In the riveting new short format documentary film, BLOOD RIDERS, from director Jon Kasbe (When Lambs Become Lions, Nascent, Mipso in Japan), focuses on the crippling blood shortage crisis and standstill traffic that plagues most hours of the day in Nigeria. On far too many days it can take over 24 hours to transport blood to patients in critical need. Joseph, one of the city’s motorcycle “blood riders,” can deliver blood to hospitals in under an hour. For mothers in labor, particularly in the case of Deborah dealing with a difficult delivery, this is often the difference between life and death.Director Kasbe gives us an incredible sense of intimacy with his characters. BLOOD RIDERS puts usthere on the motorcycle and in the delivery room with Deborah and her husband. It boggles the mind. Director Jon Kasbe joins us for a conversation about the dire situation facing the people of Nigeria, a country of inadequate infrastructure, substandard health care capacity and systemic corruption, where a few dedicated people are determined to come to the aid of the most vulnerable among them.
About the filmmaker: Jon Kasbe is an Emmy Award-winning Australian-Indian director and cinematographer. His debut feature, “When Lambs Become Lions,” was a 2017 Sundance Documentary Fund recipient, won Best Editing at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, and was nominated for two 2019 IDA Awards in Best Cinematography and Best Editing. The film was released theatrically across the United States by Oscilloscope Laboratories and is now available on Apple TV and Amazon. His short films have screened at festivals worldwide and been recognized by SXSW, Hot Docs, Webbys, Vimeo Staff Picks, Camerimage Film Festival, Sheffield Film Festival, and National Geographic. In 2018 he was selected for DOC NYC’s inaugural 40 Under 40 list. He is currently developing a new film in Concordia Studios Artist-in-Residence. For more about his filmology go to: jonkasbe.com
CRYSTAL SWAN is set in Belarus a few years after gaining independence in 1990. This vibrant debut feature film by director Darya Zhuk follows the path of young Velya (Alina Nasibullina), who dreams of moving to Chicago where she hopes to pursue her passion for house music. However, obtaining a U.S. visa proves daunting. After purchasing blank letterhead and forging proof of employment, Velya realizes the American consulate plans to call the fake phone number on her application to confirm her employment. Velya’s only solution is to go to the small factory town and convince the family connected to the phone number to help her. She locates the cramped Soviet apartment on the other end of the line, overrun by a family preparing for the wedding of their son. But Velya’s presence soon upends both the family’s and the town’s order, with potentially disastrous consequences for all. Director Darya Zhuk joins us to talk about where the story behind Crystal Swan came from, casting Velya and how her debut feature film reflects a story about a woman and her country, where feelings of self and belonging are yet to be defined.
Director’s statement – I’m a Belarus-born film director living in New York. I spent most of my young adult life straddling two worlds: the world of my freshly independent home-country, just starting to define its identity after the split from the Soviet Union, and my new home in America where I stayed after finishing an undergraduate degree at Harvard. Most of this straddling, I spent standing in long cues to the US Embassy in Minsk. I visited my parents a lot, and the visa requirements were quite brutal. It’s in this long line to the embassy that I first thought of Crystal Swan. People waiting on the permission to go to America were like prisoners waiting for the verdict, – they were so stressed out that they often shared their whole life stories with strangers next to them. I wanted to explore what this process of like. My protagonist Velya is a DJ dreaming to go to Chicago to visit the birthplace of house music. We meet her in one of these cues to the embassy. She is young and full of illusions, she still feels like she is the center of her world. She is an archetypal American character placed in the post-Soviet mess. Freedom she seeks is not available, and in the reality where she lives, the individualism doesn’t always win. Her beliefs and approach to life are constantly challenged with every step of her journey. Can she be a free agent in an unfree world? The unfreedom of people around is what stops my main character from reaching her goal. The history, the trauma of the previous history, catches up with her through the abusive actions of the people who surround her. – Darya Zhuk, Director, Co-screenwriter
Official Oscar Entry for Foreign Language Film – Belarus
Best Director – Bridge of Arts Film Festival
Best Actress – Bridge of Arts Film Festival
Best Actress – Cineuropa Film Festival
Best Film – Bratislava Film Festival (Fipresci Jury)
Best Debut of 2018 – Russian Critics Guild
Best Picture – Tbilisi Film Festival
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
“Crystal Swan feels like a poison-tipped letter from the filmmaker to her home country that is also an engrossing work of social criticism.” – Phil Guie, Film-Forward.com
“If something stands out above all it’s the excellent performance of Alina Nasibullina, an actress with a lot of presence that dominates the screen at all times.” – Jaime Fa de Lucas, Culturamas
“While some nuances may go over the heads of international audiences, its core social and economic frustrations are universal ones, driven by Velya’s fundamentally sympathetic wanderlust.” – Guy Lodge, Variety
“[Crystal Swan] is so effective at capturing the hopefulness of someone who’s seized by the promise of a better life, and the desperation she feels when that promise starts to slip through her fingers.” – David Ehrlich, indieWire
Inspired by the massive use of new technologies which intersect with psychopharmacology for therapeutic purposes. Algorithm: Bliss takes a look into how humanity and technology intersect and examines the unintended consequences of applications and innovations that come out of good intentions. Algorithm: Bliss explores where and how lines of morality get blurry once people are dealing with the reality of the noble aspirations for a product versus the potentially dangerous reality of implementation.It’s Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” for a digital age. Vic Beckett (Sean Faris) is a brilliant researcher, creates the ultimate App that taps into the pleasure center of the brain and transmits a feeling of nirvana to the user. Instant celebrity and unlimited commercial applications corrupt his altruistic intention and when problems arise with his creation, he justifies doing whatever is necessary to keep the app online. Algorithm: Bliss starsSean Faris (Never Back Down), Sarah Roemer (Disturbia), Frank Deal (The Bourne Legacy), James Saito (Life Of Pi), Frank Deal (The Outsider), and Kimberley Locke (American Idol). Algorithm: Bliss is co-directed by Dena Hysell-Cornejo and Isak Borg, from a screenplay by Borg and Golan Ramraz (Iron Man).
