Olga – Director Elie Grappe

Olga (Anastasia Budiashkina) is a talented teenage Ukrainian gymnast exiled in Switzerland, dreaming of Olympic gold and trying to fit in with her new team in her new  home. As she prepares for the European Championships, the Ukrainian people back home in Kyiv rise up in what has become known as the Maidan Revolution, suddenly involving everyone she cares  about. Olga is left a powerless, distant bystander as her mother, an investigative journalist, faces danger as she challenges the brutal Yanukovich regime. Incorporating documentary footage from the 2013 uprising, Olga is a tense, sensitively handled tale of exile reflecting the clash between the personal and the political in a  young woman’s search for identity. Director and co-screenwriter Elie Grappe joins us for a conversation on his prescient and humanizing story about Ukrainian / Russian recent history that has a direct bearing on the brutal invasion by Russia now taking place, seamlessly weaving in documentary footage and the fierce portrayal of Olga by newcomer Anastasia Budiashkina.

For updates and screenings go to kinomarquee.com/Olga

About the filmmaker – Born 1994 in France. Elie Grappe completed musical training at the National Conservatory in Lyon. After attending the preparatory course at École Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne (ECAL) he proceeded to study film, receiving his Bachelor in film from ECAL in 2015. His short documentary film REHEARSAL (2014) was selected for IDFA, Clermont-Ferrand and Krakow Film Festivals. His short fiction film SUSPENDU (2015) was shown at 60 film festivals worldwide and garnered numerous awards. OLGA (2021), his first feature- length fiction film, was selected for the 60th Semaine de la Critique at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Prix SACD for Best Screenplay. OLGA is Switzerland’s official submission for International Feature Film competition for the 94th Academy Awards®. Elie Grappe lives and works in Switzerland.

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95% on RottenTomatoes

Grappe paints indelible images of physically powerful, mentally vulnerable young women who want to step up to the podium at all costs… Budiashkina is a terrific presence, and the film is in thrall to her powers.”  – Fionnuala Halligan, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL

“Could be appropriately paired with Lauren Hadaway’s “The Novice” or Charlène Favier’s “Slalom”; all three are tough indie films about the dark side of women’s sports, athletes pushing their bodies in an attempt to exercise, or exorcise, something bigger.” – Katie Walsh, TheWrap

“This is a film whose ideas and emotions have come into a fierce new focus… in its unexpected way, this film speaks to the new agony of banishment now being felt by millions of Ukrainians.” – Peter Bradshaw, THE GUARDIAN

“It matters little now whether Grappe meant to examine the consequences of Western complacency toward democracy’s enemies. Here we are, and here is this quietly poignant film, a heartbreaking reminder of the cost in individual lives and dreams.” – Austin Considine, New York Times

Endangered – Co-directors Rachel Grady & Heidi Ewing

An official selection of the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival, ENDANGERED chronicles a year in the life of four journalists living and working in three  democratic countries, Mexico, Brazil and the United States, where freedom of the press has historically been considered a “given” is now a state of rapid decline. As newsrooms shutter around them, misinformation proliferates, and world leaders brazenly suppress free speech, reporters Patrícia, Carl, Sáshenka, and Oliver face harrowing circumstances more likely encountered in war zones or autocratic states than in a functional democracy.  Joining us in conversation are Co-directors Rachel Grady (Boys of Baraka, One of Us) and Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp, Love Fraud) to talk about the crisis of misinformation, intimidation by law enforcement, deadly targeting by paramilitary groups, imprisonment and dwindling readership.

 

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https://www.hbo.com/movies/endangered

About the filmmaker – Heidi Ewing is the co-director of Jesus Camp, The Boys of Baraka, 12th & Delaware, DETROPIA, Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You (Sundance Film Festival), One of Us (Toronto International Film Festival), and the series Love Fraud (Sundance Film Festival). Ewing’s first narrative feature, I Carry You With Me (Te Llevo Conmigo), had its world premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival where it won the jury and audiences awards in the NEXT section. The film was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards and will be released by Sony Pictures Classics in 2021. Heidi is currently co-directing a film for HBO on the silencing of journalists around the world. lokifilms.com

About the filmmaker – Rachel Grady is the co-director of Jesus Camp  (Academy Award nominee), The Boys of Baraka (Emmy nominee), 12th & Delaware  (Peabody Award winner),  DETROPIA (Emmy winner), Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You (2016 Sundance Film Festival), One of Us (2017 Toronto International Film Festival), and the Showtime docuseries,  Love Fraud, which had its world premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. Rachel is currently co-directing a film for HBO on the silencing of journalists around the world. lokifilms.com

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“Endangered might not be groundbreaking but it is one of the most important films you’ll see in 2022 about the importance of a free press.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies

“Endangered is a timely, seething view at an industry under siege. It is extremely well edited, merging the stories of four journalists together, weaving a web of infuriating evidence that our freedom of press is in an urgent state of collapse.” – Mark Johnson, Awards Daily

“An eye-opening and often enraging glimpse at four journalists attempting to do their jobs circa 2020 and the attacks they endure as a result.” – Peter Sobczynski, RogerEbert.com

“The brave reporters the filmmakers follow worry for their own safety and their families, but charge on, determined to help keep democracy alive. It’s an eye-opener, it gnaws at our sense of justice yet there are moments of great inspiration.” – Anne Brodie, What She Said

“You can tell the filmmakers, like their subjects, are struggling to suppress a scream.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

Fire of Love – Director Sara Dosa

Katia and Maurice Krafft loved two things — each other and volcanoes. For two decades, the daring French volcanologist couple roamed the planet, chasing eruptions and documenting their discoveries. FIRE OF LOVE tells a story of primordial creation and destruction, following two bold explorers as they venture into the unknown. FIRE OF LOVE tells the extraordinary love story of intrepid French scientists Katia and Maurice Krafft, who died just as explosively as they lived — capturing the most spectacular imagery ever recorded of their greatest passion: volcanoes. Director Sara Dosa and the filmmaking team fashion a lyrical celebration of the intrepid scientists’ spirit of adventure, drawing from the Kraffts’ spectacular archive. Ultimately, they lost their lives in a 1991 volcanic explosion, leaving a legacy that forever enriched our knowledge of the natural world. Director Sara Dosa (Audrie & Daisy, The Last Season) joins us for a conversation on the joy of learning about the couple, sifting through the trove of archival footage of their work, exploring personal / professional partnership they shared and giving the world an opportunity to appreciate the science and the spectacle they were willing to give their lives for.

 

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In theatres starting July 6:  neonrated.com/fire-of-love

To watch at home go to: nationalgeographic.com

About the filmmaker – Sara Dosa is an Indie Spirit Award-nominated doc director and Peabody award-winning producer whose primary interests lay in telling unexpected character-driven stories about the human relationship to non-human nature Her first feature as a director, “The Last Season,” which tells the story of two former soldiers turned wild mushroom hunters, took home a Golden Gate Award (SFIFF 2014) and was nominated for the Indie Spirit Truer than Fiction Award. In 2018, Dosa co-directed an Emmy-nominated episode of the Netflix music series Re-Mastered about Johnny Cash’s 1970 concert for Richard Nixon. Dosa’s third feature as a director, “The Seer & The Unseen,” premiered in 2019, winning awards at a number of festivals, including the McBaine Bay Area Documentary Prize (SFIFF 2019). As a producer, Dosa produced the Peabody Award-winning “Audrie & Daisy” (2016 Sundance / Netflix); and the Peabody and Emmy-nominated “Survivors” (2018 IDFA / POV). Dosa co-produced the Academy Award-nominated “The Edge of Democracy” (2019 Sundance / Netflix) as well as “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” (2017 Sundance / Paramount), the follow up to Al Gore’s seminal 2006 “An Inconvenient Truth.” In 2018, DOC NYC named Dosa to the inaugural “40 under 40” class of documentary filmmakers to watch and was also inducted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. She graduated from Wesleyan University holds a joint Masters in Anthropology and International Development Economics from the London School of Economics & Political Science. For more: signpostpictures.com

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“Their passion for volcanoes, and the way they thought it might translate into helping mankind, helps us see who they really were, and the result, built largely from archival footage, is breathtaking.” – Alissa Wilkinson,

“With its quirky New Wave-adjacent cadences, Sara Dosa’s sizzling Fire of Love proves that no one can narrate a fiery romance better than Miranda July’s airily ethereal voice.” – Tomris Laffly,

“Commits to a mad embrace of destiny, with eye-searing archival footage and an appreciation of the ineffability of devotion.” – Peter Howell, Toronto Star

“With each clip, we understand Katia and Maurice’s yearning to embark on these great adventures despite the destruction that volcanoes can exact.” – Alysha Prasad, One Room With A View

“The fuel of “Fire of Love” is the volcanologist subject’s magma-proof adoration for each other and what they’ve laid eyes on.” – Carlos Aguilar, The Playlist

“If you see any documentary this year, make sure it’s this one. Films like this should be celebrated and revered, so go out and see it, in fact, see it twice” – Ty Cooper, HeyUGuys

Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song – Co-directors Dayna Goldfine & Daniel Geller

HALLELUJAH: LEONARD COHEN: A JOURNEY, A SONG is a definitive exploration of poet / singer / songwriter Leonard Cohen (1934 – 2016) as seen through the prism of his internationally renowned hymn, “Hallelujah.” This feature-length documentary weaves together three creative strands: The songwriter and his times; the song’s dramatic journey from record label reject to chart-topping hit; and moving testimonies from major recording artists for whom “Hallelujah” has become a personal touchstone. The song enjoyed a new life in 1991 after being covered by John Cale (Cohen shared over 100 unused verses with him), then Jeff Buckley on his Grace album — and evolved through countless versions to become one of the most beloved songs of all time. Approved for production by Leonard Cohen just before his 80th birthday in 2014, HALLELUJAH: LEONARD COHEN: A JOURNEY, A SONG accesses a wealth of never-before-seen archival materials from the Cohen Trust including Cohen’s personal notebooks, journals and photographs, performance footage, and extremely rare audio recordings and interviews. Drawing from this wealth of archival materials, directors Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine (BALLETS RUSSES) meticulously trace the career of the restless Canadian as they detail the unlikely path of his famous composition.

 

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For updates and screenings go to: sonyclassics.com/hallelujah

About the filmmakers – For over twenty-five years, Emmy-award winning directors/producers Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine have jointly created critically-acclaimed multi-character documentary narratives that braid their characters’ individual personal stories to form a larger portrait of the human experience. Their most recent film, THE GALAPAGOS AFFAIR: SATAN CAME TO EDEN (2013) had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival and its European premiere in Berlin. It opened theatrically to strong critical reviews nationwide in April 2014, has played theaters and festivals internationally, and appeared on a dozen critical “Best Films of 2014” lists including those of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Seattle Times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Filmmaker Magazine. THE GALAPAGOS AFFAIR is now available worldwide on VOD as well as consumer and educational DVD. eller and Goldfine’s work also includes: the award-winning SOMETHING VENTURED (2011), which premiered at SXSW and went on to play festivals and screen internationally, as well as in educational distribution, VOD and consumer DVD release worldwide, and national PBS broadcast in January 2013; BALLETS RUSSES (2005), which was recognized as one of the top five documentaries of 2005 by both the National Society of Film Critics and the National Board of Review and appeared on a dozen critical “10 Best Films” lists, including those of Time magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the Hollywood Reporter, the San Francisco Chronicle and Slate; NOW AND THEN: FROM FROSH TO SENIORS, which premiered theatrically in October 1999 and aired on PBS in October 2000 as the lead program of the Independent Lens series; KIDS OF SURVIVAL: THE ART AND LIFE OF TIM ROLLINS + K.O.S. (1996), a feature-length documentary about the South Bronx-based art group Tim Rollins & K.O.S., which aired on Cinemax in September 1998 and was the recipient of two national Emmy awards; FROSH: NINE MONTHS IN A FRESHMAN DORM (1994); and the award-winning ISADORA DUNCAN: MOVEMENT FROM THE SOUL (1998). Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine were admitted to the Documentary Branch of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in June 2014. For more: gellergoldfine.com

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86% on RottenTomatoes

“’Hallelujah’ is a lot of song… it’s epic and lovely and trancelike: a hymn cast in a pop idiom. The song took a journey – changing, becoming, acquiring layers of soul and enchantment. A music doc this rich (is) about how a quiet artist, without  planning to, created a song heard round the world.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

 “A rousing portrait of the power of expression, something that Leonard Cohen perfected more than most songwriters that ever lived.” – Brian Tallerico,  RogerEbert.com

“This majestic, almost symphonic documentary… an account of how ‘Hallelujah’ has become a receptacle into which new generations of singers pour their musical souls. Like the song, whose title contains an affirmation…the film affirms the value and power of making art.” – Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal

“An exhilarating and insightful glimpse into Leonard Cohen’s heart, mind and soul.” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru

Battleground – Director Cynthia Lowen

With the Supreme Court decision to overturn constitutional protections for abortion the clarion call to action can be seen on Cynthia Lowen’s incisive new documentary film, BATTLEGROUND. Among the many substantive questions posed is, how have we arrived at the end of Roe, when 7 in 10 Americans support access to abortion and 1 in 4 women will terminate a pregnancy? BATTLEGROUND follows three women who lead formidable anti-abortion organizations in their single-minded quest to overturn Roe v. Wade, as they face down forces equally determined to safeguard women’s access to safe and legal abortions. Who are anti-abortion people? What are they driven by, what do they believe, how they operate and what are their goals? BATTLEGROUND gets inside the anti-abortion movement as never seen before to answer these questions, with many surprises: they are women, young people, even Democrats. With close access, the film shows how the anti-choice movement is strategizing and organizing, and their determination to overturn Roe at any cost. As their power and influence propels the Supreme Court sharply right, and states race to enact unconstitutional abortion bans, the film also depicts those on the front lines of the fierce fight to maintain access. Now that Roe has been  overturned, at least 26 states will ban abortion, 13 of which have trigger laws that have now gone into effect. Two hundred clinics now face closure and 36 million people of reproductive age will lose access to abortion. BATTLEGROUND is required viewing for anyone with a stake in the future of abortion in America. Director Cynthia Lowen joins us to talk about all of these life-changing developments and what can be done moving forward.

For updates and screenings go to: battlegroundfilm.org

About the filmmaker – Cynthia Lowen is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker and award-winning writer whose work uses the power of story to catalyze meaningful change. Cynthia is the director and producer of ‘Netizens’ (HBO), a feature documentary about women and online harassment. Cynthia also spearheaded the ‘Netizens’ Impact Campaign, working with tech companies and advocacy partners including the Anti-Defamation League, the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, Facebook, Microsoft, the National Network to End Domestic Violence and others to develop tools to reduce online harassment and foster constructive digital citizenship. Cynthia is also the producer and writer of ‘Bully’ a feature documentary following five kids and families through a ‘year in the life’ of America’s bullying crisis. ‘Bully’ was nominated for two Emmys, shortlisted for the Oscars, screened at The White House and received a DuPont-Columbia Award for Excellence in Journalism. Cynthia has held residencies at MacDowell, the Banff Center, Yaddo, Hedgebook, the Berlinale Talent Campus, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown among others, and received the Hedgebrook Women Authoring Change Fellowship from William Morris Entertainment. She has been a member of the Producers Guild of America since 2014.

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“Offers a truly eye-opening glimpse into a remarkably focused movement.” – Elizabeth Weitzman, TheWrap

“In its quiet, uninflected way, Battleground delivers valuable insights, leaving it to viewers to assess and take some action or not.” – Caryn James, Hollywood Reporter

“Messy, personal, timely, brimming with ideas, overflowing with pain, and without answers: that’s the debate, and that’s the doc.” – Kate Erbland, indieWire

“Battleground is the vital documentary we need now, giving breadth of space for both sides of the aisle to be heard, but also shining a light on the ultimate chess board that is the fight against abortion.” – Stephanie Archer, Film Inquiry

Accepted – Director Dan Chen

ACCEPTED follows four high school seniors in rural Louisiana attend T.M. Landry, an unconventional K – 12 school housed in a sparse warehouse made famous for sending its graduates to elite universities like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford. The students aim to meet the intense expectations of Mike Landry, the imposing founder of the school who charts a relentless course towards their college dreams. When the New York Times publishes an expose on Landry’s controversial methods, the school buckles under the scrutiny. Each senior is left to contend with troubling truths about their school and the college admissions system, and decide for themselves what they are willing to do to be accepted. Accepted offers a unique and intriguing look at the world of Ivy League college admissions and the true cost of getting that first foothold into elite American society. In his first documentary feature, director Dan Chen grounds a broader look at the inequities in the American education system with unbelievable access to T.M. Landry and the deeply personal stories of four dynamic students looking to overcome countless obstacles to achieve their dreams.

 

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greenwichentertainment.com/film/accepted

About the filmmaker – Director  Producer, Cinematographer – Dan Chen is a Chinese American filmmaker in Los Angeles. He grew up in Manhattan, Kansas and graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, focusing on directing and cinematography. His work has been featured at numerous festivals including Tribeca Festival and Slamdance Film Festival, as well as online at Vimeo Staff Picks, Short of the Week, The Verge, and NBC Asian America. Dan has years of directing experience in narrative and documentary, and he trained his eye as a cinematographer and analog film photographer. He sees filmmaking as a way to create life-changing memories for audiences and collaborators alike, and he tells character-driven stories about outsiders, human flaws, and coming of age. Dan is currently based in Los Angeles, developing new projects as he prepares to direct his first narrative feature film.

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“The doc provides a sobering and emotional look at what, if any, options exist for those who aren’t white or wealthy in an unequal system.” – Lovia Gyarkye, Hollywood Reporter

“In the end, Accepted proves a cautionary tale about miracle solutions to complicated predicaments, as well as a lament for the genuine casualties of this con.” – Nick Schager, The Daily Beast

“A riveting doc that plays out like a grand tragedy.” – The Spool

“A conclusion that will absolutely shock viewers.” – Disappointment Media

“Tremendous documentary that poses interesting questions. It also does a great job of bringing to light the flaws in the education system.” – Nathaniel Muir, AIPT

Mind Over Murder – Director Nanfu Wang

The HBO Original six-part documentary series Mind Over Murder, directed by Nanfu Wang and produced by Vox Media Studios chronicles the bizarre and psychologically complex story of six individuals who were convicted for the 1985 murder of a beloved 68- year-old grandmother, Helen Wilson, in Beatrice, Nebraska. Despite five of the individuals originally confessing to the crime, the “Beatrice Six” as they became known, were exonerated by DNA evidence in 2009, a turn  of events which divided the rural town and incensed the family of Helen Wilson. As the filmmakers track the case from the murder, through investigation, trial, exoneration and two civil suits, shifting perspectives cloud the truth; a stranger-than-fiction tale emerges that raises salient questions about the reliability of confessions and memory in criminal cases. Director Nanfu Wang (Hooligan Sparrow, One Child Nation, In the Same Breath) joins us for a conversation on her own journey to gain the confidence of a community convinced they already knew the truth, uncovering the venality of local government officials, and her ideas about how storytelling can be a way to break through to people traumatized by violence and misinformation.

 

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For updates and screenings go to: hbo.com/mind-over-murder

Mind Over Murder debuts MONDAY, JUNE 20 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT) with new episodes airing subsequent Mondays at the same time on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“[Wang’s] comprehensive style, particularly her uncanny ability to diagram how authoritative systems can act against vulnerable individuals, somehow moves with a sharper precision than ever in “Mind Over Murder.”’ – Robert Daniels, RogerEbert.com

“Astonishing, enthralling” – John Anderson, Wall Street Journal

“Still, at least some of the key figures in this decades-long nightmare seem to have reached some measure of closure, though just about everyone is still haunted by the events of 1985…” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

“Superbly carried out…a complex attempt at using art to determine and reveal the truth—and, also, to help bring about some measure of healing.” – Nick Schager, The Daily Beast

Civil: Ben Crump – Director Nadia Hallgren

From Emmy-nominated Director Nadia Hallgren and producers Kenya Barris & Roger Ross Williams comes the NETFLIX documentary CIVIL/BEN CRUMP. CIVIL is an intimate vérité look at the life of maverick civil rights attorney Ben Crump and his mission to raise the value of Black life in America. CIVIL follows a year in the life of Crump as takes on the civil cases for the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Black farmers, and “Banking while Black” victims, in doing so challenging America to come to terms with what it owes his clients. Peeling back the many layers of Crump, Hallgren gives a behind-the-scenes look at his upbringing and his balance of work and family life. CIVIL also underscores other countless issues Crump is passionate about including environmental justice and banking while Black. Director / Cinematographer Nadia Hallgren joins us for a conversation on the profoundly significant role that Ben Crump has taken on, symbolically and practically for the African American community. Hallgren’s multi-layered approach to storytelling provides the viewer with a window into Mr. Crump’s world of rampant state sanctioned carnage, grief counseling and legal triage.

 

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To watch go to: netflix.com/CIVIL

CIVIL is produced by Kenya Barris, Roger Ross Williams, Lauren Cioffi and Nadia Hallgren and executive produced by Erynn Sampson, Matthew Carnahan and Geoff Martz.

About the filmmaker – Nadia Hallgren is an award-winning filmmaker and cinematographer from The Bronx, New York. She directed the four time Emmy-nominated documentary Becoming (2020) and made history as the first person to receive Emmy nominations for both Outstanding Directing for a Documentary / Nonfiction Program and Outstanding Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program on the same project. In 2019, her documentary short After Maria was shortlisted for an Academy Award. Hallgren won the Special Jury prize at SXSW in 2018 for her independent documentary series She’s The Ticket and a Webby Award for Gavin Grimm Vs. Hallgren has also contributed to such notable feature documentaries as Fahrenheit 9/11Searching for Sugarman and The Hunting Ground, and she serves on the board of the Bronx Documentary Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sharing photography and film with underserved Bronx communities.

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80% on RottenTomatoes

“Crump’s nickname is “America’s Black attorney general,” and in a new Netflix documentary, we get to know a little about him.” – G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle

“Civil is a chronicle of a proud man who carries a sad history everywhere he goes.” – M.N. Miller, Ready Steady Cut

“We walk away grateful that his clients have an advocate, while wondering if there is any chance at all for this nation to lessen his load.” – Elizabeth Weitzman, TheWrap

“The portraits in “Civil” are allowed to transform from narrow and singular, as frequently depicted by mass media, to vivid and multifaceted.” – Siddhant Adlakha, indieWire

Chernobyl: The Lost Tapes – Director James Jones

Directed by Emmy®-winning filmmaker James Jones (Mosul), CHERNOBYL: THE LOST TAPES, is the powerful and at times graphic film that tells the story of the disaster and its far-reaching ripple effects entirely through extraordinary and immersive footage, shot on site in the hours, days, weeks and months following the accident. As soldiers, pilots and miners were called on to help contain the radiation at huge physical risk, the Soviet apparat continued to deny and distort the enormity of the situation. Deeply personal witness testimony contextualizes the tragedy, providing an overview of life in Chernobyl before the meltdown and harrowing details of its aftermath. Government propaganda films illustrate the Soviet Union’s pride in its nuclear program and news reports show President Gorbachev’s delayed and mendacious announcements to his trusting countrymen. Thirty-six years after the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded in Soviet Ukraine, newly uncovered archival footage and recorded interviews with those who were present paint an emotional and gripping portrait of the extent and gravity of the disaster and the lengths to which the Soviet government went to cover up the incident, including the soldiers sent in to “liquidate” the damage. CHERNOBYL: THE LOST TAPES is the full, unvarnished true story of what happened in one of the least understood tragedies of the twentieth century. Director James Jones (Mosul) joins us for a conversation on why this man-made disaster holds lessons for people today regarding disinformation and its deadly consequences, the very real dangers that shadow the hundreds of nuclear power currently operating around the world and the arrogance of unchecked power and unaccountable political leadership.

 

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For news and screenings go to: hbo.com/chernobyl-the-lost-tapes

CHERNOBYL: THE LOST TAPES debuts WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22 (9:00-10:35 p.m. ET/PT) on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.

About the filmmaker – James Jones is an award-winning British director who makes documentary films for international television and theatrical release. He has just finished a feature documentary about Chernobyl and is currently working on a series for Apple TV.His documentaries tell extraordinary human stories from all over the world with compassion and sensitivity. The films combine journalistic rigor with a distinctive cinematic sensibility. He has made films about police shootings in America, the drugs war in the Philippines, suicide in the military, wars in Ukraine, Iraq, and Gaza, and riots in the UK. They have been shown on the BBC, Channel 4, Sky, PBS, Netflix and HBO. His films have won two Emmys, three DuPonts, a Grierson, a Rory Peck, a Frontline Club, a Royal Television Society, a Broadcast Award, two Overseas Press Club of America, two Golden Nymphs, Best UK Feature at Raindance, and a Venice TV Award, as well as being nominated five times at the BAFTAs. His film on the drug war in the Philippines – On The President’s Orders – for Frontline PBS, ARTE France, BBC Storyville and Bertha Doc Society, described by Variety as “a wholly cinematic, sensory experience”, played at festivals and won awards around the world. For more: jonesfilms.net

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“A vivid portrait of the human cost for malfeasance and authoritarianism.” – Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times

“It’s less concerned with the tapes themselves than with the act of bearing witness.” – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times

“An important and sickening story told by the surviving workers and civilians with archival film and audio effectively illustrating a story to remember.” – Peter Canavese, Celluloid Dreams

“It’s a difficult watch, but Chernobyl: The Lost Tapes is one of the year’s best documentaries.” – John Serba, Decider

“The Lost Tapes is a chronicle of folly, which makes it perversely fascinating and, one hopes, cautionary.” – John Anderson, Wall Street Journal

BEBA – Director Rebeca Huntt

First-time feature filmmaker Rebeca “Beba” Huntt undertakes an unflinching exploration of her own identity in the remarkable coming-of-age documentary / cinematic memoir BEBA. Reflecting on her childhood and adolescence in New York City as the daughter of a Dominican father and Venezuelan mother, Huntt investigates the historical, societal, and generational trauma she’s inherited and ponders how those ancient wounds have shaped her, while simultaneously considering the universal truths that connect us all as humans. Throughout BEBA, Huntt searches for a way to forge her own creative path amid a landscape of intense racial and political unrest. BEBA is a courageous, deeply human self-portrait of an Afro-Latina artist hungry for knowledge and yearning for connection. Director Rebecca Huntt joins us for a conversation on her collaboration with producer Sofia Gold and how that impacted her poetic, powerful and profound project.

 

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For news and screenings go to: bebafilm.com

About the filmmaker – Writer, Director and Producer Rebeca Huntt is an Afro-Latina Writer/Director born and raised in New York City. She wrote and directed her first feature-length film, BEBA, which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival and will be released by NEON in 2022. She premiered her short film “1-800 Lovable” at the 2020 BlackStar Film Festival, and has also screened at Oaxaca Film Festival, The Tide Film Festival, Athena Film Festival, Art of Brooklyn Film Festival, and The Fader Magazine. Rebeca was recently included in DOC NYC’s 40 under 40 list and was a participant in The Gotham Documentary Lab.

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83% on RottenTomatoes

“It is deeply personal, a memoir of sorts-but it is certainly not another navel gazing experience. Beba goes beyond the usual tropes associated with that style to express more about history and society than any conventional documentary could hope to do.” – Barbara Goslawski, That Shelf

“POETIC AND RAW Rebeca Huntt demands attention the moment BEBA begins.” – Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter

“HYPNOTIC, GORGEOUS, FASCINATING”- Robert Daniels, IndieWire

 “UNMISSABLE” – Joseph Nolfi, Entertainment Weekly

“A gorgeous visual memoir laced with poetry, memory, and truth.” – Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com

Bitterbrush – Director Emelie Mahdavian

Emelie Mahdavian’s sweeping documentary BITTERBRUSH follows Hollyn Patterson and Colie Moline, range riders who are spending their last summer herding cattle in remote Idaho. Totally off the grid with only their dogs as companions, Hollyn and Colie brave inclement weather and perilous work conditions while pondering their futures. A portrait of friendship, life transitions, and the work of two skilled young women in the isolated and beautiful landscape of the American West, BITTERBRUSH is an intimate portrayal of a way of life rarely seen on film that takes us beyond the “oh look” stereotypes of women’s work and celebrates the excellence of their skill and expanding capacity to adapt. Director Emelie Mahdavian joins us to talk about the logistical challenges of capturing the stunningly beautiful and rugged terrain that Hollyn and Colie have to navigate, conveying the tension that comes from doing what you love in a potentially very dangerous “workplace” while highlighting the friendship and teamwork that is at the heart of this enthralling journey.

 

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For updates and screenings go to: magpictures.com/bitterbrush

Watch at home: magpictures.com/bitterbrush

About the filmmaker – Director / Producer / Editor Emelie Mahdavian is an Emmy, Peabody, and Sundance Award-winning filmmaker who was selected for DOCNYC’s 2020 “40 Under 40” list. She produced, wrote, and edited MIDNIGHT TRAVELER, which won numerous international prizes and was nominated for a Gotham Award for Best Documentary. Previously, she created dance films which screened at Dance on Camera at Lincoln Center and other international museums and festivals. She is currently developing a nonfiction feature with Alonzo King Lines Ballet and writing a narrative feature set in the American West. Emelie was previously a professional dancer and has a Ph.D. in Performance Studies with an emphasis on Film Practice as Research from the University of California, Davis. She is an Assistant Professor in the department of Film and Media Arts at the University of Utah. 

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85% on RottenTomatoes

“A captivating and meditative look at two intrepid young women surviving — and seasonally thriving — in a traditionally male-dominated field: cattle herding.” – Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times

“Throughout the pair’s gentle encouragement to one another and offers of help (usually refused) add up to a lovely depiction of friendship that often doesn’t make it onto cameras.” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest

“It poses piercing existential questions about purpose and independence, particularly for women choosing work that has long been deemed the exclusive province of men.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

“With “Bitterbrush,” Mahdavian announces herself as a filmmaker with a keen eye for capturing the contradictions and complexities of outsider women’s lives.” – Kristen Lopez, indieWire

““Bitterbrush” resides in the cowboying of memory and legend, a grueling gig of man-or-woman-handling beasts in glorious, simple solitude and some of the last unspoiled scenery in America.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

Brian and Charles – Director Jim Archer

BRIAN AND CHARLES follows Brian, a lonely inventor in rural Wales, who spends his days building quirky, unconventional contraptions that seldom work. Undeterred by his lack of success,  Brian decides to build a robot for company. ‘Charles’ is not only Brian’s most successful invention, but he appears to have a personality all of his own and quickly becomes Brian’s best friend, curing his loneliness and opening Brian’s eyes to a new way of living. However, Charles creates more problems than Brian bargained for, and the timid inventor has to face-up to several issues in his life; his eccentric ways, a local bully, and the woman he’s always been fond of but never had the nerve to talk to. BRIAN & CHARLES is a feel-good comedy about friendship, love, and letting go. And a 7ft tall robot that eats cabbages. Director Jim Archer joins us for a conversation on how the project came into his life, finding the right location for evoking the off-kilter ambiance of the story and capturing the mixture of quirky, funny and endearing that has allowed BRIAN AND CHARLES take hold of audiences everywhere it has been screened.   

 

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For news and screenings go to: focusfeatures.com/brian-and-charles

About the filmmaker – Director / writer Jim Archer is a brilliant comedy director, with an understated, observational style, hailing from every single part of East Anglia. Watching TV comedies on a Friday night as a kid – SpacedBig TrainGarth Marenghi – turned into filming sketches with friends. Biggest sketch with friends thus far is his (FOCUS features distributed) debut feature Brian and Charles, aka, “the funniest film at the sundance festival” (doesn’t sound too bad.)Has a brand new Channel 4 comedy series, Big Boys, launching at the end of May and an abundance of hilarious award winning shorts and TV already under his belt. Also does stand-up comedy above a pub in East London (now and then.) Once hit a bee with a frisbee.  For more: mindseye/director/jim-archer

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86% on RottenTomatoes

“The humorous and inventive story of Brian and Charles sticks because it is so original yet familiar. It doesn’t need high-profile actors, names, and places to strike a chord because it is a high-five to the unsung, unappreciated underdog.” – Sabina Dana Plasse, Film Threat

“Here’s some Frankenstein and some Wallace and Gromit and some that is entirely Brian and Charles’s own; the mockumentary-style comedy, directed by Jim Archer, is sweet, funny, weird, and heartwarming.” – Alissa Wilkinson, Vox

“The tremendously charming voice acting from Hayward and the puppeteer work from whoever is dancing around inside that suit, aided by Hayward and Earl’s delightfully daffy script, creates in “Charles Petrescu” a character for the ages” – Jason Adams, Pajiba

“A wholesome and moving depiction of friendship and loneliness. Stay through the end credits, trust me. You’ll thank me later.” – Rosa Parra, Latinx Lens

After Sherman – Director Jon-Sesrie Goff

Beautifully layered and expressionistic, AFTER SHERMAN is a story about inheritance and the tension that defines our collective American history, especially Black history. Director Jon Sesrie Goff follows his father, a minister, in the aftermath of a mass shooting at his church in Charleston, South Carolina to understand how communities of descendants of enslaved Africans use their unique faith as a form of survival as they continue to fight for America to live up to its many unfulfilled promises to Black Americans. Goff’s feature documentary debut, lays out intimate accounts of the lives of the Black community in the filmmaker’s Black Belt hometown, on land that has been in his family for 150 years, where they were once enslaved. Now transformed, primarily on the backs and resourcefulness of Black people, and thriving as a wedding destination, it stands as a reminder of the painful, cross-generational consequences of racism, and a validation of life’s beauty. Pure cinematic poetry informed by a history still to be conclusively reckoned with, AFTER SHERMAN foregrounds the Southern Black experience while posing complicated questions about home and ownership that it isn’t so presumptuous to believe it can readily answer. Director Jon Sesrie Goff joins us for a conversation on the many ways that our country’s hidden history, bigoted culture, blinding greed, deceitful religious leadership and cynically racist political system has failed an astonishingly resilient people.

 

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For news and updates go to: aftersherman.com

Director’s Statement – You can reach the land by dirt road, or by boat if you sail down the Santee River towards the Atlantic. This plot of land has been in my family since the 1860s, when it was purchased by my ancestors after emancipation. The Hopswee plantation, where they were once enslaved still stands a mile away, now a wedding destination. The land presents unanswered questions about ownership, belonging, citizenship and history. Its transformation from marsh to the mainline of American rice and wealth was predicated on the skilled labor and ingenuity of Africans, primarily from the rice coast of western Africa. The fields were abandoned after Emancipation, when the formerly enslaved left for other trades. The land’s potential still exists. One day I will inherit this land. And I will inherit all of this history and presence that comes with it. – Jon Sesrie Goff 

About the filmmaker – Jon-Sesrie Goff is a multidisciplinary artist and arts leader. He has an MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts from Duke University. With extensive experience in media and film production, Jon has offered his lens to a variety of projects spanning many genres including award-winning documentaries, including Out in the Night (POV, Logo 2015), Evolution of a Criminal (Independent Lens 2015), and Spit on the Broom (2019), among several other projects. His personal practice involves extensive institutional, community, and personal archival research, photo, and film documentation, as well as oral history interviews in the coastal South on the legacy of Black land ownership and Gullah Geechee heritage preservation. Jon engages with his work from the paradigm of a social change instigator.

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“Jon-Sesrie Goff’s “After Sherman” serves as both a psalm of thanksgiving and a cry of lamentation for the family legacy he claims as well as the cultural history he cannot escape.” – Marshall Shaffer, The Playlist

“While After Sherman fulfills [its] mission, it’s most captivating when it burrows into Goff’s personal history, recording the stories and rituals of his Gullah Geechee community.” – Lovia Gyarkye, Hollywood Reporter

Tahara – Director Olivia Peace and Screenwriter Jess Zeidman

In this acerbic part teen comedy, part drama, TAHARA, where a funeral becomes a battleground between best friends Carrie Lowstein (Madeline Grey DeFreece) and Hannah Rosen (Rachel Sennott, breakout star of SHIVA BABY). When their former Hebrew school classmate commits suicide, the two girls attend her funeral as well as the “Teen Talk-back” session hosted by their synagogue, designed to be an opportunity for them to understand grief through Judaism. Hannah, more interested in impressing her crush Tristan (Daniel Taveras), convinces Carrie to practice kissing with her, unlocking feelings that turn Carrie’s world upside down. Emotions heightened, the scene develops into a biting depiction of unrequited crushes, toxic friendships, and wavering faith, which ComingSoon calls “one of the most original films in the coming-of-age sub-genre in a long time.” Director Olivia Peace and Screenwriter Jess Zeidman join us for an in-depth conversation on the collaboration between them, the superb cast that was assembled for this exceptionally well executed story of love, death and teen angst.

 

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For updates and screenings go to: filmmovement.com/tahara

About the filmmaker -Olivia Peace is an award winning inter-disciplinary artist and film director from Detroit, Michigan living in Los Angeles. Their work is heavily informed by hip hop, the dreamspace, and a deep appreciation for garishness. They hold a master’s degree in Interactive Media and Games from The University of Southern California where they specialized in Worldbuilding. Their thesis project, “Against Reality,” is a roomscale interactive experience built using AI neural networks.While still in their master’s program, Olivia’s debut feature film, TAHARA, premiered to rave reviews at the 2020 Slamdance Film festival and went on to win awards around the world. TAHARA opened in theaters June 2022 via Film Movement becoming a New York Times Critic’s Pick.Olivia remains committed to discussing and exploring critical imagination and radical optimism in the face of loss and change. They believe that style helps to facilitate agency in people and so they set out to create work that’s replete with style.

About the filmmaker – Writer, Producer, Comedian Jess Zeidman is a writer, comedian, and producer living in Brooklyn, NY. Her work explores toxic female friendship, sexuality, and trauma through comedy. As a queer creator and collaborator, Jess is dedicated to inclusivity and accessibility at every step of production. Her first feature, TAHARA, which she wrote & co-produced, premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival in 2020 and has gone on to be a part of Outfest, Maryland Film Festival, Frameline, and more.  Previously, she has written for the satirical website Reductress and the indie food publication Cherry Bombe. Jess graduated from Northwestern University with a BA in Radio/Television/Film and a minor in Theatre in 2018.

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“Tahara would be nothing without the wonderful performances of Sennott and DeFreece. I can’t say enough about the acting. I would also be remiss in not highlighting how funny Tahara is. Lastly, yes, we’ve seen high school classrooms in comedies of the past with your stereotypical cliques. Tahara’s handling of this tried-and-true comic set-up feels fresh and alive.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat

“This is truly one of the most original films in the coming-of-age subgenre in a long time.” – Grant Hermanns, ComingSoon.net

“Brilliantly crafted, intelligent, honest, funny, stylishly cinematic, and serves as a powerful feature debut for director Olivia Peace and screenwriter Jess Ziedman.” – Rendy Jones, Rendy Reviews

“So much conversation can be had around this film, which is why it’s a must-watch. It’s a sharp dark comedy with fantastic lead performances from Madeline Grey DeFreece and Rachel Sennott. It’s a unique debut, and with poignancy shows the importance of growing into ourselves and out of toxic relationships.” – Sara Clements, AwardsWatch

“Peace’s film emerges as a keen-eyed examination of contemporary teenage intimacy.” – Manuel Betancourt, That Shelf

End of the Line – Director Emmett Adler

Award-winning filmmaker Emmett Adler’s feature documentary END OF THE LINE is a character-driven political drama about the New York City subway crisis and a long overdue reckoning on infrastructure. Establishing the vital economic importance and grandeur of New York City’s historic subway system, the film dives into its dire modern-day troubles picking up in the late 2010s when flooding, overcrowding, power failures, and derailments have become commonplace. After a particularly bad spate of disasters in the summer of 2017, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proclaims a state of emergency and hires a new international wunderkind executive named Andy Byford to save the subways. Byford, an earnest Briton with an impressive resume, enters as a charismatic would-be hero. As the political turmoil behind the subway’s decline comes into sharp focus, scenes in barbershops, bodegas, and bakeries show the frustration and devastation among business owners and residents who are caught in the middle.  Director Emmett Adler seamlessly captures the hurly-burly of New York – State and City – politics, the daily miracle of moving nine million people across the five NYC burroughs, the immensity of the challenges facing anyone willing and able to “fix” the MTA and clashing politicos, bureaucrats and transportation engineers who all think they know what’s best.

 

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For updates and screenings go to: endofthelinedoc.com

END OF THE LINE is dedicated to the heroic New York City transit workers who lost their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic.

END OF THE LINE will be released on digital and cable on demand on Tuesday, June 14.

About the filmmaker – Emmett Adler is an Emmy-winning filmmaker who has taught art in Shenzhen, China, was once a chess champion in the state of Illinois and can juggle pins while walking on stilts. He has over a decade of experience as a freelance documentary and commercial film editor. In 2021, he made his directorial debut with the feature documentary END OF THE LINE which premiered to sold out audiences at DOC NYC film festival. He is also the founder and director of the global networking organization, the Video Consortium’s Chicago chapter. For more: emmettadler.com

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“A really interesting look at urban transportation along with the corruption and tragedy of politics.” – Lael Loewenstein, FilmWeek (KPCC – NPR Los Angeles)

Kaepernick & America – Co-directors Tommy Walker and Ross Hockrow

2022 Tribeca Film Festival

Tommy Walker and Ross Hockrow’s documentary short KAEPERNICK & AMERICA takes us back to the summer of 2016, an election year with unrest rumbling through America. There were countless triggers – the murder videos of Philando Castille and Alton Sterling, the counterpunch of Alt-Right and Fake News, Black Lives Matter, Russian meddling – a discordant national cauldron ready to boil over. It was the birth of Trumpism, but no knew it yet. Then, Colin Kaepernick took a knee and America lost its mind. Kaep’s knee touched down on the divide between America’s Black and white tectonic plates, creating an earthquake in the eternal race debate. The aftershocks of his singular gesture have already rippled through our country for years. Kaepernick himself answered any and all thoughtful questions for a time, then stopped talking. And the resulting quiet has allowed for a thoughtful examination of the man and his story. It reveals layer upon layer of surprises and contradictions.  Raised in a white family, he became a Black quarterback, while in fact, he is an adopted, biracial man. Co-directors Tommy Walker and Ross Hockrow join us to talk about their deep dive into the story behind the headlines and in doing so provide us with insight into how and why this inherently shy young man became the center of attention still dealing with the scourge of racism in America.

 

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For updates and screenings go to: tribecafilm.com/kaepernick-america

About the filmmaker – Tommy Walker is an esteemed producer and director of documentary film and television who has devoted his life to stories about race and identity. His most recent film was Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, an artful and intimate meditation on the legendary Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. That film earned Walker an Emmy nomination. He co-directed and produced the feature length theatrical documentary, God Grew Tired of Us, which won Best Documentary and the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. He produced 13 films for The List series, including three episodes of The Black List for HBO. Other titles include Mandela in America, Tutu and Franklin – A Journey towards Peace, and With All Deliberate Speed.

About the filmmaker – Ross Hockrow is a rising star in the documentary world, bringing his myriad filmmaking skills to a range of projects.   Kaepernick & America is his latest effort, on which he is credited as director and editor.  He has contributed in those roles as well as DP on a range of documentary films including Born Strong (Netflix), Finding Giannis (TNT),  The Fieldhouse (2021 Discovery+), Valley of Sin (2020 Fox), Woman of Troy (2020 HBO), We Town (2018 SI/Amazon), Foreman (2017 Epix/NBC Universal),  An Act of Love (2016 Apple) and Pot Barons of Colorado (2014 MSNBC).   Previously, he wrote, directed and edited a long list of scripted films.

50-Year Anniversary of Deep Throat – Director Gerard Damiano Sr, Our Guests – Gerard Damiano Jr. (son), Christar Damiano (daughter), & Robin Leonardi

The cultural phenomena known that became known as “porn chic” was the catapulted into mainstreet America by the adult film Deep Throat. Director and writer Gerard Damiano Sr’s “story” involves an unsatisfied and unfulfilled young woman (Linda Lovelace), who derives little pleasure from conventional sex. She feels a lot of “little tingles”, but wants “Bells Ringing! Dams Bursting! and Bombs going off!” Her roommate (Dolly Sharp ) sends her to an unconventional therapist (Harry Reems), who discovers the root of her problem. Her clitoris is  deep down in her throat! The solution: a technique known as “Deep Throat.” Gerard Damiano Jr. (son), Christar Damiano (daughter), & Robin Leonardi, daughter of adult film actress / feminist Robin Leonardi join us for a conversation on the cultural impact of the iconic film, the righteous backlash against the film, the fight for free speech triggered by the film being banned and the film’s playfully subversive celebration of a woman’s desire for sexual gratification.

For more on Deep Throat go to: damianofilms.com

The backstory –  This light, campy, comedy was one of the first full length feature films to include hard-core sex and became an instant phenomenon. Made in 1972 for a mere $25,000, it was reported to have made over $600,000,000. The response was not all positive. Conservative Christian groups and Anti-Porn Feminists sought to ban on the film. It was prosecuted on both local and federal levels resulting in many high-profile cases reaching all the way to the Supreme Court. “Deep Throat” became a household word and lent its name to the Watergate informant who brought down then President Richard Nixon. It enjoys a cult status today. “Deep Throat” has been referenced in all forms of popular culture from late night monologues to feature films. It has inspired songs, books, movies, musicals, even a rock opera.

About our guests – Damiano Film, LLC Noted auteur filmmaker Gerard Damiano Sr. is best known for the iconic film “Deep Throat,” but went on to make some of the best and most critically acclaimed films of the genre. Damiano Films LLC was founded by his son Gerard Damiano Jr. and daughter Christar, to preserve their father’s legacy. They are lovingly restoring his most significant films such as “The Devil in Miss Jones, ” “Memories within Miss Aggie,” the cult classic “Let My Puppets Come,” as well as his masterpiece “The Story of Joanna.” The Damianos are joined by Robin Leonardi, daughter of legendary Porn Star and Activist Gloria Leonard. Together they represent the second generation of the pioneers of “The Golden Age of Porn.” bookings@damianofilms.com

Escape the Field – Director Emerson Moore

In Emerson Moore’s latest film, ESCAPE THE FIELD, the fear is inescapable and the suspense non-stop when six complete strangers suddenly awaken in a remote, endless cornfield. Stripped of their possessions, they are left with only six items: a gun with a single bullet, matches, a lantern, a knife, a compass, and a flask of water. As mysterious sirens blare in the distance and traps appear at every turn, the group realizes it’s been plunged into a cat-and-mouse game with an unseen evil, and survival depends upon solving a diabolical – and deadly – puzzle in this non-stop, horror thriller. ESCAPE THE FIELD is careful balance of drama, tension and fear, combined with survival, anticipation and violence. Inspired by films like Jaws, The Ring and The Conjuring, director and co-writer Emerson Moore creates strong characters and a visual style that is kinetic – forward momentum with presence and purpose.

 

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For news and screenings go to: lionsgate.com/escape-the-field

About the filmmaker – Director-Writer-Producer Emerson Moore was born and raised in Los Angeles. After finishing college at Old Dominion University and opting out of film school at NYU for real world experience, he headed back to Los Angeles and began his career in the film industry with a position at Cognito Films. While at Cognito Films he worked under multiple directors, including Danny Boyle and Gary Weiss, on several projects and commercials. This provided rapid fire experience in filmmaking processes from start to finish and exposure to multiple different styles of directing. After Cognito Films, he moved to Original Films commercial and music video department. Here he honed in on visual storytelling, style and emerging digital formats. In 2002 he founded 342Media, a design and production company. A quick success, known for outstanding creativity, the company quickly grew to ten employees. Through 2007 Emerson wrote, directed and produced original and supplemental content for clients such as Disney, Paramount, Fox, Sony and Lionsgate.  In 2007, Emerson founded Anacapa Pictures and produced his first feature film, THE FORLORN (Starring: Crispin Glover, Clayne Crawford, Mark Boone Junior and Christian Kane). Since then, he has produced over ten feature films including, ASSASSINATION NATION (Starring: Bill Skarsgard, Suki Waterhouse, Maude Apatow and Joel McHale), GHOSTS OF WAR (Starring: Brenton Thwaites and Theo Rossi), and THE MONSTER (Starring: Zoe Kazan and Scott Speedman). 

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Neptune Frost – Co-director Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman

NEPTUNE FROST is a multi-hyphenate, multidisciplinary from the hearts and minds of artists Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman. They bring their unique dynamism to this Afrofuturist vision, a sci-fi punk musical that’s a visually wondrous amalgamation of themes, ideas, and songs that Williams has explored in his work, notably his 2016 album MartyrLoserKing. Co-directed with his partner, the Rwandan-born artist and cinematographer Uzeyman, NEPTUNE FROST takes place in the hilltops of Burundi, where a group of escaped coltan miners form an anti-colonialist computer hacker collective. From their camp in an otherworldly e-waste dump, they attempt a takeover of the authoritarian regime exploiting the region’s natural resources – and its people. When an intersex runaway and an escaped coltan miner find each other through cosmic forces, their connection sparks glitches within the greater divine circuitry. Set between states of being – past and present, dream and waking life, colonized and free, male and female, memory and prescience,  Neptune Frost co-directors Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman bring an invigorating and empowering direct download to the cerebral cortex and a call to reclaim technology for progressive political ends.

 

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For updates and screenings go to: kinolorber.com/NeptuneFrost

OFFICIAL SELECTIONS:
Cannes’ Directors Fortnight,
Toronto International Film Festival,
The New York Film Festival,
BFI London,
Sundance Film Festival

100% on RottenTomatoes

“Transmitting a massive download of ideas into one film, there’s no doubt that Williams and Uzeyman have creativity to spare, and they deserve all the support they can get to share it with the world.” – Jude Dry, indieWire

“The future of Black film… Pure cinematic power.” – Jourdain Searles, The Hollywood Reporter

“It does not court our understanding, it does not make following easy, but it does whisper to us and spark connections. In that way, it is like a dream: fitful, feverish, promising.” – Lisa Kennedy, Variety

“Dizzyingly inventive… [with] fierce originality and punk iconoclasm. A wholly original piece of world-building.” – Wendy Ide, Screen Daily 

“A future cult classic in the making.” – Dustin Chang, Screen Anarchy

Miracle (Miracol) – Director Bogdan George Apreti

Divided into two chapters, director Bogdan George Apetri’s MIRACLE begins with the young, beautiful Cristina Tofan (Ioana Bugarin) sneaking away from an isolated convent. Working in the style of the Romanian New Wave, Apetri withholds key information about her motives as we follow her enigmatic journey, allowing tension to steadily build to a wavering precipice. The film’s second part follows Marius Preda (Emanuel Pârvu), a determined inspector retracing Cristina’s steps days after her departure. Here, the narrative opens into both gripping police thriller and devastating social commentary, as Marius gradually uncovers clues and revelations leading not only to the unfathomable truth behind Cristina’s mysterious actions, but possibly, to an actual miracle as well. Director / writer Bogdan George Apetri joins us for a conversation on the multi-part story, of which Miracle is one part, that he is in the process of telling, the decision to lean into long tracking shots, recruiting a superb cast of actors into Miracle and Unidentified and his love of cinema.

 

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For updates and screenings go to: filmmovement.com/miracle

About the filmmaker – Bogdan George Apetri is a Romanian filmmaker, born in 1976 in Piatra Neamt. In 2010, he directed PERIFERIC (Outbound). The film screened and won awards at prestigious festivals (Locarno, Toronto, Warsaw, Rotterdam, New Directors/New Films, Thessaloniki, Viennale). In 2019 he directed NEIDENTIFICAT  (Unidentified), which won the Special Jury Prize at the Warsaw International Film Festival. MIRACLE is his third feature film. As a producer working in the US, Bogdan produced many films that won awards at the Sundance Film Festival, were selected at Cannes and other major festivals and were distributed around the world. He teaches Directing at Columbia University in New York.

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“A crime drama that could rekindle Romanian cinema. Bogdan George Apetri holds the audience and then, in the last scene, melts it with a single audacious teardrop.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“Miracle lives up to its name, seamlessly blending narrative, style and technique with devastating results. Simple in scope, yet complex and precise in its execution, the result is a marvel befitting its title.” – Warren Cantrell, The Playlist
“Miracle retains its stranglehold for a swift-seeming two hours and ends with images that ensure plenty to chew over afterwards. The director’s approach is devastatingly effective.” – Allan Hunter, Screen Daily
“Bogdan George Apetri offers a rare, gripping Romanian thriller that tells an unpredictable, violent story while commenting on Romanian society.” – Ştefan Dobroiu, Cineuropa

Catching a Killer – Co-director & Executive Producer Jezza Nuemann

The highly entertaining multi-part, real-life crime documentary series, CATCHING A KILLER, offers an unprecedented 360-degree access into a thoroughly modern murder investigation. This innovative and ratings-winning series, deemed the ‘Real life Inspector Morse’, follows major crime investigations from start to finish. Each documentary film is self-contained and follows the work of one major investigation – covering some of the most serious and challenging crimes facing this tri-county force. Beyond the blue flashing lights, how does a major crime investigation work? How do partner agencies come together to support a major investigation? And how much work really goes on behind the scenes to gain a successful outcome in court? Co-director and Executive Producer Jezza Neumann joins us for a conversation on the backstory that led to this impeccably produced five-part documentary series, gaining the confidence of law enforcement and members of the victim’s families and the stress and strain of being ready to pick up a camera on a moments notice.

 

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To watch go to: topic.com/coming-soon-to-topic

For updates and screenings go to: topic.com

About the seriesTOPIC is the criminally good streaming service from First Look Entertainment for thrillers, mysteries, dramas and documentaries from around the world, serving viewers who crave entertainment beyond the mainstream.Topic showcases an unparalleled collection of creators, perspectives and experiences. Complemented by our Topic Originals, we prioritize bold storytelling and champion underrepresented voices. Topic Originals and exclusives include Oscar® nominee The Letter Room (starring Oscar Isaac), Lambs of God (starring Ann Dowd), BAFTA® nominee The Virtues (starring Stephen Graham), Emmy® nominee The Accidental Wolf (starring Kelli O’Hara). Topic is available to US and Canadian audiences on topic.com,  AppleTV & iOS, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android & Android TV, Samsung, Apple TV Channels, Roku Premium Channels, Bell Fibe, Amazon Prime Video Channels, Comcast and Comcast’s entertainment platforms, including Xfinity X1, Xfinity Flex and XClass TV.

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AWARDS & NOMINATIONS
Royal Television Society  – WINNER Best Documentary Series
Royal Television Society  –  WINNER Professional Excellence: Factual Production
BAFTA nominated – Anna Hall for Best Director
BAFTA nominated – Best Factual Series 2018
Broadcast Awards Shortlist – Best Documentary Series
Televisual Bulldog Awards – Best Documentary Series

 

★★★★★” One word could describe Catching a Killer […] — exceptional. You might add two more: “extraordinary” and “riveting”. – The Times
“The documentary holds your attention like the best police dramas.”  – The Guardian
“A gripping insight into murder, drugs and bias” – The Telegraph

 

About the seriesTOPIC is the criminally good streaming service from First Look Entertainment for thrillers, mysteries, dramas and documentaries from around the world, serving viewers who crave entertainment beyond the mainstream.Topic showcases an unparalleled collection of creators, perspectives and experiences. Complemented by our Topic Originals, we prioritize bold storytelling  and champion underrepresented voices. Topic Originals and exclusives include Oscar® nominee The Letter Room (starring Oscar Isaac), Lambs of God (starring Ann Dowd), BAFTA® nominee The Virtues (starring Stephen Graham), Emmy® nominee The Accidental Wolf (starring Kelli O’Hara). Topic is available to US and Canadian audiences on topic.com,  AppleTV & iOS, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android & Android TV, Samsung, Apple TV Channels, Roku Premium Channels, Bell Fibe, Amazon Prime Video Channels, Comcast and Comcast’s entertainment platforms, including Xfinity X1, Xfinity Flex and XClass TV.

The Story Won’t Die – Director David Henry Gerson

From Award-winning filmmaker David Henry Gerson a documentary short, THE STORY WON’T DIE. It’s an inspiring, timely look at a young generation of Syrian artists who use their work to protest and process what is currently the world’s largest and longest ongoing displacement of people since World War II. THE STORY WON’T DIE was produced by Sundance Award-winning producer Odessa Rae (Navalny). and geature a wide variety of Syrian born artist that includes; Rapper Abu Hajar, post-Rock musician (Anas Maghrebi), members of the first all-female Syrian rock band (Bahila Hijazi and Lynn Mayya), break-dancer (Bboy Shadow), choreographer (Medhat Aldaabal), and visual artists (Tammam Azzam, Omar Imam and Diala Brisly). All of these talented artists use their art to rise in revolution and endure in exile in this new documentary reflecting on a battle for peace, justice and freedom of expression. It is an uplifting and humanizing look at what it means to be a refugee in today’s world and offers inspiring and hopeful vantages on a creative response to the chaos of war. Director David Henry Gerson stops by to talk about his exploration of artists / activists forced to flee one of the world’s most repressive regimes, away from family and loved ones, but still committed to their art, community and hope for a time when they can return to their beloved country.

 

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For updates and screenings go to: thestorywontdie.com

To watch: thestorywontdie.com/screenings

THE STORY WON’T DIE will be released theatrically in Los Angeles on Friday, June 10 (Laemmle Cinemas) and in New York (Cinema Village) on Friday, June 17.

A worldwide VOD release on major platforms will follow on June 21 (Timed to coincide with (World Refugee Day)

About the filmmaker – David Henry Gerson is a filmmaker whose work has won prizes from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Sundance Film Festival, and has been acquired into the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in NY. He is a graduate of Columbia University and the American Film Institute, where he was the recipient of the AFI Richard P. Rodgers Award for Creative Excellence. His film, ALL THESE VOICES, won the Student Academy Award®. David’s spec screenplay, ABOVE KINGS, was nominated to the Tracking Board Hit List and was a semifinalist for the Academy’s Nicholl Fellowship. His documentary film ULTRA VIOLET FOR SIXTEEN MINUTES (“Totally engaging” – Al Maysles), screened at festivals worldwide, the Pompidou Museum in Paris, and was acquired into the permanent collection of the MoMA. THE STORY WON’T DIE is his debut feature. For more go to: davidhenrygerson.com

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“The outrage in these artists will always remain, but The Story Won’t Die shows how they come to find some wisdom about it, too.” – Alan Zilberman, Washington City Paper

“Gerson’s film successfully keeps the big picture and the smaller canvas in conscientious balance, disrupting overwhelming tragedy with more hopeful flashes of invention and inspiration.” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“Personal and important, The Story Won’t Die is not only a needed piece of cinema but is also a quite rewarding one.” –  Carson Timar, Clapper

“It’s very moving to hear them and realize how consistent these experiences are, and to realize how resilient these people are.” – Wade Major, FilmWeek (KPCC – NPR Los Angeles)

Badass Ninja – Director Ryan Harrison

Strap in for a this year’s wildest cinematic ride with Ryan Harrison and his fevered, gonzo journey into the gorified world of the NINJA BADASS. The Ninja VIP Super Club is doing a slow drag across the American Midwest, culminating in female sacrifice. When they kidnap a super hot babe that local scumbag, Rex, has his eyes on – it’s up to him to become a ninja and steal her back! From exploding cows to bazooka cops, hillbilly senseis, even more super hot babes, deadly flying feet, badass ball rippers and an over-the-top ninja villain in cowboy boots with an appetite for everything that’s soft and fuzzy – along with the original song “I’m a Ninja Now” from Vince Johnson, the singer-songwriter behind Joe Exotic’s viral songs such as “I Saw a Tiger” — this outrageous twist on ‘80s B-ninja flicks is a singular, out-of-body experience moviegoers won’t soon forget!  Director / writer / producer / editor / Ryan Harrison joins us for a wide-ranging conversation on what inspired this raucously funny story, the challenge of holding together his Ninja dream project over a five year time-span and how his background as a special effects artist impacted the project.

For updates and screenings go to: whitetrashninja.com

About the filmmaker – Ryan Harrison likes bacon and boobies. He’s originally from Indianapolis, IN. NINJA BADASS is his feature debut. He’s really visionary – probably the most visionary ninja movie director of all time. His movie career began with VFX – working on Kerry Prior’s THE REVENANT, Don Coscarelli’s JOHN DIES AT THE END and a Vietnamese TV show made in a nondescript warehouse in South El Monte. He currently works in the movie trailer business as a creative director at Tiny Hero in Burbank, CA while he attempts to figure out what the fuck is gonna happen in NINJA BADASS 2. His favorite ninja movies are NINJA BADASS, NINJA TERMINATOR, and NINJA THUNDERBOLT.

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“[A] B-movie masterpiece” – Rue Morgue

“[The} perfect midnight movie” – Cinema Crazed

“If Napoleon Dynamite was a ninja…” – Victims and Villains

“A non-stop freak-a-doo thrillride” – Smashism

“Sustains itself remarkably well by repeatedly upping the ante… it’s infectious.  A first class entertaining piece of trash.” – Eye for Film

The Quest: Nepal – Director Alex Harz

THE QUEST: NEPAL is like combining Werner Herzog with Anthony Bourdain and a bit of  Bear Grylls on an extraordinary Quest to deeper understand and climb the most iconic mountain in the world, Everest, while unveiling the fascinating culture, history and nature of Nepal. Become enthralled by one of the most surreal cities on earth, Kathmandu, before embarking on an expedition up the sacred valley of the indigenous Sherpa people during a spectacular 9-day trek to Mt. Everest Base Camp situated at a staggering height of 17,500 feet / 5334 meters above  sea level.  Feel what life is like to climb and survive for 43 more grueling days at 17,500 feet and above as we continue our epic Quest upward to try to reach the daunting 29,032 foot / 8849  meter summit of planet earth.  From experiencing Mt. Everest like never before to witnessing remarkable rarely seen stories from one of the most unique countries in the world, THE QUEST: NEPAL is truly a one-of-a-kind cinematic journey like no other, and one which embodies the incredible human spirit of adventure that lives inside us all. Director and film subject Alex Harz joins us to talk about The Quest series and what inspired it as well as the lingering danger that shadows him on all of these cinematic expeditions.

For updates and screenings go to: TheQuestNepal.com

About the filmmaker – Filmmaker, Adventurer and Host Alex Harz’s award-winning and fascinating personal journey through the captivating & inviting culture of Nepal, including his harrowing climb of Mt. Everest in THE QUEST: Nepal.  THE QUEST: Nepal is part of an on-going project titled THE QUEST Series. THE QUEST: Nepal Documentary and THE QUEST: Everest VR Experience, are epic Quests to deeper understand & climb the most iconic mountain on earth, Everest, and to reveal the amazing rarely-seen culture, history and nature of Nepal. From experiencing Everest like never before in stunning 2D and full Virtual Reality, to exploring the Birthplace of Buddhism and more, ‘THE QIEST’ will take you on educational thrill ride through one of the most amazing places on earth. For more go to: alexharz.com

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“The Quest: Nepal reminds us of what it actually should mean. The majesty and danger of nature.” – Rob Aldam, Backseat Mafia

“Works fairly well as a compact and personally meaningful history of humanity’s Everest obsession.” – Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times

“When taking on shooting in the Himalayas, the audience expects incredible footage with grand vistas of windswept, desolate mountains, and Harz does not disappoint. The images are breathtaking and beautifully shot.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat

More Than I Remember – Director Amy Bench

In MORE THAN I REMEMBER Mugeni’s story starts in a small village in southeastern Congo called Murambya, a Banyamulenge farming community where neighbors provided for one another. One night, when she was just fourteen, she and her family awake to the sounds of bombs — they are under attack by a militia, known as the Mai Mai, who sought their land and cattle and claimed that the Banyamulenge tribe did not belong in Congo. That night, Mugeni flees for her life. She survives the ambush but loses her family as each person scatters in an attempt to survive. Over the next 4 years, Mugeni searches for her family and stability, guided by the internal strength she learned from her mom.  Despite unimaginable obstacles, Mugeni’s story is ultimately a portrait of hope, love, and family bonds. Director Amy Bench joins us to talk about her stunningly beautiful and lyrical animated tale of unforgiving pain, suffering and rebirth.

For updates and screenings go to: morethaniremember.com

About the filmmaker – Director / Producer Amy Bench is a filmmaker and visual artist who is drawn to the immediacy of film and photography to tell stories of community and resilience. Trained as a cinematographer, her observational style highlights small details of the human experience that transcend formal explanation. Her camera work has screened at festivals including Berlin, SXSW, Sundance, The New York Film Festival, and at MOMA/PS1 and in 2016 she was named a “DP on the Rise” by Paste Magazine. She was the cinematographer on Trans in America: Texas Strong, which won an Emmy for Best Original Short Documentary in 2019, and 2 Webby Awards. She is the cinematographer on Mama Bears (SXSW 22), a feature-length film that builds on Texas Strong and follows the transformative power of Christian mothers who affirm their LGBTQ children, and is currently filming stories around book banning with director Kim A Snyder. “More Than I Remember” is the second film in a thematic series amplifying voices of those displaced and seeking home in more stable lands. The first in the series, “A Line Birds Cannot See,” won Special Jury Recognition at SXSW, and is now available on The New Yorker, where it won the 2020 Ellie Award from the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) for excellence in digital magazine journalism.  For more go to: amybench.com

About the animationRich, textured colors and a limitless palette strive to match the breadth of Mugeni’s sensitivity and boldess. Her zest for life is the underlying fabric of the story. The design is grounded in reality while capturing the emotional aspect of being a migrant and refugee. As “home” is a through line in the film, the filmmakers  worked with Animation Director Maya Edelman to carefully consider each landscape Mugeni moves through on her journey. The language of this film is one where these large landscapes and the juxtaposition of simplified character animation allow the audience to focus on Mugeni’s very dense recollections of the horrific circumstances by which she fled her home country, and the trials she surmounted along the way. The team’s approach allows the viewer to witness events in a way that does not distract, glorify, or burden the storyteller with brutal imagery, in turn creating a unique level of intimacy that can transcend what’s possible in other visual forms.

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“The film’s florid depiction of Mugeni’s escape arouses all the senses as if survival depended on it, placing one in her shoes as she flees.” Stephen Saito, The Moveable Fest

“Animation and documentaries go hand-in-hand, and this is a testament to the dynamic storytelling the medium brings to the genre.” – Kate Sánchez, But Why Tho Podcast?

“Disarmingly bold and breathtaking.” 

“Stunning.”

 “Shows the Depth of Animated Documentaries.”

Nicholas Brothers: Stormy Weather – Co-directors Michael Shevloff and Paul Crowder

In the 1943, Fayard and Harold Nicholas were featured in the film Stormy Weather. The film was a showcase for a cast of Black artist, virtually unseen in mainstream American theatres. Remarkably the Nicholas Brothers dance routine from that film prefigured modern day hip hop by more than three decades. Dance legend and Tony Award winning choreographer Savion Glover  and others guide us along their professional path and assess their legacy, while contemporary dancers Les Twins choreograph and perform their homage to the original. Co-directors and producers Michael Shevloff, Paul Crowder join us for a conversation about the careers of two poverty stricken,  African-American brothers who were arguably the greatest dancing duo in the history of cinema, performing a legendary dance number and how that became the inspiration for two modern day dance icons, Les Twins and their own determination to see it come to life in their documentary short film.

https://tribecafilm.com/films/nicholas-brothers-stormy-weather-2022

About the filmmaker – Michael Shevloff’s career began in England working on films including Empire of the Sun and Full Metal Jacket before serving as showrunner on TV series such as Expedition: Africa and Top Gear USA. Shevloff’s recent documentary credits include 1: Life On The LimitBobcats on Three as producer, and his directorial debut, Mosley: It’s Complicated. Michael is currently producing various projects at Flat-Out Films, including Tolstoy The Tomato Thief, the story of a crop raiding elephant, and The Hags, about the first all-girl skate gang in LA in the 1980’s. For more go to: flatoutfilms.com

About the filmmaker Paul Crowder is an award winning editor, director and musician who’s film career began with the seminal skateboarding documentary, DogTown & Z-Boys. As an editor, Crowder’s long list of credits includes Riding GiantsThe Beatles: Eight Days a Week and Pavarotti. His directing credits include UFOAmazing Journey: The Story of The Who1: Life on the Limit and Last Play at Shea. Crowder is currently directing Blue Angels, an IMAX documentary feature film being produced by JJ Abrams, and will team up again with Ron Howard to edit the upcoming documentary of the life of Jim Henson. For more go to: flatoutfilms.com

About the subjects – The Nicholas Brothers were an entertainment act composed of biological brothers, Fayard (1914–2006) and Harold (1921–2000), who excelled in a variety of dance techniques, primarily between the 1930s and 1950s. The Nicholas Brothers grew up in Philadelphia, the sons of college-educated musicians who played in their own band at the Standard Theater. At the age of three, Fayard would always sit in the front row while his parents worked, and by the time he was ten, he had seen most of the great African-American  vaudeville acts—particularly the dancers, including such notables of the time as Alice WhitmanWillie Bryant, and Bill Robinson. The brothers were fascinated by the combination of tap dancing and acrobatics. Fayard often imitated their acrobatics and clowning for the kids in his neighborhood. Best known for their unique interpretation of a highly acrobatic technique known as “flash dancing“, they were also considered by many to be the greatest tap dancers of their day, if not all time. Their virtuoso performance in the musical number “Jumpin’ Jive” (with Cab Calloway and his orchestra) featured in the 1943 movie Stormy Weather has been praised as one of the greatest dance routines ever captured on film. Growing up surrounded by vaudeville acts as children, they became stars of the jazz circuit during the Harlem Renaissance  and performed on stage, film, and television well into the 1990s. Diminutive in size, their artistry, innovation, and soaring leaps have never been surpassed.

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Stranger at the Gate – Director Joshua Seftel

2022 Tribeca Film Festival

Joshua Seftel’s documentary short, STRANGER AT THE GATE, tells the story of U.S. Marine Richard Mac McKinney after returning home to Indiana, after 25 years of service, filled with an all-consuming rage toward the people he had been fighting against. Still fueled by his desire to fight for his country, he plans to bomb the local mosque. But when he comes face to face with the community of Afghan refugees and others of Muslim faith that he seeks to kill, his plan takes an unexpected turn. Director Joshua Seftel (Lost and Found, This American Life) joins us for a conversation on his pursuit of the people who opened their hearts to a man determined to carry out a heinous act, and came to find out that sharing their common humanity would prove to be the greatest gift that they could give to one another.

 

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For news and screenings go to: strangeratthegate.com

About the filmmaker – STRANGER AT THE GATE is the latest film in Joshua Seftel’s Emmy and Peabody-nominated SECRET LIFE OF MUSLIMS (SXSW) project, using filmmaking to combat Islamophobia. Seftel, who faced anti-Semitism as a child, has been committed to working on this subject matter for the past seven years. At age 22, Seftel made his first film, the Emmy-nominated LOST AND FOUND (PBS) which exposed the conditions of Romania’s orphaned and abandoned children and spurred the American adoption of thousands of children. His other award-winning films include TAKING ON THE KENNEDYS (POV), ENNIS’ GIFT (HBO), THE HOME TEAM (SXSW), THE MANY SAD FATES OF MR. TOLEDANO (NYT Op-Docs, Tribeca), and the anti-war movie WAR, INC. (Tribeca) starring John Cusack, Marisa Tomei, and Ben Kingsley. He is also a contributor to the Peabody Award-winning THIS AMERICAN LIFE and a commentator on CBS Sunday Morning, where he regularly interviews his 85-year-old mother.

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“One the very best films I’ve seen this year. A front runner for the Oscar. It’s magnificent.” – Steve Kopian, Unseen Films

Midwives – Director Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing

Spotlight: Asian American Filmmaker

The story behind MIDWIVES is the story of Hla and Nyo Nyo, both living and working side-by-side in a country torn by ethnic conflict. Hla is a Buddhist and the owner of a makeshift medical clinic in western Myanmar, where the Rohingya (a Muslim minority community) are persecuted and denied basic rights. Nyo Nyo is a Muslim and an apprentice midwife who acts as an assistant and translator at the clinic. Her family has lived in the area for generations, yet they are still considered intruders. Encouraged and challenged by Hla, who risks her own safety daily by helping Muslim patients, Nyo Nyo is determined to become a steady health care provider for her community. The filmmaker’s gentle, impartial gaze grants unique access to these courageous women who unite to bring forth life. Filled with love, empathy, and hope, MIDWIVES offers a rare insight into the complex reality of Myanmar and its people. Director Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing (Burmese Butterfly) joins us for a conversation on her own journey, that included filming in Myanmar for over five turbulent years, witnessing the vilification and ostracized by the international community for their brutal treatment of the Rohingya people and gaining the trust and respect of the women who have made the clinic an integral part of the communities they serve.

 

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For updates and screenings go to: dogwoofsales.com/midwives

Winner – World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Excellence In Verité Filmmaking – Sundance 2022

About the filmmaker – Director Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing worked as a freelance filmmaker in Myanmar since 2006, acting as director, producer, editor, and sound recordist after attending film schools in both Myanmar and Germany. Her documentary short BURMESE BUTTERFLY played festivals in more than 20 countries, and PERIOD@PERIOD won for Best Short at the Wathann Film Festival. MIDWIVES is her feature documentary debut.

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“It’s a reminder that heroes are rarely perfect humans. And a reminder of the intense courage that is often required to do the human thing in times of great strife.” – Bilge Ebiri, Spirituality & Health

“A powerful film about the complexity of not only being women within a traditional society but with the additional factors of propaganda and violence being added in.” – Ikram Mohamed, Austin Chronicle

““Candid, visually sumptuous” – RogerEbert.com

“It is quite poignant and a peculiar testament to resilience, to observe this woman so resolute and full of hope thinking about things as mundane as fashion in times when bombs and gunshots can be heard nearby.” – Hanna B, Film Threat

“A deeply moving film full of humanity” – Unseen Films

Surf Nation – Co-directors Jeremiah M. Bogert Jr. and Jessica Q. Chen

Spotlight: Asian American Filmmaker

With unprecedented access SURF NATION is a feature-length observational documentary that tells a story beginning in Hainan, China’s southernmost province where hundreds of athletes as young as 9-years-old train as part of the Chinese National Surf team. Aspiring Chinese athletes and their international coaches arrive in the island of Hainan. Together, they attempt to become the country’s first Olympic surfers. SURF NATION follows this team and two of China’s top surfers, Alex and Lolo, as they train, compete and discover what they want their lives to be.  These young recruits have left their families around the country and are paid to become surfers with Olympic aspirations. Shot in a tropical paradise with miles of empty beaches, aspiring athletes and their international coaches live in an old hotel that has become the hub of surfing in China. The kids surf and take classes six days a week. The pressure of failure looms over them as weak performance means dismissal. Their Australian coaches teach technique and surfing’s central attribute: individuality, in a culture that demands conformity. Co-directors Jeremiah M. Bogert Jr. and Jessica Q. Chen stop by to talk about gaining the confidence of Chinese officials, the commitment of the world newest superpower to surfing as well as the opportunity to meet and spend time with young athletes as they learn to master nature’s wildest ride.

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

About the filmmaker – Director and Producer Jessica Q. Chen is a Chinese American filmmaker and video producer at the Los Angeles Times. Her work includes the WOMEN OF APOLLO series, which was nominated for an Emmy in 2020; and a short documentary on Caroline Marks, the youngest surfer to qualify for the World Surf League’s championship tour, which won an L.A. Press Award. She was an associate producer for National Geographic’s HELL ON EARTH:THE FALL OF SYRIA AND THE RISE OF ISIS which premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. She has lived in New Zealand and Jordan, has a master’s from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a bachelor’s in biology from the University of California, Irvine. She speaks Mandarin and basic Arabic.

About the filmmaker – Director and Producer Jeremiah M. Bogert Jr. is currently a photo editor at The New York Times and has more than 25 years of experience producing award-winning visual stories. He was the photo assignments editor at The New York Times during the 9/11 terrorist attacks for which the paper won two Pulitzer Prizes in photography. While at the Los Angeles Times, he edited a story on victims of gang violence which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2011 and was part of the team awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2016 for coverage of the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino. Additionally, at the Los Angeles Times, he produced several short documentaries, including CHASING THE SWELL, a 2012 film about big wave surfing. He received his BA in philosophy from Yale University and his MA in journalism from the University of Missouri.

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Omoiyari: A Song Film from Kishi Bashi – Co-directors Kaoru Ishibashi & Justin Taylor Smith and Producer J.J. Gerber

Spotlight: Asian American Filmmaker

The lyrically stunning new documentary Omoiyari: A Song Film from Kishi Bashi focuses on violinist and songwriter Kaoru Ishibashi as he travels on a musical journey to understand WWII era Japanese Incarceration, assimilation, and what it means to be a minority in America today. When a media interview links the muslim ban and the immigration crisis at the USA-Mexico border with the incarceration of Japanese-Americans during WWII, Ishibashi goes on a journey to learn about this history and its relevance. Along the  way, he improvises and writes music in an effort to better understand his own identity as a bi-cultural American. Using never before seen archival footage from the camps, mixed with breathtaking visual storytelling, Kaoru weaves a story using history, music and current events to create a portrait of America from the perspective of someone caught between two worlds. Co-directors Kaoru Ishibashi and Justin Taylor Smith and Producer J.J. Gerber join us to talk about an artist and his production team’s journey through America’s past and present with hopeful eye on America’s future.

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

About the filmmaker –  Kaoru Ishibashi is an internationally acclaimed Japanese-American songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Having graduated from the Berklee College of Music with a degree in film scoring, Kishi Bashi has been rapidly bridging the gap between pop music and orchestral music. Omoiyari: A Song Film from Kishi Bashi is his first feature documentary film. Kishi Bashi is the pseudonym of Kaoru Ishibashi. For more: kishibashi.com

About the filmmaker – Justin “Chip” Taylor Smith is a self-taught filmmaker based in Bozeman, Montana. Growing up in California, he began using his family’s camcorder to make short surfing and skateboarding films, going on to work as a producer for DC Shoes. He eventually made his way to Jackson Hole, where he worked with Travis Rice on the seminal snowboarding film The Fourth Phase. Over the last decade, Smith has worked on some of the action sports industry’s largest film projects, including Ty Evans’ We Are Blood, Jetman’s Young Feathers, Robbie Maddison’s AIR.CRAFT and Rice’s Depth Perception. He aspires to deliver visceral, authentic film experiences. Smith is the director of IKIGAI  (Mountainfilm 2019), co-director of 2019 Mountainfilm Commitment Grant winner Omoiyari – A Song Film by Kishi Bashi (Mountainfilm 2022) and co-director of FABRIC – A Documentary Series by Robin Van Gyn – Episode 1 “Knowledge”  (Mountainfilm 2022). For more: mountainfilm.org/justin-taylor-smith 

About the filmmaker – JJ Gerber is a Primetime Emmy nominated creative producer and storyteller, with over 15 years of experience on projects that span feature narrative and documentary films, music videos, commercials and pretty much any other form of moving image. JJ Gerber is a Primetime Emmy nominated creative producer and storyteller, with over 15 years of experience on projects that span feature narrative and documentary films, music videos, commercials and pretty much any other form of moving image. JJ’s feature documentary credits include Harmontown (SXSW 2014) and We Are Blood. He was a consulting producer on the feature documentary Beauty Is Embarrassing (Emmy Nominee / PBS Independent Lens 2014), helping with the strategy and implementation of nationwide theatrical self-distribution with Future You Media. He has worked with award winning design and production companies We Are Royale, Imaginary Forces, Fellow, LoyalKaspar and Future You Media. As a producer with these studios he worked with clients Oculus, Facebook, Amazon, Google, Netflix, Hulu, FX Networks, Showtime, Marvel Studios, Adidas as well as numerous ad agencies, studios, broadcasters, non-profits and other inspired people that just wanted to make some cool shit.

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“Bashi’s music is powerful and compelling, enervating stories from the past that have shaped our present.”Bradley Gibson, Film Threat

“A stunning documentary about Kishi Bashis own personal journey in exploring his past as he looks for inspiration for his latest musical project.”Peter Gray, The AU Review

“A moving experience” – Unseen Films

“An uplifting documentary about a musician, but also about sympathy, compassion, and basic humanity.” – Louisa Moore, Screen Zealots

“Offers a unique perspective on the bi-cultural experience and the process of making art on the artist’s own terms. – International Examiner