Little Fish – Director Chad Hartigan

LITTLE FISH, the fourth feature film from director Chad Hartigan, is a romance set in a near-future Seattle teetering on the brink of calamity. The film imagines a world where a pandemic has broken out, that strikes with no rhyme or reason, and causes its victims to lose their memories. This is the world that newlyweds Emma and Jude find themselves in, not long after meeting and falling in love. When Jude contracts the disease, the young couple will do anything to hold onto the memory of their love.  Starring Olivia Cooke (Sound of Metal, Thoroughbreds) as Emma, Jack O’Connell (’71, Starred Up) as Jude, Soko and Raul Castillo, LITTLE FISH, opens in the midst of a global epidemic: Neuroinflammatory Affliction, a severe and rapid Alzheimer’s-like condition in which people’s memories disappear. Couple Jude Williams and Emma Ryerson are grappling with the realities of NIA, interspersed with glimpses from the past as the two meet and their relationship blooms. But as NIA’s grip on society tightens, blurring the lines between the past and the present, it becomes more and more difficult to know what’s true and what’s false. Director Chad Hartigan (Morris From America, This is Martin Bonner) joins us for a conversation on the making of his  subversively sly sci-fi / love story and how the on-screen artistry of the two lead actors helped shape this prescient tale of love in an age of isolation and mistrust.

 

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For news and updates go to: littlefish.movie

About the filmmaker – Writer/director Chad Hartigan is best known for his award-winning feature films THIS IS MARTIN BONNER and MORRIS FROM AMERICA. Hartigan won the John Cassavetes Award at the 2014 Independent Spirit Awards, as well as the “Best of NEXT” Audience Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, for THIS IS MARTIN BONNER. Hartigan won the Waldo Scott Screenwriter Award at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival for his film MORRIS FROM AMERICA. LITTLE FISH marks the third collaboration between childhood friends Hartigan, composer Keegan Dewitt (HEARTS BEAT LOUD) and cinematographer Sean McElwee (THE INCREDIBLE JESSICA JAMES). Based on Aja Gabel’s short story, the film is written by up and coming screenwriter Mattson Tomlin who co-wrote the latest Batman film, THE BATMAN, and wrote the Netflix hit PROJECT POWER.

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“In the midst of a flurry of pandemic-themed media coming out which tries to reflect the [present] situation, LITTLE FISH manages to distinguish itself from the crowd with its brilliant leads and emotional resonance.” – Oluwatayo Adewole, The Spool

“The result is better than smart, it’s stirring. With the NIA pandemic as a pretext, the essential subject becomes memory — its fragility, its wondrousness, its centrality to our existence as sentient beings.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

“Hartigan’s moody evocation of Emma and Jack’s love – and the way in which it, like so much else, is predicated on knowledge of the past – casts a moving spell.” – Nick Schager, Variety

“Chad Hartigan’s Little Fish drips with equal doses of beauty and poignancy – an affecting dive into love and memory, and how it defines who we are.” – Natasha Alvar, Cultured Vultures

The People vs. Agent Orange – Co-directors Alan Adelson & Kate Taverna

As the latest film from filmmakers Alan Adelson and Kate Taverna lays bares the dioxin-based defoliant, insecticide, Agent Orange catastrophe did not end with the Vietnam War. Today, the world over, a primary chemical of the toxic defoliant controls weeds in farming, forestry, parks, even on children’s playgrounds. Agent Orange wreaks havoc on the human genome, causing deformed births and deadly cancers. After decades of struggle and tragic personal losses, two heroic women are leading a worldwide movement to end the plague and hold the manufacturers accountable. In France, Tran To Nga is suing the American chemical industry for poisoning her in Vietnam. In America, Carol Van Strum exposes the continuing use of toxic herbicides in the Pacific Northwest. Incriminating documents disappear. Activists are threatened. A helicopter technician secretly films the contamination of reservoirs, while a massive industrial cover-up goes on. The People vs. Agent Orange co-directors Alan Adelson and Kate Taverna join us for a conversation on the journey of two women, joned together in their mutual pain, resist intimidation and threats, bringing to light the ongoing, intergenerational catastrophe of chemical warfare and toxic herbicides in the hope of bringing the manufacturers and business related perpetrators to justice.

For news and updates go to: javafilms.film/the-people-vs-agent-orange

Jury Award at Eugene Environmental Film Festival 2020

About the filmmakers: Kate Taverna and Alan Adelson produced and co-­directed In Bed with Ulysses as well as Lodz Ghetto, both of these widely acclaimed films had nationwide theatrical releases. Lodz Ghetto was short-listed for the Best Feature Documentary Oscar. Adelson and Taverna also collaborated on Two Villages in Kosovo, In Bed with Ulysses and Agent Orange: La derniere bataille, an adaptation of The People vs. Agent Orange made for Arte in French and German. Alan Adelson works in both film and print: as a page-one investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal and national magazines he made worldwide headlines exposing the disappearance of enough enriched plutonium to make two Hiroshima-sized bombs. Early in his journalistic career he published investigative articles on the chemical industry. Kate Taverna has edited more than 50 films over her career: Asylum and Killing in the Name were the Academy Award nominees in the Best Short documentary category in 2004 and 2011 respectively. The feature length Pray the Devil Back to Hell won the Best Documentary award at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry won the Audience award at the 2014 Boston Independent Film Festival, released theatrically nationwide and was translated into 22 languages andshown globally on Netflix.Her broadcast editing work has been seen on CBS, IFC, A&E, BBC and PBS, among others. 

Films for Humanity is proud to present the US virtual theatrical release of THE PEOPLE vs AGENT ORANGE, a documentary film by Kate Taverna and Alan Adelson. Winner of the Jury Award at the 2020 Eugene Environmental Film Festival, the film will have a virtual release at the New Plaza Cinema in New York, at Laemmle Theaters in Los Angeles and in other cities on March 5, 2021

’Til Kingdom Come, Director Maya Zinshtein & Producer Abraham (Abie) Troen

Director Maya Zinshtein and Producer Abraham (Abie) Troen’s well-balanced, insightful documentary ’TIL KINGDOM COME focuses on the millions of American Evangelicals who are praying for the State of Israel. Among them are the Binghams, a dynasty of Kentucky pastors, and their Evangelical congregants in an impoverished coal mining town. They donate sacrificially to Israel’s foremost philanthropic organization, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, because they fervently believe the Jews are crucial to Jesus’s return. ’TIL KINGDOM COME traces this unusual relationship, from rural Kentucky to the halls of government in Washington, through the moving of the American Embassy in Jerusalem and to the annexation plan of the West-Bank. With unparalleled access, the film exposes a stunning backstory of the Trump and Netanyahu administrations, where financial, political and messianic motivations intersect with the apocalyptic worldview that is insistently reshaping American foreign policy toward Israel and the Middle-East. Director Maya Zinshtein and Producer Abie Troen join us for a lively conversation on how their clear-eyed film takes us right into the heart of some of the world’s most powerful political forces and how this confluence of interests are apparently hellbent to realize a worldview where the world ends in fiery judgement for non-believers and true believers.

For news, updates and screenings go to: tilkingdomcomefilm.com

About the filmmaker – Maya Zinshtein – Director, producer Maya Zinshtein is an Emmy award-winning Israeli documentary filmmaker and journalist with a BA in Cinema and French studies and an MA in Security and Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University. Her last documentary “Forever Pure” won an Emmy award for Outstanding Politics and Government documentary in 2018 (Independent Lens/PBS). An alumna of Sundance Institute, for the last ten years she has directed and produced documentaries broadcast on Israeli TV and abroad including by Netflix, BBC, ARTE/ZDF, and PBS, and screened at over 100 festivals around the world.

About the filmmaker – Abraham (Abie) Troen – Producer, Cinematography Abraham “Abie” Troen is an award-winning documentary filmmaker & D.O.P. He has led doc projects in Israel, Kenya, India, Mexico and the US, his work screened at TIFF, SXSW, Doc NYC, IDFA and online for National Geographic, Vanity Fair, CNE and Out Magazine. Abie studied at the Sam Spiegel Film School in Jerusalem and Brandeis University before receiving an MFA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. There he was awarded the Annenberg Fellowship for specializing in documentary filmmaking. He currently resides in LA and films on both sides of the Atlantic.

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“A toxic mix of fundamentalist religion and real world politics is examined soberly but startlingly by Israeli documentarist Maya Zinstein in ‘Til Kingdom Come.” – Jonathan Romney, Screen International

“Evangelicals and right-wing Jews make for strange bedfellows and ‘Til Kingdom Come shows why people should be uncomfortable.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

“Hones in on one of the three legs of the stool that Trump sat on. (The other two are white supremacy and nativism.)” – Louis Proyect, Counterpunch.org

“Awaiting the Messiah – second coming or first?” – Harvey S. Karten, Shockya.com

Hunger Ward – Director Skye Fitzgerald

Filmed from inside two of the most active therapeutic feeding centers in Yemen, HUNGER WARD documents two female health care workers fighting to thwart the spread of starvation against the backdrop of a forgotten war. HUNGER WARD provides an unflinching portrait of Dr. Aida Al Sadeeq and Nurse Mekkia Mahdi as they try to save the lives of hunger-stricken children within a population on the brink of famine. HUNGER WARD is the third installment of Director Skye Fitzgerald’s Humanitarian Trilogy, focused on the global refugee crisis. The first film, 50 FEET FROM SYRIA focused on doctors working on the Syrian border and was Oscar® shortlisted. The second, LIFEBOAT documents search and rescue operations off the coast of Libya and was nominated for an Academy Award® and national Emmy®. Director Skye Fitzgerald (Lifeboat, 50 Feet from Syria, Finding Face) joins us for a conversation on the making of his 2021 Oscar® Shortlisted Hunger Ward documentary, how little American mass media has talked about the ongoing genocidal war against a defenseless civilian population – done with diplomatic,  political backing by the Trump Administration, as well as, intelligence and logistical support from the US military – and what we can do to stop it.

For news and updates go to: hungerward.org

2021 Oscar® shortlist – Best Documentary (Short form)

About the filmmaker – Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Documentary Branch). Oscar/Emmy/IDA-Nominated Director Skye Fitzgerald is directing The Humanitarian Trilogy: HUNGER WARD (2020) documents the impact of the war and famine in Yemen on children, families, and health care workers. LIFEBOAT (2018) highlights search and rescue operations off the coast of Libya and was nominated for an Academy Award® and national Emmy® award. 50 FEET FROM SYRIA (2015) focuses on doctors working on the Syrian border and was voted onto the Oscar® shortlist. Fitzgerald was also inducted as an honorary member into SAMS (Syrian American Medical Society) for his work with Syrian refugees and named a Distinguished Alumnus at his alma mater EOU for documentary work. As a Fulbright Research Scholar Fitzgerald directed the film Bombhunters and has since worked with the Sundance Institute, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the State Department, the Paul Robeson Fund and Mountainfilm. As a Director of Photography, Fitzgerald lenses work for major clients including Dateline, VICE, Mercy Corps, CNN, the Discovery, Travel, History and Animal Planet Channels. For more on Skye Fitzgerald go to: spinfilm.org

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Critical reactions to Skye Fitzgerald’s work:

“…a rare look inside the human impact of the war in Yemen” – Jane Ferguson – PBS NewsHour

“Once you see it, you won’t forget it.” – Sarah Larson – THE NEW YORKER 

“Fitzgerald has sought to harness this art-form to draw attention those who are struggling to obtain their most basic, fundamental human freedoms. LIFEBOAT…is vitally important.” – US HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION 

“…deftly addresses the most critical humanitarian issue of our time and those who are doing something about it.” – Michael Brody – Programmer Crested Butte FF  

“…visually brutal…a harrowing package.”  – VARIETY  

Do Not Split – Director Anders Hammer

Filmed across an entire year, DO NOT SPLIT takes us within the heart of the 2019 Hong Kong protests, capturing the determination and sacrifices of the city’s youth as their movement becomes symbolic for a generation’s rebellion against the political systems of two governments. Armed with umbrellas, gas masks, social media, and sheer determination, the protestors risk their lives, safety, and futures against the police’s tear gas, armed vehicles, and violence. Anders Hammer’s powerful film paints a nuanced and sobering picture of the challenges faced by the protestors,  joining student leaders and protestors on the ground to give an expansive and first-hand portrait of the unrest that prompted a government’s backlash, the passage of the new Beijing-backed national security law, and captured the attention of the world. Director Anders Hammer joins us to talk about the history of Hong Kong’s relationship to the British empire and the handover to the People’s Republic of China, the 20-year deterioration of civil and political rights as well as the determined bravery of the student led protestors determined to resist the tightening grip of an increasingly oppressive regime.

For news, screenings and updates go to andershammer.com

2021 Oscar® shortlist – Best Documentary (Short form)

DO NOT SPLIT premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival; screened at CPH:DOX, Guanajuato International Film Festival, Denver Film Festival, SFFILM’s Doc Stories, Meet the Press Film Festival at AFI, and Indy Shorts International Film Festival; and received the AFI DOCS Short Film Special Jury Prize and Special Jury Recognition for Courage Under Fire at DOC NYC.

About the filmmaker – Anders Hammer has filmed and directed the documentary Do Not Split which takes us within the heart of the Hong Kong protests that started in the summer of 2019. The movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and received the Special Jury Prize at AFI DOCS and Special Jury Recognition for Courage under Fire at DOC NYC. Hammer directed the documentary series Our Allies for Field of Vision. He also directed and produced Escape from Syria: Rania’s Odyssey, which was published by The Guardian and won a Webby Award and a One World Media Award for Best Refugee Reporting in 2018. The documentary went viral and gained more than 10 million views and 100,000 shares in social media. Hammer is one of the directors of the documentary  Exit Afghanistan published by Netflix. He has directed seven documentaries for the Norwegian investigative journalism program NRK Brennpunkt and many short documentaries. Hammer lived and worked in Afghanistan for six years and has written four documentary books about the country, one of them together with the Danish author Carsten Jensen. In Norway, where Hammer was born in 1977, he has received the Fritt Ord Award (which is given in support of freedom of expression), the International Reporter’s Journalism Award and the Big Journalist Award.

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“A visually stunning piece of reportage” – Nick Cunningham, BusinessDoc Europe

“A frenetic, urgent look at the protests that have rocked the city since June 2019” – Susannah Gruder, Hyperallergic

Call Center Blues – Director Geeta Gandbhir

A character-driven, cinematic tale of deportation, migration, displacement and opportunistic capitalism, CALL CENTER BLUES follows four characters as they struggle to make sense of their lives in Tijuana. Each with a vastly different story, they are all linked by their displacement and the sole choice of call center work they have in a country that is so unfamiliar and oftentimes frightening, yet other times a ray of hope. Tijuana becomes their home, a place defined by the border but yet defiant towards it, a no man’s land where everything and everyone feels transient. These characters paint a picture of love, loss and longing – for home, for an American Dream deferred, and for justice. Director Geeta Gandbhir joins us conversation on an aspect of immigration and deportation that is as relevant and heartbreaking as any immigration issue and the importance that an Oscar nomination brings to the issue and the film.

For news annd updates go to: multitudefilms.com/call-center-blues

Shortlisted for 2021 Oscar nomination for Best Documentary (Short Form)

SHORTS SHORTLIST – IDA Documentary Awards 2020
OFFICIAL SELECTION – DOC NYC Short List: Shorts 2020
OFFICIAL SELECTION – SXSW Film Festival 2020
WINNER – Best Documentary Short – Virginia Film Festival 2020
WINNER – Best Documentary Short – Fayetteville Film Festival 2020

About the filmmaker – Geeta Gandbhir is an award-winning director, producer and editor. As director, she won Best Documentary at the News and Doc Emmys for I AM EVIDENCE, an HBO Documentary Film, and Best Government and Politics Documentary for ARMED WITH FAITH, a PBS Documentary film. As editor, she won a Primetime Emmy for Best Editing for Spike Lee’s HBO documentary series WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE and also for the HBO film BY THE PEOPLE, THE ELECTION OF BARACK OBAMA. A documentary film she co-produced, THE SENTENCE, for HBO, also won a Special Jury Primetime Emmy.Other feature docs she co-directed include PRISON DOGS, A JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILES: PEACEKEEPERS, and REMEMBERING THE ARTIST: ROBERT DENIRO SR.She created and is co-directing and co-producing a series on race with The New York Times Op-Docs titled “The Conversation” which won the AFI Documentary Film Festival and a MacArthur Grant. She has been the recipient of a Ford Foundation grant, a MacArthur Grant, among others, and in 2017, she was the recipient of Chicken and Eggs prestigious Breakthrough Filmmaker Award.

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Days of the Bagnold Summers – Director Simon Bird

Based on the critically acclaimed graphic novel, DAYS OF THE BAGNOLD SUMMER is a funny yet sweet coming-of-age story about single motherhood and Metallica. Daniel (Earl Cave) was supposed to spend the summer with his dad and his dad’s new wife in Florida, but when his dad cancels the trip Daniel and his mom, Sue, (Monica Dolan) suddenly face the prospect of six long weeks together. An epic war of wills ensues in their suburban home as Daniel just wants to listen to heavy metal and start a band while his mom hopes to rekindle the fun times they used to have together. Featuring original songs by Belle and Sebastian. Director Simon Bird joins us for a conversation on his beautifully rendered tale of a sullen, insecure teen and his effervescent single mom doing her best to keep moving forward in a world that is pelting her with cheap shots and exasperating insults. 

