TIME, Director Garrett Bradley

Fox Rich is a fighter. The entrepreneur, abolitionist and mother of six boys has spent the last two decades campaigning for the release of her husband, Rob G. Rich, who is serving a 60-year sentence for a robbery they both committed in the early 90’s in a moment of desperation. Combining the video diaries Fox has recorded for Rob over the years with intimate glimpses of her present-day life, TIME director Garrett Bradley paints a mesmerizing portrait of the resilience and radical love necessary to prevail over the endless separations of the country’s prison-industrial complex. Bradley won the U.S. Documentary Directing Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and is the first Black woman to be awarded the prize with TIME, her documentary feature debut. Director and producer Garrett Bradley joins us to talk about her beautifully rendered look into the most intimate moments of a determined matriarch and a family grappling with a life lived under the relentless cloud of uncertainty.

 

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To watch beginning on October 16 go to: amazon.com/TIME-Garrett-Bradley

TIME will open in select theaters on October 9 ahead of its global launch on Amazon Prime Video on October 16.

About the filmmaker – Garrett Bradley works across narrative, documentary, and experimental modes of filmmaking to address themes such as race, class, familial relationships, social justice, southern culture, and the history of film in the United States. Bradley has received numerous prizes which include the 2019 Prix de Rome, and the 2017 Sundance Jury Prize for the short film “Alone,” which was released by The New York Times OpDocs And became an Oscar Contender for short nonfiction filmmaking, included in Academy Shortlist. Bradleys work can be seen across a variety of spaces including her Second Unit Directing work on Ava DuVernays “When They See Us” and the 2019 Whitney Biennial. In December of this 2019, Bradley’s first solo exhibition opened at The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH), curated by Rebecca Matalon. In January of 2020, Bradley became the first Black American woman to receive Best Director at the 2020 Sundance Film festival for her first feature length documentary, “Time.” For more go to: garrettabradley.com

Sundance 2020 – Directing Award: U.S. Documentary

The Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2020 – The Charles E. Guggenheim Emerging Artist Award

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“A vibrant cubist portrait, alive with shadings of Rich’s vulnerability and the psychic bruises from dealing with an indifferent correctional system, expensive lawyers and unresponsive courts.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

“A formally stunning masterwork of empathy, exhaustion, love, and rage.” – Jordan Raup, The Film Stage

“While gripping from start to finish, there isn’t a minute of “Time” that feels engineered for our entertainment.” – David Ehrlich, indieWire

“Transcendent yet down-to-earth.” – Beandrea July, Hyperallergic

“It’s an enormous achievement to crystallize two decades of both fighting and loving in 81 minutes, as Bradley never takes Rich’s voice away to patronize or preach to the viewer about what we should care about.” – Ella Kemp, WeLoveCinema

Belly of the Beast, 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

PUSH, Director Fredrik Gertten & Subject Leilani Farha

Fredrik Gertten’s latest documentary, PUSH, is a searing indictment of the systemic corruption that continues to drive the world’s affordable housing toward the edge of collapse. All of which is happening while many of the world’s largest financial and real estate institutions are facilitating a tidal wave of dark money from organized crime, human trafficking, illicit drugs trade and illegal tax “shelters” into the legitimate world of finance. Housing prices are skyrocketing in cities around the world. Incomes are not. PUSH sheds light on a new kind of faceless landlord, our increasingly unliveable cities and an escalating crisis that has an effect on us all. This is not gentrification, it’s a different kind of monster. PUSH follows Leilani Farha, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, as she’s travels the globe, trying to understand who’s being pushed out of the city and why. Director Fredrik Gertten and film subject Leilani Farha join us for a spirited conversation on the state of the world’s housing stock and how homeownership, real estate and high finance has been such a determinate factor on our society, both past and present.

 

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

About the subject – Leilani Farha has a background in advocacy for the homeless and for three years Leilani was the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, with the right to hold governments accountable if they don’t meet the human rights obligations in the UN Human Rights Charter. She believes that if we really want to make change to ensure people can live in the city.then we have to be able to hold someone responsible for what is going on. Currently Leilani is the Global Director for Make the Shift, a worldwide movement to secure the human right to housing. 

About the filmmaker – Fredrik Gertten is an award-winning Swedish director and journalist. His latest works BECOMING ZLATAN (2016), BIKES VS CARS (2015), BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS!* (2012) and BANANAS!* (2009) have met audiences in over 100 countries and screened at leading festivals. In 1994, Fredrik founded the production company WG Film. He previously worked as a foreign correspondent and columnist for radio, TV and press in Africa, Latin America, Asia and around Europe. Today he combines filmmaking with a role as a creative producer at WG Film – one of Sweden’s most prominent documentary production companies, famous for local stories with a global understanding and impact. In October 2017 Fredrik was named Honorary Doctor at Malmö University’s Faculty of Culture and Society for his work as a documentary filmmaker. 

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Public Trust, Director David Garrett Byars

One of the most important documentaries of the year, Public Trust is a film that needs to be seen by everyone who enjoys getting out in nature. Although many of us take the 640 million acres of America’s Public Lands for granted, these lands are endangered by powerful forces that are attempting the largest land grab in modern history. By focusing on the eminent destruction of the Boundary Waters Wilderness in Minnesota, the downsizing of Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, and the wholesale appropriation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, director David Garrett Byars enlists a slew of journalists, land historians, tribal leaders, and government whistleblowers to present a highly persuasive argument that is impossible to ignore and vital to hear. Above all else, as Executive Producer Robert Redford tells us,Public Trust is the story of citizens who are fighting back. It’s a much-needed wake-up call for all of us who want to preserve our unique and wild cultural heritage. Director David Garrett Byars joins us to talk about the on-going schemes by the most pernicious corporate interest to steal our heritage and how a growing group of dedicated and non-partisan people from around the country are thwarting them.

 

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For news and updates go to: patagonia.com/films/public-trust

Our public lands are under threat. Join us in the fight to protect them. Text ‘DEFEND’ to 71333.

Public Trust will premiere on Friday September 25 on YouTube Watch it for free for the next 30 days,

About the filmmaker – David Garrett Byars made his directorial debut at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival with No Man’s Land, a documentary about the 2016 militia occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge that sparked international headlines. Byars also produced and lensed Massacre River, Suzan Beraza’s film about statelessness in the Dominican Republic.

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“If Donald Trump ever stands trial for crimes against the public interest, this film should be entered as evidence.” – Louis Proyect, Counterpunch.org

“Don’t miss it.” – Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News

“Public Trust is calling for advocacy instead of just interest…and makes the case for why we all should be invested. It’s a beautiful documentary, and an important one.” – Tom Santilli, Movie Show Plus

“The documentary is conventionally structured and sometimes placid, but it has an alarming message.” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times

“Public Trust is calling for advocacy instead of just interest…and makes the case for why we all should be invested. It’s a beautiful documentary, and an important one.” – Tom Santilli, Movie Show Plus

All In: The Fight for Democracy, Co-directors Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortes

ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY is a riveting examination of voter suppression in the United States of America. The film weaves rich archival storytelling with the personal experiences of experts, activists, and would-be voters deprived of their rights. Current activism as well as historical insight expose what corrupted our democracy from the moment it was founded. Every time we the people take a step toward a more just and equal nation — granting rights to the disenfranchised, from women’s suffrage to desegregation — new forces and obstacles emerge that require us to fight for the right to vote once again. Stacey Abrams, the former Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives and the first female African-American major-party gubernatorial nominee, offers an insider’s look at the patchwork of laws and barriers designed to hinder voting. Many U.S citizens remain unaware of this dangerous threat to their basic right to wield their power and raise their voices at the polls.ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY explores fundamental questions: Who gets to participate in our democracy, and who is pushed aside? How can we all fight back? Voting is the cog that makes the machinery of democracy work — and if the machinery breaks for some, it will eventually break for all. Co-directors Liz Garbus (Nothing Left Unsaid, I’lll Be Gone in the Dark, Lost Girls) and Lisa Cortes (The Apollo, The Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion, The Woodsman) join us to talk about how incredibly important voting rights are in determining the outcome of our elections and out quickly they can be taken away.

 

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ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY will open in select theaters on September 9th and will be available on Amazon Prime Video on September 18th.

About the filmmaker – Liz Garbus is a two-time Academy Award®-Nominee, two-time Emmy Winner, Peabody Winner, Grammy Nominee, DGA Nominee, BAFTA-nominated director. LOST GIRLS (Netflix, 2020) is Garbus’ narrative feature debut, starring Amy Ryan, Gabriel Byrne, and Thomasin McKenzie. When Mari Gilbert’s daughter disappears, police inaction drives her own investigation into the gated Long Island community where Shannan was last seen. Her search brings attention to over a dozen murdered sex workers Mari will not let the world forget. LOST GIRLS will premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and then will be released in theaters and on Netflix.For more on the work of Liz Garbus go to: storysyndicate.com/work

About the filmmaker – Lisa Cortes Executive producer After graduating she went into the music business where she worked with Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin, the founders of Def Jam. Cortes then joined the staff at Mercury Records. After leaving the music industry, Cortes turned her interests to film. She enrolled at the School of Visual Arts in New York and later the New York Film Academy. A producer and close friend, Lee Daniels, was producing Monster’s Ball and Cortes and Daniels together subsequently collaborated on movies such as Woodsman (2004), Shadowboxer (2005), Tennessee (2008), and Precious (2009). Cortes founded her own company, Cortes Films in 2010. Cortes Films has produced two films Happy Birthday to a Beautiful Woman: a Portrait of My Mother, a film about Mickalene Thomas’ mother and her struggle with aging and kidney disease, and Kwaku Ananse a film about West African fables of Kwaku Ananse and a young woman named, Nyan Koronhwea, attending her estranged father’s funeral while trying to come to terms with her father’s double life. 

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“A documentary of supreme relevance that has the effect, at once chilling and rousing, of a political cautionary tale.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“All In: The Fight for Democracy is a must-watch documentary…” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

“Voter suppression is broken down within an inch of its life with this informative, no holds barred documentary from Liz Garbus and Stacey Abrams. Our vote has never counted more and been more crucial. Don’t let you democracy be robbed!” – Carla Renata, The Curvy Film Critic

“Stacy Abrams’ urgent, powerful , and compelling documentary about voter rights and the attempt to suppress them could and should have a real world impact this election season.” – Pete Hammond, Deadline Hollywood Daily

The Mole Agent, Director Maite Alberdi

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Starting at Zero (Reimagining Education in America), Director Willa Kammerer

Starting at Zero (Reimagining Education in America) explores the power of investing in high-quality early childhood education so that all children and families have the opportunity to attain the American Dream. The film brings together the voices of policymakers, educators, academics, business leaders, pediatricians, parents, and children. Starting at Zero features five current and past governors who are champions of early childhood education: Governors Steve Bullock of Montana, Kay Ivey of Alabama, and Ralph Northam of Virginia, as well as former Governors Jim Hunt of North Carolina, and Phil Bryant of Mississippi. Starting at Zero examines the latest developmental brain science to demonstrate how essential the earliest years of learning are to maximize human potential. Key features of high-quality early childhood learning environments and experiences are outlined and then brought to life as the film delves into the evolution of Alabama’s #1 nationally ranked state Pre-K program. Director Willa Kammerer joins us to talk about the increasing awareness of early childhood education, why is it so critical to our nation’s current and future success and the long-term societal benefits of a maximizing human potential

 

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For neews, screenings and updates go to: startingatzerofilm.com

About the filmmakers – Willa Kammerer, Director & Co-Producer is a documentary director and producer based in Providence, RI, and runs the creative agency Firestarter Interactive. Willa is committed to using film and storytelling to improve the wellbeing of people and the planet, and has deep experience working with education institutions, nonprofits, and foundations to bring this vision to life. Willa began her career as an intern in public radio, studied radio storytelling at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, and holds a B.A. in Italian from Middlebury College, as well as professional certificates from Georgetown University in Social Impact Storytelling and Social Impact Partnership Design. She is also a graduate of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses. Starting at Zerois her first feature-length documentary.

***Accolade Global Film Competition Award of Excellence***
***Film Invasion Los Angeles Audience Choice Award for Outstanding Documentary Film***
 
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The Prison Within, Director Katherin Hervey and Producer Erin Kenway

Katherine Hervey’s emotionally charged new documentary THE PRISON WITHIN exposes the devastating impact untreated trauma has on individuals and communities through the powerful stories of survivors of violent crimes and prisoners incarcerated for murder in San Quentin prison. The prisoners and survivors come together and participate in the Victim Offender Education Group (VOEG)—an innovative restorative justice program enabling prisoners to discover how the trauma they’ve experienced contributed to their criminality and to understand the impact their crimes have on their victims. Together, the prisoners and survivors confront and expose the pain, shame, and rage caused by the extreme trauma they’ve experienced throughout their lives. THE PRISON WITHIN goes beyond why and how the system is inadequate, deftly exposing the torment experienced by people on both sides of prison walls. Through personal stories illustrative of the systemic injustices that perpetuate cycles of violence and trauma, this film lays a path to heal and reconcile our notions of justice. The Prison Within is narrated by Hill Harper (The Good Doctor, Homeland, CSI:NY, Covert Affairs) and author of Letters to an Incarcerated Brother, which speaks to the current mass incarceration crisis. Director Katherin Hervey, a former Los Angeles Public Defender and volunteer prison college instructor, and Producer Erin Kenway, is the first filmmaker to gain access to chronicle these intimate and revealing sessions inside San Quentin Prison.

 

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

THE PRISON WITHIN is now available on all VOD/Digital & Blu-Ray/DVD platforms.

About the filmmakers – Director / Producer / Writer Katherin Hervey is a multimedia artist and activist. She has over a decade of experience in the criminal justice field as both an attorney and prison university educator. Katherin received her Bachelor’s degree in Cross-cultural Communications in America from University of Washington and is a graduate of Vancouver Film School. She also holds a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School. Prior to law school, she was the Publisher and Editor-In-Chief of Shades of Contradiction, a nationally distributed arts and culture magazine dedicated to promoting critical thinking and creative action. Katherin has produced, directed and art-directed short documentary and narrative films, including “Bob vs. The Incubus” (Best Documentary, Vancouver Film School Festival), and was the Art Director for “Her Urge” (Best Short Film, Sydney Mardi Gras Film Festival and Outstanding Women’s Short, Dallas Out Takes Festival). Katherin is also Co-founder of Raw Love Productions, a multimedia production ensemble dedicated to visual storytelling with social and artistic value. She is currently co-producing The Spirit of a Child, an interactive web documentary based in Ghana, West Africa. The Prison Within is her first feature film.

About the filmmaker – Producer / Writer / Executive Producer Erin Kenway graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree with honors from University of California, Irvine, majoring in both Criminology, Law & Society, and Psychology & Social Behavior. She holds a Juris Doctorate degree from Seattle University School of Law, is admitted to the National Order of the Barristers, and is a certified mediator. Prior to shifting careers to focus full-time on independent filmmaking, she practiced law for over a decade primarily represented economically disadvantaged victims of domestic violence in civil dissolution and child custody cases, and also served on several committees for both the Washington State and King County Bar Associations. She was also a Global Campaign Manager for broadcast, print, digital, and social advertising campaigns for Amazon’s award-winning Brand / Mass Advertising team. She is the co-founder of Tarina Productions, which is currently in development on multiple feature documentaries.

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Andorra Hustle, Director Eric Merola

Andorra, a tiny, independent country situated between France and Spain in the Pyrenees mountains with a total population of 80,000 people found itself at the center of one of the most convoluted and outrageous bank robberies in modern history: on March 10, 2015, Banca Privada d’Andorra (BPA), a private bank in Andorra, was shut down by Spanish, American, and Andorran governments in Spain’s efforts to destroy the Catalonian Independence Movement thus leaving dozens of innocent civilians facing prison for money laundering crimes that never existed, and scores of innocent families have had their entire life savings stolen from them. The incentive for the Spanish government to destroy BPA was part of Spain’s ongoing “Operation Catalonia”—a covert state-sponsored war-like operation meant to undermine the progress of Catalonia’s efforts to separate from Spain due to generations of  humanitarian and economic repression Madrid has inflicted upon Catalonia. America’s incentive was to protect Spain’s interests, as they are an ally of the United States. Andorra’s incentive appears to be purely economical on behalf of its leadership.  Director Eric Merola, (Burzynski, Second Opinion: Laetrile at Sloan-Kettering, Burzynski: The Cancer Cure Cover-Up, and The God Cells) joins us to talk about this shocking, but true story of an international banking system, and a regulatory oversight regime that is only incidentally concerned with banking integrity or financial criminality.

 

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For news and updates go to: andorrahustle.com

Merola Productions is proud to present the VOD release of THE ANDORRA HUSTLE, a documentary film written and directed by the award-winning filmmaker Eric Merola. The film will be available for streaming on Amazon Prime on September 4, 2020. 

To Watch Andorra Hustle go to: amazon.com/Andorra Hustle

About the filmmaker – Eric Merola is an internationally award-winning documentary filmmaker. For the last decade Eric has directed and produced four documentaries exploring disruptive scientific technologies in the space of medical research. All of his documentaries can be viewed on Amazon Prime Video Merola’s 5th documentary, The Andorra Hustle, releases worldwide in English, Spanish, and Catalan on Amazon Prime Video.  Merola’s first documentary, Burzynski: Cancer Is Serious Business was an international success seen by tens of millions of people worldwide. This project was presented on Netflix, PBS, The Documentary Channel, and various international television outlets. The positive reception of the Burzynski story led Merola to produce its sequel, Burzynski: Cancer Is Serious Business, Part II Merola’s third documentary, Second Opinion: Laetrile At Sloan-Kettering tells the story of Ralph W. Moss, PhD, who blew the whistle on the successful laetrile studies conducted for 5 years at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City in the 1970s. Today, Eric Merola is most passionate about investigating fetal stem cell therapy, where he spent four years researching and releasing his most recent documentary, The God Cells: A Fetal Stem Cell Journey. Merola continues to follow new patients who seek fetal stem cell treatment and share their stories. Merola feels that fetal stem cells could be the most disruptive technology he’s discovered in the medical research space, potentially replacing nearly every pharmaceutical medication on the market. Eric is also a painter and fine art currently holding a residency at the 18th Street Studios in Santa Monica.

Coup 53, Director Taghi Armirani and Editor Walter Murch

While making a documentary about the Anglo-American coup in Iran in 1953, director Taghi Amirani and editor Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now, Godfather IIdiscovered extraordinary, never-before-seen archival material that had been hidden for decades. The 16mm footage and documents they uncovered not only allowed them to tell the story of the overthrow of the Iranian government in unprecedented detail, but it also led to explosive revelations about dark secrets buried for 67 years. Working with Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Schindler’s List, The English Patient) to help bring the lost material to life, what begins as a historical documentary about four days in August 1953 turns into a live investigation, taking the filmmakers into uncharted cinematic waters. Ten years in the making, COUP 53 tells the story of the 1953 the Anglo-American coup d’état that overthrew Iran’s government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh and reinstalled the Shah. The CIA/MI6 covert action was called Operation Ajax. It was all about Iran’s oil and who gets to control and benefit from it. BP was at the heart of this story. Shot in seven countries, featuring participants and first-hand witnesses, and unearthing never seen before archive material, COUP 53 is a politically explosive and cinematically innovative documentary that lifts the lid on secrets buried for over sixty-six years. Director Taghi Armirani and Editor / Writer Walter Murch join us to talk about their own journey to tell the definitive story behind one of the 20th Century’s most consequential geo-political events.

 

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For news and updates go to:coup53.com

To watch go to: coup53.com/screenings

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“A MASTERPIECE OF POLITICAL INTERVENTION. Beyond extraordinary.” – Ariel Dorfman, Author and human rights activist

 “BREATHTAKING. THE MOST ENTHRALLING AND REVELATORY DOCUMENTARY I’VE SEEN OVER THE PAST YEAR. Remarkable. Taghi Amirani’s passionate and fearless work grew from an impudent home movie into a magnum opus.” – Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

 “As compelling as a John Le Carré novel or a Costa-Gavras classic.” – Allan Hunter, Screen International

 “This is big.” – Werner Herzog, Filmmaker

Blood Rider, Director Jon Kasbe

In the riveting new short format documentary film, BLOOD RIDERS, from director Jon Kasbe (When Lambs Become Lions, Nascent, Mipso in Japan), focuses on the crippling blood shortage crisis and standstill traffic that plagues most hours of the day in Nigeria. On far too many days it can take over 24 hours to transport blood to patients in critical need. Joseph, one of the city’s motorcycle “blood riders,” can deliver blood to hospitals in under an hour. For mothers in labor, particularly in the case of Deborah dealing with a difficult delivery, this is often the difference between life and death.  Director Kasbe gives us an incredible sense of intimacy with his characters. BLOOD RIDERS puts us  there on the motorcycle and in the delivery room with Deborah and her husband. It boggles the mind. Director Jon Kasbe joins us for a conversation about the dire situation facing the people of Nigeria, a country of inadequate infrastructure, substandard health care capacity and systemic corruption, where a few dedicated people are determined to come to the aid of the most vulnerable among them.

 

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For news and updates go  to: jonkasbe.com/#/blood-rider

About the filmmaker: Jon Kasbe is an Emmy Award-winning Australian-Indian director and cinematographer. His debut feature, “When Lambs Become Lions,” was a 2017 Sundance Documentary Fund recipient, won Best Editing at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, and was nominated for two 2019 IDA Awards in Best Cinematography and Best Editing. The film was released theatrically across the United States by Oscilloscope Laboratories and is now available on Apple TV and Amazon. His short films have screened at festivals worldwide and been recognized by SXSW, Hot Docs, Webbys, Vimeo Staff Picks, Camerimage Film Festival, Sheffield Film Festival, and National Geographic. In 2018 he was selected for DOC NYC’s inaugural 40 Under 40 list. He is currently developing a new film in Concordia Studios Artist-in-Residence.  For more about his filmology go to: jonkasbe.com

Street Fighting Men, Director Andrew James

In a rapidly changing America where mass inequality and dwindling opportunity have devastated the black working class, three Detroit men must fight to build something lasting for themselves and future generations. STREET FIGHTING MEN takes a deep, observational dive into the lives of retired cop Jack Rabbit, who continues to patrol his own neighborhood as a citizen; Deris, who wants to further his education and serve as a role model for his baby daughter; and Luke, who labors mightily to rehab a dilapidated house while pulling together a meager living. Shot over three years in the neighborhoods of Detroit, STREET FIGHTING MEN is a story of hard work, faith and manhood in a community that never settles for defeat. STREET FIGHTING MEN takes place in the neighborhoods, where the real fight over Detroit’s future is being waged every day. For the people who live here, Detroit is not a blank slate, it is their home — where they have invested their lives, families, and memories. Director Andrew James joins us to talk about the grinding reality for people determined to do the right thing, get an education, provide for their families, promote a safe neighborhood, buy a home, but are faced with a crippling lack of resources or the opportunities to accomplish anything of last value.

 

For news and updates go to: streetfightingmen.com

firstrunfeatures.com/streetfightingmen

Watch Street Fighting Men at: ovid.tv/videos/street-fighting-men

Watch Street Fighting Men at: vimeo.com/ondemand/streetfightingmen

Director’s Statement – I became interested in making a film in Detroit after reading a Metro Times article about James “Jack Rabbit” Jackson. The article featured a picture of Jack Rabbit standing on a street corner at night with his partner, Keith, close behind him. The two men, Jack Rabbit in particular, had taken it upon themselves to be the neighborhood watch after the local police station shut down, and their story of resistance resonated with me. Jack Rabbit’s story and the struggle of his largely black working-class neighborhood is the story of our times. It has become increasingly hard to ignore how the US system is leaving behind poor, working-class and even middle-class people, many of whom are people of color, in favor of global economic interests. I wanted to create something personal and experiential, with an emphasis on the day-to-day, that could speak to this systemic decay of opportunity. I contacted Jack Rabbit and asked if we could meet. He was enthusiastic about the idea and excited to tell his story, and eager to help me understand the ups and downs of his neighborhood. After spending some time in Detroit and getting to know Jack Rabbit, we began shooting with Deris and Luke as well. It was then that I decided to move to Detroit – to capture their stories in real time. I felt that a longitudinal, fly on the wall style would allow me time to get to know the community better and find the story in collaboration with the subjects. This extended time allowed me to form close bonds with the three men, as well as others in the community, and it gave me a unique opportunity to tell their story in a very personal way. – Andrew James, Director/Editor/Cinematographer

Social Media
facebook.com/streetfightingmenfilm
twitter.com/SFM_Doc
instagram.com/streetfightingmen

 

“Stories of the death and rebirth of [Detroit] are familiar, but Andrew James’s documentary conveys the experience of living there. From the beginning there’s an undercurrent of weariness, of the wear and tear of living in a place to which the rest of the world — or rather, the movie strongly implies, the white world, the money world — has grown indifferent.” – Glenn Kenny, The New York Times

“A painful but honest depiction of black life in urban Detroit, featuring multifaceted men striving against the odds. A portrait of black resilience and perseverance — without sentimentality — that stands in stark contrast to the one-dimensional stories of transformation, but still offers a way out of the dark.” – April Wolfe, Film Critic & Writer

“An incisive, intimate and enlightening cinematic gaze on Detroit, Street Fighting Men triumphs as an authentic story of resilience in a neighborhood that will never settle for defeat.” – Les Roka, The Utah Review

“For those curious about Detroit, this is one of the essential docs.” – Inney Prakash, Cinema Programmer, Maysles Documentary Center

2040, Director Damon Gameau

Award-winning Director Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film) embarks on a journey to explore what the future could look like by the year 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to us to improve our planet and shifted them rapidly into the mainstream. Structured as a visual letter to his 4-year-old daughter, Damon blends traditional documentary with dramatized sequences and high-end visual effects to create a vision board of how these solutions could regenerate the world for future generations. Director Damon Gameau joins us to talk about the how current, scalable technologies are available that can mitigate the damage being done by the scourge of climate damage and move us toward a cleaner, sustainable life for the planet and humanity.

 

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For news and updates go to: madmanfilms.com.au/2040film

For news and updates go to: whatsyour2040.com

Watch 2040 at togetherfilms.org/2040-screenings

Get Involved 

“We have partnered with the curriculum experts at Cool Australia to build a comprehensive package of units of work for upper primary and secondary. These free lesson plans are learning recipes for teachers that utilise short clips from the film to support classroom learning, providing step-by-step instructions, student workshops and engaging content. We interviewed over 100 children from around the world for 2040 and asked them what their hopes and dreams were for the future. It is a world they will be inheriting from us so we have to show them that solutions exist, that there are people who care deeply about their future, and that wonderful careers await with genuine purpose and meaning.” – Damon Gameau 

Visit the “Resources for Teachers” page and sign-up to our Schools Mailing list to learn more about opportunities for schools and to receive updates on when localized curriculum resources will be available in your country.

Social Media
facebook.com/2040Film
twitter.com/2040Film
instagram.com/2040film

 

“2040 might just shift your world for the better.” – Liam Maguren, Flicks.co.nz

“Gameau pulls away from the apocalyptic doomsaying hard-wired into so much of the enviro-debate…Wisely, his speculations are restricted by the self-imposed discipline that they all need to be rooted in practices that already exist. A very smart move.” – Jim Schembri, 3AW

“None of the ideas explored here are purely theoretical or pie in the sky. Whether technological or systems-based solutions, they all exist now and could be massively expanded to huge global benefit.” –Lynden Barber, Limelight

“Gameau defaults to the position of inspiring people rather than alarming or overwhelming them. You leave the film wanting more, not less, of these sorts of productions.” – Luke Buckmaster, Guardian

“You can’t please everyone. Gameau is at least doing what he can to talk about some big problems, in an entertaining and accessible way.” – Paul Byrnes, Sydney Morning Herald

The Booksellers, Director D.W. Young

D.W. Young’s elegant and absorbing documentary, THE BOOKSELLERS, is a lively tour of New York’s book world, populated by an assortment of obsessives, intellects, eccentrics and dreamers, past and present: from the Park Avenue Armory’s annual Antiquarian Book Fair, where original editions can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars; to the Strand and Argosy bookstores, still standing against all odds; to the beautifully crammed apartments of collectors and buyers. The film, executive produced by Parker Posey, features a range of commentators, including Fran Lebowitz, Susan Orlean, Gay Talese, and a community of dedicated book dealers and collectors who strongly believe in the wonder of the object and what it holds within. Director D.W. David Young joins us to talk about his endearing look into a vanishing institution, local bookstores, and the people who love them and the treasures they hold.

 

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About the filmmaker – D.W. Young / Director and Editor – D.W. Young’s films have screened at festivals around the world including SXSW, Vancouver International Film Festival, Maryland Film Festival, Provincetown Film Festival, Sarasota Film Festival and many more. His features A HOLE IN A FENCE and THE HAPPY HOUSE were released by First Run Features. Most recently his short A FAVOR FOR JERRY, filmed on election night 2016, premiered at IFF Boston.

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

The Booksellers is being distributed through greenwichentertainment.com

Social Media
facebook.com/BooksellersMovie
twitter.com/BooksellersDoc
instagram.com/booksellersdocumentary
facebook.com/GreenwichEntertainment
twitter.com/GreenwichET
instagram.com/greenwichentertainment

 

“Though it opens with a quote from Susan Sontag invoking Jorge Luis Borges’s belief… the film is not about the content, but the container – the tactile, redolent artifact essential to book lovers and sought by collectors.” – Peter Keough, Boston Globe

“[A] charming documentary about the book world – or more specifically the book-as-object world, with antiquarian booksellers trying to reinvent themselves and their industry in a digital era.” – Jennifer Szalai, New York Times

“The Booksellers is a documentary for people who treasure the sheer look and feel of books… As a proud member of this diminishing tribe of obsessives, I am grateful there exists a film featuring my spiritual kinfolk.” – Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

“Pays warm-hearted tribute to the reading, but also the shopping, the rifling, the obsessing, the complaining, the dreaming, the list-making, the shelf-organizing, and everything else book-lovers love to do.” – Elizabeth Weitzman, TheWrap

The Rescue List – Co-directors Alyssa Fedele and Zachary Fink

THE RESCUE LIST focuses on a hidden safe-house in the Ghanaian forest, where social workers help two children recover from a childhood enslaved to fishermen on Lake Volta – the largest man-made lake on Earth. But their story takes an unexpected turn when their rescuer embarks on another rescue mission and asks the children for help. THE RESCUE LIST charts the unfolding drama of these rescue operations alongside a stirring portrait of the boys’ recoveries as they prepare to return to their families. The film depicts a moving story of friendship and courage that transcends the trope of victimhood, exploring what it means to love and to survive. Co-directors Alyssa Fedele and Zachary Fink join us for an in-depth conversation on the ground truth about human trafficking in sub-Sahara Africa, gaining the access and the trust of all the people in the film and their own reflections on how witnessing these people’s stories has impacted them.

 

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To watch The Rescue List on PBS POV go to: therescuelist.com

About the filmmakers:

ALYSSA FEDELE – PRODUCER  //  DIRECTOR  //  EDITOR – Alyssa Fedele is a documentary filmmaker and anthropologist based in San Francisco.  In 2016, She produced and edited The Ride of Their Lives, directed by Steve James, about youth rodeo bull riding. It premiered at Sundance and is distributed by Amazon Studios in the series The New Yorker Presents. Her work has appeared on National Geographic Channel, Amazon Studios, and PBS, and screened at IDFA, SFFILM, and Big Sky Film Festival. Alyssa directed, produced, and edited The Rescue List, which screened at Full Frame and DOC NYC and won awards at BendFilm and Heartland International Film Festival.Alyssa is a former resident at SFFILM’s FilmHouse and she is a recipient of the SFFILM Documentary Film Fund. She has a master’s degree in visual anthropology from the University of Manchester.

ZACHARY FINK – PRODUCER // DIRECTOR // CINEMATOGRAPHER – Zachary Fink is a documentary filmmaker and cinematographer. His immersive observational approach to storytelling is deeply influenced by his academic roots in cultural anthropology and visual ethnography. He recently lensed Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s SXSW opening night premiere, State Of Pride, which takes an unflinching look at the diverse expression of Pride 50 years after Stonewall. Last year he spent a month at McMurdo Station in Antarctica where he field directed and shot a forthcoming PBS NOVA series about how science is conducted on the harshest continent. In 2016, Zachary produced  and filmed The Ride Of Their Lives, a short directed by Steve James about youth rodeo bull riding. It premiered at Sundance as part of the Amazon Studios series, The New Yorker Presents. His work has appeared on PBS, HBO, National Geographic Channel, and Discovery Channel, and he has produced and directed projects for Facebook, Apple, Google, and for the Harvard Film Study Center. Zachary has a master’s degree in cultural anthropology and an MFA in film production from California Institute of the Arts. Together with Alyssa Fedele, he runs the production company Collective Hunch.

 

Social Media
facebook.com/therescuelist
instagram.com/therescuelist
twitter.com/hashtag/therescuelist
twitter.com/hashtag/rescuelistpbs
#TheRescueList

 

“The Rescue List isn’t an exposé on the subject in the strictest terms, but by sticking close to those who’ve lived through such nightmares, Fedele and Fink tell the viewer all they need to know about the dangers involved.” – Andrew Parker, The Gate

“Stirring tale of children rescued from modern-day slavery.” – Stephen Farber, Hollywood Reporter

“Saving defenseless kids from the cruelty of Lake Volta must be some of the most challenging work imaginable, but The Rescue List ultimately resonates because of how little it can take to show them their own strength.” – David Ehrlich, indieWire

“Focusing on a rescue-and-rehabilitation organization and several youths it plucks from servitude, this is an involving indictment with enough individual human-interest elements to avoid being too much of a grim screed.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

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.

 

Social Media
facebook.com/independentlens
twitter.com/IndependentLens
instagram.com/independentlens
facebook.com/cookedthefilm
twitter.com/CookedTheFilm

 

St. Louis Superman, Director Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan

Bruce Franks Jr. is a 34-year-old battle rapper, Ferguson activist and state representative from St. Louis, Missouri. Known as Superman to his constituents, he is a political figure the likes of which you’ve never seen – full of contradictions and deep insights, who has overcome unspeakable loss to become one of the most exciting and unapologetic young leaders in the country. This short verité documentary follows Bruce at a critical juncture in his life, when he is forced to deal with the mental trauma he’s been carrying for the nearly 30 years since his 9-year-old brother was shot and killed in front of him, in order to find peace and truly fulfill his destiny as a leader for his community.  Co- director Smriti Mundhra  (Sami Khan) join us to talk about how a dynamic and charismatic man from a traumatized community took tragedy and turned into action.

About the filmmakers: Smriti Mundhras A SUITABLE GIRL  premiered at Tribeca in 2017 and won the Albert Maysles Award for Best New Documentary Director. KHOYASami Khan’s feature debut, was selected for the Tribeca Film Institute’s Tribeca All Access® fellowship.

 

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Social Media:
twitter.com/smritimundhra
facebook.com/smriti.mundhra
facebook.com/SamiKhan
twitter.com/samikhanfilm

 

Awards Shortlists:

Cinema Eye Honors – Short Listed – Best Short

DOC NYC – Best Shorts Short List

WINNER AUDIENCE AWARD – BEST SHORT DOC  – 2019 HOT DOCS FILM FESTIVAL – 2019 AFI DOCS FILM FESTIVAL – 2019 TRAVERSE CITY FILM FESTIVAL

WINNER – SPECIAL JURY AWARD  – 2019 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

WINNER – BEST SHORT DOC  – 2019 BIG SKY DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL

WINNER – BEST DOCUMENTARY – HEARTLAND FILM’S 2019 INDYSHORTS FILM FESTIVAL

“Thank you Mr. Mundhra. The film is powerful and simple.” – Lapacazo Sandoval, Los Angeles Sentinel

Island of the Hungry Ghosts, Director Gabrielle Brady

ISLAND OF THE HUNGRY GHOSTS takes place off the coast of Indonesia, in the Australian territory of Christmas Island, inhabited by migratory crabs traveling in their millions from the jungle towards the ocean, in a movement that has been provoked by the full moon for hundreds of thousands of years. Poh Lin Lee is a “trauma therapist” who lives with her family in this seemingly idyllic paradise. Every day, she talks with the asylum seekers held indefinitely in a high-security detention centre hidden in the island’s core, attempting to support them in a situation that is as unbearable as its outcome is uncertain. As Poh Lin and her family explore the island’s beautiful yet threatening landscape, the local islanders carry out their “hungry ghost” rituals for the spirits of those who died on the island without a burial. They make offerings to appease the lost souls who are said to be wandering the jungles at night looking for home. ISLAND OF THE HUNGRY GHOSTS is a hybrid documentary that moves between the natural migration and the chaotic and tragic migration of the humans, which is in constant metamorphoses by the unseen decision-making structures. Director Gabrielle Brady joins us to talk about her beautiful and quietly powerful tale of desperate people trapped in a place of pervasive uncertainty and a woman trying to help them cope.

 

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

** 2020 Spirit Award nominee for Best Documentary **

Tribeca Film FestivalAward for best documentary film

Mumbai International Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for best film

IDFAHuman rights award

Adelaide international Film Festival Winner best documentary film

 

Social Media

facebook.com/filmchristmasisland

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#islandofthehungryghosts

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#spiritawards

 

“ Island of the Hungry Ghosts is one of the year’s most impressively made documentaries, a film that’s as occasionally surreal as it is persistently moving. Island of the Hungry Ghosts is a true discovery.” – JOSHUA BRUNSTING, CRITERION CAST

“A documentary overflowing with empathy, poetry, and elemental power.”  – HUBERT VIGILLA, FLIXIST

“Hauntingly beautiful Island of the Hungry Ghosts combines multiple narratives…into one glorious whole… A mesmerizing work of visual wonder, the breathtaking images forming an evocative setting for a vital discussion of human rights… A stunning, visceral first feature, announcing the director as a major talent to watch”  – CHRISTOPHER LLEWELLYN REED, FILM FESTIVAL TODAY

“The best documentary award goes to a film that demonstrates extraordinary mastery of the full symphonic range of cinematic tools: cinematography, editing, score, sound design and, perhaps greatest of all, an exquisite use of metaphor. To a film that moved us deeply, impressed us immensely and made us feel we were witnessing nothing less than the emergence, fully formed, of a major new cinematic talent” – TRIBECA JURY

** Midnight Family, Director Luke Lorentzen

** Update – MIDNIGHT FAMILY is a shortlisted nominee for the 2020 ACADEMY AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY

MIDNIGHT FAMILY has won more than 25 national and international awards, played in 135 film festivals around the world. MIDNIGHT FAMILY is set in Mexico City, where the government operates fewer than 45 emergency ambulances for a population of 9 million. This has spawned an underground industry of for-profit ambulances often run by people with little or no training or certification. An exception in this ethically fraught, cutthroat industry, the Ochoa family struggles to keep their financial needs from jeopardizing the people in their care. When a crackdown by corrupt police pushes the family into greater hardship, they face increasing moral dilemmas even as they continue providing essential emergency medical services. MIDNIGHT FAMILY is an enthralling. harrowing, and intimate look at a family business of dedicated professionals who often fo more than simple transport the helping the people who end up in their ambulance. Director, Producer, Cinematographer, Editor Luke Lorentzen joins us to talk about his mesmerizing film and the challenges of capturing all the different facets of the Ochoa family.

About the filmmaker: Director, Producer, Cinematographer, Editor Luke Lorentzen is a graduate of Stanford University’s department of Art and Art History. His first film, Santa Cruz del Islote (2014) – a short documentary about a small and densely populated fishing community in Colombia – won awards at over ten international film festivals including the San Francisco International, Full Frame Documentary, Camden International, and Chicago International. Midnight Family (2019) – Luke’s first feature documentary out of school – tells the story of a family-run ambulance business in Mexico City. Midnight Family has played at over 130 film festivals around the world and has won over 25 awards including a Special Jury Award for Cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival and the Grand Jury Award at Sheffield Doc/Fest. Midnight Family will be released theatrically around the world in December of 2019. Luke is also a director and producer on the Netflix documentary series, Last Chance U. His work explores elements of everyday life, often through rigorous formal means, questioning and experimenting with the ways in which non-fiction stories are told. Originally from Connecticut, Luke currently lives in San Francisco.

 

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

Midnight Family opening at the Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles on Friday Decemebr 13 with a Q&A with director Luke Lorentzen at the 7:50 PM screening on Friday night

Social Media
facebook.com/MidnightFamilyFilm
twitter.com/MidnightFamFilm
instagram.com/midnightfamilyfilm
#midnightfamilyfilm

 

AWARDS:
Special Jury Award for Cinematography, U.S. Documentary, Sundance Film Festival
IDA Documentary Awards, Winner, Best Editing
IDA Documentary Awards, Nominee, Best Feature
IDA Documentary Awards, Nominee, Best Cinematography
Cinema Eye Honors, Best Film Nominee
Cinema Eye Honors, Best Cinematography Nominee
Cinema Eye Honors, Best Production Nominee
Cinema Eye Honors, Unforgettables Award, Juan Ochoa, Nominee
Golden Frog for Best Documentary, EnergaCAMERIMAGE
Best Documentary, Films from the South, Oslo
Maysles Brothers Award, Special Jury Mention, Denver Film Festival
Best Film, WatchDocs IFF, Warsaw
FIPRESCI Rellumes Award for Best Director, Gijón Film Festival

 

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“10 Best Movies of Sundance 2019″

“Fantastically shot by the director Luke Lorentzen, the documentary develops an urgency that suits the life-or-death stakes onscreen. By turns terrifying and exhilarating, “Midnight Family” unfolds with such velocity that it may take a while for your ethical doubts to catch up to what’s happening. When they do, they leave you gasping.” – Manohla Dargis, New York Times

“Arguably the most exhilarating documentary to come out of Sundance this year, Midnight Family follows the Ochoa family—the gruff but compassionate Fer and his two underage sons, Juan and Josué—at intensely close range on these Sisyphean missions of mercy.” – Museum of Modern Art and Film Society of Lincoln Center

“A deft mix of big-picture doc-making and intimate moments… not to mention a wild — and remarkably eye-opening — ride.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone

“An intimate verite documentary… the Ochoas emerge as fascinating embodiments of a country working overtime to correct its shortcomings and keep the lights on. This bracing U.S. competition documentary is poised to provide a personal window into the fast-paced mayhem of Mexico after dark.” – Eric Kohn, Indiewire

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

Social Media:
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twitter.com/independentlens
instagram.com/independentlens

 

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.

Midnight Traveler, Producers Emelie Mahdavian and Su Kim

In 2015, after Hassan Fazili’s documentary Peace in Afghanistan aired on Afghan national television, the Taliban assassinated the film’s main subject and put a price on Fazili’s head. Fearing for their survival, the Fazili family, Nargis, Zahra, and Fatima fled Kabul for Tajikistan. Yet after 14 months spent submitting asylum applications that were rejected again and again, they were deported back to Afghanistan. It was at this juncture that Fazili picked up his cell phone and hit the record button and with that Midnight Traveler began to take shape. Chronicling every step from inside the action, Fazili, his filmmaker wife, and their young daughters trek across Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Serbia—scurrying through perilous landscapes, huddling in freezing forests, cramming into rattling vehicles. As they endure smugglers, gangs, and refugee camps, the camera witnesses not only the danger and desperation but also the exuberance and tenderness of this irresistible, loving family. For Fazili, framing their story becomes an assertion of control, humanity, and self-expression in a situation where none exists. With its radical subjectivity, visceral footage, and poetic form, Midnight Traveler is a migration story like no other. Producer Su Kim and Producer / writer / editor Emilie Mahdavian join us for a look at at Hassan and his remarkably resilient family as they attempt to overcome institutional and deadly political obstacles in their fight for freedom as seen through the eyes of his children, Zahra and Nargis and wife, Fatima. A fight for freedom that they have to win.

 

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For news and updates go to: midnighttraveler.oscilloscope.net

For news and screening information go to: midnighttravelerfilm.com

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*WINNER* SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2019

World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for No Borders

BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2019

Prize of the Ecumenical Jury – Special Mention

100% on Rotten Tomatoes 

“Modest but full of urgency, MIDNIGHT TRAVELER uses the power of smart phones to reveal a migrant family’s search for a safe haven. Gretchen Jude’s percussive, electronic score helps hold it all together. [The film] stands as a family’s joint testimony, heartfelt and heartbreaking, particular yet hauntingly representative.” – Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter

“Has a home-movie quality that’s enormously effective in putting a human face on a global crisis.” – Scott Tobias, Variety

“What makes [the film] so moving, though, is the portrait that Fazili and Hussaini paint of both themselves as full, ungainly people, with flaws and hopes and perfections and their daughters who, in a way, are the stars [of the movie]. A languid, poetic film. [The parents] meditate on family, fear, equality, Islam, and the banality of everyday life. Throughout, though, it is hard not to forget that MIDNIGHT TRAVELER is a film of life or death which the score constantly reminds, and which infuses tensions into the narrative’s nooks and crannies.” – Gary Garrison, The Playlist

“A remarkable achievement…an affecting, essential documentary. The suffering, fear and humiliation that they experience is balanced by moments of warmth and an artist’s magpie eye for unexpected glimpses of beauty…While there have been numerous documentaries which deal with the plight of asylum seekers, there have been few which have shown, with this level of intimacy, the journey of a family from certain danger to an uncertain fate. It’s a film which deserves to be as widely seen as possible.” – Wendy Ide, Screen International

Jim Allison: Breakthrough, Director Bill Haney

JIM ALLISON: BREAKTHROUGH is the astounding, true story of one warm- hearted, stubborn man’s visionary quest to find a cure for cancer. The film traces Allison’s remarkable life from his school-boy days in Friday Night Lights, Creationist Texas all the way to Stockholm where, in December of 2018, he accepted the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Director Bill Haney is an award-winning documentarian, serial inventor and entrepreneur, who has founded more than a dozen companies, two of which develop drugs to cure cancer and neurological diseases. Meeting Allison in the labs of MD Anderson, Haney was immediately captivated by Jim’s empathy and pathos as much by his scientific accomplishments. Today, Jim Allison is a name to be reckoned with throughout the scientific world — a 2018 Nobel Prize winner for discovering the immune system’s role in defeating cancer but for decades he waged a lonely struggle against the skepticism of the medical establishment and the resistance of Big Pharma. Using intimate interviews with Allison and a set of scientific leaders, paired with the use of graphics and archival material, JIM ALLISON: BREAKTHROUGH takes us into the inspiring and dramatic world of cutting-edge medicine, and into the heart of a true American pioneer, in a film that is both emotionally compelling and deeply entertaining. Director Bill Haney (The Price of Sugar, The Last Mountain, A Life Among the Whales) stops by to talk about this highly entertaining, informative story about an innovator, free-thinker, honky-tonk musician and a true iconoclast.

 

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For news and updates go to: breakthroughdoc.com

For Jim Allison: Breakthrough screenings go to: breakthroughdoc.com/screenings

Jim Allson: Breakthrough opens in LA on Friday 9/27 at the Laemmle Monica Film Center

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“Breakthrough remains loyal to its academic source material in a way that’s clear enough for any viewer to follow… [and] Haney seems to have made all the right filmmaking choices, from balancing the science and sentimental to picking his subject at the perfect time…” ~ Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica

“In a time when cynicism and skeptics run rampant, Breakthrough looks to offer a moment of comfort and hope via the story of Jim Allison.” ~ Dino-Ray Ramos, Deadline Hollywood

“In a field you’d never think of as having rock stars, Allison is a rock star of immunology. The filmmaker, Bill Haney, is a rock star among documentarians for bringing us this wonderful, hopeful film about a man and a Breakthrough achievement.” ~ Bradley Gibson, Film Threat

“Breakthrough demonstrates that the treatment is not a miracle, but the result of some wild but meticulous thinking by a true medical hero.” ~ Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter

“Breakthrough is an engaging and entertaining film because Allison is a fascinating subject. He’s blunt and honest and colorful.” ~ Sophie Novack, Texas Observer

Don’t Be Nice, Producer Nikhil Melnechuk

The high-energy documentary DON’T BE NICE, chronicles the upstart Bowery Slam Poetry Team, made up of five African-American, Afro-Hispanic and queer poets in their 20s, preparing for the national championships. Coach Lauren Whitehead pushes them past personal boundaries to write from a painfully honest place with the credo “Don’t Be Nice.” She explains that to “be nice” is to stay on the surface of things, is to perpetuate the status quo, and is, for black people, to be what White culture demands. Her team of poets breaks down, breaks through, and ultimately writes their masterpiece—a celebration of black joy. Timely and difficult, their spoken word slays—but will their soul-searching pieces about police violence and the whitewashing of Black culture be able to compete against choreographed crowd-pleasers for the national title? Will opting to make a statement instead of a show spell their defeat?  An emotional and inspiring film that gives insightful commentary on race, gender, identity and sexual politics in America today, DON’T BE NICE is both an exciting competition film and a deep dive into the wildly-popular Slam Poetry subculture, that proves once and for all that winning hearts and minds is the ultimate prize. Producer Nikhil Melnechuk joins us to talk about the phenomenally talented group of poets / writers / advocates that make up the Bowery Team and these from the heart, high-wire performances chronicled in this emotionally charged documentary.

 

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For news, screening and updates go to: dontbenicemovie.com

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“[T]he poets slam truth to power and demand audiences to wake up…this film will take you to places you never expected.” – Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

“[F]ull of ideas, riffs on current events and so much tension you’ll occasionally be holding your breath.” – Norman Wilner, NOW Toronto, ***** Top Ten Film of the Year

“Captures the revitalization of the artist in a world filled with doom, which makes it remarkably resonant.” – Candice Frederick, The Wrap

“Don’t Be Nice is as entertaining as it is revelatory, an important film for the times.” – Sean Boelman, Popaxiom

“This is Shakespeare on steroids, a poetic banquet of color, action, rhythm and sound that transcends expectations.” – Bev Questad, It’s Just Movies

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

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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

Becoming Nobody, Producer Raghu Markus

BECOMING NOBODY represents the core arc of Ram Dass’ teachings and life: whether as Dr. Richard Alpert, the eminent Harvard psychologist, or as Ram Dass who serves as a bridge between Eastern and Western philosophies, he has defined a generation of inner explorers and seekers of truth and wisdom. Through his turns as scion of an eminent Jewish family from Boston, rock-star Harvard psychologist, counter-culture rascally adventurer, Eastern holy man, stroke survivor and compassionate caregiver, Ram Dass has worn many hats on his journey, the narrative of which is revealed in this film. His ability to entertain and his sense of humor are abundantly evident in a conversation that brings us around to address the vast question of ultimate freedom. In BECOMING NOBODY, historic clips balance an engaging conversation with director Jamie Catto. We come to understand how our old roles and disguises become increasingly burdensome. The film captures a loving man full of joy, wit, honesty and wisdom, at ease in conversation while sharing his considerable pains and pleasures. The life experiences that have freed him from the attachments of his ‘somebody-ness’ have transformed him into the radiant soul who now inspires a new generation. Producer Raghu Markus joins us to talk about the life and times of Ram Dass, his transformation from Richard Alpert and what it means to love, serve, remember.

About the Producer – Raghu Markus: Raghu Markus spent two years in India with Maharaj-ji and Ram Dass. He has been involved in music and transformational media since the early 1970s when he was program director of CKGM-FM in Montreal. In 1974 he collaborated with Ram Dass on the box set Love Serve Remember. In 1990, he launched Triloka Records and Karuna Music in Los Angeles, California. Triloka established itself as a critical leader in the development of world music and for 17 years was home to such artists as Krishna Das, Hugh Masekela, Walela, and Jai Uttal. He produced transformational media projects that featured Ram Dass, Deepak Chopra and Les Nubians. He is the executive Director of the Love Serve Remember Foundation. In 2016, he co-founded the Be Here Now Podcast Network and hosts Here & Now with Ram Dass as well as his own Mindrolling podcast.

 

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

The documentary will open at the Rubin Museum in New York, at the Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles, as well as theaters in Bay Area, on September 6. A national release will follow.

Los Angeles LAEMMLE ROYAL – West Los Angeles, September 6, – 7:00 pm –  Q&A on 9/8 with Director Jamie Catto and Producer Raghu Markus

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