Under the guidance of acclaimed South African storyteller, Gcina Mhlophe, five orphaned children from Swaziland collaborate to craft a collective fairytale drawn from their darkest memories and brightest dreams. Their fictional character, LIYANA is brought to life in innovative animated artwork as she embarks on a perilous quest to rescue her young twin brothers. The children’s real and imagined worlds begin to converge, and they must choose what kind of story they will tell – in fiction and in their own lives. This genre-defying film weaves an original animated hero’s journey with poetic documentary scenes to create an inspiring tale of perseverance. LIYANA is a tribute to creativity, the strength of the human spirit, and the healing power storytelling.Critically acclaimed, and executive produced by award-winning actress, Thandie Newton, LIYANA has won more than 25 jury and audience awards and screened at more than 80 film festivals around the world including the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival and MoMA’s Doc Fortnight. Co-directors Amanda and Aaron Kopp join us for a conversation on their enchanting, inspiring and wildly creative film.
For 33 months, from 1978 to 1980, STUDIO 54 was the place to be seen in Manhattan. A haven of hedonism, tolerance, glitz and glamour, Studio was very hard to gain entrance to and impossible to ignore, with news of who was there filling the gossip columns daily. Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, two college friends from Brooklyn, succeeded in creating the ultimate escapist fantasy in the heart of the theater district. Rubell was the outgoing bon vivant who wanted to be everybody’s friend and was photographed with every celebrity du jour who entered the club and Schrager was the behind-the-scenes creative mastermind who shunned the limelight. STUDIO 54 was an instant success and a cash cow, but the drug-and-sex-fueled dream soon imploded in financial scandal and the club’s demise. With unprecedented access to Schrager, who tells the whole unvarnished story for the first time, and a treasure-trove of rare footage, director Matt Tyrnauer (Valentino: The Last Emperor, Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, Citizen Jane) constructs a vivid, glorious portrait of a disco-era phenomenon, and tells the story of two friends who stuck together through an incredible series of highs and lows.A favorite at the Sundance and Tribeca film festivals, STUDIO 54 Director Matt Tyrnauer joins us to talk about his fascinating documentary look at the rise and fall of the legendary ‘70s New York nightclub.
“Studio 54 is resonant because it offers such a reasonable and poignant answer.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire
“Matt Tyrnauer’s thrilling and definitive documentary captures the delirium – and the dark side – of the legendary New York disco.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“It’s a cultural piece of history that paints a picture of an era of New York that had a significant effect on the world. And it goes without saying, changed the nightclub industry forever.” – Dante James, Film Threat
“A hugely entertaining exploration of the mythology of the legendary nightclub as something truly worth celebrating, and a towering Scorsese-esque drama of the men who invented it brought down by hubris.” – MaryAnn Johanson
Drawn from a cache of personal video recordings from the past 22 years, director Steve Loveridge’s Sundance award winning MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. is a startlingly personal profile of the critically acclaimed artist, chronicling her remarkable journey from refugee immigrant to pop star. She began as Matangi. Daughter of the founder of Sri Lanka’s armed Tamil resistance, she hid from the government in the face of a vicious and bloody civil war. When her family fled to the UK, she became Maya, a precocious and creative immigrant teenager in London. Finally, the world met her as M.I.A. when she emerged on the global stage, having created a mashup, cut-and-paste identity that pulled from every corner of her journey along the way; a sonic sketchbook that blended Tamil politics, art school punk, hip-hop beats and the unwavering, ultra-confident voice of a burgeoning multicultural youth. Never one to compromise on her vision, Maya kept her camera rolling throughout. MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. provides unparalleled, intimate access to the artist in her battles with the music industry and mainstream media as her success and fame explodes, becoming one of the most recognizable, outspoken and provocative voices in music today. Director Steve Loveridge joins us to talk about his long-time friendship with Mathangi Arulpragasam AKA Matangi / Maya / M.I.A. and how that friendship was tested during the making of this revelatory, illuminating window into her world.
“If there is one note that rings clear through all the xeroxed, glitchy, abrasive background noise, it is that of authenticity and sincerity.” – Jessica Kiang, Playlist
“Inspires deep respect for the fierce and independent artist she is.” – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times
“It is the synthesis of these contradictions, and how they’ve illuminated M.I.A.’s career path that makes up the spine of Loveridge’s fascinating portrait.” – Piotr Orlov, NPR
“Loveridge celebrates the mashup aesthetic that enabled the artist to find a voice, and reveals that reconciling contradictions… is key to both Arulpragasam’s music and the life she’s constructed with audacity and wit.” – Serena Donadoni, LA Weekly
SADIE is the story of a 13-year-old girl who lives at Shady Plains Trailer Park with her mother while her father serves repeated tours in the military. Her dad has broken many promises that he will return, but Sadie (Sophia Mitri Schloss) idolizes him and believes in his cause, so she waits, preserving his place on the home-front. Less patient is her mom, Rae (Melanie Lynskey) who stopped receiving letters or calls from her husband years ago. She has been half-heartedly dating the counselor from Sadie’s school, Bradley (Tony Hale) but it isn’t until a mysterious newcomer moves in next door that she truly considers moving on. Rae’s best friend is Carla (Danielle Brooks,) who works at the local bar and has a penchant for unavailable men. Carla’s son Francis (Keith L. Williams) and her retired father Deak (Tee Dennard) are Sadie’s charge and confidante, respectively. The arrival of Cyrus (John Gallagher, Jr.) disrupts the balance of life at Shady Plains. When Sadie sees a relationship developing between Cyrus and Rae, she pledges to come between them, whatever it takes. Cyrus becomes the enemy, and if she’s learned nothing else from the world she inhabits, it’s that the enemy deserves no mercy. Director and Writer Megan Griffiths joins us to talk about her gritty, heartfelt drama about class, addiction and growing up on the margins.
”Equal parts coming-of-age story and slow-burn thriller, writer-director Megan Griffiths’ quietly absorbing and methodically disquieting drama is a genuine rarity.” – Joe Leydon, Variety
“…as a character study of a young, simmering, resentful girl cheated by circumstance and life at a crucial age, the drama’s combative, aggrieved center is earned, authentic and genuinely tragic.” – Ally Johnson, The Playlist
“Set in the close-knit, secret-filled world of a trailer park, the film is an emotionally violent coming-of-age story crafted with vivid detail.” – John Fink, The Film Stage
“By once again venturing into a place that few too other filmmakers are willing to look, Griffiths delivers a drama that crackles with a sense of discovery, not only for the characters onscreen, but for audiences who so rarely see people who could so easily be their neighbors given the dignity of having their stories told on screen.” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest
The Sentence draws from hundreds of hours of footage, filmmaker Rudy Valdez shows the aftermath of his sister Cindy’s 15-year sentence for conspiracy charges related to crimes committed by her deceased ex-boyfriend—something known, in legal terms, as “the girlfriend problem.” Valdez’s method of coping with this tragedy is to film his sister’s family for her, both the everyday details and the milestones—moments Cindy herself can no longer share in. But in the midst of this nightmare, Valdez finds his voice as both a filmmaker and activist, and he and his family begin to fight for Cindy’s release during the last months of the Obama administration’s clemency initiative. Whether their attempts will allow Cindy to break free of her draconian sentence becomes the aching question at the core of this deeply personal portrait of a family in crisis. Director Rudy Valdez stops by to talk about his intimate, and loving family saga that support each other no matter the cost.
**WINNER: Sundance 2018 Audience Award: U.S. Documentary**
**WINNER: 2018 Traverse City Film Festival Roger Ebert Prize For Best Film By A First Time Filmmaker**
**2018 Locarno International Film Festival Official Selection**
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
“THE SENTENCE is poised to do for unjust sentencing what AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH did for climate change. If Al Gore was the hero Americans at Sundance and beyond needed in 2005 — a welcoming, professorial face to associate with the fight against environmental catastrophe — Shank and her daughters offer the criminal justice equivalent, giving a human access point to what many experts describe as a sociological disaster.”– Steven Zeitchik, The Washington Post
“The Sentence is so committed to its concentration on emotion and heart that it’s difficult not to get carried away and it feels almost churlish to quibble with the intellectual responses it barely aspires to.” – Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter
“The Sentence is a powerful film full of rich, raw emotions as all parties explore their vulnerabilities.” – John Fink, The Film Stage
From award-winning documentary filmmaker Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and world-renowned photographer and mountaineer Jimmy Chin, the directors of “MERU,” comesFREE SOLO, a stunning, intimate and unflinching portrait of free soloist climber Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the face of the world’s most famous rock … the 3,200-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park … without a rope. Celebrated as one of the greatest athletic feats of any kind, Honnold’s climb set the ultimate standard: perfection or death. Succeeding in this challenge places his story in the annals of human achievement. FREE SOLOis an edge-of-your seat thriller and an inspiring portrait of an athlete who challenges both his body and his beliefs on a quest to triumph over the impossible, revealing the personal toll of excellence. As the climber begins his training, the armor of invincibility he’s built up over decades unexpectedly breaks apart when Honnold begins to fall in love, threatening his focus and giving way to injury and setbacks. Vasarhelyi and Chin succeed in beautifully capturing deeply human moments with Honnold as well as the death-defying climb with exquisite artistry and masterful, vertigo-inducing camerawork. Co-director Chai Vasarhelyi (Jimmy Chin) talks about getting to know Alex Hennold, preparing to document one of the most dangerous climbs on the planet and living life with intention.
“A brilliant documentary.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
“…a miraculous opportunity for the rest of us to experience the human sublime.” – The New York Times
“One of the most arresting documentaries of the year.”– Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair “A stunning…real-world thriller.”– Eric Kohn, IndieWire “Literally breath-taking.”– Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
In the days following his mother’s sudden death, Socrates (Christian Malheiros), a 15-year-old living on São Paulo’s margins, faces the difficulties of surviving on his own and coming to terms with his grief.SOCRATES was produced with a crew of 16-20 year-olds from the Querô Institute, a UNICEF-supported project that provides social inclusion through filmmaking to underprivileged youths in the Baixada Santista region of São Paulo, Brazil. SOCRATES was also written by Thayná Mantesso a 20 year-old Brazilian screenwriter and graduate of the Querô Institute. SOCRATES was filmed with a micro-budget of under $20,000.Alex Moratto’s award-winning short films NOWHERE TO BE FOUND, THE PARTING and THE OTHER SIDE have screened at international film festivals. SOCRATES is Alex Moratto’s debut feature film. The film was produced by Ramin Bahrani (99 HOMES) and stars Christian Malheiros and Tales Ordakji. Director Alex Moratto joins us for a conversation on working with a young non-professionals, UNICEF and producing his debut feature film.
This Teacher follows a French Muslim woman (Cesar-winnerHafsia Herzi) as she travels to New York City to visit her childhood best friend from the rough neighborhoods outside of Paris. When the reunion proves disastrous, Hafsia steals her friend’s credit card and identity, and disappears to a remote cabin upstate. Deep in the woods and alone for the first time in her life, she experiences a divine revelation of an existence without borders. But when she discovers that she’s not alone on the property, Hafsia’ssojourn in nature gradually descends into a terrifying study of the intolerance and suspicion she encounters and reflects back to an Islamophobic America.Written and directed by Mark Jackson featuring a score composed from the Grammy nominated Dave Eggar, the film stars: Cesar-winner Hafsia Herzi (The Secret of the Grain) Sarah Kazemy (Circumstance) Lucy Walters (Power), Kevin Kane (Inside Amy Schumer), and Lev Gorn (The Americans). Jackson’s previous films have won 17 awards including an Independent Spirit Award and a Gotham Nomination. Jackson is also a Sundance, Cinereach and Skywalker Sound Fellow. Director and writer Mark Jackson (War Story, Without) joins us for a conversation on This Teachers’ premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival, intolerance and not being afraid to love.
This Teacher (LAFF World Premiere screening at September 22nd, 2018 at 4pm (with red carpet media check-in at 3pm) at ArcLight Culver City.
The Wrong Todd – Directed by Rob Schulbaum
Resistant to change, Todd (Jesse Rosen) finds himself at a crossroads when his girlfriend Lucy (Anna Rizzo) is offered a promotion on the other side of the country. Before he can decide whether to stay or go, Todd’s evil twin from a parallel universe arrives to take his place, and Todd must face the prospect of a world without Lucy.With the reluctant help of Lucy’s brother, Dave (Sean Carmichael), Lucy and Todd must confront the barriers to their relationship, their perception of self, and the laws of the universe itself to distinguish the wrong Todd from the right one. The Wrong Todd is a new take on a sci-fi-fi comedy drama with the added bonus of an evil twin from a parallel universe. The Wrong Todd is about championing love, accepting change, and realizing what you’ve taken for granted before it truly is too late.Inspired by the works of Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Harold Ramis (Groundhog Day)The Wrong Toddanswer the question so many people think but never articulate “what is wrong with me?” Starring Jesse Rosen (The Art of Being Straight), Anna Rizzo (Lost in Bloom), Sean Carmichael (Trinity), Derek K. Moore (Ghostbusters), and Erin Rose. Director Rob Schulbaum (Family Guy), joins us to talk about his directorial debut.
We The Coyotes – Co-directors Hanna Ladoul and Marco La Via
Making the films USA debut (it world premiered in the Acid section of Cannes this spring), We The Coyotes by first-time feature filmmakers Hanna Ladoul and Marco La Via, was inspired by the adventure and challenges of their own early days in Los Angeles. Enveloped in the love bubble a young couple, played by Morgan Saylor (Homeland) and McCaul Lombardi (Sollers Point), arrive from their cross-country trip from the midwest to stay with her aunt Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad), where we continually see them encounter the challenges of their first day in Los Angeles.The city is as much a character in this intimate drama as this young couple, as they find their hopes often crushed under the realities of what you encounter in any major city, much less the city of dreams.Not unlike countless twenty-somethings over the decades, our westward-bound couple in We The Coyotes arrive in Los Angeles with half-formed plans and half-empty pockets, but we see how tensions bend and shape them while the will to survive drives them on. Co-directors Hanna Ladoul and Marco La Via stop by to talk about their unvarnished, thought provoking film.
Hard headed Louisiana fisherman Thomas Gonzales doesn’t know what will hit him next. After decades of hurricanes and oil spills he faces a new threat – hordes of monstrous 20 pound swamp rats. Known as “nutria”, these invasive South American rodents breed faster than the roving squads of hunters can control them. And with their orange teeth and voracious appetite they are eating up the coastal wetlands that protects Thomas and his town of Delacroix Island from hurricanes. But the people who have lived here for generations are not the type of folks who will give up without a fight. Thomas and a pack of lively bounty hunters are hellbent on saving Louisiana before it dissolves beneath their feet. It is man vs. rodent. May the best mammal win. Rodents of Unusual Size is a documentary by Quinn Costello, Chris Metzler and Jeff Springer (Everyday Sunshine,The Story of Fishbone). Co-director Jeff Springer join us to talk about the other ‘beast of the Southern wild.”
Rodents is opening in Los Angeles on September 14th through September 19th @ 1:10pm, 3:20pm, 5:30pm, 8:00pm, & 10:10pm at the Laemmle’s Monica Film Center, 1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica
Opening night Q&A with filmmakers Chris Metzler, Quinn Costello, and animation director Mike Blum
BEST OF FESTIVAL AWARD – Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival
BEST DOCUMENTARY AWARD – UNA George Lindsey Film Festival
BEST DOCUMENTARY AWARD – Tupelo Film Festival
SPECIAL JURY AWARD FOR FILMS FOR OUR FUTURE – Mendocino Film Festival
EXCELLENCE IN AMERICAN PROFILES AWARD – SF Docfest
JURY AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY – Oceanside International Film Festival
92% on Rotten Tomatoes
“Rodents of Unusual Size is also a look at how human folly can contribute to environmental disaster, but awareness and ingenuity can help bail us out.” – Peter Keough, Boston Globe
“Depicting the resilience of both the nutria and the Louisianans who’ve endured their presence for many years, Rodents of Unusual Size proves enjoyably quirky and informative.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
“… a squirmy, funny, fascinating documentary that mixes history, zoology and social and cultural anthropology to examine the relationship of the giant rat to the bayou Louisianans who hunt, skin and sometimes even eat the dagger-incisored critters.” – John Beifuss, Commercial Appeal
“A bizarre and fascinating documentary that’ll make your jaw drop.” Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News
LOST CHILD follows an army veteran, Fern, who returns home in order to look for her brother, only to discover an abandoned boy lurking in the woods behind her childhood home. After taking in the boy, she searches for clues to his identity, and discovers the local folklore about a malevolent, life-draining spirit that comes in the form of a child; the Tatterdemalion. A beautifully-crafted mystery drama from award-winning director Ramaa Mosley. LOST CHILD stars Leven Rambin, Jim Parrack, John Taylor Smith, and Landon Edwards. Director / co-screenwriter (Tim Macy) Ramaa Mosley and actor Kip Collins joins us for a conversation on PTSD, self-financing your own film, the supernatural, and bracing the people of the Ozarks.
“An extraordinarily delicate balancing act between drama and horror, visually and psychologically expansive, set in a place where stories of monsters are not mere entertaining fun, and where superstition is not harmless.” – MaryAnn Johnson, Flick Filosopher
“The slow-burning thriller walks a fine line, balancing elements of psychological drama and the supernatural, with a surging undercurrent of social commentary that sneaks up on you.” – Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times
“The slow-burning thriller walks a fine line, balancing elements of psychological drama and the supernatural, with a surging undercurrent of social commentary that sneaks up on you.” – Fred Topel, Monsters and Critics
“The Man Who Loves To Hurt Himself,” follows the turbulent musical journey of Today is the Day enigmatic legendary frontman and founder, Steve Austin. Ride along asAustin’s first person account brings balance to these opposing forces, reckoning and stretching himself from the drive to create his musical vision, engaging and performing intense shows around the world, to being home with his wife and children. How one near-death experience led him to connect with the love of his life and begin the transition, fulfilling his destiny as a loving family man while completing his mission to bring relief his followers and overcome being the man who loves to hurt himself. “The Man Who Loves to Hurt Himself” is a loose but subdued methodic subtlety of the movie stands in sharp contrast to an artist known in the worldwide underground of extreme music for abrasive, loud, chaotic spectacle neo-violent imagery a slow, brooding and emotional 93-minutes that covers a year of conversations and ride-a-longs with the casual aesthetic of natural conversation supported by raw grainy fan shot footage, old pictures, personal home videos, career spanning amulets, in a self examination of the psyche of a modern-day “madman” and “master.” Director Anthony Short joins us for a conversation on connecting with a singular music savant / philosopher / survivor.
Meet the NYPD12: a group of minority whistleblower officers who risk everything to expose racially discriminatory policing practices in the NYPD and smash the blue wall of silence. Using stunning cinematography and intimate, character-drive access, CRIME + PUNISHMENT captures the story of these brave individuals right from the beginning, as several officers meet up to talk about the New York Police Department’s outlawed practices of quota-driven policing and officer retaliation — and find themselves starting a class-action suit against the city. Using secret recordings between officers and commanders, firsthand accounts, and emotional testimony, the NYPD12 detail the explosive truth when no one else will listen. In the meantime, Manuel Gomez, an ex-cop turned private investigator, collects testimony from young minorities who have been affected by these policies and targeted by officers in the name of fighting crime. Told from the rarely heard perspective of active whistleblower officers and the young men and women of color they police, CRIME + PUNISHMENT is a once-in-a-generation film that considers the complexities of police work when faced with the unjust systemic and institutional practices fueling social justice movements across America. Director / Producer / Cinematographer / Editor Stephen Maing joins us for conversation on how he came to know the brave men and women who stepped forward, and why this is not just a New York City issue.
U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival
94% on Rotten Tomatoes
“A triumph of documentary filmmaking.” – Tim Wu, THE NEW YORKER
“Amazing. An awesome film.” – Eugene Hernandez, FILM COMMENT
“It’s a real achievement, this film. Gorgeously composed…Vital, necessary and groundbreaking. It’s a significant work of investigative journalism.” – Nic Rapold and Eric Hynes, FILM COMMENT PODCAST
“Remarkable. Maing becomes so embedded with his subjects, we get to see them up close and personal. We need to recognize that the way racism functions in our society is out in public, and we must stand with those who are brave enough to put their livelihoods on the line to change the system. Crime + Punishment makes that argument clearly, persuasively, and with immediacy.” – Matt Goldberg, COLLIDER
“Maing doesn’t seek to offer any solutions; instead, he does something that we often fail to do in our embattled society, he gives these particular officers and the people that they police their humanity back.” – Aramide A. Tinubu, SHADOW AND ACT
In 2010, Taiji, a sleepy fishing town in Japan, suddenly found itself in the worldwide media spotlight. THE COVE, a documentary denouncing the town’s longstanding whale and dolphin hunting traditions, won an Academy Award and almost overnight, Taiji became the go-to destination and battleground for activists from around the world. Can a proud 400-year-old whaling tradition survive a tsunami of modern animal-rights activism and colliding forces of globalism vs. localism? A WHALE OF A TALE reveals the complex story behind the ongoing debate. Told through a wide range of characters including local fishermen, international activists and an American journalist (and long time Japanese resident), this powerful documentary unearths a deep divide in eastern and western thought about nature and wildlife and cultural sensitivity in the face of global activism. In 2008, Filmmaker Megumi Sasaki directed and produced her first feature-length documentary HERB & DOROTHY, about legendary New York art collectors Herb and Dorothy Vogel. The film went on to win top honors at many international film festivals and was released theatrically nationwide and as a part of PBS’s Independent Lens series. In 2013, Megumi completed the highly anticipated follow-up HERB & DOROTHY 50X50, focusing on the next (and final) chapter in the lives of the beloved couple. Director Megumi Sasaki joins us for a frank and wide-open conversation on the why she felt that telling this story was important and critical to understanding another side of a complex issue that has implication far beyond the shores of Tajii.
Based on the arresting true story of the Executioner of Emsland, The Captain follows a German army deserter, Willi Herold (Max Hubacher), after he finds an abandoned Nazi captain’s uniform in the final weeks of World War II. Emboldened by the authority the uniform grants him, he amasses a band of stragglers who cede to his command despite the suspicions of some. Citing direct orders from the Fuhrer himself, he soon takes command of a camp holding German soldiers accused of desertion and begins to dispense harsh justice. Increasingly intoxicated by the unquestioned authority, this enigmatic imposter soon discovers that many people will blindly follow the leader, whomever that happens to be. Simultaneously a historical docudrama and sociological examination with undertones of the absurd, The Captain presents fascism as something of a game to be played by those most gullible and unscrupulous. Director Robert Schwentke stops by for a conversation on the troubling implications of this tale of myopic madness sanctioned by a psychotic regime on the verge of collapse.
“It compels our attention with a remorseless, gripping single-mindedness, presenting Naziism as a communicable disease that smothers conscience, paralyzes resistance and extinguishes all shreds of humanity.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times
“Schwentke intends for these actions to parallel what Wehrmacht participated in against Jews and Roma …This astute film is an excoriating portrait of Nazism or fascism.” – Nora Lee Mandel, Film-Forward
“A brave and uncompromising indictment of human nature, Teutonic or otherwise.” – Peter Debruge, Variety
“We are left to contemplate this vision of Fascism as a machine that, once turned on, can sustain itself even in the absence of explicit direction from above.” – David Edelstein, New York Magazine / Vulture
In her latest project,SNAPSHOTS, legendary actor Piper Laurie plays family matriarch Rose.. The story will resonate with every person who has lived through the complexity of family relationships, It reminds us that if we are loved no secret is too difficult to hear and accept. Or is it? Rose (Gran) is the matriarch. She has lived in this house for over fifty years. She and her deceased husband Joe raised their daughter Patty in this home. Patty, now a widow in her early 50’s, lives in St. Louis. Each year Patty and her newly married daughter Allison spend a laughter filled girl’s weekend with Gran. This year will be different. Piper Laurie joins us for a conversation on the making of her latest project (Snapshots) in a legendary film career that includes three Academy Award nominated performances (The Hustler, Carrie, Children of a Lesser God) and an Emmy nomination for David Lynch’s groundbreaking television serial (Twin Peaks).
“Performances all around are strong, with Piper Laurie’s Rose taking the lead and directing us through the story’s narrative. We are invited to soak in the retro atmosphere as the story unfolds at a leisurely pace.” – Paul Parcellin, Film Threat
Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood is the deliciously scandalous story of Scotty Bowers, a handsome ex-Marine who landed in Hollywood after World War II and became confidante, aide de camp and lover to many of Hollywood’s greatest male — and female — stars. In the 1940s and ’50s, Scotty ran a gas station in the shadow of the studio lots where he would connect his friends with actors and actresses who had to hide their true sexual identities for fear of police raids at gay bars, societal shunning and career suicide. An unsung Hollywood legend, Bowers would cater to the sexual appetites of celebrities – straight and gay – for decades. In 2012, he finally spilled his secrets in the New York Times bestselling memoir “Full Service,” which revealed a dramatic, pre-Stonewall alternate history of Hollywood. While the studio PR machine were promoting their stars as wholesome and monogamous,Bowers was fulfilling the true desires of many of them. This cinema-vérité documentary tells his story, as well as presents eye-opening takes on icons from the Hollywood Golden Age including Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Lana Turner, Ava Gardner and many more. Director Matt Tyrnauer (Studio 54, Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, Valentino: The Last Emperor) joins us for spirited conversation on the days when the Hollywood PR machine mattered more than the lives of the artist who made it successful and the role Scotty Bowers played in breaking that stranglehold on them.
“Scotty” is more than just a portrait of the man, also serving as a history lesson on how the film industry once tried to project a repressive, clean-cut image to satisfy moral watchdogs” – Tim Grierson, Screen International
“A nicely filled-out look at different eras, one secrecy-ridden and dedicated to the preservation of illusion, the other wide open and blasé about personal predilections.” – Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter
“There’s plenty of gossip to be found here, but there’s also no shortage of humanity.” – Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
“The present-day footage is more compelling than any of the gossipy bits, which turn out to be the hook that pulls the film into more fraught and complex directions.” – Kevin Ritchie, NOW Toronto
“’Scotty and the Secret History’ is a fascinating portrait that neither lionizes nor judges its subject. It merely lets you take him for what he is.” – Jason Bailey, Flavorwire
40 YEARS IN THE MAKING: THE MAGIC MUSIC MOVIEchronicles how one of their greatest fans, acclaimed director (and UC Boulder alumnus) Lee Aronsohn, tracked down the original band members four decades later to tell their story. More importantly, he makes a dream come true for himself, fellow fans, and the band, by bringing them all back to Boulder for a sold-out reunion concert that preserves their legacy for posterity. Magic Music is one of the most fondly remembered bands of the Boulder Revolution of the late 60s and early 70s. Living in a makeshift camp up in the mountains, they would delight local residents and university students with their original songs, acoustic instruments, and light harmonies; their growing popularity brought them to the brink of success more than once. Unfortunately, they never signed a record deal and eventually broke up in 1975. 40 YEARS IN THE MAKING: THE MAGIC MUSIC MOVIE opens in New York August 3, and in Los Angeles August 10, with a national release to follow. Director Lee Aronsohn talks about his endearing and poignant documentary on the music that became a living soundtrack for a community and the band of musicians who became life-long friends.
“Beyond celebrating the music, 40 Years in the Making: The Magic Music Movie has something to say about the compromises and reconciliations that are a part of aging, and it turns out to make for a stirring and healing reunion.” – Stephen Farber, Hollywood Reporter
“By the end of the film, I was singing along” – Ain’t It Cool News
SNAPSHOTS has been compared to the award winning films THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, CLOUDBURST, DIVINE SECRETS OFTHE YA YA SISTERHOOD, FRIED GREEN TOMATOES, and STEEL MAGNOLIAS. All of these films show the strength and resilience of people as they cope with the fragilities of life. SNAPSHOTS resonates with every person who has lived through the complexity of family relationships, It reminds us that if we are loved no secret is too difficult to hear and accept. Or is it? Rose (Piper Laurie) is the matriarch. She has lived in this house for over fifty years. She and her deceased husband Joe raised their daughter Patty (Brooke Adams)in this home. Patty, now a widow in her early 50’s, lives in St. Louis. Each year Patty and her newly married daughter Allison (Emily Baldoni) spend a laughter filled girl’s weekend with Gran. This year will be different. Director Melanie Mayron (The Babysitter’s Club, Freaky Friday, Thirtysomething Grace and Frankie) joins us for a conversation on working with talents like Piper Laurie and Brooke Adams and her story of life, love, struggle and the roads not taken.
“Performances all around are strong, with Piper Laurie’s Rose taking the lead and directing us through the story’s narrative. We are invited to soak in the retro atmosphere as the story unfolds at a leisurely pace.” – Paul Parcellin, Film Threat
Super close Mother Lyn and daughter Iona (Dafty One and Dafty Two) are excited for their new life in a new town. Determined to make a success of things after a tricky start, Iona becomes ‘best friends’ with Keely, Stacey and Chelsea. Used to being Iona’s bestie herself, Lyn feels left out. So Lyn also makes friends with Belinda, her neighbor. As much as Lyn and Iona pretend to each other that things are going great, things aren’t going great for either of them. Iona struggles with the girls, who act more like frenemies than friends, and Belinda won’t give Lyn her stepladders back. Both Mother andDaughter retreat into fantasy and lies. Anchored by two remarkable performances by the film’s leads, Joanna Scanlon (Lyn) and Lily Newmark (Iona) writer / director Deborah Haywood feature film debut confidently delivers a lacerating take on bullying, cruelty and mental illness.
“Pin Cushion is most emotionally piercing in depicting the daily ways in which the world still punishes this loving, mild-as-milk woman for her difference.” – Guy Lodge, Variety
“Writer-director Deborah Haywood makes her feature directorial debut with the surreal and whimsical mother-daughter nightmare Pin Cushion, driven by a singular vision and masterful control of a unique tone, which tiptoes the line of beauty and terror.” – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times
“The film is like a cross between a crocheted bunny and a nail bomb.” – Wendy Ide, Observer
“Pin Cushion is a whimsical and achingly sad story.” – Emily Sears, Birth.Movies.Death
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s most beloved creations. The frolicking tale of lovesick young aristocrats, energetic but inept rustics, and mischievous woodland spirits is a staple of stage and screen. In the past, filmed adaptations have emphasized the play’s traditional, Elizabethan qualities. This production however is a fresh and stylish reinvention that takes an entirely different approach.The story takes place in present day Hollywood – a place where glamorous stars, commanding moguls, starving artists and vaulting pretenders all vie to get ahead. Hollywood is sometimes called “The Dream Factory,” and like the world of Shakespeare’s Dream, it’s a place where fantasy and reality collide.In the tradition of Baz Luhrmann’s rapturous reimagining of Romeo + Juliet, this modern vision breathes new life into a classic tale. Combined with a cast of established and emerging stars, as well as a pulsing original soundtrack, the film will appeal to ardent fans of the Shakespeare as well as audiences discovering Shakespeare for the first time. Director and screenwriter Casey Wilder Mott talk with us about the challenges and rewards of re-imagining one of the Bard’s most endearing plays.
“If you’re hoping to see a production just like the one that would have been done in 1596, this ain’t it. But Mott’s version is a hell of a good time in its own right.” – Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com
“Mott’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” may not have a high bar to reach to be better than average as filmed Shakespearean comedies go. But by any standard, it’s a modest, resourceful and unexpected delight.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety
“Darned if Casey Wilder Mott’s feature directorial debut doesn’t prove to be a disarmingly effective, visually vibrant frolic.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times
“Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth and indulge in a film I feel certain Shakespeare himself would enjoy.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat
“A vibrant dose of California dreamin’.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter
PATH OF BLOOD depicts Islamist terrorism, as it has never been seen before. Drawn from a hoard of jihadi home-movie footage that was captured by Saudi security services, this is the story of Muslim terrorists targeting Muslim civilians and brought to justice by Muslim security agents. It is a stark reminder that all who are touched by terrorism are victimized by it.A powerful and sometimes shocking cinematic experience, PATH OF BLOOD reveals how brainwashed youths, fuelled by idealism and the misguided pursuit of adventure, can descend into madness and carnage. The raw, unvarnished footage, to which the filmmakers negotiated exclusive access, captures young thrill-seekers at a jihadi “boot camp” deep in the Saudi desert, having signed on to overthrow the Saudi government. They plot to detonate car bombs in downtown Riyadh, become embroiled in a game of cat-and-mouse with government forces and, as their plans unravel, resort to ever more brutal tactics.Adopting a strictly objective approach, the film doesn’t editorialize and contains no interviews or “talking heads” commentary. The home video footage was shot by the terrorists themselves, allowing viewers to see them in all their complexity, while compelling audiences to draw their own conclusions.Director / Producer Jonathan Hackeris a documentary producer and director with numerous awards under his belt including the prestigious BAFTA and RTS awards. He joins us for a conversation on his frightening look at operational level of terrorism and the people who commit these heinous crimes.
“It commands attention as an object lesson in the banality of evil.” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times
“Operates as a potent reminder of the randomness, and casual cruelty of modern terrorism, the way it leeches out the humanity of victims and perpetrators on both sides.” – Leslie Pelperin, Guardian
“The film is compiled from footage that was shot by the terrorists themselves… And the fact that the film offers no real sense of hope makes it that much more alarming.” – Rich Clines, Shadows on the Wall
“This is a dazzlingly revealing and upsetting film.” – Nigel Andrews, Financial Times
In this raucous new comedy, Social Animals Zoe Crandle’s life didn’t exactly turn out the way she planned. She’s facing eviction, her business is going under and she is resigned to a life of one-night stands. Just when it seems her whole world is unraveling, she meets Paul, a fellow loveable loser, and the pair have an instant connection. There’s only one problem, Paul is married. With help from her best friend, Zoe devises a plan to save her business and salvage her love life. Social Animals is an honest, uncompromising comedy of modern relationships that stars Noël Wells, Josh Radnor, Aya Cash, Carly Chaikin, Fortune Feimster and Samira Wiley. Director and writer Theresa Bennett stops by to talk about the perils and rewards of low budget filmmaking and working with a talented cast of rising talents.
“‘Social Animals’ has its funny business and lightness, and the picture’s comfort with sexuality is refreshing, but there’s realism just underneath the surface that’s intriguing.” – Brian Orndorf, blu-ray.com
“This rom-com from writer and first-time director Theresa Bennett is easy viewing.
One of the distinguished voices in American independent film, Matthew Porterfield his back with a riveting new film. Sollers Point tells the story of Keith (McCaul Lombardi), a twenty-four-year-old newly released from prison and living with his father (Jim Belushi) under house arrest in Baltimore. Keith is struggling to reestablish himself, and break free of the bonds forged behind bars, within a community scarred by unemployment, neglect, and deeply entrenched segregation. His intentions are in the right place and he possesses an aggressive desire to get back on his feet, but as he taps into all his familiar resources, he finds that he may be reverting to his old ways. Director / writer Matt Porterfield (Putty Hill, Hamilton, I Used to Be Darker) joins us for a conversation on the inherent hurdles to untangling from a criminal justice system and chronic social malaise that pulls people back into it’s stifling grasp.
“What “Sollers Point” accomplishes is a singular balancing act, compensating for the mood of heavy discouragement with only the slenderest thread of hope.” – Michael O’Sullivan, Washington Post
“‘Sollers Point’ is an intimate and wise character study, not only of an unformed young man but also of a neighborhood struggling to preserve itself in the face of economic decline.” – Joe Blessing, Playlist
“Sketching Keith’s inner conflicts and practical struggles with a graceful, mood-rich lyricism, Porterfield presses gently but painfully on some of the most inflamed and sensitive parts of American society.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker
“The journey is everything in Sollers Point… By film’s end, you understand that life, and hopefully growth, goes on. There’s real beauty in coming to grips with that.” – Chrs Kaltenbach, Baltimore Sun
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 debutSEARCHING 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 includeCENTERPIECE 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’sDirector of Programming Mike Dougherty to talk about the past, present and future of Indian cinema and the increasing acceptance among mainstream American film lovers.