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.
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.
* 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 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.
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
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 studio 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.
“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 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.
“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
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 Crash 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
Drama 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.
“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
Now 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
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 their 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
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 addiction. 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
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.
“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
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
“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
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.
“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 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.
“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
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
“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
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
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
Christopher Lennertz is a composer, producer, conductor, and arranger for film, television, video games, and records. He first made a splash with his breakout score for Alvin and the Chipmunks. Since then he’s proven his steadfast talent through films like the highly anticipated star-studded comedy Horrible Bosses, and the recent box office smash Hop. Lennertz has worked with distinguished artists such as Basil Poledouris, Michael Kamen, Ozomatli, The RZA, and Alien Ant Farm. His groundbreaking collaboration with Ozomatli on their record Street Signs garnered a Grammy Award for Best Latin Rock Album. Lennertz recently composed the music to the film Ride Along. Lennertz also composes all the episodic music for ABC’s hit TV series Revolution. Chris talks about the artistic flexibility needed in composing for film, TV and video games.