Visual Communications, the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center, announced its outstanding program of films and events for the upcoming 34th edition of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) running MAY 3 – MAY 12, 2018. The all encompassing annual film celebration is presented across Los Angeles in West Hollywood, Downtown LA, Little Tokyo, Koreatown, and Hollywood. Visual Communications proudly celebrates the Film Festival’s 34 years as Southern California’s largest and most prestigious film festival of its kind. LAAPFF launches the celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month through this year’s slate of over 100 films from both Asian Pacific American and Asian international artists. For over three decades, the Festival has presented nearly 5,000 films by Asian Pacific American and Asian International talent. This year, 39 feature films and 79 shorts from the over 800 submissions will be showcased during the ten-day fest. The Festival opens with the Los Angeles premiere of Aneesh Chaganty’s feature debut SEARCHING starring John Cho and Debra Messing giving audiences an early chance to see the movie that took the NEXT audience award and the Alfred P. Sloan award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Other programs include CENTERPIECE FILMS will feature two outstanding world premieres with IN THE LIFE OF MUSIC and FICTION & OTHER REALITIES. Centerpiece Films will be presented on Saturday, May 5th at the Aratani Theatre at the Japanese American Community and Cultural Center (JACCC) in Little Tokyo – Downtown Los Angeles. The CLOSING NIGHT FILM will be the Los Angeles premiere of the acclaimed 2018 Sundance World Documentary Special Jury Award winner MATANGI/ MAYA/ M.I.A., directed by Stephen Loveridge. Inspired by her roots, M.I.A. created a mashup, cut-and-paste identity that pulled from every corner of her journey; a sonic sketchbook that blended Tamil politics, art school punk, hip-hop beats and the voice of multicultural youth. Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival Co-Director David Magdael will join us to talk about this years’s exciting festival line up.
The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is a nonprofit organization devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture by showcasing films, supporting emerging filmmakers, and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora. Each year the festival features a rich mix of film programs designed to build and support the growing interest in the Indian entertainment industry. This includes programming that cultivates an audience for Indian films while supporting filmmakers of Indian descent in career development as they navigate the larger studio system in Hollywood. The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, runs from Wednesday, April 11 – 15 at Regal Live in downtown Los Angeles, featuring programs that include One-on-One program where film industry professionals from major and independent production and distribution companies are invited to participate in meetings with the IFFLA filmmakers; and panel discussions with speakers from the film industry. We are joined by IFFLA’s Director of Programming Mike Dougherty to talk about the past, present and future of Indian cinema and the increasing acceptance among mainstream American film lovers.
On a quiet day in 1981, disciples of an obscenely wealthy religious guru named Bhagwan Rajneesh suddenly appear in the small, conservative Oregon town of Antelope, dressed in all red and with portraits of their leader hanging from their necks. This, of course, makes the townsfolk uneasy. The Rajneesh followers spend over $125 million to build Rajneeshpuram, a 64,000-acre utopia, complete with a hospital, schools, restaurants, a shopping mall, and their own airport. The spokesperson for the movement is Ma Anand Sheela, a fearless disciple whose belief in the principles of Rajneesh are only outweighed by her feisty spirit. In order to stack the results of county elections in their favor, the Rajneesh bus thousands of homeless people onto the ranch. When these new recruits are denied voting rights by the state, Rajneesh leaders surreptitiously infect local restaurants with salmonella, resulting in the largest biochemical terrorist attack on U.S. soil. And that’s only the beginning … Directors Maclain and Chapman Way, whose debut documentary, The Battered Bastards of Baseball, premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, return with this riveting six-part docu-series that recounts the amazing true story of a fallen religious movement. They join us to talk about this amazing, riveting and unbelievable story.”To describe Wild Wild Country as jaw-dropping is to understate the number of times my mouth gaped while watching the series.”
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
“Wild Wild Country…is a true story that seems too strange to be real, but with the sure hands of directors Chapman and Maclain Way, who weave this together with a keen artistic skill, it manages to feel not only tangible, but it provokes sincere emotion.” – Kristy Strouse, FIlm Inquiry
“To describe Wild Wild Country as jaw-dropping is to understate the number of times my mouth gaped while watching the series.” – Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic
“Wild Wild Country couldn’t be more timely-even if the particulars of its story are crazily unique to itself.” – Nick Schager, The Daily Beast
“It’s a slice of partially forgotten history in which real life just keeps getting more and more outlandish and implausible.” – Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter
In the Land of Pomegranates is a suspenseful, multi-layered documentary about a group of young people who were born into a violent and insidious ongoing war. They are young Palestinians and Israelis invited to Germany to join a retreat called ‘Vacation From War’ where they live under the same roof and face each other every day. In these highly charged encounters they confront the entrenched myths and grievances that each side has for the other. As they try to gain insight into the seemingly irreconcilable narratives, the paradoxes and contradictions born of legend and history along with passionately held ideals and the daily fight for survival surface. Interwoven into this intense footage, adding context, the film also follows other embattled lives in the Occupied Territories and Israel: a mother and her four children living in the shadow of the wall abutting Gaza; an imprisoned Palestinian and the subsequent path he’s taken; an Israeli survivor of a suicide bombing; and a daring Palestinian mother whose son’s life is saved by an Israeli doctor. They are all caught in the duality of the pomegranate: will they embrace rebirth and each other’s humanity, or will they pull the pin on the grenade? We are joined by the Director Hava Kohav Beller (The Restless Conscience: Resistance to Hitler within Germany 1933-1945) for a conversation on what, if any, options may be available to break the cycle of violence and mistrust for people living in a place where hatred and retribution have been normalized.
