For four decades, the Mill Valley Film Festival (MVFF) has maintained its position as a vital showcase of the global film community, attracting iconic red-carpet talent, emerging filmmakers, passionate audiences and astutely curated premieres. A destination event for film lovers, drawn by an exciting, diverse program of mainstream studio features and independent visions from around the world, set against the stunning backdrop of Northern California, MVFF also hosts an impressive array of panels, conversations, receptions, parties and live music performances, featuring many of the most acclaimed and in-demand artists and industry professionals of our time. With a reputation for launching new films and creating awards season buzz, MVFF has a knack for spotting emerging talent as well as drawing legendary artists. Known as the filmmaker’s festival, MVFF welcomes more than 200 filmmakers and guests from around the world and has hosted such luminaries as Nicole Kidman, Holly Hunter, Ang Lee, Todd Haynes, Mira Nair, Brie Larson, Costa-Gavras, Damien Chazelle, Marcel Ophuls, Amy Adams, Steve McQueen and Greta Gerwig. Mill Valley Film Festival Director of Programming Zoe Elton, joins us to talk about “the filmmaker’s festival,” and this year’s exciting line-up of documentary, foreign, animated, short and narrative films.
After marrying a successful Parisian writer known commonly as “Willy” (Dominic West), Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Keira Knightley) is transplanted from her childhood home in rural France to the intellectual and artistic splendor of Paris. Soon after, Willy convinces Colette to ghostwrite for him. She pens a semi-autobiographical novel about a witty and brazen country girl named Claudine, sparking a bestseller and a cultural sensation. After its success, Colette and Willy become the talk of Paris and their adventures inspire additional Claudine novels. Colette’s fight over creative ownership and gender roles drives her to overcome societal constraints, revolutionizing literature, fashion and sexual expression. Director and screenwriter Wash Westmoreland stops by to talk about the story behind a remarkable trailblazing feminist, writer, performer and cultural icon whose influence has inspired artists for the last 100 years.
“Knightley is exceedingly well-equipped to carry this magnificent film on her own — an Oscar-nominated performance for sure.” – Jeanne Kaplan, Kaplan vs. Kaplan
“A witty, spirited portrait of the great French writer and libertine during the early Belle Époque years of her career.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
“This timely and gorgeously shot account of a beloved French writer foregrounds Colette’s remarkable freedom from conventional norms as she finds her artistic voice.” – Erica Abeel, Film Journal International
“At first presenting itself as a tightly corseted Big Eyes set during the Belle Époque, Colette erupts into a fun, frothy, and unmistakably feminist biopic.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire
“The film has a towering performance from Keira Knightley, who plays Colette with such warmth and fiery feminism, that it would be hard not to make woman’s past run parallel with today’s world.” – Jordan Ruimy, The Playlist
The International Documentary Association (IDA) is dedicated to building and serving the needs of a thriving documentary culture. Through its programs, the IDA provides resources, creates community, and defends rights and freedoms for documentary artists, activists, and journalists. IDA is the only group advocating specifically for the documentary filmmaking community. In many ways, this makes IDA’s advocacy work the most important and relevant work we do. Documentary storytelling expands our understanding of shared human experience, fostering an informed, compassionate, and connected world. The Enterprise Documentary Fund is one of the many logistical and financial programs offered by IDA.
About the Enterprise Documentary Fund:
“In the face of an all-out assault on the press, IDA is committed to standing behind the independent storytellers and watchdogs that make up our community—in large part, through the newly created Enterprise Documentary Fund. Made possible by a generous grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the fund will disburse $1 million per year for the next four years, in the form of production grants up to $100,000 and development grants up to $15,000. The fund is intended to support primarily mid-career filmmakers producing feature-length, in-depth explorations of original, contemporary stories with a journalistic foundation or that incorporate journalistic practice into the filmmaking process. The mission of the Enterprise Documentary Fund is admittedly ambitious: It seeks to provide valuable resources and support systems (not unlike those in newsrooms) for filmmakers taking on the critical stories of our time. Originally sparked by the findings in “Dangerous Documentaries,” the fund is a response to pleas from filmmakers themselves. In interviews recently conducted by Toni Bell, IDA’s Filmmaker Services Manager, filmmakers reiterated the major findings in “Dangerous Docs”: They want access to information about digital and physical security, research databases, legal and other experts, public relations strategists and mentors. Exercising our rights to free speech and freedom of the press are critical for a healthy democracy. As I write this, these rights are clearly under assault, and we owe it to ourselves and to the public to staunchly call ourselves journalists and artists—they are not mutually exclusive.” – Carrie Lozano, Director of the Enterprise Documentary Fund
In the days following his mother’s sudden death, Socrates (Christian Malheiros), a 15-year-old living on São Paulo’s margins, faces the difficulties of surviving on his own and coming to terms with his grief. SOCRATES was produced with a crew of 16-20 year-olds from the Querô Institute, a UNICEF-supported project that provides social inclusion through filmmaking to underprivileged youths in the Baixada Santista region of São Paulo, Brazil. SOCRATES was also written by Thayná Mantesso a 20 year-old Brazilian screenwriter and graduate of the Querô Institute. SOCRATES was filmed with a micro-budget of under $20,000. Alex Moratto’s award-winning short films NOWHERE TO BE FOUND, THE PARTING and THE OTHER SIDE have screened at international film festivals. SOCRATES is Alex Moratto’s debut feature film. The film was produced by Ramin Bahrani (99 HOMES) and stars Christian Malheiros and Tales Ordakji. Director Alex Moratto joins us for a conversation on working with a young non-professionals, UNICEF and producing his debut feature film.
