Newport Beach Film Festival, CEO and co-founder Gregg Schwenk

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The Newport Beach Film Festival seeks to bring to Orange County the best of classic and contemporary filmmaking from around the world. Committed to enlightening the public with a first-class international film program as well as providing a forum for cultural understanding and enriching educational opportunities, the Festival focuses on showcasing a diverse collection of both studio and independent films. The Festival supports the creation and advancement of innovative and artistic cinematic works from both emerging and seasoned filmmakers and proudly embraces the passion, vision, and independent spirit of these talented artists. With the integration of the local community and educational institutions, the Festival stimulates an interest in the study and appreciation of film and encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to participate. Since its inception in 2000, the Festival has presented many acclaimed films such as the U.S. Premiere of  Gregg Schwenkn NBFFCrash and other notable films including (500) Days of Summer, The Cove, Waitress, Son of Rambow, Paprika, Broken English, American Teen, Fugitive Pieces, Death Note: The Last Name, The King of Kong, Layer Cake, The Illusionist, Art School Confidential, Emmanuel’s Gift, Mad Hot Ballroom, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, Spellbound, Castle in the Sky, Born into Brothels, and Pieces of April. Through tributes, special screenings and seminars, the Festival has honored film industry notables, including Aaron Sorkin, Haskell Wexler, Robert Wise, Henry Bumstead, Elmer Bernstein, John Waters, Alan Arkin, Bruce Brown, Richard Sherman, Penelope Spheeris, and McG. Co-founder and CEO Gregg Schwenk stops by to talk about the 2015 edition of NBFF, the opening night film, The Water Diviner, directed by Academy Award winner Russell Crowe and many of this year’s special screenings and events.

Newport Beach Film Festival – Thursday, April 23rd – Sunday April 30th

For the latest news and updates go to: newportbeachfilmfest.com

Ned Rifle, Director Hal Hartley

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Ned Rifle is the third and final chapter of Hal Hartley’s tragicomic epic which began with Henry Fool (1998) and continued with Fay Grim (2007). At once a saga concerning the Grim family of Woodside Queens and how their lives are turned upside down by the arrival of the self-proclaimed genius, Henry Fool, the trilogy is also an illustration of America’s grappling with ideas, art, politics, and religion over the course of twenty years. In this swiftly paced and expansive conclusion, Henry and Fay’s son, Ned, sets out to find and kill his father for destroying his mother’s life. But his aims are frustrated by the troublesome, sexy, and hilarious Susan, whose connection to Henry predates even his arrival in the lives of the Grim family. A funny, sad, and sexy adventure, Ned Rifle is an intellectually stimulating and compassionate satire. Hartley is an American filmmaker who attracted considerable attention in the early 1990’s with such films as Trust (1990), Simple Men (1992), and Amateur (1994) featuring Isabelle Huppert, often cited for their dialogue that is both humorous and philosophical. He has made twelve feature films, won awards at Cannes and Sundance, and staged theater and opera on occasion. He runs his company, Possible Films, from his base in New York City. Director Hartley joins us for a conversation on filmmaking, music and his desire to challenge an audience with his own approach to satire, conflict and redemption.

For news and updates on Ned Rifle and other Hartley films go to: possiblefilms.com/2014/08/ned-rifle/

*** Friday, April 3, 8:00 pm Cinefamily (Los Angeles premiere) An Evening with Hal Hartley featuring NED RIFLE. Join Hal Hartley, and film stars Aubrey Plaza, James Urbaniak, and Liam Aiken in attendance for Q&A

“(W)hen the writer-director is on his game, as he is in “Ned Rifle,” the effect is bizarre black comedy that is designed to set you thinking about what his satire is really saying.” – Betsy Sharkey, LA Times

“Like the best of Hartley’s work (“Fool,” “Trust,” “Simple Men”), “Ned” leaves behind little bits of wisdom.” – Joe Nuemaier, New York Daily News

“For all the evident despair, Hartley can’t repress his love of cinema; the comic dialogue sings and many of the images have a fragile beauty.” – Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader

“Move over, Boyhood. And less Boyhood than perhaps Boy In The Hood, Hal Hartley completes his bio-trilogy half a dozen years longer than Linklater’s decidedly conventional odyssey – an infinitely more dark and daring, toxically tantalizing suburban noir.” – Prairie Miller NewsBlaze

The Wrecking Crew, Director Denny Tedesco

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What the Funk Brothers did for Motown…The Wrecking Crew did, only bigger, for the West Coast Sound. Six years in a row in the 1960s and early 1970s, the Grammy for “Record of the Year” went to Wrecking Crew recordings. And now, THE WRECKING CREW tells the story in pictures and that oh, so glorious sound. The favorite songs of a generation are all here, presented by the people who made them for you. THE WRECKING CREW is a documentary film produced and directed by Denny Tedesco, son of legendary late Wrecking Crew guitarist Tommy Tedesco. The film tells the story of the unsung musicians that provided the backbeat, the bottom and the swinging melody that drove many of the number one hits of the 1960s. It didn’t matter if it was Nat “King” Cole, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, The Monkees, The Byrds or The Beach Boys, these dedicated musicians brought the flair and musicianship that made the American “west coast sound” a dominant cultural force around the world. The film is a fun and moving tribute from Denny to his father and to the music, the times and to the secret star-making machine known only as “The Wrecking Crew”. Director Denny Tedesco joins us to talk about a remarkable group of artist and the indelible impact they had on music and the people who love music.

For news and updates on The Wrecking Crew go to: wreckingcrewfilm.com

“Wonderful, touching and hilarious about the unsung stars of so many records that you carry in your heart.” – Elvis Costello

“It’s astounding to consider how many eternal earworms are in our brains, courtesy of this accomplished group of West Coast musicians.” – Jim Slotek, Toronto Star

“The enchanting Kaye – “I was making more money than the President” – probably deserves her own film.” – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

“Long on nostalgia, the film does shed further light on the genius of Brian Wilson and the unfair uproar over the Monkees’ need for musical backup. Turns out even the Beach Boys required the Wrecking Crew to rock.” – Peter Howell, Toronto Star

The Duke of Burgundy, Director Peter Strickland

Duke of Burgundy posterSex, bondage, and butterflies: two women explore the extremes of carnal desire in this kinky, deliciously twisted tale of erotic obsession. In a crumbling European estate, butterfly researcher Cynthia (Sidse Babett Knudsen) and her lover Evelyn (Chiara D’Anna) repeatedly enact a sadomasochistic role-playing game, with Cynthia as the stern mistress and Evelyn her subservient sex slave. But as the lines between fantasy and reality begin to blur, and Cynthia grows increasingly uneasy with Evelyn’s insatiable appetite for punishment, their relationship is pushed to the limit. Dripping with dreamlike imagery, Gothic atmosphere, and a lush chamber pop score by Cat’s Eyes, this critically-acclaimed, darkly comic erotic fantasia is a seductive feast for the senses. THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY is the new film from Peter Strickland, the British award winning writer and director of Berberian Sound Studio and Katalin Vargar. Dripping with eroticism and dread,The Duke of Burgundy is a darkly decadent melodrama starring Sidse Babett Knudsen (Borgen, After the Wedding), and Chiara D’Anna (Berberian Sound Studio). Director / writer Strickland joins us to talk about his mesmerizing new film.

For news and updates for The Duke of Burgundy go to: The Duke of Burgundy

“Nothing if not a mood piece, but amid its atmospherics and winking asides, it’s also a fascinating portrait of a relationship.” – Sheri Linden, LA Times

“Leaves plenty to think about, but it’d be just as rewarding to turn off your mind and let the sounds and images wash over you like lapping waves.” – Matte Prigge, Metro

“At its core, this is one of the most incisive, penetrating, and empathetic films ever made about what it truly means to love another person, audaciously disguised as salacious midnight-movie fare.” – Mike D’Angelo, AV Club

“An act of cinephilic homage that transcends pastiche to become its own uniquely sensuous cinematic object …” – Scott Foundas, Variety

Writer / Comedian / Producer Carol Leifer

Carol LeiferCarol Leifer began her career as a stand up comedian in such well know Manhattan comedy clubs as the Comic Strip, Catch a Rising Star and the Improv. Her “big break” came when David Letterman unexpectedly showed up at the Comic Strip and caught one of her performances. His visit led to twenty-five appearances on NBC’s “Late Night with David Letterman.” Carol has also appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Dr. Katz, Politically Incorrect, Hollywood Squares, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Her hosting duties have included four seasons of A&E‘s Caroline’s Comedy Hour, as well as guest stints on Talk Soup and Later. She has also written for numerous Academy Awards shows. Carol joined the Seinfeld writing staff during its fifth season (1993–94), and wrote six episodes for the show between then and its seventh season (1995–96). She has been dubbed “the real Elaine,” the character having been partially based on her. After Seinfeld ended, Carol served as a writer and supervising producer on HBO’s critically acclaimed “The Larry Sanders Show. ” Despite her success in television, Carol has remained a fixture on the stand up circuit. “I’ve Carol Leifer book IIplayed every two-bit laugh shack across this great country of ours,” she quips. One highlight of Carol’s roadwork includes opening for Frank Sinatra at Bally’s Las Vegas. He was quoted after the show as saying “I wish my mother had been that funny. I wouldn’t have had to work so hard.” Carol joins us to talk about her second book, “How to Succeed in Business without Really Crying…Lessons From a Life in Comedy” her career and hosting the 30th Annual International Documentary Association Award show here in Los Angeles.

For news and updates on Carol Leifer go to: carolleifer.com

For news and updates on the International Documentary Association go to: documentary.org/

Little Hope Was Arson, Director Theo Love

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January 2010: In the buckle of the Bible Belt, 10 churches burn to the ground in just over a month igniting the largest criminal investigation in East Texas history. No stone is left unturned and even Satan himself is considered a suspect in this gripping investigation of a community terrorized from the inside-out. Families are torn apart and communities of faith struggle with forgiveness and justice in this incredible true story. Director Theo Love stops by for a conversation on the culture of East Texas and the unbending drive of the people in the area to find the perpetrators, and the unlikely culprits.

For news and updates on Little Hope Was Arson go to: littlehopewasarson.com

“It’s Americana unvarnished and, because of that, as absorbing as it is respectful.” – Neil Genzlinger, New York Times

“The film’s exploration of the tenuous bonds within a community will surely prompt serious soul-searching.” – Martin Tsai, Los Angeles Time

“A fascinating story told with deep insight, Little Hope Was Arson finds that both fire and forgiveness burn in different ways.” – Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist

“How the investigation unfolds, and the dramatics escalate, is as engaging as any compelling narrative can be…” – Mark Bell, Film Threat

Concrete Wedding Cakes: What I Have Learned about Motion Picture Editing and Other Stuff, Editor and Author John Heath

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In the book Concrete Wedding Cake: What I Have Learned about Motion Picture Editing and Other Stuff, author and editor John Heath has written a concise, practical and clear approach to motion picture editing based on his over thirty years of editing, directing and producing. The book is not overly technical or theoretical, but is a light approachable explanation of what editing is, how to make solid editing choices and the techniques to help make those choices work as well possible. He has also include a section for “directors only,” so that they may have a positive editorial experience. Heath is third generation to the motion picture business. His grandfather was a part of the very beginnings of the film industry in the “Silent Era,” and his father was an editor through the “Golden Age” of Television. He started his career in film editing, and went on to direct and produce. Editing John Heath photosuch dramas as St. Elsewhere, LA Law, and Pickett Fences, comedies such as The Bob Newhart Show, and Major Dad and recently action sci fi series Warehouse 13.  Producing on six series including The Guardian, Chicago Hope, and  Roswell with three Emmy nominations. He has directed episodes of The Guardian, Chicago Hope, and St. Elsewhere. He recently directed the Indie feature Last Night Inn based on the play of the same name which he also directed. He has also done “labors of love” short films Reflections and Mama Doesn’t Know Best.

……..a lively, instructive and highly readable handbook on the are of film editing….

 Excellent! As a long time editor and editing teacher , I highly recommend it .”   Michael Sales

Miss Lovely, Director Ashim Ahluwalia

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Delving deep into the underbelly of India’s film industry, where back-alley producers churn out everything from pulpy horror movies to soft-core porn, MISS LOVELY takes us back to the Mumbai of the 1980s with lurid detail and intoxicating style. Working out of sleazy hotels and abandoned warehouses, brothers Sonu (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and Vicky (Anil George) are prolific producers of trashy, C-grade films for Mumbai’s booming and underground markets.  The ambitious, domineering Vicky is the unquestioned brains of the operation, leading the dim-witted Sonu deeper into a world of divas, money men and movie-loving gangsters. But this precarious partnership is put to the test when the brothers meet Pinky (Niharika Singh), an exquisite ingénue with a shady past.  Director Ashim Ahluwalia joins us to talk about the hyper-stylized, retro thriller that explores the awful truths of exploitation cinema as well as its strange pleasures.

For the latest news and screenings go to: miss-lovely.com

I hope we do hear more from Indian director Ashim Ahluwalia, whose lively, fast-and-loose Miss Lovely, about two brothers toiling in the world of Bollywood B-movie and softcore porn production in the Eighties, had an off-kilter, at times delirious first hour and then settled into a pungent story of jealousy, betrayal, and doomed love.” – Gavin Smith, Film Comment

A self-reflective piece of cinematic art that will leave you drained when you leave the cinema – J. Hurtado, Twitch

An Indian film like I’d never seen. Ahluwalia is a very impressive talent. – Jonathan Romney, Sight and Sound

