The Reagan Show, Co-Director Sierra Pettengill (Pacho Velez)

 

Download MP3 Podcast

Teasing apart the spectacle at the heart of finger-on-the-button global diplomacy, THE REAGAN SHOW follows Ronald Reagan’s rivalry with charismatic Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, tracing how the Communicator-in-Chief uses his public relations chops to overcome Soviet mistrust, the objections of a skeptical press corps and the looming threat of WW III. Chock full of wit and political irony, and told solely through 1980s network news and videotapes created by the Reagan administration itself, the film explores Reagan’s made-for-TV approach to politics as he faced down the United States’ greatest rival.  Pacho Velez’s & Sierra Pettengill’s timely film explores Ronald Reagan’s media savvy through the use of  previously unseen footage shot by White House staff. Co-director Sierra Pettengill (Pacho Velez) joins us for a conversation on this sweeping behind the scenes look at a pivotal moment in the history of US / Russian relations and the impact of an enveloping new media culture.

For news and updates go to: The Reagan Show

100% on RottenTomatoes

Laemmle – Playhouse 7  – Q&A with Writer Josh Alexander and moderated by: Akiva Gottlie (Int’l Documentary Association) – Saturday July 1st

“As clever and breathtaking a look at the performative aspects of our politics as any film made in recent memory, and perhaps ever.”– Brandon Harris, Filmmaker Magazine.com

“[A] masterful documentary that is crucial and unique.” – Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out NY

“This doc says volumes about then and now.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone.com

“…a jokey yet wonky trip through the alternate reality of the modern era’s first great political media machine.” – Chris Barsanti, The Playlist

Dalya’s Other Country – Director Julia Meltzer

 

Download MP3 Podcast

A smiling, effervescent teenager, Dalya is the focus of the new documentary Dalya’s Other Country, which tells the remarkable story of a family displaced by the Syrian conflict and explores a young life caught between highly politicized identities. Dalya comes across as an ordinary Southern California teenager. She takes selfies and goes to prom. She plays sports and hangs out at the mall. She is also the only student at her Catholic high school who wears a hijab. In 2012, Dalya moved to the United States from Aleppo, Syria, as her country disintegrated in the wake of a horrific civil war. Starting in 2013, the film follows Dalya and her mother through what seems at first a typical immigration experience. They adjust to unfamiliar American ways,  even as they maintain the cultural and religious traditions that sustain them. However, they grow tense and anxious as the 2016 presidential campaign unfolds and candidate Donald Trump calls for restrictions on Muslim immigrants. Director Julia Meltzer stops by to talk about Dalya’s uniqueness and the commonality of human beings seeking acceptance and a chance to be themselves.

MONDAY, JUNE 26 at 9 PM PBS Television Series POV Kicks-Off 30th Season with Timely Focus on Syrian War and Global Refugee Crisis

Dalya’s Other Country is a co-presentation with the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)

For news and updates go to: pbs.org/pov/dalyasothercountry

Also go to: dalyasothercountry.com

Hare Krishna! The Mantra, The Movement and the Swami Who Started It All – Co-Director Lauren Ross (John Griesser, Jean Griesser)

 

Download MP3 Podcast

1965: America is in turmoil. Unprecedented introspection and questioning of societal norms roil the country. Prabhupada, an unassuming 70-year-old Swami from India, arrives in New York City alone and without support or money. He carries only the ancient scriptures he has translated, and the firm faith in his teacher’s request: “offer spiritual wisdom to the people of the world!” Suddenly thrust into the raging counterculture movement, Prabhupada speaks of the world’s real need, which is not necessarily satisfied by political or social revolutions, but by a revolution of consciousness. This divergence from the status quo successfully captures the attention of a generation of youth seeking answers to life’s existential questions. From a tiny storefront on 26th 2nd Avenue, Prabhupada shares with them the idea that the way to find real happiness, love and freedom is to search within and connect to your true self. All this, the Swami says, begins by simply chanting a rhythmic, meditative 16-word mantra – Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This universal message resonates with more and more people, including musician George Harrison whose hit song ‘My Sweet Lord’, features the Hare Krishna chant. From there, Prabhupada’s movement explodes, and his followers – now known as the Hare Krishnas – become infamous for chanting and dancing in the streets. Co-director Lauren Ross (John Griessen, Jean Griessen) joins us to talk about the remarkable life and time of Swami Prabhupada and his mission to teach happiness.

For news and updates: harekrishnathefilm.com

“A dynamic documentary about the visionary Vedic scholar who launched the Hare Krishna movement.” – Spirituality and Practice

HARE KRISHNA! director John Griesser and producer Lauren Ross will participate in Q&A’s at the Monica Film Center after the 7:30 PM screenings on Friday and Saturday, June 23 and 24. HARE KRISHNA! writer Jean Griesser will join them on Friday and HARE KRISHNA! composer Michael Mollura will join them on Saturday.

** LAFF – What We Started, Co-Directors Bert Marcus and Cyrus Saidi

 

Download MP3 Podcast

WHAT WE STARTED aims to establish itself as the defining film of the electronic music genre.  Through an artfully crafted narrative and stunning visual techniques, the film delves into the highly popular world of electronic dance music, providing backdoor access to a widely misunderstood, self-driven and well-insulated industry on its way to global domination.  Presently, the genre is booming at a pinnacle higher than ever before, however most do not realize that electronic dance music began as an underground movement that originated in America.  The film sets out to illuminate this rich history: from its underground inception in the late 1980s in America to the musicians and fans of this genre that relentlessly fought for their rights around the world, both in the dance club and on the streets, to find a safe space to express themselves, to the development of this modern, mainstream revolution that has taken the world by storm. Specifically, and with unprecedented access, WHAT WE STARTED follows industry pioneers, like Carl Cox, who are juxtaosed by the journey of a young, superstar of today, Martin Garrix.  These dichotomous journeys of past and present are carefully interwoven to illuminate all viewpoints and highlight the momentous and groundbreaking time that electronic dance music is experiencing presently, while also leaving open the question of what will happen next for this incredible genre of music. WHAT WE STARTED Co-directors Bert Marcus and Cyrus Saidi join us to talk about the history of today’s dynamic soundtrack and their film’s world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

For news and updates go to: bertmarcus.com/what-we-started/

** For news and updates go to: filmindependent.org/la-film-festival

World Premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival

Thursday, June 15, 5:30 p.m. – Arclight Santa Monica

 Press and Industry screening

Monday, June 19, 1:30 p.m. – Arclight Culver City

** LAFF – Skid Row Marathon, Director Mark Hayes and Producer Gabrielle Hayes

 

Download MP3 Podcast

In this compelling and compassionate documentary SKID ROW MARATHON we watch as Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Craig Mitchell hands down sentences to convicted criminals. But at the Midnight Mission on LA’s Skid Row, Judge Mitchell trades his robes for running shoes, leading a long-distance running club that gives its members a sense of purpose and pride. A budding artist, a single mom and a former rock musician are among the members, all of whom are fighting their way out of homelessness, addiction or the prison system. Through the streets of LA and around the world, Judge Mitchell and the Skid Row Running Club truly approach each race and  each day one step at a time, as they run their way toward a brighter future. With compassion and care, SKID ROW MARATHON from director Mark Hayes shares the inspiring story of people who bravely face not only the grueling physical demands of running marathons, but the relentless doubts that threaten one’s sense of self-worth, accomplishment and joy. Director Mark Hayes and Producer Gabrielle Hayes stop by to talk about finding humanity and hope among people who are often seen as having neither. For news and updates go to: skidrowmarathon.com

** For news and updates go to: filmindependent.org/la-film-festival

** LAFF – Your Own Road, Director Brandon Buczek

 

Download MP3 Podcast

An idealistic recent film school graduate with few local professional options takes a road trip from Ohio to Los Angeles with his anxious best friend, his troubled high school sweetheart, and a hitchhiker hippie, to chase his dream of becoming a filmmaker. Your Own Road is about not letting extenuating circumstances determine your path in life. Brian (ASHTON MOIO) wants to make films but whether it’s his parents’ wishes, his geographical location, or just his self-doubt, the world seems stacked against him. Brian hits the road to break away from what is expected of him and pursue what he truly wants out of life. Along for the ride is his best friend Dan (AMIR MALAKLOU) whose whole  life is structure and routine until his   abusive ex-girlfriend dumps him and his plans go out the window. Brian also “accidently” invites his next-door-neighbor and hormer crush, Ally (CORTNEY PALM), who abuses prescription drugs to deal with her depression from caring for her grandmother with Alzheimer’s. Along the road they meet vibrant characters none more so than Ariel (KYM JACKSON), an Australian hitchhiker hippie who is not all that she seems, who they pick up in Colorado going in no place in particular. Each one of these characters takes the journey to California for unique reasons but they all find their inner selves traveling through such a diverse and sometimes scary country. Director and writer Brandon Buczek joins us to talk about his debut film world premiere at the 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival.

