Girls State – Co-directors Amanda McBaine & Jesse Moss

From the award winning team of Jesse Moss (The Overnighters, The Family) and Amanda McBaine (Boys State, The Mission) comes their latest riveting documentary GIRLS STATE. The film follows 500 adolescent girls from all across Missouri as they come together for a week-long immersion into a sophisticated democratic laboratory, where they organize a Supreme Court to consider the most contentious issues of the day. Among the many questions posed in this sibling follow up to their 2020 Sundance Grand Jury prize,  BOYS STATE, what would American democracy look like in the hands of teenage girls? What political and social issues would they focus on? How will the concurrent BOYS STATE session, being held at the same Missouri school, be perceived by these young women? GIRLS STATE is a political coming-of-age story and a stirring re-imagination of what it means to govern, follows young female leaders — from wildly different backgrounds across Missouri — as they navigate an immersive  experiment on how to build a government from the ground up. Co-directors Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss joins us for a spirited conversation on  their plan to follow up Boys State with Girls State when the opportunity presented itself, how they decide which projects to pursue and the genuinely disappointing differences between the two STATES.

 

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Available on April 5 at: tv.apple.com/girls-state

For more on Jesse Moss & Amanda McBaine go to: jessemoss.com

About the filmmakers – Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss have been filmmaking partners for 20 years. They directed “Boys State,” which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and was released by Apple Original Films and A24. The film won the 2021 Primetime Emmy Award for Best Nonfiction Film and received DGA and Emmy nominations for Outstanding Directorial Achievement. Their previous film, “The Overnighters,” won the Special Jury Prize for Intuitive Filmmaking at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and was distributed by Drafthouse Films and Netflix. “Boys State” and “The Overnighters” were both shortlisted for the Academy Award® for Feature Documentary. Jesse also directed “The Family,” a five-part series for Netflix, as well as the “Payday” episode of the Netflix series “Dirty Money.” Other projects include documenting Pete Buttigieg’s campaign for president in, “Mayor Pete,” was released by Amazon Studios. Their latest project “Girls State” for Apple, as co-directors and producers, An upcoming project is an independent film about the reintroduction of wild bears in the French Pyrénées.For more go to: jessemoss.com

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95% on RottenTomatoes

“As the film itself unfolds and grapples with the reality of the two programs occurring on the same campus, “Girls State” comes to the ironic, though semi unfortunate conclusion, that the girl’s program and its quality are intricately tied to the boys.” – Ariana Martinez, TheWrap

“An incredibly moving, worthy and welcome chronicle of the strength, adversity, and determination of these young women. Watching this documentary leaves you with so much hope for the future. Inspiring.” – Nathan McVay, HeyUGuys

“Moss and McBaine use a squad of cinematographers, which means they get good coverage as events unfold, and a firm editorial hand from Amy Foote ensures the film moves smoothly from one arc to the next.” – Amber Wilkinson, Screen International

“While it’s reassuring and hopeful for the future watching these discussions take place with the girls listening and supporting one another, Girls State also has the added layer of exploring the inequalities between the programs regarding gender” – Robert Kojder, Flickering Myth

“How some of the young leaders in “Girls State” not only handle but also leverage their disappointments provides one of the documentary’s richest lessons.” – Lisa Kennedy, Variety

If Dreams Were Lightning: Rural Healthcare Crisis – Director Ramin Bahrani

Rural hospitals around America are closing at alarming rates, leaving smaller communities without accessible health care. Since 2005 more than 190 rural community hospitals, mostly in the South, have closed in America. In the documentary If Dreams Were Lightning: Rural Healthcare Crisis Oscar-and Emmy-nominated director Ramin Bahrani visits Appalachia, where American communities are left with limited or no access to healthcare. Explore the rural healthcare crisis in the South through the eyes of those struggling in it and the dedicated doctors trying to reach them. If Dreams Were Lightning: Rural Healthcare Crisis  highlights the challenges faced by Rural American communities today intimately through the lens of individuals, families, and tight-knit towns, underscoring the urgent need for systemic change in the national healthcare, climate and mental health systems. The film capped off the 2023 Winter Season for INDEPENDENT LENS, the award-winning PBS documentary anthology series presented by ITVS. Director Ramin Bahrani (Chop Shop, 99 Homes) joins us for a conversation on the existential and personal inspiration for the film, traveling around Appalachia in the Health Wagon with Dr. Teresa Tyson and Dr. Paula Hill-Collins and how the heartbreaking stories told by the people living without access to affordable healthcare has impacted his life.

 

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For more go to: pbs.org/if-dreams-were-lightning

Support affordable healthcare @thehealthwagon.org

If Dreams Were Lightning: Rural Healthcare Crisis will make its PBS broadcast premiere on March 25, 2024 (check local stations). The documentary was made available to stream earlier this year on the PBS Appand accessible viaPBS’s flagship YouTube Channel.

About the filmmaker: Academy Award nominee Ramin Bahrani is the Iranian- American writer, director, and producer of The White Tiger, for which he has earned Oscar, BAFTA, and WGA Award nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay. Based on the Man Booker Prize-winning novel by Aravind Adiga, the critically acclaimed Netflix feature film stars BAFTA nominee Adarsh Gourav, Rajkummar Rao, and Priyanka Chopra-Jonas, and is executive produced by Chopra and Ava DuVernay. Bahrani is the internationally renowned, award-winning writer/ director/producer of critically lauded films such as Man Push Cart, Chop Shop, Goodbye Solo, At Any Price, and 99 Homes. Early in his career, legendary film critic Roger Ebert proclaimed Bahrani as “the director of the decade” in 2010. For television, Bahrani’s HBO film, Fahrenheit 451, starring Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon, was nominated for five Emmys, including Best TV Movie, and earned a PGA award for best television film. For short films, Bahrani’s Plastic Bag (2009) (featuring the voice of Werner Herzog as a plastic bag), was the opening night film of the shorts section at Venice, and later screened at the New York Film Festival. It repeatedly has been called one of the greatest short films of all time. Currently, Bahrani is directing and executive producing the limited series “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey,” based on the acclaimed novel by best-selling author Walter Mosley, and starring Samuel L. Jackson and Dominique Fishback for Apple TV+. He is also producing Moratto’s new untitled film starring Rodrigo Santoro, and will direct, write and produce the feature adaptation of Adiga’s latest novel, Amnesty, for Netflix.

INDEPENDENT LENS is an Emmy® Award-winning PBS documentary series. With founding executive producer Lois Vossen, the series has been honored with 10 Academy Award nominations and features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by ITVS, INDEPENDENT LENS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Acton Family Giving, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, and National Endowment for the Arts. Stream anytime on the PBS App. For more visit pbs.org/independentlens.

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Housekeeping for Beginners – Director Goran Stolevski

Debuting to rave reviews, filmmaker Goran Stolevski’s HOUSEKEEPING FOR BEGINNERS explores the universal truths of family, encompassing both the bonds we inherit and those we create. Stolevski’s multi-layered focuses on the exploration  of human behavior and the universal truths of family life. Both the ones we are born into and the ones we find for ourselves. Dita (Anamaria Marinca) never wanted to be a mother, but circumstances force her to raise her girlfriend’s two daughters, tiny troublemaker Mia (Dzada Selim) and rebellious teen Vanesa (Mia Mustafi). Toni (Vladimir Tintor) never wanted to be a father. A battle of wills ensues as they continue to butt heads and become an unlikely family that must fight to stay together. Director / Writer / Editor Goran Stolevski (You Won’t Be Alone, Of Any Age) joins us to talk about the challenges that come with a mostly non-professional cast of actors, cultivating the kinetic talent that we see in Samson Selim (Ali), how he wove together multiple, overlapping storylines into the joy that this unconventional family eventually finds in each other.

 

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For more go to: focusfeatures.com/housekeeping-for-beginners

96th Academy Award® Best International Feature Official Selection Northern Macedonia.

About the filmmaker – Goran Stolevski was born and grew up in North Macedonia before migrating to Australia as a teenager. He completed a Bachelor of Creative Arts at the University of Melbourne and a Masters in Film and Television at the Victorian College of the Arts. He won the Ruben Mamoulian Best Director Award at the 2016 Sydney Film Festival with You Deserve Everything, before attending the Berlinale Talent Campus and MIFF Accelerator as well as receiving the $50,000 Lexus Fellowship for his short film My Boy Oleg. His 25 shorts have screened at more than hundred festivals across six continents, including the Clermont-Ferrand, Melbourne, Raindance, Adelaide, London Shorts. He is an alumnus of Screen Australia’s Talent Escalator initiative. He is director of three episodes of the next season of a popular Australian adventure series Nowhere Boys. He has written nine feature scripts and his tenth, You’ll Love Me, has received a development grant from Screen Australia.

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“An untamed, densely detailed drama that crackles with so much feral energy, you practically get a static shock from the screen.” – Wendy Ide, Screen International

“There are many greatly moving moments in the director’s third feature, all connected by a heartfelt understanding of the value of nurturing companionship.” – Rafaela Sales Ross, Little White Lies

“Like an unkempt home that is messy to the visitor’s eye, yet where the owner can find anything in a heartbeat, “Housekeeping for Beginners” is in full control of its disorder.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“It confirms Stolevski’s standing, established with the witchy thriller You Won’t Be Alone, as a filmmaker of impressive originality, skill and style. Goran Stolevski. Remember that name.” – Stephanie Bunbury, Deadline Hollywood Daily

“For all the apparent chaos, this is a tightly controlled piece of work which fully delivers on the promise of Stolevski’s earlier films.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

PBS FRONTLINE – Editor-in-Chief and Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath

For over 50 year’s PBS’ FRONTLINE has been the standard by which all other long form broadcast journalism is measured.  Under the leadership of Editor-in-Chief and Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath FRONTLINE has won every major award in broadcast journalism, including Peabody Awards, Emmy Awards, and, in 2019, the first Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Gold Baton to be awarded in a decade. FRONTLINE’s reporting has been recognized with myriad journalism honors including Overseas Press Club Awards, Scripps Howard Awards, the Nieman Foundation’s Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism and the Peabody Institutional Award. Aronson-Rath has led an ongoing charge for transparency in journalism — including through the FRONTLINE Transparency Project, an effort to open up the source material behind FRONTLINE’s reporting. She served as the sole public media representative on the Knight Commission on Trust, Media, and Democracy. In addition to increasing FRONTLINE’s digital footprint, Aronson-Rath has  spearheaded FRONTLINE’s expansion into the theatrical documentary space. During her tenure, the series won an Academy Award® for 20 Days in Mariupol (2024), and received Academy Award® nominations for Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (2018), For Sama (2020). In 2021, Aronson-Rath became a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Raney Aronson-Rath joins us to talk about the surpassing importance of reliable and accurate reporting in service to a functioning democracy.

 

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For more go to: pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/documentaries

Watch 2024 Oscar Doc winner at: frontline/20-days-in-Mariupol

About the filmmaker – Raney Aronson-Rath is the editor-in-chief and executive producer of FRONTLINE, PBS’ flagship investigative journalism documentary series produced at WGBH in Boston. She’s a leading voice on the future of journalism and has cemented FRONTLINE’s reputation as a trustworthy source. Aronson-Rath oversees FRONTLINE’s acclaimed reporting, and directs the series’ editorial vision — executive producing more than 20 in-depth documentaries each year on critical issues facing the country and the world. Under her leadership, FRONTLINE has investigated the impact of Russia’s war on Ukraine, the deep historical and regional context behind the Israel-Hamas war, threats to democracy in the U.S. and abroad and the world’s response to a global coronavirus pandemic. Aronson-Rath launched FRONTLINE’s original narrative podcast, The FRONTLINE Dispatch, and was selected to serve as the board chair for the Pulitzer Prizes’ first-ever audio reporting category. The 2024 recipient of New York Women in Film & Television’s Enid Roth Award for Excellence in Journalism, 2022 recipient of the New England First Amendment Coalition’s Stephen Hamblett Award and the 2019 Hearst Digital Media Lecturer at Columbia Journalism School, Aronson-Rath has spoken on journalism and filmmaking at the Skoll World Forum, the TV Next Summit, the Power of Narrative Journalism Conference, and at universities including Stanford, UC Berkeley, NYU and MIT. She is a member of the board of visitors for Columbia University’s journalism school, and serves on the advisory board of Columbia Global Reports. Aronson-Rath joined FRONTLINE in 2007 as a senior producer. She was named deputy executive producer by David Fanning, the series’ founder, in 2012, and became executive producer in 2015. Before managing FRONTLINE, Aronson-Rath produced a number of notable FRONTLINE documentaries including News War, a four-part investigation into the future of news; The Last Abortion Clinic, an examination of how anti-abortion advocates waged a successful campaign to limit abortion in many places in the country; The Jesus Factor, an examination of then-President George W. Bush’s personal religious journey and the political influence of America’s evangelical Christians; Law & Disorder, an investigation into questionable police shootings in the wake of Hurricane Katrina; and Post Mortem, which uncovered flaws in America’s death investigation system and revealed that autopsies were being carried out by doctors who lacked certification and training. Prior to FRONTLINE, Aronson-Rath worked at ABC News and The Wall Street Journal. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and her master’s from Columbia Journalism School. instagram.com/frontlinepbs

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“A remarkable snapshot of the war crimes that—as the daily news reminds us—are still being perpetrated today.” – Nick Schager, The Daily Beast

“The film is a cinematic tour de force that transcends the boundaries of traditional documentary-making, delivering a visceral and unforgettable account of war. 20 Days in Mariupol stands as one of the most impactful documentaries of our time.” – Linda Marric, HeyUGuys

“This powerful documentary not only offers an astonishing record of events and serves as a time capsule of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it fosters a better understanding of how traumatic events affect our fellow human beings.” – Louisa Moore, Screen Zealots

“It’s be the best and most devastating look at the ongoing war in Ukraine yet, and one of the finest films to ever capture the unfiltered horror of living in a battle zone of all time.” – Andrew Parker, The Gate

“Grueling but vital, the documentary 20 Days in Mariupol takes us inside the atrocities visited on the strategically important Ukrainian port city in the early days of the Russian attack in 2022.” – Kyle Smith, Wall Street Journal

Against All Enemies – Director Charlie Sadoff

Why would US military veterans take up arms against the country they swore an oath to protect? Through gripping  personal perspectives from all sides of this ongoing crisis, Charlie Sadoff’s AGAINST ALL ENEMIES goes deep inside the violent extremist movement in America, alongside the Proud Boys, 3 Percenters, and with never-before-seen footage of the Oath Keepers. These groups, organized and led by highly trained military veterans, pose one of the greatest threats to the United States today. While most veterans are successful in their transition to civilian life, an increasingly radicalized element is drawn to the insurrectionist movement. We saw evidence of this during the January 6 Capitol riots, but the danger goes far beyond a single day. AGAINST ALL ENEMIES explores the historical roots of the insurrectionist cause, its powerful draw for today’s veterans, and the top-cover being provided by highly decorated former military officers and political leaders. AGAINST ALL ENEMIES is both a warning about an existential threat to our democracy, and a beacon for those hoping to combat it. Director Charlie Sadoff joins us for a conversation on why he and his production team of Kenneth Harbaugh, Dan Barkuff and Sebastian Junger decided to pull back the curtain on the extremist who have taken over much of the Republican Party, and the movements foot soldiers like Michael Flynn, Eric “General E” Braden, Stewart Rhodes, and disgraced former President Donald Trump hell bent to shatter the ideals and functionality of America’s greatest treasure, democracy.

 

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For more go to: againstallenemiesfilm.com

About the filmmaker – Charlie Sadoff is a producer, director and editor whose most recent film Against All Enemies premiered to critical acclaim at the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival. Documentaries he has produced include The Mind of Mark Defriest which premiered at Hot Docs and aired on Showtime, Dream Riders (Sheffield Doc Fest, Discovery), the 10 part series The Rites of Autumn for ESPN and multiple docs for History and CBS Sports. Charlie seeks projects that can help affect meaningful change and Cut Poison Burn (Mill Valley) and The Harvest (IDFA, Epix) from executive producers Eva Longoria and Academy Award winners Shine Global both screened on Capitol Hill as part of efforts to move legislation. The Definition of Insanity, which he wrote and produced for PBS in 2020 is currently being used to help cities around the world change the way people with mental illness interact with the criminal justice system.

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“Against All Enemies is no doubt terrifying but it’s a reminder that the stakes have never been higher when it comes to American democracy.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

“A grim diagnosis of a fast-spreading cancer, “Against All Enemies” may provide much less reassurance than cause for alarm, but its wakeup call is certainly worth heeding.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“Vital and urgent, Against All Enemies is surprising in the emotions it garners from its audience, always resolute to is overall message, but unafraid to listen and have a conversation.” – Stephanie Archer, Film Inquiry

“Documentarian Charlie Sadoff sends a dire wake-up call to apathetic Americans blind to an exploding movement of political violence fronted by the very people who vowed to defend us – the U.S. armed forces.” – Al Alexander, Movies Thru the Spectrum

“Thundering, anxiety-inducing…” – Chris Barsanti, The Playlist

Commuted – Director Nailah Jefferson

In 1993, Danielle Metz, a 26-year-old mother of two young children, was labeled a drug kingpin by the U.S. Government as a part of her husband’s drug ring. Sentenced to a triple life plus 20 years for nonviolent drug offenses, she was sent to Dublin Federal Correctional Institute in California, more than two thousand miles from her family in New Orleans. In 2016, after having served 23 years in prison, Metz’s sentence was commuted by the President Barack Obama Administration’s Clemency Initiative to address historically unfair sentencing practices during the “War on Drugs” campaign. Now back home, she is stepping into a different reality – starting life again while helping other women avoid a similar fate. COMMUTED traces Metz’s journey in confronting the wounds of incarceration that linger long after parole, and to finding purpose, love and unification with her two grown children. Director Nailah Jefferson joins us to talk about how she learned about Danielle and her plight, some of the issues and hurdles that Danielle has faced and where are we, as a nation, in bringing about a more equitable system of justice to all Americans.

 

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A CO-PRESENTATION OF AFROPOP AND AMERICA REFRAMED.PREMIERING MONDAY, APRIL 1 at 8/7c
STREAMING APRIL 1 on YouTube and the PBS app
A Co-presentation of AfroPop and America Reframed premiering Monday April 1 at 8 PM. Streaming on April 1 on YouTube and the PBS app

 

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For more on Nailah’s work go to: nailahjefferson.com
For more go to: blackpublicmedia.org
For more go to: youtube.com/@WORLDChannel
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About the filmmaker – Nailah Jefferson is a native New Orleans filmmaker intrigued and inspired by the enduring human spirit, whose films span fiction and nonfiction. Nailah’s recent work includes DONYALE LUNA: SUPERMODEL (HBO 2023), COMMUTED (NOFF 2023, PBS 2024), and DESCENDED FROM THE PROMISED LAND: THE LEGACY OF BLACK WALL STREET (DOC NYC 2021). Her acclaimed work has been distributed domestically and internationally on the film festival circuit, theatrically and televised. Nailah’s debut documentary ‘Vanishing Pearls: The Oystermen of Pointe a la Hache’, told the story of the little known African American oyster fishing community in Louisiana in the aftermath of the 2010 BP Oil Spill. The film was streamed on Netflix and the Urban Movie Channel. In 2017, Nailah’s short documentary for Essence Magazine’s “Black Girl Magic Episode 4,” was nominated for a National Magazine Ellie award. That same year, Nailah’s first narrative film, “Plaquemines,” was chosen as an American Black Film Festival HBO Shorts finalist and is currently available on HBO/ Cinemax platforms. Nailah’s work has been supported by organizations including the Tribeca Film Institute, Chicken & Egg Films, Black Public Media, ITVS and Firelight Media. Visit Nailah’s website.

About AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange spotlights contemporary stories reflecting the spirit, ingenuity and resilience found among people of the African diaspora. AfroPoP recognizes that nonfiction – and Afro-futurism in particular – has provided a critical tool for Black storytellers to define present and future realities on their own terms, giving Black storytellers the necessary space for new conversations, investigations and observations. By embracing fiction and nonfiction stories, AfroPoP acknowledges that there is no distinction in the power of both genres to offer audiences deep insight into the global Black Experience.

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A Perfect Day for Caribou – Director Jeff Rutherford

A Perfect Day for Caribou tells the story of just one day in the life of Herman (Jeb Berrier), Nate (Charlie Plummer), and Ralph. Herman is an alcoholic with a depleted appetite for life. It’s early morning as Herman speaks into a tape recorder, dictating a final message to his estranged son, Nate. As he rambles on about the last Caribou herd in North America, his mobile phone rings – it’s Nate, all these years later. Nate is an anxious young father reckoning with his past so he might move further into the future. That afternoon, they meet up at a cemetery on the edge of an unknown town. Nate brings his own boy along, a six year old named Ralph, who carelessly plays and runs around in the distance as Herman and Nate stumble through ten years worth of conversation. They navigate hills and valleys, forests and open plains. All the while, in an uneven and awkward pattern, they attempt to connect with one another. A Perfect Day for Caribou tells the story of just one day in the life of Herman, Nate, and Ralph. Director, producer and writer Jeff Rutherford (My Mother is a Fish, Rainbow Pie) joins us to talk about the orgin story that inspired the film, working with the outstanding lead actors in the film, Charlie Plummer (King Jack, Lean on Pete) and Jeb Berrier (Documentary Now!, Portlandia) and choosing to go black and white.

 

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For more go to: aperfectdayforcaribou.com

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“A surprisingly powerful and deeply moving portrait of three generations of broken men” – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, AWFJ.org

“[A] tender, affectingly reserved first feature…” Guy Lodge, Variety

The Tuba Thieves – Director Alison O’Daniel

Alison O’Daniel’s powerful feature THE TUBA THIEVES re-examines a tuba-stealing crime spree that took place between 2011 and 2013 and the ramifications it had on students, marching bands and the high schools from which they were stolen. The Tuba Thieves starts from these questions. It is a film about listening, but it is not tethered to the ear. It is a film about Deaf gain, hearing loss and the perception of sound in Los Angeles – by animals, plants and humans. The human protagonist of the film is Nyke Prince, a Deaf woman whose story runs parallel to Geovanny Marroquin’s. Geovanny was the drum major at Centennial HS when their tubas were stolen. Their stories are connected by the omnipresence of noise pollution – helicopters, airplanes, leaf blowers, car traffic. The audience is the third protagonist – their experience making sense of the film is the film. The Tuba Thieves reverses the standard process offilmmaking so that listening and lived experiences of hearing shape the method of filmmaking. Director, screenwriter, co-producer, co-editor and co-sound designer Alison O’Daniel joins us to talk about her own experiences living on the d/Deaf spectrum, why she decided to make a film called The Tuba Thieves that did not focus on the thieves, but instead focused on the sonic experience of living and listening in Los Angeles and exploring the idea of ownership over space and air, and how sound travels.

 

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For more go to: thetubathieves.com

Watch in a theatre: thetubathieves.com/screenings

For more about ASL & Deaf identity go to: nad.org

About the filmmaker – Alison O’Daniel is a filmmaker and visual artist. She has screened and exhibited in galleries and museums internationally, including Kunsthalle Osnabrück, Osnabrück, Germany; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow; Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR; Centro Centro, Madrid, Spain; Renaissance Society, Chicago; Art in General, New York; Centre d’art Contemporain Passerelle, Brest, France; Tallinn Art Hall, Estonia. O’Daniel is a United States Artist 2022 Disability Futures Fellow and a 2022 Guggenheim Fellow and has received grants from Ford Foundation; Sundance; Creative Capital; Field of Vision; ITVS; Chicken & Egg; SFFILM; Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation; Rema Hort Mann Foundation; Center for Cultural Innovation. She has attended residencies at the Wexner Center Film/Video Studio Program; Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown; and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She was included in Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film and writing on O’Daniel’s work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine; Artforum; Los Angeles Times; BOMB; ArtReview. She is represented by Commonwealth and Council in Los Angeles and is an Assistant Professor of Film at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

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94% on RottenTomatoes

“If there’s an actual protagonist in this formally adventurous effort, it’s the synesthetic dance between images and sound (or silence) and how these interactions inform our perception of the world, depending on whether you are a hearing person, someone hard-of-hearing or a deaf individual.” – Carlos Aguilar, VARIETY

“In sharing this experience of navigating an audist world, [O’Daniel] not only attunes hearing audiences to what they often ignore but also refigures the gap—not as loss—but as a space of Deaf gain that holds other poetic and political possibilities for connection.” – Jordan Lord, DOCUMENTARY MAGAZINE

“A brilliant interplay with captioning, sound, and silence… The Tuba Thieves is an immersive sensory experience unlike anything audiences have encountered before.” – Pat Mullen, POV MAGAZINE

“Its originality of conception on multiple levels and baseline excellence in technical execution are clearly a cut above.” – Vadim Rizov, FILMMAKER MAGAZINE

“We are treated to a superb and visually engrossing rendition of visual poetry in ASL that appears nothing less than world-class in the hands of seasoned stalwart performer Russell Harvard and renowned deaf sound artist Christine Sun Kim.” – Del Whetter, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Limbo – Director Ivan Sen

Ivan Sen’s latest film zeroes in on a jaded police detective Travis (Simon Baker) as he arrives in the remote Australian Outback town of Limbo to investigate the cold case murder of a local Indigenous girl 20 years ago. As truths about the crime begin to unfold, Travis gains new insight into the unsolved case from the victim’s fractured family, the surviving witnesses, and the reclusive brother of the chief suspect. Shot in starkly beautiful black and white, Limbo is a penetrating modern noir and a poignant, intimate journey into the complexities of loss. Writer-director Ivan Sen, one of Australia’s foremost Indigenous filmmakers, deftly wields the police procedural to chart the impact of the justice system on Indigenous families in Australia. Director Ivan Sen (Beneath The Clouds, Yellow Fella) joins us to talk about the inspiration his black and white, slow burn noir story, bringing Simon Baker on to the project as his lead actor and executive producer, and the importance of making the judicial, political and social disparity between the Indigenous peoples and the non-Indigenous colonizers the centerpiece of this starkly spectacular film.

 

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For more go to: musicboxfilms.com/film/limbo

To watch go to: musicboxfilms.com/limbo

About the filmmaker – Ivan Sen (Writer, Director, Producer, DOP, Editor, VFX, Composer) Throughout the late 1990s Ivan Sen worked on numerous short films, before making his feature film debut with Beneath Clouds in 2002. The film won Ivan global acclaim, screening in Competition at the 2002 Berlinale and winning a Silver Bear. Beneath Clouds also screened at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival and earned Ivan the 2002 Best Director Award at the Australian Film Institute Awards. Ivan has written and produced a number of award-winning documentaries. His documentary Yellow Fella screened in Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005.  In 2011 Ivan completed his feature Toomelah, which was selected for Un Certain Regard at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. The world premiere of the film at Cannes received a standing ovation. The film won the Grand Prix at the Pacific Meridian Film Festival 2011 and the UNESCO Prize at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2011.  In 2012 Ivan was awarded the prestigious Byron Kennedy Award, for “his unique artistic vision and for showing, by his resourceful, multidisciplinary filmmaking, that telling stories on screen is in reach of all who have something consequential to say”. In 2013 Ivan wrote and directed the feature film Mystery Road starring Aaron Pedersen, Hugo Weaving, Ryan Kwanten, Tasma Walton and Jack Thompson. Mystery Road had its international premiere with a “Special Presentation” at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival and opened the 2013 Sydney Film Festival. Ivan is an Executive Producer on the successful TV drama series adaptation of Mystery Road.  In 2015 Ivan directed Goldstone starring Aaron Pedersen, Jacki Weaver, David Gulpilil, Cheng Pei Pei, Alex Russell and David Wenham. Goldstone premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and was the opening night film at the 2015 Sydney Film Festival.  In 2019 Ivan wrote and directed his sci fi Loveland starring Ryan Kwanten, Hugo Weaving and Jillian Nguyen. Loveland was released in the US by Lionsgate.  His latest feature, Limbo, starring Simon Baker and Rob Collins, will have its world premiere in Competition at the 2023 Berlin Film Festival. 

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97% on RottenTomatoes

“It is a tough, muscular film with the grit of crime, but a heartbeat of compassion.” Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

“With its strikingly cinematic locations and Sen’s expressive use of the widescreen frame, Limbo also sneaks up on you, leaving a haunting impression.”David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

“This is outback noir — oblique, secretive and as hard-boiled as the ground is hard-baked — and Sen wears it well.”Guy Lodge, Variety

“Limbo is perhaps his best film to date, a technically accomplished, richly evocative drama that explores, with the eye of an insider, the often tense relationships between Indigenous Australians and white Australians…” – David Stratton, The Australian

“An eerily meditative production with top-notch performances and a harshly beautiful monochrome veneer.” – Luke Buckmaster, Guardian

“It’s a distinctive work, both visually – the stark black and white photography accentuates the uncanny, almost lunar pockmarks on this scarred terrain – and in terms of its intriguingly detached outback noir storytelling.” – Wendy Ide, Screen International

Much Ado About Dying – Director Simon Chambers

MUCH ADO ABOUT DYING begins when the filmmaker Simon Chambers receives a call from his elderly gay uncle, David Newlyn Gale, – “I think I may be dying!” – Simon takes it as a summons. As it turns out, eccentric Uncle  David, a retired actor living alone in a cluttered, mouse-infested London house, is being dramatic, sort of: For the next five years, Chambers both cares for and documents David, through all his performative exuberance (constantly acting out passages of King Lear) and anarchic charisma (swinging from boisterous humor to short temper), as various people (including a sexy young hustler) possibly take advantage of him. As their lives become encumbered by hospital visits, a house fire, and Britain’s inadequate eldercare system, the younger man (also single and queer) reflects with aching honesty on what may await him in the years to come, in this moving yet hilarious film. Director Simon Chambers for a conversation on the reasons he didn’t think he had a film about his uncle until he realized that he did, the push and pull that was his own life in service to David, saving him from himself and the pure joy that made being with David brought until the very end.

 

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For more go to: Much Ado About Dying at firstrunfeatures.com

Much Ado About Dying opens in NYC at Film Forum on March 15.

 
Winner of Best Directed Film at International Documentary Festival Amsterdam 
Winner: Best Documentary at Merlinka International Queer Film Festival (Serbia)
Winner: Audience Award for Best Film at North East International Film Festival 
Winner: Best Film at Jakarta Independent Film Festival Winner : Best Film at Milton Keynes International Film Festival

 

Director Simon Chambers and producer David Rane will appear in person at the Monica Film Center for select opening weekend screenings of  MUCH ADO ABOUT DYING beginning Friday, March 22. 

About the filmmaker – Director, writer, producer Simon Chambers taught disadvantaged teenagers in London for 14 years before turning his hand to films. In 2006, with his first feature ‘Every Good Marriage Begins With Tears’, he realised that he had a knack for making the kind of documentaries that people want to watch. ‘Every Good Marriage’ was shown on BBC Storyville, and on TV in around 30 countries. In 2009 he completed feature length documentary ‘Cowboys in India’ which has also won several prizes and has shown on TV In 2010 he moved to New Delhi where he taught at an Islamic university. In 2015 he moved back to London to become the carer for his uncle, David Newlyn Gale, a retired gay actor who was living in squalor and needed support. When Uncle David died in 2020 Simon decided to make a film from the footage they had shot together. 

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86% on RottenTomatoes

“With Much Ado About Dying, Mr. Chambers has given us a sensitive portrait of a man playing his final part — which is, really, a little bit Lear but mostly David Gale. It’s a sui generis performance.” – Zachary Barnes, Wall Street Journal

“Joyous clarity…bittersweet empathy… in this achingly funny-sad film.” -Variety

“In its refreshingly frank look at the end of life, Much Ado About Dying becomes a thought-provoking study of what it means to live.” -Screen Daily

“The best kind of documentary. It will make you laugh and cry. It will also make you pause for thought.” -BackSeat Mafia

“One of the biggest hits emerging at IDFA…simultaneously touching, endearing and often riotously funny.” – Deadline

“Chambers’ family-filming-family masterpiece is a tender and often funny chronicle of a dying man who secretes his brilliant charisma…” -The Film Verdict

“[A] piercingly personal documentary…” – Guy Lodge, Variety

You’ll Never Find Me – Co-directors Josiah Allen & Indianna Bell

Indianna Bell and Josiah Allen’s feature film debut, YOU’LL NEVER FIND ME, drops us in the midst of a violent thunderstorm, where a soaking wet and seemingly shaken to her core, a young woman (Jordan Cowan), knocks at a stranger’s door in an RV park looking for shelter and comfort. Patrick (Brendan Rock), is a strange and lonely resident, lives in one of the mobile homes. At first glance, she finds help in the care and concern shown to her. But soon, that care transforms into curiosity and paranoia. And in this small RV, shaking from the raging rain and wind outside, paranoia spreads like wildfire. Both parties question the motives and desires of the other. As uncertainty and nervousness heat up and questions come thick and fast, things turn dangerous for the duo. Perceptions of what’s real and what’s not come into play, and all roads lead us to a deadly and bizarre showdown. Co-directors and co-writers Josiah Allen & Indianna Bell stop by to talk about their feature film debut, their choice once again cast Jordan Cowan and Brendan Rock as the leads, shooting  the entire film in very tight quarters, the amazing sound design and how much they like exploring the cinema of horror to tell this story.

 

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To watch go to: shudder.com

For more go to: stakeoutfilms.com/ynfm

About the filmmaker – Indianna Bell is an emerging writer and director based in Adelaide, South Australia. She graduated from university with a Bachelor of Creative Arts in Screen Production in 2016 and began writing and directing short films as well as commercial work under Stakeout Films. In 2018 Indianna won the Gold Prize for comedy in the World Series of Screenwriting  for her first feature screenplay Microwave Me. In 2019 she produced and co-directed (with Josiah Allen) a Tropfest-finalist short film, Safe Space. She and Josiah were also selected to be a part of a filmmaking masterclass with Nash Edgerton and Spencer Susser at Fox Studios in Sydney as a part of the Tropfest experience. Safe Space also won ‘Best Directing’ and ‘The Young Filmmaker Award’ at the South Australian Screen Awards. Indianna wrote and co-directed a short drama film, Call Connect, which was awarded the Jury Prize for ‘Best Narrative Short’ at the 2019 Austin Film Festival. It has been selected for multiple international film festivals, including the Vancouver International Film Festival and Manchester Film Festival. In 2020, Indianna wrote and co-directed a short thriller film The Recordist. The film had its premiere at the ADLFF in October and  has since screened at the Hollyshorts FF, Manchester FF, London Short FF and Hollyshorts FF. It won the Jury Prize for Best Narrative Short at the Austin FF, which means it is now eligible to be considered for an Academy Award. It also won Best Short Film at the Byron Bay FF and took out the Gold Award for Cinematography at the Australian Cinematography Society Awards. Having worked as a disability carer for seven years, Indianna is also passionate about Autism awareness and recently combined this with her love of writing to write and publish a children’s book, ‘Quirky Quentin.’

About the filmmaker – Josiah Allen is an emerging director and editor born and raised in South Australia. In 2016 Josiah graduated with a Bachelor degree in the Creative Arts (Screen Production) and with fellow graduates Indianna Bell and John Chataway, founded the collective ‘Stakeout Films’.  One half of the directing team made up of himself and Indianna Bell, he has co-directed a variety of short films, music videos and commercials. In the last year their short film ‘Safe Space’ (written by John Chataway) was a Tropfest Finalist, and won ‘Best Directing’ and  ‘The Young Filmmaker Award’ at the  South Australian Screen Awards. As part of the Tropfest finalist experience Josiah and Indianna were flown to Fox Studios for an immersive short film course, mentored by directors Nash Edgerton and Spencer Susser. Their short film ‘Call Connect’  (written by Indianna Bell) played in more then 10 international film festivals including Vancouver International Film Festival,  Manchester Film Festival and won ‘Best Narrative Short Film’ at the Austin Film Festival.

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95% on RottenTomatoes

“A terse debut that takes a burgeoning sub-genre and spins it on its head, generating a nerve-shredding atmosphere that is hard to shake.” – Kat Hughes, THN

“The engaging story and two lead performances lead to a wild ending that will shock audiences. Beautifully camerawork and great sound design add to the tension of this slow burn Australian horror.” – Nathaniel Muir, AIPT

“So much of the joy of You’ll Never Find Me comes from an overwhelming sense that you never really quite know what’s coming next.” – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, AWFJ.org

“The best slow burns lead to a violent boil and although You’ll Never Find Me didn’t set my world on fire it is a tight, dread-filled slow burn of a thriller that features two incredible performances from its leads.” – Jonathan DeHaan, Nightmare on Film Street

“‘You’ll Never Find Me’ is a claustrophobic storm story that will reward horror fans with a taste for intimate storytelling.” – Josh Korngut, Dread Central

How to Build a Truth Engine – Director Friedrich Moser

Friedrich Moser’s frightening and surprisingly hopeful documentary, HOW TO BUILD A TRUTH ENGINE, about the pervasive influence of disinformation and conspiracy theories that have reached a level unwitnessed since the turmoil of the 1930s. HOW TO BUILD A TRUTH ENGINE portrays a crack-team of investigators from the fields of technology, journalism, folklore and neuroscience who show that if you hack the information feed, you can hack somebody’s  mind. Following their personal  journeys they take us from the information battlefields into the inner workings of the human brain and show how, through us, a web of lies can change reality. Director / Producer / Screenwriter / Cinematographer Friedrich Moser joins us for a conversation on how his previous documentary, A Good American, provided him with an understanding of cyber tactics and cyber warfare will look in the not so distant future and how we can better arm ourselves against it.

 

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For more about Friedrich Moser go to: blueandgreen.info

2024 SXSW screenings for How to Build a  Truth Engine

About the filmmaker – Friedrich Moser holds a university degree (MA) in History and German Studies from the University of Salzburg, Austria. From 1998-2000 he worked as a TV journalist in Bolzano/Bozen, Italy. In 2001 he founded blue+green communication. In 2008 Friedrich successfully attended the Documentary Campus, the European Masterclass in nonfiction filmmaking, and started to make documentaries for the international market. Friedrich has been writing, directing, shooting and producing documentaries since 1999, with an output of over 20 films. Friedrich’s professional career also includes lecturing on history and documentaries at the University of Vienna.

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A Revolution on Canvas – Co-directors Sara Nodjoumi & Till Schauder

In this hybrid political thriller and verité portrait documentary, A REVOLUTION ON CANVAS, Sara Nodjoumi, working with co-director and husband, Till Schauder, makes her directorial debut with this personal film, diving into the mystery surrounding the disappearance of more than 100 “treasonous” paintings by her father, seminal Iranian modern artist Nickzad Nodjoumi. The film follows Sara Nodjoumi as she traces a timeline of events, discovering her father’s ongoing activism, his complicated relationship with her mother, artist Nahid Hagigat, and how the implications of his incendiary art impacted the trajectory of their family’s future together. In 1980, Nickzad Nodjoumi (more commonly known as Nicky Nodjoumi) fled Iran in the wake of the Islamic Revolution. With his life in danger due to the controversial nature of his paintings on show at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, he joined his wife, Nahid, and daughter, Sara, in New York City, restlessly living in exile and continuing to paint. 40 years later, Sara begins an investigation to track down and reclaim her father’s lost artwork from Tehran. As the investigation deepens, she unearths the emotionally charged story of her family mirrored in the political and cultural upheavals of her parents’ homeland. Having participated in the pro-democracy movement to oust the Shah of Iran in the 1970s, Nicky’s hope for a new Iran crumbled with the ascendance of an authoritarian regime. His provocative paintings, now depicting the new Islamic power brokers, were quickly seized, and rumored to be destroyed by radical Islamists or stowed away in the basement of the museum.  Co-producers and co-directors Sara Nodjoumi and Till Schauder join us for a conversation on Sara’s deeply personal inquiry into her family and the central events of her parents’ life, paying tribute to their art while unveiling the complexity and longing that comes with living in exile from one’s ancestral home.

 

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For more go to: hbo.com/movies/a-revolution-on-canvas

About the filmmaker – Sara Nodjoumi is an independent filmmaker, producer and festival programmer. Recent credits include WHEN GOD SLEEPS, which premiered at Tribeca, played over 100 festivals worldwide, aired nationally on PBS, and won numerous international awards, before being shortlisted for the 2018 Academy Award in Germany. She previously produced THE IRAN JOB, which was also shortlisted for a German Academy Award (2014), and released worldwide on Netflix. In 2020 Nodjoumi and her producing and life partner, Till Schauder, released their latest documentary REGGAE BOYZ (Audience Award, Brooklyn Film Festival) in digital theaters across America. Most recently, she was awarded the 2021 Inaugural Brown Girls Documentary Mafia Sustainable Artist Grant for UNTITLED NICKY NODJOUMI PROJECT, a personal documentary about her father – controversial Iranian painter Nicky Nodjoumi. The film was recently greenlit by HBO and will be her directorial debut.

About the filmmaker – Till Schauder is a Brooklyn-based writer, director, and cinematographer. His debut documentary THE IRAN JOB (2012) was released worldwide, mentioned as an Oscar contender, and shortlisted for a German Academy Award. His 2017 documentary WHEN GOD SLEEPS premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in competition, and won numerous international awards, including Most Valuable Documentary of the Year from Cinema for Peace at Berlinale, and Best Music Documentary at the Krakow Film Festival. Another 2017 release, WARRIORS OF FAITH, won him the 2017 German Television Academy Award (German Emmy) and a nomination for the Prix Europa. Schauder’s REGGAE BOYZ, winner of the Brooklyn Film Festival Audience Award, was called “one of the funniest documentaries in years” by film-rezensionen.de. He is currently co-directing UNTITLED NICKY NODJOUMI PROJECT for HBO, a personal doc about his father-in-law, controversial Iranian painter Nicky Nodjoumi 

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“It’s not always clear why we’re jumping from one strand to the next. Yet each strand on its own is fascinating.” – Alissa Wilkinson, New York Times

“”A Revolution on Canvas” deserves immense credit. In addition to splicing together home videos and photographs, the archival footage provides insight into the contemporary dialogue.” – Alan French, Sunshine State Cineplex

“Deeply personal yet broadly resonant, this galvanizing documentary salutes the power of art and activism through a specific cultural lens.” – Todd Jorgenson, Cinemalogue

“The glimpses afforded of her parents’ vivid, provocative, ambiguous art are worth the price of admission alone…” – Dennis Harvey, 48 Hills

“a fascinating political snapshot but even more absorbing as a look at two independent people with an insatiable creative drive.” – Valerie Kalfrin, AWFJ.org

Breaking the News – Co-directors Heather Courtney, Princess A. Hairston and Chelsea Hernandez

BREAKING THE NEWS follows the launch of The 19th*, a news startup that seeks to change the white, male-dominated news industry, asking who’s been omitted from mainstream coverage and how to include them. As Donald Trump was getting sworn in as President and the Women’s March set an angry, outspoken tone for the country’s discourse, journalist Emily Ramshaw  decided to meet the moment by launching The 19th. Named after the Nineteenth  Amendment, The 19th became the first nonprofit, nonpartisan news agency in the United States. Its mission is to focus on the impact of national politics and policy on women. However, by the time Emily and co-founder Amanda Zamora had secured funding and officially launched The 19th’s news site, the pandemic hit — and the very fabric of society went into a tailspin. BREAKING THE NEWS immerses its audience in the lives and   steadfast pursuits of the members of The 19th — women and LGBTQ+ journalists — as they struggle to launch the agency and work to gain traction for their newsroom amidst shuttered news outlets and an upended America. With spirited storytelling, the directorial trio of Heather Courtney,  Princess A. Hairston, and Chelsea Hernandez provide an inquisitive and dynamic view into the inner workings of this news agency as its journalists disrupt entrenched biases, push for accountability and in the process captured the honest discussions at The 19th* around race and gender equity, revealing that change doesn’t come easy, and showcases how they confront these challenges both as a workplace and in their journalism.

 

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For more go to: 19thnews.org/breaking-the-news-documentary-pbs

Or: breakingthenewsfilm.com

Or: 19thnews.org

“Breaking the News” will premiere on INDEPENDENT LENS on Presidents Day, February 19, at 10 p.m. ET (check local listings). The film will be available to stream on the PBS App and will also be accessible via PBS’s flagship YouTube channel.

About the filmmaker – Heather Courtney is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, and a Guggenheim, Sundance, and Fulbright fellow. Her film Where Soldiers Come From (POV) was funded by ITVS, and won an Emmy and an Independent Spirit Award. Other films include The Unafraid (America ReFramed), and the IDA and SXSW Award-winning Los Trabajadores (Indie Lens).

About the filmmaker – Princess A. Hairston is a director and Emmy Award-nominated editor in New York City. She has produced and directed films, and has edited several documentaries like LulaRich, Pier Kids, Fresh Dressed, Masterpiece of Love, and Capture with Mark Seliger. Her work has been recognized with nominations and awards from the Emmys and The Webbys.

About the filmmaker – Chelsea Hernandez is an Emmy Award-nominated Mexican-American filmmaker based in Texas. Named to the DOC NYC’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2021, Chelsea won a Silver Telly Award for Social Impact for her first feature, Building the American Dream. She is a fellow of Tribeca All Access, BAVC National Mediamakers, and Firelight Media Doc Lab.

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89% on RottenTomatoes

“Breaking the News is a smart and incisive look at the origins and growing pains of The 19th* as a groundbreaking female-centric news media outlet. This documentary is honest about showing that some women have more privilege than others in battling sexism.” – Carla Hay, Culture Mix

“Good journalism just might save the world.” – Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Hammer to Nail

“Breaking the News is an immersive, crowd-pleasing, candid portrait of a start-up experiencing growing pains, roadblocks, and ultimately success in changing the paradigm and business model for news.” – John Fink, The Film Stage

“Like any article the 19th* itself would publish, the documentary comes at a chronicle of their first two years in operation from an angle you might not expect and with considerable rigor.” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest

“…a fascinating watch. … an absorbing look at walking the talk.” – Valerie Kalfrin, AWFJ.org

God Save Texas: The Price of Oil – Director Alex Stapleton

In GOD SAVE TEXAS: THE PRICE OF OIL, Houston born and raised filmmaker Alex Stapleton turns her lens on her hometown to chronicle the impact of the Texas oil industry on Houston residents, specifically Black and disenfranchised communities, including the lives of her own family, who arrived in Texas in the 1830s as slaves and have stayed in the state for nearly 200 years. Tracing her personal story as a descendant of slave owners, Stapleton widens her focus to show how Black history is vital to the Texas oil boom, yet has largely been left out of the history books. Despite representing 13% of the U.S. population, Black and brown people only make up 6% of the oil and gas workforce, with few in leadership positions, and historically, their neighborhoods are more likely to suffer the encroachment of refineries and chemical plants. Residents of Pleasantville, a Houston housing community developed in 1948 for Black veterans and their families, and similar “fenceline” communities risk exposure to elevated levels of toxicity and pollution. Illustrating that environmental racism is a civil rights issue, and by giving voice to the very people who face the human cost of Texas’ biggest money-maker, GOD SAVE TEXAS: THE PRICE OF OIL is a call for a long overdue reckoning. Director Alex Stapleton joins us to talk about  her family’s multi-generational relationship with Texas and in the process makes it crystal clear the degree to which the spectre of slavery, the pervasive legacy of “sundowner” towns, economic deprivation and the environmental racism that continue to be a part of the lived experience for people of color in the Lone Star state.

 

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For more go to: hbo.com/god-save-texas

About the filmmaker – Alex Stapleton is an Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker.  Alex’s recent film about baseball legend Reggie Jackson was released on Amazon Prime to critical acclaim including a Critics Choice nomination, and her next film God Save Texas about the energy industry’s impact on the African-American community told through the experience of her own family will be released on HBO February 2024.  In the past, she has been nominated as showrunner and executive producer for both a GLAAD and Gotham award for Pride (FX), a six-part docu-series chronicling the American LGBTQ+ Civil Rights movement dating back to the 1950’s. Other directing and producing credits include Hello Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea (Netflix), Shut Up & Dribble (Showtime), and The Playbook (Netflix). Stapleton made her directorial debut with the critically acclaimed film, Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (A&E), featuring Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, and Ron Howard, which premiered at Sundance and competed at top festivals including Cannes and the New York Film Festival. Projects to be released next year include: a limited television series for HBO that shines new light on one of one of the most prominent racial justice cases of the 1980s; a four-part series on women in hip hop; and a music meets technology docuseries for Paramount+ based on the book How Music Got Free. In 2021, Stapleton launched the company House of NonFiction as a platform to develop and produce film, television and other storytelling and experiential formats. As a proud member of the Directors Guild, she currently serves on the National Board and is also co-chair of the recently formed Documentary Committee.  For more go to: alexstapleton.com

This three-part non-sequential anthology / HBO trilogy GOD SAVE TEXAS made its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and is currently screening on HBO. In this trilogy, three Texan filmmakers, Oscar nominee  Richard Linklater, Emmy® winner Alex Stapleton and Iliana Sosa visit Huntsville, Houston and El Paso respectively, using their personal relationships with these cities to paint contemporary. The series is inspired by the book “God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State” by Lawrence Wright. Executive producers include Lawrence Wright, Alex Gibney, Richard Linklater, Peter Berg, Michael Lombardo, Elizabeth Rogers, Stacey Offman, Richard Perello. For HBO: executive producers, Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller; senior producer, Tina Nguyen.

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“For those who watch with an open mind and in good faith, “God Save Texas” should help them understand it a little better, no matter how far they live from the border. One might even say it has the Wright stuff.” – Brian Lowry, CNN.com

“A deeply personal and deeply moving social justice documentary triptych in which three filmmakers examine their Texas hometowns and, by extension, a different societal specter looming over the Lone Star State.” – Mike Scott, Times-Picayune

“The trilogy of films is essential viewing for every resident of the state …. [reflecting] many of my own contradictory feelings about the state, while also capturing something about the spirit of the people that offers a measure of hope for the future.” – Peter Martin, DallasFilmNow.com

“God Save Texas may only be a three-part anthology docuseries, but in those three parts, it manages to be wide-ranging, timely and vitally important.” – Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter

“Each entry points to the evolving mindsets within Texas, even as it is painted as a monolith by those outside its borders.” – Alan French, Sunshine State Cineplex

Ciné-Guerrillas: Scenes from the Labudović Reels – Director Mila Turajlić

In CINÉ-GUERRILLAS: SCENES FROM THE LABUDOVIĆ REELS director Mila Turajlić follows Labudović’s work in Algeria through intimate interviews with him and his  revolutionary contemporaries, as well as through his newsreel footage, which she matches up with excerpts from his diary. Known as the finest cameraman in Yugoslavia, he was handpicked in 1960 by Yugoslav President Josep Broz Tito to support the Algerian anti-colonial effort, in part because he saw parallels between the Algerian resistance and the Yugoslav partisans’ fight against Nazi occupiers in WWII. Labudović’s mission: to make films countering French propaganda. Labudović lived with the Algerian fighters, filming them as they traveled through the mountains, sometimes engaging in sabotage. No impartial observer, he brought along newsreel footage of the Yugoslav resistance to raise morale. And, unlike others covering the war, the Algerians trusted him totally. CINÉ-GUERRILLAS: SCENES FROM THE LABUDOVIĆ REELS is a testament to international solidarity, and to the power of images in the fight for decolonization.

 

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For more go to: icarusfilms.com/if-cinegu

About the filmmaker – Mila Turajlic is a documentary filmmaker born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Her most recent film The Other Side of Everything premiered at the Toronto IFF in 2017, and went on to win 32 awards including the prestigious IDFA Award for Best Documentary Film. It was a New York Times Critics’ Pick, and was named one of the best films of 2018 by TheNew Yorker’s Richard Brody. The film was HBO Europe’s first co-production with Serbia, and had a record-breaking theatrical release in Serbia. Mila’s debut documentary film Cinema Komunisto, premiered at IDFA and the Tribeca Film Festival, and went on to win 16 awards including the Gold Hugo at the Chicago Int’l Film Festival in 2011, and the FOCAL Award for Creative Use of Archival Footage. Theatrically released in France, UK, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia, “Cinema Komunisto” was broadcast across Europe. She is currently in post-production on the documentary diptych Scenes from the Labudović Reels: Non-Aligned and Ciné-Guerrillas. In 2018 she was commissioned by MoMA in New York to create a series of archive-based video installations for their landmark exhibition on Yugoslav modernist architecture. In 2020 Mila was awarded a Fellowship at Columbia University’s Institute for Ideas & Imagination to pursue her long-term artistic research project Non-Aligned Newsreels, a deep-dive into the archival materials resulting from Yugoslavia’s ciné-collaborations with the decolonizing world. She is a founding member of DOKSerbia, the Association of documentary filmmakers of Serbia, and served as the first President of the Board. Mila is a member of the TED Fellows 2021 cohort.

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CINÉ-GUERRILLAS: SCENES FROM THE LABUDOVIĆ REELS reviews:

“A documentary based on an inherently fascinating subject for those looking for something at the intersection of secret film history and Cold War artefacts.” – Filmmaker Magazine

“Prize-winning director Mila Turajlic unearths a fascinating lost chapter in Cold War history in this archive-heavy documentary.” – The Film Verdict

“This film is a tribute to a man who was directly involved with the FLN and shows a rare inside viewpoint on an historical event.” – Educational Media Reviews Online

Non-Aligned: Scenes from the Labudović Reels – Director Mila Turajlić

Filmmaker Mila Turajlić was born in Belgrade, and grew up singing patriotic songs extolling Yugoslav leader Josep Broz Tito. The images that populated her “Yugoslavia of the mind” came largely from government newsreels–and the most iconic of those were shot by Stevan Labudović. In NON-ALIGNED: SCENES FROM THE LABUDOVIĆ REELS, Turajlić delves into Labudović’s work documenting the birth of the Non-Aligned Movement, a largely Yugoslav-led bloc including many decolonizing nations that stood apart from both East and West during the Cold War. What begins as an exploration of newsreel footage of the 1961 Non-Aligned summit in Belgrade becomes a love letter to a vanished country and its hopes for the future, a history of the early days of the Non-Aligned Movement, and a document of the affinity between two filmmakers–Turajlić, in her forties, and Labudović, nearing 90. NON-ALIGNED: SCENES FROM THE LABUDOVIĆ REELS is an illuminating look back at the politically charged era of Cold War allegiance when leaders from the second and third world sought to forge an independent path not beholden to world’s “super powers”.

 

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For more go to: icarusfilms.com/if-nonal

About the filmmaker – Mila Turajlic is a documentary filmmaker born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Her most recent film The Other Side of Everything premiered at the Toronto IFF in 2017, and went on to win 32 awards including the prestigious IDFA Award for Best Documentary Film. It was a New York Times Critics’ Pick, and was named one of the best films of 2018 by TheNew Yorker’s Richard Brody. The film was HBO Europe’s first co-production with Serbia, and had a record-breaking theatrical release in Serbia. Mila’s debut documentary film Cinema Komunisto, premiered at IDFA and the Tribeca Film Festival, and went on to win 16 awards including the Gold Hugo at the Chicago Int’l Film Festival in 2011, and the FOCAL Award for Creative Use of Archival Footage. Theatrically released in France, UK, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia, “Cinema Komunisto” was broadcast across Europe. She is currently in post-production on the documentary diptych Scenes from the Labudović Reels: Non-Aligned and Ciné-Guerrillas. In 2018 she was commissioned by MoMA in New York to create a series of archive-based video installations for their landmark exhibition on Yugoslav modernist architecture. In 2020 Mila was awarded a Fellowship at Columbia University’s Institute for Ideas & Imagination to pursue her long-term artistic research project Non-Aligned Newsreels, a deep-dive into the archival materials resulting from Yugoslavia’s ciné-collaborations with the decolonizing world. She is a founding member of DOKSerbia, the Association of documentary filmmakers of Serbia, and served as the first President of the Board. Mila is a member of the TED Fellows 2021 cohort.

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NON-ALIGNED: SCENES FROM THE LABUDOVIĆ REELS reviews

“Riveting… The film moves flawlessly between archival footage and storytelling revealing a lost piece of important history. Highly Recommended.” – Educational Media Reviews Online

“Mila Turajlić builds, film after film, a remarkable work of understanding what the world was like in the second half of the 20th century.” – Slate

“These images, at the crossroads of intimate destinies and a more global history, resonate with a particularly poignant topicality.” – Les Inrockuptibles

“Masterful.” – Franc-Tireur

Unfriending – Co-directors Jason & Brett Butler

UNFRIENDING is a dark comedy of manners about a group of friends that includes Blake and his girlfriend, May. The dinner party is the cover story for a  ‘life intervention’ that focuses on the outcast of the group, Isaac, where the friend group tells him all the reasons he has become a burden to them and society in general, and that he should really just kill himself already. This off-kilter comedy is brought to life by a talented cast that includes Sean Meldrum, Simone Jetsun, Michael Pearson, Jenna Vittoria, Rachelle Lauzon, Honor Spencer, Golden Madison, and Alex Stone. After years of turning the Canadian film scene on its head with their fiercely independent, trend-bucking works, Toronto’s dynamic duo, The Butler Brothers (Jason & Brett), join us to talk what inspired this dark comedy, their first US theatrical release in Unfriending, and working together for the last 20 years writing, directing, producing and editing.

 

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 For more go to: subprod.com/films

Opening on March 8 at the  Laemmle Glendale inclluding weekend Q & A’s hosted by Canadian directing duo Jason & Brett Butler

About the filmmakers – SubProd are maverick producers and filmmaking brothers Brett and Jason Butler. Based out of Toronto, the Butler Brothers have over 20 years experience in creating and packaging projects from the ground up. Dedicated to creating bold, exciting and original content for film and television, we can assess your project strengths and weaknesses to help build your unique path to production. From producing, script consulting, story editing and pitch packaging to post production, editing, and marketing the Butler Brothers have firsthand experience in how to get your movie made. 

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“Once audiences know what kind of movie they’re getting, they’ll surely be entertained. The filmmakers balance the humor and tension nicely, and the cast is superb.” – Bobby LePire, Film Threat

“Things get uncomfortable, strained, then strange and horrifying, with a very dark key theme which is teased apart and explored throughout the film. It works very well; it’s low-key, but brutal in its way nonetheless.” – Keri O’Shea, Warped Perspective

“This black comedy is a sharp satire on cancel culture and the 20something “me generation” in particular. Highly comic, highly weird and a pointed meditation on the meaning of survival amidst a digital world that is increasingly judgmental.” – Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

“A disquieting, subversive story of unchecked narcissism, barbarous intimidation, cold-blooded violence, and the absolute worst friends on Earth.” – Louisa Moore, Screen Zealots

Io Capitano – Director Matteo Garrone

Director Matteo Garrone made his name with the landmark Neapolitan crime film GOMORRAH, and has since demonstrated a penchant for gothic tales tinged with dark fantasy, including TALE OF TALES, DOGMAN and PINOCCHIO. With IO CAPITANO, Italy’s official selection for the Academy Award® Best International Film category, Garrone turns his attention back to real-life subject matter, where he finds a story of bravery and heroism in the face of harrowing danger that’s equal to any classical epic or enchanting fairy tale. Musician-turned-actor Seydou Sarr gives an impressiv performance as Seydou, a Senegalese teenager who lives in an over-crowded house with his mother and younger sisters. Along with his cousin Moussa (Moustapha Fall), Seydou has been working odd jobs and saving money, preparing for a move to Italy, with dreams of pursuing a music career. Along the way, they will contend with shakedowns from corrupt border guards, mistreatment from human traffickers, a dangerous and deadly crossing of the Sahara Desert, and imprisonment, abuse and modern-day slavery in Libya. Director and co-writer Matteo Garrone stops by to talk about his “reverse shot” of the immigration experience while unfurling an epic, cinematographically magnificent odyssey from West Africa to Italy and his confidence in the two young, untested actors to embody the determination, courage, and character he needed to make this film such a resounding success.

 

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For more go to: cohenmedia.net/io-capitano

Italy’s Oscar® submission for Best International Feature

Opening LA Friday February 23 at: Laemmle RoyalLandmark Sunset 5Landmark Pasadena Playhouse, and AMC Burbank 16

In theatre Q+A at the following screenings:

Thursday, February 22nd
Laemmle Royal
7:00PM

Q+A with Director Matteo Garrone

Friday, February 23rd
Landmark Sunset 5
6:45PM

Q+A with Director Matteo Garrone

Saturday, February 24th
Landmark Sunset 5
6:45PM

Q+A with Director Matteo Garrone

About the filmmaker – Matteo Garrone (Writer, Director, Producer) was born in Rome in 1968. In 1997 he made his first feature film, Terra di mezzo, with his production company, Archimede. In 1998 his second film, Guest (Ospiti) and in 2000 Roman Summer (Estate romana). The Embalmer (L’imbalsamatore), from 2002, received the David di Donatello award for Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor and the Nastro d’Argento (Silver Ribbon) for Best Editing. In 2005 he was in competition at the Berlinale with First Love (Primo Amore), and was awarded the Silver Bear for best soundtrack. In 2008, Garrone wrote and directed Gomorrah, which won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival; he won five European Film Awards including Best Film and Best Director, seven David di Donatello awards and 2 Nastri d’Argento prizes; Gomorrah was selected by Italy as the entry for Best International Film (then known as Best Foreign Language Film) at the Academy Awards and entered the Golden Globes as well as receiving BAFTA and César nominations. With Reality (2012) Garrone again won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, followed by three David di Donatello awards and 3 Nastri d’Argento prizes; he returned to Cannes in 2015 with Tale of Tales (Il Racconto dei Racconti), winning 7 David di Donatello and 3 Nastri d’Argento awards. In 2018 Dogman was awarded the Best Actor prize at Cannes, subsequently winning 9 David di Donatello and 8 Nastri D’Argento prizes before being selected by Italy as the entry for Best International Film (then known as Best Foreign Language Film) at the Academy Awards In 2019 he brought Pinocchio to theaters, winning 5 David di Donatello and 4 Nastri d’Argento awards as well as earning two Oscar nominations for Best Makeup and Best Costume Design. For more go to: matteogarrone.eu

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“A grand, honestly felt emotional sweep… Garrone’s most robust, purely satisfying filmmaking since his international breakthrough with Gomorrah 15 years ago.” – Variety

“Both epic and personal, with moments of harsh inhumanity and dreamy surrealism, the film never quite goes where you expect it to, right up to the final exhilarating moments…Sarr is amazing in a breakthrough performance of such depth and pathos…” – Frank J. Avella, Awards Daily

“The film builds on a docudrama realism while also reaching toward the mythological.” – Chris Barsanti, Slant Magazine

“Garrone’s film has a three-dimensional and devastatingly realized human soul at its core. The world could do with paying attention to Seydou’s story and the millions of other real ones like it.” – Leila Latif, indieWire

“Intensely personal, the film finds global resonance in its specific story of a 16-year-old whose innate hopefulness is beaten and battered but never extinguished over the course of an astonishing odyssey.” – Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

“Garrone… almost never puts a foot wrong with this painstakingly composed work, an adventure peppered by moments of nauseating horror but also ravishing beauty and grace.” – Leslie Felperin, Hollywood Reporter

Stopmotion – Director Robert Morgan

Ella Blake is a stop-motion animator who is struggling to control her demons after the loss of her overbearing mother. Suddenly alone in the world, she embarks upon the creation of a macabre new puppet film, which soon becomes the battleground for her sanity. As Ella’s mind starts to fracture, the characters in her animated film take on a terrifying life of their own, and the unleashed power of her imagination threatens to destroy her. Anchored by a standout performance featuring actress Aisling Franciosi, the story takes a disturbing turn when a precocious young girl, played by  Caoilinn Springall makes a series of suggestions and soon demands on Ella to change the course of her film, leading to increasingly frightening outcomes. Attempts by her boyfriend, and friends to help, only drive her closer to the edge. STOPMOTION also features Morgan’s captivating yet frightening stop-motion animation. . Director Robert Morgan (The Vandal, To Dust) joins us to talk about his background as an artist, his love of stop motion filmmaking and horror, working with a superb cast that includes Aisling Franciosi, Stella Gonet and newcomer Caoilinn Springall, and his collaboration with co-writer Robin King. 

 

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For more go to: ifcfilms.com/films/stopmotion

About the filmmaker – Robert Morgan was born in 1974. He is a director and writer, known for ABCs of Death 2 (2014), Bobby Yeah (2011) and The Cat with Hands (2001). His feature directorial debut, STOPMOTION will be released by theatrically on February 23 through IFC Films. STOPMOTION currently rated 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

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92% on RottenTomatoes

“It’s chilling and tragic in equal measures.” – Richard Whittaker, Austin Chronicle

“Stopmotion is a surprising film using unique sights and sounds to breathe new life into a familiar, horrifying tale of a tortured artist.” – Molly HeneryThe Blogging Banshee

“At every level, Stopmotion is a formally and narratively thrilling feature debut from one of our greatest living animators. … A must watch for fans of animation … it’s also a visually striking and thought-provoking horror movie about creativity.” – Kyle Logan, ScreenAnarchy

“Aside from just being a good old fashioned horror movie, there is an intelligence and ferocity at play here that speaks to much grander things than just simple genre thrills.” – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, AWFJ.org

“The visuals are astounding; filled with unsettling claymation figures and darkly suspenseful atmosphere. Robert Morgan has crafted an impressive first feature that is certainly visually arresting. But the film lacks dramatic power…” – Peg Aloi, Arts Fuse

Kiss The Future – Director Nenad Cicin-Sain

An exploration of the perils of nationalism and art’s role as a weapon of resistance and activism, KISS THE FUTURE, follows an underground community that continued to work, create and live throughout the 1990s Siege of Sarajevo. Amid the breakup of Yugoslavia, the citizens of Sarajevo wake to find the city under siege and Bosnia at war. In a far-fetched scheme inspired by local resistance, an American aid worker living in Sarajevo reached out to the world’s biggest band, U2, to see if they could help raise global awareness of the devastating conflict. The band pledges to perform in the city once the conflict was over. KISS THE FUTURE follows the story of that promise, with a post-war concert that saw U2 play to over 45,000 local fans in a liberated city, a show that lives on as a joyous collective memory for the people of Sarajevo – proof that they did not just survive the blockade, but thrived in spite of it; that amid the horrors of the darkest human impulses, music and art can be acts of rebellion. Director and co-writer Nenad Cicin-Sain (The Time Being) joins us to talk about his own connection to Yugoslavia, meeting Bill Carter, the power of music, working with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck on the project and connecting with the people who survived the darkest days and now stand as an example of hope and a better way forward.

 

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For more go to: fifthseason.com/kiss-the-future

On Wednesday, February 21st at 7pm local, select AMC Theatres across the country will host an exclusive early screening. “KISS THE FUTURE: A Dolby Special Event” will include an introduction from producers Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, plus a pre-recorded post-film discussion hosted by Matt Carey (Deadline) featuring director Nenad Cicin-Sain, Vesna Andree Zaimovic and Bill Carter – in conversation with U2’s The Edge and Adam Clayton – about their personal experiences as part of the extraordinary Sarajevan creative community whose commitment to art and life and the City of Sarajevo was, and continues to be, an inspiration to so many. Tickets to this special event, presented in Dolby Cinema, are on sale now atamctheatres.com or on the AMC Theatres mobile app.

KISS THE FUTURE, a critically acclaimed documentary, that World Premiered at Berlinale and opened The Tribeca Film Festival in 2023, directed by Nenad Cicin-Sain, produced by Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Sarah Anthony, which will debut at select U.S. AMC locations beginning Friday, February 23, for a full theatrical run. The doc features Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Christiane Amanpour and Bill Clinton. Released through Fifth Season. 

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“Kiss the Future is a long-overdue documentary about the power that music has during times of war, particularly in Sarajevo.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

“”Kiss the Future” is a portrait of a city and a people who used culture to fight back; it’s also the story of a rock ‘n’ roll band exploring the limits of how its music can impact the real world.” – Steve Pond, TheWrap

“A touching reminder of music’s ability to change the world.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

“A polished yet unexpectedly affecting documentary…” – Fionnuala Halligan, Screen International

“This movie is a time-capsule of Europe’s recent tragic past.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

“It’s easy to question the motives of pop stars who get behind a cause, but the end-product here is a joyful night for people who’ve experienced unimaginable hardship” – Lou Thomas, NME (New Musical Express)

Nǎi Nai and Wài Pó – Director Sean Wang & Producer Sam Davis

2024 Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary“Nǎi Nai and Wài Pó” is a personal love letter from first generation Taiwanese-American director Sean Wang, to his grandmothers. Sean turns a camera on his grandmas (“Nǎi Nai” and “Wài Pó”), who are inseparable best friends and roommates in their 80s and 90s. The film captures their daily lives in hilarious and unexpected ways as they dance, stretch, and fart their sorrows away—eventually giving way to a poignant meditation on lives marked by both joy and pain. Together, grandmas and grandson remind us that getting older doesn’t have to mean fading away. After making its world premiere at SXSW — taking home the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award — the film went on to make the IDA shortlist and win Grand Jury Awards at AFI Fest and SIFF 2023, along with the Audience Award at The Wrap 2023  Shortlist Film Festival and Special Jury Recognition at LAAPFF 2023. Other selections include Rooftop Films Summer Series, Palm Springs ShortsFest, CAAM Fest 2023 and Aesthetica Film Festival 2023. Director / Producer / Editor Sean Wang and Producer / Cinematographer Sam Davis (Academy Award®-winning documentary short Period. End of Sentence) join us to talk about Nǎi Nai and Wài Pó’s participation, the film’s breakthrough at SXSW and what Nǎi Nai and Wài Pó will be wearing on the Red Carpet.

 

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For more go to: seanwangfilm.com/nainai-waipo

2024 Oscar® Documentary Short Nominee

About the filmmaker – Sean is an Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker from Fremont, CA, currently based in Los Angeles. He is a Google Creative Lab 5 alum, former Sundance Ignite Fellow, and 2023 Sundance Screenwriters & Directors Lab Fellow. His latest film, Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó (Grandma & Grandma), premiered at SXSW 2023 where it won the Grand Jury Prize & Audience Award. It was acquired by Disney+ and was nominated for  an Oscar for Best Documentary Short Film. It is currently streaming on Disney+ & Hulu. His debut feature film, Dìdi (弟弟), premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. It won the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award, Special Jury Prize for Best Ensemble Cast, and was acquired by Focus Features for a Summer 2024 theatrical release.

About the filmmaker – Sam Davis is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker and director of photography based in LA. His photography has screened at world-class film festivals including Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, and Camerimage. Sam produced and shot the Academy Award-winning short documentary Period. End of Sentence.. He is a member of IATSE Local 600.

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“Nǎi Nai and Wài Pó puts a gigantic smile on your face and a boulder-sized lump in your throat.’ – Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News

“A bittersweet doc showcasing the fun and silliness that can be had in older age while also acknowledging the sadness of being near death.’ – Christopher Campbell, Nonfics

Rojek – Director Zayne Akyol

Director Zayne Akyol’s even handed and insightful documentary ROJEK places the viewer face-to-face with incarcerated members of the Islamic State from all over the world, as well as their wives  detained in prison-camps, who all share a common dream: establishing a caliphate. Confronted with the fundamentalist beliefs of the jihadists, the ROJEK attempts to trace the beginning, the rise and fall of the Islamic State (ISIS) through their personal stories. These conversations are the threads along which the documentary evolves, as it is intertwined with various sequences depicting current, post-war Syrian Kurdistan. ROJEK offers an intimate gaze at an unknown reality, testifying of pivotal moments experienced by the actors of this conflict. Director Zayne Akyol yeoman’s work in ROJEK brings us into the center of a dangerous and vexing question facing much of the world right now… is the ideological warfare we have all witnessed in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries, an historic anomaly or the beginning of a terrifying threat to our collective security?

 

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For more go to: icarusfilms.com/if-rojek

Canada’s entry 2024 Academy Award® Best International Feature

About the filmmaker – Zaynê Akyol is a Canadian filmmaker, producer and photographer. She went to Université du Québec à Montréal, where she obtained a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Communication, with a specialization in film. In 2016, Zaynê released her first feature documentary  Gulîstan, Land of Roses, which was selected by 80 international film festivals with 50 nominations and won 12 awards, including the prestigious Doc Alliance Award given at Locarno Film Festival. Zaynê also started producing other filmmaker’s films, two of which are expected to be released in 2021. In her free time, she is a photographer whose exhibitions have been attended worldwide. Her latest documentary, Rojek, was Canada’s submission for the 2024 Academy Award® in the Best International Feature category.

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“A deeply unsettling exploration of morality and terror.” – The Globe and Mail

“Rojek is a work of poetic inquisitiveness years-in-the-making. This absorbing and admirably even-handed documentary looks the beast in the eye to weigh the context, cost, and consequences of fundamentalism.” – POV Magazine

“Offers an insight into the seemingly impenetrable, monolith group and paints the extremist faction through its affiliates, who are – unlike their general perception by media and the public – distinguishable and diverse.” – Modern Times Review

“Kurdish fundamentalist extremists and Western cultures…faint possibility of finding co-existence. normalizes torture and murder in a burning hellscape of ancient repressive laws, fascinating, ugly, raw, and real; we need to know.” – Anne Brodie, What She Said

“Here is an astringent, devastating and truly extraordinary film that is hard work to watch, but entirely worth it.” – Leslie Felperin, Guardian

“It’s a truly disturbing doc, illuminating a mindset that is difficult to comprehend but that must be understood if there is to ever be anything close to an attempt at peaceful coexistence.” – Awards Daily

“Highly recommended. This is one of DOC NYC’s most important films.” – Unseen Films

“An unexpected look at a far-reaching current political issue and a film whose subject matter and rhythm create an impressive cinematographic object.” – AV Club

Shari & Lamb Chop – Director Lisa D’Apolito

Director Lisa D’Apolita takes us back to a time before there was Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street, to the world of  Shari Lewis and her lovable cast of puppets, including Hush Puppy, Charlie Horse, and the most beloved puppet of all time, Lamb Chop. In 1960, while still in her early 20s, NBC gave Shari her first national network show, The Shari Lewis Show, replacing The Howdy Doody Show. Lewis quickly became a pioneer in television and changed the face of children’s entertainment. She created a playful, non-judgmental world for children and adults alike, inviting us not just to ‘be ourselves,’ but to be the best version of ourselves we can be. She used her puppets as  her voice – to say the things that women couldn’t say in mid-century America and to take control over her personal story. Over five decades, she was able to straddle two very different worlds as a performer, conquering both children’s and more mature entertainment; from her Saturday morning program to her late-night talk show performances and Las Vegas club act. Lewis also won dozens of awards – including 13 Emmys and a Peabody – published 60 children’s books, and finally found a way to achieve her dreams as a performer and managed to stay relevant with her age defying comeback in her 60’s, endearing her to a new generation with Lamb Chop’s Play-A-Long. Shari used her renewed popularity to reinforce her commitment to children’s education. Director Lisa D’Apolito stops to talk about why she believes that Shari Lewis remains so under appreciated, delves into the unique psychology that exists between performer and puppet, and the peculiar world of ventriloquism and magic and how Shari and Lamb Chop became one of the most unique and enduring “comedy teams” in American culture.

 

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For more go to: shariandlambchopdoc.com

About the filmmaker – Lisa D’Apolito is an Emmy nominated producer and director Lisa’s film documentary, LOVE, GILDA was selected as the opening night film of the Tribeca Film Festival, was distributed theatrically through Magnolia Pictures, had a broadcast premiere on CNN and was nominated for 2 creative Emmy’s. Lisa started as an actress in film, theater and television including a part in GOODFELLAS. She went on to producing and directing in advertising , making her way to SVP/EP of production at FCB and then starting her own production company 3 Faces Films. Lisa was named one of Variety’s 10 Documentarians to Watch in 2018 and SHOOT Magazines New Directors Showcase 2019. Lisa is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Italy.  She is in post production with PYUNERVERSE a documentary on the Cult director Albert Pyun and recently completed Shari Lewis and Lambchop film.

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The Hobby – Director Morgan Jon Fox

A McDonald’s Happy Meal shortage. A security guard escort. Guns pulled in a Target parking lot. All of these are caused by a common factor: trading cards. In 2020, a new BOOM began. For the first time, large hedge funds, celebrities like Logan Paul and Steve Aoki, nostalgic millennials, entrepreneurs like Josh Luber, and billionaires scrambled to add sports, Pokémon, and other hot item cards to their collections and portfolios. Over the next two years, the hobby exploded — even causing card grading services to shut down due to overwhelming customer service. This documentary is a character-driven feel good deep dive into the high-stakes, eccentric world of card collecting, following buyers, sellers, card shop owners, graders, online streamers, auctioneers, and more, who all participate in the hobby in their own unique ways. Directed by Morgan Jon Fox, viewers are brought directly into the highs, lows, big gains, and sometimes devastating  losses of a century-old hobby that anyone can break into, and some can hit the jackpot with. The trading card industry saw a massive boom in 2020, as people began clearing out garages, storage units, closets, and more to find old trading cards – ranging from sports cards to Pokemon, to garbage-pail kids and everything in between. The hobby has now grown into a multi-million dollar industry, with its very own trading index launching to assess the value of the market. Director Morgan Jon Fox stops by to talk about the pure joy of opening a Topps pack with a Pete Rose Rookie card or finding a Pokemon Charizard Base Set, as well as the thrill of meeting people who share your passion for collectibles and memories.

 

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For more go to: morganjonfox.com

Available on TVOD beginning February 16

About the filmmaker – Named one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine, Morgan Jon Fox is a Southern director/producer/1st AD from Memphis, TN, based in Chicago, IL. Known for getting strong, authentic performances, and telling gritty regional southern stories, his early micro-budget feature films Blue Citrus Hearts, and OMG/HaHaHa were film festival hits and gained international distribution. His documentary This Is What Love In Action Looks Like gained praise and national attention from CNN, Good Morning America, The New York Times and The Advocate for capturing the true story of a Memphis teen who was forced into a religious based “straight camp” intended to change his sexuality. The doc screened around the world and won the Derek Oyston CHE Film Award at the London LGBT Film Festival. His TV project, FERAL is an 8 Episode show about a close knit group of 20-something LGBT artists living in Memphis, TN. Described as “‘Weekend’ meets ‘Girls’(Huffington Post), His latest project, The One You Never Forget is a multi-award winning short film about teenagers going on their first dance. After screening at over 100 film festivals around the world, it has amassed more than 500K views on Vimeo & Youtube. Morgan has over 15 years of experience as a Producer and Assistant Director, with companies such as A24, HBO, NIKE, VICE, The Lonely Island, MTV, ESPN, FedEx, the Memphis Grizzlies, and Marquee Sports. 

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Perfect Days – Director Wim Wenders & Producer Takuma Takasaki

Set in Tokyo, Director Wim Wenders PERFECT DAYS follows Hirayama (Kōji Yakusho) a toilet cleaner with a highly structured routine. Every morning, he wakes up to the sound of a street cleaner, waters his plants, buys a coffee from the vending machine outside his apartment, and gets into his truck. His workday routine, he travels around Tokyo, cleaning the city’s public toilets. He eats lunch in the same park and takes a photo of the leaves above him while eating. After working more, he goes to the bathhouse, gets dinner at the same restaurant, reads for a bit, and goes to bed. We are joined by the award winning Director and co-scriptwriter Wim Wenders (Paris Texas, Wings of Desire, Buena Vista Social Club) and Producer and co-scriptwriter Takuma Takasaki to talk working with renown actor Kōji Yakusho to create Hirayama, making Tokyo a central character in the story, the cultural importance of the “common good”, and the meaning of the word Komorebi.

 

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About the filmmaker – Director, Writer Wim Wenders (born 1945) came to international prominence as one of the pioneers of German Cinema during the 1970’s and is now considered one of the most important figures in contemporary film. In addition to his many prize-winning feature films, his work as a scriptwriter, director, producer, photographer and author also encompasses an abundance of innovative documentary films. His career as a filmmaker began in 1967 when Wenders enrolled at the newly founded University of Television and Film Munich (HFF Munich). Parallel to his studies, he also worked as a film critic for a number of years. Upon graduating from the academy in 1971, he founded, together with fifteen other directors and authors, the Filmverlag der Autoren, a film distribution company for German auteur films, which organized the production, rights administration and distribution of their own independent films. After “The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick” (1971), his first feature length film after his graduation film, “Summer in the City”, Wenders turned to shooting his road movie trilogy, “Alice in the Cities” (1973), “Wrong Move” (1975) and “Kings of the Road (1976), in which his protagonists try to come to terms with their rootlessness in post-war Germany. His international breakthrough came with “The American Friend” (1977), an adaptation of a Patricia Highsmith novel. Since then, Wenders has continued to work both in Europe and the USA as well as in Latin America and Asia and has been honored with countless awards at festivals around the world, including the Golden Lion at the international Film Festival in Venice for “The State of Things” (1982); the Golden Palm at the Cannes Festival and the BAFTA Film Award for “Paris, Texas” (1984); the Director’s Prize in Cannes for “Wings of Desire” (1987); or the Silver Bear for “The Million Dollar Hotel” (2000) at the Berlin International Film Festival. His documentary films “Buena Vista Social Club” (1999), “Pina” (2011), and “The Salt of the Earth” (2014) have all been nominated for an Oscar. In 2015, Wenders received the Honorary Golden Bear for his lifetime achievement at the Berlin International Film Festival. In 2022, he was awarded the Praemium Imperiale, also known as the “Nobel Prize for the Arts”, by the Japan Arts Association. Among other honorary titles and positions, he has been a member of the Akademie der Künste and the European Film Academy in Berlin of which he was the President from 1996 to 2020. He taught as a professor at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg until 2017. Wim Wenders is a member of the order Pour le Mérite. In 2012, together with his wife Donata, Wim Wenders established the Wim Wenders Stiftung, a non-profit foundation based in his native city of Düsseldorf. The WWS is archiving, restoring and presenting the cinematic, photographic, artistic and literary work of Wim Wenders and makes it permanently accessible to a worldwide public. At the same time, the foundation supports young talents in the field of innovative storytelling, especially through the Wim Wenders Stipendium, a grant awarded together with the Filmund Medienstiftung NRW. wim-wenders.com

About the filmmaker – Producer, Writer Takuma Takasaki is one of Japan’s leading Creative Directors, and he has also been active as a novelist in recent years. He is currently the Growth Officer at Dentsu Inc. In 2002, he won international awards such as Cannes International Advertising Festival, One Show, NY ADC, and Adfest for the Advertising Council Japan commercial. In Japan, he has been named “Creator of the Year” twice. He specializes in story-based commercials as well as building large campaigns. He has created a commercial for a movie distribution service featuring Robert De Niro, and a commercial with Richard Gere have become a big success. He has also written numerous scripts for movies and TV dramas. His novel “Auto-Reverse” is currently being developed for a film adaptation. His picture book “Makuro” was published last year and won an award.

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93% on RottenTomatoes

“At its best, Perfect Days shares the same haunting sense of stillness that characterized Wenders’ best work in films such as The American Friend and Wings of Desire.” – Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

“Perfect Days is a poem of extraordinary subtlety and beauty.” – Alissa Wilkinson, Vox

“There’s a guileless purity to the film, though, and a delicate, contemplative performance from Yakusho.” – Ed Potton, Times (UK)

“[Wenders] strolls in the park while contemplating dreams, the dignity of labor, and the fleeting joys of waking moments.” – Siddhant Adlakha, indieWire

“This is a philosophical contemplation that is very much about something – a meaning-of-life film, no less – with an introverted, immensely likeable central performance from Koji Yakusho.” – Jonathan Romney, Screen International

The Monk and the Gun – Director Pawo Choyning Dorji

In his beguiling second feature film, THE MONK AND THE GUN director, writer and producer Pawo Choyning Dorji captures the wonder and disruption as Bhutan becomes one of the world’s youngest democracies. Known throughout the world for its extraordinary beauty and its emphasis on Gross National Happiness, the remote Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan was the last nation to connect to the internet and television. And if that weren’t enough change, the King announced shortly afterwards that he would cede his power to the people via their vote and a new form of  government: Democracy. An elderly lama (Kelsang Choejey), recognizing that extraordinary change is about to sweep through his country, is troubled by the possible outcomes. He instructs his young disciple Tashi (Tandin Wangchuk) to set forth into the kingdom and bring him two guns before the full moon to “set it right.” The young monk is perplexed by his guru’s request, and his familiarity with guns is based solely on images from the only film available on television: James Bond. His quest brings him into contact with a scheming American gun collector Ron (Harry Einhorn), leading to a most unexpected outcome. Director Pawo Choyning Dorji (Yak in the Classroom) stops by to talk about his award winning, Oscar® shortlisted latest film, his choice to mix non-professional actors with established actors, his inspiration for this gentile satire and once again showcasing his beloved country of Bhutan.

 

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For more go to: roadsideattractions.com/themonkandthegun

About the filmmaker – Director & Writer Pawo Choyning Dorji started his film making career under the guidance of film Director and renowned Buddhist Lama, Khyentse Norbu. Pawo worked as Norbu’s assistant for Norbu’s films Vara: A Blessing (2013) and Hema Hema: Sing me a Song While I Wait (2016). Pawo made his directorial debut in 2019 with Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom. The film was shot in one of the remotest human settlements in the world, so remote that the production relied on solar batteries and local yak herders to be the main cast of the film. The film went on to become a festival favorite, winning numerous awards, before making history by becoming the first ever Bhutanese film to secure an Oscar nomination when it was nominated for Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards. The Monk and the Gun is Pawo’s second feature film as Writer, Director, and Producer. Pawo is the youngest recipient of the Royal Order of Bhutan, The Druk Thuksey (The Heart Son of the Thunder Dragon), an award bestowed upon him by King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck on December 17, 2022. The award recognizes individual for distinguished service to the Bhutanese nation and people. 

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96% on RottenTomatoes

“An unexpectedly suspenseful shaggy dog story, as well as a pretty funny one, with subtly pointed barbs about American politics.” – Michael O’Sullivan, Washington Post

“The film pulls off something truly bold: taking what are perhaps the most emotionally and symbolically loaded items in existence and subverting their meaning completely to end on a note of peace, joy, and hope for the future.” – Ross McIndoe, Slant Magazine

“This wholly entertaining film takes perfect pot shots at the divisive nature of American politics…But Dorji is an equal opportunity satirist poking fun at the evils of western influences but also the dangers of unenlightened mob rule.” – Frank J. Avella, Awards Daily

“While the entire film is entertaining, the ending delivers the ultimate payoff that’s both gratifying and apt.” – Sarah Gopaul, Digital Journal

“A droll, shrewdly satirical fable, in which Western values crash against a seemingly intransigent (but potentially more enlightened) South Asian culture.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

Out of Darkness – Director Andrew Cumming

Andrew Cumming’s feature film debut,  OUT OF DARKNESS opens with a small boat reaches the shores of a raw and desolate landscape. A group of six have struggled across the narrow sea to find a new home. They are starving, desperate, and living 45,000 years ago. First they must find shelter, and they strike out across the tundra wastes towards the distant mountains that promise the abundant caves they need to survive. But when night falls, anticipation turns to fear and doubt as they realize they are not alone. Terrifying sounds suggest something monstrous at large in this landscape, something that could kill or steal them away. As relationships in the group fracture, the determination of one young woman reveals the terrible actions taken to survive. OUT OF DARKNESS uses a language called TOLA invented by poet, historian and multi-linguist Dr. Daniel Andersson. TOLA stands for ‘The Origin Language’ and is a mix of Arabic as well as some Basque vocabulary. Director Andrew Cumming (Payback, Cold Feet) stops by to talk about the challenges of making his debut feature film in a stark location, using dialog from a made up language, working with a talented but largely unheralded cast of actors that includes Safia Oakley-Green, Chuku Modu, Arno Lüning and Kit Young and how project has given him the confidence to trust his creative instincts.   

 

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For more go to: outofdarkness.movie

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About the filmmaker – ANDREW CUMMING (DIRECTOR) This year Andrew completed his debut feature film OUT OF DARKNESS with Escape Plan Productions (SAINT MAUD). The film will premiere at festivals next year and to cap an eventful 2021, he was recently selected for Screen Daily’s prestigious Stars of Tomorrow. In 2019, he directed the last two episodes of COLD FEET series 9 for ITV and BIG TALK, now streaming on Britbox, and in 2018 directed three episodes of BBC3’s acclaimed thriller CLIQUE (S2). In 2015 he directed KAI, funded by i-D and VICE, which has been viewed over one million times on social media. Andrew’s National Film & Television School graduation film RADIANCE, a supernatural thriller about a young woman with a dangerous condition, was nominated for best film at the BAFTA Scotland New Talent Awards, while his claustrophobic psychological drama BENEATH won Best Student Film at the Courant 3D festival in France. He is represented by Sarah Williams at Independent Talent. 

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91% on RottenTomatoes

“The story and characters are simple, but compelling. If this is the direction where British independent genre cinema is moving towards, we should be very satisfied and excited indeed.” – Maria Lattila, WhyNow (UK)

“It’s a film that oozes primordial atmosphere: the skies are permanently grey and brooding, and the terrain is primarily razor-sharp rocks and boulders, endless wet forests, dank caves where here be monsters. Its visual grandeur is impressive.” – Martyn Conterio, CineVue

“In his debut feature, Cumming shows a real talent for world-building and creating suspense when the danger of uncharted territory can be felt at every turn.” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest

“A stunning prehistoric journey into the unknown, highlighting primitive fears and a deadly struggle for survival.” – Molly Henery, The Blogging Banshee

“Gorgeous visuals, luscious soundscapes, and a courageous decision to create an entirely new language, ensure that [the film] stands proudly unique.” – Kat Hughes, THN

“What sets Cumming’s movie apart is how it shows audiences how little it takes to tell a story that holds our attention and makes us think, from the narrative tactics it uses to the old-school cinematic trickery and natural scenery that make it sing.” – Abby Olcese, The Pitch

Vishniac – Director Laura Bialis

Roman Vishniac was difficult and flamboyant, a shameless self-promoter, bender of the truth and master of reinvention. He was also one of the groundbreaking photographers of the last century – a brilliant artist whose body of work spans decades, continents, and the catastrophic fallout from two world wars. With help from his daughter Mara director Laura Bialis’ brilliant documentary VISHNIAC resets the misconceptions and perceptions of Vishniac into a wholly formed figure in the world of photography, art and science.  Though his pioneering microscopy transformed the nature of science photography, Roman Vishniac perhaps is best known now for his iconic images of Jewish life in Eastern Europe from 1935 through 1938. Few predicted that less than a decade later, these communities would be wiped out, and Vishniac’s photographs would provide the last stunning visual records of an entire world. Now for the first time, his story comes to life as a feature documentary. A retrospective and family saga, VISHNIAC is narrated by Vishniac’s daughter Mara. She grew up in his shadow and sought to break free of his grip, only to eventually come around and embrace his legacy. Director Laura Bialis joins us for a conversation on her personal journey to bring Mara Vishniac into the heart of the project, the stories behind the fateful photographs taken Eastern European Jews, Albert Einstein, and the satisfaction of spotlighting one of the more complex figures in the history of modern photography.

 

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For screenings go to: abramorama.com/vishniac

or For more go to: vishniacfilm.com

About the filmmaker – Laura Bialis is an award-winning filmmaker whose projects have taken her from war-torn villages in Kosovo to concentration camps in Poland to underground shelters in Sderot, Israel, less than a mile from the Gaza Strip. Her film Rock in the Red Zone (2015) is a personal view from the ground in Sderot and an exploration of the lives of musicians creating art under rocket fire attacks. The film premiered at the Haifa International Film Festival and screened in more than 80 cities worldwide. In 2007, Bialis released Refusenik, a critically acclaimed documentary chronicling the thirty-year human rights campaign to free more than 1.5 million Soviet Jews. Bialis spent a decade immersing herself in the story of dissidents inside the Soviet Union and their activist allies in the West. She befriended leaders of the movement, including Anatoly (now Natan) Sharansky; filmed key locations including the notorious Perm 36 gulag where Sharansky was held; and conducted more than 100 interviews, with many participants telling their stories on film for the first time. The film was released in 15 cities in the US and broadcast in Israel. Bialis’ film View From the Bridge: Stories From Kosovo (2008) explored tensions among Serbs, Albanian and Roma (Gypsies) in the ethnically divided town of Mitrovica. The film premiered at the Slamdance International Film Festival and was used by the European Union and NATO in training staff working to rebuild Kosovo. Bialis received a BA in history from Stanford University and an MFA in production from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. While at USC, Bialis produced and directed Daybreak Berlin, about German American artist Ilse-Margret Vogel, who was active in Berlin’s underground during World War II. Her next film, Tak For Alt, followed Holocaust survivor turned civil rights activist Judy Meisel through Lithuania as she searched for her father’s grave in an abandoned Jewish cemetery outside the town of Jasvene. The film was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, won the Anti-Defamation League’s Dore Schary Award, was broadcast on PBS, and has been used extensively in American high schools for Holocaust education. 

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“The horror is offscreen yet inescapable…” – Dennis Harvey, 48 Hills

‘Vishniac’ is a perfect marriage of subject and storyteller. Thank goodness Laura Bialis was able to interview Vishniac’s daughter Mara, who passed away in 2018, and accumulate all the background materials that make this film so vividly true” – Leonard Maltin, leonardmaltin.com

“Thanks to this film, books and other museum exhibits in existence, Roman Vishniac’s legacy will live on for years to come.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

“Bialis reveals his and his family’s lives behind iconic photographs from her access over three years to the complete Vishniac archive of over 23,000 items. She also well illustrates times and places with other apt archival footage and visual context.” – Nora Lee Mandel, Maven’s Nest

“Bialis has done a masterful job bringing Vishniac’s magic and passions to the big screen, which was her sincerest hope.” – Jeanne Kaplan, Kaplan vs. Kaplan

TOTEM – Director Lila Avilés

In the enormously poignant follow-up to her international breakthrough, The Chambermaid, director Lila Avilés nestles in with one family over the course of a single, meaningful day. TOTEM is told largely from the perspective of 7-year-old Sol (the marvelously naturalistic Naíma Sentíes), as her mother (Montserrat Marañón) and extended relatives prepare for the birthday party of the girl’s father, Tona (Mateo Garcia). As the hours wear on, building to an event both anticipated and dreaded, the fragile bonds and unsure future of the family become ever clearer. Avilés confirms her  formidable skill at expressing the subtlest contours of her characters’ inner lives in this emotionally expansive and affecting drama. This emotionally expansive film from Lila Aviles (The Chambermaid) cements her skill at directing dynamic, ensemble performances in her stunning sophomore effort. Director, producer , writer Lila Avilés joins us to talk about casting Naíma Sentíes (Sol) and the rest of this superb troupe of performers, shooting in tight spaces, sound design, and her unbridled love for filmmaking.

 

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For more on how to watch go to: totem.film

Or: janusfilms.com/Totem

Mexico’s – Best International Feature, 2024 Academy Awards®

About the filmmaker – Lila Avilés is a Mexican independent film director, screenwriter and producer. She founded her company, Limerencia Films, in 2018. Her breakthrough debut feature film “The Chambermaid,” 2018, was selected to represent Mexico at the 2020 Oscars© and Goya Awards. The film was invited to more than sixty film festivals around the world, garnering awards and critical acclaim. Avilés has served on many festival juries, including San Sebastian International Film Festival (Spain 2021), Morelia International Film Festival (Mexico 2019), FICUNAM (Mexico 2020), Lima International Film Festival (Peru 2020), Antofacine Festival (Chile 2020), Nespresso Talents 2019 (Festival Morelia 2019), Fic Monterrey 2022.

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96% on RottenTomatoes

“One of the finest movies you’ll see this year.”Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

“Exquisite…so achingly assured is Avilés’ grasp of character and narrative, so attuned is her handheld camera to nuances of perspective, setting and atmosphere, that she pulls you into the action with a depth and force of feeling that eludes some of her more veteran peers.”Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times 

“A dazzling, vibrant child’s-eye view of jubilation and tragedy. Exuberantly lovely.”Jessica Kiang, Sight & Sound

“JOYFUL AND DEVASTATING. The dynamism of Ms. Avilés’s observational style — and the delicacy with which she threads moving drama through the quotidian — sidesteps sentimentality for something more bracing, and more true.” – Zachary Barnes, Wall Street Journal