Our Towns – Co-directors Steven Ascher and Jeanne Jordan

From Academy Award nominated filmmakers Steven Ascher and Jeanne Jordan’s comes Our Towns. It is a moving and uplifting portrait of America and how the rise of civic and economic reinvention is transforming small cities and towns across the country. Based on the bestselling book “Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America” by journalists James and Deborah Fallows, the visually stunning feature documentary spotlights ingenious local initiatives and explores how a sense of community and common language of change can help people and towns find a different path to the future. In 2011, the Fallows created a blogpost for The Atlantic asking their readers to share compelling stories about their towns – from economic setbacks to local struggles or achievements – that have been overlooked by the national press. Within a week, they received over 1,000 responses. For the next five years, they traveled the United States exploring the changes taking place across small town America for what would become their bestselling book. In 2018, Ascher and Jordan joined them to revisit eight of those cities, including San Bernardino, CA; Sioux Falls, SD; Columbus, MS; Eastport, ME; Charleston, WV; and Bend, OR. Our Towns introduces us to a wide range of civic leaders, immigrants, educators, environmentalists, artists, students, and more, witnessing their love for their communities and the innovative ways they are improving them. OUR TOWNS provides an expansive perspective on America that finds unexpected connections between personal stories, community actions, and the arc of history. Although filmed before the pandemic, OUR TOWNS speaks to how the country, and by extension the world, can find a way forward.

For more on the April 13 HBO premiere go to: hbo.com/our-towns

For news and updates go to: westcityfilms.com/ourtowns

About the filmmaker – STEVEN ASCHER is an Academy Award-nominated director and writer.  He’s author of The Filmmaker’s Handbook, a bestselling text, and has taught filmmaking, most recently as a visiting professor at Harvard. The Boston Globe calls his work “filmmaking at its finest.” He wrote, directed and co-produced the short drama Seduction Theory  which was selected for the Toronto International Shorts Festival , the Los Angeles International Shorts Festival, won a Platinum Remi for best dark comedy at Worldfest Houston and screened at the Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner. He is author of The Filmmaker’s Handbook: a Comprehensive Guide  for the Digital Age (with Ed Pincus) a bestselling text and a staple of universities and film schools internationally. Called “the bible” by The Independent, the “gold-standard technical reference” by The Boston Globe, and “seminal” by The New York Times. Ascher has written greatly expanded new editions; the fifth was released in 2019. Over 360,000 copies in print. He has served as a juror at the Sundance Film Festival, the Emmys, the Full Frame Film Festival, the Independent Film Festival Boston, the National Student Film Festival, Woods Hole Film Festival and the McKnight Fellowship. He has been a guest critic for several film programs including Yale University, Duke University and the Rhode Island School of Design. Writing on Ascher’s work has appeared in many publications including The New York TimesThe New YorkerThe Boston GlobeVarietyEcran Total and books including Documentary Storytelling by Sheila Curren Bernard. For more go to: West City Films

About the filmmaker – JEANNE JORDAN is an Academy Award-nominated producer, director, and editor of documentaries and dramas. TheIndependent said of her resume, “it reads like PBS’s greatest hits.” Jordan was Series Producer of the PBS children’s series Postcards from Buster for two seasons, producing a new, international version of the show, nominated for the Outstanding Children’s Series Emmy both years. Jordan edited two films of the groundbreaking civil rights series Eyes on the Prize which was nominated for an Oscar and won the DuPont Columbia Award, and films for American Experience, including season opener, Amelia Earhart and The Wright Stuff. Other editing includes My Mother’s Murder for HBO and the Emmy-nominee, A Normal Face for NOVA. Her dramatic feature work includes several films for American Playhouse, including  Noon WineLemon Sky and the Emmy-winning series Concealed Enemies on the trials of Alger Hiss. She edited the bilingual feature, Blue Diner which won the prestigious ALMA award. In 1988, Jordan and Orlando Bagwell produced Running With Jesse, a chronicle of Jesse Jackson’s presidential run for FRONTLINE, which Jordan also edited. She has produced and edited several pieces for The PBS Newshour and films for the PBS series Art Close Up, which won and were nomintated for Emmys. Jordan graduated from the University of Iowa and began her career at Iowa Public Television. She has twice been honored with a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard and she was a member of the Breadloaf writers conference. She has taught filmmaking at Harvard and the Art Institute of Boston. She has lectured and held master classes in several countries, including Tokyo University, the CPB/PBS Producers Academy, the Full Frame Fellows Program, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism, Harvard Law School, and the Aristoteles Workshop in Romania sponsored by the European network Arte. She has been a guest critic at Yale University, Duke University and Rhode Island School of Design. Jordan has advised and contributed to numerous film productions. She and Ascher are Executive Producers of the ITVS-supported film, Deej, winner of the Peabody Award. She has received grants from the the LEF Foundation, the Artists Foundation, the Paul Robeson Fund, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Iowa Humanities and many other state humanities and arts councils. Her films have screened at major festivals internationally and are in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, Harvard Film Archive, UCLA and the Sundance Collection. Jordan’s writing on films has appeared in Documentary Magazine. Writing on Jordan’s work has appeared in many publications including The New York TimesThe New YorkerThe Boston GlobeVarietyEcran Total and books including  Documentary Storytelling by Sheila Curren Bernard. For more go to: West City Films

“Ascher and Jordan’s films are consistently thoughtful and moving, deeply committed, and resonant with craft: their considerable gifts as filmmakers include their ability to make what is complex and difficult to film and edit seem easy.” – Scott MacDonald, American Ethnographic Film and Personal Documentary

“Dedicated filmmakers with an uncanny eye for capturing drama in the most commonplace activities.” – John Cooper, Director, Sundance Film Festival Festival

 

The Lady and the Dale – Co-directors Zackary Drucker and Nick Cammilleri

HBO Documentary Films’ THE LADY AND THE DALE, a four-part documentary series from Emmy(R)-winning producers Mark and Jay Duplass (HBO’s “Room 104”) and directed by Nick Cammilleri and Zackary Drucker, traces the audacious story of Elizabeth Carmichael, a larger-than-life entrepreneur who rose to prominence during the 1970s oil crisis with her promotion of a fuel-efficient, three-wheeled car known as The Dale. At a time when three big American automobile manufacturers ruled the road, Liz launched a futurist vehicle that promised to get 70 miles to the gallon. Her promotional zeal thrust her into fierce public and media scrutiny which uncovered a web of mystery and suspicion about the car’s technology and her own checkered past. THE LADY AND THE DALE is a probing exploration of family and identity seen through the lens of the rise and fall of a fearless and wily innovator, an extraordinarily resilient woman and a dedicated parent. Co-director Zackary Drucker (Nick Cammilleri) joins us for a conversation on one of the more convoluted personal stories and one of the most shameless schemes in American business history.

 

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For news and updates go to: hbo.com/documentaries/the-lady-and-the-dale

The series debuts with two back-to-back episodes SUNDAY, JANUARY 31 (9:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), with new episodes airing subsequent Sundays at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. THE LADY AND THE DALE will premiere on HBO and be available to stream on HBO Max.

About the filmmaker – Zackary Drucker is an independent artist, cultural producer, and trans woman who breaks down the way we think about gender, sexuality, and seeing. She has performed and exhibited her work internationally in museums, galleries, and film festivals including the Whitney Biennial 2014, MoMA PS1, Hammer Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, MCA San Diego, and SF MoMA, among others. Drucker is an Emmy-nominated Producer for the docu-series “This Is Me”, as well as a Producer on Golden Globe and Emmy-winning “Transparent”.

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“If the four-part documentary The Lady and the Dale were someone you met at a post-pandemic cocktail party, it would be sidling up and saying, “Want to hear a crazy story?” – John Anderson, Wall Street Journal

“The Lady and the Dale is the rare biographical doc in which the subject’s domestic self is as interesting as their “professional” feats.” – Inkoo Kang, Hollywood Reporter

“The series, produced by the Duplass brothers and co-directed by Nick Cammilleri and Zackary Drucker, is as inventive in storytelling technique as Liz was in inventive grifting.” – John Doyle, Globe and Mail

“The Lady and the Dale thoroughly explores a complicated figure in trans history, a fascinating glimpse at a rebel who dared to dream big.” – Ian Thomas Malone, Ian Thomas Malone

Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults – Director Clay Tweel

Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults is a thorough examination of the infamous UFO cult through the eyes of its former members and loved ones. What started in 1975 with the disappearance of 20 people from a small town in Oregon, ended in 1997 with the largest suicide on US soil and changed the face of modern New Age religion forever. This HBO Max four-part docu-series uses never-before-seen footage and first-person accounts to explore the infamous UFO cult that shocked the nation with their out-of-this-world beliefs. Director and Producer Clay Tweel joins us for a rollicking conversation on one of the most sensational and compelling collection of intelligent, engaging, and spiritually inspired people to ever embrace a collection of beliefs, brought to them by former minister and natal nurse, that eventually led them to hitch a ride on an undetectable space ship heading for parts unknown.

 

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Heaven’s Gate: Cult of Cults can be seen on: hbomax.com

In the beginning… The son of a Presbyterian minister and a former soldier, Marshall Applewhite began his foray into biblical prophecy in the early 1970s. After being fired from the University of St. Thomas in HoustonTexas over an alleged relationship with one of his male students, he met Bonnie Nettles, a 44-year-old married nurse with an interest in theosophy and biblical prophecy, in March 1972. According to Applewhite’s writings, the two met in a hospital where she worked while he was visiting a sick friend there. It has been rumored that it was a psychiatric hospital, but Nettles was substituting for another nurse working with premature babies in the nursery.  Applewhite later recalled that he felt as though he had known Nettles for a long time and concluded that they had met in a past life. She told him their meeting had been foretold to her by extraterrestrials, persuading him that he had a divine assignment. – (from Wikipedia) 

About the filmmaker – Clay Tweel is a native Virginian living in Los Angeles, California. Clay is a documentary director/producer/editor with a passion for telling great character based stories. His works include Make Believe, Print the Legend, Finders Keepers, Out of Omaha and Gleason – the last of which was shortlisted for an Academy Award and named one of the 5 best documentaries of 2016 by the National Board of Review. His features have been distributed by Showtime, Netflix, and Amazon Studios while working closely with companies that include Open Road, The Orchard and Exhibit A. Most recently, Clay executive produced and directed all six episodes of The Innocent Man, a true crime doc series for Netflix based on John Grisham’s only non fiction book. He is currently directing a feature documentary and producing numerous projects under his banner Parkside Films. claytweel.com

About the filmmaker – Shannon Riggs is a producer with a diverse background in film spanning multiple genres and scales. Alongside award winning director Clay Tweel, she produced the Netflix 6 part docu-series, The Innocent Man, and the Academy Award shortlisted documentary Gleason. Recently Shannon produced The Smartest Kids In the World based on Amanda Ripley’s New York Times bestseller, which premiered at DOC NYC in 2018 and was directed by Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner, Tracy Droz Tragos. Shannon was a Sundance Fellow and participant in their 2015  Female Filmmaker Initiative.  She is also honored to be a member of Women in Film and actively mentors young filmmakers through various industry programs.   She is currently producing a feature documentary and numerous projects under her banner Parkside Films with co-founder and director Clay Tweel.

86% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Heaven’s Gate: Cult of Cults is a thoughtful assessment of the mechanisms of how otherwise smart, savvy people are attracted to fringe beliefs. It takes a story that is larger than life and brings it solidly back to earth.” – Ashlie D. Stevens, Salon.com

“What The Cult Of Cults does very effectively is tell the story of the organization, showing why it attracted members and held onto them for so long.” – Joel Keller, Decider

“Viewers may bob in and out during the first few episodes, though it’s worth sticking out for the grand finale, as sickening as it is oddly poignant.” – Ryan Lattanzio, indieWire

“The human toll isn’t lost among the kooky, UFO-centric beliefs of Ti and Do’s followers.” – Beau North, The Spool

The Mystery of D. B. Cooper – Director John Dower

Directed by Emmy-nominated filmmaker John DowerTHE MYSTERY OF D.B. COOPER brings to life the stories of four individuals fervently believed by their family and friends to be “D.B. Cooper,” the mystery man who hijacked a 727 flying out of Seattle, traded the passengers’ lives for $200,000 and four parachutes, lept from the jet over some of Washington state’s roughest terrain, and was never heard from again. ‌ Almost 50 years later, the case continues to confound the FBI and inspire wild speculation as it remains the only unsolved airplane hijacking in United States history.‌ THE MYSTERY OF D.B. COOPER draws from a combination of recreated and archival footage, as well as exclusive interviews with those most connected to the infamous case and its likeliest culprit, and explores how the heist inspired copycat hijackings around the world and elevated Cooper to “legend” status before his plane even touched back down on land. ‌Director John Dower joins us for a lively conversation on the rabid D.B. Cooper cognoscenti who claim that they “know” what happened, the surprisingly strong bond Dower formed with the subjects he met making the film and the enduring and irresistible legend born on Thanksgiving eve, 1971.

 

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For news, and screenings go to: hbo.com/documentaries/the-mystery-of-db-cooper

About the filmmaker – John Dower is one of the country’s leading documentary directors. His feature Thriller in Manila was in competition at Sundance, BAFTA and EMMY nominated, and won a Grierson and a Peabody Award. Bradley Wiggins – A Year In Yellow was also BAFTA nominated in the best director category. As well as his sporting films he has a keen eye for comedy. His music documentary Live Forever was described by The Guardian as, “Sublime … finds that the truth is stranger and funnier than the myths” and his latest theatrical feature My Scientology Movie praised by The Telegraph as “a giddy, Pythonesque delight”, with Variety calling it “riotously funny”. His first documentary short, Ronald, continues that absurd tone and proved a massive hit on the American festival circuit. My Scientology Movie, which he also co-wrote, has topped a million pounds at the UK box office and is on course to be the highest grossing documentary of the year. As well as screening at prestigious festivals such as Sundance, Toronto, Tribeca, LFF, Berlin and Cannes his films have broadcast on HBO, ESPN, Sky, the BBC & Channel 4. Alongside his documentary work, John has directed a number of commercials for numerous leading brands and Agencies worldwide. Recent work includes campaigns for The Co-operative Bank, Not On The High Street and Omega. As well as spots for Sky HD, Aviva, Mars and Vodaphone. pulsefilms.com/director/john-dower/film or johndower.co.uk

