SOFTIE, Director Sam Soko

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

“A marvel of narrative storytelling…” – Filmmaker Magazine

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

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

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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Herb Alpert Is… Director John Scheinfeld

With his trumpet he turned the Tijuana Brass into gold, earning 15 gold and 14 platinum records; He has won nine Grammys Awards between 1966 and 2014, and received the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama in 2012. Herb co-founded the indie label, A & M Records with his business partner, Jerry Moss, which recorded artists as varied as Carole King, Cat Stevens, The Carpenters, Janet Jackson, Peter Frampton, Joe Cocker, Quincy Jones, Sergio Mendes, and The Police. A&M would go on to become one of the most successful independent labels in history. He has shown his striking work as an abstract painter and sculptor, worldwide. And through the Herb Alpert Foundation, he has given significant philanthropic support of educational programs in the arts nationwide, from the Harlem School of the Arts and Los Angeles City College to CalArts and UCLA. John Scheinfeld’s documentary Herb Alpert is… profiles the artist, now 85, mostly from the perspective of colleagues like Questlove, Paul Williams, Sting, and Bill Moyers. In their words, the shy, unassuming trumpeter is a musical, artistic and philanthropic heavyweight. Director John Scheinfeld stops by to talk about many facets of Alpert’s personal and public life that make him the compelling and warm-hearted person he is.

 

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

For more on the work and latest news go to: herbalpert.com

About the filmmaker – John Scheinfeld – From pop culture to politics, sports to world religions, Venice and Toronto film festivals to PBS, Emmy®, Grammy® and Writers Guild Award nominee John Scheinfeld is a critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker with a broad range of subjects and productions to his credit. In addition to directing, writing and producing Herb Alpert Is…, Scheinfeld is in post-production on a primetime documentary special about comedy legend Garry Marshall that will air on ABC in the Spring of 2020. Another Scheinfeld feature documentary, Sergio Mendes: In The Key of Joy, had its World Premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in January 2020 and will be released worldwide on multiple media platforms later in the year. Previously, his feature documentary, Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, was an official selection of the Telluride Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival before playing on 175 theater screens worldwide during the spring of 2017. In November 2017 it was the season premiere of Independent Lens, the largest showcase for independent documentary film on television. Scheinfeld is best known for two widely acclaimed feature documentaries: The U.S. vs. John Lennon, which tells the true story of the US government’s attempt to silence the beloved musician and iconic advocate for peace and Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?, a compelling yet wildly entertaining documentary about one of the most talented and uncompromising singer-songwriters in pop music history. For more on the work of John Scheinfeld go to: crewneckproductions.com

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“The story of Herb Alpert is a lot more than a snappy greatest hits collection; it’s a deep dive into the agonies and ecstasies that drive profoundly creative people.” – Bill Newcott, The Saturday Evening Post

“This movie will likely go down as the definitive documentary about Alpert and, as such, it’s not a bad way to be remembered.” – James Berardinelli, ReelViews

“This documentary is a joyous celebration of Herb Alpert’s life and career as it examines his roots not only as a musician but as a painter, sculptor, businessman and philanthropist.” – Charles Koplinski, Reel Talk with Chuck and Pam

“You’ll probably come away from Herb Alpert Is… not only admiring the man but wishing you were him.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

Blood on the Wall, Director Nick Quested

In Central America, a caravan of migrants seeking a better life heads north to the United States, as narco-traffickers — part of the cause for the caravan — move drugs and money back and forth across the same border. From Academy Award-nominated director Sebastian Junger and Emmy-winning producer Nick Quested, BLOOD ON THE WALL explores the depths of corruption plaguing Mexico and Central America and the policies of the past that have made it impossible for everyday people to find justice. Filmed in 2018 and 2019, just as the caravans made international news, BLOOD ON THE WALL is both intimate and wide-ranging as it follows a 17-year-old journeying from Honduras, a mother and daughter and their family trying to make the life-threatening trek easier for their kids, and smugglers and traffickers who reveal what set them on their own path. Using the same on-the-ground journalism and granular point of view that co-directors Sebastian Junger and Nick Quested used in Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS, Korengal, and the Oscar-nominated Restrepo, BLOOD ON THE WALL brings the humanity of the migrants to the forefront and untangles how politics, the drug trade, violence, and the desire for safety result in unbelievable anguish happening in plain sight. Co-director Nick Quested joins us to talk about the extraordinarily violent and unstable circumstance these immigrants navigate and the palpable sense of cynical betrayal that the US and Mexico deploy against them.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to: nationalgeographic.com/blood-on-the-wall

For more on sebastianjunger.com

About the filmmaker – Co-director Nick Quested is executive director and owner of Goldcrest Films, where he has built one of the premiere documentary brands in the world, winning two Emmys for his work. Quested has served as a producer on over 35 films, including Sebastian Junger’s The Last Patrol, Korengal, and the PGA- and twice Emmy-nominated Which Way Is the Front Line From Here?; the Oscar-nominated Restrepo; and National Geographic Doc Films’ duPont Award-winning Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS. Quested is also an award-winning music video director, working with such artists as Dr. Dre, Nas, Puffy, Sting, Master P, Cash Money, and Trick Daddy. His credits include “Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives,” “Rubble Kings,” “Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer,” “Smash and Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers,” “Stolen Seas,” “The List,” “Tell Spring Not to Come This Year,” and “Doin’ It in the Park: Pick-Up Basketball, NYC.”

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“The film’s two brutal narratives – the caravans and the web of narco-trafficking – don’t always coalesce and may have benefited from a longer format.” – Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times

“A very hard and complicated story to tell. But Junger and Quested are more than up to challenge in Blood on the Wall.” – David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun

Feels Good Man, Director Arthur Jones and Giorgio Angelini

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

 

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

To watch Feels Good Man go to: feelsgoodman.watch

For more on Pepe the Frog creator mattfurie.com

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

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

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

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94% on Rotten Tomatoes

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

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

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

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

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.

Love Fraud, Co-directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady

Bigamy. Identity theft. Fraud. For the last 20 years Richard Scott Smith has used the internet and his dubious charms to prey upon unsuspecting women in search of love — conning them out of their money and their dignity. But now his victims have banded together determined to seek sweet revenge. LOVE FRAUD is a 4-part limited documentary series that follows (in real time) a con-man who is on the loose and the dynamic women determined to put him behind bars. Oscar-nominated directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady take viewers on a bizarre, engrossing ride through the twisted mind of a criminal and the chaos he leaves in his wake. LOVE FRAUD premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival on Day One, marking the first time an episodic series was programmed on opening day in festival history. Co-directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady join us for a conversation on the determination of the women who refused to be victimize by a sociopathic abuser and helped bring about some measure of justice, despite the collective ambivalence of several law enforcement agencies across multiple local and state jurisdictions.

 

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Watch Love Fraud on Showtime at: sho.com/love-fraud

For more on Love Fraud go to: lokifilms.com/love-fraud

RACHEL GRADY – DIRECTOR, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER –  Co-owner of New York’s Loki Films, Grady is the co-director of “Jesus Camp” (Oscar nominee), “The Boys of Baraka”  (Emmy nominee) 12th & Delaware (Peabody winner) and DETROPIA (Sundance and Emmy winner). Most recently Grady co-directed “Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You,” which premiered as the opening night film at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. The film opened theatrically in July 2016 and will be broadcast on PBS October 25th. Most recently, she and co-director Heidi Ewing completed, “One of Us,” a documentary thriller about the ultra-insular Hasidic community of New York City, currently streaming on Netflix. Rachel is a member of the Directors Guild and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She Resides in Brooklyn, N.Y. For more on the work of Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing go to: lokifilms.com

HEIDI EWING – DIRECTOR, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER – Co-owner of New York’s Loki Films, Ewing is the co-director of “Jesus Camp” (Oscar nominee), “The Boys of Baraka” (Emmy nominee) 12th & Delaware (Peabody winner) and DETROPIA (Sundance and Emmy winner). Ewing co-directed “Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You,” which premiered as the opening night film at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Most recently, she and co-director Rachel Grady completed “One of Us,” a documentary thriller about the ultra-insular Hasidic community of New York City, currently streaming on Netflix. Heidi is a member of the Directors Guild and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. For more on the work of Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady go to: lokifilms.com

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“There’s a fun kind of justice rolling across the American Midwest in this four-part documentary… Stunning graphics add to the slightly hyperreal feel.” – Brad Newsome, Sydney Morning Herald

“The work of collage artist Martin O’Neill and the animation by Andrew Griffin help to create an atmosphere of surrealistic fantasy around the hard facts of the case.” – John Anderson, Wall Street Journal

“As twisty and juicy as the story here is, Love Fraud keeps threatening to slip through your fingers, which makes it a bit like Richard Scott Smith, if you’re into that sort of mirroring.” – Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter

“This is one of the fastest 200 minutes you’ll see all year.” – Brian Tallerico. RogerEbert.com

A Thousand Cuts, Director Ramona S. Diaz

Award-wining filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz’s latest documentary, A THOUSAND CUTS, is a blistering indictment of a free press and democracy are under attack in the Philippines. In the face of journalist Maria Ressa and founder of the on-line news site Rappler is holding the line and fighting back against President Rodrigo Duterte’s escalating threats of assignation and death. Duterte smear tactics and threats against Ressa (discredit journalists/media, spread misinformation, attacks on social media) are similar to what other authoritarian leaders are now using against the press. Duterte’s war on truth and journalism has become a blueprint for other authoritarian regimes around the world. A THOUSAND CUTS spotlights Ressa’s fight for justice in the country is ongoing as she was found guilty of cyber libel last month in a blatant attempt to silence one of the most outspoken critics of the Philippine President. The alarming result is not only an attack on Democracy in the Philippines, but also a warning shot to the rest of the world. Ressa’s lawyer Amal Clooney (also featured in the film) recently penned this Op-Ed  last month underscoring the implications of this trial. Director, Producer, Writer and Co-editor Ramona S. Diaz (Motherland, Imelda) joins us to talk about the suffocating pressure being brought to bear on journalists, her admiration for those who remain committed to a free press and the hope she has for her beloved homeland. 

 

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For news and updates go to: athousandcuts.film

For screenings go to: athousandcuts.film/watch-screenings

Produced by Concordia Studio and Motto Pictures, A THOUSAND CUTS will release nationwide in virtual cinemas on August 7th via PBS Distribution / Frontline PBS.

About the filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz is an award-winning Asian American filmmaker whose films have screened at Sundance, the Berlinale, Tribeca, the Viennale, IDFA, and many other top-tier film festivals. All of Ramona’s feature-length films—Imelda (2004), The Learning (2011), Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey (2012) and, Motherland (2017)—have been broadcast on PBS, on either the POV or Independent Lens series. Motherland won an award at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and had its international premiere at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival. It was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for best Documentary, a Peabody Award, and a Gaward Urian Award from the Filipino Film Critics. She has received funding from ITVS, Sundance, CAAM, Tribeca, Catapult Film Fund, Chicken & Egg, MacArthur Foundation, the IDA, Cinereach and Creative Capital, among others. For the past four years, Ramona has been a film envoy for the American Film Showcase, a joint program of the U.S. Department of State and the USC School of Cinematic Arts that brings American films to audiences worldwide. She has conducted master classes and production workshops all over the world. Ramona was awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship and was inducted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) in 2016, and in 2017 received a Women at Sundance Fellowship and a Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Award. She is a current recipient of a United States Artist Fellowship. Ramona is a graduate of Emerson College and holds an MA from Stanford University.

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Winner – Best Documentary – DocEdge 2020

“[This] engrossing, galvanizing film feels more like a political thriller than an off-the-cuff investigation into embattled journalism in the Philippines, but Ressa’s seemingly boundless energy, good humor, and intelligence make her basically a power plant for the manufacture of inspiration in embattled times.” – Jessica Kiang, Variety

“A Thousand Cuts provides an expansive, revealing look at the current Filipino political situation, and it doesn’t feel like it’s warning viewers about what will happen in America, so much as telling us what’s coming next.”- Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com

“Diaz creates a rousing paean to the bravery of Ressa and her colleagues, and a clarion call to action that we should all heed.” – Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Hammer to Nail

“A Thousand Cuts is a must see for those who care about freedom of the press, democracy, and the future of one particular country-our own.” – Max Weiss, Baltimore Magazine

The Fight, Co-director Eli Despres (Elyse Steinberg and Josh Kriegman)

From the team that directed the jaw-dropping, award winning documentary on the life and mayoral campaign of former congressman Anthony Wiener (Weiner) comes THE FIGHT. Only days after the 2017 inauguration of Donald Trump, furious Americans gathered at airports across the country in protest of the Muslim ban. But it was the efforts of the American Civil Liberties Union, waging the fight in federal court, that turned the tide, staying the executive order on grounds of unconstitutionality. The ACLU has never granted access to its offices, even as its battles—on the fronts of abortion rights, immigration rights, LGBT rights and voting rights —have become more timely and momentous than ever. Rousing, inspiring and slyly humorous, their THE FIGHT follows four seismically important cases and a handful of magnetic attorneys. These lawyers may not know how to charge a cell phone or operate a stand-up desk but have persuaded Supreme Court Justices, beating back serious encroachments upon our freedoms. An antidote to endless news cycles filled with tweet tantrums, THE FIGHT inspires with the story of front-line warriors in the battle for the American soul. Co-director Eli Despres (Elyse Steinberg and Josh Kriegman) joins us to talk about this entertaining, fast-paced, and highly engaging peek behind the curtain of the self-effacing attorneys and their support team as they scramble to maintain and bolster many of the most substantive constitutional protections under constant assault.

 

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For news and updates go to: fightthefilm.com

The Fight is available for viewing at: fightthefilm.com/watch-at-home

The Fight is available for viewing at: fightthefilm.com/watch-at-home

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WINNER – U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award forSocial Impact Filmmaking – Sundance 2020

“Inspiring, infuriating, and unbounded. Filled with raw emotion and real world immediacy.”Kate Erbland, IndieWire

“A celebration of the lawyers on the front lines in the Trump age. Captures the intense emotion of the moment.”Beandrea July, The Hollywood Reporter

“A powerful, necessary, and illuminating look at the ACLU as it tries to navigate the age of Trump’s presidency” – Jason Gorber, POV Magazine

“In a moment divided into heroes and villains, there’s an urge for the film to go deeper into how, exactly, these lawyers use the Constitution as a cape.” – Amy Nicholson, Variety

“A gorgeous, enraging, and uplifting film.”Chris Hayes, MSNBC

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

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

 

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For news and updates go to: departmentofmotionpictures.com             

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

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

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

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

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

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

Outcry, Director Pat Kondelis

Few people ever experience the momentum that Leader, Texas star football player Greg Kelley had going into his senior year of high school. That all changed in the summer of 2013, when Kelley was shockingly convicted of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old boy, and sentenced to 25 years in prison with no possibility for parole. OUTCRY is a searing examination of the criminal case that sent Kelley to prison and left his family and supporters searching for answers. Emmy® Award-winning filmmaker Pat Kondelis captures a community torn asunder and follows the principal participants on both sides of the appeals process as they work in pursuit of opposing truths. Over the course of three years, the series unfolds as Kelley’s fate hangs in the balance and new evidence emerges amid mounting criticism of the Williamson County justice system. SHOWTIMEs five-part investigative documentary series OUTCRY, follows the gripping scandal surrounding Kelley and the quest for truth and justice that followed in the wake of his sentencing. The series captures a divided community, as a groundswell of support emerges for Kelley, calling into question the investigation, the prosecution’s tactics and ultimately, the validity of the conviction, as both sides of the appeal process work in pursuit of opposing truths. OUTCRY director Pat Kondelis joins us to talk about the multiple twists and turns that Kelley saga takes and how no one knew where it would end up. 

 

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For news, updates and screenings go to: sho.com/outcry

OUTCRY premieres Sunday, July 5 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME. New OUTCRY episodes will debut every Sunday through August 2, while the entire series will release for on-demand streaming or download on the SHOWTIME and SHOWTIME ANYTIME® apps and partner on-demand platforms July 5. 

About the filmmaker: Pat Kondelis is an Emmy award-winning director and producer. His previous work includes the Emmy-nominated CNN documentary series ‘High Profits’ (2015), the Emmy-winning Showtime documentary film ‘Disgraced’ (2017), the CNN documentary series ‘The Radical Story of Patty Hearst’ (2018), the HBO documentary film ‘The Scheme’ (2020), and the Showtime documentary series ‘Outcry’ (2020). Kondelis is the Creative Director at Austin based Bat Bridge Entertainment.

 
Social Media
https://twitter.com/roundmp
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@Showtime
@Roundmp
#Outcry

Saint Frances, Director Alex Thompson

Flailing thirty-four-year-old Bridget (Kelly O’Sullivan) finally catches a break when she meets a nice guy and lands a much-needed job nannying six-year-old Frances (played by a scene-stealing Ramona Edith-Williams). But an unwanted pregnancy introduces an unexpected complication. To make matters worse, she clashes with the obstinate Frances and struggles to navigate a growing tension between Frances’s moms. Amidst her tempestuous personal relationships, a reluctant friendship with Frances emerges, and Bridget contends with the inevitable joys and shit-shows of becoming a part of someone else’s family. Director Alex Thompson joins us to talk about his collaboration with screenwriter / lead actor Kelly O’Sullivan, the casting of Frances and his approach to guiding this beautifully rendered story of three women and a child in search of family, love and power over their own lives.

 

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An open letter from Saint Frances writer and lead actor, Kelly O’Sullivan When I got pregnant in my early thirties and knew immediately I would get an abortion, I had no idea what to expect. My mom got me the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” pregnancy book one Christmas, hoping I would hurry up and give her a grandchild, but nobody proudly hands you a guidebook on what to expect with abortion. I had no idea my abortion could be induced just with pills, and I had no idea how long my post-abortion bleeding would last. Women and girls are encouraged, outrightly or subliminally, to keep abortion, postpartum depression, periods, or any other innate part of womanhood that’s considered messy, “gross,” or shameful to ourselves. That makes for lonely, confusing, and isolating experiences. When my Mom finally learned what this movie was about, she said, “Well, you’re the first one in our whole family to get an abortion!” And I clarified, “Maybe I’m just the first person you know about.” Saint Frances endeavors to normalize and destigmatize those parts of womanhood that we’re encouraged not to talk about. I wanted not only to talk about these subjects, but to show them onscreen unapologetically, realistically. This movie could be called “There Will Be Blood 2,” and a sense of humor is a vital intention of the film. Saint Frances tries to show that abortion doesn’t always have to equal trauma, periods shouldn’t equal shame, and postpartum depression shouldn’t equal isolation. This story and these characters are filled with sincerity, empathy, humor and 6 tons of love. And there’s that healthy amount of blood. Thank you for watching. I truly, truly hope you enjoy. – Kelly O’Sullivan

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

For more on the work of Director Alex Thompson go to: runawaytrainchicago.com

Social Media
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#saintfrancesmovie
#indiefilm
#alexthompson
#kellyosullivan
#saintfrancesfilm

 

98% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Kelly O’Sullivan writes and stars in the small masterpiece that’s both thought-provoking and wildly entertaining.” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

“I believe that everyone, especially women, should check out Saint Frances. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and it will make you think. That doesn’t happen all that often in the same movie.” – Lorry Kikta, Film Threat

“O’Sullivan and her creation are riveting, and when the film comes to an emotional end that hinges on all its early strengths, the result is satisfying and hard-won, a coming-of-age story told on just a slight delay.” – Kate Erbland, indieWire

“With a warm heart and a nonjudgmental mind, “Saint Frances” weaves abortion, same-sex parenting and postpartum depression into a narrative bursting with positivity and acceptance.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

Ernie and Joe: Crisis Cops, Director Jenifer McShane and film subjects Ernie Stevens and Joe Smarro

In the new HBO Documentary Film – ERNIE & JOE: CRISIS COPS, director Jenifer McShane dives into the lives of these incredible officers and their amazing mental health unit officers, trying and succeeding in doing good and truly making an impact. Winner of the Special Jury Award for Empathy in Craft at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival, director Jenifer McShane follows two members Ernie Stevens and Joe Smarro of the San Antonio Police Department’s 10-person Mental Health Unit who are helping to change the way police respond to mental health calls. Their jail diversion work is humane and desperately needed to improve not only the health of the mentally ill, but also of their families. The duo head the special team that looks to treat mental health calls as opposed to the traditional policing tactics. Drawing on their own experiences, each have learned that the old ways of policing and dealing with mental health issues weren’t working. The issues they face as a department are the issues every community and police department in the country faces. The two officers and their colleagues in this unique department provide hope and inspiration at a time when we need it most, and show that great ideas and inspiration can come from any corner of the country.  Director Jenifer McShane and film subjects Ernie Stevens and Joe Smarro join us for a conversation on the trailblazing work being done by themselves and their colleagues as well as the withering and sometimes frustrating challenges that mental health, “crisis cops” deal with in the face of a national mental health epidemic.

 

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For news, theatrical screenings and updates go to: ernieandjoethefilm.com
For screening information go to: hbo.com/documentaries/ernie-and-joe

Social Media:
facebook.com/ernieandjoethefilm
twitter.com/ernieandjoe
instagram.com/ernieandjoethefilm

 

Winner – Special Jury Prize – 2019 SXSW Film Festival
Winner – Grand Jury Prize Documentary – 2019 Independent Film Festival Boston

 

“No story or lecture can replace the power of witnessing this empathy in action, and Ernie & Joe is a moving, important testament to the impact that this unique approach can make on a community.”- Tori Preston, Pajiba

“Impressively intimate” – VARIETY

“One of the Best Films of SXSW 2019” – THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“Should Change the Conversation on Modern Police Work” – GLIDE MAGAZINE

“10 out of 10 STARS” – FILM THREAT 

Made in Boise, Director Beth Aala

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

 

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

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

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

Additional resources for Made in Boise:

itvs.org/films/made-in-boise

Social Media:

facebook.com/madeinboise

The Cave, Director Feras Fayyad

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

 

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

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

SocialMedia:

facebook.com/natgeodocs

twitter.com/NatGeoDocs

instagram.com/explore/tags/thecavedocumentary

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

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

**SPECIAL JURY MENTION – Camden International Film Festival 2019

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

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

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

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

For Sama, Directors Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts

FOR SAMA is both an intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war. A love letter from a young mother to her daughter, the film tells the story of Waad al-Kateab’s life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama, all while cataclysmic conflict rises around her. Her camera captures incredible stories of loss, laughter and survival as Waad wrestles with an impossible choice– whether or not to flee the city to protect her daughter’s life, when leaving means abandoning the struggle for freedom for which she has already sacrificed so much. FOR SAMA took home the Best Documentary Award at this year’s 2019 Cannes Film Festival, FOR SAMA had its world premiere at SXSW Film Festival where it won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for Best Documentary.  Since then, it continues to gather more awards every time it screens.  The growing awards list includes the aforementioned SXSW; Cannes Film Festival; and Sheffield Doc/Fest; Telluride MountainFilm; Nantucket Film Festival; River Run; LA Asian Pacific Film Festival; Hot Docs; and Newport Beach Film Festival. Co-directors Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts join us for a conversation on the courage to document the unimaginable horror of a brutal regime and what it means to believe in something so deeply that you are willing to risk everything for it. 

 

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

For Sama – Q&A with directors Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts and  Dr. Hamza al-Kateab following the 4:30 pm show on Sunday, 7/28.

Social Media:

facebook.com/forsamafilm

twitter.com/forsamafilm

instagram.com/forsamafilm

100% on Rotten Tomatoes

WINNER – Best Documentary – 2019 Cannes Film Festival
WINNER – Documentary Grand Jury Prize – 2019 SXSW Film Festival
WINNER – Audience Award – 2019 SXSW Film Festival
WINNER – Jury Prize – 2019 HotDocs Film Festival
WINNER – Grand Jury Award – International Docu – 35th LA Asian Pacific Film Festival
WINNER – Indomitable Spirit Award – 2019 MountainFilm
WINNER – Special Jury Mention – 2019 Sheffield Doc/Fest
WINNER – Audience Award – 2019 Sheffield Doc/Fest
WINNER – Best Documentary Jury Prize – 2019 Newport Beach Film Festival
WINNER – Audience Award – 2019 Nantucket Film Festival
WINNER – Best Cinematography – 2019 RiverRun Film Festival

“Simple in concept and shattering in execution, blending hard-headed reportage with unguarded personal testimony, it’s you-are-there cinema of the most literal order.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“For Sama is undoubtedly difficult to watch, but you cannot close your eyes when watching such an urgent film. An endlessly powerful and absolutely essential work, it’s a must-see when it is released this autumn.” – Musanna Ahmed, Film Inquiry

“If not turning away is how we must confront the violence, inhumanity and senselessness of war, this brutal, heart-wrenching film is essential viewing.” – Loren King, AWFJ Women on Film

“For Sama is an astonishing achievement. A moving memorial to all who died in the pursuit of freedom.” – Rob Aldam, Backseat Mafia

Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love, Director Nick Broomfield

Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love is renowned filmmaker Nick Broomfield’s most personal and romantic film of his career. The Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love starts on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960, where Leonard Cohen, then a struggling and unknown fiction writer, and Marianne Ihlen, a single mother with a young son, became part of community of expat artists, writers and musicians. Never-before-seen footage shot by Broomfield and legendary documentarian D.A. Pennebaker make for a unique portrait of an idyllic 1960’s bohemia.  The time on Hydra left a lasting imprint on both Marianne and Leonard, whose friendship would last another fifty years before their deaths in 2016. It was on Hydra in 1968 that director Broomfield, then aged 20, first himself met Marianne. She introduced him to Cohen’s music and encouraged Nick to make his first film.   As she was with so many artists, Marianne was an enormous influence on Broomfield, who went on to direct award-winning documentaries, many about iconic music legends including Whitney Houston, (Whitney Houston: Can I Be Me) Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, (Tupac and Biggie) Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love (Kurt & Courtney). Director Nick Broomfield joins us to talk about his relationship with Marianne, the undeniable talent and charisma of Cohen, and the profound impact his time on Hydra had on his personal and professional life.

 

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For news and updates go to: marianneandleonardwordsoflove.com

Social Media for Marianne and Leonard:

facebook.com/marianneandleonardwordsoflove

Social Media for Nick Broomfield:

twitter.com/nickbroomfield1

“Love stories are like Tolstoy’s unhappy families: no two of them are alike. But even given that, the relationship chronicled in “Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love” has a quality very much its own.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“An impossibly heartfelt portrait of this woman, and her impossible relationship with a brilliant man.” – Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service

“Broomfield’s personal engagement and his embrace of the complexities of life and love elevate this film, which travels across decades and continents to show the lasting power of one connection.” – Joe BlessingThe Playlist

“Unmissable.” – Rolling Stone

Phil, Director Greg Kinnear

Directed by Academy Award nominated actor Greg Kinnear (As Good as It Gets, Little Miss Sunshine, The Matador) with an outstanding cast that includes; Emily Mortimer (Mary Poppins Returns), Luke Wilson (Bottle Rocket, Meadowland), Bradley Whitford (Get Out, West Wing), Jay Duplass (Beatriz at Dinner, Landline), Robert Forster (Jackie Brown, The Descendants), and Kurt Fuller (Midnight in Paris, Auto Focus). PHIL is the story of a depressed dentist whose life is falling apart. Phil is shocked when one of his patients, Michael Fisk (Bradley Whitford),  a man who seemed to have the perfect life, kills himself. Determined to find out what would drive a man who had everything to end his life, Phil pretends to be a handyman and integrates himself in to the dead man’s life, befriending his wife (Emily Mortimer) and daughter. How long can Phil keep up this double life when he is determined to end his normal one? Director and lead actor Greg Kinnear joins us to talk about the challenges and rewards of a first-time director, finding the humanity in a story of personal tragedy and working with an incredibly talented group of artists.

 

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For news and updates go to: bronstudios.com/productions/phil

PHIL screens in Los Angeles July 5 – 11 at the Arena Cinelounge.

Social Media:

https://twitter.com/realgregkinnear

“Greg Kinnear combines acting with directing in a role that exudes nice-guy-ness that few other performers can duplicate as well.” – Shockya.com

This One’s for the Ladies, Director Gene Graham

Every Thursday Night hundreds of women gather for a potluck celebration and the chance to throw singles at the hottest dancers in New Jersey, The Nasty Boyz – featuring Satan, Mr. Capable, Fever, Young Rider and lesbian ‘dom’ dancer Blaze. THIS ONE’S FOR THE LADIES isn’t just about the tips or the dancing. It’s a heartwarming story of friendship and the resilience that comes from community. Hilarious, eye-opening, and breathtakingly sexy, THIS ONE’S FOR THE LADIES is a virtual how to guide for letting go of your troubles and having a good time. Director Gene Graham (The Godfather of Disco) joins us to talk about the respect he has for all of the people, patrons and strippers, in his film, how the film Magic Mike and the lack of people of color in it “inspired” his nuanced, multi-layer response.

 

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For news and updates go to: thisonesfortheladiesmovie.com

For more about the filmmaker go to: determinedpictures.com

**WINNER – SPECIAL JURY RECOGNITION – SXSW

OFFICIAL SELECTION – SFFILM FESTIVAL

OFFICIAL SELECTION – SHEFFIELD DOC FEST

OFFICIAL SELECTION – AFI DOCS

“Showcases a vibrant and thriving community of dance shows and the people who enjoy them, and finds the humanity behind the G-strings.” – Jude Dry, Indiewire

“Gene Graham talks more eloquently about poverty, race, police than most works I’ve seen specifically about those things” – Carvell Wallace (NYT, New Yorker, GQ, Slate)

“A rowdy snapshot of this underground scene, where muscular, tattooed, and (yes) rock-hard guys bump, grind, gyrate and do far, far nastier things.”  – Nick Schager, The Daily Beast

Carmine Street Guitars, Director Ron Mann

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

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

 

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For news and updates go to: carminestreetguitarsfilm.com

Social Media:

facebook.com/carminestreetguitarsfilm

twitter.com/carmineguitars

 **Official Selection – 2019 SXSW Film Festival**

**Official Selection – 2018 Venice Film Festival**

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

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

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

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

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

Wild Nights with Emily, Director Madeleine Olnek

WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY tells the story of the mid-19th century poet, Emily Dickinson writing prolifically, baking gingerbread, and enjoying a passionate, lifelong romantic relationship with another woman, her friend and sister-in-law Susan…yes this is the iconic American poet, popularly thought to have been a recluse. Beloved comic and Saturday Night Live alum Molly Shannon leads in this humorous yet bold reappraisal of Dickinson, informed by her private letters. While seeking publication of some of the 1,775 poems written during her lifetime, Emily (Shannon) finds herself facing a troupe of male literary gatekeepers too confused by her genius to take her work seriously. Instead her work attracts the attention of an ambitious woman editor, who also sees Emily as a convenient cover for her own role in buttoned-up Amherst’s most bizarre love triangle. Meticulously researched with the support of the Guggenheim foundation, this dramatic comedy generously intertwines Dickinson’ actual letters and poems into the texture of the film, used with permission from Harvard University Press.  A timely critique of how women’s history is rewritten, WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY remains vibrant, irreverent and tender–a perhaps closer depiction of Emily Dickinson’s real life than anything seen before. Director Madeleine Olnek (The Foxy Merkins, Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same) stops by to talk about her “wildly” inventive and poignant reset of the often maligned American literary giant.

 

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For news and updates go to: wildnightswithemily.com

Greenwich Entertainment.com/film/wild-nights-with-emily/

Social Media:

facebook.com/GreenwichEntertainment

twitter.com/GreenwichET

instagram.com/greenwichentertainment

93% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Wild Nights With Emily may be Olnek’s most political film to date, one that could forever change the narrative of the world’s most famous woman poet.” – Jude Dry, IndieWire

“Like the remarkable poet at its center, Wild Nights with Emily is playful, clever, and alive.” – Kristy Puchko, Pajiba

“This is an irreverent film, but its lightness is meaningful. With each silly flourish, Olnek offers joy and companionship to a figure whose history was more conveniently presented to generations of readers as solitary.” – Two Bugbee, New York Times

“Olnek has crafted a lovely, heart-warming piece which reminds us of the importance of revisiting and challenging historical narratives and leaves one in both fits of laughter and in need of a few moments of contemplation.” – Hannah Ryan, Much Ado About Cinema

The Boy Band Con, Director Aaron Kunkel

THE BOY BAND CON: THE LOU PEARLMAN STORY is a documentary feature that tells the story of famed boy band impresario Lou Pearlman. The film tracks his life from his childhood in Queens, New York through discovering mega-bands *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys, and chronicles his later life, including his perpetration of one of the largest Ponzi schemes in American history. This is the first time this story has ever been told from the perspective of the people involved: from the boy band members themselves, and the Ponzi scheme investors to Lou’s childhood friends. Interview subjects include artists Lance Bass, JC Chasez, and Chris Kirkpatrick (*NSYNC); AJ McLean (Backstreet Boys); and Aaron Carter and Ashley Parker Angel (O-Town). Director, editor and cinematographer Aaron Kunkel (Charlie and the Ghost, The Moment) joins us to talk about an all-too-familiar tale of deception perpetrated by a trusted, likable and conflicted con artist.

“The Boy Band Con, The Lou Pearlman Story is a film wrought with both truth and lies, and Lance and I, and the whole team at Pilgrim, really took to heart uncovering what was real story amongst all the rumors, half-truths and full-blown falsehoods. Lou wove a tangled web. As Johnny Wright, the former manager of Backstreet and *NSYNC says, Lou was like a tabloid: there’s 10 percent of truth to what he says, and the rest is Lou taking it where he wants. We’re living in a time when truth and lies seem to blur together more and more and I wanted to examine the differences between them, while also exploring why they’re becoming – and in a lot of ways may always have been – difficult to tell apart.” – Director Aaron Kunkel

 

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For news and updates go to: The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story

Los Angeles – Arclight Sherman Oaks from Wednesday, March 27th through Tuesday, April 2nd.

New York – AMC 34th Street 14 from Friday, March 29th through Thursday April 4th.

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“It may be an all-too-familiar refrain – trusted music manager rips off his clients – but “The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story” sets it in the broader, more intriguing context of the age-old pursuit of those twin trappings, fame and fortune.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times

“Told in jaw-dropping fashion, the The Lou Pearlman Story follows the famed musical talent scout…to the Harvey Weinstein/Bernie Madoff figure he would ultimately become.” – Robert Daniels, ThatShelf.com

“As Kunkel structures the doc, it’s like “Here’s this guy who nobody completely understands, now let’s go back in time and … nobody understood him then, either.” I prefer that to cheap and specious psychoanalyzing.” – Dan Feinberg, Hollywood Reporter

“The Boy Band Con’s most remarkable feat is showing how Pearlman’s two crowning achievements were merely cogs in the vast machinery of his deception.” – Bryan Rolli, The Daily Dot

Lois Vossen, Independent Lens Executive Producer

Lois Vossen is the Executive Producer of Independent Lens and has been with the show since its inception as a primetime series on PBS. Lois is responsible for commissioning new films, programming the series and working with filmmakers on editorial and broadcast issues. Independent Lens films have received 17 Emmy Awards, 16 George Foster Peabody Awards, five Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Journalism Awards and eight Academy Award nominations. The series was honored in 2013, 2014, 2015  and 2017 with the International Documentary Association (IDA) Award for Best Series. Before joining ITVS, Lois was the Associate Managing Director of Sundance Film Festival and Sundance Labs. Lois is a member of the Television Academy Board of Governors, representing the documentary branch. She has served on the jury at  Shanghai Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, SXSW, DOC New Zealand and Palm Springs International Film Festival, among others. Under her leadership, films funded or co-produced by Independent Lens include I Am Not Your Negro, Always in Season, Bedlam, One Child Nation, Black Memorabilia, The King, People’s Republic of Desire, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, TOWER, Newtown, Best of Enemies, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, (T)ERROR, The House I Live In, The Invisible War, and The Trials of Muhammad Ali, among many others. Widely regarded as one of the most influential supporters of independent and documentary filmmaking, Lois Vossen joins us for a conversation on the role that Independent Lens /POV and Public Broadcasting has had in maintaining the highest standards for innovative storytelling in non-fiction cinema.

 

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

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People’s Republic of Desire, Director Hao Wu

In an increasingly digital universe where live streamers earn as much as $200,000 a month, can virtual relationships replace real-life human connection? PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF DESIRE tells the stories of two such online stars who have risen from isolation to fame and fortune on NASDAQ-listed YY, China’s largest live streaming platform. Live-streaming  showrooms have become virtual gathering places for hundreds of millions – from the super rich who lavish these online stars with digital gifts, to poor migrant workers who exhaust meager savings idolizing them. All of these characters are brought together in a series of bizarre online talent competitions, where they discover that happiness in their virtual world may be as elusive as in the real one. Director Hao Wu talks with us about his mind-boggling, high-energy documentary that chronicles a technical /social revolution taking place in the world’s most populous country.

 

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For news and updates go to: desire.film

SOCIAL MEDIA

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WINNER – Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature at SXSW

WINNER – Grand Jury Award for International Doc at Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

WINNER – Best Cinematography at CAAMFest

WINNER – Best International Director at Doc Edge Festival

96% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Tragic and terrifying in equal measure, Hao Wu’s look at China’s live-streaming culture offers a dark window into our collective future.” – IndieWire

“Provocative and unsettling as it brings us on a guided tour through the digital marketplace for something resembling human contact.” – Variety

“Yes, Black Mirror is already here.” – Ars Technica

“The ability of “People’s Republic of Desire” to show these familiar desires playing out in futuristic surroundings is invariably surprising and never less than compelling.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“A microcosm of the bizarre fantasy economy and complex, parasitic interdependencies of late capitalism as a whole.” – Katie Rife, AV Club

Monrovia, Indiana – Director Frederick Wiseman

Located in mid-America, MONROVIA, INDIANA, (population 1,063) founded in 1834, is primarily a farming community. MONROVIA, INDIANA is about the day-to-day experiences living and working in Monrovia, with emphasis on community organizations and institutions, religion and daily life in this farming community. These towns were once the backbone of American life. While their number and populations have shrunk, the importance of rural America as a formative center of American politics and values was demonstrated in the 2016 presidential election. The film explores the conflicting stereotypes and illustrates how values like community service, duty, spiritual life, generosity and authenticity are formed, experienced and lived. MONROVIA, INDIANA gives a complex and nuanced view of daily life in Monrovia and provides some understanding of a rural, mid-American way of life that has always been important in America but whose influence and force have not always been recognized or understood in the big cities on the east and west coasts of America and in other countries. Since  1967,  Frederick  Wiseman  has  directed  42 documentaries — dramatic, narrative films that seek to portray ordinary human  experience in a wide  variety  of  contemporary social  institutions. His films include TITICUT FOLLIES, HIGH  SCHOOL, WELFARE, JUVENILE COURT, BOXING GYM, LA  DANSE,  BALLET, CENTRAL PARK, BALLET, LA COMEDIE FRANCAISE, BELFAST, MAINE, and EX LIBRIS – The New York Public Library. At the 2016 Academy Awards ceremony Frederick Wiseman received an Honorary Award (Governors Awards) for a lifetime of brilliant filmmaking. He joins us to talk about his latest cinematic treasure, Monrovia Indiana.

 

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For news and updates on all of Frederick Wiseman’s work go to: zipporah.com

“He’s arguably the most brilliant, brave and innovative person working in his field.” – Terry Atkinson, Los Angeles Times

“Rigorously shot, impeccably edited and at times startling in their beauty, these films usher us into often otherwise anonymous spaces and lives, and help make the invisible visible.” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

Social Media: facebook.com/pages/Zipporah Films

90% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The result is surprisingly companionable and enjoyable, an unhurried look at a location that is in no kind of rush, a place that is concerned most of all with preserving the way it’s always been.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“Legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman turns his camera on a pro-gun, pro-God Midwestern town and gives us a landmark view of what it looks like to live in Trump’s America.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“A calmly analytical film in which-as ever in Wiseman’s work-extended discussions and public debates are developed with an absorbing dramatic power.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker

“The unavoidable political implications of “Monrovia, Indiana” give its observations an undeniable urgency.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times