Space Dogs, Co-directors Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter

In their mesmerizing new film, SPACE DOG, Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter chronicle the legacy of Laika, a stray dog picked up by the Soviet space program on the streets of Moscow, the first living being to orbit the earth when she was launched into space on Sputnik 2. Kremser and Peter trace the persistence of her memory and legacy into the present day. As the capsule containing the lifeless body of Laika re-entered Earth’s orbit and began to burn up, the narrator announces “What had been a Moscow street dog had become a ghost.”The ghost Laika lives on in the present-day strays of SPACE DOGS. Photographed at ground level with wandering, hypnotic camera movements, the strays are seen navigating the urban environs of modern Moscow. In hewing closely to the dog’s point of view, the city is rendered as a strange, alien environment. Pulsating music from buildings and unidentified passerby take on an unfamiliar quality as the dogs explore this strange new world. Archival footage of the Soviet space program is interwoven throughout the film, reveling in the bizarre tests and procedures the canines were subjected to in preparation for space travel. Co-directors Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter join us for a conversation on their fascinating project that features stunning cinematography and meditative pacing that recalls the work of Andrei Tarkovsky, and how SPACE DOGS de-centers humans in order to uncover a forgotten history.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: icarusfilms.com/if-spaced

For more about the filmmakers go to: raumzeitfilm.com

About the filmmaker – Director ELSA KREMSER Born 1985 in Austria, Elsa Kremser studied Film at the University of Vienna and the Filmakademie Ludwigsburg. As an author and producer, she realized several documentaries that were shown worldwide. Her diploma film NEBEL premiered at the Berlinale. She was a jury member of Visions du Réel and participated in the Nipkow Grand and the EuroDoc program. In 2016 she founded the Vienna-based production company RAUMZEITFILM together with Levin Peter. As a directing duo, they are currently working on their first fiction feature, THE GREEN PARROT, which received the Berlinale Kompagnon Script Award. Their recent documentary SPACE DOGS premiered at Locarno IFF where it received two special jury mentions. It was presented at over 50 festivals worldwide and awarded as the “Best Austrian Film 2019” at the Viennale.

About the filmmaker – Director LEVIN PETER Born 1985 in Germany, Levin Peter studied at the Filmakademie Ludwigsburg where he realized several documentaries that were shown worldwide. His diploma film BEYOND THE SNOWSTORM won the German Upcoming Film Award and was presented as a Guest at the Berlinale. He was a jury member at Visions du Réel and received the Nipkow and the Gerd Ruge Grant. In 2016 he founded the Vienna-based production company RAUMZEITFILM with Elsa Kremser. As a directing duo, they are currently working on their first fiction feature, THE GREEN PARROT, which received the Berlinale Kompagnon Script Award. Their recent documentary SPACE DOGS premiered at Locarno IFF where it received two special jury mentions. It was presented at over 50 festivals worldwide and awarded as the “Best Austrian Film 2019” at the Viennale.

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“Brutal but also deeply sensitive; a complex work that got under my skin.” —Film Comment

“No one leaves this movie unchanged.” —Publico

“Radical and rigorous; one of the documentaries of the year.” —Film Idea

“Like Disney directed by Andrei Tarkovsky.” —CineVue

“Undoubtedly the most exciting film at Locarno: a philosophical film that does what cinema has to do: show unseen images.” —Deutchland Funk

“Successfully subverts the anthropocentric gaze to illustrate the violent way humans inhabit space.” —Little White Lies

“A total work of art, foreshadowing a near future in which man is no longer the center of the world.” —Kino Zeit

“Ingenious; Kremser and Peter connect a roughly hewn space traveling animal history with modern stray subjects.” —IonCinema

“The scariest film of the year.” —CineEuropa

Buoyancy, Director Rodd Rathjen

BUOYANCY is the story of a Cambodian teenager sold into forced labor on a Thai fishing boat is a passionate testimony against social injustice and a moving coming-of-age tale about a boy whose humanity is put to the test. Spirited 14-year-old Chakra works the rice fields with his family. He yearns for independence and seeks out a local broker who can get him paid work in a Thai factory. Without telling his family, Chakra travels to Bangkok to make his fortune. But when he gets there, he and his new friend Kea realize the broker has lied to them. Along with other Cambodians and Burmese, they are sold to a fishing captain as slaves. Chakra and Kea are trapped at sea, trawling fish 22 hours a day, surviving on just a handful of cold rice a day. The captain quickly weeds out those weakened by the conditions or trying to escape, and throws them overboard. The trawler sells its catch and restocks its supplies without going to land, making escape impossible. Chakra looks to Rom Ran to understand what it will take to be free. With hope and humanity dwindling, Chakra decides to take matters into his own hands. Director Rodd Rathjen joins us to talk about shooting at sea, with a cast composed of mostly non-English speaking actor, making his first feature film.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: kinolorber.com/film/buoyancy

Australia’s Official Oscar Submission
Ecumenical Jury Prize – Berlinale Panorama

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“A terse minimalist thriller… supremely satisfying.” – Paul O’Callaghan, Sight & Sound

“A harrowing edge-of-your-seat adventure tale with social punch.” – Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter

“Taut and urgent.” – Jessica Kiang, Variety

“Powerful. A gripping debut.” – Paul Byrnes, Sydney Morning Herald

Get Duked!, Director Ninian Doff

GET DUKED! follows teenage pals from Glasgow Dean, Duncan and DJ Beatroot as they embark on the character-building camping trip — based on a real-life program — known as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, where foraging, teamwork and orienteering are the order of the day. Eager to cut loose and smoke weed in the Scottish Highlands, the trio find themselves paired with strait-laced Ian, a fellow camper determined to play by the rules. After veering off-path into remote farmland that’s worlds away from their urban comfort zone, the boys find themselves hunted down by a shadowy force hell-bent on extinguishing their futures. From writer-director Ninian Doff — making his feature debut after a slew of award-winning music videos and short films for artists including Run the Jewels, The Chemical Brothers, Miike Snow, Migos, and Mykki Blanco — comes an anarchic satire of generational politics, hip-hop-loving farmers and hallucinogenic rabbit droppings that pits the youth of tomorrow against the status quo of yesterday. GET DUKED! stars Eddie Izzard, Kate Dickie, Georgie Glen, James Cosmo and a breakout young cast featuring Samuel Bottomley, Viraj Juneja, Rian Gordon, and Lewis Gribben. Creator and director Ninian Doff joins us for a raucous conversation on the brilliance of Eddie Izzard, getting a chance to bring his music video chops to a feature film and why the Brits are so attuned to the power of satire.

 

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Watch Get Duked! at amazon.com/Get-Duked!

About the filmmaker: Ninian Doff is a robot built by the military as an advanced ruthless killing machine. Unfortunately when they booted him up he showed no interest in murder and to their dismay started making films instead. He is considered the greatest military failure in history. Nominated for 9 British Arrows 2020 (Sainsburys and Veg Power), Grammy 2020 Best Music Video Nominated (Chem Brothers), Campaign’s Top 10 Directors 2019, Winner Shots Awards “Television Commercial of the Year – Up to and including 60 second” (Veg Power), BIFA Best Debut Director Nominated (Boyz In the Wood/ Get Duked!), Winner Just Film Grand Prix Talin Black Night Festival (Boyz In the Wood/ Get Duked!), Winner The Siren Award for Best Feature Film 2019 Lund Fantastik Film Festival (Boyz In the Wood/ Get Duked!), Winner Music video of the year Ars Independent Festival (Chemical Brothers), Nominated Best Dance Video UKMVA 2019 (Chemical Brothers), Winner SXSW Audience Award Midnighters (Boyz In The Wood), Winner of Best Director at UKMVA 2016. Winner Best Urban Video, Best Pop Video UKMVA 2016. D&AD Director Pencil 2016. Gold in FilmCraft at Europebest 2015. UKMVA 2015 Best Director Nominee. UKMVA 2104 “Best Director” Nominee. Winner UKMVA 2014 “Best Choreography”. Winner of UKMVA 2013 “Best Indie Video”. Jury and Audience award at ‘Depict13 at Brief Encounters Film Festival 2013. Nominee at UKMVA’s in last 3 years running including “Best New Director”. Selected for Saatchi and Saatchi’s New Director’s Showcase at Cannes 2012 and One Dot Zero’s “New British Talent 11”. Work has been screened at over A BILLION festivals around the world including SXSW, LA Film Festival, London Short Film Festival, Las Vegas Film Festival, Montreal Museum of Modern Art, The V&A London. For more on the filmmaker fo to: niniandoff.com

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“Fabulously funny and subversive.” – Anne Brodie, What She Said

“Serves as a distinctive calling card for a gifted yet twisted comedian, one without the slightest qualms about turning a bucolic countryside jaunt into a bloody “The Hills Have Eyes”-style hunting party.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

“A rambunctious film shot through with daft humour and an endearing, toxic masculinity-smashing sweet streak.” – Jamie Dunn, The Skinny

“An anarchic, pitch black, generation gap horror comedy that’s also one of the funniest films in a year where we are desperately in need of a laugh.” – James Croot, Stuff.co.nz

The rePRO Film Festival and mama.film Co-founders Lela Meadow-Conner, Mallory Martin and Debby Samples

The rePRO Film Festival begins its inaugural run this August 12-16. The virtual film festival is dedicated to exploring women’s reproductive healthcare, awareness, advocacy and bodily integrity in America. The lineup of films includes documentaries and narratives dealing with women’s rights, endometriosis, illegal sterilization, access to abortion, and reproductive justice for women of color, among other topics. rePRO Film Festival, will host five days of features, short films and themed-conversations focused on a range of topics including healthcare access, fertility, pregnancy, sexual education, abortion, and issues related to the gender spectrum. In-festival moderated conversations will include call-to-action messaging on how people can get involved in a corresponding initiative or topic. The conversations, designed to spotlight the creators who dare to tell stories about women’s reproductive rights, and to showcase courageous advocators, will be available online for free globally. All feature films playing the rePRO Film Festival are directed by women, and all filmmakers, including shorts filmmakers, are being paid to screen their films. The pay-what-you-can film ticket proceeds for films at the festival will be converted to donations to be split evenly among five beneficiary non-profit organizations – SisterSong, Endometriosis Foundation of America, Center for Reproductive Rights, URGE and Trust Women. Tickets are on sale online at repromamafilm.org. Tickets are all pay-what-you-can ($5, $10 or $15) with a limited number of complimentary vouchers available upon request to ensure access for all. rePro Film Festival and festival sponsor mama.film founders Lela Meadow-Conner, Mallory Martin and Debby Samples join us to talk about the launch of their deep dive into the issues, challenges and stories that face 49% of the world’s population and the people who love them.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: repromamafilm.org

About MAMA.FILM – Through the power of cinema, mama.film (link), a 501c(3) non-profit organization, unites nurturers of all kinds to ignite conversation and to reflect upon our shared human experience. Founded in 2019, in a pop-up microcinema in a shipping container in Wichita, Kansas, mama.film has since been awarded expanded programming to Cleveland, and to a virtual platform. Film selections include stories and topics that amplify and explore the evolving realities of the human condition and that spark dialogue and reflection. mamafilm is committed to representing the realities and complexities of a diverse range of nurturers, across race, class, geography, sexual preference, ability and generation.An emphasis is placed on independent and foreign films that are grounded in authentic storytelling. mamafilm is committed to supporting the work of creators who are  nurturers and caregivers. Initial support for rePRO by mama.film was generously provided by a grant from the George R. Tiller, M.D., Memorial Fund for the Advancement of Women’s Health at the Wichita Community Foundation. Follow @mamafilm1 on Instagram or Twitter for updates, or follow rePRO by mama.film on Facebook for more updates.

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The Medicine, Director Farzin Toussi

Can an ancient Amazonian plant medicine help heal mankind? Farzin Toussi’s documentary THE MEDICINE reveals the hidden mysteries of one of nature’s most powerful and controversial healing remedies: Ayahuasca. Increasingly popular in the West, Ayahuasca is both a tradition in Amazonian shamanism and a promising new focus of mental health research. THE MEDICINE introduces spiritual leader Taita Juanito Guillermo Chindoy Chindoy, both a teacher and student of the sacred plant in the Colombian Amazon, where Ayahuasca is known as Yagé. Former NFL safety Kerry Rhodes and actor AnnaLynne McCord, each facing personal struggles, are introduced to Ayahuasca by Taita Juanito, guided through a true ceremonial practice, and emerge with new insights. THE MEDICINE also features leading scholars and authors exploring the cultural and scientific significance of Ayahuasca. Humanity faces an unprecedented rise in addiction, depression, and disease – can an ancient indigenous plant medicine help heal mankind? Perhaps the cure lies within the arms of Mother Nature. Director Farzin Toussi joins us to talk about his professional and personal journey into the spirit world, ancient cultures and a root and plant that has changed lives and sustained a way of life for thousands of years.

 

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For news and updates go to: themedicinedocumentary.com

Watch The Medicine now at: Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Fandago, Vudu

For an extended look at The Medicine click here

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Seahorse, The Dad Who Gave Birth, Director Jeanie Finlay

This warm-hearted documentary SEAHORSE follows Freddy, a 30 year-old gay transgender man who yearns to start a family. However for Freddy this ordinary desire comes with unique challenges. Deciding to carry his own baby took years of soul searching, but nothing could prepare him for the reality of pregnancy, as both a physical experience and one that challenges society’s fundamental understanding of gender, parenthood and family. He quickly realizes that what to him feels pragmatic, to others feels deeply confusing and confronting; this was not part of his plan. Against a backdrop of increasing hostility towards trans people the world over, Freddy is forced to confront his own naivety, mine unknown depths of courage and lean on every friend and family member who will stand by him. Made with unprecedented access and collaboration over three years, the film follows Freddy from preparing to conceive right through to birth. It is an intimate, audacious and lyrical story for the cinema about conception, pregnancy, birth and what makes us who we are. SEAHORSE is directed by acclaimed filmmaker Jeanie Finlay (Game of Thrones, The Last Watch, Orion: The Man Who Would Be King). Jeanie Finlay joins us for a conversation on one trans man’s pioneering quest to fulfil an age-old desire: to start his own family.

 

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

About the Director: Director / Producer / Writer Jeanie Finlay is one of Britain’s most distinctive documentary makers. She creates award-winning work for cinema and television, telling intimate stories to international audiences. She has made films for HBO, IFC, BBC as well as four commissions for the acclaimed BBC Storyville strand, including BIFA nominated The Great Hip Hop Hoax and  BIFA Award-winning Orion:The Man Who Would Be King Whether inviting audience behind the scenes of Teesside’s last record shop in her home town (SOUND IT OUT), or to share the extraordinary journey of a British transgender man, pregnant with his child (BIFA nominated Seahorse) or onto the set of the world’s biggest television show (Emmy nominated Game Of Thrones: The Last Watch), all of Jeanie’s films are all made with the same steel and heart, sharing an empathetic approach to bringing overlooked and untold stories to the screen. She set up Glimmer Films in 2008 to develop and deliver ambitious, engaging documentary works, made in the region for an international audience. Glimmer Films aim to: Creatively challenge the form of documentary. Celebrate untold, intimate stories. Further explore “wraparound filmmaking”; continuing a groundbreaking practice of engaging with audiences in innovative and meaningful ways throughout production and distribution. For more on Jeanie and her work go to: jeaniefinlay.com

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

★★★★ ”A tender – and rather wonderful – documentary about love, family, raging hormones and the complexities of identity.” – The Guardian

★★★★ ”A fascinating, vital story told with heart and tenderness” – Little White Lies

“An engaging, empathetic and affecting film from master-documentarian Jeanie Finlay” TOP 5 FILMS TO SEE IN CINEMAS THIS WEEK – Mark Kermode

★★★★ ”An astonishing, unmissable story” – Financial Times
“One of the most moving things I have ever witnessed. I am forever changed. – Portland Observer

The Grey Fox, Producer Peter O’Brian

Francis Ford Coppola protégé Phillip Borsos directs The Grey Fox, an elegiac, low-key tale about real-life bandit Bill Miner that has become a classic of Canadian cinema. Having been released from jail in 1901 following a 33-year prison sentence for robbing stagecoaches, Bill Miner (Richard Farnsworth) finds himself living in a society that has completely changed from the one of his youth. He tries to put his life of crime behind him and settle down in Washington state with his sister, but the quiet life does not suit him. He feels restless but uncertain as to how to proceed next. The answer comes to him when he sees Edward S. Porter’s The Great Train Robbery. Soon, Miner has slipped over the border into Canada and, along with his new partner, Shorty (Wayne Robson), robs the Canadian Pacific Railway Trans-continental Express. Later, while laying low after the crime in a remote corner of British Columbia, he meets the beautiful, strong-willed photographer Kate Flynn (Jackie Burroughs). In writing this script, Borsos reportedly made heavy use of contemporary court documents and testimonies. Producer Peter O’Brian stops by to talk about his collaboration with director Phillip Boros and Richard Farnsworth and The Grey Fox 4K Restoration is being released through Kino Marquee.

 

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Watch The Grey Fox and support local theatres – kinomarquee.com/the-grey-fox

Kino Marquee is a new initiative that creates “virtual cinemas” for temporarily closed independent theaters. Local audiences support their community’s theater in these uncertain times by buying a virtual “ticket” to watch the film. Their ticket purchases directly support their local art house as all revenue is being shared between distributor and exhibitor, just as if they bought their ticket at the theater’s box office. Kino Marquee currently works with over 350 art house theaters across the nation.

Farnsworth is a superb camera subject, with a lulling sexual presence. [Director Phillip] Borsos is an inspired image-maker.” – Pauline Kael, The New Yorker

 “One of the loveliest adventures of the year…director Phillip Borsos is able to make this a human story and still keep it exciting as an action picture.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

 “Terrific. Richard Farnsworth is a delight…remarkably appealing with a face the camera adores.” – Vincent Canby, The New York Times

“Fits beautifully between McCabe and Mrs. Miller and Unforgiven, each of them stories about characters coming to term with changing times. There are even echoes of The Irishman, and the newly-refreshed film is ripe for reconsideration.”  – Jason Gorber, Slashfilm

Planet of the Humans, Director Jeff Gibbs

Released on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and in the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic, PLANET OF THE HUMANS takes a harsh look at how the environmental movement has lost the battle through well-meaning but disastrous choices, including the belief that solar panels and windmills would save us, and by giving in to the corporate interests of Wall Street. PLANET OF THE HUMANS is the debut movie from director Jeff Gibbs, whom Executive Producer Michael Moore calls “a brave and brilliant filmmaker whose new voice must be heard.” Gibbs is a lifelong environmentalist and longtime collaborator of Moore’s with whom he co-produced Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11. Gibbs has dared to say what no one will — that “we are losing the battle to stop climate change because we are following environmental leaders, many of whom are well-intentioned, but who’ve sold out the green movement to wealthy interests and corporate America.” This film is the wake-up call to the reality which we are afraid to face: that in the midst of a human-caused extinction event, the so-called “environmental movement’s” answer is to push for techno-fixes and band-aids. Moore and Gibbs decided that with the American public — and much of the world – confined to their homes and suddenly having to consider the role humans and their behavior have played in our fragile ecosystem, the moment was too urgent to wait until later this year for the film’s planned release. Director / Producer / Writer / Editor and Cinematographer Jeff Gibbs joins us for a free-wheeling conversation on the hard truths we all face and the dawning realization that we have allowed ourselves to be lulled into believing the billionaire class is going to ensure a sustainable collective future.

 

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For news and updates go to: planetofthehumans.com

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“This is perhaps the most urgent film we’ve shown in the 15 year history of our film festival” – Filmmaker Michael Moore, Founder, Traverse City Film Festival

“A delusion-shattering documentary on how the environmental and green energy movements have been taken over by capitalists.” – Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice

“A bleak picture of a near future that mankind’s very existence is irrevocably condemning.” – Simon Foster, Screen-Space

“This doc, directed by long-time Michael Moore collaborator Jeff Gibbs, advocates passionately for a planet suffering from environmental devastation but offers few glimmers of hope.” – Liam Lacey, Original Cin

“From the warnings of the 1950s to the 21st-century corporate takeover of green energy, a grim look at humanity’s fate as the planet heats up. Is there any hope? This feels like only half the story.” – MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Filosopher

BULL, Director Annie Silverstein

The quietly powerful new film from award-winning director Annie Silverstein BULL focuses on a  14-year-old Kris (Amber Havard), who, after trashing her neighbor’s house in a fit of youthful defiance, seems destined to follow in her mother’s footsteps to the state penitentiary. To make amends, she is forced to help Abe Turner (Rob Morgan), an ex-bull rider scraping by on the Texas rodeo circuit, with errands at home and at his work. While traveling with Abe, she discovers a passion for bull riding.  Yet, as Kris sets out to learn the dangerous sport, bad influences lure her back into delinquent ways. Meanwhile, Abe struggles with the aches and pains of growing older and aging out of the only life he has ever known. Together, Kris and Abe forge an unexpected connection, helping each other see new possibilities and hope for the future before it’s too late. Director and writer Annie Silverstein stops by to talk about the inspiration for BULL and how her experience as a social worker informs her instincts as a filmmaker.

 

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About the filmmaker – Annie Silverstein is an award winning filmmaker and media educator based in Austin, Texas. Her films have screened at international festivals including Cannes, SXSW, Silverdocs and on PBS Independent Lens. Her latest film, SKUNK, won first prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival–Cinéfondation. Before attending film school, Annie spent ten years as a youth worker and community media educator. She co-founded and served as Artistic Director at Longhouse Media, an indigenous arts organization based in Seattle. For her work there, Annie received the National Association for Media Literacy Award for outstanding contributions made in the field of media education. Annie is a lecturer at the University of Texas-Austin, where she earned her MFA in Film Production. Annie was named one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine and was selected for the Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Labs for Bull, her feature debut. Annie recently premiered Bull at the Cannes Film Festival in Un Certain Regard.

For news, screenings and updates go to: samuelgoldwynfilms.com/bull/

For more on Annie Silverstein got to: anniesilverstein.com

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“The fact that this never comes across as maudlin is tribute to a director who knows her way through dark places, and a pair of actors who can create a quiet storm.” – Steve Pond, TheWrap

“By resisting sentimentality, the filmmaker, alongside her naturalistic actors, allows us to sit inside the characters’ despair so that we appreciate the intensity of its stifling oppression.” – Tim Grierson, Screen International

“As she proved with her superb, award-winning 2014 short film Skunk, Silverstein portrays marginal lives with unflinching honesty and heart-wrenching humanity.” – Loren King, AWFJ Women on Film

“[Director] Silverstein makes a strong case that these people have something worthwhile to say to viewers. There is a grace and tenderness to the movie that are hard to resist.” – Daniel Eagan, Film Legacy

The Dog Doc, Director Cindy Meehl

As a pioneer of integrative medicine, which combines conventional medicine with cutting edge alternative treatments, veterinarian Dr. Marty Goldstein has been called everything from “maverick” to “miracle-worker.” Attracting four-legged patients from around the world, Dr. Goldstein’s practice, Smith Ridge Veterinary Center, provides holistic care for animals after other vets have given up hope. In THE DOG DOC, director Cindy Meehl (BUCK), goes behind the scenes at Smith Ridge to capture the full drama of “Dr. Marty” and his colleagues’ life-changing commitment to wellness and the astounding results they achieve. Filmed over a 2½ year period, Meehl’s unobtrusive camera highlights the vulnerability of her subjects – canine and human – while tracking each animal’s progress. THE DOG DOC joins the touching stories of families with the hard science of integrative care. By casting an intimate lens over this unique world, THE DOG DOC shows the healing powers of wellness, compassion and hope. Director Cindy Meehl joins us for a conversation of why conventional techniques and alternative medicines coupled with compassionate care make Doctor Goldstein’s approach so successful.

 

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

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“An admiring portrait, to be sure, but one that poses penetrating questions about what passes for health care today in the United States, for people and their pets alike.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

“A riveting documentary about a veterinarian who cures seemingly hopeless cases of dog disease with the addition of alternative tweaks.” – Harvey S. Karten, Shockya.com

“”The Dog Doc” doesn’t just tug on the heart to make its point about alternative treatment, but resonates with the mind.” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest

“…an evenhanded, detailed look at the integrative veterinary practice of Dr. Marty Goldstein.” – Amy Taubin, Film Comment Magazine

The Woman Who Loves Giraffes, Director Alison Reid

In 1956, four years before Jane Goodall ventured into the world of chimpanzees and seven years before Dian Fossey left to work with mountain gorillas, 23-year-old biologist Anne Innis Dagg made an unprecedented solo journey to South Africa to study giraffes in the wild.  In THE WOMAN WHO LOVES GIRAFFES Anne (now 86) retraces her steps, and with letters and stunning, original 16mm film footage offers an intimate window into her life as a young woman, juxtaposed with a first hand look at the devastating reality that giraffes are facing today. Both the world’s first ‘giraffologist’, whose research findings ultimately became the foundation for many scientists following in her footsteps, and the species she loves have each experienced triumphs as well as setbacks. In THE WOMAN WHO LOVES GIRAFFES Anne takes us on her first expedition back to Africa to retrace where her trail-blazing journey began more than half a century ago. By retracing her original steps, and with letters and stunning, original 16mm film footage, Anne offers an intimate window into her life as a young woman, juxtaposed with a first hand look at the devastating reality that giraffes are facing today. Both the world’s first ‘giraffologist’, whose research findings ultimately became the foundation for many scientists following in her footsteps, and the species she loves have each experienced triumphs as well as nasty battle scars. THE WOMAN WHO LOVES GIRAFFES gives us a moving perspective on both. Director Alison Reid joins us for a conversation on meeting Anne Innis Dagg and learning how this gentle soul is more than a pioneer in understanding these magnificent creatures, but just as importantly an advocate for women and science.

About the filmmaker: Alison Reid (Director, Writer, Producer) is an award-winning director who began her career as a stunt coordinator and second unit director. After accumulating 300 credits, she formed Free Spirit Films to produce projects diverse in genre but similar in their exploration of the human spirit. Reid received the 2007 Crystal Award for Emerging Director from DGC/WIFT. Her independent feature, The Baby Formula (2009), sold internationally, won the Audience Award at the Inside Out LGBT Film Festival, ‘Best LGBT Film’ at Nashville Film Festival and was nominated for the Golden Zenith at the Montreal World Film Festival. Her television directing credits include Saving HopeHeartland and Murdoch Mysteries.

 

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

To see The Woman Who Loves Giraffes in Los Angeles go to: Laemmle.com

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“This warm documentary uses one woman’s singular passion to fuel a tale of zoological discovery, blatant sexism and environmental alarm.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“INSPIRING… A bright spot in the middle of this dark month, Alison Reid’s unabashedly sincere documentary offers gentle comfort even when it brushes up against tough subjects.” – Elizabeth Weitzman, THE WRAP

“Her research was groundbreaking, and the 16 millimeter color footage she shot at the time, amply displayed in the documentary, is breathtaking.” – Peter Rainer, THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR

“Alison Reid’s loving documentary affectionately celebrates little-known giraffologist Dr. Anne Innis Dagg’s groundbreaking scientific work and generous contributions to women’s equality.” – Tomris Laffly, VARIETY

“An inspiring documentary that should be at the top of everyone’s list of must-see films.” – , THE ALLIANCE OF WOMEN FILM JOURNALISTS

Island of the Hungry Ghosts, Director Gabrielle Brady

ISLAND OF THE HUNGRY GHOSTS takes place off the coast of Indonesia, in the Australian territory of Christmas Island, inhabited by migratory crabs traveling in their millions from the jungle towards the ocean, in a movement that has been provoked by the full moon for hundreds of thousands of years. Poh Lin Lee is a “trauma therapist” who lives with her family in this seemingly idyllic paradise. Every day, she talks with the asylum seekers held indefinitely in a high-security detention centre hidden in the island’s core, attempting to support them in a situation that is as unbearable as its outcome is uncertain. As Poh Lin and her family explore the island’s beautiful yet threatening landscape, the local islanders carry out their “hungry ghost” rituals for the spirits of those who died on the island without a burial. They make offerings to appease the lost souls who are said to be wandering the jungles at night looking for home. ISLAND OF THE HUNGRY GHOSTS is a hybrid documentary that moves between the natural migration and the chaotic and tragic migration of the humans, which is in constant metamorphoses by the unseen decision-making structures. Director Gabrielle Brady joins us to talk about her beautiful and quietly powerful tale of desperate people trapped in a place of pervasive uncertainty and a woman trying to help them cope.

 

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

** 2020 Spirit Award nominee for Best Documentary **

Tribeca Film FestivalAward for best documentary film

Mumbai International Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for best film

IDFAHuman rights award

Adelaide international Film Festival Winner best documentary film

 

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“ Island of the Hungry Ghosts is one of the year’s most impressively made documentaries, a film that’s as occasionally surreal as it is persistently moving. Island of the Hungry Ghosts is a true discovery.” – JOSHUA BRUNSTING, CRITERION CAST

“A documentary overflowing with empathy, poetry, and elemental power.”  – HUBERT VIGILLA, FLIXIST

“Hauntingly beautiful Island of the Hungry Ghosts combines multiple narratives…into one glorious whole… A mesmerizing work of visual wonder, the breathtaking images forming an evocative setting for a vital discussion of human rights… A stunning, visceral first feature, announcing the director as a major talent to watch”  – CHRISTOPHER LLEWELLYN REED, FILM FESTIVAL TODAY

“The best documentary award goes to a film that demonstrates extraordinary mastery of the full symphonic range of cinematic tools: cinematography, editing, score, sound design and, perhaps greatest of all, an exquisite use of metaphor. To a film that moved us deeply, impressed us immensely and made us feel we were witnessing nothing less than the emergence, fully formed, of a major new cinematic talent” – TRIBECA JURY

Slamdance Film Festival, Co-founder and President Peter Baxter

It all began when a group of cheerful, subversive filmmakers weren’t accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. Unwilling to take “no” for an answer, they instead started their own event – Slamdance: Anarchy in Utah. 26 years later, Slamdance has become a year-round organization fostering the development of unique and innovative filmmakers. The organization now consists of the Film Festival, Screenplay Competition and Slamdance Studios. It has also created Slamdance On The Road, a traveling theatrical showcase that brings popular Slamdance films to audiences that otherwise would not have the opportunity to see them. Dan Mirvish, Jon Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn and Peter Baxter are the founding forefathers who, along with co-conspirator Paul Rachman, fought for truly independent filmmakers by giving them a voice in 1995 at the very first Slamdance Film Festival. Since then, the festival takes place every January in the breathtakingly stunning, snow-capped mountains of Park City, Utah at the exact same time as the Sundance Film Festival, to provide a more authentic representation of independent filmmaking. Up-and-coming writers, directors and producers, alongside seasoned veterans and film lovers, converge for the weeklong celebration of independent cinema, realizing that Slamdance is a great place to find those next, great, visionary films. Slamdance lives and bleeds by its mantra By Filmmakers For Filmmakers. No other film festival in the world is entirely run and organized by the creative force that can only be found in filmmakers. Slamdance adamantly supports self-governance amongst independents, and exists to deliver what filmmakers go to festivals for – a chance to show their work and a platform to launch their careers. The festival has earned a solid reputation for premiering films by first-time writers and directors working within the creative confines of limited budgets. Co-founder and President Peter Baxter joins us to talk about this year’s Slamdance, the groundbreaking films and the innovative new distribution and digital initiatives being launched by Slamdance.

 

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For news and updates go to: slamdance.com
Check out the film schedule at slamdance 2020 schedule

 

Slamdance Film Festival – January 24-30 at the Treasure Mountain Hotel in Park City, Utah

 

Social Media:
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twitter.com/Slamdance
instagram.com/slamogram

 

December 27 – Dawson City: Frozen Time, Director Bill Morrison

A hallucinatory cinematic fever dream, Dawson City: Frozen Time tells the bizarre true story of some 533 silent film reels, dating from the 1910s and 20s, that accumulated at the end of a film distribution line in northwestern Canada and which were miraculously discovered some 50 years later, in 1978, buried in a sub-arctic swimming pool, deep in the Yukon permafrost. Filmmaker Bill Morrison (Decasia, The Miners’ Hymns, The Great Flood) deftly combines excerpts from this remarkable collection with historical footage, photographs, and original interviews, to explore the complicated history of Dawson City, a Canadian Gold Rush town founded across the river from a First Nation hunting camp, and then traces how the development of that town both reflected and influenced the evolution of modern Cinema. Combined with a powerful, evocative score by Alex Somers ( Captain Fantastic; Hale County This Morning, This Evening; Honey Boy), orchestrated and arranged by Ricardo Romaneiro, Dawson City: Frozen Time is a triumphant work of art that spins the life cycle of a singular film collection into a breath-taking history of the 20th century. Director, writer and editor Bill Morrison joins us to talk about his amazing re-creation of a time and place that existed in the parallel universes of a nascent film industry and crushing avarice of a gold rush that still resonates today.

About the filmmaker: Bill Morrison has premiered films at the New York, Rotterdam, Sundance, and Venice film festivals, and multi-media work at major performance venues around the globe such as BAM, the Barbican, Carnegie, and Walt Disney Concert Hall. Morrison’s films typically source rare archival footage in which long-forgotten, and sometimes deteriorated, imagery is reframed as part of a collective mythology. His work has been recognized with the Alpert Award, Creative Capital, the Foundation for Contemporary Art, a Guggenheim fellowship, and a mid-career retrospective at MoMA. His found footage opus Decasia (2002) was the first film of the 21st century to be selected to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. The Great Flood (2013) was awarded the Smithsonian Ingenuity Award of 2014 for historical scholarship. Dawson City: Frozen Time (2016) won a Critics’ Choice Award for the most innovative documentary of the year, and was named the best documentary of 2017 by the Boston Society of Film Critics.

 

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billmorrisonfilm.com/dawson-city-frozen-time

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twitter.com/decasia

“an instantaneously recognizable masterpiece” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

“Bill Morrison, whose extraordinary documentary Decasia turned decomposing film stock into the stuff of avante-garde reverie, returns with another staggering journey into the past.” – J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader

“The thrilling documentary “Dawson City: Frozen Time” is indescribable not because it’s ambiguous (it’s totally straightforward) but because it does so many things so beautifully it is hard to know where to begin.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“The rise and fall of Dawson City, intimately tied to the vagaries of climate and man’s greed, is heartbreakingly rendered.” – Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

November 22 – When Lambs Become Lions, Director Jon Kasbe

In this extraordinary documentary, WHEN LAMBS BECOME LIONS we are immersed in the Kenyan bush, as a small-time ivory dealer fights to stay on top while forces mobilize to destroy his trade. When he propositions his younger cousin, a conflicted wildlife ranger who hasn’t been paid in months, they both see a possible lifeline. The plummeting elephant population in Africa has captured the attention of the world, and as the government cracks down, both poachers and rangers face their own existential crises— what is the value of elephant life relative to human life? And can we understand these hunters who will risk death, arrest, and the moral outrage of the world to provide for their families? The photography in this film is so stunning that many people forget they’re watching a documentary, and it’s probably why WHEN LAMBS BECOME LIONS was just nominated for two 2019 IDA Documentary Awards (Best Cinematography and Best Editing). WHEN LAMBS BECOME LIONS is told in the style of “embedded” filmmaking with an intimate and strikingly honest look at elephant poaching in Kenya, told from both perspectives — the poachers and the rangers who pursue them. At its core, WHEN LAMBS BECOME LIONS is the human side of why people do what they do given their circumstances. An angle not many people think about when they hear “elephant poaching”. WHEN LAMBS BECOME LIONS is executive produced by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Matthew Heineman (Cartel Land) and directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and Doc NYC 40 Under 40 honoree, Jon Kasbe. Kasbe followed his subjects over a three-year period, gaining an extraordinary level of access and trust on both sides of the ideological and ethical spectrum. The result is a rare and visually arresting look at the perspectives and motives of the people at the epicenter of this conservation crisis. Director Jon Kasbe joins us to talk about the making of his riveting film, gaining the confidence of the film’s subjects and navigating the many ethical questions he confronted during the making of When Lambs Become Lions.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: whenlambs.oscilloscope.net

For more on Director Jon Kasbe go to: jonkasbe.com

WHEN LAMBS BECOME LIONS filmmaker Jon Kasbe will participate in Q&A’s following the 7:30 pm show on Friday, 11/22 and Saturday, 11/23 and following the 1:00 pm show on Sunday, 11/24 at the Monica Film Center.

Social Media
facebook.com/whenlambs
twitter.com/whenlambs
instagram.com/whenlambs
twitter.com/jonkasbe

 

“A probing view of how a failed African state allows poaching to continue, no matter the lofty speeches of its new president. When people are desperate, they turn to crime–including poaching.” – Louis Proyect, Counterpunch.org

“…supple, complex, and darkly gorgeous” – Chris Barsanti, The Playlist

“Documents how this daily struggle binds together the inhabitants of Northern Kenya, both man and beast, and explores how questions of morality and mortality become increasingly complicated in such a savage landscape.” – Nikki Baughan, Screen International

“Kasbe nudges us to remember the importance of food on the table – for all Kenyatta’s show of might, wouldn’t a better situation be kindled by simply paying people what they’re owed?” – Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film

To Kid or Not To Kid, Director Maxine Trump

In her latest documentary, TO KID OR NOT TO KID, filmmaker Maxine Trump turns the camera on herself and her close circle of family and friends as she confronts the idea of not having kids. While exploring the cultural pressures and harsh criticism childfree women regularly experience, as well as the personal impact this decision may have on her own relationship, Maxine meets other women reckoning with their choice: Megan, who struggles to get medical permission to undergo elective sterilization, and Victoria, who lives with the backlash of publicly acknowledging that she made a mistake when she had a child. TO KID OR NOT TO KID bravely plunges into an aspect of reproductive choice often misunderstood, mischaracterized, or considered too taboo to discuss. With rising public awareness about climate change, resource scarcity and global population, this timely film asks the question “Why can’t we talk about not having children?” Director Maxine Trump joins us for a lively conversation on pros and cons of parenthood, how that decision has played itself out in her life and the lives of those around her.

 

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Foe news, screenings and updates go to: tokidornottokid.com

About the filmmaker: Maxine Trump worked for the BBC in London for seven years as a development executive for scripted comedy before emigrating to the USA, working as a TV commercial director and producer for eight years. She won BDA awards for her work on numerous commercial projects for Network TV and agency clients. She  went on to direct documentaries for Sundance, TNT, BBC, TLC, Discovery etc. Her previous feature film Musicwood was a New York Times Critics pick, festival award winner and played on TV and in theaters around the world. Maxine is the author of the book “The Documentary Filmmakers Roadmap” published by Routledge, she is a Sundance advisor and teaches documentary filmmaking at the New York Film Academy. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and inquisitive cat and is always seeking new stories to tell.

Social Media:
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instagram.com/maxinetrump_childfreedirector
youtube.com/channel/MaxineTrump

 

“Candid and empathetic, the movie’s segments can feel rushed and unfocused; yet they have a ragged intimacy that argues implicitly for an individual’s right to choose, without interference or condemnation.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

“An engaging personal essay documentary about not having children, complete with interviews, arguments, hard data and sound reasoning coming from both sides of the debate” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

“Strong arguments hold that having children is in some cases a selfish choice. Not having children, by contrast, is not selfish.” – Harvey S. Karten, Big Apple Reviews

Saving Atlantis, Co-directors Justin Smith and David Baker

The problem: The decline of the world’s coral reefs

Coral reefs cover only 0.1 percent of the Earth’s surface, but they’re home to 25 percent of all marine species, and they’re being lost at an alarming rate. Pollution, overfishing and climate change are some of the human-influenced culprits in the dramatic decline of these magnificent natural structures. Coral reefs serve as a linchpin in the global food web. Their decline leads our entire planet in a perilous direction. But research from scientists around the world hints at bright spots where real strides can be made in preservation and protection of these habitats.

The film: SAVING ATLANTIS

Narrated by actor and activist Peter Coyote, SAVING ATLANTIS is a feature-length documentary film by Oregon State University that covers the dramatic decline of the world’s coral reefs and those who are fighting to save them. Following the Global Coral Microbiome Project, a National Science Foundation-funded effort to understand the underlying causes of coral disease, as well as other coral conservation efforts, SAVING ATLANTIS focuses on the plight of an endangered habitat and the people most dramatically impacted by its disappearance. It is an emotional exploration of some of our planet’s greatest natural wonders at a tipping point in their ecological history. Co-directors Justin Smith and David Baker join us to talk about the intense research being done to save this invaluable planetary resource.

 

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For news and updates go to: corals.oregonstate.edu/saving-atlantis

November 12 – The Bygone, Co-directors Graham Phillips and Parker Phillips

The inspiration for Parker Phillips and Graham Phillips debut feature film THE BYGONE was born from the grim effects of the recent oil boom in North Dakota. Beyond the environmental impact of the fracking itself, the boom brought a wave of lawlessness to a region not suited to respond to the flood of tens of thousands of predominantly male workers. Along with the drugs, violence and crime, this wave brought a heightened market for the sex trade, which disproportionately targeted and exploited young Native American women – our country’s most marginalized demographic, made vulnerable by centuries of disenfranchisement, discrimination and sexual victimization. It is compelling that natural resource extraction has once again led explicitly to the disruption of indigenous peoples and their culture, a narrative that echoes the gold rush and is as old as the foundations of America itself. The film explores the tension in this relationship within the modern western landscape, following a North Dakota cowboy and a Lakota girl as they attempt to survive in a land increasingly hostile to the Old West. In shedding light on the lawless shadows of our country, we learn how we have progressed as a Nation and what has remained unchanged, exploring the contemporary status of age-old relationships: East vs. West, Land vs. Industry, Cowboy vs. Indian, and ultimately the Future vs. the Bygone. The co-directors and screenwriters Parker Phillips and Graham Phillips stop by to talk about how their compelling feature film debut weaves together stories of sexual violence, human trafficking, fracking’s impact on America’s declining middle class and the historic abuse of Native Americans.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: phillipspictures.com/bygone

Social Media:
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instagram.com/grahamphillips

 

Independent Lens, Executive Producer Lois Vossen

The acclaimed PBS documentary series Independent Lens, recently honored with two Peabody Awards, a Primetime Emmy nomination and 12 News & Documentary Emmy nominations, returns for a new season on Monday, October 28.This year’s premiere is Made in Boise, an engrossing look at the complex and controversial world of gestational surrogacy told through the stories of four women carrying babies for gay men and infertile couples in the conservative heartland of Idaho — the unofficial “surrogacy capital” of the United States. Also on the fall schedule is Decade of Fire, which travels back to the 1970s when the South Bronx was burning, to showcase the dedicated citizens who outlasted the flames and saved their community; The Interpreters, a moving look at the Afghan and Iraqi interpreters who risked their lives aiding American troops and who now struggle to find safety and security for themselves and their families; Conscience Point, which unearths the deep clash of values between the Native American Shinnecock of Long Island and their affluent Hamptons neighbors; and Attla, the rousing story of Alaska Native George Attla, who with one good leg and a determined mindset went on to become a champion dogsled racer. Other highlights of the Winter/Spring 2020 slate include Always in Season, a harrowing look at the history of lynching and the 2014 case of Lennon Lacy, a North Carolina teen who died under unexplained circumstances; Bedlam, a psychiatrist’s chronicle of what mental illness means in the U.S. today, interwoven with the story of how the system tragically failed his own sister; and Rewind, a devastating, autobiographical documentary about the far-reaching consequences of multigenerational child sexual abuse. Independent Lens Executive Producer Lois Vossen joins us to talk about the fundamental principles to support filmmakers telling stories about their communities and commitment to showcase thought-provoking documentaries about the issues that divide us and the ideals and beliefs that bind us together.

 

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

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Independent Lens upcoming schedule:

Made in Boise by Beth Aala (Monday, October 28) Go inside the lives of four surrogates and the intended parents whose children they carry. As the number of surrogate births surge across the country, a surprising epicenter of the movement is Boise, Idaho, where hundreds of women are choosing to be surrogates. For gay couples, single men, and those who struggle with infertility, this booming industry is often the last resort to biological parenthood. The film follows the four women as they navigate the rigors of pregnancy and the mixed feelings of their own families, who struggle to understand their choice to risk the physical and emotional complications of carrying babies for someone else.

Decade of Fire by Vivian Vázquez Irizarry, Gretchen Hildebran and Julia Steele Allen (Monday, November 4) In the 1970s, the Bronx was on fire and close to a quarter-million people were displaced when their close-knit, multiethnic neighborhood burned. While the abandonment of landlords and dwindling support from government officials led to the devastation, Black and Puerto Rican residents were blamed. Now, Bronx-born Vivian Vázquez Irizarry explores the truth about the borough’s untold history and reveals how her community chose to resist, remain and rebuild.

The Interpreters by Andrés Caballero and Sofian Khan (Monday, November 11) More than 50,000 local interpreters helped protect U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, enabling soldiers to communicate with the local population. But those who took the job were often considered traitors. In the aftermath of war, some have been able to leave their home countries and reach safety, while others still languish in hiding and fear for their lives.

Conscience Point by Treva Wurmfeld (Monday, November 18) In Long Island’s Hamptons, one of the wealthiest areas in the nation and an epicenter of the luxury property boom, a clash of values is taking place. The original inhabitants of the beautiful peninsula — the Shinnecock Indian Nation — find themselves squeezed onto a tiny, impoverished reservation. Over hundreds of years they have seen their ancient burial grounds plowed up for the widening of roads, mega-mansions, and ultra-exclusive golf courses like the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. Now Shinnecock activists and long-standing residents, including farmers and fishing communities, are taking a stand against a never-ending tide of wealthy transplants, overdevelopment, pollution, congested highways and skyrocketing property taxes.

Attla by Catharine Axley (Monday, December 16) The inspiring but little-known story of legendary Alaska Native dogsled champion George Attla, who — with one good leg and fierce determination — rose to international fame. In the final chapter of his life, Attla emerges from retirement to mentor his 20-year-old grandnephew. With their sights set on reviving proud cultural traditions, the pair embark on a journey to compete in the world’s largest dogsled sprint race, one that has seen a steep decline in Native competitors.

Fantastic Fungi, Director Louie Schwartzberg

Fantastic Fungi, the engaging and informative documentary directed by Louie Schwartzberg, is a consciousness-shifting film that takes us on an immersive journey through time and scale into the magical earth beneath our feet, an underground network that can heal and save our planet.  Through the eyes of renowned scientists and mycologists like Paul Stamets, best-selling authors Michael Pollan, Eugenia Bone, Andrew Weil and others, we become aware of the beauty, intelligence and solutions the fungi kingdom offer us in response to some of our most pressing medical, therapeutic, and environmental challenges. When so many are struggling for connection, inspiration and hope, Fantastic Fungi brings us together as interconnected creators of our world. Directed by the pioneer of time-lapse photography, Louie Schwartzberg (Netflix’s “Moving Art”, Wings of Life for Disneynature, and Mysteries of the Unseen Worlds 3D Imax for Nat Geo still playing in theaters) Narrated by Academy Award-Winner Brie Larson.  Director Louie Schwartzberg joins us to talk about the amazing world of fungus and the burgeoning field of scientific research into the thousands of positive, possibly planet saving benefits that can be realized from the magical spores.

 

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

FANTASTIC FUNGI Q&A’s with director Louie Schwartzberg following the 7:40 pm show on Friday, 10/25 and Saturday, 10/26 at the Monica Film Center.

Social Media:

facebook.com/FungiFilm

twitter.com/FantasticFungi

instagram.com/fantasticfungi

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Fantastic Fungi makes the case that the answers to disease, anxiety, depression and global warming might be found underfoot. And they’re tasty to boot.” – Michael J. Casey, Boulder Weekly

“Louie and his team have accomplished an amazing task – with beautiful imagery, celebrating the quality of nature we have now. Fantastic Fungi is a film that serves to be a bridge of understanding to connect these ideas. By investing in these fungal networks we invest in the webs of life. Time is short. We need to bring this knowledge to the forefront of public consciousness.” – PAUL STAMETS

“One of the year’s most mind-blowing, soul-cleansing and yes, immensely entertaining triumphs.” – Matt Fagerholm, RogerEbert.com

“Louie Schwartzberg’s lightly informative, delightfully kooky documentary, “Fantastic Fungi,” offers nothing less than a model for planetary survival.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

GIFT, Director Robin McKenna

Inspired by Lewis Hyde’s beloved classic The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World, GIFT is a richly cinematic film, interweaving character‐driven stories. On North America’s Pacific Northwest Coast, a young Indigenous artist and carver undertakes the elaborate preparations for a potlatch – to make a name for himself by giving everything away. In Rome, Italy, a factory occupied by migrant families is transformed into a living museum, protected by a barricade of art : a model of resistance, and an invaluable gift.  In the pirate utopia of Burning Man, a mutant bumblebee art car distributes honey in a post-­apocalyptic desert landscape. Meanwhile, in Auckland, New Zealand, artist Lee Mingwei prepares to launch Sonic Blossom – a “transformative gift” of song. GIFT is a tribute to something that can’t be measured or counted, bought or sold. Exploring the parallels between artists’ work and a gift economy, it’s a reflection on the creative process, the reasons we “labour in service of our gifts”, and a celebration of the imagination. Director Robin McKenna joins us to talk about her beautifully meditative film about paying forward human connection and how communities can re-imagine the meaning of wealth and prosperity.

About the filmmaker: Robin McKenna is director, producer and writer of GIFT, a feature-length documentary and crossmedia project inspired by Lewis Hyde’s classic bestseller The Gift. She is currently making Thanadoula, a short animated documentary fairytale about a real-life “death doula”, in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada – and Medicine, a feature-length documentary over a decade in the making, about ayahuasca, medicine and healing, with Dr. Gabor Maté. She directed Genevieve Bujold: ArtVie, a short film tribute to Bujold on 16mm, for the Governor General’s Awards for the Performing Arts in 2018. Robin grew up in Montréal, and began making films with La course destination monde. Her cinematography credits include City of Borders (Berlinale, Hot Docs 2009) and The Take with Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis (AFI Best Documentary 2004).

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: giftitforwardproject.com/the-film

GIFT opens at the Laemmle Monica Film Center on Friday, October 11. On Saturday, October 12 John Densmore (The Doors) and director Robin McKenna will participate in a Q&A following the 7:45 pm show.

Social Media:

facebook.com/GIFTdocumentary

instagram.com/giftdocumentary

“For many people, Gift will live up to its title.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

“Documentarian Robin McKenna’s intelligent and life affirming documentary Gift will make viewers consider how they give, receive, and create art in a fresh, new light.” – Andrew Parker, The Gate

“A documentary showing how art keeps moving in circles of sharing, giving, and generosity.” – Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice

Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, Co-directors Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky

A stunning sensory experience and cinematic meditation on humanity’s massive reengineering of the planet, ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH is a years-in-the-making feature documentary from the award-winning team behind Manufactured Landscapes (2006) and Watermark (2013) and narrated by Alicia Vikander. The film follows the research of an international body of scientists, the Anthropocene Working Group who, after nearly 10 years of research, argue that the Holocene Epoch gave way to the Anthropocene Epoch in the mid-twentieth century as a result of profound and lasting human changes to the Earth. From concrete seawalls in China that now cover 60% of the mainland coast, to the biggest terrestrial machines ever built in Germany, to psychedelic potash mines in Russia’s Ural Mountains, to metal festivals in the closed city of Norilsk, to the devastated Great Barrier Reef in Australia and massive marble quarries in Carrara, the filmmakers have traversed the globe using state of the art camera techniques to document the evidence and experience of human planetary domination. At the intersection of art and science, ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH witnesses a critical moment in our geological history. Co-directors  Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky bring a provocative and unforgettable experience of our species’s ever-expanding breadth and devastating impact. 

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: kinolorber.com/Anthropocene: The Human Epoch

For more information on Anthropocene and filmmakers go to: theanthropocene.org/

For additional information on Jennifer Baichwal at mercuryfilms.ca

Social Media:

facebook.com/mercuryfilmsinc

twitter.com/mercuryfilms

instagram.com/mercuryfilmsinc

“Astonishment. Pure, lurid, ravishing, genuine astonishment. That is Anthropocene: The Human Epoch.” – Luke Hicks, Nonfics

“The [team’s] latest film is the culmination of a major body of work and it’s as visually stunning and intellectually invigorating as the previous two films are.” – Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

“To say that there are no easy answers to planetary woes is to state the obvious. But the film seeks to reveal rather than lecture, in the hope that our eyes will convince our brains to act before it’s too late.” – Peter Howell, the Toronto Star

“Its cinematography and passion for our planet make a strong case for your attention.” – Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com

“The luminous, terrifying and beautiful documentary “Anthropocene: The Human Epoch” feels like the culmination of the life’s work of its three directors… because it chronicles what could be the end of human life on Earth.” – Sean P. Means, The Movie Cricket

Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements, Director Irene Taylor Brodsky

Director Irene Taylor Brodsky once again turns the camera on her deaf parents and, now, her 11-year-old deaf son Jonas, who has cochlear implants and is discovering a profound world of hearing—and music in this deeply personal story, Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements.  As Jonas learns the first movement of Beethoven’s iconic sonata on the piano, his grandparents, deaf for nearly 80 years, watch with deepening awe what time and technology have bestowed their grandson. But when Jonas struggles with the sound of his mistakes, Beethoven’s own musical journey comes to life in an animated world of watercolor and haunting soundscapes.  As the great composer loses the sense that brought him so much music and fame, Jonas’s grandfather Paul loses his grasp on his mind. Their lives weave a sonata over three centuries, about all we can discover once we push beyond what has been lost. Director Irene Taylor Brodsky joins us to talks about this very personal and deeply affecting tale of three threads that run through her family and the most celebrated deaf musician of all time, Ludwig von Beethoven. Director / Producer / Editor /Cinematographer talks about the personal and professional challenges of focusing on members of her family and how the power of music has resonated brought hope and healing.

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT: I can hear, but deafness consumes me. I am a daughter of deafness and, now, a mother too. After I discovered my son, Jonas, was going deaf as a toddler, my sound designer told me we could reproduce his gradual disconnect from hearing. As a filmmaker, that enthralled me. As a mother, it frightened me. I’ve been down this road before. My first feature documentary, Hear and Now, about my deaf parents’ problematic journey into the world of sound, showed me how much film can be a catalyst for empathy. So when my son told me he wanted to learn the Moonlight Sonata, composed by Beethoven as he went deaf, I was cautious but resolute, and began filming. Then, my father developed dementia, and soon their three storylines revealed an eerie parallel. Paul’s loss of mind was a clue to what Beethoven might have felt losing something so precious to him. As Jonas learned to play the sonata, I read Beethoven’s letters and listened to his canon over and over again. I felt assured that my son could find his own true expression, shaped by deafness, just like Beethoven did. In Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements we portray sound and memory through animation, and we use vast archives of home movies, vérité footage, immersive soundscape and original score to craft a rich mosaic of what it means to find vital expression in the midst of loss.   Director Irene Taylor Brodsky

 

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“A powerful film about parents and children, though told with enough restraint that its more affecting moments might sneak up on you.” – Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com

“It is a very moving film by veteran documentarian Irene Taylor Brodsky about deafness, music, raising children and your parents getting old.” – John Anderson, Wall Street Journal

“The film is refreshing in its willingness to countenance multiple viewpoints and look at what’s right for individuals rather than taking sides in one of the more heated debates within the Deaf community.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“Like Beethoven’s sonata, it’s beautiful chords resonate long afterwards.” – Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Film Festival Today

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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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