December 6 – Knives and Skin, Director Jennifer Reeder

What happened to Carolyn Harper? Part suburban nightmare, part neon-soaked teenage fever dream, this tantalizing mystery traces the wave of fear and distrust that spreads across a small Midwestern town in the wake of a high school girl’s mysterious disappearance. As the loneliness and darkness lurking beneath the veneer of everyday life gradually comes to light, a collective awakening seems to overcome the town’s teenage girls—gathering in force until it can no longer be contained. Unfolding in a hallucinatory haze of lushly surreal images, Knives and Skin is a one-of-a-kind coming-of-age noir that haunts like a half-remembered dream. Director / writer Jennifer Reeder joins us for a lively conversation on her heady melange of a film that bends multiple genres to its razor sharp will.

Director’s Statement: I tell stories about unruly women and the landscapes they transform. This is a story by a woman that proposes girlhood as a place of transcendence and transgression. I am committed to this voice and to producing unexpected narratives. I write scripts from actual experience and observation and my films are specific in mood and perspective. I am influenced by Ohio, where I grew up—all that sky and flatness. And even more so by the Midwestern people and their kind of everyday destructiveness and determination to cope. This awkward emotionality is evident in my films as scenes unfold like sticky flypaper and characters make one small mistake after another. – Jennifer Reeder

 

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For news and updates go to: chicagofilmproject.com/knives-and-skin

Social Media

facebook.com/knivesandskin

twitter.com/knivesandskin

“It may be the most anarchic and refreshing take on the American teen’s existential malaise since Heathers.” – Demetrios Matheou, Screen International

“An effervescent suburban noir rich with tragedy, rough around the edges, but sharp like the dagger when it counts.” – Matt Donato, Dread Central

“The film’s approach to narrative structure is both messy and strangely confident and alluring, poising Knives and Skin as a bold and complicated cross-genre anomaly, much like the women Reeder lovingly depicts.” – Chloe Leeson, Screen Queens

“At times fraught with anxiety, haunting in quiet horror, blackly comedic, and aching with with sorrow and love, Knives and Skin is many things and also defies easy categorization, as it puts forth a perspective that is multiple and complicated.” – Shelagh Rowan-Legg, ScreenAnarchy

November 29 – Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project, Director Matt Wolf

In the fascinating new documentary from Matt Wolf (Teenage, Wild Combination) RECORDER: THE MARION STOKES PROJECT, we follow the life of a former librarian, Marion Stokes. Her unusual “project” began when she started secretly recording American television twenty-four hours a day at the dawn of what we know today as the twenty-four hour news cycle. It started in 1979 with the Iranian Hostage Crisis, ending more than 32 years later, on December 14, 2012. Marion passed away as the Sandy Hook massacre played out on television. In between, she recorded on 70,000 VHS tapes, capturing revolutions, lies, wars, triumphs, catastrophes, bloopers, talk shows, and commercials that tell us who we were, and show how television shaped the world of today. Before the era of “fake news,” Marion was fighting to protect the truth by archiving everything that was said and shown on television. The public didn’t know it, but the networks were disposing their archives for decades into the trashcan of history. Remarkably, Marion saved it, and now the Internet Archive will digitize her tapes and we’ll be able to search them online for free. A mystery in the form of a time capsule, the film delves into the strange life of a radical Communist activist who became a fabulously wealthy recluse archivist. Marion’s work was crazy but it was also genius, and she would pay a profound price for dedicating her life to this visionary and maddening project. Director Matt Wolf joins us to talk about the librarian / activist / archivist / free thinker Marion Stokes, and how her unusual obsession has provided us with a window into an era of rapidly evolving news and infotainment platforms and the profound impact it continues to have on the present.

 

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

For more about the filmmaker: mattwolf.info

Social Media:
instagram.com/mattpwolf
twitter.com/mattpwolf

 

95% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Matt Wolf’s remarkable Recorder uses Stokes’ recording obsession as a way to explore both Stokes herself and the world she literally committed to video tape. The results are fascinating, weird, and often quite moving.” – Indiewire

“Intriguing from first minute to last… Relating this stranger-than-fiction tale with the narrative twists and turns of a well-paced thriller, Recorder will make news junkies feel a lot better about themselves.” – Hollywood Reporter

“Weirdly exhilarating… Enlightening and the stuff of madness.” Critic’s Pick – New York Times

“One outstanding offering in this year’s Tribeca Film Festival is Recorder, which reveals the secret greatness of a reclusive activist… An information revolutionary, Stokes, despite her decades of isolation, touched the nerve center of the times.” – New Yorker

“Recorder is more than just a portrait of a woman’s complicated relationships and obsessions… Recorder quietly seeds damning observations about the ways media narratives are formed, and how the shapers of these narratives distort the truth and our worldview.” – Flixist

“Utterly compelling and beautifully textured… A thrilling portrait of a woman collecting the history of the world as she lived through it through the very media we all engaged with, this is a powerful and truly important documentary feature.” – CriterionCast

“Marion’s life makes for a pensive, complicated romantic tragedy.” – Nonfics

Coastal Road Killer, Co-director Yotam Guendelman and Ari Pines

In October of 1974 the body of Rachel Heller, a female IDF solider, is found in the sand dunes of Caesarea. She’s completely naked, except for a single sandal and a bra strap tied tightly around her neck. The investigation leads nowhere, until a young man by the name of Amos Baranes storms into a local police station, claiming he knew the victim and wants to help find the person responsible. He’s arrested and after 3 days of interrogations, he confesses to the murder. Coastal Road Killer is a riveting multi-part series examines whether a serial killer, who was never brought to justice, was behind a string of murders that occurred in Israel between the late 70s and early 80s and whether they might still be on the loose. Coastal Road Killer was created by Yotam Guendelman, Mika Timor and Ari Pines, the team behind   Shadow of Truth, the story of the 2006 murder of Tair Rada, a 13-year old Israeli girl, which became one of Netflix’s most-watched true crime docs. Coastal Road Killer explores the connection between storytelling and truth. Very much like Shadow of Truth, the filmmaking is aimed at showing us how easily we can be manipulated into believing a certain narrative, only to have it completely deconstructed in the next few frames.  Co-directors Yotam Guendelman and Ari Pines stop by to talk about their riveting multi-part series investigative expose that through diligent research and forensic experts uncover new, credible evidence that raises a possible serial killer who has, so far, avoided responsibility for their crimes.

