International Documentary Association (IDA) is fiercely committed to protecting and defending the rights of documentary filmmakers to practice their craft, seek and reveal truth in their films, and make and sell their work freely in a fair marketplace. We strenuously uphold the principles of free speech and believe that documentary films, however provocative they may be, should never be silenced by an authority, corporation or legal system that may feel threatened by their content. Where filmmakers are under fire, and their predicament stands to set precedent for us all, the IDA brings together the weight of our community to fight for their rights in the courts, the press, congress or wherever that threat may lie. IDA is the only group advocating specifically for the documentary filmmaking community. In many ways, this makes IDA’s advocacy work the most important and relevant work we do. If documentary films better inform your world, if you believe in freedom of speech, if you are concerned that the media space grows ever smaller and cherish the diversity that independent voices bring, and if you’re a fan of David (over Goliath) then you probably share our values. Documentary storytelling expands our understanding of shared human experience, fostering an informed, compassionate, and connected world. The International Documentary Association (IDA) is dedicated to building and serving the needs of a thriving documentary culture. Through its programs, the IDA provides resources, creates community, and defends rights and freedoms for documentary artists, activists, and journalists. Executive Director Simon Kilmurry joins us to talk about IDA, the screening series currently underway and the state of documentary filmmaking in 2017.
In Justin Chon’s feature film GOOK is a dramedy about Eli and Daniel, two Korean American brothers, who own a struggling shoe store and their unique and unlikely friendship with Kamilla, an 11-year old African American girl. The film opens with Eli scoring a stash of fresh sneakers as his golden ticket to get out of debt and fix his biggest problem: keeping his dad’s shoe store open. Against her brother Keith’s warnings, Kamilla ditches school again to help out at the shoe store, her mother’s former workplace. Everything is going as planned until Kamilla accidentally reveals a gifted pair of expensive sneakers to Keith. Keith realizes Kamilla has been going to the shoe store. Out of anger towards Eli and Daniel he uses this opportunity as revenge and plans to steal all the shoes. Eli must make the ultimate decision for the future of the store and the people he loves. With the chaos of the LA Riots moving towards them, the trio are forced to defend their store against Keith while contemplating the future of their own personal dreams and the true meaning of family. Director, Writer and Executive Producer Justin Chon joins us for a conversation on his powerful, soul searching film about race, friendship, and family.
WINNER – Best Actress; Best Director; Audience Award Best Film; and Grand Jury Prize – LA ASIAN PACIFIC FILM FESTIVAL 2017
WINNER – Audience Award Best Film; Honorable Mention Jury Award – CAAM FEST 2017 – SAN FRANCISCO
WINNER – Best Feature Film Jury Award – LAS VEGAS FILM FESTIVAL 2017
“Chon’s drama is uneven but bristling with life, and it offers a new perspective on a calamitous moment, one whose 25th anniversary has been commemorated in recent months with a slew of potent documentaries.” – Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times
“Director, writer and actor Justin Chon remembers the 1992 LA Riots with a rare Korean-American perspective in “Gook,” which reveals itself as a poignant picture of race and friendship.” – Kyle Kohner, The Playlist
“Nodding to Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing and Kevin Smith’s Clerks, this sophomore feature exemplifies the grunge and angst-ridden energy of the 90s, with a humorous streak as frank as its racially charged title.” – Leah Pickett, Chicago Reader
“Gook may not come close to the electric greatness of Lee’s 1989 film but, as a gesture in its direction, it’s alive with biting promise.” – Alison Wilmore, BuzzFeed
Executive Producer Morgan Spurlock presents director Amanda Micheli’s provocative documentary follows several aspiring parents who desperately want to have a baby but are struggling with infertility and the high cost of treatments. They place themselves in the hands of a Las Vegas doctor and his annual contest, which offers a prize of a free round of in-vitro fertilization—with no guarantee of success. Contestants post their video entries on YouTube, counting on the votes of strangers to make their dreams of parenthood come true. Despite the fact that 1 in 6 couples worldwide are unable to naturally conceive and carry a baby to term, for fear of judgment or heartache or both, infertility stories are largely kept secret. While exposing private pain online to win a contest is a brutal proposition, IVF is rarely covered by insurance in the U.S., so many infertile couples consider this a gamble worth taking. Through this controversial contest, VEGAS BABY navigates the complexities of America’s burgeoning fertility industry and unveils the class disparity within a topic that is often clouded by judgment and stereotypes.Oscar-nominated Director Amanda Micheli joins us to talk about the universal themes of desire and loss through her intimate portrait of the diverse individuals – from a devoutly Catholic Latino couple in Texas to a lesbian Lady Gaga Impersonator in New York – determined to have a baby against all odds.
“Through a humane, emotional examination of the contest… director Amanda Micheli’s documentary highlights the complexities and despair of America’s fertility industry.” – Joe McGovern / Entertainment Weekly
“The economic and emotional costs of in vitro fertilization are powerfully evident from the first moments of VEGAS BABY… having gained remarkable access to fertility patients over a two-year period, Micheli follows them through roller-coaster waves of despair and hope.” – Sheri Linden / Hollywood Reporter
“VEGAS BABY offers a look inside an otherwise intensely private sphere, marked by economic difficulties, raw emotions, and—with luck—confetti-strewn celebrations.” – Laura Regensdorf / Vogue
“New IVF Doc Exposes Underground World of Hunger Games-Esque Baby Raffles; Amanda Micheli’s VEGAS BABY explores a digital-age concept for women failing to conceive.” – Elissa Strauss / Elle
“Micheli turns an unrelenting eye on tough stories that transcend sex and gender.” – Kate Erbland / Indiewire
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.
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
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
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
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)
The danger is palpable as intrepid young filmmaker Nanfu Wang follows maverick activist Ye Haiyan (a.k.a Hooligan Sparrow) and her band of colleagues to Hainan Province in southern China to protest the case of six elementary school girls who were sexually abused by their principal. Marked as enemies of the state, the activists are under constant government surveillance and face interrogation, harassment, and imprisonment. Sparrow, who gained notoriety with her advocacy work for sex workers’ rights, continues to champion girls’ and women’s rights and arms herself with the power and reach of social media. Filmmaker Wang becomes a target along with Sparrow, as she faces destroyed cameras and intimidation. Yet she bravely and tenaciously keeps shooting, guerrilla-style, with secret recording devices and hidden-camera glasses, and in the process, she exposes a startling number of undercover security agents on the streets. Eventually, through smuggling footage out of the country, Wang is able tell the story of her journey with the extraordinary revolutionary Sparrow, her fellow activists, and their seemingly impossible battle for human rights. Director Nanfu Wang stops by for a conversation on her daunting journey to bring this story to light and Ye Haiyan’s bravery in the face of overwhelming obstacles.
LA Asian-Pacific Film Festival – Grand Jury Prize
Dallas Film Festival – Silver Heart Award
Sheffield Doc/Fest – Special Jury Prize
International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights – Youth Prize AND Jury Prize
Movies that Matter – Golden Butterfly AND Human Rights Award
Nashville Film Festival – Special Jury Prize for Badass Filmmaking
Ashland Independent – Best Documentary
Greenwich Film Festival – Best Documentary AND Best Social Impact Film
Human Rights Watch NY – Nestor Almendros Award for Courage in Filmmaking
Northwest Fest – Best International Feature
“A whistleblowing documentary made with fearless guerrilla cunning …” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“Other movies have more powerfully exposed the corruption of contemporary China, but few have so articulately confronted how women always seem to be the first citizens to have their wings clipped.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire
“[A] tremendous documentary …” – Diana Clark, Village Voice
“This is independent filmmaking at its most courageous. By keeping faith with her subjects, she put herself at risk, which is beyond admirable.” – Joe Bendel, Epoch Times
For eleven years, an improv group called The Commune has reigned as the big fish in the small pond of their New York improv theater. Commune members Miles, Samantha, Jack, Allison, Bill and Lindsay invent comedy without a script and without a net. They’re ingenious, they’re fast, and they build on each others’ ideas like best friends – which they also are. Night after night they kill onstage and wait for their big break. Day after day day they work menial jobs to support themselves. Then they get news that their theater is shutting down, and scouts from a hit TV show come to a performance, looking for talent. Only two cast members get the nod, upsetting the dynamic of the group and leaving its future in doubt. Relationships begin to crack as six best friends face the truth that not all of them will make it, and for some, it may be time to give up on the dream and move on. Funny, insightful and honest, DON’T THINK TWICE looks at a common experience that’s an uncommon subject for a film: failure. As he did in his acclaimed debut about a stand-up comedian, SLEEPWALK WITH ME, writer/director/actor Mike Birbiglia captures universal human experiences that happen in the lives of professionally funny people. With a top-flight ensemble of comic actors including Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Kate Micucci, Chris Gethard, Tami Sagher and Birbiglia, DON’T THINK TWICE tells a nuanced story of friendship, aspiration and the pain and promise of change. Co-star Kate Micucci joins us to talk about being a part of the summer’s breakout hit, doing improv, on stage and on screen. Kate Micucci, along with partner Riki Lindhome, make up the comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates. The two met at Upright Citizens Brigade theatre in Los Angeles in 2007 and named their group after the “two famous rock-and-roll second bananas” Art Garfunkel and John Oates. The duo, which regularly performs and tours across the country, were named one of the Top 10 Comics to Watch by Variety.
“Don’t Think Twice is hilarious, yes, but it’s also thoughtful and sad and sweet. Birbiglia knows how to communicate those things, too.” – Sheila O’Malley, RogerEbert.com
“Don’t Think Twice,” which has a warm heart, could have been a much nastier movie. Yet its disappointed show-business hopefuls dreading their expiration dates make no bones about their insecurities.” – Stephen Holden, New York Times
“”Don’t Think Twice” really shines as an improv procedural, a film that celebrates, in illuminating detail, the skills and anxieties of this showbiz subgenre.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
“Birbiglia continues to mine a scene he knows well, and even though he doesn’t strike you as a natural-born filmmaker (some of these scenes are as flatly lensed as the SNL sketches being spoofed), he’s evolving as a confrontational dramatist.” – Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out
GLEASON is the powerful, inspiring story of Steve Gleason and his mission – after being diagnosed with ALS – to leave a legacy for his son and make the world a better place for all people with neurological disorders. At the age of 34, Gleason, a former NFL defensive back and New Orleans hero, was diagnosed with ALS and given a life expectancy of two to five years. Weeks later, Steve and his wife Michel discovered that Michel was pregnant with their first child. Director Clay Tweel’s GLEASON masterfully assembles roughly four years of footage, including personal and surprisingly humorous video journals shot by Gleason himself for his then-unborn son Rivers, and the athlete’s globe-trotting adventures undertaken as part of his mission to live his life to the fullest. What emerges from this incredibly intimate portrait is not only a showcase of an astonishing assertion of the human spirit, but, more importantly, a powerful and inspirational look at life, love and family, and the intense bonds between husbands and wives and fathers and sons, in sickness and in health. GLEASON premiered to standing ovations and widespread critical acclaim at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival before garnering an audience award at the recent SXSW Film Festival. Director Clay Tweel (Finders Keepers, Print the Legend) joins us to talk about getting to know Steve and Michel, witnessing the day-to-day challenges that come with the devastating impacts of ALS and the process of editing down over 1,300 hours of video.
To see Steve, Michel, Clay and others from Gleason at Q&A screenings on July 29 and 30 go to: gleasontickets.com theaters
“There are moments of such raw, intimate anguish in this film that you can’t help but turn away.” – Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice
“One of the most powerful, poignant documentaries of the past decade.” – Nick Schager, The Daily Beast
“Tweel’s approach is no-frills, with much of the footage having been shot by Gleason and his wife Michel. This is wise: The story itself is so wrenching that any attempt to gussy it up would run the risk of feeling overwrought, even manipulative.” – Mike Nordine, The Wrap
“Having followed [Gleason] from the start, we can’t help but see the active mind inside that body, one full of love for his family and determination to stay with them as long as he can.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter
Travis (Matt McGorry), a young struggling musician, crosses paths with Ellen (Amy Hargreaves), an older married yoga teacher who is trying to adopt a child with her husband. Travis and Ellen begin an affair that slowly deepens into something more intimate and profound. As their encounters continue, Ellen is confronted with her failing marriage while Travis must face the consequences of his actions. Written and directed by Marc Meyers (HARVEST) and stars Matt McGorry (Orange is the New Black), Amy Hargreaves (Homeland, BLUE RUIN), Britne Oldford (American Horror Story) and veteran film and theatre actor Mark Blum (Mozart in the Jungle). Director Marc Meyers joins us for a conversation on managing the responsibilities of writing, producing and directing his own unforgettably intimate film.
There will be Q&As opening weekend in Los Angeles on Friday, July 8th following the 7:00pm show with Marc Meyers, Matt McGorry and Amy Hargreaves; on Saturday July 9th following the 7:00pm show with Marc Meyers and Matt McGorry and on Sunday, July 10th following the 1:20pm show with Marc Meyers.
