Paris Calligrammes, Director Ulrike Ottinger

PARIS CALLIGRAMMES is an epic self-portrait of Ulrike Ottinger, one of Germany’s most prominent contemporary avant-garde artists, known for her paintings, photographs, and, above all, her films. An impressive and extensive archive of sensorial memories, historical photographs, and documentary footage traces the early influences of Ottinger’s life in Paris in the 1960s. This was a time marked by her integration into the rich intellectual and cultural circles of the city, but also engagement in the political and social eruptions around the Algerian War and May 1968. These varied dimensions of her experience make PARIS CALLIGRAMMES an essential historical time capsule, beautifully interwoven with the most precious of memories and images. In a rich torrent of archival audio and visuals, paired with extracts from her own artworks and films, Ottinger resurrects the old Saint-Germaindes-Prés and Latin Quarter, with their literary cafés and jazz clubs, and revisits encounters with Jewish exiles, life with her artistic community, the world views of Parisian ethnologists and philosophers, the political upheavals of the Algerian War and May 1968, and the legacy of the colonial era. Director Ulrike Ottinger (Seven Women, Seven Sins, Ticket of No Return, Johanna d’Arc of Mongolia) joins us for a conversation on her life as young painter in Paris in the 1960s, and her personal memories of Parisian bohemianism and the serious social, political and cultural upheavals of the time into a cinematic “figure poem” (calligram) in “Paris Calligrammes”.

For news and updates on the Ulrike Ottinger go to: ulrikeottinger.com

Watch: Paris Calligrammes at Icarus Films

Watch via Virtual Theatre go to: icarusfilms.com/ Paris Calligrammes

“In Paris Calligrammes, the artist Ulrike Ottinger casts a highly personal and subjective gaze back to the twentieth century. At the heart of her film is Paris: its protagonist is the city itself, its streets, neighborhoods, bookstores, cinemas, but also its artists, authors, and intellectuals. It is a place of magical appeal, an artistic biotope, but also a place where the demons of the twentieth century still confront us.” – Bernd Scherer

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“One of the great works of first-person cinema. Ottinger’s personal and political masterwork. Extraordinary; a work of vital and energetic modernism.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Enriching, stimulating; vital and contradictory. Captures the zeitgeist as experienced by a young woman eager to soak up the cultural riches around her, which she then distilled through her own sensibility to create paintings reflecting the era’s upheavals.” – Jay Weissberg, Variety

“Never a dull moment; the work of a consummate artist who understands the importance of the form matching the story.” – Kaleem Aftab, Cineuropa

“Her cinema is restless, Odyssean: full of stories of exile and adventure. [‘Paris Calligrammes’ is] an homage to the intellectual and artistic life of the city in the 1960s.” – Amy Sherlock, Frieze Magazine

Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts – Director Jeffrey Wolf / Producer Sam Pollard

Jeffrey Wolf’s illuminating documentary BILL TRAYLOR: CHASING GHOSTS explores the life of a unique American artist, a man with a remarkable and unlikely biography. Bill Traylor was born into slavery in 1853 on a cotton plantation in rural Alabama. After the Civil War, Traylor continued to farm the land as a sharecropper until the late 1920s. Aging and alone, he moved to Montgomery and worked odd jobs in the thriving segregated black neighborhood. A decade later, in his late 80s, Traylor became homeless and started to draw and paint, both memories from plantation days and scenes of a radically changing urban culture. Having witnessed profound social and political change during a life spanning slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow segregation, and the Great Migration, Traylor devised his own visual language to translate an oral culture into something original, powerful, and culturally rooted. He made well over a thousand drawings and paintings between 1939-1942. This colorful, strikingly modernist work eventually led him to be recognized as one of America’s greatest self-taught artists and the subject of a Smithsonian retrospective. Using historical and cultural context, BILL TRAYLOR: CHASING GHOSTS brings the spirit and mystery of Traylor’s incomparable art to life. Making dramatic and  surprising use of tap dance and evocative period music, the film balances archival photographs and footage, insightful perspectives from his descendents, and Traylor’s striking drawings and paintings to reveal one of America’s most prominent artists to a wide audience. Director Jeffrey Wolf (James Castle: Portrait of an Artist) and Producer Sam Pollard (Eyes on the Prize, MLK/FBI) join us for a conversation on the remarkable life and the unsettling times that infused the strikingly direct and unfettered work of a deeply intuitive artist.

 

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Director’s Statement – My introduction to artist Bill Traylor came with the 1982 watershed exhibit “Black Folk Art in America” in DC. I had applied for a small grant to film the opening, and interview the featured living artists who attended. Traylor’s iconic art was used for the exhibit’s poster and still hangs in my office. Since encountering Bill Traylor’s art some 35 years ago, I have long contemplated his work, wanting to unravel and dig deeper into his world. Today, Bill Traylor is one of the most celebrated self-taught artists, with one of the most remarkable and unlikely biographies. Now, coming full circle, my documentary film Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts will premiere at the opening of a retrospective of his work at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, organized by Leslie Umberger, curator of Folk and Self-Taught Art. Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts strives to broaden our understanding of this period of transformation, a time when black people prospered as business professionals in Montgomery, in spite of living through the fear and volatility of Jim Crow South that impacted daily life. Traylor created his own visual language as a means to communicate and record the stories of his life. Traylor’s art is the sole body of work made by a black artist of his era to survive. He made well over a thousand drawings and paintings on discarded cardboard between 1939 and 1942. Bill Traylor did not begin to draw until he was an old man; and when he did, his burst of creativity demonstrated a unique mastery of artistic technique. Without setting out to do so, he became a chronicler of his times. – Jeffrey Wolf

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes!

“Critic’s Pick! A sincere, nourishing account of the artist. Wolf makes excellent use of photo and film archives, laying out the territory that fed Traylor’s vision.” – Glenn Kenny, The New York Times

“Brings the spirit and mystery of Traylor’s art to life and shines a spotlight on a creative gift that was long ignored and marginalized.” – Dave McNary, Variety

“Jeffrey Wolf’s exceptional documentary Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts seeks to tells its subject’s story in a deeply personal way, while also pulling back when needed to contextualize his work.” – G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle

“Speaks volumes on the life and times of the artist. The pieces themselves… lend those ghosts of his past a persistent, ethereal relevance.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times

“A celebration of art and the best of humanity transcending poverty, racism and despair.” – Southern Poverty Law Center

“In Traylor, we can see the power of individual voice… the work is transcendent and essential.” – Jerry Saltz, New York Magazine

“An extraordinary artist… Traylor’s pictures stamp themselves on your eye and mind.” – Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker

 

The Painter and The Thief – Director Benjamin Ree

Director Benjamin Ree’s latest documentary, THE PAINTER AND THE THIEF,  tracks the journey of young Czech artist Barbora Kysilkova after relocating from Berlin to Oslo to launch her career as a painter. In April of 2015, her two most valuable, large-format paintings are stolen – with care – in broad daylight from the window fronts of Galleri Nobel in Oslo’s city center. Desperate for answers about the theft of her paintings, Barbora is presented with an unusual opportunity to reach out to one of the men involved in the heist – Norwegian career criminal, Karl-‘Bertil’ Nordland. Ree begins to document the story after Barbora unbelievably invites her thief to sit for a portrait, capturing the unlikely relationship that ensues as the equally damaged duo find common ground and form an inseparable bond through their mutual affinity for art. Over three years, THE PAINTER AND THE THIEF follows the incredible story of the artist looking for her stolen paintings, while at the same time turning the thief into art. Director Benjamin Ree (Magnus) joins us for a lively conversation about gaining the confidence of these two very complex people and why it was important for him to craft a story where Barbara and Karl resilience and humanity shone through.

To watch go to: neonrated.com/the-painter-and-the-thief

2020 Sundance Film Festival: Winner of the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Creative Storytelling

Director’s statement – “From the moment I began filming I wanted to explore the complex friendship between the painter and the thief. Two questions were the driving motor: What do we humans do to be seen and appreciated, and why do we help others? For me, filmmaking is about asking intellectually stimulating and emotionally engaging questions through observing human behavior. I hope I have managed to raise some intriguing questions with this film, questions you will think about long after the end credits. I have also tried to push the cinema verite form onto a new path, with several perspectives jumping back and forth in time, revealing new layers of the friendship throughout the whole film. I have worked hard to find a cinematic form to suit the content for each scene, that reflects the inner state of the characters.” – Benjamin Ree

About the filmmaker – Benjamin Ree is a Norwegian documentary filmmaker. In the beginning of his career he worked for BBC and Reuters. Today he makes award winning short and feature documentary films. Ree’s first feature documentary is Magnus, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in 2016, and was sold to 64 countries. The film is a coming of age story of a modern genius, Magnus Carlsen, who is the world’s best chess player. The film won many awards at festivals around the world. Ree’s second feature is The Painter and the Thief, premiered at World Documentary Competition at Sundance Film Festival in 2020 and won a Special Jury Award for Creative Storytelling. Benjamin Ree works for the production company and broadcaster VGTV, which co-produced Magnus and The Painter and the Thief. For more on the filmmaker go to benjaminree.com

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96% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Benjamin Ree’s extraordinary documentary feels like a movie – there’s a heist, villains who are not what they seem, scenes of striking intimacy and some fabulous twists.” – Ed Potton, Observer (UK)

“It ends up being about friendship, addiction, and the power of art — but also the cost of art. Throughout it all, the spine of this movie is the rich, layered, and complicated friendship between these two people.” Angie Han, FilmWeek (KPCC – NPR Los Angeles)

“[A] strange, delicately made film, which manages to defy expectations about both of its subjects and the power balance between them.” – Alison Willmore, New York Magazine/Vulture

“[T]here are moments so intimate and unguarded that you may briefly dissociate and question what you’re watching – a documentary, or its carefully scripted and acted narrative counterpart.” – Justin Chang,

“So compelling is “The Painter and the Thief” – and ultimately so powerfully moving in its faith in human resilience – that you may not notice the illuminating ways in which Ree plays with form and viewpoint.” – Ty Burr, Boston Globe

“A story of deeply human connection between two souls that actually see each other, and the healing power wrapped up in that sense of visibility.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service

Little Fish – Director Chad Hartigan

LITTLE FISH, the fourth feature film from director Chad Hartigan, is a romance set in a near-future Seattle teetering on the brink of calamity. The film imagines a world where a pandemic has broken out, that strikes with no rhyme or reason, and causes its victims to lose their memories. This is the world that newlyweds Emma and Jude find themselves in, not long after meeting and falling in love. When Jude contracts the disease, the young couple will do anything to hold onto the memory of their love.  Starring Olivia Cooke (Sound of Metal, Thoroughbreds) as Emma, Jack O’Connell (’71, Starred Up) as Jude, Soko and Raul Castillo, LITTLE FISH, opens in the midst of a global epidemic: Neuroinflammatory Affliction, a severe and rapid Alzheimer’s-like condition in which people’s memories disappear. Couple Jude Williams and Emma Ryerson are grappling with the realities of NIA, interspersed with glimpses from the past as the two meet and their relationship blooms. But as NIA’s grip on society tightens, blurring the lines between the past and the present, it becomes more and more difficult to know what’s true and what’s false. Director Chad Hartigan (Morris From America, This is Martin Bonner) joins us for a conversation on the making of his  subversively sly sci-fi / love story and how the on-screen artistry of the two lead actors helped shape this prescient tale of love in an age of isolation and mistrust.

 

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About the filmmaker – Writer/director Chad Hartigan is best known for his award-winning feature films THIS IS MARTIN BONNER and MORRIS FROM AMERICA. Hartigan won the John Cassavetes Award at the 2014 Independent Spirit Awards, as well as the “Best of NEXT” Audience Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, for THIS IS MARTIN BONNER. Hartigan won the Waldo Scott Screenwriter Award at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival for his film MORRIS FROM AMERICA. LITTLE FISH marks the third collaboration between childhood friends Hartigan, composer Keegan Dewitt (HEARTS BEAT LOUD) and cinematographer Sean McElwee (THE INCREDIBLE JESSICA JAMES). Based on Aja Gabel’s short story, the film is written by up and coming screenwriter Mattson Tomlin who co-wrote the latest Batman film, THE BATMAN, and wrote the Netflix hit PROJECT POWER.

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“In the midst of a flurry of pandemic-themed media coming out which tries to reflect the [present] situation, LITTLE FISH manages to distinguish itself from the crowd with its brilliant leads and emotional resonance.” – Oluwatayo Adewole, The Spool

“The result is better than smart, it’s stirring. With the NIA pandemic as a pretext, the essential subject becomes memory — its fragility, its wondrousness, its centrality to our existence as sentient beings.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

“Hartigan’s moody evocation of Emma and Jack’s love – and the way in which it, like so much else, is predicated on knowledge of the past – casts a moving spell.” – Nick Schager, Variety

“Chad Hartigan’s Little Fish drips with equal doses of beauty and poignancy – an affecting dive into love and memory, and how it defines who we are.” – Natasha Alvar, Cultured Vultures

Days of the Bagnold Summers – Director Simon Bird

Based on the critically acclaimed graphic novel, DAYS OF THE BAGNOLD SUMMER is a funny yet sweet coming-of-age story about single motherhood and Metallica. Daniel (Earl Cave) was supposed to spend the summer with his dad and his dad’s new wife in Florida, but when his dad cancels the trip Daniel and his mom, Sue, (Monica Dolan) suddenly face the prospect of six long weeks together. An epic war of wills ensues in their suburban home as Daniel just wants to listen to heavy metal and start a band while his mom hopes to rekindle the fun times they used to have together. Featuring original songs by Belle and Sebastian. Director Simon Bird joins us for a conversation on his beautifully rendered tale of a sullen, insecure teen and his effervescent single mom doing her best to keep moving forward in a world that is pelting her with cheap shots and exasperating insults. 

 

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For news and updates go to: days-of-the-bagnold-summer

About the filmmaker – Director Simon Bird’s first short film, Ernestine and Kit, premiered at South By Southwest, and was nominated for Best Short at the Irish Film and Television Awards. Previously, Simon has worked as a stand-up comedian, writer, producer, and actor. As a writer, he created The King Is Dead for the BBC and co-created Chickens for Sky, which was nominated for Best Sitcom at the Broadcast Awards. As a producer, he set up Guilty Party Pictures, a TV and film production company backed by RED and Studiocanal. Guilty Party has produced content for Channel 4, Sky and the BBC, and recently wrapped on How Europe Stole My Mum, an original TV show for Channel 4, to air later this year.  As an actor, Simon has starred in five series of Rose D’Or-winning sitcom Friday Night Dinner. The sixth series shoots later this year. He is perhaps best known as Will McKenzie from Channel 4’s BAFTA-winning sitcom THE INBETWEENERS, THE INBETWEENERS MOVIE, which is the highest-grossing comedy film ever in the UK, and THE INBETWEENERS 2, which had the highest-grossing opening weekend of any film in the UK in 2014. Simon has won multiple British Comedy Awards and been nominated for a BAFTA and Royal Television Society award for acting. 

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90% on Rotten Tomatoes

“[A] funny, acerbic, yet surprisingly tender film…” – Mark Kermode, Observer (UK)

“Bird and writer Lisa Owens manage not only to mine repeated laughs from their basic gag – metal mayhem in Hornchurch Drive – but to do so sweetly rather than tweely.” – Danny Leigh, Financial Times

“An unexpectedly gentle and pensive portrait of a strained relationship between a mother and a son.” – Wendy Ide, Screen International

“Far closer in spirit to the lighter works of Mike Leigh than the broader material that made him a well known figure in British comedy, Bird’s debut is innately humanistic, with cross-generational appeal.” – Alistair Ryder, Film Inquiry

The Toxic Pigs of Fukushima – Director Otto Bell

THE TOXIC PIGS OF FUKUSHIMA follows a lone hunter into an isolated and changed landscape. Along the way, other citizens who still live near the reactor share their perspectives on the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 triggered a tsunami, nuclear meltdown and mass evacuations in Fukushima Prefecture. Today, as part of a Government push to encourage resettlement, local hunters have been enlisted to dispose of radiated Wild Boars that now roam the abandoned streets and buildings. THE TOXIC PIGS OF FUKUSHIMA focuses on the people who still live near the reactor share their perspectives on the aftermath. Along the way, other citizens who still live near the reactor share their perspectives on the aftermath. THE TOXIC PIGS OF FUKUSHIMA was inspired by the photographs of co-producers Toru Hanai and Yuki Iwanami. The original score was written and performed by renowned ambient artist Midori Takada. Directed by Otto Bell (The Eagle Huntress) THE TOXIC PIGS OF FUKUSHIMA has been acquired by VICE and will be featured in “The Short List with Suroosh Alvi,” an upcoming series from VICE World News. The Short List is a collection of the world’s best documentaries curated by VICE founder Suroosh Alvi.

 

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**Top 10 short docs of the year from Cinema Eye**
**Official Selection – Telluride Film Festival 2020**
**WINNER – Rhode Island International Film Festival 2020 – Grand Prize, Green Planet Award
**Official Selection – Docs Without Borders Film Festival 2020
**Official Selection – Montclair Film Festival 2020
**Official Selection – St Louis Film Festival 2020
**WINNER – Thomas Edison – Black Maria Film Festival 2021
**Official Selection – Big Sky Film Festival 2021

 

About the filmmaker – Otto Bell runs Courageous, a commercial studio of filmmakers and designers based in New York. He has directed over fifteen documentary films as far afield as Uganda, Japan, Egypt and Vietnam for brands such as IBM and Philips. During a decade in the industry, he has also created and produced multi-award winning world affairs programming such as “Horizons” on BBC World News and “Shunya” on Times Now of India. Otto is a graduate of Oxford University and the prestigious WPP Fellowship Scheme. He lives in Manhattan, but originally hails from Northern England.

The Earthquake And Tsunami – The magnitude-9.1 earthquake struck March 11, 2011 at 2:46 PM. The epicentre was located some 80 miles (130 km) east of the city of SendaiMiyagi prefecture, and the focus occurred at a depth of 18.6 miles (about 30 km) below the floor of the western Pacific Ocean. The earthquake triggered a shut down of the three active reactors at the  Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant (Fukushima Dai-Ichi). The ensuing tsunami crippled the site, stopped the Fukushima I backup diesel generators, and caused a station blackout. The subsequent lack of cooling led to explosions and meltdowns at the Fukushima I facility, with problems at three of the six reactors and in one of the six spent-fuel pools. The March 11, 2011, earthquake was the strongest to strike the region since the beginning of record keeping in the late 19th century, and it is considered one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded. Hundreds of aftershocks, dozens of magnitude 6.0 or greater and two of magnitude 7.0 or greater, followed in the days and weeks after the main quake.

The Impact – Following the 2011 Japanese Fukushima nuclear disaster, authorities shut down the nation’s 54 nuclear power plants. The Tokyo Electric Power CompanyFukushima Daiichi plant remains highly radioactive, with some 160,000 evacuees still living in temporary housing, and some land will be unfarmable for centuries. The  difficult cleanup job will take 40 or more years, and cost many tens of billions of dollars, with total economic costs estimated at $250–$500 billion

My Little Sister – Co-directors Stephanie Chuat and Veronique Reymond

In this moving, yet unsentimental tale from co-directors Stephanie Chuat and Veronique Reymond brilliant playwright Lisa (Nina Hoss) no longer writes. She lives in Switzerland with her family but her heart has stayed in Berlin, beating to the rhythm of her twin brother’s heart. The ties between the twins have grown stronger since Sven (Lars Eidinger) was diagnosed with an aggressive type of leukemia. He’s a famous theater actor and Lisa refuses to accept his fate, moving heaven and earth to get him back on stage. She gives her all for her soul mate, neglecting everything else, even risking her marriage. Her relationship with her husband starts to fall apart, but Lisa only has eyes for her brother, her mirror, who connects her back with her aspirations and rekindles her desire to create, to feel alive… Co-directors Stephanie Chuat and Veronique Reymond join us for a conversation on their exceptional and beautifully rendered drama on family, mortality, options and love.

 

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For newsand updates go to: filmmovement.com/my-little-sister

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Official submission of Switzerland for the ‘Best International Feature Film’ category of the 93rd Academy Awards in 2021.

Director’s statement – My Little Sister (Schwesterlein) has a special meaning for us. This film brings together three elements that are central to our lives. First, the city of Berlin to which we’ve had a strong attachment for over fifteen years. Second, the theatre, as we are both actresses. And above all, a unique friendship that goes back to our childhood. Stéphanie and Véronique were first and foremost two teenagers who shared the same love of theatre and decided to make a career out of it. Together we created a multitude of shows and together we started making films. To write My Little Sister we drew inspiration from our own atypical relationship, wherein we sometimes feel more alive when we are creating than in everyday life, like the twins in our movie, always hooked up to their shared imaginary world when they are together. We made them part of a theatre family because we are fascinated by the passion that drives those known in Germany as “Theatermenschen”. In this community, an actor who doesn’t perform doesn’t exist. He is erased from memory. Whilst on stage he glows, borne by the presence of the audience. Through our characters’ love of the theatre, our movie recounts in its own way the necessity of dreams as a way of escaping reality. My Little Sister is also the story of Lisa’s inner journey back to her creativity through the illness of her brother, her alter ego. By reconnecting with writing to beat back the shadows, she brings herself out of the darkness. Through the unbreakable bonds that link these two beings, our film celebrates the fragility and power of life, the strength of transmission, and relates that the end of one life can also be the beginning of another. – Stephanie Chuat and Veronique Reymond

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Chuat and Reymond take their time unspooling a graceful drama that twists the tear-soaked conventions of the cancer drama into something raw and satisfying.” – Kate Erbland, IndieWire

“Nina Hoss …turns every moment into an acting master class.” – Boyd van Hoeij , The Hollywood Reporter

“A miraculous performance piece….” – Andrew Bundy, The Playlist
“With performances deeply entrenched in character ordeal and interpersonal ties, My Little Sister could not have come at a better time. “ – Joseph Braverman, We Live Entertainment

““My Little Sister” …is a thoughtful and deep look at the bonds both breakable and unbreakable in family.” – Neely Swanson, Easy Reader News

Sing Me a Song – Director Thomas Balmès

Award-winning director/producer Thomas Balmès’ returns to one of his beloved Happiness (2014) subjects, Peyangki, now a teenaged Buddhist monk living in a rural (yet Wi-Fi equipped) monastery in Bhutan, absorbed in the wonders of the world that are a simple click away. The structured daily village rituals of prayer and candle lighting now compete with the powerful lure of smartphones and TV.  Apps for chats and dating introduce the monks to girls and violent video games, neither of which quite line up with the traditional vows of the monks. Peyangki is passionate about love songs and forms a relationship over an app, WeChat, with a young singer (Ugyen) in the “big city” of Thimphu. Distracted and disinterested in study, and often scolded by his masters and mother, he sells medicinal mushrooms to make enough money to leave the monastery and travel to Ugyen. Peyangki trades in his robes for street clothes, but will he succumb to romance and the temptations of the city or return to his pious life in the monastery? Director Thomas Balmès (Babies, Christ Comes to Papuans, A Decent Factory) joins us to talk about his nuanced portrait of a young man’s introduction to the world, offers us an eye-opening snapshot of the effects of technology, and challenges us to reassess our perceptions of self-worth and beliefs in an age of unparalleled connectivity.

 

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For news and updates go to: thomasbalmes.com/sing-me-a-song

About the filmmaker – Thomas Balmès directed his first film in 1996; BOSNIA HOTEL was the story of U.N. Kenyan peacekeepers in Bosnia. Thomas Balmès has been working as an independent director and producer of nonfiction films, specializing in international co-productions, since 1992. His initial projects included studies of filmmakers James Ivory and Michelangelo Antonioni. This was followed by MAHARAJAH BURGER; Mad Cows; Holy Cows, about the mad cow crisis as seen from the Indian perspective. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE PAPUANS (2000) following the conversion to Christianity of a Papuan Chief, was honored with the Silver Spire Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival. He directed a sequel in Papua the following year, WAITING FOR JESUS. A DECENT FACTORY, the story of a Nokia executive who inspects a mobile phone factory in China, was screened at more than 50 film festivals and received many honors, including a Europa Award. The film was released theatrically in the U.S. in 2005. DAMAGES, a.k.a. How Much Is Your Life Worth?, was filmed at a Connecticut law firm specializing in personal injury cases, and was co-produced by 15 countries and broadcast worldwide. Thomas initiated a series for national Japanese television : NHK, Tokyo Modern; and produced (A NORMAL LIFE – CHRONICLE OF A SUMO Wrestler), directed by Jill Coulon, which screened at Amsterdam’s 2009 International Documentary Film Festival. He is regularly invited to conduct lectures and master classes in France and abroad such as Brown University, the Watson Institute, Lisbon International Film Festival. His next film, BABIES takes a look at one year in the life of four babies from around the world, from Mongolia to Namibia to San Francisco to Tokyo. Happiness reflects the impact of the arrival of television in a small Himalayan village. Through the eyes of an eight years old monk named Peyangki, praying eagerly for a TV set, we see the last village of Bhutan going through the process of globalization. The film won the Documentary World Cinema Cinematography Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. For more go to: thomasbalmes.com

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90% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Balmès has greater profundity in mind when disseminating astute observations about how modern necessities and communicative devices impact cultures and ecosystems.” – Courtney Howard, Variety

“Balmès doesn’t arrive at easy, scathing conclusions about the internet. Instead, he lets the camera journey to unexpected places, leading to a different kind of meditation that strikes with deep emotional resonance…” – Kristen Yoonsoo Kim, New York Times

“Even if we see “trouble” the minute we spy that first phone, we don’t necessarily guess how this fascinating “speed of change” story will play out.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

“This film will not resolve the question of whether technological “progress” represents an advance or a decline in civilization, but it certainly will provoke conversations about that issue.” – Stephen Farber, Hollywood Reporter

Phoenix Rising – Co-directors Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui

RISING PHOENIX tells the extraordinary story of the Paralympic Games. From the rubble of World War II to the third biggest sporting event on the planet, the Paralympics sparked a global movement which continues to change the way the world thinks about disability, diversity & human potential.The film features breathtaking footage and compelling interviews with several Medal-Winning Paralympians including Tatyana McFadden (Para Athletics, United States), Bebe Vio (Wheelchair Fencing), Jean-Baptiste Alaize (Para Long Jump), Ntando Mahlangu (Para Track & Field), Matt Stutzman (Para Archery, United States), Jonnie Peacock (Para Sprint Runner), Ryley Batt (Para Wheelchair Ruby), Ellie Cole (Para Swimming), and Cui Zhe (Powerlifting). It also features an interview with Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex. RISING PHOENIX Co-directors Peter Ettedgui and Ian Bonhôte makers of the BAFTA nominated McQueen, join us to talk about remarkable athletes who have worked most of their lives to fulfill the dream of being an Olympic champion as well as the story of the ParaOlympic founder, Ludwig Guttman, a Jewish doctor who rescued people from Nazi camps and believed in the power of community to heal and empower.

 

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To watch go to: netflix.com/Rising Phoenix

To coincide with the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the film team have launched an educational website for RISING PHOENIX that includes a down-loadable Education Guide, providing a framework and resources to enable teachers to delve deeper into the subject matter in the classroom.

About the filmmaker – Peter Ettedgui’s ‘Rising Phoenix’ marks Peter’s second feature documentary as writer and director with Ian Bonhôte, following their collaboration on ‘McQueen’ in 2018. Described as “supremely engrossing and elegant” by Variety, the film was nominated for two Baftas (British Film and Documentary). Previously, Peter had cut his teeth in the non-fiction arena as writer of ‘Everything Or Nothing’ (the story of James Bond) and ‘Listen to Me, Marlon’ (a film biography of Marlon Brando told through the actor’s audio archive), for which Peter was the recipient of a Peabody Award and the IDA (Independent Documentary Award) for best writing in a documentary. Peter began his career in narrative fiction. He worked as director’s assistant and co-writer to Ken Russell on a number of feature and television projects, before writing screenplays including the Bafta-nominated ‘Onegin’, an adaptation of Pushkin’s classic tale of unrequited love, which starred Ralph Fiennes and Liv Tyler. He went on to produce films such as ‘Kinky Boots’, starring Joel Edgerton and Chiwitel Ejiofor, which became a hit Broadway/West End musical, and ‘Unmade Beds’ for Film4.Beyond his work as writer and producer, Peter has worked extensively as a development consultant and story editor including on ‘Spectre’ the 2017 Bond movie.  For more go to: misfitsentertainment.com

About the filmmaker – IAN BONHÔTE is a two times BAFTA nominated director and producer for MCQUEEN, a feature documentary on Alexander McQueen the iconic fashion designer. RISING PHOENIX is Ian’s second documentary which he has co-written and co-directed alongside Peter Ettedgui. The film covers the story of the Paralympics from its humble beginning to becoming the third biggest sporting event in the world. Ian’s directorial debut, ALLEYCATS, was distributed internationally by Universal pictures in over 25 territories and by Filmmode in the US/Canada. Following this, Ian co-founded MISFITS ENTERTAINMENT alongside Andee Ryder, the producer of Alleycats. In 2018 Misfits Entertainment produced VIKING DESTINY, an action adventure film starring Terence Stamp. Prior to this, Ian co-founded PULSE FILMS in 2005 alongside Thomas Benski and Marisa Clifford. Pulse Films recently produced GANGS OF LONDON and AMERICAN HONEY (2016 Jury Prize Cannes Winner). The company is now a part of the VICE MEDIA GROUP. Ian has also directed international campaigns, music videos and fashion films for clients such as Puma, Nike, Pepsi, Mumford & Sons, Tom Jones, and fashion designers Matthew Williamson and Hussein Chalayan. For more go to: misfitsentertainment.com

SOCIAL MEDIA
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90% on Rotten Tomatoes

“‘Phoenix’ is a testament to resiliency, determination and passion, and is one of the best documentaries of 2020.” – Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News

“There are athletes all across the spectrum of sport who would kill to have a documentary portray them as heroic, epic and badass as Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui paint the superstars in “Rising Phoenix. – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

This is profoundly inspiring… It is an extraordinary look at what makes us human.” – Wade Major, FilmWeek (KPCC – NPR Los Angeles)

“Gives sports fans a jolt of greatness, inspiration, history and drop-dead gorgeous photography” – Carole Horst, Variety

“Slick, rousing documentary” – Tim Grierson, Screen Daily

The Reason I Jump – Director Jerry Rothwell

THE REASON I JUMP is an immersive cinematic exploration of neuro-diversity through the experiences of non-speaking autistic people from around the world, based on the best-selling book by Naoki Higashida. The film blends Higashida’s revelatory insights into autism, written when he was just 13, with intimate portraits of five remarkable young people. It opens a window for audiences into an intense and overwhelming, but often joyful, sensory universe. Moments in the lives of each of the characters are linked by the journey of a young Japanese boy through an epic landscape; narrated passages from Naoki’s writing reflect on what his autism means to him and others, how his perception of the world differs, and why he acts in the way he does: the reason he jumps. THE REASON I JUMP distills these elements into a sensually rich tapestry that leads us to Naoki’s core message: not being able to speak does not mean there is nothing to say. Director Jerry Rothwell stops by to talk about his deeply empathetic look into the lives of people with autism from around the world, with each story broadening our perspective and understanding of what it means to be a neuro-diverse person. 

 

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For news and updates go to: the-reason-i-jump

About the filmmaker – Jerry Rothwell is a filmmaker whose work includes the award-winning feature documentaries: The Reason I Jump, based on the bestselling book by Naoki Higashida; How To Change The World, about the founders of Greenpeace; Sour Grapes (co-directed with Reuben Atlas) a film about a wine counterfeiter Town of Runners, about two girls in an Ethiopian village who aspire to be athletes; Donor Unknown, about a sperm donor and his many offspring; School In The Cloud, about radical educationalist, Sugata Mitra; Heavy Load, about a group of people with learning disabilities who form a punk band, and Deep Water (co-directed with Louise Osmond), about Donald Crowhurst’s ill-fated voyage in the 1968 round the world yacht race. His work has won numerous accolades including two Grierson Awards, a Sundance Special Jury Prize, an RTS Award, the IDA Pare Lorentz Award and a BAFTA nomination.

About the writer (The Reason I Jump) – Naoki Higashida was born in Kimitsu, Japan in 1992. Diagnosed with severe autism when he was five, he subsequently learned to communicate using a handmade alphabet grid and began to write poems and short stories. At the age of thirteen he wrote The Reason I Jump, which was published in Japan in 2007. Its English translation came out in 2013, and it has now been published in more than thirty languages. Higashida has since published several books in Japan, including children’s and picture books, poems, and essays. He continues to give presentations throughout Japan about his experience of autism.

SOCIAL MEDIA
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WINNER – World Cinema Documentary Audience Award – Sundance FF 2020 
NOMINEE – Best Cinematography – Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards 2020
NOMINEE – Best Feature – IDA Documentary Awards 2020
NOMINEE – Best Director – IDA Documentary Awards 2020 NOMINEE – Best Documentary – British Independent Film Awards 2020

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Wondrous… A work that enlightens and informs but that is also ravishing

to behold.” – Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter

“While The Reason I Jump is a profound and moving experience, one that isn’t easy to forget, it’s most effective when operating as an experimental work.” – John Fink, The Film Stage

“An inventive, sensuous documentary worthy of its source… This compassionate, creative documentary will open ears and eyes in equal measure.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“Exquisite… All aspects of this film deserve praise.” – Fionnuala Halligan, Screen

Nasrin – Director Jeff Kaufman and Producer Marcia S. Ross

Directed, produced, and written by Jeff Kaufman and produced by Marcia S. Ross (Terrence McNally: Every Act of Life) NASRIN is an immersive portrait of one of the world’s most courageous human rights activists and an outspoken leader of Iran’s remarkably resilient women’s rights movement. She is currently in the fifth week of a hunger strike and serving a long sentence in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison. Millions of people from over 200 nations have called for Nasrin’s release including President-elect Joe Biden; journalist Christiane Amanpour; journalist/activist Gloria Steinem; author Margaret Atwood; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, and many others. Secretly filmed in Iran by men and women who risked arrest, NASRIN features interviews with acclaimed filmmaker Jafar Panahi, Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, journalist Ann Curry, and Nasrin’s husband and fellow-activist Reza Khandan. NASRIN is narrated by Oscar® winning actress Olivia Colman and also features an original song by Tony Award®-winning composers Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and performed by 4-time Grammy® winner Angélique Kidjo. In addition, Washington Post columnist and former political prisoner Jason Rezaian serves as one of the film’s Executive Producers. Director Jeff Kaufman and Producer Marcia S. Ross join us to talk about one of the world’s most courageous woman and about the daily challenges she and other civil and women’s rights activist face in one of the world’s most repressive regimes.

Update on Nasrin: As of today, Nasrin Sotoudeh has been ordered back to prison in Iran. Earlier last month, she was released from prison due to health reasons and the corona -19 virus. Then, she had just ended her 40+ day hunger strike at the end of October in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison. Please join us in telling her story and amplifying her voice for her freedom. Nasrin hashtag #StandUp4NASRIN continues to grow daily.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: nasrinfilm.com  

About the filmmaker – Jeff Kaufman produced, directed, and wrote the documentaries Every Act Of Life (2018 Tribeca premiere, aired June 2019 on American Masters), The State of Marriage, Father Joseph, The Savoy King: Chick Webb and the Music That Changed America, Brush With Life: The Art of Being Edward Biberman, and Education Under Fire, plus a number of short films for Amnesty International, and programs for The Discovery Channel, and The History Channel. He also edited/designed a book based on the film Every Act Of Life, contributed cartoons to The New Yorker, and illustrations to The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, wrote/illustrated several children’s books, and hosted daily radio shows in Vermont and Los Angeles.

About the filmmaker – Marcia Ross produced the documentaries Every Act Of Life, The State of Marriage, Father Joseph, and The Savoy King. Additionally she has an over 3-decade career as an independent casting director and casting executive, serving 16 years as EVP for Casting at Walt Disney Motion Pictures, and 5 years as VP for Casting and Talent Development at Warner Brothers TV. Some of her film and television credits include Clueless, Cujo, thirtysomething, Murder in Mississippi, 10 Things I Hate About You, The Princess Diaries, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, The Lookout, Enchanted, Oblivion, and Parental Guidance. She has received career achievement awards from the Casting Society of America and the Hollywood Film Festival.

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“A terrific documentary by Jeff Kaufman.” – Peter Rainer, FilmWeek (KPCC – NPR Los Angeles)

“Nasirin reaffirmed my faith in the humanity and courage of those in Iran who struggle against a repressive regime.”- Robert Denerstein, Denerstein Unleashed

“Nasrin is a moving portrait of an unforgettable fighter and a vital film that should be seen by audiences around the globe.” – Loren King, AWFJ Women on Film

“This is fortitude writ large.” – Brian Shaer, Film Threat

HERSELF – Director Phyllida Lloyd

HERSELF tells the story of Sandra (Clare Dunne) a single mom looking to escape her abusive partner with her two young children, only to find herself trapped in temporary accommodation. After months of struggling, she draws inspiration from one of her daughter’s bedtime stories and hits upon the idea of self-building an affordable home. She finds an architect who provides her with plans and is offered land by Peggy (Harriet Walter), a woman she cleans for. Aido (Conleth Hill), a building contractor, appears willing to help, too. In order to do so, she must escape the grip of a possessive ex-partner, circumnavigate a broken housing system, and bring together a community of friends who can support her and lend a helping hand. But as her past rears its head in the form of Gary (Ian Lloyd Anderson), her possessive ex, and as bureaucrats fight back against her independent spirit, will Sandra be able to rebuild her life from the ground up? Director Phyllida Lloyd (The Iron Lady, Mama Mia!) joins us to talk about her beautifully rendered story about a young woman who refuses to give up on her girls, her her life and her dreams.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: herself.film

About the filmmaker – Director Phyllida Lloyd studied English and drama at Birmingham University and is now widely known for her award-winning work in theatre, opera and film. Her opera credits include La Bohème, Albert Herring, Carmen and Peter Grimes for Opera North, The Carmelites for English National Opera and Welsh National Opera, The Handmaid’s Tale for Royal Danish Opera and ENO, the Ring cycle and a staged production of Verdi’s Requiem for ENO, Macbeth for Paris Opéra and an award-winning film of Gloriana for BBC2. Her theatre and musical credits include Josephine and I (Bush Theatre/Public Theatre, New York), Mary Stuart (Donmar Warehouse, West End and Broadway; winner of a 2006 South Bank Show Theatre Award), Six Degrees of Separation and Wild East (Royal Court), Henry IV and Julius Caesar (Donmar Warehouse/St Ann’s Warehouse), Pericles, The Duchess of Malfi, What the Butler Saw, The Way of the World and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (National Theatre), The Virtuoso and Artists and Admirers (Royal Shakespeare Company) and the global musical hit Mamma Mia!. Lloyd directed the film of Mamma Mia! in 2008, which went on to make over $600 million worldwide. She also directed The Iron Lady in 2011, which went on to win a Best Actress Oscar for its star, Meryl Streep, as well as grossing over $100 million at the box office. 

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“A stunning, taut performance from actor and co-writer Dunne cuts through a flurry of clumsy good intentions to convince. The film is at its most powerful when it rests on her traumatised face.” – Fionnuala Halligan, Screen International

“So many films are branded ‘urgent’ nowadays, but in the case of Herself the term really does feel apt.” – Hannah Woodhead, Little White Lies

“With her elegant, restrained and quietly devastating performance as a headstrong yet financially struggling single-mother of two young girls, Clare Dunne is a revelation [in Herself].” – Tomris Laffly, RogerEbert.com

“If there is a lot of “happy coincidence” driving the plot, Dunne gets away with it by constructing this tale of female resilience and community from the ground up, through well-observed moments between mother and daughters.” – Amber Wilkinson, Times (UK)

Finding Yingying – Jiayan “Jenny” Shi

FINDING YINGYING follows the nightmarish story of a 26-year-old Chinese student, Yingying Zhang, who comes to the U.S. to study. In her detailed and beautiful diaries, the aspiring young scientist and teacher is full of optimism, hoping to also be married and a mother someday. Within weeks of her arrival, Yingying disappears from the campus. Through exclusive access to Yingying’s family and boyfriend, Finding Yingying closely follows their journey as they search to unravel the mystery of her disappearance and seek justice for their daughter while navigating a strange, foreign country. But most of all, Finding Yingying is the story of who Yingying was: a talented young woman loved by her family and friends. Director Jiayan “Jenny” Shi joins us for a conversation on documenting a heartbreaking story, gaining the trust and confidence of a grieving family dealing with some very difficult truths.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: findingyingying.com

To watch the film go yo: findingyingying.com/see-the-film

About the filmmaker – Jiayan “Jenny” Shi is a Chicago-based documentary filmmaker and video journalist who is passionate about social justice issues regarding people of color. She shoots, edits and produces video stories and short documentaries about immigration, race and crime in Chicago for multiple outlets. She is also working on several projects as a researcher, digital content editor and translator including the ITVS co-produced web series Pulling The Thread and the 2020 Academy Award-winning Higher Ground Netflix film, American Factory. Jenny is a graduate of Kartemquin’s Diverse Voices In Docs program, a TFI Network alum, the winner of the Paley DocPitch Competition 2018 and a fellow of 2020-2021 Women at Sundance | Adobe Fellowship. Jenny is named one of the DOC NYC “40 Under 40” filmmakers.

About Kartemquin – Sparking democracy through documentary since 1966, Kartemquin is a collaborative community that empowers documentary makers who create stories that foster a more engaged and just society. Kartemquin’s films have received four Academy Award® nominations and won many more major prizes, including six Emmys® and four Peabody Awards. Recognized as a leading advocate for independent public media, Kartemquin has helped hundreds of artists via its filmmaker development programs and championing of documentary.Kartemquin is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization based in Chicago.

Social Media
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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“It’s remarkable how Finding Yingying gets away from the traditional framework that governs how these stories are told, allowing the Zhangs to be seen separately from the horrific situation they find themselves in…” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest

“’Finding Yingying proves that centering the lives lost and the loved ones left behind can make for an intriguing a true-crime documentary.” – Jonita Davis, The Black Cape

“Compelling, heartfelt, and just as frustrating to watch – Finding Yingying not only makes for one of the most essential watches of the year but also for the sake of much-needed change.” – Andrew J. Salazar, Geeks of Color

“Intimate and haunting.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

Wander Darkly – Director Tara Miele

In WANDER DARKLY filmmaker Tara Miele explores grey, fuzzy light between reality and the sub-conscious In the aftermath of a traumatic incident, Adrienne (Sienna Miller) finds herself in a disorienting state of limbo, unstuck in time and witnessing life from a distance. Forced to confront her troubled relationship with her longtime partner, Matteo (Diego Luna), and the future of their infant daughter, Adrienne must relive and renegotiate the events of the recent past—and solve the mystery of the accident. Stepping into the shadows with Matteo, Adrienne looks for clues about what went wrong between them. Gently moving between the enigmatic and the romantic,  WANDER DARKLY traverses genre borders, taking us on a journey that is both uncanny and emotionally resonant. Miller gives a wonderfully layered performance, navigating the film’s demanding tonal shifts. Luna is both elusive and engaged, walking the line between the film’s ethereal and earthly planes. Writer-director Tara Miele’s joins us for a lively conversation on her highly affecting existential drama that explores how we build narratives of love and loss from the fragmented memories of our lives and how we all live in a world where navigating the overwhelming truths of or daily lives can help us discover the love that binds us to each other as we face an uncertain future.

 

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

About the filmmaker – Tara Miele is a filmmaker originally from Long Island. She built her career working in both film and television, including directing three micro-budget features. She is perhaps most well known for her work that went viral in 2016 with the short film Meet a Muslim. Miele aims to create socially conscious work, and when she isn’t doing that, she is raising two daughters. Both love that their mom went viral. Tara became known for the viral video ‘Meet a Muslim’ which she created to combat Islamophobia. The video has been shared around the world over 45 million times. For television she directed the backdoor pilot Green Arrow and The Canaries, and has directed episodes of Arrow, Batwoman and Hawaii Five-0, as well as four micro budget feature films. She is a graduate of Ryan Murphy’s Half Foundation and the CBS Directing Initiative. Looking forward, Tara aims to create more socially conscious work in an effort to build bridges and conversations.

Social Media
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@WanderDarkly

“Miller helps this emotionally complicated material to succeed. She is willing to take Adrienne to dangerous and unlikable places and is believable as a possible ghost, a shattered trauma survivor, and a romantic heroine.” – Anita Katz, San Francisco Examiner

“[A] beautiful film.” – Sheila O’Malley, RogerEbert.com

“Miller and Luna are superb, traversing a range of emotional material without a false note. It’s their anger, their confusion, and their love that breathes life into the movie.” – Karen Gordon, Original Cin

“Sienna Miller and Diego Luna put on a clinic in screen chemistry in this melancholy puzzle-picture romance.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

“Miele directs her two leads to excellent performances, and she’s willing to take risks as a filmmaker.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

A Dog Called Money – Director Seamus Murphy

As imaginative as the creative process it documents, A DOG CALLED MONEY is a uniquely intimate journey through the inspiration, writing and recording of a PJ Harvey record. Writer and musician Harvey and award-winning photographer Seamus Murphy, hatched a collaboration. Seeking first-hand experience of the countries she wanted to write about, Harvey accompanied Murphy on some of his worldwide reporting trips, joining him in Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Washington DC. Harvey collected words, Murphy collected images. Back home, the words become poems, songs, then an album, which is recorded in an unprecedented art experiment in Somerset House, London. In a specially constructed room behind one-way glass, the public – all cameras surrendered – are invited to watch the 5 week process as a live sound-sculpture. Murphy exclusively documents the experiment with the same forensic vision and private access as their travels. Director / photographer Seamus Murphy brilliantly captures encounters with the people and places he and Polly Jean visit, showcasing the humanity at the heart of his work, while also tracing the evolution of their shared experience into her recorded music and ultimately into their impassioned collaboration.

 

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For news and updates go to: abramorama.com/pjharvey-adogcalledmoney

About the filmmaker – Seamus Murphy grew up in Ireland and is based in London. He is the recipient of seven World Press Photo awards for his photographic work in Afghanistan, Gaza, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, Peru and Ireland. He received The World Understanding Award from POYi in the USA for his work from Afghanistan and a film he made based around this work was nominated for an Emmy and won the Liberty in Media Prize in 2011. His work has been published and exhibited widely. He has made films for The New Yorker and Channel 4 Television in the UK.  He is the author of four books including A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan (Saqi Books. 2008) is based on 12 trips to the country between 1994 and 2007 and is a chronicle of Afghanistan’s extraordinary recent history. I Am The Beggar of the World (Farrar Straus Giroux. 2014) offers a rare glimpse into the lives of Afghan women through their anonymous Landay poetry. He has collaborated with musician PJ Harvey on projects for Let England Shake and The Hope Six Demolition Project, for which he won a Q Award for Best Music Film in October 2016. Patti Smith listed Murphy’s film for Harvey’s The Words that Maketh Murder as one of her Top 10 artworks, saying “… this unheralded piece (directed by Seamus Murphy) is a wisp of humanity celebrating the small things. “Murphy and Harvey together published The Hollow of the Hand (Bloomsbury. 2015) a book of his photography and her poetry. An exhibition and live presentation of The Hollow of the Hand work took place at the Royal Festival Hall, London in 2015 and at Les Recontres d’Arles in France in 2016. His latest book The Republic (Allen Lane. 2016) is an immediate and personal portrait of Ireland and was exhibited at The Little Museum in Dublin in 2017. 

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“It’s fascinating to see the creative process laid bare in such a way, and the film confirms Harvey’s position as a vital and relevant artist who thrives through collaboration and experimentation.” – Jamie Healy, Radio Times

“Murphy has an unerring eye for poetic compositions that emphasise faces, isolated soldiers and civilians in battle zones, and anomalous juxtapositions of vulnerable non-combatants and military personnel.” – Graham Fuller, Sight and Sound

“As a peek inside the artistic process, Murphy’s film succeeds: it’s the type of demystification that only serves to make the endeavour more remarkable.” – Hilary A White, Sunday Independent (Ireland)

“[A] stunning ode to director Seamus Murphy’s métier and PJ Harvey’s collaborative genius.” – June Butler, Film Ireland Magazine

Crock of Gold, A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan – Director Julien Temple

If future generations look back at what it was truly like to be both human and alive in the late 20th century, they will be hard put to find a more powerful and enlightening testament than the songs of Shane McGowan. In a world where music has become increasingly sanitized and unable to venture beneath the surface clichés of human emotion, Shane’s songs stand out in ever greater relief. A cinematic exploration of Shane MacGowan’s story, Julien Temple’s film CROCK OF GOLD details Shane’s explosive existence, from his salad days, growing up in Ireland, to time spent on the mean streets of London and embracing the punk scene. To forming the Pogues and the conquering the known universe, we discover MacGowan’s passions, his humor and deep knowledge of music, history, spirituality & popular culture. For this is Shane’s story. A vision of the world through the eyes of the great punk poet himself and an intimate cast of close friends and family members, all channeled through  director Julien Temple’s inimitable and eternally vibrant lens. Director Julien Temple joins us for an enlightening conversation on MacGowan’s unusual childhood living on a farm without electricity, his collaboration with Johnny Depp and his respect and admiration for an artist that has stay faithful to his love of music and his country, no matter the cost.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: crockofgoldfilm.com

Director’s Statement – In a world where music has become increasingly sanitized and unable to venture beneath the surface clichés of human emotion, none has bared their soul like Shane McGowan. His unique ability to plumb the dark recesses of the human soul, while in the very same breath celebrating its capacity to find healing transcendence, in both love and the sublime mysteries of existence, goes a long way to making sense of who we actually are. His work is raw, unflinching and unashamed, reflecting all the many places Shane inhabits – the invisible world, hedonism, alcoholism, God, redemption and romance, in all their respective grit and glory. And so, here, via the inventions of the Pogues and the Popes, via the hits, the flops, the fallouts of fame. Via the triumphs and the disasters. Via the love, the hate. Via the bodily abuse and miraculous survival against the odds. And above all else, via the songs… Shane’s incomparable songs, we join Shane, in this film, in his never-ending search for that elusive ‘Crock of Gold’… – Julien Temple

About the filmmaker – Julien Temple became established as one of the early pioneers of music videos, directing such diverse talents as; Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols, David Bowie, Kinks, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Janet Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Pete Doherty and many more. He has directed feature films including the musicals ‘Absolute Beginners’ and ‘Earth Girls Are Easy’. Other directing credits ‘Pandaemonium’, selected as the Gala film at the Toronto Film Festival 2000 and winner of the Evening Standard best British actor award for Linus Roache. Temple’s feature documentary about the Sex Pistols ‘The Filth & The Fury’ screened in official selection at both the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals 2001. In 2005 he directed ‘Glastonbury’, a vivid chronicle of the past thirty years of the music festival. ‘The Future Is Unwritten’, a film to celebrate the life of Joe Strummer, premiered at Sundance in 2007. His recent films include ‘Oil City Confidential’ a documentary about the forgotten precursors of punk, Dr. Feelgood, which won the main prize at the 2009 Turin Film Festival, ‘Imaginary Man’ a film about songwriter Ray Davies for BBC One Imagine and ‘Kinkdom Come’ about his brother Day Davies. Temple’s feature documentary ‘Requiem For Detroit’ won a Grierson Award for Best Historical Documentary 2010. He is currently working with producer Jeremy Thomas to develop ‘You Really Got Me – The Kinks’, the story of Ray and Dave Davies, the brilliant love hate sibling creative force behind the legendary band.

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95% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Crock of Gold” isn’t intended as a lament for an artist derailed by his worst impulses, though. Instead, it’s a celebration of what MacGowan accomplished at his peak, as well as an explanation of the experiences that informed his music. – Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times

“Temple has always used archive material playfully; here, it’s particularly riotous, like a chaotic patchwork quilt tacked together by one of Shane’s drunk aunties. – Wendy Ide, Observer (UK)

“Bold and crass, insightful and fascinating. Director Julien Temple makes clear that this is a complex artist, with a multi-faceted personality, who has changed greatly over the years.” – Deirdre Molumby, entertainment.ie

“The director Julien Temple – who has excellent documentaries on the Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer and other galvanic musicians under his belt – is very good at this sort of thing.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

The Mystery of D. B. Cooper – Director John Dower

Directed by Emmy-nominated filmmaker John DowerTHE MYSTERY OF D.B. COOPER brings to life the stories of four individuals fervently believed by their family and friends to be “D.B. Cooper,” the mystery man who hijacked a 727 flying out of Seattle, traded the passengers’ lives for $200,000 and four parachutes, lept from the jet over some of Washington state’s roughest terrain, and was never heard from again. ‌ Almost 50 years later, the case continues to confound the FBI and inspire wild speculation as it remains the only unsolved airplane hijacking in United States history.‌ THE MYSTERY OF D.B. COOPER draws from a combination of recreated and archival footage, as well as exclusive interviews with those most connected to the infamous case and its likeliest culprit, and explores how the heist inspired copycat hijackings around the world and elevated Cooper to “legend” status before his plane even touched back down on land. ‌Director John Dower joins us for a lively conversation on the rabid D.B. Cooper cognoscenti who claim that they “know” what happened, the surprisingly strong bond Dower formed with the subjects he met making the film and the enduring and irresistible legend born on Thanksgiving eve, 1971.

 

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For news, and screenings go to: hbo.com/documentaries/the-mystery-of-db-cooper

About the filmmaker – John Dower is one of the country’s leading documentary directors. His feature Thriller in Manila was in competition at Sundance, BAFTA and EMMY nominated, and won a Grierson and a Peabody Award. Bradley Wiggins – A Year In Yellow was also BAFTA nominated in the best director category. As well as his sporting films he has a keen eye for comedy. His music documentary Live Forever was described by The Guardian as, “Sublime … finds that the truth is stranger and funnier than the myths” and his latest theatrical feature My Scientology Movie praised by The Telegraph as “a giddy, Pythonesque delight”, with Variety calling it “riotously funny”. His first documentary short, Ronald, continues that absurd tone and proved a massive hit on the American festival circuit. My Scientology Movie, which he also co-wrote, has topped a million pounds at the UK box office and is on course to be the highest grossing documentary of the year. As well as screening at prestigious festivals such as Sundance, Toronto, Tribeca, LFF, Berlin and Cannes his films have broadcast on HBO, ESPN, Sky, the BBC & Channel 4. Alongside his documentary work, John has directed a number of commercials for numerous leading brands and Agencies worldwide. Recent work includes campaigns for The Co-operative Bank, Not On The High Street and Omega. As well as spots for Sky HD, Aviva, Mars and Vodaphone. pulsefilms.com/director/john-dower/film or johndower.co.uk

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87% on Rotten Tomatoes

“It’s fascinating and a lot of fun, but in a larger sense it speaks to the reason why people get fascinated with a story like this.” – Christy Lemire, FilmWeek

“By the end of The Hijacker Who Vanished: The Mystery of DB Cooper, I felt like saying: “Dammit, I’m DB Cooper.” – Carol Midgley, Times (UK)

“These brilliant characters, some deeply entangled in the story, some distant from it but connected, are believers. This film asks what keeps them believing, and it is a far bigger question than the mystery itself.” – Rebecca Nicholson, Guardian

“Interspersed in the thrilling minute-by-minute drama of the hijacking are the stories of people suspected of being responsible. Sifting the implausible from the probable makes for a fascinating show.” – Suzi Feay, Financial Times

Last Call – Director Steven Bernstein

The story behind Steven Bernstein’s latest film, LAST CALL, begins in New York City as renowned poet Dylan Thomas’ (Rhys Ifans) began his final tour in 1953 – a tour that was meant to save him from ruin. The Welsh poet’s reputation for heavy drinking and philandering would soon be forgotten as eager audiences are captivated by his poetry lectures. Full of poetry, passion, and an ultimate betrayal, the poet who gave us Do not go gentle into that good night, Under Milkwood, and stories and broadcasts such as A Child’s Christmas in Wales and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog, rages, loves and fights against the gathering darkness. One day at the local White Horse Tavern, he drinks 18 double scotches, naming each one after his life experience. Soon his fantasies, his memories, and an uncertain present blend into a wild, surreal farewell to the world. Inspired by the real life of a man who was regarded as one of the twentieth century’s most influential lyrical poets, LAST CALL stars Rhys Ifans (The Fantastic Flitcrofts), two-time Academy Award-nominee John Malkovich (In the Line of Fire, Places in the Heart) as Thomas’s confidant and enabler, Dr. Felton, and in supporting roles, Rodrigo Santoro (Westworld), Romola Garai (Atonement), Tony Hale (Veep), Zosia Mamet (Girls), and Philip Ettinger. Director Steven Bernstein stops by to talk about the enduring legacy of a literary giant, pulling together a stellar collection of actors and how his love of classic TV dramas inspired his vision to work on a black and white cinematic canvas.   

 

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For news and updates go to: kstreetpictures.com

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Dirty God, Director Sacha Polak

Sacha Polak’s DIRTY GOD is a film about a young mother from London who must pick up the pieces after an acid attack leaves her with severe facial burns. Prior to the attack, with limited education and opportunities, Jade’s main currency was her looks. Her face has been reconstructed, but her beauty is gone. Jade must set about rebuilding herself – and this is a gargantuan task. Cast adrift from her young daughter, Jade finds solace in the hidden world of online liaisons where she uncovers the passion and connection she’s craved in an often humorous and celebratory way. However, the actions of a stranger threaten to turn her life upside down once more, and those around her are ill-equipped to halt her descent. As family life and friendships start to crumble, her lowest ebb proves the inspiration that Jade needs. Jade takes drastic action, finally finding her path back to her daughter and herself. Finalist for the 2019 Sundance Grand Jury Prize (World Cinema Dramatic) DIRTY GOD is a powerful film about motherhood, courage and self-acceptance.  Director Sacha Polak joins us for a conversation on how Jade’s story resonated with lead actor Vicki Knight’s own recovery and the trust and bonding that the entire cast and crew experienced during the making of this compelling film.

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: modernfilms.com/dirtygod

2019 Sundance Film Festival – World Cinema Dramatic Competition

2019 Rotterdam Film Festival – World Premiere

Dark Star Pictures will release DIRTY GOD with a virtual release through Laemmle Theaters in LA, Gateway Film Center (Virtual) in Columbus, and more theaters to be announced on November 13, 2020. The film will also be made available on digital platforms such as iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Fandango Now, Direct TV, and through local cable providers on December 15, 2020.

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“a raw, brilliant film“— Film Stories

“Vicky Knight makes an electric debut“— Empire

“Knight’s fiery, sensitive performance ignites the core of a movie that has a lot to say, but never sacrifices an ounce of truth in order to make its point.” – Tom Beasley. Flickering Myth

“In a frank but sensitive way, [Sacha] Polak delves into areas that most other filmmakers would be far too timid to go near.” – Geoffrey Macnab, Independent (UK)

“Knight’s Jade feels authentic in her mood swings, from frustrated to questioning, from hopeful to devastated and back, sometimes within a single scene.” – Boyd van Hoeij, Hollywood Reporter

“Dirty God isn’t always an easy watch, but it’s a rewarding one that marks both Knight and Polak as exceptional talents.” – Anna Smith, The List

Blood on the Wall, Director Nick Quested

In Central America, a caravan of migrants seeking a better life heads north to the United States, as narco-traffickers — part of the cause for the caravan — move drugs and money back and forth across the same border. From Academy Award-nominated director Sebastian Junger and Emmy-winning producer Nick Quested, BLOOD ON THE WALL explores the depths of corruption plaguing Mexico and Central America and the policies of the past that have made it impossible for everyday people to find justice. Filmed in 2018 and 2019, just as the caravans made international news, BLOOD ON THE WALL is both intimate and wide-ranging as it follows a 17-year-old journeying from Honduras, a mother and daughter and their family trying to make the life-threatening trek easier for their kids, and smugglers and traffickers who reveal what set them on their own path. Using the same on-the-ground journalism and granular point of view that co-directors Sebastian Junger and Nick Quested used in Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS, Korengal, and the Oscar-nominated Restrepo, BLOOD ON THE WALL brings the humanity of the migrants to the forefront and untangles how politics, the drug trade, violence, and the desire for safety result in unbelievable anguish happening in plain sight. Co-director Nick Quested joins us to talk about the extraordinarily violent and unstable circumstance these immigrants navigate and the palpable sense of cynical betrayal that the US and Mexico deploy against them.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: nationalgeographic.com/blood-on-the-wall

For more on sebastianjunger.com

About the filmmaker – Co-director Nick Quested is executive director and owner of Goldcrest Films, where he has built one of the premiere documentary brands in the world, winning two Emmys for his work. Quested has served as a producer on over 35 films, including Sebastian Junger’s The Last Patrol, Korengal, and the PGA- and twice Emmy-nominated Which Way Is the Front Line From Here?; the Oscar-nominated Restrepo; and National Geographic Doc Films’ duPont Award-winning Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS. Quested is also an award-winning music video director, working with such artists as Dr. Dre, Nas, Puffy, Sting, Master P, Cash Money, and Trick Daddy. His credits include “Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives,” “Rubble Kings,” “Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer,” “Smash and Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers,” “Stolen Seas,” “The List,” “Tell Spring Not to Come This Year,” and “Doin’ It in the Park: Pick-Up Basketball, NYC.”

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“The film’s two brutal narratives – the caravans and the web of narco-trafficking – don’t always coalesce and may have benefited from a longer format.” – Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times

“A very hard and complicated story to tell. But Junger and Quested are more than up to challenge in Blood on the Wall.” – David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun

We Are Many, Director Amir Amirani

WE ARE MANY focuses on February 15th, 2003, when up to 30 million people, many of whom had never demonstrated before in their lives, came out in nearly 800 cities around the world to protest against the impending Iraq War. The New York Times called this movement the “Second Superpower”. How did this day come about? Who organized it? And was it, as many people claimed, a total failure? This fearless, thought-provoking documentary is the remarkable inside story behind the first ever global demonstration and its surprising and unreported legacy. WE ARE MANY features testimony from a unique cast of direct participants, including organizers, activists, high-profile figures, and of course the public, filmed in seven countries – Italy, Spain, Egypt, Sweden, Australia, UK, and the USA. Extraordinary testimony from activists in Egypt reveals how, on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, the global anti-war protests inspired those in Tahrir Square to go on to engage in the massive democratic movement that ultimately led to the Arab Spring. In the UK, the government was defeated over the proposed invasion of Syria, a historic event that might not have transpired without the legacy of those demonstrations a decade ago. The star-studded list of contributors includes Danny Glover, actor Mark Rylance, film director Ken Loach, Prof. Noam Chomsky, musicians Brian Eno and Damon Albarn, writer and Vietnam Vet Ron Kovic (author of ‘Born on the 4th of July’), Rev. Jesse Jackson, Richard Branson, and Colin Powell’s former Chief of Staff Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, amongst others. WE ARE MANY is a bold documentary by Amir Amirani charts the birth and growth of the new people power movement, now sweeping the world, taking us up to the Arab Spring and Syria, a little over 10 years after that historic day.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: wearemany.com

About the filmmaker – Amir Amirani is a film-maker with a strong track record of work for some of the most respected series of the BBC. He has a degree in Biology from Nottingham University, and an M.Phil in International Relations from Cambridge University. Amir joined the BBC in 1992 and took up a Graduate Production Traineeship. In 1994, Amir and his brother Taghi established Amirani Films to produce documentaries for the major UK broadcasters, the BBC, Channel 4, PBS, and other international broadcasters. Amir has made films for a several of the BBC’s flagship series, including the multi BAFTA award winning Arena, Timewatch, Picture This, Correspondent and Newsnight, for which he was nominated for an Amnesty International Award. A film he directed in South Africa was nominated for the One World Broadcasting Trust Awards. Amir also works in radio, where he has produced programmes for leading series on BBC Radio 4, such as In Business, From Our Own Correspondent, The World Tonight, and single programmes such as From Tehran With Laughter. He has also directed British televisionís most popular soap opera. His journalism includes writing for the New Statesman, New Scientist,Business Traveller Asia and the Economist Intelligence Unit. His work has been well reviewed by the press.

Get Duked!, Director Ninian Doff

GET DUKED! follows teenage pals from Glasgow Dean, Duncan and DJ Beatroot as they embark on the character-building camping trip — based on a real-life program — known as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, where foraging, teamwork and orienteering are the order of the day. Eager to cut loose and smoke weed in the Scottish Highlands, the trio find themselves paired with strait-laced Ian, a fellow camper determined to play by the rules. After veering off-path into remote farmland that’s worlds away from their urban comfort zone, the boys find themselves hunted down by a shadowy force hell-bent on extinguishing their futures. From writer-director Ninian Doff — making his feature debut after a slew of award-winning music videos and short films for artists including Run the Jewels, The Chemical Brothers, Miike Snow, Migos, and Mykki Blanco — comes an anarchic satire of generational politics, hip-hop-loving farmers and hallucinogenic rabbit droppings that pits the youth of tomorrow against the status quo of yesterday. GET DUKED! stars Eddie Izzard, Kate Dickie, Georgie Glen, James Cosmo and a breakout young cast featuring Samuel Bottomley, Viraj Juneja, Rian Gordon, and Lewis Gribben. Creator and director Ninian Doff joins us for a raucous conversation on the brilliance of Eddie Izzard, getting a chance to bring his music video chops to a feature film and why the Brits are so attuned to the power of satire.

 

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Watch Get Duked! at amazon.com/Get-Duked!

About the filmmaker: Ninian Doff is a robot built by the military as an advanced ruthless killing machine. Unfortunately when they booted him up he showed no interest in murder and to their dismay started making films instead. He is considered the greatest military failure in history. Nominated for 9 British Arrows 2020 (Sainsburys and Veg Power), Grammy 2020 Best Music Video Nominated (Chem Brothers), Campaign’s Top 10 Directors 2019, Winner Shots Awards “Television Commercial of the Year – Up to and including 60 second” (Veg Power), BIFA Best Debut Director Nominated (Boyz In the Wood/ Get Duked!), Winner Just Film Grand Prix Talin Black Night Festival (Boyz In the Wood/ Get Duked!), Winner The Siren Award for Best Feature Film 2019 Lund Fantastik Film Festival (Boyz In the Wood/ Get Duked!), Winner Music video of the year Ars Independent Festival (Chemical Brothers), Nominated Best Dance Video UKMVA 2019 (Chemical Brothers), Winner SXSW Audience Award Midnighters (Boyz In The Wood), Winner of Best Director at UKMVA 2016. Winner Best Urban Video, Best Pop Video UKMVA 2016. D&AD Director Pencil 2016. Gold in FilmCraft at Europebest 2015. UKMVA 2015 Best Director Nominee. UKMVA 2104 “Best Director” Nominee. Winner UKMVA 2014 “Best Choreography”. Winner of UKMVA 2013 “Best Indie Video”. Jury and Audience award at ‘Depict13 at Brief Encounters Film Festival 2013. Nominee at UKMVA’s in last 3 years running including “Best New Director”. Selected for Saatchi and Saatchi’s New Director’s Showcase at Cannes 2012 and One Dot Zero’s “New British Talent 11”. Work has been screened at over A BILLION festivals around the world including SXSW, LA Film Festival, London Short Film Festival, Las Vegas Film Festival, Montreal Museum of Modern Art, The V&A London. For more on the filmmaker fo to: niniandoff.com

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“Fabulously funny and subversive.” – Anne Brodie, What She Said

“Serves as a distinctive calling card for a gifted yet twisted comedian, one without the slightest qualms about turning a bucolic countryside jaunt into a bloody “The Hills Have Eyes”-style hunting party.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

“A rambunctious film shot through with daft humour and an endearing, toxic masculinity-smashing sweet streak.” – Jamie Dunn, The Skinny

“An anarchic, pitch black, generation gap horror comedy that’s also one of the funniest films in a year where we are desperately in need of a laugh.” – James Croot, Stuff.co.nz

Epicentro, Director Hubert Sauper

EPICENTRO, a richly textured portrait of the resilient people of Cuba directed by renowned documentarian Hubert Sauper (We Come As Friends, Oscar-nominated Darwin’s Nightmare). Winner of the 2020 Sundance Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema Documentary, the film launches in virtual cinemas through Kino Marquee starting Friday, August 28. EPICENTRO is an immersive and metaphorical portrait of post-colonial, “utopian” Cuba, where the 1898 explosion of the USS Maine still resonates. This Big Bang ended Spanish colonial dominance in the Americas and ushered in the era of the American Empire. At the same time and place, a powerful tool of conquest was born: cinema as propaganda. In his latest film, Hubert Sauper explores a century of interventionism and myth-making together with the extraordinary people of Havana—who he calls “young prophets”—to interrogate time, imperialism and cinema itself.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: kinolorber.com/film/epicentro

About the filmmaker: Hubert Sauper is an Academy Award–nominated director, cinematographer, writer, and producer living in France. Best known for his documentaries We Come As Friends (2014) and the Academy Award-nominated Darwin’s Nightmare (2004), he has been recognized for his work with more than 50 film awards, among them a European Film Award, a French César, and awards at the Berlin, Venice and Sundance film festivals. Hubert is a visiting professor at several universities, including Harvard, Yale and Columbia.

Winner: Grand Prize, World Documentary – Sundance Film Festival

“A brilliant mixture of historical-poetic analysis and a ground-level journey among the denizens of Havana… The director’s remarkable eye for lived-in detail and for spectacular imagery will mesmerize you.” – Bilge Ebiri, Vulture

“Acclaimed nonfiction filmmaker Hubert Sauper turns his rigorous but compassionate gaze on this fascinating place in Epicentro… Sauper and his co-editor… work the material with a remarkable fluidity and gracefulness that’s consistently engaging and surprising.” – Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter

“[A] tender portrait of Cuba. Politics, people and the power of cinema are brought together to create a mosaic-like reflection on Cuba’s history… Epicentro shines in Sauper’s many encounters with the people of Cuba.” – Alan Hunter, Screen International

Mr. Jones, Director Agnieszka Holland

Oscar nominated filmmaker Agnieszka Holland’s thriller, MR. JONES, set on the eve of WWII, sees Hitler’s rise to power and Stalin’s Soviet propaganda machine pushing their “utopia” to the Western world. Meanwhile an ambitious young journalist, Gareth Jones (James Norton) becomes famous after publishing an article about his ride on an airplane with the new Chancellor of Germany – Adolph Hitler. Jones uses his political position in the British government as a foreign affairs advisor to David Lloyd George to get privileged access to the Soviet Union. Once there he searches for his next big story, scrutinizing the political and economic situation in Russia. Jones soon learns of government-induced hunger program, known as Holodomor, imposed on the Ukrainian people. The Soviets, with the help of the British and American governments, keep the starvation of 4 to 5 million people mostly secret. Jones efforts to uncover the truth behind the propaganda and expose an international conspiracy could cost him and his informant their lives. Jones goes on a life-or-death journey to uncover the truth behind the façade that would later inspire George Orwell’s seminal book Animal Farm. Director Agnieszka Holland joins us for a lively conversation on the little known story of mass slaughter prior to the onset one World War II and the craven rationale by the Western Powers willing to look the other way as millions of innocent people perished.

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: samuelgoldwynfilms.com/mr-jones

Watch on Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Google Play, Vudu and Fandango Now

Writer’s Statement: “It was for my grandfather, Olexji, and the countless others who suffered under the Soviet regime that I wrote and produced this film. The idea first came to me in my final year of university and followed me to Ukraine after college and to a road trip through Wales shortly before my wedding, and many research trips for several years after. I wanted to tell a story that would honor the millions of victims of Stalin, who has been resurrected under Putinism as a great hero, and expose how Kremlin propaganda works – sometimes with the help of corrupt Western journalists and political leaders. Fifteen years ago, I never imagined this film would be relevant. It was always my intention to unearth buried history not hold up a mirror to our own times. As surreal as this journey has been against the backdrop of growing authoritarianism around the world, I have been heartened by how our story has brought together so many talented, fearless people determined to fight for the truth. Agnieszka, who survived prison under Soviet occupation and lost loved ones to the regime, put so much of herself into this masterpiece. Never could I have written in detail the rich wonderland that she created on screen, poetically guiding the audience through an adventure, while giving greater context to the challenges the world faces today. It has been a testament of faith that this film came together with these brave artists, and the timing for its release could not be more urgent.” – Writer Andrea Chalupa

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Welcome to Chechnya, Director David France

In this searing documentary, WELCOME TO CHECHNYA, Academy Award –nominated director David France (How To Survive A Plague) brings us a terrifying real-life thriller that shadows a group of brave activists risking their lives to confront the ongoing anti-LGBTQ persecution in the repressive and closed Russian republic of Chechnya. In recent years, tens of thousands of LGBTQ people in the republic have suffered detention, torture and sometimes death at the hands of the authorities. But a small network of queer activists have mobilized into action, smuggling people in need out of their communities, securing visas and sheltering them in safe houses. Shot with astonishing access, largely with hidden cameras that keep rolling throughout every moment of escape, and employing a revolutionary face-swapping technique to protect the anonymity of its endangered subjects, WELCOME TO CHECHNYA exposes these under-reported atrocities, while highlighting an extraordinary group of heroic people confronting a brutal system. Director David France joins us for a conversation on the remarkably effective facial technology used by France to protect the identity of the film subjects and on the Russian republic’s pogrom against defenseless people being tortured and killed because of their sexual identity.

 

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For news and updates go to: welcometochechnya.com

Welcome to Chechnya premieres on HBO June 30

Director’s Statement: In my work as a journalist and author over many years, I have focused closely on the stories of outsiders and people who society has pushed to its margins – the disregarded, the ignored, the hated. When I turned to documentary filmmaking, I chose outsider activism as my subject. My first film, HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE, documented the work of early AIDS activists, ordinary people with no training who marshalled the intricate details of virology to change the course of the epidemic. Next, I opened up the story of early gender radicals in THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON, which chronicled not only the founding of the modern LGBTQ movement but also the founding of the first transgender rights organization in 1970. WELCOME TO CHECHNYA completes this trilogy. It follows a group of ordinary humans who have done something extraordinary, and asks the question that has long preoccupied me: What makes a person assume enormous risk and responsibility when others might turn the other way?  What does it take, in other words, to be a hero?When I left their underground pipeline for the last time, knowing I could never go back once it became known I was reporting on their work, I wept with gratitude for the work they are doing. And for the opportunity they gave me to witness bravery of the most unvarnished kind: selfless, humane, and entirely queer. – David France

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“No one has ever found such a deep and humanitarian use of a ‘deep fake’.” – Zep Armentano, El Cinefil

“David France has created a true masterwork of LGBT empathy, working both as a devastating portrait of hate as well as a rallying cry to arms. This is one of the best documentaries of the year.” – Redmond Bacon, Culture Vultures

“Undoubtedly a magnum opus of sorts on human rights documentation” – Jessica Pena, Jumpcut

“Gripping, essential viewing” – Matthew Jacobs, HuffPost

“Welcome to Chechnya is as fearless as its subjects, unafraid to show the violence and emotional torture of these people.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com