January 25 – Lois Vossen, Independent Lens Executive Producer

Lois Vossen is the Executive Producer of Independent Lens and has been with the show since its inception as a primetime series on PBS. Lois is responsible for commissioning new films, programming the series and working with filmmakers on editorial and broadcast issues. Independent Lens films have received 17 Emmy Awards, 16 George Foster Peabody Awards, five Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Journalism Awards and eight Academy Award nominations. The series was honored in 2013, 2014, 2015  and 2017 with the International Documentary Association (IDA) Award for Best Series. Before joining ITVS, Lois was the Associate Managing Director of Sundance Film Festival and Sundance Labs. Lois is a member of the Television Academy Board of Governors, representing the documentary branch. She has served on the jury at  Shanghai Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, SXSW, DOC New Zealand and Palm Springs International Film Festival, among others. Under her leadership, films funded or co-produced by Independent Lens include I Am Not Your Negro, Always in Season, Bedlam, One Child Nation, Black Memorabilia, The King, People’s Republic of Desire, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, TOWER, Newtown, Best of Enemies, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, (T)ERROR, The House I Live In, The Invisible War, and The Trials of Muhammad Ali, among many others. Widely regarded as one of the most influential supporters of independent and documentary filmmaking, Lois Vossen joins us for a conversation on the role that Independent Lens /POV and Public Broadcasting has had in maintaining the highest standards for innovative storytelling in non-fiction cinema.

For news and updates go to: pbs.org/independentlens/films

Social Media:

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Slamdance Film Festival Co-founder Peter Baxter

It all began when a group of cheerful, subversive filmmakers weren’t accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. Unwilling to take “no” for an answer, they instead started their own event – Slamdance: Anarchy in Utah. 24 years later, Slamdance has become a year-round organization fostering the development of unique and innovative filmmakers. The organization now consists of the Film Festival, Screenplay Competition and Slamdance Studios. Dan Mirvish, Jon Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn and Peter Baxter are the founding forefathers who, along with co-conspirator Paul Rachman, fought for truly independent filmmakers by giving them a voice in 1995 at the very first Slamdance Film Festival. Since then, the festival takes place every January in the breathtakingly stunning, snow-capped mountains of Park City, Utah at the exact same time as the Sundance Film Festival, toprovide a more authentic representation of independent filmmaking.  Up-and-coming writers, directors and producers, alongside seasoned veterans and film lovers, converge for the weeklong celebration of independent cinema, realizing that Slamdance is a great place to find those next, great, visionary films.  Slamdance lives and bleeds by its mantra By Filmmakers For Filmmakers. No other film festival in the world is entirely run and organized by the creative force that can only be found in filmmakers. Slamdance adamantly supports self-governance amongst independents, and exists to deliver what filmmakers go to festivals for – a chance to show their work and a platform to launch their careers. The festival has earned a solid reputation for premiering films by first-time writers and directors working within the creative confines of limited budgets. Co-founder and President Peter Baxter joins us to talk about this year’s Slamdance, the groundbreaking films and the innovative new distribution being launched by Slamdance.

 

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For news and updates go to: slamdance.com

Check out the film schedule at slamdance 2019 schedule

Slamdance Film Festival will take place January 25-31, 2019 in Park City, Utah

Social Media:

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January 18 – Ashley Connor, Cinematographer, Independent Spirit Award Nominee (Madeline’s Madeline)

ASHLEY CONNOR is a New York based director of photography. Her work on Josephine Decker’s BUTTER ON THE LATCH and THOU WAST MILD AND LOVELY prompted New Yorker critic Richard Brody to name her, alongside Darius Khonji and Fabrice Aragno, as one of the year’s best cinematographers. Her breadth of style can be seen in work as diverse as Dustin Guy Defa’s PERSON TO PERSON (Sundance ’17) and Adam Leon’s TRAMPS (TIFF ’16), as well as in popular music videos for artists including Jenny Lewis, Angel Olsen and Maggie Rogers. She had two films premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, Josephine Decker’s MADELINE’S MADELINE and Desiree Akhavan’s Grand Jury Prize winning THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST starring Chloe Moretz and Sasha Lane. Most recently she shot two pilots for A24/Hulu and has three more films coming out in 2018: Olivia Newman’s FIRST MATCH (SXSW 2018 Audience Award Winner, Netflix produced), Alex O Eaton’s MOUNTAIN REST and an Untitled Daniel Scheinert film. Ashley Connor stops by for a conversation on her work on Josephine Decker’s Madeline’s Madeline’s Madeline and her Spirit Award nomination for her cinematography.

For news and updates go to: ashleyconnor.net

Social Media:

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January 11 – Stu Pollard, President of Lunacy Productions

Lunacy Productions helmed by prolific producer Stu Pollard is excited debut for you their latest film “Rust Creek,” which is being distributed theatrically by IFC Midnight beginning January 11th, 2019.  “Rust Creek” starring Hermione Corfield (“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”), Jay Paulson (“Mad Me”), Sean O’Bryan (“Olympus Has Fallen”), Micah Hauptman (“Homeland”), Daniel R. Hills (“The Resident”), Jeremy Glazer (“Letters From Iwo Jima”), and John Marshall Jones (Con Air”); chronicles the presence of mind and skill an ordinary woman, utilizes while summoning extraordinary courage to survive a nightmare odyssey in this harrowing survival thriller. This  film takes the woman in jeopardy premise and turns it on its head with agility and smarts. This is the latest female driven (both in front of & behind the camera) film from Pollard & his team at Lunacy. Lunacy’s team are incredibly committed to supporting gender parity in filmmaking, producing several films featuring female protagonists (This Is Home, Rust Creek, Short History, Plus One) and working with female filmmakers like Jen McGowan (“Rust Creek”), Ani Simon Kennedy (“Short History of the Long Road”), and documentarian Alex Shiva (“This Is Home: A Refugee Story”) among others. Half of the department heads on “Rust Creek” are women and for many of the female crew, “Rust Creek” was their first feature film or their first opportunity in an elevated position (including DP Michelle Lawler, make-up artist Allie Shehorn, art director Priyanka Guterres, and postproduction supervisor Alex Jensen). Pollard has also directed two features: NICE GUYS SLEEP ALONE and KEEP YOUR DISTANCE. In his spare time he teaches at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and Film Independent. He holds a degree in business from Georgetown and an MFA in film from USC, is a member of the DGA and PGA, and serves on the boards of the Louisville Film Society and GU’s Alumni Board of Governors. Director, producer and head of Lunacy Productions Stu Pollard joins us to talk about his company’s commitment to gender equity on both sides of the camera.

For news and updates go to: lunacyproductions.com

Vimeo: vimeo.com/lunacy

Social Media:

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Love, Gilda, Director Lisa D’Apolito

Gilda Radner puts a smile on the faces of people who remember watching her as one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live, where she created and portrayed such now-classic comic characters as Roseanne Roseannadanna, Emily Litella and Lisa Loopner. LOVE, GILDA, directed by Lisa D’Apolito, is a true autobiography, told in Gilda’s words and in her own voice. Working with the Radner Estate, D’Apolito unearthed a collection of diaries and personal audio and videotapes documenting her childhood, her comedy career, her relationships and ultimately, her struggle with cancer. This never-before-seen footage and journal entries form the narrative spine of the documentary, allowing Gilda to tell her own story– through the laughter and sometimes the tears. Incredibly, she was able to find humor in even the darkest of times. Gilda’s spirit lives on in comedy as a female trailblazer who continues to inspire many present day comedic performers, including Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, and Cecily Strong. Also interviewed are SNL original cast members– Chevy Chase, Laraine Newman and Paul Shaffer– as well as, Lorne Michaels (SNL creator and producer), Alan Zweibel (SNL writer), Stephen Schwartz (Broadway composer); Andrew Alexander (CEO of Second City) and long-time friend Martin Short. LOVE, GILDA Director Lisa D’Apolito talks about the unique window her loving film provides into the honest and whimsical world of a beloved performer whose greatest role was sharing her own story.

 

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For news and updates go to: lovegilda.com

LOVE, GILDA will air on CNN:

Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 9pm and 11pm Eastern (Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 6pm and 8pm Pacific)

Saturday, Jan. 5 at 9pm Eastern (Saturday, Jan. 5 at 6pm Pacific)

Sunday, Jan. 6 at 12am Eastern (Saturday, Jan. 5 at 9pm Pacific)

And available for playback via CNN on Demand.

Social Media:

facebook.com/LoveGildathefilm

twitter.com/LoveGildaFilm

instagram.com/LoveGildaTheFilm

“A splendid tribute to one of America’s comedy legends.” – J.R. Kinnard, Film Inquiry

“We come away with the portrait of someone who was never just going along for the ride, but who was always questioning and challenging herself, working toward professional excellence and hoping for an ideal romance.” – Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

“‘Laughter – that’s what hugs me and holds me,’ she confides on those muddy cassettes. So does the warm, tender embrace of “Love, Gilda.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times

“All the laughs-as well as the tears-in the too-brief but shining life of a true comic genius are present and accounted for in this essential, intensely moving doc.” – David Noh, Film Journal International

Springsteen on Broadway, Director Tommy Zimny

SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY is a solo acoustic performance written and performed by Tony Award, Academy Award, and 20-time Grammy Award winner Bruce Springsteen. Based on his worldwide best-selling autobiography Born to Run and nothing short of the theater event of the year, SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY is a unique evening with Bruce, his guitar, a piano, and own stories—including a special appearance by Patti Scialfa. The intimate performance features personal anecdotes and songs including “Born to Run,” “Thunder Road” and “Brilliant Disguise.” SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY was filmed live for Netflix at Jujamcyn’s Walter Kerr Theatre and directed and produced by Emmy Award-winner Thom Zimny (“Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: Live in New York City (2001)”). In addition to Zimny, the Netflix original special is produced by the same team that produced “Springsteen On Broadway,” including Springsteen manager Jon Landau, Springsteen tour director George Travis, and Landau Management partner Barbara Carr. Director Thom Zimny joins us for a conversation on his working relationship with one of the singular musical artist in recording history and the challenge of capturing the intimacy of a live, Broadway experience.

 

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Springsteen on Broadway on netflix.com

Social Media

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“Springsteen has mastered the dynamics needed to keep a mostly talking, partly singing show riveting for a running time that’s epic by monologists’ standards, if not his own.” – Chris Willman, Variety

“For nearly three hours, Springsteen jokes, rails, wails, and yes, plays his heart out, providing an achingly raw, often disarmingly honest breakdown of his life.” – Chris Evangelista, Slashfilm

“Not only does “Springsteen on Broadway” work on its own as a Netflix special, it gives you all the same feels seeing the show live at the Walter Kerr Theater brought out.” – Joey Madison, AwarsCircuit.com

Avicii: True Stories, Director Levan Tsikurishvili

AVICII: TRUE STORIES, a compelling new documentary film by Levan Tsikurishvili, reveals the unvarnished truth behind the success of Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter and artist Avicii (A.K.A. Tim Bergling). One of the world’s highest grossing live music artists whose seemingly sudden decision last year to quit doing live shows came as a complete shock to his fans and the industry. The film traces the artist/DJ’s life from his beginnings, all the way to the joy of his success, from his chart-topping global radio hits and subsequent struggles with his physical and mental health. Tsikurishvili followed Bergling for over four years, and captured fly-on-the-wall footage of his experiences and thinking. Featuring appearances by colleagues such as Chris Martin, Nile Rodgers, David Guetta, Tiësto and Wyclef Jean, AVICII: TRUE STORIES is a cautionary tale that explores the taxing nature and intensity of fame from the artist’s point of view as much as it is a film for Avicii’s die-hard fans.

I wanted to do a brutally honest film about Tim as a person and not only about Avicii. Everybody knows Avicii but very few people know Tim. I think this documentary really shows Tim’s struggle and strength of character. Being a worldwide superstar artist is not as easy as it looks on Instagram. – Director Levan Tsikurishvili

 

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For news and updates go to: aviciitruestories.com

“Compelling and Cautionary Tale” – Variety

“Insight into the life of a special young artist” – Cine Magazine

“Truthful, thought provoking…compelling documentary – 5 stars” – one EDM

“An unusually sincere documentary that – unlike AMY – ends with a personal triumph.” – Alfred Bos, IndieBioscoo

United We Fan, Director Michael Sparaga

Fans, stars, creators and more come together to explore the history and evolution of TV’s save-our-show fan campaigns in Michael Sparaga’s (The Missing Ingredient) humorous and heartfelt feature documentary UNITED WE FAN. From the letter-writing and product mail-ins of yesterday to the social media and crowdfunding campaigns of today, UNITED WE FAN goes beyond the headlines to give viewers deeper insights into fandom, community and identity. For most viewers, it’s simply a disappointment when their favorite TV series is cancelled. But the fans of some series take the loss a lot harder. And they fight back. UNITED WE FAN chronicles the stories of those passionate individuals and their unique crusades to save their beloved shows. Declared “a joy to watch” by POV Magazine, UNITED WE FAN intertwines the remarkable stories of Kaily, Dorothy and the Trimbles while also taking time to delve into the inspiring campaigns to save Designing Women, Quantum Leap, Chuck, Longmire, Jericho, Veronica Mars, Roswell and the Rosetta Stone of rescued TV series Star Trek. “UNITED WE FAN is not a movie about television’s wackiest fans,” said director Michael Sparaga, “rather, it’s a love letter to the inspiring people who have formed communities and fought tirelessly against seemingly impossible odds to give viewers everywhere more seasons of some of television’s most iconic shows.” Director / Writer / Producer Michael Sparaga joins us to talk about the men and women whose embrace and affection for specific television series goes way beyond passive entertainment into the realm of a life affirming connections to the creators, performers and characters who have enriched their lives via episodic storytelling.

 

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Social Media

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twitter.com/unitedwefandoc

instagram.com/unitedwefandoc

UNITED WE FAN is available on multiple VOD platforms beginning December 4

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“A cheery collage of anecdotes about how popular culture brings people together and inspires them to fight for the things they love.” – Norman Wilner, Toronto Now

“It’s a fun film to watch, but also one that makes us question how far we’re all willing to go to save our favourite series from extinction, and where the future of such fan campaigns might be going from here.” – Andrew Parker, The Gate

“United We Fan is a brisk, enjoyable look at the way TV fan culture has evolved since the days when Star Trek first flirted with cancellation.” – Jesse Schedeen, IGN Movies

“What United We Fan does very well is that the documentary offers a blueprint for the many television fans wanting to save their favorite series.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

Lucha VaVoom, Director Ben Churchill

Lucha VaVOOM: Inside America’s Most Outrageous Show is the documentary that explores the fascinating cast of characters behind Lucha VaVOOM — an enthralling combination of high-octane Mexican wrestling, retro-style burlesque dancing, and witty commentary provided by Hollywood’s most celebrated comedians. Discover how this family of wildly creative and passionate performers from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, and gender orientations come together to create a unique shared experience. As the costumes, alter egos, and flamboyant performances are put on display, these masked marvels reveal their truest selves, offering up stories of perseverance, equality, and self-acceptance. Lucha VaVOOM: Inside America’s Most Outrageous Show takes you onstage, backstage, and into the minds of the wrestlers, dancers, and producers who provide a show that is not only entertaining, but has the power to change people’s perspectives. Director Ben Churchill joins us totalk about capturing the on-stage energy of the performances and the bond between the performers and the audience.

 

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For news and updates go to: luchavavoomfilm.com

Social Media

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“I love Lucha VaVoom. It’s seriously crackers and great fun.” – Eric Idle, Monty Python

“It’s enough to make even the most jaded Hollywood insider jump up and yell “Smackdown!” – Rolling Stone

“A madcap mix of Mexican wrestling, comedy, and vintage burlesque. I love, love, love it.” – Vanity Fair

Liyana, Co-directors Amanda Kopp and Aaron Kopp

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.

 

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For news and updates go to: liyanathemovie.com

Opening on Friday October 19 at the Laemmle Glendale – 207 N. Maryland Ave. Glendale

Additional screenings go to: liyanathemovie.com/screenings

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Gorgeous” “Unlike any documentary you have ever seen before.” – Entertainment Weekly

“A spirited testament to the power of creativity – not only as a source of strength and joy, but as a way to access buried emotions.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

“Masterful.” “A testament to the power of story.” – Cinemacy

“Brilliant.” “The World desperately need more stories like this.” – Shadow and Art

Studio 54, Director Matt Tyrnauer

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.

 

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For news and updates go to: zeitgeistfilms.com/film/studio54

For news and updates on the films of Matt Tyrnauer go to: altimeterfilms.com

91% on Rotten Tomatoes

“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

Matangi / Maya / M.I.A. Director Steve Loveridge

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.

 

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For news and updates go to: miadocumentary.com

Social Media

https://www.facebook.com/MIAdocumentary/

https://twitter.com/MIAdocumentary

https://www.instagram.com/miadocumentary/

89% on Rotten Tomatoes

“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

Colette, Director Wash Westmoreland

After marrying a successful Parisian writer known commonly as “Willy” (Dominic West), Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Keira Knightley) is transplanted from her childhood home in rural France to the intellectual and artistic splendor of Paris. Soon after, Willy convinces Colette to ghostwrite for him. She pens a semi-autobiographical novel about a witty and brazen country girl named Claudine, sparking a bestseller and a cultural sensation. After its success, Colette and Willy become the talk of Paris and their adventures inspire additional Claudine novels. Colette’s fight over creative ownership and gender roles drives her to overcome societal constraints, revolutionizing literature, fashion and sexual expression. Director and screenwriter Wash Westmoreland stops by to talk about the story behind a remarkable trailblazing feminist, writer, performer and cultural icon whose influence has inspired artists for the last 100 years.

 

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For news and updates go to: bleeckerstreetmedia.com/colette

“Knightley is exceedingly well-equipped to carry this magnificent film on her own — an Oscar-nominated performance for sure.” – Jeanne Kaplan, Kaplan vs. Kaplan

“A witty, spirited portrait of the great French writer and libertine during the early Belle Époque years of her career.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

“This timely and gorgeously shot account of a beloved French writer foregrounds Colette’s remarkable freedom from conventional norms as she finds her artistic voice.” – Erica Abeel, Film Journal International

“At first presenting itself as a tightly corseted Big Eyes set during the Belle Époque, Colette erupts into a fun, frothy, and unmistakably feminist biopic.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

“The film has a towering performance from Keira Knightley, who plays Colette with such warmth and fiery feminism, that it would be hard not to make woman’s past run parallel with today’s world.” – Jordan Ruimy, The Playlist

The Man Who Loves to Hurt Himself, Director Anthony Short

“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 as Austin’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.

 

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For news and updates go to: tmwlthh.com

Follow The Man Who Loves to Hurt Himself on Social Media

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Twitter:@todayistheday66

NICO, 1988, Director Susanna Nicchiarelli

NICO, 1988 features a tour de force performance from Trine Dyrholm’s as the aging Nico (aka Christa Päffgen), interpreting rather than impersonating the famed singer-songwriter as she approaches 50. Leading a solitary existence in Manchester Nico’s life and career are on the ropes, a far cry from her glamorous days as a Warhol superstar and celebrated vocalist for The Velvet Underground. Nico’s new manager Richard (John Gordon Sinclair) convinces her to hit the road again and tour Europe to promote her latest album. Struggling with her demons and the consequences of a muddled life, she longs to rebuild a relationship with the son Ari (Sandor Funtek) she lost custody of long ago. A brave and uncompromising musician, Nico’s is the story of an artist, a mother, and the woman behind the icon. Director Susanna Nicchiarelli joins us to talk about Trine Dyrholm’s raw performance and her own unvarnished look into the post-iconic world of NICO and into the tortuous journey that Christa Päffgen took, as an artist and mother, towards the person she knew she wanted to be.

 

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For news and updates go to: nico1988.com

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Writer/director Susanna Nicchiarelli and star Trine Dyrholm craft a late-career biopic that acts not only as a portrait of a complex figure, but recognises the considerable toll of daring not to conform.” – Sarah Ward, Screen International

“Nicchiarelli dives deeply into the life of a tragic but remarkable woman, memorably portrayed by Danish actress and singer Trine Dyrholm as an unpleasant, hurtful junkie plagued with memories and regrets.” – Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter

“Nico, 1988 shows us how extraordinary the biopic can be when it is freed from unnecessary restrictions to embrace the idiosyncrasies of its subject.” – Lee Jutton, Film Inquiry

“Remarkably personal, with a bold, gritty edge that echoes the intensity of both Nico’s singing and Trine Dyrholm’s thunderous performance.” – Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

40 Years in the Making: The Magic Music Movie, Director Lee Aronsohn

40 YEARS IN THE MAKING: THE MAGIC MUSIC MOVIE chronicles 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.

 

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For news and updates go to: magicmusicmovie.com

Opening on Friday, August 10 at the Laemmle Music Hall

Social Media:

facebook.com/MagicMusicMovie

twitter.com/MagicMusicMovie

instagram.com/magicmusicmovie

“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

“Good vibes…” – Variety

McQueen, Co-director Peter Ettedgui (Ian Bonhote)

Born and raised in East London’s working-class Stratford neighborhood, nothing in the background of Lee Alexander McQueen hinted at his future. The youngest of six children, Lee  might have been expected to become a plumber, a bricklayer or perhaps a cab driver like his  father. Instead, McQueen’s fierce romanticism and punk poetry helped create 1990s-era “Cool  Britannia,” a celebration of youth culture in the U.K. For perhaps the first time since the  Swinging Sixties, a lad from the East End of London could — and  did — become one of the most  original and influential artists of his time. Filmmakers Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui capture the life and work of a unique creative talent in all his glorious anarchy in their new film, McQueen. They offer a thrilling portrait of McQueen’s life and complex persona, following him as he conquers the world of fashion with designs as ravishing as they are sinister. From his apprenticeship at an old-school Savile Row tailor and haberdasher, where he displayed a preternatural knack for pattern cutting and tailoring, to his death at only 40, the film breaks the rules of documentary storytelling with its mosaic of standalone fragments shot in different  styles, which accumulate and combine to create a groundbreaking, multi-faceted portrait. Through exclusive interviews with his closest friends and family, recovered archives, exquisite visuals and music, McQUEEN is an authentic celebration and thrilling portrait of an inspired yet tortured fashion visionary. Co-director and writer Peter Ettedgui (co-director Ian Bonhote) talks about the making of a personal and intimate look into the  extraordinary life career and artistry of one of the most influential fashion designers of our time.

 

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For news and updates go to: bleeckerstreetmedia.com/mcqueen

Social Media:

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The intricacy of the pieces and stagings… makes McQueen the relatively rare documentary that demands to be seen on the big screen.” – Inkoo  Kang, Slate

“In the crowded field of fashion docs, this one stands tall.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

“This intelligent, honest documentary explores McQueen’s complex personality without getting tacky or tabloidy, or ignoring his dark side.” – Cath Clarke, Time Out

“There’s so much fresh air in this stunningly good biography that it feels like you’ve never encountered a rags-to-riches, tortured-artist story before. Not just for fashion lovers.” – MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Filosopher

Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda, Director Stephen Nomura Schible

One of the most important artists of our era, Ryuichi Sakamoto has had a prolific career spanning over four decades. From techno-pop stardom to Oscar-winning film composer, the evolution of his music has coincided with his life journeys. Following Fukushima, Sakamoto became an iconic figure in Japan’s social movement against nuclear power. As Sakamoto returns to music following a cancer diagnosis, his haunting awareness of life crises leads to a resounding new masterpiece. RYUICHI SAKAMOTO: CODA is an intimate portrait of both the artist and the man. Director and writer Stephen Nomura Schible joins us for a conversation on his own journey into the internal and external world of Ryuichi’s inspiring spiritual and musical journey.

 

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For news and updates go to: coda.mubi.com

96% on Rotten Tomatoes

“This is a documentary that rejects every behind-the-scenes cliché around, and stands as an immensely moving and inspiring piece of cinema in its own right.” – Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph (UK)

“By the end of this documentary, you will feel as if you not only understand Mr. Sakamoto intellectually, but also share a sense of the excitement he feels when discovering just the right match of sounds.” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times

“Sakamoto is fascinating to watch. He’s a charming, lively presence, and it’s always a pleasure to watch his expressions of delight and surprise at the new sounds he’s discovering, his own or nature’s.” – Jonathan Romney, Film Comment Magazine

“Like Sakamoto himself, the documentary stretches boundaries, shifting forward and back through time, weaving archival clips and news footage with scenes of Sakamoto composing, rehearsing, experimenting and traveling.” – Daniel Eagan, Film Journal International

A Midsummer Night Dream, Director Casey Wilder Mott

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.

 

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For news and updates go to: amidsummernightsdreammovie.com

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“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

The Icarus Line Must Die, Director Michael Grodner

Punk’s not dead in this cool AF drama riffing on actual events. THE ICARUS LINE MUST DIE is a dramatic narrative feature set against the backdrop of the current LA underground music scene. The film tracks Joe Cardamone, front man of notorious punk bad boys The Icarus Line as he navigates his way through the ups and downs of the modern music landscape. With a new record completed and a major label deal within sight, Joe fights to keep his band, his relationship and his life from completely falling apart. Ariel Pink, Keith Morris (Black Flag/Circle Jerks), Pearl Charles, Melissa Brooks (The Aquadolls), Justin Pearson (RETOX, The Locust), Rafael Reyes (Prayers) and Jerry Stahl (Permanent Midnight) are featured along with performances by Pink Mountaintops, Together Pangea, The Icarus Line, Retox, Obliterations and Annie Hardy of Giant Drag. The film was directed by Michael Grodner and written by Michael Grodner and Joe Cardamone. THE ICARUS LINE MUST DIE will open in LA on June 22 at the Laemmle Royal and will rollout theatrically over the summer by Dark Star Pictures.  The film will also be available on digital on 7/10 (iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, Fandango Now, Xbox and local Cable Providers). Director Michael Grodner joins us to talk about his collaborator and star, Joe Cardamone, the blurred lines between narrative and documentaries, his take on the LA music scene, past and present and Dirty Laundry.

 

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Social media:

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The Icarus Line Must Die is now screening at the Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles

“What sets Grodner’s story apart is its intense focus on specific people in the scene who are emblematic of a way of living and surviving in Los Angeles that’s slowly dying.” – April Wolfe, The Wrap

“The movie’s only intermittently successful at blurring the lines between art and life. But it’s a sincerely felt experiment, and it has spirit. – Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times

“The Icarus Line Must Die should be celebrated as an example of a return to great independent filmmaking. Like its main character, The Icarus Line Must Die overcomes the challenges, simply because it must.” – Donna Balancia, California Rocker

Half the Picture, Director Amy Adrion

HALF THE PICTURE celebrates the groundbreaking work of female film directors and investigates the systemic discrimination that has, for decades, denied opportunities to far too many talented women in Hollywood. The film consists of interviews with high profile women directors including Ava DuVernay, Jill Soloway, Lena Dunham, Catherine Hardwicke and Miranda July, among many others, who discuss their early careers, how they transitioned to studio films or television, how they balance having a demanding directing career with family, as well as challenges and joys along the way. HALF THE PICTURE also includes interviews with experts about gender inequality in Hollywood including the ACLU’s Melissa Goodman, Sundance Institute’s Caroline Libresco, Vanity Fair’s Rebecca Keegan, USC’s Dr. Stacy Smith and San Diego State University’s Dr. Martha Lauzen, who establish the magnitude of this employment discrimination issue as women are shut out, across the board, of an industry that systemically denies their expression and point of view. HALF THE PICTURE Director / Producer Amy Adrion joins us to talk about a unique time in the film industry where systemic change seems possible and whether, unlike previous efforts to address gender inequality in Hollywood, will this time be different?

 

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For news and updates go to: halfthepicture.com

Social Media:

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instagram.com/halfthepicture

twitter.com/amyadrion

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Half the Picture is a vital, comprehensive documentary on a subject that’s so fundamental to the industry it’s about, you have to wonder why dozens of movies on this scale or bigger haven’t already been made.” – Leslie Felperin

“Half The Picture is an inspiring, important documentary that should be seen by as many people as possible, particularly those who aren’t aware of the problems women face in Hollywood.” – Manon de Reeper, Film Inquiry

“Half the Picture, Amy Adrion’s no-frills documentary, offers a diligent, straightforward overview of the innumerable obstacles facing today’s female directors, both aspiring and accomplished.” – Natalia Winkelman, Film Threat

“A platform for those who want to hear about the reality of being a woman in Hollywood from dozens of women who have lived it, it’s an invaluable resource.” – Rebecca Pahle, Film Journal International

“It’s experiential revelation as advocacy filmmaking, an incisive and inviting example of the personal as political.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice

Izzy Gets The F*ck Across Town, Director Christian Papierniak

Izzy is the textbook definition of a hot mess. She wakes up hungover from a one-night stand, puts on her stained clothes from the night before and plans to start yet another aimless day. That is, until she finds out that her ex is getting ready to celebrate his engagement to her former best friend. Izzy has to make it to the other side of town to break them up, and nothing will stand in her way. Further proving that she’s one of the most promising new actresses working today, Mackenzie Davis plays Izzy with a manic energy that is utterly electrifying. Featuring a killer supporting cast made up of Carrie Coon, Haley Joel Osment, and Alia Shawkat, Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town is a chaos-filled ride through Los Angeles, one that introduces a bold new voice in indie cinema. Director and writer Christian Papierniak talks about the making of his kinetic, off-kilter vehicle for the amazing MacKenzie Davis and working with a brilliant cast of supporting performers.

 

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For news and updates go to: izzygetsacrosstown.com

“brilliant absurdity” – The Hollywood Reporter

“includes a spellbinding performance by Davis and Coon of the riot grrrl anthem “Axemen” – Los Angeles Times 

“…dizzying mashup of frenetic visual styles and clashing narrative techniques” – The Hollywood Reporter  

“…Davis embodies the idea of betrayal and hurt, but also a resilience that’s hard to shake” – Cromeyellow 

“…Mackenzie Davis is bound for greatness” – Cut Print Film 

“…electrifying” – Cut Print Film 

Opening June 22 at the following theatres:

Laemmle Monica – Santa Monica

Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 – Pasadena

Edwards University Town Center 6 – Irvine

AMC Fullerton 20 – Fullerton

AMC Ontario Mills 30 – Ontario

AMC Puente Hills 20 – City of Industry

AMC Rolling Hills 20 – Torrance

Hearts Beat Loud, Director Brett Haley

In the hip Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook, single dad and record store owner Frank played by Nick Offerman (Parks and Rec) is preparing to send his hard-working daughter Sam played by Kiersey Clemons (Dope) off to college, while being forced to close his vintage shop. Hoping to stay connected through their shared musical passions, Frank urges Sam to turn their weekly “jam sesh” into a father-daughter live act. After their first song becomes an Internet breakout, the two embark on a journey of love, growing up and musical discovery. In addition to Offerman and Clemons, Hearts Beat Loud also stars Ted Danson (Cheers), Sasha Lane  (American Honey), with Blythe Danner (Meet the Parents) and Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine). Director Brett Haley sits down for a conversation on the power of music, the bond of a dad and daughter and his endearing, funny and touching film, Heart Beat Loud.

 

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For news and updates go to: Hearts Beat Loud

95% Rotten Tomates

“Hearts Beat Loud steals your heart, makes it beat faster and you’ll love this story out loud.” – Jamie Broadnax, Black Girl Nerds

“Both actors are capable of projecting nuclear levels of charisma, so it’s fun just to watch them share the screen.” – Jason Bailey, Crooked Marquee

“The real charm isn’t in the way the story unfolds, but in the human moments shared onscreen. Offerman and Clemons feel at first like an unlikely pair, but their chemistry is genuine.” – Neil Miller, Film School Rejects

“Kiersey Clemons proves she’s the real deal. As for the film around her, Haley’s 21-drum solo salute to the passage of time is, like Frank, merely fine.” – Amy Nicholson, Variety

“Hearts Beat Loud will put a spring in your step. The music is great, the story is heartwarming, plus Offerman and Clemons make a great father/daughter duo.” – Fred Topel, Monsters and Critics

Strangers on the Earth, Director Tristan Cook

With a title taken from the New Testament, Strangers on the Earth follows the extraordinary, almost foolishly ambitious mission of Cleveland Orchestra cellist Dane Johansen to traverse the storied paths of Europe’s famed pilgrimage trail, the Camino de Santiago. Johansen’s singular quest to walk the 600-mile trail carrying his cello on his back sets him apart from most other pilgrims. His goal: to perform and record Bach’s Cello Suites in 36 ancient churches along the way. As has likely occurred on every Camino pilgrimage since the Middle Ages, Johansen encounters a diverse array of characters: lovers whose entire relationship plays out in a matter of a few weeks; self-styled philosophers; wounded souls recovering from illness or mourning the loss of loved ones. All share the trials and tribulations of the journey along with their personal stories over goat-skins of wine. An experiential piece of filmmaking, Strangers on the Earth brings to audiences a musical artist’s personal journey set against a universal backdrop. The film reveals the shared experience of the pilgrims who walk the Camino, finding common patterns in both the multitude of bodies who move westward on the path each year (the physical) and the inner life of these same individuals who are often surrounded by other pilgrims – but are very much alone. We are joined by director Tristan Cook to talk about his thoughtful take on recognizing the importance of beauty, dreams, spirituality, art, music and humanity,

 

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For news and updates go to: sotefilm.com

Disributed by First Run Features.com

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83% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Opens a window onto a famous Catholic pilgrimage…giving some sense of the profundity of the experience.”  – The New York Times

“A soulful riff on the all-too-fleeting rhapsodies of travel. Beauty-dazed and rapt with a kind of giddy sadness.”  – Film Journal

“Europe’s most famous path. Take it, and this marvelous film, at your own pace.” – The Globe and Mail

“Ironically if you’re walking 700 km or 700 miles with other people, you cannot expect them to be strangers on the earth. An engaging doc about the centuries’ old pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela” – Harvey S. Karten, Big Apple Reviews

Social Animals, Director Theresa Bennett

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.

 

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Social Media:

Facebook: SocialAnimalsMovie

Instagram: @socialanimalsmovie

Twitter: @SocAnimalsMovie

“‘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.

“ – Ann Storm, Film Journal International