Friday, September 13 – Monos, Director Alejandro Landes

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.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: monos-film.com

Social Media:

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#Monos

SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL – Special Jury Award
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

 

“A wild, anarchic film, which rips civilization apart at the seams to examine the messy darkness inside.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service

“Something between Apocalypse Now, Lord of the Flies and Embrace of the Serpent.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

“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)

“Though “Monos” feels very contemporary aesthetically, its subjects are timeless.” – Joe Blessing, The Playlist

“A monumentally cinematic experience of lush wilderness and raw emotions.” – Tomris Laffly, RogerEbert.com

Ray & Liz, Director Richard Billingham

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.

 

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

“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

“All hail an instant classic.” – Charlotte O’Sullivan, London Evening Standard

“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

LUZ, Director Tilman Singer

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.

Director’s Statement:

”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.”

 

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For news and updates go to: yellowveilpictures.com/luz

Social Media:

twitter.com/tilmansinger

“Equal measures demonic-possession thriller, experiment in formalist rigor, and flummoxing narrative puzzle-box.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“A refreshing take on demonic possession in which the usual fright-flick cliches are nowhere to be found.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

“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

The Art of Self-Defense, Director Riley Stearns

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.

 

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For news and updates go to: bleeckerstreetmedia.com/theartofselfdefense

For screening info go to: theartofselfdefense-tickets.com

Social Media:

facebook.com/artofselfdefensemovie

twitter.com/The Art of Self Defense

instagram.com/taosdfilm

“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

“It emerges as a strong early contender for best film of the year.” – Bobby LePire, Film Threat

“The Art of Self-Defense is not only a must-see, it’s an easy contender for the best film of the year so far.” – Kevin L. Lee, Film Inquiry

Framing John DeLorean, Co-Directors Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce

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 DeLorean recounts 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 DeLorean is 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.

 

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For news and updates go to: ifcfilms.com/films/framing-john-delorean

“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

20th Anniversary of Newport Beach Film Festival, CEO and Co-founder Gregg Schwenk

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.

For news, updates and film schedules go to: newportbeachfilmfest.com

For more on the OC FIlm Society go to: newportbeachfilmfest.com/ocfs

Body at Brighton Rock, Director Roxanne Benjamin

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.

 

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For news and updates go to: bodyatbrightonrock.com

Social Media:

facebook.com/BodyatBrightonRock

twitter.com/BodyatRockFilm

instagram.com/bodyatbrightonrock

“Deftly employing the power of suggestion and an emotionally potent sound design, “Body at Brighton Rock” is a well-crafted thriller with some crafty tricks up its sleeve.” – Joe Leydon, Variety

“Body at Brighton Rock shifts from being a fun and colorful throwback to something a little darker and deeper.” – Meredith Borders, Slashfilm

“Relating to Wendy, and to her terror, is easy, and immediate, and lets the movie hook its claws into the viewer with jolting urgency.” – Andy Crump, Paste Magazine

“Anchored by a star-making lead turn and sporting superb sound design, Body At Brighton Rock is a bloody good time.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat