Champions of the Golden Valley – Director Ben Sturgulewski

In his riveting feature documentary CHAMPIONS OF THE GOLDEN VALLEY director Ben Sturgulewski peels back the social, religious and community layers in the remote mountain villages of Bamyan, Afghanistan, to find what has created the newfound passion for skiing. This passion has attracted young athletes from rival ethnic groups who showcase their resourcefulness and skill on the slopes. Equipped with minimal gear, makeshift skis, and no chairlift, the determined ski coach Alishah Farhang organizes a ski race that unities the community in a moment of joy and camaraderie. However, when their country falls to the Taliban, many of the skiers are displaced across the globe as refugees, confronted with an uncertain future. In CHAMPIONS OF THE GOLDEN VALLEY filmmaker Ben Sturgulewski masterfully captures the thrill of a sports rivalry intertwined with the poignant narrative of a community grappling with profound change – revealing what it means to be a champion, in all its forms. Director, editor and cinematographer Ben Sturgulewski joins us to talk about his own long journey, figuratively and literally, to tell this amazing story of community, loss, rivalry, friendship, and how striving to be better can not only lift up an individual, like Alishah Farhang, Alishah Farhang, Mujtaba Hussaini, Raees Hussaini, Haji Hussaini, Mortiza Motahari and Hussain Ali Nazari, but those around them. 

 

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For more go to: championsofthegoldenvalley.com

About the filmmaker – Ben ‘Sturge’ Sturgulewski grew up on a rugged and remote island in Alaska’s Aleutian Chain, inspiring a life dedicated to the exploration of the world’s wild side, and the people who call it home. Ben has created a portfolio of award-winning short films that have appeared in festivals around the globe, taking home dozens of awards for cinematography, editing, creativity, and storytelling – as well as overall Grand Prizes and Audience Awards. He has directed, filmed and edited acclaimed content for clients such as Patagonia, Arcteryx, YETI, Rivian, NFL Films, and Red Bull. Ben has produced a library of Vimeo Staff Picks, and his ski film VALHALLA was recently named ‘The Greatest Ski Film of All Time’ by Outside Magazine. His collaborations with brands, agencies, production houses, and passion projects continue to take him on new and unexpected adventures. CHAMPIONS OF THE GOLDEN VALLEY is his first feature documentary.

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Review:
“A deeply human, rousing and forward-thinking, sensitive sports story” – 2024 Tribeca Festival

Geoff McFetridge, Drawing a Life – Director Dan Covert

Winner of the 2023 SXSW Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature Dan Covert’s GEOFF MCFETRIDGE: DRAWING A LIFE focuses on one of the most prolific artists of his time, Geoff McFetridge, an artist who has undoubtedly influenced the way the world looks. His art is everywhere—on your Apple watch, in countless galleries around the world, in title designs for films by Sofia Coppola and Spike Jonze, and in collaborations with Nike, Hermès, Warby Parker, and more. The antithesis of the archetypal artist fueled by drugs, alcohol, and chaos, what sets the prodigious McFetridge apart is his obsessive quest to balance family with a creative life. In GEOFF MCFETRIDGE: DRAWING A LIFE, director and fellow artist Dan Covert offers unprecedented access into Geoff’s multifaceted world, painting an intimate portrait of a man guided by intention and authenticity. Director and Producer Dan Covert joins us for a conversation on what initially drew him to McFetridge’s work, how working with Executive Producer Spike Jonze impacted the final cut, getting to know McFetridge beyond his art, and his own background as an artist and graphic designer.

For more go to: drawingalifefilm.com

Drawing a Life is now available on VOD 

About the filmmaker – Director Dan Covert is a sculptor and painter represented by Uprise Art and the Co-Founder of the production company Dress Code. He began his career designing logos for MTV’s Video Music Awards, art directing magazine covers, and teaching type and new media classes at Pratt Institute.  As an award-winning and tenured commercial director, Dan has worked for iconic brands including Apple, Coach, Peloton, Olay, Lincoln, Delta, Hennessy, and The Gates Foundation. His films for EV-pioneer Rivian helped their IPO become the 6th largest in history. Dan’s passion for storytelling and design collided when the American Institute of Graphic Arts hired him to direct 60 plus films telling the stories of world-renowned designers like Milton Glaser, David Carson, and Emory Douglas, the art director of the Black Panther Party. This work has premiered at SXSW, Tribeca, and Raindance, among others. GEOFF MCFFETRIDGE: DRAWING A LIFE is his first feature film. It premiered at SXSW, where it won the Audience Award in 2023.

About the subject – Throughout his long and diverse career, Geoff McFetridge has worked across a vast array of mediums from poetry to animation, graphics to 3D, textile and wallpaper to paintings. McFetridge has exhibited in galleries worldwide including Louis Buhl, Detroit (2022); Gallery Target, Tokyo (2022); Cooper Cole, Toronto (2021); Half Gallery, New York (2021); V1 Gallery, Copenhagen (2020); Blum and Poe, Los Angeles (2020); PlayMountain, Tokyo (2013); Heath Gallery, Los Angeles (2011) and New Image Art, West Hollywood (2006). Included in the Beautiful Losers exhibition (curated by Aaron Rose and Christian Strike) which debuted at CAC, Cincinnati in 2004, he has also been featured in exhibitions at the Walker Art Center, Vancouver Art Gallery, Yale University Art Museum, and Geffen Contemporary at MoCA Los Angeles. As a designer, he has worked extensively with brands including Hermes, Vans, Undefeated, Patagonia & Apple, just to name a few. Recently he has made public works for LA Metro & SOFI Stadium LA. Winner of the 2016 Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian National Design Award and the AIGA Medal in 2019, McFetridge received his BFA from the Alberta College of Art & Design and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts.

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“An absorbing profile of an innovative artist.” – Justin Lowe, Hollywood Reporter

“Really give a sense of Geoff McFetridge’s intensity which duels with his sense of playfulness.” – Michael Talbot-Haynes, Film Threat

*Will leave you feeling inspired to live with intention” – Overly Honest Movie Reviews

“… the film proves to be a triumphant take on the artist as well as the art behind it. This is certainly a win in the realm of following your dreams and aspirations.” – Richard Schertzer, Battle Royale With Cheese

“A special look at a special artist.” – Kip Mooney, College Movie Review

Chronicles of a Wandering Saint – Director / Screenwriter Tomas Gomez-Bustillo

Director Tomas Gomez-Bustillo magical tale, CHRONICLES OF A WANDERING SAINT focuses on a tiny rural village in Argentina, where Rita Lopez, (Monica Villa) a pious yet insatiably competitive woman, decides that staging a miracle could be her ticket to sainthood. After discovering a lost statue in the back room of her chapel, she convinces her neglected but loving husband to help her orchestrate the grand reveal that will finally anoint her as the most admired woman in town. But before the unveiling, a jarring turn of events illuminates the hidden magic of her world, forcing her to reevaluate everything she once took for granted. Director / Screenwriter Tomas Gomez-Bustillo (Museum of Fleeting Wonders) stops by to talk about his inspiration for his delightfully off kilter, magical tale of flawed people doing very human things to and for one another, recruiting this wonderful cast of actors, led by Monica Villa, Horacio Moseinco, Dahyana Turkie, Noemi Ron and Ana Silvia Mackenzie, and his reaction to the three Spirit Award nominations in 2024.

 

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For more go to: chroniclesofawanderingsaint.com

Also: beplentygood.com

Grand Illusion -7/6-7/11 Seattle, WA
Mystic Theatre – Opens 7/12 Nevada City, Ca
Lake Worth Playhouse – July 12, 13, 14 Lake Worth, FL
Cincinnati World Cinema – July Cincinnati, Oh
Roxie  – Opens 7/19 San Francisco
Harris Theatre – 8/16 – 8/22 Pittsburgh, Pa
Rodeo Cinema –  Oklahoma City

 

About the filmmaker – Born in Buenos Aires, Tomás Gómez Bustillo was brought up across Argentina, El Salvador, Costa Rica and the US. After studying Political Science in Buenos Aires, he relocated to LA where he earned his MFA in Directing at the American Film Institute Conservatory. After graduating, he co-founded indie production company Plenty Good. His debut feature film, CHRONICLES OF A WANDERING SAINT, starring Monica Villa  premiered at SXSW 2023 to rave reviews and won the AYH Award for visionary film. It was nominated for 3 FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS: Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay and Best Cinematography. Chronicles will be released theatrically in the US in 2024. 

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96% on RottenTomatoes

“A triumph. An original and moving fable with elements of magical realism that explores faith, legacy, and the smallest miracles that sometimes go unnoticed.” – Rene Sanchez, Cine Sin Fronteras

“Certain moments lend Chronicles of a Wandering Saint the feel of Renaissance paintings, pairing vibrant and cool colors with an encompassing emphasis on interplay between light and shadow.” – Andy Crump, Paste Magazine

“Saint is easily among my top tier favorites of a very successful SXSW this year, and I expect it to hover near the top of my year end list when the time comes. What a debut for Gómez Bustillo, and what a performance from Mónica Villa!”- J Hurtado, ScreenAnarchy

“Bustillo’s sense of humor and beauty within his storytelling is memorable and classic, like many auteurs.” – Sabina Dana Plasse, Film Threat

“This is a very funny film. One that’s probably at its funniest when staging a death scene. It’s equal parts melancholic in its tale of rekindled love and absurdly fantastical in its bureaucratically pragmatic idea of the afterlife.” – Jared Mobarak, Hey, Have You Seen …?

“Chronicles of a Wandering Saint is sweet, funny, deadpan, and magical. A tale about love after life and the mysteries of the day to day being just as profound as those of the divine.” – Nadine Whitney, AWFJ.org

Tell Them You Love Me – Director Nick August-Perna

Nick August-Perna complex documentary feature TELL THEM YOU LOVE ME explores the story of Anna Stubblefield, an esteemed  Rutgers University professor who becomes embroiled in a controversial affair with Derrick Johnson, a Black man with cerebral palsy, and who has been non-communicative since his earliest days.  Using a highly disputed technique Anna says she unlocked Derrick’s mind from his body by teaching him to communicate using a keyboard. In addition to Anna Stubblefield, we hear from Derrick’s brother John Johnson, their mother Daisy Johnson and a variety of academics and doctors who lend their perspective on the relationship and what follows from it. The relationship eventually leads to Anna’s arrest and a high profile criminal trial that would challenge our perceptions of disability and the nature of consent. Through exclusive footage and interviews with those on both sides of the case, the film weaves a riveting and endlessly nuanced story about communications, race and sex. Director and co-writer Nick August-Perna (The Oxy-Kingpins) joins us for a conversation on going about gaining the cooperation and trust from the participants,  including Anna Stubblefield and her mother, finding a balanced approach to telling the story and his joy at seeing how TELL THEM YOU LOVE ME seems to resonate with audiences at film festivals, 2023 Hamptons International Film Festival, and the 2023 Montclair Film Festival where it won the jury awards for Best Documentary Feature and now as the most popular documentary on NETFLIX.

 

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For more go to: nickaugustperna.com

About the filmmaker – Nick is an award-winning director, producer, and editor whose work has been nominated for the Emmys, the Duponts, and the Academy Awards. His directorial work aims to present stories that challenge the shape and power of the documentary form, to inspire discourse, and to build empathy. His latest feature documentary, Tell Them You Love Me, premiered on Netflix in June, 2024 and was the #1 most watched film in America its first week on the platform. 

