It is one of the most iconic images of our time: two African-American medal winners at the 1968 Olympics standing in silent protest with heads bowed and fists raised as “The Star Spangled Banner” is played. Fifty years later, that singular event remains deeply inspiring, controversial and even misunderstood as one of the most overtly political statement in the annals of sport. The Stand: How One Gesture Shook the World is a revealing exploration into the circumstances that led runners Tommie Smith and John Carlos to that historic moment at the Mexico City Games, mining the great personal risks they took and the subsequent fallout they endured. Through intimate interviews with the participants and witnesses involved in that moment, along with compelling images and archive, the film explores the 1968 Olympics human rights stand in the context of a critically important and volatile time for the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. While The Stand: How One Gesture Shook the World documents this lasting moment in American history, The Stand also remains faithful to what was, for athletes and millions of Olympic fans around the world, a riveting 200-meter footrace between the fastest runners of the day, young people in their athletic prime striving to be the best on one October day in Mexico City. The Stand: How One Gesture Shook the World also features high jumper Ralph Boston, sprinter Mel Pender, crew member Paul Hoffman, silver medalist Peter Norman and Professor Harry Edwards. Filmmakers Tom Ratcliffe and Becky Paige (Bannister: Everest on the Track) join us to talk about the story behind a legendary act that echoes to this day.
SPINSTER drops us into the life of Gaby (Chelsea Peretti). Gaby wants desperately to find real love. Recently dumped and on the brink of forty, she feels she doesn’t matter to anyone. Her best friend is pre-occupied with her kids, her family doesn’t get her, and running her own catering business, mostly weddings, serves as a constant reminder of the love that has eluded her. Gaby’s greatest fear, that she’ll end up a lonely and pathetic spinster, seems to be her destiny. After a frenzy of dating leaves her exhausted and demoralized, she admits she might never find love and must create a Plan B. Gaby begins to build a meaningful and connected life. But when a chance romantic encounter with Mr. Right threatens to uproot her, she realizes the value of her life, even if it doesn’t involve romance. Written by Jennifer Deyell and anchored by a beautifully nuanced performance from Chelsea Peretti (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), SPINSTER Director Andrea Dorfman joins us to talk about her witty, beguiling comedy about being honest with oneself and embracing life.
SPINSTER will released August 7 through Vertical Entertainment on VOD and Digital platforms including iTunes, Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Fandango Now and all major cable/satellite platforms.
About the filmmaker: Andrea Dorfman is a filmmaker, animator and artist. She directed the feature films Parsley Days (2000), a TIFF top ten film, the critically acclaimed Love That Boy (2003) featuring a young Ellen Page, the musical drama, Heartbeat (2014), and the soon-to-be released comedy, Spinster, starring Chelsea Peretti. The short film, There’s A Flower in my Pedal (2005), was runner up to Best Short at TIFF and her documentary, Sluts (2006), won Best Documentary at the Atlantic Film Festival. Dorfman also made several animated films including two with the National Film Board of Canada – the Emmy nominated, Flawed (2010) and Big Mouth (2012). She recently shot and directed the feature doc, also produced by the NFB, The Girls of Meru (2018) and it’s currently screening at film festivals around the world. Her short live action-animation video collaboration with poet-musician, Tanya Davis, How to Be Alone (2010), has garnered over 8 million YouTube hits and was adapted to a book, illustrated by Dorfman and published by HarperCollins. She also adapted and illustrated Flawed, released as a YA graphic memoir by Firefly Canada in 2018. Dorfman occasionally teaches at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and was the co-creator of Blowhard, a thematic storytelling series that ran for 7 years in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
From the team that directed the jaw-dropping, award winning documentary on the life and mayoral campaign of former congressman Anthony Wiener (Weiner) comes THE FIGHT. Only days after the 2017 inauguration of Donald Trump, furious Americans gathered at airports across the country in protest of the Muslim ban. But it was the efforts of the American Civil Liberties Union, waging the fight in federal court, that turned the tide, staying the executive order on grounds of unconstitutionality. The ACLU has never granted access to its offices, even as its battles—on the fronts of abortion rights, immigration rights, LGBT rights and voting rights —have become more timely and momentous than ever. Rousing, inspiring and slyly humorous, their THE FIGHT follows four seismically important cases and a handful of magnetic attorneys. These lawyers may not know how to charge a cell phone or operate a stand-up desk but have persuaded Supreme Court Justices, beating back serious encroachments upon our freedoms. An antidote to endless news cycles filled with tweet tantrums, THE FIGHT inspires with the story of front-line warriors in the battle for the American soul. Co-director Eli Despres (Elyse Steinberg and Josh Kriegman) joins us to talk about this entertaining, fast-paced, and highly engaging peek behind the curtain of the self-effacing attorneys and their support team as they scramble to maintain and bolster many of the most substantive constitutional protections under constant assault.
WINNER – U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award forSocial Impact Filmmaking – Sundance 2020
“Inspiring, infuriating, and unbounded. Filled with raw emotion and real world immediacy.” – Kate Erbland, IndieWire
“A celebration of the lawyers on the front lines in the Trump age. Captures the intense emotion of the moment.” – Beandrea July, The Hollywood Reporter
“A gorgeous, enraging, and uplifting film.” – Chris Hayes, MSNBC
Director Matias Mariani’s lyrical new film, SHINE YOUR EYES tells the story of Amadi (OC Ukeje), a musician from Lagos who travels to São Paulo to track down his missing older brother Ikenna (Chukwudi Iwuji) and bring him back home to Nigeria. Following the faint traces of Ikenna’s footsteps, he discovers that his brother was not the distinguished math professor he was supposed to be, but actually had contrived an intricate and nearly delusional series of schemes to accumulate wealth in Brazil. As the mysteries deepen, so too does Amadi’s attraction to this vibrant newfound culture—and to his brother’s Brazilian ex-lover, Emilia (Indira Nascimento). As he closes in on his sibling’s whereabouts, Amadi is faced with choosing between his faithfulness to his family and the possibility of a new life in São Paulo. Director, Producer and Co-screenwriter Matias Mariani joins us to talk about his brilliant, thoughtful mediation on family, culture, identity and self-discovery.
Director’s Statement: Throughout my life the question of identity has always been very important to me. As a kid I moved around a lot within Brazil and abroad, and I always wondered what part of me was I able to bring to each new city and what part I left behind. The idea to reinvent oneself, to shed one’s skin and start anew, has always been a luring fantasy, which I carried with me and that heavily motivated me to write this film. When I was 18, shortly before I started university in New York, I went to West Africa for the first time with my aunt, who used to buy handcrafted wares and fabrics there to sell back in Brazil. We travelled throughout Burkina Faso, Senegal and Mali, and since then I’ve come back every couple of years, travelling through most of the region. A few years after that, when I moved back to São Paulo I’ve noticed the growing influx of West Africans, particularly Nigerian Igbos, moving to the downtown area of the city, which has been in a state of decay for several decades at that point. Together with my partner Maíra Bühler, we started frequenting the informal HQ of the Igbos in São Paulo, the Galeria Presidente, first only for fun and then as pro-bono teachers of Portuguese for the recent arrivals. With the contacts we made there, we proceeded to travel to Nigeria (Lagos, Onitsha, Enugu, Owerri) to extend our research, and that’s how Shine Your Eyes was originally born. – Matias Mariani
I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK, a six-part documentary series currently airing on HBO with new episodes premiering on Sunday nights at 10:00 p.m. I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK, is based on the book of the same name and explores writer Michelle McNamara’s investigation into the dark world of a violent predator she dubbed the Golden State Killer. Terrorizing California in the 1970s and ‘80s, the Golden State Killer is responsible for 50 home-invasion rapes and 12 murders. This series gives voice to the survivors and their families, documenting an era when sex crimes were often dismissed or hidden in shame. A timely inquiry into our macabre preoccupation with true crime and a cautionary tale of the dangerous lure of addiction, the series is a riveting meditation on obsession and loss, chronicling the unrelenting path of a mysterious killer and the fierce determination of one woman to bring the case to light. Michelle McNamara lived a quiet life as a writer, mother and wife, preferring to stay on the periphery of the Hollywood world of her comedian husband Patton Oswalt. But every night, as her family slept, she indulged her obsession with unsolved cases. Delving into the world of online chat rooms and crime blogs, she became immersed in the graphic details of the Golden State Killer, (aka EAR, Original Night Stalker), case, along the way connecting with like-minded sleuths, trading facts, photos and leads. I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK co-producer and co-director Elizabeth Wolff joins us to talk about her collaboration with series director Liz Garbus and her team as they pieced together the detective story within the detective story, emerging with a sprawling story of survival, obsession, pathology, community and heart-breaking loss.
The series is directed by Academy Award nominee and Emmy® winning director Liz Garbus (HBO’s “Who Killed Garrett Phillips,” “Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper”) and produced by Story Syndicate. Additional directors on the series include Elizabeth Wolff, Myles Kane and Josh Koury. I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK will also be available on HBO On Demand, HBO NOW, HBO GO and partners’ streaming platforms.
“This core of respect for shared humanity differentiates Garbus’ as well as McNamara’s tellings from so much true crime storytelling, and justifies weaving the personal into the procedural.” – Judy Berman, TIME Magazine
Set in Oakland, a city with a deep history of social justice movements, WE ARE THE RADICAL MONARCHS documents the Radical Monarchs – an alternative to the Scout movement for girls of color, aged 8-13. Its members earn badges for completing units on social justice including being an LGBTQ ally, the environment, and disability justice. The group was started by two, fierce, queer women of color, Anayvette Martinez and Marilyn Hollinquest as a way to address and center her daughter’s experience as a young brown girl. Their work is anchored in the belief that adolescent girls of color need dedicated spaces and that the foundation for this innovative work must also be rooted in fierce inter-dependent sisterhood, self-love, and hope. WE ARE THE RADICAL MONARCHS follows the first troop of Radical Monarchs for over three years, until they graduate, and documents the Co-founders struggle to respond to the needs of communities across the US and grow the organization after the viral explosion of interest in the troop’s mission to create and inspire a new generation of social justice activists. Director / Producer Linda Goldstein Knowlton (Somewhere Between, Dream,Girl, Whale Rider, The Shipping News) joins us to talk about the positive role-modeling, the sense of community connection and empowerment that the Radical Monarchs has brought into the lives of these young women of color.
About the filmmaker Linda Goldstein Knowlton (Producer/Director) is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, working in documentary and scripted feature films, as well as television. In 2016, she Executive Produced the documentary DREAM,GIRL, which premiered at The White House. The film showcases the stories of inspiring and ambitious female entrepreneurs. Goldstein Knowlton directed and produced one of the six, Emmy-nominated documentaries for the PBS MAKERS: Women Who Make America series. The film, WOMEN AND HOLLYWOOD, aired in October, 2014 and includes interviews with Jane Fonda, Shonda Rhimes, Lena Dunham, Ava Duvernay, Glenn Close, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Alfre Woodard, Hunger Games producer Nina Jacobson, among many other notable women. Prior to that, she produced CODE BLACK, Best Documentary winner at LA Film Festival and the Hamptons International Film Festival, and the basis for the CBS one-hour drama of the same name. Previously she directed and produced SOMEWHERE BETWEEN, which won the Sundance Channel Audience Award at the Hot Docs Film Festival, and was released theatrically in over 80 cities across the US. For her directorial debut, she co-directed THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SESAME STREET, which debuted at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival in competition and aired nationally on PBS. Linda started her career producing feature films, including the award-winning WHALE RIDER and THE SHIPPING NEWS.
Winner of the first-ever Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, Elizabeth Coffman and Mark Bosco’s documentary FLANNERY is the lyrical, intimate exploration of the life and work of author Flannery O’Connor, whose distinctive style influenced a generation of artists. A devout Catholic who collected peacocks and walked with crutches (due to a diagnosis of lupus that would take her life before the age of 40), O’Connor’s provocative, award-winning fiction about Southern prophets, girls with wooden legs, and intersex “freaks” was unlike anything published before (or since). Over the course of her short-lived but prolific writing career (two novels, 32 short stories and numerous essays and lectures), O’Connor never shied away from examining timely themes of racism, religion, socio-economic disparity, and more with her characteristic wit and irony. Including conversations with those who knew her and those inspired by her (Mary Karr, Hilton Als, Tommy Lee Jones, Lucinda Williams, and more), FLANNERY employs never-before-seen archival footage, newly discovered personal letters and her own published words (read by Mary Steenburgen) alongside original animations and music to examine the life and legacy of an American literary icon. Co-director Elizabeth Coffman and Mark Bosco join us to talk about the life and work of a writer and cartoonist who’s trenchant worldview and powers of observation provided her stories with a window into the soul of subjects that resonates to this day.
For news, screenings and updates go to: flanneryfilm.com
*Flannery O’Connor was recently the subject of a provocative article by Paul Elie in The New Yorker, in which he quotes personal letters, and other writings, to question her attitudes on race. This is certainly a contentious and timely issue. We also note that earlier this month, The New York Times critic Wesley Morris named her 1965 short story, “Everything That Rises Must Converge,” as an example of “Art That Confronts and Challenges Racism.”
The Modern Consciousness: A FLANNERY Discussion Series, a four-part weekly series of virtual panel discussions on O’Connor’s legacy, will be presented concurrent with the run, with a new discussion every Monday from July 20 – August 10. Each part will cover a different topic (race, faith, disability, and craft). More details TBA.
“‘Flannery’ is an extraordinary documentary that allows us to follow the creative process of one of our country’s greatest writers.” — Ken Burns, Oscar-nominated Documentarian
“Despite having a certain squareness that puts it slightly at odds with its subject, “Flannery” does succeed in its ultimate objective — after watching it, you will want to instantly get a hold of and read as much of Flannery O’Connor’s work as you can.” – Peter Sobczynski, eFilmCritic.com
In Director David Wnendt (Wetlands) beguiling new film, The Sunlit Night, summer is off to a terrible start for Frances (Jenny Slate). Her art school project fails, her boyfriend unceremoniously kicks her out of his Hamptons home, and, to top it all off, her younger sister reveals she’s engaged just moments before her parents announce their separation. Hoping to invigorate her work and expand her horizons Frances hastily takes an opening for an art residency in Norway and heads off to an isolated island where the sun never sets. In a remote village, among the locals, she meets a fellow New Yorker (Sharp), who has come in search of a proper Viking funeral only to find that the Chief (Galifianakis) is but a re-enactor from Cincinnati. The eclectic crew ranges from “home” to “lost,” within the extreme and dazzling landscape of the Far North. Under a sun that never quite sets, and the high standards of an unforgiving mentor, Frances must navigate between ambition, desire, obligation, and risk in order to find a way forward. Author and screenwriter Rebecca Dinerstein Knight joins us to talk her collaboration with actor / producer Jenny Slate and director David Wnendt and finding the right mixture of understated drama and absurdist spirit that informs this charming gem of a film.
About the filmmaker(s): “I wrote The Sunlit Night as a stranger in a foreign land: no Jewish New Yorkers had ever moved to the Norwegian Arctic for no reason before, so the locals told me, on the island I had come to share with them, 95 miles north of the Arctic Circle and floating in the Norwegian Sea. Without any Norwegian ancestry to justify my journey, I could only explain my sudden relocation to the Lofoten Islands as a search for beauty, an opportunity to test language against a supreme landscape. I wanted to write about rapture. In the story that resulted, and in our faithful film, the gruffness of ancient mountain rock meets the unpredictable softness of goat’s fur; cultures clash and form new harmonies. Living alone at the top of the planet drove me to ask what connection means. What makes a person feel at home in the world, and who is responsible for the warmth of a welcome? Can geography exert emotional force? How can a woman communicate herself in the absence of common language and custom? How does the practice of art transcend practical circumstances? This is a movie about stretching oneself over the abyss of the unknown and touching the other, quieter side. The blankness and newness that open up there carry the risk of incredible loneliness, and the promise of wild revelation.” Writer Rebecca Dinerstein Knight
Director David Wnendt made his mark at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival with Wetlands, adapted from the best-selling novel by Charlotte Roche. His next film, Look Who’s Back, grossed over $20 million and was released by Netflix. Wnendt’s debut film, Combat Girls, earned him the Bavarian Film Award for best young director and the Prix Genève Europe for best fiction script by a newcomer. Wnendt was one of Variety’s “10 Europeans to watch” for 2016.
Maggie Kiley is the Executive Producer and one of the series directors for the second season of USA Network’s high profile series, DIRTY JOHN: THE BETTY BRODERICK STORY. This season is special for the fact that all eight episodes were directed by women. Kiley directed four out of the eight episodes, including the season premiere and finale. DIRTY JOHN: THE BETTY BRODERICK STORY follows the tumultuous relationship of Betty and Dan Broderick, played by Amanda Peet and Christian Slater, as their marriage turns into what was called one of “America’s messiest divorces” even before it ended in double homicide. DIRTY JOHN: THE BETTY BRODERICK STORY follows a high society woman, mother of four, driven to the edge by her husband’s lies, manipulation, and psychological abuse, that slowly escalates as his extra-marital affair is revealed, a bitter divorce ensues, and blood is shed. This is a warts-and-all depiction of the extremes of erratic behavior provoked under pressure. The creative juggernaut known as Maggie Kiley takes time out of her very busy life to talk with us about her love for storytelling, mentoring other artists and working with her beloved actors.
About the filmmaker: Award-winning filmmaker Maggie Kiley, is an alumnae of AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women, both a Fox and Film Independent Directing Fellow. She was recently as the first director chosen for Ryan Murphy’s Half Initiative, which has led to gigs helming episodes of American Horror Story: Cult, Scream Queens, and 9-1-1. Her credits reflect her diversity, since she has made contributions to CW’s Katy Keene, Riverdale, Marvel’s The Gifted, Netflix’s What/If and Syfy’s George R. R. Martin’s Nighflyers, to name just a few. Kiley recently signed a major exclusive, multi-year overall deal at Warner Bros TV. Under the pact, she will render director and executive producer services for the studio, in addition to developing new TV projects for broadcast, cable and streaming services. She was the first woman in 30 years to have a TV deal at WBTV like this. Maggie Kiley began her career as an actor with the Atlantic Theatre Company in New York City before making the transition from acting to directing with her award winning short film, Some Boys Don’t Leave. The film stars Jesse Eisenberg and Eloise Mumford and played over 50 festivals, garnering top honors at Tribeca and Palm Springs. Kiley received the Panavision New Filmmaker Grant for her debut feature, Brightest Star which starred Chris Lowell and Allison Janney. Her second feature, Dial a Prayer, released in 2015 starred Brittany Snow and William H. Macy. Her third feature was a thriller with Anna Camp, titled Caught marking the last of three features films in three years.
In the shadows of the bright lights of Las Vegas, its last call for a beloved dive bar known as the Roaring 20s. That’s the premise, at least; the reality is as unreal as the world the regulars are escaping from. BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS is a mosaic of disparate lives, teetering between dignity and debauchery, reckoning with the past as they face an uncertain future, and singing as their ship goes down. Filmmaking duo Bill and Turner Ross return with an elegiac portrait of a tiny world fading away but still warm and beating with the comfort of community. Their beguiling approach to nonfiction storytelling makes for a foggy memory of experience lost in empty shot glasses and puffs of smoke. Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross (45365, Tchoupitoulas, Western, Contemporary Color) join us for a lively conversation on the fiction and non-fiction filmmaking expectations, the logistical and post-production challenges of making this film and the cinematic inspirations that inform Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets.
Renting Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets includes Director Introduction, the Feature Film and Post-Film Q&A with Cast/Crew. Order for July 8th in celebration of National Dive Bar Day! 10% of rental proceeds and 100% of all ‘GIVE’ donations benefit the US Bar Guild Foundation’s Bartender Emergency Assistance Program COVID-19 Relief Fund.
About the filmmakers: Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross are an American filmmaking team whose credits include the award-winning films 45365 (2009), TCHOUPITOULAS (2012), WESTERN (2015), and CONTEMPORARY COLOR (2017). Born and raised in Sidney, Ohio, and both graduates of the Savannah College of Art and Design, Bill and Turner Ross began work in the film industry in Los Angeles, with Bill as an editor and filmmaking teacher, and Turner in art departments on studio features. But they soon decided to eschew the day jobs of Hollywood and continue the creative partnership they began as kids by making their own films. In the years since, their films have brought them renown as some of the most innovative and interesting documentary filmmakers working today, with a style all their own and always evolving — pushing the art of presenting uninhibited portraits of and journeys through places, with all the complicated, humanistic, and lyrical truth that that entails. Their work has been supported by the Sundance Institute, the Rooftop Filmmaker’s Fund, Cinereach, the San Francisco Film Society and a generous grant from the late Roger Ebert. They were honored as Ambassadors for the American Film Showcase and as Sundance Documentary Institute Fellows. They were named Decade Filmmakers by Cinema Eye Honors, and in 2018 they became members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences. When not making their own films, they collaborate with friends and fellow filmmakers such as Benh Zeitlin (BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, WENDY), David Lowery (AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS, A GHOST STORY), A.J. Schnack (CAUCUS), Robert Greene (BISBEE ’17), Raoul Peck (I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO), and David Byrne. They live and work in New Orleans. According to Metacritic, Bill and Turner Ross are the 6th best reviewed filmmakers of the 21st century. For more go to: rossbros.net
From the Smith Brothers and Director Tony Dean Smith comes VOLITION, a mind-bending science-fiction thriller, where the line between fate and free-will blurs. When you know your world is pre-determined, it’s hard to care about your choices. This is true for James Odin (Adrian Glynn McMorran). On a rain-soaked night in 1991, two cars collide, leaving all drivers dead on the scene, including the mother of the lone survivor, a child , James Odin. It’s a tragedy. But what’s more tragic is that seven-year-old James foresaw the accident happening two days prior. He tried to prevent it, but who’s going to believe a kid who claims to see the future? Twenty-plus years later, James is a product of the failed foster care system. Knowing that the events of his future are predestined, he’s getting by, using his ability for petty crime and cheap thrills. But when a pre-sentient vision reveals to him his own imminent murder, James must go on the run and change the fate he knows is fixed. Director /co-screenwriter Tony Dean Smith and Producer / co-screenwriter Ryan Smith join us to talk about their consistently creative, high-wire tale of time travel, heartbreak and determining your own fate.
About the filmmakers: Tony Dean Smith (director/co-writer) & Ryan W. Smith (producer/co-writer) Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tony Dean Smith & Ryan W. Smith are the Smith Brothers, a creative partnership forged in the fires of sibling revery.
Tony Dean Smith is the recent recipient of the Director’s Guild off Canada “Best BC Director” award, granted at the Whistler Film Festival for his feature film debut, VOLITION. An award-winning director, writer and editor, Tony has gone on to write and direct various long-form projects for film & television – as well as constantly developing new material that’s close to his heart. Tony is also an acclaimed editor, having cut for Neill Blomkamp, Netflix, 20th Century Fox, Universal Studios, NBC, Syfy and others.
Ryan W. Smithis an award-winning writer/producer, having won the ScreenCraft Fellowship for his feature script, Jacaranda. Along with his film work, Ryan has written on over 135 episodes of television, which has earned him two Leo Awards. Ryan has written for such companies as Netflix, Anonymous Content, Andrew Lauren Productions, SyFy, Disney and Original Film. The Smith Brothers live in Vancouver, B.C., where they continue to be not only creative partners, but brothers.
“Ingenious” — Sci-Fi Now
“Enthralling” —Horror DNA
“Fantastic and original” —Nerdly
“Prepare to get your mind scrambled” – Hollywood News
“Sci-fi with a healthy serving of smarts” — Electric Shadows
“Think LOOPER, THE TWILIGHT ZONE and BLACK MIRROR” — London Frightfest
“One of the truly, best hybrids of horror and science fiction this year and perhaps this decade.” – Horror Hound
A long-awaited follow up to Munch’s acclaimed 2011 Sundance film Letters From the Big Man, THE 11TH GREEN stars Campbell Scott (House of Cards, Roger Dodger) as a journalist who uncovers the truth behind the mythology of President Eisenhower’s long-alleged involvement in extraterrestrial events. Rife with hidden government secrets and Matrix-like mind-benders, THE 11TH GREEN is grounded in what is widely believed to be the nuts-and-bolts core story of post-war U.S. military and government involvement with UFOs. In this way, the film sketches a possible backdrop to recent revelations in the mainstream media (eg, the New York Times and Washington Post) and subsequent declassification of certain U.S. military interactions with UFOs. Thought-provoking but understated, filled with sharply drawn characters, stark desert landscapes, and leaps across the space-time continuum, THE 11TH GREEN is challenging cinema that generates questions, discussion, and debate long after the credits roll. The film’s distinguished cast also includes Agnes Bruckner (Blood and Chocolate, Blue Car), Ian Hart (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Backbeat), April Grace (Magnolia, Joker), Tom Stokes (The Railway Man, Wasted On the Young), David Clennon (Being There, The Thing), Monte Markham (Mr. Deed Goes to Town, Dallas), and Currie Graham (NYPD Blue, Project Blue Book). Groundbreaking American auteur Christopher Munch (director of The Sleepy Time Gal and the recently restored indie classic The Hours and Times) joins us to talk about his many-layered drama and the talented cast he assembled to breathe life into it.
*** Special Event *** In celebration and support of its current virtual cinema release via the “Theatrical-At-Home” program (and in select traditional venues), the team behind the critically acclaimed sci-fi drama THE 11TH GREEN will unite together for a special Q & A event . This event will help theatres currently presenting the film to offer their audience more of the traditional filmgoing experience. The special event will take place on Monday, July 20 that 4:00 P.M. PST / 7:00 P.M. EST (check online for your correct time zone). The Q & A will feature writer-director Christopher Munch plus stars Campbell Scott and George Gerdes, moderated by the film’s editor Curtiss Clayton. Audience members attending the virtual Q and A will have the chance to submit questions to the team, as if they were attending an in-person event.
About the filmmaker: Christopher Munch’s feature, the wilderness drama Letters from the Big Man (2011), was a New York Times Critics’ Pick and featured a lauded central performance by Lily Rabe. Five of his features have played at Sundance, and his first, The Hours and Times (1992), a speculative biopic about Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein, won a special jury prize there. An impossible dream was the overarching theme of Munch’s second feature, the period landscape drama Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day (1996), based on the true story of a young trolley mechanic who tries to save a doomed short-line railroad to Yosemite National Park. Munch then undertook the sprawling, unconventional mother-daughter story The Sleepy Time Gal (2002), which Kevin Thomas in the Los Angeles Times wrote “has a depth, range and subtlety far greater than most American films” and which David Ansen of Newsweek upon its release stated was Jacqueline Bisset’s “finest performance.” Munch followed this with another unconventional family dissection, Harry and Max (2004), about two pop star brothers. He is a past Guggenheim fellow, recipient of the Wolfgang Staudte Prize at Berlin, winner of two Independent Spirit Awards, including the “Someone To Watch” Award, and has been featured in two Whitney Biennial exhibitions. He has received competitive awards from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (for science in film), Creative Capital Foundation, The American Film Institute, The Merchant and Ivory Foundation, and others. christophermunch.com
“The bottom line: a thoughtful and compelling what-if starring a never-better Campbell Scott. . . . A bracing example of Munch’s fearless knack for casting a new light on official stories. . . . that information unwinds with a provocative and illuminating slant, and in combination with the film’s eccentric mix of genres, time periods and SoCal desert atmosphere, it makes for a heady revisionist saga. . . . For all the story’s machinations and dark doings, The 11th Green is concerned not with narrowly defined party politics but the power of cabals, and the relative powerlessness of figureheads. . . . [I]n its precision and poetry, the language is alive, and Munch gives each character a distinctive voice.” – Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter
“Wildly inventive . . . a work of meticulous historical reimagination. . . . With tight-lipped restraint, Munch giddily tweaks the past seventy-five years of political assumptions and the very concept of life on Earth.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker
Can an ancient Amazonian plant medicine help heal mankind? Farzin Toussi’s documentary THE MEDICINE reveals the hidden mysteries of one of nature’s most powerful and controversial healing remedies: Ayahuasca. Increasingly popular in the West, Ayahuasca is both a tradition in Amazonian shamanism and a promising new focus of mental health research. THE MEDICINE introduces spiritual leader Taita Juanito Guillermo Chindoy Chindoy, both a teacher and student of the sacred plant in the Colombian Amazon, where Ayahuasca is known as Yagé. Former NFL safety Kerry Rhodes and actor AnnaLynne McCord, each facing personal struggles, are introduced to Ayahuasca by Taita Juanito, guided through a true ceremonial practice, and emerge with new insights. THE MEDICINE also features leading scholars and authors exploring the cultural and scientific significance of Ayahuasca. Humanity faces an unprecedented rise in addiction, depression, and disease – can an ancient indigenous plant medicine help heal mankind? Perhaps the cure lies within the arms of Mother Nature. Director Farzin Toussi joins us to talk about his professional and personal journey into the spirit world, ancient cultures and a root and plant that has changed lives and sustained a way of life for thousands of years.
Oscar nominated filmmaker Agnieszka Holland’s thriller, MR. JONES, set on the eve of WWII, sees Hitler’s rise to power and Stalin’s Soviet propaganda machine pushing their “utopia” to the Western world. Meanwhile an ambitious young journalist, Gareth Jones (James Norton) becomes famous after publishing an article about his ride on an airplane with the new Chancellor of Germany – Adolph Hitler. Jones uses his political position in the British government as a foreign affairs advisor to David Lloyd George to get privileged access to the Soviet Union. Once there he searches for his next big story, scrutinizing the political and economic situation in Russia. Jones soon learns of government-induced hunger program, known as Holodomor, imposed on the Ukrainian people. The Soviets, with the help of the British and American governments, keep the starvation of 4 to 5 million people mostly secret. Jones efforts to uncover the truth behind the propaganda and expose an international conspiracy could cost him and his informant their lives. Jones goes on a life-or-death journey to uncover the truth behind the façade that would later inspire George Orwell’s seminal book Animal Farm. Director Agnieszka Holland joins us for a lively conversation on the little known story of mass slaughter prior to the onset one World War II and the craven rationale by the Western Powers willing to look the other way as millions of innocent people perished.
Writer’s Statement: “It was for my grandfather, Olexji, and the countless others who suffered under the Soviet regime that I wrote and produced this film. The idea first came to me in my final year of university and followed me to Ukraine after college and to a road trip through Wales shortly before my wedding, and many research trips for several years after. I wanted to tell a story that would honor the millions of victims of Stalin, who has been resurrected under Putinism as a great hero, and expose how Kremlin propaganda works – sometimes with the help of corrupt Western journalists and political leaders. Fifteen years ago, I never imagined this film would be relevant. It was always my intention to unearth buried history not hold up a mirror to our own times. As surreal as this journey has been against the backdrop of growing authoritarianism around the world, I have been heartened by how our story has brought together so many talented, fearless people determined to fight for the truth. Agnieszka, who survived prison under Soviet occupation and lost loved ones to the regime, put so much of herself into this masterpiece. Never could I have written in detail the rich wonderland that she created on screen, poetically guiding the audience through an adventure, while giving greater context to the challenges the world faces today. It has been a testament of faith that this film came together with these brave artists, and the timing for its release could not be more urgent.” – Writer Andrea Chalupa
Few people ever experience the momentum that Leader, Texas star football player Greg Kelley had going into his senior year of high school. That all changed in the summer of 2013, when Kelley was shockingly convicted of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old boy, and sentenced to 25 years in prison with no possibility for parole. OUTCRY is a searing examination of the criminal case that sent Kelley to prison and left his family and supporters searching for answers. Emmy® Award-winning filmmaker Pat Kondelis captures a community torn asunder and follows the principal participants on both sides of the appeals process as they work in pursuit of opposing truths. Over the course of three years, the series unfolds as Kelley’s fate hangs in the balance and new evidence emerges amid mounting criticism of the Williamson County justice system. SHOWTIME’s five-part investigative documentary series OUTCRY, follows the gripping scandal surrounding Kelley and the quest for truth and justice that followed in the wake of his sentencing. The series captures a divided community, as a groundswell of support emerges for Kelley, calling into question the investigation, the prosecution’s tactics and ultimately, the validity of the conviction, as both sides of the appeal process work in pursuit of opposing truths. OUTCRY director Pat Kondelis joins us to talk about the multiple twists and turns that Kelley saga takes and how no one knew where it would end up.
OUTCRY premieres Sunday, July 5 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME. New OUTCRY episodes will debut every Sunday through August 2, while the entire series will release for on-demand streaming or download on the SHOWTIME and SHOWTIME ANYTIME® apps and partner on-demand platforms July 5.
About the filmmaker: Pat Kondelis is an Emmy award-winning director and producer. His previous work includes the Emmy-nominated CNN documentary series ‘High Profits’ (2015), the Emmy-winning Showtime documentary film ‘Disgraced’ (2017), the CNN documentary series ‘The Radical Story of Patty Hearst’ (2018), the HBO documentary film ‘The Scheme’ (2020), and the Showtime documentary series ‘Outcry’ (2020). Kondelis is the Creative Director at Austin based Bat Bridge Entertainment.
In the riveting new short format documentary film, BLOOD RIDERS, from director Jon Kasbe (When Lambs Become Lions, Nascent, Mipso in Japan), focuses on the crippling blood shortage crisis and standstill traffic that plagues most hours of the day in Nigeria. On far too many days it can take over 24 hours to transport blood to patients in critical need. Joseph, one of the city’s motorcycle “blood riders,” can deliver blood to hospitals in under an hour. For mothers in labor, particularly in the case of Deborah dealing with a difficult delivery, this is often the difference between life and death. Director Kasbe gives us an incredible sense of intimacy with his characters. BLOOD RIDERS puts us there on the motorcycle and in the delivery room with Deborah and her husband. It boggles the mind. Director Jon Kasbe joins us for a conversation about the dire situation facing the people of Nigeria, a country of inadequate infrastructure, substandard health care capacity and systemic corruption, where a few dedicated people are determined to come to the aid of the most vulnerable among them.
About the filmmaker: Jon Kasbe is an Emmy Award-winning Australian-Indian director and cinematographer. His debut feature, “When Lambs Become Lions,” was a 2017 Sundance Documentary Fund recipient, won Best Editing at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, and was nominated for two 2019 IDA Awards in Best Cinematography and Best Editing. The film was released theatrically across the United States by Oscilloscope Laboratories and is now available on Apple TV and Amazon. His short films have screened at festivals worldwide and been recognized by SXSW, Hot Docs, Webbys, Vimeo Staff Picks, Camerimage Film Festival, Sheffield Film Festival, and National Geographic. In 2018 he was selected for DOC NYC’s inaugural 40 Under 40 list. He is currently developing a new film in Concordia Studios Artist-in-Residence. For more about his filmology go to: jonkasbe.com
In this searing documentary, WELCOME TO CHECHNYA, Academy Award –nominated director David France (How To Survive A Plague) brings us a terrifying real-life thriller that shadows a group of brave activists risking their lives to confront the ongoing anti-LGBTQ persecution in the repressive and closed Russian republic of Chechnya. In recent years, tens of thousands of LGBTQ people in the republic have suffered detention, torture and sometimes death at the hands of the authorities. But a small network of queer activists have mobilized into action, smuggling people in need out of their communities, securing visas and sheltering them in safe houses. Shot with astonishing access, largely with hidden cameras that keep rolling throughout every moment of escape, and employing a revolutionary face-swapping technique to protect the anonymity of its endangered subjects, WELCOME TO CHECHNYA exposes these under-reported atrocities, while highlighting an extraordinary group of heroic people confronting a brutal system. Director David France joins us for a conversation on the remarkably effective facial technology used by France to protect the identity of the film subjects and on the Russian republic’s pogrom against defenseless people being tortured and killed because of their sexual identity.
Director’s Statement: In my work as a journalist and author over many years, I have focused closely on the stories of outsiders and people who society has pushed to its margins – the disregarded, the ignored, the hated. When I turned to documentary filmmaking, I chose outsider activism as my subject. My first film, HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE, documented the work of early AIDS activists, ordinary people with no training who marshalled the intricate details of virology to change the course of the epidemic. Next, I opened up the story of early gender radicals in THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON, which chronicled not only the founding of the modern LGBTQ movement but also the founding of the first transgender rights organization in 1970. WELCOME TO CHECHNYA completes this trilogy. It follows a group of ordinary humans who have done something extraordinary, and asks the question that has long preoccupied me: What makes a person assume enormous risk and responsibility when others might turn the other way? What does it take, in other words, to be a hero?When I left their underground pipeline for the last time, knowing I could never go back once it became known I was reporting on their work, I wept with gratitude for the work they are doing. And for the opportunity they gave me to witness bravery of the most unvarnished kind: selfless, humane, and entirely queer. – David France
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
“No one has ever found such a deep and humanitarian use of a ‘deep fake’.” – Zep Armentano, El Cinefil
“David France has created a true masterwork of LGBT empathy, working both as a devastating portrait of hate as well as a rallying cry to arms. This is one of the best documentaries of the year.” – Redmond Bacon, Culture Vultures
“Undoubtedly a magnum opus of sorts on human rights documentation” – Jessica Pena, Jumpcut
“Gripping, essential viewing” – Matthew Jacobs, HuffPost
“Welcome to Chechnya is as fearless as its subjects, unafraid to show the violence and emotional torture of these people.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
Praised by The Village Voice as the most “clear-eyed account of union organizing on film,” THE KILLING FLOOR tells a true story of how a group of black and white slaughterhouse workers attempted to break race barriers to build an interracial union for the first time in the brutal stockyards. Damien Leake (SERPICO, APOCALYPSE NOW) stars as Frank Custer, a young black sharecropper from Mississippi – one of tens of thousands of southern blacks who journeyed to the industrial north during World War One, hoping for more racial equality. When Frank lands a job as a laborer on “the killing floor” in one of Chicago’s giant meatpacking plants., he finds a place seething with racial antagonism and decides to support the union cause. His best friends from the South, distrustful of the white-led union, turn against him. As racial violence explodes in the notorious Chicago Race Riot of 1919, management is able to further divide the workforce to defeat the union, and Frank must forge a new path. Director Bill Duke ( A RAGE IN HARLEM, DEEP COVER) stops by to talk about the challenges of making a sweeping historical film on a PBS budget, bringing together a talent group of mostly unknown African-American actor and the joy of seeing his groundbreaking and newly relevant film restored and revisited.
About The Killing Floor: The film was shot in 1983 in Chicago, working with local union crews and with many talented Chicago actors. It was made in the midst of the Reagan Era and shortly after the election of Chicago’s first African-American mayor, Harold Washington. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, foundations, corporations and dozens of national and local unions, THE KILLING FLOOR premiered on PBS’ American Playhouse series in 1984 to rave reviews. In 1985 the film was invited to Cannes and won the Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Award. Featuring a screenplay by Obie Award-winner Leslie Lee, based on an original story by producer Elsa Rassbach and directed by Bill Duke (A RAGE IN HARLEM, DEEP COVER), THE KILLING FLOOR. New 4K restoration. Preserved by UCLA Film & Television Archive, laboratory services and DCP by UCLA Film & Television Archive Digital Media Lab, with a special thanks to Elsa Rassbach, Sundance Institute Collection at UCLA Film & Television Archive.
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
“Rich and revealing, a cry of historical dimensions….” — Variety
“A classic study in class hate, greed and stubborn idealism. You won´t forget it.” — Newsday
“Brilliantly captures the drama of the moment as well as the historical forces that produced it.” — The Journal of American History
“…a particularly brilliant example of a cinema which knows how to use all the resources of fiction, without ever allowing its historical documentary side to be marred.” – La Revue du Cinema
“…fascinatingly recreated period reality, in performances that combine political faith with artistic force….” – London Evening Standard
“A very powerful, very surprising film….” – Le Monde
“As compelling dramatically as its historical analysis is fascinating …Surprising that a film from the U.S. can be so frank and explicit in its exposure of the class struggle.” — Sight & Sound
This warm-hearted documentary SEAHORSE follows Freddy, a 30 year-old gay transgender man who yearns to start a family. However for Freddy this ordinary desire comes with unique challenges. Deciding to carry his own baby took years of soul searching, but nothing could prepare him for the reality of pregnancy, as both a physical experience and one that challenges society’s fundamental understanding of gender, parenthood and family. He quickly realizes that what to him feels pragmatic, to others feels deeply confusing and confronting; this was not part of his plan. Against a backdrop of increasing hostility towards trans people the world over, Freddy is forced to confront his own naivety, mine unknown depths of courage and lean on every friend and family member who will stand by him. Made with unprecedented access and collaboration over three years, the film follows Freddy from preparing to conceive right through to birth. It is an intimate, audacious and lyrical story for the cinema about conception, pregnancy, birth and what makes us who we are. SEAHORSE is directed by acclaimed filmmaker Jeanie Finlay (Game of Thrones, The Last Watch, Orion: The Man Who Would Be King). Jeanie Finlay joins us for a conversation on one trans man’s pioneering quest to fulfil an age-old desire: to start his own family.
About the Director: Director / Producer / Writer Jeanie Finlay is one of Britain’s most distinctive documentary makers. She creates award-winning work for cinema and television, telling intimate stories to international audiences. She has made films for HBO, IFC, BBC as well as four commissions for the acclaimed BBC Storyville strand, including BIFA nominated The Great Hip Hop Hoax and BIFA Award-winning Orion:The Man Who Would Be King Whether inviting audience behind the scenes of Teesside’s last record shop in her home town (SOUND IT OUT), or to share the extraordinary journey of a British transgender man, pregnant with his child (BIFA nominated Seahorse) or onto the set of the world’s biggest television show (Emmy nominated Game Of Thrones: The Last Watch), all of Jeanie’s films are all made with the same steel and heart, sharing an empathetic approach to bringing overlooked and untold stories to the screen. She set up Glimmer Films in 2008 to develop and deliver ambitious, engaging documentary works, made in the region for an international audience. Glimmer Films aim to: Creatively challenge the form of documentary. Celebrate untold, intimate stories. Further explore “wraparound filmmaking”; continuing a groundbreaking practice of engaging with audiences in innovative and meaningful ways throughout production and distribution. For more on Jeanie and her work go to: jeaniefinlay.com
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
★★★★ ”A tender – and rather wonderful – documentary about love, family, raging hormones and the complexities of identity.” – The Guardian
★★★★ ”A fascinating, vital story told with heart and tenderness” – Little White Lies
“An engaging, empathetic and affecting film from master-documentarian Jeanie Finlay” TOP 5 FILMS TO SEE IN CINEMAS THIS WEEK – Mark Kermode
★★★★ ”An astonishing, unmissable story” – Financial Times
“One of the most moving things I have ever witnessed. I am forever changed. – Portland Observer
UNSETTLED is a feature-length documentary revealing the untold stories of LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers who have fled intense persecution from their home countries and who are resettling in the U.S. UNSETTLED follows four new arrivals, each of whom have escaped potential peril in their native countries for being different. They’ve landed in the purported “gay mecca” of San Francisco, yet even there, building a new life in an adopted nation is a precarious undertaking. As new leadership in America continues to restrict immigrants and drastically cut the flow of refugees and asylum seekers, UNSETTLED sheds light on a group about which few people know. What are the costs persecuted immigrants pay for seeking refuge? And how are everyday Americans stepping forward to help those most in need? Director and Producer Tom Shepard joins us for a conversation on the world wide danger faced by gay and transgender people, illegal in 70 countries and punishable by death in four countries, and the daunting challenges facing refugees and asylum seekers in the land of the free.
About the filmmaker: Tom Shepard, or the last 20 years has produced, directed, edited, and distributed documentary films. Four of his feature projects – SCOUT’S HONOR, KNOCKING, WHIZ KIDS and THE GROVE – have aired nationally on PBS (including POV, Independent Lens and PBS Plus). Coverage of his work has been featured prominently in the U.S. and foreign press, including reviews of three of his films in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and Boston Globe among others. Shepard’s films have played in hundreds of film festivals worldwide – including Full Frame, Silver Docs and the Sundance Film Festival (where he won two top awards for SCOUT’S HONOR in 2001.) Shepard has raised two million dollars for production of his own work and has received funding from the Independent Television Service (ITVS) four times previously. He is the former Chairman of New Day Films and in 2013, founded the Youth Documentary Academy in Colorado where he teaches regularly. He graduated from Stanford University where he studied human biology and film.
In a rapidly changing America where mass inequality and dwindling opportunity have devastated the black working class, three Detroit men must fight to build something lasting for themselves and future generations. STREET FIGHTING MEN takes a deep, observational dive into the lives of retired cop Jack Rabbit, who continues to patrol his own neighborhood as a citizen; Deris, who wants to further his education and serve as a role model for his baby daughter; and Luke, who labors mightily to rehab a dilapidated house while pulling together a meager living. Shot over three years in the neighborhoods of Detroit, STREET FIGHTING MEN is a story of hard work, faith and manhood in a community that never settles for defeat. STREET FIGHTING MEN takes place in the neighborhoods, where the real fight over Detroit’s future is being waged every day. For the people who live here, Detroit is not a blank slate, it is their home — where they have invested their lives, families, and memories. Director Andrew James joins us to talk about the grinding reality for people determined to do the right thing, get an education, provide for their families, promote a safe neighborhood, buy a home, but are faced with a crippling lack of resources or the opportunities to accomplish anything of last value.
Director’s Statement – I became interested in making a film in Detroit after reading a Metro Times article about James “Jack Rabbit” Jackson. The article featured a picture of Jack Rabbit standing on a street corner at night with his partner, Keith, close behind him. The two men, Jack Rabbit in particular, had taken it upon themselves to be the neighborhood watch after the local police station shut down, and their story of resistance resonated with me. Jack Rabbit’s story and the struggle of his largely black working-class neighborhood is the story of our times. It has become increasingly hard to ignore how the US system is leaving behind poor, working-class and even middle-class people, many of whom are people of color, in favor of global economic interests. I wanted to create something personal and experiential, with an emphasis on the day-to-day, that could speak to this systemic decay of opportunity. I contacted Jack Rabbit and asked if we could meet. He was enthusiastic about the idea and excited to tell his story, and eager to help me understand the ups and downs of his neighborhood. After spending some time in Detroit and getting to know Jack Rabbit, we began shooting with Deris and Luke as well. It was then that I decided to move to Detroit – to capture their stories in real time. I felt that a longitudinal, fly on the wall style would allow me time to get to know the community better and find the story in collaboration with the subjects. This extended time allowed me to form close bonds with the three men, as well as others in the community, and it gave me a unique opportunity to tell their story in a very personal way. – Andrew James, Director/Editor/Cinematographer
“Stories of the death and rebirth of [Detroit] are familiar, but Andrew James’s documentary conveys the experience of living there. From the beginning there’s an undercurrent of weariness, of the wear and tear of living in a place to which the rest of the world — or rather, the movie strongly implies, the white world, the money world — has grown indifferent.” – Glenn Kenny, The New York Times
“A painful but honest depiction of black life in urban Detroit, featuring multifaceted men striving against the odds. A portrait of black resilience and perseverance — without sentimentality — that stands in stark contrast to the one-dimensional stories of transformation, but still offers a way out of the dark.” – April Wolfe, Film Critic & Writer
“An incisive, intimate and enlightening cinematic gaze on Detroit, Street Fighting Men triumphs as an authentic story of resilience in a neighborhood that will never settle for defeat.” – Les Roka, The Utah Review
“For those curious about Detroit, this is one of the essential docs.” – Inney Prakash, Cinema Programmer, Maysles Documentary Center
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 QUESTIONS from 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.
About the filmmakers: Director and Producer Jason Loftus is a Peabody Award-winning film producer and four-time Canadian Screen Award nominee. His work spans documentary, docuseries, virtual reality, narrative games, and animation. He is CEO of the Toronto-based Lofty Sky Entertainment and Lofty Sky Pictures. Ask No Questions is Jason’s directorial debut in a documentary feature.
Director and Editor Eric Pedicelli – Eric’s films have highlighted women’s right to education in Ivory Coast, surveillance of activists in Rio de Janeiro, and internet censorship in Iran. He edited Black Code (directed by Nick de Pencier), examining perils faced by activists in the digital age. It premiered at TIFF and earned Eric a Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Editing. Ask No Questions is his feature documentary directorial debut.
“A few cunningly-placed cameras, a couple of threats, and some psychologically unstable recruits – and voila! – a whole new reality may be formed (in that sense, it’s like a real-life version of Barry Levinson’s satire Wag the Dog)” – Alex Saveliev, Film Threat
““Dissects a dramatic event with clear arguments and reasonable analysis–it is very well done. Darkness must be exposed, and Ask No Questions can play a valuable role.” – Ai Weiwei
“The film is particularly relevant now… a cautionary tale about how hard it can be to come to the truth.” – SF Weekly
“It shows the terrifying height of ‘fake news’ and presents a lot of difficult but timely questions about media, governmental authority, censorship, and freedom of the press.” – rocketminer.com
“A wicked trip down the rabbit hole… Without a doubt, Ask No Questions is a must see.” – Unseen Films
“Like an ice bath with each revealed truth being another shred of ice raising the hairs on the back of your neck.” – Slug Magazine
In the latest collaboration between director Carl Hunter and writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce SOMETIMES ALWAYS NEVER follows a stylish tailor and wayward father, Alan, (Bill Nighy) who is has spent a big chunk of his adult life playing the word game Scrabble. At the expense of his other relationships Alan has spent years searching tirelessly for his missing son, Michael, who stormed out over a game of Scrabble. With a body to identify and his family torn apart, Alan must repair the relationship with his youngest son, Jack (Sam Riley) and identify an online player who he thinks could be Michael, so he can finally move on and reunite his family. A quirky mystery / comedy starring the BAFTA winner Bill Nighy (Love Actually, Shaun of the Dead), SOMETIMES ALWAYS NEVER is a story about redemption, family, and finding the right words. Director Carl Hunter joins us to talk about his on-going work with screenwriter working with Cottrell-Boyce, and the photo that convinced lead actor Bill Nighy to join the project and striking the right visual look for his thoughtful, wryly funny film.
About the filmmaker: Carl Hunter is a director, screenwriter and also the bass player for Liverpool band, The Farm, who had a number 1 LP, Spartacus in 1991, 3 top 10 singles and spent a total of 50 weeks in the official top 40s for both LPs and singles. He has been making films, producing and directing, since the late 1990s and in 2019 he directed his first feature film, Sometimes, Always, Never, starring Bill Nighy and produced by Hurricane Films. In 2007, Carl produced and co-wrote the feature film, ‘Grow Your Own.’ He’s currently developing his next ideas with writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce.
“It’s universally well acted and it’s directed with an inventive, original visual style that matches the audacity of basing a film on Scrabble, by TV director Carl Hunter. The end result is unusual, intriguing and endearing.” – Alexa Dalby, Dog and Wolf
“Screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce, who adapted the film from his own short story, has crafted a joy of a script, which seeds its themes as elegantly as Nighy’s character, Alan, a Scrabble-obsessed tailor, wears his suits. – Wendy Ide, Observer (UK)
DISCLOSURE (formerly titled Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen) is an unprecedented, eye-opening look at transgender depictions in film and television, revealing how Hollywood simultaneously reflects and manufactures our deepest anxieties about gender. Leading trans thinkers and creatives, including Laverne Cox, Lilly Wachowski, Yance Ford, Jen Richards, Mj Rodriguez, Jamie Clayton, and Chaz Bono, share their reactions and resistance to some of Hollywood’s most beloved moments. Grappling with films like A Florida Enchantment (1914), Dog Day Afternoon, The Crying Game, and Boys Don’t Cry, and with shows like The Jeffersons, The L-Word, and Pose, they trace a history that is at once dehumanizing, yet also evolving, complex, and sometimes humorous. What emerges is a fascinating story of dynamic interplay between trans representation on screen, society’s beliefs, and the reality of trans lives. Reframing familiar scenes and iconic characters in a new light, director Sam Feder (Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger) invites viewers to confront unexamined assumptions, and shows how what once captured the American imagination now elicit new feelings. DISCLOSURE provokes a startling revolution in how we see and understand trans people. Director Sam Feder joins us for a conversation on the prejudice and crippling stereotypes being pushed out by film and television as well as barrier breaking stories being told by filmmakers, writers and artists
Statement from the filmmakers: DISCLOSURE shows audiences that decades-old stereotypes, memes, and tropes in the media both form and reflect our understanding of trans issues. They have shaped the cultural narrative about transgender people, and inform everything from dating and domestic violence, to school policy and national legislation. Since 80% of the population have never met a transgender person, all they know is rooted in media depictions, which are predominantly problematic and have rarely included participation by actual trans people. Disclosure is aimed at that 80%.
“(Disclosure) not only leaves us with the hope that things will improve, but it also shows us how much better the industry is when everyone is included, represented, and respected.” – Norman Gidney, Film Threat
“In making the film, Feder and Cox are rewriting the very history they set out to tell, adding one more title to “positive representation” list. That alone is worth coming out for.” – Jude Dry, indieWire
MY DARLING VIVIAN is the the story of Vivian Liberto, Johnny Cash’s first wife and the mother of his four daughters. In 1951, Catholic schoolgirl Vivian Liberto meets handsome Air Force cadet Johnny Cash at her local San Antonio, Texas skating rink. Their whirlwind summer romance lays the foundation for a feverish three-year-long correspondence while Johnny is stationed in Germany. Thousands of letters later, the two marry upon his return in 1954. Within a year, a career blossoms and a family is started. By 1961, Johnny Cash is a household name, number one on the music charts, and perpetually on tour. Meanwhile, only two weeks postpartum, Vivian settles into their custom-built home in Casitas Springs, California with their four young daughters. Plagued by bobcats, rattlesnakes, all-hours visits from fans, and a growing resentment toward her husband’s absence, Vivian is pushed to a near breaking point when she and her daughters are targeted by hate groups over her perceived race. In MY DARLING VIVIAN, we meet the first Mrs. Cash as her daughters, Rosanne, Kathy, Cindy, and Tara, share with us first hand, for the first time, the entire story of love, isolation, fear, heartbreak, and survival. Director Matt Riddlehoover and Producer Dustin Tittle joins us to talk about an unacknowledged, but crucial part of the Cash legacy and the impact it has on the lives of those who loved him.
DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT – Vivian Liberto’s story is one that has intrigued me for years. Dustin, my husband and producing partner, is the grandson of Vivian and Johnny Cash; I’d heard fragments of her experience from my mother-in-law, Kathy, and how grossly misrepresented she was in the 2005 film, Walk the Line. It wasn’t until a close friend suggested we make this film that I even considered it a possibility – it seemed too huge a responsibility. Now that Vivian’s truth is being told at a time when our society is beginning to listen to its aggrieved women, maybe her joy and pain and reality can be fully accepted. Her life was romantic and bewildering, difficult and significant, and wholly filmic – more than a mere footnote in the biography of Johnny Cash. The marks that were left on our four interviewees as children are undeniable, and also worth noting. These women have held an important piece of hidden history that seems more relevant today than ever before. It’s time we sat down and spent an hour or so in their, and their mother’s, shoes. Over these past two and a half years, I’ve fallen madly in love with Vivian, and my hope is that others do, too. – Matt Riddlehoover, Director
“This is a long-overdue must-see that sets the record straight for a woman whose whole life was glossed over in favor of a more camera-ready tabloid romance. There is great value to be found in My Darling Vivian if you’re up to walk this line.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat
“Enriched by a treasure trove of family photos, home movies, and previously unheard recordings, “My Darling Vivian” defiantly upends the accepted Nashville and Hollywood narrative…” – Andrew Osborne, culturevulture.net
“My Darling Vivian is an unmistakably loving and sensitive portrait, an imperfect but impassioned attempt to makes the case that the easy Johnny Cash narrative is missing an important figure.” – Steve Pond, TheWrap