January 11 – Stu Pollard, President of Lunacy Productions

Lunacy Productions helmed by prolific producer Stu Pollard is excited debut for you their latest film “Rust Creek,” which is being distributed theatrically by IFC Midnight beginning January 11th, 2019.  “Rust Creek” starring Hermione Corfield (“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”), Jay Paulson (“Mad Me”), Sean O’Bryan (“Olympus Has Fallen”), Micah Hauptman (“Homeland”), Daniel R. Hills (“The Resident”), Jeremy Glazer (“Letters From Iwo Jima”), and John Marshall Jones (Con Air”); chronicles the presence of mind and skill an ordinary woman, utilizes while summoning extraordinary courage to survive a nightmare odyssey in this harrowing survival thriller. This  film takes the woman in jeopardy premise and turns it on its head with agility and smarts. This is the latest female driven (both in front of & behind the camera) film from Pollard & his team at Lunacy. Lunacy’s team are incredibly committed to supporting gender parity in filmmaking, producing several films featuring female protagonists (This Is Home, Rust Creek, Short History, Plus One) and working with female filmmakers like Jen McGowan (“Rust Creek”), Ani Simon Kennedy (“Short History of the Long Road”), and documentarian Alex Shiva (“This Is Home: A Refugee Story”) among others. Half of the department heads on “Rust Creek” are women and for many of the female crew, “Rust Creek” was their first feature film or their first opportunity in an elevated position (including DP Michelle Lawler, make-up artist Allie Shehorn, art director Priyanka Guterres, and postproduction supervisor Alex Jensen). Pollard has also directed two features: NICE GUYS SLEEP ALONE and KEEP YOUR DISTANCE. In his spare time he teaches at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and Film Independent. He holds a degree in business from Georgetown and an MFA in film from USC, is a member of the DGA and PGA, and serves on the boards of the Louisville Film Society and GU’s Alumni Board of Governors. Director, producer and head of Lunacy Productions Stu Pollard joins us to talk about his company’s commitment to gender equity on both sides of the camera.

For news and updates go to: lunacyproductions.com

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New York Film Critic Circle, Chair Eric Kohn and Vice Chair Alison Willmore

The New York Film Critics Circle was founded in 1935.  The Circle’s membership includes critics from daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, magazines, and qualifying online general-interest publications. Every year in December the organization meets in New York to vote on awards for the previous calendar year’s films. For 65 years the New York Film Critics Circle has consistently recognized, championed, and defended films that may otherwise have been slighted by audiences and the entertainment industry. Founded in part as a response to the Academy Awards’s sometimes dubious selections for the annual best in cinema, the NYFCC has from the start prided itself on striving to recognize a higher standard of film.The Circle’s awards are often viewed as harbingers of the Oscar nominations, which are announced each February. The Circle’s awards are also viewed, perhaps more accurately, as a principled alternative to the Oscars, honoring aesthetic merit in a forum that is immune to commercial and political pressures. A complete list of previous winners is available on this site, along with a list of current members with links to their publications.  NYFCC Chair Eric Kohn (IndieWire ) and Vice Chair Alison Willmore (Buzzfeed) join us to break down the top films of 2018 and the ever changing landscape of the film criticism industry.

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

Eric Kohn is the New York-based Deputy Editor & Chief Critic at Indiewire, where he has worked since 2007. In addition to overseeing operations for IndieWire‘s New York film team, he reviews numerous films throughout the year and reports on the industry. Kohn travels to film festivals around the globe, interviews filmmakers, and manages Indiewire’s network for professional film critics, the Criticwire Network. He also oversees the Critics Academy initiative, a series of educational workshops for aspiring entertainment journalists, and teaches film criticism at NYU. Prior to joining Indiewire, Eric contributed to The New York Times and other outlets.

Publication: IndieWire

Twitter: @erickohn

Alison Willmore is the film critic for Buzzfeed and is based in New York.

Publication: Buzzfeed

Twitter: @alisonwillmore

Ghostbox Cowboy, Director John Maringouin

John Maringouin’s brilliant, darkly comedic morality tale examines a wildly ambitious Westerner who tries to get in on China’s tech boom and finds that he may not be up to the task. Texan Jimmy Van Horn (David Zellner) is a cowboy huckster who arrives in the booming city of Shenzhen with a couple of bitcoins and huge ambitions of parlaying them into economic success. Lucky for Jimmy, he’s got a friend holding open the back door to this “accidental Shangri-La” – Bob Grainger (Robert Longstreet) – who’s gotten new teeth, a blonde wig and looks twenty years younger. He promises to do the same for Jimmy in 6 weeks. Director and writer John Maringouin (BIG RIVER MAN) develops a startling visual language in this excitingly fresh, complex perspective on China’s economic growth – and the gold rush mentality it inspires. Director John Maringouin joins us for a free-wheeling conversation about his funny, surreal and enthralling tale of the wild west cowboy capitalism that China is now living through.

 

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For news and updates go to: ghostboxcowboy.com

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88% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Stylish, comic and shameless, with a gonzo, midnight movie tone.” – David D’Arcy, Screen International

“”Ghostbox Cowboy” truly defies categorization, and remains so unpredictable that no single viewing can resolve the fertile ideas it puts on the table about globalization, innovation, and the role of individuality in a fast-paced world that rejects it.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

“Fascinating, atmospheric, and utterly strange in ways both good and bad, Ghostbox Cowboy pulls back the curtain on those trying to export the American dream and reaping the whirlwind.” – Joe Blessing, The Playlist

“‘Ghostbox Cowboy’ is fascinating, atmospheric and utterly strange.” – Joe Blessing, The Playlist

The Cleaners, Co-Director Moritz Riesewieck (Hans Block)

The riveting new documentary film THE CLEANERS takes us into the hidden third world shadow industry of digital cleaning, where the Internet rids itself of what it doesn‘t like. Here we meet five “digital scavengers” among thousands of people outsourced from Silicon Valley whose job is to delete “inappropriate” content of the net. In a parallel struggle, we meet people around the globe whose lives are dramatically affected by online censorship. A typical “cleaner” must observe and rate thousands of often deeply disturbing images and videos every day, leading to lasting psychological impacts. Yet underneath their work lie profound questions around what makes an image art or propaganda and what defines journalism. Where exactly is the point of balance for social media to be neither an “unlegislated” space nor a forum rife with censorship? THE CLEANERS struggles to come to terms with this new and disconcerting paradigm. Evolving from a shared social vision of a global village to a web of fake news and radicalization, the film charts the rise and fall of social media’s utopian ideology.  We talk about THE CLEANERS role managing what is seen and not seen on the internet, who are they, what are the criteria and why are the companies who are paying them so determined to remain hidden. Co-director Moritz Riesewieck (Hans Block) joins us for an engaging and provocative conversation on the lack of transparency and unaccountability from the people who have promised the world the opposite.

For news and updates go to: The Cleaners

92% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The chilling, morally hyper-conscious film “The Cleaners”… introduces us to a handful of these hidden, meagerly paid office workers, cogs in a shadow business headquartered mainly in Manila in unassuming buildings.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“The Cleaners is a riveting piece of work, prompting reflection on a whole range of big, urgent questions.” – Jake Wilson, The Age Australia

“It is the starting point for a wide-ranging examination of complex issues surrounding freedom of speech, censorship and corporate responsibility.” – Allan Hunter, Screen International

“With its excellent cinematography, ominous tone and incredibly relevant subject matter, The Cleaners is a masterclass in documentary filmmaking.” – Adam Patterson, Film Pulse

