Long Gone Wild, Director William Neal

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

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

 

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

Social Media:

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“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

American Relapse, Co-directors Pat McGee and Adam Linkenhelt

AMERICAN RELAPSE tells the story of two people fighting to make a difference against the devastating heroin epidemic that’s spawning a billion-dollar treatment industry. Against the odds, in an “Us vs. the World” mentality, two recovering addicts spend their lives pulling needles out of the arms of addicts and assist in placing them in reputable treatment facilities.  The film features Frankie and Allie who live and work in Delray Beach, Florida, the Rehab Capital of America, now referred to by some as the Relapse Capital of America. They allowed the film crew all access for one weekend. What transpires over 72 hours is not only captivating and raw, but a heart-breaking rollercoaster ride. Frankie is 38 and has relapsed multiple times but continues to operate his F*ck Heroin Foundation with his mother. Allie is 28 and has been clean and sober for 10 years. While they are at different points on the recovery spectrum, they both share a deep belief in the 12th step: helping others.  These unlikely and imperfect heroes opened their lives for the world to see, hoping to shine a light anywhere and any way they can. In the process, they show viewers and addicts alike that despite seemingly impossible odds and devastating damage, empathy and hope can restore a little bit of humanity to those who struggle and can sometimes save their lives. Co-directors Pat McGee (Dopesick Nation, The Deported) and Adam Linkenhelt (24 to Life) join us to talk about their raw, honest film and South Florida’s heroin epidemic and the revolving door of the for-profit rehab industry.

 

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For news and updates go to: americanrelapse.com

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Twitter:

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“How the revolving door of drug rehabilitation became big business.” – Louis Proyect, counterpunch.org

“Eye-opening and damning.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

“Captures the recurring nightmare of substance abuse, which makes enduring the unthinkable (homelessness, prostitution, crime, death) an inevitable facet of one’s day-to-day.” – Nick Schager, Variety

The Long Shadow, Director Frances Causey

Of all the divisions in America, none is as insidious and destructive as racism. The powerful documentary THE LONG SHADOW takes a shockingly candid look at America’s original sin – slavery — and traces the history of slavery from the country’s founding, up through its insidious ties to racism today. We witness from the moment of America’s birth, how slavery was embedded in principal structural elements of society, and yet, even as slavery ended, these systems still operate today in various forms, carrying out their original purpose – to diminish the social role of black people and keep them in a perpetual state of suffering. Director Frances Causey and Producer Sally Holst, both privileged daughters of the South, were haunted by their families’ slave-owning pasts. They grew up in a time when white superiority was rarely questioned, and challenging this norm was often met with deadly consequences. Rejecting the oft-told romanticized version of early U.S. history, they embarked on a journey of hidden truths and the untold stories of how America – driven by the South’s powerful political influence – steadily, deliberately and with great stealth,  established white privilege in our institutions, laws, culture and economy. From New Orleans to Virginia, Mississippi and Canada, they traveled the roads of oppression, suppression, and even hope to reveal the direct link from early slavery, Jim Crow and strong-arm Southern politics to the current racial strife and division we face today. Director and Frances Causey is an Emmy-award winning journalist and documentary filmmaker who began her career with CNN. Her 2012 documentary feature, “Heist: Who Stole the American Dream?was a New York Times Critic’s Pick and is currently seen in over 50 countries. Causey was honored with the Women’s International Film and Television Jury Award for her work on Heist. Frances Causey joins us to talk about the stain of slavery and the legacy of racism that continues to torment the American Promise.

 

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For news and updates go to: thelongshadowfilm.com

Host a screening at: thelongshadowfilm.com/host-a-screening

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“The Long Shadow is a moving personal and informative history of anti-Black racism in the US packed with revealing details and analysis and leading us towards understanding, healing, and commitment to work for racial justice. A must see for white people concerned about racial equity and social justice.” ~ Paul Kivel, Co-founder, Showing Up for Racial Justice

“The Long Shadow is a gripping personalized history lesson, with Causey covering salient points, including how economics drove the despicable trading of humans. Her of-the-moment feature couldn’t be more necessary.” ~ Randy Myers, Mercury News

“If you want to know the true hidden history of the evil that slavery cast over America, and how it continues to this day, you must watch this movie.” ~ Thom Hartmann, The Thom Hartmann Show

The Cradle of Champions- Director Bartle Bull

The most awarded “dream team” of documentary talent in decades CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS captures the epic story of three young people fighting for their lives in the oldest, biggest, most important amateur boxing tournament in the world: New York’s Daily News Golden Gloves. CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS follows three extraordinary, inspiring individuals—James Wilkins, Nisa Rodriguez, and Titus Williams—on an urban odyssey through a ten-week tournament, founded in 1927, that has produced more professional world champions than the Olympic Games. Telling a compelling story of dreams, heartbreak, and redemption, the result is a unique work of art. CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS is edge-of-the-seat drama with the polish of a Hollywood feature film and the intimacy of a gritty cinéma vérité classic.CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS Director Bartle Bull is a noted author and journalist who has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Financial Times. He joins us for a conversation on his desire to document an iconic sporting event that is teetering on the edge of extinction and the community that continues to support it.

 

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Cradle of Champions Dream Team:

Director of Photography, TOM HURWITZ ASC, – (Valentino: The Last Emperor, Queen of Versailles)

KIRSTEN JOHNSON – (Citizenfour, Cameraperson)

MATT PORWOLL – (Cartel Land )

WOLFGANG WELD – (Escape Fire: The Fight to Save American Health Care, Carrier)

NADIA HELLGREN – (Trapped, Searching for Sugarman, Fahrenheit 11/9)

Editor MICHAEL LEVINE – (Restrepo, Central Park Five, Billy the Kid)

Producer MAIKEN BAIRD – (Icarus, City of Ghosts, Client 9: The Trial of Eliot Spitzer)

Executive Producer DONALD ROSENFELD – (Tree of Life, Jodorowsky’s Dune)

For news and updates go to: cradleofchampionsfilm.com

“A new standard for character-driven narrative documentary… the excitement, the powerful story arc, and the unforgettable characters one expects from a first rate fiction film.”Santa Barbara Independent

Edge-of-the-seat drama with the polish of a Hollywood feature and the intimacy of a cinéma vérité classic.WeAreMovieGeeks.com

CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS wins Best Feature award at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, capturing “real life… with cinematic beauty”The Missoulian

January 18 – Ashley Connor, Cinematographer, Independent Spirit Award Nominee (Madeline’s Madeline)

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.

 

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For news and updates go to: ashleyconnor.net

Social Media:

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Islam and the Future of Tolerance, Co-director Jay Shapiro (Desh Amila)

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.

 

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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 news and updates go to: islamandthefutureoftolerance.com

Watch the debate featuring Maajid Nawaz on the Australian Public Affairs program: Think Ink

“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

Bob Lazar, Area 51 and Flying Saucers, Director Jeremy Corbell

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.

 

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For news and updates go to: TheLazarStory.com

United We Fan, Director Michael Sparaga

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.

 

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Social Media

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twitter.com/unitedwefandoc

instagram.com/unitedwefandoc

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

Rodents of Unusual Size, Co-Director Jeff Springer, (Quinn Costello, Chris Metzler)

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.”

 

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For news and updates go to: rodentsofunusualsize.tv

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 AWARDWild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival

BEST DOCUMENTARY AWARDUNA George Lindsey Film Festival

BEST DOCUMENTARY AWARDTupelo Film Festival

SPECIAL JURY AWARD FOR FILMS FOR OUR FUTUREMendocino Film Festival

EXCELLENCE IN AMERICAN PROFILES AWARDSF Docfest

JURY AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARYOceanside 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, Director Ramaa Mosley and Actor Kip Collins (Fig)

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.

 

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For news and updates go to: bgpics.com/2018/lost-child

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“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