Director Abbas Rezaie debut feature documentary takes the viewer inside the office of the city’s most widely read newspaper, The Etilaat Roz. The film is a gripping firsthand account of the August 2021 takeover of Kabul by the Taliban. Afghan filmmaker and Etilaat Roz staff member Abbas Rezaie relentlessly films and questions his passionate colleagues on the editorial team in the days leading up to, during, and after the takeover as they try to decide whether to stay and continue reporting – risking torture, imprisonment and death – or join thousands of others attempting to flee the country. What begins as shock at a surreal situation gradually shifts to realization of an inescapable reality at their doorstep. Tensions rise as Rezaie’s colleagues must balance their families’ safety with their dedication to providing honest reporting, while the Taliban sets its sights on curbing the free press. This dramatic account of a group of courageous journalists in their struggle for truth, freedom and life is poignantly captured by Rezaie’s camera, fully immersing the viewer in this rapidly changing environment. We are joined by the co-director and editor-in-chief of Etilaat Roz Zaki Daryabi for a conversation on the harrowing days of dread and fear that Daryabi and his colleagues endured watching their beloved country fall under the heavy hand of the Taliban, fearing for their lives and being forced to abandon the offices and the mission of Etilaat Roz.
Digital screening: Available to watch at your own pace, any time between June 5 and June 11, 2023, on the festival’s digital streaming platform.
Human Rights Watch Film Festival – May 31 – June 11
Director’s Statement – Our history has always been narrated from the ruler’s point of view, whereas the people who change the course of history with their resilience, bravery, and sacrifices are not shown anywhere except in the newsreels. I want to get as close to the people as possible and continue recording their lives. This time it’s a personal film, with lots of poetry and, of course, history.” – Abbas Rezaie, co-director, The Etilaat Roz
“The Etilaat Roz is a piece of history. It depicts the most heartbreaking moments of Kabul’s collapse, which make every Afghan emotional, including me. But it also demonstrates how strong our defenders of free speech are.” – Fereshta Abbasi, researcher, Asia Division, Human Rights Watch
The astonishingly assured debut feature from French Canadian actress Charlotte Le Bon,FALCON LAKE stars Joseph Engel as Bastien, a 13-year-old Parisian who, while on a holiday with his family in rural Quebec, becomes increasingly close to Chloé (Sara Montpetit), the 16-year-old daughter of an old friend of his mother. A tender tale of first love that progresses with the disconcertingly eerie mood of a gothic horror film—the lake by the family’s rented cabin is haunted by a ghost legend—Le Bon’s ruminative, atmospheric drama subverts every coming of age cliché to create something entirely distinctive, quietly unnerving, and achingly emotional, seeking out the darkness on the fringes of a sunny summer idyll. Director, co-screenwriter, co-producer, actor, Charlotte Le Bon joins us to talk about casting Joseph Engel (Bastien) and Sara Montpetit (Chloé), their different approach to the roles, the symbolic importance of water in telling the story of young love and how she found her cinematic sweet spot between a coming of age love story and indigenous mythology.
About the filmmaker – Charlotte Le Bon grew up in Québec before moving to Paris. She worked as an actor with French directors such as Michel Gondry and Jalil Lespert. In the US, she has appeared in films of Lasse Hallström, Robert Zemeckis, and Sean Ellis. As a visual artist, Charlotte explores her taste for strangeness through paintings, drawings, and lithographs. Her passion for genre films led her to write and direct Judith Hotel, a short film presented at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2018. Her first feature film, Falcon Lake, had its world premiere at Cannes Directors Fortnight in 2022. For more on Charlotte Le Bon: lebonlebon.com
“A bold, haunting, coming of age story.”– Caitlin Quinlan, The Playlist
“It becomes clear that we’re watching the best moments of a story that’s destined to end badly. Yet we keep watching, due in large part to the deeply human performances from Engel and Montpetit.” – Christian Zilko, indieWire
“A smartly executed hybrid of teenage rite-of-passage drama and traditional ghost story, ever so slowly tightens its grip as it plays with our preconceived notions.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times
“A bold, haunting, coming of age story.”– Caitlin Quinlan, The Playlist
“Le Bon’s world is so intimately constructed that it’s easy to be immersed in the present moment, as the characters are, and lose sight of the rest.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
“Charlotte Le Bon’s exceptionally assured first directorial film is full of light mischief yet heavy with horror-movie mood.” – Jessica Kiang, Variety
Director Srđan Keča’s searingly direct new documentary, MUSEUM OF THE REVOLUTION, begins with a Serbian proverb, “The wind got up in the night and took our plans away.”It’s a reference to the 1961 plan to build a grand museum in Belgrade as a tribute to Socialist Yugoslavia. Meant to “safeguard the truth” about the Yugoslav people, the plan never got beyond the construction of the basement.The derelict building now tells a very different story from the one envisioned by the initiators 60 years ago. The cavernous, damp, pitch-dark space is inhabited by the outcasts of a society reshaped by capitalism: a precocious and energetic little girl who earns cash on the street by cleaning car windows with her mother, and their friend, an older woman also living in the basement.In his award-winning, visually stunning and formally daring feature documentary debut, director and cinematographer Director and writer Srđan Keča powerfully illuminates the tender relationship between the three women – a source of refuge, community, and hope – against the backdrop of a city in transformation.
About the filmmaker – Director, Writer & Cinematographer Srđan Keča’s medium-length films include A Letter To Dad (IDFA 2011, Dokufest 2011 – Best Balkan Documentary) and Mirage (Jihlava IDFF 2012 – Best Central and Eastern European Documentary) both screened at leading documentary film festivals, while his video installations have been exhibited at venues like the Venice Biennale of Architecture and the Whitechapel Gallery. The found-footage feature documentary Flotel Europa, produced and edited by Keča, premiered at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival, winning the Tagesspiegel Jury Prize. His debut feature documentary as director, Museum of the Revolution, premiered at IDFA 2021.Keča is a graduate of the Ateliers Varan and the UK National Film and Television School (NFTS). Since 2015 he has worked as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University, teaching in the MFA Documentary Film Program.
“Museum of the Revolution is an immersive experience thatallows viewers to enter the spaces the women inhabit and witness with intimate immediacy the precariousness with which they live day by day.“ – POV Magazine
“Monumental in its tender exploration of hope lost and found.” – Kirsten Johnson
“Incredibly intimate, patient and formally ambitious… unlike anything we’ve ever seen.” – Jury Statement, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
“This is an engrossing documentary, and one that raises questions about the ethics of intervening (or not) in the lives of people struggling to get by.” – Natalia Winkelman, New York Times
Premiering Tuesday, May 23 on MAX, HOW TO CREATE A SEX SCANDAL delves into the topics of mass hysteria, coerced memories and the intense emotional journey the town went on as they were forced to reconsider everything they thought they knew. In 2005, the sleepy community of Mineola, Texas, is thrown into turmoil when local children reveal shocking stories about a pedophile sex ring that took place at a local swingers club. As arrests are made, life sentences handed down, and lives ruined, it soon becomes apparent that there is a lot more to the story than meets the eye. Now, the startling long-term repercussions of the scandal are revealed. Inspired by series of articles, “Mineola’s Swingers Club”, written by Texas Monthly reporter Michael Hall, HOW TO CREATE A SEX SCANDALbrings to life the startling and scarcely believable telling of a crime story that really is stranger than fiction. We’re joined by Director and Executive Producer Julian P. Hobbs (Cave of Forgotten Dreams) and Executive Producer Elli Hakami (Life Below Zero) join us for a conversation on the circumstances that drew them to this unbelievable story, gaining the confidence of the pivotable people involved in the imbroglio, their take on the social, political and judicial factors that played into the investigation, the rush to judgement and why it matters that we all stay vigilant when it comes to the prosecution of the less powerful among us.
About the filmmaker – Elli Hakami headed up MTV’s East Coast Production and Development team and the unscripted unit for BBC Worldwide Production in LA. During this time, she created and produced a wide range of projects including: HBO’s feature documentary, Americans in Bed, and National Geographic’s Emmy Award-Winning Life Below Zero. During her tenure, Hakami developed and executive produced a dynamic slate of successful on-air series and specials including: What Not to Wear (TLC), Richard Hammond’s Crash Course (BBC America), Gold Rush: Alaska (Discovery), and Dual Survivor (Discovery). Elli also received commissions from a wide range of networks including Bravo, CW, Lifetime, TNT, A&E, History Channel, and Discovery Channel. talosfilms.com/what-we-do
About the filmmaker – Julian P. Hobbs served as a VP and EP at History Channel where he served as the Executive Producer for feature documentaries, including: Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Errol Morris’ Emmy nominated The Unknown Known, and Barbara Kopple’s Emmy nominated Woodstock: Now and Then. Hobbs also Executive Produced the Emmy Winning Outstanding Non-Fiction Special Gettysburg with Tony and Ridley Scott, as well as America: The Story of US, and Mankind. While heading up scripted development and production at History Channel, Hobbs launched The Bible with Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, the breakout drama Vikings, and Gangland Undercover. talosfilms.com/what-weve-done
From Oscar®-winning filmmakers Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, WILD LIFE follows conservationist Kris Tompkins on an epic, decades-spanning love story as wild as the landscapes she dedicated her life to protecting. After falling in love in midlife, Kris and the outdoorsman and entrepreneur Doug Tompkins left behind the world of the massively successful outdoor brands they’d helped pioneer — Patagonia, The North Face and Esprit — and turned their attention to a visionary effort to create national parks throughout Chile and Argentina via their nonprofit Tompkins Conservation. WILD LIFE chronicles the highs and lows of their journey to affect the largest private land donation in history. Co-directors Chai Vasarhelyi (Meru, The Rescue) and Jimmy Chin (Free Solo, Return to Space) join us for a conversation on how the dedication and vision of a small group of remarkable people became something extraordinary, their personal connection to Doug and Kris Tompkins, Yvon Chouinard, Rick Ridgeway, the challenge of detailing a decades long love story, and the determined leadership of Kris Tompkins to ensure that nearly 15 million acres of pristine habitat will survive and thrive.
About the Tompkins Foundation – Founded by the late Douglas Tompkins and cofounded by Kristine Tompkins, Tompkins Conservation is protecting and restoring wild beauty and biodiversity by creating national parks, bringing back species through rewilding, and helping communities thrive through nature-based tourism. Over three decades, the nonprofit has protected approximately 14.8 million acres of parklands in Chile and Argentina through the creation or expansion of 15 national parks in those countries, in addition to two marine protected areas of 30 million acres. Through active rewilding, the organization is bringing back over a dozen species that are in critical numbers, endangered or locally extinct. In 2015, a kayaking accident in Patagonia took Doug’s life. Alongside his wife, Kris, the couple is amongst the foremost conservation philanthropists in history. Today, their work continues through the offspring organizations Rewilding Argentina and Rewilding Chile. The future of the planet depends on the power within each of us to create change for the better. Read on to learn more about the work Tompkins Conservation is doing and to get in involved, visit TompkinsConservation.org
About the filmmakers – Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin are Academy® Award-winning filmmakers. The two are the directors and producers of “Free Solo,” an intimate, unflinching portrait of rock climber Alex Honnold, which was awarded a BAFTA and the Academy® Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2019. Their first film together, “Meru,” won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015 and was on the 2016 Oscar shortlist for Best Documentary Feature. More recently, they directed the BAFTA and DGA-nominated documentary “The Rescue,” chronicling the against-all-odds rescue of twelve boys and their coach from deep inside a flooded cave in Northern Thailand. Other projects include “Return to Space,” about SpaceX and NASA’s first joint spaceflight, which hit the top 10 on Netflix’s most watched films list, and the National Geographic series “Edge of the Unknown With Jimmy Chin”. Chin and Vasarhelyi are currently working on their first scripted feature for Netflix, “Nyad”, about Diana Nyad’s swim from Cuba to Florida.Vasarhelyi’s other films as a director include “Incorruptible” (Truer Than Fiction Independent Spirit Award 2016); “Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love” (Oscilloscope, 2009), which premiered at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals; “A Normal Life” (Tribeca Film Festival, Best Documentary 2003); and “Touba” (SXSW, Special Jury Prize Best Cinematography in 2013). Vasarhelyi has directed two New York Times Op Docs, two episodes for Netflix’s nonfiction design series “Abstract” and two episodes for ESPN’s nonfiction series “Enhanced.” She has received grants from the Sundance Institute, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Bertha Britdoc, and the National Endowment of the Arts. She is a member of the DGA, the AMPAS, and holds a B.A. in comparative literature from Princeton University. Jimmy Chin is also a National Geographic photographer and professional climber and skier who has led and documented cutting-edge expeditions around the world for over 20 years. He has climbed and skied Mount Everest from the summit and made the coveted first ascent of the Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru. His photographs have graced the covers of National Geographic Magazine and the New York Times Magazine and his first book of photography, There and Back, became a New York Times Best Seller in 2021. Vasarhelyi and Chin split their time between New York City and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with their daughter, Marina, and son, James.
“Vasarhelyi and Chin guide another exhilarating and emphatic look at the world around us and the way in which one set of individuals is choosing to make a difference.” – Abe Friedtanzer, AwardsWatch
“It’s so well made, and puts you in the middle of some really breathtaking scenery.” – Christy Lemire, Film Week, KPCC (NPR)
“Another breathtaking journey from Chin and Vasarhelyi, one that fits snugly in their canon about indomitable rule breakers who achieved greatness and broke their barriers by persistence and unwavering dedication.” – Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News
Rae de Leon, is a new staff reporter working at The Center for Investigative Reporting, when she discovers a surprising number of legal cases nationwide that involve women reporting sexual assault to the police, only to be accused of fabricating their allegations. These women are then charged with crimes, sometimes facing years in prison. This powerful and shocking documentary VICTIM / SUSPECT follows de Leon as she gathers firsthand accounts from numerous young women and their families and interviews police and legal experts. Simultaneously, de Leon re-examines elements of the initial police investigations, unearthing telling recordings of police interviews of women reporting their sexual assault. In her latest documentary feature, VICTIM / SUSPECT Director Nancy Schwartzman (Roll Red Roll) crafts a deeply compelling and provocative investigative documentary, sure to elicit both empathy and outrage, that stands as a powerful testament to the carefully constructed work of determined reporters like de Leon. Director / Producer Nancy Schwartzman joins us for a conversation on the multi-faceted way that VICTIM / SUSPECT illuminates how local and nationwide systemic policing policies both motivate detectives to treat victims like suspects, and directly impact not only these vulnerable women’s cases, but also their lives.
About the filmmaker – Nancy Schwartzman is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and author based in Los Angeles. Her debut feature, Roll Red Roll (POV/Netflix 2019), was nominated for a Peabody Award and exposed the notorious Steubenville, Ohio, teen sexual assault case. She is the creator and director of a nonfiction project in production with XTR for Freeform/Disney.
“A strong, powerful documentary that, despite feeling a tad neat and cold at times, benefits from De Leon’s presence. And most importantly: it is a film that will remain engraved in your memories for a long time. “ – Sebastian Zavala Kahn, Cinencuentro
“A very solid, depressing piece of accessible documentary journalism about a very troubling trend.” – Cory Woodroof, 615 Film
“It’s all so very sober, so deeply sobering, that when actual emotion pops, that’s what jars. It shouldn’t be the case — all of this should rattle us and move us into action.” – Kate Erbland, indieWire
In Francisca Alegría’s poignant and stunning debut feature, THE COW WHO SANG A SONG INTO THE FUTURE, we are introduced to a world delicately constructed by fantasy, mystery, and magical realism. The story begins in a river in the south of Chile where fish are dying due to pollution from a nearby factory. Amid their floating bodies, long-deceased Magdalena (Mia Maestro) bubbles up to the surface gasping for air, bringing with her old wounds and a wave of family secrets. This shocking return sends her widowed husband into turmoil and prompts their daughter Cecilia (Leonor Varela) to return home to the family’s dairy farm with her own children. Magdalena’s presence reverberates among her family, instigating fits of laughter and despair in equal measure with all but Cecilia’s eldest child, who finds much-needed comfort in their grandmother’s love and unconditional understanding during a time of transition. THE COW WHO SANG A SONG INTO THE FUTURE is an ambitious proposal for acceptance and healing, suggesting that the dead return when they are most needed. Director Francisca Alegria joins us for a conversation on her ambitious undertaking and how she was able to successfully tell her story as a lyrical rumination on family, nature, renewal, and resurrection.
About the filmmaker – Francisca Alegría is an award-winning filmmaker who obtained her degree in Directing from the Universidad Católica de Chile and her M.F.A. in Screenwriting and Film Directing at Columbia University. Her short film AND THE WHOLE SKY FIT IN THE DEAD COW’S EYE received the award for Best International Fiction Short Film at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, Best Latin American Short Film at Miami Film Festival and was selected at Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, and New York Film Festival. Alegría’s debut feature, The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future was selected for the Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Labs and will premiere in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.
“Mysterious and elegiac. A tale of warning about a collapsing ecosystem and about deep family wounds.”– Alissa Wilkinson, Vox
“A beautifully eerie and resonant tale about motherhood and the natural world… Solidly grounded, teeming with thought-provoking ideas, wonderfully atmospheric, and oftenvisually striking.”– Jonathan Holland, Screen Daily
“Hauntingly moving and hopeful…A folkloric tale that uses magical realism as a way to connect the intimatestory of a family sufferingfrom generational trauma witha timely environmentalist fable.” – Rafael Motamayor, IndieWire
“An intimate story about one family and a vast story about the Earth…Feels like the arrival of a totally new voice.”– Drew Gregory, Autostraddle
“The Cow Who Sang A Song Into The Future emerges as part of a growing body of work which is striving to address desperation with imagination, to find new ways to be.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
Allison Otto’s so unbelievable it has to be true documentary, THE THIEF COLLECTOR, follows the brazen broad daylight theft of renown artist Willem de Kooning’s landmark painting “Woman-Ochre,” in 1985. Considered to be one of the most valuable paintings of the 20th century, it vanished into the Arizona desert after being cut from its frame at the University of Arizona Museum of Art. Thirty-Two years later, the $160 million painting was found hanging in the home of Jerry and Rita Alter in rural New Mexico. THE THIEF COLLECTOR takes a deep look at how, and why, this mild-mannered couple pulled off one of the greatest art heists of a generation, exploring the complicated dynamics of family, the contours of criminality, and just how far people will go to weave their own grandiose narratives. Featuring Glenn Howerton(It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Sarah Minnich (Army of the Dead) in the “heist re-enactment”. Director Allison Otto (The Love Bugs) stops by to talk about how she came to the project, following the wildly improbable story of retired school teachers and avid world travelers led her to New Mexico and a cryptic book, written by Jerry Alter that hints at multiple art heists and even more disturbing activities that the couple may have engaged in.
About the filmmaker – Director Allison Otto is an Emmy winning documentary filmmaker, cinematographer, and visual journalist. Her documentary short, The Love Bugs (2019), was awarded Best Short Documentary in the 42nd Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards after screening on POV Shorts Season 3 (2020). The film was also shortlisted for a 2019 International Documentary Association Award and is touring globally with the American Film Showcase. Allison is a 2019 recipient of the SFFILM Catapult Film Fellowship, a 2018 and 2011 Telluride Mountainfilm Commitment grant recipient, and a 2018 Roy W. Dean grant winner. Her journalism clients have included National Geographic, BBC America, NBC, the Sierra Club, Travel Channel, Atlas Obscura, and Lonely Planet. Her first feature-length documentary, THE THIEF COLLECTOR, premiered in the Feature Documentary competition at SXSW 2022.
“Character driven true crime documentary about one of the most audacious art heists ever. Once the story shifts from the actual crime to those who may have committed it, things get really interesting.” – Nathaniel Muir, AIPT
“While not fully exploiting its stranger-than-fiction story, The Thief Collector is a documentary as entertaining as it is odd.” – Shaun Munro, Flickering Myth
Jamie Sisley’s American indie debut drama, STAY AWAKE, is a fictionalized account of the filmmaker’s coming of age, as he struggles to get out from under the yoke of a prescription-drug-addicted mother in small-town Virginia. Life in the last, lame-duck months of high school, with a job at the Jolly Cow ice cream drive-in, would be cringe-inducing enough without a deeply depressed, self-destructive mother (Chrissy Metz, star of This is Us). Wyatt Oleff (City on Fire) and Fin Argus (Queer as Folk) play teenage brothers stuck in a cycle of discovering their mom passed out, dragging her to the hospital, and encouraging rehab. Despair quickly turns to hope and then boomerangs back again. Featuring three superb performances that find surprising humor and humanity amid the tragedy of parental addiction. Writer/Director Jamie Sisley (Farewell Ferris Wheel) joins us for a conversation on assembling a superb cast of actors, delivering a story of uncommon empathy that is very much of the moment, and a moving drama that subverts audience expectations about addicts.
About the filmmaker – Jamie Sisley is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker. Stay Awake, his narrative debut, premiered at the 2022 Berlin Film Festival, where it won the AG Kino Gilde Auteur Award. Sisley also received an Emmy Nomination for his feature documentary, Farewell Ferris Wheel. Sisley is a graduate of the University of Virginia.
“Gorgeously shot, honest and deeply personal.” – Virgie Tovar, Forbes
“Especially resonant given the recent representation of America’s drug crisis.” – Manori Ravindran, Variety
“Youthful wisdom is laced throughout Jamie Sisley’s feature debut.” – Stephen Saito, The Moveable Fest
“A balancing act of addiction, compassion, difficult choices, that still manages hilarious moments and periods of joy. One of the best directorial debuts of the year.” – Ross Bonaime, Collider
“Sisley tells the story on a personal tone, showing how the drama goes hand to hand with humor, and how in the most difficult moments, humans can get a connection beyond any limit.” – Laura Hiros, Rincón de cine
Director Billy Miossi takes viewers on a thoroughly enjoyable look behind the scenes of an engaging group of engineers and scientist in It’s Quieter in the Twilight They watch the bright lights from a distance today. The headlines now go to big names with bigger bank accounts. But, they are comfortable in the quiet, it suits them. Yet this quirky team of brilliant engineers- like the Voyager spacecraft they pilot – are pushing the notion of true discovery, traveling among stars propelled only by dwindling sunlight. While the world has moved on to fancier ships and splashier front men–the celestial journey of the aging / spacecraft transcends earthly boundaries– from rural South Korea, the Jim Crow South and the U.S./Mexico border to cement a joint commitment to the mission which has traveled the furthest in human history as the clock winds down. Director Billy Miossi stops to talk about the low-key way that the Voyager team goes to extraordinary lengths to keep a 1970’s era spacecraft functioning, and the dedication of a crew that includes Sun Matsumoto, Enrique Medina, Fernando Peralta, Jefferson Hall, Todd Barber, Suzy Dodd, Chris Jones, Ed Stone, Andrea Angrum and Liu Yang.
About the filmmaker – Billy Miossi is an Emmy-award-winning documentary filmmaker based in Cincinnati, Ohio. It’s Quieter in the Twilight combines Billy’s love of history, space and science to spotlight a dynamic underexposed in tech: aging and quiet dedication. Billy lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife and three kids. For more go to: billy-miossi.com/films
“An undeniably engrossing film.” – Peter Sobczynski, The Spool
“This film is magical.” “I love this film.” “What an absolute delight. Highly recommended.” – Steve Kopian, Unseen Films
“Things go a bit sideways and we viewers suddenly find ourselves actively rooting for this beautiful, dumb, and amazing little hunk of metal that is so very far away. How it plays out is almost beside the point.” – Seth Freilich, Pajiba
“Miossi wisely avoids hammering home obvious connections about the age of human and machine, instead making this about how they care.” – Richard Whittaker, Austin Chronicle
“If you love all things space, It’s Quieter in the Twilight is must-see viewing… Science, nostalgia, and a bit of drama. What more could you ask for in a documentary?” – Alan Ng, Film Threat
Filmmaker Peter Hutchinson’s latest documentary THE CURE FOR HATE: BEARING WITNESS TO AUSCHWITZ follows Tony McAleer, a former Neo-Nazi and Holocaust denier. After spent 15 years in the white supremacist and neo-Nazi movement, starting as a skinhead before rising in the ranks into leadership, McAleer shed past life to become a founding member of the anti-hate activist group Life After Hate. positions. (the film) THE CURE FOR HATE: BEARING WITNESS TO AUSCHWITZ documents Tony’s profoundly personal journey of atonement to Auschwitz/Birkenau – exploring the conditions that allowed for the rise of fascism in 1930s Europe; shedding a unique light upon how men get into, and out of, violent extremist groups; and servingas a cautionary tale for our time that underscores the dangers in allowing hate to be left unchecked. Aware and deeply ashamed of the lineage of hate he’d once promoted, Tony had long-contemplated traveling to Auschwitz in the spirit of tshuvah – to bear witness to the inconceivable ravages of the Holocaust, and deepen his personal work against the rise of extremist politics. Director Peter Hutchinson (Requiem of the American Dream) and Subject Tony McAleer join us for a conversation on the road that brought them together, the size and scope of the Auschwitz industrial killing operation, and getting to know each other.
About the filmmaker – Peter Hutchison is an award-winning filmmaker, NY Times Bestselling author, educator & activist.His films include Requiem for the American Dream: Noam Chomsky and the Principles of Concentration of Wealth and Power (Netflix/Amazon Prime/Kanopy) – a NY Times Critics Pick, it’s companion book a NY Times Bestseller. The more recent Healing From Hate: Battle for the Soul of a Nation (Amazon Prime/Kanopy) – an exploration of hate group activity as seen through the lens of masculinity – has been described as a “raw masterpiece”.Devil Put the Coal in the Ground, a holistic look at the ravages of extractive industry and corporate power in West Virginia, is currently in festival release, having garnered 6 Best Documentary Feature Awards.His longstanding commitment to issues around male identity has resulted in the films You Throw Like A Girl: The Blind Spot of Masculinity (MEF), Angry White Men: Masculinity in the Age of Trump (Grasshopper), and The Man Card: White Male Identity Politics from Nixon to Trump(MEF).He holds an M.S. in Counseling Psychology with a focus on Addictions and Systems Dynamics.
About the subject – Tony McAleer spent 15 years in the white supremacist and neo-Nazi movement, starting as a skinhead before evolving to leadership positions. Instrumental in ushering in the use of the internet as a means to disseminate white supremacist propaganda, he was ultimately brought before the Canadian Human Rights Commission for his offenses in a case that captured nationwide attention.Following over a thousand hours of individual & group counseling to understand his own process, Tony was instrumental in helping to foundLife After Hate, an organization that supports those considering exiting hate groups. Tony served as its Executive Director from 2013-2017, andBoard Chair until his departure in 2019.Now a certified Life Coach, Tony works closely with law enforcement and government, from Attorney Generals to senior staff at the Department of Homeland Security. Tony has testified before Congress, and was recently invited to the Paris Summit for the Christchurch Call with the Prime Minister of New Zealand. He also supports Government and Law enforcement in Victoria, Australia helping them grapple with the rising problem of violent white supremacist groups.He is the Author of The Cure For Hate: A Former White Supremacist’s Journey from Violent Extremism to Radical Compassion, published byArsenal Pulp Press; his TED Talk on “Radical Compassion” is available via TEDx.
“As the documentary points out, the number of Holocaust survivors is dwindling fast, and it’s documentaries like this one that must keep the memory of the horrors of genocide over ideology alive today, or dare we repeat the past.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat
“A well-filmed, no-holds-barred, raw masterpiece defining the causes and solutions for America’s ugliest disease: racism. A must-see for both victims and perpetrators of hate.” – Daryl Davis (“Accidental Courtesy”) “Thoughtful & compelling… a powerful case for compassion & empathy” – Common Sense Media “A hopeful expression of how hate does not need to be the end of the road” – CBS News “Powerful & risky documentary that looks at racism in America… and how to enact change.” – AIPT
In a remote small town, a neuro-divergent teen forms an unlikely rapport with an international student from Shanghai volunteering at the hospital where she is a patient. Between the two, a bond forms, cemented by their candid conversations, nightly text messages, and exchange of their deepest secrets. The boundaries of their friendship quickly expand into something special, altering their inner alchemy. QUEENS OF THE QING DYNASTY is a story that breaches the absurd and poetic, the platonic and the romantic. Both intimate and intense, it explores the intrinsic beauty and innate flaws of what it is to be human, the profundity of connection, and the vortex of mental illness. The electronic music score blurs between cinema foley and sound design to create a feeling of an alternate plane. The film is an affectionate ode to women, asexuals, and neuro-diverse and gender queer individuals who exist beyond the norms of society. QUEENS OF THE QING DYNASTY is produced by Britt Kirr, Nelson MacDonald, and McKenzie, with music by Cecile Believe and Yu Su and cinematography by Scott Moore. Director and writer Ashley McKenzie (Werewolf) joins us for a conversation on the casting of filmstars Sarah Walker and Ziyin Zheng, working with them to get their pitch perfect performances, and finding her own creative space outside the cinematic circles, of Toronto and Montreal, in Nova Scotia working with local artist.
About the filmmaker – Ashley McKenzie (she/they) is a filmmaker based in Unama’ki–Cape Breton Island, Canada. She writes and directs films in collaboration with people in her community, compelled by the stories near to her that may otherwise be overlooked. Casting locals and shooting on-location brings vitality to her work and visibility to the people and textures concealed in a remote place. Her debut feature, Werewolf, won the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award from the Toronto Film Critics Association in 2017, the most generously endowed film prize in Canada. It was theatrically released by Factory 25 in the US and Les Alchimistes in Europe. Film Comment called Werewolf “an austere, marvelously focused debut feature,” while The New Yorker named it on their Best Movies of 2018 list. Ashley’s films have screened at the Berlinale, New York Film Festival, and Toronto International Film Festival, as well as been curated by the Criterion Channel, MUBI, and Anthology Film Archives. Queens of the Qing Dynasty, her latest feature, premiered in the Encounters Competition of the 2022 Berlinale.
From the award-winning filmmakers, Berndt Mader & Ben Steinbauer behind WINNEBAGO MAN, comes CHOP & STEELE. The feature documentary focuses on a pair of childhood friends, Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett, turned professional comedians and the founders of the wildly popular Found Footage Festival. When Nick and Joe book their gag strongman routine on unsuspecting morning news shows, their pranks go viral and land them in federal court with a vengeful media conglomerate. The stress of the lawsuit and pressure to continue their pranks threatens their livelihood and tests their lifelong friendship. Co-director Ben Steinbauer (Winnebago Man) join us for a lively conversation on the joyous journey that he and Berndt Mader (Booger Red) took in documenting the long and winding tale of Nick and Joe have been on for decades as pranksters, strongmen, family men, and hosts of the Found Footage Film Festival, enlisting Howie Mandel, David Cross, Reggie Watts, Bobcat Goldwait and Yes Man Andy Bichlbaum to give context to the rich comedic tradition being carried on by Chop & Steele.
About the filmmaker – Berndt Mader is an Emmy Award-winning film, television and commercial director. The son of a prominent Dallas photographer, Berndt spent the majority of his childhood running from cameras, only to now find himself most at home behind one. Berndt’s vast portfolio includes Chop & Steele (2022), a comedy documentary that he co-directed with The Bear’s Ben Steinbauer. The film premiered to great acclaim at the Tribeca Film Festival. His hybrid narrative-documentary, Booger Red (2016), led him to co-direct a television series for Discovery+, based on his original film. Berndt has directed award winning advertising work for notable brands like Budweiser, RAM, Fritos, Alfa Romeo, Dodge, Indeed, Yeti and many others. thebear.us/directors/ben-steinbauer
About the filmmaker – Ben Steinbauer grew up wanting to be an author and astounded his preschool teacher when he made a book at age four. In college at KU (Rock Chalk!), a gruff creative writing professor told him to pursue film classes and there’s been no looking back. Since then, he has become an award-winning film, television, and commercial director. His feature documentary, Winnebago Man, Michael Moore called, “One of the funniest documentaries ever made!” and Roger Ebert named it one of his favorite films. His most recent documentary film, Chop & Steele, premiered to outstanding reviews at the Tribeca Film Festival and stars David Cross, Reggie Watts, Bobcat Goldthwait, and Howie Mandel. He has directed commercials for Yeti, Crate & Barrel, Shiner, Whole Foods, LinkedIn, Popeyes and Indeed. thebear.us/directors/ben-steinbauer
“A hilarious documentary… Chop and Steele will charm Nick and Joe’s fanbase, but it should also generate new admirers.” – Gary M. Kramer, MovieJawn
“We’re essentially watching two guys with a lifelong dependency on each other, and a seeming addiction to cringe, consider the possibility for the first time in decades of giving up some key aspect of their own identities.” – Jim Vorel, Paste Magazine
“A very funny and entertaining documentary about friendship, the art of comedy, and the skill and creativity it takes to execute the perfect practical joke – even if it lands you in serious legal trouble.” – Louisa Moore, Screen Zealots
“Chop & Steele plays like one act of artistic defiance after another in celebration of Pickett and Prueher’s love of obscure content, much of which was never cleared for public consumption.” – John Fink, The Film Stage
Few films have addressed the trauma of immigrating to a new country, and fewer have been as emotionally compelling as Anthony Shim’s RICEBOY SLEEPS. After losing her husband, So-young (Choi Seung-yoon) relocates to Canada in the 1990s with her young son, Dong-hyun (Dohyun Noel Hwang as a child, Ethan Hwang as a teenager) in tow. There, they must fight for acceptance and respect. Dong-hyun is brutally bullied by his classmates, and he isn’t helped by the timid, distinctly Canadian racism of his teacher and principal, who consider the family “troublesome.” At work, So-young battles loneliness and racist and sexist comments. As they negotiate with their separate circumstances, the rift between mother and son grows. Unwelcome news sparks an unplanned return to South Korea — and the in-laws So-young hasn’t spoken to in many years — but might open up the possibility of mutual understanding. Winner of the Toronto Film Critics Association’s Rogers Award for Best Canadian Film, director, writer, co-producer and editor Anthony Shim (Daughter) joins us for a conversation on the very personal inspiration for the film, getting the outstanding performances from Choi Seung-yoon, Noel Hwang and Ethan Hwang, filming in South Korea and the critical importance of Christopher Lew’s masterful cinematography.
About the filmmaker – Anthony Shim moved with his family to the Vancouver suburb of Coquitlam when he was still quite young. He began his career as an actor, landing roles in both film and television. He made his full-length feature debut as a director with Daughter, which premiered at the 2019 Vancouver International Film Festival. Riceboy Sleeps, his second feature film, premiered in the Platform Prize competition at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival and was named winner of the Platform Prize. In addition to many other awards, Riceboy Sleeps also won the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award from the Toronto Film Critics Association, which comes with $100,000, considered the richest annual film prize in Canada. In an interview about the film, Shim said the movie is “semi-autobiographical and largely based on my experience as an immigrant living in Canada in the 90s. It is a story which I have been wanting to tell for quite some time. It is about a mother and her son, and how they come to terms with life in this new environment and culture. Over time and due to a series of unfortunate events, they go back to their home country to visit their relatives.” Anthony Shim is pictured with his 2023 Canadian Scree Award for Original Screenplay for his film Riceboy Sleeps.
“The extraordinary Riceboy Sleeps is a revelation that reverberates days after seeing it. Its power is in its subtlety and spare style, we aren’t so much watching mother and son as living inside them, a phenomenal achievement for filmmaker Anthony Shim.” – Anne Brodie, What She Said
“This tender and tragic film gracefully expresses not only the sense of being an outsider, but tells the story in a way that all audiences can understand, making it easier for viewers to relate to the immigrant experience in a mostly white country.” – Louisa Moore, Screen Zealots
“A deep-rooted longing at the core of Riceboy Sleeps makes it unforgettable. It is one of those achingly beautiful films that will stay with you long after it’s over.” – Barbara Goslawski, That Shelf
“Assimilation becomes [Dong-Hyun’s] only respite. What’s great about the film, however, is that it doesn’t portray this reality with judgment. It’s merely a fact.” – Jared Mobarak, The Film Stage
From the late 1960s to mid- 1970s, David Hammons captivated the art world with his body prints, using his naked body as a printing plate in meditations on African-American existence, and later works including a snowball-selling performance in the East Village and sculptures made of hair collected from Harlem barbers — all the while sharply defying establishment categories and rules of commerce. An unconventional chronicle of Hammons’s life and work (now 79, he believes “the less they know about me the better”), THE MELT GOES ON FOREVER captures his playful, no-bullshit spirit and conceptual integrity, using archival footage and rare interviews, dynamic animation and sound art, and candid accounts by eminent artists curators and critics (Betye Saar, Suzanne Jackson, Henry Taylor, Lorna Simpson, among others). Hammons’s profound critiques of racial and social inequality illuminate and implicate simultaneously. THE MELT GOES ON FOREVER chronicles Hammons’ category-defying practice – rooted in a deep critique of American society and the elite art world – is in the words of one art critic “an invitation to confront the fissures between races” as the artist seeks to go beyond the dominant culture and his own to a new one for the 21st century. Co-directors Judd Tully (American Greed: The Art of the Steal, Driven to Abstraction) and Harold Crooks (The Price We Pay, The Corporation) stop by to talk about David Hammons has constantly defied the establishment and remains to this day a subversive voice, evocative, defiant, nuanced and relevant.
About the filmmaker – Harold Crooks is the director/writer of The Price We Pay, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and had its European premier at CPH:DOX. Named “Best Canadian Documentary” of 2014 by the Vancouver Film Critics Circle, it was a New York Times Critic’s Pick. He co-directed Surviving Progress with Mathieu Roy which premiered at 2011 TIFF, CPH:DOX and IDFA. His film writing credits include The Gig Is Up, a Hot Docs, CPH:DOX and IDFA selection in 2021; and the Sundance and TIFF audience winner The Corporation (2003), the narration for which he co-wrote with director Mark Achbar. Crooks is a recipient of a Prix Gémeaux and a Genie Award from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television Genie Award, a Chicago International Film Festival Gold Hugo, a Leo Award for Best Screenwriter [Documentary] of the Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Foundation of B.C., a National Documentary Film Award (Best Writing) at Hot Docs 1996, and a Writers Guild of Canada Top Ten Awards finalist.
About the filmmaker – Judd Tully was born in Chicago and educated at American University, Washington, DC. His career in journalism began as a cub reporter with the ’70s underground paper The Berkeley Barb where he covered the politically charged trials of the Soledad Brothers, George Jackson and Angela Davis in San Francisco and Marin County. For over two decades, he was Editor-at-Large of Art & Auction magazine. His journalism and art criticism has appeared in Flash Art, ARTnews, the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and The Art Newspaper, as well as his blog juddtully.net. Judd has been frequently interviewed on BBC Radio, CNN, MSNBC, as well as made cameo appearances in a number of documentary films that chronicle the rise and fall of the art market and scandals associated with it including the CNBC’s American Greed: The Art of the Steal and Driven to Abstraction, the expose of the $80 million art forgery at the once-venerated Knoedler Gallery.
“Blends, seamlessly, the heart and meaning, the art and politics, the understanding of our humanity — the vision unique to David Hammons. We watch this towering genius as he reconstructs our refuse in an empathetic identification usually available only to children and their inescapable honesty.” – Walter Mosley, novelist and screenwriter
“The art world’s Thomas Pynchon… The Melt Goes On Forever tracks the revered US artist’s career, without his direct participation, to illuminating effect… Eclectic and evocative… Filled with glimpses of a witty, inventive imagination.” – David D’Arcy, The Art Newspaper
“Rebel genius, David Hammons shows us in this informative doc how his art making has gone way beyond Duchamp with his unique Black American creative perspective.” – Fab Five Freddy (Fred Brathwaite)
“David Hammons has found the genuinely political, the genuinely beautiful and the outrageously magical in art — and has been passing it on to us these 50 years.” – The New York Times
THE ARTIFICE GIRL focuses on a team of special agents as they delve into the orgin of a revolutionary new computer program that baits and traps shockingly high percentage of online child predators. After teaming up with the program’s troubled developer, they soon find that the AI is rapidly advancing beyond its original purpose. THE ARTIFICE GIRL is directed and written by Franklin Ritch in his feature film debut. The film stars Tatum Matthews (The Waltons: Homecoming), David Girard (short “Teardrop Goodbye with Mandatory Directorial Commentary by Remy Von Trout”), Sinda Nichols (That Abandoned Place, “Bubblegum Crisis”),Franklin Ritch and Lance Henriksen (Aliens, The Quick and the Dead). Director, screenwriter, editor and actor Franklin Ritch joins us for a conversation on how he came to write the script for The Artifice Girl, his thoughts on the very complicated choices that will need to be addressed with the ascendancy of Artificial Intelligence in our lives, working with a cast of relative unknown actors, and how habits of compassion and kindness could be a by-product of everyday AI.
About the filmmaker – Franklin Ritch is an independent filmmaker, writing, directing, and editing with a passion for unique ideas and sharp storytelling. Since high school, Franklin has developed a vast filmography of short films, web series, and features. Collaborating with Emmy-winning cinematographer, Britt McTammany, Franklin’s early short, BEDRIDDEN (Fantastic Fest, 2018), kicked off a marathon of short film productions that included STILL LIFE (Sleeping Giant Fest 2019), POWERFUL (SERFF 2019), THE 27 DEATHS (Fantastic Fest 2021), and many more. In 2022, Franklin premiered his debut feature film, THE ARTIFICE GIRL (XYZ), starring sci-fi legend Lance Henriksen, at Fantasia International Film Festival, where it won the Golden Audience Award for Best International Feature and later took top prize at its European premiere in Trieste, Italy. Franklin has since been named one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine, and his work continues to be recognized and revered in outlets such as Screen Anarchy, Movie Maker Magazine, and The Film Stage.
“The action is in the dialogue, which presents a series of invigorating arguments about where the ethical lines are when it comes to creating and then exploiting an intelligent computer program.” – Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times
About the filmmaker – Laura Morton has been involved in the entertainment industry for more than 25 years as a bestselling author, producer, speaker and entrepreneur. She is the founder of Lasega Films and the soon to be launched Anxious Nation Network (ANN) Morton has written over 60 books and a staggering 21 New York Times bestsellers, with a wide range of celebrities and business leaders, including, Justin Bieber, the Jonas Brothers, Susan Lucci, John Maxwell, Jennifer Hudson, Al Roker, Deborah Roberts, Joan Lunden, Marilu Henner, Melissa Etheridge, Katherine Schwarzenegger, Kim Zimmer, Kathy Ireland, Sandra Lee, Danica Patrick, Glenn Stearns, Bob Parsons and more.Laura continues to pursue projects of interest that cross publishing, production and electronic media through her company, including her award winning documentary film, Anxious Nation. Laura frequently speaks to organizations on a variety of topics, mixing humor and emotional storytelling in her dazzling and memorable presentations. For more go to: anxiousnation.com/meet-the-team
About the filmmaker – Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker and social justice advocate, Vanessa Roth has been creating and overseeing social impact international films, projects, campaigns, and companies for over 25 years. Her films and series have been made in partnership with National Geographic, Disney, Amazon, Netflix, Discovery, PBS, HBO, A&E, ESPN and the BBC, as well as with international non-profits, NGOs, brands, foundations, organizations, museums, memorial halls, public art exhibitions and universities. Her work has screened at hundreds of film festivals, the Obama White House, for multiple sessions in Congress, inside the United Nations, NBC Education Nation, Oprah and NPR.Her international film work has garnered the highest of honors in documentary, film, television and journalism with over 60 awards including the Oscar, The Alfred I Dupont Columbia Award, the Television Academy Emmy Award for Social Impact, Sundance Prizes, Cine Golden Eagles, Casey Medals, Impact Doc Awards for Best in Show and Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking, IDA nominations, Audience Awards and Jury Prizes at festivals around the world, screenings at the international Cannes Lions festival as well as top honors for work in social impact, social justice, witness to history and legacy, youth empowerment and women’s rights.Vanessa has been an ongoing Thought Partner to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and serves as Senior Creative and Story Advisor to businesses and organizations who use storytelling to make a difference on the planet including the Publicis Groupe, UNESCO, The USC/Shoah Foundation, Amplify, Sun Stream and Storyfile. She has been a TEDX speaker as well as key-note speaker and adjunct professor for universities, organizations and foundations around the world focused on human rights, the environment, youth and female empowerment, ethics, legacy, memory, history, and storytelling.Some of Vanessa’s film and series work include, the premium feature documentary Mary J Blige’s My Life (Amazon Prime), the 6 part docu-series National Geographic Presents IMPACT with Gal Gadot (Nat Geo/Disney), the 4 part docu-series Daughters of Destiny (Netflix), The Other Side (30 for 30 on ESPN), Liberation Heroes: The Last Eyewitnesses (Discovery), The Girl and the Picture (Theatrical), Freeheld (HBO), American Teacher (Amazon), The Texas Promise (PBS), Taken In (PBS), Aging Out (PBS), No Tomorrow (PBS), Close to Home (Theatrical, Discovery), 911 Toxic Dust (A&E), Third Monday in October (Theatrical/Sundance Channel/ Special Presentation at President Obama’s Inauguration).Vanessa received a BA in Creative Writing and Psychology from UCLA and holds a Masters’ degree in Social Work and minor in family law from Columbia University. Before making documentaries, Vanessa was an artist/therapist in residence for Arts and Education programs for the NYC DOE and a Child Advocate in New York and California family and juvenile courts and schools, and for the Santa Monica Stuart House/Rape Treatment Center.For more go to: anxiousnation.com/meet-the-team
32 SOUNDS is an immersive feature documentary and profound sensory experience from Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Sam Green (The Weather Underground, A Thousand Thoughts) featuring original music by JD Samson (Le Tigre, MEN). The film explores the elemental phenomenon of sound by weaving together 32 specific sound explorations into a cinematic meditation on the power of sound to bend time, cross borders, and profoundly shape our perception of the world around us. Filmmaker Green takes the audience on a journey through time and space and into the world of experimental musician Annea Lockwood (her Piano Burning performance captured the sounds of a piano on fire) suggests — as she records “wild” sounds from a marsh in New York — that we should be listening with the environment, rather than to it. A freewheeling exploration of how sound shapes and moves us, the film is “full to bursting with humor, emotion and curiosity…a uniquely mind-expanding plunge into a dimension of the human experience so many of us take for granted, a rare and rewarding sonic journey. 32 SOUNDS investigates the mysterious nature of perception and the subtle yet radical politics that arise from sensation and being present in one’s body. Director Sam Green known for such films as A Thousand Thoughts, and his Academy Award nominated film Weather Underground joins us for a conversation on his collaboration with electronic musician JD Samson, as well as how he went about gathering all the samples sounds, ranging from the sounds inside the womb, the mating call of a now-extinct bird, the audio effects created by a Hollywood Foley artist, the hush of snow falling in Japan, and John Cage’s famed piece, “4:33.”
About the filmmaker – Sam Green (Director | Writer | Editor) is a New York-based documentary filmmaker. Green’s most recent live documentaries include A Thousand Thoughts (with the Kronos Quartet) (2018), The Measure of All Things (2014), The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller (with Yo La Tengo) (2012), and Utopia in Four Movements (2010). With all of these works, Green narrates the film in-person while musicians perform a live soundtrack. Green’s 2004 feature-length film, The Weather Underground, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was nominated for an Academy Award, was included in the Whitney Biennial, and has screened widely around the world.
“A uniquely mind-expanding plunge into a dimension of the human experience so many of us take for granted, a rare and rewarding sonic journey with the potential to enrich our lives.” – Peter Debruge, Variety
“Calling 32 SOUNDS a documentary doesn’t do it justice. … this film is an enjoyably interactive and thoughtful exploration of sound, how it triggers emotions and transports us through memory.” – Valerie Kalfrin, AWFJ.org
“Startling in its approach and content, 32 Sounds offers an exploration on the known and unknown of sound as it relates to the human condition.” – Douglas Davidson, Elements of Madness
“Designed to be watched at home with headphones on, 32 Sounds is a magical mystery tour through sound, music, sound on film, and how it affects us emotionally.” – Alex Heeney, Seventh Row
Acclaimed writer/director and founder of indie production company TXL Films, Taron Lexton. Most recently, Lexton and TXL wrapped production on their most ambitious indie feature yet, NOMAD. Starring “White Lotus” Breakout Leo Woodall, the film was shot entirely on location across 26 countries with its 2 lead actors, using no sets, green screens or cinema lights and a traveling crew of just 8 people.NOMAD tells the story of a mysterios loner (Woodall) with a bizarre condition that takes him inexplicably to the ends of the earth. When he crosses paths with a stifled city girl (Sana’a Shaik), they are plunged into a fight for survival that takes them across every continent. This feature narrative encapsulates Lexton’s signature visual aesthetic and emotionally charged storytelling. Lexton founded TXL Films with the ethos to focus on unique and humanity-driven stories that connect us to each other and to the world. Since its launch in 2004, he and TXL have filmed in over 55 countries, including all 7 continents, been awarded by more than 100 film festivals, screened out of competition at Cannes, and Lexton’s personal humanitarian projects earned him the United Nations Award of Excellence. Director, producer. writer and cinematographer Taron Lexton joins us to talk about his interest in showcasing people and their stories from every corner of the world, inspiration that he has drawn from his mother’s work in protecting and expanding human rights across the globe, founding his own production company and his ambitious new project, NOMAD.
About the filmmaker – Founder / Director Taron Lexton was born in South Africa and raised in Los Angeles, Lexton graduated from LA Film School and by the age of 35 had filmed in 55 countries on 7 continents. He’s directed more than 500 national commercials, including 3 Super Bowl ads, and multiple award-winning short films. His work has been awarded by more than 100 film festivals, and his humanitarian projects earned him the United Nations Award of Excellence. In 2004 he founded TXL Films, a Los Angeles-based production company whose work has been seen by over a billion people worldwide. In 2017 he directed the critically acclaimed indie feature In Search of Fellini, starring Ksenia Solo (Black Swan, Project Blue Book) and Golden Globe nominee Maria Bello (Thank You for Smoking, A History of Violence). In 2019 he directed the ground-breaking feature film Nomad, currently in post production. It is the first narrative film to shoot on all 7 continents and capture a total solar eclipse as the backdrop of a scene. Our credits include 4 feature films, 50+ short films, 220 national commercials. We’re honored to have won over 25 Tellys, 15 Auroras, 6 Hermes Creatives, 3 Communicator Awards, the Gold Hugo at the Chicago Television Film Festival, the Ferrara Film Festival Golden Dragon for Best Feature Film USA, laurels at more than 35 film festivals, and the United Nations Award of Excellence for our human rights work. For more on Taron Lexton’s work – txlfilms.com
Award-winning filmmaker Justin Lerner’s latest work, CADEJO BLANCO, takes a deep dive into the world of Guatemala’s clicas, small disorganized gangs of young people who engage in illegal activity (robberies, drug dealing, violence) in order to survive. CADEJO BLANCO unfolds through the eyes of a Sarita, who lives with her sister Bea and mother, in a working-class neighborhood in Guatemala City. One night after a party, Bea doesn’t come home. Convinced that her disappearance has something to do with Andrés, her sister’s dangerous ex, Sarita manages to befriend him and infiltrate his gang. Narrowly avoiding death at every turn, and with an unwavering determination in the face of the men who underestimate her, Sarita becomes increasingly involved with Andrés and the ruthless, violent world of his gang. As she searches for answers about what happened to her sister, she realizes that the truth is a lot more complicated than she could have imagined. In writing the screenplay, for CADEJO BLANCO director, producer, and co-editor Justin Lerner talks about how he relied heavily on the biographies of the young people he met from the gangs of Puerto Barrios. Much of the story is based on their real experiences as they were told to Lerner: their daily conflicts, the dangers in joining a clica, losing friends to violence and crime. We also discuss his casting of Karen Martinez into the complex role of Sarita and how she was able to deliver a superb, multi-faceted performance.
About the filmmaker – Justin Lerner is an award-winning filmmaker from Boston, Massachusetts. His mother is Sicilian and his father is Russian. His first feature film, GIRLFRIEND, premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival and won the 2011 Gotham Independent Film Audience Award. His second feature film, THE AUTOMATIC HATE, made its world premiere at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival and its international premiere at the 2015 Busan Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Flash Forward Award (best first or second feature). Lerner lives in both the USA and in Guatemala. In 2016, he helped launch the Escuela de Cine at Francisco Marroquin University in Guatemala City. He also was the program’s very first film professor.
“The visuals hold a power few dramas, save for the likes of City Of God, possess. Karen Martínez is a revelation.” – Bobby LePire, Film Threat
“Justin Lerner’s sumptuous and simmering thriller… born out of Lerner’s time in Guatemala, talking to real teenage gang members in Puerto Barrios … resembles Gerardo Naranjo’s “Miss Bala” as a story that drifts on the periphery of the criminal underworld…. Martínez is a real discovery as Sarita….” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest
“reminiscent of Maria Full of Grace and Miss Bala” – Bruce Haring, Deadline “Now and then a US director immerses himself in Latin American culture so effectively that he delivers with all the gritty authenticity of a local filmmaker. Cary Joji Fukunaga did it with Sin Nombre, Joshua Marston with Maria Full of Grace. Now Justin Lerner has built on years of collaborative work with members of Guatemala’s ‘clicas’, or youth gangs, to deliver a nail-biting, evocative and utterly persuasive crime drama that is very much a part of the country’s burgeoning film output.” – Demetrios Matheou, Screen International
Director Jalmari Helander drops us into all the murder and mayhem of the last desperate days of WWII. It’s there that we meet a solitary prospector (Jorma Tommila) as he crosses paths with Nazis on a scorched-earth retreat in northern Finland. In the northern wilderness of Lapland a Finnish veteran Aatami Korpi is digging for gold while the war rages around him. Eventually, he hits a huge lode and starts journeying south with his riches. However, he quickly runs into a platoon of Nazis led by an SS officer Bruno Helldorf, who realize what he’s carrying and try to take the gold for themselves. What follows is a brutal struggle and chase across the Lapland wilderness as Aatami, himself an established commando, uses every trick he knows to keep hold of the fortune he has earned. When the Nazis steal his gold, they quickly discover that they have just tangled with no ordinary miner. While there is no direct translation for the Finnish word “sisu”, this legendary ex-commando will embody what sisu means: a white-knuckled form of courage and unimaginable determination in the face of overwhelming odds. And no matter what the Nazis throw at him, the one-man death squad will go to outrageous lengths to get his gold back – even if it means killing every last Nazi in his path. Director Jalmari Helander (Big Game) joins us to talk about the film(s) that provided the inspiration for SISU, working with Jorma Tommila, and the way in which SISU has dramatically impacted his film career.
About the filmmaker – Jalmari Helander has achieved international renown with his two feature films Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) and Big Game (2014). Helander started directing in commercials in 2003 and quickly won awards for his work for Nokia, Finnish Defence Forces and rapper Redrama among others. He made his first feature Rare Exports in 2010 based on his short films Rare Exports Inc (2003) and Rare Exports: The Official Safety Instructions (2005). The film was a huge success and secured worldwide distribution as well as the Piazza Grande award at Locarno, the best director award at Sitges and the audience award at Brussels among many other prizes. His second feature Big Game was an action adventure set in the Finnish wilderness and starred Samuel L. Jackson, Jim Broadbent, Felicity Huffman and Ray Stevenson. It had a strong reception after its world premiere in the Toronto Film Festival and sold out worldwide. Helander has also directed several TV series and was nominated for an international Emmy for Wingman (2019).
“An amalgamation of Sergio Leone by way of First Blood and Mad Max – to say it’s Tarantino-adjacent would be too easy – Sisu is visually exciting, shamelessly playful, and always, always unpredictable.” – Peter Gray, The AU Review
“Relentlessly brutal and unexpectedly hilarious, Sisu is a hoot, a holler, and the most fun you can have watching Nazis get absolutely destroyed by a gold-hunting ex-military grandpa.” – Meg Shields, Film School Rejects
“A splashy popcorn action piece unconcerned with credibility, pushing well-worn ideas to outlandish, and outrageously entertaining, ends.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety
“With Sisu, Helander creates an incredibly visceral action film that moves with all the fury of a runaway train, wired to detonate upon impact.” – Faisal Al-Jadir, Film Inquiry
DRY GROUND BURNING follows a fearsome outlaw Chitara in Sol Nascente, Brazil, who leads an all-female gang that siphons and steals precious oil from the authoritarian, militarized government. Just released from prison, Léa (Léa Alves Silva) returns home to the Brasilia favela of Sol Nascente and joins up with her half-sister Chitara (Joana Darc Furtado), the fearless leader of an all-female gang that steals and refines oil from underground pipes and sells gasoline to a clandestine network of motorcyclists. Living in constant opposition to Jair Bolsonaro’s fiercely authoritarian and militarized government, Chitara’s women claim the streets for themselves as a declaration of radical political resistance on behalf of ex-cons and the oppressed. Inventing its’ own cinematic language as it oscillates between a hard-edged documentary realism and dramatized explosive fantasy, DRY GROUND BURNING reunites filmmakers Joana Pimenta and Adirley Queirós (Once There Was Brasilia) presenting their unique vision of a post-apocalyptic afro-feminist matriarchal future. Co-director, co-writer and cinematographer Joana Pimenta joins us for a conversation on the film’s complicated shooting schedule, working with a blend of professional and non-professional actors, casting two sisters in the lead roles, working in Brazil as the country began to move away from the authoritarianism of Bolsonaro toward a more democratic future and her role as the Director of Film Study Center at Harvard University.
About the Filmmaker –Joana Pimenta is a filmmaker and writer from Portugal who lives and works in Lisbon, the U.S. and Brazil. Her 2016 film, An Aviation Field, premiered in competition at the Locarno Film Festival, and was screened in the Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Rotterdam, CPH:Dox, Rencontres Internationales, Oberhausen, Valdivia, Mar del Plata, Edinburgh, among others, and received the Jury Award for Best Film in Competition at Zinebi ’58. She studied film and critical media practice at Harvard, where she currently teaches film.
About the filmmaker – Adirley Queirós was born in 1970 in Brazil. After ten years as a professional football player, he completed a degree in film studies. Since 2005, he has made a number of films, including White Out, Black In (2014) and Once There Was Brasília (2017). His work has screened at numerous international film festivals including Locarno, Berlinale, Rotterdam, New York, Jeonju, Toronto, Cinéma du Réel, AFI Fest, Viennale, and Mar del Plata.
OUT OF THE LOOP dives into the stories and observations of comedy veterans that includes Deon Cole, Hannibal Burris, Godfrey, Chris Redd, Lil Rel Howery, Jeff Garlin, the late Judy Tenuta, and other notable comics talk about the trial and tribulations of beginning their comedy careers in the city of Chicago, where the comedy scene is as polarized and segregated as the city itself. Editor and Producer Scott Perlman (Andover, The Love Witch) joins us for a conversation on the wealth of very talented stand up comedians and improv legends that have either grown up in Chicago or made their breakthrough in the stages of clubs and theatres on the racial and cultural mean streets of Chicago, why the audiences ofthe town are such a tough crowd to win over andthe local legends that have been embraced by them.
About the filmmaker – Scott Perlman is an award winning writer and director from Chicago. He directed the feature film Andover which received the Best Film and audience award at the Orlando Film Festival, created the iTV festival grand prize winning Going to Pot, won Emmys for Fox Sports Make ’em Forget and Light it up Like Vegas, a Promax for Warner Brother’s The Mummy, and received a Page International Screenwriting Gold Prize for Kate & Edith. Scott studied improv at The Second City with Martin de’Maat and attended The University of Iowa where he received a BA in Creative Writing and Psychology.
“It’s a frequently thankless, competitive, brutal occupation, but when a performer clicks with an audience, it’s also addictive. And Out of the Loop captures the entirety of that experience quite beautifully.” – Steven Prokopy, Third Coast Review
“I loved the Chicago stand up era described in this film, so called me biased, big deal. There is a nice twist in this talking head doc, different than I thought it would be, but very necessary in any look at Chicago history. Star Packed & City Gritty!” – Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com
“A funny and surprisingly insightful look at Chicago comedy. It highlights how there is more to Chicago than The Second City improv group.” – Nathaniel Muir, AIPT
Director Saim Sadiq’s stunning debut feature explores the many sides of love and desire in a patriarchal society. It follows the gentle and timid Haider (Ali Junejo) who lives with his wife Mumtaz (Rasti Farooq), his father, and his elder brother’s family in Lahore, Pakistan. Following a long period of unemployment, Haider finally lands a job at a Bollywood-style burlesque, telling his family that he is a theater manager, when he is in fact a backup dancer for a captivating and strong-willed trans woman, Biba (Alina Khan), whom he soon becomes infatuated with. As the steadfast traditional dynamics of his household are shaken up, Haider begins to break out of his shell, while his connection with Biba opens his eyes and ultimately his worldview.Director, co-writer (Maggie Briggs) and co-editor (Jasmin Tenucci) Saim Sadiq joins us for a conversation on his decision to work with professional and non-professional actors, creating the space in the telling of this family’s story where complex subjects involving forbidden love, desire, societal expectations, and patriarchy are handled with loving respect and tenderness.
About the filmmaker – Saim Sadiq is a Pakistani filmmaker whose film JOYLAND is the first Pakistani feature to premiere at the 75th Cannes Film Festival in Un Certain Regard. His short film DARLING was the first Pakistani film to premiere at the 76th Venice Film Festival, where it won the Orrizonti Prize for Best Short Film. DARLING was also an official selection at the Toronto International Film Festival 2019, won a Special Jury Mention award at South by Southwest 2020, and was acquired for distribution by Focus Features. His previous short film NICE TALKING TO YOU was an official selection at South by Southwest 2019, Palm Springs International Shortsfest 2019, made the BAFTA Shortlist for Best Student Film, and won Vimeo’s Best Director award at Columbia University Film Festival 2018. It also won the Kodak Student Scholarship Gold Award. Sadiq recently wrote the original pilot “It Never Rains in Cairo” for MakeReady with Brad Weston and Scott Silver executive producing. Currently, he is writing the film adaptation of New York Times bestseller Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet; Oscar®-nominated Bing Liu is attached to direct. Sadiq received his bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the Lahore University of Management Sciences and his MFA in film directing from Columbia University.
“Sadiq is not lecturing us or trading in types; he is taking us by sensory surprise, and the tale that he tells is funny, forward, and sometimes woundingly sad.” – Anthony Lane, New Yorker
“The picture transcends the tragic romance narrative, to achieve something rather more complex and satisfying.” – Wendy Ide, Observer (UK)
“The 31-year-old Sadiq (who also wrote and edited the film) knows how to weigh every shot, every cut.” – Ryan Gilbey, New Statesman
“A storming debut from writer-director Saim Sadiq: emotional, tender, and quietly radical. With any luck, it will herald a new era for Pakistani cinema.” – John Nugent, Empire Magazine
“Joyland is such a delicate, intelligent and emotionally rich film. What a debut from Sadiq.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
“The frame moves slowly, if at all, but it always brims with physical and emotional energy; there’s always something in the ether, whether embodied by dazzling displays of light as characters move across stages and club floors or by breathtaking silences” – Siddhant Adlakha, indieWire
In an extraordinarily intimate feature documentary premiering Friday April 14, on SHOWTIME, Martin Scorsese’s Personality Crisis: One Night Only reveals the many faces of David Johansen. Continuing his vibrant and invaluable documentaries about iconic American artists and musicians such as George Harrison: Living in the Material World, No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, and the Fran Lebowitz portrait Public Speaking, Scorsese, with an assist from co-director David Tedeschi, turns his camera on another beloved New York institution: the singular David Johansen. Equally celebrated as the lead singer-songwriter of the androgynous ’70s glam punk groundbreakers The New York Dolls and for his complete reinvention as hepcat Buster Poindexter in the ’80s, the chameleonic Johansen has created an entire genre unto himself, combining swing, blues, and rock for something at once mischievous and deeply personal. In Personality Crisis: One Night Only, Scorsese and co-director David Tedeschi (The 50 Year Argument), with the help of cinematographer Ellen Kuras (American Utopia), luminously capture the entertainer’s January 2020 Cafe Carlyle set, where he performs as Poindexter singing the Johansen songbook, bringing downtown irreverence to this storied uptown joint. Presented alongside new and archival interviews, the concert is marvelously intimate and a testament to both a lost New York and a performer who remains as fresh and exciting as ever. Co-director David Tedeschi, Co-writer, Editor (Rolling Thunder Revue) joins us to talk about his personal recollections on the meteoric rise of the Dolls, what makes David Johansen such an compelling storyteller and performer and his 20-year long working relationship Martin Scorsese.
About the filmmaker – David Tedeschi is an Emmy-nominated editor whose work encompasses both documentaries and fiction. He has edited several acclaimed feature documentaries and series directed by Martin Scorsese, including George Harrison: Living In The Material World (HBO) and No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (PBS), each of which garnered him Emmy nominations, Shine A Light (featuring The Rolling Stones), The Blues: Feels Like Going Home, Rolling Thunder Review: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese, the 2021 Netflix series Pretend It’s A City, and Public Speaking (the last two featuring Fran Liebowitz). He also co-directed (with Martin Scorsese) the HBO film The 50 Year Argument. In 2018, he edited American Dream / American Knightmare, a feature-length Showtime documentary about Suge Knight directed by Antoine Fuqua. Earlier in his career he edited the ground-breaking television series TV Nation and The Awful Truth, both for director Michael Moore. David’s other editing credits include Vinyl (pilot, HBO), The Shield (season one, FX), El silencio de Neto, The Osbournes (MTV), American High (pilot and series, Fox), My Friend Paul and four feature films for director Leon Ichaso: Piñero, El Cantante, Bitter Sugar, and Free of Eden. His producing credits include The 50 Year Argument, Rolling Thunder Review: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese, Pretend It’s A City and Personality Crisis: One Night Only.
“The documentary lets its subject’s weathered charisma do most of the hard work here, and yet it weaves in enough context to convince even the biggest New York Dolls neophytes of the band’s legacy.” – David Ehrlich, indieWire
“Personality Crisis: One Night Only retains the impish mystery surrounding one of rock’s most underrated frontmen while building a beautiful and slightly abstracted portrait of a man in a constant state of transformation.” – Matthew Jackson, Paste Magazine
“While finding him in solid enough voice, the film is an even more effective showcase for his spoken-word talents as sharp, amiable raconteur and rambunctious comic.” – Neil Young, Screen International
Set in the suburbs of Boulogne-Sur-Mer in northern France, THE WORST ONES captures a film within a film as it follows the production of a feature whose director turns to the local Cité Picasso housing project for casting. Eager to capture performances of gritty authenticity, the director selects four working class teenagers to act in the film to the surprise and consternation of the local community, who question the director’s choice of “the worst ones.” As the director and crew audition, rehearse, film, and interact with their hand-picked cast, jealousies are stoked, lines are crossed, and ethical questions arise, with thought-provoking and at times darkly funny results.. Co-directors / co-screenwriters Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret join us for a conversation on the inspiration for their thought-provoking, compassionate drama, how their background as casting directors has helped them in the transition into directing and how their winning the top prize in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2022 Cannes Film Festival has impacted their future plans.
About the filmmaker – Romane Gueret – studied cinema at the Sorbonne and then took her first steps towards directing as an assistant director, casting assistant, and cameraman.
About the filmmaker – Lise Akoka – completed a university course in Psychology and professional training in acting (Les Ateliers du Sud and the Studio-théâtre d’Asnières). She then discovered, in casting and coaching children for film, a way of bringing her two interests together.
Their collaboration – In 2014, Romane and Lise met during casting for a feature film, for which they auditioned more than 4,000 young non-professional actors for several months. In 2015, they co-directed the short film Chasse Royale, which won awards at several festivals, most notably the Illy Prize at the 2016 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight.In 2017, the film was nominated for a César Award for Best Short Film. In 2018, they co-directed the documentary Allez garçon! for the Hobbies collection, which was broadcast in 2019 on Canal+. In 2020, their web series Tu préfères was broadcast on Arte and then selected for the Sundance Film Festival. In summer of 2021, they made their first feature film, THE WORST ONES, which was shot in Boulogne-sur-Mer and won the Grand Prix at Un Certain Regard at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.
“Directed by Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret, it sees a film crew hit a working class French town, with thought-provoking and sometimes darkly funny results.” – Anna Smith, Deadline Hollywood Daily
“[It] is sensitive, intelligent filmmaking, but its even-handed nature toward both the population of Picasso and Gabriel’s film sometimes feels like an elision of perspective, like it’s walking up to the line but ultimately letting everyone off the hook.” – Chris Mello, In Review Online
“‘The Worst Ones,’ with dark humor and occasionally confrontational candor… gives us room to query the industry conventions in which it is complicit.” – Guy Lodge, Variety
“Deeply insightful, “The Worst Ones” is both cerebral and emotional, asking questions and letting us draw our own conclusions. A remarkable achievement of filmmaking and human compassion.” – Mina Takla, AwardsWatch
MY ARCHITECT, is a deep dive into the life and times of world-famous architect Louis Kahn. Louis Kahn’s son Nathaniel always hoped that someday his father would come and live with him and his mother, but Kahn never left his wife. In 1974 Kahn was found dead in a men’s room in Penn Station when Nathaniel was only 11years old. Kahn left behind a brilliant legacy of intensely powerful and spiritual buildings – geometric compositions of brick, concrete, and light, that in the words of the Los Angeles Times “change your life.” He is considered by many architectural historians the most important architect of the second half of the 20th century. Kahn’s dramatic death laid bare a complex personal life of secrets and broken promises: he led not a double, but a triple life. In MY ARCHITECT, Nathaniel travels the world visiting his father’s buildings and haunts in this film, meeting his father’s contemporaries, colleagues, students, wives, and children. He sets out to reconcile his father’s life and work. I.M. Pei, Frank Gehry, and Philip Johnson speak movingly of Kahn’s accomplishments (the Salk Institute, the Exeter Library, the Kimbell Art Museum, the Capital Complex of Bangladesh) and the women and children in his life shed light on this secretive, peripatetic man—a dynamo who gave selflessly to his art – but whose relationships were left on the drawing board, only to find completion in MY ARCHITECT. Director, Producer, narrator and son, Nathaniel Kahn joins us for a conversation on his current view of his father’s life, his collaboration with MY ARCHITECT cinematographer, Bob Richman, and the opportunity to share his compelling journey with a new audience through this newly restored and remastered version of his groundbreaking documentary.
About the re-release – A new restoration and remastering of the Academy Award-nominated MY ARCHITECT, which received rapturous reviews when it first opened at Film Forum nearly 20 years ago. Going back to original digital and camera masters, the restoration was completed by Andromeda Film in Switzerland and overseen by the director, Nathaniel Kahn. Film Forum is pleased to present the 20th anniversary 4K restoration of Nathaniel Kahn’s Oscar®-nominated documentary, MY ARCHITECT, from April 7 through April 13, followed by a nation-wide release at selected theatres. winning filmmaker. His documentary My Architect (2003)—about his father, the architect Louis Kahn—was nominated for an Academy Award, two Independent Spirit Awards, and won the Directors Guild of America Award. His film Two Hands (2006) about the pianist Leon Fleisher was nominated for an Academy Award and an Emmy. Kahn’s documentary on the interaction between the worlds of art and commerce, The Price of Everything (2018) premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was broadcast by HBO and was nominated for an Emmy. His film The Hunt for Planet B (2021) about NASA’s Webb Telescope. premiered at SXSW, was broadcast by CNN and won an Emmy for Outstanding Science and Technology Documentary.
About the filmmaker – Nathaniel Kahn is an Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker. His documentary My Architect (2003)—about his father, the architect Louis Kahn—was nominated for an Academy Award, two Independent Spirit Awards, and won the Directors Guild of America Award. His film Two Hands (2006) about the pianist Leon Fleisher was nominated for an Academy Award and an Emmy. Kahn’s documentary on the interaction between the worlds of art and commerce, The Price of Everything (2018) premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was broadcast by HBO and was nominated for an Emmy. His film The Hunt for Planet B (2021) about NASA’s Webb Telescope. premiered at SXSW, was broadcast by CNN and won an Emmy for Outstanding Science and Technology Documentary.
“Astonishingly, this personal saga blossoms into a CITIZEN KANE-like meditation on whether anyone is truly knowable – but the showpiece is Kahn the younger’s spellbinding photography, which shows off his dad’s buildings’ epic grandeur as well as their spiritual intimacy.” – Robert Kolker, New York magazine
“What a sad film this, and how filled with the mystery of human life.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times
“This fascinating portrait of an eccentric visionary and his chaotic triple family life is an accomplished, enormously satisfying nonfiction work.” – David Rooney, Variety
“To the son’s great credit, what emerges from his patient investigation is a remarkably rich, even sympathetic, portrait of the father.” – Benjamin Forgey, Washington Post
“An honest, emotional documentary about a man who defied being truly known.” Jami Bernard, New York Daily News
“For gripping drama and suspense, there are few fictional movies that can hold a candle to Mr. Kahn’s odyssey through time and space.” – Andrew Sarris, New York Observer
From the filmmaking team of Amanda Pollak and Gene Tempest comes the illuminating documentary film, THE SUN QUEEN. For nearly 50 years, chemical engineer and inventor Mária Telkes applied her prodigious intellect to harnessing the power of the sun. She designed and built the world’s first successfully solar-heated modern residence and identified a promising new chemical that, for the first time, could store solar heat like a battery. And yet, along the way, she was undercut and thwarted by her boss and colleagues — all men — at MIT. Despite these obstacles, Telkes persevered and, upon her death in 1995, held more than 20 patents. She is now recognized as a visionary pioneer in the field of sustainable energy. An unexpected and largely forgotten heroine, Telkes was remarkable in her vision and tenacity — a scientist and a woman in every way ahead of her time. Her research and innovations from the 1930s through the ‘70s continue to shape how we power our lives today. Director / Producer Amanda Pollak and Writer / Producer Gene Tempest stop by to talk abut the life and times of Maria Telkas, her scientific and engineering acumen, the battles with institutional sexism, the enthusiasm she brought to the implementation of solar technology and the immense power of the fossil fuel companies to strangle the nascent solar power movement before it could gain public acceptance.
THE SUN QUEEN premieres as a Special Presentation of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE on Tuesday, April 4, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS, PBS.org and the PBS App. The Movement and the “Madman” will stream simultaneously with broadcast and be available on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS App, available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. The film will also be available for streaming with closed captioning in English and Spanish. THE SUN QUEEN is distributed internationally byPBS International. Visit pbs.org/americanexperience and follow us on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and YouTubeto learn more.
About the filmmaker -Senior Partner / Executive in Charge of Production / Executive Producer / Director Amanda Pollak has been directing and producing highly acclaimed documentaries for over two decades, including over a dozen films for the national PBS series, American Experience. Most recently, she produced and co-directed The Great War, an epic six-hour series on America’s role in World War 1, which was seen by more than 10 million people nationwide, she produced Into the Grand Canyon, an environmental adventure story that premiered on National Geographic and is now streaming worldwide on Disney+, and executive produced Ailey, an immersive portrait of the renowned choreographer, which premiered at Sundance, has been released theatrically by NEON, and will be broadcast on PBS’s American Masters. Pollak was part of the founding team for Retro Report, an online series of investigative pieces featured on the front page of The New York Times digital edition. Her work has been recognized with three Emmy Awards, a Cine Golden Eagle Award, and the George Foster Peabody Award. She holds an MBA from Brown University, where she focused on documentary film finance and distribution.insigniafilms.com/Amanda-Pollak
About the filmmaker – Writer / Producer Gene Tempest is an award-winning American filmmaker and historian. Her work has appeared in The Boston Globe and The New York Times, and her screenwriting has been recognized by the Writers Guild of America. A co-editor of Une Histoire De La Guerre (2018) and a former contributor to the French magazine L’histoire, her projects include the PBS documentaries The Great War (co-producer; 2017), American Veteran (co-writer; 2021), Citizen Hearst (writer/producer; 2021), and Sun Queen (writer/producer; 2023). She received her BA from the University of California at Berkeley, and her PhD from Yale University, where she won the Hans Gatzke Prize for her work in military history. She has taught at SUNY Cortland and Boston University, and from 2016-2017 served as the first ever Historian in Residence for American Experience at WGBH-Boston, where she helped fund and develop new history programming for public television. insigniafilms.com/Gene-Tempest
Produced by The Saul Zaentz Charitable Foundation, TOMORROW’S HOPE brings us into the journey of passionate educators and tenacious kids and their families on the South Side of Chicago, determined to carve out the future despite a sea of incredible challenges. The film follows three present-day high school seniors who had started out in the Educare preschool’s first-ever class, exploring how they’ve navigated foreboding realities past and present, while also delving into the lingering ripple effects from their early childhood education. Through the eyes of audacious educators (originally from the community themselves) we also learn about the school’s harrowing yet remarkable early stages as “The Beethoven Project” located within “Forgotonia” – a name the film’s Portia Kennel uses to describe the environment. At the time, the school was located directly within the largest housing project in the country, in the nation’s single poorest census tract. Yet despite a dangerous and discouraging external landscape – then and now – an entirely opposite message emerges from this educational community: “you matter.” Director Thomas Morgan (Waiting for Mamu, India’s Daughter) stops by to talk about how he became a part of this uplifting project, chronicling the successes of Educare’s students, and seeing former student of Educare paying it forward with their continuing support for the school.
About the filmmaker -Thomas Morgan is a film director whose films have been leveraged to create lasting movements with a specific call to action. In his first film, Storied Streets, Morgan captured the painful reality of homelessness in America and gracefully unearthed the pain and personal triumphs of those living unhoused in our country. Through the film, he has elevated awareness of the problem on thousands of college campuses, petitioned in front of Congress, and pushed for laws to make violence against the homeless a hate crime and the abolishment of laws criminalizing homelessness.With the 2013 documentary short film, Waiting For Mamu, he speaks to one person’s power through the story of Pushpa Basnet, who, at age 21, began helping free innocent children from the prison floors in Nepal. The award-winning film has raised over $1.4M, which helped build a permanent home, The Butterfly Home, in Kathmandu and helped support these children’s ongoing education.His latest film, Soufra, was a New York Times and LA Times critics pick, won several film festival awards worldwide, and screened at the Vatican. The film tells generational refugee Mariam Shaar and her quest for the fundamental right to own a business—a food truck. Soufra was used to raise nearly $1 million to build a school in the camp, and now 150 refugee children have access to education.Morgan was Executive Producer of Silenced, a film about US government whistleblowers, and India’s Daughter, an Oscar-contending movie about the rape and murder of a 23-year old medical student in India. He has been a keynote speaker many times on Capitol Hill and twice before the U.S. Congress. For more go to: squarezerofilms.com
Acclaimed indie filmmaker Mickey Reece (AGNES, CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER) presents a bizarre reimagining of musical icons, COUNTRY GOLD. George Jones (Ben Hall) invites an up and coming country music superstar out on the town in Nashville the night before George is to be cryogenically frozen in 1994. Featuring gut-busting gags and hilarious allusions to real-life events, this fantasy comedy becomes an emotionally stirring tribute to the legacies we leave behind. Reece stars as emerging Country music star Troyal Brux (Mickey Reece), who resembles ’90s-era Garth Brooks. One wild night in Nashville, Brux has a chance meeting with fellow legend George Jones, hours before Jones is to be cryogenically frozen. Director, producer and writer Mickey Reece joins us for a conversation on the inspiration for the film, how it dove-tails with his previous work, his decision to play the lead, Troyal Brux, and working again with the great Ben Hall.
About the filmmaker – Mickey Reece is a writer/director from Oklahoma City, OK. He has directed over 25 feature films in just over a decade with each subsequent work pushing the boundaries of his own established form and unique brand of art-house cinema. Reece grew up in the small town of Newcastle, OK and began making amateur movies with an 8mm camcorder when he was a teenager. After amassing a remarkable amount of short films made with his friends and family over the course of five years, adult Reece became more interested in his other passion as a touring musician, putting the camera aside. Many years later Reece would get the bug again. He made his first feature length film Le Corndog Du Desespoir on a Canon XL1 mini DV camera and edited the footage on iMovie with a power Mac G5. In 2018 Reece’s stylized and surreal take on the horror genre Strike, Dear Mistress, and Cure His Heart became the first of Reece’s films to play at an international film festival.” The ‘Strike’ premiere caught the interest of LA based production company Divide/Conquer who would produce Reece’s next two projects, Climate of the Hunter (2019) and Agnes (2021), solidifying a spiritual trilogy of stylized horror inspired by the work of Ingmar Bergman. Climate of the Hunter was well received by festival-goers and critics and became the first Reece film to be elevated to the status of “limited theatrical release.” After the success of Climate of the Hunter, a collection of Reece’s earlier works including T-Rex (2014), Suedehead (2015), Mickey Reece’s Alien (2017), Strike, Dear Mistress, And Cure His Heart (2018) and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune (2019) were made available to the public by Alamo Drafthouse’s own streaming service Alamo On Demand in 2020. Belle Isle (2020), a short documentary chronicling Reece’s story and featuring never before seen clips of the amateur movies Reece grew up making is also included on the streaming service. In 2022, Reece premiered Country Gold, a fantastical country music comedy and spiritual sequel to Mickey Reece’s Alien (2017), at Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival.
“There simply aren’t many films like Country Gold being made today, and while the tone may not work for some viewers, Reece has nevertheless created a madcap slice of independent cinema.” – Andrew Murray, The Upcoming
“For a film with almost no special effects, save a final scene too wild to spoil, Country Gold’s ability to deliver a message and maintain a hilarious tone throughout makes it one of the most satisfying movies of 2022.” – Spencer Perry, ComicBook.com
“…this night of sex and drugs and country-and-western encompasses the arrogance of success, the fleetingness of celebrity and the ravages of time itself. And like all the best country songs, it comes steeped in melancholy and regret.” – Anton Bitel, Projected Figures
“Country Gold has a wild, fascinating kick, a movie that has the sensitivity of a liquor-drenched ballad, but has the What if? of science fiction as its North star.” – Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com
“The fame-corrupts-the-innocent plot is an elaborate send-up, as is just about everything in the film, which hovers somewhere between a surreal Christopher Guest mockumentary and Hal Hartley’s deadpan irony.” – Noah Berlatsky, Chicago Reader