Friday, December 2, 2016 – Eyes of My Mother, Actress Kika Magalhaes

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In the riveting story THE EYES OF MY MOTHER Francisca has been unfazed by death from an early age—her mother, formerly a surgeon in Portugal, imbued her with a thorough understanding of the human anatomy. When tragedy shatters her family’s idyllic life in the countryside, her deep trauma gradually awakens some unique curiosities. Driven by a mesmerizing performance by Kika Magalhaes Francisca’s desire to connect with the world around her takes a distinctly dark form. Shot in crisp black and white, the haunting visual compositions of THE EYES OF MY MOTHER  evoke its protagonist’s isolation and illuminate her deeply unbalanced worldview. Genre-inflected but so strikingly unique as to defy categorization, writer/director Nicolas Pesce’s stunning feature debut allows us only an elliptical presence in Francisca’s world, guiding our imaginations to follow her into peculiar, secret places. Lead actress Kika Magalhaes joins us to talk about the challenges presented by this deeply troubled character and her eerily compelling performance.

For news and updates go to: magnetreleasing.com/theeyesofmymother/

Opening at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles, Friday December 2, 2016 with  Q&A at the Friday, December 2nd 7:30 PM screening

*SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL – OFFICIAL SELECTION*

“It claws into your subconscious and lingers there. A simmering nightmare of a movie.” – Bilge Ebiri, NEW YORK MAGAZINE

“An exquisite waking nightmare. An impressive, highly original horror fable.” – Guy Lodge, VARIETY

“Equal parts Ingmar Bergman, Tim Burton and Tobe Hooper. The discovery of this year’s Sundance Film Festival.” – Eric Kohn, INDIEWIRE

“Ms. Magalhaes, a former dancer, uses her expressive eyes and graceful limbs to bring the intimacy and sensuality of her actions to vivid life.” – Jeanette Catsoulis, New  York Times

Nuts! Director Penny Lane

Nuts! the film poster 

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Inventive and wildly fun, NUTS! recounts the unbelievable true story of John Romulus Brinkley, a Kansas doctor who in 1917 discovered that he could cure impotence by transplanting goat testicles into men. From there, the story only gets more bizarre. Mixing hand-drawn animated reenactments, interviews, archival footage, and a very unreliable narrator, NUTS! traces Brinkley’s rise from poverty and obscurity to the heights of celebrity, wealth, and influence. Along the way, he transplants thousands of goat testicles, amasses an enormous fortune, is (sort of) elected Governor of Kansas, invents junk mail and the infomercial, builds the world’s most powerful radio station, and generally annoys the heck out of the establishment. Filmmaker Penny Lane has skillfully borrowed a page from her subject – charming viewers into believing the unbelievable, building their trust and excitement, until the final chapter bares the painful truth and reveals the doctor for what he truly was. NUTS! reminds us that our love of (and need for) compelling narratives is exactly what makes us so endlessly susceptible to being conned. Director Penny Lane stops by for a conversation on Brinkley, our collective need to believe in something and any contemporary parallels to be drawn from this bizarre story.

For news and updates go to: nutsthefilm.com

NUTS! had it’s World Premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing.



“Mixing droll animation, stock footage and a restrained number of talking head interviews, the director Penny Lane’s biography has all the whimsy of a tall tale, until a late change in tone surprises with genuine emotion.Nuts! is really a kick.” – The Guardian

“Don’t let the synopsis fool you, there’s much more here than a simple movie about a guy who likes to put goat balls in people…[Lane] explores the peculiar and undeniably fascinating story of Brinkley in what is easily an early contender doc of the year…Nuts! is a film you’ll definitely want to check out.” – Film Pulse

“Penny Lane is a documentarian who blends the archival with the personal in powerfully emotive ways… [she] is now firmly ensconced as a leading voice among her documentary filmmaking peers. “ – Vimeo

“What won’t spoil the film is my spewing praise for Lane’s craft… Lane is the answer to a question more people should be asking: who’s the great documentarian of this generation?” – The Verge

“In keeping with a recent trend in documentary filmmaking, nontraditional, sometimes controversial storytelling techniques will be on full display, Mr. Cooper said. The director Penny Lane, for instance, uses animated re-enactments and “one seriously  unreliable narrator” to trace the “mostly true” story of a man who found success selling a goat-testicle impotence cure..” – New York Times

Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Producer Carthew Neal

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HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE is a zany tale of a defiant city kid, Ricky, raised on hip-hop and foster care, gets a fresh start in the New Zealand countryside. He quickly finds himself at home with his new foster family: the loving Aunt Bella, the cantankerous Uncle Hec, and dog Tupac. When a tragedy strikes that threatens to ship Ricky to another home, both he and Hec go on the run in the bush. As a national manhunt ensues, the newly branded outlaws must face their options: go out in a blaze of glory or overcome their differences and survive as a family. Equal parts road comedy and rousing adventure story, director Taika Waititi (WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, upcoming THOR: RAGNORAK) masterfully weaves lively humor with emotionally honest performances by Sam Neill, Rima Te Wiata, Rachel House and Julian Dennison. A hilarious, touching crowd-pleaser, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE reminds us about the journey that growing up is (at any age) and those who help us along the way. Producer Carthew Neal (Tickled, A Band Called Hook Ups) joins us to talk about how Barry Crump’s classic book, Wild Pork and Watercress found its way into the hands of the talented director and writer Taika Waititi and onto the screen.

For news and updates go to: wilderpeople.film

“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” takes a troika of familiar story types – the plucky kid, the crusty geezer, the nurturing bosom – and strips them of cliché.” – Manohla Dargis, New York Times

“Every once in a while, a small, unheralded film comes along, so smart and funny, such a pleasure to experience, you can’t believe your luck. “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” is such a film.” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times

“It’s off-beat in all the best ways, has fantastic actors all delivering fantastic performances, and is a uproarious adventure with endless heart.” – CinemaBlend.com

“An oddball and oddly affecting take on two misfits finding their metaphorical partner-in-crime match.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone

Wiener Dog, Director Todd Solandz

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“I love dogs and would love one of my own, the only problem being that I don’t like walking them or feeding them or cleaning them or having to stay home because of them. When I was a child we (my family) went through a lot of them, and they never lasted very long.”WIENER-DOG Director Todd Solondz.

WIENER-DOG is a dark, starkly funny story of a single dog and the many different people she touches over her short lifetime.  Man’s best friend starts out teaching a young boy some contorted life lessons before being taken in by a compassionate vet tech named Dawn Wiener. Dawn reunites with someone from her past and sets off on a road trip. After leaving Dawn, Wiener-Dog encounters a floundering film professor, as well as an embittered elderly woman and her needy granddaughter—all longing for something more.  Solondz’s perversely dark comedy offers an appallingly honest look at the American experience, brought to life by its all-star cast.  As to be expected, WIENER-DOG has all the characteristics of the Solondz oeuvre — quick wit, dark tragedy, familiar characters, and an incredible ensemble cast—but the film’s brainchild also found inspiration in classic films. As Solandz says, “The touchstones were movies like AU HASARD BALTHAZAR and BENJI. In between those two is where I think this film lies.” Solandz joins us to talk about the making of Wiener Dog and the state of independent filmmaking in 2016.

For news and updates go to: ifcfilms.com/films/wiener-dog

“En route to the harshest, most unremittingly bleak film of his career, Solondz unleashes some of his sharpest commentary on human mortality and regret” – Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out

“Solondz gives no quarter, nor does he mince words about where we’re all headed. His vision of our predicament is bleakly funny and weirdly heartfelt.” – Ella Taylor, NPR

“Writer/director Todd Solondz makes insightful movies about innocents suffering the worst human impulses from a viewpoint that suggests arrested adolescence mixed with intellectual black humor and a critical eye towards America.” – Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

** Embrace of the Serpent – Director Ciro Guerra and Actor Brionne Davis

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The **2016 Academy Award nominated Best Foreign Language Film is at once blistering and poetic in its examination of the ravages of colonialism and the dark shadow it casts over the South American landscape in EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT. It is director Ciro Guerra third film and the first film shot in the Amazonian rainforest in over 30 years. Filmed in stunning black-and-white, the film centers on Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and the last survivor of his people, and the two scientists (Evan and Theo, portrayed by Brionne Davis and Jan Bijvoet) who, over the course of 40 years, build a friendship with him. The film was inspired by the real-life journals of two explorers (Theodor Kock-Grünberg and Richard Evans Schultes) who traveled through the Colombian Amazon during the last century in search of the sacred and difficult-to-find psychedelic Yakruna plant. EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight section of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, where it was awarded the top prize, the CIACE Art Cinema Award, and is Colombia’s official Oscar® entry for Best Foreign Language Film. Director Ciro Guerra and Brionne Davis stop by Film School to talk about the many challenges of filming in the jungles of Brazil and the rewards of shining a spotlight on the brutality of European colonial dominance over indigenous people.

** 2016 Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film

* 2016 Spirit Award nominee for Best International Film

For news and updates go to: embraceoftheserpent.oscilloscope.net

“An intense journey and very rewarding visual feast.” Nathaniel Rogers, THE FILM EXPERIENCE

“Shot on sumptuous Super 35, the black and white photography lends itself to the film’s sorrowful ode to a world devastated, but it is the ceaseless teeming life of the soundtrack that transports the audience into the midst of the rainforest.” – Ben Nicholson, CINEVUE

“A visual astonishment… There’s no denying the film’s chastening moral conviction or the transfixing power of its black-and-white imagery.Not just an ethnographic study but also a striking act of cinematic witness.” – Justin Chang, Variety

“‘Embrace of the Serpent’ is simply a work of art, and one of the most singular cinematic experiences you could hope to have in Cannes, or anywhere really. It’s an absorbing, even thrilling head trip. It is a Heart-of-Darkness voyage of discovery. It is a lament for all the lost plants and peoples of the world.” – Jessica Kiang, Indiewire’s “The Playlist”

*Diary of a Teenage Girl, director / writer Marielle Heller

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THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL is based on Phoebe Gloeckner’s novel of the same name, hailed by Salon as “one of the most brutally honest, shocking, tender and beautiful portrayals of growing up female in America.” Writer/Director Marielle Heller unlocks this diary with a richly comedic and deeply personal vision. It is a coming of age story that is as poignant as it is unsettling. Set in 1976 San Francisco, THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL begins at the crossroads of the fading hippie movement and the dawn of punk rock. Like most teenage girls, Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley) is longing for love, acceptance and a sense of purpose in the world. Minnie begins a complex love affair with her mother’s (Kristen Wiig) boyfriend, “the handsomest man in the world,” Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård). What follows is a sharp, funny and provocative account of one girl’s sexual and artistic awakening, without judgment. Minnie emerges defiant— taking command of her sexuality and drawing on her newfound creative talents to reveal truths in the kind of intimate and vivid detail that can only be found in the pages of a teenage girl’s diary. In her feature film directorial debut, director / writer Heller brings Gloeckner’s book to life through fearless performances, inventive graphic novel-like animation sequences, imagination, humor and heart.

For news and updates go to: thediaryofateenagegirl

* Spirit Award nominations for Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay and Best Female Lead (Bel Powley)

Sundance Film Festival 2015 and New Directors/New Films 2015

“What makes Minnie — on the page and now on the screen — greater than any one girl is how she tells her own story in her own soaringly alive voice”. – Manohla Dargis, New York Times

“This adaptation of Phoebe Gloeckners heavily autobiographical novel is ideally cast and skillfully handled.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“Powley, a British twentysomething whose big, curious eyes and quavering, thoughtful voice allow for a seamless transition back to her teenage years, gives a remarkable performance.” – Jesse Hassenger, A.V. Club

“It’s unlikely to make a box office splash, but it’s a startlingly tough, authentic depiction of budding womanhood.” Elaine Tang, New Republic

* ** Mustang, Director Deniz Gamez Ergüven

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Based on the personal life of the film’s director Deniz Gamze Ergüven personal life Mustang tells the story of five free-spirited teenage sisters living in a village in Northern Turkey. As the sisters splash about on the beach with their male classmate their innocent fun a neighbor reports what she considers to be illicit behavior to the girls’ family.  The family overreacts, removing all “instruments of corruption,” like cell phones and computers, and essentially imprisoning the girls, subjecting them to endless lessons in housework in preparation for them to become brides.  As the eldest sisters are married off, the younger ones bond together to avoid the same fate.  The fierce love between them empowers them to rebel and chase a future where they can determine their own lives in Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s debut, a powerful portrait of female empowerment. Mustang was selected as the French entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards, making the December shortlist of nine films. The film was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Director Ergüven’s joins us for a conversation on her beautifully rendered story of five young women who refuse to be shackled by a repressive social system.

For news and updates go to: mustang

* Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Film

** Spirit Award nomination for Best International Film

Official Selection – France – 2016 Academy Awards
Official Selection – Cannes Film Festival 2015 Directors’ Fortnight
Special Presentation – Toronto International Film Festival 2015
Winner – Heart of Sarajevo Award, Sarajevo Film Festival 2015
Winner – Europa Cinemas Prize, Cannes Film Festival 2015
Winner – Audience Award, Chicago International Film Festival 2015
Winner – Best First Film Award, Philadelphia Film Festival 2015

“Part of a welcome international wave of films made by women directors that focus on girls growing up in worlds of men – and on what they look like when no one’s looking.” – Ty Burr, Boston Globe 

“It’s a moving portrait of sisterhood, a celebration of a fierce femininity and a damning indictment of patriarchal systems that seek to destroy and control this spirit.” – Katie Walsh, LA Times

“’Mustang’ is the début feature of Deniz Gamze Ergüven, and it’s quite something: a coming-of-age fable mapped onto a prison break, at once dream-hazed and sharp-edged with suspense. – Anthony Lane, New Yorker

Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem, co-Director Shlomi Elkabetz

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Winner of the Israeli Film Academy Ophir Award for Best Picture and propelled by the craft of Ronit Elkabetz (LATE MARRIAGE, THE BAND’S VISIT), one of Israeli cinema’s most acclaimed actresses, Gett: The Trial of VIvian Amsalem is an uncompromising, heart-rending portrait of a woman’s struggle to overcome an unmoving patriarchy and live a life of her own design. It’s the story of an Israeli woman (Ronit Elkabetz) seeking to finalize a divorce (gett) from her estranged husband finds herself effectively put on trial by her country’s religious marriage laws, in this powerhouse courtroom drama from sibling directors Shlomi and Ronit Elkabetz.  In Israel, there is neither civil marriage nor civil divorce; only Orthodox rabbis can legalize a union or its dissolution, which is only possible with the husband’s full consent. Trapped in a loveless marriage, Viviane Amsalem has been applying for a divorce for three years but her religiously devout husband Elisha (Simon Abkarian of CASINO ROYALE and PERSEPOLIS), continually refuses. His cold intransigence, Viviane’s determination to fight for her freedom, and the ambiguous role of the rabbinical judges shape a procedure where tragedy vies with absurdity and everything is brought out into the open for judgment.  Co-director Shlomi Elkabetz stops by to talk about this remarkable film and the impact it is having on Israeli society.

For news and updates go to: GETT: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem

  • Academy Awards 2015 – Official Foreign Language Submission
  • Golden Globe Awards 2015 – Best Foreign Language Film Nominee
  • Official Selection Cannes Film Festival 2014 – Directors’ Fortnight Feature Competition
  • Winner! Israeli Film Academy Ophir Award – Best Picture
  • Winner! Jerusalem Film Festival 2014 – Haggiag Award for Best Israeli Film
  • Winner! Jerusalem Film Festival 2014 – Audience Favorite Award
  • Winner! Jerusalem Film Festival 2014 – Best Actor, Menashe Noy
  • Winner! Hamptons International Film Festival 2014 – Golden Starfish Award for Best Narrative Feature

IDA and Getting Real Conference, Executive Director Michael Lumpkin

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Independent film veteran and Executive Director of the International Documentary Association (IDA) Michael Lumpkin joins us to talk about the IDA sponsored Getting Real Conference and the supportive role IDA plays in the work of documentary filmmakers.

Unlike any other event on the documentary calendar, GETTING REAL is a unique gathering of filmmakers and industry professionals that will ignite what is desperately needed in the documentary community: a frank public conversation about the state of our industry that will lead to action and change. Produced by the International Documentary Association and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, GETTING REAL is an unprecedented 3-day national conference for documentary filmmakers that will take place in Los Angeles from September 30 – October 2, 2014.

Founded in 1982, the International Documentary Association (IDA) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) that promotes nonfiction filmmakers, and is dedicated to increasing public awareness for the documentary genre. Our major program areas are: Advocacy, Filmmaker Services, Education, and Public Programs and Events. Through its programs, IDA provides resources, creates community, and defends rights and freedoms for documentary artists, activists, and journalists. As an advocate for filmmakers, IDA has been in the forefront important issues confronting our industry: Net Neutrality, Fair Use, and Lobbying for the Arts

Lumpkin is an experienced executive leader with over 20 years at the mlumpkin_photohelm of Frameline, an international media arts organization that presents the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, operates Frameline Distribution, and runs other important programs providing funding and training to filmmakers. Michael was also co-producer of the landmark documentary The Celluloid Closet.

Gideon’s Army, Director Dawn Porter

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Film Independent Spirit Award nominee and winner of a Sundance Film Festival award, GIDEON’S ARMY follows the personal stories of Travis Williams, Brandy Alexander and June Hardwick, three young public defenders who are part of a small group of idealistic lawyers in the Deep South challenging the assumptions that drive a criminal justice system strained to the breaking point. Backed by mentor Jonathan “Rap” Rapping, a charismatic leader who heads the Southern Public Defender Training Center (now known as Gideon’s Promise) they struggle against long hours, low pay and staggering caseloads so common that even the most committed often give up in their first year. Director Dawn Porter joins us to talk about her compelling film and a barely functional judicial system.

For the latest news on Gideon’s Army go to: gideonsarmythefilm.com

“The soldiers of ‘Gideon’s Army,’ Dawn Porter’s stirring debut docu, are public defenders  —  lawyers who dedicate themselves to representing the indigent, and regularly answering the question, ‘How can you defend those people?’ Like the film itself, Porter’s handful of devoted, charismatic attorneys do a righteous job of reminding people that the accused are innocent until proven guilty, and that the criminal justice system seems otherwise disposed.”– Variety

“In this comprehensive revelation of the craziness and dysfunction of the world of public defenders, filmmaker Porter sagely shows us the personal toll it takes on the lawyers. Overall, Gideon’s Army is an eye-opening insight into a judicial hellhole world that ordinary citizens can never imagine.  Throughout the unsung heroism of these three warriors in the legal trenches is fittingly stirred.” – The Hollywood Reporter

“Do yourself a favor and watch this gripping and beautiful film. If the inequitable system to which they have dedicated themselves doesn’t make you proud to be an American, the dramatic stories of these young lawyers will.” – Esquire

Short Term 12 – Director Destin Cretton

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A 20-something supervising staff member of a foster care facility navigates the troubled waters of that world alongside her co-worker and longtime boyfriend. From writer / director Destin Daniel Cretton’s simple premise comes a complex and nuanced story where no good choice is often the only choice. Funny, moving, surprising and emotional, Short Term 12 director Cretton stops by to talk about the risks and the rewards that come with working on a film that defies easy answers. Nominated for three Film Independent Spirit awards, Short Term 12 continues to resonate with audiences and critics.

“Magical. A shining example of what cinema is all about” – Germain Lussier, Slash Film

Short Term 12” expresses its serious subject matter in a fresh and authentic manner, never relying on the content itself to keep the viewer’s interest but how it unfolds for the audience, anchored to these characters who we grow to deeply care about. In the end, “Short Term 12” is a roller coaster of every emotion, managing to be both heartwarming and heartrending at once. But what a great ride. – Katie Walsh, The Playlist

“Phenomenally moving” – David Edelstein, New York Magazine

 “The performances are outstanding and should be remembered when the time comes to remember who did great things this year. Everyone filling in the tapestry of the film is memorable. This is a film I will remember for a long time.” Fred Topel, Crave Online

Concussion – Director Stacie Passon

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Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and a Film Independent Spirit, Concussion is a poignant sexual examination of Abby Abelman (Robin Weigert, in a star-making, turn), a married and wealthy forty-something lesbian housewife who suffers a blow to the head, only to find herself re-examining every corner of her suburban New Jersey life in an effort to confront a mounting desire for something more. Soon Abby sets in motion a double life as a high-end escort. Palpably sensual and deliciously contained, Concussion is a keen observation of the complicated contours in one woman’s epic mid-life crisis. The film mark the auspicious debut effort from writer-director Stacie Passon.

“Explicitly sexy.” — Screen Daily

“The film is frank in its depiction of sex, with many highly charged erotic scenes… Robin Weigert is spectacular in the film, delivering a performance of intense vulnerability and complete abandon.” — AfterEllen

“Concussion isn’t some sultry, titillating sex-fest, it’s an exploration of not just sexuality and human growth, but… a brilliantly nuanced look at the complications of modern relationships.” — Film Threat

Key to Concussion is the fearless performance of Weigert, best known for playing Calamity Jane on Deadwood.  – Village Voice