In the late 1930s China is in dire straits. The country will collapse under Japan’s military juggernaut if it doesn’t get outside help. Chinese American firebrand Li Ling-Ai jolts Americans into action with a new medium — 16mm Kodachrome color film. She hires photo-journalist Rey Scott to travel to China and capture a citizen’s perspective of the war-torn country, including the massive bombing of the wartime capital Chungking (now Chongqing). Their landmark film KUKAN screens for President Franklin Roosevelt at the White House, is called “awesome” by the New York Times, and receives one of the first Academy Awards for a feature documentary in 1942. Why have we never heard of Li Ling-Ai? And why have all copies of KUKAN disappeared? FINDING KUKAN uses rare and unseen archival footage to create an unforgettable portrait of a female filmmaking pioneer, and sheds light on the long history of racial and gender discrimination behind the camera, which continues to reverberate in Hollywood today. Director / Producer Robin Lung stops by to talk about the 7-year quest to find the answers to a multitude of questions.
The latest documentary from the renowned filmmaking team of Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker (The War Room), UNLOCKING THE CAGE follows trailblazing animal rights lawyer Steven Wise in his challenge to break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans.UNLOCKING THE CAGEpremiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Given that the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are people, why not chimps? Attorney Steven Wise and his legal team, the Nonhuman Rights Project, are making history by filing the first lawsuits that seek to transform an animal from a “thing” with no rights to a “person” with legal protections. Supported by affidavits from primatologists around the world, Wise maintains that, based on scientific evidence, cognitively complex animals such as chimpanzees, whales, dolphins and elephants have the capacity for limited personhood rights that would protect them from abuse. The filmmakers capture Wise’s progress: from the halls of academia to animal sanctuaries and zoos, and finally into the courtrooms where he makes a compelling case on behalf of four captive chimpanzees in New York State.UNLOCKING THE CAGE captures a monumental shift in our culture, as the public and judicial system show increasing receptiveness to Wise’s impassioned arguments. It is a provocative and intimate look at a lawsuit that could forever transform our legal system, and one man’s lifelong quest to protect “nonhuman” animals. Among the most renowned and accomplished documentary filmmakers ever, co-directors Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker join us to talk about their latest groundbreaking film.
“Thoughtful, Compelling and Heroic. The film made me proud to be a primate.” – Jon Stewart
“In their new documentary, D A Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus bring their relaxed, acute observational style of filmmaking to bear on a thorny tangle of legal and philosophical questions. Observant and absorbing.” – A.O. Scott, The New York Times
“Engaging… makes a worthy case for reconsidering the sturdiness of laws that explicitly separate humans from animals. With legal-thriller pacing and emotional intelligence, it chronicles attorney Steven Wise’s gung-ho effort to get a U.S. court to recognize a chimpanzee as a legal person with protections, as opposed to a legal “thing” without rights.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times
“A smart, heroic act of film-making. This compassionate and distinctive work is a combination of single-minded legal drama and humane consciousness raising possibilities. It is a story about something that is often very near to our hearts.” – Isa Freeling and Deborah Kane, The Huffington Post
From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams (“Music by Prudence”), is the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. This emotional coming-of-age documentary follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence. The subject of his father Ron Suskind’s New York Times bestseller, Owen was a thriving three-year-old who suddenly and inexplicably went silent—and for years after remained unable to connect with other people or to convey his thoughts, feelings or desires. Over time, through repeated viewings of Disney classics like The Little Mermaid and The Lion King, Owen found useful tools to help him to understand complex social cues and to re-connect with the world around him. Life, Animated evocatively interweaves classic Disney sequences with vérité scenes from Owen’s life in order to explore how his identification and empathy for characters like Simba, Jafar and Ariel gave him a means to understand his feelings and allowed him to interpret reality. Director and Producer Roger Ross Williams (God Love Uganda) joins us to talk about the challenge of presenting a balanced portrait of Owen Suskind and his family.
