Bully, Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn, Director Ivy Meeropol

BULLY. COWARD. VICTIM. THE STORY OF ROY COHN takes an unflinching look at the life and death of infamous attorney Roy Cohn. Cohn first gained prominence by prosecuting Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in what came to be known as the “atomic spies” case. The documentary draws on extensive, newly unearthed archival material to present the most revealing examination of Roy Cohn to date. Director Ivy Meeropol (“Indian Point,” HBO’s “Heir to an Execution”) brings a unique perspective as the granddaughter of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, having  spent much of her life feeling both repelled and fascinated by the man who prosecuted her grandparents, obtained their convictions in federal court, and then insisted on their executions. The documentary is a riveting profile chronicles Cohn’s life from the late 1950s as chief counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy, when he first began wielding political power, through the 1980s, when he became a darling of the Reagan White House, a rabid anti-homosexuality activist and political mentor to Donald J. Trump before meeting his death from AIDS in 1986.  BULLY. COWARD. VICTIM. THE STORY OF ROY COHN includes numerous interviews, including John Waters, Cindy Adams, Alan Dershowitz, Nathan Lane and Tony Kushner, whose 2018 Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning revival of “Angels in America” featured Lane as Cohn. Lane offers insight into how devastatingly dangerous the actual Roy Cohn was and how he wielded power through invective and innuendo.Director Ivy Meeropol joins us to talk about one of the most renowned and reviled political figures of the last 60 years as well as the lasting impact he had on her own life, family and the country.

 

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BULLY. COWARD. VICTIM. THE STORY OF ROY COHN debuts on HBO Thursday, June 18 at 9 PM (ET) and will also be available to stream on HBO GO, HBO NOW, and on HBO via HBO Max and other partners’ platforms. June 19 marks the 67th Anniversary of the execution of Meeropol’s grandparents, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

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“In its loosely anecdotal way it may bring us a notch or two closer to who Roy Cohn was.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“The film might complicate who Cohn was, but it does not try to humanize his actions-and some aspects of his life, his choices, and what he might’ve been thinking still remain shrouded in mystery to this day.” – Michelle Jaworski, The Daily Dot

Sometimes Always Never, Director Carl Hunter

In the latest collaboration between director Carl Hunter and writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce SOMETIMES ALWAYS NEVER follows a stylish tailor and wayward father, Alan, (Bill Nighy) who is has spent a big chunk of his adult life playing the word game Scrabble. At the expense of his other relationships Alan has spent years searching tirelessly for his missing son, Michael, who stormed out over a game of Scrabble. With a body to identify and his family torn apart, Alan must repair the relationship with his youngest son, Jack (Sam Riley) and identify an online player who he thinks could be Michael, so he can finally move on and reunite his family. A quirky mystery / comedy starring the BAFTA winner Bill Nighy (Love Actually, Shaun of the Dead), SOMETIMES ALWAYS NEVER is a story about redemption, family, and finding the right words. Director Carl Hunter joins us to talk about his on-going work with screenwriter working with Cottrell-Boyce, and the photo that convinced lead actor Bill Nighy to join the project and striking the right visual look for his thoughtful, wryly funny film.

 

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For news, virtual screenings and updates goto: sometimes-always-never.com

About the filmmaker: Carl Hunter is a director, screenwriter and also the bass player for Liverpool band, The Farm, who had a number 1 LP, Spartacus in 1991, 3 top 10 singles and spent a total of 50 weeks in the official top 40s for both LPs and singles. He has been making films, producing and directing, since the late 1990s and in 2019 he directed his first feature film, Sometimes, Always, Never, starring Bill Nighy and produced by Hurricane Films. In 2007, Carl produced and co-wrote the feature film, ‘Grow Your Own.’ He’s currently developing his next ideas with writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce.

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“…charming, elegant, whimsical and unexpectedly moving gem.” – Chris Hunneysett, Daily Mirror (UK)

“It’s universally well acted and it’s directed with an inventive, original visual style that matches the audacity of basing a film on Scrabble, by TV director Carl Hunter. The end result is unusual, intriguing and endearing.” – Alexa Dalby, Dog and Wolf

“It’s Nighy who will have you enthralled. He delivers a subtle, nuanced performance that allows the actor to shine while in full support of his costars.” – Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times

“Screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce, who adapted the film from his own short story, has crafted a joy of a script, which seeds its themes as elegantly as Nighy’s character, Alan, a Scrabble-obsessed tailor, wears his suits. – Wendy Ide, Observer (UK)

Crystal Swan, Director Darya Zhuk

CRYSTAL SWAN is set in Belarus a few years after gaining independence in 1990. This vibrant debut feature film by director Darya Zhuk follows the path of young Velya (Alina Nasibullina), who dreams of moving to Chicago where she hopes to pursue her passion for house music.  However, obtaining a U.S. visa proves daunting. After purchasing blank letterhead and forging proof of employment, Velya realizes the American consulate plans to call the fake phone number on her application to confirm her employment. Velya’s only solution is to go to the small factory town and convince the family connected to the phone number to help her. She locates the cramped Soviet apartment on the other end of the line, overrun by a family preparing for the wedding of their son. But Velya’s presence soon upends both the family’s and the town’s order, with potentially disastrous consequences for all. Director Darya Zhuk joins us to talk about where the story behind Crystal Swan came from, casting Velya and how her debut feature film reflects a story about a woman and her country, where feelings of self and belonging are yet to be defined.

 

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For news and updates go to: loco-films.com/crystal-swan

Crystal Swan is available to watch on MUBI

Director’s statement – I’m a Belarus-born film director living in New York. I spent most of my young adult life straddling two worlds: the world of my freshly independent home-country, just starting to define its identity after the split from the Soviet Union, and my new home in America where I stayed after finishing an undergraduate degree at Harvard. Most of this straddling, I spent standing in long cues to the US Embassy in Minsk. I visited my parents a lot, and the visa requirements were quite brutal. It’s in this long line to the embassy that I first thought of Crystal Swan. People waiting on the permission to go to America were like prisoners waiting for the verdict, – they were so stressed out that they often shared their whole life stories with strangers next to them. I wanted to explore what this process of like. My protagonist Velya is a DJ dreaming to go to Chicago to visit the birthplace of house music. We meet her in one of these cues to the embassy. She is young and full of illusions, she still feels like she is the center of her world. She is an archetypal American character placed in the post-Soviet mess. Freedom she seeks is not available, and in the reality where she lives, the individualism doesn’t always win. Her beliefs and approach to life are constantly challenged with every step of her journey. Can she be a free agent in an unfree world? The unfreedom of people around is what stops my main character from reaching her goal. The history, the trauma of the previous history, catches up with her through the abusive actions of the people who surround her. – Darya Zhuk, Director, Co-screenwriter

Social Media
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Official Oscar Entry for Foreign Language Film – Belarus 
Best Director – Bridge of Arts Film Festival
Best Actress – Bridge of Arts Film Festival
Best Actress – Cineuropa Film Festival
Best Film – Bratislava Film Festival (Fipresci Jury)
Best Debut of 2018 – Russian Critics Guild
Best Picture – Tbilisi Film Festival

