Always tight on money, with a self-inflated view of his own “genius,” Bruce (Eden Marryshow “Jessica Jones”) is an egocentric, self-professed writer, director, artist and playboy who damages all of his relationships, romantic or otherwise, as he cons his way through his self-obsessed existence with a mixture of swagger and deeply insecure neuroticism. On the heels of his parents cutting him off, his free ride comes to an abrupt end after his roommate (Jason Tottenham “Quantico”) informs him he’s moving in with his fiancé (Jade Eshete “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency”). Desperate to keep his apartment and stay afloat financially, Bruce concocts a plan to run an ad for a hot female roommate and charge her 80% of the rent. When Bruce falls for one of the applicants (Mle’ Chester “Vinyl”), he tries to turn his life around, but as the saying goes, “karma is a bitch.” Will Bruce see the error of his ways or remain irredeemably awful? Director, Producer, Writer Eden Marryshow joins us to talk about assembling a terrific supporting cast and the inspiration for his brash feature film debut.
Tucked in the trees of Oregon’s Mount Hood, an introspective young snowboarder camps alone, anticipating a winter of adventure and self-renewal. In Cambria Matlow’s latest documentary WOODSRIDER a tenacious, 19-year old Sadie Ford operates within the poetic persona of a searching pioneer. Her footsteps track over the town of Government Camp’s mountain landscape, her dog Scooter her only constant companion. Deep among the Douglas firs Sadie snowshoes to build her nestled tentsite, a place she feels more at ease than anywhere with four walls. Riding sessions and house parties in town provide brief breaths of social interaction and connection, but otherwise she chooses to spend time in solitude. Sadie’s simple quest for joy is tempered by melancholy when increasingly warm temperatures on the mountain cause rain to replace snow, and the winter season grows shorter. Striking a youthful yet elegiac tone, WOODSRIDER is a meditative film about identity, home, and the way that human experience echoes that of the natural world. Director Caitland Matlow joins us to talk about the immersive, intimate look into the life of a woman determined to stake out her own path.
“Matlow’s patient, unobtrusive camera and Ford’s magnetism as a subject makes Woodsrider
one of the most intimate docs you’ll see this year. Hauntingly beautiful.” – Walker Macmurdo, Willamette Week
“Stunning camerawork, lovingly composed with visual fluidity. This film will have a lot of appeal to audiences who understand the thrall of the wilderness. It’s a rare capture to see a woman, alone in the elements, strong, independent and totally at ease with her space. The film provokes a lot of thought about our ‘place’ in the natural – and unnatural – world.” – Ashland Independent Film Festival
“Lovely and engrossing, mixing an ethereal distance with a strange intimacy.” – Mark Elijah Rosenberg,
From director Todd Douglas Miller (Dinosaur 13) comesAPOLLO 11a cinematic event fifty years in the making. Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, APOLLO 11 takes us straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission—the one that first put men on the moon, and forever madeNeil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins into household names. Immersed in the perspectives of the astronauts, the team in Mission Control, and the millions of spectators on the ground, we vividly experience those momentous days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future. APOLLO 11 director Todd Douglas Miller joins us to talk about taking on the challenge of sifting through a mountain of audio and video, developing new technologies for processing and enhancing 16mm film stock and capturing the tension and triumph of an incomparable achievement in human history.
“The result is a stirring companion piece to Damien Chazelle’s recent “First Man,” and one no less worth seeing on the big screen when Neon releases it in theaters worldwide.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
“‘Apollo 11″ is a cool, meticulous, at times enthralling documentary that captures the Apollo 11 flight in its entirety through raw footage drawn from the NASA vaults.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“The images astound, the audio soundtrack is a master class in montage, and the events captured are herculean in scope.” – Jason Gorber, High Def Digest
“A masterful work of archival research.” – Nate Jones, New York Magazine / Vulture
Tom Volf’s MARIA BY CALLAS is the first film to tell the life story of the legendary Greek/American opera singer completely in her own words. Told through performances, TV interviews, home movies, family photographs, private letters and unpublished memoirs—nearly all of which have never been shown to the public—the film reveals the essence of an extraordinary woman who rose from humble beginnings in New York City to become a glamorous international superstar and one of the greatest artists of all time. Assembling the material for the film took director Volf four years of painstaking research, which included personal outreach to dozens of Callas’s closest friends and associates, who allowed him to share their personal memorabilia in the film. When recordings of Callas’s voice aren’t available, Joyce DiDonato, one of contemporary opera’s biggest stars, reads her words. Through Volf’s intimate portrait of Callas, we see that some commonly held beliefs about Callas, notably her reputation as a “tempestuous” diva, have no basis in fact.MARIA BY CALLAS revisits many of the most notable controversies of Callas’s life, from the “Rome Cancellation” to her conflict with the Metropolitan Opera’s Rudolf Bing, and demonstrates that, while Callas was a demanding perfectionist, she was neither capricious nor someone who made trouble for its own sake. The film also sheds new light on Callas’s relationship with Aristotle Onassis, the supreme love of her life. Director Tom Volf joins us in a conversation on the story behind his illuminating look into the complex life of a music icon and his decision to tell Maria’s story in her own voice.
THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT follows the epic adventures of an American legend that no one has ever heard of. Since WWII, Calvin Barr (Sam Elliott) has lived with the secret that he was responsible for the assassination of Adolf Hitler. Now, decades later, the US government has called on him again for a new top-secret mission. Bigfoot has been living deep in the Canadian wilderness and is carrying a deadly plague that is now threatening to spread to the general population. Relying on the same skills that he honed during the war, Calvin must set out to save the free world yet again. Director Robert D. Kryzkowski joins us to talk about working with two-time Academy Award nominated director John Sayles and visual effects wizard and two time Academy Award winner, Douglas Trumbull (Blade Runner and 2001: A Space Odyssey) and how he was able to fashion an endearing, bittersweet saga of a heavy hearted man driven by a profound sense of duty.
“From its world-weary hero to its no-nonsense, casual swapping of fiction for fact, The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot uses action and something like science fiction to deliver an wholly entertaining, yet poignant message.” – Slashfilm
**SUNDANCE PREMIERE** Based loosely on Abby McEnany’s own experiences, WORK IN PROGRESS is an honest, funny, and rarely seen exploration of the “isms” and phobias that permeate all of our lives: homophobia, transphobia, sexism, racism, sizeism, classism, and more. In a nutshell, Abby is a 45 year old queer dyke who is finally coming into her own or she is a 45 year old queer dyke who is about to kill herself. Both are true.It just depends on which day you meet her. She is a finely crafted cocktail of Depression, OCD, Queerness, Insecurity and Anxiety but she only drinks Miller Lite. And in this coming of age story, every little thing or person she meets has the potential for life-altering meaning. Abby is in an adolescent-like stage and has been stuck there for 30 years. After her therapist dies mid-session and she begins to date a trans man, Abby is forced to re-evaluate her life choices, her dating options and whether or not to confront the woman responsible for ‘ruining her life’: SNL’s Julia Sweeney. Co-directors Abby McEnany, Tim Mason and actor Julia Sweeney join us for a rollicking conversation on their hilarious, honest and engaging Sundance Film Festival debut episode of Work in Progress.
It all began when a group of cheerful, subversive filmmakers weren’t accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. Unwilling to take “no” for an answer, they instead started their own event – Slamdance: Anarchy in Utah. 24 years later, Slamdance has become a year-round organization fostering the development of unique and innovative filmmakers. The organization now consists of the Film Festival, Screenplay Competition and Slamdance Studios.Dan Mirvish, Jon Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn and Peter Baxter are the founding forefathers who, along with co-conspirator Paul Rachman,fought for truly independent filmmakers by giving them a voice in 1995 at the very first Slamdance Film Festival. Since then, the festival takes place every January in the breathtakingly stunning, snow-capped mountains of Park City, Utah at the exact same time as the Sundance Film Festival, toprovide a more authentic representation of independent filmmaking. Up-and-coming writers, directors and producers, alongside seasoned veterans and film lovers, converge for the weeklong celebration of independent cinema, realizing that Slamdance is a great place to find those next, great, visionary films. Slamdance lives and bleeds by its mantra By Filmmakers For Filmmakers. No other film festival in the world is entirely run and organized by the creative force that can only be found in filmmakers. Slamdance adamantly supports self-governance amongst independents, and exists to deliver what filmmakers go to festivals for – a chance to show their work and a platform to launch their careers. The festival has earned a solid reputation for premiering films by first-time writers and directors working within the creative confines of limited budgets. Co-founder and President Peter Baxter joins us to talk about this year’s Slamdance, the groundbreaking films and the innovative new distribution being launched by Slamdance.
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.
DON’T COME BACK FROM THE MOON is a story of abandonment, when all the men in a remote California desert town walk away from their families, one by one.They leave their angry, frustrated sons and daughters behind — kids who act out, engage in acts of petty burglary and vandalism, and look for love and family connection in the aftermath of their abandonment, all the while trying to understand why their fathers have “gone to the moon,” leaving them to traverse the difficult path to adulthood alone.
Director Bruce Thierry Cheung talks about the novelist Dean Bakopoulos who inspired DON’T COME BACK FROM THE MOON, a frequent collaborations with James Franco, the cast also includes a beautifully understated performance with Rashida Jones andand a group of talented young actors that includes Jeffrey Wahlberg, Alyssa Elle Steinacker, Zackary Arthur and Cheyenne Haynes.
About: Bruce is a film director / cinematographer with a background in architecture. Before pursuing film, Bruce was an architect at Studio Daniel Libeskind where he designed several projects, including a redevelopment of downtown Seoul and a wind-powered art center in Germany. As an MFA student in Film at NYU, he served as a Department Fellow and a Teaching Assistant for Spike Lee. In 2010, he helped launch Opening Ceremony TV, an award winning fashion film company. Bruce is also a frequent collaborator of James Franco, serving as his cinematographer on numerous commercials and feature films. His short film, “Each Moment is the Universe,” shot on the road in Thailand, was featured in Dazed and Confused magazine and screened at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Winner – Special Jury Award in Directing, Los Angeles Film Festival
Winner – James Lyons Award for Best Editing, Woodstock Film Festival
Winner – Special Mention for Best Feature, Woodstock Film Festival
Winner – Best Narrative Feature, Southampton Film Festival
Winner – Best Cinematography, Southampton Film Festival
“Bruce Thierry Cheung created a heroically, beautifully imagined interpretation of my first novel for the screen. With a small budget and brilliant heart, he made a gorgeous film out of my story and I am so grateful to him and the talented cast and crew.” – Dean Bakopoulos, Author, Please Don’t Come Back From the Moon
“… Moon is an unexpected meditation on the complicated nature of family & how our grief can lead to depression, causing ourselves to come up with a myriad of reasons to leave …” – Douglas Davidson, Elements of Madness
“Poignant and visually striking.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter
Lunacy Productions helmed by prolific producer Stu Pollard is excited debut for you their latest film “Rust Creek,” which is being distributed theatrically by IFC Midnight beginning January 11th, 2019.“Rust Creek” starring Hermione Corfield (“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”), Jay Paulson (“Mad Me”), Sean O’Bryan (“Olympus Has Fallen”), Micah Hauptman (“Homeland”), Daniel R. Hills (“The Resident”), Jeremy Glazer (“Letters From Iwo Jima”), and John Marshall Jones (Con Air”); chronicles the presence of mind and skill an ordinary woman, utilizes while summoning extraordinary courage to survive a nightmare odyssey in this harrowing survival thriller. Thisfilm takes the woman in jeopardy premise and turns it on its head with agility and smarts. This is the latest female driven (both in front of & behind the camera) film from Pollard & his team at Lunacy. Lunacy’s teamareincrediblycommitted to supporting gender parity in filmmaking, producing several films featuring female protagonists (This Is Home, Rust Creek, Short History, Plus One) and working with female filmmakers like Jen McGowan (“Rust Creek”), Ani Simon Kennedy (“Short History of the Long Road”), and documentarian Alex Shiva (“This Is Home: A Refugee Story”) among others. Half of the department heads on “Rust Creek”are women and for many of the female crew, “Rust Creek”was their first feature film or their first opportunity in an elevated position (including DP Michelle Lawler, make-up artist Allie Shehorn, art director Priyanka Guterres, and postproduction supervisor Alex Jensen). Pollard has also directed two features: NICE GUYS SLEEP ALONE and KEEP YOUR DISTANCE. In his spare time he teaches at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and Film Independent. He holds a degree in business from Georgetown and an MFA in film from USC, is a member of the DGA and PGA, and serves on the boards of the Louisville Film Society and GU’s Alumni Board of Governors. Director, producer and head of Lunacy Productions Stu Pollard joins us to talk about his company’s commitment to gender equity on both sides of the camera.
Gilda Radner puts a smile on the faces of people who remember watching her as one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live, where she created and portrayed such now-classic comic characters as Roseanne Roseannadanna, Emily Litella and Lisa Loopner. LOVE, GILDA, directed by Lisa D’Apolito, is a true autobiography, told in Gilda’s words and in her own voice. Working with the Radner Estate, D’Apolito unearthed a collection of diaries and personal audio and videotapes documenting her childhood, her comedy career, her relationships and ultimately, her struggle with cancer. This never-before-seen footage and journal entries form the narrative spine of the documentary, allowing Gilda to tell her own story– through the laughter and sometimes the tears. Incredibly, she was able to find humor in even the darkest of times. Gilda’s spirit lives on in comedy as a female trailblazer who continues to inspire many present day comedic performers, including Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, and Cecily Strong. Also interviewed are SNL original cast members– Chevy Chase, Laraine Newman and Paul Shaffer– as well as, Lorne Michaels (SNL creator and producer), Alan Zweibel (SNL writer), Stephen Schwartz (Broadway composer); Andrew Alexander (CEO of Second City) and long-time friend Martin Short. LOVE, GILDA Director Lisa D’Apolito talks about the unique window her loving film provides into the honest and whimsical world of a beloved performer whose greatest role was sharing her own story.
“A splendid tribute to one of America’s comedy legends.” – J.R. Kinnard, Film Inquiry
“We come away with the portrait of someone who was never just going along for the ride, but who was always questioning and challenging herself, working toward professional excellence and hoping for an ideal romance.” – Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
“‘Laughter – that’s what hugs me and holds me,’ she confides on those muddy cassettes. So does the warm, tender embrace of “Love, Gilda.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times
“All the laughs-as well as the tears-in the too-brief but shining life of a true comic genius are present and accounted for in this essential, intensely moving doc.” – David Noh, Film Journal International
AVICII: TRUE STORIES, a compelling new documentary film by Levan Tsikurishvili, reveals the unvarnished truth behind the success of Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter and artist Avicii (A.K.A. Tim Bergling). One of the world’s highest grossing live music artists whose seemingly sudden decision last year to quit doing live shows came as a complete shock to his fans and the industry. The film traces the artist/DJ’s life from his beginnings, all the way to the joy of his success, from his chart-topping global radio hits and subsequent struggles with his physical and mental health. Tsikurishvili followed Bergling for over four years, and captured fly-on-the-wall footage of his experiences and thinking. Featuring appearances by colleagues such as Chris Martin, Nile Rodgers, David Guetta, Tiësto and Wyclef Jean, AVICII: TRUE STORIES is a cautionary tale that explores the taxing nature and intensity of fame from the artist’s point of view as much as it is a film for Avicii’s die-hard fans.
I wanted to do a brutally honest film about Tim as a person and not only about Avicii. Everybody knows Avicii but very few people know Tim. I think this documentary really shows Tim’s struggle and strength of character. Being a worldwide superstar artist is not as easy as it looks on Instagram. – Director Levan Tsikurishvili
WELCOME TO THE MEN’S GROUP is an emotional roller-coaster through the often bumpy inner terrain of the male psyche, as we hear the men open about their lives, sharing truth, telling lies, and revealing secrets they dare not discuss in their lives. WELCOME TO THE MEN’S GROUP is largely inspired by the phenomenon of the “Men’s Movement” of the past 30 years that was championed by writers like the poet Robert Bly and his bestselling book “Iron John” which explored the need for men to reconnect to their authenticity through storytelling, myth and ritualized gathering. WELCOME TO THE MEN’S GROUP takes us inside the intimate dynamic of an all-male support group (Timothy Bottoms, Stephen Tobolowsky, Terence Rotolo, Mackenzie Astin, Joseph Culp, Ali Saam, Phil Abrams, and David Clennon) when they gather one morning for a ritual breakfast and their unique form of male bonding—One Sunday a month, these eight men refrain from beer and football to sit in a circle where they share their personal issues, in the noble hope of becoming a bit more evolved than their fathers. Award winning actor David Clennon (The Right Stuff, Being There, Syriana, Thirtysomething, Missing) joins us to talk about the male psyche, challenges and rewards of working within a strong ensemble cast and the legendary filmmaker Hal Ashby.
“The Hangover this is not. Instead, it explores men trying to support each other but ending up triggering each other, escalating tensions as more and more secrets are revealed until the startling, cathartic climax. Like The Big Chill, it’s ensemble acting at its finest, and like Sideways, it’s an insightful exploration of men’s issues that will appeal to both men and women. The story is complex, beautifully written, deftly filmed.” – New Times
“Welcome to the Men’s Group is full of surprises. It promised to be cutting-edge, but wow, Welcome to the Men’s Group was so much more than I had expected! It will make you laugh, it will make you cry. This is a film that changes the rules.” – Agenda Magazine
Under the guidance of acclaimed South African storyteller, Gcina Mhlophe, five orphaned children from Swaziland collaborate to craft a collective fairytale drawn from their darkest memories and brightest dreams. Their fictional character, LIYANA is brought to life in innovative animated artwork as she embarks on a perilous quest to rescue her young twin brothers. The children’s real and imagined worlds begin to converge, and they must choose what kind of story they will tell – in fiction and in their own lives. This genre-defying film weaves an original animated hero’s journey with poetic documentary scenes to create an inspiring tale of perseverance. LIYANA is a tribute to creativity, the strength of the human spirit, and the healing power storytelling.Critically acclaimed, and executive produced by award-winning actress, Thandie Newton, LIYANA has won more than 25 jury and audience awards and screened at more than 80 film festivals around the world including the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival and MoMA’s Doc Fortnight. Co-directors Amanda and Aaron Kopp join us for a conversation on their enchanting, inspiring and wildly creative film.
For 33 months, from 1978 to 1980, STUDIO 54 was the place to be seen in Manhattan. A haven of hedonism, tolerance, glitz and glamour, Studio was very hard to gain entrance to and impossible to ignore, with news of who was there filling the gossip columns daily. Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, two college friends from Brooklyn, succeeded in creating the ultimate escapist fantasy in the heart of the theater district. Rubell was the outgoing bon vivant who wanted to be everybody’s friend and was photographed with every celebrity du jour who entered the club and Schrager was the behind-the-scenes creative mastermind who shunned the limelight. STUDIO 54 was an instant success and a cash cow, but the drug-and-sex-fueled dream soon imploded in financial scandal and the club’s demise. With unprecedented access to Schrager, who tells the whole unvarnished story for the first time, and a treasure-trove of rare footage, director Matt Tyrnauer (Valentino: The Last Emperor, Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, Citizen Jane) constructs a vivid, glorious portrait of a disco-era phenomenon, and tells the story of two friends who stuck together through an incredible series of highs and lows.A favorite at the Sundance and Tribeca film festivals, STUDIO 54 Director Matt Tyrnauer joins us to talk about his fascinating documentary look at the rise and fall of the legendary ‘70s New York nightclub.
“Studio 54 is resonant because it offers such a reasonable and poignant answer.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire
“Matt Tyrnauer’s thrilling and definitive documentary captures the delirium – and the dark side – of the legendary New York disco.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“It’s a cultural piece of history that paints a picture of an era of New York that had a significant effect on the world. And it goes without saying, changed the nightclub industry forever.” – Dante James, Film Threat
“A hugely entertaining exploration of the mythology of the legendary nightclub as something truly worth celebrating, and a towering Scorsese-esque drama of the men who invented it brought down by hubris.” – MaryAnn Johanson
Drawn from a cache of personal video recordings from the past 22 years, director Steve Loveridge’s Sundance award winning MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. is a startlingly personal profile of the critically acclaimed artist, chronicling her remarkable journey from refugee immigrant to pop star. She began as Matangi. Daughter of the founder of Sri Lanka’s armed Tamil resistance, she hid from the government in the face of a vicious and bloody civil war. When her family fled to the UK, she became Maya, a precocious and creative immigrant teenager in London. Finally, the world met her as M.I.A. when she emerged on the global stage, having created a mashup, cut-and-paste identity that pulled from every corner of her journey along the way; a sonic sketchbook that blended Tamil politics, art school punk, hip-hop beats and the unwavering, ultra-confident voice of a burgeoning multicultural youth. Never one to compromise on her vision, Maya kept her camera rolling throughout. MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. provides unparalleled, intimate access to the artist in her battles with the music industry and mainstream media as her success and fame explodes, becoming one of the most recognizable, outspoken and provocative voices in music today. Director Steve Loveridge joins us to talk about his long-time friendship with Mathangi Arulpragasam AKA Matangi / Maya / M.I.A. and how that friendship was tested during the making of this revelatory, illuminating window into her world.
“If there is one note that rings clear through all the xeroxed, glitchy, abrasive background noise, it is that of authenticity and sincerity.” – Jessica Kiang, Playlist
“Inspires deep respect for the fierce and independent artist she is.” – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times
“It is the synthesis of these contradictions, and how they’ve illuminated M.I.A.’s career path that makes up the spine of Loveridge’s fascinating portrait.” – Piotr Orlov, NPR
“Loveridge celebrates the mashup aesthetic that enabled the artist to find a voice, and reveals that reconciling contradictions… is key to both Arulpragasam’s music and the life she’s constructed with audacity and wit.” – Serena Donadoni, LA Weekly
SADIE is the story of a 13-year-old girl who lives at Shady Plains Trailer Park with her mother while her father serves repeated tours in the military. Her dad has broken many promises that he will return, but Sadie (Sophia Mitri Schloss) idolizes him and believes in his cause, so she waits, preserving his place on the home-front. Less patient is her mom, Rae (Melanie Lynskey) who stopped receiving letters or calls from her husband years ago. She has been half-heartedly dating the counselor from Sadie’s school, Bradley (Tony Hale) but it isn’t until a mysterious newcomer moves in next door that she truly considers moving on. Rae’s best friend is Carla (Danielle Brooks,) who works at the local bar and has a penchant for unavailable men. Carla’s son Francis (Keith L. Williams) and her retired father Deak (Tee Dennard) are Sadie’s charge and confidante, respectively. The arrival of Cyrus (John Gallagher, Jr.) disrupts the balance of life at Shady Plains. When Sadie sees a relationship developing between Cyrus and Rae, she pledges to come between them, whatever it takes. Cyrus becomes the enemy, and if she’s learned nothing else from the world she inhabits, it’s that the enemy deserves no mercy. Director and Writer Megan Griffiths joins us to talk about her gritty, heartfelt drama about class, addiction and growing up on the margins.
”Equal parts coming-of-age story and slow-burn thriller, writer-director Megan Griffiths’ quietly absorbing and methodically disquieting drama is a genuine rarity.” – Joe Leydon, Variety
“…as a character study of a young, simmering, resentful girl cheated by circumstance and life at a crucial age, the drama’s combative, aggrieved center is earned, authentic and genuinely tragic.” – Ally Johnson, The Playlist
“Set in the close-knit, secret-filled world of a trailer park, the film is an emotionally violent coming-of-age story crafted with vivid detail.” – John Fink, The Film Stage
“By once again venturing into a place that few too other filmmakers are willing to look, Griffiths delivers a drama that crackles with a sense of discovery, not only for the characters onscreen, but for audiences who so rarely see people who could so easily be their neighbors given the dignity of having their stories told on screen.” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest
The Sentence draws from hundreds of hours of footage, filmmaker Rudy Valdez shows the aftermath of his sister Cindy’s 15-year sentence for conspiracy charges related to crimes committed by her deceased ex-boyfriend—something known, in legal terms, as “the girlfriend problem.” Valdez’s method of coping with this tragedy is to film his sister’s family for her, both the everyday details and the milestones—moments Cindy herself can no longer share in. But in the midst of this nightmare, Valdez finds his voice as both a filmmaker and activist, and he and his family begin to fight for Cindy’s release during the last months of the Obama administration’s clemency initiative. Whether their attempts will allow Cindy to break free of her draconian sentence becomes the aching question at the core of this deeply personal portrait of a family in crisis. Director Rudy Valdez stops by to talk about his intimate, and loving family saga that support each other no matter the cost.
**WINNER: Sundance 2018 Audience Award: U.S. Documentary**
**WINNER: 2018 Traverse City Film Festival Roger Ebert Prize For Best Film By A First Time Filmmaker**
**2018 Locarno International Film Festival Official Selection**
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
“THE SENTENCE is poised to do for unjust sentencing what AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH did for climate change. If Al Gore was the hero Americans at Sundance and beyond needed in 2005 — a welcoming, professorial face to associate with the fight against environmental catastrophe — Shank and her daughters offer the criminal justice equivalent, giving a human access point to what many experts describe as a sociological disaster.”– Steven Zeitchik, The Washington Post
“The Sentence is so committed to its concentration on emotion and heart that it’s difficult not to get carried away and it feels almost churlish to quibble with the intellectual responses it barely aspires to.” – Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter
“The Sentence is a powerful film full of rich, raw emotions as all parties explore their vulnerabilities.” – John Fink, The Film Stage
From award-winning documentary filmmaker Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and world-renowned photographer and mountaineer Jimmy Chin, the directors of “MERU,” comesFREE SOLO, a stunning, intimate and unflinching portrait of free soloist climber Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the face of the world’s most famous rock … the 3,200-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park … without a rope. Celebrated as one of the greatest athletic feats of any kind, Honnold’s climb set the ultimate standard: perfection or death. Succeeding in this challenge places his story in the annals of human achievement. FREE SOLOis an edge-of-your seat thriller and an inspiring portrait of an athlete who challenges both his body and his beliefs on a quest to triumph over the impossible, revealing the personal toll of excellence. As the climber begins his training, the armor of invincibility he’s built up over decades unexpectedly breaks apart when Honnold begins to fall in love, threatening his focus and giving way to injury and setbacks. Vasarhelyi and Chin succeed in beautifully capturing deeply human moments with Honnold as well as the death-defying climb with exquisite artistry and masterful, vertigo-inducing camerawork. Co-director Chai Vasarhelyi (Jimmy Chin) talks about getting to know Alex Hennold, preparing to document one of the most dangerous climbs on the planet and living life with intention.
“A brilliant documentary.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
“…a miraculous opportunity for the rest of us to experience the human sublime.” – The New York Times
“One of the most arresting documentaries of the year.”– Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair “A stunning…real-world thriller.”– Eric Kohn, IndieWire “Literally breath-taking.”– Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
In the days following his mother’s sudden death, Socrates (Christian Malheiros), a 15-year-old living on São Paulo’s margins, faces the difficulties of surviving on his own and coming to terms with his grief.SOCRATES was produced with a crew of 16-20 year-olds from the Querô Institute, a UNICEF-supported project that provides social inclusion through filmmaking to underprivileged youths in the Baixada Santista region of São Paulo, Brazil. SOCRATES was also written by Thayná Mantesso a 20 year-old Brazilian screenwriter and graduate of the Querô Institute. SOCRATES was filmed with a micro-budget of under $20,000.Alex Moratto’s award-winning short films NOWHERE TO BE FOUND, THE PARTING and THE OTHER SIDE have screened at international film festivals. SOCRATES is Alex Moratto’s debut feature film. The film was produced by Ramin Bahrani (99 HOMES) and stars Christian Malheiros and Tales Ordakji. Director Alex Moratto joins us for a conversation on working with a young non-professionals, UNICEF and producing his debut feature film.
This Teacher follows a French Muslim woman (Cesar-winnerHafsia Herzi) as she travels to New York City to visit her childhood best friend from the rough neighborhoods outside of Paris. When the reunion proves disastrous, Hafsia steals her friend’s credit card and identity, and disappears to a remote cabin upstate. Deep in the woods and alone for the first time in her life, she experiences a divine revelation of an existence without borders. But when she discovers that she’s not alone on the property, Hafsia’ssojourn in nature gradually descends into a terrifying study of the intolerance and suspicion she encounters and reflects back to an Islamophobic America.Written and directed by Mark Jackson featuring a score composed from the Grammy nominated Dave Eggar, the film stars: Cesar-winner Hafsia Herzi (The Secret of the Grain) Sarah Kazemy (Circumstance) Lucy Walters (Power), Kevin Kane (Inside Amy Schumer), and Lev Gorn (The Americans). Jackson’s previous films have won 17 awards including an Independent Spirit Award and a Gotham Nomination. Jackson is also a Sundance, Cinereach and Skywalker Sound Fellow. Director and writer Mark Jackson (War Story, Without) joins us for a conversation on This Teachers’ premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival, intolerance and not being afraid to love.
This Teacher (LAFF World Premiere screening at September 22nd, 2018 at 4pm (with red carpet media check-in at 3pm) at ArcLight Culver City.
The Wrong Todd – Directed by Rob Schulbaum
Resistant to change, Todd (Jesse Rosen) finds himself at a crossroads when his girlfriend Lucy (Anna Rizzo) is offered a promotion on the other side of the country. Before he can decide whether to stay or go, Todd’s evil twin from a parallel universe arrives to take his place, and Todd must face the prospect of a world without Lucy.With the reluctant help of Lucy’s brother, Dave (Sean Carmichael), Lucy and Todd must confront the barriers to their relationship, their perception of self, and the laws of the universe itself to distinguish the wrong Todd from the right one. The Wrong Todd is a new take on a sci-fi-fi comedy drama with the added bonus of an evil twin from a parallel universe. The Wrong Todd is about championing love, accepting change, and realizing what you’ve taken for granted before it truly is too late.Inspired by the works of Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Harold Ramis (Groundhog Day)The Wrong Toddanswer the question so many people think but never articulate “what is wrong with me?” Starring Jesse Rosen (The Art of Being Straight), Anna Rizzo (Lost in Bloom), Sean Carmichael (Trinity), Derek K. Moore (Ghostbusters), and Erin Rose. Director Rob Schulbaum (Family Guy), joins us to talk about his directorial debut.
We The Coyotes – Co-directors Hanna Ladoul and Marco La Via
Making the films USA debut (it world premiered in the Acid section of Cannes this spring), We The Coyotes by first-time feature filmmakers Hanna Ladoul and Marco La Via, was inspired by the adventure and challenges of their own early days in Los Angeles. Enveloped in the love bubble a young couple, played by Morgan Saylor (Homeland) and McCaul Lombardi (Sollers Point), arrive from their cross-country trip from the midwest to stay with her aunt Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad), where we continually see them encounter the challenges of their first day in Los Angeles.The city is as much a character in this intimate drama as this young couple, as they find their hopes often crushed under the realities of what you encounter in any major city, much less the city of dreams.Not unlike countless twenty-somethings over the decades, our westward-bound couple in We The Coyotes arrive in Los Angeles with half-formed plans and half-empty pockets, but we see how tensions bend and shape them while the will to survive drives them on. Co-directors Hanna Ladoul and Marco La Via stop by to talk about their unvarnished, thought provoking film.
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
“The Man Who Loves To Hurt Himself,” follows the turbulent musical journey of Today is the Day enigmatic legendary frontman and founder, Steve Austin. Ride along asAustin’s first person account brings balance to these opposing forces, reckoning and stretching himself from the drive to create his musical vision, engaging and performing intense shows around the world, to being home with his wife and children. How one near-death experience led him to connect with the love of his life and begin the transition, fulfilling his destiny as a loving family man while completing his mission to bring relief his followers and overcome being the man who loves to hurt himself. “The Man Who Loves to Hurt Himself” is a loose but subdued methodic subtlety of the movie stands in sharp contrast to an artist known in the worldwide underground of extreme music for abrasive, loud, chaotic spectacle neo-violent imagery a slow, brooding and emotional 93-minutes that covers a year of conversations and ride-a-longs with the casual aesthetic of natural conversation supported by raw grainy fan shot footage, old pictures, personal home videos, career spanning amulets, in a self examination of the psyche of a modern-day “madman” and “master.” Director Anthony Short joins us for a conversation on connecting with a singular music savant / philosopher / survivor.
Meet the NYPD12: a group of minority whistleblower officers who risk everything to expose racially discriminatory policing practices in the NYPD and smash the blue wall of silence. Using stunning cinematography and intimate, character-drive access, CRIME + PUNISHMENT captures the story of these brave individuals right from the beginning, as several officers meet up to talk about the New York Police Department’s outlawed practices of quota-driven policing and officer retaliation — and find themselves starting a class-action suit against the city. Using secret recordings between officers and commanders, firsthand accounts, and emotional testimony, the NYPD12 detail the explosive truth when no one else will listen. In the meantime, Manuel Gomez, an ex-cop turned private investigator, collects testimony from young minorities who have been affected by these policies and targeted by officers in the name of fighting crime. Told from the rarely heard perspective of active whistleblower officers and the young men and women of color they police, CRIME + PUNISHMENT is a once-in-a-generation film that considers the complexities of police work when faced with the unjust systemic and institutional practices fueling social justice movements across America. Director / Producer / Cinematographer / Editor Stephen Maing joins us for conversation on how he came to know the brave men and women who stepped forward, and why this is not just a New York City issue.
U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival
94% on Rotten Tomatoes
“A triumph of documentary filmmaking.” – Tim Wu, THE NEW YORKER
“Amazing. An awesome film.” – Eugene Hernandez, FILM COMMENT
“It’s a real achievement, this film. Gorgeously composed…Vital, necessary and groundbreaking. It’s a significant work of investigative journalism.” – Nic Rapold and Eric Hynes, FILM COMMENT PODCAST
“Remarkable. Maing becomes so embedded with his subjects, we get to see them up close and personal. We need to recognize that the way racism functions in our society is out in public, and we must stand with those who are brave enough to put their livelihoods on the line to change the system. Crime + Punishment makes that argument clearly, persuasively, and with immediacy.” – Matt Goldberg, COLLIDER
“Maing doesn’t seek to offer any solutions; instead, he does something that we often fail to do in our embattled society, he gives these particular officers and the people that they police their humanity back.” – Aramide A. Tinubu, SHADOW AND ACT