The Crusades – Director Leo Milano

THE CRUSADES follows three friends from private all-boys high school as they receive earth-shattering news about an upcoming merger with their rival school, The bad news sets them and their friends careening towards one last epic weekend before everything changes. Leo (Rudy Pankow, Outer Banks, Uncharted) balances multiple love interests in a constant quest for popularity. Caught in the crossfire is Ryan (Ashley Nicole Williams, Motherland: Fort Salem), a hopeless romantic with a bad habit of giving unlimited second chances. Sean (Khalil Everage, Cobra Kai) struggles with his responsibilities to his cold and calculated girlfriend Jess (Indiana Massara, Hero Mode, Chicken Girls), who is always one step ahead of everyone. Jack (Ryan Ashton) repeatedly clashes with authority and the administration in a never-ending struggle to avoid all responsibility. To make matters worse, the boys unknowingly made an enemy out of Vince (Blaine Maye, Joe Bell) and The Wrecking Crew, who are hell-bent on settling their vendetta at all costs. Completely unaware that the choices made over this fateful weekend could end up impacting their lives more than any merger ever could. Director, writer and producer Leo Milano joins us for a conversation on the long and winding road that The Crusades has taken him and his dedicated crew on, how his career as an actor, Stand-in and Production Assistant on has given him the experience and the confidence to make his debut feature film, The Crusades.

 

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About the filmmaker – Writer / Director / Actor / Producer Leo Milano is a Midwesterner, born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. It was here he discovered his passion for filmmaking and his desire to tell the stories of the blue collar upbringing he experienced between the coasts. Straight out of High School, Leo’s first job was PAing on Michael Bay’s Transformers 3 and then went on to work full time as Taylor Kinney’s stand-in on NBCs Chicago Fire for 50+ episodes as well as NBCs The Playboy Club and the YA blockbuster, Divergent, after attending film school at Columbia College Chicago. Over the last decade, Leo has directed several commercials, short films, a TV pilot and most recently the Indie feature, The Crusades starring Netflix star Rudy Pankow with veteran actors Nicholas Turturro and Mike Starr. Leo’s next project currently in development is the action filled dramatic comedy Ten Cent Beer Night, inspired by the incredible untold story of the Cleveland Indians riot in 1974. Leo is co-founder of Bad Little Thing, the production company behind Leo’s two features as well as several other projects in development. 

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“The performances of the three leads and all of the cast are all solid and authentic.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat

“What the actual hell? This was one of the freshest takes on the high school hijinks film that I’ve seen in forever. There are no authoritarian rules, which gives the film a sardonic anarchy and weird vibe … Leo Milano is a writer/director to watch.” – Patrick McDonald, WBGR-FM (93.7 FM)

Love Gets A Room – Director Rodrigo Cortes

Set in the heart of 1942 Warsaw, where Jews and refugees from across Poland were imprisoned in a ghetto and cut off from the outside world by a towering wall, LOVE GETS A ROOM follows Stefcia and her fellow Jewish theatre actors as they fight to keep their passion for performing alive. As life in the Nazi-occupied ghetto became a fierce fight against cold, hunger, and epidemics, the actors, against all odds, embark on a daring mission to stage Jerzy Jurandot’s play, risking their lives to create something beautiful in a world of chaos and destruction. Featuring a superb cast of actors led by Clara Rugaard (I Am Mother) as Stefcia, as well, Mark Ryder (City on a Hill),  Ferdia Walsh-Peelo (CODA), Anastasia Hille (Snow White and the Huntsman), Magnus Krepper (A Cure for Wellness), and Henry Goodman (The New Pope). Written and directed by visionary filmmaker Rodrigo Cortés (Buried, Concursante), the film takes you on an emotional journey back to the tumultuous time of World War II. With masterful direction and outstanding performances, LOVE GETS A ROOM is a poignant exploration of the power of love, hope, and sacrifice in the face of unimaginable adversity.

 

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Watch now on: Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu

About the filmmaker – In 2007, Rodrigo Cortés writes and directs CONCURSANTE, starring Leonardo Sbaraglia, which wins two Silver Biznagas at the Malaga Festival, including the Critics’ Award. In 2010 he directs BURIED, starring Ryan Reynolds, which wins the Forqué Award for Best Film, as well as ten Goya Awards nominations, of which the films receives three (Cortés receives the award for Best Editing). He also received the Grand Prize European Film Festival in Gold at the Sitges Festival.  In 2012 he directs RED LIGHTS (2012), a thriller starring Sigourney Waver, Cillian Murphy and Robert de Niro, for which he receives the Gaudí nomination for Best Non- Catalan Film and Best Sound, and in 2018 he releases DOWN A DARK HALL, in which he works with Uma Thurman and is again nominated at the Gaudí but this time for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. With his latest film LOVE GETS A ROOM, he wins the Feroz Award for Best Director, as well as five Film Writers Circle Medals, including Best Director, Original Screenplay and Editing. The film also received nominations for Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction at the Gaudí Awards, Best Costume Design and Best Production Direction at the Goya Awards, and received the Sant Jordi Award for Best Spanish Film.  He is currently working on his new film, ESCAPE, starring Mario Casas, Anna Castillo and other top Spanish actors such as José Sacristán and Blanca Portillo.  He also develops a successful parallel career as a writer and talks about cinema, literature and music in “Aquí hay dragones” and “Todopoderosos”, the two most listened Spanish podcasts of the moment. 

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“Co-writer/director Rodrigo Cortés … give[s] us some sense of why something so ordinary would be so vital and harrowing in this time and place.” – Mark Dujsik, Mark Reviews Movies

“A fine technical achievement, a moving inquiry into what young love can mean under such conditions, and Cortés’ strongest film since 2010’s Buried.” – Jonathan Holland, Screen International

“A titanic tour de force…” – Blai Morell, Fotogramas

“A beautiful, painful and fun reflection on art as an instrument of survival.” – Luis Martínez, El Mundo (Spain)

I’ll Show You Mine – Director Megan Griffiths

I’LL SHOW YOU MINE tells the story of Priya Sura (Poorna Jagannathan), an author who found breakout success when she wrote a memoir about her abusive father. She has since made a career of exploring her own trauma through a feminist lens. Recently, however, she has been finding it harder and harder to have an emotional connection in her writing. So she’s now mining someone else’s trauma by interviewing Nic (Casey Thomas Brown), her nephew by marriage, about his history of  exploitation as a gender nonconforming model and pansexual poster boy. But Nic won’t engage without a quid pro quo, so to get to the most hidden parts of his story, she must dig into areas she has scrupulously managed to avoid in her own. Director Megan Griffiths (Eden, Lucky Them) joins us for a conversation on the challenges and rewards that come from a two actor film project, working with the talented duo of Poorna Jagannathan (The Night Of, Never Have I Ever) and Casey Thomas Brown (The Kominsky Method) and how finding a cinematic sweet spot for an engaging, and insightful character driven story about trauma and recognition.

 

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For more go to: ill-show-you-mine-2023

About the filmmaker – Megan Griffiths is a writer/director working in film and television. In 2021/22, Griffiths directed two features: I’LL SHOW YOU MINE (with Duplass Brothers Productions), and YEAR OF THE FOX. Other feature credits include SADIE (SXSW 2018), THE NIGHT STALKER (SIFF 2016), LUCKY THEM (TIFF 2013), EDEN (SXSW 2012, winner: Audience Award, Emergent Narrative Director Award), and THE OFF HOURS (Sundance 2011). She has directed shows for HBO, EPIX, TNT, Hulu, USA, Fox, Netflix, and Amazon.  Additionally, Griffiths has produced projects including the Sundance comedy THE CATECHISM CATACLYSM, as well as YOUR SISTER’S SISTER, directed by the late Lynn Shelton, Griffiths’s close friend and frequent collaborator. Griffiths and Shelton also co-wrote a feature for This American Life, and together with producer Gregg Fienberg sold an original pitch to HBO.  Griffiths was recently invited to join the director’s branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. She was the recipient of the 2012 Stranger Genius Award for Film, was named the 2013 City Arts Film Artist of the Year, and received the 2015 Seattle Mayor’s Award for Film. She serves on the board of Northwest Film Forum and is an active advocate for sustainable production. More at www.thecinechick.com.

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“It’s a good thing that Jagannathan and Brown have training in the theater: They imbue Priya and Nic’s densely verbal jousts, dodges and truths with compelling chiaroscuro hues.” – Lisa Kennedy, New York Times

“Both Jagannathan and Brown are excellent at this combination therapy session/verbal joust, conveying their characters’ intelligence and affection for each other while also their capacity to conceal and deceive — especially themselves.” – Rob Thomas, Capital Times

“(Director Megan) Griffiths is as gifted as they come as a character-driven storyteller.” – Michael Ward, Should I See It

““I’ll Show You Mine” may be all talk, but well aware that the mind is an erogenous zone, it proves most stimulating.” – Stephen Saito, Moveable Fest

Transatlantic – Stephanie Chuat & Veronique Reymond

In this compelling Netflix original seven-part series, TRANSATLANTIC, takes us back to France in 1940, where American Varian Fry has traveled to Marseille carrying three thousand dollars and a list of imperiled artists and writers he hoped to help escape from the encroaching Nazi collaboration with the Vichy government, within a few weeks. Instead, he stayed more than a year, working to procure false documents, amass emergency funds, and arrange journeys across Spain and Portugal, where the refugees would embark for safer ports. His many clients included Hannah Arendt, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, and Marc Chagall, and the race against time to save them is a tale of forbidden love, high-stakes adventure, and unimaginable courage. TRANSATLANTIC features an excellent cast of American and international actors that includes; Gillian Jacobs, Corey Stoll, Lucas Englander, Corey Michael Smith and Ralph Amoussou. TRANSATLANTIC was produced and co-written by Anna Winger (Daniel Handler),  Co-directors Stephanie Chuat and Veronique Reymond (My Little Sister, join us for a conversation on the challenge of directing the first four of the seven episodes, how important it was for them to strike the appropriate tone for a “film” that moves between from life threatening to life affirming within each episodes, working with an international cast and their upcoming project, a English language reboot of their first film, The Little Bedroom.

 

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Watch on: netflix.com/Transatlantic

About the filmmakers – Stephanie Chuat and Veronique Reymond have known each other since their childhood. Both passionate about theatre, they were trained actresses and have performed in numerous Swiss and French theatrical productions.  They have created many shows as a stage duo as well, and their first step towards cinema was by including video in their plays. This led them to write and direct four short films. One of them, Berlin Backstage, shot in the prestigious Berlin Philharmony, won an award at the Berlin Today Award (Berlinale 2004). The duo moved on to write and direct their first feature film, La petite chambre (The Little Bedroom), starring legendary French actor Michel Bouquet. Premiered at the Locarno Film Festival 2010, the film was selected to represent Switzerland at the Academy Awards, was honered with two Swiss Quartz Prizes (Best Fiction Film and Best Screenplay), and received a dozen Awards in international festivals. Their second fiction feature My Little Sister, with major German actors Nina Hoss and Lars Eidinger was selected in Competition at the 70th Berlinale (2020), is the Swiss Oscars Contender for Best International Feature and wins a bunch of Awards in numerous festivals, among them five Quartz at the Swiss Film Awards. Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond have explored the documentary field by directing  Evening Class for grown-ups (2005) and Buffo, Buten & Howard, (2009). In 2018, they joined forces again to direct Ladies, a documentary premiered at Visons du Réel Film Festival, and selected by a number of festivals. It was nominated for the Swiss Film Award in the Best Documentary category and has been a box office success in Swiss theatres. The duo also wrote and directed Open Book (2014), a series broadcasted on Swiss and French Television. This successful experience led them to write a new series, Toxic, currently in development, produced by Gaumont-France in coproduction with RTS-Switzerland.In 2022, Chuat & Reymond directed Anna Winger’s (Unorthodox) new show Transatlantic, released on Netflix in April 2023. At the same time, the duet is working on developing new projects, among them the US reboot of their first feature La petite chambre-The Little Bedroom. Morgan Freeman, Kate Mara and Laurence Fishburne are attached to this US version of the film. The shooting is planned for 2023.

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95% on RottenTomatoes

“The series as a whole shines a light by association on the ongoing plight of refugees, on resurgent nativism and antisemitism, and the deaf ear we are liable to turn to any crisis not literally on our doorstep.” – Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times

“While the show isn’t afraid to get as dark as its circumstances require, it’s also not afraid to embrace the occasional moment of levity, from funny misunderstandings to romantic drama to even an unexpected musical number.” – Liz Shannon Miller, Consequence

“An effective, crowd-pleasing thriller. It moves briskly, lays out the story and stakes cleanly, and has three strong and likable lead performances by Cory Michael Smith as Fry, Gillian Jacobs as Gold, and Lucas Englander as Albert Hirschman.” – Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone

“A unique gem among World War II stories. The ensemble cast is what lifts Transatlantic into a status beyond just another WWII story, as Winger creates a fully lived world of nuances.” – Alberto Cox Délano, Pajiba

The Good Side of Bad – Director Alethea Root and Producer Jules Bruff

Alethea Root’s second feature film, GOOD SIDE OF BAD, tells the story of three estranged adult siblings, Sara (Jules Bruff), Peter (Alex Quijano), and Florence (Lexi Simonsen) brought back together after a mental health diagnosis forces them to confront harsh future realities regarding the mental state of one of their own. GOOD SIDE OF BAD is a raw and intimate look into what it means to be a family navigating the waters of mental illness. The film dives into humanity’s dark places while illuminating the love, laughter, and light discovered when you reconnect with those closest to you. Based on the bestselling book GOOD SIDE OF BAD, this raw family drama touches on our shared human experience of psychological isolation, and how connecting to each other is ultimately the best way to help one another push through the daunting challenges that face every person. In addition to Jules Bruff, Alex Quijano and Lexi Simonsen, the film also features Myles Grier, Kim Estes and Academy Award nominated actor Tess Harper (Crimes of the Heart). Director and co-writer Alethea Root and Producer, co-writer and actor Jules Bruff join us to talk about the source and inspiration for the film, being selected as the Opening Night film for the 2023 Dances with Film festival, and the hope that the audience will come away from the film with a better appreciation of living with mental illness and the fragility of family.

 

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For more go to: goodsideofbad.com

About the filmmaker – Alethea Root is an award-winning producer and director. She produced the Emmy®-winning short film, A LOVE STORY.  Her feature film directorial debut, PART TIME FABULOUS, streaming on Amazon, won eight film festival awards, including two Audience Choice awards, the Film4Change award, and the Exploring Humanity award. Root’s second feature film, Good Side of Bad, is the opening night film of the 2023 Dances With Films Festival in Los Angles.

About the filmmaker – JULES BRUFF (Writer, Producer, Actor) The first feature Jules wrote, produced, and acted in, PART TIME FABULOUS, now streaming on Amazon, won numerous awards, including two Best Actress awards for her performance, 2 Audience Choice awards, the Film4Change award, and the Exploring Humanity award. She can be seen in projects ranging from David Fincher’s ZODIAC to S.W.A.T on CBS to Award-Winning comedy FOR MURIAL with Mindy Sterling. 

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Blue Jean – Director Georgia Oakley

Georgia Oakley’s stunning directorial debut BLUE JEAN, is set in 1988 England and Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government is about to pass a law stigmatizing gays and lesbians, forcing Jean (Rosy McEwen, in a powerhouse performance), a gym teacher, to live a double life. As pressure mounts from all sides, the arrival of a new student catalyzes a crisis that will challenge Jean to her core. Something has to give, and McEwen embodies with exquisite insight the mounting strain upon a woman who has sought to keep hidden what now burns for some release or resolution. The catalyst for change is the arrival at Jean’s school of a new pupil, Lois (Lucy Halliday) – raw, vulnerable, and instinctively connected to Jean as soon as they meet. When Lois begins to frequent the lesbian bar that is Jean’s refuge, the boundaries between Jean’s worlds collapse, and she finds herself dangerously desperate to rebuild them. The BAFTA-nominated film won the Venice Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award, as well as four British Independent Film Awards. Director and writer Georgia Oakley joins us for a conversation on why a look back on laws (Section 28) “governing” the lives of the LGBTQ people provides a greater understanding of past bigotry as well as why it is vitally important to remain vigilant regarding the current threats to the human rights. BLUE JEAN features a slew of terrific performances, led by Rosy McEwen as Jean, Kerrie Hayes, Lucy Halliday and Lydia Page.

 

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About the filmmaker – In Georgia Oakley’s stunning directorial debut BLUE JEAN, it’s 1988 England and Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government is about to pass a law stigmatizing gays and lesbians, forcing Jean (Rosy McEwen, in a powerhouse performance), a gym teacher, to live a double life. As pressure mounts from all sides, the arrival of a new student catalyzes a crisis that will challenge Jean to her core. The BAFTA-nominated film won the Venice Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award, as well as four British Independent Film Awards.

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94% on RottenTomatoes

“Oakley’s care and McEwen’s intense performance make “Blue Jean” one of this year’s most impressive movies.” Monica Castillo, RogerEbert.com

“It takes place 35 years ago, but this evocative and emotionally powerful British drama resonates with contemporary urgency.” – Todd Jorgenson, Cinemalogue

“Oakley’s made a depressingly timely film about an earlier “push back” against gay rights and equality, but a movie shot through with hope, the sure knowledge that history isn’t a river, it’s a tide that ebbs and flows.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

“Every aspect of Georgia Oakley’s debut feature – from Izabella Curry’s editing to Kirsty Halliday’s period costuming – is as restrained as Rosy McEwen’s excellent performance.” – Tara Brady, Irish Times

“Jean is a complicated sort of hero, full of indecision and regret. It’s something bracingly captured by McEwen, who plays her as someone in a perpetual state of fight-or-flight.” – Clarisse Loughrey, Independent (UK)

“The concealment of sexuality is attentively observed under Oakley’s intimate lens, a thorough exploration and tight script that is remarkable for a debut feature filmmaker.” – Emily Maskell, AwardsWatch

It’s Basic – Director Marc Levin & Subject Michael Tubbs

At a time of widespread economic uncertainty, few films tackle the issues, offer solutions and most importantly show the human side of the story in the way Marc Levin does in his latest documentary IT’S BASIC. How do we combat poverty, economic insecurity, and inequality? This film argues it’s basic – give people money!  IT’S BASIC looks at several pilot programs launched in the US that test the effects of giving everyday people an extra $500 to $1,000 monthly, with no strings attached. The film presents an unbiased account of the benefits, criticisms, and outcomes of providing unconditional money to people in need, and examines whether Basic Income pilot programs eradicate child poverty and level the racial playing field through community-centric solutions. This concept has been up for discussion many times throughout history, and in more recent times by Martin Luther King, Jr., and even Richard Nixon. The film highlights case studies and examples from among 100 cities across the United States that are running guaranteed income pilots. And here are the humans – real Americans – who are actually being helped by these programs that were activated by a movement that is building toward results in the face of dysfunctional gridlock in Washington, DC. The heart of IT’S BASIC chronicles participants in five cities and their real-life challenges. In addition, there is by commentary by Michael Tubbs, the founder of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, and participating mayors across the country. Director Marc Levin and film subject Michael D. Tubbs join us to talk about the continuing success of Guaranteed Basic Income in the community’s that have adopted it and the efforts underway to place GBI in forefront of a honest conversation on poverty. 

For more go to: itsbasicdocumentary.com

World Premiere at Tribeca Festival 2023 in the Spotlight Documentary Section

About the filmmaker – Marc Levin is an award-winning, independent filmmaker dedicated to telling powerful, real stories in an authentic style. He has won four Emmys, four duPont-Columbia awards, the Peabody Award, the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, and the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, among other prominent accolades. Highlights include SLAM, his breakout festival hit film about the impact of the spoken word movement; Brick City, the groundbreaking docu-series about Mayor Cory Booker and the city of Newark, New Jersey; Gang War: Bangin’ in Little Rock and Emmy-winning Thug Life in DC, both for HBO; and Chicagoland, a docu-series for CNN and Sundance Productions, nominated for an IDA award. One of America’s most respected filmmakers, Levin has directed over a dozen acclaimed documentaries for HBO with his producing partner, Daphne Pinkerson, including Class Divide, winner of the DOC NYC Grand Jury Prize.For more go to: blowbackproductions.com

About the subject – At the age of 26, Michael D. Tubbs became the youngest mayor of a major American city, lauded for his leadership and innovation. Under his stewardship, Stockton was named an “All-America City” in 2017 and 2018, saw a 40% drop in homicides in 2018 and 2019, led the state of California in the decline of officer-involved shootings in 2019, was named the second most fiscally healthy city in California and one of the top most fiscally healthy cities in the nation and was featured in an HBO documentary film, Stockton on My Mind. Tubbs raised over $20 million dollars to create the Stockton Scholars, a universal scholarship and mentorship program for Stockton students. He is the Founder and Chair of Mayors for Guaranteed Income. Tubbs has been named a fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics and The MIT Media Lab, a member of Fortune’s Top 40 under 40, a Forbes 30 under 30 All-star Alumni, the “Most Valuable Mayor” by The Nation, the 2021 Civic Leadership Award winner from The King Center, and 2019 New Frontier Award Winner from the JFK Library. Before taking the helm as Mayor,  Tubbs served as a Council Member for the City of Stockton District 6, was a high school educator, and a fellow for the Stanford Design School and the Emerson Collective. The author of the memoir The Deeper the Roots, Tubbs currently serves as the Special Advisor to California Governor Gavin Newsom for Economic Mobility and is the founder of End Poverty in California (EPIC).

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Maestra – Director Maggie Contreras

Five incredible women from around the world who are boldly breaking glass ceilings in the male-dominated world of orchestral conducting take center stage in MAESTRA, filmmaker Maggie Contreras’ directorial debut. These women gathered in Paris for ‘La Maestra’, the only competition in the world for female conductors, to show the world the singular talent that unites them and which, for far too long, has been considered the pursuit of only men. Mothers, daughters, rebels, leaders – over four days, each took to the stage to compete: a mother of young twins from Athens, determined to show her kids anything is possible; a Ukrainian doing all she can to focus on her art and the competition in front of her while Russia invades; a Polish student just starting out; a newlywed American grappling with the decision to start a family; and a French immigrant returning to the city that closed its doors to her many years ago. Personal stories of survival, passion and perseverance are woven together with the drama and excitement of this one-of-a-kind event. The struggles and triumphs of the gifted artists in MAESTRA offer a microcosm for the challenges faced by women in every industry and in every walk of life today, while also providing valuable insights into how we may conduct ourselves as we create a new movement for a more equitable future. Director Maggie Contreras (Gilbert, Jonathan Scott’s Power Trip) stops by for a conversation on opening at the Tribeca Film Festival, watching the way that the La Maestra competion rivalry grew into unity through a common struggle and common goal, and how following these five women helps to push the boundaries of conventional storytelling by giving voice to the women who have been marginalized for generations.

 

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For more go to: maggiecontreras.com

About the filmmaker – Director / Producer / Writer, Maggie Contreras’ has been a producer behind documentary films tackling a wide range of topics, from comics to solar energy. Jonathan Scott’s Power Trip (PBS Independent Lens ‘20) is the titular HGTV celebrity and activist’s journey across the USA to examine the antiquated utility monopoly system and how solar holds the key to energy freedom. In 2017, Gilbert premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was distributed by Gravitas Ventures with exclusive SVOD on Hulu. Digital series have been seen on AMC, NFL and Quibi. Her short film about the intersection of comedy and social justice is a permanent installation in The Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. Maestra is her first feature documentary film. maggiecontreras.com

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Q – Director Jude Chehab

Where do we draw the line between love and devotion? An intimate and haunting portrayal of a quest for love and acceptance at any cost, Q depicts the insidious influence of a secretive matriarchal religious order in Lebanon on three generations of women in the Chehab family. First-time filmmaker Jude Chehab potently documents the unspoken ties and consequences of loyalty that have bonded her mother, Hiba, grandmother, and herself to the mysterious organization. When she’s not teaching the Quran to students or taking part in poetry readings with peers, Hiba strictly obeys the detailed writings of the Anisa (the leader of the order) who instills in her followers the need to closely observe and practice full days of prayer. A masterful portrait of the toll that decades of unrequited love, lost hope, abuse, and despair takes on a person, Q is a multigenerational tale of the eternal search for meaning. A love story of a different kind, the film delicately portrays the complexities of the unseen power that intermesh the lives of those who love a woman whose heart is in the hands of someone else. Director Jude Chehab stops by to talk about her personal journey with Qubaysiat, engaging in an extended cinematic conversation with her family about the influence the group has had on them, particularly her mother, and what being a part of the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival means for Q and her own artistic trajectory.

 

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For more go to: tribecafilm.com/films/q-2023

About the filmmaker – Jude Chehab is a Lebanese-American filmmaker based between New York and Beirut. Her cinematic interests have drawn Jude to the exploration of the esoteric, the spiritual and the unspoken. A richly layered visual and intimate personal shooting style developed under the mentorship of Abbas Kiarostami’s final student group; Jude has been credited in collaborations with the BBC, Refinery29, Oxfam GB, and Doctors Without Borders. She has worked as a DP internationally, on films in Somalia, Sudan and Pakistan and was an AP on Sesame Street’s Ahlan Simsim. Her work has been awarded fellowships through: CAAM, BGDM, NeXtDoc, Points North Institute, Firelight Media, Close-Up and Chicken and Egg. Jude’s first feature documentary has been supported by: IDA, ITVS, TFI, and Sundance. In 2021, Filmmaker Magazine named her one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film.

About the subject – Hiba Khodr is an Associate professor at the Department of Political Studies and Public Administration at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and has served as the department Chair. Currently, she is a visiting Associate Professor at Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. Apart from academia, she is the founder of Al Makan, a cultural center in the heart of Beirut that reflects a long-term endeavor to create a much-needed new cultural dynamic in the region. It is a community hub which promotes the mission to foster a safe and stimulating space for the nourishment of one’s creativity, intellect, curiosity and spirituality. 

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LYNCH/OZ – Director Alexandre O. Philippe

The themes, images, and cultural vernacular of Victor Fleming’s The Wizard of Oz continue to haunt David Lynch’s art and filmography—from his very first short, The Alphabet, to his latest series, Twin Peaks: The Return. LYNCH/OZ posits that no filmmaker has so consistently drawn inspiration—consciously or unconsciously—from a single work. Is David Lynch trapped in the land of Oz? If so, can we derive a new appreciation for Lynch’s body of work from taking a closer look at how it intersects and communicates with The Wizard of Oz? In turn, do Mulholland DriveLost Highway, or The Elephant Man have something to say about the enduring resonance of one of America’s most beloved classic movies? Through six distinct perspectives and narrated by some of contemporary cinema’s most exciting voices; film critic Amy Nicholson, Rodney Ascher (Room 237), John Waters (Pecker), Karyn Kusama (The Invitation), Justin Benson (The Endless), Aaron Moorhead (Something in the Dirt), David Lowery (A Ghost Story). LYNCH/OZ will take us down the proverbial rabbit hole, help us re-experience and re-interpret The Wizard of Oz by way of David Lynch, to deliver a whole new appreciation for Lynch’s symbolism through the lens of his greatest influence. Director Alexandre O. Philippe (78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene, You Can Call Me Bill) joins us for a conversation on unpacking the sometimes impenetrable world of a modern cinema wizard.

 

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For more go to: lynchoz.official.film

For screenings: lynchoz.official.film/screening-schedule

About the filmmaker – Alexandre O. Philippe holds an MFA in dramatic writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and serves as creative director at Exhibit A Pictures. With a body of work that includes Doc of the Dead (SXSW, 2014), 78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene (Sundance Film Festival, 2017), and Memory: The Origins of “Alien” (Sundance, 2019), Philippe has developed his own brand of cinema essay exploring the art of filmmaking and its practitioners. His most recent works include Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on “The Exorcist” (Venice Film Festival, 2019; Sundance, 2020), and The Taking, which premiered at the BFI London Film Festival and Fantastic Fest in late 2021. Lynch/Oz is his tenth feature film. 

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84% on RottenTomatoes

“Phillipe’s clever and complex film should leave you wanting to watch his doc again, let alone run out and watch everything that Lynch has ever filmed.” – Jeff YorkThe Establishing Shot

“It’s a Cubist documentary. The stream-of-conscious, connect-the-dots vibe is nearly overwhelming. Yet somehow it all works and fits each disparate piece together to form a complete picture.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone

“With its impressive array of hundreds of film clips, frenetic editing and whip-smart narrators, Lynch/Oz offers an exciting prism through which to view Lynch’s oeuvre. – Tara Judah, Screen International

“… Anyone who calls themselves a film lover should have a working knowledge of perhaps the last true artist in American movies. And from his niche, Philippe has universal lessons about the nature of influence.” – Danny Leigh, Financial Times

“If “The Wizard of Oz” is one of your favorite movies, and if Lynch is one of your favorite filmmakers, then watching “Lynch/Oz” is like seeing two old cinematic friends sitting around talking to each other.’ – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

Americonned – Director Sean Claffey

Sean Claffey’s latest documentary AMERICONNED focuses on the chronic and corrosive reality of income inequality in the US and the destabilizing effects its having on the vast majority of Americans. Radical inequality has led to radicalization at every level of society, and this powerful documentary depicts what happens when America hits its tipping point by looking back through our history at similar critical moments of instability. The labor movement of the past was born in times like these. Despite an increase in productivity in recent decades, compensation for the American worker has been stagnant. In addition, 47% of American jobs are at high risk of being lost to automation and A.I. by the mid-2030s. In the United States, there has been an upward redistribution of over $50 trillion from the bottom 90% to the top 1% over the last 40 years. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have created a protection racket for the rich, and corporations are deliberately crushing unions. In this David vs. Goliath story, Chris Smalls leads a movement to unionize Amazon workers for the first time, after the corporation fired Smalls for speaking up for workers’ rights. They are inspiring legions of workers to, as the late, great Congressman John Lewis said, get into “good trouble.” AMERICONNED director Seal Claffey joins us for a spirited conversation on the success and on-going efforts to organize major American companies and industry, the public’s increasing positive regarding the value of a workforce where people are able to afford housing, healthcare, and a comfortable future for themselves and their families as seen through the organizing efforts of people like Chris Smalls.

 

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For more go to: shinethelightfilms.com/Americonned

Award-winning documentary AMERICONNED will open theatrically in New York (Cinema Village), Los Angeles (Laemmle Monica Film Center) and major cities on June 9 with a VOD release in the US and Canada to follow on major platforms on June 13. 

About the filmmaker – Director/Writer/Producer Sean Claffey has more than 25 years in the film industry spanning feature films, TV pilots, industry documentaries and commercials. Sean’s mission is to tell the stories of the voiceless and oppressed to shine the light into the darkness and expose oppression wherever it may be. Shine the Light Films was formed in 2020 and is committed to producing quality documentaries that shine a light on injustices around the globe. More information: https://shinethelightfilms.com 

About the subject – Christian Smalls is the founder and president of the Amazon Labor Union, an independent, democratic, worker-led labor union at Amazon in Staten Island. He is also the founder of The Congress of Essential Workers (TCOEW), a nationwide collective of essential workers and allies fighting for better working conditions, better wages, and a better world. Smalls was formerly an Amazon warehouse supervisor, helping open three major warehouses in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut during his five years with the company, but he was fired in 2020 after organizing a protest against the company’s unsafe pandemic conditions. Smalls has been profiled by media outlets worldwide, including The New York Times, USA Today, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, CBC Radio, Salon, and Jacobin. He lives in Hackensack, New Jersey.

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“Shines a light on the grim reality we’re facing as a nation.” – Jason Delgado, Film Threat

“a call to arms documentary promoting unions to return a balance of power to the American worker.” – Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster – Director Bomani J. Story

Vicaria is a brilliant teenager who believes death is a disease that can be cured. After the brutal and sudden murder of her brother, she embarks on a dangerous journey to bring him back to life. Writer and director Bomani J. Story makes his directorial debut, THE ANGRY BLACK GIRL AND HER MONSTER, as a reimagining of Mary Shelley’s classic literary horror story, Frankenstein, filmed through a modern lens. Having World Premiered at the 2023 SXSW Film Festival, Bomani J. Story undeniably pushes boundaries while breaking  down barriers in the film industry. THE ANGRY BLACK GIRL AND HER MONSTER, is an essential piece of contemporary horror cinema that shows what happens when Black creators are given the space to tell their stories. Director and writer Bomani J. Story joins us to talk about casting Laya DeLeon Hayes in the leading role of Vicaria, watching her blossom in that crucial role, his use of sound and set design, finding a way to skillfully blend horror, comedy, family trauma and social commentary and putting a new spin on a very familiar tale.

 

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For more: theangryblackgirlandhermonstermovie.com

About the filmmaker – Bomani J. Story was born in Riverside, California and raised in Redlands, California. Growing up, Bomani always had a love of reading literature and watching films. He even spent time writing his own short stories as a child. Upon graduation from high school, Bomani cut his teeth on filmmaking when he started making short films with his fellow collaborators. After two years at San Bernardino Valley College, Bomani was accepted into the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts to study film production. After graduating from USC in 2010, he began honing his skills as a writer and director. In 2018, he wrote his first feature, “Rock Steady Row“. The film World Premiered at the 2018 Slamdance Film Festival and won the Grand Jury and Audience Award for Best Feature Film. From there, he went on to write his second feature and directorial debut, “The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster“, which World Premiered at the 2023 SXSW Film Festival. The film then screened at the 2023 Jim Thorpe Independent Film Festival where it won Best Horror/Sci-fi Feature and Best Director – Narrative Feature for Bomani. The film also screened at the 2023 Calgary Underground Film Festival where it won Best Narrative Feature. “The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster” was sold to RLJE films, and is headed for a U.S. theatrical release on June 9, 2023. 

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86% on RottenTomatoes

“A horror ride with a unique and contemporary artistic vision.” – Sabina Dana Plasse, Film Threat

“In a tight 92-minute runtime, the film takes us through a community as a microcosm of culture, delivers shivering gore, and crafts characters worth caring about.” – Peyton Robinson, RogerEbert.com

“Though we know the story, nothing about Angry Black Girl and Her Monster ever feels stale or staid, and the film plays like a monstrous scream into the darkness.” – Brent McKnight, The Last Thing I See

“Fiery, passionate and deeply intelligent, The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster takes Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and creates something altogether its own.” – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, AWFJ.org

“Bomani J. Story’s The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster is as heartbreaking as it is terrifying. The scariness doesn’t come so much from the jump scares as it does the tragic subject matter.” – Cassondra Feltus, Black Girl Nerds

Etilaat Roz – Co-director Zaki Daryabi (Abbas Rezaie)

Director Abbas Rezaie debut feature documentary takes the viewer inside the office of the city’s most widely read newspaper, The Etilaat Roz. The film is a gripping firsthand account of the August 2021 takeover of Kabul by the Taliban. Afghan filmmaker and Etilaat Roz staff member Abbas Rezaie relentlessly films and questions his passionate colleagues on the editorial team in the days leading up to, during, and after the takeover as they try to decide whether to stay and continue reporting – risking torture, imprisonment and death – or join thousands of others attempting to flee the country. What begins as shock at a surreal situation gradually shifts to realization of an inescapable reality at their doorstep.  Tensions rise as Rezaie’s colleagues must balance their families’ safety with their dedication to providing honest reporting, while the Taliban sets its sights on curbing the free press. This dramatic account of a group of courageous journalists in their struggle for truth, freedom and life is poignantly captured by Rezaie’s camera, fully immersing the viewer in this rapidly changing environment. We are joined by the co-director and editor-in-chief of Etilaat Roz Zaki Daryabi for a conversation on the harrowing days of dread and fear that Daryabi and his colleagues endured watching their beloved country fall under the heavy hand of the Taliban, fearing for their lives and being forced to abandon the offices and the mission of Etilaat Roz.

 

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Winner, Best First Feature, IDFA 2022

Digital screening: 
Available to watch at your own pace, any time between June 5 and June 11, 2023, on the festival’s digital streaming platform.

Human Rights Watch Film Festival – May 31 – June 11

Director’s Statement – Our history has always been narrated from the ruler’s point of view, whereas the people who change the course of history with their resilience, bravery, and sacrifices are not shown anywhere except in the newsreels. I want to get as close to the people as possible and continue recording their lives. This time it’s a personal film, with lots of poetry and, of course, history.” – Abbas Rezaie, co-director, The Etilaat Roz

“The Etilaat Roz is a piece of history. It depicts the most heartbreaking moments of Kabul’s collapse, which make every Afghan emotional, including me. But it also demonstrates how strong our defenders of free speech are.” –  Fereshta Abbasi, researcher, Asia Division, Human Rights Watch

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Falcon Lake – Director Charlotte Le Bon

The astonishingly assured debut feature from French Canadian actress Charlotte Le Bon, FALCON LAKE stars Joseph Engel as Bastien, a 13-year-old Parisian who, while on a holiday with his family in rural Quebec, becomes increasingly close to Chloé (Sara Montpetit), the 16-year-old daughter of an old friend of his mother. A tender tale of first love that progresses with the disconcertingly eerie mood of a gothic horror film—the lake by the family’s rented  cabin is haunted by a ghost legend—Le Bon’s ruminative, atmospheric drama subverts every coming of age cliché to create something entirely distinctive, quietly unnerving, and achingly emotional, seeking out the darkness on the fringes of a sunny summer idyll. Director, co-screenwriter, co-producer, actor, Charlotte Le Bon joins us to talk about casting Joseph Engel (Bastien) and Sara Montpetit (Chloé), their different approach to the roles, the symbolic importance of water in telling the story of young love and how she found her  cinematic sweet spot between a coming of age love story and indigenous mythology.

 

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For more go to:falconlakefilm.com

Watch in a theatre: falconlakefilm.com

For more on Charlotte Le Bon: lebonlebon.com

About the filmmaker Charlotte Le Bon grew up in Québec before moving to Paris. She worked as an actor with French directors such as Michel Gondry and Jalil Lespert. In the US, she has appeared in films of Lasse Hallström, Robert Zemeckis, and Sean Ellis. As a visual artist, Charlotte explores her taste for strangeness through paintings, drawings, and lithographs. Her passion for genre films led her to write and direct Judith Hotel, a short film presented at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2018. Her first feature film, Falcon Lake, had its world premiere at Cannes Directors Fortnight in 2022. For more on Charlotte Le Bon: lebonlebon.com

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97% on RottenTomatoes

“A bold, haunting, coming of age story.” – Caitlin Quinlan, The Playlist

“It becomes clear that we’re watching the best moments of a story that’s destined to end badly. Yet we keep watching, due in large part to the deeply human performances from Engel and Montpetit.” – Christian Zilko, indieWire

“A smartly executed hybrid of teenage rite-of-passage drama and traditional ghost story, ever so slowly tightens its grip as it plays with our preconceived notions.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times

“A bold, haunting, coming of age story.” – Caitlin Quinlan, The Playlist

“Le Bon’s world is so intimately constructed that it’s easy to be immersed in the present moment, as the characters are, and lose sight of the rest.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“Charlotte Le Bon’s exceptionally assured first directorial film is full of light mischief yet heavy with horror-movie mood.” – Jessica Kiang, Variety

Museum of the Revolution – Director Srđan Keča

Director Srđan Keča’s searingly direct new documentary, MUSEUM OF THE REVOLUTION, begins with a Serbian proverb, “The wind got up in the night and took our plans away.” It’s a reference to the 1961 plan to build a grand museum in Belgrade as a tribute to Socialist Yugoslavia. Meant to “safeguard the truth” about the Yugoslav people, the plan never got beyond the construction of the basement. The derelict building now tells a very different story from the one envisioned by the initiators 60 years ago. The cavernous, damp, pitch-dark space is inhabited by the outcasts of a society reshaped by capitalism: a precocious and energetic little girl who earns cash on the street by cleaning car windows with her mother, and their friend, an older woman also living in the basement. In his award-winning, visually stunning and formally daring feature documentary debut, director and cinematographer Director and writer Srđan Keča powerfully illuminates the tender relationship between the three women – a source of refuge, community, and hope – against the backdrop of a city in transformation.

 

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For more go to: museumoftherevolutionfilm.com

Opens in NYC on Friday, May 19th at DCTV’s Firehouse Cinema

Watch at: mubi.com/films/stay-awake

About the filmmaker – Director, Writer & Cinematographer Srđan Keča’s medium-length films include A Letter To Dad (IDFA 2011, Dokufest 2011 – Best Balkan Documentary) and Mirage (Jihlava IDFF 2012 – Best Central and Eastern European Documentary) both screened at leading documentary film festivals, while his video installations have been exhibited at venues like the Venice Biennale of Architecture and the Whitechapel Gallery. The found-footage feature documentary Flotel Europa, produced and edited by Keča, premiered at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival, winning the Tagesspiegel Jury Prize. His debut feature documentary as director, Museum of the Revolution, premiered at IDFA 2021.Keča is a graduate of the Ateliers Varan and the UK National Film and Television School (NFTS). Since 2015 he has worked as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University, teaching in the MFA Documentary Film Program.

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“Magical.” – Die Zeit

“Wondrous.” – Senses of Cinema

“Museum of the Revolution is an immersive experience that  allows viewers to enter the spaces the women inhabit and witness with intimate immediacy the precariousness with which they live day by day.“ – POV Magazine

“Monumental in its tender exploration of hope lost and found.” – Kirsten Johnson

“Incredibly intimate, patient and formally ambitious… unlike anything we’ve ever seen.” Jury Statement, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival

“This is an engrossing documentary, and one that raises questions about the ethics of intervening (or not) in the lives of people struggling to get by.” – Natalia Winkelman, New York Times

How to Create a Sex Scandal – Director Julian P. Hobbs & Executive Producer Elii Hakami

Premiering Tuesday, May 23 on MAX, HOW TO CREATE A SEX SCANDAL delves into the topics of mass hysteria, coerced memories and the intense emotional journey the town went on as they were forced to reconsider everything they thought they knew. In 2005, the sleepy community of Mineola, Texas, is thrown into turmoil when local children reveal shocking stories about a pedophile sex ring that took place at a local swingers club. As arrests are made, life sentences handed down, and lives ruined, it soon becomes apparent that there is a lot more to the story than meets the eye. Now, the startling long-term repercussions of the scandal are revealed. Inspired by series of articles, “Mineola’s Swingers Club”, written by Texas Monthly reporter Michael Hall, HOW TO CREATE A SEX SCANDAL brings to life the startling and scarcely believable telling of a crime story that really is stranger than fiction. We’re joined by Director and Executive Producer Julian P. Hobbs (Cave of Forgotten Dreams) and Executive Producer Elli Hakami (Life Below Zero) join us for a conversation on the circumstances that drew them to this unbelievable story, gaining the confidence of the pivotable people involved in the imbroglio, their take on the social, political and judicial factors that played into the investigation, the rush to judgement and why it matters that we all stay vigilant when it comes to the prosecution of the less powerful among us.

 

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Watch How to Create a Sex Scandal at: max.com

HOW TO CREATE A SEX SCANDAL MIND is a  three-part docu-series that launches on MAX on May 23.

About the filmmaker – Elli Hakami headed up MTV’s East Coast Production and Development team and the unscripted unit for BBC Worldwide Production in LA.  During this time, she created and produced a wide range of projects including: HBO’s feature documentary, Americans in Bed, and National Geographic’s Emmy Award-Winning Life Below Zero. During her tenure, Hakami developed and executive produced a dynamic slate of successful on-air series and specials including: What Not to Wear (TLC), Richard Hammond’s Crash Course (BBC America), Gold Rush: Alaska (Discovery), and Dual Survivor (Discovery).  Elli also received commissions from a wide range of networks including Bravo, CW, Lifetime, TNT, A&E, History Channel, and Discovery Channel. talosfilms.com/what-we-do

About the filmmaker – Julian P. Hobbs served as a VP and EP at History Channel where he served as the Executive Producer for feature documentaries, including: Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Errol Morris’ Emmy nominated The Unknown Known, and Barbara Kopple’s Emmy nominated Woodstock: Now and Then.  Hobbs also Executive Produced the Emmy Winning Outstanding Non-Fiction Special Gettysburg with Tony and Ridley Scott, as well as America: The Story of US, and Mankind.  While heading up scripted development and production at History Channel, Hobbs launched The Bible with Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, the breakout drama Vikings, and Gangland Undercover. talosfilms.com/what-weve-done

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Wild Life – Co-directors Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin

From Oscar®-winning filmmakers Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, WILD LIFE follows conservationist Kris Tompkins on an epic, decades-spanning love story as wild as the landscapes she dedicated her life to protecting. After falling in love in midlife, Kris and the outdoorsman and entrepreneur Doug Tompkins left behind the world of the massively successful outdoor brands they’d helped pioneer — Patagonia, The North Face and Esprit — and turned their attention to a visionary effort to create national parks throughout Chile and Argentina via their nonprofit Tompkins Conservation. WILD LIFE chronicles the highs and lows of their journey to affect the largest private land donation in history. Co-directors Chai Vasarhelyi (Meru, The Rescue) and Jimmy Chin (Free Solo, Return to Space) join us for a conversation on how the dedication and vision of a small group of remarkable people became something extraordinary, their personal connection to Doug and Kris Tompkins, Yvon Chouinard, Rick Ridgeway, the challenge of detailing a decades long love story, and the determined leadership of Kris Tompkins to ensure that nearly 15 million acres of pristine habitat will survive and thrive. 

 

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For more go to: nationalgeographic.com/wild-life

WILD LIFE will have its broadcast debut on National Geographic Channel starting May 25 and Streaming May 26 on Disney+ 

About the Tompkins Foundation – Founded by the late Douglas Tompkins and cofounded by Kristine Tompkins, Tompkins Conservation is protecting and restoring wild beauty and biodiversity by creating national parks, bringing back species through rewilding, and helping communities thrive through nature-based tourism. Over three decades, the nonprofit has protected approximately 14.8 million acres of parklands in Chile and Argentina through the creation or expansion of 15 national parks in those countries, in addition to two marine protected areas of 30 million acres. Through active rewilding, the organization is bringing back over a dozen species that are in critical numbers, endangered or locally extinct. In 2015, a kayaking accident in Patagonia took Doug’s life. Alongside his wife, Kris, the couple is amongst the foremost conservation philanthropists in history. Today, their work continues through the offspring organizations Rewilding Argentina and Rewilding Chile. The future of the planet depends on the power within each of us to create change for the better. Read on to learn more about the work Tompkins Conservation is doing and to get in involved, visit TompkinsConservation.org

About the filmmakers – Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin are Academy® Award-winning filmmakers. The two are the directors and producers of “Free Solo,” an intimate, unflinching portrait of rock climber Alex Honnold, which was awarded a BAFTA and the Academy® Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2019. Their first film together, “Meru,” won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015 and was on the 2016 Oscar shortlist for Best Documentary Feature. More recently, they directed the BAFTA and DGA-nominated documentary “The Rescue,” chronicling the against-all-odds rescue of twelve boys and their coach from deep inside a flooded cave in Northern Thailand. Other projects include “Return to Space,” about SpaceX and NASA’s first joint spaceflight, which hit the top 10 on Netflix’s most watched films list, and the National Geographic series “Edge of the Unknown With Jimmy Chin”. Chin and Vasarhelyi are currently working on their first scripted feature for Netflix, “Nyad”, about Diana Nyad’s swim from Cuba to Florida.Vasarhelyi’s other films as a director include “Incorruptible” (Truer Than Fiction Independent Spirit Award 2016); “Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love” (Oscilloscope, 2009), which premiered at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals; “A Normal Life” (Tribeca Film Festival, Best Documentary 2003); and “Touba” (SXSW, Special Jury Prize Best Cinematography in 2013). Vasarhelyi has directed two New York Times Op Docs, two episodes for Netflix’s nonfiction design series “Abstract” and two episodes for ESPN’s nonfiction series “Enhanced.” She has received grants from the Sundance Institute, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Bertha Britdoc, and the National Endowment of the Arts. She is a member of the DGA, the AMPAS, and holds a B.A. in comparative literature from Princeton University. Jimmy Chin is also a National Geographic photographer and professional climber and skier who has led and documented cutting-edge expeditions around the world for over 20 years. He has climbed and skied Mount Everest from the summit and made the coveted first ascent of the Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru. His photographs have graced the covers of National Geographic Magazine and the New York Times Magazine and his first book of photography, There and Back, became a New York Times Best Seller in 2021. Vasarhelyi and Chin split their time between New York City and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with their daughter, Marina, and son, James.

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90% on RottenTomatoes

“Vasarhelyi and Chin guide another exhilarating and emphatic look at the world around us and the way in which one set of individuals is choosing to make a difference.” – Abe Friedtanzer, AwardsWatch

“It’s so well made, and puts you in the middle of some really breathtaking scenery.” – Christy Lemire, Film Week, KPCC (NPR)

“Another breathtaking journey from Chin and Vasarhelyi, one that fits snugly in their canon about indomitable rule breakers who achieved greatness and broke their barriers by persistence and unwavering dedication.” – Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News

“A warming, epic story that exemplifies how it’s not too late to make big changes.” – Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com

“Wild Life becomes a call to action … as well as a touching act of preserving the mission and memory of a conservationist, friend, and husband.” – Mark Dujsik, Mark Reviews Movies

Victim / Suspect – Director Nancy Schwartzman

Rae de Leon, is a new staff reporter working at The Center for Investigative Reporting, when she discovers a surprising number of legal cases nationwide that involve women reporting sexual assault to the police, only to be accused of fabricating their allegations. These women are then charged with crimes, sometimes facing years in prison. This powerful and shocking documentary VICTIM / SUSPECT follows de Leon as she gathers firsthand accounts from numerous young women and their families and interviews police and legal experts. Simultaneously, de Leon re-examines elements of the initial police investigations, unearthing telling recordings of police interviews of women reporting their sexual assault. In her latest documentary feature, VICTIM / SUSPECT Director Nancy Schwartzman (Roll Red Roll) crafts a deeply compelling and provocative investigative documentary, sure to elicit both empathy and outrage, that stands as a powerful testament to the carefully constructed work of determined reporters like de Leon. Director / Producer Nancy Schwartzman joins us for a conversation on the multi-faceted way that VICTIM / SUSPECT illuminates how local and nationwide systemic policing policies both motivate detectives to treat victims like suspects, and directly impact not only these vulnerable women’s cases, but also their lives.

 

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About the filmmaker – Nancy Schwartzman is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and author based in Los Angeles. Her debut feature, Roll Red Roll (POV/Netflix 2019), was nominated for a Peabody Award and exposed the notorious Steubenville, Ohio, teen sexual assault case. She is the creator and director of a nonfiction project in production with XTR for Freeform/Disney.

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“[A] powerful, hard-hitting investigative documentary.” – Kent Turner, Film-Forward.com

“A strong, powerful documentary that, despite feeling a tad neat and cold at times, benefits from De Leon’s presence. And most importantly: it is a film that will remain engraved in your memories for a long time. “ – Sebastian Zavala Kahn, Cinencuentro

“A very solid, depressing piece of accessible documentary journalism about a very troubling trend.” – Cory Woodroof, 615 Film

“It’s all so very sober, so deeply sobering, that when actual emotion pops, that’s what jars. It shouldn’t be the case — all of this should rattle us and move us into action.” – Kate Erbland, indieWire

The Cow Who Sang a Song into the Future – Director Francisca Alegria

In Francisca Alegría’s poignant and stunning debut feature, THE COW WHO SANG A SONG INTO THE FUTURE, we are introduced to a world delicately constructed by fantasy, mystery, and magical realism. The story begins in a river in the south of Chile where fish are dying due to pollution from a nearby factory. Amid their floating bodies, long-deceased Magdalena (Mia Maestro) bubbles up to the surface gasping for air, bringing with her old wounds and a wave of family secrets. This shocking return sends her widowed husband into turmoil and prompts their daughter Cecilia (Leonor Varela) to return home to the family’s dairy farm with her own children. Magdalena’s presence reverberates among her family, instigating fits of laughter and despair in equal measure with all but Cecilia’s eldest child, who finds much-needed comfort in their grandmother’s love and unconditional understanding during a time of transition. THE COW WHO SANG A SONG INTO THE FUTURE is an ambitious proposal for acceptance and healing, suggesting that the dead return when they are most needed. Director Francisca Alegria joins us for a conversation on her ambitious undertaking and how she was able to successfully tell her story as a lyrical rumination on family, nature, renewal, and resurrection.

 

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For more go to: kinolorber.com/film/the-cow-who-sang

THE COW WHO SANG A SONG INTO THE FUTURE opens May 19 at the Quad Cinema in New York and May 26 at the Landmark Nuart  in Los Angeles and the Laemmle Glendale followed by national expansion.

About the filmmaker – Francisca Alegría is an award-winning filmmaker who obtained her degree in Directing from the Universidad Católica de Chile and her M.F.A. in Screenwriting and Film Directing at Columbia University. Her short film AND THE WHOLE SKY FIT IN THE DEAD COW’S EYE received the award for Best International Fiction Short Film at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, Best Latin American Short Film at Miami Film Festival and was selected at Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, and New York Film Festival. Alegría’s debut feature, The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future was selected for the Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Labs and will premiere in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. 

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98% on RottenTomatoes

“Mysterious and elegiac. A tale of warning about a collapsing ecosystem and about deep family wounds.” – Alissa Wilkinson, Vox

“A beautifully eerie and resonant tale about motherhood and the natural world… Solidly grounded, teeming with thought-provoking ideas, wonderfully atmospheric, and often visually striking.” – Jonathan Holland, Screen Daily

“Hauntingly moving and hopeful… A folkloric tale that uses magical realism as a way to connect the intimate story of a family suffering from generational trauma with a timely environmentalist fable.”  – Rafael Motamayor, IndieWire

“An intimate story about one family and a vast story about the Earth…Feels like the arrival of a totally new voice.” – Drew Gregory, Autostraddle

“The Cow Who Sang A Song Into The Future emerges as part of a growing body of work which is striving to address desperation with imagination, to find new ways to be.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

The Thief Collector – Director Allison Otto

Allison Otto’s so unbelievable it has to be true documentary, THE THIEF COLLECTOR, follows the brazen broad daylight theft of renown artist Willem de Kooning’s landmark painting “Woman-Ochre,” in 1985. Considered to be one of the most valuable paintings of the 20th century, it vanished into the Arizona desert after being cut from its frame at the University of Arizona Museum of Art. Thirty-Two years later, the $160 million painting was found hanging in the home of Jerry and Rita Alter in rural New Mexico. THE THIEF COLLECTOR takes a deep look at how, and why, this mild-mannered couple pulled off one of the greatest art heists of a generation, exploring the complicated dynamics of family, the contours of criminality, and just how far people will go to weave their own grandiose narratives. Featuring Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Sarah Minnich (Army of the Dead) in the “heist re-enactment”. Director Allison Otto (The Love Bugs) stops by to talk about how she came to the project, following the wildly improbable story of retired school teachers and avid world travelers led her to New Mexico and a cryptic book, written by Jerry Alter that hints at multiple art heists and even more disturbing activities that the couple may have engaged in. 

 

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For more go to: xtr.com/films/the-thief-collector

About the filmmaker – Director Allison Otto is an Emmy winning documentary filmmaker, cinematographer, and visual journalist. Her documentary short, The Love Bugs (2019), was awarded Best Short Documentary in the 42nd Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards after screening on POV Shorts Season 3 (2020). The film was also shortlisted for a 2019 International Documentary Association Award and is touring globally with the American Film Showcase. Allison is a 2019 recipient of the SFFILM Catapult Film Fellowship, a 2018 and 2011 Telluride Mountainfilm Commitment grant recipient, and a 2018 Roy W. Dean grant winner. Her journalism clients have included National Geographic, BBC America, NBC, the Sierra Club, Travel Channel, Atlas Obscura, and Lonely Planet. Her first feature-length documentary, THE THIEF COLLECTOR, premiered in the Feature Documentary competition at SXSW 2022.

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94% on RottenTomatoes

“A movie that has used art to touch something essential about how strangers — or maybe I should just say the downright strange — walk among us.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“Unusually interesting film, even if it has nothing to say that is definitive about the theft.“ – Dennis Schwartz, Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

“Character driven true crime documentary about one of the most audacious art heists ever. Once the story shifts from the actual crime to those who may have committed it, things get really interesting.” – Nathaniel Muir, AIPT

“While not fully exploiting its stranger-than-fiction story, The Thief Collector is a documentary as entertaining as it is odd.” – Shaun Munro, Flickering Myth

“What begins as a spirited romp goes to dark places before it’s done’ – Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“This tantalizing documentary abounds with theories and rationales for the Alters’ actions.” – Kent Turner, Film-Forward.com

Stay Awake – Director Jamie Sisley

Jamie Sisley’s American indie debut drama, STAY AWAKE, is a fictionalized account of the filmmaker’s coming of age, as he struggles to get out from under the yoke of a prescription-drug-addicted mother in small-town Virginia. Life in the last, lame-duck months of high school, with a job at the Jolly Cow ice cream drive-in, would be cringe-inducing enough without a deeply depressed, self-destructive mother (Chrissy Metz, star of This is Us). Wyatt Oleff (City on Fire) and Fin Argus (Queer as Folk) play teenage brothers stuck in a cycle of discovering their mom passed out, dragging her to the hospital, and encouraging rehab. Despair quickly turns to hope and then boomerangs back again. Featuring three superb performances that find surprising humor and humanity amid the tragedy of parental addiction. Writer/Director Jamie Sisley (Farewell Ferris Wheel) joins us for a conversation on assembling a superb cast of actors, delivering a story of uncommon empathy that is very much of the moment, and a moving drama that subverts audience expectations about addicts.

 

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For more go to: instagram.com/stayawakethefilm

Opens Friday May 19 at Film Forum in NYC and

May 26 at Laemmle Royal in LA

About the filmmaker – Jamie Sisley is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker. Stay Awake, his narrative debut, premiered at the 2022 Berlin Film Festival, where it won the AG Kino Gilde Auteur Award. Sisley also received an Emmy Nomination for his feature documentary, Farewell Ferris Wheel. Sisley is a graduate of the University of Virginia.

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89% on RottenTomatoes

“Gorgeously shot, honest and deeply personal.” – Virgie Tovar, Forbes

“Especially resonant given the recent representation of America’s drug crisis.” – Manori Ravindran, Variety

“Youthful wisdom is laced throughout Jamie Sisley’s feature debut.” – Stephen Saito, The Moveable Fest

“A balancing act of addiction, compassion, difficult choices, that still manages hilarious moments and periods of joy. One of the best directorial debuts of the year.” – Ross Bonaime, Collider

“Sisley tells the story on a personal tone, showing how the drama goes hand to hand with humor, and how in the most difficult moments, humans can get a connection beyond any limit.” – Laura Hiros, Rincón de cine

It’s Quieter in the Twilight – Director Billy Miossi

Director Billy Miossi takes viewers on a thoroughly enjoyable look behind the scenes of an engaging group of engineers and scientist in It’s Quieter in the Twilight They watch the bright lights from a distance today. The headlines now go to big names with bigger bank accounts. But, they are comfortable in the quiet, it suits them. Yet this quirky team of brilliant engineers- like the Voyager spacecraft they pilot – are pushing the notion of true discovery, traveling among stars propelled only by dwindling sunlight. While the world has moved on to fancier ships and splashier front men–the celestial journey of the aging / spacecraft transcends earthly boundaries– from rural South Korea, the Jim Crow South and the U.S./Mexico border to cement a joint commitment to the mission which has traveled the furthest in human history as the clock winds down. Director Billy Miossi stops to talk about the low-key way that the Voyager team goes to extraordinary lengths to keep a 1970’s era spacecraft functioning, and the dedication of a crew that includes Sun Matsumoto, Enrique Medina, Fernando Peralta, Jefferson Hall, Todd Barber, Suzy Dodd, Chris Jones, Ed Stone, Andrea Angrum and Liu Yang.

 

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For more go to: itsquieterfilm.com

About the filmmaker – Billy Miossi is an Emmy-award-winning documentary filmmaker based in Cincinnati, Ohio. It’s Quieter in the Twilight combines Billy’s love of history, space and science to spotlight a dynamic underexposed in tech: aging and quiet dedication. Billy lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife and three kids. For more go to: billy-miossi.com/films

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“An undeniably engrossing film.” – Peter Sobczynski, The Spool

“This film is magical.” “I love this film.”  “What an absolute delight. Highly recommended.” – Steve Kopian, Unseen Films

“Things go a bit sideways and we viewers suddenly find ourselves actively rooting for this beautiful, dumb, and amazing little hunk of metal that is so very far away. How it plays out is almost beside the point.” – Seth Freilich, Pajiba

“Miossi wisely avoids hammering home obvious connections about the age of human and machine, instead making this about how they care.” – Richard Whittaker, Austin Chronicle

“If you love all things space, It’s Quieter in the Twilight is must-see viewing… Science, nostalgia, and a bit of drama. What more could you ask for in a documentary?” – Alan Ng, Film Threat

The Cure for Hate: Bearing Witness to Auschwitz – Director Peter Hutchinson and Subject Tony McAleer

Filmmaker Peter Hutchinson’s latest documentary THE CURE FOR HATE: BEARING WITNESS TO AUSCHWITZ follows Tony McAleer, a former Neo-Nazi and Holocaust denier. After spent 15 years in the white supremacist and neo-Nazi movement, starting as a skinhead before rising in the ranks into leadership, McAleer shed past life to become a founding member of the anti-hate activist group Life After Hate. positions. (the film) THE CURE FOR HATE: BEARING WITNESS TO AUSCHWITZ documents Tony’s profoundly personal journey of atonement to Auschwitz/Birkenau – exploring the conditions that allowed for the rise of fascism in 1930s Europe; shedding a unique light upon how men get into, and out of, violent extremist groups; and serving as a cautionary tale for our time that underscores the dangers in allowing hate to be left unchecked. Aware and deeply ashamed of the lineage of hate he’d once promoted, Tony had long-contemplated traveling to Auschwitz in the spirit of tshuvah – to bear witness to the inconceivable ravages of the Holocaust, and deepen his personal work against the rise of extremist politics. Director Peter Hutchinson (Requiem of the American Dream) and Subject Tony McAleer join us for a conversation on the road that brought them together, the size and scope of the Auschwitz industrial killing operation, and getting to know each other.

 

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 For more go to: thecureforhatefilm.com

About the filmmaker – Peter Hutchison is an award-winning filmmaker, NY Times Bestselling author, educator & activist.His films include Requiem for the American Dream: Noam Chomsky and the Principles of Concentration of Wealth and Power (Netflix/Amazon Prime/Kanopy) – a NY Times Critics Pick, it’s companion book a NY Times Bestseller. The more recent Healing From Hate: Battle for the Soul of a Nation (Amazon Prime/Kanopy) – an exploration of hate group activity as seen through the lens of masculinity – has been described as a “raw masterpiece”.Devil Put the Coal in the Ground, a holistic look at the ravages of extractive industry and corporate power in West Virginia, is currently in festival release, having garnered 6 Best Documentary Feature Awards.His longstanding commitment to issues around male identity has resulted in the films You Throw Like A Girl: The Blind Spot of Masculinity (MEF), Angry White Men: Masculinity in the Age of Trump (Grasshopper), and The Man Card: White Male Identity Politics from Nixon to Trump(MEF).He holds an M.S. in Counseling Psychology with a focus on Addictions and Systems Dynamics.

About the subject – Tony McAleer spent 15 years in the white supremacist and neo-Nazi movement, starting as a skinhead before evolving to leadership positions. Instrumental in ushering in the use of the internet as a means to disseminate white supremacist propaganda, he was ultimately brought before the Canadian Human Rights Commission for his offenses in a case that captured nationwide attention.Following over a thousand hours of individual & group counseling to understand his own process, Tony was instrumental in helping to foundLife After Hate, an organization that supports those considering exiting hate groups. Tony served as its Executive Director from 2013-2017, andBoard Chair until his departure in 2019.Now a certified Life Coach, Tony works closely with law enforcement and government, from Attorney Generals to senior staff at the Department of Homeland Security. Tony has testified before Congress, and was recently invited to the Paris Summit for the Christchurch Call with the Prime Minister of New Zealand. He also supports Government and Law enforcement in Victoria, Australia helping them grapple with the rising problem of violent white supremacist groups.He is the Author of The Cure For Hate: A Former White Supremacist’s Journey from Violent Extremism to Radical Compassion, published byArsenal Pulp Press; his TED Talk on “Radical Compassion” is available via TEDx.

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“As the documentary points out, the number of Holocaust survivors is dwindling fast, and it’s documentaries like this one that must keep the memory of the horrors of genocide over ideology alive today, or dare we repeat the past.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat
“A well-filmed, no-holds-barred, raw masterpiece defining the causes and solutions for America’s ugliest disease: racism. A must-see for both victims and perpetrators of hate.” –  Daryl Davis (“Accidental Courtesy”)
“Thoughtful & compelling… a powerful case for compassion & empathy” –  Common Sense Media
“A hopeful expression of how hate does not need to be the end of the road” – CBS News
“Powerful & risky documentary that looks at racism in America… and how to enact change.” – AIPT

Queens of the Qing Dynasty – Director Ashley McKenzie

In a remote small town, a neuro-divergent teen forms an unlikely rapport with an international student from Shanghai volunteering at the hospital where she is a patient. Between the two, a bond forms, cemented by their candid conversations, nightly text messages, and exchange of their deepest secrets. The boundaries of their friendship quickly expand into something special, altering their inner alchemy. QUEENS OF THE QING DYNASTY is a story that breaches the absurd and poetic, the platonic and the romantic. Both intimate and intense, it explores the intrinsic beauty and innate flaws of what it is to be human, the profundity of connection, and the vortex of mental illness. The electronic music score blurs between cinema foley and sound design to create a feeling of an alternate plane. The film is an affectionate ode to women, asexuals, and neuro-diverse and gender queer individuals who exist beyond the norms of society. QUEENS OF THE QING DYNASTY is produced by Britt Kirr, Nelson MacDonald, and McKenzie, with music by Cecile Believe and Yu Su and cinematography by Scott Moore. Director and writer Ashley McKenzie (Werewolf) joins us for a conversation on the casting of film  stars Sarah Walker and Ziyin Zheng, working with them to get their pitch perfect performances, and finding her own creative space outside the cinematic circles, of Toronto and Montreal, in Nova Scotia working with local artist.

 

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For more go to: hi-visfilm.ca/Queens-of-the-Qing-Dynasty

About the filmmaker – Ashley McKenzie (she/they) is a filmmaker based in Unama’ki–Cape Breton Island, Canada. She writes and directs films in collaboration with people in her community, compelled by the stories near to her that may otherwise be overlooked. Casting locals and shooting on-location brings vitality to her work and visibility to the people and textures concealed in a remote place. Her debut feature, Werewolf, won the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award from the Toronto Film Critics Association in 2017, the most generously endowed film prize in Canada. It was theatrically released by Factory 25 in the US and Les Alchimistes in Europe. Film Comment called Werewolf “an austere, marvelously focused debut feature,” while The New Yorker named it on their Best Movies of 2018 list. Ashley’s films have screened at the Berlinale, New York Film Festival, and Toronto International Film Festival, as well as been curated by the Criterion Channel, MUBI, and Anthology Film Archives. Queens of the Qing Dynasty, her latest feature, premiered in the Encounters Competition of the 2022 Berlinale.

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87% on RottenTomatoes

“Daring. Destabilizing in the best, mind expanding way”. – Nicolas Rapold, Artforum

“A rare, cathartic, and humane commodity. McKenzie has given us a movie worth talking about.” – Adam Nayman, Cinema-Scope

“Hopeful and deeply emotional. Feels like a fairytale for these isolating times.” – Jourdain Searles, IndieWire

“Ashley McKenzie’s film blossoms into a moving story about two people trapped by the institutions that they’re beholden to.” – Mark Hanson, Slant Magazine

“Ashley McKenzie is staking out territory as a showstopping neo-realist.” – Scout Tafoya, RogerEbert.com

“Impressive. Showcases McKenzie’s flair for complex characters hoping to break free from their ennui.” – Caitlin Quinlan, Variety

Chop & Steele – Co-directors Berndt Mader and Ben Steinbauer

From the award-winning filmmakers, Berndt Mader & Ben Steinbauer behind WINNEBAGO MAN, comes CHOP & STEELE. The feature documentary focuses on a pair of childhood friends, Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett, turned professional comedians and the founders of the wildly popular Found Footage Festival. When Nick and Joe book their gag strongman routine on unsuspecting morning news shows, their pranks go viral and land them in federal court with a vengeful media conglomerate. The stress of the lawsuit and pressure to continue their pranks threatens their livelihood and tests their lifelong friendship. Co-director Ben Steinbauer (Winnebago Man) join us for a lively conversation on the joyous journey that he and Berndt Mader (Booger Red) took in documenting the long and winding tale of Nick and Joe have been on for decades as pranksters, strongmen, family men, and hosts of the Found Footage Film Festival, enlisting Howie Mandel, David Cross, Reggie Watts, Bobcat Goldwait and Yes Man Andy Bichlbaum to give context to the rich comedic tradition being carried on by Chop & Steele.

For more go to: drafthousefilms.com

Spend more time with Chop & Steele at: chopandsteele.com

Available On Demand beginning on May 9th

Don’t miss Nick & Joe hosting foundfootagefest.com

About the filmmaker – Berndt Mader is an Emmy Award-winning film, television and commercial director. The son of a prominent Dallas photographer, Berndt spent the majority of his childhood running from cameras, only to now find himself most at home behind one. Berndt’s vast portfolio includes Chop & Steele (2022), a comedy documentary that he co-directed with The Bear’s Ben Steinbauer. The film premiered to great acclaim at the Tribeca Film Festival. His hybrid narrative-documentary, Booger Red (2016), led him to co-direct a television series for Discovery+, based on his original film. Berndt has directed award winning advertising work for notable brands like Budweiser, RAM, Fritos, Alfa Romeo, Dodge, Indeed, Yeti and many others. thebear.us/directors/ben-steinbauer

About the filmmaker – Ben Steinbauer grew up wanting to be an author and astounded his preschool teacher when he made a book at age four. In college at KU (Rock Chalk!), a gruff creative writing professor told him to pursue film classes and there’s been no looking back. Since then, he has become an award-winning film, television, and commercial director. His feature documentary, Winnebago Man, Michael Moore called, “One of the funniest documentaries ever made!” and Roger Ebert named it one of his favorite films. His most recent documentary film, Chop & Steele, premiered to outstanding reviews at the Tribeca Film Festival and stars David Cross, Reggie Watts, Bobcat Goldthwait, and Howie Mandel. He has directed commercials for Yeti, Crate & Barrel, Shiner, Whole Foods, LinkedIn, Popeyes and Indeed. thebear.us/directors/ben-steinbauer

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“A hilarious documentary… Chop and Steele will charm Nick and Joe’s fanbase, but it should also generate new admirers.” – Gary M. Kramer, MovieJawn

“We’re essentially watching two guys with a lifelong dependency on each other, and a seeming addiction to cringe, consider the possibility for the first time in decades of giving up some key aspect of their own identities.” – Jim Vorel, Paste Magazine

“A very funny and entertaining documentary about friendship, the art of comedy, and the skill and creativity it takes to execute the perfect practical joke – even if it lands you in serious legal trouble.” – Louisa Moore, Screen Zealots

“Chop & Steele plays like one act of artistic defiance after another in celebration of Pickett and Prueher’s love of obscure content, much of which was never cleared for public consumption.” – John Fink, The Film Stage

“Hysterically funny, wonderful, and really terrible.” – Tim Cogshell, FilmWeek (KPCC – NPR Los Angeles)

Riceboy Sleeps – Director Anthony Shim

Few films have addressed the trauma of immigrating to a new country, and fewer have been as emotionally compelling as Anthony Shim’s RICEBOY SLEEPS. After losing her husband, So-young (Choi Seung-yoon) relocates to Canada in the 1990s with her young son, Dong-hyun (Dohyun Noel Hwang as a child, Ethan Hwang as a teenager) in tow. There, they must fight for acceptance and respect. Dong-hyun is brutally bullied by his classmates, and he isn’t helped by the timid, distinctly Canadian racism of his teacher and principal, who consider the family “troublesome.” At work, So-young battles  loneliness and racist and sexist comments. As they negotiate with their separate circumstances, the rift between mother and son grows. Unwelcome news sparks an unplanned return to South Korea — and the in-laws So-young hasn’t spoken to in many years — but might open up the possibility of mutual understanding. Winner of the Toronto Film Critics Association’s Rogers Award for Best Canadian Film, director, writer, co-producer and editor Anthony Shim (Daughter) joins us for a conversation on the very personal inspiration for the film, getting the outstanding performances from Choi Seung-yoon, Noel Hwang and Ethan Hwang, filming in South Korea and the critical importance of Christopher Lew’s masterful cinematography.

 

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For more go to 1091.tv/riceboy-sleeps

Watch at: geni.us/RiceboySleeps

About the filmmaker – Anthony Shim moved with his family to the Vancouver suburb of Coquitlam when he was still quite young. He began his career as an actor, landing roles in both film and television. He made his full-length feature debut as a director with Daughter, which premiered at the 2019 Vancouver International Film Festival. Riceboy Sleeps, his second feature film, premiered in the Platform Prize competition at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival and was named winner of the Platform Prize. In addition to many other awards,  Riceboy Sleeps also won the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award from the Toronto Film Critics Association, which comes with $100,000, considered the richest annual film prize in Canada. In an interview about the film, Shim said the movie is “semi-autobiographical and largely based on my experience as an immigrant living in Canada in the 90s. It is a story which I have been wanting to tell for quite some time. It is about a mother and her son, and how they come to terms with life in this new environment and culture. Over time and due to a series of unfortunate events, they go back to their home country to visit their relatives.” Anthony Shim is pictured with his 2023 Canadian Scree Award for Original Screenplay for his film Riceboy Sleeps

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95% on RottenTomatoes

“The extraordinary Riceboy Sleeps is a revelation that reverberates days after seeing it. Its power is in its subtlety and spare style, we aren’t so much watching mother and son as living inside them, a phenomenal achievement for filmmaker Anthony Shim.” – Anne Brodie, What She Said

“This tender and tragic film gracefully expresses not only the sense of being an outsider, but tells the story in a way that all audiences can understand, making it easier for viewers to relate to the immigrant experience in a mostly white country.” – Louisa Moore, Screen Zealots

“A deep-rooted longing at the core of Riceboy Sleeps makes it unforgettable. It is one of those achingly beautiful films that will stay with you long after it’s over.” – Barbara Goslawski, That Shelf

“Assimilation becomes [Dong-Hyun’s] only respite. What’s great about the film, however, is that it doesn’t portray this reality with judgment. It’s merely a fact.” – Jared Mobarak, The Film Stage

“The film-maker recounts his childhood years in a heartfelt, universal story about belonging.” – Whang Yee Ling, The Straits Times (Singapore)

The Melt Goes on Forever: The Art & Times of David Hammons – Co-directors Judd Tully & Harold Crooks

From the late 1960s to mid- 1970s, David Hammons captivated the art world with his body prints, using his naked body as a printing plate in meditations on African-American existence, and later works including a snowball-selling performance in the East Village and sculptures made of hair collected from Harlem barbers — all the while sharply defying establishment categories and rules of commerce. An unconventional chronicle of Hammons’s life and work (now 79, he believes “the less they know about me the better”), THE MELT GOES ON FOREVER captures his playful, no-bullshit spirit and conceptual integrity, using archival footage and rare interviews, dynamic animation and sound art, and candid accounts by eminent artists curators and critics (Betye Saar, Suzanne Jackson, Henry Taylor, Lorna Simpson, among others). Hammons’s profound critiques of racial and social inequality illuminate and implicate simultaneously. THE MELT GOES ON FOREVER chronicles Hammons’ category-defying practice – rooted in a deep critique of American society and the elite art world – is in the words of one art critic “an invitation to confront the fissures between races” as the artist seeks to go beyond the dominant culture and his own to a new one for the 21st century. Co-directors Judd Tully (American Greed: The Art of the Steal, Driven to Abstraction) and Harold Crooks (The Price We Pay, The Corporation) stop by to talk about David Hammons has constantly defied the establishment and remains to this day a subversive voice, evocative, defiant, nuanced and relevant.

 

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For more go to: the-melt-goes-on-forever-the-art-times-of-david-hammons

Screening at Film Forum in NYC – May 5 – 11

About the filmmaker – Harold Crooks is the director/writer of The Price We Pay, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and had its European premier at CPH:DOX. Named “Best Canadian Documentary” of 2014 by the Vancouver Film Critics Circle, it was a New York Times Critic’s Pick. He co-directed Surviving Progress with Mathieu Roy which premiered at 2011 TIFF, CPH:DOX and IDFA. His film writing credits include The Gig Is Up, a Hot Docs, CPH:DOX and IDFA selection in 2021; and the Sundance and TIFF audience winner The Corporation (2003), the narration for which he co-wrote with director Mark Achbar.  Crooks is a recipient of a Prix Gémeaux and a Genie Award from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television Genie Award, a Chicago International Film Festival Gold Hugo, a Leo Award for Best Screenwriter [Documentary] of the Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Foundation of B.C., a National Documentary Film Award (Best Writing) at Hot Docs 1996, and a Writers Guild of Canada Top Ten Awards finalist. 

About the filmmaker – Judd Tully was born in Chicago and educated at American University, Washington, DC. His career in journalism began as a cub reporter with the ’70s underground paper The Berkeley Barb where he covered the politically charged trials of the Soledad Brothers, George Jackson and Angela Davis in San Francisco and Marin County. For over two decades, he was Editor-at-Large of Art & Auction magazine. His journalism and art criticism has appeared in Flash Art, ARTnews, the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and The Art Newspaper, as well as his blog juddtully.net.  Judd has been frequently interviewed on BBC Radio, CNN, MSNBC, as well as made cameo appearances in a number of documentary films that chronicle the rise and fall of the art market and scandals associated with it including the CNBC’s American Greed: The Art of the Steal and Driven to Abstraction, the expose of the $80 million art forgery at the once-venerated Knoedler Gallery. 

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“Blends, seamlessly, the heart and meaning, the art and politics, the
understanding of our humanity — the vision unique to David Hammons. We
watch this towering genius as he reconstructs our refuse in an empathetic
identification usually available only to children and their inescapable honesty.”
  – Walter Mosley, novelist and screenwriter

“The art world’s Thomas Pynchon… The Melt Goes On Forever tracks the revered US artist’s career, without his direct participation, to illuminating effect… Eclectic and evocative… Filled with glimpses of a witty, inventive imagination.”
– David D’Arcy, The Art Newspaper

“Rebel genius, David Hammons shows us in this informative doc how his art making has gone way beyond Duchamp with his unique Black American creative perspective.” – Fab Five Freddy (Fred Brathwaite)

“David Hammons has found the genuinely political, the genuinely beautiful and the outrageously magical in art — and has been passing it on to us these 50 years.” – The New York Times

The Artifice Girl – Director Franklin Ritch

THE ARTIFICE GIRL focuses on a team of special agents as they delve into the orgin of a revolutionary new computer program that baits and traps shockingly high percentage of online child predators. After teaming up with the program’s troubled developer, they soon find that the AI is rapidly advancing beyond its original purpose. THE ARTIFICE GIRL is directed and written by Franklin Ritch in his feature film debut. The film stars Tatum Matthews (The Waltons: Homecoming), David Girard (short “Teardrop Goodbye with Mandatory Directorial Commentary by Remy Von Trout”), Sinda Nichols (That Abandoned Place, “Bubblegum Crisis”), Franklin Ritch and Lance Henriksen (Aliens, The Quick and the Dead). Director, screenwriter, editor and actor Franklin Ritch joins us for a conversation on how he came to write the script for The Artifice Girl, his thoughts on the very complicated choices that will need to be addressed with the ascendancy of Artificial Intelligence in our lives, working with a cast of relative unknown actors, and how habits of compassion and kindness could be a by-product of everyday AI.

 

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In theatres at: xyzfilms.com/the-artific-girl

For more go to: paperstreetpictures.com/theartificegirl

About the filmmaker – Franklin Ritch is an independent filmmaker, writing, directing, and editing with a passion for unique ideas and sharp storytelling. Since high school, Franklin has developed a vast filmography of short films, web series, and features. Collaborating with Emmy-winning cinematographer, Britt McTammany, Franklin’s early short, BEDRIDDEN (Fantastic Fest, 2018), kicked off a marathon of short film productions that included STILL LIFE (Sleeping Giant Fest 2019), POWERFUL (SERFF 2019), THE 27 DEATHS (Fantastic Fest 2021), and many more. In 2022, Franklin premiered his debut feature film, THE ARTIFICE GIRL (XYZ), starring sci-fi legend Lance Henriksen, at Fantasia International Film Festival, where it won the Golden Audience Award for Best International Feature and later took top prize at its European premiere in Trieste, Italy. Franklin has since been named one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine, and his work continues to be recognized and revered in outlets such as Screen Anarchy, Movie Maker Magazine, and The Film Stage.

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95% on RottenTomatoes

“The action is in the dialogue, which presents a series of invigorating arguments about where the ethical lines are when it comes to creating and then exploiting an intelligent computer program.” – Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times

“The Artifice Girl is a thought-provoking sci-fi thriller shedding a compassionate and emotional light on ethical issues.” – Molly Henery, The Blogging Banshee

“It’s a complex and captivating sci fi fable… but told with touching intimacy.” – Richard Whittaker, Austin Chronicle

“A stroke of science-fiction genius, Franklin Ritch’s The Artifice Girl is a commanding analysis of the murky waters that AI development presents.” – Kat Hughes, THN

“If you thought the ethics of what’s being done at Boston Dynamics and ILM were unsettling before, wait until The Artifice Girl creeps into your brain.” – Andrew Todd, Story Issues

“[S]ets a new template for speculative fiction on screen… the fact that this is Ritch’s debut feature is absolutely astonishing” – J Hurtado, ScreenAnarchy

Anxious Nation – Co-directors Vanessa Roth & Laura Morton

ANXIOUS NATION, a new documentary that takes a deep look into the crisis of anxiety and mental health in America, especially its crippling impact on kids and families, will host a worldwide, premiere livestream event on May 3, 2023. The riveting and introspective feature documentary is directed by Academy Award© winner Vanessa Roth (Freeheld), and co-directed, written and produced by 21-time New York Times Bestselling Author and first-time filmmaker, Laura Morton. This global rally uniting people around the world will include a film screening and important conversations with leading voices and experts of the mental health movement, including Executive Producer Kathy Ireland, Roth, Morton and cast members Tim Storey and Lynn Lyons along with other special guests to be announced. ANXIOUS NATION delves into the crisis of mental health and anxiety in America, while focusing on subjects ages 11-26 and their families. This unabashedly honest and insightful film provides audiences with a raw and intimate look into the lives of families and kids grappling with anxiety and the duality of how their parents are trying to understand and help. Co-directors Laura Morton, Vanessa Roth and Executive Producer Kathy Ireland, all moms themselves, tenderly share the vulnerability of these families in an effort to help others who are currently struggling with similar issues in private.

 

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For more go to: AnxiousNation.com

About the filmmaker – Laura Morton has been involved in the entertainment industry for more than 25 years as a bestselling author, producer, speaker and entrepreneur. She is the founder of Lasega Films and the soon to be launched Anxious Nation Network (ANN) Morton has written over 60 books and a staggering 21 New York Times bestsellers, with a wide range of celebrities and business leaders, including, Justin Bieber, the Jonas Brothers, Susan Lucci, John Maxwell, Jennifer Hudson, Al Roker, Deborah Roberts, Joan Lunden, Marilu Henner, Melissa Etheridge, Katherine Schwarzenegger, Kim Zimmer, Kathy Ireland, Sandra Lee, Danica Patrick, Glenn Stearns, Bob Parsons and more.Laura continues to pursue projects of interest that cross publishing, production and electronic media through her company, including her award winning documentary film, Anxious Nation. Laura frequently speaks to organizations on a variety of topics, mixing humor and emotional storytelling in her dazzling and memorable presentations. For more go to: anxiousnation.com/meet-the-team

About the filmmaker – Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker and social justice advocate, Vanessa Roth has been creating and overseeing social impact international films, projects, campaigns, and companies for over 25 years. Her films and series have been made in partnership with National Geographic, Disney, Amazon, Netflix, Discovery, PBS, HBO, A&E, ESPN and the BBC, as well as with international non-profits, NGOs, brands, foundations, organizations, museums, memorial halls, public art exhibitions and universities. Her work has screened at hundreds of film festivals, the Obama White House, for multiple sessions in Congress, inside the United Nations, NBC Education Nation, Oprah and NPR.Her international film work has garnered the highest of honors in documentary, film, television and journalism with over 60 awards including the Oscar, The Alfred I Dupont Columbia Award, the Television Academy Emmy Award for Social Impact, Sundance Prizes, Cine Golden Eagles, Casey Medals, Impact Doc Awards for Best in Show and Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking, IDA nominations, Audience Awards and Jury Prizes at festivals around the world, screenings at the international Cannes Lions festival as well as top honors for work in social impact, social justice, witness to history and legacy, youth empowerment and women’s rights.Vanessa has been an ongoing Thought Partner to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and serves as Senior Creative and Story Advisor to businesses and organizations who use storytelling to make a difference on the planet including the Publicis Groupe, UNESCO, The USC/Shoah Foundation, Amplify, Sun Stream and Storyfile. She has been a TEDX speaker as well as key-note speaker and adjunct professor for universities, organizations and foundations around the world focused on human rights, the environment, youth and female empowerment, ethics, legacy, memory, history, and storytelling.Some of Vanessa’s film and series work include, the premium feature documentary Mary J Blige’s My Life (Amazon Prime), the 6 part docu-series National Geographic Presents IMPACT with Gal Gadot (Nat Geo/Disney), the 4 part docu-series Daughters of Destiny (Netflix), The Other Side (30 for 30 on ESPN), Liberation Heroes: The Last Eyewitnesses (Discovery), The Girl and the Picture (Theatrical), Freeheld (HBO), American Teacher (Amazon), The Texas Promise (PBS), Taken In (PBS), Aging Out (PBS), No Tomorrow (PBS), Close to Home (Theatrical, Discovery), 911 Toxic Dust (A&E), Third Monday in October (Theatrical/Sundance Channel/ Special Presentation at President Obama’s Inauguration).Vanessa received a BA in Creative Writing and Psychology from UCLA and holds a Masters’ degree in Social Work and minor in family law from Columbia University. Before making documentaries, Vanessa was an artist/therapist in residence for Arts and Education programs for the NYC DOE and a Child Advocate in New York and California family and juvenile courts and schools, and for the Santa Monica Stuart House/Rape Treatment Center.For more go to: anxiousnation.com/meet-the-team

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32 Sounds – Director Sam Green

32 SOUNDS is an immersive feature documentary and profound sensory experience from Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Sam Green (The Weather Underground, A Thousand Thoughts) featuring original music by JD Samson (Le Tigre, MEN). The film explores the elemental phenomenon of sound by weaving together 32 specific sound explorations into a cinematic meditation on the power of sound to bend time, cross borders, and profoundly shape our perception of the world around us. Filmmaker Green takes the audience on a journey through time and space and into the world of experimental musician Annea Lockwood (her Piano Burning performance captured the sounds of a piano on fire) suggests — as she records “wild” sounds from a marsh in New York — that we should be listening with the environment, rather than to it. A freewheeling exploration of how sound shapes and moves us, the film is “full to bursting with humor, emotion and curiosity…a uniquely mind-expanding plunge into a dimension of the human experience so many of us take for granted, a rare and rewarding sonic journey. 32 SOUNDS investigates the mysterious nature of perception and the subtle yet radical politics that arise from sensation and being present in one’s body. Director Sam Green known for such films as A Thousand Thoughts, and his Academy Award nominated film Weather Underground joins us for a conversation on his collaboration with electronic musician JD Samson, as well as how he went about gathering all the samples sounds, ranging from the sounds inside the womb, the mating call of a now-extinct bird, the audio effects created by a Hollywood Foley artist, the hush of snow falling in Japan, and John Cage’s famed piece, “4:33.”

 

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For more go to: abramorama.com/film/32-sounds

About the filmmaker – Sam Green (Director | Writer | Editor) is a New York-based documentary filmmaker. Green’s most recent live documentaries include A Thousand Thoughts (with the Kronos Quartet) (2018), The Measure of All Things (2014), The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller (with Yo La Tengo) (2012), and Utopia in Four Movements (2010). With all of these works, Green narrates the film in-person while musicians perform a live soundtrack. Green’s 2004 feature-length film, The Weather Underground, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was nominated for an Academy Award, was included in the Whitney Biennial, and has screened widely around the world. 

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100% on RottenTomatoes

“A uniquely mind-expanding plunge into a dimension of the human experience so many of us take for granted, a rare and rewarding sonic journey with the potential to enrich our lives.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

“Calling 32 SOUNDS a documentary doesn’t do it justice. … this film is an enjoyably interactive and thoughtful exploration of sound, how it triggers emotions and transports us through memory.” – Valerie Kalfrin, AWFJ.org

“Startling in its approach and content, 32 Sounds offers an exploration on the known and unknown of sound as it relates to the human condition.” – Douglas Davidson, Elements of Madness

“Designed to be watched at home with headphones on, 32 Sounds is a magical mystery tour through sound, music, sound on film, and how it affects us emotionally.” – Alex Heeney, Seventh Row

“This movie is like a little miracle.” – Hope Madden, The Screening Room Podcast