As the world searches for a cure to a disastrous virus, a scientist (Joel Fry) and park scout (Ellora Torchia) venture deep in the forest for a routine equipment run. Through the night, their journey becomes a terrifying voyage through the heart of darkness, the forest coming to life around them as nature becomes a force of evil, Director, writer and editor Ben Wheatley (Down Terrace, Kill List, Fields of England) joins us for a conversation on his endlessly compelling pandemic folk tale that is begins with a walk in the woods that drops us into subversively horrifying landscape of screeching trees and bone-crushing vibrations. Golden Globe nominee composer Clint Mansell (The Fountain, Requiem for a Dream, Moon) provides a stunningly propulsive soundtrack to the film.
“It’s damn terrifying, trippy, thoughtfully imaginative in sound design and visual tricks to convey communicating with nature, and packs a savage kick of relatively insane individuals and body horror” – Robert Kojder, Flickering Myth
“The biggest success, however, is the balance of psychedelic mysticism and heady science that are melded with toe-curling scenes of gore and suspense.” – Norman Gidney, Film Threat
“Wheatley is firing on all cylinders with his stripped-down approach to massive topics. An assault on the senses that’s bigger than any blockbuster.” – Kyle Anderson, Nerdist
“In the Earth reminds us that there’s so much more still to fear in the invisible darkness of the natural world — things that our little animal brains can barely grok in all of its terrible splendor.” – Nick Johnston, Vanyaland
“Wheatley and his collaborators have produced something that some of us thought would be impossible: an outrageously entertaining film that feels utterly rooted in the bleak era in which it was made.” – Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph (UK)
“This is the work of someone who’s always been more in his element when making something out of nothing, and that energy is especially well-served to a story about the fundamental human impulse to do the same.” – David Ehrlich, indieWire
In the unnerving and creeping panic that is LUCKY, life takes a sudden turn for May, a popular self-help book author, when she finds herself the target of a mysterious man with murderous intentions. Every night, without fail he comes after her, and every day the people around her barely seem to notice. With no one to turn to, May is pushed to her limits and must take matters into her own hands to survive and to regain control of her life. The sophomore feature from Iranian-American filmmaker Natasha Kermani (Imitation Girl), Lucky is written and starring Brea Grant, star of the indie darling AFTER MIDNIGHT and writer/director of the critically acclaimed dark comedy 12 HOUR SHHIFT Home invasion horror by way of a time loop mystery, LUCKY is a uniquely nightmarish, darkly funny, and timely slasher, and a thrilling addition to the Final Girl genre. Brea Grant stars alongside Dhruv Uday Singh(Good Trouble) and Kausar Mohammed (East of La Brea, What Men Want). Director Natasha Kermani and screenwriter / lead actor Brea Grant join us to talk about how they brought life to their feminist allegory on how relentless cultural and psychological duress undermines women and why injecting their perspective into a horror genre helps them deliver the appropriate mix of fear and reflection.
About the filmmaker – Director Natasha Kermani is a writer and director in LA/NY, and the co-founder of Illium Pictures. Natasha’s credits includes science-fiction feature film Imitation Girl (FrightFest ‘17), starring Lauren Ashley Carter. Short form work includes Lewis Black’s web series The Mentors (for which she won Best Director at the NYC Web Fest), the very first live-action short film of beloved manga series, Battle Angel Alita, and the short film POLE, the first film to be funded entirely on twitch.tv. Kermani has directed a variety of commercial content for clients including NYDJ, Thinx, Microsoft, and ThirdLove. Outside film and television, Natasha is a violinist and composer who enjoys playing live shows with local bands and ensembles. Natasha’s Iranian-American heritage, her interest in female-led stories, and her love for genre- filmmaking all converge in her work — a lyrical exploration of how we experience the world around us.
About the filmmaker – Writer and Lead Actor Brea Grant’s first television acting job was on Friday Night Lights. She is best known for her role as Daphne Millbrook on Heroes. Other TV credits include the series, Cold Case. She has starred in several films, including Battle Planet and Homecoming. She directed and starred in a post-apocalyptic film called Best Friends Forever. She also created a comic book miniseries called We Will Bury You with her brother Zane Grant and artist Kyle Strahm. She continued with the SuicideGirls comic miniseries, based on the pin-up web site of the same name.
“Lucky has something to say, and Grant has thought very deeply about the subjects of violence against women and trauma, as well as gender-based assumptions about these things.” – Sheila O’Malley, RogerEbert.com
“If you know someone who doesn’t quite grasp the emotional terrorism behind concepts like gaslighting and victim-blaming, sit them down with Lucky.” – Katie Rife, AV Club
“Harrowing experiences are revealed through disorienting sequences heightened by sleek cinematography from Julia Swain and a powerful lead performance from Grant.” – Katherine McLaughlin, Through the Trees
“A gutsy, kick-ass performance from Brea Grant combines with intricately thoughtful directing by Kermani to create a refreshingly modern spin on the tormented female story.” – Kat Hughes, THN
THE VIGIL, the debut feature film debut of writer and director Keith Thomas is theaccomplished and chilling tale steeped in ancient Jewish lore and demonology. THE VIGIL is supernatural horror film set over the course of a single evening in Brooklyn’s Hasidic Borough Park neighborhood. Low on funds and having recently left his insular religious community, Yakov (Dave Davis) reluctantly accepts an offer from his former rabbi and confidante (Menashe Lustig) to take on the responsibility of an overnight “shomer,” fulfilling the Jewish practice of watching over the body of a deceased community member. Shortly after arriving at the recently departed’s dilapidated house to sit the vigil, Yakov begins to realize that something is very, very wrong. Director Keith Thomas joins us for a conversation on informing his horror film in the iconography and literature of ancient Jewish traditions, finding a perfect location and the importance of finding a lead actor who could embody Yakov’s vulnerabilities and strengths.
Director’s Statement – “When I sat down to write the very first draft of THE VIGIL, I knew I wanted to tell a personal story that felt universal. The movie would be very contained and the stakes would, at first glance, seem small – one man, one ritual, and one struggle with a threatening force. But the stories I gravitate towards, the stories I like to tell, are rooted in tangible human experience. One person’s struggle can take on a mythic quality that resonates far more than stories about countries or even worlds at war. All of us have suffered “dark nights of the soul” (likely several times over during the upheaval of the past year) and most of us emerge from those lean and often frightening hours changed – generally for the better but sometimes for the worse. If you’ve come to the movie for a thrill, I hope you enjoy it and it troubles your sleep. If you’ve come to it for a glimpse into a cloistered world few secular people know, I’ll assure you that it is authentic. Regardless of the reason you’re watching THE VIGIL, I hope you find something in our little story that haunts you, that burrows like a splinter in your consciousness and leaves you thinking. Even if it’s just for a few heartbeats.” – Keith Thomas
“The Vigil is proof that bible-thumping priests and haunted converts can’t have all the spooky fun. The filmmaking maintains its gripping spell all the way through; A remarkable showcase for Dave Davis, who commands every scene.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire
“Get out your tallit, your tefillin and your terrifying visions of a diabolical entity because The Exorcist is coming to Borough Park. A devilish, and very Yiddish, bone-crunching chiller.” – Jordan Mintzner, The Hollywood Reporter
“Cultural context adds to an effectively creepy chiller. Anything might be (and usually is) hiding in the shadows. Davis is excellent.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety
“view[ing] Jewish history and identity through the prism of genre, The Vigil dramatizes the processes by which myth and memory sustain trauma down the generations” – Anton Bitel, Sight and Sound
“Featuring strong performances and excellent effects work, The Vigil is a genuinely creepy debut which explores the ways in which our psychological demons can get their claws into our entire lives.” – Nikki Baughan, Empire Magazine
LITTLE FISH, the fourth feature film from director Chad Hartigan, is a romance set in a near-future Seattle teetering on the brink of calamity. The film imagines a world where a pandemic has broken out, that strikes with no rhyme or reason, and causes its victims to lose their memories. This is the world that newlyweds Emma and Jude find themselves in, not long after meeting and falling in love. When Jude contracts the disease, the young couple will do anything to hold onto the memory of their love. Starring Olivia Cooke (Sound of Metal, Thoroughbreds) as Emma, Jack O’Connell (’71, Starred Up) as Jude, Soko and Raul Castillo, LITTLE FISH, opens in the midst of a global epidemic: Neuroinflammatory Affliction, a severe and rapid Alzheimer’s-like condition in which people’s memories disappear. Couple Jude Williams and Emma Ryerson are grappling with the realities of NIA, interspersed with glimpses from the past as the two meet and their relationship blooms. But as NIA’s grip on society tightens, blurring the lines between the past and the present, it becomes more and more difficult to know what’s true and what’s false. Director Chad Hartigan (Morris From America, This is Martin Bonner) joins us for a conversation on the making of hissubversively sly sci-fi / love story and how the on-screen artistry of the two lead actors helped shape this prescient tale of love in an age of isolation and mistrust.
About the filmmaker – Writer/director Chad Hartigan is best known for his award-winning feature films THIS IS MARTIN BONNER and MORRIS FROM AMERICA. Hartigan won the John Cassavetes Award at the 2014 Independent Spirit Awards, as well as the “Best of NEXT” Audience Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, for THIS IS MARTIN BONNER. Hartigan won the Waldo Scott Screenwriter Award at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival for his film MORRIS FROM AMERICA. LITTLE FISH marks the third collaboration between childhood friends Hartigan, composer Keegan Dewitt (HEARTS BEAT LOUD) and cinematographer Sean McElwee (THE INCREDIBLE JESSICA JAMES). Based on Aja Gabel’s short story, the film is written by up and coming screenwriter Mattson Tomlin who co-wrote the latest Batman film, THE BATMAN, and wrote the Netflix hit PROJECT POWER.
“In the midst of a flurry of pandemic-themed media coming out which tries to reflect the [present] situation, LITTLE FISH manages to distinguish itself from the crowd with its brilliant leads and emotional resonance.” – Oluwatayo Adewole, The Spool
“The result is better than smart, it’s stirring. With the NIA pandemic as a pretext, the essential subject becomes memory — its fragility, its wondrousness, its centrality to our existence as sentient beings.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
“Hartigan’s moody evocation of Emma and Jack’s love – and the way in which it, like so much else, is predicated on knowledge of the past – casts a moving spell.” – Nick Schager, Variety
“Chad Hartigan’s Little Fish drips with equal doses of beauty and poignancy – an affecting dive into love and memory, and how it defines who we are.” – Natasha Alvar, Cultured Vultures
How to take the World’s Fair Challenge: Say the words “I want to go to the World’s Fair. I want to go to the World’s Fair. I want to go to the World’s Fair.” into your computer camera. Prick your finger, draw some blood and smear it on the screen. Now press play on the video. They say that once you’ve seen it, the changes begin…In a small town, a shy and isolated teenage girl (Anna Cobb in a stunning feature debut) becomes immersed in an online role-playing game. Late on a cold night somewhere in America, teenage Casey sits alone in her attic bedroom, scrolling the internet under the glow-in-the-dark stars and black-light posters that blanket the ceiling. She has finally decided to take the World’s Fair Challenge, an online role-playing horror game, and embrace the uncertainty it promises. After the initiation, she documents the changes that may or may not be happening to her, adding her experiences to the shuffle of online clips available for the world to see. As she begins to lose herself between dream and reality, a mysterious figure reaches out, claiming to see something special in her uploads. Director Jane Schoenbrun and lead actor Anna Cobb join us for a conversation on the making of this jarring, mind bending and strangely empowering tale of a young woman determined to challenge boundaries.
About the filmmaker – Jane Schoenbrun is a non-binary filmmaker who co-created ongoing touring variety series “The Eyeslicer,” which has screened in hundreds of venues across the world, including MoMA, the Tribeca Film Festival, and Kansas City’s oldest porn theater. In 2018, they created the Radical Film Fair, a film flea market and mentorship event that drew thousands of attendees. Schoenbrun is the director of feature documentary “A Self-Induced Hallucination,” producer on Aaron Schimberg’s “Chained for Life” an EP on season one of Terence Nance’s “Random Acts of Flyness,” and creator of the omnibus “dream film” “collective:unconscious. “We’re All Going to the World’s Fair” is premiering at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival
“Schoenbrun’s debut is one of the only American films that really excited me, in both ideas and film form, at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.” – Orla Smith, Seventh Row
“None of the formal inventiveness would work if it wasn’t grounded by a real person at its center. This may be her first feature, but [Anna Cobb] brings an immense amount of nuance to each moment.” – Drew Gregory, Autostraddle
“It’s a strong debut for both Schoenbrun and Cobb, capturing a profound sense of contemporary adolescent loneliness that many artists have tried (and failed) to portray on screen.” – Hannah Woodhead, Little White Lies
“This is a film of great and grand expression, transforming and challenging our own ideas and beliefs of art, of ourselves, and of others.” – Bill Arceneaux, Of Those Who
“Cobb and Michael J. Rogers both deliver haunting performances here. Cobb introduces enough vulnerability in the beginning to make her slow transformation into someone almost unrecognizable all the more terrifying.” – Alysha Prasad, One Room With A View
A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX ask the question, what if we are living in a simulation, andthe world as we know it is not real? To tackle this mind-bending idea, acclaimed filmmaker Rodney Ascher (ROOM 237, THE NIGHTMARE) uses a noted speech from Philip K. Dick to dive down the rabbit hole of science, philosophy, and conspiracy theory. Leaving no stone unturned in exploring the unprovable, the film uses contemporary cultural touchstones like THE MATRIX, interviews with real people shrouded in digital avatars, and a wide array of voices, expert and amateur alike. If simulation theory is not science fiction but fact, and life is a video game being played by some unknowable entity, then who are we, really? A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX attempts to find out. The film introduces us to a handful of real-world testifiers who are certain that their bodies and minds are being operated by some external game-player. Ascher, as ever an inviting, curious questioner (never one who mocks), brings a wealth of cultural and intellectual context to his latest exploration, from the videotaped musings of paranoid sci-fi giant Philip K. Dick to clips of Keanu Reeves in The Matrix and a host of bespoke animated re-creations that give eerie credence to the most outré of notions. Director Rodney Ascher joins us to talk about his paranoia-inducing, exhilarating and definitive introduction to a subject that, subscribe to it or not, involves us all.
About the filmmaker – RODNEY ASCHER (Director, Editor, and Executive Producer) RODNEY ASCHER is a filmmaker known for creating documentaries that explore the subjective experience, freely appropriating the vocabularies of genre, experimental, and found-footage films along the way. His first feature, 2012’s ROOM 237 looked at The Shining through the eyes of five very different people. He visualized their wildly different interpretations of Kubrick’s classic by juxtaposing excerpts of the film with everything from Murnau’s Faust to the cover of the January 1978 issue of Playgirl magazine creating a trip down the rabbit hole. His follow up, THE NIGHTMARE was called “The Scariest Movie of the decade.” Creatively, the film completely changed tactics from Room 237’s archival-driven montage. To visualize real people’s seemingly supernatural experiences during bouts of ‘sleep paralysis’ his team filmed interviews at night in the subjects’ own bedrooms and created stylized re-enactments inspired by the interviewees’ drawings and his own personal memories of a visitation by a ‘shadowman.’ Like Room 237, it premiered at Sundance before traveling around the world including an Imax screening in Moscow. A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX is his most ambitious film yet, using multiple styles of 3D animation to illustrate the experiences and philosophies of people who suspect the world itself is not quite real.
“A Glitch in the Matrix becomes not about whether we’re living in a simulation but about the many understandable reasons someone may think this. In effect, it winds up being about the mysteries of the human experience.” – Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine/Vulture
“’A Glitch in the Matrix’ goes for the head by way of the heart, or maybe vice versa. Superb and startling, breathtaking and compassionate.” – Bill Arceneaux, Of Those Who
“A compellingly out-there look at the possibility that we’re all avatars in a game we can’t comprehend.” – Nick Schager, The Daily Beast
“Ascher’s appropriately discombobulating stew of queasiness, comedy, and terror seems well-cued to the subject matter, even while missing a certain editorial sharpness that might have brought some of its notions into greater clarity.” – Chris Barsanti, The Playlist
“While Ascher casts a wide net, “A Glitch in the Matrix” works quite well as an overview of the various epistemological questions it raises.” – Eric Kohn, indieWire
In the world of Anmaere, north of the city of Whithren, wild horses run through the moorlands and up the coast. These horses are the city’s most valuable export and, as a result, are hunted, trapped, sold, and shipped across the sea once a year. For those in Whithren, this trade passage creates lucrative and exciting possibilities: the chance to escape their constantly sweltering city and escape to the Western continent of Levithen, or simply to begin again. Nothing can prepare audiences for the secrets, seduction, and sights of THE WANTING MARE, an intimate, dramatic fantasy epic written and directed by renowned digital artist Nicholas Ashe Bateman (visual effects supervisor of David Lowery’s upcoming The Green Knight). A technical marvel of digital world-building and independent ambition, the sprawling vistas, fantastical sights, and otherworldly tableaus of THE WANTING MARE were lensed almost entirely inside a warehouse in Paterson, New Jersey. Director, writer, and editor Nicholas Ashe Bateman joins us to talk about the five year journey of making THE WANTING MARE, the defining connection humans and horses share, the support he received from a dedicated group of friends and filmmakers, and the importance of Carl Jung.
THE WANTING MARE was written and directed by Nicholas Ashe Bateman, Executive Produced by Lawrence Inglee, and stars Jordan Monaghan, Yasmin Keshtkar, Edmond Cofie, Nicholas Ashe Bateman, Josh Clark, and Christine Kellogg-Darrin.
LAPSIS is a smart, funny, slyly suffocating look into a parallel present, delivery man Ray Tincelli (Dean Imperial) is struggling to support himself and his ailing younger brother. After a series of two-bit hustles and unsuccessful swindles, Ray takes a job in a strange new realm of the gig economy: trekking deep into the forest, pulling cable over miles of terrain to connect large, metal cubes that link together the new quantum trading market. As he gets pulled deeper into the zone, he encounters growing hostility and the threat of robot cablers, and must choose to either help his fellow workers or to get rich and get out. What he doesn’t expect is to be pulled into a conspiracy involving hostile cablers, corporate greed, and the mysterious LAPSIS who may have previously owned his permit. Director / writer / editor Noah Hutton joins us for a conversation on his unique vision of the near future, quasi-syfy world, relationships, family and cabling.
About the filmmaker – Noah Hutton is a writer and director of documentary and narrative films. He wrote and directed the sci-fi feature Lapsis, which premiered in the narrative feature competition at SXSW 2020 and was acquired by Film Movement for theatrical release in 2021. In 2020 he completed In Silico, a ten-year documentary begun in 2009 and supported by Sandbox Films and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation about a ten-year project to simulate the human brain on supercomputers. Previously he directed the documentary features Deep Time (SXSW 2015) and Crude Independence (SXSW 2009). For more about Noah Hutton and his films go to: couple3films.com
“Hutton’s inventive storytelling weaves a clever web throughout….” – Andrew Osborne, Culture Vulture
“An ingenious social satire wrapped inside an intelligent sci-fi parable.” – Rob Aldam, Backseat Mafia
“Lapsis lives on the central performance by Dean Imperial as Ray, and that life is undoubtedly vibrant and complex.” – Richard Whittaker, Austin Chronicle “A world away from the clichés of popular science fiction, this is the real thing.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
“…entertainingly original…. This tale of a floundering gig-economy worker straddles both the bleak present-tense reality of Ken Loach’s “Sorry We Missed You” and the subversive near-future political satire of Boots Riley’s “Sorry to Bother You” while arriving at a whimsical critique all its own.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety
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.
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
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
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.
When it was released in 1987, The Monster Squad was deemed a failure by critics and was, according to the box office, a film no one cared about. But over the last three decades, word of mouth has turned this sleeping hit into a cultural phenomenon. WOLFMAN’S GOT NARDS explores the relationship a dedicated audience (including celebrities and filmmakers) has with The Monster Squad. The film takes an in-depth look into the film’s conception, response, cult status, and revival. Through interviews with the cast, crew, screenwriters, directors, academics and original reviewers as well as through never-before-seen footage, it turns the lens on an audience of self-proclaimed misfits who have kept The Monster Squad alive for more than 30 years. Director Andre Gower and Monster Squad member, Sean, joins us for a lively conversation on the unlikely saga of a box-office bomb that, like the squad, refuses to give up, and a community of fans that continues to grow.
About the filmmaker – Director André Gowerhas 40 years of experience in the entertainment industry, making him one of the most recognizable child stars of his generation. His body of work includes network series, movies of the week, and features. He is best known for playing the lead character in the cult classic The Monster Squad. Currently, André heads Fitterpiper Entertainment, a production company focusing on young independent filmmakers, new concepts from industry veterans, experimental digital concepts and short films with a roster of production professionals. He also co-hosts the short film series ‘Short Ends’ (Nerdist/ALPHA) and a podcast, ‘Squadcast with Ryan and André.
“There’s so much to cover, and Gower and his crew do an astounding job of being as thorough as possible.” – Kyle Anderson, Nerdist
“Watching these films – and this documentary – generates the type of joy we only felt as kids, as well as evoking the warm fuzzy feeling that nostalgia brings.” – Katie Driscoll, Starburst
“As a whole, I cannot recommend Wolfman’s Got Nards enough for those who love The Monster Squad, for fans of the horror genre, or even for anyone who has ever felt misunderstood by the world at large.” – Heather Wixson, Daily Dead
InterReflections explores deep social issues. In three timelines our main story takes us into the future when ecological crisis and inequality has destabilized society. John Taylor, a defected government intelligence agent turned revolutionary leader, is captured by his former colleague and nemesis, Simon Devoe. Simon leads a government spy agency, encouraging John to join him to avoid punishment. Simon humors John as they debate ideas about humanity, seeing no possibility of John’s escape. But John has a secret. Our second timeline follows a woman in modern day, experiencing life as a horror show, reflecting issues such as racism and environmental destruction. Fired from her job, she sets about finding another. Her journey transforms her. Timeline three takes place 100 years forward as four academics of this future talk about the way things used to be in the early 21st century. They speak of “The Great Transition,” a dramatic global revolution that changed everything for the better. Director Peter Joseph (The New Human Rights Movement,The Zeitgeist Movement) joins us for a conversation about his genre-shattering approach to filmmaking and what his film’s vision says about the world we live in.
From the Smith Brothers and Director Tony Dean Smith comes VOLITION, a mind-bending science-fiction thriller, where the line between fate and free-will blurs. When you know your world is pre-determined, it’s hard to care about your choices. This is true for James Odin (Adrian Glynn McMorran). On a rain-soaked night in 1991, two cars collide, leaving all drivers dead on the scene, including the mother of the lone survivor, a child , James Odin. It’s a tragedy. But what’s more tragic is that seven-year-old James foresaw the accident happening two daysprior. He tried to prevent it, but who’s going to believe a kid who claims to see the future? Twenty-plus years later, James is a product of the failed foster care system. Knowing that the events of his future are predestined, he’s getting by, using his ability for petty crime and cheap thrills. But when a pre-sentient vision reveals to him his own imminent murder, James must go on the run and change the fate he knows is fixed. Director /co-screenwriter Tony Dean Smith and Producer / co-screenwriter Ryan Smith join us to talk about their consistently creative, high-wire tale of time travel, heartbreak and determining your own fate.
About the filmmakers: Tony Dean Smith (director/co-writer) & Ryan W. Smith (producer/co-writer) Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tony Dean Smith & Ryan W. Smith are the Smith Brothers, a creative partnership forged in the fires of sibling revery.
Tony Dean Smith is the recent recipient of the Director’s Guild off Canada “Best BC Director” award, granted at the Whistler Film Festival for his feature film debut, VOLITION. An award-winning director, writer and editor, Tony has gone on to write and direct various long-form projects for film & television – as well as constantly developing new material that’s close to his heart. Tony is also an acclaimed editor, having cut for Neill Blomkamp, Netflix, 20th Century Fox, Universal Studios, NBC, Syfy and others.
Ryan W. Smithis an award-winning writer/producer, having won the ScreenCraft Fellowship for his feature script, Jacaranda. Along with his film work, Ryan has written on over 135 episodes of television, which has earned him two Leo Awards. Ryan has written for such companies as Netflix, Anonymous Content, Andrew Lauren Productions, SyFy, Disney and Original Film. The Smith Brothers live in Vancouver, B.C., where they continue to be not only creative partners, but brothers.
A long-awaited follow up to Munch’s acclaimed 2011 Sundance film Letters From the Big Man, THE 11TH GREEN stars Campbell Scott (House of Cards, Roger Dodger) as a journalist who uncovers the truth behind the mythology of President Eisenhower’s long-alleged involvement in extraterrestrial events. Rife with hidden government secrets and Matrix-like mind-benders, THE 11TH GREEN is grounded in what is widely believed to be the nuts-and-bolts core story of post-war U.S. military and government involvement with UFOs. In this way, the film sketches a possible backdrop to recent revelations in the mainstream media (eg, the New York Times and Washington Post) and subsequent declassification of certain U.S. military interactions with UFOs. Thought-provoking but understated, filled with sharply drawn characters, stark desert landscapes, and leaps across the space-time continuum, THE 11TH GREEN is challenging cinema that generates questions, discussion, and debate long after the credits roll. The film’s distinguished cast also includes Agnes Bruckner (Blood and Chocolate, Blue Car), Ian Hart (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Backbeat), April Grace (Magnolia, Joker), Tom Stokes (The Railway Man, Wasted On the Young), David Clennon (Being There, The Thing), Monte Markham (Mr. Deed Goes to Town, Dallas), and Currie Graham (NYPD Blue, Project Blue Book). Groundbreaking American auteur Christopher Munch (director of The Sleepy Time Gal and the recently restored indie classic The Hours and Times) joins us to talk about his many-layered drama and the talented cast he assembled to breathe life into it.
About the filmmaker: Christopher Munch’s feature, the wilderness drama Letters from the Big Man (2011), was a New York Times Critics’ Pick and featured a lauded central performance by Lily Rabe. Five of his features have played at Sundance, and his first, The Hours and Times (1992), a speculative biopic about Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein, won a special jury prize there. An impossible dream was the overarching theme of Munch’s second feature, the period landscape drama Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day (1996), based on the true story of a young trolley mechanic who tries to save a doomed short-line railroad to Yosemite National Park. Munch then undertook the sprawling, unconventional mother-daughter story The Sleepy Time Gal (2002), which Kevin Thomas in the Los Angeles Times wrote “has a depth, range and subtlety far greater than most American films” and which David Ansen of Newsweek upon its release stated was Jacqueline Bisset’s “finest performance.” Munch followed this with another unconventional family dissection, Harry and Max (2004), about two pop star brothers. He is a past Guggenheim fellow, recipient of the Wolfgang Staudte Prize at Berlin, winner of two Independent Spirit Awards, including the “Someone To Watch” Award, and has been featured in two Whitney Biennial exhibitions. He has received competitive awards from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (for science in film), Creative Capital Foundation, The American Film Institute, The Merchant and Ivory Foundation, and others. christophermunch.com
“The bottom line: a thoughtful and compelling what-if starring a never-better Campbell Scott. . . . A bracing example of Munch’s fearless knack for casting a new light on official stories. . . . that information unwinds with a provocative and illuminating slant, and in combination with the film’s eccentric mix of genres, time periods and SoCal desert atmosphere, it makes for a heady revisionist saga. . . . For all the story’s machinations and dark doings, The 11th Green is concerned not with narrowly defined party politics but the power of cabals, and the relative powerlessness of figureheads. . . . [I]n its precision and poetry, the language is alive, and Munch gives each character a distinctive voice.” – Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter
“Wildly inventive . . . a work of meticulous historical reimagination. . . . With tight-lipped restraint, Munch giddily tweaks the past seventy-five years of political assumptions and the very concept of life on Earth.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker
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.
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
** Spotlight on the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
Visual Communications, the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center, announced its outstanding program of films and events for the upcoming 35th edition of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) running MAY 2 – MAY 10, 2018. The all encompassing annual film celebration is presented across Los Angeles in West Hollywood, Downtown LA, Little Tokyo, Koreatown, and Hollywood. Visual Communications proudly celebrates the Film Festival’s 34 years as Southern California’s largest and most prestigious film festival of its kind. LAAPFF launches the celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month through this year’s slate of over 100 films from both Asian Pacific American and Asian international artists. For over three decades, the Festival has presented nearly 5,000 films by Asian Pacific American and Asian International talent. This year’s festival will feature over 130 short films during the nine day fest from May 2 – May 10. These cinema gems from around the globe featuring stories about love, family, heartbreak, friendships, and self acceptance are all part of the exciting line up. The Festival opens May 2nd with the World Premiere of YELLOW ROSE directed by Diane Paragas and starring Broadway legend Lea Salonga and emerging star Eva Noblezada. Two acclaimed festival favorites will screen as the Centerpiece Films at the Festival; GO BACK TO CHINA directed by Emily Ting and MS. PURPLE directed by Justin Chon. The closing night film is the world premiere of EMPTY BY DESIGN directed by Andrea A. Walter premiering on Friday, May 10. LAAPFF Executive Director Francis Cullado of Visual Communications stops by to talk about the ever expanding interest in Asian filmmakers and the trailblazing artistry being done by them.
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.
In a media environment dominated by increasingly concentrated corporate interests, eight distribution companies who have long championed the best in independent features, documentaries, and social issue films, have joined forces to help launch a new subscription streaming service, OVID.tv. Starting today, OVID.tv offers more than 350 quality documentaries and art-house films from the collections of its founding content partners: Bullfrog Films, The dGenerate Films Collection, Distrib Films US, First Run Features, Grasshopper Film, Icarus Films, KimStim, and Women Make Movies. Most of the films on OVID.tv are not available on any other streaming platform, and OVID.tvwill be adding even more films every two weeks–14 fiction feature films and one 10-part documentary series are already scheduled for release. Despite the odds and with little capital, Icarus Films, Docuseek, and our partners have decided that the time has come to step forward and build a new, independent space, dedicated to the films that we believe in and care about, and that we believe you care about, and value as well. OVID.tv co-founder Jonathan Miller joins us to talk about an affordable option for film lovers looking for the highest quality cinema experience presented by people who share your passion.
“A cornucopia of international movies and documentaries… recent ones as well as classics. It’s far better for recent movies than FilmStruck ever was, and its spectrum of new movies is far more substantial than that of Netflix, wider-ranging than that of Amazon.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker, March 22, 2019
Based loosely on Scottish ghostly folklore with inspiration from Greek sirens, the tale is set in 1846 on a remote island off the west coast of Scotland, where three survivors from a mysterious sinking of their merchant ship find themselves stranded on a small misty isle. The isle’s four sole secretive residents, an old harbor man, a farmer, his niece and a young mad woman, are anything but welcoming and reluctant to aid the sailors back to the mainland. The promise of a boat never materializes leading one of the sailors to question why people had abandoned the island. Through his investigation he discovers that every year around the same date a tragedy at sea would occur and young men from the island would perish. When his two shipmates meet with fatal accidents, the myth of a ghostly siren haunting the island leads him to try and uncover the truth. Directed and co-written by British filmmaker Matthew Butler Hart (TWO DOWN), the film stars Olivier Award-winning, Tony-nominated actor Conleth Hill (HBO’s “The Game of Thrones”), Alex Hall (SUBURBICAN, BBC’s “The Miniaturist”), Fisaya Akinade (BAFTA-nominated GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS with Glenn Close and Gemma Arterton), THE ISLE co-writer and producer, Tori Butler Hart (MISS IN HER TEENS), Alix Wilton Regan (THE WIFE) and Graham Butler (Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful”). Director Matthew Butler Hart stops by to talk about his gorgeous, haunting new film.
Official Selection, Newcastle International Film Festival 2018
Winner, Jury Prize for Best Cinematography Manchester International Film Festival, 2018
Winner, Jury Prize for Best Sci-Fi/Horror Film London Independent Film Festival, 2018
“The Isle is the kind of cinema that is getting far too rare. Superbly shot, exquisitely paced and genuinely compelling and surprising – indeed astonishing – in its development of plot and character.” – Stephen Fry
“Beautifully shot… subtle and measured in execution… a refreshing entry in a genre so often saturated by repetition.” – Flickering Myth
“…genuinely surprising and engaging…innovative, finely-drawn and confident…” – Warped Perspective
“Exquisitely-wrought… quintessentially intelligent Gothic horror: all in a surprisingly large scope and absolutely unforgettable cinematic experience. “ – The 405
THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT follows the epic adventures of an American legend that no one has ever heard of. Since WWII, Calvin Barr (Sam Elliott) has lived with the secret that he was responsible for the assassination of Adolf Hitler. Now, decades later, the US government has called on him again for a new top-secret mission. Bigfoot has been living deep in the Canadian wilderness and is carrying a deadly plague that is now threatening to spread to the general population. Relying on the same skills that he honed during the war, Calvin must set out to save the free world yet again. Director Robert D. Kryzkowski joins us to talk about working with two-time Academy Award nominated director John Sayles and visual effects wizard and two time Academy Award winner, Douglas Trumbull (Blade Runner and 2001: A Space Odyssey) and how he was able to fashion an endearing, bittersweet saga of a heavy hearted man driven by a profound sense of duty.
“From its world-weary hero to its no-nonsense, casual swapping of fiction for fact, The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot uses action and something like science fiction to deliver an wholly entertaining, yet poignant message.” – Slashfilm
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. 24 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.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, toprovide 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 being launched by Slamdance.
From the creator of the Final Destination franchise comes a new tale of death. Following the passing of his father, Aaron Hammond (Michael Welsh) returns to his hometown to help his devastated mother (Lin Shaye) and to confront his past demons. Sifting through his father’s belongings, Aaron comes upon a mysterious item that is far more than it seems. The Final Wish Director Timothy Woodward Jr. and lead actor Michael Welsh joins us for a conversation on continuing the cinematic legacy of Final Destination and bringing a creative energy to a familiar story of demonic possession, family struggles and reckoning with the past.
“If you’re looking for a spooky little flick that forges some new ground against a backdrop of familiar terror tropes, The Final Wish will grant you that.” – Steve Barton, Brainwaves
“The Final Wish is an easy watch, fun and simple. It’s perfect for that night when you just want to sit back, relax and enjoy.” – Staci Layne Wilson, We Live Entertainment
“There’s still a lot to The Final Wish that I really appreciated and enjoyed, and it would make for a killer double feature with Wish Upon.” – Heather Wilson, Daily Dead
“THE FINAL WISH is yet another example of taking a low budget and bringing a fresh new take on a familiar storyline. It offers a well written script and a cast worth investing in.” – Jimmy O, Movie Emporium
In the highly entertaining and jarring documentary BOB LAZAR: AREA 51 AND FLYING SAUCERS the curtain is pulled back on Area 51, flying saucers from another world – and the program to create a fierce, new technology that could easily change everything about the world we think we know. Bob Lazar remains the singular most famous and controversial name in the world of UFOs. The reason you know about Area 51 is because Lazar came forward and told you about it. His disclosures have turned his life upside-down and he has tried to stay out of the spotlight. For this reason, he has never let any filmmaker into the private world of his daily life – that is – until now. BOB LAZAR: AREA 51 AND FLYING SAUCERS explores Lazar’s claims through the lens of thirty years – providing rare and never before revealed footage – guaranteed to alter the landscape of the debate. Director Jeremy Corbell joins us to talk about the fantastical and yet credible story of a seemingly honest and sincere messenger telling the world that we are not alone.