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87% on Rotten Tomatoes

“It’s fascinating and a lot of fun, but in a larger sense it speaks to the reason why people get fascinated with a story like this.” – Christy Lemire, FilmWeek

“By the end of The Hijacker Who Vanished: The Mystery of DB Cooper, I felt like saying: “Dammit, I’m DB Cooper.” – Carol Midgley, Times (UK)

“These brilliant characters, some deeply entangled in the story, some distant from it but connected, are believers. This film asks what keeps them believing, and it is a far bigger question than the mystery itself.” – Rebecca Nicholson, Guardian

“Interspersed in the thrilling minute-by-minute drama of the hijacking are the stories of people suspected of being responsible. Sifting the implausible from the probable makes for a fascinating show.” – Suzi Feay, Financial Times

Crazy, Not Insane, Producer Ophelia Harutyunyan

In the latest documentary from Academy Award winning director Alex Gibney Crazy, Not Insane asks the question, Why do we kill? Why do some of us kill, and others resist the temptation? What makes a serial killer? Dr. Dorothy Otnow Lewis, a psychiatrist who’s worked with numerous serial killers, including Ted Bundy, Arthur Shawcross and Joel Rifkin, has been looking to answer these questions for decades. Fascinated by the human brain and its capacity for ruthlessness, she has spent her life investigating the interior lives of violent people. With each case, she came closer to developing a unified field theory of what makes a killer. Along the way – steering away from the conventional wisdom of her colleagues — she explored the world of multiple personality disorder. Producer Ophelia Harutyunyan joins us in conversation on the groundbreaking work on trauma and abuse being done by Dr. Lewis and others, as well as the question of evil and its impact on the dispensation of justice in a secular system of justice.

 

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For news and updates go to: jigsawprods.com/crazy-not-insane

Watch at: hbo.com/documentaries/crazy-not-insane

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92% on Rotten Tomatoes

“An urgent film, it’s filled with chilling detail and propelled by clear-eyed compassion.” – Sheri Linden,Hollywood Reporter

“While the documentary might not convince those who prefer a black-and-white picture of crime and justice, for anybody with an open mind, it’ll definitely make you think.” – Brian Lowry, CNN.com

“A fascinating look at the human mind. Whether you agree or not will be irrelevant next to all the questions this HBO documentary asks.” – Nathaniel Muir, AIPT

“You may not agree with everything Dorothy Lewis says in “Crazy, Not Insane,” but you come out of the movie alive to the place where evil and insanity meet and then fall back apart.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

Murder on Middle Beach – Director Madison Hamburg

HBO Documentary Films’ MURDER ON MIDDLE BEACH, a four-part documentary series directed by first-time filmmaker Madison Hamburg, presents Hamburg’s complicated journey as a young man determined to solve an unspeakable crime and the desire to absolve the people he loves, while looking for answers within his fractured family and community. On March 3, 2010, single mother Barbara Hamburg was found violently murdered near her home in the upper middle class enclave of Madison, Connecticut. Investigators speculated her murder appeared to be a crime of passion, but without enough evidence, the case grew cold. Over the course of eight years, Barbara’s son, Madison Hamburg, interviewed his family members and many others, longing to learn more about his mother and gathering evidence in hopes of solving her murder, sending him into a deep web of buried familial secrets, connections to shadowy criminal figures, and the uncovering of years-old resentments in his deceptively serene hometown. While Madison wrestles with troubling revelations about his mother, the most unsettling conflict comes from Madison’s obligation to bring into question those inside his community and members of his own family. Director Madison Hamburg joins us to talk about this deeply personal story of loss, discovery, anxiety and reconciliation.

 

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For news and updates go to: hbo.com/murder-on-middle-beach

MURDER ON MIDDLE BEACH debuts on November 15 on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.

Filmmaker’s Statement – At 18 years old, my worst fears came true when my sister called to tell me that my mother had been murdered, As much as I fought it, her death became a part of my life. Her memory faded and her case went cold, but I couldn’t accept that. Even if it meant sacrificing my own safety and sanity, I made my mother a promise when I started this project, ‘I will never let you be forgotten.’ It is less than what she would have done for me. – Madison Hamburg.

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Murder on Middle Beach is one of the most intense and emotional true-crime docuseries ever made.” – John Doyle, Globe and Mail

“Murder on Middle Beach is like watching a surgeon wield a scalpel on his own body, uncovering new layers of infection every time he cuts. It’s hard to say what’s more horrifying — that he keeps carving or that you keep watching.” – Glenn GarvinReason Online

“The emotional foundation of a torn-apart family is what strengthens Murder on Middle Beach but it’s also a fascinating mystery without the personal touch.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

“On the one hand, if anyone has the right to tell this story, it’s Hamburg. And the human toll of his investigation is very close to the surface in Murder On Middle Beach, particularly when his questions get more pointed later on.” – Katie Rife, AV Club

 

Rebuilding Paradise, Producer Sara Bernstein

Oscar winning Director Ron Howard’s gripping new documentary. Rebuilding Paradise, movingly recounts and expands on the devastating events of Nov. 8, 2018. A tragedy that began with a spark from a transmission line in Northern California, coupled with climate-impacted conditions, quickly grew into a devastating firestorm that engulfed the picturesque city of Paradise, California. By the time the Camp Fire was extinguished, it had killed 85 people, displaced 50,000 residents and destroyed 95% of local structures. It was the deadliest U.S. fire in 100 years — and the worst ever in California’s history. As residents faced the damage to their lives, to their homes and to more than 150,000 acres in and around their 141-year-old town, they did something amazing: They worked together to heal. The community members went on to forge a bond stronger than what they had before the catastrophe, even as their hope and spirit were challenged by continued adversity: relocations, financial crises, government hurdles, water poisoning, grief and PTSD. From the moment the crisis began, The Camp Fire and its overwhelming aftermath became a de facto lesson in what we all must do: protect our environment, help our neighbors, plan for future dangers and remember to preserve the traditions that unite us — just as these resilient citizens did when they began the important task of REBUILDING PARADISE. Producer Sara Bernstein joins us for a conversation on how the production team, led by Oscar-winning director Ron Howard gained the confidence and trust of families scarred by one of the most devastating fires in California as well as documenting the resiliency and character of the people rebuilding Paradise.

 

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For news and updates go to: nationalgeographic.com/rebuilding-paradise

About the filmmaker – Sara Bernstein is an award-winning producer and Executive Vice President at Imagine Documentaries the newly launched documentary division of Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s, Imagine Entertainment. Recent feature films she has executive produced include Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band (2019) and Dads (2019) which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. The Ron Howard-directed documentary film, Rebuilding Paradise (2020), for National Geographic Films, D.Wade: Life Unexpected (2020) for ESPN Films and the documentary feature film on legendary chef Julia Child, Julia (2021) directed by Academy Award nominees Julie Cohen and Betsy West. Prior to joining Imagine, Bernstein was Senior Vice President, HBO Documentary Films over seeing nonfiction development and production for HBO. Credits include Academy Award-winner Citizenfour (2014), Academy Award-winner Music by Prudence (2010), Academy Award nominees Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country (2008), Iraq In Fragments (2006), The Children of Leningradsky (2005), Poster Girl (2010). Emmy-nominated The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (2019), Emmy-nominated The Case Against Adnan Syed (2019), Judd Apatow’s Emmy-winning The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling (2018), Emmy winners Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015), White Light, Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (2007) and Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (2012). Emmy-nominated The Case Against 8 (2014), Mapplethorpe: Look At The Pictures (2016), Chris Hegedus & D.A. Pennebaker’s Emmy-nominated Unlocking The Cage (2016); Beware the Slenderman (2016), I Love You Now Die (2019) and Mommy Dead and Dearest (2017). Bernstein has garnered 10 Emmy wins, 29 Emmy nominations and 11 Peabody Awards. Documentaries she has supervised have garnered 2 Oscars and 13 Oscar nominations.

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92% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Rebuilding Paradise might easily have blazed with righteous fury, but its conclusions are quieter and bleaker.” – Ellen E Jones, Guardian

“Filmmaker Howard admittedly does a superb job of immediately drawing the viewer into the briskly-paced proceedings…” David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews

“Howard’s documentary is not so much about the fire as it takes a looks at the resilience members of the community showed. It is both painful and inspirational.” – Rick Bentley,Tribune News Service

“Mr. Howard wants us to know that greater challenges lie ahead… Yet his documentary also dramatizes the resilience and resourcefulness we can bring to bear in meeting them. Calamity, the film says, isn’t destiny.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

Nena Erb, Editor, Emmy®-nominated (HBO’s Insecure)

Nena Erb, an ACE and Emmy®-winning editor, for her work can be seen on HBO’s Emmy®  nominated and Peabody award-winning series  INSECURE, episode Lowkey Trying directed by Kerry Washington. As both an Asian American and person of color, she is committed to advancing the stories of others. She is thrilled to be a continuing part of the team showing the reality of life for modern women of color in America.  Her work can also be seen on Apple TV’s groundbreaking Little America series. As an immigrant herself, she’s excited to help shape standout episodes for this series this season including The Son, tackling a gay man’s struggle for safety and love as he attempts a harrowing immigration to the United States and The Silence, which charts love among immigrants in a situation where sound/speaking is forbidden. Emmy nominated editor Nena Erb joins us to talk about the career decision that brought her to the editing suite and why mentoring others is her way of helping others “get into the room” where they can have a positive impact on the stories being told.

 

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For the latest on the work of Nena Erb go to: nenaerb.com

To find out more go to: hbo.com/insecure

About the filmmaker: Nena Erb, a gifted ACE and Emmy®-winning editor born in Taipei, Taiwan and based in Los Angeles. Her family immigrated to the US in the late 70’s to live in a democracy and have the right to vote. Raised in an Asian American immigrant family, Nena’s father wanted her to be a doctor and her mother wanted her to be a pianist with the LA Philharmonic.  Nena wanted to be Andy Warhol. After graduating with an art degree, a friend brought her into the entertainment industry and she started working in various capacities in production. It was her stint as an associate producer that gave her the opportunity to work closely with editors. This proved to be a defining moment for her interest in post-production. Since then, Nena has been the editor on productions for HBO, Universal, CBS, Apple, and others.  She is experienced in multiple genres from drama series to feature films, documentaries and comedy.  In 2016, she received an Emmy® award for her work on HBO’s documentary series Project Greenlight.In addition, she has received two ACE Eddie nominations for her work, one for HBO’s Peabody award-winning series INSECURE and the other for CW’s acclaimed seriesCrazy Ex-Girlfriend. Currently, she is editing Little America, an anthology series on America’s immigrants, produced by Kumail Najiani, Emily V. Gordon, Alan Yang, and Lee Eisenberg

Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn, Director Muta ‘Ali

YUSUF HAWKINS: STORM OVER BROOKLYN, directed by Muta’Ali Muhammad (“Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee”) and debuting on HBO Wednesday, August 12 tells the story of Yusuf Hawkins, a black teenager who was murdered in 1989 by a group of young white men in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Yusuf Hawkins’ death and the official response to it sparked outrage in New York, unleashing a torrent of racial tension and spurring tireless civil rights activism that exposed deep racial prejudices and inequities which continue to plague the country today. Over 30 years later, New Yorkers, including Yusuf’s family and friends, reflect on the tragedy and the subsequent fight for justice that inspired and divided New York City. YUSUF HAWKINS: STORM OVER BROOKLYN utilizes archival footage and photos, witness statements, news footage, in addition to candid interviews with Yusuf’s mother, Diane; brothers, Freddy and Amir; cousins, Darlene and Felicia Brown; and friend Christopher Graham and the two friends with him during the attack, Luther Sylvester and Bensonhurst native Russell Gibbons. A harrowing account of an immutable part of the city’s history, and of a family coping with profound grief deepened by injustice, YUSUF HAWKINS: STORM OVER BROOKLYN details how the senseless murder that shook the foundation of the city shed light on deep racial divisions and inequity. Yusuf’s death and the demands of his family and community had political ramifications that contributed to the ousting of New York Mayor Ed Koch in favor of David Dinkins, the city’s first and only black Mayor. Director Muta’Ali Muhammad joins us to talk about how the murder of Yusuf Hawkins pulled back the curtain on the racism, both past a present can rear its head anywhere in America, even in a city thought to be a bastion of racial tolerance.

 

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For news and screenings go to: hbo.com/yusuf-hawkins-storm-over-brooklyn

About the filmmaker: Muta’Ali is an award-winning film director from Westchester County, NY. His latest feature documentary “Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn” airs on HBO this August 12th at 9PM. His past documentary films include the award-winning “Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee”, which featured notable guests including Harry Belafonte, Alan Alda, and Spike Lee. Muta’Ali is determined that his artistic body of work be wholly focussed on what he calls “Love, Art & Activism”. For more on Muta’ Ali go to:mutaali.com

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“Muta’Ali Muhammad’s documentary focuses on a pivotal time in New York City’s history and includes an impressive set of interviews with many of those connected to the event, its consequences and Hawkins’ legacy.” – Dwight Brown, National Newspaper Publishing Association

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, Co-Producer / Co-Director Elizabeth Wolff

I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK, a six-part documentary series currently airing on HBO with new episodes premiering on Sunday nights at 10:00 p.m. I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK, is based on the book of the same name and explores writer Michelle McNamara’s investigation into the dark world of a violent predator she dubbed the Golden State Killer. Terrorizing California in the 1970s and ‘80s, the Golden State Killer is responsible for 50 home-invasion rapes and 12 murders. This series gives voice to the survivors and their families, documenting an era when sex crimes were often dismissed or hidden in shame. A timely inquiry into our macabre preoccupation with true crime and a cautionary tale of the dangerous lure of addiction, the series is a riveting meditation on obsession and loss, chronicling the unrelenting  path of a mysterious killer and the fierce determination of one woman to bring the case to light. Michelle McNamara lived a quiet life as a writer, mother and wife, preferring to stay on the periphery of the Hollywood world of her comedian husband Patton Oswalt. But every night, as her family slept, she indulged her obsession with unsolved cases. Delving into the world of online chat rooms and crime blogs, she became immersed in the graphic details of the Golden State Killer, (aka EAR, Original Night Stalker),  case, along the way connecting with like-minded sleuths, trading facts, photos and leads. I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK co-producer and co-director Elizabeth Wolff joins us to talk about her collaboration with series director Liz Garbus and her team as they pieced together the detective story within the detective story, emerging with a sprawling story of survival, obsession, pathology, community and heart-breaking loss.

 

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For news and updates go to: hbo.com/ill-be-gone-in-the-dark

The series is directed by Academy Award nominee and Emmy® winning director Liz Garbus (HBO’s “Who Killed Garrett Phillips,” “Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper”) and produced by Story Syndicate. Additional directors on the series include Elizabeth Wolff, Myles Kane and Josh Koury. I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK will also be available on HBO On Demand, HBO NOW, HBO GO and partners’ streaming platforms.

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“I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” is more than a true crime documentary, although it succeeds in a terrifyingly brilliant way.” – Kristen Lopez, indieWire

“A mesmerizing blend of two true stories.” – Haven Kimmel,Vanity Fair

“Just shattering, this true-life story.” – Anne Brodie, What She Said

“This core of respect for shared humanity differentiates Garbus’ as well as McNamara’s tellings from so much true crime storytelling, and justifies weaving the personal into the procedural.” – Judy Berman, TIME Magazine

Welcome to Chechnya, Director David France

In this searing documentary, WELCOME TO CHECHNYA, Academy Award –nominated director David France (How To Survive A Plague) brings us a terrifying real-life thriller that shadows a group of brave activists risking their lives to confront the ongoing anti-LGBTQ persecution in the repressive and closed Russian republic of Chechnya. In recent years, tens of thousands of LGBTQ people in the republic have suffered detention, torture and sometimes death at the hands of the authorities. But a small network of queer activists have mobilized into action, smuggling people in need out of their communities, securing visas and sheltering them in safe houses. Shot with astonishing access, largely with hidden cameras that keep rolling throughout every moment of escape, and employing a revolutionary face-swapping technique to protect the anonymity of its endangered subjects, WELCOME TO CHECHNYA exposes these under-reported atrocities, while highlighting an extraordinary group of heroic people confronting a brutal system. Director David France joins us for a conversation on the remarkably effective facial technology used by France to protect the identity of the film subjects and on the Russian republic’s pogrom against defenseless people being tortured and killed because of their sexual identity.

 

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For news and updates go to: welcometochechnya.com

Welcome to Chechnya premieres on HBO June 30

Director’s Statement: In my work as a journalist and author over many years, I have focused closely on the stories of outsiders and people who society has pushed to its margins – the disregarded, the ignored, the hated. When I turned to documentary filmmaking, I chose outsider activism as my subject. My first film, HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE, documented the work of early AIDS activists, ordinary people with no training who marshalled the intricate details of virology to change the course of the epidemic. Next, I opened up the story of early gender radicals in THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON, which chronicled not only the founding of the modern LGBTQ movement but also the founding of the first transgender rights organization in 1970. WELCOME TO CHECHNYA completes this trilogy. It follows a group of ordinary humans who have done something extraordinary, and asks the question that has long preoccupied me: What makes a person assume enormous risk and responsibility when others might turn the other way?  What does it take, in other words, to be a hero?When I left their underground pipeline for the last time, knowing I could never go back once it became known I was reporting on their work, I wept with gratitude for the work they are doing. And for the opportunity they gave me to witness bravery of the most unvarnished kind: selfless, humane, and entirely queer. – David France

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“No one has ever found such a deep and humanitarian use of a ‘deep fake’.” – Zep Armentano, El Cinefil

“David France has created a true masterwork of LGBT empathy, working both as a devastating portrait of hate as well as a rallying cry to arms. This is one of the best documentaries of the year.” – Redmond Bacon, Culture Vultures

“Undoubtedly a magnum opus of sorts on human rights documentation” – Jessica Pena, Jumpcut

“Gripping, essential viewing” – Matthew Jacobs, HuffPost

“Welcome to Chechnya is as fearless as its subjects, unafraid to show the violence and emotional torture of these people.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

Bully, Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn, Director Ivy Meeropol

BULLY. COWARD. VICTIM. THE STORY OF ROY COHN takes an unflinching look at the life and death of infamous attorney Roy Cohn. Cohn first gained prominence by prosecuting Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in what came to be known as the “atomic spies” case. The documentary draws on extensive, newly unearthed archival material to present the most revealing examination of Roy Cohn to date. Director Ivy Meeropol (“Indian Point,” HBO’s “Heir to an Execution”) brings a unique perspective as the granddaughter of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, having  spent much of her life feeling both repelled and fascinated by the man who prosecuted her grandparents, obtained their convictions in federal court, and then insisted on their executions. The documentary is a riveting profile chronicles Cohn’s life from the late 1950s as chief counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy, when he first began wielding political power, through the 1980s, when he became a darling of the Reagan White House, a rabid anti-homosexuality activist and political mentor to Donald J. Trump before meeting his death from AIDS in 1986.  BULLY. COWARD. VICTIM. THE STORY OF ROY COHN includes numerous interviews, including John Waters, Cindy Adams, Alan Dershowitz, Nathan Lane and Tony Kushner, whose 2018 Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning revival of “Angels in America” featured Lane as Cohn. Lane offers insight into how devastatingly dangerous the actual Roy Cohn was and how he wielded power through invective and innuendo.Director Ivy Meeropol joins us to talk about one of the most renowned and reviled political figures of the last 60 years as well as the lasting impact he had on her own life, family and the country.

 

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BULLY. COWARD. VICTIM. THE STORY OF ROY COHN debuts on HBO Thursday, June 18 at 9 PM (ET) and will also be available to stream on HBO GO, HBO NOW, and on HBO via HBO Max and other partners’ platforms. June 19 marks the 67th Anniversary of the execution of Meeropol’s grandparents, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

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“In its loosely anecdotal way it may bring us a notch or two closer to who Roy Cohn was.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“The film might complicate who Cohn was, but it does not try to humanize his actions-and some aspects of his life, his choices, and what he might’ve been thinking still remain shrouded in mystery to this day.” – Michelle Jaworski, The Daily Dot

Ernie and Joe: Crisis Cops, Director Jenifer McShane and film subjects Ernie Stevens and Joe Smarro

In the new HBO Documentary Film – ERNIE & JOE: CRISIS COPS, director Jenifer McShane dives into the lives of these incredible officers and their amazing mental health unit officers, trying and succeeding in doing good and truly making an impact. Winner of the Special Jury Award for Empathy in Craft at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival, director Jenifer McShane follows two members Ernie Stevens and Joe Smarro of the San Antonio Police Department’s 10-person Mental Health Unit who are helping to change the way police respond to mental health calls. Their jail diversion work is humane and desperately needed to improve not only the health of the mentally ill, but also of their families. The duo head the special team that looks to treat mental health calls as opposed to the traditional policing tactics. Drawing on their own experiences, each have learned that the old ways of policing and dealing with mental health issues weren’t working. The issues they face as a department are the issues every community and police department in the country faces. The two officers and their colleagues in this unique department provide hope and inspiration at a time when we need it most, and show that great ideas and inspiration can come from any corner of the country.  Director Jenifer McShane and film subjects Ernie Stevens and Joe Smarro join us for a conversation on the trailblazing work being done by themselves and their colleagues as well as the withering and sometimes frustrating challenges that mental health, “crisis cops” deal with in the face of a national mental health epidemic.

 

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For news, theatrical screenings and updates go to: ernieandjoethefilm.com
For screening information go to: hbo.com/documentaries/ernie-and-joe

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Winner – Special Jury Prize – 2019 SXSW Film Festival
Winner – Grand Jury Prize Documentary – 2019 Independent Film Festival Boston

 

“No story or lecture can replace the power of witnessing this empathy in action, and Ernie & Joe is a moving, important testament to the impact that this unique approach can make on a community.”- Tori Preston, Pajiba

“Impressively intimate” – VARIETY

“One of the Best Films of SXSW 2019” – THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“Should Change the Conversation on Modern Police Work” – GLIDE MAGAZINE

“10 out of 10 STARS” – FILM THREAT 

The Kingmaker, Director Lauren Greenfield

Centered on the indomitable character of former first-lady Imelda Marcos, THE KINGMAKER examines, with intimate access, the Marcos family’s improbable return to power in the Philippines. THE KINGMAKER explores the disturbing legacy of the Marcos regime and chronicles Imelda’s present-day push to help her son, Bongbong, win the vice presidency. To this end, Imelda confidently rewrites her family’s history of corruption, replacing it with a narrative of a matriarch’s extravagant love for her country. In an age when fake news manipulates elections, Imelda’s comeback story serves as a dark fairy tale. Director Lauren Greenfield (Generation Wealth, The Queen of Versailles, Thin) joins us to talk about a powerful political family, led by a single-minded matriarch, determined to return to re-capture the corrupted glory of  her family’s discredited regime.

 

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About the filmmaker, Lauren Greenfield Named by the New York Times as “America’s foremost visual chronicler of the plutocracy,” Emmy Award–winning filmmaker/photographer Lauren Greenfield has produced groundbreaking work on consumerism, youth culture and gender for the last 25 years. Her films Generation Wealth, The Queen of Versailles and Thin and photography books Generation Wealth, Fast Forward and Girl Culture have provoked international dialogue about some of the most important issues of our time. The Queen of Versailles was the opening night film of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Best Documentary Director Award and was named by Vogue as  one  of  the  top  documentaries  of  all time. Her record-breaking Super Bowl ad #LikeAGirl (250+ million views) earned her 14 Cannes Lions and the Most Awarded Director by Ad Age, making her the first woman to top this list. Generation Wealth (Amazon Studios) opened the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, screened at Berlinale and received a Writers Guild nomination. The companion exhibition received The Paris Photography prize, has traveled around the world and opens at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Copenhagen) in Fall 2019. In 2019, Greenfield launched Girl Culture Films to address the lack of diversity of directors in the advertising industry.

For news, theatre screening and updates go to: thekingmakerfilm.com

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OFFICIAL SELECTION – Venice International Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION – Telluride Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION – Toronto International Film Festival

 

“Jaw dropping. Lauren Greenfield proves the perfect person to infiltrate Imelda Marcos’ psyche.”- Peter Debruge, Variety

 “An enraging portrait of entitlement, opulence and corruption. Greenfield shows a knack for illuminating the oddly hypnotic allure of obscene, tacky wealth.” – Tim Grierson, Screen International

 “Eye opening. Lauren Greenfield transforms an absorbing look at the life and legacy of Imelda Marcos into a fascinating documentary about the Marcos family’s troubled history – and the disturbing ways that it’s making a comeback today.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

:Marcos innately understands the importance of image, but she seems to have underestimated her inquisitor, who uses well-chosen historic footage and powerfully-edited interviews with other Filipinos to gradually expand the canvas.” – Elizabeth Weitzman, TheWrap

Diego Maradona, Director Asif Kapadia

In this brilliant followup to his award-winning documentaries (SENNA, AMY) DIEGO MARADONA captures the athletic brilliance and maddening duality of a soccer player widely considered to be best player in the world from the moment he burst onto the scene in his native Argentina. And yet success proved elusive. He failed at Barcelona. He was considered a problem player, too interested in partying. Meanwhile, having never won a major tournament, the ailing Italian football giant SSC Napoli were perennial underachievers. Their fanatical support was unequalled in both passion and size. But how they ached for success… On 5th July 1984, Diego Maradona arrived in Naples for a world-record fee and for seven years all hell broke loose. The world’s most celebrated football genius and the most passionate but dangerous city in Europe were a perfect match for each other. Diego Maradona was blessed on the field and treated like a God off it; the charismatic Argentine loved a fight against the odds and led Naples to their first-ever League title. It was the stuff of dreams. But there was a price… Diego could do as he pleased while performing miracles on the pitch, but as time passed, darker days closed in. Italy turned on him. The third film from the Academy Award-winning & multi-BAFTA-winning team behind SENNA and AMY (director Asif Kapadia, producer James Gay-Rees, editor Chris King, composer Antonio Pinto), and also Paul Martin, DIEGO MARADONA was constructed from over 500 hours of never-before-seen footage from Maradona’s personal archive. DIEGO MARADONA is crafted in the style of SENNA and AMY. It is the definitive feature documentary on the charismatic enigma that is Maradona. In a city where even the devil would need bodyguards, Diego Maradona became a god. Maradona in Naples is the story of his life, the wild and unforgettable story of an unrivalled talent. He was a rebel, cheat, hero and god. This is a story of glory, despair and betrayal, a tale of corruption and, ultimately, of redemption. Director / Producer Asif Kapadia joins us to talk about the enigma of “Diego” and “Maradona.”

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to:hbo.com/documentaries/diego-maradona

For news, updates and screenings go to: diegomaradona.movie

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“MESMERIZING… one of the most colorful and fascinating personalities in all of sports, with a life story bordering on the mythic. You may know outlines of the soccer legend’s life, but there’s no way you won’t learn something from DIEGO MARADONA, Asif Kapadia’s absorbing and exhaustive new film.” – Jocelyn Noveck, Associated Press

“a fame-technique movie, measured in crowd roars, off-field revelry, media run-ins, and fan scrums as dizzying accoutrements to success, but also – when Maradona succumbed to scandals surrounding women, an unclaimed son from an affair, cocaine, loyalty, and powerful mob friends – in how those same trappings can suddenly turn vicious, and a hero’s fall can go shockingly unsupported.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“[Kapadia] has edited cruddy video footage (some of which appears barely more than camcorder-grade) and photographs into a movie so fluid that it moves like a Hollywood production. He also dispenses with much of the filler common to documentaries… It is exhausting and exhilarating, cheap looking and slick, a documentary for Maradona fans but also for many others besides.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“Asif Kapadia has put together an extraordinarily intimate account of [Diego Maradona’s] rise and fall, enriched by grainy but graphic footage recording every phase of his life.” – Sandra Hall, Sydney Morning Herald

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, Co-directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice is a love song to one of the most memorably stunning voices that has ever hit the airwaves, Linda Ronstadt. She burst onto the 1960s folk rock music scene in her early twenties as the lead singer of the Stone Poneys, Ronstadt eventually branched out to begin her decades long career as a solo artist, touring the world selling out stadiums and, at one point, setting the record as the highest paid female artist in rock. Most remarkable to this day is her interest in and willingness to jump into new and challenging styles of music, including opera, jazz, and Mexican folk, excelling fantastically with each. Ronstadt has also been an outspoken political advocate for causes such as same-sex marriage and the inhumane treatment of undocumented immigrants, never shying away from fighting for what she believes both on and off the stage. Oscar-winning directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (The Times of Harvey Milk, The Celluloid Closet, Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt, Howl, Lovelace and End Game) use deep-cut archival footage, and Ronstadt’s own astute recollections, to celebrate an artist whose desire to do justice to the songs that touched her soul made generations of fans fall in love with her – and with the sound of her voice. Co-directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman join us to talk about a remarkable singer /artist and an even better person.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: lindaronstadtmovie.com

For more on the films of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman go to: tellingpictures.com

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“She shows herself to be one of its indispensable interpreters, as a vocalist and also as a thinker – covering a sprawling landscape with elegance, passion and insight.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

“It captures the life and career of a rock ‘n’ roll star who never looked back, never apologized, never compromised.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“Astutely chronicling an amazing musical career that ended prematurely due to Parkinson’s disease, Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice will delight the singer’s old fans and likely make her many new ones as well.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

“An excellent retrospective and celebration of Ronstadt’s trailblazing career.” – Sophia Stewart, Nonfics

Unmasking Jihadi John: Anatomy of a Terrorist, Director Anthony Wonke and Journalist Richard Kerjab

Mohammed Emwazi was a grade school student in London with a promising future ahead of him in 1995. By 2014, he had become known as “Jihadi John,” a masked ISIS terrorist in Syria who internationalized his notoriety by broadcasting his beheadings of Western hostages on the internet. UNMASKING JIHADI JOHN: ANATOMY OF A TERRORIST includes rare footage of Emwazi as a young boy in London and interviews with his schoolteachers who reveal that he lived a relatively comfortable and normal childhood. His behavior grew more disconcerting in his teenage years. Emwazi’s brutality is illustrated through harrowing, first-hand accounts from his surviving hostages, and the collaboration between the world’s leading intelligence agencies, including the CIA and Britain’s intelligence agents, who ultimately tracked him down and ended his life.  UNMASKING JIHADI JOHN: ANATOMY OF A TERRORIST examines what propelled Emwazi’s journey down a violent path despite US and British authorities being aware of his extremism. It also highlights the self-declared operational failures by counter-terrorism officials as Emwazi became ISIS’s chief executioner and propagandist.  Joining us on Film School Radio will be Oscar®-nominated, BAFTA and Emmy®-winning director Anthony Wonke (HBO’s “The Battle for Marjah”), and BAFTA-winning producer and investigative journalist Richard Kerbaj for a conversation on the how and why a schoolboy and promising soccer player morphs into a sadistic killer.

UNMASKING JIHADI JOHN: ANATOMY OF A TERRORIST debuts WEDNESDAY, JULY 31 (8:00-9:40 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

 

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For news and updates go to: hbo.com/documentaries

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“This is a superior doc, just know when to briefly look away.” – Anne Brodie, What She Said

“Part high-tech manhunt and part brutal captivity narrative, “Unmasking Jihadi John: The Anatomy of a Terrorist” is one documentary unlikely to leave anyone in its viewing audience bored.” – David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun

“This is a film that spends much of its time on observation and analysis of the known facts… This makes it feel rather dry in places but avoids any glamorisation of its subject.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“In terms of cinematography and editing, Jihadi John: Anatomy of a Terrorist is well-executed, and it’s certainly informative.” – Amy Glynn, Paste Magazine

Who Killed Garrett Phillips?, Director Liz Garbus

On Oct. 24, 2011, 12-year-old Garrett Phillips was murdered in his home in Potsdam, a small town in upstate New York. Police quickly zeroed in on a suspect in this unthinkable crime: Oral “Nick” Hillary, a black man in the mostly white community, who was a soccer coach at Clarkson University and the ex-boyfriend of Garrett’s mother, Tandy Cyrus. WHO KILLED GARRETT PHILLIPS? chronicles the five years following the murder, as Garrett’s family and community relentlessly seek justice for Garrett, and as Nick, who maintains his innocence, fights to clear his name and take back control of his life while raising five children. Through interviews with local police investigators, District Attorneys, defense lawyers, Phillips’ family members, friends of Tandy Cyrus as well as Nick Hillary and his children, along with extensive police audio and video recordings, and courtroom footage, the film is a gripping, eye-opening look at how justice is delivered and delayed. WHO KILLED GARRETT PHILLIPS? seeks to uncover the truth behind both the tragic murder of a young boy that traumatized a town, as well as the vilification of a black man who was swept up in a quest for justice, and the enduring mysteries that remain. Directed by two-time Academy Award® nominee and Emmy® winner Liz Garbus (HBO’s A Dangerous Son and Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper, and What Happened, Miss Simone?), the captivating two-part documentary WHO KILLED GARRETT PHILLIPS? looks at the case from the initial investigation through the arrest and numerous legal twists and turns that culminated in Hillary’s trial for murder five years after the crime. Director Liz Garbus joins us to talk about how this case raises troubling questions of racial bias and issues surrounding policing and the criminal justice system.

 

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For news and updates go to: hbo.com/documentaries/who-killed-garrett-phillips

WHO KILLED GARRETT PHILLIPS? debuts TUESDAY, JULY 23 and WEDNESDAY, JULY 24 (8:00 pm ET/PST), exclusively on HBO. The film will also be available on HBO On Demand, HBO NOW, HBO GO and partners’ streaming platforms.

For news and updates go to: moxiefirecracker.com

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Ice on Fire, Director Leila Conners

ICE ON FIRE, an eye-opening documentary that focuses on many never-before-seen solutions designed to slow down our escalating environmental crisis, goes beyond the current climate change narrative and offers hope that we can actually stave off the worst effects of global warming. Eleven years after Conners’ first collaboration with Executive Producer Leonardo DiCaprio on The 11th Hour,which emphasized the problems of climate change, ICE ON FIRE instead focuses on the cutting-edge research behind today’s climate science – and the innovations aimed at reducing carbon in the atmosphere, which could pave the way for a reduction in the global temperature rise and a benefit to the planet’s life systems. ICE ON FIRE emphasizes the importance of an immediate, two-pronged approach to reversing the crisis: reducing carbon emissions through traditional renewable energy sources and new ones, like tidal energy, and implementing “drawdown” measures, focusing on methods for drawing down and sequestering carbon, including direct air capture, sea farms, urban farms, biochar, marine snow, bionic leaves and others. Director Leila Conners joins us to talk about the looming catastrophe and the emerging and encouraging techniques and technologies that can provide a sustainable path forward.

 

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For news and updates go to: www.treemedia.com

Ice on Fire is currently screening at: www.hbo.com

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“Putting quibbles about pitch and approach aside… as a beginners’ guide to Arctic thaw and its consequences this is pretty exemplary stuff.” – Les;ie Felperin, Hollywood Reporter

“Ice on Fire is a “call to action” documentary. It’s an eye-opener for anyone prone to a stultifying “doomsday mentality” and that is unequivocally a good thing.” – Amy Glynn, Paste

“Should be essential viewing for anyone who plans to carry on living on the planet…” – Wendy Ide, Screen International

United Skates, Co-directors Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler

For years, roller-skating rinks have been a constant for African-American communities across the U.S., serving as a meeting ground, a place to have fun and an incubator of iconic hip-hop talents like Queen Latifah and N.W.A. As America’s last standing roller rinks are threatened with closure, a community joins forces in a racially charged environment to save the underground African-American subculture of roller skating, which has been overlooked by the mainstream for generations – yet has given rise to some of the world’s greatest musical talents. From executive producer John Legend and first-time directors Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown, the documentary UNITED SKATES highlights the dynamic world of roller skating, showcasing African-American rinks and skaters across the country as they fight to keep the culture alive and skate their hearts out. The film features interviews with hip-hop legends like Salt-N-Pepa, Coolio, Vin Rock of Naughty by Nature and World Class Wreckin’ Cru. UNITED SKATES spotlights three skaters fighting for their community: L.A. native Phelicia, a single mom who grew up in skates and hopes to keep skating alive for her children; North Carolinian Reggie, who lives hours from any rink that offers a night for black skaters and vows to launch his own; and Buddy Love, the owner of Chicago-based Rich City Skate, who struggles to keep his rink open, despite financial pressure. Co-directors Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler stop by to talk about their infectious and insightful look at a facet of African-American life in danger of fading away.

 

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For more news and updates go to: unitedskatesfilm.com

Check out United Skates on HBO

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Reviews: 100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“This kaleidoscopically vibrant, essential-viewing survey plunges audiences into a dazzling underground scene, celebrating the endangered art form it finds there.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

“This is a passion project in the best sense of the word, a movie in which the ingenuity and dedication of the filmmakers illuminate the same qualities in their subjects.” – Two Bugbee, New York Times

“…[an] exceedingly entertaining and genuinely revealing look into a roller-skating subculture that I frankly knew next to nothing about.” – Daniel Nava, Chicago Cinema Circuit

“This is a film that paints a humanizing portrait of an endangered form of expression, risked at the hands of the micro-racism and economic tribulations faced by the African-American community.” – Laura Birnbaum, Film Inquiry

Who Will Write Our History, Director Roberta Grossman

In November 1940, days after the Nazis sealed 450,000 Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, a secret band of journalists, scholars and community leaders decided to fight back. Led by historian Emanuel Ringelblum and known by the code name Oyneg Shabes, this clandestine group vowed to defeat Nazi lies and propaganda not with guns or fists but with pen and paper. Now, for the first time, their story is told as a feature documentary. Written, produced and directed by Roberta Grossman, based upon the book Who Will Write Our History? by Samuel D. Kassow, and executive produced by Nancy Spielberg, Who Will Write Our History mixes the writings of the Oyneg Shabes archive with new interviews, rarely seen footage, and stunning dramatizations (shot on location in Lodz and Warsaw, Poland) to transport us inside the Ghetto and the lives of these courageous resistance fighters. They defied their murderous enemy with the ultimate weapon – the truth – and risked everything so that their archive would survive the war, even if they did not. Featuring the voices of three-time Academy Award nominee Joan Allen and Academy Award winner Adrian Brody, the film honors the Oyneg Shabes  members’ determination in creating the most important cache of eyewitness accounts to survive the war. Director / producer / writer Roberta Grossman joins us to talk about how her passion for social justice led her to Emanuel Ringelblum and what Who Will Write Our History can teaches about the world we live in today.

 

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For news and updates go to: whowillwriteourhistory.com

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https://twitter.com/writeourhistory

“A vital and sobering documentary” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“Who Will Write Our History tells the courageous but mostly unknown story of a covert group known as Oyneg Shabes and how they vowed to defeat the Nazis with pen and paper.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

“The staged scenes are well acted, while readings from diaries and letters are heartbreaking.” – Ken Jaworowski, New York Times

“A deeply moving history-behind-the-history.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

Communion, Director Anna Zamecka

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Idelible” – Alissa Wilkinson, VOX

“Transcendent and highly accomplished film!” Filmmaker Magazine

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

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

For news and updates go to: The Cleaners

92% on Rotten Tomatoes

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

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

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

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

The Price of Everything, Director Nathaniel Kahn

Today, art is spectacle, big bucks and front-page news. As a society, we have become less concerned with the aesthetic and social values of art, and more concerned with brand names and the business of it all. Can the value of art really be measured in dollars and cents? How are these values assigned and who assigns them? Does the art market have a chilling effect on our great museums and the ability of the public to engage in the art of our time? Nathaniel Kahn’s (My Architect) new documentary THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING explores these questions and demystifies the rarefied world of contemporary art in a dynamic and entertaining way. With unprecedented access to artists, dealers, collectors and auction houses, the film takes us deep into a hidden world where nothing is what it seems. In revealing scenes and interviews, we come to understand how the art market actually works and we confront the challenges of being an artist in the current environment where success can come at lightning speed, only to evaporate next season, and where even the most revered creators must find ways to block out the temptations of the market if they wish to remain in control of their creative process. THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING offers a complex portrait of a late capitalist society confronting itself. While holding a funhouse mirror up to our consumerist culture, the film ultimately reaffirms the transcendent power of art itself and the deep need we have for it in our lives. Director Nathaniel Kahn stops by to talk about how the art world got to this over-heated, crazed marketplace where many wealthy “art lovers” know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

For news and updates go to: thepriceofeverything.com

90% on Rotten Tomatoes

“If you are a devotee of the arts, an artist, or just a fan of good documentary filmmaking, check out The Price of Everything as soon as you can.” – Lorry Kikta, Film Threat

“[A] colorful and inquisitive cinematic essay on the state of the art world…” – A.O. Scott, The New York Times

“A fascinating and insightful look at the dynamics between contemporary art and commerce….” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru

“The Price of Everything” exalts in the spirt of art over commerce, yet what’s thrilling about the film — and what echoes in your mind after it’s over — is that it captures all the ways those two forces can’t be separated.” Owen Gleiberman, Variety

The Sentence, Director Rudy Valdez

The Sentence draws from hundreds of hours of footage, filmmaker Rudy Valdez shows the aftermath of his sister Cindy’s 15-year sentence for conspiracy charges related to crimes committed by her deceased ex-boyfriend—something known, in legal terms, as “the girlfriend problem.” Valdez’s method of coping with this tragedy is to film his sister’s family for her, both the everyday details and the milestones—moments Cindy herself can no longer share in. But in the midst of this nightmare, Valdez finds his voice as both a filmmaker and activist, and he and his family begin to fight for Cindy’s release during the last months of the Obama administration’s clemency initiative. Whether their attempts will allow Cindy to break free of her draconian sentence becomes the aching question at the core of this deeply personal portrait of a family in crisis. Director Rudy Valdez stops by to talk about his intimate, and loving family saga that support each other no matter the cost.

 

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For dates and times for The Sentence go to: hbo.com

For more on the filmmaker and brother go to: rudyvaldez.com

Social Media:

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twitter.com/HBODocs / #HBO #HBODocs #TheSentence

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**WINNER: Sundance 2018 Audience Award: U.S. Documentary**

**WINNER: 2018 Traverse City Film Festival Roger Ebert Prize For Best Film By A First Time Filmmaker**

**2018 Locarno International Film Festival Official Selection**

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“THE SENTENCE is poised to do for unjust sentencing what AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH did for climate change. If Al Gore was the hero Americans at Sundance and beyond needed in 2005 — a welcoming, professorial face to associate with the fight against environmental catastrophe — Shank and her daughters offer the criminal justice equivalent, giving a human access point to what many experts describe as a sociological disaster.”  – Steven Zeitchik, The Washington Post

“The Sentence is so committed to its concentration on emotion and heart that it’s difficult not to get carried away and it feels almost churlish to quibble with the intellectual responses it barely aspires to.” – Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter

“The Sentence is a powerful film full of rich, raw emotions as all parties explore their vulnerabilities.” – John Fink, The Film Stage