*** Official Selection – 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival***
“How He Fell in Love is truly adult moviemaking that respects both carnality and commitment. It’s the type of mature drama that’s rarely seen in American movies.” – Bob Strauss, Los Angeles Daily News
“…the subtly wrought interior life (Amy)Hargreaves instills her in character holds your gaze throughout.” – John Lopez, The Huffington Post
“… (Marc) Meyers has so grounded the narrative that it feels like a fresh unique take.” – Terence Johnson, Award Circuit
“…the real standout of this story is the five-star turn by the wonderful and heartbreaking Amy Hargreaves who lays barren equal parts love and hate, joy and sorrow in a brave performance that isn’t afraid to show the emotional turbulence and confusion of a woman of age…” Star Pulse
THE MUSIC OF STRANGERS: YO-YO MA AND THE SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE follows an ever-changing lineup of performers drawn from the ensemble’s more than 50 instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, arrangers, visual artists and storytellers as they gather in locations across the world, exploring the ways art can both preserve traditions and shape cultural evolution. Over the past 16 years, an extraordinary group of musicians has come together to celebrate the universal power of music. Named for the ancient trade route linking Asia, Africa and Europe, The Silk Road Ensemble, an international collective created by acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, exemplifies music’s ability to blur geographical boundaries, blend disparate cultures and inspire hope for both artists and audiences. Blending performance footage, personal interviews and archival film, Academy Award winning director of 20 FEET FROM STARDOM Morgan Neville (Cool School, Beauty is Embarrassing, Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story, Best of Enemies) and producer Caitrin Rogers focus on the journeys of a small group of Silk Road Ensemble mainstays from across the globe to create an intensely personal chronicle of passion, talent and sacrifice.
THE MUSIC OF STRANGERS SPECIAL APPEARANCE: The universal power of music is celebrated in THE MUSIC OF STRANGERS: YO-YO MA AND THE SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE, opening at The Landmark on Thursday, June 9 at 7:15pm, with daily screenings beginning Friday, June 10. The film’s Oscar-winning director, Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom), will appear in person on Saturday, June 11 for a Q&A after the 7:40pm show; and Monday, June 13 for a Q&A after the 7:40pm show.
**2016 Berlin Film Festival – Special Gala**
**2015 Toronto International Film Festival – Official Selection**
“Neville is keenly aware of how to show the musicians’ kinetic energy onscreen, and he relies on this talent to keep the film consistently alive and moving.” – Tina Hassannia, Rogertebert.com
“Neville is as expert at getting the human stories behind the songs as he is in capturing the music.” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times
“Morgan Neville’s documentary is a joyous revelation, a group portrait of superb musicians from all over the world offering music as an emblem of what people can do in these fractious times when they live in concert with one another.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
KING JACK is the story of a scrappy fifteen year-old kid, Jack, stuck in a run-down small town. Trapped in a violent feud with a cruel older bully and facing another bout of summer school, Jack’s got all the problems he can handle. So when Jack’s aunt falls ill and his runty younger cousin must stay with him for the weekend the last thing Jack wants to do is look after him. Unfortunately no one really cares what Jack wants. Set over a hazy summer weekend, KING JACK is a tough and tender coming of age story about friendship and finding happiness in rough surroundings. It feature a terrific ensemble cast of young actors headed up by an beautifully realized performance from Charlie Plummer, as Jack. Director Felix Thompson previous short films have been in competition at festivals such as SXSW, Tribeca and the BFI’s London Film Festival. His first short film “Bedford Park Boulevard” was awarded a grant from the National Board of Review and also picked up the top prizes at NYU’s First Run Film Festival in 2010. KING JACK is his first feature film and was selected for the Sundance Creative Producing Labs along with producer Gabrielle Nadig. Director Felix Thompson joins us to talk about his honest, gritty, award winning feature film debut.
Winner of the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award and the Independent Spirit Award for the Someone to Watch Award (Felix Thompson)
KING JACK will open in the following theaters June 10th as well as On Demand
LOS ANGELES – Laemmle’s Music Hall 3 – 9036 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA – NEW YORK – Cinema Village – 22 E 12th St, New York, NY
“Thompson’s leads are so natural in their roles, and his filmmaking is so immediate and intimate, that King Jack is instantly absorbing.” = Tasha Robinson, The Verge
“For everyone who ever had a close call as an adolescent and kept it from the grown-ups, “King Jack” will hit you where you live.” – Helen T. Verongos, New York Times
“An exceptionally powerful coming-of-age story that pairs the charm and heart we’ve come to expect from the genre with some especially intense and brutal drama.” – Perri Nemiroff, Collider
“With a beautifully poised script, King Jack delivers an honest depiction of adolescent sexuality and a terrifying depiction of teen violence.” – Tara Brady, Irish Times
In 2004 Dr. William Hurwitz was convicted of over 50 counts of narcotics distribution and handed a 25-year prison sentence. Eve Marson’s documentary, DR. FEELGOOD, traces Dr. Hurwitz’s trial and eventual appeal, detailing the events that lead to his arrest. Testimonies from the witnesses in Dr. Hurwitz’s case contradict one another – some revere him, while others condemn him. Taken together, their accounts reveal a profile of a compassionate yet flawed doctor. DR. FEELGOOD, in telling his story, underscores the tension between every patient’s right to pain relief and the lawful need for drug control. In 2016, statistics of drug abuse are skyrocketing nationwide and doctors continue to be targeted by the DEA. The federal government recently issued its first national guidelines to control opioid prescriptions. There could not be a more critical time to spark a discussion on this topic and call for careful thought and action. Director Eve Marson has worked on a wide variety of documentary projects, including television programming for PBS, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet and independent feature films such as Fed Up (released with Radius-TWC May 2014) and Craigslist Joe (released with Gravitas Ventures, August 2012). Marson has also created a large library of nonfiction video work in collaboration with GOOD Inc. and other social-action organizations. evemarson.com. Director / Producer Marson join us for a conversation on her balanced and thought provoking portrait of a doctor who’s life and practice embodies the best and the worst in modern medicine.
THE HOUSE ON COCO ROAD is the personal and intimate account of filmmaker Damani Baker’s mother – Fannie Haughton – and her role and participation in American history. Over the years she has been active as a student, teacher, writer, scholar, and activist/organizer. In this family portrait of nationalism and freedom, Baker draws on poignant archival footage and insights from well-respected activists, including Angela Davis offering historical and emotional truths through the journey of one family striving for a better society. In the midst of the racial violence sparked by President Reagan’s war on drugs, leading a normal life had become unfeasible for many citizens of Oakland, California. In a moment of inspiration, activist and teacher Fannie Haughton decided to show her children a different way of life. She and her children moved to the island nation of Grenada to participate in an Afro-centric revolution with the goal of realizing a utopian, socialist society. But in Grenada, a U.S. military invasion threatened their safety and dreams. THE HOUSE ON COCO ROAD director Damani Baker joins to talk about his family’s remarkable journey through the worlds of racism, activism and international politics.
THE HOUSE ON COCO ROAD will have it’s WORLD PREMIERE at the LA FILM FESTIVAL
THEY CALL US MONSTERS takes viewers behind the walls of the Compound, the facility where Los Angeles houses its most violent juvenile criminals. To their advocates, they’re kids. To the system, they’re adults. To their victims, they’re monsters. Three such young offenders sign up to take a screenwriting class to write a movie while they await their respective trials: Jarad, who was arrested at 16 and faces 200-years to life for four attempted murders; Juan, who was arrested at 16 and faces 90-to life for first-degree murder; and Antonio, who was arrested at 14 and faces 90-to life for two attempted murders. Halfway through the class, Antonio returns to juvenile court and gets released with time served. Once back in his neighborhood, he quickly falls victim to the same environment and patterns that led to his incarceration in the first place. Meanwhile, the realities of Jarad and Juan’s crimes and pending trials set in. Ultimately, the film asks how should the system deal with offenders like these young boys. Do they have a capacity to change and return to society one day? Does society have a responsibility to these kids? Or to their victims? Do they deserve a second chance? Director Ben Lear stops by to talk about all of the social, political and cultural issues that have made children “irredeemable” and vilified when it comes to crime and punishment.
World Premiere – 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival
Monday, June 6th, The Bing Theater at LACMA, Los Angeles – 7:30 pm (Sold Out)
Tuesday, June 7th, Culver Theater 1 – 4:15 pm
In the film Hostile Border Claudia, a twenty-something Chicana, is chasing the bling of a lux life, making bad choices – and eventually she gets caught. Despite the fact that she barely speaks a word of Spanish, her undocumented status gets her deported to Mexico. Although she can never legally return to the U.S. Claudia refuses to accept life with her estranged father and grandmother in her foreign “homeland,” and she spirals into a dangerous situation with a handsome smuggler. Veronica Sixtos’ gives a nuanced performance as an emotionally withholding anti-hero who’s trouble for anyone who dares to care about her. Hostile Border is pitched in a heightened style between a slow-burning thriller and a noir western, this smartly conceived allegorical tale confronts the dark side of the American dream. Veronica Sixtos as Claudia and leads an exceptional supporting cast of Julio Cedillo, Roberto Urbina, Jorge A. Jimenez, Jesse Garcia, and María del Carmen Farías, Hostile Border is a taut, high stakes family drama. The lead actress Veronica Sixtos join us to talk about her brilliant breakout performance, her music career and Hollywood’s growing embrace of latino-based stories.
Opening at the Laemmle NoHo theatre in North Hollywood April 15th featuring a Q&A with actress Veronica Sixtos, Saturday and Sunday evening, writer Kaitlin McLaughlin on Saturday evening and director Michael Dwyer on Sunday evening, April 17th.
Available on Google Play, Vudu and iTunes
Official Selection 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival – Winner of the Audience Award and Special Jury Prize for Directing (Michael Dwyer).
“Co-directors Dwyer and Kaitlin McLaughlin prove more adept at the first act’s low-key character building than the action-movie showdowns they’re building toward, but Claudia’s use of a makeshift flamethrower late in the game is an unexpected joy.” – LA Weekly
“Slick and engaging” – Cinapse
In the remarkable documentary Finders Keepers Shannon Whisnant has a nose for a bargain. But when he bought a used grill at a North Carolina auction, the severed human foot he found among its ashes was not part of the deal. Soon the gruesome discovery becomes the toast of the infotainment world, and the new owner spies a golden opportunity to cash in on the media frenzy, until struggling addict and amputee John Wood recognizes his missing member and demands his own foot back. This astonishing, stranger-than-fiction tale defies definition because it uniquely traverses the quirks of a small town in the midst of a media phenomenon, while it examines manifold human paradoxes such as greed, ego, familial dysfunction, and that most elusive of all human conditions, redemption. Co-directors Bryan Carberry and Clay Tweel joins us for a conversation on their wildly entertaining, and surprisingly touching film.
For news and updates go to: facebook.com/finderskeepersdocumentary/
“Filmmakers Bryan Carberry and Clay Tweel, over the film’s quick 84 minutes, find some humanity and pathos in the story, which eventually takes an unexpectedly heartwarming turn.” – Moira MacDonald, Seattles Times
“This hysterical, insightful and genuinely empathetic documentary could easily prove a specialty hit.” – Andrew Barker· Variety
“This shockingly funny, weirdly touching custody battle is as authentic as the North Carolina vernacular in which it unfolds.” – Jeannette Catsoulis New York Times
“Finders Keepers” is a thorough, frequently hilarious and ultimately touching investigation of a legal dispute between two North Carolina men, each of whom lays claim to severed human foot.” – Michael O’Sullivan Washington Post
In the Academy Award nominated short documentary film Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah director Adam Benzine explores the arduous 12-year journey that led to the creation of one of the most important films of our time. Coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the release of Shoah — Claude Lanzmann’s nine-and-a-half-hour examination of the Holocaust of European Jews — this documentary reveals for the first time the trials and tribulations the French iconoclast faced. Notably, the film features an array of previously unseen outtake footage that was shot during the creation of Shoah, to illustrate Lanzmann’s journey from the bright-eyed journalist of 1973 to the world-weary auteur of 1985. The outtake footage has been digitally restored and was provided by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Israel’s Yad Vashem. In addition to exploring the making of Shoah the documentary also reflects on several key points in Lanzmann’s life, including his teenage years fighting in the French resistance, his love affair with Simone de Beauvoir and his deep friendship with Jean-Paul Sartre, as well as his hopes and expectations for the future. Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah is the first major documentary to be made on the life of the 90-year-old auteur. Writer, producer and director British filmmaker and journalist Adam Benzine joins us for an in-depth conversation on the Lanzmann, the remarkable story behind the making of Shoah and the tremendous impact Shoah has had on our collective understanding of Holocaust.
For the latest from Facebook go to: facebook.com/LanzmannFilm
** Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Short Film
The **2016 Academy Award nominated Best Foreign Language Film is at once blistering and poetic in its examination of the ravages of colonialism and the dark shadow it casts over the South American landscape in EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT. It is director Ciro Guerra third film and the first film shot in the Amazonian rainforest in over 30 years. Filmed in stunning black-and-white, the film centers on Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and the last survivor of his people, and the two scientists (Evan and Theo, portrayed by Brionne Davis and Jan Bijvoet) who, over the course of 40 years, build a friendship with him. The film was inspired by the real-life journals of two explorers (Theodor Kock-Grünberg and Richard Evans Schultes) who traveled through the Colombian Amazon during the last century in search of the sacred and difficult-to-find psychedelic Yakruna plant. EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight section of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, where it was awarded the top prize, the CIACE Art Cinema Award, and is Colombia’s official Oscar® entry for Best Foreign Language Film. Director Ciro Guerra and Brionne Davis stop by Film School to talk about the many challenges of filming in the jungles of Brazil and the rewards of shining a spotlight on the brutality of European colonial dominance over indigenous people.
** 2016 Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film
* 2016 Spirit Award nominee for Best International Film
“An intense journey and very rewarding visual feast.” Nathaniel Rogers, THE FILM EXPERIENCE
“Shot on sumptuous Super 35, the black and white photography lends itself to the film’s sorrowful ode to a world devastated, but it is the ceaseless teeming life of the soundtrack that transports the audience into the midst of the rainforest.” – Ben Nicholson, CINEVUE
“A visual astonishment… There’s no denying the film’s chastening moral conviction or the transfixing power of its black-and-white imagery.Not just an ethnographic study but also a striking act of cinematic witness.” – Justin Chang, Variety
“‘Embrace of the Serpent’ is simply a work of art, and one of the most singular cinematic experiences you could hope to have in Cannes, or anywhere really. It’s an absorbing, even thrilling head trip. It is a Heart-of-Darkness voyage of discovery. It is a lament for all the lost plants and peoples of the world.” – Jessica Kiang, Indiewire’s “The Playlist”
The statistics are staggering. One in five women in college are sexually assaulted, yet only a fraction of these crimes are reported, and even fewer result in punishment for the perpetrators. From the intrepid team behind The Invisible War comes The Hunting Ground, a piercing, monumental exposé of rape culture on campuses, poised to light a fire under a national debate. In a tour de force of verité footage, expert insights, and first-person testimonies, The Hunting Ground follows undergraduate rape survivors pursuing both their education and justice, despite ongoing harassment and the devastating toll on them and their families. Scrutinizing the gamut of elite Ivies, state universities, and small colleges, filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering reveal an endemic system of institutional cover-ups, rationalizations, victim-blaming, and denial that creates perfect storm conditions for predators to prey with impunity. Meanwhile, the film captures mavericks Andrea Pino and Annie Clark, survivors who are taking matters into their own hands—ingeniously employing Title IX legal strategy to fight back and sharing their knowledge among a growing, unstoppable network of young women who will no longer be silent. Since the film’s premiere at Sundance, it had been screened at the White House and hundreds of college campuses across the country. The documentary has inspired new laws in New York and California and changes in campus policies.
*** Awards: Producers Guild of America Award – Stanley Kramer Award
Download our Parent Guide for The Hunting Ground to take action protecting your college-age children on campus.
Download the TAKE ACTION TOOLKIT to take action on your campus or in your community.
In this sparkling romance, ALREADY TOMORROW IN HONG KONG, Ruby (Jamie Chung), a Chinese American toy designer from LA, visits Hong Kong for the first time on business. Finding herself stranded, she meets Josh (Bryan Greenberg), an American expat who shows her the city. Meandering through nighttime streets pulsing with energy and possibility, they fall into a winding and carefree conversation, buoyed by an undeniable attraction. As effervescent as a perfect first date, Emily Ting’s charming directorial debut takes full advantage of the chemistry of its leads, the playfulness of their exchanges, and the magical landscape that is Hong Kong at night. Director, writer and producer Emily Ting join us for a conversation on the making of her ode to the beauty of Hong Kong and her inspiration for a dazzling and romantic story.
“Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong channels Before Sunrise in a very good way.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times
“Ting, to her credit, is more interested in the battle between heart and head, instinct and obligation, than in what follows. [The film] is about ambivalence, not gratification, and is more interesting for it.” – Tom Keogh, Seattle Times
“Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong is welcome proof that they can still make romantic comedies.” – Sherilyn Connelly, Village Voice
“The film is beautifully executed, with gorgeous cinematography and a lovely sense of rhythm, long walking and talking steadicam shots juxtaposed with environment-establishing shots of the nighttime city. The editing, sound design, and music, both diegetic and non, weave together a sensory tapestry of sound and light.” – Katie Walsh, Indiewire
“Ting has a talent for natural dialogue and relatable situations and with a crisp 80 minute runtime, a nice pace as well… a highly enjoyable and impressively put together film.” – CJ Perry, Film Slate
Based on the personal life of the film’s director Deniz Gamze Ergüven personal life Mustang tells the story of five free-spirited teenage sisters living in a village in Northern Turkey. As the sisters splash about on the beach with their male classmate their innocent fun a neighbor reports what she considers to be illicit behavior to the girls’ family. The family overreacts, removing all “instruments of corruption,” like cell phones and computers, and essentially imprisoning the girls, subjecting them to endless lessons in housework in preparation for them to become brides. As the eldest sisters are married off, the younger ones bond together to avoid the same fate. The fierce love between them empowers them to rebel and chase a future where they can determine their own lives in Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s debut, a powerful portrait of female empowerment. Mustang was selected as the French entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards, making the December shortlist of nine films. The film was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Director Ergüven’s joins us for a conversation on her beautifully rendered story of five young women who refuse to be shackled by a repressive social system.
* Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Film
** Spirit Award nomination for Best International Film
Official Selection – France – 2016 Academy Awards
Official Selection – Cannes Film Festival 2015 Directors’ Fortnight
Special Presentation – Toronto International Film Festival 2015
Winner – Heart of Sarajevo Award, Sarajevo Film Festival 2015
Winner – Europa Cinemas Prize, Cannes Film Festival 2015
Winner – Audience Award, Chicago International Film Festival 2015
Winner – Best First Film Award, Philadelphia Film Festival 2015
“Part of a welcome international wave of films made by women directors that focus on girls growing up in worlds of men – and on what they look like when no one’s looking.” – Ty Burr, Boston Globe
“It’s a moving portrait of sisterhood, a celebration of a fierce femininity and a damning indictment of patriarchal systems that seek to destroy and control this spirit.” – Katie Walsh, LA Times
“’Mustang’ is the début feature of Deniz Gamze Ergüven, and it’s quite something: a coming-of-age fable mapped onto a prison break, at once dream-hazed and sharp-edged with suspense. – Anthony Lane, New Yorker
Chasing the bling of a lux life, Claudia, a twenty-something Chicana, makes bad choices – and gets caught. Despite the fact that she barely speaks a word of Spanish, her undocumented status gets her deported to Mexico. Although she can never legally return to the U.S. Claudia refuses to accept life with her estranged father and grandmother in her foreign “homeland,” and she spirals into a dangerous situation with a handsome smuggler. Veronica Sixto’s gives a nuanced performance as an emotionally withholding anti-hero who’s trouble for anyone who dares to care about her. Pitched in a heightened style between a slow-burning thriller and a noir western, this smartly conceived allegorical tale confronts the dark side of the American dream. Led by a breakout performance by Veronica Sixto as Claudia and an exceptional supporting cast of Julio Cedillo, Roberto Urbina, Jorge A. Jimenez, Jesse Garcia, and María del Carmen Farías, Pocha (Manifest Destiny) is a taut, high stakes family drama. Co-director and cinematographer Michael Dwyer and co-director and screenwriter Kaitlan McLaughlin join us to talk about their brilliant feature debut and its screening at the Los Angeles Film Festival.
See Pocha (Manifest Destiny) Sunday June 14, 2015 6:30 PM Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE 8
Thirty-five years before Barack Obama’s election as President, the question of race and the possibility of bridging racial and ethnic barriers was put to a test in an overlooked and untold story in American politics: The 1973 election of Tom Bradley, the first African American mayor of a major U.S. city with an ovewhelmingly white population. BRIDGING THE DIVIDE: TOM BRADLEY AND THE POLITICS OF RACE tells the little known story of Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley, the first African American mayor elected in a major American city with an overwhelmingly white majority. His extraordinary multi-racial coalition redefined Los Angeles, transformed the national dialogue on race, and encouraged elections of minority candidates nationwide, including our nation’s first black president. The film brings into sharp focus issues of police brutality in minority communities and the challenges of police reform. BRIDGING THE DIVIDE is the story of the pressures which face our cities, the paradox of race, and the complexities of coalitions in a changing America. Director/ Producer/ Writer Lyn Goldfarb and Producer/ Writer/ Research Director Alison Sotomayor began the groundwork for BRIDGING THE DIVIDE while working on THE NEW LOS ANGELES, an hour-long documentary, part of the 2006 national primetime PBS series, CALIFORNIA AND THE AMERICAN DREAM. The tow filmmakers joins us for a conversation on the contentious history of the Los Angeles Police Department and the resolute determination of Tom Bradley to reshape the city he loved.
BRIDGING THE DIVIDE: TOM BRADLEY AND THE POLITICS OF RACE will be screening at the Los Angeles Film Festival!
By popular demand, there will be a second screening on Tuesday, June 16 at 4 p.m.
Tickets are free and are available online through the Los Angeles Film Festival website. There is a $1.00 surcharge per ticket.