Queen of Hearts: Audrey Flack, Director Deborah Shaffer

Octogenarian artist Audrey Flack has always been a trailblazer. QUEEN OF HEARTS: AUDREY FLACK, a documentary from Oscar® and Emmy® Award-winning director  Deborah Shaffer (The Wobblies, To Be Heard) and co-director/editor Rachel Reichman (Hitchcock/Truffaut, A Letter to Elia), is an intimate portrait of her life and work, as she returns to her canvas for the first time in decades, revealing her longtime struggles as an artist and mother to find her rightful place in the art world. At 88 years-old, Audrey Flack holds a unique place in the history of contemporary art in America. Feminist, rebel, mother, painter, sculptor and teacher, Audrey’s often controversial 40-year career evolved from abstract expressionism in the 1950s to photorealism in the 1970s. One of the first women ever included in the famed Janson’s History of Art, Audrey continues to create, explore, and inspire with her unique style and indomitable spirit. QUEEN OF HEARTS follows Flack as she takes her work in a brand new direction and reveals her long-term struggles as the mother of a child with autism. Flack has something deep and genuine to communicate to the world. Director Deborah Shaffer joins us for a conversation on getting to know her endlessly fascinating, multi-talented subject who is still testing, still experimenting, still searching.

 

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For news and updates go to: audreyflackfilm.com

About the filmmaker – Academy Award winning filmmaker Deborah Shaffer began making social issue documentaries as a member of the Newsreel collective the ‘70’s. She co-founded Pandora Films, one of the first women’s film companies, which produced several shorts. Her first feature documentary, The Wobblies, premiered at the New York Film Festival in 1979. During the 80’s Shaffer focused on human rights in Central America and Latin America, directing many films including  Witness to War: Dr. Charlie Clements which won the Academy Award for Short Documentary in 1985, and Fire From the Mountain and Dance of Hope which both played at the Sundance Film Festival. Shaffer directed one of the first post-September 11 films, From the Ashes: 10 Artists  followed by From the Ashes: Epilogue, which premiered at the Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals. She is also the Executive Producer of the Academy Award-nominated short Asylum, and has directed numerous acclaimed public television programs on women and the arts. She directed and produced To Be Heard, which won awards at numerous festivals and aired nationwide on PBS. She has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Irene Diamond Lifetime Achievement Award by the Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

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“a thoroughly engaging documentary portrait of an artist…[and] the perfect introduction to its subject, comprehensive in its detail and captivating in its approach.” – Christopher Reed, Hammer to Nail

“…what’s refreshing about Deborah Shaffer and Rachel Reichman’s look is how intimate and personal it feels, grounding a remarkable woman in a very personable and extraordinary light.”-Tynan Yanaga, Film Inquiry

“…she has been an incredible photorealist, armed with a convincing spray brush. Now, the artist finally gets her due in this documentary about her life.” – Nadja Sayej, Forbes

Rebuilding Paradise, Producer Sara Bernstein

Oscar winning Director Ron Howard’s gripping new documentary. Rebuilding Paradise, movingly recounts and expands on the devastating events of Nov. 8, 2018. A tragedy that began with a spark from a transmission line in Northern California, coupled with climate-impacted conditions, quickly grew into a devastating firestorm that engulfed the picturesque city of Paradise, California. By the time the Camp Fire was extinguished, it had killed 85 people, displaced 50,000 residents and destroyed 95% of local structures. It was the deadliest U.S. fire in 100 years — and the worst ever in California’s history. As residents faced the damage to their lives, to their homes and to more than 150,000 acres in and around their 141-year-old town, they did something amazing: They worked together to heal. The community members went on to forge a bond stronger than what they had before the catastrophe, even as their hope and spirit were challenged by continued adversity: relocations, financial crises, government hurdles, water poisoning, grief and PTSD. From the moment the crisis began, The Camp Fire and its overwhelming aftermath became a de facto lesson in what we all must do: protect our environment, help our neighbors, plan for future dangers and remember to preserve the traditions that unite us — just as these resilient citizens did when they began the important task of REBUILDING PARADISE. Producer Sara Bernstein joins us for a conversation on how the production team, led by Oscar-winning director Ron Howard gained the confidence and trust of families scarred by one of the most devastating fires in California as well as documenting the resiliency and character of the people rebuilding Paradise.

