Friday, October 18 – The Cave, Director Feras Fayyad

Oscar nominee Feras Fayyad (“Last Men in Aleppo”) delivers an unflinching story of the Syrian war with his powerful new documentary, THE CAVE. For besieged civilians, hope and safety lie underground inside the subterranean hospital known as the Cave, where pediatrician and managing physician Dr. Amani Ballor and her colleagues Samaher and Dr. Alaa have claimed their right to work as equals alongside their male counterparts, doing their jobs in a way that would be unthinkable in the oppressively patriarchal culture that exists above. Following the women as they contend with daily bombardments, chronic supply shortages and the ever-present threat of chemical attacks, THE CAVE paints a stirring portrait of courage, resilience and female solidarity. Director and writer Feras Fayyad stops by to talk about the unbelievable courage of the hospital staff led by Dr. Amani Ballor, and the volunteers as they keep an otherwise harrowing day-to-day nightmare from devolving into soul-destroying chaos.

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: nationalgeographic.com/films/the-cave

The Cave opens on October 18 at the Laemmle Royal Theatre in Los Angeles

SocialMedia:

facebook.com/natgeodocs

twitter.com/NatGeoDocs

instagram.com/explore/tags/thecavedocumentary

**WINNER – Audience Award – Toronto International Film Festival 2019

**WINNER – Audience Award – Camden International Film Festival 2019

**SPECIAL JURY MENTION – Camden International Film Festival 2019

“Miraculous. A standout. Feras Fayyad’s powerful portrait audaciously puts women’s imperative contribution to survival front and center.” – Tomris Laffly, Variety

“Look no further than The Cave for a portrait of true heroism. Provides astonishingly immediate and gripping footage of the collective effort to survive. The Cave ranks among the best of films to portray the tragedy of the Civil War in Syria and the resilience of the everyday people who keep the spirit of the nation alive.” – Pat Mullen, POV

“Emotionally Moving. Both intensely real and a carefully wrought work of cinema.” – Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter

“Gripping. Unprecedented. A real-time thriller. Fayyad excels at finding small moments that take on poetic resonance.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

Friday, October 18 – On the President’s Orders, Directors James Jones and Olivier Sarbil

ON THE PRESIDENT’S ORDERS tell the searing story of President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody campaign against drug dealers and addicts in the Philippines, told with unprecedented and intimate access to both sides of the war – the Manila police, and an ordinary family from the slum. Shot in the style of a thriller, this observational film combines the look and feel of a narrative feature film with a real life revelatory journalistic investigation into a campaign of killings. The film uncovers a murky world where crime, drugs and politics meet in a deathly embrace – and reveal that although the police have been publicly ordered to stop extra-judicial killings, the deaths continue. Director / Producer James Jones and Director / Cinematographer Olivier Sarbil join us for a conversation on the challenges of gaining access to the police, the victims of police violence and the draconian drug policy being enforced by a dictatorial, human-rights abusing regime.

 

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About the filmmakers:

Director and Producer – James Jones is an award-winning British director who makes documentary films for international television and theatrical release. His documentaries tackle important issues through powerful personal stories told in a filmic style and narrative. He has made films about police shootings in America, suicide in the military, wars in Ukraine and Gaza, and undercover investigations in Saudi Arabia and North Korea. His background in current affairs investigations means the films still have a hard journalistic edge while using the craft techniques of documentary. His films have won two Emmys, three DuPonts, a Grierson, a Rory Peck, a Frontline Club, a Royal Television Society, a Broadcast Award, two Overseas Press Club of America, two Golden Nymphs, and a Venice TV Award, as well as being nominated five times at the BAFTAs. Recently, he co-directed the Emmy-winning Mosul with Olivier Sarbil.

Cinematographer and Director – Olivier Sarbil is an award-winning French documentary director and Emmy-winning cinematographer based in London. Over the past decade, Olivier has covered conflicts and critical social issues across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America. With strong visual storytelling, Olivier’s films are intimate and human, conveying emotions through beautiful and cinematic imagery. His work has been recognized with awards from a variety of organizations, including, Emmy for Outstanding Cinematography, DuPont, Royal Television Society, One World Media, Overseas Press Club of America, Broadcast Awards, Bayeux-Calvados for war correspondents (twice), Golden Nymph, Rory Peck, Venice TV Award, Frontline Club, Grand Award and Gold Medal at the New York Festivals International TV & Film. His imagery has also garnered a BAFTA Nomination for Best Cinematography.

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

ON THE PRESIDENT’S ORDERS Q&A with filmmakers James Jones and Olivier Sarbil will participate following the 7:40 pm show on Friday, 10/18  at the Monica FIlm Center

Social Media:

twitter.com/OnThePresident

@oliviersarbil

@jamesjonesfilm

@OnThePresident

“A shockingly alarming investigation produced with the sensibilities of a social realist drama, Sarbil and Jones’ nonfiction warning should petrify U.S. viewers immeasurably.” – Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times

“A wholly cinematic, sensory experience, with straight-ahead reportage electrified by glaring streetlights and a panicked urban wall of sound…” Guy Lodge, Variety

“On the President’s Orders is the disturbing observational documentary we’ve needed about the Philippines drug war, made with finesse and astonishing access.” Musanna Ahmed, Film Inquiry

“A riveting account of the consequences of unfettered demagoguery.” – Justin Lowe, Hollywood Reporter

Friday, October 11 – GIFT, Director Robin McKenna

Inspired by Lewis Hyde’s beloved classic The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World, GIFT is a richly cinematic film, interweaving character‐driven stories. On North America’s Pacific Northwest Coast, a young Indigenous artist and carver undertakes the elaborate preparations for a potlatch – to make a name for himself by giving everything away. In Rome, Italy, a factory occupied by migrant families is transformed into a living museum, protected by a barricade of art : a model of resistance, and an invaluable gift.  In the pirate utopia of Burning Man, a mutant bumblebee art car distributes honey in a post-­apocalyptic desert landscape. Meanwhile, in Auckland, New Zealand, artist Lee Mingwei prepares to launch Sonic Blossom – a “transformative gift” of song. GIFT is a tribute to something that can’t be measured or counted, bought or sold. Exploring the parallels between artists’ work and a gift economy, it’s a reflection on the creative process, the reasons we “labour in service of our gifts”, and a celebration of the imagination. Director Robin McKenna joins us to talk about her beautifully meditative film about paying forward human connection and how communities can re-imagine the meaning of wealth and prosperity.

About the filmmaker: Robin McKenna is director, producer and writer of GIFT, a feature-length documentary and crossmedia project inspired by Lewis Hyde’s classic bestseller The Gift. She is currently making Thanadoula, a short animated documentary fairytale about a real-life “death doula”, in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada – and Medicine, a feature-length documentary over a decade in the making, about ayahuasca, medicine and healing, with Dr. Gabor Maté. She directed Genevieve Bujold: ArtVie, a short film tribute to Bujold on 16mm, for the Governor General’s Awards for the Performing Arts in 2018. Robin grew up in Montréal, and began making films with La course destination monde. Her cinematography credits include City of Borders (Berlinale, Hot Docs 2009) and The Take with Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis (AFI Best Documentary 2004).

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: giftitforwardproject.com/the-film

GIFT opens at the Laemmle Monica Film Center on Friday, October 11. On Saturday, October 12 John Densmore (The Doors) and director Robin McKenna will participate in a Q&A following the 7:45 pm show.

Social Media:

facebook.com/GIFTdocumentary

instagram.com/giftdocumentary

“For many people, Gift will live up to its title.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

“Documentarian Robin McKenna’s intelligent and life affirming documentary Gift will make viewers consider how they give, receive, and create art in a fresh, new light.” – Andrew Parker, The Gate

“A documentary showing how art keeps moving in circles of sharing, giving, and generosity.” – Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice

Friday, October 11 – Doubting Thomas, Director Will McFadden

Black babies don’t come from white people. Except this one just did. That’s what Jen (Sarah Butler) tells her husband Tom (Will McFadden). He says he believes her. But soon, amidst a constant barrage of questions from everyone, Tom’s doubts and worst fears take hold. Both new parents are scared by the thoughts entering their minds, and scared to share them with each other. Baby Liam seems to love their dear friend Ron (Jamie Hector) – but why does that make it harder for Tom? And why do people keep confusing Ron for Liam’s father? Maybe because they’re both black. By the time a twist is revealed that could explain the baby’s appearance, it may be too late. Before Tom and Jen can accept their child, they’ll have to accept themselves… or face living their lives apart. Starring Will McFadden, Sarah ButlerJamie HectorRob Belushi, Zach Cregger,  James Morrison,  and Melora Walters. Doubting Thomas, winner of Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Audience Award, Best First Feature, will begin its theatrical run in Los Angeles on Friday, October 11th, ahead of its North American VOD / Digital release on October 15th, 2019 through  Gravitas Ventures.  Will McFadden’s  directorial debut, DOUBTING THOMAS brings unconscious racism home in the innocence of a baby. A complex tale that  touches on institutional    racism and assumed privilege, the concept for the film was born from the true story of a black man killed in police custody in a racially charged incident. That man’s son, Joseph Campbell, shares story by credit with McFadden.  Director / Co-writer / Producer and Lead Actor Will McFadden joins us to talk about his thought provoking drama that raises a multitude of questions about the relevance of family history, trust and race.

 

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

Social Media:

facebook.com/doubtingthomasmovie

twitter.com/DoubtingMovie

instagram.com/doubtingthomasmovie

“ONE OF THE BEST WRITTEN MOMENTS OF ANY MOVIE ALL YEAR, WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT RACE, PERCEPTION, AND YOUR TRUE SELF IS SINCERE. 10 OUT OF 10.” – Bobby LePire, Film Threat

“DOUBTING THOMAS IS STELLAR IN ALL ASPECTS THANKS TO THE VISION OF HELMER WILL MCFADDEN AND HIS CAST – BRAVO.” – Jason Coleman, Whysoblu

“DOUBTING THOMAS SHOWS US THAT LOVE KNOWS NO BOUNDS.” – Malie Mason, Movie Ranker

Friday, October 4 – Midnight Traveler, Producers Emelie Mahdavian and Su Kim

In 2015, after Hassan Fazili’s documentary Peace in Afghanistan aired on Afghan national television, the Taliban assassinated the film’s main subject and put a price on Fazili’s head. Fearing for their survival, the Fazili family, Nargis, Zahra, and Fatima fled Kabul for Tajikistan. Yet after 14 months spent submitting asylum applications that were rejected again and again, they were deported back to Afghanistan. It was at this juncture that Fazili picked up his cell phone and hit the record button and with that Midnight Traveler began to take shape. Chronicling every step from inside the action, Fazili, his filmmaker wife, and their young daughters trek across Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Serbia—scurrying through perilous landscapes, huddling in freezing forests, cramming into rattling vehicles. As they endure smugglers, gangs, and refugee camps, the camera witnesses not only the danger and desperation but also the exuberance and tenderness of this irresistible, loving family. For Fazili, framing their story becomes an assertion of control, humanity, and self-expression in a situation where none exists. With its radical subjectivity, visceral footage, and poetic form, Midnight Traveler is a migration story like no other. Producer Su Kim and Producer / writer / editor Emilie Mahdavian join us for a look at at Hassan and his remarkably resilient family as they attempt to overcome institutional and deadly political obstacles in their fight for freedom as seen through the eyes of his children, Zahra and Nargis and wife, Fatima. A fight for freedom that they have to win.

 

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For news and updates go to: midnighttraveler.oscilloscope.net

For news and screening information go to: midnighttravelerfilm.com

Social Media:

facebook.com/oscopelabs

twitter.com/oscopelabs

instagram.com/oscopelabs

*WINNER* SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2019

World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for No Borders

BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2019

Prize of the Ecumenical Jury – Special Mention

100% on Rotten Tomatoes 

“Modest but full of urgency, MIDNIGHT TRAVELER uses the power of smart phones to reveal a migrant family’s search for a safe haven. Gretchen Jude’s percussive, electronic score helps hold it all together. [The film] stands as a family’s joint testimony, heartfelt and heartbreaking, particular yet hauntingly representative.” – Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter

“Has a home-movie quality that’s enormously effective in putting a human face on a global crisis.” – Scott Tobias, Variety

“What makes [the film] so moving, though, is the portrait that Fazili and Hussaini paint of both themselves as full, ungainly people, with flaws and hopes and perfections and their daughters who, in a way, are the stars [of the movie]. A languid, poetic film. [The parents] meditate on family, fear, equality, Islam, and the banality of everyday life. Throughout, though, it is hard not to forget that MIDNIGHT TRAVELER is a film of life or death which the score constantly reminds, and which infuses tensions into the narrative’s nooks and crannies.” – Gary Garrison, The Playlist

“A remarkable achievement…an affecting, essential documentary. The suffering, fear and humiliation that they experience is balanced by moments of warmth and an artist’s magpie eye for unexpected glimpses of beauty…While there have been numerous documentaries which deal with the plight of asylum seekers, there have been few which have shown, with this level of intimacy, the journey of a family from certain danger to an uncertain fate. It’s a film which deserves to be as widely seen as possible.” – Wendy Ide, Screen International

Friday, September 25 – Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, Co-directors Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky

A stunning sensory experience and cinematic meditation on humanity’s massive reengineering of the planet, ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH is a years-in-the-making feature documentary from the award-winning team behind Manufactured Landscapes (2006) and Watermark (2013) and narrated by Alicia Vikander. The film follows the research of an international body of scientists, the Anthropocene Working Group who, after nearly 10 years of research, argue that the Holocene Epoch gave way to the Anthropocene Epoch in the mid-twentieth century as a result of profound and lasting human changes to the Earth. From concrete seawalls in China that now cover 60% of the mainland coast, to the biggest terrestrial machines ever built in Germany, to psychedelic potash mines in Russia’s Ural Mountains, to metal festivals in the closed city of Norilsk, to the devastated Great Barrier Reef in Australia and massive marble quarries in Carrara, the filmmakers have traversed the globe using state of the art camera techniques to document the evidence and experience of human planetary domination. At the intersection of art and science, ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH witnesses a critical moment in our geological history. Co-directors  Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky bring a provocative and unforgettable experience of our species’s ever-expanding breadth and devastating impact. 

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: kinolorber.com/Anthropocene: The Human Epoch

For more information on Anthropocene and filmmakers go to: theanthropocene.org/

For additional information on Jennifer Baichwal at mercuryfilms.ca

Social Media:

facebook.com/mercuryfilmsinc

twitter.com/mercuryfilms

instagram.com/mercuryfilmsinc

“Astonishment. Pure, lurid, ravishing, genuine astonishment. That is Anthropocene: The Human Epoch.” – Luke Hicks, Nonfics

“The [team’s] latest film is the culmination of a major body of work and it’s as visually stunning and intellectually invigorating as the previous two films are.” – Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

“To say that there are no easy answers to planetary woes is to state the obvious. But the film seeks to reveal rather than lecture, in the hope that our eyes will convince our brains to act before it’s too late.” – Peter Howell, the Toronto Star

“Its cinematography and passion for our planet make a strong case for your attention.” – Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com

“The luminous, terrifying and beautiful documentary “Anthropocene: The Human Epoch” feels like the culmination of the life’s work of its three directors… because it chronicles what could be the end of human life on Earth.” – Sean P. Means, The Movie Cricket

Friday, September 20 – Spider Mites of Jesus: The Dirtwoman Documentary, Director Jerry Williams

When he was an infant, Donnie Corker suffered from the “Spider Mites of Jesus,” because his mother couldn’t pronounce spinal meningitis. This caused mental challenges that resulted in his lifelong illiteracy. At 13, he began selling his body on the streets as a drag prostitute. When he was arrested, he took a dump in the back of the police car, leading the cops to give him the moniker: Dirtwoman. Since then he’s run for mayor, gotten kicked out of the inauguration of America’s first black governor (Douglas Wilder), posed for his own pin-up calendar (weighing in at 350 pounds), offered crabs from his crotch for a GWAR video and hosted the annual Hamaganza fundraiser that provided “Hams for the Hamless.” When he died last year at 65, it was on the front page, top-of-the-fold of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and was featured nationally on NPR. Director Jerry Williams talks about living in the same town as Donnie Corker (Dirtwoman) and the lasting impact he had on so many people and different communities within the city of Richmond.

About The Dirtwoman Documentary: While taking a lunch break on a shoot in 1999, Jerry  and local videographer Dave Park started discussing Dirtwoman. They partnered with local producer Liz Throckmorton to create a documentary. It was launched with big birthday party for Dirtwoman. Then they got sidetracked for 17 years making a living. In February 2017, Jerry was contacted by Mark Holmberg, a long-time friend who chronicled the exploits of Dirtwoman (in print at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, then as reporter for CBS6). Donnie had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure and Mark aired a story that included Jerry. That sparked his motivation to return to the project. Jerry’s produced hundreds of videos during his career, but never had a passion project. He enlisted colleagues from all aspects of the production biz to help him, most working for free…because they liked the idea. (See “Who Worked on It”) He produced the teaser in May 2017 to promote the project and recruit more interviews. When editing started in March 2018, 70 people had been interviewed (see “Who’s In It”). In addition to the video footage shot in 1999, the doc will feature never seen before video and photos.

 

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

Social Media:

twitter.com/tvjerry

Friday, September 13 – Neither Wolf Nor Dog, Director Steven Lewis Simpson

Adapted from the acclaimed novel NEITHER WOLF NOR DOG by Kent Nerburn the story follows a white author who gets sucked into the heart of contemporary Native American life in the sparse lands of the Dakota’s by a 95-year old Lakota elder and his side-kick. NEITHER WOLF NOR DOG takes audiences on a deeply moving road trip through contemporary Lakota life. Its humor is wry and pulls no punches, introducing deep characters and poignant vignettes that challenge the viewer to see the world differently.  Neither Wolf Nor Dog was audience-financed, shot in 18-days in one of the US’s poorest region with an average crew of 2 and a 95-year-old Lakota Elder, David Bald Eagle, as the star. The Lakota actor, soldier, stuntman and musician, David Bald Eagle was left for dead during D-Day and Christopher Sweeney was awarded the Silver Star from the Gulf War. Yet it was the film’s other star, Yuchi-Muscogee Creek multi-disciplinary visual artist, poet, and actor, Richard Ray Whitman, who was never in the service, who spent the most days under fire during the 71-day occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973. Neither Wolf Nor Dog has become one of the widest released, truly self-distributed movies in years. Simpson flipped the Hollywood model upside-down by launching in small towns and it has the longest theatrical first-run of any movie in at least a decade: 131 weeks so far. Director / Producer / Writer / Editor / Cinematographer Steven Lewis Simpson joins us for a conversation on his determination to pursue own path of independent filmmaking, distribution, marketing and bringing seldom heard stories to a broader audience.

About the filmmaker: At 18 Steven Lewis Simpson was Britain’s youngest fully qualified stockbroker and trader. At 22 he moved to Los Angeles to work for the legendary Roger Corman’s Concorde Pictures. It was there Simpson shot his first feature TIES. He shot his first documentary TIMOR TIMOR in West Timor, Indonesia, produced and co-edited the award-winning surreal fairy tale, FROG which was broadcast on Canal Plus and associate produced the comedy feature, RESURRECTING BILL. His epic feature documentary A THUNDER-BEING NATION about the Oglala Lakota of Pine Ridge Reservation was released in 2016. Made over 13 years it’s the most comprehensive documentary looking at the history and contemporary life of an Indian Reservation. He capped off the trio of Native American projects with a 13 episode US TV show THE HUB about arts, culture and entertainment within Indian Country. Through this work Steven has become a well-known advocate for Native American rights and a respected figure in Indian Country. Simpson’s latest feature  is an adaptation of the acclaimed Lakota Country novel NEITHER WOLF NOR DOG is being released in 2019. He is currently in post-production on the feature documentary RETURN TO TIMOR, shot in West Timor, Indonesia. For more about the filmmaker go to: stevenlewissimpson.com

 

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

Social Media:

facebook.com/neitherwolfnordog

twitter.com/REZBOMB

instagram.com/stevenlewissimpson

“Drifting tantalisingly like a Native American variation on David Lynch’s The Straight Story, this poignant insight into the legacy of centuries of racist brutality reaches a shattering climax at the site of the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee…” – David Parkinson, Radio Times

“In the wake of Standing Rock, Neither Wolf Nor Dog could not be more current.” – Julie Crawford, North Shore News

“While this effort from filmmaker Steven Lewis Simpson is somewhat lacking in technical polish, it boasts an undeniable emotional power and authenticity.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

“Drifting tantalisingly like a Native American variation on David Lynch’s The Straight Story, this poignant insight into the legacy of centuries of racist brutality reaches a shattering climax at the site of the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee…” – David Parkinson, Radio Times

Friday, September 13 – Chained for Life, Director Aaron Schimberg

Building on the promise of his hallucinogenic debut GO DOWN DEATH, filmmaker Aaron Schimberg delivers another brilliantly oddball, acerbically funny foray into gonzo surrealism. In a deft tragicomic performance, Jess Weixler (TEETH) plays Mabel, a movie star “slumming it” in an outré art-horror film being shot in a semi-abandoned hospital. Cast opposite her is Rosenthal (UNDER THE SKIN’ s Adam Pearson), a gentle-natured young man with a severe facial deformity. As their relationship evolves both on and offscreen, Schimberg raises provocative questions about cinematic notions of beauty, representation, and exploitation. Tod Browning crossed with Robert Altman crossed with David Lynch only begins to describe something this startlingly original and deeply felt. Director Aaron Schimberg joins us to talk about his hurly-burly, cosmically clever tale of misdirection, expectations and human connection.

Director’s Statement: As a filmmaker with a facial difference, I have never seen my experience accurately represented on screen. This film – the first, as far as I know, made by and starring disfigured people – is my humble attempt to remedy that. When disfigured characters are seen at all in films (usually played by handsome actors with disfiguring latex), they are trotted out to play monsters or objects of pity, made into vessels for the symbolic expression of cruelty, sin, villainy and other ills. “Bitter defectives,” as a character in my film says. Even when they’re portrayed sympathetically, they function only to impart inspirational lessons to the able-bodied people who encounter them. CHAINED FOR LIFE is my response to the way people with disfigurements have been portrayed in films (for instance, in FREAKS, THE ELEPHANT MAN, WONDER) throughout cinema’s history. It asks whether the sum of these portrayals has adversely affected the way we are regarded in real life. I consider it a comedy, but if you think it’s a tragedy, I wouldn’t argue with you.Aaron Schimberg

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: kinolorber.com/film/chained-for-life or chainedforlife.com

Chained for Life open at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles on September 13. Opening night with feature a Q&A with actress Jess Weixler following the 7:30 PM screening

Social Media:

facebook.com/chainedforlife

instagram.com/explore/tags/chainedforlife

instagram.com/fliescollective

vimeo.com/fliescollective

“Critic’s Pick! An inventive hall of mirrors… that keeps finding ways to upend its characters’ — and viewers’ — perspectives. Odd, darkly funny and — when it means to be — a little frightening.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“Extraordinary. A cinematic revolution.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Humane and transgressive, an American indie of unusually big ideas and aesthetic ambition.” – Nellie Killian, Film Comment

“Bizarre and beautiful. Leaves us on thrillingly shifty ground.” – Keith Uhlich, The Hollywood Reporter

“Mesmerizing. A remarkable mind trip of a movie sure to leave audiences reeling.” – Kate Erbland, Indiewire

“Razor-sharp. Mesmerizingly close to the sensation of a waking dream.” – Calum Marsh, Village Voice

“An intoxicating whirlwind of ideas, spectacularly moving and entertaining. Chained for Life could be a defining film about representation for any group that Hollywood marginalizes.” – Andrew Todd, Birth.Movies.Death

Friday, September 6 – Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, Co-directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

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

 

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

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

Social Media:

facebook.com/RonstadtMovie

twitter.com/RonstadtMovie

instagram.com/RonstadtMovie

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 6 – Becoming Nobody, Producer Raghu Markus

BECOMING NOBODY represents the core arc of Ram Dass’ teachings and life: whether as Dr. Richard Alpert, the eminent Harvard psychologist, or as Ram Dass who serves as a bridge between Eastern and Western philosophies, he has defined a generation of inner explorers and seekers of truth and wisdom. Through his turns as scion of an eminent Jewish family from Boston, rock-star Harvard psychologist, counter-culture rascally adventurer, Eastern holy man, stroke survivor and compassionate caregiver, Ram Dass has worn many hats on his journey, the narrative of which is revealed in this film. His ability to entertain and his sense of humor are abundantly evident in a conversation that brings us around to address the vast question of ultimate freedom. In BECOMING NOBODY, historic clips balance an engaging conversation with director Jamie Catto. We come to understand how our old roles and disguises become increasingly burdensome. The film captures a loving man full of joy, wit, honesty and wisdom, at ease in conversation while sharing his considerable pains and pleasures. The life experiences that have freed him from the attachments of his ‘somebody-ness’ have transformed him into the radiant soul who now inspires a new generation. Producer Raghu Markus joins us to talk about the life and times of Ram Dass, his transformation from Richard Alpert and what it means to love, serve, remember.

About the Producer – Raghu Markus: Raghu Markus spent two years in India with Maharaj-ji and Ram Dass. He has been involved in music and transformational media since the early 1970s when he was program director of CKGM-FM in Montreal. In 1974 he collaborated with Ram Dass on the box set Love Serve Remember. In 1990, he launched Triloka Records and Karuna Music in Los Angeles, California. Triloka established itself as a critical leader in the development of world music and for 17 years was home to such artists as Krishna Das, Hugh Masekela, Walela, and Jai Uttal. He produced transformational media projects that featured Ram Dass, Deepak Chopra and Les Nubians. He is the executive Director of the Love Serve Remember Foundation. In 2016, he co-founded the Be Here Now Podcast Network and hosts Here & Now with Ram Dass as well as his own Mindrolling podcast.

 

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

The documentary will open at the Rubin Museum in New York, at the Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles, as well as theaters in Bay Area, on September 6. A national release will follow.

Los Angeles LAEMMLE ROYAL – West Los Angeles, September 6, – 7:00 pm –  Q&A on 9/8 with Director Jamie Catto and Producer Raghu Markus

Social Media:

facebook.com/babaramdass

twitter.com/babaramdass

instagram.com/babaramdass

twitter.com/raghu

Tigers Are Not Afraid, Director Issa López

TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID is set in an unnamed Mexican northern border town.The young 10-year-old girl Estrella (Paulo Lara) has 3 wishes: The first one, that her missing mother comes back and it happens. Her mother returns but she is dead and follows Estrella everywhere. Petrified, Estrella tries to escape from her by joining a gang orphaned by violence. Soon she realizes that dead are never left behind and when you are in the middle of brutality and violence, wishes never come true the way you want them to be. A haunting horror fairytale set against the backdrop of Mexico’s devastating drug wars, TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID follows a group of orphaned children armed with three magical wishes, running from the ghosts that haunt them and the cartel that murdered their parents. Filmmaker Issa López creates a world that recalls the early films of Guillermo del Toro, imbued with her own gritty urban spin on magical realism to conjure a wholly unique experience that audiences will not soon forget. Director / writer Issa López joins us to talk about her inventive and viscerally chilling film about dreams, politics, violence against the powerless and justice.

 

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

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AWARDS

Fantastic Fest 2017: Best Horror Director
Screamfest 2017: Best Actress, Actor, Editing, Director and Picture
Dedfest 2017: Best Picture, Audience Award
Mórbido 2017: Mórbido Award (Best Picture) & Press Award
ITHACA FANTASTIK 2017: Cinema Pur Audience Award, for Best Movie
Paris Fantastic Film Fest 2017: Best Feature, Cinema+ Award, Audience Award

10 nominations for the 2018 Ariel Awards (Mexican Academy Awards)
Best Child Actor, Best Child Actress, Best Support Actor, Best Makeup Design, Best Visual Effects, Best Editing, Best Production Design, Best Sound, Best Script, Best Director*

“Issa Lopez is an incredibly exciting filmmaker who, if there is any justice, will go onto have a career comparable to Guillermo del Toro.” – Fiona Underhill, JumpCut Online

“Heartbreaking, thought-provoking and exquisitely beautiful in equal measure, López unflinchingly rejects the fetishization of young people and their experiences so typical of narratives about childhood trauma.” – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, AWFJ Women on Film

“What it gets right, it does brilliantly. The acting is superb, the mix of fantasy and realistic drama is sublime, and the story is haunting and fascinating in equal measure.” – Bobby LePire. Film Threat

“Watching Tigers Are Not Afraid is like stepping into a enchanting nightmare. There’s an uncomfortable darkness wrapped up in a charming package.” – Kat Hughes, The Hollywood News

American Factory, Co-directors Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar

AMERICAN FACTORY tells the story of a Chinese billionaire opening a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant in Dayton, Ohio, hiring 2,000 blue-collar Americans still recovering from the effects of the 2008 recession. Working side-by-side with experienced Chinese workers, the locals are optimistic about the future for the first time in almost a decade. But early days of hope give way to setbacks as high-tech China collides with working-class America, and issues of language and culture become seemingly insurmountable walls between clashing factions. AMERICAN FACTORY, the new film from Academy Award®-nominated directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, documents the revitalization of one long-shuttered factory while providing a startling glimpse into a global economic realignment now playing out in towns and cities across the country — and around the world. Granted generous access to the factory, and with the in-depth participation of its employees, Bognar, Reichert and their team spent three years following Fuyao Glass America’s launch of a state-of- the-art glassmaking facility employing hundreds of Chinese and thousands of Midwestern workers in the American heartland. Capturing surprisingly candid moments of people ranging from the visionary billionaire who financed the enterprise to American and Chinese workers on the factory line, AMERICAN FACTORY presents a microcosmic view of a global phenomenon that could represent a new normal for the American working class. Co-directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert join us for a lively conversation on the challenges of telling a multifaceted of people desperate for a new beginning working for an employer who sees the workplace from a point of view rooted in a culture a half a world away.

About the Filmmakers: STEVEN BOGNAR & JULIA REICHERT (Directors, Producers) are Oscar®-nominated documentary filmmakers whose work has screened at Sundance, Telluride, SXSW and other major festivals, as well as on HBO and PBS. Their film A Lion in the House, a co-production with ITVS, premiered at Sundance, screened on the PBS series “Independent Lens” and won a Primetime Emmy®. Their film The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant premiered at the 2009 Telluride Film Festival, screened on HBO, and was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short in 2010. Their films have, for the most part, told stories of rank-and-file citizens grappling with questions of agency and how to have a decent life. Julia Reichert’s work, in particular, spanning 50 years of filmmaking, has a through-line of concern for working-class and women’s stories. Julia Reichert was also Oscar®-nominated for her documentary feature films Union Maids (1977) and Seeing Red: Stories of American Communists (1983). Her first film, Growing Up Female, was selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. She is the 2018 recipient of the IDA Career Achievement Award. Bognar’s films Personal Belongings, Picture Day and Gravel all premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

 

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For news and updates go to: netflix.com

American Factory opens in Los Angeles on Wednesday, August 21 at the Landmark Theatre

Social Media: twitter.com/jeffreichert

WINNER – Best Director – 2019 Sundance Film Festival – U.S. Documentary Competition

OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2019 True/False Film Festival

OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2019 Tribeca Film Festival –

Opening Night, Critics’ Week

OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2019 Full Frame Film Festival

95% on Rotten Tomatoes

“FASCINATING. A sprawling cinema-verite account, it examines the real tensions of international businesses in human terms.” – Eric Kohn, Indiewire

 “INTIMATE AND EPIC. 30 years after Roger And Me, a similarly vital story updated and made relevant for our globalised age.” – Anthony Kaufman, Screen

“Of all the documentaries you see this year, this one most potently embodies the ever-changing sense of the words “Made in America.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

“American Factory demands comparison to Barbara Kopple’s Oscar-winning masterpiece American Dream with its frank and laudably objective portrait of the USA’s working class and its struggle for prosperity.” – Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

Cold Case Hammarskjold, Director Mads Brügger

In 1961, United Nations secretary-general Dag Hammarskjöld’s plane mysteriously crashed, leaving no known survivors. It’s understood that because Hammarskjöld was advocating for Congo’s independence (against the wishes of European mining companies and other powerful entities), the “crash” was an assassination. With the case still unsolved 50-plus years later, Danish journalist, filmmaker, and provocateur Mads Brügger (The Red Chapel, The Ambassador) leads us down an investigative rabbit hole to unearth the truth. Brugger, his Swedish private-investigator sidekick, Goran Bjorkdahl, and a host of co-conspirators tirelessly pursue a winding trail of clues, but they turn up more mysteries than revelations. Scores of false starts, dead ends, and elusive interviews later, they begin to sniff out something more monumental than anything they’d initially imagined. In his signature agitprop style, Brügger becomes both filmmaker and subject, challenging the very nature of truth by “performing” the role of truth-seeker. As Brügger uncovers a critical secret that could send shockwaves around the world, we realize that sometimes absurdity and irony are the emboldening ingredients needed to confront what’s truly sinister. Director Mads Brugger joins us for a spirited conversation on his fantastic and fantastical, hell-raising cinematic shot across the colonialist bow.

