Friday, March 23, 2018 – I Kill Giants, Director Anders Walter

Barbara Thorson (Madison Wolfe) is your new hero. A quick-witted, sharp- tongued middle-schooler who isn’t afraid of anything. As the only girl in school carrying an ancient Norse warhammer in her purse and killing giants for a living, why wouldn’t she be? I Kill Giants is the sweeping, bittersweet story of a young girl struggling to conquer monsters both real and imagined as her world crumbles at the feet of giants bigger than any one child can handle. Based on the best-selling graphic novel by Joe Kelly. I Kill Giants features terrific performances from Zoe Saldana and Imogen Poots. Academy Award winning director Anders Walter joins us to talk about his clever, creative and emotionally resonant feature film debut.

For news and updates go to: xyzfilms/i-kill-giants

“This intimate story about a troubled 12-year-old who’s on a mission to save her town is virtually tone perfect.” – Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times

“A sweetly imaginative, tenderly played coming of age drama.” – Allan Hunter, Screen International

“The vivid cinematography, affecting performance by Wolfe, and lack of saccharine allow the film to resonate not only with the teen target demographic but older viewers as well.” – James Beradinelli, ReelReviews

“I Kill Giants is a dark piece of work for children, which is far from a bad thing.” – Ann Storm, Film Journal International

Friday, March 23, 2018 – The Peacemaker, Director James Demo

The Peacemaker is an intimate portrait of Padraig O’Malley, an international peacemaker who helps make peace for others but struggles to find it for himself. At the heart of the world’s seminal conflicts is an international peacemaker riddled with internal strife. Padraig O’Malley has made it his life’s work to bring leaders on both sides of the most explosive conflicts to the same table. His innovative behind the-scenes work has established Padraig as a publicly unrecognized but highly influential figure in conflict resolution. Yet, these dramatic undertakings serve as a sharp contrast to the man – an alcoholic bar owner who fails to manage the most basic of personal relationships. His solitary life hangs in a delicate balance, bound together by weekly AA meetings and relentless work. As age takes its toll, he begins to lose his only source of solace and the motivation behind his life’s work comes into question. The Peacemaker plunges us into the depths of the journey of a man utterly defined by conflict. The film takes us from Padraig’s isolated life in Cambridge, Massachusetts to some of the most dangerous crisis zones on Earth – from Northern Ireland to Kosovo, Nigeria to Iraq – as he works a peacemaking model based on his recovery from addiction. We meet Padraig in the third act of his life in a race against time to find some kind of salvation for both the world and himself. Director James Demo joins us to talk about his film and the conflicted man working to resolve turmoil internally and in the world.

For news and updates go to:

Visit The Peacemaker’s Facebook page

THE PEACEMAKER filmmaker James Demo and the film’s subject, Padraig O’Malley, will participate in Q&A’s after the 4:40 PM screenings at the Music Hall on Saturday and Sunday, March 24 and 25.


• Jury Award Best Documentary – Cleveland International Film Festival

• Special Jury Award for Vision and Storytelling at the Florida Film Festival

• Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature at the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival

• Service Above Self Award – Chagrin Documentary Film Festival

“The weight of the world is evident in O’Malley’s dour gaze, but it’s clear too, in Demo’s sensitive, piercing portrait, that the endless job he’s carved out for himself is his lifeblood, and its own kind of addiction.” – Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times

“The more we get to know him, the more his core motivation – is he an idealist or something else? – becomes the mystery of the film.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“An intense, intimate portrait of a visionary capable of sophisticated analysis, abrupt anger, self-deprecating wit, and profound insights – all while existing at considerable remove from his fellow man.” – Daphne Howland, Village Voice

“A deeply moving portrait of its truly admirable, complex subject.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

“The movie is a fascinating portrait that is if anything too brief.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

Friday, March 23, 2018 – Beauty and the Dogs, Director Kaouther Ben Hania

BEAUTY AND THE DOGS tells the harrowing story of Mariam, an attractive young Tunisian woman, starts off the evening in carefree spirits at a student party with her girlfriends, where she meets a handsome young man and goes for a walk with him on the beach in the moonlight. In the next scene, she is seen disheveled, running through the streets at night, flinching at every passing car, with her male companion trailing behind. She has been raped by police officers. But her harrowing ordeal has just begun, as she attempts to find help, report the crime, and seek justice, battling overwhelming obstacles to make those guilty accountable. Employing impressive cinematic techniques and anchored by a fiery tour-de-force performance from newcomer Mariam Al Ferjani, Beauty and the Dogs tells an urgent, unapologetic, and important story head-on. A rare film from a female Tunisian writer and director, Kaouther Ben Hania’s startling drama is a striking critique on a repressive society and a forcefully feminist rallying cry. Director and writer Kaouther Ben Hania stops by to talk about her moving portrait of a woman who slowly but surely comes to grips with her increasingly desperate situation.

For news and updates go to: Beauty and the Dogs site at Oscilloscope Films

Beauty and the Dogs is playing at the NuArt Theatre in Los Angeles beginning Friday, March 23 (check out the Nuart listing)

“Beauty and the Dogs plays like an actual, unending nightmare.”

“A crescendo of humiliation, anxiety and abuse, “Beauty and the Dogs” plays like a horror movie where every choice is a Catch-22 and every door a trap.” – Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times

“Her experience becomes an incendiary account of bureaucracy built to overwhelm, a complex commentary on political capital and how justice for one can be justice for all.” – Jared Mobarak, Film Stage

“May 19, 2017

“It’s not an easy watch. But, with its feminist spin on the continued battle for basic legal rights following the 2011 ousting of Tunisia’s Ben Ali regime, it feels like an important one.” – Wendy Ide, Screen International

“A harrowing and necessary film in only nine shots.” – Boys van Hoeij, Hollywood Reporter

Friday, March 16, 2018 – In the Land of Pomegranates, Hava Kohav Beller

In the Land of Pomegranates is a suspenseful, multi-layered documentary about a group of young people who were born into a violent and insidious ongoing war. They are young Palestinians and Israelis invited to Germany to join a retreat called ‘Vacation From War’ where they live under the same roof and face each other every day. In these highly charged encounters they confront the entrenched myths and grievances that each side has for the other. As they try to gain insight into the seemingly irreconcilable narratives, the paradoxes and contradictions born of legend and history along with passionately held ideals and the daily fight for survival surface. Interwoven into this intense footage, adding context, the film also follows other embattled lives in the Occupied Territories and Israel: a mother and her four children living in the shadow of the wall abutting Gaza; an imprisoned Palestinian and the subsequent path he’s taken; an Israeli survivor of a suicide bombing; and a daring Palestinian mother whose son’s life is saved by an Israeli doctor. They are all caught in the duality of the pomegranate: will they embrace rebirth and each other’s humanity, or will they pull the pin on the grenade? We are joined by the Director Hava Kohav Beller (The Restless Conscience: Resistance to Hitler within Germany 1933-1945) for a conversation on what, if any, options may be available to break the cycle of violence and mistrust for people living in a place where hatred and retribution have been normalized.

For news and updates go to:

“The state of affairs in the Middle East may actually be thornier than it seems from afar: that is the position this brave, intimate perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to take.” – MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Philosopher

“Amidst tense airings of grievances, context is set against beautiful images of the disputed homeland, archival footage, and personal testimonials of clashes and cooperation” – Nora Lee Mandel, Film-Forward

“Sobering. A tough and clear-eyed look at how things are, rather than how we want them to be.” –  Ken Jaworowski, The New York Times

“Hava Kohav Beller’s beautifully shot documentary gives an urgent and very modern new face to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” – New York Magazine

Friday, March 16, 2018 – Finding Your Feet, Director Richard Loncraine

When ‘Lady’ Sandra Abbott (Academy Award nominee Imelda Staunton, Maleficent, Vera Drake) discovers that her husband of forty years (John Sessions) is having an affair with her best friend (Josie Lawrence) she seeks refuge in London with her estranged, older sister Bif (Celia Imrie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Bridget Jones’ Baby). The two could not be more different – Sandra is a fish out of water next to her outspoken, serial dating, free-spirited sibling. But different is just what Sandra needs at the moment, and she reluctantly lets Bif drag her along to a community dance class, where gradually she starts finding her feet and romance as she meets her sister’s friends, Charlie (Timothy Spall), Jackie (Joanna Lumley) and Ted (David Hayman). Director Richard Loncraine talks about his endearing and touching film about seconds chances and finding love.

For news and updates go to:

“The cast lend charm to this feelgood fairy tale and Celia Imrie is especially good as the inspiring Bif.” – Allan Hunter, Daily Express

“The cinematic equivalent of a pair of comfy slippers. This is a charming, oft-told tale of second chances in life and love, and it is filled with fine performances only let down occasionally by an indulgent run time and some stunted dialogue.” – Linda Maric, HeyUGuys

“It’s about real adults living ordinary, important and sometimes difficult lives. Finding Your Feet is rightly billed as comedy-drama; yet, although it’s full of rib-tickling dialogue, it’s the drama that cuts deep.” – Stephen Romei, The Australian

“Its love-in-later-life insights are well-worn, but with Staunton on song, Richard Loncraine’s film mines genuine feeling.” – James Mottram, Total Film

Oh Lucy! – Director Atsuko Hirayanagi

Oh Lucy! follows Setsuko (Shinobu Terajima in an Independent Spirit Award-nominated performance), a single, emotionally unfulfilled woman, seemingly stuck with a drab, meaningless life in Tokyo. At least until she’s convinced by her niece, Mika to enroll in an unorthodox English class that requires her to wear a blonde wig and take on an American alter ego named “Lucy.” This new identity awakens something dormant in Setsuko, and she quickly develops romantic feelings for her American instructor, John (Josh Hartnett). When John suddenly disappears from class and Setsuko learns that he and her niece were secretly dating, Setsuko enlists the help of her sister, Ayako and the pair fly halfway across the world to the outskirts of Southern California in search of the runaway couple. In a brave new world of tattoo parlors and seedy motels, family ties and past lives are tested as Setsuko struggles to preserve the dream and promise of “Lucy.” Director Atsuko Hirayanagi (Spirit Award nominee for Best First Feature) joins us for a conversation on the challenges of making her  multi-cultural comedy / drama and working with the film’s Executive Producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.

For news and updates go to:


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“Within the confines of this cross-cultural shaggy-dog tale, Hirayanagi locates both a sharp vein of absurdist comedy and a bitter, melancholy undertow.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

“Hirayanagi isn’t selling a packaged idea about what it means to be human; she does something trickier and more honest here, merely by tracing the ordinary absurdities and agonies of one woman’s life.” – Manohla Dargis, New York Times

“Japanese filmmaker Atsuko Hirayanagi explores the transformative power of human connection in Oh Lucy!, a film which seems to play like a standard culture clash comedy but reveals itself to run significantly deeper.” – Nikki Baughan, Screen International

“Expanded from her award-winning short of the same title, Oh Lucy! betrays some rough edges in the transition, but Hirayanagi’s idiosyncratic touch marks her as a talent worth tracking.” – Andrew Barker, Variety

Leaning into the Wind, Director Thomas Riedelsheimer

Sixteen years after the release of the Rivers and Tides Thomas Riedelsheimer returns to work with renown artist Andy Goldsworthy. LEANING INTO THE WIND—ANDY GOLDSWORTHY, The film follows Andy on his exploration of the layers of his world and the impact of the years on himself and his art. As Goldsworthy introduces his own body into the work it becomes at the same time even more fragile and personal and also sterner and tougher, incorporating massive machinery and crews on his bigger projects. LEANING INTO THE WIND subject Andy Goldsworthy makes works of art using the materials and conditions that he encounters wherever he is. Using earth, rocks, leaves, ice, snow, rain, or sunlight, the resulting artworks exist briefly before they are altered and erased by natural processes. He also uses his own body as a medium, as with his Rain Shadows, or through actions such as spitting, throwing, climbing and walking. He has undertaken commissions in the Queensland rainforest, Australia and the New Zealand coast; in Rio de Janeiro, New York City, St Louis, Montreal and San Francisco; in the New Mexico desert, the mountains of central Spain and Haute-Provence, France, and the fells of Cumbria and Dumfriesshire. Goldsworthy has published many books throughout his career, beginning with Rain, sun, snow, mist, calm: Photoworks (1985). Director Thomas Reidelsheimer joins us for a conversation on what inspires Andy Goldsworthy to make his art, what attracts him to the work and why did he return to work with the Andy Goldsworthy 16 years after their first collaboration, Rivers and Tides.

For news and updates go to:


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“A nonfiction-focused director and cinematographer frequently attracted to the intersection between artistic expression, nature, and spirituality (however unarticulated), Riedelsheimer is well-matched to Goldsworthy’s methods and interests.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

Friday, March 9, 2018 – Chasing Great, Director Michelle Walshe

All Black captain Richie McCaw has lived his dream with characteristic precision and calculated determination.  He’s 34 and perhaps the best rugby player ever.  But the dream is almost over.  He is old by professional sport standards and everyone is asking when he’s going to retire.  Before his career ends Richie McCaw sets his sights on a risk-all attempt to win the Rugby World Cup back to back. No team has won it a  second time in a row.  No captain has won it twice. He will either end his career on an impossibly high note or take a nation’s dreams down with him. Chasing Great follows the incomparable Richie McCaw through his final season as he attempts to captain the All Blacks to the first ever-back-to back World Cup win. Director and writer Michelle Walsh joins us to talk about her access to McCaw’s professional and  personal McCaw, the heartache and exhilaration of competition and what it takes, physically, emotionally and  psychologically to compete at an elite level.


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“It’s clear where all of this is going, but McCaw surprises with his mental rigor (he excelled academically) and total commitment to his sport (he plays with a stress fracture in his foot).” – Chris Packham, Village Voice

“Rugby union fans will draw long and lasting satisfaction from this documentary tribute to All Blacks all-time great Richie McCaw.” – Leigh Paatsch, Herald Sun

“Even non-rugby fans will know how it ends but it’s worth the nostalgic pain to keep watching until the final siren.” – Stephen Romei, The Australian

Friday, February 23, 2018, The Young Karl Marx, Director Raoul Peck

At the age of 26, Karl Marx (August Diehl; INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, THE COUNTERFEITERS) embarks with his wife Jenny (Vicky Krieps; PHANTOM THREAD) on the road to exile. In 1844 Paris they meet young Friedrich Engels (Stefan Konarske), son of a factory owner and an astute student of the English proletariat class. Engels brings Marx the missing piece to the puzzle that composes his new vision of the world. Together, between censorship and police raids, riots and political upheavals, they will preside over the birth of the labor movement, which until then had been mostly makeshift and unorganized. This will grow into the most complete theoretical and political transformation of the world since the Renaissance – driven, against all expectations, by two brilliant, insolent and sharp-witted young men. In his first film since the Oscar®-nominated documentary I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO, celebrated Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck (LUMUMBA) paints a vivid portrait of another of history’s most influential thinkers with THE YOUNG KARL MARX. A fervently intelligent chronicling of the blood, sweat and debate that went into the creation of a manifesto and a movement, the film premiered at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival. Director Raoul Peck joins us for a lively conversation on capturing the essence of a young Marx and Engels relationship, the relevance of Marxism today and the critical reaction to his film.


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For news and updates go to:

More on Raoul Peck and his films go to:

“Against all expectations, “Young Karl Marx” makes this kind of brainy content bracing and dramatic.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“Both intellectually serious and engagingly free-spirited.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

“A spry romp through the seven years leading up to the drafting of the Communist Manifesto… Peck’s lively, twinkly drama is at heart a bromance.” – Lee Marshall, Screen International

 “[A] sinewy and intensely focused, uncompromisingly cerebral period drama… It gives you a sense of what radical politics was about: talk.” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Michael Rabehl – 2018 Cinequest Film & VR Festival, Director of Programming

Cinequest has led the world in its showcase and implementation of the innovations that have revolutionized film making, exhibition and distribution. Over 100,000 attend CQFF, yet the three-block proximity of its state-of-the-art venues along with Cinequest’s renowned hospitality, makes the festival experience as warm and personal as it is electrifying. Cinequest presents over 90 World and U.S. premieres with groundbreaking innovations by 700+ participating filmmakers from over 50 countries each year. Set in the home of the world’s most influential media technology companies (Apple, Cisco, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, LinkedIn etc.) CQFF showcases premier films, renowned and emerging artists, and breakthrough technology—empowering global connectivity between creators, innovators and audiences. Michael Rabehl has been a member of the Cinequest team since 1994. As the Director of Programming he manages the film selection process for the festival and supervises the programming teams to create a world class line up of films and guests every year. In his role as the Associate Director he is directly involved with the strategic planning of the festival. Michael joins us to talk about the 2018 Conquest film and virtual reality line-up.


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Cinequest Film and Virtual Reality Film Festival February 27 – March 11, 2018

“Move over Cannes! Of the more than 4,000 film festivals around the globe, more than half take place on U.S. soil, and many rank among the best of the best. Our panel of film experts, movie buffs and festival gurus were tasked with narrowing down the field to the best 20 film festivals in the nation before we turned it over to USA TODAY and 10Best readers to choose their favorites. After four weeks of voting, we have a winner. Cinequest Voted Best Film Festival!” — USA Today

“Technology always drives the film business. In Cinequest, we have a good window on the future. I think they’re leading the world in this regard.” — Peter Belsito, Executive Vice President, Film Finders

“This festival is one that sets the trends and is actually ahead of the trends. Other festivals are copying Cinequest; I see it all the time.” — Chris Gore, Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide and Film Threat

“At Cinequest you often haven’t heard of the film before you go see it, but the audiences come anyway. That’s a testament to the festival — that audiences are willing to take that leap of faith.” — Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Luba, Producer and Lead Actor Nicole Maroon (2018 Cinequest Film Festival)

Pregnant and newly aware of her runaway husband’s crack addiction – what a fantastic start to motherhood! A young woman trapped in an impossible situation, Luba (Nicole Maroon) strives to turn her life around while juggling a floundering love-life, odd jobs, and custody with a recovering addict. As Luba tries to move forward, her past catches her off guard and pulls her back, farther than ever imaginable. Will she succumb? This powerful story about family bonds shines a bright light on the power of trust, with an unforeseen twist that will leave you speechless. Producer and lead actor Nicole Maroon stops by to talk about her compelling story of a woman running as fast as she can.


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For news and updates go to:

CINEQUEST (World Premiere) – San Jose, CA

• Sat, Mar 3  4:30 PM  Century 20 Redwood City, CA

• Mon, Mar 5  9:45 PM  Hammer Theatre, SJ, CA

• Thurs, Mar 8  4:50 PM  Century 20 Redwood City, CA

• Fri, Mar 9  7:15 PM  Century 20 Redwood City, CA

“…A powerful story about \family bonds with an unforseen twist that will  leave you speechless.” – CINEQUEST INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Purdah, Director Jeremy Guy (2018 Cinequest Film Festival)

Being in a Muslim family in modern day India can sometimes be a struggle for 20-year-old Kaikasha and her two sisters. Their father wants them to wear burkas and to have arranged marriages, but these determined young women have dreams of their own. This beautiful and rousing story follows Kaikasha in her quest to be the first Muslim on the Mumbai women’s cricket team and then follows her into a corridor of uncertainty after a shocking turn of events changes the fate of her family. You’ll want to cheer for Kaikasha and her sisters as they courageously respond to the circumstances that threaten to undermine their dreams. Director Jeremy Guy joins us for a conversation on this insightful and inspiring story of female empowerment through sport, against a background of religious and cultural roadblocks.


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World Premiere:

Saturday, March 3rd 12:25 pm. – 3 Below (288 South 2nd Street. San Jose)

Other screenings:

Monday, March 5th at 8:15 PM – Century 20 Redwood City Screen #10 (825 Middlefield Rd, Redwood City)

Saturday, March 10th at 10:00 AM – 3 Below

Sunday, March 11th at 10:45 AM  – Century 20 Redwood City Screen #11

Carter Pilcher, Chief Executive of Shorts International

Carter Pilcher founded Shorts International in 2000. Coming from a background in both investment banking and law, Carter has made Shorts International the world’s leading short movie Entertainment Company, functioning as distributor, broadcaster and producer. Carter has extensive experience in short movie production and short movie entertainment. He is a voting member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and a member of the Short Film and Feature Animation Branch of The US Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) – the guys who pick the Oscars. Carter, originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, received a B.S. from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a J.D. from Georgetown University, is a member of the New York Bar and attended the London Business School Corporate Finance Evening Program. Carter Pilcher has been and continues to be the highlight of Oscar season here on Film School. His insight, commitment and love of films and filmmaking always makes for a lively and informative conversation on some of the best films you will see all year.


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Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant


Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon


Dave Mullins and Dana Murray


Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata


Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer



Reed Van Dyk


Derin Seale and Josh Lawson


Kevin Wilson, Jr.


Chris Overton and Rachel Shenton


Katja Benrath and Tobias Rosen



Laura Checkoway and Thomas Lee Wright


Frank Stiefel


Elaine McMillion Sheldon and Kerrin Sheldon


Thomas Lennon


Kate Davis and David Heilbroner

]Human Affairs, Director Charlie Birns

Friday, January 19, 2018 – Human Affairs, Director Charlie Birns

HUMAN AFFAIRS is a compassionate drama about a young, successful theatre couple in New York City who meet their surrogate mother for the first time, and embark on a startling and intimate weekend of surprises and emotional revelations. Featuring powerful performances from Kerry Condon (Better Call Saul, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri) and Dominic Fusuma (13 Hours, Focus) and a standout portrayal by young French actress Julie Sokolowski (star of Bruno Dumont’s   Hadewijch) as Genevieve, the film also features David Harbour (Stranger Things). Writer / director / actor Charlie Birns has crafted a nuanced debut feature drama  about embarking on the precarious closeness of surrogacy while bravely searching for a connection.  Featuring exquisite cinematography by Sean Price Williams,  Good Time and Heaven Knows What and with the Safdie Brothers,  Listen Up Philip and Queen of Earth with Alex Ross Perry, the HUMAN AFFAIRS experiments with new modes of cinematic storytelling, employing raw performance, unexpected sound design, editing, narration and the use of still photography to dazzling effect. Director Charlie Burns joins us for a conversation on the challenges and rewards of directing his first feature film and the film’s debut at the 2018 Slamdance Film Festival.


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A clip from Human Affairs:

Ivan Williams, Producer, Partner – Scenario Entertainment

Ivan Williams is a partner and Scenario’s executive vice president of finance.  After a successful career as a senior business leader at major energy companies (ARCO and BP), he has been active starting up a media technology company, and executive producing feature films, Broadway musicals, musical recordings, theatrical plays, and Web tv shows.  A member of Film Independent and the Sundance Institute, Ivan holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Oregon State University, and is a Dean’s M.B.A. Scholar at the UC Irvine Paul Merage School of Business, and a veteran Naval Reserve intelligence officer.  An active contributor to his alma maters, Ivan serves as a member of the board of directors for Oregon State University’s Alumni Association, and is active with the University of California Irvine as chairman of the Dean’s Arts Council of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, serving as a member of the Graduate Division’s Dean’s Leadership Council, as an entertainment industry advisory board member for the Cybersecurity Policy & Research Institute, and a founding board member of the L.A./Orange County Anteaters in the Arts organization. Ivan joins us for a conversation on the his latest projects and the exiting future of digital film and arts at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at the University of California, Irvine.


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Naples ’44, Director Francesco Patierno, Producers Francesca Barra and Davide Azzolini

In 1943 a young British officer, Norman Lewis, entered a war-torn Naples with the American Fifth Army. Lewis began writing in his notepad everything that happened to him during his one-year stay observing the complex social cauldron of a city that contrived every day the most incredible ways of fighting to survive. These notes turned into the masterpiece NAPLES ‘44. This film adaptation imagines Lewis returning to the city that charmed and seduced him many years later. Filmmaker Francesco Patierno combines riveting archival war footage with clips from movies set in Naples from the 1950s and 60s (featuring Marcello Mastroianni, Alan Arkin, Ernest Borgnine) and Oscar-nominated actor Benedict Cumberbatch narrating a portray of a city that was as much a victim of the war as any individual, but that has come back to life with all the charisma of Vesuvius, its very own volcano. This visionary reminiscence is made up of flashbacks between the places of the present that Lewis revisits and the stories of the past. Cumberbatch gives life to Lewis’ words through the stories and fortunes of the people he meets, by the end of this intimate nostalgic journey we can fully share with him a deep feeling for the city. Director Francesco Patierno and Producers Francesca Barra and Davide Azzolini stop by to talk about this stunning, intimate evocation of a time and place from the not-too-distant past that has much to teach us today.

For the latest on Naples ’44 go to: Naples ’44 at First Run Features

Naples ’44 opens Friday, December 8 at the Laemmle Monica in Santa Monica


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“A riveting film, a complex portrait of the mystery of Naples.” – Corriere della Sera

“If it weren’t for the time-chiseled patina on the footage dug out from archives, the powerful images of Vesuvius erupting, or the Caravaggio-esque faces of the faithful praying, there really wouldn’t be much difference between the Naples of this time and the cities martyred by the conflicts of today, like Aleppo, like Mosul.” – Il Mattino

“Magnificent. (An) elegant, moving, balanced war diary.” – Il Foglio

“Naples ’44 is a harrowing portrait of a defiant population which after suffering great losses, finally drove out its Nazi occupiers, and did survive.” Patrick McGrath, New York

Ayiti Mon Amour, Director and Writer Guetty Felin

According to one of many Haitian beliefs, we are born from water and so to water our souls return… but only for a year and a day, after our demise.  Guetty Felin’s AYITI MON AMOUR is set in a land inhabited by spirits looking for their final resting place, mourners seeking closure and ordinary individuals engaged in a precarious dance of survival. It spins the magic neo-realist  tale of Orphée an awkward teen grieving the loss of his father. One day after a freak encounter with an underwater sea creature he develops special electrifying powers, but with power comes certain responsibilities…The world seems to be changing much too rapidly for Jaurès the old fisherman. These days Jaurès is obsessed with the environmental degradation, the rising temperature of the sea and the drought that is starving his cows. But what pre-occupies Jaurès the most is his beloved wife Odessa who is bedridden and homesick. Jaurès is determined to do everything to make her well again even if it means putting his own life in peril…Lastly, there’s the beautiful mysterious Ama, part muse, part wandering soul but also the main character of a novel by an uninspired writer. After five years of waiting for him to complete his masterpiece, she decides to leave him and his story, and sets out to live her own life. With AYITI MON AMOUR the island nation of Haiti has its first ever entry in the Academy Awards category of Best Foreign Language Film. It is also  the first narrative feature entirely shot in Haiti by a Haitian-born female director, Guetty Felin. She joins us to talk about her warm-hearted, humane film and its celebration of her native country.

For the latest news go to: or belle moon productions


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**OFFICIAL SELECTION – Toronto International Film Festival**

**OFFICIAL SELECTION – San Francisco International Film Festival**

**OFFICIAL SELECTION – Eurasia International Film Festival**

**WINNER – BlackStar Film Festival – Best Feature Narrative**

**WINNER – Festival Internacional de Cine America – Best Cinematography**

**NOMINATED – Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam – Yellow Ribbon Award**

Porto, Director Gabe Klinger

In the haunting, intimate tale PORTO Jake (Anton Yelchin) and Mati (Lucie Lucas) are two expats who experience a brief but intimate connection in the ancient Portuguese city of Porto. He’s an American loner exiled from his family. She’s a student from France embroiled in an affair with one of her professors. After spotting each other from a distance at an archeological site and then again at a train station and a café, Jake works up the courage to approach Mati and they embark on a night of carefree intimacy. This romantic encounter is viewed from years later, both characters still haunted by the powerful connection they shared. Using a mix of film stocks and art direction that evokes a bygone era of European cinema, Porto delivers a cinematic form of saudade – a Portuguese word that describes an emotional state of nostalgic longing for a person or place that one has loved. Director, writer, editor, and producer Gabe Klinger stops by to talk about his bittersweet, heartbreaking, soaring ode to romantic love.

For news and updates go to


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New York, NY – November 17 at Landmark Sunshine Cinema

Los Angeles, CA – November 24 at Landmark Nuart Theatre

“A swirling examination of love in all its bittersweet splendor.” – David Ehrlich, Indiewire

“Ravishingly shot. A film that’s in love with love, in love with cinema.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“An extraordinary and delicate depiction of a fleeting passion. Touches on the most tender and incisive heights of each crest of the European New Wave.” – Richard Whittaker, The Austin Chronicle

“Yelchin’s acting is superb in its minimalism, expressing sensitivity, yearning and sorrow with subtle intensity.” – Catherine Sedgwick, The Upcoming

The Divine Order, Director Petra Volpe

Winner of the Audience Award for Best Narrative Film at the Tribeca Film Festival, The Divine Order is set in Switzerland in 1971 where, despite the worldwide social upheavals of the previous decade, women were still denied the right to vote. When unassuming and dutiful housewife Nora (Marie Leuenberger, winner of a Best Actress award at Tribeca) is forbidden by her husband to take a part-time job, her frustration leads to her becoming the poster child of her town’s suffragette movement. Her newfound celebrity brings humiliation, threats, and the potential end to her marriage, but, refusing to back down, she convinces the women in her village to go on strike…and makes a few startling discoveries about her own liberation. Uplifting and crowd-pleasing, this charming, captivating film is a time-capsule that could not be more timely. Director Petra Volpe joins us to talk about the story behind a struggle for human rights and the women who made Swiss history.

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Switzerland’s submission for the Academy Awards Best Foreign-Language Film

Winner – Audience Award for Best Feature – Tribeca Film Festival 2017

Winner – Audience Award for Best Fiction – Traverse City Film Festival 2017

“A gentle, unassuming picture, it does have a satisfying, feelgood trajectory and empathetic central performance from Marie Leuenberger.” – Wendy Ice, Screen International

“‘The Divine Order’ effectively illustrates how peer pressure can influence the political process.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“Within the story’s sometimes too-neat outline, Volpe lets most of her characters breathe.” – Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times

“Essential viewing for those interested in a wider perspective on feminist challenges.” – Ben Orndorf,

A River Below, Director Mark Grieco

A documentary as dramatic, ambiguous, and multilayered as any fiction film, A RIVER BELOW examines the efforts of two conservationists in the Amazon to bring about change by using the national media, only to discover the consequences of their actions come with a high price. A RIVER BELOW provides an eye-opening look at what happens when passion and opinion trump reason and morality. The crux of the story questions the truth in images, its manipulation to get the public’s attention and, ultimately, who pays the price for someone else’s passion for radical change.

Director Statement – “A RIVER BELOW explores these ideas and moral questions, but ultimately it is the story about the massacre of this incredible dolphin, the people out there trying to save them, and the ethical dilemmas we face with what must be done to achieve sudden change. There is no doubt that we are living in an extinction crisis and there is very little time left to save certain species – that is the view of the river from above. My hope is that this film will take audiences on the plunge to ask, “Who do we want out there saving in our name and at what long-term cost?” It is a mirror held up to the documentary and a journey into ourselves as we attempt to better this messy world.”Mark Grieco


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100% Rotten Tomatoes

“The truth turns into a tangled mess in “A River Below,” a bold and urgent documentary whose seemingly straightforward story quickly runs awry.” – Ken Jaworowski

“Díaz’s sublime cinematography and the way Grieco teases out the knotty narrative make for a haunting exploration of an ethical morass, where vilification is easy, but deconstructing power much more difficult.” – Daphne Howland, Village Voice

“[It] is pure investigative journalism. It trusts no one and questions every side of the story — even the possible coercion of illegal activities by one of its stars while those he coerced have threatened to shoot him in the head if he ever turns up again” – Jacob Oller, Paste Magazine

“The film’s moral argument sets it apart from films like Blackfish – this is more or less an investigation into an investigation.” John Fink, The Film Stage

BPM, Director Robin Campillo

2018 Official Oscar® Entry – FRANCE Best Foreign Language Film BPM tells the story of how a passionate group of Parisian activists goes to battle for those stricken with HIV/AIDS, taking on sluggish government agencies and major pharmaceutical companies in with bold, invasive actions. The organization is ACT UP – the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power – and its members embrace their task as a literal life-or-death mission. With more than 6,000 new diagnoses made each year in France, there is no time to waste. And yet, the officials and the corporations are not moving fast enough. “BPM” tells the story of that fight from the inside-out. Amid the rallies, fierce debates and ecstatic dance parties, intimate connections are made and vibrant life rages against death. As the activists scramble from boisterous street demonstrations and boardroom face-offs to dance floors pulsing with light and rhythm, Nathan and Sean’s relationship deepens. They confess individual memories of sexual initiation that are profoundly tied, in different ways, to the emerging AIDS crisis, and sexual intimacy itself becomes a kind of resistance. As Sean gets sicker, their passion sparks against the shadow of mortality, and the activist community of activists plots its most dramatic protest yet. Director and writer Robin Campillo joins us for a conversation on his intimate and thoughtful tale of activism and struggle in the face of intractable indifference and antipathy.

For news and updates fo to:


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France’s entry for 2017 Academy Award Best Foreign Language Film

Opening at the Laemmle Royal Theatre on Friday, November 3, go to:

98% Rotten Tomatoes

“In its balance of resistance, agony, and joy, BPM (Beats Per Minute) approaches this subject with the nuance and empathy it deserves.” – Josephine Livingstone, New Republic

“BPM is vital for the history it depicts, but it’s also important in the here and now, as a testament to public action – even messy, not-always-effective public action.” – David Edelstein, New York Magazine

“In spite of its historical specificity, “BPM” never feels like a bulletin from the past. Its immediacy comes in part from the brisk naturalism of the performances and the nimbleness and fluidity of the editing.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

“In its balance of resistance, agony, and joy, BPM (Beats Per Minute) approaches this subject with the nuance and empathy it deserves.” – Josephine Livingstone, New Republic

“BPM is vital for the history it depicts, but it’s also important in the here and now, as a testament to public action – even messy, not-always-effective public action.” – David Edelstein, New York Magazine

“In spite of its historical specificity, “BPM” never feels like a bulletin from the past. Its immediacy comes in part from the brisk naturalism of the performances and the nimbleness and fluidity of the editing.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

International Documentary Association (IDA) Executive Director, Simon Kilmurry

International Documentary Association (IDA) is fiercely committed to protecting and defending the rights of documentary filmmakers to practice their craft, seek and reveal truth in their films, and make and sell their work freely in a fair marketplace. We strenuously uphold the principles of free speech and believe that documentary films, however provocative they may be, should never be silenced by an authority, corporation or legal system that may feel threatened by their content. Where filmmakers are under fire, and their predicament stands to set precedent for us all, the IDA brings together the weight of our community to fight for their rights in the courts, the press, congress or wherever that threat may lie. IDA is the only group advocating specifically for the documentary filmmaking community. In many ways, this makes IDA’s advocacy work the most important and relevant work we do. If documentary films better inform your world, if you believe in freedom of speech, if you are concerned that the media space grows ever smaller and cherish the diversity that independent voices bring, and if you’re a fan of David (over Goliath) then you probably share our values. Documentary storytelling expands our understanding of shared human experience, fostering an informed, compassionate, and connected world. The International Documentary Association (IDA) is dedicated to building and serving the needs of a thriving documentary culture. Through its programs, the IDA provides resources, creates community, and defends rights and freedoms for documentary artists, activists, and journalists. Executive Director Simon Kilmurry joins us to talk about IDA, the screening series currently underway and the state of documentary filmmaking in 2017.


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Watch some of the year’s best film through the IDA’s documentary screening series

Support Documentary filmmaking and watch great films by becoming an IDA member

God’s Own Country, Director Francis Lee

In the compelling feature film debut of Francis Lee God’s Own Country Johnny Saxby works long hours in brutal isolation on his family’s remote farm in the north of England. He numbs the daily frustration of his lonely existence with nightly binge-drinking at the local pub and casual sex. When a handsome Romanian migrant worker arrives to take up temporary work on the family farm, Johnny suddenly finds himself having to deal with emotions he has never felt before. An intense relationship forms between the two which could change Johnny’s life forever. This growing chemistry between them results in an intense, instinctive sexual encounter. With both lads struggling to come to terms with what their time on the moor really meant and what they want from each other. With the future of the farm, his father’s life and his fledgling first relationship all hanging in the balance, Johnny feels more isolated and powerless than ever. Sent back to the farm on their own by Deirdre to tend to the animals, Johnny and Gheorghe slip into an unspoken domestic life. But soon Gheorghe’s contract will come to an end… Director Francis Lee joins us to talk about this simple story of struggling people living on the edge drawn into an emotionally complex tale.

For news and updates go to: samuelgoldwynfilms-Gods Own Country


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Official Selection

Sundance Film Festival 2017

Berlin International Film Festival 2017

San Francisco International Film Festival

“There will be many people who see themselves in the furtive glances and mud-covered kisses from which “God’s Own Country” weaves its harsh but hopeful narrative, and they will do so while witnessing a finely crafted piece of cinema.” – Jude Dry, IndieWire

“A rigorously naturalistic drama that yields stirring performances from the collision between taciturn demeanors and roiling emotional undercurrents.” David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

“Skipping some of the more predictable narrative obstacles we’ve come to expect from the coming-out drama, this sexy, thoughtful, hopeful film instead advances a pro-immigration subtext that couldn’t be more timely …” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“This is one of the most assured, fully-formed British debuts of recent years.” – Paul O’Callaghan, Sight and Sound

One of Us, Co-directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady

In their new documentary ONE OF US, acclaimed observational filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (JESUS CAMP, DETROPIA) take a deep and moving look at the lives of three individuals who have chosen to leave the hugely insular world of Hasidic Judaism. The film follows Etty, a mother of seven, as she decides to leave a violent marriage and divorce her husband; Ari, a teenager on the verge of manhood who is struggling with addiction and the effects of childhood abuse; and Luzer, an actor who, despite having found success in the secular world, still wrestles with his decision eight years earlier to leave the Hasidic community. Produced over three years, ONE OF US offers unique and intimate access to the lives of all three as they deal not only with questions of their beliefs but also with the consequences of leaving the only community they have ever known. With their trademark sensitivity and keen interest in the nature of faith, Ewing and Grady chronicle these journeys towards personal freedom that comes at a very high cost. Co-directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady join us for a conversation on their emotionally wrenching look into a world of dogmatism, ostracism and community.

Directors’ Statement – We have always been drawn to stories that put the nature/nurture debate into stark relief. Are some of us just born with an unshakable need to question the status quo, despite the consequences? The three main subjects of One of Us are jumping head first into the unknown.  Their rocky journey from insular Hasidic Brooklyn out into the secular world – with its emphasis on radical individualism – is fraught with both doubt and exhilaration. These three brave people are bucking the exacting rules of their ultra-orthodox community to experience the world for the first time as true individuals. Their journey is a profoundly human one that took us by surprise. One of Us is the most thought-provoking film we’ve ever made. We are excited to hear audiences weigh in on the vexing question of what price we’re all willing to pay to forge our own identity.

One of Us is available on Netflix

To find out more about the films of Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing go to:


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“It’s incisive in its condemnation of the oppression innate in the social structure of Brooklyn’s Hasidic communities.” – Christopher Gray, Slant Magazine

“Employing intimate, evocative aesthetics to amplify their material’s heart-wrenching power, the filmmakers craft a harrowing portrait of trauma, bravery and insular societal oppression.”Nick Schager, Variety

“Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady have made their most powerful and complex film.” – Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter

The Departure, Director Lana Wilson

THE DEPARTURE, Lana Wilson’s (After Tiller) poetic and deeply moving look at a former punk-turned-Buddhist priest in Japan who has made a career out of helping suicidal people find reasons to live. One of the discoveries of the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and featured at some of the world’s top documentary festivals, THE DEPARTURE follows a 44-year-old Tokyo native, Ittetsu Nemoto loves riding his motorcycle and dancing all night in clubs. But he’s also a Rinzai Zen priest, who lives with his wife, mother and baby son at a temple in the remote countryside of Gifu prefecture, Japan. There, over the last ten years, he has become famous for his work in combating suicide. But this work has come increasingly at the cost of his own family and health, as he refuses to draw lines between the people he counsels and himself. With astonishing access and artistry, Wilson’s camera captures Nemoto at a crossroads, when his growing self-destructive tendencies lead him to confront the same question his patients ask him: what makes life worth living? Director Lana Wilson (After Tiller) joins us for a conversation about death, love, priorities and family.

For news and updates go to:


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The Departure opens in Los Angeles at Laemmle’s Monica Film Center on Friday, October 20 with other cities to follow.

“A beautiful, wise, and deeply empathetic immersion into one fascinating character’s unique approach to suicide prevention. A quietly impressive work whose images, characters, and ruminations linger on long after the lights come up.” – Scott Macaulay, Filmmaker Magazine

 “An intimate, deeply felt engagement with profound matters of life and death.” – Allan Hunter, Screen International

“Immensely moving. Lyrical and deeply meditative… digs deep into major questions without being afraid of the answers.” – Kate Erbland, Indiewire

“Incredible. A portrait of unbelievable humanity.” – Nick Allen, Nick Allen,

 “A poetic meditation on what it means to be human and what it means to be alive.” – Helen Kaplow, Indie NYC

“Nemoto’s teaching is as much about embracing life as it is about facing death.
He offers hope for all.” – Joan Oliver Duncan, Tricycle Magazine