 

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For news and updates go to: nationalgeographic.com/rebuilding-paradise

About the filmmaker – Sara Bernstein is an award-winning producer and Executive Vice President at Imagine Documentaries the newly launched documentary division of Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s, Imagine Entertainment. Recent feature films she has executive produced include Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band (2019) and Dads (2019) which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. The Ron Howard-directed documentary film, Rebuilding Paradise (2020), for National Geographic Films, D.Wade: Life Unexpected (2020) for ESPN Films and the documentary feature film on legendary chef Julia Child, Julia (2021) directed by Academy Award nominees Julie Cohen and Betsy West. Prior to joining Imagine, Bernstein was Senior Vice President, HBO Documentary Films over seeing nonfiction development and production for HBO. Credits include Academy Award-winner Citizenfour (2014), Academy Award-winner Music by Prudence (2010), Academy Award nominees Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country (2008), Iraq In Fragments (2006), The Children of Leningradsky (2005), Poster Girl (2010). Emmy-nominated The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (2019), Emmy-nominated The Case Against Adnan Syed (2019), Judd Apatow’s Emmy-winning The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling (2018), Emmy winners Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015), White Light, Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (2007) and Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (2012). Emmy-nominated The Case Against 8 (2014), Mapplethorpe: Look At The Pictures (2016), Chris Hegedus & D.A. Pennebaker’s Emmy-nominated Unlocking The Cage (2016); Beware the Slenderman (2016), I Love You Now Die (2019) and Mommy Dead and Dearest (2017). Bernstein has garnered 10 Emmy wins, 29 Emmy nominations and 11 Peabody Awards. Documentaries she has supervised have garnered 2 Oscars and 13 Oscar nominations.

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92% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Rebuilding Paradise might easily have blazed with righteous fury, but its conclusions are quieter and bleaker.” – Ellen E Jones, Guardian

“Filmmaker Howard admittedly does a superb job of immediately drawing the viewer into the briskly-paced proceedings…” David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews

“Howard’s documentary is not so much about the fire as it takes a looks at the resilience members of the community showed. It is both painful and inspirational.” – Rick Bentley,Tribune News Service

“Mr. Howard wants us to know that greater challenges lie ahead… Yet his documentary also dramatizes the resilience and resourcefulness we can bring to bear in meeting them. Calamity, the film says, isn’t destiny.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

Us Kids, Director Kim A. Snyder

From Kim A. Snyder, director of the Peabody Award-winning documentary  Newtown, comes Us Kids, an insightful, rousing coming-of-age story of a generation of youth leaders determined to take the reins and fight for justice at a most critical time in our nation’s history. Sparked by the plague of gun violence ravaging their schools, Us Kids, chronicles the March For Our Lives movement from the point of view of Emma González, David Hogg, Samantha Fuentes and the expansive coalition of teenage activists involved over the course of several years as they pull off the largest youth protest in American history and set out across the country to build an inclusive and unprecedented youth movement that addresses racial justice, a growing public health crisis, and shocks a political system into change. Director Kim A. Snyder joins us for a conversation on the historic progress made by the reluctant activists who dramatically change the perception that young people should “wait there turn” in terms of affecting the course of politics in America and the world.

 

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

Get Involved – US KIDS is kicking off its launch with the just-announced Vote With Us Virtual Rally, a national GOTV campaign with the focus to educate, motivate & mobilize young people and communities of color to vote early. The event will take place on Saturday, October 24, at 3 p.m. ET/Noon PT, streaming at www.votewith.us and simulcast across YouTube and more. Ahead of its theatrical release on October 30, never-before-seen clips from the film will be shown throughout the rally, alongside performances, appearances and support by the film’s subjects, Lisa Bonet, Sherry Cola, Common, Andra Day, Candice Dupree, Emma González, David Hogg, Vic Mensa, Renee Montgomery, Mark Ruffalo, and Bria Smith.

About the filmmaker – Kim Snyder’s most recent feature documentary, Us Kids premiered in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2020 Sundance competition. Prior, she directed the Peabody award-winning documentary Newtown, which premiered in the US Competition at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.  Newtown screened at premiere festivals worldwide and was theatrically released followed by a national broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens and Netflix.  Her most recent short, Lessons from a School Shooting: Notes from Dunblane, premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and was awarded Best Documentary Short followed by the DocDispatch Award at the 2018 Sheffield DocFest and a Grierson Award nomination.  Lessons… is a Netflix Original and is streaming in 196 countries. Snyder’s prior works include the feature documentary, Welcome to Shelbyville, nationally broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens in 2011, and over a dozen short documentaries. Kim’s award-winning directorial debut feature documentary, I Remember Me was theatrically distributed by Zeitgeist Films. In 1994, she associate-produced the Academy Award-winning short film Trevor. Kim graduated with a Masters in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and resides in New York City.

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“A potent testimony to the impact of citizen protest” – Dennis Harvey, VARIETY 

“A galvanizing reminder that change is only possible if we believe in it.” – David Ehrlich, INDIEWIRE

“A timely picture that chronicles this movement with the emotional gut punch and importance it requires” – John Fink, The Film Stage

“A compassionate portrait, eager to let its subjects speak for themselves.” Hollywood Reporter

Belly of the Beast, Director Erika Cohn

BELLY OF THE BEAST shines a white hot spotlight on the pastoral farmlands surrounding the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF), the world’s largest women’s prison. For decades CCWF concealed the reproductive and human rights violations transpiring inside its walls. A courageous woman, Kelli Dillon, who was involuntarily sterilized at the CCWF, teams up with a radical lawyer, Cynthia Chandler, to stop these violations. Together they spearhead investigations that uncover a series of statewide crimes, primarily targeting women of color, from inadequate access to healthcare to sexual assault to illegal sterilization. With a team of tenacious heroines, both in and out of prison, they take to the courtroom to fight for reparations. But no one believes them. As additional damning evidence is uncovered by the Center for Investigative Reporting, a media frenzy and series of hearings provide hope for some semblance of justice. Yet, doctors and prison officials contend that the procedures were in each person’s best interest and of an overall social benefit. Invoking the weight of the historic stain and legacy of eugenics, BELLY OF THE BEAST presents a decade long, infuriating contemporary legal drama. Director Erika Cohn (The Judge, When the Voices Fade) joins us for a conversation about her incredible tale that chronicles the rampant abuse of incarcerated women, being coerced by a prison-based culture of medical personnel actively subverting their basic human rights.

 

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

About the filmmaker – Director Erika Cohn is a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning director/producer who Variety recognized as one of 2017’s top documentary filmmakers to watch and was featured in DOC NYC’s 2019 “40 Under 40.” Most recently, Erika completed The Judge, a Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated film about the first woman judge appointed to the Middle East’s Shari’a courts, which premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS’ 2018 Independent Lens series. Erika co-directed/produced, In Football We Trust, an Emmy award-winning, feature documentary about young Pacific Islander men pursuing their dreams of playing professional football, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS’ 2016 “Independent Lens” series. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including a Director’s Guild of America award for her fiction short film, When the Voices Fade. Erika grew up attending the Sundance Film Festival as a native Utahn, where she first began her career and later studied at Chapman University (California) and Hebrew University (Jerusalem) where she received degrees in Film Production, Middle East Studies, and Acting Performance. In 2013, Erika founded Idle Wild Films, Inc., which has released three feature documentaries and produced numerous branded content and commercial spots, including Gatorade’s “Win from Within” series, for which she received a 2016 Webby award nomination. Belly of the Beast is her third feature-length documentary. For more about Erika Cohn go to: idlewildfilmsinc.com

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“A harrowing documentary about the practice of forced sterilization.” – Evan Dossey, Midwest Film Journal

“Inside the belly of documentarian Erika Cohn’s Beast lurks a monstrosity more appalling than horror fiction.” – Scott Marks, San Diego Reader

The Disrupted, Co-director Sarah Colt (Josh Gleason)

Sarah Colt and Josh Gleason’s documentary THE DISRUPTED asked the question, what do a farmer in Kansas, a laid-off factory worker in Ohio, and an Uber driver in Florida have in common? All three are resourceful, positive thinkers who strive to adapt and thrive despite dehumanizing forces at play in the American economy. Donn is a fifth-generation farmer, struggling to hold on to 900 acres of land uncle made a full-time living raising crops and livestock. But in the last decade, corporate consolidation and free-falling commodity prices have made it impossible for small farms to achieve a profit. Cheryl didn’t plan on becoming a driver for Uber and Lyft. She spent years working her way up the ladder in the mortgage industry as a single mother raising hree kids. But her career came to an abrupt halt in 2008 when the crash bankrupted her employer. For Pete the closure of the 3M sponge factory, where Pete held a union job for 12 years, is the latest chapter in the city’s decades- long deindustrialization into the Rust Belt. As the film’s heroes face these roadblocks with courage, certain ideals remain sacred: family, love, and staying strong in the face of adversity. Lush cinematography galvanizes a sense of place and, as the narrative unfolds, the intimacy with the characters results in an emotionally rich observational drama. Ultimately, THE DISRUPTED reveals a collective American experience of financial challenge, family resilience, and the quest for the purpose and dignity of work. Co-director Sarah Colt (Josh Gleason) stops by to talk about the unraveling of the American Dream and the cruel trajectory of economic deprivation and the systemic failure of any feasible path forward.

 

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

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About the filmmaker – Sarah Colt is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work brings to life the figures and forces that have shaped America. Since founding Sarah Colt Productions a decade ago, she has directed and produced numerous films for PBS, including the Emmy-nominated and Peabody finalist “Walt Disney.” Most recently, Sarah’s independent short documentary “True Believer” followed an evangelical pastor’s grassroots campaign for Congress. “True Believer” screened at several major film festivals across the country and had its online premiere on The Atlantic.

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“Colt and Gleason interweave these stories with subtlety and irony, catching the nuanced details of their subjects’ lives and relationships, the cinematography evoking a mood of fading hope and dogged resistance.” – Boston Globe

“Eye-opening film about people being left behind in our current economy…theoretically the “forgotten men and women” Trump campaigned on. And in the ensuing years, not only have their lives not gotten better, they’ve gotten significantly worse.” – Film Week

“Arguably the most important film I’ve encountered in 2020 thus far.” – Mountain Express

“Squarely takes aim at the beleaguered middle class.” MODERN TIMES

Nena Erb, Editor, Emmy®-nominated (HBO’s Insecure)

Nena Erb, an ACE and Emmy®-winning editor, for her work can be seen on HBO’s Emmy®  nominated and Peabody award-winning series  INSECURE, episode Lowkey Trying directed by Kerry Washington. As both an Asian American and person of color, she is committed to advancing the stories of others. She is thrilled to be a continuing part of the team showing the reality of life for modern women of color in America.  Her work can also be seen on Apple TV’s groundbreaking Little America series. As an immigrant herself, she’s excited to help shape standout episodes for this series this season including The Son, tackling a gay man’s struggle for safety and love as he attempts a harrowing immigration to the United States and The Silence, which charts love among immigrants in a situation where sound/speaking is forbidden. Emmy nominated editor Nena Erb joins us to talk about the career decision that brought her to the editing suite and why mentoring others is her way of helping others “get into the room” where they can have a positive impact on the stories being told.

 

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For the latest on the work of Nena Erb go to: nenaerb.com

To find out more go to: hbo.com/insecure

About the filmmaker: Nena Erb, a gifted ACE and Emmy®-winning editor born in Taipei, Taiwan and based in Los Angeles. Her family immigrated to the US in the late 70’s to live in a democracy and have the right to vote. Raised in an Asian American immigrant family, Nena’s father wanted her to be a doctor and her mother wanted her to be a pianist with the LA Philharmonic.  Nena wanted to be Andy Warhol. After graduating with an art degree, a friend brought her into the entertainment industry and she started working in various capacities in production. It was her stint as an associate producer that gave her the opportunity to work closely with editors. This proved to be a defining moment for her interest in post-production. Since then, Nena has been the editor on productions for HBO, Universal, CBS, Apple, and others.  She is experienced in multiple genres from drama series to feature films, documentaries and comedy.  In 2016, she received an Emmy® award for her work on HBO’s documentary series Project Greenlight.In addition, she has received two ACE Eddie nominations for her work, one for HBO’s Peabody award-winning series INSECURE and the other for CW’s acclaimed seriesCrazy Ex-Girlfriend. Currently, she is editing Little America, an anthology series on America’s immigrants, produced by Kumail Najiani, Emily V. Gordon, Alan Yang, and Lee Eisenberg

Welcome to Chechnya, Director David France

In this searing documentary, WELCOME TO CHECHNYA, Academy Award –nominated director David France (How To Survive A Plague) brings us a terrifying real-life thriller that shadows a group of brave activists risking their lives to confront the ongoing anti-LGBTQ persecution in the repressive and closed Russian republic of Chechnya. In recent years, tens of thousands of LGBTQ people in the republic have suffered detention, torture and sometimes death at the hands of the authorities. But a small network of queer activists have mobilized into action, smuggling people in need out of their communities, securing visas and sheltering them in safe houses. Shot with astonishing access, largely with hidden cameras that keep rolling throughout every moment of escape, and employing a revolutionary face-swapping technique to protect the anonymity of its endangered subjects, WELCOME TO CHECHNYA exposes these under-reported atrocities, while highlighting an extraordinary group of heroic people confronting a brutal system. Director David France joins us for a conversation on the remarkably effective facial technology used by France to protect the identity of the film subjects and on the Russian republic’s pogrom against defenseless people being tortured and killed because of their sexual identity.

 

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For news and updates go to: welcometochechnya.com

Welcome to Chechnya premieres on HBO June 30

Director’s Statement: In my work as a journalist and author over many years, I have focused closely on the stories of outsiders and people who society has pushed to its margins – the disregarded, the ignored, the hated. When I turned to documentary filmmaking, I chose outsider activism as my subject. My first film, HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE, documented the work of early AIDS activists, ordinary people with no training who marshalled the intricate details of virology to change the course of the epidemic. Next, I opened up the story of early gender radicals in THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON, which chronicled not only the founding of the modern LGBTQ movement but also the founding of the first transgender rights organization in 1970. WELCOME TO CHECHNYA completes this trilogy. It follows a group of ordinary humans who have done something extraordinary, and asks the question that has long preoccupied me: What makes a person assume enormous risk and responsibility when others might turn the other way?  What does it take, in other words, to be a hero?When I left their underground pipeline for the last time, knowing I could never go back once it became known I was reporting on their work, I wept with gratitude for the work they are doing. And for the opportunity they gave me to witness bravery of the most unvarnished kind: selfless, humane, and entirely queer. – David France

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“No one has ever found such a deep and humanitarian use of a ‘deep fake’.” – Zep Armentano, El Cinefil

“David France has created a true masterwork of LGBT empathy, working both as a devastating portrait of hate as well as a rallying cry to arms. This is one of the best documentaries of the year.” – Redmond Bacon, Culture Vultures

“Undoubtedly a magnum opus of sorts on human rights documentation” – Jessica Pena, Jumpcut

“Gripping, essential viewing” – Matthew Jacobs, HuffPost

“Welcome to Chechnya is as fearless as its subjects, unafraid to show the violence and emotional torture of these people.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

Cooked: Survival by Zip Code, Director Judith Helfand

Twenty-five years after the 1995 Chicago heat wave, COOKED: Survival by Zip Code examines the events that led to the deaths of 739 people, mostly Black and in the poorest neighborhoods of the city. The film arrives at a time of growing calls across the country to declare racism a public health crisis and to reinvest in communities ravaged by the long-term impact of structural racism. A recent NYU study found life expectancy differentials as wide as 20-30 years linked to racial and ethnic segregation between neighborhoods in American cities. Adapted from Eric Klinenberg’s ground-breaking book ‘HEAT WAVE: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago,’ the film is directed and produced by Peabody Award-winning director Judith Helfand (Blue Vinyl, A Healthy Baby Girl, Everything’s Cool), produced by Fenell Doremus (co-producer of Academy Award-nominated Abacus: Small Enough to Jail), and Kartemquin Films, the award-winning Chicago documentary production house behind Minding the Gap and Hoop Dreams. In COOKED, Helfand challenges herself, and ultimately all of us, to respond to the man-made disasters taking place in towns and cities across the country before the next unprecedented “natural” disaster hits. Director Judith Helfand joins us to talk about the systemic racism that makes the neighborhoods of the poorest the most likely location for

Independent Lens: COOKED: Survival by Zip Code will have its national television debut on the PBS television series Independent Lens on Monday, February 3 at 10:00 pm (check local listings), preceding coverage of the Iowa Caucuses. The film will also be available to stream at PBS.org and on the free PBS Video App throughout Black History Month.

 

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

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For more information about Cooked: Survival by Zip Code go to: independentlens/cooked

About Independent Lens – Award-Winning Series
Each week this award-winning series bring you an original documentary film made by one of the best independent filmmakers working today. Independent Lens films have won 19 Emmy Awards16 Peabody Awardsfive duPont-Columbia University Awards, and have received 10 Academy Award nominationsIndependent Lens won the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 International Documentary Association (IDA) Award for Best Continuing Series.

 

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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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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.

The Cave, Director Feras Fayyad

Oscar nominee Feras Fayyad (“Last Men in Aleppo”) delivers an unflinching story of the Syrian war with his powerful new documentary, THE CAVE. For besieged civilians, hope and safety lie underground inside the subterranean hospital known as the Cave, where pediatrician and managing physician Dr. Amani Ballor and her colleagues Samaher and Dr. Alaa have claimed their right to work as equals alongside their male counterparts, doing their jobs in a way that would be unthinkable in the oppressively patriarchal culture that exists above. Following the women as they contend with daily bombardments, chronic supply shortages and the ever-present threat of chemical attacks, THE CAVE paints a stirring portrait of courage, resilience and female solidarity. Director and writer Feras Fayyad stops by to talk about the unbelievable courage of the hospital staff led by Dr. Amani Ballor, and the volunteers as they keep an otherwise harrowing day-to-day nightmare from devolving into soul-destroying chaos.

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: nationalgeographic.com/films/the-cave

The Cave opens on October 18 at the Laemmle Royal Theatre in Los Angeles

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**WINNER – Audience Award – Toronto International Film Festival 2019

**WINNER – Audience Award – Camden International Film Festival 2019

**SPECIAL JURY MENTION – Camden International Film Festival 2019

“Miraculous. A standout. Feras Fayyad’s powerful portrait audaciously puts women’s imperative contribution to survival front and center.” – Tomris Laffly, Variety

“Look no further than The Cave for a portrait of true heroism. Provides astonishingly immediate and gripping footage of the collective effort to survive. The Cave ranks among the best of films to portray the tragedy of the Civil War in Syria and the resilience of the everyday people who keep the spirit of the nation alive.” – Pat Mullen, POV

“Emotionally Moving. Both intensely real and a carefully wrought work of cinema.” – Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter

“Gripping. Unprecedented. A real-time thriller. Fayyad excels at finding small moments that take on poetic resonance.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

General Magic, Co-director Matt Maude (Sarah Kerruish) and film subject Marc Porat

GENERAL MAGIC takes us back to the early 1990’s, as a team of former Apple employees form their own company and prepare to take Silicon Valley by storm. From the first smartphones to touchscreens, e-commerce, eBay to emoticons, the ideas that now dominate the tech industry and our day-to-day lives were born at General Magic, a 1989 Silicon Valley startup that you’ve never heard of. The company and the product were so ahead of their time, that it ultimately failed, and the company closed down. However, General Magic’s former employees have since gone on to found eBay, Linkedin, and Android, to developing the technology that has led to the iPhone, iPad, iPod and everything that we all use today in our daily lives. These “magicians” have become the tech innovators that now lead companies like Samsung, Apple and Facebook. GENERAL MAGIC, the film tells the story of how great vision, grave betrayal and an epic failure changed the world forever.  What was once thought of as an embarrassment is now embraced as amazing.  This incredibly insightful and entertaining film looks at the rise and fall of the most influential Silicon Valley company you have never heard of called GENERAL MAGIC. The film captures the spirit of those of us who dare to dream big and the life-changing consequences when we fail, fail again, and fail better. GENERAL MAGIC Co-director Matt Maude (Sarah Kerruish) and film subject Marc Porat talk abouthow this remarkable team of creatively brilliant engineers, artists and visionaries that failed and succeeded at creating a technologies that continue to have an impact on the world around us.

 

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For news and updates go to: generalmagicthemovie.com

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Hashtags: #generalmagicmovie   #generalmagic

“A fascinating tale.” – The Hollywood Reporter
“The biggest eye-opener of Tribeca 2018,” – Film Journal
“Poignant, entertaining and full of life and lessons.”- Forbes
“Gripping material, deftly edited, “General Magic” is remarkable’’ – Barrons
“General Magic is a reminder of how compelling stories about technology can be.” – The Verge
“The footage is unbelievable. This geekily comic doc inspires big dreams at every turn.” – TimeOut 

Lois Vossen, Independent Lens Executive Producer

Lois Vossen is the Executive Producer of Independent Lens and has been with the show since its inception as a primetime series on PBS. Lois is responsible for commissioning new films, programming the series and working with filmmakers on editorial and broadcast issues. Independent Lens films have received 17 Emmy Awards, 16 George Foster Peabody Awards, five Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Journalism Awards and eight Academy Award nominations. The series was honored in 2013, 2014, 2015  and 2017 with the International Documentary Association (IDA) Award for Best Series. Before joining ITVS, Lois was the Associate Managing Director of Sundance Film Festival and Sundance Labs. Lois is a member of the Television Academy Board of Governors, representing the documentary branch. She has served on the jury at  Shanghai Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, SXSW, DOC New Zealand and Palm Springs International Film Festival, among others. Under her leadership, films funded or co-produced by Independent Lens include I Am Not Your Negro, Always in Season, Bedlam, One Child Nation, Black Memorabilia, The King, People’s Republic of Desire, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, TOWER, Newtown, Best of Enemies, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, (T)ERROR, The House I Live In, The Invisible War, and The Trials of Muhammad Ali, among many others. Widely regarded as one of the most influential supporters of independent and documentary filmmaking, Lois Vossen joins us for a conversation on the role that Independent Lens /POV and Public Broadcasting has had in maintaining the highest standards for innovative storytelling in non-fiction cinema.

 

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

Social Media:

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instagram.com/independentlens

Monrovia, Indiana – Director Frederick Wiseman

Located in mid-America, MONROVIA, INDIANA, (population 1,063) founded in 1834, is primarily a farming community. MONROVIA, INDIANA is about the day-to-day experiences living and working in Monrovia, with emphasis on community organizations and institutions, religion and daily life in this farming community. These towns were once the backbone of American life. While their number and populations have shrunk, the importance of rural America as a formative center of American politics and values was demonstrated in the 2016 presidential election. The film explores the conflicting stereotypes and illustrates how values like community service, duty, spiritual life, generosity and authenticity are formed, experienced and lived. MONROVIA, INDIANA gives a complex and nuanced view of daily life in Monrovia and provides some understanding of a rural, mid-American way of life that has always been important in America but whose influence and force have not always been recognized or understood in the big cities on the east and west coasts of America and in other countries. Since  1967,  Frederick  Wiseman  has  directed  42 documentaries — dramatic, narrative films that seek to portray ordinary human  experience in a wide  variety  of  contemporary social  institutions. His films include TITICUT FOLLIES, HIGH  SCHOOL, WELFARE, JUVENILE COURT, BOXING GYM, LA  DANSE,  BALLET, CENTRAL PARK, BALLET, LA COMEDIE FRANCAISE, BELFAST, MAINE, and EX LIBRIS – The New York Public Library. At the 2016 Academy Awards ceremony Frederick Wiseman received an Honorary Award (Governors Awards) for a lifetime of brilliant filmmaking. He joins us to talk about his latest cinematic treasure, Monrovia Indiana.

 

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For news and updates on all of Frederick Wiseman’s work go to: zipporah.com

“He’s arguably the most brilliant, brave and innovative person working in his field.” – Terry Atkinson, Los Angeles Times

“Rigorously shot, impeccably edited and at times startling in their beauty, these films usher us into often otherwise anonymous spaces and lives, and help make the invisible visible.” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

Social Media: facebook.com/pages/Zipporah Films

90% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The result is surprisingly companionable and enjoyable, an unhurried look at a location that is in no kind of rush, a place that is concerned most of all with preserving the way it’s always been.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“Legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman turns his camera on a pro-gun, pro-God Midwestern town and gives us a landmark view of what it looks like to live in Trump’s America.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“A calmly analytical film in which-as ever in Wiseman’s work-extended discussions and public debates are developed with an absorbing dramatic power.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker

“The unavoidable political implications of “Monrovia, Indiana” give its observations an undeniable urgency.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead, Director Morgan Neville

Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom) tells the provocative story of legendary director Orson Welles during the final 15 years of his life. No longer the “wonder boy” of Citizen Kane, Welles in 1970 was an artist in exile looking for his Hollywood comeback with a project called The Other Side of the Wind. For years, Welles worked on his project about an aging film director trying to finish his last great movie. Welles shot the picture guerrilla-style in chaotic circumstances with a devoted crew of young dreamers, all the while struggling with financiers and fate. In 1985, Welles died, leaving as his final testament the most famous unfinished film in movie history. The negative stayed in a vault for decades until now. With revelatory new insights from Welles collaborators including Peter Bogdanovich, Frank Marshall, Oja Kodar and daughter Beatrice Welles, They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead is the untold final chapter of one of the greatest careers in film history: brilliant, innovative, defiant and unbowed. Director Morgan Neville (20 Feet From Stardom, Won’t You Me My Neighbor, Cool School) joins us for a conversation about his hurly-burly look at the making of a ragged masterpiece by cinema’s greatest auteur.

 

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For news and updates go to: netflix.com

90% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The impeccably assembled production employs Neville’s virtuoso touch to provocative effect.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times

“For cinephiles, it’s a high-calorie, clip-and-interview-laden feast of biography, insight, and gossip.” – Robert Abele, The Wrap

“Neville’s film may reveal little that hardcore Wellesians don’t already know. But it offers a lively evocation of the great man’s brilliance, waywardness and pained relationship to Hollywood history.” – Jonathan Romney, Screen International

“A fascinating account of an agonizing creative process.” – Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

“A cinephiles’ delight.” – Kimberly Myers, The Playlist

Carrie Lozano, Director IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund

The International Documentary Association (IDA) is dedicated to building and serving the needs of a thriving documentary culture. Through its programs, the IDA provides resources, creates community, and defends rights and freedoms for documentary artists, activists, and journalists. IDA is the only group advocating specifically for the documentary filmmaking community. In many ways, this makes IDA’s advocacy work the most important and relevant work we do. Documentary storytelling expands our understanding of shared human experience, fostering an informed, compassionate, and connected world. The Enterprise Documentary Fund is one of the many logistical and financial programs offered by IDA.