“The state of affairs in the Middle East may actually be thornier than it seems from afar: that is the position this brave, intimate perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to take.” – MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Philosopher
“Amidst tense airings of grievances, context is set against beautiful images of the disputed homeland, archival footage, and personal testimonials of clashes and cooperation” – Nora Lee Mandel, Film-Forward
“Sobering. A tough and clear-eyed look at how things are, rather than how we want them to be.” – Ken Jaworowski, The New York Times
“Hava Kohav Beller’s beautifully shot documentary gives an urgent and very modern new face to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” – New York Magazine
Cinequest has led the world in its showcase and implementation of the innovations that have revolutionized film making, exhibition and distribution. Over 100,000 attend CQFF, yet the three-block proximity of its state-of-the-art venues along with Cinequest’s renowned hospitality, makes the festival experience as warm and personal as it is electrifying. Cinequest presents over 90 World and U.S. premieres with groundbreaking innovations by 700+ participating filmmakers from over 50 countries each year. Set in the home of the world’s most influential media technology companies (Apple, Cisco, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, LinkedIn etc.) CQFF showcases premier films, renowned and emerging artists, and breakthrough technology—empowering global connectivity between creators, innovators and audiences. Michael Rabehl has been a member of the Cinequest team since 1994. As the Director of Programming he manages the film selection process for the festival and supervises the programming teams to create a world class line up of films and guests every year. In his role as the Associate Director he is directly involved with the strategic planning of the festival. Michael joins us to talk about the 2018 Conquest film and virtual reality line-up.
Cinequest Film and Virtual Reality Film Festival February 27 – March 11, 2018
“Move over Cannes! Of the more than 4,000 film festivals around the globe, more than half take place on U.S. soil, and many rank among the best of the best. Our panel of film experts, movie buffs and festival gurus were tasked with narrowing down the field to the best 20 film festivals in the nation before we turned it over to USA TODAY and 10Best readers to choose their favorites. After four weeks of voting, we have a winner. Cinequest Voted Best Film Festival!” — USA Today
“Technology always drives the film business. In Cinequest, we have a good window on the future. I think they’re leading the world in this regard.” — Peter Belsito, Executive Vice President, Film Finders
“This festival is one that sets the trends and is actually ahead of the trends. Other festivals are copying Cinequest; I see it all the time.” — Chris Gore, Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide and Film Threat
“At Cinequest you often haven’t heard of the film before you go see it, but the audiences come anyway. That’s a testament to the festival — that audiences are willing to take that leap of faith.” — Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
Carter Pilcher founded Shorts International in 2000. Coming from a background in both investment banking and law, Carter has made Shorts International the world’s leading short movie Entertainment Company, functioning as distributor, broadcaster and producer. Carter has extensive experience in short movie production and short movie entertainment. He is a voting member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and a member of the Short Film and Feature Animation Branch of The US Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) – the guys who pick the Oscars. Carter, originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, received a B.S. from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a J.D. from Georgetown University, is a member of the New York Bar and attended the London Business School Corporate Finance Evening Program. Carter Pilcher has been and continues to be the highlight of Oscar season here on Film School. His insight, commitment and love of films and filmmaking always makes for a lively and informative conversation on some of the best films you will see all year.
SHORT FILM (ANIMATED) NOMINEES
Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant
Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon
Dave Mullins and Dana Murray
Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata
Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer
SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION) NOMINEES
Reed Van Dyk
THE ELEVEN O’CLOCK
Derin Seale and Josh Lawson
MY NEPHEW EMMETT
Kevin Wilson, Jr.
THE SILENT CHILD
Chris Overton and Rachel Shenton
WATU WOTE/ALL OF US
Katja Benrath and Tobias Rosen
DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT) NOMINEES
Laura Checkoway and Thomas Lee Wright
HEAVEN IS A TRAFFIC JAM ON THE 405
Elaine McMillion Sheldon and Kerrin Sheldon
Kate Davis and David Heilbroner
Ivan Williams is a partner and Scenario’s executive vice president of finance. After a successful career as a senior business leader at major energy companies (ARCO and BP), he has been active starting up a media technology company, and executive producing feature films, Broadway musicals, musical recordings, theatrical plays, and Web tv shows. A member of Film Independent and the Sundance Institute, Ivan holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Oregon State University, and is a Dean’s M.B.A. Scholar at the UC Irvine Paul Merage School of Business, and a veteran Naval Reserve intelligence officer. An active contributor to his alma maters, Ivan serves as a member of the board of directors for Oregon State University’s Alumni Association, and is active with the University of California Irvine as chairman of the Dean’s Arts Council of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, serving as a member of the Graduate Division’s Dean’s Leadership Council, as an entertainment industry advisory board member for the Cybersecurity Policy & Research Institute, and a founding board member of the L.A./Orange County Anteaters in the Arts organization. Ivan joins us for a conversation on the his latest projects and the exiting future of digital film and arts at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at the University of California, Irvine.
