Jacob Garchik, multi-instrumentalist and composer, was born in San Francisco and lived in New York since 1994. At home in a wide variety of styles and musical roles, he is a vital part of the Downtown and Brooklyn scene, playing trombone with the Lee Konitz Nonet, Ohad Talmor/Steve Swallow Sextet, Mary Halvorson Octet, and the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble. He has released 4 albums as a leader including “The Heavens: the Atheist Gospel Trombone Album”. He co-leads Brooklyn’s premiere Mexican brass band, Banda de los Muertos. Since 2006 Jacob has contributed dozens of arrangements and transcriptions for Kronos Quartet of music from all over the world. He composed the score for Kronos for the documentary “The Campaign” (2013), and “The Green Fog” (2017) directed by Guy Maddin. He has created arrangements for vocalists Anne Sofie von Otter, Angelique Kidjo, Laurie Anderson, Rhiannon Giddens, kd lang, Natalie Merchant, Tanya Tagaq, and Alim Qasimov. Garchik returns to San Francisco Sunday, April 16 for a live performance during the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival’s closing night screening of The Green Fog – A San Francisco Fantasia. Commissioned by the San Francisco Film Society, that reimagines one of the most iconic San Francisco films of all time, Vertigo, as a visual collage by award-winning filmmaker and cultural iconoclast Guy Maddin. The Green Fog will screen at the historic Castro Theatre on Sunday, April 16 at 7:00 pm, followed by the Closing Night Party at Mezzanine. Jacob Garchik joins us for a conversation on collaborating with director Guy Maddin and his own musical journey.
Set in the legendary Sea Islands off the South Carolina/Georgia coast in 1902, Julie Dash’s DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST (1991) follows a Gullah family (descendants of West African slaves) on the eve of its migration to the North. Led by a group of women who carry with them ancient African traditions, the extended family readies itself to leave behind friends, loved ones and their insulated way of life. Can these women hold fast to their sacred religious beliefs and customs, or will their world be swept away in the course of a new century? This richly costumed drama, structured in tableaux to reflect the art and icons of African tradition, testifies movingly to the secret celebrations and packed-away sorrows of African-American women. These vital images were introduced to a new generation on a massive scale earlier this year, when the film was heavily referenced in Beyoncé’s visual album, Lemonade. DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST became the first film by an African-American woman ever to receive widespread theatrical release. Enriched by John Barnes’s eclectic score and Arthur Jafa’s Sundance Film Festival-prize-winning cinematography, listed in the National Film Registry DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST was hailed as one of the most visually and sonically ravishing in American independent cinema. Director Julie Dash joins us for a conversation on her sweeping, absorbing and poetic homage to African culture.
“Every image, every moment is a full creation. Dash is one of the heroines of the modern cinema.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker
“A film of spellbinding visual beauty. Julie Dash emerges as a strikingly original filmmaker.” – Stephen Holden, The New York Times
“Daughters of the Dust abounds with stunning motifs and tableaux, the iconography seemingly sourced from dreams as much as from history and folklore.” – Melissa Anderson, Village Voice
“Its examination of a bygone way of life is so patient and evocative, so beholden to its own storytelling conventions and rhythms, that watching it is a bit like submitting to a form of time travel” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
It’s the summer before 6th grade, and Clark (Armani Jackson) is the new biracial kid in a very white town. Discovering that to be cool he needs to act ‘more black’, he fumbles to meet expectations. Meanwhile, his urban intellectual parents Mack (Nelsan Ellis) and Gina (Melanie Lynskey) try to adjust to small-town living. Accustomed to life in New York, the tight-knit family is ill-prepared for the drastically different set of obstacles that their new community presents. They soon find themselves struggling to understand themselves and each other in this new context. Based on a true story, LITTLE BOXES is a poignant comedy about understanding identity, featuring a cast that also includes, Oona Laurence, Janeane Garofalo and Christine Taylor. Director Rob Meyer joins us to talk about his funny, insightful and complex film.
“Even as some of the supporting players and subplots veer toward caricature, the family dynamics at the film’s center remain entirely relatable.“ – Geoff Berkshire, Variety
“Writer Annie J. Howell and director Rob Meyer stack up their woes without making them feel contrived, so when the breakdown comes, it’s real, and it’s heartbreaking.” – Jason Bailey, Flavorwire
“Jackson, Lynskey and Ellis all deliver effortless performances that further illuminate an essential narrative.” – Reel Talk Online
“Countless movies have examined what happens when a country mouse goes to the city; this one shows that leaving a gentrified urban oasis for a small-town world can be just as jolting.“ – Neil Genzlinger
TICKLING GIANTS is a great story about the power of political satire in the face of oppression. In the midst of the Egyptian Arab Spring, Bassem Youssef makes a decision that’s every mother’s worst nightmare… He leaves his job as a heart surgeon to become a full-time comedian. Dubbed, “The Egyptian Jon Stewart,” Bassem creates the satirical show, Al Bernameg. The weekly program quickly becomes the most viewed television program in the Middle East, with 30 million viewers per episode. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart averaged two million viewers. In a country where free speech is not settled law, Bassem’s show becomes as controversial as it popular. He and his staff must endure physical threats, protests, and legal action, all because of jokes. As Bassem attempts to remain on the air, keep his staff safe, and not get arrested, he continues to let those in power know they’re being held accountable. Despite increasing danger, the team at Al Bernameg employ comedy, not violence, to comment on hypocrisy in media, politics, and religion. Directed by Sara Taksler TICKLING GIANTS follows the team of Al Bernameg as they discover democracy is not easily won. The young women and men working on Bassem’s show are fearless revolutionaries, who just happen to be really, really funny. The subject of Tickling Giants, Bassem Youssef joins us for a conversation on the cost and consequences of speaking out.
“Tickling Giants surprises us on several levels. It reveals Egypt’s familiar Arab Spring experience through a lens, that of satiric comedy, which is very different from the way we usually see it. And it has the personal element of Youssef’s involving story.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“Mostly, the movie makes you understand how every society – and ours more than ever – needs people like Bassem Youssef to demonstrate that laughter will always be one of the essential ways to keep power in check.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“There’s a lot to laugh at, and to learn from, in “Tickling Giants,” a documentary that starts off by telling the story of one man and ends up speaking volumes about satire, freedom of expression and political pressure.” – Ken Jaworoski, New York Times
“Media are their own giant, they shape beliefs and create community, instill hope and fear. Perhaps it’s a lesson that will be taken seriously by viewers in the US.” – Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters
On a snowy night in February 1972, legendary jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan was shot dead by his common-law wife, Helen, during a gig at a club in New York City. The murder sent shockwaves through the jazz community, and the memory of the event still haunts the people who knew the Morgans. Helen served time for the crime and, following her release, retreated into obscurity. Over 20 years later, a chance encounter led her to give a remarkable interview. Helen’s revealing audio “testimony” acts as a refrain throughout the film, which draws together a wealth of archival photographs and footage, interviews with friends and bandmates and incredible jazz music to tell the ill-fated pair’s story. Part true crime tale, part love story, and an all-out musical treat, I CALLED HIM MORGAN is a chronicle of the dramatic destinies of two unique personalities and the music that brought them together. Swedish filmmaker Kasper Collin’s I CALLED HIM MORGAN is also a love letter to two unique personalities and the music that brought them together. A film about love, jazz and America with cinematography by Bradford Young (DOP, Selma).
Los Angeles Area: Laemmle’s Monica Film Center in Santa Monica and Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
“Layering experiences and impressions, music and image, Kasper Collin’s remarkable film is less concerned with history than with effects, influences that stretch across time, ideas that shape art.” – Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters
“The interview-“an amazing document,” Collin says-enriches the documentary and transforms it into a story within the story.” – Michael J. Agovino, Village Voice
“This is not a lurid true-crime tale of jealousy and drug addiction, but a delicate human drama about love, ambition and the glories of music.” – A.o. Scott, New York Times
“Collin’s film brings out these stories with a wealth of details energized by the experiences and the insights of his interview subjects as well as an engaging range of archival images and clips.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker
“Quite simply, the greatest film about a jazz musician ever. Do not miss this story of a career cut short by a “Frankie and Johnny” tragedy.” – Louis Proyect, CounterPunch
God Knows Where I Am is the story of Linda Bishop, a well-educated New Hampshire mother who suffered from severe bipolar disorder with psychosis, who was intermittently incarcerated and homeless, inevitably being committed for three years to a state psychiatric facility. Successfully fighting her sister’s protective attempts to be named her legal guardian, Linda was able to refuse treatment and medication, and eventually procured an early, unconditional release, despite the lack of post release planning. Upon her release, she wandered ten miles down the road from the hospital, broke into an abandoned farmhouse and lived off of rainwater and apples picked from a nearby orchard for the next four months, through one of the coldest winters on record. For nearly four months, Linda Bishop, a prisoner of her own mind, survived on apples and rain water, waiting for God to save her, during one of the coldest winters on record. Unable to leave the house, she became its prisoner, and remained there, a prisoner of her own mind, eventually starving to death. Her body was discovered several months later and with it a diary that Linda kept documenting her journey. The diary, given voice by actress Lori Singer, is poignant, beautiful, funny, spiritual, and deeply disturbing. As her story unfolds from different perspectives, including her own, we learn about our systemic failure to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Over the last 16 years co-directors Jedd and Todd Wider have produced many of the most critically and commercially successful feature documentary films including, King’s Point (2012) nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short, the multiple Primetime Emmy and Peabody Award winning Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (2012) directed by Alex Gibney, the Emmy Award nominated Semper Fi: Always Faithful (2011) directed by Rachel Libert and Tony Hardmon, the multiple Emmy Award nominated Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (2010) directed by Alex Gibney Peabody Award and 2008 Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary and 2009 Emmy Award Winner for Best Documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side (2007) also directed by Alex Gibney, and many more. In 2011, Todd Wider and Jedd Wider were each nominated by the Producers Guild of America for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures. Co-director Jedd and Todd Wider join us to talk about their haunting new documentary.
“A film of great beauty and tenderness that gradually reveals a confounding mental illness, this film is a human story at its heart. Ultimately, it illuminates a hidden problem of vast proportion with an epic yet intimate cinematic vision.” – Jury, Hot Docs
“MUST SEE AT HOT DOCS: God Knows Where I Am will break your heart but also empower you to question, be helpful and provide encouragement to the vulnerable in our lives. God Knows Where I Am is wonderfully shot and captures the isolation, desperation and human condition at its essence.” – Thirty-Four Flavours
“Throughout the beautiful, evocative, and ultimately heartbreaking tale of Linda Bishop, the Widers use a variety of cameras and film formats to grant the movie an almost dreamlike feel, and they’re aided immeasurably by Bishop’s meticulous daily journal, which is read with tenderness and humanity by Lori Singer, bringing Bishop elegantly to life as the chronicler of her own story.” – Christopher Orr, The Atlantic
“I’ve seen God Know Where I Am three times. It’s not only rich and layered enough to hold up on every viewing, but on an emotional level, I wept profusely – again and again and yet again. This is great cinema and certainly a contender for one of the best documentaries of the new millennium. It captures profound poetic truths about homelessness, mental illness and loneliness which are rendered with such artistry and sensitivity that this is a film for the ages. 5 out of 5 stars.” – The Film Corner
Jack (Owen Campbell) is a high school student who lives with his single mother Karen (Mary Stuart Masterson) in a nondescript suburban town. Considered a social outcast and loner, Jack is friendless until Karen’s new boyfriend Tom (Scott Cohen) moves in and brings his son Mark (Charlie Heaton) into their lives. The two outsiders quickly bond and form a tight friendship and, after a chance encounter at a diner, bring fellow student Sarah (Amandla Stenberg) into their group. The three teens become each other’s saving grace until changing relationships and emerging secrets force them to look at themselves and see how far they are willing to go live the lives they choose.
Director Miles Joris-Peyrafitte: “I love movies, but I’ve always struggled with the “coming of age” genre. I think there is something inherently condescending about it. Obviously this doesn’t span across the whole genre; but I think a lot of times when these stories are told by “adults,” there can be this sort of romanticization of youth which misses the things I think are so important about that age, namely the intensity and stakes that every action carries. There isn’t nostalgia in youth, it is immediate and hard. That was really why I wanted to tell this story now, I wanted to make this kind of film while I was still young enough to not miss it.”
U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award Winner – Sundance Film Festival 2016
Official Selection – San Sebastian Film Festival 2016
“Joris-Peyrafitte shows confidence and talent beyond his years, with an artful eye for imagery and a truthful ear for dialogue.” – Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com
“The setup is common enough, but though you can check off the usual ingredients in what follows – sex, drugs, a glance at Kurt Cobain – this is the furthest thing from a social-issue teen drama.” – Ella Taylor, NPR
“Captures the dreamy intimacy of those teenage relationships where boundaries between friendship and love prove porous.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice
“A promising and impressively self-assured debut for 23-year-old filmmaker Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, “As You Are” is crafted with the confidence and skill of a veteran, but also the youthful eye of someone not far removed from his protagonists.” – Geoff Berkshire, Variety
KIKI, a dynamic coming of age story about agency, resilience and the transformative artform that is voguing. KIKI offers riveting and complex insight into the daily lives of a group of LGBTQ youth-of-color who comprise the “Kiki” scene, a vibrant, safe space for performance created and governed by these activists. In this film collaboration between Kiki gatekeeper, Twiggy Pucci Garçon, and Swedish filmmaker Sara Jordenö, viewers are granted exclusive access into this high-stakes world, where fierce Ballroom competitions serve as a gateway into conversations surrounding Black- and Trans- Lives Matter movements. This new generation of Ballroom youth use the motto, “Not About Us Without Us,” and KIKI in kind has been made with extensive support and trust from the community, including an exhilarating score by renowned Ballroom and Voguing Producer Collective Qween Beat. Twiggy and Sara’s insider-outsider approach to their stories breathes fresh life into the representation of a marginalized community who demand visibility and real political power. Following its festival debuts, including a World Premiere at Sundance, KIKI will open in U.S theaters and on VOD starting February 24, 2017 in Los Angeles and in New York on March 1, 2017. Director Sara Jordenö joins us to talk about her vibrant, intimate and liberating new film.
Director Sara Jordenö and stars will participate in Q&A’s after the 7:10 shows and introduce the 9:55 shows at the Monica Film Center on Friday and Saturday, February 24 and 25.
“Exhilarating – a must-see” – Manhola Dargis, NY Times
“Joyous, genuinely inspiring” – Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair
“Wonderfully alive and emotional” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times
“Sad, proud, loud, funny, energetic and affecting” – Fionnuala Halligan, Screen Daily
“It’s an ultimately uplifting film and one that doesn’t patronize or placate” – Lanri Bakare, The Guardian
“KIKI never fails to pay homage to the past historical context of the scene while looking towards its future” – Katie Walsh, The Playlist
Tomer Heymann’s MR. GAGA: A True Story of Love and Dance is a unique documentary experience that tells the story of the internationally acclaimed choreographer Ohad Naharin, who created the daring form of dance and “movement language” Gaga. When he was 22, he was invited to perform with the prestigious Martha Graham dance company, and attended Juilliard and the School of American Ballet simultaneously. But Ohad would not be happy until he could do exactly what he wanted. Moving back to Israel, Naharin became the Artistic Director of the Batsheva Dance Company, developing gaga within his own ensemble. Even after achieving worldwide acclaim, Naharin continues to fight every day, sometimes with his own dancers, once even with the president of Israel, to make his vision come to life. Mr. Gaga tells Naharin’s personal story of a controversial, political, and always entertaining figure, and his constant battle for artistic perfection. Eight years in the making, Mr. Gaga traces Ohad Naharin’s artistic roots using personal family footage, intimate rehearsal footage, extensive unseen archive material and stunning dance sequences. Heymann weaves a marvelous tale of what it takes to be a genius, the exhausting toll dance can take on its performers, and finally, the beauty that art can bring to this world. Director Tomer Heymann joins us for a conversation on the trials and triumphs of surpassing creativity and finding the sometimes difficult ways of expressing it.
“When someone can talk as well as they create, the rewards are considerable, as the documentary “Mr. Gaga: A True Story of Love and Dance” convincingly demonstrates.” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times
“Interweaves archival film with contemporary material to masterfully portray one of the most vital dance artists of the past half-century.” – Elizabeth Zimmer, Village Voice
“Leading Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin is profiled in Mr. Gaga, possibly the most exciting documentary for fans of edgier modern dance since Pina.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety
“Director Tomer Heymann captures both the intimate authority of Naharin at work and then the beautiful range of movement conveyed on stage by his dancers.” – Craig Mathieson, Sunday Age
In 1952, a then-unknown young Egyptian colonel led a coup that became a revolution. Over the next 18 years, Gamal Abdel Nasser challenged Western hegemony abroad and confronted Islamism at home, and faced deep divisions among the Arabs. He emerged as a titanic figure, a champion of Arab progress and African liberation, but he could not offer democracy. Instead, Nasser established the region’s first authoritarian military regime. A man of enormous charisma and ambition, Nasser became caught in the coils of his own power, dying at the age of 52 with dreams unrealized. The Arab Spring and its aftermath are his legacy: a period of turmoil when Egyptians argued passionately about their history as a way to see what course to follow in the future. It is their voices—peasants and professors, secularists and Islamists—that drive Goldman’s essential documentary. Nasser’s Republic, The Making of Modern Egypt Director Michal Goldman’s previous film, Umm Kulthum, A Voice Like Egypt (1996), a vibrant portrait of a superstar singer, was an official selection of the New York Film Festival, winner of the Golden Plaque for Documentary at the Chicago International Film Festival, and winner of the Promoting Tolerance Award from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Goldman joins us to talk about the historic significance of Nasser’s enormous influence on Egypt , the course of the Cold War and modern day Middle East.
Director Michal Goldman organizes a vast amount of information to pose as many questions as answers in this immersive documentary. Narration by Palestinian actress Hiam Abbass rivets us to history and its contradictions, an ongoing story witnessed by millions.” —Judy Bloch, for the Washington, DC International Film Festival (aka FilmFest DC)
“Goldman’s [documentary] accomplishes something that most media covering events in the Middle East don’t even attempt: She provides an historical context.” —Peter Keough, The Boston Globe
“I thought we had buried him. It turns out he’s still alive.” —Khaled Fahmy, Egyptian historian, in NASSER’S REPUBLIC
“What’s impressive is how many of the necessary narrative angles are treated, raising compelling questions that resonate today. At the film’s center is an officer turned politician who is photogenic, charismatic, shrewd and sometimes reckless. The storyline is crisp, the archival footage is gripping, and the witnesses—whose passions drive the story—are compelling. From a teacher’s perspective, this film is a godsend.” —Joel Gordon, Professor of History & Director of the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies, University of Arkansas
A real-life ‘Breaking Bad’ for the psychedelic set, THE SUNSHINE MAKERS reveals the fascinating, untold story of Nicholas Sand and Tim Scully, the unlikely duo at the heart of 1960s American drug counter-culture. United in a utopian mission to save the planet through the consciousness-raising power of LSD, these underground chemists manufactured a massive amount of acid, including the gold standard for quality LSD, ‘Orange Sunshine,’ all while staying one step ahead of the Feds. From the producer of SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN and LISTEN TO ME MARLON, THE SUNSHINE MAKERS premiered last year at the prestigious DOC NYC film festival to critical acclaim. The documentary has thrilled audiences with its stranger-than-fiction look into the lives of two “LSD evangelists.” Director Cosmos Fielding Mellen joins us for a conversation on his clear eyed look back on the good, the bad and the trippy from the golden age of raised consciousness.
“Theirs is a story about the marriage of idealism and criminality, and it’s recounted in amusing and thrilling detail by The Sunshine Makers…the rare documentary to function as time capsule, philosophical inquiry, and rollicking thriller all at once – as well as a cautionary tale about the crazy lengths people will go to experience a heavenly high. Riveting.” – THE DAILY BEAST
“…it’s an astonishing tale…providing further evidence, not that any was needed, that truth is stranger – and oftentimes a lot more fun – than fiction.” – HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
“For a documentary about two men who were big-time drug dealers back in the day, The Sunshine Makers is a quaint, damn-near-adorable bit of nostalgia.” – Craig D. Lindsey, Village Voice
It all began when a group of cheerful, subversive filmmakers weren’t accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. Unwilling to take “no” for an answer, they instead started their own event – Slamdance: Anarchy in Utah. 22 years later, Slamdance has become a year-round organization fostering the development of unique and innovative filmmakers. The organization now consists of the Film Festival, Screenplay Competition and Slamdance Studios. It has also created Slamdance On The Road, a traveling theatrical showcase that brings popular Slamdance films to audiences that otherwise would not have the opportunity to see them. Dan Mirvish, Jon Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn and Peter Baxter are the founding forefathers who, along with co-conspirator Paul Rachman, fought for truly independent filmmakers by giving them a voice in 1995 at the very first Slamdance Film Festival. Since then, the festival takes place every January in the breathtakingly stunning, snow-capped mountains of Park City, Utah at the exact same time as the
Sundance Film Festival, to provide a more authentic representation of independent filmmaking. Up-and-coming writers, directors and producers, alongside seasoned veterans and film lovers, converge for the weeklong celebration of independent cinema, realizing that Slamdance is a great place to find those next, great, visionary films. Slamdance lives and bleeds by its mantra By Filmmakers For Filmmakers. No other film festival in the world is entirely run and organized by the creative force that can only be found in filmmakers. Slamdance adamantly supports self-governance amongst independents, and exists to deliver what filmmakers go to festivals for – a chance to show their work and a platform to launch their careers. The festival has earned a solid reputation for premiering films by first-time writers and directors working within the creative confines of limited budgets. Co-founder and President Peter Baxter joins us to talk about this year’s Slamdance, the groundbreaking films and the innovative new distribution and digital initiatives being launched by Slamdance.
TRESPASS AGAINST US is set across three generations of the Cutler family who live as outlaws in their own anarchic corner of Britain’s richest countryside. Chad Cutler (Michael Fassbender) is heir apparent to his bruising criminal father, Colby (Brendan Gleeson) and has been groomed to spend his life hunting, thieving and tormenting the police. But with his own son, Tyson (Georgie Smith) coming of age, Chad soon finds himself locked in a battle with his father for the future of his young family. When Colby learns of Chad’s dreams for another life he sets out to tie his son and grandson into the archaic order that has bound the Cutler family for generations. He engineers a spectacular piece of criminal business involving a heist, a high-speed car chase and a manhunt, which leaves Chad bruised and bloodied and with his very freedom at stake. With the law cracking down and his father tightening his grip, Chad is forced into increasingly desperate measures. Featuring incredible performances – and an astonishing score by The Chemical Brothers – TRESPASS AGAINST US is at once an exhilarating crime thriller and a profoundly moving story about love and family. TRESPASS AGAINST US director ADAM SMITH (Director) is an award-winning film, television drama, documentary and music-video director. Smith is best known for his long-term collaboration with the Chemical Brothers, and the critically acclaimed concert film Chemical Brothers: Don’t Think he directed. Director Adam Smith joins us to talk about his feature film debut and the riveting performances turned in by his three lead performers.
“Even when Trespass Against Us slumps toward the same generational conflicts at the heart of so many recent indies, these actors refuse to reduce their characters into any recognizable archetypes.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire
“Dynamic storytelling and powerful performances bring out the pathos in an unusual tale of conflicting loyalties set on the criminal edges of a traveling community.” – Screen International
“At this point we should just accept that Michael Fassbender can play anything. In Trespass Against Us, he turns up his charisma and blunts his native intelligence, and the mixture works remarkably well.” – Norman Wilner, NOW Toronto
“It all boils down to the complicated relationships of fathers and sons, but with some riveting action and heart-tugging drama, Trespass Against Us ends up as thrilling must-see.” – Peter Turner, Starburst
Eight-year-old Yousef and his deaf mother Sahar are the last Palestinian residents of an otherwise deserted building in the Israeli part of the city of Hebron. Their island within the Jewish quarter is called “The Mute’s House” by Israeli soldiers, even though Sahar isn’t mute at all. Travel agencies have included the property in their tours. Yousef makes good use of his privilege to cross the border when he goes to school. Through the tour guides’ explanations, we learn the story of Yousef and Sahar, who bravely withstand all the threats and bullying. None of Yousef’s Palestinian classmates can come to his house, and filmmaker Tamar Kay isn’t allowed to cross the border to film the Palestinian quarter with Yousef. Despite his disability – Yousef was born with one arm – he amuses himself with the chickens, goats and rabbits that forage among the ruined neighboring houses, and he plays the guitar and video games. The Mute’s House is an intimate portrait that elegantly illustrates the absurdity of the endless conflict. Director Tamar Kay was born in Jerusalem and graduated The Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film & Television School in 2015, stops by to talk about her moving and heartbreaking portrait of life on the edge of chaos and isolation.
“If someone wrote a fictional script for a film about this story, no one would believe it.” – Alan Berliner, (dir. Nobody’s Business, Emmy Award Winner)
*Winner – Special Jury Award – IDFA*
*Winner – President’s Award – Full Frame FF*
Academy Award Shortlist for Short Doc program
In 1969, filmmaker Lisanne Skyler’s parents bought an Andy Warhol Brillo Box for $1,000. A budding collector, her father was drawn to the work of the young, emerging artists of the time—Pop artists, Abstract Expressionists and Photorealists—and saw it as an investment. Unlike critics of the era, who panned Warhol’s consumer-themed sculptures, her mother considered it a delightful addition to the family’s Manhattan living room. Eventually the piece was traded away, largely forgotten except in family artifacts like a snapshot of baby Lisanne perched on top of the yellow cube. The filmmaker often wondered what happened to the now-iconic work that had briefly decorated her childhood. Forty years later, in 2010, the same sculpture sold for $3 million at a record-breaking Christie’s auction. Fascinated by this eyebrow-raising turn of events, Skyler wondered about all of the personal decisions that shaped this object’s journey. What was the role it played in other lives, and what secrets did it hold about her own family? Colorfully blending Pop Art history with personal narrative, BRILLO BOX (3¢ OFF) follows this Warhol sculpture as it makes its way from a family home to the global art market, exploring the ephemeral nature of art and value, and the decisions that shape family history. Director and daughter Lisanne Skyler to talk about a sweeping and insightful look into the world of POP art and her own intimate family tale.
BRILLO BOX (3¢ OFF) will air exclusively on HBO in June of 2017
“While tracing the 40-year journey of an Andy Warhol original from her family’s living room to the auction block, documentarian Lisanne Skyler delivers a delightful, nostalgia-tinged snapshot of the American middle class, colorfully framed by a crash course in postmodernism.” – Maggie Mackay, ASPEN INTERNATIONAL SHORTSFEST
“Brillo Box (3¢ off) is about far more than what the sculpture fetched — though that figure is staggering. It considers the aim, meaning, and collection of art. Skyler deftly weaves together photographs, interviews and observations about legacy and family, which makes her story (which is slightly heartbreaking) all the more poignant.” – Gary M. Kramer, FILM INTERNATIONAL
Neil (Michael Johnston) is an introverted, questioning high school freshman. Lacking any friends IRL, his main social outlet is the steamy fan fiction he writes about Vanguard, the brawny, galaxy-hopping hero of a popular sci-fi franchise. When his stories are exposed in class Neil is mortified, but the slightly older, effortlessly cool Julia (Hannah Marks) comes to his defense. An erotic fan fic writer herself, Julia pushes Neil to publish his stories to an online “adult” forum, where they quickly grab the attention of the site moderator, Denis (Michael Ian Black). When Neil is invited to present his work at a comic con live-read event, he has to face the fact that Denis’ interest in him may be more than simply professional… perhaps like his own feelings for Julia. Director Clay Liford stops by to talk about his endearing, beautifully rendered story of angst, creativity and self discovery.
“An effortlessly engaging dramedy that somehow manages to sustain an air of buoyant sweetness even while repeatedly referencing erotic fantasies and sexual anxieties.” – Joe Leydon, Variety
“This sweet-natured coming-of-age movie, written and directed by Clay Liford, is perhaps more complicated than most by having characters whose sexual orientations aren’t settled.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times
“Charming and slightly, beautifully dangerous” – BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH
“Effortlessly engaging” – VARIETY
“Grounded, funny, and relatable” – AIN’T IT COOL NEWS
HARRY BENSON: SHOOT FIRST charts the illustrious career of the renowned photographer who initially rose to fame alongside The Beatles, having been assigned to cover their inaugural trip to the United States in 1964. With unprecedented “behind the scenes” access, Benson captured some of the most vibrant and intimate portraits ever taken of the most popular band in history. His extensive portfolio includes iconic images of Winston Churchill, Bobby Fischer, Muhammad Ali, Greta Garbo, Michael Jackson, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Robert F. Kennedy assassination, and his work has appeared in publications including Life, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Now 86, workaholic Benson has no intention of stopping. Co-director Justin Bare (SCATTER MY ASHES AT BERGDOF’s), joins us for a lively conversation on this charismatic and remarkable artist.
“The film captures not only Harry’s boldness and bravery in pursuing controversial subjects, but also his disarming personality and his ability to achieve intimacy with his subjects.” – Katie Walsh,
“Iconic shutterbug Benson is captured in all his funny, feisty, gritty and graceful complexity in this spellbinder of a doc from Justin Bare and Matthew Miele with images that take the breath away.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“He can shoot fast and make art,” a friend says, and “Harry Benson: Shoot First” makes that point again and again.” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times
“Don’t blink — not even once. That’s the best advice for viewers of the dazzling new documentary Harry Benson: Shoot First.” – Isaac Guzman, Time Magazine
In this new documentary from filmmakers Menachem Daum and Oren Rudavsky (Hiding and Seeking, A Life Apart), audiences will travel to Lifta—the only Palestinian village abandoned during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that has not been destroyed or repopulated by Jews. Lifta, at the western entrance to Jerusalem, is rarely a destination on any tourist map despite its significant history. The village is now threatened by an Israeli development plan that would convert it into an upscale Jewish neighborhood and forever change its character. With the support of the Palestinian and Jewish Coalition to Save Lifta, Lifta has become a battleground between developers, the Israeli Land authority, and its defenders. Lifta’s unique history and architectural treasures have made it a candidate to become a UNESCO World Heritage site, pending far from certain Israeli government approval. Oren Rudavsky (director, co-producer and director of photography) was co-producer and co-director of HIDING AND SEEKING and A LIFE APART. Rudavsky is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and has received awards and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the New York State Council for the Arts and more. His most recently completed film COLLIDING DREAMS is a feature length documentary that was supported by a media grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Director Oren Rudavsky stops by to talk about his remarkable film and the chance for some form of reconciliation in this troubled land.
“Watching these sturdy carriers of suffering inevitably argue, your spirits may sink. But you also can’t help but notice that the rocky terrain requires them at times to hold on to each other.” – Robert Abele, LA Times
“A vital study of loss and memory. Grounded in the art of listening, ‘The Ruins of Lifta’ builds a powerful, personal, political conversation between Palestinians and Israelis looking to live differently. The result is necessary viewing.” – Diana Clarke, Village Voice
“The Ruins of Lifta offers a muscular example of ability of documentaries to make the political intensely personal. More painfully, it’s also a case study in the limits of benign intention.” – Ella Taylor, NPR
“A thoughtful lesson in history – and listening.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter
An investigative reporter works to solve the mystery behind a mysterious man who has been buying houses where tragedies have occurred. Set in a world where it always feels like night, even in daylight hours, real estate reporter Julia Talben’s (Jessica Lowndes) life is turned upside down when her family is brutally murdered. It is believed to be an open and close case, but Julia quickly realizes there is much more to this story when she returns to the crime scene to find the murder room deconstructed and physically removed from her sister’s home. This ignites an investigative pursuit that eventually leads her and ex-lover Detective Declan Grady (Joe Anderson) to the town of New English where they find the enigmatic Jebediah Crone and the Abattoir – a monstrous house stitched together with unending rooms of death and the damned. Julia comes to realize that her sister’s soul is trapped inside, but the Abattoir isn’t just a house – it’s a door to something more evil than anyone could have ever imagined. Julia and Grady are ultimately faced with the question: How do you build a haunted house? One room at a time. Director Darren Lynn Bousman (Repo! The Genetic Opera, Saw II, Saw III) joins us to talk about this sophisticated and complex cross genre story.
“an unwieldy property, coming with its assembly work exposed, but “what a magnificent structure” it turns out to be. Prepare to get lost in its multi-levelled madness, & to have your familiarity with horror’s ever-revenant tropes deconstructed.” – Little White Lies
“Bousman might not quite pull off the ‘Howard Hawks meets The Wicker Man’ vibe he’s going for, but Abattoir is horror for grown-ups” – Cinevue
“While Bousman’s climax is a not terribly original effects-laden haunted house, the house’s builder, and his motives, have enough of their own flavor to please a hardened horror fan.” – Hollywood Reporter
BLUE JAY is the story of former high school sweethearts Jim (Mark Duplass) and Amanda (Sarah Paulson) who have been out of touch for more than 20 years — but by sheer coincidence, they run into each other at a grocery store back in their alpine hometown of Crestline, California. Jim’s mother has died and he’s here to put her house on the market. Amanda is visiting her pregnant sister. They get to talking, first over coffee, then over beer and jellybeans. Before they know it they’re at Jim’s mother’s house, where everything sends them spiraling back into the past. Jim and Amanda’s lives have taken different directions, yet here they are, reconnecting like nothing has changed. This is one of 2016’s best films.
“Though the film largely trains on the simple, dialogue-fueled interaction of two people, it feels more spectacular than theatrical, showcasing the acting prowess of two master performers feeding on mutual chemistry and performative bravado.” – Joey Nolfi, Entertainment Weekly
“Even after twenty years apart, Amanda and Jim can ask each other the questions no one else would dare to, and understand the answers that go beyond words.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice
ASPERGER’S ARE US is the story of the members of the comedy troupe “Asperger’s Are Us,” whose “condition” make it easier to associate with a faceless audience than with their own families. No matter who the crowd, best friends Noah, New Michael, Jack and Ethan have one simple mantra: “We would much rather the audience appreciate us as comedians than people who have overcome adversity.” In this coming-of-age heartfelt documentary, this band of brothers finds themselves at a crossroad. With real life pulling them apart, they decide to plan one ambitious farewell show before they all go their separate ways. People with Asperger’s don’t deal well with uncertainty, and this is the most uncertain time in their lives.
“Asperger’s Are Us” rarely stretches to be funny or poignant or touching, and that makes this documentary all the more of each.” Ken Jaworowski, New York Times
“The four young men at the heart of this documentary will easily find a home in all but the hardest of hearts.” – Kimber Myers, LA Times
“Warm, funny and enormously entertaining.” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru
Director / cinematographer Alex Lehmann was born in France and studied film at Emerson College in Boston. ASPERGER’S ARE US is his first documentary feature, it premiered this year at SXSW and was the first Netflix acquisition of the festival. Alex most recently released BLUE JAY starring Mark Duplass and Sarah Paulson which marked his second collaboration (ASPERGER’S ARE US) with the Duplass Brothers. Alex has mostly worked in the industry as a cinematographer, most recently having shot the upcoming Katherine Keener political drama Little Pink House. He and Mark Duplass met on the set of “The League”, where Alex served as a camera operator. Alex stops by for a lively conversation on is collaboration with Mark and Jay Duplass and the on-set challenges / rewards of shooting and directing and bonding with a troupe of four very funny performers.
Based on the Emmy Award-winning short film of the same name, Notes on Blindness is the debut feature from writer / directors Peter Middleton and James Spinney. In 1983, after decades of steady deterioration, writer and theologian John Hull became totally blind. To help him make sense of the upheaval in his life, he began documenting his experiences on audio cassette. Drawing on John’s original audio recordings, Notes on Blindness is a poetic and intimate story of loss, rebirth and transformation, charting his extraordinary journey into ‘a world beyond sight’. To compliment this archive material, the filmmakers recorded over twenty hours of audio interviews with John and his wife Marilyn. These audio interviews are interwoven throughout the film’s soundtrack, forming a lyrical narration, with the couple reflecting on events from a distance of thirty years. This wealth of documentary audio material is embedded within cinematic interpretations, in which actors play John and his family, lip-synching to this documentary audio. This innovative creative approach liberates the scope of the film to explore the interior aspects of John’s journey into blindness – John’s dream life, his memories and flights of imagination. Writer / directors Peter Middleton and James Spinney join us for a conversation on the their innovative approach to conveying the experience of blindness and the challenges of telling this deeply personal story of love and triumph.
Story of film subject John Hull: John M. Hull taught for 30 years at the University of Birmingham until his retirement in 2002. He was the first professor of Religious Education in the UK and recipient of the prestigious William Rainey Harper award from the Religious Education Association of the US and Canada. This award is only held by 12 international scholars, and is presented to ‘outstanding leaders whose work in other fields has had a profound impact upon religious education’, including luminaries such as Marshall McLuhan, Margaret Mead and Paolo Freire.
★★★★★ “The genius of the film is in allowing us to understand and visualise the world of blindness… A beautiful, accessible and thoughtful work of art.” THE GUARDIAN, Charlie Phillips
★★★★★ “A visionary, lyrical film” THE TIMES, Kate Muir
★★★★★ “Articulate, eloquent and soul-searching” OBSERVER, Mark Kermode
★★★★★ “Remarkable… a haunting, throat-catching documentary that shares some of the lyrical power of Clio Barnard’s The Arbor or Carol Morley’s Dreams of a Life.” THE LIST, Allan Hunter
★★★★★ “Beautiful and reassuring, Notes On Blindness is a moving and inspiring film” DAILY MAIL, Libby Purves
‘I, Daniel Blake,’ ‘American Honey,’ ‘Notes On Blindness,’ ‘Under The Shadow’ Lead British Indie Film Award Nominations DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD
When David Wilson’s young wife falls victim to cancer, he is left a single working dad with the sole responsibility of caring for his autistic son. Patrick (Julian Feder), who prefers to be called Po, is a gifted but challenged child who was very close to his mother and unable to communicate his own sense of loss. As father and son struggle to deal with life after mom, they each begin to withdraw. David (Christopher Gorham) is consumed by the high-pressure job he’s close to losing, and Po copes with the bullying in his sixth-grade classroom by escaping into his magical fantasy world, the Land of Color, where he’s just a typical carefree boy with a rich cast of companions. The challenge of serving as the single parent of a special-needs child creates a growing divide between father and son, threatening to separate David and Po permanently. Based on a true story, the bonds of love between a grieving father and son are tested in the most real way in PO. Director / Producer John Asher joins us to talk about this deeply personal story of struggle and renewal.
Po opens in in the Los Angeles area on November 25, 2016 at Laemmle’s Music Hall 3 in Beverly Hills. There will be Q&As opening weekend with director John Asher and star Julian Feder on Friday, November 25 and Saturday, November 26 following the 7:30pm shows and on Sunday, November 27 following the 2:30pm show.
**WINNER** Best Actor – Albuquerque Film & Media Experience 2016
**WINNER** Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking – Music – Newport Beach Film Festival 2016
**WINNER** Best Feature Film – Palm Beach International Film Festival 2016
**WINNER** Breakthrough Feature – San Diego Film Festival 2016
**WINNER** Breakthrough Feature – San Diego International Film Festival 2016
**WINNER** Rising Star, Best Film – WorldFest Houston 2016
**NOMINATED** Best Original Song – Feature Film
Hollywood Music in Media Awards 2016
In Tony Stone’s latest film, Peter and the Farm, Peter Dunning is the proud proprietor of Mile Hill Farm, which sits on 187 acres in Vermont. The land’s 38 harvests have seen the arrivals and departures of three wives and four children, leaving Peter with only animals and memories. The arrival of a film crew causes him to confront his history and his legacy, passing along hard-won agricultural wisdom even as he doubts the meaning of the work he is fated to perform until death. Haunted by alcoholism and regret, Peter veers between elation and despair, often suggesting to the filmmakers his own suicide as a narrative device. He is a tragedian on a stage it has taken him most of his life to build, and which now threatens to collapse from under him. Peter and The Farm sifts through the potential energy of a human life, that which is used and that which is squandered. Imbued with an aching tenderness, Tony Stone’s Peter and The Farm is both a mosaic of its singular subject’s transitory memories and reflections—however funny, tragic, or angry they may be. Director Tony Stone (Severed Ways, Out of Our Minds) joins us to talk about his beautiful, haunting and heartbreaking, film.
Twitter – #PeterAndTheFarm
“FOUR STARS. Dunning recounts spellbinding tales-he’s a hell of a character.” – Nigel Smith, The Guardian
“A BEAUTIFUL DOCUMENTARY with a rueful, cantankerous yet hugely charismatic figure at its center, rendered with a texture as rich as the soil through his fingers.” – Scott Tobias, Variety
“A NEAR-MASTERPIECE. A consistently lively and surprising film. Powerfully sad but very funny, too.” – Noel Murray, A.V. Club
“BEAUTIFULLY OBSERVED. A penetrating portrait of a complicated personality, inseparable from his environment.” – David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
“Entertaining and heartbreaking.” – Noel Murray, Indiewire
How would you react if you discovered that your child – who is often lost in their own thoughts and disconnected from other children – is actually one of the greatest minds of their time? As a young boy, Magnus Carlsen was very different from his peers. Bullied by the other children, he usually sat by himself, lost in thought. But when a strong interest in numbers led him to the game of chess at the age of 5, he quickly started to climb the ranks of the chess world. At 13, he decided that he would become the World Chess Champion. Magnus is now known as the “Mozart of Chess” – combing the skill and intellect of chess with unrivaled originality and instinct. Through an extensive amount of archival footage and home movies, filmmaker Benjamin Ree follows Magnus’s meteoric rise to the top in this unique coming-of-age story. The film invites audiences to not only experience the fascinating world of competitive chess, but also peek into the mind of a modern genius. Director Benjamin Ree joins us to talk about the international culture of chess and the fascinating story of a prodigy with a talent for understanding numbers, patterns and following his remarkable instincts.
Opening in Los Angeles on November 25
Exclusively at Laemmle Music Hall– 9036 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Available on VOD NOVEMBER 25 on all platforms
Opening New York on November 18 at Village East Cinema – 181-189 2nd Ave. NY, NY 10003
OFFICIAL SELECTION AT THE 2016 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL
“Taut and paced with drama…captivating to watch.” – Screen Daily
“Chess has never been quite so riveting.” – We Got This Covered
“Hits all the right beats.” – Film Pulse
“Superb documentary filmmaking.” – The Hollywood News
The Anthropologist tells the story of Katie Yegorov-Crate, a thirteen-year-old girl from Fairfax, Virginia. She is carted around the globe by her mother, noted environmental anthropologist Susie Crate. Susie studies the effects of climate change on centuries-old indigenous communities. Famed anthropologist Margaret Mead also analyzed how communities confront change, but that which results from war and modernity. Mead’s daughter Mary Catherine Bateson, now 76 and a cultural anthropologist in her own right, provides extraordinary insight into what Susie and Katie discover. Filmed over the course of five years, The Anthropologist is a meditation on change, both individual and societal. Susie and Katie work with people in Siberia, the South Pacific, the Andes, and the nearby Chesapeake Bay, who struggle to reconfigure how and where they live. In Siberia, where Susie met Katie’s father while doing research, Katie’s relatives can no longer farm on land they’ve occupied for generations. Katie’s roots are also threatened by the inhospitable soil. Uniquely revealed from their daughters’ perspectives, Mead and Crate demonstrate a fascination with how societies are forced to negotiate the disruption of their traditional ways of life, whether through encounters with the outside world or the unprecedented change wrought by melting permafrost, receding glaciers and rising tides. Co-director Jeremy Newberger stops by to talk about the rapid climate changes occurring around the world and the increasing human cost.
THE ANTHROPOLOGIST will have a one-week engagement beginning November 18 at Laemmle’s Music Hall, 9036 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90021, 310-478-3836. Go to: laemmle.com/films/41178
“A highly human look at a single mother field scientist and her teenage daughter as they globetrot to study the effects of climate change.” – Film Journal International
“At this point no documentarian can possibly have a fresh take on climate change, right? Wrong.” – Neil Gezlinger, New York Times
“It may not be handled with the rigor that climate change activists would like to see, but it’s an entertaining way of putting a human face on a problem while still providing enough important facts to promote thought.” – Valeriy Kolyadych, PopMatters