A Thousand Cuts, Director Ramona S. Diaz

Award-wining filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz’s latest documentary, A THOUSAND CUTS, is a blistering indictment of a free press and democracy are under attack in the Philippines. In the face of journalist Maria Ressa and founder of the on-line news site Rappler is holding the line and fighting back against President Rodrigo Duterte’s escalating threats of assignation and death. Duterte smear tactics and threats against Ressa (discredit journalists/media, spread misinformation, attacks on social media) are similar to what other authoritarian leaders are now using against the press. Duterte’s war on truth and journalism has become a blueprint for other authoritarian regimes around the world. A THOUSAND CUTS spotlights Ressa’s fight for justice in the country is ongoing as she was found guilty of cyber libel last month in a blatant attempt to silence one of the most outspoken critics of the Philippine President. The alarming result is not only an attack on Democracy in the Philippines, but also a warning shot to the rest of the world. Ressa’s lawyer Amal Clooney (also featured in the film) recently penned this Op-Ed  last month underscoring the implications of this trial. Director, Producer, Writer and Co-editor Ramona S. Diaz (Motherland, Imelda) joins us to talk about the suffocating pressure being brought to bear on journalists, her admiration for those who remain committed to a free press and the hope she has for her beloved homeland. 

 

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For news and updates go to: athousandcuts.film

For screenings go to: athousandcuts.film/watch-screenings

Produced by Concordia Studio and Motto Pictures, A THOUSAND CUTS will release nationwide in virtual cinemas on August 7th via PBS Distribution / Frontline PBS.

About the filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz is an award-winning Asian American filmmaker whose films have screened at Sundance, the Berlinale, Tribeca, the Viennale, IDFA, and many other top-tier film festivals. All of Ramona’s feature-length films—Imelda (2004), The Learning (2011), Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey (2012) and, Motherland (2017)—have been broadcast on PBS, on either the POV or Independent Lens series. Motherland won an award at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and had its international premiere at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival. It was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for best Documentary, a Peabody Award, and a Gaward Urian Award from the Filipino Film Critics. She has received funding from ITVS, Sundance, CAAM, Tribeca, Catapult Film Fund, Chicken & Egg, MacArthur Foundation, the IDA, Cinereach and Creative Capital, among others. For the past four years, Ramona has been a film envoy for the American Film Showcase, a joint program of the U.S. Department of State and the USC School of Cinematic Arts that brings American films to audiences worldwide. She has conducted master classes and production workshops all over the world. Ramona was awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship and was inducted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) in 2016, and in 2017 received a Women at Sundance Fellowship and a Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Award. She is a current recipient of a United States Artist Fellowship. Ramona is a graduate of Emerson College and holds an MA from Stanford University.

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Winner – Best Documentary – DocEdge 2020

“[This] engrossing, galvanizing film feels more like a political thriller than an off-the-cuff investigation into embattled journalism in the Philippines, but Ressa’s seemingly boundless energy, good humor, and intelligence make her basically a power plant for the manufacture of inspiration in embattled times.” – Jessica Kiang, Variety

“A Thousand Cuts provides an expansive, revealing look at the current Filipino political situation, and it doesn’t feel like it’s warning viewers about what will happen in America, so much as telling us what’s coming next.”- Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com

“Diaz creates a rousing paean to the bravery of Ressa and her colleagues, and a clarion call to action that we should all heed.” – Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Hammer to Nail

“A Thousand Cuts is a must see for those who care about freedom of the press, democracy, and the future of one particular country-our own.” – Max Weiss, Baltimore Magazine

The Stand: How One Gesture Shook the World, Co-directors Becky Paige and Tom Ratcliffe

It is one of the most iconic images of our time: two African-American medal winners at the 1968 Olympics standing in silent protest with heads bowed and fists raised as “The Star Spangled Banner” is played.  Fifty years later, that singular event remains deeply inspiring, controversial and even misunderstood as one of the most overtly political statement in the annals of sport. The Stand: How One Gesture Shook the World is a revealing exploration into the circumstances that led runners Tommie Smith and John Carlos to that historic moment at the Mexico City Games, mining the great personal risks they took and the subsequent fallout they endured. Through intimate interviews with the participants and witnesses involved in that moment, along with compelling images and archive, the film explores the 1968 Olympics human rights stand in the context of a critically important and volatile time for the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. While The Stand: How One Gesture Shook the World documents this lasting moment in American history, The Stand also remains faithful to what was, for athletes and millions of Olympic fans around the world, a riveting 200-meter footrace between the fastest runners of the day, young people in their athletic prime striving to be the best on one October day in Mexico City. The Stand: How One Gesture Shook the World also features high jumper Ralph Boston, sprinter Mel Pender, crew member Paul Hoffman, silver medalist Peter Norman and Professor Harry Edwards. Filmmakers Tom Ratcliffe and Becky Paige (Bannister: Everest on the Track) join us to talk about the story behind a legendary act that echoes to this day.

 

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For news and updates go to: junofilms.com/the-stand

The Fight, Co-director Eli Despres (Elyse Steinberg and Josh Kriegman)

From the team that directed the jaw-dropping, award winning documentary on the life and mayoral campaign of former congressman Anthony Wiener (Weiner) comes THE FIGHT. Only days after the 2017 inauguration of Donald Trump, furious Americans gathered at airports across the country in protest of the Muslim ban. But it was the efforts of the American Civil Liberties Union, waging the fight in federal court, that turned the tide, staying the executive order on grounds of unconstitutionality. The ACLU has never granted access to its offices, even as its battles—on the fronts of abortion rights, immigration rights, LGBT rights and voting rights —have become more timely and momentous than ever. Rousing, inspiring and slyly humorous, their THE FIGHT follows four seismically important cases and a handful of magnetic attorneys. These lawyers may not know how to charge a cell phone or operate a stand-up desk but have persuaded Supreme Court Justices, beating back serious encroachments upon our freedoms. An antidote to endless news cycles filled with tweet tantrums, THE FIGHT inspires with the story of front-line warriors in the battle for the American soul. Co-director Eli Despres (Elyse Steinberg and Josh Kriegman) joins us to talk about this entertaining, fast-paced, and highly engaging peek behind the curtain of the self-effacing attorneys and their support team as they scramble to maintain and bolster many of the most substantive constitutional protections under constant assault.

 

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For news and updates go to: fightthefilm.com

The Fight is available for viewing at: fightthefilm.com/watch-at-home

The Fight is available for viewing at: fightthefilm.com/watch-at-home

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WINNER – U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award forSocial Impact Filmmaking – Sundance 2020

“Inspiring, infuriating, and unbounded. Filled with raw emotion and real world immediacy.”Kate Erbland, IndieWire

“A celebration of the lawyers on the front lines in the Trump age. Captures the intense emotion of the moment.”Beandrea July, The Hollywood Reporter

“A powerful, necessary, and illuminating look at the ACLU as it tries to navigate the age of Trump’s presidency” – Jason Gorber, POV Magazine

“In a moment divided into heroes and villains, there’s an urge for the film to go deeper into how, exactly, these lawyers use the Constitution as a cape.” – Amy Nicholson, Variety

“A gorgeous, enraging, and uplifting film.”Chris Hayes, MSNBC

We Are The Radical Monarchs, Director Linda Goldstein Knowlton

Set in Oakland, a city with a deep history of social justice movements, WE ARE THE RADICAL MONARCHS documents the Radical Monarchs – an alternative to the Scout movement for girls of color, aged 8-13. Its members earn badges for completing units on social justice including being an LGBTQ ally, the environment, and disability justice. The group was started by two, fierce, queer women of color, Anayvette Martinez and Marilyn Hollinquest as a way to address and center her daughter’s experience as a young brown girl. Their work is anchored in the belief that adolescent girls of color need dedicated spaces and that the foundation for this innovative work must also be rooted in fierce inter-dependent sisterhood, self-love, and hope. WE ARE THE RADICAL MONARCHS follows the first troop of Radical Monarchs for over three years, until they graduate, and documents the Co-founders struggle to respond to the needs of communities across the US and grow the organization after the viral explosion of interest in the troop’s mission to create and inspire a new generation of social justice activists. Director / Producer Linda Goldstein Knowlton (Somewhere Between, Dream,Girl, Whale Rider, The Shipping News) joins us to talk about the positive role-modeling, the sense of community connection and empowerment that the Radical Monarchs has brought into the lives of these young women of color.

 

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For news and updates go to: wearetheradicalmonarchsmovie.com

We Are the Radical Monarchs airs Monday, July 20 at 9 PM – PBS series POV

About the filmmaker Linda Goldstein Knowlton (Producer/Director) is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, working in documentary and scripted feature films, as well as television.  In 2016, she Executive Produced the documentary DREAM,GIRL, which premiered at The White House.  The film showcases the stories of inspiring and ambitious female entrepreneurs. Goldstein Knowlton directed and produced one of the six, Emmy-nominated documentaries for the PBS MAKERS: Women Who Make America series.  The film, WOMEN AND HOLLYWOOD, aired in October, 2014 and includes interviews with  Jane Fonda, Shonda Rhimes, Lena Dunham, Ava Duvernay, Glenn Close, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Alfre Woodard, Hunger Games producer Nina Jacobson, among many other notable women. Prior to that, she produced CODE BLACK, Best Documentary winner at LA Film Festival and the Hamptons International Film Festival, and the basis for the CBS one-hour drama of the same name. Previously she directed and produced SOMEWHERE BETWEEN, which won the Sundance Channel Audience Award at the Hot Docs Film Festival, and was released theatrically in over 80 cities across the US. For her directorial debut, she co-directed THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SESAME STREET, which debuted at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival in competition and aired nationally on PBS. Linda started her career producing feature films, including the award-winning WHALE RIDER and THE SHIPPING NEWS.

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The 11th Green, Director Christopher Munch

A long-awaited follow up to Munch’s acclaimed 2011 Sundance film Letters From the Big Man, THE 11TH GREEN stars Campbell Scott (House of Cards, Roger Dodger) as a journalist who uncovers the truth behind the mythology of President Eisenhower’s long-alleged involvement in extraterrestrial events. Rife with hidden government secrets and Matrix-like mind-benders, THE 11TH GREEN is grounded in what is widely believed to be the nuts-and-bolts core story of post-war U.S. military and government involvement with UFOs. In this way, the film sketches a possible backdrop to recent revelations in the mainstream media (eg, the New York Times and Washington Post) and subsequent declassification of certain U.S. military interactions with UFOs. Thought-provoking but understated, filled with sharply drawn characters, stark desert landscapes, and leaps across the space-time continuum, THE 11TH GREEN is challenging cinema that generates questions, discussion, and debate long after the credits roll. The film’s distinguished cast also includes Agnes Bruckner (Blood and Chocolate, Blue Car), Ian Hart (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Backbeat), April Grace (Magnolia, Joker), Tom Stokes (The Railway Man, Wasted On the Young), David Clennon (Being There, The Thing), Monte Markham (Mr. Deed Goes to Town, Dallas), and Currie Graham (NYPD Blue, Project Blue Book). Groundbreaking American auteur Christopher Munch (director of The Sleepy Time Gal and the recently restored indie classic The Hours and Times) joins us to talk about his many-layered drama and the talented cast he assembled to breathe life into it.

 

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For news and updates go to: christophermunch.com

To watch the film go to: theatricalathome.com/the-11th-green

*** Special Event *** In celebration and support of its current virtual cinema release via the “Theatrical-At-Home” program (and in select traditional venues), the team behind the critically acclaimed sci-fi drama THE 11TH GREEN will unite together for a special Q & A event . This event will help theatres currently presenting the film to offer their audience more of the traditional filmgoing experience. The special event will take place on Monday, July 20 that 4:00 P.M. PST / 7:00 P.M. EST (check online for your correct time zone). The Q & A will feature writer-director Christopher Munch plus stars Campbell Scott and George Gerdes, moderated by the film’s editor Curtiss Clayton. Audience members attending the virtual Q and A will have the chance to submit questions to the team, as if they were attending an in-person event.

About the filmmaker: Christopher Munch’s feature, the wilder­ness drama Letters from the Big Man (2011), was a New York Times Critics’ Pick and featured a lauded central performance by Lily Rabe. Five of his features have played at Sundance, and his first, The Hours and Times (1992), a speculative biopic about Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein, won a special jury prize there. An impossible dream was the overarching theme of Munch’s sec­ond feature, the period landscape drama Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day (1996), based on the true story of a young trolley mechanic who tries to save a doomed short-line railroad to Yosemite National Park. Munch then undertook the sprawling, unconventional mother-daughter story The Sleepy Time Gal (2002), which Kevin Thomas in the Los Angeles Times wrote “has a depth, range and subtlety far greater than most American films” and which David Ansen of Newsweek upon its release stated was Jacqueline Bisset’s “finest performance.” Munch followed this with another unconventional family dissection,  Harry and Max (2004), about two pop star brothers.  He is a past Guggenheim  fellow, recipient of the Wolfgang Staudte Prize at Berlin, winner of two Independent Spirit Awards, including the “Someone To Watch” Award, and has been featured in two Whitney Biennial exhibitions. He has received competitive awards from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (for science in film), Creative Capital Foundation, The American Film Institute, The Merchant and Ivory Foundation, and others. christophermunch.com

“The bottom line: a thoughtful and compelling what-if starring a never-better Campbell Scott. . . . A bracing example of Munch’s fearless knack for casting a new light on official stories. . . . that information unwinds with a provocative and illuminating slant, and in combination with the film’s eccentric mix of genres, time periods and SoCal desert atmosphere, it makes for a heady revisionist saga. . . . For all the story’s machinations and dark doings, The 11th Green is concerned not with narrowly defined party politics but the power of cabals, and the relative powerlessness of figureheads. . . . [I]n its precision and poetry, the language is alive, and Munch gives each character a distinctive voice.”Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter

“Wildly inventive . . . a work of meticulous historical reimagination. . . . With tight-lipped restraint, Munch giddily tweaks the past seventy-five years of political assumptions and the very concept of life on Earth.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker

Mr. Jones, Director Agnieszka Holland

Oscar nominated filmmaker Agnieszka Holland’s thriller, MR. JONES, set on the eve of WWII, sees Hitler’s rise to power and Stalin’s Soviet propaganda machine pushing their “utopia” to the Western world. Meanwhile an ambitious young journalist, Gareth Jones (James Norton) becomes famous after publishing an article about his ride on an airplane with the new Chancellor of Germany – Adolph Hitler. Jones uses his political position in the British government as a foreign affairs advisor to David Lloyd George to get privileged access to the Soviet Union. Once there he searches for his next big story, scrutinizing the political and economic situation in Russia. Jones soon learns of government-induced hunger program, known as Holodomor, imposed on the Ukrainian people. The Soviets, with the help of the British and American governments, keep the starvation of 4 to 5 million people mostly secret. Jones efforts to uncover the truth behind the propaganda and expose an international conspiracy could cost him and his informant their lives. Jones goes on a life-or-death journey to uncover the truth behind the façade that would later inspire George Orwell’s seminal book Animal Farm. Director Agnieszka Holland joins us for a lively conversation on the little known story of mass slaughter prior to the onset one World War II and the craven rationale by the Western Powers willing to look the other way as millions of innocent people perished.

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: samuelgoldwynfilms.com/mr-jones

Watch on Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Google Play, Vudu and Fandango Now

Writer’s Statement: “It was for my grandfather, Olexji, and the countless others who suffered under the Soviet regime that I wrote and produced this film. The idea first came to me in my final year of university and followed me to Ukraine after college and to a road trip through Wales shortly before my wedding, and many research trips for several years after. I wanted to tell a story that would honor the millions of victims of Stalin, who has been resurrected under Putinism as a great hero, and expose how Kremlin propaganda works – sometimes with the help of corrupt Western journalists and political leaders. Fifteen years ago, I never imagined this film would be relevant. It was always my intention to unearth buried history not hold up a mirror to our own times. As surreal as this journey has been against the backdrop of growing authoritarianism around the world, I have been heartened by how our story has brought together so many talented, fearless people determined to fight for the truth. Agnieszka, who survived prison under Soviet occupation and lost loved ones to the regime, put so much of herself into this masterpiece. Never could I have written in detail the rich wonderland that she created on screen, poetically guiding the audience through an adventure, while giving greater context to the challenges the world faces today. It has been a testament of faith that this film came together with these brave artists, and the timing for its release could not be more urgent.” – Writer Andrea Chalupa

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Blood Rider, Director Jon Kasbe

In the riveting new short format documentary film, BLOOD RIDERS, from director Jon Kasbe (When Lambs Become Lions, Nascent, Mipso in Japan), focuses on the crippling blood shortage crisis and standstill traffic that plagues most hours of the day in Nigeria. On far too many days it can take over 24 hours to transport blood to patients in critical need. Joseph, one of the city’s motorcycle “blood riders,” can deliver blood to hospitals in under an hour. For mothers in labor, particularly in the case of Deborah dealing with a difficult delivery, this is often the difference between life and death.  Director Kasbe gives us an incredible sense of intimacy with his characters. BLOOD RIDERS puts us  there on the motorcycle and in the delivery room with Deborah and her husband. It boggles the mind. Director Jon Kasbe joins us for a conversation about the dire situation facing the people of Nigeria, a country of inadequate infrastructure, substandard health care capacity and systemic corruption, where a few dedicated people are determined to come to the aid of the most vulnerable among them.

 

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For news and updates go  to: jonkasbe.com/#/blood-rider

About the filmmaker: Jon Kasbe is an Emmy Award-winning Australian-Indian director and cinematographer. His debut feature, “When Lambs Become Lions,” was a 2017 Sundance Documentary Fund recipient, won Best Editing at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, and was nominated for two 2019 IDA Awards in Best Cinematography and Best Editing. The film was released theatrically across the United States by Oscilloscope Laboratories and is now available on Apple TV and Amazon. His short films have screened at festivals worldwide and been recognized by SXSW, Hot Docs, Webbys, Vimeo Staff Picks, Camerimage Film Festival, Sheffield Film Festival, and National Geographic. In 2018 he was selected for DOC NYC’s inaugural 40 Under 40 list. He is currently developing a new film in Concordia Studios Artist-in-Residence.  For more about his filmology go to: jonkasbe.com

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

The Killing Floor, Director Bill Duke

Praised by The Village Voice as the most “clear-eyed account of union organizing on film,” THE KILLING FLOOR tells a true story of how a group of black and white slaughterhouse workers attempted to break race barriers to build an interracial union for the first time in the brutal stockyards. Damien Leake (SERPICO, APOCALYPSE NOW) stars as Frank Custer, a young black sharecropper from Mississippi – one of tens of thousands of southern blacks who journeyed to the industrial north during World War One, hoping for more racial equality. When Frank lands a job as a laborer on “the killing floor” in one of Chicago’s giant meatpacking plants., he finds a place seething with racial antagonism and decides to support the union cause. His best friends from the South, distrustful of the white-led union, turn against him. As racial violence explodes in the notorious Chicago Race Riot of 1919, management is able to further divide the workforce to defeat the union, and Frank must forge a new path. Director Bill Duke ( A RAGE IN HARLEM, DEEP COVER) stops by to talk about the challenges of making a sweeping historical film on a PBS budget, bringing together a talent group of mostly unknown African-American actor and the joy of seeing his groundbreaking and newly relevant film restored and revisited.

For news and updates go to: filmmovement.com/the-killing-floor

Watch The Killing Floor: filmmovement.com/in-theaters

About The Killing Floor: The film was shot in 1983 in Chicago, working with local union crews and with many talented Chicago actors. It was made in the midst of the Reagan Era and shortly after the election of Chicago’s first African-American mayor, Harold Washington. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, foundations, corporations and dozens of national and local unions, THE KILLING FLOOR premiered on PBS’ American Playhouse series in 1984 to rave reviews. In 1985 the film was invited to Cannes and won the Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Award. Featuring a screenplay by Obie Award-winner Leslie Lee, based on an original story by producer Elsa Rassbach and directed by Bill Duke (A RAGE IN HARLEM, DEEP COVER), THE KILLING FLOOR. New 4K restoration. Preserved by UCLA Film & Television Archive, laboratory services and DCP by UCLA Film & Television Archive Digital Media Lab, with a special thanks to Elsa Rassbach, Sundance Institute Collection at UCLA Film & Television Archive.

