Peanut Butter Falcon, Michael Schwartz and Tyler Nilson

THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON is an adventure story set in the world of a modern Mark Twain that begins when Zak (Gottsagen), a young man with Down syndrome, runs away from a nursing home where he lives to chase his dream of becoming a professional wrestler and attending the wrestling school of The Salt Water Redneck. Through circumstances beyond their control Tyler (LaBeouf), a small time outlaw on the run, becomes Zak’s unlikely coach and ally. Together they wind through deltas, elude capture, drink whisky, find God, catch fish, and convince Eleanor (Johnson), a kind nursing home employee with a story of her own, to join them on their journey. THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON stars Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, Thomas Haden Church, Bruce Dern, John Hawkes and newcomer, Zack Gottsagen, premiered back in March at SXSW and was a huge critical success, with a current score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film also won over fans, taking home the Audience Award for Narrative Spotlight. Co-directors and co-writers Michael Schwartz and Tyler Nilson stop by to talk about there experiences and the stacks of miracles that brought this heart-warming tale of friendship and reaching for your dreams.

 

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

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97% on Rotten Tomatoes

“LaBeouf brings the soul to “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” while Gottsagen brings the spirit. He has an undeniably charming screen presence, and the actor takes to this starring role with gusto.” – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times

“A heartwarming, tender and funny adventure grounded in humanism. Refreshingly witty and unconventional. It’s one of the summer’s best surprises.” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru

“What’s clear is that a lot of development time, movie resources, and A-List actors all came together to make a masterpiece of a film centering on one person…Zack Gottsagen.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat

“‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’ is a sweet, warm story about dreams and the family you choose. Zack Gottsagen is pure comedy. Shia LaBeof is giving me sexy, scruffy with substance and the pairing of these two on screen is perfection.” – Carla Renata, The Curvy Film Critic

BlackStar Film Festival, Founder Maori Karmael Holmes

The BlackStar Film Festival (BlackStar) returns August 1-4, 2019 with a stellar slate of black, brown and indigenous films from around the globe. The BlackStar Film Festival is an annual celebration of the visual and storytelling traditions of the African diaspora and of global communities of color, showcasing films by black, brown and indigenous people from around the world. Continuing its legacy of discovery and excellence, audiences can expect must-see film premieres, poignant artist discussions, and discover new cinematic favorites from this year’s class of emerging filmmakers. Founded in 2012 by Maori Karmael Holmes, BlackStar has become the hottest event on the film festival calendar. With a program unlike any other, BlackStar is the destination to discover new artists voices from Black and global indigenous filmmakers. Artists including Terence Nance (An Oversimplification of Her Beauty; HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness), and Matthew A. Cherry (9 RIdes; ABC’s Whiskey Cavalier), and Nijla Baseema Mu’min (Jinn) have shared their work at the festival and from BlackStar cultivated a fanbase that has grown with their careers.  

 

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For news and updates go to blackstarfest.org

BlackStar Festival Film Highlights:

This year’s festival features sneak preview of Hip-Hop: The Songs That Shook America, a new documentary series directed by directed Erik Parker and One9.

From Executive Producers Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Shawn Gee, and Alex Gibney, Fear No Gumbo, a documentary feature directed by Kimberly Rivers Roberts, about the 13 years since the deadly Category 5 Hurricane Katrina that made landfall on Florida and Louisiana and the corruption and systemic racism that still victimizes the residents that returned after Katrina. 

A new documentary from Emmy Award-winning director and  Macarthur “genius” fellow Stanley Nelson (The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution). Boss which explores over 150 years of African American entrepreneurship, from bondage to billion dollar moguls.

Academy Award-winning  director, Roger Ross Williams (Music By Prudence, God Loves Uganda) will be on-hand for the debut of his latest documentary The Apollo chronicling the unique history and contemporary legacy of New York City’s landmark Apollo Theater.

Panels and Awards:

BlackStar will present the Luminary Award to Marcia Smith, President of Firelight Media

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of Do The Right Thing, filmmaker Spike Lee and activist Tarana Burke will discuss the possibilities of using radical storytelling to center social justice and foster narrative change. 

For news and updates go to blackstarfest.org

Free Trip to Egypt, Director Ingrid Serban and Producer / Creator Tarek Mounib

The documentary FREE TRIP to EGYPT is the brainchild of Canadian-Egyptian entrepreneur Tarek Mounib to build a bridge of mutual understanding and friendship with the very people who fear him. Traveling across the United States to find Americans concerned about an Islamic threat, he makes them an intriguing offer – a free trip to Egypt. With initial reactions ranging from suspicion to hostility, Tarek Mounib embarks on a mission.  Traveling from sunny California to a Trump Rally in Kentucky, from a small town in the heart of Georgia, to Union Square in NYC, they cobble together a diverse group of people – including a school teacher, police officer, Marine Corps veteran, single mom, preacher and beauty pageant queen.  All have preconceptions and misgivings, but are open and courageous enough to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Arriving in Cairo, the Americans spend 10 days paired with locals just as diverse as them – and possibly with just as many misconceptions. What happens when a retired teacher and her husband are united with a young Egyptian revolutionary? Or when a Christian missionary and a born-again, former Miss Kentucky are housed with an orthodox Muslim family where the mother wears a burqa? Or when a police officer faces off with a radical, left-leaning journalist? The answers are provocative, surprising, funny, magical, emotional, revealing, enlightening and ultimately life-changing, in other words, all things human. When people look beyond their ethnicity, political affiliations, religious beliefs, economic status and connect at a human level, it¹s a transformative and universal message for everyone to come together and join the global #PledgeToListen initiative, a social media revolution of acceptance. Director Ingrid Serban and Producer Tarek Mounib talk about the challenges and rewards of working on the revelatory and heartwarming FREE TRIP to EGYPT.

For news and updates go to: FreeTripToEgypt.com

Social Media:

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 Twitter.com/FreeTripToEgypt  

Instagram.com/FreeTripToEgyp

Los Angeles opening:

Friday, June 7 at the MONICA FILM CENTER

1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Q&A immediately following 7:10 PM Screening with Creator/Producer Tarek Mounib and Director Ingrid Serban

“Gently observing how many of our fellow Americans are full of fear while trying, in its tiny way, to do something about that, Ingrid Serban’s Free Trip to Egypt offers just that to a handful of travelers.”  – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Executive Director Francis Cullado

** 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.

 

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 For news and updates go to: festival.vcmedia.org/2019

LEARN MORE ABOUT LAAPFF and VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS:

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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 River and The Wall, Director Ben Masters

** Newport Beach Film Festival Spotlight

THE  RIVER AND THE WALL follows five friends on an immersive adventure through the unknown wilds of the Texas borderlands as they travel from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico on horses, mountain bikes, and canoes. Conservation filmmaker Ben Masters realizes the urgency of documenting the last remaining wilderness in Texas as the threat of new border wall construction looms ahead. Masters recruits NatGeo Explorer Filipe DeAndrade, ornithologist Heather Mackey, river guide Austin Alvarado, and conservationist Jay Kleberg to join him on the two-and-a-half-month journey down 1,200 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. They set out to document the borderlands and explore the potential impacts of a border wall on the natural environment, but as the wilderness gives way to the more populated and heavily trafficked Lower Rio Grande Valley, they come face-to-face with the human side of the immigration debate and enter uncharted emotional waters. Ben Masters is best known for his UNBRANDED, a feature documentary on Netflix, in which he and three friends adopted 16 wild mustangs, trained them, and rode 3,000 miles from Mexico to Canada to inspire wild horse adoptions. Director Ben Masters join us to talk about the spectacular natural beauty of the Rio Grande Valley, the people who live along the Mexico – American border and the on-the-ground reality of a border wall.

 

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For news and updates go to: theriverandthewall.com

For more on the filmmaker go to: benmasters.com

Social Media:

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“If The River and the Wall runs the risk of being too repetitive, Masters breaks up the argument with a sense of adventure.” – Alan Zilberman, Washington City Paper

“Visually stunning and politically sharp.” – Caryn James, Hollywood Reporter

“The River and the Wall is going to be one of the most-talked about documentaries of 2019 because of its timeliness in the current political environment.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

Apollo 11, Director Todd Douglas Miller

From director Todd Douglas Miller (Dinosaur 13) comes APOLLO 11 a cinematic event fifty years in the making. Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, APOLLO 11 takes us straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission—the one that first put men on the moon, and forever made Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins into household names. Immersed in the perspectives of the astronauts, the team in Mission Control, and the millions of spectators on the ground, we vividly experience those momentous days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future. APOLLO 11 director Todd Douglas Miller joins us to talk about taking on the challenge of sifting through a mountain of audio and video, developing new technologies for processing and enhancing 16mm film stock and capturing the tension and triumph of an incomparable achievement in human history.

 

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Starting Friday, March 1 – Exclusive One-Week IMAX Apollo 11 experience

Starting Friday, March 8 – The Apollo 11 theatrical opening

All theater and ticket information available at the Apollo11movie.com

Social Media:

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Reviews: 100% Rotten Tomatoes

“The result is a stirring companion piece to Damien Chazelle’s recent “First Man,” and one no less worth seeing on the big screen when Neon releases it in theaters worldwide.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

“‘Apollo 11″ is a cool, meticulous, at times enthralling documentary that captures the Apollo 11 flight in its entirety through raw footage drawn from the NASA vaults.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“The images astound, the audio soundtrack is a master class in montage, and the events captured are herculean in scope.” – Jason Gorber, High Def Digest

“A masterful work of archival research.” – Nate Jones, New York Magazine / Vulture

Netflix’s Dark Tourist, Director David Farrier

Netflix newest series Dark Tourist is the latest project of New Zealand journalist / filmmaker David Farrier, (Tickled), the doc that uncovered an unbelievable tickle fetish empire. In the new NETFLIX series, Farrier travels around the world trying to find the most dangerous and scariest experiences available to tourists. In the show we see a wounded Farrier going into an eerie hospital, being at the center of a war zone, a man breaking a statue on his own head, a killer named Popeye holding the gun at someone, and a woman telling Farrier to stay back because she doesn’t want him to be “possessed.” In one Los Angeles based episode Farrier is warned that he’ll be hurt, drowned, and buried. And yet nothing seems to deter this intrepid thrill seeker. Dark Tourist Director and creator David Farrier joins us to talk about the where, why and WTF of his newest adventure.

 

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For news and updates go to: netflix.com