Blizzard of Souls – Director Dzintars Dreibergs

BLIZZARD OF SOULS pays stark witness to the horrors and brutality of the First World War, as seen through the eyes of Arturs (Oto Brantevics), an innocent sixteen-year-old farm-boy turned soldier. Too young to fight but old enough to die, he enlists to serve on the Eastern Front with dreams of becoming a hero. Conscripted into one of Latvia’s first national battalions, Arturs soon discovers the grim reality of trench warfare. Fighting alongside his father and brother, he experiences the loss of his home and loved ones while growing up surrounded by constant danger and death on the battlefield. Adapted from the book by Aleksandrs Grins, which was banned in the USSR, the story was based on Grins’ own war experiences in a Latvian battalion, and the film is the biggest box office success in Latvia of the past 30 years. Director Dzintars Dreibergs joins us for a conversation on the tremendous impact that World War One had on the Baltic states of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, particularly in terms of their relationship to Stalin’s Soviet Union and how the loss of life as well as the heroism the Latvians experienced during the war became the spark for independence from the Soviets 70 years later.

 

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For news and updates go to: filmmovement.com/blizzard-of-souls

Director’s Statement – First, the world is in the great place now. We live better than ever. We fight for human values which is impossible mission during the war. Many memories of soldiers tell how hard it was to live with themselves after they discovered animals within themselves, we can do sad things when fight for survival becomes real. However, the sad part is that still there are state leaders that can convince people to kill for some ideology, leaving other’s nothing else but to defend and then starting long and crazy circle of many tragedies. I hope the world can learn from the history and stop this nonsense. – Dzintars Dreibergs  

LATVIA’S BIGGEST BOX OFFICE SUCCESS IN 30 YEARS PREMIERES VIA VIRTUAL CINEMA ON JANUARY 8, 2021

About Virtual Cinema – Virtual cinema is video-on-demand streaming brought to you by Film Movement in partnership with local independent movie theaters, which allows you to stream first-run movies and revivals of classic films at home on your TV or on your mobile device prior to their availability on any other digital platform. The proceeds from your streaming rental is shared between Film Movement and the presenting art house movie theater of your choice, so all ticket purchases help support independent cinema.

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“A more realistic 1917” – The Hollywood Reporter

“The filmmakers are unafraid of the picturesque, lighting scenes so they resemble old-master canvases.” – Mark Jenkins, Slant Magazine

“An honest yet frenzied interpretation of the veracity of warfare, with utterly breathtaking cinematography, reminiscent of the brilliance of “Band of Brothers”…As the young, endearing lead, Brantevics is extraordinary” – Guy Lambert, The Upcoming

“Blizzard of Souls, the 1934 novel from which this is drawn, is based on author Aleksandrs Grīns’ own frontline experiences, and The Rifleman successfully captures the hazy, gauzy quality of memory.” – Ellen E Jones, Guardian

“One of the best war films of the last few years.” – Rob Aldam, Backseat Mafia

Coming Clean – Director Ondi Timoner

Long before COVID-19, another pandemic was raging across the American landscape, penetrating all age groups, races and socio-economic classes. The cause: opioids. The culprit: Purdue Pharmaceutical and the company’s deceitful approach to lure in and hook patients. COMING CLEAN, Ondi Timoner’s new documentary, examines opioid addiction through the eyes of those affected and political leaders, as they come together to bring the profiteers to justice. Timoner deeply engages us by weaving in personal stories of addicts and their families struggling to overcome this painful addiction, sometimes with success but often with devastating and heart-wrenching consequences. COMING CLEAN presents a clear case against the perpetrators, including how they incentivized physicians to overprescribe opioids. In a hopeful turn, we witness the alliances built between addicts in recovery and policymakers as they work to remove the stigmas surrounding this addiction and impact laws and industries to bring necessary change in communities. A thought-provoking film on the state of our country and the current political landscape. Director Ondi Timoner (DIG!, We Live in Public, JUNGLETOWN) joins us to talk about the corrosive impact of the opioid crisis, the devastating impact it has had on families, communities and our vital institutions and who has been most responsible for this scourge.

For news and updates go to: comingcleanmovie.com

About the filmmaker- Ondi Timoner has the rare distinction of winning the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival twice, for DIG! (2004) and WE LIVE IN PUBLIC (2009). Other award-winning features include: THE NATURE OF THE BEAST (1994), JOIN US (2007), COOL IT (2010), BRAND: A SECOND COMING (2015), and MAPPLETHORPE (2018), a scripted film she wrote and directed, starring Matt Smith. She also created and produced the critically acclaimed 10-hour nonfiction series JUNGLETOWN (2017). Ondi Timoner is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the DGA, the PGA, the International Documentary Association, and Film Fatales. Timoner has produced & hosted BYOD (Bring Your Own Doc) for thelip.tv,  creating 300 episodes with the top documentary filmmakers over five years. She is also the Founder & CEA of A TOTAL DISRUPTION, an online network dedicated to telling the stories of entrepreneurs & artists who use technology to innovate the way we live. For more on Ondi Timoner films: interloperfilms.com

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“A movie about opiates most viewers won’t take their eyes off of. It feels weird to compliment a true-life story on such a dark topic for visual beauty, but it’s the truth.” Films Gone Wild

“COMING CLEAN takes one of the most important issues of our time — declining life expectancy, largely due to the opioid crisis — and unpacks it through a humanistic lens, with emphasis on real people and leaders on the ground who are providing solutions and, most importantly, hope. As thought-provoking as it is moving — and you find yourself rooting for these heroes and thinking about what they’ve taught you long after the film credits roll. The stigma-shattering message of this film will make a difference.” – Beth Macy, bestselling author of Dopesick & writer/producer of coming Hulu series Dopesick

“Coming Clean is an indictment of capitalism run rampant and once again profit taking precedence over human life. Hats off to the frontline warriors taking on this cause.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat

“COMING CLEAN is one of the most important films of 2020” – Awards Radar

Rock Camp -The Movie – Creator David Fishof

After producing the comeback tour of The Monkees in 1986, promoter and talent agent David Fishof founded Rock’ n’ Roll Fantasy Camp, which has been making dream comes true for more than 25 years. Summer camp meets Spinal Tap, Rock’ n’ Roll Fantasy Camp brings together musicians from all walks of life for an unforgettable experience with legendary rock stars. These musicians teach, inspire, and jam with the campers over four days, concluding with a life performance at a famed venue. The experience takes music lovers from spectator to the stage, sharing the limelight with their musical heroes. Rock Camp, The Movie follows four campers (and their families) trough their journeys to shred with their heroes and see how they overcome their fears and transform their lives. Rock Camp – The Movie boasts a jaw-dropping array of rock star “counselors” that include Roger DaltreyAlice CooperPaul Stanley and Gene Simmons,  Nancy WilsonJoe PerryJeff BeckSlash, and countless other rock legends. Directed and produced by Doug Blush, co-directed and edited by Renee Barron, and produced by Jeff Rowe. Rock’ n’ Roll Fantasy Camp founder David Fishof joins us to talk about his life as a promoter, the amazing array of talented artists he has gotten to know and the endless joy that his “Fantasy Camp” and now the “The Movie” has brought him over these many years.

For news and updates go to: rockcampthemovie.com

About the founder – David Fishof began his career as a sports agency and eventually an entertainment executive and music producer more than four decades ago. Through the Rock’ n’ Roll Fantasy Camp, he has been making dream comes true for more than 25 years. Whether he’s producing a tour, assembling an All-Starr band with Ringo Starr, or writing a best-selling book, there’s one thing David Fishof is always doing: dreaming. Hailed as one of the most creative and innovative entertainment producers in the world, David has been responsible for some of the most original, successful, and exciting live shows ever brought to the stage. But of all the shows he’s put on over his 40-plus year career, there’s one production that stands out from all the rest: Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp. After years of good fortune working with veteran rockers like Roger Daltrey, Ringo Starr, The Monkees, Levon Helm, Joe Walsh, Jack Bruce and Peter Frampton, David decided it was time to share his experiences with rock fans around the world. And so, in 1997, he debuted the rock camp—a place where regular people can reconnect with their passion for music alongside the most famous names in the business. For more information go to: rockcamp.com

About the filmmaker – Doug Blush is an award-winning director, producer, editor, and cinematographer. His credits include, as editor, the Oscar and ACE Eddie Award winning 20 Feet from Stardom (2013), as executive producer, the Oscar winning Period. End of Sentence. (2018) and, as consulting producer and editor, the Oscar winning Icarus (2017).

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Rock Camp is an eye-opening treat. Entertaining and surprising.” – Michael O’Sullivan, The Washington Post

“I love this film. it really has a grid heart to it.” – Richard Roeper, ABC Chicago – Windy City LIVE

“Touching.” “Pure entertainment.” Provides the pure pleasure of seeing people having fun simply by making music.” – Loren King, Newport This Week

“Wildly entertaining.” – Mike McGranaghan, The Aisle Seat

M.C. Escher: Journey To Infinity – Director Robin Lutz & Producer Marijnke de Jong

M.C. Escher: Journey To Infinity is the story of world famous Dutch graphic artist M.C Escher (1898-1972). Equal parts history, psychology, and psychedelia, Robin Lutz’s entertaining, eye-opening portrait gives us the  man through his own words and images: diary musings, excerpts from lectures, correspondence and more are voiced by British actor Stephen Fry, while Escher’s woodcuts, lithographs, and other print works appear in both original and playfully altered form. Two of his sons, George (92) and Jan (80), reminisce about their parents while musician Graham Nash (Crosby, Stills & Nash) talks about Escher’s rediscovery in the 1970s. M.C. Escher: Journey To Infinity looks at Escher’s legacy: one can see tributes to his work in movies, in fiction, on posters, on tattoos, and elsewhere throughout our culture; indeed, few fine artists of the 20th century can lay claim to such popular appeal. Director Robin Lutz and Producer Marijnke de Jong stop by for a conversation on how far ahead of his contemporaries Escher was in capturing using abstract design elements to capture a provocative view of the natural world and how little he cared about being considered as an acceptable artist by the public or the art establishment.

For news and updates got to: zeitgeistfilms.com/film/mcescherjourneytoinfinity

Director’s Statement: “I fear that there is only one person in the world who could make a really good movie about my prints: myself ‘. This line wrote Escher in 1969 to an American collector of his work. And that is exactly what Escher is doing in this movie: he is the director, not literally but symbolically. Besides a visionary graphic artist Maurits Escher was a sharp observer who described his observations in numerous diaries, letters, lectures and catalogues. Thus, an image will be created of his personal life described in his own words, with all his fears, doubts, euphoric moments, political considerations, his amazements, his artistic development and of course his own opinion on his work. The public sees the film through the eyes of Escher himself: the camera is Escher. M.C. Escher will tell in his own words what he saw, what he felt, what inspired him, what amazed him, what irritated him. We will get under his skin and come as close as possible to meet and understand this great graphic artist. The camera is Escher’s eye! How did he get his inspiration, how he lived, who was that genius graphic artist which worked fanatic and finally stunned the world. Escher was astonished by his huge success, especially among the youth. This documentary is the first complete film about Escher’s live and work told in his own words! 

About the filmmaker – Director Robin Lutz founded his own company in cultural audio-visual productions in 1988. He specialized in the production of cultural documentaries, in cooperation with or on behalf of broadcasters, funds, museums etc. Robin Lutz Audiovisual Productions has developed into a renowned production company and due to their great quality, a substantial amount of his films have been awarded, both nationally and internationally.

About the filmmaker – Co-Producer Marijnke de Jong  – After having finished her study in art history at Leiden University, Marijnke de Jong worked for 13 years as a curator in the print room of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Afterwards she worked for Europa Nostra, a heritage NGO, and was involved in the development and organization of the first two editions of a Heritage Film Festival, where she met Robin Lutz. From 2001-2014 she was director/curator of Panorama Mesdag in The Hague and specialized in art and illusion. Nowadays she is advising cultural organizations and since 2016 she also co-produces films with Lutz.

“Delightful…a playful but serious look at the life and work of a wildly popular woodcut printer, lithographer, painter and mezzotint print-maker Maurits Cornelius Escher.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

MLK/FBI – Director Sam Pollard

MLK/FBI is the first film to uncover the extent of the FBI’s surveillance and harassment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Based on newly discovered and declassified files, utilizing a trove of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and unsealed by the National Archives, as well as revelatory restored footage, the documentary explores the government’s history of targeting Black activists, and the contested meaning behind some of our most cherished ideals. MLK/FBI is an essential expose of the surveillance and harassment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (labeled by the FBI as the “most dangerous” Black person in America), undertaken by J. Edgar Hoover and the U.S. government. Featuring interviews with key cultural figures including former FBI Director James Comey, MLK/FBI tells this astonishing and tragic story with searing relevance to our current moment. Directed by Emmy® Award-winner and Oscar®-nominee Sam Pollard, MLK/FBI recounts a tragic story with searing relevance to our current moment. Sam Pollard joins us for a conversation on how incredibly important Dr. King work and influence continues to illuminate every aspect of race relations, criminal justice, housing, wealth inequality, education access and political leadership.

 

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

Sam Pollard is an Emmy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated director and producer. His films for HBO, PBS, and the Discovery Channel include the documentaries Four Little Girls, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, Slavery by Another Name, Sammy Davis, Jr.: I Gotta Be Me, ACORN and the Firestorm, Why We Hate, and Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children.  Pollard also directed two episodes of the groundbreaking series Eyes on the Prize. Since 1994 Pollard has served on the faculty of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and lives in New York City.

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WINNER – Visionaries Tribute Lifetime Achievement Award 2020
WINNER – Career Achievement Award – IDA Documentary Award 2021
WINNER – Best Archival Doc – Critics Choice Documentary Awards 2020
NOMINEE – Best Feature – IDA Documentary Awards 2021
NOMINEE – Best Director – IDA Documentary Awards 2021
OFFICIAL SELECTION – Double Exposure Investigative FF 2020
OFFICIAL SELECTION – Masters – DOC NYC 2020

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“RIVETING. A timely reminder that King’s struggle for racial justice wasn’t straightforward, nor is it close to complete.” – THE ATLANTIC, David Sims

“A blunt fable of state power and a nuanced essay on the fallibility of heroes and the ethics of historical inquiry. Rigorously focused on the facts of the past, the movie is also as timely as an alarm clock.” – THE NEW YORK TIMES, A.O. Scott

“SEARING. Serves as a chilling reminder that white supremacy is not solely a partisan problem; it’s a cruelty baked into the fabric of our political system, poisoning it at every level. Change comes when we allow ourselves to challenge the stories we have been told about our history.” – THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, Jourdain Searles

“It’s an argument for the humanity of our revolutionaries, flaws and all, a humanity that has been either systematically denied, or weaponized against them.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service

What Would Sophia Loren Do? Director Ross Kauffman

What Would Sophia Loren Do? is a documentary short film that follows Vincenza “Nancy” Kulik, an Italian-American mother and grandmother living in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Nancy has seen her share of tragedy, but she has always been able to stay positive, inspired in part by another Italian mother, the movie star Sophia Loren. Nancy uses the question “What Would Sophia Loren Do?” as a guide to questions big and small. For example, “Would Sophia Loren eat whole wheat pasta?” Nancy thinks not. This phrase can also provide comfort and a source of strength in times of crisis. In 2016, Vincenza’s 51-year-old son died suddenly while undergoing a routine operation. Vincenza was devastated. She would seek solace in the love of her friends and family. But as she describes it, Vincenza also used the example of Sophia’s grace to help her get through the days and find the strength to persevere. For Vincenza, the words “What would Sophia Loren do?” have truly helped her to heal during some of the most difficult times of her life. Through the experiences of these two women we come to understand what it means to face life’s challenges with resilience and to age with courage, grit, and humor. The film debuts on Netflix on January 15 and is already heavily buzzed for the Oscar in the shorts category. There’s particular attention on Sophia this year, given her other Oscar-buzzed performance in The Life Ahead, directed by her son, Eduardo Ponti. Academy Award winning director Ross Kauffman (Born into Brothels, Tigerland) joins us to talk about the connection he shares with Vincenza, professionally and personally, and how her indomitable presence permeates this wonderfully alive story.

 

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To watch: netflix.com/Wht Would Sophia Loren Do?

Sing Me a Song – Director Thomas Balmès

Award-winning director/producer Thomas Balmès’ returns to one of his beloved Happiness (2014) subjects, Peyangki, now a teenaged Buddhist monk living in a rural (yet Wi-Fi equipped) monastery in Bhutan, absorbed in the wonders of the world that are a simple click away. The structured daily village rituals of prayer and candle lighting now compete with the powerful lure of smartphones and TV.  Apps for chats and dating introduce the monks to girls and violent video games, neither of which quite line up with the traditional vows of the monks. Peyangki is passionate about love songs and forms a relationship over an app, WeChat, with a young singer (Ugyen) in the “big city” of Thimphu. Distracted and disinterested in study, and often scolded by his masters and mother, he sells medicinal mushrooms to make enough money to leave the monastery and travel to Ugyen. Peyangki trades in his robes for street clothes, but will he succumb to romance and the temptations of the city or return to his pious life in the monastery? Director Thomas Balmès (Babies, Christ Comes to Papuans, A Decent Factory) joins us to talk about his nuanced portrait of a young man’s introduction to the world, offers us an eye-opening snapshot of the effects of technology, and challenges us to reassess our perceptions of self-worth and beliefs in an age of unparalleled connectivity.

 

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For news and updates go to: thomasbalmes.com/sing-me-a-song

About the filmmaker – Thomas Balmès directed his first film in 1996; BOSNIA HOTEL was the story of U.N. Kenyan peacekeepers in Bosnia. Thomas Balmès has been working as an independent director and producer of nonfiction films, specializing in international co-productions, since 1992. His initial projects included studies of filmmakers James Ivory and Michelangelo Antonioni. This was followed by MAHARAJAH BURGER; Mad Cows; Holy Cows, about the mad cow crisis as seen from the Indian perspective. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE PAPUANS (2000) following the conversion to Christianity of a Papuan Chief, was honored with the Silver Spire Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival. He directed a sequel in Papua the following year, WAITING FOR JESUS. A DECENT FACTORY, the story of a Nokia executive who inspects a mobile phone factory in China, was screened at more than 50 film festivals and received many honors, including a Europa Award. The film was released theatrically in the U.S. in 2005. DAMAGES, a.k.a. How Much Is Your Life Worth?, was filmed at a Connecticut law firm specializing in personal injury cases, and was co-produced by 15 countries and broadcast worldwide. Thomas initiated a series for national Japanese television : NHK, Tokyo Modern; and produced (A NORMAL LIFE – CHRONICLE OF A SUMO Wrestler), directed by Jill Coulon, which screened at Amsterdam’s 2009 International Documentary Film Festival. He is regularly invited to conduct lectures and master classes in France and abroad such as Brown University, the Watson Institute, Lisbon International Film Festival. His next film, BABIES takes a look at one year in the life of four babies from around the world, from Mongolia to Namibia to San Francisco to Tokyo. Happiness reflects the impact of the arrival of television in a small Himalayan village. Through the eyes of an eight years old monk named Peyangki, praying eagerly for a TV set, we see the last village of Bhutan going through the process of globalization. The film won the Documentary World Cinema Cinematography Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. For more go to: thomasbalmes.com

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90% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Balmès has greater profundity in mind when disseminating astute observations about how modern necessities and communicative devices impact cultures and ecosystems.” – Courtney Howard, Variety

“Balmès doesn’t arrive at easy, scathing conclusions about the internet. Instead, he lets the camera journey to unexpected places, leading to a different kind of meditation that strikes with deep emotional resonance…” – Kristen Yoonsoo Kim, New York Times

“Even if we see “trouble” the minute we spy that first phone, we don’t necessarily guess how this fascinating “speed of change” story will play out.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

“This film will not resolve the question of whether technological “progress” represents an advance or a decline in civilization, but it certainly will provoke conversations about that issue.” – Stephen Farber, Hollywood Reporter

Phoenix Rising – Co-directors Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui

RISING PHOENIX tells the extraordinary story of the Paralympic Games. From the rubble of World War II to the third biggest sporting event on the planet, the Paralympics sparked a global movement which continues to change the way the world thinks about disability, diversity & human potential.The film features breathtaking footage and compelling interviews with several Medal-Winning Paralympians including Tatyana McFadden (Para Athletics, United States), Bebe Vio (Wheelchair Fencing), Jean-Baptiste Alaize (Para Long Jump), Ntando Mahlangu (Para Track & Field), Matt Stutzman (Para Archery, United States), Jonnie Peacock (Para Sprint Runner), Ryley Batt (Para Wheelchair Ruby), Ellie Cole (Para Swimming), and Cui Zhe (Powerlifting). It also features an interview with Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex. RISING PHOENIX Co-directors Peter Ettedgui and Ian Bonhôte makers of the BAFTA nominated McQueen, join us to talk about remarkable athletes who have worked most of their lives to fulfill the dream of being an Olympic champion as well as the story of the ParaOlympic founder, Ludwig Guttman, a Jewish doctor who rescued people from Nazi camps and believed in the power of community to heal and empower.

 

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To watch go to: netflix.com/Rising Phoenix

To coincide with the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the film team have launched an educational website for RISING PHOENIX that includes a down-loadable Education Guide, providing a framework and resources to enable teachers to delve deeper into the subject matter in the classroom.

About the filmmaker – Peter Ettedgui’s ‘Rising Phoenix’ marks Peter’s second feature documentary as writer and director with Ian Bonhôte, following their collaboration on ‘McQueen’ in 2018. Described as “supremely engrossing and elegant” by Variety, the film was nominated for two Baftas (British Film and Documentary). Previously, Peter had cut his teeth in the non-fiction arena as writer of ‘Everything Or Nothing’ (the story of James Bond) and ‘Listen to Me, Marlon’ (a film biography of Marlon Brando told through the actor’s audio archive), for which Peter was the recipient of a Peabody Award and the IDA (Independent Documentary Award) for best writing in a documentary. Peter began his career in narrative fiction. He worked as director’s assistant and co-writer to Ken Russell on a number of feature and television projects, before writing screenplays including the Bafta-nominated ‘Onegin’, an adaptation of Pushkin’s classic tale of unrequited love, which starred Ralph Fiennes and Liv Tyler. He went on to produce films such as ‘Kinky Boots’, starring Joel Edgerton and Chiwitel Ejiofor, which became a hit Broadway/West End musical, and ‘Unmade Beds’ for Film4.Beyond his work as writer and producer, Peter has worked extensively as a development consultant and story editor including on ‘Spectre’ the 2017 Bond movie.  For more go to: misfitsentertainment.com

About the filmmaker – IAN BONHÔTE is a two times BAFTA nominated director and producer for MCQUEEN, a feature documentary on Alexander McQueen the iconic fashion designer. RISING PHOENIX is Ian’s second documentary which he has co-written and co-directed alongside Peter Ettedgui. The film covers the story of the Paralympics from its humble beginning to becoming the third biggest sporting event in the world. Ian’s directorial debut, ALLEYCATS, was distributed internationally by Universal pictures in over 25 territories and by Filmmode in the US/Canada. Following this, Ian co-founded MISFITS ENTERTAINMENT alongside Andee Ryder, the producer of Alleycats. In 2018 Misfits Entertainment produced VIKING DESTINY, an action adventure film starring Terence Stamp. Prior to this, Ian co-founded PULSE FILMS in 2005 alongside Thomas Benski and Marisa Clifford. Pulse Films recently produced GANGS OF LONDON and AMERICAN HONEY (2016 Jury Prize Cannes Winner). The company is now a part of the VICE MEDIA GROUP. Ian has also directed international campaigns, music videos and fashion films for clients such as Puma, Nike, Pepsi, Mumford & Sons, Tom Jones, and fashion designers Matthew Williamson and Hussein Chalayan. For more go to: misfitsentertainment.com

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90% on Rotten Tomatoes

“‘Phoenix’ is a testament to resiliency, determination and passion, and is one of the best documentaries of 2020.” – Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News

“There are athletes all across the spectrum of sport who would kill to have a documentary portray them as heroic, epic and badass as Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui paint the superstars in “Rising Phoenix. – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

This is profoundly inspiring… It is an extraordinary look at what makes us human.” – Wade Major, FilmWeek (KPCC – NPR Los Angeles)

“Gives sports fans a jolt of greatness, inspiration, history and drop-dead gorgeous photography” – Carole Horst, Variety

“Slick, rousing documentary” – Tim Grierson, Screen Daily

The Reason I Jump – Director Jerry Rothwell

THE REASON I JUMP is an immersive cinematic exploration of neuro-diversity through the experiences of non-speaking autistic people from around the world, based on the best-selling book by Naoki Higashida. The film blends Higashida’s revelatory insights into autism, written when he was just 13, with intimate portraits of five remarkable young people. It opens a window for audiences into an intense and overwhelming, but often joyful, sensory universe. Moments in the lives of each of the characters are linked by the journey of a young Japanese boy through an epic landscape; narrated passages from Naoki’s writing reflect on what his autism means to him and others, how his perception of the world differs, and why he acts in the way he does: the reason he jumps. THE REASON I JUMP distills these elements into a sensually rich tapestry that leads us to Naoki’s core message: not being able to speak does not mean there is nothing to say. Director Jerry Rothwell stops by to talk about his deeply empathetic look into the lives of people with autism from around the world, with each story broadening our perspective and understanding of what it means to be a neuro-diverse person. 

 

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For news and updates go to: the-reason-i-jump

About the filmmaker – Jerry Rothwell is a filmmaker whose work includes the award-winning feature documentaries: The Reason I Jump, based on the bestselling book by Naoki Higashida; How To Change The World, about the founders of Greenpeace; Sour Grapes (co-directed with Reuben Atlas) a film about a wine counterfeiter Town of Runners, about two girls in an Ethiopian village who aspire to be athletes; Donor Unknown, about a sperm donor and his many offspring; School In The Cloud, about radical educationalist, Sugata Mitra; Heavy Load, about a group of people with learning disabilities who form a punk band, and Deep Water (co-directed with Louise Osmond), about Donald Crowhurst’s ill-fated voyage in the 1968 round the world yacht race. His work has won numerous accolades including two Grierson Awards, a Sundance Special Jury Prize, an RTS Award, the IDA Pare Lorentz Award and a BAFTA nomination.

About the writer (The Reason I Jump) – Naoki Higashida was born in Kimitsu, Japan in 1992. Diagnosed with severe autism when he was five, he subsequently learned to communicate using a handmade alphabet grid and began to write poems and short stories. At the age of thirteen he wrote The Reason I Jump, which was published in Japan in 2007. Its English translation came out in 2013, and it has now been published in more than thirty languages. Higashida has since published several books in Japan, including children’s and picture books, poems, and essays. He continues to give presentations throughout Japan about his experience of autism.

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WINNER – World Cinema Documentary Audience Award – Sundance FF 2020 
NOMINEE – Best Cinematography – Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards 2020
NOMINEE – Best Feature – IDA Documentary Awards 2020
NOMINEE – Best Director – IDA Documentary Awards 2020 NOMINEE – Best Documentary – British Independent Film Awards 2020

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Wondrous… A work that enlightens and informs but that is also ravishing

to behold.” – Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter

“While The Reason I Jump is a profound and moving experience, one that isn’t easy to forget, it’s most effective when operating as an experimental work.” – John Fink, The Film Stage

“An inventive, sensuous documentary worthy of its source… This compassionate, creative documentary will open ears and eyes in equal measure.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“Exquisite… All aspects of this film deserve praise.” – Fionnuala Halligan, Screen

Nasrin – Director Jeff Kaufman and Producer Marcia S. Ross

Directed, produced, and written by Jeff Kaufman and produced by Marcia S. Ross (Terrence McNally: Every Act of Life) NASRIN is an immersive portrait of one of the world’s most courageous human rights activists and an outspoken leader of Iran’s remarkably resilient women’s rights movement. She is currently in the fifth week of a hunger strike and serving a long sentence in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison. Millions of people from over 200 nations have called for Nasrin’s release including President-elect Joe Biden; journalist Christiane Amanpour; journalist/activist Gloria Steinem; author Margaret Atwood; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, and many others. Secretly filmed in Iran by men and women who risked arrest, NASRIN features interviews with acclaimed filmmaker Jafar Panahi, Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, journalist Ann Curry, and Nasrin’s husband and fellow-activist Reza Khandan. NASRIN is narrated by Oscar® winning actress Olivia Colman and also features an original song by Tony Award®-winning composers Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and performed by 4-time Grammy® winner Angélique Kidjo. In addition, Washington Post columnist and former political prisoner Jason Rezaian serves as one of the film’s Executive Producers. Director Jeff Kaufman and Producer Marcia S. Ross join us to talk about one of the world’s most courageous woman and about the daily challenges she and other civil and women’s rights activist face in one of the world’s most repressive regimes.

Update on Nasrin: As of today, Nasrin Sotoudeh has been ordered back to prison in Iran. Earlier last month, she was released from prison due to health reasons and the corona -19 virus. Then, she had just ended her 40+ day hunger strike at the end of October in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison. Please join us in telling her story and amplifying her voice for her freedom. Nasrin hashtag #StandUp4NASRIN continues to grow daily.

 

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

About the filmmaker – Jeff Kaufman produced, directed, and wrote the documentaries Every Act Of Life (2018 Tribeca premiere, aired June 2019 on American Masters), The State of Marriage, Father Joseph, The Savoy King: Chick Webb and the Music That Changed America, Brush With Life: The Art of Being Edward Biberman, and Education Under Fire, plus a number of short films for Amnesty International, and programs for The Discovery Channel, and The History Channel. He also edited/designed a book based on the film Every Act Of Life, contributed cartoons to The New Yorker, and illustrations to The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, wrote/illustrated several children’s books, and hosted daily radio shows in Vermont and Los Angeles.

About the filmmaker – Marcia Ross produced the documentaries Every Act Of Life, The State of Marriage, Father Joseph, and The Savoy King. Additionally she has an over 3-decade career as an independent casting director and casting executive, serving 16 years as EVP for Casting at Walt Disney Motion Pictures, and 5 years as VP for Casting and Talent Development at Warner Brothers TV. Some of her film and television credits include Clueless, Cujo, thirtysomething, Murder in Mississippi, 10 Things I Hate About You, The Princess Diaries, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, The Lookout, Enchanted, Oblivion, and Parental Guidance. She has received career achievement awards from the Casting Society of America and the Hollywood Film Festival.

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“A terrific documentary by Jeff Kaufman.” – Peter Rainer, FilmWeek (KPCC – NPR Los Angeles)

“Nasirin reaffirmed my faith in the humanity and courage of those in Iran who struggle against a repressive regime.”- Robert Denerstein, Denerstein Unleashed

“Nasrin is a moving portrait of an unforgettable fighter and a vital film that should be seen by audiences around the globe.” – Loren King, AWFJ Women on Film

“This is fortitude writ large.” – Brian Shaer, Film Threat

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

Finding Yingying – Jiayan “Jenny” Shi

FINDING YINGYING follows the nightmarish story of a 26-year-old Chinese student, Yingying Zhang, who comes to the U.S. to study. In her detailed and beautiful diaries, the aspiring young scientist and teacher is full of optimism, hoping to also be married and a mother someday. Within weeks of her arrival, Yingying disappears from the campus. Through exclusive access to Yingying’s family and boyfriend, Finding Yingying closely follows their journey as they search to unravel the mystery of her disappearance and seek justice for their daughter while navigating a strange, foreign country. But most of all, Finding Yingying is the story of who Yingying was: a talented young woman loved by her family and friends. Director Jiayan “Jenny” Shi joins us for a conversation on documenting a heartbreaking story, gaining the trust and confidence of a grieving family dealing with some very difficult truths.

 

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

To watch the film go yo: findingyingying.com/see-the-film

About the filmmaker – Jiayan “Jenny” Shi is a Chicago-based documentary filmmaker and video journalist who is passionate about social justice issues regarding people of color. She shoots, edits and produces video stories and short documentaries about immigration, race and crime in Chicago for multiple outlets. She is also working on several projects as a researcher, digital content editor and translator including the ITVS co-produced web series Pulling The Thread and the 2020 Academy Award-winning Higher Ground Netflix film, American Factory. Jenny is a graduate of Kartemquin’s Diverse Voices In Docs program, a TFI Network alum, the winner of the Paley DocPitch Competition 2018 and a fellow of 2020-2021 Women at Sundance | Adobe Fellowship. Jenny is named one of the DOC NYC “40 Under 40” filmmakers.

About Kartemquin – Sparking democracy through documentary since 1966, Kartemquin is a collaborative community that empowers documentary makers who create stories that foster a more engaged and just society. Kartemquin’s films have received four Academy Award® nominations and won many more major prizes, including six Emmys® and four Peabody Awards. Recognized as a leading advocate for independent public media, Kartemquin has helped hundreds of artists via its filmmaker development programs and championing of documentary.Kartemquin is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization based in Chicago.

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“It’s remarkable how Finding Yingying gets away from the traditional framework that governs how these stories are told, allowing the Zhangs to be seen separately from the horrific situation they find themselves in…” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest

“’Finding Yingying proves that centering the lives lost and the loved ones left behind can make for an intriguing a true-crime documentary.” – Jonita Davis, The Black Cape

“Compelling, heartfelt, and just as frustrating to watch – Finding Yingying not only makes for one of the most essential watches of the year but also for the sake of much-needed change.” – Andrew J. Salazar, Geeks of Color

“Intimate and haunting.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

Through the Night – Director Loira Limbal

THROUGH THE NIGHT is a cinema vérité portrait of three working mothers whose lives intersect at Dee’s Tots Daycare in New Rochelle, NY: a mother working the overnight shift as a pediatric nurse; another holding down three low-wage jobs to support her two girls; and Deloris “Nunu” Hogan, who for over two decades has cared for the children of parents with nowhere else to turn. A tender portrait of titanic strength, love and selflessness, THROUGH THE NIGHT showcases the multiplicity of “women’s work” – paid, underpaid and unpaid; emotional and physical; domestic and career-oriented – all while negotiating the terms of a dignified existence under the three arrows of racism, sexism and capitalism in America. THROUGH THE NIGHT will open this Friday, December 11th at the Laemmle Virtual Cinema in addition to virtual cinemas around the country. Director Loira Limbal joins us for a conversation on the myriad of issues raised in this deceptively simple meditation of the why and how millions of hard working people in the home of the brave can do all the right things only to find themselves one random event away from the economic abyss that is modern American life. 

 

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For news and updates go to: throughthenightfilm.com

About the filmmaker – Loira Limbal is an Afro-Dominican filmmaker and DJ based in the Bronx. She is the Senior Vice President of Programs at Firelight Media, an organization that provides mentorship, funding and industry access to emerging filmmakers of color. THROUGH THE NIGHT was an official selection of the 2020 Tribeca, AFI Docs, Camden, Hot Springs Documentary, Double Exposure and DOC NYC festivals. Her first film, ESTILO HIP HOP, aired on PBS in 2009. Loira is a Sundance Institute Fellow and a former Ford Foundation Justfilms/Rockwood Fellow. Additionally, she co-produces and helms the popular Brooklyn monthly #APartyCalledRosiePerez. Limbal received a B.A. in History from Brown University and is a graduate of the Third World Newsreel’s Film and Video Production Training Program. She is a Sundance Institute Fellow and a former Ford Foundation Justfilms/Rockwood Fellow.

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“This quietly engaging documentary is also subtly political, showing with clear eyes how good people are trying to patch gaps in our society that shouldn’t be there in the the first place.” – Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times

“Through the Night is both celebration and indictment. A sympathetic depiction of “women’s work,” in all its unsung dignity, it’s also a quietly damning portrait of a merciless economy’s effect on working-class mothers… – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

“Without making it too obvious, Limbal’s documentary shines a light on the unspoken backbone of our economy. – Monica Castillo, Remezcla

‘”Through the Night” won me over though, not because director Loira Limbal has any illusions about objectivity, but because she prefers to step back and show the toll inequality takes on the very people our culture supposedly reveres most – families.” – Andrea Thompson, A Reel of One’s Own

Assassins – Director Ryan White

ASSASSINS documents the bizarre, international plot, ripped from the headlines story of  Kim Jong-nam—the half-brother of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un assassination in the bustling departures hub of Malaysia’s international airport. The spectacularly brazen murder happened in broad daylight, filmed entirely by security cameras. Footage showed two young women approaching Jong-nam from behind, covering his eyes with their hands, and pressing VX—the most lethal nerve gas on earth—into his eyes. He stumbled away and was dead within an hour. But if the murder was extreme, the story behind what came next was even more bizarre: The two women who killed Jong-nam claimed they had simply been hired to pull a video prank and had no idea what they were really doing. The Malaysian government scoffed, arrested and imprisoned the women and put them on trial for murder, facing execution. But was their outlandish story actually the truth? And would anyone believe them? ASSASSINS the latest film from director Ryan White (Ask Dr. Ruth, The Case Against 8), travels from the sanctums of Pyongyang to the rice fields of Indonesia and Vietnam to the courtrooms of Kuala Lumpur to tell an extraordinary tale of manipulation and subterfuge in the age of social media. A masterful investigation that offers an unprecedented look at the real story of Kim Jong-nam’s murder,  ASSASSINS Director Ryan White stops by to discuss the wildly improbable tale of a calculating dictator, a nefarious plot, a very public murder, and two women fighting for their lives.

 

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

For more on the filmmakers go to: tripod-media.com

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Ryan White’s fascinating documentary chronicles plays like a political thriller with tragic consequences for the two women at its center.” – Matt Goldberg, Collider

“It’s a Kafka-esque and sometimes darkly comic tale of deception and exploitation that makes for a smartly assembled and eminently topical film that arrives at a crucial juncture in world affairs…” – Justin Lowe, Hollywood Reporter

“As you watch the movie, I promise that there are moments when your jaw will drop.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“Director Ryan White masterfully breaks down the complex mechanics of North Korean politics and the Malaysian justice system in a fascinating thriller.” – Ian Thomas Malone

The Last Sermon, Director Jack Baxter

THE LAST SERMON begins with a flashback to the horrific 2003 terrorist attack on a Tel Aviv blues bar called Mike’s Place. THE LAST SERMON then takes us straight into today’s headlines when filmmakers Baxter and Faudem – united for life by the tragedy of that terrible night – seek answers about the suicide bombers who almost murdered them. In the aftermath of the infamous April 2003 suicide bombing at Mike’s Place that killed three and injured dozens, including Baxter, the filmmakers made the award-winning documentary BLUES BY THE BEACH (2004). But they didn’t get to tell the entire story at that time. THE LAST SERMON started in Jerusalem. Baxter and Faudem and their film crew traveled to Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Germany, Czech Republic, France, then on to England. At Refugee Camps and  Mosques they interviewed, interacted and challenged Muslims and non-Muslims with the last words of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): “There is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, or a non-Arab over an Arab, or a White over a Black, or a Black over a White, except by righteousness and piety.” Director and subject Jack Baxter joins us for a conversation on the how the Mike’s Place bombing started him on a personal quest to confront hatred, ignorance and move those he meets to recognize our collective humanity.

 

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For news and updates go to: thelastsermonmovie.com

About the filmmaker – Jack Baxter is a writer, director, producer and freelance journalist from New York City. He produced the controversial and critically acclaimed 1995 documentary “Brother Minister: The Assassination of Malcolm X.” Mr. Baxter and his wife, Executive Producer Fran Strauss-Baxter, are the producers of the award-winning documentary, “Blues by The Beach” (2004). Jack is the co-author of the graphic novel, “Mike’s Place: A True Story of Love, Blues, and Terror in Tel Aviv” (2015) published by Macmillan.

About the filmmaker – Joshua Faudem is an award-winning American-Israeli documentary filmmaker who has shot and directed television programs in Israel, Europe, Canada, and America. Mr. Faudem directed the award-winning documentary “Blues by the Beach” (2004) and is the co-author of the graphic novel “Mike’s Place: A True Story of Love, Blues, and Terror in Tel Aviv.”

Official Selection of the 2020 International Human Rights Film Festival

Winner of the Best Documentary Feature and the Truth Seeker Award at the 2020 Queens World

Yalda – A Night for Forgiveness, Director Massoud Bakhshi

In Massoud Bakhshi’s riveting new film, Yalda – A Night for Forgiveness, Maryam is a 22-year-old woman, who has been sentenced to death for murdering her 65-year-old husband, Nasser. Iranian law allows for the victim’s family to forgive her and spare her life, so Maryam’s fate will be decided by Nasser’s daughter, Mona, 37, on the country’s most popular televised reality show. In front of millions of viewers during Yalda, the winter solstice celebration, Maryam and Mona discover that forgiveness can be difficult as they relive the past. Director and screenwriter Massoud Bakhshi brings aesthetic energy and dramatic intensity to a story that unfolds over a few hours and almost entirely within the studio. Compelled by the social complexities of contemporary Iran, Bakhshi started as a documentary filmmaker, during which time he met several women who had murdered their husbands. Their stories stayed with him as he developed this powerful exploration of women characters. Although Maryam and Mona are condemned in some way and subject to Iran’s profound patriarchy, they find agency, moral authority, and freedom within those confines.  Winner of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness elucidates Iran’s vibrant, modern identity alongside its deeply traditional culture.

 

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For news and updates go to: pyramidefilms.com/yalda-a-night-for-forgiveness

About the filmmaker – Born in Tehran, Iran, in 1972, Massoud Bakhshi has worked as film critic, scriptwriter and producer, before making 12 documentaries and short films which were awarded internationally. His first feature film A Respectable Family was selected at Cannes Film Festival 2012 (Quinzaine des réalisateurs). Yalda, a night for forgiveness is his second feature film, selected at the World Cinema Dramatic Competition Sundance Film Festival 2020 and at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival Generation 14+ Competition 2020.

2020 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL – GRAND JURY PRIZE World Cinema Dramatic Competition

Kiss the Ground – Co-directors Josh and Rebecca Tickell

Narrated by Woody Harrelson and directed by critically-acclaimed filmmakers Joshua Tickell and Rebecca Harrell Tickell (Oscar® shortlisted film and Sundance Audience Award winner “Fuel,” Cannes Film Festival Official Selection “The Big Fix”), KISS THE GROUND unveils a game-changer: We can reverse global warming and the Earth’s soil is the solution. By regenerating earth, we can completely and rapidly stabilize our planet’s climate, restore lost ecosystems, and create abundant food supplies.With epic footage shot on five continents, striking visuals from NASA and NOAA, and stunning animation, KISS THE GROUND conveys this critical message through the voices of leading scientists, ecologists, and experts including Nobel Laureates in climate, members of the International Panel on Climate Change, top scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), as well as environmental activists such as Gisele Bundchen, Tom Brady, Jason Mraz, Ian Somerhalder, Patricia Arquette, and Rosario Dawson. As an urgent call to action in addressing the world’s climate crisis, KISS THE GROUND artfully illustrates an accessible, relatively simple solution to humanity’s greatest challenge. Co-directors Josh and Rebecca Tickell join us to talk about how, despite all of the dire news about the impact of climate change, there is a way forward that is basic, sustainable, scalable and immediate, regeneration of earth’s most plentiful resources, soil.

 

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For news, screening and updates go to: kissthegroundmovie.com

To find out more about the movement go to: kisstheground.com

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83% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Climate Change is definitely real and this doc proves it while encouraging and teaching the human race how we can save the earth and save ourselves. Should be watched by every living human being!” – Carla Renata, The Curvy Film Critic

“It’s dense but nutritious. The science is explained in simple terms with plenty of visually striking graphics and animation.” – Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times

“The argument that they make is inspiring and thorough.” – Wade Major, FilmWeek (KPCC – NPR Los Angeles)

“A frenetic but ultimately persuasive and optimistic plan to counter the climate crisis.” – Natalia Winkelman,New York Times

76 Days, Director Hao Wu

On January 23rd, 2020, China locked down Wuhan, a city of 11 million, to combat the emerging COVID-19 outbreak. Set deep inside the frontlines of the crisis, 76 DAYS tells indelible human stories at the center of this pandemic—from a woman begging in vain to bid a final farewell to her father, a grandpa with dementia searching for his way home, a couple anxious to meet their newborn, to a nurse determined to return personal items to families of the deceased. These raw and intimate stories bear witness to the death and rebirth of a city under a 76-day lockdown, and to the human resilience that persists in times of profound tragedy. MTV Documentary Films is pleased to announce the release of 76 DAYS, a raw and emotional look at the struggles of the people of Wuhan, China, in the earliest days of the COVID-19 outbreak. Directed by New York filmmaker Hao Wu (People’s Republic of Desire) and two China-based journalists, Weixi Chen and Anonymous, who took enormous personal risks to film at four different hospitals. 76 DAYS was directed by Hao Wu, Weixi Chen and Anonymous. Director Hoa Wu joins us for a conversation on the challenges of keeping his crew focused and in-tact while charging into the epicenter of the most devastating and understood pandemic of the last 100 years.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: 76daysfilm.com

76 DAYS world-premiered at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival where it topped IndieWire’s Critics Poll as Best Documentary of the festival. It will be released in over 50 virtual cinemas nationwide (including Film Forum in NY and Laemmle Theaters in LA) beginning Friday, December 4.

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“A startling picture from inside Wuhan’s besieged hospitals at the onset of the pandemic” – Screen Daily

“Remarkable” – The Hollywood Reporter

“A potent and horrifying document” ★★★★ – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“Essential viewing for now and the future” – The Playlist

“A tribute to the heroic efforts of the workers it follows” – The Atlantic

A Dog Called Money – Director Seamus Murphy

As imaginative as the creative process it documents, A DOG CALLED MONEY is a uniquely intimate journey through the inspiration, writing and recording of a PJ Harvey record. Writer and musician Harvey and award-winning photographer Seamus Murphy, hatched a collaboration. Seeking first-hand experience of the countries she wanted to write about, Harvey accompanied Murphy on some of his worldwide reporting trips, joining him in Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Washington DC. Harvey collected words, Murphy collected images. Back home, the words become poems, songs, then an album, which is recorded in an unprecedented art experiment in Somerset House, London. In a specially constructed room behind one-way glass, the public – all cameras surrendered – are invited to watch the 5 week process as a live sound-sculpture. Murphy exclusively documents the experiment with the same forensic vision and private access as their travels. Director / photographer Seamus Murphy brilliantly captures encounters with the people and places he and Polly Jean visit, showcasing the humanity at the heart of his work, while also tracing the evolution of their shared experience into her recorded music and ultimately into their impassioned collaboration.

 

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For news and updates go to: abramorama.com/pjharvey-adogcalledmoney

About the filmmaker – Seamus Murphy grew up in Ireland and is based in London. He is the recipient of seven World Press Photo awards for his photographic work in Afghanistan, Gaza, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, Peru and Ireland. He received The World Understanding Award from POYi in the USA for his work from Afghanistan and a film he made based around this work was nominated for an Emmy and won the Liberty in Media Prize in 2011. His work has been published and exhibited widely. He has made films for The New Yorker and Channel 4 Television in the UK.  He is the author of four books including A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan (Saqi Books. 2008) is based on 12 trips to the country between 1994 and 2007 and is a chronicle of Afghanistan’s extraordinary recent history. I Am The Beggar of the World (Farrar Straus Giroux. 2014) offers a rare glimpse into the lives of Afghan women through their anonymous Landay poetry. He has collaborated with musician PJ Harvey on projects for Let England Shake and The Hope Six Demolition Project, for which he won a Q Award for Best Music Film in October 2016. Patti Smith listed Murphy’s film for Harvey’s The Words that Maketh Murder as one of her Top 10 artworks, saying “… this unheralded piece (directed by Seamus Murphy) is a wisp of humanity celebrating the small things. “Murphy and Harvey together published The Hollow of the Hand (Bloomsbury. 2015) a book of his photography and her poetry. An exhibition and live presentation of The Hollow of the Hand work took place at the Royal Festival Hall, London in 2015 and at Les Recontres d’Arles in France in 2016. His latest book The Republic (Allen Lane. 2016) is an immediate and personal portrait of Ireland and was exhibited at The Little Museum in Dublin in 2017. 

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“It’s fascinating to see the creative process laid bare in such a way, and the film confirms Harvey’s position as a vital and relevant artist who thrives through collaboration and experimentation.” – Jamie Healy, Radio Times

“Murphy has an unerring eye for poetic compositions that emphasise faces, isolated soldiers and civilians in battle zones, and anomalous juxtapositions of vulnerable non-combatants and military personnel.” – Graham Fuller, Sight and Sound

“As a peek inside the artistic process, Murphy’s film succeeds: it’s the type of demystification that only serves to make the endeavour more remarkable.” – Hilary A White, Sunday Independent (Ireland)

“[A] stunning ode to director Seamus Murphy’s métier and PJ Harvey’s collaborative genius.” – June Butler, Film Ireland Magazine

Sky Blossom – Director Richard Liu

Director Richard Lui’s SKY BLOSSOM is a raw, uplifting window into 24.5 million children and millennials stepping forward as frontline heroes. Caring for family with tough medical conditions, they stay at home doing things often seen only in hospitals. They are cheerleaders, work part time, and go to college – but also live double lives – quietly growing up as America’s next greatest generation. The filmmaker, veteran journalist and award-winning CNN/MSNBC news anchor Richard Lui says the interviews were so honest they genuinely surprised him, as they revealed insights into the lives of young people across America. Troops used to look up and say, “Here come the Sky Blossoms”-paratroopers rushing to their aid. Today, there is a new generation answering that call. These are their stories. First-time director and MSNBC news anchor Richard Liu joins us for a conversation on the reason he began the project, the exploration of these families courage and determination and the historic and spiritual meaning behind the film’s title. 

 

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

For information on resources available go to: skyblossom.com/resources

Watch during the Virtual Theatre release at: /skyblossom.com/watch-film

Director’s statement – My life changed when my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I stepped back from my work as a cable news anchor, changing to work part-time on weekends. I began a weekly commute from my work in New York and my family in San Francisco. My parents come from military families, and this experience has only brought us closer together. With Sky Blossom, I wanted to show the power of caring for others. To tell stories of positivity despite pain. – Richard Liu

About the Film – Sky Blossom is an Academy Award qualifying film salute to 2020. Filmed over three years, it is a raw, uplifting window into 24.5 million children and millennials stepping forward as frontline heroes. Caring for family with tough medical conditions, they stay at home doing things often seen only in hospitals. They are cheerleaders, work part time, and go to college – but also live double lives – quietly growing up as America’s next greatest generation.

What’s In a Name? – During the Second World War, troops used to look up and say, “Here come the Sky Blossoms” — paratroopers rushing to their aid. Today, there is a new generation answering that call. These are their stories.

Social Media
facebook.com/SkyBlossomFilms
twitter.com/SkyBlossomFilms
twitter.com/RichardLui
instagram.com/skyblossomfilms
instagram.com/richardlui
#skyblossom
@SkyBlossomFilms
@RichardLui

No Ordinary Man – Co-director Chase Joynt (Aisling Chin-Yee) and Writer Amos Mac

In the documentary film No Ordinary Man The legacy of Billy Tipton, a 20th-century American jazz musician and trans icon, is brought to life by a diverse group of contemporary trans artists. Revered jazz musician Billy Tipton — born Dorothy Lucille Tipton — gained fame throughout the United States in the 1940s and ’50s. His trans identity was not known throughout the echelons of the jazz and pop worlds, and it wasn’t revealed publicly until after his death in 1989. For decades, Tipton was portrayed as an ambitious woman “passing” as a man in pursuit of a music career at a time when the industry was dominated by men and trans representation was virtually non-existent. Since then, he has become a foundational icon of trans-masculinity. Co-directors Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt’s examine the disgraceful media scrutiny and questions of legitimacy his family endured after his death. This thoughtful, timely documentary embraces the challenge of bringing Tipton’s words to life, reimagining his narrative through a diverse group of contemporary trans performers as they collectively paint a portrait of an unlikely hero. NO ORDINARY MAN explores the life and legacy of American jazz musician and trans icon Billy Tipton as told through the eyes of today’s leading voices in the trans community. NO ORDINARY MAN features Marquise Vilsón, Scott Turner Schofield, Susan Stryker, C. Riley Snorton, and Thomas Page McBee, among others. Co-director Chase Joynt (Aisling Chin-Yee) and Writer Amos Mac join us to talk about the life and the times of an artist, husband and father hiding in plain sight and how Billy Tipton’s story informs and imbues today’s trans community.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: chasejoynt.com/no-ordinary-man

About the filmmaker – (Co-director) Chase Joynt is a transgender moving-image artist and writer whose films have won jury and audience awards internationally. His latest short film, Framing Agnes, premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, won the Audience Award at Outfest in Los Angeles, and is being developed into a feature film with support from Telefilm Canada’s Talent to Watch program. Awarded the EP Canada/Canada Film Capital Award for Emerging Canadian Artist, Joynt’s first book You Only Live Twice (co-authored with Mike Hoolboom) was a 2017 Lambda Literary Award Finalist and named one of the best books of the year by The Globe and Mail and CBC. 

About the filmmaker (Writer) Amos Mac is an out transgender writer staffed on the upcoming drama series Gossip Girl (HBO Max, 2021). Previously he’s worked on shows including Amazon’s Transparent and VICELAND’s Gaycation. From 2009-2019, Amos was a founding editor of Original Plumbing; the first print magazine in America dedicated to trans male culture. Informational and humorous, OP provided ten years of artful documentation of trans masculine community. The official book, Original Plumbing: The Best of Ten Years of Trans Male Culture, was released in 2019 by the Feminist Press.

About the filmmaker – (Co-director) Aisling Chin-Yee is a cisgender, award-winning producer, writer, and director based in Montreal, Canada. Aisling was named one of Canada’s Rising Film Stars by Now Magazine 2019. Her feature film directorial debut, The Rest of Us, starring Heather Graham (Boogie Nights, The Hangover), and Sophie Nélisse (The Book Thief) premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival 2019. Aisling also produced the award winning feature films, Rhymes for Young Ghouls, Last Woman Standing , and The Saver among others. In 2017, she co-founded the #AfterMeToo movement alongside Mia Kirshner and Freya Ravensbergen. In 2018 she was selected in the inaugural cohort of professionals in the 50 Women Can Change the World in Media and Entertainment in Hollywood. In 2019, Aisling received the TIFF Canning Fellowship. 

Social Media
twitter.com/spectraversa
#AfterMeToo
https://twitter.com/ChaseJoynt
@ChaseJoynt
#NoOrdinaryManFilm
@theamosmac

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The film contains interviews with a number of trans artists who find Tipton especially meaningful in their lives; the moment when Tipton’s son discovers that his father is important to many people is worth the price of admission.” – Alissa Wilkinson, Vox

“Tender, topical and well-crafted, No Ordinary Man is no ordinary film.” – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

“No Ordinary Man isn’t so much a documentary of musician Billy Tipton but a major contribution to the history of trans-masculinity.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

“It’s moving and empowering, a reminder of how far we’ve come and how far we have to go.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

Songs of Repression, Co-directors Marianne Hougen-Moraga and Estephan Wagner

The incredible story that lies at the heart of Songs of Repression begins and ends at  the foot of the Andes Mountains in Chile in the picturesque German colony of Colonia Dignidad (Colony of Dignity). The beauty of the place belies a grim past. In 1961, a German preacher named Paul Schäfer and his congregation moved to Chile with the stated aim of helping the poor. They established Colonia Dignidad, which transformed into a closed sect where child abuse, collective beatings and slave-like living conditions were an ongoing reality for 45 years. Many in the colony assisted Pinochet’s dictatorship in torturing and killing political prisoners and burying them in mass graves on their own 40,000-acre land. In 2007, Schäfer was arrested and the colony opened up. During that process, the community changed its name to Villa Baviera (Bavarian Village), now a tourist resort where you can relax, eat German cuisine and listen to yodeling. It remains the home of several generations of perpetrators and victims of the cult, inexplicably coexisting without reckoning with decades of abuse. Co-directors Marianne Hougen-Moraga and Estephan Wagner join us to talk about their chilling exploration of the community through the experiences of its surviving members.

 

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For news and updates go to: estephanwagner.com/songs-of-repression

About the filmmaker – Marianne Hougen-Moraga (Director) Graduated with a Master’s degree in film studies from Copenhagen University. She also holds a master in Screen Documentary from Goldsmiths College. Hougen-Moraga has directed a number of short documentaries, such as ‘Returned’ (2011), which premiered at CPH:DOX, and ‘Sea of Sorrow – Sea of Hope’ (2017), which was nominated for a Danish Robert Award for best short documen- tary. Her feature documentary debut is ‘Songs of Represvsion’ (2020), which she has directed with Estephan Wagner. 

About the filmmaker – Estephan Wagner (Director and Editor). Graduated from the National Film and Television School in London. Originally trained as an editor in Germany. Wagner has been working as a documentary director for more than a decade. He directed ‘Last Dreams’ (2013) that premiered at CPH:DOX. His feature documentary ‘Les Sau- teurs’ (2016) had theatrical distribution in Germany, France, the UK and Italy, has been screened at more than 70 film festivals and has won more than 15 awards including at the Ecumenical Jury Award at the Berlinale and the Cinema Eye Spotlight award. 

Social Media
twitter.com/HougenMoraga

 

Crock of Gold, A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan – Director Julien Temple

If future generations look back at what it was truly like to be both human and alive in the late 20th century, they will be hard put to find a more powerful and enlightening testament than the songs of Shane McGowan. In a world where music has become increasingly sanitized and unable to venture beneath the surface clichés of human emotion, Shane’s songs stand out in ever greater relief. A cinematic exploration of Shane MacGowan’s story, Julien Temple’s film CROCK OF GOLD details Shane’s explosive existence, from his salad days, growing up in Ireland, to time spent on the mean streets of London and embracing the punk scene. To forming the Pogues and the conquering the known universe, we discover MacGowan’s passions, his humor and deep knowledge of music, history, spirituality & popular culture. For this is Shane’s story. A vision of the world through the eyes of the great punk poet himself and an intimate cast of close friends and family members, all channeled through  director Julien Temple’s inimitable and eternally vibrant lens. Director Julien Temple joins us for an enlightening conversation on MacGowan’s unusual childhood living on a farm without electricity, his collaboration with Johnny Depp and his respect and admiration for an artist that has stay faithful to his love of music and his country, no matter the cost.

 

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

Director’s Statement – In a world where music has become increasingly sanitized and unable to venture beneath the surface clichés of human emotion, none has bared their soul like Shane McGowan. His unique ability to plumb the dark recesses of the human soul, while in the very same breath celebrating its capacity to find healing transcendence, in both love and the sublime mysteries of existence, goes a long way to making sense of who we actually are. His work is raw, unflinching and unashamed, reflecting all the many places Shane inhabits – the invisible world, hedonism, alcoholism, God, redemption and romance, in all their respective grit and glory. And so, here, via the inventions of the Pogues and the Popes, via the hits, the flops, the fallouts of fame. Via the triumphs and the disasters. Via the love, the hate. Via the bodily abuse and miraculous survival against the odds. And above all else, via the songs… Shane’s incomparable songs, we join Shane, in this film, in his never-ending search for that elusive ‘Crock of Gold’… – Julien Temple

About the filmmaker – Julien Temple became established as one of the early pioneers of music videos, directing such diverse talents as; Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols, David Bowie, Kinks, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Janet Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Pete Doherty and many more. He has directed feature films including the musicals ‘Absolute Beginners’ and ‘Earth Girls Are Easy’. Other directing credits ‘Pandaemonium’, selected as the Gala film at the Toronto Film Festival 2000 and winner of the Evening Standard best British actor award for Linus Roache. Temple’s feature documentary about the Sex Pistols ‘The Filth & The Fury’ screened in official selection at both the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals 2001. In 2005 he directed ‘Glastonbury’, a vivid chronicle of the past thirty years of the music festival. ‘The Future Is Unwritten’, a film to celebrate the life of Joe Strummer, premiered at Sundance in 2007. His recent films include ‘Oil City Confidential’ a documentary about the forgotten precursors of punk, Dr. Feelgood, which won the main prize at the 2009 Turin Film Festival, ‘Imaginary Man’ a film about songwriter Ray Davies for BBC One Imagine and ‘Kinkdom Come’ about his brother Day Davies. Temple’s feature documentary ‘Requiem For Detroit’ won a Grierson Award for Best Historical Documentary 2010. He is currently working with producer Jeremy Thomas to develop ‘You Really Got Me – The Kinks’, the story of Ray and Dave Davies, the brilliant love hate sibling creative force behind the legendary band.

Social Media
twitter.com/CrockofGoldFilm
twitter.com/JulienTemple
instagram.com/crockofgoldfilm
instagram.com/magnoliapics
instagram.com/johnnydepp
facebook.com/crockofgoldfilm
#CrockofGoldFilm
@CrockofGoldFilm

 

95% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Crock of Gold” isn’t intended as a lament for an artist derailed by his worst impulses, though. Instead, it’s a celebration of what MacGowan accomplished at his peak, as well as an explanation of the experiences that informed his music. – Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times

“Temple has always used archive material playfully; here, it’s particularly riotous, like a chaotic patchwork quilt tacked together by one of Shane’s drunk aunties. – Wendy Ide, Observer (UK)

“Bold and crass, insightful and fascinating. Director Julien Temple makes clear that this is a complex artist, with a multi-faceted personality, who has changed greatly over the years.” – Deirdre Molumby, entertainment.ie

“The director Julien Temple – who has excellent documentaries on the Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer and other galvanic musicians under his belt – is very good at this sort of thing.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

The Way Home – Co-director Don Hardy & Camille Servan-Schreiber, Shawn Dailey

THE WAY HOME is a short-form documentary series from KTF Films and Bread and Butter Films  focusing on the current homelessness epidemic in California – the state with the largest population of homeless people in the USA. Through these compelling short films, you will be inspired by the solution creators and the game-changers who are making an impact in this ongoing situation. Joining us are co-directors and co-writters Camille Servan-Schreiber and Don Hardy and producer Shawn Dailey The Way Home offers is a nuanced and informative four-part series that focuses on the big picture issues that present structural impediments to people struggling to overcome poverty in Oakland, Los Angeles and Bakersfield as well as the personal stories that humanize the people who live in the shadows

 

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For news and updates go to: thewayhomedoc.com

For a glimpse of our episodes, click the play buttons below. The full episodes will be available on Amazon, Apple, Google, and other streaming platforms on December 4th.

Ep. 1- How Did We Get Here? We examine the origins the homelessness crisis in the US and how has grown to an epidemic in California.

Ep. 2 – The Most Vulnerable More than half of homeless people in California are seniors. One pilot program in Northern California is focused on getting them off the street.

Ep. 3 – The Invisible In one California community volunteers, non-profit organizations, and the local government are working together to find creative ways to get people into sustainable housing … and it’s working.

Ep. – 4 – The California Dream California is in the midst of a housing crisis, and the lack of affordable housing is why so many become homeless.

Social Media
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instagram.com/iamdonhardy
@IamDonHardy

GATHER – Director Sanjay Rawal

Award winning filmmaker Sanjay Rawal’s latest documentary, GATHER, is a powerful portrait of Indigenous Americans reclaiming sovereignty over their decimated ancestral food systemswhile battling against the historical trauma brought on by centuries of genocide.  The early American economy was solely based on extracting money from the land. This nascent economy needed labor, but it mainly needed land. Stolen native land fueled American capitalism while slavery drove the economy. Native bodies were impediments because they occupied land the American economy needed, thus the genocide of thousands of indigenous people.  After a century of stealing land, the American government began an active program to destroy Native food systems to subjugate Natives. In doing so, they destroyed tens of thousands of years of deep knowledge of the food space. Native Americans are now fighting to re-establish their right to their lands and their food traditions – this fight for food is as important as the fight against pipelines.  As the pandemic continues to disproportionately affect Indian Country (IC), the common narrative is to blame poverty.  In reality, IC is ravaged due to inadequate infrastructure, lack of health systems and environmental racism – directly driven by government disregard of legal and treaty obligations. Director Sanjay Rawal (Food Chains) talks with us about how the US government continues to neglect these communities and perpetuate its long-term genocide and the efforts of the Native American people’s to fight back.

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: gather.film

Gather is now available to stream on iTunes (US/UK/Canada)Amazon (US/UK) and Vimeo-on-Demand (rest of the world).

About the filmmaker – A James Beard Award winning filmmaker, Sanjay  Rawal made FOOD CHAINS (EP Eva Longoria, Eric Schlosser) which chronicled the battle of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a small group of Oaxacan and Chiapan indigenous farmworkers in Florida, against the largest agribusiness conglomerates in the world. The film was released theatrically in a number of countries (Screen Media in the US) and won numerous awards – including citations from the US Conference of Mayors, the Clinton Global Initiative and the White House. The film was also a Winner (shared) of the 2016 BritDoc Impact award and several festival prizes. Sanjay’s last film 3100: RUN AND BECOME won several festival prizes, had a robust theatrical release in the US in 2018 and is opening in traditional theatrical engagements across Europe and Australia in 2020 and 2021.

Social Media
facebook.com/gatherfilmproject
instagram.com/gatherfilm

 

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Rawal covers a substantial amount of ground and deftly balances the dense material without losing sight of the mission driving the bigger story: Healing from generational trauma sometimes starts with just one person.” – Lovia Gyarkye,

“Docu on food sovereignty has positive messages, role models.” – Brian Costello, Common Sense Media

“The stunning cinematography accentuates every aspect of the story, the beauty of our land, and the need to understand the gifts we have all been given to live a life of truth about our pasts and create a new path for the future.” – Pamela Powell, Reel Honest Reviews

“Rawal’s movie offers a fascinating, visually striking glimpse of just how the seeds of oppression and racism can thrive for generations.” – Rob Rector, Film Threat