Eating Up Easter, Director Sergio Mata’u Rapu

** 2019 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

EATING UP EASTER, directed by native Rapanui filmmaker Sergio Mata’u Rapu, explores the dilemma his people are facing. Crafted as a story passed down to his newborn son, Sergio intertwines the authentic history of the island with the stories of four islanders. In their own voices, these Rapanui reveal the reality of modern life and the actions they are taking to preserve their culture and environment amidst rapid development. A local ecologist leads recycling efforts to tackle the mounting trash arriving with tourists and the waves of plastic washing up on shore. Two musicians struggle to build a free music school they hope will preserve cultural practices and reunite their fractured community. Sergio’s father, formerly the island’s first native Governor, attempts to balance traditions against the advantages of development while building a mini-mall in the island’s only town. EATING UP EASTER reveals and suggests ways forward in tackling the universal complexities of balancing growth and sustainability faced by local communities worldwide. Producer / Director Sergio Mata’u Rapu joins us for a conversation on the impacts of globalization and tourism are having on his beloved community and how the challenges facing them are the same challenges we all face.

 

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About the filmmaker: Sergio Mata’u Rapu

Native Rapanui Producer/Director Sergio Mata’u Rapu is the only Easter Islander working in production in an English speaking country. He has spent the last 15 years shooting, and producing documentaries that have aired on History Channel, Travel Channel, National Geographic, and NOVA. Through his work, Sergio aims to show the diversity of life through thought-provoking media to inspire resolutions to social, economic, and environmental conflicts.

For news and updates go to: Eatingupeaster.com/the-film

Help the peoples of Rapa Nui by contributing to the Easter Island Foundation

Hesburgh, Director Patrick Creadon

In Patrick Creadon’s illuminating new documentary, HESBURGH, shines a bright light on a unique public figure whom came to light during one of the country’s most divisive political and social storm. His name is Reverend Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C, president of the University of Notre Dame for more than 35 years. This revered figure worked his entire adult life to advance of peace and equal rights for all people. As the most dynamic member of the U.S. government’s Civil Rights Commission Hesburgh pushed Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson to enact legislation that culminated in the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act. HESBURGH offers a unique glimpse at more than fifty years of American history. Educator, civil rights champion, advisor to presidents, envoy to popes, theologian and activist, Hesburgh was called on by countless world leaders to tackle the most challenging issues of the day. He built a reputation as a savvy political operator with a penchant for bridging the divide between bitter enemies. Through it all, he remained a man armed with a fierce intelligence, a quick wit and an unyielding moral compass — a timeless example of bipartisan leadership that would serve us in today’s increasingly polarized times. Director Patrick Creadon (Wordplay, If You Build It , Ski Bum: The Warren Miller Story), joins us for a conversation on a man who’s life’s work harkens back to a time when compromise and cooperation were the political norms and not the exception.

 

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For news and updates go to: hesburghfilm.com

To find a theatre near you go to: hesburghfilm.com/tickets

Social Media:

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instagram.com/hesburghfilm

“[A] thoroughly engaging documentary chronicle of the life and turbulent times of longtime Notre Dame president Father Theodore M. Hesburgh, whose tenure coincided with a particularly pivotal stretch of American history.” – Micheal Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times

“This moving, illuminating slice of American life and social history serves as a stirring example that we should all do much better. And we can start right now.” – Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

“A portrait of a man who can be seen as not merely blameless, but genuinely heroic.” – GlennKenny, New York Times

“As described by many of those who, in the movie, talk about Hesburgh, he comes across as a man of conscience and conviction, who was willing to walk his own path no matter whom he rankled or angered.” – Bob Bloom, Journal and Courier

Out of State, Director Ciara Lacy

** Independent Lens Spotlight

The riveting new documentary by Ciara Lacy Out of State provides an inside look at the lives of two native Hawaiians sent thousands of miles away from the tropical islands to a private prison in the Arizona desert. In this unlikely setting, David and Hale find a community of other native Hawaiians and discover their indigenous traditions from a fellow inmate serving a life sentence. Hoping for a fresh start and eager to prove that the experience has changed them forever, the two men finish their terms and return to Hawai’i. But once on the outside, they struggle with life’s hurdles and wonder if it’s possible to ever go home again. Director Ciara Lacy joins us to talk about the challenges and the barriers facing two men struggling to make the best of what may be their last chance.

About the Filmmaker – Ciara Lacy

Director Ciara Lacy is a native Hawaiian filmmaker whose interest lies in crafting films that use strong characters and investigative journalism to challenge the creative and political status quo. She has produced documentary content for film and television, managed independent features, as well as coordinated product placement and clearances for various platforms. Her work has shown in theaters and has aired on PBS, ABC, TLC, Discovery, Bravo and A&E. Lacy is honored to be the inaugural Sundance Institute Merata Mita Fellow and a current Princess Grace Awards Special Project grantee. She has also benefited from fellowships with Firelight Media’s Documentary Lab, the Sundance Institute, NATIVe at Berlinale, the Princess Grace Foundation, and IFP. Ciara holds a BA from Yale University, and graduated from Hawai`i’s Kamehameha Schools.

 

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For more on PBS award winning series go to: pbs.org/independentlens

For more about the film go to: outofstatefilm.com

For more about the filmmaker go to: ciaralacy.com

AWARDS

PORTLAND FILM FESTIVAL  Special Jury Award for Artistic Vision

HAWAII INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL  Made in Hawaii Best Feature Film & Audience Choice for Documentary Feature

SAN DIEGO ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL – Best Feature Documentary

Scheme Birds, Co-directors Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin

** Tribeca Film Festival Spotlight

In this unforgettable documentary we meet Gemma, a teenage troublemaker, a so called ‘Scheme Bird’ who introduces us to her world. The police know her by the way she runs – and she brags that she’ll end up either ”knocked up or locked up”. But in addition to fighting she loves her grandfather Joseph. He’s been like a father to her since her own mom abandoned her as a baby because of a drug addiction. Grandpa Joseph is sick and tired of the gang fights that has plagued the area for generations. But he likes pigeons. In fact he likes pigeons more than he likes most people. And when he turns the local boxing gym into a beauty contest for pigeons things start to change. With great care the men of the scheme pick out the most beautiful pigeons and suddenly they have something to live for. But despite Joseph’s efforts Gemma isn’t interested in the birds at all. She doesn’t want to disappoint her grandpa but the violent world of the scheme is also part of who she is. But what happens when the childish games turns into serious crime? Co-directors Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin join us to talk about how they connected with Gemma, seamlessly blending into her world and can people escape patterns of destructive behavior  and find positive ways to navigate a community of “lost causes.”

For news and updates go to: filmbasen.se/projekt/scheme-birds

20th Anniversary of Newport Beach Film Festival, CEO and Co-founder Gregg Schwenk

For the last 20 years the Newport Beach Film Festival has brought the best of classic and contemporary filmmaking from around the world to Orange County. Under the direction of CEO and Co-founder Gregg Schwenk and the festival’s staff have been committed to entertaining and enlightening the public with a first-class international film program as well as providing a forum for cultural understanding and enriching educational opportunities, the Festival focuses on showcasing a diverse collection of both studio and independent films. The Festival supports the creation and advancement of innovative and artistic cinematic works from both emerging and seasoned filmmakers and proudly embraces the passion, vision and independent spirit of these talented artists. With the integration of the local community and educational institutions, the Festival stimulates an interest in the study and appreciation of film and encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to participate. The Community Outreach Program was created with the idea that film offers new perspectives and possibilities for a changing world. Each year, the Festival partners with over 40 non-profit organizations and pairs each philanthropic organization with a film that aligns with their mission. The Festival gives non-profit organizations a forum to voice their message to large audiences and spread awareness of their organization and mission through the medium of film. Areas of focus include the arts, health and human services, the environment, education, children’s causes, seniors’ and veterans’ programs, and alumni clubs. CEO and Co-founder Gregg Schwenk joins us to talk about a remarkable festival line-up of comedies, dramas, short films, action sports, classics, documentaries, musicals and foreign film excellence.

For news, updates and film schedules go to: newportbeachfilmfest.com

For more on the OC FIlm Society go to: newportbeachfilmfest.com/ocfs

Boom, A Film About the Sonics, Director Jordan Albertsen

** 2019 Newport Beach Film Festival Spotlight

BOOM: A Film About the Sonics tells the untold story of one of rock ‘n’ roll’s wildest and most influential bands, The Sonics. For the first time ever, all five original members of the band tell the story of how it all went down, from beginning to end. ‘Boom’ takes a deep dive, exploring how a relatively unknown band from the Pacific Northwest became a worldwide phenomenon 50-years after their heyday, and in doing so, shaped music for decades to come (whether it was apparent at the time or not). Featuring interviews with homegrown heroes and breakthrough artists alike, Pearl Jam, The Sex Pistols, Heart, Mudhoney, and many, many more. BOOM: A Film About the Sonics is the documentary debut of filmmaker Jordan Albertsen. He joins us to talk about his honest and insightful look into the one of rock music’s more subversive bands.

For news and updates go to: sonicsfilm.com

Social Media:

facebook.com/sonicsfilm

** 2019 Newport Beach Film Festival screenings – when and where

Best Documentary Feature – Lone Star Film Festival
Best Documentary Feature – Silk Road International Film Festival

Audience Award – Tacoma Film Festival
Audience Award – Olympia Film Festival

Babysplitters, Director Sam Friedlander

** 2019 Newport Beach Film Festival Spotlight

Writer/director Sam Friedlander’s (“Larry Gaye: Renegade Male Flight Attendant”), second feature film is the comedic gem Babysplitters. Jeff and Sarah are struggling to come to an agreement about having a baby.  Jeff wants to be a father eventually, but is afraid to lock himself into his current job situation. Meanwhile Sarah, nearing 35, feels her biological clock ticking and is impatient to start trying.  Their mutual friends Don and Taylor have the opposite problem.  Don has a successful business and is ready to be a dad.  But Taylor, an aspiring dancer, is worried that the toll on her body and career will be too much.  When the two couples hatch a plan to share one baby between them, it seems like they may have found the perfect compromise — until things spiral out of control. Winner of the Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema at Santa Barbara Film Festival, Babysplitters is screening at the 2019 Newport Beach Film Festival. Director and writer Sam Friedlander joins us to talk about his wry, playful take on young couple willing to go to any length in hope of starting a new family.

For news and updates go to: babysplittersmovie.com

** 2019 Newport Beach Film Festival screenings

Social Media:

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twitter.com/babysplitters

instagram.com/babysplitters

“The trials and travails of impending parenthood are captured through Friedlander’s highly comedic filter, giving birth to enough dazzling wit to sustain the gimmick.” – Courtney Howard, Variety

“Whether it’s a conversation about triple-earlobes or a private confession to a therapist, Babysplitters gets its comedy right.” – Alex Saveliev

¡Boza!, Director Sydney Bowie

** 2019 Newport Beach Film Festival Spotlight

¡Boza! follows the harrowing journey of three young sub-Saharan African immigrants: Sani, Yamal & Kone, as they leave home in their teens to embark on their years-long journey to a new life in Spain. Crossing the Sahara Desert by foot, spending months to years living in the forests of Morocco, and finally making the dangerous crossing to the Spanish mainland or territories by land or sea, these three powerfully distinct immigration stories have one thing in common: their incredible optimism in the face of inconceivable adversity. Their stories teach us the perseverance of the human spirit, something our world desperately needs to be reminded of now. The dynamic structure jumps between present day footage of life in Spain and reconstructing their migration story using animation and archival footage. Through parallel storytelling, the film compares these three inspiring stories of success to the hopes of a group of migrants living in the slums of Tangier, Morocco. ¡Boza! Director and Producer Sydney Bowie discovered her love of documentary film as an undergraduate at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her short films have been selected to screen at festivals across the United States. In addition, Sydney has worked alongside noted documentary filmmakers, including Oscar-nominated Robert Kenner (Food Inc.) and world renowned British journalist and filmmaker Sean Langan. Sydney has received the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to work on her most recent film the New Migration Project, from which ¡Boza! was produced, documenting the lives of immigrants in Spain. Director Sydney Bowie stops by to talk about her intimate and heartfelt portrayal of people struggling to find a better life.

 

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For news and updates go to: bozathefilm.com

Social Media:

Instagram: @bozathefilm

Facebook: @bozathefilm

Social Media for Sydney Bowie 

Twitter.com@newmigrationdoc

The River and The Wall, Director Ben Masters

** Newport Beach Film Festival Spotlight

THE  RIVER AND THE WALL follows five friends on an immersive adventure through the unknown wilds of the Texas borderlands as they travel from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico on horses, mountain bikes, and canoes. Conservation filmmaker Ben Masters realizes the urgency of documenting the last remaining wilderness in Texas as the threat of new border wall construction looms ahead. Masters recruits NatGeo Explorer Filipe DeAndrade, ornithologist Heather Mackey, river guide Austin Alvarado, and conservationist Jay Kleberg to join him on the two-and-a-half-month journey down 1,200 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. They set out to document the borderlands and explore the potential impacts of a border wall on the natural environment, but as the wilderness gives way to the more populated and heavily trafficked Lower Rio Grande Valley, they come face-to-face with the human side of the immigration debate and enter uncharted emotional waters. Ben Masters is best known for his UNBRANDED, a feature documentary on Netflix, in which he and three friends adopted 16 wild mustangs, trained them, and rode 3,000 miles from Mexico to Canada to inspire wild horse adoptions. Director Ben Masters join us to talk about the spectacular natural beauty of the Rio Grande Valley, the people who live along the Mexico – American border and the on-the-ground reality of a border wall.

 

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For news and updates go to: theriverandthewall.com

For more on the filmmaker go to: benmasters.com

Social Media:

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instagram.com/bencmasters

“If The River and the Wall runs the risk of being too repetitive, Masters breaks up the argument with a sense of adventure.” – Alan Zilberman, Washington City Paper

“Visually stunning and politically sharp.” – Caryn James, Hollywood Reporter

“The River and the Wall is going to be one of the most-talked about documentaries of 2019 because of its timeliness in the current political environment.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

Body at Brighton Rock, Director Roxanne Benjamin

BODY AT BRIGHTON ROCK is a psychological thriller about a part time summer employee, Wendy, (Karina Fontes) at a mountainous state park, takes on a rough trail assignment at the end of the season, trying to prove to her friends that she’s capable enough to do the job. When she takes a wrong turn and ends up deep in the backcountry, she stumbles upon what might be a potential crime scene. Stuck with no communication after losing her radio and with orders to guard the site, Wendy must fight the urge to run and do the harder job of staying put — spending the night deep in the wilderness, facing down her worst fears and proving to everyone – including herself – that she’s made of stronger stuff than they think she is. Director and writer Roxanne Benjamin made her directorial debut in the anthology SOUTHBOUND, which world premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. She was last in the director’s chair for “Don’t Fall”, part of Magnolia Pictures’ all-women-helmed horror anthology XX, which premiered at Sundance in the Midnight section last year. Director Roxanne Benjamin stops by to talk about her slow-burn thriller and the challenges of a wilderness shoot.

 

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For news and updates go to: bodyatbrightonrock.com

Social Media:

facebook.com/BodyatBrightonRock

twitter.com/BodyatRockFilm

instagram.com/bodyatbrightonrock

“Deftly employing the power of suggestion and an emotionally potent sound design, “Body at Brighton Rock” is a well-crafted thriller with some crafty tricks up its sleeve.” – Joe Leydon, Variety

“Body at Brighton Rock shifts from being a fun and colorful throwback to something a little darker and deeper.” – Meredith Borders, Slashfilm

“Relating to Wendy, and to her terror, is easy, and immediate, and lets the movie hook its claws into the viewer with jolting urgency.” – Andy Crump, Paste Magazine

“Anchored by a star-making lead turn and sporting superb sound design, Body At Brighton Rock is a bloody good time.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat

Wild Nights with Emily, Director Madeleine Olnek

WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY tells the story of the mid-19th century poet, Emily Dickinson writing prolifically, baking gingerbread, and enjoying a passionate, lifelong romantic relationship with another woman, her friend and sister-in-law Susan…yes this is the iconic American poet, popularly thought to have been a recluse. Beloved comic and Saturday Night Live alum Molly Shannon leads in this humorous yet bold reappraisal of Dickinson, informed by her private letters. While seeking publication of some of the 1,775 poems written during her lifetime, Emily (Shannon) finds herself facing a troupe of male literary gatekeepers too confused by her genius to take her work seriously. Instead her work attracts the attention of an ambitious woman editor, who also sees Emily as a convenient cover for her own role in buttoned-up Amherst’s most bizarre love triangle. Meticulously researched with the support of the Guggenheim foundation, this dramatic comedy generously intertwines Dickinson’ actual letters and poems into the texture of the film, used with permission from Harvard University Press.  A timely critique of how women’s history is rewritten, WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY remains vibrant, irreverent and tender–a perhaps closer depiction of Emily Dickinson’s real life than anything seen before. Director Madeleine Olnek (The Foxy Merkins, Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same) stops by to talk about her “wildly” inventive and poignant reset of the often maligned American literary giant.

 

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For news and updates go to: wildnightswithemily.com

Greenwich Entertainment.com/film/wild-nights-with-emily/

Social Media:

facebook.com/GreenwichEntertainment

twitter.com/GreenwichET

instagram.com/greenwichentertainment

93% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Wild Nights With Emily may be Olnek’s most political film to date, one that could forever change the narrative of the world’s most famous woman poet.” – Jude Dry, IndieWire

“Like the remarkable poet at its center, Wild Nights with Emily is playful, clever, and alive.” – Kristy Puchko, Pajiba

“This is an irreverent film, but its lightness is meaningful. With each silly flourish, Olnek offers joy and companionship to a figure whose history was more conveniently presented to generations of readers as solitary.” – Two Bugbee, New York Times

“Olnek has crafted a lovely, heart-warming piece which reminds us of the importance of revisiting and challenging historical narratives and leaves one in both fits of laughter and in need of a few moments of contemplation.” – Hannah Ryan, Much Ado About Cinema

Little Woods – Director Nia DaCosta

Ollie (Tessa Thompson) is barely getting by in Little Woods, an economically depressed fracking boomtown in North Dakota. She has left her days of illegally running prescription pills over the Canadian border behind, eyeing a potential new job that would finally break her out of the small town. But when her mother dies, she is reunited with her estranged sister Deb (Lily James), who faces a mounting crisis: the combined effect of an unplanned pregnancy and a deadbeat ex (James Badge Dale). The two find they have one week to settle the mortgage on their mother’s house or face foreclosure. As both bills and pressure mount, Ollie faces a choice: whether to return to a way of life she thought she’d left behind for just one more score, or to leave it all behind. Writer-director Nia DaCosta’s debut is an emotionally charged small-town thriller that weaves themes of economic downturn and the opioid crisis into its intimate story of two sisters trying to get by. An unvarnished film anchored by an authentically drawn sibling bond, LITTLE WOODS speaks to both the biggest and smallest elements of the working-class struggle in rural America. Director and writer Nia DaCosta joins us for a conversation on her debut feature film and the crushing burden of a life without options or access to opportunity or education and the toll it takes on well intentioned people.

 

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For news and updates go to: littlewoodsmovie.com/home

Social Media:

facebook.com/neonrated

twitter.com/neonrated

instagram.com/neonrated

Tribeca Film Festival – Nominated, Best Narrative Feature – Nia DaCosta

Heartland Film – Winner, Truly Moving Picture Award – Nia DaCosta

Fargo Film Festival – Winner Best Narrative Feature – Nia DaCosta

97% on Rotten Tomatoes

“DaCosta has made a suspense film in which we root for the heroes to break the law, and then she sends us home to ponder all the reasons they need to.” – Ty Burr, Boston Globe

“The film smartly never goes the direction one might assume, embracing full-blown character study that shines a scorching light on many prevailing problems within the underclass of American society” – Robert Kojder, Flickering Myth

“Nia DaCosta’s absorbing debut is laced with urgent dread, experienced by characters you care deeply about.” – Sam Weisberb, pillage Voice

“Little Woods is a story we don’t often see told from a black woman’s lens, especially not in this particular setting. It’s a story of sisters who band together and fight against every complication.” – Aramide Tinubu, Shadow and Act

Her Smell, Director Alex Ross Perry

Fueled by an incendiary performance by Elisabeth Moss, HER SMELL follows Becky Something (Moss) is a ’90s punk rock superstar who once filled arenas with her grungy all-female trio Something She. Now she plays smaller venues while grappling with motherhood, exhausted band mates, nervous record company executives, and a new generation of rising talent eager to usurp her stardom. When Becky’s chaos and excesses derail a recording session and national tour, she finds herself shunned, isolated and alone. Forced to get sober, temper her demons, and reckon with the past, she retreats from the spotlight and tries to recapture the creative inspiration that led her band to success. Anchored by a towering, unflinching performance from Golden Globe and Emmy winner Moss, and supported by a stellar ensemble cast, HER SMELL examines the grit, grace and gravitas of an unforgettable fictional rock star crashing down to earth into the harsh realities of mid-life. With his deeply humane sixth feature, writer- director Alex Ross Perry (Listen Up Philip, Golden Exits) pumps up the volume and shines a light on the terrifying moment when superstardom wanes — and quiet becomes the new loud. Alex Ross Perry joins us for a lively conversation on the film’s fascinating shooting schedule, collaborating with cinematographer Sean Price Williams and working with a remarkable cast of actors.

 

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For news and updates go to hersmellmovie.com

“Elisabeth Moss turns in a five-alarm blaze of a performance as a frontwoman who makes Courtney Love look like Mother Teresa.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“Moss varies the volume and the tempo of her performance, calling forth cascades of profane invention and rills of whispery poetry, but she always stays in the same key, the key of Becky.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

“Formally audacious and ferociously intelligent, Her Smell is Perry’s greatest achievement yet, a wild saga of prestige and madness that is ultimately rooted in the female bonds keeping women sane.” – Natalia Winkelman, The Daily Beast

“Over and above the furious-and ultimately painfully tender-drama, Perry achieves something of a new, grand version of his own cinematic music.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker

Hail Satan?, Director Penny Lane and Subject Lucien Greaves

Hail Satan? chronicles the extraordinary rise of one of the most colorful and controversial religious movements in American history, Hail Satan? is an inspiring and entertaining new feature documentary from acclaimed director Penny Lane. When media-savvy members of the Satanic Temple organize a series of public actions designed to advocate for religious freedom and challenge corrupt authority, they prove that with little more than a clever idea, a mischievous sense of humor, and a few rebellious friends, you can speak truth to power in some truly profound ways. As charming and funny as it is thought-provoking, Hail Satan? offers a timely look at a group of often misunderstood outsiders whose unwavering commitment to social and political justice has empowered thousands of people around the world. But with their numbers swelling and dozens of new chapters forming in cities across the globe, increased threats of violence against Satanists and disagreements within the group’s own ranks complicate the Temple’s work. As a complex and costly legal battle erupts over a similar Ten Commandments monument in Arkansas, Greaves, Blackmore, and their fellow Temple members struggle to adjust to the movement’s explosive popularity while maintaining the integrity of their core beliefs. Director Penny Lane (Nuts!, Our Nixon) once again joins us for a lively discussion on Satanic beliefs, Lucien Greaves, Jex Blackmore and the creative and subversive strategies for preserving many deeply held patriotic ideals.

 

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For news and updates go to: hailsatanfilm.com

For more on the filmmaker go to: pennylaneismyrealname.com

Social Media:

facebook.com/hailsatanfilm

twitter.com/hailsatanfilm

instagram.com/hailsatanfilm

“Lane sets out to subvert American history with intelligence and wit. Here, she asks us to question why certain religions are deemed “normal,” even though, notes one Temple member, Catholic mass is all about the symbolic drinking of blood.” – Amy Nicholson, Variety

“Provocative, hilarious, and latently enraging documentary about The Satanic Temple.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

“”Hail Satan?” finds that simply presenting reason and historical precedent proves to be audacious and Lane follows the lead of her subjects in showing that it can be done with enormous amounts of fun.” – Stephen Saito, Movable Feast

“Wickedly funny, fascinating and niftily made, this crowd-pleaser will reign at festivals and prove, yet again, that the devil always has the best tunes.” – Leslie Felperin, Hollywood Reporter

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché, Director Pamela B. Green

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché, is a documentary about the first female filmmaker, Alice Guy-Blaché, which explores the heights of fame and financial success she achieved before she was shut out from the very industry she helped create. Over the span of her career, she wrote, produced or directed 1,000 films, including 150 with synchronized sound during the ‘silent’ era. Her work includes comedies, westerns and dramas, as well as films with groundbreaking subject matter such as child abuse, immigration, Planned Parenthood, and female empowerment. She also etched a place in history by making the earliest known surviving narrative film with an all-African American cast. Pamela B. Green has dedicated more than eight years of research in order to discover the real story of Alice Guy-Blaché (1873-1968) – not only highlighting her pioneering contributions to the birth of cinema but also her acclaim as a creative force and entrepreneur in the earliest years of movie-making. Green discovered rare footage of televised interviews and long archived audio interviews which can be heard for the first time in Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché, which affords Alice Guy-Blaché to tell her own story. Director Pamela B. Green joins us for a conversation on the winding journey of discovery and the exhilaration that comes from showcasing a visionary artist, producer, studio head, entrepreneur, feminist, and groundbreaking filmmaker.

 

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 For news and updates go to: Benaturalthemovie.com

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché is distributed by Zeitgeist Films

For more about the filmmaker go to: pamelabgreen.com

Social Media:

facebook.com/BeNaturalMovie

twitter.com/BeNaturalMovie

instagram.com/benaturalthemovie

“What starts as a biography turns into a detective thriller as Green crisscrosses the globe, searching for clues as to why Guy-Blaché has been forgotten.” – katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times

“A scrupulously well-researched documentary about one of early cinema’s greatest pioneers and the world’s first woman filmmaker.” – Leslie Felperin, Hollywood Reporter

“The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché is essential viewing for those who want a complete perspective on the history of film.” – Lorry Kikta, Film Threat

“In her passionate debut film, Green achieves a feat of making a two-level research project informative and entertaining. Exciting and essential documentary for film history!” – Nora Lee Mandel, Maven’s Nest

Blowin’ Up, Director Stephanie Wang Breal

In 2004, the United States’ first problem-solving court around prostitution was created in Queens County, New York. The court, presided over by the Honorable Toko Serita, attempts to redress the way women and young girls arrested for prostitution are shuffled through the criminal justice system. With unparalleled access to the workings of the court, BLOWIN’ UP captures what it feels like to go through these criminal proceedings as a female defendant. The overwhelming majority of women arrested are undocumented Asian immigrants, black, Latina and transgender youth. We hear directly from these women, in their own words, and we begin to understand the complex scenarios that bring them into the courtroom. As BLOWIN’ UP progresses, and a new administration takes over in the White House in 2016, the courtroom’s fragile ecosystem is tested and the fates of those who pass through become less certain. Director Stephanie Wang-Breal is an award-winning filmmaker and commercial director. BLOWIN’ UP is her third feature length film. Her first film, Wo Ai Ni Mommy (I Love You, Mommy), was nominated for an Emmy®, and was the recipient of three Grand Jury Best Documentary Awards at the AFI/ Discovery Silverdocs Film Festival, the Asian American International Film Festival and the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, as well as a 2011 CINE special Jury Award. The film had its national television broadcast in 2010 on the award-winning PBS series POV. Director Stephanie Wang Breal stops by for a conversation on the vicious cycle of poverty, few job prospects, lack educational resources and criminalization of sex work.

 

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For news and updates go to: blowinupfilm.com

For more on the films of Stephanie Wang Breal.com

Learn more about the organization in the film and how you can get involved

Queens Human Trafficking Intervention Court 

The Legal Aid Society 

Gems (Girls Education & Mentoring Services)

Sanctuary For Families 

Garden Of Hope

Sex Workers Project

Social Media:

facebook.com/blowinupfilm

twitter.com/BlowinUpFilm

instagram.com/blowinupfilm

“A true justice league of wonder women in action… one of the most hopeful real-world visions of heroic women ever to fill the screen.”  – Sheri Linden, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“Stephanie Wang-Breal’s fascinating film is an immersive portrait of a courtroom in Queens with a refreshingly nuanced take on a timely issue… Wang-Breal approaches the vastly misunderstood topic of sex work from a non-judgmental feminist perspective.” – Jude Dry, INDIEWIRE

“A powerful film about an innovative court in Queens where judgments are made with real world considerations beyond the letter of the law… The result is brilliant in every way.” – Stephen Saito, THE MOVEABLE FEST

“Candid in its politics and slow and meticulous in its exploration of a workplace and its cast of characters…these individual testimonies show how difficult it is to put someone into a convenient box, effectively blowing up the neat compartments we build around criminals and victims.” – Amy Zimmerman, THE DAILY BEAST

OVID.tv, Co-founder of OVID.tv and Director of Icarus Films Jonathan Miller

In a media environment dominated by increasingly concentrated corporate interests, eight distribution companies who have long championed the best in independent features, documentaries, and social issue films, have joined forces to help launch a new subscription streaming service, OVID.tv. Starting today, OVID.tv offers more than 350 quality documentaries and art-house films from the collections of its founding content partners: Bullfrog Films, The dGenerate Films Collection, Distrib Films US, First Run Features, Grasshopper Film, Icarus Films, KimStim, and Women Make Movies. Most of the films on OVID.tv are not available on any other streaming platform, and OVID.tv will be adding even more films every two weeks–14 fiction feature films and one 10-part documentary series are already scheduled for release. Despite the odds and with little capital, Icarus Films, Docuseek, and our partners have decided that the time has come to step forward and build a new, independent space, dedicated to the films that we believe in and care about, and that we believe you care about, and value as well. OVID.tv co-founder Jonathan Miller joins us to talk about an affordable option for film lovers looking for the highest quality cinema experience presented by people who share your passion.

 

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For news and updates go to:ovid.tv

You can read more about OVID on the International Documentary Association website, click here.

For now OVID.tv is only available in the U.S.

“A cornucopia of international movies and documentaries… recent ones as well as classics. It’s far better for recent movies than FilmStruck ever was, and its spectrum of new movies is far more substantial than that of Netflix, wider-ranging than that of Amazon.”  Richard Brody, The New Yorker, March 22, 2019

Babylon, Writer Martin Stellman

Never before released in the US, Franco Rosso’s incendiary BABYLON had its world premiere at Cannes in 1980 but was deemed “too controversial, and likely to incite racial tension” (Vivien Goldman, Time Out) by the New York Film Festival that same year. Raw and smoldering, it follows a young reggae DJ (Brinsley Forde, frontman of landmark British group Aswad) in Thatcher-era Brixton as he pursues his musical ambitions, while battling fiercely against the racism and xenophobia of employers, neighbors, police, and the National Front. Written by Martin Stellman (QUADROPHENIA) and shot by two-time Oscar® winner Chris Menges (THE KILLING FIELDS) with beautiful, smoky cinematography that’s been compared to TAXI DRIVER, BABYLON is fearless and unsentimental, yet tempered by the hazy bliss of the dancehall set to a blistering reggae, dub, and lovers rock soundtrack featuring Aswad, Johnny Clarke, and others, anchored by Dennis Bovell’s (The Slits) atmospheric score. BABYLON is the product of outsiders: director Rosso (1941-2016) immigrated from Italy as a child, Stellman is the son of Viennese Jewish immigrants, producer Gavrik Losey is the son of blacklisted Hollywood director Joseph Losey, and composer Bovell immigrated from Barbados, and was falsely imprisoned for running a sound system—the script was partly based on his experiences. Beyond the significance of being the only feature film about London’s sound system scene, BABYLON unflinchingly observes the place of marginalized people in a society resistant—to the point of violence—to multiculturalism. Writer Martin Stellman joins us to talk about the impact that Babylon had on the Caribbean diaspora living in London, the neo-realism style of the film and winding path that Babylon has taken over the last 40 years.

 

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For news and updates go to: kinolorber.com/film/Babylon

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“A STORY WITH LITERALLY EPIC STAKES. It’s no surprise why the film may resonate now—its themes of finding community through art and trying to exist in a society that doesn’t want you are unfortunately both timeless and extremely current.” – Jaya Saxena, GQ

“REMARKABLE. Never lets go for a moment.” – Derek Malcolm, The Guardian

“FEARLESS. Loud and musical and cheerful and funny, and also tragic.” – David Robinson, The Times“EXPLODES IN THE GUT with a powerful mix of pain and pleasure. Like the reggae music that pulses through it, Babylon is RICH, ROUGH and REAL. And like the street life of the young black Londoners it portrays, it’s THREATENING, TOUCHING, VIOLENT and FUNNY.” – Simon Perry, Variety

“FIVE STARS. One of the greatest British films.” – MOJO

“REVOLUTIONARY.” – Miguel Cullen, The Independent 

April 19 – Satan and Adam, Director V. Scott Balcerek

A celebration of the transformative power of music, and the bonds that develop when artists collaborate and worlds collide, the film follows Satan & Adam, a blues duo and a fixture on Harlem’s sidewalks in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Director V. Scott Balcerek pulls together over two decades of documentary footage to chart the duo’s trajectory from busking in the streets of Harlem, where they were happened upon by U2 who were filming for their Rattle and Hum documentary, to bigger and bigger stages, depicting the challenges that both had to overcome to keep Satan & Adam and their friendship together. Playing for years with artists including James Brown, King Curtis and Big Maybelle, Sterling Magee experienced the music industry’s exploitation of black musicians firsthand. So he walked away to play on the Harlem streets for “his people.” Reborn as Satan, he spread his gospel of freedom and became a New York City legend. When a white Jewish Ivy league scholar and musician named Adam Gussow asked if he could join him one day, both their lives took a powerful turn. Adam put aside the ivory tower life to play in the streets, and Sterling’s embrace of his younger apprentice forged a sound that thrust him back in the spotlight. But life on the road took its toll on the duo, and suddenly Sterling vanished without a trace. The separation would test both men’s courage, and their journey to find each other again a tale of tragedy, survival and miraculous rebirth. Director V. Scott Balacerek stops by to talk about a 23 year long journey chronicling the twists and turns of two dedicated musicians and an unlikely friendship.

 

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For news and updates go to: satanandadamfilm.com

April 12 – Opening in New York City – Village East Cinema Village East Cinema: Q&A Friday 4/12 following the 7:10pm show with Director V. Scott Balcerek, Peter Noel, Rachel Faro, and Adam Gussow 

April 19 – Opening in Los Angeles – Glendale Laemmle Theatre – Director V. Scott Balcerek will participate in Q&A’s following the 7:30 pm shows on Friday, 4/19, and Saturday, 4/20 at the Glendale and on Tuesday, 4/23 at the Monica Film Center. Producer Ryan Suffern will join him on Saturday.

Social Media:

twitter.com/satanandadam

instagram.com/satanandadamfilm

Grand Jury Prize

2018  Nashville Film Festival

Audience Award 

2018 American Film Festival
2018 Tribeca Film Festival
2018 MountainFilm

“John Sayles once told me that he thinks it’s music, more than anything, that has the power to bring Americans together across racial lines. Satan & Adam speaks to just such a power and goes beyond that to show us what it’s worth.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“The best third act of any music doc since Searching for Sugar Man.” – JB Spins

“Will move your feet and soul.” – Unseen Films

“Passionate and moving… Nothing could prepare me for what I would discover.” Film Inquiry

“Inspiring… reminds you what it means to be human.” – Nonfics

Working Woman, Director Michal Aviad

Orna, (Liron Ben Shlush) is the mother of three young children with a husband struggling to start his own restaurant. To help support her family Orna returns to the workplace, landing a job with a former army superior, Benny (Menashe Noy) who is now a successful real estate developer. While Orna embraces her new position and tries to balance its demands with her home life, she begins to experience escalating sexual harassment from her boss. Her rapid rise through the ranks and her increasing financial success seem to parallel a pattern of predatory behavior which ultimately brings her career and marital relationship to the brink. This timely and devastating psychological horror story is expertly told by long time feminist filmmaker Michal Aviad (Dimona Twist, The Women Pioneers, Invisible, For My Children). She joins us for an engaging conversation on an all too familiar story of a woman, simply trying to do her job and finding out its not enough.

 

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For news and updates go to: zeitgeistfilms.com/film/workingwoman

Zeitgeist Films

twitter.com/zeitgeistfilms

facebook.com/ZeitgeistFilms

instagram.com/zeitgeistfilms

“TIMELY AND POWERFUL…. The latest from Israeli director Aviad arrives at just the right cultural moment, being an insightful drama about sexual harassment in the workplace, and the power dynamics that trap women in an office with their abusers…. Ben-Shlush is riveting as a competent, capable woman coming apart under the constant, smothering stress of a situation she never thought she’d experience.” – Norman Wilner, NOW MAGAZINE

“This tightly-focused workplace drama could hardly be more timely… Finely-drawn characters and the kind of grey-area scenario that may be uncomfortably familiar to many women make this a thought-provoking addition to the post #metoo conversation.” – Wendy Ide, SCREEN DAILY

Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, Director of Programming Mike Doughtery

The 17th edition of the fest begins on Thursday, April 11th with an opening night tribute to legendary Indian Actress TABU, who is regarded as one of the most talented Indian actors of her generation, having been honored with two National Film Awards, six Filmfare Awards and notably, the Padma Shri from the Government of India in 2011. In addition to opening with a tribute and moderated discussion with TABU, the festival’s opening night gala event will also include a screening of her latest film ANDHADHUN, a feature directed by IFFLA alum Sriram Raghavan (Johnny Gaddaar).

Some other highlights from this year’s lineup include:

– A moderated panel featuring successful South Asian professionals working across various fields in the television industry. The panel boasts a lineup that includes actor/comedian Nik Dodani (Murphy Brown, Netflix’s Atypical), director Meera Menon (The Walking Dead, GLOW, The Magicians), writer Fawzia Mirza (CBS’ upcoming The Red Line), writer Chitra Sampath (Good Behavior, Southland), writer and co-creator of Fox’s The Resident Roshan Sethi, and actor Dhruv Uday Singh (Freeform’s Good Trouble, CBS pilot Pandas of New York).

-The screening of a trio of Sundance and Slamdance favorites that includes Ronny Sen’s unforgettable feature debut CAT STICKS, the exhilarating and imaginative real-life journey of TAKING THE HORSE TO EAT JALEBIS from theatre-turned-film director Anamika Haksar, and PHOTOGRAPH from The Lunchbox director Ritesh Batra.

-Director Megha Ramaswamy’s THE ODDS would close out the festival on April 14. THE ODDS is a coming-of-age tale about two teens who skip school on an important exam day and go on a fantastical journey through Mumbai. THE ODDS features supporting turns from Abhay Deol (Dev D) and Priyanka Bose (Lion) and special appearance by Monica Dogra, all of whom are expected to attend the Gala along with Ramaswamy and co-leads Yashaswini Dayama and Karanvir Malhotra.

Director of Programming Mike Dougherty stops by to talk the 2019 edition of IFFLA, the future of Indian cinema and the increasing acceptance among mainstream American film lovers.

For news and updates go to: indianfilmfestival.org/

IFFLA Film Guide

IFFLA ticket information

Location:

Regal L.A. LIVE: A Barco Innovation Center

1000 W. Olympic Blvd.

Los Angeles CA 90015

The Most Dangerous Year, Director Vlada Knowlton

In early 2016, when a dark wave of anti-transgender “bathroom bills” began sweeping across the nation, The Human Rights Campaign published a report identifying 2016 as the most dangerous year for transgender Americans. In Washington State six such “bathroom bills” were introduced in the State Legislature. Documentary filmmaker Vlada Knowlton captured the ensuing civil rights battle from the perspective of a small group of embattled parents as they banded together to fight a deluge of proposed laws that would strip away the rights of their young, transgender children. As one of the parents, Knowlton presents an intimate portrait of her own struggle to protect her 5-year-old transgender daughter from laws inspired by ignorance and fear. From tension-filled Senate hearings in Olympia to intimate household settings of the families involved; from thought provoking conversations with key lawmakers to elucidating facts explained by leading scientists – The Most Dangerous Year explores the transgender civil rights battle in all its richness and complexity. While the film follows the story and outcome of anti-transgender legislation in Washington, the heart of the film lies in the stories of the families who made the decision to accept and support their kids for exactly who they are. Director Vlada Knowlton joins us for a conversation on her deeply personal film about her own family’s story and the stories of other loving and caring families fighting to protect and nourish their own.

 

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For news and updates go to: themostdangerousyear.com

Social Media:

facebook.com/TheMostDangerousYear

instagram.com/vladaknowlton

“Capturing the perspective from families with transgender children, The Most Dangerous Year is a compelling documentary showing that transgender rights matter.” – Danielle Solzman. Solzy at the Movies

“The Most Dangerous Year excels in doing what great politically-charged pieces of art often do. (Director Vlada) Knowlton centers us, grabs our focus, and makes us listen.” – Michael Ward, You Should See It

Amazing Grace, Producer Alan Elliot

The highly anticipated documentary AMAZING GRACE, captures the live recording of Aretha Franklin’s album “Amazing Grace” at The New Bethel Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles in January 1972. Producer Alan Elliot joins us to talk about the “making of” and the resurrection of this remarkable display of raw talent and consuming passion, the 47-year long path that Amazing Grace has taken and how its arrival in theaters fulfills Aretha Franklin’s dying wish.

The Amazing Grace backstory

In 1972 Director Sydney Pollack (Tootsie, 3 Days of the Condor, Out of Africa) was inexperienced in shooting music documentary and shot without clapper boards snapping shut at the beginning of each take to help synchronize sound and picture in post-production. As a result of this mistake, even after months of work by experts, the 20 hours of footage couldn’t be synchronized with the audio tracks. The choir director from the Watts recordings was brought in to try to lip-read the reels, but after months of work, only about 150 minutes of footage had been matched with sound, none of it adding up to a complete, useable song. Deadlines passed as the “Amazing Grace” album came out in June 1972, selling millions with no synergy. In August, Warner Bros. officially wrote off and shelved the movie. Pollack never gave up on the project, but constantly had other commitments. In 2007, dying of cancer, Pollack finally handed the documentary project over to producer and music enthusiast Producer Alan Elliott.

 

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For news and updates go to: amazing-grace-movie.com

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

CRITIC’S PICK: “Nonetheless, from a distance, this is obviously one of the great music films, less epic in scope than, say, “The Last Waltz” but as glorious in communal feeling and South Los Angeles zeal as “Wattstax” (the natural partner for a double feature) and as musically imaginative as “Stop Making Sense.” What distinguishes “Amazing Grace,” what lifts it to the penthouse, is a mix of energy and moment…You get both the most lovely gaze a professional camera’s ever laid upon Aretha Franklin and some of the mightiest singing she’s ever laid on you. The woman practically eulogizes herself. Don’t bother with tissues. Bring a towel.” – Wesley Morris, NEW YORK TIMES

 “The two nights of filmed performances find Franklin-accompanied by the Reverend James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir-in spectacular voice and prolific imagination. Her rapturous power and intense concentration are revealed in long, urgent closeups that seem to reflect even the cinematographers’ awed astonishment. The film is a triumph of timeless artistry over transitory obstacles; its very existence is a secular miracle.” – Richard Brody, NEW YORKER

 ” … A captivating artifact, the rare making-of documentary that doesn’t just comment on but completely merges with its subject. The lift-you-to-the-rafters intensity of Franklin’s voice remains so pure and galvanic that “Amazing Grace” is one of the few movies you could watch with your eyes closed, though you would hardly want to.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

Roll Red Roll, Director Nancy Schwartzman

The gripping new documentary Roll Red Roll goes behind the headlines on a story that grabbed the national attention seven years ago. At a pre-season football party in small-town Steubenville, Ohio, a heinous crime took place: the assault of a teenage girl by members of the beloved high school football team. What transpired would garner national attention and result in the sentencing of two key offenders. But it was the disturbing social media evidence uncovered online by crime blogger Alex Goddard that provoked the most powerful questions about the case, and about the collusion of teen bystanders, teachers, parents and coaches to protect the assailants and discredit the victim. As it painstakingly reconstructs the night of the crime and its aftermath, Roll Red Roll uncovers the engrained rape culture at the heart of the incident, acting as a cautionary tale about what can happen when teenage social media bullying runs rampant and adults look the other way. The film unflinchingly asks: “why didn’t anyone stop it?” Director Nancy Schwartzman joins us to talk about life in a town where high school football is king, a “boys will be boys” ethos that can easily morph into a rape culture and how a few brave women said no more.

 

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For news and updates go to: rollredrollfilm.com

Social Media:

facebook.com/rollredrolldoc

twitter.com/RollRedRollDoc

instagram.com/RollRedRollDoc

“A tough but essential watch, “Roll Red Roll” documents how a sexual assault in a declining Appalachian town became an international cause célèbre.” – Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times

“Nancy Schwartzman’s devastating real-life thriller documents a shocking sexual assault in a tight-knit community, and the role of social media in compounding the felony but also helping to solve it” – Peter Howell, Toronto Star

“Documentaries don’t usually horrify the oxygen out of me, but I found myself gulping for air more than once during Roll Red Roll.” – Lena Wilson, Slate

“Roll Red Roll is often hard to watch, but [director Nancy] Schwartzman handles the subject matter with respect, grace, insight, and even hope.” – Erika W. Smith, Bust Magazine

The Wind, Director Emma Tammi

THE WIND tells the tale of an unseen evil haunts the homestead in this chilling, folkloric tale of madness, paranoia, and otherworldly terror. Lizzy (Caitlin Gerard) is a tough, resourceful frontierswoman settling a remote stretch of land on the 19th-century American frontier. Isolated from civilization in a desolate wilderness where the wind never stops howling, she begins to sense a sinister presence that seems to be borne of the land itself, an overwhelming dread that her husband (Ashley Zukerman) dismisses as superstition. When a newlywed couple arrives on a nearby homestead, their presence amplifies Lizzy’s fears, setting into motion a shocking chain of events. THW WIND masterfully blends haunting visuals with pulse-pounding sound design, while director Emma Tammi evokes a godforsaken world in which the forces of nature come alive with quivering menace. Director Emma Tammi stops by for a conversation on “Penny Sermons” and the challenges of isolated, desert shoots and framing a non-traditional western from a woman’s perspective

 

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For news and updates go to: ifcfilms.com/the-wind

“This pioneer chiller shines a gender-specific spotlight on the ways isolation and hardship can ravage a woman’s mind.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

“”The Wind” doesn’t seek to make infallible heroes of its women, but to understand and empathize with even their most unforgivable acts. And it’s a hugely promising debut in terms of Tammi’s steady, assured directorial craft.” – Jessica Tiang, Variety

“The Wind is a confident, thoughtful, yet creeping and powerful film, with well-earned jump scares and demons both real and possibly imaginary, enough to make you afraid of the dark and the emptiness of even the most beautiful places.” – Shelagh Rowan-Legg, ScreenAnarchy

“The Wind is a western, but it’s not about a man. It’s also a folkloric, supernatural horror but it’s not exactly about monsters, either. The Wind is a film about a woman, and the domestic space she tends and defends.” – Tara JudahDesist Film