Naomi Campbell, Kimora Lee Simmons, Tyra Banks, Tyson Beckford were dazzling, barrier-breaking supermodels of color in the ’90s. But two decades earlier, Bethann Hardison burst onto French and American runways with a defiant strut and sui generis personality. In this intimate and insightful documentary, INVISIBLE BEAUTY, fashion revolutionary and co-director Bethann Hardison looks back on her journey as a pioneering Black model, modeling agent, and activist, shining a light on an untold chapter in the fight for racial diversity. Catalyzing change requires continuous championing, and as the next generation takes the reins, Hardison reflects on her personal journey and the cost of being a pioneer, as well as the satisfaction of being the first Black woman to own a racially diverse modeling agency, Hardison called out fashion houses around the world (including Prada and Calvin Klein) for the lack of models of color in their shows and the exclusionary casting calls that had become rampant in the industry (“No Blacks, no ethnics”), while profiting from Black consumers. In tandem with Frédéric Tcheng (Halston, Dior and I), Bethann Hardison and her co-director trace her impact on fashion from runway shows in New York and Paris in the ’70s to roundtables about lack of racial diversity in the early 2000s. Interviews with industry players speak to the state of fashion, while friends and family attest to Hardison’s rebellious and ambitious spirit. INVISIBLE BEAUTY is an absorbing record of Hardison’s accomplishments and a rare contemplation on the life of a radical thinker. The co-directors Bethann Hardison and Frederic Tcheng join us for a conversation on the cinematic and personal journey that the film has taken them on.
About the filmmaker – Bethann Hardison – former model, advocate, and founder of the modeling and management agency that bears her name – has long been a groundbreaker in the world of fashion. She has helped guide the careers of some of the most prominent models in recent times and through her decades of advocacy work has challenged and helped change common notions of beauty by consistently championing diversity in the fashion industry. For more go to: bethannhardison.com
About the filmmaker – Frédéric Tcheng is a French-born filmmaker. Dior and I, his award-winning directorial debut, premiered at the Tribeca film festival in 2014. Tcheng directed the 2019 documentary Halston, a CNN Films and Amazon Original production. His most recent film Invisible Beauty premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Tcheng had previously co-produced and co-edited the 2009 hit documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor, and co-directed the 2011 documentary Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel.
“Riveting. Hardison’s remarkable and fabulous life serves an inspiring lesson in effecting radical change from within the system.” – Jude Dry, IndieWire
“An appreciative self-portrait of the fashion world maverick, a reflective story of how one woman worked to move her industry’s stubborn needle of progress. (Bethann Hardison’s) charisma… made her a natural leader and problem solver. Warm anecdotes, glittering testimonies and fond memories. An illuminating and sturdy paean to an influential industry leader.” – Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter
“Invisible Beauty is a riveting tale of how to implement and maintain effective change within a system known for its blatant racism.” – Jose Solís, The Film Stage
“It was Hardison’s activism in the industry that cemented her position as a true advocate and icon in fashion. [She] has always been at the forefront of change and representation. [She] is direct and authentic about who she is.” – Kovie Biakolo, Essence Magazine
Dawn Porter’s DEADLOCKED: How America Shaped the Supreme Court is a four-part SHOWTIME documentary seriestraces the modern history of the Supreme Court, the people, decisions and confirmation battles that have shaped America. From our right to privacy, to access to the ballot, and all rights protected by the Constitution, the nine unelected justices of the Supreme Court have the final word on issues that shape our democracy and daily lives. The series unfolds during a profoundly consequential year, unlike any in recent memory—the historic confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson, the fallout of an unprecedented leak from inside the Court’s chambers, and a Supreme Court, remade by Donald Trump, on the brink of overturning Roe v. Wade. To understand this critical moment and how we got here, we go back to the 1950s, when the Court led by Chief Justice Earl Warren heralded an era of progressive legal decisions that set us upon the zigzagging path we are still walking today, as the Court’s role in American society has become increasingly prominent and bitterly contested. Supreme reveals how much of the country’s story is wrapped up in the Supreme Court’s deliberations, and considers what this means for America’s future. Director and producer Dawn Porter (Gideon’s Army, Spies of Mississippi, The Lady Bird Diaries, Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer) joins us for a conversation on fifty years of a methodical, calculated and concerted effort on the part of the most radical elements of the “conservative” judicial movement have wrought on the integrity and public confidence of the branch of governance that is the “last word” on what is legal and what is illegal in America.
Dawn Porter (THE LADY BIRD DIARIES, JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE) will be available for interviews on Tuesday, September 19. Let me know if you’re interested in coverage! DEADLOCKED will stream on Paramount+ with SHOWTIME on Friday, September 22nd and premiere that day at 8 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.
About the filmmaker – Dawn Porter has emerged in the entertainment industry as a leader in the art of storytelling; directing and producing critically acclaimed films and series. A two-time Sundance film festival director, Porter’s work has been featured on HBO, Netflix, CNN, PBS, MSNBC, ESPN, Discovery, National Geographic, and others. Porter’s recent film, The Lady Bird Diaries, an all-archival documentary about Lady Bird Johnson debuted at the 2023 SXSW Film Festival. Her newest project “Supreme,” is a four-part docuseries, exploring the history of the United States Supreme Court, the justices, decisions, and confirmation battles that have shaped America. Other current projects include the next installment of the historic civil rights documentary series Eyes on the Prize for HBO. Additional credits include The Me You Can’t See (Apple TV+), Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer (National Geographic), The Way I See It (Focus Features, MSNBC), John Lewis: Good Trouble (CNN, Magnolia Pictures), 37 Words (ESPN), Un(re)solved (Frontline PBS), and Gideon’s Army (HBO).
Co-directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (Bad Boys for Life, Ms. Marvel and Batgirl) deliver their most intimate and personal film,REBEL. The film focuses on Kamal Wasaki (Aboubakr Bensaihi) an idealistic Belgian rapper who after getting busted for drugs in his home country flees to Syria to volunteer to help the victims of the war. Upon his arrival, he is left stranded in Raqqa. Soon after he is kidnapped by ISIS where he is forced to shoot their propaganda videos thanks to his experience shooting his own hip-hop videos. Then one day to prove his loyalty, he is charged to kill a US soldier in front of the camera. When this clip is played on the news his family is reluctantly brought into the story. While Kamal’s mother Leila (Lubna Azabal) struggles with what drove her eldest son down that path that has branded her an outcast in her community. She starts to notice Kamal’s younger brother Nassim (Amir El Arbi) has become the target of local ISIS recruiters who wish to use his brother and video games to lure in him. REBEL co-directors, co-writers and co-executive producers Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah join us for a conversation on the atrocities of war, the path to radicalization, finding the fragmented humanity in people trapped in these conflicts and why it was so important for them as filmmakers and storytellers to intersperse music and theatre into an otherwise scathing cavalcade of inhumanity.
About the filmmakers – Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah met during their film studies at the Hogeschool voor Wetenschap en Kunsten in Schaerbeek, Brussels, Belgium. During their studies, the first project that they directed was a short film named Broeders (2011), which was appreciated by critics; their later films, Black (2015) and Patser (2018), also received positive reception. They directed the first two episodes in the TV series Snowfall, which aired on July 5 and 12 in 2017, as well as Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike‘s music video “When I Grow Up”, which features American rapper Wiz Khalifa. Besides directing Bad Boys for Life, the duo were also attached to direct Beverly Hills Cop IV, the fourth installment of the Beverly Hills Cop film series, in which Eddie Murphy is set to reprise his role. The duo also directed and executive produced Ms. Marvel for Disney+. In May 2021, it was announced that the duo would direct a film based on Batgirl for HBO Max. In April 2022, it was announced that the duo will no longer direct Beverly Hills Cop IV. In August 2022, after Warner Bros. Discovery made the decision to write the film off for tax purposes, it was announced that the movie Batgirl would not be released. With a reported $90 million budget, Batgirl is one of the highest budget movies in history to be produced, but not released. By February 2023, the duo signed on to direct Bad Boys IV.
“Over the course of its 135-minute sprawl, “Rebel” remains dynamic by weaving a host of standard genre elements into its many subplots.” – Jessica Kiang, Variety
“It’s a movie that must be seen to be believed. This fascinating work proves why it’s essential for cinema to have a diverse range of voices telling the stories, and that’s what brings about these incredible shocks and surprises.’ – Kaleem Aftab, Cineuropa
“Mixes raw emotions with unexpected blasts of artful expression that keeps viewers invested in material that would otherwise be extraordinarily difficult to watch.” – Brian Orndorf, Blu-ray.com
“A harrowing depiction of the insidious nature of militant fanaticism, Rebel tells its story with verve, sympathy, and a sense of style that’s as unapologetic as its horrifyingly logical plot.” – Mark Dujsik, Mark Reviews Movies
The San Quentin Prison Marathon has an unconventional route: 105 dizzying laps around a crowded prison yard. Director Christine Yoo deeply empathetic documentary,26.2 TO LIFE, tells the story of incarcerated men who are members of the 1000 Mile Club, the prison’s long distance running club.They train all year for 26.2 mile long marathon race, all of which takes place inside the walls of the infamous San Quentin Men’s Prison mile race. For the men who take their places at the starting line on a cool, sunny November morning, completing the marathon means more than entrée into an elite group of athletes. It’s a chance to be defined by more than their crimes. Cheering them on are a small staff of volunteer coaches, veteran marathoners who train with the runners throughout the year. The bonds they forge on the track create a community that transcends prison politics and extends beyond the prison walls as members are released. 26.2 TO LIFE is a story of transformation and second chances. The film offers a rare glimpse into a world out of bounds, as the men navigating life sentences seek redemption and freedom…or something like it. Director Christine Yoo takes us inside the walls, physical and psychological of the men, who readily acknowledge the mistakes and crimes they have committed, work to define the remainder of their lives as positive and worthwhile.
*Winner: Audience Choice Award – Santa Barbara Festival 2023* *Winner: Reel Women Direct Award – Cleveland International Film Festival 2023* *Winner: Audience Award for Best Feature – SF Documentary Film Festival (DocFest) 2023*
*Independent Film Festival of Boston – Grand Jury Prize
Seattle International Film Festival – Winner Golden Space Needle Award
*Runner Up: Audience Award – DOC NYC 2022*
About the filmmaker – Christine Yoo is a director, producer, writer, volunteer at San Quentin State Prison and co-founder of the San Quentin Film Festival. As a producer, she has worked on nonfiction series for National Geographic, History, Oxygen and PBS for Revelations Entertainment, S.M.A.C., The Story Lab, Dick Wolf Films, Shed Media and Prometheus. Her independent work focuses on under-served voices and has been sponsored by Sundance, The Marshall Project, Rogovy Foundation, LGMobile, Hyundai, Korean Air and she is a Logan Nonfiction Fellow. Yoo directed and produced the documentary short, A Conversation At Claudia’s, a special project for the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA PS1), co-wrote the cult anime series Afro Samurai, starring Samuel L. Jackson, and directed, produced and co-wrote the award-winning Korean-American rom-com Wedding Palace, starring Brian Tee and S. Korean actress Kang Hy-jung (Oldboy) in her English language debut. 26.2 TO LIFE is Yoo’s first feature documentary.
“The film’s leads—a father, a former track star, and a journalist—are not glorified but humanized, and their captivating stories are told with the unflinching conviction that their lives could use more than loaned running shoes.” – Sam Machkovech, The Stranger
“Though not specifically political in nature, Yoo’s film may just change a few minds regarding the purpose of prison as a rehabilitative tool rather than a punitive one.” – Douglas Davidson, Elements of Madness
“Christine Yoo’s hopeful nonfiction feature strikes the right balance in telling the stories of San Quentin inmates who are participating in the prison-supported 1,000 Mile running club.” – Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News
In snowbound Tokamachi, Japan, teenaged Akio Sakurai took refuge in his room, escaping to another world with a pair of headphones and a pile of Led Zeppelin records. Moving to Tokyo, Akio worked as a kimono salesman by day, but by night became “Mr. Jimmy,” adopting the guitar chops and persona of Jimmy Page. For 30 years, Akio recreated vintage Zeppelin concerts note-for-note in small Tokyo clubs, until the real Jimmy Page stopped by one night and Akio’s life changed forever. Inspired by Mr. Page’s ovation, Akio quits his “salary man” job, leaving behind his family to move to Los Angeles and join “Led Zepagain.” Soon cultures clash, and Akio’s idyllic vision of America is met with reality. Until Jason Bonham (son of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer, John Bonham) calls and invites Akio to audition, and later join his‘Led Zeppelin Evening’ tour. Director Peter Michael Dowd joins us for a lively conversation on the incredible level of dedication Akio has put into his craft, meticulously fine tuning precision of everything from the amps, frets, cables to the stitching on the “dragon” cape to faithfully replicate the Jimmy Page experience as well as my misspent youth back in 1972, for missing the chance to see the “greatest rock and roll band” at the zenith of their artistic prowess.
About the filmmaker – “Mr. Jimmy” is Director, Producer and Editor Peter Michael Dowd follow-up to his short documentary “The King of Size”. It screened at festivals including the Austin Film Festival, the New Orleans Film Festival, and the Little Rock Film Festival, where it won the World Shorts competition. Previously, Dowd was the Curator of Film at the Museum of the Moving Image and Film Programmer at George Eastman House. He has organized film exhibitions and retrospectives for festivals including the Vienna International Film Festival and Mexico City International Contemporary Film Festival. He has written about film for publications including the New York Sun, Spirit & Flesh, and Moving Image Quarterly, and is based in Los Angeles. His voice is still hoarse from singing/screaming throughout Mr. Page and Mr. Plant’s 1995 performance at Boston Garden.
“Through an exploration of the life of an ex-kimono salesman who has dedicated his life to emulating Jimmy Page, Mr. Jimmy is a unique look at what it means to pay tribute to the things you love.’ – Miyako Pleines, Spectrum Culture
“In our current universe, where followers give themselves over to their entertainment or culture-warrior heroes with undying devotion and zero questioning, his devotion to honoring this particular house of the old is sweet, almost noble.” – David Browne, Rolling Stone
“It is an incredible story and one marvels at the level of detail Sakurai goes to, learning about the ‘texture’ solder in an amp gives to the music or how the wear on a pickup guard might influence things.” – Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews
“It’s… the very slipperiness of Sakurai’s passion – to humbly become the god he worships – that continually compels.” – Keith Uhlich, Hollywood Reporter
Director, writer and lead actor, Thomas Salvador’s beguiling new film, THE MOUNTAIN, follows Pierre, a Parisian in his forties, on his emerging quest to break from his daily routine of morning coffee in a run-down apartment, his phones, his keys, and his computer on the train to work. During a business meeting todemonstrate the capability of a robot to some clients he is distracted by the sight of a mountain. Shortly after his enigmatic encounter with the natural world Pierre begins to act on an unfathomable journey into the unexplored mountainous terrain.He gears up very cautiously, gets informed and takes the cable car up to the Aiguille du Midi, in the Mont-Blanc Massif, with its spectacular view of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. Setting up his small tent slightly below, he slowly learns about hiking on the glacier, then climbs the passes with and then without guidance. Days pass, more or less easily and comfortably, in his introspective observation of the environment. Pierre feels good, there, in his place, with the essentials and forms only one meaningful connection with the chef of the Aiguille du Midi restaurant (Louise Bourgoin). But this drastic return to nature soon takes a turn when a mountain wall collapses and attracts his attention to very strange lights… Director, writer and lead actor, Thomas Salvador (VINCENT) stops by to talk about the inherent challenges that come with shooting a feature film on a mountainside, what drew him to make this visually stunning ode to the inexorable pull of nature and how little we understand about the world we live in.
About the filmmaker – Thomas Salvador is a filmmaker, screenwriter, and actor in his own films. He has directed 6 short films that have been selected and awarded in numerous festivals, including PETITS PAS (Cannes Directors’ Fortnight) and DE SORTIE (Jean Vigo Prize 2006). Hosted at the Villa Medici in Rome, he wrote his first feature film VINCENT, released in 2015 and screened at more than forty festivals in France and abroad. THE MOUNTAIN is his second feature film.
“The beautiful cinematography, courtesy of Alexis Kavyrchine … makes the Alps come alive (in every way, as we discover), and the emotional restraint of both Salvador and Bourgoin serve to heighten the eventual catharsis at the end.” – Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Hammer to Nail
“In a work in which nature, landscape and climate take starring roles, Salvador’s muted performance of a man who is attempting to lose himself in his surroundings feels right.” – Lee Marshall, Screen International
“Although Pierre’s intentions remain debatable, the story becomes a subtle treatise on solitude, ecology and, it would seem, following your bliss.” – Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
Director, producer and writer Donato Rotunno’s third feature film, IO STO BENE (I Am Fine) focuses on the life of Antonio, a man who has spent his whole life away from his home country ofItaly. Antonio is facing down his own mortality when he crosses paths with Leo, a young Italian artist who is trying to make it abroad. The old man and the young woman’s destinies mirror each other. Memories from the past are awoken and end up offering a more peaceful future to the both of them.This multi-layered film follows Antonio Spinelli growing up with Vito, his cousin of the same age, and their friend Giuseppe. At the end of the 1960s, pushed out of South Italy by a catastrophic economic situation, they decide to leave the country to work abroad. What’s initially supposed to be a short stay to make ends meet will end up determining their individual paths. While Vito works in Belgium and Giuseppe in Germany, Antonio is the only one who goes to a little country called Luxembourg. There, he meets Mady, who becomes his continued support and gives him the strength to be who he really is. Leopoldina prefers to be called Leo. She has finished her graphic design studies and dreams of an artistic career where she could mix graphic design creations and music. She wants to take her future in her own hands and make a living out of her passion. That’s why she decides to leave Italy with her boyfriend and dreams of going on tour all over Europe to perform in clubs as a visual jockey. But they break up and Leo’s boyfriend goes back to Italy, leaving Leo on her own in Luxembourg. She hasn’t told him that she is pregnant. Director and writer Donato Rotunno joins us for a conversation on his affinity for complex stories that illuminate many of the basic truths about love, family, friends and the capricious outcome of the paths we choose to follow.
About the director – Donato Rotunno was born in Luxembourg in 1966 and graduated from IAD in Belgium in 1992. He founded Tarantula Luxembourg in 1995, through which, to date, he has produced over 30 feature films. His career as a film director started with his graduation film Nebbiolo Rosso and continued with documentaries on specific themes to Luxembourg, including immigration (Terra Mia Terra Nostra, Les Mesures du rectangle), multi cultural society (Blà Blä Blá) ; questionning the role of politics with André et les voix dissidentes, and the relationship between contemporary art and film through Making of a picture, Landscape with a corpse, Dreams have a language. His first fiction film, In a Dark Place, won the award for best artistic contribution at the Lëtzebuerger Filmpräis in 2007. His second film, Baby(a)lone, an adaptation of the novel Amok by Tullio Forgiarini, was selected in many international film festivals and was chosen to represent Luxembourg at the 88th Academy Awards for Best foreign language film award. Io sto bene is his 3rd feature.
Award winning Production Designer JUDY BECKER is one of the many gifted artists who have made significant contributions to cinema’s most iconic films.But their work often flies under the radar, in large part because journalist and critics more often focus their attention on directors and stars rather than that the work of production designers. But these production designer’s sometimes unheralded art consists of nothing less than building the world of a movie, and in the process do a great deal to create those distinct cinematic environments that film lovers wants to visit again and again. Production Designer JUDY BECKER, recent subject of a film retrospective at New York’s Metrograph Theatre, gave all the film lovers who attended an opportunity to better appreciate the painstaking research and crucial creative contribution that goes into the work of a production designer as well as the films that inspired her. Becker 25-year career as a lead production designer includes collaborations with directors Todd Haynes, David O. Russell, and Ang Lee. Production Designer Judy Becker (Carol, American Hustle, We Need to Talk About Kevin) joins us for a conversation on her introduction into the world of production design, the artist who’s work inspired her and how she approaches each new project with the same zeal and attention to detail she brought to her very first project.
About the filmmaker – Judy Becker is a production designer in the film industry. Cited as one of “25 to Watch” in the summer 2002 issue of Filmmaker, Judy Becker came to her career in production design from a background in fine arts, including several years as an “underground” comics artist. She started in the props department and worked her way up to production design in independent films in New York. Notable films to her credit include, Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain (2005), Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There (2007), David O. Russell’s The Fighter (2010), Lynne Ramsay’s We Need To Talk Kevin (2011), David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook (2012), Sacha Gervasi’s Hitchcock (2012) and David O. Russell’s American Hustle (2013), Todd Haynes’s Carol (2015), David O. Russell’s Joy (2015), David O. Russell’s Amsterdam (2022).
Nominated for the 2023 “Best Feature” Independent Spirit Award, Ellie Foumbi’s elegant moral thriller and debut feature OUR FATHER, THE DEVIL (“Mon père, le diable”) stars a riveting Babetida Sadjo, (Ritual), as Marie, the head chef at a retirement home in small-town France. Her easy day-to-day life spent caring for residents, hanging out with her co-worker and best friend Nadia (Jennifer Tchiakpe), and teasing a potential new romance is disrupted by the arrival of Father Patrick (former Spirit Award nominee Souleymane Sy Savané, (Goodbye Solo), an African priest whom she recognizes from a terrifying episode in her homeland. As he further endears himself to the residents and staff, Marie is forced to decide how best to deal with this reminder of her troubled past. Writer / Director Ellie Foumbi joins us for a conversation on her intense and fearless dissection of trauma, power, revenge, guilt, and the devils hiding within all of usand the Oscar-worthy performances by Babetida Sadjo and Souleymane Sy Savané, OUR FATHER, THE DEVILis a stunning showcase for the impeccable talents of everyone involved.
About the filmmaker – Ellie Foumbi is an award-winning Cameroonian-American filmmaker whose debut film, Our Father, the Devil, went on to win 25 prizes at international film festivals and was nominated for Best Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards. She’s a BAFTA Breakthrough USA Fellow and was named one of 25 New Faces of Independent Film by Filmmaker Magazine. Ellie’s stories often explore pressing social-political issues within the African diaspora through a genre lens, aiming to shine a light on marginalized populations. She holds an MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts in Directing.
“Cutting… the enigmatic drama goes places you almost certainly won’t expect.” – Michael Nordine, Variety
“Providing a rare treatment of trauma that is both thrilling and intelligent, Our Father, the Devil is profound and deeply moving.” – Richard Propes, The Independent Critic
“This is quite simply the best performance of the year, blowing everything else out of the water.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye For Film
“Ellie Foumbi’s explosive debut can’t be denied; neither can the performances here, notably the one from Sadjo, who cycles through a juggernaut of raw, intense emotions.” – Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News
“…An impressive feat of storytelling.” – Stephen Saito, The Moveable Fest
“Defies genre and expectations. it’s not the kind of psychological thriller we’ve come to expect.”– Sharai Bohannon, Dread Central
In Babak Jalali’s playfully eccentric FREMONT focuses on a beautiful and troubled 20-something Donya, an Afghan translator who used to work with the U.S. government and now has trouble sleeping. Each morning Donya (Anaita Wali Zada) leaves her tight-knit community of Afghan immigrants in Fremont, California. She crosses the Bay to work at a family-run fortune cookie factory in San Francisco. Donya drifts through her routine, struggling to connect with the culture and people of her new, unfamiliar surroundings while processing complicated feelings about her past as a translator for the U.S. government in Afghanistan. Unable to sleep, she finagles her way into a regular slot with a therapist (Gregg Turkington) who grasps for prospective role models. When an unexpected promotion at work thrusts Donya into the position to write her own story, she communicates her loneliness and longing through a concise medium: the fortunes inside each cookie. Donya’s koans travel, making a humble social impact and expanding her world far beyond Fremont and her turbulent past, including an encounter with a quiet auto mechanic (Jeremy Allen White) who could stand to see his own world expanded. Tenderly sculpted and lyrically shot in black-and-white, Babak Jalali’s FREMONT is a wry, deadpan vision of the universal longing for home. Babak joins us for a conversation on the moment he knew that casting an unknown actor, Anaita Wali Zada as Donya could carry his film, his instinctual decision, in collaboration with cinematographer Laura Valladao, to go black and white, the calming effect of Gregg Turkington, and the joy of spending in the vibrant Afghan community of Fremont, California.
About the filmmaker – Babak Jalali was born in 1978 in Gorgan in northern Iran, but has lived mainly in London since 1986. He has a master’s degree in politics from the University of London as well as a diploma from the London Film School. During his course there he made three short films: A Trip to the Coast (2002), Nadja (2003), and Boxes (2004). His graduation film, Heydar, an Afghan in Teheran, told the story of a young Afghan working for a rich Iranian, spending his free time learning English in order to work as a translator in Afghanistan. The film was short-listed in the Best Short Film category at BAFTA in 2006. That same year Babak Jalali had a residency at the Cannes Festival’s Cinéfondation where he was able to develop his first feature film, Frontier Blues.
“A drama with a spare, wry tone that belies its earnest and ample substance.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker
“A cross-cultural comedy that explores the freedom of being lost and the exhilaration of finding oneself” – Mark Olsen, LA Times
“A coolly deadpan comedy. Fremont is reminiscent of Aki Kaurismaki and Jim Jarmusch.” – Amy Taubin, Artforum
“Fremont‘s variation is that its performances are low-key naturalistic rather than hollowed-out deadpan, and it gains a lot from the specificity of its characters and their unglamorous milieus.” Vadim Rizov, Filmmaker Magazine
“The story is suffused with an uncommon blend of radiance and resignation, nowhere more rapturously than in the final shot.” – Anthony Lake, New Yorker
“Honest and hopeful. An ode to the universal beauty and restless pull of human connection.” – Tomris Laffly, Harper’s Bazaar
Set amid the political violence of late-1960s Indonesia, Kamila Andini’s intoxicating film BEFORE, NOW & THEN follows Raden Nana Suhani, a Sundanese woman in the 1960s lost and father and son to the war in West Java. Now the beautiful wife of a wealthy plantation owner, always looked down on her. For Nana, her inner life remains with her deceased first husband, murdered in the civil war a decade prior. A survivor, Nana values her safety and material comforts, but carries out a haunted existence, dreaming of her lost love. Forced to confront her husband’s blatant infidelity, Nana makes an unusual connection with his younger mistress, Ino. The two women, sharing their secrets and desires, discover a newfound freedom and intimacy withheld from them both by the strictures of patriarchal society. Together, these two women seek hope for independence. Director and screenwriter Kamila Andini (Nusa Yang Hilang, Yuni,) joins us for a conversation on how the enveloping stranglehold of patriarchy informs every aspect of these women’s lives, drawing out sublime performances from actors Happy Salma (Nana) and Laura Basuki (Ino), capturing the subversive beauty of a land gripped by violence and upheaval.
About the filmmaker – Kamila Andini is a mother and filmmaker based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Concerns with social culture, gender equality and environmental issues led to her passion to make films with a distinctive narrative perspective.Her debut feature film The Mirror Never Lies (2011) recounts the life of sea nomad on the Pacific Ocean off Indonesia. Her second, The Seen and Unseen (2017) portrays a dualistic cinematic universe based on the Balinese philosophical concept of Sekala / Niskala. Both films have screened in over 50 film festivals around the world and received some 30 national and international awards, including the Grand Prix for Best Feature Film, Berlinale Generation Kplus in 2018. She has also directed a number of short films. After Following Diana (2015), Memoria (2016) and Sekar (2019), her short Back Home (2019) formed part of the omnibus production Angel Sign (2019). Recently, she has expanded her directing work into theatre; her debut, based on her second feature ‘The Seen and Unseen’, was staged at the Esplanade Singapore 2018 and Asia Topa Melbourne in 2019. Her most recent theatrical production is the stage and virtual performance monologue, Nusa Yang Hilang (2021). Her third feature, Yuni, (2021) won the Platform Prize at the Toronto International Film Festival. Before, Now & Then is her fourth feature film.
“Andini captures complex female emotions and relationships in nuanced and fascinating detail, as well as the secrets we all keep, whether in knotted buns or not. Subtly stirring, it’s a sensitively crafted, immersive cinematic experience that lingers on the senses well after the credits roll.” – Sarah Bradbury, The Upcoming
“Aesthetic flourishes… betray Wong Kar-Wai’s influence on Before, Now & Then and elevate it … to the intoxicating sensory experience it is.” – Michael Nordine, Variety
“Gorgeous, complex, and wonderfully melancholy…highly rewarding to watch” – Jean Henegan, Pop Culture Maniacs
“A precisely calibrated, emotionally nuanced exploration of one woman going through a mid-life crisis in rural Indonesia during the 1960s that both looks and sounds stunning.” – Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter
A timely metaphor for failing democracy, Jiří Havelka’s THE OWNERS takes a seriocomic look at the most local form of self-governance: the co-op apartment building meeting. It includes a curious cast of characters, all of whom own apartments in the same building in Prague, as they attempt to tolerate each others’ presence long enough to try and make some important decisions about the building’s future.Mrs. Zahrádková (Teresa Ramba) wants to save the old crumbling building she shares with other apartment owners. She hopes to find supporters for her plan in young newlyweds with their idealistic enthusiasm, who have just moved in and are astonished by the co-owners’ inability to agree on anything. Mrs. Roubíčková (Klára Melíšková) vigilantly controls the proper course of the meeting, not allowing the slightest deviation from the rules; Mrs. Procházková and her proclaimed business partner Mr. Novak are looking for ways to increase the value of their property by subletting the apartment to African students; Mr. Nitranský tries to get a hold of the attic to expand his own flat; and frustrated Mr. Kubát sabotages any and all decisions. Will the neighbors reach an agreement, or will the building become the casualty of their self-centered interests? Director Jiří Havelka (Prague Orgies, Desperate People) joins us for a conversation on his personal connection to the story, pulling together a cast of terrific actors and how striking the right tone to accentuate the dramatic and comedic elements that make THE OWNERS work so beautifully.
About the filmmaker – Respected theater director, playwright, actor and and film director Jiří Havelka is also a founding personality of the TV station Óčko. He is also the main creative personality of the Vosto5 theater based on improvisation (Pérák, Proton or the Society of Owners) and also organizes the Festival of Cute Playwrights. He is also one of the founders of the civic association JSAF – the organizer of the International Documentary Film Festival in Jihlava, where he comes from. After graduating from the Jihlava grammar school, he studied directing at the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theater at the DAMU in Prague. Already during his studies he started acting and directing in Prague’s Ypsilonka and in several other theaters, e.g. Dejvické Divadlo. In 2007, he won the Alfréd Radok Award as talent of the year. He appears as an actor in many films, e.g. in the tragicomedies Desperate People (2009) and Tiger Theory (2016), in the comedy Po čem muži touží (2018) or in the tragicomedies Mars (2018) or Prague Orgies (2019). Viewers also know him from the TV series, e.g. Up to the ears (2014- 2017). The Owners is his film debut under which he is signed as a screenwriter and director.
“As the frustration of the group gets more intense and the issues get more controversial … it becomes clear that the film is making a larger point about the inability of governments, citizens, human beings, to solve long-term problems.” – Nell Minow, RogerEbert.com
“Comic gold…the script is top-notch, the performances terrific, the timing perfect…If only Hollywood still made them like this!” – American Spectator
“The universality of personalities and intentions is like every HOA Board Meeting – but more amusing because it’s not yours. This lets the audience have the distance to see the human comedy in their interactions for an allegory of any capitalist society.” – Nora Lee Mandel, Maven’s Nest
“It’s a home or condo-owner’s nightmare of sincere, smart and reasonable people outnumbered by obstinate skinflints, greedheads, obstructionists and shortsighted idiots. Sound like any voting/elected bodies you know?” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation
“The film took home three Czech Lions and two Czech Film Critics’ Awards, and with fine performances from the leading cast, sharp dialogue, and painfully relevant political overtones, it’s not difficult to see why..Beneath the dry wit and jaded, world-weary cynicism, and even before we reach the obligatory bittersweet, tragicomic ending, there is some profound allegory at work in Vlastníci, familiar from the brave and subversive Czech comedies of the 1960s, by which, with a choice phrase here, a verbal nod-and-a-wink there, Havelka holds a mirror up to Czech society… and doesn’t reflect its best side.” – Czech Film Review
A lyrical tapestry of a place and people, KING COAL meditates on the complex history and future of the coal industry, the communities it has built, and the myths it has created. Director Elaine McMillion Sheldon reshapes the boundaries of documentary filmmaking in a spectacularly beautiful and deeply moving immersion into Central Appalachia where coal is not just a resource, but a way of life, imagining the ways a community can re-envision itself. Central Appalachia is a place of mountains and myth and Academy Award-nominated and Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon knows this well, calling those mountains home. KING COAL has had a profound influence on this community’s identity, but Sheldon dares to consider what future stories might look like out of the shadow of coal, now that relationships to coal are changing. She takes us on an alluring cinematic journey through the past, present, and future of Appalachia. Sheldon’s distinct vision remixes present-day moments of life in a coal-mining town with archival footage and atmospheric invocations of the land to alchemize something new — a rare, nuanced depiction of this community. A young girl learning the story of coal anchors the journey while Sheldon’s poetic voiceover guides us through the experience and an expressive score differentiates the reality of coal from a more imaginative world. This hybrid approach allows our guest, Elaine McMillion Sheldon to explore the act of storytelling itself and is a magical reclamation of the power of stories to shape how a region sees itself. Emerging from the long shadows of the coal mines, KING COAL untangles the pain from the beauty, and illuminates the innately human capacity for change.
About the filmmaker – Elaine McMillion Sheldon is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker. She is the director of two Netflix Original Documentaries – “Heroin(e)” and “Recovery Boys” – that explore America’s opioid crisis. “Heroin(e)” was nominated for a 2018 Academy Award and won the 2018 Emmy Award for Outstanding Short Documentary. In 2013, she released “Hollow,” an interactive documentary that examines the future of rural America through the eyes and voices of West Virginians. Hollow received a Peabody, Emmy nomination and 3rd Prize in the World Press Photo Multimedia Awards. Sheldon has appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Anthony Bourdain’s CNN Show Parts Unknown and Meet The Press with Chuck Todd. She was recently named a 2018 USA Fellow by United States Artists, one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine and one of “50 People Changing The South” by Southern Living Magazine. In 2016, Chicken & Egg Pictures awarded her with the inaugural “Breakthrough Filmmaker” award. She’s a founding member of All Y’all Southern Documentary Collective. She has been commissioned by Netflix, Frontline PBS, The Center for Investigative Reporting, The New York Times Op-Docs, TEDWomen, Field of Vision, and The Bitter Southerner. elainemcmillionsheldon.com
“Filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon, a native of [West Virginia], has done a breathtakingly expressive job of capturing the strangeness, the beauty and the devastation of her homeland in the poetic, entrancing documentary King Coal.” – Kyle Smith, Wall Street Journal
“harsh, haunted, and spiritual but hopeful still…[told] from the POV of a girl both loyal and inquisitive about the reign of what she calls “King Coal,” the film is an artwork and a tribute told with poetic and visual lyricism.” – Sherin Nicole, Geek Girl Riot
“Pleasingly difficult to pin down when the narrative truly feels moved by the spirit, the fact that “King Coal” comes alive in the mind full of possibility makes one think the same potential exists on the ground.” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest
“Sheldon also locates the beauty, potentiality and sorrow of the region to its surrounding mountain ranges, from forested rolling hills to the mounds of coal on river barges.” – Robert Daniels, New York Times
Filmmakers Danny and Michael Philippou step away from their wildly successful career video work via YouTube and by bringing a sharp edged sensibility to the world of horror in TALK TO ME.Conjuring spirits has become the latest local party craze, and looking for a distraction on the anniversary of her mother’s death, teenage Mia (Sophie Wilde) is determined to get a piece of the otherworldly action. When her group of friends gathers for another unruly séance with the mysterious embalmed hand that promises a direct line to the spirits, they’re unprepared for the consequences of bending the rules through prolonged contact. As the boundary between worlds collapses and disturbing supernatural visions increasingly haunt Mia, she rushes to undo the horrific damage before it’s irreversible. Filmmaking duo (and twin brothers) Danny and Michael Philippou of @RackaRackaYouTube channel fame suspend us in the foreboding and nightmarish realm of their debut feature film.Making the most of their twisted propensity for the surreal and grotesque while effortlessly blending the creepiness of a ghost tale with the modern sensibilities of a horror-thriller for the Insta-generation, TALK TO ME exposes an uncanny reality where the dead roam eerily close to the living. Co-directors Danny and Michael Philippou join us for a lively conversation on their very popular YouTube video work, why and how they have been so successful in their short form videos, and the importance of creating a completely believable world for their characters to inhabit.
About the filmmakers – Filmmaking twin brothers Danny and Michael Philippou are RackaRacka, on-line purveyors of comic horror and action. Their YouTube videos have been watched over 1.5 billion times and amassed over 6.6 million subscribers. In 2015, their channel was awarded Best International YouTube Channel at the 6th Streamy Awards. Named one of Variety’s 2016 Fame Changers and ranked 5th on Financial Review’s Cultural Power List, the brothers have won numerous awards, including Best Overall at the Online Video Awards and the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Award for the Best Web Show. Talk to Me is their debut feature film.
“The concept is deftly and artfully executed by the Philippou brothers, who don’t fall back on cheap jump scares, but rely on a dexterous cinematic style and grisly imagery to make a film that is truly dark and terrifying.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service
“Talk to Me’s unique take on possession cleverly depicts the struggles associated with grief and depression. It’s also scary, often invoking a sense of dread through an impressive use of sound, practical effects, and meaningful cinematography.” – Kenneth Seward Jr., IGN Movies
“Talk to Me is a terrifically scary horror offering thanks to powerful performances, creepy creature designs, a splash of blood and gore, and practical effects that’ll blow your mind and chill your spine.” – Kristy Puchko, Mashable
“The reason the film works so well is in its well-established teenage relationships – the Philippous show the attraction of being in with the cool kids and that the dangers this presents are particularly acute for those who are emotionally vulnerable” – Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film
“One of the scariest horror films in recent years! Impressive practical effects, superb makeup, hypnotizing performances – Sophie Wilde clearly stands out the most – and impeccable execution of truly shocking, gory, unpredictable moments of violence.” – Manuel São Bento, FirstShowing.net
THE ETERNAL MEMORY tells a profound and moving love story that balances vibrant individual and collective remembrance with the longevity of an unbreakable human bond. Augusto and Paulina have been together and in love for 25 years. Eight years ago, their lives were forever changed by Augusto’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. As one of Chile’s most prominent cultural commentators and television presenters, Augusto is no stranger to building an archive of memory. Now he turns that work to his own life, trying to hold on to his identity with the help of his beloved Paulina, whose own pre-eminence as a famous actress and Chilean Minister of Culture predates her ceaselessly inventive manner of engaging with her husband. Day by day, the couple face this challenge head-on, relying on the tender affection and sense of humor shared between them that remains, remarkably, fully intact. THE ETERNAL MEMORY was the winner of the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema – Documentary in 2023. Oscar nominated director Maite Alberdi (The Mole Agent) joins us for a conversation on her first encounter with Paulina and Augusto together and how seeing the fully integrated lives they were living inspired her, watching them embrace the withering psychological, emotional and physically journey they were both on, and the connected themes of love, compassion, empathy and devotion that The Mole Agent and The Eternal Memory share.
About the filmmaker – An Academy Award® Nominated Director and Producer, Maite Alberdi is the first Chilean woman to be nominated for an Oscar®. She has developed a particular style that is characterized by the intimate portrayal of small worlds and her unique approach has led her to become one of the most important voices in Latin American documentary. In 2011, she released her first feature film, THE LIFEGUARD. Through Micromundo, her production company, Maite directed her second film, TEA TIME (La Once), which has won more than a dozen international awards and was nominated for the 2016 Goya for Best Ibero-American Film. In 2016, she released the short film I AM NOT FROM HERE, which was nominated for the European Film Awards, and she also premiered her third feature film, THE GROWN-UPS, which received 10 international awards. In Sundance 2020, she premiered THE MOLE AGENT, the first Chilean documentary to be nominated for an Academy Award®. Her latest film, THE ETERNAL MEMORY premiered at Sundance 2023, where it won the Grand Jury Award for World Cinema Documentary, and had its international premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival.
“An intimate, understated and often wrenching portrayal” – Screen
“Witnessing the grief Augusto has for his own life and Pauli for their life together is absolutely heartbreaking. Yet, one will walk away longing for the type of love they have been so fortunate to experience in this lifetime if only for a moment.” – Carla Renata, The Curvy Film Critic
“Get tissues ready to witness one of the most selfless and patient forms of love that graced our screens, shared and magnified through pockets of joy that Alberdi’s camera celebrates with a generous side of empathy and sense of humor.” – Tomris Laffly, Harper’s Bazaar
Filmmakers Emily Mackenzie and Noah Collier’s divinely off-kilter documentary explores the world of psychedelic carpets that line our hotel hallways, casinos, and convention centers can be traced to one town: Dalton, Georgia, the “Carpet Capital of the World.” In this bastion of American manufacturing we find an interwoven set of locals who are the unsung creators and developers behind the majority of the country’s carpets, always looking at the ground for their next big break. Among them is Roderick James, a Scottish expat and freelance textile designer living his life as a modern-day cowboy with an ambitious slew of eclectic business ventures. Through Rod’s journey chasing after The American Dream and the experiences of his peers in Dalton, CARPET COWBOYS explores the tensions between personal and national identity, and the rapidly changing global economic model of theUnited States that too often leaves so many behind. Where does the myth of American identity begin and where does it end, and who ultimately gets to cash in? Co-directors Emily Mackenzie & Noah Collier stop by to talk about the circumstances that brought them to Dalton, Georgia, meeting Roderick James and the other very colorful array of people who call the “carpet capitol of the world” home, and why it was vital that all the people we meet in Carpet Cowboys are be seen as authentic.
About the filmmaker – Emily MacKenzie is a New Orleans based director and producer. She is a graduate of Bard College and the New School’s Documentary Media Studies program. MacKenzie co-wrote and edited Nina Davenport’s feature length HBO Documentary FIRST COMES LOVE (2010) and has produced and directed for Vice, MTV, Fuse, Animal Planet, and WEtv. MacKenzie’s short documentary SCAR STORY was featured on The Atlantic’s website in 2016 and was viewed over 80 thousand times. She is currently completing TAPESTRIES, a feminist audio series depicting queer breast cancer narratives. For more go to: memilymack.com
About the filmmaker – Noah Collier is a director and cinematographer born in New York City. As a Director of Photography, Collier has primarily created non-fiction work, including the Sundance Special Jury Award -winning JAWLINE (Hulu 2019), SANTA CAMP (HBO 2022), and THE COME UP (Freeform 2022). For more go to: noahcollier.online
About the filmmaker – Executive Producer John Wilson is a documentary filmmaker most well known for his HBO show “How To With John Wilson”
“If Errol Morris, circa Vernon, Florida, Ricky Gervais and Christopher Guest, after a night of heavy drinking in 1990, having reckoned with the burden of the death of cinema, chipped in to make a movie together about carpets, this would be it.” – Rick Alverson, Director of: The Mountain, Entertainment, The Comedy
“Truly fascinating look at the far reaching American myths and symbols and the fibs that all that represents” – Bill Ross, Co-director of Empty Nose Bloody Pockets, Western
“What a gift to experience a movie exploring dreams, decay and homoeroticism through the lens of delusional “straight” white men… with a healthy heap of cringe to wash it down.” – TJ Martin, Oscar winner Best Documentary 2012, LA92
Laurel Parmet’s astute feature narrative debut, THE STARLING GIRL zeroes in on the life of seventeen-year-old Jem Starling as she struggles to define her place within her fundamentalist Christian community of rural Kentucky. Even her greatest joy of dancing with the church group is tempered by worry that her actions are sinful and she is caught between a burgeoning awareness of her own sexuality and her religious devotion. With the return of Owen, an enigmatic youth pastor, Jem soon finds herself attracted to his worldliness and charm. Slowly, he draws her into a dangerous relationship that could upend their entire community. THE STARLING GIRL centers on Jem’s agency as Scanlen and a gruffly charismatic Lewis Pullman generate a palpable chemistry, even as the film steadily reaffirms Jem’s youthful naivete and Owen’s position of authority. Writer-director Laurel Parmet delicately balances the intoxication and inappropriateness of the pair’s transgressive connection in this morally complex, sensitive coming-of-age story. A stellar Eliza Scanlen beautifully conveys the impetuous, conflicted Jem’s tentative journey toward understanding her growingly complicated ideas about herself, her family, and the faith that has always guided her life.
About the filmmaker – Laurel Parmet is a screenwriter and director whose feature directorial debut, THE STARLING GIRL, will be premiering in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Parmet received her MFA in directing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and has written and directed several award-winning short films; the latest, KIRA BURNING, having premiered at SXSW and screened at MoMA in the Future of Film is Female series. Her previous short film, SPRING, screened at SXSW, Outfest, Palm Springs and many more. Parmet developed THE STARLING GIRL as a fellow of the Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program and was recently named one of Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch for 2023.
“Scanlen’s work here is steeped in the feeling of a real-life being lived right in front of you.” – Jason Bailey, The Playlist
“The power of this sensitive and devilishly detailed coming-of-age drama is rooted in the friction that it finds between biblical paternalism and modern personhood.” – David Ehrlich, indieWire
“The language and strictures of their religious community are perfectly rendered by writer and director Laurel Parmet, who captures the complicated interplay of power and immaturity that can blossom in isolated communities.” – Alissa Wilkinson, Vox
“At a time when very little nuance is allowed in our culture, Parmet exquisitely manages to tell a complex story in the least judgmental manner, focusing primarily on the inner and outer world of her protagonist, perfectly embodied by Eliza Scanlen.. – Frank J. Avella, Edge Media Network
“Parmet’s strong script and surety behind the camera navigates the audience through this complicated story of religion and sexuality, patriarchy and power, brought to eerily accurate life by the ensemble of excellent actors.” – Katie Walsh, TheWrap
Tommy Hyde’s beguiling feature documentary debut UNDERDOG follows a hardscrabble Vermont dairy farmer Doug Butler. Doug has an offbeat passion – dog mushing. A local folk hero, Doug trains his team of mutts on the family farm with a dream to compete at the world championships in Alaska. But the demands of being a small-scale family farmer in a changing world are constant. Keenly aware of the fate of the other family farms that used to dot the landscape, Doug has managed for years to play one creditor off against the next to survive another season. But with the debt now insurmountable and Doug’s thoughts plunging into depression, his dogs offer solace…and perhaps a way out. On a cold March morning Doug pulls out of his driveway in a rusted-out truck carrying 22 dogs, bound for Alaska. The journey will prepare him for what he’ll confront when he gets back: the sale of his farm and a race to craft a new destiny. Director, cinematographer, editor Tommy Hyde joins us for a conversation on how met his charismatic subject, being welcomed into Doug’s energetic world, traveling across country with Doug and working how working with UNDERDOG producer and writer, Aaron Woolf and producer Kyra Schaefer from Mosaic Films Productions made this possible.
About the filmmaker – Tommy Hyde (Director, Camera, Editor) is a documentary filmmaker whose work explores people and stories at the fringes of society. Underdog, a film ten years in the making, is his directorial debut. He frequently collaborates with Mosaic Films, and is currently in production on two docu-series with them as a producer and writer. He is a graduate of Middlebury College and resides in Burlington, VT.
Kyra Schaefer (Co-Producer) is a NY-based documentary producer and editor whose work centers around the intersection of faith and feminism. She holds a B.A. in digital media and video production from Marymount Manhattan College. She is the co-producer of The Happening (in production) and Ordinary Saints (in production), both Mosaic Films Productions.
Aaron Woolf (Producer & Writer) is a Rockie, Logie and Peabody award-winning documentary filmmaker who tells stories that depict the human dimension of government policy. His work has been released theatrically in the US, Europe and Japan and broadcast on PBS, the Sundance Channel, and numerous international networks including RAI, ARTE, and SBS. Aaron is active in community and conservation efforts in New York’s Adirondack North Country, and in 2014 he was the Democratic nominee for Congress from the New York’s 21st district.
“Tommy Hyde’s heartwarming documentary traces the life of an aging Vermont dairy farmer. Hyde’s subtlety as a filmmaker, along with the fabulous, eccentric central figure, bring to mind David Lynch’s The Straight Story. Both films are remarkable for how seemingly unremarkable they are. Stick with it, and the film’s subliminal power will sneak up on you.”-Alex Saveliev, FILM THREAT
In the wildly entertaining and refreshingly unfiltered documentary KOKOMO CITY, filmmaker D. Smith passes the mic to four Black transgender sex workers in Atlanta and New York City – Daniella Carter, Koko Da Doll, Liyah Mitchell, and Dominique Silver – who unapologetically break down the walls of their profession. Holding nothing back, the film vibrates with energy, sex, challenge, and hard-earned wisdom. This vital portrait, edited and shot by Smith in bold black and white, is her feature directorial debut. A two-time Grammy-nominated producer, singer, and songwriter, Smith made history as the first trans woman cast on a primetime unscripted TV show. Executive produced by Lena Waithe, KOKOMO CITY won the Sundance Film Festival’s NEXT Innovator Award and NEXT Audience Award, as well as the Berlinale’s Audience Award in the Panorama Documentary section. Director D. Smith joins us for a conversation on her own journey from the world of music to the world of filmmaking, telling a story that would appeal to people outside the LBGTQ+ community, working with Executive Producer Lena Waithe, sharing the private life of sex workers, morning the loss of a friend and why shooting in black and white was the right choice for KOKOMO CITY.
Panorama Documentary Audience Award – Berlin Int’l FF 2023
About the filmmaker – Director/Editor/Cinematographer/Producer D. Smith is a two-time Grammy nominated producer, singer, and songwriter and is now making her film debut as a director of the documentary KOKOMO CITY. Smith’s father was a world-renowned drummer, and she wrote her first song at 10 years-old for the choir at church in Miami, Florida. From 4th grade through High School, Smith was a visual arts student, winning multiple awards for her eye including winning the statewide NAACP Act So award for photography and the statewide Scholastics Congressional award for drawing and was flown to the Capital in D.C. where her work was displayed. After coming out to her father as a teen, Smith was kicked out her house and was taken in by a church member. After graduating High School, Smith used the last of her money on a one-way bus ticket to New York City. She then began singing in the subway where she was first discovered and offered a publishing deal from Sony ATV. As a producer, Smith teamed with songwriter Stacy Barthe and they began placing records with major artists in the music business. Smith produced “Shoot Me Down” for Lil Wayne’s Carter III album which went 8 times platinum and performed with Lil Wayne on Jimmy Kimmel. Smith then signed a major publishing deal with Universal Music. She has produced and written for Cee-lo Green, Estelle, Katy Perry, Andre 3000, Monica, Lloyd, Fantasia, Nipsey Hussle, Ciara, Neyo, and Billy Porter. She has also collaborated with super producers like Timbaland and Marc Ronson. In 2014, Smith decided to walk in her truth and transition into the woman she always knew she was. She was unaware that living in her truth meant that she would have to sacrifice the thing she loved the most, which was making music for a living. People stopped calling. And eventually after running out of money and options, she knew she had to move on from the life she once knew. The silver lining came with the creation of KOKOMO CITY which has breathed new life into her. She devoted almost 3 years to it while crashing on different friends’ couches. All the while diving into the lives of four trans women who had a story to tell. Smith was over the moon to receive the call that KOKOMO CITY was to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.
Directed by two-time Oscar® nominated filmmaker Steve James (Hoop, Life Itself, Abacus: Small Enough to Jail), A COMPASSIONATE SPY is a gripping real-life spy thriller about controversial Manhattan Project physicist Ted Hall, who infamously provided nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union, told through the perspective of his loving wife Joan, who protected his secret for decades. Recruited in 1944 as an 18-year-old Harvard undergraduate to help Robert Oppenheimer and his team create a bomb, Hall was the youngest physicist on the Manhattan Project, and didn’t share his colleagues’ elation after the successful detonation of the world’s first atomic bomb. Concerned that a U.S. post-war monopoly on such a powerful weapon could lead to nuclear catastrophe, Hall began passing key information about the bomb’s construction to the Soviet Union. After the war, he met, fell in love with, and married Joan, a fellow student with whom he shared a passion for classical music and socialist causes — and the explosive secret of his espionage. The pair raised a family while living under a cloud of suspicion and years of FBI surveillance and intimidation. A COMPASSIONATE SPY reveals the twists and turns of this real-life spy story, its profound impact on nuclear history, and the couple’s remarkable love and life together during more than 50 years of marriage. Award winning filmmakerSteve James (Abacus: Small Enough To Jail, City So Real, America To Me) joins us for a conversation on the fraught political circumstances that brought Ted Hall to make such a radical decision, how Joan and Ted navigated their post war life, and why having a more nuanced understanding of the Cold War and nuclear destruction may save the world from an unimaginable conflagration.
About the filmmaker – Steve James was born in Hampton, Virginia, USA. One of America’s most acclaimed documentary directors, Steve’s first film, Hoop Dreams, is the story of two inner city Chicago teens striving to make it out of their neighborhoods and to the NBA. The film won every major critics’ award as well as the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, Peabody, and Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, awards from the Directors Guild of America, MTV Movie Award’s “Best New Filmmaker” honor and hundreds of other awards and accolades, making it the most awarded film of the year. Recently, Hoop Dreams was selected for the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry, signifying the film’s enduring importance to American film history. James is also known for other award winning documentary films including; The Interrupters (2011), Life Itself (2014) and Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (2016). His documentary series works include America to Me (2018), City So Real (2020) and most recently, The Luckiest Guy in the World (2023). Steve James has been based in Chicago, Illinois for his entire career.
“This first-rate portrait gets intimate with an atomic-age Edward Snowden, all the better to cast a long shadow.” – Phil Hoad, Guardian
“The documentary doubles as a mournful reflection on the age of nuclear proliferation – and a tribute to those who opposed the buildup.” – Tim Grierson, Screen International
“A Compassionate Spy borrows the look and feel of a historical espionage thriller and builds some momentum and moral complexity along the way, but it finds its real potency as a generational family drama.” – Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter
“The film demonstrates its director’s characteristic nose for strong material and knack for gripping, straightforward storytelling.” – Guy Lodge, Variety
“It’s worth being reminded by James’s layered, grippingly told account of a principled betrayal that when it comes to the biggest threats facing the globe, sometimes one person in the right circumstance can make a difference.” – Robert Abele, TheWrap
BOBI WINE: THE PEOPLE’S PRESIDENT, the award-winning feature documentary debut from directors Moses Bwayo and Christopher Sharp and produced by Christopher Sharp, alongside two-time Academy Award winner John Battsek’s Ventureland.BOBI WINE: THE PEOPLE’S PRESIDENT follows Bobi Wine, who was born in the slums of Kampala and became one of Uganda’s most popular musical talents the country has ever seen. In the midst of the violence, corruption and injustice of the ruthless regime led by Yoweri Museveni, Bobi decides to become the Ugandan opposition leader in the much-disputed 2021 presidential election. Using his music to denounce the dictatorial regime and support his life’s mission to defend the oppressed and the voiceless people of Uganda, Bobi risks his life and the lives of his wife, Barbie, and their children to take on the country’s corrupt police and military, who are not afraid to use violence and torture in a vain attempt to intimidate and silence Bobi and his supporters. Co-directors Moses Bwayo and Christopher Sharp join us for a conversation on the incredible level of access they have in the life of Bobi, Barbie, his family and his trusted circle of advisors as well as the extremely dangerous situations brought on by Bobi’s decision to stand against a dictatorial regime and stand up for the people in Uganda who want a better life for themselves and the beloved nation.
About the subject –Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, famously known as Bobi Wine, is a musician turned politician who is the current leader of the National Unity Platform (NUP) and the People Power Movement. Bobi was born in Mpigi District in Uganda on Feb. 12, 1982. He grew up in the Kamwokya slums in the northeast part of Kampala. His mother was a nurse, and his father was a veterinarian and farmer.Bobi is a singer, musician, actor and activist. He has campaigned for hospital sanitization, malaria prevention, refugees’ rights and children’s education. His songs are known as peaceful protest and edutainment (a mix between education and entertainment), focusing on the struggles of Uganda’s underprivileged and low-income earners and calling upon young people to join politics and change their country’s destiny. He is married to Barbara Itungo Kyagulanyi, known as Barbie, with whom he has four children.His characteristic enthusiasm for democratic discourse and the popularity he had earned from his prior artistic and philanthropic endeavors successfully endured his transition to politics. Bobi Wine continues to lead the NUP, the largest political opposition party in Uganda and has become the main opposition leader to President Museveni’s rule.
About the Subject – Barbara “Barbie” Itungo Kyagulanyi is an author, philanthropist and human rights activist. Barbie’s 2012 book, “Golden Memories of a Village Belle,” gives insight into her early childhood experiences with village politics and local council elections, her African family unit, and the abject poverty that led to the early marriages of her childhood friends. In 2013, Barbie founded Caring Hearts Uganda, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) that seeks to champion development projects in rural areas, prioritizing health care, maternity, education and sanitary programs. The NGO supports empowering leadership in girls through HIV/AIDS eradication, menstrual hygiene instruction, and continuing education, teaching traditional Ugandan values while encouraging girls to stay in school. In the community, the NGO has extended entrepreneurship skills to teen mothers for personal development and sustainability. With a master’s degree in human rights law from the University of London, Barbie has taken on the mantle of demanding equity and equality for women in political spaces through the women’s wing of the National Unity Platform political party, which is led by her husband, Kyagulanyi Ssentamu.
About the filmmaker – Christopher Sharp was born in Uganda and has a deep appreciation for the country’s people, culture and extraordinary natural beauty. He spent his early working life as a film editor in London and more recently has revisited the profession as director of ‘Bobi Wine: The People’s President’.He met Bobi and Barbie in 2017 and was inspired by their courage. Christopher believed in their extraordinary capacity to enact change, and instantly knew that their enormous sacrifice and resilience needed to be documented.He worked closely with a number of talented individuals, including Editor Paul Carlin, as well as acclaimed Producer John Battsek, Co-Director Moses Bwayo, and other inspirational cinematographers. Collectively they have made a film which he hopes gives courage to all those who struggle under oppressive regimes.
About the filmmaker – Moses Bwayo is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker known for shooting and co-directing the award-winning feature documentary “Bobi Wine: The People’s President” (2023). Born in the village of Bududa on the slopes of Mount Elgon in eastern Uganda, Moses was introduced to filmmaking by peeking through cracks in the walls of local kibandas, bootleg movie theatres housed in wooden shacks. In 2013, he graduated with honors with his Bachelor of Arts in journalism and mass communication. Moses went on to earn a postgraduate diploma at Kampala Film School, the nation’s top film and television conservatory, and started working as a production sound recordist and cinematographer. His life changed when he met Oscar®-nominated director Mira Nair, who was facilitating a workshop for aspiring filmmakers at her Maisha Film Labs. He was chosen as a boom operator on Nair’s short documentary “A Fork, a Spoon and a Knight” (2014). Subsequently, Nair took Moses under her wing and mentored him for two years, during which he performed sundry jobs for Disney’s “Queen of Katwe” (2016), travelling to the United States for the first time for the final mix with Nair in New York. In 2016, Moses started his own production company in Kampala, Jajja Productions, where he oversaw production and post-production services on various commercial, documentary, and feature films. Moses’ reputation as a courageous verité cinematographer and local fixer began to grow, shooting for ABC, BBC, and VICE News for their Uganda-based productions. In late 2017 His life changed again when he began work on the feature documentary “Bobi Wine: The People’s President.” Working closely with co-director and producer Christopher, Moses spent five harrowing years following Bobi Wine, a pop star turned politician who ran for president opposing Yoweri Museveni, a dictator who has been in power since 1986. During the production, Moses was arrested, imprisoned, and shot in the face at close range while filming. Two-time Oscar winner John Battsek also produced the film. With mounting threats to him and his family for making the film, Moses fled Uganda to the United States.
“A universally relevant portrait … consistently potent” – The Hollywood Reporter, Daniel Fienberg
“Gripping … An intimate portrait of a hugely engaging figure” – Screen Daily, Allan Hunter
“A shocking, tender work” – The Economist”
“This is a profile of unfathomable courage that deserves to be seen, in part to honor those who supported the film’s supply of footage and cannot be listed in the credits for fear of repercussion” – The Playlist
“His personality shines brightly throughout the film, which resonates with his hopeful protest songs. The more intensely violent situations he faces often turn the film into a nerve-shredding thriller.” – Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
“The film is a moving portrait of an inspiring young man and a reminder of the tenuous contract between a government and its citizens if democracy is going to prevail.’ – Scott Phillips, Forbes
Director Luke McManus’ rousing and sublime documentary NORTH CIRCULAR is a musical ode that travels the length of Dublin’s North Circular Road, from the Phoenix Park to Dublin Port, exploring the history, music and streetscapes of a street that links some of the country’s most beloved and infamous places. Told in black and white 4:3 Academy ratio, the film evokes many narratives from the history of the city and nation, from colonialism, to mental health, to the struggle for women’s liberation while also engaging with urgent issues of today, including the battle to save the legendary Cobblestone Pub, centre of Dublin’s recent folk revival, from destruction at the hands of cynical property developers. The film also includes musical performances from artists local to the North Circular, including John Francis Flynn, Séan Ó Túama, Eoghan O’Ceannabháin, Ian Lynch & Gemma Dunleavy. Director Luke McManus joins us for a conversation on the personal connection that he has to this historic roadway, how the road has played into the history of Dublin, highlighting the vital role that traditional Irish music has in the life of this community, what makes the Cobblestone Pub the most essential venue on North Circular and how stumbling upon Music Night at the Pub changed the course of the film, and the importance of contributing to the local economy.
About the filmmaker – Luke McManus is a filmmaker based in Grangegorman, just off the North Circular Road. Luke has produced and directed award-winning documentary projects for NBC, Netflix, RTÉ, Virgin Media Television, TG4, NDR/ARD, Al Jazeera and Channel 4, winning four IFTAs, one Celtic Media Award and the Radharc Award in the process. His debut feature as producer was The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid, which premiered in the Main Competition at IDFA in 2018, won the George Morrison Award for Best Feature Documentary at the Irish Film & Television Awards and the Best Irish Film Award at the Dublin International Film Festival. North Circular is his debut feature documentary as a director. For more go to: lukemcmanusdirector.com
A 2018 fatal shark attack on a boogie boarder in the town of Wellfleet, Massachusetts rocked visitors and residents in the idyllic summer community of Cape Cod, forcing them to respond to the encroachment of apex predators. With the numbers of sharks increasing every year, Ivy Meeropol’s expansive documentary AFTER THE BITE explores the repercussions for this beach community when rapid changes in the natural world begin to clash with a cherished way of life. Great white sharks have dominated headlines in recent years, as their deadly interactions with people have increased in the waters stretching from Maine to the Cape and Islands. Those charged with protecting the public have been forced to address the risk of serious injuries with stop-the-bleed kits mounted at public access beaches, warning billboards, the use of shark-tracking apps, spotter planes and new training programs and protocols for lifeguards. A portrait of an interconnected community of people and wildlife, AFTER THE BITE features a range of voices from different sides of these issues and considers the larger question of how far humans can push nature before it bites back.Director Ivy Meeropol (Bully. Coward. Victim. The Roy Cohn Story.Indian Point) joins us to talk about blending into the Cape Cod community of Wellfleet, enlisting the experts like Lisa Sette from the Center of Costal Studies; Dr. Greg Skomal and Meg Winton of the Atlantic White Shark Conservatory, to talk about the science and the lifeguards, conservationists, fishermen, journalists, paramedics, town residents, and activists to talk about the impact of the dramatic changes taking place since the tragic death of Arthur Medici.
About the filmmaker – Ivy Meeropol is a producer and director of an array of acclaimed documentary feature films and television series. 2019 saw the release of Bully. Victim. Coward. The Story of Roy Cohn on the life of the notorious mob lawyer, acolyte to the infamous Senator Joseph McCarthy, and mentor to Donald Trump. Meeropol rose to prominence in 2004 with her deeply personal film, Heir to An Execution, about the legacy of her grandparents Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (Sundance Film Festival, Academy Award short-list, HBO). Her film Indian Point questions safety standards overseen by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in light of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi disaster – while observing daily operations at an aging nuclear power plant just 35 miles north of New York City. (Winner of MacArthur Foundation documentary grant, premiere at 2015 Tribeca Film Festival). Meeropol created and directed non-fiction television series The Hill (Sundance Channel), a comedic, behind-the-scenes look at the young staffers of a US Congressman (2007 International Documentary Association nominee for Best Limited Series). Meeropol is also a director for CNN’s Death Row Stories and National Geographic’s Years of Living Dangerously.
“An impressive tapestry of conflicting perspectives—man and animal—that’s far more entertaining and insightful than your average Shark Week fare.” – Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com
“Through the eyes of a Cape Cod community where disaster strikes, director Ivy Meeropol gently moves beyond the spectacle that defines the history of sharks to immerse us further in their world while grappling with many pressing questions on the journey.” – Chase Hutchinson, Collider
THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY opens with young woman reeling from a devastating loss and embarking down an unknown road of discovery and renewal. Tana (Lily Gladstone) is pulled back into the world by an unexpected invitation to her cousin’s wedding. She packs up her late grandmother’s Cadillac and hits the open road, driving from her home in Minnesota to South Dakota. After reconnecting with her Oglala Lakota family, Tana sets off to retrace a surreal journey that her grandmother took decades ago, searching for the spot captured in an old family photograph. As she travels, Tana finds connection in the stories of everyday people who’ve settled down far off the main roads including Isaac (Raymond Lee), who provides a pivotal clue to understanding the lost location that could cultivate closure. A personal reverie summoned from a beguiling mix of fact and fiction, THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY is an arresting debut feature from Morrisa Maltz. Director/ Producer / Writer Morrisa Maltz (Ingrid, Odyssea) joins us for a conversation on the long journey she took figuratively and literally in the making of The Unknown Country, her evolving collaboration with lead actor Lily Gladstone and film producer and actor Lainey Bearkiller, editor Vanara Taing and cinematographer Andrew Hajek, the incorporation of storylines that occurred during the cross country shoot and what it has taught her about trusting her instincts as a filmmaker.
About the filmmaker – Morrisa Maltz is an artist and filmmaker. She studied visual arts at Columbia University. Her art, film, and performance work have been shown at MOCA, Los Angeles, as well as at the MCA, Santa Barbara and galleries internationally. In 2012, she created Mofones, an art product for iPhone that was sold at Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom and Museum stores worldwide. Her first short film, The Caretaker, won best narrative short at LES Film Festival and in 2014 her short film, Odyssea, premiered at Slamdance film festival. Morrisa’s first feature documentary, Ingrid, was applauded as a “festival gem” on the 2018 festival circuit and won several awards. Ingrid screened on PBS in 2019 and is distributed by Ryan Krivoshey’s Grasshopper Films. Her first narrative feature, The Unknown Country, premiered at SXSW 2022. The film has been hailed by Indiewire as “a stunning spiritual companion to Terrence Malick and ‘Nomadland,” and was acquired by Music Box Films. She was recently nominated for Mill Valley Film Festival’s Mind The Gap 2022 Creation Prize and signed with UTA in all areas.
About the artist – Lily Gladstone – Born in Montana, Gladstone was raised on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and later near Seattle, WA. She graduated with high honors from the University of Montana in 2008 with a BFA in Acting/Directing, and a minor in Native American Studies. Gladstone was introduced to audiences in Alex and Andrew Smith’s adaptation of Winter in the Blood, a NYT best seller and seminal novel by Blackfeet/Gros Ventre author James Welch. Her breakout role came in 2016 from Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women, a performance which earned her the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress, Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress, as well as nominations for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female and Gotham Independent Film Award for Breakthrough Actor. In 2017 Gladstone joined the Oregon Shakespeare Festival acting company, and in 2020 she stared in the Yale Repertory Theater production of Mary Kathryn Nagle’s Manahattan. In 2019 Gladstone reunited with Reichardt for First Cow. The film won Best Film at the 2020 New York Film Critics Circle Awards, and was named one of the ten best films of 2020 by the National Board of Review.
“Though every destination and person contains a beauty Maltz is delicately attuned to, it is Gladstone who emerges once more as a driving force like no other. She brings a grace to every frame, gently crafting an experience as eternal as it is magnificent.” – Chase Hutchinson, Collider
“Puts us in the presence of a major talent, bearing something profound in her artistic inclinations.” – Carlos Aguilar, indieWire
“A beautiful film with a thoughtfully profound journey that slowly reveals itself. As a Native American critic, it is also an admittedly terrifying film considering the plight of MMIW. Lily Gladstone does an exceptional.” – Vincent Schilling, Native Viewpoint
“This is minimalistic storytelling at its finest with outstanding work from Lily Gladstone. The stories from all involved are rich with personality” – Robert Kojder, Flickering Myth
HAVE YOU GOT IT YET? THE STORY OF SYD BARRETT AND PINK FLOYD asks and answers many of the perplexing questions that swirled around the life and decline of Syd Barrett, founding member, initial songwriter and leader of the world famous rock group Pink Floyd. Was he a drug casualty of the sixties? Did he walk away from the pressures of the commercial music world? Did he suffer from an undiagnosed mental illness? Pink Floyd were caught in the epicenter of the ‘underground’ explosion of the 60s as the psychedelic house band of the UFO club in London, with Syd Barrett its enigmatic figurehead, inspiring such musicians as David Bowie and Marc Bolan. Though he named the group, wrote the first two hit songs and was the lead vocalist and guitarist, Barrett was pushed out of the band by its members who were convinced he was having an LSD induced psychotic breakdown. After leaving the group, Barrett struggled to record two solo records but eventually dropped out of the music industry completely, living as a recluse for thirty years – while Pink Floyd went on to worldwide fame as one of the biggest selling bands of all time. Ironically, much of Pink Floyd’s most noted work (Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here) examined themes of genius and madness certainly mourning their long lost friend. HAVE YOU GOT IT YET? THE STORY OF SYD BARRETT AND PINK FLOYD is at once a chronicle and a mosaic, an investigation of fame and its personal cost while also exploring the larger social context of the 60s, its hopes and failures, and a compelling story that involves us all in discovery and how one chooses a path in life, measured by the outside world or one’s own inner voice. Co-director Roddy Bogawa (Storm Thorgerson) joins us for a conversation on working with Thorerson, renown artist and long-time friend of David Gilmore, Nick Mason and Roger Waters, separating the truth from the mythology regarding Barrett and what made Barrett’s work with Pink Floyd and his own solo music so intriguing and influential for generations of musicians and artists.
About the filmmaker – New York Filmmaker Roddy Bogawa completed his Master of Fine Arts at the University of California at San Diego in 1989 and then attended the Independent Study Program of the Whitney Museum of American Art. His filmography includes the features Junk and Some Divine Wind and the shorts If Andy Warhol’s Super-8 Camera Could Talk, Four or Five Accidents, One June…, and The Imagined, The Longed-For, The Conquered, and The Sublime. His films have been shown at the Sundance Film Festival, the Mannheim International Film Festival, and the Asian American International Film Festival among others, as well as the Biennial Exhibitions of the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1993 and 1995, the Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum, and Wexner Center for the Arts. His awards and grants include the Jerome Foundation Independent Filmmaker Grant, New York State Council on the Arts, American Center Foundation, and The Russell Foundation. His most recent film, Have You Got It Yet? The Story of Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd delves into the mythology, lies, and the truth surrounding the musician / artist life before, during and after his founding of the legendary rock band Pink Floyd.
“Roddy Bogawa and Storm Thorgerson must rely on archive footage, music, and extensive interviews with just about everyone whose lives and careers intersected with Barrett, all given chronological structure by Jason Isaacs’ narration.” – Richard Whittaker, Austin Chronicle
“The story is familiar, but it’s never been told in such detail.” – Jem Aswad, Variety
“It’s as comprehensive and coherent an account of Barrett’s counterculture tragedy as one could hope for.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times
“[The film] is an admirable effort that intends to explore the life and career of the charismatic, enigmatic, and psychedelic rocker, an assemblage of diverse materials that seeks to shed light on the dark side of Barrett’s psyche.” – Ayeen Forootan, In Review Online
In this deeply personal documentary EAT YOUR CATFISH we meet the matriarch of the Arjomand family, Kathryn, now dependent on round-the-clock care, due to a harrowing diagnosis. She clings to a mordant wit while yearning to witness her daughter’s wedding. Co-directors and producers Adam Isenberg, Senem Tüzen and Noah Amir Arjomand — who is Kathryn’s son — deliver a brutally frank and darkly humorous portrait of a family teetering on the brink, grappling with the daily demands of disability and in-home caregiving. With her daughter Minou’s wedding day approaching, Kathryn is determined to live to see her child get married. Years with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease, have left Kathryn paralyzed and needing 24-hour care. She relies on an eye-tracking, speech-generating computer to impart her wishes, but it can be an uphill struggle to be ‘heard’. With her mind intact and having opted for mechanical breathing, she could live like this indefinitely. EAT YOUR CATFISH is draws on 930 hours of footage – all filmed without any crew present from a fixed camera and narrated by Kathryn. The result is a profoundly intimate, layered and wryly funny portrait of a family at its breaking point. Co-directors Noah Amir Arjomand & Adam Isenberg (Senem Tüzen) joins us to talk about the ways this film project came about, why they adopted the POV approach to telling the story and how seeing the world from the point-of-view Kathryn could positively impact other family’s dealing with a loved one in a comparable medical condition.
EAT YOUR CATFISH made its world premiere in 2021 at IDFA in the Envision Competition and received a nomination for Best Documentary. In 2022, the film won Best Documentary at the Istanbul International Film Festival and won Best International Documentary at the Antenna Documentary Festival. The same year it was also nominated for a Best Feature Documentary Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, and Turkish Film Critics Association (SIYAD) Awards. The documentary also received a nomination for the Youth Jury Award at the 2022 Sheffield International Documentary Festival.
“An unusually unsentimental, everyday document of ALS, tender in the expressly painful manner of a fresh bruise.” – Guy Lodge, Variety
“Intimate, brutally honest…crucially, the film gives Kathryn a platform to tell – and indeed show – her story, in her own unique way. Her lingering hope is that viewers don’t think she’s pathetic, but plucky. Painstakingly edited by Adam Isenberg and Senem Tüzen, this film grants her that wish.” – Nikki Baughan, Screen International
LAKOTA NATION vs UNITED STATES begins and ends with it’s focus on “the most sacred place on earth,” the birthplace of the Lakota that has shaped thought, identity and philosophy for the Očéti Šakówiŋ since time immemorial-the life-giving land known as the Black Hills. Yet with the arrival of the first Europeans in 1492, the sacred land has been the site of conflict between the people it has nurtured, and the settler state seeking to exploit and redefine it in its own image. Lakota Nation vs. United States is a searing testament to the strength of the Oyate nation and the people. It is also a visually stunning rejoinder to the distorted imagery of a people and culture long shaped by racist mainstream films, art, books and history taught to our children. In spite of the string of broken treaties or the action of war criminal General Custer at Little Big Horn or the slaughter of millions of buffalo or forced removal of native children into government run “boarding” schools the Oglala Tetonowan Oyate have survived. Lakota Nation vs. United States is a lyrical and provocative testament to a land and a people who have survived removal, exploitation and genocide–and whose best days are yet to come.Co-directors Jesse Short Bull (Istinma) and Laura Tomaselli (MLK/FBI) join us for a conversation on the powerful familial connection that Jesse has the battle of Little Big Horn, how and why the American government ignored or violated recognized treaties before the ink was dry, and how the political, economic and cultural violence against the Oyate remain firmly embedded in the policies of the state and federal government to this day.
About the filmmaker – Jesse Short Bull, Director, wrote and produced the 2013 short Istinma, set in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of South Dakota. A graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts, Short Bull received a 2016 Sundance Institute Native American and Indigenous Program Development Grant and also attended the Creative Producing Summit at Sundance. In 2014 he was part of the effort to change the name of Shannon County to Oglala Lakota County in South Dakota. Currently employed by the Oglala Lakota tribal government, Short Bull is a member of the board of the Black Hills Film Festival. With the First Peoples Fund he leads youth filmmaking workshops in the Oglala Lakota Nation.
About the filmmaker – Laura Tomaselli, Director and Editor is a filmmaker with credits spanning narrative, documentary, and commercial projects. Most recently, she edited the documentary features MLK/FBI and Surge as well as the nonfiction shorts Feathers and Lowland Kids. For her work on MLK/FBI Tomaselli received a Cinema Eye Award Nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Editing. Her films have screened at Sundance, SXSW, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Toronto International Film Festival.
“Jesse Short Bull and Laura Tomaselli’s vital Lakota Nation vs. United States doesn’t waste any of its 121 minutes, but it also boasts a number of moments that effectively squeeze the film’s entire perspective into a single unforgettable image.” –David Ehrlich, indieWire
In a nod to Turner Classic Movies (TCM)’s “Silent Sunday Nights,” hosted by Academy Museum Director and President Jacqueline Stewart, the museum is launching a series of silent film screenings. Both TCM and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures are dedicated to showcasing the films of this important period in filmmaking history as part of our cultural heritage. Film historian David Pierce has concluded that only 26% of American silent features survive in complete form. Taking place on Sundays at 2 pm, and screening at the world renown David Geffen Theatre, Silent Sundays will showcase iconic movies from the silent era as well as forgotten gems and international classics. Each screening will also feature live musical accompaniment. The opening film on July 23 is Earth (Zemlya) by director Oleksandr Dovzhenko. It is the first screening of theEarth (Zemlya) outside of Europe and accompanied by a live musical performance from Kyiv-based composer Luke Corradine. K.J. Relth-Miller, Interim Director of Film Programs at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures joins us for a conversation what went into selecting the first slate of silent film era classics, the thrill of watching great films with live musical, and how many of the filmmakers from the silent era went on to become cinematic icons; Keaton, Chaplin, Hitchcock, Lang,Lubitsch, DeMille and Hawks.
David Geffen Theatre – A grand presentation space for major film events, public programs, live performances, movie premieres, and other special events with the world’s leading filmmakers, the 966-seat David Geffen Theater is an unforgettable part of visitors’ museum experience.The museum’s large theater is fully equipped to present film in many formats, including nitrate, 35mm, 70mm, and laser projection supporting Dolby Vision, which allows visitors to see the subtle details and ultra-vivid colors creating multi-dimensional visuals. The theater also features Dolby Atmos, a truly immersive audio experience. The Geffen Theater’s stage can accommodate a 60-piece orchestra; its seating layout can be arranged to accommodate a sound booth; and catwalks can be rigged with theater lighting.Dolby is the exclusive audio and visual sponsor of this theater.For more go to: academymuseum.org
Davide Ferrario’s UMBERTO ECO is a documentary immersion into all things Eco. His sublimely intimate film takes us on a tour of Umberto Eco’s private library, guided by the author himself. Combining new footage with material he shot with Eco in 2015 for a video installation for the Venice Biennale, Ferrario documents this incredible collection and the man who amassed it. As Eco leads us among the more than 50,000 volumes and his family reflects on his legacy, we also gain insight into the library of the mind of this vastly prolific and original thinker. UMBERTO ECO director Davide Ferrario (After Midnight, We All Fall Down), joins us for a lively conversation on how he approached his humble and warm-hearted subject, enlisting Umberto’s family, Renate, Stefano and Carlotta, into this joyful collaboration and how important he felt it was to make Umberto’s sonorous collection of literature the other “character” in this exhilarating ode to the author of The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco.
About the filmmaker – Davide Ferrario was born in Lombardy in 1956, lives in Torino. He graduated in American Literature from Milan University in 1981. He began as a film critic in the 70’s, writing essays and books. He also funded a distribution company who released in Italy films by Wenders, Fassbinder, Wajda. Later, he became an Italian agent for such American independents as John Sayles and Jim Jarmusch. His debut as a director was La fine della notte, 1989, voted Best Italian Independent Film of the year. Since then he has directed fiction films and documentaries shown in international festivals like Berlin, Sundance, Venice, Toronto, Locarno. Ferrario holds a peculiar place in the Italian scene. Sternly independent, he runs his own production company, Rossofuoco, with which he has produced all his movies since 2002. Among them, Dopo mezzanotte (After Midnight), a great success at the Berlinale and sold to over 100 countries; and the documentary La strada di Levi (Primo Levi’s Journey), long-listed for the Academy Award. His most recent direction is Blood on the Crown, starring Harvey Keitel and Malcolm McDowell. Ferrario is also a novelist: his book Dissolvenza al nero (Fade to Black) has been translated in many languages and has been adapted for the screen by Oliver Parker in 2006. He is a regular contributor to Corriere della Sera; he is also active as a visual artist and a photographer.
“As we wander through the labyrinth we are drawn further and further into its trap, made ever more keenly aware of our own hunger for knowledge, for understanding.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
“The contemporary Italian philosopher, medievalist, critic, commentator and reluctant novelist comes to buoyant, engaging life in this look back at the man and his books, through the eyes of family and friends, and in the author’s own words.” – Chris Knight, Original Cin
“This swooning homage to printed matter is for the most part razor sharp, and if it convinces anyone that physical media is crucial for civilization, then all the better.” – Pat Padua, Spectrum Culture
“The film becomes a timely epistemological rumination on the difference between knowledge and information, the relationship between memory and technology.” – William Repass, Slant Magazine
Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Sam Pollard (MLK/FBI), and executive produced by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson (Oscar-winning SUMMER OF SOUL), Tariq Trotter (DESCENDANT), and produced by RadicalMedia , THE LEAGUE celebrates the dynamic journey of Negro League baseball’s triumphs and challenges through the first half of the twentieth century. The story is told through previously unearthed archival footage and never-before-seen interviews with legendary players like Satchel Paige and Buck O’Neil – whose early careers paved the way for the Jackie Robinson era – as well as celebrated Hall of Famers Willie Mays and Hank Aaron who started out in the Negro Leagues. From entrepreneurial titans Cumberland Posey and Gus Greenlee, whose intense rivalry fueled the rise of two of the best baseball teams ever to play the game, to Effa Manley, the activist owner of the Newark Eagles and the only woman ever admitted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, THE LEAGUE explores Black baseball as an economic and social pillar of Black communities and a stage for some of the greatest athletes to ever play the game, while also examining the unintended consequences of integration. Director Sam Pollard (Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power, Citizen Ashe, Tiger) joins us for a conversation on the multi-layered history of the Black ballplayer’s quest for inclusion, compensation and respect. The story begins in 1890’s Jim Crow laws forcing out the few Black players already playing with white players in the nascent professional leagues and culminates with the signing of Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson to a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers and soon after Larry Dolby to a contract with the American League’s Cleveland Indians.
About the filmmaker – Sam Pollard is a veteran feature film and television video editor, and documentary producer/director. Between 1990 and 2010, he edited a number of Spike Lee films: Mo’ Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Girl 6, Clockers, and Bamboozled. Pollard and Lee co-produced a number of documentary productions for the small and big screen, including Four Little Girls, a feature-length documentary about the 1963 Birmingham church bombings which was nominated for an Academy Award® in 1998 and When The Levees Broke, a four-part documentary that won numerous awards, including a Peabody and three Emmy Awards. Five years later 2010 he co-produced and supervised the edit on the follow up, If God Is Willing And Da Creek Don’t Rise. As a producer/director, since 2015, his credits include: Slavery By Another Name, (2015) a 90-minute documentary for PBS that was in competition at the Sundance Festival; August Wilson: The Ground On Which I Stand, (2015) a 90-minute documentary for American Masters; Two Trains Runnin, a feature length documentary, which premiered at the Full Frame Film Festival in 2016; and Sammy Davis Jr.,I’ve Gotta Be Me for American Masters premièred at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. In 2019, he co-directed the six-part series, Why We Hate, which premiered on The Discovery Channel. In 2020 he was one of the directors on the 2020 HBO Series Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children. also that year, he completed MLK/FBI, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and was also featured at the New York Film Festival.
“Where “The League” sparkles is in its retrieving interviews with the great pitcher Paige, Monte Irvin and other Negro Leagues stars who lived long enough for the country to start interviewing Black baseball players about those years.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation