Pasang: In the Shadow of Everest – Director Nancy Svendsen

PASANG: IN THE SHADOW OF EVEREST, brings to life the untold and inspiring story of Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, the first Nepali woman to summit Mt. Everest who, in her quest, awakened her country to the entrenched inequalities confronted and endured by women and in Nepal. As an uneducated, indigenous woman and a Buddhist in a Hindu kingdom, Pasang’s dream to scale the legendary mountain pit her against family, foreign climbers, her own government, and nature itself. PASANG: IN THE SHADOW OF EVEREST follows Pasang as she works tirelessly to pull together the financial and structural support to try for Everest, and the ensuing obstacles and disappointments she had to face and overcome along the way. Her determined pursuit of Everest plays out within the context of her nation’s struggle for democracy and the emergence of a booming commercial climbing industry in the Himalaya. As told by the Nepalis who knew her, by some of the world’s most notable alpinists, and by Pasang herself, PASANG: IN THE SHADOW OF EVEREST reveals the intransigence of the forces who opposed her, and the great burdens and personal costs she endured to gain her rightful chance to try for Everest. Director Nancy Svendsen joins us to talk about the cultural and religious fault lines under the surface of the worlds in which Pasang had been laboring while simultaneously illuminating the high points of her legacy– the scores of triumphant Nepali women mountain climbers who have carried her torch and since reached Everest’s peak.

 

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For news and updates go to: pasangmovie.com

PASANG: In the Shadow of Everest will make its world premiere at this year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival as one of the feature documentaries Thursday, March 3 – 5:40 PM – Metro #3 Friday, March 4 – 1:20 PM – Fiesta #4 Saturday, March 5 – 11:40 AM – Metro #3

About the filmmaker – Nancy Anne Svendsen grew up in small towns in Iowa. Since childhood, she has been passionate about bringing people together to tell stories. After finishing college and business school, Nancy spent more than the next two decades focusing her energies in leadership positions in various facets of the healthcare industry. Returning to her storytelling roots, Nancy became an independent filmmaker based in Northern California, beginning with a short documentary entitled Svend (2013) about an effort to preserve a historic wooden boat class in the San Francisco Bay. Combining her love of storytelling with her experience running large organizations and her passion for women’s rights, Nancy founded the Follow Your Dream Foundation Inc., a 501(c)3 organization, as a place to incubate and launch powerful stories that can influence people’s lives.  Exposure to the story of Pasang Lhamu Sherpa by Pasang’s brother, who is Nancy’s brother-in-law, would spark a deep desire to tell Pasang’s story, a quest that would culminate some ten years later with the release in 2022 of her documentary feature film, Pasang: In the Shadow of Everest. An active musician, Nancy Svendsen lives in Marin County, California with her husband and their two children. Pasang: In the Shadow of Everest is her feature film directorial debut. Find out more about Follow Your Dreams 

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Sextortion: The Hidden Pandemic – Director Maria Demeshkina Peek and Stephen Peek

An insider look into one of the largest international child sextortion cases investigated by Homeland Security and the Department of Justice on American soil, Sextortion: The Hidden Pandemic begins with an investigation of the sexual extortion–or “sextortion”–of a Virginia teen and a fourteen-year-old girl from Japan. As investigators pursue the case, surprising new details emerge–including the fact that the same suspect is behind both crimes. And further forensic research reveals hundreds of similar  victims across the United States. With unique, unrestricted access to government  files, victim families, and investigators, Sextortion: The Hidden Pandemic uncovers the hidden world of online enticement and exploitation of children. Tapping into the findings of child exploitation experts, the film spotlights the common tactics of online predators, the signs that a child is being groomed online, and a documented rise in global sextortion cases. Through interviews with families and investigators working these crimes, the filmmaking team had unique unrestricted access to all government documents for an international sextortion case unsealed for this film for the very first time. Director / Producer Maria Demeshkina Peek, and Producer Stephen Peek join us for a conversation on the explosion of this activity in the Inited States and around the world, as well as their hope is that this film will alert people to this disturbing crime.

 

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For updates, screenings and resources go to: sextortionfilm.com

Sextortion: The Hidden Pandemic will make its world premiere at this year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival as one of the Social Justice section feature documentaries on March 3rd with a second screening on March 6th.  

About the filmmaker – Maria Demeshkina Peek, a Siberian-born filmmaker, started her film career by acquiring a Master’s of Arts in Producing/Directing from Regent University in 2002, and directing numerous TV spots and doc series through her production company, Auroris Media, which she co-founded in 2003. Maria’s first short documentary, “Searching Generation”, won Worldfest Houston in 2009. After pivoting away from TV spots and limited series, Maria directed her first feature documentary, “I Dream of Dance”-, in 2017, which was well received by critics and the dance community alike. “I Dream of Dance”- was acquired as premium content for Netflix in 2018. Maria is a member of the Producer’s Guild of America, a film festival judge, and a public speaker. In addition to M.A. in Producing/Directing, she holds a M.T.S. degree from Samford University, and a B.S. degree in Applied Mathematics from Novosibirsk State University. She resides on the East Coast with her husband Stephen and their two children. 

About the filmmaker – Stephen Peek had his first professional photo shoot at 15 years old, and has been creating images ever since! He began his journey in film after graduating with a Masters Degree in Film/TV in 2003 from Regent University. He co-founded Auroris Media in 2003 with his partner in crime Maria. Stephen has produced docu-series and feature documentaries that have aired on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Discovery+ among others. His first feature length documentary “Unacknowledged” became the top selling documentary of 2017, and was acquired by Netflix. Stephen is VP, Production for the award-winning production company Auroris Media, and oversees all aspects of global production. Stephen is an active member of the Producers Guild of America. 

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TED K – Director Tony Stone

TED K immerses us into the addled world of Ted Kaczynski, living a life of almost complete seclusion in a simple wooden cabin in the mountains of Montana. But then this former university professor, who despises modern society and its faith in technology, becomes radicalized. What begins with local acts of sabotage, ends with deadly bomb attacks. To the outside world, Kaczynski becomes known as the Unabomber. Based on Ted Kaczynski’s diaries and writings, and his infamous “manifesto” director Tony Stone takes the viewer on an intimate and infuriating kaleidoscopic true crime journey into the life of one of America’s most complex and eccentric killers. TED K features a tour-de-force performance from Sharlto Copley who portrays the complexity of this unique outsider, raging at the forces of both the inescapable technological society that plagues him and his own inner demons. Director, writer, producer and editor Tony Stone (Severed Ways, Peter and the Farm) joins us for a conversation on what attracted him to telling this story from the Unabomber’s point-of-view, filming on the property where Kaczynski’s infamous cabin once stood and the importance of Sharlto Copley brilliantly blending together Kaczynski’s self deluding righteousness with the arbitrary ruthlessness he directed at his hapless victims. 

 

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For news and updates go to: superltd.com/films/ted-k

To watch in a theatre go: superltd.com/films/ted-k#drive-ins

For more about Tony Stone go to: heathenfilms.com

About the filmmaker – Tony Stone is director, producer, writer, editor and cinematographer.  His notable work includes writing and directing the films Severed Ways (2007) and Out of Our Minds (2009), directing the documentary Peter and the Farm (2016) and cinematography for R.E.M.’s music video “It Happened Today“.

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84% on Rotten Tomatoes

“It is a riveting, dreamlike evocation of this man’s tortured, unhappy life, whose transient successes bring him no pleasure of any kind.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

“Magnificently Eerie” – Beatrice Loayza, New York Times

“Mesmerizing.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

“A biopic that effectively honors its subject with its opaque severity.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“Whats surprising about this account isn’t his methods, his cunning and his amoral, horrifically random selection of targets. It’s how relatable Copley makes this monster.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

“A stunning performance by Sharlto Copley… finds emotional mercury in Kaczynski’s boiling cauldron of rage.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

“They made a movie about the Unabomber and it’s a work of art.” – Anne Brodie, What She Said

Help – Director Marc Munden

HELP is the riveting story of a struggling young woman, Sarah, played by Jodie Comer (Killing Eve),  who is smart, but has never fit in, not in education and not in work. Her family told her she’d never amount to anything but she unexpectedly finds her calling as a carer at Bright Sky Homes. Sarah has a special talent for connecting with the residents, including one in particular, 47-year-old Tony, played by Stephen Graham (Boiling Point). Tony’s Young Onset Alzheimer’s has left him living out his days in care as his mind slowly deteriorates. His illness causes periods of confusion and violent outbursts, which the other  members of staff can’t handle, but with Sarah he begins to build a real bond. Sarah’s success at managing Tony and the other patients helps build her confidence and restore her self-belief. Then March 2020 hits and everything Sarah has achieved is thrown into doubt with the arrival of the Coronavirus pandemic. She and her colleagues tirelessly fight tooth and nail, ill-equipped, poorly prepared, and seemingly left helpless by the powers that be. A determined Sarah goes to extraordinary lengths to protect those in her care, whose conditions make their suffering and isolation all the more traumatic. But the staff’s unwavering commitment, compassion and heroic efforts can only do so much, and Sarah is pushed into a dark corner and desperately looks for a way out. Director Marc Munden stops by to talk about working with the HELP writer Jack Thorne on this and other projects, enlisting a superb cast of gifted actors, led by Jodie Comer, Stephen Graham, Ian Hart and Cathy Tyson, to tell a timely and timeless story of compassion and finding the courage to face down the deadly chaos of an unfathomable pandemic and institutional neglect. 

 

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For news and updates go to: mubi.com/films/help-2021-marc-munden

To watch HELP go to: acorn.tv

About the filmmaker – Marc Munden has directed several television series, particularly for the BBC. Most recently he wrote and directed the BBC production Shiny Shiny Bright New Hole in My Heart (2006). He also directed the BAFTA nominated Conviction (2004), and the award-winning Vanity Fair (1998). Munden made his feature film debut in 2002 with Miranda,  starring Christina Ricci. National Treasure (2016) is a four part serial drama that Munden directed, which was commissioned by the English Channel 4. Filmography includes: Christmas (1996, TV), Touching Evil (1997, TV, co-dir), Vanity Fair (1998, TV), The Secret World of Michael Fry (2000, TV), Miranda (2002), The Knight’s Tale (2003, TV), Conviction (2004, TV, co-dir), Shiny Shiny Bright New Hole in My Heart (2006, TV), The Mark of Cain (2007)

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Forget the grand gestures; Help’s at its best when it trusts its cast with the little unremembered acts of kindness and love that endured despite it all. With this subject matter, Graham and Comer are all the assistance you need.” – Ed Cumming, Independent (UK)

“It is rare that a TV drama manages to be agonising and compelling; unbearable yet utterly immersive. Help was such a drama.” – Carol Midgley, Times (UK)

“Comer and Graham remain faultless to the end, and the first hour is a fine addition to the wealth of pandemic testimonies that can and must be entered into the record in any way they can be.” – Lucy Mangan, Guardian

“The centrepiece was a virtuoso piece of directing from Marc Munden that followed Sarah over one hellish night shift. It is shot in the style of a horror film, as one continuous take. – Anita Singh, Daily Telegraph (UK)

Hellbender – Co-directors Toby Poser, John Adams, and Zelda Adams

In HELLBENDER, 16-year-old Izzy (Zelda Adams) suffers from a rare illness that has kept her isolated on a mountaintop with her mother (Toby Poser) her whole life. As Izzy begins to question her sickness, she pushes back against her confinement and secretly befriends Amber (Lulu Adams), another girl living on the mountain, but  her newfound happiness is derailed after she eats a live worm as part of a juvenile game and finds an insatiable and violent hunger awakened within her. To understand the hunger, Izzy must learn the dark secrets of her family’s past and the ancient power in her bloodline. HELLBENDER is the latest from upstate N.Y. filmmaker family The Adams, Hellbender is written, directed, produced, scored, and edited by Toby Poser, John Adams, and Zelda Adams who also star, alongside Lulu Adams. It’s the sixth feature from Wonder Wheel Productions, the family-run production company founded by Poser and Adams and their children, and the family also produced the music for the feature with tracks from their experimental punk band H6LLB6ND6R. Co-directors Toby Poser, John Adams, and Zelda Adams (The Deeper You Dig, Knuckle Jack) join us for a spirited conversation on sharing the on-set responsibilities of being in front of and behind the camera, making movies in the own backyard, and the importance of creating three dimensional characters that resonate with their audience beyond shock and fear.

 

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For updates and screenings go to: yellowveilpictures.com/hellbender

Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium streaming service for horror, thrillers and the supernatural, will exclusively premiere the critically acclaimed released Shudder Original Hellbender on Thursday, February  24.

About the filmmaker – When not making films, John Adams is an accomplished artist (see getdownmakeart.com) and musician. Aside from composing music for film, John is also known for writing and performing with bands Banana Fish ZeroStatues of Liberty, and Kid Kalifornia. Hailing from New York state, John enjoyed an illustrious modeling career in the ’90s, representing the likes of Armani and Calvin Klein and traveling all over the globe. In 2008 the Fuse Channel cast John as Rock and Roll Acid Test’s stuntman / maniac-with-a-hammer. He’s also a house and barn builder and a soccer and track coach.

About the filmmaker – After graduating from Tulane University with a BFA in Acting, Toby Poser moved to New York and began acting in stage productions Off-Broadway (like Mike Leigh’s ECSTASY with the New Group) and regionally. For three years she filled the role of GUIDING LIGHT‘s wicked “Malibu Madam” Amanda Spaulding, all the while acting in other TV classics like all of the various LAW & ORDERs and in independent films like Sundance darlings  THE INCREDIBLY TRUE ADVENTURE OF 2 GIRLS IN LOVE and STEAL ME. As a voice over artist, she’s been heard on numerous national campaigns, including the Progressive Auto Insurance commercials with Flo.

About the Filmmaker – Zelda Adams was born in New York City and moved to Topanga Canyon, CA when she was 5. While Z has won acting awards on the indie film festival circuit, she has also been operating the camera since she was 9 and is now writing, directing, shooting, and editing her own short films and music videos. Her first short, NOBLE, premiered at the Walla Walla Movie Crush and played at NY Young Film Makers. Zelda plays soccer and travels year-round with Nirvana360 FC. She also plays drums and sings with bands Kid Kalifornia and Hellbender.

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“Although made on a tiny budget, this highly original exercise in folk horror punches well above its weight with snappy dialogue, trippy visual effects and impressive camerawork.” – Leslie Felperin, Guardian

“If there’s a lesson to be taken from Hellbender, it’s this: Underestimate the small and unassuming at your own peril—whether that be the character of Izzy, the film’s real-life creators, or the movie itself.” – Katie Rife, AV Club

“One of the best Horror movies of the year.” – Syfy Wire

“Some keen editing by John Adams and special effects by Trey Lindsay elevate this into formidable genre fare, with psychedelic sequences that are remarkably polished.” – Lena Wilson, New York Times

Fannie Lou Hamer’s America – Director Joy Davenport

FANNIE LOU HAMER’S AMERICA is an illuminating and exhilarating look at one of our most compelling civil rights leaders.  Through rare footage and recordings, some not seen or heard in half a century. FANNIE LOU HAMER’S AMERICAr tells her story — and that of America — more than four decades after her death. The directorial debut of Joy Davenport and the brainchild of Monica Land, FANNIE LOU HAMER’S AMERICA offers photos, documents, performances and sources, some unearthed by family members, to a new generation of audiences called upon to take up the mantle of preserving American democracy. Fifteen years in the making, FANNIE LOU HAMER’S AMERICA presents the daughter of Mississippi sharecroppers’ passion and commitment to voting rights and economic justice and her rise to national prominence. The film captures Hamer’s resistance as she works to register Black voters, runs for Congress, fights for economic opportunity in her  home state and more — all while government leaders, the media and even her civil rights peers tried to silence her. FANNIE LOU HAMER’S AMERICA was produced by Hamer’s great-niece Monica Land and Selena Lauterer. Director Joy Davenport joins us for a conversation on this captivating portrait of one of the civil rights era’s preeminent icons through her own speeches, interviews and songs follows Hamer’s life from the cotton fields of Mississippi to the halls of Congress.

 

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Find out more at: fannielouhamersamerica.com

Watch Fannie Lou Hamer’s Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party Speech | 1964 DNC Convention

Fannie Lou Hamer’s America: An America ReFramed Special broadcasts on PBS on Tuesday, February 22, from 9 to 10:30 p.m. ET and on WORLD Channel on Thursday, February 24, at 8 p.m. ET during Black History Month. 

About the filmmaker – Joy Davenport is a director, videographer and video editor from Tallahassee, Florida. Since 2010 she has produced an eclectic mix of feature-length and short documentaries on topics as varied as the Civil Rights struggle in Mississippi, migratory shorebirds of Florida, the Cold War anxieties of Gilligan’s Island, and many more; her historical film “M.F.D.P.” was an official selection at the Bridge Crossing Jubilee Festival in Selma, Alabama; and she has produced environmental and historical documentaries for PBS and National Geographic. She is currently based out of Chicago, Illinois.

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Strawberry Mansion – Co-directors Kentucker Audley and Albert Birney

STRAWBERRY MANSION takes us to 2035, where our dreams are no longer our own–they’re infused with product placement and auditors assess unpaid taxes on our most private reveries. Beleaguered taxman James Preble (Kentucker Audley) arrives at a run-down house in the countryside for a routine audit and encounters Bella Isadora (Penny Fuller), a lifelong dreamer who remains resolutely analog, circumventing the surveillance state with VHS tapes and homemade  headgear. As Preble works his way through Bella’s archive of the unconscious, he begins to fall in love with visions of her younger self (Grace Glowicki). But all is not well in dreamland as dangerous family secrets and a rogue’s gallery of blue demons and fried chicken pitchmen threaten to set the lovers’ paradise ablaze. Can Preble and Bella  escape from the modern, monetized dreamscape and find refuge in Strawberry Mansion? Co-directors and co-screenwriters Kentucker Audley and Albert Birney join us to talk about their fantastical and fantastically inventive and heartfelt film that is Pee-Wee’s Playhouse by way of Charlie Kaufman, and a splash of Harold and Maude whimsy.

 

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Updates and screenings go to: strawberrymansionmovie.com

See it in a theatre: strawberrymansionmovie.com/tickets

Distributed by musicboxfilms.com/strawberry-mansion

About the filmmaker – Kentucker Audley is a filmmaker and actor who received rave reviews from the New Yorker, Hollywood Reporter, and Indiewire for his lead performance in Amy Seimetz’s directorial debut Sun Don’t Shine. He has a supporting role in David Lowery’s Ain’t Them Bodies Saints opposite Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara, which premiered at the Sundance film festival. He starred in the Sundance hit V/H/S and Dustin Guy Defa’s Bad Fever which premiered at SXSW. Audley wrote and directed the features Open Five and Open Five 2. LA Weekly says he’s “maybe the most fascinating actor in current American penny-budgeted cinema.” Also, he runs NoBudge, a blog that showcases true independent films. It’s been called “innovative” (Filmmaker Magazine) and “indispensable” (GreenCine).

About the filmmaker – Albert Birney is a Baltimore based filmmaker. He has directed four feature films, The Beast Pageant (co-directed with Jon Moses), Sylvio and Strawberry Mansion (both co-directed with Kentucker Audley) and Tux and FannySylvio was named one of the ten-best films of 2017 by The New Yorker. His films have premiered at Sundance, SXSW, the Maryland Film Festival, Slamdance and the Ottawa International Animation Festival. He recently finished making a Tux and Fanny video game with Gabriel Koenig. He is currently animating part two of Tux and Fanny.

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87% on Rotten Tomatoes

“A film to admire not just for its psychedelic aesthetic delirium, but also for its pure moxie, its gleeful embrace of the very idea of filmmaking itself.” – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Film International

“Relies on a wide array of movie techniques and deploys them in conspicuously hands-on ways to create a wild science-fiction world that satirizes grim trends of modern life while tapping into a haunted realm of frustrations and desires.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker

“Strawberry Mansion serves up unforgettable visuals with incisive social commentary in a manner that may prove polarizing, but remains thrillingly original.” – Alex McPherson, Cultured Vultures

““Strawberry Mansion” is one of the most unique American independent films to open its doors in recent memory. Only time will tell if it can attain the cult status that its charming idiosyncrasy most definitely merits.” – Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times

“The filmmakers do a lot with little and don’t try to hide it, providing a welcome contrast to the idea that effects-driven storytelling exclusively belongs within the costly realm of Hollywood spectacles.” – Eric Kohn, indieWire

A Banquet – Director Ruth Paxton

A BANQUET Widowed mother Holly (Sienna Guillory) is radically tested when her teenage daughter Betsey (Jessica Alexander) experiences a profound enlightenment and insists that her body is no longer her own, but in service to a higher power. But despite her refusal to eat, Betsey loses no weight and gains a growing faith in her newfound and enigmatic sense of purpose. At first, her condition is suspected to be an act of adolescent  rebellion or a psychological break. As her daughter’s personality is further subsumed by this affliction, Holly finds herself confronting the boundaries of her own beliefs and the repressed traumas of her past. In an agonizing dilemma, torn between love and fear, Holly is forced to confront the boundaries of her own beliefs. Combined with stylish photography pervaded by grotesque culinary close-ups and subtle forays into nightmarish surrealism, A BANQUET is a disquieting feast with images and ideas that leave a potent and lingering aftertaste. Director Ruth Paxton (Be Still My Beating Heart, Stay Awake, Pulse) stops by to talk about A BANQUET’s literary and cinematic inspiration, the exceptional cast of actors who help make the film resonate and the satisfaction that comes with completing her debut feature film.

 

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For updates and screenings go to: abanquetmovie.com

In theatres February 18, go to: abanquetmovie.com/tickets

About the filmmaker – Ruth Paxton is a Scottish filmmaker who graduated in 2007 with an MA in Film and TV from Screen Academy Scotland having gained her honours degree at Edinburgh College of Art. Her award-winning shorts have been exhibited and nominated in competition at numerous international events and prominent film festivals. Winner of Best Woman Director at the 12th London Short Film Festival for her film PULSE, and nominated one of Canongate Books 40 Scottish Storytellers of The Future; artists anticipated to dominate the next 40 years of creative life in Scotland. In 2019 Screen Daily featured her as one of ‘Six emerging Scotland based Directors you need to know.’ A BANQUET is Ruth’s debut feature, a psychological horror produced by Tea Shop Productions and Riverstone Pictures. The film is represented by HanWay Films, and was recently acquired by IFC Films for North America. It was selected for the Great 8 showcase at Cannes Marche presented by BFI, BBC Films and the British Council, and will have its World Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival 2021, in the Discovery section. More films at: vimeo.com/ruthpaxton

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“Paxton’s chilling debut is a psychological horror of a new stripe, exploring areas of mental illness, religious hysteria, and the intense, inequitable relationships between mother and daughter.” – Thom Ernst, Original Cin

“As a world-building exercise A Banquet is fearless in how it weaves themes of grief, identity, care and faith together into an elaborate portrait of three women bound together by crisis” – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas,

“Bold storytelling, bleak visuals, and beautifully considered performances make A Banquet a mouthwatering bite of psychological cinema.” – Kat Hughes, THN

“A provocative, rigorously composed film that confirms Paxton as a singular talent after a string of award-winning shorts.” – Allan Hunter, Screen International

“It’s a surprising, unnerving exploration into the psychological power of food, the intensity of maternal love, and the mystery of life and death – three things you don’t expect from one film.” Cassondra Feltus, Black Girl Nerds

ICAHN: The Restless Billionaire – Director Bruce David Klein

ICAHN: THE RESTLESS BILLIONAIRE, explores the fascinating contradictions at the heart of the famed financier, Carl Icahn. Amassing close to $20 billion dollars over the last half century and at the forefront of some of the most legendary business deals of our times, Icahn, often referred to as the “Lone Wolf of Wall Street,” is a feared negotiator and master strategist in the art of corporate takeovers and investments. A polarizing figure described as both an activist investor and a ruthless corporate raider, Icahn rose from modest beginnings in Queens to become one of the richest men in the world, embodying the American Dream, whose impact on companies, products, CEOs, stock markets, and capitalism itself is vast. Yet, he openly criticizes corporate excess and the huge wealth inequality gap. In his own words and with commentary from family members, journalists, and fellow titans of industry, ICAHN: THE RESTLESS BILLIONAIRE probes Icahn’s humble roots, his business acumen, and his obsessive drive to stay atop America’s corporate hierarchy. Director Bruce David Klein (The Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened) joins us for a conversation on how one of America’s highest profile capitalist was shaped by the complex relationship he had with his parents, anti-semitism, and how his poker playing skills helped inform the way he approached the high stakes world of corporate mergers, acquisitions, takeovers, and buyouts on his way to becoming an icon of American business. 

 

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For updates and screenings go to: hbo.com/icahn-the-restless-billionaire

ICAHN: THE RESTLESS BILLIONAIRE debuts TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 15 (9:00-10:45 p.m. ET/PT) on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.

About the filmmaker – As the President & Executive Producer of Atlas Media Corp, Bruce David Klein has been a recognized pioneer, industry leader, and creative force behind hundreds of hours of high-profile, award-winning unscripted series, specials and theatrical documentaries. He has created, written, directed, produced and/or executive-produced series and specials such as Hotel Impossible (Travel),  Dr. G: Medical Examiner (Discovery Health / TLC), Playing With Fire (E!), Epic Win (MTV), Stalked: Someone’s Watching (ID),  The Mind Of A Murderer (ID),  Behind The Bash with Giada De Laurentiis (Food), Breaking Vegas (History), Brainwashed (Discovery Channel), and It Can Happen Tomorrow  (Weather). He wrote & directed the TV movie Who Killed Chandra Levy? (TLC) and the theatrical documentary, Meat Loaf: In Search Of Paradise. Most recently, he produced the acclaimed theatrical documentary Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened with Stephen Sondheim, Hal Prince, Jason Alexander (named “Top 10 Films of 2016” by NY Times, Newsweek, etc) which premiered to raves at the New York Film Festival before its national theatrical run and Netflix premiere. Klein has moderated and appeared on numerous panels for organizations such as NATPE, Realscreen, the Producers Guild, and NYU Film School and his work has been featured and reviewed in publications such as theNew York Times, Variety, Crain’s NY Business, and Entertainment Weekly. Klein is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and serves on the Executive Committees of the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) and the Nonfiction Producers Association (NPACT). To find out more go to: atlasmedia.tv/home

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“The octogenarian Icahn anchors this deft pocket biography, with his appealing directness and dead-level stare, as he presides at the office and around the house.” – Nicolas Rapold, New York Times

The Long Walk – Director Mattie Do

THE LONG WALK follows an old scavenger living on the fringes of a near-future society exploits a ghostly companion’s ability to traverse time, hoping to prevent his mother’s suffering from a terminal illness. A deliberately paced story that burns with intensity and human emotion, THE LONG WALK is all at once a culturally rich ghost story, a grim near-future sci-fi, and mystery with life and death stakes that spans across decades. THE LONG WALK world premiered to great acclaim at the Venice Film Festival in the Giornate degli Autori section and was followed by praise out of the Toronto International Film Festival. It’s the third feature of Lao based director Mattie Do, whose career has been recognized by the Oldenburg International Film Festival and Locarno International Film Festival for her breakthrough work as Lao’s first and only woman filmmaker, and the only filmmaker of the country to work in the horror and fantastic genres. Director and Producer Mattie Do (Chanthaly, Dearest Sister) joins us for a conversation on the collaboration with screenwriter Christopher Larsen, finding a storytelling balance between sci-fi and drama in the context of Laos’ complex relationship with the outside world and its own unsettled social and political history.

 

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For news and updates go to: thelongwalkfilm.com

In theaters starting February 18

Digital & Home Video starting March 1

About the filmmaker – Mattie Do is Laos’ first, and only, female filmmaker. Born in California to recent refugees of Laos’ Communist Revolution, Mattie was raised in Los Angeles, but returned to Laos a decade ago after her father retired in Vientiane. In 2012, Mattie directed her first feature film, Chanthaly. The film was the ninth feature film produced in the country of Laos since the 1975 revolution, the first feature film to feature a female protagonist, and the first Lao feature film to be directed by a woman. Chanthaly also challenged Laos’ strict censorship which at the time mandated that Lao women only be depicted in traditional dress speaking formal Lao, and restricted any depiction of supernatural or superstitious beliefs. The film premiered at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas becoming the first Lao film to screen outside of SE Asia. Chanthaly‘s success at festivals led to Mattie’s selection for the Cannes’ Fabrique des Cinemas du Monde, TIFF’s Directors Talent Lab, Berlinale Talents, and BIFAN’s Fantastic Film School. Afterward, Mattie worked with the Ministry of Culture to create the infrastructure necessary to introduce foreign co-production to Laos, including a framework for managing the country’s rigid censorship. In 2015, Mattie produced Laos’ first American and Japanese co-productions, which later respectively premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and Locarno Film Festival. Mattie Do’s second feature, Dearest Sister, premiered at Fantastic Fest before screening at BFI’s London Film Festival, Singapore International Film Festival and nearly two dozen other film festivals. The film received Special Jury Mentions at the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival, Lund’s Fantastisk Filmfestival, and Fantasporto Film Festival. The film was later selected as Laos first official submission to the 90th Academy Awards. 

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89% on Rotten Tomatoes 

“It is in The Long Walk that Mattie Do reveals the depths of her talent, the extent of her humanity and the potential to even further consolidate her status as one of the most important Asian filmmakers working today.” – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, AWFJ Women on Film

“The Long Walk is a tough, demanding film, and reveals its rewards slowly.” – Shubhra Gupta, The Indian Express

“The Long Walk is one of those supernatural stories that, as bewildering as they can be, are also a real treat as well, the type that will stay with you.” – David Fontana, Film Inquiry

“The Long Walk is many things, but what sticks with me is Mattie Do’s passionate dedication to emotional, raw-to-the-bone filmmaking.” – Matt Donato, Slashfilm

Brighton 4th – Director Levan Koguashvili

BRIGHTON 4th is a beguiling portrait of parental sacrifice and the love of a father for his son, former wrestler Kakhi (played by real-life Olympic champion Levan Tediashvili) embarks on a journey from his home in the Republic of Georgia to visit his son Soso (Giorgi Tabidze) in the Russian-speaking neighborhood of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. There he finds him living in a shabby boarding house populated by a colorful group of fellow Georgian immigrants. Soso is not studying medicine, as Kakhi believed, but is working for a moving company and has accrued a $14,000 gambling debt to a local Russian mob boss. Kakhi sets his mind to helping his hapless son out of his debt, leading to situations as often comic as they are dire. Lensed by Oscar®-nominated cinematographer Phedon Papamichael (The Trial of the Chicago 7, Nebraska), Levan Koguashvili’s BRIGHTON 4TH won three major awards at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival – Best International Film, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay – and is Georgia’s official submission to the 94th Academy Awards®. Director Levan Koguashvili joins us for a conversation on the challenges and the great rewards of working with non-professional actors, exploring the ex-pat community of Brighton Beach and working with the first time actor and wrestling legend Levan Tedaishvili and Russian screen legend Kakhi Kavsadze. 

 

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Playing in Los Angeles at: laemmle.com/brighton-4th

For updates and screenings go to: kinomarquee.com/Brighton 4th

Georgia’s Official Submission for International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards®

WINNER at Tribeca Film Festival 2021:  Best International Feature; Best Screenplay & Best Actor

About the filmmaker – Levan Koguashvili is a Georgian film director and screenwriter. He studied Film at the State University in Tbilisi, but a war broke out in Georgia and he worked as a journalist for the first Georgian TV. In 1999, he graduated from the VGIK (Moscow) and in 2007 – from the Tisch School of the Art’s Graduate Film Programme. Street Days (2010) was premiered in Competition of the Rotterdam IFF and was regarded as the beginning of a new wave of the Georgian cinema. Blind Dates (2013) premiered at Toronto and Berlin IFF and won 20 awards.

86% Rotten Tomatoes

“A gentle, naturalistic story of parental devotion and sacrifice… balances rueful humor with genuine sweetness.” – Alissa Simon, Variety

“Touchingly absurd and absurdly touching… A slow-burn family drama infused with welcome doses of deadpan dark humor.” – Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter

“If you want a potential foreign language contender, Brighton 4th could be it.” – Joey Magidson, Awards Radar  

“A near-perfect, semi-comic portrait of the low-rent Georgian enclave in Brighton Beach.” – Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice

“A touching and surprising exploration of masculinity that features a stunning central performance from former Olympic wrestling champion Levan Tediashvili.” – Kaleem Aftab, Cineuropa

“Koguashvili deftly blends tones in his vividly realized snapshots of Georgian manhood.” – Wendy Ide, Screen Daily

“A compelling portrait of the Eastern European community that exists in Brighton, [featuring] a great performance by Tediashvili, in his first film role.” – Christian Gallichio, The Playlist

Catch the Fair One – Director Josef Kubota Wladyka

CATCH THE FAIR ONE opens with Kaylee “K.O.” Uppashaw (Kali Reis), a mixed Indigenous boxer, preparing for a championship fight. Her hands are wrapped, gloves taped shut, and face greased. She pounds the mitts with her trainer, Brick (Shelly Vincent). The room echoes with the strength of each hit. She’s preparing for the boxing match of her life. The crowd roars in the distance as the sounds crescendo into a fever pitch, Kaylee wakes up in a women’s shelter from a wishful dream of a life she once had. This is her reality. CATCH THE FAIR ONE chronicles Kaylee embarks on the fight of her life when she goes undercover in a sex trafficking operation to seek answers and revenge against the men responsible for the disappearance of her sister. Her strength and determination are tested as Kaylee fights the real fight of her life—to find Weeta and make her family whole again. Director Josef Wladyka joins us to talk about his creative collaboration with boxing champion, co-writer, and lead actor Kali Reis, the stunningly beautiful work of cinematographer Ross Giardina and the lingering impact of colonial conquest and racism on the indigenous peoples of North America. 

 

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For updates and screenings go to: ifcfilms.com/films/catch-the-fair-one

Watch at home: catchthefairone.movie

About the filmmaker – Born to a Japan­ese moth­er and a Pol­ish father who was pas­sion­ate about pho­tog­ra­phy and films, he received an MFA from New York Uni­ver­si­ty. He was the 2010 recip­i­ent of the Spike Lee Fel­low­ship Award, which pro­vid­ed men­tor­ship and funds for his fea­ture debut Manos sucias. His film won Best New Nar­ra­tive Direc­tor at the 2014 Tribeca Film Fes­ti­val and was nom­i­nat­ed for two Inde­pen­dent Spir­it Awards. He also direct­ed episodes of the series Nar­cos, Fear the Walk­ing Dead, and The Ter­ror. Catch the Fair One is his sec­ond film.

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95% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The film was shot in upstate New York in winter, and train yards, concrete underpasses, and pine forests all factor in to the story, which barrels forward with an unstoppable, stomach-churning momentum.” – Katie Rife, AV Club

“A textured story of how festering loss leads to unblinking resolution for justice, wins in a knockout.” – Robert Daniels,

“Reis delivers an excellent performance and gets to showcase her considerable boxing skills often, and a truly great roster of actors supports her.” – Bobby LePire, Film Threat

“Anchored by a memorable performance by Kali Reis, Catch the Fair One is more than just a crime vendetta story. It’s also about inequalities in race and social class, told from a Native American perspective that’s rarely shown on screen.” – Carla Hay, Culture Mix

Lynching Postcards: Token of a Great Day – Director Christine Turner

2022 Oscar© Shortlisted Documentary Short

Director Christine Turner’s Lynching Postcards: Token of a Great Day tracks America’s sordid racist history from 1880 to 1968, when over 4,000 African Americans were lynched at the hands of white mobs. Staged as public celebrations akin to picnics or carnivals, these lynchings were commemorated through the printing and distribution of photos and postcards that would ultimately be subverted by Black activists to expose racist violence in the U.S. to the nation’s leaders and to the rest of the world. Lynching Postcards: Token of a Great Day is a documentary short film and is a production of Firelight Films in association with MTV Documentary Films. Director Christine Turner stops by to talk about how she came to know about these horrifying  artifacts, what they say about the people who took the photos, printed the postcards and the people who bought them and sent them to friends and family, as well as the film making Oscar© Shortlist for Best Documentary Short.

For news and updates go to: firelightfilms.tv/films/lynching-postcards

For more on the filmmaker go to: christineturner.com

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Shortlisted for Best Documentary Short Subject for the 94th Academy Awards

Nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Short Form Series or Special – Reality/Nonfiction

About the filmmaker – Christine Turner is a filmmaker whose work has been called “Exquisitely tender” and “Thoughtful and enlightening” by The Washington Post.  Most recently, her short film Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business, premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and was featured as a New York Times Op-Doc. Previously, Christine directed the critically acclaimed documentary Homegoings, about a renowned funeral director in Harlem.  Now streaming on the Criterion Channel, the film premiered at Documentary Fortnight at MoMA and aired nationally on the PBS series POV in 2013.  In addition, Christine’s fiction shorts have screened at festivals widely including Sundance and Tribeca. With over a decade of experience in television production, Christine also collaborates on non-fiction series and documentary specials for broadcast and streaming.  Her latest film Lynching Postcards: “Token of a Great Day,”a production of Firelight Films in association with MTV Docs, is now streaming on Paramount+.  For more go to: christineturner.com

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Coded: The Hidden Love of J. C. Leyendecker – Director Ryan WHite

2022 Oscar© Shortlisted for Best Documentary Short

CODED: THE HIDDEN LOVE OF J.C. LEYENDECKER tells the story of legendary illustrator J.C. Leyendecker, a gay man, whose early-20th century advertisements were coded with LGBTQ+  imagery that quietly acknowledged and spoke directly to a community that was forced to live in the closet. The Coded: The Hidden Love of J. C. Leyendecker explores Leyendecker’s legacy as a grandfather of modern advertising, connecting how today’s LGBTQ+ advertisements are built upon a foundation laid by his work. Despite being one of the most prominent artists of his time, and with more Saturday Evening Post covers than Norman Rockwell, Leyendecker’s story has been largely untold, further demonstrating how the struggle for LGBTQ+ visibility never ends. Director Ryan White (Assassins, The Case Against 8) joins us for a conversation on enlisting the voice-over talents of Neil Patrick Harris, his decision to ell the story of a gay man born in the 19th century, incredibly success at his craft, forced to hide who he was and how his sexuality eventually led to his fall into poverty and disgrace.

To find out more go to: tripod-media.com

Best Documentary Short at 2021 Tribeca Film Festival

About the filmmaker- Ryan White is the director of Coded, which won best documentary short at Tribeca and was shortlisted for the Academy Award. He is also the director of Assassins, which premiered at Sundance and tells the story of the brazen murder of Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of the North Korean leader, and the trial of his two female assassins. In 2020, he directed Visible: Out on Television, the first documentary series on Apple TV+. The five-part series explores the history of the LGBTQ movement through the lens of television. In addition, White is the director of Ask Dr. Ruth (Hulu), a documentary portrait that chronicles the incredible life of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a Holocaust survivor who became America’s most famous sex therapist. White also directed The Keepers, an Emmy-nominated seven-part Netflix documentary series that investigates the unsolved murder of a young nun in Baltimore and the horrific secrets and pain that linger nearly five decades after her death. White also directed The Case Against 8, a behind-the-scenes look at the five-year battle to overturn Proposition 8. The film won the Directing Award at Sundance, had its broadcast premiere on HBO, was nominated for two Emmys and was shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Documentary. White directed Serena (Epix), a year in the life of tennis legend Serena Williams, Good Ol’ Freda (Magnolia Pictures), which tells the story of the Beatles’ longtime secretary Freda Kelly, and Pelada (PBS, Cinetic), a journey around the world through the lens of pick-up soccer. White graduated from Duke University with a focus on Documentary Studies. For more go to: tripod-media.com

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Ronnie’s, Director Oliver Murray

RONNIE’S is a love letter to saxophonist Ronnie Scott and the indispensable night club  he and partner Peter King established in 1959. For more than 60 years music giants have walked through the door of a small basement club in London’s Soho. From the beginning of the burgeoning British modern jazz movement, he and King dreamt of opening a club modeled after the swinging jazz scene of New York’s 52nd Street. From its humble beginnings sixty years ago, Ronnie Scott’s would become the cornerstone of the UK jazz scene and one of the most famous jazz clubs in the world. Ronnie Scott was beloved by many, from the great and famous who frequented his club, to the many hard up musicians who were often helped by his warmth and generous spirit. However, Ronnie was as complex and colourful as the music played on his stage. In private Ronnie battled with depression and when his untimely death occurred in 1996 it left the jazz community bereft of a respected and favorite leader. Funny and moving, Ronnie’s features performances by some of greatest musicians of the 20th Century including…Oscar Peterson, Dizzie Gillespie, Roland Kirk, Cleo Lane and John Danforth, Buddy Rich, Sarah Vaughn, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Ella Fitzgerald, Mary Lou Williams, Van Morrison and Chet Baker, Nina Simone and Ben Webster.

 

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For news and updates go to: olliemurray.com/portfolio/ronnies

Or go to: orofenafilms.com/Ronnies

About the filmmaker – Oliver Murray was born in Oxford, United Kingdom in 1985. He is a writer and director. He studied Fine Art at The Glasgow School of Art and Film & Animation at The Pratt Institute in New York City. His feature film debut ‘The Quiet One’ was released in 2019. His second feature film ‘Ronnie’s’ is scheduled for release in 2020.

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Such a joyous, visually stunning film – It’s a beautiful piece of work.” – Phil Williams, Times Radio

“An exemplary doc. The founding myths are lively and fascinating. But it’s the study of Ronnie himself, with his depressions and doubts, that provides the depth and soul.” – Jason Solomons

“A subtle portrait of a complicated man, Murray has made an exemplary documentary worthy of its subject.”- Richard Williams, Uncut Magazine, 9/10

“An incredibly important film, It’s beautifully, sensitively and perfectly presented…” – Stephen Fry

“This journey back in time makes for an exhilarating and nostalgic ride.” – The Reviews Hub, 5/5

“It’s a ripping yarn, enlivened by fascinating footage.” – The Wire

“This documentary about the beloved London music venue brings us sterling performers, atmospheric footage, and a sad heart” – The Guardian, 4/5

Poly Styrene – I Am a Cliche – Celeste Bell and Paul Sng

Born Marianne Joan Elliott-Said in July of 1957, Poly Styrene was the first woman of color in the UK to front a successful rock band. She introduced the world to a new sound of rebellion, using her unconventional voice to sing about identity, consumerism, postmodernism, and everything she saw unfolding in late 1970s Britain, with a rare prescience. But the late punk maverick didn’t just leave behind an immense cultural footprint. She was survived by a daughter, Celeste Bell, who became the unwitting guardian of her mother’s legacy and her  mother’s demons. Misogyny, racism, and mental illness plagued Poly’s life, while their lasting trauma scarred Celeste’s childhood and the pair’s relationship. Featuring unseen archive material and rare diary entries narrated by Oscar-nominee Ruth Negga, this documentary follows Celeste as she examines her mother’s unopened artistic archive and traverses three continents to better understand Poly the icon and Poly the mother. Co-directors Celeste Bell (Poly’s daughter) and Paul Sng have fashioned a clear-eyed, and utterly moving documentary about the turbulent live of X-Ray Spex’s Anglo-Somali punk musician / front woman, who went on to be a key inspiration for the 1980’s riot grrrl and Afropunk movements and who’s personal story of determination continues to inspire.

 

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For news and updates go to: polystyrenefilm.net

About the filmmaker – Celeste Bell spent her earliest years living on a Hare Krishna commune in the Hertfordshire countryside with her mother, Poly Styrene. After completing her degree from Queen Mary University of London, Celeste settled in Madrid where she worked as a teacher and formed ska-punk band Debutant Disco. After finishing a Master’s degree in Barcelona, Celeste returned to London to work alongside Zoë Howe on Day Glo! The Poly Styrene Story, published by Omnibus Press in 2019. They then joined forces with Paul Sng to make Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché, a film to accompany the book. Celeste currently manages her mother’s artistic estate, co-curating an exhibition alongside Mattie Loyce at the 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning Centre in Brixton. She plans to tour the exhibition internationally after the pandemic and is currently working on her project, with the working title of Mr. Gorbachev and the Krishna Kids.

About the filmmaker – Paul Sng is a British-Chinese filmmaker whose work focuses on people who challenge the status quo. Sng’s films are driven by methodical research, creative storytelling and a collaborative approach that strives for inclusivity and diversity in people and subjects. His films have been broadcast on UK national television and screened internationally, and include Invisible Britain, Dispossession, and Social Housing, Social Cleansing. Underpinning all of Sng’s work is an eye for strong characters and compelling narratives, all the while working to establish and maintain trustful  relationships with people in front of and behind the camera.

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98% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Poly’s daughter has done her proud with an intimate, yet all-encompassing portrait of an extremely talented and complex woman. “Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché” is yet another in a string of fabulously engaging rock docs.” – Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

“Above all else this is a love-letter to the woman behind Poly Styrene as much as it is to the ground-breaking punk pioneer herself.” – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, AWFJ Women on Film

“As a double portrait of daughter and mother, it covers a range of emotions and concludes with a moving and poetic illustration of the women’s deep bond.” – Betsy Sherman, Arts Fuse

In a genre often saturated with sugar-coated stories and selective memories, Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché proves to be anything but.” – Rachel Reeves, Consequence

“personal with the historical to produce a documentary of profound impact and style.” – James Hanton, Outtake Mag

“The documentary that unfolds manages to be both frank and desperately delicate, rather like its subject, as it gives us an intimate look at Poly Styrene’s life.” – Emma Simmonds, The List

The Fabulous Filipino Brothers – Director Dante Basco

THE FABULOUS FILIPINO BROTHERS consists of four vignettes that follows the lives, for better and worse of four brothers, as their Filipino American family prepares for the ultimate Filipino event, a wedding. A blue-collar family, they share the same house save one, the Golden Child.  The Eldest Brother must secure his pride and position in the family by paying for the wedding, this leads him to revisiting his old life as a hustler to make ends meet. The Golden Child is  stuck in The Philippines the day before the wedding and meets a lover from the past. The Youngest and most single connects with a new love… who may be his cousin, while The Middle Brother breaks out of a deep depression following the loss of a child using a dating app for the first time. Director, producer and co-writer Dante Basco stops by to talk about the joy of working with his brothers and sister as well as extended family, filming their home town of Pittsburg California and telling a universal story of love family, finding your way and connecting with one another.

 

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For news, screenings and updates fo to: beacons.ai/fabfilipinobros

You can also visit: 1091 fabulous-filipino-brothers

About the filmmaker – THE FABULOUS FILIPINO BROTHERS is Dante Basco’s directorial debut. Dante Basco is a film, television and voice actor, best known for his role as Rufio, the young leader of the Lost Boys in Steven Spielberg’s HOOK, and for his many voice acting roles, most notably as Prince Zuko from Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender; Jake Long from Disney Channel’s American Dragon: Jake Long; and Spin Kick from Carmen Sandiego.

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86% on Rotten Tomatoes

“This silly, romantic, and gleefully raunchy movie tells a feel-good story and serves as an unabashed celebration of Filipino American culture.” – Victor Stiff, That Shelf

“So much of the vibe, the complicated dynamics of Filipino immigrant families in the United States, the crowded and complex relationships that form between multigenerational families all living under one or two roofs… it radiates through the film.” – Ed Travis, Cinapse

“A film that transcends it failings and becomes not just funny and warm enough to work, but a cultural touchstone” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

“The Fabulous Filipino Brothers highlights the enormous diversity among Asian Americans.” – Li Lai, Mediaversity Reviews

“Director-star Dante Basco’s family affair is an engagingly freeform portmanteau that runs the gamut from joltingly dark to sweetly romantic.” – Joe Leydon, Variety

The Unmaking of a College – Director Amy Goldstein

THE UNMAKING OF A COLLEGE delves into the 2019 crisis at Hampshire College when students led a 75-day sit-in – the longest in American college history – at the new president’s office to thwart her underhanded attempt to shut down one of the most experimenting colleges in the United States.  Hampshire College was founded 50 years ago based on the seminal book “The Making Of A College” to radically reimagine liberal arts education. Inspired by this philosophy of critical thinking, a collection of dedicated and charismatic students went on a rescue mission with a coalition of undergrads, faculty, staff, and alumni to find out who was leading the threat to their college, and why. The thrilleresque unfolding of this singular story goes beyond a single school, and foretells a looming crisis in higher education at a time when many colleges are failing. If Hampshire were to close, what would that mean for colleges and universities throughout the country? This is also a story of young people moved to action, how they were changed forever by their choices and how they are becoming our future leaders. THE UNMAKING OF A COLLEGE is constructed from a mix of video captured by the students and their social media threads, traditional observational footage, press conferences, news footage, and radio broadcasts. Hampshire alum, Amy Goldstein, weaves their powerful documentation with interviews with students, professors, whistleblowers, and alumni including filmmaker Ken Burns, into a suspenseful and raucous ode to democracy in action. Director Amy Goldstein (Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl) joins us for a spirited conversation on the importance a Hampshire-like education can have on the future of students attuned to their approach, following her storytelling instincts, and the potential of all of us to collectively impact the world toward a better future.

 

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For news and updates go to: unmaking-of-a-college

Zeitgeist Films in association with Kino Lorber is proud to present the US theatrical release of THE UNMAKING OF A COLLEGE, the documentary film directed by Amy Goldstein (Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl) and produced by Anouchka van Riel and Troy Takaki. The film will open at the IFC Center in New York on February 11, and at Laemmle Theaters in Los Angeles on February 18. Other cities will follow.

About the filmmaker – Amy Goldstein is a director, producer, and screenwriter of television series, feature films and music videos. She seeks out daring people fighting the battles for democracy, justice and self-expression, an approach to life that she developed while attending Hampshire College. Her latest documentary, KATE NASH: UNDERESTIMATE THE GIRL (IDFA, Doc NYC, Sheffield Doc Fest, Doc Edge) was made for Storyville BBC and was released theatrically by Alamo Drafthouse in the United States, Level Film in Canada, and qualified for an Academy Award in 2021. The film follows musician Kate Nash as she goes from brutally honest pop star to struggling artist to a woman now in control of her career. Other documentary films recently completed include SELF-MADE MEN (ITVS), an episodic docu-comedy about two publishers who created a transmen magazine and THE HOOPING LIFE (a Cinedigm release), an epic tale of a female-driven subculture. Prior to documentary filmmaking, Amy directed music videos (Rod Stewart’s DOWNTOWN TRAIN MTV #1) and scripted features (BECAUSE THE DAWN, a lesbian vampire musical, THE SILENCER, an action satire of exploitation films, award-winning EAST OF A, an edgy comedy starring Rashida Jones and David Alan Grier about an alternative family facing the challenges of raising a child with HIV). Her work has been presented at film festivals worldwide, including Toronto and Berlin. She also developed pilots for HBO, CBS, Fox, Showtime, and MTV. Amy served on the board of Outfest and is a member of the WGA and DGA. She graduated from Hampshire College and NYU Graduate Film School.

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“An engaging and inspirational documentary” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru

“The Unmaking of a College focuses on Hampshire College, a small liberal arts college in Massachusetts. Hampshires story is the story of American higher education at hyper-speed.” – Ray Lobo, Battle Royale With Cheese

Compartment No. 6 – Director Juho Kuosmanen

2022 Oscar© Shortlisted for Best International Feature

In the slow-burn character study by award winning director Juho Kuosmanen, COMPARTMENT No. 6 follows the trek of a young Finnish woman as she escapes an enigmatic love affair in Moscow by boarding a train to the arctic port of Murmansk in search of ancient petroglyphs. Forced to share the long ride and a tiny sleeping car with a Russian miner, the unexpected encounter leads the occupants of Compartment No. 6 to face the truth about their own yearning for human connection.  COMPARTMENT No. 6 was co-written and directed by Juho Kuosmanen, and features brilliant performances by Seidi Haarla and Yuri Borisov.  COMPARTMENT No. 6 is based on Rosa Liksom‘s 2011 novel of the same name.  The film was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival as well as the Finnish entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards. The film was recently shortlisted for Best International Feature Film. Director / co-writer Juho Kuosmanen joins us for a conversation on his inspiration for this muted love story, the logistical challenges of filming in Arctic-like weather, and the stellar performances from his lead performers.

 

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For news and updates go to sonyclassics.com/film/compartmentno6

For more go to: totem-films.com/compartment-n6

Independent Spirit Award for Best International Film.

Compartment No. 6 is short listed for the Academy Award in the International Feature Film category

About the filmmaker – Juho Kuosmanen was born in Kokkola, Finland, and is now based in Helsinki. Since graduating from ELO Helsinki Film School he has directed for film, theatre, and opera. His short films include Roadmarkers (2007), Citizens (2008), and The Painting Sellers (2010), and he directed the feature The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki (2016), which screened at the Festival. Compartment No. 6 (2021) is his latest film.

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87% on Rotten Tomatoes

“It makes for a take on the love story as fresh, resonant and honest… as you’ll find in a contemporary film.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“An intimate and endearing story of discoveries, chance encounters and indelible life lessons where the journey is more important than the final destination.” – Rene Sanchez, Cine Sin Fronteras

“Seida Haarla gives a winning, intelligent performance as a naturally very clever person made to feel small and helpless in a strange land. But Yuriy Borisov pops from the first moments you see him…” – Mark Asch, Little White Lies

“Compartment No. 6 is a profound character study that evolves in time into something of a romantic drama. The smart ending ensures that we come away with more than that.” – Barbara Goslawski, That Shelf

“It’s a picture that is witnessed, that is felt, and that is experiential. No amount of recounting can do justice to what exactly it feels like to view Juho’s texturous tale…” – Taylor Baker, Drink in the Movies

“An engrossingly offbeat rail movie (…) Fully modulated yet natural performances by the two leads, Seidi Haarla and Yuriy Borisov, walk us through the human condition with the nuances of a big Russian novel.” – Deborah Young, The Film Verdict

Lunana – A Yak in the Classroom – Director Pawo Choyning Dorji

2022 Oscar© Shortlisted for Best International Feature

In this beautifully rendered gem of a film, Lunana – A Yak in the Classroom, a young teacher in modern Bhutan, Ugyen, shirks his duties while planning to go to Australia to become a singer. As a reprimand, his superiors send him to the most remote school in the world, in a village called Lunana, to complete his service. He  finds himself exiled from his Westernized comforts after an arduous 8 day trek just to get there. There he finds no electricity, no textbooks, not even a blackboard. Though poor, the villagers extend a warm welcome to their new teacher, but he faces the daunting task of teaching the village children without any supplies. He wants to quit and go home, but he begins to learn of the hardship in the lives of the beautiful children he teaches, and begins to be transformed through the amazing spiritual strength of the villagers. Director and writer Pawo Choyning Dorji stops by to talk about his home country of Bhutan and his nation’s aspirational motto “Gross National Happiness”, the challenges of making a film in a community with no modern utilities and the joy that comes from facilitating a spectrum of disarming performances from people who had never seen a film before his arrival.

 

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For more go to: samuelgoldwynfilms.com/lunana-a-yak-in-the-classroom

filmsboutique.com/news/post/lunana-shortlisted-for-the-oscars

Shortlisted for the International Feature Film Academy Award, First Bhutanese Film to Submit for Oscar in 23 Years

Opens January 21st in New York, Miami, San Francisco, and in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Royal

Director’s Statement – The film was shot on-location at the world’s most remote school, in the village of Lunana. The village is a settlement that’s sits along the glaciers of the Himalayas, only accessible through an 8-day trek over some of the highest mountains of the world. There are only 56 people in the village, most of whom had never seen the world outside their village. The word ‘Lunana’ literally means the dark valley; a valley so far and distant that the light doesn’t even reach it. So isolated is the village that even to this day, there are no electricity and cellular network connections. Due to the lack of facilities, the production of the film was totally dependent on solar charged batteries. Though extremely challenging, I specifically wanted to shoot the movie in Lunana, inspired by the purity of the lands and the people. I also wanted everyone involved in the production to experience this life changing journey, so that the authenticity of experience could translate on to the film.  The major themes of the story are ‘the search for happiness and a sense of belonging’, and these are universal themes that everyone can relate to irrespective of one’s culture and background. However I wanted to present those themes through a medium like Lunana, a world and a people that are so different from not only the rest of the world, but from also Bhutan itself. I wanted to show that even if in such a unique world, the hopes and dreams that connect humanity are the same. 

About the filmmaker – Pawo Choyning Dorji (Director & Writer) is a writer, photographer and filmmaker from the Kingdom of Bhutan. Pawo’s introduction to film came in 2012 when he worked as Khyentse Norbu’s assistant for the later’s feature; Vara: A Blessing. In 2016 he produced the critically acclaimed Bhutanese feature Hema Hema: Sing me a song while I wait. The film had its world premiere at the 69th Festival del film Locarno and went on to win the Special Mention at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom is his Directorial debut. 

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“DELIGHTFUL. Gloriously filmed on staggeringly beautiful locations around the most remote school on Earth and wonderfully performed by a cast comprised almost exclusively of first-time actors, this big-hearted crowd-pleaser marks a bight debut for writer-director Pawo Choyning Dorji.” – Richard Kuipers, Variety

“The story arc of Lunana may offer few surprises but Dorji handles it with confidence and buckets of charm.” – Allan Hunter, Screen International

“Only Bhutan’s second submission to the Oscars … [it’s] such a wonderful film I’m not sure many would have had a chance to see.” – Edward Douglas, The Weekend Warrior

Simple as Water – Director Megan Mylan

2022 Oscar© Shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature

SIMPLE AS WATER is a soft-spoken meditation on love, displacement, and fracturing familial relations from Academy Award-winner Megan Mylan. Closely-observed portraits of Syrian families filmed across five countries reveal the impact of war, separation and displacement, SIMPLE AS WATER takes us into Syrian families’ quests for normalcy and through the whirlwind of obstacles—to building life anew. As a conflict at home forces separation and movement to unfamiliar ground, Mylan’s cinematic lens finds the powerful yet everyday acts of nurturing and kinship, traveling with her protagonists as they build a new sense of belonging. From brotherly protection, motherly love, and the playful guidance of a sibling, these closely observed scenes show touching stories of resilience and reveal ties that bind families together in the face of adversity. Filmed in Turkey, Greece, Germany, Syria and US, Mylan’s sensitive camera amplifies the universal importance of family. Oscar®-winning director Megan Mylan (Lost Boys of Sudan, Smile Pinki.) joins us for a conversation on her extraordinarily intimate and empathetic multi-part story of four families looking for a semblance of humanity and relieve from implacable state run-institutions. 

 

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To watch go to: hbo.com/simple-as-water

For more about Megan Mylan go to: principeproductions.org

Simple As Water has been “Shortlisted” for Best Documentary Feature

About the filmmaker – Director / Producer / Editor Megan Mylan creates intimate observational films on complex global issues. She won an Academy® Award for her documentary Smile Pinki and an Independent Spirit Award for Lost Boys of Sudan which was short-listed for an Oscar® and named a New York Times Critics’ Pick. Her films have screened theatrically and on television throughout the world including HBO, PBS, ARTE, BBC, NHK, NDTV, Sundance Channel, Doordarshan and TV Brasil. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and multiple Emmy® nominations. She served for several years on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Executive Committee for Documentary. Before beginning in documentary, Megan worked with Ashoka, an international development non-profit, in the U.S. and Brazil. She has a Bachelor’s from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Masters’ degrees in Journalism and Latin American Studies from UC Berkeley where she was also guest director of the Graduate Documentary program. For more about Megan Mylan go to: principeproductions.org

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100% in Rottten Tomatoes 

“Superb … A level of deep, intimate access and rapport that few filmmakers can hope to achieve … ‘Simple’ unfolds more like a riveting neorealist drama.” – INDIEWIRE

“Stirringly shot … a viewing experience that is at once intimate and expansive.” –  Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times

“The poetic lyricism of Mylan’s film is what makes it stand out … Despite the heartrending storylines, there are also go-karts and balloons, and plenty of smiles and kisses. It’s a stunning achievement to make a film about the Syrian refugee crisis so beautiful and endlessly watchable.” – Hammer to Nail

“‘Simple as Water’ is anything but simple when it comes to its technical achievements, weaving together familiar immigrant narratives in ways that still manage to surprise and stun.” – Claire Shaffer, New York Times

Ferroequinology – Director Alex Nevill

FERROEQUINOLOGY follows the travels of two artists enthralled by the uncanny lure of locomotion set out on journeys across America. Andrew Cross chases freight trains through the Black Rock desert in Nevada in pursuit of a perfect landscape shot. McNair Evans travels on an Amtrak train from San Francisco to Portland, sharing stories and making portraits with fellow passengers. Desolate carriages take on an otherworldly presence and time loses its grasp in this study of photographers in motion, capturing slow travel in today’s increasingly fast-paced society. Railroad documentaries hold a significant place in film history. From Auguste and Louis Lumière’s early experiments in The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station to the iconic John Grierson narrated Night Mail or D. A. Pennebaker’s Daybreak Express – the movement, machinery, infrastructure and culture surrounding railroads has fascinated filmmakers since the birth of cinema. FERROEQUINOLOGY draws on this established tradition and brings this potent documentary theme into focus for the contemporary era. Gravitating toward collaborators with particularly artistic sensibilities, Nevill set about filming in ways that engaged directly with their creative work. Shooting in black and white helped to distance the film’s cinematography from each character’s photographic project and reflected the romanticized gaze many of these enthusiasts brought to their images as well as their often sentimental relationship with railroads. Director Alex Nevill joins us for a conversation on his own fascination with trains drew him into a further exploration of this world, meeting McNair and Andrew and the films selection for the 2022 Slamdance film festival.

 

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For news and updates go to: ferroequinology.net 

2022 slamdance.com/festival

FERROEQUINOLOGY, literally meaning the study of iron horses, is a feature-length documentary with luminous black and white cinematography, directed by Alex Nevill about the passion and artistry of railroad photography. Having made its World Premiere at Chichester Film Festival (UK) in August 2021, Ferroequinology comes Stateside for its North American Premiere at Slamdance Film Festival. The film will screen via Slamdance’s virtual portal from Jan. 27-Feb. 6, 2022. More information at slamdance.com/festival

Director Alex Nevill joins us for a conversation on his own fascination with trains drew him into a further exploration of this world, meeting McNair and Andrew and the films selection for the 2022 Slamdance film festival on Friday, Jan. 28th at 4pm PT/7pm ET and available on the festival platform through Feb. 6th.

About the Filmmaker: Alex Nevill (Director/Cinematographer) is a filmmaker and cinematographer based in London, UK. He has photographed several independent feature films as well as short projects with Creative England, Channel 4 and Film London. Nevill directed Fishcakes & Cocaine, a short documentary supported by the British Film Institute, which premiered at Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival before screening at the London and Glasgow short film festivals. He holds an MFA in film practice from the Screen Academy Scotland and completed his PhD at the University of the West of England. Alongside his film work, he teaches at Kingston School of Art where he is Course Leader for the BA Filmmaking degree.

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Wojnarowicz: F**ck You F*ggot F**ker – Director Chris McKim

2022 Oscar Shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature

Wojnarowicz: F**ck You F*ggot F**ker is a fiery and urgent documentary portrait of downtown New York City artist, writer, photographer, and activist David Wojnarowicz. As New York City became the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, Wojnarowicz  weaponized his work and waged war against art world’s indifference to the plague until his death from is in 1992 at the age of 37. Exclusive access to his breathtaking body of work – including paintings, journals, and films – reveals how Wojnarowicz emptied his life into his art and activism. Rediscovered answering machine tape recordings and intimate recollections from Fran Lebowitz, Gracie Mansion, Peter Hujar, and other friends and family help present a stirring portrait of this fiercely political, unapologetically queer artist. Director Chris McKim (Out of Iraq, Tammy Faye: Death Defying) joins us for a conversation on the life and times of artist David Wojnarowicz, why his art defied easy consumption and how his fury defined his art and challenged the straight world’s cruel ambivalence during the scourge of the AIDS epidemic. 

 

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For news and screenings go to: kinolorber.com/film/wojnarowicz

About the filmmaker – Emmy award-winning filmmaker & TV producer Chris McKim graduated from Penn State University’s film program in 1995. He soon hopped a train for New York City and began his career at Miramax Films where he worked till 2000, first as international marketing manager before moving to post-production. In 2001, he met Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey of World of Wonder which was the start of countless creative adventures beginning with documenting the making of their scripted feature “Party Monster.” Chris was with former televangelist Tammy Faye Messner as she began chemotherapy while directing and producing “Tammy Faye: Death Defying” about her battle with cancer. He’s bounced around the world with Big Freedia as showrunner and executive producer of the docuseries “Big Freedia Queen of Bounce,” and for 4 years, he shared a cubicle with RuPaul, helping to create the ground-breaking juggernaut “RuPaul’s Drag Race” as showrunner & executive producer of the first 4 seasons. In 2016, he co-directed and produced the Emmy-winning documentary “Out of Iraq” which had a special screening at the United Nations hosted by US Ambassador Samantha Power. In addition to directing and producing the award-winning documentary “Freedia Got a Gun,” which was selected for the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival and premiered on NBC’s Peacock, he directed and produced the feature documentary Wojnarowicz: F–k You F-ggot F–ker about 80s artist, writer and activist David Wojnarowicz which was selected for the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival and Hot Docs.

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 96% on Rotten Tomatoes

“a wondrous, intimate, and often outrage-inspiring biographical portrait. Deeply moving. One of the best movies of the year.”  – Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Evocative, first-rate… there’s considerable beauty and invention on display here, as often there was even in David Wojnarowicz’s most enraged work.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

“Critic’s Pick! [An] exemplary documentary on the artist… which is also a mini-chronicle of the East Village art scene of 1970s and ’80s New York.” – Glenn Kenny, The New York Times

“Restless and bracing, Wojnarowicz gives a notorious life its due… leaves you breathless at the heights of personal expression he achieved.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

“A stirring requiem of rage and resistance.” – David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter 

Salt in My Soul – Director Will Battersby and Diane Shader Smith (Mallory’s Mom)

SALT IN MY SOUL is the story of a woman, Mallory Smith, wise beyond her years who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of three. In her twenty five-year battle with the deadly disease, Mallory carved out a life that most of us don’t come close to. Based on the bestselling posthumously published memoir of the same name, SALT IN MY SOUL is a documentary and classic coming of age story about a young woman figuring out how to live while dying. Using Mallory’s posthumously published 25,000-page secret diaries, hundreds of hours of newly  discovered footage, and audio recordings, the film offers Mallory as the narrator of her own extraordinary chronicle. Director Will Battersby and Mallory’s mom, Diane Shade Smith join us for a conversation on the honest approach that Salt in My Soul takes in telling Mallory’s story, the resolve of the young women to live beyond medical, social and personal expectations this disease imposed on her and the determined search by her dad for a identify a viable therapy to save her life.

 

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For news and updates go to: saltinmysouldoc.com

About the filmmaker – Will Battersby (Filmmaker) has been producing documentaries and features for 15 years. His first documentary as producer,  Trumbo, won the National Board of Review Freedom of Speech award. The film, about blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, was released by Samuel Goldwyn Films and had its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. SALT IN MY SOULis Will’s second documentary as director. The first, The Canal, will be released by Showtime which is currently adapting it into a limited series. Will is producing alongside Patricia Arquette, who will also direct. The Canal  is the first feature documentary about the environmental tragedy in the Love Canal neighborhood of Niagara Falls and the extraordinary group of working-class women who fought to save their families.  Will’s narrative feature credits include: SXSW favorite The Spine of Night, a hand-drawn animated fantasy film that RLJE released in October 2021, which stars Richard E. Grant, Lucy Lawless and Patton Oswalt; Stephen King’s A Good Marriage starring Joan Allen; They Remain starring Will Jackson Harper, and The Bleeding House, the first feature from Emmy Award-winning writer/director Philip Gelatt (Love, Death & Robots). Will served as Head of Development on Alex Gibney’s Oscar-nominated documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, and Stephen Soderbergh’s Bubble.

About the subject – Mallory Smith, who grew up in Los Angeles, was a freelance writer and editor specializing in environmental issues, social justice, and healthcare-related communications. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University and worked as a senior producer at Green Grid Radio, an environmental storytelling radio show and podcast. Her radio work was featured on KCRW, National Radio Project, and State of the Human. She was a fierce advocate for those who suffered from cystic fibrosis, launching the viral social media campaign Lunges4Lungs with friends and raising over $5 million with her parents for CF research through the annual Mallory’s Garden event. She died at the age of twenty-five on November 15, 2017, two months after receiving a double-lung transplant. Mallory’s Legacy Fund has been established in her memory at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

About the bookSALT IN MY SOUL: An Unfinished Life, by Mallory Smith, is a powerful, intimate, and inspiring portrait of a brave young woman living with chronic illness. Mallory understood that patient voices need to be amplified in order to improve healthcare, that the intersection of human behavior and nature is critical to environmental sustainability, and that love and friendship give life meaning. As Mallory’s body deteriorated, she sharpened her mind, crystalized her thinking, and honed her writing skills. In her 2500 pages of private journal entries, she created poetry out of prosaic experiences.  Beautifully written, provocative, and peppered with insights, SALT IN MY SOUL reminds us to follow Mallory’s mantra and “Live Happy.” For more information about the book SALT IN MY SOUL: An Unfinished Life please go to: penguinrandomhouse.com/books/salt-in-my-soul-by-mallory-smith

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Salt in My Soul” is extremely painful to watch, especially as it shows the roller coaster of Smith’s recurring hospitalizations. But it does paint a vivid portrait of who she was and what she believed.” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times

“Salt in My Soul strikes a graceful balance… it centers itself on her voice and viewpoint, her determination not to let her illness define her while grappling with her ambitions and mortality.” – Valerie Kalfrin, AWFJ Women on Film

“Profound, unflinching and genuinely poignant. Director Will Battersby captures Mallory Smith’s humanity.” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru

“It’s a real tribute to living your life fully.” – Claudia Puig, FilmWeek (KPCC – NPR Los Angeles)

Three Songs for Benazir – Co-director(s) Elizabeth Mirzaei (Gulistan Mirzaei) and Producer Omar Mullick

2022 Oscar© Shortlisted for Best Documentary Short

Co-directors Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei insightful documentary, 3 SONGS FOR BENAZIR tells the story of Shaista, a young man who—newly married to Benazir and living in a displacement camp in Kabul—struggles to balance his dreams of being the first from his tribe to join the Afghan National Army with the responsibilities of starting a family. Gulistan and Elizabeth Mirzaei’s remarkable access sheds light on the experience of modern-day Afghans who live, love, and seek space for themselves amid constant instability. Co-director Elizabeth  Mirzaei (Gulistan Mirzaei) and Producer Omar Mullick join us for a conversation on their strikingly intimate portrait of a young man in love determined to break free of his tribal bonds, defying his elders, in order to make his mark in the hyper-violent world of 21st century Afghanistan.

 

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For more news and updates go to: threesongsforbenazir.com

Watch on Netflix

3 Songs for Benazir shortlisted for 2022 Oscar© – Documentary Short

Nominated for the 15th Annual Cinema Eye Honors

About the filmmaker(s) – Elizabeth and Gulistan Mirzaei’s first feature film, LAILA AT THE BRIDGE, screened and won awards at numerous festivals including CPH:DOX, Locarno, Edinburgh, Bergen, and Santa Barbara among others. Their first short film, THREE SONGS FOR BENAZIR, had its world premiere at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in 2021, where it won the Jury Award for Best Short. Elizabeth and Gulistan’s films have also been supported by the Tribeca Film Institute, CalHumanities, Women in Film, Points North Institute, IFP,  and the Bertha Foundation. They founded Mirzaei Films to be an indigenous window into modern-day Afghanistan, making films that are recognized for their intimacy, rare access, and how they challenge perceptions of Afghanistan. They are based between California and Afghanistan and have two daughters together. For more go to: mirzaeifilms.com

About the filmmaker – Trained as a photographer, Omar Mullick’s work was published in The New York Times, Foreign Policy Magazine, National Geographic and TIME, and received awards from the Doris Duke Foundation, the Western Knight Center for Journalism, Annenberg and Kodak. He was the director and cinematographer on the 2013 feature film THESE BIRDS WALK, the film went on to be named as one of the Best films of the Year by the New Yorker Magazine, Indiewire, and Sight + Sound Magazine. New Yorker’s film critic Richard Brody praised it as one of the best foreign films of the 21st Century. Since then Omar has been a director and cinematographer on a number of feature films and series, including THE VOW for HBO and as a director for ZeroPointZero on CNN’s new travel / food series titled NOMAD. He is also in completion on a feature non-fiction film on Whistleblowers for Amazon Films. In 2021 Omar was a screenwriter and cinematographer on his first fiction film TU ME RESEMBLE which premiered at the Venice Film Festival. In 2012 Filmmaker Magazine named Omar one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film. He won a Broadcasting and Television award in 2015 for his work on the coal industry in the Appalachias and was nominated for an Emmy in 2019 for a film on Yemenis caught in limbo during their civil war. His clients include HBO, Amazon, National Geographic Explorer, Netflix, PBS, Al Jazeera and Discovery. Trained as a photographer, Omar’s work was published in The New York Times, Foreign Policy Magazine, National Geographic and TIME, and received awards from the Doris Duke Foundation, the Western Knight Center for Journalism, Annenberg and Kodak.

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Full Frame Documentary Film FestivalJury Award, Best Short “The jury honors a film that exemplifies the power and beauty of observational filmmaking. Deeply situated and attentively witnessed, Three Songs for Benazir is a concisely constructed character study that also implicitly evokes structural, societal, psychological, and political realities—centered in a camp in Kabul yet echoing far beyond—without need for exposition or over-emphasis. The specifics of Shaista’s struggle, the totality of his confinement, are clearly and evocatively conveyed through an elliptical structure, and extended to an expertly edited finale that haunted us and kept us talking long after the film had ended.”

Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America – Co-directors Emily and Sarah Kunstler – Writer and Subject Jeffery Robinson

Interweaving lecture, personal anecdotes, interviews, and shocking revelations, in Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America, criminal defense/civil rights lawyer Jeffery Robinson draws a stark timeline of anti-Black racism in the United States, from slavery to the modern myth of a post-racial America. In Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America, Robinson faces his largest audience, asking all of us to examine who we are, where we come from, and who we want to be.  Anchored by Robinson’s Town Hall performance, the film interweaves historical and present-day archival footage, Robinson’s personal story, and vérité and interview footage capturing Robinson’s meetings with Black change-makers and eyewitnesses to history. From a hanging tree in Charleston, South Carolina, to a walking tour of the origins of slavery in colonial New York, to the site of a 1947 lynching in rural Alabama, the film brings history to life, exploring the enduring legacy of white supremacy and our collective responsibility to overcome it. Co-directors Emily and Sarah Kunstler and Producer / Subject Jeffery Robinson join us for a conversation on the why and how American social, political and economic “progress” is inextricably entangled with the 400 year long suppression of black people and the systemic racism supported by many of America’s social and political institutions.

 

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For in theatre and virtual go to: sonyclassics.com/film/whoweare

For news and updates go to: thewhoweareproject.org

More from the filmmakers at: off-center.com/who-we-are

About the filmmaker – Jeffery Robinson (Producer/Writer) is the founder and CEO of The Who We Are Project, which aims to become one of the central voices in correcting the American narrative on our shared history of anti-Black racism. The Who We Are Project will correct this false narrative and provide an objective and true account that exposes the role of white supremacy and anti-Black racism throughout American history. Reckoning with our true history is the only way for our country to move towards a path of racial equity and justice.  Jeffery is a former Deputy Legal Director and Director of the ACLU’s Trone Center for Justice and Equality. Since graduating from Harvard Law School in 1981, Jeffery has four decades of experience working on criminal and racial justice issues. In 2015, Jeffery joined the ACLU and on April 1, 2021, he left the ACLU and launched The Who We Are Project. Jeffery is a nationally recognized trial attorney and respected teacher of trial advocacy. Further, he speaks nationally to diverse audiences on the role of race in the criminal justice system and the history of anti-Black racism in this country. One of Jeffery’s groundbreaking presentations forms the basis of the feature-length documentary entitled “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America.” 

About the filmmakers – Emily Kunstler (Producer/Director/Editor) and Sarah Kunstler (Producer/Director) are the founders of Off Center Media, a documentary production company dedicated to racial justice and social change. For over 20 years, sisters Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler have been making films that have helped to stay executions, convince decision makers to reopen cases, and exonerate the wrongfully convicted. In 2009, the sisters completed William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe, an award-winning feature documentary, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, and opened the 2010 season of POV on PBS. In 1999, the Kunstlers produced their first film,  Tulia, Texas: Scenes from the Drug War, a short documentary that exposed a racist drug sting that led to the incarceration of over 10% of the African American community of a small Texas town. The success of this documentary as a tool for organizing, advocacy, and ultimately, justice, inspired Emily and Sarah to form Off Center Media. Off Center exposes injustice through the creation and circulation of media. The recently completed production on Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America , a documentary feature about 400 years of white supremacy based on a talk by renowned attorney Jeffery Robinson. For more go to: off-center.com

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100% on Rotten Tomatoes

“The simplest thing to say about SXSW Documentary Spotlight Audience Award winner Who We Are is that it should be part of the standard curriculum in every school in America.” – Michael King, Austin Chronicle

“Robinson is a precise, empathetic and informed speaker and a righteous man who, in sisters Emily and Sarah Kunstler’s documentary, is every teacher you might have ever wished for as a student, but who deserves a larger stage.” – Fionnuala Halligan, Screen International

“Required viewing for everyone, even though there’s nothing particularly new in it.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat

“…(Jeffery) Robinson underscores the fact that many of the most revered figures of American history relied on, defended, and outright benefitted from the ownership of enslaved people.” – Michael Ward, Should I See It

“The movie features compelling interviews and information but puts an overwhelming emphasis on bigotry inflicted on Black men. The documentary should have been more inclusive of other people of color who experience racism too.” – Carla Hay, Culture Mix

Audible – Director Matt Ogens

2022 Oscar© Shortlisted for Documentary Short

AUDIBLE is a cinematic and immersive coming of age documentary following Maryland School for the Deaf high school athlete Amaree McKenstry and his close friends as they face the pressures of senior year and grappling with the realities of venturing off into the hearing world. Amaree and his teammates take out their frustrations on the football field as they battle to protect an unprecedented winning streak, while coming to terms with the tragic loss of a close friend. This is a story about kids who stand up to adversity. They face conflict, but approach the future with hope – shouting to the world that they exist and they matter. Director Matt Ogens joins us for a conversation on the project he re-visited over the course of a decade, why it was important that the film me made for the deaf as much as the hearing and the importance that sound played in the making of Audible.

 

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To watch go to: netflix.com/Audible

For more go to: mattogens.com

About the filmmaker – Matt Ogens is an award-winning filmmaker known for capturing an evocative visual and narrative aesthetic across a variety of media including documentary, narrative, and branded content. His breakthrough documentary CONFESSIONS OF A SUPERHERO premiered at SXSW to critical acclaim, and he subsequently went on to earn a Primetime Emmy Award for his ESPN 30 for 30, FROM HARLEM WITH LOVE about the Globetrotters. Recent projects include the two-time Emmy-nominated documentary series WHY WE FIGHT, which Ogens created and executive produces, the Emmy-nominated LA LOUVRE, an augmented reality film directed for RYOT and Huffington Post, and two films for the UFC’s 25 YEARS IN SHORT series which was nominated for an Emmy Award and won a Clio. His last feature HOME + AWAY, which follows high school athletes living on the US/Mexico border, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. On the advertising side, Ogens collaborates with top agencies and brands, helming major campaigns, which has garnered several prominent awards including a SXSW Interactive Award, Clios, One Show, and Cannes Lions. Most recently, he directed a Super Bowl campaign for Verizon titled THE TEAM WHO WOULDN’T BE HERE, earning three Cannes Lions, four Clio Awards, a Webby Award, and a One Show Award. Launching in 2021, Matt’s forthcoming Netflix Original documentary AUDIBLE is a coming-of-age story told from the perspective of Deaf high school students. The entire film is communicated through sign language. For more go to: mattogens.com 

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ÁGUILAS – Co-directors Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and Maite Zubiaurre

2022 Oscar© Shortlisted for Documentary Short

The eye-opening documentary film from co-directors  Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and Maite Zubiaurre, AGUILAS, tells the story of the Águilas del Desierto, a group of volunteers who look for migrants who go missing crossing the border—often finding only their remains. Once a month, along the scorching southern desert border in Arizona, one group of searchers, the Aguilas del Desierto, set out to recover missing loved ones. These  volunteers comprised of construction workers, gardeners, domestic laborers by trade, carry out their solemn task. Águilas poetically lays bare the tragic reality of migrant death by venturing deep into the wilderness of the borderlands. Co-directors Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and Maite Zubiaurre join us for a conversation on this little known story of selfless service, the United States policy of deliberately funneling refugees into the most dangerous terrain along our shared border and thousand of people who’s remains are found and the thousands more who the desert will never give us back.

 

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For more information go to: gonella-productions.com/aguilas

For news and updates go to: aguilasdocumentary.com 

Watch now at: youtube.com/ÁGUILAS

Watch now at: newyorker.com/watch/Aquilas 

About the filmmaker – Kristy Guevara-Flanagan has been making documentary and experimental films for nearly two decades, starting with a 1999 experimental documentary about a blow-up doll. Her first feature-length film, Going on 13 (2009), covers four years in the lives of four adolescent girls; it premiered at Tribeca and was broadcast on PBS. Kristy also produced and directed several short films, including El Corrido de Cecilia Rios (1999) which chronicles the violent death of 15-year-old Cecilia Rios. It was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival and subsequently broadcast on the Sundance Channel. Her feature, Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines (2013), traces the evolution and legacy of the comic book hero Wonder Woman as a way to reflect on society’s anxieties about women’s liberation. The film garnered numerous awards, premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival and was broadcast on the PBS series Independent Lens in 2013. Her recent short,  What Happened to Her (2016) premiered at the Hot Docs Canadian Film Festival, where it  received an honorable mention for best short. What Happened to Her and her in progress feature documentary, Body Parts,continues her exploration on the themes of gender and representation.  Kristy’s work has been funded by ITVS, the Sundance Institute, the Tribeca Institute, Latino Public Broadcasting and California Humanities. She is now an Associate Professor at UCLA.

About the filmmaker – Maite Zubiaurre was born in Bogotá, Colombia, and grew up in Germany and Spain. She has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Columbia University and is a Professor in the Humanities at UCLA. Before joining UCLA, Maite taught at UT Austin, UNAM (Mexico), ITAM (México), and USC. She is the author of numerous books and articles, and has recently published a co-authored monograph on urban humanities and new practices of reimagining the city (MIT Press), and a book on the cultural uses of contemporary waste that reflects upon urban refuse and upon the archival practices of the personal belongings that migrants leave behind along the US-Mexico border (Vanderbilt UP). She is presently working on a co-authored monograph on cultural representations of migrant death at the US-Mexico border; directing a research team working on a digital “thick” map of the US-Mexico borderlands; and co-writing and co-producing a feature documentary on border art with Emmy-awarded Tijuanan film collective Dignicraft. She is co-PI and core faculty of the Mellon Urban Humanities Initiative, where she teaches border studies and Mexican cultural studies and street art, and co-PI of the Mellon Sawyer Seminar on “Sanctuary Spaces: Reworlding Humanism.” Maite Zubiaurre is also  a visual artist and collagist: under the name of Filomena Cruz she has initiated a number of artistic interventions, among them her longstanding  Venice, CA installation “The Wall that Gives/El muro que da.”

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A Broken House – Director Jimmy Goldblum

2022 Oscar© Shortlisted for Documentary Short

Jimmy Goldblum’s poignant documentary short A BROKEN HOUSE follows  Mohamad Hafez from the time he received a single-entry visa to study architecture in the United States, and his life-altering realization that if he couldn’t return home to Syria, he could make home. A skilled architectural model-maker, he spent his years in exile sculpting life-like renditions of his Damascus neighborhood. When the civil war broke out and his parents fled to the United States as refugees, Mohamad’s bottled-up frustration erupted on his models. In a fit of mania, he broke his artworks, leaving them shattered, bombed-out replicas of the Syrian buildings he saw on the news. And yet, when word of his broken pieces spread, Mohamad became an inspiration to refugees and immigrants in the diaspora who dreamed of homes that only existed in memories. ‘Hiraeth’ is a film about loss and love, responsibility and identity — about homesickness for the places to which we can no longer return. Director Jimmy Goldblum stops by to talk about the heartbreaking Hafez family saga as they navigate the shattering impact that the Syrian war has had on their country, community and their fracturing family.

 

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For more go to: jimgoldblum.com/abrokenhouse

For news and screening go to: a broken.house

Also available at: pbs.org/pov/a-broken-house

Check out all of the shortlisted films at: oscars.org/94th-shortlisted

About the filmmaker – Jimmy Goldblum (d.g.a.) is an Emmy Award-winning Director & Producer based in Altadena, CA. He recently directed the pilot of “Unsolved Mysteries,” the reimagining of the 80s cult series; produced by 21 Laps (“Stranger Things”), “Unsolved” spent its first 10 days on Netflix as the most watched series in the world. He also directed an episode of the Apple+ / A24 series, “HOME;” and directed episodes of the critically acclaimed documentary series, “Chef’s Table” for Netflix (IDA Winner – “Best Documentary Series”). He had previously directed and produced Tomorrow We Disappear, a feature documentary about India’s last colony of magicians, acrobats, and puppeteers. It premiered in competition at the Tribeca Film Festival, and IndieWire listed it as one of the “20 Best Documentaries of 2014.” Jimmy’s short documentary, “A Broken House,” premiered at at Academy-qualifying festivals Hot Docs, Hamptons Film Festival, and Aspens ShortFest, and is being released in 2021. It won Best Short Documentary at Salem Film Festival.  His interactive documentary for the Pulitzer Center, “Live Hope Love,” a poetic exploration of the HIV crisis in the Caribbean, won an Emmy for “New Approaches to Documentary” and a Webby for “Best Art Website.”

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Day of Rage – Co-producer Malachy Browne (David Botti)

2022 Oscar© Shortlisted for Documentary Short

DAY OF RAGE chronicles the January 6, 2020 attack on the United States Capitol,  arguably the most widely documented act of political violence in history. During a six-month investigation The New York Times obtained analyzed and mapped out thousands of hours of video to provide the most complete account of the Capitol riot to date. DAY OF RAGE charts in chilling detail how the peaceful transition of power was disrupted by rioters who stormed a seemingly impenetrable seat of government. Viewers gain critical insights into the character and motivation of the rioters by experiencing the day through their cellphone videos police body cameras surveillance footage inside the Capitol and the internal radio recordings detailing how the officers responded. Co-producer Malachy Browne (David Botti) joins us to talk about the methodical way in which a large team of New York Times reporters, social media experts and investigators, from the newspaper’s Visual Investigations Unit, pieced together this harrowing and eye-opening account of the attack on the our nation’s Capital and it’s intended objective, to sabotage the will of the American people by negating the results of a freely decided election through violence and lend support to the efforts of a major political party’s plan of organized sedition.

 

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Watch at: youtube.com/Day of Rage

The New York Times Visual Investigations site

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2022 Oscar© Shortlisted for Documentary Short

Shortlisted – IDA Documentary Awards – Best Short

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