** Screening at the Los Angeles Film Festival 

For news and updates go to: filmindependent.org/la-film-festival

Instagram: @yourownroadfilm

Real Boy, Director Shaleece Haas

 

Download MP3 Podcast

The documentary Real Boy follows the journey of trans teen Bennett as he navigates adolescence, sobriety, and the physical and emotional ramifications of his changing gender identity. Through the process, his mother Suzy makes her own transformation — traveling a difficult road toward accepting that the daughter she raised as Rachael is now her son Bennett. Filmed over the course of four years, Real Boy is a love story about a mother and son who rediscover connection with each other and find support from their communities, reminding us that families are not only given, but chosen. Produced and directed by Shaleece Haas (The Genius of Marian), Real Boy premieres on Independent Lens Monday, June 19, 2017, 10:00-11:00 PM ET on PBS. In addition to her work as a director/producer, Haas is an instructor of video storytelling at UC Berkeley’s Advanced Media Institute. She is a 2015 Film Independent Documentary Lab Fellow, a 2012 Working Films (Reel Aging) fellow and a member of the Queer Producer’s Collective. Director Shaleece Haas drops by for a conversation on this moving and intimate story of a family in transition.

For news and updates go to: realboymovie.com

Twitter: twitter.com/realboymovie

Facebook: facebook.com/RealBoyMovie

“Bennett finds his voice in more ways than one in this heartwarming tale of mentorship and chosen families.” – NBC News

“Bennett Wallace, a trans teenager facing heartaches and joys … is charming, funny and insightful throughout.” – Chicago Tribune

“A vibrant and joyful film, Real Boy will inspire viewers to listen to songs of their own inner voices.” – Showbiz Chicago

“Into this particular moment in history steps this remarkable new documentary film, Real Boy.”  – Below the Fold

Catching Feelings, Director / Writer Kagiso Lediga

Max  Matshane  (Kagiso  Lediga),  is  a  34-year  old  author  who  wrote  a  South African bestseller  in  his  20’s,  but  whose  star has  waned  and  now  finds  himself  as  a disgruntled  professor,  teaching  creative writing  at  the  local  university. Max  lives in  a  leafy  Johannesburg  suburb  with  his exceptionally  beautiful  wife,  Samkelo (Pearl  Thusi),  whose  career  is  on  the  rise as a reputable  journalist. Despite  their love  for  each  other,  their  relationship has  hit  a  rut.  Max  now  spends  his  time at  dinners  and  events,  musing  over  his frustrations  with  his  key  conspirator  and sounding  board,  Joel  (Akin  Omotoso), who  himself  has  his  hands  full  with  an illicit affair. A  wintery  Johannesburg  sets  the  scene, as  it  brings  with  it  a  very  successful  and flamboyant  author,  Heiner  Miller  (Andrew Buckland),  who  abandoned  South  Africa for greener pastures and now returns to  do  a  residency  in  Max’s  department.  But  after  Heiner  suffers  a mild  heart  attack, Max is  forced  to  bring him into his own home to recuperate. Instantly,  tensions  rise  as  the  infectious joie  de  vivre  of  Heiner  is  set  on  a  collision course  with  the  mundane  life  that  Max and  Sam  have  cultivated.  With  new questions  about  love  and  truth  thrust upon  them,  Max  and  Sam  are  faced  with an  unexpected  crossroad,  as  they  search for reason and purpose to life. Director and writer Kagiso Lediga joins usto talk about his edgy, sophisticated and funny feature and its debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival.

Los Angeles Film Festival Screening Time:

Sunday, June 18th at 6:10pm (ArcLight Culver City)

For news and updates go to: bigdog.digitalworkshop.tv/CatchingFeelings or go to: diprente.co.za/portfolio/catching-feelings

facebook.com/FeelingsMovie

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, Director Steve James

 

Download MP3 Podcast

From the celebrated filmmaker Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters, Life Itself), comes his illuminating new film, ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL. The film tells the incredible saga of the Chinese immigrant Sung family, owners of Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York. Accused of mortgage fraud by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Abacus becomes the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The indictment and subsequent trial forces Thomas Sung and his formidable daughters to defend themselves—and their bank’s legacy in the Chinatown community—over the course of a five-year legal battle. Tracking the many twists and turns of the case, Oscar-nominated James creates a moving portrait of a family, a community, and a way of life. Director Steve James joins us for a conversation on his illuminating and infuriating showcase of great documentary filmmaking.

For news and updates go to:abacusmovie.com

facebook.com/abacusmovie

Nuart – Los Angeles. Steve James and Mark Mitten in Q&A with Kirby Dick following 6/9, 7:30pm screening.

**WINNER** AUDIENCE AWARD – 2017 San Diego Asian Film Festival Showcase

**WINNER** AUDIENCE AWARD: BEST DOCUMENTARY – 2017 Sarasota Film Festival

**WINNER** BEST EDITING: FEATURE LENGTH DOCUMENTARY – 2017 Ashland Independent Film Festival

RUNNER UP – GROLSCH PEOPLE’S CHOICE DOCUMENTARY AWARD – 2016 Toronto International Film Festival

BEST OF FEST – 2017 Palm Springs International Film Festival

“[Steve James] is one of our most humanist filmmakers… [He] has an amazing ability to capture entire communities by focusing on a few people within them… The big picture doesn’t matter if we can’t see how it’s impacting people on a day to day basis.” – Brian Tallerico, Roger Ebert.com

“It’s not every day that you end up rooting for a bank, but the story “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail” tells is no ordinary tale.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“James spins a fascinating and complex web involving lies, fraud, a months-long trial with a hung jury, and cultural biases against Abacus and the immigrant Chinese community it serves.” – Kristen Yoonson Kim, Village Voice

“In its intimate, well-observed way, the film is deeply moving… a snapshot of a loving family coming together during a crisis.” – Tim Grierson, Screen International

Radio Dreams, Director Babak Jalali

 

Download MP3 Podcast

RADIO DREAMS, winner of the 45th Rotterdam International Film Festival’s Tiger Award, is the newest feature film from Iranian-British director Babak Jalali (FRONTIER BLUES). RADIO DREAMS creates the bizarre yet very real world of PARS-FM – a Farsi-language radio station broadcasting from the heart of San Francisco. The story unfolds over a single day as the station’s program manager, Hamid – a brilliant, misunderstood Iranian writer (played by the “Iranian Bob Dylan” Mohsen Namjoo) – prepares for a triumphant broadcast – a live performance pairing Metallica and Kabul Dreams, Afghanistan’s first rock band. Meanwhile, Hamid must juggle a dysfunctional mix of on-air talent, station managers, and performers while fending off the owner’s plans to wrest control of the station. RADIO DREAMS brings to life the sometimes bizarre experience of immigrants pursuing dreams in the U.S.A. with the perfect mixture of honesty, art, and socio-political topicality served up in an ingenious, offbeat transmission.

For news and updates go to: radiodreamsthemovie.com

facebook.com/radiodreamsmovie

WINNER – Tiger Award for Best Picture – 45th Rotterdam International Film Festival
WINNER – Best Director – Tarkovsky International Film Festival
WINNER – Best Actor – Durban International Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION – Viennale, Milano, Munich, San Francisco, and Seattle International Film Festivals

Screenings in Southern California:

Opens in the Los Angeles area on Friday, June 9 

at Laemmle’s Ahrya Fine Arts (Beverly Hills)

at Laemmle’s Town Center (Encino)

and at Edwards Westpark 8 (Irvine)

“The quirky setups, oddball interactions and erratic conflicts … provide ample doses of amusement and provocation to keep things afloat.” – Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times

“There are traces of early Wim Wenders in this story of immigrants adrift in a world not their own, trying to make the best of things.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

“Royami is the heart of the film: It is his sincere and artistically principled dream of a musical union between East and West, between Metallica and Kabul Dreams, that fuels the film’s engine.” – Catherine Bray, Variety

“The film examines, with wit and patience, the hard work of community-building – and the toll on someone far from home, doing work that’s not his calling.” – Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

Freedom to Marry, Director Eddie Rosenstein

 

Download MP3 Podcast

The epic, nail-biting story of the same-sex marriage movement from the war room of this historic civil rights campaign. THE FREEDOM TO MARRY follows Evan Wolfson, the architect of the movement, civil rights attorney Mary Bonauto, and their key colleagues as they wage their climactic battle before the United States Supreme Court. More than the untold story of one movement’s history – this is an inspirational primer on how to face America’s challenges ahead. Director Eddie Rosenstein talks about how he and his crew were able to capture the pivotal people and the moving real-time history of the preeminent civil rights movement of our time.

For News and updates go to:freedomtomarrymovie.com

facebook.com/FreedomToMarryMovie

Available Digitally June 6th onVOD Platforms including iTunes, Amazon and Google Play

“Crisply and compassionately directed by Eddie Rosenstein, this film couldn’t come at a better time” – David Noh, Film Journal International

“Surprisingly suspenseful and thoroughly moving and inspiring.” – Peter Keough, The Boston Globe

“The film is a reminder of the long and difficult work that victory took as well as a notification that no triumph can be taken for granted” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“A suspenseful legal yarn and an essential history lesson. But it could also provide a blueprint for the continuing civil rights challenges of our time.” – Daphne Howland, The Village Voice

“A landmark documentary…this is a unique perspective not just on one movement’s history—but on how regular people can fight back, even against incredible odds” – Curve Magazine

One Less God, Director Lliam Worthington

 

Download MP3 Podcast

In 2008, a band of young Islamic militants from Pakistan lands in Mumbai, their primary target, the iconic Taj Mahal hotel. With Indian forces unable to regain control, for 4 days the guests must battle to survive as the terrorists seek to drive them from hiding. The harrowing events that follow will come to be known as India’s 9/11 and one of the most audacious terrorist attacks in history is captured in a horrifying and enlightening story of cruelty and sustaining humanity. One Less God Director Lliam Worthington joins us to talk about why it was important for him to shine a light on a tale of monsters and men. Director Lliam Worthington Statement: “I wanted to craft a story that walked the line between demonization and apologetics, and that would be a genuine movement towards greater humanism and compassion. One that might aspire to promote healthy discussion afterwards, as opposed to heighten fear and increase the polarization. I also wanted to capture the emotional authenticity of those who suffered in the attacks but counter that with a genuine exploration into the psyches of the terrorists. Then use those two conflicting yet parallel journeys as a means to evoke broader questions around man’s inhumanity to man and the nature of belief.”

For news and updates go to: newrealmsfilms.com.au

For details on the screening of One Less God go to: danceswithfilms.com/one-less-god

Dances with Film screening Thursday, June 8 @ 9:30PM

facebook.com/OneLessGodMovie

Cruel and Unusual, Director Vadim Jean

 

Download MP3 Podcast

The story of three men who have spent longer in solitary confinement than any other prisoners in the US because of the murder of a prison guard in 1972 at Angola, the Louisiana state penitentiary. Robert King, Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox were convicted by bribed and blind eye witnesses and with no physical evidence. Targeted as members of the Black Panther party the film follows their struggle against the miscarriage of justice and their cruel and unusual treatment. Known as the ‘Angola 3’, their story culminated in 2016 with the release of Albert Woodfox after 43 years in solitary confinement. ‘Cruel and Unusual’ has been eight years in the making. But that pales into insignificance compared to the 43 years that Albert Woodfox spent in a 6 foot by 9 foot cell for a crime he did not commit. After years left forgotten in the depths of America’s bloodiest prison, their struggle against this injustice had become an international scandal; when on the 19th February last year, on his 69th birthday, Albert was finally released, it was headline news around the world. On any given day it is estimated that ten to fifteen thousand prisoners are kept in solitary in the US. Director Vadim Jean joins us in a conversation about the incredibly heartbreaking and infuriating saga of the three men subjected to unspeakable brutality.

For news and updates go to: Cruel and Unusual film

If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast, Director Danny Gold

 

Download MP3 Podcast

If You’re Not In The Obit, Eat Breakfast asks the question, “What’s the secret to living into your 90s – and loving every minute of it?” In this feature documentary, irrepressible writer-comedian Carl Reiner (who shows no signs of slowing down at 95) tracks down several celebrated nonagenarians, and a few others over 100, to show how the twilight years can truly be the happiest and most rewarding. Among those who share their insights into what it takes to be vital and productive in older age are Mel Brooks, Dick Van Dyke, Kirk Douglas, Norman Lear and Betty White. Adding spice to this inspiring documentary are admirers from the younger set, including comedian Jerry Seinfeld (who’s already reserved the stage at Caesar’s Palace for his 100th birthday show), longevity expert Dan Buettner, and Van Dyke’s much-younger wife Arlene, who’s got all she can handle keeping up with her exuberant husband on the dance floor. Directed by Danny Gold, If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast is an entertaining look at how we all can overcome our society’s fear of aging, and how anyone, with a good dose of humor, can live well into their 90s.

For news and updates go to: If You’re Not the Obit, Eat Breakfast

Premiere Airing on HBO – June 5th at 8 PM 

“If only every inspirational documentary could be as delightfully diverting as “If You’re Not In the Obit, Eat Breakfast” …” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times

Eliza Sherman’s Revenge, Director / Writer Gregory Fitzsimmons

 

Download MP3 Podcast

Ten years ago, Eliza Sherman was humiliated by people she thought were her friends. Now, after an unorthodox encounter, she finds herself newly endowed with special powers.  So she decides to lure her old nemeses to a house in the Hollywood Hills under the guise of a birthday party for ’80s heartthrob Richard Grieco. By spiking the salsa, she brings about a drug induced slumber party — trapping everyone in the house with a good, old-fashioned forcefield.  Battle lines are drawn, and relationships are put to the test. Eliza’s plans to punish her houseguests repeatedly go awry as her powers prove to be no match for fate.  She must conquer her ego and stop screwing up the space-time continuum if she wants to find peace, and ultimately win the heart of her one true love. It’s twenty-four hours of mayhem, marijuana, Mexican food, and (almost) murder in this pitch-black, supernatural revenge comedy. Forgiveness is overrated. Director Gregory Fitzsimmons joins us to talk about his  quirky, off-kilter time-warped comedy.

For news and updates got to: elizashermansrevenge.com

Dances With Films

Saturday June 3, 9:30pm – TCL CHINESE THEATRE – HOLLYWOOD, CA  

Buster’s Mal Heart, Director Sarah Adina Smith and Producer Jonako Donley

 

Download MP3 Podcast

Buster’s Mal Heart is a bold thriller peppered with dark humor and interlocking mystery, an eccentric mountain man is on the run from the authorities, surviving the winter by breaking into empty vacation homes in a remote community. Regularly calling into radio talk shows — where he has acquired the nickname “Buster” — to rant about the impending Inversion at the turn of the millennium, he is haunted by visions of being lost at sea, and memories of his former life as a family man. Buster (Rami Malek) was once Jonah, a hard-working husband and father whose job as the night-shift concierge at a hotel took its toll on his psyche and, consequently, his marriage to the sensitive Marty (Kate Lyn Sheil) — until a chance encounter with a conspiracy-obsessed drifter (DJ Qualls) changed the course of their lives forever. As the solitary present-day Buster drifts from house to house, eluding the local sheriff at every turn, we gradually piece together the events that fractured his life and left him alone on top of a snowy mountain, or perhaps in a small rowboat in the middle of a vast ocean — or both, in this visceral mind bender that will provoke discussion long after it turns your world upside-down. Director and writer Sarah Adina Smith and Producer Jonako Donley join us to talk about her wildly entertaining tale.

For news and updates go to: bustersmalheart.com

“A film that’ll break your heart as much as it’ll scramble your brains.” – Paste

“A dark psycho-horror drama that pulls you relentlessly further into the abyss.” – Monsters and Critics

“A storyboard of surreal puzzle pieces that snap together then suddenly split apart.” – The New York Times

“An affecting brainteaser with echoes of Lynchian dissociation.”  – John Defore, Hollywood Reporter 

“Fantastic, thought-provoking, off-beat, and hilarious.” – Ryland Aldrich, Screen Anarchy 

“Genre bending… touching and terrifying.” – Kalyn Corrigan,  Birth.Movies.Death 

Malek has the range to be utterly charming, utterly creepy, or both at once.” – Geoff Berkshire, Variety

“Unclassifiable… a bold, original thriller” – Stephen Saito, The Moveable Fest

Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation, Co-directors Peter Spirer and Peter Baxter

 

Download MP3 Podcast

The origin of lacrosse belongs to the Native American Haudenosaunee (pronounced “ho DEE no Show nee”) who the French called Iroquois. To this nation of 125,000 people it is more than a game. It is a profound medicine, part of Iroquois cosmology and their lifeblood. Gifted players like the Thompson brothers and Brett Bucktooth Junior provide a spiritual sense of what it’s like playing Lacrosse with a “good mind”. They belong to a pool of only 400 Iroquois players, whereas team Canada and USA draw from over 600,000. In 2010 England hosted the World Lacrosse Field Championship and the United Kingdom refused to accept Haudenosaunee passports denying the Iroquois Nationals their chance to compete on the world stage. They have waited four years for the next championships in Denver. Out of the 83 nations taking part in the games, the Iroquois win the bronze medal for the first time. The Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team is not only among the world’s best, but ambassadors for their Nation’s sovereignty and recognition. In 2015, the Iroquois hosted the World Championships on Native soil for the first time ever, in which history, politics and culture all collided on the playing field before the eyes of the world. Co-directors Peter Spirer and Peter Baxter stop by for a conversation on their nuanced documentary as well as the history, culture and spirit of the of the Haudenosaunee people. 

For news and updates go to: xlratormedia.com/film/spirit-game-pride-nation

“Spirit Game” covers a lot of territory, which gives it something of an all-over-the-map quality. But the subject matter is always enough to hold our attention.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation…delivers an invaluable history lesson on lacrosse and North American colonialism.” – Shane Slater, AwardsCircuit.com

“… concentrates too heavily on game footage at the expense of context, yet it conveys a positive message while allowing viewers to appreciate the sport and its unique history.” – Todd Jorgenson, cinemalogue.com

Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS, Co-director Nick Quested (and Sebastian Junger)

 

Download MP3 Podcast


Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker and best-selling author Sebastian Junger and his Emmy-winning producing partner, Nick Quested, chronicle Syria’s descent into the unbridled chaos that allowed the rise of the Islamic State, better known as ISIS, in Iraq and Syria. The film follows as the peaceful anti-government protests of the Arab Spring turn into an armed uprising against the despotic regime of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, opening a door to a dangerous new enemy that preys on the disenfranchisement felt by Sunni Muslims in the Middle East and around the world.  In 2011, the Syrian people’s hopeful demonstrations for democratic reform were met with brutal repression by the Assad government, plunging the country into unending violence and despair. The resulting civil war has taken the lives of an estimated 400,000 people and uprooted millions more, creating a global refugee crisis. Conflict between the government, moderate rebel groups and ISIS jihadis have all but destroyed ordinary daily life in much of the country, and left the  nation’s largest metropolis, the ancient city of Aleppo, in ruins. Pulling from nearly 1,000 hours of stunningly visceral footage, the filmmakers provide a comprehensive picture of the conflict. Junger and Quested, who previously collaborated on a trio of films about the war in Afghanistan (Restrepo, “The Last Patrol” and “Korengal”), capture the Syrian war’s harrowing carnage, political and social consequences, and, most important, its human toll, while painting an alarming picture of the west’s role in the creation of ISIS. Hell on Earth co-director / co-producer Nick Quested stops by to talk about a war that is destroying the social and political fabric of the entire Middle East as well as the unspeakable horror being visited upon millions of innocents.

For news and updates go to: nationalgeographic.com/hell-on-earth

“The 100-minute film does a phenomenal job detangling the numerous scenarios that led to Syria’s civil war and current bloodbath, dispelling the notion that this conflict is too complicated for those not versed on the Middle East to understand.” – Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times

“”Hell on Earth” portrays the Syrian citizens, who live in a morass of civil war, with an emotional directness we can’t turn away from, to the point that it’s no longer possible to think of those citizens as “them.” They are us, or could be.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“A mostly impressive array of experts … adds to the merciless clarity of this tragic picture.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

Mammoth Lakes Film Festival – Shira Dubrovner, Founder and Festival Director

 

Download MP3 Podcast

Shira Dubrovner, longtime resident of Mammoth Lakes, is a community organizer and leader, arts advocate, and film lover who followed her lifelong passion for cinema to become the founder of the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival. Shira is also the Artistic Director of this well regarded theatre company. After her experience creating a successful theatre in Mammoth (established at the Edison Theatre, which will serve as one of the key screening venues during this year’s film festival), she decided to introduce the community to her other passion – independent film – by creating the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival.  This year’s Mammoth Lakes Film Festival is a five-day festival that screens independent features and shorts in the spectacular setting of Mammoth Lakes—California’s premier mountain resort, high in the Eastern Sierras from May 24 – 28, 2017, Memorial Day weekend. The 3rd Annual Mammoth Lakes Film Festival, taking place  in the magnificent mountain setting of Mammoth Lakes, California, has announced its line-up of screenings, which will include premieres, festival favorites and classic films. The five-day festival will take place May 24-28, 2017, beginning on Wednesday with the Opening Night Screening of Cheech and Chong’s much-loved first feature UP IN SMOKETommy Chong, one of its stars as well as its uncredited co-director, will be  present for a Q&A after the screening, which is followed by the Gala Opening Night Party at the Sierra Events Center. Saturday evening will feature the SIERRA SPIRIT AWARD CENTERPIECE GALA & SCREENING: A Night with John Sayles. The evening will begin with a screening of his 1983 film BABY IT’S YOU starring Rosanna Arquette and Vincent Spano, followed by a conversation with Sayles and a presentation of the Sierra Spirit Award. Sayles’s credits include THE BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET, MATEWAN, EIGHT MEN OUTLONE STAR, and THE SECRET OF ROAN INISH, amongst others. In addition to the two classic films representing the work of Chong and Sayles, an additional 18 features will be screened over the five days of the festival. Feature documentary films in competition will include EIGHT (US Premiere), FOREVER B, (World Premiere), THE ISLANDS AND THE WHALES, OLANCHO, RAT FILM, STRAD STYLE and WHAT LIES UPSTREAM. Spotlight Screening Documentaries not in competition will include THE CHALLENGEDINA, and MACHINES. Feature narrative films in competition will include NEIGHBORHOOD FOOD DRIVE, WITHDRAWN, SPACE DETECTIVE. Foreign films in competition will include COLD BREATH, THE ERLPRINCE, THE FIXER and THE GREAT UNWASHED (U.S. Premiere). The final Narrative Feature, not in competition, will be the rave-reviewed Sundance hit MENASHE, which has been picked up by A24 for distribution. In addition to the Opening Night Gala and the Sierra Spirit Award Event, there is a Filmmakers Bash on Saturday evening at Rafters featuring the band Jelly Bread and the Awards Ceremony on Sunday, May 27 at the Sierra Events Center. Founder and Director Shira Dubrovner joins us to talk about this year’s festival highlights.

For ticket sales and updates go to: mammothlakesfilmfestival.com

The Last Shaman, Director Raz Degan

 

Download MP3 Podcast

Directed by Raz Degan, The Last Shaman is the story of James Freeman, a young man who decides to take matters in his own hands when faced with incurable depression. He undergoes a life-changing journey in the Amazon jungle that brings him a deeper understanding and acceptance of self. Along the way, he experiences the healing properties of the tribal plant medicine Ayahuasca and the world around it. From the outside looking in, James is living the American dream. But behind closed doors, he has no desire to live and contemplates suicide. Desperate to find a way out of darkness, James travels to the Amazon rain forest with one mission: to save his own life. Without knowing any of the dangers that lie ahead, he starts searching for a Shaman who can help. James’ road to redemption isn’t easy — he faces many obstacles and even a few life-threatening experiences as he learns to acknowledge the space inside himself and understand a larger truth about how we’re all connected. After undergoing various forms of treatments from tribal plants and medicines, James is faced with the consequences of his own actions. He undergoes a life changing experience that brings him a deeper understanding and acceptance of himself, and a more profound understanding of the interconnectedness of us all. Director Raz Degan join us for a conversation on their journey into a world of spirituality, self awareness and an ancient culture.

For news and updates go to: thelastshaman.com

“It’s possible to have doubts about ayahuasca (which, we learn, has been increasingly commercialized) and still find Mr. Freeman’s resolve uplifting.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times