In Aaron Matthews’ clear-eyed look into the life and times of a writer thathas been called “the best American writer of his generation,” and our “poet laureate of war” Tim O’Brien. A Vietnam veteran, and National Book Award-winner, O’Brien is one of the great voices in modern American literature. The Library of Congress recently named his groundbreaking novel about the Vietnam War, “The Things They Carried,” one of the 65 most influential books in American history. It’s practically a cliché in the military – the book everyone carries is “The Things They Carried.”But O’Brien hasn’t put pen to paper in nearly two decades. He swore off making sentences when, at a late age, he had his first of two children. Plus, the nation was waging new wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that he couldn’t wrap his head around – wars that both reconfirmed and upended the notions of war, soldiers, and society that animated his books. Now, Tim O’Brien is trying to write again. He thinks the country is past due for a conversation about war’s impact. He thinks we’re running out of time. And, at age 70, that he is too. THE WAR AND PEACE OF TIM O”BRIEN follows O’Brien on his journey writing his next and last book. What makes wars worth fighting? How do we write about war? What are the obligations of citizens with respect to war?What are the after-effects of war on individuals and families? Director Aaron Matthews (Token Exchange, The Paper), brings us inside the lives of the O’Brien family with his intimate film about the struggles of a world-renowned war writer illuminates the everyday ties between duty, art, family, and the trauma of war.
About the filmmaker – Director, Producer, Cinematographer, Editor: Aaron Matthews is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose films have appeared on national and international television, and at over fifty film festivals around the world. His documentaries include, The Paper, A Panther in Africa, andMy American Girls, all broadcast on PBS’s flagship documentary series POV, or Independent Lens. He has been a Sundance Fellow and has received funding from The Sundance Institute, The Independent Television Service, The New York State Council on the Arts, The Jerome Foundation, The Brooklyn Arts Council, The Puffin Foundation, and Latino Public Broadcasting. Aaron Matthews holds a degree in English literature from Wesleyan University, and lives in Brooklyn. For more about the filmmaker: aaronmatthews.com
Filmed from inside two of the most active therapeutic feeding centers in Yemen, HUNGER WARD documents two female health care workers fighting to thwart the spread of starvation against the backdrop of a forgotten war. HUNGER WARD provides an unflinching portrait of Dr. Aida Al Sadeeq and Nurse Mekkia Mahdi as they try to save the lives of hunger-stricken children within a population on the brink of famine. HUNGER WARD is the third installment of Director Skye Fitzgerald’s Humanitarian Trilogy, focused on the global refugee crisis. The first film, 50 FEET FROM SYRIA focused on doctors working on the Syrian border and was Oscar® shortlisted. The second, LIFEBOAT documents search and rescue operations off the coast of Libya and was nominated for an Academy Award® and national Emmy®. Director Skye Fitzgerald (Lifeboat, 50 Feet from Syria, Finding Face) joins us for a conversation on the making of his 2021 Oscar® Shortlisted Hunger Ward documentary, how little American mass media has talked about the ongoing genocidal war against a defenseless civilian population – done with diplomatic,political backing by the Trump Administration, as well as, intelligence and logistical support from the US military – and what we can do to stop it.
2021 Oscar® shortlist – Best Documentary (Short form)
About the filmmaker – Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Documentary Branch). Oscar/Emmy/IDA-Nominated Director Skye Fitzgerald is directing The Humanitarian Trilogy: HUNGER WARD (2020) documents the impact of the war and famine in Yemen on children, families, and health care workers. LIFEBOAT (2018) highlights search and rescue operations off the coast of Libya and was nominated for an Academy Award® and national Emmy® award. 50 FEET FROM SYRIA (2015) focuses on doctors working on the Syrian border and was voted onto the Oscar® shortlist. Fitzgerald was also inducted as an honorary member into SAMS (Syrian American Medical Society) for his work with Syrian refugees and named a Distinguished Alumnus at his alma mater EOU for documentary work. As a Fulbright Research Scholar Fitzgerald directed the film Bombhunters and has since worked with the Sundance Institute, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the State Department, the Paul Robeson Fund and Mountainfilm. As a Director of Photography, Fitzgerald lenses work for major clients including Dateline, VICE, Mercy Corps, CNN, the Discovery, Travel, History and Animal Planet Channels. For more on Skye Fitzgerald go to: spinfilm.org
“…a rare look inside the human impact of the war in Yemen” – Jane Ferguson – PBS NewsHour
“Once you see it, you won’t forget it.” – Sarah Larson – THE NEW YORKER
“Fitzgerald has sought to harness this art-form to draw attention those who are struggling to obtain their most basic, fundamental human freedoms. LIFEBOAT…is vitally important.” – US HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
“…deftly addresses the most critical humanitarian issue of our time and those who are doing something about it.” – Michael Brody – Programmer Crested Butte FF
Filmed across an entire year, DO NOT SPLIT takes us within the heart of the 2019 Hong Kong protests, capturing the determination and sacrifices of the city’s youth as their movement becomes symbolic for a generation’s rebellion against the political systems of two governments. Armed with umbrellas, gas masks, social media, and sheer determination, the protestors risk their lives, safety, and futures against the police’s tear gas, armed vehicles, and violence. Anders Hammer’s powerful film paints a nuanced and sobering picture of the challenges faced by the protestors, joining student leaders and protestors on the ground to give an expansive and first-hand portrait of the unrest that prompted a government’s backlash, the passage of the new Beijing-backed national security law, and captured the attention of the world. Director Anders Hammer joins us to talk about the history of Hong Kong’s relationship to the British empire and the handover to the People’s Republic of China, the 20-year deterioration of civil and political rights as well as the determined bravery of the student led protestors determined to resist the tightening grip of an increasingly oppressive regime.
About the filmmaker – Anders Hammer has filmed and directed the documentary Do Not Split which takes us within the heart of the Hong Kong protests that started in the summer of 2019. The movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and received the Special Jury Prize at AFI DOCS and Special Jury Recognition for Courage under Fire at DOC NYC. Hammer directed the documentary series Our Allies for Field of Vision. He also directed and produced Escape from Syria: Rania’s Odyssey, which was published by The Guardian and won a Webby Award and a One World Media Award for Best Refugee Reporting in 2018. The documentary went viral and gained more than 10 million views and 100,000 shares in social media. Hammer is one of the directors of the documentary Exit Afghanistan published by Netflix. He has directed seven documentaries for the Norwegian investigative journalism program NRK Brennpunkt and many short documentaries. Hammer lived and worked in Afghanistan for six years and has written four documentary books about the country, one of them together with the Danish author Carsten Jensen. In Norway, where Hammer was born in 1977, he has received the Fritt Ord Award (which is given in support of freedom of expression), the International Reporter’s Journalism Award and the Big Journalist Award.
The new short subject documentary A CONCERTO IS A CONVERSATION tells the story of virtuoso jazz pianist and film composer Kris Bowers as he tracks his family’s lineage through his 91-year-old grandfather, Horace Bowers, from Jim Crow Florida to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. In the 13-minute film A CONCERTO IS A CONVERSATION, Bowers traces the process of breaking into new spaces through generations of sacrifice that came before him, focusing on the story of his grandfather Horace Bowers. As a young man, he left his home in the Jim Crow South, eventually ending up in Los Angeles. Encountering discrimination at every turn, he and his wife, Alice, nevertheless made a life as business owners. Today, their legacy lives on through their family and community in South Los Angeles, where a stretch of Central Avenue was recently designated Bowers Retail Square — in case any question remained about whether it’s a place they belong. Horace Bowers tells his grandson Kris Bowers, “Never think that you’re not supposed to be there.” A CONCERTO IS A CONVERSATION, co-directors Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers join us for a conversation on their deeply personal film, primer on race in Southern California and the power of music and family to help us all see the world beyond ourselves.
A Concerto is a Conversation has been shortlisted for the 2021 Oscar® in the Best Documentary – Short Form
About the filmmaker – Kristopher Bowers (born 1989) is an American composer and pianist who has composed scores for films, video games, television and documentaries including, “Green Book,” Madden NFL, “Dear White People,” and Kobe Bryant’s “Muse.” He has recorded, performed, and collaborated with the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye West, and José James. He won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition in 2011 and a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Direction and Composition in 2017 for The Snowy Day. Bowers worked on the score of Ava DuVernay’s Netflix mini-series When They See Us as well as the current Netflix hit Bridgerton. For more go to: krisbowers.com
About the filmmaker – Ben Proudfoot (born 1990) is a Nova Scotia born filmmaker and founder of Breakwater Studios, an emerging leader in the short documentary space. A former sleight of hand magician, Ben has pioneered alternative models of short documentary financing and distribution including noteworthy and award-winning collaborations with The New York Times, Charles Schwab, Annapurna Pictures and the LA Phil, earning him a spot on the 2020 Forbes 30 under 30 list. In addition to his work as an entrepreneur, Ben is an award-winning artist and filmmaker, having directed over fifty noteworthy original short documentaries. Ben’s work as a director has been selected by HotDocs, Sundance, Tribeca and Telluride. He resides in Los Angeles. For more go to: breakwaterstudios.com
A character-driven, cinematic tale of deportation, migration, displacement and opportunistic capitalism, CALL CENTER BLUES follows four characters as they struggle to make sense of their lives in Tijuana. Each with a vastly different story, they are all linked by their displacement and the sole choice of call center work they have in a country that is so unfamiliar and oftentimes frightening, yet other times a ray of hope. Tijuana becomes their home, a place defined by the border but yet defiant towards it, a no man’s land where everything and everyone feels transient. These characters paint a picture of love, loss and longing – for home, for an American Dream deferred, and for justice. Director Geeta Gandbhir joins us conversation on an aspect of immigration and deportation that is as relevant and heartbreaking as any immigration issue and the importance that an Oscar nomination brings to the issue and the film.
Shortlisted for 2021 Oscar nomination for Best Documentary (Short Form)
SHORTS SHORTLIST – IDA Documentary Awards 2020
OFFICIAL SELECTION – DOC NYC Short List: Shorts 2020
OFFICIAL SELECTION – SXSW Film Festival 2020
WINNER – Best Documentary Short – Virginia Film Festival 2020
WINNER – Best Documentary Short – Fayetteville Film Festival 2020
About the filmmaker – Geeta Gandbhir is an award-winning director, producer and editor. As director, she won Best Documentary at the News and Doc Emmys for I AM EVIDENCE, an HBO Documentary Film, and Best Government and Politics Documentary for ARMED WITH FAITH, a PBS Documentary film. As editor, she won a Primetime Emmy for Best Editing for Spike Lee’s HBO documentary series WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE and also for the HBO film BY THE PEOPLE, THE ELECTION OF BARACK OBAMA. A documentary film she co-produced, THE SENTENCE, for HBO, also won a Special Jury Primetime Emmy.Other feature docs she co-directed include PRISON DOGS, A JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILES: PEACEKEEPERS, and REMEMBERING THE ARTIST: ROBERT DENIRO SR.She created and is co-directing and co-producing a series on race with The New York Times Op-Docs titled “The Conversation” which won the AFI Documentary Film Festival and a MacArthur Grant. She has been the recipient of a Ford Foundation grant, a MacArthur Grant, among others, and in 2017, she was the recipient of Chicken and Eggs prestigious Breakthrough Filmmaker Award.
In 1999, filmmaker Davy Rothbart met Emmanuel Sanford-Durant and his older brother, Smurf, during a pickup basketball game in Southeast Washington, D.C. Davy began filming their lives, and soon the two brothers and other family members began to use the camera themselves. The result is 17 BLOCKS. Made in a unique collaboration with filmmaker and journalist Davy Rothbart, the film focuses on four generations of the Sanford Family, including Emmanuel, a promising student, his brother Smurf, his sister Denice, an aspiring cop, and his mother Cheryl, who must conquer her own demons for her family to prosper. Spanning two decades, 17 BLOCKSilluminates a nation’s ongoing crisis through one family’s raw, stirring, and deeply personal saga. Made from more than 1,000 hours of footage, it all starts on the street where they lived in 1999, 17 blocks behind the U.S. Capitol. Director Davy Rothbart joins us to talk about his profoundly moving gut punch of a film about the lives of a family fighting against the chaos and cruelty of embedded racism, broken social institutions and pervasive violence, all of it happening a little more than a stones throw from the lawmakers who step over their dead bodies on their way to “work”. God help us if you are not moved by this film.
Director Davy Rothbart’s team has partnered with organizations like Everytown for Gun Safety and Black Lives Matter D.C. on screenings, and for the film’s national release, presented by MTV Documentary Films. Its national virtual release is set for February 19, 2021, streaming from nearly 100 theaters across the U.S., and viewable on computers, tablets, mobile devices, AppleTV, and Roku.
About the filmmaker – Davy Rothbart is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, bestselling author and journalist, frequent contributor to public radio’s This American Life , and the creator of Found Magazine. Rothbart’s film MEDORA, about a resilient high-school basketball team in a dwindling Indiana town, based on the NewYork Times story by Pulitzer Prize winner John Branch, was Executive Produced by Steve Buscemi and Stanley Tucci, and premiered at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival. MEDORA later aired on the acclaimed PBS series Independent Lens and won an Emmy Award. Rothbart previously directed two documentaries about the activist band Rise Against, which became best-selling DVDs in the U.S., Canada, Germany, and Sweden. A separate short film featuring Rise Against’s song “Make It Stop” was created for Dan Savage’s It Gets Better project and later won an MTV Music Video Award. Rothbart’s radio stories featured on This American Life have reached more than 20 million listeners, and his books FOUND and My Heart Is An Idiot have debuted on The New York Times Bestseller List. He has made multiple appearances on The Late Show With David Letterman , been featured on ABC’s 20/20, Last Call with Carson Daly, MSNBC, and NPR’s All Things Considered, and been profiled in The New Yorker and The New York Times. A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Rothbart now lives in Los Angeles, California.
“An essential viewing doc about race & class in America… A documentary with Cinema Verite sensibilities and no qualms whatsoever about the honest presentation of its subjects, 17 BLOCKS is both heartbreaking and inspiring.” – Warren Cantrell, The Playlist
“RAW AND IMMEDIATE… packs a potent emotional punch.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
“A remarkably raw and heartfelt piece of filmmaking… At its best, 17 BLOCKS reminded me of the deep humanism of Steve James’ work.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
“More than just a singular achievement in documentary filmmaking, “17 Blocks” is the result of the Sanford family’s profound act of bravery. – Mark Keizer, Variety
Filmed from 2017-2020, WOMEN IN BLUE follows Minneapolis’ first female police chief Janeé Harteau, as she works to reform the Minneapolis Police Department by getting rid of bad cops, retraining the rest, diversifying the ranks and promoting women—who statistically use less force than their male counterparts—into every rank of leadership. WOMEN IN BLUE focuses on four women in Harteau’s department, each trying to redefine what it means to protect and serve. After a high-profile, officer-involved shooting forces Chief Harteau to resign, the new, male chief selects only men as his top brass. The women left behind continue to fight to police differently and to rebuild community trust. WOMEN IN BLUE offers an unprecedented view into the inner workings of the MPD, chronicling a department—and a community—grappling with racism and a troubled history of police misconduct long before an MPD officer killed George Floyd in May of 2020. The film reveals the limitations of police reform through incremental change and asks questions that apply well beyond the city of Minneapolis. Could increased gender equity and more women —especially Black women — contribute to greater public safety? Director Deirdre Fishel joins us to talk about some of the many reason that law enforcement is at a critical juncture, how women can be agents of reform in more effective but often aren’t allowed to and the impact that the Floyd murder had on the project.
About the filmmaker – Deirdre Fishel is a producer/director of documentaries and dramas that have premiered in competition at Sundance, SXSW, AFI and Full Frame and been broadcast in 35 countries worldwide. Her most recent documentary CARE, which looks at the poignant but hidden world of home elder care, was funded by ITVS and the Ford and MacArthur Foundations. It was broadcast on AMERICA REFRAMED and had an extensive impact campaign with support from Bertha BritDocs, AFI DOCS, and the Fledgling Fund. Fishel has devoted the majority of her career to stories about women and is Director of the BFA program in Film/Video at City College. For more go to: newday.com/filmmaker/Fishel
“This is an unflinching study of a complex situation, showing gray areas where often only black and white are seen.” – Peter Keough, Boston Globe
“Plays like a spiritual prequel to everything we’ve seen in the past four weeks, and contains some early clues that there was something dreadfully wrong going on in the Minneapolis Police Department.” – Stephen Silver, Splice Today
“This is a timely, compelling look at a group of women who are dedicated to standing out in a male-dominated field.” – Mike McGranaghan, Aisle Seat
ACASA, MY HOME is set in the wilderness of the Bucharest Delta, an abandoned water reservoir just outside the bustling metropolis, Radu Ciorniciuc’a striking debut feature documentary follows the Enache family.The Enache’s have lived in perfect harmony with nature for two decades, sleeping in a hut on the lakeshore, catching fish barehanded, and following the rhythm of the seasons. When this area is transformed into a public national park, they are forced to leave behind their unconventional life and move to the city, where fishing rods are replaced by smartphones and idle afternoons are now spent in classrooms. As the family struggles to conform to modern civilization and maintain their connection to each other and themselves, they each begin to question their place in the world and what their future might be. With their roots in the wilderness, the nine children and their parents struggle to find a way to keep their family united in the concrete jungle. With an empathetic and cinematic eye, ACASA, MY HOME filmmakerRadu Ciorniciuc offers viewers, in his feature debut, a compelling tale of an impoverished family living on the fringes of society in Romania, fighting for acceptance and their own version of freedom. Director Radu Ciorniciuc stops by to talk about his profoundly personal exploration into the insulated and untamed lives of the Enache family as they navigate the grinding reality of an urban existence that threatens to tear them apart.
About the filmmaker – In 2012, Radu Ciorniciuc co-founded the first independent media organization in Romania – Casa Jurnalistului, a community of reporters specialized in in-depth, long-form and multimedia reporting. Since then, he has been working as a long-form writer and undercover investigative reporter. His researches are focused on human rights, animal welfare and environmental issues across the globe. His investigative and reporting work was published on most of the major international media organizations in the world – Channel 4 News, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, etc. – and received national and international awards. His journalistic work was acknowledged by Royal Television Society UK (2014), Amnesty International UK (2014), Harold Wincott Awards for Business, Economic and Financial Journalism (2016), and by other international and national prestigious institutions.
WINNER – Special Jury Prize for Cinematography Sundance Film Festival
WINNER – Phoenix Prize Best Documentary Cologne Film Festival
WINNER – Main Competition – Dok.Fest Munchen
WINNER – Olden Horn Award – Krakow Film Festival
WINNER – Best Moral Approach – 2020 Makedox
WINNER – Human Rights Award – Sarajevo Film Festival
WINNER – Special Jury Prize– Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival
WINNER – ZagrebDox– FIPRECI Award | Big Stamp Award | Little Stamp Award
Tribes on the Edgefollows filmmaker Céline Cousteau as she returns to the Brazilian Amazon after a fateful email from Beto of the Marúbo tribe who beckons her back to help tell his people’s story. Céline, who comes from a lineage of renowned explorers, ventures into the heart of the jungle to explore the health crises and the threats to land and human rights of the Indigenous Peoples of the Vale do Javari. From a history of invaders bringing devastating diseases, to ongoing illegal activities, to the alarming dismantling of all protection of their land and human rights by the government – these indigenous communities are fighting to protect their home, critical to the ecological balance of our planet, and as a result…they protect us. TRIBES ON THE EDGEis Céline’s first full feature documentary. The film is co-written by Joseph Kwong and Executive Produced by Bill Miller, Mercedes Zobel, James Cox and Çapkin Van Alphen. Director Celine Cousteau joins us for a lively conversation on the slow-motion genocide of indigenous people who happen to live in and steward some of the most ecologically valuable and endangered eco-system on the planet and how we can do something to stop the Brazilian government crime against humanity.
TRIBES ON THE EDGE took home the Special Jury Award at the Brazil International Film Festival, and the Impact Award at the Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival. Additional festivals include Black Hills International Film Festival (Global Reach Award), ART & TUR International Film Festival (Ethnography and Society Award), United Nations Association Film Festival, San Diego International Film Festival, Earth X Festival, Jackson Wild Media Summit, Vision Du Reel Film Festival, San Francisco Green Film Festival, National Geographic Exodus Aveiro Festival (Portugal) and One Earth Film Festival.
About the filmmaker – Céline Cousteau, Expedition Leader, Director and Producer – Céline Cousteau is a humanitarian and environmental activist working with a variety of mediums that range from documentaries to art, from consulting with corporations and foundations to public speaking. Each form shares the same message of interconnectivity between humans and the natural world. As a documentary film director, producer, and presenter, Céline is the founder and executive director of CauseCentric Productions, creating cause-focused content. Extending her family legacy and her expertise, Céline co-founded The Outdoor Film Fellowship, a nonprofit program whose mission is to empower young the next generation of filmmakers, creatives, and activists to inspire change through leadership, film, and the arts. Céline is ambassador for the TreadRight Foundation and on the board of directors of the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Her previous work has included being Guest Designer for Swarovski and Member of the World Economic ForumCouncil on Oceans. With a degree in psychology and a masters in Intercultural Relations, Céline is fluent in three languages.
Long before COVID-19, another pandemic was raging across the American landscape, penetrating all age groups, races and socio-economic classes. The cause: opioids. The culprit: Purdue Pharmaceutical and the company’s deceitful approach to lure in and hook patients. COMING CLEAN, Ondi Timoner’s new documentary, examines opioid addiction through the eyes of those affected and political leaders, as they come together to bring the profiteers to justice. Timoner deeply engages us by weaving in personal stories of addicts and their families struggling to overcome this painful addiction, sometimes with success but often with devastating and heart-wrenching consequences. COMING CLEAN presents a clear case against the perpetrators, including how they incentivized physicians to overprescribe opioids. In a hopeful turn, we witness the alliances built between addicts in recovery and policymakers as they work to remove the stigmas surrounding this addiction and impact laws and industries to bring necessary change in communities. A thought-provoking film on the state of our country and the current political landscape. Director Ondi Timoner (DIG!, We Live in Public, JUNGLETOWN) joins us to talk about the corrosive impact of the opioid crisis, the devastating impact it has had on families, communities and our vital institutions and who has been most responsible for this scourge.
About the filmmaker- Ondi Timoner has the rare distinction of winning the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival twice, for DIG! (2004) and WE LIVE IN PUBLIC (2009). Other award-winning features include: THE NATURE OF THE BEAST (1994), JOIN US (2007), COOL IT (2010), BRAND: A SECOND COMING (2015), and MAPPLETHORPE (2018), a scripted film she wrote and directed, starring Matt Smith. She also created and produced the critically acclaimed 10-hour nonfiction series JUNGLETOWN (2017). Ondi Timoner is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the DGA, the PGA, the International Documentary Association, and Film Fatales. Timoner has produced & hosted BYOD (Bring Your Own Doc) for thelip.tv, creating 300 episodes with the top documentary filmmakers over five years. She is also the Founder & CEA of A TOTAL DISRUPTION, an online network dedicated to telling the stories of entrepreneurs & artists who use technology to innovate the way we live. For more on Ondi Timoner films: interloperfilms.com
“COMING CLEAN takes one of the most important issues of our time — declining life expectancy, largely due to the opioid crisis — and unpacks it through a humanistic lens, with emphasis on real people and leaders on the ground who are providing solutions and, most importantly, hope. As thought-provoking as it is moving — and you find yourself rooting for these heroes and thinking about what they’ve taught you long after the film credits roll. The stigma-shattering message of this film will make a difference.” – Beth Macy, bestselling author of Dopesick & writer/producer of coming Hulu series Dopesick
“Coming Clean is an indictment of capitalism run rampant and once again profit taking precedence over human life. Hats off to the frontline warriors taking on this cause.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat
MLK/FBI is the first film to uncover the extent of the FBI’s surveillance and harassment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Based on newly discovered and declassified files, utilizing a trove of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and unsealed by the National Archives, as well as revelatory restored footage, the documentary explores the government’s history of targeting Black activists, and the contested meaning behind some of our most cherished ideals. MLK/FBI is an essential expose of the surveillance and harassment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (labeled by the FBI as the “most dangerous” Black person in America),undertaken by J. Edgar Hoover and the U.S. government. Featuring interviews with key cultural figures including former FBI Director James Comey, MLK/FBI tells this astonishing and tragic story with searing relevance to our current moment. Directed by Emmy® Award-winner and Oscar®-nominee Sam Pollard, MLK/FBI recounts a tragic story with searing relevance to our current moment. Sam Pollard joins us for a conversation on how incredibly important Dr. King work and influence continues to illuminate every aspect of race relations, criminal justice, housing, wealth inequality, education access and political leadership.
Sam Pollard is an Emmy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated director and producer. His films for HBO, PBS, and the Discovery Channel include the documentaries Four Little Girls, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, Slavery by Another Name, Sammy Davis, Jr.: I Gotta Be Me, ACORN and the Firestorm, Why We Hate, and Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children. Pollard also directed two episodes of the groundbreaking series Eyes on the Prize. Since 1994 Pollard has served on the faculty of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and lives in New York City.
NOMINEE – Best Feature – IDA Documentary Awards 2021
NOMINEE – Best Director – IDA Documentary Awards 2021
OFFICIAL SELECTION – Double Exposure Investigative FF 2020 OFFICIAL SELECTION – Masters – DOC NYC 2020
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
“RIVETING. A timely reminder that King’s struggle for racial justice wasn’t straightforward, nor is it close to complete.” – THE ATLANTIC, David Sims
“A blunt fable of state power and a nuanced essay on the fallibility of heroes and the ethics of historical inquiry. Rigorously focused on the facts of the past, the movie is also as timely as an alarm clock.” – THE NEW YORK TIMES, A.O. Scott
“SEARING. Serves as a chilling reminder that white supremacy is not solely a partisan problem; it’s a cruelty baked into the fabric of our political system, poisoning it at every level. Change comes when we allow ourselves to challenge the stories we have been told about our history.”– THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, Jourdain Searles
“It’s an argument for the humanity of our revolutionaries, flaws and all, a humanity that has been either systematically denied, or weaponized against them.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service
Life-affirming and profound, BEAUTIFUL SOMETHING LEFT BEHIND beautifully captures the heartbreaking, mundane and even the funny moments in the lives of several young children who have recently lost one or both parents. The Good Grief community in New Jersey focuses on a holistic approach to mourning, where children can give in to rage in ‘the volcano room’ or say goodbye to a dying teddy bear patient in ‘the hospital room.’ Over the course of a year, we get close to Kimmy, Nicky, Peter, Nora, Nolan and Mikayla along with their constant companion: grief, as they attend their weekly group meetings at Good Grief, practice small rituals to remember their loved ones, and go about the daily work of living. Filmmaker Katrine Philp keeps the camera and the point-of-view firmly on the children and while it is sometimes deeply sad, it’s also at times humorous to experience questions about life and death through their open and curious minds. Director Katrine Philp joins us to talk about gaining the trust of the Good Grief community, the unfettered way the children interact with one another, the loss of her own father during the making of Something Beautiful and how all of it informed the making of the film.
About the filmmaker – Katrine Philp is an award-winning director who graduated from The National Film School of Denmark in 2009. Her first film, ‘Book of Miri’, was awarded the President´s Award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, nominated at IDFA and won the European Young CIVIS Media Prize in Germany. In 2014 Katrine won the Audience Award at the American Documentary Film Festival for her debut feature length documentary ‘Dance For Me’ which was also selected for POV on PBS in 2014. The film was also nominated for an Emmy Award in the category ‘Outstanding Arts and Culture Programming’ 2015. She directed ‘Home Sweet Home’ in 2015 – produced with Good Company Pictures (Winner of the Danish Film Academy’s Award 2016 for Best Short Documentary, IDFA, TIFF Kids), then ‘False Confessions’ in 2018 (award Winner at CPH:DOX, Nominated as best Nordic Documentary at Nordic Panorama, winner of Special Jury Prize at LA film festival. TV2 prime time). Beautiful Something Left Behind is her latest film which won the Grand Jury Prize at SXSW 2020. To find out more go to: goodcompanypictures.com/katrine-philp
WINNER – SXSW 2020 – Best Documentary Feature
OFFICIAL SELECTION – Winner’s Circle – 2020 DOC NYC
“Beautiful Something Left Behind” is a simple, elegant documentary about children coping with… heartbreaking loss, at a facility designed especially for them.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times
“Very emotional. Heart warming and uplifting.” – FILM THREAT
“There are no manufactured moments of intense grief, just the day-to-day activities of parents, caregivers, and children doing their best to move on from the trauma they’ve experienced.” – Audrey Fox, JumpCut Online
“Katrine Philp’s lens gracefully avoids emotional manipulation, allowing the heartbreaking stories of its children and their process to take center stage” – THE FILM STAGE
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.
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.
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
Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults is a thorough examination of the infamous UFO cult through the eyes of its former members and loved ones. What started in 1975 with the disappearance of 20 people from a small town in Oregon, ended in 1997 with the largest suicide on US soil and changed the face of modern New Age religion forever. This HBO Max four-part docu-series uses never-before-seen footage and first-person accounts to explore the infamous UFO cult that shocked the nation with their out-of-this-world beliefs. Director and Producer Clay Tweel joins us for a rollicking conversation on one of the most sensational and compelling collection of intelligent, engaging, and spiritually inspired people to ever embrace a collection of beliefs, brought to them by former minister and natal nurse, that eventually led them to hitch a ride on an undetectable space ship heading for parts unknown.
In the beginning… The son of a Presbyterian minister and a former soldier, Marshall Applewhite began his foray into biblical prophecy in the early 1970s. After being fired from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas over an alleged relationship with one of his male students, he met Bonnie Nettles, a 44-year-old married nurse with an interest in theosophy and biblical prophecy, in March 1972. According to Applewhite’s writings, the two met in a hospital where she worked while he was visiting a sick friend there. It has been rumored that it was a psychiatric hospital, but Nettles was substituting for another nurse working with premature babies in the nursery. Applewhite later recalled that he felt as though he had known Nettles for a long time and concluded that they had met in a past life. She told him their meeting had been foretold to her by extraterrestrials, persuading him that he had a divine assignment. – (from Wikipedia)
About the filmmaker – Clay Tweel is a native Virginian living in Los Angeles, California. Clay is a documentary director/producer/editor with a passion for telling great character based stories. His works include Make Believe, Print the Legend,Finders Keepers, Out of Omaha and Gleason – the last of which was shortlisted for an Academy Award and named one of the 5 best documentaries of 2016 by the National Board of Review. His features have been distributed by Showtime, Netflix, and Amazon Studios while working closely with companies that include Open Road, The Orchard and Exhibit A. Most recently, Clay executive produced and directed all six episodes of The Innocent Man, a true crime doc series for Netflix based on John Grisham’s only non fiction book. He is currently directing a feature documentary and producing numerous projects under his banner Parkside Films.claytweel.com
About the filmmaker – Shannon Riggs is a producer with a diverse background in film spanning multiple genres and scales. Alongside award winning director Clay Tweel, she produced the Netflix 6 part docu-series, The Innocent Man, and the Academy Award shortlisted documentary Gleason. Recently Shannon produced The Smartest Kids In the World based on Amanda Ripley’s New York Times bestseller, which premiered at DOC NYC in 2018 and was directed by Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner, Tracy Droz Tragos. Shannon was a Sundance Fellow and participant in their 2015 Female Filmmaker Initiative. She is also honored to be a member of Women in Film and actively mentors young filmmakers through various industry programs. She is currently producing a feature documentary and numerous projects under her banner Parkside Films with co-founder and director Clay Tweel.
86% on Rotten Tomatoes
“Heaven’s Gate: Cult of Cults is a thoughtful assessment of the mechanisms of how otherwise smart, savvy people are attracted to fringe beliefs. It takes a story that is larger than life and brings it solidly back to earth.” – Ashlie D. Stevens, Salon.com
“What The Cult Of Cults does very effectively is tell the story of the organization, showing why it attracted members and held onto them for so long.” – Joel Keller, Decider
“Viewers may bob in and out during the first few episodes, though it’s worth sticking out for the grand finale, as sickening as it is oddly poignant.” – Ryan Lattanzio, indieWire
“The human toll isn’t lost among the kooky, UFO-centric beliefs of Ti and Do’s followers.” – Beau North, The Spool
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.
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.
“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
THROUGH THE NIGHT is a cinema vérité portrait of three working mothers whose lives intersect at Dee’s Tots Daycare in New Rochelle, NY: a mother working the overnight shift as a pediatric nurse; another holding down three low-wage jobs to support her two girls; and Deloris “Nunu” Hogan, who for over two decades has cared for the children of parents with nowhere else to turn. A tender portrait of titanic strength, love and selflessness, THROUGH THE NIGHT showcases the multiplicity of “women’s work” – paid, underpaid and unpaid; emotional and physical; domestic and career-oriented – all while negotiating the terms of a dignified existence under the three arrows of racism, sexism and capitalism in America. THROUGH THE NIGHT will open this Friday, December 11th at the Laemmle Virtual Cinema in addition to virtual cinemas around the country.Director Loira Limbal joins us for a conversation on the myriad of issues raised in this deceptively simple meditation of the why and how millions of hard working people in the home of the brave can do all the right things only to find themselves one random event away from the economic abyss that is modern American life.
About the filmmaker – Loira Limbal is an Afro-Dominican filmmaker and DJ based in the Bronx. She is the Senior Vice President of Programs at Firelight Media, an organization that provides mentorship, funding and industry access to emerging filmmakers of color. THROUGH THE NIGHT was an official selection of the 2020 Tribeca, AFI Docs, Camden, Hot Springs Documentary, Double Exposure and DOC NYC festivals. Her first film, ESTILO HIP HOP, aired on PBS in 2009. Loira is a Sundance Institute Fellow and a former Ford Foundation Justfilms/Rockwood Fellow. Additionally, she co-produces and helms the popular Brooklyn monthly #APartyCalledRosiePerez. Limbal received a B.A. in History from Brown University and is a graduate of the Third World Newsreel’s Film and Video Production Training Program. She is a Sundance Institute Fellow and a former Ford Foundation Justfilms/Rockwood Fellow.
“This quietly engaging documentary is also subtly political, showing with clear eyes how good people are trying to patch gaps in our society that shouldn’t be there in the the first place.” – Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times
“Through the Night is both celebration and indictment. A sympathetic depiction of “women’s work,” in all its unsung dignity, it’s also a quietly damning portrait of a merciless economy’s effect on working-class mothers… – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter
“Without making it too obvious, Limbal’s documentary shines a light on the unspoken backbone of our economy. – Monica Castillo, Remezcla
‘”Through the Night” won me over though, not because director Loira Limbal has any illusions about objectivity, but because she prefers to step back and show the toll inequality takes on the very people our culture supposedly reveres most – families.” – Andrea Thompson, A Reel of One’s Own
ASSASSINSdocuments the bizarre, international plot, ripped from the headlines story ofKim Jong-nam—the half-brother of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un assassination in the bustling departures hub of Malaysia’s international airport. The spectacularly brazen murder happened in broad daylight, filmed entirely by security cameras. Footage showed two young women approaching Jong-nam from behind, covering his eyes with their hands, and pressing VX—the most lethal nerve gas on earth—into his eyes. He stumbled away and was dead within an hour. But if the murder was extreme, the story behind what came next was even more bizarre: The two women who killed Jong-nam claimed they had simply been hired to pull a video prank and had no idea what they were really doing. The Malaysian government scoffed, arrested and imprisoned the women and put them on trial for murder, facing execution. But was their outlandish story actually the truth? And would anyone believe them? ASSASSINS the latest film from director Ryan White (Ask Dr. Ruth, The Case Against 8), travels from the sanctums of Pyongyang to the rice fields of Indonesia and Vietnam to the courtrooms of Kuala Lumpur to tell an extraordinary tale of manipulation and subterfuge in the age of social media. A masterful investigation that offers an unprecedented look at the real story of Kim Jong-nam’s murder,ASSASSINSDirector Ryan White stops by to discuss the wildly improbable tale of a calculating dictator, a nefarious plot, a very public murder, and two women fighting for their lives.
“Ryan White’s fascinating documentary chronicles plays like a political thriller with tragic consequences for the two women at its center.” – Matt Goldberg, Collider
“It’s a Kafka-esque and sometimes darkly comic tale of deception and exploitation that makes for a smartly assembled and eminently topical film that arrives at a crucial juncture in world affairs…” – Justin Lowe, Hollywood Reporter
“As you watch the movie, I promise that there are moments when your jaw will drop.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“Director Ryan White masterfully breaks down the complex mechanics of North Korean politics and the Malaysian justice system in a fascinating thriller.” – Ian Thomas Malone
On January 23rd, 2020, China locked down Wuhan, a city of 11 million, to combat the emerging COVID-19 outbreak. Set deep inside the frontlines of the crisis, 76 DAYS tells indelible human stories at the center of this pandemic—from a woman begging in vain to bid a final farewell to her father, a grandpa with dementia searching for his way home, a couple anxious to meet their newborn, to a nurse determined to return personal items to families of the deceased. These raw and intimate stories bear witness to the death and rebirth of a city under a 76-day lockdown, and to the human resilience that persists in times of profound tragedy. MTV Documentary Films is pleased to announce the release of 76 DAYS, a raw and emotional look at the struggles of the people of Wuhan, China, in the earliest days of the COVID-19 outbreak. Directed by New York filmmaker Hao Wu (People’s Republic of Desire) and two China-based journalists, Weixi Chen and Anonymous, who took enormous personal risks to film at four different hospitals. 76 DAYS was directed by Hao Wu, Weixi Chen and Anonymous.Director Hoa Wu joins us for a conversation on the challenges of keeping his crew focused and in-tact while charging into the epicenter of the most devastating and understood pandemic of the last 100 years.
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.
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.
“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
In the documentary film No Ordinary Man The legacy of Billy Tipton, a 20th-century American jazz musician and trans icon, is brought to life by a diverse group of contemporary trans artists. Revered jazz musician Billy Tipton — born Dorothy Lucille Tipton — gained fame throughout the United States in the 1940s and ’50s. His trans identity was not known throughout the echelons of the jazz and pop worlds, and it wasn’t revealed publicly until after his death in 1989. For decades, Tipton was portrayed as an ambitious woman “passing” as a man in pursuit of a music career at a time when the industry was dominated by men and trans representation was virtually non-existent. Since then, he has become a foundational icon of trans-masculinity. Co-directors Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt’s examine the disgraceful media scrutiny and questions of legitimacy his family endured after his death. This thoughtful, timely documentary embraces the challenge of bringing Tipton’s words to life, reimagining his narrative through a diverse group of contemporary trans performers as they collectively paint a portrait of an unlikely hero. NO ORDINARY MAN explores the life and legacy of American jazz musician and trans icon Billy Tipton as told through the eyes of today’s leading voices in the trans community. NO ORDINARY MAN features Marquise Vilsón, Scott Turner Schofield, Susan Stryker, C. Riley Snorton, and Thomas Page McBee, among others. Co-director Chase Joynt (Aisling Chin-Yee) and Writer Amos Mac join us to talk about the life and the times of an artist, husband and father hiding in plain sight and how Billy Tipton’s story informs and imbues today’s trans community.
About the filmmaker – (Co-director) Chase Joynt is a transgender moving-image artist and writer whose films have won jury and audience awards internationally. His latest short film, Framing Agnes, premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, won the Audience Award at Outfest in Los Angeles, and is being developed into a feature film with support from Telefilm Canada’s Talent to Watch program. Awarded the EP Canada/Canada Film Capital Award for Emerging Canadian Artist, Joynt’s first book You Only Live Twice (co-authored with Mike Hoolboom) was a 2017 Lambda Literary Award Finalist and named one of the best books of the year by The Globe and Mail and CBC.
About the filmmaker – (Writer) Amos Mac is an out transgender writer staffed on the upcoming drama series Gossip Girl (HBO Max, 2021). Previously he’s worked on shows including Amazon’s Transparent and VICELAND’s Gaycation. From 2009-2019, Amos was a founding editor of Original Plumbing; the first print magazine in America dedicated to trans male culture. Informational and humorous, OP provided ten years of artful documentation of trans masculine community. The official book, Original Plumbing: The Best of Ten Years of Trans Male Culture, was released in 2019 by the Feminist Press.
About the filmmaker – (Co-director)Aisling Chin-Yee is a cisgender, award-winning producer, writer, and director based in Montreal, Canada. Aisling was named one of Canada’s Rising Film Stars by Now Magazine 2019. Her feature film directorial debut, The Rest of Us, starring Heather Graham (Boogie Nights, The Hangover), and Sophie Nélisse (The Book Thief) premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival 2019. Aisling also produced the award winning feature films, Rhymes for Young Ghouls, Last Woman Standing , and The Saver among others. In 2017, she co-founded the #AfterMeToo movement alongside Mia Kirshner and Freya Ravensbergen. In 2018 she was selected in the inaugural cohort of professionals in the 50 Women Can Change the World in Media and Entertainment in Hollywood. In 2019, Aisling received the TIFF Canning Fellowship.
“The film contains interviews with a number of trans artists who find Tipton especially meaningful in their lives; the moment when Tipton’s son discovers that his father is important to many people is worth the price of admission.” – Alissa Wilkinson, Vox
The incredible story that lies at the heart of Songs of Repressionbegins and ends atthe foot of the Andes Mountains in Chile in the picturesque German colony of Colonia Dignidad (Colony of Dignity). The beauty of the place belies a grim past. In 1961, a German preacher named Paul Schäfer and his congregation moved to Chile with the stated aim of helping the poor. They established Colonia Dignidad, which transformed into a closed sect where child abuse, collective beatings and slave-like living conditions were an ongoing reality for 45 years. Many in the colony assisted Pinochet’s dictatorship in torturing and killing political prisoners and burying them in mass graves on their own 40,000-acre land. In 2007, Schäfer was arrested and the colony opened up. During that process, the community changed its name to Villa Baviera (Bavarian Village), now a tourist resort where you can relax, eat German cuisine and listen to yodeling. It remains the home of several generations of perpetrators and victims of the cult, inexplicably coexisting without reckoning with decades of abuse. Co-directors Marianne Hougen-Moraga and Estephan Wagner join us to talk about their chilling exploration of the community through the experiences of its surviving members.
About the filmmaker – Marianne Hougen-Moraga (Director) Graduated with a Master’s degree in film studies from Copenhagen University. She also holds a master in Screen Documentary from Goldsmiths College. Hougen-Moraga has directed a number of short documentaries, such as ‘Returned’ (2011), which premiered at CPH:DOX, and ‘Sea of Sorrow – Sea of Hope’ (2017), which was nominated for a Danish Robert Award for best short documen- tary. Her feature documentary debut is ‘Songs of Represvsion’ (2020), which she has directed with Estephan Wagner.
About the filmmaker – Estephan Wagner (Director and Editor). Graduated from the National Film and Television School in London. Originally trained as an editor in Germany. Wagner has been working as a documentary director for more than a decade. He directed ‘Last Dreams’ (2013) that premiered at CPH:DOX. His feature documentary ‘Les Sau- teurs’ (2016) had theatrical distribution in Germany, France, the UK and Italy, has been screened at more than 70 film festivals and has won more than 15 awards including at the Ecumenical Jury Award at the Berlinale and the Cinema Eye Spotlight award.
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 throughdirector 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.
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.
“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
From director Dana Nachman (BATKID BEGINS, PICK OF THE LITTER) comes the fanciful and poignant story of Operation Santa. For more than 100 years human elves have been helping Santa respond to the thousands of letters that are written and mailed to him. Through Operation Santa, the United States Postal Service makes it possible for the public to safely adopt these letters and make children’s dreams come true. DEAR SANTA invites audiences along for the magic of this massive endeavor. Traveling the country, much like Santa does on Christmas Eve, the film focuses on select Operation Santa centers: some in metropolitan areas like the massive operation in New York City and others in small towns where the post office is the heart of the community. This is a no Christmas spoiler film and Santa himself has watched the film and can’t wait for the December 4th release! Director Dana Nachman drops down the chimney to talk about her latest, and much needed heart-warming ode to generosity, kindness, and unabashed humanity.
About the filmmaker – Director Dana Nachman is a veteran documentary filmmaker and former journalist. Her films have received dozens of awards from top film festivals across the U.S. and around the world. Her recent film PICK OF THE LITTER, which she directed with Don Hardy, premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival, was distributed by IFC Films, and was adapted into an original television series for Disney+ that she also co-directed. Her documentary BATKID BEGINS debuted at Slamdance Film Festival and was distributed by Warner Bros / New Line Cinema. Her film WITCH HUNT debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival and her film LOVE HATE LOVE debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival. She also directed the documentaries THE HUMAN EXPERIMENT, WASHED AWAY and the comedies HOOKED UP 2.0 and THE FINAL SHOW. Her television news work earned her multiple Emmy® awards, an Edward R. Murrow Award, and a regional AP award. Nachman is a member of the Directors Guild of America (DGA).
“Ultimately, “Dear Santa” is about pulling together, helping neighbors, loving each other and celebrating life and the spirit of giving. It’s a delightful gift at the end of a challenging year.” – G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle
“Dear Santa delivers a desperately needed dose of holiday cheer during these troubled times that will leave even the most Grinch-like of viewers bathed in their own tears.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
“Overall, I think this documentary is perfect, even if it is a bit of a Christmas propaganda movie. This is the perfect time for that.” – Lorry Kikta, Film Threat
“Director Dana Nachman juggles the insights of children, the feeling of the season, and the aspirations of people seeking to do good works in several locations across the country in the three weeks of activity ahead of Christmas.” – Douglas Davidson, Elements of Madness
Directed by Emmy-nominated filmmaker John Dower, THE MYSTERY OF D.B. COOPERbrings 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.
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
“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
In 2018, 15-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg held a school strike outside her country’s Parliament building in Stockholm. At first she sat alone, handing out information and answering questions from passersby. Slowly, others began to join her—and within months she had sparked a worldwide movement. I AM GRETA offers a personal and inspiring glimpse inside Greta’s path to becoming an internationally known environmental activist. Shot in the style of cinéma vérité and with support from the Thunberg family, cameras capture Greta’s meetings with government leaders, headline-making public appearances, and global protests. But they also depict Greta’s life outside of the moments visible on news channels worldwide: laughing at home with her family, writing impassioned speeches, and trying to handle the mounting stress of nonstop travel, public scrutiny and becoming the face of the climate change cause. The film culminates with Greta’s arduous two-week journey by sailboat to the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City, where she’s greeted by crowds chanting her name. (Greta stopped flying because of the high emissions caused by air travel.) Today, her #FridaysForFuture movement has organized climate strikes on every continent except Antarctica. As she tells the UN, “The world is waking up, and change is coming whether you like it or not.” Director Nathan Grossman joins us to talk about his filmmaker instinct to document Greta Thunberg’s first days in front of the Swedish Parliament, the remarkable level of trust he had with Greta and her family as he chronicled the tale of a young woman determined to hold the most powerful people in the world accountable for their pathological abuse of Planet Earth.
A Statement from Greta – “I really like the film and I think it gives a realistic image of myself and my daily life. I hope anyone who watches the film can finally understand that we young people aren’t school striking just for fun. We are protesting because we don’t have a choice. A lot has of course happened since I started school striking, but sadly we are still stuck on square one. The changes and the level of awareness needed are nowhere to be seen today. All that we ask for is for our society to treat the climate crisis as a crisis, and give us a safe future. I think the film shows just how far that is from happening right now. It shows that the urgency of the scientific message isn’t getting through.” – Greta Thunberg
About the filmmaker – Nathan Grossman is educated at The Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts. He started his career as a stills photographer for Rolling Stone India and later moved into documentary filmmaking, mainly focusing on environmental issues. In 2015 Nathan got the world’s attention for his short film The Toaster Challenge where an athlete tries to generate energy to toast a slice of bread. The video became a global phenomenon with over 15 million views. 2017 Nathan completed his first full-length tv-series for public broadcaster SVT, about the growing meat consumption in Sweden. The show sparked a big discussion about meat consumption in Sweden and got nominated for best factual program of the year.
“FASCINATING. A close-up, behind-the-headlines portrait of a passionately committed, media-savvy young woman.” – Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter
“ABSORBING. An uplifting, inspirational story.”– Lee Marshall, Screen International
“INTIMATE AND URGENT. Thunberg’s very existence has been politicized by both friend and foe, but “I Am Greta” is intent on reminding people that she’s really just a kid who has a big dream.”– Kate Erbland, IndieWire
“[Grossman’s] straightforward yet utterly compelling documentary invites us into the life of a remarkable teenager who is sure to accomplish even more remarkable things in the years to come.” – Andrew Collins, Radio Times