March 22 – Dragged Across Concrete, Director S. Craig Zahler

DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE tells the tale of two policemen, one an old-timer, Ridgemen, (Mel Gibson), the other his volatile younger partner, Anthony, (Vince Vaughn), who find themselves suspended when a video of their strong-arm tactics become the media’s cause du jour. Low on cash and with no other options, these two embittered soldiers descend into the criminal underworld to gain their just due, but instead find far more than they wanted awaiting them in the shadows. What bad things will good men do for their families? In the hardboiled world of DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE, who lives, who dies, and who gets rich is a fate written in bullets. Director S. Craig Zahler stops to talk about his stylishly brutal, modern day film noir and his determination to tell this story on his own terms.

 

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For news and updates go to: Lionsgate.com / Dragged Across Concrete

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“S. Craig Zahler’s latest film is a true master stroke in filmmaking. It is elegantly slow, contained, precise and notably beautifully framed throughout.” – Ben Ralph, Discussing Film

“Anchored by three brilliant central performances, Dragged Across Concrete is an interesting, unpredictable movie that presents two plots that feel like we’ve seen them before and then zigs when we expect it to zag.” – Sean Fallon, Film Inquiry

“S. Craig Zahler is a singular voice in cinema, one who is willing to take pulp concepts and craft them into unflinchingly violent features.” – Niall Browne, Movies in Focus

“Few filmmakers come to mind who could orchestrate these slow-burning set pieces with such precision; it’s like watching a chess game in which everyone thinks they’re a king but most of them are pawns” – Michael Nordine, IndieWire

March 22 – The Long Shadow, Director Frances Causey

Of all the divisions in America, none is as insidious and destructive as racism. The powerful documentary THE LONG SHADOW takes a shockingly candid look at America’s original sin – slavery — and traces the history of slavery from the country’s founding, up through its insidious ties to racism today. We witness from the moment of America’s birth, how slavery was embedded in principal structural elements of society, and yet, even as slavery ended, these systems still operate today in various forms, carrying out their original purpose – to diminish the social role of black people and keep them in a perpetual state of suffering. Director Frances Causey and Producer Sally Holst, both privileged daughters of the South, were haunted by their families’ slave-owning pasts. They grew up in a time when white superiority was rarely questioned, and challenging this norm was often met with deadly consequences. Rejecting the oft-told romanticized version of early U.S. history, they embarked on a journey of hidden truths and the untold stories of how America – driven by the South’s powerful political influence – steadily, deliberately and with great stealth,  established white privilege in our institutions, laws, culture and economy. From New Orleans to Virginia, Mississippi and Canada, they traveled the roads of oppression, suppression, and even hope to reveal the direct link from early slavery, Jim Crow and strong-arm Southern politics to the current racial strife and division we face today. Director and Frances Causey is an Emmy-award winning journalist and documentary filmmaker who began her career with CNN. Her 2012 documentary feature, “Heist: Who Stole the American Dream?was a New York Times Critic’s Pick and is currently seen in over 50 countries. Causey was honored with the Women’s International Film and Television Jury Award for her work on Heist. Frances Causey joins us to talk about the stain of slavery and the legacy of racism that continues to torment the American Promise.

 

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For news and updates go to: thelongshadowfilm.com

Host a screening at: thelongshadowfilm.com/host-a-screening

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“The Long Shadow is a moving personal and informative history of anti-Black racism in the US packed with revealing details and analysis and leading us towards understanding, healing, and commitment to work for racial justice. A must see for white people concerned about racial equity and social justice.” ~ Paul Kivel, Co-founder, Showing Up for Racial Justice

“The Long Shadow is a gripping personalized history lesson, with Causey covering salient points, including how economics drove the despicable trading of humans. Her of-the-moment feature couldn’t be more necessary.” ~ Randy Myers, Mercury News

“If you want to know the true hidden history of the evil that slavery cast over America, and how it continues to this day, you must watch this movie.” ~ Thom Hartmann, The Thom Hartmann Show

March 22 – The Cradle of Champions- Director Bartle Bull

The most awarded “dream team” of documentary talent in decades CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS captures the epic story of three young people fighting for their lives in the oldest, biggest, most important amateur boxing tournament in the world: New York’s Daily News Golden Gloves. CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS follows three extraordinary, inspiring individuals—James Wilkins, Nisa Rodriguez, and Titus Williams—on an urban odyssey through a ten-week tournament, founded in 1927, that has produced more professional world champions than the Olympic Games. Telling a compelling story of dreams, heartbreak, and redemption, the result is a unique work of art. CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS is edge-of-the-seat drama with the polish of a Hollywood feature film and the intimacy of a gritty cinéma vérité classic.CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS Director Bartle Bull is a noted author and journalist who has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Financial Times. He joins us for a conversation on his desire to document an iconic sporting event that is teetering on the edge of extinction and the community that continues to support it.

 

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Cradle of Champions Dream Team:

Director of Photography, TOM HURWITZ ASC, – (Valentino: The Last Emperor, Queen of Versailles)

KIRSTEN JOHNSON – (Citizenfour, Cameraperson)

MATT PORWOLL – (Cartel Land )

WOLFGANG WELD – (Escape Fire: The Fight to Save American Health Care, Carrier)

NADIA HELLGREN – (Trapped, Searching for Sugarman, Fahrenheit 11/9)

Editor MICHAEL LEVINE – (Restrepo, Central Park Five, Billy the Kid)

Producer MAIKEN BAIRD – (Icarus, City of Ghosts, Client 9: The Trial of Eliot Spitzer)

Executive Producer DONALD ROSENFELD – (Tree of Life, Jodorowsky’s Dune)

For news and updates go to: cradleofchampionsfilm.com

“A new standard for character-driven narrative documentary… the excitement, the powerful story arc, and the unforgettable characters one expects from a first rate fiction film.”Santa Barbara Independent

Edge-of-the-seat drama with the polish of a Hollywood feature and the intimacy of a cinéma vérité classic.WeAreMovieGeeks.com

CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS wins Best Feature award at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, capturing “real life… with cinematic beauty”The Missoulian

March 15 – Combat Obscura, Director Miles Lagoze

Just out of high school, at the age of 18, Miles Lagoze enlisted in the Marine Corps. Lagoze was deployed to Afghanistan where he served as Combat Camera — his unit’s official videographer, tasked with shooting and editing footage for the Corps’ recruiting purposes and historical initiatives. But upon discharging, Lagoze took all the footage he and his fellow cameramen shot, and he assembled quite simply the very documentary the Corps does not want you to see. COMBAT OBSCURA is a groundbreaking look at daily life in a war zone as told by the Marines themselves. More than a mere compilation of violence, the edit ingeniously repurposes the original footage to reveal the intensity and paradoxes of an ambiguous war from an unvarnished perspective. Director Miles Lagoze joins us to talk about his deployment in America’s longest war, adapting to a whipsaw life of boredom, camaraderie and death and training to become a filmmaker via the United States Marine Corp.

 

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For news and updates go to: combatobscura.oscilloscope.net

Social Media:

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“The beauty of the film is its realness. All the footage is taken directly from his camera. Lagoze went on to compile all the events he felt were representative of his experience. He shows the gun fights, the cursing, the shouting, the laughter, the fear and the hostility of the men in the war. Nothing is withheld.”Jessica Duffield, VOX MAGAZINE

“War is not fought but lived, and this is as close to first-person as one can get without being there. COMBAT OBSCURA sinks deeper into darkness as it progresses, as the utter pointlessness and futility of America’s presence in Afghanistan overwhelms the troops. While we are initially invited to empathize with the Marines, their jokey comradery gives way to vicious menace. There is no apparent mission, just a loop of injuries and reprisals against an amorphous outside threat. The final two scenes are a despairing diptych. In the first, the men realize they’ve killed an unarmed shopkeeper and plot to cover it up. In the second, one of them is seriously wounded in a firefight and they scramble to get him airlifted to aid. There is no point to any of it, just horror. That is all there is to this war, and no uplifting words will ameliorate it.” – Daniel Schindel, THE FILM STAGE

“This Marine-made war documentary is so raw the corps doesn’t want you to see it. One of most genuine looks at what the Forever War was like for those who waged it.”James Clark, TASK AND PURPOSE

March 15 – Time for Ilhan, Director Norah Shapiro

The story follows rising political star Ilhan Omar, a proud hijab-wearing, one-time refugee Somali-American mother and community activist, as she seeks to unseat the long time incumbent who served in the legislature for 43 years. Also in the race is an eloquent male Somali activist who challenged but lost to Kahn in 2014. All three candidates run as progressive Democrats. Ilhan Omar’s win means she will become the first Somali-American, Muslim woman to hold state office in the United States, an especially dramatic prospect given the anti-Muslim rhetoric that brewed in the lead up to the 2016 Presidential race. Although the U.S. failed to elect its first female president, one woman still made history. Ilhan Omar’s story will present a counter narrative to the pervasive negative portrayal of both politics and Muslim immigrants and women in America. It will also raise questions about barriers to access to the political process in this country, and offer a refreshing and inspiring example of overcoming them. Director Norah Shapiro joins us for a conversation  about her intimate and invigorating look into the quixotic campaign and the multi-faceted life of a Somali refugee seeking to bring a new voice and perspective into an evolving American paradigm.

 

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For news and updates go to: timeforilhanfilm.com

Host a screening! Go to timeforilhanfilm.com/host

From the Time for Ihan website: Kicking off on International Women’s Day, March 9th, 2019, and continuing through the 2020 elections, we are partnering with grassroots groups, national organizations, and schools and universities to host dynamic screening events that connect audiences with opportunities to take action in their own communities.

Social Media:

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Leaves little doubt about what immigrants, especially diaspora survivors, have historically contributed to our democracy.” – Film Journal

“Although it’s too soon to say what Ilhan Omar’s long-term impact on American politics will be, her very presence represents the infusion of new energy that many believe the Democratic Party has long been in need of. She is now part of a new wave of politicians—and many more who’ve been inspired to run since the election of Donald Trump. And if she truly is the progressive politician Time for Ilhan portrays, maybe we still have a reason to say, ‘I’m with her.’” – The Root

“Observing her life on the electoral trail with remarkable intimacy and access, this rousing documentary offers rare insight into this formidable newcomer’s journey as she takes on a 43-year incumbent and redefines the face of American politics.” – The List

“She is so eloquent and passionate, I have no doubt that her platform will bring her to the world’s attention in the very near future. She is one to watch for.” – Musee Magazine

March 15 – Finding Steve McQueen, Director Mark Steven Johnson

The story of the United California Bank Robbery is one of the greatest stories never told. Back in 1972, the leader of a small group of safecrackers from Youngstown, Ohio got a tip from Jimmy Hoffa: President Nixon was hiding up to $30 million in dirty campaign funds in a bank in Laguna Niguel. Propelled by their hatred for Nixon, the gang travelled to California to rip off the President of The United States. “Finding Steve McQueen” is an unbelievable true story about one of the most daring bank jobs of all time. But at its heart it’s a story about identity. Who we are versus who we want to be — and what happens when those worlds collide. FINDING STEVE MCQUEEN features Travis Fimmel (“Vikings,” Warcraft: The Beginning, The Experiment), Rachael Taylor (Transformers, “Jessica Jones”, Shutter,) William  Fichtner (“Mom,” Black Hawk Down, Crash, Armageddon)  and Forest Whitaker (Black Panther, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Last King of Scotland). The film is directed by Mark Steven Johnson (Ghost Rider, Daredevil and Grumpy Old Men) is the true story behind “Finding Steve McQueen” one of those fascinating footnotes in American History that deserves to be told. And with a crooked president in the White House and a scandal looming…it’s a story that has never been more relevant. Director Mark Steven Johnson (Grumpy Old Men) stops by to talk about his beguiling stranger-than-fiction tale of politically motivated larceny and the love of a true Hollywood icon.

 

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For news and updates go to: momentumpictures.net

“[Director Mark Steven Johnson takes] what would have been a rather bland heist story and mix it with a mediocre love story to create an enjoyable final product. It’s an example of getting the most out of the material at hand.” – Rick Bentley, Tribune News Service

“Veteran director Johnson knows to prioritize his characters instead of his own cleverness, while Enzo’s motivating anger about bad men like Nixon reaching the highest levels of power without being punished for their crimes has a resonance today.” – Sherilyn Connelly, SF Weekly

“A slickly made piece of entertainment that’s a good time out at the movies.” – Walter Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle

Sharkwater Extinction, Founder of SeaChange Agency Brock Cahill

SHARKWATER EXTINCTION is a thrilling and inspiring action packed journey that follows filmmaker Rob Stewart (Sharkwater, Revolution) as he exposes the massive illegal shark fin industry and the political corruption behind it – a conspiracy that is leading to the extinction of sharks. From West Africa, Spain, Panama, Costa Rica, France, and even in our own backyard, Stewart’s third film dives into the often violent underworld of the pirate fishing trade to expose a multi-billion dollar industry. Shark finning is still rampant, shark fin soup is still being consumed on an enormous scale, and endangered sharks are now also being used to make products for human consumption. Stewart’s mission is to save the sharks and oceans before it’s too late. SHARKWATER EXTINCTION exposes the illegal activities isn’t easy; protecting sharks has earned him some powerful enemies. Friend colleague and founder of SeaChange Agency Brock Cahill joins us to talk about working with director and sea mammal advocate Rob Stewart, the popular misconceptions about sharks and the challenge to stop the unwarranted slaughter of 150 million sharks every year by a clandestine world-wide cabal.

 

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For news and updates go to: sharkwater.com

Social Media for Sharkwater

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For news and updates go to: theseachangeagency.org

Social Media for The SeaChange Agency

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“Stewart… reveals a cruel market in which tens of millions of sharks are caught every year, their fins cut off and their bodies thrown back in the water to die.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

“Stewart’s third film is also his best… with scenes of marine genocide that should make us all weep tears of rage.” – Peter Howell, Toronto Star

“Rob Stewart literally gave his life for Sharkwater Extinction. From the beginning, you see his passion for sharks and his dedication to saving them.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat

“An alarming, illuminating and emotionally gripping exposé. Forget about Captain Marvel and watch this powerful doc about the quest of a real-life hero, Rob Stewart, instead.” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru

Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People, Director Oren Rudavsky

Joseph Pulitzer’s New York newspaper, The World, would transform American media and make him wealthy, admired and feared. Throughout his four decades as a reporter and publisher, he created a powerful artistic vehicle that spoke to an unprecedented number of readers. Towards the end of his life, both sickly and blind, Pulitzer’s commitment to fearless reporting would tested by the most powerful person in American life. Pulitzer is an American icon who spoke of “fake news” over one hundred years ago. He fought the dangers that the suppression of news had for a democracy long before our present threats to press freedom. While he is remembered for the prizes that bear his name, his own heroic battles in the face of grave illness and Presidential ire have been forgotten as has the artistry and game changing originality he brought to newspapers. How did Joseph Pulitzer, once a penniless young Jewish immigrant from Hungary, come to challenge a popular president and fight for freedom of the press as essential to our democracy? Adam Driver narrates the film. Liev Schreiber is the voice of Pulitzer. Tim Blake Nelson is the voice of Teddy Roosevelt and Rachel Brosnahan is the voice of Nelly Bly. Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People Director and Producer Oren Rudavsky is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and several National Endowment for the Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts grants. Rudavsky produced Witness Theater a film chronicling a Self help organized workshop between holocaust survivors and high-school students which will premiere in 2019. His previous films Colliding Dreams co-directed with Joseph Dorman, and The Ruins of Lifta co-directed with Menachem Daum, were released theatrically in 2016. Colliding Dreams was broadcast on PBS in May 2018.  Director Oren Rudavsky joins us for a conversation on the indispensable role Joseph Pulitzer played in the development of America’s crown jewel, freedom of the press.

 

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For news and updates go to: Josephpulitzerfilm.com

Opening March 8 Laemmle Music Hall (Beverly Hills) Towne Center 5 (Encino) and Playhouse 7 (Pasadena)

“Summarizing the great strides he made for journalism without ignoring his colorful flaws, Oren Rudavsky’s Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People is an excellent primer, not just on the man but on the birth of the modern newspaper.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

“Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People serves as a profile of the publishing giant and an important lesson on freedom of the press.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

“Newspapers have been going downhill ever since the days of “yellow journalism” but this film about one of its masters demonstrates that documentaries are better than ever.” – Louis Proyect, Counterpunch.org

Bruce, Director Eden Marryshow

Always tight on money, with a self-inflated view of his own “genius,” Bruce (Eden Marryshow “Jessica Jones”) is an egocentric, self-professed writer, director, artist and playboy who damages all of his relationships, romantic or otherwise, as he cons his way through his self-obsessed existence with a mixture of swagger and deeply insecure neuroticism. On the heels of his parents cutting him off, his free ride comes to an abrupt end after his roommate (Jason Tottenham “Quantico”) informs him he’s moving in with his fiancé (Jade Eshete Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency). Desperate to keep his apartment and stay afloat financially, Bruce concocts a plan to run an ad for a hot female roommate and charge her 80% of the rent. When Bruce falls for one of the applicants (Mle’ Chester  “Vinyl”)he tries to turn his life around, but as the saying goes, “karma is a bitch.”  Will Bruce see the error of his ways or remain irredeemably awful? Director, Producer, Writer Eden Marryshow joins us to talk about assembling a terrific supporting cast and the inspiration for his brash feature film debut.

 

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For news and updates go to: brucethefilm.com

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Woodsrider, Director Cambria Matlow

Tucked in the trees of Oregon’s Mount Hood, an introspective young snowboarder camps alone, anticipating a winter of adventure and self-renewal. In Cambria Matlow’s latest documentary WOODSRIDER a tenacious, 19-year old Sadie Ford operates within the poetic persona of a searching pioneer. Her footsteps track over the town of Government Camp’s mountain landscape, her dog Scooter her only constant companion. Deep among the Douglas firs Sadie snowshoes to build her nestled tentsite, a place she feels more at ease than anywhere with four walls. Riding sessions and house parties in town provide brief breaths of social interaction and connection, but otherwise she chooses to spend time in solitude. Sadie’s simple quest for joy is tempered by melancholy when increasingly warm temperatures on the mountain cause rain to replace snow, and the winter season grows shorter. Striking a youthful yet elegiac tone, WOODSRIDER is a meditative film about identity, home, and the way that human experience echoes that of the natural world. Director Caitland Matlow joins us to talk about the immersive, intimate look into the life of a woman determined to stake out her own path.

 

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For news and updates go to: woodsriderfilm.com

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“Matlow’s patient, unobtrusive camera and Ford’s magnetism as a subject makes Woodsrider

one of the most intimate docs you’ll see this year. Hauntingly beautiful.” – Walker Macmurdo, Willamette Week

“Stunning camerawork, lovingly composed with visual fluidity. This film will have a lot of appeal to audiences who understand the thrall of the wilderness. It’s a rare capture to see a woman, alone in the elements, strong, independent and totally at ease with her space. The film provokes a lot of thought about our ‘place’ in the natural – and unnatural – world.” – Ashland Independent Film Festival

“Lovely and engrossing, mixing an ethereal distance with a strange intimacy.” – Mark Elijah Rosenberg,
Rooftop Films

**2019 Cinequest Film Festival Spotlight: Clean Hands, Director Michael Dominic

Stunningly lensed and invoking the very best of cinema vérité, director Michael Dominic (SUNSHINE HOTEL) brings his newest feature documentary CLEAN HANDS to the Cinequest Film Festival for a much anticipated world premiere. Shot over the course of seven years (2011-2018) in Nicaragua, Clean Hands is a feature-length documentary which tells the remarkable, riveting story of the Lopez family surviving against the backdrop of Central America’s largest garbage dump, La Chureca and beyond. It is about family, extreme poverty, the hope and innocence of children, rescue and salvation, and the challenges we all face. This is a slice of life that is rarely seen. Director Michael Dominic stops by for a conversation on how crushing poverty impacts multiple generations and the daunting challenges people face in breaking the poverty cycle.

 

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For news and updates go to: cleanhandsmovie.com

Festival screening dates at Cinequest:

Century 20 Redwood City – Screen 1 Saturday, March 9 @ 3:15 PM

Century 20 Redwood City – Screen 17 Sunday, March 10 @ 4:35 PM

3Below Wednesday, March 13 @ 1:40 PM

Social Media:

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twitter.com/CleanHandsFilm

instagram.com/mdominic

**2019 Cinequest Film Festival Spotlight: Mine 9, Director Edward Mensore

Mining country in Appalachia has been declared The Devilʼs Playground. A close-knit group of veteran miners, all friends and family, commence what would benormal dayʼs work — except today a rookie, the son of one of our veterans and the god-son of the Section Leader, joins them, 18 year-old Ryan. With ever-growing safety concerns at the mine, Zeke (Section Leader and long time coal mining veteran), struggles with the correct course of action, weighing on one hand the safety of his men, and on the other, the need to earn a steady wage in an economically depressed region. Today, however, fate takes matters into its own hands when a huge methane explosion rips through the mine. Smoke engulfs the men, forcing them to rely on nothing more than, brains, brawn and faulty self-rescuers (oxygen tanks that afford them one hour of air). MINE 9 is the story of the struggle for survival against all odds; men trapped in hell as the result of exploitation, greed and circumstance. Director Edward Mensore’s  intense new action/thriller MINE 9 will have its’ World premiere at the 2019 Cinequest Film Festival, running March 5-17th, 2019 in San Jose, California.  MINE 9 is Edward Mensore’s second feature film.  Eddie Mensore joins us to talk about his rivet, harrowing film about bravery in the face of insurmountable odds and the devotion of the men and women to a way of life.

 

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For news and updates go to: mine9movie.com

Festival screening dates at Cinequest:

3Below Friday, Mar 8 @ 7:00 PM

3Below Monday, Mar 11 @ 7:05 PM

Century 20 Redwood City #17 Tuesday, Mar 12 @ 6:15 PM

Century 20 Redwood City #2 Thursday, Mar 14 @ 5:00 PM

Social Media

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instagram.com/mine9movie

Plastic Flowers Never Die, Director Dr. Roxanne Varzi

The war with Iraq was the largest mobilization of the Iranian population, achieved primarily by producing and promoting a culture of martyrdom based on religious themes found in Shi’a Islam. Martyrdom became state policy. Khomeini made it clear the war was a spiritual one that the people, and not a professional army, would fight. It would be a sacred defense; a war of good against evil, of spirit against military might, where a human wave of believers would form a wall of defense against the Iraqis. Over 800,000 people died. Anthropologist, writer and filmmaker Roxanne Varzi spent twelve years researching and writing about post-Revolution public culture in Iran. As an Iranian-American who was born in Iran and left shortly after the Revolution she found that even though she had missed the war with Iraq it was omnipresent. She spent a year in Iran without a film permit speaking to ideologically driven mural painters, museum curators, war vets and other cultural producers alongside the secular youth who were meant to consume the culture created by the government. The result is an experimental documentary and meditation on the aftermath of the war, and especially the mourning after. Dr. Roxanne Varzi (Tehran Tourist) for a conversation on her compelling and informative film about her homeland, martyrdom and the devastating consequences of war.

