Friday, May 31 – The Russian Five, Director Joshua Riehl

In the late 1980s, the Detroit Red Wings hockey team was a laughing stock, often called the “Dead Wings.” After a wealthy pizza magnate bought the failing franchise, he appointed an unorthodox General Manager to build a championship team. Throwing off conventional wisdom, the new GM looked to America’s mortal enemy in the Cold War, the Soviet Union itself. Through a plot that sounds like a spy novel, the Red Wings organization brought on one Russian after another, sneaking them out under cover of night and whisking them to the Motor City, only to find that the new players faced another problem: Integration. THE RUSSIAN FIVE follows the stories of the five Russian players that emigrated to America, took root in Detroit, Michigan, and struggled to fit in, all while training day and night to become Stanley Cup champions. The new immigrants had to learn to communicate with their teammates, assimilate into the culture, and become Americans. THE RUSSIAN FIVE is the true story of immigrants that became American heroes, teammates that became family, and a scrappy, resilient city that became Stanley Cup Champions, twice. It’s a story about hopes and dreams becoming reality, and the harsh reality of dreaming big. The names Fedorov, Larionov, Fetisov, Kozlov, and Konstantinov are legend now in the Motor City and their influence is still felt throughout the National Hockey League today. Director Joshua Riehl stops by to talk about the long and winding journey of five gifted athletes who changed the course of North American hockey.

 

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For news and updates go to: therussianfive.com

Social Media

facebook.com/theRussianFive

twitter.com/RussianFiveFilm

instagram.com/therussianfive

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“One of the most dramatic and emotional of sports stories gets the expert film it deserves in “The Russian Five,” a documentary that is moving in ways you won’t see coming.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“It’s a story fans already know well, but “The Russian Five” lays it out in a compelling, easily digestible fashion. And it shows how without a major assist from Russia, Detroit would have never become Hockeytown.” – Adam Graham, Detroit News

“I know a good story when I see one and … this new passionately-realized debut feature from director Joshua Riehl got me involved in its sport, its personalities and its man-made mythos.” – Glenn Dunks, The FIlm Experience

“Timely, insightful, well-structured and thoughtful…” – Michael Ward, Should I See It

Friday May 17 – Wrestle, Co-directors Suzannah Herbert and Lauren Belfer

*** Independent Lens Spotlight

WRESTLE takes us inside the lives of four members of the high school wrestling team at Huntsville’s J.O. Johnson High School, a longstanding entry on Alabama’s list of failing schools. Teammates Jailen, Jamario, Teague, and Jaquan face challenges far beyond a shot at the state championship: splintered families, drug use, teenage pregnancy, mental health struggles, and run-ins with the law threaten to derail their athletic success and lock doors that might open their future. Their tough-love coach Chris Scribner isn’t off the hook, either; he must come to terms with his own past while unwittingly wading into the complexities of race, class and privilege. Director Suzannah Herbert and co-director Lauren Belfer captured over 650 hours of footage during the team’s final season to create this closely observed, deeply affecting depiction of growing up disadvantaged in America. Wrestle premieres on Independent Lens Monday, May 20, 10:00-11:30 PM ET (check local listings) on PBS and will also be available simultaneously for online streaming at pbs.org.

 

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For news and updates go to: wrestlefilm.com

For more about Independent Lens and Wrestle schedule go to: independentlens

About the Filmmakers:

Suzannah Herbert (Director/Writer/Producer), originally from Memphis, Tennessee, is a documentary filmmaker. Her NYU Tisch senior thesis, Home Game, premiered at DOC NYC. Herbert was the associate producer on Free Angela & All Political Prisoners, directed by Shola Lynch, and has since worked as an assistant editor on Michael Moore’s Where to Invade Next and Fahrenheit 11/9, and Martin Scorsese’s upcoming documentary, Rolling Thunder Revue, about Bob Dylan’s pivotal 1975 tour. Herbert made her feature directorial debut with Wrestle, which won 11 awards on the 2018 festival circuit, and was distributed theatrically by Oscilloscope in 2019.

Lauren Belfer (Co-Director/Writer/Lead Producer) is a producer and filmmaker based in Brooklyn. Most recently she was the line and field producer on Martin Scorsese’s Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story (Netflix 2019), and she has frequently collaborated with Michael Moore, having worked on Fahrenheit 11/9, Trumpland, and the Oscar-shortlisted Where to Invade Next. Belfer produced the narrative feature After Louie (BFI 2017), starring Alan Cumming, and the documentary Hotline (Hot Docs 2014). Belfer’s directorial debut, Wrestle, garnered 11 awards on the festival circuit, including two audience awards and the Maysles Brothers Award for Best Documentary Film.

Social Media:

facebook.com/WrestleFilm

twitter.com/WrestleTheFilm

instagram.com/wrestlefilm

“Profiling four members of an underdog high-school wrestling team in Huntsville, Alabama, “Wrestle” constructs an empathetic portrait of a mat that’s anything but level.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

“Wrestle will completely suck you in from beginning to end. It’s is a heartbreaking, yet honest look at the more poverty-torn cities in our country.” – Dante Jones, Film Threat

“Sometimes hopeful, other times heartbreaking, Wrestle is an honest portrait of disadvantaged American youth that will inspire empathy and leave viewers with lots to ponder.” Kieran Fisher, Nonfics

“One reason “Wrestle” is so effective is that director Herbert and cinematographer Sinisa Kukic made the decision to move to Huntsville for the duration of the shoot.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

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

For the last 20 years the Newport Beach Film Festival has brought the best of classic and contemporary filmmaking from around the world to Orange County. Under the direction of CEO and Co-founder Gregg Schwenk and the festival’s staff have been committed to entertaining and enlightening the public with a first-class international film program as well as providing a forum for cultural understanding and enriching educational opportunities, the Festival focuses on showcasing a diverse collection of both studio and independent films. The Festival supports the creation and advancement of innovative and artistic cinematic works from both emerging and seasoned filmmakers and proudly embraces the passion, vision and independent spirit of these talented artists. With the integration of the local community and educational institutions, the Festival stimulates an interest in the study and appreciation of film and encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to participate. The Community Outreach Program was created with the idea that film offers new perspectives and possibilities for a changing world. Each year, the Festival partners with over 40 non-profit organizations and pairs each philanthropic organization with a film that aligns with their mission. The Festival gives non-profit organizations a forum to voice their message to large audiences and spread awareness of their organization and mission through the medium of film. Areas of focus include the arts, health and human services, the environment, education, children’s causes, seniors’ and veterans’ programs, and alumni clubs. CEO and Co-founder Gregg Schwenk joins us to talk about a remarkable festival line-up of comedies, dramas, short films, action sports, classics, documentaries, musicals and foreign film excellence.

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

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

The Cradle of Champions- Director Bartle Bull

The most awarded “dream team” of documentary talent in decades CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS captures the epic story of three young people fighting for their lives in the oldest, biggest, most important amateur boxing tournament in the world: New York’s Daily News Golden Gloves. CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS follows three extraordinary, inspiring individuals—James Wilkins, Nisa Rodriguez, and Titus Williams—on an urban odyssey through a ten-week tournament, founded in 1927, that has produced more professional world champions than the Olympic Games. Telling a compelling story of dreams, heartbreak, and redemption, the result is a unique work of art. CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS is edge-of-the-seat drama with the polish of a Hollywood feature film and the intimacy of a gritty cinéma vérité classic.CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS Director Bartle Bull is a noted author and journalist who has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Financial Times. He joins us for a conversation on his desire to document an iconic sporting event that is teetering on the edge of extinction and the community that continues to support it.

 

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Cradle of Champions Dream Team:

Director of Photography, TOM HURWITZ ASC, – (Valentino: The Last Emperor, Queen of Versailles)

KIRSTEN JOHNSON – (Citizenfour, Cameraperson)

MATT PORWOLL – (Cartel Land )

WOLFGANG WELD – (Escape Fire: The Fight to Save American Health Care, Carrier)

NADIA HELLGREN – (Trapped, Searching for Sugarman, Fahrenheit 11/9)

Editor MICHAEL LEVINE – (Restrepo, Central Park Five, Billy the Kid)

Producer MAIKEN BAIRD – (Icarus, City of Ghosts, Client 9: The Trial of Eliot Spitzer)

Executive Producer DONALD ROSENFELD – (Tree of Life, Jodorowsky’s Dune)

For news and updates go to: cradleofchampionsfilm.com

“A new standard for character-driven narrative documentary… the excitement, the powerful story arc, and the unforgettable characters one expects from a first rate fiction film.”Santa Barbara Independent

Edge-of-the-seat drama with the polish of a Hollywood feature and the intimacy of a cinéma vérité classic.WeAreMovieGeeks.com

CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS wins Best Feature award at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, capturing “real life… with cinematic beauty”The Missoulian