Centuries ago, many cultures believed the Earth was a flat disc. As scientific thought and technology evolved, the Earth was revealed to be a globe, a view that’s widely accepted today—but not by everyone. In Daniel J. Clarks feature documentary, Behind the Curve explores the internet fueled resurgence of the flat Earth movement. These conspiracy theorists deny the scientific model of the globe and join together through conventions, forums and online platforms to discuss their belief system. On the other end of the spectrum, the scientific community aims to counter this resurrected myth, resulting in an ever- growing public battle of conspiracies and anti-intellectualism. Giving a well-rounded look at all sides of the debate, Behind the Curve shows that no matter where you stand on this issue, the conversations and people around it are anything but flat. Director Daniel J. Clark joins is to talk about all of the various factions and personalities that make up flat-earth society and his film’s debut at the 2018 Hot Docs Film Festival.
“Unlike a few other films about people who hold questionable beliefs, Behind The Curve is a remarkably clear-eyed look at the Flat Earth movement, in which people around the globe (but mostly in America) labour to convince the rest of us that our planet is flat – more like a terrarium, really – but sinister forces have gone to elaborate lengths to keep it quiet.” – Norman Wilner, NOW
In Rachel Israel’s endearing feature debut Keep the Change, we meet aspiring filmmaker David (Brandon Polansky), mandated by a judge to attend a social program at the Jewish Community Center, whois sure of one thing: he doesn’t belong there. But when he’s assigned to visit the Brooklyn Bridge with the vivacious Sarah (Samantha Elisofon), sparks fly and his convictions are tested. Their budding relationship must weather Sarah’s romantic past, David’s judgmental mother (Jessica Walter), and their own pre-conceptions of what love is supposed to look like. Under the guise of an off-kilter New York romantic comedy, Keep the Change does something quite radical in offering a refreshingly honest portrait of a community seldom depicted on the big screen. Rarely has a romcom felt so deep and poignant. Thoroughly charming and quite funny, the film’s warmth and candor brings growth and transformation to the characters, and ultimately, to us. Director and writer Rachel Israel stops by to talk about her friendship with lead actor Brandon Polansky, making the short film version of Keep the Change as well as the personal and artistically rewarding process of making this beguiling film.
Best U.S. Narrative Feature – Tribeca Film Festival
Best New Narrative Director – Tribeca Film Festival
Special Mention, Nora Ephron Prize – Tribeca Film Festival
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
“This gently humorous, fiercely honest indie film is a step forward in the quest for a move inclusive Hollywood, which seems to one of the themes of the cultural moment.” – Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic
’“Keep the Change” is not a seamlessly crafted movie, but it’s awfully tenderhearted and thoroughly disarming. It deserves to be widely seen.’ – Glenn Kenny, New York Times
“What distinguishes it are Israel’s empathetic characterizations – she’s known Polansky for 15 years – and the winning performances, not only by the leads but also by the supporting players” – Mark Jenkins, Washington Post
“Hilarious and warm, finding its own voice as Israel creates a special space for her cast to shine, preserving idiosyncrasies and timing to best reinforce the unusual atmosphere of pure personality on display.” – Brian Orndorf, blu-ray.com
“An ode to self-discovery and acceptance that’s as funny as it is sweet.” – Nick Schager, Variety
Following their Lovecraftian modern cult classic SPRING, acclaimed filmmakers Moorhead and Benson return with this mind-bending thriller that follows two brothers who receive a cryptic video message inspiring them to revisit the UFO death cult they escaped a decade earlier. Hoping to find the closure that they couldn’t as young men, they’re forced to reconsider the cult’s beliefs when confronted with unexplainable phenomena surrounding the camp. As the members prepare for the coming of a mysterious event, the brothers race to unravel the seemingly impossible truth before their lives become permanently entangled with the cult. Co-director Justin Benson (Aaron Moorhead) stops by to talk about this remarkably accomplished, mind-bending cinematic journey into the unknowable.
“The Endless isn’t just terrific – it’s poised to be that breakout genre hit that It Follows and The Babadook were in past years. ” – Jamie Righetti, /FILM
“Unique, mind-bending delights…Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson are wizards of ingenuity ” Peter Debruge, VARIETY
“The Endless will fuck your brain…Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead deliver an enticing, mysterious genre experiment that stands to be their best work yet.”- Brad Miska, BLOODY DISGUSTING
“(Justin) Benson and (Aaron) Moorhead are in every frame of this film. Together they give the cosmos-mangling insanity a grounded truth and a light hilarity” – Richard Whitaker, Austin Chronicle
“The Endless feels like a thunderstorm. It brews slowly, softly, and then in the blink of an eye, has consumed you, booming with fury and jaw-dropping force.” – Kristy Puchko, Pajiba
“The Endless [is] a meta-commentary of the nature of storytelling and a self-examination of the creative mind, the film will likely have its audience questioning their perception of time as they look to sky for falling photographs.” – Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Screen Anarchy
When a simple organ harvesting caper goes awry, a twist of fate unites three of society’s forgotten and ignored: EL MONSTRUO, a disgraced Mexican wrestler working as hired muscle for a local crime boss.CRYSTAL, a recovering addict desperate enough to arrange a black market kidney transplant to save her husband’s life. And RANDY, a loveable two-strike convict fresh out of prison, cursed with a full-face swastika tattoo and a best friend guilting him into some hair-brained kidnapping scheme. In LOWLIFE we follow the sordid lives of these small-time criminals collide, as they fight tooth and nail to save a pregnant woman from a certain, and surely gruesome, death. Director Ryan Prows joins for a lively conversation on his hard-charging, high-energy debut feature film.
“The result is a film that’s as brutal in its imagery as it is funny in its execution.” – Jared Mobarak, Film Stage
“A captivating feature debut despite some missteps, it flashes back to a time when every other filmmaking newcomer wanted to be Quentin Tarantino; surprisingly, it does not provoke the weary eye-rolling that greeted so many of those films.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter
“A movie with the sole purpose of an adrenalin rush, designed to strap you to your seat, entertain you, and spit you back into reality, exhausted but satisfied.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
“Lowlife is such a wild ride that any cinema showing it might want to consider installing seat belts on their chairs. Every second is electrifying.” – Mike McGranahan, Aisle Seat
“Nicely calibrates a twisty course between straight crime melodrama and black comedy, one that has cult-following potential among adventurous genre fans.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety
“Throughout its swirling stories, Lowlife does an impeccable job of teasing, pulling back, and delivering, whether it be violence, drama, or the intermittent moment of temporary joy.” – Scott Beggs, Nerdist
The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is a nonprofit organization devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture by showcasing films, supporting emerging filmmakers, and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora. Each year the festival features a rich mix of film programs designed to build and support the growing interest in the Indian entertainment industry. This includes programming that cultivates an audience for Indian films while supporting filmmakers of Indian descent in career development as they navigate the larger studio system in Hollywood. The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, runs from Wednesday, April 11 – 15 at Regal Live in downtown Los Angeles, featuring programs that include One-on-One program where film industry professionals from major and independent production and distribution companies are invited to participate in meetings with the IFFLA filmmakers; and panel discussions with speakers from the film industry. We are joined by IFFLA’sDirector of Programming Mike Dougherty to talk about the past, present and future of Indian cinema and the increasing acceptance among mainstream American film lovers.
Guy Maddin and collaborators Galen and Evan Johnson made this ode to VERTIGOand the city of San Francisco for the closing night world premiere gala of the 2017 San Francisco International Film Festival. The iconoclastic Winnipeg-based filmmakers, working together since 2015’s THE FORBIDDEN ROOM, set themselves the challenge and constraint to remake VERTIGO, creating what they call a “parallel-universe version.” Using Bay Area-based footage from hundreds of sources—studio classics, ’50s noir, documentary and experimental films, and ’70s prime-time TV—and employing Maddin’s mastery of assemblage technique, seen in work like MY WINNIPEG and BRAND UPON THE BRAIN, the result exerts the inexorable pull of Hitchcock’s twisted tale of erotic obsession while paying tribute to the City by the Bay and the ways it looks and feels through the medium of cinema Composed by Jacob Garchik and performed by Kronos Quartet, the film’s score nods to Bernard Hermann’s classic VERTIGO music as it collides and converses with Maddin and Johnsons’ irreverent and loving footage to create a distinctive musical extravaganza. Through 12 features and many shorts, adventurous artist Guy Maddin exhibits the rare ability to simultaneously subvert and honor the craft of filmmaking. His credits include the Emmy Award-winning ballet film Dracula: Pages From A Virgin’s Diary(2002); The Saddest Music in the World (2003); My Winnepeg (2007) and US National Society of Film Critics Best Experimental Film Prize-winners Archangel (1990) and The Heart of the World (2000). Guy Maddin talks about the “City by the Bay,” scriptwriting, storytelling and his favorite film, Vertigo.
“First and foremost, “The Green Fog” is a marvel of film scholarship that looks backward and forward from the Hitchcock masterpiece.” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times
“The Green Fog fairly closely follows the structure of Hitchcock’s film; achieving that in itself is some sort of accomplishment. However, it’s not so much an assemblage as it is a conjuring.” – Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice
“The film is a brilliant exercise in meta-narrative, which raises questions galore about reality and representation, time and space, genre and gender, individual and urban identity, cinematic suture and casting. Mainly, though, it’s just very, very funny.” – Geoff Andrew, Sight and Sound
“The work of a sensibility as impish as it is scholarly, animated by a mischievous sense of the medium’s possibilities” – Justin Change, Los Angeles Times
“It demonstrates the act of creation as a perpetually reconstructive effort…” – Lawrence Garcia, Cinema Scope
Barbara Thorson (Madison Wolfe) is your new hero. A quick-witted, sharp- tongued middle-schooler who isn’t afraid of anything. As the only girl in school carrying an ancient Norse warhammer in her purse and killing giants for a living, why wouldn’t she be? I Kill Giants is the sweeping, bittersweet story of a young girl struggling to conquer monsters both real and imagined as her world crumbles at the feet of giants bigger than any one child can handle.Based on the best-selling graphic novel by Joe Kelly. I Kill Giants features terrific performances from Zoe Saldana and Imogen Poots. Academy Award winning director Anders Walter joins us to talk about his clever, creative and emotionally resonant feature film debut.
“This intimate story about a troubled 12-year-old who’s on a mission to save her town is virtually tone perfect.” – Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times
“A sweetly imaginative, tenderly played coming of age drama.” – Allan Hunter, Screen International
“The vivid cinematography, affecting performance by Wolfe, and lack of saccharine allow the film to resonate not only with the teen target demographic but older viewers as well.” – James Beradinelli, ReelReviews
“I Kill Giants is a dark piece of work for children, which is far from a bad thing.” – Ann Storm, Film Journal International
“Like its heroine, I Kill Giants isn’t afraid to tackle the darkness or rage of little girls, or their fear and pain.” – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times
When ‘Lady’ Sandra Abbott (Academy Award nominee Imelda Staunton, Maleficent, Vera Drake) discovers that her husband of forty years (John Sessions) is having an affair with her best friend (Josie Lawrence) she seeks refuge in London with her estranged, older sister Bif (Celia Imrie), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Bridget Jones’ Baby). The two could not be more different – Sandra is a fish out of water next to her outspoken, serial dating, free-spirited sibling. But different is just what Sandra needs at the moment, and she reluctantly lets Bif drag her along to a community dance class, where gradually she starts finding her feet and romance as she meets her sister’s friends, Charlie (Timothy Spall), Jackie (Joanna Lumley) and Ted (David Hayman). Director Richard Loncraine talks about his endearing and touching film about seconds chances and finding love.
“The cast lend charm to this feel good fairy tale and Celia Imrie is especially good as the inspiring Bif.” – Allan Hunter, Daily Express
“The cinematic equivalent of a pair of comfy slippers. This is a charming, oft-told tale of second chances in life and love, and it is filled with fine performances only let down occasionally by an indulgent run time and some stunted dialogue.” – Linda Maric, HeyUGuys
“It’s about real adults living ordinary, important and sometimes difficult lives. Finding Your Feet is rightly billed as comedy-drama; yet, although it’s full of rib-tickling dialogue, it’s the drama that cuts deep.” – Stephen Romei, The Australian
“Its love-in-later-life insights are well-worn, but with Staunton on song, Richard Loncraine’s film mines genuine feeling.” – James Mottram, Total Film
Childhood friends Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Amanda (Olivia Cooke) reconnect in suburban Connecticut after years of growing apart. Lily has turned into a polished, upper-class teenager, with a fancy boarding school on her transcript and a coveted internship on her resume; Amanda has developed a sharp wit and her own particular attitude, but all in the process of becoming a social outcast. Though they initially seem completely at odds, the pair bond over Lily’s contempt for her oppressive stepfather, Mark, and as their friendship grows, they begin to bring out one another’s most destructive tendencies. Their ambitions lead them to hire a local hustler, Tim, and take matters into their own hands to set their lives straight. From first-time writer-director Cory Finley comes a darkly comic psychological thriller exploring friendship, privilege and morality in a rarefied Connecticut setting of sprawling mansions, equestrian stables and elite private schools. Starring Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, Split) and Anton Yelchin (Green Room), in one of his final screen performances, Thoroughbreds takes its cues from classic film noir, locating a deadpan wickedness in the maneuvers of his dual protagonists Amanda and Lily.Director and writer Cory Finley joins us to talk about his his background as a playwright, adjusting to life on a film set and working with his stellar cast of young actors.
“It’s a testament to the twisted brilliance of (Cory) Finley’s film that a scumbag drug dealer becomes its moral center.” – Rob Thomas, Capital Times
“Set in the opulent, WASP-y world of teen divas with killer instincts, Cory Finley’s deliciously depraved satire skewers an empathy drain that he sees as sadly emblematic of modern life.” – Peter Travis, Rolling Stone
“Remember the name Cory Finley.” – Peter DeBruge, Variety
“Thoroughbreds was written and directed by first-time filmmaker Cory Finley, and for other amateurs it’s a masterclass in squeezing everything you can out of a small budget.” – Andrew Lapin, NPR
“Thoroughbreds, in other words, has been made with diabolical craft and intelligence, the kind that marks director (Cory) Finley as a major new American talent.” – A.A. Dowd, AV Club
“One of the most assured and impressive American debut movies of the year.” – Oliver Lyttleton, The Playlist
Oh Lucy!follows Setsuko (Shinobu Terajima in an Independent Spirit Award-nominated performance), a single, emotionally unfulfilled woman, seemingly stuck with a drab, meaningless life in Tokyo. At least until she’s convinced by her niece, Mika to enroll in an unorthodox English class that requires her to wear a blonde wig and take on an American alter ego named “Lucy.” This new identity awakens something dormant in Setsuko, and she quickly develops romantic feelings for her American instructor, John (Josh Hartnett). When John suddenly disappears from class and Setsuko learns that he and her niece were secretly dating, Setsuko enlists the help of her sister, Ayako and the pair fly halfway across the world to the outskirts of Southern California in search of the runaway couple. In a brave new world of tattoo parlors and seedy motels, family ties and past lives are tested as Setsuko struggles to preserve the dream and promise of “Lucy.” Director Atsuko Hirayanagi (Spirit Award nominee for Best First Feature) joins us for a conversation on the challenges of making hermulti-cultural comedy / drama and working with the film’s Executive Producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.
“Within the confines of this cross-cultural shaggy-dog tale, Hirayanagi locates both a sharp vein of absurdist comedy and a bitter, melancholy undertow.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
“Hirayanagi isn’t selling a packaged idea about what it means to be human; she does something trickier and more honest here, merely by tracing the ordinary absurdities and agonies of one woman’s life.” – Manohla Dargis, New York Times
“Japanese filmmaker Atsuko Hirayanagi explores the transformative power of human connection in Oh Lucy!, a film which seems to play like a standard culture clash comedy but reveals itself to run significantly deeper.” – Nikki Baughan, Screen International
“Expanded from her award-winning short of the same title, Oh Lucy! betrays some rough edges in the transition, but Hirayanagi’s idiosyncratic touch marks her as a talent worth tracking.” – Andrew Barker, Variety
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.
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
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 Lubatries 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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
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.
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.
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
“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
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
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
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 guruBill 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 MurrayMagic 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.
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.
“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
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.
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 thisyear’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 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 offamily, race and hope.
“[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
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 alsothe 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.