Film Maudit 2.0 – Executive Director Leo Garcia and Artistic Director Patrick Kennelly

January 12-24 2021, Highways, the legendary Los Angeles Performance Space and Gallery presents its Second Annual Film Maudit 2.0 festival showcasing and celebrating new outré, unusual and startling films. The festival will feature over 125 works of cinema from 25 countries including films rarely if ever, seen in festivals: works addressing socio-political issues and taboo subject matter that challenges conventional artistic assumptions and sexual mores.Virtual, online screenings of 18 feature films, 21 shorts programs, specially commissioned programs, and new film scored performed by artists who reflect the diversity of Los Angeles. Included are a range of narrative, documentary and experimental films that are deliberately bold, extreme, confrontational and unusual. Film Maudit 2.0 highlights this year include the U.S. premieres of Feature Films: Mathius Marvellous Shop, a Spanish/German surrealistic satire; Kriya, a magical Indian thriller, and the Los Angeles premieres of Woman of the Photographs; a powerful Japanese film about image and reality for a beautiful model; The Columnist, a darkly comic horror film from The Netherlands; A Dark, Dark Man, the Kazakhstan/France thriller just long-listed for the Golden Globes; and Darkness (Buio) the first feature film by Donatello Award-winning director Emanuela Rossi. Other special programs include a special fundraising screening of erotic art pioneers Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens’ Water Makes Us Wet, featuring a live stream Q&A with both; new, original music scores performed live to silent films, and multiple Feature and Shorts Programs that showcase works from 25 countries in 16 uniquely curated categories from ‘Ms. Fear’ to ‘Shattering Form’ – with animated documentaries to experimental works handmade on film; extreme horror to comic surrealism. There is a special focus on works in Film Maudit’s BEHOLD section, which includes NSFW! curated by Planet Queer, Hi Kicks Entrails, curated by performance artist Ironstone, and QLX: the Performance of Queer Latinx.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: filmmaudit.org

All films at the festival are free and available online January 12 through 24. Reservations are required and can be made for each program via Film Maudit 2.0’s Screening Portal: filmmaudit.org/filmmaudit

Film Maudit 2.0 festival is inspired by French avant-garde filmmaker and writer Jean Cocteau who created the original Festival du Film Maudit (literally “cursed films”) in 1949 aiming to celebrate overlooked, shocking and experimental films. Film Maudit 2.0, in its 2nd year, showcases a counter-cinema will blend of narrative, documentary and experimental films that in their style and/or subject matter, are deliberately bold, extreme, confrontational, troubling, shocking and/or unusual. The festival is funded in part by the California Arts Council, Los Angeles County Department of Cultural Affairs and the City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs CAP Program.

About HIGHWAYS – Film Maudit 2.0 is co-presented by and takes place at Southern California’s boldest center for new performance and media arts, Highways Performance Space & Gallery in Santa Monica, CA. In its 31st year, Highways continues to be an important alternative cultural center in Los Angeles that encourages radical artists from diverse communities to develop and present innovative new works. Described by the Los Angeles Times as “a hub of experimental theater, dance, solo drama and other multimedia performance,” Highways promotes the development of contemporary socially involved artists and art forms. Under the helm of Executive Director, Leo Garcia, Highways has received funding and support from organizations such as the The James Irvine Foundation, Metabolic Studio, California Community Foundation, Liberty Hill Foundation, The Warhol Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and The Roy Cockrum Foundation. Leo Garcia is an award-winning playwright, filmmaker, visual artist and actor who has produced over 800 performance works as Artistic Director-turned-Executive Director of Highways since 2003. highwaysperformance.org

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Climate of the Hunter – Director Mickey Reece

Mickey Reece’s mind-bending latest film, CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER immerses us inhttps://youtu.be/vOT3l77LTZc the story of two sisters, Alma and Elizabeth, along with a dog who’s described as a “philosopher,” have come to Alma’s remote house to reconnect with Wesley after twenty years. Alma is recently divorced, Elizabeth is a workaholic in Washington, D.C., while Wesley lives in Paris dealing with a wife recently struck with a fatal disease. When the three come together for dinner it has all the makings of a lovely adult melodrama about loneliness, and the desire to connect and share our lives with someone… but we must add to the mix one otherworldly piece of information: Wesley could be a vampire. CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER stars Ginger Gilmartin, Mary Buss, Ben Hall, Danielle Evon Ploeger, Laurie Cummings, and Jacob Ryan Snovel. Director Mickey Reece (Arrows of Outrageous Fortune, Mono) joins us to talk about his shadowy slow-burn, stylized cinematic mind-f**k of a story.

 

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For news and updates go to: darkstarpics.com

On Demand beginning January 12, 2021 on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Xbox, Vudu,  Direct TV, Dish Network and all major cable providers.

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“an instant cult classic” – Film Freak Central

“Climate of the Hunter never sacrifices its smarts for fun (or vice versa), but with its dazzling visuals and hypnotic descent downwards into a seemingly inevitable chaos, the film’s delights are ultimately as sensorial as they are intellectual” – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, AWFJ Women on Film

“Climate of the Hunter captures the 1970s perfectly and crafts a beautiful film filled with a central mystery that builds in every revelation.” – Amanda Mazzillo, Film Inquiry

“Climate of the Hunter is for anybody who, when dining out, feels compelled to try (and hopes to love) the weirdest item on the menu.” – Simon Abrams, RogerEbert.com

“This weird little slice of vampire movies is definitely not your average bloodfest. It’s odd and dreamlike and one of my favorite films I’ve seen so far this year. So give it a shot!” – Lorry Kikta, Film Threat

“Gloriously quirky cinematic feat” – Rue Morgue

Two Ways Home – Director Ron Vignone and Producer / Actor Tanna Frederick

Based on Richard Schinnow’s screenplay,  TWO WAYS HOME compassionately follows Kathy (Tanna Frederick), a woman newly diagnosed with bipolar disorder who is released from prison on good behavior and returns to her country home in Iowa to reconnect with her estranged 12-year-old daughter (Rylie Behr) and her cantankerous elderly grandfather (Tom Bower). Her return home is turbulent and a rough, unwelcome transition in which Kathy must come to terms with her diagnosis and its implications on her identity, while also realizing that her family was happier when she was gone. As she struggles to maintain balance with her condition, complications with her daughter’s well-being and her grandfather’s health test her sense of self-worth to the limit. TWO WAYS HOME masterfully showcases Iowa’s small town beauty and sympathetically highlights the importance of mental wellness and self-discovery. Director Ron Vignone and actor / producer Tanna Frederick join us to talk about their collaboration in the making of a film that features a person dealing with a mental illness without making it the only thing we should care about in TWO WAYS HOME.

 

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

Tanna Frederick is an Actress, Producer, and Environmental Activist. She has starred in six feature films with film iconoclast Henry Jaglom, and has won numerous Best Actress awards on the festival circuit. Method Fest named her “One to Watch”; she has received the CineCause Award, the University of Iowa’s Distinguished Alumni Award, and the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival’s Maverick Award. Tanna alongside director Randal Kleiser (Grease) created and launched DEFROST, a revolutionary virtual reality experience, premiering at Sundance and Cannes. She is the founder of ProjectSaveOurSurf.org hosting monthly beach cleanups and a camp, which has reached thousands of displaced youth in Southern California and Mexico, educating them on environmental issues in our oceans.

Ron Vignone is an award-winning director whose filmmaking revolves around issues that are deeply personal and important in his life. Two Ways Home, his latest effort, is an edgy slice of Americana about a woman living with bipolar condition who aims to reunite with her estranged teenage daughter in their sleepy Iowa hometown. “Taking the shame out of our conditions” was a theme that drew Ron to making Two Ways Home. A graduate of the University of Southern California, Vignone’s work as a filmmaker has focused on protagonists who embark on a physical journey while struggling with their deeply conflicted interiors. Ron’s inspirations come from compromising situations while traveling, his family, great literature, and strong Italian coffee.

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TWO WAYS HOME has been officially endorsed by National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

“TWO WAYS HOME… makes for a thoughtful, warm journey back to a place a lot of Americans will recognize, even those of us who moved away.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

‘”TWO WAYS HOME makes a valuable contribution to the public understanding of mental health issues and to reduce stigma surrounding them…” – Mitzi Wright, National Alliance on Mental Illness (LA, California chapter)

“With star Tanna Frederick producing, Two Ways Home was directed by Ron Vignone and filmed in Iowa. They found the right mix: one false move in any direction and the tone could have gone off the rails into hopeless Hallmark-channel schmaltz, or incomprehensible chaos. Amazingly, Frederick and Vignone masterfully created a moving film that pulls no punches while compassionately exploring life with mental illness.” – FIlm Threat

“One actress and film that stood out to us is Tanna Frederick from Two Ways Home. Tanna Frederick is captivating, raw, and lights up the screen. Frederick’s performance also provokes intense emotion from the audience. You find yourself rooting for her character, Kathy, who is fighting hard to put her family back together. Tanna Frederick is an incredibly gifted actress.” – GEMMA

“TWH will make a significant difference in people’s lives and is a powerful tool to further families’ understanding and education about bi-polar illness.” – Yin Simpson, National Alliance on Mental Illness (Minneapolis, MN chapter)

Tandem Pictures, Founder Julie Christeas and COO Jonathan Blitstein

Tandem Pictures is a leader in conceiving and implementing eco-sustainable filmmaking practices in the indie film space, with all of their productions following Environmental Media Association standards and the Producers Guild’s Green Best Practices. They’re also an advocate for how these practices – from using hybrid vehicles on set, to having the sound and camera teams use rechargeable batteries, to composting and using metal straws – can and should be adopted industry-wide. Female owned and operated, it is Tandem’s mission is to bring female talent and narratives to the forefront. They embrace female-centric storytelling, and pride themselves on the fact that the casts and crews of their films are composed of underserved and underrepresented minority groups, LGBTQIA, and women.  tandempictures.com

 

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ABOUT TANDEM PICTURES Since 2010, TANDEM PICTURES has elevated and given a platform to misrepresented and underrepresented ideas. We are filmmakers, driven by justice and representation for both people and the planet. We strive to not only tell stories, but to share learnings with the industry in order to grow positive filming practices across our community.  Past films include acclaimed festival films THE SURROGATE, BLOODSTRIPE, THE EYES OF MY MOTHER, THE SLEEPWALKER, WILDLIKE, GHOST TEAM and more.  tandempictures.com

JULIE CHRISTEAS – Tandem Pictures – Founder, Chief Executive Officer        Julie’s recent films include BLACK BEAR (Sundance 2020) starring Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Abbott and Sarah Gadon which will be released later this year by eOne/Momentum and THE SURROGATE (SXSW 2020/Monument Releasing) . She also executive produced the cult horror favorite THE EYES OF MY MOTHER (Sundance 2016/Magnet Releasing), MONOGAMY (Best NY Narrative, Tribeca Film Festival 2010), the feature doc DUKALE’S DREAM starring Hugh Jackman, and GHOST TEAM starring Jon Heder, David Krumholtz, Justin Long, Amy Sedaris and Melonie Diaz. Previously she produced BLOOD STRIPE (Jury Prize for Best Narrative Film, LA Film Festival 2016), WILDLIKE starring Bruce Greenwood and Brian Geraghty (HIFF), and THE SLEEPWALKER starring Christopher Abbott and Brady Corbet (Sundance 2014/IFC). 

JONATHAN BLITSTEIN – Tandem Pictures – Co-owner, Chief Operating Officer Jonathan’s most recently produced the acclaimed films THE SURROGATE, and BLACK BEAR (SUNDANCE, EOne/Universal release) starring Aubrey Plaza. Prior to Tandem he worked in production and branded entertainment for Vudu, Sony and Disney, supporting Fortune 500 Brands such as Walmart, Sprint and Covergirl. At Oracle (formerly CrowdTwist), he initiated the creation of Marvel Studios’ first nationwide fan loyalty program Marvel Insider. In his early career, he made two micro-budget feature films LET THEM CHIRP AWHILE and ANOTHER KIND which both premiered at the Woodstock Film Festival which were distributed on Netflix and VOD. Early career roles include marketing arthouse films such as Park Chan Wook’s OLD BOY, and Noah Baumbach’s SQUID AND THE WHALE. 

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Yalda – A Night for Forgiveness, Director Massoud Bakhshi

In Massoud Bakhshi’s riveting new film, Yalda – A Night for Forgiveness, Maryam is a 22-year-old woman, who has been sentenced to death for murdering her 65-year-old husband, Nasser. Iranian law allows for the victim’s family to forgive her and spare her life, so Maryam’s fate will be decided by Nasser’s daughter, Mona, 37, on the country’s most popular televised reality show. In front of millions of viewers during Yalda, the winter solstice celebration, Maryam and Mona discover that forgiveness can be difficult as they relive the past. Director and screenwriter Massoud Bakhshi brings aesthetic energy and dramatic intensity to a story that unfolds over a few hours and almost entirely within the studio. Compelled by the social complexities of contemporary Iran, Bakhshi started as a documentary filmmaker, during which time he met several women who had murdered their husbands. Their stories stayed with him as he developed this powerful exploration of women characters. Although Maryam and Mona are condemned in some way and subject to Iran’s profound patriarchy, they find agency, moral authority, and freedom within those confines.  Winner of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness elucidates Iran’s vibrant, modern identity alongside its deeply traditional culture.

 

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For news and updates go to: pyramidefilms.com/yalda-a-night-for-forgiveness

About the filmmaker – Born in Tehran, Iran, in 1972, Massoud Bakhshi has worked as film critic, scriptwriter and producer, before making 12 documentaries and short films which were awarded internationally. His first feature film A Respectable Family was selected at Cannes Film Festival 2012 (Quinzaine des réalisateurs). Yalda, a night for forgiveness is his second feature film, selected at the World Cinema Dramatic Competition Sundance Film Festival 2020 and at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival Generation 14+ Competition 2020.

2020 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL – GRAND JURY PRIZE World Cinema Dramatic Competition

King of Knives – Producer / Actor Gene Pope

KING OF KNIVES tells the story of Frank and Kathy who are baby boomer parents and Sadie & Kaitlin, their millennial daughters. Frank is screaming towards a mid-life crisis. Kathy pretends she’s happy and doesn’t drink that much wine. Sadie is the good child; convinced her first and only boyfriend is the one to marry. Kaitlin is the rebel, the entertainer; the truth teller who will not filter how she’s feeling. Over three days, with much drama and humor, this crap-happy family careens and skids straight towards a fateful anniversary. On the way, they realize they are more alike than they know. KING OF KNIVES, co-written by Lindsay Joy & Gene Pope and directed Jon Delgado, has earned critical acclaim from audiences who have been lucky enough to see the film.  It has also won awards from numerous festivals including “Best Narrative Feature Film” at the Williamsburg International Film & Music Competition, “Best Feature & Lead Actress” at the Milan World Cinema Festival, and seven Platinum awards including “Winner Narrative Feature” at the International Independent Film Awards. Producer and lead actor Gene Pope joins us for a lively conversation on his own mid-life reckoning that inspired the film, his role in front of and behind the camera, what his theatre background brought to the project and working with a cast that includes Mel Harris.

 

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For news and updates got to: kingofknivesthemovie.com

KING OF KNIVES is a Gravitas Ventures release that is available on VOD and Digital platforms including iTunes, Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Fandango Now and all major cable/satellite platforms on Tuesday, December 1.

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“Gentle but incisive, mournful but also hopeful, and at times quite humorous, this dramedy may not leave deep cuts, but its blade shines nevertheless.” – Alex Saveliev, Film Threat

“A well told story that is helped by its strong performances. This mix of comedy and drama can be erratic at times, but the movie is an engaging watch.” – Nathaniel Muir, AIPT

Buddy Games, Director Josh Duhamel

Josh Duhamel (Transformers) stars in this wild and hilarious, no-holds-barred comedy. After six lifelong friends have a five year falling out, Bob (Duhamel), aka “The Bobfather”, reunites his pals for the Buddy Games, an insane competition of absurd physical and mental challenges with the chance to win a $150,000 pot. Now all bets are off, as the determined dudes fight, claw, and party for the big bucks in this star-studded bro-fest featuring Dax Shepard (CHiPs), Olivia Munn (Office Christmas Party) and Kevin Dillon (“Entourage”). Director / Producer / Co-screenwriter Josh Duhamel stops by to talk about collaborating on the script and the actual “Buddy”games with Bob Schwartz and Jude Weng, pulling together a great comedic cast and discovering a love for directing his own projects.

 

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For news and updates go to: paramountmovies.com/movies/buddy-games

Director’s Statement – At its core, BUDDY GAMES is a comedy, but it is also an homage to the lifelong friendships I’ve built. For many years, my friends and I have had an annual weekend of games and debauchery – everything from classic ping pong competitions to naked paintball (right off the bat, I can tell you that this is like nothing anyone has ever seen from me before). The concept always seemed like a great premise for a movie, and while I’ve always wanted to direct, I knew that the best way to start that journey in my career was to write something myself. So, I sat down with Bob Schwartz (the real life “Bobfather”) and Jude Weng to write a script based on the shenanigans that my buddies and I have done for over 20 years. My hope is that BUDDY GAMES not only shocks people and makes them curl over with laughter, but that it also resonates with people when they think of their own group of buddies, the crazy situations they find themselves in, and how much more important those friendships become as we get older. I couldn’t be more grateful for the insanely talented cast and crew who really helped tell this story. As is the goal for the audience, I think that everyone involved in this project was able to draw upon their own personal relationships, relish in the camaraderie, and have a hell of a lot of fun thinking about beating their best buddies in the ultimate competition that would win them bragging rights for life. – Josh Duhamel

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Koko-Di Koko-Da, Director Johannes Nyholm

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.

 

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To watch the film on-line go to: laemmle.com/film/koko-di-koko-da

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

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“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

J.R. “Bob” Dobbs and the Church of the Subgenius, Director Sandy K. Boone and Church co-founder Dr. Philo Drummond

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.

 

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

For more about J.R. “Bob” Dobbs and the Church go to: subgenius.com

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)

 

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“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

Us Kids, Director Kim A. Snyder

From Kim A. Snyder, director of the Peabody Award-winning documentary  Newtown, comes Us Kids, an insightful, rousing coming-of-age story of a generation of youth leaders determined to take the reins and fight for justice at a most critical time in our nation’s history. Sparked by the plague of gun violence ravaging their schools, Us Kids, chronicles the March For Our Lives movement from the point of view of Emma González, David Hogg, Samantha Fuentes and the expansive coalition of teenage activists involved over the course of several years as they pull off the largest youth protest in American history and set out across the country to build an inclusive and unprecedented youth movement that addresses racial justice, a growing public health crisis, and shocks a political system into change. Director Kim A. Snyder joins us for a conversation on the historic progress made by the reluctant activists who dramatically change the perception that young people should “wait there turn” in terms of affecting the course of politics in America and the world.

 

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

Get Involved – US KIDS is kicking off its launch with the just-announced Vote With Us Virtual Rally, a national GOTV campaign with the focus to educate, motivate & mobilize young people and communities of color to vote early. The event will take place on Saturday, October 24, at 3 p.m. ET/Noon PT, streaming at www.votewith.us and simulcast across YouTube and more. Ahead of its theatrical release on October 30, never-before-seen clips from the film will be shown throughout the rally, alongside performances, appearances and support by the film’s subjects, Lisa Bonet, Sherry Cola, Common, Andra Day, Candice Dupree, Emma González, David Hogg, Vic Mensa, Renee Montgomery, Mark Ruffalo, and Bria Smith.

About the filmmaker – Kim Snyder’s most recent feature documentary, Us Kids premiered in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2020 Sundance competition. Prior, she directed the Peabody award-winning documentary Newtown, which premiered in the US Competition at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.  Newtown screened at premiere festivals worldwide and was theatrically released followed by a national broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens and Netflix.  Her most recent short, Lessons from a School Shooting: Notes from Dunblane, premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and was awarded Best Documentary Short followed by the DocDispatch Award at the 2018 Sheffield DocFest and a Grierson Award nomination.  Lessons… is a Netflix Original and is streaming in 196 countries. Snyder’s prior works include the feature documentary, Welcome to Shelbyville, nationally broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens in 2011, and over a dozen short documentaries. Kim’s award-winning directorial debut feature documentary, I Remember Me was theatrically distributed by Zeitgeist Films. In 1994, she associate-produced the Academy Award-winning short film Trevor. Kim graduated with a Masters in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and resides in New York City.

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“A potent testimony to the impact of citizen protest” – Dennis Harvey, VARIETY 

“A galvanizing reminder that change is only possible if we believe in it.” – David Ehrlich, INDIEWIRE

“A timely picture that chronicles this movement with the emotional gut punch and importance it requires” – John Fink, The Film Stage

“A compassionate portrait, eager to let its subjects speak for themselves.” Hollywood Reporter

Oleander, Director Kate Hackett

OLEANDER, (Emily Robinson)17, is the star and sole creator of her own provocative, sex-positive YouTube channel. She is also an unwilling student at a Christian abstinence program, led by the poised and charismatic Alissa, (Peri Gilpin) 50s. When Alissa demands that Oleander issue an on-camera apology for mocking her abstinence program online, a fierce battle of wills ensues. Alissa is aided by Kim, (Jennifer Lafleur) 30s, a filmmaker-for-hire who has no allegiance other than to serve her client. Oleander fights desperately for her voice and her beliefs, but will her anti slut-shaming message be able to stand up against the manipulative power of the two adults who seek to suppress her? Director Kate Hackett joins us for a conversation on her thoughtful, sharply focused look at the power of manipulation, respect, trust and sexual agency.

 

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

About the filmmaker – Kate Hackett is a filmmaker and film editor based in Los Angeles. She is a 2020 Emmy winner for her editing work on the Netflix documentary series “Cheer.” Her work as an editor also includes the Emmy award winning Netflix documentary series “Last Chance U,” and the Sundance documentary feature Half The Picture. She was the 2018 Sundance Institute Sally Menke Editing Fellow. As a screenwriter, she was a 2016 American Zoetrope Screenwriting contest finalist with the screenplay Purify My Heart.

 Best Director – Short Film, The Method Fest 2020

Official Selection of LA Femme International Film Festival 2020*

Social Media
facebook.com/oleandershortfilm
twitter.com/oleanderfilm
twitter.com/kate_hackett
instagram.com/oleanderfilm
instagram.com/khangelena
@oleanderfilm
@kate_hackett

Shithouse, Director Cooper Raiff

Cooper Raiff’s extraordinarily assured debut film, SHITHOUSE, follows a lonely college freshman Alex (Cooper Raiff) during his first year at college and first time away from home. Alex has closed himself off from his classmates, who all appear to have this whole “college thing” figured out. Among thousands of kids trying their best to make college work, He feels alone and depressed. Home is 1500 miles away and he’s struggling to find a reason not to go back. Maggie (Dylan Gelula, First Girl I Loved), Alex’s sophomore RA, has been crushing college since day one. Today though, Maggie is dealt an unexpected loss. After a party at Shithouse, Maggie wants some company and finds it in Alex. Two young people raised in very different households, Alex and Maggie challenge each other and grow up together. Desperately clinging to his social breakthrough, Alex pulls out all the stops with one more night at Shithouse, hoping to rekindle that moment of connection. Director / Producer / Writer / Editor / Actor Cooper Raiff joins us to talk about the challenge of making his debut feature film, SHITHOUSE, while taking on a multitude of roles and winning the 2020 SXSW Grand Jury Prize for his first film.

 

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

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize (Narrative Film) at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival

Social Media
twitter.com/shithousemovie
https://twitter.com/cooperraiff2
instagram.com/shithousemovie
instagram.com/coop_myself
instagram.com/dylangelula
@shithousemovie
@cooperraiff2

“One of the most extraordinary debuts on the list of SXSW selections for this year”Richard Whittaker, The Austin Chronicle

“Charmingly funny and surprisingly sweet” Matt Delman, Hammer to Nail

“Whenever “Shithouse” starts drifting towards a more generic energy, or gets the tiniest bit too plotty for its own good down the home stretch, Gelula is there to bring things back on course.”David Ehrlich, Indiewire

“Cooper Raiff is breakthrough filmmaker and actor to watch and these are immensely fascinating characters in all of their anxiety, naivety, vulnerability, pain, and palpable growth as human beings” – Robert Kojder, Flickering Myth

SOFTIE, Director Sam Soko

The directorial debut of Sam Soko, SOFTIE is an intimate look at the life of Boniface Mwangi, a daring and audacious Kenyan photojournalist and activist who fights for Kenyan citizens to change a corrupt political system; his supportive wife Njeri stands by him and was often protesting alongside him. Now that they three small children, her priorities have shifted. Boniface on the other hand, decided to take his ideas further and run for political office. He claims he is fighting for his children and their future, but after receiving serious threats of violence, Njeri worries he is risking the safety of their entire family.  Boniface is forced to face a difficult choice – which should come first, family or country? SOFTIE, the winner of the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing at the Sundance Film Festival, is now streaming as part of Hot Docs Film Festival Online. SOFTIE will have its North American broadcast premiere on October 12 as a part of the award-winning PBS documentary series POV. Director Sam Solo joins us for a conversation on his intimate, moving portrait of Boniface “Softie” Mwangi, a man willing to sacrifice everything for his country, his wife, Njeri and his family.

 

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

WINNER – Special Jury Award for Editing – 2020 Sundance Film Festival

About the filmmaker – Sam Soko is a director and producer based in Nairobi. His work on sociopolitical projects in music and film has allowed him to connect and work with artists around the world. He is co-founder of LBx Africa, a Kenyan production company that produced the 2018 Academy Award–nominated short fiction film Watu Wote. The film Softie is his first feature documentary project.

About the subject – Boniface “Softie” Mwangi has long fought injustices in his country as a political activist. Now he’s taking the next step by running for office in a regional Kenyan election. From the moment Boniface decides to run, telling his wife, Njeri, in passing with a hesitant laugh, he responds to each challenge with optimism. But running a clean campaign against corrupt opponents becomes increasingly harder to combat with idealism alone. And Boniface soon finds that challenging strong political dynasties is putting his family at risk. Should country really come before family, as he’s always believed?

Social Media
twitter.com/softiethefilm
instagram.com/softiethefilm
twitter.com/toni_producer
instagram.com/eyesteelfilm
twitter.com/sokosam
instagram.com/soko_sam
@softiethefilm
@sokosam
#Softiethefilm

 

“Eye-opening as “Softie” is as an immediate account of toxic Kenyan politics, it’s an equally moving marriage story, unsentimental but generously sympathetic in its study of a family brought to the brink of collapse for a greater good cause.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“A marvel of narrative storytelling…” – Filmmaker Magazine

“Softie is a compelling act of defiance, made more alarming by the violent events documented throughout the film, including the torture and murder of an official charged with keeping the elections fair and safe.” – John Fink, The Film Stage

“Softie is a grim assessment of both the cost of revolution and modern-day manhood.” – Aramide Tinubu, Shadow and Act

Dick Johnson is Dead, Director Kirsten Johnson

A lifetime of making documentaries has convinced award-winning filmmaker Kirsten Johnson of the power of the real. But now she’s ready to use every escapist movie-making trick in the book – staging inventive and fantastical ways for her 86-year-old psychiatrist father to die while hoping that cinema might help her bend time, laugh at pain and keep her father alive forever. The darkly funny and wildly imaginative DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD is a love letter from a daughter to a father, creatively blending fact and fiction to create a celebratory exploration of how movies give us the tools to grapple with life’s profundity. DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD was filmed, produced and directed by Kirsten Johnson (Cameraperson), produced by Katy Chevigny and Marilyn Ness, co-produced by Maureen A. Ryan and executive produced by Megan Ellison. Director Kirsten Johnson joins us for conversation on her approach to working along side her dad, making the personal universal and how sharing her own acquired wisdom has impacted her life.

 

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

Watch it: netflix.com/Dick Johnson is Dead

About the filmmaker – Kirsten Johnson is a cinematographer and director interested in addressing the changing dimensions and urgent ethical challenges of documentary camerawork. Her most recent film, CAMERAPERSON, premiered at Sundance 2016, was shortlisted for an Academy Award, won the National Board of Review “Freedom of Expression” prize, and was awarded three 2017 Cinema Eye Honors, including ‘Outstanding Nonfiction Feature’. CAMERAPERSON was named one of the ‘Top Ten Films of 2016’ by The New York Times and The Washington Post, was the Grand Jury Prize Winner of 9 international festivals, won the ARRI Cinematography Award, and is distributed by The Criterion Collection. Her short, THE ABOVE, premiered at the 2015 New York Film Festival and was nominated for the International Documentary Association ‘Best Short Award’ for 2016. Kirsten’s camerawork has appeared in the Academy Award-winning CITIZEN FOUR, Cannes Premiere RISK, Academy Award-nominated THE INVISIBLE WAR, Tribeca Documentary Winner, PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL, Cannes winner FAHRENHEIT 9/11, and Emmy Award-winning LADIES FIRST. She shared the Sundance 2010 Cinematography Award with Laura Poitras for their work on THE OATH. She and Katy Chevigny co-directed the Berlinale premiering DEADLINE, which won the Thurgood Marshall Award. She teaches “Visual Thinking” in the NYU Graduate Journalism Department. In 2017, she was awarded the Chicken and Egg Breakthrough Filmmaker Award and she is currently a Sundance Art of Nonfiction Fellow. She is a 2017 Guggenheim Fellow and was recently invited to be one of the 4% of ASC members who are women. 

Social Media
twitter.com/RIPDickJohnson
twitter.com/Cameraperson16
twitter.com/MarilynNess9
instagram.com/dickjohnsonisdead
facebook.com/dickjohnsonisdead
@Cameraperson16
@MarilynNess9
@RIPDickJohnson
@Netflix
#DickJohnsonIsDead

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“A deeply moving vision of life in the face of bodily death and the threatened loss of selfhood, as well as a loving unpacking of the lifetimes of memories from which families are made.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker

“Instead of pushing her father’s death to the back of her mind, Johnson embraces it fully and even has fun with it. She takes her heartache and turns it into joy.” – Brianna Zigler, Little White Lies

“Unabashedly toying with the conventions of obituary, the documentation of the infirm, and the memorialization of a parent, the end result is a triumph.” – Jason Gorber, POV Magazine

“A touching and funny meditation on embracing life and fearing death at the same time.” – Eric Kohn, indieWire

The Mole Agent, Director Maite Alberdi

In Maite Alberdi’s The Mole Agent Sergio is a Chilean spy. Sort of. At least, Sergio is offered the role of one after a casting session organized by Detective Romulo, a private investigator who needs a credible mole to infiltrate a retirement home. Romulo’s client, the concerned daughter of a resident, suspects her mother is being abused and hires him to find out what is really happening. However, Sergio is 83, not 007, and not an easy trainee when it comes to technology and spying techniques. But he is a keen student, looking for ways to distract himself after recently losing his wife. What could be a better distraction than some undercover spy action? While gathering intelligence, Sergio grows close to several residents and realizes that the menacing truth beneath the surface is not what anyone had suspected. Director Maite Alberdi’s The Mole Agent is a stylish combination of an observational dcumentary and a spy movie, with sleek camerawork and wonderfully watchable characters. It’s a unique meditation on compassion and loneliness that will infiltrate your heart and never let go.

 

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For news and updates go to: cinereach.org/films/the-mole-agent

About the filmmaker – Director Maite Alberdi has developed a particular style that is characterized by an intimate portrait of small worlds, and her renowned personal hallmark has made her one of the most important voices in Latin American documentaries. In 2011 she released her first feature The Lifeguard. Her second film Tea Time won more than 12 international awards and was nominated for Best Ibero-American Film at the Goya Awards in 2016. In that same year, her short film I’m Not From Here premiered, and was later nominated for the European Films Award. Her most recent feature film The Grown Ups received 10 international awards. Additionally, she co-authored the book Documentary Film Theory in Chile 1957-1973. Maite is a Global Shaper, Young Leaders by the World Economic Forum (WEF), and a member of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).

Social Media
facebook.com/moleagentfilm
twitter.com/moleagentfilm
twitter.com/lamaitealberdi
instagram.com/moleagentfilm
@MottoPictures
@lamaitealberdi

“The most heartwarming spy movie ever made.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

“Funny, poignant and finely crafted. A refreshing, beautifully made documentary.” – John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

“A perfect movie that will make you laugh and break your heart.” – Jonathan Christian, The Playlist

“There’s no small irony here when it takes the perceived artifice of a movie to get at a reality about aging that most of us would rather not face, but the more Sergio is asked to go undercover in “The Mole Agent,” the deeper it gets for everyone.” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest

Feels Good Man, Director Arthur Jones and Giorgio Angelini

In November 2016, a nasty election cycle had exposed a seismic cultural rift, and the country suddenly felt like a much different place. For underground cartoonist Matt Furie, that sensation was even more surreal. Furie’s comic creation Pepe the Frog, conceived more than a decade earlier as a laid-back humanoid amphibian, had unwittingly become a grotesque political pawn. FEELS GOOD MAN is a Frankenstein-meets-Alice-in-Wonderland journey of an artist battling to regain control of his creation, while confronting a disturbing cast of characters who have their own peculiar attachments to Pepe. Now, as Pepe continues to morph around the world – FEELS GOOD MAN offers a vivid, moving portrait of one man, one frog, and the very strange reality we’ve all found ourselves living in. Director Arthur Jones and Producer Giorgio Angelini stop by to talk about their mind-blowing journey into an internet / social media / 4Chan rabbit hole where a hippy-dippy cartoon character becomes an avatar and unfathomable messenger of hatred and bigoted propaganda.

 

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

To watch Feels Good Man go to: feelsgoodman.watch

For more on Pepe the Frog creator mattfurie.com

About the filmmakers: Arthur Jones – Director / Animator / Writer FEELS GOOD MAN is Jones’s directorial debut, but he’s uniquely suited to tell the story. He’s a cartoonist who came up in the same indie comics scene as the film’s subject, Matt Furie. Jones published a book of his illustrations in 2011: Post-it Note Diaries (Penguin/Plume Paperbacks). Over his career, he’s art directed animation and motion graphics for journalists and documentary filmmakers, working with companies including The New York Times, VICE, The Center for Investigative Reporting and The International Consortium of Journalists. Recently he’s been a part of several documentary features: Seed Money: The Chuck Holmes Story (2015), BUNKER 77 (Amazon Studios, 2017), Owned, A Tale of Two Americas (2018) and Hal (Oscilloscope Films, 2018). Jones is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. For more on the work of Arthur Jones go to: futuresmells.com

Giorgio Angelini: Producer / Writer / Cinematographer came into film from a longer, multi-faceted career in the creative arts. After touring in bands like The Rosebuds and Bishop Allen for much of his 20s, Giorgio enrolled in the Masters of Architecture program at Rice University during the depths of the 2008 real estate collapse. It was during this tumultuous time that the seeds for Giorgio’s directorial debut, OWNED: A Tale of Two Americas began to take shape. Following graduate school, Angelini began working with the boutique architecture firm, Schaum Shieh Architects, where he designed the White Oak Music Hall in Houston, Texas, as well as the headquarters for The Transart Foundation for Art and Anthropology, which won the Architect’s Newspaper’s “Design of the Year” award in 2018. 

WINNER – U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker – 2020 Sundance Film Festival
WINNER – Best Feature Documentary – 2020 Lighthouse International Film Festival
Official Selection – 2020 True/False Film Festival
Official Selection – 2020 Big Sky Documentary Festival
Official Selection – Festival Favorites – 2020 SXSW Film Festival

Social Media
instagram.com/feelsgoodmanfilm
twitter.com/feelsgoodmandoc
@feelsgoodmandoc

94% on Rotten Tomatoes

“You’ve just got to see it. It is chilling, hopeful, terrible, and wonderful—and made with care, gorgeous animation, and perfect pacing.”Allen Salkin, Los Angeles Magazine

“An expansive forensic look at the life cycle of an idea, a warp-speed analysis of internet sociology, and a harrowingly modern fable about innocence lost.“ – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

“It’s mesmerizing and kind of trippy, but also makes the film feel like a one-of-a-kind creation in the greater context of the Pepe the Frog legacy…an outstanding documentary.” 9/10 – Alex Billington, FirstShowing

“The most urgent and poignant political documentary of the year.” – Matt Patches, Polygon

Get Duked!, Director Ninian Doff

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

 

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

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

Social media
twitter.com/NinianDoff
instagram.com/niniandoff
@NinianDoff
@procrastibot

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

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

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

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

Nena Erb, Editor, Emmy®-nominated (HBO’s Insecure)

Nena Erb, an ACE and Emmy®-winning editor, for her work can be seen on HBO’s Emmy®  nominated and Peabody award-winning series  INSECURE, episode Lowkey Trying directed by Kerry Washington. As both an Asian American and person of color, she is committed to advancing the stories of others. She is thrilled to be a continuing part of the team showing the reality of life for modern women of color in America.  Her work can also be seen on Apple TV’s groundbreaking Little America series. As an immigrant herself, she’s excited to help shape standout episodes for this series this season including The Son, tackling a gay man’s struggle for safety and love as he attempts a harrowing immigration to the United States and The Silence, which charts love among immigrants in a situation where sound/speaking is forbidden. Emmy nominated editor Nena Erb joins us to talk about the career decision that brought her to the editing suite and why mentoring others is her way of helping others “get into the room” where they can have a positive impact on the stories being told.

 

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For the latest on the work of Nena Erb go to: nenaerb.com

To find out more go to: hbo.com/insecure

About the filmmaker: Nena Erb, a gifted ACE and Emmy®-winning editor born in Taipei, Taiwan and based in Los Angeles. Her family immigrated to the US in the late 70’s to live in a democracy and have the right to vote. Raised in an Asian American immigrant family, Nena’s father wanted her to be a doctor and her mother wanted her to be a pianist with the LA Philharmonic.  Nena wanted to be Andy Warhol. After graduating with an art degree, a friend brought her into the entertainment industry and she started working in various capacities in production. It was her stint as an associate producer that gave her the opportunity to work closely with editors. This proved to be a defining moment for her interest in post-production. Since then, Nena has been the editor on productions for HBO, Universal, CBS, Apple, and others.  She is experienced in multiple genres from drama series to feature films, documentaries and comedy.  In 2016, she received an Emmy® award for her work on HBO’s documentary series Project Greenlight.In addition, she has received two ACE Eddie nominations for her work, one for HBO’s Peabody award-winning series INSECURE and the other for CW’s acclaimed seriesCrazy Ex-Girlfriend. Currently, she is editing Little America, an anthology series on America’s immigrants, produced by Kumail Najiani, Emily V. Gordon, Alan Yang, and Lee Eisenberg

The rePRO Film Festival and mama.film Co-founders Lela Meadow-Conner, Mallory Martin and Debby Samples

The rePRO Film Festival begins its inaugural run this August 12-16. The virtual film festival is dedicated to exploring women’s reproductive healthcare, awareness, advocacy and bodily integrity in America. The lineup of films includes documentaries and narratives dealing with women’s rights, endometriosis, illegal sterilization, access to abortion, and reproductive justice for women of color, among other topics. rePRO Film Festival, will host five days of features, short films and themed-conversations focused on a range of topics including healthcare access, fertility, pregnancy, sexual education, abortion, and issues related to the gender spectrum. In-festival moderated conversations will include call-to-action messaging on how people can get involved in a corresponding initiative or topic. The conversations, designed to spotlight the creators who dare to tell stories about women’s reproductive rights, and to showcase courageous advocators, will be available online for free globally. All feature films playing the rePRO Film Festival are directed by women, and all filmmakers, including shorts filmmakers, are being paid to screen their films. The pay-what-you-can film ticket proceeds for films at the festival will be converted to donations to be split evenly among five beneficiary non-profit organizations – SisterSong, Endometriosis Foundation of America, Center for Reproductive Rights, URGE and Trust Women. Tickets are on sale online at repromamafilm.org. Tickets are all pay-what-you-can ($5, $10 or $15) with a limited number of complimentary vouchers available upon request to ensure access for all. rePro Film Festival and festival sponsor mama.film founders Lela Meadow-Conner, Mallory Martin and Debby Samples join us to talk about the launch of their deep dive into the issues, challenges and stories that face 49% of the world’s population and the people who love them.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: repromamafilm.org

About MAMA.FILM – Through the power of cinema, mama.film (link), a 501c(3) non-profit organization, unites nurturers of all kinds to ignite conversation and to reflect upon our shared human experience. Founded in 2019, in a pop-up microcinema in a shipping container in Wichita, Kansas, mama.film has since been awarded expanded programming to Cleveland, and to a virtual platform. Film selections include stories and topics that amplify and explore the evolving realities of the human condition and that spark dialogue and reflection. mamafilm is committed to representing the realities and complexities of a diverse range of nurturers, across race, class, geography, sexual preference, ability and generation.An emphasis is placed on independent and foreign films that are grounded in authentic storytelling. mamafilm is committed to supporting the work of creators who are  nurturers and caregivers. Initial support for rePRO by mama.film was generously provided by a grant from the George R. Tiller, M.D., Memorial Fund for the Advancement of Women’s Health at the Wichita Community Foundation. Follow @mamafilm1 on Instagram or Twitter for updates, or follow rePRO by mama.film on Facebook for more updates.

Social Media
facebook.com/mamafilm1
twitter.com/MamaFilm1
instagram.com/mamafilm1

Spinster, Director Andrea Dorfman

SPINSTER drops us into the life of Gaby (Chelsea Peretti). Gaby wants desperately to find real love. Recently dumped and on the brink of forty, she feels she doesn’t matter to anyone. Her best friend is pre-occupied with her kids, her family doesn’t get her, and running her own catering business, mostly weddings, serves as a constant reminder of the love that has eluded her. Gaby’s greatest fear, that she’ll end up a lonely and pathetic spinster, seems to be her destiny. After a frenzy of dating leaves her exhausted and demoralized, she admits she might never find love and must create a Plan B. Gaby begins  to build a meaningful and connected life. But when a chance romantic encounter with Mr. Right threatens to uproot her, she realizes the value of her life, even if it doesn’t involve romance. Written by Jennifer Deyell and anchored by a beautifully nuanced performance from Chelsea Peretti (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), SPINSTER Director Andrea Dorfman joins us to talk about her witty, beguiling comedy about being honest with oneself and embracing life.

For news and updates go to: /andreadorfman.com/spinster

SPINSTER will released August 7 through Vertical Entertainment on VOD and Digital platforms including iTunes, Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Fandango Now and all major cable/satellite platforms.

About the filmmaker: Andrea Dorfman is a filmmaker, animator and artist. She directed the feature films Parsley Days (2000), a TIFF top ten film, the critically acclaimed Love That Boy (2003) featuring a young Ellen Page, the musical drama, Heartbeat (2014), and the soon-to-be released comedy, Spinster, starring Chelsea Peretti. The short film, There’s A Flower in my Pedal (2005), was runner up to Best Short at TIFF and her documentary, Sluts (2006), won Best Documentary at the Atlantic Film Festival. Dorfman also made several animated films including two with the National Film Board of Canada – the Emmy nominated, Flawed (2010) and Big Mouth (2012). She recently shot and directed the feature doc, also produced by the NFB, The Girls of Meru (2018) and it’s currently screening at film festivals around the world. Her short live action-animation video collaboration with poet-musician, Tanya Davis, How to Be Alone  (2010), has garnered over 8 million YouTube hits and was adapted to a book, illustrated by Dorfman and published by HarperCollins. She also adapted and illustrated  Flawed,  released as a YA graphic memoir by Firefly Canada in 2018. Dorfman occasionally teaches at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and was the co-creator of Blowhard, a thematic storytelling series that ran for 7 years in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

Shine Your Eyes, Director Matias Mariani

Director Matias Mariani’s lyrical new film, SHINE YOUR EYES tells the story of Amadi (OC Ukeje), a musician from Lagos who travels to São Paulo to track down his missing older brother Ikenna (Chukwudi Iwuji) and bring him back home to Nigeria. Following the faint traces of Ikenna’s footsteps, he discovers that his brother was not the distinguished math professor he was supposed to be, but actually had contrived an intricate and nearly delusional series of schemes to accumulate wealth in Brazil. As the mysteries deepen, so too does Amadi’s attraction to this vibrant newfound culture—and to his brother’s Brazilian ex-lover, Emilia (Indira Nascimento). As he closes in on his sibling’s whereabouts, Amadi is faced with choosing between his faithfulness to his family and the possibility of a new life in São Paulo. Director, Producer and Co-screenwriter Matias Mariani joins us to talk about his brilliant, thoughtful mediation on family, culture, identity and self-discovery.

 

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Shine Your Eyes premieres July 29 on Netflix.com

Director’s Statement: Throughout my life the question of identity has always been very important to me. As a kid I moved around a lot within Brazil and abroad, and I always wondered what part of me was I able to bring to each new city and what part I left behind. The idea to reinvent oneself, to shed one’s skin and start anew, has always been a luring fantasy, which I carried with me and that heavily motivated me to write this film. When I was 18, shortly before I started university in New York, I went to West Africa for the first time with my aunt, who used to buy handcrafted wares and fabrics there to sell back in Brazil. We travelled throughout Burkina Faso, Senegal and Mali, and since then I’ve come back every couple of years, travelling through most of the region. A few years after that, when I moved back to São Paulo I’ve noticed the growing influx of West Africans, particularly Nigerian Igbos, moving to the downtown area of the city, which has been in a state of decay for several decades at that point. Together with my partner Maíra Bühler, we started frequenting the informal HQ of the Igbos in São Paulo, the Galeria Presidente, first only for fun and then as pro-bono teachers of Portuguese for the recent arrivals. With the contacts we made there, we proceeded to travel to Nigeria (Lagos, Onitsha, Enugu, Owerri) to extend our research, and that’s how Shine Your Eyes was originally born. – Matias Mariani

“[A] heady, enveloping narrative debut from Brazilian docmaker Matias Mariani…” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“A debut feature shimmering with confidence and talent.” – Caryn James, Hollywood Reporter

“A lyrical Sao Paulo mystery-travelogue that takes us through math, music and into madness.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

“An extraordinary, lyrical film about tradition, family and new beginnings…” – Kaleem Aftab, Cineuropa

The Sunlit Night, Writer Rebecca Dinerstein Knight

In Director David Wnendt (Wetlands) beguiling new film, The Sunlit Night, summer is off to a terrible start for Frances (Jenny Slate). Her art school project fails, her boyfriend unceremoniously kicks her out of his Hamptons home, and, to top it all off, her younger sister reveals she’s engaged just moments before her parents announce their separation. Hoping to invigorate her work and expand her horizons Frances hastily takes an opening for an art residency in Norway and heads off to an isolated island where the sun never sets. In a remote village, among the locals, she meets a fellow New Yorker (Sharp), who has come in search of a proper Viking funeral only to find that the Chief (Galifianakis) is but a re-enactor from Cincinnati. The eclectic crew ranges from “home” to “lost,” within the extreme and dazzling landscape of the Far North. Under a sun that never quite sets, and the high standards of an unforgiving mentor, Frances must navigate between ambition, desire, obligation, and risk in order to find a way forward. Author and screenwriter Rebecca Dinerstein Knight joins us to talk her collaboration with actor / producer Jenny Slate and director David Wnendt and finding the right mixture of understated drama and absurdist spirit that informs this charming gem of a film.

 

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For news and updates go to : The Sunlit Night

About the filmmaker(s): “I wrote The Sunlit Night as a stranger in a foreign land: no Jewish New Yorkers had ever moved to the Norwegian Arctic for no reason before, so the locals told me, on the island I had come to share with them, 95 miles north of the Arctic Circle and floating in the Norwegian Sea. Without any Norwegian ancestry to justify my journey, I could only explain my sudden relocation to the Lofoten Islands as a search for beauty, an opportunity to test language against a supreme landscape. I wanted to write about rapture. In the story that resulted, and in our faithful film, the gruffness of ancient mountain rock meets the unpredictable softness of goat’s fur; cultures clash and form new harmonies. Living alone at the top of the planet drove me to ask what connection means. What makes a person feel at home in the world, and who is responsible for the warmth of a welcome? Can geography exert emotional force? How can a woman communicate herself in the absence of common language and custom? How does the practice of art transcend practical circumstances? This is a movie about stretching oneself over the abyss of the unknown and touching the other, quieter side. The blankness and newness that open up there carry the risk of incredible loneliness, and the promise of wild revelation.” Writer Rebecca Dinerstein Knight  

Director David Wnendt made his mark at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival with Wetlands, adapted from the best-selling novel by Charlotte Roche. His next film, Look Who’s Back, grossed over $20 million and was released by Netflix. Wnendt’s debut film, Combat Girls, earned him the Bavarian Film Award for best young director and the Prix Genève Europe for best fiction script by a newcomer. Wnendt was one of Variety’s “10 Europeans to watch” for 2016.

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story, Co-Executive Producer and Director Maggie Kiley

Maggie Kiley is the Executive Producer and one of the series directors for the second season of USA Network’s high profile series, DIRTY JOHN: THE BETTY BRODERICK STORY. This season is special for the fact that all eight episodes were directed by women. Kiley directed four out of the eight episodes, including the season premiere and finale. DIRTY JOHN: THE BETTY BRODERICK STORY follows the tumultuous relationship of Betty and Dan Broderick, played by Amanda Peet and Christian Slater, as their marriage turns into what was called one of “America’s messiest divorces” even before it ended in double homicide. DIRTY JOHN: THE BETTY BRODERICK STORY follows a high society woman, mother of four, driven to the edge by her husband’s lies, manipulation, and psychological abuse, that slowly escalates as his extra-marital affair is revealed, a bitter divorce ensues, and blood is shed. This is a warts-and-all depiction of the extremes of erratic behavior provoked under pressure. The creative juggernaut known as Maggie Kiley takes time out of her very busy life to talk with us about her love for storytelling, mentoring other artists and working with her beloved actors.

 

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For news and updates go to: maggiekiley.com

About the filmmaker: Award-winning filmmaker Maggie Kiley, is an alumnae of AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women, both a Fox and Film Independent Directing Fellow. She was recently as the first director chosen for Ryan Murphy’s Half Initiative, which has led to gigs helming episodes of American Horror Story: CultScream Queens, and 9-1-1. Her credits reflect her diversity, since she has made contributions to CW’s Katy Keene, Riverdale, Marvel’s The Gifted, Netflix’s What/If and Syfy’s George R. R. Martin’s  Nighflyers, to name just a few. Kiley recently signed a major  exclusive, multi-year overall deal at Warner Bros TV. Under the pact, she will render director and executive producer services for the studio, in addition to developing new TV projects for broadcast, cable and streaming services. She was the first woman in 30 years to have a TV deal at WBTV like this. Maggie Kiley began her career as an actor with the Atlantic Theatre Company in New York City before making the transition from acting to directing with her award winning short film, Some Boys Don’t Leave. The film stars Jesse Eisenberg and Eloise Mumford and played over 50 festivals, garnering top honors at Tribeca and Palm Springs. Kiley received the Panavision New Filmmaker Grant for her debut feature, Brightest Star which starred Chris Lowell and Allison Janney. Her second feature, Dial a Prayer, released in 2015 starred Brittany Snow and William H. Macy. Her third feature was a thriller with Anna Camp, titled Caught marking the last of three features films in three years.

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Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets – Co-directors Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross

In the shadows of the bright lights of Las Vegas, its last call for a beloved dive bar known as the Roaring 20s. That’s the premise, at least; the reality is as unreal as the world the regulars are escaping from. BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS is a mosaic of disparate lives, teetering between dignity and debauchery, reckoning with the past as they face an uncertain future, and singing as their ship goes down. Filmmaking duo Bill and Turner Ross return with an elegiac portrait of a tiny world fading away but still warm and beating with the comfort of community. Their beguiling approach to nonfiction storytelling makes for a foggy memory of experience lost in empty shot glasses and puffs of smoke. Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross (45365, Tchoupitoulas, Western, Contemporary Color) join us for a lively conversation on the fiction and non-fiction filmmaking expectations, the logistical and post-production challenges of making this film and the cinematic inspirations that inform Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets. 

 

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For news and updates go to: departmentofmotionpictures.com             

Renting Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets includes Director Introduction, the Feature Film and Post-Film Q&A with Cast/Crew. Order for July 8th in celebration of National Dive Bar Day! 10% of rental proceeds and 100% of all ‘GIVE’ donations benefit the US Bar Guild Foundation’s Bartender Emergency Assistance Program COVID-19 Relief Fund.

About the filmmakers: Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross are an American filmmaking team whose credits include the award-winning films 45365 (2009), TCHOUPITOULAS (2012), WESTERN (2015), and CONTEMPORARY COLOR (2017). Born and raised in Sidney, Ohio, and both graduates of the Savannah College of Art and Design, Bill and Turner Ross began work in the film industry in Los Angeles, with Bill as an editor and filmmaking teacher, and Turner in art departments on studio features. But they soon decided to eschew the day jobs of Hollywood and continue the creative partnership they began as kids by making their own films. In the years since, their films have brought them renown as some of the most innovative and interesting documentary filmmakers working today, with a style all their own and always evolving — pushing the art of presenting uninhibited portraits of and journeys through places, with all the complicated, humanistic, and lyrical truth that that entails. Their work has been supported by the Sundance Institute, the Rooftop Filmmaker’s Fund, Cinereach, the San Francisco Film Society and a generous grant from the late Roger Ebert. They were honored as Ambassadors for the American Film Showcase and as Sundance Documentary Institute Fellows. They were named Decade Filmmakers by Cinema Eye Honors, and in 2018 they became members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences. When not making their own films, they collaborate with friends and fellow filmmakers such as Benh Zeitlin (BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, WENDY), David Lowery (AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS, A GHOST STORY), A.J. Schnack (CAUCUS), Robert Greene (BISBEE ’17), Raoul Peck (I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO), and David Byrne. They live and work in New Orleans. According to Metacritic, Bill and Turner Ross are the 6th best reviewed filmmakers of the 21st century. For more go to: rossbros.net

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‘”Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets” may not be the straight-faced documentary it looks like, but it’s a sober-eyed document of our times nonetheless.’ (A-) – Eric Kohn, indieWire

“Blurs the boundary between documentary and feature filmmaking, making for a playful, compelling sui generis work.” – Leslie Felperin, Hollywood Reporter

“…a tragic piece about the homes away from home that provide comfort, as well as just how fleeting that comfort can feel in the bright light of day.” (A-) – Chris Barsanti, The Playlist

“Reaches for something just as truthful as either pure doc or pure fiction, finding a hybrid place in the middle that makes it no less powerful.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

Mr. Jones, Director Agnieszka Holland

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

 

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

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

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

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