 

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The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, Co-directors Elle ­Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn and Actor Violet Nelson

THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN reveals a beautifully intimate, real-time portrait that follows two Indigenous women from vastly different backgrounds whose worlds collide when one of them is fleeing a violent domestic attack.  A love poem to women, THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN weaves a compellingly simple story around the complex themes of racialized female bodies, a country’s failure to support its most vulnerable youth, and the continuing effects of colonial violence.  THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN is the newest acquisition from Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY Releasing. Founded in 2010 by Ava DuVernay, ARRAY is a film collective dedicated to the amplification of images by people of color and women directors. Now in its ninth year, ARRAY Releasing focuses on grassroots distribution of feature narrative and documentary work by varied voices. Co-directors / co-writers Elle ­Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn, as well as lead actor Violet Nelson joins us to talk about the different creative elements that went into the making of this heart-bending film on violence against women, class, privilege and the limitations of compassion.

 

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For news and updates go to: arraynow.com/ The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open

For more on the work of Kathleen Hepburn go to: experimentalforest.ca/thebodyremembers

About the filmmakers

Elle­ Máijá Tailfeathers, Co­-Writer / Co­-Director, is a filmmaker, writer, and actor based in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is Blackfoot from the Kainai First Nation (Blood Reserve) as well as Sámi from northern Norway. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of British Columbia in Indigenous Studies with a Minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN is her debut narrative feature. Tailfeathers was the 2018 Sundance Institute Merata Mita Film Fellow and is an alumni of the Berlinale Talent Lab, the Hot Docs Accelerator Lab, the CFC/NFB/Ford Foundation Open Immersion Virtual Reality Lab, the Whistler Film Festival Aboriginal Film Fellowship, and the International Sámi Film Institute Indigenous Film Fellowship. Her short documentary, Bihttoš, was included in the TIFF Top Ten Canadian Shorts and was also nominated for a Canadian Screen Award and a Leo Award for Best Short Documentary.

elle-maija-tailfeathers.com

Kathleen Hepburn, Co­-Writer / Co­-Director, is a Vancouver born writer and director whose debut feature, NEVER STEADY, NEVER STILL, which Variety Magazine calls a “stoically broken hearted debut,” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017 and was awarded Best Canadian Film and Best Director by the Vancouver Film Critics Circle, as well as Special Jury Prize at the Dublin International Film Festival. It went on to be nominated for eight Canadian Screen Academy Awards including Best Picture. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing, and a BFA in Film Production from the Universities of Guelph and Simon Fraser respectively. THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN is her sophomore feature, co­-written and co­-directed by Elle­-Máijá Tailfeathers.

Social Media:
facebook.com/thebodyremembersfilm
twitter.com/bodyremembers
twitter.com/ava
twitter.com/experiforest
instagram.com/experimentalforest

 

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Intricate and impactful… a world-affirming work.” Sarah-Tai Black, Globe and Mail

“What Tailfeathers and Hepburn have shared… is a practice of filmmaking that grapples with these exact intricacies of embodiment and acknowledges them as wholly inextricable from Indigenous presents and futures.” – Sarah-Tai Black, Globe and Mail

“As poetic as its title, The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open cannot be understated for its power and must not be erased from the conversation.” – Aaron Berry, Film Inquiry

“Stands alongside many recent social realism dramas by the likes of Andrea Arnold and Lynne Ramsay … these performances will hit you like a punch to the gut.” Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Screen Anarchy

DOC/NYC spotlight: Mai Khoi and the Dissidents, Director Joe Piscatella

After the patriotic themes of her first hit song launch her to stardom in Vietnam, Mai Khoi’s personal and artistic growth places her and those around her in jeopardy. A shift from pop star to activist sees Khoi run for office, advocate for women’s rights and sit down with President Barack Obama. Her aspirations to release an album with her new band, The Dissidents, are challenged by looming retaliation by the authoritarian Vietnamese regime, leading the young activist to take drastic measures. Director Joe Piscatella stops by to talk about the journey of Vietnam’s most popular leading pop star from celebrated to hunted for speaking out against an oppressive regime hell-bent to silence her.

About the filmmaker: Joe Piscatella’s second feature documentary, Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower won the Audience Award at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and was acquired as a Netflix Original. His first feature documentary, #ChicagoGirl, has been seen in more than 60 countries. He was also an executive producer on the documentary Finders Keepers, which premiered at Sundance in 2015. In 2019 he was nominated for an Emmy for his directorial work on Food Interrupted. His latest documentary, Mai Khoi & the Dissidents premiered at the 2019 DOC/NYC film festival.

 

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Social Media:
twitter.com/jpiscatella
twitter.com/MaiKhoiOi

 

Atlantics, Director Mati Diop

Winner of the Grand Prix at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, ATLANTICS marks the feature narrative debut of director Mati Diop. Along the Atlantic coast of Africa, a soon-to-be-inaugurated futuristic tower looms over a suburb of Dakar. Ada, 17, is in love with Souleimane, a young construction worker. But she has been promised to another man. One night, Souleimane and his co-workers disappear at sea. Soon after, they come back to haunt their old neighbourhood by taking possession of the girlfriends they left behind. Some of the workers have come claiming revenge and threaten to burn the tower down if the developer does not pay their wages. But Souleiman has come back for Ada, so they can be together one last time. Director and writer Mati Diop joins us for a conversation on her compelling new film, finding love, and the mythology of a ghost story.

