Eight-year-old Yousef and his deaf mother Sahar are the last Palestinian residents of an otherwise deserted building in the Israeli part of the city of Hebron. Their island within the Jewish quarter is called “The Mute’s House” by Israeli soldiers, even though Sahar isn’t mute at all. Travel agencies have included the property in their tours. Yousef makes good use of his privilege to cross the border when he goes to school. Through the tour guides’ explanations, we learn the story of Yousef and Sahar, who bravely withstand all the threats and bullying. None of Yousef’s Palestinian classmates can come to his house, and filmmaker Tamar Kay isn’t allowed to cross the border to film the Palestinian quarter with Yousef. Despite his disability – Yousef was born with one arm – he amuses himself with the chickens, goats and rabbits that forage among the ruined neighboring houses, and he plays the guitar and video games. The Mute’s House is an intimate portrait that elegantly illustrates the absurdity of the endless conflict. Director Tamar Kay was born in Jerusalem and graduated The Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film & Television School in 2015, stops by to talk about her moving and heartbreaking portrait of life on the edge of chaos and isolation.
“If someone wrote a fictional script for a film about this story, no one would believe it.” – Alan Berliner, (dir. Nobody’s Business, Emmy Award Winner)
Neil (Michael Johnston) is an introverted, questioning high school freshman. Lacking any friends IRL, his main social outlet is the steamy fan fiction he writes about Vanguard, the brawny, galaxy-hopping hero of a popular sci-fi franchise. When his stories are exposed in class Neil is mortified, but the slightly older, effortlessly cool Julia (Hannah Marks) comes to his defense. An erotic fan fic writer herself, Julia pushes Neil to publish his stories to an online “adult” forum, where they quickly grab the attention of the site moderator, Denis (Michael Ian Black). When Neil is invited to present his work at a comic con live-read event, he has to face the fact that Denis’ interest in him may be more than simply professional… perhaps like his own feelings for Julia. Director Clay Liford stops by to talk about his endearing, beautifully rendered story of angst, creativity and self discovery.
“An effortlessly engaging dramedy that somehow manages to sustain an air of buoyant sweetness even while repeatedly referencing erotic fantasies and sexual anxieties.” – Joe Leydon, Variety
“This sweet-natured coming-of-age movie, written and directed by Clay Liford, is perhaps more complicated than most by having characters whose sexual orientations aren’t settled.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times
“Charming and slightly, beautifully dangerous” – BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH
“Effortlessly engaging” – VARIETY
“Grounded, funny, and relatable” – AIN’T IT COOL NEWS
is a 41-year old local captain of the Greek Coast Guard. He has two wonderful young daughters Vivi and Melissa, and before the refugee crisis exploded in 2014, he had a “normal” life. Lesbos was a small peaceful island and is job involved routine border patrols. Him, like the rest of the crew isn’t trained to do CPR. His boat is not equipped with thermal cameras or other instruments that would help deal with such an emergency. Often times, the captain had to disobey orders and despite rough weather he would continue to go out in the sea to save as many lives as possible. There have been plenty of times that he could turn his back. But he’s choosing to do the opposite: to respond. Director Daphne Matziaraki joins to talk about her work as a photojournalist and filmmaker in Europe, Africa and the US as well as her compelling, compassionate and humanizing film on the refugee crisis gripping Europe.
DISTURBING THE PEACE follows a group of former enemy combatants – Israeli soldiers from the most elite units, and Palestinian fighters, many of whom served years in prison – who have come together to challenge the status quo and say “enough.” The film traces their transformational journeys from soldiers committed to armed battle to non-violent peace activists and their founding of Combatants for Peace. The Combatants for Peace, a group of Palestinians and Israelis working together to promote human rights and peace for all, are the only bi-partisan, non-violent activist group of enemy combatants working together in an ongoing armed conflict in the world today. They are an inspiring modern day example of the importance of using nonviolent solutions to our conflicts. Their personal stories tell an inspiring story of the human potential that is unleashed when people have the courage to follow the power of their own consciences. Co-directors Stephen Apkon and Andrew Young joins us to talk about just how far cooperation and rapprochement between Israelis and Palestinians has come and how much further it needs to go before there is justice in this troubled region.
“Their stories are compelling – and persuasive.” – Andy Webster, New York Times
“Well-chosen news and archival clips, footage from CFP’s provocative rallies, plus a series of skillful and useful reenactments help flesh out this inspiring portrait.” – Gary Goldstein, LA Times
“Effectively illustrates the universality of suffering by juxtaposing the stories of people on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” – Matt Fagerholm, RogerEbert.com
“By focusing on combatants from both sides who came together to bring about change, Disturbing the Peace is a rejoinder to pessimism, delivering a message of hope that lands with some success.” Stephen Mayne, Under the Radar
HARRY BENSON: SHOOT FIRST charts the illustrious career of the renowned photographer who initially rose to fame alongside The Beatles, having been assigned to cover their inaugural trip to the United States in 1964. With unprecedented “behind the scenes” access, Benson captured some of the most vibrant and intimate portraits ever taken of the most popular band in history. His extensive portfolio includes iconic images of Winston Churchill, Bobby Fischer, Muhammad Ali, Greta Garbo, Michael Jackson, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Robert F. Kennedy assassination, and his work has appeared in publications including Life, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Now 86, workaholic Benson has no intention of stopping. Co-director Justin Bare (SCATTER MY ASHES AT BERGDOF’s), joins us for a lively conversation on this charismatic and remarkable artist.
“The film captures not only Harry’s boldness and bravery in pursuing controversial subjects, but also his disarming personality and his ability to achieve intimacy with his subjects.” – Katie Walsh,
“Iconic shutterbug Benson is captured in all his funny, feisty, gritty and graceful complexity in this spellbinder of a doc from Justin Bare and Matthew Miele with images that take the breath away.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“He can shoot fast and make art,” a friend says, and “Harry Benson: Shoot First” makes that point again and again.” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times
“Don’t blink — not even once. That’s the best advice for viewers of the dazzling new documentary Harry Benson: Shoot First.” – Isaac Guzman, Time Magazine
In this new documentary from filmmakers Menachem Daum and Oren Rudavsky (Hiding and Seeking, A Life Apart), audiences will travel to Lifta—the only Palestinian villageabandoned during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that has not been destroyed or repopulated by Jews. Lifta, at the western entrance to Jerusalem, is rarely a destination on any tourist map despite its significant history. The village is now threatened by an Israeli development plan that would convert it into an upscale Jewish neighborhood and forever change its character. With the support of the Palestinian and Jewish Coalition to Save Lifta, Lifta has become a battleground between developers, the Israeli Land authority, and its defenders. Lifta’s unique history and architectural treasures have made it a candidate to become a UNESCO World Heritage site, pending far from certain Israeli government approval. Oren Rudavsky (director, co-producer and director of photography) was co-producer and co-director of HIDING AND SEEKING and A LIFE APART. Rudavsky is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and has received awards and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the New York State Council for the Arts and more. His most recently completed film COLLIDING DREAMS is a feature length documentary that was supported by a media grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Director Oren Rudavsky stops by to talk about his remarkable film and the chance for some form of reconciliation in this troubled land.
“Watching these sturdy carriers of suffering inevitably argue, your spirits may sink. But you also can’t help but notice that the rocky terrain requires them at times to hold on to each other.” – Robert Abele, LA Times
“A vital study of loss and memory. Grounded in the art of listening, ‘The Ruins of Lifta’ builds a powerful, personal, political conversation between Palestinians and Israelis looking to live differently. The result is necessary viewing.” – Diana Clarke, Village Voice
“The Ruins of Lifta offers a muscular example of ability of documentaries to make the political intensely personal. More painfully, it’s also a case study in the limits of benign intention.” – Ella Taylor, NPR
“A thoughtful lesson in history – and listening.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter
Based on the Emmy Award-winning short film of the same name, Notes on Blindness is the debut feature from writer / directors Peter Middleton and James Spinney. In 1983, after decades of steady deterioration, writer and theologian John Hull became totally blind. To help him make sense of the upheaval in his life, he began documenting his experiences on audio cassette. Drawing on John’s original audio recordings, Notes on Blindness is a poetic and intimate story of loss, rebirth and transformation, charting his extraordinary journey into ‘a world beyond sight’. To compliment this archive material, the filmmakers recorded over twenty hours of audio interviews with John and his wife Marilyn. These audio interviews are interwoven throughout the film’s soundtrack, forming a lyrical narration, with the couple reflecting on events from a distance of thirty years. This wealth of documentary audio material is embedded within cinematic interpretations, in which actors play John and his family, lip-synching to this documentary audio. This innovative creative approach liberates the scope of the film to explore the interior aspects of John’s journey into blindness – John’s dream life, his memories and flights of imagination. Writer / directors Peter Middleton and James Spinney join us for a conversation on the their innovative approach to conveying the experience of blindness and the challenges of telling this deeply personal story of love and triumph.
Story of film subject John Hull: John M. Hull taught for 30 years at the University of Birmingham until his retirement in 2002. He was the first professor of Religious Education in the UK and recipient of the prestigious William Rainey Harper award from the Religious Education Association of the US and Canada. This award is only held by 12 international scholars, and is presented to ‘outstanding leaders whose work in other fields has had a profound impact upon religious education’, including luminaries such as Marshall McLuhan, Margaret Mead and Paolo Freire.
In the late 1930s China is in dire straits. The country will collapse under Japan’s military juggernaut if it doesn’t get outside help. Chinese American firebrand Li Ling-Ai jolts Americans into action with a new medium — 16mm Kodachrome color film. She hires photo-journalist Rey Scott to travel to China and capture a citizen’s perspective of the war-torn country, including the massive bombing of the wartime capital Chungking (now Chongqing). Their landmark film KUKAN screens for President Franklin Roosevelt at the White House, is called “awesome” by the New York Times, and receives one of the first Academy Awards for a feature documentary in 1942. Why have we never heard of Li Ling-Ai? And why have all copies of KUKAN disappeared? FINDING KUKAN uses rare and unseen archival footage to create an unforgettable portrait of a female filmmaking pioneer, and sheds light on the long history of racial and gender discrimination behind the camera, which continues to reverberate in Hollywood today. Director / Producer Robin Lung stops by to talk about the 7-year quest to find the answers to a multitude of questions.
National Bird is an investigative political documentary that explores the complex issue of drone warfare from a human perspective. National Bird follows the dramatic journey of three whistleblowers who are determined to break the silence around one of the most controversial current affairs issues of our time: the secret U.S. drone war. At the center of the film are three U.S. military veterans. Plagued by guilt over participating in the killing of faceless people in foreign countries, they decide to speak out publicly, despite the possible consequences. Their stories take dramatic turns, leading one of the protagonists to Afghanistan where she learns about a horrendous incident. But her journey also gives hope for peace and redemption. National Bird gives rare insight into the U.S. drone program through the eyes of veterans and survivors, connecting their stories as never seen before in a documentary. Like previous advancements in military technology, combat drones have transformed warfare, outpacing the ability of legal and moral frameworks to adapt and address these developments. Director / producer and journalist Sonia Kennebeck joins us for a conversation on the immediate consequences, long term ramifications and potential for abuse of a technology that has not received an appropriate level of public discourse.
“National Bird” is powerful cinematic journalism.” – Kimber Myers, LA Times
“Chilling testimony from those three veterans, each of whom helped to wage war from behind consoles half a world away, serves as the backbone of a film that adds its voice to mounting criticism of the U.S. drone program.” – Peter DeBarge, Variety
“[An] elegantly unsettling documentary about the United States’ reliance on aerial combat drones.” – Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times
“This is a truly amazing and eye-opening film about the drone program of the U.S. Air Force and some courageous people who realized what sort of threat these unmanned warplanes represent and who decided to speak out about their experiences.You will see and hear things you’ve never seen or heard, and you will leave the theater with insight, in the true sense of the word, you did not have before.” – Wim Wenders
“NATIONAL BIRD is a one-of-a-kind film. It’s nothing short of miraculous that Sonia Kennebeck was able to secure the cooperation of multiple analysts recently active in the U.S. drone program. The film offers an unparalleled glimpse into the surreal landscape of automated murder. – Errol Morris
“NATIONAL BIRD is an extraordinary first person perspective that is starkly riveting, deeply compelling, and a signature eyewitness portrayal of three drone whistleblowers confronted by the remote killing fields of American foreign policy as well as the tragedy experienced by the people of Afghanistan at the everyday level. – Thomas Drake, Whistleblower/ Former Senior Executive of the National Security Agency
How would you react if you discovered that your child – who is often lost in their own thoughts and disconnected from other children – is actually one of the greatest minds of their time? As a young boy, Magnus Carlsen was very different from his peers. Bullied by the other children, he usually sat by himself, lost in thought. But when a strong interest in numbers led him to the game of chess at the age of 5, he quickly started to climb the ranks of the chess world. At 13, he decided that he would become the World Chess Champion. Magnus is now known as the “Mozart of Chess” – combing the skill and intellect of chess with unrivaled originality and instinct. Through an extensive amount of archival footage and home movies, filmmaker Benjamin Ree follows Magnus’s meteoric rise to the top in this unique coming-of-age story. The film invites audiences to not only experience the fascinating world of competitive chess, but also peek into the mind of a modern genius. Director Benjamin Ree joins us to talk about the international culture of chess and the fascinating story of a prodigy with a talent for understanding numbers, patterns and following his remarkable instincts.
The Anthropologist tells the story of Katie Yegorov-Crate, a thirteen-year-old girl from Fairfax, Virginia. She is carted around the globe by her mother, noted environmental anthropologist Susie Crate. Susie studies the effects of climate change on centuries-old indigenous communities. Famed anthropologist Margaret Mead also analyzed how communities confront change, but that which results from war and modernity. Mead’s daughter Mary Catherine Bateson, now 76 and a cultural anthropologist in her own right, provides extraordinary insight into what Susie and Katie discover. Filmed over the course of five years, The Anthropologist is a meditation on change, both individual and societal. Susie and Katie work with people in Siberia, the South Pacific, the Andes, and the nearby Chesapeake Bay, who struggle to reconfigure how and where they live. In Siberia, where Susie met Katie’s father while doing research, Katie’s relatives can no longer farm on land they’ve occupied for generations. Katie’s roots are also threatened by the inhospitable soil. Uniquely revealed from their daughters’ perspectives, Mead and Crate demonstrate a fascination with how societies are forced to negotiate the disruption of their traditional ways of life, whether through encounters with the outside world or the unprecedented change wrought by melting permafrost, receding glaciers and rising tides. Co-director Jeremy Newberger stops by to talk about the rapid climate changes occurring around the world and the increasing human cost.
THE ANTHROPOLOGIST will have a one-week engagement beginning November 18 at Laemmle’s Music Hall, 9036 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90021, 310-478-3836. Go to: laemmle.com/films/41178
“A highly human look at a single mother field scientist and her teenage daughter as they globetrot to study the effects of climate change.” – Film Journal International
“At this point no documentarian can possibly have a fresh take on climate change, right? Wrong.” – Neil Gezlinger, New York Times
“It may not be handled with the rigor that climate change activists would like to see, but it’s an entertaining way of putting a human face on a problem while still providing enough important facts to promote thought.” – Valeriy Kolyadych, PopMatters
Fire at Sea is the first documentary to ever win the top award at the Berlin International Film Festival. It is the story of a twelve year old boy, Samuele living on an island in the Mediterranean, far away from the mainland. Like all boys of his age, he does not always enjoy going to school. He would much rather climb the rocks by the shore, play with his slingshot or mooch around the port. But his home is not like other islands. For years, it has been the destination of men, women and children trying to make the crossing from Africa in boats that are far too small and decrepit. The island is Lampedusa, which has become ground zero for the flight of refugees to Europe and a symbol of the hope and fate of hundreds of thousands of emigrants fleeing dire living conditions. These people long for peace, freedom and happiness, and yet so often only their dead bodies are pulled out of the water. Thus, every day the inhabitants of Lampedusa are bearing witness to the greatest humanitarian tragedy of our times. With tenderness and a nocturnal grandeur, Director Gianfranco Rosi creates a remarkable narrative that jolts us into a new understanding of what is really happening in the Mediterranean today as well as bear witness to the resiliency at the core of our humanity.
FIRE AT SEA filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi, winner of the Golden Bear at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival, will participate in Q&A’s after the 7:15 PM screenings at the Fine Arts on Friday and Saturday, October 28 and 29. Laemmle Fine Arts Theatre
“A clear-eyed, sublimely made account of a heartbreaking, sometimes gut-wrenching subject. A quietly profound study in contrasts. This isn’t just an apt documentary, but a very fine film” – Demetrios Matheou, Indiewire
“REMARKABLE. Rosi’s masterstroke is to not approach the hot-button material – of sinking boats, clamouring migrants, bellowing officials – head on, but instead watch it at one remove, through the eyes of the locals on Lampedusa, the Sicilian island that has become a major gateway for the exodus. Rosi’s film is a collection of tiny details that morph, almost by osmosis, into a shocking excavation of the mechanics of crisis.”– Andrew Pulver, The Guardian
“POWERFUL, at times shocking, but also intensely human.” – Lee Marshall, Screen International
“Where journalism leaves off, Fire at Sea begins. It takes a unique documentary filmmaker like Gianfranco Rosi to capture the drama through the periscope of his camera focused on the small Sicilian island of Lampedusa.” -The Hollywood Reporter
Directors Michele Mitchell and Nick Louvel’sTHE UNCONDEMNED is a riveting documentary about an underdog group of lawyers and activists who defied the odds to do what had never been done: prosecute rape as an international war crime. In 1997, the young men and women at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda found themselves inexplicably in charge of the first case of genocide in history. Underfunded, understaffed and overwhelmed, they faced incredible hurdles as they pursued their first case against a small town mayor. Crimes of war and against humanity had not been prosecuted since 1946, and surviving witnesses feared for their lives. And then, based on a last minute revelation, the prosecuting team amended the charge to include rape. Three heroic women would overcome their fears and shame to speak for all those who could not. Secret memos, witness assassinations, setbacks and barriers – THE UNCONDEMNED captures the untold, remarkable story that changed the course of international judicial history. Co-director and producer Michele Mitchell joins us for a conversation on the Rwandan genocide, an unprecedented prosecution, and remarkable courage by remarkable women.
The Uncondemned is screening the starting Friday, October 28, 2016 at the Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles
Q & A schedule with special guests at the following screenings:
Friday, October 28 – 7:10 Pierre Prosper, Michele Mitchell
Saturday, October 28 – 4:30 pm Naama Haviv, executive director of Panzi USA, & Michele Mitchell, co-director/producer
7:10 pm Mike Brand, atrocities prevention expert and advocacy director, Jewish World Watch; Naama Haviv, executive director, Panzi USA; Michele Mitchell, co-director/producer
Tuesday, Nov 1 – 7:10 pm Dr. Caroline Heldman, associate professor of politics at Occidental College, principal researcher at Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media; Chelsea Byers, creative action coordinator at Beautiful Trouble and campaign activist with CODEPINK: Women for Peace; Schatzi Throckmorton, associate producer, THE UNCONDEMNED
Wednesday, Nov 2 – 7:10 pm Mike Brand, atrocities prevention expert and advocacy director, Jewish World Watch; Schatzi Throckmorton, associate producer, THE UNCONDEMNED
Thursday, Nov 3rd – 7:10 pm Junemarie Justus, Human Rights Watch; Schatzi Throckmorton, associate producer, THE UNCONDEMNED
“What “The Uncondemned” convincingly demonstrates is the cumulative power of a small group of people with an intense passion for justice, idealists with practical experience whose belief in the power inherent in speaking the truth is not to be denied.” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times
“Though it is, indeed, at times hard to take, it should be seen by everyone. – David Not, Film Journal International
“While this sober documentary about rape during wartime treats those words and its subject with the required gravity, there are also moments of inspiration.” – Ken Jaworowski, New York Times
“In their eye-opening documentary, directors Nick Louvel and Michele Mitchell reveal how the young, idealistic prosecutors, already overextended, uncovered evidence of the systematic violation, torture, mutilation, and enslavement of women in Taba.” – Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader
In Minneapolis’ large Somali refugee community, Adan (Barkhad Abdirahman) has nowhere to go. His mom kicked him out, and his friends are tired of his headstrong ways. As a last resort, he moves into the mosque, praying for a little help. Surprisingly, God seems to answer. Adan quickly lands a good job, devout friends, and a newfound faith. When Adan nearly hits a stray dog on the job, he’s forced to take it in for a night. But one of his new mosque friends considers the dog impure, and he throws Adan out. With Adan back on the streets, surrounded by his old crew, ex-girlfriends, prying FBI agents, and his estranged family, the dog may be his only friend as he tries to keep his faith and get through the night. Filmmaker Musa Syeed’s first narrative feature VALLEY OF SAINTS won the World Cinema Audience Award at Sundance and was a New York Times Critics Pick. The result of an immersive research process similar to A STRAY, the film was shot during a military curfew in Kashmir, employing a community of boat people as cast and crew. His previous documentaries, also produced with cinematographer Yoni Brook, include BRONX PRINCESS (Berlinale, POV) and A SON’S SACRIFICE (Tribeca Best Short Doc, Independent Lens). Director and writer Musa Syeed stops by for a conversation on the challenges and rewards of making an intimate and moving portrait of a stranger in a strange land.
Best MN-Made Feature – Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival
Official Selection – BAM Cinemafest, Maryland Film Festival, Blackstar Film Festival
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
“The substantial pleasures of the movie are supplemented by the gratification of seeing an emerging talent with concerns far outside the conventional indie realm asserting himself with such authority.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times
“The writer-director’s seemingly random yet never aimless narrative avoids predictable sentimental notes as well as any explicit backstory, leaving us to fill in the blanks.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety
“A truly empathetic look at the immigrant experience in today’s jittery American “homeland.””– Shirley Sealy, Film Journal International
Charismatic cleric Abdul Aziz Ghazi, an ISIS supporter and Taliban ally, is waging jihad against the Pakistani state.His dream is to impose a strict version of Shariah law throughout the country, as a model for the world. A flashpoint in Aziz’s holy war took place in 2007, when the government leveled his flagship mosque to the ground, killing his mother, brother, only son and 150 students. With unprecedented access, Among the Believers follows Aziz on his very personal quest to create an Islamic utopia, during the bloodiest period in Pakistan’s modern history. The film also follows the lives of two teenage students who have attended madrassahs (Islamic seminaries) run by Aziz’s Red Mosque network. Throughout the film, their paths diverge: Talha, 12, detaches from his moderate Muslim family and decides to become a jihadi preacher. Zarina, also 12, escapes her madrassah and joins a regular school. Over the next few years, Zarina’s education is threatened by frequent Taliban attacks on schools like her own. Intimate and shocking, Among the Believers offers rare insights into the ideological battles shaping Pakistan and the Muslim world. The co-directors of Among the Believers, Hemal Trivedi (Producer) and Mohammed Ali Naqvi join us for a conversation on their beautifully balanced film.
“It insists on seeing its subjects’ humanity – something rare in the Western press, particularly when reporting on Islam, and especially fundamentalism.” – Diana Clark, Village Voice
“The filmmakers skillfully orchestrate the various levels of their exploration, from the intimate details of Talha and Zarina’s lives to the workings of the big national picture.” – Ronnie Schieb, Variety
“Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Ali Naqvi’s Among the Believers takes viewers to the frontlines of an ideological battle playing out in the Islamic world that receives little coverage in the Western media.” Oleg Ivanov, Slant Magazine
Winner,FACT Award Jury Prize, CPH:DOX Copenhagen Documentary Festival Winner, Grand Prix, International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH), Geneva Winner,Docu/Right Competition (Special Mention), Docudays UA Film Festival, Kiev Winner, Best International Feature (Special Mention) & Best International Director, Doc Edge Festival, New Zealand Winner, Best Documentary Feature, Hollywood Film Festival Winner,Best Documentary & Audience Choice Prize, Tasveer South Asian Film Festival Winner, Amnesty International Prize, San Sebastian Human Rights Film Festival Winner,Power of Film Award, Beloit International Film Festival Winner,Best International Documentary, Oaxaca Film Fest Winner,Best Director, Documentary Feature SOMA Film Festival Winner,David Ponce Award for Best Film, Chagrin Documentary Film Fest Winner, Best Feature, Abraham Lincoln Brigade Association Human Rights Film Festival
With the current coverage of the North Dakota Pipeline Protest, we are shown how the sacred lands of Native Americans in the United States are constantly being destroyed for capital and economic gain with the government failing to protect these tribal lands. In the new documentary100 YEARS, we see another similar story come to the forefront when Elouise Cobell from the Blackfeet tribe in Montana discovers that the United States government has been mismanaging funds and the lands and exploiting the Blackfeet reservation. Many of the Blackfeet tribe members could see the oil being pumped out from their land on a daily basis. But they saw barely a few dollars from the millions that was being made from their land’s natural resources. It was with the fierceness and dedication that Elouise Cobellembarked on a 30 year fight with the U.S. government that lead her to file the largest class action lawsuit in the history of the United States Government. 100 YEARS is her story! Below is more information on the theatrical release of this important film and event in our own American history. Director Melinda Jenko joins for a conversation on the indignities and the injustice that Native Americans continue to suffer under an oppressive and unethical federal government.
“100 Years” will be screening for a limited engagement in the Laemmle Monica Film Center,
September 23-30, with a Q&A with the Director on Saturday, September 24.The film will also screen in the Cinema Village in New York City, from October 14-21, with a Q&A with the Director on Saturday, October 15th.
“What emerges watching 100 Years is Elouise Cobell’s indomitable spirit and passion, her conviction in pursuing a case that seemed impossible to win.” – Daniel Eagan, Film Journal International
“With any luck, Hollywood will take note and someday present an Erin Brockovich-like adaptation of this tale, drawing more casual moviegoers into this ire-stoking story …” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter
What does it mean to film another person? How does it affect that person – and what does it do to the one who films? A boxing match in Brooklyn; life in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina; the daily routine of a Nigerian midwife; an intimate family moment at home: these scenes and others are woven into Cameraperson, a tapestry of footage captured over the twenty-five-year career of documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson. Through a series of episodic juxtapositions, Johnson explores the relationships between image makers and their subjects, the tension between the objectivity and intervention of the camera, and the complex interaction of unfiltered reality and crafted narrative. A work that combines documentary, autobiography, and ethical inquiry, Cameraperson is both a moving glimpse into one filmmaker’s personal journey and a thoughtful examination of what it means to train a camera on the world. Director and subject Kirsten Johnson stops by to talk about her career, what inspires her, the power of the image and often conflicting realities of documentary filmmaking.
LANDFILL HARMONIC chronicles the incredible journey of Paraguay’s Recycled Orchestra of Cateura. Orchestra Founder Favio Chavez had hopes of sharing music with the children of Cateura, a poverty stricken slum next to the capital’s largest landfill. Since expensive musical instruments were not within attainable for families in Cateura,Favio, along with carpenter and trash picker Nicolas “Cola” Gomez, began to craft instruments from materials found in the landfill to provide children with the opportunity to play. They journey exceeds all expectations as they find themselves playing for audiences around the world, even accompanying artists such as Stevie Wonder, Metallica and Megadeth. They’ve also played for Pope Francis, and recently performed at The United Nations in NYC. Winner of the Audience Award at the South By Southwest Film Festival, AFI DOCS Festival, Vancouver Film Festival; official selection at the Sheffield Film Festival and winner of the Documentary Award for The Humanitas Prize. Co-director Brad Allgood joins us for a conversation on this uplifting and captivating film.
In this tense and immersive tour de force film, When Two Worlds Collide, audiences are taken directly into the line of fire between powerful, opposing Peruvian leaders who will stop at nothing to keep their respective goals intact. On the one side is President Alan Garcia, who, eager to enter the world stage, begins aggressively extracting oil, minerals, and gas from untouched indigenous Amazonian land. He is quickly met with fierce opposition from indigenous leader Alberto Pizango, whose impassioned speeches against Garcia’s destructive actions prove a powerful rallying cry to throngs of his supporters. When Garcia continues to ignore their pleas, a tense war of words erupts into deadly violence. Co-director Heidi Brandenburg (Mathew Orzel) joins us to talk about the physically arduous and personally dangerous challenges they faced in making this dynamic and compelling film.
Opening Friday, September 16th at the Laemmle Monica Film Center
Critic’s Pick! A stellar doc…devastating…the rawest vision of capitalism run amok. Epochal moments on the screen.” – Alan Scherstuhl, The Village Voice
“A potent chronicle of the fight between indigenous tribes and government-supported business interests in the Peruvian Amazon.” – Variety
“Potent…harrowing. Startlingly immersive in its immediacy.” – Kenji Fujishima , Paste Magazine
“A tour-de-force…damning…a must-see.” – Manuel Betancourt, Remezcla
“Gripping… serves as a reminder that when it comes to a fight between government-backed business interests and the rights of the people, the official story is rarely the whole story.” – Noel Murray, AV Club
Newly arrived from England to marry his fiancée Zaneta (Agnieszk Zulewska, Chemo),Peter (Israeli actor Itay Tiran, Lebanon) has been given a gift of her family’s ramshackle country house in rural Poland. It’s a total fixer-upper, and while inspecting the premises on the eve of the wedding, he falls into a pile of human remains. The ceremony proceeds, but strange things begin to happen…During the wild reception, Peter begins to come undone, and a dybbuk, the iconic ancient figure from Jewish folklore, takes a toehold in this present-day celebration-for a very particular reason, as it turns out. Based on noted Polish writer Piotr Rowicki’s play Adherence,DEMON is the final work by Marcin Wrona, who died just as DEMON was set to premiere in Poland, is part absurdist comedy, part love story-that scares, amuses, and charms in equal measure. Acclaimed at several festivals including New Directors/New Films, the Toronto Film Festival, and Austin Fantastic Fest where it won the Award for Best Horror Feature. Producer Olga Szymanska, widow of DEMON director Marcin Wrona joins us for a conversation on this hauntingly beautiful film.
Winner: Austin Fantastic Fest, Best Horror Feature, 2015
Winner: Haifa Film Festival, Tobias Spencer Award, 2015
“Wrona keeps everything creepily ambiguous right up to the end, when the foggy dawn breaks and what we have witnessed becomes like a dream within a dream.” – Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
“..a unique take on the Jewish legend of the Dybbuk that feels both deeply rooted in cultural nightmares and refreshingly new…“Demon” is stylish and clever from its concept..but it’s the execution that really matters. There’s a great energy to the piece, from the framing of the visual compositions, to the eerie atmosphere created by the lights hanging from the ceiling of what looks like a barn. There’s fantastic costume design as well as a lead performance that engages on every level.” — Brian Tallerico, Rogerebert.com
“Crackling, spookily atmospheric, intelligent, sometimes funny ghost story. It builds on family secrets to take on wider social and historical resonance for Poles and Jews.” – Nora Lee Mandel, Film Forward
“A darkly humorous reworking of “The Dybbuk,” with a deftly realized switch that turns that familiar tale of love from beyond the grave into a parable of Polish anti-Semitism in the post-war era…. a black comedy in the vein of “The Exterminating Angel.” — George Robinson, The Jewish Week
Richard Linklater: Dream is Destiny takes the viewer from the Academy Awards for the acclaimed, Boyhood, and an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Linklater’s latest film, Everybody Wants Some. Throughout the film, Richard Linklater himself addresses his own life at mid-career point, at times while embarrassed and shy. He tells of the influential array of filmmakers, playwrights and criminals that continue to form his own independent work, and the philosophical modalities which have guided the path; all in conversation with Louis Black, an Austin-based journalist who has known him since the 1980’s. Other interviews include Ethan Hawke, Jack Black, Jonathan Demme, Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Adair and Julie Delpy, members of the Linklater family, Clark Walker and more. Richard Linklater: Dream is Destiny was produced for PBS’ American Masters series is an unusual look at a fiercely independent style of filmmaking that arose from Austin, Texas in the 1980s/ early 90’s.It is an unconventional look at how Linklater’s films of that period, Slacker, Dazed and Confused and Before Sunrise, sparked a low budget, in your own backyard movement in this country and around the world.Co-directors and co-producers Louis Black and Karen Bernstein joins us for a spirited conversation on what makes Richard run, the early days of the Austin film scene and how Linklater has influenced and mentored many of the independent film world’s brightest talents.
“It’s shamelessly partial but also warmly pleasurable, partly because Mr. Linklater is an engaging and humble conversationalist who moves easily to the beat of his own soundtrack.” – Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times
“A documentary portrait of the director of ‘Boyhood’ and ‘Dazed and Confused’ is full of revealing offscreen footage as well as a pinpoint feeling for the filmmaker’s visionary humanism.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“Warm, familial and unhurried portrait of the great Austin auteur provides a good overview of an underappreciated director’s work and unusual approach.” – Chris Barsanti, Film Journal International
“Black and Bernstein understand what it is that makes Linklater so curious, and in chronicling his career in such a clear and entertaining way, they’ve put together a worthwhile and winning portrait of a very special filmmaker.” – Adam Chitwood, Collider
The danger is palpable as intrepid young filmmaker Nanfu Wang follows maverick activist Ye Haiyan (a.k.a Hooligan Sparrow) and her band of colleagues to Hainan Province in southern China to protest the case of six elementary school girls who were sexually abused by their principal. Marked as enemies of the state, the activists are under constant government surveillance and face interrogation, harassment, and imprisonment. Sparrow, who gained notoriety with her advocacy work for sex workers’ rights, continues to champion girls’ and women’s rights and arms herself with the power and reach of social media. Filmmaker Wang becomes a target along with Sparrow, as she faces destroyed cameras and intimidation. Yet she bravely and tenaciously keeps shooting, guerrilla-style, with secret recording devices and hidden-camera glasses, and in the process, she exposes a startling number of undercover security agents on the streets. Eventually, through smuggling footage out of the country, Wang is able tell the story of her journey with the extraordinary revolutionary Sparrow, her fellow activists, and their seemingly impossible battle for human rights. Director Nanfu Wang stops by for a conversation on her daunting journey to bring this story to light and Ye Haiyan’s bravery in the face of overwhelming obstacles.
International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights – Youth Prize AND Jury Prize
Movies that Matter – Golden Butterfly AND Human Rights Award
Nashville Film Festival – Special Jury Prize for Badass Filmmaking
Ashland Independent – Best Documentary
Greenwich Film Festival – Best Documentary AND Best Social Impact Film
Human Rights Watch NY – Nestor Almendros Award for Courage in Filmmaking
Northwest Fest – Best International Feature
“A whistleblowing documentary made with fearless guerrilla cunning …” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“Other movies have more powerfully exposed the corruption of contemporary China, but few have so articulately confronted how women always seem to be the first citizens to have their wings clipped.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire
“[A] tremendous documentary …” – Diana Clark, Village Voice
“This is independent filmmaking at its most courageous. By keeping faith with her subjects, she put herself at risk, which is beyond admirable.” – Joe Bendel, Epoch Times
MARCH OF THE LIVING tells the story of the last generation of Holocaust survivors traveling to Poland with thousands of teenagers from around the world to revisit the sites of the Holocaust and retrace the Death March fromAuschwitz to Birkenau, in a journey of remembrance. Filmed in Brazil, Germany, Poland, Israel and the US, the film tells the moving story of the survivors’ hope of passing down their history and memory of the Holocaust to the next generation. MARCH OF THE LIVING follows survivors and teens from Sao Paulo, Los Angeles and Berlin on an emotional journey as they confront the enormity of the past and the possibility of hope in a visit to Israel on its 60th anniversary. A contemporary and unique look at the Holocaust, the film features striking cinematography of the concentration camps today and images and artifacts never seen. MARCH OF THE LIVING raises questions about Holocaust memory as it relates to genocides worldwide today, and about what will happen when the remaining survivors, now in their 80’s and 90’s, will be gone. MARCH OF THE LIVING director and writer Jessica Sanders joins us to talk about the desire of Holocaust survivors to share their memories and the hope that the world will say once and for all never again to racism, indifference, anti-semitism and injustice.
HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE is a zany tale of a defiant city kid, Ricky, raised on hip-hop and foster care, gets a fresh start in the New Zealand countryside. He quickly finds himself at home with his new foster family: the loving Aunt Bella, the cantankerous Uncle Hec, and dog Tupac. When a tragedy strikes that threatens to ship Ricky to another home, both he and Hec go on the run in the bush. As a national manhunt ensues, the newly branded outlaws must face their options: go out in a blaze of glory or overcome their differences and survive as a family. Equal parts road comedy and rousing adventure story, director Taika Waititi (WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, upcoming THOR: RAGNORAK) masterfully weaves lively humor with emotionally honest performances by Sam Neill, Rima Te Wiata, Rachel House and Julian Dennison. A hilarious, touching crowd-pleaser, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE reminds us about the journey that growing up is (at any age) and those who help us along the way. Producer Carthew Neal (Tickled, A Band Called Hook Ups) joins us to talk about how Barry Crump’s classic book, Wild Pork and Watercress found its way into the hands of the talented director and writer Taika Waititi and onto the screen.
“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” takes a troika of familiar story types – the plucky kid, the crusty geezer, the nurturing bosom – and strips them of cliché.” – Manohla Dargis, New York Times
“Every once in a while, a small, unheralded film comes along, so smart and funny, such a pleasure to experience, you can’t believe your luck. “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” is such a film.” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times
“It’s off-beat in all the best ways, has fantastic actors all delivering fantastic performances, and is a uproarious adventure with endless heart.” – CinemaBlend.com
“An oddball and oddly affecting take on two misfits finding their metaphorical partner-in-crime match.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone
THE MUSIC OF STRANGERS: YO-YO MA AND THE SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE follows an ever-changing lineup of performers drawn from the ensemble’s more than 50 instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, arrangers, visual artists and storytellers as they gather in locations across the world, exploring the ways art can both preserve traditions and shape cultural evolution. Over the past 16 years, an extraordinary group of musicians has come together to celebrate the universal power of music. Named for the ancient trade route linking Asia, Africa and Europe, The Silk Road Ensemble, an international collective created by acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, exemplifies music’s ability to blur geographical boundaries, blend disparate cultures and inspire hope for both artists and audiences. Blending performance footage, personal interviews and archival film, Academy Award winning director of 20 FEET FROM STARDOM Morgan Neville(Cool School, Beauty is Embarrassing, Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story, Best of Enemies) and producer Caitrin Rogers focus on the journeys of a small group of Silk Road Ensemble mainstays from across the globe to create an intensely personal chronicle of passion, talent and sacrifice.
THE MUSIC OF STRANGERS SPECIAL APPEARANCE: The universal power of music is celebrated in THE MUSIC OF STRANGERS: YO-YO MA AND THE SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE, opening at The Landmark on Thursday, June 9 at 7:15pm, with daily screenings beginning Friday, June 10. The film’s Oscar-winning director, Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom), will appear in person on Saturday, June 11 for a Q&A after the 7:40pm show; and Monday, June 13 for a Q&A after the 7:40pm show.
**2016 Berlin Film Festival – Special Gala**
**2015 Toronto International Film Festival – Official Selection**
“Neville is keenly aware of how to show the musicians’ kinetic energy onscreen, and he relies on this talent to keep the film consistently alive and moving.” – Tina Hassannia, Rogertebert.com
“Neville is as expert at getting the human stories behind the songs as he is in capturing the music.” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times
“Morgan Neville’s documentary is a joyous revelation, a group portrait of superb musicians from all over the world offering music as an emblem of what people can do in these fractious times when they live in concert with one another.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal