For the last 20 years the Newport Beach Film Festival has brought the best of classic and contemporary filmmaking from around the world to Orange County. Under the direction of CEO and Co-founder Gregg Schwenk and the festival’s staff have been committed to entertaining and enlightening the public with a first-class international film program as well as providing a forum for cultural understanding and enriching educational opportunities, the Festival focuses on showcasing a diverse collection of both studio and independent films. The Festival supports the creation and advancement of innovative and artistic cinematic works from both emerging and seasoned filmmakers and proudly embraces the passion, vision and independent spirit of these talented artists. With the integration of the local community and educational institutions, the Festival stimulates an interest in the study and appreciation of film and encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to participate. The Community Outreach Program was created with the idea that film offers new perspectives and possibilities for a changing world. Each year, the Festival partners with over 40 non-profit organizations and pairs each philanthropic organization with a film that aligns with their mission. The Festival gives non-profit organizations a forum to voice their message to large audiences and spread awareness of their organization and mission through the medium of film. Areas of focus include the arts, health and human services, the environment, education, children’s causes, seniors’ and veterans’ programs, and alumni clubs. CEO and Co-founder Gregg Schwenk joins us to talk about a remarkable festival line-up of comedies, dramas, short films, action sports, classics, documentaries, musicals and foreign film excellence.
BODY AT BRIGHTON ROCK is a psychological thriller about a part time summer employee, Wendy, (Karina Fontes) at a mountainous state park, takes on a rough trail assignment at the end of the season, trying to prove to her friends that she’s capable enough to do the job. When she takes a wrong turn and ends up deep in the backcountry, she stumbles upon what might be a potential crime scene. Stuck with no communication after losing her radio and with orders to guard the site, Wendy must fight the urge to run and do the harder job of staying put — spending the night deep in the wilderness, facing down her worst fears and proving to everyone – including herself – that she’s made of stronger stuff than they think she is. Director and writer Roxanne Benjamin made her directorial debut in the anthology SOUTHBOUND, which world premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. She was last in the director’s chair for “Don’t Fall”, part of Magnolia Pictures’ all-women-helmed horror anthology XX, which premiered at Sundance in the Midnight section last year. Director Roxanne Benjamin stops by to talk about her slow-burn thriller and the challenges of a wilderness shoot.
“Deftly employing the power of suggestion and an emotionally potent sound design, “Body at Brighton Rock” is a well-crafted thriller with some crafty tricks up its sleeve.” – Joe Leydon, Variety
“Body at Brighton Rock shifts from being a fun and colorful throwback to something a little darker and deeper.” – Meredith Borders, Slashfilm
“Relating to Wendy, and to her terror, is easy, and immediate, and lets the movie hook its claws into the viewer with jolting urgency.” – Andy Crump, Paste Magazine
“Anchored by a star-making lead turn and sporting superb sound design, Body At Brighton Rock is a bloody good time.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat
In a media environment dominated by increasingly concentrated corporate interests, eight distribution companies who have long championed the best in independent features, documentaries, and social issue films, have joined forces to help launch a new subscription streaming service, OVID.tv. Starting today, OVID.tv offers more than 350 quality documentaries and art-house films from the collections of its founding content partners: Bullfrog Films, The dGenerate Films Collection, Distrib Films US, First Run Features, Grasshopper Film, Icarus Films, KimStim, and Women Make Movies. Most of the films on OVID.tv are not available on any other streaming platform, and OVID.tv will be adding even more films every two weeks–14 fiction feature films and one 10-part documentary series are already scheduled for release. Despite the odds and with little capital, Icarus Films, Docuseek, and our partners have decided that the time has come to step forward and build a new, independent space, dedicated to the films that we believe in and care about, and that we believe you care about, and value as well. OVID.tv co-founder Jonathan Miller joins us to talk about an affordable option for film lovers looking for the highest quality cinema experience presented by people who share your passion.
For now OVID.tv is only available in the U.S.
