Bruce Franks Jr. is a 34-year-old battle rapper, Ferguson activist and state representative from St. Louis, Missouri. Known as Superman to his constituents, he is a political figure the likes of which you’ve never seen – full of contradictions and deep insights, who has overcome unspeakable loss to become one of the most exciting and unapologetic young leaders in the country. This short verité documentary follows Bruce at a critical juncture in his life, when he is forced to deal with the mental trauma he’s been carrying for the nearly 30 years since his 9-year-old brother was shot and killed in front of him, in order to find peace and truly fulfill his destiny as a leader for his community. Co- director Smriti Mundhra (Sami Khan) join us to talk about how a dynamic and charismatic man from a traumatized community took tragedy and turned into action.
About the filmmakers: Smriti Mundhra’s A SUITABLE GIRL premiered at Tribeca in 2017 and won the Albert Maysles Award for Best New Documentary Director. KHOYA, Sami Khan’s feature debut, was selected for the Tribeca Film Institute’s Tribeca All Access® fellowship.
Cinema Eye Honors – Short Listed – Best Short
DOC NYC – Best Shorts Short List
WINNER AUDIENCE AWARD – BEST SHORT DOC – 2019 HOT DOCS FILM FESTIVAL – 2019 AFI DOCS FILM FESTIVAL – 2019 TRAVERSE CITY FILM FESTIVAL
WINNER – SPECIAL JURY AWARD – 2019 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL
WINNER – BEST SHORT DOC – 2019 BIG SKY DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL
WINNER – BEST DOCUMENTARY – HEARTLAND FILM’S 2019 INDYSHORTS FILM FESTIVAL
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.
Saturday, June 15 – Raceland, Director Scott Bloom
Raceland is the story of Blake and Lloyd, two old friends from the bayou. As kids they were thick as thieves and had the kind of close friendship that songs are written about. After being separated for a number of years, they’ve rekindled their friendship anew, present day. During a day of fishing, Lloyd is tragically injured and Blake steps up to nurse him back to health. It’s during their concentrated time alone together that they realize the love they had for each other back when they were kids, did not disappear… it’s just buried under years of social cues and macho veneer. Director, Producer and Writer Scott Bloom joins us to talk about the story behind Raceland, his own transition from documentary to narrative filmmaking and the film’s premiere at the Dances with Films Festival.
Wednesday June 18 – Gutterbug, Director Andrew Gibson
GUTTERBUG is a film about a young man’s human experience as he struggles with the demands of conformity. After running away from home, Bug finds his place in the underbelly of society, among the counter culture of anti-establishment street punks. He is driven by conflict: between morality and survival, life and death, love and anger, being a decent person and not giving a fuck. Homelessness, mental health, drug addiction, family and violence will carry our plot. His desire to cut ties with his past life is outweighed by a powerful pull back to true north, brought on by a series of sentimental flashbacks which spark a journey back to his family. Back to the only thing that makes life worth living. He could do without the possessions and he could do without a house, but he sees it is impossible to live without a home. Today is Bug’s birthday, this is his story. Director and writer Andrew Gibson stops by to talk about the guerrilla filmmaking that brought Gutterbug to life, hanging out with the “right” crowd and the upcoming West Coast premiere at the Dances with Films Festival Wednesday, June 19 at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
** 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.
LEARN MORE ABOUT LAAPFF and VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS:
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.tv will 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.
For now OVID.tv is only available in the U.S.
“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
The 17th edition of the fest begins on Thursday, April 11th with an opening night tribute to legendary Indian Actress TABU, who is regarded as one of the most talented Indian actors of her generation, having been honored with two National Film Awards, six Filmfare Awards and notably, the Padma Shri from the Government of India in 2011. In addition to opening with a tribute and moderated discussion with TABU, the festival’s opening night gala event will also include a screening of her latest film ANDHADHUN, a feature directed by IFFLA alum Sriram Raghavan (Johnny Gaddaar).
Some other highlights from this year’s lineup include:
– A moderated panel featuring successful South Asian professionals working across various fields in the television industry. The panel boasts a lineup that includes actor/comedian Nik Dodani (Murphy Brown, Netflix’s Atypical), director Meera Menon (The Walking Dead, GLOW, The Magicians), writer Fawzia Mirza (CBS’ upcoming The Red Line), writer Chitra Sampath (Good Behavior, Southland), writer and co-creator of Fox’s The Resident Roshan Sethi, and actor Dhruv Uday Singh (Freeform’s Good Trouble, CBS pilot Pandas of New York).
-The screening of a trio of Sundance and Slamdance favorites that includes Ronny Sen’s unforgettable feature debut CAT STICKS, the exhilarating and imaginative real-life journey of TAKING THE HORSE TO EAT JALEBIS from theatre-turned-film director Anamika Haksar, and PHOTOGRAPH from The Lunchbox director Ritesh Batra.
-Director Megha Ramaswamy’s THE ODDS would close out the festival on April 14. THE ODDS is a coming-of-age tale about two teens who skip school on an important exam day and go on a fantastical journey through Mumbai. THE ODDS features supporting turns from Abhay Deol (Dev D) and Priyanka Bose (Lion) and special appearance by Monica Dogra, all of whom are expected to attend the Gala along with Ramaswamy and co-leads Yashaswini Dayama and Karanvir Malhotra.
Director of Programming Mike Dougherty stops by to talk the 2019 edition of IFFLA, the future of Indian cinema and the increasing acceptance among mainstream American film lovers.
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For over a decade, ShortsTV has proudly brought the Oscar© Nominated Short Films to audiences across the globe. This exclusive release features the year’s most spectacular short films and for a limited time is available to watch on the big screen. Each nominee is released in one of three distinct feature-length compilations according to their category of nomination: Live Action, Animation or Documentary. The films go into theaters around the world shortly after nominations are announced and are not released anywhere else until a few days before the Oscars©, when they are also made available via on demand platforms, including iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play and Vimeo on Demand. The release ensures the greatest number of viewers can see all the nominees before the ceremony, while providing short filmmakers with an unprecedented opportunity to commercialize their movies. Carter Pilcher founded Shorts International in 2000. Coming from a background in both investment banking and law, Carter has made Shorts International the world’s leading short movie Entertainment Company, functioning as distributor, broadcaster and producer. Carter has extensive experience in short movie production and short movie entertainment. He is a voting member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and a member of the Short Film and Feature Animation Branch of The US Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) – the guys who pick the Oscars. For the last five years Carter Pilcher has been the highlight of Oscar season here on Film School. His insight, commitment and love of the short film format and the dedicated people who create them insures a lively and informative conversation on some of the best films you will see all year.
**SUNDANCE PREMIERE** Based loosely on Abby McEnany’s own experiences, WORK IN PROGRESS is an honest, funny, and rarely seen exploration of the “isms” and phobias that permeate all of our lives: homophobia, transphobia, sexism, racism, sizeism, classism, and more. In a nutshell, Abby is a 45 year old queer dyke who is finally coming into her own or she is a 45 year old queer dyke who is about to kill herself. Both are true. It just depends on which day you meet her. She is a finely crafted cocktail of Depression, OCD, Queerness, Insecurity and Anxiety but she only drinks Miller Lite. And in this coming of age story, every little thing or person she meets has the potential for life-altering meaning. Abby is in an adolescent-like stage and has been stuck there for 30 years. After her therapist dies mid-session and she begins to date a trans man, Abby is forced to re-evaluate her life choices, her dating options and whether or not to confront the woman responsible for ‘ruining her life’: SNL’s Julia Sweeney. Co-directors Abby McEnany, Tim Mason and actor Julia Sweeney join us for a rollicking conversation on their hilarious, honest and engaging Sundance Film Festival debut episode of Work in Progress.
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.
Slamdance Film Festival will take place January 25-31, 2019 in Park City, Utah
Violence has overrun El Salvador. El Salvador remains one of the most dangerous non-war zones in the world. Violent turf wars between rival gangs and the government threatens Salvadorans’ day-to-day life. This is highlighted by a continued migration crisis where families, and unaccompanied youth attempt to flee to neighboring countries or the United States, with hopes of a safer future. The emergency medical unit Los Comandos de Salvamento is standing up to the gangs’ reign of terror. Sixteen-year-old Mimi is a dedicated Comando caught in the cross hairs. When her fellow Comando, 14-year-old Erick, is gunned down while serving, she faces pressure to flee El Salvador and head north. Co-directors Juliana Schatz-Preston and Joshua Bennett join us for a conversation on their ripped from today’s headlines project and the importance of putting a human face on the plight of these beleaguered people.
The Comandos de Salvamento (Los Comandos) provide a potentially life saving alternative for young people who want to avoid being recruited by gangs. Because the group does not discriminate when attending to victims, Los Comandos have earned a certain degree of respect from the gangs. Many of the volunteers find the Comandos base safer than home. Suport Los Comandos
KIND protects unaccompanied children who enter the US immigration system alone to ensure that no child appears in court without an attorney. Ensuring that no child appears in immigration court without high quality legal representation. Support KIND
GLASSWING help young people who remain in El Salvador or return after deportation, life is a daily struggle. Not only do they face extreme violence and poverty, but cycles of massive migration and social upheaval are also exacerbating issues of family disintegration, school dropout, early pregnancy, and limited economic opportunities. Youth face persistent stigma, social exclusion, and exposure to extreme violence and trauma. They lack opportunities to develop the core skills they need to thrive. Support Glasswing International
• Winner of Best Documentary Short at Austin Film Festival (Oscar® qualifying award)
• Winner of Best Short at Los Angeles Cinefest
• Finalist for CINE Golden Eagle award for Best Documentary Short
In the endlessly clever and bittersweet documentary My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes filmmaker Charlie Tyrell Seeks to better understand his emotionally distant late-father through personal belongings he left behind… including a stack of his VHS dirty movies. Director / producer Charlie Tyrell joins us for an engaging conversation on the universality of inter-generational silence and obfuscation surrounding the backgrounds and traumas that shaped the lives of parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. And how this wall of that silence can lead to unwarranted alienation and resentment between fathers and sons.
In a political environment increasingly hostile to immigrants and refugees, documenting the real-life plight of those fleeing war and oppression is more vital and important than ever. The short form documentary film LIFEBOAT bears witness to refugees desperate enough to risk their lives in rubber boats leaving Libya in the middle of the night, despite a high probability of drowning. With few resources but certain that civil society must intervene, volunteers from a German non-profit risk the waves of the Mediterranean to pluck refugees from sinking rafts. In a real-life context with dire consequences, LIFEBOAT puts a human face on one of the world’s greatest contemporary, global crises and provides a spark of hope surrounding how civil society can intervene in the refugee crisis in a meaningful way. Director Skye Fitzgerald joins us for a conversation on the extremely dangerous and inhospitable world awaiting most of the desperate people fleeing for their lives across the vast expanse of the Mediterranean Sea.
LIFEBOAT nominated as BEST SHORT of 2018 by International Documentary Association
LIFEBOAT wins BEST SHORT at world premiere at Mountainfilm in Telluride!
LIFEBOAT WINS Best Short Doc at Woodstock Intl. Film Festival
LIFEBOAT WINS Special Jury Award at BendFilm!
LIFEBOAT honored with JURY AWARD at Traverse City Film Festival
LIFEBOAT wins social justice ACT NOW award at Crested Butte Film Festival
LIFEBOAT WINS at Dublin International Shorts Film Festival
For four decades, the Mill Valley Film Festival (MVFF) has maintained its position as a vital showcase of the global film community, attracting iconic red-carpet talent, emerging filmmakers, passionate audiences and astutely curated premieres. A destination event for film lovers, drawn by an exciting, diverse program of mainstream studio features and independent visions from around the world, set against the stunning backdrop of Northern California, MVFF also hosts an impressive array of panels, conversations, receptions, parties and live music performances, featuring many of the most acclaimed and in-demand artists and industry professionals of our time. With a reputation for launching new films and creating awards season buzz, MVFF has a knack for spotting emerging talent as well as drawing legendary artists. Known as the filmmaker’s festival, MVFF welcomes more than 200 filmmakers and guests from around the world and has hosted such luminaries as Nicole Kidman, Holly Hunter, Ang Lee, Todd Haynes, Mira Nair, Brie Larson, Costa-Gavras, Damien Chazelle, Marcel Ophuls, Amy Adams, Steve McQueen and Greta Gerwig. Mill Valley Film Festival Director of Programming Zoe Elton, joins us to talk about “the filmmaker’s festival,” and this year’s exciting line-up of documentary, foreign, animated, short and narrative films.
A mother struggles to accept the man her adult son has become. Directed by Leah Patterson, Bridget and Iain is the story of a mother’s love for her adult son. Bridget, (Vivienne Powell) who tries to do everything ‘right’, learns the limits of her power to manage others. Her son Iain (Damian Sommerlad) is charming, funny, and at times kind. He’s also an addict. Worried sick, Bridget finally gets support to make the changes that need to happen. The film charts the shifting relationship between Bridget and Iain as it reaches crisis point. It’s about maturation, change, and the struggle of trying to help someone you love while possibly enabling the very behavior you see as destructive. Bridget and Iain will resonate with anyone who has experienced the impact of any form of addiction in their lives or who have family members with mental health problems, or challenging relationships. Bridget and Iain Producer Diana C. Zollicoffer brought together an all-female crew for the production. Zollicoffer has also produced the environmental/social justice documentary “Forgotten Bayou” numerous short films and web series including Schmoolie the Deathwatcher (winner of the 2015 San Antonio Film Festival). She recently directed the pilot episode of “Annny Minute Now” and assisted in developing the characters and storyline for the web series. She co-wrote “Free Agent: The Benjamin Brown Story” to be directed by Mykelti Williamson (Purge, Fences, Forest Gump), and has several projects that she is developing and two of which, with the intention to direct. Bridget and Iain recently screened at the Cannes Global Women of Color in Film Day and the Cannes Court Métrage Short Film Corner. Producer Diana C. Zollicoffer joins us to talk about her award winning new film.
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