Category Archives: Documentary

Leaning Into The Wind Opening Tonight!

Posted by Larry Gleeson


Opening tonight at The Nuart!

11272 Santa Monica Blvd,in Los Angeles. 

Sixteen years after the release of the film Rivers and Tides – Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time comes Leaning Into The Wind, a metaphysical expose by Thomas Riedelsheimer on artist Goldworthy’s distinct approach of blending nature and human aspects into a cosmic synergy that simultaneously awes and inspires.

Gold Director
Andy Goldworthy, left, with Thomas Riedelsheimer. (Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)


Goldworthy makes works of art using the materials and conditions that he encounters wherever he is. Using earth, rocks, leaves, ice, snow, rain, or sunlight, the resulting artworks exist briefly before they are altered and erased by natural processes. He also uses his own body as a medium, or through actions such as spitting, throwing, climbing and walking and explores layers of his environment while introducing his own body into the works ranging from flower petals to larger projects utilizing heavy construction equipment.

Riedelsheimer’s exquisite film illuminates Goldsworthy’s thought processes as it reveals his art and the interconnectedness of the human spirit with universal forces. This is one you don’t want to miss. Highly recommended!


Free Documentary Filmmaking Seminar at SBIFF

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 33rd annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s (SBIFF) Documentary Filmmaking Educational Seminar, moderated by SBIFF Program Director Michael Albright, took place this morning in the Santa Ynez Valley Lounge at the Lobero Theatre courtyard. The Educational Seminars are open to the public and highlight key topics that are featured in the SBIFF sidebars and diverse film sections. The Santa Ynez Lounge is an intimate venue allowing for insightful conversations with filmmakers who are screening their films at the festival.

After a brief introduction Albright opened the conversation with a quote from Scottish filmmaker John Grierson, often considered the father of British documentary film, “Documentary film is the creative treatment of actuality.” One simple quote opened the gates for a stream of detailed information on how each panelist made their respective film, what they focused on any obstacles they faced that turned out to make their films better.

The panel included directors from BEARTREK (Chris Morgan ), GET THE WEED (Denny Brechner ), THE ISLAND (Adam Weingrod ), MODIFIED (Aube Giroux), SOUFRA (Thomas Morgan), WE ARE GALAPAGOS (Kum-Kum Bhavnani). Each director spoke at length about their work including how long it took to make the film, who was in the film and why an audience would want to watch the film. Two films were ten years in length from start to finish BEARTREK and MODIFEID, while GET THE WEED. a mockumentary came to fruition in a mere two weeks.

*Featured photo from left to right, Producer, Alfonso Guerrero (GET THE WEED),  Director, Denny Brechner (GET THE WEED),  Director Thomas Morgan (SOUFRA), Director Kum-Kum Bhavnani (WE ARE GALAPAGOS), Director Aube Giroux, (MODIFIED),  Director Chris Morgan (BEARTREK), Director Adam Weingrod (THE ISLAND) and Moderator Michael Albright. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)




Film Capsule: Bobbi Jene (Lind, 2017):USA

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Bobbi Jene, a documentary feature film, highlights the modern dance form of Bobbi Jene Smith.

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After a decade of stardom in Israel, American dancer Bobbi Jene decides to leave behind her prominent position at the world-famous Batsheva Dance Company, as well as the love of her life, to return to the U.S. to create her own boundary breaking art. Tracking the personal and professional challenges that await her, Elvira Lind’s film lovingly and intimately documents the dilemmas and inevitable consequences of ambition. BOBBI JENE delves into what it takes for a woman to gain her own independence in the extremely competitive world of dance and to find self-fulfillment in the process.

The film is far from perfect. But rather than focus on what’s not right about the film from a technical perspective, I’d rather tell about the striking physical ability Bobbi Jene’s protagonist possesses. Truthfully, I felt, at times, the physicality possessed Bobbi Jene. Espousing GAGA dance techniques, Bobbi Jene pushes, contorts, writhes and composes in a mesmerizing modern dance of isokinetic resistance and rapid-fire, ecstatic releases. Pushing boundaries, her dance reveals as much as it exposes. And, it’s a lot. Her energy, experience and intellect are laid bare. She literally and figuratively leaves it all out on the dance floor.

Without a doubt in my mind, Bobbi Jene is a calling card announcing the arrival of one of the greats of modern dance. The film serves its purpose well. I can only hope it’s the first of many more to come. Watch the trailer at the bottom of the page and see Bobbi Jene this Friday, October 6th at the Royal Theatre in Los Angeles (in select theaters the following week). Feel free to drop back by and add your comments!

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About Bobbi Jene Smith

Born in Centerville, Iowa. From 2005-2014 she was a member of the Batsheva Dance Company under the artistic direction of Ohad Naharin. She is an alumnus of the Juilliard School, North Carolina School of the Arts, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. Her choreography and solo work has been presented by The Batsheva Dance Company, PS122 COIL Festival, The Israel Museum, Luminato Festival, The Wild Project, Machol Shalem, Sacramento Ballet, The CCA, The San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, NYU, and The Juilliard School. She has worked in Punchdrunk’s production of Sleep No More as Lady Macbeth as well as ‘Dido and Aeneas’ and ‘Orphic Moment’ choreographed by Zack Winokur. Her film and video work include, “Annihilation,” directed by Alex Garland; “MA,” directed by Celia Rowlson-Hall; and “Yossi” directed by Eytan Fox. Bobbi is a certified GAGA teacher and has taught Ohad Naharin’s repertory in schools and universities around the world. In 2015, Smith relocated to New York City, NY.

About Elvira Lind

Director Elvira Lind HeadshotBorn in 1981 in Copenhagen, Elvira Lind graduated from City Varsity – School of Media and Creative Arts in Cape Town in 2006 majoring in documentary film. She has worked within that field since directing and shooting documentaries of various lengths for TV, cinema, and web on four different continents. Elvira now lives and works out of New York, where she also writes on various fiction projects.

Elvira’s first feature documentary Songs for Alexis competed at IDFA in 2014 and screened at a long list of international festivals; she received CPH:DOX new talent award in 2015; and her first international documentary TV series ‘Twiz and Tuck’ launched on Viceland this year.

BOBBI JENE is Elvira’s second feature documentary, which premiered at Tribeca 2017.

About Producers Julie Leerskov and Sara Stockmann

BOBBI JENE is produced by Julie Leerskov and Sara Stockmann, the two main producers at SONNTAG PICTURES.

Sonntag Pictures is a Copenhagen-based film production company with a strong focus on cinematic, auteur-driven documentaries for a broad domestic and international audience. Sonntag Pictures identify with films that combine a strong artistic standpoint to a global social thinking—often with an urge to create political impact.

The company is headed by award-winning producer Sara Stockmann: Producer of ARMADILLO (Cannes Critics Week – Grand Prix 2010, Emmy-award 2011) and IDFA-nominee MERCY MERCY: A PORTRAIT OF A TRUE ADOPTION.

Julie Leerskov joined Sonntag Pictures in 2016, she has produced THE WILL by Christian Sønderby Jepsen (Danish Film Critics Association award 2012, DOX award, Doc Alliance Award) and has also produced Elvira Lind’s first feature documentary film SONGS FOR ALEXIS (selected for IDFA).

(Source: Press kit provided by Oscilloscope Laboratories)


Posted by Larry Gleeson

Inmates at Folsom Prison participate in a four day therapy session together with three men from the outside in a scene from the award winning documentary film – THE WORK  – DIRECTED BY JAIRUS MCLEARY and CO-DIRECTED BY GETHIN ALDOUS.  Photo Credit:  The Orchard



AUGUST 14, 2017  – LOS ANGELES – The critically acclaimed documentary feature The Work, from director Jairus McLeary and co-director Gethin Aldous, will hit theaters starting October 20th in New York and October 27th in Los Angeles with more cities following. The Orchard and First Look Media’s new entertainment studio Topic acquired North American rights to the film in April this year.

The film from the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary Feature at South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival 2017 and took home the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017.

The Work ( has screened at the SF DocFest, AFI Docs 2017, Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2017, Traverse City Film Festival 2017, Seattle International Film Festival 2017, Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival 2017, BAM Cinématek 2017 and Melbourne International Film Festival. It will screen as part of the Rooftop Films 2017 – Summer Series on August 18.

Set inside a single room in Folsom Prison, The Work (88 minutes) follows three men from outside as they participate in a four-day group therapy retreat with level-four convicts. Over the four days, each man in the room takes his turn at delving deep into his past. The raw and revealing process that the incarcerated men undertake exceeds the expectations of the free men, ripping them out of their comfort zones and forcing them to see themselves and the prisoners in unexpected ways. The Work offers a powerful and rare look past the cinder block walls, steel doors and the dehumanizing tropes in our culture to reveal a movement of change and redemption that transcends what we think of as rehabilitation.

IndieWire’s chief film critic Eric Kohn said The Work is: “The most powerful group therapy session ever caught on camera.” And “A compelling emotional display, one that captures masculinity at its most innocent and leads to profound displays of compassion.” 

And Variety‘s chief film critic Peter Debruge said the film offers a “remarkable vérité potrait.” “This documentary makes clear that in its own special way, the “work” is working,” said Debruge. “The Work‘s power comes in watching how well the prisoners (many of whom have been through the program multiple times before) adapt to helping” an outsider through his own personal catharsis.”

Jairus McLeary is a court videographer and filmmaker. The Work is his first documentary. He spent over a decade as a volunteer for the four-day therapeutic workshop, ultimately gaining the trust of the convicts in order to film. Gethin Aldous directs motion capture for a major video gaming company. After his own volunteer experience at Folsom he joined forces with McLeary. This is his second documentary feature.

The Work showcases the unique approach of the non-profit Inside Circle, which helps prisoners and parolees heal from the inside. According to the organization, The Inside Circle Foundation focuses on reducing prison violence, lowering recidivism, and guiding inmates through healing that allows for meaningful lives after release.

The Work is a production of Blanketfort Media and a McLeary Brothers film.



A Release by The Orchard

Blanketfort Media Presents

A McLeary Brothers Film

Director: Jairus McLeary

Co-Director: Gethin Aldous

Editor: Amy Foote

Producers: Alice Henty, Jairus McLeary, Eon McLeary, Miles McLeary, Angela Sostre

Executive Producers: James McLeary, Rob Allbee, Gethin Aldous

Director of Photography: Arturo Santamaria

Production sound recordist: Thomas Curley

(Press materials provided by David Magdael & Associates)


Posted byLarry Gleeson

Joan Kron, veteran journalist, spent the past 25 years as contributing editor-at-large at Allure magazine where she covered the hot topics of cosmetic dermatology and plastic surgery. Prior to  Allure, she held senior editorial positions at New York Magazine, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and  Avenue Magazine. Kron is known for her books and numerous articles and commentary on design, beauty and plastic surgery.  And now at the age of 89 years old, she has embarked on a new career as a documentary filmmaker.
More than 15 million cosmetic procedures were performed in the US in 2014.  And 90% of them on were done on women. Yet, for those who elect to tinker with Mother Nature, especially for high-profile women, plastic surgery is still a very dark secret.  Funny women, though, are the exception.  From Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers to Roseanne Barr and Kathy Griffin, comedians have been unashamed to talk about their perceived flaws, and the steps taken to remedy them. For these dames, cosmetic surgery isn’t vanity, it is affirmative action – compensation for the unfair distribution of youthfulness and beauty.
TAKE MY NOSE PLEASE follows two comedians as they deliberate about going under the knife. Emily Askin,  an up-and coming improv performer, has always wanted her nose refined. Jackie Hoffman, a seasoned headliner on Broadway and on TV, considers herself ugly and regrets not having the nose job offered in her teens. And maybe she’d like a face-lift, as well. As we follow their surprisingly emotional stories, we meet other who have taken the leap – or held out.
Putting it all in perspective are psychologists, sociologists, the medical community and cultural critics. And for comic relief and the profundity only comedians can supply.  The film includes commentary from Roseanne Barr, Phyllis Diller, the late Joan Rivers,Judy Gold, Julie Halston, Lisa Lampanelli, Giulia Rozzi, Bill Scheft, and Adrianne Tolsch.
 TAKE MY NOSE PLEASE… A JOAN KRON FILM will have its premiere at the 2017 Newport Beach Film Festival Saturday April 22 at 6:00 PM at the Triangle Square Cinemas in theater 6 and Thursday April 27 at 5:15 PM at the Edwards Big Newport theater 4.  Director Kron and special guests from the film will be in person.
(Source: Press materials provided by Barbara Thompson, Associate Publicist, David Magdael and Associates, Inc.)


Posted by Larry Gleeson


West Coast Premiere at Newport Beach Film Festival

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Sunday, April 23, 8:30pm

Newport Beach, CA


April 5, 2017 (Newport Beach, CA) — Independent feature documentary film LITTLE STONES follows Brazilian graffiti artist Panmela Castro, Senegalese rap-singer Sister Fa, Indian dance therapist Sohini Chakraborty, and fashion designer Anna Taylor as they use their art to combat violence against women and to empower women and girls globally.

The powerful film is making waves after its World Premiere at the Vail Film Festival last weekend, where Little Stones won the award for Best Documentary. The film will make its West Coast Premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival, screening on Sunday, April 23 at 8:30pm at Island Cinemas in Newport Beach. Tickets are available on the Newport Beach Film Festival’s website and at the door for $15.


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Directed by Los Angeles based EMMY® Award-winning filmmaker Sophia Kruz and
cinematographer Meena Singh (20 FEET FROM STARDOM, HOLLIDAYSBURG), with music by Amritha Vaz (500 DAYS OF SUMMER), Little Stones was produced over a period of 18 months in Senegal, Kenya, Brazil, Germany, India and USA. This will be the film’s homecoming for its LA based crew, and all will be in attendance at the festival.




(Source: Press release provided by Sophia Kruz)


#SLOFF Film Capsule – Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Director Leslie Iwerks newest documentary film, Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table, recently opened the 23rd San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, now referred to as the SLO Film Fest. To go along with the screening 15 food chefs served up traditional and current New Orleans gastronomical fare in the art-deco styled Fremont Theater and in the adjoining VIP tent in downtown SLO. Cafe Musique provided live music to round out the Mardi Gras themed party with covers from ragtime composer Scott Joplin as well as Cajun and Zydeco tunes. Several Central Coast vintners provided complementing libations.

Iwerks amassed a copious amount of archival photos, footage, newspaper and magazine articles to complement current day interviews as she uncovers one of the most revered chefs and restaurateurs in the world. In addition, a snapshot of New Orleans from the 1940’s and 50’s is shown as the focus moves toward the Brennan family restaurant, Brennan’s, and on into Commander’s Palace.

Ella Brennan was reluctant initially to take on a role in the family business. Her oldest sibling, Owen, cajoled Ella and tasked her with important roles while increasingly adding greater responsibility Eventually, Ella was traveling to the world’s great cities and dining in fine establishments. All the while, Ella scoured cookbooks looking for new and innovative ways to create cuisines for her clientele which not only included a who’s who of New Orleans Society but also world dignitaries and Hollywood entertainers.

Unfortunately, the family was dealt a severe blow as Owen suddenly passed away at 48. Ella and her siblings decided to keep the restaurant going with Ella at the helm. Soon after Owen’s death, however, the bank removed it’s vote of confidence that a woman could manage a restaurant like Brennan’s and called in the loan on the building. The family rallied raising money only to come up just short of the necessary funds. So the restaurant would have to move. The family found a location down the street. On the last day at the original location, the family served lunch and then moved to the new location led by a jazz band and served dinner in their new location without missing a beat.

The new location served the Brennan family well until a legal dispute with Owen’s wife precipitated Ella and her sisters establishing a new restaurant, Commander’s Palace. Under Ella’s leadership Commander’s Palace thrived. Soon Ella began a search for a Top Chef. Paul Prudhomme’s name was mentioned and Ella took Prudhomme in and the two put Commander’s Palace on the list of the world’s finest dining establishments. Prudhomme decided he wanted a smaller restaurant and left to open K-Paul’s. Following Prudhomme was Emeril Lagasse at age 23. Lagasse, too, would move on to start his own restaurant. Both became known as “celebrity chefs” with their own television shows. Next came Eddie Shannon, a tall Irishman with great flare. Eddie introduced farm to table to Commander’s Palace and the restaurant continued its fine dining tradition with bold, new, fresh and innovative dishes.

Then, Hurricane Katrina hit devastating the city of New Orleans. With the city deserted, the Brennan’s were unsure about the future of Commander’s Palace but not Ella. The restaurant re-opened after a year of repairs. During this time Ella and sister Adelaide bought an historic mansion directly behind Commander’s Palace. Today the sisters enjoy the finest take-out food, delivered by world renowned chefs.

After the screening TV actor and New Orleans native, French Stewart, chatted with Commander’s Palace owner Ti Martin (Ella Brennan’s daughter) and filmmaker Leslie Iwerks.

Ti Martin, far right, owner of Commander’s Palace, shares her experience being Ella Brennan’s daughter with Director Leslie Iwerks, center, and French Stewart, left, at the 23rd SLO Film Fest, following the Festival’s Opening Night screening, Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table, at the San Luis Obispo downtown Fremont Theater. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

Ella Brenan: Commanding the Table is a delicious treat. Iwerks gets behind the scenes with historical artifacts, Brennan family archives and present day interviews to reveal a formidable female figure who rose to the challenges presented to her and came out on top. Highly recommended for all audiences.