Opening Night at the 34th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival

 

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 34th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival officially opened with an enormously emotional celebration and screening for Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy.

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Director and wife, Mimi deGruy introduced the screening alongside her below the line team and children, Max and Francis, who “teach her everyday” and let her tell and craft this story. Mimi deGruy also gave a nod to Roger Durling, Executive Director of SBIFF, for continuing to lead the festival “with global outreach while keeping it to its roots.”

Diving Deep:The Life and Times of Mike deGruy is a feature film documentary about Mike deGruy, an irrepressible biologist turned award-winning filmmaker who swam, dived and filmed in oceans around the world and in the process became the first to film many rarely seen creatures in their own oceans. He was also a passionate advocate of the ocean’s creatures and  became increasingly outspoken as an environmental activist. In 2012, deGruy died tragically in a helicopter crash in Australia while filming for director James Cameron. Told through the eyes of Mimi deGruy, his wife and filmmaking partner, Diving Deep:The Life and Times of Mike deGruy celebrates deGruy’s remarkable life, career and what he passionately believed:  we are destroying the ocean before we even know what’s there.

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SBIFF to honor ALL 5 Oscar Nominated Director with Outstanding Directors of the Year Award

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Outstanding Directors of the Year Award
sponsored by The Hollywood Reporter
honoring:
Alfonso Cuarón (Roma),
Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite),
Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman),
Adam McKay (Vice),
and Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War)

 

Thursday, January 31, 2019
8:00pm
Arlington Theatre
Santa Barbara, CA

Santa Barbara Film Fest: All 5 Oscar-Nominated Directors Set For Panel and Tribute
by Scott Feinberg – The Hollywood ReporterUnless you’re are going to be at the 91st Oscars, the only opportunity to see all five of the filmmakers who are nominated for this year’s best director prize together will be at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Jan. 31.

Roma‘s Alfonso CuarónThe Favourite‘s Yorgos Lanthimos, BlacKkKlansman‘s Spike Lee, Vice‘s Adam McKay and Cold War‘s Pawel Pawlikowski will gather at Santa Barbara’s historic Arlington Theatre for the fest’s annual Directors Panel, which Scott Feinberg will be moderating.

The evening will consist of individual interviews with each director, followed by a group conversation and then the presentation of the fest’s Outstanding Directors of the Year Award to each filmmaker.

Tickets Here!

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DIVING DEEP: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MIKE DEGRUY

Posted by Larry Gleeson

I’ve seen quite a few Opening Night films at numerous festivals, but I’ve never seen one quite like the Opening Night film at the 2019 Santa Barbara International Film Festival,  Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy, a feature-length documentary that tells the story of Mike deGruy, an irrepressibly curious and enthusiastic underwater filmmaker who died suddenly in 2012 while filming for director James Cameron.

DeGruy had filmed the oceans for more than three decades becoming as famous for his on camera storytelling as for his glorious, intimate visions of the sea and the creatures who live in it. According to the film’s website, divingdeepmovie.com if Mike deGruy were alive today he would be spending all his energy to fight on behalf of the ocean, for continued exploration, particularly of the deepsea, research, understanding and ultimately encouraging a reciprocal relationship with it before it is too late.

Inspired to share his legacy as a filmmaker and storyteller, and to spread his mission for protecting the ocean, his wife and filmmaking partner Mimi deGruy returned to the edit room to produce Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy. A documentary filmmaker in her own right, Mimi worked with Mike producing numerous hours of award-winning television for the National Geographic Channel, the BBC, and other broadcasters. Prior to working with Mike, she worked for CNN, on Turner Broadcasting’s “Portrait of America” series, and on the PBS series “The Infinite Voyage.”

When she was finally able to watch footage after Mike died, Mimi deGruy found a piece she’d never seen, shot not long after the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill. She watched it again and again and knew she had to make a film. The footage depicted a different Mike because at that moment, he’d gone from an artist sharing the wonder of the deep to an enraged and impassioned warrior.

Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy. is full of breathtaking footage shot by Mike and in-depth interviews with Sir David Attenborough, James Cameron, and Sylvia Earle, among many other DeGruy collaborators including his children Max and Frances. What emerges is a very human story of a man, his friends, acquaintances and family members who had a passion for the ocean and turned it into a mission.

Along the way we see the numerous lives that he touched and his enduring call for everyone to look into their own backyards and find something that needs to be fixed and then fix it! It’s almost fitting that he earned the nickname Mike Debris as he wanted his equipment to perform in an optimal way and that way was the Mike deGruy way. Anything less was just not acceptable. So, often times, Mike would modify the equipment to meet his needs. Unfortunately, it didn’t always turn out so well for the equipment!

Neverthelss, Mike deGruy, an Olympic caliber spring-board diver, swam, dived and filmed in oceans around the world and in the process became the first to film many rarely seen creatures in their own oceans. He was also a passionate advocate of the ocean’s creatures and became increasingly outspoken as an environmental activist.

Told through the eyes and voice of Mimi DeGruy,  Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy celebrates deGruy’s remarkable life, career and what he passionately believed: we are destroying the ocean before we even know what’s there. Mike deGruy had a tremendous belief in the ability of communities to work together to affect positive change and he saw in the next generation a group of people who could make that happen.

Oscar and Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter, Christopher Cross, wrote the film’s closing tune, “Diving Deep,” an ode to Mike DeGruy. Ultimately, the  Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy is about hope.Highly recommended.

 

SBIFF OPENING NIGHT FILM Mimi deGruy’s Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy

Posted by Larry Gleeson

sbiff posterSBIFF 2019 will start with the Opening Night Film, presented by UGG®, on Wednesday, January 30, at the historic Arlington Theatre with the world premiere of Diving Deep:The Life and Times of Mike deGruy directed by Mimi deGruy.

Diving Deep:The Life and Times of Mike deGruy is a feature film documentary about Mike deGruy, an irrepressible biologist turned award-winning filmmaker who swam, dived and filmed in oceans around the world and in the process became the first to film many rarely seen creatures in their own oceans. He was also a passionate advocate of the ocean’s creatures and  became increasingly outspoken as an environmental activist.  In 2012, deGruy died tragically in a helicopter crash in Australia while filming for director James Cameron.  Told through the eyes of Mimi deGruy, his wife and filmmaking partner, Diving Deep:The Life and Times of Mike deGruy celebrates deGruy’s remarkable life, career and what he passionately believed:  we are destroying the ocean before we even know what’s there.

For more information, details, and clips visit divingdeepmovie.com.

Following the film, the Opening Night Gala, sponsored by Amazon Studios, will take place in the beautiful outdoor Paseo Nuevo Shops and Restaurants in downtown Santa Barbara. It will feature entertainment, food, libations, and a chance to celebrate the start of SBIFF.

Shorts Awards Announced at 2019 Sundance Film Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Aziza Wins Grand Jury Prize

            (L-R) Aziza, Credit: Elsy Hajjar; Green, Credit: Marina Piedade; Dunya’s Day, Credit: Olivier Theurillat.

Park City, Utah — Winners of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival jury prizes in short filmmaking were announced today by Sundance Institute at a ceremony in Park City, Utah. The Short Film Grand Jury Prize, awarded to one film in the program of 73 shorts selected from 9,443 submissions, went to Aziza, directed by Soudade Kaadan and co-written by Kaadan and May Hayek. Full video of the ceremony is at youtube.com/sff. The Short Film program is presented by YouTube, as part of their ongoing support for emerging storytellers, unique voices and independent artists. 2019 marks the seventh year YouTube has been the official sponsor of the Sundance Film Festival Shorts program.

This year’s Short Film jurors are Sheila Vand, Young Jean Lee and Carter Smith.

Short Film awards winners in previous years include Matria by Álvaro Gago, And so we put goldfish in the pool. by Makato Nagahisa, Thunder Road by Jim Cummings, World of Tomorrow by Don Hertzfeldt, SMILF by Frankie Shaw, Of God and Dogs by Abounaddara Collective, Gregory Go Boom by Janicza Bravo, The Whistle by Grzegorz Zariczny, Whiplash by Damien Chazelle, FISHING WITHOUT NETS by Cutter Hodierne, The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom by Lucy Walker and The Arm by Brie Larson, Sarah Ramos and Jessie Ennis

The short film program at the Festival is the centerpiece of Sundance Institute’s year-round efforts to support short filmmaking. Select Festival short films are presented as a traveling program in over 70 cities in the U.S. and Canada each year, one of the few theatrical releases of short films in North America. Short films and filmmakers also take part in regional Master Classes geared towards supporting emerging shorts-makers in cities around the country.

Of the seven short films selected for awards this year, four projects (57% percent) were directed by women, two were directed by people who identify as LGBTQ, and six (85.7%) were directed by people of color.

2019 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Jury Awards: 

The Short Film Grand Jury Prize was awarded to: Aziza / Syria, Lebanon (Director: Soudade Kaadan, Screenwriters: Soudade Kaadan, May Hayek) — A dynamic take on the life of Syrian refugees, told through black comedy.

The Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction was presented to: Green / U.S.A. (Director: Suzanne Andrews Correa, Screenwriters: Suzanne Andrews Correa, Mustafa Kaymak) — Green, an undocumented Turkish pedicab driver, unwittingly draws police attention, endangering his brother, his community, and himself.

The Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction was presented to: Dunya’s Day / Saudi Arabia, U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Raed Alsemari) — Abandoned by her domestic help, Dunya fights to throw the perfect graduation soirée.

The Short Film Jury Award: Non-fiction was presented to: Ghosts of Sugar Land / U.S.A. (Director: Bassam Tariq) — In Sugar Land, Texas, a group of young Muslim-American men ponder the disappearance of their friend “Mark,” who is suspected of joining ISIS.

The Short Film Jury Award: Animation was presented to: Reneepoptosis / U.S.A., Japan (Director and screenwriter: Renee Zhan) — Three Renees go on a quest to find God, who is also Renee. As they traverse the mountains and valleys of Renee, they discover all the great joys, sorrows, and mysteries of being Renee.

A Special Jury Award for Directing was presented to: FAST HORSE / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Alexandra Lazarowich) — The Blackfoot bareback horse-racing tradition returns in the astonishingly dangerous Indian Relay. Siksika horseman Allison Red Crow struggles with second-hand horses and a new jockey on his way to challenge the best riders in the Blackfoot Confederacy.

A Special Jury Award for Directing was presented to: The MINORS / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Robert Machoian) — A slice of life about a grandpa and his grandsons, the future and the past.
The Sundance Film Festival®
The Sundance Film Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most groundbreaking films of the past three decades, including Sorry to Bother You, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Eighth Grade, Get Out, The Big Sick, Mudbound, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Whiplash, Brooklyn, Precious, The Cove, Little Miss Sunshine, An Inconvenient Truth, Napoleon Dynamite, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Reservoir Dogs and sex, lies, and videotape. The Festival is a program of the non-profit Sundance Institute®. The Festival is a program of the non-profit Sundance Institute®. 2019 Festival sponsors include: Presenting Sponsors – Acura, SundanceTV, Chase Sapphire, YouTube; Leadership Sponsors – Adobe, Amazon Studios, AT&T, DIRECTV, Dropbox, Netflix, Omnicom, Stella Artois; Sustaining Sponsors – Ancestry, Canada Goose, Canon, Dell, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, GEICO, High West Distillery, IMDbPro, Lyft, RIMOWA, Unity Technologies, University of Utah Health; Media Sponsors – The Atlantic, IndieWire, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, VARIETY, The Wall Street Journal. Sundance Institute recognizes critical support from the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and the State of Utah as Festival Host State. The support of these organizations helps offset the Festival’s costs and sustain the Institute’s year-round programs for independent artists. Look for the Official Partner seal at their venues at the Festival. sundance.org/festival

Sundance Institute
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and media to create and thrive. The Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Sorry to Bother You, Eighth Grade, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, RBG, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Top of the Lake, Winter’s Bone, Dear White People, Brooklyn, Little Miss Sunshine, 20 Feet From Stardom, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, I’m Poppy, America to Me, Leimert Park, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

(Source: Press release provided by Sundance Institute)

Marianne, Marianne, Marianne!

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Marianne & Leonard – Words of Love, the latest work from Brit documentary filmmaker, Nick Broomfield, is a beautiful yet tragic love story between Leonard Cohen and his Norwegian muse Marianne Ihlen. Broomfield delivers a well-organized and polished film with traditional documentary filmmaking techniques of utilizing voice-over-narration, still photographs with effects, archival footage and present day interviews. Furthermore, Broomfield manages to interview very interesting characters to say the least, all of whom sing the praises of Marianne and share some insightful observations on the semi-reclusive Cohen, most often associated with his best-selling work, Hallelujah that contains most of Cohen’s common themes of religion, politics, isolation, sexuality and romantic relationships. What emerges from Broomfield’s efforts is a well-researched and documented look into the deeply persoanal and spiritual relationship of Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen.

Interestingly, Broomfield’s work Tales of the Grim Sleeper (2014), introduced film goers to the Black Lives Matter Movement before it became a national movement. Broomfield was also the last person to speak to Ailenne Wuornos as he was making his Ailenne: The Life and Death of a Serial Killer (2003), the central character in Monster. Charlize Theron portrayed Wuornos and received an Oscar for her performance. Other prominent and well-known works from Broomfield include Sarah Palin: You Betcha! (2011), Battle for Haditha (2007), Kurt and Courtney (1998) Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam (1995) and Soldier Girls (1981).

Broomfield begins Marianne & Leonard – Words of Love to when and where the love of Leonard Cohen and Marianne Islen began – on the idyllic Greek island of Hydra in 1960 as part of a bohemian community of foreign artists, writers and musicians. The film follows their relationship from the early days on Hydra, a humble time of ‘free love’ and open marriage, to how their love evolved when Leonard became a successful musician. It was on Hydra in 1968 that director Nick Broomfield, then aged 20, first met Marianne Ihlen. Marianne introduced him to Leonard Cohen’s music and also encouraged Nick to make his first film and was an enormous influence on him.

Marianne and Leonard’s was a love story that would continue for the rest of their lives. Along the way, Broomfield brings to light the tragedy that befell those that could not survive the beauty of Hydra, the highs and lows of Cohen’s career, and the inspirational power that Marianne possessed. Marianne and Leonard died three months apart.

With Marianne & Leonard, Broomfield continues his already strong body of work with a more personal touch.

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Documentary Filmmaker, Nick Broomfield addresses the audience during a Q & A following the screening of his latest work, Leonard and Marianne: Words of Love at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival on January 27th, 2019 inside the MARC Theatre in Park City, Utah. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

 

In the Q & A following the film’s screening, Broomfield credits Marianne’s nurturing soul and gentle encouragement as the catalyst behind his advent into documentary filmmaking. Seemingly, Leonard and Marianne touched something deeply personal inside Broomfield. Following the Q & A I personally thanked Mr. Broomfield for his work and quickly inquired what his next project would be. Broomfield cooly replied he was doing something even more personal – a project about his father. Stay tuned as Broomfield is at the top of his game and I personally look forward to seeing more from this highly original and very authentic filmmaker. Warmly recommended.

 

David Crosby: Remember My Name

Posted by Larry Gleeson

David Crosby: Remember My Name, a revealing and deeply personal documentary produced by Cameron Crowe (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Say Anything…, Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, and Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers Beach Party)
and from first-time documentarian A.J. Eaton, explores the life and creative renaissance of music icon David Crosby while giving Crosby a platform to make amends to all his legendary band mates from Roger McGuinn of the Byrds to Graham Nash of Crosby, Still and Nash. Both bands are in the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. Crosby claims he is entitled to a third induction with the Supergroup of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and who knows he may be right. He might even gain a forth induction for just the David Crosby Band.

Either way,  A.J. Eaton had his work cut out for him. Crosby is a highly intelligent, enigmatic character and has been a cultural force for over fifty years. Crosby faced uncertain future after the 2015 dissolution of Crosby, Stills and Nash following their uninspired and disastrous performance at the White House Christmas Tree lighting.

Racked with health issues and personal obstacles, Crosby has managed to forge a new path at the age of 76. Seeking out younger musicians and recording a pair of critically-praised new albums, Crosby has now set out to make a mark in a world now so different from the generation he came to define in the 60’s. With unflinching honesty, self-examination, regret, fear, exuberance and an unshakable belief in family and the transformative nature of music, Crosby shares his remarkable journey with humor and bite.

While known for his musical contributions, Crosby was also a leading humanist in the early days of the Los Angeles music scene even though Eaton mostly skips over this particular aspect of Crosby during this time. To his credit, Eaton reveals Crosby’s humanism with the incriminating photograph of National Guard weapons being fired at Kent State. Eaton does include some iconic footage from the Byrds and CSN. Notably, Crosby’s outspoken commentary at the Monterey Pop Festival. That’s what makes Crosby, well, Crosby. Interspersed with the archival footage from concerts and television shows are still photographs from Crosby’s early home life with some voice-over narration that captures endearing love for his mother and enduring love of women, especially his wife, Jan. And. there’s the music. Artfully selected compositions underscore the magic of David Crosby’s musicianship.

Interestingly, Eaton uses a non-linear approach with startling effect that provides a powerful clarity to Crosby’s psyche. The film starts with an extreme close-up of Crosby talking, the opening credit roll and the film takes off with David’s imitation of his first encounter with legendary jazz-man John Coltrane. From here, the film became an exciting roller coaster ride, as I didn’t know what was around the next corner. Utilizing band interviews from 2000, 2012, 2015 and a recent excursion through the Hollywood Hills and down the infamous Sunset Boulevard, I sat mesmerized when the ride came back into the station. This iconic figure had just, not only bared his ass, but had bared his soul – and what a sight it was to behold. Highly recommended!

 

 

Who is Roy Cohn?

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Matt Tyrnauer (Valentino: The Last Emperor, Studio 54, Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, Citizen Jane: Battle for the City) opened his latest work, Where’s my Roy Cohn? at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Friday, January 25th, 2019. Where’s my Roy Cohn? is a documentary and premiered in the Sundance U.S. Documentary Competition. Utilizing traditional documentary techniques of voice-over narration, direct interviews, archival footage and photographic stills, Trynauer exposes Cohn’s malign influence and contextualizes him as a modern Machiavelli who influences our country today at the highest level.

Cohn first came into the public eye as an assistant to J. Edgar Hoover and handled the prosecution of Julius and Ethyl Rosenberg, a Jewish couple arrested, tried, convicted and executed for spying for Russia and securing Manhattan Project documents for the Russian government. Cohn, a twenty-three-year-old fast-rising attorney, claimed to have not only persuaded the presiding judge, Irving Kaufman, to impose the death penalty but also to have had Judge Irving assigned the case. Cohn’s reward for the Rosenberg execution was an appointment as special counsel to the 1950’s, US Senatorial demagogue, Joseph McCarthy.

Tyrnauer provides compelling evidence Cohn was responsible for much of McCarthy’s demagoguery and rise to power. Soon, however, Cohn would cause his own and McCarthy’s fall from grace. During the Army-McCarthy hearings, direct questioning revealed Cohn had a “special relationship” with G. David Schine and pressured the U.S. Army to give Schine preferential treatment. Cohn would resign after he was humiliated and pummeled with homophobic comments during the televised hearings. Cohn claimed everybody wanted him to stay on. According to those who worked with Cohn, this was not the case.

From here, Cohn would go onto be the personification of the dark arts of 20th-century American politics. Cohn became a mover and shaker of dubious means. He fluffed his persona despite inflicting financial losses on his clients and family. Trynauer shockingly unearths the origins of the seditious right wing’s ascent, revealing how Cohn, a deeply troubled master manipulator, has shaped our current political world. Cohn persistently defended himself by attacking his adversaries. Moreover, Cohn utilized the press to generate sensational public sympathy for his plight.

Cohn had refined his strategy well over the years as the primary press leaker during his McCarthy days gaining the friendship of the formidable press magnate, Walter Winchell, and a cadre of ambitious reporters. How Cohn had been able to pressure the judiciary was less clear. To me, his political clout emanated from his wide social circle of wealthy, influential friends. Cohn was known for throwing lavish parties and hobnobbed with almost every imaginable socialite of the day including then artist, Andy Warhol, and re-emerged as a New York power broker, mafia consigliere, white-collar criminal, and, eventually, the mentor of Donald J. Trump.

Following Cohn’s lead, Trump began his flamboyant rise first on Cohn’s shoulders and then his back. Eventually, Trump became the master of personal attacks, hyperbole, sensationalism, and utilizing the press to get out in front of the story. The similarities are uncanny and for me to say the likeness of these character trajectories are disturbing would be an understatement. One of the most powerful and politically revealing films of the festival.

Highly recommended and coming to a screen near you as Director/Writer Matt Trynauer announced during the Q & A that he received a text message informing him, Where’s My Roy Cohn? had been bought by Sony Classic Pictures.

trynauer_wheres my roy cohn
Director Matt Trynauer answers questions during a Q & A after screening his Where’s My Roy Cohn?  at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival following his announcement that Sony Classic Pictures purchased the rights to his film, January 27th, 2019, at the Rose Wagner Center, Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

*As of December 6, 2020, Where’s My Roy Cohn is available streaming.

 

The Infiltrators take on Broward Transitional Center!

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The Infiltrators, screening in the Next category of films presented by Adobe at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, based on true events inside an Obama-era immigration detention system is a flaccid hybrid of scripted narrative and documentary form directed by Alex Rivera and Christina Ibarra. Rivera and Ibarra follow the plight of Claudio Rojas, a detainee arrested by ICE officials outside his Florida home. Next films are defined as “Pure bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling….Digital technology paired with unfettered creativity promises…a greater next wave in American cinema.

The film opens with some negative CGI imagery setting the tone of for what I anticipated would be an expose’. After the introduction, The Infiltrators goes into unchartered territory with an overwhelming amount of re-enactments utilizing sparse amounts of traditional documentary techniques of voice-over narration, archival news footage and direct interviews.

After Rojas, played convincingly by Manuel Uriza, is transferred to the Broward Transitional Center, a detention facility used as a holding space for imminent deportations, his family contacts the National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA), a group of activist Dreamers known for stopping deportations. Believing that no one is free as long as one is in detention, NIYA enlists Marco Saavedra, portrayed by Maynor Alvarado, to self-deport with the hopes of gaining access to the detention center and impeding Rojas’s deportation. Once inside, the character of Marco begins subverting the deportation process with one impeded deportation of Ismael, represented by actor Oscar Perez, and comes to realize this complex, for-profit institution housing hundreds of multinational immigrants, is in essence, a minimum security prison.

In what starts out as a believable situation, the film diverts into moments of questionable authenticity. A few minuscule interviews with the real characters help a little, but to put unspeaking, laughing, real-life character, Samuel Soto, in front of the camera as he is about to be deported mocks a judicial systems based in lawful codes and brings to mind colorful comedy of Hispanics taken by ICE officials from their homes while eating dinner calling back over their shoulder, “Keep my plate warm, I’ll be right back.” In addition, the real subjects have such a small amount of screen time, I was left with a feeling that something was amiss. And it was never more evident than when Rojas arrived at an ICE office for his annual review after “a year of close observation.”

Ibarra (in her Sundance debut) and Rivera (SLEEP DEALER, 2008 Sundance Film Festival) are husband and wife and it’s pretty obvious their work is a passionate affair. The Infiltrators has it’s moments with stunning drone shots of the Broward Transitional Center, in elevating the status of their Dreamer activists, and paying homage to The Last Castle, starring Sundance Institute Founder, Robert Redford. Yet, in the end, the plight of the undocumented goes on unfinished and The Infiltrators doesn’t delve into the millions of dollars detention facilities generate with any substance or depth. It does show power when an inspired group of like-minded individuals  come together with a plan – not withstanding a dubious amount of “creative non-fiction” reenactment (scripted narrative). Warmly recommended.

TIME and Felix & Paul Studios to Produce Historic VR Series on the International Space Station

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The Multiplatform Project Will Culminate in the First-ever Capture of a Spacewalk in 3-D, 360° Cinematic VR

(PARK CITY, UT — January 26, 2019) —  TIME, the Emmy Award–winning creator of A Year in Space, and Felix & Paul Studios, the Emmy Award–winning creator of Space Explorers, are combining their storytelling expertise and technological innovation for the ISS Experience, an immersive documentary series filmed on and around the International Space Station. The project, announced today during a panel at the Sundance Film Festival, will be filmed over a yearlong period using specially engineered technical solutions and will culminate in the first-ever capture of a spacewalk in cinematic virtual reality.

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Mia Tramz (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson)

“We are excited to be working with Felix & Paul Studios to bring this project to many different audiences, across many different platforms,” said Mia Tramz, Emmy-winning VR producer and editorial director of Enterprise and Immersive Experiences at TIME. “This project will have a life on digital, immersive and physical platforms, and will ultimately serve as an educational experience to inspire generations to come.”

With the support of the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory, NanoRacks and the unparalleled access provided by NASA, the ISS Experience will provide viewers with a first-person experience of life on board the International Space Station, highlighting the learnings of astronauts who have lived and worked on the ISS over the past 20 years and providing insights into the future of space exploration.

“Everything we have done to date as a studio has led up to this moment. We’ve immersed audiences around the world in extraordinary settings—from the White House to Eminem’s Detroit to the plains of the Serengeti—but space is the ultimate destination,” said Félix Lajeunesse, Emmy-winning creative director at Felix & Paul Studios. “We’re proud to be on this ambitious journey with our partners at TIME, producing the single most immersive experience ever made of life in space on the International Space Station.”

After intensive technological development, testing and flight certification, TIME and Felix & Paul Studios launched two cinematic virtual-reality camera systems via NanoRacks to the International Space Station on December 5, 2018.  The ISS Experience series will be captured with a Z CAM V1 Pro camera, manufactured and provided by Z CAM (Shenzhen ImagineVision Technology ltd), that were adapted by Felix & Paul Studios into a custom setup that incorporates purpose-built hardware and software that allows for shooting in space by the crew of astronauts on board the International Space Station.

In early 2019, two additional VR cameras are slated to launch to the International Space Station, built to film outside of the ISS and to capture the first-ever spacewalk in cinematic virtual reality.

The ISS Experience is the latest example of both TIME’s and Felix & Paul Studios’ commitment to implementing groundbreaking technology to pursue exciting new forms of storytelling. Slated to be presented in augmented reality, virtual reality and other immersive platforms, the ISS Experience builds on the success of the TIME’s Emmy-winning documentary A Year in Space and its award-winning video and immersive projects teams, as well as Felix & Paul Studios’ critically acclaimed Space Explorers series and award-winning technology platform.

The series will be distributed as both a digital XR experience and physical ticketed experiential exhibition at select museums and public locations. To view the trailer, receive project updates and learn more about the ISS Experience, visit time.com/issexperience.

About TIME:

TIME is a global multimedia brand that reaches a combined audience of more than 100 million around the world. A trusted destination for reporting and insight on the people, places and issues that matter, TIME captures the events that shape our lives. TIME’s major franchises include the TIME 100 Most Influential People, Person of the Year, Firsts, Best Inventions, Genius Companies, World’s Greatest Places and more. With 45 million digital visitors each month and 40 million social followers, TIME is one of the most trusted and recognized sources of news and information in the world.

About Felix & Paul Studios:

Felix & Paul Studios is an EMMY® Award–winning immersive entertainment studio, creating unparalleled virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality experiences for audiences worldwide. The studio combines technological innovation with a unique, pioneering and in-depth approach to the new art of XR storytelling—creating groundbreaking original immersive experiences (MIYUBI, Nomads series, Strangers, The Confessional, Space Explorers series); awe-inspiring productions with existing franchises (Jurassic World, Cirque du Soleil, Fox Searchlight’s Wild and Isle of Dogs); and collaborations with world-renowned organizations, leaders and performers (NASA, SpaceX, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, LeBron James, President Bill Clinton, Eminem, Wes Anderson, Brie Larson, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray and many others).

(Source: Press release provided by TIME, Felix & Paul Studios)