My Little Sister – Co-directors Stephanie Chuat and Veronique Reymond

In this moving, yet unsentimental tale from co-directors Stephanie Chuat and Veronique Reymond brilliant playwright Lisa (Nina Hoss) no longer writes. She lives in Switzerland with her family but her heart has stayed in Berlin, beating to the rhythm of her twin brother’s heart. The ties between the twins have grown stronger since Sven (Lars Eidinger) was diagnosed with an aggressive type of leukemia. He’s a famous theater actor and Lisa refuses to accept his fate, moving heaven and earth to get him back on stage. She gives her all for her soul mate, neglecting everything else, even risking her marriage. Her relationship with her husband starts to fall apart, but Lisa only has eyes for her brother, her mirror, who connects her back with her aspirations and rekindles her desire to create, to feel alive… Co-directors Stephanie Chuat and Veronique Reymond join us for a conversation on their exceptional and beautifully rendered drama on family, mortality, options and love.

For newsand updates go to: filmmovement.com/my-little-sister

To watch go to: filmmovement.com/virtual-cinema-guide

Official submission of Switzerland for the ‘Best International Feature Film’ category of the 93rd Academy Awards in 2021.

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Chuat and Reymond take their time unspooling a graceful drama that twists the tear-soaked conventions of the cancer drama into something raw and satisfying.” – Kate Erbland, IndieWire

“Nina Hoss …turns every moment into an acting master class.” – Boyd van Hoeij , The Hollywood Reporter

“A miraculous performance piece….” – Andrew Bundy, The Playlist
“With performances deeply entrenched in character ordeal and interpersonal ties, My Little Sister could not have come at a better time. “ – Joseph Braverman, We Live Entertainment

““My Little Sister” …is a thoughtful and deep look at the bonds both breakable and unbreakable in family.” – Neely Swanson, Easy Reader News

What Would Sophia Loren Do? Director Ross Kauffman

What Would Sophia Loren Do? is a documentary short film that follows Vincenza “Nancy” Kulik, an Italian-American mother and grandmother living in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Nancy has seen her share of tragedy, but she has always been able to stay positive, inspired in part by another Italian mother, the movie star Sophia Loren. Nancy uses the question “What Would Sophia Loren Do?” as a guide to questions big and small. For example, “Would Sophia Loren eat whole wheat pasta?” Nancy thinks not. This phrase can also provide comfort and a source of strength in times of crisis. In 2016, Vincenza’s 51-year-old son died suddenly while undergoing a routine operation. Vincenza was devastated. She would seek solace in the love of her friends and family. But as she describes it, Vincenza also used the example of Sophia’s grace to help her get through the days and find the strength to persevere. For Vincenza, the words “What would Sophia Loren do?” have truly helped her to heal during some of the most difficult times of her life. Through the experiences of these two women we come to understand what it means to face life’s challenges with resilience and to age with courage, grit, and humor. The film debuts on Netflix on January 15 and is already heavily buzzed for the Oscar in the shorts category. There’s particular attention on Sophia this year, given her other Oscar-buzzed performance in The Life Ahead, directed by her son, Eduardo Ponti. Academy Award winning director Ross Kauffman (Born into Brothels, Tigerland) joins us to talk about the connection he shares with Vincenza, professionally and personally, and how her indomitable presence permeates this wonderfully alive story.

https://www.netflix.com/title/81404845

The Reason I Jump – Director Jerry Rothwell

THE REASON I JUMP is an immersive cinematic exploration of neuro-diversity through the experiences of non-speaking autistic people from around the world, based on the best-selling book by Naoki Higashida. The film blends Higashida’s revelatory insights into autism, written when he was just 13, with intimate portraits of five remarkable young people. It opens a window for audiences into an intense and overwhelming, but often joyful, sensory universe. Moments in the lives of each of the characters are linked by the journey of a young Japanese boy through an epic landscape; narrated passages from Naoki’s writing reflect on what his autism means to him and others, how his perception of the world differs, and why he acts in the way he does: the reason he jumps. THE REASON I JUMP distills these elements into a sensually rich tapestry that leads us to Naoki’s core message: not being able to speak does not mean there is nothing to say. Director Jerry Rothwell stops by to talk about his deeply empathetic look into the lives of people with autism from around the world, with each story broadening our perspective and understanding of what it means to be a neuro-diverse person. 

 

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For news and updates go to: the-reason-i-jump

About the filmmaker – Jerry Rothwell is a filmmaker whose work includes the award-winning feature documentaries: The Reason I Jump, based on the bestselling book by Naoki Higashida; How To Change The World, about the founders of Greenpeace; Sour Grapes (co-directed with Reuben Atlas) a film about a wine counterfeiter Town of Runners, about two girls in an Ethiopian village who aspire to be athletes; Donor Unknown, about a sperm donor and his many offspring; School In The Cloud, about radical educationalist, Sugata Mitra; Heavy Load, about a group of people with learning disabilities who form a punk band, and Deep Water (co-directed with Louise Osmond), about Donald Crowhurst’s ill-fated voyage in the 1968 round the world yacht race. His work has won numerous accolades including two Grierson Awards, a Sundance Special Jury Prize, an RTS Award, the IDA Pare Lorentz Award and a BAFTA nomination.

About the writer (The Reason I Jump) – Naoki Higashida was born in Kimitsu, Japan in 1992. Diagnosed with severe autism when he was five, he subsequently learned to communicate using a handmade alphabet grid and began to write poems and short stories. At the age of thirteen he wrote The Reason I Jump, which was published in Japan in 2007. Its English translation came out in 2013, and it has now been published in more than thirty languages. Higashida has since published several books in Japan, including children’s and picture books, poems, and essays. He continues to give presentations throughout Japan about his experience of autism.

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WINNER – World Cinema Documentary Audience Award – Sundance FF 2020 
NOMINEE – Best Cinematography – Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards 2020
NOMINEE – Best Feature – IDA Documentary Awards 2020
NOMINEE – Best Director – IDA Documentary Awards 2020 NOMINEE – Best Documentary – British Independent Film Awards 2020

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Wondrous… A work that enlightens and informs but that is also ravishing

to behold.” – Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter

“While The Reason I Jump is a profound and moving experience, one that isn’t easy to forget, it’s most effective when operating as an experimental work.” – John Fink, The Film Stage

“An inventive, sensuous documentary worthy of its source… This compassionate, creative documentary will open ears and eyes in equal measure.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“Exquisite… All aspects of this film deserve praise.” – Fionnuala Halligan, Screen

The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story, Co-directors Adam Sweeney and Scott Barber

The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story is a deep dive into the origin story for one of the most successful cable operations in media history as well as the many reasons why millions of children and adults made the Nickelodeon Network synonymous with growing up. In just a few years, the channel grew from a small local channel to an international phenomenon that helped shape a generation. Led by trailblazing visionary Geraldine Laybourne and her commitment to putting kids first, a group of unconventional heroes turned an underdog channel into an $8 billion dollar juggernaut as the golden standard for children’s programming. The Orange Years chronicles the rise of Nickelodeon, with the actors, writers, and creators from all the golden age Nickelodeon shows that shaped your lives. It’s wild. It’s crazy. It changed the world. Co-directors Adam Sweeney and Scott Barber join us for a conversation on the unlikely history of a children’s cable network that really was about and for kids from its quirky lo-fi programming to the young at heart creators who have never lost dight of who their audience is.

