ASHLEY CONNOR is a New York based director of photography. Her work on Josephine Decker’s BUTTER ON THE LATCH and THOU WAST MILD AND LOVELY prompted New Yorker critic Richard Brody to name her, alongside Darius Khonji and Fabrice Aragno, as one of the year’s best cinematographers. Her breadth of style can be seen in work as diverse as Dustin Guy Defa’s PERSON TO PERSON (Sundance ’17) and Adam Leon’s TRAMPS (TIFF ’16), as well as in popular music videos for artists including Jenny Lewis, Angel Olsen and Maggie Rogers. She had two films premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, Josephine Decker’s MADELINE’S MADELINE and Desiree Akhavan’s Grand Jury Prize winning THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST starring Chloe Moretz and Sasha Lane. Most recently she shot two pilots for A24/Hulu and has three more films coming out in 2018: Olivia Newman’s FIRST MATCH (SXSW 2018 Audience Award Winner, Netflix produced), Alex O Eaton’s MOUNTAIN REST and an Untitled Daniel Scheinert film. Ashley Connor stops by for a conversation on her work on Josephine Decker’s Madeline’s Madeline’s Madeline and her Spirit Award nomination for her cinematography.
The riveting and illuminating documentary, Islam and the Future of Tolerance follows prominent atheist philosopher Sam Harris and Islamist-turned-liberal-Muslim Maajid Nawaz, after publicly clashing in a debate over the concept of Islamic reform in the Muslim world. The two men reconnect several years later in an attempt at civil and honest dialogue. Sam and Maajid attempt to explore their real or imagined divides by clearly and rationally dissecting their disagreements. Through the course of their discussions, they tackle troubling passages from the Quran, the importance of the precision of language and terms (such as “Jihadism,” “Islamists,” and “radical,”) and the difficulty in finding helpful and honest responses in a fraught political terrain. Ultimately, this unlikely collaboration sheds light on the many confusions that afflict the public conversation about Islam and emphasizes how the virtues of open dialogue can help foster both understanding and tolerance in an increasingly polarized world.
Sam Harris entered life as a public intellectual after 9/11 and soon found himself regarded as a leading voice of the “New Atheist” movement, along with Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett. He spent much of the next decade writing books such as The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation,and The Moral Landscape and publicly engaging religious scholars and apologists in highly contentious conversations.
Maajid Nawaz was arrested and thrown into an Egyptian prison, where he spent four years before beginning his slow journey out of radical Islamism. By the time he emerged, he had decided to dedicate his life’s work to reforming Islam from within. He started Quilliam, a counter-extremism organization.
Islam and the Future of Tolerance tells the story of an unlikely conversation on a topic of grave importance, and how it changed two foes into friends. Director Jay Shapiro joins us to talk about his engaging and enlightening documentary.
“For these reasons and more, the film serves as a rewarding introductory course to the school of thought that Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz are a part of.” – Hunter Lanier, Film Threat
“Anyone can wrangle a group of talking heads in front of a camera or audience to bloviate on the merits of religious belief, but Avila and Shapiro’s purposes are more urgent and pressing.” – Nathanael Hood, The Young Folks
“A talkative film in which the very act of talking about this subject is a first tiny victory.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation
“Nevertheless, in a society that’s always demanding that minorities do the hard work of explaining themselves, only to deny them the chance to do so, this is a bold attempt to do things differently.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
In the highly entertaining and jarring documentary BOB LAZAR: AREA 51 AND FLYING SAUCERS the curtain is pulled back on Area 51, flying saucers from another world – and the program to create a fierce, new technology that could easily change everything about the world we think we know. Bob Lazar remains the singular most famous and controversial name in the world of UFOs. The reason you know about Area 51 is because Lazar came forward and told you about it. His disclosures have turned his life upside-down and he has tried to stay out of the spotlight. For this reason, he has never let any filmmaker into the private world of his daily life – that is – until now. BOB LAZAR: AREA 51 AND FLYING SAUCERS explores Lazar’s claims through the lens of thirty years – providing rare and never before revealed footage – guaranteed to alter the landscape of the debate. Director Jeremy Corbell joins us to talk about the fantastical and yet credible story of a seemingly honest and sincere messenger telling the world that we are not alone.
Fans, stars, creators and more come together to explore the history and evolution of TV’s save-our-show fan campaigns in Michael Sparaga’s (The Missing Ingredient) humorous and heartfelt feature documentary UNITED WE FAN. From the letter-writing and product mail-ins of yesterday to the social media and crowdfunding campaigns of today, UNITED WE FAN goes beyond the headlines to give viewers deeper insights into fandom, community and identity. For most viewers, it’s simply a disappointment when their favorite TV series is cancelled. But the fans of some series take the loss a lot harder. And they fight back. UNITED WE FAN chronicles the stories of those passionate individuals and their unique crusades to save their beloved shows. Declared “a joy to watch” by POV Magazine, UNITED WE FAN intertwines the remarkable stories of Kaily, Dorothy and the Trimbles while also taking time to delve into the inspiring campaigns to save Designing Women, Quantum Leap, Chuck, Longmire, Jericho, Veronica Mars, Roswell and the Rosetta Stone of rescued TV series Star Trek. “UNITED WE FAN is not a movie about television’s wackiest fans,” said director Michael Sparaga, “rather, it’s a love letter to the inspiring people who have formed communities and fought tirelessly against seemingly impossible odds to give viewers everywhere more seasons of some of television’s most iconic shows.” Director / Writer / Producer Michael Sparaga joins us to talk about the men and women whose embrace and affection for specific television series goes way beyond passive entertainment into the realm of a life affirming connections to the creators, performers and characters who have enriched their lives via episodic storytelling.
UNITED WE FAN is available on multiple VOD platforms beginning December 4
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
“A cheery collage of anecdotes about how popular culture brings people together and inspires them to fight for the things they love.” – Norman Wilner, Toronto Now
“It’s a fun film to watch, but also one that makes us question how far we’re all willing to go to save our favourite series from extinction, and where the future of such fan campaigns might be going from here.” – Andrew Parker, The Gate
“United We Fan is a brisk, enjoyable look at the way TV fan culture has evolved since the days when Star Trek first flirted with cancellation.” – Jesse Schedeen, IGN Movies
“What United We Fan does very well is that the documentary offers a blueprint for the many television fans wanting to save their favorite series.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies
Hard headed Louisiana fisherman Thomas Gonzales doesn’t know what will hit him next. After decades of hurricanes and oil spills he faces a new threat – hordes of monstrous 20 pound swamp rats. Known as “nutria”, these invasive South American rodents breed faster than the roving squads of hunters can control them. And with their orange teeth and voracious appetite they are eating up the coastal wetlands that protects Thomas and his town of Delacroix Island from hurricanes. But the people who have lived here for generations are not the type of folks who will give up without a fight. Thomas and a pack of lively bounty hunters are hellbent on saving Louisiana before it dissolves beneath their feet. It is man vs. rodent. May the best mammal win. Rodents of Unusual Size is a documentary by Quinn Costello, Chris Metzler and Jeff Springer (Everyday Sunshine,The Story of Fishbone). Co-director Jeff Springer join us to talk about the other ‘beast of the Southern wild.”
Rodents is opening in Los Angeles on September 14th through September 19th @ 1:10pm, 3:20pm, 5:30pm, 8:00pm, & 10:10pm at the Laemmle’s Monica Film Center, 1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica
Opening night Q&A with filmmakers Chris Metzler, Quinn Costello, and animation director Mike Blum
BEST OF FESTIVAL AWARD – Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival
BEST DOCUMENTARY AWARD – UNA George Lindsey Film Festival
BEST DOCUMENTARY AWARD – Tupelo Film Festival
SPECIAL JURY AWARD FOR FILMS FOR OUR FUTURE – Mendocino Film Festival
EXCELLENCE IN AMERICAN PROFILES AWARD – SF Docfest
JURY AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY – Oceanside International Film Festival
92% on Rotten Tomatoes
“Rodents of Unusual Size is also a look at how human folly can contribute to environmental disaster, but awareness and ingenuity can help bail us out.” – Peter Keough, Boston Globe
“Depicting the resilience of both the nutria and the Louisianans who’ve endured their presence for many years, Rodents of Unusual Size proves enjoyably quirky and informative.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
“… a squirmy, funny, fascinating documentary that mixes history, zoology and social and cultural anthropology to examine the relationship of the giant rat to the bayou Louisianans who hunt, skin and sometimes even eat the dagger-incisored critters.” – John Beifuss, Commercial Appeal
“A bizarre and fascinating documentary that’ll make your jaw drop.” Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News
LOST CHILD follows an army veteran, Fern, who returns home in order to look for her brother, only to discover an abandoned boy lurking in the woods behind her childhood home. After taking in the boy, she searches for clues to his identity, and discovers the local folklore about a malevolent, life-draining spirit that comes in the form of a child; the Tatterdemalion. A beautifully-crafted mystery drama from award-winning director Ramaa Mosley. LOST CHILD stars Leven Rambin, Jim Parrack, John Taylor Smith, and Landon Edwards. Director / co-screenwriter (Tim Macy) Ramaa Mosley and actor Kip Collins joins us for a conversation on PTSD, self-financing your own film, the supernatural, and bracing the people of the Ozarks.
“An extraordinarily delicate balancing act between drama and horror, visually and psychologically expansive, set in a place where stories of monsters are not mere entertaining fun, and where superstition is not harmless.” – MaryAnn Johnson, Flick Filosopher
“The slow-burning thriller walks a fine line, balancing elements of psychological drama and the supernatural, with a surging undercurrent of social commentary that sneaks up on you.” – Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times
“The slow-burning thriller walks a fine line, balancing elements of psychological drama and the supernatural, with a surging undercurrent of social commentary that sneaks up on you.” – Fred Topel, Monsters and Critics