In the latest documentary from Academy Award winning director Alex Gibney Crazy, Not Insane asks the question, Why do we kill? Why do some of us kill, and others resist the temptation? What makes a serial killer? Dr. Dorothy Otnow Lewis, a psychiatrist who’s worked with numerous serial killers, including Ted Bundy, Arthur Shawcross and Joel Rifkin, has been looking to answer these questions for decades. Fascinated by the human brain and its capacity for ruthlessness, she has spent her life investigating the interior lives of violent people. With each case, she came closer to developing a unified field theory of what makes a killer. Along the way – steering away from the conventional wisdom of her colleagues — she explored the world of multiple personality disorder. Producer Ophelia Harutyunyan joins us in conversation on the groundbreaking work on trauma and abuse being done by Dr. Lewis and others, as well as the question of evil and its impact on the dispensation of justice in a secular system of justice.
“While the documentary might not convince those who prefer a black-and-white picture of crime and justice, for anybody with an open mind, it’ll definitely make you think.” – Brian Lowry, CNN.com
“A fascinating look at the human mind. Whether you agree or not will be irrelevant next to all the questions this HBO documentary asks.” – Nathaniel Muir, AIPT
“You may not agree with everything Dorothy Lewis says in “Crazy, Not Insane,” but you come out of the movie alive to the place where evil and insanity meet and then fall back apart.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
The feature film debut of director Darius Marder,Sound of Metal, chronicles the life of Ruben, (Riz Ahmed) an itinerant punk-metal drummer. During a series of adrenaline-fueled one-night gigs, Ruben begins to experience intermittent hearing loss. When a specialist tells him his condition will rapidly worsen, he thinks his music career — and with it his life — is over. His bandmate and girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke) checks the recovering heroin addict into a secluded sober house for the deaf in hopes it will prevent a relapse and help him learn to adapt to his new situation. But after being welcomed into a community that accepts him just as he is, Ruben has to choose between his equilibrium and the drive to reclaim the life he once knew. Utilizing startling, innovative sound design techniques, director Darius Marder takes audiences inside Ruben’s experience to vividly recreate his journey into a rarely examined world. Director and screenwriter Darius Marder joins us for a conversation on technical challenge of creating a cinematic language to meet the demands of telling Ruben’s complex story, creating an environment for remarkable performances from Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke and Paul Raci and his collaboration with fellow director Derek Cianfrance (The Place Beyond the Pines).
About the filmmaker – DARIUS MARDER (Director, Writer) is a writer and director making his narrative feature directorial debut. His film Loot was awarded the Best Documentary Feature prize at the 2008 Los Angeles Film Festival, received five Cinema Eye Honors Award nominations and earned Marder an Independent Spirit Award nomination in the Truer Than Fiction category. Marder then co-wrote The Place Beyond the Pines with Derek Cianfrance and Ben Coccio. The original screenplay won the trio a PEN Literary Award in 2014. The following year Marder and Cianfrance co-adapted S.C. Gwynne’s Pulitzer Prize finalist Empire of the Summer Moon for Warner Bros. The film will go into production in 2021 with Cianfrance directing.
“As Ruben’s fear and rage begins to open itself to the unknown, the movie reaches toward something profound – finding real, furious power in the spaces between the sound.” – Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly
“An engrossing deeply affecting, meticulously crafted movie. The tone is straightforward and naturalistic. The camera focuses on intimate connections between the characters. This is a thoughtful, grounded, human scale film.” – Karen Gordon, Original Cin
“The film is profound, frightening, uplifting and, yes, actually breathtaking at times, and you’re not likely to take your hearing for granted anytime soon afterward.” – Brian Truitt, USA Today
“It’s a devastating, poignant, and ultimately hopeful film, especially for a side of humanity that rarely sees itself portrayed on screen.” – David Fontana, Film Inquiry
HBO Documentary Films’ MURDER ON MIDDLE BEACH, a four-part documentary series directed by first-time filmmaker Madison Hamburg, presents Hamburg’s complicated journey as a young man determined to solve an unspeakable crime and the desire to absolve the people he loves, while looking for answers within his fractured family and community. On March 3, 2010, single mother Barbara Hamburg was found violently murdered near her home in the upper middle class enclave of Madison, Connecticut. Investigators speculated her murder appeared to be a crime of passion, but without enough evidence, the case grew cold.Over the course of eight years, Barbara’s son, Madison Hamburg, interviewed his family members and many others, longing to learn more about his mother and gathering evidence in hopes of solving her murder, sending him into a deep web of buried familial secrets, connections to shadowy criminal figures,and the uncovering of years-old resentments in his deceptively serene hometown. While Madison wrestles with troubling revelations about his mother, the most unsettling conflict comes from Madison’s obligation to bring into question those inside his community and members of his own family. Director Madison Hamburg joins us to talk about this deeply personal story of loss, discovery, anxiety and reconciliation.
Filmmaker’s Statement – At 18 years old, my worst fears came true when my sister called to tell me that my mother had been murdered, As much as I fought it, her death became a part of my life. Her memory faded and her case went cold, but I couldn’t accept that. Even if it meant sacrificing my own safety and sanity, I made my mother a promise when I started this project, ‘I will never let you be forgotten.’ It is less than what she would have done for me. – Madison Hamburg.
“Murder on Middle Beach is one of the most intense and emotional true-crime docuseries ever made.” – John Doyle, Globe and Mail
“Murder on Middle Beach is like watching a surgeon wield a scalpel on his own body, uncovering new layers of infection every time he cuts. It’s hard to say what’s more horrifying — that he keeps carving or that you keep watching.” – Glenn Garvin, Reason Online
“The emotional foundation of a torn-apart family is what strengthens Murder on Middle Beach but it’s also a fascinating mystery without the personal touch.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
“On the one hand, if anyone has the right to tell this story, it’s Hamburg. And the human toll of his investigation is very close to the surface in Murder On Middle Beach, particularly when his questions get more pointed later on.” – Katie Rife, AV Club
They say you can never escape a mother’s love… but for Chloe, that’s not a comfort — it’s a threat. Hulu’s latest high profile film project RUN opens the door on something unnatural, even sinister about the relationship between Chloe (newcomer Kiera Allen) and her mom, Diane (Sarah Paulson). Diane has raised her daughter in total isolation, controlling every move she’s made since birth, and there are secrets that Chloe’s only beginning to grasp. From the visionary writers, producers and director of the breakout film Searching, comes a suspense thriller that shows that when mom gets a little too close, you need to RUN.Director Aneesh Chaganty and Producer Sev Ohanian join us for a conversation on the challenges of pulling together a high wire psychological thriller and working with a promising young actor, Kiera Allen on a brilliant film anchored by one of the finest actors working today, Sarah Paulson.
“Run gives its dual leads a slim window for making first impressions and finding bases for their roles, which makes their performances and Chaganty’s direction doubly impressive.” – Andy Crump, Paste Magazine
“It’s also a hell of a lot of fun on a basic B-movie level, thanks to Chaganty’s expert control of tone, his superb crafting of suspense sequences, and excellent work from Paulson and Allen.” – Don Kaye, Den of Geek
“Run showcases the whiplash intensity and cold calculation of Sarah Paulson at her peak, with intense moments that will leave you breathless.” – Jack Wilhelmi, Screen Rant
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
The latest documentary film from award-winning director Alexander Nanau is a veritelook behind the curtain of the pervasive corruption of Romania’s Health Ministry. Collective is a scathing examination of the 2015, a fire at Bucharest’s Colectiv club. A fire that leaves 27 dead and 180 injured. Soon, more burn victims begin dying in hospitals from wounds that were not life-threatening. When a doctor blows the whistle on the misuse and abuse of medical protocols and treatments at the facility specializing in burn victim recovery a team of investigative journalists jump into the fray. One revelation leads to another as the journalists start to uncover vast health care fraud. When a new health minister is appointed, he offers unprecedented access to his efforts to reform the corrupt system but also to the obstacles he faces. Following journalists, whistle-blowers, burn victims, and government officials, Collective is an uncompromising look at the impact of investigative journalism at its best. Collective Director Alexander Nanua joins us for a conversation on his remarkable access to the inner circle of the reform-minded new minister and how naked greed and corruption led to deaths of far too many innocent victims.
About the filmmaker – Alexander Nanau was born in Bucharest, Romania in 1979. His family belongs to the Transylvanian Saxons, a cultural minority of German descent who lived since generations in Romania. 1990 they emigrated to Germany and became German citizens. Nanau studied Film Direction at the renowned DFFB in Berlin. His first feature documentary Peter Zadek inszeniert Peer Gynt was released 2006 in Germany and Austria. In 2007 he was a scholarship holder of the Academy of Arts in Berlin. In 2008/2009 he co-produced with HBO Romania, directed and shot the documentary The World According to Ion B. about a 62 years homeless man who starts a career in the international art world with collages he made over the last 30 years. The documentary was selected for over 40 international film festivals and won the prestigious ‘International Emmy Award’ for Arts Programming in 2010. His third feature documentary Toto and His Sisters, produced together with HBO Europe, premiered at the San Sebastian Film Festival in the ‘New Directors’ section. The film won major awards at the international film festivals in Angers, Zurich, Warsaw, Jihlava, Leipzig and Sarajevo. It was nominated as ‘Best Documentary’ at the European Film Awards 2015 and won the international Cinema Eye Honors’ Spotlight Award 2016.
“Collective gives us a glimpse of the top-the gangster hospital managers and the government functionaries who appointed them, all helping themselves to taxpayer money while providing care that kills.” – Amy Taubin, Artforum
“Collective is a documentary that grows progressively more frightening, infuriating, and illuminating the longer one sits with it.” – Andrew Parker,The Gate
“A documentary pulsing with an urgency that’s impossible to ignore and a furious sense of anger that’s genuinely palpable.” – Doug Jamieson, The Jam Report
Although he is dealing specifically with one instance in Romania, it’s easy to see evidence of greater global malaise reflected here. – Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film
The story behind Steven Bernstein’s latest film, LAST CALL, begins in New York City as renowned poet Dylan Thomas’ (Rhys Ifans) began his final tour in 1953 – a tour that was meant to save him fromruin. The Welsh poet’s reputation for heavy drinking and philandering would soon be forgotten as eageraudiences are captivated by his poetry lectures. Full of poetry, passion, and an ultimate betrayal, the poet who gave us Do not go gentle into that goodnight, Under Milkwood, and stories and broadcasts such as A Child’s Christmas in Wales and Portraitof the Artist as a Young Dog, rages, loves and fights against the gathering darkness. One day at the local White Horse Tavern, he drinks 18 doublescotches, naming each one after his life experience. Soon his fantasies, his memories, and an uncertainpresent blend into a wild, surreal farewell to the world. Inspired by the real life of a man who was regarded as one of the twentieth century’s most influential lyrical poets, LAST CALLstars Rhys Ifans (The Fantastic Flitcrofts), two-time Academy Award-nominee John Malkovich (In the Line of Fire, Places in the Heart) as Thomas’s confidant and enabler, Dr. Felton, and in supporting roles, Rodrigo Santoro (Westworld), Romola Garai (Atonement), Tony Hale (Veep), Zosia Mamet (Girls), and Philip Ettinger. Director Steven Bernstein stops by to talk about the enduring legacy of a literary giant, pulling together a stellar collection of actors and how his love of classic TV dramas inspired his vision to work on a black and white cinematic canvas.
GHOSTS OF THE RÉPUBLIQUEfollows Aurelien and Nicolas, who, when confronted with France’s conservative surrogacy laws (where surrogacy is illegal), decide to exhaust their last option by traveling to Las Vegas to start a family of their own through international surrogacy. Nicolas and Aurelien’s story is unique in that it is a portrayal of the same-sex experience in creating a biological family through surrogacy, a technology developed in the 1980’s becoming more and more commonplace each year. This technology is one that has not only brought hope to couples who struggle with infertility but also to couples who struggle with equality. But while it is a source of hope for many, surrogacy also raises ethical considerations with various legal implications across the globe. Through the lens of one family, this film demonstrates the extreme lengths many gay couples go to have children, while highlighting the ever-expanding and controversial surrogacy industry. GHOSTS OF THE RÉPUBLIQUEseeks to explore the complexities of the issues, and in particular, asks, what does define family in our modern age? Director Jonathan Narducci joins us for a conversation on the negative impact of uncertainty in denying people their human rights and how this project has change the lives of the people who participated.
Gravitas Ventures is proud to present the US virtual release of GHOSTS OF THE RÉPUBLIQUE a documentary film by Jonathon Narducci.The film will be available on Amazon Prime, iTunes and other platforms starting November 17, 2020.
Director’s Statement – We’ve achieved marriage equality in the US and other countries around the world, but today’s laws are far from clear when it comes to surrogacy, and that’s where things really get interesting…the idea of what a family is, is one of the most coveted values in society, and GHOSTS OF THE RÉPUBLIQUE shows us that the definition of family is constantly changing. – Jonathon Narducci.
A CRIME ON THE BAYOU is the third film in director Nancy Buirski’s trilogy profiling brave individuals who fought for justice in and around the Civil Rights era, following The Loving Story and The Rape of Recy Taylor. The story begins in 1966 in Plaquemines Parish, a swampy strip of land south of New Orleans. After months of clashes, the public schools have been integrated by court order. But we are in the land of the white separatist despot, Leander Perez, who rules Plaquemines like his fiefdom, making sure that segregation sticks regardless of federal laws desegregating schools and mandating voting rights. A 19-year old Black fisherman, Gary Duncan, tries to break up a fight between white and Black teenagers outside a newly integrated school. He lays his hand on a white boy’s arm and the boy recoils, as if bitten by snake. That night, police arrest Gary Duncan for assault on a minor. With the help of a young attorney, Richard Sobol, Duncan bravely stands up to Perez. Systemic racism and pervasive anti-Semitism meet their match in decisive courtroom battles, including the U.S. Supreme Court; hate is vanquished by a powerful friendship that will last a lifetime. With the rise of white nationalism in the U.S. and abroad, there is no more important story to tell today. The roots and the mechanics of hate groups are in full display in this dramatic story of a crime on the bayou. Together this trilogy demonstrates that regular people standing up for their values are the root of human progress. Mildred Loving, Recy Taylor and Gary Duncan did not set out to change history. But they remind us that anyone can. A CRIME ON THE BAYOU Executive Producer is John Legend. Director Nancy Buirski joins us to talk about the her searing indictment of the systemic racism that is responsible for the hideously unjust incarceration of Gary Duncan and thousands of others as well as how it continues to this day.
“You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time.” – Civil Rights leader and colleague of Martin Luther King Jr., friend John Lewis
About the filmmakers – Nancy Buirski is Director/Producer/Writer of THE RAPE OF RECY TAYLOR (2017); World Premiere, Venice Film Festival; North American Premiere, New York Film Festival. Awarded the prestigious Human Rights Nights Special Prize for Human Rights at the 74° Venice Biennale. Nominated for the NAACP Image Award and Peabody Award. TV broadcast on STARZ/HULU. Buirski is Director/Producer/Writer of BY SIDNEY LUMET (2015; American Masters); World Premiere at Cannes Film Festival. She is Director/Producer/Writer of AFTERNOON OF A FAUN (2013; American Masters); World Premiere, New York Film Festival, International Premiere, 64th Berlinale, record-breaking U.S Theatrical release with Kino Lorber. She is Director/Producer/Writer of the Oscar shortlisted, Peabody and Emmy Award-winning THE LOVING STORY (2011; HBO) and a Producer of LOVING by Jeff Nichols. Buirski will direct TANNY, a narrative version of AFTERNOON OF A FAUN and ENDANGERED, an animated feature based on award-winning novel of the same name by Eliot Schrefer.
RONNIE’S is a love letter to saxophonist Ronnie Scott and the indispensable night clubhe and partner Peter King established in 1959. For more than 60 years music giants have walked through the door of a small basement club in London’s Soho. From the beginning of the burgeoning British modern jazz movement, he and King dreamt of opening a club modeled after the swinging jazz scene of New York’s 52nd Street. From its humble beginnings sixty years ago, Ronnie Scott’s would become the cornerstone of the UK jazz scene and one of the most famous jazz clubs in the world. Ronnie Scott was beloved by many, from the great and famous who frequented his club, to the many hard up musicians who were often helped by his warmth and generous spirit. However, Ronnie was as complex and colourful as the music played on his stage. In private Ronnie battled with depression and when his untimely death occurred in 1996 it left the jazz community bereft of a respected and favorite leader. Funny and moving, Ronnie’s features performances by some of greatest musicians of the 20th Century including…Oscar Peterson, Dizzie Gillespie, Roland Kirk, Cleo Lane and John Danforth, Buddy Rich, Sarah Vaughn, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Ella Fitzgerald, Mary Lou Williams, Van Morrison and Chet Baker, Nina Simone and Ben Webster.
About the filmmaker – Oliver Murray was born in Oxford, United Kingdom in 1985. He is a writer and director. He studied Fine Art at The Glasgow School of Art and Film & Animation at The Pratt Institute in New York City. His feature film debut ‘The Quiet One’ was released in 2019. His second feature film ‘Ronnie’s’ is scheduled for release in 2020.
Giedrė Žickytė remarkable documentary, THE JUMP, chronicles the stranger than fiction story of a man determined to free himself from the stifling clutches of a political system that destroyed the lives of millions living behind the Iron Curtain, It’s Thanksgiving Day, 1970. The US coast guard sets out to meet a Soviet vessel anchored just off the shore of Martha’s Vineyard. A one-day conference between the two nations has been set to discuss fishing rights in the Atlantic Ocean. While the talks are in full swing, Lithuanian sailor Simas Kudirka jumps across the icy water onto the American boat in a frantic bid for freedom. To his horror, and to the outcry of the world media, the Americans return him to the Soviets and he is tried for treason. The event sets off a series of protests throughout the US begging for his freedom and all hope seems lost, until new information about Simas’ citizenship surfaces. Through eye-witness reports, rare archival footage and a dramatic first-person re-enactment by now 90-year-old would-be defector Simas Kudirka, director Giedrė Žickytė takes us on a stranger-than-fiction journey that became an inspiration for people, pictures and politics, reaching all the way up to the White House. Director Giedrė Žickytė joins us to talk about why Simas Kudirka’s story, and the stories of the thousands of migrants from around the globe, both past migrants and those of the future who will be seeking freedom and a promise of a better life. are so near to her heart and to the people of her native land, Lithuania.
About the filmmaker – Giedrė Žickytė is an award-winning Lithuanian documentary film director and producer and the co-founder of the production company, MOONMAKERS. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Visual Arts from Vilnius Art Academy in 2007. Her films have been selected at numerous international film festivals including IDFA, Hot Docs, Visions du Réel (Sesterce d’or Fondation Goblet Award), Sheffield Doc/Fest (Short Doc Award), IFFR, Camerimage (Golden Frog), DocumentaMadrid (Audience Award), Krakow IFF (European Film Award), etc. Many of her films have been theatrically distributed and broadcast on television internationally. I’M NOT FROM HERE (co-directed with Maite Alberdi) was nominated at the European Film Academy Awards in 2016. MASTER AND TATYANA won 4 “Silver Cranes”, the Lithuanian Film Academy Awards including the awards for Best Director and Best Documentary, and was selected as one of “Ten Documentary Film Talents of 2015” by international film critic Tue Steen Müller. In 2016, she was awarded a St. Christopher’s statue by the Vilnius City Council for merits in cinema artwork. Giedrė produced THE EARTH IS BLUE AS AN ORANGE by Iryna Tsilyk which premiered in Sundance 2020 World Documentary Competition and received the Best Directing Award. Giedrė is a member of the European Film Academy, Lithuanian Filmmakers Union, alumni of Berlinale Talent Campus, Sources2, CPH:DOX LAB, EURODOC and dok.incubator.
Director Sian-Pierre Regis’ poignant feature documentary debut, DUTY FREE, takes us into the world of his mom, Rebecca Danigelis, a British immigrant living in Boston, who has been fired from her job as a hotel housekeeper at the age of 75. An experience that has left her financially and emotionally devastated. Her son, Sian-Pierre, is living in New York City, trying to work his way into the competitive world of TV journalism. With his mother’s reality crashing down, Sian-Pierre resolves to leave New York, and the life he expected to lead, to help his mother get back on her feet. As Sian-Pierre looks for ways to support Rebecca, he gives her an adventure spanning two continents that uncovers a surprising family saga, a story that reveals the compromises and injustices placed on single mothers, the persistence of sexism and ageism, and the difficult dance of duty and freedom where the older and younger generations come together.DUTY FREE and the impact campaign inspired by the film examines ageism, the care crisis, and economic insecurity in America. Who will care for and support our moms and dads? Our grandmothers and our grandfathers? Watch our film, raise these questions in your own community, and together let’s point to solutions that work for all generations. Director Sian-Pierre Regis joins us for a conversation about the challenges facing millions of families as they confront the impacts of aging love ones and how we navigate the challenges and embrace the opportunity to better understand a part of the human experience that awaits us all.
About the filmmaker – Sian-Pierre is currently a Firelight Media Fellow 2018-2020 and a Film Independent Documentary Fellow 2019. He is also an award-winning journalist, on-camera personality, and cultural critic with an undying love for both pop-culture and social responsibility. He has been a contributor for CNN, HLN, MTV and CBS, covering stories of youth political activism and pop-culture.
The endlessly intriguing “what if” documentary, RED HEAVEN, pulls back the curtain on what are the practical implications for the astronauts on a mission to colonize Mars. What are the physical, mental and psychological impacts likely to be on these explorers in an isolated and unforgiving environment as they carry out their mission to colonize Mars? RED HEAVEN focuses on a group of six volunteers, Carmel Johnston, Sheyna Gifford, Christiane Heinicke, Tristan Bassingthwaighte, Andrzej Stewart, and Cyprien Verseux as they take part in the ultimate dress rehearsal, living inside a year-long NASA simulation designed to understand the effects of isolation on the human mind. RED HEAVENasks audiences to look at their own fundamental needs as human beings, what they can and can’t live without, and pose a fundamental question about why humans seem so determined to explore and expand our boundaries. Co-directors Lauren DeFilippo and Katherine Gorringe join us to talk about why they see their film in a different light since the COVID pandemic and how they gained a new understanding for what our subjects went through – living together while separated from the rest of the world, everyday a struggle against the pressures of boredom and isolation.
Director’s Statement – We were finishing up graduate school at Stanford University, studying documentary film, in the heart of Silicon Valley at a time when space exploration and traveling to Mars had reemerged in the public consciousness. It was also the moment when climate change was becoming a more prominent threat to the future of humanity. We wanted to interrogate this new fascination with sending humans to Mars. What does this dream of living on Mars say about our culture, about human beings? We both were contending with how to imagine the future at a time when the Earth is in crisis. We started to research possible stories that spoke to this question and we quickly learned about the Hawai’i Space Exploration Analogue and Simulation, where six people would soon be entering a small dome where they would live isolated from the rest of the world for an entire year as if they were on Mars. These six crew members of HI-SEAS were actually going to act out living on Mars, and they would be actually living in this world for an entire year – that was irresistibly intriguing. We were interested in the complex, human side of the story – the intensity of living in a place that is totally inhospitable to us as a species all the while being completely isolated from everything you’ve ever known. We felt that was the most fascinating part, yet it was being repeatedly overlooked in the race to get to Mars. In a way, RED HEAVEN was our mode of expressing an uncertainty about what the future holds. – Co-directors Lauren DeFilippo and Katherine Gorringe
Director/Producer: RED HEAVEN marks Lauren DeFilippo’s feature-length directorial debut. She is currently in production on two upcoming feature documentaries: Free Money (director/producer), about the world’s largest universal basic income experiment, and Ailey (producer) about visionary dance choreographer, Alvin Ailey.
Director/Producer/Editor: Katherine Gorringe is a documentary director and editor whose work has been featured at numerous festivals including SXSW, CPH:DOX and Hot Docs. Her recent editing work includes the Emmy-nominated Netflix Original Saving Capitalism, which follows former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. RED HEAVEN is her feature documentary directorial debut.
THE LAST OUT tells the story of three talented Cuban athletes, Happy, Carlos, and Victor, leave their families and homes behind as they set off in pursuit of the ultimate dream: a contract with Major League Baseball. Cuban ballplayers are among baseball’s brightest stars but Cuban ball-players can’t just sign out of Cuba – the US Embargo is still in place and only being strengthened under the current administration – so Cubans have to leave their homeland, often under dangerous circumstances and establish residency in a third Country like The Dominican Republic, Haiti or Costa Rica. At the rundown Estadio Antonio Escarre, they have spent the past year training long and hard, thousands of miles away from their families in Cuba. They travel to Costa Rica and train under a seedy sports agent who dangles promises while exploiting their talents. As they navigate immigration and the ulterior motives of handlers, each man finds an unexpected path forward to a better life. Set against the backdrop of the dangerous Central American migrant trail, THE LAST OUT offers a rare window into the dark side of professional sports. THE LAST OUT co-directors Sami Khan and Michael Gassert stop by to talk about their process of following the many twists and turns these young men’s lives take them on and the personal risk they and their team took in chronicling it.
Sami Khan’s most recent film, the short documentary St. Louis Superman (with Smriti Mundhra), was nominated for an Academy Award® and won a Special Jury Prize at Tribeca in 2019. Michael Gassert’s documentary and archival work has been supported by IFP, the Sundance Institute, UNESCO, and the Kennedy Center.
Sacha Polak’s DIRTY GOD is a film about a young mother from London who must pick up the pieces after an acid attack leaves her with severe facial burns. Prior to the attack, with limited education and opportunities, Jade’s main currency was her looks. Her face has been reconstructed, but her beauty is gone. Jade must set about rebuilding herself – and this is a gargantuan task. Cast adrift from her young daughter, Jade finds solace in the hidden world of online liaisons where she uncovers the passion and connection she’s craved in an often humorous and celebratory way. However, the actions of a stranger threaten to turn her life upside down once more, and those around her are ill-equipped to halt her descent. As family life and friendships start to crumble, her lowest ebb proves the inspiration that Jade needs. Jade takes drastic action, finally finding her path back to her daughter and herself. Finalist for the 2019 Sundance Grand Jury Prize (World Cinema Dramatic) DIRTY GOD is a powerful film about motherhood, courage and self-acceptance.Director Sacha Polak joins us for a conversation on how Jade’s story resonated with lead actor Vicki Knight’s own recovery and the trust and bonding that the entire cast and crew experienced during the making of this compelling film.
Based on a non-fiction novel RECON is set in the mountains of Italy at the close of the Second World War. Adapted from the critically acclaimed New York Times best seller by famed author Richard Bausch, and based on a true event – RECON tells the story of four American soldiers in WW2, who after they witness a vicious murder of an innocent civilian at the hands of their platoon Sergeant, are sent on a reconnaissance/suicide mission lead by a local partisan, an elderly man whose indeterminate loyalties add to the terror and confusion that engulfs the Americans as they are hunted by an unseen enemy. RECON centers around young men in the midst of war. The action occurs over the course of one long day between four soldiers placed in a crucible, as they debate both their fates and that of life itself.Each has a different perspective, liberal, racist, =uncertain – a metaphor for the America both of 1945 and 2018. As the soldiers fight amongst themselves they realize they are being both hunted and haunted by a mysterious sniper and the specter of a burning question – is their Italian guide, this old man from the village, a fascist sympathizer who wishes to lead them to their death? As they struggle to make it off the mountain alive, these American soldiers face the worst that war can offer men…. and through this each finds their own peace. Director Robert Port stops by for a conversation on the challenges of meeting the expectations set by an award winning novel, working with a very talented cast of young actors and capturing a tone and look that puts you in the middle of this intense drama.
About the making of RECON – The novel, RECON, based on a true military event, was written by Air Force veteran Richard Bausch; it was awarded the 2010 Dayton International Literary Peace Prize. “Peace” will be re-published by Penguin Random House as an e-book in October. RECON stars Alexander Ludwig (BAD BOYS FOR LIFE, THE HUNGER GAMES, “Vikings”) Sam Keeley (BURNT, “68 Whiskey”), Chris Brochu (DYNASTY, “Shameless”) and Italian acting legend Franco Nero (DJANGO UNCHAINED, JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2). The film is produced by Rick Dugdale and Richard Bullock and executive produced by Maury Povich. Writer/director Robert Port won an Academy award for his film TWIN TOWERS, a documentary short about Detective Joe Vigiano, an elite New York City policeman who was killed during the tragic events of 9/11. RECON is Robert Port’s feature debut.
In his follow-up to the acclaimed debut feature film, The Giant, Johannes Nyholm’s Koko-Di Koko-Da recounts the story of Elin and Tobias, a happily married couple who regularly vacation with their young daughter. The family is on a dreamy holiday when an innocuous case of food poisoning derails their plans and forever alters the course of their lives.Three years later, the once loving couple is on the road again to go camping, looking for one last chance to go back to the way things used to be. But what once was is lost, and our characters instead find themselves having to relive the same nightmarish events, as that day and the horrors it brings repeat themselves infinitely. Together, they must overcome their trauma, reconcile with their past and fight for their lives. Over, and over, and over again.Discerned through a dreamlike fabric, a story emerges about relationships in general, grief and reconciliation in particular, and love as a healing force. Director Johannes Nyholm stops by to talk about the mind-bending, Federico Fellini meets Rod Sterling mise-en-scène inhabiting this profoundly passive-aggressive tale of trauma, loss and truly terrible camping strategies.
Director’s Statement – The setting is those wee hours of the morning when dreams are at their most relentlessly untamed. This is also when the seed for many of my films comes to me. I’m sweating, struggling to go back to sleep and plagued by scattered thoughts. Suddenly they come together, leading me into a fairy tale. I write it down and then I can sleep. “Koko-di Koko-da” was both written and takes place during such a time – this nightmarish landscape between wakefulness and sleep. The film is deeply personal and a means to confront my own worst fears, much like the way the characters in the film are forced to confront theirs. It’s a universal narrative about a relationship that is falling apart. The main reason for making this film is that I’m fascinated by the everyday situations and power struggles lurking beneath the surface in relationships; what is not said, what is embedded between the lines. The love and happiness they once shared has evaporated, and so has the care they used to show for each other. Over and over again, we see them pushed yet again onto the same stage, the open glen in the woods, and into the airless tent. We observe them from above, like gladiators clashing repeatedly, without any opportunity to escape – be it from their tormenters or from each other. They are forced to confront each other, to display emotions, to be pushed around, humiliated, spat upon, tormented; in short – to be together. Any attempts to get away inevitably lead back to the same claustrophobic scenario. Made up of dreams, this story is also structurally constructed like a dream – or more specifically, a nightmare. Taking us through a labyrinth in time, like a dark grinding thought, never letting go, stuck on repeat. Presenting minor variations, but always with the same horrific outcome. – Johannes Nyholm
“Johannes Nyholm follows up his masterful debut, 2016’s The Giant, with this often inexplicable yet increasingly captivating endeavor…” – David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews
“Though at times tasteless and barely coherent, the story is oddly affecting, the very strangeness of Nyholm’s folkloric vision and its unnerving execution pulling you in.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times
“It works as a parable for what happens to grief when it is left un-exorcised and unexpressed.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
“Writer-director Johannes Nyholm (The Giant, 2016) takes all the grief, loss and bitter recriminations of this Swedish couple and drops them into the realm of myth, dream and folklore.” – Anton Bitel, Sight and Sound
What started out as an inside joke amongst two self-proclaimed weirdos in Ft. Worth, Texas soon becomes much more than they bargained for when they decide to turn their conservative southern ideology on its head and invent a new religion all their own and all is chronicled in the rousing new documentary, J.R. “Bob” Dobbs and the Church of the SubGenius. The film features appearances from Church devotees Richard Linklater, Penn Jillette and Nick Offerman. The Church of the SubGenius has been called “the most aggressively preposterous theology the world has ever known!” But what is the Church? And who is J.R. “Bob” Dobbs? And why is his name always in quotes? Filmmaker Sandy K. Boone explores the underground movement that has galvanized the imaginative, the artistic, the nerdy, even the deranged – to examine the simmering dystopia in their culture, and do absolutely nothing about it… except, maybe, poke fun at it all. Director Sandy K. Boone and co-founder Dr. Philo Drummond (Reverend Ivan Stang) join us for a lively conversation on how the Church’s subversive and deliberately chaotic anti-dogma was unleashed on an unsuspecting world of pinks and normals.
Director Statement – My late husband, filmmaker David Boone, and I moved to Austin in the early 1980s to join the film department at the University of Texas, write scripts, make films and raise our family. The Austin Chronicle was a new venture back then and the original TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE was just being filmed. Austin was being called The Third Coast by longtime friends: directors Jonathan Demme and John Sayles, and singer-songwriter David Byrne of the Talking Heads.In fact it was David’s film INVASION OF THE ALUMINUM which first caught the attention of Jonathan Demme, who went on the present it and five other Austin films at the Collective for Living Cinema in 1981 in New York. Three decades later, INVASION had become a Texas cult classic and I proudly produced a restoration of the film as part of JONATHAN DEMME PRESENTS: MADE IN TEXAS – SIX FILMS FROM AUSTIN, which premiered at SXSW in 2015. At that screening, Richard Linklater shared that seeing the MIT films years earlier at an art gallery screening in Houston actually inspired his move to Austin. In recent years I have co-founded several Austin based film companies with a shared mission to encourage local indie filmmakers, foster creative talent, and perpetuate a sense of community through filmmaking. Diving deeper into the world of film, I served as an associate producer on RICHARD LINKLATER – DREAM IS DESTINY, which premiered at Sundance in 2016. I then went on to executive produce films such as Ethan Hawke’s BLAZE, Karen Skloss’ THE HONOR FARM, and Keith Maitland’s Emmy winning documentary, TOWER. Currently I’ve just wrapped directing and producing my first feature documentary, J.R. “BOB” DOBBS AND THE CHURCH OF THE SUBGENIUS, a look inside the Church of the SubGenius, of which my late husband was an early disciple.
WINNER – Grand Jury Award, Texas Feature (DIFF 2019)
WINNER – Best International Documentary (MDFF 2019)
WINNER – Best Documentary Feature (Blow-Up Filmfest Chicago 2019)
“Boone gives us both a nostalgic account on this underground movement and how their sci-fi inspired dystopia applies to each decade of history, up till today, where the documentary earns its whole-hearted earnestness.” – Alex Lines,Film Inquiry
“J.R. “Bob” Dobbs and the Church of the SubGenius captures a period in history when rebelling against the boundaries of reality could still be a positively charged, life-altering experience.” – Cheryl Eddy, io9.com
“This (mostly) playful, always thoughtful documentary is an unusual cautionary tale about what happens when society abandons absurdity as release and distraction.” – Andrea Chase, Killer Movie Reviews
“A wild, an engrossing look at a fascinating sliver of off-the-wall Americana, a minor religious movement that just sort of happened while two friends were messing around.” – Brent McKnight, The Last Thing I See
The compelling documentary WHERE SHE LIES tells the heartbreaking yet ultimately uplifting true story of an assaulted teen, Peggy Phillips, who gives birth out of wedlock in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1962. Upon giving birth, Peggy receives conflicting narratives about her infant’s fate, with one doctor claiming that her baby had passed, and another claiming it was thriving. Thirty-three years later, Peggy’s mother reveals on her deathbed that Peggy’s baby is still alive. After a series of new attempts to uncover the truth, including exhuming her infant’s alleged grave, Peggy reaches an impasse when she runs out of money. Almost two decades later, a documentarian (Zach Marion) helps Peggy uncover the truth about what happened. They become friends, as they sift through an entanglement of local hearsay, claims from a greedy former inmate, and ultimately, DNA testing. Through its investigation of false narratives, memory, and motherhood, the film explores the gas-lighting and discrimination that Peggy faced as a sexual assault survivor in the 1960’s deep south. Director Zach Marion stops by to talk about his beautifully rendered recounting of a woman determined to find where the literal truth lies.
About the filmmaker – Director, Zach Marion, co-owns Zemma Productions with his partner and cinematographer, Emma Kragen, a commercial video agency whose clients include Lyft, The Grove, and The Salvation Army. Before moving to LA, Marion served as the Head of TV Development for Video Arts Studios in North Dakota. While there, he produced BIRTHS BEYOND BELIEF, an hour-long documentary on home-birth for TLC. Zach Marion, a two-time student recipient of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Directing Award. WHERE SHE LIES is Marion’s first feature-length film. The film was shot by Emma Kragen, a Motion Picture Association of America student award-winner and the Lisa Wiegand Fellowship in Cinematography recipient. Kragen was also featured in Variety’s 110 Students to Watch in 2015.
Hasan Oswald’s gripping, feature documentary debut,HIGHER LOVE takes a raw look at addiction, poverty, love, and broken promises through the life Daryl Gant a Camden, New Jersey native, father of eight, and printing press operator. Daryl was raised by a single mother and strives to be a better father than his own, who abandoned him at birth. His girlfriend, Nani, is the love of his life but her crippling crack and heroin addiction, is destroying any hope of a sustainable relationship. Nani finds herself pregnant with their new baby boy, Darnez. The pregnancy becomes Daryl’s new-found purpose to forge a better future for the both of them. Despite Nani’s struggles Darnez os born healthy, but in need of specialized care. Their friend, Iman, was once a drug dealing kingpin in Camden in the 1990s. He was also a father and a mechanical engineer until he caught a dealer’s habit selling dope. He embodies the spirit of many disaffected residents of Camden, taking the viewer on a tour of post-industrial American decay. His own quest to sobriety will eventually force the hand of Nani to make a change, as they forge parallel paths to recovery. Director Hasan Oswald joins us for a conversation on how immersing himself into the shattering reality of opioid users affected him and how much does poverty and the lack of economic opportunity impact the people on the business end of a needle.
Gravitas Ventures will release HIGHER LOVE on VOD and Digital platforms including iTunes, Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Fandango Now and all major cable/satellite platforms on Tuesday, November 3.
About the filmmaker – Hasan Oswald, Director / Producer/ Cinematographer entered the film world only four years ago. In that short period of time Hasan Oswald has quickly established a unique ability to capture the human experience through verité cinema. His unfettered access to and intimacy with his characters creates a seamless veneer between the filmmaker and subject. In making HIGHER LOVE Oswald used a Robert Rodriguez inspired zero-budget strategy to make the film, selling his blood-plasma, racking up no interest credit card bills, and learning all things films on youtube tutorials in lieu of film school.His work first caught the eye of award-winning filmmakers Nick Quested & Sebastian Junger (Restrepo) and he started his professional career as a cameraman for National Geographic’s film Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS. He has since covered the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, drug trafficking and homelessness in Philadelphia. His current project focuses on the Yazidi Genocide in Iraq. Higher Love is his documentary feature directorial debut.
2020 Slamdance Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary Feature
“Most stories need a point of view and with that point of view comes a set of morals and beliefs that angle the focus. For a documentary – or any film for that matter – to expel bias, there must be a highly nuanced approach that allows all views, in equal measure, in one space. Hasan Oswald’s HIGHER LOVE achieves just that.” – Take One Cinema
“Americans exist in this condition. Big Pharma aggressively markets addictive, profitable pain meds, and these ubiquitous drugs have seeped down into abandoned places and people. That these people are invisible and unknown is disgusting beyond the pale. Hasan Oswald shows us this life in Higher Love and calls us to action.” – Film Threat
“It is one of the best films of 2020 so far. This may have been the first truly great film I saw for Slamdance. It is a film that haunted me for days after I saw it. It is a tough tough film about what drugs are doing to society.”– Unseen Films
“What is most interesting about Oswald’s docu-style feature is the way in which horror manifests through the real-life monster of drug addiction and poverty.” – Horror Buzz
Ilana Navaro’s eye-opening new documentary Josephine Baker: The Story of An Awakening, illuminates the life of iconic artist and human rights activist Josephine Baker, the first global black superstar.World renowned performer, World War II spy, and activist are a few of the titles used to describe Josephine Baker, one of the most successful African American performers in French history. Josephine Baker: The Story of An Awakening follows Baker from being a poor little black girl from Missouri to becoming the Queen of Paris, before joining the French Resistance and finally creating her dream family “The Rainbow Tribe”, adopting twelve children from the four corners of the world. The film reveals rare and previously unseen archives that will resolve the puzzle of Josephine’s fascinating fifty-year-long “headline grabbing career.” Josephine Baker made three trips “back home” (1936, 1948, 1951), and each time she experienced everyday racism, despite her worldwide fame. Each tragic experience triggered her life-changing decisions. Gradually the battle for Civil Rights became her own, up until 1963, when she was the only woman who spoke on stage besides Martin Luther King during the famous March in Washington. Director Ilana Navaro (La Case de l’Oncle Doc, Toutes Les Télés Du Monde) stops by to talk about how a pervasive racist American society galvanized Josephine Baker’s determination to transcendthe “banana dancer” sobriquet on her way to international recognition as a performer and civil rights warrior.
Josephine Baker: The Story of An Awakening will be featured exclusively on the Cinémoi Network beginning on Thursday, October 29th at 7pm PST / 10pm EST. Cinémoi Network’s curated programming is available on Apple TV & Apple iOS, Sling TV, Comcast Xfinity, Verizon FiOS, Frontier, Google Play, and Samsung devices.
Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story is the latest documentary from award-winning filmmaker Julie Sokolow is a loving portrait of Mark Baumer, an environmental activist, avant-garde writer, and vegan, who hiked barefoot for over 100 days across America to draw attention to climate change. In a voice The New Yorker praised as “reminiscent of Andy Kaufman”, Baumer narrates his offbeat take on life and how we all can make a difference. Skillfully edited from Baumer’s own self-recorded videos, along with interviews from family and friends, is filled with laughs, tragedy, and inspiration. Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story is about a man who loved life, loved the world, and it showed in everything he did. Director Julie Sokolow (Women of Fire) and Mark’s parents, Jim and Mary Baumer joins us for a conversation on Mark’s warm-hearted, exuberant approach to life, his commitment to the vision of the life he wanted to champion and their loving support for their only child.
About the filmmaker – Julie Sokolow is the award-winning director of Woman on Fire, which aired on Starz in 2017. The film is about Brooke Guinan, the first openly transgender firefighter in New York. She also directed Aspie Seeks Love, which won Best Documentary at the 2015 Cinequest Film Festival. Her short film Street Doctor went viral in 2014 and received over one million views. She is the creator of the Healthy Artists web series (2012-2014), about the challenges of artists without health care access. Her films have been featured by The New York Times, Vimeo Staff Picks, IndieWire, VICE, Salon, Village Voice and Huffington Post. Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story is her third documentary feature.
“Barefoot “manages to get at deeper systemic questions that we often don’t face. Who is this world for? Why is it weird to walk from place to place? Why is it completely dangerous to do so? Why was our land designed this way, and what are the repercussions of that? By raising these questions through its material, ‘Barefoot’ becomes something more than a tragic story of a truly unique artist gone too soon — it’s also a profound inquiry into the very way we have to live our modern lives”. “ – The Playlist
“One of the finest American documentary features on offer was writer/director/editor Julie Sokolow’s Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story”… “Baumer was a nonstop social-media diarist, and Sokolow has skillfully edited his self-recorded videos—and additional material—into a moving portrait that deservedly captured the Best Documentary Premiere Prize.” – Cineaste
“An affectionate and inspiring portrait of someone who walked the walk.” Barefoot is a “clear-eyed documentary” about “a man who discarded not merely his shoes, but also the trappings and constraints of the contemporary rat race.” – The Hollywood Reporter
In her riveting feature film debut, THE SOUNDING, Catherine Eaton also stars as Liv, a young woman who has never spoken, raised on a remote island by her grandfather Lionel (Harris Yulin, “Ozark”). When Lionel discovers he’s dying, he calls the driven, privileged son (Teddy Sears, “The Flash”) of his best friend to the island and asks him to protect Liv’s independence, alongside Lionel’s attorney (Frankie Faison, “The Wire”). That night, as Lionel is reading to Liv, his voice fails him. Liv picks up the book of Shakespeare and begins – first reading, then weaving a new language from Shakespeare’s words. She is committed to a psychiatric hospital and becomes a full-blown rebel in the hospital; her increasing violence threatens to keep her locked up for life as she fights for her voice and her freedom. At a tipping point for otherness in our current climate, THE SOUNDING champions it. Director Catherine Eaton joins to talk about the origin story for THE SOUNDING, the challenges and rewards of being on both sides of the camera and the supportive cast and crew who made the film such a success.
About the Filmmaker – Catherine Eaton’sfeature debut as a director and writer, The Sounding has won two-dozen awards on the festival circuit. She was chosen for Tribeca Film Festival’s ”Through Her Lens” Lab and Grant for emerging female directors, and was selected as a Shadowing Director for show runner Ryan Murphy’s Half Program on the hit Fox show “9-1-1.” Her pilot script “Breaking News” – based on her personal experience working with freelance news crews in conflict zones – was selected for IFP’s Project Forum and as a finalist for the Screenwriters Colony. Catherine shared an Emmy with the production team on “The Human Toll of Ethanol” for Bloomberg TV, and did freelance production work for various news crews for five years. As an actor, she’s been seen on Broadway, TV and film, and was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Catherine teaches Screenwriting at Harvard University.
Fox Rich is a fighter. The entrepreneur, abolitionist and mother of six boys has spent the last two decades campaigning for the release of her husband, Rob G. Rich, who is serving a 60-year sentence for a robbery they both committed in the early 90’s in a moment of desperation. Combining the video diaries Fox has recorded for Rob over the years with intimate glimpses of her present-day life, TIMEdirector Garrett Bradley paints a mesmerizing portrait of the resilience and radical love necessary to prevail over the endless separations of the country’s prison-industrial complex. Bradley won the U.S. Documentary Directing Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and is the first Black woman to be awarded the prize with TIME, her documentary feature debut. Director and producer Garrett Bradley joins us to talk about her beautifully rendered look into the most intimate moments of a determined matriarch and a family grappling with a life lived under the relentless cloud of uncertainty.
TIME will open in select theaters on October 9 ahead of its global launch on Amazon Prime Video on October 16.
About the filmmaker – Garrett Bradley works across narrative, documentary, and experimental modes of filmmaking to address themes such as race, class, familial relationships, social justice, southern culture, and the history of film in the United States. Bradley has received numerous prizes which include the 2019 Prix de Rome, and the 2017 Sundance Jury Prize for the short film “Alone,” which was released by The New York Times OpDocs And became an Oscar Contender for short nonfiction filmmaking, included in Academy Shortlist. Bradleys work can be seen across a variety of spaces including her Second Unit Directing work on Ava DuVernays “When They See Us” and the 2019 Whitney Biennial. In December of this 2019, Bradley’s first solo exhibition opened at The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH), curated by Rebecca Matalon. In January of 2020, Bradley became the first Black American woman to receive Best Director at the 2020 Sundance Film festival for her first feature length documentary, “Time.” For more go to: garrettabradley.com
Sundance 2020 – Directing Award: U.S. Documentary
The Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2020 – The Charles E. Guggenheim Emerging Artist Award
“A vibrant cubist portrait, alive with shadings of Rich’s vulnerability and the psychic bruises from dealing with an indifferent correctional system, expensive lawyers and unresponsive courts.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter
“It’s an enormous achievement to crystallize two decades of both fighting and loving in 81 minutes, as Bradley never takes Rich’s voice away to patronize or preach to the viewer about what we should care about.” – Ella Kemp, WeLoveCinema
BELLY OF THE BEAST shines a white hot spotlight on the pastoral farmlands surrounding the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF), the world’s largest women’s prison. For decades CCWF concealed the reproductive and human rights violations transpiring inside its walls. A courageous woman, Kelli Dillon, who was involuntarily sterilized at the CCWF, teams up with a radical lawyer, Cynthia Chandler, to stop these violations. Together they spearhead investigations that uncover a series of statewide crimes, primarily targeting women of color, from inadequate access to healthcare to sexual assault to illegal sterilization. With a team of tenacious heroines, both in and out of prison, they take to the courtroom to fight for reparations. But no one believes them. As additional damning evidence is uncovered by the Center for Investigative Reporting, a media frenzy and series of hearings provide hope for some semblance of justice. Yet, doctors and prison officials contend that the procedures were in each person’s best interest and of an overall social benefit. Invoking the weight of the historic stain and legacy of eugenics, BELLY OF THE BEASTpresents a decade long, infuriating contemporary legal drama. Director Erika Cohn (The Judge, When the Voices Fade) joins us for a conversation about her incredible tale that chronicles the rampant abuse of incarcerated women, being coerced by a prison-based culture of medical personnel actively subverting their basic human rights.
About the filmmaker – Director Erika Cohn is a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning director/producer who Variety recognized as one of 2017’s top documentary filmmakers to watch and was featured in DOC NYC’s 2019 “40 Under 40.” Most recently, Erika completed The Judge, a Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated film about the first woman judge appointed to the Middle East’s Shari’a courts, which premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS’ 2018 Independent Lens series. Erika co-directed/produced, In Football We Trust, an Emmy award-winning, feature documentary about young Pacific Islander men pursuing their dreams of playing professional football, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS’ 2016 “Independent Lens” series. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including a Director’s Guild of America award for her fiction short film, When the Voices Fade. Erika grew up attending the Sundance Film Festival as a native Utahn, where she first began her career and later studied at Chapman University (California) and Hebrew University (Jerusalem) where she received degrees in Film Production, Middle East Studies, and Acting Performance. In 2013, Erika founded Idle Wild Films, Inc., which has released three feature documentaries and produced numerous branded content and commercial spots, including Gatorade’s “Win from Within” series, for which she received a 2016 Webby award nomination. Belly of the Beast is her third feature-length documentary. For more about Erika Cohn go to: idlewildfilmsinc.com