Nasser’s Republic, The Making of Modern Egypt – Director Michal Goldman

In 1952, a then-unknown young Egyptian colonel led a coup that became a revolution. Over the next 18 years, Gamal Abdel Nasser challenged Western hegemony abroad and confronted Islamism at home, and faced deep divisions among the Arabs. He emerged as a titanic figure, a champion of Arab progress and African liberation, but he could not offer democracy. Instead, Nasser established the region’s first authoritarian military regime. A man of enormous charisma and ambition, Nasser became caught in the coils of his own power, dying at the age of 52 with dreams unrealized. The Arab Spring and its aftermath are his legacy: a period of turmoil when Egyptians argued passionately about their history as a way to see what course to follow in the future. It is their voices—peasants and professors, secularists and Islamists—that drive Goldman’s essential documentary. Nasser’s Republic, The Making of Modern Egypt Director Michal Goldman’s previous film, Umm Kulthum, A Voice Like Egypt (1996), a vibrant portrait of a superstar singer, was an official selection of the New York Film Festival, winner of the Golden Plaque for Documentary at the Chicago International Film Festival, and winner of the Promoting Tolerance Award from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Goldman joins us to talk about the historic significance of Nasser’s enormous influence on Egypt , the course of the Cold War and modern day Middle East.

For news and updates go to: nassersrepublic.com

Director Michal Goldman organizes a vast amount of information to pose as many questions as answers in this immersive documentary. Narration by Palestinian actress Hiam Abbass rivets us to history and its contradictions, an ongoing story witnessed by millions.” —Judy Bloch, for the Washington, DC International Film Festival (aka FilmFest DC)

“Goldman’s [documentary] accomplishes something that most media covering events in the Middle East don’t even attempt: She provides an historical context.” —Peter Keough, The Boston Globe

“I thought we had buried him. It turns out he’s still alive.” —Khaled Fahmy, Egyptian historian, in NASSER’S REPUBLIC

“What’s impressive is how many of the necessary narrative angles are treated, raising compelling questions that resonate today. At the film’s center is an officer turned politician who is photogenic, charismatic, shrewd and sometimes reckless. The storyline is crisp, the archival footage is gripping, and the witnesses—whose passions drive the story—are compelling. From a teacher’s perspective, this film is a godsend.” —Joel Gordon, Professor of History & Director of the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies, University of Arkansas

A Good American, Director Friedrich Moser

 

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The explosion of information in the digital age left government agencies like the NSA struggling with bureaucracy and technology to keep up with the changing times. Responding to the challenge, NSA technical director Bill Binney and a small team of codebreakers develop ThinThread, an astonishingly effective data collecting and sorting program that also protects privacy. Despite its success, ThinThread is discontinued just weeks before September 11, 2001. After Binney and fellow intelligence officials challenge this decision, they find their world upended. The deeply disturbing journalistic docu-thriller about the system that could have prevented 9/11, but was stopped by lies and corruption at the NSA. The mass surveillance revealed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden was not the first scandal in the history of the American intelligence agency NSA. Friedrich Moser’s eye-opening A Good American soberly unfolds the deeply disturbing story of how corruption, lies and personal ambitions led to the closure of a cheap and effective monitoring system that demonstrably could have stopped the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The mind behind the ingenious system was former intelligence agent Bill Binney, whom Moser gives the opportunity to tell the whole story of how his brilliant system was abandoned in favor of an expensive, useless intelligence programm that in turn had the advantage of creating hundreds of jobs at the intelligence agency – and handsomely rewarded a number of former NSA employees. A Good American is a chilling docu-thriller of the most dizzying kind, and may well prove to be one of the year’s most important films. Director Friedrich Moser join us to talk about his compelling, frightening and essential documentary film.

For news and updates go to: agoodamerican.org

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“Shocking, essential documentary looks at the shameful and avoidable failure of the NSA to prevent 9/11. All Americans (and everyone else) should see this film.” – MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Philospher

“A cautionary tale of a man who sought to protect the world with an ingenious creation that could be used for ill as well as good.” – Nick Schager, Variety

“A Good American” gets bogged down in details and personnel talk, but its subjects have an urgent narrative to tell.” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times

“Slow, quiet, and infuriating …” – Daphne Howland, Village Voice

“Stunning and Deeply Disturbing.” – Jeff Stein, National Security Correspondent, Newsweek

“Powerful film – a prequel to SNOWDEN!”  – Oliver Stone

Sunshine Makers, Director Cosmos Fielding Mellen

A real-life ‘Breaking Bad’ for the psychedelic set, THE SUNSHINE MAKERS reveals the fascinating, untold story of Nicholas Sand and Tim Scully, the unlikely duo at the heart of 1960s American drug counter-culture. United in a utopian mission to save the planet through the consciousness-raising power of LSD, these underground chemists manufactured a massive amount of acid, including the gold standard for quality LSD, ‘Orange Sunshine,’ all while staying one step ahead of the Feds. From the producer of SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN and LISTEN TO ME MARLON, THE SUNSHINE MAKERS premiered last year at the prestigious DOC NYC film festival to critical acclaim. The documentary has thrilled audiences with its stranger-than-fiction look into the lives of two “LSD evangelists.” Director Cosmos Fielding Mellen joins us for a conversation on his clear eyed look back on the good, the bad and the trippy from the golden age of raised consciousness.

For news and updates go to: the-sunshine-makers

“Theirs is a story about the marriage of idealism and criminality, and it’s recounted in amusing and thrilling detail by The Sunshine Makers…the rare documentary to function as time capsule, philosophical inquiry, and rollicking thriller all at once – as well as a cautionary tale about the crazy lengths people will go to experience a heavenly high. Riveting.” – THE DAILY BEAST

“…it’s an astonishing tale…providing further evidence, not that any was needed, that truth is stranger – and oftentimes a lot more fun – than fiction.” – HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“For a documentary about two men who were big-time drug dealers back in the day, The Sunshine Makers is a quaint, damn-near-adorable bit of nostalgia.” – Craig D. Lindsey, Village Voice

Slamdance, Co-founder and President Peter Baxter

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It all began when a group of cheerful, subversive filmmakers weren’t accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. Unwilling to take “no” for an answer, they instead started their own event – Slamdance: Anarchy in Utah. 22 years later, Slamdance has become a year-round organization fostering the development of unique and innovative filmmakers. The organization now consists of the Film Festival, Screenplay Competition and Slamdance Studios. It has also created Slamdance On The Road, a traveling theatrical showcase that brings popular Slamdance films to audiences that otherwise would not have the opportunity to see them. Dan Mirvish, Jon Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn and Peter Baxter are the founding forefathers who, along with co-conspirator Paul Rachman, fought for truly peter-baxter-slamdanceindependent filmmakers by giving them a voice in 1995 at the very first Slamdance Film Festival. Since then, the festival takes place every January in the breathtakingly stunning, snow-capped mountains of Park City, Utah at the exact same time as the
Sundance Film Festival, to provide a more authentic representation of independent filmmaking. Up-and-coming writers, directors and producers, alongside seasoned veterans and film lovers, converge for the weeklong celebration of independent cinema, realizing that Slamdance is a great place to find those next, great, visionary films. Slamdance lives and bleeds by its mantra By Filmmakers For Filmmakers. No other film festival in the world is entirely run and organized by the creative force that can only be found in filmmakers. Slamdance adamantly supports self-governance amongst independents, and exists to deliver what filmmakers go to festivals for – a chance to show their work and a platform to launch their careers. The festival has earned a solid reputation for premiering films by first-time writers and directors working within the creative confines of limited budgets. Co-founder and President Peter Baxter joins us to talk about this year’s Slamdance, the groundbreaking films and the innovative new distribution and digital initiatives being launched by Slamdance.

For news and updates on 2017 Slamdance Film Festival go to: slamdance.com/

Trespass Against Us, Director Adam Smith

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TRESPASS AGAINST US is set across three generations of the Cutler family who live as outlaws in their own anarchic corner of Britain’s richest countryside. Chad Cutler (Michael Fassbender) is heir apparent to his bruising criminal father, Colby (Brendan Gleeson) and has been groomed to spend his life hunting, thieving and tormenting the police. But with his own son, Tyson (Georgie Smith) coming of age, Chad soon finds himself locked in a battle with his father for the future of his young family. When Colby learns of Chad’s dreams for another life he sets out to tie his son and grandson into the archaic order that has bound the Cutler family for generations. He engineers a spectacular piece of criminal business involving a heist, a high-speed car chase and a manhunt, which leaves Chad bruised and bloodied and with his very freedom at stake. With the law cracking down and his father tightening his grip, Chad is forced into increasingly desperate measures. Featuring incredible performances – and an astonishing score by The Chemical Brothers – TRESPASS AGAINST US is at once an exhilarating crime thriller and a profoundly moving story about love and family. TRESPASS AGAINST US director ADAM SMITH (Director) is an award-winning film, television drama, documentary and music-video director. Smith is best known for his long-term collaboration with the Chemical Brothers, and the critically acclaimed concert film Chemical Brothers: Don’t Think he directed.  Director Adam Smith joins us to talk about his feature film debut and the riveting performances turned in by his three lead performers.

For news and updates go to: trespass-against-us

“Even when Trespass Against Us slumps toward the same generational conflicts at the heart of so many recent indies, these actors refuse to reduce their characters into any recognizable archetypes.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

“Dynamic storytelling and powerful performances bring out the pathos in an unusual tale of conflicting loyalties set on the criminal edges of a traveling community.” – Screen International

“At this point we should just accept that Michael Fassbender can play anything. In Trespass Against Us, he turns up his charisma and blunts his native intelligence, and the mixture works remarkably well.” – Norman Wilner, NOW Toronto

“It all boils down to the complicated relationships of fathers and sons, but with some riveting action and heart-tugging drama, Trespass Against Us ends up as thrilling must-see.” – Peter Turner, Starburst

The Mute’s House, Director Tamar Kay

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Eight-year-old Yousef and his deaf mother Sahar are the last Palestinian residents of an otherwise deserted building in the Israeli part of the city of Hebron. Their island within the Jewish quarter is called “The Mute’s House” by Israeli soldiers, even though Sahar isn’t mute at all. Travel agencies have included the property in their tours. Yousef makes good use of his privilege to cross the border when he goes to school. Through the tour guides’ explanations, we learn the story of Yousef and Sahar, who bravely withstand all the threats and bullying. None of Yousef’s Palestinian classmates can come to his house, and filmmaker Tamar Kay isn’t allowed to cross the border to film the Palestinian quarter with Yousef. Despite his disability – Yousef was born with one arm – he amuses himself with the chickens, goats and rabbits that forage among the ruined neighboring houses, and he plays the guitar and video games. The Mute’s House is an intimate portrait that elegantly illustrates the absurdity of the endless conflict. Director Tamar Kay was born in Jerusalem and graduated The Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film & Television School in 2015, stops by to talk about her moving and heartbreaking portrait of life on the edge of chaos and isolation.

“If someone wrote a fictional script for a film about this story, no one would believe it.” Alan Berliner, (dir. Nobody’s Business, Emmy Award Winner)

*Winner – Special Jury Award – IDFA*

*Winner – President’s Award – Full Frame FF*

Academy Award Shortlist for Short Doc program

BRILLO BOX (3¢ OFF), Director Lisanne Skyler

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In 1969, filmmaker Lisanne Skyler’s parents bought an Andy Warhol Brillo Box for $1,000. A budding collector, her father was drawn to the work of the young, emerging artists of the time—Pop artists, Abstract Expressionists and Photorealists—and saw it as an investment. Unlike critics of the era, who panned Warhol’s consumer-themed sculptures, her mother considered it a delightful addition to the family’s Manhattan living room. Eventually the piece was traded away, largely forgotten except in family artifacts like a snapshot of baby Lisanne perched on top of the yellow cube. The filmmaker often wondered what happened to the now-iconic work that had briefly decorated her childhood. Forty years later, in 2010, the sameandy-warhol sculpture sold for $3 million at a record-breaking Christie’s auction. Fascinated by this eyebrow-raising turn of events, Skyler wondered about all of the personal decisions that shaped this object’s journey. What was the role it played in other lives, and what secrets did it hold about her own family? Colorfully blending Pop Art history with personal narrative, BRILLO BOX (3¢ OFF) follows this Warhol sculpture as it makes its way from a family home to the global art market, exploring the ephemeral nature of art and value, and the decisions that shape family history. Director and daughter Lisanne Skyler to talk about a sweeping and insightful look into the world of POP art and her own intimate family tale.

BRILLO BOX (3¢ OFF) will air exclusively on HBO in June of 2017

For news and updates go to: brilloboxmovie.com

“While tracing the 40-year journey of an Andy Warhol original from her family’s living room to the auction block, documentarian Lisanne Skyler delivers a delightful, nostalgia-tinged snapshot of the American middle class, colorfully framed by a crash course in postmodernism.” – Maggie Mackay, ASPEN INTERNATIONAL SHORTSFEST

“Brillo Box (3¢ off) is about far more than what the sculpture fetched — though that figure is staggering. It considers the aim, meaning, and collection of art. Skyler deftly weaves together photographs, interviews and observations about legacy and family, which makes her story (which is slightly heartbreaking) all the more poignant.” – Gary M. Kramer, FILM INTERNATIONAL

Slash, Director Clay Liford

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Neil (Michael Johnston) is an introverted, questioning high school freshman. Lacking any friends IRL, his main social outlet is the steamy fan fiction he writes about Vanguard, the brawny, galaxy-hopping hero of a popular sci-fi franchise. When his stories are exposed in class Neil is mortified, but the slightly older, effortlessly cool Julia (Hannah Marks) comes to his defense. An erotic fan fic writer herself, Julia pushes Neil to publish his stories to an online “adult” forum, where they quickly grab the attention of the site moderator, Denis (Michael Ian Black). When Neil is invited to present his work at a comic con live-read event, he has to face the fact that Denis’ interest in him may be more than simply professional… perhaps like his own feelings for Julia. Director Clay Liford stops by to talk about his endearing, beautifully rendered story of angst, creativity and self discovery.

For news and updates go to: slashthemovie.com

“An effortlessly engaging dramedy that somehow manages to sustain an air of buoyant sweetness even while repeatedly referencing erotic fantasies and sexual anxieties.” – Joe Leydon, Variety

“This sweet-natured coming-of-age movie, written and directed by Clay Liford, is perhaps more complicated than most by having characters whose sexual orientations aren’t settled.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“Charming and slightly, beautifully dangerous”BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH

“Effortlessly engaging”VARIETY

“Grounded, funny, and relatable”AIN’T IT COOL NEWS

4.1 Miles, Director Daphne Matziaraki

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is a 41-year old local captain of the Greek Coast Guard. He has two wonderful young daughters Vivi and Melissa, and before the refugee crisis exploded in 2014, he had a “normal” life. Lesbos was a small peaceful island and is job involved routine border patrols. Him, like the rest of the crew isn’t trained to do CPR. His boat is not equipped with thermal cameras or other instruments that would help deal with such an emergency. Often times, the captain had to disobey orders and despite rough weather he would continue to go out in the sea to save as many lives as possible. There have been plenty of times that he could turn his back. But he’s choosing to do the opposite: to respond. Director Daphne Matziaraki joins to talk about her work as a photojournalist and filmmaker in Europe, Africa and the US as well as her compelling, compassionate and humanizing film on the refugee crisis gripping Europe.

For news and updates go to:4point1miles.com

Festivals and Screenings

Telluride Film Festival 2016

IDA Screening series 2016

NYC Greek Film Festival 2016

Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival 2016

SF Film Society Doc Stories 2016

IDFA, Amsterdam 2016

Awards

Gold Medal, Student Academy Award  2016

32 IDA Documentary Awards,

David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award  2016

Friday, December 9, 2016 – Friday, December 9, 2016 – Disturbing the Peace, co-directors Stephen Apkon (Andrew Young) and Producer Marcina Hale

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DISTURBING THE PEACE follows a group of former enemy combatants – Israeli soldiers from the most elite units, and Palestinian fighters, many of whom served years in prison – who have come together to challenge the status quo and say “enough.” The film traces their transformational journeys from soldiers committed to armed battle to non-violent peace activists and their founding of Combatants for Peace. The Combatants for Peace, a group of Palestinians and Israelis working together to promote human rights and peace for all, are the only bi-partisan, non-violent activist group of enemy combatants working together in an ongoing armed conflict in the world today.  They are an inspiring modern day example of the importance of using nonviolent solutions to our conflicts. Their personal stories tell an inspiring story of the human potential that is unleashed when people have the courage to follow the power of their own consciences. Co-directors Stephen Apkon and Andrew Young joins us to talk about just how far cooperation and rapprochement between Israelis and Palestinians has come and how much further it needs to go before there is justice in this troubled region.

For news and updates go to: disturbingthepeacefilm.com

100% on Rottentomatoes!

“Their stories are compelling – and persuasive.” – Andy Webster, New York Times

“Well-chosen news and archival clips, footage from CFP’s provocative rallies, plus a series of skillful and useful reenactments help flesh out this inspiring portrait.” – Gary Goldstein, LA Times

“Effectively illustrates the universality of suffering by juxtaposing the stories of people on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” – Matt Fagerholm, RogerEbert.com

“By focusing on combatants from both sides who came together to bring about change, Disturbing the Peace is a rejoinder to pessimism, delivering a message of hope that lands with some success.” Stephen Mayne, Under the Radar

Friday, December 9, 2016 – Harry Benson: Shoot First, Co-director Justin Bare (Matthew Miele)

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HARRY BENSON: SHOOT FIRST charts the illustrious career of the renowned photographer who initially rose to fame alongside The Beatles, having been assigned to cover their inaugural trip to the United States in 1964. With unprecedented “behind the scenes” access, Benson captured some of the most vibrant and intimate portraits ever taken of the most popular band in history. His extensive portfolio includes iconic images of Winston Churchill, Bobby Fischer, Muhammad Ali, Greta Garbo, Michael Jackson, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Robert F. Kennedy assassination, and his work has appeared in publications including Life, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Now 86, workaholic Benson has no intention of stopping. Co-director Justin Bare (SCATTER MY ASHES AT BERGDOF’s), joins us for a lively conversation on this charismatic and remarkable artist.

For news and updates go to: magpictures.com/harrybenson

“The film captures not only Harry’s boldness and bravery in pursuing controversial subjects, but also his disarming personality and his ability to achieve intimacy with his subjects.” – Katie Walsh,

“Iconic shutterbug Benson is captured in all his funny, feisty, gritty and graceful complexity in this spellbinder of a doc from Justin Bare and Matthew Miele with images that take the breath away.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“He can shoot fast and make art,” a friend says, and “Harry Benson: Shoot First” makes that point again and again.” – Kenneth Turan, LA Times

“Don’t blink — not even once. That’s the best advice for viewers of the dazzling new documentary Harry Benson: Shoot First.” – Isaac Guzman, Time Magazine

Friday, December 9, 2016 – The Ruins of Lifta, Director Oren Rudavsky

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In this new documentary from filmmakers Menachem Daum and Oren Rudavsky (Hiding and Seeking, A Life Apart), audiences will travel to Lifta—the only Palestinian village abandoned during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that has not been destroyed or repopulated by Jews. Lifta, at the western entrance to Jerusalem, is rarely a destination on any tourist map despite its significant history. The village is now threatened by an Israeli development plan that would convert it into an upscale Jewish neighborhood and forever change its character. With the support of the Palestinian and Jewish Coalition to Save Lifta, Lifta has become a battleground between developers, the Israeli Land authority, and its defenders. Lifta’s unique history and architectural treasures have made it a candidate to become a UNESCO World Heritage site, pending far from certain Israeli government approval. Oren Rudavsky (director, co-producer and director of photography) was co-producer and co-director of HIDING AND SEEKING and A LIFE APART. Rudavsky is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and has received awards and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the New York State Council for the Arts and more. His most recently completed film COLLIDING DREAMS is a feature length documentary that was supported by a media grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Director Oren Rudavsky stops by to talk about his remarkable film and the chance for some form of reconciliation in this troubled land.

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

“Watching these sturdy carriers of suffering inevitably argue, your spirits may sink. But you also can’t help but notice that the rocky terrain requires them at times to hold on to each other.” – Robert Abele, LA Times

“A vital study of loss and memory. Grounded in the art of listening, ‘The Ruins of Lifta’ builds a powerful, personal, political conversation between Palestinians and Israelis looking to live differently. The result is necessary viewing.” – Diana Clarke, Village Voice

“The Ruins of Lifta offers a muscular example of ability of documentaries to make the political intensely personal. More painfully, it’s also a case study in the limits of benign intention.” – Ella Taylor, NPR

“A thoughtful lesson in history – and listening.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

Friday, December 9, 2016 – Abattoir, Director Darren Lynn Bousman

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An investigative reporter works to solve the mystery behind a mysterious man who has been buying houses where tragedies have occurred. Set in a world where it always feels like night, even in daylight hours, real estate reporter Julia Talben’s (Jessica Lowndes) life is turned upside down when her family is brutally murdered. It is believed to be an open and close case, but Julia quickly realizes there is much more to this story when she returns to the crime scene to find the murder room deconstructed and physically removed from her sister’s home. This ignites an investigative pursuit that eventually leads her and ex-lover Detective Declan Grady (Joe Anderson) to the town of New English where they find the enigmatic Jebediah Crone and the Abattoir – a monstrous house stitched together with unending rooms of death and the damned. Julia comes to realize that her sister’s soul is trapped inside, but the Abattoir isn’t just a house – it’s a door to something more evil than anyone could have ever imagined. Julia and Grady are ultimately faced with the question: How do you build a haunted house? One room at a time. Director Darren Lynn Bousman (Repo! The Genetic Opera, Saw II, Saw III) joins us to talk about this sophisticated and complex cross genre story.

For News and updates go to: abattoir.info

“an unwieldy property, coming with its assembly work exposed, but “what a magnificent structure” it turns out to be. Prepare to get lost in its multi-levelled madness, & to have your familiarity with horror’s ever-revenant tropes deconstructed.” – Little White Lies

“Bousman might not quite pull off the ‘Howard Hawks meets The Wicker Man’ vibe he’s going for, but Abattoir is horror for grown-ups” – Cinevue

“While Bousman’s climax is a not terribly original effects-laden haunted house, the house’s builder, and his motives, have enough of their own flavor to please a hardened horror fan.” – Hollywood Reporter

Friday, December 2, 2016 – Eyes of My Mother, Actress Kika Magalhaes

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In the riveting story THE EYES OF MY MOTHER Francisca has been unfazed by death from an early age—her mother, formerly a surgeon in Portugal, imbued her with a thorough understanding of the human anatomy. When tragedy shatters her family’s idyllic life in the countryside, her deep trauma gradually awakens some unique curiosities. Driven by a mesmerizing performance by Kika Magalhaes Francisca’s desire to connect with the world around her takes a distinctly dark form. Shot in crisp black and white, the haunting visual compositions of THE EYES OF MY MOTHER  evoke its protagonist’s isolation and illuminate her deeply unbalanced worldview. Genre-inflected but so strikingly unique as to defy categorization, writer/director Nicolas Pesce’s stunning feature debut allows us only an elliptical presence in Francisca’s world, guiding our imaginations to follow her into peculiar, secret places. Lead actress Kika Magalhaes joins us to talk about the challenges presented by this deeply troubled character and her eerily compelling performance.

For news and updates go to: magnetreleasing.com/theeyesofmymother/

Opening at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles, Friday December 2, 2016 with  Q&A at the Friday, December 2nd 7:30 PM screening

*SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL – OFFICIAL SELECTION*

“It claws into your subconscious and lingers there. A simmering nightmare of a movie.” – Bilge Ebiri, NEW YORK MAGAZINE

“An exquisite waking nightmare. An impressive, highly original horror fable.” – Guy Lodge, VARIETY

“Equal parts Ingmar Bergman, Tim Burton and Tobe Hooper. The discovery of this year’s Sundance Film Festival.” – Eric Kohn, INDIEWIRE

“Ms. Magalhaes, a former dancer, uses her expressive eyes and graceful limbs to bring the intimacy and sensuality of her actions to vivid life.” – Jeanette Catsoulis, New  York Times

Friday, November 25, 2016 – Blue Jay and Asperger’s Are Us, Director Alex Lehmann

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BLUE JAY is the story of former high school sweethearts Jim (Mark Duplass) and Amanda (Sarah Paulson) who have been out of touch for more than 20 years — but by sheer coincidence, they run into each other at a grocery store back in their alpine hometown of Crestline, California. Jim’s mother has died and he’s here to put her house on the market. Amanda is visiting her pregnant sister. They get to talking, first over coffee, then over beer and jellybeans. Before they know it they’re at Jim’s mother’s house, where everything sends them spiraling back into the past. Jim and Amanda’s lives have taken different directions, yet here they are, reconnecting like nothing has changed. This is one of 2016’s best films.

For news on Blue Jay go to: blue-jay

“Though the film largely trains on the simple, dialogue-fueled interaction of two people, it feels more spectacular than theatrical, showcasing the acting prowess of two master performers feeding on mutual chemistry and performative bravado.” – Joey Nolfi, Entertainment Weekly

“Even after twenty years apart, Amanda and Jim can ask each other the questions no one else would dare to, and understand the answers that go beyond words.” – Serena Donadoni, Village Voice

aspergers-are-us-film-posterASPERGER’S ARE US is the story of the members of the comedy troupe “Asperger’s Are Us,” whose “condition” make it easier to associate with a faceless audience than with their own families. No matter who the crowd, best friends Noah, New Michael, Jack and Ethan have one simple mantra: “We would much rather the audience appreciate us as comedians than people who have overcome adversity.”   In this coming-of-age heartfelt documentary, this band of brothers finds themselves at a crossroad. With real life pulling them apart, they decide to plan one ambitious farewell show before they all go their separate ways. People with Asperger’s don’t deal well with uncertainty, and this is the most uncertain time in their lives.

“Asperger’s Are Us” rarely stretches to be funny or poignant or touching, and that makes this documentary all the more of each.” Ken Jaworowski, New York Times

“The four young men at the heart of this documentary will easily find a home in all but the hardest of hearts.” – Kimber Myers, LA Times

“Warm, funny and enormously entertaining.” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru

For news on Asperger’s Are Us go to: facebook.com/aspergersareus/

alex-lehmannDirector / cinematographer Alex Lehmann was born in France and studied film at Emerson College in Boston.  ASPERGER’S ARE US is his first documentary feature, it premiered this year at SXSW and was the first Netflix acquisition of the festival. Alex most recently released BLUE JAY starring Mark Duplass and Sarah Paulson which marked his second collaboration (ASPERGER’S ARE US) with the Duplass Brothers. Alex has mostly worked in the industry as a cinematographer, most recently having shot the upcoming Katherine Keener political drama Little Pink House. He and Mark Duplass met on the set of “The League”, where Alex served as a camera operator. Alex stops by for a lively conversation on is collaboration with Mark and Jay Duplass and the on-set challenges / rewards of shooting and directing and bonding with a troupe of four very funny performers.

For more on Alex Lehmann go to: facebook.com/mralexlehmann

Friday, November 25, 2016 – Notes on Blindness, Co-directors Peter Middleton and James Spinney

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Based on the Emmy Award-winning short film of the same name, Notes on Blindness is the debut feature from writer / directors Peter Middleton and James Spinney. In 1983, after decades of steady deterioration, writer and theologian John Hull became totally blind. To help him make sense of the upheaval in his life, he began documenting his experiences on audio cassette. Drawing on John’s original audio recordings, Notes on Blindness is a poetic and intimate story of loss, rebirth and transformation, charting his extraordinary journey into ‘a world beyond sight’. To compliment this archive material, the filmmakers recorded over twenty hours of audio interviews with John and his wife Marilyn. These audio interviews are interwoven throughout the film’s soundtrack, forming a lyrical narration, with the couple reflecting on events from a distance of thirty years. This wealth of documentary audio material is embedded within cinematic interpretations, in which actors play John and his family, lip-synching to this documentary audio. This innovative creative approach liberates the scope of the film to explore the interior aspects of John’s journey into blindness – John’s dream life, his memories and flights of imagination. Writer / directors Peter Middleton and James Spinney join us for a conversation on the their innovative approach to conveying the experience of blindness and the challenges of telling this deeply personal story of love and triumph.

Story of film subject John Hull: John M. Hull taught for 30 years at the University of Birmingham until his retirement in 2002. He was the first professor of Religious Education in the UK and recipient of the prestigious William Rainey Harper award from the Religious Education Association of the US and Canada. This award is only held by 12 international scholars, and is presented to ‘outstanding leaders whose work in other fields has had a profound impact upon religious education’, including luminaries such as Marshall McLuhan, Margaret Mead and Paolo Freire.

For news and updates go to: notesonblindness.arte.tv/en/

★★★★★  “The genius of the film is in allowing us to understand and visualise the world of blindness… A beautiful, accessible and thoughtful work of art.”   THE GUARDIAN, Charlie Phillips

★★★★★ “A visionary, lyrical film” THE TIMES, Kate Muir

★★★★★ “Articulate, eloquent and soul-searching” OBSERVER, Mark Kermode

★★★★★ “Remarkable… a haunting, throat-catching documentary that shares some of the lyrical power of Clio Barnard’s The Arbor or Carol Morley’s Dreams of a Life.”  THE LIST, Allan Hunter

★★★★★ “Beautiful and reassuring, Notes On Blindness is a moving and inspiring film” DAILY MAIL, Libby Purves

‘I, Daniel Blake,’ ‘American Honey,’ ‘Notes On Blindness,’ ‘Under The Shadow’ Lead British Indie Film Award Nominations DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD

Friday, November 25, 2016 – PO, Director / Producer John Asher

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When David Wilson’s young wife falls victim to cancer, he is left a single working dad with the sole responsibility of caring for his autistic son. Patrick (Julian Feder), who prefers to be called Po, is a gifted but challenged child who was very close to his mother and unable to communicate his own sense of loss. As father and son struggle to deal with life after mom, they each begin to withdraw. David (Christopher Gorham) is consumed by the high-pressure job he’s close to losing, and Po copes with the bullying in his sixth-grade classroom by escaping into his magical fantasy world, the Land of Color, where he’s just a typical carefree boy with a rich cast of companions. The challenge of serving as the single parent of a special-needs child creates a growing divide between father and son, threatening to separate David and Po permanently. Based on a true story, the bonds of love between a grieving father and son are tested in the most real way in PO. Director / Producer John Asher joins us to talk about this deeply personal story of struggle and renewal.

Po opens in in the Los Angeles area on November 25, 2016 at Laemmle’s Music Hall 3 in Beverly Hills. There will be Q&As opening weekend with director John Asher and star Julian Feder on Friday, November 25 and Saturday, November 26 following the 7:30pm shows and on Sunday, November 27 following the 2:30pm show.

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

Awards/festivals: 

**WINNER** Best Actor – Albuquerque Film & Media Experience 2016

**WINNER** Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking – Music – Newport Beach Film Festival 2016

**WINNER** Best Feature Film – Palm Beach International Film Festival 2016 

**WINNER** Breakthrough Feature – San Diego Film Festival 2016

**WINNER** Breakthrough Feature – San Diego International Film Festival 2016

**WINNER** Rising Star, Best Film – WorldFest Houston 2016 

**NOMINATED** Best Original Song – Feature Film

 Hollywood Music in Media Awards 2016

Friday November 25, 2016 – Finding Kukan, Director Robin Lung

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In the late 1930s China is in dire straits. The country will collapse under Japan’s military juggernaut if it doesn’t get outside help. Chinese American firebrand Li Ling-Ai jolts Americans into action with a new medium — 16mm Kodachrome color film. She hires photo-journalist Rey Scott to travel to China and capture a citizen’s perspective of the war-torn country, including the massive bombing of the wartime capital Chungking (now Chongqing). Their landmark film KUKAN screens for President Franklin Roosevelt at the White House, is called “awesome” by the New York Times, and receives one of the first
kukan-film-posterAcademy Awards for a feature documentary in 1942. Why have we never heard of Li Ling-Ai?
And why have all copies of KUKAN disappeared? FINDING KUKAN uses rare and unseen archival footage to create an unforgettable portrait of a female filmmaking pioneer, and sheds light on the long history of racial and gender discrimination behind the camera, which continues to reverberate in Hollywood today. Director / Producer Robin Lung stops by to talk about the 7-year quest to find the answers to a multitude of questions.

For news and updates go to: nestedeggproductions.com/

“Totally absorbing.” Louis Proyect (Rec Arts)

“Amazing.” “If you love movies or history see this film.” Steve Kopian (Unseen Films)

“4 stars” John Soltes (Hollywood Soapbox)

Friday, November 18, 2016 – National Bird, Director / Producer Sonia Kennebeck

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National Bird is an investigative political documentary that explores the complex issue of drone warfare from a human perspective. National Bird follows the dramatic journey of three whistleblowers who are determined to break the silence around one of the most controversial current affairs issues of our time: the secret U.S. drone war. At the center of the film are three U.S. military veterans. Plagued by guilt over participating in the killing of faceless people in foreign countries, they decide to speak out publicly, despite the possible consequences. Their stories take dramatic turns, leading one of the protagonists to Afghanistan where she learns about a horrendous incident. But her journey also gives hope for peace and redemption. National Bird gives rare insight into the U.S. drone program through the eyes of veterans and survivors, connecting their stories as never seen before in a documentary. Like previous advancements in military technology, combat drones have transformed warfare, outpacing the ability of legal and moral frameworks to adapt and address these developments. Director / producer and journalist Sonia Kennebeck joins us for a conversation on the immediate consequences, long term ramifications and potential for abuse of a technology that has not received an appropriate level of public discourse.

For news and updates go to: nationalbirdfilm.com

“National Bird” is powerful cinematic journalism.” – Kimber Myers, LA Times

“Chilling testimony from those three veterans, each of whom helped to wage war from behind consoles half a world away, serves as the backbone of a film that adds its voice to mounting criticism of the U.S. drone program.” – Peter DeBarge, Variety

“[An] elegantly unsettling documentary about the United States’ reliance on aerial combat drones.” – Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times

“This is a truly amazing and eye-opening film about the drone program of the U.S. Air Force and some courageous people who realized what sort of threat these unmanned warplanes represent and who decided to speak out about their experiences.  You will see and hear things you’ve never seen or heard, and you will leave the theater with insight, in the true sense of the word, you did not have before.” – Wim Wenders        

“NATIONAL BIRD is a one-of-a-kind film. It’s nothing short of miraculous that Sonia Kennebeck was able to secure the cooperation of multiple analysts recently active in the U.S. drone program. The film offers an unparalleled glimpse into the surreal landscape of automated murder. – Errol Morris

“NATIONAL BIRD is an extraordinary first person perspective that is starkly riveting, deeply compelling, and a signature eyewitness portrayal of three drone whistleblowers confronted by the remote killing fields of American foreign policy as well as the tragedy experienced by the people of Afghanistan at the everyday level. – Thomas Drake, Whistleblower/ Former Senior Executive of the National Security Agency

Friday, November 18, 2016 – Peter and the Farm, Director Tony Stone

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In Tony Stone’s latest film, Peter and the Farm, Peter Dunning is the proud proprietor of Mile Hill Farm, which sits on 187 acres in Vermont. The land’s 38 harvests have seen the arrivals and departures of three wives and four children, leaving Peter with only animals and memories. The arrival of a film crew causes him to confront his history and his legacy, passing along hard-won agricultural wisdom even as he doubts the meaning of the work he is fated to perform until death. Haunted by alcoholism and regret, Peter veers between elation and despair, often suggesting to the filmmakers his own suicide as a narrative device. He is a tragedian on a stage it has taken him most of his life to build, and which now threatens to collapse from under him. Peter and The Farm sifts through the potential energy of a human life, that which is used and that which is squandered. Imbued with an aching tenderness, Tony Stone’s Peter and The Farm is both a mosaic of its singular subject’s transitory memories and reflections—however funny, tragic, or angry they may be. Director Tony Stone (Severed Ways, Out of Our Minds) joins us to talk about his beautiful, haunting and heartbreaking, film.

For news and updates go to: magpictures.com/peterandthefarm

Watch on demand magpictures.com/peterandthefarm/watch-at-home

Twitter  – #PeterAndTheFarm

“FOUR STARS. Dunning recounts spellbinding tales-he’s a hell of a character.” – Nigel Smith, The Guardian

“A BEAUTIFUL DOCUMENTARY with a rueful, cantankerous yet hugely charismatic figure at its center, rendered with a texture as rich as the soil through his fingers.” – Scott Tobias, Variety

“A NEAR-MASTERPIECE. A consistently lively and surprising film. Powerfully sad but very funny, too.” – Noel Murray, A.V. Club

“BEAUTIFULLY OBSERVED. A penetrating portrait of a complicated personality, inseparable from his environment.” – David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

“Entertaining and heartbreaking.” – Noel Murray, Indiewire