Krieg, Director Jeff Fry

In Jeff Fry’s directorial debut KRIEG, an elite German SS mountain unit commits atrocities against their Partisan prisoners while attempting to locate a French Underground transmitter. Ashamed of his involvement, one of the unit’s officers, Konrad Winter, is compelled to leave camp and seek out the resister’s transmitter in order to prevent further crimes. During his search he discovers a downed American aircraft. In a redemptive twist of fate, Winter embarks on a mission to save the wounded American bombardier by delivering to the very enemy for whom they are searching. KRIEG is a richly textured film that follows the journey of a soldier whose remorse for inaction in the face of murder compels him to risk all to protect a wounded enemy airman. KRIEG is an anti-war film that challenges our conceptions of war and how the enemy behaves, blurring the boundaries between nations to teach us that wars are not fought on the battlefield, but in the hearts of men. KRIEG stars Heiko Obermoller (“A Cure For Wellness”), Scott Bailey (“Timeless”), Alexander Schottky (“Nikola”), Zoey Sidwell (“How To Get Away With Murder”), Alex DeVorak (”Night of the Dead: Leben Tod”), Rene Heger (“Circle”), Marko Janovic (“Then What Happened?”), Amanda Michaels (KRIEG), Sierra Willis (“Forerunner”), Chad Evans (KRIEG), Joshua M. Bott (“Loser’s Lounge”), John Gillen (“Surge of Power: The Revenge of the Sequel”), Matt O’Hare (“Wearing Hitler’s Pants”), Ken Collins (“Cape Fear”), and Alison Lees-Taylor (“Escape From Tomorrow”). With an unprecedented thirty-three awards and an additional thirty nominations, KRIEG continues its incredible film festival awards sweep. Director Jeff Fry joins us for an in-depth conversation on the blood, sweat and tears that went into his “American foreign film” as well as the personal satisfaction of working with a dedicated group of film professionals who made it all possible.

For news and updates go to: krieg-the-movie.com

“Looks crisp and impressive on the big screen and is studded with solid performances from top to bottom.” – Boyd van Hoeji, Hollywood Reporter

Carrie Lozano, Director IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund

The International Documentary Association (IDA) is dedicated to building and serving the needs of a thriving documentary culture. Through its programs, the IDA provides resources, creates community, and defends rights and freedoms for documentary artists, activists, and journalists. IDA is the only group advocating specifically for the documentary filmmaking community. In many ways, this makes IDA’s advocacy work the most important and relevant work we do. Documentary storytelling expands our understanding of shared human experience, fostering an informed, compassionate, and connected world. The Enterprise Documentary Fund is one of the many logistical and financial programs offered by IDA.

About the Enterprise Documentary Fund: 

In the face of an all-out assault on the press, IDA is committed to standing behind the independent storytellers and watchdogs that make up our community—in large part, through the newly created Enterprise Documentary Fund. Made possible by a generous grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the fund will disburse $1 million per year for the next four years, in the form of production grants up to $100,000 and development grants up to $15,000. The fund is intended to support primarily mid-career filmmakers producing feature-length, in-depth explorations of original, contemporary stories with a journalistic foundation or that incorporate journalistic practice into the filmmaking process. The mission of the Enterprise Documentary Fund is admittedly ambitious: It seeks to provide valuable resources and support systems (not unlike those in newsrooms) for filmmakers taking on the critical stories of our time. Originally sparked by the findings in “Dangerous Documentaries,” the fund is a response to pleas from filmmakers themselves. In interviews recently conducted by Toni Bell, IDA’s Filmmaker Services Manager, filmmakers reiterated the major findings in “Dangerous Docs”: They want access to information about digital and physical security, research databases, legal and other experts, public relations strategists and mentors. Exercising our rights to free speech and freedom of the press are critical for a healthy democracy. As I write this, these rights are clearly under assault, and we owe it to ourselves and to the public to staunchly call ourselves journalists and artists—they are not mutually exclusive.”Carrie Lozano, Director of the Enterprise Documentary Fund

 

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For news and updates go to: documentary.org

For updates on funding resources go to: documentary.org/funding

Lost Child, Director Ramaa Mosley and Actor Kip Collins (Fig)

LOST CHILD follows an army veteran, Fern, who returns home in order to look for her brother, only to discover an abandoned boy lurking in the woods behind her childhood home. After taking in the boy, she searches for clues to his identity, and discovers the local folklore about a malevolent, life-draining spirit that comes in the form of a child; the Tatterdemalion. A beautifully-crafted mystery drama from award-winning director Ramaa Mosley. LOST CHILD stars Leven Rambin, Jim Parrack, John Taylor Smith, and Landon Edwards. Director / co-screenwriter (Tim Macy) Ramaa Mosley and actor Kip Collins joins us for a conversation on PTSD, self-financing your own film, the supernatural, and bracing the people of the Ozarks.

 

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For news and updates go to: bgpics.com/2018/lost-child

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“An extraordinarily delicate balancing act between drama and horror, visually and psychologically expansive, set in a place where stories of monsters are not mere entertaining fun, and where superstition is not harmless.” – MaryAnn Johnson, Flick Filosopher

“The slow-burning thriller walks a fine line, balancing elements of psychological drama and the supernatural, with a surging undercurrent of social commentary that sneaks up on you.” – Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times

“The slow-burning thriller walks a fine line, balancing elements of psychological drama and the supernatural, with a surging undercurrent of social commentary that sneaks up on you.” – Fred Topel, Monsters and Critics

Calling All Earthlings, Director Jonathan Berman

One the 2018’s most provocative and wildly entertaining documentaries is Calling All Earthlings. Director Jonathan Berman’s new film explores the Integratron, a mid-century dome created by one-time Howard Hughes confidante, George Van Tassel. Van Tassel claimed to have combined extraterrestrial guidance with the work of inventor/physicist Nikola Tesla and other alternative scientists, to build an electromagnetic time machine he dubbed “The Integratron.” Was he deluded? Or could the dome actually break through the boundaries of space, time, and energy?  FBI agents try to halt the growing army of outliers who gather in the desert to create a threatening reality on the edge of the midcentury American Dream. An empathetic enquiry into an archetypical countercultural movement, the story is told by relatives, neighbors, skeptics, believers, scientists, healers, artists, and historians, including Dr. Kevin Starr, the preeminent historian of California; Eric Burdon, musician and area resident, and futurists JJ and Desiree Hurtak. Berman’s film My Friend Paul (2000), about his relationship with his bipolar best friend. He is director and producer of  The  Shvitz  (1994), a film about the last traditional steam baths in New York. Berman also co-wrote the story for the independent comedy On The Run, and was the American producer on Claudia  Heuermann’s Sabbath in Paradise, which featured Harvey Pekar and John Zorn. Director Jonathan Berman’s documentaries explore third places, those beyond home or work. Berman joins us for a lively conversation on his endlessly fascinating film that never fails to educate, enlighten and entertain.

For news and updates go to: Callingallearthlingsmovie.com

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“Laugh if you want – or, conversely, give credence to the ufologists and time travelers – but to most of the people profiled this is serious stuff.” – Christoher Llewellyn, Hammer to Nail

“Most appealing is the film’s mixture of California post-War history, cults and a tinge of science fiction – an intriguing combination of elements that make it a winner.” – Paul Parcellin, Film Threat

“Flakey, non-judgmental fun with UFOlogists and their late guru.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

Film Challenge: A Blueprint for Better, AIA At-large Director, Peter Exley

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) launched its fourth annual film challenge on Monday, June 18. The challenge is a part of the AIA’s Blueprint for Better” campaign, an initiative that highlights the collaborative work of architects and civic leaders to solve some of the biggest issues facing cities today. The film challenge started in 2015 and every year participants have shot and submitted three to five-minute documentaries that shed a light on how civic leaders are working with architects to solve some of the most pressing issues of our time, such as infrastructure, urban issues, natural disasters and housing shortages. This year, the AIA will also be premiering its new short-documentary film alongside the film challenge titled “Caño Martin Peña: A Blueprint for Better”. The film depicts the rebuilding efforts of an architect and community leader in Puerto Rico following last year’s devastating Hurricane Maria that left more than three million people without power. Submissions for the film challenge—due by 8:59 p.m. EST on Monday, Aug. 27—will be subject to two rounds of judging. The first round of winners will be selected by a panel of jurors from the media, architecture and film industries. A second round will be open for public voting to choose the “People’s Choice Winner.” Last year’s competition garnered more than 268,000 votes. Participants will have the chance to win a $5,000 grand prize that includes distribution of the film through a multitude of channels, including screenings at the Architecture and Design Film Festival on Oct. 16 in New York in addition to travel and accommodations. The “People’s Choice Winner” will receive a screening at the Chicago Ideas Festival. Other finalists will be awarded a $500 prize. American Institute of Architects At-large Director Peter Exley stops by to talk about the great work being done around the country when there is collaboration between innovative government and a committed private sector.

For news and updates go to: aiafilmchallenge.org

 

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