 

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For news and updates go to: Plastic Flowers Never Die

Watch Plastic Flowers Never Die on Kanopy

Maria by Callas, Director Tom Volf

Tom Volf’s MARIA BY CALLAS is the first film to tell the life story of the legendary Greek/American opera singer completely in her own words. Told through performances, TV interviews, home movies, family photographs, private letters and unpublished memoirs—nearly all of which have never been shown to the public—the film reveals the essence of an extraordinary woman who rose from humble beginnings in New York City to become a glamorous international superstar and one of the greatest artists of all time. Assembling the material for the film took director Volf four years of painstaking research, which included personal outreach to dozens of Callas’s closest friends and associates, who allowed him to share their personal memorabilia in the film. When recordings of Callas’s voice aren’t available, Joyce DiDonato, one of contemporary opera’s biggest stars, reads her words. Through Volf’s intimate portrait of Callas, we see that some commonly held beliefs about Callas, notably her reputation as a “tempestuous” diva, have no basis in fact. MARIA BY CALLAS revisits many of the most notable controversies of Callas’s life, from the “Rome Cancellation” to her conflict with the Metropolitan Opera’s Rudolf Bing, and demonstrates that, while Callas was a demanding perfectionist, she was neither capricious nor someone who made trouble for its own sake. The film also sheds new light on Callas’s relationship with Aristotle Onassis, the supreme love of her life. Director Tom Volf joins us in a conversation on the story behind his illuminating look into the complex life of a music icon and his decision to tell Maria’s story in her own voice.

 

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For news and updates go to: sonyclassics.com/mariabycallas

Social Media:

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Reviews:  90% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Captivating.” – The Hollywood Reporter

“Such artistry!” – Figaro Magazine

“A generous, full-throated defense of a tarnished icon.” – Variety“

“An enchanting story” – Vanity Fair

“A magnificent film” – Huffington Post

Birds of Passage, Co-directors Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego

From the Oscar nominated team behind the genre-defying Embrace of the Serpent, comes an equally audacious saga centered on the Wayúu indigenous people during a crucial period in recent Colombian history. Torn between his desire to become a powerful man and his duty to uphold his culture’s values, Rapayet (José Acosta) enters the drug trafficking business in the 1970s and finds quick success despite his tribe’s matriarch Ursula’s (Carmiña Martínez) disapproval. Ignoring ancient omens, Rapayet and his family get caught up in a conflict where honor is the highest currency and debts are paid with blood. A sprawling epic about the erosion of tradition in pursuit of material wealth, Birds of Passage is a visually striking exploration of loyalty, greed, and the voracious nature of change. Co-directors Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego join us for a conversation on their beautifully crafted mix of drug-trade epic and intimate family saga.

 

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For news and updates go to: birdsofpassage

2019 Sundance Film Festival Selection – Spotlight Program

OSCAR® SHORTLIST – Best Foreign Language Film – Colombia

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Reviews: 93% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Harrowing in its repetitive violence, but never less than fascinating as a piece of ethnology, with magic-realist dimensions, that amounts to an origin story of the Latin American drug trade. It’s an extraordinarily accomplished piece of filmmaking.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

“Imagine “The Godfather” made by dazzling Latin American directors who combine bravura filmmaking with political awareness and a probing social conscience.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“Three viewings in, I’m still flabbergasted by the scope and detail of this movie … and in awe of the way its unique cover version of a crime-doesn’t-pay story totally pays off.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone

“The ease and charisma of the performers, trained and nonprofessional actors alike, heighten the emotional impact.” – A.O.Scott, New York Times

United Skates, Co-directors Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler

For years, roller-skating rinks have been a constant for African-American communities across the U.S., serving as a meeting ground, a place to have fun and an incubator of iconic hip-hop talents like Queen Latifah and N.W.A. As America’s last standing roller rinks are threatened with closure, a community joins forces in a racially charged environment to save the underground African-American subculture of roller skating, which has been overlooked by the mainstream for generations – yet has given rise to some of the world’s greatest musical talents. From executive producer John Legend and first-time directors Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown, the documentary UNITED SKATES highlights the dynamic world of roller skating, showcasing African-American rinks and skaters across the country as they fight to keep the culture alive and skate their hearts out. The film features interviews with hip-hop legends like Salt-N-Pepa, Coolio, Vin Rock of Naughty by Nature and World Class Wreckin’ Cru. UNITED SKATES spotlights three skaters fighting for their community: L.A. native Phelicia, a single mom who grew up in skates and hopes to keep skating alive for her children; North Carolinian Reggie, who lives hours from any rink that offers a night for black skaters and vows to launch his own; and Buddy Love, the owner of Chicago-based Rich City Skate, who struggles to keep his rink open, despite financial pressure. Co-directors Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler stop by to talk about their infectious and insightful look at a facet of African-American life in danger of fading away.

 

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For more news and updates go to: unitedskatesfilm.com

Check out United Skates on HBO

Social Media:

facebook.com/UnitedSkatesDocumentary

twitter.com/unitedskatesdoc

instagram.com/unitedskatesdoc

Reviews: 100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“This kaleidoscopically vibrant, essential-viewing survey plunges audiences into a dazzling underground scene, celebrating the endangered art form it finds there.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

“This is a passion project in the best sense of the word, a movie in which the ingenuity and dedication of the filmmakers illuminate the same qualities in their subjects.” – Two Bugbee, New York Times

“…[an] exceedingly entertaining and genuinely revealing look into a roller-skating subculture that I frankly knew next to nothing about.” – Daniel Nava, Chicago Cinema Circuit

“This is a film that paints a humanizing portrait of an endangered form of expression, risked at the hands of the micro-racism and economic tribulations faced by the African-American community.” – Laura Birnbaum, Film Inquiry

2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films, with ShortsTV Chief Executive, Carter Pilcher

For over a decade, ShortsTV has proudly brought the Oscar© Nominated Short Films to audiences across the globe. This exclusive release features the year’s most spectacular short films and for a limited time is available to watch on the big screen. Each nominee is released in one of three distinct feature-length compilations according to their category of nomination: Live Action, Animation or Documentary. The films go into theaters around the world shortly after nominations are announced and are not released anywhere else until a few days before the Oscars©, when they are also made available via on demand platforms, including iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play and Vimeo on Demand. The release ensures the greatest number of viewers can see all the nominees before the ceremony, while providing short filmmakers with an unprecedented opportunity to commercialize their movies. 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. For the last five years Carter Pilcher has been the highlight of Oscar season here on Film School. His insight, commitment and love of the short film format and the dedicated people who create them insures a lively and informative conversation on some of the best films you will see all year.