In December 2018, alpinists Ari Novak and Karsten Delap set out for India to explore one of the most remote valleys in the Indian Himalaya with local climber Karn Kowshik. Their goal was to meet with the indigenous population of the Spiti Valley and try to support local ice climbing. What they found was perhaps the biggest treasure trove of unclimbed ice in all the Himalaya.HIMALAYAN ICE (Adventures in India’s Most Remote Valley) tells the history-making story of their journey to put up nine first ascents and start an ice climbing movement by the local population. From their journey to the valley along the most treacherous road on earth to walking amongst Snow Leopards, the expedition was anything but expected. Co-directors Austin Schmitz and Ari Novak join us to talk the challenges of getting to India’s Spiti Valley, connecting with the people, climbers and non-climbers, and the life lessons learned during their remarkable journey.
Supporting Himalayan Ice: Himalayan Ice is presented by La Sportiva to raise money and awareness for impoverished and indigenous populations to enable these native people to climb in their own mountains. By empowering native populations through climbing for conservation we hope to establish and protect safe climbing areas for native populations in the worlds great mountain ranges. Himalayan Ice has partnered with Project Conservation a 501c3 non profit to enable our efforts. Ticket proceeds will directly go to support this non profit effort.
Hilma af Klint was an abstract artist before the term existed, a visionary, trailblazing figure who, inspired by spiritualism, modern science, and the riches of the natural world around her, began in 1906 to reel out a series of huge, colorful, sensual, strange works without precedent in painting. The subject of a recent smash retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, af Klint was for years an all-but-forgotten figure in art historical discourse, before her long-delayed rediscovery. Halina Dryschka’s dazzling, course correcting documentary describes not only the life and craft of af Klint, but also the process of her mischaracterization and her erasure by both a patriarchal narrative of artistic progress and capitalistic determination of artistic value. Director Halina Dyrschka joins us to talk about her own journey in making this compelling and powerful film and the importance of shattering the art world narrative of marginalizing woman artists.
About the filmmaker – Director Halina Dyrschka was born in Berlin, Germany and is active as a director and producer. After studying acting, classical singing and film production she founded the company AMBROSIA FILM in Berlin. Her first film as a director the short film “9andahalf’s Goodbye” was shown at over 40 film festivals worldwide and has won several awards. BEYOND THE VISIBLE – HILMA AF KLINT marks her directorial feature documentary debut and is the first and only film on the Swedish artist Hilma af Klint.
“One needn’t have a B.F.A. to see the striking resemblances between Klint’s works, painted years earlier, and those of vastly more lauded male artists who came later.” – Kenneth R. Morefield, 1More Film Blog
“Beyond the Visible should reach the general public as a needed and welcome corrective, shining a light on yet another dynamic, trailblazing woman denied her rightful place in history, until now.” – Loren King, AWFJ Women on Film
“Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint reminds us that just because we do not yet know them, does not mean that there are not more than enough women artists to entirely populate their own club of geniuses – and that in itself makes the film worthwhile.” – Lee Jutton, Film Inquiry
The Film Festival Alliance announced it will team with Theatrical-At-Home to present the inaugural Film Festival Day on Saturday, April 11. 30 FFA member film festivals will participate in a virtual screening of Gary Lundgren’s PHOENIX, OREGON, which will benefit each of the film festivals with a share of the evening’s proceeds.
Among the 30 participating film festivals are; Alexander Valley Film Festival (CA), Ashland Film Festival (OR), BendFilm (OR), Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival (IL), Buffalo International Film Festival (NY), Cambria Film Festival (CA), Cinetopia Film Festival (MI), Cucalorus Film Festival (NC), Durango Independent Film Festival (CO), Heartland Film Festival (IN), Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival (MI), Indy Film Fest (IN), Interfaith Film & Music Festival (NY), Flyway Film Festival (WI), Free State Festival (KS), Golden State Film Festival (CA), New Filmmakers Los Angeles (CA), Orcas Island Film Festival (WA), Oxford Film Festival (MS), Phoenix Film Festival (AZ), Poppy Jasper International Film Festival (CA), Sidewalk Film Festival (AL), Scottsdale International Film Festival (AZ), Skyline Indie Fest (VA), South Georgia Film Festival (GA), St. Louis International Film Festival (MO), Tallgrass Film Festival (KS), The Valley Film Festival (CA), Vermont International Film Festival (VT), and Woods Hole Film Festival (MA).
Film fans from across the country will be able to select their festival of choice when purchasing tickets and box office revenue will be generously split with that organization. All ticket purchases will receive a one-time link to watch the movie at home as well as a free digital copy upon its official release this summer. Film festivals across the nation have endured more than 175 cancellations, postponements and quick pivots in the wake of COVID-19, with an estimated economic impact of more than $1.4 million for this group of organizations alone. Of the participating festivals, which come from 19 states, they have combined audiences of more than 200,000, support more than 5,500 filmmakers and collectively screened over 3,700 films in the last year.
Gary Lundgren’s PHOENIX, OREGON is about two friends, a graphic novelist and a chef, who defy a midlife haze by seizing an unlikely opportunity to reinvent their lives by quitting their jobs to restore an old bowling alley and serve the “world’s greatest pizza.” The film stars an impressive lineup of indie film stalwarts and comedy favorites including James Le Gros (DRUGSTORE COWBOY, LIVING IN OBLIVION), Lisa Edelstein (“House”), Jesse Borrego (“Fame,” BLOOD IN BLOOD OUT), Reynaldo Gallegos (AMERICAN SNIPER), Diedrich Bader (NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, OFFICE SPACEN, “Veep”), and Kevin Corrigan (THE DEPARTED, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, TRUE ROMANCE). Watch the trailer for Phoenix, Oregon
ABOUT FILM FESTIVAL ALLIANCEFilm Festival Alliance creates a collaborative global community for mission-driven film festivals. FFA advocates for a sustainable and inclusive environment for our industry within the cinema exhibition ecosystem and creates a powerful collective voice for film festivals and the people who run them. Founded in 2010 as a program of IFP, Film Festival Alliance (FFA) was established in 2015 as an independent non-profit networking organization, and now serves a membership of more than 180 organizations and individuals – representing a diverse array of size, geographic location and annual budget. FFA presents year-round professional development, and engagement opportunities around the country, offers valuable money-saving benefits and creates a collective community for festival professionals. FFA works year-round to celebrate and support the art of film, filmmaking and film presentation by connecting festival professionals with one another, and with other industry stakeholders including the greater filmmaking community.
Goldie is a star – well, not quite yet, but at least in the eyes of her little sisters Sherrie and Supreme she is. The rest of the world is bound to take note soon too. Her big break surely awaits, she’s just got to pick up that golden fur coat she’s had her eye on first. And land a role as a dancer in a hip-hop video. And keep child welfare services from separating her from Sherrie and Supreme, after their mother is locked up. Holding onto those dreams isn’t easy when fate has placed such daunting obstacles in her path. With Goldie, Dutch director Sam de Jong has delivered a real New York film: raw and glamorous, unflinchingly realistic and relentlessly optimistic, with a ton of heart and at least as much attitude. Director / writer Sam de Jong joins us to talk about his tale of dreams, expectations and reality crash together in this verite explosion.
About the filmmaker:Director Sam de Jong After graduating from the Dutch Film academy with the acclaimed “Magnesium” Sam went on to write and direct the short film “Marc Jacobs” and entered the Berlinale shorts competition in 2014. With largely the same cast he returned to Berlinale the next year with his first feature Prince. Prince opened the Generations 14 competition in 2015. After Prince, Sam went on to make Goldie with 20th Century Fox and Vice Films. His short work has been shown around the world at festivals like Sundance, Berlin and AFI fest. His first feature Prince was theatrically released in the Netherlands, the United States and in Mexico. His work is heavily influenced by present-day youth culture and studies the implications of growing up in the 21st century: in the face of our rapidly changing multi-ethnic society where pop culture is the new predominant religion. From a mash up of different genres, lavishly coated in bright esthetics, Sam wants to research the meaning of our quest for recognition and identity. Red Sand will be Sam’s first international co-production together with longtime collaborator HALAL. With this movie Sam wants to explore new themes and broaden his horizon.
“This film is filled with bursts of color. The high energy visuals counterbalance the tragic malaise of Goldie’s life perfectly.” – Lorry Kikta, Film Threat
“Suspension between can-do spirit and come-down reality pumps blood into the irrepressible heart of this scrappy tale, along with the natural charisma of model Slick Woods, making a disarming feature debut in the title role.” – David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
“Goldie (played by fashion model Slick Woods in her first movie role) is a lot like the film that bears her name: full of attitude, bursting with scrappy New York style, and stuck under the thumb of a merciless system that won’t let her shine like she knows she can. “ – David Ehrlich, IndieWire
“De Jong brings a jolt of brash energy to a social realist scenario that could easily have attracted Ken Loach or the Dardenne brothers. A charismatic, eye-catching debut performance from Instagirl fashion world star Slick Woods adds considerably to the film’s appeal.” – Allan Hunter, Screen Daily
In Rosine Mbakam’s loving and intimate documentary we get to know shop owner, businesswoman Sabine. Recruited by a Lebanese maid agency, Sabine leaves Cameroon and embarks for Lebanon. After many years of servitude, she escapes to Belgium, but her arrival there is complicated by the fact that she enters illegally, by way of Greece and Syria. She settles in Matonge, the African quarter, where she becomes the manager of the beauty salon Chez Jolie Coiffure. Sabine attaches a hair weave and gets to work. Her hands move quickly and precisely, as she tightly braids the hair in front of the sign in her salon promising African, European, and American-style coiffure. Sabine is a larger than-life personality crammed into a tiny, glassed-in shop in the largely immigrant Brussels district of Matonge. Here, she and her employees fit extensions and glue on lashes while watching soaps, dishing romantic advice, sharing rumors about government programs to legalize migrants, and talking about people back home in West Africa. Patrons, many of them undocumented immigrants, are not only be made to feel beautiful but can also escape the daily difficulties and harsh realities of their lives.
“Critic’s Pick! Rosine Mbakam makes a remarkable debut; demonstrates a mastery of perspective, a rare ability to include the camera in community.” —The New York Times
“Intense vulnerability makes the film emotionally gripping; the contrast between a public storefront and intimate confessions makes it engrossing… Unequivocally extracts a powerful sense of empathy—and urgency.” —Vox Magazine
“Immersive, provacative; a warm, appealing portrait. Mbakam’s portrait is knit as tightly as the braids Sabine weaves.” —Film International
“A must-see! Highly revealing, an atypical and timely portrait of the intersection between the immigrant experience and female identity.” —IndieWire
“An original filmmaker of exquisite sensibility; one of the foremost filmmakers of creative nonfiction working right now.” —The New Yorker
Filmmaker Rosine Mbakam left Cameroon at 27 to live in Belgium. Seven years later—having studied film and married a European—she returns to make what she calls a journey into darkness—to the village of her birth, and later to the capital city of Yaoundé, where her mother now lives most of the year. In the village of Tonga, her mother, Mâ Brêh, shares memories of the horrors of the war against French colonizers, and of daily life for a Cameroonian woman in an arranged marriage—a fate Rosine herself barely escaped, leaving the family of an angry ex-fiance behind. As she spends more time with her mother and the women around her, Rosine reveals the strength of their solidarity and their ability to face adversity.
The Disappearance of My Mother chronicles Benedetta Barzini desire to leave this world behind. An iconic fashion model in the 1960s, she became a muse to Warhol, Dali, Penn and Avedon. As a radical feminist in the 1970s, she fought for the rights and emancipation of women. But at the age of 75, she is fed up with all the roles that life has imposed upon her and decides to leave everything and everybody behind, to disappear to a place as far as possible from the world she knows. Hiding behind the camera, her son Beniamino witnesses her journey. Having filmed her since he was a child in spite of all her resistance, he now wants to make a film about her, to keep her close for as long as possible – or, at least, as long as his camera keeps running. The making of the film turns into a battle between mother son, a stubborn fight to capture the ultimate image of Benedetta – the image of her liberation.Director Beniamino Barrese joins us to talk about this remarkably intimate, raw film and his complex relationship with his muse and mother who reluctantly helping him with his “project” as she prepares for her final exit.
“One of the most moving and complex films at Sundance. I’ll add to my list of heroines Benedetta Barzini, an Italian 1960s supermodel who became a leftist feminist and mother.” – Amy Taubin, Film Comment
“A film that both beguiles and unsettles as it salutes a remarkable woman… who has spent a lifetime challenging the influence of the fashion industry and staring down the unflinching gaze of the camera.” – Allan Hunter, Screen International
“One solitary word cannot fully encapsulate how utterly personal the documentary comes across. Barrese guides the audience through his mother’s mindscape, and as a thoughtful, remarkably insightful woman, the documentary reflects this sentiment through its visual language and fluid editing… ‘The Disappearance of My Mother’ is a noble effort, and as the subject of the film, Barzini herself is an intriguing personality; her perspective on the world is genuinely moving to hear at times, and her insights often work their way into your mind, inspiring you to openly consider your own life. Similarly, Barrese’s talents as a filmmaker cannot be disregarded.” – THE PLAYLIST, Jonathan Christian
“Deeply personal and shot through with fascinating contradictions, ‘The Disappearance of My Mother’ is a portrait of a woman in rebellion… Barzini is a severe, unsparing critic of the commodification and exploitation of the female body by men, which greatly complicates her son’s insistent, at times intrusive gaze. It also deepens the movie, making the personal ferociously political.” – NEW YORK TIMES, Manohla Dargis
Annabelle Attanasio makes her directorial debut with the critically-acclaimed feature MICKEY AND THE BEAR, starring Camila Morrone and James Badge Dale. Faced with the responsibility to take care of her opioid-addicted veteran father (Dale), headstrong teen Mickey Peck (Morrone) does what she can to keep her household afloat. When she receives the opportunity to leave her home for good, she must make the impossible decision between familial obligation and personal fulfillment. Mickey and the Bear is a heartbreaking, coming-of-age story that is anchored by remarkable performances from Morrone and Dale. It has a haunting ending that will stay with you long after the credits roll. MICKEY AND THE BEAR, made its world premiere at SXSW this year, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Award; the film was also selected for Cannes International Film Festival, Deauville Film Festival, the Montclair Film Festival, where Attanasio was recognized with the Audible Storyteller Award; and the Nantucket Film Festival, where she was recognized with the Adrienne Shelly Foundation Excellence in Filmmaking Award.Director and screenwriter Attanasio was selected for this year’s Film Society of Lincoln Center’s prestigious Artist Academy program pegged to the 57th New York Film Festival, which has historically nurtured some of the most celebrated filmmakers of our time. Director Annabelle Attanasio joins us to talk about her thrilling debut feature film.
“Every shot in Mickey and the Bear is artfully composed… The performances are also quite strong. Morrone is especially affecting as the put-upon Mickey…. James Badge Dale is potent as Hank. – Gary M. Kramer, Film International
“Camila Morrone and James Badge Dale’s powerful performances align wonderfully with introspective exploration in this beautifully tragic coming-of-age tale that will leave you dazed.” – Amanda Sink, The Hollywood Outsider
COLD BROOK follows two men who live in a small college town in upstate New York. They are best friends who work the night shift as museum guards and handymen. Their lives are simple and mostly satisfying, until they are confronted with a supernatural situation. The men are then faced with a dilemma that puts their jobs, marriages, and their futures on the line.COLD BROOK is the directorial debut of William Fichtner (Armageddon, Black Hawk Down, Mom), who co-wrote the film alongside Cain DeVore. Fichtner also stars in Kim Coates (The Client, Black Hawk Down, Sons of Anarchy), Harold Perrineau(Romeo + Juliet, 28 Weeks Later, Sons of Anarchy) Robin Weigart (Concussion, Deadwood) and Mary Lynn Rajskub (Safety Not Guaranteed, The Kings of Summer, Sunshine Cleaning). Director William Fichtner joins us to talk about making a heartwarming, genre bending film in his upstate New York hometown surrounded by many of his closest friends.
“Cold Brook is an adult fairy tale that embraces its broad interpretations to remind its leading men about what truly matters most.” – Jared Mobarak, The Film Stage
“… Cold Brook succeeds in part by its fantastic cast, but mostly by its focus on simplicity. There’re no grand fights or superfluous moments, just a tale of love that transcends time and mortal existence.” – Douglas Davidson, Elements of Madness
“Are You Ready To Be Different: Part ghost tale, part Bartleby while at the same time a captivating slavery reparations fable, the film flirts with the supernatural even with its heart planted firmly in sobering class and race issues historically and now.” – Prairie Miller, WBAI Radio
A stunning sensory experience and cinematic meditation on humanity’s massive reengineering of the planet, ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH is a years-in-the-making feature documentary from the award-winning team behind Manufactured Landscapes (2006) and Watermark (2013) and narrated by Alicia Vikander. The film follows the research of an international body of scientists, the Anthropocene Working Group who, after nearly 10 years of research, argue that the Holocene Epoch gave way to the Anthropocene Epoch in the mid-twentieth century as a result of profound and lasting human changes to the Earth. From concrete seawalls in China that now cover 60% of the mainland coast, to the biggest terrestrial machines ever built in Germany, to psychedelic potash mines in Russia’s Ural Mountains, to metal festivals in the closed city of Norilsk, to the devastated Great Barrier Reef in Australia and massive marble quarries in Carrara, the filmmakers have traversed the globe using state of the art camera techniques to document the evidence and experience of human planetary domination. At the intersection of art and science, ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH witnesses a critical moment in our geological history. Co-directorsJennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky bring a provocative and unforgettable experience of our species’s ever-expanding breadth and devastating impact.
“Astonishment. Pure, lurid, ravishing, genuine astonishment. That is Anthropocene: The Human Epoch.” – Luke Hicks, Nonfics
“The [team’s] latest film is the culmination of a major body of work and it’s as visually stunning and intellectually invigorating as the previous two films are.” – Pat Mullen, POV Magazine
“To say that there are no easy answers to planetary woes is to state the obvious. But the film seeks to reveal rather than lecture, in the hope that our eyes will convince our brains to act before it’s too late.” – Peter Howell, the Toronto Star
“Its cinematography and passion for our planet make a strong case for your attention.” – Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com
“The luminous, terrifying and beautiful documentary “Anthropocene: The Human Epoch” feels like the culmination of the life’s work of its three directors… because it chronicles what could be the end of human life on Earth.” – Sean P. Means, The Movie Cricket
Claudia Lacy wants answers. When her 17-year-old son, Lennon, was found hanging from a swing set in Bladenboro, North Carolina, the authorities quickly ruled his death a suicide. In light of suspicious details surrounding his death, and certain that her son would not take his own life, Claudia is convinced Lennon was lynched. Jacqueline Olive’s unwavering debut film ALWAYS IN SEASON puts Lacy’s pursuit for justice into a wider historical context, inspiring a powerful discussion about lynching across racial lines. Appalling accounts of lynchings carried out at the beginning of the twentieth century provide a necessary historical framework, while an annual lynching reenactment in Monroe, Georgia, offers insight into the enduring legacy of racial violence in America. Olive’s layered exploration follows one African American family’s personal experience with a justice system that has failed so many, while also hinting at the promising first steps of a nation trying to reconcile. Olive’s film honors and acknowledges the injustices that have been inflicted, while emphasizing that only through the uncomfortable conversations and acceptance of our nation’s history will we begin to heal together. Director / Producer Jacqueline Olive joins us for a conversation on the bitter, pernicious and deadly legacy of the Confederacy and the enslavement of human beings in service to big business interests.
About the filmmaker: Director / Producer Jacqueline Olive is an independent filmmaker and immersive media producer with fifteen years of experience in journalism and \film. Her debut feature documentary, Always in Season, premiered in competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was awarded the Special Jury Prize for Moral Urgency. Jackie also co-directed the award-winning hour-long film, Black to Our Roots, which broadcast on PBS in 2009. Jackie has received artist grants and industry funding from Sundance Institute, Independent Television Service, Ford Foundation, Firelight Media, and more. She was recently awarded the Emerging Filmmakers of Color Award from IDA and the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation.
“‘Always in Season’ makes a powerful case that the history of lynching in the American South is not just history – that murders still haunt the present-day sites where they occurred, and that such killings can and do happen today.” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times
“A nuanced, layered reminder of how far we still have to go to correct the injustices of this country’s past and present.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
“Although difficult to watch, the film is invaluable in its exploration of lynching as a form of racial terrorism.” – Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader
In AUGGIE, Felix Greystone (Richard Kind) is forced into early retirement and falls in love with an augmented reality companion, to the detriment of his relationship with his wife and daughter. At his “early retirement” party, Felix Greystone is given a pre-release version of an AUGGIE, a pair of augmented reality smart glasses that project a perfectly human companion onto his world. When Felix’s wife Anne gets a promotion and his daughter Grace gets serious with her boyfriend, Felix suddenly feels very alone. He opens up to his new companion, AUGGIE, and is recognized and appreciated by her. He feels the ache of loneliness dissipate. AUGGIE reawakens a passion in Felix, and to his own surprise, he begins to fall for her. In a world that feels too good to be true, it’s difficult for Felix to recognize his increasing addiction to the technology, losing sight of what truly matters. Director Matt Kane stops by to talk about his fascinating film about relationships, relevance in the lives of others, a near future “reality” and working with an excellent cast of actors.
Director Irene Taylor Brodsky once again turns the camera on her deaf parents and, now, her 11-year-old deaf son Jonas, who has cochlear implants and is discovering a profound world of hearing—and music in this deeply personal story, Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements. As Jonas learns the first movement of Beethoven’s iconic sonata on the piano, his grandparents, deaf for nearly 80 years, watch with deepening awe what time and technology have bestowed their grandson. But when Jonas struggles with the sound of his mistakes, Beethoven’s own musical journey comes to life in an animated world of watercolor and haunting soundscapes. As the great composer loses the sense that brought him so much music and fame, Jonas’s grandfather Paul loses his grasp on his mind. Their lives weave a sonata over three centuries, about all we can discover once we push beyond what has been lost. Director Irene Taylor Brodsky joins us to talks about this very personal and deeply affecting tale of three threads that run through her family and the most celebrated deaf musician of all time, Ludwig von Beethoven. Director / Producer / Editor /Cinematographer talks about the personal and professional challenges of focusing on members of her family and how the power of music has resonated brought hope and healing.
DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT:I can hear, but deafness consumes me. I am a daughter of deafness and, now, a mother too. After I discovered my son, Jonas, was going deaf as a toddler, my sound designer told me we could reproduce his gradual disconnect from hearing. As a filmmaker, that enthralled me. As a mother, it frightened me. I’ve been down this road before. My first feature documentary, Hear and Now, about my deaf parents’ problematic journey into the world of sound, showed me how much film can be a catalyst for empathy. So when my son told me he wanted to learn the Moonlight Sonata, composed by Beethoven as he went deaf, I was cautious but resolute, and began filming. Then, my father developed dementia, and soon their three storylines revealed an eerie parallel. Paul’s loss of mind was a clue to what Beethoven might have felt losing something so precious to him. As Jonas learned to play the sonata, I read Beethoven’s letters and listened to his canon over and over again. I felt assured that my son could find his own true expression, shaped by deafness, just like Beethoven did. In Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements we portray sound and memory through animation, and we use vast archives of home movies, vérité footage, immersive soundscape and original score to craft a rich mosaic of what it means to find vital expression in the midst of loss.—Director Irene Taylor Brodsky
“A powerful film about parents and children, though told with enough restraint that its more affecting moments might sneak up on you.” – Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com
“It is a very moving film by veteran documentarian Irene Taylor Brodsky about deafness, music, raising children and your parents getting old.” – John Anderson, Wall Street Journal
“The film is refreshing in its willingness to countenance multiple viewpoints and look at what’s right for individuals rather than taking sides in one of the more heated debates within the Deaf community.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
When he was an infant, Donnie Corker suffered from the “Spider Mites of Jesus,” because his mother couldn’t pronounce spinal meningitis. This caused mental challenges that resulted in his lifelong illiteracy. At 13, he began selling his body on the streets as a drag prostitute. When he was arrested, he took a dump in the back of the police car, leading the cops to give him the moniker: Dirtwoman. Since then he’s run for mayor, gotten kicked out of the inauguration of America’s first black governor (Douglas Wilder), posed for his own pin-up calendar (weighing in at 350 pounds), offered crabs from his crotch for a GWAR video and hosted the annual Hamaganza fundraiser that provided “Hams for the Hamless.” When he died last year at 65, it was on the front page, top-of-the-fold of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and was featured nationally on NPR. Director Jerry Williams talks about living in the same town as Donnie Corker (Dirtwoman) and the lasting impact he had on so many people and different communities within the city of Richmond.
About The Dirtwoman Documentary: While taking a lunch break on a shoot in 1999, Jerryand local videographer Dave Park started discussing Dirtwoman. They partnered with local producer Liz Throckmorton to create a documentary. It was launched with big birthday party for Dirtwoman. Then they got sidetracked for 17 years making a living. In February 2017, Jerry was contacted by Mark Holmberg, a long-time friend who chronicled the exploits of Dirtwoman (in print at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, then as reporter for CBS6). Donnie had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure and Mark aired a story that included Jerry. That sparked his motivation to return to the project. Jerry’s produced hundreds of videos during his career, but never had a passion project. He enlisted colleagues from all aspects of the production biz to help him, most working for free…because they liked the idea. (See “Who Worked on It”) He produced the teaser in May 2017 to promote the project and recruit more interviews. When editing started in March 2018, 70 people had been interviewed (see “Who’s In It”). In addition to the video footage shot in 1999, the doc will feature never seen before video and photos.
Building on the promise of his hallucinogenic debut GO DOWN DEATH, filmmaker Aaron Schimberg delivers another brilliantly oddball, acerbically funny foray into gonzo surrealism. In a deft tragicomic performance, Jess Weixler (TEETH) plays Mabel, a movie star “slumming it” in an outré art-horror film being shot in a semi-abandoned hospital. Cast opposite her is Rosenthal (UNDER THE SKIN’ s Adam Pearson), a gentle-natured young man with a severe facial deformity. As their relationship evolves both on and offscreen, Schimberg raises provocative questions about cinematic notions of beauty, representation, and exploitation. Tod Browning crossed with Robert Altman crossed with David Lynch only begins to describe something this startlingly original and deeply felt. Director Aaron Schimberg joins us to talk about his hurly-burly, cosmically clever tale of misdirection, expectations and human connection.
Director’s Statement:As a filmmaker with a facial difference, I have never seen my experience accurately represented on screen. This film – the first, as far as I know, made by and starring disfigured people – is my humble attempt to remedy that. When disfigured characters are seen at all in films (usually played by handsome actors with disfiguring latex), they are trotted out to play monsters or objects of pity, made into vessels for the symbolic expression of cruelty, sin, villainy and other ills. “Bitter defectives,” as a character in my film says. Even when they’re portrayed sympathetically, they function only to impart inspirational lessons to the able-bodied people who encounter them. CHAINED FOR LIFE is my response to the way people with disfigurements have been portrayed in films (for instance, in FREAKS, THE ELEPHANT MAN, WONDER) throughout cinema’s history. It asks whether the sum of these portrayals has adversely affected the way we are regarded in real life. I consider it a comedy, but if you think it’s a tragedy, I wouldn’t argue with you. – Aaron Schimberg
“Critic’s Pick! An inventive hall of mirrors… that keeps finding ways to upend its characters’ — and viewers’ — perspectives. Odd, darkly funny and — when it means to be — a little frightening.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times
“Extraordinary. A cinematic revolution.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker
“Humane and transgressive, an American indie of unusually big ideas and aesthetic ambition.” – Nellie Killian, Film Comment
“Bizarre and beautiful. Leaves us on thrillingly shifty ground.” – Keith Uhlich, The Hollywood Reporter
“Mesmerizing. A remarkable mind trip of a movie sure to leave audiences reeling.” – Kate Erbland, Indiewire
“Razor-sharp. Mesmerizingly close to the sensation of a waking dream.” – Calum Marsh, Village Voice
“An intoxicating whirlwind of ideas, spectacularly moving and entertaining. Chained for Life could be a defining film about representation for any group that Hollywood marginalizes.” – Andrew Todd, Birth.Movies.Death
GIVE ME LIBERTY is based on his personal experience as a medical transport driver and an immigrant, director Kirill Mikhanovsky, with writer Alice Austen, create a raw feature film about the comedy andheartbreak of people in the underprivileged communities living in a struggling American city. Medical transport driver Vic (newcomer Chis Galust) is running late, but it’s not his fault. Roads are closed for a protest, and no one else can shuttle his Russian grandfather and his emigre friends to a funeral. The new route uproots his scheduled clients, particularly Tracy (Lauren “Lolo” Spencer in a breakout performance), a vibrant young woman with ALS. As the day goes from hectic to off-the-rails, their collective ride becomes a hilarious, compassionate and intersectional portrait of American dreams and disenchantment. The characters in GIVE ME LIBERTY are drawn from the people of Milwaukee – they’re magnificently diverse and their struggle to survive is desperate, contradictory, funny and moving. Director Kirill Mahanovsky joins us for a spirited conversation on working with a cast of mostly non-professional actors, drawing upon his own work history for the story behind the film and the importance of making Give Me Liberty in his adopted hometown of Milwaukee.
About the filmmaker:Russian-born Kirill Mikhanovsky grew up in Moscow where his early passion for cinema compelled him to skip school and go to the movie theatre across the street from his home where, often as the only person in the house, he watched countless films. After the Soviet Union collapsed, Mikhanovsky immigrated to Milwaukee, where he had a series of odd jobs, including driving medical transport for people with disabilities, and began making films. After graduating from NYU Film School, Mikhanovsky went on to make films in the US, Brazil, Russia, and South America. A Sundance Alum, his first feature SONHOS DE PEIXEwon the Critics Week at the Cannes Film Festival.
“Completely, delightfully unpredictable from scene to scene, ‘Give Me Liberty’ draws you in with its moving performances and blasts of broad comedy.” – Manohla Dargis, THE NEW YORK TIMES
“A wonderfully anarchic dark comedy, which deftly welds its frenetically farcical structure to a humanistic portrait of marginalized communities thrown together.” – David Rooney, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
“Lyrical and touching. It’s a journey worth taking.” – Tim Grierson, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL
“Establishes writer-director Kirill Mikhanovsky as a major talent.” – Eric Kohn, INDIEWIRE
In this intimate and revelatory new documentary VISION PORTRAITS an extensive eyesight loss and the possibility of total blindness didn’t shut down queer filmmaker Rodney Evans (Brother to Brother). Instead, it inspired this profoundly personal non-fiction film, which not only documents his own genetic eye disorder, but shows how three other working artists with visual impairments—photographer John Dugdale, writer Ryan Knighton, and dancer Kayla Hamilton—have adjusted their practices around their changed capacities. An intimate study of the artistic process that contemplates the relationship between the sense of sight and artistic “vision,” Evans’ film explores the quintessence of cinema: adventures in perception, subjectivity, and the imagination. Director /Producer Rodney Evans joins us for a conversation on ways in which creativity and artistic expression can manifest and how perceived limitations can be shattered.
About the filmmaker: Rodney Evans is an award-winning fiction and documentary film writer, director and producer based in New York. His debut feature film Brother To Brother won the Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize in Drama. The film had its European premiere at The Berlin International Film Festival and garnered four Independent Spirit Award nominations. His second narrative feature, The Happy Sad, played at over thirty film festivals throughout the world and had its U.S. theatrical premiere at the IFC Center in NYC and the Sundance Sunset Cinema in Los Angeles. Evans has taught at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Princeton and currently teaches at Swarthmore College.
“Evans intersperses his own experience with those of three others, finding comforting commonalities and essential differences. The result is artistically uneven in structure but emotionally powerful throughout.” – Elizabeth Weitzman, TheWrap
“An inspiring film, a funny and informative feature whose subjects were creative kindred spirits I’d never seen onscreen before.” – Odie Henderson, RogerEbert.com
TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID is set in an unnamed Mexican northern border town.The young 10-year-old girl Estrella (Paulo Lara) has 3 wishes: The first one, that her missing mother comes back and it happens. Her mother returns but she is dead and follows Estrella everywhere. Petrified, Estrella tries to escape from her by joining a gang orphaned by violence. Soon she realizes that dead are never left behind and when you are in the middle of brutality and violence, wishes never come true the way you want them to be. A haunting horror fairytale set against the backdrop of Mexico’s devastating drug wars, TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID follows a group of orphaned children armed with three magical wishes, running from the ghosts that haunt them and the cartel that murdered their parents. Filmmaker Issa López creates a world that recalls the early films of Guillermo del Toro, imbued with her own gritty urban spin on magical realism to conjure a wholly unique experience that audiences will not soon forget. Director / writer Issa López joins us to talk about her inventive and viscerally chilling film about dreams, politics, violence against the powerless and justice.
Fantastic Fest 2017: Best Horror Director
Screamfest 2017: Best Actress, Actor, Editing, Director and Picture
Dedfest 2017: Best Picture, Audience Award
Mórbido 2017: Mórbido Award (Best Picture) & Press Award
ITHACA FANTASTIK 2017: Cinema Pur Audience Award, for Best Movie
Paris Fantastic Film Fest 2017: Best Feature, Cinema+ Award, Audience Award
10 nominations for the 2018 Ariel Awards (Mexican Academy Awards)
Best Child Actor, Best Child Actress, Best Support Actor, Best Makeup Design, Best Visual Effects, Best Editing, Best Production Design, Best Sound, Best Script, Best Director*
“Issa Lopez is an incredibly exciting filmmaker who, if there is any justice, will go onto have a career comparable to Guillermo del Toro.” – Fiona Underhill, JumpCut Online
“Heartbreaking, thought-provoking and exquisitely beautiful in equal measure, López unflinchingly rejects the fetishization of young people and their experiences so typical of narratives about childhood trauma.” – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, AWFJ Women on Film
“What it gets right, it does brilliantly. The acting is superb, the mix of fantasy and realistic drama is sublime, and the story is haunting and fascinating in equal measure.” – Bobby LePire. Film Threat
“Watching Tigers Are Not Afraid is like stepping into a enchanting nightmare. There’s an uncomfortable darkness wrapped up in a charming package.” – Kat Hughes, The Hollywood News
AMERICAN FACTORY tells the story of a Chinese billionaire opening a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant in Dayton, Ohio, hiring 2,000 blue-collar Americans still recovering from the effects of the 2008 recession. Working side-by-side with experienced Chinese workers, the locals are optimistic about the future for the first time in almost a decade. But early days of hope give way to setbacks as high-tech China collides with working-class America, and issues of language and culture become seemingly insurmountable walls between clashing factions. AMERICAN FACTORY, the new film from Academy Award®-nominated directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, documents the revitalization of one long-shuttered factory while providing a startling glimpse into a global economic realignment now playing out in towns and cities across the country — and around the world. Granted generous access to the factory, and with the in-depth participation of its employees, Bognar, Reichert and their team spent three years following Fuyao Glass America’s launch of a state-of- the-art glassmaking facility employing hundreds of Chinese and thousands of Midwestern workers in the American heartland. Capturing surprisingly candid moments of people ranging from the visionary billionaire who financed the enterprise to American and Chinese workers on the factory line, AMERICAN FACTORYpresents a microcosmic view of a global phenomenon that could represent a new normal for the American working class. Co-directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert join us for a lively conversation on the challenges of telling a multifaceted of people desperate for a new beginning working for an employer who sees the workplace from a point of view rooted in a culture a half a world away.
About the Filmmakers:STEVEN BOGNAR & JULIA REICHERT (Directors, Producers) are Oscar®-nominated documentary filmmakers whose work has screened at Sundance, Telluride, SXSW and other major festivals, as well as on HBO and PBS. Their film A Lion in the House, a co-production with ITVS, premiered at Sundance, screened on the PBS series “Independent Lens” and won a Primetime Emmy®. Their film The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant premiered at the 2009 Telluride Film Festival, screened on HBO, and was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short in 2010. Their films have, for the most part, told stories of rank-and-file citizens grappling with questions of agency and how to have a decent life. Julia Reichert’s work, in particular, spanning 50 years of filmmaking, has a through-line of concern for working-class and women’s stories. Julia Reichert was also Oscar®-nominated for her documentary feature films Union Maids (1977) and Seeing Red: Stories of American Communists (1983). Her first film, Growing Up Female, was selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. She is the 2018 recipient of the IDA Career Achievement Award. Bognar’s films Personal Belongings, Picture Day and Gravel all premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
WINNER – Best Director – 2019 Sundance Film Festival – U.S. Documentary Competition
OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2019 True/False Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2019 Tribeca Film Festival –
Opening Night, Critics’ Week
OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2019 Full Frame Film Festival
95% on Rotten Tomatoes
“FASCINATING.A sprawling cinema-verite account, it examines the real tensions of international businesses in human terms.”– Eric Kohn, Indiewire
“INTIMATE AND EPIC.30 years after Roger And Me, a similarly vital story updated and made relevant for our globalised age.”– Anthony Kaufman, Screen
“Of all the documentaries you see this year, this one most potently embodies the ever-changing sense of the words “Made in America.” – Peter Debruge, Variety
“American Factory demands comparison to Barbara Kopple’s Oscar-winning masterpiece American Dream with its frank and laudably objective portrait of the USA’s working class and its struggle for prosperity.” – Pat Mullen, POV Magazine
THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON is an adventure story set in the world of a modern Mark Twain that begins when Zak (Gottsagen), a young man with Down syndrome, runs away from a nursing home where he lives to chase his dream of becoming a professional wrestler and attending the wrestling school of The Salt Water Redneck. Through circumstances beyond their control Tyler (LaBeouf), a small time outlaw on the run, becomes Zak’s unlikely coach and ally. Together they wind through deltas, elude capture, drink whisky, find God, catch fish, and convince Eleanor (Johnson), a kind nursing home employee with a story of her own, to join them on their journey. THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON stars Shia LaBeouf,Dakota Johnson, Thomas Haden Church, Bruce Dern, John Hawkes and newcomer, Zack Gottsagen, premiered back in March at SXSW and was a huge critical success, with a current score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film also won over fans, taking home the Audience Award for Narrative Spotlight. Co-directors and co-writers Michael Schwartz and Tyler Nilson stop by to talk about there experiences and the stacks of miracles that brought this heart-warming tale of friendship and reaching for your dreams.
“LaBeouf brings the soul to “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” while Gottsagen brings the spirit. He has an undeniably charming screen presence, and the actor takes to this starring role with gusto.” – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times
“A heartwarming, tender and funny adventure grounded in humanism. Refreshingly witty and unconventional. It’s one of the summer’s best surprises.” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru
“What’s clear is that a lot of development time, movie resources, and A-List actors all came together to make a masterpiece of a film centering on one person…Zack Gottsagen.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat
“‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’ is a sweet, warm story about dreams and the family you choose. Zack Gottsagen is pure comedy. Shia LaBeof is giving me sexy, scruffy with substance and the pairing of these two on screen is perfection.” – Carla Renata, The Curvy Film Critic
China’s One Child Policy, the extreme population control measure that made it illegal for couples to have more than one child, may have ended in 2015, but the process of dealing with the trauma of its brutal enforcement is only just beginning. From award-winning documentarian Nanfu Wang (HOOLIGAN SPARROW, I AM ANOTHER YOU)and Jialing Zhang, the sweeping ONE CHILD NATIONexplores the ripple effect of this devastating social experiment, uncovering one shocking human rights violation after another – from abandoned newborns, to forced sterilizations and abortions, and government abductions. Wang digs fearlessly into her own personal life, weaving her experience as a new mother and the firsthand accounts of her family members into archival propaganda material and testimony from victims and perpetrators alike, yielding a revelatory and essential record of this chilling, unprecedented moment in human civilization. ONE CHILD NATION is a stunning, nuanced indictment of the mindset that prioritizes national agenda over human life, and serves as a first-of-its-kind oral history of this collective tragedy – bearing witness to the truth as China has already begun to erase the horrors of its “population war” from public record and memory. Director Nanfu Wang joins us to talk about her own journey and how it illuminates a greater, more universal truth about family secrets.
**WINNER – Grand Jury Prize, U.S. Documentary – Sundance FF 2019**
**WINNER – Grand Jury Prize – Full Frame Doc Festival 2019**
**OFFICIAL SELECTION – Tribeca Film Festival 2019**
“SHATTERING. Informative yet always grounded in deep personal investment and clear-eyed compassion, this is a powerful indictment of a traumatic social experiment.”– David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
“PROVOCATIVE AND PERSONAL. Undoubtedly one of the year’s most important documentaries.”– Peter Debruge, Variety
“A thoroughly gripping and ceaselessly unnerving investigation into the policy that shaped and devastated China for a generation. Intimate, thought-provoking and well-crafted…gives voice to so many families whose agency was stolen from them. – Gary Garrison, The Playlist
KINGS OF BEER features behind-the-scenes interviews with Budweiser’s top Brewmasters and experts, along with cameos by beer aficionados Aisha Tyler, Michael Voltaggio and Jay Chandrasekhar. In KINGS OF BEER, a diverse group of elite Brewmasters from 65 breweries and 23 countries, battle it out in an intense competition to brew the world’s most iconic American Lager — Budweiser. The Brewmaster who can brew the best, most consistent Budweiser over a 12-month period will bring home the Global Brewmaster Cup. Judged by an illustrious group of experts who are sequestered deep within the historic walls of the most renowned room in the brewing world — “Room 220” — most of these “key tasters” have decades of tasting experience, which has trained their palates to pick up the most minute of flavor flaws. KINGS OF BEER is a fun and thoughtful deep dive into the world of brewing and what it takes to really be at the top of your game. It’s depicted through the eyes of Budweiser’s most highly-skilled Brewmasters, whose job is to maintain the consistency of the American Lager, which is widely regarded as the single hardest beer to brew.Director Sean Mullin joins us for a frothy conversation on the art and science of brewing the world’s oldest adult libation.
About the Filmmaker – Sean Mullin –As a writer/director, his short films – SADIQ, MAN IS A BRIDGE, and THE 14th MORNING – have won numerous awards and played at film festivals around the world. His MFA Thesis Film at Columbia – SADIQ – was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for “Best Student Film.” AMIRA & SAM is his feature-length debut as a writer/director.As a screenwriter, Sean has been hired to write screenplays for Oscar Nominated Director Henry-Alex Rubin (MURDERBALL) as well as pop sensation Britney Spears.Sean’s unique background as a former army officer turned stand-up comedian informs his creative sensibility, which oscillates between comedy and drama. Prior to launching his filmmaking career, Sean was a Captain in the New York Army National Guard – where he was a first responder after the attacks of September 11th. He spent his days working as the Officer in Charge of the soldiers down at Ground Zero, and his nights performing stand-up comedy. He was a regular at comedy clubs all around the city, including Stand-Up New York, Gotham Comedy Club, and the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater.
¡Boza! follows the harrowing journey of three young sub-Saharan African immigrants: Sani, Yamal & Kone, as they leave home in their teens to embark on their years-long journey to a new life in Spain. Crossing the Sahara Desert by foot, spending months to years living in the forests of Morocco, and finally making the dangerous crossing to the Spanish mainland or territories by land or sea, these three powerfully distinct immigration stories have one thing in common: their incredible optimism in the face of inconceivable adversity. Their stories teach us the perseverance of the human spirit, something our world desperately needs to be reminded of now. The dynamic structure jumps between present day footage of life in Spain and reconstructing their migration story using animation and archival footage. Through parallel storytelling, the film compares these three inspiring stories of success to the hopes of a group of migrants living in the slums of Tangier, Morocco. ¡Boza! Director and Producer Sydney Bowie discovered her love of documentary film as an undergraduate at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her short films have been selected to screen at festivals across the United States. In addition, Sydney has worked alongside noted documentary filmmakers, including Oscar-nominated Robert Kenner (Food Inc.)and world renowned British journalist and filmmaker Sean Langan. Sydney has received the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to work on her most recent film the New Migration Project, from which ¡Boza! was produced, documenting the lives of immigrants in Spain. Director Sydney Bowie stops by to talk about her intimate and heartfelt portrayal of people struggling to find a better life.