About the filmmaker: Trained in Le Fresnoy (National Studio of Contemporary Arts – a leading and very selective French artistic institution), Mati Diop directed four shorts and a medium-length film which received the “Martin E. Segal – Emerging Artist Award” of the Lincoln Center (USA) in 2016. A THOUSAND SUNS (2013), BIG IN VIETNAM (2011), SNOW CANON (2010) and ATLANTIQUES (2009) were selected and awarded in a wide number of international festivals such as the Venice International Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Rotterdam International Film Festival, the Viennale, The Indie Lisboa International Film Festival, and the FID Marseille. They were also programmed in the MoMA and in the Moving Image Museum (USA). As an actress, Mati Diop played in HERMIA Y HELENA by director Matias Piñeiro (2015), FORT BUCHANAN by Benjamin Crotty (2014), SIMON KILLER by Antonio Campos (2012) and 35 SHOTS OF RHUM by Claire Denis (2008).

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: mk2films.com/en/film/atlantics

Social Media:
facebook.com/mk2films/photos/atlantics-by-mati-diop
twitter.com/hashtag/atlantics
twitter.com/#MatiDiop

 

Grand Prix Winner, Cannes Film Festival 2019
Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival 2019
Official Selection, New York Film Festival 2019
Mati Diop, Mary Pickford Award Winner, Toronto International Film Festival 2019

 

“This shape-shifting Senegalese drama is pure cinematic poetry. Slipping in and out of modes with a magician’s confidence, Atlantics is mysterious and mythic, with a wizardly use of sound and some unforgettable images.” ★★★★★ The Telegraph – Tim Robey

“A striking work, with a lyrical, richly evocative ghost story. Exquisitely shot by Claire Mathon and lushly scored by Fatima Al Qadiri, the film pulls together some exceedingly strong components.”The Hollywood Reporter – Leslie Felperin

“Constantly intriguing, Atlantics is an intense romance notable for the craft of the filmmaking and Diop’s original approach to complex issues of love, loss and the forces for change that can rise from the ashes of tragedy.”Screen International – Allan Hunter

“A gorgeous, mesmerizing feature directorial debut. Atlantics is an absorbing, otherworldly vision of an alienated seaside life in Dakar.”IndieWire – Eric Kohn

“A romantic and melancholy film, part social commentary, part ghost tale, that works best in its evocation of loss and female solidarity.”Variety – Jay Weissberg

Scandalous: The Untold Story of the National Enquirer, Director Mark Landsman

Sex! Gossip! Scandal! For over 60 years, the National Enquirer has pumped out salacious, shocking stories, stretching the limits of journalism and blurring the lines between truth and fiction. Magnolia Pictures’ SCANDALOUS: The Untold Story of the National Enquirer, charts the thrilling origin story and influence of (in)famous supermarket tabloid the National Enquirer. The paper that former editor-in-chief Steve Coz called “the most perfectly placed piece of propaganda in America.” SCANDALOUS is the sensational true story of the most infamous tabloid in US history, a wild, probing look at how one newspaper’s prescient grasp of its’ readers darkest curiosities led it to massive profits and influence. From its coverage of Elvis’s death, to Monica Lewinsky and the O.J. Simpson murder trial, the National Enquirer rattled the foundations of American culture and politics, sometimes allegedly using payoffs and blackmail to get its scoops. With rare archival footage and revelations as wild as National Enquirer headlines themselves, SCANDALOUS  examines our obsession with the rich, famous and powerful, and the tabloid that has fed those obsessions for generations of Americans. SCANDALOUS: The Untold Story of the National Enquirer will open in select theaters on November 15, and features interviews with former Enquirer reporters and editors, including Iain Calder and Steve Coz, as well as journalists Ken Auletta, Carl Bernstein, and Maggie Haberman. Director Mark Landsman joins us to talk about the history of the supermarket tabloid that made UFO’s and mayhem respectable and in the process changed the way we consume all forms of media.

 

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

SCANDALOUS: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER panel discussion on Friday (11/15) after the 7:10 pm show with director Mark Landsman and former National Enquirer reporters Tony Brenna, Judith Regan and Barbara Sternig. Q&A after the 7:10 pm show on Saturday (11/16) with producers Aengus James and Kristen Vaurio at the Royal.

Social Media:
scandalousfilm.com
twitter.com/scandalousfilm
instagram.com/scandalousfilm

Mark Landsman – twitter.com/markolands

“While watching this entertaining documentary, keep in mind the claim made by journalist Ronan Farrow: The National Enquirer has buried at least 60 super-sleazy stories about our… president.” – Charles Mudede, The Stranger

“The story of the National Enquirer comes to life in Scandalous, a vibrant true Hollywood story that pulls numerous twists and turns.” – Kristen Lopez, Culturess

“”Scandalous” doesn’t break a lot of new ground in style, but it is a fascinating and essential examination of the media we consume and what consumes us.” – Karen M. Peterson, AwardsCircuit.com

“A journalism expose that lives up, or down, to its hype.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

Saving Atlantis, Co-directors Justin Smith and David Baker

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

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

The film: SAVING ATLANTIS

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

Social Media:
twitter.com/grahamphillips
instagram.com/grahamphillips

 

The Kingmaker, Director Lauren Greenfield

Centered on the indomitable character of former first-lady Imelda Marcos, THE KINGMAKER examines, with intimate access, the Marcos family’s improbable return to power in the Philippines. THE KINGMAKER explores the disturbing legacy of the Marcos regime and chronicles Imelda’s present-day push to help her son, Bongbong, win the vice presidency. To this end, Imelda confidently rewrites her family’s history of corruption, replacing it with a narrative of a matriarch’s extravagant love for her country. In an age when fake news manipulates elections, Imelda’s comeback story serves as a dark fairy tale. Director Lauren Greenfield (Generation Wealth, The Queen of Versailles, Thin) joins us to talk about a powerful political family, led by a single-minded matriarch, determined to return to re-capture the corrupted glory of  her family’s discredited regime.

 

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About the filmmaker, Lauren Greenfield Named by the New York Times as “America’s foremost visual chronicler of the plutocracy,” Emmy Award–winning filmmaker/photographer Lauren Greenfield has produced groundbreaking work on consumerism, youth culture and gender for the last 25 years. Her films Generation Wealth, The Queen of Versailles and Thin and photography books Generation Wealth, Fast Forward and Girl Culture have provoked international dialogue about some of the most important issues of our time. The Queen of Versailles was the opening night film of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Best Documentary Director Award and was named by Vogue as  one  of  the  top  documentaries  of  all time. Her record-breaking Super Bowl ad #LikeAGirl (250+ million views) earned her 14 Cannes Lions and the Most Awarded Director by Ad Age, making her the first woman to top this list. Generation Wealth (Amazon Studios) opened the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, screened at Berlinale and received a Writers Guild nomination. The companion exhibition received The Paris Photography prize, has traveled around the world and opens at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Copenhagen) in Fall 2019. In 2019, Greenfield launched Girl Culture Films to address the lack of diversity of directors in the advertising industry.

For news, theatre screening and updates go to: thekingmakerfilm.com

Social Media:
facebook.com/laurengreenfield
twitter.com/lgreen66
instagram.com/greenfield_lauren

 

OFFICIAL SELECTION – Venice International Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION – Telluride Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION – Toronto International Film Festival

 

“Jaw dropping. Lauren Greenfield proves the perfect person to infiltrate Imelda Marcos’ psyche.”- Peter Debruge, Variety

 “An enraging portrait of entitlement, opulence and corruption. Greenfield shows a knack for illuminating the oddly hypnotic allure of obscene, tacky wealth.” – Tim Grierson, Screen International

 “Eye opening. Lauren Greenfield transforms an absorbing look at the life and legacy of Imelda Marcos into a fascinating documentary about the Marcos family’s troubled history – and the disturbing ways that it’s making a comeback today.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

:Marcos innately understands the importance of image, but she seems to have underestimated her inquisitor, who uses well-chosen historic footage and powerfully-edited interviews with other Filipinos to gradually expand the canvas.” – Elizabeth Weitzman, TheWrap

Disco’d, Director Matthew Siretta and Producer Sam Mantell

Between 2015 and 2016, the number of homeless people in Los Angeles County rose 23% to nearly 58,000. DISCO’D is a character-driven portrait of individuals who were living on the street at the time of filming. This riveting, on-the-ground documentary film captures the moment-to-moment uncertainty and endless instability of life on the streets. Immersive and intimate, highlighting issues of displacement, affordable housing, addiction, consumerism, and sanitation, DISCO’D examines the nature and complexities of homelessness. Navigating through the streets with those who live there, DISCO’D tells a story of those affected by homelessness in Los Angeles. We have seen homeless communities sweep into all parts of the city in recent years. Director, / Producer / Editor  Matthew Siretta and Producer / Sound Engineer Sam Mantell join us to talk about his unsettling film that captures the chaos and sheer hopelessness of the men and woman with no where else to go.

Filmmaker(s) statement: “As filmmakers, we tried to explore human connections by examining interpersonal relationships, and self-reflection, while maintaining a firm look at the people who live within this uneasy margin of society. By facilitating a conversation about these individuals’ relationships with themselves, others, and the city that contains them, we can intimately recognize and connect with them in a very real way. From the beginning, our intention was to make a film that felt personal and experiential, with a narrative that emerged from the frame of human behavior. We wanted to focus on the visceral aspects of their stories, relating to them through feeling, expression, action, and reaction. For us, it was important to remain open to discovery, new connections, and interesting juxtapositions. As they share their lives with us, we come to understand what it means to feel “disco’d” on the streets of Los Angeles. We hope this film is a powerful portrayal that can positively impact the ideas and thoughts viewers may have around what it means to experience homelessness in Los Angeles. That said, we hope that you find the film consistent with our efforts, as we’ve attempted to create a meaningful portrait on homelessness in Los Angeles.” – Matthew Siretta and Sam Mantell

 

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

Social Media:
facebook.com/DiscodMovie
twitter.com/discodmovie
instagram.com/discodmovie
Sam Mantell: twitter.com/slmantell
Matthew Siretta: twitter.com/MATTHEW_SIRETTA

 

“Important doc on LA homeless.” – Sean Baker, @Lilfilm

“Siretta meant to nab his hero Frederick Wiseman as his mentor and he succeeded, so maybe keep an eye peeled.” – Pamela Cohn,  Filmmaker Magazine

“Impressed with the film, particularly as a first-time feature. Raw, accomplished filmmaking. It’s very strong…and some of the characters are extraordinary.” – Jim Kolmar,  SXSW Film Festival

“…A deeply engrossing portrait of Los Angeles homeless life.” – Harry Vaughn,  Sundance Film Festival

“The film provides its subjects the agency to tell their own stories, without judgment or suggestion. The camerawork and editing are sharp and well-suited to the film’s narrative.” – David Wilson,  True/False Film Festival

All-Americans, Director Billy McMillin

THE ALL-AMERICANS takes us into the home to the nation’s largest Latino immigrant population, East Los Angeles, a community that sits squarely in the crossfire of debate about American identity. Yet every November, this community comes together for a distinctly American event, drawing 25,000 proud locals to one of the country’s fiercest high school football rivalry games: The East L.A. Classic. THE ALL-AMERICANS follows four students seeking glory on the field, while grappling with personal obstacles and striving to make sense of their community’s place in today’s America. Director / Producer / Editor / Writer Billy McMillin (Iraq in Fragments, West of Memphis, Mike Wallace is Here) joins us to talk about his feature documentary debut, THE ALL-AMERICANS, and it’s intimate, unvarnished look at young men, often living on the margins, in their dogged pursuit of the American dream.

About the filmmaker: Billy McMillin – Director, Producer, Writer, Editor has spent over a decade as a writer and editor crafting a diverse mix of stories—from war-torn life in Academy Award Nominee Iraq in Fragments, to an epic search for justice in West of Memphis, to a quest for greatness amongst the world’s best 7-year-old golfers in The Short Game. He edited Hulu’s original documentaries Becoming Bond and Too Funny To Fail, and led a team of editors on History & Viceland’s docuseries Hunting ISIS and SundanceTV’s true crime series No One Saw a Thing. Most recently, he edited the all-archival feature documentary Mike Wallace Is Here, which premiered in competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was released theatrically by Magnolia Pictures this summer. The All-Americans is his feature directorial debut.

 

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

Social Media:

facebook.com/all-americansdoc

twitter.com/allamericansdoc

instagram.com/allamericansfilm

Tags: #TheAllAmericans, #eastla, #eastlosangeles, #eastlaclassic, #eastlaclassic2019

“A winning fly-on-the-wall portrait of Latino Americanness, as reflected in East LA’s greatest high school football rivarly.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

St. Louis Superman, Director Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan

Bruce Franks Jr. is a 34-year-old battle rapper, Ferguson activist and state representative from St. Louis, Missouri. Known as Superman to his constituents, he is a political figure the likes of which you’ve never seen – full of contradictions and deep insights, who has overcome unspeakable loss to become one of the most exciting and unapologetic young leaders in the country. This short verité documentary follows Bruce at a critical juncture in his life, when he is forced to deal with the mental trauma he’s been carrying for the nearly 30 years since his 9-year-old brother was shot and killed in front of him, in order to find peace and truly fulfill his destiny as a leader for his community.  Co- director Smriti Mundhra  (Sami Khan) join us to talk about how a dynamic and charismatic man from a traumatized community took tragedy and turned into action.

About the filmmakers: Smriti Mundhras A SUITABLE GIRL  premiered at Tribeca in 2017 and won the Albert Maysles Award for Best New Documentary Director. KHOYASami Khan’s feature debut, was selected for the Tribeca Film Institute’s Tribeca All Access® fellowship.

 

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Social Media:
twitter.com/smritimundhra
facebook.com/smriti.mundhra
facebook.com/SamiKhan
twitter.com/samikhanfilm

 

Awards Shortlists:

Cinema Eye Honors – Short Listed – Best Short

DOC NYC – Best Shorts Short List

WINNER AUDIENCE AWARD – BEST SHORT DOC  – 2019 HOT DOCS FILM FESTIVAL – 2019 AFI DOCS FILM FESTIVAL – 2019 TRAVERSE CITY FILM FESTIVAL

WINNER – SPECIAL JURY AWARD  – 2019 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

WINNER – BEST SHORT DOC  – 2019 BIG SKY DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL

WINNER – BEST DOCUMENTARY – HEARTLAND FILM’S 2019 INDYSHORTS FILM FESTIVAL

“Thank you Mr. Mundhra. The film is powerful and simple.” – Lapacazo Sandoval, Los Angeles Sentinel

Gay Chorus Deep South, Director David Charles Rodrigues

The documentary Gay Chorus Deep South chronicles one community’s response to a wave of discriminatory anti-LGBTQ laws in Southern states and the divisive 2016 election. The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus embarks on a tour of the American Deep South. Led by Gay Chorus conductor Dr. Tim Seelig and joined by The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, the tour brings a message of music, love, and acceptance to communities and individuals confronting intolerance. Over 300 singers travelled from Mississippi to Tennessee through the Carolinas and over the bridge in Selma. They  performed in churches, community centers, and concert halls in hopes of uniting us in a time of difference. The journey also challenges Tim and other Chorus members who fled the South to confront their own fears, pain, and prejudices on a journey towards reconciliation. The conversations and connections that emerge offer a glimpse of a less divided America, where the things that divide us – faith, politics, sexual identity – are set aside by the soaring power of music and humanity. Director David Charles Rodrigues joins us to talk about the expectations and realities that comes with traveling to communities with the hope of changing hearts and minds.

 

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

Social Media:

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instagram.com/gaychorusdeepsouth

WINNER AUDIENCE AWARD – BEST DOCUMENTARY – 2019 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

WINNER AUDIENCE AWARD – BERKSHIRE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

WINNER AUDIENCE AWARD – TOP 5 NONFICTION FAVORITES – 2019 TRAVERSE CITY FILM FESTIVAL

“Successfully harnessing the power of both music and message, documentary Gay Chorus Deep South draws its strength not only from its subject, but also the effective way in which it it presents its arguments.” – Nikki Baughan, Screen International

“What makes the film especially compelling, though, are the all-too-human narratives involving those who were at one time badly victimized because of their sexual orientation; they want to forgive, but may never be able to.” – Phil Guie, Film-Forward.com

“There’s a lesson here that applies to more than just LGBT political causes: To heal the country and move on, we must reach across the divide and listen to one another.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

“With good folks like this, from both sides of the aisle, there is hope for humanity yet.” – Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Hammer to Nail

Independent Lens, Executive Producer Lois Vossen

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

 

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

Social Media:
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instagram.com/independentlens

 

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.

