Faye (Dale Dickey) is a lone traveler biding her time fishing, birding and stargazing at a rural Colorado campground as she awaits the arrival of Lito (Wes Studi), a figure from her past who is navigating his own tentative and nomadic journey across the rugged West. Like the country music that has traditionally channeled the heartbreak and resilience of Americans in search of themselves and others, A Love Song weaves a lyrical and ultimately joyful refrain out of the transformative act of being alone —and reminds us that the mysteries of love can transform us at any age. Director Max Walker-Silverman (Lefty/Righty) joins us for a conversation on how his homegrown film project became viable, his dream to get Dale Dickey (Winter’s Bone, Leave No Trace) and Wes Studi (Last of the Mohicans , Dances with Wolves) to sign on to A Love Song, and striking a delicate balance in the film between the bittersweet notion of love lost, hope, tenderness and cosmic comedy.
About the filmmaker – Max Walker-Silverman grew up in Telluride and has been employed as a cowhand, literary editor and community organizer in addition to his work as a writer and director. These days, his work revolves around the kindness found in the American West and his films have been awarded the Kodak Vision Award, the SXSW Special Jury Prize and a Vimeo Staff Pick, among others. His latest work includes short films Lefty/Righty (Mountainfilm 2019) and Chuj Boys of Summer (Mountainfilm 2021).
“Make no mistake: A Love Song is, first and foremost, a love letter to Dickey… It’s the sort of performance that makes you stop taking great actors for granted.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone
““A Love Song” has the narrative economy and the sneaky emotional power of a well-crafted short story, plus a feel for isolation and rootlessness that harks back to some of the great drifter portraits of American independent cinema.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
“Slow, sweet and subdued, “A Love Song,” Max Walker-Silverman’s lovely first feature, is about late-life longing and needs that never completely go away.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times
“Both Dickey and Studi deliver deeply spiritual performances, harmonizing their gazes and bodily moves in an achingly restrained dance, against nature’s mystical grandeur.” – Tomris Laffly, Harper’s Bazaar
A RUN FOR MORE is an intimate cinema-vérité look at Frankie Gonzales-Wolfe’s brave and arduous campaign to become the first trans woman to run for city council in her hometown of San Antonio, Texas. As a corporate executive, political campaigner, military spouse, and proud Latinx daughter of immigrants, Frankie Gonzales-Wolfe is used to fighting for other people’s causes, but this time it’s personal. Filmed over the course of three years, this moving documentary follows Frankie as she embarks on her 2019 campaign, drawing on the strength she needed when recovering from a pre-transition assault. Now happily married to a loving, supportive husband and surrounded by a loyal team of volunteers and friends, Frankie takes on the fight of her life. A RUN FOR MORE follows Frankie’s political and personal journey of discovery over the course of her historic campaign, and what she uncovers about herself along the way is as eye-opening as the reactions she receives from the community she hopes to represent. Director Ray Whitehouse and Frankie Gonzales-Wolfe join us for a conversation on the mutual decision to move forward on documenting not just the public facing campaign of running for city council, but allowing Whitehouse and his crew into their home, as well as, bracing for the reaction, positive and negative, that comes when marginalized people speak up.
About the filmmaker – Ray Whitehouse works at the intersection of documentary film and journalism. After growing up in Chicago, he lived in San Antonio, Texas, before moving to Washington, D.C. He served as the second unit director of photography on TO THE END, directed by Rachel Lears, which premiered at Sundance in 2022. BRING THEM HOME, a documentary short he co-directed and DP’d, premiered at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in 2022. He’s worked as a cinematographer on more than 20 documentary features and filmed, produced and edited projects for The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME, and Univision, among others. He is community coordinator for the D.C. chapter of Video Consortium and a regional co-chair of the Documentary Producers Alliance. He holds an M.A. in documentary journalism from UNC Chapel Hill and a B.S. in journalism from Northwestern University. The core tenets of his practice are transparency, collaboration and critical reflexivity.
Director and son, David Siev leaves his apartment in New York City to head back to his rural hometown of Bad Axe, Michigan. His arrival comes at a time when the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is making itself felt across much of the Mid-West. In this insightful and intimate documentary, BAD AXE,Asian-American filmmaker, David Siev, documents his family’s struggles to keep their restaurant open just as racialized fears surrounding the virus grow and deep generational scars dating back to his parent’s history in the Cambodian Killing Fields are unearth between the family’s patriarch, Chun, and his daughter, Jaclyn surface. When the BLM movement takes center stage in America, the family uses their voice to speak out in their town where Trumpism runs deep. What unfolds is a real-time portrait of 2020 through the lens of this multicultural family’s fight to keep their American dream alive in the face of a pandemic, Neo-Nazis, the trauma of having survived a genocide and generational scars from the Khmer Rouge era that ravaged Cambodia. Director and subject David Siev joins us to talk about his family’s resolve in the face of physical threats, balancing privacy with the importance of telling a story that ultimately reveals universal truths about the state of political discourse and community in a post-Trump world.
About the filmmaker – David Siev – Director /Producer/ Cinematographer – After graduating from the University of Michigan, David Siev left his small Midwest town of Bad Axe, MI for Los Angeles. He landed a home at Jeff Tremaine’s production company, Gorilla Flicks, where he spent several years finessing the art of guerrilla filmmaking. As a jack of all trades filmmaker, David holds producing, camera, and consulting credits on everything from hidden-camera blockbuster comedies like BAD TRIP (Netflix) to rock and roll biopics such as THE DIRT (Netflix). David first made waves in the Asian-American festival circuit with the debut of his award-winning short film, YEAR ZERO. The film would go on to win Best Narrative Short awards from the DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival, Vancouver Asian Film Festival, Manhattan International Film Festival, and several others. David currently lives in New York where he is now focused on writing and directing his own projects.
“While the documentary refrains from giving family members clear direction on how to mitigate their fears and anxieties, they have each other. That familial strength is what injects this poignant documentary with so much optimism.” – Andrew Stover, Film Threat
“With as much as Bad Axe presents, it’s not offering solutions, and that’s fine. It’s asking a lot for a director’s feature debut to find answers for things like PTSD, systemic racism, pandemics, and political strife.” – Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Hammer to Nail
“If you’ve made any missteps when it comes to how you changed your life… you’ll be able to see a lot of the messy artistic truth in Bad Axe — and it’s even easier to find emotional resonance in this family saga.” – Dan FienbergHollywood Reporter
“With as much as Bad Axe presents, it’s not offering solutions, and that’s fine. It’s asking a lot for a director’s feature debut to find answers for things like PTSD, systemic racism, pandemics, and political strife.” – Therese Lacson, Collider
In Director Anita Rocha da Silveira’s provocative new film MEDUSA, Mari and her friends broadcast their spiritual devotion through pastel pinks and catchy evangelical songs about purity and perfection, but underneath it all, they harbor a deep rage. By day they hide behind their manicured facade, and by night they form a masked, vigilante girl gang, prowling the streets in search of sinners who have deviated from the rightful path. After an attack goes wrong, leaving Mari scarred and unemployed, her view of community, religion, and her peers begin to shift. Nightmares of repressed desires and haunting visions of alluring temptation become undeniable and the urge to scream and release her paralyzing inner demons is more powerful than ever before. A neon-tinged genre-bender that gives provocative form to the overwhelming feminine fury coursing through modern life, MEDUSA dares us not to look away. Director Anita Rocha da Silveira stops by to talk about the subversive take on cultural norms and gender conformity as experienced through the prism of regressive religious doctrine, vigilante justice and a corrupt political system.
About the filmmaker – Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, director, writer and editor Anita Rocha da Silveira has directed three short films: The Noon Vampire (2008), Handball (2010), winner of the FIPRESCI Award at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen), and The Living Dead (2012), Cannes Directors’ Fortnight. Her first feature, Kill Me Please (2015), was screened in the Orizzonti section at Venice International Film Festival, New Directors/New Films and SXSW, among others. Medusa (2021) is her second feature film.
In Nana Mensah’s beautifully realized feature film debut, QUEEN OF GLORY,Sarah Obeng (Nana Mensah), a doctoral student at Columbia University, is weeks away from following her very married boyfriend to Ohio when her mother dies suddenly. Her inheritance? A small, but beloved, Christian bookstore in the Pelham Parkway section of the Bronx where she was raised in the tight-knit Ghanian immigrant community. Tasked with planning a culturally respectful funeral befitting the family matriarch, Sarah must juggle the expectations of her loving yet demanding family while navigating the reappearance of her estranged father all while grappling with what to do with the bookstore. Aided by an only-in-New York ensemble of Eastern European neighbors, feisty African aunties and a no-nonsense ex-con co-worker, Sarah faces her new responsibilities while figuring out how to remain true to herself. Director / writer / lead actor Nana Mensah joins us for a conversation on her belated decision to tackle her multi-hyphenated roles in making the film, spotlighting Ghanian culture and assembling a very talented cast of actors able to do justice to the poignant portrayals that lift Queen of Glory into the realm of something truly special.
Aside from capturing the “Best New Narrative Director” Award at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival, QUEEN OF GLORY also won the “Best Feature Film” at the San Diego International Film Festival, the “Excellence in Directing” Award at the Hamptons International Film Festival and “Best Narrative Feature” and the Indie Memphis Film Festival. Among its many festival nominations, QUEEN OF GLORY received a pair at the 2022 Film Independent Spirit Awards including “Best First Feature.”
from a story whose familiarity is offset by its humor and authenticity. “– Nick Schager, Variety
“Mensah’s tightly conceived, witty and compassionate dark comedy
is a love letter to children of Ghanaian immigrants and to the Bronx.”– Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter
“In Queen of Glory, writer-director-star Nana Mensah has put forth a strikingNew York story that is both hopeful and true to life. Mensah proves herselfas a triple-threat, marking the beginning of a bright new face in indie film.”– M.J. O’Toole, Hammer to Nail
“Queen of Glory is funny and charming, bringing an intensely relatable toneand familiar story with a new edge.”– Rebecca Cherry, Film Carnage
“[Nana] Mensah couldn’t have crafted a more impressive display
for her many talents.”– Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest
Gina (Sally Phillips) is turning fifty and not feeling fabulous. When she is dismissed from her role in a liquidation company, she knows future job prospects for someone her age are slim. Gina despairs of what her future might hold. In this beguiling, sweet hearted comedy, HOW TO PLEASE A WOMAN, Gina is taken by surprise when for her fiftieth birthday a male sex worker, a gift sent by her girlfriends, offers to do anything she wants. She asks him to do for her what no one else will – she has him clean her house. Amused and delighted, her friends wish for a sexy cleaner themselves, sparking a new career for Gina who decides to employ the entire male removals team as house cleaners…with benefits.Written and directed by Renée Webster, and starring Sally Phillips (Bridget Jones’s Diary, VEEP). HOW TO PLEASE A WOMAN is a precarious, often hilarious and revealing journey into the vulnerable world of what women really want and how hard it can be to get it right.
Director’s Statement – I wanted to make a film that would come roaring out of left field and aim at your heart. I also wanted to really find meaningful ways to explore one of our themes of female sexual empowerment. There is a lot of sexual content in the film, but I don’t sexualize the visual representation of women. Instead, we honor what women look like, and I give sexual stories to women in that huge, under explored area of those ‘no longer young, and not yet old.’ – Renée Webster
About the filmmaker – As both Writer and Director Renée Webster is known for her ability to emotionally reach her audience, across a range of genres and formats. Renée was nominated for a 2020 ADG award for her directing on THE HEIGHTS. Renée’s short film SCOFF secured awards and festival screenings world-wide, including Berlin Asia Pacific Film Fest (Berlin), LA Short Shorts Film Festival,Hampton Film Festival (New York), High Falls (New York), Female Eye Toronto Film Festival and All Time Best Shorts,London Australian Film Festival. Her second short film EDGAR AND ELIZABETH garnered awards and festival screenings including: World of Comedy Film Festival (Toronto), Short Shorts (Tokyo), St Louis International Film Festival (USA), Moondance International Film Festival (USA – Most Popular Film list), Rochester International Film Festival (Best of the Fest), Rushes Soho Shorts UK and Brisbane International Film Festival (Top 5 Most Popular Films).
“This is a rare film that makes you feel lighter, fresher, and fully revitalised after watching it. It’s the kind of film that you want to spend hours talking with your friends about, reminiscing about how you could relate to what you’ve just seen.” – Andrew F. Peirce, The Curb
“It’s a relatable film that touches on many of the frustrations that plague a generation of women who have been made to feel invisible.” –Wenlei Ma, News.com.au
“Most definitely not for the prudish or faint-hearted, How to Please a Woman is a raucous, if slightly ragged tale.” – James Croot, Stuff.co.nz
“This is a surprisingly sensitive (considering the set-up could have come from a 70s sex comedy) look at what it is that women want, and it turns out it’s a man who’s good at cleaning and good in bed” – Anthony Morris, It’s Better in the Dark
MY OLD SCHOOL re-tells the unbelievable story of 16-year-old Brandon Lee.In 1993 Brandon enrolled at Bearsden Academy, a secondary school in a well-to-do suburb of Glasgow, Scotland. What followed over the next two years would become the stuff of legend. Brandon had been privately tutored in Canada while he accompanied his mother, an opera diva, on tour before her tragic death. The preternaturally bright student surprised teachers by blazing toward his goal of entering medical school, displaying a wealth of knowledge beyond his years. Brandon found friends despite his initial awkwardness, taking bullied students under his wing, introducing classmates to seminal retro bands, and even starring in the school’s production of South Pacific. But then his unbelievable secret was revealed. Filmmaker Jono McLeod returns to his old school for a nostalgic look at the strange but true story of his former classmate, Brandon Lee. Utilizing playful, period-specific animation, a pitch-perfect soundtrack, the memories of students and teachers, and the talents of Alan Cumming to bring the tale to life, MY OLD SCHOOL offers more than one surprise along the way. With so many shocking twists and turns, MY OLD SCHOOL pushes the idea of documentary storytelling beyond a traditional lineage.
“This exceedingly creative and endlessly clever look back at a mysterious new student at a Scottish high school… works its true-crime storyline in a way that sticks with you as much as the more “serious” nonfiction entries.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone
Winner of the Caméra d’Or at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival
Director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović latest film, MURINA, is set on a remote island along Croatia’s Adriatic coast.Seventeen-year-old Julija (Gracija Filipovic) spends her days diving for eel with her domineering father Ante (Leon Lucev) and watching other teens party on a nearby yacht. Julija bristles at Ante’s heavy handed cruelty and resents her mother Nela’s (Danica Curcic) passivity. She longs for independence but is unsure how to achieve it, until the arrival of the rich and mysterious Javier seems to offer a way out. Once Ante’s employer and Nela’s lover, Javier (Cliff Curtis) flirts shamelessly with Nela and Julija, setting off a subtle battle of hyper-masculine one-upmanship that pushes Ante to humiliate and control Julija even more. Flattered by Javier’s praise and stories of traveling the world, Julija sees him as the solution to all her problems. But does his affection portend freedom, or something more sinister? Winner of the Caméra d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, lensed by award-winning cinematographer Hélène Louvart (THE LOST DAUGHTER), and Executive Produced by Martin Scorsese, MURINA features a ferocious, star-making central performance by Gracija Filipović and the most sumptuous images of the Mediterranean since THE BIG BLUE. Equal parts fiery feminist outcry and stirring coming-of-age drama, the film announces director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović as a major new talent in world cinema.
About the filmmaker – Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović is a New York based writer, director, and producer born in Dubrovnik. Her directorial feature debut, Murina – a tense family drama set on an isolated island off the Croatian coast – won Camera D’or for the best first feature film at the 74th Cannes Film Festival. Her short Into The Blue was awarded at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival and was nominated for a Student Academy Award. Antoneta is an alumna of the Residence du Festival of Cinefondation, Jerusalem Film Lab, the Berlinale Talent Lab, Sarajevo Talent Lab, La Femis Producing Atelier and Marcie Bloom Fellowship. She holds an MFA in Directing from Columbia University in New York, and a Masters in Producing from the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb, Croatia.
Co-directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West’s latest documentary GABBY GIFFORDS WON’T BACK DOWN tells the extraordinary story of former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, her relentless fight to recover following an assassination attempt in 2011, and her new life as one of the most effective activists in the battle for gun violence prevention and in promoting understanding of the language condition aphasia. Featuring extensive verité filming of Gabby and her husband, astronaut-turned-Senator Mark Kelly; interviews with President Barack Obama and other friends and colleagues; and exclusive access to stunning videos taken in the weeks following her near-death experience, this film is the story of a rising star transformed by an act of violence, and a close-up portrait of the marriage that sustains her.Co-directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West join us for a conversation on the indomitable spirit of a bright young woman who refuses to give up, the nexus of gun violence and American politics and their own commitment to using their journalism background to create compelling portraits of extraordinary people.
About the filmmaker – Director and Producer Betsy West is a filmmaker, journalist and professor. She co-directed RBG (Magnolia, Participant, CNN Films 2018,) which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. She is a 21-time Emmy Award winner for her work as an ABC News producer and EP of the documentary series Turning Point. As Vice President at CBS News from 1998 to 2005, she oversaw 60 Minutes and 48 Hours. She was executive producer of the MAKERS (AOL & PBS) documentary and digital series, the documentary The Lavender Scare, and the short doc The 4%: Film’s Gender Problem (Epix). She is the Fred W. Friendly professor at Columbia Journalism School. Find out more at: storyville.org
About the filmmaker – Director and Producer Julie Cohen has directed and produced nine feature documentaries, including RBG (Magnolia, Participant, CNN Films), The Sturgeon Queens (7th Art Releasing/PBS); and American Veteran (Freestyle). She has won a duPont Columbia Award, two Gracie Awards, three New York Emmy Awards and the 2017 Panavision Showcase Award for best New York filmmaker. Before she started making documentaries, Julie was a staff producer for Dateline NBC and the creator and producer of Supreme Court Watch on Court TV. She holds a B.A. from Colgate and master’s degrees from Columbia Journalism School and Yale Law School. Find out more at: storyville.org
“It takes a first-rate intelligence to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time, as F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote. In a film that suggests what might have been and what is, Giffords proves first-rate.” – Lisa Kennedy, Variety
Theharrowing story of the GOOD MADAM, begins with the death of her grandmother, the woman who raised her, Tsidi (Chumisa Cosa) and her daughter are forced to move in with Tsidi’s estranged mother, Mavis (Nosipho Mtebe), who has lived and worked in the wealthy suburbs of Cape Town for most of Tsidi’s life. Residues of apartheid-era domestic servitude confront legacies of colonial land theft in South African auteur Jenna Cato Bass’s daring horror-satire. Jenna Cato Bass (High Fantasy,Flatland)transforms the legacies of South Africa’s colonial land theft and Black domestic service to white bosses into a gutsy psychological thriller. Co-written with Babalwa Baartman, Mlungu Wam (Good Madam) grapples with the daily violence that haunts the nation’s most pressing political issues, long after the end of apartheid. Summoning horror-satire references from Ousmane Sembène’s Black Girl to Jordan Peele’s Get Out, Bass and Baartman’s suspenseful descent into complex, searing allegory insists on reckoning with the enduring presence of traumas deceptively labelled “history.” Director Jenny Cato Bass and co-screenwriter Babalwa Baartman join us for a conversation on the inspiration for GOOD MADAM, impact and legacy on today’s South Africa, their on-going collaboration, and the superb cast of actors who helped them realize their vision.
About the filmmaker – Jenna Cato Bass is a director, writer, and photographer living in Cape Town, South Africa. She is a graduate of AFDA film school, Cape Town and has worked as a director, writer, cinematographer, photographer and magician. She has directed over ten short films, and seven music videos. Her video, Hold the Sorrow, was accepted into the 2008 ViMus International Music Video Festival. Her short film, The Tunnel, was selected for the Focus Features Africa First Program. Jenna’s award-winning work has run the spectrum of sci-fi (So Long to the City), experimental (Jellyfish), teenage coming of age (Already Gone) and historical magical realism (The Tunnel). Some of her other films include Love the One You Love (2014), winner of Best Feature Film at Jozi Film Festival 2015, and High Fantasy (2017), winner of the Artistic Bravery Prize at Durban International Film Festival 2018.
About the filmmaker – Babalwa Baartman is a social entrepreneur and aspiring creative producer who uses storytelling as a medium of healing to affect social change within the African community at large. Through her production company, Sanusi, and with Jenna Cato Bass, Baartman co-wrote and co-produced the short film Sizohlala (19), a story that highlights the occupation movements in South Africa, and the TIFF 2021 selection Mlungu Wam (Good Madam), a psychological horror that addresses inequality in South Africa through the story and experience of a domestic worker and her daughter. In animation, Baartman currently has a feature in development, Azania, and runs a 2D animation programme with False Bay College graduates.
“Mlungu Wam is a masterclass in how horror can speak to race and inequality, set in a world of servitude presented as a terrifying, powerful and unrelentingly enduring mode of postcolonial possession” – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, AWFJ Women on Film
“The film expertly blends satirical social commentary and disturbing horror tropes to shine a light on the appalling racial and economic divides that still shape the country 30 years after the end of apartheid.” – Nikki Baughan, Screen International
“Matching familiar genre tropes to a particular national malaise, it pulls off a fine balance of universal resonance and cultural specificity.” – Guy Lodge, Variety
In this smart, funny and beguiling film, MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON, Jenny Slate (Obvious Child) gives voice and life to an adorable one-inch-tall shell who ekes out a colorful existence with his grandmother Connie and their pet lint, Alan. Once part of a sprawling community of shells, they now live alone as the sole survivors of a mysterious tragedy. But when a documentary filmmaker discovers them amongst the clutter of his Airbnb, the short film he posts online brings Marcel millions of passionate fans, as well as unprecedented dangers and a new hope at finding his long-lost family. Marcel gets his big-screen debut in this hilarious and heartwarming story about finding connection in the smallest corners. Director / co-screenwriter Dean Fleischer Camp joins us for a conversation on backstory behind Marcel, working with Isabella Rossellini, the viral explosion of Marcel more than 10 years ago and his determination to tell Marcel’s story the way he and Marcel’s extended family wanted it told.
About the filmmaker – Dean Fleischer Camp is the award-winning filmmaker and New York Times-bestselling author who created viral sensation MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON. Since appearing on Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2011, Camp’s work has been profiled in virtually every major American media outlet. In 2018, his first feature FRAUD was released to widespread controversy and acclaim, described as “brilliantly provocative” (Filmmaker) and “exhilarating” (Sight+Sound) “masterwork” Documentary Magazine) that “pushes the boundaries of documentary filmmaking” (Variety). His first scripted feature, an adaptation of MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON starring Jenny Slate, Isabella Rossellini and Rosa Salazar, is slated for a 2022 theatrical release via A24. He has directed for Comedy Central, HBO, TBS, Adult Swim and Disney Interactive. Commercial clients include Atlassian, Pop-Tarts, Clearasil, Maltesers, and many others.
“It fills a movie about a talking seashell with such a realistically sad context and a tender, deep-seated sense of longing and pain that’s near impossible to shake while watching.” – Trace Sauveur, Austin Chronicle
“What you’ll scope out in this small marvel of a mockumentary is how Marcel copes with loss of family, loneliness and sudden media fame, and how he relates, on 60 Minutes, to Lesley Stahl. I can’t wait to see it and him again.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
“Many films claim to be an antidote to this moment in history, but Marcel’s flick might be the first one I’ve seen in the past two years that actually fits that bill.” – Lovia Gyarkye, Hollywood Reporter
CLARA SOLA drops us into a remote village in Costa Rica, 40-year-old Clara (Wendy Chinchilla Araya) who endures a repressively religious and withdrawn life under the command of her mother (Flor María Vargas Chaves). Clara is believed to have a special connection to God. As a “healer”, she sustains a family and a village in need of hope, while she finds solace in her relationship with the natural world. After years of being controlled by her mother’s repressive care, Clara’s sexual desires are stirred by her attraction to her niece’s new boyfriend. Tension builds within the family as Clara’s younger niece (Ana Julia Porras Espinoza) approaches her quinceañera. This newly awakened force takes Clara to unexplored territory, allowing her to cross boundaries, both physical and mystical. Empowered by her self-discovery, Clara gradually frees herself from her role as “saint” and begins to heal herself. Director and co-screenwriter Nathalie Alvarez Mesén joins us for a conversation on her enthralling and beautifully drawn character study of a complex and determined woman, finding the right setting for the story, and eliciting a slew of captivating performances, led by Wendy Chinchilla Araya as Clara.
OFFICIAL ENTRY – 95TH ACADEMY AWARDS® – COSTA RICA
About the filmmaker – Nathalie Álvarez Mesén is a Costa Rican-Swedish screenwriter/director. Her debut feature film CLARA SOLA premiered in Cannes 2021 in the Director’s Fortnight section. She started her career in physical theater in Costa Rica before pursuing her B.F.A. degree in Mime Acting at the Stockholm University of the Arts in Sweden. Nathalie later graduated from Columbia University’s Graduate Film Program in NYC with an M.F.A. in Film Directing/Screenwriting. An alumna of the Berlinale Talents, TIFF Filmmaker Lab and NYFF Artist Academy, Nathalie’s shorts have screened at film festivals all over the world. Her short, FILIP, won Best Film Under 15 Minutes at the 2016 Palm Springs Shortfest, and ASUNDER, screened at the 2016 Telluride Film Festival. Nathalie also co-wrote ENTRE TÚ Y MILAGROS, winner of the Orizzonti Award for Best Short in the Venice Film Festival 2020 and she is developing her second feature, THE WOLF WILL TEAR YOUR IMMACULATE HANDS, in the Torino ScriptLab 2021.