“A cornucopia of international movies and documentaries… recent ones as well as classics. It’s far better for recent movies than FilmStruck ever was, and its spectrum of new movies is far more substantial than that of Netflix, wider-ranging than that of Amazon.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker, March 22, 2019
Based loosely on Scottish ghostly folklore with inspiration from Greek sirens, the tale is set in 1846 on a remote island off the west coast of Scotland, where three survivors from a mysterious sinking of their merchant ship find themselves stranded on a small misty isle. The isle’s four sole secretive residents, an old harbor man, a farmer, his niece and a young mad woman, are anything but welcoming and reluctant to aid the sailors back to the mainland. The promise of a boat never materializes leading one of the sailors to question why people had abandoned the island. Through his investigation he discovers that every year around the same date a tragedy at sea would occur and young men from the island would perish. When his two shipmates meet with fatal accidents, the myth of a ghostly siren haunting the island leads him to try and uncover the truth. Directed and co-written by British filmmaker Matthew Butler Hart (TWO DOWN), the film stars Olivier Award-winning, Tony-nominated actor Conleth Hill (HBO’s “The Game of Thrones”), Alex Hall (SUBURBICAN, BBC’s “The Miniaturist”), Fisaya Akinade (BAFTA-nominated GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS with Glenn Close and Gemma Arterton), THE ISLE co-writer and producer, Tori Butler Hart (MISS IN HER TEENS), Alix Wilton Regan (THE WIFE) and Graham Butler (Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful”). Director Matthew Butler Hart stops by to talk about his gorgeous, haunting new film.
Official Selection, Newcastle International Film Festival 2018
Winner, Jury Prize for Best Cinematography Manchester International Film Festival, 2018
Winner, Jury Prize for Best Sci-Fi/Horror Film London Independent Film Festival, 2018
“The Isle is the kind of cinema that is getting far too rare. Superbly shot, exquisitely paced and genuinely compelling and surprising – indeed astonishing – in its development of plot and character.” – Stephen Fry
“Beautifully shot… subtle and measured in execution… a refreshing entry in a genre so often saturated by repetition.” – Flickering Myth
“…genuinely surprising and engaging…innovative, finely-drawn and confident…” – Warped Perspective
“Exquisitely-wrought… quintessentially intelligent Gothic horror: all in a surprisingly large scope and absolutely unforgettable cinematic experience. “ – The 405
THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT follows the epic adventures of an American legend that no one has ever heard of. Since WWII, Calvin Barr (Sam Elliott) has lived with the secret that he was responsible for the assassination of Adolf Hitler. Now, decades later, the US government has called on him again for a new top-secret mission. Bigfoot has been living deep in the Canadian wilderness and is carrying a deadly plague that is now threatening to spread to the general population. Relying on the same skills that he honed during the war, Calvin must set out to save the free world yet again. Director Robert D. Kryzkowski joins us to talk about working with two-time Academy Award nominated director John Sayles and visual effects wizard and two time Academy Award winner, Douglas Trumbull (Blade Runner and 2001: A Space Odyssey) and how he was able to fashion an endearing, bittersweet saga of a heavy hearted man driven by a profound sense of duty.
“The Man Who Killed Bigfoot and Then Hitler is a real movie – one more emotionally resonant and character-driven than that deceptively goony title suggests.” – Simon Abrams, NPR
“In spite of the premise at hand, Sam Elliott–one of America’s greatest treasures–quietly delivers another astonishing performance.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies
“A wise, odd, and unforgettable ballad.” – Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com
“From its world-weary hero to its no-nonsense, casual swapping of fiction for fact, The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot uses action and something like science fiction to deliver an wholly entertaining, yet poignant message.” – Slashfilm
Reed (Christopher Abbott) is going on a business trip. He kisses his wife and infant son goodbye, but in lieu of a suitcase filled with clothes, he’s packed a toothbrush and a murder kit. Everything is meticulously planned: check into a hotel and kill an unsuspecting victim. Only then will he rid himself of his devious impulses and continue to be a good husband and father. But Reed gets more than he bargained for with Jackie (Mia Wasikowska), an alluring call girl who arrives at his room. First, they relax and get in the mood, but when there’s an unexpected disruption, the balance of control begins to sway back and forth between the two. Is he seeing things? Who’s playing whom? Before the night is over, a feverish nightmare will unfold, and Reed and Jackie will seal their bond in blood. Based on the critically acclaimed cult novel by Ryu Murakami, Director Nicolas Pesce (THE EYES OF MY MOTHER) talks about how he was able to blend psychological horror with comedy and stylish neo-noir, resulting in a sly take on the fantasy of escape and the hazards of modern romance.
“Piercing is a quirky and nasty black comedy, essentially a two-hander-so if you don’t mind spending an hour and twenty minutes with a deranged duo doing their twisted tango, then, by all means, tune in.” – Staci Layne Wilson, We Live Entertainment
“Piercing is an unnerving mix of loveliness and lunacy.” – Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine
“What a deliciously demented and disturbing drama Nicolas Pesce’s “Piercing” is, dripping with gore and laden with forbidden innuendo.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service
“Pesce deploys a potent arsenal of stylistic tools – urban landscape miniatures, plushly disquieting Lynchian interiors, flashbacks, creature effects, and florid gore – to tell the story of Reed.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times
It all began when a group of cheerful, subversive filmmakers weren’t accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. Unwilling to take “no” for an answer, they instead started their own event – Slamdance: Anarchy in Utah. 24 years later, Slamdance has become a year-round organization fostering the development of unique and innovative filmmakers. The organization now consists of the Film Festival, Screenplay Competition and Slamdance Studios. Dan Mirvish, Jon Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn and Peter Baxter are the founding forefathers who, along with co-conspirator Paul Rachman, fought for truly independent filmmakers by giving them a voice in 1995 at the very first Slamdance Film Festival. Since then, the festival takes place every January in the breathtakingly stunning, snow-capped mountains of Park City, Utah at the exact same time as the Sundance Film Festival, toprovide a more authentic representation of independent filmmaking. Up-and-coming writers, directors and producers, alongside seasoned veterans and film lovers, converge for the weeklong celebration of independent cinema, realizing that Slamdance is a great place to find those next, great, visionary films. Slamdance lives and bleeds by its mantra By Filmmakers For Filmmakers. No other film festival in the world is entirely run and organized by the creative force that can only be found in filmmakers. Slamdance adamantly supports self-governance amongst independents, and exists to deliver what filmmakers go to festivals for – a chance to show their work and a platform to launch their careers. The festival has earned a solid reputation for premiering films by first-time writers and directors working within the creative confines of limited budgets. Co-founder and President Peter Baxter joins us to talk about this year’s Slamdance, the groundbreaking films and the innovative new distribution being launched by Slamdance.
Slamdance Film Festival will take place January 25-31, 2019 in Park City, Utah
From the creator of the Final Destination franchise comes a new tale of death. Following the passing of his father, Aaron Hammond (Michael Welsh) returns to his hometown to help his devastated mother (Lin Shaye) and to confront his past demons. Sifting through his father’s belongings, Aaron comes upon a mysterious item that is far more than it seems. The Final Wish Director Timothy Woodward Jr. and lead actor Michael Welsh joins us for a conversation on continuing the cinematic legacy of Final Destination and bringing a creative energy to a familiar story of demonic possession, family struggles and reckoning with the past.
“If you’re looking for a spooky little flick that forges some new ground against a backdrop of familiar terror tropes, The Final Wish will grant you that.” – Steve Barton, Brainwaves
“The Final Wish is an easy watch, fun and simple. It’s perfect for that night when you just want to sit back, relax and enjoy.” – Staci Layne Wilson, We Live Entertainment
“There’s still a lot to The Final Wish that I really appreciated and enjoyed, and it would make for a killer double feature with Wish Upon.” – Heather Wilson, Daily Dead
“THE FINAL WISH is yet another example of taking a low budget and bringing a fresh new take on a familiar storyline. It offers a well written script and a cast worth investing in.” – Jimmy O, Movie Emporium
Lunacy Productions helmed by prolific producer Stu Pollard is excited debut for you their latest film “Rust Creek,” which is being distributed theatrically by IFC Midnight beginning January 11th, 2019. “Rust Creek” starring Hermione Corfield (“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”), Jay Paulson (“Mad Me”), Sean O’Bryan (“Olympus Has Fallen”), Micah Hauptman (“Homeland”), Daniel R. Hills (“The Resident”), Jeremy Glazer (“Letters From Iwo Jima”), and John Marshall Jones (Con Air”); chronicles the presence of mind and skill an ordinary woman, utilizes while summoning extraordinary courage to survive a nightmare odyssey in this harrowing survival thriller. This film takes the woman in jeopardy premise and turns it on its head with agility and smarts. This is the latest female driven (both in front of & behind the camera) film from Pollard & his team at Lunacy. Lunacy’s team are incredibly committed to supporting gender parity in filmmaking, producing several films featuring female protagonists (This Is Home, Rust Creek, Short History, Plus One) and working with female filmmakers like Jen McGowan (“Rust Creek”), Ani Simon Kennedy (“Short History of the Long Road”), and documentarian Alex Shiva (“This Is Home: A Refugee Story”) among others. Half of the department heads on “Rust Creek” are women and for many of the female crew, “Rust Creek” was their first feature film or their first opportunity in an elevated position (including DP Michelle Lawler, make-up artist Allie Shehorn, art director Priyanka Guterres, and postproduction supervisor Alex Jensen). Pollard has also directed two features: NICE GUYS SLEEP ALONE and KEEP YOUR DISTANCE. In his spare time he teaches at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and Film Independent. He holds a degree in business from Georgetown and an MFA in film from USC, is a member of the DGA and PGA, and serves on the boards of the Louisville Film Society and GU’s Alumni Board of Governors. Director, producer and head of Lunacy Productions Stu Pollard joins us to talk about his company’s commitment to gender equity on both sides of the camera.
Rust Creek is a gripping tale of an ordinary woman who must summon extraordinary courage to survive a nightmare odyssey. Sawyer (Hermione Corfield) is an ambitious, overachieving college senior with a seemingly bright future. While on her way to a job interview, a wrong turn leaves her stranded deep in the frozen Kentucky woods. Suddenly, the young woman with everything to live for finds herself facing her own mortality as she’s punished by the elements and pursued by a band of ruthless outlaws Hollister (Micah Hauptman) and Buck (Daniel Hill). With nowhere left to run, she is forced into an uneasy alliance with Lowell (Jay Paulson), an enigmatic loner with shadowy intentions. Though she’s not sure she can trust him, Sawyer must take a chance if she hopes to escape Rust Creek alive. Director Jen McGowan joins us to talk about her multi-faceted, nuanced “woman in distress” storyline and her decision to work with a predominantly female crew.
“Rust Creek, in addition to its success as a thriller, also has a strong emotional core in its consistent admonishment of amorality and apathy, a deceptively layered thriller that touches upon the inherent horror in being a woman.” – Christina Tucker Film Inquiry
ASTRAL is the story of a son coming to terms with the explanation of his mother’s untimely death. Searching for answers, Alex turns to spiritual contact after the relationship with his father breaks down. As a student of metaphysics, Alex learns of the “scientific” premise of astral projection-the ability to project your spirit into an unseen spatial dimension. Attempting to astral project, Alex becomes plagued by shadow spirits-malevolent entities vying to enter his body to access our world. Alex soon learns that he is not the only member of his family to have been besieged by such beings, as his mother’s dark past is brought to his attention. ASTRAL was co-written by Chris and Michael Mul and is Chris Mul’s directorial debut. The film stars Frank Dillane (FEAR THE WALKING DEAD) and features a bright up-and-coming cast of young actors. Vertical Entertainment will release ASTRAL in a multi-city theatrical release with markets including LA and NY among others on November 23. The film will also be made available on digital platforms such as iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Xbox, Fandango Now, Direct TV, Dish Network and through local cable providers. Director and co-writer Chris Mul (Michael Mul) joins us to talk about shooting his slick and stylish psychological thriller on an insanely tight production schedule while trying to optimize the performances from talented cast of young actors.
In her latest project,SNAPSHOTS, legendary actor Piper Laurie plays family matriarch Rose.. The story will resonate with every person who has lived through the complexity of family relationships, It reminds us that if we are loved no secret is too difficult to hear and accept. Or is it? Rose (Gran) is the matriarch. She has lived in this house for over fifty years. She and her deceased husband Joe raised their daughter Patty in this home. Patty, now a widow in her early 50’s, lives in St. Louis. Each year Patty and her newly married daughter Allison spend a laughter filled girl’s weekend with Gran. This year will be different. Piper Laurie joins us for a conversation on the making of her latest project (Snapshots) in a legendary film career that includes three Academy Award nominated performances (The Hustler, Carrie, Children of a Lesser God) and an Emmy nomination for David Lynch’s groundbreaking television serial (Twin Peaks).
“Performances all around are strong, with Piper Laurie’s Rose taking the lead and directing us through the story’s narrative. We are invited to soak in the retro atmosphere as the story unfolds at a leisurely pace.” – Paul Parcellin, Film Threat
In the deserted hills of an Indonesian island, Marlina, a young widow, is attacked and robbed of all her livestock by a gang of seven bandits. She then defends herself, setting out on a journey to find justice, empowerment, retribution and redemption. But the road is long, especially when she begins to be haunted by the ghost of her victim. A stunning ‘Scope western set to a Morricone-inspired score, this unique tale of female cinematic revenge takes no prisoners. Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts, was directed by Indonesian-born Mouly Surya. This feminist revenge tale had its world premiere at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight. It opens nationwide, including Los Angeles at the Laemmle’s Monica Film Center on July 6, 2018. Mouly Surya is considered one of Indonesia’s most gifted filmmakers, Surya premiered her award-winning debut, Fiksi, at the Busan International FIlm Festival. Her second feature What They Don’t Talk About When They Talk About Love had its world premiere at Sundance and went on to many festivals including Karlovy Vary and Rotterdam, where it received the NETPAC Award. In addition to making films, she also teaches directing. Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts, is her third film. Mouly Surya joins us to talk about her elegant allegory on revenge, justice and self-determination.
Selected Awards & Film Festivals
Winner, Grand Prize, Tokyo FilmEX
Winner, Best Actress, Sitges Cataonian Film Festival
Winner, Best Picture, QCinema International Film Festival
Winner, Special Mention, Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival
Winner, NETPAC Award, Five Flavors Film Festival
Winner, Best Film, Best Actress, Best Camera,
Best Score and Best Art Direction, Maya Awards
Cannes International Film Festival
97% on Rotten Tomatoes
“Simmering with righteous fury.” — Variety
“AN UNWAVERING SLOW BURN… Ms. Surya gives Marlina a stark, steady, captivating look that keeps you engaged.” —Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
“[Marlina] is, like so many classic gunslingers, a killer by circumstance, a desperado with an honorable cause.” – CinemaScope
“The feminist satay Western you need to see; satisfyingly deadpan, viciously vengeful and full of surprises. One of the most ravishingly beautiful films at Cannes.” – The Irish Times
“Going to be loved by arthouse audiences.” – Film Inquiry
UNDER THE TREE is a dark comedy based on real conflicts between neighbors that can often turn violent over trees (yes trees) in Iceland. There is a scarcity of trees in Iceland (which is why they are so treasured) and also a lack of sunshine….so you can see how a conflict would arise when a tree you’d never chop down in your backyard is blocking your neighbor’s sunlight. The films’ director Sigurdsson said he came up with idea when examining how minor conflicts between otherwise friendly neighbors become blown out of proportion and violent. UNDER THE TREE was Iceland’s Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards last year. The film was directed by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson (Either Way) and produced by Grimar Jonsson. Hafsteinn joins us to talk about working with actors primarily known for comedic roles, conveying the film’s escalating tension without passing judgement on the characters actions.
85% on Rotten Tomatoes
“The tone is deliberately odd … blending the naturalism of the day-to-day emotions of relationships and grief, with the altogether more heightened tensions of a revenge thriller, while still keeping a cheeky eye on the absurdity of a mooning garden gnome” – Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film
“Unsettlingly perceptive as well as absurdly comedic, Under the Tree chronicles domestic tensions left to fester; when grudges branch out like a leafy tree in a suburban backyard, everyone suffers.” – Sarah Ward, Screen International
“What the film occasionally lacks in human finesse, it makes up for in sheer anything-goes resolve.” – Guy Lodge, Variety
“Each character resonates as a problematic individual whose foolishness escalates first into drama, then tragedy.” – Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter
Official Selection: World Premiere: Venice Film Festival 2017
Official Selection: North American premiere: Toronto International Film Festival 2017
Winner: Best Director (Comedy), Fantastic Fest 2017
Winner: Best Film, Denver International Film Festival 2017
Winner: International Feature Film, Zurich Film Festival 2017
Winner: Best Narrative Feature, Hamptons International film Festival 2017
Winner: Best Cinematography, Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards 2018
Winner: Best Music, HARPA Nordic Film Composers Award 2016
Impulse follows 16-year-old Henrietta, AKA Henry, (Maddie Hasson) who discovers she has the ability to teleport. The first time she realizes this, she is in a truck with her high school’s Golden Boy, who tries to rape her. She has a seizure and teleports, in the course of which she inadvertently crushes him, leaving him a paraplegic. Impulse explores Henry’s need to reconcile what her assaulter tried to do with the consequence, and her feelings about discovering she can teleport with her feelings about the assault. Impulse is an American drama web television series based on the novel Impulse by Steven Gould. The ten-episode series recently premiered on YouTube Premium. The series executive producers include Lauren LeFranc, Doug Liman, David Bartis, and GeneKlein. Director and Executive Producer Doug Liman reveals how his independent filmmaking roots (Swingers, Go) continues influence his work and the advantages of long form storytelling. Actor Maddie Hasson talks about the challenge of expressing her character’s deeply conflicted emotions and her desire leave it all behind.
“‘Impulse’ is smart enough to give the other adult characters, such as Cleo and Tom, some meaningful emotional beats of their own.” – Mark A. Perigard, Boston Herald
“The focus is Henry’s journey, however complicated and messy. Impulse takes care to make it feel real.” – Audra Schroeder, The Daily Dot
“Impulse doesn’t take the conventional route for a show with immense powers. In uncharted territory, it’s a show that’s finding its way.” – Steve Greene, IndieWire
“Intense, downbeat teen superhero series deals with assault.” – Joyce Slayton, Common Sense Media
Visual Communications, the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center, announced its outstanding program of films and events for the upcoming 34th edition of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) running MAY 3 – MAY 12, 2018. The all encompassing annual film celebration is presented across Los Angeles in West Hollywood, Downtown LA, Little Tokyo, Koreatown, and Hollywood. Visual Communications proudly celebrates the Film Festival’s 34 years as Southern California’s largest and most prestigious film festival of its kind. LAAPFF launches the celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month through this year’s slate of over 100 films from both Asian Pacific American and Asian international artists. For over three decades, the Festival has presented nearly 5,000 films by Asian Pacific American and Asian International talent. This year, 39 feature films and 79 shorts from the over 800 submissions will be showcased during the ten-day fest. The Festival opens with the Los Angeles premiere of Aneesh Chaganty’s feature debut SEARCHING starring John Cho and Debra Messing giving audiences an early chance to see the movie that took the NEXT audience award and the Alfred P. Sloan award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Other programs include CENTERPIECE FILMS will feature two outstanding world premieres with IN THE LIFE OF MUSIC and FICTION & OTHER REALITIES. Centerpiece Films will be presented on Saturday, May 5th at the Aratani Theatre at the Japanese American Community and Cultural Center (JACCC) in Little Tokyo – Downtown Los Angeles. The CLOSING NIGHT FILM will be the Los Angeles premiere of the acclaimed 2018 Sundance World Documentary Special Jury Award winner MATANGI/ MAYA/ M.I.A., directed by Stephen Loveridge. Inspired by her roots, M.I.A. created a mashup, cut-and-paste identity that pulled from every corner of her journey; a sonic sketchbook that blended Tamil politics, art school punk, hip-hop beats and the voice of multicultural youth. Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival Co-Director David Magdael will join us to talk about this years’s exciting festival line up.
Following their Lovecraftian modern cult classic SPRING, acclaimed filmmakers Moorhead and Benson return with this mind-bending thriller that follows two brothers who receive a cryptic video message inspiring them to revisit the UFO death cult they escaped a decade earlier. Hoping to find the closure that they couldn’t as young men, they’re forced to reconsider the cult’s beliefs when confronted with unexplainable phenomena surrounding the camp. As the members prepare for the coming of a mysterious event, the brothers race to unravel the seemingly impossible truth before their lives become permanently entangled with the cult. Co-director Justin Benson (Aaron Moorhead) stops by to talk about this remarkably accomplished, mind-bending cinematic journey into the unknowable.
The Endless on Social Media:
96% on Rotten Tomatoes!
“The Endless isn’t just terrific – it’s poised to be that breakout genre hit that It Follows and The Babadook were in past years. ” – Jamie Righetti, /FILM
“Unique, mind-bending delights…Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson are wizards of ingenuity ” Peter Debruge, VARIETY
“The Endless will fuck your brain…Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead deliver an enticing, mysterious genre experiment that stands to be their best work yet.”- Brad Miska, BLOODY DISGUSTING
“(Justin) Benson and (Aaron) Moorhead are in every frame of this film. Together they give the cosmos-mangling insanity a grounded truth and a light hilarity” – Richard Whitaker, Austin Chronicle
“The Endless feels like a thunderstorm. It brews slowly, softly, and then in the blink of an eye, has consumed you, booming with fury and jaw-dropping force.” – Kristy Puchko, Pajiba
“The Endless [is] a meta-commentary of the nature of storytelling and a self-examination of the creative mind, the film will likely have its audience questioning their perception of time as they look to sky for falling photographs.” – Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Screen Anarchy
When a simple organ harvesting caper goes awry, a twist of fate unites three of society’s forgotten and ignored: EL MONSTRUO, a disgraced Mexican wrestler working as hired muscle for a local crime boss. CRYSTAL, a recovering addict desperate enough to arrange a black market kidney transplant to save her husband’s life. And RANDY, a loveable two-strike convict fresh out of prison, cursed with a full-face swastika tattoo and a best friend guilting him into some hair-brained kidnapping scheme. In LOWLIFE we follow the sordid lives of these small-time criminals collide, as they fight tooth and nail to save a pregnant woman from a certain, and surely gruesome, death. Director Ryan Prows joins for a lively conversation on his hard-charging, high-energy debut feature film.
91% on Rotten Tomatoes
“The result is a film that’s as brutal in its imagery as it is funny in its execution.” – Jared Mobarak, Film Stage
“A captivating feature debut despite some missteps, it flashes back to a time when every other filmmaking newcomer wanted to be Quentin Tarantino; surprisingly, it does not provoke the weary eye-rolling that greeted so many of those films.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter
“A movie with the sole purpose of an adrenalin rush, designed to strap you to your seat, entertain you, and spit you back into reality, exhausted but satisfied.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
“Lowlife is such a wild ride that any cinema showing it might want to consider installing seat belts on their chairs. Every second is electrifying.” – Mike McGranahan, Aisle Seat
“Nicely calibrates a twisty course between straight crime melodrama and black comedy, one that has cult-following potential among adventurous genre fans.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety
“Throughout its swirling stories, Lowlife does an impeccable job of teasing, pulling back, and delivering, whether it be violence, drama, or the intermittent moment of temporary joy.” – Scott Beggs, Nerdist
The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is a nonprofit organization devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture by showcasing films, supporting emerging filmmakers, and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora. Each year the festival features a rich mix of film programs designed to build and support the growing interest in the Indian entertainment industry. This includes programming that cultivates an audience for Indian films while supporting filmmakers of Indian descent in career development as they navigate the larger studio system in Hollywood. The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, runs from Wednesday, April 11 – 15 at Regal Live in downtown Los Angeles, featuring programs that include One-on-One program where film industry professionals from major and independent production and distribution companies are invited to participate in meetings with the IFFLA filmmakers; and panel discussions with speakers from the film industry. We are joined by IFFLA’s Director of Programming Mike Dougherty to talk about the past, present and future of Indian cinema and the increasing acceptance among mainstream American film lovers.
Guy Maddin and collaborators Galen and Evan Johnson made this ode to VERTIGO and the city of San Francisco for the closing night world premiere gala of the 2017 San Francisco International Film Festival. The iconoclastic Winnipeg-based filmmakers, working together since 2015’s THE FORBIDDEN ROOM, set themselves the challenge and constraint to remake VERTIGO, creating what they call a “parallel-universe version.” Using Bay Area-based footage from hundreds of sources—studio classics, ’50s noir, documentary and experimental films, and ’70s prime-time TV—and employing Maddin’s mastery of assemblage technique, seen in work like MY WINNIPEG and BRAND UPON THE BRAIN, the result exerts the inexorable pull of Hitchcock’s twisted tale of erotic obsession while paying tribute to the City by the Bay and the ways it looks and feels through the medium of cinema Composed by Jacob Garchik and performed by Kronos Quartet, the film’s score nods to Bernard Hermann’s classic VERTIGO music as it collides and converses with Maddin and Johnsons’ irreverent and loving footage to create a distinctive musical extravaganza. Through 12 features and many shorts, adventurous artist Guy Maddin exhibits the rare ability to simultaneously subvert and honor the craft of filmmaking. His credits include the Emmy Award-winning ballet film Dracula: Pages From A Virgin’s Diary (2002); The Saddest Music in the World (2003); My Winnepeg (2007) and US National Society of Film Critics Best Experimental Film Prize-winners Archangel (1990) and The Heart of the World (2000). Guy Maddin talks about the “City by the Bay,” scriptwriting, storytelling and his favorite film, Vertigo.
94% on Rotten Tomatoes!
“First and foremost, “The Green Fog” is a marvel of film scholarship that looks backward and forward from the Hitchcock masterpiece.” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times
“The Green Fog fairly closely follows the structure of Hitchcock’s film; achieving that in itself is some sort of accomplishment. However, it’s not so much an assemblage as it is a conjuring.” – Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice
“The film is a brilliant exercise in meta-narrative, which raises questions galore about reality and representation, time and space, genre and gender, individual and urban identity, cinematic suture and casting. Mainly, though, it’s just very, very funny.” – Geoff Andrew, Sight and Sound
“The work of a sensibility as impish as it is scholarly, animated by a mischievous sense of the medium’s possibilities” – Justin Change, Los Angeles Times
“It demonstrates the act of creation as a perpetually reconstructive effort…” – Lawrence Garcia, Cinema Scope
Barbara Thorson (Madison Wolfe) is your new hero. A quick-witted, sharp- tongued middle-schooler who isn’t afraid of anything. As the only girl in school carrying an ancient Norse warhammer in her purse and killing giants for a living, why wouldn’t she be? I Kill Giants is the sweeping, bittersweet story of a young girl struggling to conquer monsters both real and imagined as her world crumbles at the feet of giants bigger than any one child can handle. Based on the best-selling graphic novel by Joe Kelly. I Kill Giants features terrific performances from Zoe Saldana and Imogen Poots. Academy Award winning director Anders Walter joins us to talk about his clever, creative and emotionally resonant feature film debut.
80% on Rotten Tomatoes!
“This intimate story about a troubled 12-year-old who’s on a mission to save her town is virtually tone perfect.” – Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times
“A sweetly imaginative, tenderly played coming of age drama.” – Allan Hunter, Screen International
“The vivid cinematography, affecting performance by Wolfe, and lack of saccharine allow the film to resonate not only with the teen target demographic but older viewers as well.” – James Beradinelli, ReelReviews
“I Kill Giants is a dark piece of work for children, which is far from a bad thing.” – Ann Storm, Film Journal International
“Like its heroine, I Kill Giants isn’t afraid to tackle the darkness or rage of little girls, or their fear and pain.” – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times
BEETLE QUEEN CONQUERS TOKYO is a documentary that delves into the ineffable mystery of Japan’s age-old love affair with insects. A labyrinthine meditation on nature, beauty, philosophy and Japanese culture that might just make you question if your ‘instinctive’ repulsion to bugs is merely a trick of western conditioning. Sold live in vending machines and department stores, plastic replicas included as prizes in the equivalent of a McDonald’s Happy Meal and the subject of the No. 1 videogame, MushiKing, from the smallest backyard to the top of Mt. Fuji, insects inspire an enthusiasm in Japan seen nowhere else in this world. Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo discovers why Japan developed this rich and enriching social relationship with insects. Like a detective story, the film untangles the web of influences behind Japan’s captivation with insects. It opens in modern-day Tokyo where a single beetle recently sold for $90,000 then slips back to the early 1800s, to the first cricket-selling business and the development of haiku and other forms of insect literature and art. Through history and adventure, Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo travels all the way back in time to stories of the fabled first emperor who named Japan the “Isle of the Dragonflies.” Along the way the film takes side trips to Zen temples and Buddhist Shrines, nature preserves and art museums in its quest for the inspirations that moved Japan into this fascination while other cultures hurtled off towards an almost universal and profound fear of insects. Interspersed with the philosophies of one of Japan’s best-selling authors and anatomists, Dr. Takeshi Yoro, and laced with poetry and art from Japan’s history, this film becomes about much more than insects. Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo is set to the rhythm of traditional Japanese values in its attention to detail, harmony, and the appreciation of the seemingly mundane. It quietly challenges the viewer to observe the world from an uncommon perspective that will shift the familiar to the fantastic and just might change not only the way we think about bugs, but the way we think about life. Director Jessica Oreck joins us to talk about her debut documentary and her intriguing journey from entomologist to filmmaker.
“Oreck gives us some marvelous close-ups of scampering beetles and butterflies emerging from their pupae, but the focus here is primarily on people.” – Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
“A scientist looking for a combination of childlike innocence and minimalist sophistication might not see it in Hello Kitty but can recognize it in a horned beetle.” – Mike Hale, New York Times
“Zen gardens, banzai trees, the art of haiku — indeed, the whole of Japanese minimalism becomes a setting for these multilegged scramblers, imbued with Shintoist wisdom for those who would look and listen.” – Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out
“An expansive take on the world in miniature, Jessica Oreck’s documentary debut pursues all angles on a novel subject — the Japanese obsession with insects — until it assumes a worldview.” – Eric Hynes, Village Voice