On the night of the 2016 Presidential election, Cass, (Omari Hardwick) an L.A. club promoter, takes a thrilling and emotional journey with Frida (Meagan Good), a Midwestern visitor. She challenges him to revisit his broken dreams – while he pushes her to discover hers. Director / writer / editor Qasim Basir joins us to talk about his riveting and elegant depiction of relationships, intimacy, Los Angeles, race, politics, and living the life we want instead of the life we have.
“A Boy. A Girl. A Dream may seem simple but every frame is a vibrant work of a passionate filmmaker.” – Matthew Passantino, Film Threat
“From the open cityscapes to the closed confines of the rideshare, Basir packs plenty of material for audiences to digest. His use of such a turbulent time is unique and thought-provoking.” – Jonita Davis, Black Girl Nerds
“The understated performances gurgle with powerful emotions. Hardwick and Good are terrific as people trying be cool to a stranger, but failing to conceal their underlying feelings.” – Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
“Set amid a changing nation, the chemistry between the leads help A Boy, A Girl, A Dream find a love story within an ever-changing world.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies
“As Basir and co-writer Samantha Tanner make abundantly clear in this very earnest, ferociously hopeful film, we’re not going to get through this mess if we’re not pushing one another to be at our very best.” – Birth.Movies.Death.
Hard headed Louisiana fisherman Thomas Gonzales doesn’t know what will hit him next. After decades of hurricanes and oil spills he faces a new threat – hordes of monstrous 20 pound swamp rats. Known as “nutria”, these invasive South American rodents breed faster than the roving squads of hunters can control them. And with their orange teeth and voracious appetite they are eating up the coastal wetlands that protects Thomas and his town of Delacroix Island from hurricanes. But the people who have lived here for generations are not the type of folks who will give up without a fight. Thomas and a pack of lively bounty hunters are hellbent on saving Louisiana before it dissolves beneath their feet. It is man vs. rodent. May the best mammal win. Rodents of Unusual Size is a documentary by Quinn Costello, Chris Metzler and Jeff Springer (Everyday Sunshine,The Story of Fishbone). Co-director Jeff Springer join us to talk about the other ‘beast of the Southern wild.”
Rodents is opening in Los Angeles on September 14th through September 19th @ 1:10pm, 3:20pm, 5:30pm, 8:00pm, & 10:10pm at the Laemmle’s Monica Film Center, 1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica
Opening night Q&A with filmmakers Chris Metzler, Quinn Costello, and animation director Mike Blum
BEST OF FESTIVAL AWARD – Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival
BEST DOCUMENTARY AWARD – UNA George Lindsey Film Festival
BEST DOCUMENTARY AWARD – Tupelo Film Festival
SPECIAL JURY AWARD FOR FILMS FOR OUR FUTURE – Mendocino Film Festival
EXCELLENCE IN AMERICAN PROFILES AWARD – SF Docfest
JURY AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY – Oceanside International Film Festival
92% on Rotten Tomatoes
“Rodents of Unusual Size is also a look at how human folly can contribute to environmental disaster, but awareness and ingenuity can help bail us out.” – Peter Keough, Boston Globe
“Depicting the resilience of both the nutria and the Louisianans who’ve endured their presence for many years, Rodents of Unusual Size proves enjoyably quirky and informative.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
“… a squirmy, funny, fascinating documentary that mixes history, zoology and social and cultural anthropology to examine the relationship of the giant rat to the bayou Louisianans who hunt, skin and sometimes even eat the dagger-incisored critters.” – John Beifuss, Commercial Appeal
“A bizarre and fascinating documentary that’ll make your jaw drop.” Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News
Although Hal Ashby directed a remarkable string of acclaimed, widely admired classics throughout the 1970s—HAROLD AND MAUDE, THE LAST DETAIL, SHAMPOO, COMING HOME, BEING THERE—he is often overlooked amid the crowd of luminaries from his generation. Amy Scott’s HAL is an exuberant portrait that explores that curious oversight, using rare archival materials, interviews, personal letters, and audio recordings to reveal a passionate, obsessive artist. Ashby was a Hollywood director who constantly clashed with Hollywood, but also a unique soul with an unprecedented insight into the human condition and an unmatched capacity for good. His films were an elusive blend of honesty, irreverence, humor, and humanity. Through the heartrending and inspiring HAL, you feel buoyed by Ashby’s love of people and of cinema, a little like walking on water. On camera interviews his many collaborators, including Oscar®-winning actors Lee Grant, Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, Louis Gossett Jr, Jeff Bridges and more recall how they were empowered by Ashby and granted them artistic freedom. Contemporary directors include Alexander Payne, Judd Apatow, Lisa Cholodenko, and David O. Russell attest to the quiet but powerful influence Ashby has had on their own filmmaking. Behind the camera colleagues Norman Jewison, Robert Towne, Haskell Wexler, and Pablo Ferro stand witness to Ashby’s brilliance as a filmmaker and the forces that led to his undoing. Director Amy Scott joins us to talk about her artistic connection to Hal Ashby, as editor and director, and her desire to correct many of the lingering misperceptions of Ashby through her riveting and loving film about a true maverick.
“If there’s still the sense that Ashby isn’t as sanctified as American New Wave stalwarts Coppola or Scorsese, Amy Scott’s breezy tribute of a documentary is out to correct that oversight.” – Robert Abele, TheWrap
“A vivid portrait of artistic integrity and complete commitment to the art of filmmaking.” – J.R. Kinnard
“Hal is a loving tribute to a filmmaker who rarely gets the attention he deserves.” – Brian Thompson, Film Threat
“Just before the documentary slips into hero worship, Amy Scott pries beneath the calm surface of her bearded and bespectacled subject to reveal the silent rage that fueled his work.” – A.J. Serrano, Slant Magazine
One the 2018’s most provocative and wildly entertaining documentaries is Calling All Earthlings. Director Jonathan Berman’s new film explores the Integratron, a mid-century dome created by one-time Howard Hughes confidante, George Van Tassel. Van Tassel claimed to have combined extraterrestrial guidance with the work of inventor/physicist Nikola Tesla and other alternative scientists, to build an electromagnetic time machine he dubbed “The Integratron.” Was he deluded? Or could the dome actually break through the boundaries of space, time, and energy?FBI agents try to halt the growing army of outliers who gather in the desert to create a threatening reality on the edge of the midcentury American Dream. An empathetic enquiry into an archetypical countercultural movement, the story is told by relatives, neighbors, skeptics, believers, scientists, healers, artists, and historians, including Dr. Kevin Starr, the preeminent historian of California; Eric Burdon, musician and area resident, and futurists JJ and Desiree Hurtak. Berman’s film My Friend Paul (2000), about his relationship with his bipolar best friend. He is director and producer ofTheShvitz(1994), a film about the last traditional steam baths in New York. Berman also co-wrote the story for the independent comedy On The Run, andwas the American producer on ClaudiaHeuermann’s Sabbath in Paradise, which featured Harvey Pekar and John Zorn. Director Jonathan Berman’s documentaries explore third places, those beyond home or work.Berman joins us for a lively conversation on his endlessly fascinating film that never fails to educate, enlighten and entertain.
In Andrew Bujalski’s comedyLisa (Regina Hall) is the last person you’d expect to find in a highway-side “sports bar with curves,”– but as general manager at Double Whammies, she’s come to love the place, and its customers. An instinctive den mother, she nurtures and protects her ‘girls’ on the staff fiercely — but over the course of one trying day, her optimism is battered from every direction… Double Whammies sells a big, weird American fantasy, but what happens when reality pokes a bunch of holes in it?
Director Andrew Bujalski’s Statement –It seems like just about the simplest business concept you could imagine — “What if all the waitresses in this restaurant wore tight, cleavage-y halter tops?”— but I couldn’t get over how bizarre it ultimately was. No culture besides present-day America would ever produce mass-scale demand for such a place, a business that seems about 10% strip club and 90% TGI Friday’s / Applebee’s / Chili’s / Cracker Barrel. Strippers are supposed to make men feel like badass transgressors. But these women are just supposed to make you feel normal — the proverbial “red-blooded American male.” You don’t see many stories set in this slice of Americana, and with good reason. It does not lend itself to grand dramatic arcs, or, really, to gut-busting comedy. But it certainly is full of contradictions, and incredibly fertile with opportunities for subtle spiritual conflicts. I couldn’t pretend to untangle these from an insider’s perspective, so I dreamed up a kind of outsider character, Lisa the general manager, to walk in there with a spirit of openness and love — and plenty of her own pathologies–to see what she might discover in there. While it is a very specific story in many ways, I hope that anyone who’s ever worked for a living will relate. Most of us have to buy/sell one crazy “concept” or another to pay our bills, and some days, you’re not sure if your humor and dignity will survive to the end of the shift…
Director and writer Andrew Bujalski (Beeswax, Computer Chess, Results) joins us to talk about his insightful “girl power” comedic drama with a ground-level take on masculine hurly-burly in a vanishing American paradigm.
“Its light, sweetly frisky exterior and easygoing pace camouflages what a subtle and brilliant piece of bracing social commentary it is; a deft portrait of sisterhood existing under the thumb of capitalistic patriarchy.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service
“Hall’s superb, deeply felt performance keeps the movie grounded, allowing the supporting cast to provide hilarious liftoff at regular intervals.” – Mike D’Angelo, AV Club
“Bujalski frames most of Support the Girls as an almost real-time delineation of chaos, but his storytelling elegance – delicate, nearly invisible foreshadowing; cogent evocations of backstory – adds reflective layers to the surface anarchy.” – Danny King, Village Voice
“The sharp-elbowed humor is laced with aching tenderness, tightrope-tense frustrations over money and love, and an underlying mix of social pathologies that bubbles through the show-biz surfaces…” – Richard Brody, New Yorker
“Hall’s performance – tender, tough, empathetic, controlled – crumples from tears to laughter in a blink. It’s phenomenal.” – Amy Nicholson, Variety
Us three. Us brothers. Us kings, inseparable. Three boys tear through their childhood, in the midst of their young parents’ volatile love that makes and unmakes the family many times over. While Manny and Joel grow into versions of their loving and unpredictable father, Ma seeks to shelter her youngest, Jonah, in the cocoon of home. More sensitive and conscious than his older siblings, Jonah increasingly embraces an imagined world all his own. With a screenplay by Dan Kitrosser and Jeremiah Zagar based on the celebrated Justin Torres novel, We the Animals is a visceral coming-of-age story propelled by layered performances from its astounding cast of Sheila Vand, Raul Castillo, and three talented, young first-time actors, Evan Rosado, Isaiah Kristian, Josiah Gabriel as well as stunning animated sequences which bring Jonah’s torn inner world to life. Drawing from his documentary background, director Jeremiah Zagar creates an immersive portrait of working class family life and brotherhood. Director and screenwriter Jeremiah Zagar joins us to talk about his gorgeous and ethereal tale of young boys struggling to find their own way in a tattered landscape of family and identity.
“Every once in a while a movie grabs you, unsuspecting, and hustles its way into your heart. Jeremiah Zagar’s “We the Animals” does that.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
“On one level… “We the Animals” is a classic coming-of age tale; on another, it’s a near perfect depiction of the emotional damage that can result from economic insecurity” – Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times
“An impressionistic swirl of a film about masculinity, about abuse, about growing up queer, about chaotic family life, about the jumble of incidents and stirrings through which a child discovers a self. – Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
“In every scene, We the Animals evokes not only the specificity of that world but the deep-seated challenges of escaping it.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire
First-time filmmaker Bing Liu’s documentary Minding the Gap is a coming-of-age saga of three skateboarding friends in their Rust Belt hometown hit hard by decades of recession. In his quest to understand why he and his friends all ran away from home when they were younger, Bing follows 23-year-old Zack as he becomes a father and 17-year-old Keire as he gets his first job. As the film unfolds, Bing is thrust into the middle of Zack’s tumultuous relationship with his girlfriend and Keire’s inner struggles with racial identity and his deceased father. While navigating a complex relationship between his camera and his friends, Bing explores the gap between fathers and sons, between discipline and domestic abuse, and ultimately that precarious chasm between childhood and becoming an adult. Director Bing Liu joins us for a lively conversation on masculinity, adulthood, the joy of skateboarding and the crippling legacy of domestic violence.
“One of the year’s great, small treasures, Bing Liu’s extraordinary documentary “Minding the Gap” is like a deluxe skateboarding video, yet so much more.” – Jeffrey M. Anderson, San Francisco Examiner
“”Minding the Gap” is a personal documentary of the highest sort, in which the film’s necessity to the filmmaker-and its obstacles, its resistances, its emotional and moral demands on him-are part of its very existence.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker
“With infinite sensitivity, Mr. Liu delves into some of the most painful and intimate details of his friends’ lives and his own, and then layers his observations into a rich, devastating essay on race, class and manhood in 21st-century America.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times
“Even some of the best coming-of-age films cannot capture the beautiful and awful tangible qualities of real life that may only exist in documentaries, and Bing Liu has caught lightning in a bottle.” – Musanna Ahmed, Film Inquiry
Based on the arresting true story of the Executioner of Emsland, The Captain follows a German army deserter, Willi Herold (Max Hubacher), after he finds an abandoned Nazi captain’s uniform in the final weeks of World War II. Emboldened by the authority the uniform grants him, he amasses a band of stragglers who cede to his command despite the suspicions of some. Citing direct orders from the Fuhrer himself, he soon takes command of a camp holding German soldiers accused of desertion and begins to dispense harsh justice. Increasingly intoxicated by the unquestioned authority, this enigmatic imposter soon discovers that many people will blindly follow the leader, whomever that happens to be. Simultaneously a historical docudrama and sociological examination with undertones of the absurd, The Captain presents fascism as something of a game to be played by those most gullible and unscrupulous. Director Robert Schwentke stops by for a conversation on the troubling implications of this tale of myopic madness sanctioned by a psychotic regime on the verge of collapse.
“It compels our attention with a remorseless, gripping single-mindedness, presenting Naziism as a communicable disease that smothers conscience, paralyzes resistance and extinguishes all shreds of humanity.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times
“Schwentke intends for these actions to parallel what Wehrmacht participated in against Jews and Roma …This astute film is an excoriating portrait of Nazism or fascism.” – Nora Lee Mandel, Film-Forward
“A brave and uncompromising indictment of human nature, Teutonic or otherwise.” – Peter Debruge, Variety
“We are left to contemplate this vision of Fascism as a machine that, once turned on, can sustain itself even in the absence of explicit direction from above.” – David Edelstein, New York Magazine / Vulture
Madeline (Helena Howard) has become an integral part of a prestigious physical theater troupe. When the workshop’s ambitious director (Molly Parker) pushes the teenager to weave her rich interior world and troubled history with her mother (Miranda July) into their collective art, the lines between performance and reality begin to blur. The resulting battle between imagination and appropriation rips out of the rehearsal space and through all three women’s lives. Writer/director Josephine Decker has long been an independent filmmaker to admire, utilizing a welcome expressionistic approach that imbues her subjects with a vibrant sense of urgency. Anchored by a virtuoso performance from newcomer Helena Howard, whose powerful screen presence commands attention, Decker’s film displays a rare sensitivity for capturing the messy struggles of discovering a sense of one’s self that defies easy narrative categorization. Producers Krista Parris and Elizabeth Rao joins us to talk about this immersive “psychological horror” narrative, collaboration in creative process, the casting of newcomer Helena Howard.
“An ecstatically disorienting experience that defines its terms right from the start and then obliterates any trace of traditional film language, achieving a cinematic aphasia that allows Decker to redraw the boundaries between the stories we tell and the people we tell them about.” – David Ehrlich, INDIEWIRE
“In her third film, writer-director Josephine Decker confirms her position as the American indie queen of improv, whose self-styled mission it is to push the outer limits of film language into the stratosphere.”Deborah Young, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
“Among its other astonishments, Josephine Decker’s new feature, MADELINE’S MADELINE, does something very simple: it dispels the shibboleth that movies spotlighting strong and original performances differ from ones that innovate at the level of cinematic style. MADELINE’S MADELINE does both, with equal intensity. Decker’s film, in its dramatic contours, is an utterly clear and classical drama about a Queens family.” – Richard Brody, THE NEW YORKER
“One of this year’s headiest, most dazzlingly assured moviegoing experiences.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
In her latest project,SNAPSHOTS, legendary actor Piper Laurie plays family matriarch Rose.. The story will resonate with every person who has lived through the complexity of family relationships, It reminds us that if we are loved no secret is too difficult to hear and accept. Or is it? Rose (Gran) is the matriarch. She has lived in this house for over fifty years. She and her deceased husband Joe raised their daughter Patty in this home. Patty, now a widow in her early 50’s, lives in St. Louis. Each year Patty and her newly married daughter Allison spend a laughter filled girl’s weekend with Gran. This year will be different. Piper Laurie joins us for a conversation on the making of her latest project (Snapshots) in a legendary film career that includes three Academy Award nominated performances (The Hustler, Carrie, Children of a Lesser God) and an Emmy nomination for David Lynch’s groundbreaking television serial (Twin Peaks).
“Performances all around are strong, with Piper Laurie’s Rose taking the lead and directing us through the story’s narrative. We are invited to soak in the retro atmosphere as the story unfolds at a leisurely pace.” – Paul Parcellin, Film Threat
Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood is the deliciously scandalous story of Scotty Bowers, a handsome ex-Marine who landed in Hollywood after World War II and became confidante, aide de camp and lover to many of Hollywood’s greatest male — and female — stars. In the 1940s and ’50s, Scotty ran a gas station in the shadow of the studio lots where he would connect his friends with actors and actresses who had to hide their true sexual identities for fear of police raids at gay bars, societal shunning and career suicide. An unsung Hollywood legend, Bowers would cater to the sexual appetites of celebrities – straight and gay – for decades. In 2012, he finally spilled his secrets in the New York Times bestselling memoir “Full Service,” which revealed a dramatic, pre-Stonewall alternate history of Hollywood. While the studio PR machine were promoting their stars as wholesome and monogamous,Bowers was fulfilling the true desires of many of them. This cinema-vérité documentary tells his story, as well as presents eye-opening takes on icons from the Hollywood Golden Age including Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Lana Turner, Ava Gardner and many more. Director Matt Tyrnauer (Studio 54, Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, Valentino: The Last Emperor) joins us for spirited conversation on the days when the Hollywood PR machine mattered more than the lives of the artist who made it successful and the role Scotty Bowers played in breaking that stranglehold on them.
“Scotty” is more than just a portrait of the man, also serving as a history lesson on how the film industry once tried to project a repressive, clean-cut image to satisfy moral watchdogs” – Tim Grierson, Screen International
“A nicely filled-out look at different eras, one secrecy-ridden and dedicated to the preservation of illusion, the other wide open and blasé about personal predilections.” – Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter
“There’s plenty of gossip to be found here, but there’s also no shortage of humanity.” – Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
“The present-day footage is more compelling than any of the gossipy bits, which turn out to be the hook that pulls the film into more fraught and complex directions.” – Kevin Ritchie, NOW Toronto
“’Scotty and the Secret History’ is a fascinating portrait that neither lionizes nor judges its subject. It merely lets you take him for what he is.” – Jason Bailey, Flavorwire
SNAPSHOTS has been compared to the award winning films THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, CLOUDBURST, DIVINE SECRETS OFTHE YA YA SISTERHOOD, FRIED GREEN TOMATOES, and STEEL MAGNOLIAS. All of these films show the strength and resilience of people as they cope with the fragilities of life. SNAPSHOTS resonates with every person who has lived through the complexity of family relationships, It reminds us that if we are loved no secret is too difficult to hear and accept. Or is it? Rose (Piper Laurie) is the matriarch. She has lived in this house for over fifty years. She and her deceased husband Joe raised their daughter Patty (Brooke Adams)in this home. Patty, now a widow in her early 50’s, lives in St. Louis. Each year Patty and her newly married daughter Allison (Emily Baldoni) spend a laughter filled girl’s weekend with Gran. This year will be different. Director Melanie Mayron (The Babysitter’s Club, Freaky Friday, Thirtysomething Grace and Frankie) joins us for a conversation on working with talents like Piper Laurie and Brooke Adams and her story of life, love, struggle and the roads not taken.
“Performances all around are strong, with Piper Laurie’s Rose taking the lead and directing us through the story’s narrative. We are invited to soak in the retro atmosphere as the story unfolds at a leisurely pace.” – Paul Parcellin, Film Threat
Netflix newest series Dark Tourist is the latest project of New Zealand journalist / filmmaker David Farrier, (Tickled), the doc that uncovered an unbelievable tickle fetish empire. In the new NETFLIX series, Farrier travels around the world trying to find the most dangerous and scariest experiences available to tourists. In the show we see a wounded Farrier going into an eerie hospital, being at the center of a war zone, a man breaking a statue on his own head, a killer named Popeye holding the gun at someone, and a woman telling Farrier to stay back because she doesn’t want him to be “possessed.” In one Los Angeles based episode Farrier is warned that he’ll be hurt, drowned, and buried. And yet nothing seems to deter this intrepid thrill seeker. Dark Tourist Director and creator David Farrier joins us to talk about the where, why and WTF of his newest adventure.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s most beloved creations. The frolicking tale of lovesick young aristocrats, energetic but inept rustics, and mischievous woodland spirits is a staple of stage and screen. In the past, filmed adaptations have emphasized the play’s traditional, Elizabethan qualities. This production however is a fresh and stylish reinvention that takes an entirely different approach.The story takes place in present day Hollywood – a place where glamorous stars, commanding moguls, starving artists and vaulting pretenders all vie to get ahead. Hollywood is sometimes called “The Dream Factory,” and like the world of Shakespeare’s Dream, it’s a place where fantasy and reality collide.In the tradition of Baz Luhrmann’s rapturous reimagining of Romeo + Juliet, this modern vision breathes new life into a classic tale. Combined with a cast of established and emerging stars, as well as a pulsing original soundtrack, the film will appeal to ardent fans of the Shakespeare as well as audiences discovering Shakespeare for the first time. Director and screenwriter Casey Wilder Mott talk with us about the challenges and rewards of re-imagining one of the Bard’s most endearing plays.
“If you’re hoping to see a production just like the one that would have been done in 1596, this ain’t it. But Mott’s version is a hell of a good time in its own right.” – Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com
“Mott’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” may not have a high bar to reach to be better than average as filmed Shakespearean comedies go. But by any standard, it’s a modest, resourceful and unexpected delight.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety
“Darned if Casey Wilder Mott’s feature directorial debut doesn’t prove to be a disarmingly effective, visually vibrant frolic.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times
“Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth and indulge in a film I feel certain Shakespeare himself would enjoy.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat
“A vibrant dose of California dreamin’.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter
UNDER THE TREEis a dark comedy based on real conflicts between neighbors that can often turn violent over trees (yes trees) in Iceland.There is a scarcity of trees in Iceland (which is why they are so treasured) and also a lack of sunshine….so you can see how a conflict would arise when a tree you’d never chop down in your backyard is blocking your neighbor’s sunlight.The films’ director Sigurdsson said he came up with idea when examining how minor conflicts between otherwisefriendly neighbors become blown out of proportion and violent.UNDER THE TREE wasIceland’s Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards last year. The film was directed by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson (Either Way) and produced by Grimar Jonsson. Hafsteinn joins us to talk about working with actors primarily known for comedic roles, conveying the film’s escalating tension without passing judgement on the characters actions.
“The tone is deliberately odd … blending the naturalism of the day-to-day emotions of relationships and grief, with the altogether more heightened tensions of a revenge thriller, while still keeping a cheeky eye on the absurdity of a mooning garden gnome” – Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film
“Unsettlingly perceptive as well as absurdly comedic, Under the Tree chronicles domestic tensions left to fester; when grudges branch out like a leafy tree in a suburban backyard, everyone suffers.” – Sarah Ward, Screen International
“What the film occasionally lacks in human finesse, it makes up for in sheer anything-goes resolve.” – Guy Lodge, Variety
“Each character resonates as a problematic individual whose foolishness escalates first into drama, then tragedy.” – Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter
Official Selection: World Premiere: Venice Film Festival 2017
Official Selection: North American premiere: Toronto International Film Festival 2017
Winner: Best Director (Comedy), Fantastic Fest 2017
Winner: Best Film, Denver International Film Festival 2017
Winner: International Feature Film, Zurich Film Festival 2017
Winner: Best Narrative Feature, Hamptons International film Festival 2017
Winner: Best Cinematography, Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards 2018
Winner: Best Music, HARPA Nordic Film Composers Award 2016
Izzy is the textbook definition of a hot mess. She wakes up hungover from a one-night stand, puts on her stained clothes from the night before and plans to start yet another aimless day. That is, until she finds out that her ex is getting ready to celebrate his engagement to her former best friend. Izzy has to make it to the other side of town to break them up, and nothing will stand in her way. Further proving that she’s one of the most promising new actresses working today, Mackenzie Davis plays Izzy with a manic energy that is utterly electrifying. Featuring a killer supporting cast made up of Carrie Coon, Haley Joel Osment, and Alia Shawkat,Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town is a chaos-filled ride through Los Angeles, one that introduces a bold new voice in indie cinema. Director and writer Christian Papierniak talks about the making of his kinetic, off-kilter vehicle for the amazing MacKenzie Davis and working with a brilliant cast of supporting performers.
Impulse follows 16-year-old Henrietta, AKA Henry, (Maddie Hasson) who discovers she has the ability to teleport. The first time she realizes this, she is in a truck with her high school’s Golden Boy, who tries to rape her. She has a seizure and teleports, in the course of which she inadvertently crushes him, leaving him a paraplegic. Impulse explores Henry’s need to reconcile what her assaulter tried to do with the consequence, and her feelings about discovering she can teleport with her feelings about the assault. Impulse is an American dramaweb television series based on the novel Impulse by Steven Gould. The ten-episode series recently premiered on YouTube Premium. The series executive producers include Lauren LeFranc, Doug Liman, David Bartis, and GeneKlein.Director and Executive Producer Doug Liman reveals how his independent filmmaking roots (Swingers, Go) continues influence his work and the advantages of long form storytelling. Actor Maddie Hasson talks about the challenge of expressing her character’s deeply conflicted emotions and her desire leave it all behind.
Izzy Klein has (barely) graduated from college, broken up (sorta) with her boyfriend, and is stranded in New York City with a bad case of pre-real-world millennial-itis. Unsure of what the next step is, her movie star little sister Sabrina convinces her to move back home to Los Angeles and into her shared apartment with movie star boyfriend Sebastian, where they can keep an eye on rudderless Izzy. Emotionally unable to deal with the loss of her father, and slightly distracted by her mother Deb’s newfound love affair with loopy yogi Amythyst, Izzy funnels her energy into dating a colorful bouquet of five complicated and spectacular men: Aaron, Ross, Logan, Mikey, and Charlie, over the course of the next year. Coping just barely with the help of her trusty notebook, she falls in and out of some not so romantic romances, and figures out that when it totally feels like the end of your story, it’s often just the beginning. Written by Madelyn Deutch and directed by Lea Thompson (Some Kind of Wonderful, Back to the Future) The Year of Spectacular Men is a charming, beguiling observational comedy about family, relationships, and facing an uncertain future. Director Lea Thompson joins us for a lively conversation on working with her daughters, Madelyn and Zooey, independent filmmaking, and the joys of creativity.
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.
“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.
In this raucous new comedy, Social Animals Zoe Crandle’s life didn’t exactly turn out the way she planned. She’s facing eviction, her business is going under and she is resigned to a life of one-night stands. Just when it seems her whole world is unraveling, she meets Paul, a fellow loveable loser, and the pair have an instant connection. There’s only one problem, Paul is married. With help from her best friend, Zoe devises a plan to save her business and salvage her love life. Social Animals is an honest, uncompromising comedy of modern relationships that stars Noël Wells, Josh Radnor, Aya Cash, Carly Chaikin, Fortune Feimster and Samira Wiley. Director and writer Theresa Bennett stops by to talk about the perils and rewards of low budget filmmaking and working with a talented cast of rising talents.
“‘Social Animals’ has its funny business and lightness, and the picture’s comfort with sexuality is refreshing, but there’s realism just underneath the surface that’s intriguing.” – Brian Orndorf, blu-ray.com
“This rom-com from writer and first-time director Theresa Bennett is easy viewing.
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.”
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.
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).
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 debutSEARCHING 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 includeCENTERPIECE 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.