As a pioneer of integrative medicine, which combines conventional medicine with cutting edge alternative treatments, veterinarian Dr. Marty Goldstein has been called everything from “maverick” to “miracle-worker.” Attracting four-legged patients from around the world, Dr. Goldstein’s practice, Smith Ridge Veterinary Center, provides holistic care for animals after other vets have given up hope. In THE DOG DOC, director Cindy Meehl (BUCK), goes behind the scenes at Smith Ridge to capture the full drama of “Dr. Marty” and his colleagues’ life-changing commitment to wellness and the astounding results they achieve. Filmed over a 2½ year period, Meehl’s unobtrusive camera highlights the vulnerability of her subjects – canine and human – while tracking each animal’s progress. THE DOG DOC joins the touching stories of families with the hard science of integrative care. By casting an intimate lens over this unique world, THE DOG DOC shows the healing powers of wellness, compassion and hope. Director Cindy Meehl joins us for a conversation of why conventional techniques and alternative medicines coupled with compassionate care make Doctor Goldstein’s approach so successful.
“An admiring portrait, to be sure, but one that poses penetrating questions about what passes for health care today in the United States, for people and their pets alike.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter
“A riveting documentary about a veterinarian who cures seemingly hopeless cases of dog disease with the addition of alternative tweaks.” – Harvey S. Karten, Shockya.com
“”The Dog Doc” doesn’t just tug on the heart to make its point about alternative treatment, but resonates with the mind.” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest
PHOENIX OREGON is the story of two friends, a graphic novelist and a chef, seizing an unlikely opportunity to reinvent their lives, quit their jobs to restore an old bowling alley and serve the “world’s greatest pizza.” Phoenix, Oregon stars James Le Gros (Drugstore Cowboy, Living in Oblivion), Lisa Edelstein (Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, House), Jesse Borrego (Fame, Blood In Blood Out), Reynaldo Gallegos (Triple Frontier, American Sniper), Diedrich Bader (Napoleon Dynamite, Office Space, Veep), and Kevin Corrigan (The Departed, Pineapple Express, True Romance). PHOENIX OREGON takes a comedic look at the existential crisis many face when trying to find meaning and relevancy at midlife. Despite controlling bosses, dead-end jobs, and broken relationships, the two leads must awaken hibernating courage and resilience in order to take new risks and keep dreams alive. Director and writer Gary Lundgren (Calvin Marshall, Redwood Highway, Black Road) stops by to talk his own midlife angst and inspiration for this disarming gem of a film, working with a stellar cast and his love for the Pacific Northwest.
Premiering at the Pasadena International Film Festival HONESTY WEEKEND begins when John and Ada’s therapist challenges them to be completely honest with each other for an entire weekend, a young married couple attempts to execute this advice over two days with good friends at a country house. At first amused by the couple’s newfound honesty, soon everyone is infected with the “honesty virus”. Secrets spill and desires flare to life. And when husband John’s sexy lesbian friend Delaney arrives to stir the pot, the whole thing heats up until it boils over. At the heart of this relationship comedy is a young marriage in trouble, but look deeper and you’ll see the angsty discomfort of early thirty-somethings struggling to embrace intimacy and true adulthood. In this grounded, smart, funny film writer-director Leslie Thomas exercises her distinct comedic voice and a wry understanding of our poignant and ridiculous human blind spots. HONESTY WEEKEND stars Adam Bartley (This Is Us), Sabina Gadecki (L.A.’s Finest), Dioni Michelle Collins (General Hospital), Pete Ploszek (Captain Marvel), Evan Watkins (College Humor Originals), Allan Wasserman (Big),and Susan Walters (The Vampire Diaries). Director and writer Leslie Thomas joins is for an engaging conversation on a compressed shooting schedule, holding out for the right cast of actors, as well as the challenges and rewards of being a first time director.
About the filmmaker: LESLIE THOMAS produced the 2018 Emmy-winning documentary feature KEVYN AUCOIN Beauty & The Beast In Me (now on Netflix). She is the showrunner of ratings record breakers HALLOWEEN, HOLIDAY & KIDS BAKING CHAMPIONSHIPS on Food Network. She’s a playwright and a California native who studied Film & TV at Loyola Marymount University. Honesty Weekend is her first feature.
By virtually every yardstick, antisemitism in the US and Europe is rising and worsening in ways not seen since the 1930s. It comes in the forms of vandalism, social media abuse, assault and murder. Like a virus, it mutates and evolves across cultures, borders and ideologies, making it all but impossible to stop. Filmmaker Andrew Goldberg explores its infectious behavior in his film VIRAL: ANTISEMITISM IN FOUR MUTATIONS as he travels through four countries to speak firsthand with victims, witnesses, antisemites, and interviewees including Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Fareed Zakaria, George Will and Deborah Lipstadt. VIRAL: ANTISEMITISM IN FOUR MUTATIONS examines how some on the American far right have incited such acts as the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA. In Hungary, we see how the Prime Minister has launched a massive campaign against Jewish Holocaust survivor and billionaire George Soros that’s reminiscent of Nazi propaganda. Moving to the far left in England, we see members of the traditionally anti-racist Labour party conflating Israel and Jews, causing tremendous pain for the Jewish community. And in France, the film illuminates the seemingly endless wave of violence against Jews by Islamists and radicals. The increasing bigotry, and at times violence, within each of these four countries paints a terrifying portrait of how global hatred disseminates and harms. As activist Maajid Nawaz says in the film, “If we don’t draw a red line in the sand when it comes to antisemitism, Muslims will be next, gays will be next and everyone else who is deemed a minority will be next.” Director Andrew Goldberg joins us to talk about this particularly virulent strain of racism going back hundreds of years, continues to threaten the lives of Jews in Europe and the United States.
“As a topic of tremendous ongoing importance with roots that desperately need exploration, anti-Semitism deserves, and needs, a look into its global impact and perpetuation that makes a deeper dive than this documentary provides.” – Todd Gilchrist, TheWrap
Rose, a sweet, lonely driving instructor in rural Ireland, is gifted with supernatural abilities. Rose has a love/hate relationship with her ‘talents’ & tries to ignore the constant spirit related requests from locals – to exorcise possessed rubbish bins or haunted gravel. But! Christian Winter, a washed up, one-hit-wonder rock star, has made a pact with the devil for a return to greatness! He puts a spell on a local teenager- making her levitate. Her terrified father, Martin Martin, asks Rose to help save his daughter. Rose has to overcome the fear of her supernatural gift & work with Martin to save the girl, get the guy and be home in time for a light snack…maybe a yogurt or something… Co-directors Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman join us for a conversation on the making of their oddly endearing, winning comedy about everyday apparitions, Rose, Martin Martin and Christian and reconnecting with their Talents.
“A near-perfect balance of outrageousness and subtlety. It’s a special film with a large imagination.” – Brian Orndorf, Blu-ray.com
“A fun, heart-warming and genuinely funny film, prepare for belly laughs and warm fuzzy feelings. Buoyed by great comedic, chameleon-like performances, and a rich fictional world, Extra Ordinary is extraordinarily charming.” – Kat Hughes, THN
“Extra Ordinary, writing-directing duo Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman’s feature film debut, is a remarkable achievement – a wholly unique cinematic experience that is grounded with a lot of heart.” – Sarah McIntyre, RTÉ (Ireland)
“A cracking debut feature from Irish writer-directors Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
Ken Loach, the two-time Palme d’Or-winning, 83-year-old director trains his incisive lens on the human cost of our shopping habits and changing workforce. After losing their home in a financial crisis, Ricky and Abby trade the car she uses as a visiting nurse for a van, so Ricky can work as a delivery driver. The advantages of being self-employed come with the constant pressure of meeting impossible deadlines with no margin for error, sickness, or family emergency. Loach’s compassionate, hard-hitting drama will make you rethink your expectations the next time you enjoy the convenience of overnight delivery. Director Ken Loach (KES, THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY, I, DANIEL BLAKE) joins us for a conversation on the explosion of the “gig-economy” and the insidious impact its having on work schedules, worker safety, worker health and on the emotional toll it’s taking on raising a family.
“FIVE STARS! Ken Loach raises his game yet further with this gut-wrenching tale of a delivery worker driven to the brink… It’s fierce, open and angry, unironised and unadorned..This brilliant film will focus minds. ” – Peter Bradshaw, THE GUARDIAN
“Ken Loach has done it again. His new film is another intimate and powerful drama about what’s going on in people’s everyday lives—not just in England, but all over the world.”– Owen Gleiberman, VARIETY
“At age 82, [Ken Loach is] doing some of his strongest work in Sorry We Missed You, a drama of such searing human empathy and quotidian heartbreak that its powerful climactic scenes actually impede your breathing… This is an expertly judged and profoundly humane movie…. You’d have to be made of stone not to be moved to your core by it.” – David Rooney, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
Director/Editor Pi Ware’s (“Solitude,” “The Act”) powerful new documentary “Skin Deep: The Battle Over Morgellons,” takes a deep dive approach into the heated controversy surrounding Morgellons disease, a skin condition that most of the medical industry considers delusional. “Skin Deep: The Battle Over Morgellons,” explores the controversy surrounding Morgellons—a disease where fibers grow from sufferers’ skin, but a disease that the medical industry considers, “all in the patient’s head”. The film brings to light the heated debate as to who is delusional—the patients who believe or the doctors who deny– and whether medical treatment for Morgellons should be antibiotics or anti-psychotics. The documentary follows subjects on both sides of the debate: a Texas nurse who suffers from the disease, and a skeptical dermatologist who asserts “there are no bad doctors”. The film investigates new research that claims the fibers are protein-based filaments created by the body, explores historical patterns of medical arrogance, and exposes the fatal flaws in the 2012 Morgellons study by the CDC. “Skin Deep: The Battle Over Morgellons” climaxes in a showdown at the Morgellons Conference in Austin, Texas, where the skeptical dermatologist presents his controversial opinions, and where bridges between doctors and patients will either be built… or burned.Director Pi Ware stops by to talk about the embattled victims and advocates fighting for relief from a debilitating, life-altering disease.
“A beautifully constructed, honest and earnest call-to-action about one of the most baffling and stigmatized illnesses of our time.” – ANDY ABRAHAMS WILSON, DIRECTOR OF UNDER OUR SKIN
“A superb documentary exploring the skin-crawling disease of Morgellons and the plight of its sufferers. A reminder that physicians need to be open-minded about emerging new diseases.” – KRIS NEWBY, AUTHOR OF BITTEN: THE SECRET HISTORY OF LYME DISEASE AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS
“This incredible documentary exposes the debilitating difficulties and barriers to effective treatment that Morgellons sufferers experience. The film dives deep into the denialism conventional medicine has towards emerging illnesses and how this attitude can have severe consequences when it comes to funding, needed research, patient care and treatment for these diseases. This is a must see for anyone looking for a better understanding of Morgellons.” – DR KELLY BAY, FUNCTIONAL HEALTH PRACTITIONER, NYC
When Nancy Paulikas, a vivacious woman, engineer and pilot, with early onset of Alzheimer, goes missing from a visit to a Los Angeles museum, the film takes you on a journey to show the unseen boundaries and gaps between our society and the system. It also highlights how a small number of determined people including Kirk Moody, Nancy’s husband, and LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn team up to create ‘LA Found’ program that is helping countless families. The film creates such an excellent portrait of Nancy that by the end of the movie you will know her like your close friend. Director and editor Thiago Dadalt joins us for a conversation on the heartbreaking story of love, loss and the determination of the people who cared about Nancy and their refusal to let tragedy me the end of the story.
About the filmmaker: Thiago Dadalt is an award winning writer, producer, and director from Brazil. He has won numerous awards with Chocolate, an Oscar qualified short film about the early onset of Alzheimer’s and the homeless community in L.A. His latest project Duke(about severe autism) was officially selected at the “Emerging Filmmaker Showcase” at CANNES 2019, Cleveland, Stage 32 contest (showing at HollyShorts, Raindance and Austin Film fest 2019) and many others.
Goldie is a star – well, not quite yet, but at least in the eyes of her little sisters Sherrie and Supreme she is. The rest of the world is bound to take note soon too. Her big break surely awaits, she’s just got to pick up that golden fur coat she’s had her eye on first. And land a role as a dancer in a hip-hop video. And keep child welfare services from separating her from Sherrie and Supreme, after their mother is locked up. Holding onto those dreams isn’t easy when fate has placed such daunting obstacles in her path. With Goldie, Dutch director Sam de Jong has delivered a real New York film: raw and glamorous, unflinchingly realistic and relentlessly optimistic, with a ton of heart and at least as much attitude. Director / writer Sam de Jong joins us to talk about his tale of dreams, expectations and reality crash together in this verite explosion.
About the filmmaker:Director Sam de Jong After graduating from the Dutch Film academy with the acclaimed “Magnesium” Sam went on to write and direct the short film “Marc Jacobs” and entered the Berlinale shorts competition in 2014. With largely the same cast he returned to Berlinale the next year with his first feature Prince. Prince opened the Generations 14 competition in 2015. After Prince, Sam went on to make Goldie with 20th Century Fox and Vice Films. His short work has been shown around the world at festivals like Sundance, Berlin and AFI fest. His first feature Prince was theatrically released in the Netherlands, the United States and in Mexico. His work is heavily influenced by present-day youth culture and studies the implications of growing up in the 21st century: in the face of our rapidly changing multi-ethnic society where pop culture is the new predominant religion. From a mash up of different genres, lavishly coated in bright esthetics, Sam wants to research the meaning of our quest for recognition and identity. Red Sand will be Sam’s first international co-production together with longtime collaborator HALAL. With this movie Sam wants to explore new themes and broaden his horizon.
“This film is filled with bursts of color. The high energy visuals counterbalance the tragic malaise of Goldie’s life perfectly.” – Lorry Kikta, Film Threat
“Suspension between can-do spirit and come-down reality pumps blood into the irrepressible heart of this scrappy tale, along with the natural charisma of model Slick Woods, making a disarming feature debut in the title role.” – David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
“Goldie (played by fashion model Slick Woods in her first movie role) is a lot like the film that bears her name: full of attitude, bursting with scrappy New York style, and stuck under the thumb of a merciless system that won’t let her shine like she knows she can. “ – David Ehrlich, IndieWire
“De Jong brings a jolt of brash energy to a social realist scenario that could easily have attracted Ken Loach or the Dardenne brothers. A charismatic, eye-catching debut performance from Instagirl fashion world star Slick Woods adds considerably to the film’s appeal.” – Allan Hunter, Screen Daily
In 1956, four years before Jane Goodall ventured into the world of chimpanzees and seven years before Dian Fossey left to work with mountain gorillas, 23-year-old biologist Anne Innis Dagg made an unprecedented solo journey to South Africa to study giraffes in the wild. In THE WOMAN WHO LOVES GIRAFFES Anne (now 86) retraces her steps, and with letters and stunning, original 16mm film footage offers an intimate window into her life as a young woman, juxtaposed with a first hand look at the devastating reality that giraffes are facing today. Both the world’s first ‘giraffologist’, whose research findings ultimately became the foundation for many scientists following in her footsteps, and the species she loves have each experienced triumphs as well as setbacks. In THE WOMAN WHO LOVES GIRAFFES Anne takes us on her first expedition back to Africa to retrace where her trail-blazing journey began more than half a century ago. By retracing her original steps, and with letters and stunning, original 16mm film footage, Anne offers an intimate window into her life as a young woman, juxtaposed with a first hand look at the devastating reality that giraffes are facing today. Both the world’s first ‘giraffologist’, whose research findings ultimately became the foundation for many scientists following in her footsteps, and the species she loves have each experienced triumphs as well as nasty battle scars. THE WOMAN WHO LOVES GIRAFFESgives us a moving perspective on both. Director Alison Reid joins us for a conversation on meeting Anne Innis Dagg and learning how this gentle soul is more than a pioneer in understanding these magnificent creatures, but just as importantly an advocate for women and science.
About the filmmaker: Alison Reid (Director, Writer, Producer) is an award-winning director who began her career as a stunt coordinator and second unit director. After accumulating 300 credits, she formed Free Spirit Films to produce projects diverse in genre but similar in their exploration of the human spirit. Reid received the 2007 Crystal Award for Emerging Director from DGC/WIFT. Her independent feature, The Baby Formula (2009), sold internationally, won the Audience Award at the Inside Out LGBT Film Festival, ‘Best LGBT Film’ at Nashville Film Festival and was nominated for the Golden Zenith at the Montreal World Film Festival. Her television directing credits include Saving Hope, Heartland and Murdoch Mysteries.
“This warm documentary uses one woman’s singular passion to fuel a tale of zoological discovery, blatant sexism and environmental alarm.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, THE NEW YORK TIMES
“INSPIRING… A bright spot in the middle of this dark month, Alison Reid’s unabashedly sincere documentary offers gentle comfort even when it brushes up against tough subjects.” – Elizabeth Weitzman, THE WRAP
“Her research was groundbreaking, and the 16 millimeter color footage she shot at the time, amply displayed in the documentary, is breathtaking.” – Peter Rainer, THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
“Alison Reid’s loving documentary affectionately celebrates little-known giraffologist Dr. Anne Innis Dagg’s groundbreaking scientific work and generous contributions to women’s equality.” – Tomris Laffly, VARIETY
“An inspiring documentary that should be at the top of everyone’s list of must-see films.” – , THE ALLIANCE OF WOMEN FILM JOURNALISTS
In a desolate stretch of the Sahara, a mysterious car accident leaves a young woman (Delfine Bafort) lost and alone. Jake, (Svetozar Cvetkovic) a reclusive architect, finds her unconscious. He drives her to the nearest doctor, to discover that she’s suffering from post-traumatic amnesia. Intoxicated by the woman’s beauty, Jake claims to be her husband. He names her Kitty and takes her to his remote desert home to recuperate. As Kitty struggles to come to grips with who she is, Jake invents an elaborate life they can share – the life he has always yearned for. Little by little, Kitty begins to fall in love with him. But when shreds of her past begin to surface, Jake increasingly fears losing the love of his life. Director Dimitri de Clercq joins us to talk about the twisted story of love, perception, illusion and identity that is You Go To My Head.
About the filmmaker: Dimitri de Clercq, (Director, Producer, Screenwriter) Producer turned filmmaker, Dimitri de Clercq began his producing career working with directors Mathieu Kassovitz (Café au Lait), Alain Robbe-Grillet (The Blue Villa) and Raúl Ruiz (The Golden Boat, Time Regained and Savage Souls). In 1993, he won an International Emmy Award for producing Ray Müller’s controversial documentary The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl. A native Belgian, de Clercq grew up in the Middle East before majoring in film direction and production at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. In 2002, he started his own production company, CRM-114, named in homage to maverick filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. De Clercq’s fascination with the desert led him to produce several award-winning films set in desolate environments, including Afghan writer-director Atiq Rahimi’s Earth and Ashes (2005) and Iraqi director Mohamed Al-Daradji’s Son of Babylon (2009). The sepia-hued, parched wilderness of the desert was also a key inspiration for You Go To My Head, de Clercq’s feature film directorial debut.
Joan and Tom (Academy Award® nominee Lesley Manville and Liam Neeson) have been married for many years. An everyday couple with a remarkable love, there is an ease to their relationship which only comes from spending a lifetime together. When Joan is unexpectedly diagnosed with breast cancer, the course of her treatment shines a light on their relationship as they are faced with the challenges that lie ahead and the prospect of what might happen if something were to happen to her. Co-directors Lisa Barros D’sa (Good Vibration) and Glenn Leyburn (Cherrybomb) join us to talk about their collaboration with two top tier actors, striking a balance in the tone and look for their extraordinarily empathetic look at two people who truly care about each other.
“A beautifully understated look at intimacy and devotion in the face of potentially devastating loss; stars Leslie Manville and Liam Neeson tap effortlessly into the relatable routines, rhythms and nuances of a lived-in, long term relationship.” – Todd Gilchrist, TheWrap
“Armed with an incandescent screenplay and unforgettable performances, Ordinary Love is affecting in its own quiet way, as it showcases a deeply moving portrait of a marriage tested under strain after a cancer diagnosis.” – Laura Delaney, RTÉ (Ireland)
“An achingly intimate portrait of a marriage weathering a storm, the third feature from directing team Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn (Good Vibrations) is anything but ordinary.” – Wendy Ide, Screen International
“Everything is completely believable, the relationship and the home clearly lived in, and it’s this that gives Ordinary Love its quiet, but sometimes overwhelming, power.” – Jack Blackwell, One Room With A View
For small-town bar owner Hank (Jeremy Gardner), his 10-year relationship with Abby (Brea Grant) has been storybook-quality. Abby, however, wants more: marriage, to be exact, which Hank doesn’t seem ready to initiate anytime soon. As a result, she leaves him without so much as a note or any subsequent communication. Hank is crushed. Even worse, Abby’s departure seemingly triggers the arrival of an unseen monster that claws at Hank’s front door at night. As the nocturnal threat intensifies, Hank must figure out how to not only save his relationship, but also himself. Co-director Christian Stella (Jeremy Gardner) stops by to talk about the multi-layered film that is After Midnight (Something Else) and his creative cinematography that gives the film its lyrical power.
“Something Else promises monsters but delivers more demons of the human experience variety, as this sweet and sincere creature feature is far more romantically heartfelt than expected.” – Matt Donato, We Got This Covered
“Sublime and emotional, Something Else is one hell of a love story, a nightmarish monster movie, and an overall fantastical experience.” – Michelle Swope, Dread Central
“There’s an honesty in Something Else that makes this man against (his) monsters story one that’ll give you deep meaning, beautiful cinematography, and just the right amount of wtf.” – Kristy Strouse, Film Inquiry
“Jeremy Gardner and Christian Stella’s winsome tale of thirtysomething angst, romance and existential terror, is beautifully written and played.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
In the days after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018 that killed 17 people and launched a nationwide student movement, filmmakers Emily Taguchi and Jake Lefferman embedded with students and families whose lives were forever transformed. They include senior David Hogg, who recorded his class during the attack and became the face of the Never Again movement; freshman Brooke Harrison, who was in the first classroom under attack; Sam Zeif, a senior who was locked down in the same building, texting with his little brother and unsure if they would ever see each other again; Andrew Pollack, the father of 18- year-old Meadow, who was killed after being shot nine times; and the loved ones of 17-year-old Joaquin Oliver, including his parents Manuel and Patricia, girlfriend Victoria Gonzalez, and best friend Dillon McCooty. The filmmakers developed trusting relationships with these students and families, who opened their doors during some of the most difficult moments of their lives, and followed their private journeys as they rose to challenge the nation to end gun violence. Weaving together candid, in-depth interviews, vérité footage, and personal videos, the film chronicles moments both intimate and defining – from the quiet hours of grief and reflection, to those of political awakening, and onto milestones on the public stage – creating a moving portrait of one community’s crusade to turn tragedy into progress. Co-directors Emily Taguchi and Jake Lefferman join us to talk about developing the relationships with the students, parents and community that made their intimate, wrenching and hopeful film possible.
“The movie succeeds where it counts: showing the reverberations of violence long after most cameras left.” – New York Times
“’After Parkland’ is that gentle exchange of a movie – listening, being there – and sometimes that’s all an aftermath doc can be and should be.” – LA Times
“The film records this experience in a moving and memorable way. After you’ve seen it, you know more about the meaning of this kind of horror than you did before, and that’s a vital thing.” Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“What feels important in Parkland is less about pushing any kind of political agenda or viewpoint than about simply listening, and bearing witness.” – Entertainment Weekly
AND THEN WE DANCED is a passionate tale of love and liberation set amidst the ultraconservative confines of modern Georgian society, AND THEN WE DANCED follows Merab, a devoted dancer who has been training for years with his partner Mary for a spot in the National Georgian Ensemble. The arrival of another male dancer, Irakli—gifted with perfect form and equipped with a rebellious streak—throws Merab off balance, sparking both an intense rivalry and romantic desire that may cause him to risk his future in dance as well as his relationships with Mary and his family. Director, writer and editor Levan Akin joins us to talk about is sensitive and moving account of finding love, no matter the cost and the way his film has opened a hopeful dialog in his beloved Georgia.
Director’s Statement: In Georgia there are three things that are upheld as the paragon of Georgian Tradition and National Identity: the Church, the traditional polyphonic singing, and the traditional national dance. The lead person I follow in the film actually shares the same name as me, his name is Levan and he is a dancer, I too used to dance when I was younger and I imagined being him in an alternate reality. I interviewed a lot of dancers and they all told me stories of how gender conservative and strict the Georgian Dance scene was. So I decided to set the story in this setting. The Georgian Dance would represent the “old” and the burgeoning love between two of the dancers would represent the new. With this film I find myself really going back to my roots as a filmmaker, working in an organic way, where the real lives of the people in the film and what’s going on in Georgia now affects the story. It is ever evolving. Telling the story of young LGBT+ people and their struggles on a smaller scale but also showing the history and situation of Georgia today on a larger scale. This film will not only be a very interesting look into a part of the world not so many people are familiar with but also a heartfelt movie about the importance of being free. – Levan Akin
Twenty-five years after the 1995 Chicago heat wave, COOKED: Survival by Zip Code examines the events that led to the deaths of 739 people, mostly Black and in the poorest neighborhoods of the city. The film arrives at a time of growing calls across the country to declare racism a public health crisis and to reinvest in communities ravaged by the long-term impact of structural racism. A recent NYU study found life expectancy differentials as wide as 20-30 years linked to racial and ethnic segregation between neighborhoods in American cities. Adapted from Eric Klinenberg’s ground-breaking book ‘HEAT WAVE: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago,’ the film is directed and produced by Peabody Award-winning director Judith Helfand (Blue Vinyl, A Healthy Baby Girl, Everything’s Cool), produced by Fenell Doremus (co-producer of Academy Award-nominated Abacus: Small Enough to Jail), and Kartemquin Films, the award-winning Chicago documentary production house behind Minding the Gap and Hoop Dreams. In COOKED, Helfand challenges herself, and ultimately all of us, to respond to the man-made disasters taking place in towns and cities across the country before the next unprecedented “natural” disaster hits. Director Judith Helfand joins us to talk about the systemic racism that makes the neighborhoods of the poorest the most likely location for
Independent Lens:COOKED: Survival by Zip Code will have its national television debut on the PBS television series Independent Lens on Monday, February 3 at 10:00 pm (check local listings), preceding coverage of the Iowa Caucuses. The film will also be available to stream at PBS.org and on the free PBS Video App throughout Black History Month.
Each week this award-winning series bring you an original documentary film made by one of the best independent filmmakers working today. Independent Lens films have won 19 Emmy Awards, 16 Peabody Awards, five duPont-Columbia University Awards, and have received 10 Academy Award nominations. Independent Lens won the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 International Documentary Association (IDA) Award for Best Continuing Series.
Bruce Franks Jr. is a 34-year-old battle rapper, Ferguson activist and state representative from St. Louis, Missouri. Known as Superman to his constituents, he is a political figure the likes of which you’ve never seen – full of contradictions and deep insights, who has overcome unspeakable loss to become one of the most exciting and unapologetic young leaders in the country. This short verité documentary follows Bruce at a critical juncture in his life, when he is forced to deal with the mental trauma he’s been carrying for the nearly 30 years since his 9-year-old brother was shot and killed in front of him, in order to find peace and truly fulfill his destiny as a leader for his community. Co- director Smriti Mundhra (Sami Khan) join us to talk about how a dynamic and charismatic man from a traumatized community took tragedy and turned into action.
About the filmmakers:Smriti Mundhra’s A SUITABLE GIRL premiered at Tribeca in 2017 and won the Albert Maysles Award for Best New Documentary Director. KHOYA, Sami Khan’s feature debut, was selected for the Tribeca Film Institute’s Tribeca All Access® fellowship.
WALK RUN CHA-CHAhas been nominated for Documentary Short Subject at the 92nd Academy Awards®. Directed by Laura Nix, the film follows Paul and Millie Cao, who lost their youth to the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Forty years later, they have become successful professionals in Southern California-and are rediscovering themselves on the dance floor. WALK RUN CHA CHA is now streaming on New York Times Op-Docs.
About the Filmmaker: Director Laura Nix Laura Nix is an award-winning fiction and nonfiction filmmaker based in Los Angeles. WALK RUN CHA-CHA is adapted from a feature-length documentary in progress. It was produced by Concordia Studio for The New York Times Op-Docs and premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. Laura’s work also includesother work includes her feature documentary INVENTING TOMORROW, about teenagers from around the globe tackling environmental issues through science, THE YES MEN ARE REVOLTING, a comedy about activism and climate change, the documentary THE LIGHT IN HER EYES, about a Syrian Qur’an school for women and she was a writer on the Emmy-nominated documentary CALIFORNIA STATE OF MIND: THE LEGACY OF PAT BROWN. In 2001, Nix co-founded the production company Automat Pictures, where she produced and/or directed over 100 presentations, including the feature documentary WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT: THE STORY OF HEDWIG, which played in over a dozen film festivals in the U.S. and worldwide. Previously she was a member of Oscar-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s production company Telling Pictures, where she was Associate Producer on THE CELLULOID CLOSET.
“Laura Nix’s WALK RUN CHA-CHA is a moving, poignant portrait of two aging refugees who have endured a great deal, and who now face one of life’s biggest challenges: figuring out how to stay in love. Through them, Nix also evokes the textures, tastes, and sounds of Vietnamese refugee life, and mixes them in with everything that is good about the United States. Ultimately, WALK RUN CHA-CHA is an optimistic film about both love and hope—the hope that our country will continue to believe in welcoming strangers from other lands, who in the end are not that strange at all.”– Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer
THE NEIGHBORS’ WINDOW tells the story of Alli (Maria Dizzia), a mother of young children who has grown frustrated with her daily routine and husband (Greg eller). But her life is shaken up when two free-spirited twenty-somethings move in across the street and she discovers that she can see into their apartment. Inspired by a true story, the film was written and directed by three-time Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker, Marshall curry. Starring tony-nominated Maria Dizzia (Orange is the New Black, 13 Reasons Why, White We’re Young); Greg Keller (Law and Order); and Juliana Canfield (Succession).
About the filmmaker: Marshall Curry is a three-time academy award nominated documentary director, cinematographer, and editor. his films cover a wide range of interests and include STREET FIGHT, about Cory Booker’s first run for mayor of Newark, N.J.; RACING DREAMS, which tells the story of two boys and a girl who dream of becoming NASAR drivers; IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT, which chronicles a radical environmental group; POINT AND SHOOT, about an American who leaves home to join the Libyan revolution; and A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN, about a Nazi rally that filled Madison Square Garden in 1939. his films have won top honors at Sundance and Tribeca, played in theaters and on television around the world, and earned two Emmy nominations and two Writers Guild of America nominations. curry also Executive produced and helped to edit MISTAKEN FOR STRANGERS, a comedy documentary about the indie rock band, the National.
Palm Springs Shorts Fest – Audience Award, Best Live Action Short
Traverse City Film Festival – Audience Award, Best Fiction Short
Rhode Island Film Festival – First Prize, Best Live Action Short
Woodstock Film Festival – Best Short Film
Port Townsend Film Festival – Jury Award, Best Narrative Short
Port Townsend Film Festival – Audience Award, Best Narrative Short
Santa Fe Film Festival – Audience Award, Best Narrative Short
Washington West Film Festival – Best Narrative Short
Washington West Film Festival – Best Short Film Director
Kinematic Shorts – Audience Award
Coronado Film Festival – Audience Award
Short Shorts Film Festival – Best International Actress, Maria Dizzia
Sulmona International Film Festival – Best Editing
Atlanta Shortsfest – Best Cinematography, Wolfgang Held
ISLAND OF THE HUNGRY GHOSTS takes place off the coast of Indonesia, in the Australian territory of Christmas Island, inhabited by migratory crabs traveling in their millions from the jungle towards the ocean, in a movement that has been provoked by the full moon for hundreds of thousands of years. Poh Lin Lee is a “trauma therapist” who lives with her family in this seemingly idyllic paradise. Every day, she talks with the asylum seekers held indefinitely in a high-security detention centre hidden in the island’s core, attempting to support them in a situation that is as unbearable as its outcome is uncertain. As Poh Lin and her family explore the island’s beautiful yet threatening landscape, the local islanders carry out their “hungry ghost” rituals for the spirits of those who died on the island without a burial. They make offerings to appease the lost souls who are said to be wandering the jungles at night looking for home. ISLAND OF THE HUNGRY GHOSTS is a hybrid documentary that moves between the natural migration and the chaotic and tragic migration of the humans, which is in constant metamorphoses by the unseen decision-making structures. Director Gabrielle Brady joins us to talk about her beautiful and quietly powerful tale of desperate people trapped in a place of pervasive uncertainty and a woman trying to help them cope.
“ Island of the Hungry Ghosts is one of the year’s most impressively made documentaries, a film that’s as occasionally surreal as it is persistently moving. Island of the Hungry Ghosts is a true discovery.” – JOSHUA BRUNSTING, CRITERION CAST
“A documentary overflowing with empathy, poetry, and elemental power.” – HUBERT VIGILLA, FLIXIST
“Hauntingly beautiful Island of the Hungry Ghosts combines multiple narratives…into one glorious whole… A mesmerizing work of visual wonder, the breathtaking images forming an evocative setting for a vital discussion of human rights… A stunning, visceral first feature, announcing the director as a major talent to watch” – CHRISTOPHER LLEWELLYN REED, FILM FESTIVAL TODAY
“The best documentary award goes to a film that demonstrates extraordinary mastery of the full symphonic range of cinematic tools: cinematography, editing, score, sound design and, perhaps greatest of all, an exquisite use of metaphor. To a film that moved us deeply, impressed us immensely and made us feel we were witnessing nothing less than the emergence, fully formed, of a major new cinematic talent” – TRIBECA JURY
BASTARDS’ ROAD tells the story of the many combat veterans, like Jon Hancock who are navigating the complicated transition back to civilian life. After years of struggling, Jon decided to take an epic journey across the country – on foot. Walking nearly 6,000 miles alone, Jon confronts the demons that had overtaken his life. Visiting his fellow 2/4 Marines – known as the The Magnificent Bastards – and families of their fallen along the way, Jon finds a mission greater than his own redemption. Veterans everywhere are struggling with PTSD. They are taking their own lives at an alarming rate – 50% higher than non-veterans. With remarkable honesty, insight and humor, Jon’s journey is uniquely positive. It’s about changing the ways one relates to traumatic memories. It’s about beginning the healing process. Director Brian Morrison joins us to talk about the raw emotions and the deep pain of men and woman who have done what their country asked them to do.
Premiere: Sunday, January 26th at 1pm in the Ballroom Screening Room
Second Screening: Thursday, January 30th at 6pm in the Gallery Screening Room
Slamdance Film Festival Headquarters
Treasure Mountain Inn
255 Main St.
Park City, UT
Veteran Suicide Statistics
More than 60,000 Veterans died by suicide from 2008-2017. The suicide rate for Veterans is 50% higher than it is for non-veterans.
The suicide rate among Veterans aged 18-34 increased 76% from 2005-2017.
DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT – Why would somebody walk that far, for so long? That’s what I asked myself after seeing a news story on TV about somebody I went to high school with. I didn’t know him back then, but we shared many mutual friends. When I first contacted Jon on his walk I knew nothing about what he’d been through. The military was a foreign world to me. None of my family or friends had served. All I had to go on was that he was a Marine and had PTSD. But I was immediately drawn to his story and we quickly took steps to organize a trip for me to follow him for a few days. Over the course of the last 8 months of Jon’s walk, I was able to make a handful of trips to capture pieces of his journey. We became great friends. Most days it was just him and I, but I was lucky enough to meet many guys Jon served with, as well as several Gold Star families of their fallen. It was eye-opening to see Jon’s transformation in their presence. He smiled brighter, laughed harder and cried less. It’s like they kept the best versions of themselves for each other. I learned about the tremendous weight they carry day after day, the scars of war that will never heal, the lost brothers whose ultimate sacrifices they never stop thinking about. But I also learned about strength and selflessness that goes way beyond what most of us as civilians can comprehend. Together, they reminded each other how important it is that they are still here. – Brian Morrison
In ASK NO QUESTIONS Chinese State TV blames his faith for a fiery public suicide, Chen Ruichang is detained in a Clockwork Orange-style brainwashing facility and forced to accept the government’s account. But Chen, a former insider of the state TV himself, believes it was all a government plot. A CNN reporter smuggled out footage of the event that day, but was then muzzled by Beijing. Now, her eyewitness testimony helps untangle an intricate conspiracy, as Chinese authorities begin pressuring the filmmaker’s family and business associates. The terrifying danger of a government nefariously crafting the narrative & imprisoning its citizens who practice Falun Gong in China in the gripping feature documentary ASK NO QUESTIONSfrom filmmakers Jason Loftus (The Bleeding Edge, Human Harvest) and Eric Pedicelli (Black Code, Tin City Voices), which world premieres on Saturday, January 25th. In the vein of a journalistic true crime documentary, painting the scope of the crime, and the depths of the investigation. The story leads into allegations of criminal conduct at a governmental scale. Evidence is credibly presented, shocking, and thorough. Director Jason Loftus stops by for a conversation on the terrifying reach of a totalitarian state power structure and the impact it can have on those who dare challenge it.
It all began when a group of cheerful, subversive filmmakers weren’t accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. Unwilling to take “no” for an answer, they instead started their own event – Slamdance: Anarchy in Utah. 26 years later, Slamdance has become a year-round organization fostering the development of unique and innovative filmmakers. The organization now consists of the Film Festival, Screenplay Competition and Slamdance Studios. It has also created Slamdance On The Road, a traveling theatrical showcase that brings popular Slamdance films to audiences that otherwise would not have the opportunity to see them. Dan Mirvish, Jon Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn and Peter Baxter are the founding forefathers who, along with co-conspirator Paul Rachman, fought for truly independent filmmakers by giving them a voice in 1995 at the very first Slamdance Film Festival. Since then, the festival takes place every January in the breathtakingly stunning, snow-capped mountains of Park City, Utah at the exact same time as the Sundance Film Festival, to provide a more authentic representation of independent filmmaking. Up-and-coming writers, directors and producers, alongside seasoned veterans and film lovers, converge for the weeklong celebration of independent cinema, realizing that Slamdance is a great place to find those next, great, visionary films. Slamdance lives and bleeds by its mantra By Filmmakers For Filmmakers. No other film festival in the world is entirely run and organized by the creative force that can only be found in filmmakers. Slamdance adamantly supports self-governance amongst independents, and exists to deliver what filmmakers go to festivals for – a chance to show their work and a platform to launch their careers. The festival has earned a solid reputation for premiering films by first-time writers and directors working within the creative confines of limited budgets. Co-founder and President Peter Baxter joins us to talk about this year’s Slamdance, the groundbreaking films and the innovative new distribution and digital initiatives being launched by Slamdance.
A small-town marshal who hasn’t carried a gun since he left the Texas Rangers after a tragic shooting must pick up his gun again. This time to do battle with a gang of outlaw bikers that has invaded the town to pull off a brazen and violent heist. DISTURBING THE PEACE features Guy Pearce (Memento, L.A. Confidential), Devon Sawa (The Fanatic,Final Destination) and Barbie Blank (“WWE Raw”, “Clash Time”.) The film is written by Chuck Hustmyer (End of a Gun, House of the Rising Sun) and directed by York Alec Shackleton (211, Kush). Director, writer and producer York Alec Shackleton joins us to talk about his heist gone wrong film thriller.
About the director: York Alec Shackleton is a filmmaker and former professional snowboarder, widely known for his early films dealing with edgy real-life tales of troubled youth and lives gone wrong.A direct descendant of famed arctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, York was born and raised in Southern California. His father, Richard, was best known as the writer for much of Lenny Bruce’s comedy material and served as tour manager. Growing up around these types of artists instilled a keen sense of creativity and inspired a yearning to be in the entertainment business from the very beginning. His films, past and future include the documentary LAS PARADITAS, which explores the rampant violence and exposing the corruption that surrounds the prostitutes of Tijuana, Mexico. Followed by the thriller PRETTY PERFECT, starring Sarah Sutherland in her first feature film and Christopher McDonald, about a man dealing with paranoid schizophrenia and delusional behavior. York’s other work includes producing and editing the 2008 feature DOCUMENTARY URBAN STRUGGLE: THE BATTLE OF THE CUCKOO’S NEST, exposing the burgeoning days of the punk scene at the now infamous Cuckoo’s Nest club, in Southern California. In 2012 he followed this by producing and editing and the documentary CLOCKWORK ORANGE COUNTY, featuring early concert clips from Iggy Pop, The Ramones, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, and the Circle Jerks among others.