July 27 – Dark Money, Director Kimberly Reed

DARK MONEY, a political thriller, examines one of the greatest present threats to American democracy: the influence of untraceable corporate money on our elections and elected officials. The film takes viewers to Montana—a frontline in the fight to preserve fair elections nationwide—to follow an intrepid local journalist working to expose the real-life impacts of the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. For decades, Montana had arguably the cleanest campaign laws in the U.S., precisely in reaction to a long history of political corruption. Its small population and rich natural resources like copper, had made it particularly vulnerable to private-industry bribery and extortion. Through this gripping story, DARK MONEY uncovers the shocking and vital truth of how American elections are bought and sold. This Sundance award-winning documentary is directed/produced by Kimberly Reed (PRODIGAL SONS) and produced by Katy Chevigny (E-TEAM). Kimberly joins us for a conversation on where our increasingly fragile democracy is and the very troubling place where it may be headed if dramatic measures are not taken to stop the shadowy corporate money from overwhelming our electoral process.

 

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Q & A’s with Kimberly Reed this weekend at screenings in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley and Marin

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Damning, clear-eyed, and as gripping as any John Grisham thriller.” – Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

“There’s not a dull or dry moment in Reed’s briskly paced film about the secret assault on the American electoral and judicial process by corporations whose agenda is nothing less than the dismantling of government itself.” – Ella Taylor

“A densely packed documentary that earnestly and obsessively addresses campaign finance reform, its history and vital importance.” – Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

“An air-raid siren of a documentary about the pernicious influence of corporate cash in American politics.” – Chris Barsanti, Film Journal International

June 29 – Leave No Trace, Director Debra Granik

Will (Ben Foster) and his teenage daughter, Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie), have lived off the grid for years in the forests of Portland, Oregon. When their idyllic life is shattered, both are put into social services. After clashing with their new surroundings, Will and Tom set off on a harrowing journey back to their wild homeland. The film is directed by Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone) from a script adapted by Granik and Anne Rosellini and based on the novel My Abandonment by Peter Rock. Director Debra Granik joins us to talk about her modern day tale of two people grappling with a sense of place, loyalty, love, and deep wounds.

 

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For news and updates go to: bleeckerstreetmedia.com/leavenotrace

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“When civilization feels threatened, starting over in the woods seems not only appealing, but maybe even necessary. Especially when seen though Granik’s discerning eye. How lucky we are to have her work.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service

“A profound story about love, family, loyalty, understanding, and compassion.” – Tiffany Tchobanian, Film Threat

“Minimalistic, deliberate and largely silent, “Leave No Trace” clings to each word like an endangered species. It demands patience from the audience, but that patience is richly rewarded.” – J.R. Kinnard, Seattle Times

“The heart of Leave No Trace is the rapport between the father and daughter, and McKenzie and Foster are keyed to each other’s movements, perhaps even each other’s thoughts.”- David Edelstein, New York Magazine

June 15 – To a More Perfect Union: U.S. V. Windsor, Director Donna Zaccaro

“To A More Perfect Union: U.S. V. Windsor” shares a rich tapestry of love, marriage, and a fight for equality. The film chronicles unlikely heroes — octogenarian Edie Windsor and her attorney, Roberta Kaplan, on their quest for justice. Upon the death of her spouse Thea Spyer, Windsor was forced to pay a huge estate tax bill because the government denied federal benefits to same-sex couples. Windsor became a renowned LGBTQ civil rights advocate when she chose to sue the United States government to recognize her more than 40 year union– and  won Windsor and Kaplan’s legal and personal journeys go beyond the story of this pivotal case in the marriage equality movement as Zaccaro tells the story of our journey as a culture, and as a country that promises its citizens equal rights for all. The film features interviews with notable voices in this civil rights battle, including: Roberta Kaplan (Windsor Attorney), Pam Karlan (Windsor Legal Team & Co-Director, Stanford Supreme Court Litigation Clinic), Rosie O’Donnell (Comedian, Actor & Activist), Frank Rich (Writer-At-Large, NY Magazine),  Hilary Rosen (Communications Advisor & LGBT Activist), Richard Socarides (White House Special Assistant & Advisor to President Clinton), Matt Staver (Founder & Chairman of Liberty Counsel), Jeff Toobin (CNN Legal Analyst & New Yorker Staff Writer), Nina Totenberg (Legal Affairs Correspondent for National Public Radio), Tony West (Former Associate U.S. Attorney General), Edie Windsor (Plaintiff), Evan Wolfson (Founder & President of Freedom to Marry), among others.  Donna Zaccaro (“Geraldine Ferraro: Paving the Way”) joins us to talk about her intimate tale of the struggle for universal equal rights and the on-going attempts to undermine them. Director Donna Zaccaro talks about the heroic struggle by Edie Windsor and the scarring legal battles that it took to achieve this historic victory for human rights.

 

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For news and updates go to: perfectunionfilm.com

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“The film reminds us that there are individual human experiences behind the legal decisions that impact an entire country.” – Kimberly Myers, Los Angeles Times

“The film’s quiet confidence in an evolved America only tells half the story; as a result, it already feels like more like a prologue than a happy ending.” – Matthew Monagle, Ausin Chronicle

“A history lesson that doesn’t overstay its welcome.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

Defining Hope, Director Carolyn Jones

We aren’t dying the way we used to. We have ventilators, dialysis machines, ICUs—technologies that can “fix” us and keep our bodies alive—which have radically changed how we make medical decisions. Defining Hope takes on the topic of dying in our death-denying culture, no matter how sick we get, there is always “hope.” The will to live is a powerful force, and eventually we will all have to make individual decisions when faced with very complex choices. Filmmaker Carolyn Jones spent four years interviewing and photographing nurses for the groundbreaking American Nurse book and film, and another year of research and interviews focused on what Dying in America looks like, all of which has led her to making this new film, the culmination of a journey, called Defining Hope. Defining Hope is a story about people weighing what matters most at the most fragile junctures in life, and the nurses who guide them. It’s a documentary that follows patients with life-threatening illness as they make choices about how they want to live, how much medical technology they can accept, what they hope for and how that hope evolves when life is threatened. It is optimistic and reminds us that we have choices in how we die. Defining Hope is critical and relevant right now, with our rapidly aging population and incalculable challenges in healthcare and end-of-life care. Director Carolyn Jones (American Nurse) joins us for a conversation on her empathetic, clear-eyed look at death and living.

 

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For news and updates go to: hope.film

WINNER – Best Premiere for Documentary Feature 2017 Heartland Film Festival

DEFINING HOPE DEBUTS ON PBS/PUBLIC TELEVISION STATIONS NATIONWIDE ON APRIL 1, 2018 VIA AMERICAN PUBLIC TELEVISION

“Shining a light on hospice and palliative care, approaches that are still considered alternative, Defining Hope builds a persuasive case for the ways they empower patients and their loved ones.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter