Ailey – Director Jamila Wignot

Alvin Ailey was a trailblazing pioneer who found salvation through dance. AILEY traces the full contours of this brilliant and enigmatic man whose search for the truth in movement resulted in enduring choreography that centers on the Black American experience with grace, strength, and unparalleled beauty. Told through Ailey’s own words and featuring evocative archival footage and interviews with those who intimately knew him, director Jamila Wignot weaves together a resonant biography of an elusive visionary. Many know the name Alvin Ailey, but how many know the man? Ailey’s commitment to  searching for truth in movement resulted in pioneering and enduring choreography that centers on African American experiences. Director Jamila Wignot’s resonant biography grants artful access to the elusive visionary who founded one of the world’s most renowned dance companies, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Director Jamila Wignot joins us to talk about the remarkably creative choreographer who never stopped searching for the truth and clarity of dance and how his desire to mentor and nurture others will insure an artistic legacy matched by few others.

For news, screenings and updates go to: neonrated.com/films/ailey

AILEY opens exclusively in New York and expands nationwide August 6

Director’s Statement – Nothing prepares you for the experience of Ailey—the emotional, spiritual, aural, and visual overwhelm the senses. As a filmmaker, I am drawn to stories about artists like Alvin Ailey—innovators who tenaciously follow their own voice and in doing redefined their chosen forms. Ailey’s dances—celebrations of African American beauty and history—did more than move bodies; they opened minds. His dances were revolutionary social statements that staked a claim as powerful in his own time as in ours: Black life is central to the American story and deserves a central place in American art and on the world stage. A working-class, gay, Black man, he rose to prominence in a society that made every effort to exclude him. He transformed the world of dance and made space for those of us on the margins—space for black artists like Rennie Harris and me. I am inspired by subjective documentary portraits like Tom Volf’s Maria by Callas and Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro, and by the poetic cinematic approaches of films such as Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight and Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven. My aim was to blend these influences into a sensorial, poetic documentary portrait.  – Jamila Wignot 

About the filmmaker – Jamila Wignot is a documentary filmmaker based in New York. Her directing work includes two episodes of the Peabody, Emmy and NAACP award-winning series The African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross (PBS), hosted by Henry Louis Gates and chronicling the five hundred year history of African Americans; Town Hall (co-directed with Sierra Pettingill), a feature-length co-production with ITVS following Tea Party activists determined to unseat Barack Obama; and, for PBS’s American Experience series, the Peabody Award-winning Triangle Fire and Emmy-nominated Walt Whitman. Jamila’s producing credits include W. Kamau Bell’s Bring The Pain (A&E); Sundance award-winning director Musa Syeed’s narrative feature A Stray (SXSW); Street Fighting Men, following the Black Detroiters fighting for the city they love; and The Rehnquist Revolution, the fourth episode of WNET’s series The Supreme Court, which was an IDA Best Limited Series winner.  – For more go to: insigniafilms.com/Ailey

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91% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Perhaps the greatest gift of this tightly conceived and beautiful doc lies in its appreciation of the divinity of dance.” – Lovia Gyarkye, Hollywood Reporter

“Wignot layers images, video and – most important – voice-overs from Ailey to create a portrait that feels as poetic and nuanced as choreography itself.” – Gia Kourlas, New York Times

“His legacy should be … how his dancers continue to breathe life into his choreography, a nod to his words. No one should miss Ailey. Though categorized as a documentary, the film captures creativity at its best.” – Wendy Shreve, Featuring Film

“Wignot masterfully weaves the present with the past in a way that causes her movie to surge with urgency.” – Oliver Jones, Observer

“Alvin Ailey sacrificed the pain, joy, and memorable moments of his life as a tapestry for his dance genius that lives with us always captured in a layered, emotional doc by Jamila Wignot” – Carla Renata, The Curvy Film Critic

Pray Away – Director Kristine Stolakis & Producer Anya Rous

Director Kristine Stolakis intimate and moving documentary, Pray Away, starts with the words “I lived transgender, but I left it all to follow Jesus.” So explains self-identified ‘ex-trans’ Jeffrey, whose belief that change is possible reflects the core message of the conversion therapy movement today. Former leaders of the “pray the gay away” movement contend with the aftermath unleashed by their actions, while a survivor seeks healing and acceptance from more than a decade of trauma From there, PRAY AWAY takes us back to the 1970s, five men struggling with being gay in their Evangelical church started a bible study to help each other leave the “homosexual lifestyle.” They quickly received over 25,000 letters from people asking for help and formalized as Exodus International, the largest and most controversial conversion therapy organization in the world. Julie is one of hundreds of thousands of people caught in Exodus’ wake. Former leaders of the “pray the gay away” movement contend with the aftermath unleashed by their actions, while a survivor seeks healing and acceptance from more than a decade of trauma. After years as Christian superstars in the religious right, Julie and many have come out as LGBTQ, disavowing the very movement they helped start. PRAY AWAY chronicles that movement’s rise to power, persistent influence, and the harm it causes. Director Kristine Stokalis and Producer Jessica Devaney join us to talk about the politicalization of gay rights in the 1980s by the Far Right led by Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Newt Gingrich and James Dobson, as well as the psychological, religious, cultural, and economic pressure brought to bear on people who live a non-conforming sexuality.

For news, screenings and update go to: prayawayfilm.com

Watch Pray Away on Netflix beginning on August 3

About the filmmaker – Kristine Stolakis (Director/Producer) is a documentary film director whose work wrestles with politics, prejudice, and power. Her debut feature PRAY AWAY takes you inside the history and continuation of the “pray the gay away” or ex-gay movement, and is a Multitude Films production. It is supported by the Catapult Film Fund, Tribeca Film Institute, Hartley Film Foundation, Chicken & Egg Pictures, and SFFilm. Her directorial debut THE TYPIST (Hot Docs 2015) cracks open the untold story of a closeted Korean War veteran tasked with writing the military dishonorable discharges of outed LGBTQ seamen. It was released by KQED and is currently a Vimeo Staff Pick. WHERE WE STAND (DOC NYC 2015) chronicles a group of Mormon women fighting for equal rights inside their church, and was released by The Atlantic and nominated for a Student BAFTA. She also produced ATTLA (Independent Lens 2019), a co-production of ITVS and Vision Maker Media. Her filmmaking approach is shaped by her background in anthropology, journalism, politics, and community art. She holds an MFA in Documentary Film from Stanford University, where she currently lectures, a BA in Cultural Anthropology from New York University, and has received further training at UC Berkley’s Investigative Reporting Program. She proudly hails from North Carolina and central New York. She is the founder of Lamplighter Films.

About the filmmaker – Anya Rous is a Brooklyn-based Producer and Vice President of Production at Multitude Films, an independent production company dedicated to telling stories by and about underrepresented communities. Anya co-produced the following critically-acclaimed films: ALWAYS IN SEASON (Independent Lens), which premiered in competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and won the Special Jury Award for Moral Urgency, THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED (Tribeca 2018, PBS) dubbed “a journalistic thriller” by The New York Times, and NAILA AND THE UPRISING (IDFA 2017, PBS), and co-executive produced CALL HER GANDA (Tribeca 2018, PBS). Anya brings a combined 10 years of experience in funding strategy and impact campaigns for stories that further movements for racial, economic, and gender justice. She formerly served as the Director of Strategic Relationships at Just Vision, as a grantmaker at the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and the coordinator of a multi-state oral history project at the Bob Bullock State History Museum in Austin, TX. Anya is a Sundance Creative Producing Fellow and an Impact Partners Documentary Producing Fellow. She is also on the board of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice.

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“A sobering account of Christian intervention rooted in toxic homophobia.” – David Rooney – Hollywood Reporter

“Pray Away invites the viewer into a world that many would like to think doesn’t exist much anymore, but is in fact, quite prevalent.” – Brian Shaer, Film Threat

“Such visual reenforcement is constant, as we see footage of many so-called “ex-ex-gays” when they were being tortured by their ministries alongside footage of them looking far happier after they escaped.” – Dan Callahan, TheWrap

“Pray Away is an essential film for my fellow Evangelicals, who need to see the gay Christian issue from a different perspective that we’ve been resistant to see from the beginning.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat

“Pray Away gives a platform for these individuals to tell their story, and even to speak against conversion therapy, providing a chance for forgiveness and salvation.” – Stephanie Archer, Film Inquiry

Sabaya – Director Hogir Hirori and Producer Antonio Merenda

Guarded by Kurdish forces, 73,000 Daesh (ISIS) supporters are locked up in the Al-Hol Camp in northeastern Syria. Considered the most dangerous camp in the Middle East, it is situated amidst a volatile political and military reality where Daesh is still omnipresent. Five years ago, Daesh killed thousands of Yazidis in the Sinjar province of Iraq and abducted thousands of Yazidi women and girls to be held and sold as sex slaves – called sabaya. In SABAYA, Mahmud, Ziyad and other volunteers from the Yazidi Home Center rescue the sabaya, who are still being held by Daesh in the camp. Continuously phoning, smoking and sometimes bickering, Mahmud and Ziyad systematically prepare their missions and know exactly who to look for, and where. Often accompanied by female infiltrators – some of them former sabaya – and armed with nothing but an old mobile phone and a small gun, they travel to the camp in an inconspicuous van. Once there, mostly by night, they must act extremely quickly to avoid potential violence. Under the loving care of Mahmud’s wife, Siham, and his mother, Zahra, it might take a long time for the young women to heal, but perhaps one day the traumatized girls will also be strong enough to become brave female infiltrators themselves, helping to rescue even more Yazidi Sabaya from the claws of an ideology that tolerates nothing but itself. Through this observational film,  directed, shot and edited by acclaimed Swedish/Kurdish director Hogir Hirori, we experience first-hand the strong contrast between the tense situation in the camp and the comfort of daily life at home. Director Hogir Hirori and Producer Antonio Merenda joins us for a conversation on the risks that all of the project’s participants, including Mahmud and Siyad, took on in order to tell the story of unfathomable cruelty and deadly violence aimed at the Yazidi people in general and the Yazidi women.

For more go to: sabayathefilm.com

It opens on Friday, July 30 in New York (Film Forum) and Los Angeles (Laemmle Royal and Laemmle Pasadena Playhouse), with an expansion to theaters and virtual cinemas nationwide beginning August 6.

Opens in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, July 30
In New York City: filmforum.org/film/sabaya
 
In the Los Angeles area are:
laemmle.com/theater/royal
laemmle.com/theater/playhouse-7

 

Winner of:
2021 Sundance Film Festival Directing Award (World Cinema Documentary)
2021 DocEdge – Best Director
2021 DocEdge – Special Mention for Best Feature (Int’l Competition)
2021 DocAviv – Best International Film

 

About the filmmaker – Hogir Hirori was born in 1980 in Duhok, Iraqi Kurdistan. In 1999, he fled to Sweden and has lived since then in Stockholm. He works as a freelance photographer, editor and director and runs his own production company, Lolav Media. Hogir’s most recent work, The Deminer, had its world premiere at IDFA 2017, where it received the Special Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature. The film has since travelled to more than 50 international film festivals and aired on more than 30 broadcasters worldwide.

About the filmmaker – Originally from Italy, Antonio Russo Merenda moved to Stockholm in 1993 where he founded Hysteria Film, which he ran for 15 years. Antonio started his production company Ginestra Film in 2012 and served as Documentary Film Commissioner at the Swedish Film Institute between 2015-2017. Antonio’s productions have been aired on broadcasters worldwide, selected by major international film festivals and received awards such as the VPRO Award for Best Documentary Feature with Don Juan (IDFA 2015), the Special Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature for The Deminer (IDFA 2017) as well as the Golden Dove with Vodka Factory (DokLeipzig 2010) and withColombianos (DokLeipzig 2012). With Hysteria Film, Antonio was involved in the production of Searching for Sugar Man , the 2013 Oscar winner for Best Documentary Feature.

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“Intense [and] deeply embedded…Sabaya is remarkable… A gripping, harrowing, superb doc…[with] textures of compassion, healing and hope.” – Jessica Kiang, Variety

“With “Sabaya,” we witness documentary filmmaking at its boldest; we find hope in seeing not only the triumphs of the Yazidi Home Center but also what the medium can do.” – Kimber Myers, Los Angeles Times
“Impressively exciting and strikingly novel…Documents a situation so perilous, high-stakes and remarkable.” – Inkoo Kang, The Hollywood Reporter

“A stirring depiction of heroism… The daring on display by Hirori is matched and (he’d certainly say) exceeded by the bravery of his subjects… Stunning moments of visual awe… Sabaya is a triumph of risking-your-neck, DIY filmmaking.” – Christian Blauvelt, IndieWire

“There is so much earth-shattering bravery on display in the miraculous Sabaya that you wonder how the Swedish-Kurdish director Hogir Hirori managed to pull off a documentary that avoids showy, predictable notes of brouhaha throughout.” – Tomris Laffly, RogerEbert.com

6:45 – Director Craig Singer

What if one of the best days of your life suddenly turned into one of your worst nightmares?And what if you were forced to relive that same day again and again? From Director Craig Singer comes a pulse-pounding, time-looping psychological thriller about a dream vacation gone very, very bad. Bobby Patterson (Michael Reed) is taking one last romantic shot at saving his rocky relationship with his girlfriend, Jules Rables (Augie Duke) on a weekend getaway to the picturesque island resort of Bog Grove. To their bewilderment, the sleepy beach town is curiously deserted, but they soon learn about its notorious and bloody history – one that’s about to repeat itself again and again… The pair’s relationship issues are quickly cast aside in order to overcome a demented cycle of terror in which they’re seemingly trapped. And no matter what great lengths they take to avoid it, Bobby and Jules awake at 6:45 each morning to a nightmarish chain of events with no escape. Written by Robert Dean Klein (Little Fish, Strange Pond, A Good Night To Die), 6:45 stars Michael Reed (Missing William), Augie Duke (Amazon’s Red Oaks, 6 Years, 4 Months & 23 Days) and Thomas G. Waites (Savant, The Thing, The Warriors), Armen Garo (The Departed, The Sopranos) rappers Remy Ma (Queen of the South) and The 45 King (Hancock), boxing Hall of Famer Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini (The Plot Against America). Director Craig Singer (Dark Ride, Perkins 14, Animal Room) joins us for a conversation on the challenges of pulling together a film project during a pandemic, working with a talented cast and crew and how taking the time loop theme into the realm of psychological thriller / horror opened up 6:45 to the exploration of a twisted love story.

For news and updates go to: 645movie.com

* Winner of the Paris Independent Film Festival 

Director’s statement – I was an executive with Disney, and while 6:45 is a far cry from family-friendly cartoons or happy endings, I had long thought about developing a Groundhog Day-type horror film. I’ve always been fascinated by the supernatural and the psychological and where the two intersect. My longtime writing partner Robert Dean Klein and I began working on the concept many years ago, and ironically, we finally started shooting 6:45 with a wonderful, eclectic group of young talented artists about two weeks before the world turned upside down due to COVID -19. 6:45 imagines what it would be like if the best days of your life suddenly turned into your very worst nightmare and you were forced to relive that same day again and again. But the interesting thing is that the plot, which is sort of a ‘Groundhog Day’ horror, has become rather relevant to what we have all just experienced with the pandemic — the same bad day over and over again. None of us could have predicted this, but it’s incredibly coincidental and bittersweet at the same time.

About the filmmaker – Director Craig Singer – After directing, writing and producing several Award Winning shorts and feature films (one starring Neil Patrick Harris, fresh off Doogie Howser fame), Craig Singer went on to found FanLib and My 2 Centences, companies that predicted the integration of film with internet and social media.In 2008 he sold the companies to The Walt Disney Company, where he took a creative VP role – Disney Online Originals develops and produces series for Disney Online’s sites and brands including Disney.com and Disney Family. A dynamic, Emmy nominated, award-winning filmmaker and new media executive – Singer is a results-driven, strategic thinker and media visionary with decades-long media expertise. Known as a creative leader and clear communicator with an innate ability to identify and resolve problems with a trust building empowering management style. Singer has a proven record of successful launch strategies with an exemplary record of leading creative teams for small to large privately-held and public companies. Singer has been recognized for comfortably interfacing at all levels of a vast global network andwas nominated for an Emmy in the interactive fiction category in 2008. Singer’s series have also been honored many times by both the Tellys and Webbys.

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“In Craig Singer’s romantic psychodrama, a couple’s perfect (groundhog) day turns to murderous nightmare, as their weekend getaway is also an escape and a fugue” – Anton Bitel, Projected Figures

“An accomplished terror tale that’s both exciting and unsettling.” – Matt Brunson, Film Frenzy

A Dark Foe – Director Maria Gabriela Cardenas

Guilt ridden FBI agent Tony Cruz is obsessed with finding his missing sister and catching the psychopath who murdered his mother. His childhood trauma developed into nyctophobia, an irrational fear of the dark, a condition he overcame over the years… or so he thought…Armed with the relentless purpose of catching the killer and undying hope of finding his sister, Tony descends into an underworld of sex traffickers and death, where a demon from his  past awaits…Director and co-writer Maria Gabriela Cardenas stops by to talk about working with her father, Oscar Cardenas (Bon Appettit, The Groom) as well as Selma Blair, Bill Bellamy and Graham Greene and the life changing experience of her first day on set as the film’s director.

For news and updates go to: adarkfoe.com

Starting July 30th, 2021 in Select Theaters and On Demand everywhere

In the Los Angeles area: 
laemmle.com/theater/playhouse-7
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Quit – Director Dick Rude

A twenty-something couple (Segan and Baird) venturing from Hollywood to Joshua Tree in an attempt to quit smoking together, find their emotions unmasked. We see them cheating, lying and struggling valiantly to overcome their enslavement to smoking. As we share the pain and torture the couple put themselves through in the name of love and pleasure, we also learn that smoking is truly a metaphor for their equally addictive relationship. Their extreme passion (whether fighting or making up afterwards) turns out to be a measure of their love for each other. Whether they like it or not, they cannot escape destiny or the temptations that lead them there. QUIT is a relationship story about our attachment to inner needs and desires, and the awakening to what those are. Starring Noah Segan (Knives Out, Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi) and the enthralling Diora Baird (Netflix’s Cobra Kai, Wedding Crashers,) as our couple, alongside Lee Arenberg (Once Upon A Time), Nathan Phillips (Snakes on a Plane, Wolf Creek,), and Don Swayze (Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, The Visitation). Director and co-writer Dick Rude (Repo Man, Walker, Straight to Hell) stops by to talk about love, relationships, smoking, living life on your terms and creating art.

 

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For news and update go to: quitfilm.com

QUIT will be available for audiences to stream on Amazon Prime, Vudu, Tubi and other streaming platforms along with across TVOD platforms  iTunes, Fandango Now, Google Play, YouTube,  among others globally to rent or buy beginning on June 25th.  

About the filmmaker – Dick Rude was born and raised in Los Angeles. His film career began at the age of 15 when he attended the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. As an actor he has appeared in several films including “Sid and Nancy”, “The Wild Life” and “Repo Man,” which he also participated in as a contributing writer. Rude left UCLA Film School to co-write and star in “Straight to Hell,” which features such notables as Dennis Hopper, Courtney Love and Elvis Costello. His other writing credits include a pilot for Sophia Coppola, “Hi Octane” and an un-produced script commissioned by River Phoenix. As a Producer/Director, Rude has done several music videos. His latest accomplishments have been music documentaries for Blonde Redhead: “Nothing Something,” Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Off the Map” and “LA Punk – The First Five Years,” featured on the “Punk Attitude” DVD. His latest film “Let’s Rock Again!” has received widespread acclaim and recognition. Dick Rude is currently preparing for his next film “The Asshole” with his friend and Executive Producer Jim Jarmusch. dickrude.biz

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Finding Ophelia – Director / Writer / Producer / Cinematographer / Editor / Colorist Stephen Rutterford

New York Advertising Executive William Edgar (Jimmy Levar) William Edgar inhabits a strange dream-like reality. His obsession with a mysterious woman leads down a bizarre, dark path of signs and wonders. Sometimes finding the girl of your dreams can be a nightmare. New York Advertising Executive William Edgar (Jimmy Levar) is mesmerized by a series of hypnotic dreams that blur the lines between fantasy and reality. His life is thrown into disarray when forced to choose between his career, his relationships and his romantic obsession with a mysterious  woman, (Christina Chu) Doing whatever it takes to find her, leads down a bizarre, dark path of signs and wonders, William soon discovers that finding the girl of your dreams can be a nightmare. Director / Writer / Producer / Cinematographer / Editor / Colorist Stephen Rutterford (Hana So & So, Home by Six) joins us to talk about his mind-blowing, highly cinematic fevered dream of obsession, mortality, love, music, missed opportunity, coffee and a very important sales meeting.

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

Director’s Statement. Films are like dreams; They allow us to escape our everyday reality for a fleeting moment. Carl Jung once said “Who looks outside, Dreams; Who looks inside, Awakes.” In this film we see William Edgar’s life unravelling before us. His dream life becoming more real and his real life becoming more dream-like. I have always been fascinated with dreams. Why we have them and what they mean. They are like a parallel universe that exists within us. Finding Ophelia has several “meditative moments.” By using unusual sounds, movement, abstract shapes, symbolic imagery and bold color, I intended these scenes to act like moving abstract paintings that evoke certain emotions, enabling the viewer to drift off into their subconscious. This allows us to get inside the mind of the lead character and feel what he’s feeling. The film is shot with the realism of a documentary-style, but executed in a hyper-real, dream-like fashion. Much of the imagery for the film came to me when listening to music. The kind of ethereal soundscapes with drones that take your mind to another place. So the soundtrack played a very important part in how the story was told. It had to take you out of your mind and out of your comfort zone. Thankfully I was able to collaborate with some very innovative, experimental musicians like Ben Runyan, The Prolificators DVR/ EFKTS and Brainorchestra. Once I had these abstract ideas, I then began to thread them together into a single narrative. We all desire idols in our life; It can be love, money, power and more recently our continual urge for entertainment. What idol would you walk a treacherous path to reach?For Wiliam Edgar it was “Love;” The desire to find the girl of his dreams. Unfortunately for him it turned out to be a nightmare. Stephen Rutterford.

About the filmmaker – Stephen Rutterford is a British born Director and Visual Artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Cutting his teeth in Advertising as a Creative Director, Rutterford has collaborated with artists including Pharrell Williams, Talib Kweli, Astronautica, Shepard Fairey, Faile, D*Face and Michel Gon- dry, and has directed music videos for Black Asteroid, Hana, Fashawn, The IZM, Just Process (feat. Joannie Jimenez ) and Chris Stylez. His debut short film ”Back Page Ripper” garnered over 23 official selections at film festivals Worldwide. Including Winner of The LA indie Film festival for best short film. He is the Director and Producer of multi award winning independent feature film “Finding Ophelia” starring Jimmy Levar and Christina Chu. For more go to: shadowrunner.industries

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Cannes World International Film Festival. Best Mystery Feature Film. March 2021
London Independent Film Awards, Winner Best Feature Film, March 2021
Los Angeles Film Awards, Winner best Mystery Film, March 2021
New York International Film Awards, Winner March 2021
Toronto Independent Film Festival of Cift. Winner best 1st time filmmaker
Venice Film Awards, Best original screenplay, original story, Actor, original score, make up, Cinematography,
Montreal Independent Film festival, Official selection
European Cinematography Awards, Winner, Best Drama
Canadian Cinematography Awards, Winner Best Director, Best Editing, Best Drama.
L’age D’or International Arthouse Film Festival _Winner February 2021
New York Cinematography Awards- Winner, Best Director
International independent film festival Hollywood – Winner Best Horror/ Sci-fi
Winner Best Feature Film, The Scene Festival USA
Winner Best Actor, The Scene Festival USA
Winner Best Director, The Scene Festival USA
)||( – ISAFF winner best Experimental film

 

SWEAT – Director Magnus von Horn

Director Magnus von Horn’s SWEAT chronicles the harrowing journey of the beloved fitness influencer Sylwia (Magdalena Koleśnik, in a star-making role) who has seemingly has it made: hundreds of thousands of social media followers, endorsement deals, photo spreads in magazines. But as she starts to share more and more online, the rising pressure from concerned sponsors and increasingly obsessive fans forces her to confront her deepest insecurities and the exhaustive demands of her lifestyle. Director Magnus von Horn joins us for a conversation on his feature film debut, his inspiration for a story that manages  to capture a cultural zeitgeist, the transactional nature of fame and the mesmerizing performance by newcomer Magdalena Koleśnik.

 

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For news and updates go to: mubi.com/films/sweat-2020

The breakout second feature from writer-director Magnus von Horn, SWEAT is a shocking glimpse beneath the candy-colored surface of internet celebrity. In select US theaters June 18. On MUBI in the US, India, Turkey and Latin America from July 23

About the filmmaker – Magnus von Horn was born in 1983 in Gothenburg, Sweden. He graduated from the Polish National Film School in Łódź in 2013, where he now teaches directing. His debut feature The Here After (2015) premiered at the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes in 2015 and won two Swedish Guldbagge Awards for Best Film and Best Director. He took part in the TorinoFilmLab for his second feature, Sweat (2020).

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Sweat is one of the first great films about an influencer. Magnus von Horn’s Sweat avoids the cliche of portraying an Instagram influencer as shallow and instead extends empathy to her and her fans.” – Orla Smith, Seventh Row

“In her first leading role, Kolesnik is as irresistible as an energy bar, exploring the Insta-queen’s shallow depths with cunning sincerity.” – Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter

“SWEAT is not a stalker thriller. Instead, it’s a rivetingly sober, incisive investigation of loneliness and intimacy in the Instagram era, a psychological profile of an influencer.” – Zhuo-Ning Su, Awards Daily

“Kolesnik is such a magnetic screen presence it’s a wonder that this movie marks her first leading role.” – Eric Kohn, indieWire

Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer – Director Dawn Porter

In 1921, white mobs in Tulsa terrorized and burned down the Greenwood District, known as “Negro Wall Street.”  With the discovery of a mass grave, the city reckons with its painful past.  In the early 20th century, racial violence erupted in dozens of cities across the United States. Hundreds were killed. Black communities fought back, rebuilt, and prospered in the face of extreme oppression and the evils of white supremacy.  RISE AGAIN: TULSA AND THE RED SUMMER comes one hundred years from the two-day Tulsa Massacre in 1921 that led to the murder of hundreds of Black people and left thousands homeless and displaced. Award-winning Washington Post journalist and Oklahoma native DeNeen Brown is at the heart of the film, reporting on the search for a mass grave in her native state. Digging into the events that led to one of the worst episodes of racial violence in America’s history, Brown reveals insights into racial conflict incidents that erupted in the early 20th century. Between 1917 and 1923, when  Jim Crow laws were at their height and the Klu Klux Klan was resurging across the nation, scores of Black homes and businesses were razed, and hundreds of Black people were lynched and massacred with impunity. Brown’s reporting highlights the revived call for justice for victims and survivors. Following a 2018 investigative report, Brown explores the current anti-racism movement in the context of the Tulsa Massacre and the Red Summer. With access to family members of those killed, city officials, archeologists, and historians, the film reveals the decades-long effort by descendants and community members to find victims’ bodies and unearth truths that have been suppressed for nearly a century. RISE AGAIN: TULSA AND THE RED SUMMER also untangles the role the media played in covering events at the time in order to reveal the full extent of the nation’s buried past. Director Dawn Porter joins us for a sobering conversation about the shameful abandonment of Reconstruction, the shameless racism of President Wilson, the planned, military grade assault on the Tulsa’s Black community of Greenwood and the buried, figuratively and literally, history that continues to haunt our country.

 

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For updates and screenings go to: nationalgeographic.com/riseagain

RISE AGAIN: TULSA AND THE RED SUMMER will premiere in June on National Geographic, commemorating Juneteenth when the last enslaved Black people in Texas received news of their emancipation, and will air globally in 172 countries and 43 languages.

About the filmmaker – Dawn Porter’s is an award-winning filmmaker, producer, and mental health/social justice advocate who has emerged in the entertainment industry as a leader in the art of storytelling. She made her feature directorial debut in 2013 with Gideon’s Army, which premiered on HBO, was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and an Emmy, won Best Editing at Sundance, and is now part of the U.S. Department of State’s American Film Showcase. Her 2016 film Trapped, which explores laws regulating abortion clinics in the South, won the Special Jury Social-Impact Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and a Peabody Award. She is set to direct and executive produce Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry’s upcoming documentary series on mental illness and mental well-being for Apple TV+. For more go to: trilogy-films.com

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“A sober reminder of the history many want to erase, all but ensuring it’ll repeat itself for the next hundred years as well.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

“Rise Again proves itself to be an extensive deep dive into a subject that needs to be taught. It’s time to remove [our collective] blindfold.” – Jared Mobarak, The Film Stage

My Name is Bulger, Director Brendan J. Byrne

Award-winning documentary filmmaker Brendan J. Byrne (Bill Bulger, now 85, was State Senate President for almost 20 years in Massachusetts. His older brother James ‘Whitey’  Bulger was a Boston gangster who was murdered in prison on October 30th 2018, aged 89.  MY NAME IS BULGER weaves its way through the stories of both brothers and their respective rises and falls. Featuring intimate interviews with family and an exclusive conversation with James Bulger’s girlfriend and partner, Catherine Greig, the film strips away the hysteria of daily print headlines and nightly news bulletins to unfold the story of a unique American family who crave to be judged for who they are and what they’ve done, not what their infamous relative did. Director Brendan J Byrne (Elian, 66 Days, One Million American Dreams) joins us for a conversation on the breaking through the noise and perceptions that have clouded the Bulger family legacy and how even the story about the most notorious Bulger, James “Whitey” Bulger is not what you may think it is.

 

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Streaming Exclusively on discovery+ June 17

About the filmmaker – Brendan J Byrne, Producer/Director, Executive Producer, Hotshot Films Brendan began his filmmaking career in 1992 with an award-winning debut film The Kickhams (1993, C4), an exploration of political identity told through the story of his Gaelic Football team which he played for. This was followed by How Far Home (1998 C4), the story of Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four for Channel 4’s prestigious ‘Films of Fire’ season. This documentary united individuals from The Birmingham Six, The Bridgewater Three and The Guildford Four for the first time on television and received ‘Pick of The Day’ in 7 national newspapers. In 2000 Brendan produced and directed the critically acclaimed Lines of Fire, a film celebrating the poetry of the Northern Ireland Troubles featuring poets Seamus Heaney, Tom Paulin and Michael Longley together with actors Stephen Rea, Adrian Dunbar, Brid Brennan and Ian McElhinney. Brendan has been a long time collaborator with international auteur John T Davis (Shellshock Rock, Hobo, Dust on the Bible, Power in the Blood) and produced his feature length autobiographical film The Uncle Jack in 1996. Brendan has executive produced over 50 hours of television for BBC Television. In 2005 Brendan was the Irish Producer on The Secret Life of Words, the Pedro Almodovar produced film starring Tim Robbins, Sarah Polley and Julie Christie. For more go to: finepointfilms.com

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An Unknown Compelling Force – Director Liam Le Guillou

Director Liam Le Guillou’s feature documentary debut AN UNKNOWN COMPELLING FORCE is the True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident, known as Russia’s greatest unsolved mystery. In 1959 a group of student hikers were attempting a difficult winter expedition in the remote Ural Mountains of Russia when an unknown event lead to the mysterious deaths of all nine. When the team failed to report back, search parties lead by the Soviet Government and fellow students uncovered the grizzly remains of the hikers. Found a mile from their shredded tent, they seemingly fled into the freezing temperatures without their winter clothes or boots. Adding to the mystery, many of the bodies had suffered brutal and inexplicable injuries, and some even showed traces of radiation. The case was closed by investigators at the time, stating that the hikers died from “An  Unknown Compelling Force.” For more than 60 years the story has been shrouded in mystery and conspiracy theories, suggesting everything from UFO’s, murder to a Soviet Government cover-up. British adventure filmmaker Liam Le Guillou travels under the radar to Russia in search of answers. Braving the dangerous conditions and hundreds of kilometers in sub-polar conditions, Director Liam Le Guillou and his team attempts to reach the very location of the incident, a place the locals call “The Dead Mountain.” To uncover the truth, the film also speaks to experts in the U.S. including a former FBI Agent and the former Marin County Coroner to finally reveal the stunning truth of The Dyatlov Pass Incident.

 

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For news and updates go to: 1091.tv/an-unknown-compelling-force

For more about the film distributor go to: 1091pictures.com

An Unknown Compelling Force will be available digitally to purchase or rent on June 15th.

Director’s Statement – Have you ever fallen down the rabbit-hole of an internet mystery so hard that you dropped everything and set off around the world to find the truth? Neither had I, until I discovered the Dyatlov Pass Incident, and it changed my life forever. Reading through hundreds of online articles and blog posts, and watching hours of online YouTube videos, I realized that everyone was repackaging the same tired “facts” of the case. The brutal injuries found on the bodies of the hikers fueled wild theories including UFOs, military weapon tests, and even an attack from the Russian Yeti! Finding officially verifiable information was almost impossible, and it was driving me crazy. That’s when I managed to make contact with the founder of the Dyatlov Foundation in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Yuri Kuntsevich was willing to help me on my journey to find answers in this highly unusual case. I realized that the opportunity for an adventure of a lifetime had just opened its doors to me. That’s how An Unknown Compelling Force was born, but the decision to go to Russia and attempt to reach the Dyatlov Pass was not taken lightly. The site of the incident is deep in the Ural Mountains, where the average temperature for our expedition would be -13F / -25C. And I still didn’t know what actually caused the hikers’ deaths, or even if there was still a threat at the place known by the locals as “The Dead Mountain.” The driving force behind my choice to take that risk was my need to separate fact from fiction, and to try to make some sense of this terrible and enduring mystery. The hikers diaries, which were found in the abandoned tent, gave me insight into their friendships and their love of adventure. And as I followed in their footsteps, their words and photos gave me a deeper understanding and connection to their journey. For me, An Unknown Compelling Force is both a documentary that dispels the wild myths of the case and brings us closer to the truth. But most importantly, it’s a story about the real people who lost their lives in search of an adventure. – Liam Le Guillou

About the filmmaker – Director Liam Le Guillou, grew up on the British island of Jersey, where he began his career in television news and documentary. Based in the U.S. since 2012, Liam has filmed and produced many adventurous short-form documentaries around the globe for major digital platforms and commercial brands. An Unknown Compelling Force, is Liam Le Guillou’s first feature length documentary, combining his interest in true crime stories and adventure travel. For more go to: liamleguillou.com

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“Just a brutal story and an extremely interesting doc.” – Anne Brodie, What She Said

“Serves as a relatively comprehensive primer for the mystery, while also humanizing the victims” – Patrick Cavanaugh, ComicBook.com

“Liam Le Guillou brings a lot of Werner Herzog drama and breathless, narrated suspense to this admittedly fascinating forensic documentary about the Dyatlov Pass Incident.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

SOCKS ON FIRE – Director Bo McGuire

SOCKS ON FIRE is Bo McGuire’s lyrical testament to Southern women couched in the familial battle for his beloved grandmother’s throne. McGuire returned home from New York City to Hokes Bluff, Alabama to find that his Aunt Sharon—his favorite childhood relative—had locked her gay, drag-queen brother, his Uncle John, out of the family home. As a queer Southerner who is both protective and skeptical of the South, this family rupture stoked a fire within McGuire to document the place and the people he calls home. Through a series of stylized reenactments spun in with family VHS footage, SOCKS  ON FIRE documents the fluidity of identity, personality and performance in his hometown among his kin and the many women who’ve been a force in Bo’s life. Director and writer Bo McGuire joins us for a lively conversation on matriarchy, family, betrayal, homophobia and smoldering footwear.

For news and updates go to: socksonfirefilm.com

World Premiere – 2020 Tribeca Film Festival Winner Best Documentary – 2020 Tribeca Film Festival

“Socks On Fire is both a tribute to the filmmaker’s beloved grandmother and a first-person saga of a clan riven by petty jealousies and old wounds, fueled by one member’s deep-seated homophobia. Blending home videos and intimate interviews with masterful reenactments—including the ingenious casting of local drag queens—McGuire paints a riveting picture of a house divided.”  Mimi Brody – Tribeca Film Festival

About Director – Bo McGuire was born the queer son of a Waffle House cook and his third-shift waitress in Hokes Bluff, Alabama. The first movie he truly fell for was the music video for Reba McEntire’s “Fancy.” He was a Ryan Murphy + Half Initiative Mentee and one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film.” His feature debut, SOCKS ON FIRE, won the jury prize for best documentary feature at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival and premiered internationally in the Luminous section at IDFA 2020. The film was selected as part of the Cinema Eye Honors’ “Stay Focused” initiative and was nominated for an IDA award for best writing. His original television pilot, SHITBIRD, was selected by Spike Lee to receive the Sandra Ifraimova Award and his feature script, ALABAMA SNIPE FIGHT, appeared on NYU’s Purple List. He belongs to the First Church of Dolly Parton.

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Tigre Gente – Director Liz Unger

Liz Unger’s new film Tigre Gente, focuses on the new and deadly Jaguar trade unfolding in Bolivia’s Madidi National Park—home to the planet’s most biodiverse land. As China pours hundreds of billions of dollars into South American infrastructure, jaguars are disappearing from the continent’s most protected rainforests. Unger takes a truly unique and timely approach to wildlife crime by exploring the cultural drivers and deeply rooted traditions of traditional Chinese medicine that are fueling the criminal massacre of the Jaguar species to feed the black market. On her dangerous, six-year documentary shoot, Unger follows Bolivian park ranger, Marcos, and a young Hong Kongese journalist, Laurel, as they risk life and limb in South America, Myanmar and China to investigate the new cultural, commercial and criminal phenomenon. Along the way, her subjects grapple with questions around bridging the cultural gap and creating understanding to prevent the new jaguar trade from spiraling out of control. Director Elizabeth Unger joins us to talk about her own journey in documenting the burgeoning illegal animal trade that seems to shadow China’s growing presence in Third World nations as well as the daunting personal challenges and satisfaction that come with her debut feature documentary’s World Premiere at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival.

For the streaming release go to: xtr.com/films/tigre-gente

Tigre Gente streams from June 11-20 during its 2021 Tribeca Film Festival World Premiere.The Tribeca Film Festival calls it “a compelling watch—as well as a thoughtful rumination on social responsibility and environmental protection.” 

About the filmmaker – Elizabeth Unger is a National Geographic Explorer and filmmaker who has worked and traveled across all seven continents. She is a Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program Grantee for her feature-length debut, Tigre Gente.

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Censor – Director Prano Bailey-Bond

Set in 1985, against the backdrop of social hysteria surrounding gory British video nasties. CENSOR is a psychological horror starring Niamh Algar (Raised By Wolves, The Virtues, Calm With Horses). Film censor Enid takes pride in her meticulous work, guarding unsuspecting audiences from the deleterious effects of watching the gore-filled decapitations and eye-gougings she pores over. Her sense of duty to protect is amplified by guilt over her inability to recall details of the long-ago disappearance of her sister, recently declared dead in absentia. When Enid is assigned to review a disturbing film from the archive that echoes her hazy childhood memories, she begins to unravel how this eerie work might be tied to her past. After viewing the strangely familiar video nasty at work, Enid attempts to solve the past mystery of her sister’s disappearance, embarking on a quest that dissolves the line between fiction and reality. CENSOR had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival 2021, opening the Midnight section of the festival, and will have its European premiere at Berlinale – Berlin International Film Festival. Director Prano Bailey-Bond stops by for a conversation on her debut feature film that flawlessly captures the frightening ambiance of the “nasties” while plumbing the depths of Enid’s defenseless psyche.

 

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For news and updates go to: censormovie.com

Watch On Demand at: censormovie.com

About the filmmaker – Prano Bailey-Bond is a director and writer who grew up on a diet of Twin Peaks in the depths of a strange Welsh community. Named a 2021 ‘Director to Watch’ by Variety and a Screen International ‘Star of Tomorrow’ 2018, Prano’s work invokes imaginative worlds, fusing a dark vocabulary with eerie allure, revealing how beauty resides in strange places. Her debut feature film, CENSOR, had its world premiere at the SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2021, opening the festival’s Midnight section, moving next to its European premiere at the BERLINALE – Berlin International Film Festival. Prano’s strong body of shorts have screened at festivals including BFI London Film Festival, Tampere Film Festival, UKMVA’s, Sitges Film Festival and Melbourne Int’l Film Festival. She was one of 17 filmmakers selected for the BFI Network@LFF 2017 which identified original new voices, iconoclasts and risk takers. She is an alumna of the Berlinale Talent Campus. Her short film NASTY screened at over 100 festivals to-date, winning awards globally.  SHORTCUT, made as part of Film4’s Fright Bites series, was broadcast on Film4 and is available to view on All4. It screened at festivals around Europe, the USA and Canada, and toured with The Final Girls‘ WE ARE THE WEIRDOS program. THE TRIP won Best Director at Underwire Festival. Based on a real-life case study by ECPAT UK, it has been used to educate Police and other professionals on recognizing victims of human trafficking. Prano’s post-apocalyptic short MAN VS SAND, commissioned by The Letters Festival, Milan in association with London Short Film Festival, won Best Experimental Short at Aesthetica Short Film Festival, who described it as “a powerful satire of the live-to-work ethic”. Her music videos have picked up accolades including a UKMVA, Best Music Video at the European Independent Film Festival and Best Music Short at London Short Film Festival.  Prano is on the Advisory Board for Underwire Festival, is a member of  Cinesisters,  BAFTA and is also an award-winning editor. For more go to: pranobaileybond.com

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86% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Bailey-Bond creates something almost unbearably close and oppressive, like the bottom of a murky fish tank. It’s a very elegant and disquieting debut.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

“Censor works as such a strong study of someone whose personal and professional lives are dangerously intertwined and loses sight of every boundary in her life, though Bailey-Bond ensures it has plenty of edge.” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest

“Bailey-Bond creates something almost unbearably close and oppressive, like the bottom of a murky fish tank. It’s a very elegant and disquieting debut.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

“With a winning confidence, [Bailey-Bond] guides the viewer to a frightening, disorienting, and frankly shocking third act.” – Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com

“Censor is a smart, stylish, unsettling chiller with an irresistible meta twist.” – Mike McGranaghan Aisle Seat

“It’s more than emulating a cinematic look, like those faux-gialli. It’s creating an engrossing, disturbing, yet authentic world that cracks wide open like Enid’s fragile psyche.” – Richard Whittaker, Austin Chronicle

MUBI podcast – Host Rico Gagliano

Global distributor and curated streaming service MUBI, has launched its first original podcast, MUBI Podcast.  MUBI Podcast will be hosted by arts and travel reporter Rico Gagliano (The Wall Street Journal, The Dinner Party Download). The documentary-style podcast will be available on all major podcast platforms and on MUBI’s online publication Notebook. New episodes of MUBI Podcast will be released weekly starting on June 3, with a total of six episodes in the first season. Season one, titled “Lost in Translation”, will focus on films that have great importance in their home country, but are lesser known by international audiences and critics. MUBI Podcast will cover nearly every continent with each episode exploring a different film and country, providing a window into cinema cultures around the world. The unique stories behind the films will be brought to life with movie clips, music, and original interviews with filmmakers, critics, academics, and historians. The pilot episode will look at Paul Verhoeven’s second feature Turkish Delight (1973). While one of Verhoeven’s lesser known films to international audiences, it remains the most well-attended domestic film in the history of the Netherlands and was named the greatest Dutch film of the 20th century by the Netherlands Film Festival. The episode will cover the film’s unique significance during the counterculture movement in 1970s Holland and features exclusive interviews with Paul Verhoeven, Monique van de Ven, and Jan de Bont, amongst others. Future episodes will cover film stories from around the globe, including the longest-running film in the history of Indian cinema, a Mexican film that became the biggest movie in the Soviet Union, and the micro-budget feature shot on video that sparked the modern Nigerian film industry. MUBI Podcast host Rico Gagliano joins us to talk about his remarkably diverse career, his love for storytelling and what inspires his passion  to spotlight obscure corners of the film, music and the wide variety the arts that continue to capture his attention. 

For latest on MUBI Notebook podcast & more go to: mubi.com/notebook

To find out more about MUBI go to: mubi.com

About our guest – Rico Gagliano has taken his fascination for the arts, culture, history, travel and politics and his talent for storytelling and turned it into a 20 plus year journey, as a print and audio creator that continues to inform and entertain local, national, and international audiences.  After reporting around the world for the public radio business program “Marketplace,” He co-created, co-hosted, co-produced, and edited “The Dinner Party Download” The “The Dinner Party Download” began as a pioneering 15-minute arts-and-culture podcast, and grown into an hour-long broadcast/digital show heard on nearly 200 public radio stations and downloaded 30 million times. It was nominated for “Best Arts & Culture Show” at the 2018 Webby Awards, and was named “Best Food Podcast” by the Academy of Podcasters in 2016.  He co-wrote the show’s companion book, “Brunch Is Hell,” published by Little/Brown Inc. in December 2017. Gagliano went on to co-host “Safe For Work” for the podcast network Wondery, and co-hosted their narrative non-fiction series “One Plus One.” He has recently been Executive Producing and hosting an international film history podcast I created for the celebrated cinephile platform MUBI, debuting Q2 of 2021. And “Missing America — one of two limited series I co-wrote in 2020 — just won a “People’s Voice” Webby Award for “Best Documentary Podcast Episode.” (The other series, Wondery’s “Jacked,” was nominated for “Best Entertainment Podcast.”) He’s also the Senior Producer of Focus Features’ film history podcast “Zoom,” hosted by Variety critic Amy Nicholson. In his spare time Gagliano spends way too much on vinyl records and daydream about The Netherlands, which he has visited and/or reported from almost every year since 1999.

About MUBIMUBI is a global streaming service, production company and film distributor. A place to discover and watch beautiful, interesting, incredible films. A new hand-picked film arrives on MUBI, every single day. Cinema from across the world. From iconic directors, to emerging auteurs. All carefully chosen by MUBI’s curators. Notebook is MUBI’s daily film publication, exploring all sides of cinema culture. And with MUBI GO, members in select countries can get a hand-picked cinema ticket every single week, to see the best new films in real cinemas.MUBI also produces and distributes ambitious new films, which members can watch exclusively on the platform. Some recent and upcoming MUBI Releases include Sergei Loznitsa’s State Funeral, Magnus von Horn’s Sweat, Déa Kulumbegashvili’s Beginning, Cathy Yan’s feature debut Dead Pigs, Xavier Dolan’s Matthias & Maxime and Werner Herzog’s Family Romance LLC. MUBI’s co-productions include Ekwa Msangi’s Sundance prize-winner Farewell Amor, Danielle Lessovitz’s Port Authority, and Rachel Lang’s Our Men.MUBI is the biggest community of film lovers, available across 190 countries, with more than 10 million members around the world. Subscription plans are $10.99 a month or $83.88 for 12 months. MUBI is available on the web, Roku devices, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, LG and Samsung Smart TVs, as well as on mobile devices including iPad, iPhone and Android.  For more go to: mubi.com

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Drunk Bus – Co-directors John Carlucci & Brandon LaGanke

DRUNK BUS follows Michael (Charlie Tahan), a recent graduate, whose post college plan was derailed when his girlfriend leaves him for a job in New York City. Stuck in Ohio without a new plan of his own, Michael finds himself caught in the endless loop of driving the “drunk bus,” the debaucherous late-night campus shuttle that ferries drunk college students from parties to the dorms and back, waiting for his ex, Amy, to come back to him. When the bus service hires a security guard to watch over the night shift, Michael comes face to tattooed face with Pineapple (Pineapple Tangaroa), a larger-than-life Samoan American who challenges him with a kick in the ass to break from the loop and start living or risk driving in circles forever. Co-directors John Carlucci & Brandon LaGanke stop by for a spirited conversation on growing up in Ohio, John Hughes, the true life inspiration for Drunk Bus, meeting Pineapple Tangoroa and their love of filmmaking.

 

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For news, screenings and updates go to drunkbusmovie.com

Watch at: drunkbusmovie.com/watch

About the filmmakers – JOHN CARLUCCI & BRANDON LAGANKE (Directors) DRUNK BUS is the feature debut for GHOST + COW; a directing duo comprised of John Carlucci and Brandon LaGanke. Ghost + Cow has had global viral success with several projects. DRONE BONING (11M on Vimeo) – a comedic and voyeuristic look at sex and drone surveillance – was dubbed by VICE Motherboard as “the world’s first aerial pornography.” The film made world news and garnered the attention of late-night hosts such as Stephen Colbert, Conan and Seth Meyers. It was also featured in several print publications, was shown on TMZ and posted on Banksy’s YouTube page. Their music videos for Big Data’s DANGEROUS (14M on YouTube) and Joywave’s IT’S A TRIP (2.2M on YouTube) continue to have a massive fan following. Some other short film titles include PLAYHOUSE (World Premiere at SXSW 2013 and a Vimeo Staff Pick with 146K views), BUNNY BOY (2011 Slamdance, SXSW) and INFINITY TREE (Cannes Series) which was created with FOX Digital.

Director’s Statement – We are very fortunate to have found that partner in our producer, Eric Hollenbeck (NATIVE SON, TOMORROW MAN, KINGS OF SUMMER), who immediately supported our creative vision, believed Pineapple could hold his own on screen and knew we were capable of the task ahead. He helped us assemble an amazing age-appropriate cast as well as an incredible crew who guided us through some major challenges like shooting in the dead of winter in Rochester, New York. DRUNK BUS, in contrast to the name, is a unique coming of age story fraught with uncomfortable authenticity and a whole lot of heart. It wasn’t just a challenge making it, but an experience and a triumph- we really hope you enjoy watching it as much as we did making it. – Co-directors John Carlucci and Brandon LaGanke

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“A sweet, late bloomer coming-of-age comedy about learning to let go of toxic relationships and embracing new people in your life.” – Monica Castillo, RogerEbert.com

“There’s a wonderful sense at the end of Drunk Bus that there are a dozen more stories that could begin after the credits roll.” – Ian Simmons, Kicking the Seat

“A rude, laugh-out-loud on-and-off-campus romp.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

“Drunk Bus” is a rowdy sweetheart, directed with pluck by Brandon LaGanke and John Carlucci and written with comedic punch by screenwriter Chris Molinaro.” – Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News

F.T.A. (Free the Army) & Sir! No Sir! – Director David Zeiger

Directed by Francine Parker the long-censored documentary with Academy Award-winning actor & activist Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland in their 1970s satirical revue, “Free The Army”.  In 1971, at the height of the Vietnam War,  Academy Award-winning actor and activist Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and fellow performers mounted the F.T.A musical comedy tour across Southeast Asia as a response to Bob Hope‘s USO tour. They redubbed the original Army recruitment slogan “Fun, Travel, Adventure” to “Free The Army or F*** The Army”. After the Army tried to limit the troops’ access to performances, it became known as “The Show the Pentagon Couldn’t Stop!” Fonda and Sutherland’s co-stars included writer/actor Michael Alaimo, singers and activists Holly Near, Rita Martinson, Len Chandler, and comedian Paul Mooney. Despite being highly controversial, the show was a huge success amongst enlisted men and women, many of of whom appear in the film expressing their disillusionment with war, imperialism and racism. F.T.A.  has now been fully restored in 4K by IndieCollect and is preceded by a new video introduction by Jane Fonda, which provides historical context and explains the impetus that sparked the creation of the F.T.A. troupe. Director David Zeiger joins us to talk about the history of resistance to the war in Vietnam, the under-reported movement within the military to the war and the support and participation by artists, producers, and high profile actors like Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland.

Watch at: kinomarquee.com/F.T.A. – Free The Army

For more about the films of David Zeiger go to: displacedfilms.com

Support film restoration by donating to: indiecollect.org

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The long-censored documentary with Academy Award-winning actor & activist Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland in their 1970s satirical revue,  F.T.A. – Free The Army. This film is now playing in virtual cinemas. Click here to find a Kino Marquee virtual cinema supporting a theater near you.

Sir! No Sir! unfolds the stunning but suppressed story of the military men and women who helped force the U.S. Government to end the Vietnam War. The film was produced, directed, and written by David Zeiger. The film had a theatrical run in 80 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada in 2006, and was broadcast worldwide on: Sundance ChannelDiscovery ChannelBBCARTE France, and several others. The DVD, which is distributed by Cinedigm, also includes 100 minutes of additional stories from the GI Movement.

About the filmmaker – Guggenheim Fellow David Zeiger has been making documentary films and series for 25 years, starting with The Band, a film about his son’s junior year in high school, broadcast on the PBS series P.O.V. in 1997. That was followed by the landmark thirteen-part PBS (U.S.) and Planete Cable (International) series Senior Year in 2002. Senior Year was funded by CPB, PBS, NAATA, LPB, and the MacArthur and Kellogg foundations, and was a national presentation by PBS. His short documentary, Funny Old Guys, was broadcast in 2002 by HBO. His 2006 film, Sir! No Sir!, ran theatrically in 65 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada and was broadcast in 200 countries worldwide, including on BBC Storyville, ARTE France, ABC Australia, and the Sundance Channel in the U.S. It won Best Documentary at the Los Angeles Film Festival (Audience Award) and Hamptons Film Festival, and Seeds of War Award at the Full Frame Documentary Festival, along with nominations for an International Documentary, Independent. For more go to: displacedfilms.com

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“Fonda brings down the house.” – Variety

“A genuine, powerful and even stirring expression of the antipathy engendered by war… and scarred the psyches of those who lived through it.”- J. Hoberman, The New York Times

“Holds up as a terrifically funny movie. Nixon might be long dead, but if you want to sock it to him regardless, be sure to check this out.” – Dan Schindel, Hyperallergic

“Sounding out a once-elusive call of defiance for all to hear… [Fonda] and her comrades loved the country that they devoted their energies and risked their reputations to better it, their criticisms the ultimate act of patriotism.” – Charles Bramesco, The Guardian

“A vibrant artifact. The message of F.T.A. is still infuriatingly relevant. This new restoration connects the present to the past.” – Nathan Smith, Nashville Scene

“A stunning portrait of an antiwar musical comedy revue that was a corrective to Bob Hope’s  gung-ho UFO shows.” – Louis Proyect, The Unrepentant Marxist

“Funny, biting and tuneful, it takes you right back there if you lived through it, and might be an eye-opener for activist ‘Ok, Boomer’ millennials.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

“An important record showing the strength of the American people’s opposition to the Vietnam War.” – Jennifer Marin, About.com

KNOTS : A FORCED MARRIAGE STORY – Director Kate Brewer

KNOTS : A FORCED MARRIAGE STORY explores forced and child marriages, which are occurring legally across the United States every day. Fraidy is an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish teen in Brooklyn when she’s coerced into marrying an abusive man. In Michigan, young Christian Nina’s father forces her to marry a man he chose. In California, Sara is fifteen when she’s kidnapped by her father and forced to marry a 28-year-old man. Each of them face an unimaginable journey. Each must find the strength to survive, and thrive. Director Kate Brewer reveals the disturbing truth about this problem in modern America through the complicated experience of three forced marriage survivors. Nina, Sara, and Fraidy share intimate details of their personal journeys of surviving, escaping and ultimately becoming powerful voices in the historic fight to end the human rights abuse of forced marriage. Director Kate Brewer joins us to talk about modern day stories of forced marriage, violent physical and psychological abuse and the human trafficking of tens of thousands of young women throughout America and the three determined and courageous women who make up the backbone of this illuminating film.

 

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KNOTS : A FORCED MARRIAGE STORY will be released via The Laemmle both theatrically and on their digital platform on May 7th followed by a wider digital release June 4th.

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

Get involved, go to: unchainedatlast.org

 Laemmle Virtual/All Cities (including L.A, NYC)

Laemmle L.A Physical

Director’s statement – How do you tell a story that isn’t yours to tell? Working with forced and child marriage survivors to share their harrowing stories – to bare their souls – this is a question I asked myself many times throughout the filmmaking process. Directing “Knots: A Forced Marriage Story” has been a deep and haunting excavation. We worked hard to expose the dark underbelly of the otherwise Pinterest-perfect concept of marriage in America. Our goal was to give survivors a platform where their voices can be heard, and their experiences felt. We wanted to let others know they are not alone. We see you. We hear you. We’ll fight for you. – Kate Brewer

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Knots: A Forced Marriage Story provides a comprehensive cross-section of religious victimization.” – Nick Schager, The Daily Beast

“Brewer is doing a great service by revealing this source of emotional, mental and sexual abuse and explaining how this mostly legal patriarchal custom still goes on in this day and age.” – Susan Wloszczyna, AWFJ Women on Film

“The stories told are damning, deflating and compelling, the statistics alarming and the villains as obvious as your nearest “fundamentalist” this or “ultra-conservative” that.” – Roger Moore. Movie Nation

“Brewer intersperses their stories with editorial styled photo collages…distorted proportions and muted colors to illustrate the staggering imbalance in power dynamics… This isn’t a nightmare from another era, it is America today.” – Sherin Nicole. AWFJ Women on Film

Unmarked – Co-directors Chris Haley and Brad Bennett

Much of America’s rich history is being lost to time but the latest documentary from co-directors Chris Haley and Brad Bennett, UNMARKED shines a light on one of our darkest chapters. Throughout the South, vast numbers of African-American gravesites and burial grounds for enslaved persons have been lost or are disappearing through neglect and nature reclaiming the solemn tombstones and markers. In Virginia alone, stories of thousands at rest could vanish from history altogether if these locations are not restored. Recently, there has been a rise in the  restoration and preservation of these forgotten sites by those who have a personal connection with the deceased or an appreciation of their historical significance. But there is much work to be done in order to preserve this part of America’s history. UNMARKED not only explores these untold stories of the past but also the efforts underway to preserve them. Co-Directors and Chris Haley and Brad Bennett stop by to talk about the sordid and blatantly racist practice of neglecting the bodies of slaves and non-slave African-American men and women, as well as the growing number of people who are working to find and protect cemeteries around the country.

 

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For news and updates go to: unmarkedfilm.com

Watch: vimeo.com/ondemand/unmarked

First Run Features presents the Streaming and DVD Premiere of the new documentary UNMARKED, beginning April 27, 2021.

About the filmmaker – Co-Director, and  Archival Expert Chris Haley is Director for the Study of the Legacy of Slavery for the state of Maryland. He has also served on several boards, including the Historic London Town Foundation, the Jake Savage Foundation, and the Annapolis Arts Alliance Foundation. His script for the 2004 The Reconciliation Walk for Slavery and Penitence held in Annapolis helped garner the Maryland Tourism Council Global Marketing Award for the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation. He is the nephew of Alex Haley, author of Roots.

About the filmmaker – Co-Director, producer and Director of Photography Brad Bennett is a Japanese-American filmmaker and award-winning producer based in Virginia. His first feature documentary, Forgive–Don’t Forget, chronicles the search for a family on the other side of the world in order to return an heirloom taken during World War II. The film won the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 2017 Guam International Film Festival. Forgive–Don’t Forget was acquired by Gravitas Ventures in 2018 and released on Hulu in the U.S. and on The Roku Channel and TVP, internationally. Bennett’s work has been supported by IFP, Southern Documentary Fund, Virginia Film Office, A-DOC, and the UCLA Documentary Film Legal Clinic.

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Hamtramck U.S.A. – Co-directors Justin Feltman and Razi Jafri

Hamtramck, Michigan is a city built by immigrants. The city thrived thanks to Polish Catholic immigrants drawn to the industrial boom of America. In the late 1990’s, Bangladeshi and Yemeni Muslim immigrants revitalized this post-industrial city. This multi- ethnic city prides itself on its mantra “The World in 2 Square Miles,” boasts about the over 30 languages spoken in the schools and the diversity that comes with it. However, when it comes to the city’s politics, the city quickly splits into factions, pitting communities against each other. From these tensions, candidates emerge, hoping to be the voice for their community in City Hall. Karen Majewski, Hamtramck’s first female mayor in the city’s 100 year lineage of Polish mayors, is seeking her fourth term as mayor. She promises to run until she “sees someone capable” of running the city. Through the election cycle, candidate’s face challenges and opportunities within each community, including their own. Through the exploration of the city’s rich history and this heated election, Hamtramck, USA wrestles with identity politics, power dynamics, and the immigrant experience in America. Co-directors Justin Feltman and Razi Jafri join us for a conversation on the changing political, racial and cultural landscape of America and why we should not be afraid of America’s future, but embrace it.

 

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For news and updates go to: hamtramckdocumentary.com

Hamtramck, USA can be seen on air and streaming as part of the series America ReFramed nationwide on WORLD Channel and on worldchannel.org starting on May 25

About the filmmaker – Razi Jafri is a Detroit based documentary photographer and filmmaker whose work focuses on religion, race, politics, immigration, and the changing cultural landscape in America. His own experience as a Muslim immigrant has informed much of his work. His current projects include Hamtramck, USA, a film about democracy in America’s first Muslim majority town, located in Michigan, which will premier at SXSW in 2020. His other project, named, Loyalty, follows three Muslim chaplains as they navigate religious freedom and islamophobia in the US armed forces. Loyalty is currently nearing the end of production. Razi served as a mentor in Kartemquin Films Diverse Voices in Docs (DVID) Fellowship. He has been awarded fellowships by Facing Change: Documenting Detroit, the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), The Salzburg Global Forum, and most recently, the Knight Foundation Fellowship at the Sundance Film Festival. Razi became a documentary photographer and filmmaker after a ten-year engineering career in the automotive and biomedical industries in order to pursue more meaningful work. Razi is an alumnus of the University of Michigan-Dearborn where he received a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

About the filmmaker – Justin Feltman graduated from Pacific Union College, where he studied Film and Business Administration with a Marketing emphasis, building an understanding of the art and business of filmmaking. His Senior year, he produced the short film, Heaven, which took home the award for the school’s Best Senior Thesis. Justin worked on several independent films, such as I Am I and Struck by Lightning, as well as several documentaries, Napa Valley Dreams and CHECK IT. He produced several short films, music videos, and a web series. He currently creates video content for nonprofits and small businesses throughout the DC area.

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Hamtramck, USA gives us one of the more down-to-earth yet somehow inspiring political documentaries of the past few years.” – Audrey Fox, JumpCut Online

“[The filmmakers] realize that just being truthful and present can offer cinematic insight.” – Brian Tallerico,

“Hamtramck, USA neither whitewashes the Muslim experience nor demonizes it.” – Li Lai, Mediaversity Reviews

“In these cynical times, it’s enough to make you believe there are still places in America where democracy exists.” – Clint Worthington, The Spool

“You may not start packing your bags to move to the Midwest upon watching Hamtramck, USA, but it will surely make you reconsider your preconceived notions and potential prejudices.” – Alex Saveliev, Film Threat

Citizen Penn – Director Don Hardy

On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 earthquake devastated Haiti and changed the course of millions of lives. International aid and aid workers descended on Haiti to help in any way they could. One of those people driven to help was American actor and filmmaker Sean Penn. CITIZEN PENN chronicles the moment Sean Penn and his team of volunteers landed in Haiti just days after the earthquake struck and the ten years since. For Penn, Haiti changed his life. He went there for what he thought was a two-week aid mission to drop off supplies, help doctors provide immediate medical care, and then get out … get back to his normal life. Instead, he stayed and created an organization called J/P HRO (now CORE) that took over management duties for the largest camp for displaced people in the entire country. This feature-length documentary delivers unparalleled access to one of America’s most polarizing figures. CITIZEN PENN offers viewers an intimate, honest, and self reflective look into the triumphs and challenges of a man who decided to do something. He got involved in a way few celebrity activists ever will. Director Don hardy joins us to talk about his first impressions of the devastation in Port-Au-Prince, the complicated relationship Haiti has with America and France and the sustained tenacity of Sean Penn to do the right thing.

 

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Premiering on discovery+ on May 6th

For more on Don Hardy go to: ktffilms.com/citizen-penn

About the filmmaker – Don Hardy is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who recently completed the first season of a new documentary series for Disney+ called Pick of the Litter, based on the documentary film of the same name that he produced and directed in 2018. He is also in production on a short-form documentary series about the homelessness epidemic in California titled The Way Home. In 2018 and 2019 Don was selected to participate in the American Film Showcase, traveling as a US Envoy with the State Department as a part of this prestigious film diplomacy program. Don’s previous film, Theory of Obscurity, about the legendary music and art collective known as The Residents, premiered at SXSW in 2015 and was released theatrically by Film Movement in April of 2016. Don’s film, The Human Experiment, was released in theaters by Area 23a and on VOD by FilmBuff in the spring of 2015. Narrated and executive produced by Oscar® winner Sean Penn, the film lifts the veil on the shocking reality that thousands of untested chemicals are in our everyday products, our homes and inside of us. Don also served as Director of Photography on Batkid Begins, which premiered at Slamdance in early 2015. Batkid Begins was released by Warner Brothers/New Line Cinema in June 2015. In 2011, Don’s film, Love Hate Love, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film won several film festival awards and had its US broadcast premiere on the Oprah Winfrey Network in 2012. His first film, Witch Hunt, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008 and was broadcast on MSNBC. Over the years, Don has also been awarded 6 regional Emmys, 3 Edward R. Murrow Awards, 7 Associated Press Awards, the prestigious San Francisco Bay Area Photographer of the Year Award, and more than 15 National Press Photographer Association Awards.For more about Don Hardy go to: ktffilms.com

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“If you go into it thinking that you’re going to be rolling your eyes at the ultimate self-deluded celebrity do-gooder, the movie may stop you in your tracks.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“The common complaint about celebrities delivering “woke” lectures from the comfort of their pampered lives receives a well-calculated brush-back pitch with Citizen Penn.” – Brian Lowry, CNN.com

“A revealing, engaging chronicle of the actor’s activism.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

“Perhaps some enraged hater or three will stumble across it and maybe soften their views on Penn’s very serious, very public charity work, something most of the media and much of the country has already done.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

GUNDA – Director Victor Kossakovsky

Where his prior film, the acclaimed epic AQUARELA, was a reminder of the fragility of human tenure on earth, in GUNDA, master filmmaker Viktor Kossakovsky reminds us that we share our planet with billions of other animals. Through encounters with a mother sow (the eponymous Gunda), two ingenious cows, and a scene-stealing, one-legged chicken, Kossakovsky movingly recalibrates our moral universe, reminding us of the inherent value of life and the mystery of all animal consciousness, including our own.  Experiential cinema in its purest form, GUNDA chronicles the unfiltered lives of a mother pig, a flock of chickens, and a herd of cows with masterful intimacy. Using stark, transcendent black and white cinematography and the farm’s ambient soundtrack, Master director Victor Kossakowsky invites the audience to slow down and experience life as his subjects do, taking in their world with a magical patience and an other worldly perspective. GUNDA asks us to meditate on the mystery of animal consciousness, and reckon with the role humanity plays in it.

 

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For news and updates go to: gunda.movie

For GUNDA theatrical release go to: neonrated.com/films/gunda

“GUNDA is a mesmerizing perspective on sentience within animal species, normally – and perhaps purposely – hidden from our view. Displays of pride and reverence, amusement and bliss at a pig’s inquisitive young; her panic, despair and utter defeat in the face of cruel trickery, are validations of just how similarly all species react and cope with events in our respective lives. Victor Kossakovsky has crafted a visceral meditation on existence that transcends the normal barriers that separate species. It is a film of profound importance and artistry.” – Executive producer Joaquin Phoenix

Director’s Statement – Growing up I was very much a city kid, but at the age of four I spent a few months in a village in the countryside, where I met my best friend Vasya. He was much younger than me – just a few weeks old when we met – but over time he became my dearest friend and the times we spent together are some of the most cherished memories from my childhood. One day, when we were still young, Vasya was killed and served as pork cutlets for a New Year’s Eve dinner. I was devastated and immediately became (probably) the first vegetarian kid in the Soviet Union. As a consequence, since I became a filmmaker I have always wanted to make a film about the creatures with whom we share the earth, a film about animals as living, feeling beings in their own right. I wanted to make a film without patronizing or humanizing them, without any sentimentality, and without vegan propaganda. However, as the film I had in mind is not about dolphins, elephants, pandas or other cute animals we love to love, it was impossible to finance. I tried for almost three decades until I finally met Norwegian producer Anita Rehoff Larsen from Sant & Usant who took the risk on making it. We were unbelievably lucky to meet Gunda in the Norwegian countryside on the very first day of our research trip. Gunda is on the screen for over half of the runtime of the final film and is an extraordinarily powerful character – you do not need an interpreter to understand her emotions and experiences. As such I decided to make this film without any captions, voice-over, or music, you just need to watch it and allow yourself to feel. For me, the essence of cinema is showing, not telling. I do not make films if I want to tell an audience something I have no interest in prescribing an opinion. I make films if there is something I want people to see and to allow them to find their own conclusion. Documentary cinema is a great tool to show the realities of the world, to show things that we do not see by ourselves, that we do not want to see, or that we have collectively agreed that we do not see, and so we allow ourselves not to think about. With GUNDA I want people to see these animals as sentient beings and to encourage them to think about the possibility of their consciousness and selfhood. With that I feel that GUNDA is the most personal and important film I have made as a filmmaker and as a human being. – Victor Kossakovsky

NOMINEE – Best Feature – IDA Documentary Awards 2021
FEATURES SHORTLIST – DOC NYC 2020
TOP 10 FILM OF THE YEAR – The New York Times

“GUNDA is pure cinema. This is a film to take a bath in – it’s stripped to its essential elements, without any interference. It’s what we should all aspire to as filmmakers and audiences – pictures and sound put together to tell a powerful and profound story without rush. It’s jaw dropping images and sound put together with the best ensemble cast and you have something more like a potion than a movie.” – Paul Thomas Anderson

98% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Sublimely beautiful and profoundly moving, it offers you the opportunity to look – at animals, yes, but also at qualities that are often subordinated in narratively driven movies, at textures, shapes and light.” – Manohla Dargis, New York Times

“Kossakosky’s achingly beautiful black-and-white documentary is ground-breaking and wondrous for its intimacy,” – Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW Toronto

“”Gunda” may be a meditational slow-burn, but as it unfurls its immersive audiovisual tapestry it hovers between non-fiction observation and lyrical insight, and to that end feels like an advancement of the nature documentary form.” – Eric Kohn, indieWire

“It is hard to fully articulate how, but Gunda is as much a damning meditation on the human condition as it is a glowing, thought-provoking portrayal of a mother’s love for her children, a sow’s love for her piglets.” – Matthew Anderson, CineVue

Secrets of the Whales – Producer Brian Skerry

National Geographic’s epic, revealing and emotional Secrets of the Whales is what you get when immersed in the secretive world of whales and you see life and love from their perspectives. From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker and conservationist James Cameron, SECRETS OF THE WHALES plunges viewers deep within the epicenter of whale culture to experience the extraordinary communication skills and intricate social structures of five different whale species: orcas, humpbacks, belugas, narwhals and sperm whales. Featuring the expansive knowledge and skill of acclaimed National Geographic Explorer and Photographer Brian Skerry, the four-part Earth Day special-event series unveils new science and technology to spotlight whales as they make lifelong friendships, teach clan heritage and traditions to their young, and grieve deeply for the loss of loved ones. Filmed over three years in 24 global locations, throughout this epic journey, we learn that whales are far more complex and more like us than ever imagined. This is a personal story that very few are lucky enough to witness … until now. SECRETS OF THE WHALES is narrated by award-winning actress and conservationist Sigourney Weaver and scored by French composer Raphaelle Thibaut. Producer Brian Skerry joins us for a conversation on the challenges and rewards of this immersive and groundbreaking journey into the world of sentient beings living in the underwater world where they love and live, just like us.

 

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For news and updates go to: nationalgeographic.com/secrets-of-the-whales

Watch: disneyplusoriginals.disney.com/secrets-of-the-whales

Along with the release of the SECRETS OF THE WHALES book, a special May ocean issue of National Geographic Magazine will be available online: natgeo.com, dedicated to Earth Day 2021. Lastly, as a companion piece to the book, Skerry is featured in the Disney+ original four-part series, SECRETS OF THE WHALES, from National Geographic which will be premiering on Earth Day -Thursday, April 22, 2021. All four episodes of the Disney + original four-part series are available to stream on April 22. Episode 1: Orca Dynasty – Episode 2: Humpback Song – Episode 3: Beluga Kingdom – Episode 4: Ocean Giants (Sperm Whale)

Never-before-recorded moments include:
First time evidence suggested that Belugas give themselves names, so groups can keep track of each other; baby belugas share their moms’ call signs
First time scientists learned that a baby sperm whale suckled from its mother until they saw this footage.
First time 30,000 humpbacks can be seen charging down the coast of Australia towards Antarctica and use breeches to talk to each other
First time ever a sperm whale calf is recorded feeding
First time cross-species adoption is ever recorded; Beluga pod adopts narwhal as part of the pod

About the filmmaker – Brian Skerry National Geographic photographer and Explorer – is an award-winning photojournalist specializing in marine wildlife and underwater environments. After three decades having spent more than 10,000 hours underwater exploring the world’s oceans, his uniquely-creative images tell stories that not only celebrate the mystery and beauty of the sea, but also help bring attention to the large number of issues that endanger our oceans and its inhabitants. Skerry is credited with capturing the first-ever images of a US president (Barack Obama) swimming underwater, which appeared in the 2017 cover story about protecting US marine ecosystems. He is also an 11-time award winner in the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition and is the only photographer to win the coveted Peter Benchley Award for Excellence in Media. Brian is an 11-time award winner in the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. He has also been recognized with awards from Pictures of the Year InternationalNature’s BestCommunication Arts and is the only photographer to win the coveted Peter Benchley Award for Excellence in Media. In 2010 National Geographic magazine named one of Brian’s images among their 50 Greatest Photographs Of All Time and was awarded the 2016 National Geographic Photographer’s Photographer Award, an honor bestowed by his colleagues.

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2021 Oscars© Nominated Short Films, with ShortsTV Founder & CEO, Carter Pilcher

For over a decade, ShortsTV has proudly brought the Oscar© Nominated Short Films to audiences across the globe. This exclusive release features the year’s most spectacular short films and for a limited time is available to watch on the big screen. Each nominee is released in one of three distinct feature-length compilations according to their category of nomination: Live Action, Animation or Documentary. The films go into theaters around the world shortly after nominations are announced and are not released anywhere else until a few days before the Oscars©, when they are also made available via on demand platforms, including iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play and Vimeo on Demand. The release ensures the greatest number of viewers can see all the nominees before the ceremony, while providing short filmmakers with an unprecedented opportunity to commercialize their movies. Carter Pilcher founded Shorts International in 2000. Coming from a background in both investment banking and law, Carter has made Shorts International the world’s leading short movie Entertainment Company, functioning as distributor, broadcaster and producer. Carter has extensive experience in short movie production and short movie entertainment. He is a voting member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and a member of the Short Film and Feature Animation Branch of The US Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) – the guys who pick the Oscars. For the last seven years Carter Pilcher has been the highlight of Oscar season here on Film School Radio. His insight, commitment and love of the short film format and the dedicated people who create them insures a lively and informative conversation on some of the best films you will see all year.

 

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For news and updates go to: shorts.tv/theoscarshorts

Moffie – Director Oliver Hermanus

To be a moe is to be weak, effeminate, illegal. The year is 1981 and South Africa’s white minority government is embroiled in a conflict on the southern Angolan border. Like all white boys over the age of 16, Nicholas Van der Swart (Kai Luke Brummer) must complete two years of compulsory military service. South African director Oliver Hermanus, fourth feature MOFFIE explores the life of a closeted young boy serving his mandatory military service during Apartheid in 1980s South Africa. MOFFIE  is an adaptation of André-Carl van der Merwe’s iconic memoir, the film serves as a brilliant period piece exposing the psychological violence of institutionalized homophobia. Achingly raw depictions of the brutality of military training recall scenes from Kubrick’s FULL METAL JACKET while the beautifully acted love story provides a sharp contrast to the pervasive violence. Director and screenwriter Oliver Hermanus joins us for a conversation on how important it was to accurately capture to nexus of religion and the racist Apartheid regime and how the repressive culture it created made any relationship outside of it a treasonous act and how rewarding it was for him to be working with a gifted group of talented actors.

 

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For news and updates go to: ifcfilms.com/films/moffie

IFC Films will release MOFFIE on Friday, April 9, 2021 in select theaters and on digital and VOD platforms. 

About the filmmaker – Oliver HERMANUS (1983, South Africa) started his career as a press photographer. He studied at the University of Cape Town and received a scholarship for the University of California. In 2006 he was offered a private scholarship by film director Roland Emmerich to complete his MA at the London Film School. His earlier films Shirley Adams (2009) and Beauty (2011) were both screened in Rotterdam. In 2015, The Endless River became the first South African film to be nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. His newest feature, Moffie (2019), premiered in the Horizons section of Venice Film Festival and won the Mermaid Award for best LGBTQI-themed film at the 60th edition of Thessaloniki International Film Festival.

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“A masterpiece…establishing [Hermanus] quite plainly as South Africa’s most vital contemporary filmmaker” – Variety, Guy Lodge

“Hermanus digs deep into the South African psyche and teases out the contradictions within white society itself, especially the fracture between South Africans of English origin and Afrikaners.” – Kevin Maher, Times (UK)

“An extraordinary young ensemble cast…Kai Luke Brummer makes a magnetic centre” – Screen International, Jonathan Romney

“Moffie is another powerful addition to the Hermanus canon, and I can’t wait to see what this film maker will do next.” – Grethe Kemp, City Press (South Africa)

“Moments of aching tenderness and desire” – The Hollywood Reporter