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Rich and revealing, a cry of historical dimensions….” — Variety

 “A classic study in class hate, greed and stubborn idealism.  You won´t forget it.” — Newsday

 “Brilliantly captures the drama of the moment as well as the historical forces that produced it.” — The Journal of American History

“…a particularly brilliant example of a cinema which knows how to use all the resources of fiction, without ever allowing its historical documentary side to be marred.” – La Revue du Cinema

“…fascinatingly recreated period reality, in performances that combine political faith with artistic force….” – London Evening Standard

“A very powerful, very surprising film….” – Le Monde

 “As compelling dramatically as its historical analysis is fascinating …Surprising that a film from the U.S. can be so frank and explicit in its exposure of the class struggle.” — Sight & Sound

Seahorse, The Dad Who Gave Birth, Director Jeanie Finlay

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

 

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

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

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

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

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

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

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

Unsettled, Director Tom Shepard

UNSETTLED is a feature-length documentary revealing the untold stories of LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers who have fled intense persecution from their home countries and who are resettling in the U.S. UNSETTLED follows four new arrivals, each of whom have escaped potential peril in their native countries for being different. They’ve landed in the purported “gay mecca” of San Francisco, yet even there, building a new life in an adopted nation is a precarious undertaking. As new  leadership in America continues to restrict immigrants and drastically cut the flow of refugees and asylum seekers, UNSETTLED sheds light on a group about which few people know. What are the costs persecuted immigrants pay for seeking refuge? And how are everyday Americans stepping forward to help those most in need? Director and Producer Tom Shepard joins us for a conversation on the world wide danger faced by gay and transgender people, illegal in 70 countries and punishable by death in four countries, and the daunting challenges facing refugees and asylum seekers in the land of the free. 

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to unsettled.film

Broadcast premiere June 28 on worldchannel.org and pbs.org thru July 12, 2020

About the filmmaker: Tom Shepard, or the last 20 years has produced, directed, edited, and distributed documentary films. Four of his feature projects – SCOUT’S HONOR, KNOCKING, WHIZ KIDS and THE GROVE – have aired nationally on PBS (including POV, Independent Lens and PBS Plus). Coverage of his work has been featured prominently in the U.S. and foreign press, including reviews of three of his films in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and Boston Globe among others. Shepard’s films have played in hundreds of film festivals worldwide – including Full Frame, Silver Docs and the Sundance Film Festival (where he won two top awards for SCOUT’S HONOR in 2001.) Shepard has raised two million dollars for production of his own work and has received funding from the Independent Television Service (ITVS) four times previously. He is the former Chairman of New Day Films and in 2013, founded the Youth Documentary Academy in Colorado where he teaches regularly. He graduated from Stanford University where he studied human biology and film.

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“It does provide engrossing studies in human interest, as well as an empathetic look at the particular struggles of U.S. immigration in the new millennium.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“It also lets Americans understand how horrible things are for others…” – Lapacazo Sandoval, Los Angeles Sentinel

Street Fighting Men, Director Andrew James

In a rapidly changing America where mass inequality and dwindling opportunity have devastated the black working class, three Detroit men must fight to build something lasting for themselves and future generations. STREET FIGHTING MEN takes a deep, observational dive into the lives of retired cop Jack Rabbit, who continues to patrol his own neighborhood as a citizen; Deris, who wants to further his education and serve as a role model for his baby daughter; and Luke, who labors mightily to rehab a dilapidated house while pulling together a meager living. Shot over three years in the neighborhoods of Detroit, STREET FIGHTING MEN is a story of hard work, faith and manhood in a community that never settles for defeat. STREET FIGHTING MEN takes place in the neighborhoods, where the real fight over Detroit’s future is being waged every day. For the people who live here, Detroit is not a blank slate, it is their home — where they have invested their lives, families, and memories. Director Andrew James joins us to talk about the grinding reality for people determined to do the right thing, get an education, provide for their families, promote a safe neighborhood, buy a home, but are faced with a crippling lack of resources or the opportunities to accomplish anything of last value.

 

For news and updates go to: streetfightingmen.com

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Watch Street Fighting Men at: ovid.tv/videos/street-fighting-men

Watch Street Fighting Men at: vimeo.com/ondemand/streetfightingmen

Director’s Statement – I became interested in making a film in Detroit after reading a Metro Times article about James “Jack Rabbit” Jackson. The article featured a picture of Jack Rabbit standing on a street corner at night with his partner, Keith, close behind him. The two men, Jack Rabbit in particular, had taken it upon themselves to be the neighborhood watch after the local police station shut down, and their story of resistance resonated with me. Jack Rabbit’s story and the struggle of his largely black working-class neighborhood is the story of our times. It has become increasingly hard to ignore how the US system is leaving behind poor, working-class and even middle-class people, many of whom are people of color, in favor of global economic interests. I wanted to create something personal and experiential, with an emphasis on the day-to-day, that could speak to this systemic decay of opportunity. I contacted Jack Rabbit and asked if we could meet. He was enthusiastic about the idea and excited to tell his story, and eager to help me understand the ups and downs of his neighborhood. After spending some time in Detroit and getting to know Jack Rabbit, we began shooting with Deris and Luke as well. It was then that I decided to move to Detroit – to capture their stories in real time. I felt that a longitudinal, fly on the wall style would allow me time to get to know the community better and find the story in collaboration with the subjects. This extended time allowed me to form close bonds with the three men, as well as others in the community, and it gave me a unique opportunity to tell their story in a very personal way. – Andrew James, Director/Editor/Cinematographer

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“Stories of the death and rebirth of [Detroit] are familiar, but Andrew James’s documentary conveys the experience of living there. From the beginning there’s an undercurrent of weariness, of the wear and tear of living in a place to which the rest of the world — or rather, the movie strongly implies, the white world, the money world — has grown indifferent.” – Glenn Kenny, The New York Times

“A painful but honest depiction of black life in urban Detroit, featuring multifaceted men striving against the odds. A portrait of black resilience and perseverance — without sentimentality — that stands in stark contrast to the one-dimensional stories of transformation, but still offers a way out of the dark.” – April Wolfe, Film Critic & Writer

“An incisive, intimate and enlightening cinematic gaze on Detroit, Street Fighting Men triumphs as an authentic story of resilience in a neighborhood that will never settle for defeat.” – Les Roka, The Utah Review

“For those curious about Detroit, this is one of the essential docs.” – Inney Prakash, Cinema Programmer, Maysles Documentary Center

Ask No Questions, Director Jason Loftus

In ASK NO QUESTIONS Chinese State TV blames his faith for a fiery public suicide, Chen Ruichang is detained in a Clockwork Orange-style brainwashing facility and forced to accept the government’s account. But Chen, a former insider of the state TV himself, believes it was all a government plot. A CNN reporter smuggled out footage of the event that day, but was then muzzled by Beijing. Now, her eyewitness testimony helps untangle an intricate conspiracy, as Chinese authorities begin pressuring the filmmaker’s family and business associates. The terrifying danger of a government nefariously crafting the narrative & imprisoning its citizens who practice Falun Gong in China in the gripping feature documentary ASK NO QUESTIONS from filmmakers Jason  Loftus (The Bleeding Edge, Human Harvest) and Eric Pedicelli (Black Code, Tin City Voices), which world premieres on Saturday, January 25th. In the vein of a journalistic true crime documentary, painting the scope of the crime, and the depths of the investigation. The story leads into allegations of criminal conduct at a governmental scale. Evidence is credibly presented, shocking, and thorough. Director Jason Loftus stops by for a conversation on the terrifying reach of a totalitarian state power structure and the impact it can have on those who dare challenge it.