“Álvarez Mesén’s alchemy keeps the hidden without revealing itself … the finesse of her craft condenses a film that addresses the initiation of love as well as the terror in the abysses of madness.” – Icnitl Y García, Butaca Ancha
“Spellbinding. A strange and mesmerizing tale of mysticism and sexual awakening.” – Jessica Kiang, Variety
Christos Nikou’s beguiling new film, APPLES, takes place during a worldwide pandemic that causes sudden amnesia in growing numbers. A middle-aged man, Aris (Aris Servetalis), finds himself in a hospital and later in a recovery program designed to help “unclaimed” patients build new identities. Prescribed daily tasks on cassette tapes so he can create new memories and document them on camera, Aris slides back into ordinary life, meeting Anna (Sofia Georgovasili), a woman who is also in recovery. Through images deadpan, strange and surreal, Greek writer-director Christos Nikou posits a beguiling reflection on memory, identity, and loss, exploring how a society might handle an irreversible epidemic through one man’s story of self-discovery. Are we the sum of the images we compile and display of ourselves, or are we something richer, and deeper?
European Film Awards – 2021 Nominee European University Film Award
Official Entry – Greece – 2021 Academy Awards
About the filmmaker – Christos Nikou was born in Athens in 1984. His short film KM participated in over 40 international film festivals, including Rotterdam, Stockholm, Palm Springs, Sydney, Tallinn Black Nights, Interfilm Berlin, and winning the Best Short Film Price at the Motovun Film Festival of Croatia. For the past ten years, he has worked as an assistant director on many feature films like DOGTOOTH (Yorgos Lanthimos) and BEFORE MIDNIGHT (Richard Linklater). APPLES is his first feature film.
Co-directors Amélie van Elmbt and Maya Duverdier illuminating documentary film DREAMING WALLS takes us inside the legendary Chelsea Hotel, an icon of 1960s counterculture and a haven for famous artists and intellectuals including Patti Smith, Janis Joplin and the superstars of Warhol’s Factory. The iconic structure is undergoing an extensive renovation. Soon it will reopen to the public as one of New York’s most fashionable luxury hotels. Dozens of long-term residents, most in their later years, have lived amidst the scaffolding and constant construction for close to a decade. Against this chaotic backdrop, DREAMING WALLS: INSIDE THE CHELSEA HOTEL takes us through the hotel’s storied halls, exploring its living body and the bohemian origins that contributed to its mythical stature. Its residents and the walls themselves now face a turning point in their common history. Co-directors Amélie van Elmbt and Maya Duverdier stop by to talk about their distinctive, dreamy and beautifully rendered look into the history, architecture, ambiance and denizens that have imbued the Chelsea with its power and glory.
About the filmmaker – Director AMÉLIE VAN ELMBT – After studying film at the Belgian Film School IAD, Amélie van Elmbt worked as a casting director and assistant director with French director Jacques Doillon. In 2011 she directed and self-produced her first feature, HEADFIRST, which screened in Cannes’ ACID section and won the main award at the New York First Time Festival. There she met Martin Scorsese, who executive produced her second feature, THE ELEPHANT & THE BUTTERFLY (2017), which premiered at the Tribeca Festival and won the Grand Prize at the Heartland International Film Festival. Amélie co-directed DREAMING WALLS with Maya Duverdier and is currently working on a new fiction feature, to be produced by Les films du Fleuve.
About the filmmaker – Director MAYA DUVERDIER – After receiving a bachelor’s in arts in France, Maya Duverdier obtained her Master’s degree in cinema at the Ecole Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne with her documentary JEANNE SANS ARC (2014). Along with her work as a director and writer for narrative and documentary projects, she’s also active within various positions of film, television and advertising production. DREAMING WALLS is Maya’s first feature documentary.
“When the film focuses on paying homage to the legacy of the Chelsea, Dreaming Walls becomes a meditative and hypnotic reverie of a life lived in the shadows of greatness, and a reminder of a time that is now left only to lore and superstition.” – Mark Johnson, Awards Daily
“Theres not much new in this lovingly made impressionistic documentary about New Yorks very well-chronicled Chelsea Hotel, but the place and its tenacious residents still have a pull.” – Jay Weissberg, The Film Verdict
“Aficionados of New York history will devour Dreaming Walls, though it obviously comes with hefty melancholy. There are pieces of beauty interspersed with the wistfulness, though, often manifesting in unexpected ways.” – Dan Schindel, Hyperallergic
Olga (Anastasia Budiashkina) is a talented teenage Ukrainian gymnast exiled in Switzerland, dreaming of Olympic gold and trying to fit in with her new team in her new home. As she prepares for the European Championships, the Ukrainian people back home in Kyiv rise up in what has become known as the Maidan Revolution, suddenly involving everyone she cares about. Olga is left a powerless, distant bystander as her mother, an investigative journalist, faces danger as she challenges the brutal Yanukovich regime. Incorporating documentary footage from the 2013 uprising, Olga is a tense, sensitively handled tale of exile reflecting the clash between the personal and the political in a young woman’s search for identity. Director and co-screenwriter Elie Grappe joins us for a conversation on his prescient and humanizing story about Ukrainian / Russian recent history that has a direct bearing on the brutal invasion by Russia now taking place, seamlessly weaving in documentary footage and the fierce portrayal of Olga by newcomer Anastasia Budiashkina.
About the filmmaker – Born 1994 in France. Elie Grappe completed musical training at the National Conservatory in Lyon. After attending the preparatory course at École Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne (ECAL) he proceeded to study film, receiving his Bachelor in film from ECAL in 2015. His short documentary film REHEARSAL (2014) was selected for IDFA, Clermont-Ferrand and Krakow Film Festivals. His short fiction film SUSPENDU (2015) was shown at 60 film festivals worldwide and garnered numerous awards. OLGA (2021), his first feature- length fiction film, was selected for the 60th Semaine de la Critique at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Prix SACD for Best Screenplay. OLGA is Switzerland’s official submission for International Feature Film competition for the 94th Academy Awards®. Elie Grappe lives and works in Switzerland.
“Grappe paints indelible images of physically powerful, mentally vulnerable young women who want to step up to the podium at all costs… Budiashkina is a terrific presence, and the film is in thrall to her powers.” – Fionnuala Halligan, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL
“Could be appropriately paired with Lauren Hadaway’s “The Novice” or Charlène Favier’s “Slalom”; all three are tough indie films about the dark side of women’s sports, athletes pushing their bodies in an attempt to exercise, or exorcise, something bigger.” – Katie Walsh, TheWrap
“This is a film whose ideas and emotions have come into a fierce new focus… in its unexpected way, this film speaks to the new agony of banishment now being felt by millions of Ukrainians.” – Peter Bradshaw, THE GUARDIAN
“It matters little now whether Grappe meant to examine the consequences of Western complacency toward democracy’s enemies. Here we are, and here is this quietly poignant film, a heartbreaking reminder of the cost in individual lives and dreams.” – Austin Considine, New York Times
An official selection of the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival, ENDANGERED chronicles a year in the life of four journalists living and working in three democratic countries, Mexico, Brazil and the United States, where freedom of the press has historically been considered a “given” is now a state of rapid decline. As newsrooms shutter around them, misinformation proliferates, and world leaders brazenly suppress free speech, reporters Patrícia, Carl, Sáshenka, and Oliver face harrowing circumstances more likely encountered in war zones or autocratic states than in a functional democracy.Joining us in conversation are Co-directors Rachel Grady (Boys of Baraka, One of Us) and Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp, Love Fraud) to talk about the crisis of misinformation, intimidation by law enforcement, deadly targeting by paramilitary groups, imprisonment and dwindling readership.
About the filmmaker – Heidi Ewing is the co-director of Jesus Camp, The Boys of Baraka, 12th & Delaware, DETROPIA, Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You (Sundance Film Festival), One of Us (Toronto International Film Festival), and the series Love Fraud (Sundance Film Festival). Ewing’s first narrative feature, I Carry You With Me (Te Llevo Conmigo), had its world premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival where it won the jury and audiences awards in the NEXT section. The film was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards and will be released by Sony Pictures Classics in 2021. Heidi is currently co-directing a film for HBO on the silencing of journalists around the world. lokifilms.com
About the filmmaker – Rachel Grady is the co-director of Jesus Camp (Academy Award nominee), The Boys of Baraka (Emmy nominee), 12th & Delaware (Peabody Award winner), DETROPIA (Emmy winner), Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You (2016 Sundance Film Festival), One of Us (2017 Toronto International Film Festival), and the Showtime docuseries, Love Fraud, which had its world premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. Rachel is currently co-directing a film for HBO on the silencing of journalists around the world. lokifilms.com
“Endangered might not be groundbreaking but it is one of the most important films you’ll see in 2022 about the importance of a free press.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies
“Endangered is a timely, seething view at an industry under siege. It is extremely well edited, merging the stories of four journalists together, weaving a web of infuriating evidence that our freedom of press is in an urgent state of collapse.” – Mark Johnson, Awards Daily
“An eye-opening and often enraging glimpse at four journalists attempting to do their jobs circa 2020 and the attacks they endure as a result.” – Peter Sobczynski, RogerEbert.com
“The brave reporters the filmmakers follow worry for their own safety and their families, but charge on, determined to help keep democracy alive. It’s an eye-opener, it gnaws at our sense of justice yet there are moments of great inspiration.” – Anne Brodie, What She Said
“You can tell the filmmakers, like their subjects, are struggling to suppress a scream.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety
Katia and Maurice Krafft loved two things — each other and volcanoes. For two decades, the daring French volcanologist couple roamed the planet, chasing eruptions and documenting their discoveries. FIRE OF LOVE tells a story of primordial creation and destruction, following two bold explorers as they venture into the unknown. FIRE OF LOVE tells the extraordinary love story of intrepid French scientists Katia and Maurice Krafft, who died just as explosively as they lived — capturing the most spectacular imagery ever recorded of their greatest passion: volcanoes. Director Sara Dosa and the filmmaking team fashion a lyrical celebration of the intrepid scientists’ spirit of adventure, drawing from the Kraffts’ spectacular archive. Ultimately, they lost their lives in a 1991 volcanic explosion, leaving a legacy that forever enriched our knowledge of the natural world. Director Sara Dosa (Audrie & Daisy, The Last Season) joins us for a conversation on the joy of learning about the couple, sifting through the trove of archival footage of their work, exploring personal / professional partnership they shared and giving the world an opportunity to appreciate the science and the spectacle they were willing to give their lives for.
About the filmmaker – Sara Dosa is an Indie Spirit Award-nominated doc director and Peabody award-winning producer whose primary interests lay in telling unexpected character-driven stories about the human relationship to non-human nature Her first feature as a director, “The Last Season,” which tells the story of two former soldiers turned wild mushroom hunters, took home a Golden Gate Award (SFIFF 2014) and was nominated for the Indie Spirit Truer than Fiction Award. In 2018, Dosa co-directed an Emmy-nominated episode of the Netflix music series Re-Mastered about Johnny Cash’s 1970 concert for Richard Nixon. Dosa’s third feature as a director, “The Seer & The Unseen,” premiered in 2019, winning awards at a number of festivals, including the McBaine Bay Area Documentary Prize (SFIFF 2019). As a producer, Dosa produced the Peabody Award-winning “Audrie & Daisy” (2016 Sundance / Netflix); and the Peabody and Emmy-nominated “Survivors” (2018 IDFA / POV). Dosa co-produced the Academy Award-nominated “The Edge of Democracy” (2019 Sundance / Netflix) as well as “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” (2017 Sundance / Paramount), the follow up to Al Gore’s seminal 2006 “An Inconvenient Truth.” In 2018, DOC NYC named Dosa to the inaugural “40 under 40” class of documentary filmmakers to watch and was also inducted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. She graduated from Wesleyan University holds a joint Masters in Anthropology and International Development Economics from the London School of Economics & Political Science. For more: signpostpictures.com
“Their passion for volcanoes, and the way they thought it might translate into helping mankind, helps us see who they really were, and the result, built largely from archival footage, is breathtaking.” – Alissa Wilkinson,
“With its quirky New Wave-adjacent cadences, Sara Dosa’s sizzling Fire of Love proves that no one can narrate a fiery romance better than Miranda July’s airily ethereal voice.” – Tomris Laffly,
“Commits to a mad embrace of destiny, with eye-searing archival footage and an appreciation of the ineffability of devotion.” – Peter Howell, Toronto Star
“With each clip, we understand Katia and Maurice’s yearning to embark on these great adventures despite the destruction that volcanoes can exact.” – Alysha Prasad, One Room With A View
“The fuel of “Fire of Love” is the volcanologist subject’s magma-proof adoration for each other and what they’ve laid eyes on.” – Carlos Aguilar, The Playlist
“If you see any documentary this year, make sure it’s this one. Films like this should be celebrated and revered, so go out and see it, in fact, see it twice” – Ty Cooper, HeyUGuys
HALLELUJAH: LEONARD COHEN: A JOURNEY, A SONG is a definitive exploration of poet / singer / songwriter Leonard Cohen (1934 – 2016) as seen through the prism of his internationally renowned hymn, “Hallelujah.” This feature-length documentary weaves together three creative strands: The songwriter and his times; the song’s dramatic journey from record label reject to chart-topping hit; and moving testimonies from major recording artists for whom “Hallelujah” has become a personal touchstone. The song enjoyed a new life in 1991 after being covered by John Cale (Cohen shared over 100 unused verses with him), then Jeff Buckley on his Grace album — and evolved through countless versions to become one of the most beloved songs of all time. Approved for production by Leonard Cohen just before his 80th birthday in 2014, HALLELUJAH: LEONARD COHEN: A JOURNEY, A SONG accesses a wealth of never-before-seen archival materials from the Cohen Trust including Cohen’s personal notebooks, journals and photographs, performance footage, and extremely rare audio recordings and interviews. Drawing from this wealth of archival materials, directors Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine (BALLETS RUSSES) meticulously trace the career of the restless Canadian as they detail the unlikely path of his famous composition.
About the filmmakers – For over twenty-five years, Emmy-award winning directors/producers Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine have jointly created critically-acclaimed multi-character documentary narratives that braid their characters’ individual personal stories to form a larger portrait of the human experience. Their most recent film, THE GALAPAGOS AFFAIR: SATAN CAME TO EDEN (2013) had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival and its European premiere in Berlin. It opened theatrically to strong critical reviews nationwide in April 2014, has played theaters and festivals internationally, and appeared on a dozen critical “Best Films of 2014” lists including those of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Seattle Times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Filmmaker Magazine. THE GALAPAGOS AFFAIR is now available worldwide on VOD as well as consumer and educational DVD. eller and Goldfine’s work also includes: the award-winning SOMETHING VENTURED (2011), which premiered at SXSW and went on to play festivals and screen internationally, as well as in educational distribution, VOD and consumer DVD release worldwide, and national PBS broadcast in January 2013; BALLETS RUSSES (2005), which was recognized as one of the top five documentaries of 2005 by both the National Society of Film Critics and the National Board of Review and appeared on a dozen critical “10 Best Films” lists, including those of Time magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the Hollywood Reporter, the San Francisco Chronicle and Slate; NOW AND THEN: FROM FROSH TO SENIORS, which premiered theatrically in October 1999 and aired on PBS in October 2000 as the lead program of the Independent Lens series; KIDS OF SURVIVAL: THE ART AND LIFE OF TIM ROLLINS + K.O.S. (1996), a feature-length documentary about the South Bronx-based art group Tim Rollins & K.O.S., which aired on Cinemax in September 1998 and was the recipient of two national Emmy awards; FROSH: NINE MONTHS IN A FRESHMAN DORM (1994); and the award-winning ISADORA DUNCAN: MOVEMENT FROM THE SOUL (1998). Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine were admitted to the Documentary Branch of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in June 2014. For more: gellergoldfine.com
“’Hallelujah’ is a lot of song… it’s epic and lovely and trancelike: a hymn cast in a pop idiom. The song took a journey – changing, becoming, acquiring layers of soul and enchantment. A music doc this rich (is) about how a quiet artist, without planning to, created a song heard round the world.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“A rousing portrait of the power of expression, something that Leonard Cohen perfected more than most songwriters that ever lived.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
“This majestic, almost symphonic documentary… an account of how ‘Hallelujah’ has become a receptacle into which new generations of singers pour their musical souls. Like the song, whose title contains an affirmation…the film affirms the value and power of making art.” – Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal
With the Supreme Court decision to overturn constitutional protections for abortion the clarion call to action can be seen on Cynthia Lowen’s incisive new documentary film, BATTLEGROUND. Among the many substantive questions posed is, how have we arrived at the end of Roe, when 7 in 10 Americans support access to abortion and 1 in 4 women will terminate a pregnancy?BATTLEGROUND follows three women who lead formidable anti-abortion organizations in their single-minded quest to overturn Roe v. Wade, as they face down forces equally determined to safeguard women’s access to safe and legal abortions. Who are anti-abortion people? What are they driven by, what do they believe, how they operate and what are their goals? BATTLEGROUND gets inside the anti-abortion movement as never seen before to answer these questions, with many surprises: they are women, young people, even Democrats. With close access, the film shows how the anti-choice movement is strategizing and organizing, and their determination to overturn Roe at any cost. As their power and influence propels the Supreme Court sharply right, and states race to enact unconstitutional abortion bans, the film also depicts those on the front lines of the fierce fight to maintain access. Now that Roe has beenoverturned, at least 26 states will ban abortion, 13 of which have trigger laws that have now gone into effect. Two hundred clinics now face closure and 36 million people of reproductive age will lose access to abortion. BATTLEGROUND is required viewing for anyone with a stake in the future of abortion in America. Director Cynthia Lowen joins us to talk about all of these life-changing developments and what can be done moving forward.
About the filmmaker – Cynthia Lowen is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker and award-winning writer whose work uses the power of story to catalyze meaningful change. Cynthia is the director and producer of ‘Netizens’ (HBO), a feature documentary about women and online harassment. Cynthia also spearheaded the ‘Netizens’ Impact Campaign, working with tech companies and advocacy partners including the Anti-Defamation League, the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, Facebook, Microsoft, the National Network to End Domestic Violence and others to develop tools to reduce online harassment and foster constructive digital citizenship. Cynthia is also the producer and writer of ‘Bully’ a feature documentary following five kids and families through a ‘year in the life’ of America’s bullying crisis. ‘Bully’ was nominated for two Emmys, shortlisted for the Oscars, screened at The White House and received a DuPont-Columbia Award for Excellence in Journalism. Cynthia has held residencies at MacDowell, the Banff Center, Yaddo, Hedgebook, the Berlinale Talent Campus, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown among others, and received the Hedgebrook Women Authoring Change Fellowship from William Morris Entertainment. She has been a member of the Producers Guild of America since 2014.
“In its quiet, uninflected way, Battleground delivers valuable insights, leaving it to viewers to assess and take some action or not.” – Caryn James, Hollywood Reporter
“Messy, personal, timely, brimming with ideas, overflowing with pain, and without answers: that’s the debate, and that’s the doc.” – Kate Erbland, indieWire
“Battleground is the vital documentary we need now, giving breadth of space for both sides of the aisle to be heard, but also shining a light on the ultimate chess board that is the fight against abortion.” – Stephanie Archer, Film Inquiry
ACCEPTED follows four high school seniors in rural Louisiana attend T.M. Landry, an unconventional K – 12 school housed in a sparse warehouse made famous for sending its graduates to elite universities like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford. The students aim to meet the intense expectations of Mike Landry, the imposing founder of the school who charts a relentless course towards their college dreams. When the New York Times publishes an expose on Landry’s controversial methods, the school buckles under the scrutiny. Each senior is left to contend with troubling truths about their school and the college admissions system, and decide for themselves what they are willing to do to be accepted. Accepted offers a unique and intriguing look at the world of Ivy League college admissions and the true cost of getting that first foothold into elite American society. In his first documentary feature, director Dan Chen grounds a broader look at the inequities in the American education system with unbelievable access to T.M. Landry and the deeply personal stories of four dynamic students looking to overcome countless obstacles to achieve their dreams.
About the filmmaker – Director Producer, Cinematographer – Dan Chen is a Chinese American filmmaker in Los Angeles. He grew up in Manhattan, Kansas and graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, focusing on directing and cinematography. His work has been featured at numerous festivals including Tribeca Festival and Slamdance Film Festival, as well as online at Vimeo Staff Picks, Short of the Week, The Verge, and NBC Asian America. Dan has years of directing experience in narrative and documentary, and he trained his eye as a cinematographer and analog film photographer. He sees filmmaking as a way to create life-changing memories for audiences and collaborators alike, and he tells character-driven stories about outsiders, human flaws, and coming of age. Dan is currently based in Los Angeles, developing new projects as he prepares to direct his first narrative feature film.
The HBO Original six-part documentary series Mind Over Murder, directed by Nanfu Wang and produced by Vox Media Studios chronicles the bizarre and psychologically complex story of six individuals who were convicted for the 1985 murder of a beloved 68- year-old grandmother, Helen Wilson, in Beatrice, Nebraska. Despite five of the individuals originally confessing to the crime, the “Beatrice Six” as they became known, were exonerated by DNA evidence in 2009, a turn of events which divided the rural town and incensed the family of Helen Wilson. As the filmmakers track the case from the murder, through investigation, trial, exoneration and two civil suits, shifting perspectives cloud the truth; a stranger-than-fiction tale emerges that raises salient questions about the reliability of confessions and memory in criminal cases. Director Nanfu Wang (Hooligan Sparrow, One Child Nation, In the Same Breath) joins us for a conversation on her own journey to gain the confidence of a community convinced they already knew the truth, uncovering the venality of local government officials, and her ideas about how storytelling can be a way to break through to people traumatized by violence and misinformation.
“[Wang’s] comprehensive style, particularly her uncanny ability to diagram how authoritative systems can act against vulnerable individuals, somehow moves with a sharper precision than ever in “Mind Over Murder.”’– Robert Daniels, RogerEbert.com
“Astonishing, enthralling”– John Anderson, Wall Street Journal
“Still, at least some of the key figures in this decades-long nightmare seem to have reached some measure of closure, though just about everyone is still haunted by the events of 1985…” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times
“Superbly carried out…a complex attempt at using art to determine and reveal the truth—and, also, to help bring about some measure of healing.”– Nick Schager, The Daily Beast
From Emmy-nominated Director Nadia Hallgren and producers Kenya Barris & Roger Ross Williams comes the NETFLIX documentary CIVIL/BEN CRUMP. CIVIL is an intimate vérité look at the life of maverick civil rights attorney Ben Crump and his mission to raise the value of Black life in America. CIVIL follows a year in the life of Crump as takes on the civil cases for the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Black farmers, and “Banking while Black” victims, in doing so challenging America to come to terms with what it owes his clients. Peeling back the many layers of Crump, Hallgren gives a behind-the-scenes look at his upbringing and his balance of work and family life. CIVIL also underscores other countless issues Crump is passionate about including environmental justice and banking while Black. Director / Cinematographer Nadia Hallgren joins us for a conversation on the profoundly significant role that Ben Crump has taken on, symbolically and practically for the African American community. Hallgren’s multi-layered approach to storytelling provides the viewer with a window into Mr. Crump’s world of rampant state sanctioned carnage, grief counseling and legal triage.
About the filmmaker – Nadia Hallgren is an award-winning filmmaker and cinematographer from The Bronx, New York. She directed the four time Emmy-nominated documentary Becoming (2020) and made history as the first person to receive Emmy nominations for both Outstanding Directing for a Documentary / Nonfiction Program and Outstanding Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program on the same project. In 2019, her documentary short After Maria was shortlisted for an Academy Award. Hallgren won the Special Jury prize at SXSW in 2018 for her independent documentary series She’s The Ticket and a Webby Award for Gavin Grimm Vs. Hallgren has also contributed to such notable feature documentaries as Fahrenheit 9/11, Searching for Sugarman and The Hunting Ground, and she serves on the board of the Bronx Documentary Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sharing photography and film with underserved Bronx communities.
Directed by Emmy®-winning filmmaker James Jones (Mosul), CHERNOBYL: THE LOST TAPES, is the powerful and at times graphic film that tells the story of the disaster and its far-reaching ripple effects entirely through extraordinary and immersive footage, shot on site in the hours, days, weeks and months following the accident. As soldiers, pilots and miners were called on to help contain the radiation at huge physical risk, the Soviet apparat continued to deny and distort the enormity of the situation. Deeply personal witness testimony contextualizes the tragedy, providing an overview of life in Chernobyl before the meltdown and harrowing details of its aftermath. Government propaganda films illustrate the Soviet Union’s pride in its nuclear program and news reports show President Gorbachev’s delayed and mendacious announcements to his trusting countrymen. Thirty-six years after the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded in Soviet Ukraine, newly uncovered archival footage and recorded interviews with those who were present paint an emotional and gripping portrait of the extent and gravity of the disaster and the lengths to which the Soviet government went to cover up the incident, including the soldiers sent in to “liquidate” the damage. CHERNOBYL: THE LOST TAPES is the full, unvarnished true story of what happened in one of the least understood tragedies of the twentieth century. Director James Jones (Mosul) joins us for a conversation on why this man-made disaster holds lessons for people today regarding disinformation and its deadly consequences, the very real dangers that shadow the hundreds of nuclear power currently operating around the world and the arrogance of unchecked power and unaccountable political leadership.
CHERNOBYL: THE LOST TAPES debuts WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22 (9:00-10:35 p.m. ET/PT) on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.
About the filmmaker – James Jones is an award-winning British director who makes documentary films for international television and theatrical release. He has just finished a feature documentary about Chernobyl and is currently working on a series for Apple TV.His documentaries tell extraordinary human stories from all over the world with compassion and sensitivity. The films combine journalistic rigor with a distinctive cinematic sensibility. He has made films about police shootings in America, the drugs war in the Philippines, suicide in the military, wars in Ukraine, Iraq, and Gaza, and riots in the UK. They have been shown on the BBC, Channel 4, Sky, PBS, Netflix and HBO. His films have won two Emmys, three DuPonts, a Grierson, a Rory Peck, a Frontline Club, a Royal Television Society, a Broadcast Award, two Overseas Press Club of America, two Golden Nymphs, Best UK Feature at Raindance, and a Venice TV Award, as well as being nominated five times at the BAFTAs. His film on the drug war in the Philippines – On The President’s Orders – for Frontline PBS, ARTE France, BBC Storyville and Bertha Doc Society, described by Variety as “a wholly cinematic, sensory experience”, played at festivals and won awards around the world. For more: jonesfilms.net
First-time feature filmmaker Rebeca “Beba” Huntt undertakes an unflinching exploration of her own identity in the remarkable coming-of-age documentary / cinematic memoir BEBA. Reflecting on her childhood and adolescence in New York City as the daughter of a Dominican father and Venezuelan mother, Huntt investigates the historical, societal, and generational trauma she’s inherited and ponders how those ancient wounds have shaped her, while simultaneously considering the universal truths that connect us all as humans. Throughout BEBA, Huntt searches for a way to forge her own creative path amid a landscape of intense racial and political unrest. BEBA is a courageous, deeply human self-portrait of an Afro-Latina artist hungry for knowledge and yearning for connection. Director Rebecca Huntt joins us for a conversation on her collaboration with producer Sofia Gold and how that impacted her poetic, powerful and profound project.
About the filmmaker – Writer, Director and Producer Rebeca Hunttis an Afro-Latina Writer/Director born and raised in New York City. She wrote and directed her first feature-length film, BEBA, which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival and will be released by NEON in 2022. She premiered her short film “1-800 Lovable” at the 2020 BlackStar Film Festival, and has also screened at Oaxaca Film Festival, The Tide Film Festival, Athena Film Festival, Art of Brooklyn Film Festival, and The Fader Magazine. Rebeca was recently included in DOC NYC’s 40 under 40 list and was a participant in The Gotham Documentary Lab.
“It is deeply personal, a memoir of sorts-but it is certainly not another navel gazing experience. Beba goes beyond the usual tropes associated with that style to express more about history and society than any conventional documentary could hope to do.” – Barbara Goslawski, That Shelf
“POETIC AND RAW Rebeca Huntt demands attention the moment BEBA begins.” – Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter
“HYPNOTIC, GORGEOUS, FASCINATING”- Robert Daniels, IndieWire
Emelie Mahdavian’s sweeping documentary BITTERBRUSH follows Hollyn Patterson and Colie Moline, range riders who are spending their last summer herding cattle in remote Idaho. Totally off the grid with only their dogs as companions, Hollyn and Colie brave inclement weather and perilous work conditions while pondering their futures. A portrait of friendship, life transitions, and the work of two skilled young women in the isolated and beautiful landscape of the American West, BITTERBRUSH is an intimate portrayal of a way of life rarely seen on film that takes us beyond the “oh look” stereotypes of women’s work and celebrates the excellence of their skill and expanding capacity to adapt. Director Emelie Mahdavian joins us to talk about the logistical challenges of capturing the stunningly beautiful and rugged terrain that Hollyn and Colie have to navigate, conveying the tension that comes from doing what you love in a potentially very dangerous “workplace” while highlighting the friendship and teamwork that is at the heart of this enthralling journey.
About the filmmaker – Director / Producer / Editor Emelie Mahdavian is an Emmy, Peabody, and Sundance Award-winning filmmaker who was selected for DOCNYC’s 2020 “40 Under 40” list. She produced, wrote, and edited MIDNIGHT TRAVELER, which won numerous international prizes and was nominated for a Gotham Award for Best Documentary. Previously, she created dance films which screened at Dance on Camera at Lincoln Center and other international museums and festivals. She is currently developing a nonfiction feature with Alonzo King Lines Ballet and writing a narrative feature set in the American West. Emelie was previously a professional dancer and has a Ph.D. in Performance Studies with an emphasis on Film Practice as Research from the University of California, Davis. She is an Assistant Professor in the department of Film and Media Arts at the University of Utah.
“A captivating and meditative look at two intrepid young women surviving — and seasonally thriving — in a traditionally male-dominated field: cattle herding.” – Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
“Throughout the pair’s gentle encouragement to one another and offers of help (usually refused) add up to a lovely depiction of friendship that often doesn’t make it onto cameras.” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest
“It poses piercing existential questions about purpose and independence, particularly for women choosing work that has long been deemed the exclusive province of men.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter
“With “Bitterbrush,” Mahdavian announces herself as a filmmaker with a keen eye for capturing the contradictions and complexities of outsider women’s lives.” – Kristen Lopez, indieWire
““Bitterbrush” resides in the cowboying of memory and legend, a grueling gig of man-or-woman-handling beasts in glorious, simple solitude and some of the last unspoiled scenery in America.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation
BRIAN AND CHARLES follows Brian, a lonely inventor in rural Wales, who spends his days building quirky, unconventional contraptions that seldom work. Undeterred by his lack of success,Brian decides to build a robot for company. ‘Charles’ is not only Brian’s most successful invention, but he appears to have a personality all of his own and quickly becomes Brian’s best friend, curing his loneliness and opening Brian’s eyes to a new way of living. However, Charles creates more problems than Brian bargained for, and the timid inventor has to face-up to several issues in his life; his eccentric ways, a local bully, and the woman he’s always been fond of but never had the nerve to talk to. BRIAN & CHARLES is a feel-good comedy about friendship, love, and letting go. And a 7ft tall robot that eats cabbages. Director Jim Archer joins us for a conversation on how the project came into his life, finding the right location for evoking the off-kilter ambiance of the story and capturing the mixture of quirky, funny and endearing that has allowed BRIAN AND CHARLES take hold of audiences everywhere it has been screened.
About the filmmaker – Director / writer Jim Archer is a brilliant comedy director, with an understated, observational style, hailing from every single part of East Anglia. Watching TV comedies on a Friday night as a kid – Spaced, Big Train, Garth Marenghi – turned into filming sketches with friends. Biggest sketch with friends thus far is his (FOCUS features distributed) debut feature Brian and Charles, aka, “the funniest film at the sundance festival” (doesn’t sound too bad.)Has a brand new Channel 4 comedy series, Big Boys, launching at the end of May and an abundance of hilarious award winning shorts and TV already under his belt. Also does stand-up comedy above a pub in East London (now and then.) Once hit a bee with a frisbee.For more: mindseye/director/jim-archer
“The humorous and inventive story of Brian and Charles sticks because it is so original yet familiar. It doesn’t need high-profile actors, names, and places to strike a chord because it is a high-five to the unsung, unappreciated underdog.” – Sabina Dana Plasse, Film Threat
“Here’s some Frankenstein and some Wallace and Gromit and some that is entirely Brian and Charles’s own; the mockumentary-style comedy, directed by Jim Archer, is sweet, funny, weird, and heartwarming.” – Alissa Wilkinson, Vox
“The tremendously charming voice acting from Hayward and the puppeteer work from whoever is dancing around inside that suit, aided by Hayward and Earl’s delightfully daffy script, creates in “Charles Petrescu” a character for the ages” – Jason Adams, Pajiba
“A wholesome and moving depiction of friendship and loneliness. Stay through the end credits, trust me. You’ll thank me later.” – Rosa Parra, Latinx Lens
Beautifully layered and expressionistic, AFTER SHERMAN is a story about inheritance and the tension that defines our collective American history, especially Black history. Director Jon Sesrie Goff follows his father, a minister, in the aftermath of a mass shooting at his church in Charleston, South Carolina to understand how communities of descendants of enslaved Africans use their unique faith as a form of survival as they continue to fight for America to live up to its many unfulfilled promises to Black Americans. Goff’s feature documentary debut, lays out intimate accounts of the lives of the Black community in the filmmaker’s Black Belt hometown, on land that has been in his family for 150 years, where they were once enslaved. Now transformed, primarily on the backs and resourcefulness of Black people, and thriving as a wedding destination, it stands as a reminder of the painful, cross-generational consequences of racism, and a validation of life’s beauty. Pure cinematic poetry informed by a history still to be conclusively reckoned with, AFTER SHERMAN foregrounds the Southern Black experience while posing complicated questions about home and ownership that it isn’t so presumptuous to believe it can readily answer. Director Jon Sesrie Goff joins us for a conversation on the many ways that our country’s hidden history, bigoted culture, blinding greed, deceitful religious leadership and cynically racist political system has failed an astonishingly resilient people.
Director’s Statement – You can reach the land by dirt road, or by boat if you sail down the Santee River towards the Atlantic. This plot of land has been in my family since the 1860s, when it was purchased by my ancestors after emancipation. The Hopswee plantation, where they were once enslaved still stands a mile away, now a wedding destination. The land presents unanswered questions about ownership, belonging, citizenship and history. Its transformation from marsh to the mainline of American rice and wealth was predicated on the skilled labor and ingenuity of Africans, primarily from the rice coast of western Africa. The fields were abandoned after Emancipation, when the formerly enslaved left for other trades. The land’s potential still exists. One day I will inherit this land. And I will inherit all of this history and presence that comes with it. – Jon Sesrie Goff
About the filmmaker – Jon-Sesrie Goffis a multidisciplinary artist and arts leader. He has an MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts from Duke University. With extensive experience in media and film production, Jon has offered his lens to a variety of projects spanning many genres including award-winning documentaries, including Out in the Night (POV, Logo 2015), Evolution of a Criminal (Independent Lens 2015), and Spit on the Broom (2019), among several other projects. His personal practice involves extensive institutional, community, and personal archival research, photo, and film documentation, as well as oral history interviews in the coastal South on the legacy of Black land ownership and Gullah Geechee heritage preservation. Jon engages with his work from the paradigm of a social change instigator.
“Jon-Sesrie Goff’s “After Sherman” serves as both a psalm of thanksgiving and a cry of lamentation for the family legacy he claims as well as the cultural history he cannot escape.” – Marshall Shaffer, The Playlist
“While After Sherman fulfills [its] mission, it’s most captivating when it burrows into Goff’s personal history, recording the stories and rituals of his Gullah Geechee community.” – Lovia Gyarkye, Hollywood Reporter
In this acerbic part teen comedy, part drama, TAHARA, where a funeral becomes a battleground between best friends Carrie Lowstein (Madeline Grey DeFreece) and Hannah Rosen (Rachel Sennott, breakout star of SHIVA BABY). When their former Hebrew school classmate commits suicide, the two girls attend her funeral as well as the “Teen Talk-back” session hosted by their synagogue, designed to be an opportunity for them to understand grief through Judaism. Hannah, more interested in impressing her crush Tristan (Daniel Taveras), convinces Carrie to practice kissing with her, unlocking feelings that turn Carrie’s world upside down. Emotions heightened, the scene develops into a biting depiction of unrequited crushes, toxic friendships, and wavering faith, which ComingSoon calls “one of the most original films in the coming-of-age sub-genre in a long time.” Director Olivia Peace and Screenwriter Jess Zeidman join us for an in-depth conversation on the collaboration between them, the superb cast that was assembled for this exceptionally well executed story of love, death and teen angst.
About the filmmaker -Olivia Peace is an award winning inter-disciplinary artist and film director from Detroit, Michigan living in Los Angeles. Their work is heavily informed by hip hop, the dreamspace, and a deep appreciation for garishness. They hold a master’s degree in Interactive Media and Games from The University of Southern California where they specialized in Worldbuilding. Their thesis project, “Against Reality,” is a roomscale interactive experience built using AI neural networks.While still in their master’s program, Olivia’s debut feature film, TAHARA, premiered to rave reviews at the 2020 Slamdance Film festival and went on to win awards around the world. TAHARA opened in theaters June 2022 via Film Movement becoming a New York Times Critic’s Pick.Olivia remains committed to discussing and exploring critical imagination and radical optimism in the face of loss and change. They believe that style helps to facilitate agency in people and so they set out to create work that’s replete with style.
About the filmmaker – Writer, Producer, Comedian Jess Zeidman is a writer, comedian, and producer living in Brooklyn, NY. Her work explores toxic female friendship, sexuality, and trauma through comedy. As a queer creator and collaborator, Jess is dedicated to inclusivity and accessibility at every step of production. Her first feature, TAHARA, which she wrote & co-produced, premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival in 2020 and has gone on to be a part of Outfest, Maryland Film Festival, Frameline, and more. Previously, she has written for the satirical website Reductress and the indie food publication Cherry Bombe. Jess graduated from Northwestern University with a BA in Radio/Television/Film and a minor in Theatre in 2018.
“Tahara would be nothing without the wonderful performances of Sennott and DeFreece. I can’t say enough about the acting. I would also be remiss in not highlighting how funny Tahara is. Lastly, yes, we’ve seen high school classrooms in comedies of the past with your stereotypical cliques. Tahara’s handling of this tried-and-true comic set-up feels fresh and alive.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat
“This is truly one of the most original films in the coming-of-age subgenre in a long time.” – Grant Hermanns, ComingSoon.net
“Brilliantly crafted, intelligent, honest, funny, stylishly cinematic, and serves as a powerful feature debut for director Olivia Peace and screenwriter Jess Ziedman.” – Rendy Jones, Rendy Reviews
“So much conversation can be had around this film, which is why it’s a must-watch. It’s a sharp dark comedy with fantastic lead performances from Madeline Grey DeFreece and Rachel Sennott. It’s a unique debut, and with poignancy shows the importance of growing into ourselves and out of toxic relationships.” – Sara Clements, AwardsWatch
“Peace’s film emerges as a keen-eyed examination of contemporary teenage intimacy.” – Manuel Betancourt, That Shelf
Award-winning filmmaker Emmett Adler’s feature documentary END OF THE LINE is a character-driven political drama about the New York City subway crisis and a long overdue reckoning on infrastructure. Establishing the vital economic importance and grandeur of New York City’s historic subway system, the film dives into its dire modern-day troubles picking up in the late 2010s when flooding, overcrowding, power failures, and derailments have become commonplace. After a particularly bad spate of disasters in the summer of 2017, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proclaims a state of emergency and hires a new international wunderkind executive named Andy Byford to save the subways. Byford, an earnest Briton with an impressive resume, enters as a charismatic would-be hero. As the political turmoil behind the subway’s decline comes into sharp focus, scenes in barbershops, bodegas, and bakeries show the frustration and devastation among business owners and residents who are caught in the middle. Director Emmett Adler seamlessly captures the hurly-burly of New York – State and City – politics, the daily miracle of moving nine million people across the five NYC burroughs, the immensity of the challenges facing anyone willing and able to “fix” the MTA and clashing politicos, bureaucrats and transportation engineers who all think they know what’s best.
END OF THE LINE is dedicated to the heroic New York City transit workers who lost their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic.
END OF THE LINE will be released on digital and cable on demand on Tuesday, June 14.
About the filmmaker – Emmett Adler is an Emmy-winning filmmaker who has taught art in Shenzhen, China, was once a chess champion in the state of Illinois and can juggle pins while walking on stilts. He has over a decade of experience as a freelance documentary and commercial film editor. In 2021, he made his directorial debut with the feature documentary END OF THE LINE which premiered to sold out audiences at DOC NYC film festival. He is also the founder and director of the global networking organization, the Video Consortium’s Chicago chapter.For more: emmettadler.com
Tommy Walker and Ross Hockrow’s documentary short KAEPERNICK & AMERICA takes us back to the summer of 2016, an election year with unrest rumbling through America. There were countless triggers – the murder videos of Philando Castille and Alton Sterling, the counterpunch of Alt-Right and Fake News, Black Lives Matter, Russian meddling – a discordant national cauldron ready to boil over. It was the birth of Trumpism, but no knew it yet. Then, Colin Kaepernick took a knee and America lost its mind. Kaep’s knee touched down on the divide between America’s Black and white tectonic plates, creating an earthquake in the eternal race debate. The aftershocks of his singular gesture have already rippled through our country for years. Kaepernick himself answered any and all thoughtful questions for a time, then stopped talking. And the resulting quiet has allowed for a thoughtful examination of the man and his story. It reveals layer upon layer of surprises and contradictions. Raised in a white family, he became a Black quarterback, while in fact, he is an adopted, biracial man. Co-directors Tommy Walker and Ross Hockrow join us to talk about their deep dive into the story behind the headlines and in doing so provide us with insight into how and why this inherently shy young man became the center of attention still dealing with the scourge of racism in America.
About the filmmaker – Tommy Walker is an esteemed producer and director of documentary film and television who has devoted his life to stories about race and identity. His most recent film was Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, an artful and intimate meditation on the legendary Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. That film earned Walker an Emmy nomination. He co-directed and produced the feature length theatrical documentary, God Grew Tired of Us, which won Best Documentary and the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. He produced 13 films for The List series, including three episodes of The Black List for HBO. Other titles include Mandela in America, Tutu and Franklin – A Journey towards Peace, and With All Deliberate Speed.
About the filmmaker – Ross Hockrow is a rising star in the documentary world, bringing his myriad filmmaking skills to a range of projects. Kaepernick & America is his latest effort, on which he is credited as director and editor. He has contributed in those roles as well as DP on a range of documentary films including Born Strong (Netflix), Finding Giannis (TNT), The Fieldhouse (2021 Discovery+), Valley of Sin (2020 Fox), Woman of Troy (2020 HBO), We Town (2018 SI/Amazon), Foreman (2017 Epix/NBC Universal), An Act of Love (2016 Apple) and Pot Barons of Colorado (2014 MSNBC). Previously, he wrote, directed and edited a long list of scripted films.