Sound of Metal, Director Darius Marder

The feature film debut of director Darius Marder, Sound of Metal, chronicles the life of Ruben, (Riz Ahmed) an itinerant punk-metal drummer. During a series of adrenaline-fueled one-night gigs, Ruben begins to experience intermittent hearing loss. When a specialist tells him his condition will rapidly worsen, he thinks his music career — and with it his life — is over. His bandmate and girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke) checks the recovering heroin addict into a secluded sober house for the deaf in hopes it will prevent a relapse and help him learn to adapt to his new situation. But after being welcomed into a community that accepts him just as he is, Ruben has to choose between his equilibrium and the drive to reclaim the life he once knew. Utilizing startling, innovative sound design techniques, director Darius Marder takes audiences inside Ruben’s experience to vividly recreate his journey into a rarely examined world. Director and screenwriter Darius Marder joins us for a conversation on technical challenge of creating a cinematic language to meet the demands of telling Ruben’s complex story, creating an environment for remarkable performances from Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke and Paul Raci and his collaboration with fellow director Derek Cianfrance (The Place Beyond the Pines).

 

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To watch go to: amazon.com/Sound of Metal

About the filmmaker – DARIUS MARDER (Director, Writer) is a writer and director making his narrative feature directorial debut. His film Loot was awarded the Best Documentary Feature prize at the 2008 Los Angeles Film Festival, received five Cinema Eye Honors Award nominations and earned Marder an Independent Spirit Award nomination in the Truer Than Fiction category. Marder then co-wrote The Place Beyond the Pines with Derek Cianfrance and Ben Coccio. The original screenplay won the trio a PEN Literary Award in 2014. The following year Marder and Cianfrance co-adapted S.C. Gwynne’s Pulitzer Prize finalist Empire of the Summer Moon for Warner Bros. The film will go into production in 2021 with Cianfrance directing. 

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“As Ruben’s fear and rage begins to open itself to the unknown, the movie reaches toward something profound – finding real, furious power in the spaces between the sound.” – Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

“An engrossing deeply affecting, meticulously crafted movie. The tone is straightforward and naturalistic. The camera focuses on intimate connections between the characters. This is a thoughtful, grounded, human scale film.” – Karen Gordon, Original Cin

“The film is profound, frightening, uplifting and, yes, actually breathtaking at times, and you’re not likely to take your hearing for granted anytime soon afterward.” – Brian Truitt, USA Today

“It’s a devastating, poignant, and ultimately hopeful film, especially for a side of humanity that rarely sees itself portrayed on screen.” – David Fontana, Film Inquiry

With ‘Sound of Metal,’ filmmaker Darius Marder crafts one of the most compelling, raw, and unforgettable films of the year.” – Preston Barta, Denton Record-Chronicle

I AM GRETA, Director Nathan Grossman

In 2018, 15-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg held a school strike outside her country’s Parliament building in Stockholm. At first she sat alone, handing out information and answering questions from passersby. Slowly, others began to join her—and within months she had sparked a worldwide movement. I AM GRETA offers a personal and inspiring glimpse inside Greta’s path to becoming an internationally known environmental activist. Shot in the style of cinéma vérité and with support from the Thunberg family, cameras capture Greta’s meetings with government leaders, headline-making public appearances, and global protests. But they also depict Greta’s life outside of the moments visible on news channels worldwide: laughing at home with her family, writing impassioned speeches, and trying to handle the mounting stress of nonstop travel, public scrutiny and becoming the face of the climate change cause. The film culminates with Greta’s arduous two-week journey by sailboat to the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City, where she’s greeted by crowds chanting her name. (Greta stopped flying because of the high emissions caused by air travel.) Today, her #FridaysForFuture movement has organized climate strikes on every continent except Antarctica. As she tells the UN, “The world is waking up, and change is coming whether you like it or not.” Director Nathan Grossman joins us to talk about his filmmaker instinct to document Greta Thunberg’s first days in front of the Swedish Parliament, the remarkable level of trust he had with Greta and her family as he chronicled the tale of a young woman determined to hold the most powerful people in the world accountable for their pathological abuse of Planet Earth.

 

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For news and updates go to: iamgretafilm.com

A Statement from Greta – “I really like the film and I think it gives a realistic image of myself and my daily life. I hope anyone who watches the film can finally understand that we young people aren’t school striking just for fun. We are protesting because we don’t have a choice. A lot has of course happened since I started school striking, but sadly we are still stuck on square one. The changes and the level of awareness needed are nowhere to be seen today. All that we ask for is for our society to treat the climate crisis as a crisis, and give us a safe future. I think the film shows just how far that is from happening right now. It shows that the urgency of the scientific message isn’t getting through.” – Greta Thunberg

About the filmmaker – Nathan Grossman is educated at The Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts. He started his career as a stills photographer for Rolling Stone India and later moved into documentary filmmaking, mainly focusing on environmental issues. In 2015 Nathan got the world’s attention for his short film The Toaster Challenge where an athlete tries to generate energy to toast a slice of bread. The video became a global phenomenon with over 15 million views. 2017 Nathan completed his first full-length tv-series for public broadcaster SVT, about the growing meat consumption in Sweden. The show sparked a big discussion about meat consumption in Sweden and got nominated for best factual program of the year. 

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“FASCINATING. A close-up, behind-the-headlines portrait of a passionately committed, media-savvy young woman.” – Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter

“ABSORBING. An uplifting, inspirational story.” – Lee Marshall, Screen International

“INTIMATE AND URGENT. Thunberg’s very existence has been politicized by both friend and foe, but “I Am Greta” is intent on reminding people that she’s really just a kid who has a big dream.” – Kate Erbland, IndieWire

“[Grossman’s] straightforward yet utterly compelling documentary invites us into the life of a remarkable teenager who is sure to accomplish even more remarkable things in the years to come.” – Andrew Collins, Radio Times

Collective, Director Alexander Nanau

The latest documentary film from award-winning director Alexander Nanau is a verite  look behind the curtain of the pervasive corruption of Romania’s Health Ministry. Collective is a scathing examination of the 2015, a fire at Bucharest’s Colectiv club. A fire that leaves 27 dead and 180 injured. Soon, more burn victims begin dying in hospitals from wounds that were not life-threatening. When a doctor blows the whistle on the misuse and abuse of medical protocols and treatments at the facility specializing in burn victim recovery a team of investigative journalists jump into the fray. One revelation leads to another as the journalists start to uncover vast health care fraud. When a new health minister is appointed, he offers unprecedented access to his efforts to reform the corrupt system but also to the obstacles he faces. Following journalists, whistle-blowers, burn victims, and government officials, Collective is an uncompromising look at the impact of investigative journalism at its best. Collective Director Alexander Nanua joins us for a conversation on his remarkable access to the inner circle of the reform-minded new minister and how naked greed and corruption led to deaths of far too many innocent victims.

 

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

About the filmmaker – Alexander Nanau was born in Bucharest, Romania in 1979. His family belongs to the Transylvanian Saxons, a cultural minority of German descent who lived since generations in Romania. 1990 they emigrated to Germany and became German citizens. Nanau studied Film Direction at the renowned DFFB in Berlin. His first feature documentary Peter Zadek inszeniert Peer Gynt was released 2006 in Germany and Austria. In 2007 he was a scholarship holder of the Academy of Arts in Berlin. In 2008/2009 he co-produced with HBO Romania, directed and shot the documentary The World According to Ion B. about a 62 years homeless man who starts a career in the international art world with collages he made over the last 30 years. The documentary was selected for over 40 international film festivals and won the prestigious ‘International Emmy Award’ for Arts Programming in 2010. His third feature documentary Toto and His Sisters, produced together with HBO Europe, premiered at the San Sebastian Film Festival in the ‘New Directors’ section. The film won major awards at the international film festivals in Angers, Zurich, Warsaw, Jihlava, Leipzig and Sarajevo. It was nominated as ‘Best Documentary’ at the European Film Awards 2015 and won the international Cinema Eye Honors’ Spotlight Award 2016.

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“Collective gives us a glimpse of the top-the gangster hospital managers and the government functionaries who appointed them, all helping themselves to taxpayer money while providing care that kills.” – Amy Taubin, Artforum

“Collective is a documentary that grows progressively more frightening, infuriating, and illuminating the longer one sits with it.” – Andrew Parker,The Gate

“A documentary pulsing with an urgency that’s impossible to ignore and a furious sense of anger that’s genuinely palpable.” – Doug Jamieson, The Jam Report

Although he is dealing specifically with one instance in Romania, it’s easy to see evidence of greater global malaise reflected here. – Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film

Last Call – Director Steven Bernstein

The story behind Steven Bernstein’s latest film, LAST CALL, begins in New York City as renowned poet Dylan Thomas’ (Rhys Ifans) began his final tour in 1953 – a tour that was meant to save him from ruin. The Welsh poet’s reputation for heavy drinking and philandering would soon be forgotten as eager audiences are captivated by his poetry lectures. Full of poetry, passion, and an ultimate betrayal, the poet who gave us Do not go gentle into that good night, Under Milkwood, and stories and broadcasts such as A Child’s Christmas in Wales and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog, rages, loves and fights against the gathering darkness. One day at the local White Horse Tavern, he drinks 18 double scotches, naming each one after his life experience. Soon his fantasies, his memories, and an uncertain present blend into a wild, surreal farewell to the world. Inspired by the real life of a man who was regarded as one of the twentieth century’s most influential lyrical poets, LAST CALL stars Rhys Ifans (The Fantastic Flitcrofts), two-time Academy Award-nominee John Malkovich (In the Line of Fire, Places in the Heart) as Thomas’s confidant and enabler, Dr. Felton, and in supporting roles, Rodrigo Santoro (Westworld), Romola Garai (Atonement), Tony Hale (Veep), Zosia Mamet (Girls), and Philip Ettinger. Director Steven Bernstein stops by to talk about the enduring legacy of a literary giant, pulling together a stellar collection of actors and how his love of classic TV dramas inspired his vision to work on a black and white cinematic canvas.   

 

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For news and updates go to: kstreetpictures.com

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Ghost of the Republique, Director Jonathan Narducci

GHOSTS OF THE RÉPUBLIQUE follows Aurelien and Nicolas, who, when confronted with France’s conservative surrogacy laws (where surrogacy is illegal), decide to exhaust their last option by traveling to Las Vegas to start a family of their own through international surrogacy. Nicolas and Aurelien’s story is unique in that it is a portrayal of the same-sex experience in creating a biological family through surrogacy, a technology developed in the 1980’s becoming more and more commonplace each year. This technology is one that has not only brought hope to couples who struggle with infertility but also to couples who struggle with equality. But while it is a source of hope for many, surrogacy also raises ethical considerations with various legal implications across the globe. Through the lens of one family, this film demonstrates the extreme lengths many gay couples go to have children, while highlighting the ever-expanding and controversial surrogacy industry. GHOSTS OF THE RÉPUBLIQUE seeks to explore the complexities of the issues, and in particular, asks, what does define family in our modern age? Director Jonathan Narducci joins us for a conversation on the negative impact of uncertainty in denying people their human rights and how this project has change the lives of the people who participated.

 

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For news and updates go to: ghostsoftherepublique.com

Gravitas Ventures is proud to present the US virtual release of GHOSTS OF THE RÉPUBLIQUE a documentary film by Jonathon Narducci.The film will be available on Amazon Prime, iTunes and other platforms starting November 17, 2020.

Director’s Statement – We’ve achieved marriage equality in the US and other countries around the world, but today’s laws are far from clear when it comes to surrogacy, and that’s where things really get interesting…the idea of what a family is, is one of the most coveted values in society, and GHOSTS OF THE RÉPUBLIQUE shows us that the definition of family is constantly changing. – Jonathon Narducci.

Ronnie’s, Director Oliver Murray

RONNIE’S is a love letter to saxophonist Ronnie Scott and the indispensable night club  he and partner Peter King established in 1959. For more than 60 years music giants have walked through the door of a small basement club in London’s Soho. From the beginning of the burgeoning British modern jazz movement, he and King dreamt of opening a club modeled after the swinging jazz scene of New York’s 52nd Street. From its humble beginnings sixty years ago, Ronnie Scott’s would become the cornerstone of the UK jazz scene and one of the most famous jazz clubs in the world. Ronnie Scott was beloved by many, from the great and famous who frequented his club, to the many hard up musicians who were often helped by his warmth and generous spirit. However, Ronnie was as complex and colourful as the music played on his stage. In private Ronnie battled with depression and when his untimely death occurred in 1996 it left the jazz community bereft of a respected and favorite leader. Funny and moving, Ronnie’s features performances by some of greatest musicians of the 20th Century including…Oscar Peterson, Dizzie Gillespie, Roland Kirk, Cleo Lane and John Danforth, Buddy Rich, Sarah Vaughn, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Ella Fitzgerald, Mary Lou Williams, Van Morrison and Chet Baker, Nina Simone and Ben Webster.

 

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For news and updates go to: olliemurray.com/portfolio/ronnies

Or go to: orofenafilms.com/Ronnies

About the filmmaker – Oliver Murray was born in Oxford, United Kingdom in 1985. He is a writer and director. He studied Fine Art at The Glasgow School of Art and Film & Animation at The Pratt Institute in New York City. His feature film debut ‘The Quiet One’ was released in 2019. His second feature film ‘Ronnie’s’ is scheduled for release in 2020.

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“Such a joyous, visually stunning film – It’s a beautiful piece of work.” – Phil Williams, Times Radio

“An exemplary doc. The founding myths are lively and fascinating. But it’s the study of Ronnie himself, with his depressions and doubts, that provides the depth and soul.” – Jason Solomons

“A subtle portrait of a complicated man, Murray has made an exemplary documentary worthy of its subject.”- Richard Williams, Uncut Magazine, 9/10

“An incredibly important film, It’s beautifully, sensitively and perfectly presented…” – Stephen Fry

“This journey back in time makes for an exhilarating and nostalgic ride.” – The Reviews Hub, 5/5

“It’s a ripping yarn, enlivened by fascinating footage.” – The Wire

“This documentary about the beloved London music venue brings us sterling performers, atmospheric footage, and a sad heart” – The Guardian, 4/5

The Jump, Director Giedrė Žickytė

Giedr Žickyt remarkable documentary, THE JUMP, chronicles the stranger than fiction story of a man determined to free himself from the stifling clutches of a political system that destroyed the lives of millions living behind the Iron Curtain, It’s Thanksgiving Day, 1970. The US coast guard sets out to meet a Soviet vessel anchored just off the shore of Martha’s Vineyard. A one-day conference between the two nations has been set to discuss fishing rights in the Atlantic Ocean. While the talks are in full swing, Lithuanian sailor Simas Kudirka jumps across the icy water onto the American boat in a frantic bid for freedom. To his horror, and to the outcry of the world media, the Americans return him to the Soviets and he is tried for treason. The event sets off a series of protests throughout the US begging for his freedom and all hope seems lost, until new information about Simas’ citizenship surfaces. Through eye-witness reports, rare archival footage and a dramatic first-person re-enactment by now 90-year-old would-be defector Simas Kudirka, director Giedr Žickyt takes us on a stranger-than-fiction journey that became an inspiration for people, pictures and politics, reaching all the way up to the White House. Director Giedr Žickyt joins us to talk about why Simas Kudirka’s story, and the stories of the thousands of migrants from around the globe, both past migrants and those of the future who will be seeking freedom and a promise of a better life. are so near to her heart and to the people of her native land, Lithuania.

