January 25 – Lois Vossen, Independent Lens Executive Producer

Lois Vossen is the Executive Producer of Independent Lens and has been with the show since its inception as a primetime series on PBS. Lois is responsible for commissioning new films, programming the series and working with filmmakers on editorial and broadcast issues. Independent Lens films have received 17 Emmy Awards, 16 George Foster Peabody Awards, five Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Journalism Awards and eight Academy Award nominations. The series was honored in 2013, 2014, 2015  and 2017 with the International Documentary Association (IDA) Award for Best Series. Before joining ITVS, Lois was the Associate Managing Director of Sundance Film Festival and Sundance Labs. Lois is a member of the Television Academy Board of Governors, representing the documentary branch. She has served on the jury at  Shanghai Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, SXSW, DOC New Zealand and Palm Springs International Film Festival, among others. Under her leadership, films funded or co-produced by Independent Lens include I Am Not Your Negro, Always in Season, Bedlam, One Child Nation, Black Memorabilia, The King, People’s Republic of Desire, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, TOWER, Newtown, Best of Enemies, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, (T)ERROR, The House I Live In, The Invisible War, and The Trials of Muhammad Ali, among many others. Widely regarded as one of the most influential supporters of independent and documentary filmmaking, Lois Vossen joins us for a conversation on the role that Independent Lens /POV and Public Broadcasting has had in maintaining the highest standards for innovative storytelling in non-fiction cinema.

For news and updates go to: pbs.org/independentlens/films

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Slamdance Film Festival Co-founder Peter Baxter

It all began when a group of cheerful, subversive filmmakers weren’t accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. Unwilling to take “no” for an answer, they instead started their own event – Slamdance: Anarchy in Utah. 24 years later, Slamdance has become a year-round organization fostering the development of unique and innovative filmmakers. The organization now consists of the Film Festival, Screenplay Competition and Slamdance Studios. Dan Mirvish, Jon Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn and Peter Baxter are the founding forefathers who, along with co-conspirator Paul Rachman, fought for truly independent filmmakers by giving them a voice in 1995 at the very first Slamdance Film Festival. Since then, the festival takes place every January in the breathtakingly stunning, snow-capped mountains of Park City, Utah at the exact same time as the Sundance Film Festival, toprovide a more authentic representation of independent filmmaking.  Up-and-coming writers, directors and producers, alongside seasoned veterans and film lovers, converge for the weeklong celebration of independent cinema, realizing that Slamdance is a great place to find those next, great, visionary films.  Slamdance lives and bleeds by its mantra By Filmmakers For Filmmakers. No other film festival in the world is entirely run and organized by the creative force that can only be found in filmmakers. Slamdance adamantly supports self-governance amongst independents, and exists to deliver what filmmakers go to festivals for – a chance to show their work and a platform to launch their careers. The festival has earned a solid reputation for premiering films by first-time writers and directors working within the creative confines of limited budgets. Co-founder and President Peter Baxter joins us to talk about this year’s Slamdance, the groundbreaking films and the innovative new distribution being launched by Slamdance.

 

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For news and updates go to: slamdance.com

Check out the film schedule at slamdance 2019 schedule

Slamdance Film Festival will take place January 25-31, 2019 in Park City, Utah

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instagram.com/slamogram

January 18 – Arctic, Director Joe Penna

Driven by a virtuoso performance by Mads Mikkelsen ARCTIC tells the story of a man stranded in the Arctic after an airplane crash must decide whether to remain in the relative safety of his makeshift camp or to embark on a deadly trek through the unknown in hopes of making it out alive. Director Joe Penna stops by to talk about co-writing the minimalist script with Ryan Morrison, the remarkable performance by Mads Mikkelsen and the rigors of shooting in an inhospitably windy and frigid location.

 

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For news and updates go to: bleeckerstreetmedia.com/arctic

For more about Joe Penna go to: mysteryguitarman.com

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“It’s broad stuff, and well-trod terrain for a movie that takes place in uncharted territory, but it cuts straight to the difference between endurance and survival.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

“There are no cut corners, no overly blatant only-in-the-movies gambits. Mikkelsen’s stranded pilot has little to rely on beyond his will, so we feel at every step that he could truly be us.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“Arctic is elegantly shot, crisp and unfussy, and seamless in its near-invisible use of digital effects, creating a persuasive you-are-there feeling that’s rare in these days of flashy CG thrills.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

“Mikkelsen takes commanding centre stage in a guilty-pleasure survival drama with global ambitions.” – Kevin Maher, Times (UK)

January 18 – Close, Director Vicky Jewson

Close, an adrenaline-pumping action thriller written and directed by Vicky Jewson (Born of War), is inspired by the life of the world’s leading female bodyguard, Jacquie Davis. The film stars Noomi Rapace as Sam. Sam is the world’s toughest female bodyguard, tasked with protecting high profile targets for terrorism and assassination. She fought her way to the top in a man’s world and feels more at home in the war zones of Sudan than back at her L.A. apartment. When she’s assigned to protect a VIP in Morocco, she thinks she’s in for a quick and easy job. That VIP turns out to be Zoe (Sophie Nélisse), a young and very rich heiress who’s never left her bubble of wealth and who isn’t keen on being baby sat. Sam can take a bullet for a president, but young privileged girls aren’t her specialty — especially a spoiled one. When Zoe’s bulletproof, secluded compound comes under attack in an explosive kidnapping attempt, Sam’s skills are put to the test. Accused of murder themselves, they must find a way to work together, determined to and hunt the attackers and their corrupt employers. Director Vicky Jewson joins us to talk about meeting Jacquie Davis and the impact it had on her decision to tell her story and the significance of her place in a world dominated by men.

 

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For news and updates on Close go to: netflix.com/close

For news and updates on Vicky Jewson go to: westendfilms.com/screeners/close

Social Media

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January 11 – Buffalo Boys, Director Mike Wiluan

In 19th Century Java, a brutal massacre and the murder of Sultan Hamza by Captain Van Trach and his Dutch soldiers force Arana, Jamar and Suwo – the sultan’s brother and infant sons – to flee the country, bringing them halfway around the world to the American Wild West. After working the railroads and learning the cowboy way of life, Arana tells the boys it’s time to return to their homeland and avenge their father’s death. Back on Indonesian soil, the hunt for their father’s killer begins. Along the way, they meet some villagers including Kiona, the rebellious and beautiful headman’s daughter who Suwo falls for, and soon find out that the treacherous Van Trach still rules the area. Their presence puts the village in danger, quickly turning their quest for revenge into a fight for freedom. With the odds stacked against them, Arana, Jamar and Suwo use the skills they learned from the wilds of America to face Van Trach and his army in a showdown for justice. Director Mike Wiluan joins us to talk about the universal themes that play out in the Western related genre and the expanding scope of Indonesian filmmaking.

samuelgoldwynfilms.com/buffalo-boys

“Energetic and well-shot with winning performances, producer turned director Mike Wiluan’s martial arts western is anything but boring.” – Jonathan W. Hickman, Daily Film Fix

“…the talent behind it is obvious, from its Indonesian and Singaporean producers down to the character players fighting for women’s rights while riding water buffaloes and firing shotguns.” – Kelly Vance, East Bay Express

“As expected, good wins over evil and the charismatic and capable brothers ride off into the sunset…but, is that the end of their adventures?” – Robin Clifford, Reeling Reviews

“[Reinout] Bussemaker’s work aside, the film as it its most impressive during the action sequences and, thankfully, it doesn’t skimp on these.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

 

Capernaum, Director Nadine Labaki

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, Nadine Labaki’s CAPERNAUM (“Chaos”) tells the story of Zain (Zain al Rafeea), a Lebanese boy who sues his parents for the “crime” of giving him life. CAPERNAUM follows Zain, a gutsy streetwise child as he flees his negligent parents, survives through his wits on the streets, takes care of Ethiopian refugee Rahil (Yordanos Shiferaw) and her baby son, Yonas (Boluwatife Treasure Bankole), being jailed for a crime, and finally, seeks justice in a courtroom. CAPERNAUM was made with a cast of non-professionals playing characters whose lives closely parallel their own. Following her script, Labaki placed her performers in scenes and asked them to react spontaneously with their own words and gestures. When the non-actors’s instincts diverged from the written script, Labaki adapted the screenplay to follow them. While steeped in the quiet routines of ordinary people, CAPERNAUM is a film with an expansive palette: without warning it can ignite with emotional intensity, surprise with unexpected tenderness, and inspire with flashes of poetic imagery. Although it is set in the depths of a society’s systematic inhumanity, CAPERNAUM is ultimately a hopeful film that stirs the heart as deeply as it cries out for action. Director and writer Nadine Labaki joins us for a conversation on her impassioned new film and how CAPERNAUM changed her and many of the cast and crew from this multi-award winning film.

 

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For news and updates go to: sonyclassics.com/capernaum

2018 Cannes Film Festival

Winner, Grand Jury Prize

Winner, Prix de la citoyenneté

Winner, Prize of the Ecumenical Jury

Nominated, Palme d’Or

Social Media for Capernaum

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“It’s a scathing commentary on the effects of poverty, the failure to properly respond to refugee crises, and simple human decency populated by those struggling just as much as the next yet have also crossed a line they cannot return from.” – Jared Mobarak, Film Stage

“It’s a deeply assured piece of direction, and though it only plays a few emotional notes, they are ones that won’t soon leave your memory. Prepare to be blown-away.” – Emily Yoshida, New York Magazine / Vulture

“A social-realist blockbuster – fired by furious compassion and teeming with sorrow, yet strewn with diamond-shards of beauty, wit and hope.” – Robbie Collins, Daily Telegraph

“Can favorably be compared to everyone from De Sica to Truffaut to ‘Slumdog Millionaire.’ A stunning piece of cinema.” – Pete Hammond, Deadline

The Distant Barking of Dogs, Director Simon Lereng Wilmont and Producer Monica Hellström

THE DISTANT BARKING OF DOGS is set in Eastern Ukraine on the frontline of the war. The film follows the life of 10-year-old Ukrainian boy Oleg throughout a year, witnessing the gradual erosion of his innocence beneath the pressures of war.  Oleg lives with his beloved grandmother, Alexandra, in the small village of Hnutove. Having no other place to go, Oleg and Alexandra stay and watch as others leave the village. Life becomes increasingly difficult with each passing day, and the war offers no end in sight. In this now half-deserted village where Oleg and Alexandra are the only true constants in each other’s lives, the film shows just how fragile, but crucial, close relationships are for survival.  Through Oleg’s perspective, the film examines what it means to grow up in a warzone. It portrays how a child’s universal struggle to discover what the world is about grows interlaced with all the dangers and challenges the war presents. THE DISTANT BARKING OF DOGS unveils the consequences of war bearing down on the children in Eastern Ukraine, and by natural extension, the scars and self- taught life lessons this generation will carry with them into the future. Director Simon Lereng Wilmont and Producer Monica Hellström stop by to talk about this harrowing, intimate and loving look at Oleg and Alexandra’s claustrophobic life on the frontlines of an undeclared war.

 

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For news and updates go to: Distant Barking of Dogs

**Spotlight Award Nominee – Cinema Eye Honors 2019

**Honorable Mention – Pare Lorentz Award – 2018 IDA Awards

**Winner – First Appearance Award – IDFA 2017

**Winner – Best Nordic Documentary – Göteborg Film Festival 2018

**Winner – Golden Gate Award – SFFILM 2018

**Winner – Fipresci Award – Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival 2018

**Winner – Best International Film – DocAviv Film Festival 2018

**Nominee – Best European Documentary – European Film Awards 2018

“Finds beauty and horror on the bleeding edge of war” – The Hollywood Reporter

“Moving and effective” – Screen Daily

“Resembles classic Terence Malick” – Point of View Magazine

“A beautiful, poetic observational documentary” – Cineuropa

“An intimate, stirring portrayal of life during wartime” – Film Pulse

Communion, Director Anna Zamecka

Anna Zamecka’s intimate documentary Communion drops us into a truncated family living amid domestic instability and teenaged volatility, a sister and brother play out their lives on camera. At fourteen, Ola is already functioning as the woman of the house, cooking and cleaning for her lethargic father and helping her energetic autistic brother, Nikodem, prepare for his first Holy Communion. Throughout, she longs for her mother, Magda, whose absence is never explained, yet always deeply felt. As the date of Communion nears, it becomes an opportunity for the family to meet up and Ola is entirely responsible for planning the perfect family celebration. Communion is a portrait of young womanhood and crash course in growing up that teaches us that no failure is final, and that change is possible and needed, especially when love is in question. Anna Zamecka is a Polish film director, screenwriter and producer. She has studied cultural anthropology, journalism and photography in Warsaw and Copenhagen. Her 2016 debut feature film, Communion” received over 40 awards, including the European Film Award for Best European Documentary 2017 and the Critic’s Week Award at Locarno IFF, amongst others. Anna Zamecka joins us for a conversation about gaining the confidence of a struggling family and young woman trying to navigate a family life that threatens to overwhelm her.

For news and updates go to: communion-movie.com

Friday, January 4 | 1:00 PM | AMC Sunset 5
8000 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046
Director Anna Zamecka in-conversation following the screening.
Hosted by LAURA NIX

Friday, January 4 | 3:00 PM | Laemmle Glendale
207 N Maryland Avenue, Glendale, CA 91206
Director Anna Zamecka in-conversation following the screening.
Hosted by ONDI TIMONER and CHUCK BRAVERMAN

Friday, January 4 | 7:30 PM | Laemmle Glendale
207 N Maryland Avenue, Glendale, CA 91206
Director Anna Zamecka in-conversation following the screening.
Hosted by LANA WILSON

Saturday, January 5 | 11:00 AM | Laemmle Monica Film Center
1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401,
Director Anna Zamecka in-conversation following the screening.

“Anna Zamecka’s doc masterpiece Communion took my breath away, brought me to tears, left me contemplating mysteries of family” Joshua Oppenheimer, dir. „The Act of Killing”

“Communion” is a heartbreaking example of a classic documentary genre – the immersive, observational film that takes a bold leap and embeds itself with a small group of people. – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“Idelible” – Alissa Wilkinson, VOX

“Transcendent and highly accomplished film!” Filmmaker Magazine

Los Comandos, Co-directors Juliana Schatz-Preston and Joshua Bennett

Violence has overrun El Salvador. El Salvador remains one of the most dangerous non-war zones in the world. Violent turf wars between rival gangs and the government threatens Salvadorans’ day-to-day life. This is highlighted by a continued migration crisis where families, and unaccompanied youth attempt to flee to neighboring countries or the United States, with hopes of a safer future. The emergency medical unit Los Comandos de Salvamento is standing up to the gangs’ reign of terror. Sixteen-year-old Mimi is a dedicated Comando caught in the cross hairs. When her fellow Comando, 14-year-old Erick, is gunned down while serving, she faces pressure to flee El Salvador and head north. Co-directors Juliana Schatz-Preston and Joshua Bennett join us for a conversation on their ripped from today’s headlines project and the importance of putting a human face on the plight of these beleaguered people.

For news and updates go to: loscomandos.film

The Comandos de Salvamento (Los Comandos) provide a potentially life saving alternative for young people who want to avoid being recruited by gangs. Because the group does not discriminate when attending to victims, Los Comandos have earned a certain degree of respect from the gangs. Many of the volunteers find the Comandos base safer than home. Suport Los Comandos

KIND protects unaccompanied children who enter the US immigration system alone to ensure that no child appears in court without an attorney. Ensuring that no child appears in immigration court without high quality legal representation. Support KIND

GLASSWING help young people who remain in El Salvador or return after deportation, life is a daily struggle. Not only do they face extreme violence and poverty, but cycles of massive migration and social upheaval are also exacerbating issues of family disintegration, school dropout, early pregnancy, and limited economic opportunities. Youth face persistent stigma, social exclusion, and exposure to extreme violence and trauma. They lack opportunities to develop the core skills they need to thrive.  Support Glasswing International

• Winner of Best Documentary Short at Austin Film Festival (Oscar® qualifying award)
• Winner of Best Short at Los Angeles Cinefest
• Finalist for CINE Golden Eagle award for Best Documentary Short

Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski, Director Irek Dobrowolski and Co-Producer Stephen Cooper

A Netflix original documentary,  Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski takes us inside the mind of one of the last century’s great characters, offering a startling look at how history can stand in the way of true artistic genius in one generation while stepping aside to reveal it dramatically in the next. In 1968, pop culture collector Glenn Bray, who had an interest in surrealist art, happened upon an unusual book featuring the art of Stanislav Szukalski.  Like most people, Bray had never heard of Szukalski, but he delighted in showing the book of drawings and photos of sculptures to his circle of friends in the underground art comic world, including Robert and Suzanne Williams and George DiCaprio, who found the forgotten Polish master’s vision far ahead of its time. It was a few years later when Bray noticed an unusual poster  depicting Copernicus on the wall of a small bookstore in Tarzana – something he immediately recognized as the work of SzukalskiThe bookseller informed him that the artist himself had given the poster as a gift – in fact, he lived nearby.  Bray couldn’t believe it – this long-forgotten genius was still alive, and in the same area code. Featuring archival footage and dozens of interviews with Szukalski himself,  Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski offers a startling look at how history can stand in the way of artistic genius in one generation while stepping aside to reveal it dramatically in the next. Director Irek Dobrowolski and Producer Stephen Cooper join us to talk about an incredible artist and incredibly complex, nearly forgotten “genius” who remained true to his inner demons.

 

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Lifeboat, Director Skye Fitzgerald

In a political environment increasingly hostile to immigrants and refugees, documenting the real-life plight of those fleeing war and oppression is more vital and important than ever. The short form documentary film LIFEBOAT bears witness to refugees desperate enough to risk their lives in rubber boats leaving Libya in the middle of the night, despite a high probability of drowning. With few resources but certain that civil society must intervene, volunteers from a German non-profit risk the waves of the Mediterranean to pluck refugees from sinking rafts.  In a real-life context with dire consequences, LIFEBOAT puts a human face on one of the world’s greatest contemporary, global crises and provides a spark of hope surrounding how civil society can intervene in the refugee crisis in a meaningful way. Director Skye Fitzgerald joins us for a conversation on the extremely dangerous and inhospitable world awaiting most of the desperate people fleeing for their lives across the vast expanse of the Mediterranean Sea.

For news and updates go to: lifeboatdocumentary.com

LIFEBOAT nominated as BEST SHORT of 2018 by International Documentary Association

LIFEBOAT wins BEST SHORT at world premiere at Mountainfilm in Telluride!

LIFEBOAT WINS Best Short Doc at Woodstock Intl. Film Festival

LIFEBOAT WINS Special Jury Award at BendFilm!

LIFEBOAT honored with JURY AWARD at Traverse City Film Festival

LIFEBOAT wins social justice ACT NOW award at Crested Butte Film Festival

LIFEBOAT WINS at Dublin International Shorts Film Festival

Islam and the Future of Tolerance, Co-director Jay Shapiro (Desh Amila)

The riveting and illuminating documentary, Islam and the Future of Tolerance follows prominent atheist philosopher Sam Harris and Islamist-turned-liberal-Muslim Maajid Nawaz, after publicly clashing in a debate over the concept of Islamic reform in the Muslim world. The two men reconnect several years later in an attempt at civil and honest dialogue. Sam and Maajid attempt to explore their real or imagined divides by clearly and rationally dissecting their disagreements. Through the course of their discussions, they tackle troubling passages from the Quran, the importance of the precision of language and terms (such as “Jihadism,” “Islamists,” and “radical,”) and the difficulty in finding helpful and honest responses in a fraught political terrain. Ultimately, this unlikely collaboration sheds light on the many confusions that afflict the public conversation about Islam and emphasizes how the virtues of open dialogue can help foster both understanding and tolerance in an increasingly polarized world.

 

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Sam Harris entered life as a public intellectual after 9/11 and soon found himself regarded as a leading voice of the “New Atheist” movement, along with Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett. He spent much of the next decade writing books such as The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation,and The Moral Landscape and publicly engaging religious scholars and apologists in highly contentious conversations.

Maajid Nawaz was arrested and thrown into an Egyptian prison, where he spent four years  before beginning his slow journey out of radical Islamism. By the time he emerged, he had decided to dedicate his life’s work to reforming Islam from within. He started Quilliam, a counter-extremism organization.

Islam and the Future of Tolerance tells the story of an unlikely conversation on a topic of grave importance, and how it changed two foes into friends. Director Jay Shapiro joins us to talk about his engaging and enlightening documentary.

For news and updates go to: islamandthefutureoftolerance.com

Watch the debate featuring Maajid Nawaz on the Australian Public Affairs program: Think Ink

“For these reasons and more, the film serves as a rewarding introductory course to the school of thought that Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz are a part of.” – Hunter Lanier, Film Threat

“Anyone can wrangle a group of talking heads in front of a camera or audience to bloviate on the merits of religious belief, but Avila and Shapiro’s purposes are more urgent and pressing.” – Nathanael Hood, The Young Folks

“A talkative film in which the very act of talking about this subject is a first tiny victory.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

“Nevertheless, in a society that’s always demanding that minorities do the hard work of explaining themselves, only to deny them the chance to do so, this is a bold attempt to do things differently.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

Avicii: True Stories, Director Levan Tsikurishvili

AVICII: TRUE STORIES, a compelling new documentary film by Levan Tsikurishvili, reveals the unvarnished truth behind the success of Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter and artist Avicii (A.K.A. Tim Bergling). One of the world’s highest grossing live music artists whose seemingly sudden decision last year to quit doing live shows came as a complete shock to his fans and the industry. The film traces the artist/DJ’s life from his beginnings, all the way to the joy of his success, from his chart-topping global radio hits and subsequent struggles with his physical and mental health. Tsikurishvili followed Bergling for over four years, and captured fly-on-the-wall footage of his experiences and thinking. Featuring appearances by colleagues such as Chris Martin, Nile Rodgers, David Guetta, Tiësto and Wyclef Jean, AVICII: TRUE STORIES is a cautionary tale that explores the taxing nature and intensity of fame from the artist’s point of view as much as it is a film for Avicii’s die-hard fans.

I wanted to do a brutally honest film about Tim as a person and not only about Avicii. Everybody knows Avicii but very few people know Tim. I think this documentary really shows Tim’s struggle and strength of character. Being a worldwide superstar artist is not as easy as it looks on Instagram. – Director Levan Tsikurishvili

 

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For news and updates go to: aviciitruestories.com

“Compelling and Cautionary Tale” – Variety

“Insight into the life of a special young artist” – Cine Magazine

“Truthful, thought provoking…compelling documentary – 5 stars” – one EDM

“An unusually sincere documentary that – unlike AMY – ends with a personal triumph.” – Alfred Bos, IndieBioscoo

Tyrel, Director Sebastian Silva

In Director Sebastián Silva latest film. Tyrel, Tyler (Jason Mitchell) and his friend John (Christopher Abbott), two young restaurateurs from New York City, push a car along a back road high on a cold, snowy day in the Catskills Mountains. Tyler and John are on their way to a weekend getaway to celebrate the birthday of Pete (Michael Cera), one of John’s old friends, at a cabin in the woods. Tyler needs the excursion, even though he will be among mostly strangers, because the home he shares with his Puerto Rican girlfriend is packed with her visiting family – and the ailing, elderly mother to whom she is devoted. What could be better than a jocular, beer-soaked weekend in the country with a bunch of his buddy’s friends? Well, nothing … except that an empty gas tank is only the first in a series of discomforting moments Tyler encounters and engenders over the next 48 hours. Writer/director Sebastián Silva’s deploys his signature handheld style probing subtext and body language, TYREL conjures an undeniable underlying tension and it marks his most radical character exploration yet—a timely, provocative, and brilliant observation of the idea of otherness in today’s American climate. Director Sebastián Silva (The Maid, Nasty Baby, Crystal Fairy) joins is for a lively conversation on male bonding, tribalism, race, working with this outstanding cast of actors and undermining expectations.

 

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For news and updates go to: tyrelmovie.com

Social Media

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twitter.com/MagnoliaPics

“CRITIC’S PICK. UNNERVINGLY SHARP, AGONIZINGLY DEAD-ON.  The stranger “Tyrel” gets, the more accurate it feels.”  – Bilge Ebiri, The New York Times

“Silva’s most political work yet–though it is sly and subtle, the intention is palpable, the emotions elicited all too real, and ultimately, “Tyrel” proves to be a fascinating entry in his body of work.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service

“This is a fast and lean film, an absolute workout for its outstanding cast and a devilish roller coaster ride for audiences.” – Jordan Hoffman, Vanity Fair

“Every time this fly-in-the-buttermilk scenario leans toward satire, it reminds you that you’re really watching a horror movie.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone Magazine

Ghostbox Cowboy, Director John Maringouin

John Maringouin’s brilliant, darkly comedic morality tale examines a wildly ambitious Westerner who tries to get in on China’s tech boom and finds that he may not be up to the task. Texan Jimmy Van Horn (David Zellner) is a cowboy huckster who arrives in the booming city of Shenzhen with a couple of bitcoins and huge ambitions of parlaying them into economic success. Lucky for Jimmy, he’s got a friend holding open the back door to this “accidental Shangri-La” – Bob Grainger (Robert Longstreet) – who’s gotten new teeth, a blonde wig and looks twenty years younger. He promises to do the same for Jimmy in 6 weeks. Director and writer John Maringouin (BIG RIVER MAN) develops a startling visual language in this excitingly fresh, complex perspective on China’s economic growth – and the gold rush mentality it inspires. Director John Maringouin joins us for a free-wheeling conversation about his funny, surreal and enthralling tale of the wild west cowboy capitalism that China is now living through.

 

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For news and updates go to: ghostboxcowboy.com

Social Media

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twitter.com/GhostboxCowboy

instagram.com/ghostboxcowboy

88% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Stylish, comic and shameless, with a gonzo, midnight movie tone.” – David D’Arcy, Screen International

“”Ghostbox Cowboy” truly defies categorization, and remains so unpredictable that no single viewing can resolve the fertile ideas it puts on the table about globalization, innovation, and the role of individuality in a fast-paced world that rejects it.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

“Fascinating, atmospheric, and utterly strange in ways both good and bad, Ghostbox Cowboy pulls back the curtain on those trying to export the American dream and reaping the whirlwind.” – Joe Blessing, The Playlist

“‘Ghostbox Cowboy’ is fascinating, atmospheric and utterly strange.” – Joe Blessing, The Playlist

Bob Lazar, Area 51 and Flying Saucers, Director Jeremy Corbell

In the highly entertaining and jarring documentary BOB LAZAR: AREA 51 AND FLYING SAUCERS the curtain is pulled back on Area 51, flying saucers from another world – and the program to create a fierce, new technology that could easily change everything about the world we think we know. Bob Lazar remains the singular most famous and controversial name in the world of UFOs. The reason you know about Area 51 is because Lazar came forward and told you about it. His disclosures have turned his life upside-down and he has tried to stay out of the spotlight. For this reason, he has never let any filmmaker into the private world of his daily life – that is – until now. BOB LAZAR: AREA 51 AND FLYING SAUCERS explores Lazar’s claims through the lens of thirty years – providing rare and never before revealed footage – guaranteed to alter the landscape of the debate. Director Jeremy Corbell joins us to talk about the fantastical and yet credible story of a seemingly honest and sincere messenger telling the world that we are not alone.

 

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For news and updates go to: TheLazarStory.com

The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows, Founder and CEO Ron Diamond

The 20th anniversary of the award winning The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows presents 15 thought-provoking, poignant, and very funny animated shorts from around the world. In a year when the best and worst of human nature has been on constant display, the works in this year’s show remind us of both the universality of shared ideals, as well as the diverse challenges we face. For 20 years, The Animation Show of Shows  has been presenting new and innovative short films to appreciative audiences at animation studios, schools and, since 2015, theaters around the world. Over the years, 38 of the films showcased in The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows  went on to receive Academy Award® nominations, with 11 films winning the Oscar®. The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows  not only has something for everyone, but is a remarkable and insightful microcosm of our world. According to founder and curator Ron Diamond, “Animation is such a flexible and open-ended medium that it lends itself to exploring the innumerable aspects of what it means to be human, and this year’s program, as much as any of our past presentations, really illuminates human strengths and foibles, and the bonds that unite us across cultures and generations.” Ron Diamond joins us to talk about this year’s latest collection of wonderfully creative, insightful and entertaining animation from across the globe. 

 

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For news and updates go to: animationshowofshows.com

Social Media

facebook.com/AnimationShowOfShows

Upcoming Los Angeles area screenings:

The Vista Theatre at 4473 Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles

Tuesday December 11 – 2:45pm, 5:30pm, 8:45pm

Wednesday December 12 – 2:45pm, 5:30pm, 8:45pm

Thursday December 13 – 2:45pm, 5:30pm

Glendale Laemmle Theatres – Friday, December 14

207 N. Maryland Ave. Glendale, CA

Call: 310-478-3836 for screening times

United We Fan, Director Michael Sparaga

Fans, stars, creators and more come together to explore the history and evolution of TV’s save-our-show fan campaigns in Michael Sparaga’s (The Missing Ingredient) humorous and heartfelt feature documentary UNITED WE FAN. From the letter-writing and product mail-ins of yesterday to the social media and crowdfunding campaigns of today, UNITED WE FAN goes beyond the headlines to give viewers deeper insights into fandom, community and identity. For most viewers, it’s simply a disappointment when their favorite TV series is cancelled. But the fans of some series take the loss a lot harder. And they fight back. UNITED WE FAN chronicles the stories of those passionate individuals and their unique crusades to save their beloved shows. Declared “a joy to watch” by POV Magazine, UNITED WE FAN intertwines the remarkable stories of Kaily, Dorothy and the Trimbles while also taking time to delve into the inspiring campaigns to save Designing Women, Quantum Leap, Chuck, Longmire, Jericho, Veronica Mars, Roswell and the Rosetta Stone of rescued TV series Star Trek. “UNITED WE FAN is not a movie about television’s wackiest fans,” said director Michael Sparaga, “rather, it’s a love letter to the inspiring people who have formed communities and fought tirelessly against seemingly impossible odds to give viewers everywhere more seasons of some of television’s most iconic shows.” Director / Writer / Producer Michael Sparaga joins us to talk about the men and women whose embrace and affection for specific television series goes way beyond passive entertainment into the realm of a life affirming connections to the creators, performers and characters who have enriched their lives via episodic storytelling.

 

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Social Media

facebook.com/UnitedWeFanDoc  

twitter.com/unitedwefandoc

instagram.com/unitedwefandoc

UNITED WE FAN is available on multiple VOD platforms beginning December 4

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“A cheery collage of anecdotes about how popular culture brings people together and inspires them to fight for the things they love.” – Norman Wilner, Toronto Now

“It’s a fun film to watch, but also one that makes us question how far we’re all willing to go to save our favourite series from extinction, and where the future of such fan campaigns might be going from here.” – Andrew Parker, The Gate

“United We Fan is a brisk, enjoyable look at the way TV fan culture has evolved since the days when Star Trek first flirted with cancellation.” – Jesse Schedeen, IGN Movies

“What United We Fan does very well is that the documentary offers a blueprint for the many television fans wanting to save their favorite series.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

Life Underground, Director Hervé Cohen

LIFE UNDERGROUND is a groundbreaking trans-media project that invites visitors on a journey through the subways of the world and into the personal stories of their passengers. Its main component is an interactive web documentary. LIFE UNDERGROUND has also become an immersive multimedia installation for museums and public spaces (including subway stations) featuring the same content but on large screens with a multi-track soundscape. Shot in over 17 cities, across 4 continents, in over 11 languages, by director Hervé Cohen this interactive web documentary and immersive media installation takes viewers on a journey into the subways of the world through the personal stories of passengers. Hervé Cohen is an award-winning filmmaker and cinematographer and has traveled the world to capture compelling stories for international productions. He has also shot two feature narratives, in San Francisco and in Haiti (the 2017 Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film, AYITI MON AMOUR). LIFE UNDERGROUND is nominated for Best Short Form Series by the International Documentary Association. Director Hervé Cohen joins us to talk about his enlightening and humanizing look at a world where people have much more in common than not.

 

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To watch the film go to: life-underground.com

Social Media

facebook.com/lifeundergroundproject

instagram.com/lifeunderground2018

twitter.com/lifeunderdoc

People’s Republic of Desire, Director Hao Wu

In an increasingly digital universe where live streamers earn as much as $200,000 a month, can virtual relationships replace real-life human connection? PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF DESIRE tells the stories of two such online stars who have risen from isolation to fame and fortune on NASDAQ-listed YY, China’s largest live streaming platform. Live-streaming  showrooms have become virtual gathering places for hundreds of millions – from the super rich who lavish these online stars with digital gifts, to poor migrant workers who exhaust meager savings idolizing them. All of these characters are brought together in a series of bizarre online talent competitions, where they discover that happiness in their virtual world may be as elusive as in the real one. Director Hao Wu talks with us about his mind-boggling, high-energy documentary that chronicles a technical /social revolution taking place in the world’s most populous country.

 

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For news and updates go to: desire.film

SOCIAL MEDIA

facebook.com/peoplesrepublicofdesire

WINNER – Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature at SXSW

WINNER – Grand Jury Award for International Doc at Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

WINNER – Best Cinematography at CAAMFest

WINNER – Best International Director at Doc Edge Festival

96% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Tragic and terrifying in equal measure, Hao Wu’s look at China’s live-streaming culture offers a dark window into our collective future.” – IndieWire

“Provocative and unsettling as it brings us on a guided tour through the digital marketplace for something resembling human contact.” – Variety

“Yes, Black Mirror is already here.” – Ars Technica

“The ability of “People’s Republic of Desire” to show these familiar desires playing out in futuristic surroundings is invariably surprising and never less than compelling.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“A microcosm of the bizarre fantasy economy and complex, parasitic interdependencies of late capitalism as a whole.” – Katie Rife, AV Club

The Cleaners, Co-Director Moritz Riesewieck (Hans Block)

The riveting new documentary film THE CLEANERS takes us into the hidden third world shadow industry of digital cleaning, where the Internet rids itself of what it doesn‘t like. Here we meet five “digital scavengers” among thousands of people outsourced from Silicon Valley whose job is to delete “inappropriate” content of the net. In a parallel struggle, we meet people around the globe whose lives are dramatically affected by online censorship. A typical “cleaner” must observe and rate thousands of often deeply disturbing images and videos every day, leading to lasting psychological impacts. Yet underneath their work lie profound questions around what makes an image art or propaganda and what defines journalism. Where exactly is the point of balance for social media to be neither an “unlegislated” space nor a forum rife with censorship? THE CLEANERS struggles to come to terms with this new and disconcerting paradigm. Evolving from a shared social vision of a global village to a web of fake news and radicalization, the film charts the rise and fall of social media’s utopian ideology.  We talk about THE CLEANERS role managing what is seen and not seen on the internet, who are they, what are the criteria and why are the companies who are paying them so determined to remain hidden. Co-director Moritz Riesewieck (Hans Block) joins us for an engaging and provocative conversation on the lack of transparency and unaccountability from the people who have promised the world the opposite.

For news and updates go to: The Cleaners

92% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The chilling, morally hyper-conscious film “The Cleaners”… introduces us to a handful of these hidden, meagerly paid office workers, cogs in a shadow business headquartered mainly in Manila in unassuming buildings.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“The Cleaners is a riveting piece of work, prompting reflection on a whole range of big, urgent questions.” – Jake Wilson, The Age Australia

“It is the starting point for a wide-ranging examination of complex issues surrounding freedom of speech, censorship and corporate responsibility.” – Allan Hunter, Screen International

“With its excellent cinematography, ominous tone and incredibly relevant subject matter, The Cleaners is a masterclass in documentary filmmaking.” – Adam Patterson, Film Pulse

Astral, Director Chris Mul

ASTRAL is the story of a son coming to terms with the explanation of his mother’s untimely death. Searching for answers, Alex turns to spiritual contact after the relationship with his father breaks down. As a student of metaphysics, Alex learns of the “scientific” premise of astral projection-the ability to project your spirit into an unseen spatial dimension. Attempting to astral project, Alex becomes plagued by shadow spirits-malevolent entities vying to enter his body to access our world. Alex soon learns that he is not the only member of his family to have been besieged by such beings, as his mother’s dark past is brought to his attention. ASTRAL was co-written by Chris and Michael Mul and is Chris Mul’s directorial debut. The film stars Frank Dillane (FEAR THE WALKING DEAD) and features a bright up-and-coming cast of young actors.  Vertical Entertainment will release ASTRAL in a multi-city theatrical release with markets including LA and NY among others on November 23. The film will also be made available on digital platforms such as iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Xbox, Fandango Now, Direct TV, Dish Network and through local cable providers. Director and co-writer Chris Mul (Michael Mul) joins us to talk about shooting his slick and stylish psychological thriller on an insanely tight production schedule while trying to optimize the performances from talented cast of young actors.

 

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For news and updates go to: Facebook.com/HorrorGeeklife

The Great Mother, Co-director Dave LaMattina (Chad Walker)

Nora Sandigo is a fierce immigration activist who serves as the legal guardian for U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants who have been deported. Were it not for her, many would be forced into the foster care system, keeping them legally separated from their parents. THE GREAT MOTHER profiles this inspiring woman, who not only provides economic, legal and emotional support for her charges, but lobbies Congress for immigration reform despite an increasingly hostile political climate. Filmed over two years, and encompassing both the 2016 election and its aftermath, the film captures two of the most tumultuous years on record for immigrants. THE GREAT MOTHER is a personal look at immigration through the eyes of Nora Sandigo, legal guardian to over 1,000 US-born children of undocumented immigrants. Without Nora as their guardian, if the parents of these US-citizen children are deported, the kids will be sent to foster care. After three months, they can be adopted, ending any chance of a reunion. With Nora as the guardian, however, not only will the kids never enter foster care, but Nora will also battle to keep their parents from being deported. THE GREAT MOTHER captures the tension of the 2016 election and its aftermath, the film captures the most tumultuous years on record for immigrants in a deeply personal way. Co-director Dave LaMattina (Chad Walker) joins us to talk about the heartbreaking reality that immigrant refugees face and the collateral damage that comes with a broken immigration system

For news and updates go to: greatmotherfilm.com

Social Media:

twitter.com/GreatMotherFilm

instagram.com/greatmotherfilm

facebook.com/greatmotherfilm

Monrovia, Indiana – Director Frederick Wiseman

Located in mid-America, MONROVIA, INDIANA, (population 1,063) founded in 1834, is primarily a farming community. MONROVIA, INDIANA is about the day-to-day experiences living and working in Monrovia, with emphasis on community organizations and institutions, religion and daily life in this farming community. These towns were once the backbone of American life. While their number and populations have shrunk, the importance of rural America as a formative center of American politics and values was demonstrated in the 2016 presidential election. The film explores the conflicting stereotypes and illustrates how values like community service, duty, spiritual life, generosity and authenticity are formed, experienced and lived. MONROVIA, INDIANA gives a complex and nuanced view of daily life in Monrovia and provides some understanding of a rural, mid-American way of life that has always been important in America but whose influence and force have not always been recognized or understood in the big cities on the east and west coasts of America and in other countries. Since  1967,  Frederick  Wiseman  has  directed  42 documentaries — dramatic, narrative films that seek to portray ordinary human  experience in a wide  variety  of  contemporary social  institutions. His films include TITICUT FOLLIES, HIGH  SCHOOL, WELFARE, JUVENILE COURT, BOXING GYM, LA  DANSE,  BALLET, CENTRAL PARK, BALLET, LA COMEDIE FRANCAISE, BELFAST, MAINE, and EX LIBRIS – The New York Public Library. At the 2016 Academy Awards ceremony Frederick Wiseman received an Honorary Award (Governors Awards) for a lifetime of brilliant filmmaking. He joins us to talk about his latest cinematic treasure, Monrovia Indiana.

 

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For news and updates on all of Frederick Wiseman’s work go to: zipporah.com

“He’s arguably the most brilliant, brave and innovative person working in his field.” – Terry Atkinson, Los Angeles Times

“Rigorously shot, impeccably edited and at times startling in their beauty, these films usher us into often otherwise anonymous spaces and lives, and help make the invisible visible.” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

Social Media: facebook.com/pages/Zipporah Films

90% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The result is surprisingly companionable and enjoyable, an unhurried look at a location that is in no kind of rush, a place that is concerned most of all with preserving the way it’s always been.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“Legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman turns his camera on a pro-gun, pro-God Midwestern town and gives us a landmark view of what it looks like to live in Trump’s America.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“A calmly analytical film in which-as ever in Wiseman’s work-extended discussions and public debates are developed with an absorbing dramatic power.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker

“The unavoidable political implications of “Monrovia, Indiana” give its observations an undeniable urgency.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

I Am the Revolution, Director Benedatta Argentieri

I AM THE REVOLUTION is the inspiring documentary about three women fighting for freedom and gender equality – Selay Ghaffar, Rojda Felat, and Yanar Mohammed- while living in three of the worst countries in the world for women: Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq. Each country reflects the groundswell of feminist revolutions: political revolution in Afghanistan, armed in Syria, and grassroots activism in Iraq. Taking a journalistic approach, the film challenges the images of veiled, silent, and timid women in the Middle East and instead shows the strength of women rising up on the front lines, in remote villages, and in city streets, to claim their voice and their rights. Director Benedetta Argentieri is an independent journalist and director based in New York and I AM THE REVOLUTION is her second film. Since 2014 she has been covering the Iraqi and Syrian war, with several trips on the ground. Her work as a journalist has appeared in publication that include including Reuters, The Sunday Times, Quartz, and Corriere della Sera. In 2016 she co-directed with Bruno Chiaravalloti and Claudio Jampaglia, “Our War”, a documentary about foreigners joining the Kurds in Syria to fight the Islamic State. In 2013 she co-produced “Capulcu-Voices from Gezi”, a documentary about the revolt that occurred in Gezi Park in Istanbul, Turkey, which won several awards including the Amnesty International award. Director Benedatta Argentieri to talk about her thrilling and enlighting look at three extraordinarily brave women and the people who support their groundbreaking movement.

For news and updates go to: possibilefilm.com – I Am the Revolution

Social Media

facebook.com/IAmTheRevolutionTheMovie