Jesse Noah Klein’s powerful second feature, LIKE A HOUSE ON FIRE, follows Dara (Sarah Sutherland) as she returns home to reconnect with her husband Danny (Jared Abrahamson) and her young daughter, whom she left two years earlier. When she arrives, she discovers that Therese, (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) who is seven months pregnant has taken her place. Compounding Dara’s anxiety, Isabel, (Margaux Vaillancourt) her daughter no longer recognizes her. LIKE A HOUSE ON FIRE tells the story of a woman’s struggle to regain the life she left behind. Director and writer Jesse Noah Klein joins us to talk about how he used his film to take nuanced look at motherhood, trauma, mental health, marriage, identity and what it means to be a family. Under his direction a superb cast, led by Jared Abrahamson (Finding a Family) and a breakout performance by Sarah Sutherland (VEEP, Chronic) LIKE A HOUSE ON FIRE is a compelling tale of struggle and hope.
About the filmmaker – Jesse Noah Klein is a filmmaker from Montréal. He studied film at The University of Texas at Austin and went on to teach in the United States before returning to his native Canada to teach and make films. His first feature We’re Still Together had its world premiere in competition at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, and went on to play at over 20 festivals worldwide. The film won two ACTRA awards as well as Prix Iris nominations at the Québec Cinéma Gala for outstanding male performance for its two leading actors. It is distributed by AZ Films in Canada and by Strand Releasing in the US and abroad.
About Sarah Sutherland – Upon graduating from New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, Sutherland was cast alongside Julia Louis-Dreyfus as her daughter in HBO’s critically acclaimed and award-winning comedy series “Veep”. The political satire follows the life of former Senator Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and all that entails being the Vice President of the United States. Sutherland and the cast have been nominated 3 times in the category of Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. Up next Sutherland has a leading role in the indie film “Like a House on Fire” and will co-star with Adam Brody in “Kid Detective.” Other credits include the features “Chronic” opposite Tim Roth, “What They Had” with Michael Shannon and Hilary Swank, and television appearances in HBO’s “The Newsroom” and “Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories” on Adult Swim.
Octogenarian artist Audrey Flack has always been a trailblazer.QUEEN OF HEARTS: AUDREY FLACK, a documentary from Oscar® and Emmy® Award-winning directorDeborah Shaffer (The Wobblies, To Be Heard) and co-director/editor Rachel Reichman (Hitchcock/Truffaut, A Letter to Elia), is an intimate portrait of her life and work, as she returns to her canvas for the first time in decades, revealing her longtime struggles as an artist and mother to find her rightful place in the art world. At 88 years-old, Audrey Flack holds a unique place in the history of contemporary art in America. Feminist, rebel, mother, painter, sculptor and teacher, Audrey’s often controversial 40-year career evolved from abstract expressionism in the 1950s to photorealism in the 1970s. One of the first women ever included in the famed Janson’s History of Art, Audrey continues to create, explore, and inspire with her unique style and indomitable spirit. QUEEN OF HEARTS follows Flack as she takes her work in a brand new direction and reveals her long-term struggles as the mother of a child with autism. Flack has something deep and genuine to communicate to the world. Director Deborah Shaffer joins us for a conversation on getting to know her endlessly fascinating, multi-talented subject who is still testing, still experimenting, still searching.
About the filmmaker – Academy Award winning filmmaker Deborah Shaffer began making social issue documentaries as a member of the Newsreel collective the ‘70’s. She co-founded Pandora Films, one of the first women’s film companies, which produced several shorts. Her first feature documentary, The Wobblies, premiered at the New York Film Festival in 1979. During the 80’s Shaffer focused on human rights in Central America and Latin America, directing many films including Witness to War: Dr. Charlie Clements which won the Academy Award for Short Documentary in 1985, and Fire From the Mountain and Dance of Hope which both played at the Sundance Film Festival. Shaffer directed one of the first post-September 11 films, From the Ashes: 10 Artists followed by From the Ashes: Epilogue, which premiered at the Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals. She is also the Executive Producer of the Academy Award-nominated short Asylum, and has directed numerous acclaimed public television programs on women and the arts. She directed and produced To Be Heard, which won awards at numerous festivals and aired nationwide on PBS. She has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Irene Diamond Lifetime Achievement Award by the Human Rights Watch Film Festival.
“a thoroughly engaging documentary portrait of an artist…[and] the perfect introduction to its subject, comprehensive in its detail and captivating in its approach.” – Christopher Reed, Hammer to Nail
“…what’s refreshing about Deborah Shaffer and Rachel Reichman’s look is how intimate and personal it feels, grounding a remarkable woman in a very personable and extraordinary light.”-Tynan Yanaga, Film Inquiry
“…she has been an incredible photorealist, armed with a convincing spray brush. Now, the artist finally gets her due in this documentary about her life.” – Nadja Sayej, Forbes
From Kim A. Snyder, director of the Peabody Award-winning documentary Newtown, comes Us Kids, an insightful, rousing coming-of-age story of a generation of youth leaders determined to take the reins and fight for justice at a most critical time in our nation’s history. Sparked by the plague of gun violence ravaging their schools, Us Kids, chronicles the March For Our Lives movement from the point of view of Emma González, David Hogg, Samantha Fuentes and the expansive coalition of teenage activists involved over the course of several years as they pull off the largest youth protest in American history and set out across the country to build an inclusive and unprecedented youth movement that addresses racial justice, a growing public health crisis, and shocks a political system into change. Director Kim A. Snyder joins us for a conversation on the historic progress made by the reluctant activists who dramatically change the perception that young people should “wait there turn” in terms of affecting the course of politics in America and the world.
Get Involved – US KIDS is kicking off its launch with the just-announced Vote With Us Virtual Rally, a national GOTV campaign with the focus to educate, motivate & mobilize young people and communities of color to vote early. The event will take place on Saturday, October 24, at 3 p.m. ET/Noon PT, streaming at www.votewith.us and simulcast across YouTube and more. Ahead of its theatrical release on October 30, never-before-seen clips from the film will be shown throughout the rally, alongside performances, appearances and support by the film’s subjects, Lisa Bonet, Sherry Cola, Common, Andra Day, Candice Dupree, Emma González, David Hogg, Vic Mensa, Renee Montgomery, Mark Ruffalo, and Bria Smith.
About the filmmaker – Kim Snyder’s most recent feature documentary, Us Kids premiered in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2020 Sundance competition. Prior, she directed the Peabody award-winning documentary Newtown, which premiered in the US Competition at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Newtown screened at premiere festivals worldwide and was theatrically released followed by a national broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens and Netflix. Her most recent short, Lessons from a School Shooting: Notes from Dunblane, premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and was awarded Best Documentary Short followed by the DocDispatch Award at the 2018 Sheffield DocFest and a Grierson Award nomination. Lessons… is a Netflix Original and is streaming in 196 countries. Snyder’s prior works include the feature documentary, Welcome to Shelbyville, nationally broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens in 2011, and over a dozen short documentaries. Kim’s award-winning directorial debut feature documentary, I Remember Me was theatrically distributed by Zeitgeist Films. In 1994, she associate-produced the Academy Award-winning short film Trevor. Kim graduated with a Masters in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and resides in New York City.
The Atlantic’s first feature documentary, WHITE NOISE, is the definitive inside story of the movement that has come to be known as the alt-right. With unprecedented access, WHITE NOISE tracks the rise of far-right nationalism by focusing on the lives of three of its main proponents: Mike Cernovich, a conspiracy theorist and sex blogger turned media entrepreneur; Lauren Southern, an anti-feminist, anti-immigration YouTube star; and Richard Spencer, a white-power ideologue. Directed and shot by Daniel Lombroso in his directorial debut, this film takes the viewer into the terrifying heart of the movement—explosive protests, riotous parties, and the rooms where populist and racist ideologies are refined, weaponized, and injected into the mainstream. Just as the alt-right comes to prominence, infighting tears the movement apart. Spencer and Cernovich clash over the role of white nationalism in conservative politics. Southern struggles to reconcile her leadership role with the sexism and misogyny of her peers. Lawsuits mount and internecine fights erupt, but even as the alt-right fractures, its once-marginalized ideas gain a foothold in mainstream discourse; in Republican politics; in the establishment right-wing press, especially Fox News—and on the world’s biggest social-media platforms. Director Daniel Lombroso joins us to talk about his immersive experience into the world of the white nationalist movement, an ideologythat echos and trades on the tropes of fascism.
WHITE NOISE releases on October 21 in the U.S. on iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, and Google Play.
About the filmmaker – Daniel Lombroso is a freelance director and journalist. For five years, he was a staff producer at The Atlantic, where he directed shorts exploring Russian espionage, the Israeli settlement movement, far-right Christian media, and more. Lombroso graduated from McGill University with a degree in political science and lives in New York City. His debut feature film, WHITE NOISE, based on his four years reporting inside the alt-right, premiered at AFI DOCS in June 2020 to critical acclaim. It is the first-ever feature film by The Atlantic. For more go to: daniellombroso.com
“Lombroso did his homework, embedding himself with these people for several years, so that he won their trust and became privy to their private lives. “White Noise” is a deadly serious movie, but it is also, in a certain way, a funny one, because it captures the comedy of how much trouble even the influencers of hate now have squaring their lives with their belief systems. It takes reality to create characters as rivetingly contemptible as these.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“There have been several documentaries made about the ideological conditions that laid the ground for the Trump era, but White Noise may be the most illuminating.” – Stephen Silver, Splice Today
“Lombroso’s strategy is patient, and ruthless. He listens to these racists, spending long periods with them to better understand their lifestyles. We slowly start to see that they all kind of hate and resent each other; these fissures are at the heart of this movement’s moral and intellectual rot.” – Alan Zilberman, Brightest Young Things
“Director Daniel Lombroso takes a very clear-eyed approach to the subject, utilizing unprecedented access to show the movement for what it is – an effort to launch a full-on culture war, driven by people whose anger and media savvy is matched by their opportunism. Despite refraining from overt commentary most of the time, the last couple minutes of White Noise poignantly pull together the results of recent alt-right messaging.” – Mike McGranaghan, The Aisle Seat
Inspired by a New York Times No. 1 bestseller,The Way I See It is an unprecedented lookbehind the scenes at two of the most iconic presidents in American history, Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan, as seen through the eyes of renowned photographer Pete Souza. As official White House photographer, Souza was an eyewitness to the unique and tremendous responsibilities of the most powerful person on Earth. Award-winning filmmaker Dawn Porter’s The Way I See It also reveals how Souza transforms from a respected photojournalist to a searing commentator on the issues we face as a country and a people. The Way I See It also traces Souza’s fearless public transformation from chronicler of history to critic of an administration he believes is destroying the legacy of empathy, honor and hope that he witnessed during his 13 years at the White House.Inspired by his two bestselling books, Obama: An Intimate Portrait and Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents, and featuring more than 400 of his photos, the film is an emotional and stirring reminder of America’s pledge of a government for and by the people. Director Dawn Porter joins us for a conversation about the personal journey of an accomplished photojournalist turned activist and when it comes to the most powerful person in the world, why judgement, perspective, honor, and empathy matter.
MSNBC Films premiere Friday, October 9th, 10:00pm EDT
About the filmmaker – Dawn Porter (Director, Producer) is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work has appeared on HBO, PBS, Discovery and Netflix, among others. A two-time Sundance Film Festival director, Porter may be best known for her film Trapped, which explored laws regulating abortion clinics in the American South. The film won the Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking at Sundance in 2016, in addition to a Peabody and numerous other awards. Porter’s 2013 documentary Gideon’s Army premiered on HBO and won Best Editing at Sundance. Gideon’s Army was nominated for both an Independent Spirit Award and an Emmy Award, and is part of the U.S. Department of State’s American Film Showcase. More recently, Porter completed John Lewis: Good Trouble, a feature documentary about the late congressman that will be distributed by Magnolia Pictures and CNN Films. Porter has been commissioned to make films for the Center for Investigative Reporting, Time and Essence magazines, The New York Times Op Docs and Amazon. Her work has received generous support from the MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute, Sundance Film Institute, Chicken & Egg Pictures and other esteemed organizations. The filmmaker is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and the Directors Guild of America.
“If you’ve seen Dawn Porter’s John Lewis documentary, you’ll fall in love with this candid look behind the scenes with a former White House photographer in her new documentary The Way I See It.” – Carolyn Mauricette, View From The Dark
“It’s effective because it gives us momentary relief and validates our rage while asking once again for us to have hope and to keep moving ahead.” – Allyson Johnson, The Young Folks
“Chief White House Photographer Pete Souza and the makers of The Way I See It kindly remind us what decency looked like not so long ago.” – Brigid Presecky, Impressionist Media
“Filmmaker Porter delivers a blisteringly-paced documentary that is, virtually from start to finish, nothing short of fascinating…” – David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews
With his trumpet he turned the Tijuana Brass into gold, earning 15 gold and 14 platinum records; He has won nine Grammys Awards between 1966 and 2014, and received the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama in 2012. Herb co-founded the indie label, A & M Records with his business partner, Jerry Moss, which recorded artists as varied as Carole King, Cat Stevens, The Carpenters, Janet Jackson, Peter Frampton, Joe Cocker, Quincy Jones, Sergio Mendes, and The Police. A&M would go on to become one of the most successful independent labels in history. He has shown his striking work as an abstract painter and sculptor, worldwide. And through the Herb Alpert Foundation, he has given significant philanthropic support of educational programs in the arts nationwide, from the Harlem School of the Arts and Los Angeles City College to CalArts and UCLA. John Scheinfeld’s documentary Herb Alpert is… profiles the artist, now 85, mostly from the perspective of colleagues like Questlove, Paul Williams, Sting, and Bill Moyers. In their words, the shy, unassuming trumpeter is a musical, artistic and philanthropic heavyweight. Director John Scheinfeld stops by to talk about many facets of Alpert’s personal and public life that make him the compelling and warm-hearted person he is.
About the filmmaker – John Scheinfeld – From pop culture to politics, sports to world religions, Venice and Toronto film festivals to PBS, Emmy®, Grammy® and Writers Guild Award nominee John Scheinfeld is a critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker with a broad range of subjects and productions to his credit. In addition to directing, writing and producing Herb Alpert Is…, Scheinfeld is in post-production on a primetime documentary special about comedy legend Garry Marshall that will air on ABC in the Spring of 2020. Another Scheinfeld feature documentary, Sergio Mendes: In The Key of Joy, had its World Premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in January 2020 and will be released worldwide on multiple media platforms later in the year. Previously, his feature documentary, Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, was an official selection of the Telluride Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival before playing on 175 theater screens worldwide during the spring of 2017. In November 2017 it was the season premiere of Independent Lens, the largest showcase for independent documentary film on television. Scheinfeld is best known for two widely acclaimed feature documentaries: The U.S. vs. John Lennon, which tells the true story of the US government’s attempt to silence the beloved musician and iconic advocate for peace and Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?, a compelling yet wildly entertaining documentary about one of the most talented and uncompromising singer-songwriters in pop music history. For more on the work of John Scheinfeld go to: crewneckproductions.com
“The story of Herb Alpert is a lot more than a snappy greatest hits collection; it’s a deep dive into the agonies and ecstasies that drive profoundly creative people.” – Bill Newcott, The Saturday Evening Post
“This movie will likely go down as the definitive documentary about Alpert and, as such, it’s not a bad way to be remembered.” – James Berardinelli, ReelViews
“This documentary is a joyous celebration of Herb Alpert’s life and career as it examines his roots not only as a musician but as a painter, sculptor, businessman and philanthropist.” – Charles Koplinski, Reel Talk with Chuck and Pam
In 1979, soon after Ayatollah Khomeini took power in Iran and the ousted Shah found shelter in the United States—to the great frustration of Iran’s new leaders—a group of revolutionaries attacked the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took 52 Americans hostage. They were held captive there for 444 days. President Jimmy Carter announced that he wanted to resolve the situation through diplomatic channels, but later on he planned a secret military rescue mission. DESERT ONE is a fast paced as a thriller from acclaimed director Barbara Kopple. Kopple draws upon a wealth of unearthed archival sources, as well as intimate interviews with President Jimmy Carter, Vice President Walter Mondale, Ted Koppel, former hostages, journalists, and Iranian student revolutionaries who orchestrated the take-over of the American Embassy in Tehran—to meticulously reconstruct this defining period in history when U.S.-Iranian relations were on the brink of disaster. Illustrated with animations and lots of archive footage, the story focuses on the woefully unsuccessful rescue mission and the political wrangling in the background, culminating in Carter’s landslide loss to Ronald Reagan in 1980. Director and Producer Barbara Kopple, Ambassador John Limbert and Staff Sergeant Taco Sanchez joins us to talk about the roller coaster story that includes a game-changing sand storm, equipment failure, a deadly crash and a US President willing to take responsibility for a mission gone wrong. The fallout from the failed mission still hangs heavy over the fractured US-Iranian relationship.
About the filmmaker: Barbara Kopple is a two-time Academy Award winning filmmaker. A director and producer of narrative films and documentaries, her two most recent projects are the documentaries Miss Sharon Jones! which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival in September 2015, was the opening night film of DOC NYC and tracks the talented and gregarious soul singer of the Grammy-nominated R&B band Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings during the most challenging year of her life and Shelter which tells a story of vets saving vets, delving into the psychological trauma created by military service, the effects that remain long after active duty, and the difficult road back to a normal life for these women and men. Other recent projects include Hot Type: 150 Years of The Nation which examines America’s oldest continuously published weekly magazine through the eyes of the passionate journalists who have sustained its critical voice and Running from Crazy, which premiered at Sundance in 2013 and received a 2014 Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special. Fight To Live, which through the eyes of terminal patients and their advocates tells the story of the struggles many with rare and orphan diseases face in choosing their preferred therapies through the roadblocks imposed by the current FDA approvals process. A Force of Nature, which celebrates the life and work of journalist and philanthropist Ellen Ratner, following her from her home base in Washington, DC, to hurricane-ravaged Mississippi to war-torn South Sudan; Gun Fight, which explores the place of guns in US culture, profiling victims of gun violence and proponents on both sides of the gun debate; The House of Steinbrenner, part of ESPN’s Emmy nominated “30 for 30” series, which received a 2010 Peabody Award as well as the International Documentary Association Award for Best Continuing Series; and the Emmy-nominated, Woodstock: Now and Then, a look back at the legacy of the historic music festival, 40 years later. Well known for her work on US labor issues, Barbara directed Steamfitters Local Union 638 in 2007 for HBO’s acclaimed Addiction Series. The New York Times likened this short documentary to “crisp tonic with lime.” This program was awarded the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences Governor’s Award. For more on Barbara Kopple’s films go to: cabincreekfilms.com
“Kopple covers every angle of the story and the history in this gripping documentary that combines incredible archival footage and recordings with interviews of some surviving hostages and members of Delta Force, the unit that attempted the rescue.” – Catherine Springer, AwardsWatch
“You emerge from “Desert One” knowing certain aspects of the Iran-hostage crisis better than you did before. That makes it a worthy film, and an absorbing one.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
Nena Erb, an ACE and Emmy®-winning editor, for her work can be seen on HBO’s Emmy® nominated and Peabody award-winning series INSECURE,episode Lowkey Trying directed by Kerry Washington. As both an Asian American and person of color, she is committed to advancing the stories of others. She is thrilled to be a continuing part of the team showing the reality of life for modern women of color in America. Her work can also be seen on Apple TV’s groundbreaking Little America series. As an immigrant herself, she’s excited to help shape standout episodes for this series this season including The Son, tackling a gay man’s struggle for safety and love as he attempts a harrowing immigration to the United States and The Silence, which charts love among immigrants in a situation where sound/speaking is forbidden. Emmy nominated editor Nena Erb joins us to talk about the career decision that brought her to the editing suite and why mentoring others is her way of helping others “get into the room” where they can have a positive impact on the stories being told.
About the filmmaker: Nena Erb, a gifted ACE and Emmy®-winning editor born in Taipei, Taiwan and based in Los Angeles. Her family immigrated to the US in the late 70’s to live in a democracy and have the right to vote. Raised in an Asian American immigrant family, Nena’s father wanted her to be a doctor and her mother wanted her to be a pianist with the LA Philharmonic. Nena wanted to be Andy Warhol. After graduating with an art degree, a friend brought her into the entertainment industry and she started working in various capacities in production. It was her stint as an associate producer that gave her the opportunity to work closely with editors. This proved to be a defining moment for her interest in post-production. Since then, Nena has been the editor on productions for HBO, Universal, CBS, Apple, and others. She is experienced in multiple genres from drama series to feature films, documentaries and comedy. In 2016, she received an Emmy® award for her work on HBO’s documentary series Project Greenlight.In addition, she has received two ACE Eddie nominations for her work, one for HBO’s Peabody award-winning series INSECURE and the other for CW’s acclaimed seriesCrazy Ex-Girlfriend. Currently, she is editing Little America, an anthology series on America’s immigrants, produced by Kumail Najiani, Emily V. Gordon, Alan Yang, and Lee Eisenberg.
WALK RUN CHA-CHAhas been nominated for Documentary Short Subject at the 92nd Academy Awards®. Directed by Laura Nix, the film follows Paul and Millie Cao, who lost their youth to the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Forty years later, they have become successful professionals in Southern California-and are rediscovering themselves on the dance floor. WALK RUN CHA CHA is now streaming on New York Times Op-Docs.
About the Filmmaker: Director Laura Nix Laura Nix is an award-winning fiction and nonfiction filmmaker based in Los Angeles. WALK RUN CHA-CHA is adapted from a feature-length documentary in progress. It was produced by Concordia Studio for The New York Times Op-Docs and premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. Laura’s work also includesother work includes her feature documentary INVENTING TOMORROW, about teenagers from around the globe tackling environmental issues through science, THE YES MEN ARE REVOLTING, a comedy about activism and climate change, the documentary THE LIGHT IN HER EYES, about a Syrian Qur’an school for women and she was a writer on the Emmy-nominated documentary CALIFORNIA STATE OF MIND: THE LEGACY OF PAT BROWN. In 2001, Nix co-founded the production company Automat Pictures, where she produced and/or directed over 100 presentations, including the feature documentary WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT: THE STORY OF HEDWIG, which played in over a dozen film festivals in the U.S. and worldwide. Previously she was a member of Oscar-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s production company Telling Pictures, where she was Associate Producer on THE CELLULOID CLOSET.
“Laura Nix’s WALK RUN CHA-CHA is a moving, poignant portrait of two aging refugees who have endured a great deal, and who now face one of life’s biggest challenges: figuring out how to stay in love. Through them, Nix also evokes the textures, tastes, and sounds of Vietnamese refugee life, and mixes them in with everything that is good about the United States. Ultimately, WALK RUN CHA-CHA is an optimistic film about both love and hope—the hope that our country will continue to believe in welcoming strangers from other lands, who in the end are not that strange at all.”– Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer
The acclaimed PBS documentary series Independent Lens, recently honored with two Peabody Awards, a Primetime Emmy nomination and 12 News & Documentary Emmy nominations, returns for a new season on Monday, October 28.This year’s premiere is Made in Boise,an engrossing look at the complex and controversial world of gestational surrogacy told through the stories of four women carrying babies for gay men and infertile couples in the conservative heartland of Idaho — the unofficial “surrogacy capital” of the United States. Also on the fall schedule is Decade of Fire, which travels back to the 1970s when the South Bronx was burning, to showcase the dedicated citizens who outlasted the flames and saved their community; The Interpreters, a moving look at the Afghan and Iraqi interpreters who risked their lives aiding American troops and who now struggle to find safety and security for themselves and their families; Conscience Point, which unearths the deep clash of values between the Native American Shinnecock of Long Island and their affluent Hamptons neighbors; and Attla, the rousing story of Alaska Native George Attla, who with one good leg and a determined mindset went on to become a champion dogsled racer. Other highlights of the Winter/Spring 2020 slate include Always in Season, a harrowing look at the history of lynching and the 2014 case of Lennon Lacy, a North Carolina teen who died under unexplained circumstances; Bedlam, a psychiatrist’s chronicle of what mental illness means in the U.S. today, interwoven with the story of how the system tragically failed his own sister; and Rewind, a devastating, autobiographical documentary about the far-reaching consequences of multigenerational child sexual abuse. Independent Lens Executive Producer Lois Vossen joins us to talk about the fundamental principles to support filmmakers telling stories about their communities and commitment to showcase thought-provoking documentaries about the issues that divide us and the ideals and beliefs that bind us together.
Made in Boise by Beth Aala(Monday, October 28)Go inside the lives of four surrogates and the intended parents whose children they carry. As the number of surrogate births surge across the country, a surprising epicenter of the movement is Boise, Idaho, where hundreds of women are choosing to be surrogates. For gay couples, single men, and those who struggle with infertility, this booming industry is often the last resort to biological parenthood. The film follows the four women as they navigate the rigors of pregnancy and the mixed feelings of their own families, who struggle to understand their choice to risk the physical and emotional complications of carrying babies for someone else.
Decade of Fire by Vivian Vázquez Irizarry, Gretchen Hildebran and Julia Steele Allen(Monday, November 4)In the 1970s, the Bronx was on fire and close to a quarter-million people were displaced when their close-knit, multiethnic neighborhood burned. While the abandonment of landlords and dwindling support from government officials led to the devastation, Black and Puerto Rican residents were blamed. Now, Bronx-born Vivian Vázquez Irizarry explores the truth about the borough’s untold history and reveals how her community chose to resist, remain and rebuild.
The Interpreters by Andrés Caballero and Sofian Khan(Monday, November 11)More than 50,000 local interpreters helped protect U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, enabling soldiers to communicate with the local population. But those who took the job were often considered traitors. In the aftermath of war, some have been able to leave their home countries and reach safety, while others still languish in hiding and fear for their lives.
Conscience Point by Treva Wurmfeld(Monday, November 18)In Long Island’s Hamptons, one of the wealthiest areas in the nation and an epicenter of the luxury property boom, a clash of values is taking place. The original inhabitants of the beautiful peninsula — the Shinnecock Indian Nation — find themselves squeezed onto a tiny, impoverished reservation. Over hundreds of years they have seen their ancient burial grounds plowed up for the widening of roads, mega-mansions, and ultra-exclusive golf courses like the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. Now Shinnecock activists and long-standing residents, including farmers and fishing communities, are taking a stand against a never-ending tide of wealthy transplants, overdevelopment, pollution, congested highways and skyrocketing property taxes.
Attla by Catharine Axley (Monday, December 16)The inspiring but little-known story of legendary Alaska Native dogsled champion George Attla, who — with one good leg and fierce determination — rose to international fame. In the final chapter of his life, Attla emerges from retirement to mentor his 20-year-old grandnephew. With their sights set on reviving proud cultural traditions, the pair embark on a journey to compete in the world’s largest dogsled sprint race, one that has seen a steep decline in Native competitors.
Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice is a love song to one of the most memorably stunning voices that has ever hit the airwaves, Linda Ronstadt. She burst onto the 1960s folk rock music scene in her early twenties as the lead singer of the Stone Poneys, Ronstadt eventually branched out to begin her decades long career as a solo artist, touring the world selling out stadiums and, at one point, setting the record as the highest paid female artist in rock. Most remarkable to this day is her interest in and willingness to jump into new and challenging styles of music, including opera, jazz, and Mexican folk, excelling fantastically with each. Ronstadt has also been an outspoken political advocate for causes such as same-sex marriage and the inhumane treatment of undocumented immigrants, never shying away from fighting for what she believes both on and off the stage. Oscar-winning directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (The Times of Harvey Milk, The Celluloid Closet, Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt, Howl, Lovelace and End Game) use deep-cut archival footage, and Ronstadt’s own astute recollections, to celebrate an artist whose desire to do justice to the songs that touched her soul made generations of fans fall in love with her – and with the sound of her voice. Co-directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman join us to talk about a remarkable singer /artist and an even better person.
“She shows herself to be one of its indispensable interpreters, as a vocalist and also as a thinker – covering a sprawling landscape with elegance, passion and insight.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times
“It captures the life and career of a rock ‘n’ roll star who never looked back, never apologized, never compromised.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“Astutely chronicling an amazing musical career that ended prematurely due to Parkinson’s disease, Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice will delight the singer’s old fans and likely make her many new ones as well.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
“An excellent retrospective and celebration of Ronstadt’s trailblazing career.” – Sophia Stewart, Nonfics
A looming disaster in one of the most spectacular environments on Earth sparks a rescue mission unlike any other in SEA OF SHADOWS, a riveting new documentary with the intensity of a Hollywood thriller from National Geographic Documentary Films and winner of the Sundance audience award. When Mexican drug cartels and Chinese traffickers join forces to poach the rare totoaba fish in the Sea of Cortez, their deadly methods threaten to destroy virtually all marine life in the region, including the most elusive and endangered whale species on Earth, the vaquita porpoise.SEA OF SHADOWS follows a team of dedicated scientists, high-tech conservationists, investigative journalists and courageous undercover agents as well as the Mexican Navy as they put their lives on the line to save the last remaining vaquitas and bring the vicious international crime syndicate to justice. Director Richard Ladkani (The Ivory Game, The Devil’s Miner) talks about the monumental challenge of saving a highly intelligent mammal from a desperately poor community who see the black market totoaba and the vaquita as a way to spare their family from a life of poverty and degradation.
“Sea of Shadows may still raise awareness about the plight of other sea creatures still under threat from illegal nets sweeping the bottom of the ocean, killing everything unfortunate enough to swim in its wake.” – Monica Castillo, Remezcla
ICE ON FIRE, an eye-opening documentary that focuses on many never-before-seen solutions designed to slow down our escalating environmental crisis, goes beyond the current climate change narrative and offers hope that we can actually stave off the worst effects of global warming. Eleven years after Conners’ first collaboration with Executive Producer Leonardo DiCaprio on “The 11th Hour,”which emphasized the problems of climate change, ICE ON FIRE instead focuses on the cutting-edge research behind today’s climate science – and the innovations aimed at reducing carbon in the atmosphere, which could pave the way for a reduction in the global temperature rise and a benefit to the planet’s life systems. ICE ON FIRE emphasizes the importance of an immediate, two-pronged approach to reversing the crisis: reducing carbon emissions through traditional renewable energy sources and new ones, like tidal energy, and implementing “drawdown” measures, focusing on methods for drawing down and sequestering carbon, including direct air capture, sea farms, urban farms, biochar, marine snow, bionic leaves and others. Director Leila Conners joins us to talk about the looming catastrophe and the emerging and encouraging techniques and technologies that can provide a sustainable path forward.
THE LAVENDER SCARE is the first documentary film to tell the little-known story of an unrelenting campaign by the federal government to identify and fire all employees suspected of being homosexual. In 1953, President Eisenhower declared gay men and lesbians to be a threat to the security of the country and therefore unfit for government service. His directive triggered the longest witch hunt in American history. Over the next four decades, tens of thousands of government workers would lose their jobs for no reason other than their sexual orientation. But the actions of the government had an unintended effect. They inadvertently helped ignite the gay rights movement. In 1957, after thousands had lost their jobs, a Harvard-trained astronomer named Frank Kameny became the first person to fight his dismissal. His attempts to regain his job evolved into a lifelong fight for the rights of LGBT people. The Lavender Scare is a compelling story of one man’s fight for justice. And it is a chilling reminder of how easy it can be, during a time of fear and uncertainty, to trample the rights of an entire class of people in the name of patriotism and national security. Director Josh Howard (60 Minutes) joins us to talk about Senator Joseph McCarthy, scare tactics, blind prejudice and the willful destruction of thousands of peoples lives.
“Glenn Close’s voice-over is used to try to smooth over jumps forward and backward in time, but keeping all the players here in balance proves difficult for first-time director Josh Howard. – Dan Callahan, The Wrap
“This powerful doc is sadly all too relevant.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
“Thoroughly researched and evidenced, wonderfully detailed, informative and authoritative but always in touch with the human story at its heart. – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
“The Lavender Scare is a must watch for everyone in today’s political climate regardless of sexual orientation.” – Beth McDonough, After Ellen
ARTIFISHAL is a film about wild rivers and wild fish. It explores the high cost – ecological, financial and cultural – of our mistaken belief that engineered solutions can make up for habitat destruction. The film traces the impact of fish hatcheries and farms, and the extraordinary amount of American taxpayer dollars wasted on an industry that hinders wild fish recovery, pollutes our rivers, and contributes to the problem it claims to solve. ARTIFISHAL also dives beneath the surface of the open-water fish farm controversy, as citizens work to stop the damage done to public waters and our remaining wild salmon. Director Josh Murphy joins us for a conversation on the devastating consequences that fish hatcheries are having on the salmon and other native species, the damage being done vital eco-systems and the enormous cost of a failed system.
Call to Action:
Wild salmon and southern resident killer whales are on the brink of extinction. Now a misguided plan to feed the starving whales with hatchery salmon will push both endangered species closer to the edge, while costing taxpayers millions of dollars per year. Hatcheries and over harvest, along with net-pen fish farms and dams, are key contributors to the catastrophic decline of wild Chinook salmon and southern resident killer whales in the Pacific Northwest. Now, Washington state’s Orca Task Force recommendations include a plan to “feed the orcas” with 60 million more hatchery salmon per year. The proposed budget requests up to $87 million dollars to fund this plan for 10 years. Science tells us this won’t work: orcas need larger wild salmon, while adding more hatchery fish further weakens the wild-salmon gene pool. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) have the power to make this change.Patagonia’s petition calls on NOAA Regional Administrator Barry Thom, WDFW Director Kelly Susewind, and our elected decision makers to stop wasting money on failed plans and invest in science-based solutions: reduce hatchery production, remove dams and change how we harvest salmon.
Academy Award-winning Passion Pictures and HHMI Tangled Bank Studios present one of the most important but untold science stories of our time, THE SERENGETI RULESis a tale with profound implications for the fate of life on our planet. Beginning in the 1960s, a small band of young scientists, Bob Paine, Tony Sinclair, Mary E. Power, John Terborgh, Jim Estes, and Sean B. Carroll headed out into the wilderness, driven by an insatiable curiosity about how nature works. Immersed in some of the most remote and spectacular places on Earth—from the majestic Serengeti to the Amazon jungle; from the Arctic Ocean to Pacific tide pools—they discovered a single set of rules that govern all life. Now in the twilight of their eminent careers, these five unsung heroes of modern ecology share the stories of their adventures, reveal how their pioneering work flipped our view of nature on its head, and give us a chance to reimagine the world as it could and should be. Director Nicolas Brown joins us to talk about the far-reaching implications of the groundbreaking work done by Bob Paine on the importance of “keystone” species and the tremendously important work done by his colleagues since then can lead to a restoration of the natural order and help humanity reverse an ecological catastrophe.
** THE SERENGETI RULES – Dr. Jim Estes, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCSC and subject of the film with Dr John Terborgh, Professor of Environmental Sciences, Duke University also subject of the film will participate in a Q&A moderated by David Guy Elisco, Executive Producer, HHMI Tangled Bank Studios following the 7:50 pm show on Friday, 5/17 at the Monica Film Center.
“‘The Serengeti Rules’ celebrates not only the diversity and beauty of the natural world but also recognizes the transformative power of curiosity and knowledge.” – Kimber Myers, Los Angeles Times
“An absolutely riveting documentary about biodiversity and the need for humanity–its gravest threat–to reverse its course and preserve it. Difficult under the likes of Trump and the Koch’s but necessary.” Louis Proyect, counterpunch.com
“The great accomplishment of “The Serengeti Rules” is that it directs the viewer to see beauty in the way an ecologist might.” – Two Bugbee, New York Times
“It’s a film which sounds an alarm, but, unlike most similarly-themed pictures, one which permits a chink of light into the traditionally bleak narrative of man’s impact on the land.” – Wendy Ide, Screen International