Magnificent! One feels real affection for this sordid universe.” – Le Monde

A People Uncounted, Director Aaron Yeger

A People Uncounted posterA People Uncounted: The Untold Story of the Roma is a journey into the world of the Roma (commonly referred to as Gypsies)—a people who through the ages have been both romanticized and vilified in popular culture, politics and art, and who have endured centuries of intolerance and persecution. Visiting 11 countries and interviewing dozens of Roma artists, historians, musicians and Holocaust survivors, this revealing film documents their culturally rich but often difficult lives, taking us back to ancient times and forward to the little-known story of Roma genocide at the hands of Nazis during World War II. As we watch the incredible story of the Roma unfold, both the people and their history come to life through the interplay of their evocative music and poetry, interwoven with true stories told by the survivors of the camps. As intolerance is on the rise in European politics, this remarkable film reminds us that ethnic minorities all too often fall prey to racism and genocide. Director Aaron Yeger talks about the Roma’s on-going struggle for basic human rights, dignity and the fight to be seen as more than a pop-culture stereotype.

For more news and updates on A People Uncounted go to: http://www.apeopleuncounted.com/

“Much of this movie is composed of survivors who give harrowing accounts of their experiences, and their warnings about rising ethnic hatred in Europe should not be ignored.” – Andrew Webster, New York Times

“Profoundly moving, a powerful documentary on the plight of the Roma people through history… an expansive essay on prejudice and the resilience of the human spirit. 4 stars” – T’Cha Dunlevy, Montreal Gazette

“Needed no star power to keep me glued to the screen…A one-of-a-kind find…a virtually unknown piece of history… a fascinating, hyperbole-free inquiry into what one recent study determined is the most discriminated-against group in all of Europe.” – Lauren Wissot, Filmmaker Magazine

“The most vital portrait of genocide since Lanzmann’s Shoah.” 4 Stars – Greg Klymkiw, Producer, Journalist, Filmmaker

For No Good Reason, Director Charlie Paul and Producer Lucy Paul

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Ralph Steadman is the last of the original Gonzo visionaries. Made over the course of fifteen years, “For No Good Reason,” explores the connection between life and art through the eyes of seminal British artist, Ralph Steadman. Insightful, humorous, and visually stunning, this is a study in honesty, friendship and the ambition that drives an artist. Ralph’s rise to prominence began in the early 1970’s during the fallout from the love and hope that had swept the western world during the 1960’s. This legendary time for music, literature, art and philosophy was the catalyst, along with his developing relationship with writer Hunter S Thompson, for Ralph to express and chart the wreckage that followed; a large-scale disintegration of a demoralized counter-culture. His art gained recognition in the press and popular-culture publications, both in the U.K. and U.S., for its bold comment on his fiercely heart-felt politics. Director Charlie Paul and Producer Lucy Paul joins us to talk about one of the world’s most electrifying and insightful painter / cartoonist / satirist.

News and updates For No Good Reason go to: http://sonyclassics.com/fornogoodreason/

“There’s no more exciting effect in the documentary than the look of pure pleasure on Depp’s face as he stands by Steadman’s drawing table, peeking over his shoulder as he attacks a sheet of paper.’ – Mark Feeney, Boston Globe

“Ralph Steadman is one of the greatest, most underappreciated living artists, so it’s wonderful that this celebratory documentary has arrived. It also happens to be one of the finest docs ever made about an artist.” – David Noh, Film Journal International

April 30, 2014 – The M Word, Director Henry Jaglom and Actress Tanna Frederick

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The M Word follows the personal changes at a local TV station that is threatened by economic downturn, possible in-house theft and massive job loss. They decide to subvert all of this by taking on an ill-advised documentary about Menopause. In the midst of impending lay-offs, Moxie (Tanna Frederick) suddenly finds herself leading an extraordinary band of rebelling women better treatment and a more secure future. Director Henry Jaglon (Irene in Time, Festival in Cannes, Always, Can She Bake a Cherry Pie) and actress Tanna Frederick (Just 45 Minutes to Broadway, Queen of the Lot, Irene in Time, Hollywood Dreams) stop by for a free-wheeling conversation on filmmaking, comedy, acting, love, life and the shockingly taboo subject of menopause.

Shirin in Love, Director Ramin Niami

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Love has no borders and therein lies the premise of the charming, new Iranian-American romantic comedy “Shirin in Love.”  Nazanin Boniadi plays Shirin, an absent-minded, young Iranian-American living in “Tehrangeles” (the large Iranian community in Los Angeles) with her overbearing mother and empathetic father.   Despite being engaged for years to a successful Iranian plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, Shirin finds herself breaking loyalty and tradition when she falls in love with a mysterious young man who lives in a lighthouse in northern California.  As her secret unravels and cultures clash, Shirin discovers what it ultimately means to be true to herself. Director Ramin Niami joins us to talk about his cross-culture dramedy on love and family.

Director Ramin Niami will be presenting Shirin in Love at the 8:10 PM screening, Saturday, March15th at the AMC Theatres (Block 30) in the City of Orange.

For more on Shirin in Love: shirininlove.com/

“Shirin in Love, like its protagonist, looks ditzy at first but quickly becomes a thinking woman’s romantic comedy, making a lie of recent media claims that the genre is defunct.” – Marsha McCreadle, Film Journal International

Kids for Cash, Producer Lauren Timmons

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KIDS FOR CASH is a riveting look behind the notorious scandal that rocked the nation when it first came to light in 2009. Beginning in the wake of the shootings at Columbine, a small town in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania elected a charismatic judge who was hell-bent on keeping kids in line. Under his reign, over 3,000 children were ripped from their families and imprisoned for years for crimes as petty as creating a fake MySpace page. When one parent dared to question this harsh brand of justice, it was revealed that the judge had received millions of dollars in payments from the privately-owned juvenile detention centers where the kids—most of them only in their early teens—were incarcerated. Producer Lauren Timmons joins us to talk about his remarkable, frightening film and the on-going wreckage done by a small cadre of judges to the lives of thousands of families.

“Without sensationalizing his already scandalous material, Mr. May arranges the contributions of reporters, lawyers and anguished relatives of young offenders into a shocking and impartial portrait of justice denied and childhoods erased.”  – Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times

“[A] harrowing documentary.” – Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

“Kids for Cash is… an honest investigation—unprejudiced toward its subjects, thorough in its research, comprehensive in its intellectual framework—and it’s a tragedy.” – The Nation

35th Anniversary of… The Stunt Man – Director / Writer Richard Rush

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In THE STUNT MAN, Vietnam veteran Cameron (Steve Railsback) is on the run from the police when he stumbles onto the set of a war movie directed by megalomaniac Eli Cross (Peter O’Toole). But when the young fugitive is forced to replace a dead stunt man, he falls in love with the movie’s leading lady (Barbara Hershey) while trying to avoid getting arrested or killed. Is Eli trying to capture Cameron’s death on film? And what happens to a paranoid stunt man when illusion and reality change places? Completed in 1979 but unreleased until 1980, this innovative dramatic comedy/action thriller has become one of the most acclaimed cult hits of our time. Director, writer and Oscar nominated filmmaker Richard Rush joins us for an engaging conversation the challenges of making a movie about making a movie and the rewards of working with one of cinemas all-time greats, Peter O’Toole.

** Landmark Theatres and Reel Talk with Stephen Farber present the Anniversary Classics Series, returning to The Landmark LA on Wednesday, February 19 at 7:00pm with THE STUNT MAN, celebrating the film’s 35th Anniversary, with in person guests director Richard Rush, lead actor Steve Railsback, and others to be announced.

“THE STUNT MAN is a virtuoso piece of kinetic moviemaking.” – Pauline Kael, New York Times

“Richard Rush’s inventive narrative about the blurred lines between movie reality and factual reality is vastly entertaining, boasting Peter O’Toole in a diabolical, delicious Oscar-nominated performance.” – Emanuel Levy

“At the 1980 San Francisco Film Festival, François Truffaut was asked to name his favorite director. He replied, ‘I don’t know his name, but I just saw his picture last night. It’s called The Stunt Man.’” – Mark Bourne, DVD Journal

Visitors – Director Godfrey Reggio

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Thirty years after Koyaanisqatsi, Godfrey Reggio–with the support of Philip Glass and Jon Kane–once again leapfrogs over earth-bound filmmakers and creates another stunning, wordless portrait of modern life. Presented by Steven Soderbergh in Black and White digital 4K projection, VISITORS reveals humanity’s trancelike relationship with technology, which, when commandeered by extreme emotional states, produces massive effects far beyond the human species. The film is visceral, offering the audience an experience beyond information about the moment in which we live. Comprised of only seventy-four shots, VISITORS takes viewers on a journey to the moon and back to confront them with themselves. Director Reggio joins us for an engaging conversation on his brave and challenging new film.

The effect is akin to a mediated staring contest: the film audience looks into the eyes of the individual people on screen, who look back, their expressions changing in slow-motion, as Glass’s minor-key score triggers emotional synapses deep within. – TCha Dunlevy, Montreal Gazette

We see unadorned faces staring at the camera; afternoon shadows moving across a large, institutional-looking building; forlorn images of an abandoned amusement park; the misty, magical quiet of a swamp.– Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times

For better or worse, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. – Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

Some of what [Godfrey] Reggio is trying to say is obvious, and some is elusive. Either way, the effect is remarkable. – Noel Murray, Dissolve

The word for the film is transfixing. – Stephen Holden, New York Times

For more on Visitors go to: http://visitorsfilm.com/

Charlie Victor Romeo – Co-director Patrick Daniels

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When you board an airplane, who are those people in uniform to whom you
entrust your life? What do they really do when things go horribly wrong? Derived
 entirely from the “black box” transcripts of six major airline emergencies, Charlie
 Victor Romeo puts the audience inside the tension-filled cockpits of actual flights in 
distress, offering a fascinating portrait of the psychology of crisis and a person’s
 will to live to the last second. Co-director Patrick Daniels joins us for a conversation on this intriguing and compelling look at the humanity, ingenuity and determination of people facing unimaginable circumstances.

“[This] chilling and groundbreaking production stretches the boundaries of film,
theatre, and the traditional documentary with this stereoscopic 3-D film of a stage
play that recreates transcripts word for word. Charlie Victor Romeo transports
film audiences into the best seats of the theatre and delivers the intensity and
gut-wrenching emotion of these emergencies via the unique approach of live
performance.” – Shari Frilot, senior programmer Sundance Film Festival & New Frontier

Charlie Victor Romeo defies one convention after another: A thriller with arthouse bona fides, minimalist in design but shot in 3D, it brings the original 1999 play to the screen in a fashion that’s stagebound yet otherworldy. – John Anderson, Variety

For information and updates for Charlie Victor Romeo go to: charlievictorromeo.com

This is Martin Bonner – Director Chad Hartigan

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THIS IS MARTIN BONNER is a warm and perceptive meditation on friendship, human connection and getting a second chance at life. Fifty-something Martin Bonner (Paul Eenhorn) leaves his old life behind and relocates to Reno, where he finds work helping released prisoners transition to life on the outside, while trying his hand at speed dating and passing time as a soccer referee on weekends. Meanwhile, Travis Holloway (Richmond Arquette) has just been released from prison after serving 12 years. Surprising both of them, Travis and Martin form an unlikely friendship that offers them reciprocal support and understanding. Director Hartigan stops by to talk about the challenges and rewards of micro-budget and introspective storytelling.

“A mood piece, a character study and an exercise in poetic gesture possessed of a sort of evanescent, secular spirituality. Chad Hartigan’s second feature is Americana of a very immediate sort, a tale of redemption that may leave its viewers with an uncanny sense of peace.” John Anderson, Variety

“Wonderfully acted and something of a minimalist masterpiece, is a striking, moving ode to lives lived day to day, even hour to hour, in which the smallest gesture has the power to make one hopeful for the next, like a small fire gently stoked.” Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“The writer and director, Chad Hartigan, transforms the potentially maudlin premise into a luminous reach for grace. As the spare, sharp dialogue and tensely searching performances elicit lives filled with pain and loss, Hartigan’s images (realized by the cinematographer, Sean McElwee) capture a serene spiritual bounty that shines through the daily grit and grind.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker

For more on This is Martin Bonner go to: martinbonner.com/

or the This is Martin Bonner film distributor – Monterey Media

If You Build It – Director Patrick Creadon

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From the director of WORDPLAY and I.O.U.S.A. comes a captivating look at a radically innovative approach to education. IF YOU BUILD IT follows designer activists Emily Pilloton and Matthew Miller to rural Bertie County, the poorest in North Carolina, where they work with local high school students to help transform both their community and their lives. Living on credit and grant money and fighting a change-resistant school board, Pilloton and Miller lead their students through a year-long, full-scale design and build project that does much more than just teach basic construction skills: it shows ten teenagers the power of design thinking to re-invent not just their town but their own sense of what’s possible. Director Patrick Creadon joins us for a conversation on the universal power of creativity.

“Honest and engrossing . . . shows how ingenuity and spark can restore excitement in education.” NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

“A heartening story about the power of design!”SLATE

“Well crafted and unexpectedly moving … [Patrick] Creadon is shaping up to be an unpredictable yet dependently intelligent documentarian.” VARIETY

“The film’s charm is in watching these unlikely kids, quietly dream up big ideas, gaining confidence in their newfound abilities every step of the way.” INDIEWIRE

For more news on If You Build It go to: ifyoubuilditmovie.com/

The Crash Reel, director Lucy Walker

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THE CRASH REEL is a profoundly moving portrait of an extraordinary family confronted with a devastating injury coming together to help a gifted athlete re-discover himself and find purpose and meaning in the wake of a lost dream. This eye-popping film seamlessly combines twenty years of stunning action footage with new specially shot verité footage and interviews as it follows U.S. champion snowboarder Kevin Pearce and exposes the irresistible but potentially fatal appeal of extreme sports. A blisteringly relevant film in the wake of the recent deaths of high-profile action sports stars, THE CRASH REEL takes a non-judgmental look at the nature of risk in sport. At what price the pursuit of our passions? How much risk is too much? Director /writer / producer Lucy Walker joins us for a conversation on this charismatic athlete and his close knit family who wants what’s best for him.

 The Crash Reel website – The Crash Reel on Facebook – The Crash Reel on Twitter

“Audience Award at South By Southwest Film Festival”SXSW Film Festival

“Documentary Audience Award” Dallas International Film Festival

“The Crash Reel goes flying past all the clichés and treacle-soaked heroics embedded in this theme to a wondrously hard-edge life all its own. Wall Street Journal

“By turns pulse-quickening and contemplative, thoroughly winning…director Lucy Walker (“Waste Land”) pulls off a spectacular feat of her own”Variety

“Enthralling, exciting…Twice Oscar-nominated Lucy Walker is in her element with this enthralling story…an intelligent, exciting and compassionate film…” Screen Daily

Diamond on Vinyl, director J. R. Hughto

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Henry’s fiancee Beth kicks him out after discovering his audio recordings of their intimate life and his confession that he may no longer love her. A chance meeting with Charlie, a headstrong young photographer, allows Henry to act out his obsession with creating the perfect interaction: spontaneous, rehearsed, both fixed and changeable. Charlie and Henry’s recordings of imagined conversations become a dangerous game where intimacy and identity may be both real and imagined. Diamond on Vinyl director, writer, producer J. R. Hughto joins us to talk his fascinating film and the role trust, love and the inability to communicate with one another plays in our lives.

“…few other recent films crackle with an intensity that echo back to the darkly cloaked pulp writings of David Goodis, or recall cinematic classics such as The Conversation or Blow Out in their social-psychological labyrinths. Provocative and meditative stuff to be sure.” – Ben Umstead, Twitch Film

“A deeply layered, rewarding contemplation… subtle but emotionally devastating at the same time.” – Mark Bell, Film Threat

 “A tautly wound script… Kinski brings both an inquisitive guilelessness and a determined quest for control to her role. Hughto weds his filmmaking technique to the narrative’s spine, working with sound designer Ugo Derouard to create a complex and often unsettling soundscape.” – Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter

“One of the most innovative independent offerings up at the Slamdance Film Festival this week….reminiscent of the honesty of indie pioneer “Sex, Lies & Videotape” cut with a dose of lo-fi voyeurism, the film has a marked beauty and is weighted with intrigue.” – Celebs.com

For more on Diamond on Vinyl updates and screening go to: diamondonvinyl.net

Composer’s Spotlight – Carlo Siliotto – Instructions Not Included

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Looking to bring a beautiful aural sensation to his movie about a single father, director-star Eugenio Derbez always knew that the composer for Instructions Not Included would be Golden Globe-nominated Carlo Siliotto. Combining string, piano and a 70-piece orchestra, Siliotto responded musically to a young girl’s lovelorn feelings toward her unknown mother and devoted father. Spurred by Siliotto’s beguiling compositions Instructions Not Included has become the highest grossing Spanish language film in US film history.

Carlo Siliotto was born in Rome. He started by studying guitar and violin, he accomplished his studies on composition at the conservatory of music. He was a founding member of the group “Canzoniere del Lazio” with which he adapted both pop and traditional Italian music. In 1984 he decided to focus his attention to writing film scores. Since then, Carlo has composed music for over 70 films with such directors as Carlo Carlei (Italy & USA), Maurizio Nichetti and Carlo Lizzani (Italy), Clive Donner (England & Germany), Robert Markowitz, Roger Young and Joseph Sargent (USA), and Carlos Saura Medrano (Spain). Carlo stops by to talk about how his love of music has taken him on a world-wide journey.

For more on Carlo Siliotto and his work go to: www.carlosiliotto.com/

Composer’s Spotlight – Nicholas Brittel – 12 Years a Slave

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As the film 12 Years a Slave opens, we see a group of slaves toiling away in the field, and we hear perfectly synchronized to their chopping, the chorus…

When I was young, I saw the sun, Too hot for me, Too late for me, Live or die, Lay down and cry, Hey boys!, I’m tired, My Lord Sunrise …

That is the first stanza of the original song “My Lord Sunshine (Sunrise), played against such imagery, sets the tone for the film and is written by songwriter Nicholas Britell for director Steve McQueen’s gripping cinematic recounting of the memoir of Solomon Northup, who as a free New York state black violinist was abducted and sold into slavery. In composing and arranging such spiritual work songs like “My Lord Sunshine (Sunrise)” and “Roll Jordan Roll” as well as three traditional fiddle tunes on the 12 Years a Slave soundtrack, Britell painstakingly researched this lost form of music, which was never recorded and in many cases never written out, in an effort to bring the most accurate musical representation to this landmark story. The songwriter joins us for a conversation on the challenges and rewards of recreating musical history.

For more on 12 Years a Slave news and screenings at: www.foxsearchlight.com/12yearsaslave/

Pad Yatra – director Wendy J. N. Lee

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PAD YATRA: A Green Odyssey is the adventure of 700 people trekking across the Himalayas with a call to save the planet’s “3rd Pole,” a glacial region now devastated by the climate chaos associated with global warming. Battling the most treacherous terrain on the planet, the trekkers spread their message of ecological compassion through human’s most basic means – by walking on foot, village to village, and showing by example. Surviving harrowing injuries, illness, and starvation, they emerge with nearly half a ton of plastic litter strapped to their backs, triggering an historic green revolution across the rooftop of the world.  Wendy J. N. Lee drops by to talk about the harrowing journey, figuratively and literally, she took in making this remarkable documentary.

BRITISH ACADEMY OF FILM & TELEVISION ARTS, LONDON | 2012
Hosted Screening with Executive Producer Michelle Yeoh

BAJA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL | 2012 | SPECIAL ENGAGEMENT

HOUSTON INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL | 2012
WINNER – Best Documentary

STUTTGART INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL | 2012
WINNER – Audience Award

BIG BEAR FILM FESTIVAL | 2012
WINNER – Audience Award/Best Environmental

FEEL GOOD FILM FESTIVAL | 2012
WINNER – Audience Award

BLUE OCEAN FILM FESTIVAL | 2012
Honorable Mention

DOCUTAH FILM FESTIVAL | 2012 | WINNER
WINNER – Best Cinematography

Symphony of the Soil, director Deborah Koons Garcia

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Drawing from ancient knowledge and cutting edge science, Symphony of the Soil is an artistic exploration of the miraculous substance soil. By understanding the elaborate relationships and mutuality between soil, water, the atmosphere, plants and animals, we come to appreciate the complex and dynamic nature of this precious resource. The film also examines our human relationship with soil, the use and misuse of soil in agriculture, deforestation and development, and the latest scientific research on soil’s key role in ameliorating the most challenging environmental issues of our time. Filmed on four continents, featuring esteemed scientists and working farmers and ranchers, Symphony of the Soil is an intriguing presentation that highlights possibilities of healthy soil creating healthy plants creating healthy humans living on a healthy planet. Deborah Koons Garcia joins us for a down and dirty conversation on the amazing complexity and vital importance this overlooked substance has in our collective existence.

“Re-envisioning soil as an essential yet underappreciated resource that sustains many forms of life, including the crops that feed us.” San Francisco Chronicle

“It’s not just about farming and soil stewardship. It’s about producing healthy foods by sustainable methods – for a future they believe will be far different from today’s farming practices. At the very least, the film and the concepts it champions are food for thought.” Inforum

“Unfolding with gentle joy and an unexpected beauty, this ode to the miracle of the Earth’s topmost layer gives us a newfound respect for the ground beneath our feet.”– Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

Mumia, Long Distance Revolutionary, director Stephen Vittoria

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Before he was convicted of murdering a policeman in 1981 and sentenced to die, Mumia Abu-Jamal was a gifted journalist and brilliant writer. Now after more than 30 years in prison and despite attempts to silence him, Mumia is not only still alive but continuing to report, educate, provoke and inspire. Stephen Vittoria’s new feature documentary is an inspiring portrait of a man whom many consider America’s most famous political prisoner – a man whose existence tests our beliefs about freedom of expression. Through prison interviews, archival footage, and dramatic readings, and aided by a potent chorus of voices including Cornel West, Alice Walker, Dick Gregory, Angela Davis, Amy Goodman and others, this riveting film explores Mumia’s life before, during and after Death Row – revealing, in the words of Angela Davis, “the most eloquent and most powerful opponent of the death penalty in the world…the 21st Century Frederick Douglass.” Director Vittoria stops by for a conversation on this polarizing American radical.

“Tracing the path of a brilliant journalist whose message cannot be silenced…Vittoria triumphantly heralds Abu-Jamal’s return to the political scene as a rallying cry for an alternate political discourse.” – Variety

“MUMIA: Long Distance Revolutionary” is a powerful indictment of the hypocrisy inherent in the American dream and is a must-see for any and all who are concerned with upholding the constitutional rights of all Americans.” – Alex Simon, The Hollywood Interview / Huffington Post

“Puts a human face on its subject, for so long now just an anti-capital-punishment icon… also makes the case, COINTELPRO and beyond, that power is hardly to be trusted in America.” – Michael Atkinson, Time Out NY

“I’ve sat through many documentaries in my life and this is one of the finest. I was riveted by the film. Long Distance Revolutionary is a gripping film,” – Albert Maysles