a vital part of the Downtown and Brooklyn scene, playing trombone with the Lee Konitz Nonet, Ohad Talmor/Steve Swallow Sextet, Mary Halvorson Octet, and the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble. He has released 4 albums as a leader including “The Heavens: the Atheist Gospel Trombone Album”. He co-leads Brooklyn’s premiere Mexican brass band, Banda de los Muertos. Since 2006 Jacob has contributed dozens of arrangements and transcriptions for Kronos Quartet of music from all over the world. He composed the score for Kronos for the documentary “The Campaign” (2013), and “The Green Fog” (2017) directed by Guy Maddin. He has created arrangements for vocalists Anne Sofie von Otter, Angelique Kidjo, Laurie Anderson, Rhiannon Giddens, kd lang, Natalie Merchant, Tanya Tagaq, and Alim Qasimov. Garchik returns to San Francisco Sunday, April 16 for a live performance during the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival’s closing night screening of The Green Fog – A San Francisco Fantasia. Commissioned by the San Francisco Film Society, that reimagines one of the most iconic San Francisco films of all time, Vertigo, as a visual collage by award-winning filmmaker and cultural iconoclast Guy Maddin. The Green Fog will screen at the historic Castro Theatre on Sunday, April 16 at 7:00 pm, followed by the Closing Night Party at Mezzanine. Jacob Garchik joins us for a conversation on collaborating with director Guy Maddin and his own musical journey.
Set in the legendary Sea Islands off the South Carolina/Georgia coast in 1902, Julie Dash’s DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST (1991) follows a Gullah family (descendants of West African slaves) on the eve of its migration to the North. Led by a group of women who carry with them ancient African traditions, the extended family readies itself to leave behind friends, loved ones and their insulated way of life. Can these women hold fast to their sacred religious beliefs and customs, or will their world be swept away in the course of a new century? This richly costumed drama, structured in tableaux to reflect the art and icons of African tradition, testifies movingly to the secret celebrations and packed-away sorrows of African-American women. These vital images were introduced to a new generation on a massive scale earlier this year, when the film was heavily referenced in Beyoncé’s visual album, Lemonade. DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST became the first film by an African-American woman ever to receive widespread theatrical release. Enriched by John Barnes’s eclectic score and Arthur Jafa’s Sundance Film Festival-prize-winning cinematography, listed in the National Film Registry DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST was hailed as one of the most visually and sonically ravishing in American independent cinema. Director Julie Dash joins us for a conversation on her sweeping, absorbing and poetic homage to African culture.
“Every image, every moment is a full creation. Dash is one of the heroines of the modern cinema.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker
“A film of spellbinding visual beauty. Julie Dash emerges as a strikingly original filmmaker.” – Stephen Holden, The New York Times
“Daughters of the Dust abounds with stunning motifs and tableaux, the iconography seemingly sourced from dreams as much as from history and folklore.” – Melissa Anderson, Village Voice
“Its examination of a bygone way of life is so patient and evocative, so beholden to its own storytelling conventions and rhythms, that watching it is a bit like submitting to a form of time travel” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
It’s the summer before 6th grade, and Clark (Armani Jackson) is the new biracial kid in a very white town. Discovering that to be cool he needs to act ‘more black’, he fumbles to meet expectations. Meanwhile, his urban intellectual parents Mack (Nelsan Ellis) and Gina (Melanie Lynskey) try to adjust to small-town living. Accustomed to life in New York, the tight-knit family is ill-prepared for the drastically different set of obstacles that their new community presents. They soon find themselves struggling to understand themselves and each other in this new context. Based on a true story, LITTLE BOXES is a poignant comedy about understanding identity, featuring a cast that also includes, Oona Laurence, Janeane Garofalo and Christine Taylor. Director Rob Meyer joins us to talk about his funny, insightful and complex film.
“Even as some of the supporting players and subplots veer toward caricature, the family dynamics at the film’s center remain entirely relatable.“ – Geoff Berkshire, Variety
“Writer Annie J. Howell and director Rob Meyer stack up their woes without making them feel contrived, so when the breakdown comes, it’s real, and it’s heartbreaking.” – Jason Bailey, Flavorwire
“Jackson, Lynskey and Ellis all deliver effortless performances that further illuminate an essential narrative.” – Reel Talk Online
“Countless movies have examined what happens when a country mouse goes to the city; this one shows that leaving a gentrified urban oasis for a small-town world can be just as jolting.“ – Neil Genzlinger
TICKLING GIANTS is a great story about the power of political satire in the face of oppression. In the midst of the Egyptian Arab Spring, Bassem Youssef makes a decision that’s every mother’s worst nightmare… He leaves his job as a heart surgeon to become a full-time comedian. Dubbed, “The Egyptian Jon Stewart,” Bassem creates the satirical show, Al Bernameg. The weekly program quickly becomes the most viewed television program in the Middle East, with 30 million viewers per episode. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart averaged two million viewers. In a country where free speech is not settled law, Bassem’s show becomes as controversial as it popular. He and his staff must endure physical threats, protests, and legal action, all because of jokes. As Bassem attempts to remain on the air, keep his staff safe, and not get arrested, he continues to let those in power know they’re being held accountable. Despite increasing danger, the team at Al Bernameg employ comedy, not violence, to comment on hypocrisy in media, politics, and religion. Directed by Sara Taksler TICKLING GIANTS follows the team of Al Bernameg as they discover democracy is not easily won. The young women and men working on Bassem’s show are fearless revolutionaries, who just happen to be really, really funny. The subject of Tickling Giants, Bassem Youssef joins us for a conversation on the cost and consequences of speaking out.
“Tickling Giants surprises us on several levels. It reveals Egypt’s familiar Arab Spring experience through a lens, that of satiric comedy, which is very different from the way we usually see it. And it has the personal element of Youssef’s involving story.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“Mostly, the movie makes you understand how every society – and ours more than ever – needs people like Bassem Youssef to demonstrate that laughter will always be one of the essential ways to keep power in check.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“There’s a lot to laugh at, and to learn from, in “Tickling Giants,” a documentary that starts off by telling the story of one man and ends up speaking volumes about satire, freedom of expression and political pressure.” – Ken Jaworoski, New York Times
“Media are their own giant, they shape beliefs and create community, instill hope and fear. Perhaps it’s a lesson that will be taken seriously by viewers in the US.” – Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters
On a snowy night in February 1972, legendary jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan was shot dead by his common-law wife, Helen, during a gig at a club in New York City. The murder sent shockwaves through the jazz community, and the memory of the event still haunts the people who knew the Morgans. Helen served time for the crime and, following her release, retreated into obscurity. Over 20 years later, a chance encounter led her to give a remarkable interview. Helen’s revealing audio “testimony” acts as a refrain throughout the film, which draws together a wealth of archival photographs and footage, interviews with friends and bandmates and incredible jazz music to tell the ill-fated pair’s story. Part true crime tale, part love story, and an all-out musical treat, I CALLED HIM MORGAN is a chronicle of the dramatic destinies of two unique personalities and the music that brought them together. Swedish filmmaker Kasper Collin’s I CALLED HIM MORGAN is also a love letter to two unique personalities and the music that brought them together. A film about love, jazz and America with cinematography by Bradford Young (DOP, Selma).
Los Angeles Area: Laemmle’s Monica Film Center in Santa Monica and Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
“Layering experiences and impressions, music and image, Kasper Collin’s remarkable film is less concerned with history than with effects, influences that stretch across time, ideas that shape art.” – Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters
“The interview-“an amazing document,” Collin says-enriches the documentary and transforms it into a story within the story.” – Michael J. Agovino, Village Voice
“This is not a lurid true-crime tale of jealousy and drug addiction, but a delicate human drama about love, ambition and the glories of music.” – A.o. Scott, New York Times
“Collin’s film brings out these stories with a wealth of details energized by the experiences and the insights of his interview subjects as well as an engaging range of archival images and clips.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker
“Quite simply, the greatest film about a jazz musician ever. Do not miss this story of a career cut short by a “Frankie and Johnny” tragedy.” – Louis Proyect, CounterPunch
God Knows Where I Am is the story of Linda Bishop, a well-educated New Hampshire mother who suffered from severe bipolar disorder with psychosis, who was intermittently incarcerated and homeless, inevitably being committed for three years to a state psychiatric facility. Successfully fighting her sister’s protective attempts to be named her legal guardian, Linda was able to refuse treatment and medication, and eventually procured an early, unconditional release, despite the lack of post release planning. Upon her release, she wandered ten miles down the road from the hospital, broke into an abandoned farmhouse and lived off of rainwater and apples picked from a nearby orchard for the next four months, through one of the coldest winters on record. For nearly four months, Linda Bishop, a prisoner of her own mind, survived on apples and rain water, waiting for God to save her, during one of the coldest winters on record. Unable to leave the house, she became its prisoner, and remained there, a prisoner of her own mind, eventually starving to death. Her body was discovered several months later and with it a diary that Linda kept documenting her journey. The diary, given voice by actress Lori Singer, is poignant, beautiful, funny, spiritual, and deeply disturbing. As her story unfolds from different perspectives, including her own, we learn about our systemic failure to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Over the last 16 years co-directors Jedd and Todd Wider have produced many of the most critically and commercially successful feature documentary films including, King’s Point (2012) nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short, the multiple Primetime Emmy and Peabody Award winning Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (2012) directed by Alex Gibney, the Emmy Award nominated Semper Fi: Always Faithful (2011) directed by Rachel Libert and Tony Hardmon, the multiple Emmy Award nominated Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (2010) directed by Alex Gibney Peabody Award and 2008 Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary and 2009 Emmy Award Winner for Best Documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side (2007) also directed by Alex Gibney, and many more. In 2011, Todd Wider and Jedd Wider were each nominated by the Producers Guild of America for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures. Co-director Jedd and Todd Wider join us to talk about their haunting new documentary.
“A film of great beauty and tenderness that gradually reveals a confounding mental illness, this film is a human story at its heart. Ultimately, it illuminates a hidden problem of vast proportion with an epic yet intimate cinematic vision.” – Jury, Hot Docs
“MUST SEE AT HOT DOCS: God Knows Where I Am will break your heart but also empower you to question, be helpful and provide encouragement to the vulnerable in our lives. God Knows Where I Am is wonderfully shot and captures the isolation, desperation and human condition at its essence.” – Thirty-Four Flavours
“Throughout the beautiful, evocative, and ultimately heartbreaking tale of Linda Bishop, the Widers use a variety of cameras and film formats to grant the movie an almost dreamlike feel, and they’re aided immeasurably by Bishop’s meticulous daily journal, which is read with tenderness and humanity by Lori Singer, bringing Bishop elegantly to life as the chronicler of her own story.” – Christopher Orr, The Atlantic
“I’ve seen God Know Where I Am three times. It’s not only rich and layered enough to hold up on every viewing, but on an emotional level, I wept profusely – again and again and yet again. This is great cinema and certainly a contender for one of the best documentaries of the new millennium. It captures profound poetic truths about homelessness, mental illness and loneliness which are rendered with such artistry and sensitivity that this is a film for the ages. 5 out of 5 stars.” – The Film Corner
Jack (Owen Campbell) is a high school student who lives with his single mother Karen (Mary Stuart Masterson) in a nondescript suburban town. Considered a social outcast and loner, Jack is friendless until Karen’s new boyfriend Tom (Scott Cohen) moves in and brings his son Mark (Charlie Heaton) into their lives. The two outsiders quickly bond and form a tight friendship and, after a chance encounter at a diner, bring fellow student Sarah (Amandla Stenberg) into their group. The three teens become each other’s saving grace until changing relationships and emerging secrets force them to look at themselves and see how far they are willing to go live the lives they choose.
Director Miles Joris-Peyrafitte: “I love movies, but I’ve always struggled with the “coming of age” genre. I think there is something inherently condescending about it. Obviously this doesn’t span across the whole genre; but I think a lot of times when these stories are told by “adults,” there can be this sort of romanticization of youth which misses the things I think are so important about that age, namely the intensity and stakes that every action carries. There isn’t nostalgia in youth, it is immediate and hard. That was really why I wanted to tell this story now, I wanted to make this kind of film while I was still young enough to not miss it.”
U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award Winner – Sundance Film Festival 2016
Official Selection – San Sebastian Film Festival 2016
“Joris-Peyrafitte shows confidence and talent beyond his years, with an artful eye for imagery and a truthful ear for dialogue.” – Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com
“The setup is common enough, but though you can check off the usual ingredients in what follows – sex, drugs, a glance at Kurt Cobain – this is the furthest thing from a social-issue teen drama.” – Ella Taylor, NPR
“Captures the dreamy intimacy of those teenage relationships where boundaries between friendship and love prove porous.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice
“A promising and impressively self-assured debut for 23-year-old filmmaker Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, “As You Are” is crafted with the confidence and skill of a veteran, but also the youthful eye of someone not far removed from his protagonists.” – Geoff Berkshire, Variety
KIKI, a dynamic coming of age story about agency, resilience and the transformative artform that is voguing. KIKI offers riveting and complex insight into the daily lives of a group of LGBTQ youth-of-color who comprise the “Kiki” scene, a vibrant, safe space for performance created and governed by these activists. In this film collaboration between Kiki gatekeeper, Twiggy Pucci Garçon, and Swedish filmmaker Sara Jordenö, viewers are granted exclusive access into this high-stakes world, where fierce Ballroom competitions serve as a gateway into conversations surrounding Black- and Trans- Lives Matter movements. This new generation of Ballroom youth use the motto, “Not About Us Without Us,” and KIKI in kind has been made with extensive support and trust from the community, including an exhilarating score by renowned Ballroom and Voguing Producer Collective Qween Beat. Twiggy and Sara’s insider-outsider approach to their stories breathes fresh life into the representation of a marginalized community who demand visibility and real political power. Following its festival debuts, including a World Premiere at Sundance, KIKI will open in U.S theaters and on VOD starting February 24, 2017 in Los Angeles and in New York on March 1, 2017. Director Sara Jordenö joins us to talk about her vibrant, intimate and liberating new film.
Director Sara Jordenö and stars will participate in Q&A’s after the 7:10 shows and introduce the 9:55 shows at the Monica Film Center on Friday and Saturday, February 24 and 25.
“Exhilarating – a must-see” – Manhola Dargis, NY Times
“Joyous, genuinely inspiring” – Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair
“Wonderfully alive and emotional” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times
“Sad, proud, loud, funny, energetic and affecting” – Fionnuala Halligan, Screen Daily
“It’s an ultimately uplifting film and one that doesn’t patronize or placate” – Lanri Bakare, The Guardian
“KIKI never fails to pay homage to the past historical context of the scene while looking towards its future” – Katie Walsh, The Playlist
Tomer Heymann’s MR. GAGA: A True Story of Love and Dance is a unique documentary experience that tells the story of the internationally acclaimed choreographer Ohad Naharin, who created the daring form of dance and “movement language” Gaga. When he was 22, he was invited to perform with the prestigious Martha Graham dance company, and attended Juilliard and the School of American Ballet simultaneously. But Ohad would not be happy until he could do exactly what he wanted. Moving back to Israel, Naharin became the Artistic Director of the Batsheva Dance Company, developing gaga within his own ensemble. Even after achieving worldwide acclaim, Naharin continues to fight every day, sometimes with his own dancers, once even with the president of Israel, to make his vision come to life. Mr. Gaga tells Naharin’s personal story of a controversial, political, and always entertaining figure, and his constant battle for artistic perfection. Eight years in the making, Mr. Gaga traces Ohad Naharin’s artistic roots using personal family footage, intimate rehearsal footage, extensive unseen archive material and stunning dance sequences. Heymann weaves a marvelous tale of what it takes to be a genius, the exhausting toll dance can take on its performers, and finally, the beauty that art can bring to this world. Director Tomer Heymann joins us for a conversation on the trials and triumphs of surpassing creativity and finding the sometimes difficult ways of expressing it.
“When someone can talk as well as they create, the rewards are considerable, as the documentary “Mr. Gaga: A True Story of Love and Dance” convincingly demonstrates.” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times
“Interweaves archival film with contemporary material to masterfully portray one of the most vital dance artists of the past half-century.” – Elizabeth Zimmer, Village Voice
“Leading Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin is profiled in Mr. Gaga, possibly the most exciting documentary for fans of edgier modern dance since Pina.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety
“Director Tomer Heymann captures both the intimate authority of Naharin at work and then the beautiful range of movement conveyed on stage by his dancers.” – Craig Mathieson, Sunday Age
In 1952, a then-unknown young Egyptian colonel led a coup that became a revolution. Over the next 18 years, Gamal Abdel Nasser challenged Western hegemony abroad and confronted Islamism at home, and faced deep divisions among the Arabs. He emerged as a titanic figure, a champion of Arab progress and African liberation, but he could not offer democracy. Instead, Nasser established the region’s first authoritarian military regime. A man of enormous charisma and ambition, Nasser became caught in the coils of his own power, dying at the age of 52 with dreams unrealized. The Arab Spring and its aftermath are his legacy: a period of turmoil when Egyptians argued passionately about their history as a way to see what course to follow in the future. It is their voices—peasants and professors, secularists and Islamists—that drive Goldman’s essential documentary. Nasser’s Republic, The Making of Modern Egypt Director Michal Goldman’s previous film, Umm Kulthum, A Voice Like Egypt (1996), a vibrant portrait of a superstar singer, was an official selection of the New York Film Festival, winner of the Golden Plaque for Documentary at the Chicago International Film Festival, and winner of the Promoting Tolerance Award from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Goldman joins us to talk about the historic significance of Nasser’s enormous influence on Egypt , the course of the Cold War and modern day Middle East.
Director Michal Goldman organizes a vast amount of information to pose as many questions as answers in this immersive documentary. Narration by Palestinian actress Hiam Abbass rivets us to history and its contradictions, an ongoing story witnessed by millions.” —Judy Bloch, for the Washington, DC International Film Festival (aka FilmFest DC)
“Goldman’s [documentary] accomplishes something that most media covering events in the Middle East don’t even attempt: She provides an historical context.” —Peter Keough, The Boston Globe
“I thought we had buried him. It turns out he’s still alive.” —Khaled Fahmy, Egyptian historian, in NASSER’S REPUBLIC
“What’s impressive is how many of the necessary narrative angles are treated, raising compelling questions that resonate today. At the film’s center is an officer turned politician who is photogenic, charismatic, shrewd and sometimes reckless. The storyline is crisp, the archival footage is gripping, and the witnesses—whose passions drive the story—are compelling. From a teacher’s perspective, this film is a godsend.” —Joel Gordon, Professor of History & Director of the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies, University of Arkansas
A real-life ‘Breaking Bad’ for the psychedelic set, THE SUNSHINE MAKERS reveals the fascinating, untold story of Nicholas Sand and Tim Scully, the unlikely duo at the heart of 1960s American drug counter-culture. United in a utopian mission to save the planet through the consciousness-raising power of LSD, these underground chemists manufactured a massive amount of acid, including the gold standard for quality LSD, ‘Orange Sunshine,’ all while staying one step ahead of the Feds. From the producer of SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN and LISTEN TO ME MARLON, THE SUNSHINE MAKERS premiered last year at the prestigious DOC NYC film festival to critical acclaim. The documentary has thrilled audiences with its stranger-than-fiction look into the lives of two “LSD evangelists.” Director Cosmos Fielding Mellen joins us for a conversation on his clear eyed look back on the good, the bad and the trippy from the golden age of raised consciousness.
“Theirs is a story about the marriage of idealism and criminality, and it’s recounted in amusing and thrilling detail by The Sunshine Makers…the rare documentary to function as time capsule, philosophical inquiry, and rollicking thriller all at once – as well as a cautionary tale about the crazy lengths people will go to experience a heavenly high. Riveting.” – THE DAILY BEAST
“…it’s an astonishing tale…providing further evidence, not that any was needed, that truth is stranger – and oftentimes a lot more fun – than fiction.” – HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
“For a documentary about two men who were big-time drug dealers back in the day, The Sunshine Makers is a quaint, damn-near-adorable bit of nostalgia.” – Craig D. Lindsey, Village Voice
It all began when a group of cheerful, subversive filmmakers weren’t accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. Unwilling to take “no” for an answer, they instead started their own event – Slamdance: Anarchy in Utah. 22 years later, Slamdance has become a year-round organization fostering the development of unique and innovative filmmakers. The organization now consists of the Film Festival, Screenplay Competition and Slamdance Studios. It has also created Slamdance On The Road, a traveling theatrical showcase that brings popular Slamdance films to audiences that otherwise would not have the opportunity to see them. Dan Mirvish, Jon Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn and Peter Baxter are the founding forefathers who, along with co-conspirator Paul Rachman, fought for truly independent filmmakers by giving them a voice in 1995 at the very first Slamdance Film Festival. Since then, the festival takes place every January in the breathtakingly stunning, snow-capped mountains of Park City, Utah at the exact same time as the
Sundance Film Festival, to provide a more authentic representation of independent filmmaking. Up-and-coming writers, directors and producers, alongside seasoned veterans and film lovers, converge for the weeklong celebration of independent cinema, realizing that Slamdance is a great place to find those next, great, visionary films. Slamdance lives and bleeds by its mantra By Filmmakers For Filmmakers. No other film festival in the world is entirely run and organized by the creative force that can only be found in filmmakers. Slamdance adamantly supports self-governance amongst independents, and exists to deliver what filmmakers go to festivals for – a chance to show their work and a platform to launch their careers. The festival has earned a solid reputation for premiering films by first-time writers and directors working within the creative confines of limited budgets. Co-founder and President Peter Baxter joins us to talk about this year’s Slamdance, the groundbreaking films and the innovative new distribution and digital initiatives being launched by Slamdance.
TRESPASS AGAINST US is set across three generations of the Cutler family who live as outlaws in their own anarchic corner of Britain’s richest countryside. Chad Cutler (Michael Fassbender) is heir apparent to his bruising criminal father, Colby (Brendan Gleeson) and has been groomed to spend his life hunting, thieving and tormenting the police. But with his own son, Tyson (Georgie Smith) coming of age, Chad soon finds himself locked in a battle with his father for the future of his young family. When Colby learns of Chad’s dreams for another life he sets out to tie his son and grandson into the archaic order that has bound the Cutler family for generations. He engineers a spectacular piece of criminal business involving a heist, a high-speed car chase and a manhunt, which leaves Chad bruised and bloodied and with his very freedom at stake. With the law cracking down and his father tightening his grip, Chad is forced into increasingly desperate measures. Featuring incredible performances – and an astonishing score by The Chemical Brothers – TRESPASS AGAINST US is at once an exhilarating crime thriller and a profoundly moving story about love and family. TRESPASS AGAINST US director ADAM SMITH (Director) is an award-winning film, television drama, documentary and music-video director. Smith is best known for his long-term collaboration with the Chemical Brothers, and the critically acclaimed concert film Chemical Brothers: Don’t Think he directed. Director Adam Smith joins us to talk about his feature film debut and the riveting performances turned in by his three lead performers.
“Even when Trespass Against Us slumps toward the same generational conflicts at the heart of so many recent indies, these actors refuse to reduce their characters into any recognizable archetypes.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire
“Dynamic storytelling and powerful performances bring out the pathos in an unusual tale of conflicting loyalties set on the criminal edges of a traveling community.” – Screen International
“At this point we should just accept that Michael Fassbender can play anything. In Trespass Against Us, he turns up his charisma and blunts his native intelligence, and the mixture works remarkably well.” – Norman Wilner, NOW Toronto
“It all boils down to the complicated relationships of fathers and sons, but with some riveting action and heart-tugging drama, Trespass Against Us ends up as thrilling must-see.” – Peter Turner, Starburst