FILM REVIEW: The Current War Director’s Cut

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison and Michael Shannon as George Westinghouse, The Current War is the story of the rivalry between the greatest inventors of the industrial age over whose electrical system would power the country’s economic engine in the coming century. Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) and written by playwright Michael Mitnick (Sex Lives of our Parents), The Current War also stars Katherine Waterston as Margurite Westinghouse, Nicholas Hoult as Nikola Tesla, Tom Holland as Samuel Insull (Edison’s personal secretary), Matthew Macfadyen as J.P. Morgan and Tuppence Middleton as Mary Edison. The acting is as good as any I’ve seen this year. An easy comparison is an upcoming film December 20th, 2019 release date), The Aeronauts, with Oscar-winner, Eddie Redmayne, and Felicity Jones as the leads, in a fun, entertaining historical drama about hot-air ballooning in the 1880’s. Moreover, after seeing The Current War, I’m looking forward to the “in-production” biographical work, Tesla, starring Ethan Hawke.

Current War Bulb
Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison in The Current War. (Photo Credit: Dean Rogers)

But, first, let’s return to the electrical Current War. Backed by J.P. Morgan, Thomas Edison dazzles the world by lighting Manhattan with his patented bulb. Westinghouse and Tesla light the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, sparking the infamous war of currents. Westinghouse and Tesla bet everything on what Edison called “risky and dangerous” alternating current. Edison plotted to poison the public’s mind by associating Westinghouse with a new form of humane capital punishment – death by electrocution – powered by Westinghouse Electric. More on that, later. Astonishingly, Benedict Cumberbatch channels Edison with such grace and ease, I found my self suspending disbelief. Cumberbatch’s performance reminded me of his captivating impersonation of Sherlock Holmes in the TV Series, Sherlock (2010, 15 episodes).

Tom Holland, left, as Edison’s personal secretary, Samuel Insull, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison in The Current War. (Photo Credit: Dean Rogers)
Michael Shannon as George Westinghouse in The Current War. (Photo Credit: Dean Rogers)

While Edison loses out to Westinghouse in the end, Edison simply moves on to his next project – motion pictures! Meanwhile, Michael Shannon’s formidable impersonation of George Westinghouse is nothing short of spectacular. Shannon returns to form that garnered an Oscar nomination (Nocturnal Animals) as Westinghouse, who  despite his intimidating presence simply wanted to create something that would benefit the public saying, “If someday they say of me that in my work I have contributed something to the welfare and happiness of my fellow man, I shall be satisfied.” With his back against the wall, Westinghouse is forced to reveal Edison’s attempt to discredit the Westinghouse and the superiority of alternating current as opposed to Edison’s direct current.

Katherine Waterston as Marguerite Westinghouse, left, with Michael Shannon as George Westinghouse in The Current War. (Photo Credit: Dean Rogers)

While the two don’t appear on screen together very often ( I believe it’s twice), the connection between Edison and Westinghouse is undeniable. Each backing his own current of electricity. To me, this is the artistic essence of the film. Gomez-Rejon melds the human and electrical stories into one in a seamless fashion. It is remarkable. The Current War is highly entertaining, informative, and polished with a compelling narrative. The costuming and makeup speak for themselves – delectable. The ensemble cast is exquisite. The production design is excellent. The lighting and sound add a powerful context and a balanced emotional heft. And, the mise-en-scene is captivating. Very, very warmly recommended!

*Featured photo: Nicholas Hoult as Nikola Tesla in The Current War. (Photo Credit: Dean Rogers)


Posted by Larry Gleeson

Los Angeles, CA (October 30, 2019) – Leading entertainment company, Arclight Films, has boarded the haunting thriller Let It Snow starring Ivanna Sakhno (The Spy Who Dumped Me, Pacific Rim: Uprising), Alex Hafner (Submergence, The Councellor), and Tinatin Dalakishvili (Abigail), it was announced by the company’s chairman and CEO, Gary Hamilton. Stanislav Kapralov makes his feature film directorial debut from a script he wrote with Omri Rose.

 Arclight Films will handle worldwide rights to the feature and will introduce the project to buyers at the upcoming American Film Market where they will also debut market screenings of the film.

The story follows Mia, a free-riding snowboarder, who is separated from her fiancé after sneaking onto a restricted slope. She must not only survive against nature but also a masked snowmobile rider in black who’s out for her blood.

The film is produced by Solar Media’s Serge Lavrenyuk. Executive producers are Yan Fisher and Roger Corbi of FishCorb Film, which produced Papillon starring Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek.

Gary Hamilton “Stanislav has created a standout thriller that is beautifully shot, with superb performances, and edge-of-your-seat suspense that will captivate audiences,” commented Hamilton. “We look forward to representing this film and having it on offer to buyers at the market.”

Arclight’s market slate also includes the true-life prison break story, Escape From Pretoria, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Daniel Webber, the sci-fi thriller Possessor starring Andrea Riseborough, Christopher Abbott, Sean Bean, Jennifer Jason Leigh, directed by Brandon Cronenberg, and the action thriller Long Gone Heroes starring Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce, and Maggie Q.


Arclight Films is one of the world’s leading international sales companies for theatrical, television and home entertainment.  Arclight Films has sold over 300 motion pictures including the Best Picture Oscar® winner Crash, Golden Globe® Best Picture Nominee Bobby and Lord of War starring Nicolas Cage, Jared Leto and Ethan Hawke and the recent Oscar® nominated feature First Reformed (for Best Original Screenplay).

The company’s recent films include the highly anticipated Hotel Mumbai starring Armie Hammer, Dev Patel, Nazanin Boniadi, Anupam Kher, and Jason Isaacs, directed by Anthony Maras released in the US by Bleecker Street on March 22nd, the powerhouse actioner Triple Threat starring Chinese stars Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais and Tiger Chen, and the Vietnamese action thriller Furie both films released by Well Go USA in March 2019, and the successful biopic Jungle starring Daniel Radcliffe released by eOne.

Arclight’s past films include 2016 Official Cannes Directors’ Fortnight selection Dog Eat Dog starring Nicolas Cage and Willem Dafoe, The Confirmation starring Clive Owen and Maria Bello, directed by Academy Award-winner Bob Nelson (Nebraska), 2016 Sundance Official Selection Frank & Lola starring Imogen Poots and Michael Shannon, Predestination starring Ethan Hawke released through Sony Pictures, Last Knights starring Clive Owen and Morgan Freeman, Paper Planes starring Sam Worthington, and Shangri-La Suite starring Emily Browning and Luke Grimes.

Arclight Films additionally encompasses subsidiary labels Darclight Films, the edgy genre-driven division of the company whose films include the worldwide horror hits Wolf Creek, Wolf Creek 2 and action thriller Bait 3D (the highest-grossing Australian film in the history of Chinese cinema), and Easternlight, a specialty arm showcasing Asian cinema with the largest film library of any non-Asian-based indie film label. Films sold under the Easternlight banner include the worldwide blockbuster Forbidden Kingdom starring Jackie Chan and Jet Li, 14 Blades starring Donnie Yen, and legendary auteur Chen Kaige’s Sacrifice.

The latest additions to Easternlight includes Guardians Of The Tomb starring Kellen Lutz and Bingbing Li, Snow Girl And The Dark Crystal starring Bingbing Li, Wolf Warrior starring Wu Jing (which opened #1 at the Chinese Box Office, earning more than $32.5M in one weekend) Outcast starring Nicolas Cage, Special Id Starring Donnie Yen, and Badges Of Fury.

Arclight Films maintains a presence at all major motion picture and television festivals and markets with offices in Los Angeles, Sydney, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Toronto.

Arclight Film

(Source: Arclight press release)



Posted by Larry Gleeson

Agnes Varda

Full Lineup Features 51% Women-Directed Films

Cinema’s Legacy Lineup Includes Documentaries on Filmmaking Legends Milos Forman, Terry Gilliam and Agnès Varda

New Auteurs Lineup Includes 17 Features Directed by Women, Inaugural AFI Conservatory Showcase Features All Three Student Academy Award® Narrative Winners, and Shorts Section Hosts a Conversation with Meet the Press’s Chuck Todd

AFI FEST 2019 presented by Audi, UNDER THE FLAG

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE— Los Angeles, CA, October 29, 2019 — The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today the films that will play in the New Auteurs, Cinema’s Legacy, Midnight, Shorts and AFI Conservatory Showcase sections at AFI FEST 2019 presented by Audi, completing the festival’s program.

The complete AFI FEST program includes 142 titles (80 features, 1 episodic, 40 shorts, 21 AFI Conservatory Showcase Shorts) of which 51% are directed by women. This year’s program represents 52 countries and includes 8 official international Feature Film Oscar®submissions as well as 4 World Premieres. The total film breakdown by section is: Galas (6), Alan J. Pakula Tribute (4), Special Screenings (8), New Auteurs (24), World Cinema (16), Midnight (2), Cinema’s Legacy (5), Documentary Films & Encore Screenings (16), Short Films (40) and AFI Conservatory Showcase (21).

Highlighting emerging directors, New Auteurs is the festival’s platform for internationally diverse new filmmakers to showcase their latest films. This year, the section is comprised of 24 films, with 17 helmed by female filmmakers. The section includes two official International Feature Film Oscar®submissions screening at this year’s festival: Morocco’s ADAM (Dir Maryan Touzani) and Russia’s BEANPOLE (Dir Kantemir Balagov).

In this year’s Cinema’s Legacy program, AFI FEST turns the spotlight to the men and women behind the lens. This section is a celebration of motion picture history and a special opportunity to celebrate classic films, and those who created them. The section features three documentaries on renowned filmmakers, FORMAN V FORMAN (DIR Helena Trestikova, Jakub Hejna), HE DREAMS OF GIANTS (DIR Keith Fulton, Lou Pepe) and VARDA BY AGNÈS (DIR Agnès Varda). In addition, TALKING ABOUT TREES (DIR Suhaib Gasmelbari), a documentary on the history of Sudanese cinema, as well as ROMANTIC COMEDY (DIR Elizabeth Sankey), an examination of the popular genre and its effect on the culture-at-large, are included in Cinema’s Legacy.

The Midnight section features the chilling and provocative genre films JALLIKATTU (DIR Lijo Jose Pellissery) and SAINT MAUD (DIR Rose Glass).

The Shorts section includes 40 films from filmmakers from all over the world, showcasing their distinct international viewpoints. As the only juried section of the festival, the Grand Jury Award winners for Live Action and Animated Short will be eligible for the 2020 Best Live Action Short and Best Animated Short Academy Awards®. This year’s Shorts section will include screenings of two out-of-competition films from this year’s Meet the Press Film Festival with AFI, FIRE IN PARADISE followed by a conversation with the filmmakers moderated by Chuck Todd, Meet the PressModerator and NBC News Political Director, and MACK WRESTLES. The Shorts jury is comprised of filmmakers Katrelle Kindred, Hannah Peterson and Davy Rothbart.

New to AFI FEST is the inaugural AFI Conservatory Showcase. This collection of 21 short fiction films from the AFI Conservatory features an array of voices and styles and the five 2019 Student Academy Award®finalists, including all three winners in the Narrative (Domestic) category.

Individual tickets are now available for purchase exclusively for AFI members and will be made available for the general public on October 30. Passes are now available for all at


Samia, heavily pregnant and alone, wanders through Casablanca, seeking shelter until Abla, a single mother, reluctantly takes her in. As the women discover each other’s inner struggles, their lives are transformed. A film festival darling, Maryam Touzani’s debut feature crafts a delicate tale of love through a confident female gaze. DIR Maryan Touzani. SCR Maryan Touzani. CAST Lubna Azabal, Nisrin Erradi, Douae Belkhaouda. Morocco, France

ANNE AT 13,000 FT
Anne works at a Toronto daycare with her best friend  Sarah. Most of her interactions are awkward and erratic. When Anne goes skydiving for Sarah’s bachelorette party, it becomes a tipping point for her mental fragility in this intimate portrait of a volatile, young woman struggling to find her place in society. DIR Kazik Radwanski. SCR Kazik Radwanski. CAST Deragh Campbell, Matt Johnson, Dorothea Paas, Lawrene Denkers. Canada

In BABYTEETH Milla falls in love with Moses, a quirky, smalltime drug dealer. Their relationship blooms despite Milla’s rapid decline in health, igniting in her a new fervor for life. Director Shannon Murphy’s stunning debut feature is disarmingly honest and reveals the complexities of confronting mortality while celebrating life. DIR Shannon Murphy. SCR Rita Kalnejais. CAST Eliza Scanlen, Toby Wallace, Emily Barclay, Eugene Gilfedder, Essie Davis, Ben Mendelsohn. Australia

Two tenacious women in the post-siege ruins of 1945 Leningrad fight to rebuild their lives, in Kantemir Balagov’s loose adaptation of Nobel Prize-winning author Svetlana Alexievich’s “The Unwomanly Face of War.”  Balagov won the Best Director Award in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section and the FIPRESCI Prize for Best Film. DIR Kantemir Balagov. SCR Kantemir Balagov, Aleksandr Terekhov. CAST Viktoria Miroshnichenko, Vasilisa Perelygina. Russia

After the death of their mother, the Connelly sisters discover and navigate the secrets of murder, sex and crime in their sleepy, New England fishing town. This clever debut features a dynamic female ensemble cast and beautifully blends the best of dark comedy and noir. DIR Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy. SCR Danielle Krudy, Bridget Savage Cole. CAST Morgan Saylor, Sophie Lowe, Margo Martindale, June Squibb, Will Brittain, Gayle Rankin, Annette O’Toole. USA

Young, pregnant and barefoot in the street, Rosie is being accosted by her boyfriend when Aila comes to her aid.  The two women immediately bond and the resulting unique afternoon is a cinematic wonder echoing the classic works of feminist cinema. DIR Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Kathleen Hepburn. SCR Kathleen Hepburn, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers. CAST Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Violet Nelson, Barbara Eve Harris, Charlie Hannah, Jay Cardinal Villenueve. Canada, Norway

After the death of their mother, siblings Gilda and Lucas reluctantly return to their quiet coastal hometown to scatter her remains in the ocean but are unable to make the quick retreat they had hoped for. With this sudden and unexpected reunion, they find boredom is more readily surmountable than grief and difficult conversations remain just out of reach. DIR Mateo Bendesky. SCR Mateo Bendesky. CAST Tomas Wicz, Laila Maltz, Alejandro Russek.  Argentina
Writer/director Minhal Baig breathes new life into the classic American high school coming of age story. In the masterfully crafted story of Hala, a first-generation Pakistani-American teenager, brilliantly played by Geraldine Viswanathan (BLOCKERS), Hala navigates the treacherous terrain between religiously conservative parents and her own burgeoning sexuality and independence. DIR Minhal Baig. SCR Minhal Baig. CAST Geraldine Viswanathan, Jack Kilmer, Gabriel Luna, Purbi Joshi, Azad Khan, Anna Chlumsky. USA
A fatal hit-and-run accident marks one family’s devastating loss and another’s downward moral spiral in Lee Su-Jin’s luridly satisfying revenge thriller set against the backdrop of a corrupt Korean political landscape. Ambition, lust, and greed know no bounds in this cat-and-mouse neo-noir puzzle that continually remains one step ahead of the audience. DIR Su-jin Lee. SCR Su-jin Lee. CAST Seok-kyu Han, Kyung-gu Sul, Woo-hee Chun. South Korea

Enlisting former lovers, family members and friends to portray semi-fictionalized versions of themselves, Ivana returns home to recover from a mysterious illness but becomes the source of gossip when seen with a younger man. At once charming and combative, Ivana Mladenović is a pleasure to watch as she hurls insults at loved ones. DIR Ivana Mladenović. SCR Ivana Mladenović, Adrian Schoop. CAST Ivana Mladenović, Luka Gramić, Gordana Mladenović, Miodrag Mladenović, Kosta Mladenović, Zivka Sorejevic, Andrei Dinescu, Anca Pop. Romania, Serbia

A hit at the Berlinale and Tribeca Film Festivals, Jennifer Reeder’s electric feature debut KNIVES AND SKIN uses pop music and magical realism to tell the story of a missing high school girl and the quiet, suburban town thrown into disarray following her disappearance. DIR Jennifer Reeder. SCR Jennifer Reeder. CAST Marika Engelhardt, Audrey Francis, Tim Hopper, Kate Arrington, James Vincent Meredith, Ireon Roach, Ty Olwin, Grace Smith, Kayla Carter, Robert T. Cunningham, Emma Ladji, Jalen Gilbert, Marilyn Dodds Frank, Tony Fitzpatrick, Raven Whitley. USA

Dripping with menace and fraught with tension, this formalist film is a lovely and incredibly sad testimony to real people in the last moments of their lives.  Being witness to the everyday and mundane, you get an honest sense of who they are, how they feel, just from sparse dialogue and simple unadorned actions. DIR Sara Summa. SCR Sara Summa. CAST Barbara Verrastro, Pasquale Lioi, Canio Lancellotti, Donatella Viola. Germany

Olivia is an undocumented Filipina trans woman and the home health aide for Olga. Alex, Olga’s grandson, is just back from rehab and trying to get his life together. The two have enough going on to need a budding relationship. But that’s not how fate works. DIR Isabel Sandoval. SCR Isabel Sandoval. CAST Isabel Sandoval, Eamon Farren, Ivory Aquino, Lev Gorn, Lynn Cohen. USA, Philippines
Agoraphobic Seconda (Barbara Giordano) is confined to her family apartment — until her home life is suddenly upended and she is forced to reckon with the outside world. This original and idiosyncratic film from Swiss filmmaker Klaudia Reynicke follows a non-conforming, eccentric young woman forced to fight for her independence. DIR Klaudia Reynicke. SCR Klaudia Reynicke. CAST Barbara Giordano, Antonio Bannò, Gilles Privat, Maurizio Tabani, Anna Galante, Federica Vermiglio. Switzerland
Teenage mothers, Lu and Fati, live in a Catholic-based shelter in Buenos Aires with their children. One day, novice Sister Paola, conflicted by her own unresolved desires, arrives before taking her final vows and soon the complexities and resilience of motherhood will be tested by each woman in this understated drama. DIR Maura Delpero. SCR Maura Delpero. CAST Lidiya Liberman, Denise Carrizo, Agustina Malale, Isabella Cilia, Alan Rivas, Livia Fernán, Marta Lubos, Renata Palminiello. Italy

Indiscriminately housed in the Harvard Houghton Library is a collection of letters between author Jozef Wittlin and poet Zofia Bohdanowiczowa, retrievable using call number MS Slavic 7. Bohdanowiczowa’s granddaughter – Deragh Campbell in one of two dynamic performances at AFI FEST 2019 – is determined to investigate but comes up against unanticipated obstacles. DIR Sofia Bohdanowicz, Deragh Campbell. SCR Sofia Bohdanowicz, Deragh Campbell. CAST Deragh Campbell, Elizabeth Rucker, Mariusz Sibiga, Aaron Danby. Canada

91-year-old Viennese Robert just wants to bury his dead dog. Young Adib is hired for the job but won’t be taken advantage of. Will these two men be able to connect, or will brotherly love be forever severed? DIR Karl Markovics. SCR Karl Markovics. CAST Heinz Trixner, Borhanulddin Hassan Zadeh, Konstanze Dutzi. Austria

Patrick has lost his hammer (and also his father.) Now left at the helm of the family business, a naturalist camp, his stress is quickly multiplying. Obsessed, Patrick discovers that everyone is a suspect while searching for his beloved tool. Below the absurd surface lies a humorous and touching story about loss and grief. DIR Tim Mielants. SCR Tim Mielants, Benjamin Sprengers. CAST Kevin Janssens, Pierre Bokma, Katelijne Damen, Hannah Hoekstra, Jemaine Clement. Germany

Written, directed, produced and starring Alexandra Kotcheff and Hannah Leder, THE PLANTERS is a dark comedy about a reclusive telemarketer who befriends a homeless woman with multiple personalities. DIR Alexandra Kotcheff, Hannah Leder. SCR Alexandra Kotcheff, Hannah Leder. CAST Alexandra Kotcheff, Hannah Leder, Phil Parolisi, Pepe Serna. USA

Rocks has big dreams and enjoys hanging out with her all-girl crew. One day, her troubled, single mother disappears, leaving Rocks responsible for younger brother Emmanuel and causing her to push away her community. Employing a collaborative process with female youth, director Sarah Gavron crafts an authentic and compassionate portrait of girlhood. DIR Sarah Gavron. SCR Theresa Ikoko, Claire Wilson. CAST Bukky Bakray, Kosar Ali, D’angelou Osei Kissiedu, Shaneigha-Monik Greyson, Ruby Stokes, Tawheda Begum, Anastasia Dymitrow, Afi Okaidja, Sarah Niles. UK

Indonesia, the 1960s. Siman unintentionally witnesses a foreign crew filming a fake moon landing. Discovered, he’s punished by having his tongue cut off, forcing him into silence. Siman moves through life in slow-motion, imitating astronauts. A daring, hypnotic drama, THE SCIENCE OF FICTIONS explores the mysterious political conflict of Indonesia’s history. DIR Yosep Anggi Noen. SCR Yosep Anggi Noen. CAST Gunawan Maryanto, Ecky Lamoh,Yudi Ahmad Tajudin, Tupon Rusini, Alex Suhendra, Gun Lukman Sardi, Marissa Anita, Asmara Abigail. Indonesia, Malaysia, France

At Haldwell, an elite boarding school, five factions run student life. Selah Summer leads the Spades, the most powerful faction, conducting all underground drugs and alcohol sales on campus. Having made her way to power, Selah won’t back down to rivals or threats. This sharp, fresh and unapologetic debut fiercely captures the pressures of modern youth. DIR Tayarisha Poe. SCR Tayarisha Poe. CAST Lovie Simone, Celeste O’Connor, Jharrel Jerome, Gina Torres, Jesse Williams. USA
Discouraged after attempting to engage the police, an indigenous woman whose newborn is kidnapped in a child-trafficking scheme persuades a journalist to investigate. An astoundingly assured debut, SONG WITHOUT A NAME’s meticulous black and white cinematography imparts a richness of texture and a luminescent glow, seeing an exquisite beauty in even the bleakest of realities. DIR Melina Léon. SCR Melina Léon, Michael J. White. CAST Pamela Mendoza Arpi, Tommy Páraga, Lucio Rojas, Maykol Hernández, Lidia Quispe. Peru, Spain, USA, Chile

After winning the US green card lottery, 36-year-old Aliya has to tell her family and friends. Director Assel Aushakimova’s WELCOME TO THE USA is a quiet, powerful film that shares a slice of Kazakhstani city life and the semi-hidden existence of the LGBTQ community in Almaty. DIR Assel Aushakimova. SCR Assel Aushakimova. CAST Saltanat Nauruz, Aida Zhetpissova, Dinara Aliyeva, Daniyar Beisov, Kul-Sara, Sultana Bektasova. Kazakhstan.  World Premiere



In the tropical Indian state of Kerala, a buffalo escapes. Soon, all hell breaks loose as an entire village tries to wrestle it under control. A teeming world of base human behavior is also unleashed in this unique, adrenaline-fueled, brilliantly assembled and highly experiential spectacle that pulsates with energy from start-to-finish.

DIR Lijo Jose Pellissery. SCR S Hareeesh, R Jayakumar. CAST Anthony Varghese, Chemban Vinod Jose, Sabumon Abdusamad, Santhy Balachandran. India


Maud, a reclusive nurse with a traumatic past, takes the task of hospice care for her new patient, Amanda, very seriously – she is determined to save Amanda’s soul from the devil. A sharp, striking debut, this psychological horror story of religious devotion will make you shiver long after leaving the theater. DIR Rose Glass. SCR Rose Glass. CAST  Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle Lily Frazer, Lily Knight, Marcus Hutton, Turlough Convery, Rosie Sansom, Carl Prekopp, Jonathan Milshaw, Noa Bodner, Rosie Sansom. UK



When the great Milos Forman died in 2018, he left behind a unique legacy that includes being a pioneer of the Czech New Wave and the daring Oscar®-winning director of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST and AMADEUS. This eye-opening portrait offers an intimate look at one of Hollywood’s most important filmmakers. DIR Helena Trestikova, Jakub Hejna. SCR Helena Trestikova. Czech Republic, France.


Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe’s irresistibly entertaining 2002 documentary LOST IN LA MANCHA shadowed celebrated director Terry Gilliam throughout his ill-fated production of THE MAN WHO KILLED QUIXOTE. 17 years later, Gilliam’s quest resumes, once again with Fulton and Pepe in tow. Will Gilliam succeed at last or is he just tilting at windmills? DIR Keith Fulton, Lou Pepe. FEATURING Terry Gilliam, Jonathan Pryce, Adam Driver. UK.


Take a trip through your favorite Romantic Comedies with artist and writer Elizabeth Sankey as she examines the common tropes of the genre and how they have shaped not only cultural conversations but the actual psychological makeup of the filmmaker herself.  An outstanding intellectual and revealing debut, this film will be your next crush. DIR Elizabeth Sankey. SCR Elizabeth Sankey. FEATURING Jessica Barden, Cameron Cook, Anne T. Donahue, Simran Hans, Brodie Lancaster, Charlie Lyne, Eleanor McDowall, Laura Snapes. UK.


A crash course in the history of Sudanese cinema and a delightful ode to lifelong friendships, TALKING ABOUT TREES features the irrepressible foursome of Ibrahim, Suliman, Manar and Eltayeb, filmmakers and members of the Sudanese Film Group.  Winner, Documentary Jury Award and Panorama Documentary Audience Award, 2019 Berlin Film Festival. DIR Suhaib Gasmelbari. SCR Suhaib Gasmelbari. FEATURING Suleiman Ibrahim, Ibrahim Shaddad. France, Sudan, Chad, Germany, Qatar


Concluding a series of insightful personal documentaries by French New Wave pioneer Agnès Varda, this personally guided cinematic tour incorporates film, installations, and photography, offering original concepts and anecdotes that will enrich their impact to those familiar and provide a welcome introduction to the uninitiated. DIR Agnès Varda. SCR Agnès Varda. France



Lucía, twenty-five years old, leaves handball training and sets off to pick up her brother under the lights of a city she thinks she knows. DIR Álvaro Gago. SCR Álvaro Gago. CAST Cris Iglesias, Javier Valcarce, Fran Pérez, Diego Abal, Ruth Boente, Martín Duplá. Spain


When a company covers up the death of Reonghee, her fellow undocumented worker searches for her body in hopes of giving her the funeral she deserves.  DIR Jegwang Yeon. SCR Jegwang Yeon, Park Woosang. South Korea


Living in war-torn Eastern Ukraine, Anna is an aging single mother who is desperate for a change. Lured by a radio advertisement, she goes to a party with a group of American men who are touring the country, searching for love. DIR Dekel Berenson. SCR Dekel Berenson. Ukraine


A dynamic take on the life of Syrian refugees told through dark comedy. DIR Soudade Kaadan. SCR Soudade Kaadan, May Hayek.  CAST Caress Bashar, Abdel Moneim Amayri. Syria


Students reclaim a popular gathering spot on the campus of the University of Virginia. Under the glare of the moonlight, black fraternity and sorority members repossess hallowed grounds as they sway to the rhythms and memories of the past. DIR Kevin Jerome Everson, Claudrena N. Harold. FEATURING Jordan Maia, Tiara Sparrow, Kevin Adams, Zakia Alomari, Alexis Artis, Briana Bradham, Cordell Burgess, Kris Coachman, Raelo Edmund, Komi Galli, Nana Bilkisu Habib, Natasha Hallaran, Taji Harris, Nicole Jefferson, Maya Johnson, Kendall Jordan, Taylor Lamb, Jordan Maia, Morgan Miller, Tiffany Moore, Chelsea Ofori, Xhosa Scott, Erik Patton-Scott, Markiana Smith, Paige Taul, Victoria Tucker, Melvin Walker, Micah Watson, Allen Williams, Hidayah Williams, Jessica Williams, Jasmine Zollar. USA


A middle-aged woman and her son visit her late husband’s grave in a former fishing village she hasn’t been to in decades. In the cemetery on the sandy dunes, they wander around for a long time without finding the headstone. Has her memory eroded, or has the grave been concealed somewhere underneath the green grass of the new golf courses? It’s true, for the nouveau riche, land for the living to play on is better than land for the dead to rest at. DIR Phạm Ngọc Lân. SCR Phạm Ngọc Lân. CAST Minh Châu, Hoàng Hà, Thùy Anh, Huy Tiến. Vietnam


A young woman and a female bed bug form an unlikely bond while contending with toxic masculinity. DIR Emily Ann Hoffman. SCR Emily Ann Hoffman. CAST Ruby McCollister, Chet Siegel, Jonathan Randell Silver. USA

THE BURNING BUSH (הסנההבוער)

Danny mourns the lost love to her ex-girlfriend, symbolized by a small plant. Danny’s mother wants her daughter to bury the memories, but when the dust settles something more powerful remains, which will not die. DIR Noam Greif. SCR Noam Greif. CAST Inbal Lehavi, Irit Sheleg, Na’ama Amit. Israel


Five women highlight the perverse way in which society looks at them. DIR Camila Kater.  SCR Camila Kater, Ana Julia Carvalheiro. CAST Rachel Patricio, Larissa Rahal, Raquel Virginia, Valquiria Rosa, Helena Ignez. Brazil, Spain


In the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, a young mother struggles to connect to her new baby. DIR Talia Zucker. SCR Talia Zucker. CAST Rachael Stone, Ari Hershkowitz, Miryam Rabinowitz, Judy Winegard, Goldie Hoffman, Luzer Twersky. USA


Amidst a devastating opioid epidemic, a needle exchange and free clinic operate in the shadows of Fresno, California.  DIR Elivia Shaw. FEATURING Dr. Marc Lasher. USA


A woman orders a special massage. DIR Meredith Alloway. SCR Meredith Alloway. CAST Meredith Alloway, Peter Vack. USA


Kiera is being bullied at school, but her a cappella club possess a secret, supernatural power: when they sing, listeners are sent into a state of catatonic, never-ending sleep. DIR Dylan Holmes Williams. SCR Dylan Holmes Williams, Jess O’Kane. CAST Patsy Ferran, Leo Suter, Guy Henry, Bobby Schofield. UK


Two strangers meet for the first time at an old gas station. One has stopped to gas up his bike, while the other is just stranded. Lacking the 22.50€ he needs to get home, he will try to sell him the distance that separates them from the sky. DIR Vasilis Kekatos. SCR Vasilis Kekatos. CAST Nikolakis Zeginoglou, Ioko Ioannis Kotidis. Greece


Trevor reflects on his fear of dating. DIR Trevor Anderson. SCR Trevor Anderson. Canada


The true story of how the Berkeley police department, the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands, an Academy Award® winner and Spock of STAR TREK fame are all connected by 1966’s SUDDEN BIRTH, one of the most unintentionally hilarious and disturbing educational films ever created. DIR Scott Calonico. SCR Scott Calonico. FEATURING Heinrich Beernink, M.D., Leonard Nimoy, James Caan & Raquel Welch, Skip Elsheimer, Amy Beernink, R. Paul Kerston, Kieth Merrill, Jonathan Tegan, Kay Tegan. Germany, UK


A teenage girl delivers a package of cocaine to a client and gets caught in a weird cycle of events. DIR Sonia K. Hadad. SCR Sonia K. Hadad, Farnoosh Samadi. CAST Sadaf Asgari, Hadis Miramini, Masih Kazemi, Elaheh Afshari. Iran


After two tours in the Iraq War, U.S. Marine Roman Baca came home a different person. Now, as the founder and artistic director of the Exit12 Dance Company in New York City, Roman, with other veterans and military families, uses dance to tell stories about the effects of war. DIR Mohammad Gorjestani. USA


On the morning of November 8, 2018, a seemingly small fire broke out in Butte County, California. Over the course of a few short hours, the camp fire grew into the country’s deadliest wildfire in over a century, killing 85 people and destroying Paradise. DIR Drea Cooper, Zackary Canepari. USA


In Sugar Land, Texas, a group of young, Muslim-American men ponders the disappearance of their friend “Mark,” who is suspected of joining ISIS. DIR Bassam Tariq. SCR Bassam Tariq, Thomas Niles.  USA


Filmed on location in Harlem, USA and in Claude Monet’s historic gardens in Giverny, France, THE GIVERNY DOCUMENT is a multi-textured cinematic poem that meditates on the safety and bodily autonomy of Black women. DIR Ja’Tovia Gary. SCR Ja’Tovia Gary.  USA, France


A summer day at the swimming pool of the village of Montánchez, Spain. From above, Our Lady of Consolation of the Castle keeps her watchful gaze. DIR Chema García Ibarra, Ion de Sosa. SCR Chema García Ibarra. CAST Al Sarcoli, Cristina Canchal Solís, María Ángeles Rosco, Carlos Lebrón Lázaro, Laura Molano Canchal, Nuria Rey Burgos, Jara Valiente, Natalia Valiente, Javier Valiente. Spain


Unable to return home to attend Grandma’s funeral because of immigration bureaucracy, a young Singaporean girl new to America searches for Grandma’s reincarnation in a pet store turtle. DIR Siyou Tan. SCR Siyou Tan. Sofie Yang, Dawn Ying Yuen, Peter Boon Koh, Wu Mama, Squirtle. Singapore


During a sunny holiday, a flock of tourists struggles to let go of their busy city lives, and the absence of daily tasks leaves them lost in an uncomfortable and frightening place. Once they learn to slow down, they may find some beauty in the here and now. DIR Wiep Teeuwisse. SCR Wiep Teeuwisse. Netherlands


Alex and Milagros deal with great life upheaval as they prepare to dance at their community’s redevelopment groundbreaking ceremony. DIR Faren Humes. SCR Faren Humes. CAST Milagros Gilbert, Alexandra Jackson, Willnya Jenkins, Mary Griffin. USA


A determined man, armed only with a megaphone, his determination, and an unshakeable smile, sets out to reunite lost children with their families in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh, which now houses over 600,000 Rohingya Muslims. DIR Orlando Von Einsiedel. UK


A dreamlike archive in conversation with the past and the present reimagining a more nuanced narrative of Latasha Harlins by excavating intimate and poetic memories shared by her cousin and best friend.  DIR Sophia Nahli Allison. USA


Transgender wrestler Mack Beggs broke records and changed history by winning the Texas high school state title two years in a row. With college on the horizon, Beggs must grapple with what comes next. DIR Erin Sanger, Taylor Hess. FEATURING Mack Beggs, Nancy Beggs. USA


A slice of life film about a grandpa and his grandsons, the future and the past. Oh, and they started a band! DIR Robert Machoian. SCR Robert Machoian. CAST Bruce Graham, Arri Graham, Ezra Graham, Jonah Graham. USA


God is now a Power Plant. On a misty night, cows escape, a child is chosen, and a teenager tries to find freedom. DIR Agustina San Martín. SCR Agustina San Martín. CAST Sabrina Grinchspun, Camila Dobrusky, Emilio Vodanovich, Isabella Rappazzo, Mariali Rubio. Argentina


Mthunzi becomes caught up in a world he does not belong to walking home from the shops. DIR Tebogo Malebogo. SCR Tebogo Malebogo. CAST Nala Khumalo, Jamie-Lee Money, Inge Beckmann, Rusell Crous. South Africa


A day in the life of Tanya, a curious woman who has developed a taste for homemade non-humanoid lovers. DIR Sophie Gate. CAST Jeanette Bonds, Sophie Koko Gate, Tom Scotcher, Vincent Oliver. UK


A lullaby before the great disaster. DIR Niki Lindroth von Bahr. SCR Niki Lindroth von Bahr. CAST Ava Lauga, Theodor Jensen, Linnea Wikblad, Staffan Westerberg, Arja Saijonmaa, Karin Af Klintberg, Maria Af Klintberg, Daniel Rudholm. Sweden


A reflection about a modern man in an age of omnipresent technology. DIR Jolanta Bankowska. SCR Jolanta Bankowska. Poland


Valentina, a day-walking black vampire protected from the sun by her melanin, is forced to restrain her bloodlust to regain custody of her estranged daughters. DIR Nikyatu Jusu. SCR Nikyatu Jusu, Robin S. Williams. CAST Natalie Paul, Motell Foster, Alexis Nichole Smith, Souleymane Sy Savane, Madison Spicer. USA


A colorful, celebratory intergenerational retelling of seven queer people’s prom experience. DIR Andrew Moir. FEATURING Alf Roberts, Fontaine, Marcy Rogers, Alphonso King Jr., Marc Hall, Caroline Kan-Hai. Canada


On the night of a lunar eclipse, the sweet, salacious, and spooky secrets of a small town are uncovered.  DIRMichaela Olsen. SCR Michaela Olsen. CAST Jade Shames, Dylan Stephen Levers, Emily Collins, Robert Kovacs. USA


Three New Yorkers will stop at nothing to get Paul Giamatti his own wax statue at Madame Tussauds. DIR Val Bodurtha, Rebecca Shaw, Sophie Mann. SCR Val Bodurtha, Rebecca Shaw, Sophie Mann. FEATURING Sophie Mann, Val Bodurtha, Rebecca Shaw, Trevor Van Uden, Richard Brevard, Paul Giamatti, Brian Haggard, Clark Hurlburt. USA


During an abortion, instead of aborting the fetus, a girl gives birth to a live jellyfish. DIR Jian Luo. SCR Jian Luo. CAST Yang Wang. China


A man dressed as a fox breaks the spacetime barrier with only one goal: to spend some time with his wife. But below this recreational activity, there’s a far more complex and ambitious plan. DIR Marc Martínez Jordán. SCR Marc Martínez Jordán. CAST Sònia Masuda, Enric Auquer. Spain



The only way Sam knows how to survive junior high is to stay under the radar. But that’s impossible after Jason picks a fight with him and it quickly becomes the school’s next viral video. His only friend pressures him to “hit back.” But Sam isn’t so sure—even if he does have super powers. 2019 Student Academy Awards®finalist. DIRECTOR Jeremy Merrifield. SCREENWRITER Jeremy Merrifield, Dave Testa. PRODUCERChristina Cha, Kate Chamuris. CINEMATOGRAPHER Frances Kroon. EDITORBowei Yue. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Jerry Marsini. CAST Paul Scheer, Jonah Beres, Jaylin Ogle, Carson Severson. USA


To win his wife’s love back, an old man transforms into the thing she loves the most: a cactus. DIRECTOR Samir Oliveros. SCREENWRITER Christina Kingsleigh, Samir Oliveros. PRODUCER Thayer Juergens. CINEMATOGRAPHER Teck Siang Lim. EDITOR Chris Tenzis. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Karu De Jesus. CAST Kyrie DeMille, Philip Caldwell. USA


An old Chinese chef teaches a robot to cook, which places him in a dilemma between artificial intelligence and the human race. Silver medalist at 2019 Student Academy Awards®. DIRECTOR Hao Zheng. SCREENWRITER Ithaca Yixian Deng, Leqi Vanessa Kong. PRODUCER Ithaca Yixian Deng. CINEMATOGRAPHER Carlo Mendoza. EDITOR Guangwei Du. PRODUCTION DESIGNERMboni Maumba. CAST Jim Lau, Quinn Von Hoene, Allen Theosky Rowe. USA


Florence goes through her days without letting anyone into her world. When someone slips a love letter into her pocket, she decides to branch out, remembering what it is to feel hopeful. DIRECTOR Emanuele Daga. SCREENWRITER Courtney Shumway, Emanuele Daga. PRODUCERAlmotaz Aljefri. CINEMATOGRAPHERMotiejus Barauskas. EDITORTravis Staurt. PRODUCTION DESIGNERMboni Maumba. CAST Diane Kelber, Warren Davis, Queanna Réa Feather, Daniel Crotty. USA


A veteran suffering from PTSD decides to participate in a military simulation exercise in the hopes it will cure his symptoms. DIRECTOR Quinn Else. SCREENWRITER Quinn Else. PRODUCER Marc Tarczali. CINEMATOGRAPHER Ben Long. EDITOR Yiqing Yu. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Fernando Marroquin. CAST Cristian Valle, Ken Drylie, Hannah Elder, Mitchell Adams, Clayton Hoff, Andrew Gilchrist, Douglas Tait. USA


When a pastor’s son discovers that his father’s religious movement has become a dangerous and seductive cult of personality, he must shatter the only world he’s ever known to escape his father’s shadow. DIRECTOR R.J. Glass. SCREENWRITER R.J. Glass. PRODUCERAmanda Freedman, Froso Tsipopoulou. CINEMATOGRAPHERCeline Layous. EDITOR Qing Shao. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Gemma Fenol. CAST Rory Gibson, Robb Derringer, Kyson Facer. USA


Evelyn lives isolated in a cabin in the woods haunted every night by monsters of unknown origin. One day she finds a man in the forest and decides to help him. She becomes entranced by the stranger and struggles between her safety and her sexual desires. DIRECTOR Juan Pablo Arias Muñoz. SCREENWRITER Juan Pablo Arias Muñoz. PRODUCER Talya Ster.  CINEMATOGRAPHER Tom Meredith. EDITOR Charles Hertley Carter. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Mauricio Abud Friederichsen. CAST Valeria Gonzalez, Oscar Peña. USA


Louise tells the tragedy of how a young girl, in 1912 California, loses her mother just as she is beginning to understand the devastating causes of their estrangement. DIRECTOR Natalie Camou. SCREENWRITER Jamison Karon, Natalie Camou. PRODUCER Elizabeth Glass. CINEMATOGRAPHER Antoine Combelles. EDITOR Maria Freire. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Jake Vollmer. CAST Charity Rose, Katia Gomez, Adrienne Couper Smith, Rogelio Ramos. USA


After her boyfriend rejects her marriage proposal, Leah Schwartzman checks herself into the “Late Blooming Bride” retreat, which prides itself on transforming less-than-perfect women into “Marriage Material.” 2019 Student Academy Awards®finalist. DIRECTOR Oran Zegman. SCREENWRITER Oran Zegman. PRODUCER Maor Azran. CINEMATOGRAPHER Charlie Cole. EDITOR Marc Sedaka. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Brittany Ingram. CAST Gwen Hollander, Laura Gardener, Diane Kelber. USA


A transwoman mechanic lives between running her family’s auto shop during the day and expressing her femininity at night, until an unforeseen event threatens the balance of her compartmentalized life. Gold medalist at 2019 Student Academy Awards®. DIRECTOR Asher Jelinsky. SCREENWRITER Asher Jelinsky. PRODUCER Kate Chamuris. CINEMATOGRAPHER Robert Nachman. EDITOR Selinda Zhou. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Robert Aguirre. CAST Jesse James Keitel, Ryan Cutrona, Travis Hammer, Alexandra Grey, Carter Ray. USA


During the Qing Dynasty, a young girl competes with her male cousin for the right to inherit leadership of a powerful house. DIRECTOR Qiyu Zhou. SCREENWRITER Qiyu Zhou, A.P. Boland. PRODUCER Siyi Ren. CINEMATOGRAPHER Riley Hanyue Shen. EDITORLuqi Zhao. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Roxy Yi Hua. CAST Junru Wang, Russell Wong, Henggao Li. USA


A mother’s trauma gets in the way of supporting her adopted daughter’s passage into womanhood. DIRECTOR Jeanine Frost. SCREENWRITER Jeanine Frost. PRODUCERElena Aksenova, Geenah Krisht. CINEMATOGRAPHER Erin G. Wesley. EDITOR Ashley Monti. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Fernando Marroquin. CAST Mette Lisby, Cece Abbey. USA


Unaware of them being neighbors, an aspiring Chinese pianist Hui, and Chamo, a Mexican house painter, go through a day that challenges their identities, only to meet at a moment of change. DIRECTOR Peier “Tracy” Shen. SCREENWRITER Peier “Tracy” Shen. PRODUCERMengying “Irene” Yang. CINEMATOGRAPHER Leonel Escobar. EDITOR Arndt Werling. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Cyrum A. Ramirez. CAST Sarah Lynn Furman, Victor Boneva. USA


This is a world exactly like ours, except that the wealthy elites are aliens, living and working among us, but with one key difference: they reproduce by implanting their offspring in a human host who raises the alien child as his own. When a blue-collar man is forcibly implanted with his alien boss’s parasitic offspring, he asks his wife to help him remove the parasite — a dangerous and forbidden act that puts their marriage — and their lives — at risk. DIRECTOR Justin Daering. SCREENWRITER Kenda Greenwood Moran. PRODUCER Gregory M. Schroeder.  CINEMATOGRAPHER Thomas J. Thickett. EDITOR Christine Douglas. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Evan Welch. CAST Chasen Tyler Bauer, Wyni Landry, Christian Dunlop, Clayton Hoff, Hans Christopher. USA


A bull rider who falls out of love with the sport must choose between his family’s legacy of rodeo and his own aspirations. DIRECTOR Darius Dawson. SCREENWRITER Darius Dawson. PRODUCER Ryan Binse. CINEMATOGRAPHER Erin G. Wesley. EDITOR Briana Chmielewski. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Jessica M. Cole. CAST Jermelle Simon, Phrederic Semaj, Charlee Earle. USA


Two ‘star-crossed’ lovers become separated by forces larger than they can control in a place where girls’ bodies turn up in the river or never at all. DIRECTOR J. S. Maarten. SCREENWRITER J. S. Maarten. PRODUCER Daria Suvorova. CINEMATOGRAPHER Marcin Banasiak. EDITORAashish D’Mello.  PRODUCTION DESIGNER Aashish D’Mello. CAST David Gurrola, Fenessa Pineda, Dylan Bruno, Vanessa Benavente, Aithan Torres, Brian Gomez, Victor Boneva, Karen Sours Albisua, Sophia Santi, Hugo Medina. USA


After attending their friends’ perfect wedding, Christine is forced to consider the future of her own relationship when her hopeless romantic boyfriend Alex proposes. When Christine is unable to say yes, Alex makes it worse by giving her an ultimatum: either get engaged or break up right now. DIRECTOR Portlynn Tagavi. SCREENWRITER Portlynn Tagavi, Brandon Gale. PRODUCER Richard Bailey. CINEMATOGRAPHER Delaney O’Brien. EDITOR Farzad Kiyafar. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Beatrice Cerezo. CAST Jack De Sena, Brittany Renee Finamore. USA


After he’s been cast (again!) as a background tree in his annual middle school play, an ambitious and imaginative Israeli immigrant boy leads a revolution on stage that his intolerant drama teacher will never forget. Bronze medalist at 2019 Student Academy Awards®. DIRECTOR Omer Ben-Shachar. SCREENWRITER Omer Ben-Shachar, Sydney Meadow. PRODUCER Iris Xuan Yang. CINEMATOGRAPHERZilong Liu.  EDITOR Yinong Xia. PRODUCTION DESIGNERKatia Nájera Viale. CAST Lior Malka, Eva Du, Alex Gonzalez, Kelly Ryan, Rita Zohar. USA


A driven and conscientious girl at China’s premier dance school gets the lead position in a prestigious performance, but struggles to accept it after she learns that her mother has bribed the teacher to buy her the part. DIRECTOR Jiawei Cheng. SCREENWRITER Jiawei Cheng, Dhruv Kanungo. PRODUCER Fernando Barajas, Danwen Lei. CINEMATOGRAPHER Leo Perman. EDITOR Yiqing Yu. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Hankang Chen. CAST Michelle Chang, Grace Chang, Leann Lei. USA


On his 21st birthday, Vincent is persuaded to follow his friend Bunny to a brothel where he will meet a woman that looks like his mother. DIRECTOR Gabriele Di Sazio. SCREENWRITER Gabriele Di Sazio, Christina Yang. PRODUCER Disi Guo. CINEMATOGRAPHER Aakash Raj. EDITOR Skylar Zhang. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Vlad Aksenov. CAST Gabriele Di Sazio, Christina Yang. USA


Set in the Jamaican countryside, a young child named Nicole waits for her sister, Yellow Girl, to teach her how to swim. Circumstances escalate when Yellow Girl breaks her promise and Nicole realizes that she is next in line for a life of sexual abuse. DIRECTOR Isabella Issa. SCREENWRITER Isabella Issa. PRODUCERPaul V. Fishback. CINEMATOGRAPHER Diego Trenas. EDITOR Christine Douglas. PRODUCTION DESIGNER Caitlin Ward. CAST Dior Wilson, Trishauna Clarke, Blacka Di Danca, Jonathan-Dale Johnson, Tahj Williamson, Khelys Johnson. USA


AFI FEST 2019 takes place November 14-21, 2019, at historic theaters in Los Angeles. Screenings, Galas, and other events will be held at the TCL Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres and the Hollywood Roosevelt and will open with the World Premiere of AFI Conservatory alumna Melina Matsoukas’s QUEEN & SLIM. The festival will close with the World Premiere of Apple’s THE BANKER. Additional announcements including Galas, Documentaries, Special Screenings, Tribute, World Cinema, and the inaugural AFI Summit can be found here.

Audi returns for the 16th year as the exclusive Presenting Sponsor of AFI FEST, enabling the festival to host the very best of world cinema. Audi and their visionary support reflect a continuing commitment to create opportunities for equality in film and television. Audi also supports AFI through the Audi Fellowship for Women, a full-tuition scholarship created in 2017 to support promising female directors entering the AFI Conservatory. This Fellowship is part of the Audi commitment to drive progress and a landmark investment in the future of the storytelling community.

Audi is the exclusive presenting sponsor of AFI FEST 2019. Additional top sponsors include AT&T and American Airlines, the official airline of AFI.

About the American Film Institute (AFI)

Established in 1967, the American Film Institute is the nation’s non-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring artists and audiences through initiatives that champion the past, present and future of the moving image. AFI’s pioneering programs include filmmaker training at the AFI Conservatory; year-round exhibition at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center and at AFI Festivals across the nation; workshops aimed at increasing diversity in the storytelling community; honoring today’s masters through the AFI Life Achievement Award and AFI AWARDS; and scholarly efforts such as the AFI Catalog of Feature Films that uphold film history for future generations.  Read about all of these programs and more at and follow us on social media at Film and


About AFI FEST presented by Audi
Now in its 33rdyear, AFI FEST presented by Audi is a world-class event, showcasing the best films from across the globe to captivated audiences in Los Angeles. With a diverse and innovative slate of programming, the eight-day festival presents screenings, panels and conversations, featuring both master filmmakers and new voices. World premieres, Galas and other special events take place at iconic LA locations, such as the historic TCL Chinese Theatre and the glamorous Hollywood Roosevelt. This year’s edition takes place on November 14-21, 2019. Additional information about AFI FEST is available at Connect with AFI FEST at

About Audi 

Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands, delivering about 1.812 million vehicles globally in 2018. In the U.S., Audi of America sold nearly 224,000 vehicles in 2018. 2019 marks 50 years for the brand in the U.S. Visit or for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.


(Source:AFI New release)


AFI Summit to Spotlight the Rapidly Shifting Industry

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Summit to Feature Discussions that Will  Spotlight Trends in the Film Industry

AFI Summit

Launching this year at AFI FEST 2019 presented by Audi, the AFI Summit is a six-day forum of intimate conversations and dynamic panel discussions that will feature acclaimed and thought-provoking filmmakers, industry leaders and academics who are making a difference. The lineup includes a conversation with Eva Longoria and Dr. Stacy Smith about the alarming lack of representation of Latinx individuals in film, The Hollywood Reporter’s Indie Contenders Roundtable moderated by columnist Scott Feinberg, the Executives of the Culture panel hosted by Blackhouse’s Brickson Diamond and the Doc Roundtable moderated by LA Times writer Amy Kaufman.

Screen Shot 2019-10-28 at 4.21.04 PM

Tickets on sale Tuesday, Oct. 29 for AFI members and Wednesday, Oct. 30 to the general public. Festival passes are available now.

Sponsor Audi

(Sourced from AFI news release)

FILM REVIEW: The Laundromat (Soderbergh, 2019) USA

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Erin Brokovich, Magic Mike) reunites with writer/producer, Scott Z Burns (The Informant, The Report) in The Laundromat, starring three-time Oscar-winner, Meryl Streep, as Ellen Martin. Martin is enjoying a wistful vacation with her husband when a tragic boating accident on Lake George happens. Martin is bereft yet manages to keep a positive outlook as she engages in meetings with her lawyer to discuss her financial options regarding her husband’s life insurance and wrongful death settlement.  Martin plans to use the settlement money for a down payment on a condominium overlooking the Las Vegas strip. Actress Sharon Stone makes a cameo as a pent-up, high strung, real estate agent who delivers a searing blow to Martin’s plans. Bewildered and befuddled, Martin sets out to discover whom and what is behind these financial shenanigans she’s encountering. All roads eventually lead to a Panama City law firm, Mossack Fonseca, and two lawyers, Jurgen Mossack, played by Oscar-winner Gary Oldman, and Ramon Fonseca, portrayed by Golden Globe nominee, Antonio Banderas.

The film is adapted from Secrecy World by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter
Jake Bernstein and is based on true events emanating from a 2016 journalistic whistleblower release of 11.5 million documents, known as the Panama Papers, containing pages of dubious and nefarious transactions designed to protect and enhance the wealth of the world’s richest people. Hats off to Soderbergh and Burns in taking a very dark subject and turning it into comedy. Allowing Oldman and Banderas to portray Mossack and Fonseca in comedic characters enables the subject matter an easier digestion.

Oldman and Banderas provide an abundance of comic relief with voice-over narrations and appearing on-screen as the dapperly-dressed legal counselors. The duo attempt to justify their actions as they hilarious provide background information on how our financial system came to into existence and what all people have in common – money. Their explanations as to why they did what they did involve vignettes in China, Africa, Mexico, the Caribbean Islands and wind up ending in Panama as they ultimately reveal the various and sundry illicit and absurd actions such as bribery, murder, and tax evasions the super-wealthy engage themselves in to support the world’s financial system and protect themselves from losing wealth. Streep delivers an exceptionally solid performance as Ellen Martin and manages to deliver the finest moment in the film without missing a beat.


The Laundromat follows a number of films dealing comedically with the dark matter of our current financial system. Adam McKay’s 2015 Oscar-winner The Big Short (Best Adapted Screenplay) and Martin Scorsese’s 2013 AFI Movie of the Year, The Wolf of Wall Street readily come to mind. Yet, Soderbergh captures a moment in time without most audience members realizing what is taking place on-screen. And, like Scorsese and McKay’s work, The Laundromat artfully and skillfully provides an exquisite commentary on more than just the current state of our world’s financial system. Hint: It’s in the details. One of the year’s most important films. Highly recommended.

FILM REVIEW: Sharkwater Extinction (Rob Stewart, 2018) USA

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Ocean conservationist, Rob Stewart, delivers an unprecedented look into the global Screen Shot 2019-10-27 at 7.05.09 PMdecimation of the ocean’s top predator, the shark. Stewart opens Sharkwater Extinction in spectacular fashion with exquisite underwater cinematography showcasing the innate beauty of what lies below the ocean’s surface. A voice-over narrator informs the viewer of the massive amount of shark being stripped from the planet’s aquatic ecosystem. Stewart suggests that in the last 30 years sharks have been hunted losing 90% of their population. Moreover, 150 million sharks are killed every year with scientists only accounting for 70-80 million with the rest being killed, more than likely, by poachers. Sharkwater Extinction is a follow-up from Stewart’s 2006 film Sharkwater. Sharkwater brought to the public’s consciousness the global shark epidemic created by the demand for a Chinese delicacy, Sharkfin Soup.

According to testimonials in Sharkwater Extinction, shark meat is the most toxic of fish meat as they are at the top of the predatory food chain. Nevertheless, shark meat has made its way into the world’s food supply chain often being labeled as flake or blackfish among other names. In addition, shark meat was found in pet foods and in cosmetics. Sharks and shark fins are a high-dollar commodity and, with the Costa Rican government turning a blind eye, the industry is booming. With an investigative reporter’s acumen, Stewart discovers a large number of fins are shipped, flown and stored in Costa Rica by a well-connected businessman who purportedly owns hotels, restaurants, docks, and boats. In addition, global mafia players use Costa Rica as a shipping hub much like a UPS or Fed Ex facility. Stewart also visits Panama, Miami and Los Angeles (Santa Monica Bay). Interestingly, Stewart shoots footage of a shark facility in Panama where a worker informs Stewart of shark fins to sell for $5 and shark meat for fifty cents a pound. By the time the fin reaches mainland China the fin has a retail value of $200.

I especially liked the opening scene of Sharkwater Extinction as we see a diver, Rob Stewart, the film’s leading character, scuba diving with fish and sharks in a beautifully composed shot – and there are many more exquisitely filmed underwater scenes. I also liked the testimonials from Stewart as he periodically directly addressed the camera on the situation in several regions around the globe beginning with Costa Rica. Moreover, I appreciated his informative approach as the Costa Rican government decides to no longer support the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), thereby allowing international cargo air shipments to resume further decimating the planet’s shark population.

 Shockingly, Stewart perishes in a diving mishap off the Florida Keys before the completion of Sharkwater Extinction. Nevertheless, Stewart delivers a hopeful message that we as a global force can right the ship and keep the 400-450-million-year-old top predator in existence continuing its role in safeguarding and keeping balance in the ocean’s delicate eco-system. Stewart cites the rapid response from young activists in expanding shark protections after his 2006 Sharkwater and the implementation from governments around the globe in enacting legislation to protect the world’s top predator. Unfortunately, the protections are no longer being fully enforced as the short-term economic benefits have clouded any longer-term visions. Through Sharkwater Extinction, Rob Stewart’s voice lives on. Highly recommended viewing!

BOX OFFICE SURPRISE: Record-breaking open for SAFE SPACES

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Free Speech Docudrama Notches Highest Per Screen Average in The Nation, 2nd Highest Box Office Gross For a Documentary On a Single Screen Ever

Comedy under fire in NO SAFE SPACES

October 26, 2019 (Los Angeles, CA) – ‘No Safe Spaces,’ the much-anticipated docudrama Safe Spaceson free speech starring podcast king Adam Carolla and radio talk show host Dennis Prager opened strong, raking in an estimated $45,000 on one screen in Phoenix, Arizona, making it the second-largest opening weekend box office on a single screen for a documentary, behind Michael Moore’s ‘Sicko.”

‘No Safe Spaces,’ which features an eclectic cast of cultural figures across the political spectrum like Van Jones, Tim Allen, Cornel West, Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson, and Alan Dershowitz, will expand this week in Phoenix as well as open exclusive engagements in San Diego and Denver. Limited engagements will follow on November 8th in Tampa, Greenville, and Spartanburg and lead to the wide distribution of the film on November 15th.“Thank you to our fans in Phoenix, your support of our work means everything to me,” noted Adam Carolla. “I’m really proud of this movie and hope the rest of the country will love it as much as we and our fans in Phoenix do.”

“We had a great partner in Phoenix with our friends at Harkins and we are thrilled with the numbers,” noted producer Mark Joseph.

Originally scheduled for a handful of showtimes, the theater was flooded with ticket sales requests and quickly expanded to accommodate demand throughout the week.

In NO SAFE SPACES, Carolla and Prager travel the country, talking to experts and advocates on the Left and Right, tour college campuses, and examine their own upbringings to try to understand the threats free speech faces as the First Amendment and the very idea of freedom of speech are under attack in America today.

“I have a different take on the old saying,” laughed Prager who grew up in Brooklyn. “If you can make it Phoenix, you can make it anywhere. We thank the people of Phoenix for giving us wind at our back as we present this movie to the rest of America.”

NO SAFE SPACES (Docudrama/Documentary)

Starring: Adam Carolla, Dennis Prager.
Also featuring: Tim Allen, Van Jones, Jordan Peterson, Alan Dershowitz, Ben Shapiro, Cornel West, Dave Rubin

Producer: Mark Joseph
Director: Justin Folk
Writer: John Sullivan

Running Time: 95 minutes
Rating: PG-13

Key Art title treatment

(Source: Press release from Henry Eshelman, Platform Media Group

*Featured photo: Adam Corolla (Photo courtesy of No Safe Spaces film)

Cinémoi TV Acquires Worldwide Rights to “The Power of Beauty” That Spotlights HumanTrafficking

Posted by Larry Gleeson

For Immediate Release 

Cinémoi TV Acquires Worldwide Rights to Gripping Human Interest Story “The Power of Beauty” That Spotlights Human Trafficking 

Vignette Featured in Documentary “Tomorrow and The Butterfly” to Premiere on Cinémoi on October 28 at 10 pm EST

Los Angeles, October 25, 2019 –  Cinémoi TV has acquired the worldwide rights (excluding Asia) to the compelling short film “The Power of Beauty,” part of the feature-length documentary “Tomorrow and The Butterfly,” directed by award-winning Italian filmmaker Alessandro Soetje and produced by Soetje and sustainable global beauty brand Davines

Currently on the festival circuit, “Tomorrow and The Butterfly” is comprised of six vignettes that tell stories of sustainability, beauty, individuality and diversity around the world that converge with Davide Bollati, Chairman of The Davines Group, illustrating his vision and brand ethos. The film was shortlisted for the Branded Content of the Year prize at the Content Innovation Awards, held recently in Cannes, has been named an official selection of Around International Film Festival, Paris and Amsterdam editions, and Polish International Film Festival, and will be featured as part of the Berlin Italian Film Festival this November.

“The Power of Beauty” will premiere on Cinémoi TV on October 28 at 10 pm EST,  on Comcast Xfinity, Fios by Verizon, Frontier, Sling TV, Google Play and Samsung.

The Power of Beauty” Official Trailer:

“The Power of Beauty” is set in Cambodia and features Matthew Fairfax, an entrepreneur in the hairdressing world, who works to save youth who are human trafficking survivors by giving them the redemptive opportunity to pursue a career in the beauty industry.

Matthew Fairfax peers out over the water. (Pictures courtesy of Davines)

“I tell people I didn’t pick Cambodia. Cambodia picked me,” explains Fairfax about his sudden decision to move to Cambodia and help human trafficking survivors build new lives. Fairfax founded an academy, the Kate Korpi Salon, a Western-style, high-end salon created specifically for the purpose of educating sex traffic survivors and underprivileged Cambodian youth, who would have never had such an opportunity. The film follows the lives of two students, Srey Mom Sao and Sok Peter Vanndy, each of whom has experienced a traumatic past. They are the first two students to graduate from the Academy. “They were the pioneers, they were the teachers, they taught us how to do what we are doing,” comments Fairfax. The camera follows Sao and Vanndy throughout the days leading up to their graduation and during the ceremony itself. Viewers experience their raw emotions and the difference between their personalities and what also emerges with great clarity is the resiliency of the human spirit with the right nurturing and support. “That’s the power of beauty,” says Fairfax.

Sreymom Sao 1
Srey Mom Sao
Sok Peter Vanndy 3
Sok Peter Vanndy

“Cinémoi is dedicated to bringing people together in support of the life-changing work of our charity Children Uniting Nations.  We believe that it’s vital to protect all children who suffer from abuse and tragedy due to circumstances beyond their control,” comments Cinémoi President, Daphna Ziman. “The Power of Beauty truly complements our mission to help and draw attention to the plight of the underserved youth of Cambodia and around the world, who often have no other options and are forced to enter the sex trade.”

“Tomorrow and The Butterfly” is composed of a prologue, an epilogue, and six episodes, including “The Power of Beauty.” 

About Cinémoi – Cinémoi is fast becoming a leader in the film, fashion, and luxury lifestyle industry, delivering exquisite innovative television network content dedicated to curated programming, including both modern and classic films, fashion films, fashion weeks around the globe, popular talk shows, film festivals, and international lifestyle content. The network is currently available on Comcast Xfinity, Fios by Verizon, Frontier, Sling TV, Google Play and Samsung.

About The Davines Group – Founded in Parma, Italy in 1983 by the Bollati Family, The Davines Group started as a research laboratory, producing high-end hair care products for renowned cosmetic companies worldwide. After a decade of honing our expertise, we began creating our own brand of Davines hair care products exclusively for salons, and in 1996 founded [ comfort zone ] skin care for premier spas. Our skincare lines were further expanded in 2018 when the /skin regimen/ brand was born. We are now a B Corp and have an international presence in more than 90 countries with a multicultural staff. In addition to the main office in Parma – the Davines Village – we have offices in New York, London, Paris, Mexico City, Deventer (Netherlands), and Hong Kong. Our purpose in life is to be the best for the world, creators of good life for all, through beauty, ethics, and sustainability.

Contact: Nicole Goesseringer Muj | | 310-804-0964



LocationEXPO and Umbrella Stand country participants confirmed for the 2019 Market.

Posted by Larry Gleeson



11 Countries Host Market Umbrella Stands

Los Angeles, CA – October 25, 2019 – LocationEXPO® returns to the American Film AFM-2019-PosterMarket, November 9 – 12, with 50 Film Commissions, Government Agencies, Production Facilities and Services from around the globe confirmed to participate.  Located in dedicated exhibition space within the AFM, LocationEXPO has become a tremendous resource for AFM attendees to learn and gather information about locations, production incentives, services, and resources available to their projects and films.

Additionally, organizations from 11 countries will host Umbrella Stands at AFM to support and garner opportunities and exposure for their sales agents, producers, and production facilities.  Confirmed stands include, Taiwan Film Institute (Taiwan), Japan External Trade Organization (Japan), Italian Trade Agency (Italy), Department of International Trade Promotion, Thai Trade Center (Thailand), ROSKINO (Russia), Created in Moscow (Russia), UK Film (United Kingdom), National IT Industry Promotion Agency (NIPA) (South Korea), German Films Service + Marketing (Germany), Romanian Creative Industries Business Federation (Romania), UFCTI (China), and UniFrance (France).

LocationEXPO® participants to include:

Asian Film Locations

Central Oregon Film Office

Choice Films at Umbra Studios



DITP, Thailand

Dominican Republic Film Commission

Entertainment Partners

Film in Lithuania/Vilnius Film Cluster


Greater Palm Springs

Hana Productions

Hann Media (Turkey)

Honolulu Film Office

House of Lapland

Invest in Cyprus

Israel (Israfest)

Louisiana Film Office

Mallorca Film Commission

Malta Film Commission

Media Services

Nevada Film Office

New Jersey Motion Picture & TV Commission

New Zealand Film Commission

Oklahoma Film & Music

Ontario International Airport

Panama Film Commission


Polish Film Institute

Portugal Film Commission

Riga City Council of Latvia

Riverside County

Romanian Creative Industries Business Federation

The Royal Film Commission – Jordan

Sakartvelo Films (Georgia)

San Antonio Film Commission

Savannah Regional Film Commission

Southern Kentucky

Spain – ICEX

State of Hawaii

Taipei Film Commission

Thailand Film Office

Tokyo Film Commission

Uzbekistan Film Commission

Visit Redding (Film Shasta)

Visit Ventura

Yale University


About the American Film Market®

The American Film Market is the most efficient film acquisition, development and networking event in the world. Unlike a festival, AFM is a marketplace where production and distribution deals are closed. More than US$1 billion in deals are sealed every year – on both completed films and those in every stage of development and production.

Over 7,000 industry professionals from more than 70 countries converge in Santa Monica every November. They include acquisition and development executives, agents, attorneys, directors, distributors, festival directors, financiers, film commissioners, producers, writers, the world’s press and all those who provide services to the motion picture industry.

At AFM, participants can discover the entire global catalog of available films and projects, attend 50+ best-in-class class conferences, summits, roundtables, and presentations, and connect with the independent film community’s decision-makers, all in one convenient location without the distraction of a film festival.

About the Independent Film & Television Alliance®

The Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA®) is the global trade association of the independent motion picture and television programming industry. Headquartered in Los Angeles, IFTA represents and provides significant entertainment industry services to more than 140 Member companies in 23 countries, consisting of independent production and distribution companies, sales agents, and financial institutions engaged in production finance. Collectively, IFTA Members produce more than 500 independent films and countless hours of television programming each year, generating more than $5 billion in sales revenues annually. For more information on IFTA, please visit

Screen Shot 2019-10-15 at 10.36.59 AM

(Source: AFM news release)

Martin Scorcese’s The Irishman makes its LA Premiere

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Legendary Director, Martin Scorcese’s long-awaited mobster epic, The Irishman made its Los Angeles premiere yesterday in a strictly invite-only screening. The film has been in the news for the last several years amidst budgeting and financing. Early buzz – the film is very good!

Check out the clips and trailer and upcoming release dates, you’ll be glad you did!

See you at the movies!

Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci star in Martin Scorsese’s THE IRISHMAN, an epic saga of organized crime in post-war America told through the eyes of World War II veteran Frank Sheeran, a hustler and hitman who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th century. Spanning decades, the film chronicles one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American history, the disappearance of legendary union boss Jimmy Hoffa, and offers a monumental journey through the hidden corridors of organized crime: its inner workings, rivalries and connections to mainstream politics.

The Irishman had its world premiere at the 57th New York Film Festival on September 27, 2019. It is scheduled to receive a limited theatrical release on November 1, 2019, followed by digital streaming on Netflix on November 27, 2019.