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

 

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About Mads Brügger:  Brügger is a Danish journalist, television host, author, and filmmaker. He has written several books, worked for magazines and newspapers, produced award-winning radio programs, and hosted the critically acclaimed late-night television show The 11th Hour, as well as the daily news program Deadline. Brügger also created the satirical docu-series Danes for Bush and the feature documentaries The Red Chapel (World Cinema Documentary Jury Prize, 2010 Sundance Film Festival) and The Ambassador (2012 Sundance Film Festival).

Social Media:

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Mads Brugger:

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“Dag Hammarskjold was on the point of getting something done when they killed him. Notice that I said, `when they killed him’.” Harry S. Truman, former U.S. President.

“A slow-building documentary mystery that sucks you in like a vortex. It offers several intertwined conspiracy theories, at least one of which, by the sternest reckoning, appears to be grounded in reality. Does that mean everything in the film is true? Maybe not. Yes ‘Cold Case Hammarskjöld’ is a singular experience that counts as one of the most honestly disturbing and provocative nonfiction films in years.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
 
“Either a stunning piece of investigative reporting that builds to a revelatory climax or a wily trickster’s dark critique of the audience’s desperate need for answers. Brügger is a journalist and a fabulist, a provocateur and a comedian.” – Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter
 
“Brügger’s most rewarding film. The suspense grows so intense that – if a projector malfunctions at a certain moment towards the end of the movie – audiences may actually be incapable of returning to their regular lives without knowing what comes next. The truth is often stranger than fiction, but when the truth is a convoluted story of parapsychology, death cults, and mercenaries with mysterious code names like ‘Congo Red,’ perhaps it takes a strange angle to see it clearly.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

One Child Nation, Co-director Nanfu Wang (Jialing Zhang)

China’s One Child Policy, the extreme population control measure that made it illegal for couples to have more than one child, may have ended in 2015, but the process of dealing with the trauma of its brutal enforcement is only just beginning. From award-winning documentarian Nanfu Wang (HOOLIGAN SPARROW, I AM ANOTHER YOU) and Jialing Zhang, the sweeping ONE CHILD NATION explores the ripple effect of this devastating social experiment, uncovering one shocking human rights violation after another – from abandoned newborns, to forced sterilizations and abortions, and government abductions. Wang digs fearlessly into her own personal life, weaving her experience as a new mother and the firsthand accounts of her family members into archival propaganda material and testimony from victims and perpetrators alike, yielding a revelatory and essential record of this chilling, unprecedented moment in human civilization. ONE CHILD NATION is a stunning, nuanced indictment of the mindset that prioritizes national agenda over human life, and serves as a first-of-its-kind oral history of this collective tragedy – bearing witness to the truth as China has already begun to erase the horrors of its “population war” from public record and memory. Director Nanfu Wang joins us to talk about her own journey and how it illuminates a greater, more universal truth about family secrets.

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

ONE CHILD NATION director Nanfu Wang will participate in a Q&A moderated by Alissa Wilkinson following the 7:30 pm show on Friday, 8/9 at the Royal. 

Social Media:

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instagram.com/onechildnation

#OneChildNation

**WINNER – Grand Jury Prize, U.S. Documentary – Sundance FF 2019**

**WINNER – Grand Jury Prize – Full Frame Doc Festival 2019**

**OFFICIAL SELECTION – Tribeca Film Festival 2019**

“SHATTERING. Informative yet always grounded in deep personal investment and clear-eyed compassion, this is a powerful indictment of a traumatic social experiment.” – David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

“PROVOCATIVE AND PERSONAL. Undoubtedly one of the year’s most important documentaries.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

“A thoroughly gripping and ceaselessly unnerving investigation into the policy that shaped and devastated China for a generation. Intimate, thought-provoking and well-crafted…gives voice to so many families whose agency was stolen from them. – Gary Garrison, The Playlist

American Heretic: The Gospel of Politics, Director Jeanine Butler and Producer Catherine Lynn Butler

We’ve entered a time where the power of negative partisanship has sorted us along lines of race and religion. These two factions have exploited race and religion, two of the most visceral things you can think of in terms of the human experience, and they’ve locked them in partisan identities.” The latest documentary from filmmakers Jeanine Butler and Catherine Lynn Butler AMERICAN HERETICS: THE GOSPEL OF POLITICS takes audiences into the buckle of Bible belt where a group of defiant ministers, congregations, and community leaders are challenging deeply rooted fundamentalist Christian doctrine in favor of a Gospel of Inclusion.  Labeled as “heretics” for their beliefs and actions, they refuse to wield their faith as a sword sharpened by literal interpretations of the Bible. Especially those fundamentalist  Christian interpretations that continue to justify nationalism and hack away at landmark civil rights protections for women, minorities, immigrants, and the LGBTQ communities. This poignant story challenges what we think we know about the Christian heartland by offering a rare personal glimpse into the contentious and often misunderstood history of religion, race, and politics in America. These Heretics are still interested in saving you from hell, but’s the earthly one, where poverty, discrimination and nationalism oppresses “…those who are the least among us.” Director / Producer Jeanine Butler (Documenting the Face of America) and Producer Catherine Lynn Butler (Journey of the Universe) stop by to talk about their journey into America’s Bible Belt and the growing movement to embrace a more tolerant perspective of spiritual enlightenment. 

 

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For news and updates go to: americanhereticsthefilm.com

“‘American Heretics: The Politics of the Gospel’ doesn’t break ground cinematically, but it is eye-opening in other ways.” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times

“All the usual theological arguments for a loving rather than discriminatory faith are here” – Luke Y. Thompson, Forbes

“It makes passionate arguments. It offers a ray of hope. And it evokes the sense that those most desperately in need of seeing it will never cross its path.” – John Anderson, America Magazine

“A film that shines a light on those who would be a candle in the midst of the Medieval darkness of modern, white Southern American Christianity.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

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

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

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

 

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

For more HBO / Cinemax programming go to: hbo-cinemax

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

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

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

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

Long Gone Wild, Director William Neal

William Neal’s documentary LONG GONE WILD focuses on the plight of captive orcas, picking up where Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s acclaimed documentary BLACKFISH left off while telling a uniquely new and different story… LONG GONE WILD centers on five primary areas: (1) The Blackfish Effect (what it did and didn’t accomplish i.e., SeaWorld took a major hit to its bottom line, but the 20 orcas are still there); (2) The case against captivity (orcas are forced to live in barren concrete tanks); (3) Orcas as sentient animals (their great capacity to think, feel, communicate, and empathize); (4) The Whale Sanctuary Project and its model seaside sanctuary for retired orcas – providing a safe, permanent home in their natural habitat; and, (5) The ominous threat to orcas posed by Russia and China, triggered by the explosive growth of mega-aquariums in China. Director, producer and writer Bill Neal joins us for a conversation on the set-backs and steps being taken around the world to defend and enhance the lives of these magnificent mammals.

Director’s Statement: For decades, killer whales have been performing for sold-out audiences at aquatic theme parks like SeaWorld – and for nearly as long, there have been cries to “free the orcas.” To which park executives have answered with a simple question: Where will they go? A legitimate argument. Orcas held in captivity for much or all of their lives are simply not equipped to deal with life in the wild. But all that is about to change, thanks to the “dream team” of scientists/orca experts/engineers with The Whale Sanctuary Project. Their mission: to establish a model seaside sanctuary where whales and dolphins can be rehabilitated or can live permanently in an environment that maximizes well-being and autonomy and is as close as possible to their natural habitat. We will document this ground-breaking effort through interviews with the key players along with exclusive footage of the proposed cold-water site, the most crucial piece of a very complex puzzle. In the end, it is all about restoring something we humans have taken from these highly intelligent, socially complex animals by forcing them to live in captivity for our entertainment and amusement. And by retiring them to a seaside sanctuary, we dignify not only the orcas but ourselves. – William Neal

 

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

Social Media:

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instagram.com/longgonewild

“Long Gone Wild will prove to be just as damaging for SeaWorld and other marine aquariums as Blackfish was six years ago” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

Honeyland, Co-directors Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov

Winner of multiple awards at many of the world’s most prestigious film festivals, HONEYLAND tells the amazing tale of Hatidze, a woman living with her ailing mother in the mountains of Macedonia, making a living cultivating honey using ancient beekeeping traditions. When an unruly family moves in next door, what at first seems like a balm for her solitude becomes a source of tension as they, too, want to practice beekeeping, while disregarding her advice.The most awarded film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, winning the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize, a Special Jury Award for cinematography, and another Special Jury Award for Originality, HONEYLAND is an epic, visually stunning portrait of the delicate balance between nature and humanity that has something sweet for everyone. The three-time Sundance award-winning documentary film is a beautiful, heart-warming story about the last female beekeeper in Macedonia and her relationships with her beloved bees, her ailing mother, and her new neighbors. Co-directors Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov join us to talk about the remarkable and endlessly endearing Hatidze, her loving commitment to her mother, a sustainable future and her tireless bees.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: honeyland.earth

WINNER: GRAND JURY PRIZE – WORLD CINEMA DOCS – SUNDANCE
WINNER: CINEMATOGRAPHY AWARD – WORLD CINEMA DOCS – SUNDANCE
WINNER: SPECIAL JURY PRIZE FOR IMPACT & CHANGE – SUNDANCE
WINNER: BEST DOCUMENTARY – MONTCLAIR FILM FESTIVAL

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Honeyland is a microcosmic tale of a woman whose entire way of life is threatened by leeching men and free-market capitalism. Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov bring us perhaps the documentary protagonist of the year.” – Arlin Golden, Film Inquiry

“An unforgettable vérité character study and an intimate look at an endangered tradition.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

“Far from a scolding, rub-your-nose-in-it depiction of environmental havoc, this is a tender story about the chaos of abandoning the common good.” – David Ehrlich, indieWire

“‘Honeyland’ swarms with difficult, ancient truths about parents, children, greed, respect, and the need for husbandry.” – Anthony Lane, New Yorker

The Great Hack, Co-directors Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer

Big Data has surpassed oil as the world’s most valuable asset. It’s being weaponized to wage cultural and political warfare. People everywhere are in a battle for control of our most intimate personal details. From award-winning filmmakers Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, THE GREAT HACK uncovers the dark world of data exploitation with astounding access to the personal journeys of key players on different sides of the explosive Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data scandal. Academy-Award nominees Amer and Noujaim (The Square, Control Room, Startup .com) continue their tradition of exploring the seismic ripples of social media with this riveting, complex film. THE GREAT HACK forces us to question the origin of the information we consume daily. What do we give up when we tap that phone or keyboard and share ourselves in the digital age? THE GREAT HACK is co-directed by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, with a production team led by Geralyn Dreyfous, Judy Korin and Pedro Kos. Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim join us to talk about Big Data, the expectation of privacy and where we go from here.

 

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For news and updates go to: thegreathack.com

Social Media:

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twitter.com/Karim_Amer33

87% on Rotten Tomatoes

“You leave with a clear sense of how one company [sold] democracy down the river, not to mention having your fingernails chewed down to the quick.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone

“A thrilling yarn of political espionage and fascinating characters… However, this isn’t hollow entertainment. The film insists upon the gravity of the situation, toggling effortlessly between the micro and the macro lens on this tale.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service

“[A] gripping, challenging documentary by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, about the biggest scandal of our time: the gigantic question mark over the legality of the Brexit vote.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

“Pondering individual data rights and the sinister side of widespread connectivity, co-directors Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer diligently inspect how our innocent likes and shares became the building blocks of Brexit and Trump.” – Tomris Laffly, Time Out

BlackStar Film Festival, Founder Maori Karmael Holmes

The BlackStar Film Festival (BlackStar) returns August 1-4, 2019 with a stellar slate of black, brown and indigenous films from around the globe. The BlackStar Film Festival is an annual celebration of the visual and storytelling traditions of the African diaspora and of global communities of color, showcasing films by black, brown and indigenous people from around the world. Continuing its legacy of discovery and excellence, audiences can expect must-see film premieres, poignant artist discussions, and discover new cinematic favorites from this year’s class of emerging filmmakers. Founded in 2012 by Maori Karmael Holmes, BlackStar has become the hottest event on the film festival calendar. With a program unlike any other, BlackStar is the destination to discover new artists voices from Black and global indigenous filmmakers. Artists including Terence Nance (An Oversimplification of Her Beauty; HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness), and Matthew A. Cherry (9 RIdes; ABC’s Whiskey Cavalier), and Nijla Baseema Mu’min (Jinn) have shared their work at the festival and from BlackStar cultivated a fanbase that has grown with their careers.  

 

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For news and updates go to blackstarfest.org

BlackStar Festival Film Highlights:

This year’s festival features sneak preview of Hip-Hop: The Songs That Shook America, a new documentary series directed by directed Erik Parker and One9.

From Executive Producers Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Shawn Gee, and Alex Gibney, Fear No Gumbo, a documentary feature directed by Kimberly Rivers Roberts, about the 13 years since the deadly Category 5 Hurricane Katrina that made landfall on Florida and Louisiana and the corruption and systemic racism that still victimizes the residents that returned after Katrina. 

A new documentary from Emmy Award-winning director and  Macarthur “genius” fellow Stanley Nelson (The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution). Boss which explores over 150 years of African American entrepreneurship, from bondage to billion dollar moguls.

Academy Award-winning  director, Roger Ross Williams (Music By Prudence, God Loves Uganda) will be on-hand for the debut of his latest documentary The Apollo chronicling the unique history and contemporary legacy of New York City’s landmark Apollo Theater.

Panels and Awards:

BlackStar will present the Luminary Award to Marcia Smith, President of Firelight Media

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of Do The Right Thing, filmmaker Spike Lee and activist Tarana Burke will discuss the possibilities of using radical storytelling to center social justice and foster narrative change. 

For news and updates go to blackstarfest.org

Who Killed Garrett Phillips?, Director Liz Garbus

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

 

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

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

For news and updates go to: moxiefirecracker.com

Social Media:

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Before Stonewall, Co-director Robert Rosenberg (Greta Schiller)

BEFORE STONEWALL tells the story of the 1969 the police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village, leading to three nights of rioting by the city’s gay community. With this outpouring of courage and unity the gay liberation movement had begun. BEFORE STONEWALL pries open the closet door, setting free the dramatic story of the sometimes horrifying public and private existences experienced by LGBT Americans since the early 1900’s. Revealing and often humorous, this widely acclaimed film relives the emotionally-charged sparking of the contemporary Lesbian and Gay rights movements, from the events that led to the fevered 1969 riots to many other milestones in the brave fight for acceptance. Experience the fascinating and unforgettable, decade-by-decade history of homosexuality in America through eye-opening historical footage and amazing interviews with those who lived through an often brutal closeted history. The recently restored version of BEFORE STONEWALL, supervised by Co-director Greta Schiller and underwritten by First Run Features, is being released for a 2019 theatrical run in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Co-director Robert Rosenberg joins us to talk about the making of the landmark film and how it helped change perceptions of the LGBTQ community.

For news and updates go to: firstrunfeatures.com/beforestonewall

“Entertaining and enlightening.” – Los Angeles Times

“Funny, sad, courageous and touching.” – Seattle Times

“Intelligent and moving. Adroitly mixes old newsreel and film footage, interviews and even home movies.” – The New York Times

“You owe it to yourself to see it.” – Judith Crist, WOR-TV

The Edge of Democracy, Director Petra Costa

THE EDGE OF DEMOCRACY is a cautionary tale for these times of democracy in crisis, the personal and political fuse to explore one of the most dramatic periods in Brazilian history. THE EDGE OF DEMOCRACY captures the  personal journey of filmmaker Petra Costa (ELENA, Olma and the Seagull) into politics watching her country fall into disarray, echoing the undoing of so many democracies around the world. Combining unprecedented access to leaders past and present, including Presidents Dilma Rousseff and Lula da Silva, Costa witnesses their rise and fall and the tragically polarized nation that remains. Through the stories of her mother and father, Costa documents the rebirth of a democratized Brazil following years of authoritarian rule under a military dictatorship. She traces the impeachment of Rousseff, the imprisonment of de Silva, and the rise of the far right. Was Brazil’s democracy a short-lived dream? Merging the personal and the political, Costa delves to the heart of her country’s unfolding identity crisis, examining widespread institutional corruption while connecting her own family’s complex past to Brazil’s current crisis. Capturing a unique historical moment, A NETFLIX original documentary production, THE EDGE OF DEMOCRACY examines the forces at play in the global erosion of democracy. Director Petra Costa joins us for a conversation about Brazil’s past, present and future and how the political trajectory of her beloved country is increasingly relevant to our own.

 

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The Edge of Democracy is available at: netflix.com

For more about the filmmaker go to: petracosta.com

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95% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Directed by Petra Costa, this completely fascinating documentary provides an unexpectedly compelling inside look at the political earthquakes that have been roiling Brazil for several years.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“It’s a chronicle of civic betrayal and the abuse of power, and also of heartbreak.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

“[Petra Costa] seems utterly incapable of crafting a frame that is lacking in urgency or vibrance.” – Matt Fagerholm, RogerEbert.com

“A dense, complex undertaking Costa impressively wraps her arms – and our minds – around, made even more daunting by the dual purpose “The Edge of Democracy” serves as both an immediate witness to an extraordinarily precarious historical moment.” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest

The Feeling of Being Watched, Director Assia Boundaoui

Assia Boundaoui’s deeply personal investigative documentary THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED about the Arab-American neighborhood outside of Chicago where director she grew up. It is a community where most of her neighbors think they have been under surveillance for over a decade. While investigating their experiences, Assia uncovers tens of thousands of pages of FBI documents that prove her hometown was the subject of one of the largest counter-terrorism investigations ever conducted in the U.S. before 9/11, code-named “Operation Vulgar Betrayal.” With unprecedented access, THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED weaves the personal and the political as it follows the filmmaker’s examination of why her community fell under blanket government surveillance. Assia struggles to disrupt the government secrecy shrouding what happened and takes the FBI to federal court to compel them to make the records they collected about her community public. In the process, she confronts long-hidden truths about the FBI’s relationship to her community. THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED follows Assia as she pieces together this secret FBI operation, while grappling with the effects of a lifetime of surveillance on herself and her family. Director / Producer Assia Boundaoui talks about her own determination to hold the FBI and the government accountable, the impact the FBI surveillance has had on her family and community and the bigger question, why?

 

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For news and updates go to: feelingofbeingwatched.com

For upcoming screenings go to: feelingofbeingwatched.com/screenings

*** Los Angeles area screening:  The week of 6/21 – 6/27 at the Laemmle Music Hall – Q&A’s with director Assia Boundaoui following the 7:40 pm show on Friday, 6/21, Saturday, 6/22 and Thursday 6/27 and also after the 3:10 pm show on Sunday, 6/23 at the Music Hall.

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92% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Expanding its scope beyond Bridgeview and Islamophobia, it looks at the larger question of how the United States government has targeted minority groups throughout its history.” – Kimber Myers, Los Angeles Times

“Equal parts angry and anxious, Boundaoui’s smart, unsettling documentary functions both as a real-world conspiracy thriller and a personal reflection on the psychological strain of being made to feel an outsider in one’s own home.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“A quietly unsettling first-person doc,The Feeling of Being Watched proceeds as a head-on exploration of the gray area between fear and certainty.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

“This should be required viewing for all Americans, but especially those who think they couldn’t possibly be living in a surveillance state.” – Leah Pickett, Chicago Reader