 

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Crystal Swan feels like a poison-tipped letter from the filmmaker to her home country that is also an engrossing work of social criticism.” – Phil Guie, Film-Forward.com

“If something stands out above all it’s the excellent performance of Alina Nasibullina, an actress with a lot of presence that dominates the screen at all times.” – Jaime Fa de Lucas, Culturamas

“While some nuances may go over the heads of international audiences, its core social and economic frustrations are universal ones, driven by Velya’s fundamentally sympathetic wanderlust.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“[Crystal Swan] is so effective at capturing the hopefulness of someone who’s seized by the promise of a better life, and the desperation she feels when that promise starts to slip through her fingers.” – David Ehrlich, indieWire

You Don’t Nomi, Director Jeffrey McHale

In YOU DON’T NOMI, a chorus of film critics and fervent devotees explore the complicated afterlife of 1995’s biggest film flop, Paul Verhoeven’s salacious SHOWGIRLS from disastrous release to cult adoration and extraordinary redemption 25 years later. Showgirls was met by critics and audiences with near universal derision. YOU DON’T NOMI traces the film’s redemptive journey from notorious flop to cult classic, and maybe even masterpiece.The film features Adam Nayman (Vice Guide to Film), April Kidwell (I, Nomi) and Peaches Christ (Milk) as well as archive interview footage with the cast and crew of Showgirls. While SHOWGIRLS is the main subject of YOU DON’T NOMI, the documentary is also a retrospective of Verhoeven’s directing career from RoboCop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Starship Troopers and Elle, among others. It explores the themes that unite his films, while showcasing Verhoeven as a genius and as a controversial figure all at the same time. Director Jeffrey McHale joins us to talk about his own Showgirls odyssey and how he came to document the subculture that celebrates a film that cinephiles often vilify and embrace at the same time.

 

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For news, screenings and updates goto: youdontnomifilm.com

Available Tuesday, June 9 on Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Google Play & Fandango NOW

About the filmmaker Jeffrey McHale, Director / Producer / Editor, is a documentary filmmaker based in Los Angeles. His feature film debut, YOU DON’T NOMI, is the zenith of what he calls his “Showgirls adventure.” While McHale’s inspiration for You Don’t Nomi originated with the unexpected viral success of his 2010 trailer mashup of Paul Verhoeven’s  Showgirls and Darren Aronofsky’s Black SwanNomi also synthesizes recurring themes in McHale’s work, including the examination of queer subcultures and the exploration of how identities are articulated. As a television editor, McHale’s work includes acclaimed technology and science news series TechKnow for Al Jazeera English and most recently the groundbreaking World Cup docuseries Phenoms for Fox. Earlier projects, including documentary shorts and music videos, have screened at NewFest, Frameline, Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival, and the Melbourne Queer Film Festival. A native of Michigan, McHale began his career at WGN America after studying film at Columbia College Chicago.

Social Media
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instagram.com/youdontnomifilm

89% on Rotten Tomatoes

“You Don’t Nomi makes a compelling case that the much-maligned pop-culture landmark can be judged as either tawdry rubbish or subversive comic triumph.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

“This is the most thoughtful deconstruction of a film imaginable, as well as an ideal festival choice for those who used to buy DVDs just for the commentaries.” – Kent Turner, Film-Forward.com

“While far from a straightforward documentary about a widely marginalized film, You Don’t Nomi reminds us that it’s okay to like things with rough edges, that streamlined perfection is overrated…” – Chuck Foster, Film Threat

“Nomi leaves it up to audiences to decide if Showgirls is trash, a masterpiece, or a “masterpiece of trash,” but one thing is certain: no matter how good or how bad one considers the film’s objective quality, one can enjoy Showgirls all the same.” – Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

Raising Buchanan, Creator and Actor Amanda Melby

Inspired by a couple of true presidential corpse stories: the 1876 plot to steal Abraham Lincoln’s body, and the exhumation of Zachary Taylor in 1991, RAISING BUCHANAN took the idea of presidential corpse stealing to extraordinary lengths of dark comedy delight with terrible dead presidents. Because there’s certainly something to be learned from terrible presidents, as well as laughing at them. Finding their inspiration in the off-kilter tone of the dramatically rooted comedies of Alexander Payne, the Coen Brothers, and Hal Ashby, the RAISING BUCHANAN stars Amanda Melby (Candid Camera), René Auberjonois (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), Cathy Shim (Reno 911!), Robert Ben Garant (Reno 911!), Terence Bernie Hines (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), Jennifer Pfalzgraff  (21 Grams), Steve Briscoe (Covet), Lynnette ‘L.A.’ Brown (Kerry and Angie), and M. Emmet Walsh (Blade Runner). Produced by Melby and Joe Gruberman (Eleven Eleven), this award-winning feature film swept the film festival circuit racking up multiple awards, including: Best Feature, Best Dramedy, Best Actress (Melby) and Best Screenplay (Bruce Dellis), among others. Creator and lead actor Amanda Melby stops by for a lively conversation on her wryly funny and endearing film, Raising Buchanan, and her collaboration with the late, great René Auberjonois.

 

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For news and updates go to: raisingbuchanan.com

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facebook.com/raisingbuchananmovie
twitter.com/raisingbuchanan
instagram.com/raisingbuchanan

 

“Auberjonois is so good as the feckless leader, nobly defending his poor decisions, that it makes you long for a full one-man show that will never come.” – Josh Bell, Crooked Marquee

“Surely, Buchanan was never going to earn the kind of cinematic lionization that so many American filmmaking greats (like Steven Spielberg and John Ford) gave to good old Abe Lincoln, but he could have done a whole lot worse than this.” – Nick Rocco Scalia. Film Threat

“Simply as a showcase for two of the best character actors of the last fifty years, Raising Buchanan deserves praise.” – M.V. Moorhead, Phoenix Magazine

The Plagiarists – Screenwriters Robin Schavoir and James N. Kienitz Wilkins

Co-written by experimental filmmakers James N. Kienitz Wilkins and Robin Schavoir (who, along with Paul Dallas, served as producers), The Plagiarists is at once a hilarious send-up of low-budget American indie filmmaking and a probing inquiry into race, relationships, and the social uncanny. A young novelist (Lucy Kaminsky) and her cinematographer boyfriend (Eamon Monaghan) are waylaid by a snowstorm on their way to visit a friend in upstate New York and are taken in by the kindly yet enigmatic Clip (Michael “Clip” Payne of Parliament Funkadelic), who puts them up for the night. But an accidental discovery months later recasts in an unnerving light what had seemed like an agreeable evening, stoking resentments both latent and not-so-latent. Exhilaratingly intelligent and distinctively shot on a vintage TV-news camera, The Plagiarists is a work whose provocations are inseparable from its pleasures. Screenwriters James N. Kienitz Wilkins and Robin Schavoir join us to talk about whip-smart project, as well as their creative process, white privilege, blending together acting styles and Dogma 95.

Background – The Plagiarists is a dramatic comedy about the clash of money and culture, reality and desire, race and identity. It’s a social satire about who has the privilege to say what in today’s world. It was conceived as a playful critique of the mannerisms of “indie film” used by aspiring filmmakers to denote authenticity of performance, often resulting in the casual perpetuation of stereotypes. The Plagiarists is at once the thing it mimics: a completely independent micro-budget feature shot entirely on vintage news cameras from the 1980s, despite a contemporary subject matter. The camera cited in the story is also the production camera, recording on real Betacam SP videotape (sourced from eBay) to create a visual style reflecting the internal debate over obsolescence, nostalgia, and the heavy weight of originality.

 

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For news and updates go to: kimstim.com/film/plagiarists

Social Media
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twitter.com/automaticmoving
twitter.com/hashtag/jamesnkienitzwilkins

“An adventurous comic thumping worth the working over of your sensibilities.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“Its crude imagery and the sharp editing that implicitly contradicts it are deliberate components of a termite-like digging into the permutations of postmodern cultural work.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

“The Plagiarists’ perfectly judged mimicry of independent cinema illustrates the profound effect a lack of diversity has on the type of art that gets made.” – Patrick Gamble, CineVue

“The film improves upon reflection, raising, as it does, some knotty questions about originality in art and in life, as well as provocatively positing that even a copy of a copy of a copy has the potential to move hearts and minds.” – Keith Uhlich, Hollywood Reporter

Saint Frances, Director Alex Thompson

Flailing thirty-four-year-old Bridget (Kelly O’Sullivan) finally catches a break when she meets a nice guy and lands a much-needed job nannying six-year-old Frances (played by a scene-stealing Ramona Edith-Williams). But an unwanted pregnancy introduces an unexpected complication. To make matters worse, she clashes with the obstinate Frances and struggles to navigate a growing tension between Frances’s moms. Amidst her tempestuous personal relationships, a reluctant friendship with Frances emerges, and Bridget contends with the inevitable joys and shit-shows of becoming a part of someone else’s family. Director Alex Thompson joins us to talk about his collaboration with screenwriter / lead actor Kelly O’Sullivan, the casting of Frances and his approach to guiding this beautifully rendered story of three women and a child in search of family, love and power over their own lives.

 

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An open letter from Saint Frances writer and lead actor, Kelly O’Sullivan When I got pregnant in my early thirties and knew immediately I would get an abortion, I had no idea what to expect. My mom got me the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” pregnancy book one Christmas, hoping I would hurry up and give her a grandchild, but nobody proudly hands you a guidebook on what to expect with abortion. I had no idea my abortion could be induced just with pills, and I had no idea how long my post-abortion bleeding would last. Women and girls are encouraged, outrightly or subliminally, to keep abortion, postpartum depression, periods, or any other innate part of womanhood that’s considered messy, “gross,” or shameful to ourselves. That makes for lonely, confusing, and isolating experiences. When my Mom finally learned what this movie was about, she said, “Well, you’re the first one in our whole family to get an abortion!” And I clarified, “Maybe I’m just the first person you know about.” Saint Frances endeavors to normalize and destigmatize those parts of womanhood that we’re encouraged not to talk about. I wanted not only to talk about these subjects, but to show them onscreen unapologetically, realistically. This movie could be called “There Will Be Blood 2,” and a sense of humor is a vital intention of the film. Saint Frances tries to show that abortion doesn’t always have to equal trauma, periods shouldn’t equal shame, and postpartum depression shouldn’t equal isolation. This story and these characters are filled with sincerity, empathy, humor and 6 tons of love. And there’s that healthy amount of blood. Thank you for watching. I truly, truly hope you enjoy. – Kelly O’Sullivan

For news and updates go to: saintfrances.oscilloscope.net

For more on the work of Director Alex Thompson go to: runawaytrainchicago.com

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#saintfrancesfilm

 

98% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Kelly O’Sullivan writes and stars in the small masterpiece that’s both thought-provoking and wildly entertaining.” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

“I believe that everyone, especially women, should check out Saint Frances. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and it will make you think. That doesn’t happen all that often in the same movie.” – Lorry Kikta, Film Threat

“O’Sullivan and her creation are riveting, and when the film comes to an emotional end that hinges on all its early strengths, the result is satisfying and hard-won, a coming-of-age story told on just a slight delay.” – Kate Erbland, indieWire

“With a warm heart and a nonjudgmental mind, “Saint Frances” weaves abortion, same-sex parenting and postpartum depression into a narrative bursting with positivity and acceptance.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

Film Festival Day, Lela Meadow-Conner, Film Festival Alliance Executive Director

The Film Festival Alliance announced it will team with Theatrical-At-Home to present the inaugural Film Festival Day on Saturday, April 11. 30 FFA member film festivals will participate in a virtual screening of Gary Lundgren’s PHOENIX, OREGON, which will benefit each of the film festivals with a share of the evening’s proceeds.

Among the 30 participating film festivals are; Alexander Valley Film Festival (CA), Ashland Film Festival (OR), BendFilm (OR), Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival (IL), Buffalo International Film Festival (NY), Cambria Film Festival (CA), Cinetopia Film Festival (MI), Cucalorus Film Festival (NC), Durango Independent Film Festival (CO), Heartland Film Festival (IN), Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival (MI), Indy Film Fest (IN), Interfaith Film & Music Festival (NY), Flyway Film Festival (WI), Free State Festival (KS), Golden State Film Festival (CA), New Filmmakers Los Angeles (CA), Orcas Island Film Festival (WA), Oxford Film Festival (MS), Phoenix Film Festival (AZ), Poppy Jasper International Film Festival (CA), Sidewalk Film Festival (AL), Scottsdale International Film Festival (AZ), Skyline Indie Fest (VA), South Georgia Film Festival (GA), St. Louis International Film Festival (MO), Tallgrass Film Festival (KS), The Valley Film Festival (CA), Vermont International Film Festival (VT), and Woods Hole Film Festival (MA).

 

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Film fans from across the country will be able to select their festival of choice when purchasing tickets and box office revenue will be generously split with that organization. All ticket purchases will receive a one-time link to watch the movie at home as well as a free digital copy upon its official release this summer. Film festivals across the nation have endured more than 175 cancellations, postponements and quick pivots in the wake of COVID-19, with an estimated economic impact of more than $1.4 million for this group of organizations alone. Of the participating festivals, which come from 19 states, they have combined audiences of more than 200,000, support more than 5,500 filmmakers and collectively screened over 3,700 films in the last year.

Gary Lundgren’s PHOENIX, OREGON is about two friends, a graphic novelist and a chef, who defy a midlife haze by seizing an unlikely opportunity to reinvent their lives by quitting their jobs to restore an old bowling alley and serve the “world’s greatest pizza.” The film stars an impressive lineup of indie film stalwarts and comedy favorites including James Le Gros (DRUGSTORE COWBOY, LIVING IN OBLIVION), Lisa Edelstein (“House”), Jesse Borrego (“Fame,” BLOOD IN BLOOD OUT), Reynaldo Gallegos (AMERICAN SNIPER), Diedrich Bader (NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, OFFICE SPACEN, “Veep”), and Kevin Corrigan (THE DEPARTED, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, TRUE ROMANCE).  Watch the trailer for Phoenix, Oregon

To purchase tickets go to: shop.jomafilms.com/Phoenix, Oregon – Film Festival Day

ABOUT FILM FESTIVAL ALLIANCE  Film Festival Alliance creates a collaborative global community for mission-driven film festivals. FFA advocates for a sustainable and inclusive environment for our industry within the cinema exhibition ecosystem and creates a powerful collective voice for film festivals and the people who run them. Founded in 2010 as a program of IFP, Film Festival Alliance (FFA) was established in 2015 as an independent non-profit networking organization, and now serves a membership of more than 180 organizations and individuals – representing a diverse array of size, geographic location and annual budget. FFA presents year-round professional development, and engagement opportunities around the country, offers valuable money-saving benefits and creates a collective community for festival professionals. FFA works year-round to celebrate and support the art of film, filmmaking and film presentation by connecting festival professionals with one another, and with other industry stakeholders including the greater filmmaking community.

Banana Split, Director Benjamin Kasulke

It’s the end of April’s (Hannah Marks, Slash) senior year of high school, when she and longtime boyfriend Nick (Dylan Sprouse, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody) break up. While getting trashed at a house party, she bumps into Dylan’s new squeeze, Clara (Liana Liberato, also in To the Stars), a recent transplant from Fresno. BANANA SPLIT is set against the backdrop of April’s last days before heading off to college. Her plans for her last few high school months are about to hit a snag when she becomes best friends with her ex-boyfriend’s new squeeze. Usual teen social norms mean that they have to hate each, but it turns out they have way more in common than a mutual beau. Over the summer Clara and April develop a perfect kindred-spirit friendship in ways they never thought possible, all while working overtime to keep their relationship secret from Nick. Director Benjamin Kasulke (Your Sister’s Sister, Safety Not Guaranteed), stops by to talk about working with co-writer / co-star Hannah Marks, making the transition from cinematographer to director and finding the sweet spot of believability in this very entertaining teen drama / comedy.

 

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About the filmmaker
Benjamin Francis Kasulke is a director, cinematographer, and Stranger Genius Award recipient born in 1977 in Syracuse, NY. After earning degrees in film from Ithaca College and FAMU  (Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts) in Prague, he worked as a negative cutter with the Image Treasury in Seattle. His cinematographer career began while working extensively with the local dance film community, which he turned into collaborations with the likes of Guy Maddin, Lynn Shelton, Megan Griffiths, and Colin Trevorrow. He became a vital component of the Pacific Northwest film community, acting as cinematographer on such films as Humpday and The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle (both SIFF 2009), The Freebie (SIFF 2010), The Off Hours (SIFF 2011), Your Sister’s Sister (SIFF 2012), Safety Not Guaranteed (2012), Touchy Feely (SIFF 2013), Laggies (2014), and My Last Year With The Nuns (SIFF 2014). Banana Split marks his feature directorial debut.

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

Social Media
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twitter.com/benkasulke
twitter.com/hannahmarks

91% on Rotten Tomatoes

“[Banana Split] understands, perfectly, the enormous pressure teenagers face.”—Refinery29

“It is absolutely lovely. If I was going to watch a movie virtually this weekend, I would absolutely pick this one.” – Amy Nicholson, FilmWeek (KPCC – NPR Los Angeles)

“Like any romance, “Banana Split” is constrained to some familiar beats, but Kasulke, Marks, and Power have such a handle on what makes the film tick – and Marks and Liberato are so charming and fun – that even expected turns feel clever and fresh.” – Kate Erbland, indieWire

“Bolstered by a thoughtful script and beautifully authentic performances, Banana Split provides a fresh take on the coming-of-age romantic comedy.”

“Banana Split” is a supremely well written film, showing Hannah Marks not only to be a tremendous actress, but a wonderful screenwriter as well. She’s phenomenal on both ends. – Joey Magidson, Hollywood News

Phoenix Oregon, Director Gary Lundgren

PHOENIX OREGON is the story of two friends, a graphic novelist and a chef, seizing an unlikely opportunity to reinvent their lives, quit their jobs to restore an old bowling alley and serve the “world’s greatest pizza.” Phoenix, Oregon stars James Le Gros (Drugstore Cowboy, Living in Oblivion), Lisa Edelstein (Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, House), Jesse Borrego (Fame, Blood In Blood Out), Reynaldo Gallegos (Triple Frontier, American Sniper), Diedrich Bader (Napoleon Dynamite, Office Space, Veep), and Kevin Corrigan (The Departed, Pineapple Express, True Romance). PHOENIX OREGON takes a comedic look at the existential crisis many face when trying to find meaning and relevancy at midlife. Despite controlling bosses, dead-end jobs, and broken relationships, the two leads must awaken hibernating courage and resilience in order to take new risks and keep dreams alive. Director and writer Gary Lundgren (Calvin Marshall, Redwood Highway, Black Road) stops by to talk his own midlife angst and inspiration for this disarming gem of a film, working with a stellar cast and his love for the Pacific Northwest.

 

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

For more about the work of Gary Lundgren go to: jomafilms.com

For information on Phoenix Oregon screenings in Southern California go to: laemmle.com/film/phoenix-oregon

Social Media
facebook.com/phoenixoregonmovie
instagram.com/phoenixoregonmovie

 

“Walks a gorgeous line between pathos and comedy… having more to say about depression, anxiety, art, friendship and love than any dozen movies I’ve seen in the theater this year.” -SOURCE WEEKLY

 

Honesty Weekend, Director Leslie Thomas

Premiering at the Pasadena International Film Festival HONESTY WEEKEND begins when John and Ada’s therapist challenges them to be completely honest with each other for an entire weekend, a young married couple attempts to execute this advice over two days with good friends at a country house. At first amused by the couple’s newfound honesty, soon everyone is infected with the “honesty virus”. Secrets spill and desires flare to life. And when husband John’s sexy lesbian friend Delaney arrives to stir the pot, the whole thing heats up until it boils over. At the heart of this relationship comedy is a young marriage in trouble, but look deeper and you’ll see the angsty discomfort of early thirty-somethings struggling to embrace intimacy and true adulthood. In this grounded, smart, funny film writer-director Leslie Thomas exercises her distinct comedic voice and a wry understanding of our poignant and ridiculous human blind spots. HONESTY WEEKEND stars Adam Bartley (This Is Us), Sabina Gadecki (L.A.’s Finest), Dioni Michelle Collins (General Hospital), Pete Ploszek (Captain Marvel), Evan Watkins (College Humor Originals),  Allan Wasserman (Big), and Susan Walters (The Vampire Diaries). Director and writer Leslie Thomas joins is for an engaging conversation on a compressed shooting schedule, holding out for the right cast of actors, as well as the challenges and rewards of being a first time director.

 

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For news and updates go to: honestyweekend.com

Honesty Weekend screens at PIFF on Saturday, March 14 at 6:15 PM

About the filmmaker: LESLIE THOMAS produced the 2018 Emmy-winning documentary feature KEVYN AUCOIN Beauty & The Beast In Me (now on Netflix). She is the showrunner of ratings record breakers HALLOWEEN, HOLIDAY & KIDS BAKING CHAMPIONSHIPS on Food Network. She’s a playwright and a California native who studied Film & TV at Loyola Marymount University. Honesty Weekend is her first feature.

