December 6 – The Animal People, Co-director Casy Suchan (Denis Henry Hennelly)

Fifteen years in the making, The Animal People, Co-directed by Casey Suchan and Denis Henry Hennelly – Executive Produced by Joaquin Phoenix – follows the journey of six young Americans who find themselves targeted as terrorists by the US government for their involvement in a controversial protest campaign. Seeing the future of social movement organizing, the activists used the then fledgling internet to dramatically magnify their impact as they systematically knocked out the pillars of financial support that kept the company in business. But when letter writing and protests began to mushroom into dead-of-night vandalism and worse by unknown activists, this corporation and the government formed an alliance to destroy the group. The FBI began an unprecedented campaign of surveillance in preparation for prosecution, creating a model that would later be used against Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter. Congress, under corporate influence, rewrote laws and bent the definition of incitement in order to accomplish the prosecution of these six, potentially weakening free speech rights for all Americans. Featuring expansive interviews with the activists spanning over a decade, rare archival footage – including never-before-seen FBI undercover surveillance tapes, wiretaps and government documents, The Animal People is a chilling portrait of what happens when activism rattles the institutions of power. Co-director Casey Suchan (Denis Henry Hennelly) joins us to talk about their bellwether film that puts the anti-accountability campaign engineered by large corporate interests and the supine partnership with complicit government agencies on full display.

https://www.finngatepictures.com/theanimalpeople

https://www.facebook.com/theanimalpeopledoc/

“INCREDIBLE”Richard Whittaker, The Austin Chronicle

“POWERFUL… COMPELLING… highlights a pivotal case.”Sightlines Magazine

 “EYE-OPENING… will stick with you long after you’ve watched.”Shuffle

November 29 – Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project, Director Matt Wolf

In the fascinating new documentary from Matt Wolf (Teenage, Wild Combination) RECORDER: THE MARION STOKES PROJECT, we follow the life of a former librarian, Marion Stokes. Her unusual “project” began when she started secretly recording American television twenty-four hours a day at the dawn of what we know today as the twenty-four hour news cycle. It started in 1979 with the Iranian Hostage Crisis, ending more than 32 years later, on December 14, 2012. Marion passed away as the Sandy Hook massacre played out on television. In between, she recorded on 70,000 VHS tapes, capturing revolutions, lies, wars, triumphs, catastrophes, bloopers, talk shows, and commercials that tell us who we were, and show how television shaped the world of today. Before the era of “fake news,” Marion was fighting to protect the truth by archiving everything that was said and shown on television. The public didn’t know it, but the networks were disposing their archives for decades into the trashcan of history. Remarkably, Marion saved it, and now the Internet Archive will digitize her tapes and we’ll be able to search them online for free. A mystery in the form of a time capsule, the film delves into the strange life of a radical Communist activist who became a fabulously wealthy recluse archivist. Marion’s work was crazy but it was also genius, and she would pay a profound price for dedicating her life to this visionary and maddening project. Director Matt Wolf joins us to talk about the librarian / activist / archivist / free thinker Marion Stokes, and how her unusual obsession has provided us with a window into an era of rapidly evolving news and infotainment platforms and the profound impact it continues to have on the present.

 

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

For more about the filmmaker: mattwolf.info

Social Media:
instagram.com/mattpwolf
twitter.com/mattpwolf

 

95% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Matt Wolf’s remarkable Recorder uses Stokes’ recording obsession as a way to explore both Stokes herself and the world she literally committed to video tape. The results are fascinating, weird, and often quite moving.” – Indiewire

“Intriguing from first minute to last… Relating this stranger-than-fiction tale with the narrative twists and turns of a well-paced thriller, Recorder will make news junkies feel a lot better about themselves.” – Hollywood Reporter

“Weirdly exhilarating… Enlightening and the stuff of madness.” Critic’s Pick – New York Times

“One outstanding offering in this year’s Tribeca Film Festival is Recorder, which reveals the secret greatness of a reclusive activist… An information revolutionary, Stokes, despite her decades of isolation, touched the nerve center of the times.” – New Yorker

“Recorder is more than just a portrait of a woman’s complicated relationships and obsessions… Recorder quietly seeds damning observations about the ways media narratives are formed, and how the shapers of these narratives distort the truth and our worldview.” – Flixist

“Utterly compelling and beautifully textured… A thrilling portrait of a woman collecting the history of the world as she lived through it through the very media we all engaged with, this is a powerful and truly important documentary feature.” – CriterionCast

“Marion’s life makes for a pensive, complicated romantic tragedy.” – Nonfics

Coastal Road Killer, Co-director Yotam Guendelman and Ari Pines

In October of 1974 the body of Rachel Heller, a female IDF solider, is found in the sand dunes of Caesarea. She’s completely naked, except for a single sandal and a bra strap tied tightly around her neck. The investigation leads nowhere, until a young man by the name of Amos Baranes storms into a local police station, claiming he knew the victim and wants to help find the person responsible. He’s arrested and after 3 days of interrogations, he confesses to the murder. Coastal Road Killer is a riveting multi-part series examines whether a serial killer, who was never brought to justice, was behind a string of murders that occurred in Israel between the late 70s and early 80s and whether they might still be on the loose. Coastal Road Killer was created by Yotam Guendelman, Mika Timor and Ari Pines, the team behind   Shadow of Truth, the story of the 2006 murder of Tair Rada, a 13-year old Israeli girl, which became one of Netflix’s most-watched true crime docs. Coastal Road Killer explores the connection between storytelling and truth. Very much like Shadow of Truth, the filmmaking is aimed at showing us how easily we can be manipulated into believing a certain narrative, only to have it completely deconstructed in the next few frames.  Co-directors Yotam Guendelman and Ari Pines stop by to talk about their riveting multi-part series investigative expose that through diligent research and forensic experts uncover new, credible evidence that raises a possible serial killer who has, so far, avoided responsibility for their crimes.

 

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November 22 – Mickey and the Bear, Director Annabelle Attanasio

 Annabelle Attanasio makes her directorial debut with the critically-acclaimed feature MICKEY AND THE BEAR, starring Camila Morrone and James Badge Dale. Faced with the responsibility to take care of her opioid-addicted veteran father (Dale), headstrong teen Mickey Peck (Morrone) does what she can to keep her household afloat. When she receives the opportunity to leave her home for good, she must make the impossible decision between familial obligation and personal fulfillment. Mickey and the Bear is a heartbreaking, coming-of-age story that is anchored by remarkable performances from Morrone and Dale. It has a haunting ending that will stay with you long after the credits roll.  MICKEY AND THE BEAR, made its world premiere at SXSW this year, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Award; the film was also selected for Cannes International Film Festival, Deauville Film Festival, the Montclair Film Festival, where Attanasio was recognized with the Audible Storyteller Award; and the Nantucket Film Festival, where she was recognized with the Adrienne Shelly Foundation Excellence in Filmmaking Award. Director and screenwriter Attanasio was selected for this year’s Film Society of Lincoln Center’s prestigious Artist Academy program pegged to the 57th New York Film Festival, which has historically nurtured some of the most celebrated filmmakers of our time. Director Annabelle Attanasio joins us to talk about her thrilling debut feature film.

 

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For news and updates go to: mickeyandthebear.com

Screening schedule for Mickey and the Bear

Social Media:
instagram.com/annabelllllle
instagram.com/mickeyandthebear

 

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Bolstered by a phenomenal cast and an ending that will leave the audience breathless, there is not a single misstep in the entire production.” – Bobby LePire, Film Threat

“It’s a poignant, harrowing tale…” – Gerald Peary, Arts Fuse

“Every shot in Mickey and the Bear is artfully composed… The performances are also quite strong. Morrone is especially affecting as the put-upon Mickey…. James Badge Dale is potent as Hank. – Gary M. Kramer, Film International

“Give Camila Morrone all of the roles. All of them. She deserves them all.” – Rendy Jones, Rendy Reviews

“Camila Morrone and James Badge Dale’s powerful performances align wonderfully with introspective exploration in this beautifully tragic coming-of-age tale that will leave you dazed.” – Amanda Sink, The Hollywood Outsider

November 22 – When Lambs Become Lions, Director Jon Kasbe

In this extraordinary documentary, WHEN LAMBS BECOME LIONS we are immersed in the Kenyan bush, as a small-time ivory dealer fights to stay on top while forces mobilize to destroy his trade. When he propositions his younger cousin, a conflicted wildlife ranger who hasn’t been paid in months, they both see a possible lifeline. The plummeting elephant population in Africa has captured the attention of the world, and as the government cracks down, both poachers and rangers face their own existential crises— what is the value of elephant life relative to human life? And can we understand these hunters who will risk death, arrest, and the moral outrage of the world to provide for their families? The photography in this film is so stunning that many people forget they’re watching a documentary, and it’s probably why WHEN LAMBS BECOME LIONS was just nominated for two 2019 IDA Documentary Awards (Best Cinematography and Best Editing). WHEN LAMBS BECOME LIONS is told in the style of “embedded” filmmaking with an intimate and strikingly honest look at elephant poaching in Kenya, told from both perspectives — the poachers and the rangers who pursue them. At its core, WHEN LAMBS BECOME LIONS is the human side of why people do what they do given their circumstances. An angle not many people think about when they hear “elephant poaching”. WHEN LAMBS BECOME LIONS is executive produced by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Matthew Heineman (Cartel Land) and directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and Doc NYC 40 Under 40 honoree, Jon Kasbe. Kasbe followed his subjects over a three-year period, gaining an extraordinary level of access and trust on both sides of the ideological and ethical spectrum. The result is a rare and visually arresting look at the perspectives and motives of the people at the epicenter of this conservation crisis. Director Jon Kasbe joins us to talk about the making of his riveting film, gaining the confidence of the film’s subjects and navigating the many ethical questions he confronted during the making of When Lambs Become Lions.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: whenlambs.oscilloscope.net

For more on Director Jon Kasbe go to: jonkasbe.com

WHEN LAMBS BECOME LIONS filmmaker Jon Kasbe will participate in Q&A’s following the 7:30 pm show on Friday, 11/22 and Saturday, 11/23 and following the 1:00 pm show on Sunday, 11/24 at the Monica Film Center.

Social Media
facebook.com/whenlambs
twitter.com/whenlambs
instagram.com/whenlambs
twitter.com/jonkasbe

 

“A probing view of how a failed African state allows poaching to continue, no matter the lofty speeches of its new president. When people are desperate, they turn to crime–including poaching.” – Louis Proyect, Counterpunch.org

“…supple, complex, and darkly gorgeous” – Chris Barsanti, The Playlist

“Documents how this daily struggle binds together the inhabitants of Northern Kenya, both man and beast, and explores how questions of morality and mortality become increasingly complicated in such a savage landscape.” – Nikki Baughan, Screen International

“Kasbe nudges us to remember the importance of food on the table – for all Kenyatta’s show of might, wouldn’t a better situation be kindled by simply paying people what they’re owed?” – Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film

The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, Co-directors Elle ­Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn and Actor Violet Nelson

THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN reveals a beautifully intimate, real-time portrait that follows two Indigenous women from vastly different backgrounds whose worlds collide when one of them is fleeing a violent domestic attack.  A love poem to women, THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN weaves a compellingly simple story around the complex themes of racialized female bodies, a country’s failure to support its most vulnerable youth, and the continuing effects of colonial violence.  THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN is the newest acquisition from Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY Releasing. Founded in 2010 by Ava DuVernay, ARRAY is a film collective dedicated to the amplification of images by people of color and women directors. Now in its ninth year, ARRAY Releasing focuses on grassroots distribution of feature narrative and documentary work by varied voices. Co-directors / co-writers Elle ­Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn, as well as lead actor Violet Nelson joins us to talk about the different creative elements that went into the making of this heart-bending film on violence against women, class, privilege and the limitations of compassion.

 

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For news and updates go to: arraynow.com/ The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open

For more on the work of Kathleen Hepburn go to: experimentalforest.ca/thebodyremembers

About the filmmakers

Elle­ Máijá Tailfeathers, Co­-Writer / Co­-Director, is a filmmaker, writer, and actor based in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is Blackfoot from the Kainai First Nation (Blood Reserve) as well as Sámi from northern Norway. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of British Columbia in Indigenous Studies with a Minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN is her debut narrative feature. Tailfeathers was the 2018 Sundance Institute Merata Mita Film Fellow and is an alumni of the Berlinale Talent Lab, the Hot Docs Accelerator Lab, the CFC/NFB/Ford Foundation Open Immersion Virtual Reality Lab, the Whistler Film Festival Aboriginal Film Fellowship, and the International Sámi Film Institute Indigenous Film Fellowship. Her short documentary, Bihttoš, was included in the TIFF Top Ten Canadian Shorts and was also nominated for a Canadian Screen Award and a Leo Award for Best Short Documentary.

elle-maija-tailfeathers.com

Kathleen Hepburn, Co­-Writer / Co­-Director, is a Vancouver born writer and director whose debut feature, NEVER STEADY, NEVER STILL, which Variety Magazine calls a “stoically broken hearted debut,” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017 and was awarded Best Canadian Film and Best Director by the Vancouver Film Critics Circle, as well as Special Jury Prize at the Dublin International Film Festival. It went on to be nominated for eight Canadian Screen Academy Awards including Best Picture. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing, and a BFA in Film Production from the Universities of Guelph and Simon Fraser respectively. THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN is her sophomore feature, co­-written and co­-directed by Elle­-Máijá Tailfeathers.

Social Media:
facebook.com/thebodyremembersfilm
twitter.com/bodyremembers
twitter.com/ava
twitter.com/experiforest
instagram.com/experimentalforest

 

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Intricate and impactful… a world-affirming work.” Sarah-Tai Black, Globe and Mail

“What Tailfeathers and Hepburn have shared… is a practice of filmmaking that grapples with these exact intricacies of embodiment and acknowledges them as wholly inextricable from Indigenous presents and futures.” – Sarah-Tai Black, Globe and Mail

“As poetic as its title, The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open cannot be understated for its power and must not be erased from the conversation.” – Aaron Berry, Film Inquiry

“Stands alongside many recent social realism dramas by the likes of Andrea Arnold and Lynne Ramsay … these performances will hit you like a punch to the gut.” Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Screen Anarchy

To Kid or Not To Kid, Director Maxine Trump

In her latest documentary, TO KID OR NOT TO KID, filmmaker Maxine Trump turns the camera on herself and her close circle of family and friends as she confronts the idea of not having kids. While exploring the cultural pressures and harsh criticism childfree women regularly experience, as well as the personal impact this decision may have on her own relationship, Maxine meets other women reckoning with their choice: Megan, who struggles to get medical permission to undergo elective sterilization, and Victoria, who lives with the backlash of publicly acknowledging that she made a mistake when she had a child. TO KID OR NOT TO KID bravely plunges into an aspect of reproductive choice often misunderstood, mischaracterized, or considered too taboo to discuss. With rising public awareness about climate change, resource scarcity and global population, this timely film asks the question “Why can’t we talk about not having children?” Director Maxine Trump joins us for a lively conversation on pros and cons of parenthood, how that decision has played itself out in her life and the lives of those around her.

 

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Foe news, screenings and updates go to: tokidornottokid.com

About the filmmaker: Maxine Trump worked for the BBC in London for seven years as a development executive for scripted comedy before emigrating to the USA, working as a TV commercial director and producer for eight years. She won BDA awards for her work on numerous commercial projects for Network TV and agency clients. She  went on to direct documentaries for Sundance, TNT, BBC, TLC, Discovery etc. Her previous feature film Musicwood was a New York Times Critics pick, festival award winner and played on TV and in theaters around the world. Maxine is the author of the book “The Documentary Filmmakers Roadmap” published by Routledge, she is a Sundance advisor and teaches documentary filmmaking at the New York Film Academy. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and inquisitive cat and is always seeking new stories to tell.

Social Media:
facebook.com/tokidornottokid
instagram.com/maxinetrump_childfreedirector
youtube.com/channel/MaxineTrump

 

“Candid and empathetic, the movie’s segments can feel rushed and unfocused; yet they have a ragged intimacy that argues implicitly for an individual’s right to choose, without interference or condemnation.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

“An engaging personal essay documentary about not having children, complete with interviews, arguments, hard data and sound reasoning coming from both sides of the debate” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

“Strong arguments hold that having children is in some cases a selfish choice. Not having children, by contrast, is not selfish.” – Harvey S. Karten, Big Apple Reviews

Mr. Toilet: The World’s #2 Man, Director Lily Zepeda

In the entertaining and informative documentary we meet Jack Sim, MR. TOILET: The World’s #2 Man. To strangers, Jack Sim might come across as an eccentric entrepreneur who is obsessed with toilets, but to those who know him he’s “Mr. Toilet,” a crusader for global sanitation. Born in the Singapore slums, Sim knows first-hand the agonies of not having a proper loo. Sim’s is dedicating his life to a crisis no one dares talk about. Not having a place “to go” isn’t just an inconvenience, it’s a problem that impacts 2.4 billion people worldwide. In India alone, 200,000 children die each year from lack of safe sanitation, while women are regularly raped because they have to defecate in public spaces. He founded the World Toilet Organization and spent the last 13 years lobbying 193 countries to raise awareness for proper sanitation. He even successfully lobbied the United Nations to create World Toilet Day (November 19) – the first International day of celebration for the toilet. Now he is plunged into his biggest challenge yet when asked to secure 6 million toilets for the “Clean India” initiative. But with few resources and no help from the government, his epic project and reputation are in jeopardy. Jack’s once supportive staff begins to doubt him; and when his family bonds start to fray over his obsessive dedication, Mr. Toilet realizes there is a price to pay for being the world’s #2 man. But as a “su-poo-hero”, he can’t quit. Director, producer and writer Lily Zepeda joins us to talk about a man possessed with bringing sanitation to a world that may not be ready to embrace it and how his mission has impacted the people closest to him.

 

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

Toilet Facts:
Almost 40% of the world’s population does not have access to safe sanitation
Almost 1 million children die every year from diarrhea due to a lack of sanitation
Over the past 200 years, toilets have added 20 years to the lifespan of humans
i in 5 girls in India drop out of school when they start having periods due to the lack of private toilets
Jack Sim was named one of the heroes of the environment for 2008 by TIME magazine

 

Social Media:
facebook.com/worldsnumber2man
instagram.com/mrtoiletfilm
instagram.com/lilyzepeda

 

100% on RottenTomatoes

“For me, the issue of clean sanitation and access to it is absolutely something I took for granted. Mr. Toilet showed me how foolish that idea was.” – Bobby LePire, Film Threat

“Enhanced by playful animations, this nicely composed documentary serves as an engagingly honest profile of a driven man and his prodigious movement.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times

“An intelligently crafted and balanced documentary that effectively captures her subject’s rambunctious personality, the sanitary issues he wants to bring to a wider audience, and even some light criticism.” – Andrew Parker, The Gate

“Bathroom humour is rarely so effective.” – Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

DOC/NYC spotlight: Mai Khoi and the Dissidents, Director Joe Piscatella

After the patriotic themes of her first hit song launch her to stardom in Vietnam, Mai Khoi’s personal and artistic growth places her and those around her in jeopardy. A shift from pop star to activist sees Khoi run for office, advocate for women’s rights and sit down with President Barack Obama. Her aspirations to release an album with her new band, The Dissidents, are challenged by looming retaliation by the authoritarian Vietnamese regime, leading the young activist to take drastic measures. Director Joe Piscatella stops by to talk about the journey of Vietnam’s most popular leading pop star from celebrated to hunted for speaking out against an oppressive regime hell-bent to silence her.

About the filmmaker: Joe Piscatella’s second feature documentary, Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower won the Audience Award at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and was acquired as a Netflix Original. His first feature documentary, #ChicagoGirl, has been seen in more than 60 countries. He was also an executive producer on the documentary Finders Keepers, which premiered at Sundance in 2015. In 2019 he was nominated for an Emmy for his directorial work on Food Interrupted. His latest documentary, Mai Khoi & the Dissidents premiered at the 2019 DOC/NYC film festival.

