The Green Fog, Director Guy Maddin

Guy Maddin and collaborators Galen and Evan Johnson made this ode to VERTIGO and the city of San Francisco for the closing night world premiere gala of the 2017 San Francisco International Film Festival. The iconoclastic Winnipeg-based filmmakers, working together since 2015’s THE FORBIDDEN ROOM, set themselves the challenge and constraint to remake VERTIGO, creating what they call a “parallel-universe version.” Using Bay Area-based footage from hundreds of sources—studio classics, ’50s noir, documentary and experimental films, and ’70s prime-time TV—and employing Maddin’s mastery of assemblage technique, seen in work like MY WINNIPEG and BRAND UPON THE BRAIN, the result exerts the inexorable pull of Hitchcock’s twisted tale of erotic obsession while paying tribute to the City by the Bay and the ways it looks and feels through the medium of cinema   Composed by Jacob Garchik and performed by Kronos Quartet, the film’s score nods to Bernard Hermann’s classic VERTIGO music as it collides and converses with Maddin and Johnsons’ irreverent and loving footage to create a distinctive musical extravaganza. Through 12 features and many shorts, adventurous artist Guy Maddin exhibits the rare ability to simultaneously subvert and honor the craft of  filmmaking. His credits include the Emmy Award-winning ballet film Dracula: Pages From A Virgin’s Diary (2002); The Saddest Music in the World (2003); My Winnepeg (2007) and US National Society of Film Critics Best Experimental Film Prize-winners Archangel  (1990) and The Heart of the World (2000). Guy Maddin talks about the “City by the Bay,” scriptwriting, storytelling and his favorite film, Vertigo.

 

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For news and updates go to: balconyfilm.com/the-green-fog

94% on Rotten Tomatoes!

“First and foremost, “The Green Fog” is a marvel of film scholarship that looks backward and forward from the Hitchcock masterpiece.” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times

“The Green Fog fairly closely follows the structure of Hitchcock’s film; achieving that in itself is some sort of accomplishment. However, it’s not so much an assemblage as it is a conjuring.” – Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice

“The film is a brilliant exercise in meta-narrative, which raises questions galore about reality and representation, time and space, genre and gender, individual and urban identity, cinematic suture and casting. Mainly, though, it’s just very, very funny.” – Geoff Andrew, Sight and Sound

“The work of a sensibility as impish as it is scholarly, animated by a mischievous sense of the medium’s possibilities” – Justin Change, Los Angeles Times

“It demonstrates the act of creation as a perpetually reconstructive effort…” – Lawrence Garcia, Cinema Scope

Defining Hope, Director Carolyn Jones

We aren’t dying the way we used to. We have ventilators, dialysis machines, ICUs—technologies that can “fix” us and keep our bodies alive—which have radically changed how we make medical decisions. Defining Hope takes on the topic of dying in our death-denying culture, no matter how sick we get, there is always “hope.” The will to live is a powerful force, and eventually we will all have to make individual decisions when faced with very complex choices. Filmmaker Carolyn Jones spent four years interviewing and photographing nurses for the groundbreaking American Nurse book and film, and another year of research and interviews focused on what Dying in America looks like, all of which has led her to making this new film, the culmination of a journey, called Defining Hope. Defining Hope is a story about people weighing what matters most at the most fragile junctures in life, and the nurses who guide them. It’s a documentary that follows patients with life-threatening illness as they make choices about how they want to live, how much medical technology they can accept, what they hope for and how that hope evolves when life is threatened. It is optimistic and reminds us that we have choices in how we die. Defining Hope is critical and relevant right now, with our rapidly aging population and incalculable challenges in healthcare and end-of-life care. Director Carolyn Jones (American Nurse) joins us for a conversation on her empathetic, clear-eyed look at death and living.

 

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For news and updates go to: hope.film

WINNER – Best Premiere for Documentary Feature 2017 Heartland Film Festival

DEFINING HOPE DEBUTS ON PBS/PUBLIC TELEVISION STATIONS NATIONWIDE ON APRIL 1, 2018 VIA AMERICAN PUBLIC TELEVISION

“Shining a light on hospice and palliative care, approaches that are still considered alternative, Defining Hope builds a persuasive case for the ways they empower patients and their loved ones.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

A Suitable Girl, Co-directors Sarita Khurana and Smriti Mundhra

A Suitable Girl follows three young women in India struggling to maintain their identities and follow their dreams amid intense pressure to get married. Ritu, Dipti and Amrita represent the new India. Educated, financially stable and raised with a mix of traditional and contemporary values in the urban cities of Mumbai and New Delhi, they have access to the world in ways their mothers did not. Yet their lives take a dramatic turn when the pressure to settle down and get married hits. Career aspirations become secondary to the pursuit of a husband, and the women struggle with the prospect of leaving their homes and families to become part of another. Documenting the arranged marriage and matchmaking process in vérité over four years, the film examines the women’s complex relationships with marriage, family and culture; the many nuanced ways society molds them into traditional roles; and a rarely-seen portrait of India’s urban middle class. Co-directors Sarita Khurana and Smriti Mundhra join us for a conversation on the underlying changing social, economic and cultural dynamics influencing a generation young women growing up in modern India.

 

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For news and updates go to: asuitablegirldoc.com

85% on Rotten Tomatoes!

“This is a film full of love, colour and warmth, and it takes a nuanced view of its subject, but the loneliness saturating some of the celebrations is palpable.” –  Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“Movingly chronicles its subjects’ emotional travails and the societal and family pressures they face.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

“A Suitable Girl proves a somber lament for a part of the world still clinging to its restrictive past, at great cost to (particularly) its female population.” – Nick Schager, Variety

“Regardless of your background, it’s impossible to not be moved by A Suitable Girl.” – Clay Cane, BET

I Kill Giants, Director Anders Walter

Barbara Thorson (Madison Wolfe) is your new hero. A quick-witted, sharp- tongued middle-schooler who isn’t afraid of anything. As the only girl in school carrying an ancient Norse warhammer in her purse and killing giants for a living, why wouldn’t she be? I Kill Giants is the sweeping, bittersweet story of a young girl struggling to conquer monsters both real and imagined as her world crumbles at the feet of giants bigger than any one child can handle. Based on the best-selling graphic novel by Joe Kelly. I Kill Giants features terrific performances from Zoe Saldana and Imogen Poots. Academy Award winning director Anders Walter joins us to talk about his clever, creative and emotionally resonant feature film debut.

