Inspired by the massive use of new technologies which intersect with psychopharmacology for therapeutic purposes. Algorithm: Bliss takes a look into how humanity and technology intersect and examines the unintended consequences of applications and innovations that come out of good intentions. Algorithm: Bliss explores where and how lines of morality get blurry once people are dealing with the reality of the noble aspirations for a product versus the potentially dangerous reality of implementation.It’s Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” for a digital age. Vic Beckett (Sean Faris) is a brilliant researcher, creates the ultimate App that taps into the pleasure center of the brain and transmits a feeling of nirvana to the user. Instant celebrity and unlimited commercial applications corrupt his altruistic intention and when problems arise with his creation, he justifies doing whatever is necessary to keep the app online. Algorithm: Bliss starsSean Faris (Never Back Down), Sarah Roemer (Disturbia), Frank Deal (The Bourne Legacy), James Saito (Life Of Pi), Frank Deal (The Outsider), and Kimberley Locke (American Idol). Algorithm: Bliss is co-directed by Dena Hysell-Cornejo and Isak Borg, from a screenplay by Borg and Golan Ramraz (Iron Man).
Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student. Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own – between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive. The Apple+TV limited drama series is a gripping, character-driven thriller based on the 2012 New York Times best selling novel of the same name by William Landay. Creator and Executive Producer Mark Bomback joins us to talk about how he and his creative team, including director Morten Tyldum, brought this complex and nuanced tale to life.
“One thing that’s evident from the outset is that all of the actors are perfect for their roles. Jaeden Martell, in particular, is still a young actor, but he handles the dark material with ease, and I appreciated the way the journey began with him.” – Paul Dailly, TV Fanatic
“The director applies an autumnal hue, with a color range of frosty blues that really adjusts to the atmosphere of slowly crumbling feelings.” – Jorge Loser, Espinof
“Chris Evans does some of the best work of his career as Andy… He expertly conveys Andy’s desperate, ferocious need to protect his son, his genuine love for his wife – and the haunting memories that jolt him awake in the middle of the night.” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times
“The pilot does a remarkable job of building up the situation and its main players, but leaving enough in a nebulous spot that there’s still some doubt and some questions to dig deeper into.” – Kevin Lever, Tell-Tale TV
Winner of numerous international film awards STRAY, director Dustin Feneley’s feature film debut, takes place in a cold and remote landscape, two strangers, Jack (Kieran Charnock) and Grace (Arta Dobroshi) struggle to repair their broken pasts. A young man is on parole after serving time for attempting to murder the man who killed his girlfriend in a hit and run. A woman is released from a psychiatric facility far from her homeland. These two damaged strangers cross paths in the mountains in winter and fall into a complex intimate relationship, putting to the test their capacity to trust and heal. A stark, complex story of people confronting their past while struggling to find their own resolve to forge a better future. Director / Producer / Writer Dustin Feneley joins us for a conversation on his own journey getting Stray financed and completedas well as crafting a beautifully rendered tale of two lost, psychologically exhausted souls.
Winner – Silver Saint George Award – Best Actor – Moscow International Film Festival 2018
Winner – Grand Prix – Best Cinematography – Golden Eye Festival 2018
Winner – Best Feature Film – Rivne International Film Festival 2018 Winner – Best Production Design – Rivne International Film Festival 2018 Winner – Best Actress – Festival des Antipodes 2018 Winner – Best Direction in a Feature Film – Australian Directors Guild Awards 2019 Winner – Best New Director – Brooklyn Film Festival 2019 Winner – Best Feature Film – Portoviejo Film Festival 2019 Winner – Best Actor – Balneario Camboriu International Film Festival 2019 Winner – Best Cinematography – Balneario Camboriu International Film Festival 2019
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
“Stray is simply contemplative and resoundingly lyrical in representing two kinds of nature set against one another: pained human nature and the Great Outdoors joined at the emotional hip” – Frank Ochieng, Flick Feast
“Stray is a quiet and internalised film that will demand your attention and compassion to really appreciate. A resolution – of sorts – when it arrives, is conveyed in a single, wordless shot.” – Graeme Tuckett, Stuff.co.nz
“While not an apolitical film…Feneley never lets social commentary overpower his narrative, constantly returning to the internal struggle, and never romanticising the damage his protagonists suffer from.” – Doug Dillaman, 4:3
“It is an iceberg of a film – what appears above the surface barely scratches at the behemoth of emotion lurking within.” – Tom Augustine, New Zealand Herald
SELAH AND THE SPADES tells the beautifully complex story of an insulated world at an elite Pennsylvania boarding school, Haldwell,where the student body is run by five factions. Seventeen-year-old Selah Summers (Lovie Simone) runs the most dominant group, the Spades, with unshakable poise, as they cater to the most classic of vices and supply students with coveted, illegal alcohol and pills. Tensions between the factions escalate, and when Selah’s best friend/right hand Maxxie (MOONLIGHT’s Jharrel Jerome) becomes distracted by a new love, Selah takes on a protégée, enamored sophomore Paloma (Celeste O’Connor), to whom she imparts her wisdom onruling the school. But with graduation looming and Paloma proving an impressively quick study, Selah’s fears turn sinister as she grapples with losing the control by which she defines herself. In her feature debut, writer/director Tayarisha Poe immerses us in a heightened depiction of teenage politics. This searing character study encapsulates just how intoxicating power can be for a teenage girl who acutely feels the threat of being denied it. Exciting newcomer Lovie Simone’s performance beautifully embodies both Selah’s publicly impeccable command and the internal fears and uncertainty that drive it. Director and writer Tayarisha Poe joins us for a lively conversation on her own high school experience, The Godfather, the importance of showcasing powerful young women and the remarkably talented actors who make Selah and the Spades so riveting.
About the filmmaker: Director / writer Tayarisha Poe is a storyteller from West Philadelphia who believes that all stories are inherently multi-sensory and multi-dimensional, and thus should be told that way. She was chosen as one of the 25 New Faces by Filmmaker Magazine in 2015, and in 2016 she received the Sundance Institute’s Knight Foundation Fellowship. In 2017 she was selected for the Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Labs. Her first feature film, SELAH AND THE SPADES, premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
“Selah and the Spades shows a great deal of promise for writer/director Tayarisha Poe, who demands your attention with style and story in her directorial debut.” – Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com
“Quietly confident in its unconventional yet clear point of view, Selah and the Spades signals a bright future for a promising young filmmaker.” – Beandrea July, Hollywood Reporter
“The level of craft in Poe’s feature debut exceeds that of directors with more experience and portends a long career with more wonderful art to come.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat
“More than the sheer delight of watching a powerful Black girl, Selah and the Spades is an earnest celebration of youth and power -something long-reserved for white teens while excluding young people of color.” – Aramide Tinubu, Shadow and Act
In a desolate stretch of the Sahara, a mysterious car accident leaves a young woman (Delfine Bafort) lost and alone. Jake, (Svetozar Cvetkovic) a reclusive architect, finds her unconscious. He drives her to the nearest doctor, to discover that she’s suffering from post-traumatic amnesia. Intoxicated by the woman’s beauty, Jake claims to be her husband. He names her Kitty and takes her to his remote desert home to recuperate. As Kitty struggles to come to grips with who she is, Jake invents an elaborate life they can share – the life he has always yearned for. Little by little, Kitty begins to fall in love with him. But when shreds of her past begin to surface, Jake increasingly fears losing the love of his life. Director Dimitri de Clercq joins us to talk about the twisted story of love, perception, illusion and identity that is You Go To My Head.
About the filmmaker: Dimitri de Clercq, (Director, Producer, Screenwriter) Producer turned filmmaker, Dimitri de Clercq began his producing career working with directors Mathieu Kassovitz (Café au Lait), Alain Robbe-Grillet (The Blue Villa) and Raúl Ruiz (The Golden Boat, Time Regained and Savage Souls). In 1993, he won an International Emmy Award for producing Ray Müller’s controversial documentary The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl. A native Belgian, de Clercq grew up in the Middle East before majoring in film direction and production at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. In 2002, he started his own production company, CRM-114, named in homage to maverick filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. De Clercq’s fascination with the desert led him to produce several award-winning films set in desolate environments, including Afghan writer-director Atiq Rahimi’s Earth and Ashes (2005) and Iraqi director Mohamed Al-Daradji’s Son of Babylon (2009). The sepia-hued, parched wilderness of the desert was also a key inspiration for You Go To My Head, de Clercq’s feature film directorial debut.
For small-town bar owner Hank (Jeremy Gardner), his 10-year relationship with Abby (Brea Grant) has been storybook-quality. Abby, however, wants more: marriage, to be exact, which Hank doesn’t seem ready to initiate anytime soon. As a result, she leaves him without so much as a note or any subsequent communication. Hank is crushed. Even worse, Abby’s departure seemingly triggers the arrival of an unseen monster that claws at Hank’s front door at night. As the nocturnal threat intensifies, Hank must figure out how to not only save his relationship, but also himself. Co-director Christian Stella (Jeremy Gardner) stops by to talk about the multi-layered film that is After Midnight (Something Else) and his creative cinematography that gives the film its lyrical power.
“Something Else promises monsters but delivers more demons of the human experience variety, as this sweet and sincere creature feature is far more romantically heartfelt than expected.” – Matt Donato, We Got This Covered
“Sublime and emotional, Something Else is one hell of a love story, a nightmarish monster movie, and an overall fantastical experience.” – Michelle Swope, Dread Central
“There’s an honesty in Something Else that makes this man against (his) monsters story one that’ll give you deep meaning, beautiful cinematography, and just the right amount of wtf.” – Kristy Strouse, Film Inquiry
“Jeremy Gardner and Christian Stella’s winsome tale of thirtysomething angst, romance and existential terror, is beautifully written and played.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
THE NEIGHBORS’ WINDOW tells the story of Alli (Maria Dizzia), a mother of young children who has grown frustrated with her daily routine and husband (Greg eller). But her life is shaken up when two free-spirited twenty-somethings move in across the street and she discovers that she can see into their apartment. Inspired by a true story, the film was written and directed by three-time Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker, Marshall curry. Starring tony-nominated Maria Dizzia (Orange is the New Black, 13 Reasons Why, White We’re Young); Greg Keller (Law and Order); and Juliana Canfield (Succession).
About the filmmaker: Marshall Curry is a three-time academy award nominated documentary director, cinematographer, and editor. his films cover a wide range of interests and include STREET FIGHT, about Cory Booker’s first run for mayor of Newark, N.J.; RACING DREAMS, which tells the story of two boys and a girl who dream of becoming NASAR drivers; IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT, which chronicles a radical environmental group; POINT AND SHOOT, about an American who leaves home to join the Libyan revolution; and A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN, about a Nazi rally that filled Madison Square Garden in 1939. his films have won top honors at Sundance and Tribeca, played in theaters and on television around the world, and earned two Emmy nominations and two Writers Guild of America nominations. curry also Executive produced and helped to edit MISTAKEN FOR STRANGERS, a comedy documentary about the indie rock band, the National.
Palm Springs Shorts Fest – Audience Award, Best Live Action Short
Traverse City Film Festival – Audience Award, Best Fiction Short
Rhode Island Film Festival – First Prize, Best Live Action Short
Woodstock Film Festival – Best Short Film
Port Townsend Film Festival – Jury Award, Best Narrative Short
Port Townsend Film Festival – Audience Award, Best Narrative Short
Santa Fe Film Festival – Audience Award, Best Narrative Short
Washington West Film Festival – Best Narrative Short
Washington West Film Festival – Best Short Film Director
Kinematic Shorts – Audience Award
Coronado Film Festival – Audience Award
Short Shorts Film Festival – Best International Actress, Maria Dizzia
Sulmona International Film Festival – Best Editing
Atlanta Shortsfest – Best Cinematography, Wolfgang Held
It all began when a group of cheerful, subversive filmmakers weren’t accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. Unwilling to take “no” for an answer, they instead started their own event – Slamdance: Anarchy in Utah. 26 years later, Slamdance has become a year-round organization fostering the development of unique and innovative filmmakers. The organization now consists of the Film Festival, Screenplay Competition and Slamdance Studios. It has also created Slamdance On The Road, a traveling theatrical showcase that brings popular Slamdance films to audiences that otherwise would not have the opportunity to see them. Dan Mirvish, Jon Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn and Peter Baxter are the founding forefathers who, along with co-conspirator Paul Rachman, fought for truly independent filmmakers by giving them a voice in 1995 at the very first Slamdance Film Festival. Since then, the festival takes place every January in the breathtakingly stunning, snow-capped mountains of Park City, Utah at the exact same time as the Sundance Film Festival, to provide a more authentic representation of independent filmmaking. Up-and-coming writers, directors and producers, alongside seasoned veterans and film lovers, converge for the weeklong celebration of independent cinema, realizing that Slamdance is a great place to find those next, great, visionary films. Slamdance lives and bleeds by its mantra By Filmmakers For Filmmakers. No other film festival in the world is entirely run and organized by the creative force that can only be found in filmmakers. Slamdance adamantly supports self-governance amongst independents, and exists to deliver what filmmakers go to festivals for – a chance to show their work and a platform to launch their careers. The festival has earned a solid reputation for premiering films by first-time writers and directors working within the creative confines of limited budgets. Co-founder and President Peter Baxter joins us to talk about this year’s Slamdance, the groundbreaking films and the innovative new distribution and digital initiatives being launched by Slamdance.
Set in a brilliantly recreated 1950s Rio de Janeiro, The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao revolves around two inseparable sisters, 18 and 20 years old, living restricted lives with their conservative parents. However, each nourishes a passionate dream: Eurídice of becoming a renowned pianist; Guida of finding true love. In a shocking turn of events, they are separated and forced to live apart. Karim Aïnouz’s first film, MADAME SATÃ, a Jean Genet-inspired story of 1930’s Rio’s drag demi-monde, premiered at Film Forum in 2003. INVISIBLE LIFE shares with it this director’s commitment to immersing himself in the emotional lives of his characters, visualized through rich, inventive, and lush imagery. Based on Martha Batalha’s popular novel The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão, the film won the Un Certain Regard prize at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. INVISIBLE LIFE is nominated for Best International Film at the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards and is Brazil’s official submission to the 2020 Academy Awards® for Best International Film. Director and co-screenwriter joins us to talk about his razor-sharp, wrenching story of patriarchy, fierce determination and love in a time and place where gender mattered more than family.
About the filmmaker:Karim Aïnouz was born in Fortaleza, Brazil in 1966. He studied architecture in Brasilia and film at New York University. He was assistant director to Todd Haynes, worked on over 20 films as an editor and has been directing his own films since 1992. In 2014 his film Praia do Futuro screened in the Berlinale Competition, and he was one of the directors of Cathedrals of Culture (also 2014). Selected filmography: Madame Satã (2002), Love for Sale (2006), The Silver Cliff (2011), Futuro Beach (2014), Central Airport THF (2017), The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão (2019).
**OFFICIAL BRAZILIAN OSCAR® ENTRY FOR BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE**
**WINNER – UN CERTAIN REGARD – CANNES FILM FESTIVAL 2019**
“RAVISHING. A waking dream, saturated in sound, music and color to match its depth of feeling. Aïnouz has made both a testament to the resilience of women in a society stacked against them…as well as a stirring celebration of the families we create when the ones we’reborn into fall away.” – Guy Lodge, Variety
“GORGEOUS. A haunting drama that quietly celebrates the resilience of women… by turns seductive and sorrowful, tender and raw.”– David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
“This is an absolutely gorgeous film that starts off as a sort of Rio fairytale and then turns into something a little more realistic with its feet on the ground.” – Amy Nicholson, FilmWeek
“It’s a drama of resilient women, thoughtless men and crushingly unrealized dreams, told with supple grace, deep feeling and an empathy that extends in every direction.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
What happened to Carolyn Harper? Part suburban nightmare, part neon-soaked teenage fever dream, this tantalizing mystery traces the wave of fear and distrust that spreads across a small Midwestern town in the wake of a high school girl’s mysterious disappearance. As the loneliness and darkness lurking beneath the veneer of everyday life gradually comes to light, a collective awakening seems to overcome the town’s teenage girls—gathering in force until it can no longer be contained. Unfolding in a hallucinatory haze of lushly surreal images, Knives and Skin is a one-of-a-kind coming-of-age noir that haunts like a half-remembered dream. Director / writer Jennifer Reeder joins us for a lively conversation on her heady melange of a film that bends multiple genres to its razor sharp will.
Director’s Statement:I tell stories about unruly women and the landscapes they transform. This is a story by a woman that proposes girlhood as a place of transcendence and transgression. I am committed to this voice and to producing unexpected narratives. I write scripts from actual experience and observation and my films are specific in mood and perspective. I am influenced by Ohio, where I grew up—all that sky and flatness. And even more so by the Midwestern people and their kind of everyday destructiveness and determination to cope. This awkward emotionality is evident in my films as scenes unfold like sticky flypaper and characters make one small mistake after another. –Jennifer Reeder
“An effervescent suburban noir rich with tragedy, rough around the edges, but sharp like the dagger when it counts.” – Matt Donato, Dread Central
“The film’s approach to narrative structure is both messy and strangely confident and alluring, poising Knives and Skin as a bold and complicated cross-genre anomaly, much like the women Reeder lovingly depicts.” – Chloe Leeson, Screen Queens
“At times fraught with anxiety, haunting in quiet horror, blackly comedic, and aching with with sorrow and love, Knives and Skin is many things and also defies easy categorization, as it puts forth a perspective that is multiple and complicated.” – Shelagh Rowan-Legg, ScreenAnarchy
Annabelle Attanasio makes her directorial debut with the critically-acclaimed feature MICKEY AND THE BEAR, starring Camila Morrone and James Badge Dale. Faced with the responsibility to take care of her opioid-addicted veteran father (Dale), headstrong teen Mickey Peck (Morrone) does what she can to keep her household afloat. When she receives the opportunity to leave her home for good, she must make the impossible decision between familial obligation and personal fulfillment. Mickey and the Bear is a heartbreaking, coming-of-age story that is anchored by remarkable performances from Morrone and Dale. It has a haunting ending that will stay with you long after the credits roll. MICKEY AND THE BEAR, made its world premiere at SXSW this year, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Award; the film was also selected for Cannes International Film Festival, Deauville Film Festival, the Montclair Film Festival, where Attanasio was recognized with the Audible Storyteller Award; and the Nantucket Film Festival, where she was recognized with the Adrienne Shelly Foundation Excellence in Filmmaking Award.Director and screenwriter Attanasio was selected for this year’s Film Society of Lincoln Center’s prestigious Artist Academy program pegged to the 57th New York Film Festival, which has historically nurtured some of the most celebrated filmmakers of our time. Director Annabelle Attanasio joins us to talk about her thrilling debut feature film.
“Every shot in Mickey and the Bear is artfully composed… The performances are also quite strong. Morrone is especially affecting as the put-upon Mickey…. James Badge Dale is potent as Hank. – Gary M. Kramer, Film International
“Camila Morrone and James Badge Dale’s powerful performances align wonderfully with introspective exploration in this beautifully tragic coming-of-age tale that will leave you dazed.” – Amanda Sink, The Hollywood Outsider
THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN reveals a beautifully intimate, real-time portrait that follows two Indigenous women from vastly different backgrounds whose worlds collide when one of them is fleeing a violent domestic attack.A love poem to women, THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN weaves a compellingly simple story around the complex themes of racialized female bodies, a country’s failure to support its most vulnerable youth, and the continuing effects of colonial violence. THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN is the newest acquisition from Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY Releasing. Founded in 2010 by Ava DuVernay, ARRAY is a film collective dedicated to the amplification of images by people of color and women directors. Now in its ninth year, ARRAY Releasing focuses on grassroots distribution of feature narrative and documentary work by varied voices. Co-directors / co-writers Elle Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn, as well as lead actor Violet Nelson joins us to talk about the different creative elements that went into the making of this heart-bending film on violence against women, class, privilege and the limitations of compassion.
Elle Máijá Tailfeathers, Co-Writer / Co-Director, is a filmmaker, writer, and actor based in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is Blackfoot from the Kainai First Nation (Blood Reserve) as well as Sámi from northern Norway. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of British Columbia in Indigenous Studies with a Minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN is her debut narrative feature. Tailfeathers was the 2018 Sundance Institute Merata Mita Film Fellow and is an alumni of the Berlinale Talent Lab, the Hot Docs Accelerator Lab, the CFC/NFB/Ford Foundation Open Immersion Virtual Reality Lab, the Whistler Film Festival Aboriginal Film Fellowship, and the International Sámi Film Institute Indigenous Film Fellowship. Her short documentary, Bihttoš, was included in the TIFF Top Ten Canadian Shorts and was also nominated for a Canadian Screen Award and a Leo Award for Best Short Documentary.
Kathleen Hepburn, Co-Writer / Co-Director, is a Vancouver born writer and director whose debut feature, NEVER STEADY, NEVER STILL, which Variety Magazine calls a “stoically broken hearted debut,” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017 and was awarded Best Canadian Film and Best Director by the Vancouver Film Critics Circle, as well as Special Jury Prize at the Dublin International Film Festival. It went on to be nominated for eight Canadian Screen Academy Awards including Best Picture. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing, and a BFA in Film Production from the Universities of Guelph and Simon Fraser respectively. THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN is her sophomore feature, co-written and co-directed by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers.
“Intricate and impactful… a world-affirming work.” Sarah-Tai Black, Globe and Mail
“What Tailfeathers and Hepburn have shared… is a practice of filmmaking that grapples with these exact intricacies of embodiment and acknowledges them as wholly inextricable from Indigenous presents and futures.” – Sarah-Tai Black, Globe and Mail
“As poetic as its title, The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open cannot be understated for its power and must not be erased from the conversation.” – Aaron Berry, Film Inquiry
“Stands alongside many recent social realism dramas by the likes of Andrea Arnold and Lynne Ramsay … these performances will hit you like a punch to the gut.” Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Screen Anarchy
Winner of the Grand Prix at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, ATLANTICS marks the feature narrative debut of director Mati Diop. Along the Atlantic coast of Africa, a soon-to-be-inaugurated futuristic tower looms over a suburb of Dakar. Ada, 17, is in love with Souleimane, a young construction worker. But she has been promised to another man. One night, Souleimane and his co-workers disappear at sea. Soon after, they come back to haunt their old neighbourhood by taking possession of the girlfriends they left behind. Some of the workers have come claiming revenge and threaten to burn the tower down if the developer does not pay their wages. But Souleiman has come back for Ada, so they can be together one last time. Director and writer Mati Diop joins us for a conversation on her compelling new film, finding love, and the mythology of a ghost story.
About the filmmaker: Trained in Le Fresnoy (National Studio of Contemporary Arts – a leading and very selective French artistic institution), Mati Diop directed four shorts and a medium-length film which received the “Martin E. Segal – Emerging Artist Award” of the Lincoln Center (USA) in 2016. A THOUSAND SUNS (2013), BIG IN VIETNAM (2011), SNOW CANON (2010) and ATLANTIQUES (2009) were selected and awarded in a wide number of international festivals such as the Venice International Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Rotterdam International Film Festival, the Viennale, The Indie Lisboa International Film Festival, and the FID Marseille. They were also programmed in the MoMA and in the Moving Image Museum (USA). As an actress, Mati Diop played in HERMIA Y HELENA by director Matias Piñeiro (2015), FORT BUCHANAN by Benjamin Crotty (2014), SIMON KILLER by Antonio Campos (2012) and 35 SHOTS OF RHUM by Claire Denis (2008).
Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival 2019
Official Selection, New York Film Festival 2019
Mati Diop, Mary Pickford Award Winner, Toronto InternationalFilm Festival 2019
“This shape-shifting Senegalese drama is pure cinematic poetry. Slipping in and out of modes with a magician’s confidence, Atlantics is mysterious and mythic, with a wizardly use of sound and some unforgettable images.” – ★★★★★ The Telegraph – Tim Robey
“A striking work, with a lyrical, richly evocative ghost story. Exquisitely shot by Claire Mathon and lushly scored by Fatima Al Qadiri, the film pulls together some exceedingly strong components.”– The Hollywood Reporter – Leslie Felperin
“Constantly intriguing, Atlantics is an intense romance notable for the craft of the filmmaking and Diop’s original approach to complex issues of love, loss and the forces for change that can rise from the ashes of tragedy.” – Screen International – Allan Hunter
“A gorgeous, mesmerizing feature directorial debut. Atlantics is an absorbing, otherworldly vision of an alienated seaside life in Dakar.” – IndieWire – Eric Kohn
“A romantic and melancholy film, part social commentary, part ghost tale, that works best in its evocation of loss and female solidarity.” – Variety – Jay Weissberg
QUEEN OF HEARTS tells the story of Anne, a brilliant and dedicated lawyer specializing in children and young adults, living what appears to be the picture perfect life with her doctor-husband, Peter, and their twin daughters. When her estranged teenage stepson, Gustav, moves in with them, Anne’s escalating desire leads her down a dangerous rabbit hole which, once exposed, unleashes a sequence of events that threatens to destroy her world. Denmark’s official entry for the 2019 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, QUEEN OF HEARTS explores the making of a tragic family secret step by step, as the consequences of hubris, lust and lies conspire to create an unimaginable dilemma. With bold and astonishing vision, co-writer/director May el-Toukhy masterfully builds Anne’s world, seducing the viewer into complicity before maneuvering her protagonist onto an unsettling and shocking path. Trine Dyrholm, one of Denmark’s finest dramatic actresses, skillfully inhabits the complicated Anne. In a finely calibrated performance, Dyrholm humanizes Anne’s contradictions and unpredictable behavior, creating an even more disconcerting character. A riveting and provocative film, QUEEN OF HEARTS is a portrait of a woman who manages to lose everything and nothing at the same time. Director and co-screenwriter May el-Toukhy joins us for a lively conversation on her shattering tale of power, family andself-preservation.
“Shot in icy blues and whites and among the hard edges of a modernist home, there’s nothing very comfortable about this environment; el-Toukhy doesn’t want us to get cosy.” – Alex Heeney, Seventh Row
“Queen of Hearts is certainly not a comfortable watch, let alone a pleasant one. But it is a fearless, important film whose impact explodes primarily out of the core collaboration between its masterful director and her main actor.” – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, AWFJ Women on Film
“A challenging sit, especially when Anne’s actions shift from ethically bankrupt to outright despicable, making her one of the most complicated female villains of recent memory.” – Tomris Laffly, RogerEbert.com
“Dyrholm, who remains one of Denmark’s most accomplished contemporary performers, adds another signature performance to her filmography as Anne, a good person who, like everyone, has the capability of doing terrible things.” – Nicholas Bell, IONCINEMA.com
At the turn of the 1900’s, two years after a quiet murder involving an out-of-town stage actor and a local doctor’s daughter, an esteemed Opera House welcomes a progressive Vaudevillian troupe from the East for its first performances since the tragedy; and along with it, a veiled actress with a curious intent. With tensions still thick surrounding past events, this mysterious performer discovers she isn’t the only one seeking revenge: someone or something has been “haunting” the assailant already. When the two conspirers uncover each other’s secrets, they decide their dual efforts will be more successful in subduing their enemy. THE RIOT ACT is a multi-award winning independent film that deftly immerses audiences in a layered tale of a caste system on the brink of violence where humanity and love are expendable in the eyes of society in the early 1900’s. Following a wildly successful festival and theatrical run, the film will be available to audiences everywhere on October 8th, 2019. The feature film directorial debut from auteur writer / director Devon Parks (Step Into: Miss Laura’s, The Help), THE RIOT ACT stars Lauren Sweetser (True Detective, Winter’s Bone), Brett Cullen (Joker, 42, Dark Knight Rises), Connor Price (Cinderella Man), Micah Hauptman (Homeland, Rust Creek), Brandon Keener (Traffic, The Purge: Anarchy) and Travis Joe Dixon (NCIS, Blackish). Director and writer Devon Parks joins us to talk about his intriguing mystery period piece, the he orchestrates from a very talented group of actors.
“While there are a few narrative implausibilities, they never derail the story, and while the story takes on a bit more thematically then it can ultimately deliver, it is generally preferable that a film’s reach exceeds its grasp.” – Dan Jardine, Cinemania
“A troupe that claims to offer “high-end vaudeville” arrives, not only to seriously heat up plot possibilities, but prove that Parks might have a real future at the movies.” – John Urbancich, Your Movies (cleveland.com)
MONOS, Alejandro Landes’ awe-inspiring third feature, is a breathtaking survivalist saga set on a remote mountain in Latin America. The film tracks a young group of soldiers and rebels — bearing names like Rambo, Smurf, Bigfoot, Wolf and Boom-Boom — who keep watch over an American hostage, Doctora (Julianne Nicholson). The teenage commandos perform military training exercises by day and indulge in youthful hedonism by night, an unconventional family bound together under a shadowy force known only as The Organization. After an ambush drives the squadron into the jungle, both the mission and the intricate bonds between the group begin to disintegrate. Order descends into chaos and within MONOS the strong begin to prey on the weak in this vivid, cautionary fever- dream. With a rapturous score by Mica Levi (only her third, after UNDER THE SKIN and JACKIE), director Alejandro Landes examines the chaos and absurdity of war from the unique perspective of adolescence, recalling LORD OF THE FLIES and BEAU TRAVAIL in a way that feels wholly original. Landes brings together a diverse young cast of both seasoned professionals (including Hannah Montana’s Moisés Arias) and untrained neophytes and thrusts them into an unforgiving, irrational and often surreal environment where anything can happen — even peace. Director Alejandro Landes talks about the grueling production challenges of shooting in a jungle, working with a young cast and how his collaboration with screenwriter Alexis Dos Santos and composer Mica Levi helped to create an intense, high-wire cinematic journey.
CARTAGENA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL – Audience Award BUENOS AIRES FILM FESTIVAL – Best Original Score SLOVAKIA ART FILM FEST – Blue Angel – Best Film NEWPORT BEACH FILM FESTIVAL– Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Actress
MONTCLAIR FILM FESTIVAL – Best Fiction Feature
TRANSILVANIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL – Transilvania Trophy Best Film ODESA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL – Best Director
“There’s a bicep-flexing quality to Landes’s direction, with its bursts of colour and chaos, its conjuration of a surreal experience out of tactile reality. You tumble out of it bruised, bewildered, mesmerised.” – Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph (UK)
On the outskirts of Birmingham and the margins of society the Billingham family perform extreme rituals and break social taboos as they muddle through a life decided by factors beyond their control. At times shocking and laced with an unsettling humour, three episodes unfold as a powerful evocation of the experience of growing up in a Black Country council flat. Director Richard Billingham joins us for a conversation on his raw, intimate, biographical tale of dysfunctional family and fractured memories.
About the filmmaker Richard Billingham:In 1997 he was the first recipient of the Deutsche Borse Photography Prize and the following year BBC2 broadcast his film Fishtank, (47mins) produced by Artangel and filmmaker Adam Curtis. He exhibited at the Venice Biennale 2001 and was nominated for the Turner Prize, also 2001. He has made work about his immediate family, about animals in zoos around the world and about the British landscape. Recently he has written and directed his first feature film for cinema called ‘Ray & Liz’, shot on location in the Midlands where he grew up. His work is held in many collections including San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum, New York, V & A and Tate Galleries, London.
“Performed with absolute commitment by its cast (Justin Salinger and Ella Smith play the younger versions of the title characters), “Ray & Liz” is a quietly harrowing movie.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times
“Reaching backwards to understand the hardship of his formative years, [Richard] Billingham finds clarity and cinematic grace by reconciling the deep, irreparable flaws of his mother and father.” – Rhys Handley, One Room With A View
“We often say art “cuts close to the bone,” but in its depiction of clinking liquor bottles and drawers of unopened rent notices soaked in dog urine, Ray & Liz slices clean through that bone.” – Andrew Lapin, NPR
A rainy night. A dazed and numb young cabdriver, Luz, drags herself into the brightly lit entrance of a rundown police station. Across town in a nightspot, Nora seductively engages police psychiatrist Dr. Rossini in a conversation. Nora is possessed by a demonic entity, longing for the woman it loves – Luz. She tells the Doctor about her old schoolmate Luz’s rebellious past at a Chilean school for girls. Increasingly drunk on her story, Rossini turns into an easy prey in Nora’s hands, but he’s soon called away to the police station to examine Luz. Supervised by his colleagues, the doctor puts Luz in a state of hypnosis that initiates a series of flashbacks, unfolding the events leading to her arrival. But the entity that has taken control of the doctor wants something more. Bit by bit it slips into Luz’ reenactment and makes old memories come to light. Shooting entirely on 16mm, first time feature film director Tilman Singer pays homage to horror masters David Cronenberg, Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci, while infusing the genre with a fresh take of his own.Director Tilman Singer stops by to talk about his mind-bending, trip through a fevered tale of “demonic” possession, ruptured identity and menacing dread.
”LUZ is a story about identity, a lack of one, or maybe even denying one’s own. For the most part this is told by forces (archetypal characters, institutions, or personifications of moral arguments) influencing and manipulating our titular character Luz. I structured the narrative as a panic attack, of repressed memories and confusion. It is purposely open to interpretation by the viewer.LUZ is a sensuous thriller that plays with the sensory perception of the audience. Initially, I wanted to write a simple story that could only be told audio-visually. How we ended up telling it cinematically, nested within diegetic flashbacks, got a little more complicated. For example, we use an additional layer of sound that adds a past reality to a present one. Given that we are observing a moment relived under hypnosis,the credibility of both realities is questioned at all times. The viewer who attempts to answer this question of credibility has to, with sharpened senses, fully engage in image and sound.”
“Working with very little resources, (writer/director) Singer creates a wholly unique story of possession, obsession, loneliness, manipulation, and ultimately self-destruction that is incredibly ambitious and impressively executed.” – Rob Dean, Daily Grindhouse
“Though there’s a split in audiences around what constitutes horror … the one thing that’s agreed upon is that the genre seeks to unsettle and provoke. In this regard, Singer’s Luz is an undeniable triumph.” – Douglas Davidson, Elements of Madness
After he’s attacked on the street at night by a roving motorcycle gang, timid bookkeeper Casey (Jesse Eisenberg) joins a neighborhood karate studio to learn how to protect himself. Under the watchful eye of a charismatic instructor, Sensei (Alessandro Nivola), and hardcore brown belt Anna (Imogen Poots), Casey gains a newfound sense of confidence for the first time in his life. But when he attends Sensei’s mysterious night classes, he discovers a sinister world of fraternity, brutality and hyper-masculinity, presenting a journey that places him squarely in the sights of his enigmatic new mentor. Audacious and offbeat, The Art of Self-Defense is an original dark comedy that takes toxic masculinity to absurd extremes. Director Riley Stearns joins us for a lively conversation on this wildly inventive, surreal black comedy.
“The Art of Self-Defense manages to clarify the filmmaker’s intriguing vision by stuffing it into a remarkably unnerving character study.” – Eric Kohn, indieWire
“”The Art of Self-Defense” may be presented as an absurdist satire, but like the best American comedies… it doubles as a keen critique of our national character.” – Peter Debruge, Variety
“’Fight Club’ by way of Yorgos Lanthimos, Riley Stearns’ screed on “might is right” toxic masculinity is a giggly black comedy that cowers down a twisty-turny rabbit hole.” – Matt Oakes, Silver Screen Riot
Money, power, politics, drugs, scandal, and fast cars. The incredible story of John DeLorean is the stuff of a Hollywood screenwriter’s dreams. But who was the real John DeLorean? To some, he was a renegade visionary who revolutionized the automobile industry. To others, he was the ultimate con man. For the first time, Framing John DeLoreanrecounts the extraordinary life and legend of the controversial automaker, tracing his meteoric rise through the ranks of General Motors, his obsessive quest to build a sports car that would conquer the world, and his shocking fall from grace on charges of cocaine trafficking. Interweaving a treasure trove of archival footage with dramatic vignettes starring Alec Baldwin,Framing John DeLoreanis a gripping look at a man who gambled everything in his pursuit of the American Dream. Co-directors Don Argott (The Art of the Steal) and Sheena M. Joyce (The Atomic States of America) talk about the complex, brilliant and driven man behind the salacious headlines and explore with us just how far was he willing to go to realize his dreams.
“A smart, hook-filled blend of documentary and fictionalized re-enactments…” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times
“Framing John DeLorean deftly tells the bigger-than-life tale of one man’s bold quest to build a timeless sports car.” – Ryan McCaffrey, IGN Movies
“Most compelling of all are the interviews with the two people who come closest to answering, or at least addressing, the question that overwhelms this entire project: DeLorean’s daughter Kathryn and son Zach.” – ElizabethWeltzman, The Wrap
“Framing John DeLorean is an entertaining, high wire filmmaking experiment that does well by the controversial visionary at its centre.” – Andrew Parker, The Gate
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.
BODY AT BRIGHTON ROCK is a psychological thriller about a part time summer employee, Wendy, (Karina Fontes) at a mountainous state park, takes on a rough trail assignment at the end of the season, trying to prove to her friends that she’s capable enough to do the job. When she takes a wrong turn and ends up deep in the backcountry, she stumbles upon what might be a potential crime scene. Stuck with no communication after losing her radio and with orders to guard the site, Wendy must fight the urge to run and do the harder job of staying put — spending the night deep in the wilderness, facing down her worst fears and proving to everyone – including herself – that she’s made of stronger stuff than they think she is. Director and writer Roxanne Benjamin made her directorial debut in the anthology SOUTHBOUND, which world premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. She was last in the director’s chair for “Don’t Fall”, part of Magnolia Pictures’ all-women-helmed horror anthology XX, which premiered at Sundance in the Midnight section last year. Director Roxanne Benjamin stops by to talk about her slow-burn thriller and the challenges of a wilderness shoot.