 

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For news and updates go to: asknoquestionsfilm.com

About the filmmakers: Director and Producer Jason Loftus is a Peabody Award-winning film producer and four-time Canadian Screen Award nominee. His work spans documentary, docuseries, virtual reality, narrative games, and animation. He is CEO of the Toronto-based Lofty Sky Entertainment and Lofty Sky Pictures. Ask No Questions is Jason’s directorial debut in a documentary feature.

Director and Editor Eric Pedicelli – Eric’s films have highlighted women’s right to education in Ivory Coast, surveillance of activists in Rio de Janeiro, and internet censorship in Iran. He edited Black Code (directed by Nick de Pencier), examining perils faced by activists in the digital age. It premiered at TIFF and earned Eric a Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Editing. Ask No Questions is his feature documentary directorial debut.

 
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“A few cunningly-placed cameras, a couple of threats, and some psychologically unstable recruits – and voila! – a whole new reality may be formed (in that sense, it’s like a real-life version of Barry Levinson’s satire Wag the Dog)” – Alex Saveliev, Film Threat

““Dissects a dramatic event with clear arguments and reasonable analysis–it is very well done. Darkness must be exposed, and Ask No Questions can play a valuable role.” – Ai Weiwei

“The film is particularly relevant now… a cautionary tale about how hard it can be to come to the truth.” – SF Weekly

“It shows the terrifying height of ‘fake news’ and presents a lot of difficult but timely questions about media, governmental authority, censorship, and freedom of the press.” – rocketminer.com

“A wicked trip down the rabbit hole… Without a doubt, Ask No Questions is a must see.” – Unseen Films

“Like an ice bath with each revealed truth being another shred of ice raising the hairs on the back of your neck.” – Slug Magazine

Disclosure, Director Sam Feder

DISCLOSURE (formerly titled Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen) is an unprecedented, eye-opening look at transgender depictions in film and television, revealing how Hollywood simultaneously reflects and manufactures our deepest anxieties about gender. Leading trans thinkers and creatives, including Laverne Cox, Lilly Wachowski, Yance Ford, Jen Richards, Mj Rodriguez, Jamie Clayton, and Chaz Bono, share their reactions and resistance to some of Hollywood’s most beloved moments. Grappling with films like A Florida Enchantment (1914), Dog Day Afternoon, The Crying Game, and Boys Don’t Cry, and with shows like The Jeffersons, The L-Word, and Pose, they trace a history that is at once dehumanizing, yet also evolving, complex, and sometimes humorous. What emerges is a fascinating story of dynamic interplay between trans representation on screen, society’s beliefs, and the reality of trans lives. Reframing familiar scenes and iconic characters in a new light, director Sam Feder (Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger) invites viewers to confront unexamined assumptions, and shows how what once captured the American imagination now elicit new feelings. DISCLOSURE provokes a startling revolution in how we see and understand trans people. Director Sam Feder joins us for a conversation on the prejudice and crippling stereotypes being pushed out by film and television as well as barrier breaking stories being told by filmmakers, writers and artists

 

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For news and updates go to: disclosurethemovie.com 

Watch: Disclosure premieres June 19 on Netflix

Statement from the filmmakers: DISCLOSURE shows audiences that decades-old stereotypes, memes, and tropes in the media both form and reflect our understanding of trans issues. They have shaped the cultural narrative about transgender people, and inform everything from dating and domestic violence, to school policy and national legislation. Since 80% of the population have never met a transgender person, all they know is rooted in media depictions, which are predominantly problematic and have rarely included participation by actual trans people. Disclosure is aimed at that 80%. 

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“A thoughtfully crafted film that puts underheard voices first.” – Beandrea July, Hollywood Reporter

“Crafted with obvious love, Feder beautifully guides the audience through the many pitfalls transgender people have faced along the road to representation.” – Ian Thomas Malone, FanSided

“(Disclosure) not only leaves us with the hope that things will improve, but it also shows us how much better the industry is when everyone is included, represented, and respected.” – Norman Gidney, Film Threat

“In making the film, Feder and Cox are rewriting the very history they set out to tell, adding one more title to “positive representation” list. That alone is worth coming out for.” – Jude Dry, indieWire

Runner, Director Bill Gallagher

When he was only eight, Guor Mading Maker (formally known as Guor Marial) ran from captivity in war-torn Sudan to eventually seek safety in the US. In his new life, Maker began running again, participating in high school track and field and eventually becoming a sensation and qualifying for the 2012 Olympics. But because the newly formed South Sudan was not recognized by the International Olympic Committee, Maker had to fight to compete independently, refusing to run for Sudan and taking a stand against its oppression. RUNNER depicts Maker’s difficult and triumphant journey from refugee to a world-renowned athlete, told in intimate interviews with gorgeously animated flashbacks of Guor’s upbringing, and culminating in a heart-wrenching reunion with his parents after a 20-year separation. His story is a distinctly inspirational one in which the indomitable human spirit emerges against all odds. Director Bill Gallagher joins us to talk about the indomitable spirit of Guor Mading Maker and how the hope he has for “the world’s newest” country and love of his family have fueled his determination for finish his race.

 

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

About the filmmaker: BILL GALLAGHER is the director and producer of the award-winning documentary RUNNER that is currently playing at festivals around the world. He was the line producer for the Academy Award nominated documentary IF A TREE FALLS (Sundance), and Production Manager on the documentary RACING DREAMS (Tribeca – Best Documentary). Both films were in theaters and broadcasted on BBC and PBS. Originally from outside of Boston in the United States, he is now living in Madrid, Spain. He studied Documentary Media at The New School and has lectured on documentary production at the University of Navarra in Spain. RUNNER is his first film as director.

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2040, Director Damon Gameau

Award-winning Director Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film) embarks on a journey to explore what the future could look like by the year 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to us to improve our planet and shifted them rapidly into the mainstream. Structured as a visual letter to his 4-year-old daughter, Damon blends traditional documentary with dramatized sequences and high-end visual effects to create a vision board of how these solutions could regenerate the world for future generations. Director Damon Gameau joins us to talk about the how current, scalable technologies are available that can mitigate the damage being done by the scourge of climate damage and move us toward a cleaner, sustainable life for the planet and humanity.

 

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For news and updates go to: madmanfilms.com.au/2040film

For news and updates go to: whatsyour2040.com

Watch 2040 at togetherfilms.org/2040-screenings

Get Involved 

“We have partnered with the curriculum experts at Cool Australia to build a comprehensive package of units of work for upper primary and secondary. These free lesson plans are learning recipes for teachers that utilise short clips from the film to support classroom learning, providing step-by-step instructions, student workshops and engaging content. We interviewed over 100 children from around the world for 2040 and asked them what their hopes and dreams were for the future. It is a world they will be inheriting from us so we have to show them that solutions exist, that there are people who care deeply about their future, and that wonderful careers await with genuine purpose and meaning.” – Damon Gameau 

Visit the “Resources for Teachers” page and sign-up to our Schools Mailing list to learn more about opportunities for schools and to receive updates on when localized curriculum resources will be available in your country.

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“2040 might just shift your world for the better.” – Liam Maguren, Flicks.co.nz

“Gameau pulls away from the apocalyptic doomsaying hard-wired into so much of the enviro-debate…Wisely, his speculations are restricted by the self-imposed discipline that they all need to be rooted in practices that already exist. A very smart move.” – Jim Schembri, 3AW

“None of the ideas explored here are purely theoretical or pie in the sky. Whether technological or systems-based solutions, they all exist now and could be massively expanded to huge global benefit.” –Lynden Barber, Limelight

“Gameau defaults to the position of inspiring people rather than alarming or overwhelming them. You leave the film wanting more, not less, of these sorts of productions.” – Luke Buckmaster, Guardian

“You can’t please everyone. Gameau is at least doing what he can to talk about some big problems, in an entertaining and accessible way.” – Paul Byrnes, Sydney Morning Herald

The Plagiarists – Screenwriters Robin Schavoir and James N. Kienitz Wilkins

Co-written by experimental filmmakers James N. Kienitz Wilkins and Robin Schavoir (who, along with Paul Dallas, served as producers), The Plagiarists is at once a hilarious send-up of low-budget American indie filmmaking and a probing inquiry into race, relationships, and the social uncanny. A young novelist (Lucy Kaminsky) and her cinematographer boyfriend (Eamon Monaghan) are waylaid by a snowstorm on their way to visit a friend in upstate New York and are taken in by the kindly yet enigmatic Clip (Michael “Clip” Payne of Parliament Funkadelic), who puts them up for the night. But an accidental discovery months later recasts in an unnerving light what had seemed like an agreeable evening, stoking resentments both latent and not-so-latent. Exhilaratingly intelligent and distinctively shot on a vintage TV-news camera, The Plagiarists is a work whose provocations are inseparable from its pleasures. Screenwriters James N. Kienitz Wilkins and Robin Schavoir join us to talk about whip-smart project, as well as their creative process, white privilege, blending together acting styles and Dogma 95.

Background – The Plagiarists is a dramatic comedy about the clash of money and culture, reality and desire, race and identity. It’s a social satire about who has the privilege to say what in today’s world. It was conceived as a playful critique of the mannerisms of “indie film” used by aspiring filmmakers to denote authenticity of performance, often resulting in the casual perpetuation of stereotypes. The Plagiarists is at once the thing it mimics: a completely independent micro-budget feature shot entirely on vintage news cameras from the 1980s, despite a contemporary subject matter. The camera cited in the story is also the production camera, recording on real Betacam SP videotape (sourced from eBay) to create a visual style reflecting the internal debate over obsolescence, nostalgia, and the heavy weight of originality.

 

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For news and updates go to: kimstim.com/film/plagiarists

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“An adventurous comic thumping worth the working over of your sensibilities.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“Its crude imagery and the sharp editing that implicitly contradicts it are deliberate components of a termite-like digging into the permutations of postmodern cultural work.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

“The Plagiarists’ perfectly judged mimicry of independent cinema illustrates the profound effect a lack of diversity has on the type of art that gets made.” – Patrick Gamble, CineVue

“The film improves upon reflection, raising, as it does, some knotty questions about originality in art and in life, as well as provocatively positing that even a copy of a copy of a copy has the potential to move hearts and minds.” – Keith Uhlich, Hollywood Reporter

Circus of Books, Director Rachel Mason

For 35-plus years, the gay porn shop Circus of Books gave Los Angeles’ LGBT+ community a space to socialize and celebrate themselves without judgment. Unbeknownst to many customers, the store was cultivated by owners Karen and Barry Mason, a straight, mainstream couple with three children who went to religious school and were unaware of their parents’ business. The Masons long refused to disclose the nature of their business to friends or family. While maintaining the secret, they witnessed the dawn of the HIV/AIDS epidemic firsthand, losing a generation of treasured employees. Still, during that time, they never identified https://www.netflix.com/title/81011569as activists — just everyday entrepreneurs catering to a market, until the Internet destroyed it. Executive produced by Ryan Murphy, CIRCUS OF BOOKS is the debut documentary from artist Rachel Mason, who finally asks the least radical people she knows — her parents — how they became America’s biggest distributors of gay porn, and why Karen reacted so negatively when her own son came out of the closet.Director and daughter Rachel Mason joins us to talk her parents, her brothers, her own story and the impact her family’s business had on a community fighting to survive.

Circus of Books is nows screening at: netflix.com

About the filmmaker – Rachel Mason is an artist, musician and filmmaker from Los Angeles. Mason has recorded 13 albums, has toured, exhibited sculpture, video and performance at the Whitney Museum, Queens Museum, LACMA, Detroit Museum of Contemporary Art, School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Henry Gallery in Seattle, James Gallery at CUNY, University Art Museum in Buffalo, Sculpture Center, Hessel Museum of Art at Bard and Occidental College, Kunsthalle Zurich, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, The New Museum, Park Avenue Armory, Art in General, La Mama, Galapagos, Dixon Place, and Empac Center for Performance in Troy among other venues. Reviews include New York Times, Village Voice, Los Angeles Times, Flash Art, Art in America, Art News, and Artforum. Her album and feature film, The Lives of Hamilton Fish. has toured festivals and museums internationally and was released in 2016.

For more about Rachel Mason go to: rachelmasonart.com

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98% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Circus of Books is the story of an American family who wandered into the eye of history, and a virtuoso example of how to make a movie both very big and very small at once.” – Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic

“A RARE DELIGHT – AND A NEARLY PERFECT DOCUMENTARY. Mason keeps a thread of tension taut throughout, never losing sight of the contradictions between her parents’ work and their home life.” – Jude Dry, IndieWire

“VERY FUNNY, VERY MOVING. The filmmaker does right by front-loading most of the snicker-worthy scenes. She knows that even the most open-minded among us need to get past a certain level of shock and incredulity to see Karen and Barry as the beautiful, and beautifully complicated, people they are.” – Keith Uhlich, The Hollywood Reporter

“Circus of Books tells this complex and enthralling story, about the rise and fall of their family business, with a unique specificity. It’s Mason’s lack of distance from the subject — in fact, it’s that she, too, is part of the story — that makes the picture soar with intimacy.” – Tre’vell Anderson, OUT

The Infiltrators, Co-directors Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera

THE INFILTRATORS is a docu-thriller that tells the true story of young immigrants who are detained by Border Patrol and thrown into a shadowy for-profit detention center— on purpose. Marco and Viri are members of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, a group of radical DREAMers who are on a mission to stop unjust deportations. And the best place to stop deportations, they believe, is in detention. However, when Marco and Viri attempt a daring reverse ‘prison break,’ things don’t go according to plan. By weaving together documentary footage of the real infiltrators with re-enactments of the events inside the detention center, THE INFILTRATORS tells an incredible and thrilling true story in a genre-defying new cinematic language. Co-directors Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera joins for a conversation on dire conditions that await detainees, the cruelty of a for-profit system designed to frustrate people with legitimate reasons for remaining in the United States and their respect for the people who willingly put their lives and futures on the line for the sake of others.

 

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For news and updates go to: theinfiltrators.oscilloscope.net or infiltratorsfilm.com

About the filmmakers:

Alex Rivera is an award-winning filmmaker who tells visually adventurous stories. His first feature film, Sleep Dealer, won the screenwriting award at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, was screened at the Museum of Modern Art, and had a commercial release around the world. In 2015 Alex was awarded support from the Surdna Foundation and the Ford Foundation for The Infiltrators.

Cristina Ibarra has been making award-winning films that explore the U.S.-Mexico border for the past seventeen years. The New York Times calls her documentary Las Marthas “a striking alternative portrait of border-town life.” Her PBS documentary collaboration, The Last Conquistador, had a national broadcast on POV. In 2015 she became part of Women at Sundance.

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“THE INFILTRATORS manages to personalize the undocumented struggle by transforming it into an unlikely blend of activism and suspense that makes a compelling case for the abolishment of ICE.” – Eric Kohn, INDIEWIRE

“A doc mixing interviews, real-time action and reenactment in exciting ways, Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra’s THE INFILTRATORS tells a true story so inspiring it’s a wonder it isn’t better known.’ – John DeFore, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“Chronicling the audacious acts of a group of organized undocumented youth prior to the Obama-implemented, temporary relief known as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), THE INFILTRATORS, from Latinx directors Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra, is a vital piece of hybrid cinema that shines light into the obscure realm of privately-operated immigration detention facilities.” – Carlos Aguilar, THE WRAP

Shadows of Freedom, Co-directors Amos Carlen and Aline Robichaud

SHADOWS OF FREEDOM recounts the untold story of the Jewish & French resistance of 1942 in Algiers, which helped change the course of WWII, yet remains largely forgotten. These 388 resistors – mostly young and inexperienced – almost haplessly ended up supporting the Allies in North Africa. In the process they paved the way for a successful invasion of Algiers by the U.S., but also helped to save the lives of over 500,000 Jews in North Africa, targeted by Hitler’s Final Solution. This was all part of OPERATION  TORCH the joint American/U.K. mission that was to be the Allies’ first successful strike against the Nazis. This largely forgotten military operation remains to this day as the longest invasion in the history of conflict. Co-directors and co-producers Amos Carlen and Aline Robichaud join us to talk about a little known but critically important chapter of French resistance, American and British military strategy and the courageous contributions made by Jewish resistance fighters. 

 

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For news and updates go to: shadowsfreedom.com/home

 
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* OPERATION TORCH was the 1942 Anglo-American invasion of North Africa (Algeria and Morocco). It was the 1st joint operation of the U.S. and the U.K., the 1st Allied success against the Nazis and, until D-Day, the largest military operation ever undertaken. It was a hugely significant turning point in the war – aided greatly by the resistance in Algiers – yet remains largely forgotten. SHDOWS OF FREEDOM unveils the importance of Operation Torch in the hopes of highlighting this historical moment that stands as a remarkable achievement by America and Great Britain. This powerful alliance made victory a certainty.

Planet of the Humans, Director Jeff Gibbs

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

 

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For news and updates go to: planetofthehumans.com

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

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

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

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

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

Slay the Dragon, Co-directors Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance, Journalist David Daley

After the 2008 election, a secretive, well-funded partisan initiative poured money into state legislative races in key swing states to gain control of their redistricting processes and used high-tech analytics to dramatically skew voting maps based on demographic data. The result is one of the greatest electoral manipulations in U.S. history, one that poses a fundamental threat to our democracy and exacerbates the already polarized atmosphere in Congress and state houses across the country.  Gerrymandering, the practice of redrawing electoral maps to serve the party in power, has been around for centuries. But in today’s hyper-partisan political environment it has been taken to unprecedented extremes, fueled by the elimination of corporate campaign contribution limits and the availability of vast amounts of personal information. The effects of this insidious strategy have continued to bear fruit through the 2018 midterms. But voters, fed up with cynical efforts to sidestep the will of the majority, have begun fighting back. In one example, a grassroots movement led by a young with no political experience gathered hundreds of thousands of signatures to put an anti-gerrymandering initiative on the ballot in Michigan. The new documentary SLAY THE DRAGON shines a light on this timely issue, and follows a handful of citizens’ groups, outraged by what they see as an attack on the core democratic principle that every person’s vote should count equally, as they battle party operatives and an entrenched political establishment to fix a broken system. Co-directors Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance stop by to talk about their approach to tackling a complex issue, and finding the grassroots activists who have shown that there is a way to affect real change despite the overwhelming odds.

 

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

Watch Slay the Dragon AND support local Theatres: slaythedragonfilm.com/tickets

To learn more about the filmmakers and their work go to: ark-media.net

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“The most important political film of the year. It may prove to be one of the key political films of the decade. There is no issue more threatening to the future of American democracy than gerrymandering.” – Owen Gleiberman, VARIETY

“Slay the Dragon does an extraordinarily good job of taking a complex issue and connecting the dots, which seems particularly appropriate for a documentary about gerrymandering.” – Brian Lowry, CNN.com

“Outrage is a likely reaction.” – Karen Martin, ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

“Shocking. It changes the way you see everything.”- Adrian Horton, THE GUARDIAN

Crip Camp, Co-directors Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht

CRIP CAMP explores the revolution that blossomed in a ramshackle, unorthodox summer camp for teenagers with disabilities in the early 1970s, transforming their lives and igniting a landmark movement. This joyous and exuberant documentary, co-directed by Emmy®-winning filmmaker Nicole Newnham and sound mixer (and former camper) James LeBrecht, draws from a jaw-dropping store of archival footage to show how the campers’ bonds endured as they migrated West to Berkeley, California — a promised land for a growing and diverse disability community — where they realized that by working together they might secure life-changing accessibility for millions. CRIP CAMP arrives the same year as the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, at a time when the country’s largest minority group still battles daily for the freedom to exist. Co-directors Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht join us for a lively conversation on the personal and professional journey behind the making of CRIP CAMP and the remarkable people who fought and those who continue to fight for human rights.

 

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Watch Crip Camp on Netflix right now!

About the filmmakers: Jim LeBrecht is the founder of Berkeley Sound Artists (BSA), an audio postproduction house. Films that he has mixed have screened at film festivals including Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, Telluride and Berlin. Credits include Unrest, The Force, Audrie and Daisy, The Waiting Room, The Devil and Daniel Johnston and We Were Here. LeBrecht started his career in the theater as the resident sound designer at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre for 10 years. He’s also designed sound for the American Conservatory Theatre, The Public Theater in NY, La Jolla Playhouse and the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. Jim co-authored (with Deena Kaye) the book Sound and Music for the Theatre: the art and technique of design. Now in its 4th edition, the book is used all over the world as a textbook. Jim’s work as a disabled rights advocate began in his teens as a member of Disabled in Action, a pioneering disability rights group. While at UC, San Diego, he helped found the Disabled Students Union. Jim is currently a board member at the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, a leading organization working for the rights of the disabled through education, legislation and litigation.

Nicole Newnham is a documentary producer and director, Sundance Film Festival alumnus and four time Emmy-nominee. She recently produced the breakthrough virtual reality experience, Collisions, directed by artist Lynette Wallworth. Among her films are The Revolutionary Optimists, winner of the Sundance Hilton Sustainability Award, and Sentenced Home. Both films aired on PBS’ series Independent Lens. Nicole instigated, co-produced and directed the acclaimed documentary The Rape of Europa, about the Nazi war on European culture, which was nominated for a WGA award and shortlisted for the Academy Award. She is known for working to achieve concrete impact from the power of the stories she tells, and co-founded a story and data-mapping platform for youth – linked to The Revolutionary Optimists, own communities, called Map Your World (www.mapyourworld.org).

 

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The riveting tale of a decades-long radical revolution that changed the world forever.” – Katie WalshTribune News Service

“The spirit of revolution – righteously angry yet full of bonhomie, demanding but generous in its reach – is alive and well in the film. As, one hopes, it is everywhere else.” – Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

“Using a treasure trove of archived footage and colorful contemporary interviews, Lebrecht and Newnham weave together a punchy, straightforward and inspiring documentary that is greater than the sum of its parts.” – Ashlie D. Stevens, Salon.com

“”Crip Camp” is thus a moving and passionate tribute to the herculean efforts it took… to bring about ramps, curb cuts and other essential accessibility provisions.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

The Rescue List – Co-directors Alyssa Fedele and Zachary Fink

THE RESCUE LIST focuses on a hidden safe-house in the Ghanaian forest, where social workers help two children recover from a childhood enslaved to fishermen on Lake Volta – the largest man-made lake on Earth. But their story takes an unexpected turn when their rescuer embarks on another rescue mission and asks the children for help. THE RESCUE LIST charts the unfolding drama of these rescue operations alongside a stirring portrait of the boys’ recoveries as they prepare to return to their families. The film depicts a moving story of friendship and courage that transcends the trope of victimhood, exploring what it means to love and to survive. Co-directors Alyssa Fedele and Zachary Fink join us for an in-depth conversation on the ground truth about human trafficking in sub-Sahara Africa, gaining the access and the trust of all the people in the film and their own reflections on how witnessing these people’s stories has impacted them.

 

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To watch The Rescue List on PBS POV go to: therescuelist.com

About the filmmakers:

ALYSSA FEDELE – PRODUCER  //  DIRECTOR  //  EDITOR – Alyssa Fedele is a documentary filmmaker and anthropologist based in San Francisco.  In 2016, She produced and edited The Ride of Their Lives, directed by Steve James, about youth rodeo bull riding. It premiered at Sundance and is distributed by Amazon Studios in the series The New Yorker Presents. Her work has appeared on National Geographic Channel, Amazon Studios, and PBS, and screened at IDFA, SFFILM, and Big Sky Film Festival. Alyssa directed, produced, and edited The Rescue List, which screened at Full Frame and DOC NYC and won awards at BendFilm and Heartland International Film Festival.Alyssa is a former resident at SFFILM’s FilmHouse and she is a recipient of the SFFILM Documentary Film Fund. She has a master’s degree in visual anthropology from the University of Manchester.

ZACHARY FINK – PRODUCER // DIRECTOR // CINEMATOGRAPHER – Zachary Fink is a documentary filmmaker and cinematographer. His immersive observational approach to storytelling is deeply influenced by his academic roots in cultural anthropology and visual ethnography. He recently lensed Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s SXSW opening night premiere, State Of Pride, which takes an unflinching look at the diverse expression of Pride 50 years after Stonewall. Last year he spent a month at McMurdo Station in Antarctica where he field directed and shot a forthcoming PBS NOVA series about how science is conducted on the harshest continent. In 2016, Zachary produced  and filmed The Ride Of Their Lives, a short directed by Steve James about youth rodeo bull riding. It premiered at Sundance as part of the Amazon Studios series, The New Yorker Presents. His work has appeared on PBS, HBO, National Geographic Channel, and Discovery Channel, and he has produced and directed projects for Facebook, Apple, Google, and for the Harvard Film Study Center. Zachary has a master’s degree in cultural anthropology and an MFA in film production from California Institute of the Arts. Together with Alyssa Fedele, he runs the production company Collective Hunch.

 

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“The Rescue List isn’t an exposé on the subject in the strictest terms, but by sticking close to those who’ve lived through such nightmares, Fedele and Fink tell the viewer all they need to know about the dangers involved.” – Andrew Parker, The Gate

“Stirring tale of children rescued from modern-day slavery.” – Stephen Farber, Hollywood Reporter

“Saving defenseless kids from the cruelty of Lake Volta must be some of the most challenging work imaginable, but The Rescue List ultimately resonates because of how little it can take to show them their own strength.” – David Ehrlich, indieWire

“Focusing on a rescue-and-rehabilitation organization and several youths it plucks from servitude, this is an involving indictment with enough individual human-interest elements to avoid being too much of a grim screed.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

Viral: Antisemitism in Four Mutations, Director Andrew Goldberg

By virtually every yardstick, antisemitism in the US and Europe is rising and worsening in ways not seen since the 1930s. It comes in the forms of vandalism, social media abuse, assault and murder. Like a virus, it mutates and evolves across cultures, borders and ideologies, making it all but impossible to stop. Filmmaker Andrew Goldberg explores its infectious behavior in his film VIRAL: ANTISEMITISM IN FOUR MUTATIONS as he travels through four countries to speak firsthand with victims, witnesses, antisemites, and interviewees including Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Fareed Zakaria, George Will and Deborah Lipstadt. VIRAL: ANTISEMITISM IN FOUR MUTATIONS examines how some on the American far right have incited such acts as the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA. In Hungary, we see how the Prime Minister has launched a massive campaign against Jewish Holocaust survivor and billionaire George Soros that’s reminiscent of Nazi propaganda. Moving to the far left in England, we see members of the traditionally anti-racist Labour party conflating Israel and Jews, causing tremendous pain for the Jewish community. And in France, the film illuminates the seemingly endless wave of violence against Jews by Islamists and radicals. The increasing bigotry, and at times violence, within each of these four countries paints a terrifying portrait of how global hatred disseminates and harms. As activist Maajid Nawaz says in the film, “If we don’t draw a red line in the sand when it comes to antisemitism, Muslims will be next, gays will be next and everyone else who is deemed a minority will be next.” Director Andrew Goldberg joins us to talk about this particularly virulent strain of racism going back hundreds of years, continues to threaten the lives of Jews in Europe and the United States.

 

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

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“As a topic of tremendous ongoing importance with roots that desperately need exploration, anti-Semitism deserves, and needs, a look into its global impact and perpetuation that makes a deeper dive than this documentary provides.” – Todd Gilchrist, TheWrap

“A terrifying, and sadly necessary, warning.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

“Brutal, yet vital, the movie is must-see viewing in our current age of rising global hatred against not only Jews, but ethnic minorities everywhere.” – Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Hammer to Nail

“Viral: Antisemitism in Four Mutation is timely and it is vital, and it is a documentary that not only a community needs, but all of us do.” – Stephanie Archer, Film Inquiry