 

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For news and updates go to: xyzfilms/i-kill-giants

80% on Rotten Tomatoes!

“This intimate story about a troubled 12-year-old who’s on a mission to save her town is virtually tone perfect.” – Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times

“A sweetly imaginative, tenderly played coming of age drama.” – Allan Hunter, Screen International

“The vivid cinematography, affecting performance by Wolfe, and lack of saccharine allow the film to resonate not only with the teen target demographic but older viewers as well.” – James Beradinelli, ReelReviews

“I Kill Giants is a dark piece of work for children, which is far from a bad thing.” – Ann Storm, Film Journal International

“Like its heroine, I Kill Giants isn’t afraid to tackle the darkness or rage of little girls, or their fear and pain.” – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times

The Peacemaker, Director James Demo

The Peacemaker is an intimate portrait of Padraig O’Malley, an international peacemaker who helps make peace for others but struggles to find it for himself. At the heart of the world’s seminal conflicts is an international peacemaker riddled with internal strife. Padraig O’Malley has made it his life’s work to bring leaders on both sides of the most explosive conflicts to the same table. His innovative behind the-scenes work has established Padraig as a publicly unrecognized but highly influential figure in conflict resolution. Yet, these dramatic undertakings serve as a sharp contrast to the man – an alcoholic bar owner who fails to manage the most basic of personal relationships. His solitary life hangs in a delicate balance, bound together by weekly AA meetings and relentless work. As age takes its toll, he begins to lose his only source of solace and the motivation behind his life’s work comes into question. The Peacemaker plunges us into the depths of the journey of a man utterly defined by conflict. The film takes us from Padraig’s isolated life in Cambridge, Massachusetts to some of the most dangerous crisis zones on Earth – from Northern Ireland to Kosovo, Nigeria to Iraq – as he works a peacemaking model based on his recovery from addiction. We meet Padraig in the third act of his life in a race against time to find some kind of salvation for both the world and himself. Director James Demo joins us to talk about his film and the conflicted man working to resolve turmoil internally and in the world.

 

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For news and updates go to: peacemakermovie.com

Visit The Peacemaker’s Facebook page

THE PEACEMAKER filmmaker James Demo and the film’s subject, Padraig O’Malley, will participate in Q&A’s after the 4:40 PM screenings at the Music Hall on Saturday and Sunday, March 24 and 25.

Awards:

• Jury Award Best Documentary – Cleveland International Film Festival

• Special Jury Award for Vision and Storytelling at the Florida Film Festival

• Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature at the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival

• Service Above Self Award – Chagrin Documentary Film Festival

92% on Rotten Tomatoes!

“The weight of the world is evident in O’Malley’s dour gaze, but it’s clear too, in Demo’s sensitive, piercing portrait, that the endless job he’s carved out for himself is his lifeblood, and its own kind of addiction.” – Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times

“The more we get to know him, the more his core motivation – is he an idealist or something else? – becomes the mystery of the film.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“An intense, intimate portrait of a visionary capable of sophisticated analysis, abrupt anger, self-deprecating wit, and profound insights – all while existing at considerable remove from his fellow man.” – Daphne Howland, Village Voice

“A deeply moving portrait of its truly admirable, complex subject.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

“The movie is a fascinating portrait that is if anything too brief.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

Beauty and the Dogs, Director Kaouther Ben Hania

BEAUTY AND THE DOGS tells the harrowing story of Mariam, an attractive young Tunisian woman, starts off the evening in carefree spirits at a student party with her girlfriends, where she meets a handsome young man and goes for a walk with him on the beach in the moonlight. In the next scene, she is seen disheveled, running through the streets at night, flinching at every passing car, with her male companion trailing behind. She has been raped by police officers. But her harrowing ordeal has just begun, as she attempts to find help, report the crime, and seek justice, battling overwhelming obstacles to make those guilty accountable. Employing impressive cinematic techniques and anchored by a fiery tour-de-force performance from newcomer Mariam Al Ferjani, Beauty and the Dogs tells an urgent, unapologetic, and important story head-on. A rare film from a female Tunisian writer and director, Kaouther Ben Hania’s startling drama is a striking critique on a repressive society and a forcefully feminist rallying cry. Director and writer Kaouther Ben Hania stops by to talk about her moving portrait of a woman who slowly but surely comes to grips with her increasingly desperate situation.

 

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For news and updates go to: Beauty and the Dogs site at Oscilloscope Films

Beauty and the Dogs is playing at the NuArt Theatre in Los Angeles beginning Friday, March 23 (check out the Nuart listing)

71% on Rotten Tomatoes!

“Beauty and the Dogs plays like an actual, unending nightmare.”