 

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Social Media:
twitter.com/jpiscatella
twitter.com/MaiKhoiOi

 

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

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

 

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

Social Media:
facebook.com/ernieandjoethefilm
twitter.com/ernieandjoe
instagram.com/ernieandjoethefilm

 

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

 

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

“Impressively intimate” – VARIETY

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

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

“10 out of 10 STARS” – FILM THREAT 

Atlantics, Director Mati Diop

Winner of the Grand Prix at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, ATLANTICS marks the feature narrative debut of director Mati Diop. Along the Atlantic coast of Africa, a soon-to-be-inaugurated futuristic tower looms over a suburb of Dakar. Ada, 17, is in love with Souleimane, a young construction worker. But she has been promised to another man. One night, Souleimane and his co-workers disappear at sea. Soon after, they come back to haunt their old neighbourhood by taking possession of the girlfriends they left behind. Some of the workers have come claiming revenge and threaten to burn the tower down if the developer does not pay their wages. But Souleiman has come back for Ada, so they can be together one last time. Director and writer Mati Diop joins us for a conversation on her compelling new film, finding love, and the mythology of a ghost story.

About the filmmaker: Trained in Le Fresnoy (National Studio of Contemporary Arts – a leading and very selective French artistic institution), Mati Diop directed four shorts and a medium-length film which received the “Martin E. Segal – Emerging Artist Award” of the Lincoln Center (USA) in 2016. A THOUSAND SUNS (2013), BIG IN VIETNAM (2011), SNOW CANON (2010) and ATLANTIQUES (2009) were selected and awarded in a wide number of international festivals such as the Venice International Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Rotterdam International Film Festival, the Viennale, The Indie Lisboa International Film Festival, and the FID Marseille. They were also programmed in the MoMA and in the Moving Image Museum (USA). As an actress, Mati Diop played in HERMIA Y HELENA by director Matias Piñeiro (2015), FORT BUCHANAN by Benjamin Crotty (2014), SIMON KILLER by Antonio Campos (2012) and 35 SHOTS OF RHUM by Claire Denis (2008).

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: mk2films.com/en/film/atlantics

Social Media:
facebook.com/mk2films/photos/atlantics-by-mati-diop
twitter.com/hashtag/atlantics
twitter.com/#MatiDiop

 

Grand Prix Winner, Cannes Film Festival 2019
Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival 2019
Official Selection, New York Film Festival 2019
Mati Diop, Mary Pickford Award Winner, Toronto International Film Festival 2019

 

“This shape-shifting Senegalese drama is pure cinematic poetry. Slipping in and out of modes with a magician’s confidence, Atlantics is mysterious and mythic, with a wizardly use of sound and some unforgettable images.” ★★★★★ The Telegraph – Tim Robey

“A striking work, with a lyrical, richly evocative ghost story. Exquisitely shot by Claire Mathon and lushly scored by Fatima Al Qadiri, the film pulls together some exceedingly strong components.”The Hollywood Reporter – Leslie Felperin

“Constantly intriguing, Atlantics is an intense romance notable for the craft of the filmmaking and Diop’s original approach to complex issues of love, loss and the forces for change that can rise from the ashes of tragedy.”Screen International – Allan Hunter

“A gorgeous, mesmerizing feature directorial debut. Atlantics is an absorbing, otherworldly vision of an alienated seaside life in Dakar.”IndieWire – Eric Kohn

“A romantic and melancholy film, part social commentary, part ghost tale, that works best in its evocation of loss and female solidarity.”Variety – Jay Weissberg

Saving Atlantis, Co-directors Justin Smith and David Baker

The problem: The decline of the world’s coral reefs

Coral reefs cover only 0.1 percent of the Earth’s surface, but they’re home to 25 percent of all marine species, and they’re being lost at an alarming rate. Pollution, overfishing and climate change are some of the human-influenced culprits in the dramatic decline of these magnificent natural structures. Coral reefs serve as a linchpin in the global food web. Their decline leads our entire planet in a perilous direction. But research from scientists around the world hints at bright spots where real strides can be made in preservation and protection of these habitats.

The film: SAVING ATLANTIS

Narrated by actor and activist Peter Coyote, SAVING ATLANTIS is a feature-length documentary film by Oregon State University that covers the dramatic decline of the world’s coral reefs and those who are fighting to save them. Following the Global Coral Microbiome Project, a National Science Foundation-funded effort to understand the underlying causes of coral disease, as well as other coral conservation efforts, SAVING ATLANTIS focuses on the plight of an endangered habitat and the people most dramatically impacted by its disappearance. It is an emotional exploration of some of our planet’s greatest natural wonders at a tipping point in their ecological history. Co-directors Justin Smith and David Baker join us to talk about the intense research being done to save this invaluable planetary resource.

 

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For news and updates go to: corals.oregonstate.edu/saving-atlantis

November 12 – The Bygone, Co-directors Graham Phillips and Parker Phillips

The inspiration for Parker Phillips and Graham Phillips debut feature film THE BYGONE was born from the grim effects of the recent oil boom in North Dakota. Beyond the environmental impact of the fracking itself, the boom brought a wave of lawlessness to a region not suited to respond to the flood of tens of thousands of predominantly male workers. Along with the drugs, violence and crime, this wave brought a heightened market for the sex trade, which disproportionately targeted and exploited young Native American women – our country’s most marginalized demographic, made vulnerable by centuries of disenfranchisement, discrimination and sexual victimization. It is compelling that natural resource extraction has once again led explicitly to the disruption of indigenous peoples and their culture, a narrative that echoes the gold rush and is as old as the foundations of America itself. The film explores the tension in this relationship within the modern western landscape, following a North Dakota cowboy and a Lakota girl as they attempt to survive in a land increasingly hostile to the Old West. In shedding light on the lawless shadows of our country, we learn how we have progressed as a Nation and what has remained unchanged, exploring the contemporary status of age-old relationships: East vs. West, Land vs. Industry, Cowboy vs. Indian, and ultimately the Future vs. the Bygone. The co-directors and screenwriters Parker Phillips and Graham Phillips stop by to talk about how their compelling feature film debut weaves together stories of sexual violence, human trafficking, fracking’s impact on America’s declining middle class and the historic abuse of Native Americans.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: phillipspictures.com/bygone

Social Media:
twitter.com/grahamphillips
instagram.com/grahamphillips

 

The Kingmaker, Director Lauren Greenfield

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

 

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

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

Social Media:
facebook.com/laurengreenfield
twitter.com/lgreen66
instagram.com/greenfield_lauren

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

St. Louis Superman, Director Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan

Bruce Franks Jr. is a 34-year-old battle rapper, Ferguson activist and state representative from St. Louis, Missouri. Known as Superman to his constituents, he is a political figure the likes of which you’ve never seen – full of contradictions and deep insights, who has overcome unspeakable loss to become one of the most exciting and unapologetic young leaders in the country. This short verité documentary follows Bruce at a critical juncture in his life, when he is forced to deal with the mental trauma he’s been carrying for the nearly 30 years since his 9-year-old brother was shot and killed in front of him, in order to find peace and truly fulfill his destiny as a leader for his community.  Co- director Smriti Mundhra  (Sami Khan) join us to talk about how a dynamic and charismatic man from a traumatized community took tragedy and turned into action.

About the filmmakers: Smriti Mundhras A SUITABLE GIRL  premiered at Tribeca in 2017 and won the Albert Maysles Award for Best New Documentary Director. KHOYASami Khan’s feature debut, was selected for the Tribeca Film Institute’s Tribeca All Access® fellowship.

 

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Social Media:
twitter.com/smritimundhra
facebook.com/smriti.mundhra
facebook.com/SamiKhan
twitter.com/samikhanfilm

 

Awards Shortlists:

Cinema Eye Honors – Short Listed – Best Short

DOC NYC – Best Shorts Short List

WINNER AUDIENCE AWARD – BEST SHORT DOC  – 2019 HOT DOCS FILM FESTIVAL – 2019 AFI DOCS FILM FESTIVAL – 2019 TRAVERSE CITY FILM FESTIVAL

WINNER – SPECIAL JURY AWARD  – 2019 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

WINNER – BEST SHORT DOC  – 2019 BIG SKY DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL

WINNER – BEST DOCUMENTARY – HEARTLAND FILM’S 2019 INDYSHORTS FILM FESTIVAL

“Thank you Mr. Mundhra. The film is powerful and simple.” – Lapacazo Sandoval, Los Angeles Sentinel

Gay Chorus Deep South, Director David Charles Rodrigues

The documentary Gay Chorus Deep South chronicles one community’s response to a wave of discriminatory anti-LGBTQ laws in Southern states and the divisive 2016 election. The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus embarks on a tour of the American Deep South. Led by Gay Chorus conductor Dr. Tim Seelig and joined by The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, the tour brings a message of music, love, and acceptance to communities and individuals confronting intolerance. Over 300 singers travelled from Mississippi to Tennessee through the Carolinas and over the bridge in Selma. They  performed in churches, community centers, and concert halls in hopes of uniting us in a time of difference. The journey also challenges Tim and other Chorus members who fled the South to confront their own fears, pain, and prejudices on a journey towards reconciliation. The conversations and connections that emerge offer a glimpse of a less divided America, where the things that divide us – faith, politics, sexual identity – are set aside by the soaring power of music and humanity. Director David Charles Rodrigues joins us to talk about the expectations and realities that comes with traveling to communities with the hope of changing hearts and minds.

 

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

Social Media:

facebook.com/gaychorusdeepsouth

twitter.com/gcds_film

instagram.com/gaychorusdeepsouth

WINNER AUDIENCE AWARD – BEST DOCUMENTARY – 2019 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

WINNER AUDIENCE AWARD – BERKSHIRE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

WINNER AUDIENCE AWARD – TOP 5 NONFICTION FAVORITES – 2019 TRAVERSE CITY FILM FESTIVAL

“Successfully harnessing the power of both music and message, documentary Gay Chorus Deep South draws its strength not only from its subject, but also the effective way in which it it presents its arguments.” – Nikki Baughan, Screen International

“What makes the film especially compelling, though, are the all-too-human narratives involving those who were at one time badly victimized because of their sexual orientation; they want to forgive, but may never be able to.” – Phil Guie, Film-Forward.com

“There’s a lesson here that applies to more than just LGBT political causes: To heal the country and move on, we must reach across the divide and listen to one another.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

“With good folks like this, from both sides of the aisle, there is hope for humanity yet.” – Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Hammer to Nail

Made in Boise, Director Beth Aala

The latest documentary film from Peabody Award-winning director Beth Aala, Made in Boise, looks at the world of modern day surrogacy. In the idyllic city of Boise, nurses, nail technicians, and stay-at-home mothers are choosing to become paid surrogates for people from around the world. Made in Boise offers a rare glimpse into this mysterious world by intimately following the lives of four surrogates, as they build relationships with the intended parents, prepare for the rigors of pregnancy, and navigate the mixed feelings of their own families, who struggle to understand their choice to risk the physical and emotional complications of carrying babies for someone else. Legal in some states and illegal in others, a number of states, including Idaho, have no laws governing surrogacy on their books at all. As the number of surrogate births surge across the country, Boise has become an epicenter of the movement, with a large population of healthy women of reproductive age and a significant number of Mormon and Catholic communities who value large families. In this “City of Trees” with a population of a little over 200,000, it is estimated that one in 15 mothers will carry a baby for a stranger at some point in her life. For couples who struggle with infertility, for gay couples, and single men, this industry — outlawed in many countries around the world — is often the last resort to biological parenthood. Director Beth Aala (Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman ) joins us to talk about challenges and rewards of surrogacy for the the women who bear the children and the intended parents.

 

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About the filmmaker: Beth Aala (Director) is a three-time Emmy Award-winning producer and recipient of a Peabody Award for her documentary work at HBO. Beth’s most recent feature documentary, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman (Sundance, 2017), which she co-directed and produced, is a film about unlikely conservationists based on New York Times  best-selling author Miriam Horn’s book of the same name. Beth also directed and produced Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon (Toronto, 2014) with comedian Mike Myers for A&E IndieFilms. The documentary is an intimate and entertaining portrait of talent manager Shep Gordon, the most famous man you’ve never heardhttps://www.facebook.com/madeinboise/ of. It won a Hollywood Film Award and garnered a 2015 News and Documentary Emmy Awards nomination. Her directorial debut, Pool Party, is the untold story of McCarren Pool-turned-music venue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, featuring music and performances by the Beastie Boys, the Breeders, M.I.A, Sharon Jones, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo. It played in festivals around the world.

For more on Made in Boise screening on Independent Lens go to: pbs.org/made-in-boise

For more on the work of Director Beth Aala go to: pinaypictures.org

Additional resources for Made in Boise:

itvs.org/films/made-in-boise

Social Media:

facebook.com/madeinboise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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“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