Madeline (Helena Howard) has become an integral part of a prestigious physical theater troupe. When the workshop’s ambitious director (Molly Parker) pushes the teenager to weave her rich interior world and troubled history with her mother (Miranda July) into their collective art, the lines between performance and reality begin to blur. The resulting battle between imagination and appropriation rips out of the rehearsal space and through all three women’s lives. Writer/director Josephine Decker has long been an independent filmmaker to admire, utilizing a welcome expressionistic approach that imbues her subjects with a vibrant sense of urgency. Anchored by a virtuoso performance from newcomer Helena Howard, whose powerful screen presence commands attention, Decker’s film displays a rare sensitivity for capturing the messy struggles of discovering a sense of one’s self that defies easy narrative categorization. Producers Krista Parris and Elizabeth Rao joins us to talk about this immersive “psychological horror” narrative, collaboration in creative process, the casting of newcomer Helena Howard.
90% on Rotten Tomatoes
“An ecstatically disorienting experience that defines its terms right from the start and then obliterates any trace of traditional film language, achieving a cinematic aphasia that allows Decker to redraw the boundaries between the stories we tell and the people we tell them about.” – David Ehrlich, INDIEWIRE
“In her third film, writer-director Josephine Decker confirms her position as the American indie queen of improv, whose self-styled mission it is to push the outer limits of film language into the stratosphere.”Deborah Young, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
“Among its other astonishments, Josephine Decker’s new feature, MADELINE’S MADELINE, does something very simple: it dispels the shibboleth that movies spotlighting strong and original performances differ from ones that innovate at the level of cinematic style. MADELINE’S MADELINE does both, with equal intensity. Decker’s film, in its dramatic contours, is an utterly clear and classical drama about a Queens family.” – Richard Brody, THE NEW YORKER
“One of this year’s headiest, most dazzlingly assured moviegoing experiences.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
HALF THE PICTURE celebrates the groundbreaking work of female film directors and investigates the systemic discrimination that has, for decades, denied opportunities to far too many talented women in Hollywood. The film consists of interviews with high profile women directors including Ava DuVernay, Jill Soloway, Lena Dunham, Catherine Hardwicke and Miranda July, among many others, who discuss their early careers, how they transitioned to studio films or television, how they balance having a demanding directing career with family, as well as challenges and joys along the way. HALF THE PICTURE also includes interviews with experts about gender inequality in Hollywood including the ACLU’s Melissa Goodman, Sundance Institute’s Caroline Libresco, Vanity Fair’s Rebecca Keegan, USC’s Dr. Stacy Smith and San Diego State University’s Dr. Martha Lauzen, who establish the magnitude of this employment discrimination issue as women are shut out, across the board, of an industry that systemically denies their expression and point of view. HALF THE PICTURE Director / Producer Amy Adrion joins us to talk about a unique time in the film industry where systemic change seems possible and whether, unlike previous efforts to address gender inequality in Hollywood, will this time be different?
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
“Half the Picture is a vital, comprehensive documentary on a subject that’s so fundamental to the industry it’s about, you have to wonder why dozens of movies on this scale or bigger haven’t already been made.” – Leslie Felperin
“Half The Picture is an inspiring, important documentary that should be seen by as many people as possible, particularly those who aren’t aware of the problems women face in Hollywood.” – Manon de Reeper, Film Inquiry
“Half the Picture, Amy Adrion’s no-frills documentary, offers a diligent, straightforward overview of the innumerable obstacles facing today’s female directors, both aspiring and accomplished.” – Natalia Winkelman, Film Threat
“A platform for those who want to hear about the reality of being a woman in Hollywood from dozens of women who have lived it, it’s an invaluable resource.” – Rebecca Pahle, Film Journal International
“It’s experiential revelation as advocacy filmmaking, an incisive and inviting example of the personal as political.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice
Fourteen-year-old Eleanor (ADELINA AMOSCO) is tormented at school because of the large red birthmarks across her face. Eleanor’s devoted teacher Ms. Gutierrez (KATHLEEN CHANGHO) encourages her to ignore her bullies and focus on her studies. But when things get really bad, Eleanor runs away from school to work in a restaurant run by Alex (ROD RODRIQUEZ), a grown man with whom she is having a casual affair. At home, Eleanor is raised by her grandmother (SHIRLEY CUYUGAN O’BRIEN), who dotes on her granddaughter even though she does not understand her. Eleanor prefers to be alone. At night, if she gazes at the water stains on her bedroom wall, they transform into mountains, leading into a vast, desolate landscape. In this world, Eleanor is alone and free. One day the kids start to tease Eleanor, “who’s the father?” and she discovers a baby crying alone in her dreamed landscape. When another student, Carly (VANESSA CARMONA) asks Eleanor what happened to her baby, Eleanor breaks down and attacks her. Eleanor is arrested and confined until Ms. Gutierrez is able to get her released and enrolled in a new school. Eleanor wants to succeed there, but the pressure of her impending assault trial and the increasing complexity of her life in her dreamed world may push this hope out of her reach. Director Cath Gulick joins us to talk about her haunting, lyrical portrait of a young woman searching for her own place in a hostile world.