About the Enterprise Documentary Fund: 

In the face of an all-out assault on the press, IDA is committed to standing behind the independent storytellers and watchdogs that make up our community—in large part, through the newly created Enterprise Documentary Fund. Made possible by a generous grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the fund will disburse $1 million per year for the next four years, in the form of production grants up to $100,000 and development grants up to $15,000. The fund is intended to support primarily mid-career filmmakers producing feature-length, in-depth explorations of original, contemporary stories with a journalistic foundation or that incorporate journalistic practice into the filmmaking process. The mission of the Enterprise Documentary Fund is admittedly ambitious: It seeks to provide valuable resources and support systems (not unlike those in newsrooms) for filmmakers taking on the critical stories of our time. Originally sparked by the findings in “Dangerous Documentaries,” the fund is a response to pleas from filmmakers themselves. In interviews recently conducted by Toni Bell, IDA’s Filmmaker Services Manager, filmmakers reiterated the major findings in “Dangerous Docs”: They want access to information about digital and physical security, research databases, legal and other experts, public relations strategists and mentors. Exercising our rights to free speech and freedom of the press are critical for a healthy democracy. As I write this, these rights are clearly under assault, and we owe it to ourselves and to the public to staunchly call ourselves journalists and artists—they are not mutually exclusive.”Carrie Lozano, Director of the Enterprise Documentary Fund

 

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For news and updates go to: documentary.org

For updates on funding resources go to: documentary.org/funding

America to Me, Executive Producer Steve James

Chicago’s Oak Park and River Forest High School’s (OPRF) student population encompasses a racial, economic and cultural mix that reflects the nation as a whole. Located in a mostly affluent, progressive suburb, the school attracts families of all races and means, many of whom make great sacrifices to secure their children a place there. But even in this diverse and liberal community, ensuring an educational experience that equally benefits all students poses challenges for the school’s dedicated and well-meaning teachers, administrators and parents. In the multipart unscripted documentary series AMERICA TO ME, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interupters, Life Itself, Abacus: Small Enough to Jail) and his team follow a diverse selection of the school’s 3,400 students, including artists, athletes, scholars, underachievers and iconoclasts, to present an indelible account of their dreams, fears, triumphs and aspirations. Posing complex and controversial questions, the film wrestles with crucial issues, including the effects of race and privilege on education as seen through the eyes of young Americans on the precipice of adulthood. Candid and relatable portraits of 12 students who are just beginning to come into their own provide moving insights into the teenage search for personal identity in today’s world. Director Steve James joins us with his impressions on the state of secondary education, how best to facilitate better outcomes for students and the role racial stereotyping plays in achieving success.

 

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For news and update go to: kartemquin.com/films/america-to-me

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The 10-part documentary series from Steve James (Hoop Dreams) is profound and thoughtful, taking a detailed look at inequality in America through the lens of a storied high school in Chicago.” – Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic

“[America to Me] is an invaluable look at where inequity begins, as well as the difficulty of getting to the place where it ends.” – James Poniewozik

“Even in a series this expansive, you keep wishing you could spend more time with more people, but its scope allows James and his team to show both victories and defeats fade into the past, how fragile and yet how resilient its protagonists can be.” – Sam Adams, Slate

“[James] captures the specific moments that are hard to explain without being there – like a young black girl who feels uncomfortable with a white teacher’s constant attempts to relate to her – and the larger systemic issues that are harder to upend.” – Ben Travers, IndieWire

https://youtu.be/-uNhmWJ4l5k

Letter from Masanjia, Director Leon Lee

Written and directed by internationally acclaimed filmmaker and Peabody Award winner, Leon Lee, LETTER FROM MASANJIA is an astonishing & riveting documentary follows the true story of an Oregon woman who finds a desperate SOS letter penned by a political prisoner in her Halloween decorations and the nail-biting chain of events that it sparks when she takes the letter public, exposing appalling flagrant human rights violations – that leads to sweeping labor reform in China. The impact of what those two unlikely heroes have accomplished is even more profound in today’s rapidly boiling over political climate, not just in China but around the rest of the world. LETTER FROM MASANJIA is a devastating tale of human rights violations in current day China with corporate giants across the globe receiving prisoner labor efforts for Halloween decorations, asking no questions in a price for pennies on the dollar. This is the tale of one political prisoners desperate plea to alert the world to horrors most of society sweeps under the carpet. Director and writer Leon Lee stops by to talk about the hundreds of thousands of people currently incarcerated in labor camps, and the millions more living in fear as well as the people resisting a totalitarian regime.

 

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For news and updates goto: letterfrommasanjia.com

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Sun Yi’s stoicism is admirable and moving, but it’s his ex-wife Fu Ning’s tearful recollection of their separation that cements the story in your mind.” – Adam Keller, Film Threat

“‘Letter From Masanjia’ is a bracing reminder of our sometimes blindered approach to globalization and the effects of simple actions.” Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times

“It’s an important story, made more intense by its tight focus.” – Ken Jaworowski, New York Times

“A disquieting exposé of China’s human-rights abuses… The perseverance on show should leave viewers inspired to learn more.” – Lucy Liu, Georgia Straight