Friday, September 13 – Monos, Director Alejandro Landes

MONOS, Alejandro Landes’ awe-inspiring third feature, is a breathtaking survivalist saga set on a remote mountain in Latin America. The film tracks a young group of soldiers and rebels — bearing names like Rambo, Smurf, Bigfoot, Wolf and Boom-Boom — who keep watch over an American hostage, Doctora (Julianne Nicholson). The teenage commandos perform military training exercises by day and indulge in youthful hedonism by night, an unconventional family bound together under a shadowy force known only as The Organization. After an ambush drives the squadron into the jungle, both the mission and the intricate bonds between the group begin to disintegrate. Order descends into chaos and within MONOS the strong begin to prey on the weak in this vivid, cautionary fever- dream. With a rapturous score by Mica Levi (only her third, after UNDER THE SKIN and JACKIE), director Alejandro Landes examines the chaos and absurdity of war from the unique perspective of adolescence, recalling LORD OF THE FLIES and BEAU TRAVAIL in a way that feels wholly original. Landes brings together a diverse young cast of both seasoned professionals (including Hannah Montana’s Moisés Arias) and untrained neophytes and thrusts them into an unforgiving, irrational and often surreal environment where anything can happen — even peace. Director Alejandro Landes talks about the grueling production challenges of shooting in a jungle, working with a young cast and how his collaboration with screenwriter Alexis Dos Santos and composer Mica Levi helped to create an intense, high-wire cinematic journey.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: monos-film.com

Social Media:

facebook.com/neonrated/posts/monos

twitter.com/hashtag/monos

twitter.com/neonrated

#Monos

SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL – Special Jury Award
CARTAGENA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL – Audience Award
BUENOS AIRES FILM FESTIVAL – Best Original Score
SLOVAKIA ART FILM FEST – Blue Angel – Best Film
NEWPORT BEACH FILM FESTIVAL  Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Actress
MONTCLAIR FILM FESTIVAL – Best Fiction Feature
TRANSILVANIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL – Transilvania Trophy Best Film
ODESA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL – Best Director

 

“A wild, anarchic film, which rips civilization apart at the seams to examine the messy darkness inside.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service

“Something between Apocalypse Now, Lord of the Flies and Embrace of the Serpent.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

“There’s a bicep-flexing quality to Landes’s direction, with its bursts of colour and chaos, its conjuration of a surreal experience out of tactile reality. You tumble out of it bruised, bewildered, mesmerised.” – Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph (UK)

“Though “Monos” feels very contemporary aesthetically, its subjects are timeless.” – Joe Blessing, The Playlist

“A monumentally cinematic experience of lush wilderness and raw emotions.” – Tomris Laffly, RogerEbert.com

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, Director Stanley Nelson

Acclaimed filmmaker and recipient of the MacArthur Program Fellow Fellowship  Stanley Nelson takes us on a journey through the life of a musical giant in his latest documentary film MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL. Miles Davis was many things including a horn player, bandleader, innovator. He was elegant, intellectual, vain, callous, conflicted, controversial, and mercurial. Miles Davis was also embodiment of cool. The man with a sound so beautiful it could break your heart. The central theme of Miles Davis’s life was his restless determination to break boundaries and live life on his own terms. It made him a star. For the people who loved him most, it also made him incredibly difficult to live with. Again and again, in music and in life, Miles broke with convention—and when he thought his work came to represent a new convention, he changed it again. Miles’s bold disregard for tradition, his clarity of vision, his relentless drive, and constant thirst for new experiences made him an inspiring collaborator to fellow musicians and a cultural icon to generations of listeners. It made him an innovator in music—from bebop to “cool jazz,” modern quintets, orchestral music, jazz fusion, rock ’n’ roll, and even hip-hop. Featuring never-before-seen archival footage, studio outtakes, and rare photos, MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL tells the story of a truly singular talent and unpacks the man behind the horn. Director and producer Stanley Nelson joins us to talk about the life and times of a music genius and the uncompromising life he led.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: milesdavismovie.com

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool –  Landmark Theatre on Pico Blvd with a Q&A featuring Director Stanley Nelson, Friday 8/30 and Saturday 8/31 – 7:10 PM screening and Sunday 9/1 – 4:10 PM screening

Social Media:

facebook.com/MilesDavisMovie

twitter.com/milesdavisfilm

instagram.com/milesdavismovie

Stanley Nelson:

twitter.com/StanleyNelson1

twitter.com/firelightmedia

twitter.com/panthersdoc

twitter.com/slavetradefilm

twitter.com/hbcurising

92% on Rotten Tomatoes

“You’ll want to listen to Miles’ music after watching the film and, when you do, you might feel it a little deeper.” – Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Times

“Miles Davis – The Birth of Cool is a must see for anyone, anywhere in any lane of life that has an infinite love of music. Especially jazz. Stanley Nelson’s best work to date pulling back the curtain on an underrated musical Picasso – Miles Davis” – Carla Renata, The Curvy Film Critic

“While previous books and films made Miles Davis look like a magical character, Nelson’s ‘Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool’ depicts the musician as what he was – a man who was driven by his art and chained by the racist society he was born into.” –  Jonita Davis, Black Girl Nerds

“If you’re a Miles Davis fanatic from way back and think you already know everything about him, the movie, with its sharply edited interviews and stunning archival reach, fills in nuances of the man that feel fresh and new.“ – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

Vision Portraits, Director Rodney Evans

In this intimate and revelatory new documentary VISION PORTRAITS an extensive eyesight loss and the possibility of total blindness didn’t shut down queer filmmaker Rodney Evans (Brother to Brother). Instead, it inspired this profoundly personal non-fiction film, which not only documents his own genetic eye disorder, but shows how three other working artists with visual impairments—photographer John Dugdale, writer Ryan Knighton, and dancer Kayla Hamilton—have adjusted their practices around their changed capacities. An intimate study of the artistic process that contemplates the relationship between the sense of sight and artistic “vision,” Evans’ film explores the quintessence of cinema: adventures in perception, subjectivity, and the imagination. Director /Producer Rodney Evans joins us for a conversation on ways in which creativity and artistic expression can manifest and how perceived limitations can be shattered.

About the filmmaker: Rodney Evans is an award-winning fiction and documentary film writer, director and producer based in New York.  His debut feature film Brother To Brother won the Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize in Drama. The film had its European premiere at The Berlin International Film Festival and garnered four Independent Spirit Award nominations. His second narrative feature, The Happy Sad, played at over thirty film festivals throughout the world and had its U.S. theatrical premiere at the IFC Center in NYC and the Sundance Sunset Cinema in Los Angeles. Evans has taught at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Princeton and currently teaches at Swarthmore College.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: rodneyevansfilm.com

Vision Portraits is now playing in Los Angeles on Aug. 23 – 29 at the Laemmle Royal

“Evans intersperses his own experience with those of three others, finding comforting commonalities and essential differences. The result is artistically uneven in structure but emotionally powerful throughout.” – Elizabeth Weitzman, TheWrap

“An inspiring film, a funny and informative feature whose subjects were creative kindred spirits I’d never seen onscreen before.” – Odie Henderson, RogerEbert.com

“Evans has made a touchingly honest ode to the inner life of all artists.”- Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“An extraordinary film and a desperately needed statement, one that gives a voice to the one in five Americans that live with a disability.” Sophia Stewart, Nonfics

Peanut Butter Falcon, Michael Schwartz and Tyler Nilson

THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON is an adventure story set in the world of a modern Mark Twain that begins when Zak (Gottsagen), a young man with Down syndrome, runs away from a nursing home where he lives to chase his dream of becoming a professional wrestler and attending the wrestling school of The Salt Water Redneck. Through circumstances beyond their control Tyler (LaBeouf), a small time outlaw on the run, becomes Zak’s unlikely coach and ally. Together they wind through deltas, elude capture, drink whisky, find God, catch fish, and convince Eleanor (Johnson), a kind nursing home employee with a story of her own, to join them on their journey. THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON stars Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, Thomas Haden Church, Bruce Dern, John Hawkes and newcomer, Zack Gottsagen, premiered back in March at SXSW and was a huge critical success, with a current score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film also won over fans, taking home the Audience Award for Narrative Spotlight. Co-directors and co-writers Michael Schwartz and Tyler Nilson stop by to talk about there experiences and the stacks of miracles that brought this heart-warming tale of friendship and reaching for your dreams.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: thepeanutbutterfalconmovie.com

Social Media:

facebook.com/ThePeanutButterFalconMovie

twitter.com/tpbfalcon

instagram.com/peanutbutterfalcon

97% on Rotten Tomatoes

“LaBeouf brings the soul to “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” while Gottsagen brings the spirit. He has an undeniably charming screen presence, and the actor takes to this starring role with gusto.” – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times

“A heartwarming, tender and funny adventure grounded in humanism. Refreshingly witty and unconventional. It’s one of the summer’s best surprises.” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru

“What’s clear is that a lot of development time, movie resources, and A-List actors all came together to make a masterpiece of a film centering on one person…Zack Gottsagen.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat

“‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’ is a sweet, warm story about dreams and the family you choose. Zack Gottsagen is pure comedy. Shia LaBeof is giving me sexy, scruffy with substance and the pairing of these two on screen is perfection.” – Carla Renata, The Curvy Film Critic

BlackStar Film Festival, Founder Maori Karmael Holmes

The BlackStar Film Festival (BlackStar) returns August 1-4, 2019 with a stellar slate of black, brown and indigenous films from around the globe. The BlackStar Film Festival is an annual celebration of the visual and storytelling traditions of the African diaspora and of global communities of color, showcasing films by black, brown and indigenous people from around the world. Continuing its legacy of discovery and excellence, audiences can expect must-see film premieres, poignant artist discussions, and discover new cinematic favorites from this year’s class of emerging filmmakers. Founded in 2012 by Maori Karmael Holmes, BlackStar has become the hottest event on the film festival calendar. With a program unlike any other, BlackStar is the destination to discover new artists voices from Black and global indigenous filmmakers. Artists including Terence Nance (An Oversimplification of Her Beauty; HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness), and Matthew A. Cherry (9 RIdes; ABC’s Whiskey Cavalier), and Nijla Baseema Mu’min (Jinn) have shared their work at the festival and from BlackStar cultivated a fanbase that has grown with their careers.  

 

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For news and updates go to blackstarfest.org

BlackStar Festival Film Highlights:

This year’s festival features sneak preview of Hip-Hop: The Songs That Shook America, a new documentary series directed by directed Erik Parker and One9.

From Executive Producers Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Shawn Gee, and Alex Gibney, Fear No Gumbo, a documentary feature directed by Kimberly Rivers Roberts, about the 13 years since the deadly Category 5 Hurricane Katrina that made landfall on Florida and Louisiana and the corruption and systemic racism that still victimizes the residents that returned after Katrina. 

A new documentary from Emmy Award-winning director and  Macarthur “genius” fellow Stanley Nelson (The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution). Boss which explores over 150 years of African American entrepreneurship, from bondage to billion dollar moguls.

Academy Award-winning  director, Roger Ross Williams (Music By Prudence, God Loves Uganda) will be on-hand for the debut of his latest documentary The Apollo chronicling the unique history and contemporary legacy of New York City’s landmark Apollo Theater.

Panels and Awards:

BlackStar will present the Luminary Award to Marcia Smith, President of Firelight Media

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of Do The Right Thing, filmmaker Spike Lee and activist Tarana Burke will discuss the possibilities of using radical storytelling to center social justice and foster narrative change. 

For news and updates go to blackstarfest.org

Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love, Director Nick Broomfield

Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love is renowned filmmaker Nick Broomfield’s most personal and romantic film of his career. The Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love starts on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960, where Leonard Cohen, then a struggling and unknown fiction writer, and Marianne Ihlen, a single mother with a young son, became part of community of expat artists, writers and musicians. Never-before-seen footage shot by Broomfield and legendary documentarian D.A. Pennebaker make for a unique portrait of an idyllic 1960’s bohemia.  The time on Hydra left a lasting imprint on both Marianne and Leonard, whose friendship would last another fifty years before their deaths in 2016. It was on Hydra in 1968 that director Broomfield, then aged 20, first himself met Marianne. She introduced him to Cohen’s music and encouraged Nick to make his first film.   As she was with so many artists, Marianne was an enormous influence on Broomfield, who went on to direct award-winning documentaries, many about iconic music legends including Whitney Houston, (Whitney Houston: Can I Be Me) Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, (Tupac and Biggie) Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love (Kurt & Courtney). Director Nick Broomfield joins us to talk about his relationship with Marianne, the undeniable talent and charisma of Cohen, and the profound impact his time on Hydra had on his personal and professional life.

 

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For news and updates go to: marianneandleonardwordsoflove.com

Social Media for Marianne and Leonard:

facebook.com/marianneandleonardwordsoflove

Social Media for Nick Broomfield:

twitter.com/nickbroomfield1

“Love stories are like Tolstoy’s unhappy families: no two of them are alike. But even given that, the relationship chronicled in “Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love” has a quality very much its own.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“An impossibly heartfelt portrait of this woman, and her impossible relationship with a brilliant man.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service

“Broomfield’s personal engagement and his embrace of the complexities of life and love elevate this film, which travels across decades and continents to show the lasting power of one connection.” – Joe BlessingThe Playlist

“Unmissable.” – Rolling Stone

Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes, Director Sophie Huber

BLUE NOTE RECORDS: BEYOND THE NOTES chronicles one of the most important record labels in the history of jazz — and, by extension, that of American music. Blue Note Records has been home to such groundbreaking artists as Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Bud Powell and Art Blakey, as well as present-day luminaries like Robert Glasper, Ambrose Akinmusire and Norah Jones. Founded in New York in 1939 by German Jewish refugees Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff, the history of Blue Note Records goes beyond the landmark recordings, encompassing the pursuit of musical freedom, the conflict between art and commerce and the idea of music as a transformative and revolutionary force. Through rare archival footage, current recording sessions and conversations with jazz icons Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and today’s groundbreaking Blue Note musicians, BLUE NOTE RECORDS: BEYOND THE NOTES reveals a powerful mission and illuminates the vital connections between jazz and hip hop. Filmmaker Sophie Huber gained her filmmaking experience as a member of an award winning Berlin film collective. Huber’s debut feature documentary, the critically acclaimed HARRY DEAN STANTON: PARTLY FICTION, premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2012. Director Sophie Huber joins us to talk about chronicling the lives and musical journey for many of the greatest artists of the 20th Century and the German Jewish refugees who provided them with a platform in her second remarkable feature documentary BLUE NOTE RECORD: BEYOND THE NOTES.

 

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For news and updates go to: bluenoterecords-film.com

For more about the filmmaker go to: facebook.com/sophie.huber

Social Media:
facebook.com/BlueNoteRecordsFilm
instagram.com/bluenoterecordsfilm
twitter.com/BlueNoteFilm

“Damn near immaculate music documentary” – Leslie Felperin, The Guardian

“Glorious and invaluable documentary by Sophie Huber of the ultimate jazz record label Blue Note Records.” – Dennis Dermody, Paper Magazine

“The 85-minute film is a jazz nerd’s dream… Jazz’s evolution into hip-hop is a major theme in Beyond the Notes, which is in some ways also a hip-hop documentary and a passing of the torch.”  – Maiysha Kai, The Root 

“Jazz lovers will go ape over Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes… For jazz lovers worldwide, this Swiss doc is heaven-sent and heaven itself.” – Doris Toumarkine, The Film Journal

“Seductive and invigorating… taking the viewer beyond the music to immerse them in the talent, drive and sense of heritage that continue to propel the distinct mission …” – Jason Wood, Wire Magazine 

“It’s about music, yes, but the label and this film concern more: Life-lessons, collaboration, open-minded attitudes and the value of submitting to the now.” – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

“A must-see if you love John Coltrane … or Kendrick Lamar… And especially if you think jazz is dead.” – Pamela Espeland, Minnpost, Sound Unseen Review

LETO / Summer, Co-writers Mikhail Idov and Lili Idova

Avant-garde Russian filmmaker Kirill Serebrennikov (The Student) returns to the big-screen with a tribute to the early years of Russian rock with LETO. Leningrad, in the summer, early eighties. Smuggling LP’s by Lou Reed and David Bowie, the underground rock scene is boiling ahead of Perestroika. LETO tells the tale of Viktor Tsoi (Theo U) and the Kino group, about his relationship with Mike Naumenko (Roma the Beast), his wife Natalya (Irina Starshenbaum) and many who were in the vanguard of the rock movement Leningrad in 1981. This is a story about Leningrad of the 80s, about love, searching and high hopes – about a mood that will stay with us forever. LETO is full of music that the characters live and breathe: the Kino group, Mike Naumenko, the cult tracks of that time. Mike and his beautiful wife Natasha meet with young Viktor Tsoï. Together with friends, they will change the trajectory of rock n’roll music in the Soviet Union. Co-writers Mikhail Idov and Lili Idova join us to talk about the  working with avant-garde Russian filmmaker Kirill Serebrennikov, celebrating a time of artistic freedom and indelible impression that these artists had on the people who connected to their enthusiasm.

Social Media:

For news and updates go to: twitter.com/michaelidov

“Weaving a glancing love triangle into a poignant observation on the waxing and waning of creativity, Serebrennikov revels in radiant black-and-white scenes of urban grit.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

“Far from an angry political screed, it feels both removed from its fraught larger context and shrewdly, poignantly attuned to it.” – Justin ChangLos Angeles Times

“Leto is a gorgeous, endlessly charming romance drama that’s part jukebox musical and part anthropological document. With revolution on the periphery, Leto is a superb picture.” – Joshua BrunstingThe CriterionCast

“There is a sprawling sense of time and place to Leto, which blows out the running to over two hours, yet there is not a frame of the film one would want to see excised.” – Simon Foster, Screen-Space

RomCom Fest, Director Miraya Berke

Routinely dismissed by film critics as a lesser genre artistically, romantic comedies aren’t simply traditionally beloved, but also a true art form which has produced some of the most classic and enduring films we know today. These films should receive the recognition they deserve along with an experience to bring together a community of film fans that flock to them. To remedy that perception, there is ROMCOM FEST. Rom Com Fest is founded by Miraya Berke, female entrepreneur – founder of Pop Productions event boutique studio and co-founder of Dessert Goals, the popular dessert festival in New York and Los Angeles. With a background in events and partnership and a personal love of romantic comedies, she is passionate about the romantic comedy genre and its legitimization in the eyes of film fans, filmmakers, and critics, in addition to the pure enjoyment of the films themselves. The first ever Rom Com Fest will take place June 20-23 in Los Angeles at Downtown Independent. In addition to a mix of new and classic rom com film screenings, we will host engaging activities and events to connect the community of rom com lovers. Highlights include a 20th anniversary screening of 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU, A special screening of the classic NEVER BEEN KISSED (curated by actress Rachel Bloom), the west coast premiere of actor Joe Cross’ directorial debut SUMMER NIGHT, a late night CBD screening of HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK, and more. Festival founder and director Miraya Berke joins us to talk about her love of film and her desire to create a unique filmgoing experience.

 

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For news and updates go to: romcomfest.com

Rom Com Fest – June 20-23 in Los Angeles at Downtown Independent

Barbara Rubin & The Exploding NY Underground, Director Chuck Smith

Underground filmmaker Barbara Rubin’s 1964 art-porn masterpiece “Christmas on Earth”, made when she was only 18 years old, shattered creative and sexist boundaries and shocked NYC’s experimental film scene. Working with Jonas Mekas at the Filmmaker’s Coop, Rubin was instrumental in creating NYC’s thriving underground film community and a rare female voice in a world of powerful men. A rebellious Zelig of the Sixties, she introduced Andy Warhol to the Velvet Underground and Bob Dylan to the Kabbalah. But beyond shaping the spirit of the Sixties, Barbara was seeking the deeper meaning of life. After retiring to a farm with Allen Ginsberg, she shocked everyone by becoming a Hasidic Jew. How and why did one of the 1960’s freest spirits submit to a religious life? For years, 94-year-old filmmaker Jonas Mekas has saved all of Barbara’s letters and cherished her memory. Working with Mekas’ footage and rare clips from the Andy Warhol archives, the film takes us inside the world and mind of Barbara Rubin; a woman who truly believed that film could change the world and then vanished into obscurity. Director Chuck Smith joins us for a conversation on the life and times of a gifted artistic protégé and the impact she had on the people who loved her.

 

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For news and updates go to: barbararubinmovie.com

Opening in Los Angeles June 14 at Laemmle Music Hall 
Additional screenings on June 17 at:

Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles
Laemmle Playhouse 7 in Pasadena

Laemmle Town Center 5 in Encino
Laemmle Claremont 5 in Claremont

Social Media:

facebook.com/Barbara-Rubin-the-Exploding-NY-Underground

instagram.com/barbararubinfilm

Doc/NYC 2018 – Grand Jury Prize Winner

** NY Times Critics Pick**

“An Overlooked Filmmaker Gets Her Due” – Glenn Kenny The New York Times

“Barbara Rubin & the Exploding NY Underground,” an informative and overdue documentary… – Sheri Linden The Hollywood Reporter

This bold, enthusiastic documentary details the unsung yet important role played by its subject in the 1960s artistic counterculture.” – Nick Schager Variety

“An evocative portrait of a vibrant and mysterious artist.  It’s a riveting tale of an extraordinary, seemingly uncontrollable force, a supremely talented woman dealing with mental illness, a central figure in an artistic movement who was gone too soon.” – This Week in New York

…pound for pound, minute for minute, there are few biographical documentaries more impressive than this.” – Joshua Brunsting Criterioncast

A forgotten 1960s film pioneer receives her due.” – what (not) to doc

This One’s for the Ladies, Director Gene Graham

Every Thursday Night hundreds of women gather for a potluck celebration and the chance to throw singles at the hottest dancers in New Jersey, The Nasty Boyz – featuring Satan, Mr. Capable, Fever, Young Rider and lesbian ‘dom’ dancer Blaze. THIS ONE’S FOR THE LADIES isn’t just about the tips or the dancing. It’s a heartwarming story of friendship and the resilience that comes from community. Hilarious, eye-opening, and breathtakingly sexy, THIS ONE’S FOR THE LADIES is a virtual how to guide for letting go of your troubles and having a good time. Director Gene Graham (The Godfather of Disco) joins us to talk about the respect he has for all of the people, patrons and strippers, in his film, how the film Magic Mike and the lack of people of color in it “inspired” his nuanced, multi-layer response.

 

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For news and updates go to: thisonesfortheladiesmovie.com

For more about the filmmaker go to: determinedpictures.com

**WINNER – SPECIAL JURY RECOGNITION – SXSW

OFFICIAL SELECTION – SFFILM FESTIVAL

OFFICIAL SELECTION – SHEFFIELD DOC FEST

OFFICIAL SELECTION – AFI DOCS

“Showcases a vibrant and thriving community of dance shows and the people who enjoy them, and finds the humanity behind the G-strings.” – Jude Dry, Indiewire

“Gene Graham talks more eloquently about poverty, race, police than most works I’ve seen specifically about those things” – Carvell Wallace (NYT, New Yorker, GQ, Slate)

“A rowdy snapshot of this underground scene, where muscular, tattooed, and (yes) rock-hard guys bump, grind, gyrate and do far, far nastier things.”  – Nick Schager, The Daily Beast

Echo in the Canyon, Director Andrew Slater

ECHO IN THE CANYON celebrates the explosion of popular music that came out of LA’s Laurel Canyon in the mid-60s as folk went electric and The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield and The Mamas and the Papas gave birth to the California Sound.  It was a moment (1965 to 1967) when bands came to LA to emulate The Beatles and Laurel Canyon emerged as a hotbed of creativity and collaboration for a new generation of musicians who would soon put an indelible stamp on the history of American popular music. Featuring Jakob Dylan, the film explores the beginnings of the Laurel Canyon music scene.  Dylan uncovers never-before-heard personal details behind the bands and their songs and how that music continues to inspire today.  Echo In The Canyon contains candid conversations and performances with Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr, Michelle Phillips, Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Roger McGuinn and Jackson Browne as well as contemporary musicians they influenced such as Tom Petty (in his last film interview), Beck, Fiona Apple, Cat Power, Regina Spektor, and Norah Jones. ECHO IN THE CANYON is directed by former music journalist, record producer and label executive Andrew Slater. Andrew Slater joins us to talk about connecting the lasting impact of the “Canyon’s” rock royalty with their modern day torchbearers and his enlistment of Jakob Dylan to be a tour guide and music director.

 

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For news and updates go to: echointhecanyon.com

Echo In The Canyon:

May 24 – Los Angeles at Arclight’s Cinerama Dome and The Landmark Theatre  

May 31 – New York City at the Angelika and The Landmark at 57 West

Social Media:

facebook.com/echointhecanyon

twitter.com/echointhecanyon

instagram.com/echointhecanyon

100% on RT

“I have a feeling Echo in the Canyon will be watched for decades into the future as the essential document of a very specific time and place that changed music forever.” – Andy Howell, Film Threat

“Rich with revealing observations and engaging anecdotes, Slater’s documentary skirts the nostalgia trap by engagingly connecting with an impressive lineup of contemporary singer-songwriters…” Justin Lowe, Hollywood Reporter

“A richly evocative and entertainingly anecdotal overview of the 1960s Laurel Canyon music scene and its influence on contemporary artists.” – Joe Leydon, Variety

“Echo In the Canyon has the timeless appeal of a tasty riff. It’s the sunny equivalent of a tourist bus trip past the homes of famous rock stars, and director Andrew Slater carefully avoids the dark alleys.” – Noah Gittell, Washington City Paper

Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Executive Director Francis Cullado

** Spotlight on the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

Visual Communications, the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center, announced its outstanding program of films and events for the upcoming 35th edition of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) running MAY 2 – MAY 10, 2018. The all encompassing annual film celebration is presented across Los Angeles in West Hollywood, Downtown LA, Little Tokyo, Koreatown, and Hollywood. Visual Communications proudly celebrates the Film Festival’s 34 years as Southern California’s largest and most prestigious film festival of its kind.  LAAPFF launches the celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month through this year’s slate of over 100 films from both Asian Pacific American and Asian international artists. For over three decades, the Festival has presented nearly 5,000 films by Asian Pacific American and Asian International talent. This year’s festival  will feature over 130 short films during the nine day fest from May 2 – May 10. These cinema gems from around the globe featuring stories about love, family, heartbreak, friendships, and self acceptance are all part of the exciting line up. The Festival opens May 2nd with the World Premiere of YELLOW ROSE directed by Diane Paragas and starring Broadway legend Lea Salonga and emerging star Eva Noblezada. Two acclaimed festival favorites will screen as the Centerpiece Films at the Festival; GO BACK TO CHINA directed by Emily Ting and MS. PURPLE directed by Justin Chon. The closing night film is the world premiere of EMPTY BY DESIGN directed by Andrea A. Walter premiering on Friday, May 10.  LAAPFF Executive Director Francis Cullado of Visual Communications stops by to talk about the ever expanding interest in Asian filmmakers and the trailblazing artistry being done by them.

 

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 For news and updates go to: festival.vcmedia.org/2019

LEARN MORE ABOUT LAAPFF and VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS:

vcmedia.org

facebook.com/vcfilmfestival

twitter.com/vcfilmfestival

instagram.com/vcmediaorg

Yellow Rose, Director Diane Paragas

** 2019 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

Anchored by a riveting performance Yellow Rose tells the story of Rose, (Eva Noblezada) an undocumented 17-year old Filipina, dreams of one day leaving her small Texas town to pursue her country music dreams. Her world is shattered when her mom, Priscilla, (Princess Punzalan) suddenly gets picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Rose, facing this new realty, is forced to flee the scene, leaving behind the only life she knows, and embarks on a journey of self-discovery as she searches for a new home in the honky tonk world of Austin, Texas. Director Diane Paragas stops by to talk about heartwarming and insightful film, working with Dale Watson and the film’s World Premiere at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

For news and updates go to: yellowrosefilm.com

Social Media:

facebook.com/YellowRoseFilm

twitter.com/YellowRoseFilm

Boom, A Film About the Sonics, Director Jordan Albertsen

** 2019 Newport Beach Film Festival Spotlight

BOOM: A Film About the Sonics tells the untold story of one of rock ‘n’ roll’s wildest and most influential bands, The Sonics. For the first time ever, all five original members of the band tell the story of how it all went down, from beginning to end. ‘Boom’ takes a deep dive, exploring how a relatively unknown band from the Pacific Northwest became a worldwide phenomenon 50-years after their heyday, and in doing so, shaped music for decades to come (whether it was apparent at the time or not). Featuring interviews with homegrown heroes and breakthrough artists alike, Pearl Jam, The Sex Pistols, Heart, Mudhoney, and many, many more. BOOM: A Film About the Sonics is the documentary debut of filmmaker Jordan Albertsen. He joins us to talk about his honest and insightful look into the one of rock music’s more subversive bands.

For news and updates go to: sonicsfilm.com

Social Media:

facebook.com/sonicsfilm

** 2019 Newport Beach Film Festival screenings – when and where

Best Documentary Feature – Lone Star Film Festival
Best Documentary Feature – Silk Road International Film Festival

Audience Award – Tacoma Film Festival
Audience Award – Olympia Film Festival

Her Smell, Director Alex Ross Perry

Fueled by an incendiary performance by Elisabeth Moss, HER SMELL follows Becky Something (Moss) is a ’90s punk rock superstar who once filled arenas with her grungy all-female trio Something She. Now she plays smaller venues while grappling with motherhood, exhausted band mates, nervous record company executives, and a new generation of rising talent eager to usurp her stardom. When Becky’s chaos and excesses derail a recording session and national tour, she finds herself shunned, isolated and alone. Forced to get sober, temper her demons, and reckon with the past, she retreats from the spotlight and tries to recapture the creative inspiration that led her band to success. Anchored by a towering, unflinching performance from Golden Globe and Emmy winner Moss, and supported by a stellar ensemble cast, HER SMELL examines the grit, grace and gravitas of an unforgettable fictional rock star crashing down to earth into the harsh realities of mid-life. With his deeply humane sixth feature, writer- director Alex Ross Perry (Listen Up Philip, Golden Exits) pumps up the volume and shines a light on the terrifying moment when superstardom wanes — and quiet becomes the new loud. Alex Ross Perry joins us for a lively conversation on the film’s fascinating shooting schedule, collaborating with cinematographer Sean Price Williams and working with a remarkable cast of actors.

 

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For news and updates go to hersmellmovie.com

“Elisabeth Moss turns in a five-alarm blaze of a performance as a frontwoman who makes Courtney Love look like Mother Teresa.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“Moss varies the volume and the tempo of her performance, calling forth cascades of profane invention and rills of whispery poetry, but she always stays in the same key, the key of Becky.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

“Formally audacious and ferociously intelligent, Her Smell is Perry’s greatest achievement yet, a wild saga of prestige and madness that is ultimately rooted in the female bonds keeping women sane.” – Natalia Winkelman, The Daily Beast

“Over and above the furious-and ultimately painfully tender-drama, Perry achieves something of a new, grand version of his own cinematic music.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker

OVID.tv, Co-founder of OVID.tv and Director of Icarus Films Jonathan Miller

In a media environment dominated by increasingly concentrated corporate interests, eight distribution companies who have long championed the best in independent features, documentaries, and social issue films, have joined forces to help launch a new subscription streaming service, OVID.tv. Starting today, OVID.tv offers more than 350 quality documentaries and art-house films from the collections of its founding content partners: Bullfrog Films, The dGenerate Films Collection, Distrib Films US, First Run Features, Grasshopper Film, Icarus Films, KimStim, and Women Make Movies. Most of the films on OVID.tv are not available on any other streaming platform, and OVID.tv will be adding even more films every two weeks–14 fiction feature films and one 10-part documentary series are already scheduled for release. Despite the odds and with little capital, Icarus Films, Docuseek, and our partners have decided that the time has come to step forward and build a new, independent space, dedicated to the films that we believe in and care about, and that we believe you care about, and value as well. OVID.tv co-founder Jonathan Miller joins us to talk about an affordable option for film lovers looking for the highest quality cinema experience presented by people who share your passion.

 

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For news and updates go to:ovid.tv

You can read more about OVID on the International Documentary Association website, click here.

For now OVID.tv is only available in the U.S.

“A cornucopia of international movies and documentaries… recent ones as well as classics. It’s far better for recent movies than FilmStruck ever was, and its spectrum of new movies is far more substantial than that of Netflix, wider-ranging than that of Amazon.”  Richard Brody, The New Yorker, March 22, 2019

Babylon, Writer Martin Stellman

Never before released in the US, Franco Rosso’s incendiary BABYLON had its world premiere at Cannes in 1980 but was deemed “too controversial, and likely to incite racial tension” (Vivien Goldman, Time Out) by the New York Film Festival that same year. Raw and smoldering, it follows a young reggae DJ (Brinsley Forde, frontman of landmark British group Aswad) in Thatcher-era Brixton as he pursues his musical ambitions, while battling fiercely against the racism and xenophobia of employers, neighbors, police, and the National Front. Written by Martin Stellman (QUADROPHENIA) and shot by two-time Oscar® winner Chris Menges (THE KILLING FIELDS) with beautiful, smoky cinematography that’s been compared to TAXI DRIVER, BABYLON is fearless and unsentimental, yet tempered by the hazy bliss of the dancehall set to a blistering reggae, dub, and lovers rock soundtrack featuring Aswad, Johnny Clarke, and others, anchored by Dennis Bovell’s (The Slits) atmospheric score. BABYLON is the product of outsiders: director Rosso (1941-2016) immigrated from Italy as a child, Stellman is the son of Viennese Jewish immigrants, producer Gavrik Losey is the son of blacklisted Hollywood director Joseph Losey, and composer Bovell immigrated from Barbados, and was falsely imprisoned for running a sound system—the script was partly based on his experiences. Beyond the significance of being the only feature film about London’s sound system scene, BABYLON unflinchingly observes the place of marginalized people in a society resistant—to the point of violence—to multiculturalism. Writer Martin Stellman joins us to talk about the impact that Babylon had on the Caribbean diaspora living in London, the neo-realism style of the film and winding path that Babylon has taken over the last 40 years.

 

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For news and updates go to: kinolorber.com/film/Babylon

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“A STORY WITH LITERALLY EPIC STAKES. It’s no surprise why the film may resonate now—its themes of finding community through art and trying to exist in a society that doesn’t want you are unfortunately both timeless and extremely current.” – Jaya Saxena, GQ

“REMARKABLE. Never lets go for a moment.” – Derek Malcolm, The Guardian

“FEARLESS. Loud and musical and cheerful and funny, and also tragic.” – David Robinson, The Times“EXPLODES IN THE GUT with a powerful mix of pain and pleasure. Like the reggae music that pulses through it, Babylon is RICH, ROUGH and REAL. And like the street life of the young black Londoners it portrays, it’s THREATENING, TOUCHING, VIOLENT and FUNNY.” – Simon Perry, Variety

“FIVE STARS. One of the greatest British films.” – MOJO

“REVOLUTIONARY.” – Miguel Cullen, The Independent 

Satan and Adam, Director V. Scott Balcerek

A celebration of the transformative power of music, and the bonds that develop when artists collaborate and worlds collide, the film follows Satan & Adam, a blues duo and a fixture on Harlem’s sidewalks in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Director V. Scott Balcerek pulls together over two decades of documentary footage to chart the duo’s trajectory from busking in the streets of Harlem, where they were happened upon by U2 who were filming for their Rattle and Hum documentary, to bigger and bigger stages, depicting the challenges that both had to overcome to keep Satan & Adam and their friendship together. Playing for years with artists including James Brown, King Curtis and Big Maybelle, Sterling Magee experienced the music industry’s exploitation of black musicians firsthand. So he walked away to play on the Harlem streets for “his people.” Reborn as Satan, he spread his gospel of freedom and became a New York City legend. When a white Jewish Ivy league scholar and musician named Adam Gussow asked if he could join him one day, both their lives took a powerful turn. Adam put aside the ivory tower life to play in the streets, and Sterling’s embrace of his younger apprentice forged a sound that thrust him back in the spotlight. But life on the road took its toll on the duo, and suddenly Sterling vanished without a trace. The separation would test both men’s courage, and their journey to find each other again a tale of tragedy, survival and miraculous rebirth. Director V. Scott Balacerek stops by to talk about a 23 year long journey chronicling the twists and turns of two dedicated musicians and an unlikely friendship.

 

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For news and updates go to: satanandadamfilm.com

April 12 – Opening in New York City – Village East Cinema Village East Cinema: Q&A Friday 4/12 following the 7:10pm show with Director V. Scott Balcerek, Peter Noel, Rachel Faro, and Adam Gussow 

April 19 – Opening in Los Angeles – Glendale Laemmle Theatre – Director V. Scott Balcerek will participate in Q&A’s following the 7:30 pm shows on Friday, 4/19, and Saturday, 4/20 at the Glendale and on Tuesday, 4/23 at the Monica Film Center. Producer Ryan Suffern will join him on Saturday.

Social Media:

twitter.com/satanandadam

instagram.com/satanandadamfilm

Grand Jury Prize

2018  Nashville Film Festival

Audience Award 

2018 American Film Festival
2018 Tribeca Film Festival
2018 MountainFilm

“John Sayles once told me that he thinks it’s music, more than anything, that has the power to bring Americans together across racial lines. Satan & Adam speaks to just such a power and goes beyond that to show us what it’s worth.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“The best third act of any music doc since Searching for Sugar Man.” – JB Spins

“Will move your feet and soul.” – Unseen Films

“Passionate and moving… Nothing could prepare me for what I would discover.” Film Inquiry

“Inspiring… reminds you what it means to be human.” – Nonfics

Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, Director of Programming Mike Doughtery

The 17th edition of the fest begins on Thursday, April 11th with an opening night tribute to legendary Indian Actress TABU, who is regarded as one of the most talented Indian actors of her generation, having been honored with two National Film Awards, six Filmfare Awards and notably, the Padma Shri from the Government of India in 2011. In addition to opening with a tribute and moderated discussion with TABU, the festival’s opening night gala event will also include a screening of her latest film ANDHADHUN, a feature directed by IFFLA alum Sriram Raghavan (Johnny Gaddaar).

Some other highlights from this year’s lineup include:

– A moderated panel featuring successful South Asian professionals working across various fields in the television industry. The panel boasts a lineup that includes actor/comedian Nik Dodani (Murphy Brown, Netflix’s Atypical), director Meera Menon (The Walking Dead, GLOW, The Magicians), writer Fawzia Mirza (CBS’ upcoming The Red Line), writer Chitra Sampath (Good Behavior, Southland), writer and co-creator of Fox’s The Resident Roshan Sethi, and actor Dhruv Uday Singh (Freeform’s Good Trouble, CBS pilot Pandas of New York).

-The screening of a trio of Sundance and Slamdance favorites that includes Ronny Sen’s unforgettable feature debut CAT STICKS, the exhilarating and imaginative real-life journey of TAKING THE HORSE TO EAT JALEBIS from theatre-turned-film director Anamika Haksar, and PHOTOGRAPH from The Lunchbox director Ritesh Batra.

-Director Megha Ramaswamy’s THE ODDS would close out the festival on April 14. THE ODDS is a coming-of-age tale about two teens who skip school on an important exam day and go on a fantastical journey through Mumbai. THE ODDS features supporting turns from Abhay Deol (Dev D) and Priyanka Bose (Lion) and special appearance by Monica Dogra, all of whom are expected to attend the Gala along with Ramaswamy and co-leads Yashaswini Dayama and Karanvir Malhotra.

Director of Programming Mike Dougherty stops by to talk the 2019 edition of IFFLA, the future of Indian cinema and the increasing acceptance among mainstream American film lovers.

For news and updates go to: indianfilmfestival.org/

IFFLA Film Guide

IFFLA ticket information

Location:

Regal L.A. LIVE: A Barco Innovation Center

1000 W. Olympic Blvd.

Los Angeles CA 90015

Amazing Grace, Producer Alan Elliot

The highly anticipated documentary AMAZING GRACE, captures the live recording of Aretha Franklin’s album “Amazing Grace” at The New Bethel Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles in January 1972. Producer Alan Elliot joins us to talk about the “making of” and the resurrection of this remarkable display of raw talent and consuming passion, the 47-year long path that Amazing Grace has taken and how its arrival in theaters fulfills Aretha Franklin’s dying wish.

The Amazing Grace backstory

In 1972 Director Sydney Pollack (Tootsie, 3 Days of the Condor, Out of Africa) was inexperienced in shooting music documentary and shot without clapper boards snapping shut at the beginning of each take to help synchronize sound and picture in post-production. As a result of this mistake, even after months of work by experts, the 20 hours of footage couldn’t be synchronized with the audio tracks. The choir director from the Watts recordings was brought in to try to lip-read the reels, but after months of work, only about 150 minutes of footage had been matched with sound, none of it adding up to a complete, useable song. Deadlines passed as the “Amazing Grace” album came out in June 1972, selling millions with no synergy. In August, Warner Bros. officially wrote off and shelved the movie. Pollack never gave up on the project, but constantly had other commitments. In 2007, dying of cancer, Pollack finally handed the documentary project over to producer and music enthusiast Producer Alan Elliott.

 

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For news and updates go to: amazing-grace-movie.com

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

CRITIC’S PICK: “Nonetheless, from a distance, this is obviously one of the great music films, less epic in scope than, say, “The Last Waltz” but as glorious in communal feeling and South Los Angeles zeal as “Wattstax” (the natural partner for a double feature) and as musically imaginative as “Stop Making Sense.” What distinguishes “Amazing Grace,” what lifts it to the penthouse, is a mix of energy and moment…You get both the most lovely gaze a professional camera’s ever laid upon Aretha Franklin and some of the mightiest singing she’s ever laid on you. The woman practically eulogizes herself. Don’t bother with tissues. Bring a towel.” – Wesley Morris, NEW YORK TIMES

 “The two nights of filmed performances find Franklin-accompanied by the Reverend James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir-in spectacular voice and prolific imagination. Her rapturous power and intense concentration are revealed in long, urgent closeups that seem to reflect even the cinematographers’ awed astonishment. The film is a triumph of timeless artistry over transitory obstacles; its very existence is a secular miracle.” – Richard Brody, NEW YORKER

 ” … A captivating artifact, the rare making-of documentary that doesn’t just comment on but completely merges with its subject. The lift-you-to-the-rafters intensity of Franklin’s voice remains so pure and galvanic that “Amazing Grace” is one of the few movies you could watch with your eyes closed, though you would hardly want to.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

The Boy Band Con, Director Aaron Kunkel

THE BOY BAND CON: THE LOU PEARLMAN STORY is a documentary feature that tells the story of famed boy band impresario Lou Pearlman. The film tracks his life from his childhood in Queens, New York through discovering mega-bands *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys, and chronicles his later life, including his perpetration of one of the largest Ponzi schemes in American history. This is the first time this story has ever been told from the perspective of the people involved: from the boy band members themselves, and the Ponzi scheme investors to Lou’s childhood friends. Interview subjects include artists Lance Bass, JC Chasez, and Chris Kirkpatrick (*NSYNC); AJ McLean (Backstreet Boys); and Aaron Carter and Ashley Parker Angel (O-Town). Director, editor and cinematographer Aaron Kunkel (Charlie and the Ghost, The Moment) joins us to talk about an all-too-familiar tale of deception perpetrated by a trusted, likable and conflicted con artist.

“The Boy Band Con, The Lou Pearlman Story is a film wrought with both truth and lies, and Lance and I, and the whole team at Pilgrim, really took to heart uncovering what was real story amongst all the rumors, half-truths and full-blown falsehoods. Lou wove a tangled web. As Johnny Wright, the former manager of Backstreet and *NSYNC says, Lou was like a tabloid: there’s 10 percent of truth to what he says, and the rest is Lou taking it where he wants. We’re living in a time when truth and lies seem to blur together more and more and I wanted to examine the differences between them, while also exploring why they’re becoming – and in a lot of ways may always have been – difficult to tell apart.” – Director Aaron Kunkel

 

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For news and updates go to: The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story

Los Angeles – Arclight Sherman Oaks from Wednesday, March 27th through Tuesday, April 2nd.

New York – AMC 34th Street 14 from Friday, March 29th through Thursday April 4th.

Social Media:

twitter.com/Pilgrim_Studios

facebook.com/PilgrimMediaGroup

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“It may be an all-too-familiar refrain – trusted music manager rips off his clients – but “The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story” sets it in the broader, more intriguing context of the age-old pursuit of those twin trappings, fame and fortune.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times

“Told in jaw-dropping fashion, the The Lou Pearlman Story follows the famed musical talent scout…to the Harvey Weinstein/Bernie Madoff figure he would ultimately become.” – Robert Daniels, ThatShelf.com

“As Kunkel structures the doc, it’s like “Here’s this guy who nobody completely understands, now let’s go back in time and … nobody understood him then, either.” I prefer that to cheap and specious psychoanalyzing.” – Dan Feinberg, Hollywood Reporter

“The Boy Band Con’s most remarkable feat is showing how Pearlman’s two crowning achievements were merely cogs in the vast machinery of his deception.” – Bryan Rolli, The Daily Dot

Billboard, Director Zeke Zelker

In BILLBOARD Casey Lindeweiler (John Robinson) inherits WTYT 960 from his legendary radioman father only to discover that it’s on the brink of financial collapse. To right the sinking ship, Casey pulls out the oldest trick in radio, the wacky contest. His grand plan is to host a billboard sitting contest where four people will live on a catwalk in front of a billboard for the chance of winning a mobile home and “nine-sixty thousand” dollars. Unprepared for the spotlight, Casey rises to the challenge of running a business but is faced with relentless attacks from his competition (Eric Roberts), the local authorities, the media, and mother nature herself. Casey struggles to keep his father’s legacy alive while fighting to stay independent.  BILLBOARD is inspired by an actual billboard-sitting contest Zelker recalls from his youth. BILLBOARD, which stars: John  Robinson (Elephant, Lords of Dogtown). Heather Matarazzo (Welcome to the Dollhouse, The Princess Diaries), Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight, Grey’s Anatomy), Leo Fitzpatrick (Kids, Bully), Darlene  Cates  (What’s Eating Gilbert Grapes, Picket Fences), and Oakes Fegley (Pete’s Dragon, This is Where I Leave You). A long-time pioneer in what has been called “transmedia” entertainment, Zelker is committed to changing the face of film. The “Billboard cine•experience,” tells variations of its story in different ways per medium, which is something unique and not yet fully embraced by the mainstream movie industry. Zelker  explores multiple sides of the narrative and is unafraid to push traditional boundary lines between truth and fiction; all while enabling audiences to become a part of the story. The innovative filmmaker Zeke Zelker joins us to talk about his approach to creating an entire cinematic eco-system and why it is so important for filmmakers to seek out new ways of engaging an audience.

 

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For news and updates go to: billboardmovie.com   Or to keep track of WTYT 960        

Social Media

facebook.com/BillboardMovie

instagram.com/billboardmovie

Maria by Callas, Director Tom Volf

Tom Volf’s MARIA BY CALLAS is the first film to tell the life story of the legendary Greek/American opera singer completely in her own words. Told through performances, TV interviews, home movies, family photographs, private letters and unpublished memoirs—nearly all of which have never been shown to the public—the film reveals the essence of an extraordinary woman who rose from humble beginnings in New York City to become a glamorous international superstar and one of the greatest artists of all time. Assembling the material for the film took director Volf four years of painstaking research, which included personal outreach to dozens of Callas’s closest friends and associates, who allowed him to share their personal memorabilia in the film. When recordings of Callas’s voice aren’t available, Joyce DiDonato, one of contemporary opera’s biggest stars, reads her words. Through Volf’s intimate portrait of Callas, we see that some commonly held beliefs about Callas, notably her reputation as a “tempestuous” diva, have no basis in fact. MARIA BY CALLAS revisits many of the most notable controversies of Callas’s life, from the “Rome Cancellation” to her conflict with the Metropolitan Opera’s Rudolf Bing, and demonstrates that, while Callas was a demanding perfectionist, she was neither capricious nor someone who made trouble for its own sake. The film also sheds new light on Callas’s relationship with Aristotle Onassis, the supreme love of her life. Director Tom Volf joins us in a conversation on the story behind his illuminating look into the complex life of a music icon and his decision to tell Maria’s story in her own voice.

 

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For news and updates go to: sonyclassics.com/mariabycallas

Social Media:

facebook.com/mariabycallas

twitter.com/mariabycallas

Reviews:  90% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Captivating.” – The Hollywood Reporter

“Such artistry!” – Figaro Magazine

“A generous, full-throated defense of a tarnished icon.” – Variety“

“An enchanting story” – Vanity Fair

“A magnificent film” – Huffington Post

United Skates, Co-directors Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler

For years, roller-skating rinks have been a constant for African-American communities across the U.S., serving as a meeting ground, a place to have fun and an incubator of iconic hip-hop talents like Queen Latifah and N.W.A. As America’s last standing roller rinks are threatened with closure, a community joins forces in a racially charged environment to save the underground African-American subculture of roller skating, which has been overlooked by the mainstream for generations – yet has given rise to some of the world’s greatest musical talents. From executive producer John Legend and first-time directors Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown, the documentary UNITED SKATES highlights the dynamic world of roller skating, showcasing African-American rinks and skaters across the country as they fight to keep the culture alive and skate their hearts out. The film features interviews with hip-hop legends like Salt-N-Pepa, Coolio, Vin Rock of Naughty by Nature and World Class Wreckin’ Cru. UNITED SKATES spotlights three skaters fighting for their community: L.A. native Phelicia, a single mom who grew up in skates and hopes to keep skating alive for her children; North Carolinian Reggie, who lives hours from any rink that offers a night for black skaters and vows to launch his own; and Buddy Love, the owner of Chicago-based Rich City Skate, who struggles to keep his rink open, despite financial pressure. Co-directors Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler stop by to talk about their infectious and insightful look at a facet of African-American life in danger of fading away.

 

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For more news and updates go to: unitedskatesfilm.com

Check out United Skates on HBO

Social Media:

facebook.com/UnitedSkatesDocumentary

twitter.com/unitedskatesdoc

instagram.com/unitedskatesdoc

Reviews: 100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“This kaleidoscopically vibrant, essential-viewing survey plunges audiences into a dazzling underground scene, celebrating the endangered art form it finds there.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

“This is a passion project in the best sense of the word, a movie in which the ingenuity and dedication of the filmmakers illuminate the same qualities in their subjects.” – Two Bugbee, New York Times

“…[an] exceedingly entertaining and genuinely revealing look into a roller-skating subculture that I frankly knew next to nothing about.” – Daniel Nava, Chicago Cinema Circuit

“This is a film that paints a humanizing portrait of an endangered form of expression, risked at the hands of the micro-racism and economic tribulations faced by the African-American community.” – Laura Birnbaum, Film Inquiry