Friday, August 23 – 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.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

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

Social Media:

twitter.com/issitalopez

instagram.com/issitalopez

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

Wednesday, August 21 – 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.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

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

Friday, August 16 – 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

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

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:

facebook.com/ColdCaseHammarskjold

facebook.com/ColdCaseFilm

instagram.com/ColdCaseHammarskjold

Mads Brugger:

twitter.com/MBrgger

instagram.com/madsbrugger

“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

Friday, August 9 – 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:

facebook.com/OneChildNation

twitter.com/OneChildNation

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

Friday, August 2 – 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. 

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

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

Wednesday, July 31 – 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.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

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

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

facebook.com/hbodocs

twitter.com/HBODocs

instagram.com/hbo

“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

Friday, July 23, – 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

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

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

Social Media:

facebook.com/longgonewild

twitter.com/longgonewild

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.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

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.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

For news and updates go to: thegreathack.com

Social Media:

twitter.com/jehanenoujaim

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.  

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

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.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

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:

facebook.com/MoxieFirecrackerFilms

twitter.com/MoxieFirecracker

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.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

The Edge of Democracy is available at: netflix.com

For more about the filmmaker go to: petracosta.com

Social media:

facebook.com/PetraCostaOficial/

twitter.com/petracostal

instagram.com/petracostal

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?

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

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.

Social Media:

facebook.com/BeingWatchedDOC

twitter.com/BeingWatchedDOC

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

This One’s for the Ladies, Director Gene Graham

Every Thursday Night hundreds of women gather for a potluck celebration and the chance to throw singles at the hottest dancers in New Jersey, The Nasty Boyz – featuring Satan, Mr. Capable, Fever, Young Rider and lesbian ‘dom’ dancer Blaze. THIS ONE’S FOR THE LADIES isn’t just about the tips or the dancing. It’s a heartwarming story of friendship and the resilience that comes from community. Hilarious, eye-opening, and breathtakingly sexy, THIS ONE’S FOR THE LADIES is a virtual how to guide for letting go of your troubles and having a good time. Director Gene Graham (The Godfather of Disco) joins us to talk about the respect he has for all of the people, patrons and strippers, in his film, how the film Magic Mike and the lack of people of color in it “inspired” his nuanced, multi-layer response.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

For news and updates go to: thisonesfortheladiesmovie.com

For more about the filmmaker go to: determinedpictures.com

**WINNER – SPECIAL JURY RECOGNITION – SXSW

OFFICIAL SELECTION – SFFILM FESTIVAL

OFFICIAL SELECTION – SHEFFIELD DOC FEST

OFFICIAL SELECTION – AFI DOCS

“Showcases a vibrant and thriving community of dance shows and the people who enjoy them, and finds the humanity behind the G-strings.” – Jude Dry, Indiewire

“Gene Graham talks more eloquently about poverty, race, police than most works I’ve seen specifically about those things” – Carvell Wallace (NYT, New Yorker, GQ, Slate)

“A rowdy snapshot of this underground scene, where muscular, tattooed, and (yes) rock-hard guys bump, grind, gyrate and do far, far nastier things.”  – Nick Schager, The Daily Beast

** Dance with Film Festival Spotlight

Saturday, June 15 – Raceland, Director Scott Bloom

Raceland is the story of Blake and Lloyd, two old friends from the bayou. As kids they were thick as thieves and had the kind of close friendship that songs are written about. After being separated for a number of years, they’ve rekindled their friendship anew, present day. During a day of fishing, Lloyd is tragically injured and Blake steps up to nurse him back to health. It’s during their concentrated time alone together that they realize the love they had for each other back when they were kids, did not disappear… it’s just buried under years of social cues and macho veneer. Director, Producer and Writer Scott Bloom joins us to talk about the story behind Raceland, his own transition from documentary to narrative filmmaking and the film’s premiere at the Dances with Films Festival.

For news and updates go to: tragoidia.com

Wednesday June 18 – Gutterbug, Director Andrew Gibson

GUTTERBUG is a film about a young man’s human experience as he struggles with the demands of conformity. After running away from home, Bug finds his place in the underbelly of society, among the counter culture of anti-establishment street punks. He is driven by conflict: between morality and survival, life and death, love and anger, being a decent person and not giving a fuck. Homelessness, mental health, drug addiction, family and violence will carry our plot. His desire to cut ties with his past life is outweighed by a powerful pull back to true north, brought on by a series of sentimental flashbacks which spark a journey back to his family. Back to the only thing that makes life worth living. He could do without the possessions and he could do without a house, but he sees it is impossible to live without a home. Today is Bug’s birthday, this is his story. Director and writer Andrew Gibson stops by to talk about the guerrilla filmmaking that brought Gutterbug to life, hanging out with the “right” crowd and the upcoming West Coast premiere at the Dances with Films Festival Wednesday, June 19 at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

For news and updates go to: facebook.com/gutterbug

The Lavender Scare, Director Josh Howard

THE LAVENDER SCARE is the first documentary film to tell the little-known story of an unrelenting campaign by the federal government to identify and fire all employees suspected of being homosexual. In 1953, President Eisenhower declared gay men and lesbians to be a threat to the security of the country and therefore unfit for government service. His directive triggered the longest witch hunt in American history. Over the next four decades, tens of thousands of government workers would lose their jobs for no reason other than their sexual orientation. But the actions of the government had an unintended effect. They inadvertently helped ignite the gay rights movement. In 1957, after thousands had lost their jobs, a Harvard-trained astronomer named Frank Kameny became the first person to fight his dismissal.  His attempts to regain his job evolved into a lifelong fight for the rights of LGBT people. The Lavender Scare is a compelling story of one man’s fight for justice. And it is a chilling reminder of how easy it can be, during a time of fear and uncertainty, to trample the rights of an entire class of people in the name of patriotism and national security. Director Josh Howard (60 Minutes) joins us to talk about Senator Joseph McCarthy, scare tactics, blind prejudice and the willful destruction of thousands of peoples lives.

 

Download MP3 Podcast | Open Player in New Window

For news and updates go to: thelavenderscare.com

The Lavender Scare opens in Los Angeles on June 7 at the Laemmle Music Hall on June 7

Social Media:

facebook.com/Josh-Howard

“Glenn Close’s voice-over is used to try to smooth over jumps forward and backward in time, but keeping all the players here in balance proves difficult for first-time director Josh Howard. – Dan Callahan, The Wrap

“This powerful doc is sadly all too relevant.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

“Thoroughly researched and evidenced, wonderfully detailed, informative and authoritative but always in touch with the human story at its heart. – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“The Lavender Scare is a must watch for everyone in today’s political climate regardless of sexual orientation.” – Beth McDonough, After Ellen