Paris Calligrammes, Director Ulrike Ottinger

PARIS CALLIGRAMMES is an epic self-portrait of Ulrike Ottinger, one of Germany’s most prominent contemporary avant-garde artists, known for her paintings, photographs, and, above all, her films. An impressive and extensive archive of sensorial memories, historical photographs, and documentary footage traces the early influences of Ottinger’s life in Paris in the 1960s. This was a time marked by her integration into the rich intellectual and cultural circles of the city, but also engagement in the political and social eruptions around the Algerian War and May 1968. These varied dimensions of her experience make PARIS CALLIGRAMMES an essential historical time capsule, beautifully interwoven with the most precious of memories and images. In a rich torrent of archival audio and visuals, paired with extracts from her own artworks and films, Ottinger resurrects the old Saint-Germaindes-Prés and Latin Quarter, with their literary cafés and jazz clubs, and revisits encounters with Jewish exiles, life with her artistic community, the world views of Parisian ethnologists and philosophers, the political upheavals of the Algerian War and May 1968, and the legacy of the colonial era. Director Ulrike Ottinger (Seven Women, Seven Sins, Ticket of No Return, Johanna d’Arc of Mongolia) joins us for a conversation on her life as young painter in Paris in the 1960s, and her personal memories of Parisian bohemianism and the serious social, political and cultural upheavals of the time into a cinematic “figure poem” (calligram) in “Paris Calligrammes”.

For news and updates on the Ulrike Ottinger go to: ulrikeottinger.com

Watch: Paris Calligrammes at Icarus Films

Watch via Virtual Theatre go to: icarusfilms.com/ Paris Calligrammes

“In Paris Calligrammes, the artist Ulrike Ottinger casts a highly personal and subjective gaze back to the twentieth century. At the heart of her film is Paris: its protagonist is the city itself, its streets, neighborhoods, bookstores, cinemas, but also its artists, authors, and intellectuals. It is a place of magical appeal, an artistic biotope, but also a place where the demons of the twentieth century still confront us.” – Bernd Scherer

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“One of the great works of first-person cinema. Ottinger’s personal and political masterwork. Extraordinary; a work of vital and energetic modernism.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Enriching, stimulating; vital and contradictory. Captures the zeitgeist as experienced by a young woman eager to soak up the cultural riches around her, which she then distilled through her own sensibility to create paintings reflecting the era’s upheavals.” – Jay Weissberg, Variety

“Never a dull moment; the work of a consummate artist who understands the importance of the form matching the story.” – Kaleem Aftab, Cineuropa

“Her cinema is restless, Odyssean: full of stories of exile and adventure. [‘Paris Calligrammes’ is] an homage to the intellectual and artistic life of the city in the 1960s.” – Amy Sherlock, Frieze Magazine

In the Earth – Director / Writer / Editor Ben Wheatley

As the world searches for a cure to a disastrous virus, a scientist (Joel Fry) and park scout (Ellora Torchia) venture deep in the forest for a routine equipment run. Through the night, their journey becomes a terrifying voyage through the heart of darkness, the forest coming to life around them as nature becomes a force of evil,   Director, writer and editor Ben Wheatley (Down Terrace, Kill List, Fields of England) joins us for a conversation on his endlessly compelling pandemic folk tale that is begins with a walk in the woods that drops us into subversively horrifying landscape of screeching trees and bone-crushing vibrations. Golden Globe nominee composer Clint Mansell (The Fountain, Requiem for a Dream, Moon) provides a stunningly propulsive soundtrack to the film.

 

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“It’s damn terrifying, trippy, thoughtfully imaginative in sound design and visual tricks to convey communicating with nature, and packs a savage kick of relatively insane individuals and body horror” – Robert Kojder, Flickering Myth

“The biggest success, however, is the balance of psychedelic mysticism and heady science that are melded with toe-curling scenes of gore and suspense.” – Norman Gidney, Film Threat

“Wheatley is firing on all cylinders with his stripped-down approach to massive topics. An assault on the senses that’s bigger than any blockbuster.” – Kyle Anderson, Nerdist

“In the Earth reminds us that there’s so much more still to fear in the invisible darkness of the natural world — things that our little animal brains can barely grok in all of its terrible splendor.” – Nick Johnston, Vanyaland

“It’s one of the most exciting genre mashups I’ve seen in years.” – Lorry Kikta, Film Threat

“Wheatley and his collaborators have produced something that some of us thought would be impossible: an outrageously entertaining film that feels utterly rooted in the bleak era in which it was made.” – Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph (UK)

“This is the work of someone who’s always been more in his element when making something out of nothing, and that energy is especially well-served to a story about the fundamental human impulse to do the same.” – David Ehrlich, indieWire

Funny Face – Director Tim Sutton

Tim Sutton’s menacing and hauntingly elegant film, FUNNY FACE,  follows the stifling dread of a young Muslim woman, Zama (Dela Meskienyar), running away from her aunt and uncle’s house, desperate for a new life. She quickly finds that she must now navigate the peril of life on the street. A disturbed young man, Saul (Cosmo Jarvis) from Coney Island dons the menacing “Funny Face” mask, transforming himself into a makeshift superhero with a rage disorder as he seeks revenge on the Real Estate Developer, (Jonny Lee Miller) of a soulless high rise that has displaced his grandparents. Misfit avengers in a changing city, the two embark on a neighborhood odyssey that brings danger, love, and tragedy. And pickles. Director / Writer Tim Sutton (Memphis, Dark Knight, Donnybrook) joins us for a conversation on creating films that connect with viewers beyond traditional storytelling, filmmakers and films that inspire him, and how telling the story of Saul and Zama reflects his own anxiety about the hallowing out of his beloved New York City.

 

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For news and updates go to: gravitasventures.com/funny-face

Tim Sutton’s menacing and hauntingly elegant film, FUNNY FACE,  follows the stifling dread of a young Muslim woman, Zama (Dela Meskienyar), running away from her aunt and uncle’s house, desperate for a new life. She quickly finds that she must now navigate the peril of life on the street. A disturbed young man, Saul (Cosmo Jarvis) from Coney Island dons the menacing “Funny Face” mask, transforming himself into a makeshift superhero with a rage disorder as he seeks revenge on the Real Estate Developer, (Jonny Lee Miller) of a soulless high rise that has displaced his grandparents. Misfit avengers in a changing city, the two embark on a neighborhood odyssey that brings danger, love, and tragedy. And pickles. Director / Writer Tim Sutton (Memphis, Dark Knight, Donnybrook) joins us for a conversation on creating films that connect with viewers beyond traditional storytelling, filmmakers and films that inspire him, and how telling the story of Saul and Zama reflects his own anxiety about the hallowing out of his beloved New York City. For news and updates go to: gravitasventures.com/funny-face

“Genuinely otherworldly… a tender evocation of a New York City that is currently passing before its inhabitants’ eyes.” —Variety

“Haunting.” —Screen Daily

“A hypotensive urban fairy tale…of a New York borough imagined as a faraway land of rooftops and distant lights and corner bodegas where every day—every moment even—seems to start with ‘once upon a time.'” — The Playlist
“Seductive.” —The Film Stage
“Electric.” —Indiewire

Echoes of Violence – Director Nicholas Woods

An exciting and innovative new voice boldly and loudly announces their arrival, with director Nicholas Woods thrilling sophomore feature ECHOES OF VIOLENCE, (World Premiere at the 2021 CINEQUEST Film Festival) the story of an immigrant who travels from Sedona to Los Angeles to seek revenge against the immigration lawyer who ruined her life. Starring Michaella Russell (Netflix’s Agent), Chase Cargill (Long Story Short), Heston Horwin (Rock Steady Row), Sam Anderson (ABC’s Lost, FX’s Justified) and Frank Oz (Star Wars, Knives Out). Director, producer and writer Nicholas Woods (The Axiom, The Good Fight) joins us to talk about his double-cross, film noir thriller, the very talented ensemble cast and how the risky creative choices he made in the heat of the Arizona desert paid off.

 

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ECHOES OF VIOLENCE will have it’s much anticipated World premiere as part of the dramatic feature competition at the 2021 Cinequest Film and Creativity Festival, happening virtually from March 20th -30th.  Screening details will be available at cinequest.org

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I Blame Society – Director / Lead Actor Gillian Wallace Horvat

In I BLAME SOCIETY Gillian (Gillian Wallace Horvat) is one of those many struggling filmmakers in L.A. who just can’t seem to get the money for their first feature. Feeling like her friends and her partner (Keith Poulson) are losing faith in her abilities, she decides to resurrect her abandoned documentary based on a pseudo-compliment she once received that she would make a good murderer. But while she documents what makes “the perfect murder” a hitherto unseen dark side of Gillian emerges and grows. Furthermore the problem with being a successful serial killer, she discovers, is keeping the whole thing stealth, denying her the recognition that she craves… and that unhinges her even more. After accidentally-ish killing her best friend (Chase Williamson), Gillian goes on a killing spree culminating with a final bloody act that nobody would dare deny her credit for. I BLAME SOCIETY is razor-sharp satire of the pitfalls of post-#MeToo culture in Los Angeles. Director, writer and lead actor Gillian Wallace Horvat (Kiss Kiss Fingerbang) joins us to talk about her gleefully disturbing feature film debut that delves into the psyche of a young woman trying to believe in her dreams and herself… and facing the darkness that lurks inside in this macabre Cinderella story.

 

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For news and updates go to: crankedupfilms.com/IBlameSociety

About the filmmaker – Gillian Wallace Horvat is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker, writer, and film programmer. Her first short film, GUNPLAY, was a 2007 Wasserman Semi-Finalist and the only film to ever receive a disclaimer for graphic content at NYU Tisch’s First Run Film Festival. KISS KISS FINGERBANG, starring Anton Yelchin, Kate Lyn Sheil, and Buck Henry was awarded the Jury Prize in the Midnight Shorts category at the 2015 South by Southwest Film Festival; it later premiered online as a Vimeo Staff Pick. Miriam Bale wrote in Indiewire that. Gillian is one of “the most exciting American indie filmmakers I can think of.” Her films have screened in festivals around the world including SXSW, Fantasia, Palm Springs International Short Film Festival, Maryland Film Festival, Yale University, and many others. Gillian also produced A FULLER LIFE, a documentary on the life and films of director Samuel Fuller that premiered at the 2013 Venice Film Festival. Recently she has produced documentary shorts for Arrow Films, Kino Lorber, and Olive Films, working on projects ranging from an AMERICAN NINJA box set to Orson Welles’ MACBETH. She is also a guest columnist for Filmmaker Magazine and her writing has appeared in Sight & Sound.

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“I Blame Society is a pretty startling and original film. Writer-director-star Horvat explores the dark comedy genre on her own terms, and has the courage to keep upping the ante – right until the very end.” – Frank J. Avella, Edge Media Network

“In some ways, I totally believe that you have to be at least a little bit insane to want to follow an artistic career path. I Blame Society takes that ball and runs with it to a successfully awesome finish line.” – Lorry Kikta, Film Threat

“Writer/director/actress/mischievous malcontent Gillian Wallace Horvat’s I Blame Society is a wry, anarchic mockumentary that will almost immediately turn some people all the way the hell off. Pity those poor, incorrect fools.” – Ryan Syrek, The Reader (Omaha, NE)

“The originality of story and filmmaking is a sight to see, and its narrative is an exquisite example of how quickly the thin line between reality and art can blur.” – Stephanie Archer, Film Inquiry

The Lost Sons – Director Ursula Macfarlane

THE LOST SONS follows Paul Fronczak, a man who discovered headlines his parents made for grieving their kidnapped child, then celebrating two years later when he was found, he begins to investigate. Fronczak begins a decades long investigation to find out what happened. At the age of 10, while searching for Christmas presents, Paul Fronczak unearthed a hoard of newspaper clippings about his parents: images of them grieving for a kidnapped baby and then celebrating two years later over a toddler found abandoned and returned to them.  Is Paul that kidnapped baby?  If so, where was he for two years?  The investigation launched a deeper look into a life shrouded in mystery.  Decades later, as questions continue to mount, Paul embarks on a journey for answers, plunging him into the dark depths of the secrets that families keep. The story of THE LOST SONS is told through a blend of re-enactments, the testimony of close family and first-hand witnesses, news footage, and family archive. Director Ursula Macfarlane (Untouchable, One Deadly Weekend in America, Tsunami: Survivor Stories) ) joins us for a conversation on how she came to this astonishing story, getting to know Paul Fronczak, finding the right balance in telling a story with so many and complicated elements. 

 

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South by Southwest: online.sxsw.com/event/sxsw-online/The Lost Sons

To find out more go to: ursulamacfarlane.com

About the filmmaker – Ursula Macfarlane is an award-winning documentary and drama director and executive producer from London, with two sons and a dog; yogi. Her work is an eclectic body of films and often focusing on family stories, and so-called ordinary people experiencing extraordinary challenges. Macfarlane loves to combine the epic with the intimate. Her documentary, The Lost Sons, for CNN Films, is a stranger-than-fiction story about a stolen baby, a family secret, and two unravelling mysteries. Her documentary Untouchable, is about the rise and fall of Harvey Weinstein, premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Macfarlane’s films include Breaking Up With The Joneses, a feature documentary about a couple going through a divorce, One Deadly Weekend In America, about young lives cut short through gun violence, The Life and Loss Of Karen Woo, a film about a young British doctor murdered by the Taliban in Afghanistan, and Charlie Hebdo: Three Days That Shook Paris, the story of the Paris terror attacks. To find out more go to: ursulamacfarlane.com

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“Macfarlane … expertly combines copious archival footage … interviews, recreations and other narrative techniques to create a gripping thrill ride of investigative journalism.” – Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Hammer to Nail

“Macfarlane tells the convoluted story in a clean and efficient manner and the result will have your mind reeling long after it has concluded.” – Peter Sobczynski, eFilmCritic.com

“The Lost Sons is gripping from start to finish.” – Bobby LePire, Film Threat

“Engaging and thrilling, The Lost Sons proves the truth is always stranger than fiction.” – Rachel West, That Shelf

Deadly Illusions – Director Anna Elizabeth James

DEADLY ILLUSIONS is a psychological thriller about a bestselling female novelist Mary Morrison (Kristin Davis), suffering from writer’s block, hires an innocent yet beautiful caregiver Grace (Greer Grammer) to watch over her children as she dangerously indulges into the fantasies of her new best seller. Everything changes when Mary becomes spellbound by Grace who soon becomes her muse. As their relationship blossoms, the line between the life she’s writing and the one she’s living becomes blurred. Director and writer Anna Elizabeth James (Emma’s Chance, Destined to Ride) joins us to talk about the themes running through her latest film of female sexuality and sexual fluidity, identity and the personal satisfaction of working with a top notch cast of actors.

 

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For news and updates go to: kissandtaleproductions.com

DEADLY ILLUSIONS was written and directed by Anna Elizabeth James (Emma’s Chance) and stars Kristin Davis, Dermot Mulroney, Greer Grammer, and Shanola Hampton. Netflix will release the film on March 18.

About the filmmaker – Anna Elizabeth James is a director, writer, and producer who first caught the filmmaking bug after being given the opportunity to create her own TV show in junior high school. Anna’s fourth feature film, Deadly Illusions, was completed under her company banner Kiss and Tale Productions – where she wrote, directed, and produced. The film stars Kristin Davis, Dermot Mulroney, Greer Grammer and Shanola Hampton. Anna directed her fourth feature film this past winter, Sinister Sorority. (2021). Anna Elizabeth James made her break into the feature world by writing and directing, Emma’s Chance, starring Greer Grammer and Missi Pyle. Most recently it has been added to the Hallmark Movie Collection. Anna’s second feature, Destined to Ride, starred Madeline Carroll and Denise Richards. Anna has directed numerous short films, including a teen pilot, Diary of a Teenage Nobody, which was optioned by MTV. Her psychological thriller, Zone 2, toured through the Etheria Film Festival, winning an audience award. Known as a pioneer in the industry for her iPhone filmmaking and distribution methods, Anna has been featured in WIRED MagazineThe New York TimesUSA Today, and has spoken at TEDxNew York Apple StoreDGA, and The Academy of Television, Arts and Sciences showcasing these forward thinking films. Anna holds an MFA from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and is the mother of four. She currently resides in South Jordan, Utah with her two assistant pups, Pepper and Teddy, who sit by her side as she writes. annaelizabethjames.com

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La Llorona – Director Jayro Bustamante

Ripped from the pages of Guatemala’s recent wrenching history, LA LLORONA follows the story of a fictional and indignant retired general, Enrique, as he is being forced to face his murderous past at his own trial for the genocidal massacre of thousands of Mayans decades ago. As a horde of angry protestors threatens to invade their opulent home, the women of the house – his haute wife, conflicted daughter, and precocious granddaughter – weigh their responsibility to shield the erratic, senile Enrique against the devastating truths behind being publicly revealed and the increasing sense that a wrathful supernatural force is targeting them for his crimes. Meanwhile, much of the family’s domestic staff flees, leaving only loyal housekeeper Valeriana until a mysterious young indigenous maid arrives. A tale of horror and magical realism, the film reimagines the iconic Latin American fable as an urgent metaphor of Guatemala’s recent history and tears open the country’s unhealed political wounds to grieve a seldom discussed crime against humanity. LA LLORONA marks Jayro Bustamante’s third feature and demonstrates his continued efforts to highlight social inequality in his native Guatemala with deft sensitivity and visual richness. The Silver Bear-winning director, writer, producer and editor, Jayro Bustamante (Temblores, Ixcanul) joins us to talk about his tale of horror and fantasy, ripe with suspense, and an urgent metaphor of Guatemalan recent history and its unhealed political wounds, 

 

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For news and updates go to: filmfactoryentertainment.com/la-llorona

LA LLORONA will make its U.S. theatrical premiere this Friday, March 5 as part of the programming at the IFC Center, which is reopening following one year of closures of New York City movie theaters. 

LA LLORONA is Guatemala’s Official Oscar® entry for Best International Feature Film, and one of the 15 films shortlisted being considered for the final five films in the running for the Academy Award.

2021 National Board of Review WINNER – Best Foreign Language Film
2021 Satellite Awards WINNER – Best Film, International
2021 Critics Choice Awards Nominee – Best Foreign Language Film

97% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Bustamante’s La Llorona is a bold assertion of the embedded prejudice against indigenous populations in his home country of Guatemala while also asserting that women and children in particular bore the brunt of the violence.” – Natalia Keogan, Paste Magazine

“Smart and elegant. The real horror lies not in the supernatural but in the savage acts of men.” – Carolina Miranda, Los Angeles Times

“Bustamante’s reimagining of the famous folkloric figure is a reminder that in the right hands, horror can be turned into something with almost indescribably enormous ideological potency.” – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, AWFJ Women on Film

“Bustamante’s latest travels into the dark recesses of the human condition to shine a brightly shimmering spotlight on vile evils that should never be locked away and forgotten.” Sara Michelle Fetters, MovieFreak.com

“La Llorona is a beautifully conceived and constructed piece which cleverly utilises ghost story tropes, imagery and sound effects to enhance the impact of its real-life inspired revelations.” – Emma Simmonds, The List

LUCKY – Director Natasha Kermani & Writer / Lead Actor Brea Grant

In the unnerving and creeping panic that is LUCKY, life takes a sudden turn for May, a popular self-help book author, when she finds herself the target of a mysterious man with murderous intentions. Every night, without fail he comes after her, and every day the people around her barely seem to notice. With no one to turn to, May is pushed to her limits and must take matters into her own hands to survive and to regain control of her life. The sophomore feature from Iranian-American filmmaker Natasha Kermani (Imitation Girl), Lucky is written and starring Brea Grant, star of the indie darling AFTER MIDNIGHT and writer/director of the critically acclaimed dark comedy 12 HOUR SHHIFT  Home invasion horror by way of a time loop mystery, LUCKY is a uniquely nightmarish, darkly funny, and timely slasher, and a thrilling addition to the Final Girl genre. Brea Grant stars alongside Dhruv Uday Singh (Good Trouble) and Kausar Mohammed (East of La Brea, What Men Want). Director Natasha Kermani and screenwriter / lead actor Brea Grant join us to talk about how they brought life to their feminist allegory on how relentless cultural and psychological duress undermines women and why injecting their perspective into a horror genre helps them deliver the appropriate mix of fear and reflection.

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: epic-pictures.com/lucky

Lucky will premiere and debut exclusively to Shudder on March 4th in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as via the Shudder offering within the AMC+ bundle where available. www.shudder.com.

About the filmmaker – Director Natasha Kermani is a writer and director in LA/NY, and the co-founder of Illium Pictures. Natasha’s credits includes science-fiction feature film Imitation Girl (FrightFest ‘17), starring Lauren Ashley Carter. Short form work includes Lewis Black’s web series The Mentors (for which she won Best Director at the NYC Web Fest), the very first live-action short film of beloved manga series, Battle Angel Alita, and the short film POLE, the first film to be funded entirely on twitch.tv. Kermani has directed a variety of commercial content for clients including NYDJ, Thinx, Microsoft, and ThirdLove. Outside film and television, Natasha is a violinist and composer who enjoys playing live shows with local bands and ensembles. Natasha’s Iranian-American heritage, her interest in female-led stories, and her love for genre- filmmaking all converge in her work — a lyrical exploration of how we experience the world around us. 

About the filmmaker – Writer and Lead Actor Brea Grant’s first television acting job was on Friday Night Lights. She is best known for her role as Daphne Millbrook on Heroes. Other TV credits include the series, Cold Case. She has starred in several films, including Battle Planet and Homecoming. She directed and starred in a post-apocalyptic film called Best Friends Forever. She also created a comic book miniseries called We Will Bury You with her brother Zane Grant and artist Kyle Strahm. She continued with the SuicideGirls comic miniseries, based on the pin-up web site of the same name.

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91% on Rotten Tomatoes

“As the filmmakers dial in tighter on those keen observations, their movie gets more and more chilling.” – Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times

“Lucky has something to say, and Grant has thought very deeply about the subjects of violence against women and trauma, as well as gender-based assumptions about these things.” – Sheila O’Malley, RogerEbert.com

“Lucky is a suspenseful, magnificently told metaphor for the real-life horrors women face on a daily basis.” – Molly Henery, The Blogging Banshee

“If you know someone who doesn’t quite grasp the emotional terrorism behind concepts like gaslighting and victim-blaming, sit them down with Lucky.” – Katie Rife, AV Club

“Harrowing experiences are revealed through disorienting sequences heightened by sleek cinematography from Julia Swain and a powerful lead performance from Grant.” – Katherine McLaughlin, Through the Trees

“A gutsy, kick-ass performance from Brea Grant combines with intricately thoughtful directing by Kermani to create a refreshingly modern spin on the tormented female story.” – Kat Hughes, THN

The Vigil – Director Keith Thomas

THE VIGIL, the debut feature film debut of writer and director Keith Thomas is the  accomplished and chilling tale steeped in ancient Jewish lore and demonology. THE VIGIL is supernatural horror film set over the course of a single evening in Brooklyn’s Hasidic Borough Park neighborhood. Low on funds and having recently left his insular religious community, Yakov (Dave Davis) reluctantly accepts an offer from his former rabbi and confidante (Menashe Lustig) to take on the responsibility of an overnight “shomer,” fulfilling the Jewish practice of watching over the body of a deceased community member. Shortly after arriving at the recently departed’s dilapidated house to sit the vigil, Yakov begins to realize that something is very, very wrong. Director Keith Thomas joins us for a conversation on informing his horror film in the iconography and literature of ancient Jewish traditions, finding a perfect location and the importance of finding a lead actor who could embody Yakov’s vulnerabilities and strengths.

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: ifcfilms.com/films/the-vigil

Director’s Statement – “When I sat down to write the very first draft of THE VIGIL, I knew I wanted to tell a personal story that felt universal. The movie would be very contained and the stakes would, at first glance, seem small – one man, one ritual, and one struggle with a threatening force. But the stories I gravitate towards, the stories I like to tell, are rooted in tangible human experience. One person’s struggle can take on a mythic quality that resonates far more than stories about countries or even worlds at war. All of us have suffered “dark nights of the soul” (likely several times over during the upheaval of the past year) and most of us emerge from those lean and often frightening hours changed – generally for the better but sometimes for the worse. If you’ve come to the movie for a thrill, I hope you enjoy it and it troubles your sleep. If you’ve come to it for a glimpse into a cloistered world few secular people know, I’ll assure you that it is authentic. Regardless of the reason you’re watching THE VIGIL, I hope you find something in our little story that haunts you, that burrows like a splinter in your consciousness and leaves you thinking. Even if it’s just for a few heartbeats.” – Keith Thomas

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“The Vigil is proof that bible-thumping priests and haunted converts can’t have all the spooky fun. The filmmaking maintains its gripping spell all the way through; A remarkable showcase for Dave Davis, who commands every scene.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

“Get out your tallit, your tefillin and your terrifying visions of a diabolical entity because The Exorcist is coming to Borough Park. A devilish, and very Yiddish, bone-crunching chiller.” – Jordan Mintzner, The Hollywood Reporter

“Cultural context adds to an effectively creepy chiller. Anything might be (and usually is) hiding in the shadows. Davis is excellent.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“view[ing] Jewish history and identity through the prism of genre, The Vigil dramatizes the processes by which myth and memory sustain trauma down the generations” – Anton Bitel, Sight and Sound

“Featuring strong performances and excellent effects work, The Vigil is a genuinely creepy debut which explores the ways in which our psychological demons can get their claws into our entire lives.” – Nikki Baughan, Empire Magazine

Little Fish – Director Chad Hartigan

LITTLE FISH, the fourth feature film from director Chad Hartigan, is a romance set in a near-future Seattle teetering on the brink of calamity. The film imagines a world where a pandemic has broken out, that strikes with no rhyme or reason, and causes its victims to lose their memories. This is the world that newlyweds Emma and Jude find themselves in, not long after meeting and falling in love. When Jude contracts the disease, the young couple will do anything to hold onto the memory of their love.  Starring Olivia Cooke (Sound of Metal, Thoroughbreds) as Emma, Jack O’Connell (’71, Starred Up) as Jude, Soko and Raul Castillo, LITTLE FISH, opens in the midst of a global epidemic: Neuroinflammatory Affliction, a severe and rapid Alzheimer’s-like condition in which people’s memories disappear. Couple Jude Williams and Emma Ryerson are grappling with the realities of NIA, interspersed with glimpses from the past as the two meet and their relationship blooms. But as NIA’s grip on society tightens, blurring the lines between the past and the present, it becomes more and more difficult to know what’s true and what’s false. Director Chad Hartigan (Morris From America, This is Martin Bonner) joins us for a conversation on the making of his  subversively sly sci-fi / love story and how the on-screen artistry of the two lead actors helped shape this prescient tale of love in an age of isolation and mistrust.

 

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For news and updates go to: littlefish.movie

About the filmmaker – Writer/director Chad Hartigan is best known for his award-winning feature films THIS IS MARTIN BONNER and MORRIS FROM AMERICA. Hartigan won the John Cassavetes Award at the 2014 Independent Spirit Awards, as well as the “Best of NEXT” Audience Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, for THIS IS MARTIN BONNER. Hartigan won the Waldo Scott Screenwriter Award at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival for his film MORRIS FROM AMERICA. LITTLE FISH marks the third collaboration between childhood friends Hartigan, composer Keegan Dewitt (HEARTS BEAT LOUD) and cinematographer Sean McElwee (THE INCREDIBLE JESSICA JAMES). Based on Aja Gabel’s short story, the film is written by up and coming screenwriter Mattson Tomlin who co-wrote the latest Batman film, THE BATMAN, and wrote the Netflix hit PROJECT POWER.

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“In the midst of a flurry of pandemic-themed media coming out which tries to reflect the [present] situation, LITTLE FISH manages to distinguish itself from the crowd with its brilliant leads and emotional resonance.” – Oluwatayo Adewole, The Spool

“The result is better than smart, it’s stirring. With the NIA pandemic as a pretext, the essential subject becomes memory — its fragility, its wondrousness, its centrality to our existence as sentient beings.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

“Hartigan’s moody evocation of Emma and Jack’s love – and the way in which it, like so much else, is predicated on knowledge of the past – casts a moving spell.” – Nick Schager, Variety

“Chad Hartigan’s Little Fish drips with equal doses of beauty and poignancy – an affecting dive into love and memory, and how it defines who we are.” – Natasha Alvar, Cultured Vultures

Night of the Kings – Director Philippe Lacôte

In the 2021 OSCAR® Shortlisted for Best International Feature Film, NIGHT OF THE KINGS a young man is sent to LA MACA, a prison in the middle of the Ivorian forest ruled by its inmates. As tradition goes with the rising of the red moon, he is designated by the Boss to be the new “Roman” and must tell a story to the other prisoners. Learning what fate awaits him, he begins to narrate the mystical life of the legendary outlaw named Zama King and has no choice but to make his story last until dawn. Director Philippe Lacôte (Chronicles of War in the Ivory Coast, Run) joins us to talk about his searingly dramatic film that feels like part documentary, part narrative as it tracks a story of survival, deception, mythology and the power of storytelling.

 

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For news and updates go to: neonrated.com/films/night-of-the-kings

IN SELECT THEATERS AND VIRTUAL CINEMAS
LAEMMLE VIRTUAL CINEMA in Los Angeles Area

 

About the filmmaker – Writer and Director Philippe Lacote grew up in Abidjan near a movie theater – the “Magic”. His work as a director has taken on several forms, before focusing in 2002 on the recent history of his country with CHRONICLES OF WAR IN THE IVORY COAST, a film on the edge between a documentary and a diary. It is followed by the feature film RUN, the story of a wandering madman, selected in Cannes Un Certain Regard 2014. This selection confirmed his talent as a filmmaker and revealed a new voice from the African continent. NIGHT OF THE KINGS (original title “La Nuit Des Rois”), his second feature, is a dive into the largest prison in West Africa, during a night of red moon.

Nominee – Best International Feature Films – Film Independent Spirit Awards 2021
Nominee – Outstanding International Motion Picture – NAACP Image Awards 2021
One of the Top Five Best International Feature Films – NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW
Winner – Amplify Voices Award – Toronto International Film Festival 2020

96% on Rotten Tomatoes

“A power struggle and a ritual practiced by the collective within a microcosm of society housed under the oppression of the state, and a powerful demonstration of the transporting, and liberating, power of narrative.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service

“An assured, energetic piece of epic filmmaking, one that celebrates how storytelling, oration, and folklore teach us about our past so we might change our present.” – Robert Daniels RogerEbert.com

“Philippe Lacôte’s restless film – a rare United States release from Ivory Coast – braids together its struggles for survival to suggest an entire country fighting to emerge.” – Nicolas Rapold, New York Times

“This captivating hybrid of a movie mixes fairy-tale and storytelling elements with a vividly drawn backdrop of heightened realism… and relies on images and sounds as much as the human voice to tell its multiple stories.” – Boyd van Hoeij, Hollywood Reporter

Test Pattern – Director Shatara Michelle

TEST PATTERN follows an interracial couple whose rock-solid relationship is put to the test when Renesha, a Black woman played by Brittany S. Hall, is sexually assaulted. Her white boyfriend Evan (Will Brill) insistently pursues a rape kit and is met with medical and administrative incompetence at every turn. Part psychological horror, part realist drama, TEST PATTERN unfolds against the backdrop of national discussions around inequitable health care and policing, the #MeToo movement, and race in America. The dives into the effects of the systemic factors and social conditioning women face when navigating sex and consent within the American patriarchy, along with exploring institutional racism from a Black female point of view. Director / Producer / Writer Shatara Michelle Ford joins us for a conversation on how this deeply moving personal story came to life through a collaboration with an exceptionally creative and supportive cast and crew and why TEST PATTERN is particularly relevant at a time when many of us are proclaiming Black Lives Matter.

 

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For news and updates go to: kinomarquee.com/Test Pattern

To watch virtually go to: laemmle.com/videos/testpattern

BlackStar Film Festival 2019 – Lionsgate/STARZ Producer Award
New Orleans Film Festival 2019 – Narrative Features Jury Award

 

About the filmmaker – Shatara Michelle Ford is a black American filmmaker born in rural Arkansas and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. In 2010, she received an MFA in Screenwriting from Royal Holloway, University of London. Shatara’s work explores class, power, womanhood, identity, perception and race. Intellectually propelled by the LA Rebellion film movement and stylistically influenced by Neoclassical directors; Shatara’s films feature marginalized characters with rich internal lives that defy dominant stereotypes. Her script, QUEEN ELIZABETH was featured on the 2017 Black List. TEST PATTERN is Shatara’s debut feature film. TEST PATTERN was the 2019 Grand Jury Prize winner at New Orleans Film Festival, and won the Special Jury Prize for Best Feature at Deadcenter Film Festival.

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“A must-see gem… a serious discovery, and the kind of project that should rocket [Ford] (and her stars) to a new level of Hollywood hype.” – KateErbland, Indiewire

“Offers a fresh way of examining sexual assault and its aftermath on screen, one that feels just as emblematic of its moment as Thelma & Louise.” – Soraya Nadia McDonald, Film Comment

“A searing, yet nuanced, interrogation of the racism and sexism baked into our society at every level… Strikingly punctuates the detachment of realist drama with the expressionism of psychological horror.” – William Repass, Slant Magazine

“A slow burn movie done right… with brilliant performances by Hall and Brill.” – Cal Gesner, Film Snob Reviews

We’re All Going to the World’s Fair – Director Jane Schoenbrun and Actor Anna Cobb

How to take the World’s Fair Challenge: Say the words “I want to go to the World’s Fair. I want to go to the World’s Fair. I want to go to the World’s Fair.” into your computer camera. Prick your finger, draw some blood and smear it on the screen. Now press play on the video. They say that once you’ve seen it, the changes begin…  In a small town, a shy and isolated teenage girl (Anna Cobb in a stunning feature debut) becomes immersed in an online role-playing game. Late on a cold night somewhere in America, teenage Casey sits alone in her attic bedroom, scrolling the internet under the glow-in-the-dark stars and black-light posters that blanket the ceiling. She has finally decided to take the World’s Fair Challenge, an online role-playing horror game, and embrace the uncertainty it promises. After the initiation, she documents the changes that may or may not be happening to her, adding her experiences to the shuffle of online clips available for the world to see. As she begins to lose herself between dream and reality, a mysterious figure reaches out, claiming to see something special in her uploads. Director Jane Schoenbrun and lead actor Anna Cobb join us for a conversation on the making of this jarring, mind bending and strangely empowering tale of a young woman determined to challenge boundaries.

 

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For more go to: fliescollective.com/were-all-going-to-the-worlds-fair

About the filmmaker – Jane Schoenbrun is a non-binary filmmaker who co-created ongoing touring variety series “The Eyeslicer,” which has screened in hundreds of venues across the world, including MoMA, the Tribeca Film Festival, and Kansas City’s oldest porn theater. In 2018, they created the Radical Film Fair, a film flea market and mentorship event that drew thousands of attendees. Schoenbrun is the director of feature documentary “A Self-Induced Hallucination,” producer on Aaron Schimberg’s “Chained for Life” an EP on season one of Terence Nance’s “Random Acts of Flyness,” and creator of the omnibus “dream film” “collective:unconscious. “We’re All Going to the World’s Fair” is premiering at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival

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88% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Schoenbrun’s debut is one of the only American films that really excited me, in both ideas and film form, at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.” – Orla Smith, Seventh Row

“None of the formal inventiveness would work if it wasn’t grounded by a real person at its center. This may be her first feature, but [Anna Cobb] brings an immense amount of nuance to each moment.” – Drew Gregory, Autostraddle

“It’s a strong debut for both Schoenbrun and Cobb, capturing a profound sense of contemporary adolescent loneliness that many artists have tried (and failed) to portray on screen.” – Hannah Woodhead, Little White Lies

“This is a film of great and grand expression, transforming and challenging our own ideas and beliefs of art, of ourselves, and of others.” – Bill Arceneaux, Of Those Who

“Cobb and Michael J. Rogers both deliver haunting performances here. Cobb introduces enough vulnerability in the beginning to make her slow transformation into someone almost unrecognizable all the more terrifying.” – Alysha Prasad, One Room With A View

The Wanting Mare – Director Nicholas Ashe Bateman

In the world of Anmaere, north of the city of Whithren, wild horses run through the moorlands and up the coast. These horses are the city’s most valuable export and, as a result, are hunted, trapped, sold, and shipped across the sea once a year. For those in Whithren, this trade passage creates lucrative and exciting possibilities: the chance to escape their constantly sweltering city and escape to the Western continent of Levithen, or simply to begin again. Nothing can prepare audiences for the secrets, seduction, and sights of THE WANTING MARE, an intimate, dramatic fantasy epic written and directed by renowned digital artist Nicholas Ashe Bateman (visual effects supervisor of David Lowery’s upcoming The Green Knight). A technical marvel of digital world-building and independent ambition, the sprawling vistas, fantastical sights, and otherworldly tableaus of THE WANTING MARE were lensed almost entirely inside a warehouse in Paterson, New Jersey. Director, writer, and editor Nicholas Ashe Bateman joins us to talk about the five year journey of making THE WANTING MARE, the defining connection humans and horses share, the support he received from a dedicated group of friends and filmmakers, and the importance of Carl Jung.

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: anmaerepictures.com/thewantingmare

THE WANTING MARE was written and directed by Nicholas Ashe Bateman, Executive Produced by Lawrence Inglee, and stars Jordan Monaghan, Yasmin Keshtkar, Edmond Cofie, Nicholas Ashe Bateman, Josh Clark, and Christine Kellogg-Darrin.

THE WANTING MARE opens nationwide on Friday, February 5th, 2021, and will be accompanied by a half-hour making-of documentary available online.

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Two of Us – Director Filippo Meneghetti

Pensioners Nina (Barbara Sukowa) and Madeleine (Martine Chevallier) have hidden their deep and passionate love for many decades. From the point of view of those surrounding them, including Madeleine’s meddling daughter (Léa Drucker), they are simply two neighbors sharing a hallway during their sunset years. In reality, this landing is a bridge between two worlds: one belonging to a widowed, doting grandmother, the other to a free-spirited woman who longs to spend her life with the person she loves. Clandestinely, Nina and Madeleine share a tender life, moving freely between their apartments until an unexpected event closes the portal. But their secret cannot remain hidden if they are to stay together – and their unconditional love is put to the test. Director Filippo Meneghetti joins us for a conversation on this beautifully rendered film that’s a loving tribute to passion, fidelity and a fierce determination to hold on to the people who matter most. 

 

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For news and updates go to: twoofusfilm.com

Watch the film at : twoofusfilm.com/watch-at-home

** France’s entry for 2021 Best International Film – Academy Awards

About the filmmaker – Director, screenwriter Filippo Meneghetti – Originally from Padova, Italy, Filippo’s earliest work experience was on New York’s indie film circuit. After film school and an Anthropology degree in Rome, he co-wrote the feature Imago Mortis (2009). He worked as a first assistant for several years before starting to direct his own short films, Undici (2011, codirected by Piero Tomaselli) and L’intruso (2012), which screened and garnered prizes at festivals in Italy and abroad. In 2018, Filippo moved to France where he made his next short, The Beast, which screened in competition at SXSW 2019 and can now be seen at international festivals. Two Of Us is Filippo’s first feature. 

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The film’s brevity means some ideas are under-developed. But what we’re left with is a sublime and sublimely simple portrait of a love that’s been lived in and the devotion it will take to ensure that endures.” – Roger Moore Movie Nation

“Two of Us is absolutely beautiful … and [it’s] refreshing to see two older women as sexual beings in all their yearning.” – Sara Clements, AwardsWatch

“This is a smart movie that starts from a relatively simple yet captivating premise and then steadily gains in complexity as it develops.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

“Perhaps most importantly, what Two of Us captures is something which so much of mainstream media would rather ignore: the desire, passion and sexuality of people above a certain age.” – Becky Kukla, Film Inquiry

Preparations to Be Together For an Unknown Period of Time – Director Lili Horvát

Lili Horvát’s PREPARATIONS TO BE TOGETHER FOR AN UNKNOWN PERIOD OF TIME is a mesmerizing psychological romance about a woman who upends her whole life to return to her home city of Budapest for a romantic rendezvous with a fellow surgeon, who then claims the two have never met. Márta Vizy (Natasa Stork) is a 39-year-old Hungarian neurosurgeon. After 20 years in the United States, she returns to Budapest for a romantic rendezvous at the Liberty Bridge with János (Viktor Bodó), a fellow doctor she met at a conference in New Jersey. Márta waits in vain, while the love of her life is nowhere to be seen. When she finally tracks him down, the bewildered man claims the two have never met. It’s unclear whether Márta’s wits are clouded by love or if other neurological factors are at play. Determined to solve the enigma, she takes a position at a hospital where she is treated as an outsider and must endure real and perceived slights, while also navigating a no man’s land separating love from madness. For her second feature, following 2015’s The Wednesday Child, writer-director Lili Horvát spins a delicate web of contrasts and silent explosions that shift the viewer’s understanding. Shot with impeccable symmetry on entrancing 35mm, it is an Orphic tale reminding us that, while the heart is an abstruse trickster, the human brain — ruling us with over 80 billion interconnected neurons — is our most complex organ. Director Lili Horvát joins us for a conversation on her Hitchcockian tale of a woman who’s certainty drives this compelling cinematic “love” story.

 

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

To watch go to: preparationsmovie.com/tickets

Independent Spirit Award – Nomination for Best International Film

** Hungry’s Official submission for for 2021 Academy Award – Best International Feature Film **

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89% on Rotten Tomatoes

“ A beautiful and acute rendering of what could be if some of the most implausible lies we tell ourselves were in fact true.” – Carlos Aguilar, RogerEbert.com

“Preparations” manifests its protagonist’s uncertainty through fluttering reflections and slinky shadows, and images that conceal and obscure the full picture.” – Beatrice Loayza, New York Times

“Lili Horvát’s film delights in wallowing in ambiguity, contradiction, and doubt.” – Diego Semerene, Slant Magazine

“What sets this film apart is its fusing of the impassioned and the grimly palpable.” – Anthony Lane, New Yorker

“ [A] state of existential crisis, one that director Lili Horvat teases with curiosity and ambiguity, as if Krzysztof Kieslowski were alive and well and making movies in Budapest.” – Barry Hertz, Globe and Mail

Blizzard of Souls – Director Dzintars Dreibergs

BLIZZARD OF SOULS pays stark witness to the horrors and brutality of the First World War, as seen through the eyes of Arturs (Oto Brantevics), an innocent sixteen-year-old farm-boy turned soldier. Too young to fight but old enough to die, he enlists to serve on the Eastern Front with dreams of becoming a hero. Conscripted into one of Latvia’s first national battalions, Arturs soon discovers the grim reality of trench warfare. Fighting alongside his father and brother, he experiences the loss of his home and loved ones while growing up surrounded by constant danger and death on the battlefield. Adapted from the book by Aleksandrs Grins, which was banned in the USSR, the story was based on Grins’ own war experiences in a Latvian battalion, and the film is the biggest box office success in Latvia of the past 30 years. Director Dzintars Dreibergs joins us for a conversation on the tremendous impact that World War One had on the Baltic states of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, particularly in terms of their relationship to Stalin’s Soviet Union and how the loss of life as well as the heroism the Latvians experienced during the war became the spark for independence from the Soviets 70 years later.

 

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For news and updates go to: filmmovement.com/blizzard-of-souls

** Latvia’s official submission for Best International Feature Film – 2021 Academy Awards **

Director’s Statement – First, the world is in the great place now. We live better than ever. We fight for human values which is impossible mission during the war. Many memories of soldiers tell how hard it was to live with themselves after they discovered animals within themselves, we can do sad things when fight for survival becomes real. However, the sad part is that still there are state leaders that can convince people to kill for some ideology, leaving other’s nothing else but to defend and then starting long and crazy circle of many tragedies. I hope the world can learn from the history and stop this nonsense. – Dzintars Dreibergs  

LATVIA’S BIGGEST BOX OFFICE SUCCESS IN 30 YEARS PREMIERES VIA VIRTUAL CINEMA ON JANUARY 8, 2021

About Virtual Cinema – Virtual cinema is video-on-demand streaming brought to you by Film Movement in partnership with local independent movie theaters, which allows you to stream first-run movies and revivals of classic films at home on your TV or on your mobile device prior to their availability on any other digital platform. The proceeds from your streaming rental is shared between Film Movement and the presenting art house movie theater of your choice, so all ticket purchases help support independent cinema.

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“A more realistic 1917” – The Hollywood Reporter

“The filmmakers are unafraid of the picturesque, lighting scenes so they resemble old-master canvases.” – Mark Jenkins, Slant Magazine

“An honest yet frenzied interpretation of the veracity of warfare, with utterly breathtaking cinematography, reminiscent of the brilliance of “Band of Brothers”…As the young, endearing lead, Brantevics is extraordinary” – Guy Lambert, The Upcoming

“Blizzard of Souls, the 1934 novel from which this is drawn, is based on author Aleksandrs Grīns’ own frontline experiences, and The Rifleman successfully captures the hazy, gauzy quality of memory.” – Ellen E Jones, Guardian

“One of the best war films of the last few years.” – Rob Aldam, Backseat Mafia

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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Night Stalker – Director Tiller Russell

The Netflix limited docu-series Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer tells the spellbinding true story of how one of the most notorious serial killers in American history was hunted down and brought to justice. In the sweltering summer of 1985, a record-breaking heatwave hit Los Angeles, along with a series of murders and sexual assaults that at first seemed disconnected. The victims were men, women, and children. They ranged in age from six to 82, coming came from different neighborhoods, racial backgrounds and socioeconomic levels. Never before in criminal history had a single killer been responsible for such a grisly array of crimes.  Racing against the clock to stop this nocturnal monster were a young detective named Gil Carrillo from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the legendary homicide investigator Frank Salerno. As they worked tirelessly to solve the case, the media hounded their tracks, and panic gripped California.  Told through harrowing first-person interviews, gripping archival footage and spectacular original photography, this four-part series represents the definitive telling of this iconic L.A. real-life horror story, painting a portrait of how it felt to live in fear at a time when absolutely anyone could be the Night Stalker’s next victim. Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer director Tiller Russell joins us to talk about his deep dive into truly terrifying chapter of Southern California history, capturing the palpable fear that gripped and connected so many communities in 1985 and the people who brought Richard Ramirez to justice.

 

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To watch go to: netflix.com/nightstalker

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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)

Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults – Director Clay Tweel

Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults is a thorough examination of the infamous UFO cult through the eyes of its former members and loved ones. What started in 1975 with the disappearance of 20 people from a small town in Oregon, ended in 1997 with the largest suicide on US soil and changed the face of modern New Age religion forever. This HBO Max four-part docu-series uses never-before-seen footage and first-person accounts to explore the infamous UFO cult that shocked the nation with their out-of-this-world beliefs. Director and Producer Clay Tweel joins us for a rollicking conversation on one of the most sensational and compelling collection of intelligent, engaging, and spiritually inspired people to ever embrace a collection of beliefs, brought to them by former minister and natal nurse, that eventually led them to hitch a ride on an undetectable space ship heading for parts unknown.

 

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Heaven’s Gate: Cult of Cults can be seen on: hbomax.com

In the beginning… The son of a Presbyterian minister and a former soldier, Marshall Applewhite began his foray into biblical prophecy in the early 1970s. After being fired from the University of St. Thomas in HoustonTexas over an alleged relationship with one of his male students, he met Bonnie Nettles, a 44-year-old married nurse with an interest in theosophy and biblical prophecy, in March 1972. According to Applewhite’s writings, the two met in a hospital where she worked while he was visiting a sick friend there. It has been rumored that it was a psychiatric hospital, but Nettles was substituting for another nurse working with premature babies in the nursery.  Applewhite later recalled that he felt as though he had known Nettles for a long time and concluded that they had met in a past life. She told him their meeting had been foretold to her by extraterrestrials, persuading him that he had a divine assignment. – (from Wikipedia) 

About the filmmaker – Clay Tweel is a native Virginian living in Los Angeles, California. Clay is a documentary director/producer/editor with a passion for telling great character based stories. His works include Make Believe, Print the Legend, Finders Keepers, Out of Omaha and Gleason – the last of which was shortlisted for an Academy Award and named one of the 5 best documentaries of 2016 by the National Board of Review. His features have been distributed by Showtime, Netflix, and Amazon Studios while working closely with companies that include Open Road, The Orchard and Exhibit A. Most recently, Clay executive produced and directed all six episodes of The Innocent Man, a true crime doc series for Netflix based on John Grisham’s only non fiction book. He is currently directing a feature documentary and producing numerous projects under his banner Parkside Films. claytweel.com

About the filmmaker – Shannon Riggs is a producer with a diverse background in film spanning multiple genres and scales. Alongside award winning director Clay Tweel, she produced the Netflix 6 part docu-series, The Innocent Man, and the Academy Award shortlisted documentary Gleason. Recently Shannon produced The Smartest Kids In the World based on Amanda Ripley’s New York Times bestseller, which premiered at DOC NYC in 2018 and was directed by Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner, Tracy Droz Tragos. Shannon was a Sundance Fellow and participant in their 2015  Female Filmmaker Initiative.  She is also honored to be a member of Women in Film and actively mentors young filmmakers through various industry programs.   She is currently producing a feature documentary and numerous projects under her banner Parkside Films with co-founder and director Clay Tweel.

86% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Heaven’s Gate: Cult of Cults is a thoughtful assessment of the mechanisms of how otherwise smart, savvy people are attracted to fringe beliefs. It takes a story that is larger than life and brings it solidly back to earth.” – Ashlie D. Stevens, Salon.com

“What The Cult Of Cults does very effectively is tell the story of the organization, showing why it attracted members and held onto them for so long.” – Joel Keller, Decider

“Viewers may bob in and out during the first few episodes, though it’s worth sticking out for the grand finale, as sickening as it is oddly poignant.” – Ryan Lattanzio, indieWire

“The human toll isn’t lost among the kooky, UFO-centric beliefs of Ti and Do’s followers.” – Beau North, The Spool

Actor Azura Skye, The Swerve

In Dean Kapsalis’s feature film debut, THE SWERVE, we meet Holly, (Azura Skye) woman who seemingly has it all: two kids, a nice house, a good job as a teacher, and a husband with his career on the way up. But there are troubling signs that all is not right in her world. The insomnia. The medication for the insomnia. The dreams from the medication for the insomnia. (Are they even dreams?) And then there’s the mouse that appears in her home. Upsetting her already delicate balance, it sends her spiraling out of control. Writer/director Dean Kapsalis’ emotionally raw and unsparing film, THE SWERVE, explores a week in the life of a woman on the verge in this haunting meditation on mental illness. Actor Azura Skye joins us to talk about her preparation and collaboration with director / writer Kapsalis as well as the physical challenges of playing such a demanding role.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: epic-pictures.com/film/the-swerve

About the actor – Azura Skye is a Los Angeles native whose gemologist parents named her after the mineral azurite. Skye began her career in the theatre as a child and segued into film and television in her teens, where she’s since managed to garner a lengthy resume. Skye’s credits include the films 28 DAYS, BANDITS, RED DRAGON, ONE MISSED CALL, HEAVEN’S FALL and WRISTCUTTERS: A LOVE STORY. On the small screen she has appeared in numerous television shows including BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, HOUSE M.D., THE MENTALIST, AMERICAN HORROR STORY, GIRLS, and RIVERDALE. She starred in the NBC comedy WORKING THE ENGELS and in the independent feature TAKE ME TO THE RIVER, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

Social Media
#AzuraSkye
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facebook.com/TheSwerveMovie
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98% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Azura Skye’s tremendous performance [is] as unblinkingly honest as anything Gena Rowlands has done.” – Sheila O’Malley, RogerEbert.com

“The Swerve’s devastating depiction of domestic depression is elevated by an astonishing, tortured performance from Azura Skye.” – Shaun Munro, Flickering Myth

“Azura Skye’s broken, powerhouse performance animates this brittle psychological thriller about a woman on the edge.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

“…no less irresistible and poisonous than the nation’s prevailing patriarchy, making Holly’s violent deviation from her prescribed homemaking path the last tragic swerve of a woman in trouble.” – Anton Bitel, Sight and Sound

“It is an amazingly cathartic experience. I’m incredibly impressed that Dean Kapsalis was able to convey the suffering of a woman so well, without belittling or objectifying Holly in the process.” – Lorry Kikta, Film Threat

“A beautiful and brutal study of depression, paranoia and the descent into the unthinkable. The message that Kapsalis voicing is one that, like Holly, needs to be heard.” – Kat Hughes, THN

Wander Darkly – Director Tara Miele

In WANDER DARKLY filmmaker Tara Miele explores grey, fuzzy light between reality and the sub-conscious In the aftermath of a traumatic incident, Adrienne (Sienna Miller) finds herself in a disorienting state of limbo, unstuck in time and witnessing life from a distance. Forced to confront her troubled relationship with her longtime partner, Matteo (Diego Luna), and the future of their infant daughter, Adrienne must relive and renegotiate the events of the recent past—and solve the mystery of the accident. Stepping into the shadows with Matteo, Adrienne looks for clues about what went wrong between them. Gently moving between the enigmatic and the romantic,  WANDER DARKLY traverses genre borders, taking us on a journey that is both uncanny and emotionally resonant. Miller gives a wonderfully layered performance, navigating the film’s demanding tonal shifts. Luna is both elusive and engaged, walking the line between the film’s ethereal and earthly planes. Writer-director Tara Miele’s joins us for a lively conversation on her highly affecting existential drama that explores how we build narratives of love and loss from the fragmented memories of our lives and how we all live in a world where navigating the overwhelming truths of or daily lives can help us discover the love that binds us to each other as we face an uncertain future.

 

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

About the filmmaker – Tara Miele is a filmmaker originally from Long Island. She built her career working in both film and television, including directing three micro-budget features. She is perhaps most well known for her work that went viral in 2016 with the short film Meet a Muslim. Miele aims to create socially conscious work, and when she isn’t doing that, she is raising two daughters. Both love that their mom went viral. Tara became known for the viral video ‘Meet a Muslim’ which she created to combat Islamophobia. The video has been shared around the world over 45 million times. For television she directed the backdoor pilot Green Arrow and The Canaries, and has directed episodes of Arrow, Batwoman and Hawaii Five-0, as well as four micro budget feature films. She is a graduate of Ryan Murphy’s Half Foundation and the CBS Directing Initiative. Looking forward, Tara aims to create more socially conscious work in an effort to build bridges and conversations.

Social Media
twitter.com/WanderDarkly
twitter.com/TaraMiele
instagram.com/wanderdarkly
instagram.com/tara_miele
instagram.com/siennamillerofficially
instagram.com/diegoluna_
@WanderDarkly

“Miller helps this emotionally complicated material to succeed. She is willing to take Adrienne to dangerous and unlikable places and is believable as a possible ghost, a shattered trauma survivor, and a romantic heroine.” – Anita Katz, San Francisco Examiner

“[A] beautiful film.” – Sheila O’Malley, RogerEbert.com

“Miller and Luna are superb, traversing a range of emotional material without a false note. It’s their anger, their confusion, and their love that breathes life into the movie.” – Karen Gordon, Original Cin

“Sienna Miller and Diego Luna put on a clinic in screen chemistry in this melancholy puzzle-picture romance.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

“Miele directs her two leads to excellent performances, and she’s willing to take risks as a filmmaker.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com