September 21 – Colette, Director Wash Westmoreland

After marrying a successful Parisian writer known commonly as “Willy” (Dominic West), Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Keira Knightley) is transplanted from her childhood home in rural France to the intellectual and artistic splendor of Paris. Soon after, Willy convinces Colette to ghostwrite for him. She pens a semi-autobiographical novel about a witty and brazen country girl named Claudine, sparking a bestseller and a cultural sensation. After its success, Colette and Willy become the talk of Paris and their adventures inspire additional Claudine novels. Colette’s fight over creative ownership and gender roles drives her to overcome societal constraints, revolutionizing literature, fashion and sexual expression. Director and screenwriter Wash Westmoreland stops by to talk about the story behind a remarkable trailblazing feminist, writer, performer and cultural icon whose influence has inspired artists for the last 100 years.

 

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

“Knightley is exceedingly well-equipped to carry this magnificent film on her own — an Oscar-nominated performance for sure.” – Jeanne Kaplan, Kaplan vs. Kaplan

“A witty, spirited portrait of the great French writer and libertine during the early Belle Époque years of her career.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

“This timely and gorgeously shot account of a beloved French writer foregrounds Colette’s remarkable freedom from conventional norms as she finds her artistic voice.” – Erica Abeel, Film Journal International

“At first presenting itself as a tightly corseted Big Eyes set during the Belle Époque, Colette erupts into a fun, frothy, and unmistakably feminist biopic.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

“The film has a towering performance from Keira Knightley, who plays Colette with such warmth and fiery feminism, that it would be hard not to make woman’s past run parallel with today’s world.” – Jordan Ruimy, The Playlist

September 21 – Socrates, Director Alex Moratto

In the days following his mother’s sudden death, Socrates (Christian Malheiros), a 15-year-old living on São Paulo’s margins, faces the difficulties of surviving on his own and coming to terms with his grief. SOCRATES was produced with a crew of 16-20 year-olds from the Querô Institute, a UNICEF-supported project that provides social inclusion through filmmaking to underprivileged youths in the Baixada Santista region of São Paulo, Brazil. SOCRATES was also written by Thayná Mantesso a 20 year-old Brazilian screenwriter and graduate of the Querô Institute.  SOCRATES was filmed with a micro-budget of under $20,000. Alex Moratto’s award-winning short films NOWHERE TO BE FOUND, THE PARTING and THE OTHER SIDE have screened at international film festivals. SOCRATES is Alex Moratto’s debut feature film. The film was produced by Ramin Bahrani (99 HOMES) and stars Christian Malheiros and Tales Ordakji. Director Alex Moratto joins us for a conversation on working with a young non-professionals, UNICEF and producing his debut feature film.

For news and updates go to: socratesfilm.com

September 21 – Letter from Masanjia, Director Leon Lee

Written and directed by internationally acclaimed filmmaker and Peabody Award winner, Leon Lee, LETTER FROM MASANJIA is an astonishing & riveting documentary follows the true story of an Oregon woman who finds a desperate SOS letter penned by a political prisoner in her Halloween decorations and the nail-biting chain of events that it sparks when she takes the letter public, exposing appalling flagrant human rights violations – that leads to sweeping labor reform in China. The impact of what those two unlikely heroes have accomplished is even more profound in today’s rapidly boiling over political climate, not just in China but around the rest of the world. LETTER FROM MASANJIA is a devastating tale of human rights violations in current day China with corporate giants across the globe receiving prisoner labor efforts for Halloween decorations, asking no questions in a price for pennies on the dollar. This is the tale of one political prisoners desperate plea to alert the world to horrors most of society sweeps under the carpet. Director and writer Leon Lee stops by to talk about the hundreds of thousands of people currently incarcerated in labor camps, and the millions more living in fear as well as the people resisting a totalitarian regime.

 

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For news and updates goto: letterfrommasanjia.com

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Sun Yi’s stoicism is admirable and moving, but it’s his ex-wife Fu Ning’s tearful recollection of their separation that cements the story in your mind.” – Adam Keller, Film Threat

“‘Letter From Masanjia’ is a bracing reminder of our sometimes blindered approach to globalization and the effects of simple actions.” Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times

“It’s an important story, made more intense by its tight focus.” – Ken Jaworowski, New York Times

“A disquieting exposé of China’s human-rights abuses… The perseverance on show should leave viewers inspired to learn more.” – Lucy Liu, Georgia Straight

2018 Los Angels Film Festival * 9/20 – 9/28

 

This Teacher – Director and writer Mark Jackson 

This Teacher follows a French Muslim woman (Cesar-winner Hafsia Herzi) as she travels to New York City to visit her childhood best friend from the rough neighborhoods outside of Paris. When the reunion proves disastrous, Hafsia steals her friend’s credit card and identity, and disappears to a remote cabin upstate. Deep in the woods and alone for the first time in her life, she experiences a divine revelation of an existence without borders. But when she discovers that she’s not alone on the property, Hafsia’s sojourn in nature gradually descends into a terrifying study of the intolerance and suspicion she encounters and reflects back to an Islamophobic America. Written and directed by Mark Jackson featuring a score composed from the Grammy nominated Dave Eggar, the film stars: Cesar-winner Hafsia Herzi (The Secret of the Grain) Sarah Kazemy (Circumstance) Lucy Walters (Power), Kevin Kane (Inside Amy Schumer), and Lev Gorn (The Americans). Jackson’s previous films have won 17 awards including an Independent Spirit Award and a Gotham Nomination. Jackson is also a Sundance, Cinereach and Skywalker Sound Fellow. Director and writer Mark Jackson (War Story, Without) joins us for a conversation on This Teachers’ premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival, intolerance and not being afraid to love.

 

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This Teacher (LAFF World Premiere screening at September 22nd, 2018 at 4pm (with red carpet media check-in at 3pm) at ArcLight Culver City.

The Wrong Todd – Directed by Rob Schulbaum

Resistant to change, Todd (Jesse Rosen) finds himself at a crossroads when his girlfriend Lucy (Anna Rizzo) is offered a promotion on the other side of the country. Before he can decide whether to stay or go, Todd’s evil twin from a parallel universe arrives to take his place, and Todd must face the prospect of a world without Lucy.  With the reluctant help of Lucy’s brother, Dave (Sean Carmichael), Lucy and Todd must confront the barriers to their relationship, their perception of self, and the laws of the universe itself to distinguish the wrong Todd from the right one. The Wrong Todd is a new take on a sci-fi-fi comedy drama with the added bonus of an evil twin from a parallel universe. The Wrong Todd is about championing love, accepting change, and realizing what you’ve taken for granted before it truly is too late.  Inspired by the works of Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Harold Ramis (Groundhog Day) The Wrong Todd answer the question so many people think but never articulate “what is wrong with me?” Starring Jesse Rosen (The Art of Being Straight), Anna Rizzo (Lost in Bloom), Sean Carmichael (Trinity), Derek K. Moore (Ghostbusters), and Erin Rose. Director Rob Schulbaum (Family Guy), joins us to talk about his directorial debut.

The Wrong Todd (LAFF World Premiere screening at September 24th, 2018 at 7:15pm (with red carpet media check-in at 6:15pm) at ArcLight Culver City.

For news and updates go to: thewrongtodd.com

LA Muse Narrative Feature Film

We The Coyotes – Co-directors Hanna Ladoul and Marco La Via

Making the films USA debut (it world premiered in the Acid section of Cannes this spring), We The Coyotes by first-time feature filmmakers Hanna Ladoul and Marco La Via, was inspired by the adventure and challenges of their own early days in Los Angeles. Enveloped in the love bubble a young couple, played by Morgan Saylor (Homeland) and McCaul Lombardi (Sollers Point), arrive from their cross-country trip from the midwest to stay with her aunt Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad), where we continually see them encounter the challenges of their first day in Los Angeles. The city is as much a character in this intimate drama as this young couple, as they find their hopes often crushed under the realities of what you encounter in any major city, much less the city of dreams.  Not unlike countless twenty-somethings over the decades, our westward-bound couple in We The Coyotes arrive in Los Angeles with half-formed plans and half-empty pockets, but we see how tensions bend and shape them while the will to survive drives them on. Co-directors Hanna Ladoul and Marco La Via stop by to talk about their unvarnished, thought provoking film.

We The Coyotes (LAFF Premiere screening at September 26th, 2018 at 7pm (with red carpet media check-in at 6pm) at ArcLight Culver City). 

September 7 – City of Joy, Director Madeleine Gavin

City of Joy follows the first class of students at a remarkable leadership center in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a region often referred to as “the worst place in the world to be a woman.” These women have been through unspeakable violence spurred on by a 20 year war driven by colonialism and greed. In the film, they band together with the three founders of this center: Dr. Denis Mukwege (2016 Nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize), radical playwright and activist Eve Ensler (“The Vagina Monolgoues”) and human rights activist, Christine Schuler-Deschryver, to find a way to create meaning in their lives even when all that was meaningful to them has long been stripped away. In this ultimately uplifting film, we witness the tremendous resilience as these women transform their devastation into powerful forms of leadership for their beloved country. Director, writer and editor Madeleine Gavin stops by to talk about this beautifully told story of unspeakable cruelty, remarkable resilience and unconditional love in a desperately poor country in a region of the world renown for violence.

 

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For news and updates go to: netflix.com/City of Joy

“City Of Joy is, in as far as it goes, a powerful film, reminding viewers that survival itself is something to be proud of and consigning the notion that a raped woman is ruined forever to the dustbin of history.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

August 31 – Active Measures, Director Jack Bryan

ACTIVE MEASURES chronicles the most successful espionage operation in Russian history, the American presidential election of 2016. Filmmaker Jack Bryan exposes a 30-year history of covert political warfare devised by Vladmir Putin to disrupt, and ultimately control world events. In the process, the filmmakers follow a trail of money, real estate, mob connections, and on the record confessions to expose an insidious plot that leads directly back to The White House. With democracy hanging in the balance, ACTIVE MEASURES is essential viewing. Unraveling the true depth and scope of “the Russia story” as we have come to know it, this film a jarring reminder that some conspiracies hide in plain sight. Director / Producer / Writer stops by to talk about his comprehensive, searing indictment of a vast, corrupting totalitarian political system determined to destroy any vestige of self-governance and democratic institutions.

 

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For news and updates go to: activemeasures.com

Check for a theatre near you – activemeasures.com/tickets

Host your own an Active Measures screening

“[A] thorough, chilling rabbit-hole inquiry …” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“It’s a lot to take in, as names and numbers zip by, yet missing some of its points may be healthy. To explore every moment is to risk overdosing on outrage.” – Ken Jaworowski, New York Times

“‘Active Measures’ names the names and fills in the flowchart of Trump’s corruption with gripping authority.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“Well researched and truly frightening.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

August 24 – A Whale of a Tale, Director Megumi Sasaki

In 2010, Taiji, a sleepy fishing town in Japan, suddenly found itself in the worldwide media spotlight. THE COVE, a documentary denouncing the town’s longstanding whale and dolphin hunting traditions, won an Academy Award and almost overnight, Taiji became the go-to destination and battleground for activists from around the world. Can a proud 400-year-old whaling tradition survive a tsunami of modern animal-rights activism and colliding forces of globalism vs. localism? A WHALE OF A TALE reveals the complex story behind the ongoing debate. Told through a wide range of characters including local fishermen, international activists and an American journalist (and long time Japanese resident), this powerful documentary unearths a deep divide in eastern and western thought about nature and wildlife and cultural sensitivity in the face of global activism. In 2008, Filmmaker Megumi Sasaki directed and produced her first feature-length documentary HERB & DOROTHY, about legendary New York art collectors Herb and Dorothy Vogel.  The film went on to win top honors at many international film festivals and was released theatrically nationwide and as a part of PBS’s Independent Lens series. In 2013, Megumi completed the highly anticipated follow-up HERB & DOROTHY 50X50, focusing on the next (and final) chapter in the lives of the beloved couple. Director Megumi Sasaki joins us for a frank and wide-open conversation on the why she felt that telling this story was important and critical to understanding another side of a complex issue that has implication far beyond the shores of Tajii.

 

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For news and updates go to: awhaleofatalefilm.com

A Whale of the Tale is playing this week at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles

Social Media

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“A Whale of a Tale is a corrective, countering The Cove‘s agitprop sensationalism with a measured and nuanced curiosity.” – The Village Voice

“A Whale of a Tale is a great spectacle that presents the other side of a matter that was too one-sided until now, and that is where its biggest value lies.”– Asian Film Vault

“A Whale of a Tale delivers a thoughtful riposte to The Cove“ – Hollywood Reporter

“An illuminating examination of the still-ongoing conflict.” – Film Journal International

August 17 – The Captain, Director Robert Schwentke

Based on the arresting true story of the Executioner of Emsland, The Captain follows a German army deserter, Willi Herold (Max Hubacher), after he finds an abandoned Nazi captain’s uniform in the final weeks of World War II. Emboldened by the authority the uniform grants him, he amasses a band of stragglers who cede to his command despite the suspicions of some. Citing direct orders from the Fuhrer himself, he soon takes command of a camp holding German soldiers accused of desertion and begins to dispense harsh justice. Increasingly intoxicated by the unquestioned authority, this enigmatic imposter soon discovers that many people will blindly follow the leader, whomever that happens to be. Simultaneously a historical docudrama and sociological examination with undertones of the absurd, The Captain presents fascism as something of a game to be played by those most gullible and unscrupulous. Director Robert Schwentke stops by for a conversation on the troubling implications of this tale of myopic madness sanctioned by a psychotic regime on the verge of collapse.

 

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For news and updates go to: musicboxfilms.com/The Captain

74% on Rotten Tomatoes

“It compels our attention with a remorseless, gripping single-mindedness, presenting Naziism as a communicable disease that smothers conscience, paralyzes resistance and extinguishes all shreds of humanity.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times

“Schwentke intends for these actions to parallel what Wehrmacht participated in against Jews and Roma …This astute film is an excoriating portrait of Nazism or fascism.” – Nora Lee Mandel, Film-Forward

“A brave and uncompromising indictment of human nature, Teutonic or otherwise.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

“We are left to contemplate this vision of Fascism as a machine that, once turned on, can sustain itself even in the absence of explicit direction from above.” – David Edelstein, New York Magazine / Vulture

August 17 – The Swan, Director Asa Hjorleifsdottir

In contemporary rural Iceland, a wayward 9-year old girl, Sól, is sent to distant countryside relatives for a summer to work and to mature. Nature seems endless there, the animals soulful but the people harsh. All except the mysterious farmhand Jón, who – as Sól herself – likes words better than people. But the farmers’ daughter Ásta has a claim on Jón as well, and soon Sól becomes entangled in a drama she hardly can grasp. This summer marks Sól’s rite of passage into the murky waters of adulthood, and the wild nature in us all. Director and screenwriter  Asa Hjorleifsdottir stops by for a conversation on directing a first-time actor in the lead role, returning to her own childhood community and Icelandic traditions.

 

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For news and updates go to: facebook.com/svanurinn2016 or facebook.com/theswan

80% on Rotten Tomatoes

“A gently moving, lyrical and unflinching coming-of-age drama with a terrific performance by newcomer Gríma Valsdóttir.” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru

“Anchored by a remarkable child’s performance, The Swan is a sensitive example of an overlooked element in coming-of-age films: awakening to the outside world.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice

“It’s that forceful central performance that really makes The Swan special, together with Martin Neumeyer’s atmospheric but never overbearing cinematography, which brings out the light as well as the darkness in the hills.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“A coming-of-age drama that’s as beautiful and brutal as the remote, rural landscape of northern Iceland where it takes place.” – Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com

NICO, 1988, Director Susanna Nicchiarelli

NICO, 1988 features a tour de force performance from Trine Dyrholm’s as the aging Nico (aka Christa Päffgen), interpreting rather than impersonating the famed singer-songwriter as she approaches 50. Leading a solitary existence in Manchester Nico’s life and career are on the ropes, a far cry from her glamorous days as a Warhol superstar and celebrated vocalist for The Velvet Underground. Nico’s new manager Richard (John Gordon Sinclair) convinces her to hit the road again and tour Europe to promote her latest album. Struggling with her demons and the consequences of a muddled life, she longs to rebuild a relationship with the son Ari (Sandor Funtek) she lost custody of long ago. A brave and uncompromising musician, Nico’s is the story of an artist, a mother, and the woman behind the icon. Director Susanna Nicchiarelli joins us to talk about Trine Dyrholm’s raw performance and her own unvarnished look into the post-iconic world of NICO and into the tortuous journey that Christa Päffgen took, as an artist and mother, towards the person she knew she wanted to be.

 

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For news and updates go to: nico1988.com

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Writer/director Susanna Nicchiarelli and star Trine Dyrholm craft a late-career biopic that acts not only as a portrait of a complex figure, but recognises the considerable toll of daring not to conform.” – Sarah Ward, Screen International

“Nicchiarelli dives deeply into the life of a tragic but remarkable woman, memorably portrayed by Danish actress and singer Trine Dyrholm as an unpleasant, hurtful junkie plagued with memories and regrets.” – Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter

“Nico, 1988 shows us how extraordinary the biopic can be when it is freed from unnecessary restrictions to embrace the idiosyncrasies of its subject.” – Lee Jutton, Film Inquiry

“Remarkably personal, with a bold, gritty edge that echoes the intensity of both Nico’s singing and Trine Dyrholm’s thunderous performance.” – Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

Pin Cushion, Director Deborah Haywood

Super close Mother Lyn and daughter Iona (Dafty One and Dafty Two) are excited for their new life in a new town. Determined to make a success of things after a tricky start, Iona becomes ‘best friends’ with Keely, Stacey and Chelsea. Used to being Iona’s bestie herself, Lyn feels left out. So Lyn also makes friends with Belinda, her neighbor. As much as Lyn and Iona pretend to each other that things are going great, things aren’t going great for either of them. Iona struggles with the girls, who act more like frenemies than friends, and Belinda won’t give Lyn her stepladders back. Both Mother and Daughter retreat into fantasy and lies. Anchored by two remarkable performances by the film’s leads, Joanna Scanlon (Lyn) and Lily Newmark (Iona) writer / director Deborah Haywood feature film debut confidently delivers a lacerating take on bullying, cruelty and mental illness.

 

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For news and updates go to: pincushionfilm.co.uk

Social Media:

instagram.com/pincushionfilm

facebook.com/pinCushionfilm

Twitter.com/PinCushionFilm

94% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Pin Cushion is most emotionally piercing in depicting the daily ways in which the world still punishes this loving, mild-as-milk woman for her difference.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“Writer-director Deborah Haywood makes her feature directorial debut with the surreal and whimsical mother-daughter nightmare Pin Cushion, driven by a singular vision and masterful control of a unique tone, which tiptoes the line of beauty and terror.” – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times

“The film is like a cross between a crocheted bunny and a nail bomb.” – Wendy Ide, Observer

“Pin Cushion is a whimsical and achingly sad story.” – Emily Sears, Birth.Movies.Death

McQueen, Co-director Peter Ettedgui (Ian Bonhote)

Born and raised in East London’s working-class Stratford neighborhood, nothing in the background of Lee Alexander McQueen hinted at his future. The youngest of six children, Lee  might have been expected to become a plumber, a bricklayer or perhaps a cab driver like his  father. Instead, McQueen’s fierce romanticism and punk poetry helped create 1990s-era “Cool  Britannia,” a celebration of youth culture in the U.K. For perhaps the first time since the  Swinging Sixties, a lad from the East End of London could — and  did — become one of the most  original and influential artists of his time. Filmmakers Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui capture the life and work of a unique creative talent in all his glorious anarchy in their new film, McQueen. They offer a thrilling portrait of McQueen’s life and complex persona, following him as he conquers the world of fashion with designs as ravishing as they are sinister. From his apprenticeship at an old-school Savile Row tailor and haberdasher, where he displayed a preternatural knack for pattern cutting and tailoring, to his death at only 40, the film breaks the rules of documentary storytelling with its mosaic of standalone fragments shot in different  styles, which accumulate and combine to create a groundbreaking, multi-faceted portrait. Through exclusive interviews with his closest friends and family, recovered archives, exquisite visuals and music, McQUEEN is an authentic celebration and thrilling portrait of an inspired yet tortured fashion visionary. Co-director and writer Peter Ettedgui (co-director Ian Bonhote) talks about the making of a personal and intimate look into the  extraordinary life career and artistry of one of the most influential fashion designers of our time.

 

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

Social Media:

facebook.com/McQueenFilm

twitter.com/mcqueenfilm

youtube.com/bleeckerstfilms

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The intricacy of the pieces and stagings… makes McQueen the relatively rare documentary that demands to be seen on the big screen.” – Inkoo  Kang, Slate

“In the crowded field of fashion docs, this one stands tall.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

“This intelligent, honest documentary explores McQueen’s complex personality without getting tacky or tabloidy, or ignoring his dark side.” – Cath Clarke, Time Out

“There’s so much fresh air in this stunningly good biography that it feels like you’ve never encountered a rags-to-riches, tortured-artist story before. Not just for fashion lovers.” – MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Filosopher

Netflix’s Dark Tourist, Director David Farrier

Netflix newest series Dark Tourist is the latest project of New Zealand journalist / filmmaker David Farrier, (Tickled), the doc that uncovered an unbelievable tickle fetish empire. In the new NETFLIX series, Farrier travels around the world trying to find the most dangerous and scariest experiences available to tourists. In the show we see a wounded Farrier going into an eerie hospital, being at the center of a war zone, a man breaking a statue on his own head, a killer named Popeye holding the gun at someone, and a woman telling Farrier to stay back because she doesn’t want him to be “possessed.” In one Los Angeles based episode Farrier is warned that he’ll be hurt, drowned, and buried. And yet nothing seems to deter this intrepid thrill seeker. Dark Tourist Director and creator David Farrier joins us to talk about the where, why and WTF of his newest adventure.

 

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For news and updates go to: netflix.com

Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda, Director Stephen Nomura Schible

One of the most important artists of our era, Ryuichi Sakamoto has had a prolific career spanning over four decades. From techno-pop stardom to Oscar-winning film composer, the evolution of his music has coincided with his life journeys. Following Fukushima, Sakamoto became an iconic figure in Japan’s social movement against nuclear power. As Sakamoto returns to music following a cancer diagnosis, his haunting awareness of life crises leads to a resounding new masterpiece. RYUICHI SAKAMOTO: CODA is an intimate portrait of both the artist and the man. Director and writer Stephen Nomura Schible joins us for a conversation on his own journey into the internal and external world of Ryuichi’s inspiring spiritual and musical journey.

 

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For news and updates go to: coda.mubi.com

96% on Rotten Tomatoes

“This is a documentary that rejects every behind-the-scenes cliché around, and stands as an immensely moving and inspiring piece of cinema in its own right.” – Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph (UK)

“By the end of this documentary, you will feel as if you not only understand Mr. Sakamoto intellectually, but also share a sense of the excitement he feels when discovering just the right match of sounds.” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times

“Sakamoto is fascinating to watch. He’s a charming, lively presence, and it’s always a pleasure to watch his expressions of delight and surprise at the new sounds he’s discovering, his own or nature’s.” – Jonathan Romney, Film Comment Magazine

“Like Sakamoto himself, the documentary stretches boundaries, shifting forward and back through time, weaving archival clips and news footage with scenes of Sakamoto composing, rehearsing, experimenting and traveling.” – Daniel Eagan, Film Journal International

A Midsummer Night Dream, Director Casey Wilder Mott

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s most beloved creations. The frolicking tale of lovesick young aristocrats, energetic but inept rustics, and mischievous woodland spirits is a staple of stage and screen. In the past, filmed adaptations have emphasized the play’s traditional, Elizabethan qualities. This production however is a fresh and stylish reinvention that takes an entirely different approach.The story takes place in present day Hollywood – a place where glamorous stars, commanding moguls, starving artists and vaulting pretenders all vie to get ahead. Hollywood is sometimes called “The Dream Factory,” and like the world of Shakespeare’s Dream, it’s a place where fantasy and reality collide.In the tradition of Baz Luhrmann’s rapturous reimagining of Romeo + Juliet, this modern vision breathes new life into a classic tale. Combined with a cast of established and emerging stars, as well as a pulsing original soundtrack, the film will appeal to ardent fans of the Shakespeare as well as audiences discovering Shakespeare for the first time. Director and screenwriter Casey Wilder Mott talk with us about the challenges and rewards of re-imagining one of the Bard’s most endearing plays.

 

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For news and updates go to: amidsummernightsdreammovie.com

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“If you’re hoping to see a production just like the one that would have been done in 1596, this ain’t it. But Mott’s version is a hell of a good time in its own right.” – Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com

“Mott’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” may not have a high bar to reach to be better than average as filmed Shakespearean comedies go. But by any standard, it’s a modest, resourceful and unexpected delight.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“Darned if Casey Wilder Mott’s feature directorial debut doesn’t prove to be a disarmingly effective, visually vibrant frolic.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times

“Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth and indulge in a film I feel certain Shakespeare himself would enjoy.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat

“A vibrant dose of California dreamin’.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

Path of Blood, Director Jonathan Hacker

PATH OF BLOOD depicts Islamist terrorism, as it has never been seen before. Drawn from a hoard of jihadi home-movie footage that was captured by Saudi security services, this is the story of Muslim terrorists targeting Muslim civilians and brought to justice by Muslim security agents. It is a stark reminder that all who are touched by terrorism are victimized by it. A powerful and sometimes shocking cinematic experience, PATH OF BLOOD reveals how brainwashed youths, fuelled by idealism and the misguided pursuit of adventure, can descend into madness and carnage. The raw, unvarnished footage, to which the filmmakers negotiated exclusive access, captures young thrill-seekers at a jihadi “boot camp” deep in the Saudi desert, having signed on to overthrow the Saudi government. They plot to detonate car bombs in downtown Riyadh, become embroiled in a game of cat-and-mouse with government forces and, as their plans unravel, resort to ever more brutal tactics. Adopting a strictly objective approach, the film doesn’t editorialize and contains no interviews or “talking heads” commentary. The home video footage was shot by the terrorists themselves, allowing viewers to see them in all their complexity, while compelling audiences to draw their own conclusions.  Director / Producer Jonathan Hacker  is a documentary producer and director with numerous awards under his belt including the prestigious BAFTA and RTS awards. He joins us for a conversation on his frightening look at operational level of terrorism and the people who commit these heinous crimes.

 

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http://www.pathofbloodfilm.com/

83% on Rotten Tomatoes

“It commands attention as an object lesson in the banality of evil.” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times

“Operates as a potent reminder of the randomness, and casual cruelty of modern terrorism, the way it leeches out the humanity of victims and perpetrators on both sides.” – Leslie Pelperin, Guardian

“The film is compiled from footage that was shot by the terrorists themselves… And the fact that the film offers no real sense of hope makes it that much more alarming.” – Rich Clines, Shadows on the Wall

“This is a dazzlingly revealing and upsetting film.” – Nigel Andrews, Financial Times

Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts, Director Mouly Surya

In the deserted hills of an Indonesian island, Marlina, a young widow, is attacked and robbed of all her livestock by a gang of seven bandits. She then defends herself, setting out on a journey to find justice, empowerment, retribution and redemption. But the road is long, especially when she begins to be haunted by the ghost of her victim. A stunning ‘Scope western set to a Morricone-inspired score, this unique tale of female cinematic revenge takes no prisoners.  Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts, was directed by Indonesian-born Mouly Surya.  This feminist revenge tale had its world premiere at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight. It opens nationwide, including Los Angeles at the    Laemmle’s Monica Film Center on July 6, 2018Mouly Surya is considered one of Indonesia’s most gifted filmmakers, Surya premiered her award-winning debut, Fiksi, at the Busan International FIlm Festival. Her second feature What They Don’t Talk About When They Talk About Love had its world premiere at Sundance and went on to many festivals including Karlovy Vary and Rotterdam, where it received the NETPAC Award. In addition to making films, she also teaches directing. Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts, is her third film. Mouly Surya joins us to talk about her elegant allegory on revenge, justice and self-determination.

 

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For news and updates go to: kimstim.com/marlina

Selected Awards & Film Festivals

Winner, Grand Prize, Tokyo FilmEX
Winner, Best Actress, Sitges Cataonian Film Festival
Winner, Best Picture, QCinema International Film Festival
Winner, Special Mention, Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival
Winner, NETPAC Award, Five Flavors Film Festival
Winner, Best Film, Best Actress, Best Camera,
Best Score and Best Art Direction, Maya Awards
Cannes International Film Festival

97% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Simmering with righteous fury.” — Variety

“AN UNWAVERING SLOW BURN… Ms. Surya gives Marlina a stark, steady, captivating look that keeps you engaged.” —Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

“[Marlina] is, like so many classic gunslingers, a killer by circumstance, a desperado with an honorable cause.” – CinemaScope

“The feminist satay Western you need to see; satisfyingly deadpan, viciously vengeful and full of surprises. One of the most ravishingly beautiful films at Cannes.” – The Irish Times
“Going to be loved by arthouse audiences.” – Film Inquiry

Under the Tree, Director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson

UNDER THE TREE is a dark comedy based on real conflicts between neighbors that can often turn violent over trees (yes trees) in Iceland. There is a scarcity of trees in Iceland (which is why they are so treasured) and also a lack of sunshine….so you can see how a conflict would arise when a tree you’d never chop down in your backyard is blocking your neighbor’s sunlight. The films’ director Sigurdsson said he came up with idea when examining how minor conflicts between otherwise friendly neighbors become blown out of proportion and violent. UNDER THE TREE was Iceland’s Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards last year. The film was directed by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson (Either Way) and produced by Grimar Jonsson. Hafsteinn joins us to talk about working with actors primarily known for comedic roles, conveying the film’s escalating tension without passing judgement on the characters actions.

 

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For news and updates go to: underthetreefilm.com

85% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The tone is deliberately odd … blending the naturalism of the day-to-day emotions of relationships and grief, with the altogether more heightened tensions of a revenge thriller, while still keeping a cheeky eye on the absurdity of a mooning garden gnome” – Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film

“Unsettlingly perceptive as well as absurdly comedic, Under the Tree chronicles domestic tensions left to fester; when grudges branch out like a leafy tree in a suburban backyard, everyone suffers.” – Sarah Ward, Screen International

“What the film occasionally lacks in human finesse, it makes up for in sheer anything-goes resolve.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“Each character resonates as a problematic individual whose foolishness escalates first into drama, then tragedy.” – Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter

Official Selection: World Premiere: Venice Film Festival 2017

Official Selection: North American premiere: Toronto International Film Festival 2017

Winner: Best Director (Comedy), Fantastic Fest 2017

Winner: Best Film,  Denver International Film Festival 2017

Winner: International Feature Film, Zurich Film Festival 2017

Winner: Best Narrative Feature, Hamptons International film Festival 2017

Winner: Best Cinematography, Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards 2018

Winner: Best Music, HARPA Nordic Film Composers Award 2016

Half the Picture, Director Amy Adrion

HALF THE PICTURE celebrates the groundbreaking work of female film directors and investigates the systemic discrimination that has, for decades, denied opportunities to far too many talented women in Hollywood. The film consists of interviews with high profile women directors including Ava DuVernay, Jill Soloway, Lena Dunham, Catherine Hardwicke and Miranda July, among many others, who discuss their early careers, how they transitioned to studio films or television, how they balance having a demanding directing career with family, as well as challenges and joys along the way. HALF THE PICTURE also includes interviews with experts about gender inequality in Hollywood including the ACLU’s Melissa Goodman, Sundance Institute’s Caroline Libresco, Vanity Fair’s Rebecca Keegan, USC’s Dr. Stacy Smith and San Diego State University’s Dr. Martha Lauzen, who establish the magnitude of this employment discrimination issue as women are shut out, across the board, of an industry that systemically denies their expression and point of view. HALF THE PICTURE Director / Producer Amy Adrion joins us to talk about a unique time in the film industry where systemic change seems possible and whether, unlike previous efforts to address gender inequality in Hollywood, will this time be different?

 

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For news and updates go to: halfthepicture.com

Social Media:

facebook.com/halfthepicture

instagram.com/halfthepicture

twitter.com/amyadrion

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Half the Picture is a vital, comprehensive documentary on a subject that’s so fundamental to the industry it’s about, you have to wonder why dozens of movies on this scale or bigger haven’t already been made.” – Leslie Felperin

“Half The Picture is an inspiring, important documentary that should be seen by as many people as possible, particularly those who aren’t aware of the problems women face in Hollywood.” – Manon de Reeper, Film Inquiry

“Half the Picture, Amy Adrion’s no-frills documentary, offers a diligent, straightforward overview of the innumerable obstacles facing today’s female directors, both aspiring and accomplished.” – Natalia Winkelman, Film Threat

“A platform for those who want to hear about the reality of being a woman in Hollywood from dozens of women who have lived it, it’s an invaluable resource.” – Rebecca Pahle, Film Journal International

“It’s experiential revelation as advocacy filmmaking, an incisive and inviting example of the personal as political.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice

Cowboy and Preacher, The Life and Times of Tri Robinson, Director Will Fraser

Screening at this year’s Dances with Films, Cowboy and Preacher comes face-to-face with the  degradation of the environment as the most daunting crisis facing humankind. If that isn’t enough, many people oppose action to save the environment or deny there is even a problem. Some of the most vocal and powerful of these people are conservative Christians in the USA. Tri Robinson, a conservative evangelical pastor but also life-long environmentalist, has battled throughout his life to show that Christianity and environmentalism are not mutually exclusive. In fact, environmental stewardship is demanded by Christianity – “with dominion comes responsibility”. Most environmental films are framed for a liberal audience and preach to the converted. This film addresses “unconverted” Christians, while offering liberal non-Christians a fascinating insight into evangelical values and mindset as Tri, at work on his ranch or church, builds up a Biblical case for environmentalism emphasizing respect and responsibility that flies in the face of many on either side. This film is absolutely timely – the destruction of the environment is the most important issue facing all people, and many politicians and voters need to face it. Director Will Fraser (The Genius of Cavaillé-Coll, Martinkerk Rondeau) stops by to talk about breaking down the barriers that are keeping many from an honest conversation on the looming challenge of climate disruption and the impact Tri Robison has had on his own path to spiritual commitment.

 

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For news and updates go to: cowboyandpreacher.com

Cowboy and Preacher Dances with Films screening info

Screening Thursday, June 14 at 2:45 PM at Chinese TCL Theatre

2018 Dances with Films website

Middleground – Director Alisa Khazanova

Trapped in the hotel of her husband’s various business meetings, a woman finds herself adrift between lives when she is approached by a stranger with vivid memories of an affair with her that she can’t remember. She’s always sitting there with her husband. He’s always getting up to take a meeting. The other man always comes and sits, the stranger, who always insists on his account of their past affair, and every time he does, it’s more convincing. Acclaimed Russian actress Alisa Khazanova makes her directorial feature film debut this intriguing and intimate thriller “Middleground” for a limited theatrical release and global VOD/Digital release beginning on June 8th, 2018. Director Alisa Khazanova joins us for a conversation on her Lynchian tale of a woman’s very shifting perception of reality.

 

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For news and updates on Middleground go to: vladar.com

Bridget and Iain, Producer Diana C. Zollicoffer

A mother struggles to accept the man her adult son has become. Directed by Leah Patterson, Bridget and Iain is the story of a mother’s love for her adult son. Bridget, (Vivienne Powell) who tries to do everything ‘right’, learns the limits of her power to manage others. Her son Iain (Damian Sommerlad) is charming, funny, and at times kind. He’s also an addict. Worried sick, Bridget finally gets support to make the changes that need to happen. The film charts the shifting relationship between Bridget and Iain as it reaches crisis point. It’s about maturation, change, and the struggle of trying to help someone you love while possibly enabling the very behavior you see as destructive. Bridget and Iain will resonate with anyone who has experienced the impact of any form of addiction in their lives or who have family members with mental health problems, or challenging relationships. Bridget and Iain Producer Diana C. Zollicoffer brought together an all-female crew for the production. Zollicoffer has also produced the environmental/social justice documentary “Forgotten Bayou” numerous short films and web series including Schmoolie the Deathwatcher (winner of the 2015 San Antonio Film Festival). She recently directed the pilot episode of “Annny Minute Now” and assisted in developing the characters and storyline for the web series. She co-wrote “Free Agent: The Benjamin Brown Story” to be directed by Mykelti Williamson (Purge, Fences, Forest Gump), and has several projects that she is developing and two of which, with the intention to direct. Bridget and Iain recently screened at the Cannes Global Women of Color in Film Day and the Cannes Court Métrage Short Film Corner.  Producer Diana C. Zollicoffer joins us to talk about her award winning new film.

 

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To follow the film on social media:

https://www.instagram.com/bridget_and_iain/

https://www.facebook.com/BridgetAndIainTheFilm/

https://twitter.com/bridget_iain

The Interpreters, Co-directors Andres Caballero and Sofian Khan

More than 50,000 local interpreters helped protect U.S. troops on the ground during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, enabling soldiers to communicate with the local population. But those who took the job were often considered traitors in their own countries. From the acclaimed filmmakers of “Gaucho del Norte,” Andrés Caballero and Sofian Khan, comes the new feature documentary The Interpreters, making its World Premiere at Telluride Mountainfilm Festival on Memorial Day Weekend on Saturday, May 26 and Monday, May 28. The film tells the story of three interpreters woven together over the course of two years, following them as they struggle for safety in the aftermath of war and attempt to rebuild their lives. The idea for The Interpreters came after meeting Phillip Morris,said directors Andrés Caballero and Sofian Khan.We were immediately curious about his journey from the moment he started working with U.S. forces until his arrival to the U.S. with the help of Paul Braun. But simply telling Phillip’s journey would not be enough to tell the full story. We also wanted to know about the stories of the interpreters who were still in hiding, waiting for their Special Immigrant Visas, and those who had given up on the visas and left for Europe as refugees. Our goal with the film is to inform viewers about an important issue, which became even more relevant after the last U.S. election, without overshadowing the personal journeys of the characters.” Co-directors Andres Caballero and Sofian Khan stop by to talk about the challenges and imminent danger that thousands of men and women have faced by assisting US soldiers attempting to connect with local communities.

 

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For news and updates go to: interpreterdoc.com

Social Media:

facebook.com/interpreterdoc

twitter.com/capitalkpics

The Interpreters will have its world premiere at Telluride Mountainfilm Festival on Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday, May 26 and Monday, May 28.

Filmworker – Director Tony Zierra

Filmworker is an observation on how legends and legendary works are created. The complex, productive and interdependent relationship between Leon Vitali and Stanley Kubrick was founded on devotion, artistic passion, sensibility, sacrifice and the grueling joy of the creative process. It’s a rare person who would give up fame and fortune to toil in obscurity for someone else’s creative vision. Yet, that’s exactly what Leon Vitali did after his acclaimed performance as ‘Lord Bullingdon” in Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon. On the brink of a successful acting career, the young actor stepped back from the limelight in order to become the right-hand man to perhaps the most influential and ground-breaking filmmaker of his time, Stanley Kubrick. Vitali played a crucial part in the director’s career, working tirelessly in close collaboration with Kubrick in helping to make and maintain his extraordinary legacy of work. Vitali’s unique working relationship with Kubrick is explored through anecdotes about his candid, funny (and sometimes shocking) experiences with the director, enhanced with a rich variety of previously-unseen archival materials including photos, videos, letters and notebooks from Vitali’s personal collection, and brought together through interviews with actors, family, and key film industry professionals who worked with both Kubrick and Vitali. Filmworker. Director Tony Zierra joins us to talk about the creative process, Stanley Kubrick and his closest and most dedicated collaborator, Leon Vitali, who once described his own occupation simply as “Filmworker.”

 

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For news and updates go to: kinolorber.com/film/filmworker

93% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Movie love at its purest. A celebration of its anonymous inhabitants’ role in bringing our collective dreams to life.” – Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

“Five stars! Tender. A revealing and stirring celebration of one of cinema’s unacknowledged heroes.” – Gwilym Mumford, The Guardian

“An arresting cinemaniac documentary. Pure candy for Kubrick buffs.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“Revealing. A fascinating portrait of Stanley Kubrick’s devoted aide de camp. Honors the hard-working, often unacknowledged craftsmen in the film industry.” – Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter

“Catnip to Kubrick obsessives.” – Tim Grierson, Screen Daily

“The ultimate fan story: a tale of what it means to live vicariously through a genius.” – Ben Kenigsberg, RogerEbert.com

After Auschwitz – Director Jon Kean

Jon Kean’s After Auschwitz, is a “Post-Holocaust” documentary that follows six extraordinary women after their liberation from Nazi concentration camps, capturing what it means to move from tragedy and trauma towards life. Following its North American premiere in Toronto on April 14, the film will have its U.S. theatrical premiere in New York City April 20 and then roll out to select theaters across the country, including Los Angeles and Miami. After Auschwitz, examines the question, “What happens after surviving an unspeakable horror?” with six stories of remarkable women who survived the Holocaust and went on to build lives in the United States, but never truly found a place to call home. For survivors of the Holocaust, liberation was both an incredible moment and a devastating one. It marked the beginning of a life-long struggle. Most wanted to go home, but there was no home left in devastated post-war Europe. Many came to America and wanted to tell people about their experiences, but were silenced. “You’re in America now, put it behind you” is what they were told. The women Kean follows became mothers and wives with successful careers, but never fully healed from the scars of the past. Their stories show the indelible role immigrants and women played in the history of America during the second half of the 20th century, and they serve as our guides on an unbelievable journey – sometimes celebratory, sometimes heart-breaking, but always inspiring. After Auschwitz director, Producer and writer Jon Kean (Kill The Man; Swimming in Auschwitz) stops by for a conversation on the unspeakable horror of the Holocaust and the fierce determination of six remarkable women who refused to allow the genocidal massacre to ruin them.

 

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For news and updates go to: afterauschwitz.com

Social Media:

facebook.com/StoriesOfSixWomen

instagram.com/afterauschwitz

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“For the death camp survivors we meet in the brisk, engaging, and sneakily profound After Auschwitz, the day of liberation was the best and worst day of their lives.” – Gary Thompson, Philadelphia Daily News

“Jon Kean, the director, chose the material wisely and doesn’t shy from severe images. He and his team also have good ears for anecdotes.” – Ken Jaworowski, New York Times

“A powerful testament to individual humanity emerging from inhuman horrors.’ Serena Donadoni, Village

“Lively and moving documentary about six women who survived the Holocaust to live fruitful lives that serve to defy the Nazis’ extermination plans.” – Frank Lovece, Film Journal International