For news and updates go to: theorangeyears.com

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18 to Party, Director Jeff Roda

It’s 1984 and outside a small-town nightclub, a group of 8th graders gather, grappling with a spate of recent suicides, UFO sightings, their absentee parents, and each other. 18 TO PARTY spans a single evening in the lives of these kids, but manages to transport us fully to a time when waiting for something to happen felt just as significant as the thing itself. Gorgeously atmospheric, with a pulsating sense of anticipation that steadily builds, the film pulls us into the fears, wounds, and desires of each character, ultimately revealing that hope may arrive from the last place we expect. The meticulously authentic production design, killer soundtrack, and universally excellent performances recall the spirit of classic 80s teen movies like Stand By Me and The Breakfast Club. 18 TO PARTY is a spot-on love letter to Gen X, awkward teenagers, and the transcendent power of friendship. Director Jeff Roda joins us for a conversation on the universal trials and tribulations of youth, working with a very talented group of actors and the inspiration for his insightful new film.

 

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For news and updates go to: 18topartymovie.com

About the filmmaker: Jeff Roda has written screenplays for DreamWorks, Universal, Paramount Pictures, New Regency, TriStar, and television pilots for HBO, CBS, and Warner Bros. Additionally, he was a producer on the Sony Pictures Classics feature, Love Liza, starring Academy Award winning actors Philip Seymour Hoffman and Kathy Bates. 18 TO PARTY marks his directorial debut. Roda is a local resident of Woodstock area and the film is set in Upstate New York.

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“If John Hughes and Richard Linklater had a love child, it would be 18 to Party.” – Sean Boelman. WORLD FILM GEEK

“A riveting meditation on Gen X cynicism.” – Ken Scrudato, BLACKBOOK

“No film captures the purgatory of adolescence better than 18 to Party which gets its premiere today at the Woodstock Film Festival. Writer/Director Jeff Roda so perfectly captures the tension of this time period I found myself having middle school flashbacks.” – Tyler Unsell, SIGNAL HORIZON

“18 to Party feels like dropping in on an episode of Stranger Things that takes place between seasons.” Dan Metz, DOWNTOWN MAGAZINE

“18 TO PARTY was an instant time machine back to a time when social media was science fiction, and friendships were flesh and bone instead of 2D digital snaps.” – Matt Mungle, MUNGLE SHOW

The State of Texas vs Melissa, Director Sabrina Van Tassel

In her exasperating new documentary, THE STATE OF TEXAS VS. MELISSA, Sabrina Van Tassel explores the life journey of Melissa Lucio, the first Hispanic woman to be sentenced to death in the state of Texas. For over ten years she has been awaiting her fate, and now faces her last appeal. No one had ever seen Melissa be violent towards her children, yet she was blamed for the daily abuse and subsequent death of her two-year-old daughter, who died from blunt head trauma. Set in the heart of the Latino community of South Texas, the film takes a look at Melissa’s broken childhood, her adult life plagued by poverty and prejudice, and the miscarriage of justice Melissa faced, from the court appointed attorney who willingly set aside evidence, to the District attorney who used her case to help his re-election. THE STATE OF TEXAS VS. MELISSA is the portrait of a woman’s fight against an entire system. Director Sabrina Van Tassel joins us for a conversation on the draconian nature of justice in the state of Texas and how the chance to prove that the accused can pass a point of no return.

For news, updates and screenings go to: the-state-of-texas-vs-melissa

Official Selection of the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival

About the filmmaker – Director Sabrina Van Tassel is a French American film director and a journalist. As an investigative reporter she has directed over 45 documentary films for the last 15 years for major television programs. Focusing mainly on social and politically motivated matters such as women forced into marriage, underage sex trafficking, post-traumatic stress, children in the white nationalist movement, women in prison and the holocaust. THE SILENCED WALLS (2015) was her first documentary theatrically released. Critically acclaimed by the French press, it told her journey to discover the history of the Drancy camp, the biggest internment camp, turned into a social housing building at the end of the war. 

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“Though it’s a gut-wrenching story, The State of Texas vs. Melissa, works hard to offer viewers the smallest semblance of hope.” – Sarah Marloff, Austin Chronicle

“Director Sabrina Van Tassel does an excellent job of drawing in the audience to the labyrinthian case of Melissa Lucio.” – Lorry Kikta,Film Threat

“That Sabrina Van Tassel is able to convey the bafflingly wide array of information available in a fairly calm and reasonable manner is an accomplishment in itself.” – Andrea Thompson, A Reel of One’s Own

“The State of Texas vs. Melissa unfolds slowly, meticulously, and with intent. Every question you find arising will be answered – but in time.” – Stephanie Archer, Film Inquiry

 

Apocalypse ’45, Director Erik Nelson

Erik Nelson’s latest documentary Apocalypse ‘45 draws upon over 700 reels of footage from the National Archives covering the harrowing expanse of the final months of the War in the Pacific. Very little of this material has ever been screened, and none of it has ever been digitally restored, frame by frame, to 4K. Because of Apocalypse ‘45 another treasure was uncovered and restored — astonishing new footage captured by legendary director John Ford. In essence, a “lost film” by Ford, it depicts the ruins of the Pacific Fleet, and the terrible aftermath of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Also driving the narrative of Apocalypse ‘45 are recently completed interviews with two dozen men who lived through these nightmarish events. All of these men were in their mid to late 90’s, with the oldest, B-29 pilot Thomas Vaucher, 101 years old at the time of his February 2020 interview. Apocalypse ‘45  documents events from the flag raising at Iwo Jima in February to the harrowing kamikaze attacks and vicious ground combat at Okinawa in April to the first test of the atomic bomb in the remote deserts of New Mexico on July 16th. In addition, we witness the air war over Japan in the summer of 1945, and perhaps most astonishingly, the still burning ruins of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, when a U.S Army medical camera crew photographed the devastation to both the city and its inhabitants. Director Erik Nelson (Grizzly Man, A Gray State, Cave of Forgotten Dreams), joins us to talk about the recent discovery of “lost” film, access to hundreds of hours from the National Archive, his conversations with the men who fought in the Pacific and the fate of the American Empire. 

 

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For news and updates go to: discovery.com/shows/apocalypse-45

To watch Apocalypse ’45 go to: abramorama.com/apocalypse45

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“As you watch “Apocalypse ’45,” the story of what war is only becomes deeper.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“A fascinating look at the final months of the brutal War in the Pacific [that] stands apart from most other takes on the subject.” – Peter Sobczynski, RogerEbert.com

“A stately, somber reminder of the soul-scarring god-awfulness of war and its catastrophic consequences, and a heartfelt salute to those who answered the call of something much bigger than themselves.” – Neil Pond, Parade Magazine

“Narrated by members of The Great Generation, this documentary about the final six months of the Pacific theater in World War II, contains startling archival film never before shown.” – Harvey S. Karten, Big Apple Reviews

Accidental Climber, Director Steven Oritt and Subject Jim Geiger

ACCIDENTAL CLIMBER tells the story of Jim Geiger, a retired forest-ranger and amateur mountaineer from Sacramento, CA who at 68 years old, attempts to become the oldest American and first great grandfather to summit Mt. Everest. The world’s highest mountain is known to torture the mind, body, and soul of those who dare to do what few have ever achieved. ACCIDENTAL CLIMBER follows Jim as he embarks on a journey to transform from a weekend hiker to attempting one of the most extreme and physically demanding feats known to man. Driven by a desire to prove that age is just a number, Jim pushes his body to the limits in the quest to summit the world’s tallest mountain. What ensued however, was the worst disaster in mountaineering history, leaving sixteen climbers dead in a tragic avalanche and forever changing Jim’s life. Director Steven Oritt joins us to talk about getting to know Jim Geiger, working through the multiple challenges of shooting in high altitude and Jim Geiger talks about the rigors of climbing in the Himalayans and the emotionally wrenching experience he witnessed during his journey to conquer the world’s highest peak.

 

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For news and updates go to:facebook.com/accidentalclimber

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“Succinct but affecting, Accidental Climber serves as a gentle reminder that age really is just a number, and sometimes it’s not about achieving your dreams, it’s about the pursuit of them.” – Alex Saveliev, Film Threat

The Con, Producer Patrick Lovell

The 2008 financial crisis seemed to hit the American landscape out of nowhere. But in reality, it was both the inevitable conclusion to 40 years of Wall Street misconduct, and a warning for the meltdown that threatens to engulf us now. In the gripping original five-part docu-series THE CON, filmmaker Patrick Lovell investigates what happened, beginning with personal stories — including the foreclosure of his own Utah home, and the suicide of a 91-year-old African American widow in Akron, Ohio — before zooming out to examine the corrupt systems that doomed the United States to government funded bailouts that would only perpetuate a predatory system. Lovell also looks back to when the government properly functioned for the people it represented by holding banks accountable during the Great Depression and rescuing the country from the S&L Crisis of the late 1980s. Through interviews with those inside the 2008 crisis — regulators, former officials, foreclosure victims, industry whistleblowers, and journalists — Lovell and writer-director Eric Vaughan connect the dots to what America used to be, and most crucially, where we’re going in 2020, as nearly 40 million Americans are claiming unemployment by summer 2020. Amongst the many heartbreaks and horrors of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cracks that it exposed in the fragile financial tapestry of the world’s biggest economy are more evidence that THE CON is still on. Producer Patrick Lovell joins us to talk about THE CON’s sweeping inquiry into the blatant criminality perpetrated by the country’s most powerful financial and real estate interests colluding to bilk millions of Americans out of trillions of dollars, robbing them of their most important assets, pensions and housing.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: thecon.tv

The Con is being released through Abramorama.com

 
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The Cuban – Director Sergio Navarretta

THE CUBAN tells the story of nineteen-year-old Mina Ayoub, (Ana Golja) a pre-med student who has given up her dream of becoming a singer. Orphaned as a baby in Afghanistan, Mina’s grandfather sent her to Canada at the age of eight to live with a lone aunt, Bano (Shohreh Agdashloo). Mina longs to return to a better time when, as a child, she and her grandfather would sing and play music together. Thanks to Bano, Mina has a part-time job in a long-term care home. It’s there that Mina meets the withdrawn and enigmatic resident Luis (Louis Gossett Jr.). Luis spends his time in a wheelchair in a quiet corner of the room, retreated inside his own mind. Mina brings a record player into his room. Luis reacts, reminisces, dances, reveals his incredible life as a famous musician in Cuba, and talks about the one great love who was left behind. THE CUBAN is a celebration and exploration of the power of music to connect and reset people’s outlook on life. Director, Producer and Co-screenwriter Sergio Navarretta joins us to talk about his warm-hearted tale of people in search of place and end up on a musical journey of love, friendship and the power of imagination.

 

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

About the filmmaker: Sergio Navarretta made his directorial debut with LOOKING FOR ANGELINA, a true crime feature that tells the story of one of the most sensational murder cases in North American history. LOOKING FOR ANGELINA won numerous awards, was showcased at festivals around the world, played to sold-out theatres in fifteen Canadian cities, and ranked amongst the top five in box office revenues for Canadian films at the time. Navarretta’s follow-up feature, THE COLOSSAL FAILURE OF THE MODERN RELATIONSHIP, starring Enrico Colantoni (“Just Shoot Me”). Between features, Navarretta has directed a number of award-winning short films, including THE FORTUNE COOKIE, OVER A SMALL CUP OF COFFEE and EN PLEIN AIR, an homage to the Group of Seven.  He also worked as a producer, service producer and executive producer under his own company banner, S.N.A.P. Films Inc., as well as for various international clients.  He executive produced (for Canada) the sci-fi movie, ANDRON starring Danny Glover and Alec Baldwin.  He is an executive producer of the biopic LAMBORGHINI, starring Alec Baldwin and Antonio Banderas, and was a consulting producer on TRADING PAINT, starring John Travolta.  Navarretta is proud to have executive produced and overseen all aspects of production and casting for the star-studded animated theatrical feature ARCTIC DOGS, now on Netflix, featuring Jeremy Renner, James Franco, Anjelica Huston, Alec Baldwin, John Cleese and Heidi Klum. 

Winner – Audience Favorite Award – Pan African Film Festival 2020

Winner – Special Programmers’ Award – Pan African Film Festival 2020

Winner – Best Cinematography in a Borsos Competition Film – Whistler Film Festival 2019

Runner up – Audience Award – Whistler Film Festival 2019

Official Selection – Sonoma Film Fesstival 2020

 
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“The Cuban does not develop everything in its screenplay to complete satisfaction. But what’s there is very good and believable.” – Bobby LePire, Film Threat

“Perhaps sensing that the rest of his story – mostly focusing around the earnest do-goodery of Golja’s aide – falls emotionally flat, Navarretta lavishes attention on his two marquee players, creating tiny moments of poignancy.” – Barry Hertz, Globe and Mail

The Current Occupant, Director Julius Ramsay

THE CURRENT OCCUPANT drops us into a mysterious psychiatric ward, where a man named Henry Cameron, with  no memory comes to learn that he is the President of the United States and the subject of a diabolical political conspiracy. As the asylum’s soul-crushing forces bear down on him, he fights to preserve his sanity and escape so that he can return to power. THE CURRENT OCCUPANT is part of the Blumhouse anthology, INTO THE DARK, currently airing on HULU with each episode tied to the relevant holiday. The film is loosely tied to 4th of July. The story is a timely, edge-of-your-seat-until-the-very-end thriller that is part SHUTTER ISLAND meets BLACK MIRROR. THE CURRENT OCCUPANT features a number of terrific performances anchored by Barry Watson as “President” Henry Cameron, as well as Sonita Henry, Marvin Jones III, and Lilli Birdsell. Director Julius Ramsay stops by to talk about his creative process and how his background as a film editor informs his eye for filmmaking as well as the cinematic influences that echo throughout this taut thriller.

 

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For news and updates go to: hulu.com/movie/the-current-occupant

About the filmmakers: Julius Ramsay is a critically acclaimed film and television director. His latest feature, THE CURRENT OCCUPANT, is a mind-bending, psychedelic horror film about a man trapped in a mysterious psychiatric ward with no memory who comes to believe that he’s the President of the United States and the subject of a diabolical political conspiracy. Produced by Blumhouse as a Hulu Original, it was released on Hulu in July 2020. Julius made his directorial debut with MIDNIGHTERS, a taut psychological thriller centered on a troubled marriage that explodes in an emotional bloodbath over the course of a single night.  The film won numerous accolades, including the top prize at the Ravenna Film Festival, and garnered rave reviews at the Los Angeles Film Festival.  In 2018, MIDNIGHTERS was distributed by IFC and is currently available on Hulu.Julius spent five years working as an editor and director on THE WALKING DEAD, the highest rated series in the history of cable television. His directorial work for television ranges from the science fiction series KRYPTON for David Goyer’s Phantom Four and Warner Horizon, to the adaptation of the blockbuster franchise THE PURGE for Blumhouse/NBCUniversal. His additional directorial credits include OUTCAST for Cinemax and SCREAM for The Weinstein Co & MTV. Prior to his career as a director, Julius was nominated for three Primetime Emmy awards for his work as an editor on such groundbreaking series as ALIAS and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.  For more on the filmmaker: juliusramsay.com


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“Owing more than a little to the old Twilight Zone, “The Current Occupant” executes a balancing act with considerable aplomb.” – John Anderson, Wall Street Journal

“While the latest Into The Dark installment is bleak and will crush your hopes, it’ll have you wondering about conspiracies, reality, and what really happens when the institutions that are established to help us actually end up harming us instead.’ – Sarah Musnicky, Nightmarish Conjurings

Runner, Director Bill Gallagher

When he was only eight, Guor Mading Maker (formally known as Guor Marial) ran from captivity in war-torn Sudan to eventually seek safety in the US. In his new life, Maker began running again, participating in high school track and field and eventually becoming a sensation and qualifying for the 2012 Olympics. But because the newly formed South Sudan was not recognized by the International Olympic Committee, Maker had to fight to compete independently, refusing to run for Sudan and taking a stand against its oppression. RUNNER depicts Maker’s difficult and triumphant journey from refugee to a world-renowned athlete, told in intimate interviews with gorgeously animated flashbacks of Guor’s upbringing, and culminating in a heart-wrenching reunion with his parents after a 20-year separation. His story is a distinctly inspirational one in which the indomitable human spirit emerges against all odds. Director Bill Gallagher joins us to talk about the indomitable spirit of Guor Mading Maker and how the hope he has for “the world’s newest” country and love of his family have fueled his determination for finish his race.

 

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

About the filmmaker: BILL GALLAGHER is the director and producer of the award-winning documentary RUNNER that is currently playing at festivals around the world. He was the line producer for the Academy Award nominated documentary IF A TREE FALLS (Sundance), and Production Manager on the documentary RACING DREAMS (Tribeca – Best Documentary). Both films were in theaters and broadcasted on BBC and PBS. Originally from outside of Boston in the United States, he is now living in Madrid, Spain. He studied Documentary Media at The New School and has lectured on documentary production at the University of Navarra in Spain. RUNNER is his first film as director.

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*HotDocs 2020 – All That I Am, Director Tone Grøttjord-Glenne

In her searingly insightful latest documentary, All That I Am, Director Tone Grøttjord-Glenne drops us into the life of eighteen year old Emilie Andrea. After five years in the foster system, she is returning to her family home to rebuild a fractured relationship with her mother and younger half-siblings. Over the next two years a determined Emilie begins to heal the trauma that haunts her, learns to speak her truth aloud, and takes her first steps towards a self-determined future. Now Emilie must gather the courage to reveal to her half-siblings the reason their father was imprisoned and their sister went away. Told with a commitment to emotional insight and dedication to Emilie’s subjective experience, this is the story of an extraordinarily courageous young woman on the cusp of adulthood finding the voice that was long denied to her. Director Tone Grøttjord-Glenne joins us for conversation on embedding herself into the lives of Emilie and her family, how a well intentioned Norwegian justice and welfare system can sometimes do more harm than good and the reception her remarkably intimate look at trauma, struggle and healing has received in her native country of Norway and the recent North American premiere at the HotDocs film festival. 

 

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For news and updates go to: allthatiammovie.com

About the filmmaker – Tone Grøttjord-Glenne has a master’s degree in direction from the National Film and Television School in England, and both her graduation film Brother (2003) and her debut film Prirechnyy won numerous awards, both in Norway and internationally. In 2005 she founded Sant & Usant with a vision of creating an environment for documentary film that had room to discuss both images and visual storytelling. Sant & Usant has produced several award-winning documentaries since then. Together with co-owner and producer Anita Rehoff Larsen, she has produced Bravehearts (2012), When the Boys Return (2012 ), I Am Kuba (2014),Maiko – Dancing Child (2015) and 69 Minutes of 86 Days (2017), among others. Currently she is directing Norway’s first Netflix Original, Sisters on Track, and is executive director on Gunda, which premiered at the Berlinale earlier this year, as well as working on the impact project for a cinematic release of ALL THAT I AM. 

“Gorgeously shot, expertly paced, and overwhelmingly emotional documentary All That I Am is the kind of film you hope everyone sees because it might make the world a more understanding and empathetic place.” – The Gate

“Tone Grottjord-Glenne directs this emotionally touching Norwegian documentary with a powerful appreciation of the lasting damage of sexual abuse on children and those closest to them.” – Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat. Spirituality and Practice

Feral, Actor Annapurna Sriram

FERAL tells the story of Yasmine (Annapurna Sriram), a homeless woman living in the tunnels underneath Manhattan’s West Side. Surviving on her own terms while trying to build a new life alone, she is reeling from the loss of her mother, who was deported when she was 16. Older now, Yasmine, struggles to rise from poverty as the perils of the underground fill her with despair. Along her journey, Yasmine meets a cast of characters and real New York personalities, each living in their own form of exile: a lonely piano player who’s never played his music out loud; a mother who regrets the birth of her six-year-old; a lonely grandmother nostalgic for her salsa music past and the Mission who is there to help, but only if she’s willing to play by their rules. Based on actual stories of living underground and working with former homeless individuals, FERAL peers deep into Yasmine’s emotional reality, staring this bold young woman directly in the eyes as she struggles to carry on. Lead actor Annapurna Sriram stops by to talk about her theatre background, adapting to working in a cramped, underground setting and collaborating with director and writer Andrew Wonder.

 

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For news and updates go to: feralfilmproject.com

About – Annapurna Sriram, (Yasmine) Nashville-born actor, writer, and director, landed her first agent at thirteen in Nashville, Tennessee.  After turning eighteen, Annapurna left Nashville and headed to Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts, where she studied for a year at London at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, and was chosen to perform as part of the Sam Wanamaker Festival. Recent stage credits include the origination of “Reshma” in Jesse Eisenberg’s “The Spoils,” which was directed by Scott Elliot for The New Group and later reprising that role on the West End in London and Wallace Shawn’s United States premiere of “Evening at the Talkhouse.” 2019 has been a banner year for Annapurna, as two of her projects have been getting international attention. Her performance in the 2019 film Feral was her first lead role in a narrative feature film, and after its premiere at the Sarasota Film Festival, the film has been featured at the Sidewalk Film Festival, Bushwick Festival (where she won the Best Actor Award), and The Montreal Festival du Nouveau Cinema World Film Festival garnering excellent accolades from critics for her work. Her short film, Dom, won the Sidewalk Film Festival as “Best Narrative Short,” and has been programmed at the Brooklyn Film Festival, LES Film Festival, Indie Memphis, and the Cucalorus Film Festival. Annapurna resides in New York City, where she is currently working on films as writer, director and actor. 

More about Annapurna Sriram go to: annapurnasriram.com

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“Sriram is extraordinary in her role as Yazmine and carries the film on her own.” – Deirdre Crimmins, High Def Digest

“Sriram gives an amazing, empathic, and heartfelt performance. ” – Tim Murr, Biff Bam Pop 

“Annapurna Sriram is truly captivating as Yasmine. Her striking beauty is juxtaposed with her fierce attitude, but as the film progresses she also exhibits a serene spirituality coupled with a heartbreaking vulnerability. Like a force of nature in her own right, she flows and crashes into other denizens of the city. ” – Alec I. Gillis, Lewton Bus

“Sriram’s performance is exceptional; she completely embodies Yazmine, in her moments of loneliness, self-entertainment, brutality, pain, and brief moments of joy. We never doubt her completeness as a character, even if our view of her ranges from sympathy to anger to laughter. ” – Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Screen Anarchy

Feral, Director Andrew Wonder

FERAL tells the story of Yasmine (Annapurna Sriram), a homeless woman living in the tunnels underneath Manhattan’s West Side. Surviving on her own terms while trying to build a new life alone, she is reeling from the loss of her mother, who was deported when she was 16. Older now, Yasmine, struggles to rise from poverty as the perils of the underground fill her with despair. Along her journey, Yasmine meets a cast of characters and real New York personalities, each living in their own form of exile: a lonely piano player who’s never played his music out loud; a mother who regrets the birth of her six-year-old; a lonely grandmother nostalgic for her salsa music past and the Mission who is there to help, but only if she’s willing to play by their rules. Based on actual stories of living underground and working with former homeless individuals, FERAL peers deep into Yasmine’s emotional reality, staring this bold young woman directly in the eyes as she struggles to carry on. Director, producer, writer and cinematographer Andrew Wonder joins us fr a deep dive into the inspiration for Feral, his journey as a filmmaker, working with Paul Schrader and his organic approach to making one of the year’s best films.

 

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For news and updates go to: feralfilmproject.com

Director’s Statement –Yet for as many people as the tunnels beneath New York City represent fear, there are the few who see it as freedom. FERAL is inspired by my experiences underground and living with mole people in New York. To explore this world, our story revolves around the journey of a young homeless woman, Yasmine, living in the tunnels beneath the West Side (same as the one featured in Dark Days) in the days leading up to a blizzard. Within a month our key crew of four, cast of professional and non professional actors including former homeless people as well as those who work in the system, came together to create what we want to be an exploration of invisibility and the masks we put on when we face the world. The story is told, through the lens of a homeless woman, Yasmine, who only feels safe underground. – Andrew Wonder

For news and updates go to: andrewwonder.com

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“With its staggeringly beautiful cinematography of down-and-dirty New York and a layered central performance, Adam Wonder’s debut feature is a complex and dynamic look at social outliers and how we find the means to survive.” – Chloe Leeson, Screen Queens

“The larger truths the film conveys in distinctive artistic terms ultimately win out, and that’s what stays with you.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“A gritty but artful portrait.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

“Feral is a sobering and introspective journey into depression and isolation associated with life in the city, but it also presents a powerful social parable as the secret behind the protagonist’s sorrowful predicament is revealed.” – VyceVictus, Lewton Bus

F

Terrence McNally, Every Act Of Life, Director Jeff Kaufman and Producer Marcia Ross


Terrence McNally, Every Act Of Life, tells the story of the groundbreaking life and work of 5-time Tony-winning playwright Terrence McNally: a personal journey through 6-decades of the American theatre, the struggle for LGBT rights, triumph over addiction, the power of the arts to shape society, and finding love and inspiration at all ages. F. Murray Abraham, Audra McDonald, Christine Baranski, Edie Falco, Nathan Lane, Angela Lansbury, Rita Moreno and others weigh in on the pioneering playwright’s influential career, and speak frankly of his struggles as well as his monumental successes. The voices of Dan Bucatinsky, Bryan Cranston and Meryl Streep are also featured. Intimate conversations with the late McNally complete this essential portrait of the four-time Tony winner and 2019 recipient of the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. Playwright, librettist, scriptwriter and outspoken LGBTQ activist Terrence McNally died of coronavirus complications in April 2020 at age 81. American Masters and the filmmaking team explored McNally’s six-decade career through the intimate and revealing documentary. Director Jeff Kaufman and Producer Marcia Ross join us for a look back at one of the greatest playwrights  in American theatre history.

 

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For news and updates go to: everyactoflife.com

Terrence McNally, Every Act Of Life, will be returning to PBS Streaming on June 1st. 

About the filmmakers: Jeff Kaufman produced, directed, and wrote the documentaries Every Act Of Life (2018 Tribeca premiere, aired June 2019 on American Masters), The State of Marriage, Father Joseph, The Savoy King: Chick Webb and the Music That Changed America, Brush With Life: The Art of Being Edward Biberman, and Education Under Fire, plus a number of short films for Amnesty International, and programs for The Discovery Channel, and The History Channel. He also edited/designed a book based on the film Every Act Of Life, contributed cartoons to The New Yorker, and illustrations to The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, wrote/illustrated several children’s books, and hosted daily radio shows in Vermont and Los Angeles.

Marcia S. Ross produced the documentaries Every Act Of Life, The State of Marriage, Father Joseph, and The Savoy King. Additionally she has an over 3-decade career as an independent casting director and casting executive, serving 16 years as EVP for Casting at Walt Disney Motion Pictures, and 5 years as VP for Casting and Talent Development at Warner Brothers TV. Some of her film and television credits include Clueless, Cujo, thirtysomething, Murder in Mississippi, 10 Things I Hate About You, The Princess Diaries, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, The Lookout, Enchanted, Oblivion, and Parental Guidance. She has received career achievement awards from the Casting Society of America and the Hollywood Film Festival.

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91% on Rotten Tomatoes

McNally’s life has the sweep of an epic novel, except that the novel’s inevitable movie version could never have as much star power as his life did.” – Ren Jender, Village Voice

“It’s a great introductory piece for those new to this area of theatre, and a pleasing chance for others to reflect on one of its greatest talents.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“It does true justice to its subject by showing how his influence goes well beyond words, finding his tribe on Broadway and making it feel like home for others.” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest

“McNally’s life has the sweep of an epic novel, except that the novel’s inevitable movie version could never have as much star power as his life did.” – Ren Jender, Village Voice

 

The Ghost of Peter Sellers, Director Peter Medak

The Ghost of Peter Sellers is a comic-tragic feature doc about what it takes to be a film director and survive your biggest disaster. After 43 years the wounds have barely healed for Director Peter Medak (The Ruling Class, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, Romeo is Bleeding) and this is his opportunity to tell the story and finally release the weight associated with its failure. At its core lies the story of an unraveling production but also the tale of a young Director firmly on a path to greatness. Medak had made 3 back-to-back successes; most notably ‘The Ruling Class’ in 1972 with Peter O’Toole. This film changed his career forever. In September 1973 Peter Sellers embarked on the production of a 17th Century pirate comedy in Cyprus for Columbia Pictures (Ghost in the Noonday Sun). Structured around the original director Peter Medak and his journey back to the island 42 years later, The Ghost of Peter Sellers is a timeline of events supported by eye-opening and heart-felt interviews with remaining cast members, production staff, Cypriot locals and others from the world of filmmaking. From Los Angeles to New York, from London to Cyprus, Medak recaptures what it was like to work with the genius talents of Sellers and Milligan whilst explaining the saga of the Pirate film and how such a brilliant and funny idea could go so terribly wrong and become a total disaster. Director Peter Medak joins us for a candid conversation on the toll the making of his star-crossed film took on him professionally, personally and psychologically and where he is today.

 

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For news and updates go to: theghostofpetersellers.com

Watch now on Virtual Theatre: theghostofpetersellers.com

About the Director – Peter Medak is an award-winning international Film Director. Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1937. In 1956 he fled to England at the age of 18 during the famous uprising against the communist regime. He studied and worked his way through by being an assistant editor, assistant cameraman and eventually a 3rd, 2nd and 1st assistant Director on some of the most remarkable British Films of the late 50’s and early 60’s. He was fortunate enough to work with some of the most legendary British film Directors such as Sir Carol Reed, Anthony Asquith, Fred Zimmerman and many others. In 1967 he went under contract with Paramount Studios where he directed his first feature film called Negatives with Glenda Jackson in her first ever film. He then proceeded making two highly acclaimed black comedies: A day in the death of Joe Egg (starring Alan Bates and Janet Suzman) and The Ruling Class (Starring Peter O’ Toole) for which he received an Academy Award Nomination. Since that time he has Directed a great number of feature films on both sides of the Atlantic starring Peter Sellers, Alan Bates, George C Scott, Richard Harris, Gary Oldman, Ted Danson and many more. In recent years Peter has made The Krays which won him The Evening Standard  Award for “Best Director in England”. Then he made Let Him Have ItRomeo is BleedingThe Men’s Club etc. In addition, he has directed a great number of television plays, mini-series, films for television, operas and stage productions over the past 50 years of his directing career and continues today.

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“The director has made a documentary that’s both a mea culpa for his role in a botched enterprise that left no one looking good and an affecting attempt to define a life’s turning point.” – Todd McCarthy. Hollywood Reporter

“Deeply entertaining and profoundly moving, The Ghost of Peter Sellers offers a slice of forgotten movie history that, it turns out, is well worth remembering.” – Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Hammer to Nail

“Many times throughout the documentary, Medak’s friends and associated ask him why he’s making this film. Like those tragic moments in our lives, we have to re-live it and confront it in order to move on with life.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat

“The Ghost of Peter Sellers beautifully allows the guilt-ridden director to exorcise his demons; against himself, against Sellers and against the film itself, within this surprisingly eloquent contemplation of a well-intentioned misfire.” – Alex Lines, Film Inquiry

Punching and Stealing, Co-director Ryan Churchill (Danny Parker-Lopes)

Inspired by actual crime. Set in the streets of Las Vegas, away from the strip, PUNCHING AND STEALING is an action comedy vigilante film about Sam Bransby (Ryan Churchill), a young man that becomes jaded and uses violence to get back his dad’s stolen pension money from corporate suits under the direction of his hitman boss (Melvin Rodriguez) in their organization, “Pension Recovery Force”. As fate would have it, as he turns to the dark side (with humor) in his vigilante faction, he meets the love of his life, Jen (Jenny Vilim). As hard as he tries to keep it a secret from her, his vigilante world and love life collide. He attempts to convince her to be his wing-woman but her moral code prohibits her from joining Sam’s underground faction of “beating people until they’re unrecognizable.” A modern day indie caper taking place over 13 years both in plot and film. Co-director, co-producer and lead actor Ryan Churchill stops by to talk about a personal connection to the origin story for his oft-kilter, high-energy comedy and how he pulled together a terrific supporting cast that pushed PUNCHING AND STEALING into a higher trajectory.

 

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For news and updates go to: PunchingAndStealingMovie.com

For more on the filmmaker go to: ryanchurchill.com

Available now on:
iTunes: apple.co/2LdAs0A
Amazon: tinyurl.com/yd385kfxhttps://youtu.be/9JOgvWY0T3o
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Ovid and the Art of Love, Director Esmé von Hoffman

Set centuries apart but in the same place, OVID AND THE ART OF LOVE tellsthe story of the renowned Roman poet Ovid, whose comic verses and permissive lifestyle provoked the brutal Emperor Augustus’s ire. As Ovid and the emperor’s granddaughter – thrown together by fate – race to escape execution, Ovid’s story asks: In a world of unrest, is love the most radical act of all? Bringing together togas, high-tops, oration, poetry slams and hip-hop, this film tells a timely story about power, pleasure and politics. Strong women characters clamor for respect and a better place in society. All is set amongst the faded beauty of modern Detroit’s neoclassical architecture. Corbin Bleu (High School Musical) masterfully transforms into the poet Ovid, whose work has been cherished for over 2,000 years, while John Savage (The Deer Hunter) gives an electrifying performance as Augustus, Ovid’s conflicted nemesis. Tara Summers (Mercy Street, Boston Legal) plays Julia, Augustus’s tough, rebellious daughter, and Tamara Feldman (Gossip Girl, Hatchet) is the emperor’s activist granddaughter. Also starring Joseph McKenna (Shutter Island, 12 Monkeys) and Lailani Ledesma (Comedy Central’s Detroiters). Director and writer Esmé von Hoffman joins us to talk about her decision to recast this tale of a free-thinking Roman artist speaking truth to power as a modern parable. 

For news and updates go to: ovidandtheartoflove.com

About the filmmaker – Esmé von Hoffman: With a background in theater, journalism and visual arts, Esmé von Hoffman brings a fresh aesthetic to film to create a unique and topical world. An American-German dual citizen, born and raised in the U.S., Esmé has directed several shorts and has worked as a film editor on Alex Ross Perry’s Listen Up Philip, and Desiree Akhavan’s Appropriate Behavior and as a producer. She received a Sudler Fund for the Arts grant for her 16 mm film “Oblivion” and was commissioned to produce and direct a series of short documentaries, including one profiling three editors at The New York Times. Esmé was president of the Yale Film Society, where she oversaw visits of industry leaders including David Lynch, Alexander Payne and Doug Wick. She recently served as Director of the Filmmaking Program at The Edit Center in New York City.

 

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“Though Detroit may seem like an unusual backdrop for a classic story of government intrigue, politicking, and romance, the urban setting works … attracting an aware, woke audience who are almost certainly overdue for discovery of the charms of a 2000 year old poet.” – Picture This Post

“Corbin Bleu masterfully transforms into the poet Ovid, whose work has been cherished for over 2,000 years, while John Savage gives an electrifying performance as Augustus, Ovid’s conflicted nemesis.”– Vimooz

“Such a novel film … extremely entertaining and enlightening… ”– Debbie Elias, Behind the Lens, Adrenaline Radio

“Writer/director Esme von Hoffman has taken the risk of trying to blend the customs and costumes of Ancient Rome with the vibe of 21st century America … giving viewers a sometimes quirky, sometimes humorous, and sometimes brutal film that is unlike most of the fare on today’s big screens.” – Theatre Byte

Defending Jacob, Executive Producer Mark Bomback

Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student. Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own – between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive. The Apple+TV limited drama series is a gripping, character-driven thriller based on the 2012 New York Times best selling novel of the same name by William Landay. Creator and Executive Producer Mark Bomback joins us to talk about how he and his creative team, including director Morten Tyldum, brought this complex and nuanced tale to life.

 

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To watch Defending Jacob go to: tv.apple.com/us/show/defending-jacob

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“One thing that’s evident from the outset is that all of the actors are perfect for their roles. Jaeden Martell, in particular, is still a young actor, but he handles the dark material with ease, and I appreciated the way the journey began with him.” – Paul Dailly, TV Fanatic

“The director applies an autumnal hue, with a color range of frosty blues that really adjusts to the atmosphere of slowly crumbling feelings.” – Jorge Loser, Espinof

“Chris Evans does some of the best work of his career as Andy… He expertly conveys Andy’s desperate, ferocious need to protect his son, his genuine love for his wife – and the haunting memories that jolt him awake in the middle of the night.” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

“The pilot does a remarkable job of building up the situation and its main players, but leaving enough in a nebulous spot that there’s still some doubt and some questions to dig deeper into.” – Kevin Lever, Tell-Tale TV

Raising Buchanan, Creator and Actor Amanda Melby

Inspired by a couple of true presidential corpse stories: the 1876 plot to steal Abraham Lincoln’s body, and the exhumation of Zachary Taylor in 1991, RAISING BUCHANAN took the idea of presidential corpse stealing to extraordinary lengths of dark comedy delight with terrible dead presidents. Because there’s certainly something to be learned from terrible presidents, as well as laughing at them. Finding their inspiration in the off-kilter tone of the dramatically rooted comedies of Alexander Payne, the Coen Brothers, and Hal Ashby, the RAISING BUCHANAN stars Amanda Melby (Candid Camera), René Auberjonois (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), Cathy Shim (Reno 911!), Robert Ben Garant (Reno 911!), Terence Bernie Hines (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), Jennifer Pfalzgraff  (21 Grams), Steve Briscoe (Covet), Lynnette ‘L.A.’ Brown (Kerry and Angie), and M. Emmet Walsh (Blade Runner). Produced by Melby and Joe Gruberman (Eleven Eleven), this award-winning feature film swept the film festival circuit racking up multiple awards, including: Best Feature, Best Dramedy, Best Actress (Melby) and Best Screenplay (Bruce Dellis), among others. Creator and lead actor Amanda Melby stops by for a lively conversation on her wryly funny and endearing film, Raising Buchanan, and her collaboration with the late, great René Auberjonois.

 

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For news and updates go to: raisingbuchanan.com

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“Auberjonois is so good as the feckless leader, nobly defending his poor decisions, that it makes you long for a full one-man show that will never come.” – Josh Bell, Crooked Marquee

“Surely, Buchanan was never going to earn the kind of cinematic lionization that so many American filmmaking greats (like Steven Spielberg and John Ford) gave to good old Abe Lincoln, but he could have done a whole lot worse than this.” – Nick Rocco Scalia. Film Threat

“Simply as a showcase for two of the best character actors of the last fifty years, Raising Buchanan deserves praise.” – M.V. Moorhead, Phoenix Magazine

The Plagiarists – Screenwriters Robin Schavoir and James N. Kienitz Wilkins

Co-written by experimental filmmakers James N. Kienitz Wilkins and Robin Schavoir (who, along with Paul Dallas, served as producers), The Plagiarists is at once a hilarious send-up of low-budget American indie filmmaking and a probing inquiry into race, relationships, and the social uncanny. A young novelist (Lucy Kaminsky) and her cinematographer boyfriend (Eamon Monaghan) are waylaid by a snowstorm on their way to visit a friend in upstate New York and are taken in by the kindly yet enigmatic Clip (Michael “Clip” Payne of Parliament Funkadelic), who puts them up for the night. But an accidental discovery months later recasts in an unnerving light what had seemed like an agreeable evening, stoking resentments both latent and not-so-latent. Exhilaratingly intelligent and distinctively shot on a vintage TV-news camera, The Plagiarists is a work whose provocations are inseparable from its pleasures. Screenwriters James N. Kienitz Wilkins and Robin Schavoir join us to talk about whip-smart project, as well as their creative process, white privilege, blending together acting styles and Dogma 95.

Background – The Plagiarists is a dramatic comedy about the clash of money and culture, reality and desire, race and identity. It’s a social satire about who has the privilege to say what in today’s world. It was conceived as a playful critique of the mannerisms of “indie film” used by aspiring filmmakers to denote authenticity of performance, often resulting in the casual perpetuation of stereotypes. The Plagiarists is at once the thing it mimics: a completely independent micro-budget feature shot entirely on vintage news cameras from the 1980s, despite a contemporary subject matter. The camera cited in the story is also the production camera, recording on real Betacam SP videotape (sourced from eBay) to create a visual style reflecting the internal debate over obsolescence, nostalgia, and the heavy weight of originality.

 

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For news and updates go to: kimstim.com/film/plagiarists

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“An adventurous comic thumping worth the working over of your sensibilities.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“Its crude imagery and the sharp editing that implicitly contradicts it are deliberate components of a termite-like digging into the permutations of postmodern cultural work.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

“The Plagiarists’ perfectly judged mimicry of independent cinema illustrates the profound effect a lack of diversity has on the type of art that gets made.” – Patrick Gamble, CineVue

“The film improves upon reflection, raising, as it does, some knotty questions about originality in art and in life, as well as provocatively positing that even a copy of a copy of a copy has the potential to move hearts and minds.” – Keith Uhlich, Hollywood Reporter

Circus of Books, Director Rachel Mason

For 35-plus years, the gay porn shop Circus of Books gave Los Angeles’ LGBT+ community a space to socialize and celebrate themselves without judgment. Unbeknownst to many customers, the store was cultivated by owners Karen and Barry Mason, a straight, mainstream couple with three children who went to religious school and were unaware of their parents’ business. The Masons long refused to disclose the nature of their business to friends or family. While maintaining the secret, they witnessed the dawn of the HIV/AIDS epidemic firsthand, losing a generation of treasured employees. Still, during that time, they never identified https://www.netflix.com/title/81011569as activists — just everyday entrepreneurs catering to a market, until the Internet destroyed it. Executive produced by Ryan Murphy, CIRCUS OF BOOKS is the debut documentary from artist Rachel Mason, who finally asks the least radical people she knows — her parents — how they became America’s biggest distributors of gay porn, and why Karen reacted so negatively when her own son came out of the closet.Director and daughter Rachel Mason joins us to talk her parents, her brothers, her own story and the impact her family’s business had on a community fighting to survive.

Circus of Books is nows screening at: netflix.com

About the filmmaker – Rachel Mason is an artist, musician and filmmaker from Los Angeles. Mason has recorded 13 albums, has toured, exhibited sculpture, video and performance at the Whitney Museum, Queens Museum, LACMA, Detroit Museum of Contemporary Art, School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Henry Gallery in Seattle, James Gallery at CUNY, University Art Museum in Buffalo, Sculpture Center, Hessel Museum of Art at Bard and Occidental College, Kunsthalle Zurich, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, The New Museum, Park Avenue Armory, Art in General, La Mama, Galapagos, Dixon Place, and Empac Center for Performance in Troy among other venues. Reviews include New York Times, Village Voice, Los Angeles Times, Flash Art, Art in America, Art News, and Artforum. Her album and feature film, The Lives of Hamilton Fish. has toured festivals and museums internationally and was released in 2016.

For more about Rachel Mason go to: rachelmasonart.com

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98% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Circus of Books is the story of an American family who wandered into the eye of history, and a virtuoso example of how to make a movie both very big and very small at once.” – Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic

“A RARE DELIGHT – AND A NEARLY PERFECT DOCUMENTARY. Mason keeps a thread of tension taut throughout, never losing sight of the contradictions between her parents’ work and their home life.” – Jude Dry, IndieWire

“VERY FUNNY, VERY MOVING. The filmmaker does right by front-loading most of the snicker-worthy scenes. She knows that even the most open-minded among us need to get past a certain level of shock and incredulity to see Karen and Barry as the beautiful, and beautifully complicated, people they are.” – Keith Uhlich, The Hollywood Reporter

“Circus of Books tells this complex and enthralling story, about the rise and fall of their family business, with a unique specificity. It’s Mason’s lack of distance from the subject — in fact, it’s that she, too, is part of the story — that makes the picture soar with intimacy.” – Tre’vell Anderson, OUT

Mossville, When Great Trees Fall, Director Alexander John Glustrom

Mossville, Louisiana is a shadow of its former self – a community rich in natural resources and history, founded by formerly enslaved people and free people of color – where neighbors lived in harmony, insulated from the horrors of Jim Crow. Today, Mossville is surrounded by 14 petrochemical plants and the future site of apartheid-born South African-based chemical company Sasol’s newest plant – proposed as a $21.2 billion project and the largest in the western hemisphere. The remaining family members of Mossville struggle to let go of their ancestral home – and at the center of it all is a man named Stacey Ryan. Stacey is 49 years old and a lifelong resident of Mossville. In the past ten years Stacey has lost much of his family to cancer and seen the neighborhood he grew up in demolished to make way for Sasol’s new multi-billion dollar project. Having promised his dying parents to fight the sprawling chemical companies, Stacey struggles to keep his word as his power, water, and sewage are all cut off, and his health continues to decline from ongoing chemical exposure. As Sasol encroaches on citizens’ property with buyout offers, Stacey and other community members have to decide whether to exist in a chemical war zone, or abandon land that has been in their families for generations.,MOSSVILLE: When Great Trees Fall Director and Editor Alexander John Glustrom joins us to talk about one man’s fight to hold on to the last patch of a historic community and the legacy of a shattered community.

 

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For news and updates go to: mossvilleproject.com

About the filmmaker: Alexander John Glustrom – Director / Editor / Director of Photography – Alexander John Glustrom’s first film was the award winning documentary, “Big Charity,” winner of The Jury Award and Audience Award at New Orleans Film Festival and the 2015 Documentary of the Year by Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. He was awarded “Filmmaker of the Year” at the 2015 New Orleans Millennial Awards and one of New Orleans’ “40 under 40” by Gambit Magazine. He has directed, shot, produced, and edited a wide variety of film and media projects that have reached hundreds of thousands online, played at film festivals internationally and aired on major networks including HBO, CNN, Fusion, NYtimes.com, Great Big Story and Democracy Now.  Daniel Bennett, Katie Mathews and Catherine Rierson are Producers, while Linda Karn and Michelle Lanier serve as Executive Producers.

For more about Alexander John Glustrom go to: ajgmedia.com

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MOSSVILLE: When Great Trees Fall will be broadcast nationally on the PBS series Reel South beginning May 25 and on the world channel beginning May 31.

MOSSVILLE: When Great Trees Fall opens virtually in theaters in New York on May 7 through the Maysles Documentary Center, and in Los Angeles on May 8 through the Laemmle Theaters. Select screenings will be followed by a Q&A with filmmakers.  Additional participating theaters include Milwaukee Film Sofa Theater (Milwaukee, WI), Smith Rafael Film Center (Marin County, CA), Grail Moviehouse (Asheville, NC), Frida Cinema (Santa Ana, CA), Broad Theater (New Orleans, LA) and Tampa Theatre (Tampa, FL). Please check the MOSSVILLE website for more information on theaters and Q&As: mossvilleproject.com/screenings

“Striking and Urgent…” – Indie Wire

“Mossville captures the devastation of the destruction of a community with grace and empathy and has a message that will reverberate across generations.” – BRWC

“A sad and uncommonly stunning exploration of environmental racism and the adverse effects of industrialization on fenceline communities.” – Anti-Gravity

“A nightmarish landscape is the battleground for Stacey’s defiant spirit, as he’s forced to choose between a better life for his son and fighting to preserve his ancestors’ legacy.” – Planet in Focus

Shadows of Freedom, Co-directors Amos Carlen and Aline Robichaud

SHADOWS OF FREEDOM recounts the untold story of the Jewish & French resistance of 1942 in Algiers, which helped change the course of WWII, yet remains largely forgotten. These 388 resistors – mostly young and inexperienced – almost haplessly ended up supporting the Allies in North Africa. In the process they paved the way for a successful invasion of Algiers by the U.S., but also helped to save the lives of over 500,000 Jews in North Africa, targeted by Hitler’s Final Solution. This was all part of OPERATION  TORCH the joint American/U.K. mission that was to be the Allies’ first successful strike against the Nazis. This largely forgotten military operation remains to this day as the longest invasion in the history of conflict. Co-directors and co-producers Amos Carlen and Aline Robichaud join us to talk about a little known but critically important chapter of French resistance, American and British military strategy and the courageous contributions made by Jewish resistance fighters. 

 

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For news and updates go to: shadowsfreedom.com/home

 
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* OPERATION TORCH was the 1942 Anglo-American invasion of North Africa (Algeria and Morocco). It was the 1st joint operation of the U.S. and the U.K., the 1st Allied success against the Nazis and, until D-Day, the largest military operation ever undertaken. It was a hugely significant turning point in the war – aided greatly by the resistance in Algiers – yet remains largely forgotten. SHDOWS OF FREEDOM unveils the importance of Operation Torch in the hopes of highlighting this historical moment that stands as a remarkable achievement by America and Great Britain. This powerful alliance made victory a certainty.