 

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For news and updates go to: days-of-the-bagnold-summer

About the filmmaker – Director Simon Bird’s first short film, Ernestine and Kit, premiered at South By Southwest, and was nominated for Best Short at the Irish Film and Television Awards. Previously, Simon has worked as a stand-up comedian, writer, producer, and actor. As a writer, he created The King Is Dead for the BBC and co-created Chickens for Sky, which was nominated for Best Sitcom at the Broadcast Awards. As a producer, he set up Guilty Party Pictures, a TV and film production company backed by RED and Studiocanal. Guilty Party has produced content for Channel 4, Sky and the BBC, and recently wrapped on How Europe Stole My Mum, an original TV show for Channel 4, to air later this year.  As an actor, Simon has starred in five series of Rose D’Or-winning sitcom Friday Night Dinner. The sixth series shoots later this year. He is perhaps best known as Will McKenzie from Channel 4’s BAFTA-winning sitcom THE INBETWEENERS, THE INBETWEENERS MOVIE, which is the highest-grossing comedy film ever in the UK, and THE INBETWEENERS 2, which had the highest-grossing opening weekend of any film in the UK in 2014. Simon has won multiple British Comedy Awards and been nominated for a BAFTA and Royal Television Society award for acting. 

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90% on Rotten Tomatoes

“[A] funny, acerbic, yet surprisingly tender film…” – Mark Kermode, Observer (UK)

“Bird and writer Lisa Owens manage not only to mine repeated laughs from their basic gag – metal mayhem in Hornchurch Drive – but to do so sweetly rather than tweely.” – Danny Leigh, Financial Times

“An unexpectedly gentle and pensive portrait of a strained relationship between a mother and a son.” – Wendy Ide, Screen International

“Far closer in spirit to the lighter works of Mike Leigh than the broader material that made him a well known figure in British comedy, Bird’s debut is innately humanistic, with cross-generational appeal.” – Alistair Ryder, Film Inquiry

Windup – Director Yibing Jiang and Artistic Director Glenn Keane

The animated short film based on her own childhood experience in Wuhan China, WINDUP, tells the story of a father trying to stay connected with his unconscious daughter through music. He plays a windup music box and hopes she can hear it while fighting with his own emotions to stay strong. Meanwhile, his daughter follows the melody in her dreams and looks for a way back. WINDUP is a nine-minute animated short written and directed by an emerging female Chinese filmmaker Yibing Jiang, and Animation Director Jason Keane. Keane has a long family legacy in animation, which includes, his grandfather Bill Keane (Family Circus comics) and his uncles Jeff Keane; and Glenn Keane, (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Tarzan, and Tangled). WINDUP was also a collaboration with artists working remotely from around the world, created in real-time with Unity. At a time when we are feeling isolated, craving connection and preoccupied with the health and well-being of loved ones, the theme of the film is an uplifting and universal one that highlights the fragile nature of life, love, resiliency and the healing power of music, told through the eyes of a father and the special bond he shares with his ailing young daughter. Director Yibing Jiang and Artistic Director Jason Keane stop by to talk about their work and vision for this heartwarming and beautiful animated film.

 

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To find out more or to watch go to: unity.com/demos/windup

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M.C. Escher: Journey To Infinity – Director Robin Lutz & Producer Marijnke de Jong

M.C. Escher: Journey To Infinity is the story of world famous Dutch graphic artist M.C Escher (1898-1972). Equal parts history, psychology, and psychedelia, Robin Lutz’s entertaining, eye-opening portrait gives us the  man through his own words and images: diary musings, excerpts from lectures, correspondence and more are voiced by British actor Stephen Fry, while Escher’s woodcuts, lithographs, and other print works appear in both original and playfully altered form. Two of his sons, George (92) and Jan (80), reminisce about their parents while musician Graham Nash (Crosby, Stills & Nash) talks about Escher’s rediscovery in the 1970s. M.C. Escher: Journey To Infinity looks at Escher’s legacy: one can see tributes to his work in movies, in fiction, on posters, on tattoos, and elsewhere throughout our culture; indeed, few fine artists of the 20th century can lay claim to such popular appeal. Director Robin Lutz and Producer Marijnke de Jong stop by for a conversation on how far ahead of his contemporaries Escher was in capturing using abstract design elements to capture a provocative view of the natural world and how little he cared about being considered as an acceptable artist by the public or the art establishment.

For news and updates got to: zeitgeistfilms.com/film/mcescherjourneytoinfinity

 

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Director’s Statement: “I fear that there is only one person in the world who could make a really good movie about my prints: myself ‘. This line wrote Escher in 1969 to an American collector of his work. And that is exactly what Escher is doing in this movie: he is the director, not literally but symbolically. Besides a visionary graphic artist Maurits Escher was a sharp observer who described his observations in numerous diaries, letters, lectures and catalogues. Thus, an image will be created of his personal life described in his own words, with all his fears, doubts, euphoric moments, political considerations, his amazements, his artistic development and of course his own opinion on his work. The public sees the film through the eyes of Escher himself: the camera is Escher. M.C. Escher will tell in his own words what he saw, what he felt, what inspired him, what amazed him, what irritated him. We will get under his skin and come as close as possible to meet and understand this great graphic artist. The camera is Escher’s eye! How did he get his inspiration, how he lived, who was that genius graphic artist which worked fanatic and finally stunned the world. Escher was astonished by his huge success, especially among the youth. This documentary is the first complete film about Escher’s live and work told in his own words! 

About the filmmaker – Director Robin Lutz founded his own company in cultural audio-visual productions in 1988. He specialized in the production of cultural documentaries, in cooperation with or on behalf of broadcasters, funds, museums etc. Robin Lutz Audiovisual Productions has developed into a renowned production company and due to their great quality, a substantial amount of his films have been awarded, both nationally and internationally.

About the filmmaker – Co-Producer Marijnke de Jong  – After having finished her study in art history at Leiden University, Marijnke de Jong worked for 13 years as a curator in the print room of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Afterwards she worked for Europa Nostra, a heritage NGO, and was involved in the development and organization of the first two editions of a Heritage Film Festival, where she met Robin Lutz. From 2001-2014 she was director/curator of Panorama Mesdag in The Hague and specialized in art and illusion. Nowadays she is advising cultural organizations and since 2016 she also co-produces films with Lutz.

“Delightful…a playful but serious look at the life and work of a wildly popular woodcut printer, lithographer, painter and mezzotint print-maker Maurits Cornelius Escher.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

Dear Comrades! – Director Andrei Konchalovsky and Lead Actor Julia Vysotskaya

DEAR COMRADES! is based on a true story surrounding a strike by factory workers on June 1st and 2nd, 1962 in the city of Novocherkassk. The raising of food prices and the lowering of wages at the local factory led to a spontaneous uprising by thousands of area residents that eventually leading to violent reaction by local and federal officials. The events of those two days was kept secret until the nineties. DEAR COMRADES! focuses on the life and family of Lyudmila (Julia Vysotskaya) is a Party executive and devout communist who had fought in WWII for Stalin’s ideology. Certain that her work will create a communist society, the woman detests any anti-Soviet sentiment. During a strike at the local electromotive factory, Lyudmila witnesses a laborers’ piquet gunned down under orders from the government that seeks to cover up mass labor strikes in USSR. After the bloodbath, when survivors flee from the square, Lyudmila realizes her daughter has disappeared. A gaping rift opens in her worldview. Despite the blockade of the city, mass arrests, and the authorities’ attempts to cover up the massacre, Lyudmila searches for her daughter. We don’t know how the search will end, but realize that the woman’s life won’t ever be the same. Director Andrei Konchalovsky (Uncle Vanya, Siberiade, Runaway Train, The Inner Circle) and lead actor Julia Vysotskaya join us for a conversation on the importance of telling an unknown story, the role of art and storytelling and how Lyuda’s saga reflexes a broader perspective on Soviet-era repression.

 

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For news and updates go to: neonrated.com/films/dear-comrades

Russia’s official submission to the 2021 Academy Awards® for Best International Film

Director’s Statement – The process of making films about the 1960s is increasingly becoming the process of restoring the historical authenticity of the era, a fairly difficult task all in itself. Recently we’ve been seeing plenty of films where the 60s-70s-80s of the 20th century look fake and contrived, without any resemblance to the Soviet films made at the time, like “The Great Cranes Are Flying” or “Ballad of a Soldier”. So, my goal was to scrupulously and in great detail reproduce the era of the USSR’s 1960s. I think that the Soviet people of post-war time, the ones who fought in the WWII until victory, deserve to have a movie that pays tribute to their purity and the tragic dissonance that followed the realization of how different the communist ideals were from the reality around them. – Andrei Konchalovsky

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“KONCHALOVSKY’S MASTERPIECE. The artistry is calm, controlled, persuasively detailed… Catch it if you can. Beautiful and damning, DEAR COMRADES! is also an act of remembrance.” – Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

“A scintillating, surgical exposé of Khrushchev-era oppression… A 1962 massacre in the Soviet Union is reclaimed from its historical cover-up by Andrei Konchalovsky’s pristine, extraordinary drama… Perversely beautiful and coldly furious… meticulous and majestic, epic in scope and tattoo-needle intimate in effect.” – Jessica Kiang,  Variety

“Now in his 80s, Andrei Konchalovsky, the veteran Russian director… has made one of his most Russian, and most accomplished, latter-day films… Carried off with evocative precision and a cannily underplayed emotional tug. The drama keeps a well-calibrated balance between political horror, the matter-of-fact texture of everyday life, and the rhetoric that keeps the Soviet machinery oiled – and that Lyuda is struggling to see through. The film’s magnetic centre is a strong performance from Vysotskaya, working from a base line of initial testiness to rising anxiety and terror in face of the oppression that she realizes she has been enabling.” – Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

“Although at first sight this dramatization of a 1962 strike at a factory in the U.S.S.R. may seem a long way from the interests of contemporary audiences, it is surprising how much resonance the film has with the political struggles of our own time. much credit due to Julia Vysotskaya and her uncommonly gripping perf in the main role.” – Deborah Young, – The Hollywood Reporter

The Wanting Mare – Director Nicholas Ashe Bateman

In the world of Anmaere, north of the city of Whithren, wild horses run through the moorlands and up the coast. These horses are the city’s most valuable export and, as a result, are hunted, trapped, sold, and shipped across the sea once a year. For those in Whithren, this trade passage creates lucrative and exciting possibilities: the chance to escape their constantly sweltering city and escape to the Western continent of Levithen, or simply to begin again. Nothing can prepare audiences for the secrets, seduction, and sights of THE WANTING MARE, an intimate, dramatic fantasy epic written and directed by renowned digital artist Nicholas Ashe Bateman (visual effects supervisor of David Lowery’s upcoming The Green Knight). A technical marvel of digital world-building and independent ambition, the sprawling vistas, fantastical sights, and otherworldly tableaus of THE WANTING MARE were lensed almost entirely inside a warehouse in Paterson, New Jersey. Director, writer, and editor Nicholas Ashe Bateman joins us to talk about the five year journey of making THE WANTING MARE, the defining connection humans and horses share, the support he received from a dedicated group of friends and filmmakers, and the importance of Carl Jung.

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: anmaerepictures.com/thewantingmare

THE WANTING MARE was written and directed by Nicholas Ashe Bateman, Executive Produced by Lawrence Inglee, and stars Jordan Monaghan, Yasmin Keshtkar, Edmond Cofie, Nicholas Ashe Bateman, Josh Clark, and Christine Kellogg-Darrin.

THE WANTING MARE opens nationwide on Friday, February 5th, 2021, and will be accompanied by a half-hour making-of documentary available online.

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Acasa, My Home – Director Radu Ciorniciuc

ACASA, MY HOME is set in the wilderness of the Bucharest Delta, an abandoned water reservoir just outside the bustling metropolis, Radu Ciorniciuc’a striking debut feature documentary follows the Enache family. The Enache’s have lived in perfect harmony with nature for two decades, sleeping in a hut on the lakeshore, catching fish barehanded, and following the rhythm of the seasons. When this area is transformed into a public national park, they are forced to leave behind their unconventional life and move to the city, where fishing rods are replaced by smartphones and idle afternoons are now spent in classrooms. As the family struggles to conform to modern civilization and maintain their connection to each other and themselves, they each begin to question their place in the world and what their future might be. With their roots in the wilderness, the nine children and their parents struggle to find a way to keep their family united in the concrete jungle. With an empathetic and cinematic eye, ACASA, MY HOME filmmaker Radu Ciorniciuc offers viewers, in his feature debut, a compelling tale of an impoverished family living on the fringes of society in Romania, fighting for acceptance and their own version of freedom. Director Radu Ciorniciuc stops by to talk about his profoundly personal exploration into the insulated and untamed lives of the Enache family as they navigate the grinding reality of an urban existence that threatens to tear them apart.

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

About the filmmaker – In 2012, Radu Ciorniciuc co-founded the first independent media organization in Romania – Casa Jurnalistului, a community of reporters specialized in in-depth, long-form and multimedia reporting. Since then, he has been working as a long-form writer and undercover investigative reporter. His researches are focused on human rights, animal welfare and environmental issues across the globe. His investigative and reporting work was published on most of the major international media organizations in the world – Channel 4 News, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, etc. – and received national and international awards. His journalistic work was acknowledged by Royal Television Society UK (2014), Amnesty International UK (2014), Harold Wincott Awards for Business, Economic and Financial Journalism (2016), and by other international and national prestigious institutions. 

WINNER – Special Jury Prize for Cinematography Sundance Film Festival
WINNER – Phoenix Prize Best Documentary Cologne Film Festival
WINNER – Main Competition – Dok.Fest Munchen
WINNER – Olden Horn Award – Krakow Film Festival
WINNER –  Best Moral Approach – 2020 Makedox
WINNER – Human Rights Award – Sarajevo Film Festival 
WINNER – Special Jury Prize  – Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival
WINNER – ZagrebDox  – FIPRECI Award | Big Stamp Award | Little Stamp Award

 

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Lyrical and provocative. Timeless and of-the-moment, vividly specific and universally resonant. -Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter

“Stunningly intimate. Beautifully crafted.” -Jordan M. Smith, Nonfics

“It’s both intimate and analytical, a sensitive portrait of real people undergoing enormous change and a meditation on what that change might mean.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

“The secret of this beautiful, bittersweet film about a group of people like no other is that, in the end, it’s all so shockingly relatable.” – Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine/Vulture

“A heart-rending documentary with investigative undertones.” -Andrew Stover, Film Threat

Two of Us – Director Filippo Meneghetti

Pensioners Nina (Barbara Sukowa) and Madeleine (Martine Chevallier) have hidden their deep and passionate love for many decades. From the point of view of those surrounding them, including Madeleine’s meddling daughter (Léa Drucker), they are simply two neighbors sharing a hallway during their sunset years. In reality, this landing is a bridge between two worlds: one belonging to a widowed, doting grandmother, the other to a free-spirited woman who longs to spend her life with the person she loves. Clandestinely, Nina and Madeleine share a tender life, moving freely between their apartments until an unexpected event closes the portal. But their secret cannot remain hidden if they are to stay together – and their unconditional love is put to the test. Director Filippo Meneghetti joins us for a conversation on this beautifully rendered film that’s a loving tribute to passion, fidelity and a fierce determination to hold on to the people who matter most. 

 

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For news and updates go to: twoofusfilm.com

Watch the film at : twoofusfilm.com/watch-at-home

** France’s entry for 2021 Best International Film – Academy Awards

About the filmmaker – Director, screenwriter Filippo Meneghetti – Originally from Padova, Italy, Filippo’s earliest work experience was on New York’s indie film circuit. After film school and an Anthropology degree in Rome, he co-wrote the feature Imago Mortis (2009). He worked as a first assistant for several years before starting to direct his own short films, Undici (2011, codirected by Piero Tomaselli) and L’intruso (2012), which screened and garnered prizes at festivals in Italy and abroad. In 2018, Filippo moved to France where he made his next short, The Beast, which screened in competition at SXSW 2019 and can now be seen at international festivals. Two Of Us is Filippo’s first feature. 

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The film’s brevity means some ideas are under-developed. But what we’re left with is a sublime and sublimely simple portrait of a love that’s been lived in and the devotion it will take to ensure that endures.” – Roger Moore Movie Nation

“Two of Us is absolutely beautiful … and [it’s] refreshing to see two older women as sexual beings in all their yearning.” – Sara Clements, AwardsWatch

“This is a smart movie that starts from a relatively simple yet captivating premise and then steadily gains in complexity as it develops.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

“Perhaps most importantly, what Two of Us captures is something which so much of mainstream media would rather ignore: the desire, passion and sexuality of people above a certain age.” – Becky Kukla, Film Inquiry

Tribes on the Edge – Director Celine Cousteau

Tribes on the Edge follows filmmaker Céline Cousteau as she returns to the Brazilian Amazon after a fateful email from Beto of the Marúbo tribe who beckons her back to help tell his people’s story. Céline, who comes from a lineage of renowned explorers,  ventures into the heart of the jungle to explore the health crises and the threats to land and human rights of the Indigenous Peoples of the Vale do Javari. From a history of invaders bringing devastating diseases, to ongoing illegal activities, to the alarming dismantling of all protection of their land and human rights by the government – these indigenous communities are fighting to protect their home, critical to the ecological balance of our planet, and as a result…they protect us. TRIBES ON THE EDGE is Céline’s first full feature documentary.  The film is co-written by Joseph Kwong and Executive Produced by Bill Miller, Mercedes Zobel, James Cox and Çapkin Van Alphen. Director Celine Cousteau joins us for a lively conversation on the slow-motion genocide of indigenous people who happen to live in and steward some of the most ecologically valuable and endangered eco-system on the planet and how we can do something to stop the Brazilian government crime against humanity.

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: tribesontheedge.com

Make a difference, go to: tribesontheedge.com/impact-campaign

TRIBES ON THE EDGE is out on VOD on Feb 2.

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TRIBES ON THE EDGE took home the Special Jury Award at the Brazil International Film Festival, and the Impact Award at the Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival. Additional festivals include Black Hills International Film Festival (Global Reach Award), ART & TUR International Film Festival (Ethnography and Society Award), United Nations Association Film Festival, San Diego International Film Festival, Earth X Festival, Jackson Wild Media Summit, Vision Du Reel Film Festival, San Francisco Green Film Festival, National Geographic Exodus Aveiro Festival (Portugal) and One Earth Film Festival.

About the filmmaker – Céline Cousteau, Expedition Leader, Director and Producer – Céline Cousteau is a humanitarian and environmental activist working with a variety of mediums that range from documentaries to art, from consulting with corporations and foundations to public speaking. Each form shares the same message of interconnectivity between humans and the natural world. As a documentary film director, producer, and presenter, Céline is the founder and executive director of CauseCentric Productions, creating cause-focused content. Extending her family legacy and her expertise, Céline co-founded The Outdoor Film Fellowship, a nonprofit program whose mission is to empower young the next generation of filmmakers, creatives, and activists to inspire change through leadership, film, and the arts. Céline is ambassador for the TreadRight Foundation and on the board of directors of the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Her previous work has included being Guest Designer for Swarovski and Member of the World Economic ForumCouncil on Oceans. With a degree in psychology and a masters in Intercultural Relations, Céline is fluent in three languages.

Preparations to Be Together For an Unknown Period of Time – Director Lili Horvát

Lili Horvát’s PREPARATIONS TO BE TOGETHER FOR AN UNKNOWN PERIOD OF TIME is a mesmerizing psychological romance about a woman who upends her whole life to return to her home city of Budapest for a romantic rendezvous with a fellow surgeon, who then claims the two have never met. Márta Vizy (Natasa Stork) is a 39-year-old Hungarian neurosurgeon. After 20 years in the United States, she returns to Budapest for a romantic rendezvous at the Liberty Bridge with János (Viktor Bodó), a fellow doctor she met at a conference in New Jersey. Márta waits in vain, while the love of her life is nowhere to be seen. When she finally tracks him down, the bewildered man claims the two have never met. It’s unclear whether Márta’s wits are clouded by love or if other neurological factors are at play. Determined to solve the enigma, she takes a position at a hospital where she is treated as an outsider and must endure real and perceived slights, while also navigating a no man’s land separating love from madness. For her second feature, following 2015’s The Wednesday Child, writer-director Lili Horvát spins a delicate web of contrasts and silent explosions that shift the viewer’s understanding. Shot with impeccable symmetry on entrancing 35mm, it is an Orphic tale reminding us that, while the heart is an abstruse trickster, the human brain — ruling us with over 80 billion interconnected neurons — is our most complex organ. Director Lili Horvát joins us for a conversation on her Hitchcockian tale of a woman who’s certainty drives this compelling cinematic “love” story.

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: preparationsmovie.com

To watch go to: preparationsmovie.com/tickets

Independent Spirit Award – Nomination for Best International Film

** Hungry’s Official submission for for 2021 Academy Award – Best International Feature Film **

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89% on Rotten Tomatoes

“ A beautiful and acute rendering of what could be if some of the most implausible lies we tell ourselves were in fact true.” – Carlos Aguilar, RogerEbert.com

“Preparations” manifests its protagonist’s uncertainty through fluttering reflections and slinky shadows, and images that conceal and obscure the full picture.” – Beatrice Loayza, New York Times

“Lili Horvát’s film delights in wallowing in ambiguity, contradiction, and doubt.” – Diego Semerene, Slant Magazine

“What sets this film apart is its fusing of the impassioned and the grimly palpable.” – Anthony Lane, New Yorker

“ [A] state of existential crisis, one that director Lili Horvat teases with curiosity and ambiguity, as if Krzysztof Kieslowski were alive and well and making movies in Budapest.” – Barry Hertz, Globe and Mail

BREAKING THE SILENCE – Director Seayoon Jeong

Inspired by the true historical event, BREAKING THE SILENCE tells the story of Francesca (Grace Shen), a Chinese-American nurse working for the Red Cross in Hong Kong when the St. Stephen’s College massacre occurred. She survived but she and many other Asian women were captured then forced to work to “comfort” Japanese troops. Francesca finally comes to terms with her past after forty years by breaking her silence with a New York Times journalist. There are two comfort women memorials in California, one in Glendale and the other in San Francisco. The Glendale memorial was erected in Glendale Central Park in 2013, shortly after Osaka Mayor Toshio Hashimoto made the controversial argument that World War II era comfort women were  “necessary” to “maintain discipline in the army.” BREAKING THE SILENCE is a new live-action short film by Seayoon Jeong, starring Grace Shen (“This is Us”, “Grey’s Anatomy”), Rumi Oyama (RUNNING FOR GRACE) and Grace Chim (“Neighbours”). Director Seayoon Jeong joins us to talk about her deeply personal story and the desire to keep this issue in the forefront of human rights and reconciliation.

For news and updates go to: breakingthesilence2020.com

 

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** BREAKING THE SILENCE has been submitted to the Academy Awards for Best Live Action Short Film consideration.**

About the filmmaker – Seayoon Jeong has written a feature-length film on the same subject and will be self-releasing a book based on her script in January. Seayoon Jeong is originally from South Korea and spent her youth in Atlanta, Georgia. She is currently living in New York. Seayoon Jeong is available for interviews.

About the history – During WWII, Imperial Japan established military brothels known as “comfort stations” in the Pacific region as their military campaign intensified. Many young women from Korea, China, the Philippines, and other parts of Asia as well as the Netherlands and Australia – some as young as thirteen – were forced or duped into sexual enslavement. Many of these women died or were killed before they could be released.  Meanwhile, survivors of the harrowing militarized sexual enslavement wound up being shrouded in a profound sense of shame and guilt, living in the shadows of their former selves, resulting in an understated tragedy of the war that even today remains an unfamiliar war story to many.

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“For its 27 minutes, Breaking the Silence showcases captivating filmmaking in exploring the reality of ‘comfort stations’ and its victims but also briefly the fight to have these atrocities recognized and condemned as war crimes.” – Corey Bulloch, UK Film Review

 “Breaking the Silence” is a brutally sad film, and I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen…a fantastic short film that really knew how to push my emotional buttons.”- Will Conrad, Indyred

Beginning – Director Dea Kulumbegashvili

In her critically acclaimed debut feature film, BEGINNING, Georgian filmmaker director Dea Kulumbegashvili’s debut feature film zeroes in on Yana, a despondent woman wrestling with her crippling emotional isolation within a small community of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The setting for this harrowing story is a sleepy provincial village outside of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, a predominately Orthodox Christian country. Her husband, David, is the spiritual leader of the Witness community that has recently been terrorized by the fire bombing of their makeshift church by an extremist group. In the midst of this conflict, the familiar world of Yana slowly begins to unravel. Yana’s inner discontent grows as she struggles to deal with a sexual assault, an emotionally abusive husband and her own desires for a livable future. BEGINNING is Georgia’s entry for the Best Foreign Film for this year’s Academy Awards. Co-writer (Rati Oneli) and director Dea Kulumbegashvili joins us for a conversation on collaboration with Cinematographer Arseni Khachaturan, finding the right timbre for telling the story of Yana and locking in a spectacular performance by Yana’s Ia Sukhitashvili.

 

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Fro news and screenings go to: mubi.com/films/beginning-2020

About the filmmaker – Dea Kulumbegashvili’s filmmaking has been informed by her experience of growing up in a place with such a mix of ethnicities and nationalities. Dea was born in Oriol, Russia and raised in a small town called Lagodekhi at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia, a former Soviet Union republic. In 2016, she became the first Georgian director to have a film accepted in Cannes — her stunning minimalist short Invisible Spaces. In 2020, her feature debut BEGINNING became the first Georgian film to win the Golden Shell for best film as well as picked up the best director, best actress and best screenplay honors. If BEGINNING is nominated for the best international feature award at the 93rd Academy Awards in 2021, it will be another first for Dea, as well as a first for Georgia. 

** Georgia official submission for Best International Feature Film – 2021 Academy Awards
 
OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2020 New York Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2020 Cannes Film Festival
WINNER – FIPRESCI PRIZE – 2020 Toronto International Film Festival
WINNER – 4 MAJOR PRIZES at the 2020 San Sebastian Film Festival including the GOLDEN SHELL FOR BEST FILM, BEST DIRECTOR, BEST ACTRESS, BEST SCREENPLAY

95% on Rotten Tomatoes 

“The director’s compositions, way of holding us at a sometimes paralysing remove before bringing us painfully close, and brilliant use of off-screen space mark her out as someone to watch very closely, hopefully for years to come.” – Emma Simmonds, The List

“[T]here is an intensely ritualistic quality to “Beginning,” a remarkable – and remarkably bleak – debut feature… that unfolds with spare, mock-ceremonial deliberation, pausing every so often for an exquisite twist of the knife.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

“A breathtaking scourge of a film.” – Nicholas Bell, IONCINEMA.com

“The film is composed of just a handful of medium static shots. Kulumbegashvili never overplays her hand, she continuously shifts the mood of her film – it can go from meditative to angry to downright provocative in the span of a few scenes.” – Jordan Ruimy, World of Reel

“The boxy frame of the camera turns into a trap in “Beginning,” the masterful debut feature by the Georgian filmmaker Dea Kulumbegashvili.” – Devika Girish, New York Times

Blizzard of Souls – Director Dzintars Dreibergs

BLIZZARD OF SOULS pays stark witness to the horrors and brutality of the First World War, as seen through the eyes of Arturs (Oto Brantevics), an innocent sixteen-year-old farm-boy turned soldier. Too young to fight but old enough to die, he enlists to serve on the Eastern Front with dreams of becoming a hero. Conscripted into one of Latvia’s first national battalions, Arturs soon discovers the grim reality of trench warfare. Fighting alongside his father and brother, he experiences the loss of his home and loved ones while growing up surrounded by constant danger and death on the battlefield. Adapted from the book by Aleksandrs Grins, which was banned in the USSR, the story was based on Grins’ own war experiences in a Latvian battalion, and the film is the biggest box office success in Latvia of the past 30 years. Director Dzintars Dreibergs joins us for a conversation on the tremendous impact that World War One had on the Baltic states of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, particularly in terms of their relationship to Stalin’s Soviet Union and how the loss of life as well as the heroism the Latvians experienced during the war became the spark for independence from the Soviets 70 years later.

 

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For news and updates go to: filmmovement.com/blizzard-of-souls

** Latvia’s official submission for Best International Feature Film – 2021 Academy Awards **

Director’s Statement – First, the world is in the great place now. We live better than ever. We fight for human values which is impossible mission during the war. Many memories of soldiers tell how hard it was to live with themselves after they discovered animals within themselves, we can do sad things when fight for survival becomes real. However, the sad part is that still there are state leaders that can convince people to kill for some ideology, leaving other’s nothing else but to defend and then starting long and crazy circle of many tragedies. I hope the world can learn from the history and stop this nonsense. – Dzintars Dreibergs  

LATVIA’S BIGGEST BOX OFFICE SUCCESS IN 30 YEARS PREMIERES VIA VIRTUAL CINEMA ON JANUARY 8, 2021

About Virtual Cinema – Virtual cinema is video-on-demand streaming brought to you by Film Movement in partnership with local independent movie theaters, which allows you to stream first-run movies and revivals of classic films at home on your TV or on your mobile device prior to their availability on any other digital platform. The proceeds from your streaming rental is shared between Film Movement and the presenting art house movie theater of your choice, so all ticket purchases help support independent cinema.

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“A more realistic 1917” – The Hollywood Reporter

“The filmmakers are unafraid of the picturesque, lighting scenes so they resemble old-master canvases.” – Mark Jenkins, Slant Magazine

“An honest yet frenzied interpretation of the veracity of warfare, with utterly breathtaking cinematography, reminiscent of the brilliance of “Band of Brothers”…As the young, endearing lead, Brantevics is extraordinary” – Guy Lambert, The Upcoming

“Blizzard of Souls, the 1934 novel from which this is drawn, is based on author Aleksandrs Grīns’ own frontline experiences, and The Rifleman successfully captures the hazy, gauzy quality of memory.” – Ellen E Jones, Guardian

“One of the best war films of the last few years.” – Rob Aldam, Backseat Mafia

My Little Sister – Co-directors Stephanie Chuat and Veronique Reymond

In this moving, yet unsentimental tale from co-directors Stephanie Chuat and Veronique Reymond brilliant playwright Lisa (Nina Hoss) no longer writes. She lives in Switzerland with her family but her heart has stayed in Berlin, beating to the rhythm of her twin brother’s heart. The ties between the twins have grown stronger since Sven (Lars Eidinger) was diagnosed with an aggressive type of leukemia. He’s a famous theater actor and Lisa refuses to accept his fate, moving heaven and earth to get him back on stage. She gives her all for her soul mate, neglecting everything else, even risking her marriage. Her relationship with her husband starts to fall apart, but Lisa only has eyes for her brother, her mirror, who connects her back with her aspirations and rekindles her desire to create, to feel alive… Co-directors Stephanie Chuat and Veronique Reymond join us for a conversation on their exceptional and beautifully rendered drama on family, mortality, options and love.

 

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For newsand updates go to: filmmovement.com/my-little-sister

To watch go to: filmmovement.com/virtual-cinema-guide

Official submission of Switzerland for the ‘Best International Feature Film’ category of the 93rd Academy Awards in 2021.

Director’s statement – My Little Sister (Schwesterlein) has a special meaning for us. This film brings together three elements that are central to our lives. First, the city of Berlin to which we’ve had a strong attachment for over fifteen years. Second, the theatre, as we are both actresses. And above all, a unique friendship that goes back to our childhood. Stéphanie and Véronique were first and foremost two teenagers who shared the same love of theatre and decided to make a career out of it. Together we created a multitude of shows and together we started making films. To write My Little Sister we drew inspiration from our own atypical relationship, wherein we sometimes feel more alive when we are creating than in everyday life, like the twins in our movie, always hooked up to their shared imaginary world when they are together. We made them part of a theatre family because we are fascinated by the passion that drives those known in Germany as “Theatermenschen”. In this community, an actor who doesn’t perform doesn’t exist. He is erased from memory. Whilst on stage he glows, borne by the presence of the audience. Through our characters’ love of the theatre, our movie recounts in its own way the necessity of dreams as a way of escaping reality. My Little Sister is also the story of Lisa’s inner journey back to her creativity through the illness of her brother, her alter ego. By reconnecting with writing to beat back the shadows, she brings herself out of the darkness. Through the unbreakable bonds that link these two beings, our film celebrates the fragility and power of life, the strength of transmission, and relates that the end of one life can also be the beginning of another. – Stephanie Chuat and Veronique Reymond

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Chuat and Reymond take their time unspooling a graceful drama that twists the tear-soaked conventions of the cancer drama into something raw and satisfying.” – Kate Erbland, IndieWire

“Nina Hoss …turns every moment into an acting master class.” – Boyd van Hoeij , The Hollywood Reporter

“A miraculous performance piece….” – Andrew Bundy, The Playlist
“With performances deeply entrenched in character ordeal and interpersonal ties, My Little Sister could not have come at a better time. “ – Joseph Braverman, We Live Entertainment

““My Little Sister” …is a thoughtful and deep look at the bonds both breakable and unbreakable in family.” – Neely Swanson, Easy Reader News

Film Maudit 2.0 – Executive Director Leo Garcia and Artistic Director Patrick Kennelly

January 12-24 2021, Highways, the legendary Los Angeles Performance Space and Gallery presents its Second Annual Film Maudit 2.0 festival showcasing and celebrating new outré, unusual and startling films. The festival will feature over 125 works of cinema from 25 countries including films rarely if ever, seen in festivals: works addressing socio-political issues and taboo subject matter that challenges conventional artistic assumptions and sexual mores.Virtual, online screenings of 18 feature films, 21 shorts programs, specially commissioned programs, and new film scored performed by artists who reflect the diversity of Los Angeles. Included are a range of narrative, documentary and experimental films that are deliberately bold, extreme, confrontational and unusual. Film Maudit 2.0 highlights this year include the U.S. premieres of Feature Films: Mathius Marvellous Shop, a Spanish/German surrealistic satire; Kriya, a magical Indian thriller, and the Los Angeles premieres of Woman of the Photographs; a powerful Japanese film about image and reality for a beautiful model; The Columnist, a darkly comic horror film from The Netherlands; A Dark, Dark Man, the Kazakhstan/France thriller just long-listed for the Golden Globes; and Darkness (Buio) the first feature film by Donatello Award-winning director Emanuela Rossi. Other special programs include a special fundraising screening of erotic art pioneers Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens’ Water Makes Us Wet, featuring a live stream Q&A with both; new, original music scores performed live to silent films, and multiple Feature and Shorts Programs that showcase works from 25 countries in 16 uniquely curated categories from ‘Ms. Fear’ to ‘Shattering Form’ – with animated documentaries to experimental works handmade on film; extreme horror to comic surrealism. There is a special focus on works in Film Maudit’s BEHOLD section, which includes NSFW! curated by Planet Queer, Hi Kicks Entrails, curated by performance artist Ironstone, and QLX: the Performance of Queer Latinx.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: filmmaudit.org

All films at the festival are free and available online January 12 through 24. Reservations are required and can be made for each program via Film Maudit 2.0’s Screening Portal: filmmaudit.org/filmmaudit

Film Maudit 2.0 festival is inspired by French avant-garde filmmaker and writer Jean Cocteau who created the original Festival du Film Maudit (literally “cursed films”) in 1949 aiming to celebrate overlooked, shocking and experimental films. Film Maudit 2.0, in its 2nd year, showcases a counter-cinema will blend of narrative, documentary and experimental films that in their style and/or subject matter, are deliberately bold, extreme, confrontational, troubling, shocking and/or unusual. The festival is funded in part by the California Arts Council, Los Angeles County Department of Cultural Affairs and the City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs CAP Program.

About HIGHWAYS – Film Maudit 2.0 is co-presented by and takes place at Southern California’s boldest center for new performance and media arts, Highways Performance Space & Gallery in Santa Monica, CA. In its 31st year, Highways continues to be an important alternative cultural center in Los Angeles that encourages radical artists from diverse communities to develop and present innovative new works. Described by the Los Angeles Times as “a hub of experimental theater, dance, solo drama and other multimedia performance,” Highways promotes the development of contemporary socially involved artists and art forms. Under the helm of Executive Director, Leo Garcia, Highways has received funding and support from organizations such as the The James Irvine Foundation, Metabolic Studio, California Community Foundation, Liberty Hill Foundation, The Warhol Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and The Roy Cockrum Foundation. Leo Garcia is an award-winning playwright, filmmaker, visual artist and actor who has produced over 800 performance works as Artistic Director-turned-Executive Director of Highways since 2003. highwaysperformance.org

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What Would Sophia Loren Do? Director Ross Kauffman

What Would Sophia Loren Do? is a documentary short film that follows Vincenza “Nancy” Kulik, an Italian-American mother and grandmother living in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Nancy has seen her share of tragedy, but she has always been able to stay positive, inspired in part by another Italian mother, the movie star Sophia Loren. Nancy uses the question “What Would Sophia Loren Do?” as a guide to questions big and small. For example, “Would Sophia Loren eat whole wheat pasta?” Nancy thinks not. This phrase can also provide comfort and a source of strength in times of crisis. In 2016, Vincenza’s 51-year-old son died suddenly while undergoing a routine operation. Vincenza was devastated. She would seek solace in the love of her friends and family. But as she describes it, Vincenza also used the example of Sophia’s grace to help her get through the days and find the strength to persevere. For Vincenza, the words “What would Sophia Loren do?” have truly helped her to heal during some of the most difficult times of her life. Through the experiences of these two women we come to understand what it means to face life’s challenges with resilience and to age with courage, grit, and humor. The film debuts on Netflix on January 15 and is already heavily buzzed for the Oscar in the shorts category. There’s particular attention on Sophia this year, given her other Oscar-buzzed performance in The Life Ahead, directed by her son, Eduardo Ponti. Academy Award winning director Ross Kauffman (Born into Brothels, Tigerland) joins us to talk about the connection he shares with Vincenza, professionally and personally, and how her indomitable presence permeates this wonderfully alive story.

 

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To watch: netflix.com/Wht Would Sophia Loren Do?

Beautiful Something Left Behind – Director Katrine Philp

Life-affirming and profound, BEAUTIFUL SOMETHING LEFT BEHIND beautifully captures the heartbreaking, mundane and even the funny moments in the lives of several young children who have recently lost one or both parents. The Good Grief community in New Jersey focuses on a holistic approach to mourning, where children can give in to rage in ‘the volcano room’ or say goodbye to a dying teddy bear patient in ‘the hospital room.’ Over the course of a year, we get close to Kimmy, Nicky, Peter, Nora, Nolan and Mikayla along with their constant companion: grief, as they attend their weekly group meetings at Good Grief, practice small rituals to remember their loved ones, and go about the daily work of living. Filmmaker Katrine Philp keeps the camera and the point-of-view firmly on the children and while it is sometimes deeply sad, it’s also at times humorous to experience questions about life and death through their open and curious minds. Director Katrine Philp joins us to talk about gaining the trust of the Good Grief community, the unfettered way the children interact with one another, the loss of her own father during the making of Something Beautiful and how all of it informed the making of the film.

 

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For news and updates go to: goodcompanypictures.com/beautiful-something-left-behind

About the filmmaker – Katrine Philp is an award-winning director who graduated from The National Film School of Denmark in 2009. Her first film, ‘Book of Miri’, was awarded the President´s Award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, nominated at IDFA and won the European Young CIVIS Media Prize in Germany. In 2014 Katrine won the Audience Award at the American Documentary Film Festival for her debut feature length documentary ‘Dance For Me’ which was also selected for POV on PBS in 2014.  The film was also nominated for an Emmy Award in the category ‘Outstanding Arts and Culture Programming’ 2015. She directed ‘Home Sweet Home’ in 2015 – produced with Good Company Pictures (Winner of the Danish Film Academy’s Award 2016 for Best Short Documentary, IDFA, TIFF Kids), then ‘False Confessions’ in 2018 (award Winner at CPH:DOX, Nominated as best Nordic Documentary at Nordic Panorama, winner of Special Jury Prize at LA film festival. TV2 prime time). Beautiful Something Left Behind is her latest film which won the Grand Jury Prize at SXSW 2020. To find out more go to:  goodcompanypictures.com/katrine-philp

WINNER – SXSW 2020 – Best Documentary Feature

OFFICIAL SELECTION – Winner’s Circle – 2020 DOC NYC

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“Beautiful Something Left Behind” is a simple, elegant documentary about children coping with… heartbreaking loss, at a facility designed especially for them.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

“Very emotional. Heart warming and uplifting.” – FILM THREAT

“There are no manufactured moments of intense grief, just the day-to-day activities of parents, caregivers, and children doing their best to move on from the trauma they’ve experienced.” – Audrey Fox, JumpCut Online

“Katrine Philp’s lens gracefully avoids emotional manipulation, allowing the heartbreaking stories of its children and their process to take center stage” – THE FILM STAGE

Sing Me a Song – Director Thomas Balmès

Award-winning director/producer Thomas Balmès’ returns to one of his beloved Happiness (2014) subjects, Peyangki, now a teenaged Buddhist monk living in a rural (yet Wi-Fi equipped) monastery in Bhutan, absorbed in the wonders of the world that are a simple click away. The structured daily village rituals of prayer and candle lighting now compete with the powerful lure of smartphones and TV.  Apps for chats and dating introduce the monks to girls and violent video games, neither of which quite line up with the traditional vows of the monks. Peyangki is passionate about love songs and forms a relationship over an app, WeChat, with a young singer (Ugyen) in the “big city” of Thimphu. Distracted and disinterested in study, and often scolded by his masters and mother, he sells medicinal mushrooms to make enough money to leave the monastery and travel to Ugyen. Peyangki trades in his robes for street clothes, but will he succumb to romance and the temptations of the city or return to his pious life in the monastery? Director Thomas Balmès (Babies, Christ Comes to Papuans, A Decent Factory) joins us to talk about his nuanced portrait of a young man’s introduction to the world, offers us an eye-opening snapshot of the effects of technology, and challenges us to reassess our perceptions of self-worth and beliefs in an age of unparalleled connectivity.

 

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For news and updates go to: thomasbalmes.com/sing-me-a-song

About the filmmaker – Thomas Balmès directed his first film in 1996; BOSNIA HOTEL was the story of U.N. Kenyan peacekeepers in Bosnia. Thomas Balmès has been working as an independent director and producer of nonfiction films, specializing in international co-productions, since 1992. His initial projects included studies of filmmakers James Ivory and Michelangelo Antonioni. This was followed by MAHARAJAH BURGER; Mad Cows; Holy Cows, about the mad cow crisis as seen from the Indian perspective. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE PAPUANS (2000) following the conversion to Christianity of a Papuan Chief, was honored with the Silver Spire Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival. He directed a sequel in Papua the following year, WAITING FOR JESUS. A DECENT FACTORY, the story of a Nokia executive who inspects a mobile phone factory in China, was screened at more than 50 film festivals and received many honors, including a Europa Award. The film was released theatrically in the U.S. in 2005. DAMAGES, a.k.a. How Much Is Your Life Worth?, was filmed at a Connecticut law firm specializing in personal injury cases, and was co-produced by 15 countries and broadcast worldwide. Thomas initiated a series for national Japanese television : NHK, Tokyo Modern; and produced (A NORMAL LIFE – CHRONICLE OF A SUMO Wrestler), directed by Jill Coulon, which screened at Amsterdam’s 2009 International Documentary Film Festival. He is regularly invited to conduct lectures and master classes in France and abroad such as Brown University, the Watson Institute, Lisbon International Film Festival. His next film, BABIES takes a look at one year in the life of four babies from around the world, from Mongolia to Namibia to San Francisco to Tokyo. Happiness reflects the impact of the arrival of television in a small Himalayan village. Through the eyes of an eight years old monk named Peyangki, praying eagerly for a TV set, we see the last village of Bhutan going through the process of globalization. The film won the Documentary World Cinema Cinematography Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. For more go to: thomasbalmes.com

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90% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Balmès has greater profundity in mind when disseminating astute observations about how modern necessities and communicative devices impact cultures and ecosystems.” – Courtney Howard, Variety

“Balmès doesn’t arrive at easy, scathing conclusions about the internet. Instead, he lets the camera journey to unexpected places, leading to a different kind of meditation that strikes with deep emotional resonance…” – Kristen Yoonsoo Kim, New York Times

“Even if we see “trouble” the minute we spy that first phone, we don’t necessarily guess how this fascinating “speed of change” story will play out.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

“This film will not resolve the question of whether technological “progress” represents an advance or a decline in civilization, but it certainly will provoke conversations about that issue.” – Stephen Farber, Hollywood Reporter

Phoenix Rising – Co-directors Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui

RISING PHOENIX tells the extraordinary story of the Paralympic Games. From the rubble of World War II to the third biggest sporting event on the planet, the Paralympics sparked a global movement which continues to change the way the world thinks about disability, diversity & human potential.The film features breathtaking footage and compelling interviews with several Medal-Winning Paralympians including Tatyana McFadden (Para Athletics, United States), Bebe Vio (Wheelchair Fencing), Jean-Baptiste Alaize (Para Long Jump), Ntando Mahlangu (Para Track & Field), Matt Stutzman (Para Archery, United States), Jonnie Peacock (Para Sprint Runner), Ryley Batt (Para Wheelchair Ruby), Ellie Cole (Para Swimming), and Cui Zhe (Powerlifting). It also features an interview with Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex. RISING PHOENIX Co-directors Peter Ettedgui and Ian Bonhôte makers of the BAFTA nominated McQueen, join us to talk about remarkable athletes who have worked most of their lives to fulfill the dream of being an Olympic champion as well as the story of the ParaOlympic founder, Ludwig Guttman, a Jewish doctor who rescued people from Nazi camps and believed in the power of community to heal and empower.

 

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To watch go to: netflix.com/Rising Phoenix

To coincide with the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the film team have launched an educational website for RISING PHOENIX that includes a down-loadable Education Guide, providing a framework and resources to enable teachers to delve deeper into the subject matter in the classroom.

About the filmmaker – Peter Ettedgui’s ‘Rising Phoenix’ marks Peter’s second feature documentary as writer and director with Ian Bonhôte, following their collaboration on ‘McQueen’ in 2018. Described as “supremely engrossing and elegant” by Variety, the film was nominated for two Baftas (British Film and Documentary). Previously, Peter had cut his teeth in the non-fiction arena as writer of ‘Everything Or Nothing’ (the story of James Bond) and ‘Listen to Me, Marlon’ (a film biography of Marlon Brando told through the actor’s audio archive), for which Peter was the recipient of a Peabody Award and the IDA (Independent Documentary Award) for best writing in a documentary. Peter began his career in narrative fiction. He worked as director’s assistant and co-writer to Ken Russell on a number of feature and television projects, before writing screenplays including the Bafta-nominated ‘Onegin’, an adaptation of Pushkin’s classic tale of unrequited love, which starred Ralph Fiennes and Liv Tyler. He went on to produce films such as ‘Kinky Boots’, starring Joel Edgerton and Chiwitel Ejiofor, which became a hit Broadway/West End musical, and ‘Unmade Beds’ for Film4.Beyond his work as writer and producer, Peter has worked extensively as a development consultant and story editor including on ‘Spectre’ the 2017 Bond movie.  For more go to: misfitsentertainment.com

About the filmmaker – IAN BONHÔTE is a two times BAFTA nominated director and producer for MCQUEEN, a feature documentary on Alexander McQueen the iconic fashion designer. RISING PHOENIX is Ian’s second documentary which he has co-written and co-directed alongside Peter Ettedgui. The film covers the story of the Paralympics from its humble beginning to becoming the third biggest sporting event in the world. Ian’s directorial debut, ALLEYCATS, was distributed internationally by Universal pictures in over 25 territories and by Filmmode in the US/Canada. Following this, Ian co-founded MISFITS ENTERTAINMENT alongside Andee Ryder, the producer of Alleycats. In 2018 Misfits Entertainment produced VIKING DESTINY, an action adventure film starring Terence Stamp. Prior to this, Ian co-founded PULSE FILMS in 2005 alongside Thomas Benski and Marisa Clifford. Pulse Films recently produced GANGS OF LONDON and AMERICAN HONEY (2016 Jury Prize Cannes Winner). The company is now a part of the VICE MEDIA GROUP. Ian has also directed international campaigns, music videos and fashion films for clients such as Puma, Nike, Pepsi, Mumford & Sons, Tom Jones, and fashion designers Matthew Williamson and Hussein Chalayan. For more go to: misfitsentertainment.com

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90% on Rotten Tomatoes

“‘Phoenix’ is a testament to resiliency, determination and passion, and is one of the best documentaries of 2020.” – Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News

“There are athletes all across the spectrum of sport who would kill to have a documentary portray them as heroic, epic and badass as Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui paint the superstars in “Rising Phoenix. – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

This is profoundly inspiring… It is an extraordinary look at what makes us human.” – Wade Major, FilmWeek (KPCC – NPR Los Angeles)

“Gives sports fans a jolt of greatness, inspiration, history and drop-dead gorgeous photography” – Carole Horst, Variety

“Slick, rousing documentary” – Tim Grierson, Screen Daily

The Reason I Jump – Director Jerry Rothwell

THE REASON I JUMP is an immersive cinematic exploration of neuro-diversity through the experiences of non-speaking autistic people from around the world, based on the best-selling book by Naoki Higashida. The film blends Higashida’s revelatory insights into autism, written when he was just 13, with intimate portraits of five remarkable young people. It opens a window for audiences into an intense and overwhelming, but often joyful, sensory universe. Moments in the lives of each of the characters are linked by the journey of a young Japanese boy through an epic landscape; narrated passages from Naoki’s writing reflect on what his autism means to him and others, how his perception of the world differs, and why he acts in the way he does: the reason he jumps. THE REASON I JUMP distills these elements into a sensually rich tapestry that leads us to Naoki’s core message: not being able to speak does not mean there is nothing to say. Director Jerry Rothwell stops by to talk about his deeply empathetic look into the lives of people with autism from around the world, with each story broadening our perspective and understanding of what it means to be a neuro-diverse person. 

 

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For news and updates go to: the-reason-i-jump

About the filmmaker – Jerry Rothwell is a filmmaker whose work includes the award-winning feature documentaries: The Reason I Jump, based on the bestselling book by Naoki Higashida; How To Change The World, about the founders of Greenpeace; Sour Grapes (co-directed with Reuben Atlas) a film about a wine counterfeiter Town of Runners, about two girls in an Ethiopian village who aspire to be athletes; Donor Unknown, about a sperm donor and his many offspring; School In The Cloud, about radical educationalist, Sugata Mitra; Heavy Load, about a group of people with learning disabilities who form a punk band, and Deep Water (co-directed with Louise Osmond), about Donald Crowhurst’s ill-fated voyage in the 1968 round the world yacht race. His work has won numerous accolades including two Grierson Awards, a Sundance Special Jury Prize, an RTS Award, the IDA Pare Lorentz Award and a BAFTA nomination.

About the writer (The Reason I Jump) – Naoki Higashida was born in Kimitsu, Japan in 1992. Diagnosed with severe autism when he was five, he subsequently learned to communicate using a handmade alphabet grid and began to write poems and short stories. At the age of thirteen he wrote The Reason I Jump, which was published in Japan in 2007. Its English translation came out in 2013, and it has now been published in more than thirty languages. Higashida has since published several books in Japan, including children’s and picture books, poems, and essays. He continues to give presentations throughout Japan about his experience of autism.

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WINNER – World Cinema Documentary Audience Award – Sundance FF 2020 
NOMINEE – Best Cinematography – Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards 2020
NOMINEE – Best Feature – IDA Documentary Awards 2020
NOMINEE – Best Director – IDA Documentary Awards 2020 NOMINEE – Best Documentary – British Independent Film Awards 2020

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Wondrous… A work that enlightens and informs but that is also ravishing

to behold.” – Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter

“While The Reason I Jump is a profound and moving experience, one that isn’t easy to forget, it’s most effective when operating as an experimental work.” – John Fink, The Film Stage

“An inventive, sensuous documentary worthy of its source… This compassionate, creative documentary will open ears and eyes in equal measure.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“Exquisite… All aspects of this film deserve praise.” – Fionnuala Halligan, Screen