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“All credit to this film for its high quality and refusal to sensationalise” – The Times

“Netflix continues to provide a steady stream of fascinating true crime stories that will have you transfixed to your television for an hour. Tell Them You Love Me falls right in that tradition. – Alan Ng, Film Threat

“Beyond consent, disability and race there is space given to reflect upon the nature of language, the “white saviour” complex, the purpose of justice and what constitutes unconditional love.” – Leila Latif, The Guardian

“Will leave you thinking about it long afterwards” – The Observer

“a gripping, see-sawing story that unseats our preconceptions and wrenches our sympathy this way and that” – Radio Times

Ain’t No Back to a Merry-Go-Round – Director Ilana Trachtman

Director Ilana Trachtman illuminating documentary AIN’T NO BACK TO A MERRY-GO-ROUND is the untold story of the first organized interracial civil rights protest in U.S. history. When five Howard University students sat on a Maryland carousel in 1960, the arrests made headlines. When the white community near Glen Echo Amusement Park joined the Black students in picketing, an extraordinary history-making partnership was born. The pickets attracted Nazis, Congressman, and a press avalanche. Picketing together over the sweltering summer led to partying together, and union organizers mentored student activists. Ten 1961 Freedom Riders, including Stokely Carmichael, were incubated on the Glen Echo picket line, and the carousel arrests were challenged in the Supreme Court case. With never-before seen footage, and immersive storytelling by Emmy-award winning director Ilana Trachtman (Praying with Lior, Black in Latin America, The Pursuit), four living protesters rescue this forgotten history, revealing the price, and the power, of heeding the impulse to activism. AIN’T NO BACK TO A MERRY-GO-ROUND includes voiceover by noted actors Jeffrey Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Bob Balaban, Lee Grant, Peter Gallagher, Dominique Thorne, Alysia Reiner and Tracie Thoms.

 

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For more go to: aintnoback.com

Merry-Go-Round 
Where is the Jim Crow section
On this merry-go-round,
Mister, cause I want to ride?
Down South where I come from
White and colored
Can’t sit side by side.
Down South on the train
There’s a Jim Crow car.
On the bus we’re put in the back —
But there ain’t no back on a merry-go-round
Where’s the horse For a kid that’s Black?
– Langston Hughes –

 

About the filmmaker – Ilana Trachtman (Producer/ Director) has made Emmy award-winning nonfiction programs for over thirty years. For PBS, HBO Family, ABC-TV, Showtime, Lifetime, Discovery, A&E, and the Sundance channel she has explored worlds such as the legacy of slavery in Latin America, activism among Gulf coast shrimpers, glassblowing with at- risk youth, and transgender parents. Favorite prime-time directing credits for PBS include the independent feature Mariachi High (Imagen Award Nomination) Black in Latin America hosted by Henry Louis Gates; and Texas Ranch House. Ilana was a supervising producer on PBS’ History Detectives and the Sundance Channel’s Big Ideas for a Small Planet. Ilana began her career in the documentary unit of PBS’s Reading Rainbow. Ilana’s independent feature documentary Praying with Lior played theatrically in over 60 cities in the US and abroad. The film garnered six Audience Awards for Best Documentary, the Grand Prix at the International Disability Film Festival, and was a critic’s pick of the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Washington Post. Ilana produced and directed The Pursuit: 50 Years in the Fight for LGBT Rights for WHYY, which won the Mid-Atlantic Emmy for Best Documentary. Most recently, she co-produced Stand Up and Shout: Songs from a Philly High School for HBO. 

Reviews:

“This film proves to be an endearing foray into the racial disparities of the 1960s and gives you a beautiful, yet dark, glimpse into what that time was like for people of color.” – Richard Schertzer, Battle Royale With Cheese

“Ain’t No Back to a Merry-Go-Round is a film that informs with entertaining creativity.” – Karren LaLonde Alenier, culturevulture.net

LYD – Co-directors Sarah Ema Friedland & Rami Younis

Filmmakers Rami Younis and Sarah Ema Friedland feature length, speculative documentary, LYD follows the rise and fall of a 5,000-year-old metropolis, Lyd. It  was once a bustling Palestinian town until it was conquered when the State of Israel was established in 1948. As the film unfolds, a chorus of characters creates a tapestry of the Palestinian experience of this city and the trauma left by the massacre and expulsion, while vivid animations envision an alternate reality where the same characters live free from the trauma of the past and the violence of the present. Using never-before-seen archival footage of the Israeli soldiers who carried out the massacre and expulsion, the personified city explains that these events were so devastating that they fractured reality, and now there are two Lyds — one occupied and one free. As the film cuts between fantastical and documentary realities, it ultimately leaves the viewer questioning which future should prevail. Lyd dares to ask the question: what would the city be like had the Israeli occupation of Lyd never happened? Co-directors Rami Younis and Sarah Ema Friedland join us for a wide ranging conversation on the utterly fascinating and pivotal role that the city of Lyd has played in the multiple empires, ancient and modern, the establishment of the state of Israel, the forced expulsion of Palestinians during Nakba and the provocative question at the heart of the film… What if?

 

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For more go to: icarusfilms.com/if-lyd
For more about the filmmakers go to: lydinexile.com
 
For Los Angeles area screenings go to: laemmle.com/lyd
All other screenings: Go to: icarusfilms.com/playdate#lyd

LYD premiered at the 2023 Amman International Film Festival where it won the Jury Prize for Best Documentary and the FIPRESCI prize from the International Critics Association. 

About the Filmmaker – Director and Cinematographer Sarah Ema Friedland is an NYC-based media artist and educator. Her work has screened at institutions including Cannes Film Festival, Lincoln Center, Anthology Film Archives, PBS, the Tang Teaching Museum, The Chelsea Museum, The Queens Museum, The 14th Street Y, and the MIT List Center. Her works have been supported by grants and fellowships, including the Jerome Founation, NYSCA, the Palestine American Research Center, the LABA House of Study, and the MacDowell Colony. Named one of the “Top 10 Independent Filmmakers to Watch” by Independent Magazine, she is a recipient of the Paul Robeson Award from the Newark Museum, and was nominated for a New York Emmy. Friedland is a member of the Meerkat Media Collective and the Director of the MDOCS Storyteller’s Institute at Skidmore College where she is also a Teaching Professor in the MDOCS Program. sarahfriedland.com

About the filmmaker – Director and Producer Rami Younis is a Palestinian filmmaker, writer, journalist and activist from Lyd. He was a 2019-20 Fellow at the Harvard Divinity School. As a journalist, he mainly wrote for the online magazine +972 and served as both writer and editor of its Hebrew sister site, “local call”, a journalistic project he co-founded, designed to challenge Israeli mainstream journalism outlets. Rami served as a parliamentary consultant and media spokesperson for Palestinian member of Knesset (Israeli parliament) Haneen Zoabi. Rami is also co-founder and manager of the first-ever Palestine Music Expo, an event that connects the local Palestinian music scene to the worldwide industry. Younis is the host of the Arabic-language daily news show, “On the Other Hand.”

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Reviews:

“Lyd is a film that should, for all that it touches upon and how it does what it sets out to do, certainly stand the test of time. Above all, it’s a cinematic What if…?.” – Schayan Riaz, The International Federation of Film Critics “A unique artistic and historical journey.” – Mohamed Tarek, The International Federation of Film Critics

“A harrowing watch, but a vital one if the goal is gaining greater understanding the history of Israel-Palestine conflict.” – ScreenHub

“A cinematic achievement that breaks down the wide divide between documentary and science fiction.” – The National

“Lyd occasionally spins its wheels across modes of storytelling, but it never loses sight of these slippery questions about what is, and what could be, achieved through the power of our collective imagination.” – Chris Cassingham, In Review Online

“Provocative, heartfelt and eye-opening.” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru

Queendom – Director Agniia Galdanova & Producer Igor Myakotin

Gennadiy (Gena) Chabotarev is a queer artist from a small town in Russia, dresses in otherworldly costumes made from junk and tape, and protests the government on the streets of Moscow. Born and raised on the harsh streets of Magadan, a frigid outpost of the Soviet gulag, Gena is only 21. She stages radical performances in public that become a new form of art and activism. By doing that, she wants to change people’s perception of beauty and queerness and bring attention to the harassment of the LGBTQ+ community. The performances – often dark, strange, evocative, and queer at their core – are a manifestation of Gena’s subconscious. But they come at a price.  QUEENDOM boasts a top notch production team that also includes executive producers Jess Search (Citizenfour), David France ( How to Survive a Plague), Arnaud Borges (C’est tout pour moi), and James Costa (Hidden Letters). Director Agniia Galdanova and Producer Igor Myakotin join us for a conversation on the challenge that came from burrowing into the tumultuous life of Gena as she faces the very real danger from hostile Russian police, menacing citizenry and the complicated family, re: her grandfather, a relationships she lovingly navigates.

 

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For more go to: greenwichentertainment.com/queendom 

About the filmmaker – Agniia Galdanova is a Sundance and IDFA-supported documentary film director. Her previous film, “One Step Forward, One Step Back,” about a family’s dream to live far from civilization in the Altai Mountains, premiered at the Message to Man International Film Festival. Her work focuses on complex human relationships told through immersive observational language. Her new film QUEENDOM about a young queer artist Jenna Marvin is set to premiere at SXSW 2023 in Documentary Competition.  Agniia Galdanova is a Sundance and IDFA-supported documentary film director. Her previous film “One Step Forward, One Step Back” about a family’s dream to live far from civilization in the Altai Mountains premiered at the Message to Man International Film Festival.

About the filmmaker – Igor Myakotin is a documentary filmmaker, editor and photographer. He has shot, edited and produced several short documentaries that screened at film festivals in Europe and the U.S. Igor was a production assistant for “The Summer Help” (www.thesummerhelp.com), a new documentary by award-winning American filmmaker Melody Gilbert. In the past he has worked at Bolster in Minneapolis editing videos for clients like Feeding America and RedBrick Health. In the past, Igor was making short documentaries about whales in the North Atlantic Ocean. He is a graduate of the Documentary Studies program at The New School in New York.

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“One of the best films of the year.”- TimeOut

“An extraordinary film. Both visually and politically.”- Sight and Sound

“A rare look at a radical queer activist.”- IndieWire

“An urgent reminder that art can be dangerous.”- Empire

“A remarkable documentary.”- The Guardian

“Subversive and courageous.”- The Observer

Tiger Stripes – Director Amanda Nell Eu

Director Amanda Nell Eu feature film debut, TIGER STRIPES, focuses on the life of a rebellious and carefree twelve-year-old girl, Zaffan, as she starts to experience horrifying physical changes to her body. Struggling to maintain being normal at school, Zaffan is in denial of her inevitable changes and tries to cover herself. Zaffan’s friends however attack her, when all hysteria breaks loose — one by one teenage girls drop to the floors in fits, turning it into a spread of mass hysteria across the school. Hsoon discovers that Zaffan may be the root of their problems and steps in to perform an exorcism  on her. The whole community watches, as the Medical Officer uses extreme methods to shame and physically hurt Zaffan. And like a tiger who has been dragged out of its habitat and poked because we fear it, because we don’t know it — Zaffan decides to finally reveal her true self, her wrath, rage and her beauty, to everyone. Director and screenwriter Amanda Nell joins us to talk about Eu where the story for Tiger Stripes came from, her hopes that the film will help de-mystify some fundamental truths about women and her fascination with magical realism as a powerful tool for telling nuanced stories.

For more go to: filmsboutique.com/tiger-stripes

 

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About the filmmaker – Amanda Nell Eu graduated from the London Film School with an MA in Filmmaking and is an alumna of Berlinale Talents and Locarno Filmmakers Academy. Her short film Lagi Senang Jaga Sekandang Lembu premiered in competition at the Venice International Film Festival. The film has continued to travel and win awards in many other international festivals, including a Special Mention at the International Short Film Festival Clermont-Ferrand. Her next short film Vinegar Baths has also won several awards in festivals, including Best Picture at Scream Asia Horror shorts competition. Tiger Stripes is her debut feature film. 

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96% on RottenTomatoes

“Eu’s debut feature frames a girl’s journey into womanhood as a descent into madness and monstrousness — and also joy.” – John LuiThe Straits Times (Singapore)

“Eu smartly weaves that universality together with local myths and legends, and the result is a little eerie and unsettling, a film about dark things we’re afraid to speak about.” – Alissa Wilkinson, New York Times

“From the exuberant credits and opening sequence through to the end, “Tiger Stripes” is the work of a confident new talent whose next work will be eagerly awaited.” – Alissa Simon, Variety

“Eu smartly keeps a distance between the two sides of the story, before drawing them together in mystery and violence.” – Danny Leigh, Financial Times

The Ride Ahead – Co-director Samuel Habib and Daniel Habib

Samuel Habib’s goals are pretty typical for a 21-year-old. Moving out of his family’s New Hampshire home. College. Establishing his career. Dating. Sex. Yet every rite of passage is fraught with challenges. Unexpected seizures and uncontrollable movements caused by his rare genetic disorder. Friends’ homes that are inaccessible to his wheelchair. His labored speech and use of a communication device are barriers to a social life. He craves more independence and a family of his own one day. “But no one tells you how to be an adult,” he says, “let alone an adult with a disability.” Samuel is determined to avoid the statistical realities: unemployment, isolation, institutionalization. A turning point comes when he starts talking to disabled adults, who have been through all he is going through now. And when he begins to channel their insights, a roadmap for himself, and for other young adults like him, begins to take shape. Co-director Samuel Habib and Daniel Habib join us to talk about their collaboration , getting to know the wide range of activists, artists, athletes, and stage performers, including; Bob Williams, Ali Stoker, Lydia X.Z. Brown, Keith Jones – Cerbal Palsey, Maysoon Zayid, Andrew Peterson and human rights legend Judith (Judy) Heumann, as well as the opportunity to showcase how and why we all need to be better creating and sustaining a more inclusive society for all.

 

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For more go to: rideaheadfilm.com

About the filmmaker – Daniel Habib is the co-director and producer of the Emmy Award-winning New York Times Op-Doc My Disability Roadmap (2022, also a Critics Choice nominee) and the director and producer of Intelligent Lives (2018, America ReFramed), and nationally broadcast (PBS) feature documentaries Including Samuel, Who Cares About Kelsey?, and Mr. Connolly Has ALS. Dan is the founder of LikeRightNow Films and his documentaries have been featured at major festivals including DOC NYC, Hot Docs, and Hot Springs. Dan gave the TEDx talk, “Disabling Segregation” and received the Justice for All Grassroots Award from the American Association of People with Disabilities. In 2014, Dan was appointed by President Obama to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. He is currently the Inclusive Communities Project Director at the Westchester Institute for Human Development. Dan served as Producer, Co-Director and Director of Photography on THE RIDE AHEAD. 

About the filmmaker – Samuel Habib is the Emmy Award-winning co-director of the New York Times Op-Doc My Disability Roadmap. Samuel was a story consultant on the nationally broadcast film Mr. Connolly Has ALS. His viral short video on his encounter with then-candidate Joe Biden was featured in Forbes Magazine. In 2016, he created a film about disability rights leader Judy Heumann that was featured in the Breaking Down Barriers Film Festival in Moscow, Russia. Samuel has been a Concord Monitor newspaper columnist and has presented nationally on disability rights, inclusive education, and his educational and social transition to adulthood. Samuel uses a wheelchair for mobility and a communication device (as well as his voice) to express himself. In addition to exploring his current and future academic and career options, Samuel also navigates significant, chronic health challenges due to his underlying GNAO1 Neurodevelopmental Disorder. He is a community college student and multimedia production assistant and presenter at the Westchester Institute for Human Development. On THE RIDE AHEAD Samuel served as Co-Director, Central Participant, and Camera Operator. 

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Reviews:

“The Ride Ahead gets its urgent, breezy tone from Samuel who, speaking through his electronic voice, offers us a running commentary on his evolving mindset — from being excited to go off to college to worrying that he will not fit in.” – Tim Grierson, Screen International

Banel and Adama – Director Ramata-Toulaye Sy

Banel and Adama is a great romance, a West African dreamscape, a tragic fable, and a feminist paean. Young, fiery Banel loves her soft-hearted husband Adama with singular passion. She also hates to do chores with other village women, slings stones at small creatures, and fantasizes a liberated life of cattle-herding outside the village in the dunes. Adama is next in line for village chief but resists the responsibility. When a catastrophic drought hits, the curse weighs on his sense of duty, and the chasm between them drives Banel into a feverish, mystical chaos. Senegal’s official submission to the 2024 Oscars®, BANEL & ADAMA was the only debut feature in Cannes’ Official Competition in 2023, and marked Sy as just the second Black woman to compete for the Palme d’Or, after her French-Senegalese compatriot Mati Diop (Atlantics), in the festival’s 76-year history. Director and writer Ramata-Toulaye Sy joins us for a conversation on her breathtaking feature film debut as well as her reaction to the success Banel and Adama enjoyed prior to its theatrical run including being tapped as Senegal’s Official Entry to the 96th Academy Awards.

 

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For more go to: kinolorber.com/banel-and-adama

2023 Cannes Film Festival
2023 Toronto International Film Festival
2024 International Film Festival Rotterdam
Senegal’s Official Entry to the 96th Academy Awards

 

About the filmmaker – French-Senegalese writer and director Ramata-Toulaye Sy was born and raised in Paris. She joined La Fémis in 2011 in the Screenwriting department, from which she graduated in 2015.Ramata-Toulaye has worked, among others, as a screenwriter on the film Sibel (2018) by C. Zencirci and G. Giovanetti as well as on Our Lady of the Nile (2019) by A. Rahimi. In 2020, Ramata-Toulaye directed her first short film, Astel, selected in more than 80 festivals and pre-selected for the 2023 Césa r Awards.Banel & Adama, which premiered in Competition at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, is her debut feature film. 

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96% on RottenTomatoes

“A dreamlike debut…a lyrical, languid fable.” – Jessica Kiang, Variety

“There is a sultry elusiveness to Ramata-Toulaye Sy’s debut feature…Is this a riff on ‘Romeo & Juliet,’ filtered through Senegalese village life? Or is it a sci-fi fable, with the mirage-like heat reflecting a slow descent into personal madness a la Lars von Trier’s Melancholia? BANEL & ADAMA is a striking debut that puts Sy on the map as a purveyor of deceptively gorgeous visions…” – Sophie Monks Kaufman, IndieWire

“A promising debut for Sy, who combines an eye for arrestingly apocalyptic images…with skillful work with her non-professional cast…[including] a remarkable performance from [lead actress Khady] Mane, who conveys the mutinous, deluded anger in a young woman who would bend the world around her to her will if she could.” – Wendy Ide, Screen Daily

“The director’s vision is unequivocally beautiful. Sy paints breathtaking scenes with her camera, demonstrating a gorgeous way of seeing the world.” – Lovia Gyarke, The Hollywood Reporter

“A lyrical love story…feels like nothing so much as a West African spin on the free-form reveries of Terrence Malick. Visually distinctive and drenched in color: a bright yellow shirt, rich orange fabrics, the vivid blue of a river even as it falls into shadow…succinct and evocative.” – Steve Pond, The Wrap

Edge of Everything – Co-directors Sophia Sobella & Pablo Feldman

Straddling the line between childhood and adulthood, 14 isn’t an easy age for anyone, least of all Abby (Sierra McCormick, The Vast of Night), who’s forced to find her way in the world after her mother’s death. On the cusp of turning 15 and at a delicate moment in life, she’s forced to move in with her father (Jason Butler Harner, Ozark) and his younger girlfriend (Sabina Friedman-Seitz). Feeling alone in the world, the angry and determined teen strikes up a possibly dangerous friendship with the carefree and rebellious Caroline (Ryan Simpkins, The Fear Street Trilogy, The House), while exploring new personas, drugs and sexual experiences on the path to finding her place in life. Emily Robinson (Eighth Grade), Dominique Gayle and Nadezhda Amé co-star in the film, which also features Drew Scheid, Anthony Del Negro and Mike Manning. Co-directors, co-producers and co-writers Sophia Sobella and Pablo Feldman join us for a conversation on the process of casting the lead, Sierra McCormick, and the rest of the actors and how that allowed them focus their energy on the filmmaking process and the release of this award-winning film.

 

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For more go to: lightyearentertainment.com/edge-of-everything

To watch go to: geni.us/edgeofeverything

About the filmmakers – EDGE OF EVERYTHING, from writer-director duo Sophia Sabella and Pablo Feldman making their feature-length narrative debut, recently captured the Panavision Award for Independent Cinema at the 39th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The coming-of-age drama stars McCormick, who began performing in film and television at a young age, and had a number of roles on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader, Criminal Minds, Supernatural, Monk, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Later, she worked on studio films including Land of the Lost and Ramona & Beezus, and then co-starred on 62 episodes of the Disney Channel series A.N.T. Farm and the horror film Some Kind of Hate (2014), for which she was nominated for the Fright Meter Award. Most recently she starred in the Slamdance-winner The Vast of Night and American Horror Stories.

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Reviews:
“Fierce, unflinching…steered by an incredibly intuitive Sierra McCormick”- High on Films
“McCormick gives a terrific performance…the story is told with confidence, and the teenage performers are first-rate.” – Victor Fraga, D Movies
“Plunges us into the heart of teenage turmoil.” – Chris Jones, Overly Honest Reviews

New Wave – Director Elizabeth Ai

Filmmaker Elizabeth Ai first feature film, NEW WAVE debut embarks on a project to tell a story of joy and youthful defiance as  she explores a musical phenomenon in the 1980s known to Vietnamese American teens as  new wave. As she delves into the lives of family members and icons of the new wave scene, including Lynda Trang Dai, she uncovers much more than just music and fashion. In the heart of Orange County, California, this counterculture movement takes the youth by storm, becoming a sanctuary for rebellious teens.  The joyful memories of her uncles and aunts sneaking out to this underground scene clash with her own painful childhood, haunted by her mother’s abandonment. As the filmmaker digs deeper, the excavation becomes an emotional journey, unraveling mysteries that touch on cultural identity, generational trauma, and the Vietnam War’s lasting impact. Director Elizabeth Ai (Saigon Electric, Dirty Hands: The Arts & Crimes of David Choe) joins us to talk about how her own exploration became a love letter to her community, and why the film became a soulful journey that has help herself and other healed old wounds, celebrate the resilience of a community and pointed to a positive way forward and screening at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.

For more go to: elizabethai.com/new-wave

Go to: newwavedocumentary.com

About the filmmaker – Elizabeth Ai is a Chinese-Vietnamese-American Los Angeles based Emmy award-winning producer. She writes, directs, and produces independent narratives as well as branded content for companies such as National Geographic, ESPN, and VICE. She produced documentary features; DIRTY HANDS: THE ART & CRIMES OF DAVID CHOE (2008), on the titled artist after his prison release and before his meteoric rise and A WOMAN’S WORK: THE NFL’S CHEERLEADER PROBLEM (2019), which examines wage theft and exploitation of the only visible NFL women. Additionally, she produced SAIGON ELECTRIC (2011), a feature narrative set in Vietnam’s world of breakdancing. During her tenure at VICE, she created the original pilot for BONG APPÉTIT (2014), which got picked up for series on Viceland. She’s currently directing and producing two in-progress feature documentaries and has a slate of narratives in development. She’s a fellow of Berlin Talent Campus, Film Independent, Sundance, and Tribeca. Her film projects are supported by California Humanities, Firelight Media, Knight Foundation, and ITVS. She received her B.A. from the University of Southern California. For more go to: elizabethai.com/new-wave

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Reviews:
“New Wave puts its ear right next next to the bass drum, as it were, and discerns, not just the rhythm, but the culture and the people who made it possible.” – Peter Martin, ScreenAnarchy
“New Wave does lose its way at times, but it also has a personal feel that makes it a consistently entertaining watch. The music and clothes bring a sense of fun, while Ai’s story highlights a sense of family that is endearing” – Nathaniel Muir, AIPT
“Focus on Vietnamese teens’ Americanization through a genre of 1980’s popular music is entertaining. Adds to insight on immigrant experience contemporary awareness of the mental health impacts on both generations of the Vietnam War and long hours at work.” – Nora Lee Mandel, Maven’s Nest

The Young Wife – Director Tayarisha Poe

Tayarisha Poe’s spectacular sophomore film finds Celestina, (Kiersey Clemons, DOPE, Hearts Beat Loud) on her wedding day. All that stands between this young woman and  marital bliss with her soon-to-be husband, River, (singer/songwriter Leon Bridges) is surviving the chaos and expectations of family and friends, each intensifying her spiraling panic. THE YOUNG WIFE is the story of a young woman grappling with the meaning of love in the face of an uncertain world, “The Young Wife” is a a wholly new take on the wedding film as we follow Celestina  over the course of her “non-wedding” day. The frenetic happenings are beautifully captured by cinematographer Jomo Fray (Selah and the Spades, All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt). Boasting a superb supporting cast of award winning actors that also includes: Kelly Marie Tran, Michaela Watkins, Aya Cash, Sandy Honig, Brandon Micheal Hall, Lukita Maxwell, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Judith Light, Aida Osman, Connor Paolo, Jon Rudnitsky and Lovie Simone. Director and Writer Tayarisha Poe joins us for a lively conversation on the inspiration for the film, gathering together her fantastic cast of performers, working with Sheryl Lee Ralph and Judith Light, working with he colleagues from Selah and the Spades and geeking out about films and filmmakers.

 

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For more go to: paramountmovies.com/the-young-wife

About the filmmaker – Director / Writer / Producer Tayarisha Poe is a filmmaker and photographer from West Philadelphia. Her relation to cinema began in childhood, when watching movies and rigorously discussing them with her parents and brothers was a pathway to better understanding her family. Poe has been recognized as an essential storyteller. She was chosen as one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine in 2015 and in 2016, she received the Sundance Institute’s Knight Foundation Fellowship. In 2017, she was selected for the January Sundance Screenwriters Lab and the June Sundance Directors Lab and was a recipient of the highly-acclaimed Pew Fellowship. Poe’s debut film, SELAH AND THE SPADES, began as a series of photographs, short films, and prose. The project then grew into a feature, which was released on Amazon in April 2020 after premiering at Sundance. The film carved out a unique place in the high school film genre. It garnered outstanding reviews and became a massive hit, so much so that Amazon commissioned her to create a series based in the same world. Since the success of her debut feature, Tayarisha has been in high demand. She directed the first episode in season 2 of THE TWILIGHT ZONE, entitled “AMONG THE UNTRODDEN,” an episode in season 2 of FX’s DAVE entitled “SOMEBODY DATE ME,” and commercials for Telfar. We believe THE YOUNG WIFE will claim its own new space alongside other iconic wedding films, merging the universality of the wedding moment with a distinct and fresh perspective that only Tayarisha can create. For more go to: tayarishapoe.com/motion

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90% on RottenTomatoes

“It’s an exhilarating experience that presents the tug-of-war we all must endure to maintain a level of self within the communal “us” that’s born from the relationships we cultivate.” – Jared Mobarak, Hey, Have You Seen …?

“An ambitious, maximalist vision that expresses personal turmoil as global catastrophe.” – Josh Bell, Crooked Marquee

“As you get caught up in [Tayarisha Poe’s] words and stunning visuals, you begin to fall under the grip of a filmmaker who wields her camera frame with the intent of affecting her audience in a way that sneaks up on you that is holistic and honest.” – M.N. Miller, InSession Film

“The Young Wife can be a chaotic experience, but Poe has the skills to carry us through the noise and toward the future.” – Ryan Lattanzio, indieWire

“Paired with an outstanding performance by Kiersey Clemons, Poe crafts an intimate, profound, and visually gorgeous feature that overwhelms the senses.” – Mae Abdulbaki, Screen Rant

A Family Guide to Hunting – Director Zao Wang and Producer Joyce Liu Countryman

When Eva (Kahyun Kim), the daughter, accidentally shoots her White hippie fiance, Peter (Craig Newman), dead, her parents, June (Margaret Cho), and Sam (Keong Sim) insist on getting rid of the body in order to protect Eva. As the family collides with each other on what is the right thing to do, tension and long-buried secrets about the  family’s journey to America begin to surface. Faced with this  expanded understanding of their collective past and sacrifices, Eva eventually makes the hard decision to save her family by getting rid of her fiance’s body in a way only she  knows how. Director and co-screenwriter Zao Wang and Producer Joyce Liu Countryman behind the wildly inappropriate and uproariously funny narrative short film stop by to talk about the origin story behind the film, premiering at the 2024 Tribeca Film Festival, assembling a terrific cast that includes the incandescent Margaret Cho as June and the film’s Executive Producer.

 

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About the filmmaker – Writer/Director Zao Wang was born in Beijing, China, into a family of filmmakers. At 14 his family emigrated to Mississippi, where he first learned English by watching a lot of American TV. After graduating college with degrees in physics and philosophy, Zao’s original passion for visual storytelling landed him at NYU-Tisch, where he received an MFA in Film Directing. His short and feature films are mainly in the psychological horror/thriller/sci-fi genres. Informed by his own immigrant experience, these genre films are elevated with his unique multicultural perspective, and often with a dash of dark humor. His films have won numerous awards at Tribeca, Fantasporto, Fantasia, Yubari, Busan, Palm Springs, among others. His short films have been optioned by NBCUniversal and Tomorrow Studios for TV development. Zao was chosen by J.J. Abrams as his only Directing Fellow at Bad Robot. He is a part of the Sony Diverse Directors and NBCUniversal Emerging Directors Programs, as well as a Directing Fellow at HBO Access.

About the filmmaker – Joyce Liu-Countryman is a Chinese American producer whose first feature, Eat With Me, premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival, screened at over 50 festivals internationally including Frameline and Outfest Fusion, and is streaming on Amazon Prime. After earning an MFA in producing from the AFI Conservatory, Joyce joined the diversity and inclusion team at Sony Pictures Entertainment, later promoted into marketing to manage testing of such titles as Jumanji: The Next Level, Little Women, and Bad Boys for Life. Her short, Becoming Eddie, was picked up by Sony Pictures Television as a half-hour comedy, where she will co-executive produce alongside Ken Jeong. Her DEI consulting clients include the Television Academy, NALIP and RespectAbility. Her projects center marginalized identities.

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Rowdy Girl – Director Jason Goldman

Executive produced by Moby, ROWDY GIRL showcases the inspiring work of Renee King-Sonnen, a former Texas cattle rancher who in 2015, after a spiritual awakening, left the cruel cycle of animal agriculture. After going vegan, King-Sonnen and her husband, Tommy Sonnen, transformed her husband’s beef operation into Rowdy Girl Sanctuary, a farm animal sanctuary that seeks to rescue farm animals from factory farming. Rowdy Girl Sanctuary, located between San Antonio and Houston, in Waelder, TX, has a mission to educate the public about the cruelties of factory farming, to advocate a vegan lifestyle, and to inspire other ranchers to experience a paradigm shift and help them move from participating in the cruelty of factory farming to living with compassion towards the animals whose lives usually end in brutal death. Renee has lived on both sides of the fence, proving that there is a common ground between farmers and vegans: a shared mission of compassion and sustainability. Filmmaker Jason Goldman’s verité style documentary lovingly captures the dynamic connection between Renee, her husband Tommy and the hooved and feathered friends who inhabit Rowdy Girl Sanctuary. Director / Producer Jason Goldman stops by for a conversation on his goal in making Rowdy Girl was to work on a project that reflected his personal values and giving Renee a platform to reach a wider audience, particularly farmers who she believes can change the world by moving to more sustainable and humane care of our furry friends. 

 

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For more go to: argotpictures.com/rowdy-girl

And rowdygirlfilm.com

Argot Pictures is proud to present the US theatrical release of ROWDY GIRL, a documentary film by Jason Goldman. ROWDY GIRL will open at the Firehouse DCTV in New York on May 31st, and at Laemmle Monica in Los Angeles on June 7th. Select cities will follow.

About the filmmaker – Jason Goldman is a director/producer from New York City. His earliest filmmaking experience came under acclaimed documentarian Albert Maysles where he learned the foundation of direct cinema. He’s produced award winning shorts, feature length films, and documentaries. In 2018 he produced the award winning doc “Sidelined” in conjunction with A&E IndieFilm which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. “Rowdy Girl,” his directorial debut, was recently signed with The Film Collaborative and Impronta Films covering worldwide representation for a 2023 release. Go to: thefilmshop.org/jason-goldman

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Reviews: 
“A provocative, vital and engrossing documentary” – Avi OfferNYC Movie Guru

Invisible Nation – Director Vanessa Hope

Award-winning documentary filmmaker Vanessa Hope’s takes full advantage of her unprecedented access to the first female president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen. Thorough, incisive and bristling with tension, INVISIBLE NATION is a living account of Tsai’s tightrope walk as she balances the hopes and dreams of her nation between the colossal geopolitical forces of the U.S. and China. Hope’s observational style captures Tsai at work in her country’s vibrant democracy at home, while seeking full international recognition of Taiwan’s right to exist. At a time when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has demonstrated the ever-present threat of authoritarian aggression, INVISIBLE NATION brings punctual focus to the struggle of Taiwan as it fights for autonomy and freedom from fear. Director and Co-Producer Vanessa Hope (William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe, Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America) joins us for a conversation on the high-wire diplomacy facing President Tsai daily, her ability to engage her constituents and determination to provide Taiwan with a future that includes freedom and self-determination.

 

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For more go to: abramorama.com/invisible-nation

Winner, Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary – 2024 Sonoma • One in a Million Award for Best Documentary – 2024 Sun Valley Film Festival • Winner, The Cinema for Peace Honorary Award – 2024 • Cinema for Peace Foundation
Winner, Audience Award – 2023 Middleburg Film Festival

About the filmmaker -Vanessa Hope is an award-winning producer and director who has produced multiple acclaimed films in China including Berlin International Film Festival selection, Wang Quanan’s “The Story Of Ermei” and Cannes Film Festival selection, Chantal Akerman’s “Tombee De Nuit Sur Shanghai,” part of an omnibus of films, “The State Of The World.” She has also produced and directed her own short films, including “China In Three Words” with contemporary Chinese author Yu Hua, an official selection at DOC NYC.Hope’s additional producing credits include Zeina Durra’s “The Imperialists Are Still Alive!” and Sarah and Emily Kunstler’s Academy award shortlisted feature documentary, “William Kunstler: Disturbing The Universe” and the award-winning film, “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America.” She served as Executive Producer of Paula James-Martinez’s “Born Free.” Vanessa and her husband, Ted Hope, share a company, Double Hope Films, with many independent fiction and documentary features and series in development. Vanessa is on the advisory board of the Equal Rights Amendment Coalition and the Fund for Women’s Equality. Prior to her film career, Vanessa worked on foreign policy issues at the Council on Foreign Relations with Senior Fellow and Director of Asia Studies, Elizabeth Economy. She received her B.A. from the University of Chicago in Anthropology and East Asian Studies and completed the coursework for a PhD at Columbia University before going into film.

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“Watching it, one is driven to anger and, hopefully, to action.” – Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Hammer to Nail

“Advocates for Taiwan ought to be pleased with Invisible Nation’s degree of focus, nuance, and…” – Anthony Kao, Cinema Escapist

“Although the film is not an especially illuminating portrait of Tsai, Hope makes a convincing case for why Taiwan’s fears should concern the world.” – Tim Grierson, Screen Internationa

“Taiwan’s transformation from an authoritarian state to a flourishing democracy determined to decide its own future is charted in the engrossing and highly informative documentary “Invisible Nation.” – Richard Kuipers, Variety

Roots So Deep – Director Peter Byck

Roots So Deep (you can see the devil down there) is a 4-part documentary series all about inventive farmers and maverick scientists building a path to solving climate change with hooves, heart and soil. Can an underutilized way to graze cattle, that mimics the way bison once roamed the land, help get farmers out of debt, restore our depleted soils, rebuild wildlife habitat and draw down huge amounts of carbon? Cattle have been seen as eco-villains for a long time. What if they can help save us from catastrophic climate change? ROOTS SO DEEP is guided by director and wrangler of scientists Peter Byck as he meets farmers on both sides of the fence – the folks practicing an adaptive way to graze, and their neighbors set in their family’s generations-old method of doing things. Byck’s team of outcast scientists are measuring what’s happening on both sides of the fences – exploring if this adaptive grazing could help slow down climate change. And one question looms over the whole series: even if the science shows that the adaptive way to graze is better for the land and the farmers’ pocket books, will the old school farmers change, will they adopt a different method? Will they evolve into climate heroes? Will they save our friggin’ asses from the impending climate catastrophe?

 

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For more go to: rootssodeep.org

Also check out: carboncowboys.org

Episode I – Mavericks & Meadowlarks – Mississippi – Meet a team of maverick scientists and the farmers they study, to find out whether cattle, long regarded as eco-villains, can help protect the environment if we ditch modern, destructive practices and instead work with nature. City folk turned first generation farmers share their journey to the farm.

Episode II – Losing is Winning – Alabama – Our first pair of Alabama farmers: Retired school teachers turned regenerative farmers on one side of the fence and a family feud and risk of losing the farm after six generations of ownership on the other, looms large over the scientific work.

Episode III – Change is Hard – Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky – Meet the rest of our farmers, including two country music superstars, while our scientists deal with the struggles and realities of messy science in real world settings on working farms.

Episode IV – One Lane Road Ahead – The science is in and we revisit all the farms to share the information with the farmers. How will they react? Will knowledge instill change?

About the filmmaker – Peter Byck is currently helping to lead a $10 million research project comparing Adaptive Multi-Paddock (AMP) grazing with conventional grazing; collaborating with 20 scientists and 10 farm families, focused on soil health & soil carbon storage, microbial/bug/bird biodiversity, water cycling and much more. The research also includes a new, 4-part docuseries called “Roots So Deep (you can see the devil down there),” directed by Byck, which is all about the inventive farmers and maverick scientists building a path to solving climate change with hooves, heart and soil. See the CNN segment on the docu-series here. Byck is a professor of practice at Arizona State University, in both the School of Sustainability and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, where he teaches students to make short documentary films about sustainability solutions. He is the director, producer and writer of carbon nation, a documentary film about climate change solutions. In 2020, Byck completed carbon cowboys, a 10-part documentary short film series, focused on regenerative grazing.

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Motorcycle Mary – Director Haley Watson

Haley Watson directorial debut MOTORCYCLE MARY, documentary short, brings the remarkable life of Mary McGee’s to the big screen with stunning never-before-seen archival footage and photographs. McGee’s racing career spanned thirty years and saw Mary shatter gender norms while mastering multiple racing disciplines. Born in Alaska on the eve of World War II, Mary’s early life is riddled with fear but despite that she conquers her apprehensive nature and discovers  the art of composure—a skill that serves  her to take on the racetrack. Following in her brother’s footsteps, her remarkable racing odyssey begins in the world of cars, where she outshines her male competitors, only to later discover her greatest sense of freedom racing motorcycles. She was the first woman to race motorcycles in the United States. Confronted by sexism and personal tragedy, Mary perseveres, pushing herself to greater and greater heights—culminating in her most hair-raising challenge: Becoming the first person ever to solo the grueling Baja 500 on a motorcycle. MOTORCYCLE MARY was produced by Rachel Greenwald, executive produced by two-time Oscar® winner and founder of Breakwater Studios Ben Proudfoot, and seven-time Formula One World Champion, Lewis Hamilton. MOTORCYCLE MARY will come to the big screen at the 2024 Tribeca Festival in New York where it will make its world premiere in the shorts competition on Friday, June 7th (with additional screenings June 13 and 15).  Director Haley Watson joins us for a conversation on Mary McGee’s unwavering courage and fearless spirit that continues to inspire.

 

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For more go to: tribecafilm.com/motorcycle-mary

MOTORCYCLE MARY premieres at Tribeca Film in the “Shorts: Personal Best” program on June 7th, 2024 at 5:30 PM ET in New York City at AMC 19th Street East 6 (890 Broadway, New York, NY 10003), followed by subsequent screenings at 6:15 pm on Thursday, June 13th and 2:15 pm on Saturday, June 15th. Director/producer Haley Watson and film subject Mary McGee in-person for Q&As along with other filmmakers.

About the filmmaker – Haley Watson is a Los Angeles-based director and cinematographer. Haley’s recent work includes directing and producing “Motorcycle Mary,” an original short documentary set to premiere at Tribeca Film Festival 2024. The film was acquired by ESPN, to be curated into the Emmy / Peabody winning 30 for 30 series from ESPN Films.  Her producing partner is the 2-time Academy Award-winning production company, Breakwater Studios. The film is executive produced by seven-time Formula One world champion – Lewis Hamilton. Haley’s keen eye for storytelling has also been proven groundbreaking research. Haley found and pitched the original story for “The Queen of Basketball,” which became the 2021 Academy Award winner for Best Short Documentary Subject. Haley began her career by working through the ranks of the camera department. While serving as a first assistant camera, she had the opportunity to work with many notable directors, such as Lynn Shelton and David Lynch. Her technical skills earned her placement in the AFI Cinematography Intensive for Women in 2019, as well as ASC’s Vision Mentorship Program in 2020 (Paired with Marshall Adams from “Better Call Saul” as her mentor). Amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Haley joined Breakwater Studios and played a pivotal role in developing an innovative remote shooting method. She applied this method as the Director of Photography for “The Beauty President,” which premiered at SXSW. Additionally, she spearheaded the establishment of Mariposa Camera, a boutique camera house in Los Angeles, demonstrating her entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to the industry. Haley has embarked on collaborative projects with other industry giants such as Microsoft, Puma, Amazon and Subaru.

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The Riot Report – Director Michelle Ferrari

Director Michelle Ferrari’s comprehensive documentary THE RIOT REPORT tracks a time in recent American history when Black neighborhoods in scores of cities erupted in violence during the summer of 1967. After four consecutive summers of urban violence, President Lyndon Johnson appointed the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders – informally known as the Kerner Commission, (named after its chair, Governor Otto Kerner Jr. of Illinois) – to answer three questions: What happened? Why did it happen? And what could be done to prevent it from happening again? The bi-partisan commission’s 708 page final report, -issued in March of 1968, just days before the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., would offer a shockingly unvarnished assessment of American race relations – a verdict so politically explosive that Johnson not only refused to acknowledge it publicly, but even to thank the commissioners for their service. THE RIOT REPORT explores this pivotal moment – in the nation’s history and the fraught social -dynamics that simultaneously spurred the commission’s investigation and doomed its findings to political oblivion. Directed by Michelle Ferrari, joins us for a conversation on the reasons why and how the commission members and staff were able to break away from the bureaucratic norms and get closer to the root causes and closer to breaking thru the seemingly intractable barriers to a more equitable society. THE RIOT REPORT was co-written by Ferrari and New Yorker journalist Jelani Cobb, and executive produced by Cameo George.

 

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For more go to: pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/riot-report

The Riot Report premieres on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, on AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, 9:00–11:00 p.m. ET (check local listings), on PBS, PBS.org and the PBS App.

About the filmmaker – Michelle Ferrari has been creating innovative, critically acclaimed documentary narratives for more than two decades. Her work as a screenwriter and story editor has been seen on PBS, HBO, and at film festivals nationwide, and has garnered honors from the Writers Guild of America, the Western Writers Association, the Organization of American Historians, the Sundance Film Festival, and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The writer of numerous American Experience episodes including The Perfect Crime, Silicon Valley, Roads to Memphis, and Kit Carson, Ferrari is perhaps best known for the highly rated Seabiscuit, which earned her a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing. She most recently wrote and directed American Experience’s Rachel Carson. Additional recent credits include the landmark PBS series Half the Sky and the Emmy-winning HBO documentary Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and holds an M.A. in American History from Columbia University.

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Taking Venice – Director Amei Wallach

At the height of the Cold War, the U.S. government is determined to fight Communism with culture. The Venice Biennale, the world’s most influential art exhibition, becomes a proving ground in 1964. Alice Denney, Washington insider and friend of the Kennedys, recommends Alan Solomon, an ambitious curator making waves with trailblazing art, to organize the U.S. entry. Together with Leo Castelli, a powerful New York art dealer, they embark on a daring plan to make Robert Rauschenberg the winner of the Grand Prize. The artist is yet to be taken seriously with his combinations of junk off the street and images from pop culture, but he has the potential to dazzle. Deftly pulling off maneuvers that could have come from a Hollywood thriller, the American team leaves the international press crying foul and Rauschenberg questioning the politics of nationalism that sent him there. Director Amei Wallach (Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: Enter Here) stops by for an in-depth conversation on a time and place where the long reach of the Cold War, the internal machination’s of the Olympic’s of the art world and the ascendency of modern art’s bête noire and how they all crossed paths in this John le Carré-ish tale.

 

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For more go to: zeitgeistfilms.com/taking-venice

About the filmmaker – Amei Wallach is an award-winning art critic, filmmaker, and television commentator. Her critically acclaimed films, Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, The Mistress and The Tangerine and Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: Enter Here, remain in international demand. In her articles, books, media appearances – and more recently in her films – Wallach has chronicled, and known, artists from Willem de Kooning and Lee Krasner to Jasper Johns and Shirin Neshat. As an art writer, she watched Robert Rauschenberg make prints in New York and paintings in Captiva, Florida. She is uniquely able to tell this story. Wallach has written or contributed to more than a dozen books and was an on-air arts commentator for the PBS M acNeil/Lehrer Newshour. Her articles have appeared in such publications as The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, Smithsonian, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Art in America, and ARTnews. 

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Reviews:

“While not a biopic of the artist per se, Taking Venice gives viewers a better appreciation of Rauschenberg and how art can be strategic beyond what an artist might intend.” – Valerie Kalfrin, AWFJ.org

“Ultimately, Taking Venice is about how art can and sometimes does change society, for better and maybe sometimes for less better.” – Shana Nys Dambrot, LA Weekly/Village Voice

““a gripping journey into how deeply politics can infiltrate the arts” and “a fascinating expose on the U.S. government’s manipulation of the art world to counteract Communist influence during the Cold War.” He says that “every scene resonate(s) with the thrill of a spy mission” and calls it “a must-see for anyone interested in the crossroads of art, history and politics.” –

“With audiences expecting more unique footage in similar documentaries today, Taking Venice does not quite stand out from the crowd. However, it’s an exciting ride, especially for Rauschenberg fans.” – Alan French, Sunshine State Cineplex

“The account is well-told and worth knowing, even without conspiratorial murmurs.” – Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times

Space: The Longest Goodbye – Director Ido Mizrahy

In the next decade, NASA intends to send astronauts to Mars for the first time. To succeed, crew members will have to overcome unprecedented life-threatening challenges. And while many of these hazards are physical, the most elusive are psychological. Throughout their three-year absence, crew members won’t be able to communicate with Earth in real time due to the immense distance. The psychological impact of this level of disconnectedness and isolation—both from mission control and loved ones—is impossible to predict, endangering the mission itself. Directed to mitigate this threat is Dr. Al Holland, a NASA psychologist whose job is to keep astronauts mentally stable in space. Space: The Longest Goodbye follows Holland, rookie astronauts Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer, and former astronaut Cady Coleman, among others, as they grapple with the tension between their dream of reaching new frontiers and their basic human need to stay connected to home. This conflict transcends space travel: how do humans balance the quest for progress with a deep connection to history and each other? Director Ido Mizrahy stops by for to talk about the feasibility of interstellar travel, the physical, mental and psychological adaptability of humans, and getting to know the extraordinary people willing to embark on a perilous journey into worlds unknown.

 

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For more go to: pbs.org/independentlens/the-longest-goodbye

 About the filmmaker – Ido Mizrahy’s narrative and documentary films premiered at SXSW, Tribeca, and ND/NF, among many other festivals, and went on to win several awards. His films have been distributed by AMC, Sundance, Netflix, Amazon, and MTV. Mizrahy is co-directing a fictional VR experience, with Nir Sa’ar, that’s equal parts family drama and space thriller.

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80% on RottenTomatoes

“It’s easy to assume that the biggest hurdle to sending people to Mars is vehicle propulsion. Ido Mizrahy’s riveting documentary… suggests the real issue is isolation.” – Peter Howell, Toronto Star

“Succeeds in creating a real sense of the efforts it will take to get ‘soft, squishy humans’ to Mars” – Amber Wilkinson, Screen International

“It’s a fascinating documentary, yet the longer it goes on, the less desirable a mission to Mars seems.” – Pat Stacey, Irish Independent

“[A] fitfully intriguing, sometimes wide-eyed documentary…” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times

“As this insightful documentary suggests, the real challenge (of long-term space flight) may be in tending to the softest of software: the emotional health of both the intrepid men and women who make the trip — and those waiting for them back on Earth.” – Bill Newcott, The Saturday Evening Post

LaRoy, Texas – Director Shane Atkinson

This twisted tale of love and death begins and ends with Ray, an ordinary man who runs an ordinary business in the fictional town of LaRoy, Texas. He longs for his wife Stacy-Lynn’s affections, but Ray discovers that she is cheating on him and decides to end his life in a motel parking lot. Just before taking action, a stranger breaks into his car, thinking he is dealing with the killer he hired. Confused by this misunderstanding, Ray ends up accepting the mission, convinced that people will finally respect him. The plan had to be simple. But very quickly Ray finds himself caught in a spiral from which he will have to get out before it is too late… LaRoy, Texas is a complex plot involving love triangles real and fake, blackmail, counter-blackmail and manslaughter duly unfolds around inadvertent detective duo Ray and Skip, who will have to solve the mystery at the heart of their community. LaRoy, Texas is at once a film about friendships forged from fragile masculinity and a dark Western that probes the aftermath of the financial crisis in the US. Director and writer Shane Atkinson joins us for a conversation on his film’s blend of modern film noir, macabre humor, and how he assembled a terrific cast that includes John Magaro, Steve Zahn, Galadriel Stineman, Dylan Baker, and Matthew Del Negro.

 

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For more go to: brainstormmedia.comt/laroy-texas

Watch LaRoy, Texas at: vertigoreleasing.com/watch-at-home

About the filmmaker – Shane Atkinson is an American writer and director based in Los Angeles. He received his MFA in screenwriting and directing at Columbia University in New York. His work as a director is described by his mother as “very funny” and “why are there so many dirty words?” Shane has directed many short films, including “Penny Dreadful” (Audience Award in Clermont-Ferrand, Grand Prix SNCF du Polar) or “The Ambassador” shot on the French Riviera. He also wrote the screenplay for “Poms”, starring Diane Keaton, released in May 2019.

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“With LaRoy, Texas, Atkinson proves himself a confident filmmaker and screenwriter with an ear for dialogue and skill in designing intriguing characters and situations.” – Anthony Francis, Film Threat

“Indulging in genre influences while carving its own narrative niche, this dark crime comedy infuses its Fargo-style atmospherics with sharp dialogue and compelling characters.” – Todd Jorgenson, Cinemalogue

“LaRoy, Texas channels the Coen brothers in a hilarious black comedy with tragic twists. John Magaro, Steve Zahn, and a terrifying Dylan Baker are superb in a film that continually surprises. LaRoy, Texas is a must-see.” – Julian Roman, MovieWeb

““LaRoy, Texas” remains as unpredictable as an overly agitated Texas rattlesnake and has just about as much bite to it.” – Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News

“Atkinson’s hilarious feature debut is a barn burner of a western-thriller whose Coen Brothers-inspired nods give life to its meek protagonist.” – Robert Daniels, RogerEbert.com

The Keeper – Co-director Angus Benfield (Kendall Bryant Jr.)

Based on a true story, THE KEEPER tells a sweeping story of US Army veteran George Eshleman, a man heavily impacted by his fellow veteran’s suicides, he decides to help raise awareness for military member suicides by hiking the entire nearly 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. On the trek, he carries 363 name tapes from the uniforms of military members who committed suicide, given to him by their families. Along the way he is given the trail name of “The Keeper” (of the names) and finds support and comfort from fellow hikers, civilians, military and veteran hikers (Michael Maclane, Haley Babula, Andrew Ferguson, Nicholas Asad) who shadow his hike, motivate his efforts along “Hiker Universe.” Despite their support, his depression threatens to overtake his judgment as the days pass. With his darkness only a few paces from his mind as he travels the trail, George struggles to prove his mettle, conquer his depression, and focus on the mission. Co-director, Co-Producer and lead actor Angus Benfield joins us to talk about the importance of remembering those who have sacrificed and died while in and out of uniform, how he sought to honor them and the support he received from his film crew, his cast and the people he met along the Appalachian Trail, many of whom are on the trail for the same reasons he made The Keeper. 

 

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For more go to: thekeepermovie.info

For more on the filmmaker go to: angusbenfield.com

About the filmmaker – Angus Benfield is an Australian-born, accomplished, multi-award-winning, and incredibly versatile actor, having acted in an extensive number of roles in film as well as roles in television and theater. Angus is also an award-winning director, producer, and writer and has appeared on multiple news shows and podcasts to talk about his body of work. Angus has acted alongside some of the biggest names in Hollywood including, Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid, Eric Roberts, Julia Garner, Bob Gunton, Brian Doyle-Murray, Angus Macfadyen, Doug Jones, Corbin Bernsen Brian Posehn, Kris Poloha, Cate Blanchett, Anna Chlumsky, Kathy Garver, Judy Norton, LL Cool J, Eric Christian Olsen and Chris O’Donnell. In 2023 demonstrated a broad range and versatility as an actor, starring as Pro Football Coach Stan Jacobs in STAN THE MAN, Army Veteran George Eschelan in true story THE KEEPER, DJ Connor McCloud in THE GREAT TURKEY TOWN MIRACLE, grieving father and accused murderer Jet Sanders in THE POST, as ex-cult member Ben Green in THE DEPROGRAMMER, crooked lawyer Jo Fortune in PURGATORY STATION and once successful P.R. Specialist, turned Grocery Store Manager, Jake Rush in YELLOW BIRD. Angus started off January 2024 co-starring alongside legendary American comedians Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid and Brian Doyle-Murray in Christmas Comedy, THE CHRISTMAS LETTER and Angus Macfadyen, Doug Jones and Corbin Bernsen in thriller THE WEIGHT OF DARKNESS (March 2024). Films featuring Angus have been released theatrically and can be found streaming on Amazon, AppleTV, Prime, YouTubeTV, Tubi, Vimeo, Roku, PureFlix, and many other digital platforms. For more: angusbenfield.com

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Gasoline Rainbow – Co-directors Bill Ross IV & Turner Ross

Celebrated directorial duo the Ross Brothers (Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets,  Contemporary Color, 45365) turn their pioneering hybrid approach to  the cinematic road trip with GASOLINE RAINBOW.This raw and deeply affecting film is an expansive portrait of the new generation as told in their own words. With high school in the rearview, five teenagers from inland Oregon embark on one last adventure together. Piling into a van with a busted tail light, their mission takes them to a place they’ve never been — the Pacific coast, five hundred miles away. The plan, in full: “Fuck it.” Through desert wilderness, industrial backwaters, and city streets, they connect with outsiders on the fringes and discover their lives will be determined by the trails they blaze themselves. These are forgotten kids from a forgotten town, but they have their freedom and they have each other, hurtling toward an unknowable future — and The Party at the End of the World. A SXSW and Venice Film Festival selection, GASOLINE RAINBOW depicts a wild and true coming-of-age. With a beating heart and an irrepressible spirit, this rhapsodic look at today’s American West reminds us of the timeless joys of community. We are joined by the co-directors Turner Ross and Bill Ross to talk about the immensely challenging logistics of the shoot, working with a young cast of actors, and embracing the chaos and opportunities that made Gasoline Rainbow the remarkable cinematic experience that we see on screen.

 

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Watch at: mubi.com/gasolinerainbow beginning May 31

See Gasoline Rainbow at a theatre near you

About the filmmaker – Turner Ross and Bill Ross IV are an American filmmaking team whose work has brought them renown as some of the most innovative independent filmmakers working today — pushing the art of presenting uninhibited portraits of people and places with all the complicated, humanistic, and lyrical truth that that entails. Their work has been featured at museums and festivals throughout the world, including the Berlinale and Sundance, where they premiered Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets in 2020, and received a Special Jury Prize for Western in 2015. They have been the recipients of an Independent Spirit Award as well as accolades from CPH:DOX, Full Frame, and South by Southwest.  According to Metacritic they are tied with Paul Thomas Anderson as the 6th best reviewed filmmakers of the 21st century. In 2023, their body of work was celebrated with a retrospective at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. They are members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences. 

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“It’s not a documentary, but its portrayal of those first tastes of freedom is so accurate that it might as well be.” – Christian Zilko, indieWire

“For all the monkey business the kids get into, the film never condescends. If anything, you sense the filmmakers’ determination to record an as yet unjaded generation’s capacity for fun.” – Zhuo-Ning Su, Awards Daily

“Gasoline Rainbow is a joyous movie for everyone who’s ever sought community and found it waiting for them where they least expect it.” – Alissa Wilkinson, Vox

“Gorgeous to look at, with a delicate, fuzzy tactility, this is a sincere and moving study of what it means (and how it feels) to be growing up in the 2020s.” – Calum Baker, Radio Times

“There’s a distinctly timeless quality to Gasoline Rainbow… The film is too alive to be called a collection of liminal spaces, but there’s a kind of perpetual “present tense” sensation.” – Daniel Gorman, In Review Online

“An Ecstatic Road Trip Movie” – New York Magazine

“The Ross Brothers are organic, brilliant filmmakers, we’re lucky to be along for the ride.” – RogerEbert.com

“A piece of mesmerizing realism” The Film Stage

Finding the Money – Director Maren Poitras

FINDING THE MONEY follows American economist Stephanie Kelton on a journey through Modern Money Theory or “MMT”. Kelton provocatively asserts the National  Debt Clock that ticks ominously upwards in New York City is not actually a debt for us taxpayers at all, nor a burden for our grandchildren to pay back. Instead, Kelton describes the national debt as simply a historical record of the number of dollars created by the US federal government currently being held in pockets, as assets, by the rest of us. MMT bursts into the mainstream media, with journalists asking, “Have we been thinking about how the government spends money, all wrong?” But top economists and politicians from across the political spectrum condemn the theory as “voodoo economics”, “crazy” and “a crackpot theory”. FINDING THE MONEY traces the conflict all the way back to the story we tell about money, injecting new hope and empowering countries around the world to tackle the biggest challenges of the 21st century: from climate change to inequality. Filmmaker Maren Poitras tackles the fascinating linked concepts of taxation and debt by foregrounding the work of an underdog group of American economists including Stony Brook professor Stephanie Kelton. With a radical shift in thinking around a concept dubbed Modern Money Theory, Kelton provocatively asserts new hope for democracies around the world to tackle the biggest challenges of the 21st century.

 

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For more go to: findingmoneyfilm.com

Opens in select theaters nationwide & digital platforms on May 3rd
Featuring Q&As with special guest moderators, film protagonists, and filmmakers:
May 14: Laemmle Claremont 7:30pm — 450 West 2nd St. Q&A with Director Maren Poitras
May 15: Laemmle NoHo 7:30pm — 5240 Lankershim Blvd. N Hollywood — Q&A Panel with Stephanie Kelton, Maren Poitras, Michael Mezzatesta and Cory Doctorow!
May 16: Laemmle Royal 7:30pm — 11523 Santa Monica Blvd. West LA — Q&A Panel with Stephanie Kelton, Maren Poitras, and Harry Shearer!
May 17: SEATTLE — University of Washington, 6pm – Special Q&A with Randall Wray, Maren Poitras, Bryce Smith of LevelTen Energy, Professor Dargan Frierson, and moderated by David Goldstein of Pitchfork Economics. Arc 147, 3943 West Stevens Way
May 20: PORTLAND —  Clinton St. Theater, 7pm – Special Q&A with Maren Poitras, Randall Wray, Rohan Grey, Erik Dean, Yan Liang, and Eric Tymoigne
May 21: SAN RAFAEL — The Rafael Theater, 7pm – Special Q&A with Stephanie Kelton and Maren Poitras – 1118 4th St, San Rafael, CA
May 22: OAKLAND, CA  — The New Parkway, 7pm – Special Q&A with Maren Poitras – 474 24th St, Oakland, CA
May 22: NANTUCKET, MA — Nantucket Dreamland Theater, 7pm 17 S Water St, Nantucket, MA – Virtual Q&A with Maren Poitras to follow
June 3: ANCHORAGE, AK — Bear Tooth TheatrePub – 5:30pm, 1230 W. 27th Avenue

About the subject – Stephanie Kelton is a professor of economics and public policy at Stony Brook University. She is a leading expert on Modern Monetary Theory, a former Chief Economist on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee (Democratic staff), and an advisor to Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns. She was named by POLITICO as one of the 50 people most influencing the policy debate in America. Her highly-anticipated book, The Deficit Myth (2020), became an instant New York Times bestseller.

About the filmmaker – Maren Poitras’s feature documentary debut FINDING THE MONEY premiered at Woodstock Film Festival in fall 2023, received the Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the Green Film Festival of San Francisco, and has its European premiere at Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival. She is Associate Producer with Codebreaker Films on Enemies of the State (2020) and Reality Winner (2023). Originally from the California Bay Area, Poitras has a background in environmental science and agriculture from UC Berkeley.

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SLOW – Director Marija Kavtaradze

In Marija Kavtaradze’s latest film, SLOW, contemporary dancer Elena meets Dovydas when he is assigned to interpret via sign language in a class she is teaching to deaf youth. Their connection is immediate, kinetic, and frictionless. As they gravitate toward each other, resisting the forces and interventions of their separate daily lives, their bond deepens from platonic to romantic. When Dovydas discloses his asexuality, the couple commits themselves to honoring their individual needs in tandem. As they  continue to weave more tightly together, they struggle to negotiate sacrifice and compromise and are forced to discover the edges of their generosity toward the other. The result is an instantly recognizable dance between self and other, this one choreographed with elegance, grace, and love. The two leads, Greta Grinevičiūtė (Elena) and Kęstutis Cicėnas (Dovydas), conjure up undeniable chemistry that is heartbreakingly complicated, stubborn, and humanizing. Director and writer Marija Kavtaradze’s (Summer Survivors) sophomore feature shows off her fine tuned ability to portray intimacy and psychological exploration through dance, tense quietude, and stunningly singular examination of asexuality. Kavtaradze emphasis on the couple’s physicality and how the inherent limitations of a full physical expression plays out with own unique emotional expectations is superbly realized.

 

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For more go to: kimstim.com/slow

 2023 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL
World Cinema dramatic competition
Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic
2023 Lithuania’s Official Oscar® Selection for Best International Feature

 

About the Filmmaker – Born in 1991, film director and scriptwriter Marija Kavtaradze graduated from Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Film Directing studies in 2014. Marija’s debut feature film SUMMER SURVIVORS premiered at Toronto IFF in 2018 and did a solid career at the festivals, also sold to Italy, Albania, Latvia, etc. SUMMER SURVIVORS achieved 26k admissions at the domestic box office, which made it the most appreciated independent Lithuanian film in 2019. Her debut film received 3 Lithuanian Film Academy awards. Considered to be one of the most talented upcoming filmmakers in Lithuania, Marija Kavtaradze is now preparing for the release of her second feature film SLOW, which got Producer’s Network prize at When East Meets West and was a part of Berlinale Co-Production Market. 

About the distributor – KimStim is a Brooklyn based, full-service distribution company dedicated to the release of exceptional independent, foreign, and documentary film. KimStim brings to US and North American audiences selected films from around the world gleaned from the most prestigious film festivals and include top prize winners from Sundance, Cannes, Venice, Toronto, Berlin, and Tribeca.  For more go to: kimstim.com

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96% on RottenTomatoes

“A supremely confident piece of filmmaking that negotiates the tricky terrain of non-typical sexualities with sensitivity, humor, and a refreshing lightness of touch.” ~ SCREEN DAILY

“An involving drama … magnetic performers … give something to the audience that’s really hard to fake: great chemistry.”~ THE FILM VERDICT

“Choreographs and X-rays the feeling of love with extreme sensory delicacy under the bark of the extraordinary of a case of asexuality.” ~ CINEUROPA

“It’s stirring and moving at every turn.” ~ VOX

“Slow is a subtle but impactful film. Moving and beautiful.” ~ FILM INQUIRY

“Slow” announces Kavtaradze as a director with keen insight into human psychology and a true knack for working with actors.” ~ ROGER EBERT.COM

The Last Stop in Yuma County – Director Francis Galluppi

Director Francis Galluppi’s feature film debut, THE LAST STOP IN YUMA COUNTY is a rockin’ good time of a genre hopping gun-toting Western, double-cross film noir and desert dry dark comedy. While awaiting the next fuel truck at a middle-of-Arizona rest stop, a traveling young knife salesman is thrust into a high-stakes hostage situation by the arrival of two similarly stranded bank robbers with no qualms about using cruelty—or cold, hard steel—to protect their bloodstained, ill-begotten fortune. THE LAST STOP IN YUMA COUNTY boasts an outstanding ensemble cast of Jim Cummings (The Wolf of Snow Hollow), Jocelin Donahue (The House of the Devil), Sierra McCormick (The Vast of Night), Nicholas Logan (I Care a Lot), Michael Abbott Jr. (Killers of the Flower Moon), Connor Paolo (A Creature Was Stirring), Alexandra Essoe (The Haunting of Bly Manor), Robin Bartlett (The Fabelmans), Jon Proudstar (Reservation Dogs), Sam Huntington (Being Human), Ryan Masson (Good Girls), and Barbara Crampton (Suitable Flesh, Re-Animator), with Gene Jones (Killers of the Flower Moon), Faizon Love (Elf) and Richard Brake (Barbarian). Director / Writer / Producer / Editor Francis Galluppi joins us for a geeked out conversation on the film’s origin story and cinematic inspirations for YUMA COUNTY, pulling together this terrific cast, and his personal filmmaker favorites. 

 

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For more go to: wellgousa.com/last-stop-yuma-county

About the filmmaker – Francis Reid Galluppi was born on November 17th, 1988 in Los Angeles, California. He is a writer, director, producer, editor, and music composer, known for High Desert Hell (2019), The Gemini Project (2020), and The Last Stop In Yuma County (2023). Galluppi’s first short film, High Desert Hell, went on to win several awards, including the “Wes Craven Award” at the Catalina Film Festival in 2019. The Gemini Project, Galluppi’s follow-up film, won “Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Short Film” at the Burbank International Film Festival in 2020. Well Go USA will release his western, crime, thriller film The Last Stop In Yuma County in Theaters and On Digital May 10, 2024. It had its World Premiere Fantastic Fest before heading to Sitges where it won the best film prize in the Orbita section.  For more go to: francisgalluppi.com

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“There are little moments of blackhearted comedy among the bloodshed, but through it all, The Last Stop in Yuma County makes sure that those gunshots resonate.” – Ross McIndoe, Slant Magazine

“The Last Stop In Yuma County tells a simple story but does so in an extraordinary way. It’s a film you won’t forget for a long, long time.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“Pulling off a remarkable tonal balancing act, it manages to be consistently funny and whimsical while also legitimately tense and gripping. The ending blew me away and knocked its huge curveball out of the park.” – Stephanie Malone, Morbidly Beautiful

“A genuinely fun time that makes a feast out of familiar scraps. Jim Cummings is terrific as always. Richard Brake gets a role worthy of his menacing appeal. Feels like 3 movies in 1 where new people want to get in on the fun while we are in for all of it.” – Erik Childress, Movie Madness Podcast

“Director Francis Galluppi has put together one of the coolest movies of the year. A modern western, mixed with a heist, and easily one of my favorite movies of 2023.” – Leo Brady, AMovieGuy.com

“Director Francis Galluppi transcends expectations of the Western to create a sun-bleached crime thriller that’ll have you on the edge of your seat.” – Mary Beth McAndrews, Dread Central

Resistance – They Fought Back – Director Paula S. Apsell

RESISTANCE – THEY FOUGHT BACK, from award-winning filmmakers Paula S. Apsell and Kirk Wolfinger’s, is a passionate refutation of one of our collective misunderstandings of the Holocaust, one which holds that Jews went to their deaths passively, “as sheep to the slaughter.”  RESISTANCE – THEY FOUGHT BACK, instead focuses on Jewish communities and individuals throughout Eastern Europe who bravely rose up in resistance against the all-powerful Nazi war machine. The film also features narration from actors Corey Stoll, Dianna Agron and Maggie Siff, among many other recognizable names in the entertainment industry. Winning awards at the 2023 Santa Barbara International Film Festival, 2023 LA Indies, and the 2023 Toronto Documentary Feature & Short Film Festival, RESISTANCE – THEY FOUGHT BACK provides a much-needed corrective to the myth of Jewish passivity during the  Holocaust. There were uprisings in ghettos large and small, rebellions in death camps, and thousands of Jews fought Nazis in the forests. Everywhere in Eastern Europe, Jews waged campaigns of non-violent resistance, standing up against Nazi brutality by feeding the hungry, caring for orphans, recording German war crimes, and maintaining a high level of cultural activities and spiritual observance. Director Paula S. Apsell joins us for a conversation on the inspiration for taking on the mythology of Jewish acquiescence to the horror of Nazi brutality, finding the right people to tell the story and how does their righting of history bear on the politics of today.

 

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Resistance website: theyfoughtback.com 

 

About the filmmaker – PAULA S. APSELL created the feature documentary Resistance — They Fought Back with the goal of correcting the myth of Jewish passivity during the Holocaust. Before that, she spent 35 years as the senior executive producer of the PBS NOVA science series, responsible for more than 650 documentaries in the sciences, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine, which won every major broadcasting award including the Emmy; the Peabody; the duPont-Columbia University Gold and Silver Batons; and an Academy Award® nomination for Special Effects. She has been recognized with numerous individual awards, including the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Emmy of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Now CEO of Leading Edge Productions, Inc., a 501(c)(3) public charity, she directed, wrote and executive producer Resistance — They Fought Back

About the filmmaker – KIRK WOLFINGER directed Resistance — They Fought Back, traveling to Poland, Lithuania, and Israel to establish a unique visual approach to tell the important story of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust.  He is an Emmy and Peabody Award winning filmmaker and President of Lone Wolf Media, production partner for the feature-length documentary film. Lone Wolf is widely known as a leader in factual entertainment and is responsible for many award-winning nationally broadcast documentaries on PBS as well as the National Geographic, History and Smithsonian Channels, and more than 25 documentaries for the science series NOVA alone. Kirk’s forte is adventure, science, and historical programming. Among the many NOVA episodes he produced and directed is Holocaust Escape Tunnel, which tells the story of a landmark archeological discovery of a tunnel that Jewish prisoners used to escape their Nazi and Lithuanian captors. 

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“Resistance: They Fought Back is a vital documentary for anyone wanting a deeper understanding about the courage and the necessity of resistance by Jewish people and allies during the Holocaust. The movie combines history with personal testimonials.” – Carla Hay, Culture Mix

“A vital, eye-opening and engrossing documentary” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru

“Successful in the way it shares the stories and shows the remnants of so many inspirational heroes.” – Christopher Campbell, Nonfics

“A vital, eye-opening and engrossing documentary” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru

“People have this myth stuck in their heads that Jews went to their deaths like sheep to the slaughter. But this is where the real story begins…Jews did not go as sheep to the slaughter… They fought back.” – Professor Richard Freund

“Presents a well-made overview of acts of Jewish resistance against the Nazis during the Holocaust in Eastern Europe, emphasizing insight that stereotyped images of Jews going to their deaths “like sheep to slaughter” were from Third Reich propaganda.” – Nora Lee Mandel, Maven’s Nest

Catching Fire: The Story of Anita Pallenberg – Co-directors Alexis Bloom & Zvetlana Zill

For many Anita Pallenberg was at many points in her life a newspaper headline: a “rock n’ roll goddess,” a “voodoo priestess,” and an “evil seductress.” She was accused of trying to break up the Rolling Stones, among other things. What is made clear in co-directors Alexis Bloom & Svetlana Zill’s compelling documentary CATCHING FIRE: THE STORY OF ANITA PALLENBERG those who loved her considered her an exciting cultural force, and a loving mother – and innocent of the accusations. The film includes never-seen-before home movies and family photographs explore life with the Rolling Stones and tell a bittersweet tale of both triumph and heartbreak. From Barbarella to the Swiss Alps, and the Lower East Side to London, Anita Pallenberg was a creative force ahead of her time. CATCHING FIRE: THE STORY OF ANITA PALLENBERG is a vital portrait of the charismatic and fierce rock ‘n’ roller, actress, muse, and mother who rose to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s after a chance encounter with the Rolling Stones. Scarlett Johansson voices Anita (based on the words of her unpublished memoir) and the film includes her children, Marlon and Angela Richards, and their father, Keith Richards. Co-directors Alexis Bloom & Zvetlana Zill join us to talk about setting out to give voice, figuratively and literally, to a spirited woman who lived many lives in one lifetime. Working with producer and son of Anita and Keith Richards, Marlon, together they have succeeded brilliantly.

 

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About the filmmaker – Director Alexis Bloom was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and now lives in New York. In her early career, she produced widely for the National Geographic Channel, and for BBC World. She also produced extensively for PBS Frontline and NOVA.  In 2014, Alexis won the Producers Guild of America Award for We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, a feature documentary for Universal Pictures, also nominated for a BAFTA Award. In 2017, she was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming, and an Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking (Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, for HBO.) Alexis directed, Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes and was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2019. Alexis’ films have shown in film festivals around the world: the Cannes Film Festival, Telluride, Toronto, and the New York Film Festival to name a few. 

About the filmmaker – Director Svetlana Zill is a filmmaker born and raised in New York City. She has worked as a producer for some of the most renowned documentarians of our time including Alex Gibney, Errol Morris, and Morgan Spurlock. She began her career as an archival researcher on Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story and Mike Mills’ Beginners and worked as a consulting producer for the Academy Award nominated Cutie and the Boxer, which also won an Emmy. Her work explores an impressive range of subjects that include vast CIA conspiracies, eccentric sports fans, pop culture icons and fine artists, and has been presented by HBO, Showtime, Netflix, PBS and The New York Times. CATCHING FIRE is Svetlana’s directorial debut. 

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“The radiant and compelling Pallenberg finally gets her due as a creative force in her own right, a woman of alluring beauty, intelligence, dysfunction, addiction, and yes, an important figure in the world of the Stones at their apex.” – Matthew Carey, Deadline Hollywood Daily

“A fascinating, not-quite-complete portrait of a worldly but unschooled woman with talents finding her way into a life that offered her something more than “housewife” in an age when women’s “power” was too often defined by their allure.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

“All in all, this documentary has a perfect balance of heart, soul and humor that resonates within its core and just makes for some informative viewing.” – Richard Schertzer, Battle Royale With Cheese

Enter the Clones of Bruce – Director David Gregory

Within hours of his funeral, Hong Kong movie studios began to produce hundreds of unauthorized biopics, spin-offs and rip-offs starring a competing roster of Bruce Lee lookalikes. Over the next decade, ‘Bruceploitation’ would become a staple of global cinema. Director David Gregory examines this fascinating phenomenon via interviews with Bruce LiBruce LeBruce Liang and Dragon Lee; martial arts legends like Angela MaoDavid ChiangPhillip Ko and Sammo Hung; and the producers, directors, distributors and experts – along with copious clips from the films themselves – that for the first time reveal the history, controversy and legacy behind one of the most bizarre genres in movie history. Director, cinema aficionado and founder of Severin Films David Gregory (Lost Souls: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau) joins us for a spirited conversation on the twisted tale of Bruce Lee’s actual career in film, the shadow careers of look-a-likes and the filmmakers willing to push the limits of credibility and propriety to satiate an audience of martial arts cinephiles.

 

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For more go to: severinfilms.com/enter-the-clones-of-bruce

Available at: tv.apple.com/enter-the-clones-of-bruce

About the filmmaker – Executive Producer/Director David Gregory made his first feature-length documentary TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE – THE SHOCKING TRUTH in 2000 for the distribution company he co-founded, Blue Underground. He soon went on to direct – and often produce and edit – over 100 documentary features and shorts for DVDs that included THE DEER HUNTER, BADLANDS, FASTER PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL!, HEATHERS and THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, as well as the longer documentary projects THE JOE SPINELL STORY, BAN THE SADIST VIDEOS!, THE GODFATHERS OF MONDO and the IFC original production THE SPAGHETTI WEST. He made his narrative feature-directing debut in 2008 with PLAGUE TOWN, which he also co-wrote and co-edited. Gregory co-produced and co-directed the 2011 Grand Guignol-inspired anthology horror feature THE THEATRE BIZARRE, and it was during post- production that David began the process of making LOST SOUL: THE DOOMED JOURNEY OF RICHARD STANLEY’S ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU. The documentary had its world premiere at London’s Frightfest in August 2014 and its US premiere at Austin’s Fantastic Fest a month later. It took the ‘Best Documentary Award’ at Sitges, the ‘Director Award’ at the Morbido Festival in Mexico, and collected additional awards at festivals in Melbourne, Sydney, and Cape Town. Gregory also served as co- producer on Stanley’s return to feature directing after two decades, H.P. LOVECRAFT’S THE COLOR OUT OF SPACE. Gregory’s subsequent documentary feature BLOOD & FLESH: THE REEL LIFE & GHASTLY DEATH OF AL ADAMSON premiered at the Fantasia International Film Festival in July 2019. In 2020 he directed and co-produced TALES OF THE UNCANNY, a documentary on anthology horror featuring Roger Corman, Greg Nicotero, Tom Savini and over 50 more luminaries from the horror genre. TALES OF THE UNCANNY took the top award at Abattoir Festival in Wales where in premiered in October 2020. In 2021, Gregory executive produced the landmark folk-horror documentary WOODLANDS DARK AND DAYS BEWITCHED. Hailed as “brilliant” (AV Club) and “mind-blowingly epic” (Film Threat), the film has screened at over 40 international festivals and received nearly a dozen major awards, including the Midnighters Audience Award at SXSW and Best Documentary at Fantasia International Film Festival. David Gregory is co-founder and CEO of Severin Films, the production/distribution label dedicated to the world’s most provocative cinema for physical media, theatrical, streaming and beyond. Founded in 2006, their distribution catalogue includes projects by iconic filmmakers Alejandro Jodorowsky, Roman Polanski, Dario Argento, Paul Morrissey, Mike Leigh, Lucio Fulci, Just Jaeckin, Peter Greenaway, Dennis Hopper, Joko Anwar, Patrice Leconte, Walerian Borowczyk, Sergio Martino, Álex de la Iglesia and UK comedy legends The Comic Strip. Severin has also elevated the oeuvres of such fringe auteurs as Andy Milligan, Al Adamson, Ray Dennis Steckler, Bruno Mattei, Frederick Friedel, Luigi Cozzi, Claudio Fragrasso, Umberto Lenzi, Juan Piquer Simón, Joe D’Amato and Goya-Award winner Jess Franco. Learn more about their production services here.

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“Directed by David Gregory, a Severin co-founder, the film captures something of the chaotic energy of the grindhouse era, one that is interestingly balanced by the ambivalence, in some cases regret, that the stars have over their roles.” – Sean Gilman, In Review Online

“A hugely entertaining documentary that explores the oft-disreputable faux-Bruce Lee movies that followed the great star’s death.” – Stephen Silver, The SS Ben Hecht

“If cult films appeal to you, there’s no way to walk away from “Enter the Clones of Bruce” without a whole list of titles to track down.” – Matt Singer, ScreenCrush

“A zippy, smartly-cut story of the absolute moral depths the film industry can sink to, all while forming a genuinely heartfelt love letter to kung fu genre movies.” – Ben Robins, HeyUGuys

“Enter the Clones of Bruce is a breezy and fascinating deep dive into Bruce Lee-inspired movies and actors who tried to continue the legacy of Lee after his tragic death. The movie’s commentary is superb and includes some people who rarely give interviews.” – Carla Hay, Culture Mix