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

Hank and Asha film poster 

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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

Afternoon of a Faun film poster #1 

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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

Wild Combination, Portrait of Arthur Russell poster 

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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/

Composer Spotlight with Chris Lennetz

Christopher Lennertz - composer 

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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.

Learn more about Chris Lennertz at: christopherlennertz.com