Winner of the Audience Award – San Francisco Film Festival
Winner of the Audience Award – Full Frame Film Festival
Winner of the Directing Award – Sundance Film Festival, Life, Animated
“A captivating portrait of a young man for whom Disney animated movies have provided a powerful lifeline to progress, language and understanding. – Justin Chang, Variety
“Williams smartly devotes large portions of the documentary to Owen on his own, letting him explain his fears himself rather than relying on the other Suskinds for clarification and translation. – Noel Murray, A.V. Club
“Incredibly moving documentary takes us into the interior life of an autistic person, and explores how films helped him communicate with the outside world.” – Lanre Bakare, The Guardian
“Instead of false hope, it offers up possibility, the chance of a stimulus that might get past the blocks of developmental disorder.”- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
MARCH OF THE LIVING tells the story of the last generation of Holocaust survivors traveling to Poland with thousands of teenagers from around the world to revisit the sites of the Holocaust and retrace the Death March fromAuschwitz to Birkenau, in a journey of remembrance. Filmed in Brazil, Germany, Poland, Israel and the US, the film tells the moving story of the survivors’ hope of passing down their history and memory of the Holocaust to the next generation. MARCH OF THE LIVING follows survivors and teens from Sao Paulo, Los Angeles and Berlin on an emotional journey as they confront the enormity of the past and the possibility of hope in a visit to Israel on its 60th anniversary. A contemporary and unique look at the Holocaust, the film features striking cinematography of the concentration camps today and images and artifacts never seen. MARCH OF THE LIVING raises questions about Holocaust memory as it relates to genocides worldwide today, and about what will happen when the remaining survivors, now in their 80’s and 90’s, will be gone. MARCH OF THE LIVING director and writer Jessica Sanders joins us to talk about the desire of Holocaust survivors to share their memories and the hope that the world will say once and for all never again to racism, indifference, anti-semitism and injustice.
Gloria Vanderbilt and her youngest son, Anderson Cooper, come together with Academy Award nominated director Liz Garbus to reflect on their extraordinary personal history. Born under a name synonymous with wealth, fortune and New York royalty, Gloria Vanderbilt has lived in the public eye for over ninety years, unapologetically pursuing love, family, and career, and experiencing extreme tragedy and tremendous success side by side. Now, through Gloria’s charming and unique artwork, coupled with rare personal footage, and narrated by candid conversations between mother and son, we see her as never before. Gloria and Anderson tell the story of their pasts and presents, losses and loves, revealing how, in life, our family stories repeat themselves in the most unexpected ways. HBO will debut NOTHING LEFT UNSAID: GLORIA VANDERBILT & ANDERSON COOPER exclusively on Saturday, April 9. Academy Award® nominated director Liz Garbus is one of the most celebrated American documentary filmmakers working today; her films have been acclaimed worldwide, and have garnered multiple Academy Award® nominations and Emmy Award wins. Garbus’ most recent documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone? was the Opening Night film of the2015 Sundance Film Festival and had its theatrical and worldwide release on Netflix in June. Garbus’ first documentary film, The Farm: Angola, USA, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, was awarded ten other festival and critics’ awards, and was nominated for an Academy Award® in 1998. She stops by to talk about a remarkably accomplished woman who has spent her entire life in the withering glare of public and the press and the complex and loving relationship she has with her accomplished son, Anderson Cooper.
GLORIA VANDERBILT TELLS THE STORY OF HER REMARKABLE LIFE IN THE POIGNANT DOCUMENTARY NOTHING LEFT UNSAID: GLORIA VANDERBILT & ANDERSON COOPER, DEBUTING APRIL 9, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO.
In the Academy Award nominated short documentary film Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah director Adam Benzine explores the arduous 12-year journey that led to the creation of one of the most important films of our time. Coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the release of Shoah — Claude Lanzmann’s nine-and-a-half-hour examination of the Holocaust of European Jews — this documentary reveals for the first time the trials and tribulations the French iconoclast faced. Notably, the film features an array of previously unseen outtake footage that was shot during the creation of Shoah, to illustrate Lanzmann’s journey from the bright-eyed journalist of 1973 to the world-weary auteur of 1985. The outtake footage has been digitally restored and was provided by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Israel’s Yad Vashem. In addition to exploring the making of Shoah the documentary also reflects on several key points in Lanzmann’s life, including his teenage years fighting in the French resistance, his love affair with Simone de Beauvoir and his deep friendship with Jean-Paul Sartre, as well as his hopes and expectations for the future. Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah is the first major documentary to be made on the life of the 90-year-old auteur. Writer, producer and director British filmmaker and journalist Adam Benzine joins us for an in-depth conversation on the Lanzmann, the remarkable story behind the making of Shoah and the tremendous impact Shoah has had on our collective understanding of Holocaust.
The **2016 Academy Award nominated Best Foreign Language Film is at once blistering and poetic in its examination of the ravages of colonialism and the dark shadow it casts over the South American landscape in EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT. It is director Ciro Guerra third film and the first film shot in the Amazonian rainforest in over 30 years. Filmed in stunning black-and-white, the film centers on Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and the last survivor of his people, and the two scientists (Evan and Theo, portrayed by Brionne Davis and Jan Bijvoet) who, over the course of 40 years, build a friendship with him. The film was inspired by the real-life journals of two explorers (Theodor Kock-Grünberg and Richard Evans Schultes) who traveled through the Colombian Amazon during the last century in search of the sacred and difficult-to-find psychedelic Yakruna plant. EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight section of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, where it was awarded the top prize, the CIACE Art Cinema Award, and is Colombia’s official Oscar® entry for Best Foreign Language Film. Director Ciro Guerra and Brionne Davis stop by Film School to talk about the many challenges of filming in the jungles of Brazil and the rewards of shining a spotlight on the brutality of European colonial dominance over indigenous people.
** 2016 Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film
* 2016 Spirit Award nominee for Best International Film
“An intense journey and very rewarding visual feast.” Nathaniel Rogers, THE FILM EXPERIENCE
“Shot on sumptuous Super 35, the black and white photography lends itself to the film’s sorrowful ode to a world devastated, but it is the ceaseless teeming life of the soundtrack that transports the audience into the midst of the rainforest.” – Ben Nicholson, CINEVUE
“A visual astonishment… There’s no denying the film’s chastening moral conviction or the transfixing power of its black-and-white imagery.Not just an ethnographic study but also a striking act of cinematic witness.” – Justin Chang, Variety
“‘Embrace of the Serpent’ is simply a work of art, and one of the most singular cinematic experiences you could hope to have in Cannes, or anywhere really. It’s an absorbing, even thrilling head trip. It is a Heart-of-Darkness voyage of discovery. It is a lament for all the lost plants and peoples of the world.” – Jessica Kiang, Indiewire’s “The Playlist”
In the **2016 Academy Award nominated Best Foreign Language film A WAR, company commander Claus M. Pedersen (Pilou Asbæk) and his men are stationed in an Afghan province. Meanwhile, back in Denmark, Claus’ wife Maria (Tuva Novotny) is trying to hold everyday life together with a husband at war and three children who are missing their father. During a routine mission, the soldiers are caught in heavy crossfire and in order to save his men, Claus makes a decision that has grave consequences for not only him, but also for his family back home. Award winning director Tobias Lindholm (A Hijacking, Bodil, The Hunt) and lead actor Pilou Asbaek (A Hijacking, Bodil, Ben-Hur (2016)) join us for an insightful conversation into the brutal and amoral circumstance of an urban war environment that often leaves participants with no right answers.
** 2016 Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film
“Rigorous and engrossing. It scrutinizes the Afghanistan conflict with consummate sensitivity and detail. A particularly gutsy showcase for Pilou Asbæk.” – Guy Lodge, Variety
“Tremendous. Beautifully written. The sense of directorial sureness throughout can’t be overstated.” – Jessica Kiang, Indiewire’s “The Playlist”
“The action in “A War” unfolds so spontaneously, and unpredictably, that you share the young soldiers’ sense of danger without realizing it at first.” – The Wall Street Journal
“A tightly-wound, gripping story that evokes the pressures that these men feel and the solid bonds of attachments to their buddies. Few films have done a better job of examining the notion that there is often a difficulty between the law and justice.” – Harvey Karten, Showbiz
This **Academy Award nominated story about the friendship of two boys that is tested to its limits, as they battle for survival during the Kosovo War. Based on true events, SHOK is set during the escalation of the Kosovo War when the country was occupied by Serbia. Two young Kosovan boys, Petrit and Oki, are best friends. After Oki buys a bike, Petrit is desperate to have one of his own. Building a steady network of clients and contacts, Petrit drags Oki into ever more dangerous situations until their lives are put at risk. Oki’s bicycle is taken away by a soldier and given to a Serbian boy instead. Escalating effects of war become even more intense for these boys and their families. And as their relationship is tested to the limits, they encounter the true intentions of the Serbians and learn the meaning of friendship. SHOK is based on true events of the film’s producer/actor Eshref Durmishi – who was a young boy during these tumultuous times in Kosovo. Director – writer Jamie Donoughue and Durmishi join us to talk about the making of this wrenching drama and the lessons learned from years of brutal civil war.
** 2016 Academy Award nominated – Live Action Short Film
Body Team 12 is tasked with collecting the victims at the height of the Ebola outbreak. These body collectors have arguably the most dangerous and gruesome job in the world. The story is told on the ground in Monrovia, Liberia through the eyes of the only female member of the team, Garmai Sumo. A mother and a caretaker, Garmai posesses a certain type of maternal heroism. And through Garmai, we see the heartbreaking, lifesaving work of removing bodies from loved ones in order to halt the transmission of the disease. Director David Darg shot the film himself at great personal risk in an effort to humanize the workers he felt were saving the world. He edited the film while in quarantine upon returning to the United States.
Director David Darg on the making of Body Team 12: “Being on the ground during the height of the viral Ebola outbreak in 2014, I was astonished by the bravery of Liberia’s Ebola body teams, and in particular, Garmai Sumo, the female body collector featured in the film BODY TEAM 12. I was immediately inspired by her – by her fearlessness, determination and love for her community. History is defined by people who stood up against huge odds to fight immense battles. If it was not for the courage of the body teams, the Ebola epidemic would be far worse. Africa, and ultimately the world, owes so much to this small group of brave young Liberians. I hope BODY TEAM 12 earns them gratitude from people all around the globe.”
** 2016 Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary – Short Subject
“… it is Body Team 12 that clutches at the heart. Not only is Sumo a redemptive presence in an apocalyptic moment in her country’s history, but she represents the best in all of us. For that reason, Darg and Mooser might just nab the Oscar.” – Film Journal
“It’s a showcase of the human spirit and a selfless attitude to do what’s necessary for the greater good because today’s generation deserves the chance to have the same future every generation before them had. It’s also a memorial for the nameless and faceless victims… Darg gives them something with his film by immortalizing them through Sumo’s mission. And one day it’ll all be worth it.” – Jared Mubarek
Chau, Beyond the Lines Chau, a teenager living in a Ho Chi Minh care center for children disabled by Agent Orange, battles with the reality of his dream to one day become a professional artist.
Director Courtney Marsh on the making ofChau, Beyond the Lines: “Eight years ago, I traveled to Vietnam with a classmate to make a documentary on the plight of the street kids in Ho Chi Minh City. However, not too long into our trip, we were introduced to a small care center for kids disabled by Agent Orange, tucked away in the back of a maternity hospital. When I entered, something struck deep inside me and I decided to volunteer there for a week, becoming close with the kids almost instantly. I asked them if I could film their lives, and thus, began a two month journey that would span out into my 8-year endeavor. And as I finished this film, what I saw and began to believe was the truth of the unconquerable human spirit. I focused on Chau’s story because of the relentless pursuit for his dream to be an artist. He taught me to hope in a world where, most often than not, there is a lack of such. If we could all look at the larger picture, focus on what we have rather than what we don’t have, perhaps our seemingly impossible dreams would be actually within our reach.” Director Marsh joins us for a conversation on the remarkable spirit of Chau and the impact that Agent Orange has had, and continues to have on the people of Vietnam.
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.
Based on the personal life of the film’s director Deniz Gamze Ergüven personal life Mustang tells the story of five free-spirited teenage sisters living in a village in Northern Turkey. As the sisters splash about on the beach with their male classmate their innocent fun a neighbor reports what she considers to be illicit behavior to the girls’ family. The family overreacts, removing all “instruments of corruption,” like cell phones and computers, and essentially imprisoning the girls, subjecting them to endless lessons in housework in preparation for them to become brides. As the eldest sisters are married off, the younger ones bond together to avoid the same fate. The fierce love between them empowers them to rebel and chase a future where they can determine their own lives in Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s debut, a powerful portrait of female empowerment. Mustang was selected as the French entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards, making the December shortlist of nine films. The film was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Director Ergüven’s joins us for a conversation on her beautifully rendered story of five young women who refuse to be shackled by a repressive social system.
** Spirit Award nomination for Best International Film
Official Selection – France – 2016 Academy Awards Official Selection – Cannes Film Festival 2015 Directors’ Fortnight Special Presentation – Toronto International Film Festival 2015 Winner – Heart of Sarajevo Award, Sarajevo Film Festival 2015 Winner – Europa Cinemas Prize, Cannes Film Festival 2015 Winner – Audience Award, Chicago International Film Festival 2015 Winner – Best First Film Award, Philadelphia Film Festival 2015
“Part of a welcome international wave of films made by women directors that focus on girls growing up in worlds of men – and on what they look like when no one’s looking.” – Ty Burr, Boston Globe
“It’s a moving portrait of sisterhood, a celebration of a fierce femininity and a damning indictment of patriarchal systems that seek to destroy and control this spirit.” – Katie Walsh, LA Times
“’Mustang’ is the début feature of Deniz Gamze Ergüven, and it’s quite something: a coming-of-age fable mapped onto a prison break, at once dream-hazed and sharp-edged with suspense. – Anthony Lane, New Yorker
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
Our Curse is the very personal film of director, Tomasz Śliwiński and his wife, Magda Hueckel, dealing with a very rare and incurable disease afflicting their newborn child, Leo, – the Ondine’s Curse is also known as CCHS, congenital central hypoventilation syndrome. The very, very rare disease causes its victims to stop breathing during sleep and require lifetime mechanical ventilation on a ventilator. Tomasz’s first short movie The Curse was presented at many film festivals, such as Nowe Horyzonty in Wrocław and Etiuda & Anima in Kraków (where he received a distinction of FICC Jury). His next film Our Curse premiered at the 66th Locarno International Film Festival and was screened at over 45 international film events, winning 30 prizes including awards at International Festival of Short Films Aspen Shortfest, Raindance Film Festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest and nominations for the Silver Eye Award at East Silver Market 2013 and Best of IDFA at IDFA – International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. Together with Magda Hueckel (as Muzungu-art group) he creates a subjective, personal photographic document from various travels all over the world. Tomasz joins us to talk about his very personal decision to film his family life and the intimate conversations between he and his wife, Magda, have as they come to terms with a challenging new chapter of their lives.
Heather works in a helpline call centre. When she receives a phone call from a mystery man, she has no idea that the encounter will change her life forever. ‘The Phone Call’ was shot on location in London in May 2013, with Sally Hawkins having just completed filming on Woody Allen’s ‘Blue Jasmine’. Despite the fact that Sally and Jim Broadbent have both starred in Mike Leigh films, this was the first time that they had actually worked together. Mat Kirkby is a commercials/music video director working out of Ridley Scott Associates in London, although he spends much of his time writing Screenplays and eating cake. His work includes videos for Adele, Basement Jaxx and Muse and adverts for Nike and Playstation. Mat appeared on the cover of Screen International as a ‘UK Star of Tomorrow’, (although the other ‘stars’ such as Gemma Arterton, Andrew Garfield and Felicity Jones all actually became stars). He is currently developing 3 features, the psychological thriller ‘Call Girl’, biopic ‘Hair of the Dog’ and comedy ‘Wingman’. Mat’s greatest achievement still remains setting the Guinness World Record for ‘most consecutive bikini-waxes in a 24 hr period’ for the Fatboy Slim video ‘Bushes’. Director Kirkby joins us for a conversation on the making of his riveting and moving film.
You want to put her in a home; you tell her; tell her now!’ hisses one brother to the other. But Mother won’t go, and their own lives unravel as she clings on. Innovative life-size animated characters tell the stark and darkly humorous tale of caring for an elderly parent. Daisy Jacobs is a British animation director, based in London. She studied at the National Film and Television School and at Central St Martins School of Art. The Bigger Picture is her MA graduation film. Previous films include Don Justino de Nevem (2011) and Tosh (2012). In her films, Daisy has moved from 2D hand-drawn animation to a hybrid of stop- motion and life-size painted animation. In The Bigger Picture, two-metre tall 2D and 3D painted characters interact with real sets. Director / writer / animator Jacobs stops by to talk about her unique and compelling animated masterpiece.
