Michael Rabehl – 2018 Cinequest Film & VR Festival, Director of Programming

Cinequest has led the world in its showcase and implementation of the innovations that have revolutionized film making, exhibition and distribution. Over 100,000 attend CQFF, yet the three-block proximity of its state-of-the-art venues along with Cinequest’s renowned hospitality, makes the festival experience as warm and personal as it is electrifying. Cinequest presents over 90 World and U.S. premieres with groundbreaking innovations by 700+ participating filmmakers from over 50 countries each year. Set in the home of the world’s most influential media technology companies (Apple, Cisco, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, LinkedIn etc.) CQFF showcases premier films, renowned and emerging artists, and breakthrough technology—empowering global connectivity between creators, innovators and audiences. Michael Rabehl has been a member of the Cinequest team since 1994. As the Director of Programming he manages the film selection process for the festival and supervises the programming teams to create a world class line up of films and guests every year. In his role as the Associate Director he is directly involved with the strategic planning of the festival. Michael joins us to talk about the 2018 Conquest film and virtual reality line-up.

 

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For news and updates go to: cinequest.org

Cinequest Film and Virtual Reality Film Festival February 27 – March 11, 2018

“Move over Cannes! Of the more than 4,000 film festivals around the globe, more than half take place on U.S. soil, and many rank among the best of the best. Our panel of film experts, movie buffs and festival gurus were tasked with narrowing down the field to the best 20 film festivals in the nation before we turned it over to USA TODAY and 10Best readers to choose their favorites. After four weeks of voting, we have a winner. Cinequest Voted Best Film Festival!” — USA Today

“Technology always drives the film business. In Cinequest, we have a good window on the future. I think they’re leading the world in this regard.” — Peter Belsito, Executive Vice President, Film Finders

“This festival is one that sets the trends and is actually ahead of the trends. Other festivals are copying Cinequest; I see it all the time.” — Chris Gore, Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide and Film Threat

“At Cinequest you often haven’t heard of the film before you go see it, but the audiences come anyway. That’s a testament to the festival — that audiences are willing to take that leap of faith.” — Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Luba, Producer and Lead Actor Nicole Maroon (2018 Cinequest Film Festival)

Pregnant and newly aware of her runaway husband’s crack addiction – what a fantastic start to motherhood! A young woman trapped in an impossible situation, Luba (Nicole Maroon) strives to turn her life around while juggling a floundering love-life, odd jobs, and custody with a recovering addict. As Luba tries to move forward, her past catches her off guard and pulls her back, farther than ever imaginable. Will she succumb? This powerful story about family bonds shines a bright light on the power of trust, with an unforeseen twist that will leave you speechless. Producer and lead actor Nicole Maroon stops by to talk about her compelling story of a woman running as fast as she can.

 

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For news and updates go to: lubamovie.com

facebook.com/LubaMovie

CINEQUEST (World Premiere) – San Jose, CA

• Sat, Mar 3  4:30 PM  Century 20 Redwood City, CA

• Mon, Mar 5  9:45 PM  Hammer Theatre, SJ, CA

• Thurs, Mar 8  4:50 PM  Century 20 Redwood City, CA

• Fri, Mar 9  7:15 PM  Century 20 Redwood City, CA

“…A powerful story about \family bonds with an unforseen twist that will  leave you speechless.” – CINEQUEST INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Carter Pilcher, Chief Executive of Shorts International

Carter Pilcher founded Shorts International in 2000. Coming from a background in both investment banking and law, Carter has made Shorts International the world’s leading short movie Entertainment Company, functioning as distributor, broadcaster and producer. Carter has extensive experience in short movie production and short movie entertainment. He is a voting member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and a member of the Short Film and Feature Animation Branch of The US Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) – the guys who pick the Oscars. Carter, originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, received a B.S. from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a J.D. from Georgetown University, is a member of the New York Bar and attended the London Business School Corporate Finance Evening Program. Carter Pilcher has been and continues to be the highlight of Oscar season here on Film School. His insight, commitment and love of films and filmmaking always makes for a lively and informative conversation on some of the best films you will see all year.

 

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shorts.tv/theoscarshorts/

shorts.tv/theoscarshorts/theatrical-release

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED) NOMINEES

DEAR BASKETBALL

Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant

http://believeentertainmentgroup.com/portfolio-item/dear-basketball/

https://www.facebook.com/DearBasketballFilm/

GARDEN PARTY

Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon

https://www.facebook.com/gardenpartymovie/

https://www.gardenparty-movie.com/

LOU

Dave Mullins and Dana Murray

https://www.pixar.com/short-films/#short-films-launch

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lou_(2017_film)

NEGATIVE SPACE

Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata

http://ikkifilms.com/archives/portfolio/negative-space

https://vimeo.com/user72791802

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2018/01/negative-space-short-film/

REVOLTING RHYMES

Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0876ds6

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolting_Rhymes_(film)

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION) NOMINEES

DEKALB ELEMENTARY

Reed Van Dyk

https://www.dekalbelementaryfilm.com/

https://www.facebook.com/dekalbelementary/

THE ELEVEN O’CLOCK

Derin Seale and Josh Lawson

http://oscar.go.com/nominees/short-film-live-action/the-eleven-o-clock

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Eleven_O%27Clock

MY NEPHEW EMMETT

Kevin Wilson, Jr.

https://www.facebook.com/mynephewemmett/

https://www.mynephewemmett.com/

THE SILENT CHILD

Chris Overton and Rachel Shenton

https://www.facebook.com/TheSilentChildFilm/

https://www.thesilentchildmovie.com/

WATU WOTE/ALL OF US

Katja Benrath and Tobias Rosen

https://www.facebook.com/WatuWote.AllOfUs/

http://oscar.go.com/nominees/short-film-live-action/watu-wote-all-of-us

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT) NOMINEES

EDITH+EDDIE

Laura Checkoway and Thomas Lee Wright

https://www.facebook.com/EdithEddieFilm/

https://www.kartemquin.com/films/editheddie

HEAVEN IS A TRAFFIC JAM ON THE 405

Frank Stiefel

http://heavenisatrafficjamonthe405.com/

https://www.facebook.com/heavenisatrafficjamonthe405/

HEROIN(E)

Elaine McMillion Sheldon and Kerrin Sheldon

http://heroinethefilm.com/

https://www.netflix.com/title/80192445

KNIFE SKILLS

Thomas Lennon

https://www.facebook.com/KnifeSkillsDoc/

http://knifeskillsthemovie.com/

TRAFFIC STOP

Kate Davis and David Heilbroner

https://www.hbo.com/documentaries/traffic-stop

http://oscar.go.com/nominees/documentary-short/traffic-stop

Toss It, Director Michele Remsen

Written & directed by Michele Remsen (“Juke,” “Two in the Morning”),  Toss It will make it’s world premiere during the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival at the LA Live Regal Cinemas on Sunday, February 25th. Opening on the last two bitter singles at a wedding — smart-skeptical Emily and obsessive-compulsive-flirt Finn – (latter-day Rosalind Russel and Cary Grant types) who can witty-banter-for-days and seem a perfect match — then everything gets tossed. Finn wonders why he’s so fucked up, and Emily wonders why she’s so drawn to him. A younger couple, sophisticated parents, a wise great-uncle, and a flaky friend impact both, driving them apart until they take a leap. Then a major curve-ball hits, the curtain gets pulled-back on dearly held traditions and reveals what made them who they are. Discovering the real-deal goes down in back-hallways, Finn and Emily kick against convention to find some kind of truth of their own. Toss It explores women as the real power players because women, by and large, run and nurture the fundamental unit of society: family. Director and screenwriter joins us to talk about love, relationships, fast-paced filmmaking and writing modern day cinematic dialog.

 

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hollywoodreelindependentfilmfestival.com

micheleremsen.com/TossIt

Get tickets to see Toss It at: HRIFF tossitthemovie.com

Twitter: @TossItMovie

Follow Michele Remsen on twitter.com/micheleremsen?lang=en

5 Doctors, Co-Directors Matt Porter and Max Azulay

5 Doctors follows Spencer, a miserable young stand-up comedian and hypochondriac, convinced that he’s dying from a bizarre array of symptoms. After a few years trying to make it in L.A., he’s got nothing to show for his efforts except for a viral YouTube video and an indifferent agent who does most of her business via text. Out of options and armed with a binder full of WebMD printouts, Spencer takes drastic action: he flies cross-country to his quaint hometown in upstate New York to consult with his five childhood doctors in a single day, planning to take the redeye back to L.A. that night without seeing any of his friends or family. Spencer’s unwitting accomplice is Jay, who happily agrees to chauffeur him to his appointments. Tearing through town, eluding his loved ones, Spencer is prodded, dilated, and biopsied into accepting that the cause of his symptoms and his reasons for coming home may be more complicated than he thought. 5 Doctors stars: Matt Porter (“New Timers,”“Hasta La Vista”), Max Azulay (“Argyle,” “First Time”), Emily Walton (“Submission,” “Deliverance”), Bobby Moynihan (“Saturday Night Live,” CBS’ “Me, Myself & I”), Eddie Pepitone (“Old School,” “The Muppets”), Peter Friedman (“Love & Other Drugs,” “Single White Female”), Adam Dannheisser (“Down to Earth,” “Nine Minutes”), Jodi Long (“The Hot Chick,” “Splash”), Jeremy Shamos (“The Big Sick,” “Magic in the Moonlight”), Jordan Baker (“Escape from L.A.,” “Another Earth”),  and Annabelle Zasowski (“The Blacklist,”“Orange is the New Black”). The co-directors Matt Porter and Max Azulay join us to talk about their funny and touching debut feature.

 

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Follow 5 Doctors:

For news and updates go to: https://www.5doctorsfilm.com/

Twitter.com/5doctorsfilm

Facebook.com/5doctorsfilm

American Folk, Director David Heinz and Cinematographer Devin Whetstone

AMERICAN FOLK tells the story of two strangers grounded on the morning of September 11, 2001. Elliott (Joe Purdy) and Joni (Amber Rubarth) are unexpectedly thrust together amidst the chaos of that historic day. With little in common but both needing to get to NYC urgently, they accept help from Joni’s family friend Scottie (Krisha Fairchild) who lends the duo a rusty old 1972 Chevy Van. The shock and stress of 9/11 quickly threatens to derail their cross country journey until the pair discover what they do have in common: a love for old folk songs. Armed with a pile of guitars left in the van from Scottie’s touring days, Elliott and Joni raise their voices together (and with those they meet on the road), re-discovering the healing nature of music and bearing witness to a nation of people who, even while mourning, manage to lift each other up in the wake of tragedy. With a refreshing gentleness and beauty, AMERICAN FOLK lovingly chronicles the spaces between the suffering and fear, where music has the power to connect. Musicians Joe Purdy and Amber Rubarth give nuanced and thoughtful performances, with voices that are uplifting and achingly gorgeous. Filmed over 3,500 miles in 14 states, AMERICAN FOLK serves as a love letter to the natural beauty of America, to the style of music that has shepherded us through historically tough times and to the kindness of all of the “folk” that make America what it is. Director David Heinz and Cinematographer Devin Whetstone talk about the challenges of filming in cramped quarters, capturing the spirit of a surprisingly united people coping with a disintegrating civic society.

https://www.americanfolkmovie.com/

 

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79% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The songs are lovely, and the first-time actors give performances that grow warmer as the film progresses.” – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times

“David Heinz’s excellent debut is an ardent plea for togetherness in a divided world. Aided by his leading actors, talented cinematographer, and ear-worm of a soundtrack, Joni and Elliott’s journey is a privilege to share.” – Chloe Walker, Film Inquiry

“A simple story, beautifully told, American Folk is a timely reminder of a dream not yet dead.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“The actors are both accomplished folk musicians, so the music is amazing. The film is quiet and peaceful as they journey in a forced slow pace back to the epicenter.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat

Roll With Me, Director Lisa France

introducing us to the charismatic Gabriel Cordell. After hitting rock-bottom, this newly sober paraplegic attempts to save his gang-banger (and barely out of rehab) nephew’s life by bringing him along on a record breaking 3,100-mile wheelchair trek across the United States. This intense trip will challenge Gabriel physically and emotionally as he becomes a vision of hope for countless strangers along his journey. Gabriel’s support crew is an unlikely team, that become a family. All of them are from very different backgrounds and each dealing with their own issues – PTSD, homelessness, unemployment, family estrangement and sobriety struggles. What started out as a challenge to push an unmodified wheelchair from California to New York, morphs into a most transcendent journey that fills your heart for long after the movie ends and the screen grows dark. In an age divided, Roll With Me ignites our common humanity and urges us to find our inner hero or heroine. We can be heroes…every single day that we reach outside of ourselves. Director Lisa France joins us to talk about her own journey and the challenges involved with a cross-country trek with 9 people in a small SUV and no film making experience.

For news and updates go to: rollwithmethemovie.com

 

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“Roll With Me” Slamdance Film Festival Premiere & Red Carpet:

Monday, January 22nd 

3:30pm— Red Carpet

4:00pm— Festival Premiere Screening 

5:40pm — Q&A to follow with cast & filmmakers.

*Select tickets for screening still available upon request.

Location: The Ballroom at Treasure Mountain Inn

Awards:

Virginia Film Festival

 Won, Audience Award for Documentary Feature

Woodstock Film Festival

Won, Carpe Diem Andretta Award

Runner Up, Audience Award

Ivan Williams, Producer, Partner – Scenario Entertainment

Ivan Williams is a partner and Scenario’s executive vice president of finance.  After a successful career as a senior business leader at major energy companies (ARCO and BP), he has been active starting up a media technology company, and executive producing feature films, Broadway musicals, musical recordings, theatrical plays, and Web tv shows.  A member of Film Independent and the Sundance Institute, Ivan holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Oregon State University, and is a Dean’s M.B.A. Scholar at the UC Irvine Paul Merage School of Business, and a veteran Naval Reserve intelligence officer.  An active contributor to his alma maters, Ivan serves as a member of the board of directors for Oregon State University’s Alumni Association, and is active with the University of California Irvine as chairman of the Dean’s Arts Council of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, serving as a member of the Graduate Division’s Dean’s Leadership Council, as an entertainment industry advisory board member for the Cybersecurity Policy & Research Institute, and a founding board member of the L.A./Orange County Anteaters in the Arts organization. Ivan joins us for a conversation on the his latest projects and the exiting future of digital film and arts at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at the University of California, Irvine.

 

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scenario-la.com

The Strange Ones, Co-directors Lauren Wolkstein and Christopher Radcliff

Mysterious events surround two travelers as they make their way across a remote American landscape. On the surface all seems normal, but what appears to be a simple vacation soon gives way to a dark and complex web of secrets. THE STRANGE ONES had its world premiere at the 2017 SXSW Film Festival where it was awarded the Special Jury Recognition for Breakthrough Performance for James Freedson-Jackson.

Director’s Statement – There is a line late in the film where two teenage characters are engaged in an awkward conversation that consists more of silence than words. “It’s crazy to think,” the girl says, “that you like, never really know a person. You know?” The idea of “not knowing” is at the core of The Strange Ones. As filmmakers, we are most interested in stories that leave a strong impression but somehow stop short of surrendering a tidy explanation, and in characters that have secrets that may or may not ever be fully revealed. There is something more satisfying in this for us – as if the truth, by virtue of remaining unseen, can expand upon speculation and become something larger, more profound, and \more fascinating than a straightforward answer. Perhaps we find also that this is a more accurate reflection of real life – so often we believe we understand something or someone in their entirety, only to find out that we have only really glimpsed the surface; and that beneath lies a world of complexity that we might never fully know. In that regard, The Strange Ones is a story that presents a rather simple surface, as well as a more complicated and mysterious hidden dimension.”

Official Website: www.thestrangeones.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheStrangeOnesFilm
Twitter: www.twitter.com/thestrangeones

 

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“Secrets curl with thick dread around a man and boy on the run from a dark past in this elliptical and mysterious road movie.” – Chris Barsanti, Film International Journal

“The Strange Ones is a solid movie on first watch that becomes a seriously good movie on second watch. Maybe that’s a poor framework for an endorsement, but the film is more than the shock of its climax.” – Andy Crump, Paste Magazine

“It’s an artful, boundary-pushing debut from Radcliffe and Wolkstein, with breakthrough performances from Freedson-Jackson, and Pettyfer, perhaps signaling a new direction in his career.” – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times

“As with all great films, it takes an angle that we may have never thought of before, and one we may not soon forget.” – Fernando Andres, Film School Rejects

Tomorrow Ever After, Director Ela Thier

Ela Thier is a critically acclaimed writer, director and actor. She is known for creating dramedies that bring laughter and tears to diverse audiences across racial and socio-economic lines, and unifies audiences across political spectra. Thier’s critically acclaimed Tomorrow Ever After (2017) won numerous major festival awards. After a successful theatrical run Tomorrow Ever After is now available on numerous PPV and VOD platforms including iTunes and Amazon. Her award-winning feature, Foreign Letters, was distributed by Film Movement (2012) and shown at over 140 festivals world-wide. Thier directed over a dozen short films winning numerous Best Short awards. Her film, A Summer Rain, screened at hundreds of venues and became a YouTube sensation. Thier worked as a writer-for-hire on Puncture, starring Chris Evans. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and released by Millenium Films (2011). Thier is a recipient of the Jerome Foundation Film Production Grant (2015), was a nominee of the White House Project Emerging Artist Award (2010), and a recipient of the NYFA Fellowship Grant in Screenwriting (2008). Thier joins us to talk about the multi-platform release of Tomorrow Ever After, filmmaking and her own The Independent Film School workshops. 

My guiding principle has been to create the workshops that I would want to attend. I think back to my beginnings as a filmmaker and I design the workshops that I could have really used: ones that are packed with concrete information made easy to understand, and are super supportive and encouraging. My life would have been easier if I had gotten the encouragement that artists need.” – Ela Their on her Independent Film School workshops

 

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For more on Ela Thier’s filmmakers workshops go to: Theindependentfilmschool.com

Keep up with the latest on Ela Thier at: facebook.com/elathier

For news and updates go to: tomorroweveraftermovie.com

Ela Thier brings a fresh perspective …Thier plays the kooky interloper with the same open and unguarded childlike naiveté as Robin Williams’ beloved alien Mork …Ultimately, “Tomorrow Ever After,” contains a hopeful message that somehow, the world just might end up a better place. – Kate Walsh, LA TIMES

Her writing and direction are resourceful and assured, and her performance is as delightful as it is imbued with political commentary …In its sweet but pointed way, saying a good deal with relatively little, and in unpredictable ways, the film is also a critique of art as corporate product, especially in the realm of sci-fi franchise extravaganzas. – Sheri Linden, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Played with touching insight and natural beauty …provided me with a newfound hopefulness and a new sense of wonder for my fellow humans. – E. Nina Rothe, THE HUFFINGTON POST

Thier’s sensibility offers such a welcome break… inviting audiences to see our modern-day world through fresh eyes. – Peter Debruge, VARIETY

The Bill Murray Experience, Director Sadie Katz

After ending her engagement and finding herself at a loss for inspiration actor Sadie Katz, finds herself up late at night searching the internet. In her loneliness, she keeps clicking on stories of others having magical chance encounters with her favorite actor and life guru Bill Murray. Katz shares with the audience that she finds herself at a loss as to why she needs to meet Bill Murray but, that’s part of the intrigue and pleasure of knowing that secretly we all wish we had a little Murray Magic in our life…which starts both Sadie and the audience on the quest of finding the unfindable and zany Bill Murray. The directorial debut from actress Katz (“Blood Feast,” “Wrong Turn 6: Last  Resort”), “The Bill Murray Experience,” is being distributed by Gravitas Ventures across VOD platforms globally on December 19th, 2017.  The documentary features: Joel Murray (“Mad Men”), P.J. Soles (“Stripes”), and the legend himself. At crossroads in her life director Sadie Katz joins us to talk about her magical quest to meet comedian and legend Bill Murray.

 

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For the latest news an updates go to:

Facebook: facebook.com/billmurrayexperiencedocumentary

Instagram: instagram.com/sadiekatz

Twitter: twitter.com/sadie_katz

Wormwood, Director Errol Morris

On November 28th, 1953, mild-mannered military scientist Frank Olson plunged from the window of his 13th-floor New York hotel room and died. His cause of death was described as a “fall or jump” and though many questions remained about the exact circumstances, the case was left unsolved, and Olson’s wife and three young children attempted to move on. Over two decades later, in June of 1975, the Rockefeller Commission issued a comprehensive, high-profile report on myriad illegal CIA activities that featured a passing mention of a 1953 incident in which an army scientist was purposefully drugged with LSD without his knowledge and died from a fall a few days later. This revelation sends the Olson family, led by oldest son Eric, on a decades-long hunt for answers that takes them to the highest corridors of power in the U.S. government and close to some of its darkest secrets. Acclaimed storyteller Errol Morris weaves this mystery into a six-part story exploring the limits of our knowledge about the past and the lengths we’ll go in the search for the truth. Wormwood is the saga of one man’s obsessive, sixty-year quest to identify the real circumstances about his father’s death that tells a hidden history of key events of the second half of the 20th Century. Was Frank’s death an accident? Did he commit suicide after a bad drug trip? Or was he murdered for knowing too much? In Wormwood, Morris connects Frank’s story to the Korean War, mind control experiments, illegal germ warfare, brainwashing, Manchurian candidates, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and more.

For news and updates go to: netflix.com/wormwood

 

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“Wormwood is more concerned with its intellectual and philosophical musings on the intangibility everything about this case represents, but it comes at the cost of an emotional impact that’s always just beneath the surface.” – Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist

“With “Wormwood,” Morris reclaims the approach he popularized by employing accomplished performers such as Molly Parker, Tim Blake Nelson, Peter Sarsgaard and Bob Balaban to bridge the gap between fact, presumption and fantasy.” – Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times

“Redefining what a documentary can do and be, Morris’ epic proves a tragedy of systemic corruption, personal mania, and the inability to grasp that which one knows exists, but remains just out of reach.” – Nick Schager, The Daily Beast

“heir testimonies unfolds alongside a series of dramatic reenactments that may or may not illustrate the precise nature of the events being described. The result is a documentary-fiction combination like nothing seen before.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

“It has an eerie, something-is-happening-here-but-you-don’t-know-what-it-is-do-you-Mr.-Jones vibe that evokes mid-century American cold war paranoia” – Jordan Hoffman, Vanity Fair

Edith + Eddie, Director Laura Checkoway

In this emotionally moving documentary, Edith and Eddie, Edith Hill and Eddie Harrison get married in Virginia at ages 96 and 95. Since tying the knot, both Edith and Eddie have experienced an awakening; they have a new reason to get up in the morning. At the start of each day, he helps her put in her teeth. They enjoy exercising and relaxing by the river. They are always holding hands. We soon learn that the couple is embroiled in a legal battle between Edith’s daughters, over Edith’s estate and her rights. The daughters are unable to reach an agreement so a court has appointed an outside guardian for Edith, a stranger that has never met Edith. Stripped of her own decision making, Edith is now a ward of the state. Edith and Eddie’s marriage is in danger of being torn apart. Then things take a dramatic turn. Director Laura Checkoway joins us to talk about her partnership with executive producer Cher, the bond she formed with Edith and Eddie and the greater truth about the care of our elderly in a culture that devalues seniors but covets their assets.

 

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For news and updates go to: www.editheddie.com

For news and update go to: facebook.com/EdithEddieFilm

OSCAR SHORTLIST Best Documentary Short Subject

WINNER – IDA Awards (International Documentary Association)  Best Short 2017

NOMINEE – Cinema Eye Honors – Best Nonfiction Short 2017

WINNER – Audience Award at Montclair Film Festival

WINNER – Jury Award for Best Documentary at Palm Springs International ShortFest

WINNER  Best Documentary Short at Nevada City Film Festival

WINNER – Jury Award for Best Documentary Short (Youth Jury) at Rhode Island

WINNER – Best Documentary Short Film at Hamptons International Film Festival 2017

“‘EDITH+EDDIE’, the heartfelt story of two elderly lovebirds, is a heavyweight contender in this year’s Oscar® race for Best Documentary Short Subject.” AwardsCircuit.com

“Devastating… It is the mix of incredible access and a willingness to embrace a story’s shrewdly synthesized structure, running the gamut from unbelievable fantasy to unbearable nightmare, that yields an extraordinarily memorable work of nonfiction that stands among the festival’s best.” — Jordan M. Smith, NonFics.com at True/False 2017

“EDITH+EDDIE starts out feeling like an inspirational story. A black woman and white man find each other, and love, in their mid-90s. But as the couple is separated due to a legal battle, what could have been a life-affirming hug turns into something darker: an indictment of the elder-care system, with racial undertones.” — Steven Zeitchik, Los Angeles Times

“One of the most beautiful and quietly furious films I have ever seen.” – Julia Reichert, director of A LION IN THE HOUSE

“All of the things we look for in a film… challenging, universal… a gift of love and compassion.” – Paul Booth, Talking Pictures

“In just half an hour, EDITH+EDDIE captures so much about love, aging and infirmity–and speak volumes about America’s issues with elder care and guardianship.” – Norman Wilner, Now Toronto

Quest, Director Jonathan Olshefski and Producer Sabrina Schmidt Gordon

QUEST is Jonathan Olshefski’s moving chronicle of a close-knit African-American family living in North Philadelphia. Beginning at the dawn of the Obama presidency, the film follows the Raineys: father Christopher “Quest” Rainey, who juggles various jobs to support his family; Christine’s “Ma Quest,” who works at a women’s shelter; Christine’a’s son William, who is undergoing cancer treatment while caring for his baby son; and PJ, Quest and Christine’a’s young daughter. In a neighborhood besieged by inequality and neglect, they nurture a community of hip hop artists in their home music studio. It’s a safe space where all are welcome, but this creative sanctuary can’t always shield them from the strife that grips their neighborhood. Epic in scope, QUEST is a vivid illumination of race and class in America, and a profound testament to love, healing and hope. Filmed with vérité intimacy for almost a decade, QUEST has swept top documentary awards at festivals across the country since it  premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, including the Grand Jury prize at the Full Frame Festival, as well as nominations for Best Documentary at the upcoming Independent Spirit and Cinema Eye awards. Quest will open in New York on Friday, December 8 at the Quad Cinema and in Los Angeles on December 15. Director Jonathan Olshefski and Producer Sabrina Schmidt Gordon join us for a conversation on their beautifully rendered story of  family, race and hope.

For news and updates go to: firstrunfeatures.com – Quest

 

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“[A] superb film. A living, breathing, stunning documentary study of an African-American family in North Philadelphia weathering a tumultuous decade.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“Class and race intersect meaningfully in the wonderful documentary Quest, a decade-plus labor of love.” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

“Recalls Steve James’ Hoop Dreams in both the way it captures people over a long period of a time and in how it finds the profound in the everyday, the universal in the specific.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

“A sweeping and intimate documentary about the struggles of an average American family.” – Jude Dry, Indiewire

“Quest may be one of the most important films about the American experience ever filmed.” – Jason Gorber, POV Magazine

Ayiti Mon Amour, Director and Writer Guetty Felin

According to one of many Haitian beliefs, we are born from water and so to water our souls return… but only for a year and a day, after our demise.  Guetty Felin’s AYITI MON AMOUR is set in a land inhabited by spirits looking for their final resting place, mourners seeking closure and ordinary individuals engaged in a precarious dance of survival. It spins the magic neo-realist  tale of Orphée an awkward teen grieving the loss of his father. One day after a freak encounter with an underwater sea creature he develops special electrifying powers, but with power comes certain responsibilities…The world seems to be changing much too rapidly for Jaurès the old fisherman. These days Jaurès is obsessed with the environmental degradation, the rising temperature of the sea and the drought that is starving his cows. But what pre-occupies Jaurès the most is his beloved wife Odessa who is bedridden and homesick. Jaurès is determined to do everything to make her well again even if it means putting his own life in peril…Lastly, there’s the beautiful mysterious Ama, part muse, part wandering soul but also the main character of a novel by an uninspired writer. After five years of waiting for him to complete his masterpiece, she decides to leave him and his story, and sets out to live her own life. With AYITI MON AMOUR the island nation of Haiti has its first ever entry in the Academy Awards category of Best Foreign Language Film. It is also  the first narrative feature entirely shot in Haiti by a Haitian-born female director, Guetty Felin. She joins us to talk about her warm-hearted, humane film and its celebration of her native country.

For the latest news go to: facebook.com/AyitiMonAmourMovie or belle moon productions

 

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**OFFICIAL SELECTION – Toronto International Film Festival**

**OFFICIAL SELECTION – San Francisco International Film Festival**

**OFFICIAL SELECTION – Eurasia International Film Festival**

**WINNER – BlackStar Film Festival – Best Feature Narrative**

**WINNER – Festival Internacional de Cine America – Best Cinematography**

**NOMINATED – Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam – Yellow Ribbon Award**

Bitch, Director Marianna Palka

In this biting domestic story, Jill, a lonely, unfulfilled housewife with four unruly children, paces on her dining room table with a belt around her neck, contemplating a desperate end. Her husband, Bill, focused on his identity as breadwinner and an affair with a lusty co-worker, is as oblivious to Jill’s growing terror that she will do something destructive as he is to the panic at his unraveling company. Meanwhile, dogs bark and howl through the night, as one persistent mutt continually stalks the family’s yard. When Jill’s psyche finally breaks, she takes on a vicious new canine persona. Marianna Palka writes, directs, and stars as Jill in this dark and provocative film, balancing a whip-smart, deeply unsettling take on the horrors of a crumbling nuclear family with a palpable sensitivity for her character’s plight and perfectly timed comedic flourishes. Jason Ritter delivers a beautifully tragicomic performance as Bill, who’s transformed by bizarre crisis from an indifferent hound of a man entirely untethered from his family to their unexpected emotional anchor. Director and lead actor Marianna Palka joins us in a conversation about her go-for-broke approach to the story and performance.

For news and updates go to: darkskyfilms.com/bitch

 

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Opening November 24th in Los Angeles at the Laemmle’s Music Hall 3

“A satirical scream of rage against patriarchal prerogatives, this feminist horror-comedy, written and directed by Ms. Palka, has a vicious edge… Palka carves a black and biting niche between a man and a woman, a space where chaos and psychological unease demand to be reckoned with.”Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

“Marianna Palka is fearless. She wrote, directed and starred in a movie that has her acting like a rabid dog for most of its duration. It’s a bold move, and one that pays off in a big way.”Meredith Borders, Birth Movies Death

“Vicious feminist satire…Palka recalls Michael Haneke, but with an eye for surreal black comedy that suggests the anything-goes weirdness of Quentin Dupieux.“Eric Kohn, Indiewire

Strad Style, Director Stefan Avalos

It’s a story that beggars belief—a bipolar practitioner of “candle magick” living in a dilapidated farmhouse in rural Ohio with a lifelong obsession for building violins (and covered in tattoos of master builders such as Stradivarius) convinces a world-renowned soloist via social media that he is capable of creating a perfect replica of the world’s most valuable violin, Guarneri’s Il Cannone. A quirky look into one man’s DIY enthusiasm and perseverance when facing down a self-created, impossible task, Strad Style is the feel-good doc of 2017. Stefan Avalos is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Having started his life as a classically trained violinist and knowing the obsessions that are part of the violin-world, he became intrigued with the story of Daniel Houck, while working on a broader documentary about New vs old violins. While this movie is still in process, “Strad Style” emerged as a story that became HIS obsession. Stefan joins us to talk about the making of this magical documentary.

For news and updates go to: stradstyle.com

 

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“One of Slamdance 2017’s documentary treasures, Strad Style is as deeply heartfelt as it is riveting.” – Kathy Zhou, Slugmag

“- irresistible, way-stranger-than-fiction documentary” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

I LOVED LOVED LOVED Strad Style and have not been able to stop recommending it to anyone who will listen. – MoviePro

“a beautifully shot shaggy-dog story with an overcoming-adversity theme and fairy-tale outcome Hollywood would kill for, which leaves audiences applauding through tears.” – Adam Patterson, Film Pulse

“Wonderful; so funny and strange and human. An amazing portrait of a fascinating character, beautifully told with enormous suspense and tenderness.” – Mary Ann Johanson, Film Filosopher

The Light of the Moon, Director Jessica M. Thompson

THE LIGHT OF THE MOON is the story of Bonnie, a young and successful Latina architect, sexually assaulted while walking home from an evening out with friends in Brooklyn. At first, she attempts to keep the assault a secret from her long-term boyfriend Matt, but the truth quickly emerges. Bonnie emphatically denies the impact of what has just happened to her. She fights to regain normalcy and control, but returning to her old life is more complicated than expected. Her attempt to recapture the intimacy she previously had with Matt falters and cracks begin to surface in their relationship. Another attack in the neighborhood only drives Bonnie further into denial, before an encounter with an at-risk woman forces her to face the truth and confront her own self-blame. Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Short Term 12) gives a powerful and moving performance as Bonnie, a woman who maintains her dignity and sense of humor as she deals with the aftermath of a life-altering experience. Written and directed by Emmy-nominated Australian filmmaker Jessica M. Thompson in her feature film debut, THE LIGHT OF THE MOON is a powerful reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the importance of relationships in the face of a tragedy.

For news and updates go to: thelightofthemoonfilm.com

 

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The Light of  the Moon opens Friday November 17 at the Laemmle Monica Theatre with Q&A Friday, Saturday and Sunday

11/17 ~ Panel with filmmakers.

11/18 ~ Talkback hosted by Julie Rosing, producer-host of the Lady Parts Justice podcast ReproMadness with LPJ founder Lizz Winstead, co-creator of The Daily Show.

11/19: Seed&Spark/Big Vision screening with talkback hosted by Emily Best, the founder of Seed&Spark, and Amy Rosner, co-director of the upcoming documentary Second Assault.

“A clear-eyed film that’s clinical in its specifics.” – Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times

“The Light of the Moon isn’t a film you forget easily. It takes on a global issue and acts as if it’s something small, resulting in a film that feels both vitally important and imminently personal.” – Ryan Morris, Film Inquiry

“As a resource for those looking to understand the process of recovery, it’s hard to imagine a more comprehensive or sympathetic look at the challenge of surviving.” – Teo Bugbee, New York Times

“With the wider cultural conversation about rape culture, especially in the U.S., raging in the media, this honest and complex engagement with the subject is particularly welcome.” – Leslie Felperine, Hollywood Reporter

“[This] simply-structured film is harrowingly effective in its streamlined, low-frills way: sensitive without ever being sanctimonious, brutally frank without ever lapsing into exploitation.” – Andrew Barker, Variety

The Divine Order, Director Petra Volpe

Winner of the Audience Award for Best Narrative Film at the Tribeca Film Festival, The Divine Order is set in Switzerland in 1971 where, despite the worldwide social upheavals of the previous decade, women were still denied the right to vote. When unassuming and dutiful housewife Nora (Marie Leuenberger, winner of a Best Actress award at Tribeca) is forbidden by her husband to take a part-time job, her frustration leads to her becoming the poster child of her town’s suffragette movement. Her newfound celebrity brings humiliation, threats, and the potential end to her marriage, but, refusing to back down, she convinces the women in her village to go on strike…and makes a few startling discoveries about her own liberation. Uplifting and crowd-pleasing, this charming, captivating film is a time-capsule that could not be more timely. Director Petra Volpe joins us to talk about the story behind a struggle for human rights and the women who made Swiss history.

For news and updates go to: zeitgeistfilms.com/film/thedivineorder

Follow The Divine Order on facebook.com/DivineOrder

 

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Switzerland’s submission for the Academy Awards Best Foreign-Language Film

Winner – Audience Award for Best Feature – Tribeca Film Festival 2017

Winner – Audience Award for Best Fiction – Traverse City Film Festival 2017

“A gentle, unassuming picture, it does have a satisfying, feelgood trajectory and empathetic central performance from Marie Leuenberger.” – Wendy Ice, Screen International

“‘The Divine Order’ effectively illustrates how peer pressure can influence the political process.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“Within the story’s sometimes too-neat outline, Volpe lets most of her characters breathe.” – Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times

“Essential viewing for those interested in a wider perspective on feminist challenges.” – Ben Orndorf, Blue-ray.com

Mr. Fish: Cartooning From the Deep End, Director Pablo Bryant

Provocative, funny, intelligent and fiercely political, audiences had better be ready to dive in for the new documentary feature MR. FISH: CARTOONING FROM THE DEEP END. Directed by Pablo Bryant, will have its NYC Premiere at the DOC NYC 2017. In this documentary we discover the dangerously funny cartoonist Mr. Fish, struggling to make a living in an industry that is dying out. In a world where consumerism is king, and opportunities are few, will this uncensored artist find a way to sell his art, or be forced to sell himself out?  After a rousing, standing ovation laden World premiere, comes word that director Pablo Bryant’s MR. FISH: CARTOONING FROM THE DEEP END has won the 2017 Hiscox Audience Award for Best documentary at at the Austin Film Festival. Director Pablo Bryant joins us for a lively conversation on free speech, our political culture, and the artistic sensibilities of today’s most scathing and insightful political satirist.

For news and updates go to: mrfishmovie.com

Check out Mr. Fish’s art at: mrfishmovie.com/gallery

 

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Screening times:

Sun., Nov. 12, 2017, 4:30 PM – Cinepolis Chelsea Cinemas

Mon., Nov. 13, 2017, 10:15 am – IFC Center

BPM, Director Robin Campillo

2018 Official Oscar® Entry – FRANCE Best Foreign Language Film BPM tells the story of how a passionate group of Parisian activists goes to battle for those stricken with HIV/AIDS, taking on sluggish government agencies and major pharmaceutical companies in with bold, invasive actions. The organization is ACT UP – the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power – and its members embrace their task as a literal life-or-death mission. With more than 6,000 new diagnoses made each year in France, there is no time to waste. And yet, the officials and the corporations are not moving fast enough. “BPM” tells the story of that fight from the inside-out. Amid the rallies, fierce debates and ecstatic dance parties, intimate connections are made and vibrant life rages against death. As the activists scramble from boisterous street demonstrations and boardroom face-offs to dance floors pulsing with light and rhythm, Nathan and Sean’s relationship deepens. They confess individual memories of sexual initiation that are profoundly tied, in different ways, to the emerging AIDS crisis, and sexual intimacy itself becomes a kind of resistance. As Sean gets sicker, their passion sparks against the shadow of mortality, and the activist community of activists plots its most dramatic protest yet. Director and writer Robin Campillo joins us for a conversation on his intimate and thoughtful tale of activism and struggle in the face of intractable indifference and antipathy.

For news and updates fo to: bpm.film

 

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France’s entry for 2017 Academy Award Best Foreign Language Film

Opening at the Laemmle Royal Theatre on Friday, November 3, go to: laemmle.com/theaters

98% Rotten Tomatoes

“In its balance of resistance, agony, and joy, BPM (Beats Per Minute) approaches this subject with the nuance and empathy it deserves.” – Josephine Livingstone, New Republic

“BPM is vital for the history it depicts, but it’s also important in the here and now, as a testament to public action – even messy, not-always-effective public action.” – David Edelstein, New York Magazine

“In spite of its historical specificity, “BPM” never feels like a bulletin from the past. Its immediacy comes in part from the brisk naturalism of the performances and the nimbleness and fluidity of the editing.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

“In its balance of resistance, agony, and joy, BPM (Beats Per Minute) approaches this subject with the nuance and empathy it deserves.” – Josephine Livingstone, New Republic

“BPM is vital for the history it depicts, but it’s also important in the here and now, as a testament to public action – even messy, not-always-effective public action.” – David Edelstein, New York Magazine

“In spite of its historical specificity, “BPM” never feels like a bulletin from the past. Its immediacy comes in part from the brisk naturalism of the performances and the nimbleness and fluidity of the editing.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold, Director Griffin Dunne

Across more than 50 years of essays, novels, screenplays, and criticism, Joan Didion has been our premier chronicler of the ebb and flow of America’s cultural and political tides with observations on her personal – and our own – upheavals, downturns, life changes, and states of mind. In the intimate, extraordinary documentary JOAN DIDION: THE CENTER WILL NOT HOLD, actor and director Griffin Dunne unearths a treasure trove of archival footage and talks at length to his “Aunt Joan” about the eras she covered and the eventful life she’s lived, including partying with Janis Joplin in a house full of L.A. rockers; hanging in a recording studio with Jim Morrison; and cooking dinner for one of Charles Manson’s women for a magazine story. Didion guides us through the sleek literati scene of New York in the 1950s and early ’60s, when she wrote for Vogue; her return to her home state of California for two turbulent decades; the writing of her seminal books, including Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Play It as It Lays, A Book of Common Prayer, and The White Album; her film scripts, including The Panic in Needle Park; her view of 1980s and ’90s political personalities; and the meeting of minds that was her long marriage to writer John Gregory Dunne. She reflects on writing about her reckoning with grief after Dunne’s death, in The Year of Magical Thinking (winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction), and the death of their daughter Quintana Roo, in Blue Nights. With commentary from friends and collaborators including Vanessa Redgrave, Harrison Ford, Anna Wintour, David Hare, Calvin Trillin, Hilton Als, and Susanna Moore, the most crucial voice belongs to Didion, one of the most influential American writers alive today. Director Griffin Dunne (American Werewolf in London, After Hours) joins us for a conversation on “Aunt Joan” and her fiercely personal body of remarkable body of fiction and non-fiction.

To view Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold go to: netflix.com

 

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“Access is almost everything for a documentary filmmaker, and the entree Griffin Dunne had to his celebrated subject makes all the difference in “Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“A documentary that’s incisive and haunting, like Didion’s best writing.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“This is an intensive appreciation of perhaps the greatest living American essayist, and one of the best ever. It plays like a finely tuned authorized biography.” – Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News

International Documentary Association (IDA) Executive Director, Simon Kilmurry

International Documentary Association (IDA) is fiercely committed to protecting and defending the rights of documentary filmmakers to practice their craft, seek and reveal truth in their films, and make and sell their work freely in a fair marketplace. We strenuously uphold the principles of free speech and believe that documentary films, however provocative they may be, should never be silenced by an authority, corporation or legal system that may feel threatened by their content. Where filmmakers are under fire, and their predicament stands to set precedent for us all, the IDA brings together the weight of our community to fight for their rights in the courts, the press, congress or wherever that threat may lie. IDA is the only group advocating specifically for the documentary filmmaking community. In many ways, this makes IDA’s advocacy work the most important and relevant work we do. If documentary films better inform your world, if you believe in freedom of speech, if you are concerned that the media space grows ever smaller and cherish the diversity that independent voices bring, and if you’re a fan of David (over Goliath) then you probably share our values. Documentary storytelling expands our understanding of shared human experience, fostering an informed, compassionate, and connected world. The International Documentary Association (IDA) is dedicated to building and serving the needs of a thriving documentary culture. Through its programs, the IDA provides resources, creates community, and defends rights and freedoms for documentary artists, activists, and journalists. Executive Director Simon Kilmurry joins us to talk about IDA, the screening series currently underway and the state of documentary filmmaking in 2017.

 

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For news and updates go to: documentary.org

Watch some of the year’s best film through the IDA’s documentary screening series

Support Documentary filmmaking and watch great films by becoming an IDA member

God’s Own Country, Director Francis Lee

In the compelling feature film debut of Francis Lee God’s Own Country Johnny Saxby works long hours in brutal isolation on his family’s remote farm in the north of England. He numbs the daily frustration of his lonely existence with nightly binge-drinking at the local pub and casual sex. When a handsome Romanian migrant worker arrives to take up temporary work on the family farm, Johnny suddenly finds himself having to deal with emotions he has never felt before. An intense relationship forms between the two which could change Johnny’s life forever. This growing chemistry between them results in an intense, instinctive sexual encounter. With both lads struggling to come to terms with what their time on the moor really meant and what they want from each other. With the future of the farm, his father’s life and his fledgling first relationship all hanging in the balance, Johnny feels more isolated and powerless than ever. Sent back to the farm on their own by Deirdre to tend to the animals, Johnny and Gheorghe slip into an unspoken domestic life. But soon Gheorghe’s contract will come to an end… Director Francis Lee joins us to talk about this simple story of struggling people living on the edge drawn into an emotionally complex tale.

For news and updates go to: samuelgoldwynfilms-Gods Own Country

 

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Official Selection

Sundance Film Festival 2017

Berlin International Film Festival 2017

San Francisco International Film Festival

“There will be many people who see themselves in the furtive glances and mud-covered kisses from which “God’s Own Country” weaves its harsh but hopeful narrative, and they will do so while witnessing a finely crafted piece of cinema.” – Jude Dry, IndieWire

“A rigorously naturalistic drama that yields stirring performances from the collision between taciturn demeanors and roiling emotional undercurrents.” David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

“Skipping some of the more predictable narrative obstacles we’ve come to expect from the coming-out drama, this sexy, thoughtful, hopeful film instead advances a pro-immigration subtext that couldn’t be more timely …” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“This is one of the most assured, fully-formed British debuts of recent years.” – Paul O’Callaghan, Sight and Sound

Animation is Film, Founder Eric Beckman

GKIDS, the acclaimed producer and distributor of animation for adult and family audiences, Annecy International Animation Film Festival, the world’s leading animation Festival and Market, and Variety magazine, have announced the launch of ANIMATON IS FILM, an annual animation film festival in Los Angeles. The first edition will run October 20-22 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theater in Hollywood (Mann’s Chinese Theater) with a showcase of 20 programs including feature films in competition, special presentations, retrospectives and short film programs. ANIMATION IS FILM aims to fill a gap in the US market by establishing a world class animation festival on par with the major events in Europe and Asia – and locating it in the world capital of animated filmmaking. The Festival will be a vocal advocate  in the heart of Hollywood, for excellence in animation, and for filmmakers who push the boundaries of their art to the fullest range of expression that the medium is capable of. GKIDS and Animation is Film founder Eric Beckman stops by to talk about his love of animation and the endless possibilities for enriching and entertaining filmmaking contained in it.

For information and updates go to: animationisfilm.com

 

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Dates: The festival will be the weekend of Friday, October 20 through Sunday, October 22, 2017.

Location: Films will be screened at 6801 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatre Multiplex on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Click here to meet the filmmakers of Animation is Film

Animation is Film Festival seeks to:

Present a highly selective, annual showcase of the best new works of animation from around the world, with programs for both adults and families.

• Champion and support filmmakers who use animation to pursue unique cinematic visions and who are unconstrained by conventional notions of what animation is capable of.

• Champion and support women filmmakers.

• Champion and support filmmakers from a wide range of cultural, economic, national and geographic backgrounds.

• Have a positive impact on Los Angeles’ diverse communities by making the Festival programs available to the widest range of audiences.