“A crescendo of humiliation, anxiety and abuse, “Beauty and the Dogs” plays like a horror movie where every choice is a Catch-22 and every door a trap.” – Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times

“Her experience becomes an incendiary account of bureaucracy built to overwhelm, a complex commentary on political capital and how justice for one can be justice for all.” – Jared Mobarak, Film Stage

“It’s not an easy watch. But, with its feminist spin on the continued battle for basic legal rights following the 2011 ousting of Tunisia’s Ben Ali regime, it feels like an important one.” – Wendy Ide, Screen International

“A harrowing and necessary film in only nine shots.” – Boys van Hoeij, Hollywood Reporter

Wild Wild Country, Director Maclain Way and Chapman Way

On a quiet day in 1981, disciples of an obscenely wealthy religious guru named Bhagwan Rajneesh suddenly appear in the small, conservative Oregon town of Antelope, dressed in all red and with portraits of their leader hanging from their necks. This, of course, makes the townsfolk uneasy. The Rajneesh followers spend over $125 million to build Rajneeshpuram, a 64,000-acre utopia, complete with a hospital, schools, restaurants, a shopping mall, and their own airport. The spokesperson for the movement is Ma Anand Sheela, a fearless disciple whose belief in the principles of Rajneesh are only outweighed by her feisty spirit. In order to stack the results of county elections in their favor, the Rajneesh bus thousands of homeless people onto the ranch. When these new recruits are denied voting rights by the state, Rajneesh leaders surreptitiously infect local restaurants with salmonella, resulting in the largest biochemical terrorist attack on U.S. soil. And that’s only the beginning … Directors Maclain and Chapman Way, whose debut documentary, The Battered Bastards of Baseball, premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, return with this riveting six-part docu-series that recounts the amazing true story of a fallen religious movement. They join us to talk about this amazing, riveting and unbelievable story.”To describe Wild Wild Country as jaw-dropping is to understate the number of times my mouth gaped while watching the series.” 

 

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For news and updates go to: netflix.com

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Wild Wild Country…is a true story that seems too strange to be real, but with the sure hands of directors Chapman and Maclain Way, who weave this together with a keen artistic skill, it manages to feel not only tangible, but it provokes sincere emotion.” – Kristy Strouse, FIlm Inquiry

“To describe Wild Wild Country as jaw-dropping is to understate the number of times my mouth gaped while watching the series.” – Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic

“Wild Wild Country couldn’t be more timely-even if the particulars of its story are crazily unique to itself.” – Nick Schager, The Daily Beast

“It’s a slice of partially forgotten history in which real life just keeps getting more and more outlandish and implausible.” – Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter

In the Land of Pomegranates, Hava Kohav Beller

In the Land of Pomegranates is a suspenseful, multi-layered documentary about a group of young people who were born into a violent and insidious ongoing war. They are young Palestinians and Israelis invited to Germany to join a retreat called ‘Vacation From War’ where they live under the same roof and face each other every day. In these highly charged encounters they confront the entrenched myths and grievances that each side has for the other. As they try to gain insight into the seemingly irreconcilable narratives, the paradoxes and contradictions born of legend and history along with passionately held ideals and the daily fight for survival surface. Interwoven into this intense footage, adding context, the film also follows other embattled lives in the Occupied Territories and Israel: a mother and her four children living in the shadow of the wall abutting Gaza; an imprisoned Palestinian and the subsequent path he’s taken; an Israeli survivor of a suicide bombing; and a daring Palestinian mother whose son’s life is saved by an Israeli doctor. They are all caught in the duality of the pomegranate: will they embrace rebirth and each other’s humanity, or will they pull the pin on the grenade? We are joined by the Director Hava Kohav Beller (The Restless Conscience: Resistance to Hitler within Germany 1933-1945) for a conversation on what, if any, options may be available to break the cycle of violence and mistrust for people living in a place where hatred and retribution have been normalized.

For news and updates go to: firstrunfeatures.com/landofpomegranates

“The state of affairs in the Middle East may actually be thornier than it seems from afar: that is the position this brave, intimate perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to take.” – MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Philosopher

“Amidst tense airings of grievances, context is set against beautiful images of the disputed homeland, archival footage, and personal testimonials of clashes and cooperation” – Nora Lee Mandel, Film-Forward

“Sobering. A tough and clear-eyed look at how things are, rather than how we want them to be.” –  Ken Jaworowski, The New York Times

“Hava Kohav Beller’s beautifully shot documentary gives an urgent and very modern new face to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” – New York Magazine

Friday, March 16, 2018 – Finding Your Feet, Director Richard Loncraine

When ‘Lady’ Sandra Abbott (Academy Award nominee Imelda Staunton, Maleficent, Vera Drake) discovers that her husband of forty years (John Sessions) is having an affair with her best friend (Josie Lawrence) she seeks refuge in London with her estranged, older sister Bif (Celia Imrie), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Bridget Jones’ Baby). The two could not be more different – Sandra is a fish out of water next to her outspoken, serial dating, free-spirited sibling. But different is just what Sandra needs at the moment, and she reluctantly lets Bif drag her along to a community dance class, where gradually she starts finding her feet and romance as she meets her sister’s friends, Charlie (Timothy Spall), Jackie (Joanna Lumley) and Ted (David Hayman). Director Richard Loncraine talks about his endearing and touching film about seconds chances and finding love.

 

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

68% on Rotten Tomatoes!

“The cast lend charm to this feel good fairy tale and Celia Imrie is especially good as the inspiring Bif.” – Allan Hunter, Daily Express

“The cinematic equivalent of a pair of comfy slippers. This is a charming, oft-told tale of second chances in life and love, and it is filled with fine performances only let down occasionally by an indulgent run time and some stunted dialogue.” – Linda Maric, HeyUGuys

“It’s about real adults living ordinary, important and sometimes difficult lives. Finding Your Feet is rightly billed as comedy-drama; yet, although it’s full of rib-tickling dialogue, it’s the drama that cuts deep.” – Stephen Romei, The Australian

“Its love-in-later-life insights are well-worn, but with Staunton on song, Richard Loncraine’s film mines genuine feeling.” – James Mottram, Total Film

Thoroughbreds, Director Cory Finley

Childhood friends Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Amanda (Olivia Cooke) reconnect in suburban Connecticut after years of growing apart. Lily has turned into a polished, upper-class teenager, with a fancy boarding school on her transcript and a coveted internship on her resume; Amanda has developed a sharp wit and her own particular attitude, but all in the process of becoming a social outcast. Though they initially seem completely at odds, the pair bond over Lily’s contempt for her oppressive stepfather, Mark, and as their friendship grows, they begin to bring out one another’s most destructive tendencies. Their ambitions lead them to hire a local hustler, Tim, and take matters into their own hands to set their lives straight. From first-time writer-director Cory Finley comes a darkly comic psychological thriller exploring friendship, privilege and morality in a rarefied Connecticut setting of sprawling mansions, equestrian stables and elite private schools. Starring Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, Split) and Anton Yelchin (Green Room), in one of his final screen performances, Thoroughbreds takes its cues from classic film noir, locating a deadpan wickedness in the maneuvers of his dual protagonists Amanda and Lily.  Director and writer Cory Finley joins us to talk about his his background as a playwright, adjusting to life on a film set and working with his stellar cast of young actors.

For news and updates go to: focusfeatures.com/thoroughbreds

 

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86% on Rotten Tomatoes!

“It’s a testament to the twisted brilliance of (Cory) Finley’s film that a scumbag drug dealer becomes its moral center.” – Rob Thomas, Capital Times

“Set in the opulent, WASP-y world of teen divas with killer instincts, Cory Finley’s deliciously depraved satire skewers an empathy drain that he sees as sadly emblematic of modern life.” – Peter Travis, Rolling Stone

“Remember the name Cory Finley.” – Peter DeBruge, Variety

“Thoroughbreds was written and directed by first-time filmmaker Cory Finley, and for other amateurs it’s a masterclass in squeezing everything you can out of a small budget.” – Andrew Lapin, NPR

“Thoroughbreds, in other words, has been made with diabolical craft and intelligence, the kind that marks director (Cory) Finley as a major new American talent.” – A.A. Dowd, AV Club

“One of the most assured and impressive American debut movies of the year.” – Oliver Lyttleton, The Playlist

Ali & Cavett: The Tale of the Tapes, Dick Cavett

With its upcoming premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival Ali & Cavett: The Tale of the Tapes directed by Robert S. Bader tells the extraordinary story of a famous friendship played out before a captivated national audience Ali & Cavett: The Tale of the Tapes, directed by Robert S. Bader, shares the rich history of the Muhammed Ali and Dick Cavett’s relationship that spanned decades and late night TV. From his 1960’s Olympic Gold Medal win, the heavyweight championship against Sonny Liston in 1964, to joining the Nation of Islam, refusing induction into the United States Army, and his legendarily epic battles in the ring with Joe Frazier and George Foreman, Muhammad Ali remained a unique and powerful force of nature in our popular culture. More than any sports documentary, this unique film deeply delves into hotly contended political and social matters that remain equally as relevant today. Ali & Cavett: The Tale of the Tapes Director Robert S. Bader produced the acclaimed documentaries Dick Cavett’s Watergate and Dick Cavett’s Vietnam for PBS. He is the writer and producer of the Warner Bros. documentary The Dawn of Sound: How Movies Learned to Talk, and the author of Four of the Three Musketeers: The Marx Brothers on Stage. Legendary television host Dick Cavett joins us to talk about his 53-year relationship with “the greatest of all time,” Muhammad Ali.

 

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Check out the SXSW screening schedule for Ali & Cavett: Tale of the Tapes

Oh Lucy! – Director Atsuko Hirayanagi

Oh Lucy! follows Setsuko (Shinobu Terajima in an Independent Spirit Award-nominated performance), a single, emotionally unfulfilled woman, seemingly stuck with a drab, meaningless life in Tokyo. At least until she’s convinced by her niece, Mika to enroll in an unorthodox English class that requires her to wear a blonde wig and take on an American alter ego named “Lucy.” This new identity awakens something dormant in Setsuko, and she quickly develops romantic feelings for her American instructor, John (Josh Hartnett). When John suddenly disappears from class and Setsuko learns that he and her niece were secretly dating, Setsuko enlists the help of her sister, Ayako and the pair fly halfway across the world to the outskirts of Southern California in search of the runaway couple. In a brave new world of tattoo parlors and seedy motels, family ties and past lives are tested as Setsuko struggles to preserve the dream and promise of “Lucy.” Director Atsuko Hirayanagi (Spirit Award nominee for Best First Feature) joins us for a conversation on the challenges of making her  multi-cultural comedy / drama and working with the film’s Executive Producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.

For news and updates go to: ohlucyfilm.com

 

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes!

“Within the confines of this cross-cultural shaggy-dog tale, Hirayanagi locates both a sharp vein of absurdist comedy and a bitter, melancholy undertow.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

“Hirayanagi isn’t selling a packaged idea about what it means to be human; she does something trickier and more honest here, merely by tracing the ordinary absurdities and agonies of one woman’s life.” – Manohla Dargis, New York Times

“Japanese filmmaker Atsuko Hirayanagi explores the transformative power of human connection in Oh Lucy!, a film which seems to play like a standard culture clash comedy but reveals itself to run significantly deeper.” – Nikki Baughan, Screen International

“Expanded from her award-winning short of the same title, Oh Lucy! betrays some rough edges in the transition, but Hirayanagi’s idiosyncratic touch marks her as a talent worth tracking.” – Andrew Barker, Variety

Leaning into the Wind, Director Thomas Riedelsheimer

Sixteen years after the release of the Rivers and Tides Thomas Riedelsheimer returns to work with renown artist Andy Goldsworthy. LEANING INTO THE WIND—ANDY GOLDSWORTHY, The film follows Andy on his exploration of the layers of his world and the impact of the years on himself and his art. As Goldsworthy introduces his own body into the work it becomes at the same time even more fragile and personal and also sterner and tougher, incorporating massive machinery and crews on his bigger projects. LEANING INTO THE WIND subject Andy Goldsworthy makes works of art using the materials and conditions that he encounters wherever he is. Using earth, rocks, leaves, ice, snow, rain, or sunlight, the resulting artworks exist briefly before they are altered and erased by natural processes. He also uses his own body as a medium, as with his Rain Shadows, or through actions such as spitting, throwing, climbing and walking. He has undertaken commissions in the Queensland rainforest, Australia and the New Zealand coast; in Rio de Janeiro, New York City, St Louis, Montreal and San Francisco; in the New Mexico desert, the mountains of central Spain and Haute-Provence, France, and the fells of Cumbria and Dumfriesshire. Goldsworthy has published many books throughout his career, beginning with Rain, sun, snow, mist, calm: Photoworks (1985). Director Thomas Reidelsheimer joins us for a conversation on what inspires Andy Goldsworthy to make his art, what attracts him to the work and why did he return to work with the Andy Goldsworthy 16 years after their first collaboration, Rivers and Tides.

For news and updates go to: leaningintothewindfilm.com

 

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97% on Rotten Tomatoes!

“A nonfiction-focused director and cinematographer frequently attracted to the intersection between artistic expression, nature, and spirituality (however unarticulated), Riedelsheimer is well-matched to Goldsworthy’s methods and interests.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“There are moments where you may want to stop the film to assure yourself you’re seeing what you’re seeing, so disordering to the senses are Goldsworthy’s re-orderings of nature.” – Ty Burr, Boston Globe

“Leaning Into the Wind” offers viewers a welcome chance to consider the work of an artist who defies the recent commodification cult to embrace the ephemeral and the nominally “worthless.” – Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
“Even if some things have changed, spending time with an artist who’s concerned, as he’s said in interviews, with “the permanence of temporary objects and the temporality of permanent objects,” is always worth the journey.’ – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Survivor Guide to Prison, Director Matthew Cooke

You’re more likely to go to prison in the United States than any other country in the world, so in the unfortunate case it happens to you, this is the Survivors Guide to Prison. Narrated by Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon, the nonstop film chronicles the stories of two men who spent decades behind bars for murders they did not commit. With additional commentary by activist celebrities like Danny Trejo, Patricia Arquette, Jesse Williams, Ice T, RZA, Busta Rhymes, Tom Morello, Macklemore, B-Real, Deepak Chopra, Warren G and more joining forces to change this broken system, Survivors Guide exposes a failed “punishment model.” Gripping testimony from inmates, guards, staff, police, analysts, lawyers and reformers lend further credibility as documentarian Matthew Cooke examines the system cell by cell and by contrast, the dramatic programs proven to work. Director Matthew Cooke (How to Make Money Selling Drugs) joins us for an honest conversation on a broken and brutal criminal justice system that continues to incarcerated and warehouse use millions of Americans with little to no genuine oversight.

 

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FACEBOOK: @survivorsguidetoprison

TWITTER: @surviveprison

HASHTAGS: #survivorsguidetoprison #cut50

“Matthew Cooke’s assaultive documentary hammers away at injustices in U.S. justice system.” – Joe Leydon, Variety

“Survivors Guide to Prison has changed the way I view the American justice system. There’s not enough room in any review to account for all of it’s essential information. It is a testament to how the 1% rule our world at the expense of everyone else,” – Amyana Bartley, Film Inquiry

“Cooke crams in so much persuasively appalling information … that it’s easy to forgive him for seemingly trying to push all viewers’ proverbial buttons at once.” – Simon Abrams, Village Voice

“Familiar but important points about our broken justice system, packaged for viewers who don’t usually watch documentaries.” – John Defore, Hollywood Reporter

Chasing Great, Director Michelle Walshe

All Black captain Richie McCaw has lived his dream with characteristic precision and calculated determination.  He’s 34 and perhaps the best rugby player ever.  But the dream is almost over.  He is old by professional sport standards and everyone is asking when he’s going to retire.  Before his career ends Richie McCaw sets his sights on a risk-all attempt to win the Rugby World Cup back to back. No team has won it a  second time in a row.  No captain has won it twice. He will either end his career on an impossibly high note or take a nation’s dreams down with him. Chasing Great follows the incomparable Richie McCaw through his final season as he attempts to captain the All Blacks to the first ever-back-to back World Cup win. Director and writer Michelle Walsh joins us to talk about her access to McCaw’s professional and  personal McCaw, the heartache and exhilaration of competition and what it takes, physically, emotionally and  psychologically to compete at an elite level.

 

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For news and updates go to:chasinggreat.film

facebook.com/RichieMcCawFilm

“It’s clear where all of this is going, but McCaw surprises with his mental rigor (he excelled academically) and total commitment to his sport (he plays with a stress fracture in his foot).” – Chris Packham, Village Voice

“Rugby union fans will draw long and lasting satisfaction from this documentary tribute to All Blacks all-time great Richie McCaw.” – Leigh Paatsch, Herald Sun

“Even non-rugby fans will know how it ends but it’s worth the nostalgic pain to keep watching until the final siren.” – Stephen Romei, The Australian

The Young Karl Marx, Director Raoul Peck

At the age of 26, Karl Marx (August Diehl; INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, THE COUNTERFEITERS) embarks with his wife Jenny (Vicky Krieps; PHANTOM THREAD) on the road to exile. In 1844 Paris they meet young Friedrich Engels (Stefan Konarske), son of a factory owner and an astute student of the English proletariat class. Engels brings Marx the missing piece to the puzzle that composes his new vision of the world. Together, between censorship and police raids, riots and political upheavals, they will preside over the birth of the labor movement, which until then had been mostly makeshift and unorganized. This will grow into the most complete theoretical and political transformation of the world since the Renaissance – driven, against all expectations, by two brilliant, insolent and sharp-witted young men. In his first film since the Oscar®-nominated documentary I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO, celebrated Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck (LUMUMBA) paints a vivid portrait of another of history’s most influential thinkers with THE YOUNG KARL MARX. A fervently intelligent chronicling of the blood, sweat and debate that went into the creation of a manifesto and a movement, the film premiered at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival. Director Raoul Peck joins us for a lively conversation on capturing the essence of a young Marx and Engels relationship, the relevance of Marxism today and the critical reaction to his film.

 

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For news and updates go to: theorchard.tv/the-young-karl-marx

More on Raoul Peck and his films go to: velvet-film.com

“Against all expectations, “Young Karl Marx” makes this kind of brainy content bracing and dramatic.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“Both intellectually serious and engagingly free-spirited.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

“A spry romp through the seven years leading up to the drafting of the Communist Manifesto… Peck’s lively, twinkly drama is at heart a bromance.” – Lee Marshall, Screen International

 “[A] sinewy and intensely focused, uncompromisingly cerebral period drama… It gives you a sense of what radical politics was about: talk.” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Michael Rabehl – 2018 Cinequest Film & VR Festival, Director of Programming

Cinequest has led the world in its showcase and implementation of the innovations that have revolutionized film making, exhibition and distribution. Over 100,000 attend CQFF, yet the three-block proximity of its state-of-the-art venues along with Cinequest’s renowned hospitality, makes the festival experience as warm and personal as it is electrifying. Cinequest presents over 90 World and U.S. premieres with groundbreaking innovations by 700+ participating filmmakers from over 50 countries each year. Set in the home of the world’s most influential media technology companies (Apple, Cisco, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, LinkedIn etc.) CQFF showcases premier films, renowned and emerging artists, and breakthrough technology—empowering global connectivity between creators, innovators and audiences. Michael Rabehl has been a member of the Cinequest team since 1994. As the Director of Programming he manages the film selection process for the festival and supervises the programming teams to create a world class line up of films and guests every year. In his role as the Associate Director he is directly involved with the strategic planning of the festival. Michael joins us to talk about the 2018 Conquest film and virtual reality line-up.

 

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For news and updates go to: cinequest.org

Cinequest Film and Virtual Reality Film Festival February 27 – March 11, 2018

“Move over Cannes! Of the more than 4,000 film festivals around the globe, more than half take place on U.S. soil, and many rank among the best of the best. Our panel of film experts, movie buffs and festival gurus were tasked with narrowing down the field to the best 20 film festivals in the nation before we turned it over to USA TODAY and 10Best readers to choose their favorites. After four weeks of voting, we have a winner. Cinequest Voted Best Film Festival!” — USA Today

“Technology always drives the film business. In Cinequest, we have a good window on the future. I think they’re leading the world in this regard.” — Peter Belsito, Executive Vice President, Film Finders

“This festival is one that sets the trends and is actually ahead of the trends. Other festivals are copying Cinequest; I see it all the time.” — Chris Gore, Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide and Film Threat

“At Cinequest you often haven’t heard of the film before you go see it, but the audiences come anyway. That’s a testament to the festival — that audiences are willing to take that leap of faith.” — Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Luba, Producer and Lead Actor Nicole Maroon (2018 Cinequest Film Festival)

Pregnant and newly aware of her runaway husband’s crack addiction – what a fantastic start to motherhood! A young woman trapped in an impossible situation, Luba (Nicole Maroon) strives to turn her life around while juggling a floundering love-life, odd jobs, and custody with a recovering addict. As Luba tries to move forward, her past catches her off guard and pulls her back, farther than ever imaginable. Will she succumb? This powerful story about family bonds shines a bright light on the power of trust, with an unforeseen twist that will leave you speechless. Producer and lead actor Nicole Maroon stops by to talk about her compelling story of a woman running as fast as she can.

 

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For news and updates go to: lubamovie.com

facebook.com/LubaMovie

CINEQUEST (World Premiere) – San Jose, CA

• Sat, Mar 3  4:30 PM  Century 20 Redwood City, CA

• Mon, Mar 5  9:45 PM  Hammer Theatre, SJ, CA

• Thurs, Mar 8  4:50 PM  Century 20 Redwood City, CA

• Fri, Mar 9  7:15 PM  Century 20 Redwood City, CA

“…A powerful story about \family bonds with an unforseen twist that will  leave you speechless.” – CINEQUEST INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Purdah, Director Jeremy Guy (2018 Cinequest Film Festival)

Being in a Muslim family in modern day India can sometimes be a struggle for 20-year-old Kaikasha and her two sisters. Their father wants them to wear burkas and to have arranged marriages, but these determined young women have dreams of their own. This beautiful and rousing story follows Kaikasha in her quest to be the first Muslim on the Mumbai women’s cricket team and then follows her into a corridor of uncertainty after a shocking turn of events changes the fate of her family. You’ll want to cheer for Kaikasha and her sisters as they courageously respond to the circumstances that threaten to undermine their dreams. Director Jeremy Guy joins us for a conversation on this insightful and inspiring story of female empowerment through sport, against a background of religious and cultural roadblocks.

 

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For news and updates go to: purdahfilm.com

World Premiere:

Saturday, March 3rd 12:25 pm. – 3 Below (288 South 2nd Street. San Jose)

Other screenings:

Monday, March 5th at 8:15 PM – Century 20 Redwood City Screen #10 (825 Middlefield Rd, Redwood City)

Saturday, March 10th at 10:00 AM – 3 Below

Sunday, March 11th at 10:45 AM  – Century 20 Redwood City Screen #11

Carter Pilcher, Chief Executive of Shorts International

Carter Pilcher founded Shorts International in 2000. Coming from a background in both investment banking and law, Carter has made Shorts International the world’s leading short movie Entertainment Company, functioning as distributor, broadcaster and producer. Carter has extensive experience in short movie production and short movie entertainment. He is a voting member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and a member of the Short Film and Feature Animation Branch of The US Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) – the guys who pick the Oscars. Carter, originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, received a B.S. from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a J.D. from Georgetown University, is a member of the New York Bar and attended the London Business School Corporate Finance Evening Program. Carter Pilcher has been and continues to be the highlight of Oscar season here on Film School. His insight, commitment and love of films and filmmaking always makes for a lively and informative conversation on some of the best films you will see all year.

 

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shorts.tv/theoscarshorts/

shorts.tv/theoscarshorts/theatrical-release

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED) NOMINEES

DEAR BASKETBALL

Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant

http://believeentertainmentgroup.com/portfolio-item/dear-basketball/

https://www.facebook.com/DearBasketballFilm/

GARDEN PARTY

Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon

https://www.facebook.com/gardenpartymovie/

https://www.gardenparty-movie.com/

LOU

Dave Mullins and Dana Murray

https://www.pixar.com/short-films/#short-films-launch

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lou_(2017_film)

NEGATIVE SPACE

Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata

http://ikkifilms.com/archives/portfolio/negative-space

https://vimeo.com/user72791802

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2018/01/negative-space-short-film/

REVOLTING RHYMES

Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0876ds6

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolting_Rhymes_(film)

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION) NOMINEES

DEKALB ELEMENTARY

Reed Van Dyk

https://www.dekalbelementaryfilm.com/

https://www.facebook.com/dekalbelementary/

THE ELEVEN O’CLOCK

Derin Seale and Josh Lawson

http://oscar.go.com/nominees/short-film-live-action/the-eleven-o-clock

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Eleven_O%27Clock

MY NEPHEW EMMETT

Kevin Wilson, Jr.

https://www.facebook.com/mynephewemmett/

https://www.mynephewemmett.com/

THE SILENT CHILD

Chris Overton and Rachel Shenton

https://www.facebook.com/TheSilentChildFilm/

https://www.thesilentchildmovie.com/

WATU WOTE/ALL OF US

Katja Benrath and Tobias Rosen

https://www.facebook.com/WatuWote.AllOfUs/

http://oscar.go.com/nominees/short-film-live-action/watu-wote-all-of-us

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT) NOMINEES

EDITH+EDDIE

Laura Checkoway and Thomas Lee Wright

https://www.facebook.com/EdithEddieFilm/

https://www.kartemquin.com/films/editheddie

HEAVEN IS A TRAFFIC JAM ON THE 405

Frank Stiefel

http://heavenisatrafficjamonthe405.com/

https://www.facebook.com/heavenisatrafficjamonthe405/

HEROIN(E)

Elaine McMillion Sheldon and Kerrin Sheldon

http://heroinethefilm.com/

https://www.netflix.com/title/80192445

KNIFE SKILLS

Thomas Lennon

https://www.facebook.com/KnifeSkillsDoc/

http://knifeskillsthemovie.com/

TRAFFIC STOP

Kate Davis and David Heilbroner

https://www.hbo.com/documentaries/traffic-stop

http://oscar.go.com/nominees/documentary-short/traffic-stop

Toss It, Director Michele Remsen

Written & directed by Michele Remsen (“Juke,” “Two in the Morning”),  Toss It will make it’s world premiere during the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival at the LA Live Regal Cinemas on Sunday, February 25th. Opening on the last two bitter singles at a wedding — smart-skeptical Emily and obsessive-compulsive-flirt Finn – (latter-day Rosalind Russel and Cary Grant types) who can witty-banter-for-days and seem a perfect match — then everything gets tossed. Finn wonders why he’s so fucked up, and Emily wonders why she’s so drawn to him. A younger couple, sophisticated parents, a wise great-uncle, and a flaky friend impact both, driving them apart until they take a leap. Then a major curve-ball hits, the curtain gets pulled-back on dearly held traditions and reveals what made them who they are. Discovering the real-deal goes down in back-hallways, Finn and Emily kick against convention to find some kind of truth of their own. Toss It explores women as the real power players because women, by and large, run and nurture the fundamental unit of society: family. Director and screenwriter joins us to talk about love, relationships, fast-paced filmmaking and writing modern day cinematic dialog.

 

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hollywoodreelindependentfilmfestival.com

micheleremsen.com/TossIt

Get tickets to see Toss It at: HRIFF tossitthemovie.com

Twitter: @TossItMovie

Follow Michele Remsen on twitter.com/micheleremsen?lang=en

Heroin(e), Director Elaine McMillion Sheldon

Heroin(e) focuses on the once a bustling industrial town, Huntington, West Virginia. Huntington has become the epicenter of America’s modern opioid epidemic, with an overdose rate 10 times the national average. This flood of heroin now threatens this Appalachian city with a cycle of generational addiction, lawlessness, and poverty. But within this distressed landscape, Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon (Hollow) shows a different side of the fight against drugs — one of hope. Sheldon highlights three women working to change the town’s narrative and break the devastating cycle of drug abuse one person at a time. Fire Chief Jan Rader spends the majority of her days reviving those who have overdosed; Judge Patricia Keller presides over drug court, handing down empathy along with orders; and Necia Freeman of Brown Bag Ministry feeds meals to the women selling their bodies for drugs. As America’s opioid crisis threatens to tear communities apart, the Netflix original short documentary HEROIN(E) shows how the chain of compassion holds one town together. Director Elaine McMillion Sheldon is a Peabody Award winning, Emmy nominated filmmaker and now Oscar nominated from West Virginia. HEROIN(E) was produced in association with the Berkeley-based Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), as part of a new initiative to support women filmmakers. In 2016, Chicken & Egg Pictures awarded her with the inaugural “Breakthrough Filmmaker” award. Sheldon was a 2013 Future of Storytelling Fellow, and named one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2013 by Filmmaker Magazine and one of “50 People Changing The South” in 2015 by Southern Living Magazine. She has also contributed several shorts to The New York Times Op-Docs. She joins us to talk about her clear-eyed, bracing film that shines a bright and intimate light on an epidemic that is destroying large swaths of American society.

 

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For news and updates go to: heroinethefilm.com

* 2018 Oscar nominated Documentary Short Program

“Putting human faces on the crisis”New York Times

“Finds the humanity numbers too easily ignore”The Film Stage

“The one to beat at the Oscars..a knockout short”Bohemian.com

“Three women prove that dedication plus empathy works”Reeling Reviews

“Unflinching portrayal.”Moveable Fest

“Alternating between stark realism and a sense of the surreal”NEW REPUBLIC

10 Most Powerful Docs of 2017NATION SWELL

“A window into the front lines of the opioid crisis”Bill Moyers

“Hauntingly powerful film on the opioid crisis”Mother Jones

5 Doctors, Co-Directors Matt Porter and Max Azulay

5 Doctors follows Spencer, a miserable young stand-up comedian and hypochondriac, convinced that he’s dying from a bizarre array of symptoms. After a few years trying to make it in L.A., he’s got nothing to show for his efforts except for a viral YouTube video and an indifferent agent who does most of her business via text. Out of options and armed with a binder full of WebMD printouts, Spencer takes drastic action: he flies cross-country to his quaint hometown in upstate New York to consult with his five childhood doctors in a single day, planning to take the redeye back to L.A. that night without seeing any of his friends or family. Spencer’s unwitting accomplice is Jay, who happily agrees to chauffeur him to his appointments. Tearing through town, eluding his loved ones, Spencer is prodded, dilated, and biopsied into accepting that the cause of his symptoms and his reasons for coming home may be more complicated than he thought. 5 Doctors stars: Matt Porter (“New Timers,”“Hasta La Vista”), Max Azulay (“Argyle,” “First Time”), Emily Walton (“Submission,” “Deliverance”), Bobby Moynihan (“Saturday Night Live,” CBS’ “Me, Myself & I”), Eddie Pepitone (“Old School,” “The Muppets”), Peter Friedman (“Love & Other Drugs,” “Single White Female”), Adam Dannheisser (“Down to Earth,” “Nine Minutes”), Jodi Long (“The Hot Chick,” “Splash”), Jeremy Shamos (“The Big Sick,” “Magic in the Moonlight”), Jordan Baker (“Escape from L.A.,” “Another Earth”),  and Annabelle Zasowski (“The Blacklist,”“Orange is the New Black”). The co-directors Matt Porter and Max Azulay join us to talk about their funny and touching debut feature.

 

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Follow 5 Doctors:

For news and updates go to: https://www.5doctorsfilm.com/

Twitter.com/5doctorsfilm

Facebook.com/5doctorsfilm

Days of Power, Producer Michel Grey

Days of Power tells the story of a Swiss pop star , Milow the Girl, (Jenny Hutton) the who disappears while on tour, along with her assistant, backup singer, and drummer; they find themselves kidnapped, hidden within a concealed puppy mill industry. The film, written and produced by Michel Grey (“Trinity Rising,” “Foreclosure Dogs,” and “Beyond The Bombs”), and the directorial debut from Jason Pagnoni, was inspired by actual events.  The film has received incredible support from multiple rescue groups and animal rights organizations around the country including: Rescue Ohio English Bulldogs, Pacc911, Paws New England, Barcs, Faithful Friends Animal Society, and SPCA of Tennessee. Days of Power stars: Oscar®-nominee Eric Roberts (“The Dark Knight,” “Runaway Train”), Eliza Roberts (“Animal House,” “Doctor Who”), Simone Reyes (”Running Russell Simmons,” “Cemetery High”), award-winner Jenny Hutton (“Boderna Fluff,” “Forgotten Kingdom: Genesis”), award-winning musician/actors Paul Lewis (“Radio Gods,” “Foreclosure Dogs”) and Keaton Simons (“The Legends of Nethiah,” “Feast”). Writer and producer Michel Grey joins us for a conversation on modern horror filmmaking and the hidden scourge of puppy mills.

 

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Follow Days of Power

For news and updates go to: daysofpower.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/daysofpower

Instagram: www.instagram.com/daysofpower

Facebook: www.facebook.com/daysofpower

American Folk, Director David Heinz and Cinematographer Devin Whetstone

AMERICAN FOLK tells the story of two strangers grounded on the morning of September 11, 2001. Elliott (Joe Purdy) and Joni (Amber Rubarth) are unexpectedly thrust together amidst the chaos of that historic day. With little in common but both needing to get to NYC urgently, they accept help from Joni’s family friend Scottie (Krisha Fairchild) who lends the duo a rusty old 1972 Chevy Van. The shock and stress of 9/11 quickly threatens to derail their cross country journey until the pair discover what they do have in common: a love for old folk songs. Armed with a pile of guitars left in the van from Scottie’s touring days, Elliott and Joni raise their voices together (and with those they meet on the road), re-discovering the healing nature of music and bearing witness to a nation of people who, even while mourning, manage to lift each other up in the wake of tragedy. With a refreshing gentleness and beauty, AMERICAN FOLK lovingly chronicles the spaces between the suffering and fear, where music has the power to connect. Musicians Joe Purdy and Amber Rubarth give nuanced and thoughtful performances, with voices that are uplifting and achingly gorgeous. Filmed over 3,500 miles in 14 states, AMERICAN FOLK serves as a love letter to the natural beauty of America, to the style of music that has shepherded us through historically tough times and to the kindness of all of the “folk” that make America what it is. Director David Heinz and Cinematographer Devin Whetstone talk about the challenges of filming in cramped quarters, capturing the spirit of a surprisingly united people coping with a disintegrating civic society.

https://www.americanfolkmovie.com/

 

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“The songs are lovely, and the first-time actors give performances that grow warmer as the film progresses.” – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times

“David Heinz’s excellent debut is an ardent plea for togetherness in a divided world. Aided by his leading actors, talented cinematographer, and ear-worm of a soundtrack, Joni and Elliott’s journey is a privilege to share.” – Chloe Walker, Film Inquiry

“A simple story, beautifully told, American Folk is a timely reminder of a dream not yet dead.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“The actors are both accomplished folk musicians, so the music is amazing. The film is quiet and peaceful as they journey in a forced slow pace back to the epicenter.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat