MLK/FBI – Director Sam Pollard

MLK/FBI is the first film to uncover the extent of the FBI’s surveillance and harassment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Based on newly discovered and declassified files, utilizing a trove of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and unsealed by the National Archives, as well as revelatory restored footage, the documentary explores the government’s history of targeting Black activists, and the contested meaning behind some of our most cherished ideals. MLK/FBI is an essential expose of the surveillance and harassment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (labeled by the FBI as the “most dangerous” Black person in America), undertaken by J. Edgar Hoover and the U.S. government. Featuring interviews with key cultural figures including former FBI Director James Comey, MLK/FBI tells this astonishing and tragic story with searing relevance to our current moment. Directed by Emmy® Award-winner and Oscar®-nominee Sam Pollard, MLK/FBI recounts a tragic story with searing relevance to our current moment. Sam Pollard joins us for a conversation on how incredibly important Dr. King work and influence continues to illuminate every aspect of race relations, criminal justice, housing, wealth inequality, education access and political leadership.

 

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

Sam Pollard is an Emmy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated director and producer. His films for HBO, PBS, and the Discovery Channel include the documentaries Four Little Girls, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, Slavery by Another Name, Sammy Davis, Jr.: I Gotta Be Me, ACORN and the Firestorm, Why We Hate, and Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children.  Pollard also directed two episodes of the groundbreaking series Eyes on the Prize. Since 1994 Pollard has served on the faculty of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and lives in New York City.

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WINNER – Visionaries Tribute Lifetime Achievement Award 2020
WINNER – Career Achievement Award – IDA Documentary Award 2021
WINNER – Best Archival Doc – Critics Choice Documentary Awards 2020
NOMINEE – Best Feature – IDA Documentary Awards 2021
NOMINEE – Best Director – IDA Documentary Awards 2021
OFFICIAL SELECTION – Double Exposure Investigative FF 2020
OFFICIAL SELECTION – Masters – DOC NYC 2020

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“RIVETING. A timely reminder that King’s struggle for racial justice wasn’t straightforward, nor is it close to complete.” – THE ATLANTIC, David Sims

“A blunt fable of state power and a nuanced essay on the fallibility of heroes and the ethics of historical inquiry. Rigorously focused on the facts of the past, the movie is also as timely as an alarm clock.” – THE NEW YORK TIMES, A.O. Scott

“SEARING. Serves as a chilling reminder that white supremacy is not solely a partisan problem; it’s a cruelty baked into the fabric of our political system, poisoning it at every level. Change comes when we allow ourselves to challenge the stories we have been told about our history.” – THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, Jourdain Searles

“It’s an argument for the humanity of our revolutionaries, flaws and all, a humanity that has been either systematically denied, or weaponized against them.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service

Film Maudit 2.0 – Executive Director Leo Garcia and Artistic Director Patrick Kennelly

January 12-24 2021, Highways, the legendary Los Angeles Performance Space and Gallery presents its Second Annual Film Maudit 2.0 festival showcasing and celebrating new outré, unusual and startling films. The festival will feature over 125 works of cinema from 25 countries including films rarely if ever, seen in festivals: works addressing socio-political issues and taboo subject matter that challenges conventional artistic assumptions and sexual mores.Virtual, online screenings of 18 feature films, 21 shorts programs, specially commissioned programs, and new film scored performed by artists who reflect the diversity of Los Angeles. Included are a range of narrative, documentary and experimental films that are deliberately bold, extreme, confrontational and unusual. Film Maudit 2.0 highlights this year include the U.S. premieres of Feature Films: Mathius Marvellous Shop, a Spanish/German surrealistic satire; Kriya, a magical Indian thriller, and the Los Angeles premieres of Woman of the Photographs; a powerful Japanese film about image and reality for a beautiful model; The Columnist, a darkly comic horror film from The Netherlands; A Dark, Dark Man, the Kazakhstan/France thriller just long-listed for the Golden Globes; and Darkness (Buio) the first feature film by Donatello Award-winning director Emanuela Rossi. Other special programs include a special fundraising screening of erotic art pioneers Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens’ Water Makes Us Wet, featuring a live stream Q&A with both; new, original music scores performed live to silent films, and multiple Feature and Shorts Programs that showcase works from 25 countries in 16 uniquely curated categories from ‘Ms. Fear’ to ‘Shattering Form’ – with animated documentaries to experimental works handmade on film; extreme horror to comic surrealism. There is a special focus on works in Film Maudit’s BEHOLD section, which includes NSFW! curated by Planet Queer, Hi Kicks Entrails, curated by performance artist Ironstone, and QLX: the Performance of Queer Latinx.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: filmmaudit.org

All films at the festival are free and available online January 12 through 24. Reservations are required and can be made for each program via Film Maudit 2.0’s Screening Portal: filmmaudit.org/filmmaudit

Film Maudit 2.0 festival is inspired by French avant-garde filmmaker and writer Jean Cocteau who created the original Festival du Film Maudit (literally “cursed films”) in 1949 aiming to celebrate overlooked, shocking and experimental films. Film Maudit 2.0, in its 2nd year, showcases a counter-cinema will blend of narrative, documentary and experimental films that in their style and/or subject matter, are deliberately bold, extreme, confrontational, troubling, shocking and/or unusual. The festival is funded in part by the California Arts Council, Los Angeles County Department of Cultural Affairs and the City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs CAP Program.

About HIGHWAYS – Film Maudit 2.0 is co-presented by and takes place at Southern California’s boldest center for new performance and media arts, Highways Performance Space & Gallery in Santa Monica, CA. In its 31st year, Highways continues to be an important alternative cultural center in Los Angeles that encourages radical artists from diverse communities to develop and present innovative new works. Described by the Los Angeles Times as “a hub of experimental theater, dance, solo drama and other multimedia performance,” Highways promotes the development of contemporary socially involved artists and art forms. Under the helm of Executive Director, Leo Garcia, Highways has received funding and support from organizations such as the The James Irvine Foundation, Metabolic Studio, California Community Foundation, Liberty Hill Foundation, The Warhol Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and The Roy Cockrum Foundation. Leo Garcia is an award-winning playwright, filmmaker, visual artist and actor who has produced over 800 performance works as Artistic Director-turned-Executive Director of Highways since 2003. highwaysperformance.org

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Night Stalker – Director Tiller Russell

The Netflix limited docu-series Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer tells the spellbinding true story of how one of the most notorious serial killers in American history was hunted down and brought to justice. In the sweltering summer of 1985, a record-breaking heatwave hit Los Angeles, along with a series of murders and sexual assaults that at first seemed disconnected. The victims were men, women, and children. They ranged in age from six to 82, coming came from different neighborhoods, racial backgrounds and socioeconomic levels. Never before in criminal history had a single killer been responsible for such a grisly array of crimes.  Racing against the clock to stop this nocturnal monster were a young detective named Gil Carrillo from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the legendary homicide investigator Frank Salerno. As they worked tirelessly to solve the case, the media hounded their tracks, and panic gripped California.  Told through harrowing first-person interviews, gripping archival footage and spectacular original photography, this four-part series represents the definitive telling of this iconic L.A. real-life horror story, painting a portrait of how it felt to live in fear at a time when absolutely anyone could be the Night Stalker’s next victim. Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer director Tiller Russell joins us to talk about his deep dive into truly terrifying chapter of Southern California history, capturing the palpable fear that gripped and connected so many communities in 1985 and the people who brought Richard Ramirez to justice.

 

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To watch go to: netflix.com/nightstalker

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Sing Me a Song – Director Thomas Balmès

Award-winning director/producer Thomas Balmès’ returns to one of his beloved Happiness (2014) subjects, Peyangki, now a teenaged Buddhist monk living in a rural (yet Wi-Fi equipped) monastery in Bhutan, absorbed in the wonders of the world that are a simple click away. The structured daily village rituals of prayer and candle lighting now compete with the powerful lure of smartphones and TV.  Apps for chats and dating introduce the monks to girls and violent video games, neither of which quite line up with the traditional vows of the monks. Peyangki is passionate about love songs and forms a relationship over an app, WeChat, with a young singer (Ugyen) in the “big city” of Thimphu. Distracted and disinterested in study, and often scolded by his masters and mother, he sells medicinal mushrooms to make enough money to leave the monastery and travel to Ugyen. Peyangki trades in his robes for street clothes, but will he succumb to romance and the temptations of the city or return to his pious life in the monastery? Director Thomas Balmès (Babies, Christ Comes to Papuans, A Decent Factory) joins us to talk about his nuanced portrait of a young man’s introduction to the world, offers us an eye-opening snapshot of the effects of technology, and challenges us to reassess our perceptions of self-worth and beliefs in an age of unparalleled connectivity.

 

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For news and updates go to: thomasbalmes.com/sing-me-a-song

About the filmmaker – Thomas Balmès directed his first film in 1996; BOSNIA HOTEL was the story of U.N. Kenyan peacekeepers in Bosnia. Thomas Balmès has been working as an independent director and producer of nonfiction films, specializing in international co-productions, since 1992. His initial projects included studies of filmmakers James Ivory and Michelangelo Antonioni. This was followed by MAHARAJAH BURGER; Mad Cows; Holy Cows, about the mad cow crisis as seen from the Indian perspective. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE PAPUANS (2000) following the conversion to Christianity of a Papuan Chief, was honored with the Silver Spire Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival. He directed a sequel in Papua the following year, WAITING FOR JESUS. A DECENT FACTORY, the story of a Nokia executive who inspects a mobile phone factory in China, was screened at more than 50 film festivals and received many honors, including a Europa Award. The film was released theatrically in the U.S. in 2005. DAMAGES, a.k.a. How Much Is Your Life Worth?, was filmed at a Connecticut law firm specializing in personal injury cases, and was co-produced by 15 countries and broadcast worldwide. Thomas initiated a series for national Japanese television : NHK, Tokyo Modern; and produced (A NORMAL LIFE – CHRONICLE OF A SUMO Wrestler), directed by Jill Coulon, which screened at Amsterdam’s 2009 International Documentary Film Festival. He is regularly invited to conduct lectures and master classes in France and abroad such as Brown University, the Watson Institute, Lisbon International Film Festival. His next film, BABIES takes a look at one year in the life of four babies from around the world, from Mongolia to Namibia to San Francisco to Tokyo. Happiness reflects the impact of the arrival of television in a small Himalayan village. Through the eyes of an eight years old monk named Peyangki, praying eagerly for a TV set, we see the last village of Bhutan going through the process of globalization. The film won the Documentary World Cinema Cinematography Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. For more go to: thomasbalmes.com

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90% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Balmès has greater profundity in mind when disseminating astute observations about how modern necessities and communicative devices impact cultures and ecosystems.” – Courtney Howard, Variety

“Balmès doesn’t arrive at easy, scathing conclusions about the internet. Instead, he lets the camera journey to unexpected places, leading to a different kind of meditation that strikes with deep emotional resonance…” – Kristen Yoonsoo Kim, New York Times

“Even if we see “trouble” the minute we spy that first phone, we don’t necessarily guess how this fascinating “speed of change” story will play out.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

“This film will not resolve the question of whether technological “progress” represents an advance or a decline in civilization, but it certainly will provoke conversations about that issue.” – Stephen Farber, Hollywood Reporter

Phoenix Rising – Co-directors Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui

RISING PHOENIX tells the extraordinary story of the Paralympic Games. From the rubble of World War II to the third biggest sporting event on the planet, the Paralympics sparked a global movement which continues to change the way the world thinks about disability, diversity & human potential.The film features breathtaking footage and compelling interviews with several Medal-Winning Paralympians including Tatyana McFadden (Para Athletics, United States), Bebe Vio (Wheelchair Fencing), Jean-Baptiste Alaize (Para Long Jump), Ntando Mahlangu (Para Track & Field), Matt Stutzman (Para Archery, United States), Jonnie Peacock (Para Sprint Runner), Ryley Batt (Para Wheelchair Ruby), Ellie Cole (Para Swimming), and Cui Zhe (Powerlifting). It also features an interview with Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex. RISING PHOENIX Co-directors Peter Ettedgui and Ian Bonhôte makers of the BAFTA nominated McQueen, join us to talk about remarkable athletes who have worked most of their lives to fulfill the dream of being an Olympic champion as well as the story of the ParaOlympic founder, Ludwig Guttman, a Jewish doctor who rescued people from Nazi camps and believed in the power of community to heal and empower.

 

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To watch go to: netflix.com/Rising Phoenix

To coincide with the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the film team have launched an educational website for RISING PHOENIX that includes a down-loadable Education Guide, providing a framework and resources to enable teachers to delve deeper into the subject matter in the classroom.

About the filmmaker – Peter Ettedgui’s ‘Rising Phoenix’ marks Peter’s second feature documentary as writer and director with Ian Bonhôte, following their collaboration on ‘McQueen’ in 2018. Described as “supremely engrossing and elegant” by Variety, the film was nominated for two Baftas (British Film and Documentary). Previously, Peter had cut his teeth in the non-fiction arena as writer of ‘Everything Or Nothing’ (the story of James Bond) and ‘Listen to Me, Marlon’ (a film biography of Marlon Brando told through the actor’s audio archive), for which Peter was the recipient of a Peabody Award and the IDA (Independent Documentary Award) for best writing in a documentary. Peter began his career in narrative fiction. He worked as director’s assistant and co-writer to Ken Russell on a number of feature and television projects, before writing screenplays including the Bafta-nominated ‘Onegin’, an adaptation of Pushkin’s classic tale of unrequited love, which starred Ralph Fiennes and Liv Tyler. He went on to produce films such as ‘Kinky Boots’, starring Joel Edgerton and Chiwitel Ejiofor, which became a hit Broadway/West End musical, and ‘Unmade Beds’ for Film4.Beyond his work as writer and producer, Peter has worked extensively as a development consultant and story editor including on ‘Spectre’ the 2017 Bond movie.  For more go to: misfitsentertainment.com

About the filmmaker – IAN BONHÔTE is a two times BAFTA nominated director and producer for MCQUEEN, a feature documentary on Alexander McQueen the iconic fashion designer. RISING PHOENIX is Ian’s second documentary which he has co-written and co-directed alongside Peter Ettedgui. The film covers the story of the Paralympics from its humble beginning to becoming the third biggest sporting event in the world. Ian’s directorial debut, ALLEYCATS, was distributed internationally by Universal pictures in over 25 territories and by Filmmode in the US/Canada. Following this, Ian co-founded MISFITS ENTERTAINMENT alongside Andee Ryder, the producer of Alleycats. In 2018 Misfits Entertainment produced VIKING DESTINY, an action adventure film starring Terence Stamp. Prior to this, Ian co-founded PULSE FILMS in 2005 alongside Thomas Benski and Marisa Clifford. Pulse Films recently produced GANGS OF LONDON and AMERICAN HONEY (2016 Jury Prize Cannes Winner). The company is now a part of the VICE MEDIA GROUP. Ian has also directed international campaigns, music videos and fashion films for clients such as Puma, Nike, Pepsi, Mumford & Sons, Tom Jones, and fashion designers Matthew Williamson and Hussein Chalayan. For more go to: misfitsentertainment.com

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90% on Rotten Tomatoes

“‘Phoenix’ is a testament to resiliency, determination and passion, and is one of the best documentaries of 2020.” – Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News

“There are athletes all across the spectrum of sport who would kill to have a documentary portray them as heroic, epic and badass as Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui paint the superstars in “Rising Phoenix. – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

This is profoundly inspiring… It is an extraordinary look at what makes us human.” – Wade Major, FilmWeek (KPCC – NPR Los Angeles)

“Gives sports fans a jolt of greatness, inspiration, history and drop-dead gorgeous photography” – Carole Horst, Variety

“Slick, rousing documentary” – Tim Grierson, Screen Daily

The Reason I Jump – Director Jerry Rothwell

THE REASON I JUMP is an immersive cinematic exploration of neuro-diversity through the experiences of non-speaking autistic people from around the world, based on the best-selling book by Naoki Higashida. The film blends Higashida’s revelatory insights into autism, written when he was just 13, with intimate portraits of five remarkable young people. It opens a window for audiences into an intense and overwhelming, but often joyful, sensory universe. Moments in the lives of each of the characters are linked by the journey of a young Japanese boy through an epic landscape; narrated passages from Naoki’s writing reflect on what his autism means to him and others, how his perception of the world differs, and why he acts in the way he does: the reason he jumps. THE REASON I JUMP distills these elements into a sensually rich tapestry that leads us to Naoki’s core message: not being able to speak does not mean there is nothing to say. Director Jerry Rothwell stops by to talk about his deeply empathetic look into the lives of people with autism from around the world, with each story broadening our perspective and understanding of what it means to be a neuro-diverse person. 

 

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For news and updates go to: the-reason-i-jump

About the filmmaker – Jerry Rothwell is a filmmaker whose work includes the award-winning feature documentaries: The Reason I Jump, based on the bestselling book by Naoki Higashida; How To Change The World, about the founders of Greenpeace; Sour Grapes (co-directed with Reuben Atlas) a film about a wine counterfeiter Town of Runners, about two girls in an Ethiopian village who aspire to be athletes; Donor Unknown, about a sperm donor and his many offspring; School In The Cloud, about radical educationalist, Sugata Mitra; Heavy Load, about a group of people with learning disabilities who form a punk band, and Deep Water (co-directed with Louise Osmond), about Donald Crowhurst’s ill-fated voyage in the 1968 round the world yacht race. His work has won numerous accolades including two Grierson Awards, a Sundance Special Jury Prize, an RTS Award, the IDA Pare Lorentz Award and a BAFTA nomination.

About the writer (The Reason I Jump) – Naoki Higashida was born in Kimitsu, Japan in 1992. Diagnosed with severe autism when he was five, he subsequently learned to communicate using a handmade alphabet grid and began to write poems and short stories. At the age of thirteen he wrote The Reason I Jump, which was published in Japan in 2007. Its English translation came out in 2013, and it has now been published in more than thirty languages. Higashida has since published several books in Japan, including children’s and picture books, poems, and essays. He continues to give presentations throughout Japan about his experience of autism.

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WINNER – World Cinema Documentary Audience Award – Sundance FF 2020 
NOMINEE – Best Cinematography – Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards 2020
NOMINEE – Best Feature – IDA Documentary Awards 2020
NOMINEE – Best Director – IDA Documentary Awards 2020 NOMINEE – Best Documentary – British Independent Film Awards 2020

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Wondrous… A work that enlightens and informs but that is also ravishing

to behold.” – Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter

“While The Reason I Jump is a profound and moving experience, one that isn’t easy to forget, it’s most effective when operating as an experimental work.” – John Fink, The Film Stage

“An inventive, sensuous documentary worthy of its source… This compassionate, creative documentary will open ears and eyes in equal measure.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“Exquisite… All aspects of this film deserve praise.” – Fionnuala Halligan, Screen

Nasrin – Director Jeff Kaufman and Producer Marcia S. Ross

Directed, produced, and written by Jeff Kaufman and produced by Marcia S. Ross (Terrence McNally: Every Act of Life) NASRIN is an immersive portrait of one of the world’s most courageous human rights activists and an outspoken leader of Iran’s remarkably resilient women’s rights movement. She is currently in the fifth week of a hunger strike and serving a long sentence in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison. Millions of people from over 200 nations have called for Nasrin’s release including President-elect Joe Biden; journalist Christiane Amanpour; journalist/activist Gloria Steinem; author Margaret Atwood; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, and many others. Secretly filmed in Iran by men and women who risked arrest, NASRIN features interviews with acclaimed filmmaker Jafar Panahi, Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, journalist Ann Curry, and Nasrin’s husband and fellow-activist Reza Khandan. NASRIN is narrated by Oscar® winning actress Olivia Colman and also features an original song by Tony Award®-winning composers Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and performed by 4-time Grammy® winner Angélique Kidjo. In addition, Washington Post columnist and former political prisoner Jason Rezaian serves as one of the film’s Executive Producers. Director Jeff Kaufman and Producer Marcia S. Ross join us to talk about one of the world’s most courageous woman and about the daily challenges she and other civil and women’s rights activist face in one of the world’s most repressive regimes.

Update on Nasrin: As of today, Nasrin Sotoudeh has been ordered back to prison in Iran. Earlier last month, she was released from prison due to health reasons and the corona -19 virus. Then, she had just ended her 40+ day hunger strike at the end of October in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison. Please join us in telling her story and amplifying her voice for her freedom. Nasrin hashtag #StandUp4NASRIN continues to grow daily.

 

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

About the filmmaker – Jeff Kaufman produced, directed, and wrote the documentaries Every Act Of Life (2018 Tribeca premiere, aired June 2019 on American Masters), The State of Marriage, Father Joseph, The Savoy King: Chick Webb and the Music That Changed America, Brush With Life: The Art of Being Edward Biberman, and Education Under Fire, plus a number of short films for Amnesty International, and programs for The Discovery Channel, and The History Channel. He also edited/designed a book based on the film Every Act Of Life, contributed cartoons to The New Yorker, and illustrations to The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, wrote/illustrated several children’s books, and hosted daily radio shows in Vermont and Los Angeles.

About the filmmaker – Marcia Ross produced the documentaries Every Act Of Life, The State of Marriage, Father Joseph, and The Savoy King. Additionally she has an over 3-decade career as an independent casting director and casting executive, serving 16 years as EVP for Casting at Walt Disney Motion Pictures, and 5 years as VP for Casting and Talent Development at Warner Brothers TV. Some of her film and television credits include Clueless, Cujo, thirtysomething, Murder in Mississippi, 10 Things I Hate About You, The Princess Diaries, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, The Lookout, Enchanted, Oblivion, and Parental Guidance. She has received career achievement awards from the Casting Society of America and the Hollywood Film Festival.

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“A terrific documentary by Jeff Kaufman.” – Peter Rainer, FilmWeek (KPCC – NPR Los Angeles)

“Nasirin reaffirmed my faith in the humanity and courage of those in Iran who struggle against a repressive regime.”- Robert Denerstein, Denerstein Unleashed

“Nasrin is a moving portrait of an unforgettable fighter and a vital film that should be seen by audiences around the globe.” – Loren King, AWFJ Women on Film

“This is fortitude writ large.” – Brian Shaer, Film Threat

Yellow Rose – Director Diane Paragas

YELLOW ROSE features Eva Noblezada, who is joined by fellow Miss Saigon alum and Tony Award winner Lea Salonga. The film follows Rose Garcia, a 17-year-old Filipina American in Texas. When her mom is arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Rose undertakes a musical journey while facing deportation back to the Philippines. Inspired by the music of country musicians like Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and Willie Nelson, the original composition accompanied by Noblezada’s captivating voice becomes the soundtrack of Rose’s wanderings akin to American westerns. YELLOW ROSE Director Diane Paragas joins us to talk about her warm-hearted tale of a young woman’s determination to fight back against the cruelty of a heartless immigration system while pursuing her own version of the American Dream deep in the heart of Texas with Austin’s music icon, Dale Watson at her side.

 

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

Yellow Rose is available on Digital now and on Blu-ray and DVD January 5

About the filmmaker – Diane Paragas is an award-winning director, editor, cinematographer and producer of commercials, narrative features and documentaries. IN 2012, Paragas co-directed Brooklyn Boheme, a feature length documentary about an African American arts movement, with writer and critic Nelson George.  The film featuring Spike Lee, Chris Rock and Rosie Perez to name a few. The film was acquired by Showtime and won a Black Reel Award for Best Documentary. In 2019, Paragas wrote and directed her debut narrative feature, Yellow Rose, about an undocumented Filipino-American teen pursuing a dream to become a country music singer. The film won over a dozen Grand Jury Prizes during its festival run and will be released by Sony Pictures in 2020. She is also in pre-production for a bold feature documentary about a wrongfully convicted undocumented immigrant called “The Three Lives of David Wong” that uses puppetry to tell its story. The film was is supported by The Sundance Institute,  The Bertha Foundation Grant and CAAM. Ms Paragas is a 2020 recipient of the prestigious Creative Capital Award  and was named as A100’s Most Impactful Asians of 2020 alongside directors Bong Joon Ho, Taika Waititi and Lulu Wang. 

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“The film beautifully captures the struggles of a young woman to find her voice and a sense of belonging in an often hostile world as it celebrates the joy of making music and its power to provide hope.” – Loren King, AWFJ Women on Film

“Diane Paragas’ film finds fresh ground to explore the price and the power of the American dream, bolstered by country crooning and heartbreaking (and very real) legal worries.” – Kate Erbland, indieWire

“Writer-director Diane Paragas spins a story that is both politically timely and personal.” – Kristen Yoonsoo Kim, New York Times

“An affecting portrayal of a young woman finding her footing against all odds, and claiming her home in a nation that makes it unduly challenging.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service

“The lean screenplay and [Diane] Paragas’ focused creative vision makes for a singular directorial feature debut that feels like nothing else happening in film right now.” – Beth Sullivan, Austin Chronicle

Finding Yingying – Jiayan “Jenny” Shi

FINDING YINGYING follows the nightmarish story of a 26-year-old Chinese student, Yingying Zhang, who comes to the U.S. to study. In her detailed and beautiful diaries, the aspiring young scientist and teacher is full of optimism, hoping to also be married and a mother someday. Within weeks of her arrival, Yingying disappears from the campus. Through exclusive access to Yingying’s family and boyfriend, Finding Yingying closely follows their journey as they search to unravel the mystery of her disappearance and seek justice for their daughter while navigating a strange, foreign country. But most of all, Finding Yingying is the story of who Yingying was: a talented young woman loved by her family and friends. Director Jiayan “Jenny” Shi joins us for a conversation on documenting a heartbreaking story, gaining the trust and confidence of a grieving family dealing with some very difficult truths.

 

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

To watch the film go yo: findingyingying.com/see-the-film

About the filmmaker – Jiayan “Jenny” Shi is a Chicago-based documentary filmmaker and video journalist who is passionate about social justice issues regarding people of color. She shoots, edits and produces video stories and short documentaries about immigration, race and crime in Chicago for multiple outlets. She is also working on several projects as a researcher, digital content editor and translator including the ITVS co-produced web series Pulling The Thread and the 2020 Academy Award-winning Higher Ground Netflix film, American Factory. Jenny is a graduate of Kartemquin’s Diverse Voices In Docs program, a TFI Network alum, the winner of the Paley DocPitch Competition 2018 and a fellow of 2020-2021 Women at Sundance | Adobe Fellowship. Jenny is named one of the DOC NYC “40 Under 40” filmmakers.

About Kartemquin – Sparking democracy through documentary since 1966, Kartemquin is a collaborative community that empowers documentary makers who create stories that foster a more engaged and just society. Kartemquin’s films have received four Academy Award® nominations and won many more major prizes, including six Emmys® and four Peabody Awards. Recognized as a leading advocate for independent public media, Kartemquin has helped hundreds of artists via its filmmaker development programs and championing of documentary.Kartemquin is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization based in Chicago.

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“It’s remarkable how Finding Yingying gets away from the traditional framework that governs how these stories are told, allowing the Zhangs to be seen separately from the horrific situation they find themselves in…” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest

“’Finding Yingying proves that centering the lives lost and the loved ones left behind can make for an intriguing a true-crime documentary.” – Jonita Davis, The Black Cape

“Compelling, heartfelt, and just as frustrating to watch – Finding Yingying not only makes for one of the most essential watches of the year but also for the sake of much-needed change.” – Andrew J. Salazar, Geeks of Color

“Intimate and haunting.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

Through the Night – Director Loira Limbal

THROUGH THE NIGHT is a cinema vérité portrait of three working mothers whose lives intersect at Dee’s Tots Daycare in New Rochelle, NY: a mother working the overnight shift as a pediatric nurse; another holding down three low-wage jobs to support her two girls; and Deloris “Nunu” Hogan, who for over two decades has cared for the children of parents with nowhere else to turn. A tender portrait of titanic strength, love and selflessness, THROUGH THE NIGHT showcases the multiplicity of “women’s work” – paid, underpaid and unpaid; emotional and physical; domestic and career-oriented – all while negotiating the terms of a dignified existence under the three arrows of racism, sexism and capitalism in America. THROUGH THE NIGHT will open this Friday, December 11th at the Laemmle Virtual Cinema in addition to virtual cinemas around the country. Director Loira Limbal joins us for a conversation on the myriad of issues raised in this deceptively simple meditation of the why and how millions of hard working people in the home of the brave can do all the right things only to find themselves one random event away from the economic abyss that is modern American life. 

 

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For news and updates go to: throughthenightfilm.com

About the filmmaker – Loira Limbal is an Afro-Dominican filmmaker and DJ based in the Bronx. She is the Senior Vice President of Programs at Firelight Media, an organization that provides mentorship, funding and industry access to emerging filmmakers of color. THROUGH THE NIGHT was an official selection of the 2020 Tribeca, AFI Docs, Camden, Hot Springs Documentary, Double Exposure and DOC NYC festivals. Her first film, ESTILO HIP HOP, aired on PBS in 2009. Loira is a Sundance Institute Fellow and a former Ford Foundation Justfilms/Rockwood Fellow. Additionally, she co-produces and helms the popular Brooklyn monthly #APartyCalledRosiePerez. Limbal received a B.A. in History from Brown University and is a graduate of the Third World Newsreel’s Film and Video Production Training Program. She is a Sundance Institute Fellow and a former Ford Foundation Justfilms/Rockwood Fellow.

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“This quietly engaging documentary is also subtly political, showing with clear eyes how good people are trying to patch gaps in our society that shouldn’t be there in the the first place.” – Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times

“Through the Night is both celebration and indictment. A sympathetic depiction of “women’s work,” in all its unsung dignity, it’s also a quietly damning portrait of a merciless economy’s effect on working-class mothers… – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

“Without making it too obvious, Limbal’s documentary shines a light on the unspoken backbone of our economy. – Monica Castillo, Remezcla

‘”Through the Night” won me over though, not because director Loira Limbal has any illusions about objectivity, but because she prefers to step back and show the toll inequality takes on the very people our culture supposedly reveres most – families.” – Andrea Thompson, A Reel of One’s Own

Assassins – Director Ryan White

ASSASSINS documents the bizarre, international plot, ripped from the headlines story of  Kim Jong-nam—the half-brother of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un assassination in the bustling departures hub of Malaysia’s international airport. The spectacularly brazen murder happened in broad daylight, filmed entirely by security cameras. Footage showed two young women approaching Jong-nam from behind, covering his eyes with their hands, and pressing VX—the most lethal nerve gas on earth—into his eyes. He stumbled away and was dead within an hour. But if the murder was extreme, the story behind what came next was even more bizarre: The two women who killed Jong-nam claimed they had simply been hired to pull a video prank and had no idea what they were really doing. The Malaysian government scoffed, arrested and imprisoned the women and put them on trial for murder, facing execution. But was their outlandish story actually the truth? And would anyone believe them? ASSASSINS the latest film from director Ryan White (Ask Dr. Ruth, The Case Against 8), travels from the sanctums of Pyongyang to the rice fields of Indonesia and Vietnam to the courtrooms of Kuala Lumpur to tell an extraordinary tale of manipulation and subterfuge in the age of social media. A masterful investigation that offers an unprecedented look at the real story of Kim Jong-nam’s murder,  ASSASSINS Director Ryan White stops by to discuss the wildly improbable tale of a calculating dictator, a nefarious plot, a very public murder, and two women fighting for their lives.

 

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

For more on the filmmakers go to: tripod-media.com

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Ryan White’s fascinating documentary chronicles plays like a political thriller with tragic consequences for the two women at its center.” – Matt Goldberg, Collider

“It’s a Kafka-esque and sometimes darkly comic tale of deception and exploitation that makes for a smartly assembled and eminently topical film that arrives at a crucial juncture in world affairs…” – Justin Lowe, Hollywood Reporter

“As you watch the movie, I promise that there are moments when your jaw will drop.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“Director Ryan White masterfully breaks down the complex mechanics of North Korean politics and the Malaysian justice system in a fascinating thriller.” – Ian Thomas Malone

Tandem Pictures, Founder Julie Christeas and COO Jonathan Blitstein

Tandem Pictures is a leader in conceiving and implementing eco-sustainable filmmaking practices in the indie film space, with all of their productions following Environmental Media Association standards and the Producers Guild’s Green Best Practices. They’re also an advocate for how these practices – from using hybrid vehicles on set, to having the sound and camera teams use rechargeable batteries, to composting and using metal straws – can and should be adopted industry-wide. Female owned and operated, it is Tandem’s mission is to bring female talent and narratives to the forefront. They embrace female-centric storytelling, and pride themselves on the fact that the casts and crews of their films are composed of underserved and underrepresented minority groups, LGBTQIA, and women.  tandempictures.com

 

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ABOUT TANDEM PICTURES Since 2010, TANDEM PICTURES has elevated and given a platform to misrepresented and underrepresented ideas. We are filmmakers, driven by justice and representation for both people and the planet. We strive to not only tell stories, but to share learnings with the industry in order to grow positive filming practices across our community.  Past films include acclaimed festival films THE SURROGATE, BLOODSTRIPE, THE EYES OF MY MOTHER, THE SLEEPWALKER, WILDLIKE, GHOST TEAM and more.  tandempictures.com

JULIE CHRISTEAS – Tandem Pictures – Founder, Chief Executive Officer        Julie’s recent films include BLACK BEAR (Sundance 2020) starring Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Abbott and Sarah Gadon which will be released later this year by eOne/Momentum and THE SURROGATE (SXSW 2020/Monument Releasing) . She also executive produced the cult horror favorite THE EYES OF MY MOTHER (Sundance 2016/Magnet Releasing), MONOGAMY (Best NY Narrative, Tribeca Film Festival 2010), the feature doc DUKALE’S DREAM starring Hugh Jackman, and GHOST TEAM starring Jon Heder, David Krumholtz, Justin Long, Amy Sedaris and Melonie Diaz. Previously she produced BLOOD STRIPE (Jury Prize for Best Narrative Film, LA Film Festival 2016), WILDLIKE starring Bruce Greenwood and Brian Geraghty (HIFF), and THE SLEEPWALKER starring Christopher Abbott and Brady Corbet (Sundance 2014/IFC). 

JONATHAN BLITSTEIN – Tandem Pictures – Co-owner, Chief Operating Officer Jonathan’s most recently produced the acclaimed films THE SURROGATE, and BLACK BEAR (SUNDANCE, EOne/Universal release) starring Aubrey Plaza. Prior to Tandem he worked in production and branded entertainment for Vudu, Sony and Disney, supporting Fortune 500 Brands such as Walmart, Sprint and Covergirl. At Oracle (formerly CrowdTwist), he initiated the creation of Marvel Studios’ first nationwide fan loyalty program Marvel Insider. In his early career, he made two micro-budget feature films LET THEM CHIRP AWHILE and ANOTHER KIND which both premiered at the Woodstock Film Festival which were distributed on Netflix and VOD. Early career roles include marketing arthouse films such as Park Chan Wook’s OLD BOY, and Noah Baumbach’s SQUID AND THE WHALE. 

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The Last Sermon, Director Jack Baxter

THE LAST SERMON begins with a flashback to the horrific 2003 terrorist attack on a Tel Aviv blues bar called Mike’s Place. THE LAST SERMON then takes us straight into today’s headlines when filmmakers Baxter and Faudem – united for life by the tragedy of that terrible night – seek answers about the suicide bombers who almost murdered them. In the aftermath of the infamous April 2003 suicide bombing at Mike’s Place that killed three and injured dozens, including Baxter, the filmmakers made the award-winning documentary BLUES BY THE BEACH (2004). But they didn’t get to tell the entire story at that time. THE LAST SERMON started in Jerusalem. Baxter and Faudem and their film crew traveled to Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Germany, Czech Republic, France, then on to England. At Refugee Camps and  Mosques they interviewed, interacted and challenged Muslims and non-Muslims with the last words of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): “There is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, or a non-Arab over an Arab, or a White over a Black, or a Black over a White, except by righteousness and piety.” Director and subject Jack Baxter joins us for a conversation on the how the Mike’s Place bombing started him on a personal quest to confront hatred, ignorance and move those he meets to recognize our collective humanity.

 

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For news and updates go to: thelastsermonmovie.com

About the filmmaker – Jack Baxter is a writer, director, producer and freelance journalist from New York City. He produced the controversial and critically acclaimed 1995 documentary “Brother Minister: The Assassination of Malcolm X.” Mr. Baxter and his wife, Executive Producer Fran Strauss-Baxter, are the producers of the award-winning documentary, “Blues by The Beach” (2004). Jack is the co-author of the graphic novel, “Mike’s Place: A True Story of Love, Blues, and Terror in Tel Aviv” (2015) published by Macmillan.

About the filmmaker – Joshua Faudem is an award-winning American-Israeli documentary filmmaker who has shot and directed television programs in Israel, Europe, Canada, and America. Mr. Faudem directed the award-winning documentary “Blues by the Beach” (2004) and is the co-author of the graphic novel “Mike’s Place: A True Story of Love, Blues, and Terror in Tel Aviv.”

Official Selection of the 2020 International Human Rights Film Festival

Winner of the Best Documentary Feature and the Truth Seeker Award at the 2020 Queens World

Yalda – A Night for Forgiveness, Director Massoud Bakhshi

In Massoud Bakhshi’s riveting new film, Yalda – A Night for Forgiveness, Maryam is a 22-year-old woman, who has been sentenced to death for murdering her 65-year-old husband, Nasser. Iranian law allows for the victim’s family to forgive her and spare her life, so Maryam’s fate will be decided by Nasser’s daughter, Mona, 37, on the country’s most popular televised reality show. In front of millions of viewers during Yalda, the winter solstice celebration, Maryam and Mona discover that forgiveness can be difficult as they relive the past. Director and screenwriter Massoud Bakhshi brings aesthetic energy and dramatic intensity to a story that unfolds over a few hours and almost entirely within the studio. Compelled by the social complexities of contemporary Iran, Bakhshi started as a documentary filmmaker, during which time he met several women who had murdered their husbands. Their stories stayed with him as he developed this powerful exploration of women characters. Although Maryam and Mona are condemned in some way and subject to Iran’s profound patriarchy, they find agency, moral authority, and freedom within those confines.  Winner of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness elucidates Iran’s vibrant, modern identity alongside its deeply traditional culture.

 

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For news and updates go to: pyramidefilms.com/yalda-a-night-for-forgiveness

About the filmmaker – Born in Tehran, Iran, in 1972, Massoud Bakhshi has worked as film critic, scriptwriter and producer, before making 12 documentaries and short films which were awarded internationally. His first feature film A Respectable Family was selected at Cannes Film Festival 2012 (Quinzaine des réalisateurs). Yalda, a night for forgiveness is his second feature film, selected at the World Cinema Dramatic Competition Sundance Film Festival 2020 and at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival Generation 14+ Competition 2020.

2020 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL – GRAND JURY PRIZE World Cinema Dramatic Competition

Kiss the Ground – Co-directors Josh and Rebecca Tickell

Narrated by Woody Harrelson and directed by critically-acclaimed filmmakers Joshua Tickell and Rebecca Harrell Tickell (Oscar® shortlisted film and Sundance Audience Award winner “Fuel,” Cannes Film Festival Official Selection “The Big Fix”), KISS THE GROUND unveils a game-changer: We can reverse global warming and the Earth’s soil is the solution. By regenerating earth, we can completely and rapidly stabilize our planet’s climate, restore lost ecosystems, and create abundant food supplies.With epic footage shot on five continents, striking visuals from NASA and NOAA, and stunning animation, KISS THE GROUND conveys this critical message through the voices of leading scientists, ecologists, and experts including Nobel Laureates in climate, members of the International Panel on Climate Change, top scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), as well as environmental activists such as Gisele Bundchen, Tom Brady, Jason Mraz, Ian Somerhalder, Patricia Arquette, and Rosario Dawson. As an urgent call to action in addressing the world’s climate crisis, KISS THE GROUND artfully illustrates an accessible, relatively simple solution to humanity’s greatest challenge. Co-directors Josh and Rebecca Tickell join us to talk about how, despite all of the dire news about the impact of climate change, there is a way forward that is basic, sustainable, scalable and immediate, regeneration of earth’s most plentiful resources, soil.

 

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For news, screening and updates go to: kissthegroundmovie.com

To find out more about the movement go to: kisstheground.com

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83% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Climate Change is definitely real and this doc proves it while encouraging and teaching the human race how we can save the earth and save ourselves. Should be watched by every living human being!” – Carla Renata, The Curvy Film Critic

“It’s dense but nutritious. The science is explained in simple terms with plenty of visually striking graphics and animation.” – Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times

“The argument that they make is inspiring and thorough.” – Wade Major, FilmWeek (KPCC – NPR Los Angeles)

“A frenetic but ultimately persuasive and optimistic plan to counter the climate crisis.” – Natalia Winkelman,New York Times

76 Days, Director Hao Wu

On January 23rd, 2020, China locked down Wuhan, a city of 11 million, to combat the emerging COVID-19 outbreak. Set deep inside the frontlines of the crisis, 76 DAYS tells indelible human stories at the center of this pandemic—from a woman begging in vain to bid a final farewell to her father, a grandpa with dementia searching for his way home, a couple anxious to meet their newborn, to a nurse determined to return personal items to families of the deceased. These raw and intimate stories bear witness to the death and rebirth of a city under a 76-day lockdown, and to the human resilience that persists in times of profound tragedy. MTV Documentary Films is pleased to announce the release of 76 DAYS, a raw and emotional look at the struggles of the people of Wuhan, China, in the earliest days of the COVID-19 outbreak. Directed by New York filmmaker Hao Wu (People’s Republic of Desire) and two China-based journalists, Weixi Chen and Anonymous, who took enormous personal risks to film at four different hospitals. 76 DAYS was directed by Hao Wu, Weixi Chen and Anonymous. Director Hoa Wu joins us for a conversation on the challenges of keeping his crew focused and in-tact while charging into the epicenter of the most devastating and understood pandemic of the last 100 years.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: 76daysfilm.com

76 DAYS world-premiered at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival where it topped IndieWire’s Critics Poll as Best Documentary of the festival. It will be released in over 50 virtual cinemas nationwide (including Film Forum in NY and Laemmle Theaters in LA) beginning Friday, December 4.

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“A startling picture from inside Wuhan’s besieged hospitals at the onset of the pandemic” – Screen Daily

“Remarkable” – The Hollywood Reporter

“A potent and horrifying document” ★★★★ – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“Essential viewing for now and the future” – The Playlist

“A tribute to the heroic efforts of the workers it follows” – The Atlantic

Sky Blossom – Director Richard Liu

Director Richard Lui’s SKY BLOSSOM is a raw, uplifting window into 24.5 million children and millennials stepping forward as frontline heroes. Caring for family with tough medical conditions, they stay at home doing things often seen only in hospitals. They are cheerleaders, work part time, and go to college – but also live double lives – quietly growing up as America’s next greatest generation. The filmmaker, veteran journalist and award-winning CNN/MSNBC news anchor Richard Lui says the interviews were so honest they genuinely surprised him, as they revealed insights into the lives of young people across America. Troops used to look up and say, “Here come the Sky Blossoms”-paratroopers rushing to their aid. Today, there is a new generation answering that call. These are their stories. First-time director and MSNBC news anchor Richard Liu joins us for a conversation on the reason he began the project, the exploration of these families courage and determination and the historic and spiritual meaning behind the film’s title. 

 

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

For information on resources available go to: skyblossom.com/resources

Watch during the Virtual Theatre release at: /skyblossom.com/watch-film

Director’s statement – My life changed when my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I stepped back from my work as a cable news anchor, changing to work part-time on weekends. I began a weekly commute from my work in New York and my family in San Francisco. My parents come from military families, and this experience has only brought us closer together. With Sky Blossom, I wanted to show the power of caring for others. To tell stories of positivity despite pain. – Richard Liu

About the Film – Sky Blossom is an Academy Award qualifying film salute to 2020. Filmed over three years, it is a raw, uplifting window into 24.5 million children and millennials stepping forward as frontline heroes. Caring for family with tough medical conditions, they stay at home doing things often seen only in hospitals. They are cheerleaders, work part time, and go to college – but also live double lives – quietly growing up as America’s next greatest generation.

What’s In a Name? – During the Second World War, troops used to look up and say, “Here come the Sky Blossoms” — paratroopers rushing to their aid. Today, there is a new generation answering that call. These are their stories.

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No Ordinary Man – Co-director Chase Joynt (Aisling Chin-Yee) and Writer Amos Mac

In the documentary film No Ordinary Man The legacy of Billy Tipton, a 20th-century American jazz musician and trans icon, is brought to life by a diverse group of contemporary trans artists. Revered jazz musician Billy Tipton — born Dorothy Lucille Tipton — gained fame throughout the United States in the 1940s and ’50s. His trans identity was not known throughout the echelons of the jazz and pop worlds, and it wasn’t revealed publicly until after his death in 1989. For decades, Tipton was portrayed as an ambitious woman “passing” as a man in pursuit of a music career at a time when the industry was dominated by men and trans representation was virtually non-existent. Since then, he has become a foundational icon of trans-masculinity. Co-directors Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt’s examine the disgraceful media scrutiny and questions of legitimacy his family endured after his death. This thoughtful, timely documentary embraces the challenge of bringing Tipton’s words to life, reimagining his narrative through a diverse group of contemporary trans performers as they collectively paint a portrait of an unlikely hero. NO ORDINARY MAN explores the life and legacy of American jazz musician and trans icon Billy Tipton as told through the eyes of today’s leading voices in the trans community. NO ORDINARY MAN features Marquise Vilsón, Scott Turner Schofield, Susan Stryker, C. Riley Snorton, and Thomas Page McBee, among others. Co-director Chase Joynt (Aisling Chin-Yee) and Writer Amos Mac join us to talk about the life and the times of an artist, husband and father hiding in plain sight and how Billy Tipton’s story informs and imbues today’s trans community.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: chasejoynt.com/no-ordinary-man

About the filmmaker – (Co-director) Chase Joynt is a transgender moving-image artist and writer whose films have won jury and audience awards internationally. His latest short film, Framing Agnes, premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, won the Audience Award at Outfest in Los Angeles, and is being developed into a feature film with support from Telefilm Canada’s Talent to Watch program. Awarded the EP Canada/Canada Film Capital Award for Emerging Canadian Artist, Joynt’s first book You Only Live Twice (co-authored with Mike Hoolboom) was a 2017 Lambda Literary Award Finalist and named one of the best books of the year by The Globe and Mail and CBC. 

About the filmmaker (Writer) Amos Mac is an out transgender writer staffed on the upcoming drama series Gossip Girl (HBO Max, 2021). Previously he’s worked on shows including Amazon’s Transparent and VICELAND’s Gaycation. From 2009-2019, Amos was a founding editor of Original Plumbing; the first print magazine in America dedicated to trans male culture. Informational and humorous, OP provided ten years of artful documentation of trans masculine community. The official book, Original Plumbing: The Best of Ten Years of Trans Male Culture, was released in 2019 by the Feminist Press.

About the filmmaker – (Co-director) Aisling Chin-Yee is a cisgender, award-winning producer, writer, and director based in Montreal, Canada. Aisling was named one of Canada’s Rising Film Stars by Now Magazine 2019. Her feature film directorial debut, The Rest of Us, starring Heather Graham (Boogie Nights, The Hangover), and Sophie Nélisse (The Book Thief) premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival 2019. Aisling also produced the award winning feature films, Rhymes for Young Ghouls, Last Woman Standing , and The Saver among others. In 2017, she co-founded the #AfterMeToo movement alongside Mia Kirshner and Freya Ravensbergen. In 2018 she was selected in the inaugural cohort of professionals in the 50 Women Can Change the World in Media and Entertainment in Hollywood. In 2019, Aisling received the TIFF Canning Fellowship. 

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The film contains interviews with a number of trans artists who find Tipton especially meaningful in their lives; the moment when Tipton’s son discovers that his father is important to many people is worth the price of admission.” – Alissa Wilkinson, Vox

“Tender, topical and well-crafted, No Ordinary Man is no ordinary film.” – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

“No Ordinary Man isn’t so much a documentary of musician Billy Tipton but a major contribution to the history of trans-masculinity.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

“It’s moving and empowering, a reminder of how far we’ve come and how far we have to go.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

Gay Chorus Deep South, Director David Charles Rodrigues

UPDATE: MTV Documentary Films’ Gay Chorus Deep South directed by David Charles Rodrigues premieres Sunday, December 20 at 9:00PM ET/PT on Pop, Logo and Pluto

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

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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

Songs of Repression, Co-directors Marianne Hougen-Moraga and Estephan Wagner

The incredible story that lies at the heart of Songs of Repression begins and ends at  the foot of the Andes Mountains in Chile in the picturesque German colony of Colonia Dignidad (Colony of Dignity). The beauty of the place belies a grim past. In 1961, a German preacher named Paul Schäfer and his congregation moved to Chile with the stated aim of helping the poor. They established Colonia Dignidad, which transformed into a closed sect where child abuse, collective beatings and slave-like living conditions were an ongoing reality for 45 years. Many in the colony assisted Pinochet’s dictatorship in torturing and killing political prisoners and burying them in mass graves on their own 40,000-acre land. In 2007, Schäfer was arrested and the colony opened up. During that process, the community changed its name to Villa Baviera (Bavarian Village), now a tourist resort where you can relax, eat German cuisine and listen to yodeling. It remains the home of several generations of perpetrators and victims of the cult, inexplicably coexisting without reckoning with decades of abuse. Co-directors Marianne Hougen-Moraga and Estephan Wagner join us to talk about their chilling exploration of the community through the experiences of its surviving members.

 

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For news and updates go to: estephanwagner.com/songs-of-repression

About the filmmaker – Marianne Hougen-Moraga (Director) Graduated with a Master’s degree in film studies from Copenhagen University. She also holds a master in Screen Documentary from Goldsmiths College. Hougen-Moraga has directed a number of short documentaries, such as ‘Returned’ (2011), which premiered at CPH:DOX, and ‘Sea of Sorrow – Sea of Hope’ (2017), which was nominated for a Danish Robert Award for best short documen- tary. Her feature documentary debut is ‘Songs of Represvsion’ (2020), which she has directed with Estephan Wagner. 

About the filmmaker – Estephan Wagner (Director and Editor). Graduated from the National Film and Television School in London. Originally trained as an editor in Germany. Wagner has been working as a documentary director for more than a decade. He directed ‘Last Dreams’ (2013) that premiered at CPH:DOX. His feature documentary ‘Les Sau- teurs’ (2016) had theatrical distribution in Germany, France, the UK and Italy, has been screened at more than 70 film festivals and has won more than 15 awards including at the Ecumenical Jury Award at the Berlinale and the Cinema Eye Spotlight award. 

Social Media
twitter.com/HougenMoraga

 

Crock of Gold, A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan – Director Julien Temple

If future generations look back at what it was truly like to be both human and alive in the late 20th century, they will be hard put to find a more powerful and enlightening testament than the songs of Shane McGowan. In a world where music has become increasingly sanitized and unable to venture beneath the surface clichés of human emotion, Shane’s songs stand out in ever greater relief. A cinematic exploration of Shane MacGowan’s story, Julien Temple’s film CROCK OF GOLD details Shane’s explosive existence, from his salad days, growing up in Ireland, to time spent on the mean streets of London and embracing the punk scene. To forming the Pogues and the conquering the known universe, we discover MacGowan’s passions, his humor and deep knowledge of music, history, spirituality & popular culture. For this is Shane’s story. A vision of the world through the eyes of the great punk poet himself and an intimate cast of close friends and family members, all channeled through  director Julien Temple’s inimitable and eternally vibrant lens. Director Julien Temple joins us for an enlightening conversation on MacGowan’s unusual childhood living on a farm without electricity, his collaboration with Johnny Depp and his respect and admiration for an artist that has stay faithful to his love of music and his country, no matter the cost.

 

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

Director’s Statement – In a world where music has become increasingly sanitized and unable to venture beneath the surface clichés of human emotion, none has bared their soul like Shane McGowan. His unique ability to plumb the dark recesses of the human soul, while in the very same breath celebrating its capacity to find healing transcendence, in both love and the sublime mysteries of existence, goes a long way to making sense of who we actually are. His work is raw, unflinching and unashamed, reflecting all the many places Shane inhabits – the invisible world, hedonism, alcoholism, God, redemption and romance, in all their respective grit and glory. And so, here, via the inventions of the Pogues and the Popes, via the hits, the flops, the fallouts of fame. Via the triumphs and the disasters. Via the love, the hate. Via the bodily abuse and miraculous survival against the odds. And above all else, via the songs… Shane’s incomparable songs, we join Shane, in this film, in his never-ending search for that elusive ‘Crock of Gold’… – Julien Temple

About the filmmaker – Julien Temple became established as one of the early pioneers of music videos, directing such diverse talents as; Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols, David Bowie, Kinks, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Janet Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Pete Doherty and many more. He has directed feature films including the musicals ‘Absolute Beginners’ and ‘Earth Girls Are Easy’. Other directing credits ‘Pandaemonium’, selected as the Gala film at the Toronto Film Festival 2000 and winner of the Evening Standard best British actor award for Linus Roache. Temple’s feature documentary about the Sex Pistols ‘The Filth & The Fury’ screened in official selection at both the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals 2001. In 2005 he directed ‘Glastonbury’, a vivid chronicle of the past thirty years of the music festival. ‘The Future Is Unwritten’, a film to celebrate the life of Joe Strummer, premiered at Sundance in 2007. His recent films include ‘Oil City Confidential’ a documentary about the forgotten precursors of punk, Dr. Feelgood, which won the main prize at the 2009 Turin Film Festival, ‘Imaginary Man’ a film about songwriter Ray Davies for BBC One Imagine and ‘Kinkdom Come’ about his brother Day Davies. Temple’s feature documentary ‘Requiem For Detroit’ won a Grierson Award for Best Historical Documentary 2010. He is currently working with producer Jeremy Thomas to develop ‘You Really Got Me – The Kinks’, the story of Ray and Dave Davies, the brilliant love hate sibling creative force behind the legendary band.

Social Media
twitter.com/CrockofGoldFilm
twitter.com/JulienTemple
instagram.com/crockofgoldfilm
instagram.com/magnoliapics
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#CrockofGoldFilm
@CrockofGoldFilm

 

95% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Crock of Gold” isn’t intended as a lament for an artist derailed by his worst impulses, though. Instead, it’s a celebration of what MacGowan accomplished at his peak, as well as an explanation of the experiences that informed his music. – Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times

“Temple has always used archive material playfully; here, it’s particularly riotous, like a chaotic patchwork quilt tacked together by one of Shane’s drunk aunties. – Wendy Ide, Observer (UK)

“Bold and crass, insightful and fascinating. Director Julien Temple makes clear that this is a complex artist, with a multi-faceted personality, who has changed greatly over the years.” – Deirdre Molumby, entertainment.ie

“The director Julien Temple – who has excellent documentaries on the Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer and other galvanic musicians under his belt – is very good at this sort of thing.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

The Way Home – Co-director Don Hardy & Camille Servan-Schreiber, Shawn Dailey

THE WAY HOME is a short-form documentary series from KTF Films and Bread and Butter Films  focusing on the current homelessness epidemic in California – the state with the largest population of homeless people in the USA. Through these compelling short films, you will be inspired by the solution creators and the game-changers who are making an impact in this ongoing situation. Joining us are co-directors and co-writters Camille Servan-Schreiber and Don Hardy and producer Shawn Dailey The Way Home offers is a nuanced and informative four-part series that focuses on the big picture issues that present structural impediments to people struggling to overcome poverty in Oakland, Los Angeles and Bakersfield as well as the personal stories that humanize the people who live in the shadows

 

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For news and updates go to: thewayhomedoc.com

For a glimpse of our episodes, click the play buttons below. The full episodes will be available on Amazon, Apple, Google, and other streaming platforms on December 4th.

Ep. 1- How Did We Get Here? We examine the origins the homelessness crisis in the US and how has grown to an epidemic in California.

Ep. 2 – The Most Vulnerable More than half of homeless people in California are seniors. One pilot program in Northern California is focused on getting them off the street.

Ep. 3 – The Invisible In one California community volunteers, non-profit organizations, and the local government are working together to find creative ways to get people into sustainable housing … and it’s working.

Ep. – 4 – The California Dream California is in the midst of a housing crisis, and the lack of affordable housing is why so many become homeless.

Social Media
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instagram.com/iamdonhardy
@IamDonHardy

GATHER – Director Sanjay Rawal

Award winning filmmaker Sanjay Rawal’s latest documentary, GATHER, is a powerful portrait of Indigenous Americans reclaiming sovereignty over their decimated ancestral food systemswhile battling against the historical trauma brought on by centuries of genocide.  The early American economy was solely based on extracting money from the land. This nascent economy needed labor, but it mainly needed land. Stolen native land fueled American capitalism while slavery drove the economy. Native bodies were impediments because they occupied land the American economy needed, thus the genocide of thousands of indigenous people.  After a century of stealing land, the American government began an active program to destroy Native food systems to subjugate Natives. In doing so, they destroyed tens of thousands of years of deep knowledge of the food space. Native Americans are now fighting to re-establish their right to their lands and their food traditions – this fight for food is as important as the fight against pipelines.  As the pandemic continues to disproportionately affect Indian Country (IC), the common narrative is to blame poverty.  In reality, IC is ravaged due to inadequate infrastructure, lack of health systems and environmental racism – directly driven by government disregard of legal and treaty obligations. Director Sanjay Rawal (Food Chains) talks with us about how the US government continues to neglect these communities and perpetuate its long-term genocide and the efforts of the Native American people’s to fight back.

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: gather.film

Gather is now available to stream on iTunes (US/UK/Canada)Amazon (US/UK) and Vimeo-on-Demand (rest of the world).

About the filmmaker – A James Beard Award winning filmmaker, Sanjay  Rawal made FOOD CHAINS (EP Eva Longoria, Eric Schlosser) which chronicled the battle of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a small group of Oaxacan and Chiapan indigenous farmworkers in Florida, against the largest agribusiness conglomerates in the world. The film was released theatrically in a number of countries (Screen Media in the US) and won numerous awards – including citations from the US Conference of Mayors, the Clinton Global Initiative and the White House. The film was also a Winner (shared) of the 2016 BritDoc Impact award and several festival prizes. Sanjay’s last film 3100: RUN AND BECOME won several festival prizes, had a robust theatrical release in the US in 2018 and is opening in traditional theatrical engagements across Europe and Australia in 2020 and 2021.

Social Media
facebook.com/gatherfilmproject
instagram.com/gatherfilm

 

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Rawal covers a substantial amount of ground and deftly balances the dense material without losing sight of the mission driving the bigger story: Healing from generational trauma sometimes starts with just one person.” – Lovia Gyarkye,

“Docu on food sovereignty has positive messages, role models.” – Brian Costello, Common Sense Media

“The stunning cinematography accentuates every aspect of the story, the beauty of our land, and the need to understand the gifts we have all been given to live a life of truth about our pasts and create a new path for the future.” – Pamela Powell, Reel Honest Reviews

“Rawal’s movie offers a fascinating, visually striking glimpse of just how the seeds of oppression and racism can thrive for generations.” – Rob Rector, Film Threat

 

MAYOR, Director David Osit

MAYOR is a real-life political saga following Musa Hadid, the Christian mayor of Ramallah, during his second term in office. His immediate goals: repave the sidewalks, attract more tourism, and plan the city’s Christmas celebrations. His ultimate mission: to end the occupation of Palestine. Rich with detailed observation and a surprising amount of humor, MAYOR offers a portrait of dignity amidst the madness and absurdity of endless occupation while posing a question: how do you run a city when you don’t have a country?  MAYOR, director, producer, editor, cinematographer, David Osit joins us to talk about a most remarkable public servant, who spends much of his days greeting members of his community, visiting schools, meetings with staff on branding issues for Ramallah and having lunch with a grateful, but insistent constituent.

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: filmmovement.com/mayor  or: go to: mayorfilm.com

About the filmmaker – DAVID OSIT is an Emmy Award-winning documentary film director, editor and composer. He is an alumnus of the Berlinale Talent Campus and the Sundance Nonfiction Director’s Residency. David graduated from the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Michigan, and studied Refugee Law at the American University of Cairo. He received his MFA in Social Documentary Film from the School of Visual Arts.

*WINNER – NEXT:WAVE Prize, 2020 CPH:DOX*
*WINNER – Grand Jury Prize, 2020 Full Frame*
*WINNER’S CIRCLE – 2020 DOC NYC*
Social Media
facebook.com/mayordocumentary
twitter.com/davidosit
instagram.com/mayordocumentary
@davidosit

 

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Shows the West Bank as we rarely see it. A real-life political saga following Musa Hadid, the Christian mayor of Ramallah, during his second term. Filmed over 18 months, Mayor is aimed at Westerners, particularly Americans.” – Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times

“THRILLING. The best new film about Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a dark comedy about Ramallah’s mayor. David Osit’s documentary blends black comedy and unnerving suspense for a fascinating look at life under occupation.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

“IMPRESSIVE. ENGROSSING…HEARTENING. Mayor is a study in politics both micro and macro, showing what happens when the two come fatefully crashing together.” – Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter

“A GRIPPING portrait of Ramallah’s beloved mayor, Musa Hadid, whose job consists of the mundane tasks of running a local government mixed with the extraordinary circumstances of navigating the repercussions of a geopolitical conflict. A sincere tale of a public servant who’s seeking to lead in a world that’s stacked against him.” – Alissa Wilkinson, Vox

The Mystery of D. B. Cooper – Director John Dower

Directed by Emmy-nominated filmmaker John DowerTHE MYSTERY OF D.B. COOPER brings to life the stories of four individuals fervently believed by their family and friends to be “D.B. Cooper,” the mystery man who hijacked a 727 flying out of Seattle, traded the passengers’ lives for $200,000 and four parachutes, lept from the jet over some of Washington state’s roughest terrain, and was never heard from again. ‌ Almost 50 years later, the case continues to confound the FBI and inspire wild speculation as it remains the only unsolved airplane hijacking in United States history.‌ THE MYSTERY OF D.B. COOPER draws from a combination of recreated and archival footage, as well as exclusive interviews with those most connected to the infamous case and its likeliest culprit, and explores how the heist inspired copycat hijackings around the world and elevated Cooper to “legend” status before his plane even touched back down on land. ‌Director John Dower joins us for a lively conversation on the rabid D.B. Cooper cognoscenti who claim that they “know” what happened, the surprisingly strong bond Dower formed with the subjects he met making the film and the enduring and irresistible legend born on Thanksgiving eve, 1971.

 

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For news, and screenings go to: hbo.com/documentaries/the-mystery-of-db-cooper

About the filmmaker – John Dower is one of the country’s leading documentary directors. His feature Thriller in Manila was in competition at Sundance, BAFTA and EMMY nominated, and won a Grierson and a Peabody Award. Bradley Wiggins – A Year In Yellow was also BAFTA nominated in the best director category. As well as his sporting films he has a keen eye for comedy. His music documentary Live Forever was described by The Guardian as, “Sublime … finds that the truth is stranger and funnier than the myths” and his latest theatrical feature My Scientology Movie praised by The Telegraph as “a giddy, Pythonesque delight”, with Variety calling it “riotously funny”. His first documentary short, Ronald, continues that absurd tone and proved a massive hit on the American festival circuit. My Scientology Movie, which he also co-wrote, has topped a million pounds at the UK box office and is on course to be the highest grossing documentary of the year. As well as screening at prestigious festivals such as Sundance, Toronto, Tribeca, LFF, Berlin and Cannes his films have broadcast on HBO, ESPN, Sky, the BBC & Channel 4. Alongside his documentary work, John has directed a number of commercials for numerous leading brands and Agencies worldwide. Recent work includes campaigns for The Co-operative Bank, Not On The High Street and Omega. As well as spots for Sky HD, Aviva, Mars and Vodaphone. pulsefilms.com/director/john-dower/film or johndower.co.uk

Social Media
twitter.com/johndower71
twitter.com/pulsefilms
instagram.com/halmack7
instagram.com/pulsefilms
facebook.com/HBOMax

 

87% on Rotten Tomatoes

“It’s fascinating and a lot of fun, but in a larger sense it speaks to the reason why people get fascinated with a story like this.” – Christy Lemire, FilmWeek

“By the end of The Hijacker Who Vanished: The Mystery of DB Cooper, I felt like saying: “Dammit, I’m DB Cooper.” – Carol Midgley, Times (UK)

“These brilliant characters, some deeply entangled in the story, some distant from it but connected, are believers. This film asks what keeps them believing, and it is a far bigger question than the mystery itself.” – Rebecca Nicholson, Guardian

“Interspersed in the thrilling minute-by-minute drama of the hijacking are the stories of people suspected of being responsible. Sifting the implausible from the probable makes for a fascinating show.” – Suzi Feay, Financial Times