2014 – Edinburgh International Film Festival, Innovation Award
2014 – Festival de Cannes (Cinefondation), Troisieme Prix,
2014 – Manchester KinoFilm Festival, Best Short Animation
2014 – Annecy Animation Festival, Cristal for a Graduation Film
2014 – Edinburgh International Film Festival, Innovation Award
2014 – Hiroshima Film Festival, Grand Prize, Oscar Qualifying
FEAST is a new short from first-time director Patrick Osborne (Head of Animation, PAPERMAN) and Walt Disney Animation Studios, is the story of one man’s love life as seen through the eyes of his best friend and dog, Winston, and revealed bite by bite through the meals they share. Osborne is behind Walt Disney Animation Studios’ new short FEAST, taking the film from conception to completion. Osborne joined Disney as an animator on the 2008 feature film BOLT and went on to work on the PREP & LANDING movies andDisney’s 2010 hit TANGLED. Osborne served as Head of Animation for Disney’s’ OSCAR®-winning short PAPERMAN, and acted as Co-Head of Animation for the upcoming feature BIG HERO 6 prior to assuming full-time directing duties for FEAST. Prior to joining Disney, the Cincinnati, Ohio, native was lead character animator on THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. He also worked as an animator on I AM LEGEND, SuRF’S uP and OPEN SEASON. Osborne, who earned a BFA with a focus in computer animation from Ringling College of Art and Design, got his start as a kid making movies with his brothers on their parents’ camcorder. His fascination with visual effects was elevated to a career goal when his dad gave him a book about the making of JURASSIC PARK. Director Osborne joins us to talk about Oscar nominated film and the challenges and rewards of having the final say on his own animated film.
2015 Annie Awards Nomination
Audience Award Winner: 2014 Hamptons International Film Festival
Based on the classic Belgian book series by Gabrielle Vincent, Ernest & Celestine won France’s César Award for Best Animated Feature, and nominated for this year’s Oscar for Best Animated Feature, tells the story of a mouse named Celestine, an artist and a dreamer who forms an unlikely bond with a troubadour bear named Ernest. But it isn’t long before their friendship is put on trial by their respective bear-fearing and mice-eating communities. Like a gorgeous watercolor painting brought to life, a constantly shifting pastel color palette bursts and drips across the screen, while wonderful storytelling and brilliant comic timing draw up influences as varied as Buster Keaton, Bug Bunny and the outlaw romanticism of Bonnie and Clyde. Bringing it all together is the on-screen chemistry between the two lead characters – a flowing, tender and playful rapport that will put a smile on your face and make your heart grow. Co-director Benjamin Renner stops by Film School for a conversation on his beguiling collaboration with co-directors Vincent Patar and Stephane Aubier.
“MAGICAL! ENCHANTING! AN ABSOULTE DELIGHT!”
“From its inventive visuals to its unruly heroes, Ernest & Celestine is an equal pleasure for children and adults. A modern-day period piece, a fabulous fable, a most fortunate use of animation artistry!” – Los Angeles Times
“EXTRAORDINARY!” “To call it one of the most beautiful animated films in recent years is not enough. It is simply enchanting!” – Le Monde
“AN UTTER SUCCESS!” “Sublimely elegant, endearing, gorgeous, delightful! This is an artful, handcrafted, and unforgettable piece of animation!” – IndieWire
In THE STUNT MAN, Vietnam veteran Cameron (Steve Railsback) is on the run from the police when he stumbles onto the set of a war movie directed by megalomaniac Eli Cross (Peter O’Toole). But when the young fugitive is forced to replace a dead stunt man, he falls in love with the movie’s leading lady (Barbara Hershey) while trying to avoid getting arrested or killed. Is Eli trying to capture Cameron’s death on film? And what happens to a paranoid stunt man when illusion and reality change places? Completed in 1979 but unreleased until 1980, this innovative dramatic comedy/action thriller has become one of the most acclaimed cult hits of our time. Director, writer and Oscar nominated filmmaker Richard Rush joins us for an engaging conversation the challenges of making a movie about making a movie and the rewards of working with one of cinemas all-time greats, Peter O’Toole.
** Landmark Theatres and Reel Talk with Stephen Farber present the Anniversary Classics Series, returning to The Landmark LA on Wednesday, February 19 at 7:00pm with THE STUNT MAN, celebrating the film’s 35th Anniversary, with in person guests director Richard Rush, lead actor Steve Railsback, and others to be announced.
“THE STUNT MAN is a virtuoso piece of kinetic moviemaking.” – Pauline Kael, New York Times
“Richard Rush’s inventive narrative about the blurred lines between movie reality and factual reality is vastly entertaining, boasting Peter O’Toole in a diabolical, delicious Oscar-nominated performance.” – Emanuel Levy
“At the 1980 San Francisco Film Festival, François Truffaut was asked to name his favorite director. He replied, ‘I don’t know his name, but I just saw his picture last night. It’s called The Stunt Man.’” – Mark Bourne, DVD Journal
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall is a moving cinema verité documentary that breaks through the walls of one of Americas oldest maximum security prisons to tell the story of the final months in the life of a terminally ill prisoner, Jack Hall and the hospice volunteers, they themselves prisoners, who care for him. The film draws from footage shot over a six-month period behind the walls of the Iowa State Penitentiary and provides a fascinating and often poignant account of how the hospice experience can profoundly touch even the forsaken lives of the incarcerated. Director Edgar Barens stops to talk about his moving film and the tens of thousands of Jack Halls that are dying right now in prisons all over the United States.
“The only truly great film in this category… The 2013 Short Documentary you shouldn’t miss. – Salon.com film critic Andrew O’Hehir
“Terribly CAPTIVATING. GALVANIZING. GRIPPING.” “SHOULD WIN” the Academy Award for Best Doc Short Subject. – SLANT Magazine
“The film is most moving as a case study of one man, a decorated WWII vet and German POW who killed his late son’s drug dealer. Hall’s a tough bird and so are the volunteers, convicted murderers all, who care for him in his final illness, but “Prison Terminal” turns out to be a profoundly tender experience.” – Ty Burr, The Boston Globe
The Oscar nominated Short Live Action film The Lady in Number 6 is one of the most inspirational and uplifting stories of the year. As the world’s oldest pianist and holocaust survivor, 109 year-old Alice Herz Sommer shares her views on how to live a long and happy life. She discusses music, laughter and how to remain optimistic come what may. The film features beautiful photographs and rare film footage that truly brings Alice’s extraordinary story to life. The director of The Lady in Number 6, Malcolm Clarke joins us to talk about the remarkable life an times of a gifted artist and resilient human being.
“Herz-Sommer’s story is remarkable. Born in Prague to a family focused on the arts, she recalls, as a child, going for fun walks with her mother’s great friend Franz Kafka — the brilliant existentialist author not necessarily known as being a fun guy — or sitting on the knee of Gustav Mahler, the world-renowned composer and a close acquaintance of her kin. But it was another luminary, classical pianist Artur Schnabel, who encouraged her to pursue a concert career.” – Bill Brownstein, Montreal Gazette
Ra Paulette has dug 14 caves in the sandstone cliffs of Northern New Mexico Paulette using only hand tools — a pickaxe and wheelbarrow strapped to his back, each project taking months, sometimes years to complete. Paulette digs cathedral-like, ‘eighth wonder of the world’ art. Each creation takes him years to complete, and each is a masterwork. Paulette’s process is wholly intuitive — he creates arches, pillars, rooms, doorways, steps, benches with carving as detailed as a cathedral. But patrons who have commissioned caves have cut off nearly all of his projects due to artistic differences. Paulette is the subject of filmmaker Jeffrey Karoff’s Academy Award nominated Live Action Short, CaveDigger. Director Karoff joins us to talk about the challenges of capturing the Paulette’s particular vision and spectacular works on film.
“Akin to Andy Goldsworthy—who also painstakingly creates fleeting beauty in the wilderness, but mainly reaches his audience through photographs of those creations—Paulette may benefit from being the subject of Jeffrey Karoff‘s intriguing doc portrait.” – Aaron Hills, Village Voice