Film Maudit 2.0 – Executive Director Leo Garcia and Artistic Director Patrick Kennelly

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.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: filmmaudit.org

All films at the festival are free and available online January 12 through 24. Reservations are required and can be made for each program via Film Maudit 2.0’s Screening Portal: filmmaudit.org/filmmaudit

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

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The Booksellers, Director D.W. Young

D.W. Young’s elegant and absorbing documentary, THE BOOKSELLERS, is a lively tour of New York’s book world, populated by an assortment of obsessives, intellects, eccentrics and dreamers, past and present: from the Park Avenue Armory’s annual Antiquarian Book Fair, where original editions can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars; to the Strand and Argosy bookstores, still standing against all odds; to the beautifully crammed apartments of collectors and buyers. The film, executive produced by Parker Posey, features a range of commentators, including Fran Lebowitz, Susan Orlean, Gay Talese, and a community of dedicated book dealers and collectors who strongly believe in the wonder of the object and what it holds within. Director D.W. David Young joins us to talk about his endearing look into a vanishing institution, local bookstores, and the people who love them and the treasures they hold.

 

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About the filmmaker – D.W. Young / Director and Editor – D.W. Young’s films have screened at festivals around the world including SXSW, Vancouver International Film Festival, Maryland Film Festival, Provincetown Film Festival, Sarasota Film Festival and many more. His features A HOLE IN A FENCE and THE HAPPY HOUSE were released by First Run Features. Most recently his short A FAVOR FOR JERRY, filmed on election night 2016, premiered at IFF Boston.

For news, screenings and updates go to: booksellersdocumentary.com

The Booksellers is being distributed through greenwichentertainment.com

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“Though it opens with a quote from Susan Sontag invoking Jorge Luis Borges’s belief… the film is not about the content, but the container – the tactile, redolent artifact essential to book lovers and sought by collectors.” – Peter Keough, Boston Globe

“[A] charming documentary about the book world – or more specifically the book-as-object world, with antiquarian booksellers trying to reinvent themselves and their industry in a digital era.” – Jennifer Szalai, New York Times

“The Booksellers is a documentary for people who treasure the sheer look and feel of books… As a proud member of this diminishing tribe of obsessives, I am grateful there exists a film featuring my spiritual kinfolk.” – Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

“Pays warm-hearted tribute to the reading, but also the shopping, the rifling, the obsessing, the complaining, the dreaming, the list-making, the shelf-organizing, and everything else book-lovers love to do.” – Elizabeth Weitzman, TheWrap

Don’t Be Nice, Producer Nikhil Melnechuk

The high-energy documentary DON’T BE NICE, chronicles the upstart Bowery Slam Poetry Team, made up of five African-American, Afro-Hispanic and queer poets in their 20s, preparing for the national championships. Coach Lauren Whitehead pushes them past personal boundaries to write from a painfully honest place with the credo “Don’t Be Nice.” She explains that to “be nice” is to stay on the surface of things, is to perpetuate the status quo, and is, for black people, to be what White culture demands. Her team of poets breaks down, breaks through, and ultimately writes their masterpiece—a celebration of black joy. Timely and difficult, their spoken word slays—but will their soul-searching pieces about police violence and the whitewashing of Black culture be able to compete against choreographed crowd-pleasers for the national title? Will opting to make a statement instead of a show spell their defeat?  An emotional and inspiring film that gives insightful commentary on race, gender, identity and sexual politics in America today, DON’T BE NICE is both an exciting competition film and a deep dive into the wildly-popular Slam Poetry subculture, that proves once and for all that winning hearts and minds is the ultimate prize. Producer Nikhil Melnechuk joins us to talk about the phenomenally talented group of poets / writers / advocates that make up the Bowery Team and these from the heart, high-wire performances chronicled in this emotionally charged documentary.

 

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For news, screening and updates go to: dontbenicemovie.com

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“[T]he poets slam truth to power and demand audiences to wake up…this film will take you to places you never expected.” – Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

“[F]ull of ideas, riffs on current events and so much tension you’ll occasionally be holding your breath.” – Norman Wilner, NOW Toronto, ***** Top Ten Film of the Year

“Captures the revitalization of the artist in a world filled with doom, which makes it remarkably resonant.” – Candice Frederick, The Wrap

“Don’t Be Nice is as entertaining as it is revelatory, an important film for the times.” – Sean Boelman, Popaxiom

“This is Shakespeare on steroids, a poetic banquet of color, action, rhythm and sound that transcends expectations.” – Bev Questad, It’s Just Movies