Screening at this year’s Dances with Films, Cowboy and Preacher comes face-to-face with thedegradation 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Jon Kean’sAfter 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.
“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
When UCLA Film & Television Archive launched its annual UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema in 1990, it was the first showcase for new Iranian films in the U.S. It has been a platform for exciting new voices in cinema as well as a dialogue to foster cultural understanding—and in that time Iranian filmmakers have moved to the forefront of the cinematic world. It has also been a barometer of global politics. In partnership with Farhang Foundation, this year’s UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema offers Los Angeles the chance to see a stellar lineup of new Iranian films that includes four Los Angeles premieres and three U.S. premieres, along with the revival of a modern classic. From fraught intimate relationships to big social issues, these expertly crafted films reveal the complexities – and universalities – of contemporary Iran. The annual celebration, now entering its 28th year, showcases the best in contemporary Iranian Cinema. Paul Malcolm is the film programmer for UCLA Film & Television Archive where he began in 2007. He was an associate programmer of feature and short films for the Los Angeles Film Festival 2006-2010. As adjunct faculty at Chapman University, he has taught classes on the history and aesthetics of 3D cinema and film reviewing at Chapman University. He was also assistant film editor and film critic for the LA Weekly from 1998-2006. Malcolm graduated from USC with a BA in journalism and he received his MA in Film Studies from UCLA. He is a Sundance Institute Arts Writing Fellow (2001).
Visual Communications, the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center, announced its outstanding program of films and events for the upcoming 34th edition of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) running MAY 3 – MAY 12, 2018. The all encompassing annual film celebration is presented across Los Angeles in West Hollywood, Downtown LA, Little Tokyo, Koreatown, and Hollywood. Visual Communications proudly celebrates the Film Festival’s 34 years as Southern California’s largest and most prestigious film festival of its kind. LAAPFF launches the celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month through this year’s slate of over 100 films from both Asian Pacific American and Asian international artists. For over three decades, the Festival has presented nearly 5,000 films by Asian Pacific American and Asian International talent. This year, 39 feature films and 79 shorts from the over 800 submissions will be showcased during the ten-day fest. The Festival opens with the Los Angeles premiere of Aneesh Chaganty’s feature debutSEARCHING starring John Cho and Debra Messing giving audiences an early chance to see the movie that took the NEXT audience award and the Alfred P. Sloan award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Other programs includeCENTERPIECE FILMS will feature two outstanding world premieres with IN THE LIFE OF MUSIC and FICTION & OTHER REALITIES. Centerpiece Films will be presented on Saturday, May 5th at the Aratani Theatre at the Japanese American Community and Cultural Center (JACCC) in Little Tokyo – Downtown Los Angeles. The CLOSING NIGHT FILM will be the Los Angeles premiere of the acclaimed 2018 Sundance World Documentary Special Jury Award winner MATANGI/ MAYA/ M.I.A., directed by Stephen Loveridge. Inspired by her roots, M.I.A. created a mashup, cut-and-paste identity that pulled from every corner of her journey; a sonic sketchbook that blended Tamil politics, art school punk, hip-hop beats and the voice of multicultural youth. Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival Co-Director David Magdael will join us to talk about this years’s exciting festival line up.
Made following the discovery of amateur footage shot in China in 1966 during the first and most radical stage of the Cultural Revolution,IN THE INTENSE NOWspeaks to the fleeting nature of moments of great intensity. Scenes of China are set alongside archival images of the events of 1968 in France, Czechoslovakia, and, to a lesser extent, Brazil. In keeping with the tradition of the film-essay, they serve to investigate how the people who took part in those events continued onward after passions had cooled. The footage, all of it archival, not only reveals the state of mind of those filmed—joy, enchantment, fear, disappointment, dismay—but also sheds light on the relationship between a document and its political context. What can one say of Paris, Prague, Rio de Janeiro, or Beijing by looking at the images of the period? Why did each of these cities produce a specific sort of record? Narrated in first person, the film reflects on that which is revealed by four sets of images: footage of the French students’ uprising in May of 1968; the images captured by amateurs during the invasion of Czechoslovakia in August of the same year, when forces led by the Soviet Union put an end to the Prague Spring; shots of the funerals of students, workers, and police officers killed during the events of 1968 in the cities of Paris, Lyon, Prague, and Rio de Janeiro; and the scenes that a tourist—the director’s mother—filmed in China in 1966, the year of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Director João Moreira Salles joins us to talk about family, memories, politics, the immediacy of the moments that made up one of history’s most consequential years.
”Find solace, enlightenment and surprise in João Moreira Salles’s ‘In the Intense Now,’ a bittersweet, ruminative documentary essay.” —A. O. Scott, The New York Times
“Melancholy, inspiring and evocative.” —J. Hoberman, The New York Review of Books
“One of the 10 best films of Berlin Film Festival! Remarkably resonant and personal.” —Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“Spellbinding! The [Chicago Film Festival’s] most ambitious documentary is a meditation on cameras in times of political spectacle.” —Bill Stamets, Chicago Sun-Times
“Recommended! A dazzling, true-world dreamscape; deeply personal even as the kaleidoscopic imagery bursts forth in grandiloquent poetry. Cataclysm awaits. So much history ahead. Such dense, ordered beauty behind.”—Ray Pride, Newcity Film
“A rich, immersive contemplation of the emotional battery life of revolutions, Brazilian filmmaker João Moreira Salles’ remarkable, deeply felt essay film ‘In the Intense Now’ examines 1968’s turbulence in four countries through the prism of what its amateur documentarians filmed.”—Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times
Library Award and Best Soundtrack Award, 2017 Cinéma du Réel Film Festival
Best Documentary, 2017 Civil Society of Multimedia Authors (SCAM)
Panorama Selection, 2017 Berlinale Film Festival
U.S. Premiere, 2017 Chicago International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2017 It’s All True International Documentary Festival
A film within a film IN THE LAST DAYS OF THE CITY, Tamer El Said’s ambitious debut feature, tells the fictional story of a filmmaker from downtown Cairo played by Khalid Abdalla (The Kite Runner, United 93, Green Zone, The Square) as he struggles to capture the soul of a city on edge while facing loss in his own life. IN THE LAST DAYS OF THE CITY is a haunting yet lyric chronicle of recent years in the Arab world, where revolutions seemed to spark hope for change and yield further instability in one stroke. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Shot in Cairo, Beirut, Baghdad and Berlin during the two years before the outbreak of revolution in Egypt. Throughout, friends send footage and stories creating a powerful, multilayered meditation on togetherness, the tactile hold of cities, and the meaning of homeland. Shot in 2008 and completed in 2016, the film explores the weight of cinematic images as record and storytelling in an ongoing time of change.IN THE LAST DAYS OF THE CITY is amulti-layered stories are a visually rich exploration of friendship, loneliness and life in cities shaped by the shadows of war and adversity. Director, producer and writer Tamer El-Said joins us for a conversation on his remarkably accomplished film debut.
AWARDS Caligari Film Prize at Berlinale Critics Award for Best Arab Film in 2016, Arab Cinema Center Grand Prix of New Horizons International Film Festival Grand Prix of Festival des 3 Continents, Nantes Best Film, San Francisco Arab Film Festival, USA, 2016 Best Director at Buenos Aires International Film festival (BAFICI)
82% on Rotten Tomatoes!
“Without doubt the most important event in Egyptian cinema, if not Arab cinema, in a very long time.” — Jean-Michel Frodon, Slate.com
“A melancholic love-hate poem to Cairo and the role of filmmakers in any city in pain.” —Jay Weissberg, Variety
“Majestic… a lionhearted elegy for the Egyptian capital, artistic heritage in the Arab world, inspired politics, and hope itself” —Kaelen Wilson-Goldie, Artforum
“Beautifully lensed and complexly edited in a dense patchwork of people, feelings and events” —Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter
When she was a young lawyer, Kholoud Al-Faqih walked into the office of Palestine’s Chief Justice and announced she wanted to join the bench.He laughed at her. But just a few years later, Kholoud became the first woman judge to be appointed to the Middle East’s Shari’a (Islamic law) courts. THE JUDGE offers a unique portrait of Judge Kholoud—her brave journey as a lawyer, her tireless fight for justice for women, and her drop-in visits with clients, friends, and family. With unparalleled access to the courts, THE JUDGE presents an unfolding vérité legal drama, with rare insight into both Islamic law and gendered justice. In the process, the film illuminates some of the universal conflicts in the domestic life of Palestine—custody of children, divorce, abuse—while offering an unvarnished look at life for women and Shari’a. Director and producer Erika Cohn stops by to talk about her warm, moving portrait of a dedicated professional officer of the court determined to see that men and women receive the highest level of justice.
“The documentary is an inspiration to women – not just in the Middle East – who are determined to rise to the top of their professions, despite the odds being stacked against them.” – Gayle MacDonald, Globe and Mail
“There are scandalously few female-empowerment documentaries about Arab women that also aim to counter Islamophobia, which is why Erika Cohn’s “The Judge” is a welcome addition.” – Jay Weissberg, Variety
“This skillfully conceived documentary focuses on a charismatic Muslim judge, a woman appointed to the Palestinian Shari’a court.” – Maria Garcia, Film Journal International
“The Judge is packed tight; it’s enlightening and suspenseful and paced for maximum enjoyment.” – Daphne Howland, Village Voice
In the piercingly straightforward documentary The Heart of Nuba we meet the only surgeon within 200 miles, Dr. Tom Catena does his best to save lives in the midst of carnage and terror, treating as many as 400 patients a day at Mother of Mercy Hospital, nestled in the heart of the Nuba Mountains. The region is the latest target of Omar al-Bashir, a man wanted by the International Criminal Court for committing crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. Surrounded by a country at war, living under the constant shadow of aerial bombardment, Dr. Tom Catena and his mostly local staff defy Bashir’s ban on humanitarian aid, and work tirelessly to serve the Nuba people. This population of one million Muslims, Christians, Animists and Africans of traditional belief have lived together harmoniously for centuries. Now, together with ‘Dr. Tom’, they struggle to survive. His patients come to him from hundreds of miles away on foot, in carts, or often cradled in their mother’s arms. Welcome to the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, an area of the world so void of humanitarian and media attention that years of war go ignored, and cries for help go largely unheard. Here, this lone American surgeon tends with equal compassion to patients ranging from malnutrition and leprosy, to grave wounds inflicted by the indiscriminate bombings ordered by their own president, Omar al-Bashir. When a government can attack defenseless men, women and children with supersonic bombers,and it doesn’t make anyone’s newswire, something is terribly awry. Dr. Tom’ and his staff defy Bashir’s ban on humanitarian aid, work tirelessly to save the lives of the Nuba people, and bring hope to one million people who would be otherwise forgotten. Director Kenneth Carlson joins us to talk about Dr. Tom’s selfless work, the people of the region and the impact that The Heart of Nuba is having on their plight.
“Absorbingly, unfussily captures Catena’s daily challenges and feats while also painting a vivid, often heartbreaking portrait of a forgotten people trapped in an underreported sociopolitical nightmare.” – Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
“The film is worth seeing because it’s a moving and remarkable story and it represents a great cause.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times
“A most down-to-earth saint presented in the most refreshingly candid manner.” – Louis Project, counterpunch.org
“The only surgeon for hundreds of miles, Tom Catena earns $350 a month but given his dedication to the poor people in Sudan’s Nuba mountains, he should be nominated for sainthood.” – Harvey S, Karten, schockya.com
When a simple organ harvesting caper goes awry, a twist of fate unites three of society’s forgotten and ignored: EL MONSTRUO, a disgraced Mexican wrestler working as hired muscle for a local crime boss.CRYSTAL, a recovering addict desperate enough to arrange a black market kidney transplant to save her husband’s life. And RANDY, a loveable two-strike convict fresh out of prison, cursed with a full-face swastika tattoo and a best friend guilting him into some hair-brained kidnapping scheme. In LOWLIFE we follow the sordid lives of these small-time criminals collide, as they fight tooth and nail to save a pregnant woman from a certain, and surely gruesome, death. Director Ryan Prows joins for a lively conversation on his hard-charging, high-energy debut feature film.
“The result is a film that’s as brutal in its imagery as it is funny in its execution.” – Jared Mobarak, Film Stage
“A captivating feature debut despite some missteps, it flashes back to a time when every other filmmaking newcomer wanted to be Quentin Tarantino; surprisingly, it does not provoke the weary eye-rolling that greeted so many of those films.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter
“A movie with the sole purpose of an adrenalin rush, designed to strap you to your seat, entertain you, and spit you back into reality, exhausted but satisfied.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
“Lowlife is such a wild ride that any cinema showing it might want to consider installing seat belts on their chairs. Every second is electrifying.” – Mike McGranahan, Aisle Seat
“Nicely calibrates a twisty course between straight crime melodrama and black comedy, one that has cult-following potential among adventurous genre fans.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety
“Throughout its swirling stories, Lowlife does an impeccable job of teasing, pulling back, and delivering, whether it be violence, drama, or the intermittent moment of temporary joy.” – Scott Beggs, Nerdist
The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is a nonprofit organization devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture by showcasing films, supporting emerging filmmakers, and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora. Each year the festival features a rich mix of film programs designed to build and support the growing interest in the Indian entertainment industry. This includes programming that cultivates an audience for Indian films while supporting filmmakers of Indian descent in career development as they navigate the larger studio system in Hollywood. The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, runs from Wednesday, April 11 – 15 at Regal Live in downtown Los Angeles, featuring programs that include One-on-One program where film industry professionals from major and independent production and distribution companies are invited to participate in meetings with the IFFLA filmmakers; and panel discussions with speakers from the film industry. We are joined by IFFLA’sDirector of Programming Mike Dougherty to talk about the past, present and future of Indian cinema and the increasing acceptance among mainstream American film lovers.
Guy Maddin and collaborators Galen and Evan Johnson made this ode to VERTIGOand the city of San Francisco for the closing night world premiere gala of the 2017 San Francisco International Film Festival. The iconoclastic Winnipeg-based filmmakers, working together since 2015’s THE FORBIDDEN ROOM, set themselves the challenge and constraint to remake VERTIGO, creating what they call a “parallel-universe version.” Using Bay Area-based footage from hundreds of sources—studio classics, ’50s noir, documentary and experimental films, and ’70s prime-time TV—and employing Maddin’s mastery of assemblage technique, seen in work like MY WINNIPEG and BRAND UPON THE BRAIN, the result exerts the inexorable pull of Hitchcock’s twisted tale of erotic obsession while paying tribute to the City by the Bay and the ways it looks and feels through the medium of cinema Composed by Jacob Garchik and performed by Kronos Quartet, the film’s score nods to Bernard Hermann’s classic VERTIGO music as it collides and converses with Maddin and Johnsons’ irreverent and loving footage to create a distinctive musical extravaganza. Through 12 features and many shorts, adventurous artist Guy Maddin exhibits the rare ability to simultaneously subvert and honor the craft of filmmaking. His credits include the Emmy Award-winning ballet film Dracula: Pages From A Virgin’s Diary(2002); The Saddest Music in the World (2003); My Winnepeg (2007) and US National Society of Film Critics Best Experimental Film Prize-winners Archangel (1990) and The Heart of the World (2000). Guy Maddin talks about the “City by the Bay,” scriptwriting, storytelling and his favorite film, Vertigo.
“First and foremost, “The Green Fog” is a marvel of film scholarship that looks backward and forward from the Hitchcock masterpiece.” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times
“The Green Fog fairly closely follows the structure of Hitchcock’s film; achieving that in itself is some sort of accomplishment. However, it’s not so much an assemblage as it is a conjuring.” – Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice
“The film is a brilliant exercise in meta-narrative, which raises questions galore about reality and representation, time and space, genre and gender, individual and urban identity, cinematic suture and casting. Mainly, though, it’s just very, very funny.” – Geoff Andrew, Sight and Sound
“The work of a sensibility as impish as it is scholarly, animated by a mischievous sense of the medium’s possibilities” – Justin Change, Los Angeles Times
“It demonstrates the act of creation as a perpetually reconstructive effort…” – Lawrence Garcia, Cinema Scope
A Suitable Girl follows three young women in India struggling to maintain their identities and follow their dreams amid intense pressure to get married.Ritu, Dipti and Amrita represent the new India. Educated, financially stable and raised with a mix of traditional and contemporary values in the urban cities of Mumbai and New Delhi, they have access to the world in ways their mothers did not. Yet their lives take a dramatic turn when the pressure to settle down and get married hits. Career aspirations become secondary to the pursuit of a husband, and the women struggle with the prospect of leaving their homes and families to become part of another. Documenting the arranged marriage and matchmaking process in vérité over four years, the film examines the women’s complex relationships with marriage, family and culture; the many nuanced ways society molds them into traditional roles; and a rarely-seen portrait of India’s urban middle class. Co-directors Sarita Khurana and Smriti Mundhra join us for a conversation on the underlying changing social, economic and cultural dynamics influencing a generation young women growing up in modern India.
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.
“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
“Like its heroine, I Kill Giants isn’t afraid to tackle the darkness or rage of little girls, or their fear and pain.” – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times
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.
• 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
92% on Rotten Tomatoes!
“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
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.
“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
“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
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.
“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
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.
“The cast lend charm to this feel good 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!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 hermulti-cultural comedy / drama and working with the film’s Executive Producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.
“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
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.
“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
“There are moments where you may want to stop the film to assure yourself you’re seeing what you’re seeing, so disordering to the senses are Goldsworthy’s re-orderings of nature.” – Ty Burr, Boston Globe
“Leaning Into the Wind” offers viewers a welcome chance to consider the work of an artist who defies the recent commodification cult to embrace the ephemeral and the nominally “worthless.” – Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
“Even if some things have changed, spending time with an artist who’s concerned, as he’s said in interviews, with “the permanence of temporary objects and the temporality of permanent objects,” is always worth the journey.’ – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
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 andpersonal McCaw, the heartache and exhilaration of competition and what it takes, physically, emotionally andpsychologically to compete at an elite level.
“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
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.