 

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For news and updates go to: metfilmsales.com/the-jump

About the filmmaker – Giedrė Žickytė is an award-winning Lithuanian documentary film director and producer and the co-founder of the production company, MOONMAKERS. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Visual Arts from Vilnius Art Academy in 2007. Her films have been selected at numerous international film festivals including IDFA, Hot Docs, Visions du Réel (Sesterce d’or Fondation Goblet Award), Sheffield Doc/Fest (Short Doc Award), IFFR, Camerimage (Golden Frog), DocumentaMadrid (Audience Award), Krakow IFF (European Film Award), etc. Many of her films have been theatrically distributed and broadcast on television internationally. I’M NOT FROM HERE (co-directed with Maite Alberdi) was nominated at the European Film Academy Awards in 2016. MASTER AND TATYANA won 4 “Silver Cranes”, the Lithuanian Film Academy Awards including the awards for Best Director and Best Documentary, and was selected as one of “Ten Documentary Film Talents of 2015” by international film critic Tue Steen Müller. In 2016, she was awarded a St. Christopher’s statue by the Vilnius City Council for merits in cinema artwork. Giedrė produced THE EARTH IS BLUE AS AN ORANGE by Iryna Tsilyk which premiered in Sundance 2020 World Documentary Competition and received the Best Directing Award. Giedrė is a member of the European Film Academy, Lithuanian Filmmakers Union, alumni of Berlinale Talent Campus, Sources2, CPH:DOX LAB, EURODOC and dok.incubator. 

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“The story is brilliantly told and rich in surprises, and The Jump is surely one of this year’s unmissable non-fiction titles.” – Cineuropa

Duty Free, Director Sian-Pierre Regis

Director Sian-Pierre Regis’ poignant feature documentary debut, DUTY FREE, takes us into the world of his mom, Rebecca Danigelis, a British immigrant living in Boston, who has been fired from her job as a hotel housekeeper at the age of 75. An experience that has left her financially and emotionally devastated. Her son, Sian-Pierre, is living in New York City, trying to work his way into the competitive world of TV journalism. With his mother’s reality crashing down, Sian-Pierre resolves to leave New York, and the life he expected to lead, to help his mother get back on her feet. As Sian-Pierre looks for ways to support Rebecca, he gives her an adventure spanning two continents that uncovers a surprising family saga, a story that reveals the compromises and injustices placed on single mothers, the persistence of sexism and ageism, and the difficult dance of duty and freedom where the older and younger generations come together. DUTY FREE and the impact campaign inspired by the film examines ageism, the care crisis, and economic insecurity in America. Who will care for and support our moms and dads? Our grandmothers and our grandfathers? Watch our film, raise these questions in your own community, and together let’s point to solutions that work for all generations. Director Sian-Pierre Regis joins us for a conversation about the challenges facing millions of families as they confront the impacts of aging love ones and how we navigate the challenges and embrace the opportunity to better understand a part of the human experience that awaits us all.

 

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For news and updates go to: dutyfreefilm.com

To find out more about the Impact Campaign go to: dutyfreefilm.com

About the filmmaker – Sian-Pierre is currently a Firelight Media Fellow 2018-2020 and a Film Independent Documentary Fellow 2019. He is also an award-winning journalist, on-camera personality, and cultural critic with an undying love for both pop-culture and social responsibility. He has been a contributor for CNN, HLN, MTV and CBS, covering stories of youth political activism and pop-culture. 

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The Last Out, Co-directors Sami Khan and Michael Gassert

THE LAST OUT tells the story of three talented Cuban athletes, Happy, Carlos, and Victor, leave their families and homes behind as they set off in pursuit of the ultimate dream: a contract with Major League Baseball. Cuban ballplayers are among baseball’s brightest stars but Cuban ball-players can’t just sign out of Cuba – the US Embargo is still in place and only being strengthened under the current administration – so Cubans have to leave their homeland, often under dangerous circumstances and establish residency in a third Country like The Dominican Republic, Haiti or Costa Rica. At the rundown Estadio Antonio Escarre, they have spent the past year training long and hard, thousands of miles away from their families in Cuba. They travel to Costa Rica and train under a seedy sports agent who dangles promises while exploiting their talents. As they navigate immigration and the ulterior motives of handlers, each man finds an unexpected path forward to a better life. Set against the backdrop of the dangerous Central American migrant trail, THE LAST OUT offers a rare window into the dark side of professional sports. THE LAST OUT co-directors Sami Khan and Michael Gassert stop by to talk about their process of following the many twists and turns these young men’s lives take them on and the personal risk they and their team took in chronicling it.

 

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Sami Khan’s most recent film, the short documentary St. Louis Superman (with Smriti Mundhra), was nominated for an Academy Award® and won a Special Jury Prize at Tribeca in 2019. Michael Gassert’s documentary and archival work has been supported by IFP, the Sundance Institute, UNESCO, and the Kennedy Center.

Coded Bias, Director Shalini Kantayya

CODED BIAS explores the fallout of MIT media lab researcher Joy Buolamwini’s startling discovery, technology based bias is real. Modern society sits at the intersection of two crucial questions: What does it mean when artificial intelligence increasingly governs our liberties? And what are the consequences for the people AI is biased against? When MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini discovers that most facial-recognition software does not accurately identify darker-skinned faces and the faces of women, she delves into an investigation of widespread bias in algorithms. As it turns out, artificial intelligence is not neutral, and women are leading the charge to ensure our civil rights are protected. Director Shalini Kantayya (Catching the Sun) joins us for a conversation on computerized racial, political, sexual, social, financial, cultural bias and how it is here now and what, if any, way that people can do anything reform it or stop it from determining our collective future.  

 

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

Learn more and take action go to: codedbias.com/take-action

About the filmmaker: Director Shalini Kantayya’s feature documentary, CODED BIAS, premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. She directed an episode of the National Geographic television series Breakthrough, Executive Produced by Ron Howard, broadcast globally in 2017. Her debut feature film Catching the Sun, premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival and was named a New York Times Critics’ Pick. Catching the Sun released globally on Netflix on Earth Day 2016 with Executive Producer Leonardo DiCaprio, and was nominated for the Environmental Media Association Award for Best Documentary. She is an Associate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. shalinikantayya.net

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“Racial bias, algorithms, facial recognition and badass women of color put our government on blast for using technology while rolling back privacy and Civil Rights in America. Joy Buolamwini and Shalini Kantayya should get a Nobel Peace Prize!” – Carla Renata, The Curvy Film Critic

“In a time where we as consumers instill unrelenting trust in the people behind the screen, there has never been a more vital documentary.” – Stephanie Archer, Film Inquiry

“Without shying away the issue’s enormity or its devastating consequences, Coded Bias gradually works toward almost inspirational vibe, as Buolamwini and others get to work solving the problem they’ve identified. – Angie Han, Mashable

“Kantayya makes a strong and compelling argument that everyone needs to pay attention to. Not only do we need to be talking about this, but we, the people, need to be doing more about this.” – Amyana Bartley, QBP Reviews

Dirty God, Director Sacha Polak

Sacha Polak’s DIRTY GOD is a film about a young mother from London who must pick up the pieces after an acid attack leaves her with severe facial burns. Prior to the attack, with limited education and opportunities, Jade’s main currency was her looks. Her face has been reconstructed, but her beauty is gone. Jade must set about rebuilding herself – and this is a gargantuan task. Cast adrift from her young daughter, Jade finds solace in the hidden world of online liaisons where she uncovers the passion and connection she’s craved in an often humorous and celebratory way. However, the actions of a stranger threaten to turn her life upside down once more, and those around her are ill-equipped to halt her descent. As family life and friendships start to crumble, her lowest ebb proves the inspiration that Jade needs. Jade takes drastic action, finally finding her path back to her daughter and herself. Finalist for the 2019 Sundance Grand Jury Prize (World Cinema Dramatic) DIRTY GOD is a powerful film about motherhood, courage and self-acceptance.  Director Sacha Polak joins us for a conversation on how Jade’s story resonated with lead actor Vicki Knight’s own recovery and the trust and bonding that the entire cast and crew experienced during the making of this compelling film.

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: modernfilms.com/dirtygod

2019 Sundance Film Festival – World Cinema Dramatic Competition

2019 Rotterdam Film Festival – World Premiere

Dark Star Pictures will release DIRTY GOD with a virtual release through Laemmle Theaters in LA, Gateway Film Center (Virtual) in Columbus, and more theaters to be announced on November 13, 2020. The film will also be made available on digital platforms such as iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Fandango Now, Direct TV, and through local cable providers on December 15, 2020.

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“a raw, brilliant film“— Film Stories

“Vicky Knight makes an electric debut“— Empire

“Knight’s fiery, sensitive performance ignites the core of a movie that has a lot to say, but never sacrifices an ounce of truth in order to make its point.” – Tom Beasley. Flickering Myth

“In a frank but sensitive way, [Sacha] Polak delves into areas that most other filmmakers would be far too timid to go near.” – Geoffrey Macnab, Independent (UK)

“Knight’s Jade feels authentic in her mood swings, from frustrated to questioning, from hopeful to devastated and back, sometimes within a single scene.” – Boyd van Hoeij, Hollywood Reporter

“Dirty God isn’t always an easy watch, but it’s a rewarding one that marks both Knight and Polak as exceptional talents.” – Anna Smith, The List

RECON, Director Robert Port

Based on a non-fiction novel RECON is set in the mountains of Italy at the close of the Second World War. Adapted from the critically acclaimed New York Times best seller by famed author Richard Bausch, and based on a true event – RECON tells the story of four American soldiers in WW2, who after they witness a vicious murder of an innocent civilian at the hands of their platoon Sergeant, are sent on a reconnaissance/suicide mission lead by a local partisan, an elderly man whose indeterminate loyalties add to the terror and confusion that engulfs the Americans as they are hunted by an unseen enemy. RECON centers around young men in the midst of war. The action occurs over the course of one long day between four soldiers placed in a crucible, as they debate both their fates and that of life itself. Each has a different perspective, liberal, racist, =uncertain – a metaphor for the America both of 1945 and 2018. As the soldiers fight amongst themselves they realize they are being both hunted and haunted by a mysterious sniper and the specter of a burning question – is their Italian guide, this old man from the village, a fascist sympathizer who wishes to lead them to their death? As they struggle to make it off the mountain alive, these American soldiers face the worst that war can offer men…. and through this each finds their own peace. Director Robert Port stops by for a conversation on the challenges of meeting the expectations set by an award winning novel, working with a very talented cast of young actors and capturing a tone and look that puts you in the middle of this intense drama.

 

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For news and updates go to: brainmedia.com/films/recon

About the making of RECON – The novel, RECON, based on a true military event, was written by Air Force veteran Richard Bausch; it was awarded the 2010 Dayton International Literary Peace Prize. “Peace” will be re-published by Penguin Random House as an e-book in October. RECON stars Alexander Ludwig (BAD BOYS FOR LIFE, THE HUNGER GAMES, “Vikings”) Sam Keeley (BURNT, “68 Whiskey”), Chris Brochu (DYNASTY, “Shameless”) and Italian acting legend Franco Nero (DJANGO UNCHAINED, JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2). The film is produced by Rick Dugdale and Richard Bullock and executive produced by Maury Povich. Writer/director Robert Port won an Academy award for his film TWIN TOWERS, a documentary short about Detective Joe Vigiano, an elite New York City policeman who was killed during the tragic events of 9/11. RECON is Robert Port’s feature debut.

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“Recon remains focused on completing its mission, delivering a solidly suspenseful tale of troops caught in a bad situation that’s about to get a whole lot worse.” – Andrew Parker, The Gate

Koko-Di Koko-Da, Director Johannes Nyholm

In his follow-up to the acclaimed debut feature film, The Giant, Johannes Nyholm’s Koko-Di Koko-Da recounts the story of Elin and Tobias, a happily married couple who regularly vacation with their young daughter. The family is on a dreamy holiday when an innocuous case of food poisoning derails their plans and forever alters the course of their lives.Three years later, the once loving couple is on the road again to go camping, looking for one last chance to go back to the way things used to be. But what once was is lost, and our characters instead find themselves having to relive the same nightmarish events, as that day and the horrors it brings repeat themselves infinitely. Together, they must overcome their trauma, reconcile with their past and fight for their lives. Over, and over, and over again. Discerned through a dreamlike fabric, a story emerges about relationships in general, grief and reconciliation in particular, and love as a healing force. Director Johannes Nyholm stops by to talk about the mind-bending, Federico Fellini meets Rod Sterling mise-en-scène inhabiting this profoundly passive-aggressive tale of trauma, loss and truly terrible camping strategies.

 

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To watch the film on-line go to: laemmle.com/film/koko-di-koko-da

Director’s Statement – The setting is those wee hours of the morning when dreams are at their most relentlessly untamed. This is also when the seed for many of my films comes to me. I’m sweating, struggling to go back to sleep and plagued by scattered thoughts. Suddenly they come together, leading me into a fairy tale. I write it down and then I can sleep. “Koko-di Koko-da” was both written and takes place during such a time – this nightmarish landscape between wakefulness and sleep. The film is deeply personal and a means to confront my own worst fears, much like the way the characters in the film are forced to confront theirs. It’s a universal narrative about a relationship that is falling apart. The main reason for making this film is that I’m fascinated by the everyday situations and power struggles lurking beneath the surface in relationships; what is not said, what is embedded between the lines. The love and happiness they once shared has evaporated, and so has the care they used to show for each other. Over and over again, we see them pushed yet again onto the same stage, the open glen in the woods, and into the airless tent. We observe them from above, like gladiators clashing repeatedly, without any opportunity to escape – be it from their tormenters or from each other. They are forced to confront each other, to display emotions, to be pushed around, humiliated, spat upon, tormented; in short – to be together. Any attempts to get away inevitably lead back to the same claustrophobic scenario. Made up of dreams, this story is also structurally constructed like a dream – or more specifically, a nightmare. Taking us through a labyrinth in time, like a dark grinding thought, never letting go, stuck on repeat. Presenting minor variations, but always with the same horrific outcome. – Johannes Nyholm

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“Johannes Nyholm follows up his masterful debut, 2016’s The Giant, with this often inexplicable yet increasingly captivating endeavor…” – David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews

“Though at times tasteless and barely coherent, the story is oddly affecting, the very strangeness of Nyholm’s folkloric vision and its unnerving execution pulling you in.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

“It works as a parable for what happens to grief when it is left un-exorcised and unexpressed.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

“Writer-director Johannes Nyholm (The Giant, 2016) takes all the grief, loss and bitter recriminations of this Swedish couple and drops them into the realm of myth, dream and folklore.” – Anton Bitel, Sight and Sound

