Belly of the Beast, Director Erika Cohn

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 BEAST presents 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.

 

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

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

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“A harrowing documentary about the practice of forced sterilization.” – Evan Dossey, Midwest Film Journal

“Inside the belly of documentarian Erika Cohn’s Beast lurks a monstrosity more appalling than horror fiction.” – Scott Marks, San Diego Reader

Driving While Black, Co-directors Dr. Gretchen Sorin and Ric Burns

DRIVING WHILE BLACK: RACE, SPACE AND MOBILITY IN AMERICA is a ground-breaking, two-hour documentary film by acclaimed historian Dr. Gretchen Sorin and Emmy–winning director Ric Burns. Chronicling the riveting history and personal experiences – at once liberating and challenging, harrowing and inspiring, deeply revealing and profoundly transforming  –  of African Americans on the road from the advent of the automobile through the seismic changes of the 1960s and beyond – DRIVING WHILE BLACK explores the deep background of a recent phrase rooted in realities that have been an indelible part of the African American experience for hundreds of years – told in large part through the stories of the men, women and children who lived through it. The documentary draws upon the wealth of recent scholarship – and based on and inspired in large part by Gretchen Sorin’s recently published study of the way the automobile and highways transformed African American life across the 20th century – the film examines the history of African Americans on the road from the depths of the Depression to the height of the Civil Rights movement and beyond, exploring along the way the deeply embedded dynamics of race, space and mobility in America during one of the most turbulent and transformative periods in American history. Co-directors Gretchen Sorin and Ric Burns join us to talk about the crippling impact of systemic racism and the continuing stain of America’s original sin.

 

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For  more on the story and history behind the the film go to: dwbfilm.com

DRIVING WHILE BLACK will air on PBS on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 9:00 p.m. (check local listings).

About the filmmaker – Gretchen Sullivan Sorin, Project Director & Senior Historical Advisor Dr. Gretchen Sullivan Sorin is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Cooperstown Graduate Program. Her dissertation and upcoming book form the basis of the scholarship for this project. Her research explores the role that the automobile played in the lives of African Americans during the Jim Crow era, the way that African Americans expressed middle class American values through car ownership, and how cars helped change deeply entrenched racial etiquette. Sorin received her Ph.D. in history from the University at Albany in 2009. For more on the work of Dr. Gretchen Sorin go to gpmuseumstudies.org

About the filmmaker – Ric Burns is an internationally recognized documentary filmmaker and writer, best known for his eight-part, seventeen and a half hour series, New York: A Documentary Film, which premiered nationally on PBS to wide public and critical acclaim when broadcast in November 1999, September 2001, and September 2003. Burns has been writing, directing and producing historical documentaries for over 25 years, since his collaboration on the PBS series The Civil War, (1990), which he produced with his brother Ken and co-wrote with Geoffrey C. Ward.  Since founding Steeplechase Films in 1989, he has directed some of the most distinguished programs for PBS including Coney Island (1991), The Donner Party (1992), The Way West (1995), Ansel Adams (2002), Eugene O’NeillAndy Warhol (2006), We Shall Remain: Tecumseh’s Vision (2009), Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World (2010), Death and the Civil War (2012), American Ballet Theatre (2015), Debt of Honor (2015), The Pilgrims (2015), VA: The Human Cost of War (2017), and The Chinese Exclusion Act (2018). His work has won numerous film and television awards including six Emmy Awards, two George Foster Peabody Awards,  two Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Awards,  three Writer’s Guild of America Awards for Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Writing;  the Eric Barnouw Award of the Organization of American Historians, and the D.W. Griffith Award of the National Board of Review. Find out more about Ric Burns and Steeple Chaase Films at: ricburns.com  And dwbfilm.com

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We Are Many, Director Amir Amirani

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

 

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

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

Rewind, Director Sasha Joseph Neulinger

In REWIND, Sasha Joseph Neulinger’s candid personal memoir, he revisits his childhood and the events that tore apart his seemingly-perfect world. For as long as Neulinger can remember, his father was constantly filming— from birthday parties, to hockey games, to holidays. But his camera, trained on the frequent gatherings of a tight-knit family, was also documenting a hidden secret, the revelation of which would lead to a media firestorm, a high-stakes court battle, and a generational reckoning. Drawing upon an incredibly revealing home video archive, Neulinger revisits these events 20 years later to piece together an unflinching story of the cycles and consequences of abuse, to examine what it means to heal, and to use those experiences to effect positive change in the world. REWIND probes the gap between image and reality and proves just how little, and how much, a camera can capture. Director Sasha Joseph Nuelinger joins us for a candid conversation on the psychological, physical and emotional impact of abuse and how he was able to find the appropriate balance in his role as creator and director telling a story of unspeakable horror about himself and his family.

 

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For news and updates go to: RewindDocumentary.com

For more about Rewind go to: rewinddocumentary.com

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Watching the movie is like staring at a blurred image of the past that gradually, over 86 minutes, comes into terrifying focus… A documentary like this one has the effect of a moral thriller.” – OWEN GLEIBERMAN, VARIETY

“Rewind,” as indelibly as any film ever made, illustrates how the very process of investigating your own past can be a trauma unto itself. ” – DAVID EHRLICH, INDIEWIRE

“Somehow in documenting the family’s unraveling, Neulinger comes to show the strength that certain members were able to give to another… there is tremendous power in seeing the filmmaker taking the bad to make some good out of it, capturing the best and worst that humans are capable of in one brave and truly exceptional film.” – STEPHEN SAITO, THE MOVEABLE FEST

“Neulinger’s film, like any great documentary, maintains a steady drip of details whose importance are only revealed later… Rewind not only offers the story of a victim’s ordeal, but a brave and resilient spirit.” – ROBERT DANIELS, 812 FILM REVIEWS

“Sasha Joseph Neulinger’s wrenching surival story is an astounding documentary on sexual abuse trauma… The utter honesty behind these scenes could only be captured in a documentary.” – ANDREW BUNDY, THE PLAYLIST

Slay the Dragon, Co-directors Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance, Journalist David Daley

After the 2008 election, a secretive, well-funded partisan initiative poured money into state legislative races in key swing states to gain control of their redistricting processes and used high-tech analytics to dramatically skew voting maps based on demographic data. The result is one of the greatest electoral manipulations in U.S. history, one that poses a fundamental threat to our democracy and exacerbates the already polarized atmosphere in Congress and state houses across the country.  Gerrymandering, the practice of redrawing electoral maps to serve the party in power, has been around for centuries. But in today’s hyper-partisan political environment it has been taken to unprecedented extremes, fueled by the elimination of corporate campaign contribution limits and the availability of vast amounts of personal information. The effects of this insidious strategy have continued to bear fruit through the 2018 midterms. But voters, fed up with cynical efforts to sidestep the will of the majority, have begun fighting back. In one example, a grassroots movement led by a young with no political experience gathered hundreds of thousands of signatures to put an anti-gerrymandering initiative on the ballot in Michigan. The new documentary SLAY THE DRAGON shines a light on this timely issue, and follows a handful of citizens’ groups, outraged by what they see as an attack on the core democratic principle that every person’s vote should count equally, as they battle party operatives and an entrenched political establishment to fix a broken system. Co-directors Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance stop by to talk about their approach to tackling a complex issue, and finding the grassroots activists who have shown that there is a way to affect real change despite the overwhelming odds.

 

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

Watch Slay the Dragon AND support local Theatres: slaythedragonfilm.com/tickets

To learn more about the filmmakers and their work go to: ark-media.net

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“The most important political film of the year. It may prove to be one of the key political films of the decade. There is no issue more threatening to the future of American democracy than gerrymandering.” – Owen Gleiberman, VARIETY

“Slay the Dragon does an extraordinarily good job of taking a complex issue and connecting the dots, which seems particularly appropriate for a documentary about gerrymandering.” – Brian Lowry, CNN.com

“Outrage is a likely reaction.” – Karen Martin, ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

“Shocking. It changes the way you see everything.”- Adrian Horton, THE GUARDIAN

Sorry We Missed You, Director Ken Loach

Ken Loach, the two-time Palme d’Or-winning, 83-year-old director trains his incisive lens on the human cost of our shopping habits and changing workforce. After losing their home in a financial crisis, Ricky and Abby trade the car she uses as a visiting nurse for a van, so Ricky can work as a delivery driver. The advantages of being self-employed come with the constant pressure of meeting impossible deadlines with no margin for error, sickness, or family emergency. Loach’s compassionate, hard-hitting drama will make you rethink your expectations the next time you enjoy the convenience of overnight delivery. Director Ken Loach (KES, THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY, I, DANIEL BLAKE) joins us for a conversation on the explosion of the “gig-economy” and the insidious impact its having on work schedules, worker safety, worker health and on the emotional toll it’s taking on raising a family.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: zeitgeistfilms.com/film/sorrywemissedyou

 

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“FIVE STARS! Ken Loach raises his game yet further with this gut-wrenching tale of a delivery worker driven to the brink… It’s fierce, open and angry, unironised and unadorned..This brilliant film will focus minds. ” – Peter Bradshaw, THE GUARDIAN

“Ken Loach has done it again. His new film is another intimate and powerful drama about what’s going on in people’s everyday lives—not just in England, but all over the world.”  – Owen Gleiberman, VARIETY

“At age 82, [Ken Loach is] doing some of his strongest work in Sorry We Missed You, a drama of such searing human empathy and quotidian heartbreak that its powerful climactic scenes actually impede your breathing… This is an expertly judged and profoundly humane movie…. You’d have to be made of stone not to be moved to your core by it.” – David Rooney, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Goldie, Director Sam de Jong

Goldie is a star – well, not quite yet, but at least in the eyes of her little sisters Sherrie and Supreme she is. The rest of the world is bound to take note soon too. Her big break surely awaits, she’s just got to pick up that golden fur coat she’s had her eye on first. And land a role as a dancer in a hip-hop video. And keep child welfare services from separating her from Sherrie and Supreme, after their mother is locked up. Holding onto those dreams isn’t easy when fate has placed such daunting obstacles in her path. With Goldie, Dutch director Sam de Jong has delivered a real New York film: raw and glamorous, unflinchingly realistic and relentlessly optimistic, with a ton of heart and at least as much attitude. Director / writer Sam de Jong joins us to talk about his tale of dreams, expectations and reality crash together in this verite explosion.

 

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About the filmmaker: Director Sam de Jong
After graduating from the Dutch Film academy with the acclaimed “Magnesium” Sam went on to write and direct the short film “Marc Jacobs” and entered the Berlinale shorts competition in 2014. With largely the same cast he returned to Berlinale the next year with his first feature Prince. Prince opened the Generations 14 competition in 2015. After Prince, Sam went on to make Goldie with 20th Century Fox and Vice Films. His short work has been shown around the world at festivals like Sundance, Berlin and AFI fest. His first feature Prince was theatrically released in the Netherlands, the United States and in Mexico. His work is heavily influenced by present-day youth culture and studies the implications of growing up in the 21st century: in the face of our rapidly changing multi-ethnic society where pop culture is the new predominant religion. From a mash up of different genres, lavishly coated in bright esthetics, Sam wants to research the meaning of our quest for recognition and identity. Red Sand will be Sam’s first international co-production together with longtime collaborator HALAL. With this movie Sam wants to explore new themes and broaden his horizon.

For news and updates go to: filmmovement.com/goldie

For February 21 Los Angeles screenings go to: lumierecinemala.com/film-goldie

 

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“This film is filled with bursts of color. The high energy visuals counterbalance the tragic malaise of Goldie’s life perfectly.” – Lorry Kikta, Film Threat

“Suspension between can-do spirit and come-down reality pumps blood into the irrepressible heart of this scrappy tale, along with the natural charisma of model Slick Woods, making a disarming feature debut in the title role.” – David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

“Goldie (played by fashion model Slick Woods in her first movie role) is a lot like the film that bears her name: full of attitude, bursting with scrappy New York style, and stuck under the thumb of a merciless system that won’t let her shine like she knows she can. “ – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

“De Jong brings a jolt of brash energy to a social realist scenario that could easily have attracted Ken Loach or the Dardenne brothers. A charismatic, eye-catching debut performance from Instagirl fashion world star Slick Woods adds considerably to the film’s appeal.” – Allan Hunter, Screen Daily

Cooked: Survival by Zip Code, Director Judith Helfand

Twenty-five years after the 1995 Chicago heat wave, COOKED: Survival by Zip Code examines the events that led to the deaths of 739 people, mostly Black and in the poorest neighborhoods of the city. The film arrives at a time of growing calls across the country to declare racism a public health crisis and to reinvest in communities ravaged by the long-term impact of structural racism. A recent NYU study found life expectancy differentials as wide as 20-30 years linked to racial and ethnic segregation between neighborhoods in American cities. Adapted from Eric Klinenberg’s ground-breaking book ‘HEAT WAVE: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago,’ the film is directed and produced by Peabody Award-winning director Judith Helfand (Blue Vinyl, A Healthy Baby Girl, Everything’s Cool), produced by Fenell Doremus (co-producer of Academy Award-nominated Abacus: Small Enough to Jail), and Kartemquin Films, the award-winning Chicago documentary production house behind Minding the Gap and Hoop Dreams. In COOKED, Helfand challenges herself, and ultimately all of us, to respond to the man-made disasters taking place in towns and cities across the country before the next unprecedented “natural” disaster hits. Director Judith Helfand joins us to talk about the systemic racism that makes the neighborhoods of the poorest the most likely location for

Independent Lens: COOKED: Survival by Zip Code will have its national television debut on the PBS television series Independent Lens on Monday, February 3 at 10:00 pm (check local listings), preceding coverage of the Iowa Caucuses. The film will also be available to stream at PBS.org and on the free PBS Video App throughout Black History Month.

 

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For news and updates go to: pbs.org/independentlens

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

For more information about Cooked: Survival by Zip Code go to: independentlens/cooked

About Independent Lens – Award-Winning Series
Each week this award-winning series bring you an original documentary film made by one of the best independent filmmakers working today. Independent Lens films have won 19 Emmy Awards16 Peabody Awardsfive duPont-Columbia University Awards, and have received 10 Academy Award nominationsIndependent Lens won the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 International Documentary Association (IDA) Award for Best Continuing Series.

 

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The Neighbors’ Window, Director Marshall Curry

THE NEIGHBORS’ WINDOW tells the story of Alli (Maria Dizzia), a mother of young children who has grown frustrated with her daily routine and husband (Greg eller). But her life is shaken up when two free-spirited twenty-somethings move in across the street and she discovers that she can see into their apartment. Inspired by a true story, the film was written and directed by three-time Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker, Marshall curry. Starring tony-nominated Maria Dizzia (Orange is the New Black, 13 Reasons Why, White We’re Young); Greg Keller (Law and Order); and Juliana Canfield (Succession).

About the filmmaker: Marshall Curry is a three-time academy award nominated documentary director, cinematographer, and editor. his films cover a wide range of interests and include STREET FIGHT, about Cory Booker’s first run for mayor of Newark, N.J.; RACING DREAMS, which tells the story of two boys and a girl who dream of becoming NASAR drivers; IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT, which chronicles a radical environmental group; POINT AND SHOOT, about an American who leaves home to join the Libyan revolution; and A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN, about a Nazi rally that filled Madison Square Garden in 1939. his films have won top honors at Sundance and Tribeca, played in theaters and on television around the world, and earned two Emmy nominations and two Writers Guild of America nominations. curry also Executive produced and helped to edit MISTAKEN FOR STRANGERS, a comedy documentary about the indie rock band, the National.

 

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For more about the work of Marshall Curry go to: marshallcurry.com

Watch: The Neighbors’ Window

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Awards: (Partial List)
Palm Springs Shorts Fest – Audience Award, Best Live Action Short 
Traverse City Film Festival – Audience Award, Best Fiction Short
Rhode Island Film Festival – First Prize, Best Live Action Short
Woodstock Film Festival – Best Short Film
Port Townsend Film Festival – Jury Award, Best Narrative Short
Port Townsend Film Festival – Audience Award, Best Narrative Short
Santa Fe Film Festival – Audience Award, Best Narrative Short
Washington West Film Festival – Best Narrative Short
Washington West Film Festival – Best Short Film Director
Kinematic Shorts – Audience Award
Coronado Film Festival – Audience Award
Short Shorts Film Festival – Best International Actress, Maria Dizzia
Sulmona International Film Festival – Best Editing
Atlanta Shortsfest – Best Cinematography, Wolfgang Held

December 27 – Dawson City: Frozen Time, Director Bill Morrison

A hallucinatory cinematic fever dream, Dawson City: Frozen Time tells the bizarre true story of some 533 silent film reels, dating from the 1910s and 20s, that accumulated at the end of a film distribution line in northwestern Canada and which were miraculously discovered some 50 years later, in 1978, buried in a sub-arctic swimming pool, deep in the Yukon permafrost. Filmmaker Bill Morrison (Decasia, The Miners’ Hymns, The Great Flood) deftly combines excerpts from this remarkable collection with historical footage, photographs, and original interviews, to explore the complicated history of Dawson City, a Canadian Gold Rush town founded across the river from a First Nation hunting camp, and then traces how the development of that town both reflected and influenced the evolution of modern Cinema. Combined with a powerful, evocative score by Alex Somers ( Captain Fantastic; Hale County This Morning, This Evening; Honey Boy), orchestrated and arranged by Ricardo Romaneiro, Dawson City: Frozen Time is a triumphant work of art that spins the life cycle of a singular film collection into a breath-taking history of the 20th century. Director, writer and editor Bill Morrison joins us to talk about his amazing re-creation of a time and place that existed in the parallel universes of a nascent film industry and crushing avarice of a gold rush that still resonates today.

About the filmmaker: Bill Morrison has premiered films at the New York, Rotterdam, Sundance, and Venice film festivals, and multi-media work at major performance venues around the globe such as BAM, the Barbican, Carnegie, and Walt Disney Concert Hall. Morrison’s films typically source rare archival footage in which long-forgotten, and sometimes deteriorated, imagery is reframed as part of a collective mythology. His work has been recognized with the Alpert Award, Creative Capital, the Foundation for Contemporary Art, a Guggenheim fellowship, and a mid-career retrospective at MoMA. His found footage opus Decasia (2002) was the first film of the 21st century to be selected to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. The Great Flood (2013) was awarded the Smithsonian Ingenuity Award of 2014 for historical scholarship. Dawson City: Frozen Time (2016) won a Critics’ Choice Award for the most innovative documentary of the year, and was named the best documentary of 2017 by the Boston Society of Film Critics.

 

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“an instantaneously recognizable masterpiece” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

“Bill Morrison, whose extraordinary documentary Decasia turned decomposing film stock into the stuff of avante-garde reverie, returns with another staggering journey into the past.” – J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader

“The thrilling documentary “Dawson City: Frozen Time” is indescribable not because it’s ambiguous (it’s totally straightforward) but because it does so many things so beautifully it is hard to know where to begin.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“The rise and fall of Dawson City, intimately tied to the vagaries of climate and man’s greed, is heartbreakingly rendered.” – Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

Independent Lens, Executive Producer Lois Vossen

The acclaimed PBS documentary series Independent Lens, recently honored with two Peabody Awards, a Primetime Emmy nomination and 12 News & Documentary Emmy nominations, returns for a new season on Monday, October 28.This year’s premiere is Made in Boise, an engrossing look at the complex and controversial world of gestational surrogacy told through the stories of four women carrying babies for gay men and infertile couples in the conservative heartland of Idaho — the unofficial “surrogacy capital” of the United States. Also on the fall schedule is Decade of Fire, which travels back to the 1970s when the South Bronx was burning, to showcase the dedicated citizens who outlasted the flames and saved their community; The Interpreters, a moving look at the Afghan and Iraqi interpreters who risked their lives aiding American troops and who now struggle to find safety and security for themselves and their families; Conscience Point, which unearths the deep clash of values between the Native American Shinnecock of Long Island and their affluent Hamptons neighbors; and Attla, the rousing story of Alaska Native George Attla, who with one good leg and a determined mindset went on to become a champion dogsled racer. Other highlights of the Winter/Spring 2020 slate include Always in Season, a harrowing look at the history of lynching and the 2014 case of Lennon Lacy, a North Carolina teen who died under unexplained circumstances; Bedlam, a psychiatrist’s chronicle of what mental illness means in the U.S. today, interwoven with the story of how the system tragically failed his own sister; and Rewind, a devastating, autobiographical documentary about the far-reaching consequences of multigenerational child sexual abuse. Independent Lens Executive Producer Lois Vossen joins us to talk about the fundamental principles to support filmmakers telling stories about their communities and commitment to showcase thought-provoking documentaries about the issues that divide us and the ideals and beliefs that bind us together.

 

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Independent Lens upcoming schedule:

Made in Boise by Beth Aala (Monday, October 28) Go inside the lives of four surrogates and the intended parents whose children they carry. As the number of surrogate births surge across the country, a surprising epicenter of the movement is Boise, Idaho, where hundreds of women are choosing to be surrogates. For gay couples, single men, and those who struggle with infertility, this booming industry is often the last resort to biological parenthood. The film follows the four women as they navigate the rigors of pregnancy and the mixed feelings of their own families, who struggle to understand their choice to risk the physical and emotional complications of carrying babies for someone else.

Decade of Fire by Vivian Vázquez Irizarry, Gretchen Hildebran and Julia Steele Allen (Monday, November 4) In the 1970s, the Bronx was on fire and close to a quarter-million people were displaced when their close-knit, multiethnic neighborhood burned. While the abandonment of landlords and dwindling support from government officials led to the devastation, Black and Puerto Rican residents were blamed. Now, Bronx-born Vivian Vázquez Irizarry explores the truth about the borough’s untold history and reveals how her community chose to resist, remain and rebuild.

The Interpreters by Andrés Caballero and Sofian Khan (Monday, November 11) More than 50,000 local interpreters helped protect U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, enabling soldiers to communicate with the local population. But those who took the job were often considered traitors. In the aftermath of war, some have been able to leave their home countries and reach safety, while others still languish in hiding and fear for their lives.

Conscience Point by Treva Wurmfeld (Monday, November 18) In Long Island’s Hamptons, one of the wealthiest areas in the nation and an epicenter of the luxury property boom, a clash of values is taking place. The original inhabitants of the beautiful peninsula — the Shinnecock Indian Nation — find themselves squeezed onto a tiny, impoverished reservation. Over hundreds of years they have seen their ancient burial grounds plowed up for the widening of roads, mega-mansions, and ultra-exclusive golf courses like the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. Now Shinnecock activists and long-standing residents, including farmers and fishing communities, are taking a stand against a never-ending tide of wealthy transplants, overdevelopment, pollution, congested highways and skyrocketing property taxes.

Attla by Catharine Axley (Monday, December 16) The inspiring but little-known story of legendary Alaska Native dogsled champion George Attla, who — with one good leg and fierce determination — rose to international fame. In the final chapter of his life, Attla emerges from retirement to mentor his 20-year-old grandnephew. With their sights set on reviving proud cultural traditions, the pair embark on a journey to compete in the world’s largest dogsled sprint race, one that has seen a steep decline in Native competitors.

Made in Boise, Director Beth Aala

The latest documentary film from Peabody Award-winning director Beth Aala, Made in Boise, looks at the world of modern day surrogacy. In the idyllic city of Boise, nurses, nail technicians, and stay-at-home mothers are choosing to become paid surrogates for people from around the world. Made in Boise offers a rare glimpse into this mysterious world by intimately following the lives of four surrogates, as they build relationships with the intended parents, prepare for the rigors of pregnancy, and navigate the mixed feelings of their own families, who struggle to understand their choice to risk the physical and emotional complications of carrying babies for someone else. Legal in some states and illegal in others, a number of states, including Idaho, have no laws governing surrogacy on their books at all. As the number of surrogate births surge across the country, Boise has become an epicenter of the movement, with a large population of healthy women of reproductive age and a significant number of Mormon and Catholic communities who value large families. In this “City of Trees” with a population of a little over 200,000, it is estimated that one in 15 mothers will carry a baby for a stranger at some point in her life. For couples who struggle with infertility, for gay couples, and single men, this industry — outlawed in many countries around the world — is often the last resort to biological parenthood. Director Beth Aala (Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman ) joins us to talk about challenges and rewards of surrogacy for the the women who bear the children and the intended parents.

 

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About the filmmaker: Beth Aala (Director) is a three-time Emmy Award-winning producer and recipient of a Peabody Award for her documentary work at HBO. Beth’s most recent feature documentary, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman (Sundance, 2017), which she co-directed and produced, is a film about unlikely conservationists based on New York Times  best-selling author Miriam Horn’s book of the same name. Beth also directed and produced Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon (Toronto, 2014) with comedian Mike Myers for A&E IndieFilms. The documentary is an intimate and entertaining portrait of talent manager Shep Gordon, the most famous man you’ve never heardhttps://www.facebook.com/madeinboise/ of. It won a Hollywood Film Award and garnered a 2015 News and Documentary Emmy Awards nomination. Her directorial debut, Pool Party, is the untold story of McCarren Pool-turned-music venue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, featuring music and performances by the Beastie Boys, the Breeders, M.I.A, Sharon Jones, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo. It played in festivals around the world.

For more on Made in Boise screening on Independent Lens go to: pbs.org/made-in-boise

For more on the work of Director Beth Aala go to: pinaypictures.org

Additional resources for Made in Boise:

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The Cave, Director Feras Fayyad

Oscar nominee Feras Fayyad (“Last Men in Aleppo”) delivers an unflinching story of the Syrian war with his powerful new documentary, THE CAVE. For besieged civilians, hope and safety lie underground inside the subterranean hospital known as the Cave, where pediatrician and managing physician Dr. Amani Ballor and her colleagues Samaher and Dr. Alaa have claimed their right to work as equals alongside their male counterparts, doing their jobs in a way that would be unthinkable in the oppressively patriarchal culture that exists above. Following the women as they contend with daily bombardments, chronic supply shortages and the ever-present threat of chemical attacks, THE CAVE paints a stirring portrait of courage, resilience and female solidarity. Director and writer Feras Fayyad stops by to talk about the unbelievable courage of the hospital staff led by Dr. Amani Ballor, and the volunteers as they keep an otherwise harrowing day-to-day nightmare from devolving into soul-destroying chaos.

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: nationalgeographic.com/films/the-cave

The Cave opens on October 18 at the Laemmle Royal Theatre in Los Angeles

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**WINNER – Audience Award – Toronto International Film Festival 2019

**WINNER – Audience Award – Camden International Film Festival 2019

**SPECIAL JURY MENTION – Camden International Film Festival 2019

“Miraculous. A standout. Feras Fayyad’s powerful portrait audaciously puts women’s imperative contribution to survival front and center.” – Tomris Laffly, Variety

“Look no further than The Cave for a portrait of true heroism. Provides astonishingly immediate and gripping footage of the collective effort to survive. The Cave ranks among the best of films to portray the tragedy of the Civil War in Syria and the resilience of the everyday people who keep the spirit of the nation alive.” – Pat Mullen, POV

“Emotionally Moving. Both intensely real and a carefully wrought work of cinema.” – Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter

“Gripping. Unprecedented. A real-time thriller. Fayyad excels at finding small moments that take on poetic resonance.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, Co-directors Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky

A stunning sensory experience and cinematic meditation on humanity’s massive reengineering of the planet, ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH is a years-in-the-making feature documentary from the award-winning team behind Manufactured Landscapes (2006) and Watermark (2013) and narrated by Alicia Vikander. The film follows the research of an international body of scientists, the Anthropocene Working Group who, after nearly 10 years of research, argue that the Holocene Epoch gave way to the Anthropocene Epoch in the mid-twentieth century as a result of profound and lasting human changes to the Earth. From concrete seawalls in China that now cover 60% of the mainland coast, to the biggest terrestrial machines ever built in Germany, to psychedelic potash mines in Russia’s Ural Mountains, to metal festivals in the closed city of Norilsk, to the devastated Great Barrier Reef in Australia and massive marble quarries in Carrara, the filmmakers have traversed the globe using state of the art camera techniques to document the evidence and experience of human planetary domination. At the intersection of art and science, ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH witnesses a critical moment in our geological history. Co-directors  Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky bring a provocative and unforgettable experience of our species’s ever-expanding breadth and devastating impact. 

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: kinolorber.com/Anthropocene: The Human Epoch

For more information on Anthropocene and filmmakers go to: theanthropocene.org/

For additional information on Jennifer Baichwal at mercuryfilms.ca

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“Astonishment. Pure, lurid, ravishing, genuine astonishment. That is Anthropocene: The Human Epoch.” – Luke Hicks, Nonfics

“The [team’s] latest film is the culmination of a major body of work and it’s as visually stunning and intellectually invigorating as the previous two films are.” – Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

“To say that there are no easy answers to planetary woes is to state the obvious. But the film seeks to reveal rather than lecture, in the hope that our eyes will convince our brains to act before it’s too late.” – Peter Howell, the Toronto Star

“Its cinematography and passion for our planet make a strong case for your attention.” – Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com

“The luminous, terrifying and beautiful documentary “Anthropocene: The Human Epoch” feels like the culmination of the life’s work of its three directors… because it chronicles what could be the end of human life on Earth.” – Sean P. Means, The Movie Cricket

Homemade, Co-director Danielle Bernstein (Jason Maris)

The riveting new documentary HOMEMADE bares witness to the lives of Adam Sorensen and his family as they navigate life after combat. The film project was originally developed from the idea that the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) goes off twice; once in the field, affecting each individual differently depending on a variety of factors including proximity to the blast, physical position and past injuries. There is a second blast that goes off in each family living room as a result of the actual explosion. It’s footprint reaches our closest loved ones, the physicians treating the wounded, and extends into our communities. HOMEMADE is a six-year, cinematic and intimate journey about a marriage, invisible wounds and the effects of Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and addiction. It is a story of survival and resilience unveiling the scope of these challenges and begging a broader question about our cultural markers of success. Weaving between the monumental landscapes of Utah, Washington DC landmarks, cinéma vérité scenes and recorded phone calls, Through the experiences of Adam, Victoria, and their families, HOMEMADE examines our cultural markers of success, the culture of treating symptoms instead of cause, and the disconnect between medical care and true wellness. Themes addressed include continuity of care, the epidemic of over-prescription in both military and civilian care, and the stereotypes of injured combat veterans. Co-director / Producer / Editor Danielle Bernstein (Jason Maris) joins us to talk about this heartbreaking film and why Adam and Victoria’s story will close the empathy gap between civilian and military communities, start productive dialogues about the challenge of transition from active duty military to retired, and to provide audiences with an abundance of tools in order to take action.

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, Co-directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice is a love song to one of the most memorably stunning voices that has ever hit the airwaves, Linda Ronstadt. She burst onto the 1960s folk rock music scene in her early twenties as the lead singer of the Stone Poneys, Ronstadt eventually branched out to begin her decades long career as a solo artist, touring the world selling out stadiums and, at one point, setting the record as the highest paid female artist in rock. Most remarkable to this day is her interest in and willingness to jump into new and challenging styles of music, including opera, jazz, and Mexican folk, excelling fantastically with each. Ronstadt has also been an outspoken political advocate for causes such as same-sex marriage and the inhumane treatment of undocumented immigrants, never shying away from fighting for what she believes both on and off the stage. Oscar-winning directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (The Times of Harvey Milk, The Celluloid Closet, Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt, Howl, Lovelace and End Game) use deep-cut archival footage, and Ronstadt’s own astute recollections, to celebrate an artist whose desire to do justice to the songs that touched her soul made generations of fans fall in love with her – and with the sound of her voice. Co-directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman join us to talk about a remarkable singer /artist and an even better person.

 

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

For more on the films of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman go to: tellingpictures.com

Social Media:

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“She shows herself to be one of its indispensable interpreters, as a vocalist and also as a thinker – covering a sprawling landscape with elegance, passion and insight.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

“It captures the life and career of a rock ‘n’ roll star who never looked back, never apologized, never compromised.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“Astutely chronicling an amazing musical career that ended prematurely due to Parkinson’s disease, Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice will delight the singer’s old fans and likely make her many new ones as well.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

“An excellent retrospective and celebration of Ronstadt’s trailblazing career.” – Sophia Stewart, Nonfics

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, Director Stanley Nelson

Acclaimed filmmaker and recipient of the MacArthur Program Fellow Fellowship  Stanley Nelson takes us on a journey through the life of a musical giant in his latest documentary film MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL. Miles Davis was many things including a horn player, bandleader, innovator. He was elegant, intellectual, vain, callous, conflicted, controversial, and mercurial. Miles Davis was also embodiment of cool. The man with a sound so beautiful it could break your heart. The central theme of Miles Davis’s life was his restless determination to break boundaries and live life on his own terms. It made him a star. For the people who loved him most, it also made him incredibly difficult to live with. Again and again, in music and in life, Miles broke with convention—and when he thought his work came to represent a new convention, he changed it again. Miles’s bold disregard for tradition, his clarity of vision, his relentless drive, and constant thirst for new experiences made him an inspiring collaborator to fellow musicians and a cultural icon to generations of listeners. It made him an innovator in music—from bebop to “cool jazz,” modern quintets, orchestral music, jazz fusion, rock ’n’ roll, and even hip-hop. Featuring never-before-seen archival footage, studio outtakes, and rare photos, MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL tells the story of a truly singular talent and unpacks the man behind the horn. Director and producer Stanley Nelson joins us to talk about the life and times of a music genius and the uncompromising life he led.

 

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

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool –  Landmark Theatre on Pico Blvd with a Q&A featuring Director Stanley Nelson, Friday 8/30 and Saturday 8/31 – 7:10 PM screening and Sunday 9/1 – 4:10 PM screening

Social Media:

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Stanley Nelson:

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92% on Rotten Tomatoes

“You’ll want to listen to Miles’ music after watching the film and, when you do, you might feel it a little deeper.” – Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Times

“Miles Davis – The Birth of Cool is a must see for anyone, anywhere in any lane of life that has an infinite love of music. Especially jazz. Stanley Nelson’s best work to date pulling back the curtain on an underrated musical Picasso – Miles Davis” – Carla Renata, The Curvy Film Critic

“While previous books and films made Miles Davis look like a magical character, Nelson’s ‘Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool’ depicts the musician as what he was – a man who was driven by his art and chained by the racist society he was born into.” –  Jonita Davis, Black Girl Nerds

“If you’re a Miles Davis fanatic from way back and think you already know everything about him, the movie, with its sharply edited interviews and stunning archival reach, fills in nuances of the man that feel fresh and new.“ – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

Cold Case Hammarskjold, Director Mads Brügger

In 1961, United Nations secretary-general Dag Hammarskjöld’s plane mysteriously crashed, leaving no known survivors. It’s understood that because Hammarskjöld was advocating for Congo’s independence (against the wishes of European mining companies and other powerful entities), the “crash” was an assassination. With the case still unsolved 50-plus years later, Danish journalist, filmmaker, and provocateur Mads Brügger (The Red Chapel, The Ambassador) leads us down an investigative rabbit hole to unearth the truth. Brugger, his Swedish private-investigator sidekick, Goran Bjorkdahl, and a host of co-conspirators tirelessly pursue a winding trail of clues, but they turn up more mysteries than revelations. Scores of false starts, dead ends, and elusive interviews later, they begin to sniff out something more monumental than anything they’d initially imagined. In his signature agitprop style, Brügger becomes both filmmaker and subject, challenging the very nature of truth by “performing” the role of truth-seeker. As Brügger uncovers a critical secret that could send shockwaves around the world, we realize that sometimes absurdity and irony are the emboldening ingredients needed to confront what’s truly sinister. Director Mads Brugger joins us for a spirited conversation on his fantastic and fantastical, hell-raising cinematic shot across the colonialist bow.

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

 

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About Mads Brügger:  Brügger is a Danish journalist, television host, author, and filmmaker. He has written several books, worked for magazines and newspapers, produced award-winning radio programs, and hosted the critically acclaimed late-night television show The 11th Hour, as well as the daily news program Deadline. Brügger also created the satirical docu-series Danes for Bush and the feature documentaries The Red Chapel (World Cinema Documentary Jury Prize, 2010 Sundance Film Festival) and The Ambassador (2012 Sundance Film Festival).

Social Media:

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Mads Brugger:

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“Dag Hammarskjold was on the point of getting something done when they killed him. Notice that I said, `when they killed him’.” Harry S. Truman, former U.S. President.

“A slow-building documentary mystery that sucks you in like a vortex. It offers several intertwined conspiracy theories, at least one of which, by the sternest reckoning, appears to be grounded in reality. Does that mean everything in the film is true? Maybe not. Yes ‘Cold Case Hammarskjöld’ is a singular experience that counts as one of the most honestly disturbing and provocative nonfiction films in years.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
 
“Either a stunning piece of investigative reporting that builds to a revelatory climax or a wily trickster’s dark critique of the audience’s desperate need for answers. Brügger is a journalist and a fabulist, a provocateur and a comedian.” – Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter
 
“Brügger’s most rewarding film. The suspense grows so intense that – if a projector malfunctions at a certain moment towards the end of the movie – audiences may actually be incapable of returning to their regular lives without knowing what comes next. The truth is often stranger than fiction, but when the truth is a convoluted story of parapsychology, death cults, and mercenaries with mysterious code names like ‘Congo Red,’ perhaps it takes a strange angle to see it clearly.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

American Heretic: The Gospel of Politics, Director Jeanine Butler and Producer Catherine Lynn Butler

We’ve entered a time where the power of negative partisanship has sorted us along lines of race and religion. These two factions have exploited race and religion, two of the most visceral things you can think of in terms of the human experience, and they’ve locked them in partisan identities.” The latest documentary from filmmakers Jeanine Butler and Catherine Lynn Butler AMERICAN HERETICS: THE GOSPEL OF POLITICS takes audiences into the buckle of Bible belt where a group of defiant ministers, congregations, and community leaders are challenging deeply rooted fundamentalist Christian doctrine in favor of a Gospel of Inclusion.  Labeled as “heretics” for their beliefs and actions, they refuse to wield their faith as a sword sharpened by literal interpretations of the Bible. Especially those fundamentalist  Christian interpretations that continue to justify nationalism and hack away at landmark civil rights protections for women, minorities, immigrants, and the LGBTQ communities. This poignant story challenges what we think we know about the Christian heartland by offering a rare personal glimpse into the contentious and often misunderstood history of religion, race, and politics in America. These Heretics are still interested in saving you from hell, but’s the earthly one, where poverty, discrimination and nationalism oppresses “…those who are the least among us.” Director / Producer Jeanine Butler (Documenting the Face of America) and Producer Catherine Lynn Butler (Journey of the Universe) stop by to talk about their journey into America’s Bible Belt and the growing movement to embrace a more tolerant perspective of spiritual enlightenment. 

 

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For news and updates go to: americanhereticsthefilm.com

“‘American Heretics: The Politics of the Gospel’ doesn’t break ground cinematically, but it is eye-opening in other ways.” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times

“All the usual theological arguments for a loving rather than discriminatory faith are here” – Luke Y. Thompson, Forbes

“It makes passionate arguments. It offers a ray of hope. And it evokes the sense that those most desperately in need of seeing it will never cross its path.” – John Anderson, America Magazine

“A film that shines a light on those who would be a candle in the midst of the Medieval darkness of modern, white Southern American Christianity.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

The Silence of Others, Co-directors Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar

The searing new documentary from Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar, THE SILENCE OF OTHERS asks the question, “What if in the ‘60s you were sadistically tortured for your political beliefs – and the man responsible (Antonio González Pacheco, aka “Billy the Kid”) is now your neighbor?” The bloody Spanish Civil War (1936-39) was followed by the Generalissimo Francisco Franco dictatorship that ended only with his death in 1975 – after which a law granted amnesty for crimes committed throughout this period. THE SILENCE OF OTHERS tackles the legal/political questions that this enforced obliviousness has created, and equally compelling, the existential conundrum of living in a nation in which no one has been charged with the murder of hundreds of thousands, buried in more than 2000 mass graves. A new movement in Spain confronts these hard truths. With the rise of authoritarian regimes around the world – and with human rights abuses being committed on our own border – this film could not be more timely. THE SILENCE OF OTHERS won Best Documentary at the Goya Awards (Spain’s Oscar equivalent), as well as more than 30 honors from international festivals (Berlinale, IDFA, Sheffield, etc.) and was among the films shortlisted for the 2019 Best Documentary Oscar. The film has become a phenomenon in Spain, where more than a million people have seen it. Co-directors Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar join us for a conversation on the decades long search for justice by the families and the victims and why it matters.

 

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For news and updates go to: thesilenceofothers.com

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“An elegant reckoning. Clear-sighted and approachable… with all the force of a classic political thriller by Costa-Gavras or Francesco Rosi.” – Allan Hunter, Screen International

“Stirring. Well-crafted and informative. A very necessary story, delivered with rigor and conviction.” – Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter

“An extraordinary cry against the thieves of memory. The most necessary documentaryof the last 80 years [in Spain]” – Fotogramas

“A wrenching and prescient documentary. We can only hope it is seen by those who don’t want to talk about historic memory.” – Cinemanía

Carmine Street Guitars, Director Ron Mann

Once the center of the New York bohemia, Greenwich Village is now home to luxe restaurants, and buzzer door clothing stores catering to the nouveau riche. But one shop in the heart of the Village remains resilient to the encroaching gentrification: Carmine Street Guitars. There, custom guitar maker Rick Kelly and his young apprentice Cindy Hulej, build handcrafted guitars out of reclaimed wood from old hotels, churches, bars and other local buildings. Nothing looks or sounds quite like a Rick Kelly guitar, which is the reason they are embraced by the likes of Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Jim Jarmusch, just to name a few. Featuring a cast of prominent musicians and artists, and some virtuoso performances, the film captures five days in the life of one shop in the heart of Greenwich Village that remains resilient to an all-too-quickly vanishing way of life. Director and Producer Ron Mann stops by to talk about the guitar artisans, Rick Kelly and Cindy Hulej, their own personal journeys and the last remaining vestige of a musical community that continues to inspire musicians all over the world.

ABOUT THE FILMMAKER: RON MANNThe Canadian filmmaker and producer Ron Mann is renowned for his genre-bending approach to filmmaking and documentary cinema that explores art forms and contemporary popular culture with vision and verve. From jazz (Imagine the Sound, 1981), spoken word (Poetry in Motion, 1982), comics (Comic Book Confidential, 1988), dance (Twist, 1992), marijuana (Grass, 1999), car culture (Tales of the Rat Fink, 2006), fungi (Know Your Mushrooms, 2009), and independent filmmaking (Altman, 2015) Mannʼs films invoke the ethos and spirit of his subjects in resonant and contemporary ways.

 

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For news and updates go to: carminestreetguitarsfilm.com

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 **Official Selection – 2019 SXSW Film Festival**

**Official Selection – 2018 Venice Film Festival**

**Official Selection – 2018 Toronto International Film Festival**

“Carmine Street Guitars” is a one-of-a-kind documentary that exudes a gentle, homespun magic”​– VARIETY, Owen Gleiberman​

…an absolutely essential documentary…”​ ROLLING STONE, David Fear

“At its core, this is the story of a master craftsman told whilst we watch him at work. You don’t need to know the first thing about guitars to be drawn in by it.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“Like the great musicians who come in and out of Kelly’s shop, Mann knows how to hit the right notes and how long to hold them, creating a nice rhythm that allows the room for charming interludes” – Stephen Saito, Movable Fest

Harvest Season, Director Bernardo Ruiz

*** Independent Lens Spotlight

HARVEST SEASON delves into the lives of people who work behind the scenes of the premium California wine industry, during one of the most dramatic grape harvests in recent memory. The film follows the stories of Mexican-American winemakers and migrant workers who are essential to the wine business, yet are rarely recognized for their contributions. Their stories unfold as wildfires ignite in Napa and Sonoma counties, threatening the livelihoods of small farmers and winemakers who are already grappling with a growing labor shortage, shifting immigration policies, and the impacts of a rapidly changing climate. Director Bernardo Ruiz is a two-time Emmy® nominated documentary filmmaker and member of the Academy. He was born in Guanajuato, Mexico and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. His directorial feature debut, Reportero, about attacks on the press in Mexico. New York Magazine called it “a powerful reminder of how journalism often requires immense amounts of physical and psychological bravery.” His second feature documentary, Kingdom of Shadows premiered at SXSW in the U.S. and IDFA in Europe. “Many documentaries have chronicled the drug war in the U.S. and Mexico,” writes Slackerwood of the film, “but few have humanized it as poignantly as Kingdom of Shadows. [It] is more observant than crusading…rooted in first-rate journalism.” The New York Times called it “unforgettable.” With the release of his third film HARVEST SEASON Director Bernardo Ruiz joins us to talk about his intimate look at the lives of veteran winemaker Gustavo Brambila, Mexican migrant worker René Reyes, and wine entrepreneur Vanessa Robledo.

 

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For news and updates go to: harvestseasonmovie.com

*** Monday May 13th at 10:00PM to watch HARVEST SEASON on PBS’s Independent Lens

More about the the director go to: bernardoruiz.com

“Ruiz’s film making transforms the Napa and Sonoma Valleys into a stage for much larger stories about migration, politics and the American Dream.” – Arturo Conde, NBC Latino

“Told expertly and with some startlingly gorgeous photography, director Bernardo Ruiz gives a first hand account of small wine producers and the struggles they face both economically and politically in 2018 America… a film that’s as beautiful as it is intimate and emotionally moving.” – Joshua Brunsting, Criterion Cast

“Rising above all the other similar films on wine, Harvest Season shines by focusing on all the people involved in making the wine and not just the people at the top.” – Steve Kopian, Unseen Films

“A beautifully filmed documentary that is part wine story and part immigrant/migrant story…a loving portrait of the ups and downs of life in the vineyard and those who put their backs as well as their heart and soul into it.” – Winston Salem Journal

Out of State, Director Ciara Lacy

** Independent Lens Spotlight

The riveting new documentary by Ciara Lacy Out of State provides an inside look at the lives of two native Hawaiians sent thousands of miles away from the tropical islands to a private prison in the Arizona desert. In this unlikely setting, David and Hale find a community of other native Hawaiians and discover their indigenous traditions from a fellow inmate serving a life sentence. Hoping for a fresh start and eager to prove that the experience has changed them forever, the two men finish their terms and return to Hawai’i. But once on the outside, they struggle with life’s hurdles and wonder if it’s possible to ever go home again. Director Ciara Lacy joins us to talk about the challenges and the barriers facing two men struggling to make the best of what may be their last chance.

About the Filmmaker – Ciara Lacy

Director Ciara Lacy is a native Hawaiian filmmaker whose interest lies in crafting films that use strong characters and investigative journalism to challenge the creative and political status quo. She has produced documentary content for film and television, managed independent features, as well as coordinated product placement and clearances for various platforms. Her work has shown in theaters and has aired on PBS, ABC, TLC, Discovery, Bravo and A&E. Lacy is honored to be the inaugural Sundance Institute Merata Mita Fellow and a current Princess Grace Awards Special Project grantee. She has also benefited from fellowships with Firelight Media’s Documentary Lab, the Sundance Institute, NATIVe at Berlinale, the Princess Grace Foundation, and IFP. Ciara holds a BA from Yale University, and graduated from Hawai`i’s Kamehameha Schools.

 

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For more on PBS award winning series go to: pbs.org/independentlens

For more about the film go to: outofstatefilm.com

For more about the filmmaker go to: ciaralacy.com

AWARDS

PORTLAND FILM FESTIVAL  Special Jury Award for Artistic Vision

HAWAII INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL  Made in Hawaii Best Feature Film & Audience Choice for Documentary Feature

SAN DIEGO ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL – Best Feature Documentary

Hail Satan?, Director Penny Lane and Subject Lucien Greaves

Hail Satan? chronicles the extraordinary rise of one of the most colorful and controversial religious movements in American history, Hail Satan? is an inspiring and entertaining new feature documentary from acclaimed director Penny Lane. When media-savvy members of the Satanic Temple organize a series of public actions designed to advocate for religious freedom and challenge corrupt authority, they prove that with little more than a clever idea, a mischievous sense of humor, and a few rebellious friends, you can speak truth to power in some truly profound ways. As charming and funny as it is thought-provoking, Hail Satan? offers a timely look at a group of often misunderstood outsiders whose unwavering commitment to social and political justice has empowered thousands of people around the world. But with their numbers swelling and dozens of new chapters forming in cities across the globe, increased threats of violence against Satanists and disagreements within the group’s own ranks complicate the Temple’s work. As a complex and costly legal battle erupts over a similar Ten Commandments monument in Arkansas, Greaves, Blackmore, and their fellow Temple members struggle to adjust to the movement’s explosive popularity while maintaining the integrity of their core beliefs. Director Penny Lane (Nuts!, Our Nixon) once again joins us for a lively discussion on Satanic beliefs, Lucien Greaves, Jex Blackmore and the creative and subversive strategies for preserving many deeply held patriotic ideals.

 

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For news and updates go to: hailsatanfilm.com

For more on the filmmaker go to: pennylaneismyrealname.com

Social Media:

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instagram.com/hailsatanfilm

“Lane sets out to subvert American history with intelligence and wit. Here, she asks us to question why certain religions are deemed “normal,” even though, notes one Temple member, Catholic mass is all about the symbolic drinking of blood.” – Amy Nicholson, Variety

“Provocative, hilarious, and latently enraging documentary about The Satanic Temple.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire

“”Hail Satan?” finds that simply presenting reason and historical precedent proves to be audacious and Lane follows the lead of her subjects in showing that it can be done with enormous amounts of fun.” – Stephen Saito, Movable Feast

“Wickedly funny, fascinating and niftily made, this crowd-pleaser will reign at festivals and prove, yet again, that the devil always has the best tunes.” – Leslie Felperin, Hollywood Reporter