THE LIGHT OF THE MOON is the story of Bonnie, a young and successful Latina architect, sexually assaulted while walking home from an evening out with friends in Brooklyn. At first, she attempts to keep the assault a secret from her long-term boyfriend Matt, but the truth quickly emerges. Bonnie emphatically denies the impact of what has just happened to her. She fights to regain normalcy and control, but returning to her old life is more complicated than expected. Her attempt to recapture the intimacy she previously had with Matt falters and cracks begin to surface in their relationship. Another attack in the neighborhood only drives Bonnie further into denial, before an encounter with an at-risk woman forces her to face the truth and confront her own self-blame. Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Short Term 12) gives a powerful and moving performance as Bonnie, a woman who maintains her dignity and sense of humor as she deals with the aftermath of a life-altering experience. Written and directed by Emmy-nominated Australian filmmaker Jessica M. Thompson in her feature film debut, THE LIGHT OF THE MOON is a powerful reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the importance of relationships in the face of a tragedy.
11/17 ~ Panel with filmmakers.
11/18 ~ Talkback hosted by Julie Rosing, producer-host of the Lady Parts Justice podcast ReproMadness with LPJ founder Lizz Winstead, co-creator of The Daily Show.
11/19: Seed&Spark/Big Vision screening with talkback hosted by Emily Best, the founder of Seed&Spark, and Amy Rosner, co-director of the upcoming documentary Second Assault.
“A clear-eyed film that’s clinical in its specifics.” – Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times
“The Light of the Moon isn’t a film you forget easily. It takes on a global issue and acts as if it’s something small, resulting in a film that feels both vitally important and imminently personal.” – Ryan Morris, Film Inquiry
“As a resource for those looking to understand the process of recovery, it’s hard to imagine a more comprehensive or sympathetic look at the challenge of surviving.” – Teo Bugbee, New York Times
“With the wider cultural conversation about rape culture, especially in the U.S., raging in the media, this honest and complex engagement with the subject is particularly welcome.” – Leslie Felperine, Hollywood Reporter
“[This] simply-structured film is harrowingly effective in its streamlined, low-frills way: sensitive without ever being sanctimonious, brutally frank without ever lapsing into exploitation.” – Andrew Barker, Variety
Noël Wells portrays Emily, a talented but hard-to-classify comedic performer who left behind her home and boyfriend to pursue career opportunities in L.A. When a loved one falls ill, Emily rushes back to Austin where she’s forced to stay with her ex-boyfriend (Nick Thune) and his new-and-improved girlfriend (Britt Lower), a totally together woman with a five-year plan. Though Emily is the same, everything else is different: her house has been smartly redecorated, her rocker boyfriend is training to be a real estate agent, and her old haunts show serious signs of gentrification. Holed up in her own guest room, Emily–who has no idea what she’ll be doing five days from now, let alone five years– is forced to question everyone’s values: are they sell-outs or have they just figured out what makes them happy? And is she following her dreams or is she just a self-absorbed loser? Director, writer and producer Noël Wells stops by for a conversation about her funny and touching film about reconciling your past with your present.
“Wells doesn’t just focus on her laugh-out-loud funny performance or insightful script: she displays a real eye for the cinematic with shot-on-film visuals that elevate her movie and lavish attention on its Texas setting.” – Kimber Myers, Los Angeles Times
“It’s a reminder that the 21st century is going to be full of coming-of-age films about 30-year-olds, and it’s compelling evidence that that might be alright.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire
“Ms. Wells is 10 times funnier and smarter than Louis CK. Her film is a reminder of what a crime sexism is. It not only harms women, it prevents the real cream from rising to the surface.” – Louis Proyect, counterpunch.org
“Creatives have stories to tell. This is Noël Wells’ story to tell. And good storytelling like Mr. Roosevelt is why we watch independent films. It’s a good story and a good start for Wells.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat
Winner of the Audience Award for Best Narrative Film at the Tribeca Film Festival, The Divine Order is set in Switzerland in 1971 where, despite the worldwide social upheavals of the previous decade, women were still denied the right to vote. When unassuming and dutiful housewife Nora (Marie Leuenberger, winner of a Best Actress award at Tribeca) is forbidden by her husband to take a part-time job, her frustration leads to her becoming the poster child of her town’s suffragette movement. Her newfound celebrity brings humiliation, threats, and the potential end to her marriage, but, refusing to back down, she convinces the women in her village to go on strike…and makes a few startling discoveries about her own liberation. Uplifting and crowd-pleasing, this charming, captivating film is a time-capsule that could not be more timely. Director Petra Volpe joins us to talk about the story behind a struggle for human rights and the women who made Swiss history.
Switzerland’s submission for the Academy Awards Best Foreign-Language Film
Winner – Audience Award for Best Feature – Tribeca Film Festival 2017
Winner – Audience Award for Best Fiction – Traverse City Film Festival 2017
“A gentle, unassuming picture, it does have a satisfying, feelgood trajectory and empathetic central performance from Marie Leuenberger.” – Wendy Ice, Screen International
“‘The Divine Order’ effectively illustrates how peer pressure can influence the political process.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times
“Within the story’s sometimes too-neat outline, Volpe lets most of her characters breathe.” – Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times
“Essential viewing for those interested in a wider perspective on feminist challenges.” – Ben Orndorf, Blue-ray.com
Holy Air is the story of Adam, a Christian Arab living in Nazareth – member of a vanishing minority within a minority in the Holy Land and the Middle East. His wife Lamia is a strong, beautiful and progressive Arab woman, who runs a foundation for women’s rights. When Adam hears that Lamia is pregnant and his father falls very ill, he evaluates his life and realizes that he has not achieved much. Despite all his business ideas failing so far, he gives one last try to make it big. And what’s better to sell in the Holy Land other than the very air that Virgin Mary breathed during her annunciation? But in order to, as one priest tells Adam during confession, bring such product into the market he needs to find allies from the three cultures ruling over Nazareth – the Jewish politicians, the Muslim mafia boss and the Catholic church officials. In a politically unstable world where religion is just another merchandise, can the Holy Air be Adam’s salvation or is it just an illusion? Director and writer Shady Srour joins us to talk about his contemporary comedy that not only transcends barriers of religion, gender, and culture, but is also intelligent and funny.
“As a wry commentary on religious tourism, and the limited avenues of prosperity for occupied, idealistic Arabs, “Holy Air” is tartly effective.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times
“With a masterful sense of framing, Srour and cinematographer Daniel Miller turn beautifully composed shots into absurdist delights with a simple twist.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice
UNA, based on David Harrower’s play ‘Blackbird’ follows a young woman’s journey to reclaim her past. Fifteen years earlier, UNA ran away with an older man, Ray, a crime for which he was arrested and imprisoned. When she comes across a photo of him in a trade magazine, UNA tracks him down and turns up at his workplace. Her abrupt arrival threatens to destroy Ray’s new life and derail her stability. Unspoken secrets and buried memories surface as Una and Ray sift through the wreckage of the past. Their confrontation raises unanswered questions and unresolved longings. It will shake them both to the core. UNA gazes into the heart of a devastating form of love and asks if redemption is possible. Bolstered by the remarkable performances of Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelson, UNA rips at the fragile facade of two irreparably damaged people forced to reconcile entangled their past. Director Benedict Andrews talks about the making of his complex, intimate and relentlessly raw tale of abuse, and unresolved emotion.
“Una is an inquiry into the complicated bond between a predator and his prey. Yet Harrower does not play monsters and victims.” Ella Taylor, NPR
“Be warned: the film — perhaps unsurprisingly — is heading somewhere pretty dark, but you can’t fail to be impressed by this cleverly constructed and brilliantly acted piece.” Matthew Bond, The Mail
“What gives Una its unnerving tension is not just the skill of these two performers locked together in their unsettling combat, but the realization that no matter what she ends up doing to him, it won’t fix what has already nearly destroyed her.” – Chris Barsanti, Pop Matters
An idealistic recent film school graduate with few local professional options takes a road trip from Ohio to Los Angeles with his anxious best friend, his troubled high school sweetheart, and a hitchhiker hippie, to chase his dream of becoming a filmmaker. Your Own Road is about not letting extenuating circumstances determine your path in life. Brian (ASHTON MOIO) wants to make films but whether it’s his parents’ wishes, his geographical location, or just his self-doubt, the world seems stacked against him. Brian hits the road to break away from what is expected of him and pursue what he truly wants out of life. Along for the ride is his best friend Dan (AMIR MALAKLOU) whose whole life is structure and routine until his abusive ex-girlfriend dumps him and his plans go out the window. Brian also “accidently” invites his next-door-neighbor and hormer crush, Ally (CORTNEY PALM), who abuses prescription drugs to deal with her depression from caring for her grandmother with Alzheimer’s. Along the road they meet vibrant characters none more so than Ariel (KYM JACKSON), an Australian hitchhiker hippie who is not all that she seems, who they pick up in Colorado going in no place in particular. Each one of these characters takes the journey to California for unique reasons but they all find their inner selves traveling through such a diverse and sometimes scary country. Director and writer Brandon Buczek joins us to talk about his debut film world premiere at the 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival.
** Screening at the Los Angeles Film Festival
In Adam Curtis’s acclaimed BBC documentary, HyperNormalisation, he employs masterfully edited found footage to investigate how, at a time of confusing and inexplicable world events, politicians and other power brokers construct new, slippery realities. Curtis tells a story that begins in 1975 in New York and Damascus, and ends with today’s world.
Adam Curtis on his work and HyperNormalisation: ”Those in power in society – the politicians, the journalists, the experts – maintain their power by telling us stories about the world. Those stories tell us what is true and what is false, what is right and wrong, and what is real – and what is illusion. But there come times when these stories begin to break down. And people start to distrust those in power – and their definition of what is real and what is fake. At that point you enter the Zone. The film Hypernormalisation tells the story of how we got to this place. It is also about the new systems of power that we cannot see – because we are trapped inside the Zone.”
Adam Curtis is an award-winning widely influential documentary filmmaker and journalist. He works for BBC television in London. His acclaimed films include The Century of the Self (2002), The Power of Nightmares (2004), All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (2011), Bitter Lake (2015) – and most recently HyperNormalisation.. His films go back into the recent past to tell dramatic stories that lead the viewer to look again at the present day – and help them make sense of it. They try to show how power really flows in today’s complex society, not just through politics – but through science, public relations and advertising, psychology, computer networks and finance. Curtis has also done live shows with the immersive theatre group Punchdrunk and the band Massive Attack. His films have been shown at the Cannes film festival and have won awards – including 6 BAFTAs. Curtis joins us to talk about power, journalism, the world as is understood today and his work.
“I want to be Adam Curtis when I grow up.” – Oscar-winning filmmaker Errol Morris
“Hypernormalisation” feels like a greatest hits compilation of familiar Curtis themes — the decline of political power in a corporate age, the rise of global terrorism, America’s tortuous secret history in the Middle East, the hollow narcissism of cyberspace. But this also is a dazzling and thought-provoking film that blurs the line between op-ed journalism and mesmerizing audio-visual art.” – Hollywood Reporter
“‘HyperNormalisation’ is a searching and essential document of our times, a movie that leaves us, as in its opening shot, groping through a pitch-black forest with only a flashlight, wondering what lies in all that terrifying darkness that no one has found a way through.” – The New Yorker
In the riveting story THE EYES OF MY MOTHER Francisca has been unfazed by death from an early age—her mother, formerly a surgeon in Portugal, imbued her with a thorough understanding of the human anatomy. When tragedy shatters her family’s idyllic life in the countryside, her deep trauma gradually awakens some unique curiosities. Driven by a mesmerizing performance by Kika Magalhaes Francisca’s desire to connect with the world around her takes a distinctly dark form. Shot in crisp black and white, the haunting visual compositions of THE EYES OF MY MOTHER evoke its protagonist’s isolation and illuminate her deeply unbalanced worldview. Genre-inflected but so strikingly unique as to defy categorization, writer/director Nicolas Pesce’s stunning feature debut allows us only an elliptical presence in Francisca’s world, guiding our imaginations to follow her into peculiar, secret places. Lead actress Kika Magalhaes joins us to talk about the challenges presented by this deeply troubled character and her eerily compelling performance.
Opening at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles, Friday December 2, 2016 with Q&A at the Friday, December 2nd 7:30 PM screening
*SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL – OFFICIAL SELECTION*
“It claws into your subconscious and lingers there. A simmering nightmare of a movie.” – Bilge Ebiri, NEW YORK MAGAZINE
“An exquisite waking nightmare. An impressive, highly original horror fable.” – Guy Lodge, VARIETY
“Equal parts Ingmar Bergman, Tim Burton and Tobe Hooper. The discovery of this year’s Sundance Film Festival.” – Eric Kohn, INDIEWIRE
“Ms. Magalhaes, a former dancer, uses her expressive eyes and graceful limbs to bring the intimacy and sensuality of her actions to vivid life.” – Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times
1967: the height of the Cold War, Tte CIA suspects there is a Russian mole inside of NASA, sabotaging the Apollo program. They send two young agents on a mission to go undercover, posing as documentary filmmakers to capture NASA’s race to the moon. The real mission – use their access and technology to hunt down the leak. But what they discover is far more shocking than soviet spies… Their government may be hiding a secret about Apollo that could define the decade, and the White House will stop at nothing to silence anyone who learns it. Operation Avalanche, Director Matt Johnson’s follow-up to the widely-acclaimed The Dirties, is another fake documentary film starring Johnson and collaborator Owen Williams, once again as young would-be filmmakers. This time, though, the DV cameras and school-shooting plot are swapped out for 16mm and the faking of the moon landing. Director Matt Johnson and Producer Matthew Miller join us for a conversation on the inspiration for Operation Avalanche , striking the right tone and the wide variety of reactions of filmgoers to the “conspiracy.”
“A bold, imaginative and refreshingly diverting “documentary” that’s occasionally uneven in tone, and most fun and clever when it doesn’t take itself too seriously.” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guide
“Matthew Johnson may not have his big breakout with Operation Avalanche, but there is enough here to suggest that he possesses the triple-threat skills to build a comedy auteur career on the model of (hyperbole alert!) Woody Allen or Albert Brooks.” – Michael Agresta, Austin Chronicle
“A film for nerds, of the film, science and conspiracy variety. The attention to detail is astounding and the obsession with art and history is infectious.” – William Babbiani, CraveOnline
“Operation Avalanche” weaves well-known conspiracy theories into a goofily entertaining satire of youthful ambition co-opted as a tool of government intrigue.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times
In his feature film debut crime heist thriller, MISFORTUNE, director-writer-producer-lead actor Desmond Devenish takes us through a world of intrigue, family secrets and double crosses. Mallick, after his prison release, hunts down his ex-partner’s son, Boyd, an out of work mechanic, whom he believes could lead the way to the missing, stolen diamonds, which landed him in lockup years earlier. With the threat of death and chance at a potential small fortune, Boyd, his girlfriend Sloan and best friend Russell, a small time crook, set out on a rugged search through the treacherous Arizona desert. As events spiral out of control, the prospects of a criminal fugitive lifestyle become an inevitable reality. In addition to Devenish MISFORTUNE also stars co-screenwriter Xander Bailey, Jenna Kanell, Kevin Gage, Steve Earle and Nick Mancuso. Director-writer-producer-lead actor Desmond Devenish joins us to talk about the challenges and rewards that come with taking on the heavy responsibilities of the multi-hyphens he takes on for MISFORTUNE while staying true to his original vision.
For news and updates go to:facebook.com/MisfortuneFilm
Jaipur International Film Festival (Winner – Yellow Rose)
Arizona International Film Festival (Sold out)
Black Hills Film Festival (Winner – Best Feature Film)
Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are all grown up in this reimagined, modern day fable that finds them still searching for a hidden treasure that has eluded them since childhood. A modern-day retelling of Mark Twain’s iconic books, Band of Robbers is a comedic adventure that re-imagines the characters as grown men, and small-time crooks. When Huck Finn is released from prison, he hopes to leave his criminal life behind, but his lifelong friend, and corrupt cop, Tom Sawyer, has other plans. Not ready to give up on his childhood fantasies, Tom forms the Band of Robbers, recruiting their misfit friends, Joe Harper and Ben Rogers, to join them for an elaborate plan to find a fabled treasure. But the plan soon unravels, thrusting the guys on a wild journey with dangerous consequences. Band of Robbers premiered to stellar reviews out of LA Film Festival this year and stars Kyle Gallner (American Sniper, Dear White People, The Finest Hours), Adam Nee (Drunk History), Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds, 500 Days of Summer, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou), Hannibal Buress (SNL Emmy-nominated writer, Broad City, Neighbors), Melissa Benoist (Glee, Supergirl), Daniel Mora (The Bridge), Eric Christian Olsen (NCIS: Los Angeles), and Stephen Lang (Avatar films, Salem). Co-director Aaron Nee stops by for a conversation on this kinetic, funny and entertaining feature debut film.
Special appearance by directors and cast
NEW YORK: At the AMC EMPIRE 25 co-director Adam Nee and cast Kyle Gallner and Hannibal Buress will be doing a Q&A. (More details coming soon.) Later at the Nitehawk Cinema a special 12:25 AM screening will be introduced by Adam, Hannibal and Kyle.
LOS ANGELES: Co-director Aaron Nee, DP Noah Rosenthal and some of the cast will be doing a Q&A at the Laemmle Playhouse 7 in Pasadena at 7:10 PM.
“A film that’s as hilarious as it is beautiful.” – Paste Magazine
“Wound tight by a killer premise, polished direction, and a tone as though Anton Chigurh sauntered into “Bottle Rocket.” – Indiewire
“A wonderfully absurd crime comedy.” – Playlist
“This comic take on “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” is infused with a gleefully absurdist sense of humor while retaining a childlike sense of wonder.” – Stephen Holden, New York Times
Bill Plympton is considered the King of Indie Animation and is the only person to hand draw an entire animated feature film. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, he graduated from Portland State University in Graphic Design. Plympton moved to New York City in 1968. He began his career creating cartoons for publications such as New York Times, National Lampoon, Playboy and Screw. In 1987 he was nominated for an Oscar® for his animated short “Your Face”. In 2005, Bill received another Oscar® nomination, this time for a short film “Guard Dog”. “Push Comes to Shove” another short film, won the prestigious Cannes 1991 Palme d’Or. After producing many shorts that appeared on MTV and Spike and Mike’s, he turned his talent to feature films. Since 1991 he’s made 9 feature films, 6 of them, “The Tune”, “Mondo Plympton”, “I Married A Strange Person”, “Mutant Aliens”, “Hair High” and “Idiots and Angels” are all animated features. His latest feature animated film is Cheatin’ is a fateful tale of a bumper car collision, Jake and Ella meet and become the most loving couple in the long history of Romance. But when a scheming “other” woman drives a wedge of jealousy into their perfect courtship, insecurity spells out an untimely fate. With only the help of a disgraced magician and his forbidden “soul machine,” Ella takes the form of Jake’s numerous lovers, desperately fighting through malfunction and deceit as they try to reclaim their destiny. Animator / director Bill Plympton joins us to talk about his latest, magically adult tale of love and fidelity.
“At a time when so many computer-generated features have an increasingly homogenized look, Plympton is a welcome reminder that the art of animation is too protean to be limited to a single visual style, medium or point of view.” – Charles Solomon, LA Times
“Strife and sexual humor reign in this energetic romp, one of Bill Plympton’s best longform animated works.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety
“It’s pleasingly old-school stuff that harks back to older, non-realist, counter-cultural schools of cartooning, a style through-line that reaches back to the very early days of Winsor McKay, through Tex Avery shorts and Ralph Bakshi in his Fritz the Cat-heyday.” – Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter
Winner of the Prix du Jury at Annecy 2014
Nominated for 3 Annie Awards
Opening night film for the 2014 Slamdance Film Festival
Best Animated Film at the Gujun International Film Festival
FEAST is a new short from first-time director Patrick Osborne (Head of Animation, PAPERMAN) and Walt Disney Animation Studios, is the story of one man’s love life as seen through the eyes of his best friend and dog, Winston, and revealed bite by bite through the meals they share. Osborne is behind Walt Disney Animation Studios’ new short FEAST, taking the film from conception to completion. Osborne joined Disney as an animator on the 2008 feature film BOLT and went on to work on the PREP & LANDING movies andDisney’s 2010 hit TANGLED. Osborne served as Head of Animation for Disney’s’ OSCAR®-winning short PAPERMAN, and acted as Co-Head of Animation for the upcoming feature BIG HERO 6 prior to assuming full-time directing duties for FEAST. Prior to joining Disney, the Cincinnati, Ohio, native was lead character animator on THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. He also worked as an animator on I AM LEGEND, SuRF’S uP and OPEN SEASON. Osborne, who earned a BFA with a focus in computer animation from Ringling College of Art and Design, got his start as a kid making movies with his brothers on their parents’ camcorder. His fascination with visual effects was elevated to a career goal when his dad gave him a book about the making of JURASSIC PARK. Director Osborne joins us to talk about Oscar nominated film and the challenges and rewards of having the final say on his own animated film.
2015 Annie Awards Nomination
Audience Award Winner: 2014 Hamptons International Film Festival
Paul Schneider (Parks and Recreation) stars as a newly single dad navigating the good, the bad, and the weird of the 30-something singles scene in this whip-smart comedy. When his wife unexpectedly informs him that she wants a divorce, well-meaning but oblivious husband Otto Wall (Schneider) finds himself thrust back into bachelorhood. Cue a hilarious sequence of romantic encounters—from reconnecting with a former crush to online dating—as Otto searches for the real thing amidst a string of one night stands. Directed by the acclaimed writer of Junebug, this sexy farce co-stars Anna Camp, Heather Graham, Amy Sedaris, and Melanie Lynskey. Director Angus MacLachlan joins us for a conversation on his first feature film’s exploration of maintaining relationships, love, perceptions and modern dating.
“Goodbye to All That” is very evenhanded in assessing its characters’ flaws, and it never sentimentalizes.” – Stephen Holden, New York Times
“The film’s tone remains playful — there are even some broad, laugh-out-loud moments involving a sex toy — but poignant little moments sneak in, hinting at darker, more troubling themes. “ – Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine / Vulture
“Goodbye To All That never dares to sentimentalize, but the performances and tones are so well played that the movie is tenderly wistful in all the exact moments.”– The Playlist
Winner of the Best Actor Award at Tribeca Film Festival, Paul Schneider.
Thirty years after Koyaanisqatsi, Godfrey Reggio–with the support of Philip Glass and Jon Kane–once again leapfrogs over earth-bound filmmakers and creates another stunning, wordless portrait of modern life. Presented by Steven Soderbergh in Black and White digital 4K projection, VISITORS reveals humanity’s trancelike relationship with technology, which, when commandeered by extreme emotional states, produces massive effects far beyond the human species. The film is visceral, offering the audience an experience beyond information about the moment in which we live. Comprised of only seventy-four shots, VISITORS takes viewers on a journey to the moon and back to confront them with themselves. Director Reggio joins us for an engaging conversation on his brave and challenging new film.
The effect is akin to a mediated staring contest: the film audience looks into the eyes of the individual people on screen, who look back, their expressions changing in slow-motion, as Glass’s minor-key score triggers emotional synapses deep within. – TCha Dunlevy, Montreal Gazette
We see unadorned faces staring at the camera; afternoon shadows moving across a large, institutional-looking building; forlorn images of an abandoned amusement park; the misty, magical quiet of a swamp.– Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
For better or worse, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. – Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
Some of what [Godfrey] Reggio is trying to say is obvious, and some is elusive. Either way, the effect is remarkable. – Noel Murray, Dissolve
The word for the film is transfixing. – Stephen Holden, New York Times
I AM DIVINE is the story of Divine, aka Harris Glenn Milstead, from his humble beginnings as an overweight, teased Baltimore youth to internationally recognized drag superstar through his collaboration with filmmaker John Waters. Spitting in the face of the status quos of body image, gender identity, sexuality, and preconceived notions of beauty, Divine was the ultimate outsider turned underground royalty. With a completely committed in-your-face style, he blurred the line between performer and personality, and revolutionized pop culture. I AM DIVINE is a definitive biographical portrait that charts the legendary icon’s rise to infamy and emotional complexities. Director Jeffrey talks about Harris / Divine’s journey from outsider to cultural avatar.
“Pink Flamingos star Divine gets her own well-deserved spotlight.”— Peter Debruge, Variety
“Just as garish, splashy, and loud as Divine himself.”— Drew Taylor, indieWire’s The Playlist
“Divine expanded the concept of the drag queen from brash female impersonator into something much larger, more subversive and less gender specific.” – Stephen Holden, New York Times
Since the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas in May 2009, there are only four American doctors left who openly provide third-trimester abortions. After Tiller paints a complex, compassionate portrait of these physicians—Dr. LeRoy Carhart, Dr. Warren Hern, Dr. Susan Robinson and Dr. Shelley Sella—who have become the new number-one targets of the anti-abortion movement, yet continue to risk their lives every day to do work that many believe is murder, but which they believe is profoundly important for their patients’ lives. The film weaves together revealing, in-depth interviews with the doctors with intimate vérité scenes from their lives and inside their clinics, where they counsel and care for their anxious, vulnerable patients at an important crossroads in their lives. By sharing the moving stories of several of these patients, After Tiller illuminates the experiences of women who seek late abortions and the reasons why they do so. Co–director Lana Wilson joins us to talk about the challenges of finding the right balance when tackling such a emotionally charged issue.
“Debuting helmers Martha Shane and Lana Wilson manage a rare feat in After Tiller, making a calm, humanist documentary about a hot-button topic…Well contextualized and sensitively shot with extraordinary access, the pic reflects the personal, moral and ethical struggles of the doctors as well as their patients, and deserves the widest possible audience.” – Variety
“Intimate and heartfelt…Brings an emotional clarity to an issue in which every nuanced turn of phrase has been made politically complicated.” – Los Angeles Times
“One of the most courageous pieces of filmmaking I’ve ever seen. The film takes the issue out of pulpit/talk show screaming-match format and engages viewers hearts and minds, reminding us why we need to make and watch documentary films at all.” – Fandor
On May 13, 1985, a longtime feud between the city of Philadelphia and controversial radical urban group MOVE came to a deadly climax. By order of local authorities, police dropped military-grade explosives onto a MOVE-occupied rowhouse. TV cameras captured the conflagration that quickly escalated-and resulted in the tragic deaths of eleven people (including five children) and the destruction of 61 homes. It was only later discovered that authorities decided to “…let the fire burn.” Using only archival news coverage and interviews, first-time filmmaker Osder has brought to life one of the most tumultuous and largely forgotten clashes between government and citizens in modern American history. In the astonishingly gripping Let the Fire Burn, director Jason Osder talks about how he was able to craft found-footage film into a work that unfurls with the tension of a great thriller.
“Let the Fire Burn outshines the lackluster likes of Our Nixon by combining the death-trip of a Senna with the radical history of Black Power Mixtape.” – Nicolas Rapold, Film Comment Magazine
“Telling its riveting, despairing tale entirely through archival footage, the terrific documentary “Let the Fire Burn” has the force and intrigue of a courtroom thriller.” – Tim Griererson, Screen International