Josephine Baker: The Story of An Awakening, Director Ilana Navaro

Ilana Navaro’s eye-opening new documentary Josephine Baker: The Story of An Awakening, illuminates the life of iconic artist and human rights activist Josephine Baker, the first global black superstar. World renowned performer, World War II spy, and activist are a few of the titles used to describe Josephine Baker, one of the most successful African American performers in French history. Josephine Baker: The Story of An Awakening follows Baker from being a poor little black girl from Missouri to becoming the Queen of Paris, before joining the French Resistance and finally creating her dream family “The Rainbow Tribe”, adopting twelve children from the four corners of the world. The film reveals rare and previously unseen archives that will resolve the puzzle of Josephine’s fascinating fifty-year-long “headline grabbing career.” Josephine Baker made three trips “back home” (1936, 1948, 1951), and each time she experienced everyday racism, despite her worldwide fame. Each tragic experience triggered her life-changing decisions. Gradually the battle for Civil Rights became her own, up until 1963, when she was the only woman who spoke on stage besides Martin Luther King during the famous March in Washington. Director Ilana Navaro (La Case de l’Oncle Doc, Toutes Les Télés Du Monde) stops by to talk about how a pervasive racist American society galvanized Josephine Baker’s determination to transcend  the “banana dancer” sobriquet on her way to international recognition as a performer and civil rights warrior. 

 

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For news and updates go to: cinemoi.tv/josephine-baker

Josephine Baker: The Story of An Awakening will be featured exclusively on the Cinémoi Network beginning on Thursday, October 29th at 7pm PST / 10pm EST. Cinémoi Network’s curated programming is available on Apple TV & Apple iOS, Sling TV, Comcast Xfinity, Verizon FiOS, Frontier, Google Play, and Samsung devices.

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White Noise, Director Daniel Lombroso

The Atlantic’s first feature documentary, WHITE NOISE, is the definitive inside story of the movement that has come to be known as the alt-right. With unprecedented access, WHITE NOISE tracks the rise of far-right nationalism by focusing on the lives of three of its main proponents: Mike Cernovich, a conspiracy theorist and sex blogger turned media entrepreneur; Lauren Southern, an anti-feminist, anti-immigration YouTube star; and Richard Spencer, a white-power ideologue. Directed and shot by Daniel Lombroso in his directorial debut, this film takes the viewer into the terrifying heart of the movement—explosive protests, riotous parties, and the rooms where populist and racist ideologies are refined, weaponized, and injected into the mainstream. Just as the alt-right comes to prominence, infighting tears the movement apart. Spencer and Cernovich clash over the role of white nationalism in conservative politics. Southern struggles to reconcile her leadership role with the sexism and misogyny of her peers. Lawsuits mount and internecine fights erupt, but even as the alt-right fractures, its once-marginalized ideas gain a foothold in mainstream discourse; in Republican politics; in the establishment right-wing press, especially Fox News—and on the world’s biggest social-media platforms. Director Daniel Lombroso joins us to talk about his immersive experience into the world of the white nationalist movement, an ideology  that echos and trades on the tropes of fascism. 

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: theatlantic.com/white-noise-movie

WHITE NOISE releases on October 21 in the U.S. on iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, and Google Play.

About the filmmaker – Daniel Lombroso is a freelance director and journalist. For five years, he was a staff producer at The Atlantic, where he directed shorts exploring Russian espionage, the Israeli settlement movement, far-right Christian media, and more. Lombroso graduated from McGill University with a degree in political science and lives in New York City.  His debut feature film, WHITE NOISE, based on his four years reporting inside the alt-right, premiered at AFI DOCS in June 2020 to critical acclaim. It is the first-ever feature film by The Atlantic. For more go to: daniellombroso.com

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“Lombroso did his homework, embedding himself with these people for several years, so that he won their trust and became privy to their private lives. “White Noise” is a deadly serious movie, but it is also, in a certain way, a funny one, because it captures the comedy of how much trouble even the influencers of hate now have squaring their lives with their belief systems.  It takes reality to create characters as rivetingly contemptible as these.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“There have been several documentaries made about the ideological conditions that laid the ground for the Trump era, but White Noise may be the most illuminating.” – Stephen Silver, Splice Today

“Lombroso’s strategy is patient, and ruthless. He listens to these racists, spending long periods with them to better understand their lifestyles. We slowly start to see that they all kind of hate and resent each other; these fissures are at the heart of this movement’s moral and intellectual rot.” – Alan Zilberman, Brightest Young Things

“Director Daniel Lombroso takes a very clear-eyed approach to the subject, utilizing unprecedented access to show the movement for what it is – an effort to launch a full-on culture war, driven by people whose anger and media savvy is matched by their opportunism. Despite refraining from overt commentary most of the time, the last couple minutes of White Noise poignantly pull together the results of recent alt-right messaging.” – Mike McGranaghan, The Aisle Seat

Wine and War: The Untold Story of Wine in the Middle East, Co-directors Mark Ryan and Mark Johnston

In 2013, inspired by the book Wines of Lebanon by Michael Karam, filmmakers Mark Johnston and Mark Ryan set out to change the perceptions of the Middle East – and in particular the tiny nation of Lebanon – by examining an enigmatic and misunderstood part of the world with winemakers who had a story to tell. Co-directors Johnston and Ryan released their first award-winning documentary The Invisible Front, but by then, they were already in Lebanon recording stories of courage, adventure and determination. There, they met Michael Karam, and two became three. Wine and War: The Untold Story of Wine in the Middle East tells the story that starts in the 2nd BC, when the Phoenicians, the ancient Lebanese, with their awesome trading empire gave the gift of wine to the then known world. They were the first wine merchants! In doing so, the Lebanese became the masters of crisis management, a skill personified by Lebanon’s winemakers who for thousands of years have gone about their work in war, famine, occupation and the constant hum of political instability. Co-directors Mark Ryan and Mark Johnston join us to talk about the amazing resilience of the Lebanese people and how wine is such a powerful thread in their shared history.

 

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

About the filmmaker – Mark Johnston is an executive producer and documentary filmmaker who is known for tackling a full range of near-impossible production challenges with a proven track record of creative development in complex and cross-functional multicultural environments. Mark has invested all his savings to make documentaries. He doesn’t own a home. He literally once moved into a mini van to save money to film a documentary. Mark’s passion for the work takes him to the farthest places on the globe and he always strives to do what he can to help each project realize its full potential. Big budget or big challenge, domestic or around the globe… Mark has done it all with calm collection and inventive problem solving be it feature film documentaries, TV campaigns, brand funded content, animated short films, live event programming, experiential projects, the Lanzarote Iron Man, En Svensk Klassiker, Vasaloppet, and the Stones 100k Ultra Marathon. 

About the filmmaker – Mark Ryan, Director / Producer. Over the past two decades, Mark has been a producer, director, and cinematographer on five continents and the North Pole. Early in his career, Mark was part of a film crew that was the first in thirty years to be given unprecedented access to the Hopi Indians of Arizona. This experience cemented Mark’s desire to sensitively tell the stories of other people. Mark has a number of film credits under his belt including the James Beard Award-winning short films The Scent of Black and Stewards of the Land. He’s also served as a producer on the MTV hit show Pimp My Ride.  A Los Angeles native, Mark is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a BA in Cinema Production. He also holds a post-graduate degree from Central St. Martins School of Fine Art in London.  Today, Mark combines his love for adventure, travel, and hearing the stories of other people with best practices for capturing scenes of film to create stunning imagery for clients around the world.

 
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This Is Not a Movie: Robert Fisk and the Politics of Truth, Director Yung Chang

Yung Chang’s This is Not a Movie is a fascinating documentary portrait of world-acclaimed British born Beirut-based foreign correspondent Robert Fisk. Fisk’s work is as vital as ever in an era of “fake news,” politicized facts, and the rise of ethno-nationalist politics. A Middle East correspondent for The Independent, Fisk holds more international journalism awards than any other foreign correspondent. For more than 40 years, journalist Robert Fisk has reported on some of the most violent and divisive conflicts in the world. Director Yung Chang (Up the Yangtze, The Fruit Hunters) captures Fisk in relentless action—feet on the ground, notebook in hand, as he travels into landscapes devastated by war, ferreting out the facts and firing reports back home to reach an audience of millions. Director Yung Chang stops by to talk about Robert Fisk’s dedicated work ethic, stamina and desire to talk with all sides of a story and why, in a time of disinformation and deceit by the powerful, his voice, his pen and his reporting have made him one of journalism’s most reliable sources of information and truth.

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: kimstim.com/film/this-is-not-a-movie

For more about Yung Chang’s work go to: yungfilms.com

Watch This Is Not a Movie on virtual cinema at laemmle.com/film/not-movie

About the filmmaker – Yung Chang is the director of Up the Yangtze (2007), China Heavyweight (2012), and The Fruit Hunters (2012). He is currently completing a screenplay for his first dramatic feature, Eggplant. In 2015, Chang was selected to participate in the prestigious Sundance Labs for Eggplant. Chang was the Spotlight Artist for the 2019 Reel Asian Int’l Film Festival where a live script reading of Eggplant was performed to a sold-out audience by talented actors from Kim’s Convenience, The Handmaid’s Tale and Locke & Key.  Chang’s award-winning short, Gatekeeper, qualified for the 2016 Oscars and is distributed by Field of Vision, Laura Poitras’ curated online film unit. His latest feature documentary, This is Not a Movie is about Robert Fisk, the iconoclastic Middle East correspondent. The film is co-produced by the National Film Board of Canada, currently on the festival circuit, World Premiered at TIFF 2019 . A graduate of the Meisner acting technique from the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in NYC and Concordia University’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema in Montreal, Chang brings emotional depth and cinematic realism into his work. Chang is the recipient of the Don Haig Award, the Yolande and Pierre Perrault Award, and the Guggenheim Emerging Artist Award. He is a member of the Directors Guild of Canada. In 2013, he was invited to become a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization behind the Academy Awards. For more about Yung Chang’s work go to: yungfilms.com

Social Media
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“[The film] provides a comprehensive portrait of a man who has become essential reading.” – Hollywood Reporter

“[A] laudatory, engaging profile of [Robert Fisk]…” – Globe and Mail

“In This Is Not a Movie, Fisk’s life history is paired with a director up to the task of presenting the facts in a compelling, cogent manner.” – Hammer to Nail

“It is as fascinating to watch Fisk talk about the media landscape as it is to read his inimitable writings on the Middle East.” – Cineuropa

“Fisk’s story is a compelling reminder of just how real the news can be.”- POV Magazine

Our Time Machine, Co-director S. Leo Chiang (Yang Sun)

The emotionally gripping documentary, OUR TIME MACHINE, focuses on 43-year-old Maleonn, one of China’s most influential conceptual artists, and his father, Ma Ke, former artistic director of the Shanghai Chinese Opera Theater. After being humiliated and forbidden from working for a decade during the Cultural Revolution, Ma Ke immersed himself in theater. The mysterious excitement of Ma Ke’s creative world inspired the young Maleonn, but his father’s absences stoked early feelings of resentment. When Ma Ke is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Maleonn pours everything into an ambitious new theater project: “Papa’s Time Machine,” a visually stunning time-travel adventure told with human-sized puppets. At the play’s heart are autobiographical scenes inspired by Maleonn’s memories with his father. He hopes this will bring them together artistically and personally. Facing his father’s painful decline, Maleonn becomes more aware of life’s complexities. There are no effortless masterpieces or simple solutions. And there’s no traveling back in time to retrieve what has been lost. OUR TIME MACHINE probes the complex relationships of a family in transition, generation to generation, filtered through the lens through art, theatre and puppeteering. Co-director S. Leo Chiang joins us to talk about his collaboration with co-director Yang Sun and subject Maleonn as well as unpack the multi-layered questions concerning memory, dreams, love, and family.

 

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

Directors’ Statement Those who grew up in post-Cultural Revolution China lived through a kind of socio-economic transformation that would have taken another country 100 years to bring about. In the span of 20 years, cities emerged from towns, the economy generated unprecedented wealth for some while leaving others behind, and new roads and digital networks connected China to the world. These migrations within our country and its rapid digitization have fundamentally changed the way people communicate and relate to one another. So, when we came across Maleonn and his ageing father, both artists, but who came of age on opposite sides of the Cultural Revolution in China, we made immediate personal connections. We see a story that could be our own in the not-so-distant future. For us and for Maleonn, the struggle to express affection towards one’s family goes hand in hand with defining and sharing the meaning behind devoting one’s life to art. Our intentions in crafting our film are to move others the way it has profoundly moved us. This is an evergreen story, relevant for past and future generations and across cultural divides, so long as there is love between children and their parents. Our story provides a needed addition to highlight the similarities between people in the West and in China during a time where the political language can be hostile and divisive.We hope this film celebrates the process in which two men reconcile their past feelings and create something together that repairs a distressed part of the fabric of Chinese society. – S. Leo Chiang and Yang Sun

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“The issues of aging and familial relationships and the appealing nature of this family would make “Our Time Machine” worthy of a look in any case, but what puts it over the top is Maleonn’s fascinating visual creations.” – G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle

“S. Leo Chiang and Yang Sun’s vibrant documentary about this labor of love proves to be a multi-layered metaphor of the interplay of art, memory, loss, and reconciliation, as well as a study of a touching and fraught father-son relationship.” – Peter Keough, Boston Globe

“Even though Our Time Machine is about a big, ambitious stage production with some visually stunning puppets, the documentary’s smaller, quieter moments with Maleonn and his family are where the movie is at its best.” – Carla Hay, Culture Mix

“Maleonn’s wondrous creations are enough of an attraction on their own, but the film… has many more layers to reveal about the legacy of Cultural Revolution, familial relationships, the agonies of love and loss and the circle of life.” – Scott Tobias, Variety

PUSH, Director Fredrik Gertten & Subject Leilani Farha

Fredrik Gertten’s latest documentary, PUSH, is a searing indictment of the systemic corruption that continues to drive the world’s affordable housing toward the edge of collapse. All of which is happening while many of the world’s largest financial and real estate institutions are facilitating a tidal wave of dark money from organized crime, human trafficking, illicit drugs trade and illegal tax “shelters” into the legitimate world of finance. Housing prices are skyrocketing in cities around the world. Incomes are not. PUSH sheds light on a new kind of faceless landlord, our increasingly unliveable cities and an escalating crisis that has an effect on us all. This is not gentrification, it’s a different kind of monster. PUSH follows Leilani Farha, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, as she’s travels the globe, trying to understand who’s being pushed out of the city and why. Director Fredrik Gertten and film subject Leilani Farha join us for a spirited conversation on the state of the world’s housing stock and how homeownership, real estate and high finance has been such a determinate factor on our society, both past and present.

 

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

About the subject – Leilani Farha has a background in advocacy for the homeless and for three years Leilani was the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, with the right to hold governments accountable if they don’t meet the human rights obligations in the UN Human Rights Charter. She believes that if we really want to make change to ensure people can live in the city.then we have to be able to hold someone responsible for what is going on. Currently Leilani is the Global Director for Make the Shift, a worldwide movement to secure the human right to housing. 

About the filmmaker – Fredrik Gertten is an award-winning Swedish director and journalist. His latest works BECOMING ZLATAN (2016), BIKES VS CARS (2015), BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS!* (2012) and BANANAS!* (2009) have met audiences in over 100 countries and screened at leading festivals. In 1994, Fredrik founded the production company WG Film. He previously worked as a foreign correspondent and columnist for radio, TV and press in Africa, Latin America, Asia and around Europe. Today he combines filmmaking with a role as a creative producer at WG Film – one of Sweden’s most prominent documentary production companies, famous for local stories with a global understanding and impact. In October 2017 Fredrik was named Honorary Doctor at Malmö University’s Faculty of Culture and Society for his work as a documentary filmmaker. 

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Blood on the Wall, Director Nick Quested

In Central America, a caravan of migrants seeking a better life heads north to the United States, as narco-traffickers — part of the cause for the caravan — move drugs and money back and forth across the same border. From Academy Award-nominated director Sebastian Junger and Emmy-winning producer Nick Quested, BLOOD ON THE WALL explores the depths of corruption plaguing Mexico and Central America and the policies of the past that have made it impossible for everyday people to find justice. Filmed in 2018 and 2019, just as the caravans made international news, BLOOD ON THE WALL is both intimate and wide-ranging as it follows a 17-year-old journeying from Honduras, a mother and daughter and their family trying to make the life-threatening trek easier for their kids, and smugglers and traffickers who reveal what set them on their own path. Using the same on-the-ground journalism and granular point of view that co-directors Sebastian Junger and Nick Quested used in Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS, Korengal, and the Oscar-nominated Restrepo, BLOOD ON THE WALL brings the humanity of the migrants to the forefront and untangles how politics, the drug trade, violence, and the desire for safety result in unbelievable anguish happening in plain sight. Co-director Nick Quested joins us to talk about the extraordinarily violent and unstable circumstance these immigrants navigate and the palpable sense of cynical betrayal that the US and Mexico deploy against them.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: nationalgeographic.com/blood-on-the-wall

For more on sebastianjunger.com

About the filmmaker – Co-director Nick Quested is executive director and owner of Goldcrest Films, where he has built one of the premiere documentary brands in the world, winning two Emmys for his work. Quested has served as a producer on over 35 films, including Sebastian Junger’s The Last Patrol, Korengal, and the PGA- and twice Emmy-nominated Which Way Is the Front Line From Here?; the Oscar-nominated Restrepo; and National Geographic Doc Films’ duPont Award-winning Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS. Quested is also an award-winning music video director, working with such artists as Dr. Dre, Nas, Puffy, Sting, Master P, Cash Money, and Trick Daddy. His credits include “Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives,” “Rubble Kings,” “Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer,” “Smash and Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers,” “Stolen Seas,” “The List,” “Tell Spring Not to Come This Year,” and “Doin’ It in the Park: Pick-Up Basketball, NYC.”

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“The film’s two brutal narratives – the caravans and the web of narco-trafficking – don’t always coalesce and may have benefited from a longer format.” – Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times

“A very hard and complicated story to tell. But Junger and Quested are more than up to challenge in Blood on the Wall.” – David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun

Chasing the Present, Film Subject James Sebastiano Jr.

CHASING THE PRESENT is a timely documentary following one man’s world wide journey of self inquiry as he explores the root cause of his lifelong battle with mental health issues. A materially successful young man, James Sebastiano Jr., riddled with anxiety, embarks on a world-wide journey of self-inquiry. From the streets of NY, to the stillness of the Ganges, and deep into the jungles of Peru, he immerses himself in meditation, self-inquiry, and plant medicine to find the root cause of the problem and learn how to finally find freedom from his crippling anxiety.  Along the way, he finds answers to why a person who seemingly has it all can continue to suffer from debilitating panic attacks, recognizing the beauty and power that lies within each of us, if we are willing to go there. CHASING THE PRESENT features Featuring James Sebastiano Jr., Russell Brand, Alex Grey, Graham Hancock, Gary Weber, Rupert Spira, Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein, Matthew Watherston, Jose Sanchez, James Sebastiano Sr., Jordan Sebastiano, Zelda Hall, Josh Korda, Vijeth Kumar. CHASING THE PRESENT subject James Sebastiano joins us to talk about the physical, psychological and spiritual journey he and director Mark Waters shared over the three plus years that this passion project took them on and why their experiences and the lessons learned from people they met will resonate with all that choose to join them.

 

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

About the filmmaker – Mark Waters, Producer / Director / Cinematographer. Mark is an award winning-filmmaker specializing in films that explore reality beyond the limits of the current status quo. In 2011 he shot and edited, “Uncommon Ideals”, which was screened at SXSW as one of the top action-sports shorts of the year. In 2015, Mark independently completed his first feature film, “The Salt Trail” – A philosophical, portrayal, of those who fearlessly choose to travel outside the comforts of modern society. His most recent project, “Chasing the Present”, took a unique direction, pushing the boundaries of the documentary form, to frame an extremely important message. “Chasing the Present” evolved into a deeply immersive feature film, exploring the root cause of suffering, the mystery of consciousness and the nature of the self. Instead of chasing these common Ideals, he has been driven by his love for the natural world, traveling to 50 countries, and exploring the beauty, stillness and serenity unfolding in the present moment. His love for life has inspired him to find ways to frame and share his perception of the world, to inspire a fresh perspective. 

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We Are Many, Director Amir Amirani

WE ARE MANY focuses on February 15th, 2003, when up to 30 million people, many of whom had never demonstrated before in their lives, came out in nearly 800 cities around the world to protest against the impending Iraq War. The New York Times called this movement the “Second Superpower”. How did this day come about? Who organized it? And was it, as many people claimed, a total failure? This fearless, thought-provoking documentary is the remarkable inside story behind the first ever global demonstration and its surprising and unreported legacy. WE ARE MANY features testimony from a unique cast of direct participants, including organizers, activists, high-profile figures, and of course the public, filmed in seven countries – Italy, Spain, Egypt, Sweden, Australia, UK, and the USA. Extraordinary testimony from activists in Egypt reveals how, on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, the global anti-war protests inspired those in Tahrir Square to go on to engage in the massive democratic movement that ultimately led to the Arab Spring. In the UK, the government was defeated over the proposed invasion of Syria, a historic event that might not have transpired without the legacy of those demonstrations a decade ago. The star-studded list of contributors includes Danny Glover, actor Mark Rylance, film director Ken Loach, Prof. Noam Chomsky, musicians Brian Eno and Damon Albarn, writer and Vietnam Vet Ron Kovic (author of ‘Born on the 4th of July’), Rev. Jesse Jackson, Richard Branson, and Colin Powell’s former Chief of Staff Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, amongst others. WE ARE MANY is a bold documentary by Amir Amirani charts the birth and growth of the new people power movement, now sweeping the world, taking us up to the Arab Spring and Syria, a little over 10 years after that historic day.

 

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

About the filmmaker – Amir Amirani is a film-maker with a strong track record of work for some of the most respected series of the BBC. He has a degree in Biology from Nottingham University, and an M.Phil in International Relations from Cambridge University. Amir joined the BBC in 1992 and took up a Graduate Production Traineeship. In 1994, Amir and his brother Taghi established Amirani Films to produce documentaries for the major UK broadcasters, the BBC, Channel 4, PBS, and other international broadcasters. Amir has made films for a several of the BBC’s flagship series, including the multi BAFTA award winning Arena, Timewatch, Picture This, Correspondent and Newsnight, for which he was nominated for an Amnesty International Award. A film he directed in South Africa was nominated for the One World Broadcasting Trust Awards. Amir also works in radio, where he has produced programmes for leading series on BBC Radio 4, such as In Business, From Our Own Correspondent, The World Tonight, and single programmes such as From Tehran With Laughter. He has also directed British televisionís most popular soap opera. His journalism includes writing for the New Statesman, New Scientist,Business Traveller Asia and the Economist Intelligence Unit. His work has been well reviewed by the press.

Space Dogs, Co-directors Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter

In their mesmerizing new film, SPACE DOG, Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter chronicle the legacy of Laika, a stray dog picked up by the Soviet space program on the streets of Moscow, the first living being to orbit the earth when she was launched into space on Sputnik 2. Kremser and Peter trace the persistence of her memory and legacy into the present day. As the capsule containing the lifeless body of Laika re-entered Earth’s orbit and began to burn up, the narrator announces “What had been a Moscow street dog had become a ghost.”The ghost Laika lives on in the present-day strays of SPACE DOGS. Photographed at ground level with wandering, hypnotic camera movements, the strays are seen navigating the urban environs of modern Moscow. In hewing closely to the dog’s point of view, the city is rendered as a strange, alien environment. Pulsating music from buildings and unidentified passerby take on an unfamiliar quality as the dogs explore this strange new world. Archival footage of the Soviet space program is interwoven throughout the film, reveling in the bizarre tests and procedures the canines were subjected to in preparation for space travel. Co-directors Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter join us for a conversation on their fascinating project that features stunning cinematography and meditative pacing that recalls the work of Andrei Tarkovsky, and how SPACE DOGS de-centers humans in order to uncover a forgotten history.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: icarusfilms.com/if-spaced

For more about the filmmakers go to: raumzeitfilm.com

About the filmmaker – Director ELSA KREMSER Born 1985 in Austria, Elsa Kremser studied Film at the University of Vienna and the Filmakademie Ludwigsburg. As an author and producer, she realized several documentaries that were shown worldwide. Her diploma film NEBEL premiered at the Berlinale. She was a jury member of Visions du Réel and participated in the Nipkow Grand and the EuroDoc program. In 2016 she founded the Vienna-based production company RAUMZEITFILM together with Levin Peter. As a directing duo, they are currently working on their first fiction feature, THE GREEN PARROT, which received the Berlinale Kompagnon Script Award. Their recent documentary SPACE DOGS premiered at Locarno IFF where it received two special jury mentions. It was presented at over 50 festivals worldwide and awarded as the “Best Austrian Film 2019” at the Viennale.

About the filmmaker – Director LEVIN PETER Born 1985 in Germany, Levin Peter studied at the Filmakademie Ludwigsburg where he realized several documentaries that were shown worldwide. His diploma film BEYOND THE SNOWSTORM won the German Upcoming Film Award and was presented as a Guest at the Berlinale. He was a jury member at Visions du Réel and received the Nipkow and the Gerd Ruge Grant. In 2016 he founded the Vienna-based production company RAUMZEITFILM with Elsa Kremser. As a directing duo, they are currently working on their first fiction feature, THE GREEN PARROT, which received the Berlinale Kompagnon Script Award. Their recent documentary SPACE DOGS premiered at Locarno IFF where it received two special jury mentions. It was presented at over 50 festivals worldwide and awarded as the “Best Austrian Film 2019” at the Viennale.

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“Brutal but also deeply sensitive; a complex work that got under my skin.” —Film Comment

“No one leaves this movie unchanged.” —Publico

“Radical and rigorous; one of the documentaries of the year.” —Film Idea

“Like Disney directed by Andrei Tarkovsky.” —CineVue

“Undoubtedly the most exciting film at Locarno: a philosophical film that does what cinema has to do: show unseen images.” —Deutchland Funk

“Successfully subverts the anthropocentric gaze to illustrate the violent way humans inhabit space.” —Little White Lies

“A total work of art, foreshadowing a near future in which man is no longer the center of the world.” —Kino Zeit

“Ingenious; Kremser and Peter connect a roughly hewn space traveling animal history with modern stray subjects.” —IonCinema

“The scariest film of the year.” —CineEuropa

Buoyancy, Director Rodd Rathjen

BUOYANCY is the story of a Cambodian teenager sold into forced labor on a Thai fishing boat is a passionate testimony against social injustice and a moving coming-of-age tale about a boy whose humanity is put to the test. Spirited 14-year-old Chakra works the rice fields with his family. He yearns for independence and seeks out a local broker who can get him paid work in a Thai factory. Without telling his family, Chakra travels to Bangkok to make his fortune. But when he gets there, he and his new friend Kea realize the broker has lied to them. Along with other Cambodians and Burmese, they are sold to a fishing captain as slaves. Chakra and Kea are trapped at sea, trawling fish 22 hours a day, surviving on just a handful of cold rice a day. The captain quickly weeds out those weakened by the conditions or trying to escape, and throws them overboard. The trawler sells its catch and restocks its supplies without going to land, making escape impossible. Chakra looks to Rom Ran to understand what it will take to be free. With hope and humanity dwindling, Chakra decides to take matters into his own hands. Director Rodd Rathjen joins us to talk about shooting at sea, with a cast composed of mostly non-English speaking actor, making his first feature film.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: kinolorber.com/film/buoyancy

Australia’s Official Oscar Submission
Ecumenical Jury Prize – Berlinale Panorama

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“A terse minimalist thriller… supremely satisfying.” – Paul O’Callaghan, Sight & Sound

“A harrowing edge-of-your-seat adventure tale with social punch.” – Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter

“Taut and urgent.” – Jessica Kiang, Variety

“Powerful. A gripping debut.” – Paul Byrnes, Sydney Morning Herald

The Mole Agent, Director Maite Alberdi

In Maite Alberdi’s The Mole Agent Sergio is a Chilean spy. Sort of. At least, Sergio is offered the role of one after a casting session organized by Detective Romulo, a private investigator who needs a credible mole to infiltrate a retirement home. Romulo’s client, the concerned daughter of a resident, suspects her mother is being abused and hires him to find out what is really happening. However, Sergio is 83, not 007, and not an easy trainee when it comes to technology and spying techniques. But he is a keen student, looking for ways to distract himself after recently losing his wife. What could be a better distraction than some undercover spy action? While gathering intelligence, Sergio grows close to several residents and realizes that the menacing truth beneath the surface is not what anyone had suspected. Director Maite Alberdi’s The Mole Agent is a stylish combination of an observational dcumentary and a spy movie, with sleek camerawork and wonderfully watchable characters. It’s a unique meditation on compassion and loneliness that will infiltrate your heart and never let go.

 

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For news and updates go to: cinereach.org/films/the-mole-agent

About the filmmaker – Director Maite Alberdi has developed a particular style that is characterized by an intimate portrait of small worlds, and her renowned personal hallmark has made her one of the most important voices in Latin American documentaries. In 2011 she released her first feature The Lifeguard. Her second film Tea Time won more than 12 international awards and was nominated for Best Ibero-American Film at the Goya Awards in 2016. In that same year, her short film I’m Not From Here premiered, and was later nominated for the European Films Award. Her most recent feature film The Grown Ups received 10 international awards. Additionally, she co-authored the book Documentary Film Theory in Chile 1957-1973. Maite is a Global Shaper, Young Leaders by the World Economic Forum (WEF), and a member of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).

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“The most heartwarming spy movie ever made.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

“Funny, poignant and finely crafted. A refreshing, beautifully made documentary.” – John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

“A perfect movie that will make you laugh and break your heart.” – Jonathan Christian, The Playlist

“There’s no small irony here when it takes the perceived artifice of a movie to get at a reality about aging that most of us would rather not face, but the more Sergio is asked to go undercover in “The Mole Agent,” the deeper it gets for everyone.” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest