September 22, 2017 – The Force, Director Peter Nicks

Peter Nicks’ THE FORCE, is a compelling cinema vérité look deep inside the long-troubled Oakland Police Department as it struggles to confront federal demands for reform, a popular uprising following events in Ferguson, MO, and an explosive scandal. THE FORCE is the story of a young chief, hailed as a reformer, is brought in to complete the turnaround at the very moment the #BlackLivesMatter movement emerges to demand police accountability and racial justice both in Oakland and across the nation. Meanwhile, young cops in the Academy learn how to police in a new era of transparency and accountability. And out on the street, the camera gets up close as rookie and veteran officers alike face an increasingly hostile public where dueling narratives surround each use of force. Officers are being watched like never before as they respond to a constant flood of 911 calls, revealing the wide gulf between how cops see themselves and how they are seen by the public. Despite growing public distrust, the OPD is garnering national attention as a model of police reform. But just as the department is on the verge of a breakthrough, the man charged with turning the department around faces the greatest challenge of his career, one that could threaten not only the progress that has been made, but the very authority of the institution itself. THE FORCE was the winner of the Director’s Prize at the 2017 Sundance for U.S. Documentary, and premiered in New York at both BAMcinemaFest and the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. Director Peter Nicks (The Waiting Room) joins us for a conversation on the second film of a trilogy on his adopted hometown’s institutions and the seemingly intractable issues that bedevil them.

The news and updates go to: theforcefilm.com

The Force opens in Los Angeles on September 22nd at the NuArt Theatre in Los Angeles

Directing Award / U.S. Documentary at Sundance Film Festival 2017

Courage in Cinema Prize at Independent Film Festival Boston

Best Bay Area Doc at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

“Hypnotic and eye-opening. Nicks has a style that is both experiential and ethereal: from its ground-level immersion in the minutiae of police work to its sweeping helicopter shots of the city at night, The Force has a texture of a Michael Mann film combined with the clarity of a Frederick Wiseman documentary.” – Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice

“A poignant, realistic sense of the difficulties and challenges of modern policing.” – Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times

“Gripping. With superb use of vérité filmmaking, director Peter Nicks follows the Oakland Police Department over two years. The film shows what’s possible when police departments try to be the force of good they’re designed to be – but this documentary is also clear-eyed about how often they fall short.” –  Tim Grierson, Screen International

September 22, 2017 – Machines, Director Rahul Jain

Marrying stunning visuals with social advocacy, Rahul Jain’s debut documentary — winner of the Special Jury Award for Cinematography at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival — takes audiences into the labyrinthine passages of an enormous textile factory in Gujarat, India. Jain’s camera wanders freely between pulsating machines and bubbling vats of dye to create a moving portrait of the human laborers who toil away there for 12 hours a day to eke out a meager living for their families back home. Interviews with these workers and the factory owners who employ them reveal the stark inequality and dangerous working conditions brought about by unregulated industrialization in the region. This political message is delivered amidst the unsettling beauty of the factory’s mechanical underworld and the colorful, billowing fabrics it produces. Director Rahul Jain joins us to talk about the making of his stark, mesmerizing, and unsettling film and the penetrating sense of complicity we all should feel for the men and the inhumane work conditions they find themselves in.

For news and updates go to: Machines

facebook.com/machinesmovie

Machines open in Los Angeles at the Laemmle’s Monica Fourplex

1332 Second St., Santa Monica, CA 90401  Showtimes: 3:20 PM5:30 PM7:40 PM9:50 PM

Sundance Film Festival 2017 Winner of the Excellence in Cinematography Award

“Five stars! Astonishing. A dignifying hymn to the common worker.” – The Guardian

“Displays an all-too-rare combination of artistic vision and social conscience… [a] sensory immersion into a hidden, secretive environment.” – The Hollywood Reporter

“Visually stunning. Frames everything with an inquisitive eye.”- Financial Times

“Hypnotic and frequently beautiful. An intoxicating look at the lives of… migrant workers.” – Variety

“Operates with an intense rhythm and visual depth.” – No Film School

September 15, 2017 – Strong Island, Director Yance Ford

Strong Island chronicles the arc of a family across history, geography and tragedy – from the racial segregation of the Jim Crow South to the promise of New York City; from the presumed safety of middle class suburbs, to the maelstrom of an unexpected, violent death. It is the story of the Ford family: Barbara Dunmore, William Ford and their three children and how their lives were shaped by the enduring shadow of race in America. In April 1992, on Long Island NY, William Jr., the Ford’s eldest child, a black 24 year-old teacher, was killed by Mark Reilly, a white 19 year-old mechanic. Although Ford was unarmed, he became the prime suspect in his own murder. A deeply intimate and meditative film, Strong Island asks what one can do when the grief of loss is entwined with historical injustice, and how one grapples with the complicity of silence, which can bind a family in an imitation of life, and a nation with a false sense of justice. Director Yance Ford, who is transgender, is a recipient of the Creative Capital Award, a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, a Sundance Documentary Film Program Fellowship, and was among Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2011. For ten years Ford was privileged to work as Series Producer for the PBS showcase POV and where his curatorial work helped garner more than 16 Emmy nominations. Ford is also an architectural welder, and while at Modern Art Foundry he helped assemble the sculpture “Maman” by Louise Bourgeois—the series of three spiders exhibited at Rockefeller Center, and now on permanent display at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. Director Yance Ford joins us for a conversation on grief, justice, racism, expectations, and the profound impact this 25-year long saga has had on his family. 

For news and updates go to: strongislandfilm.com

 

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Opening Friday, September 15

IFC CENTER, NEW YORK

IFC Center + Q&A with director Yance Ford – Friday 7:05 PM

LAEMMLE MONICA FILM CENTER, SANTA MONICA

Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica | California

“Ford is more than a witness-he is a crucial participant in the events of the film, and its elements of pain and guilt are reflected in his grief-stricken, self-interrogating aesthetic.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker

“Ford’s intent as a filmmaker isn’t just to expose and protest the injustice of his brother’s murder. It’s to say: Behold what was lost. A life. A human being. A complex soul. A family’s equilibrium. Feel what was lost.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“It’s clear that the filmmaker wants you to feel the same kind of hurt and anger he feels as more information unfolds about William Ford Jr.’s death.” – Jamie Broadnax, Black Girl Nerds

“Truly special, especially as it moves towards its final act, in which Yance begins to wonder about his own actions before William Jr.’s death, and how they might have contributed to the situation.” – Bilge Emir, Village Voice

September 15, 2017 – School Life, Co-directors David Rane and Neasa Ni Chiandain

This observational documentary follows a year in the lives of two inspirational teachers at Headfort, the only primary-age boarding school in Ireland. Housed in an 18th century estate, school life embraces tradition and modernity. For John, rock music is just another subject alongside Maths, Scripture and Latin, taught in a collaborative and often hilarious fashion. For his wife Amanda, the key to connecting with children is the book, and she uses all means to snare the young minds. For nearly half a century these two have shaped thousands of minds, but now the unthinkable looms: what would retirement mean? What will keep them young if they leave? Co-directors David Rane and Neasa Ni Chiandain stop by to talk about gaining the trust of a remarkably dedicated couple who have given their lives to the students and a way of life at Headfort and the joy of documenting an academic culture that celebrates and elevates young minds.

For news and updates go to: schoollifefilm.com

 

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Opens in Los Angeles on Friday, September 15 at the Laemmle Monica Film Center

“‘School Life’ is as charming, intimate and warm-hearted an observational documentary as you’d ever want to see.”  – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“The filmmakers demonstrate mastery of documentary style by achieving an extraordinary level of on-camera comfort with their subjects, intimate access where everyone seems unaware they are being filmed.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat

“It’s the kind of school that could never exist in today’s America: It’s too freewheeling, too unstructured. Maybe it won’t exist in Ireland much longer either, so it’s a good thing that School Life manages to capture its weird, wonderful world.” – Josh Modell, AV Club

“A celebration of the importance of teachers and putting faith into the next generation of kids, School Life is quite the pleasing little documentary.” – Alex Lines, Film Inquiry

September 15, 2017 – Year By The Sea, Director Alexander Janko

Winner of 16 festival awards – from Audience Choice to Best Feature/Actress/Music and Screenplay – YEAR BY THE SEA chronicles empty-nester Joan Anderson’s (Karen Allen) decision not to follow her relocated husband to Kansas. Instead, she retreats to Cape Cod to rediscover herself and redefine her life. Plagued with guilt, she questions her decision until stumbling upon a spirited mentor, Joan Erikson (Celia Imrie) – author and wife of famed psychologist Erik Erikson (Alvin Epstein), who coined the term “identity crisis.” With a support group that includes her literary agent and a host of locals, Joan learns to embrace the ebb and flow of life – ultimately discovering the balance between self and sacrifice, obligation and desire. YEAR BY THE SEA, based on the New York Times and international best-selling memoir by Joan Anderson and starring highly acclaimed screen and stage actress Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Animal House). Written, directed and composed by Alexander Janko, YEAR BY THE SEA will open at Lincoln Plaza and Landmark Sunshine in New York on September 8 and at Laemmle Royal, Town Center and Playhouse 7 in Los Angeles on September 15. Director Janko joins to talk his life-affirming tale of friendship, love and pushing against expectations.

For news and updates go to: YearByTheSea.com

 

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Opens at Lincoln Plaza Cinema & Landmark Sunshine in New York – September 8

Opens at the Royal, Town Center and Playhouse 7 in Los Angeles – September 15

4 AUDIENCE CHOICE

Rhode Island International Film Festival

Naperville Independent Film Festival

Berkshire International Film Festival

Vail Film Festival

ACTOR AWARDS

Best Actress (Karen Allen) — Hamilton Film Festival

Best Actress (Karen Allen) — Naperville Independent Film Festival

“[Year by the Sea] is not a film trying to show the extraordinary in the mundane, but rather create a space for characters like Joan to figure out what they can become.” – Jose Solis Mayen, The Film Stage

“The movie is not entirely my cup of tea, although it is refreshing in its depiction of diverse, older female characters.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

“As it charts its familiar course, the film has soothing, even therapeutic value.” – Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

“A life-affirming, breathtaking, and inspirational film that will nourish your heart, mind and soul. It’s the perfect antidote to Hollywood’s blockbusters. Karen Allen gives the best performance of her career! What a triumph!” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru

September 8, 2017 – Trophy, Co-directors Christina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz

 

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In filmmakers Shaul Schwarz and Christina Clusiau’s bracingly balanced new documentary TROPHY explores the complex heart of contemporary issues of animal conservation and commodification at a time when endangered African species such as elephants, rhinos and lions march ever closer to extinction. This provocative follow-up to Schwarz’s acclaimed Narco Cultura journeys viewers across lush African forests and vast plains and into the world’s largest hunters’ convention in Las Vegas to meet breeders and hunters who passionately believe in animal conservation. A common mantra of these businesses – “if it pays, it stays” – sums up the controversial notion that if you assign monetary value to an animal, it is worth protecting. TROPHY follows Philip Glass, a Texas-based sheep breeder and life-long hunter who is on a quest to collect the “Big Five” (elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, and rhino). Philip is deeply connected to the land and animals, Chris Moore, a Zimbabwean wildlife officer whose anti-poaching campaign is partially subsidized by big-game hunters like Philip. Chris works with government authorities and communities to keep people safe from wild animals. He also protects those animals from ruthless poachers. The great irony of Chris’s work is that he goes to “extreme lengths” to protect endangered animals, only to have them killed by trophy hunters. Co-director Christina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz joins us for a frank conversation on the fate of these magnificent creatures and who or what will determine their uncertain future.

For news and update go to: trophy.film

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

”A bracing look at the intersection of big business and animal-rights protection.  It will enrage, enlighten and confound in equal measure.” – Variety

“Sprawling, complex and beautifully lensed documentary about the tensions that exist between wild-life conservation and the global hunting industry.” – Screen International

“A more elegant, cinematically sophisticated approach… a documentary that is simultaneously gorgeous and unwatchable. Its very form embodies the film’s central, andvery controversial conflict… Don’t let the beauty of its images fool you; it’s a supremely confrontational, even infuriating work. It’s hard to know what to make of Trophy, and something tells me the filmmakers wouldn’t want it any other way.” – Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice / LA Weekly

“A sweeping new documentary that tells a story as captivating as its images are beautiful.” – IndieWire

September 8, 2017 – Dolores, Director Peter Bratt

 

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Dolores Huerta is among the most important, yet least known, activists in American history. An equal partner in co-founding the first farm workers unions with Cesar Chavez, her enormous contributions have gone largely unrecognized. Dolores tirelessly led the fight for racial and labor justice alongside Chavez, becoming one of the most defiant feminists of the twentieth century—and she continues the fight to this day, at 87. With intimate and unprecedented access to this intensely private mother to eleven, the film reveals the raw, personal stakes involved in committing one’s life to social change. DOLORES is directed by Peter Bratt (LA MISSION) and Executive Produced by humanitarian and Grammy Award-winning musician Carlos Santana. The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival this year and continues to be a favorite on the festival circuit, garnering Audience Awards at the San Francisco International Film Festival, Montclair Film Festival, Houston Latino Film Festival and the Denver Women + Film Festival, as well as receiving the Golden Space Needle Best Documentary Award from the Seattle International Film Festival. Director Peter Bratt joins us for an engaging and lively conversation about a visionary leader who refuses to give into to pessimism and inaction.

For news and updates go to: doloresthemovie.com

Twitter #DOLORESHUERTA

Opens LA / September 8, 2017 / Nuart Theatre

Question and Answers with Dolores Huerta, Peter Bratt, and Carlos Santana in person 9/8

Friday 9/8, 5:00pm – Dolores Huerta and Peter Bratt in-person – Moderated by Mike De la Rocha – Introduced by Maria Elena Durazo

Friday 9/8, 7:30pm – Dolores Huerta, Peter Bratt and Carlos Santana in-person

Moderated by Martin Sheen – Introduced by Andrew Russell, President & CEO (PBS SoCal)

Friday 9/8, 9:55pm – Introduction by Dolores Huerta and Peter Bratt

Saturday 9/9, 7:30pm – Members of the Huerta family, including Camila Chavez, Maria Elena Chavez and Rick Chavez, in-person – Moderated by Shane Murphy Goldsmith  (Liberty Hill Foundation)

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“‘Dolores’ is a documentary that celebrates a hero, but it’s no hagiography. Its subject wouldn’t stand for that.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“As a girl, she says, she had wanted to be a dancer. In some way you can see that in her work: She has made activism an art form.” – Ken Jaworowsky, New York Times

“Bratt masterfully corrects the record … revealing a charismatic, complicated woman who persevered – despite the disruption to her family and swirling disapproval of her personal life.”  – Daphne Howland, Village Voice

September 1, 2017 – Company Town, Co-directors Natalie Kottke-Masocco and Erica Sardarian

Crossett, Arkansas is home to about 5,500 people, one Georgia-Pacific paper and chemical plant owned by billionaire brothers Charles Koch and David Koch, and a startling rate of cancer and illness. The groundbreaking investigative documentary Company Town follows local pastor David Bouie as he fights to save his community. It offers a rare look inside a small town ruled by a single company, where the government’s environmental protections have been subverted and ignored, leaving its citizens to take on entrenched powers in a fight for justice. Crossett is just one of hundreds of towns across America polluted by big business and failed by local, state and federal environmental protections. Company Town ultimately asks, what do you do when the company you work for and live next to is making you sick? It is the story of a modern-day David vs. Goliath. Filmed over the course of nearly four years, Company Town offers first-hand accounts from a wide range of residents in Crossett’s “cancer cluster,” including Simone Smith, who was diagnosed with cancer at 9 years old; Hazel Parker, a former Georgia-Pacific employee whose mother, sister and father died from cancer; and Leroy Patton, the only person on his block to survive his health battle. And it brings to light the account on one whistle-blower who puts his life and family on the line to shed light on Georgia-Pacific’s egregious pollution, cover up and political influence. Co-directors Natalie Kotke-Masocco and Erica Sardarian join us to talk about their quietly devastating film about corporate greed, corruption and malfeasance.

For news and updates go to: CompanyTown.com

firstrunfeatures.com/companytown

September 1, 2017 – Viceroy’s House, Director Gurinder Chadha

New nations are rarely born in peace… India, 1947: Lord Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) is dispatched, along with his wife Edwina (Gillian Anderson), to New Delhi to oversee the country’s transition from British rule to independence. Taking his place in the resplendent mansion known as the Viceroy’s House, Mountbatten arrives hopeful for a peaceful transference of power. But ending centuries of colonial rule in a country divided by deep religious and cultural differences proves no easy undertaking, setting off a seismic struggle that threatens to tear India apart. VICEROY’S HOUSE delves into the “upstairs/downstairs” real-life history of Lord Mountbatten and his family in 1947 India from the perspectives of both the Mountbattens and the people of India. The story of India’s partition is not only a story of independence, but also one of the greatest refugee crisis in history. With sumptuous period detail, director Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham) brings to life a pivotal historical moment that re-shaped the world.

For news and updates go to: Viceroy’s House 

Viceroy’s House at IFC Films

“At the end of this sprawling, passionate but generously non-partisan epic, a moving coda reveals the director’s personal stake in telling the story her way. You should stay for the credits.” – Ella Taylor, NPR

“The film carries a trace of the sweep of a great screen epic along with the straightforward, explanatory qualities of mass-audience TV, and is never less than absorbing.” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times

“sing the trappings of old-fashioned romanticism, Chadha envisions the cataclysmic upheaval of millions in the traumatic lives of a few.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice

August 5, 2017 – Beach Rats, Director / Writer Eliza Hittman

 

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Frankie, an aimless teenager on the outer edges of Brooklyn, is having a miserable summer. With his father dying and his mother wanting him to find a girlfriend, Frankie escapes the bleakness of his home life by causing trouble with his delinquent friends and flirting with older men online. When his chatting and webcamming intensify, he finally starts hooking up with guys at a nearby cruising beach while simultaneously entering into a cautious relationship with a young woman. As Frankie struggles to reconcile his competing desires, his decisions leave him hurtling towards irreparable consequences.  Director and writer Eliza Hittman (It Felt Like Love) talks about sexual identity, dealing with loss, and growing up in an era of America’s broken dream.

For news and updates go to: beachratsfilm.com

**WINNER: Best Director – 2017 Sundance Film Festival**

“Beautifully rendered. Harris Dickinson is a stunning revelation.” – Guy Lodge, VARIETY

“Dark, dreamy and entirely engaging. Very much the work of a filmmaker with her own distinctive voice. Leaves a haunting impression in its wake.” – David Rooney, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER 

August 25, 2017 – Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, Executive Producer Stevie Salas

 

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RUMBLE: THE INDIANS WHO ROCKED THE WORLD, reveals the rousing history of American Indians in popular music, kicks off with Link Wray (Shawnee) whose raw, distorted electric guitar riff from the 1958 instrumental “Rumble” was a major influence on rock legends Pete Townshend, Jimmy Page, and Iggy Pop. RUMBLE powers through the music and life stories of artists whose Indian heritage has long been unsung: Delta blues master Charley Patton (Choctaw), “queen of swing” Mildred Bailey (Coeur D’Alene), The Band’s Robbie Robertson (Mohawk), Jimi Hendrix (Cherokee), folk icon Buffy Sainte-Marie (Cree), “guitarist to the greats” Jesse Ed Davis (Kiowa/Comanche), and others. RUMBLE collages historical footage and electrifying performances with commentary by surviving musicians. Music historians, family members and assorted luminaries (including Martin Scorsese, Quincy Jones, George Clinton, Dan Auerbach, Taj Mahal, Steven Van Zandt, Slash, Steven Tyler, Tony Bennett, and Rolling Stone’s David Fricke) weigh in on how Native American musicians shaped the sounds of our lives. The film won the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Masterful Storytelling at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. RUMBLE originated with guitarist/executive producer Stevie Salas (Apache), who realized that the public was unaware of the profound contribution of Native Americans to pop music. Salas joins us for a lively conversation on the profound impact Native American’s have had on our collective history, culture and music.

For news and updates go to: rumblethemovie.com

“What is strikingly brought home in Rumble is how the vast stew of influences in American music, rather than diluting everything, makes the music all the more powerful.” – Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

“In the end, the story is one not only of rock- and pop-culture history, but of human persistence and indigenous contributions that have been historically (and often intentionally) overlooked.” – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

“It’s been a terrific few years for music documentaries, and that winning streak continues with “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World.”” – Ken Jaworowski, New York Times

“Irresistible for popular music lovers.” Allan Hunter, Screen International

August 18, 2017 – Gook, Director Justin Chon

 

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In Justin Chon’s feature film GOOK is a dramedy about Eli and Daniel, two Korean American brothers, who own a struggling shoe store and their unique and unlikely friendship with Kamilla, an 11-year old African American girl. The film opens with Eli scoring a stash of fresh sneakers as his golden ticket to get out of debt and fix his biggest problem: keeping his dad’s shoe store open. Against her brother Keith’s warnings, Kamilla ditches school again to help out at the shoe store, her mother’s former workplace. Everything is going as planned until Kamilla accidentally reveals a gifted pair of expensive sneakers to Keith. Keith realizes Kamilla has been going to the shoe store. Out of anger towards Eli and Daniel he uses this opportunity as revenge and plans to steal all the shoes. Eli must make the ultimate decision for the future of the store and the people he loves. With the chaos of the LA Riots moving towards them, the trio are forced to defend their store against Keith while contemplating the future of their own personal dreams and the true meaning of family. Director, Writer and Executive Producer Justin Chon joins us for a conversation on his powerful, soul searching film about race, friendship, and family.

For news and updates go to: samuelgoldwynfilms.com/gook

WINNER – Best Actress; Best Director; Audience Award Best Film; and Grand Jury Prize – LA ASIAN PACIFIC FILM FESTIVAL 2017

WINNER – Audience Award Best Film; Honorable Mention Jury Award – CAAM FEST 2017 – SAN FRANCISCO

WINNER – Best Feature Film Jury Award – LAS VEGAS FILM FESTIVAL 2017 

“Chon’s drama is uneven but bristling with life, and it offers a new perspective on a calamitous moment, one whose 25th anniversary has been commemorated in recent months with a slew of potent documentaries.” – Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times

“Director, writer and actor Justin Chon remembers the 1992 LA Riots with a rare Korean-American perspective in “Gook,” which reveals itself as a poignant picture of race and friendship.” – Kyle Kohner, The Playlist

“Nodding to Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing and Kevin Smith’s Clerks, this sophomore feature exemplifies the grunge and angst-ridden energy of the 90s, with a humorous streak as frank as its racially charged title.” – Leah Pickett, Chicago Reader

“Gook may not come close to the electric greatness of Lee’s 1989 film but, as a gesture in its direction, it’s alive with biting promise.” – Alison Wilmore, BuzzFeed

August 18, 2017 – The Fencer, Director Klaus Härö

 

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In Klaus Härö’s beautifully rendered tale a young man, Endel Nelis, arrives in Haapsalu, Estonia, in the early 1950s. Having left Leningrad to escape the secret police, he finds work as a teacher and founds a sports club for his students. Endel becomes a father figure to his students and starts teaching them his great passion – fencing, which causes a conflict with the school’s principal. Envious, the principal starts investigating Endel’s background… Endel learns to love the children and looks after them; most are orphans as a result of the Russian occupation. Fencing becomes a form of self-expression for the children and Endel becomes a role model. The children want to participate in a national fencing tournament in Leningrad, and Endel must make a choice: risk everything to take the children to Leningrad or put his safety first and disappoint them. Director Klaus Härö (The New Man, Mother of Mine, Elina – As If I Wasn’t There) joins us to talk about his heart-wrenching, superbly crafted true story about character and resistance in a time of political repression.

For news and updates go to: thefencermovie.com

“This well-acted, smoothly crafted drama tells a story of cross-generational bonding in the face of historical oppression, in touching if unsurprising fashion.” – Justin Chang, Variety

“A feel-good, well-acted, visually evocative foreign-language biopic about a master fencing teacher in Soviet-controlled 1950s Estonia who changed the lives of his students.” – Simi Horowitz, Film Journal International

“An affecting portrait of a decent man who risks his life to uphold a bond of trust with his students. Though squarely in the tradition of Dead Poets Society and The Bad News Bears, the film offers higher stakes and, consequently, a bigger payoff.” – Marilyn Ferdinand, Chicago Reader

August 11, 2017 – Ingrid Goes West, Director Matt Spicer

Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) is an unhinged social media stalker with a history of confusing “likes” for meaningful relationships. Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) is an Instagram-famous “influencer” whose perfectly curated, boho-chic lifestyle becomes Ingrid’s latest obsession. When Ingrid moves to LA and manages to insinuate herself into the social media star’s life, their relationship quickly goes from #BFF to #WTF. Built around a brilliantly disarming performance from Aubrey Plaza, Ingrid Goes West (winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at Sundance) is a savagely hilarious dark comedy that satirizes the modern world of social media and proves that being #perfect isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Director Matt Spicer joins us to talk about his scalpel sharp tale about celebrity and validation.

For news and updates go to: ingridgoeswestfilm.com

“Plaza shines here in her most multifaceted role to date, fearless in her willingness to take Ingrid to cringe-worthy depths with a chameleonic precision.” – Jen Yamato, Los Angeles Times

“Shiny pop satire with a humming undercurrent of existential dread, Ingrid Goes West is a clever, corrosive little trick of a movie, a neon candy heart dipped in asbestos.” – Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

“Matt Spicer’s social media satire is a bonbon spiked with wit and malice. Plaza and Olsen, both toxic perfection, show us a nightmare world of Insta-obsessives that’s all too recognizable as our own.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“It is entertaining, and often touching, even if it pulls back right when it should be going totally nuts.” – Bilge Emir, Village Voice

August 11, 2017 – The Last Dalai Lama?, Director Mickey Lemle

 

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For over a thousand years, Tibetan Buddhist psychology has taught techniques for overcoming negative, afflictive emotions, such as anger, greed, jealousy, sloth and ignorance.  In the film THE LAST DALAI LAMA?, His Holiness explains that Tibetan Buddhism is both a religion and a “science of the mind”; he also shares his crystallized understanding of the nature of mind, and its part in the creation and alleviation of all of our suffering.  Believing that this precious wisdom belongs to the world, twenty years ago The Dalai Lama challenged a select group of world-renowned Neuroscientists and Mind/Brain researchers to look into the workings of the mind, and to prove scientifically that “Tibetan Buddhist technologies” for overcoming afflictive emotions are skills that can be learned by anyone. The Dalai Lama commissioned Dr. Paul Ekman and his daughter Dr. Eve Ekman to come up with an “Atlas of Emotions” as a way of understanding the effects of emotions on having a tranquil mind.  Being able to recognize the patterns, triggers and responses to emotions is the first step in dealing with them.  In a moving sequence with a high school class in British Columbia, His Holiness The Dalai Lama is able to share his passion for the subject. His urgency and dedication come through in THE LAST DALAI LAMA? as he now turns 82, and must deal with the questions of aging and death, and whether he will reincarnate as The Dalai Lama, or if he will be the last of the lineage that has existed for a millennia. Director Mickey Lemle joins us to talk about his three decade friendship with His Holiness and the profound impact he has had on  politics, culture and a deeper understanding of our shared human nature.

For news and updates go to: thelastdalailamafilm.com/

The Last Dalai Lama opens on Friday, August 11 at the Laemmle Monica Center in Santa Monica for tickets and showtimes

Join Director Mickey Lemle for a Q & A following the Friday, Saturday and Sunday 7:30pm screenings

“You want the chance to bask in his presence and come out with a heightened sense of what he’s about. “The Last Dalai Lama?” accomplishes that, and with an offhand eloquence, though it’s a sketchy, catch-as-catch-can movie …” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“A surplus of wisdom and benevolence radiates from “The Last Dalai Lama?”’ – Helen T. Verongos, New York Times 

“The more an audience member sees the beauty left in the Buddhist leader’s wake, the more it become clear that his influence has the power to continue generations beyond his passing.” – Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle

August 11, 2017 – All the Rage: Saved by Sarno, Director Michael Galinsky

Filmmaker Michael Galinsky takes you on his 12-year journey to heal his back. Suffering from chronic back pain and weeks of living and sleeping on the floor, Galinsky found healing through his work directly with Dr. John Sarno at NYU Medical Center. Sarno had changed shock jock Howard Stern’s life. Veteran Senator Tom Harkin was inspired to campaign for his cause, and he gave comedian Larry David “the closest thing to a religious experience” he’s ever had. Sarno’s best selling book “Healing Back Pain” was first published in the 1980’s, and when co-director Galinsky’s father read it, he was cured of chronic whiplash. This artful and personal film, ALL THE RAGE – SAVED BY SARNO, braids Galinsky’s universal story of pain and emotion together with the story of Dr. Sarno’s work, connecting the audience to both the issues and the emotions at play. Featuring interviews with Howard Stern, Larry David, journalist John Stossel, Dr. Andrew Weil, Senators Bernie Sanders and Tom Harkin, and other luminaries, ALL THE RAGE offers a profound rethink of our health care. Director Michael Galinsky stops by to talk about his own back pain and journey to find out the connection between the body and personal trauma. 

For news and updates go to: alltheragedoc.com

All The Rage: Saved by Sarno screens at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles, 9036  Wilshire Blvd. beginning Friday, August 11. Join Director Michael Galinsky and special guests this weekend.

Friday 8/11: 2:20 Director Michael Galinsky joined by Adam Heller of Zero Pain Now

4:50 Director Michael Galinsky joined by Dr. David Schechter 

7:20 Director Michael Galinsky joined by writer Director Jonathan Ames

Saturday 8/12: 2:20 Director Michael Galinsky

4:50 Director Michael Galinsky joined by Alan Gordon of the Pain Psychology Center

7:20 Director Michael Galinsky joined by Alan Gordon of the Pain Psychology Center

Sunday 8/13: 2:20 Michael Galinsky with Jennifer Huggins, Cinical Psychologist

4:50 Michael Galinsky with guest

“This isn’t a conventional documentary, but it’s a damn adventurous film.” – John Everhart, Under the Radar

“”All the Rage” overrides most of its shortcomings by keeping a breezy tone and by showing Dr. Sarno to be a convincing speaker, as well as an affable and somewhat crusty character.” – Ken Jaworosky, New York Times

August 4, 2017 – Icarus, Director Bryan Fogel

 

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In the truly audacious documentary ICARUS, director Bryan Fogel’s bold gambit was this: to investigate doping in sports, Fogel (an amateur bike racer) would dope himself, observe the changes in his performance, and see if he could evade detection. In doing so, he was connected to a renegade Russian scientist, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, a pillar of his country’s “anti-doping” program. Over dozens of Skype calls, urine samples, and badly administered hormone injections, Fogel and Rodchenkov grow closer despite shocking allegations that place Rodchenkov at the center of Russia’s state-sponsored Olympic doping program. When the truth is more complex than imagined, and accusations of illegalities run to Russia’s highest chains of command, the two realize they hold the power to reveal the biggest international sports scandal in living memory. Exemplifying the special bond between filmmaker and subject, this is a vital portrait of the sacrifice some people will make to stand up for truth. ICARUS places you at the heart of an international game of cat and mouse, where a miscalculation can cost you your life. Director Bryan Fogel joins us to talk about his unbelievably prescient film.

Icarus opens on August 4 at the Laemmle Monica Film Center

Watch Icarus on netflix.com

87% on Rotten Tomatoes

WINNER: “Orwell Award” – 2017 Sundance Film Festival

WINNER: Audience Award – 2017 Sundance Film Festival: London

“A wildly timely movie for our current moment, as issues of cheating, illegitimacy and geopolitical bullies take center stage… engrossing, disturbing and believable” – Robert Abele, The Wrap 

“What started out as director/bicycle rider Bryan Fogel’s personal documentary takes a startling and unexpected turn into nerve-wracking thriller territory” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, it couldn’t be more timely” – Eric Kohn, Indiewire

“Takes viewers inside a world-rattling, whistleblowing controversy” – Logan Hill, Esquire 

August 4, 2017 – Columbus, Director Kogonada

When a renowned architecture scholar falls suddenly ill during a speaking tour, his son Jin (John Cho) finds himself stranded in Columbus, Indiana – a small Midwestern city celebrated for its many significant modernist buildings. Jin strikes up a friendship with Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), a young architecture enthusiast who works at the local library. As their intimacy develops, Jin and Casey explore both the town and their conflicted emotions: Jin’s estranged relationship with his father, and Casey’s reluctance to leave Columbus and her mother. With its naturalistic rhythms and empathy for the complexities of families, debut director Kogonada’s COLUMBUS unfolds as a gently drifting, deeply absorbing conversation. With strong supporting turns from Parker Posey, Rory Culkin, and Michelle Forbes, COLUMBUS is also a showcase for its director’s striking eye for the way physical space can affect emotions. Director Kogonada s a proud immigrant, born in Seoul and raised in the Midwest. He has been noted by Filmmaker Magazine (25 New Faces of Independent Film) and The New Yorker for his visual work and film criticism commissioned by the Criterion Collection and Sight & Sound. He joins us to talk about his emotionally powerful, visually stunning feature film debut.

facebook.com/ColumbusMov

96% on Rotten Tomatoes

Independent Film Festival of Boston

Special Jury Prize – Narrative Feature

“The seeming miracle of Columbus is its mixture of formal precision with a philosophical grasp of human mystery.” – Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine

“‘Columbus’ is a feast for the eyes, but its more lasting impression is on the heart.” – Kate Erbland, IndieWire

“The movie leaves quite a bit to the eye of the beholder, but it’s always worth looking at.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“As a movie about intimacy Columbus is a masterpiece.” – Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic

“Columbus crept up on me so gradually and quietly that I don’t even know when I started to love it. When it was over, though, I was left with a sweet aftertaste that stayed with me for hours.” – Angie Han, Slashfilm

“A clever and compelling exploration into how physical structures can come to represent emotional landmarks in our personal lives.” – Jordan Hoffman, Vanity Fair

August 4, 2017 – Some Freaks, Director Ian MacAllister McDonald

When high school senior Matt (Thomas Mann) meets fellow outcast Jill (Lily Mae Harrington), he falls more in love than he thought possible. However, after graduation comes and Jill moves cross-country to go to college, she loses more than 50 pounds and changes her appearance entirely – much to Matt’s surprise when he arrives to visit her six months later. While Matt struggles to accept Jill’s new choices, Jill begins to question whether Matt is really the man she wants to date. As the distance widens between them, the characters are propelled onto a collision course with brutality and loss, forcing them to confront who they are, who they were, and who everyone thinks they’re supposed to be. Also starring Ely Henry, Lachlan Buchanan, and this feature by writer-director Ian MacAllister-McDonald. McDonald joins us to talk about his touching, heartfelt feature film debut.

For new and updates go to: somefreaksthemovie.com

Special added event: Please join us for a Q&A session after the 7:20PM show on Friday 8/4. Participants will be writer/director Ian MacAllister-McDonald along with cast members Thomas Mann, Lily Mae Harrington, Ely Henry, and Lachlan Buchanan.

!00% on Rotten Tomatoes

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Instagram@SomeFreaksFilm2016

“All the actors are good, but Harrington is remarkable. It’s not just the physical changes in her character, but the genuineness with which she inhabits her”. – Billy Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic

“Playwright Ian MacAllister-McDonald’s debut feature is a refreshingly grounded, unsentimental yet empathetic slice of D-list teenage life that goes a bit overboard in its final act.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“The characters are authentic and deeply felt.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat

“Brittle and beautifully-acted and cleverly written “find your tribe” high school romance.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

July 28, 2017 – Memories of a Penitent Heart, Director Cecilia Aldarondo

Combining a wealth of recently discovered home movies, video, and written documents with artfully shot contemporary interviews and vérité footage, MEMORIES OF A PENITENT HEART is a documentary that cracks open a Pandora’s box of unresolved family drama. Originating from filmmaker Cecilia Aldarondo’s suspicion that there was something ugly in her family’s past, the film charts her excavation of the buried family conflict around her uncle Miguel’s death, and her search for Miguel’s partner Robert a generation later. After two years of dead ends, Robert turns up: but he’s not the same man. He’s reinvented himself as Father Aquin, a Franciscan monk with twenty-five years of pent-up grief and bitterness. For the first time, a member of Miguel’s family wants to hear Aquin’s side of the story—but is it too little, too late? A story about the mistakes of the past and the second chances of the present, MEMORIES OF A PENITENT HEART is a cautionary tale about the unresolved conflicts wrought by AIDS, and a nuanced exploration of how faith is used and abused in times of crisis. Director Cecilia Aldarondo is a 2017 Women at Sundance Fellow and was named by Filmmaker Magazine as one of 2015’s ’25 New Faces of Independent Film.’ She joins us to talk about her brother Miguel, a Catholic priest, her father Jorge and the ramifications of revealing her family’s hidden history.

For news and updates go to: penitentheart.com

Watch Memories of a Penitent Heart – on the PBS POV series Monday, July 31 at 10 PM

“A highly personal portrait of the importance of embracing who you have while you still can.” – Nick Schager, Village Voice

July 21, 2017 – Chasing Coral, Director Jeff Orlowski

 

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Coral reefs are the nursery for all life in the oceans, a remarkable ecosystem that sustains us. Yet with carbon emissions warming the seas, a phenomenon called “coral bleaching”—a sign of mass coral death—has been accelerating around the world, and the public has no idea of the scale or implication of the catastrophe silently raging underwater. Chasing Coral taps into the collective will and wisdom of an ad man, a self-proclaimed coral nerd, top-notch camera designers, and renowned marine biologists as they invent the first time-lapse camera to record bleaching events as they happen. Unfortunately, the effort is anything but simple, and the team doggedly battles technical malfunctions and the force of nature in pursuit of their golden fleece: documenting the indisputable and tragic transformation below the waves. With its breathtaking photography, nail-biting suspense, and startling emotion, Chasing Coral is a dramatic revelation that won’t have audiences sitting idle for long. Director Jeff Orlowski (Chasing Ice) joins us for a lively and hopeful discussion on what is happening to mother ocean and how we can avoid the catastrophic consequences of a world without coral reefs.

For news and updates go to: chasingcoral.com

“The beauty of Chasing Coral is matched only by its urgency, as director Jeff Orlowski encapsulates the issue of global climate change by showing where it’s doing real, measurable damage in real time: The world’s coral reefs.” – Sean P. Means

“The film is a devastating success, moving in its beauty and wrenching when that beauty withers.” – Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

“‘Chasing Coral’ presents the evidence with beauty, intelligence and a surprising amount of emotion.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angles Times

“The urgency of this problem requires people to become informed about the issues, starting with seeing the film either at the IFC or on Netflix.” – Louis Proyect, rec.arts.movies

July 21, 2017 – Swim Team, Director Lara Stolman

 

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SWIM TEAM is a feature documentary chronicling the rise of a competitive swim team made up of diverse teens on the autism spectrum. Based in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, the cast of SWIM TEAM is largely Latino and Asian, minorities that are underrepresented in competitive swimming and underserved in autism intervention and education. SWIM TEAM follows three of the team’s star athletes, boys on the cusp of adulthood as they face a future of exclusion and dependence. But everything changes when they come together as a team with parent coaches who train them with high expectations and zero pity. As the team vies for state and national Special Olympics championships, SWIM TEAM captures a moving quest for inclusion, independence  and a life that feels winning. Director Lara Stolman joins us for to talk about the struggles and triumphs of Mikey, Kelvin and Robbie and the people who love them.

For news and updates go to: swimteamthefilm.com

“The breaststroking, freestyling young athletes in “Swim Team” couldn’t be more different in terms of personality, drive, appeal and, of course, developmental challenges, and it gives this film from Lara Stolman its particular character, heart and verve.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“Swim Team is long enough to break and warm your heart in equal measure – which is about what you’d expect from a documentary about teenagers with autism who are training to compete in the Special Olympics.” – Ella Taylor, NPR

“This isn’t “just” a film about special needs. It’s about special kids – and the very special adults who advocate for them.” – Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger

“Well paced and well produced, Swim Team is engaging throughout and would be easy to enjoy as light viewing, but there’s more going on beneath the surface.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

Lost in Paris, co-directors Fiona Gordon and Dominique Abel

 

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Filmed in Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon’s signature whimsical style, LOST IN PARIS stars the filmmakers as a small-town Canadian librarian and a strangely seductive, oddly egotistical vagabond. When Fiona’s (Gordon) orderly life is disrupted by a letter of distress from her 88-year-old Aunt Martha (delightfully portrayed by Oscar nominee Emmanuelle Riva) who is living in Paris, Fiona hops on the first plane she can and arrives only to discover that Martha has disappeared. In an avalanche of spectacular disasters, she encounters Dom (Abel), the affable, but annoying tramp who just won’t leave her alone. Replete with the amazing antics and intricately choreographed slapstick that has come to define Abel and Gordon’s work, LOST IN PARIS is a wondrously fun and hectic tale of peculiar people finding love while lost in the City of Lights. Co-directors Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon join us to talk about their warmhearted, funny and embracing ode to love.

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

“Gordon and Abel incorporate elements of lighthearted musicals and silent-film comedy (a scene atop the Eiffel Tower evokes the derring-do of Harold Lloyd) and provide themselves plenty of opportunities to stretch their pliant, wiry physicality.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice

“An exquisite miniature puzzle-box pop-up-book of a movie. All is color and light and exhilaration here, a fantastical lark that is sheer mischievous joy.” – MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Philospher

“Cruel comic mishaps may be this movie’s raison d’être, but they are softened at every turn by the gentle humanity of the city’s inhabitants, and by the unspoken sense that everything will turn out fine in the end.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

“Rather than reinventing the wheel, Abel and Gordon keep turning it with their own intimate touch.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

“Always inventive and occasionally hilarious.” – Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

The Last Men in Aleppo, Director Feras Fayyad

 

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After five years of war in Syria, the remaining citizens of Aleppo are getting ready for a siege. We follow the volunteers from The White Helmets as they experience the daily life of death and struggle in the streets of the city. They fight for sanity in a place where war has become the norm. Khaled, Subhi and Mahmoud are among the first to enter the destroyed buildings, scouring through the rubble in search of bodies and signs of life. They now live more or less under siege and constant bombings, together with the remaining 350.000 civilians in Aleppo. They all struggle with the same dilemma: Should they flee and bring their families to safety, or should they stay and fight for their city? Director Feras Fayyad talks about the fearless actions of the The White Helmets and his gripping, harrowing and sobering documentary.

For news and updates go to: Last Men in Aleppo

“‘Last Men in Aleppo’ is likely to make you almost ashamed of your comforts and leave you with a feeling of impotence.” Glenn Kenny, The NYTimes

You should — you must — see Last Men in Aleppo to witness an ongoing tragedy. But you should also see it to learn humility.” – David Edelstein, Vulture

Feras Fayyad’s viscerally immediate, exquisitely realized portrait of the Syrian Civil Defense’s “White Helmet” volunteers.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“Last Men In Aleppo has the upsetting urgency of breaking news: There are moments that could have come straight from a live stream, given the violence that’s still rocking Syria, months after Fayyad’s cameras stopped rolling.” – A.A. Down, AV Club

Birthright: A War Story, Director Civia Tamarkin and Producer Luchina Fisher

 

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BIRTHRIGHT: A WAR STORY is a feature length documentary that examines how women are being jailed, physically violated and even put at risk of dying as a radical movement tightens its grip across America. The film tells the story of women who have become collateral damage in the aggressive campaign to take control of reproductive health care and to allow states, courts and religious doctrine to govern whether, when and how women will bear children. The documentary explores the accelerating gains of the crusade to control pregnant women and the fallout that is creating a public health crisis, turning pregnant women into criminals and challenging the constitutional protections of every woman in America. This is the real-life “Handmaid’s Tale.” Director Civia Tamarkin and Producer Luchina Fisher talk about an insidious, pernicious campaign to undermine and ultimately deny women’s control over their own body.

For news and updates go to: birthrightfilm.com

“Birthright is a stark look at how far the rights of half the US population have been eroded, and it should make anybody — no matter their feelings about abortion — sit up and take notice.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“… this film is important especially for people, like one group of interviewed high schoolers, who think that Roe v. Wade was something “learned some time ago” with no application to their own lives.” Harvey Karen, Compuserve

“A necessary, if not always well-constructed, examination of the perilous state of reproductive rights in the United States.” – Maria Garcia, Film Journal International

“The case histories are stacked to support the film’s point of view, but that doesn’t make them less painful.” – Helen Verongos, New York Times

“The film’s real strength, however, is revealed a bit late, in a series of stark portraits of women who have faced prosecution as they sought to take care of themselves.” – Daphne Howland, Village Voice