All-Americans, Director Billy McMillin

THE ALL-AMERICANS takes us into the home to the nation’s largest Latino immigrant population, East Los Angeles, a community that sits squarely in the crossfire of debate about American identity. Yet every November, this community comes together for a distinctly American event, drawing 25,000 proud locals to one of the country’s fiercest high school football rivalry games: The East L.A. Classic. THE ALL-AMERICANS follows four students seeking glory on the field, while grappling with personal obstacles and striving to make sense of their community’s place in today’s America. Director / Producer / Editor / Writer Billy McMillin (Iraq in Fragments, West of Memphis, Mike Wallace is Here) joins us to talk about his feature documentary debut, THE ALL-AMERICANS, and it’s intimate, unvarnished look at young men, often living on the margins, in their dogged pursuit of the American dream.

About the filmmaker: Billy McMillin – Director, Producer, Writer, Editor has spent over a decade as a writer and editor crafting a diverse mix of stories—from war-torn life in Academy Award Nominee Iraq in Fragments, to an epic search for justice in West of Memphis, to a quest for greatness amongst the world’s best 7-year-old golfers in The Short Game. He edited Hulu’s original documentaries Becoming Bond and Too Funny To Fail, and led a team of editors on History & Viceland’s docuseries Hunting ISIS and SundanceTV’s true crime series No One Saw a Thing. Most recently, he edited the all-archival feature documentary Mike Wallace Is Here, which premiered in competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was released theatrically by Magnolia Pictures this summer. The All-Americans is his feature directorial debut.

 

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

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Tags: #TheAllAmericans, #eastla, #eastlosangeles, #eastlaclassic, #eastlaclassic2019

“A winning fly-on-the-wall portrait of Latino Americanness, as reflected in East LA’s greatest high school football rivarly.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

Diego Maradona, Director Asif Kapadia

In this brilliant followup to his award-winning documentaries (SENNA, AMY) DIEGO MARADONA captures the athletic brilliance and maddening duality of a soccer player widely considered to be best player in the world from the moment he burst onto the scene in his native Argentina. And yet success proved elusive. He failed at Barcelona. He was considered a problem player, too interested in partying. Meanwhile, having never won a major tournament, the ailing Italian football giant SSC Napoli were perennial underachievers. Their fanatical support was unequalled in both passion and size. But how they ached for success… On 5th July 1984, Diego Maradona arrived in Naples for a world-record fee and for seven years all hell broke loose. The world’s most celebrated football genius and the most passionate but dangerous city in Europe were a perfect match for each other. Diego Maradona was blessed on the field and treated like a God off it; the charismatic Argentine loved a fight against the odds and led Naples to their first-ever League title. It was the stuff of dreams. But there was a price… Diego could do as he pleased while performing miracles on the pitch, but as time passed, darker days closed in. Italy turned on him. The third film from the Academy Award-winning & multi-BAFTA-winning team behind SENNA and AMY (director Asif Kapadia, producer James Gay-Rees, editor Chris King, composer Antonio Pinto), and also Paul Martin, DIEGO MARADONA was constructed from over 500 hours of never-before-seen footage from Maradona’s personal archive. DIEGO MARADONA is crafted in the style of SENNA and AMY. It is the definitive feature documentary on the charismatic enigma that is Maradona. In a city where even the devil would need bodyguards, Diego Maradona became a god. Maradona in Naples is the story of his life, the wild and unforgettable story of an unrivalled talent. He was a rebel, cheat, hero and god. This is a story of glory, despair and betrayal, a tale of corruption and, ultimately, of redemption. Director / Producer Asif Kapadia joins us to talk about the enigma of “Diego” and “Maradona.”

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to:hbo.com/documentaries/diego-maradona

For news, updates and screenings go to: diegomaradona.movie

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Asif Kapadia:

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website: diegomaradona.movie

“MESMERIZING… one of the most colorful and fascinating personalities in all of sports, with a life story bordering on the mythic. You may know outlines of the soccer legend’s life, but there’s no way you won’t learn something from DIEGO MARADONA, Asif Kapadia’s absorbing and exhaustive new film.” – Jocelyn Noveck, Associated Press

“a fame-technique movie, measured in crowd roars, off-field revelry, media run-ins, and fan scrums as dizzying accoutrements to success, but also – when Maradona succumbed to scandals surrounding women, an unclaimed son from an affair, cocaine, loyalty, and powerful mob friends – in how those same trappings can suddenly turn vicious, and a hero’s fall can go shockingly unsupported.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“[Kapadia] has edited cruddy video footage (some of which appears barely more than camcorder-grade) and photographs into a movie so fluid that it moves like a Hollywood production. He also dispenses with much of the filler common to documentaries… It is exhausting and exhilarating, cheap looking and slick, a documentary for Maradona fans but also for many others besides.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“Asif Kapadia has put together an extraordinarily intimate account of [Diego Maradona’s] rise and fall, enriched by grainy but graphic footage recording every phase of his life.” – Sandra Hall, Sydney Morning Herald

Blink of an Eye, Director Paul Taublieb

The riveting new documentary BLINK OF AN EYE chronicles the star-crossed relationship between Michael Waltrip, a perennial underdog, and Dale Earnhardt, the most feared & iconic driver in NASCAR history. On the fateful running of the Daytona 500 at the inception of the 2001 season, Michael Waltrip broke his 462-race losing streak in epic, but heart-breaking fashion, in what is considered the Super Bowl of motorsports. Triumph becomes tragedy, as Michael’s best friend and team owner, Dale Earnhardt, crashes in the final lap – creating a shocking debt that is paid back in spectacular and dramatic fashion on Waltrip’s emotionally- charged return to Daytona, and a race to the finish with Dale’s son, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Director /Producer / Writer Paul Taublieb stops by to talk about a story that runs the gamut of unrivaled success, enduring friendship, frustration, perseverance, exhilarating triumph and unbelievable tragedy. 

Filmmaker Statement – Great stories are a gift, and this one has all the elements – the dramatic intersection of triumph, tragedy, the unexpected, and amazing characters. It’s a story that transcends sports, much like Free Solo (2018) or The Endless Summer (1966), bringing a human quality that anyone can relate and be engaged to, whether you are a sports fan or not. My film resonates with themes of perseverance, grit, determination and above all, the redemptive transformation of friendship, even in tragedy. – Director Paul Taublieb

 

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For news and updates go to: blinkofaneyefilm.com

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“Even moviegoers with no vested interest in motorsports are apt to be moved by this bittersweet Cinderella-ish saga.” –  Nick Schager, Variety

“Part biography, part love-letter, the documentary is a testament of human perseverance and the power of individuals to shape the lives of those around them.” – Ian Thomas Malone, Ian Thomas Malone

“The pic will naturally hold its biggest appeal for racing buffs but may also prove appealing to nonfans thanks to the moving story at its core.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

“A solidly assembled documentary portrait by sports filmmaker Paul Taublieb.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times

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

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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

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:

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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