 

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For news and updates on the Oscar Shorts go to: shortstv – theoscarshorts

For screening information go to: theoscarshorts/theatrical release

Live Action (Short)    

Detainment 

Madre

Fauve    

Skin    

Marguerite 

 

Documentary (Short)

Black Sheep

Night at the Garden

End Game

Period. End of Sentence

Lifeboat

Animation (Short)

Animal Behavior

One Small Step

Bao

Weekends

Late Afternoon

 

The Isle, Director Matthew Butler Hart

Based loosely on Scottish ghostly folklore with inspiration from Greek sirens, the tale is set in 1846 on a remote island off the west coast of Scotland, where three survivors from a mysterious sinking of their merchant ship find themselves stranded on a small misty isle.  The isle’s four sole secretive residents, an old harbor man, a farmer, his niece and a young mad woman, are anything but welcoming and reluctant to aid the sailors back to the mainland. The promise of a boat never materializes leading one of the sailors to question why people had abandoned the island. Through his investigation he discovers that every year around the same date a tragedy at sea would occur and young men from the island would perish.  When his two shipmates meet with fatal accidents, the myth of a ghostly siren haunting the island leads him to try and uncover the truth. Directed and co-written by British filmmaker Matthew Butler Hart (TWO DOWN), the film stars Olivier Award-winning, Tony-nominated actor Conleth Hill (HBO’s “The Game of Thrones”), Alex Hall (SUBURBICAN, BBC’s “The Miniaturist”), Fisaya Akinade (BAFTA-nominated GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS with Glenn Close and Gemma Arterton), THE ISLE co-writer and producer, Tori Butler Hart (MISS IN HER TEENS), Alix Wilton Regan (THE WIFE) and Graham Butler (Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful”). Director Matthew Butler Hart stops by to talk about his gorgeous, haunting new film.

 

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filmfreeway.com/matthewbutlerhart

Brainmedia.com/The Isle

fizzandgingerfilms.co.uk/the-isle

facebook.com/Matthew Hart Butler

Official Selection, Newcastle International Film Festival 2018

Winner, Jury Prize for Best Cinematography Manchester International Film Festival, 2018

Winner, Jury Prize for Best Sci-Fi/Horror Film London Independent Film Festival, 2018

“The Isle is the kind of cinema that is getting far too rare. Superbly shot, exquisitely paced and genuinely compelling and surprising – indeed astonishing – in its development of plot and character.” – Stephen Fry

“Beautifully shot… subtle and measured in execution… a refreshing entry in a genre so often saturated by repetition.” – Flickering Myth

“…genuinely surprising and engaging…innovative, finely-drawn and confident…” – Warped Perspective

“Exquisitely-wrought… quintessentially intelligent Gothic horror: all in a surprisingly large scope and  absolutely unforgettable cinematic experience. “ – The 405

The Man Who Killed Hitler Then Bigfoot, Director Robert D. Krzykowski

THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT follows the epic adventures of an American legend that no one has ever heard of. Since WWII, Calvin Barr (Sam Elliott) has lived with the secret that he was responsible for the assassination of Adolf Hitler. Now, decades later, the US government has called on him again for a new top-secret mission. Bigfoot has been living deep in the Canadian wilderness and is carrying a deadly plague that is now threatening to spread to the general population. Relying on the same skills that he honed during the war, Calvin must set out to save the free world yet again. Director Robert D. Kryzkowski joins us to talk about working with two-time Academy Award nominated director John Sayles and visual effects wizard and two time Academy Award winner, Douglas Trumbull (Blade Runner and 2001: A Space Odyssey) and how he was able to fashion an endearing, bittersweet saga of a heavy hearted man driven by a profound sense of duty.

 

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For news and updates go to: The Man Who Killed Hitler and then Bigfoot

“The Man Who Killed Bigfoot and Then Hitler is a real movie – one more emotionally resonant and character-driven than that deceptively goony title suggests.” – Simon Abrams, NPR

“In spite of the premise at hand, Sam Elliott–one of America’s greatest treasures–quietly delivers another astonishing performance.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

“A wise, odd, and unforgettable ballad.” – Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com

“From its world-weary hero to its no-nonsense, casual swapping of fiction for fact, The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot uses action and something like science fiction to deliver an wholly entertaining, yet poignant message.” – Slashfilm

Work in Progress, Co-Directors Abby McEnany, Tim Mason and Actor Julia Sweeney

**SUNDANCE PREMIERE** Based loosely on Abby McEnany’s own experiences, WORK IN PROGRESS is an honest, funny, and rarely seen exploration of the “isms” and phobias that permeate all of our lives: homophobia, transphobia, sexism, racism, sizeism, classism, and more. In a nutshell, Abby is a 45 year old queer dyke who is finally coming into her own or she is a 45 year old queer dyke who is about to kill herself.  Both are true.  It just depends on which day you meet her. She is a finely crafted cocktail of Depression, OCD, Queerness, Insecurity and Anxiety but she only drinks Miller Lite.  And in this coming of age story, every little thing or person she meets has the potential for life-altering meaning. Abby is in an adolescent-like stage and has been stuck there for 30 years. After her therapist dies mid-session and she begins to date a trans man, Abby is forced to re-evaluate her life choices, her dating options and whether or not to confront the woman responsible for ‘ruining her life’: SNL’s Julia Sweeney. Co-directors Abby McEnany, Tim Mason and actor Julia Sweeney join us for a rollicking conversation on their hilarious, honest and engaging Sundance Film Festival debut episode of Work in Progress.

Social Media:

facebook.com/Abby McEnany

Twitter:@workinptv

Instagram:@workinp

 

Who Will Write Our History, Director Roberta Grossman

In November 1940, days after the Nazis sealed 450,000 Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, a secret band of journalists, scholars and community leaders decided to fight back. Led by historian Emanuel Ringelblum and known by the code name Oyneg Shabes, this clandestine group vowed to defeat Nazi lies and propaganda not with guns or fists but with pen and paper. Now, for the first time, their story is told as a feature documentary. Written, produced and directed by Roberta Grossman, based upon the book Who Will Write Our History? by Samuel D. Kassow, and executive produced by Nancy Spielberg, Who Will Write Our History mixes the writings of the Oyneg Shabes archive with new interviews, rarely seen footage, and stunning dramatizations (shot on location in Lodz and Warsaw, Poland) to transport us inside the Ghetto and the lives of these courageous resistance fighters. They defied their murderous enemy with the ultimate weapon – the truth – and risked everything so that their archive would survive the war, even if they did not. Featuring the voices of three-time Academy Award nominee Joan Allen and Academy Award winner Adrian Brody, the film honors the Oyneg Shabes  members’ determination in creating the most important cache of eyewitness accounts to survive the war. Director / producer / writer Roberta Grossman joins us to talk about how her passion for social justice led her to Emanuel Ringelblum and what Who Will Write Our History can teaches about the world we live in today.

 

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For news and updates go to: whowillwriteourhistory.com

Social Media

https://www.facebook.com/whowillwriteourhistory/

https://twitter.com/writeourhistory

“A vital and sobering documentary” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“Who Will Write Our History tells the courageous but mostly unknown story of a covert group known as Oyneg Shabes and how they vowed to defeat the Nazis with pen and paper.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

“The staged scenes are well acted, while readings from diaries and letters are heartbreaking.” – Ken Jaworowski, New York Times

“A deeply moving history-behind-the-history.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

2019 Slamdance Film Festival Spotlight

Spiral Farm, Director Alec Tibaldi

Up a dirt road, nestled in the hills of Southern California lies Spiral Farm, a vibrant and colorful intentional community inspired by the communes of the late 60’s. Its eclectic inhabitants look out for each other, as they work side by side on this completely self sustaining permaculture farm. 17 year-old Anahita (Piper De Palma), has lived on Spiral Farm for as long as she can remember and dreams of one day leaving the safety of Spiral and pursuing a career as a dancer. However, whenever she makes these plans she is always deterred by the thought of leaving Ocean, her eight year old nephew who she cares for and shares a deep bond with. Stifled by her responsibilities to her family and the commune, Anahita has developed what her mother (Amanda Plummer) calls a “bashfulness” when it comes to sexuality. When her mother’s old flame, Maurizio (Cosimo Fusco) arrives for an unexpected visit, he brings along his teenage son, Theo (Teo Halm). Anahita is immediately drawn to him, confused by her newfound feelings. When Theo discovers her passion for dance he encourages her to journey into the city for an audition. Away from the confines of the communes, Anahita discovers that although she lacks the technical skills to be a professional dancer, she may still be able to leave Spiral by going to college in the city changing the course of her life. But will Anahita, who has been so dedicated to others chose to live for herself? Director and writer Alex Tibaldi joins us to talk about his feature film debut and his intimate, moving character study of women in transition, searching for meaningful connections.

Letterboxd.com/film/spiral-farm

Behind the Bullet, Director Heidi Yewman

BEHIND THE BULLET is the directorial debut from author and activist, Heidi Yewman. When her former basketball coach and teacher, Dave Sanders was killed in the Columbine High School massacre along with 12 students, she began profiling the lives of those altered by the impact of gun violence. She is a tireless advocate for gun safety, sitting on the boards of The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Women Donors Network, Stop our Shootings, and Trauma Intervention Program of Portland, OR. In BEHIND THE BULLET will make it’s world debut as a documentary competition selection at the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival, Yewman chronicles an in-depth look at four individuals who have pulled the trigger and the profound impact it’s had on their lives. Every year, almost 40,000 people are shot and killed in America. Each shooting devastates and forever changes the victim’s family and friends. BEHIND THE BULLET explores a side of gun violence that’s rarely talked about – the impact a shooting has on the shooter. Four individuals share how the pull of a trigger, changed them emotionally, physically, psychologically, and spiritually. They describe the conflicting emotions and moral injury that comes after a self-defense, accidental, or unintentional shooting, offering a new and unbiased perspective on gun violence. Director Heidi Yewman joins us to talk about the devastating impacts that guns and the profound impact they have had on four people’s lives.

 

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For news and updates go to: behindthebulletfilm.com

“BEHIND THE BULLET is a captivating and honest look at what is going on in our country when it comes to gun control.  It looks at all sides of the issue that sometimes the media does not discuss or cover.  This is a must see film in our current climate.”   — Peter Hammond, Deadline

“Behind The Bullet is just WOW – an amazing insight into what we are dealing with in the U.S.  It’s a refreshing insight and a story that needs to be told.”  — Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter

This Teacher, Actor Kevin Kane (Director Mark Jackson)

THIS TEACHER follows a French Muslim woman (Cesar-winner Hafsia Herzi) as she travels to New York City to visit her childhood best friend from the rough neighborhoods outside of Paris. When the reunion proves disastrous, Hafsia steals her friend’s credit card and identity, and disappears to a remote cabin upstate. Deep in the woods and alone for the first time in her life, she experiences a divine revelation of an existence without borders. But when she discovers that she’s not alone on the property, Hafsia’s sojourn in nature gradually descends into a terrifying study of the intolerance and suspicion she encounters and reflects back to an Islamophobic America. Written and directed by Mark Jackson featuring a score composed from the Grammy nominated Dave Eggar, the film stars: Cesar-winner Hafsia Herzi  (The Secret of the  Grain)  Sarah Kazemy (Circumstance)  Lucy Walters (Power), Kevin Kane (Inside Amy Schumer), and Lev Gorn (The Americans). Jackson’s previous films have won 17 awards including an Independent Spirit Award and a Gotham Nomination.  Jackson is also a Sundance, Cinereach and Skywalker Sound Fellow. Actor Kevin Kane joins us for a conversation on THIS TEACHER’S closing night screening at the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival, intolerance and not being afraid to love.

For news and updates go to: visitfilms.com/This Teacher

Lois Vossen, Independent Lens Executive Producer

Lois Vossen is the Executive Producer of Independent Lens and has been with the show since its inception as a primetime series on PBS. Lois is responsible for commissioning new films, programming the series and working with filmmakers on editorial and broadcast issues. Independent Lens films have received 17 Emmy Awards, 16 George Foster Peabody Awards, five Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Journalism Awards and eight Academy Award nominations. The series was honored in 2013, 2014, 2015  and 2017 with the International Documentary Association (IDA) Award for Best Series. Before joining ITVS, Lois was the Associate Managing Director of Sundance Film Festival and Sundance Labs. Lois is a member of the Television Academy Board of Governors, representing the documentary branch. She has served on the jury at  Shanghai Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, SXSW, DOC New Zealand and Palm Springs International Film Festival, among others. Under her leadership, films funded or co-produced by Independent Lens include I Am Not Your Negro, Always in Season, Bedlam, One Child Nation, Black Memorabilia, The King, People’s Republic of Desire, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, TOWER, Newtown, Best of Enemies, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, (T)ERROR, The House I Live In, The Invisible War, and The Trials of Muhammad Ali, among many others. Widely regarded as one of the most influential supporters of independent and documentary filmmaking, Lois Vossen joins us for a conversation on the role that Independent Lens /POV and Public Broadcasting has had in maintaining the highest standards for innovative storytelling in non-fiction cinema.

 

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For news and updates go to: pbs.org/independentlens/films

Social Media:

facebook.com/independentlens

twitter.com/independentlens

instagram.com/independentlens

** 2019 Academy Award nominated ** Hale County, This Morning, This Evening, Director RaMell Ross

Acclaimed photographer RaMell Ross, 2019 Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary, has made his directorial debut with one of the most critically-acclaimed films of the year — Hale County This Morning, This Evening. An inspired and intimate portrait of a place and its people, the film looks at the lives of two young African American men from rural Alabama over the course of five years. Daniel Collins attends college in search of opportunity while Quincy Bryant becomes a father to an energetic son in this open-ended, poetic film without a traditional narrative. Distilling life to its essence, the film invites the audience to experience the mundane and the monumental, birth and death, the quotidian and the sublime. These moments combine to communicate the region’s deep culture and provide glimpses of the complex ways the African American community’s collective image is integrated into America’s visual imagination.. RaMell Ross met Quincy when he was teaching in a GED program in Greensboro, Alabama, and met Daniel when he was coaching basketball at a local high school. He shot over 1300 hours of footage over five years, which was then edited down into the final film. Director RaMell Ross stops by to talk about his meticulously assembled, ethereal ode to Black lives in Hale County, Alabama.

 

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*** 2019 Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary ***

For news and updates go to: halecountyfilm.com

Social Media

facebook.com/halecountydoc

twitter.com/HaleCountyDoc

The film premieres on Independent Lens Monday, February 11, 2019, 10:00-11:30 PM ET (check local listings) on PBS

94% on Rotten Tomatoes

“At every juncture, Ross elects for ambiguity and poses a question to the viewer to answer how black bodies are viewed, encouraging the audience to perform the labour of challenging their expectations.” – Melissa Vincent, Globe and Mail

“You could call it a transcendental scrapbook, because it wipes away the muck of subjectivity that guides most movies. It turns the audience into direct receptors of experience.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“…the cinematic equivalent of a memory quilt, woven together with a deep love of community, comprised of intimate though disparate moments from others’ lives, and poetically comforting despite its historically weighty components.” – Jordan M. Smith, Film School Rejects

“Hale County is the type of film designed to violate common rules of cinema. Story gives way to lyricism; there’s little dialogue, minimal plot, minutes upon minutes of pastoral imagery…Ross’s lens captures a reality that’s rarely seen by the human eye.” – Natalia Winkelman, The Daily Beast

“It’s not every day that you witness a new cinematic language being born, but watching RaMell Ross’s evocatively titled documentary Hale County, This Morning, This Evening qualifies.” – Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice

Slamdance Film Festival Co-founder Peter Baxter

It all began when a group of cheerful, subversive filmmakers weren’t accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. Unwilling to take “no” for an answer, they instead started their own event – Slamdance: Anarchy in Utah. 24 years later, Slamdance has become a year-round organization fostering the development of unique and innovative filmmakers. The organization now consists of the Film Festival, Screenplay Competition and Slamdance Studios. Dan Mirvish, Jon Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn and Peter Baxter are the founding forefathers who, along with co-conspirator Paul Rachman, fought for truly independent filmmakers by giving them a voice in 1995 at the very first Slamdance Film Festival. Since then, the festival takes place every January in the breathtakingly stunning, snow-capped mountains of Park City, Utah at the exact same time as the Sundance Film Festival, toprovide a more authentic representation of independent filmmaking.  Up-and-coming writers, directors and producers, alongside seasoned veterans and film lovers, converge for the weeklong celebration of independent cinema, realizing that Slamdance is a great place to find those next, great, visionary films.  Slamdance lives and bleeds by its mantra By Filmmakers For Filmmakers. No other film festival in the world is entirely run and organized by the creative force that can only be found in filmmakers. Slamdance adamantly supports self-governance amongst independents, and exists to deliver what filmmakers go to festivals for – a chance to show their work and a platform to launch their careers. The festival has earned a solid reputation for premiering films by first-time writers and directors working within the creative confines of limited budgets. Co-founder and President Peter Baxter joins us to talk about this year’s Slamdance, the groundbreaking films and the innovative new distribution being launched by Slamdance.

 

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For news and updates go to: slamdance.com

Check out the film schedule at slamdance 2019 schedule

Slamdance Film Festival will take place January 25-31, 2019 in Park City, Utah

Social Media:

facebook.com/SlamdanceFilmFestival

twitter.com/Slamdance

instagram.com/slamogram