In the late 1980s, the Detroit Red Wings hockey team was a laughing stock, often called the “Dead Wings.” After a wealthy pizza magnate bought the failing franchise, he appointed an unorthodox General Manager to build a championship team. Throwing off conventional wisdom, the new GM looked to America’s mortal enemy in the Cold War, the Soviet Union itself. Through a plot that sounds like a spy novel, the Red Wings organization brought on one Russian after another, sneaking them out under cover of night and whisking them to the Motor City, only to find that the new players faced another problem: Integration. THE RUSSIAN FIVE follows the stories of the five Russian players that emigrated to America, took root in Detroit, Michigan, and struggled to fit in, all while training day and night to become Stanley Cup champions. The new immigrants had to learn to communicate with their teammates, assimilate into the culture, and become Americans. THE RUSSIAN FIVE is the true story of immigrants that became American heroes, teammates that became family, and a scrappy, resilient city that became Stanley Cup Champions, twice. It’s a story about hopes and dreams becoming reality, and the harsh reality of dreaming big. The names Fedorov, Larionov, Fetisov, Kozlov, and Konstantinov are legend now in the Motor City and their influence is still felt throughout the National Hockey League today. Director Joshua Riehl stops by to talk about the long and winding journey of five gifted athletes who changed the course of North American hockey.
“One of the most dramatic and emotional of sports stories gets the expert film it deserves in “The Russian Five,” a documentary that is moving in ways you won’t see coming.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“It’s a story fans already know well, but “The Russian Five” lays it out in a compelling, easily digestible fashion. And it shows how without a major assist from Russia, Detroit would have never become Hockeytown.” – Adam Graham, Detroit News
“I know a good story when I see one and … this new passionately-realized debut feature from director Joshua Riehl got me involved in its sport, its personalities and its man-made mythos.” – Glenn Dunks, The FIlm Experience
“Timely, insightful, well-structured and thoughtful…” – Michael Ward, Should I See It
The searing new documentary from Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar, THE SILENCE OF OTHERS asks the question, “What if in the ‘60s you were sadistically tortured for your political beliefs – and the man responsible (Antonio González Pacheco, aka “Billy the Kid”) is now your neighbor?” The bloody Spanish Civil War (1936-39) was followed by the Generalissimo Francisco Franco dictatorship that ended only with his death in 1975 – after which a law granted amnesty for crimes committed throughout this period.THE SILENCE OF OTHERS tackles the legal/political questions that this enforced obliviousness has created, and equally compelling, the existential conundrum of living in a nation in which no one has been charged with the murder of hundreds of thousands, buried in more than 2000 mass graves. A new movement in Spain confronts these hard truths. With the rise of authoritarian regimes around the world – and with human rights abuses being committed on our own border – this film could not be more timely. THE SILENCE OF OTHERS won Best Documentary at the Goya Awards (Spain’s Oscar equivalent), as well as more than 30 honors from international festivals (Berlinale, IDFA, Sheffield, etc.) and was among the films shortlisted for the 2019 Best Documentary Oscar. The film has become a phenomenon in Spain, where more than a million people have seen it. Co-directors Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar join us for a conversation on the decades long search for justice by the families and the victims and why it matters.
Written and directed by Storm Saulter (“Better Mus’ Come”), SPRINTER follows Akeem Sharp (newcomer Dale Elliott), nicknamed the Rasta Rocket for his once-in-a-generation speed, who is set to be Jamaica’s next big track-and-field sensation. Akeem hopes his rise in athletics will take him to the U.S. to reunite him with his mother, who has supported the family while living as an illegal resident for over a decade. But Akeem’s rising star is weighed down by turmoil at home: a volatile father, and an unruly older brother who insinuates himself into Akeem’s career as a means of escaping – or perhaps enhancing – his scam artist hustle. The film also stars Kadeem Wilson (Ghett’ A Life), Dennis Titus (The Mighty Quinn), Shantol Jackson (Yardie), Bryshere Y. Gray (Empire), with Lorraine Toussaint (Selma, Orange is The New Black), and David Alan Grier (In Living Color) with songs by Grammy Award winning artist NE-YO and Jamaican dancehall performer Shenseea. Director and co-writer Storm Saulter (Robert A Maylor) joins us to talk about creating a beautiful film rooted in a heartfelt drama about a Jamaican family struggling with separation and the jolt of sudden success.
“A beautiful and triumphant film. What the film also importantly illustrates is the struggle so many immigrants’ families feel when mothers or fathers are forced to separate from their children in order to find a better life in another country so they can send money back home.” – The Knockturnal
“Saulter displays a great eye with his thoughtfully shot drama that captures life in Jamaica in a way that is rarely seen on screen.” – The Los Angeles Times
“One of those rare films that will grow by the positive word-of-mouth. Every single frame is beautiful to look at and under director Saulter’s expert eye, he makes Jamaica look like a paradise lost which matches the intensity of the story. Powerful. A must see.” – Los Angeles Sentinel
** Spotlight on the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
Visual Communications, the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center, announced its outstanding program of films and events for the upcoming 35th edition of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) running MAY 2 – MAY 10, 2018. The all encompassing annual film celebration is presented across Los Angeles in West Hollywood, Downtown LA, Little Tokyo, Koreatown, and Hollywood. Visual Communications proudly celebrates the Film Festival’s 34 years as Southern California’s largest and most prestigious film festival of its kind. LAAPFF launches the celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month through this year’s slate of over 100 films from both Asian Pacific American and Asian international artists. For over three decades, the Festival has presented nearly 5,000 films by Asian Pacific American and Asian International talent. This year’s festival will feature over 130 short films during the nine day fest from May 2 – May 10. These cinema gems from around the globe featuring stories about love, family, heartbreak, friendships, and self acceptance are all part of the exciting line up. The Festival opens May 2nd with the World Premiere of YELLOW ROSE directed by Diane Paragas and starring Broadway legend Lea Salonga and emerging star Eva Noblezada. Two acclaimed festival favorites will screen as the Centerpiece Films at the Festival; GO BACK TO CHINA directed by Emily Ting and MS. PURPLE directed by Justin Chon. The closing night film is the world premiere of EMPTY BY DESIGN directed by Andrea A. Walter premiering on Friday, May 10. LAAPFF Executive Director Francis Cullado of Visual Communications stops by to talk about the ever expanding interest in Asian filmmakers and the trailblazing artistry being done by them.
In Patrick Creadon’s illuminating new documentary, HESBURGH, shines a bright light on a unique public figure whom came to light during one of the country’s most divisive political and social storm. His name is Reverend Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C, president of the University of Notre Dame for more than 35 years. This revered figure worked his entire adult life to advance of peace and equal rights for all people. As the most dynamic member of the U.S. government’s Civil Rights Commission Hesburgh pushed Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson to enact legislation that culminated in the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act. HESBURGH offers a unique glimpse at more than fifty years of American history. Educator, civil rights champion, advisor to presidents, envoy to popes, theologian and activist, Hesburgh was called on by countless world leaders to tackle the most challenging issues of the day. He built a reputation as a savvy political operator with a penchant for bridging the divide between bitter enemies. Through it all, he remained a man armed with a fierce intelligence, a quick wit and an unyielding moral compass — a timeless example of bipartisan leadership that would serve us in today’s increasingly polarized times. Director Patrick Creadon (Wordplay, If You Build It , Ski Bum: The Warren Miller Story), joins us for a conversation on a man who’s life’s work harkens back to a time when compromise and cooperation were the political norms and not the exception.
“[A] thoroughly engaging documentary chronicle of the life and turbulent times of longtime Notre Dame president Father Theodore M. Hesburgh, whose tenure coincided with a particularly pivotal stretch of American history.” – Micheal Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times
“This moving, illuminating slice of American life and social history serves as a stirring example that we should all do much better. And we can start right now.” – Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
“A portrait of a man who can be seen as not merely blameless, but genuinely heroic.” – GlennKenny, New York Times
“As described by many of those who, in the movie, talk about Hesburgh, he comes across as a man of conscience and conviction, who was willing to walk his own path no matter whom he rankled or angered.” – Bob Bloom, Journal and Courier
For the last 20 years the Newport Beach Film Festival has brought the best of classic and contemporary filmmaking from around the world to Orange County. Under the direction of CEO and Co-founder Gregg Schwenk and the festival’s staff have been committed to entertaining and enlightening the public with a first-class international film program as well as providing a forum for cultural understanding and enriching educational opportunities, the Festival focuses on showcasing a diverse collection of both studio and independent films. The Festival supports the creation and advancement of innovative and artistic cinematic works from both emerging and seasoned filmmakers and proudly embraces the passion, vision and independent spirit of these talented artists. With the integration of the local community and educational institutions, the Festival stimulates an interest in the study and appreciation of film and encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to participate. The Community Outreach Program was created with the idea that film offers new perspectives and possibilities for a changing world. Each year, the Festival partners with over 40 non-profit organizations and pairs each philanthropic organization with a film that aligns with their mission. The Festival gives non-profit organizations a forum to voice their message to large audiences and spread awareness of their organization and mission through the medium of film. Areas of focus include the arts, health and human services, the environment, education, children’s causes, seniors’ and veterans’ programs, and alumni clubs. CEO and Co-founder Gregg Schwenk joins us to talk about a remarkable festival line-up of comedies, dramas, short films, action sports, classics, documentaries, musicals and foreign film excellence.
¡Boza! follows the harrowing journey of three young sub-Saharan African immigrants: Sani, Yamal & Kone, as they leave home in their teens to embark on their years-long journey to a new life in Spain. Crossing the Sahara Desert by foot, spending months to years living in the forests of Morocco, and finally making the dangerous crossing to the Spanish mainland or territories by land or sea, these three powerfully distinct immigration stories have one thing in common: their incredible optimism in the face of inconceivable adversity. Their stories teach us the perseverance of the human spirit, something our world desperately needs to be reminded of now. The dynamic structure jumps between present day footage of life in Spain and reconstructing their migration story using animation and archival footage. Through parallel storytelling, the film compares these three inspiring stories of success to the hopes of a group of migrants living in the slums of Tangier, Morocco. ¡Boza! Director and Producer Sydney Bowie discovered her love of documentary film as an undergraduate at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her short films have been selected to screen at festivals across the United States. In addition, Sydney has worked alongside noted documentary filmmakers, including Oscar-nominated Robert Kenner (Food Inc.)and world renowned British journalist and filmmaker Sean Langan. Sydney has received the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to work on her most recent film the New Migration Project, from which ¡Boza! was produced, documenting the lives of immigrants in Spain. Director Sydney Bowie stops by to talk about her intimate and heartfelt portrayal of people struggling to find a better life.
In a media environment dominated by increasingly concentrated corporate interests, eight distribution companies who have long championed the best in independent features, documentaries, and social issue films, have joined forces to help launch a new subscription streaming service, OVID.tv. Starting today, OVID.tv offers more than 350 quality documentaries and art-house films from the collections of its founding content partners: Bullfrog Films, The dGenerate Films Collection, Distrib Films US, First Run Features, Grasshopper Film, Icarus Films, KimStim, and Women Make Movies. Most of the films on OVID.tv are not available on any other streaming platform, and OVID.tvwill be adding even more films every two weeks–14 fiction feature films and one 10-part documentary series are already scheduled for release. Despite the odds and with little capital, Icarus Films, Docuseek, and our partners have decided that the time has come to step forward and build a new, independent space, dedicated to the films that we believe in and care about, and that we believe you care about, and value as well. OVID.tv co-founder Jonathan Miller joins us to talk about an affordable option for film lovers looking for the highest quality cinema experience presented by people who share your passion.
“A cornucopia of international movies and documentaries… recent ones as well as classics. It’s far better for recent movies than FilmStruck ever was, and its spectrum of new movies is far more substantial than that of Netflix, wider-ranging than that of Amazon.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker, March 22, 2019
Never before released in the US, Franco Rosso’s incendiary BABYLON had its world premiere at Cannes in 1980 but was deemed “too controversial, and likely to incite racial tension” (Vivien Goldman, Time Out) by the New York Film Festival that same year. Raw and smoldering, it follows a young reggae DJ (Brinsley Forde, frontman of landmark British group Aswad) in Thatcher-era Brixton as he pursues his musical ambitions, while battling fiercely against the racism and xenophobia of employers, neighbors, police, and the National Front. Written by Martin Stellman (QUADROPHENIA) and shot by two-time Oscar® winner Chris Menges (THE KILLING FIELDS) with beautiful, smoky cinematography that’s been compared to TAXI DRIVER, BABYLON is fearless and unsentimental, yet tempered by the hazy bliss of the dancehall set to a blistering reggae, dub, and lovers rock soundtrack featuring Aswad, Johnny Clarke, and others, anchored by Dennis Bovell’s (The Slits) atmospheric score. BABYLON is the product of outsiders: director Rosso (1941-2016) immigrated from Italy as a child, Stellman is the son of Viennese Jewish immigrants, producer Gavrik Losey is the son of blacklisted Hollywood director Joseph Losey, and composer Bovell immigrated from Barbados, and was falsely imprisoned for running a sound system—the script was partly based on his experiences. Beyond the significance of being the only feature film about London’s sound system scene, BABYLON unflinchingly observes the place of marginalized people in a society resistant—to the point of violence—to multiculturalism. Writer Martin Stellman joins us to talk about the impact that Babylon had on the Caribbean diaspora living in London, the neo-realism style of the film and winding path that Babylon has taken over the last 40 years.
“A STORY WITH LITERALLY EPIC STAKES. It’s no surprise why the film may resonate now—its themes of finding community through art and trying to exist in a society that doesn’t want you are unfortunately both timeless and extremely current.” – Jaya Saxena, GQ
“REMARKABLE. Never lets go for a moment.” – Derek Malcolm, The Guardian
“FEARLESS. Loud and musical and cheerful and funny, and also tragic.” – David Robinson, The Times“EXPLODES IN THE GUT with a powerful mix of pain and pleasure. Like the reggae music that pulses through it, Babylon is RICH, ROUGH and REAL. And like the street life of the young black Londoners it portrays, it’s THREATENING, TOUCHING, VIOLENT and FUNNY.”– Simon Perry, Variety
“FIVE STARS. One of the greatest British films.” – MOJO
THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT follows the epic adventures of an American legend that no one has ever heard of. Since WWII, Calvin Barr (Sam Elliott) has lived with the secret that he was responsible for the assassination of Adolf Hitler. Now, decades later, the US government has called on him again for a new top-secret mission. Bigfoot has been living deep in the Canadian wilderness and is carrying a deadly plague that is now threatening to spread to the general population. Relying on the same skills that he honed during the war, Calvin must set out to save the free world yet again. Director Robert D. Kryzkowski joins us to talk about working with two-time Academy Award nominated director John Sayles and visual effects wizard and two time Academy Award winner, Douglas Trumbull (Blade Runner and 2001: A Space Odyssey) and how he was able to fashion an endearing, bittersweet saga of a heavy hearted man driven by a profound sense of duty.
“From its world-weary hero to its no-nonsense, casual swapping of fiction for fact, The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot uses action and something like science fiction to deliver an wholly entertaining, yet poignant message.” – Slashfilm
Up a dirt road, nestled in the hills of Southern California lies Spiral Farm, a vibrant and colorful intentional community inspired by the communes of the late 60’s. Its eclectic inhabitants look out for each other, as they work side by side on this completely self sustaining permaculture farm. 17 year-old Anahita (Piper De Palma), has lived on Spiral Farm for as long as she can remember and dreams of one day leaving the safety of Spiral and pursuing a career as a dancer. However, whenever she makes these plans she is always deterred by the thought of leaving Ocean, her eight year old nephew who she cares for and shares a deep bond with. Stifled by her responsibilities to her family and the commune, Anahita has developed what her mother (Amanda Plummer) calls a “bashfulness” when it comes to sexuality. When her mother’s old flame, Maurizio (Cosimo Fusco) arrives for an unexpected visit, he brings along his teenage son, Theo (Teo Halm). Anahita is immediately drawn to him, confused by her newfound feelings. When Theo discovers her passion for dance he encourages her to journey into the city for an audition. Away from the confines of the communes, Anahita discovers that although she lacks the technical skills to be a professional dancer, she may still be able to leave Spiral by going to college in the city changing the course of her life. But will Anahita, who has been so dedicated to others chose to live for herself? Director and writer Alex Tibaldi joins us to talk about his feature film debut and his intimate, moving character study of women in transition, searching for meaningful connections.
BEHIND THE BULLET is the directorial debut from author and activist, Heidi Yewman. When her former basketball coach and teacher, Dave Sanders was killed in the Columbine High School massacre along with 12 students, she began profiling the lives of those altered by the impact of gun violence. She is a tireless advocate for gun safety, sitting on the boards of The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence,Women Donors Network,Stop our Shootings, and Trauma Intervention Program of Portland, OR. In BEHIND THE BULLET will make it’s world debut as a documentary competition selection at the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival, Yewman chronicles anin-depth look at four individuals who have pulled the trigger and the profound impact it’s had on their lives. Every year, almost 40,000 people are shot and killed in America. Each shooting devastates and forever changes the victim’s family and friends. BEHIND THE BULLET explores a side of gun violence that’s rarely talked about – the impact a shooting has on the shooter. Four individuals share how the pull of a trigger, changed them emotionally, physically, psychologically, and spiritually. They describe the conflicting emotions and moral injury that comes after a self-defense, accidental, or unintentional shooting, offering a new and unbiased perspective on gun violence. Director Heidi Yewman joins us to talk about the devastating impacts that guns and the profound impact they have had on four people’s lives.
“BEHIND THE BULLET is a captivating and honest look at what is going on in our country when it comes to gun control.It looks at all sides of the issue that sometimes the media does not discuss or cover.This is a must see film in our current climate.” — Peter Hammond, Deadline
“Behind The Bullet is just WOW – an amazing insight into what we are dealing with in the U.S.It’s a refreshing insight and a story that needs to be told.”— Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter
This Teacher, Actor Kevin Kane (Director Mark Jackson)
THIS TEACHER follows a French Muslim woman (Cesar-winner Hafsia Herzi) as she travels to New York City to visit her childhood best friend from the rough neighborhoods outside of Paris. When the reunion proves disastrous, Hafsia steals her friend’s credit card and identity, and disappears to a remote cabin upstate. Deep in the woods and alone for the first time in her life, she experiences a divine revelation of an existence without borders. But when she discovers that she’s not alone on the property, Hafsia’s sojourn in nature gradually descends into a terrifying study of the intolerance and suspicion she encounters and reflects back to an Islamophobic America. Written and directed by Mark Jackson featuring a score composed from the Grammy nominated Dave Eggar, the film stars: Cesar-winner Hafsia Herzi (The Secret of theGrain) Sarah Kazemy (Circumstance) Lucy Walters (Power), Kevin Kane (Inside Amy Schumer), and Lev Gorn (The Americans). Jackson’s previous films have won 17 awards including an Independent Spirit Award and a Gotham Nomination. Jackson is also a Sundance, Cinereach and Skywalker Sound Fellow. Actor Kevin Kane joins us for a conversation on THIS TEACHER’S closing night screening at the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival, intolerance and not being afraid to love.
’63 Boycott is the award-winning film directed by Gordon Quinn, the co-founder of Kartemquin Films, and produced by Rachel Dickson and Tracye A. Matthews. ’63 Boycott revisits October 22, 1963, when more than 250,000 students boycotted the Chicago Public Schools to protest racial segregation. Many marched through the city calling for the resignation of School Superintendent Benjamin Willis, who placed trailers, dubbed ‘Willis Wagons,’ on playgrounds and parking lots of overcrowded black schools rather than let them enroll in nearby white schools. Blending unseen 16mm footage of the march shot by Gordon Quinn when he was just 21 years old with the participants’ reflections today, ’63 Boycott connects the forgotten story of one of the largest northern civil rights demonstrations to contemporary issues around race, education, school closings, and youth activism. Director Gordon Quinn joins us for a conversation on his lacerating look at the historic non-violent campaign to win access to educational parity and basic human rights.’63 Boycott is an overview of how much Chicago has changed and how much remains the same.
THE DISTANT BARKING OF DOGS is set in Eastern Ukraine on the frontline of the war. The film follows the life of 10-year-old Ukrainian boy Oleg throughout a year, witnessing the gradual erosion of his innocence beneath the pressures of war. Oleg lives with his beloved grandmother, Alexandra, in the small village of Hnutove. Having no other place to go, Oleg and Alexandra stay and watch as others leave the village. Life becomes increasingly difficult with each passing day, and the war offers no end in sight. In this now half-deserted village where Oleg and Alexandra are the only true constants in each other’s lives, the film shows just how fragile, but crucial, close relationships are for survival. Through Oleg’s perspective, the film examines what it means to grow up in a warzone. It portrays how a child’s universal struggle to discover what the world is about grows interlaced with all the dangers and challenges the war presents.THE DISTANT BARKING OF DOGS unveils the consequences of war bearing down on the children in Eastern Ukraine, and by natural extension, the scars and self- taught life lessons this generation will carry with them into the future. Director Simon Lereng Wilmont and Producer Monica Hellström stop by to talk about this harrowing, intimate and loving look at Oleg and Alexandra’s claustrophobic life on the frontlines of an undeclared war.
A Netflix original documentary, Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalskitakes us inside the mind of one of the last century’s great characters, offering a startling look at how history can stand in the way of true artistic genius in one generation while stepping aside to reveal it dramatically in the next. In 1968, pop culture collector Glenn Bray, who had an interest in surrealist art, happened upon an unusual book featuring the art of Stanislav Szukalski. Like most people, Bray had never heard of Szukalski, but he delighted in showing the book of drawings and photos of sculptures to his circle of friends in the underground art comic world, including Robert and Suzanne Williams and George DiCaprio, who found the forgotten Polish master’s vision far ahead of its time. It was a few years later when Bray noticed an unusual poster depicting Copernicus on the wall of a small bookstore in Tarzana – something he immediately recognized as the work of Szukalski. The bookseller informed him that the artist himself had given the poster as a gift – in fact, he lived nearby. Bray couldn’t believe it – this long-forgotten genius was still alive, and in the same area code. Featuring archival footage and dozens of interviews with Szukalski himself, Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski offers a startling look at how history can stand in the way of artistic genius in one generation while stepping aside to reveal it dramatically in the next. Director Irek Dobrowolski and Producer Stephen Cooper join us to talk about an incredible artist and incredibly complex, nearly forgotten “genius” who remained true to his inner demons.
SADIE is the story of a 13-year-old girl who lives at Shady Plains Trailer Park with her mother while her father serves repeated tours in the military. Her dad has broken many promises that he will return, but Sadie (Sophia Mitri Schloss) idolizes him and believes in his cause, so she waits, preserving his place on the home-front. Less patient is her mom, Rae (Melanie Lynskey) who stopped receiving letters or calls from her husband years ago. She has been half-heartedly dating the counselor from Sadie’s school, Bradley (Tony Hale) but it isn’t until a mysterious newcomer moves in next door that she truly considers moving on. Rae’s best friend is Carla (Danielle Brooks,) who works at the local bar and has a penchant for unavailable men. Carla’s son Francis (Keith L. Williams) and her retired father Deak (Tee Dennard) are Sadie’s charge and confidante, respectively. The arrival of Cyrus (John Gallagher, Jr.) disrupts the balance of life at Shady Plains. When Sadie sees a relationship developing between Cyrus and Rae, she pledges to come between them, whatever it takes. Cyrus becomes the enemy, and if she’s learned nothing else from the world she inhabits, it’s that the enemy deserves no mercy. Director and Writer Megan Griffiths joins us to talk about her gritty, heartfelt drama about class, addiction and growing up on the margins.
”Equal parts coming-of-age story and slow-burn thriller, writer-director Megan Griffiths’ quietly absorbing and methodically disquieting drama is a genuine rarity.” – Joe Leydon, Variety
“…as a character study of a young, simmering, resentful girl cheated by circumstance and life at a crucial age, the drama’s combative, aggrieved center is earned, authentic and genuinely tragic.” – Ally Johnson, The Playlist
“Set in the close-knit, secret-filled world of a trailer park, the film is an emotionally violent coming-of-age story crafted with vivid detail.” – John Fink, The Film Stage
“By once again venturing into a place that few too other filmmakers are willing to look, Griffiths delivers a drama that crackles with a sense of discovery, not only for the characters onscreen, but for audiences who so rarely see people who could so easily be their neighbors given the dignity of having their stories told on screen.” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest
BISBEE ’17 is a non-fiction feature film by Sundance award winning director Robert Greene set in Bisbee, Arizona, an eccentric old mining town just miles away from both Tombstone and the Mexican border. Radically combining documentary and genre elements, the film follows several members of the close knit community as they collaborate with the filmmakers to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Bisbee Deportation, where 1,200 immigrant miners were violently taken from their homes by a deputized force, shipped to the desert on cattle cars and left to die. Bisbee was once known as a White Man’s Camp, and that racist past lingers in the air. As we meet the townspeople, they begin to confront the violent past of the Deportation, a long-buried secret in the old company town. As the 100th anniversary of Bisbee’s darkest day approaches, locals dress as characters on both sides of the still-polarizing event, staging dramatic recreations of scenes from the escalating miner’s strike that lead to the Deportation. Spaces in town double as past and present; re-enactors become ghosts in the haunted streets of the old copper camp. Richard plays the sheriff in a Western, Fernando portrays a Mexican miner in a Musical, a local politician is in her own telenovela. These and other enacted fantasies mingle with very real reckonings and it all builds towards a massive re-staging of the Deportation itself on the exact day of its centennial anniversary. Director Robert Greene (Actress, Kate Plays Christine) joins us for a conversation on his latest provocative and compelling new film.
“‘Even though “Bisbee ’17′ depicts a wholesome and harmonious community undertaking, it is a profoundly haunted and haunting film.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times
“The director purposefully pulls us this way and that, weaving cinematic spells and then yanking us out of them; as viewers, we are both inside and outside the story.” – Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice
“The film is rich and multifaceted, as Greene employs an array of styles (historical reenactments, direct cinema-style portraiture, musical numbers) to investigate the complex relationship between Bisbee’s past and present.” – Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader
“The result is a singularly American riff on The Act of Killing, a fascinating and dream-like mosaic that’s less driven by residual anger than by cockeyed concern, less interested in exhuming the past than in revealing its value to the present.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire
“Bisbee ’17 is a fierce, lyrical probe into the soul of a town haunted by a history it would rather forget. It’s also an unsettling cipher for America, in a year when the ghosts of our past revealed themselves in frightening ways.” – Alissa Wilkinson, Vox
Although Hal Ashby directed a remarkable string of acclaimed, widely admired classics throughout the 1970s—HAROLD AND MAUDE, THE LAST DETAIL, SHAMPOO, COMING HOME, BEING THERE—he is often overlooked amid the crowd of luminaries from his generation. Amy Scott’s HAL is an exuberant portrait that explores that curious oversight, using rare archival materials, interviews, personal letters, and audio recordings to reveal a passionate, obsessive artist. Ashby was a Hollywood director who constantly clashed with Hollywood, but also a unique soul with an unprecedented insight into the human condition and an unmatched capacity for good. His films were an elusive blend of honesty, irreverence, humor, and humanity. Through the heartrending and inspiring HAL, you feel buoyed by Ashby’s love of people and of cinema, a little like walking on water. On camera interviews his many collaborators, including Oscar®-winning actors Lee Grant, Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, Louis Gossett Jr, Jeff Bridges and more recall how they were empowered by Ashby and granted them artistic freedom. Contemporary directors include Alexander Payne, Judd Apatow, Lisa Cholodenko, and David O. Russell attest to the quiet but powerful influence Ashby has had on their own filmmaking. Behind the camera colleagues Norman Jewison, Robert Towne, Haskell Wexler, and Pablo Ferro stand witness to Ashby’s brilliance as a filmmaker and the forces that led to his undoing. Director Amy Scott joins us to talk about her artistic connection to Hal Ashby, as editor and director, and her desire to correct many of the lingering misperceptions of Ashby through her riveting and loving film about a true maverick.
“If there’s still the sense that Ashby isn’t as sanctified as American New Wave stalwarts Coppola or Scorsese, Amy Scott’s breezy tribute of a documentary is out to correct that oversight.” – Robert Abele, TheWrap
“A vivid portrait of artistic integrity and complete commitment to the art of filmmaking.” – J.R. Kinnard
“Hal is a loving tribute to a filmmaker who rarely gets the attention he deserves.” – Brian Thompson, Film Threat
“Just before the documentary slips into hero worship, Amy Scott pries beneath the calm surface of her bearded and bespectacled subject to reveal the silent rage that fueled his work.” – A.J. Serrano, Slant Magazine
DARK MONEY, a political thriller, examines one of the greatest present threats to American democracy: the influence of untraceable corporate money on our elections and elected officials. The film takes viewers to Montana—a frontline in the fight to preserve fair elections nationwide—to follow an intrepid local journalist working to expose the real-life impacts of the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. For decades, Montana had arguably the cleanest campaign laws in the U.S., precisely in reaction to a long history of political corruption. Its small population and rich natural resources like copper, had made it particularly vulnerable to private-industry bribery and extortion. Through this gripping story, DARK MONEY uncovers the shocking and vital truth of how American elections are bought and sold. This Sundance award-winning documentary is directed/produced by Kimberly Reed (PRODIGAL SONS) and produced by Katy Chevigny (E-TEAM).Kimberly joins us for a conversation on where our increasingly fragile democracy is and the very troubling place where it may be headed if dramatic measures are not taken to stop the shadowy corporate money from overwhelming our electoral process.
“Damning, clear-eyed, and as gripping as any John Grisham thriller.” – Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly
“There’s not a dull or dry moment in Reed’s briskly paced film about the secret assault on the American electoral and judicial process by corporations whose agenda is nothing less than the dismantling of government itself.” – Ella Taylor
“A densely packed documentary that earnestly and obsessively addresses campaign finance reform, its history and vital importance.” – Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter
“An air-raid siren of a documentary about the pernicious influence of corporate cash in American politics.” – Chris Barsanti, Film Journal International