MAN IN THE CAMO JACKET is the story of iconic musician Mike Peters of the Welsh rock band The Alarm. The film traces his rise to fame, battles with cancer, and inspiring climb back as he enlists some of the world’s top musicians to help save the lives of cancer patients around the globe. Ultimately though, the life he saves may be his own. Filmed over the course of eight years, the film documents Mike’s journeys to the summits of the world’s tallest mountains and to the depths of his regular chemotherapy treatments and features one-of-a-kind performances from legendary rock musicians. MAN IN THE CAMO JACKET won Best Music Documentary at the 2017 Arizona International Film Festival and the Audience Award for Best Music at the 2017 Newport Beach Film Festival. Mike Peters was honored with the Humanitarian Award at the 2017 American Documentary Film Festival. MAN IN THE CAMO JACKET features Mike Peters of The Alarm, Slim Jim Phantom of Stray Cats, Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses, Billy Bragg, Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze, Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins, Richard Blade, Martha Quinn. Director Russ Kendall joins us to talk about his rousing, life-affirming new film.
Executive Producer Morgan Spurlock presents director Amanda Micheli’s provocative documentary follows several aspiring parents who desperately want to have a baby but are struggling with infertility and the high cost of treatments. They place themselves in the hands of a Las Vegas doctor and his annual contest, which offers a prize of a free round of in-vitro fertilization—with no guarantee of success. Contestants post their video entries on YouTube, counting on the votes of strangers to make their dreams of parenthood come true. Despite the fact that 1 in 6 couples worldwide are unable to naturally conceive and carry a baby to term, for fear of judgment or heartache or both, infertility stories are largely kept secret. While exposing private pain online to win a contest is a brutal proposition, IVF is rarely covered by insurance in the U.S., so many infertile couples consider this a gamble worth taking. Through this controversial contest, VEGAS BABY navigates the complexities of America’s burgeoning fertility industry and unveils the class disparity within a topic that is often clouded by judgment and stereotypes.Oscar-nominated Director Amanda Micheli joins us to talk about the universal themes of desire and loss through her intimate portrait of the diverse individuals – from a devoutly Catholic Latino couple in Texas to a lesbian Lady Gaga Impersonator in New York – determined to have a baby against all odds.
“Through a humane, emotional examination of the contest… director Amanda Micheli’s documentary highlights the complexities and despair of America’s fertility industry.” – Joe McGovern / Entertainment Weekly
“The economic and emotional costs of in vitro fertilization are powerfully evident from the first moments of VEGAS BABY… having gained remarkable access to fertility patients over a two-year period, Micheli follows them through roller-coaster waves of despair and hope.” – Sheri Linden / Hollywood Reporter
“VEGAS BABY offers a look inside an otherwise intensely private sphere, marked by economic difficulties, raw emotions, and—with luck—confetti-strewn celebrations.” – Laura Regensdorf / Vogue
“New IVF Doc Exposes Underground World of Hunger Games-Esque Baby Raffles; Amanda Micheli’s VEGAS BABY explores a digital-age concept for women failing to conceive.” – Elissa Strauss / Elle
“Micheli turns an unrelenting eye on tough stories that transcend sex and gender.” – Kate Erbland / Indiewire
Teasing apart the spectacle at the heart of finger-on-the-button global diplomacy, THE REAGAN SHOW follows Ronald Reagan’s rivalry with charismatic Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, tracing how the Communicator-in-Chief uses his public relations chops to overcome Soviet mistrust, the objections of a skeptical press corps and the looming threat of WW III. Chock full of wit and political irony, and told solely through 1980s network news and videotapes created by the Reagan administration itself, the film explores Reagan’s made-for-TV approach to politics as he faced down the United States’ greatest rival. Pacho Velez’s & Sierra Pettengill’s timely film explores Ronald Reagan’s media savvy through the use of previously unseen footage shot by White House staff. Co-director Sierra Pettengill (Pacho Velez) joins us for a conversation on this sweeping behind the scenes look at a pivotal moment in the history of US / Russian relations and the impact of an enveloping new media culture.
“As clever and breathtaking a look at the performative aspects of our politics as any film made in recent memory, and perhaps ever.”– Brandon Harris, Filmmaker Magazine.com
“[A] masterful documentary that is crucial and unique.” – Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out NY
“This doc says volumes about then and now.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone.com
“…a jokey yet wonky trip through the alternate reality of the modern era’s first great political media machine.” – Chris Barsanti, The Playlist
A smiling, effervescent teenager, Dalya is the focus of the new documentary Dalya’s Other Country, which tells the remarkable story of a family displaced by the Syrian conflict and explores a young life caught between highly politicized identities. Dalya comes across as an ordinary Southern California teenager. She takes selfies and goes to prom. She plays sports and hangs out at the mall. She is also the only student at her Catholic high school who wears a hijab. In 2012, Dalya moved to the United States from Aleppo, Syria, as her country disintegrated in the wake of a horrific civil war. Starting in 2013, the film follows Dalya and her mother through what seems at first a typical immigration experience. They adjust to unfamiliar American ways, even as they maintain the cultural and religious traditions that sustain them. However, they grow tense and anxious as the 2016 presidential campaign unfolds and candidate Donald Trump calls for restrictions on Muslim immigrants. Director Julia Meltzer stops by to talk about Dalya’s uniqueness and the commonality of human beings seeking acceptance and a chance to be themselves.
MONDAY, JUNE 26 at 9 PM PBS Television Series POV Kicks-Off 30th Season with Timely Focus on Syrian War and Global Refugee Crisis
Dalya’s Other Country is a co-presentation with the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)
WHAT WE STARTED aims to establish itself as the defining film of the electronic music genre. Through an artfully crafted narrative and stunning visual techniques, the film delves into the highly popular world of electronic dance music, providing backdoor access to a widely misunderstood, self-driven and well-insulated industry on its way to global domination. Presently, the genre is booming at a pinnacle higher than ever before, however most do not realize that electronic dance music began as an underground movement that originated in America. The film sets out to illuminate this rich history: from its underground inception in the late 1980s in America to the musicians and fans of this genre that relentlessly fought for their rights around the world, both in the dance club and on the streets, to find a safe space to express themselves, to the development of this modern, mainstream revolution that has taken the world by storm. Specifically, and with unprecedented access, WHAT WE STARTED follows industry pioneers, like Carl Cox, who are juxtaosed by the journey of a young, superstar of today, Martin Garrix. These dichotomous journeys of past and present are carefully interwoven to illuminate all viewpoints and highlight the momentous and groundbreaking time that electronic dance music is experiencing presently, while also leaving open the question of what will happen next for this incredible genre of music. WHAT WE STARTED Co-directors Bert Marcus and Cyrus Saidi join us to talk about the history of today’s dynamic soundtrack and their film’s world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival.
World Premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival
Thursday, June 15, 5:30 p.m. – Arclight Santa Monica
Press and Industry screening
Monday, June 19, 1:30 p.m. – Arclight Culver City
An idealistic recent film school graduate with few local professional options takes a road trip from Ohio to Los Angeles with his anxious best friend, his troubled high school sweetheart, and a hitchhiker hippie, to chase his dream of becoming a filmmaker. Your Own Road is about not letting extenuating circumstances determine your path in life. Brian (ASHTON MOIO) wants to make films but whether it’s his parents’ wishes, his geographical location, or just his self-doubt, the world seems stacked against him. Brian hits the road to break away from what is expected of him and pursue what he truly wants out of life. Along for the ride is his best friend Dan (AMIR MALAKLOU) whose whole life is structure and routine until his abusive ex-girlfriend dumps him and his plans go out the window. Brian also “accidently” invites his next-door-neighbor and hormer crush, Ally (CORTNEY PALM), who abuses prescription drugs to deal with her depression from caring for her grandmother with Alzheimer’s. Along the road they meet vibrant characters none more so than Ariel (KYM JACKSON), an Australian hitchhiker hippie who is not all that she seems, who they pick up in Colorado going in no place in particular. Each one of these characters takes the journey to California for unique reasons but they all find their inner selves traveling through such a diverse and sometimes scary country. Director and writer Brandon Buczek joins us to talk about his debut film world premiere at the 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival.
** Screening at the Los Angeles Film Festival
The documentary Real Boy follows the journey of trans teen Bennett as he navigates adolescence, sobriety, and the physical and emotional ramifications of his changing gender identity. Through the process, his mother Suzy makes her own transformation — traveling a difficult road toward accepting that the daughter she raised as Rachael is now her son Bennett. Filmed over the course of four years, Real Boy is a love story about a mother and son who rediscover connection with each other and find support from their communities, reminding us that families are not only given, but chosen. Produced and directed by Shaleece Haas (The Genius of Marian), Real Boy premieres on Independent Lens Monday, June 19, 2017, 10:00-11:00 PM ET on PBS. In addition to her work as a director/producer, Haas is an instructor of video storytelling at UC Berkeley’s Advanced Media Institute. She is a 2015 Film Independent Documentary Lab Fellow, a 2012 Working Films (Reel Aging) fellow and a member of the Queer Producer’s Collective. Director Shaleece Haas drops by for a conversation on this moving and intimate story of a family in transition.
“Bennett finds his voice in more ways than one in this heartwarming tale of mentorship and chosen families.” – NBC News
“Bennett Wallace, a trans teenager facing heartaches and joys … is charming, funny and insightful throughout.” – Chicago Tribune
“A vibrant and joyful film, Real Boy will inspire viewers to listen to songs of their own inner voices.” – Showbiz Chicago
“Into this particular moment in history steps this remarkable new documentary film, Real Boy.” – Below the Fold
Max Matshane (Kagiso Lediga), is a 34-year old author who wrote a South African bestseller in his 20’s, but whose star has waned and now finds himself as a disgruntled professor, teaching creative writing at the local university. Max lives in a leafy Johannesburg suburb with his exceptionally beautiful wife, Samkelo (Pearl Thusi), whose career is on the rise as a reputable journalist. Despite their love for each other, their relationship has hit a rut. Max now spends his time at dinners and events, musing over his frustrations with his key conspirator and sounding board, Joel (Akin Omotoso), who himself has his hands full with an illicit affair. A wintery Johannesburg sets the scene, as it brings with it a very successful and flamboyant author, Heiner Miller (Andrew Buckland), who abandoned South Africa for greener pastures and now returns to do a residency in Max’s department. But after Heiner suffers a mild heart attack, Max is forced to bring him into his own home to recuperate. Instantly, tensions rise as the infectious joie de vivre of Heiner is set on a collision course with the mundane life that Max and Sam have cultivated. With new questions about love and truth thrust upon them, Max and Sam are faced with an unexpected crossroad, as they search for reason and purpose to life. Director and writer Kagiso Lediga joins usto talk about his edgy, sophisticated and funny feature and its debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival.
Los Angeles Film Festival Screening Time:
Sunday, June 18th at 6:10pm (ArcLight Culver City)
RADIO DREAMS, winner of the 45th Rotterdam International Film Festival’s Tiger Award, is the newest feature film from Iranian-British director Babak Jalali (FRONTIER BLUES). RADIO DREAMS creates the bizarre yet very real world of PARS-FM – a Farsi-language radio station broadcasting from the heart of San Francisco. The story unfolds over a single day as the station’s program manager, Hamid – a brilliant, misunderstood Iranian writer (played by the “Iranian Bob Dylan” Mohsen Namjoo) – prepares for a triumphant broadcast – a live performance pairing Metallica and Kabul Dreams, Afghanistan’s first rock band. Meanwhile, Hamid must juggle a dysfunctional mix of on-air talent, station managers, and performers while fending off the owner’s plans to wrest control of the station. RADIO DREAMS brings to life the sometimes bizarre experience of immigrants pursuing dreams in the U.S.A. with the perfect mixture of honesty, art, and socio-political topicality served up in an ingenious, offbeat transmission.
WINNER – Tiger Award for Best Picture – 45th Rotterdam International Film Festival
WINNER – Best Director – Tarkovsky International Film Festival
WINNER – Best Actor – Durban International Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION – Viennale, Milano, Munich, San Francisco, and Seattle International Film Festivals
Screenings in Southern California:
Opens in the Los Angeles area on Friday, June 9
at Laemmle’s Ahrya Fine Arts (Beverly Hills)
at Laemmle’s Town Center (Encino)
and at Edwards Westpark 8 (Irvine)
“The quirky setups, oddball interactions and erratic conflicts … provide ample doses of amusement and provocation to keep things afloat.” – Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
“There are traces of early Wim Wenders in this story of immigrants adrift in a world not their own, trying to make the best of things.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times
“Royami is the heart of the film: It is his sincere and artistically principled dream of a musical union between East and West, between Metallica and Kabul Dreams, that fuels the film’s engine.” – Catherine Bray, Variety
“The film examines, with wit and patience, the hard work of community-building – and the toll on someone far from home, doing work that’s not his calling.” – Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
The epic, nail-biting story of the same-sex marriage movement from the war room of this historic civil rights campaign. THE FREEDOM TO MARRY follows Evan Wolfson, the architect of the movement, civil rights attorney Mary Bonauto, and their key colleagues as they wage their climactic battle before the United States Supreme Court. More than the untold story of one movement’s history – this is an inspirational primer on how to face America’s challenges ahead. Director Eddie Rosenstein talks about how he and his crew were able to capture the pivotal people and the moving real-time history of the preeminent civil rights movement of our time.
Available Digitally June 6th onVOD Platforms including iTunes, Amazon and Google Play
“Crisply and compassionately directed by Eddie Rosenstein, this film couldn’t come at a better time” – David Noh, Film Journal International
“Surprisingly suspenseful and thoroughly moving and inspiring.” – Peter Keough, The Boston Globe
“The film is a reminder of the long and difficult work that victory took as well as a notification that no triumph can be taken for granted” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“A suspenseful legal yarn and an essential history lesson. But it could also provide a blueprint for the continuing civil rights challenges of our time.” – Daphne Howland, The Village Voice
“A landmark documentary…this is a unique perspective not just on one movement’s history—but on how regular people can fight back, even against incredible odds” – Curve Magazine
If You’re Not In The Obit, Eat Breakfast asks the question, “What’s the secret to living into your 90s – and loving every minute of it?” In this feature documentary, irrepressible writer-comedian Carl Reiner (who shows no signs of slowing down at 95) tracks down several celebrated nonagenarians, and a few others over 100, to show how the twilight years can truly be the happiest and most rewarding. Among those who share their insights into what it takes to be vital and productive in older age are Mel Brooks, Dick Van Dyke, Kirk Douglas, Norman Lear and Betty White. Adding spice to this inspiring documentary are admirers from the younger set, including comedian Jerry Seinfeld (who’s already reserved the stage at Caesar’s Palace for his 100th birthday show), longevity expert Dan Buettner, and Van Dyke’s much-younger wife Arlene, who’s got all she can handle keeping up with her exuberant husband on the dance floor. Directed by Danny Gold, If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast is an entertaining look at how we all can overcome our society’s fear of aging, and how anyone, with a good dose of humor, can live well into their 90s.
Premiere Airing on HBO – June 5th at 8 PM
“If only every inspirational documentary could be as delightfully diverting as “If You’re Not In the Obit, Eat Breakfast” …” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times
Buster’s Mal Heart is a bold thriller peppered with dark humor and interlocking mystery, an eccentric mountain man is on the run from the authorities, surviving the winter by breaking into empty vacation homes in a remote community. Regularly calling into radio talk shows — where he has acquired the nickname “Buster” — to rant about the impending Inversion at the turn of the millennium, he is haunted by visions of being lost at sea, and memories of his former life as a family man. Buster (Rami Malek) was once Jonah, a hard-working husband and father whose job as the night-shift concierge at a hotel took its toll on his psyche and, consequently, his marriage to the sensitive Marty (Kate Lyn Sheil) — until a chance encounter with a conspiracy-obsessed drifter (DJ Qualls) changed the course of their lives forever. As the solitary present-day Buster drifts from house to house, eluding the local sheriff at every turn, we gradually piece together the events that fractured his life and left him alone on top of a snowy mountain, or perhaps in a small rowboat in the middle of a vast ocean — or both, in this visceral mind bender that will provoke discussion long after it turns your world upside-down. Director and writer Sarah Adina Smith and Producer Jonako Donley join us to talk about her wildly entertaining tale.
“A film that’ll break your heart as much as it’ll scramble your brains.” – Paste
“A dark psycho-horror drama that pulls you relentlessly further into the abyss.” – Monsters and Critics
“A storyboard of surreal puzzle pieces that snap together then suddenly split apart.” – The New York Times
“An affecting brainteaser with echoes of Lynchian dissociation.” – John Defore, Hollywood Reporter
“Fantastic, thought-provoking, off-beat, and hilarious.” – Ryland Aldrich, Screen Anarchy
“Genre bending… touching and terrifying.” – Kalyn Corrigan, Birth.Movies.Death
“Malek has the range to be utterly charming, utterly creepy, or both at once.” – Geoff Berkshire, Variety
“Unclassifiable… a bold, original thriller” – Stephen Saito, The Moveable Fest
The origin of lacrosse belongs to the Native American Haudenosaunee (pronounced “ho DEE no Show nee”) who the French called Iroquois. To this nation of 125,000 people it is more than a game. It is a profound medicine, part of Iroquois cosmology and their lifeblood. Gifted players like the Thompson brothers and Brett Bucktooth Junior provide a spiritual sense of what it’s like playing Lacrosse with a “good mind”. They belong to a pool of only 400 Iroquois players, whereas team Canada and USA draw from over 600,000. In 2010 England hosted the World Lacrosse Field Championship and the United Kingdom refused to accept Haudenosaunee passports denying the Iroquois Nationals their chance to compete on the world stage. They have waited four years for the next championships in Denver. Out of the 83 nations taking part in the games, the Iroquois win the bronze medal for the first time. The Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team is not only among the world’s best, but ambassadors for their Nation’s sovereignty and recognition. In 2015, the Iroquois hosted the World Championships on Native soil for the first time ever, in which history, politics and culture all collided on the playing field before the eyes of the world. Co-directors Peter Spirer and Peter Baxter stop by for a conversation on their nuanced documentary as well as the history, culture and spirit of the of the Haudenosaunee people.
“Spirit Game” covers a lot of territory, which gives it something of an all-over-the-map quality. But the subject matter is always enough to hold our attention.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation…delivers an invaluable history lesson on lacrosse and North American colonialism.” – Shane Slater, AwardsCircuit.com
“… concentrates too heavily on game footage at the expense of context, yet it conveys a positive message while allowing viewers to appreciate the sport and its unique history.” – Todd Jorgenson, cinemalogue.com
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 a spritely 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
“A sweet and subdued look at the absurdity of life after death.” – David Ehrlich, INDIEWIRE
“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
“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