Diego Maradona, Director Asif Kapadia

In this brilliant followup to his award-winning documentaries (SENNA, AMY) DIEGO MARADONA captures the athletic brilliance and maddening duality of a soccer player widely considered to be best player in the world from the moment he burst onto the scene in his native Argentina. And yet success proved elusive. He failed at Barcelona. He was considered a problem player, too interested in partying. Meanwhile, having never won a major tournament, the ailing Italian football giant SSC Napoli were perennial underachievers. Their fanatical support was unequalled in both passion and size. But how they ached for success… On 5th July 1984, Diego Maradona arrived in Naples for a world-record fee and for seven years all hell broke loose. The world’s most celebrated football genius and the most passionate but dangerous city in Europe were a perfect match for each other. Diego Maradona was blessed on the field and treated like a God off it; the charismatic Argentine loved a fight against the odds and led Naples to their first-ever League title. It was the stuff of dreams. But there was a price… Diego could do as he pleased while performing miracles on the pitch, but as time passed, darker days closed in. Italy turned on him. The third film from the Academy Award-winning & multi-BAFTA-winning team behind SENNA and AMY (director Asif Kapadia, producer James Gay-Rees, editor Chris King, composer Antonio Pinto), and also Paul Martin, DIEGO MARADONA was constructed from over 500 hours of never-before-seen footage from Maradona’s personal archive. DIEGO MARADONA is crafted in the style of SENNA and AMY. It is the definitive feature documentary on the charismatic enigma that is Maradona. In a city where even the devil would need bodyguards, Diego Maradona became a god. Maradona in Naples is the story of his life, the wild and unforgettable story of an unrivalled talent. He was a rebel, cheat, hero and god. This is a story of glory, despair and betrayal, a tale of corruption and, ultimately, of redemption. Director / Producer Asif Kapadia joins us to talk about the enigma of “Diego” and “Maradona.”

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to:hbo.com/documentaries/diego-maradona

For news, updates and screenings go to: diegomaradona.movie

Social Media and tags:

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#HBO

#HBODocs

#DiegoMaradona

#HBOSports

Asif Kapadia:

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website: diegomaradona.movie

“MESMERIZING… one of the most colorful and fascinating personalities in all of sports, with a life story bordering on the mythic. You may know outlines of the soccer legend’s life, but there’s no way you won’t learn something from DIEGO MARADONA, Asif Kapadia’s absorbing and exhaustive new film.” – Jocelyn Noveck, Associated Press

“a fame-technique movie, measured in crowd roars, off-field revelry, media run-ins, and fan scrums as dizzying accoutrements to success, but also – when Maradona succumbed to scandals surrounding women, an unclaimed son from an affair, cocaine, loyalty, and powerful mob friends – in how those same trappings can suddenly turn vicious, and a hero’s fall can go shockingly unsupported.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“[Kapadia] has edited cruddy video footage (some of which appears barely more than camcorder-grade) and photographs into a movie so fluid that it moves like a Hollywood production. He also dispenses with much of the filler common to documentaries… It is exhausting and exhilarating, cheap looking and slick, a documentary for Maradona fans but also for many others besides.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“Asif Kapadia has put together an extraordinarily intimate account of [Diego Maradona’s] rise and fall, enriched by grainy but graphic footage recording every phase of his life.” – Sandra Hall, Sydney Morning Herald

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

SocialMedia:

facebook.com/natgeodocs

twitter.com/NatGeoDocs

instagram.com/explore/tags/thecavedocumentary

**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

On the President’s Orders, Directors James Jones and Olivier Sarbil

ON THE PRESIDENT’S ORDERS tell the searing story of President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody campaign against drug dealers and addicts in the Philippines, told with unprecedented and intimate access to both sides of the war – the Manila police, and an ordinary family from the slum. Shot in the style of a thriller, this observational film combines the look and feel of a narrative feature film with a real life revelatory journalistic investigation into a campaign of killings. The film uncovers a murky world where crime, drugs and politics meet in a deathly embrace – and reveal that although the police have been publicly ordered to stop extra-judicial killings, the deaths continue. Director / Producer James Jones and Director / Cinematographer Olivier Sarbil join us for a conversation on the challenges of gaining access to the police, the victims of police violence and the draconian drug policy being enforced by a dictatorial, human-rights abusing regime.

 

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About the filmmakers:

Director and Producer – James Jones is an award-winning British director who makes documentary films for international television and theatrical release. His documentaries tackle important issues through powerful personal stories told in a filmic style and narrative. He has made films about police shootings in America, suicide in the military, wars in Ukraine and Gaza, and undercover investigations in Saudi Arabia and North Korea. His background in current affairs investigations means the films still have a hard journalistic edge while using the craft techniques of documentary. His films have won two Emmys, three DuPonts, a Grierson, a Rory Peck, a Frontline Club, a Royal Television Society, a Broadcast Award, two Overseas Press Club of America, two Golden Nymphs, and a Venice TV Award, as well as being nominated five times at the BAFTAs. Recently, he co-directed the Emmy-winning Mosul with Olivier Sarbil.

Cinematographer and Director – Olivier Sarbil is an award-winning French documentary director and Emmy-winning cinematographer based in London. Over the past decade, Olivier has covered conflicts and critical social issues across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America. With strong visual storytelling, Olivier’s films are intimate and human, conveying emotions through beautiful and cinematic imagery. His work has been recognized with awards from a variety of organizations, including, Emmy for Outstanding Cinematography, DuPont, Royal Television Society, One World Media, Overseas Press Club of America, Broadcast Awards, Bayeux-Calvados for war correspondents (twice), Golden Nymph, Rory Peck, Venice TV Award, Frontline Club, Grand Award and Gold Medal at the New York Festivals International TV & Film. His imagery has also garnered a BAFTA Nomination for Best Cinematography.

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

ON THE PRESIDENT’S ORDERS Q&A with filmmakers James Jones and Olivier Sarbil will participate following the 7:40 pm show on Friday, 10/18  at the Monica FIlm Center

Social Media:

twitter.com/OnThePresident

@oliviersarbil

@jamesjonesfilm

@OnThePresident

“A shockingly alarming investigation produced with the sensibilities of a social realist drama, Sarbil and Jones’ nonfiction warning should petrify U.S. viewers immeasurably.” – Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times

“A wholly cinematic, sensory experience, with straight-ahead reportage electrified by glaring streetlights and a panicked urban wall of sound…” Guy Lodge, Variety

“On the President’s Orders is the disturbing observational documentary we’ve needed about the Philippines drug war, made with finesse and astonishing access.” Musanna Ahmed, Film Inquiry

“A riveting account of the consequences of unfettered demagoguery.” – Justin Lowe, Hollywood Reporter

GIFT, Director Robin McKenna

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

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

 

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

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

Social Media:

facebook.com/GIFTdocumentary

instagram.com/giftdocumentary

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

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

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

Midnight Traveler, Producers Emelie Mahdavian and Su Kim

In 2015, after Hassan Fazili’s documentary Peace in Afghanistan aired on Afghan national television, the Taliban assassinated the film’s main subject and put a price on Fazili’s head. Fearing for their survival, the Fazili family, Nargis, Zahra, and Fatima fled Kabul for Tajikistan. Yet after 14 months spent submitting asylum applications that were rejected again and again, they were deported back to Afghanistan. It was at this juncture that Fazili picked up his cell phone and hit the record button and with that Midnight Traveler began to take shape. Chronicling every step from inside the action, Fazili, his filmmaker wife, and their young daughters trek across Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Serbia—scurrying through perilous landscapes, huddling in freezing forests, cramming into rattling vehicles. As they endure smugglers, gangs, and refugee camps, the camera witnesses not only the danger and desperation but also the exuberance and tenderness of this irresistible, loving family. For Fazili, framing their story becomes an assertion of control, humanity, and self-expression in a situation where none exists. With its radical subjectivity, visceral footage, and poetic form, Midnight Traveler is a migration story like no other. Producer Su Kim and Producer / writer / editor Emilie Mahdavian join us for a look at at Hassan and his remarkably resilient family as they attempt to overcome institutional and deadly political obstacles in their fight for freedom as seen through the eyes of his children, Zahra and Nargis and wife, Fatima. A fight for freedom that they have to win.

 

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For news and updates go to: midnighttraveler.oscilloscope.net

For news and screening information go to: midnighttravelerfilm.com

Social Media:

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*WINNER* SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2019

World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for No Borders

BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2019

Prize of the Ecumenical Jury – Special Mention

100% on Rotten Tomatoes 

“Modest but full of urgency, MIDNIGHT TRAVELER uses the power of smart phones to reveal a migrant family’s search for a safe haven. Gretchen Jude’s percussive, electronic score helps hold it all together. [The film] stands as a family’s joint testimony, heartfelt and heartbreaking, particular yet hauntingly representative.” – Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter

“Has a home-movie quality that’s enormously effective in putting a human face on a global crisis.” – Scott Tobias, Variety

“What makes [the film] so moving, though, is the portrait that Fazili and Hussaini paint of both themselves as full, ungainly people, with flaws and hopes and perfections and their daughters who, in a way, are the stars [of the movie]. A languid, poetic film. [The parents] meditate on family, fear, equality, Islam, and the banality of everyday life. Throughout, though, it is hard not to forget that MIDNIGHT TRAVELER is a film of life or death which the score constantly reminds, and which infuses tensions into the narrative’s nooks and crannies.” – Gary Garrison, The Playlist

“A remarkable achievement…an affecting, essential documentary. The suffering, fear and humiliation that they experience is balanced by moments of warmth and an artist’s magpie eye for unexpected glimpses of beauty…While there have been numerous documentaries which deal with the plight of asylum seekers, there have been few which have shown, with this level of intimacy, the journey of a family from certain danger to an uncertain fate. It’s a film which deserves to be as widely seen as possible.” – Wendy Ide, Screen International

Collisions, Director Richard Levien

COLLISIONS follows the story of a twelve-year-old girl, Itan (Izabella Alvarez), a straight-A-student in San Francisco, who comes home from school to find their family’s furniture up-ended and no trace of her mother, Yoana (Ana de la Reguera), who was detained by Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE). Child Protective Services dumps Itan and her six-year-old brother Neto (Jason Garcia) with their estranged uncle Evencio (Jesse Garcia), a big rig truck driver. Itan can’t stand him. He’s arrogant, unreliable, and possibly a criminal. After a desperate search, Itan locates Yoana in an immigration detention center in Arizona and convinces Evencio to take them there. They are propelled onto the road in Evencio’s truck, through the maddening labyrinth of immigration detention. Itan fights to free her mother before she is deported. But her mother keeps slipping from her grasp, as she is transferred from prison to prison. Their journey takes them through the deserts of the southern border, to sprawling truck stops, border patrol offices and secret immigration prisons. Director / Producer / Writer / Editor Richard Levien joins us for a conversation on the inspiration for COLLISIONS, his desire to humanize the tragic stories behind the headlines and the corrosive impact that cruel, politically motivated policies can have on the lives of hardworking peoples lives.

 

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

Opens at Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles – October 4

Friday, October 4 – Collisions, Director Richard Levien

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

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

 

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

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

For additional information on Jennifer Baichwal at mercuryfilms.ca

Social Media:

facebook.com/mercuryfilmsinc

twitter.com/mercuryfilms

instagram.com/mercuryfilmsinc

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

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

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

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

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

Always in Season, Director Jacqueline Olive

Claudia Lacy wants answers. When her 17-year-old son, Lennon, was found hanging from a swing set in Bladenboro, North Carolina, the authorities quickly ruled his death a suicide. In light of suspicious details surrounding his death, and certain that her son would not take his own life, Claudia is convinced Lennon was lynched. Jacqueline Olive’s unwavering debut film ALWAYS IN SEASON puts Lacy’s pursuit for justice into a wider historical context, inspiring a powerful discussion about lynching across racial lines. Appalling accounts of lynchings carried out at the beginning of the twentieth century provide a necessary historical framework, while an annual lynching reenactment in Monroe, Georgia, offers insight into the enduring legacy of racial violence in America. Olive’s layered exploration follows one African American family’s personal experience with a justice system that has failed so many, while also hinting at the promising first steps of a nation trying to reconcile. Olive’s film honors and acknowledges the injustices that have been inflicted, while emphasizing that only through the uncomfortable conversations and acceptance of our nation’s history will we begin to heal together. Director / Producer Jacqueline Olive joins us for a conversation on the bitter, pernicious and deadly legacy of the Confederacy and the enslavement of human beings in service to big business interests.

About the filmmaker: Director / Producer Jacqueline Olive is an independent filmmaker and immersive media producer with fifteen years of experience in journalism and \film. Her debut feature documentary, Always in Season, premiered in competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was awarded the Special Jury Prize for Moral Urgency. Jackie also co-directed the award-winning hour-long film, Black to Our Roots, which broadcast on PBS in 2009. Jackie has received artist grants and industry funding from Sundance Institute, Independent Television Service, Ford Foundation, Firelight Media, and more. She was recently awarded the Emerging Filmmakers of Color Award from IDA and the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation.

 

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

Always in Season opens in LA on Friday, September 27 at the Laemmle Music Hall – A Q&A with Director Jacquelin Olive will follow the 7:30 PM screening

Social Media:

facebook.com/AlwaysInSeasonFilm

twitter.com/Always_InSeason

instagram.com/alwaysinseasonfilm

“‘Always in Season’ makes a powerful case that the history of lynching in the American South is not just history – that murders still haunt the present-day sites where they occurred, and that such killings can and do happen today.” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times

“A nuanced, layered reminder of how far we still have to go to correct the injustices of this country’s past and present.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

“Although difficult to watch, the film is invaluable in its exploration of lynching as a form of racial terrorism.” – Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader

“Olive paints a portrait of righteous rage and determination.” – Keith Uhlich, Hollywood Reporter

Don’t Be Nice, Producer Nikhil Melnechuk

The high-energy documentary DON’T BE NICE, chronicles the upstart Bowery Slam Poetry Team, made up of five African-American, Afro-Hispanic and queer poets in their 20s, preparing for the national championships. Coach Lauren Whitehead pushes them past personal boundaries to write from a painfully honest place with the credo “Don’t Be Nice.” She explains that to “be nice” is to stay on the surface of things, is to perpetuate the status quo, and is, for black people, to be what White culture demands. Her team of poets breaks down, breaks through, and ultimately writes their masterpiece—a celebration of black joy. Timely and difficult, their spoken word slays—but will their soul-searching pieces about police violence and the whitewashing of Black culture be able to compete against choreographed crowd-pleasers for the national title? Will opting to make a statement instead of a show spell their defeat?  An emotional and inspiring film that gives insightful commentary on race, gender, identity and sexual politics in America today, DON’T BE NICE is both an exciting competition film and a deep dive into the wildly-popular Slam Poetry subculture, that proves once and for all that winning hearts and minds is the ultimate prize. Producer Nikhil Melnechuk joins us to talk about the phenomenally talented group of poets / writers / advocates that make up the Bowery Team and these from the heart, high-wire performances chronicled in this emotionally charged documentary.

 

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“[T]he poets slam truth to power and demand audiences to wake up…this film will take you to places you never expected.” – Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

“[F]ull of ideas, riffs on current events and so much tension you’ll occasionally be holding your breath.” – Norman Wilner, NOW Toronto, ***** Top Ten Film of the Year

“Captures the revitalization of the artist in a world filled with doom, which makes it remarkably resonant.” – Candice Frederick, The Wrap

“Don’t Be Nice is as entertaining as it is revelatory, an important film for the times.” – Sean Boelman, Popaxiom

“This is Shakespeare on steroids, a poetic banquet of color, action, rhythm and sound that transcends expectations.” – Bev Questad, It’s Just Movies

Homemade, Co-director Danielle Bernstein (Jason Maris)

The riveting new documentary HOMEMADE bares witness to the lives of Adam Sorensen and his family as they navigate life after combat. The film project was originally developed from the idea that the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) goes off twice; once in the field, affecting each individual differently depending on a variety of factors including proximity to the blast, physical position and past injuries. There is a second blast that goes off in each family living room as a result of the actual explosion. It’s footprint reaches our closest loved ones, the physicians treating the wounded, and extends into our communities. HOMEMADE is a six-year, cinematic and intimate journey about a marriage, invisible wounds and the effects of Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and addiction. It is a story of survival and resilience unveiling the scope of these challenges and begging a broader question about our cultural markers of success. Weaving between the monumental landscapes of Utah, Washington DC landmarks, cinéma vérité scenes and recorded phone calls, Through the experiences of Adam, Victoria, and their families, HOMEMADE examines our cultural markers of success, the culture of treating symptoms instead of cause, and the disconnect between medical care and true wellness. Themes addressed include continuity of care, the epidemic of over-prescription in both military and civilian care, and the stereotypes of injured combat veterans. Co-director / Producer / Editor Danielle Bernstein (Jason Maris) joins us to talk about this heartbreaking film and why Adam and Victoria’s story will close the empathy gap between civilian and military communities, start productive dialogues about the challenge of transition from active duty military to retired, and to provide audiences with an abundance of tools in order to take action.

 

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