For more on the work of Leslie Thomas go to: puttimedia.com

 

Extra Ordinary, Co-directors Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman

Rose, a sweet, lonely driving instructor in rural Ireland, is gifted with supernatural abilities. Rose has a love/hate relationship with her ‘talents’ & tries to ignore the constant spirit related requests from locals – to exorcise possessed rubbish bins or haunted gravel. But! Christian Winter, a washed up, one-hit-wonder rock star, has made a pact with the devil for a return to greatness! He puts a spell on a local teenager- making her levitate. Her terrified father, Martin Martin, asks Rose to help save his daughter. Rose has to overcome the fear of her supernatural gift & work with Martin to save the girl, get the guy and be home in time for a light snack…maybe a yogurt or something… Co-directors Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman join us for a conversation on the making of their oddly endearing, winning comedy about everyday apparitions, Rose, Martin Martin and Christian and reconnecting with their Talents. 

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: crankedupfilms.com/extraordinary

Social Media
facebook.com/crankedupfilms
twitter.com/ExtraOrdFilm
twitter.com/CrankedUpFilms
instagram.com/crankedupfilms

 

“A near-perfect balance of outrageousness and subtlety. It’s a special film with a large imagination.” – Brian Orndorf, Blu-ray.com

“A fun, heart-warming and genuinely funny film, prepare for belly laughs and warm fuzzy feelings. Buoyed by great comedic, chameleon-like performances, and a rich fictional world, Extra Ordinary is extraordinarily charming.” – Kat Hughes, THN

“Extra Ordinary, writing-directing duo Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman’s feature film debut, is a remarkable achievement – a wholly unique cinematic experience that is grounded with a lot of heart.” – Sarah McIntyre, RTÉ (Ireland)

“A cracking debut feature from Irish writer-directors Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

After Midnight (Something Else), Co-directors Christian Stella (Jeremy Gardner)

For small-town bar owner Hank (Jeremy Gardner), his 10-year relationship with Abby (Brea Grant) has been storybook-quality. Abby, however, wants more: marriage, to be exact, which Hank doesn’t seem ready to initiate anytime soon. As a result, she leaves him without so much as a note or any subsequent communication. Hank is crushed. Even worse, Abby’s departure seemingly triggers the arrival of an unseen monster that claws at Hank’s front door at night. As the nocturnal threat intensifies, Hank must figure out how to not only save his relationship, but also himself. Co-director Christian Stella (Jeremy Gardner) stops by to talk about the multi-layered film that is After Midnight (Something Else) and his creative cinematography that gives the film its lyrical power.

 

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

Social Media
facebook.com/FilmAfterMidnight
twitter.com/MrJeremyGardner
twitter.com/ChristianStella
instagram.com/crankedupfilms
instagram.com/aftermidnightfilm
#aftermidnight
 @GoodDeedEntertainment

 

“Something Else promises monsters but delivers more demons of the human experience variety, as this sweet and sincere creature feature is far more romantically heartfelt than expected.” – Matt Donato, We Got This Covered

“Sublime and emotional, Something Else is one hell of a love story, a nightmarish monster movie, and an overall fantastical experience.” – Michelle Swope, Dread Central

“There’s an honesty in Something Else that makes this man against (his) monsters story one that’ll give you deep meaning, beautiful cinematography, and just the right amount of wtf.” – Kristy Strouse, Film Inquiry

“Jeremy Gardner and Christian Stella’s winsome tale of thirtysomething angst, romance and existential terror, is beautifully written and played.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

Walk Run Cha Cha, Director Laura Nix

WALK RUN CHA-CHA has been nominated for Documentary Short Subject at the 92nd Academy Awards®. Directed by Laura Nix, the film follows Paul and Millie Cao, who lost their youth to the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Forty years later, they have become successful professionals in Southern California-and are rediscovering themselves on the dance floor. WALK RUN CHA CHA is now streaming on New York Times Op-Docs.

About the Filmmaker: Director Laura Nix Laura Nix is an award-winning fiction and nonfiction filmmaker based in Los Angeles. WALK RUN CHA-CHA is adapted from a feature-length documentary in progress. It was produced by Concordia Studio for The New York Times Op-Docs and premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. Laura’s work also includes  other work includes her feature documentary INVENTING TOMORROW, about teenagers from around the globe tackling environmental issues through science,  THE YES MEN ARE REVOLTING, a comedy about activism and climate change, the documentary THE LIGHT IN HER EYES, about a Syrian Qur’an school for women and she was a writer on the Emmy-nominated documentary CALIFORNIA STATE OF MIND: THE LEGACY OF PAT BROWN. In 2001, Nix co-founded the production company Automat Pictures, where she produced and/or directed over 100 presentations, including the feature documentary WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT: THE STORY OF HEDWIG, which played in over a dozen film festivals in the U.S. and worldwide. Previously she was a member of Oscar-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s production company Telling Pictures, where she was Associate Producer on THE CELLULOID CLOSET.

 

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For news and updates go to: feltfilms.com

Walk Run Cha Cha is now available at nytimes.com/Op-Docs

 

*** 2020 Oscar nomination for Best Documentary (Short) *** 

 

Official Selection – Tribeca Film Festival 2019

Winner – Grand Jury Trống Đồng Award for Best Short – Viet Film Fest 2019

Official Selection – SFFILM Doc Stories 2019

 

Social Media

twitter.com/feltfilms

https://twitter.com/WalkRunChaCha

@feltfilms

 

“Laura Nix’s WALK RUN CHA-CHA is a moving, poignant portrait of two aging refugees who have endured a great deal, and who now face one of life’s biggest challenges: figuring out how to stay in love. Through them, Nix also evokes the textures, tastes, and sounds of Vietnamese refugee life, and mixes them in with everything that is good about the United States. Ultimately, WALK RUN CHA-CHA is an optimistic film about both love and hope—the hope that our country will continue to believe in welcoming strangers from other lands, who in the end are not that strange at all.” – Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer

 

Slamdance Film Festival, Co-founder and President Peter Baxter

It all began when a group of cheerful, subversive filmmakers weren’t accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. Unwilling to take “no” for an answer, they instead started their own event – Slamdance: Anarchy in Utah. 26 years later, Slamdance has become a year-round organization fostering the development of unique and innovative filmmakers. The organization now consists of the Film Festival, Screenplay Competition and Slamdance Studios. It has also created Slamdance On The Road, a traveling theatrical showcase that brings popular Slamdance films to audiences that otherwise would not have the opportunity to see them. Dan Mirvish, Jon Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn and Peter Baxter are the founding forefathers who, along with co-conspirator Paul Rachman, fought for truly independent filmmakers by giving them a voice in 1995 at the very first Slamdance Film Festival. Since then, the festival takes place every January in the breathtakingly stunning, snow-capped mountains of Park City, Utah at the exact same time as the Sundance Film Festival, to provide a more authentic representation of independent filmmaking. Up-and-coming writers, directors and producers, alongside seasoned veterans and film lovers, converge for the weeklong celebration of independent cinema, realizing that Slamdance is a great place to find those next, great, visionary films. Slamdance lives and bleeds by its mantra By Filmmakers For Filmmakers. No other film festival in the world is entirely run and organized by the creative force that can only be found in filmmakers. Slamdance adamantly supports self-governance amongst independents, and exists to deliver what filmmakers go to festivals for – a chance to show their work and a platform to launch their careers. The festival has earned a solid reputation for premiering films by first-time writers and directors working within the creative confines of limited budgets. Co-founder and President Peter Baxter joins us to talk about this year’s Slamdance, the groundbreaking films and the innovative new distribution and digital initiatives being launched by Slamdance.

 

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For news and updates go to: slamdance.com
Check out the film schedule at slamdance 2020 schedule

 

Slamdance Film Festival – January 24-30 at the Treasure Mountain Hotel in Park City, Utah

 

Social Media:
facebook.com/SlamdanceFilmFestival
twitter.com/Slamdance
instagram.com/slamogram

 

Limerence, Director Tammy Minoff

LIMERENCE cleverly tips the scales on Hollywood’s approach to a romantic comedy. Women get to see themselves in female lead Rosemary—as complex, independent and real, breaking the stereotypes society has fed us. Rosemary (Tammy Minoff), an aspiring painter and free spirit, moves to Venice where she hooks up with Tom (Matthew Del Negro), a local gallery director. Their intense chemistry quickly and unexpectedly evolves into a serious relationship. This passionate romance is juxtaposed with Tom’s best friends, May (Jennifer Lafleur) and Donald (Evan Arnold), dealing with the monotony of their long marriage and the possibility of starting a family. Complicating everything is Leo, Rosemary’s oft inappropriate yet earnest best friend from high school Leo (Billy Aaron Brown). All their feelings about the nature of love will put their relationship choices to the test and the answers aren’t always black and white. LIMERENCE world premiered at the Other Venice Film Festival, winning Best Audience Award, before going on to win Best Feature at the SOHO International Film Festival. LIMERENCE will make its global VOD/Digital & DVD release across platforms everywhere on January 7th, 2020 through Gravitas Ventures, a Red Arrow Studios company. Director, producer, writer and lead actor Tammy Minoff joins us for a conversation on her honest and engaging look into romance, love, expectations and walking your own path.

 

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Social Media
facebook.com/pg/limerencethemovie
instagram.com/tamzersmin
twitter.com/tamzers

 

December 6 – Knives and Skin, Director Jennifer Reeder

What happened to Carolyn Harper? Part suburban nightmare, part neon-soaked teenage fever dream, this tantalizing mystery traces the wave of fear and distrust that spreads across a small Midwestern town in the wake of a high school girl’s mysterious disappearance. As the loneliness and darkness lurking beneath the veneer of everyday life gradually comes to light, a collective awakening seems to overcome the town’s teenage girls—gathering in force until it can no longer be contained. Unfolding in a hallucinatory haze of lushly surreal images, Knives and Skin is a one-of-a-kind coming-of-age noir that haunts like a half-remembered dream. Director / writer Jennifer Reeder joins us for a lively conversation on her heady melange of a film that bends multiple genres to its razor sharp will.

Director’s Statement: I tell stories about unruly women and the landscapes they transform. This is a story by a woman that proposes girlhood as a place of transcendence and transgression. I am committed to this voice and to producing unexpected narratives. I write scripts from actual experience and observation and my films are specific in mood and perspective. I am influenced by Ohio, where I grew up—all that sky and flatness. And even more so by the Midwestern people and their kind of everyday destructiveness and determination to cope. This awkward emotionality is evident in my films as scenes unfold like sticky flypaper and characters make one small mistake after another. – Jennifer Reeder

 

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For news and updates go to: chicagofilmproject.com/knives-and-skin

Social Media

facebook.com/knivesandskin

twitter.com/knivesandskin

“It may be the most anarchic and refreshing take on the American teen’s existential malaise since Heathers.” – Demetrios Matheou, Screen International

“An effervescent suburban noir rich with tragedy, rough around the edges, but sharp like the dagger when it counts.” – Matt Donato, Dread Central

“The film’s approach to narrative structure is both messy and strangely confident and alluring, poising Knives and Skin as a bold and complicated cross-genre anomaly, much like the women Reeder lovingly depicts.” – Chloe Leeson, Screen Queens

“At times fraught with anxiety, haunting in quiet horror, blackly comedic, and aching with with sorrow and love, Knives and Skin is many things and also defies easy categorization, as it puts forth a perspective that is multiple and complicated.” – Shelagh Rowan-Legg, ScreenAnarchy

Toss It, Director, Producer, Writer Lead Actor Michele Remsen

Toss It is the story of smart-skeptical Emily and obsessive-compulsive-flirt Finn – (latter-day Rosalind Russel and Cary Grant types) who can witty-banter-for-days and seem a perfect match — then everything gets tossed. Finn wonders why he’s so fucked up, and Emily wonders why she’s so drawn to him. Toss It explores women as the real power players because women, by and large, run and nurture the fundamental unit of society: family. And via this particular family, Toss It looks at Natalie blindly following what she thinks is woman’s role, Marie seems to know nothing but by the end attains some wisdom by actively exploring female options, Adele has wisdom but in retrospect re-evaluates women’s culpability in fostering dominant men, and Emily discovers the age-old Socrates’ maxim ‘I know that I know nothing’ applies to herself – pushing her to learn what really matters. While Emily evolves, Finn seeks to discover ‘why he’s so fucked up’ – and finally, together, they toss everything they know, in this entertaining film that opens a dialogue for the audience to continue long after it ends. Director Producer / Writer / Lead Actor Michele Remsen joins us to talk about her witty and endearing “anti-romatic-comedy” and the story behind her passion project.

Filmmaker’s Statement –Toss It began as a one-act play for my LA theater company’s annual show, My Bitter Valentine, that evolved accidentally into a full play, which I then turned into a film script. I jokingly thought it was an exploration of why men are so screwed up, but as I crafted the characters, the story turned into an examination of what or who made them so screwed up and, by extension, of society at large. How people are shaped by traditions, lore, myths. And only the brave or desperate or seekers kick against convention to find some kind of truth that’s their own. Life is often defined by big events, but it’s really in the back hallways that the real-deal goes down. So I peeled back the curtain on cornerstones of Western Civilization to try to figure out a few characters, and stumbled onto things I didn’t know. Much like Finn and Emily: he thinks he can spin everything and she thinks she knows everything, until everything gets tossed — it’s then both discover what they don’t know — as I did as I made this film: I begged, borrowed and crowd-sourced enough to get it in the can, and, as I pushed this production through, as producer / director / writer / actor, with a cast and crew who worked for fumes because they loved the project, by the end of an intense 12-day shoot we felt like family – which I think is what most people want: a tribe to which they belong. It’s lonely to navigate the world alone, but sharing what we discover makes it cozier, funnier and a little more joyful. – Michele Remsen

 

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To find out more about news, screenings, and updates go to: journeymanfeatures.com

To find out more about the filmmaker go to: micheleremsen.com

Social Media
instagram.com/micheleremsen
instagram.com/tossitmovie
facebook.com/journeymanpictures
twitter.com/JourneymanVOD
instagram.com/journeymanpictures

 

“Insightful funny film with heart.” – Film School Radio

“The chemistry between spirited leads Michele Remsen and Phil Burke is top notch… ” – Why So Blu

“‘Toss It’ tosses the fairytales women are fed and serves up real life” – Broadway World

In Bright Axiom – Director Spencer McCall and film subject Jeff Hull

The thought-provoking and intriguing new documentary IN BRIGHT AXIOM introduces us into the world of the House of Latitude. A place where absolute discretion is demanded in exchange for entry into a mysterious social experiment in the form of an elaborate immersive experience. Drawing a community of curiosity seekers, this secret society becomes a way of life for some, putting increasing pressure on the organizers to maintain this sophisticated and fantastical parallel world. From the minds who inspired AMC’s upcoming series Dispatches From Elsewhere, IN BRIGHT AXIOM weaves an intriguing cautionary tale about the unforeseen consequences of embracing the unknown.  Followers of Meow Wolf, Sleep No More,  Ingress and other immersive & augmented reality entertainment should take note. IN BRIGHT AXIOM also features never-before-seen discourse from the mesmerizing hip-hop polymath, RAMMELLZEE and original music by Justin Robbins, with additional songs from Isan, Tickles, and ü-Ziq. Director Spencer McCall has spent the last ten years orchestrating socio-reengineering and public hoax-prank performance art pieces. An avid fan of the Yes Men, McCall began by participating in Improv Everywhere inspired events, “plant” based roles in The Go Game, and location-based performances with Atmos-theater. In 2009, he became a co-creator of the Jejune Institute; a citywide alternate reality game in San Francisco that lasted three years and “inducted” over 10,000 unknowing participants. McCall took his experience working with Jejune and turned it into an award-winning documentary The Institute. The Institute is currently being remade into a series on a major television network. McCall also contributed to follow-up experience The Latitude Society; a faux secret society with an underground experiential labyrinth beneath San Francisco. Director Spencer McCall and House of Latitude founder and In Bright Axiom subject, Jeff Hull, join us for a fascinating conversation on the ebb and flow, as well as, the inherent contradiction that facilitated the unraveling of this remarkable enterprise.

 

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

For more on In Bright Axiom go to: nonchalance.com/AXIOM

For more on the work of  Spencer McCall go to: spencersreel.com

SOCIAL MEDIA
divinenonchalance.tumblr.com
twitter.com/pervasiveplay
instagram.com/divinenonchalance
#inbrightaxiom
@DOCNYCfest #docnyc

 

Cold Brook, Director William Fichtner

COLD BROOK follows two men who live in a small college town in upstate New York. They are best friends who work the night shift as museum guards and handymen. Their lives are simple and mostly satisfying, until they are confronted with a supernatural situation. The men are then faced with a dilemma that puts their jobs, marriages, and their futures on the line. COLD BROOK is the directorial debut of William Fichtner (Armageddon, Black Hawk Down, Mom), who co-wrote the film alongside Cain DeVore. Fichtner also stars in Kim Coates (The Client, Black Hawk Down, Sons of Anarchy), Harold Perrineau (Romeo + Juliet, 28 Weeks Later, Sons of Anarchy) Robin Weigart (Concussion, Deadwood) and Mary Lynn Rajskub (Safety Not Guaranteed, The Kings of Summer, Sunshine Cleaning). Director William Fichtner joins us to talk about making a heartwarming, genre bending film in his upstate New York hometown surrounded by many of his closest friends.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: vert-ent.com

Social Media:
facebook.com/VertEnt
facebook.com/officialwilliamfichtner
twitter.com/kimfcoates

 

“Cold Brook is an adult fairy tale that embraces its broad interpretations to remind its leading men about what truly matters most.” – Jared Mobarak, The Film Stage

“… Cold Brook succeeds in part by its fantastic cast, but mostly by its focus on simplicity. There’re no grand fights or superfluous moments, just a tale of love that transcends time and mortal existence.” – Douglas Davidson, Elements of Madness

“Are You Ready To Be Different: Part ghost tale, part Bartleby while at the same time a captivating slavery reparations fable, the film flirts with the supernatural even with its heart planted firmly in sobering class and race issues historically and now.” – Prairie Miller, WBAI Radio

“Hard to pin down, but moving nonetheless.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, Director Janice Engel

RAISE HELL: THE LIFE & TIMES OF MOLLY IVINS tells the story of media firebrand Molly Ivins, six feet of Texas trouble who took on the Good Old Boy corruption wherever she found it. Her razor sharp wit left both sides of the aisle laughing, and craving ink in her columns. She knew the Bill of Rights was in peril, and said “Polarizing people is a good way to win an election and a good way to wreck a country.” Molly’s words have proved prescient. Now it’s up to us to raise hell! Director Janice Engel (Ted Hawkins Amazing Grace, Jackson Browne: Going Home, Addicted and What We Carry) joins us for a lively conversation on a journalist who did not shy away from confronting and shaming the most powerful institutions, political interests and the people who protected them from her righteous anger and lacerating wit.

About Molly Ivins: Molly Ivins was a nationally-syndicated political columnist and author, who remained cheerful despite the state of politics in this country and her own physical trials. She emphasized the more hilarious aspects of both state and national government, and consequently never had to write fiction. Ivins was from Houston, Texas, graduated from Smith College in 1966, then from Columbia University’s School of Journalism with a Masters in 1967. Ivins won many awards too numerous to list for her writing, courage, and truth telling. Her freelance work appeared in The Nation, The Progressive, Mother Jones, Esquire, Harper’s, Atlantic, and Playboy. She was also known for her essays on National Public Radio as well as media appearances around the world. Ivins wrote seven books, several of which were best-sellers including; BUSHWHACKED: Life in George W. Bush’s America with Lou Dubose in 2003 and WHO LET THE DOGS IN? Incredible Political Animals I Have Known in 2004. Molly was President of the Board of the Texas Democracy Foundation publisher of the venerable Texas Observer, which was her spiritual home and love. She found her voice at the Observer and helped sustain them and lead countless other young writers in seeking out the “good” stories and bring them to the public.

“The best way to get the sons of bitches is to make people laugh at them.” Molly Ivins

 

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

Social Media:

facebook.com/mollyivinsfilm

twitter.com/mollyivinsfilm

instagram.com/mollyivinsfilm

Engel gives “Raise Hell” such momentum – it’s a whoosh of a movie – that you are quickly swept up in its sights and sounds. There’s a lot to take in.” – Manohla Dargis, New York Times

“There was never anybody like Molly Ivins before, and never will be again, and this documentary does a fine job of capturing what made her special.” – Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com

“Smart and entertaining, just like its subject.” – Caryn James, Hollywood Reporter

“It’s a rare documentary indeed that so expertly captures the singular essence of its subject, and [Molly] Ivins is restored to vivid and vital life, if not in the flesh than in the mind and spirit.” – Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle

Chained for Life, Director Aaron Schimberg

Building on the promise of his hallucinogenic debut GO DOWN DEATH, filmmaker Aaron Schimberg delivers another brilliantly oddball, acerbically funny foray into gonzo surrealism. In a deft tragicomic performance, Jess Weixler (TEETH) plays Mabel, a movie star “slumming it” in an outré art-horror film being shot in a semi-abandoned hospital. Cast opposite her is Rosenthal (UNDER THE SKIN’ s Adam Pearson), a gentle-natured young man with a severe facial deformity. As their relationship evolves both on and offscreen, Schimberg raises provocative questions about cinematic notions of beauty, representation, and exploitation. Tod Browning crossed with Robert Altman crossed with David Lynch only begins to describe something this startlingly original and deeply felt. Director Aaron Schimberg joins us to talk about his hurly-burly, cosmically clever tale of misdirection, expectations and human connection.

Director’s Statement: As a filmmaker with a facial difference, I have never seen my experience accurately represented on screen. This film – the first, as far as I know, made by and starring disfigured people – is my humble attempt to remedy that. When disfigured characters are seen at all in films (usually played by handsome actors with disfiguring latex), they are trotted out to play monsters or objects of pity, made into vessels for the symbolic expression of cruelty, sin, villainy and other ills. “Bitter defectives,” as a character in my film says. Even when they’re portrayed sympathetically, they function only to impart inspirational lessons to the able-bodied people who encounter them. CHAINED FOR LIFE is my response to the way people with disfigurements have been portrayed in films (for instance, in FREAKS, THE ELEPHANT MAN, WONDER) throughout cinema’s history. It asks whether the sum of these portrayals has adversely affected the way we are regarded in real life. I consider it a comedy, but if you think it’s a tragedy, I wouldn’t argue with you.Aaron Schimberg

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: kinolorber.com/film/chained-for-life or chainedforlife.com

Chained for Life open at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles on September 13. Opening night with feature a Q&A with actress Jess Weixler following the 7:30 PM screening

Social Media:

facebook.com/chainedforlife

instagram.com/explore/tags/chainedforlife

instagram.com/fliescollective

vimeo.com/fliescollective

“Critic’s Pick! An inventive hall of mirrors… that keeps finding ways to upend its characters’ — and viewers’ — perspectives. Odd, darkly funny and — when it means to be — a little frightening.” – Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“Extraordinary. A cinematic revolution.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Humane and transgressive, an American indie of unusually big ideas and aesthetic ambition.” – Nellie Killian, Film Comment

“Bizarre and beautiful. Leaves us on thrillingly shifty ground.” – Keith Uhlich, The Hollywood Reporter

“Mesmerizing. A remarkable mind trip of a movie sure to leave audiences reeling.” – Kate Erbland, Indiewire

“Razor-sharp. Mesmerizingly close to the sensation of a waking dream.” – Calum Marsh, Village Voice

“An intoxicating whirlwind of ideas, spectacularly moving and entertaining. Chained for Life could be a defining film about representation for any group that Hollywood marginalizes.” – Andrew Todd, Birth.Movies.Death

Give Me Liberty, Director Kirill Mikhanovsky

GIVE ME LIBERTY is based on his personal experience as a medical transport driver and an immigrant, director Kirill Mikhanovsky, with writer Alice Austen, create a raw feature film about the comedy and  heartbreak of people in the underprivileged communities living in a struggling American city. Medical transport driver Vic (newcomer Chis Galust) is running late, but it’s not his fault. Roads are closed for a protest, and no one else can shuttle his Russian grandfather and his emigre friends to a funeral. The new route uproots his scheduled clients, particularly Tracy (Lauren “Lolo” Spencer in a breakout performance), a vibrant young woman with ALS. As the day goes from hectic to off-the-rails, their collective ride becomes a hilarious, compassionate and intersectional portrait of American dreams and disenchantment. The characters in GIVE ME LIBERTY are drawn from the people of Milwaukee – they’re magnificently diverse and their struggle to survive is desperate, contradictory, funny and moving. Director Kirill Mahanovsky joins us for a spirited conversation on working with a cast of mostly non-professional actors, drawing upon his own work history for the story behind the film and the importance of making Give Me Liberty in his adopted hometown of Milwaukee. 

 

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

About the filmmaker: Russian-born Kirill Mikhanovsky grew up in Moscow where his early passion for cinema compelled him to skip school and go to the movie theatre across the street from his home where, often as the only person in the house, he watched countless films. After the Soviet Union collapsed, Mikhanovsky immigrated to Milwaukee, where he had a series of odd jobs, including driving medical transport for people with disabilities, and began making films. After graduating from NYU Film School, Mikhanovsky went on to make films in the US, Brazil, Russia, and South America. A Sundance Alum, his first feature SONHOS DE PEIXE won the Critics Week at the Cannes Film Festival.

Social Media:

facebook.com/gmlmovie

“Completely, delightfully unpredictable from scene to scene, ‘Give Me Liberty’ draws you in with its moving performances and blasts of broad comedy.” – Manohla Dargis, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“A wonderfully anarchic dark comedy, which deftly welds its frenetically farcical structure to a humanistic portrait of marginalized communities thrown together.” – David Rooney, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“Lyrical and touching. It’s a journey worth taking.” – Tim Grierson, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL

“Establishes writer-director Kirill Mikhanovsky as a major talent.” – Eric Kohn, INDIEWIRE

Peanut Butter Falcon, Michael Schwartz and Tyler Nilson

THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON is an adventure story set in the world of a modern Mark Twain that begins when Zak (Gottsagen), a young man with Down syndrome, runs away from a nursing home where he lives to chase his dream of becoming a professional wrestler and attending the wrestling school of The Salt Water Redneck. Through circumstances beyond their control Tyler (LaBeouf), a small time outlaw on the run, becomes Zak’s unlikely coach and ally. Together they wind through deltas, elude capture, drink whisky, find God, catch fish, and convince Eleanor (Johnson), a kind nursing home employee with a story of her own, to join them on their journey. THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON stars Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, Thomas Haden Church, Bruce Dern, John Hawkes and newcomer, Zack Gottsagen, premiered back in March at SXSW and was a huge critical success, with a current score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film also won over fans, taking home the Audience Award for Narrative Spotlight. Co-directors and co-writers Michael Schwartz and Tyler Nilson stop by to talk about there experiences and the stacks of miracles that brought this heart-warming tale of friendship and reaching for your dreams.

 

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

Social Media:

facebook.com/ThePeanutButterFalconMovie

twitter.com/tpbfalcon

instagram.com/peanutbutterfalcon

97% on Rotten Tomatoes

“LaBeouf brings the soul to “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” while Gottsagen brings the spirit. He has an undeniably charming screen presence, and the actor takes to this starring role with gusto.” – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times

“A heartwarming, tender and funny adventure grounded in humanism. Refreshingly witty and unconventional. It’s one of the summer’s best surprises.” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru

“What’s clear is that a lot of development time, movie resources, and A-List actors all came together to make a masterpiece of a film centering on one person…Zack Gottsagen.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat

“‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’ is a sweet, warm story about dreams and the family you choose. Zack Gottsagen is pure comedy. Shia LaBeof is giving me sexy, scruffy with substance and the pairing of these two on screen is perfection.” – Carla Renata, The Curvy Film Critic