Grand Saline, Texas, a town east of Dallas, has a history of racism, a history the community doesn’t talk about. This shroud of secrecy ended when Charles Moore, an elderly white preacher, self-immolated to protest the town’s racism in 2014, shining a spotlight on the town’s dark past. MAN ON FIRE untangles the pieces of this protest and questions the racism in Grand Saline today. Overall, MAN ON FIRE encapsulates the racial climate in Grand Saline and chronicles Moore’s life and death, presenting Grand Saline and Moore as two pillars of the film’s narrative: one a disjointed man seeking truth and communal repentance and the other a community whose present is inextricably tied to their past. MAN ON FIRE was Joel Fendelman’s thesis film for the completion of his MFA program at the University of Texas in Austin. The film went into production late May of 2016 and was completed late May of 2017. The crew took seven trips to the Van Zandt County area to film and compile interviews as well as a weekend of filming in Austin and one in Dallas. The recreations were filmed over three days in Austin, Texas. Director Joel Fendelman joins us to talk about what led Reverend Charles Moore to commit such a radical act, his approach to telling this timely story and MAN ON FIRE’s upcoming debut at the 2018 Slamdance Film Festival.
Co-winner of the International Documentary Association (IDA) 2017 David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award
Joel Fendelman’s site
Across more than 50 years of essays, novels, screenplays, and criticism, Joan Didion has been our premier chronicler of the ebb and flow of America’s cultural and political tides with observations on her personal – and our own – upheavals, downturns, life changes, and states of mind. In the intimate, extraordinary documentary JOAN DIDION: THE CENTER WILL NOT HOLD, actor and director Griffin Dunne unearths a treasure trove of archival footage and talks at length to his “Aunt Joan” about the eras she covered and the eventful life she’s lived, including partying with Janis Joplin in a house full of L.A. rockers; hanging in a recording studio with Jim Morrison; and cooking dinner for one of Charles Manson’s women for a magazine story. Didion guides us through the sleek literati scene of New York in the 1950s and early ’60s, when she wrote for Vogue; her return to her home state of California for two turbulent decades; the writing of her seminal books, including Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Play It as It Lays, A Book of Common Prayer, and The White Album; her film scripts, including The Panic in Needle Park; her view of 1980s and ’90s political personalities; and the meeting of minds that was her long marriage to writer John Gregory Dunne. She reflects on writing about her reckoning with grief after Dunne’s death, in The Year of Magical Thinking (winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction), and the death of their daughter Quintana Roo, in Blue Nights. With commentary from friends and collaborators including Vanessa Redgrave, Harrison Ford, Anna Wintour, David Hare, Calvin Trillin, Hilton Als, and Susanna Moore, the most crucial voice belongs to Didion, one of the most influential American writers alive today. Director Griffin Dunne (American Werewolf in London, After Hours) joins us for a conversation on “Aunt Joan” and her fiercely personal body of remarkable body of fiction and non-fiction.
“Access is almost everything for a documentary filmmaker, and the entree Griffin Dunne had to his celebrated subject makes all the difference in “Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“A documentary that’s incisive and haunting, like Didion’s best writing.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“This is an intensive appreciation of perhaps the greatest living American essayist, and one of the best ever. It plays like a finely tuned authorized biography.” – Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News
GKIDS, the acclaimed producer and distributor of animation for adult and family audiences, Annecy International Animation Film Festival, the world’s leading animation Festival and Market, and Variety magazine, have announced the launch of ANIMATON IS FILM, an annual animation film festival in Los Angeles. The first edition will run October 20-22 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theater in Hollywood (Mann’s Chinese Theater) with a showcase of 20 programs including feature films in competition, special presentations, retrospectives and short film programs. ANIMATION IS FILM aims to fill a gap in the US market by establishing a world class animation festival on par with the major events in Europe and Asia – and locating it in the world capital of animated filmmaking. The Festival will be a vocal advocate in the heart of Hollywood, for excellence in animation, and for filmmakers who push the boundaries of their art to the fullest range of expression that the medium is capable of. GKIDS and Animation is Film founder Eric Beckman stops by to talk about his love of animation and the endless possibilities for enriching and entertaining filmmaking contained in it.
Dates: The festival will be the weekend of Friday, October 20 through Sunday, October 22, 2017.
Location: Films will be screened at 6801 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatre Multiplex on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Animation is Film Festival seeks to:
• Present a highly selective, annual showcase of the best new works of animation from around the world, with programs for both adults and families.
• Champion and support filmmakers who use animation to pursue unique cinematic visions and who are unconstrained by conventional notions of what animation is capable of.
• Champion and support women filmmakers.
• Champion and support filmmakers from a wide range of cultural, economic, national and geographic backgrounds.
• Have a positive impact on Los Angeles’ diverse communities by making the Festival programs available to the widest range of audiences.
When high school senior Matt (Thomas Mann) meets fellow outcast Jill (Lily Mae Harrington), he falls more in love than he thought possible. However, after graduation comes and Jill moves cross-country to go to college, she loses more than 50 pounds and changes her appearance entirely – much to Matt’s surprise when he arrives to visit her six months later. While Matt struggles to accept Jill’s new choices, Jill begins to question whether Matt is really the man she wants to date. As the distance widens between them, the characters are propelled onto a collision course with brutality and loss, forcing them to confront who they are, who they were, and who everyone thinks they’re supposed to be. Also starring Ely Henry, Lachlan Buchanan, and this feature by writer-director Ian MacAllister-McDonald. McDonald joins us to talk about his touching, heartfelt feature film debut.
Special added event: Please join us for a Q&A session after the 7:20PM show on Friday 8/4. Participants will be writer/director Ian MacAllister-McDonald along with cast members Thomas Mann, Lily Mae Harrington, Ely Henry, and Lachlan Buchanan.
!00% on Rotten Tomatoes
“All the actors are good, but Harrington is remarkable. It’s not just the physical changes in her character, but the genuineness with which she inhabits her”. – Billy Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic
“Playwright Ian MacAllister-McDonald’s debut feature is a refreshingly grounded, unsentimental yet empathetic slice of D-list teenage life that goes a bit overboard in its final act.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety
“The characters are authentic and deeply felt.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat
“Brittle and beautifully-acted and cleverly written “find your tribe” high school romance.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation
1965: America is in turmoil. Unprecedented introspection and questioning of societal norms roil the country. Prabhupada, an unassuming 70-year-old Swami from India, arrives in New York City alone and without support or money. He carries only the ancient scriptures he has translated, and the firm faith in his teacher’s request: “offer spiritual wisdom to the people of the world!” Suddenly thrust into the raging counterculture movement, Prabhupada speaks of the world’s real need, which is not necessarily satisfied by political or social revolutions, but by a revolution of consciousness. This divergence from the status quo successfully captures the attention of a generation of youth seeking answers to life’s existential questions. From a tiny storefront on 26th 2nd Avenue, Prabhupada shares with them the idea that the way to find real happiness, love and freedom is to search within and connect to your true self. All this, the Swami says, begins by simply chanting a rhythmic, meditative 16-word mantra – Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This universal message resonates with more and more people, including musician George Harrison whose hit song ‘My Sweet Lord’, features the Hare Krishna chant. From there, Prabhupada’s movement explodes, and his followers – now known as the Hare Krishnas – become infamous for chanting and dancing in the streets. Co-director Lauren Ross (John Griessen, Jean Griessen) joins us to talk about the remarkable life and time of Swami Prabhupada and his mission to teach happiness.
“A dynamic documentary about the visionary Vedic scholar who launched the Hare Krishna movement.” – Spirituality and Practice
HARE KRISHNA! director John Griesser and producer Lauren Ross will participate in Q&A’s at the Monica Film Center after the 7:30 PM screenings on Friday and Saturday, June 23 and 24. HARE KRISHNA! writer Jean Griesser will join them on Friday and HARE KRISHNA! composer Michael Mollura will join them on Saturday.
In the new documentary Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story, Award-winning director Daniel Raim (The Man on Lincoln’s Nose, Something’s Gonna Live) brings to life a fascinating and moving account of the romantic and creative partnership of storyboard artist Harold Michelson and film researcher Lillian Michelson: two unsung heroes of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story spans the Golden Age of Hollywood through New Hollywood and beyond. It’s a portrait of a time, and an intimate chronicle of their epic journey of life, love, family, and making great movies. Harold and Lillian worked on hundreds of renowned films including The Ten Commandments, The Apartment, The Birds, Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, The Graduate, Rosemary’s Baby, Fiddler On The Roof, Scarface, Full Metal Jacket and many more. Although the couple was responsible for some of Hollywood’s most iconic examples of visual storytelling, their contributions remain largely uncredited. Through an engaging mix of love letters, film clips and candid conversations with Harold and Lillian, Danny DeVito, Mel Brooks, Francis Ford Coppola and others, this deeply engaging documentary from Academy Award®-nominated director Daniel Raim (who first encountered Harold Michelson as a student at the AFI Conservatory in 1997), chronicles their remarkable marriage and extraordinary careers through six decades of movie-making history. Harold and Lillian’s story humanizes Hollywood—an industry sustained by numerous hard-working cinema artisans; master craftsmen and craftswomen who give their lives, their genius and their hearts to the movies. Beyond Harold and Lillian’s contribution to cinema, their story can’t be told without weaving in their 60-year marriage—a creative, challenging, and profoundly loving partnership. Director Daniel Raim stops by for a conversation on his loving tribute to a beguiling pair of artists, partners and lovers.
**100% on RottenTomatoes
Truly charming…A terrifically moving human story!” – Glenn Kenny, Vanity Fair
“CRITICS’ PICK! Charming… Like flipping through misplaced leaves in a photo book, the documentary maintains a free-flowing tone as it uncovers the work that went into creating some of the indelible scenes in Hollywood history.” – Monica Castillo, The New York Times
“For an hour and a half, this charming little movie, with its chatty talking heads and its sweet-natured subjects, offers a glimpse into the lives of two fascinating people whom I had never heard of, and who shared an unlikely life filled with achievements and setbacks, wonder and pain.” – Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice
“One of the very best documentaries ever made about movies…I have rarely seen any movie, fact or fiction, that was quite so suffused with love—movie love and human love—as this one.” – David Noh, Film Journal
“An awesome film… funny, heartbreaking, and packed with delicious film lore.” – Ken Kwapis, Director of The Office
Jacob Garchik, multi-instrumentalist and composer, was born in San Francisco and lived in New York since 1994. At home in a wide variety of styles and musical roles, he is a vital part of the Downtown and Brooklyn scene, playing trombone with the Lee Konitz Nonet, Ohad Talmor/Steve Swallow Sextet, Mary Halvorson Octet, and the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble. He has released 4 albums as a leader including “The Heavens: the Atheist Gospel Trombone Album”. He co-leads Brooklyn’s premiere Mexican brass band, Banda de los Muertos. Since 2006 Jacob has contributed dozens of arrangements and transcriptions for Kronos Quartet of music from all over the world. He composed the score for Kronos for the documentary “The Campaign” (2013), and “The Green Fog” (2017) directed by Guy Maddin. He has created arrangements for vocalists Anne Sofie von Otter, Angelique Kidjo, Laurie Anderson, Rhiannon Giddens, kd lang, Natalie Merchant, Tanya Tagaq, and Alim Qasimov. Garchik returns to San Francisco Sunday, April 16 for a live performance during the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival’s closing night screening of The Green Fog – A San Francisco Fantasia. Commissioned by the San Francisco Film Society, that reimagines one of the most iconic San Francisco films of all time, Vertigo, as a visual collage by award-winning filmmaker and cultural iconoclast Guy Maddin. The Green Fog will screen at the historic Castro Theatre on Sunday, April 16 at 7:00 pm, followed by the Closing Night Party at Mezzanine. Jacob Garchik joins us for a conversation on collaborating with director Guy Maddin and his own musical journey.
Audience Awards is a company started by filmmakers for filmmakers, we have a deep desire to do what we can to introduce you to real opportunity and connection. Submit quality content for our creative and brand contests and grab your chance to win cash, prizes and screenings at some of the most amazing film festivals on the circuit. It’s not the norm to play up a film festival as your first, but Audience Awards isn’t the norm and this isn’t your normal film festival. With an online community of over 150,000 filmmakers and film lovers, AudFest is our filmmaker family reunion! We’ve known many of you for years online and now we get to meet face-to-face. We’ve planned some amazing things for you in preparation. With a focus on innovation and diversity in short-form filmmaking, this four-day fest hosts panels and workshops with the top tier in this industry on branded content, Super 8 film, festival strategy, social impact of filmmaking and more. A company started by filmmakers for filmmakers, we have a deep desire to do what we can to introduce you to real opportunity and connection. Attendees will have access to representatives from Women In Film, SAG-AFTRA, SAGIndie, Paramount, Filmmakers Alliance and VICE, to name a very few. Audience Awards CEO and Founder Paige Williams stops by for a conversation on the quality and diversity of short films being produced and the support that Audience Awards is providing to that filmmaking community.
In Adam Curtis’s acclaimed BBC documentary, HyperNormalisation, he employs masterfully edited found footage to investigate how, at a time of confusing and inexplicable world events, politicians and other power brokers construct new, slippery realities. Curtis tells a story that begins in 1975 in New York and Damascus, and ends with today’s world.
Adam Curtis on his work and HyperNormalisation: ”Those in power in society – the politicians, the journalists, the experts – maintain their power by telling us stories about the world. Those stories tell us what is true and what is false, what is right and wrong, and what is real – and what is illusion. But there come times when these stories begin to break down. And people start to distrust those in power – and their definition of what is real and what is fake. At that point you enter the Zone. The film Hypernormalisation tells the story of how we got to this place. It is also about the new systems of power that we cannot see – because we are trapped inside the Zone.”
Adam Curtis is an award-winning widely influential documentary filmmaker and journalist. He works for BBC television in London. His acclaimed films include The Century of the Self (2002), The Power of Nightmares (2004), All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (2011), Bitter Lake (2015) – and most recently HyperNormalisation.. His films go back into the recent past to tell dramatic stories that lead the viewer to look again at the present day – and help them make sense of it. They try to show how power really flows in today’s complex society, not just through politics – but through science, public relations and advertising, psychology, computer networks and finance. Curtis has also done live shows with the immersive theatre group Punchdrunk and the band Massive Attack. His films have been shown at the Cannes film festival and have won awards – including 6 BAFTAs. Curtis joins us to talk about power, journalism, the world as is understood today and his work.
“I want to be Adam Curtis when I grow up.” – Oscar-winning filmmaker Errol Morris
“Hypernormalisation” feels like a greatest hits compilation of familiar Curtis themes — the decline of political power in a corporate age, the rise of global terrorism, America’s tortuous secret history in the Middle East, the hollow narcissism of cyberspace. But this also is a dazzling and thought-provoking film that blurs the line between op-ed journalism and mesmerizing audio-visual art.” – Hollywood Reporter
“‘HyperNormalisation’ is a searching and essential document of our times, a movie that leaves us, as in its opening shot, groping through a pitch-black forest with only a flashlight, wondering what lies in all that terrifying darkness that no one has found a way through.” – The New Yorker
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. 22 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. It has also created Slamdance On The Road, a traveling theatrical showcase that brings popular Slamdance films to audiences that otherwise would not have the opportunity to see them. 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, to provide 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 and digital initiatives being launched by Slamdance.
BLUE JAY is the story of former high school sweethearts Jim (Mark Duplass) and Amanda (Sarah Paulson) who have been out of touch for more than 20 years — but by sheer coincidence, they run into each other at a grocery store back in their alpine hometown of Crestline, California. Jim’s mother has died and he’s here to put her house on the market. Amanda is visiting her pregnant sister. They get to talking, first over coffee, then over beer and jellybeans. Before they know it they’re at Jim’s mother’s house, where everything sends them spiraling back into the past. Jim and Amanda’s lives have taken different directions, yet here they are, reconnecting like nothing has changed. This is one of 2016’s best films.
“Though the film largely trains on the simple, dialogue-fueled interaction of two people, it feels more spectacular than theatrical, showcasing the acting prowess of two master performers feeding on mutual chemistry and performative bravado.” – Joey Nolfi, Entertainment Weekly
“Even after twenty years apart, Amanda and Jim can ask each other the questions no one else would dare to, and understand the answers that go beyond words.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice
ASPERGER’S ARE US is the story of the members of the comedy troupe “Asperger’s Are Us,” whose “condition” make it easier to associate with a faceless audience than with their own families. No matter who the crowd, best friends Noah, New Michael, Jack and Ethan have one simple mantra: “We would much rather the audience appreciate us as comedians than people who have overcome adversity.” In this coming-of-age heartfelt documentary, this band of brothers finds themselves at a crossroad. With real life pulling them apart, they decide to plan one ambitious farewell show before they all go their separate ways. People with Asperger’s don’t deal well with uncertainty, and this is the most uncertain time in their lives.
“Asperger’s Are Us” rarely stretches to be funny or poignant or touching, and that makes this documentary all the more of each.” Ken Jaworowski, New York Times
“The four young men at the heart of this documentary will easily find a home in all but the hardest of hearts.” – Kimber Myers, LA Times
“Warm, funny and enormously entertaining.” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru
Director / cinematographer Alex Lehmann was born in France and studied film at Emerson College in Boston. ASPERGER’S ARE US is his first documentary feature, it premiered this year at SXSW and was the first Netflix acquisition of the festival. Alex most recently released BLUE JAY starring Mark Duplass and Sarah Paulson which marked his second collaboration (ASPERGER’S ARE US) with the Duplass Brothers. Alex has mostly worked in the industry as a cinematographer, most recently having shot the upcoming Katherine Keener political drama Little Pink House. He and Mark Duplass met on the set of “The League”, where Alex served as a camera operator. Alex stops by for a lively conversation on is collaboration with Mark and Jay Duplass and the on-set challenges / rewards of shooting and directing and bonding with a troupe of four very funny performers.
What does it mean to tell somebody else’s story? In this ingenious blend of documentary and psychological thriller, Robert Greene (ACTRESS) follows Kate Lyn Sheil (House of Cards, LISTEN UP PHILIP) through her creative process as she prepares for her next, tragic role: Christine Chubbuck, the Florida newscaster who committed suicide live on-air in 1974. As Kate investigates (and ultimately becomes obsessed with) Chubbuck’s story, she discovers that little is actually known about the real woman (despite the urban myth that her story was the inspiration for the classic Hollywood film NETWORK). Through their collaboration, Robert, Kate and cinematographer Sean Price Williams (HEAVEN KNOWS WHAT) raise questions surrounding the sometimes unstable boundaries between performance, the authentic self and the storytelling impulse. Winner of a Special Jury Prize at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, KATE PLAYS CHRISTINE is as much about unraveling a mystery as it is a document of the creative process. Director Robert Greene joins us for a conversation on blurring the line between documentaries and narrative films, just what did he learn about Christine Chubbuck’s life and how has making KATE PLAYS CHRISTINE changed his approach to storytelling.
** Winner of a Special Jury Prize at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival
“Kate’s transformation shifts from merely documenting a process to questioning the motives behind it. The final result is deeply unsettling, and (likely unintentionally) a timely indictment of recent headline-making method-acting histrionics.” – Mallory Andrews, Movie Mezzanine
“ documentary Vertigo, Robert Greene’s re-creation of a woman who fell to her inner demons — something of a ghost story — feels dangerous. It pokes the bear, then slaps it.” – Joshua Rothopf, Time Out
“We are a society of gawkers,” asserts one newsperson as Sheil wrestles with the task at hand. By the end of Kate Plays Christine, Greene seems to argue that we’re all complicit in that indictment.” – Eric Kohn, Indiewire
“A tour de force in the blending and bending of genres.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker
Newly arrived from England to marry his fiancée Zaneta (Agnieszk Zulewska, Chemo), Peter (Israeli actor Itay Tiran, Lebanon) has been given a gift of her family’s ramshackle country house in rural Poland. It’s a total fixer-upper, and while inspecting the premises on the eve of the wedding, he falls into a pile of human remains. The ceremony proceeds, but strange things begin to happen…During the wild reception, Peter begins to come undone, and a dybbuk, the iconic ancient figure from Jewish folklore, takes a toehold in this present-day celebration-for a very particular reason, as it turns out. Based on noted Polish writer Piotr Rowicki’s play Adherence, DEMON is the final work by Marcin Wrona, who died just as DEMON was set to premiere in Poland, is part absurdist comedy, part love story-that scares, amuses, and charms in equal measure. Acclaimed at several festivals including New Directors/New Films, the Toronto Film Festival, and Austin Fantastic Fest where it won the Award for Best Horror Feature. Producer Olga Szymanska, widow of DEMON director Marcin Wrona joins us for a conversation on this hauntingly beautiful film.
Winner: Austin Fantastic Fest, Best Horror Feature, 2015
Winner: Haifa Film Festival, Tobias Spencer Award, 2015
“Wrona keeps everything creepily ambiguous right up to the end, when the foggy dawn breaks and what we have witnessed becomes like a dream within a dream.” – Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
“..a unique take on the Jewish legend of the Dybbuk that feels both deeply rooted in cultural nightmares and refreshingly new…“Demon” is stylish and clever from its concept..but it’s the execution that really matters. There’s a great energy to the piece, from the framing of the visual compositions, to the eerie atmosphere created by the lights hanging from the ceiling of what looks like a barn. There’s fantastic costume design as well as a lead performance that engages on every level.” — Brian Tallerico, Rogerebert.com
“Crackling, spookily atmospheric, intelligent, sometimes funny ghost story. It builds on family secrets to take on wider social and historical resonance for Poles and Jews.” – Nora Lee Mandel, Film Forward
“A darkly humorous reworking of “The Dybbuk,” with a deftly realized switch that turns that familiar tale of love from beyond the grave into a parable of Polish anti-Semitism in the post-war era…. a black comedy in the vein of “The Exterminating Angel.” — George Robinson, The Jewish Week
Netflix is the definitive media company of the 21st century. It was among the first to parlay new Internet technologies into a successful business model, and in the process it changed how consumers access film and television. It is now one of the leading providers of digitally delivered media content and is continually expanding access across a host of platforms and mobile devices. Despite its transformative role, however, Netflix has drawn very little critical attention-far less than competitors such as YouTube, Apple, Amazon, Comcast, and HBO. The Netflix Effect, Technology and Entertainment in the 21st Century addresses this gap, as the essays are designed to critically explore the breadth and diversity of Netflix’s effect from a variety of different scholarly perspectives, a necessary approach considering the hybrid nature of Netflix; its inextricable links to new models of media production and distribution, to new modes of viewer engagement and consumer behavior, its relationship to existing media conglomerates and consumer electronics, to its capabilities as a web-based service provider and data network, and to its reliance on a broader technological infrastructure. Marking the first scholarly work to address its significance. Co-author and editor Kevin P. McDonald talks about how The Netflix Effect provides a critical framework for understanding the company’s specific strategies as well as its broader social, economic, and cultural impact. McDonald teaches at the Communication Studies Department at Cal State Northridge, USA. His research focuses on film theory, contemporary Hollywood, and media industries. His work has appeared in Jump-Cut, Velvet Light Trap, and Alphaville.
Men’s style has changed dramatically over the past few years. MAKING THE AMERICAN MAN will grant viewers access into the creative minds of the artisans and entrepreneurs who are leading this movement. Some of these “makers” are tried-and-true, rediscovered heritage American brands, dedicated to an unwavering tradition of union-made quality. Others are young entrepreneurs who mourn the transition to disposable, imported clothing—and so were inspired to make menswear that equaled the artisanal quality products that their parents and grandparents took for granted. MAKING THE AMERICAN MAN draws its power from intimate conversations with over 35 cult-cool designers and tastemakers who have defined what classic masculinity looks like today, and how they feel it must be produced. From Los Angeles to New York and everywhere in between, these cultural trendsetters shed light on the modern age of American men’s style, the value of American-made goods—and how one cannot exist without the other. MAKING THE AMERICAN MAN Director Gregory Caruso joins us to talk about the present and future of American manufacturing, craftsmanship and modern masculinity.
Now available on Netflix
The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture by showcasing films, supporting emerging filmmakers, recognizing the leadership of entertainment industry performers and business executives, and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora. Each year the festival is held at ArcLight Hollywood and features a rich mix of film programs designed to build and support the growing interest in the Indian entertainment industry. This includes programming that cultivates an audience for Indian films while supporting filmmakers of Indian descent in career development as they navigate the larger studio system in Hollywood. IFFLA’s creative and business programs include the the One-on-One program where industry professionals from major and independent production and distribution companies are invited to participate in meetings with the IFFLA filmmakers; and panel discussions with speakers from the film industry. The 14th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) will take place April 6-10, 2016 at ArcLight Hollywood, the elegant, state-of-the-art facility at Sunset and Vine in Hollywood, and the festival’s home since its inception. Director of Programming Mike Dougherty join us to talk about the wide ranging films that will be showcase at this year’s festival.
IFFLA film guide: indianfilmfestival.org/film-guide-2016
Since founding Shorts International in 2000, Carter Pilcher has worked to make his company the world’s leading short movie entertainment company. Shorts International has become the first choice distributor, broadcaster and producer for hundreds of films. Carter has extensive experience in short movie production and short movie entertainment. He is a voting member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and a member of the Short Film and Feature Animation Branch of The US Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) – the guys who pick the Oscars. Carter talks to us about the fifteen wonderful films nominated for the Live Action, Documentary and Animated Short Film 2016 Academy Awards.
Douglas Tirola‘s outrageous documentary DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: THE STORY OF THE NATIONAL LAMPOON, is an inside look at the rise and fall of the legendary humor magazine that launched dozens of careers and broke thousands of taboos. From the 1970s thru the 1990s, there was no hipper, no more outrageous comedy in print than The National Lampoon, the groundbreaking humor magazine that pushed the limits of taste and acceptability – and then pushed them even harder. Parodying everything from politics, religion, entertainment and the whole of American lifestyle, the Lampoon eventually went on to branch into successful radio shows, record albums, live stage revues and movies, including ANIMAL HOUSE and NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION, launching dozens of huge careers on the way, including John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Christopher Guest, Richard Belzer, Gilda Radner, Brian Doyle-Murray, Bill Murray, Joe Flaherty, Harold Ramis, Michael O’Donoghue, Doug Kenney, Henry Beard, George W. S. Trow, Chris Miller, P. J. O’Rourke, Michael O’Donoghue, Chris Rush, Sean Kelly, Tony Hendra, Brian McConnachie, Gerald Sussman, Ellis Weiner, Danny Abelson, Ted Mann, Chris Cluess, Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Jeff Greenfield, and John Hughes. As well as cartoonists, photographers and illustrators appeared in the magazine’s pages, including Neal Adams, Gahan Wilson, Michael Sullivan, Ron Barrett, Peter Bramley, Vaughn Bode, Bruce McCall, Rick Meyerowitz, M. K. Brown, Shary Flenniken, Bobby London, Edward Gorey, Jeff Jones, Joe Orlando, Arnold Roth, Rich Grote, Ed Subitzky, Mara McAfee, Sam Gross, Charles Rodrigues, Buddy Hickerson, B. K. Taylor, Birney Lettick, Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo, Marvin Mattelson, Stan Mack, Chris Callis, John E. Barrett, Raymond Kursar and Andy Lackow. Director Tirola tells the story of its rise and fall through fresh, candid interviews with its key staff, and illustrated with hundreds of outrageous images from the magazine itself (along with never-seen interview footage from the magazine’s prime). Director Tirola stops by to talk about the supernova of comedic satire that was The Lampoon and its influential legacy.
DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: THE STORY OF THE NATIONAL LAMPOON opening in Los Angeles at the Nuart Theatre on October 2, and at Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 in Pasadena and Laemmle’s NoHo 7 in North Hollywood on October 9 (opens in NY and on VOD/iTunes September 25).
Director Douglas Tirola will be doing a Q & A Friday, October 2nd and Saturday, October 3rd after the 7:30PM screenings.
“Punch-drunk and very much alive. A generous and briskly entertaining doc that traces the titular humor magazine’s lasting influence on American comedy – a real nonfiction crowdpleaser. ” – Ben Kenigsberg, Variety
“Energetic, laugh-stuffed and very colorful – A lively, very entertaining look at the Lampoon’s unlikely empire.” – John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter