April 16, 2017 – The Green Fog – A San Francisco Fantasia, Composer Jacob Garchik


 

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Jacob Garchik, multi-instrumentalist and composer, was born in San Francisco and lived in New York since 1994. At home in a wide variety of styles and musical roles, he is a vital part of the Downtown and Brooklyn scene, playing trombone with the Lee Konitz Nonet, Ohad Talmor/Steve Swallow Sextet, Mary Halvorson Octet, and the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble. He has released 4 albums as a leader including “The Heavens: the Atheist Gospel Trombone Album”. He co-leads Brooklyn’s premiere Mexican brass band, Banda de los Muertos. Since 2006 Jacob has contributed dozens of arrangements and transcriptions for Kronos Quartet of music from all over the world. He composed the score for Kronos for the documentary “The Campaign” (2013), and “The Green Fog” (2017) directed by Guy Maddin. He has created arrangements for vocalists Anne Sofie von Otter, Angelique Kidjo, Laurie Anderson, Rhiannon Giddens, kd lang, Natalie Merchant, Tanya Tagaq, and Alim Qasimov. Garchik returns to San Francisco Sunday, April 16 for a live performance during the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival’s closing night screening of The Green Fog – A San Francisco Fantasia. Commissioned by the San Francisco Film Society, that reimagines one of the most iconic San Francisco films of all time, Vertigo, as a visual collage by award-winning filmmaker and cultural iconoclast Guy Maddin. The Green Fog will screen at the historic Castro Theatre on Sunday, April 16 at 7:00 pm, followed by the Closing Night Party at Mezzanine. Jacob Garchik joins us for a conversation on collaborating with director Guy Maddin and his own musical journey.

 For news and updates go to: jacobgarchik.com

For news and updates on the 2017 San Francisco International Film Festival go to: sffilm.org/festival

March 31, 2017 – I Called Him Morgan, Director Kasper Collin

 

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On a snowy night in February 1972, legendary jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan was shot dead by his common-law wife, Helen, during a gig at a club in New York City. The murder sent shockwaves through the jazz community, and the memory of the event still haunts the people who knew the Morgans. Helen served time for the crime and, following her release, retreated into obscurity. Over 20 years later, a chance encounter led her to give a remarkable interview. Helen’s revealing audio “testimony” acts as a refrain throughout the film, which draws together a wealth of archival photographs and footage, interviews with friends and bandmates and incredible jazz music to tell the ill-fated pair’s story. Part true crime tale, part love story, and an all-out musical treat, I CALLED HIM MORGAN is a chronicle of the dramatic destinies of two unique personalities and the music that brought them together. Swedish filmmaker Kasper Collin’s I CALLED HIM MORGAN is also a love letter to two unique personalities and the music that brought them together. A film about love, jazz and America with cinematography by Bradford Young (DOP, Selma).

For news and updates go to: icalledhimmorgan.com

Los Angeles Area: Laemmle’s Monica Film Center in Santa Monica and Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 in Pasadena. 

“Layering experiences and impressions, music and image, Kasper Collin’s remarkable film is less concerned with history than with effects, influences that stretch across time, ideas that shape art.” – Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters

“The interview-“an amazing document,” Collin says-enriches the documentary and transforms it into a story within the story.” – Michael J. Agovino, Village Voice

“This is not a lurid true-crime tale of jealousy and drug addiction, but a delicate human drama about love, ambition and the glories of music.” – A.o. Scott, New York Times

“Collin’s film brings out these stories with a wealth of details energized by the experiences and the insights of his interview subjects as well as an engaging range of archival images and clips.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker

“Quite simply, the greatest film about a jazz musician ever. Do not miss this story of a career cut short by a “Frankie and Johnny” tragedy.” – Louis Proyect, CounterPunch

Life, Animated, Director Roger Ross Williams

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From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams (“Music by Prudence”), is the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. This emotional coming-of-age documentary follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence. The subject of his father Ron Suskind’s New York Times bestseller, Owen was a thriving three-year-old who suddenly and inexplicably went silent—and for years after remained unable to connect with other people or to convey his thoughts, feelings or desires. Over time, through repeated viewings of Disney classics like The Little Mermaid and The Lion King, Owen found useful tools to help him to understand complex social cues and to re-connect with the world around him. Life, Animated evocatively interweaves classic Disney sequences with vérité scenes from Owen’s life in order to explore how his identification and empathy for characters like Simba, Jafar and Ariel gave him a means to understand his feelings and allowed him to interpret reality. Director and Producer Roger Ross Williams (God Love Uganda) joins us to talk about the challenge of presenting a balanced portrait of Owen Suskind and his family.

For news and updates go to: lifeanimateddoc.com/

Winner of the Audience Award – San Francisco Film Festival

Winner of the Audience Award – Full Frame Film Festival 

Winner of the Directing Award – Sundance Film Festival, Life, Animated

“A captivating portrait of a young man for whom Disney animated movies have provided a powerful lifeline to progress, language and understanding. – Justin Chang, Variety

“Williams smartly devotes large portions of the documentary to Owen on his own, letting him explain his fears himself rather than relying on the other Suskinds for clarification and translation. – Noel Murray, A.V. Club

“Incredibly moving documentary takes us into the interior life of an autistic person, and explores how films helped him communicate with the outside world.” – Lanre Bakare, The Guardian

“Instead of false hope, it offers up possibility, the chance of a stimulus that might get past the blocks of developmental disorder.”- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Friday, April 8, 2016 – A Space Program, Creator Tom Sachs

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In A Space Program, internationally acclaimed artist Tom Sachs takes us on an intricately handmade journey to the red planet, providing audiences with an intimate, first person look into his studio and methods. The film is both a piece of art in its own right and a recording of Sachs’ historic piece, Space Program 2.0: MARS, which opened at New York’s Park Avenue Armory in 2012. For Space Program 2.0: MARS, Tom and his team built an entire space program from scratch. They were guided by the philosophy of bricolage: creating and constructing from available yet limited resources. They ultimately sent two female astronauts to Mars in search of the answer to humankind’s ultimate question… are we alone? Directed by Van Neistat, A Space Program is a captivating introduction to Sachs’ work for the uninitiated, and required viewing for his longtime fans. Creator Toms Sachs talks about bricolage, creating an intimate theatrical experience and the importance of Tea Ceremony and intergalactic relations.

See Tom Sachs: Tea Ceremony at the Noguchi Museum starting March 23, and Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective, 1999-2016 at the Brooklyn Museum starting April 21.

SHOW & TELL at The Cinefamily Theater
“A Curated Night of Industrial Films” with Tom Sachs & Van Niestat Friday, April 8, 2016 

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

“An alternately entrancing and amusing documentary-fiction hybrid that marries existential questions with absurdist humor.” Nick Schager·Variety

“Whatever else the film carries, it packs some serious whimsy.” Daniel M. Gold·New York Times

“Documenting Tom Sachs’s art project that imagined a journey into space, this is a funny, invigorating and inspirational ode to being the cleverest kid in the room.” Jordan Hoffman·The Guardian

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

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The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture by showcasing films, supporting emerging filmmakers, recognizing the leadership of entertainment industry performers and business executives, and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora. Each year the festival is held at ArcLight Hollywood and features a rich mix of film programs designed to build and support the growing interest in the Indian entertainment industry. This includes programming that cultivates an audience for Indian films while supporting filmmakers of Indian descent in career development as they navigate the larger studio system in Hollywood. IFFLA’s creative and business programs include the the One-on-One Michael Doughteryprogram where industry professionals from major and independent production and distribution companies are invited to participate in meetings with the IFFLA filmmakers; and panel discussions with speakers from the film industry. The 14th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) will take place April 6-10, 2016 at ArcLight Hollywood, the elegant, state-of-the-art facility at Sunset and Vine in Hollywood, and the festival’s home since its inception. Director of Programming Mike Dougherty join us to talk about the wide ranging films that will be showcase at this year’s festival.

For the latest news and updates go to: indianfilmfestival.org

IFFLA film guide: indianfilmfestival.org/film-guide-2016

2016 Academy Award Nominated Short Program, Carter Pilcher

2016 OSCAR SHORT POSTER 

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Since founding Shorts International in 2000, Carter Pilcher has worked to make his company the world’s leading short movie entertainment company. Shorts International has become the first choice distributor, broadcaster and producer for hundreds of films. Carter has extensive experience in short movie production and short movie entertainment. He is a voting member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and a member of the Short Film and Feature Animation Branch of The US Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) – the guys who pick the Oscars. Carter talks to us about the fifteen wonderful films nominated for the Live Action, Documentary and Animated Short Film 2016 Academy Awards.

*Diary of a Teenage Girl, director / writer Marielle Heller

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THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL is based on Phoebe Gloeckner’s novel of the same name, hailed by Salon as “one of the most brutally honest, shocking, tender and beautiful portrayals of growing up female in America.” Writer/Director Marielle Heller unlocks this diary with a richly comedic and deeply personal vision. It is a coming of age story that is as poignant as it is unsettling. Set in 1976 San Francisco, THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL begins at the crossroads of the fading hippie movement and the dawn of punk rock. Like most teenage girls, Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley) is longing for love, acceptance and a sense of purpose in the world. Minnie begins a complex love affair with her mother’s (Kristen Wiig) boyfriend, “the handsomest man in the world,” Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård). What follows is a sharp, funny and provocative account of one girl’s sexual and artistic awakening, without judgment. Minnie emerges defiant— taking command of her sexuality and drawing on her newfound creative talents to reveal truths in the kind of intimate and vivid detail that can only be found in the pages of a teenage girl’s diary. In her feature film directorial debut, director / writer Heller brings Gloeckner’s book to life through fearless performances, inventive graphic novel-like animation sequences, imagination, humor and heart.

For news and updates go to: thediaryofateenagegirl

* Spirit Award nominations for Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay and Best Female Lead (Bel Powley)

Sundance Film Festival 2015 and New Directors/New Films 2015

“What makes Minnie — on the page and now on the screen — greater than any one girl is how she tells her own story in her own soaringly alive voice”. – Manohla Dargis, New York Times

“This adaptation of Phoebe Gloeckners heavily autobiographical novel is ideally cast and skillfully handled.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“Powley, a British twentysomething whose big, curious eyes and quavering, thoughtful voice allow for a seamless transition back to her teenage years, gives a remarkable performance.” – Jesse Hassenger, A.V. Club

“It’s unlikely to make a box office splash, but it’s a startlingly tough, authentic depiction of budding womanhood.” Elaine Tang, New Republic

Brand: A Second Coming – Director Ondi Timoner

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BRAND: A Second Coming chronicles actor / comedian / activist Russell Brand on his journey from addict, self-proclaimed narcissist and Hollywood star living in the fast-lane to his current, and unexpected, role as political disruptor & newfound hero to the underserved. Criticized for egomaniacal self-interest, Brand injects his madness in to the world and calls for revolution. He stays the course with an irreverent courage that inspires a new generation of activists to rise up against the ever-increasing world engorged in consumerism. Can Brand rise against the roar of criticism from the very system that built him? Does he have the fortitude, resilience and commitment to keep up the fight? Will he find true happiness which has eluded him since childhood? BRAND: A Second Coming takes audiences behind the scenes of this wildly complex man for an intimate look at what drives Russell Brand as he continues to be the consummate disruptor. BRAND: A Second Coming produced, written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Ondi Timoner (DIG!, WE LIVE IN PUBLIC) joins us to talk about getting close to this kinetic, fascinating force of nature.

For news and updates go to: brandthefilm.com

Brand: A Second Coming opening in Los Angeles: arclightcinemas.com/

“Along with explaining his motivation, it rescues the underlying purpose behind his freewheeling, radical mode of expression.” – Eric Kohn, Indiewire

“A thoroughly entertaining doc that serves also as a primer on Brand’s shockingly successful comedy career and an introduction to his singular personality.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

“Even if you’re cynical about Brand’s motives, or just think that he’s a bit of berk, the film convinces you of the almost alarming sincerity of his political mission …” – Alex Needham, Guardian

“Ondi Timoner delivers an engaging portrait of Russell Brand’s journey from pop celebrity to still-funny political commentator.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

Friday, July 10, 2015 – A Poem is a Naked Person, Executive Producer Harrod Blank

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A POEM IS A NAKED PERSON – a glorious portrait of beloved singer-songwriter Leon Russell as filmed by documentarian Les Blank between 1972 and 1974. A fascinating time capsule filled with wall-to-wall music (including performances by legends such as Willie Nelson and George Jones, amongst many others), the film finally had its world premiere at this year’s SXSW Film Festival (with Russell in attendance), and will open theatrically in LA at Cinefamily on July 9, followed by a national release. An ineffable mix of unbridled joy and vérité realism,  A POEM IS A NAKED PERSON lets us into the world of Russell and his friends and fellow artists in and around his recording studioDirector Les Blank in northeast Oklahoma, capturing intimate, off-the-cuff moments and combining them with mesmerizing scenes of Russell and his band performing live. This singular film about an artist and his community never got an official theatrical release and has attained legendary status; now after more than forty years it can finally be seen and heard in all its rough beauty. Executive Producer and the son of Director Les Blank, Harrod Blank joins us for an intimate look at the making of this classic documentary and the journey he took to bring his dad’s lost masterpiece back from the dead.

For news and updates go to: lesblank.com

“One of the great AWOL music docs. An intimate look at a Seventies star in action. It’s finally getting a theatrical run over 40 years after the fact; do not let this minor miracle pass you by.” 
– David Fear, Rolling Stone



“Les Blank’s long-lost Leon Russell documentary is a beguiling snapshot of a lost era.” – Andrew Barker, Variety

“A poetic exploration of a moment, a place and an artist.” – A. O. Scott, New York Times

“One of the greatest rock documentaries I’ve ever seen, as eloquent an evocation of the reality-distortion field around rock stars as D.A. Pennebaker’s Don’t Look Back or Robert Frank’s Cocksucker Blues, but funnier and stranger than either.” – Alex Pappademas, Grantland

Dior and I, Director Frédéric Tcheng

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Dior and I brings the viewer inside the storied world of the Christian Dior fashion house with a privileged, behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons’ first haute couture collection as its new artistic director – a true labor of love created by a dedicated group of collaborators. Melding the everyday, pressure- filled components of fashion with mysterious echoes from the iconic brand’s past, the film is also a colorful homage to the seamstresses who serve Simons’ vision. Dior and I director Frédéric Tcheng is a French-born filmmaker. Originally trained in civil engineering, he moved to New York City in 2002 to attend Columbia University’s film school, from which he obtained a Masters of Fine Arts in 2007. He co- produced, co-edited and co-shot Valentino: The Last Emperor (directed by Matt Tyrnauer), the 2009 hit documentary shortlisted for the Best Documentary Oscar. He is the co-director (with Lisa Immordino Vreeland and Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt) of DIANA VREELAND: THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL, a Samuel Goldwyn release. Director Tcheng joins us to talk about his enthralling behind the scenes look at the iconic fashion institution, its founder, the talented men and women who make it work and the “new” guy in the world of haute couture.

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

“A piece of superb filmmaking that opens a window into a hidden world.” – Independent

“If the ungodly star-driven media frenzy that surrounds the spring collections of the great Paris houses like Christian Dior is the public face of designer fashion, “Dior and I” shows us that what goes on behind the scenes is even more intriguing.” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times

“The drama of getting new dresses on the runway turns out to be transfixing, while the hero redefines the notion of intense.” Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

“’Dior and I’ intimately demonstrates the tricky balance between art and commerce, between perpetuating a mythology while attending to the bottom line, and doing it with the pressure of a ticking clock.” – Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com

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

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

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

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

20,000 Days on Earth, Co-directors directors Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard

20-000-days-on-earth-poster IIDrama and reality combine in a fictitious 24 hours in the life of musician and international cultural icon Nick Cave. The film is an intimate portrait of the artistic process, celebrating the transformative power of the creative spirit. 20,000 Days On Earth takes us deep into the heart of how myth, memory, love and loss, shape our lives, every single day. A line in Cave’s songwriting notebook calculating how many days he’d been alive inspired the film’s title. The film delves into Nick’s artistic processes, unpicking the stuff that makes him tick. Fusing drama and documentary to weave a cinematic day-in-the-life with unique verité observations of his full creative cycle. 20,000 Days on Earth premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the World Cinema Documentary awards for for directing and editing. Co-directors Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard talk to us about their category defying film that pushes the medium into new territory, exploring universal themes about artistry, and celebrating the transformative power of the creative spirit.

For news and updates on 20,000 Days on Earth go to: 20000daysonearth.com

Screenings of 20,000 Days on Earth go to: drafthousefilms.com/film

“Gorgeous and haunting…an unclassifiable and frequently spectacular documentary.” – Andrew O’hehir, Salon.com

“Simply astounding, razor sharp, dynamic.” – Rob Nelson, Variety

“Just spending an hour and a half or so inside the mind of Nick Cave would be fascinating enough. But the themes of time and lifetime, and the 20,000-day take on it, make this one a must-see.” – Michael Dunaway, Paste Magazine

Spotlight on the Los Angeles Film Fest June 11 – 19

LA Film Fest 2014 II posterNow in its 20th year, running from June 11-19, the Los Angeles Film Festival, presented by Film Independent, showcases diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision in new American and international cinema, and provides the movie loving public with one-of-a-kind events featuring critically acclaimed filmmakers, film industry professionals, and emerging talent from around the world. The Festival’s signature programs include the Filmmaker Retreat, Music in Film at The GRAMMY Museum®, Celebrating Women Filmmakers, Master Classes, Spirit of Independence Award, LA Muse and more. Over 200 features, shorts, and music videos, representing more than 40 countries, make up the main body of the Festival.

Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound – Director William (Joe) Saunders

 

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Billy Mize pioneered a musical revolution that became known as The Bakersfield Sound, which enjoyed enormous popularity in the sixties, producing such talented artists as Merle Haggard and Buck Owens. During the height of Bakersfield’s popularity, Nashville snubbed Billy Mize Film Postertheir loud, electric twang in an attempted to distance itself from rock ‘n’ roll artists, like Elvis Presley, and move to a smoother, acoustic sound. While Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound follows Mize’s personal story, it also defines and explains the Bakersfield Sound. The film explores how Mize made it to the brink of super-stardom, turned it down to be a father, befell horrible tragedy, and climbed his way back into the spotlight. In the prime of his career, just after being nominated for Single Record of the Year (his competition included Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Glen Campbell), Mize and his wife, Martha, are beset with horrific personal tragedy.  Director, producer, editor and Mize’s own grandson, William (Joe) Saunders talks about the professional and personal journey that making Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound has been for him and his family.

For news and updates on Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound go to: http://www.billymizemovie.com/

Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story – Director NC Heiken

 

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 Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story tells the story of a prodigal alto sax player who, like so many of his fellow musicians of the era, saw his career plagued by drug Sound of Redemption film posteraddiction. What sets Frank apart is not just his exceptionally beautiful, classic alto playing, but also the amazing fact that he survived 30 years of revolving door incarceration and drug abuse and went on to a much heralded comeback career in the last 22 years of his life. His story is one of brilliant promise in his youth, a journey through the depths of hell, and redemption through his art. Sound of Redemption tells the story of his life and transformation through interviews with fellow musicians and people who were close to him, intercut with footage of Frank, and tracks of his very emotional music. Director NC Heikin joins us for a conversation on the tragedy and triumphs that is Frank Morgan’s story.

For news and Updates on Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story go to: http://www.thefrankmorganproject.com/index.html

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

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

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

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

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

Hank and Asha, Director / Producer / Writer James E. Duff and Producer Julia Morrison

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A romance, the film tells the story about two young people – an Indian woman studying in Prague – and a lonely New Yorker  – using technology in a specific way to help tell their story. They begin an unconventional correspondence through video letters – two strangers searching for human connection in a hyper-connected world. When their relationship deepens, they must decide whether or not to meet face to face. Winner of the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2013 Slamdance Film Festival, “Hank and Asha” is a film about identity, longing, and the irresistible appeal of entertaining life’s what-ifs. Director / Producer / Writer James E. Duff and Producer Julia Morrison talks about making the jump from teaching film in Kenya, to making  his feature film debut based in New York City.

Director / Producer / Writer James E. Duff with Producer Julia Morrison and special guests will be doing a Q&A’s at North Hollywood’s Laemmle NoHo: Friday 4/18 after the 7:30pm screening Sat 4/19 after the 7:30pm screening Sunday 4/20 after the 3:10pm and 5:20pm screenings. Check it out at: http://www.laemmle.com/theaters/23

For more news on Hank and Asha go to: http://www.hankandasha.com/

“Hank and Asha”: James E. Duff’s infectiously sincere love story centers on Asha (Mahira Kakkar), an Indian film student studying in Prague, and Hank (Andrew Pastides), an emerging filmmaker living in New YorkDuff doesn’t force any answers, instead presenting a quiet, thoughtful portrait of love caught in the pull between hyper-connectivity and loneliness.” – Indiewire

“extremely entertaining… Mahira Kakkar[‘s] charismatic joy and energy drives the film forward…. It’s the type of performance that can’t help but make you smile and, when things do get more emotional, you’re already so engaged with her character that you feel that much more for Asha. … In the end, Hank and Asha is a very entertaining film that is far more interesting in its execution than it may seem in simple explanation. It has the feel of a crowd-pleaser, and it wears its heart on its sleeve. With a character like Asha, how could it not?” – Mark Bell, Film Threat

“Hank & Asha might be the best modern love story since Once or Before Sunset. It’s beautifully written, tender, honest, funny and sweet without veering into melodramatic or schmaltzy territory. This is the rare love story that has both style and substance.” The NYC Movie Guru

Afternoon of a Faun – Director Nancy Buirski

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Of all the great ballerinas, Tanaquil Le Clercq may have been the most transcendent. With a body unlike any before hers, she mesmerized viewers and choreographers alike. With her elongated, race-horse physique, she became the new prototype for the great George Balanchine.  Because of her extraordinary movement and unique personality on stage, she became a muse to two of the greatest choreographers in dance, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins.  She eventually married Balanchine and Robbins created his famous version of Afternoon of a Faun for her.  She had love, fame, adoration, and was the foremost dancer of her day until it suddenly all stopped at the age of 27. The ballet world has been haunted by her story ever since.  Director Nancy Buirski joins us to talk about an iconic artist with an indomitable spirit.

For updates on Afternoon of a Faun go to: http://www.afternoonofafaun.com/

“GRADE A…spooky, heartbreaking… a hymn to her rapture and infinite resilience.” – Entertainment Weekly, read review

“a magnificent behind-the-scenes view of the New York City Ballet…a compelling tale of love, friendship, and perseverance.” – San Francisco Chronicle, read review

“While it does profile the work of brilliant dancer, the film also contains two complex and moving love stories as well an account of a physically devastating tragedy followed by an extraordinary tale of struggle and survival.” – RogerEbert.com, read review

“With its extraordinary footage and a story replete with tragic ironies, Nancy Buirski’s documentary on famed prima ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq often soars” – Variety

Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell, Director Matt Wolf

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Wild Combination is director Matt Wolf’s visually absorbing portrait of the seminal avant-garde composer, singer-songwriter, cellist, and disco producer Arthur Russell. Before his untimely death from AIDS in 1992, Arthur prolifically created music that spanned both pop and the transcendent possibilities of abstract art. Now, over fifteen years since his passing, Arthur’s work is finally finding its audience. Wolf incorporates rare archival footage and commentary from Arthur’s family, friends, and closest collaborators—including Philip Glass and Allen Ginsberg—to tell this poignant and important story. Matt joins us in a conversation about art, music and Arthur’s enduring legacy.

Available on iTunes/VOD next Tuesday, April 8, 2014

“A tender, fascinating documentary that will delight the Russell cult and instantly convert new members. – New York Times 

“A profoundly moving love story” – Time Out 

“Infinite and Intimate” – Village Voice

“Pungently evokes the petrie dish of the late-1970s, early-1980s downtown” – Variety                       

“Artful… Wolf plays visual accompanist to Russell’s remarkable compositions.” -Chicago Sun-Times

“The film itself plays out like music, retaining the languid, soothing, and dreamlike aesthetic of Russell. – V Magazine 

“This is one of the finest music documentaries of recent years.” -Sight & Sound

Mistaken for Strangers – Director Tom Berninger and Producer Matt Berninger

Mistaken for Strangers poster 

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Hailed by Michael Moore as “one of the best documentaries about a band that I’ve ever seen” and by Pitchfork as “the funniest, most meta music movie since SPINAL TAP,” MISTAKEN FOR STRANGERS is a truly hilarious, unusual, and moving film about two brothers, Matt and Tom Berninger. Matt, the lead singer of the critically acclaimed rock band The National, finally finds himself flush with success. His younger brother, Tom, is a loveable slacker – a filmmaker and metal-head still living with his parents in Cincinnati. On the eve of The National’s biggest tour to date, Matt invites Tom to work for the band as a roadie, unaware of Tom’s plan to film the entire adventure. What starts as a rock documentary soon becomes a surprisingly honest portrait of a charged relationship between two brothers, and the frustration of unfulfilled creative ambitions. Tom and Matt join us to talk about the pursuit of artistic aspirations, family and expectations.

Available at theatres nationwide and on iTunes and VOD

 For more on how to watch Mistaken for Strangers go to: mistakenforstrangersmovie.com

“Funny, touching, and genuinely moving, this deeply personal approach plays out like a curious amalgamation of a conventional band biopic with a touch of This Is Spinal Tap thrown in for good measure. By wearing his heart on his sleeve and exhibiting an unflinching degree of honesty and passion, Berninger’s Mistaken for Strangers finds itself traversing the usual banal hero worshipping and artistic reverie of an orthodox music doc.” – Cine Vue

“Though self acknowledged humor very much pervades Mistaken For Strangers, it is an overwhelming honesty and heartwarming brotherly admiration that leaves a lingering resonance in its wake.” – IONCINEMA

“The film manages to defy every preconception…  The best documentary we have seen all year.” – New York Observer

“Strangers could not be more compelling” – Rolling Stone

Jodorowski’s Dune, Director Frank Pavich

Jodorowsky Dune Poster II 

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In 1974, Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky, whose films EL TOPO and THE HOLY MOUNTAIN launched and ultimately defined the midnight movie phenomenon, began work on his most ambitious project yet. Starring his own 12-year old son Brontis alongside Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, David Carradine and Salvador Dali, featuring music by Pink Floyd and art by some of the most provocative talents of the era, including H.R. Giger and Jean ‘Mœbius’ Giraud, Jodorowsky’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel DUNE was poised to change cinema forever. Director Frank Pavich joins us to talk about the power of Dune’s narrative and the visionary zeal Jodorowski brought to his singular vision.

“Mindblowing” – Variety “

“A surprise Cannes hit was Frank Pavich’s JODOROWSKY’S DUNE .” – IndieWire

Fascinating, informative and funny. – The Toronto Star

“It’s also clear that we are all the better for Frank Pavich’s wonderful contribution of JODOROWSKY’S DUNE.” – Twitch.com

“Arguably the most legendary of unmade film projects.” –  film.com (Top 10 favorite films at Cannes)

“Never before has there been a documentary about lost cinema quite like JODOROWSKY’S DUNE.” – thefilmstage.com

Visitors – Director Godfrey Reggio

Visitors Film Poster 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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