Category Archives: Film Festival

Juries Announced For Sundance 2021 Film Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

22 Jurors to Award Prizes at Awards Night on February 2nd

Park City, UT — 22 celebrated voices across film, art, and culture will bestow this year’s awards on feature-length and short films at the Sundance Film Festival, at a digital ceremony taking place February 2nd. This year’s Festival is fully available online at Festival.Sundance.org; Awards Night will be live-streamed. Award-winning films will be available for special extended-run viewing the day after the ceremony.

The awards, which recognize standout artistic and cinematic achievement, are decided on by 6 section juries. As in years past, Festival audiences have a role in deciding the 2021 Audience Awards, open to films in the U.S. Competition, World Competition and NEXT categories.

Kim Yutani

“Our jurors have reached a high level of achievement in their individual fields, and can bring their unique perspective to the process of analyzing and evaluating films,” said Kim Yutani, the Festival’s Director of Programming. “We’re pleased to bring this accomplished, creative group together, and look forward to hearing their thoughts.”

The juried Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize was awarded to Son of Monarchs; information on those jury members is included below.

The 2021 Sundance Film Festival Jury members are:

U.S. DRAMATIC JURY

Twenty-eight years ago, filmmaker Julie Dash broke through racial and gender boundaries with  Daughters of the Dust (Best Cinematography, 1991 Sundance Film Festival), and she became the first African American woman to have a wide theatrical release of her feature film. In 2004 the Library of Congress placed Daughters of the Dust in the National Film Registry, where it joins a select group of American films preserved and protected as national treasures. Dash has written and directed television projects including episodes of Queen Sugar for the Oprah Winfrey Network. She also directed The Rosa Parks Story, Incognito, Funny Valentines, Love Song, and Subway Stories.

Cynthia Erivo is a Tony-, Emmy- and Grammy-winning actress and singer as well as an Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild nominee. Erivo burst onto West End and Broadway stages in The Color Purple and has since taken the world by storm in movies such as Harriet. Currently, Erivo can be seen on the HBO series The Outsider. She will play Aretha Franklin on National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha in March, will be releasing her debut album in the Summer of 2021 and will soon star in Universal’s Talent Show.

Hanya Yanagihara is the author of the novels The People in the Trees and A Little Life. She is the editor-in-chief of T: The New York Times Style Magazine and lives in New York.

U.S. DOCUMENTARY JURY

Ashley Clark is the curatorial director at the Criterion Collection. He previously worked as director of film programming at Brooklyn Academy of Music and has organized film series at venues including MoMA, TIFF Bell Lightbox, and BFI Southbank. Clark has written features and criticism for publications including the New York Times, Sight & Sound, Reverse Shot and 4Columns. He is the author of the book Facing Blackness: Media and Minstrelsy in Spike Lee’s Bamboozled (2015).

Joshua Oppenheimer’s films include the diptych The Act of Killing (2013) and The Look of Silence (2015), which sheds light on one of history’s worst atrocities, the Indonesian genocide, and its terrible legacy of corruption and fear. His filmmaking explores impunity, fantasy, and guilt, investigating how our past haunts our present. Oppenheimer has received two Oscar nominations, a MacArthur Fellowship, a BAFTA Award, a Film Independent Spirit Award, and the Venice International Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize.

Lana Wilson is an Emmy-winning director. Her latest film, Miss Americana, premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and was a New York Times and IndieWire Critics’ Pick. Previous work includes The Departure (2017 Tribeca Film Festival, Independent Spirit Award nominee for best documentary), A Cure for Fear (International Documentary Association Award nominee for best short-form series), and After Tiller, which premiered at Sundance in 2013 and won an Emmy for best documentary.

WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC JURY

Zeynep Atakan is a producer in İstanbul. She won the European Film Academy’s Best European Co-Producer award. Her production Winter Sleep won the Palme d’Or at the 67th Cannes Film Festival. She is the vice president of the European Women’s Audiovisual Network and the art director of the Sabanci Foundation Short Film Platform. Atakan is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the European Film Academy, and the Asia Pacific Screen Academy.

Isaac Julien CBE RA has had films in festivals at Cannes, Venice, and Berlin and in the Museum of Modern Art, Centre Pompidou, and Tate collections. Young Soul Rebels won the Semaine de la Critique prize at Cannes, and Looking for Langston has garnered 30 years of acclaim. Currently, 10-screen film installation Lessons of the Hour is at McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, San Francisco, and nine-screen film A Marvellous Entanglement is at MAXXI, Rome.

Daniela Vega is a Chilean actress known for starring in the Academy Award–winning feature A Fantastic Woman. She was the first transgender woman to present an award at the Oscars, and she was one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2018. Vega has won awards at several festivals and won the 2018 Platino Award for Best Actress. She currently works as executive producer and host on the upcoming docuseries Peace Peace Now Now.

WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY JURY

Kim Longinotto attended the National Film and Television School, where she made Pride of Place and Theatre Girls. The Day I Will Never Forget premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2003. Other films include Rough Aunties, Pink Saris, and Salma. Dreamcatcher and Shooting the Mafia premiered at Sundance and the Berlin International Film Festival. Longinotto is currently making a film about a Jamaican-born musician based in the United Kingdom.

Mohamed Saïd Ouma currently serves as the executive director of Documentary Africa, an initiative that aims to bolster the African documentary ecosystem through funding, building and sharing knowledge, and complementary initiatives. He has cut his professional teeth as a festival manager and by working with the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers. His latest film, Red Card, premiered at the 2020 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.

Born in Taiwan and based in New York, Jean Tsien has been working in documentary films for 35 years as an editor, producer, and consultant. Her editing debut, Something Within Me, won three awards at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival. Recently, she produced 76 Days and executive-produced the landmark five-part PBS series Asian Americans. Tsien received the Art of Editing Mentorship Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2020 DOC NYC.

NEXT JURORS

Kate and Laura Mulleavy received their liberal arts degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, and in 2005 launched their fashion brand Rodarte. At the center of the sisters’ unique approach to fashion is their pursuit of innovation through storytelling. Their vision expands into multiple artistic endeavors, including their work as costume designers, writers, and directors. In 2017, the two released Woodshock at the 74th annual Venice Film Festival. The film was written and directed by the Mulleavy sisters, stars Kirsten Dunst, and was distributed by A24.

SHORT FILM JURY

An actor in film, television, and theater, Raúl Castillo is known for his portrayal of Paps in the critical and awards darling We the Animals, based on the Justin Torres novel and directed by Jeremiah Zagar. Castillo recently wrapped filming for Mattson Tomlin’s Mother/Android and Adam Randall’s Night Teeth.  Upcoming 2021 film releases include Little Fish, with director Chad Hartigan; Wrath of Man, directed by Guy Ritchie; and Army of the Dead, directed by Zack Snyder for Netflix.

Tacita Dean is a visual artist who lives and works in both Berlin and Los Angeles. She exhibits her 16mm and 35mm films, large-scale drawings in chalk, and other works in galleries and museums worldwide. A passionate advocate for the use and preservation of analog media, Dean has campaigned tirelessly to keep photochemical film viable in the digital age. She is the recipient of many awards, most notably the Hugo Boss Prize in 2006.

Inge de Leeuw is an award-winning programmer and curator. Her work explores crossovers among film, visual art, and digital culture through exhibitions and film programs. She worked with International Film Festival Rotterdam as a programmer with a focus on the U.S. and United Kingdom. As a curator, she collaborated with Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam, The Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, Indie Memphis, Kino Forum in São Paulo, and Ghetto Film School.

ALFRED P. SLOAN FEATURE FILM PRIZE JURY

Joy Buolamwini is the founder of the Algorithmic Justice League. Her TED Talk on algorithmic bias has over one million views. Her MIT thesis methodology uncovered racial and gender bias in artificial intelligence services from Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon. She advises world leaders on reducing AI harms through service on the Global Tech Panel, congressional testimonies, and keynotes. TIME Magazine and the New York Times carry her op-eds. Buolamwini’s journey is depicted in the feature-length documentary Coded Bias.

Aneesh Chaganty is a writer/director whose two-minute short film, a Google Glass spot called Seeds, became an internet sensation after garnering more than one million YouTube views in 24 hours. His directorial debut, Searching, premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, winning the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize. His second film, Run, starring Sarah Paulson, was released on Hulu this past November and became the streaming service’s most watched movie ever during its opening weekend.

Dr. Mandë Holford is an associate professor of chemistry at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, with scientific appointments at the American Museum of Natural History and Weill Cornell Medicine. She is active in science education, advancing the public understanding of science, and science diplomacy. Her honors include being named a 2020 Sustainability Pioneer by the World Economic Forum, a WINGS WorldQuest Women of Discovery fellow, and fellow of the California Academy of Sciences.

Lydia Dean Pilcher began her career directing documentaries and recently directed the feature A Call to Spy, about three female spies during World War II. Before that, she co-directed the feature Radium Girls, starring Joey King and Abby Quinn. Pilcher is an Academy Award–nominated and two-time Emmy-winning producer. Pilcher produced such movies as Queen of Katwe, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, The Namesake, Cutie and the Boxer, The Darjeeling Limited, The Lunchbox, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Lena Vurma is a Berlin-based Swiss producer, a Film Independent and Tribeca Film Institute fellow, an Alfred P. Sloan grant winner, and an Inside Pictures alumna. She is head of acquisitions for German distributor Filmwelt, known for titles such as Gunda and Maudie. Her current film, Adventures of a Mathematician, based on the autobiography by Jewish-Polish mathematician Stanislaw Ulam, is an award-winning, Sloan-supported German-British-Polish co-production that premiered in 2020 at Palm Springs International Film Festival.

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 Clemency, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Zola, On The Record, Boys State, The Farewell, Honeyland, One Child Nation, The Souvenir, The Infiltrators, Sorry to Bother You, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Mudbound, 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. 2021 Festival sponsors to date include: Presenting Sponsors – Acura, SundanceTV, Chase Sapphire, Adobe; Leadership Sponsors – Amazon Studios, AT&T, DoorDash, Dropbox, Netflix, Omnicom Group, Southwest Airlines® , WarnerMedia; Sustaining Sponsors – AMC, Audible, Canada Goose, Canon U.S.A., Inc., Dell Technologies, Documentary Plus, GEICO, IMDbPro, Stella Artois®, Unity Technologies, University of Utah Health, White Claw Hard Seltzer, Zoom; Media Sponsors – The Atlantic, IndieWire, Los Angeles Times, NPR, The New York Times, Variety, Vulture, The Wall Street Journal. Sundance Institute recognizes critical support from 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. sundance.org/festival

Sundance Institute
As a champion and curator of independent stories for the stage and screen, Sundance Institute provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, film composing, and digital media to create and thrive. Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, 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. Sundance Co//ab, a digital community platform, brings artists together to learn from each other and Sundance Advisors and connect in a creative space, developing and sharing works in progress. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences and artists to ignite new ideas, discover original voices, and build a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Clemency, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Zola, On The Record, Boys State, The Farewell, Honeyland, One Child Nation, The Souvenir, The Infiltrators, Sorry to Bother You, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Mudbound, Fruitvale Station, City So Real, Top of the Lake, Between the World & Me, Wild Goose Dreams and Fun Home.

(Source: press release provided by Sundance Institute)

Jio MAMI 22ndMumbai Film Festival Postpones 2020 Edition – To Focus on Year-Round Programme and Diverse Online Initiatives

Posted by Larry Gleeson

An official selection of Indian films to be announced

4th August, 2020, Mumbai – The Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) took a unanimous decision in the light of the coronavirus crisis, the devastating pain and suffering across the country and uncertainty over the reopening of cinemas in Mumbai to push the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival to 2021. The festival will, however, be releasing its official selection of Indian films for the year later in August.

Screen Shot 2020-08-04 at 12.05.38 PM
Isha Ambani

“It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to postpone the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2020 to next year. It is our responsibility to do everything we can to keep our communities safe during this crisis. We are humbled and grateful for the special place that the festival has carved for itself in Mumbai’s cultural landscape. We promise that the festival will come back with fullness in spirit and enthusiasm for our beloved city of Mumbai,” said Isha Ambani (Board of Trustees, MAMI).

 

“The world is grappling with a global calamity. 2020 is about survival, introspection, and

Screen Shot 2020-08-04 at 12.10.22 PM
Anupama Chopra

humility. We have decided to prioritize healing this year and hold the festival in its full splendor next year. We will focus and put our might behind our Year-Round Programme’s digital imprint that has already created a stir with Dial M For Films and MAMI YRP Home Theatre. As we carve the path ahead, we would like to thank our partners, sponsors, collaborators, and the filmmaking community for standing by us. Our endeavor will be to support them as much as we can in getting through this dark time,” said Anupama Chopra (Festival Director).

 

The postponement of the upcoming edition of the festival, however, doesn’t signal any flagging in the academy’s (MAMI) constant effort to galvanize the industry, curate the best Indian cinema and bring them to the widest possible audience. Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival is a crucial milestone in the journey of new films from India as well as a platform that discovers and encourages upcoming film talent. With that in mind, the selection committee at the festival has been watching films relentlessly and an official selection of Indian films for this year will be announced shortly.

 

Screen Shot 2020-08-04 at 12.14.03 PM
Smriti Kiran

“There is absolutely no denying that the pandemic has posed an unprecedented challenge to independent films and filmmakers, and there is no digital experience that can replicate a physical festival. But this unfortunate predicament has also come with its own share of opportunities. In the last three months, MAMI has adapted to shifting realities and pivoted to focussed programming online with a two-pronged aim. First, to serve the community of film lovers that have relied on MAMI to bring them the best films from all over the world and the second, to continue to provide filmmakers with a platform to showcase their films. Our online knowledge series, Dial M For Films has received staggering love. We will be taking both the academy and Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival’s key initiatives online and work towards strengthening and exploring a new frontier for MAMI opened by the digital format that is not confined by geography. We stay committed to the independent filmmaking community and our audience. We will continue to nurture the community, serve our audience and expand our footprint by adding more extensions to our digital arm and creating value for filmmakers who are already at a loss this year,” said Smriti Kiran (Artistic Director, MAMI and Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival).

The unexpected impetus provided by COVID-19 has brought home the fact that there is a vast audience outside of Mumbai for the many initiatives that the academy (MAMI) has launched (Dial M For Films, Year-Round Programme Home Theatre), and there is no time like the present to focus on a national imprint for Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival verticals like the Word to Screen Market, Young Critics Lab and the Industry Programme.MAMI has already launched an online extension to its popular year-round imprint called MAMI Year Round Programme Home Theatre which curates films that are shared digitally with a large database of film lovers and empowers filmmakers to bring their films to the audience directly. It has also started an online knowledge series -Dial M For Films, which focuses on breaking down what lies behind the moving image through sharply curated, specific, live conversations with solid film talent. The conversations have found a growing audience as they take viewers on a journey through the process with the lived experience of working professionals that is invaluable. An announcement regarding the dates of Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival in 2021 will be made soon.

About MAMI Year Round Programme & MAMI Initiatives

The MAMI Year Round Programme (MAMI YRP) is a one of a kind film program started by Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) in 2016 with the belief that it is not enough, in an ecosystem like India, to have just a week-long film festival. It hosts weekly screenings, workshops and conversation sessions for film lovers in the country. This has given the academy a year-long imprint and presence as opposed to presence only for a week in the year. Through this program, passionate film lovers can sign up and access the best and latest Indian and international films, series, and talent throughout the year. The Year-Round Programme has expanded its footprint and now encompasses an online screening arm, MAMI Year Round Programme Home Theatre and the online knowledge series Dial M For Films which puts the audience and aspiring film professionals in the front seat with some of the best in the business.

Along with the thriving MAMI Year Round Programme, MAMI will also take a host of its popular festival (Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival) initiatives online which include the Young Critics Lab (YCL), Word to Screen Market and the Industry Programme.YCL was set up to foster young writing talent in the field of cinema. The online YCL mentored by acclaimed film critics Baradwaj Rangan and Mike McCahill will enable students from all over India to participate and will feature in-depth modules that examine and hone analytical as well as writing skills. Word to Screen Market is a first of its kind of platform in India where authors, publishers, and the literary community engage directly with content creators to option stories for films, TV, and the digital medium. This year, Word to Screen will take place online and focus on digital workshops with publishers and content creators. The Industry Programme was launched last year with an aim to galvanize the industry nationally and globally for knowledge exchange, connections, discovery, and collaborations. In its online avatar, the program will bring together creators from all over India to talk about the challenges they face and share their learnings. For more information log onto http://www.mumbaifilmfestival.com.

Until next year, I’ll see you at the movies!

Screen Shot 2020-08-04 at 12.17.42 PM

(Source: Mumbia MAMI Film Festival Press Release)

 

 

 

AFI DOCS Film Review: Maria Finitzo’s Cliteracy-exploring DILEMMA OF DESIRE Shouts For More

Posted by Larry Gleeson                                                                                      June 29, 2020

Watching the opening scene of the cliteracy-exploring documentary, The  Dilemma of Desire, I was intrigued watching a woman, neuroscientist Stacey Dutton, Ph. D., in an office present-day, walking across the screen and opening a Gray’s Anatomy Textbook, while a voice-over narration informs the viewer. What happens next befuddled me. I could not believe my eyes. Here is a woman in 2020 with an anatomy book that has no picture or information on the female clitoris. Unbelievable right? Well, apparently, the edition being discussed was published in 1858. A sleight of hand so to say. The intent is crystal clear in today’s protest language, “Let’s get emotional people! This is pussy power were dealing with here!!!”

But, the best was yet to come as the film’s most intriguing characters were introduced. One, a Brooklyn-based artist, Sophia Wallace, has a routine of going to the gym listening to “work-out” music then taking lyrics and reframing them with the clitoris in mind. From there, prints are created celebrating the “clit,” and the hundred laws of cliteracy. To accentuate, a revealing text title poses the question with dramatic flair, “Can you draw a clit?” Pulsating music accompanies the next segment, Womanhood: The Clitoris Chapter, introducing “Critical Thinking – The Best Work of Sophia Wallace” – a very thought-provoking art exhibit celebrating the female “joy button.” More importantly, Wallace is a compelling force on the screen as she shares her experience, strength, and hope in navigating desire as she expresses her truth as Director Maria Finitzo captures mush of it in Verite’ style.

In today’s world, we often hear somewhat crude and vulgar terms such as “bumping uglies” or “doing the nasty.” Wallace’s phrases, in juxtaposition, are framed in glitteringly gold letters – a beautiful and highly respectful manner and miles away from “bumping uglies” or “doing the nasty.” After Wallace’s whirlwind world, Finitzo goes on to highlight Linda Diamond, PH. D., Professor of Psychology and Gender Studies, a monthly newsletter for women interested in “pleasure in a practical everyday sense,” an industrial engineer manufacturing elegant female vibrators as well as a stunning Chicagoan woman, Coriama, who proudly postulates she has the will to negotiate for what she needs sexually.

Interestingly, Finitzo, a Peabody Award-winning director, spouts themes from Audrey Lourde’s feminist-leaning essay, Uses of the Erotic, that women have been suppressed from power and information by the male world. To prove her point, Finitzo adds a black and white still photograph of a woman suffering from what Dr. Sigmund Freud referred to as hysteria. Today, “hysterical” women in Decatur, Georgia, have formed a female support group. Here women create a sacred, safe space to explore the bounds of their sexuality. Adeptly, Finitzo managed to score footage from a meeting of the “mine’s.” as the women from Decatur openly share intimate feelings about their clitorises.

Nevertheless, “the little man in the boat” remains the misunderstood, “shuntive” part of the female anatomy, keeping women suppressed, as they are systematically warned against the dangers of eroticism and the resulting information. In one especially memorable scene, Finitzo mixes a driving, non-diegetic musical score culminating in a crescendo with a voice-over narration describing the clitoris as a powerful provocative force, a replenishing force. Some top-notch burlesque sequences, both archival performances as well as current-day performers, add an exquisite, erotic vibe.

The Dilemma of Desire, executively produced by Academy Award-winning Barbara Kopple, is an exceptionally well-executed film advocating that women are sexual beings with the right to live fully in the expression of their desires. The craftsmanship in gathering footage, in editing, informative narrative voice-overs, and musical score support and add timely emotionality in underscoring Finitzo’s sharply-pointed direction. My hat comes off to the cast and crew.

Probably most surprising was Finitzo’s ability to add tongue-in-cheek scenic elements underscoring the buffoonery surrounding the massive dismissal of the “devil’s doorbell” – in my opinion, a very serious oversight. But in the end, though the coverage seemed somewhat excessive, I found it wholly conceivable to view the clitoris as a replenishing, provocative force after viewing The Dilemma of Desire. A bit long, however, with a runtime of 109 minutes. Highly recommended.

 

 

 

AFI DOCS FILM REVIEW: Ron Howard’s Gripping “Rebuilding Paradise” Uplifts and Inspires

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard’s Rebuilding Paradise, a blistering Verite-style, National Geographic documentary, captures the devastation of the 2018 Camp Fire and the resiliency of Paradise, Calif., residents in the fire’s aftermath. Howard, one of Hollywood’s most popular directors, also directed the 1991 fire drama Backdraft. Other Howard films include the Oscar-winning dramas A Beautiful Mind and Apollo 13, the hit comedies Parenthood and Splash, and the critically-acclaimed documentaries Pavarotti and The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years. Following the Rebuilding Paradise screening, Howard and Paradise residents, Michelle John and Woody Culleton, participated in a Q & A moderated by broadcast journalist Katy Tur, an NBC correspondent and anchor for MSNBC Live. Howard confided Rebuilding Paradise was his first venture into Verite-style filmmaking while the residents echoed the unimaginable magnitude of the fire’s devastation and that the images don’t reflect the fire’s “uncomprehendable” nature.

Rebuilding Paradise opens in dramatic fashion with narrative voice-over providing a weather update informing the viewer of a windy day and PG&E contemplating a pre-emptive decision to shut down the area’s power grid. Large, fast-moving fire breaks out in the Feather River Canyon with four dozers, two water tenders, and four strike teams are deployed. Emergency calls are heard. School and hospital evacuations are taking place. Audible prayers are heard. And then, dashcam footage of a vehicle racing through the haze and fiery embers with diegetic radio communications juxtaposed against footage of a raging, massive wildfire (imagine Lord of the Rings Mountain of Fire) fueled by dry timber and blustering forty mile-per-hour winds reveal the genesis of a perfect firestorm. Non-diegetic music from the master composer, Hans Zimmer accompanies haunting, apocalyptic slow-motion frames of horses seeking freedom or at least a free-range amidst a claustrophobic smoke and death-seeking fire patches. The scene closes tinged in hope as a family escapes the area in their vehicle with exclamatory verbiage.

For me, this opening scene captured the essence of Rebuilding Paradise. As devastating as the fire and the footage were, the family breaks out and into blue skies with a redemptive foreshadowing. Howard latches on to a group of Paradise residents who have a deeply rooted sense of place and home as they take the journey to rebuild Paradise one day at a time. There were plenty of setbacks and details of electrical equipment dating to 1921 still in use were trying and quite frustrating as the lawyers for PG&E managed to beat down a wrongful death case to manslaughter with a 3.5 million dollar fine for the lives of 85 Paradise residents who perished in the massive fire. Adeptly, Howard captures the real Erin Brockovich speaking to a group of Paradise residents. Brockovich was the subject of a 2000 bio-drama directed by Steven Soderbergh, starring Julia Roberts that dramatized Brockovich’s relentless and successful pursuit of justice for families who were victims of PG&E polluting their water supply.

Interestingly, Howard chose to tell the story in linear segments beginning with one month, then to three months, six months, culminating with nine months. On top of the eighty-five deaths, fifty thousand lives were displaced. One of the film’s most compelling characters turned out to be the school psychologist, Carly Ingersoll, a young thirty-something, married woman who had decided to start a family with her husband. But due to contaminants being absorbed into the groundwater, she and her husband were advised by their physician not to have a baby. In her professional capacity, she was fully engaged in trauma counseling with students and despite having nearly perished in the fire herself managed to see beyond the devastation and find a sense of hope for the future.

Rebuilding Paradise is a gripping, well-executed film with top-notch photography, driving musical score and inspirational, narrative story-telling and it covers the trials and tribulations of a community facing an assured annihilation who turn their devastation into a mythic Phoenix as their town rises from its ashes in warm and hopeful tones. Very highly recommended.

 

Oxford Film Festival 2020 Announces Filmmaker Awards

Posted by Larry Gleeson

THE 2020 OXFORD FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES AWARD WINNERS

David Midell’s
THE KILLING OF KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN wins
Best Narrative Feature

Pailin Wedel, and Nina Ijas’s HOPE FROZEN wins
Best Documentary Feature

Danielle Deadwyler (RECKONING) received the Lisa Blount Memorial
Acting Award,
Haroula Rose (ONCE UPON A RIVER) was honored with
the Alice Guy-Blaché Emerging Female Filmmaker Award
,
and Deepak Sethi (COFFEE SHOP NAMES) is the first recipient of
the Angie Thomas Zeitgeist Award

Oxford Winners

Oxford, MS (June 9, 2020) – The 2020 Oxford Film Festival celebrated the best of this year’s films and filmmakers with a virtual awards ceremony on Saturday, June 6, highlighted by the announcement of Hoka awards for David Midell’s THE KILLING OF KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN for Best Narrative Feature, which included a $15,000 camera rental package from Panavision, and Pailin Wedel, and Nina Ijas’s HOPE FROZEN for Best Documentary Feature. The Best Documentary Feature prize included a $15,000 camera rental package from Panavision as well as documentary editing feedback from Joe Shapiro.

Midell’s THE KILLING OF KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN was noted for its raw, honest and inventive recreation of the 2011 police killing of an unarmed Black man in White Plains, NY.

The presentation of the Lisa Blount Memorial Acting Award went to Danielle Deadwyler for her performance in RECKONING, the Alice Guy-Blaché Emerging Female Filmmaker Award and $1000 from the Louis M. Rabinowitz Foundation to Haroula Rose for ONCE UPON A RIVER, and the first Angie Thomas Zeitgeist Award went to Deepak Sethi for COFFEE SHOP NAMES. The honoree is selected by a committee of Mississippi black filmmakers, is given to a film artist from a diverse background each year who has exhibited a unique and clear voice through their work.

Oxford Award

Larissa Lam’s FAR EAST DEEP SOUTH won the Hoka Award for Best Mississippi Feature Film, with the jury citing the film as “A deeply human and life-affirming film that shows that the history of the American South was not written only in Black and White but in many shades of the rainbow and is deeply representative of many parts of the United States.” Je’Monda Roy’s GETTING TO THE ROOT won Best Mississippi Documentary Feature, Erin Palmquist’s FROM BAGHDAD TO THE BAY won Best LGBTQIA+ Feature, Travis Beard’s ROCKABUL was named Best Music Documentary. and Garin Hovanniisian’s I AM NOT ALONE took the prize for Best Foreign Language Film.

Oxford Deep South

 

Melanie ddington
Melanie Addington, Oxford Film Festival Executive Director

Oxford Film Festival Executive Director Melanie Addington said, “In a year of so much uncertainty and figuring out how to re-invent and innovate and not just look forward to how we would do things in the future when it came to presenting and celebrating film and the people responsible for making those films, we knew it was vital to demonstrate our appreciation for the films we did select this year. This film festival has always tried to be a leader in our industry and this state and following through with the presentation of our awards virtually was in the plans from the beginning of our decision to pivot to our weekly virtual fests and OFF to the DRIVE-IN screening events. We are intensely proud of these films and filmmakers and are thrilled to officially recognize them as prize winners.”

 

In the Short Film category, Best Narrative Short went to Giulia Gandini’s MY TIME, with Best LGBTQIA+ Short going to Patrick G. Lee’s UNSPOKEN. The winner of the Hoka for Best Documentary Short was Johanis Lyons-Reid, and Lorcan Hopper’s THE LOOP.

Kyle Taubken’s THE BROTHERS BROTHERS was named Best Mississippi Short, Dillon M Hayes’ ALL I HAVE TO OFFER YOU IS ME won Best Music Documentary Short, Danski Tang’s UMBILICAL won the Fest Forward Best Animation prize, Ricardo Werdesheim, Moran Somer, and Osi Wald’s JOINTS won the Fest Forward Best Experimental prize, Katrina Blair’s “Pain” by Bandrunna Gwaup was Best Music Video, and Chanelle Eidenbenz’s ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM won the honors as Best Student Film.

Oxford Brothers

Jonathan Mirabill’s “Phelandra” won the Short Screenplay competition for which he received a check for $1000, Final Draft software, and mentorship from producer John Norris, and Javier Molina will receive a $15,000 check as the winner of the Artist Vodka Award for his film, WONDER.

With the Oxford Film Festival completing it’s 7th week of Weekly Virtual fests, in addition to it’s Virtual Art House selections, and recent debut of it’s new OFF to the DRIVE-IN presentations, the presentation of the filmmaker awards for this 17th edition of the fest was more than a routine celebration of jury winners and honorees. It was emphatically, another declaration that the film festival defiantly has not chosen to shutter for a year or offer up a token representation of the film programming and events the city, surrounding region, and state have become accustomed to with the Oxford Film Festival. Rather, the organization has led by example, finding new ways given limitations set in place due to the pandemic, and then mapped a way forward to find a way to bring film to the fans, and connect them with the filmmakers.

Following local musician Silas Reed entertain the audience tuning in virtually, the award show was hosted by Associate Director Matt Wymer, with presentations handled by programmers Brian Whisenant, Meaghin Burke, and Executive Director Melanie Addington. New board president Steve Case was surprised with the Donna Ruth Volunteer of the Year Award for his previous work and dedication to the film festival prior to taking on the new leadership role, underlining the energized outlook for the Oxford Film Festival as it continues to build on the organization’s work this year looking toward 2021.

Oxford loop

2020 OXFORD FF AWARD-WINNING FILMS

Danielle Deadwyler (RECKONING) – Lisa Blount Memorial Acting Award

Haroula Rose (ONCE UPON A RIVER) – Alice Guy-Blaché Emerging Female Filmmaker Award

COFFEE SHOP NAMES – Angie Thomas Zeitgeist Award
Director: Deepak Sethi

THE KILLING OF KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN – BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE
Director: David Midell

THE IN-BETWEEN – Special Jury Recognition for Disability Representation (Best Narrative Feature)
Director: Mindy Bledsoe

HOPE FROZEN – BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Directors: Pailin Wedel, Nina Ijas

YOU ASKED FOR THE FACTS – Honorable Mention (Best Documentary Feature)
Director: Mary Blessey

I AM NOT ALONE – Best Editing
Editor: Barry Poltermann

ROCKABUL – BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY
Director: Travis Beard

FROM BAGHDAD TO THE BAY – BEST LGBTQIA+ FEATURE
Director: Erin Pamquist

THE LONG SHADOW – Honorable Mention (Best LGBTQIA+ Feature)
Director: Daniel Lafrentz

UNSPOKEN – BEST LGBTQIA+ SHORT
Director: Patrick G. Lee

GO GO BOY – Honorable Mention (Best LGBTQIA+ Short)
Director: Oriana Oppice

FAR EAST DEEP SOUTH – BEST MISSISSIPPI FEATURE
Director: Larissa Lam

NOTHIN’ NO BETTER – Special Recognition (Best Mississippi Feature)
Directors: Ben Powell, Bo Powell

YOU ASKED FOR THE FACTS – Special Recognition (Best Mississippi Feature)
Director: Mary Blessey

GETTING TO THE ROOT – BEST MISSISSIPPI DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Director: Je’Monda Roy

THE BLACKSMITH OF OXFORD – Honorable Mention (Best Mississippi Documentary Feature)
Director: Michael Ford

SINGING OUT – Honorable Mention (Best Mississippi Documentary Feature)
Director: Mary Stanton Knight

THE BROTHERS BROTHERS – BEST MISSISSIPPI NARRATIVE SHORT
Director: Kyle Taubken

ALL THAT YOU LOVE WILL BE CARRIED AWAY – Honorable Mention (Best Mississippi Narrative Short)
Director: Thad Lee

I AM NOT ALONE – BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Director: Garin Hovanniisian

CUBAN HEEL SHOES – Honorable Mention (Best Foreign Language Film)
Director: Julio Mas Alcaraz

MY TIME – BEST NARRATIVE SHORT
Director: Giulia Gandini

REHEARSAL – Honorable Mention (Best Narrative Short)
Director: Courtney Hope Thérond

STREET FLAME – Honorable Mention (Best Narrative Short)
Director: Katherine Propper

THE LOOP – BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Directors: Johanis Lyons-Reid, Lorcan Hopper

TEARS TEACHER – Honorable Mention (Best Documentary Short)
Director: Noemie Nakai

TUNGRUS – Honorable Mention (Best Documentary Short)
Director: Rishi Chandna

ALL I HAVE TO OFFER YOU IS ME – BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Director: Dillon M. Hayes

UMBILICAL – FEST FORWARD BEST ANIMATION
Director: Danski Tang

JOINTS – FEST FORWARD BEST EXPERIMENTAL
Directors: Ricardo Werdesheim, Moran Somer, Osi Wald

“Pain” by Bandrunna Gwaup – BEST MUSIC VIDEO
Director: Katrina Blair

“Self Portrait x 1000” – Honorable Mention (Best Music Video)
Director: London Edwards

ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM – BEST STUDENT FILM
Director: Chanelle Eidenbenz

SHE WHO WASN’T TAMED – Honorable Mention (Best Student Film)
Director: Saleh Kashefi

“Phelandra” – BEST SHORT SCREENPLAY
Writer: Jonathan Mirabill

WONDER – ARTIST VODKA AWARD
Director: Javier Molina

ABOUT OXFORD FILM FESTIVAL
The Oxford Film Festival was founded in 2003 to bring exciting, new, and unusual films (and the people who create them) to North Mississippi. The annual five-day festival screens short and feature-length films in both showcase and competition settings. The festival is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization. For more information, visit www.oxfordfilmfest.com.

Oxford Awards

(Source: Press release provided by John Wildman, Wildworks PR)

The Inaugural OUTstream Film Fest announces additional programming to next week’s virtual film lineup (June 1-7)

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Short films, QUEERING THE QUARANTINE winners and
episodic projects are added to first full-fledged
LGBTQIA+ virtual film festival

Outfest

Los Angeles, CA (May 30, 2020) —OUTstream Film Fest, which debuts next week (June 1-7), announced its lineup of short films, winners of the film festival’s QUEERING THE QUARANTINE Filmmaker Challenge, episodic projects, and a special conversation with CLASES DE HISTORIA director Marcelino Islas Hernández and actress Verónica Langer that will be part of the first full fledged LGBTQIA+ virtual film festival. Joining the previously announced feature films being offered, these films and special panel will be part of a dynamic and innovative effort to present and celebrate queer cinema from around the world, kick off Pride month, and bring audiences together amid the COVID-19 crisis.

OUTstream Film Fest Co-Founder and Co-Director Ben McCarthy, said, “We are very excited to give each of these filmmakers a dedicated platform to share their work with audiences. There is so much variety among the stories being told, the voices and cinematic vision on display, and yet – as with our OUTstream Film Fest features – there is a commonality, a shared experience, the demonstration of a connection we all have to one another that comes through the collective experience of seeing these films.”

Co-Founder and Co-Director Megan Garbayo, added, “Our sincere hope is that through the virtual reach of this film festival, regardless of whether or not you are sheltering in place in a city or you find yourself in a rural community, these films will be able to remind us all of what connects us.”

Outfest 2

OUTstream Film Fest’s shorts programs curated and packaged under themes entitled, #MissedConnections, Famtastic Flicks, Love in Another Language, OUTside the Lines, and TechnoQueer will be available on-demand June 1-7, 2020. As with the previously announced feature films, a portion of the individual e-ticket sales will go directly to the filmmakers. A live-streamed Q&A with several participating filmmakers will take place for each program on the date/time listed with the program.

OUTstream Film Fest’s QUEERING THE QUARANTINE competition challenged filmmakers around the world to create a short film less than 5 minutes in length that would tell the story of their experience handling the shelter in place directive. They could only use equipment and materials they had available in their homes to create the films and were required to practice social distancing on set. A panel of judges selected the best of the best to be offered as a free-to-the-public program.

Outfest 3Rounding out the latest additions to next week’s lineup is a curated package of episodic works. Along with presenting the projects and sharing in the proceeds, OUTstream Film Fest will be encouraging financial support of the filmmakers so they can take the next steps toward producing series based on the pilots being screened.

To purchase tickets and passes for OUTstream Film Fest, please go to: www.outstreamfest.com/boxoffice.

OUTstream Film Fest 2020 panel, short films and episodic projects descriptions

FILMMAKER PANEL

A CONVERSATION WITH…
Verónica Langer and Marcelino Islas Hernández
Friday, June 5, 2020 | 9:30PM EST
A conversation with CLASES DE HISTORIA director Marcelino Islas Hernández and actress Verónica Langer. Langer is one of the most well known Mexican actresses, whose work in film, telenovelas and on the stage has earned her critical acclaim, as well as an Ariel, the most prestigious Mexican film award. Marcelino Islas Hernández is writer, director, and producer of CLASES DE HISTORIA and is also known for MARTHA (2010) and CHARITY (2016). The conversation will be moderated by Hebe Tabachnik, Senior Programmer for Seattle, Palm Springs, and Cartagena International Film Festivals and Artistic Director for Cine Latino in Minneapolis-Saint Paul.

                                                  SHORTS BEFORE FEATURES
HAUS 
Director. Joseph Amenta
Country: Canada, Running Time: 14 min
Makai is a young homeless queer boy sleeping on the couch of his friend Trevon. As the two prepare for a night of competition at a local Kiki Ball, Makai is forced to reconnect with his disapproving older brother. Yearning for distraction from his tumultuous familial situation, Makai chooses to resist when his new found family is threatened.
(screens before Documentary Showcase presentation of FABULOUS)

SHORTS PROGRAMS

#MissedConnections
TRT: 79 min
Watch Party: Sunday, June 7, 2020 | 2:00PM EST
Livestream Q&A: Sunday, June 7, 2020 | 3:30PM EST

INFLUENCED
Director. Ari Halevy
Country: USA, Running Time: 17 min
A gym newbie attempts to quell his loneliness by transforming into a muscled #instagay. But after he meets his fitness influencer idol, he discovers he isn’t the only one struggling.

MATT
Director. Ori Ravid
Country: USA, Running Time: 12 min
World-renowned adult entertainer Colby Jansen stars in this coming of age short about a young man’s potential path to daddyhood.

NEXT LEVEL SHIT
Director. Gary Jaffe
Country: USA, Running Time: 11 min
Taylor (Ben Baur) prepares obsessively for the perfect third date with dreamboat Chris (Daniel K. Isaac), but his efforts backfire, sending the relationship spiraling to a whole new level of intimacy.

PANCAKES
Director. Emily Friedman
Country: USA, Running Time: 7 min
Madison wakes up in bed with Leyla, the girl she’s been seeing, only to find out that Leyla’s boyfriend, Tim, is passed out in the living room from the previous night’s party. Madison struggles to hide her feelings and avoid outing Leyla while sharing a joint with Tim.

PUBLIC LIFE
Director: Matthew Allen
Country: USA, Running Time: 17 min
After befriending his new classmate John, Eric is forced to come to terms with both his sexuality and the tragic death of a friend. This is a coming-of-age film that examines what it is like to struggle with sexuality, depression, anxiety, and loss in high school. The characters in this story must also deal with these issues in the age of social media. A world where everyone knows what you’re doing and where nothing is ever really gone.

THE PRESCRIPTION (El Remedio)
Director. Tom Sanchez
Country: USA, Running Time: 14 min
Cecilia’s doctor suggests sex would help her get rid of an ovarian cyst so her friend takes her to a dive bar to “fill her prescription.”

Famtastic Flicks
TRT: 91 min
Watch Party: Saturday, June 6, 2020 | 2:00pm EST
Livestream Q&A: Saturday, June 6, 2020 | 3:45pm EST

THE BRA MITZVAH
Director: Stacy Jill Calvert
Country: USA, Running Time: 9 min
The Bra Mitzvah is a comedic short about a young teen who is getting ready for her Bat Mitzvah, but her Nana insists that she needs to get a “real bra” first.

DRESS UP LIKE MRS. DOUBTFIRE
Director. William Jian Zang
Country: USA, Running Time: 12 min
We think of it as a San Francisco comedy classic, but Robin Williams’ tour-de-force romp as a kindly English nanny in 1993’s MRS. DOUBTFIRE also marks a turning point in Hollywood’s depiction of drag. “Dress Up Like Mrs. Doubtfire” features insightful commentary from film critics and drag performers on the film’s surprising cultural impact.

GO GO, BOY!
Director. Oriana Oppice
Country: USA, Running Time: 6 min
A young boy discovers his LGBTQ identity when he sets himself free by dancing in his bedroom.

HER NAME IS KEYSHA
Director. Maria Biber-Ferro
Country: USA, Running Time: 7 min
An urban youth engages an unlikely conspirator to fulfill an unexpected desire.

HOME GIRL
Director. Poonam Brah
Country: United Kingdom, Running Time: 12 min
Roya is a British Muslim woman whose mother has just died. After the funeral she returns to a home much altered – one without her mother. Roya discovers her relationship with another woman was in fact known about all along.

THE ROGERS
Directors. Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson
Country: USA, Running Time: 16 min
An intimate glimpse of the first visible group of transgender men in the Pacific Islands – the Rogers of Samoa. From the loneliness of family rejection and homelessness to the camaraderie of church, cooking, and dance, their stories reveal the challenges and possibilities of life in an island society rooted in culture and tradition.

TELL-BY DATE
Director. Sarah Ball
Country: USA, Running Time: 14 min
Ryan gives himself a deadline to tell his son that he’s not his biological father, but it’s easier set than done!

XY
Director. Anna Karín Lárusdóttir
Country: Iceland, Running Time: 15 min
Lísa is fifteen years old and lives with her mother in the suburbs in Iceland. She is different from girls her age, but she hasn’t reached puberty. She is isolated and has a big secret about herself.

Love in Another Language
TRT: 72 min
Watch Party: Wednesday, June 3, 2020 | 4:00pm EST
Livestream Q&A: Wednesday, June 3, 2020 | 5:15 pm EST

INFINITE WHILE IT LASTS (Infinito Enquanto Dure)
Director. Akira Kamiki
Country: Brazil, Running Time: 19 min
After falling in love at a party, Danny and Seiji just want to be together. However, their differences might prove stronger than their feelings. The first fiction film about asexuality.

KIKO’S SAINTS (Les Saints de Kiko)
Director. Manuel Marmier
Country: France, Running Time: 25 min
Kiko, a Japanese illustrator in France, gets suddenly overwhelmed by a strange inspiration, while she realizes she’s been spying on a gay couple on the beach. Obsessed by such a vision, she will spy on those men and draw them secretly. This will slowly push her towards an encounter that will change her life and breaks her social rules.

RUBBER DOLPHIN (Dolfin Megumi)
Director. Ori Aharon
Country: Israel, Running Time: 28 min
A gay love story set in a one-bedroom apartment in Tel Aviv. They meet, they have sex, they fall in love. Will it last until the morning comes?

OUTside the Lines
TRT: 85 min
Watch Party: Tuesday, June 2, 2020 | 4:00pm EST
Livestream Q&A: Tuesday, June 2, 2020 | 5:30 pm EST

CHAIR AMOUR
Director. Patrick Serre
Country: Belgium, Running Time: 9 min
A child who is building his own identity is confronted to the religious fanaticism of his father. This violence reaches its paroxysm the day the father discovers his12 year-old son dressing up as a woman in the parents’ bedroom. This incident has a serious impact on his sexual behavior as an adult.

IN ORBIT
Directors. Soham Chakraborty, Hanxu Chen, Meton Joffily, Justin Polley, Julia Trouvé
Country: France, Running Time: 5 min
In a far future, Sonia is about to be transferred from her space station to a newer one. While everything appears to be going well for her, her mind is elsewhere, disturbed by a past not far behind.

ITALY & (THIS IS) WATER
Directors. Ioan Gavriel, Anja Franziska Plaschg
Country: Austria, Running Time: 5 min
A single day: from the tender break of dawn to the darkest night.  One out of many days to come? Quite possibly the very last.  A long farewell, an ultimate goodbye to a life we have grown to hold dear. Leading to a head-on dive into a new reality, into a new state of being.

LOBSTER TITS
Director. Jessica Lynn Guerra
Country: USA, Running Time: 9 min
Cathy wakes up to discover, to her horror, that there are lobsters attached to her nipples! She calls the ‘Maritime Mishaps Hotline’ for aide, but is it too late to escape these arthropod assailants?

SOMNIA
Directors. Marvin Bogatsch, Peter Neugebauer
Country: Germany, Running Time: 21 min
Two young female friends, Maja and Charly, use a new method to experience lucid dreaming by combining an exotic pill with musical sounds. Maja is excited and looses herself in the other world, because she finds herself and her hidden desires in it.

SPEAK EASY, B
Directors. Becca Park, Jun Shimizu
Country: USA, Running Time: 15 min
Embark on a tender journey inside the desert of the mind, as B breaks through cultural conditioning, past loves, and psychological defenses to arrive at True Self.

SWEET SWEET KINK: A COLLECTION OF BDSM STORIES
Director. Maggie M. Bailey
Countries: USA/Chile, Running Time: 13 min
SWEET SWEET KINK takes a sweet, sweet peek into the kinky world of bondage, dominance, and sadomasochism through stories of intimate connection, consensual exploration, and deep self-reflection.

WHEN NIGHT FALLS (Quand la Nuit Tombera)
Director:.Alexandre Lechasseur-Dubé
Country: Canada, Running Time: 8 min
As night falls, creatures with pearl and lace ornaments gather at the center of the forest where is laying an inanimate body.

TechnoQueer
TRT: 61 min
Watch Party: Sunday, June 7, 2020 | 4:15pm EST
Livestream Q&A: Sunday, June 7, 2020 | 5:30 pm EST

CONTENT
Director. Chris Coats
Country: USA, Running Time: 12 min
When Kevin is asked to model for a professional photographer, he gets more than he bargained for.

DON’T TEXT BACK
Directors: Kaye Adelaide and Mariel Sharp
Country: Canada, Running Time: 14 min
A woman seeks the help of an energy healer to rid herself of a cursed necklace that strangles her every time she doesn’t text back her bad Tinder date.

SWIPE
Director. Jeff Schick
Country: USA, Running Time: 7 min
SWIPE is a comedic short film about the digital dating life of Cheryl, a newly single bachelorette attempting to find love in the Pacific Northwest.

TOUCHSCREEN
Director. Arthur Halpern
Country: USA, Running Time: 15 min
After an unusual online encounter, a lonely man is challenged to step out from behind his computer screen and shatter long-lived inhibitions to claim the touch of another human being.

VERT
Director. Kate Cox
Country: United Kingdom, Running Time: 13 min
Emelia (BAFTA Nominee Nikki Amuka-Bird) and Jeff (Nick Frost) are celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary by venturing into the virtual reality world of ‘Vert’ together. Vert presents them with a character that is their ‘ideal self’ and what is supposed to be re-awakening for them as a couple becomes the unearthing of Jeff’s secret.

FILMMAKER CHALLENGE WINNERS

Queering the Quarantine
TRT: 32 min

ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
Director. Ryan Czerwonko
Country: USA, Running Time: 1 min
Intimate flashbacks to what feels like only yesterday, an artist is adapting to a life confined at home.

CUPCAKE
Director. Scott Cullen
Country: USA, Running Time: 4 min
Celebrating your birthday in today’s virtual age can feel quite lonely. But you might as well dance and eat a cupcake because you are worth it.

DEAR QUARANTINE DIARY
Director. Cat Tassini
Country: USA, Running Time: 5 min
Queer thought soup with a side of cute cat videos. Follow this IG story about what it’s like to be queer in quarantine.

LET RIP: BODIES LEAN AND RIPPED
Director. Lee Campbell
Country: United Kingdom, Running Time: 5 min
Smash the fads, rip the mags, and break out those daddy bellies!

LET RIP: THE BEAUTIFUL GAME
Director. Lee Campbell
Country: United Kingdom, Running Time: 3 min
Balls, sports, and men in shorts! A father and son reflect on a game that they remember quite differently.

L’OGNION
Directors. Alyza DelPan-Monley, Nick Spencer
Country: USA, Running Time: 5 min
You may never look at an onion the same way again.

THAT’S WHAT WE DO
Directors. Lauren Tabak
Country: USA, Running Time: 3 min
Art imitates life in the form of wigs, beanies, and bathwater. Take a dive into the patterns of love in this queeraoke sing-a-long.

UPTOYOU
Director. Daisuke Shimba
Country: Japan, Running Time: 3 min
Cascading collages of camera cuts leave space for you to answer the question: who are you when no one is watching?

VIRTUAL LIFE
Director. Riley Church
Country: USA, Running Time: 3 min
Toss your caps and twirl your gowns. A queer virtual cheers to the graduates of 2020!

EPISODIC PILOTS

Episodic Pilots
TRT: 55 min
Watch Party: Saturday, June 6, 2020 | 4:15pm EST
Livestream Q&A: Saturday, June 6, 2020 | 5:15pm EST

BANANAS
Director. Rachel Anderson
Country: Australia, Running Time: 15 min
A curious and playful look at growing up between two cultures in the Sunshine State, with particular focus on food and family, presented by two Australian-born Asian friends who are awkward, honest, and warm in equal parts.

HEART TO HEART
Director. Lilah Vandenburgh
Country: United Kingdom, Running Time: 10 min
A young girl is scared to make the first move. But her heart has something to say about it. Literally.

THE FAE
Director. Nessa Norich
Country: USA, Running Time: 10 min
The Fae is a queer fantasy series that follows Mark, a successful gay Manhattanite hiding his most passionate gift from the world. One fateful night, Mark learns about magical beings called fae – and that he might be one of them!#Missed

THIS ISN’T ME.
Director. Adrian Rojas Elliot
Country: USA, Running Time: 20 min
An earnest West Hollywood gay guy with a skewed sense of decorum chases meaning and intimacy, routinely humiliating himself and occasionally stumbling into moments of grace.

About OUTstream Film Fest
OUTstream Film Fest strives to present films that expand the culture of queer content and to highlight work that challenges mindsets and opens hearts. The seven-day online film festival features queer films, episodic, and short films from all over the world. The festival was created to give audiences everywhere an opportunity to see queer cinema and participate in interactive online Q&As and discussions about the state of queer, art, film, and media. OUTstream Film Fest is produced by McArts Consulting, LLC.

About McArts Consulting
McArts Consulting represents film festivals and other creative clients across the United States. Led by Ben McCarthy, MFA, McArts Consulting specializes in fundraising and marketing strategies, arts and film programming, box office management, and leadership development. In addition to consulting services, McArts produces cultural events and programs with a focus on building inclusivity among communities.

(Source: Press release provided by Wildworks PR)

 

 

Big Bear Film Summit Announces Film Lineup for Debut in June/July

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 1st Annual Big Bear Film Summit Announces Film Lineup for Virtual Film Festival (June 12-July 12)

Big Bear 1

Los Angeles, CA (May 12, 2020) —The 1st Annual Big Bear Film Summit, announced the film lineup for the festival’s debut which will take place virtually on June 12-July 12, 2020. The inaugural edition will present 52 films (12 feature-length and 40 short films and music videos). Created to encourage artistic production in and around Big Bear Lake, California, the Big Bear Film Summit made a quick pivot to the virtual space like many film festivals have done since March.

“While we looked very forward to welcoming filmmakers, film artists, and industry veterans to the beautiful locale of Big Bear Lake to enjoy and discover great films, have discussions about their work and about the art of filmmaking in this amazing setting, we all currently face the reality of the limitations created by the pandemic,” said BBFS Executive Director Michael P. Hanson.

BBFS CEO Gabriel Horn, added, “The priority with a film festival always begins and ends with the films and filmmakers, so while we will wait until next year to celebrate the art of independent cinema against the backdrop of this historically Hollywood-friendly area, celebrate those films we will. The debut of the Big Bear Film Summit will be a testament to the ability of the filmmaker to persevere.”

Made possible in great extent thanks to Visit Big Bear, Big Bear Film Summit will feature film competition categories including: U.S. Narrative and Documentary Features and Shorts, International Narrative and Documentary Features and Shorts, Experimental and Animated Shorts, Student Shorts, Music Videos, and a Screenplay Competition.

Big Bear 2

Highlights include the virtual world premiere of Noah Warner’s THE TRAP DOOR AT THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE about a private detective whose new case involving a priceless stolen heirloom is about to reveal a secret about himself he didn’t see coming,  Mindy Bledsoe’s award-winning road trip drama THE IN-BETWEEN, about two women on the road together with different missions, and Lucas Astrom’s HARD PLASTIC starring Andy Dick and his real life daughter Meg Dick in a story about an aspiring disc golfer out to prove her self to her father after getting kicked out of the nest.

Documentaries include David Around’s THE ONE AND ONLY JEWISH MISS AMERICA, about Bess Myerson, the talented beauty queen from the Bronx, who faced anti-Semitism and closed doors at race-restricted venues which did not allow Jews, JT Bruce’s THE DEVIL’S ROAD: A BAJA ADVENTURE, about a group of adventurers set out across Baja California on a 5,000-mile journey to recreate the century-old expedition of two prolific and obscure naturalists, and Andrew Shebay’s WOKE THE MONSTER, about Army veteran Shawn Livingston’s struggle back from a heroin addiction, and facing a 20-year prison sentence, takes the challenge of a 100-mile trail race through the rugged terrain of the Appalachian Mountains to redeem himself.

Screen Shot 2020-05-12 at 4.32.53 PM

To purchase passes, tickets, and find additional information, please go to: https://www.bigbearfilmsummit.com.

Big Bear Film Summit 2020 Virtual Festival Lineup

FEATURE FILMS

U.S. Narrative Features Competition
BARNEY BURMAN’S WILD BOAR       
Director: Barney Burman
Country: United States, Running Time: 98 min
A world where man is suddenly no longer at the top of the food chain. A small group of Geocachers — modern day weekend treasure hunters — go searching in the desert for a bounty left by an eccentric billionaire. Instead they end up being hunted by a mutant boar with an axe to grind. It’s a race for survival and those who don’t make it are sure to be served up for dinner.

HARD PLASTIC     
Director: Lucas Astrom
Country: United States, Running Time: 67 min
An aspiring disc golfer (Meg Dick) gets kicked out of the nest by her loving father (Andy Dick) who is in the middle of dealing with his own mid-life crisis. Aided by her trusted friend; scratcher addict and caddy (Natisha Anderson), she finds a sponsor, throws an ace at the disc golf championship and proves to her father that disc golf is a real sport.

THE IN-BETWEEN 
Director: Mindy Bledsoe
Country: United States, Running Time: 77 min
Two women set out on a road trip with different missions. Mads (Jennifer Stone “Wizards of Waverly Place”) needs to renew her driver’s license in South Dakota, while Junior needs to visit Portland, OR on a quest for her dead sister. Both women have medical issues that cause friction along the way, but they never let those problems define their identities. Mads is also keeping a secret from Junior, that could explode at any moment and ruin their journey.

TAKING TIGER MOUNTAIN REVISITED
Directors: Tom Huckabee, Kent Smith
Country: United Kingdom, Running Time: 76 min
In a dystopian future, American draft dodger Billy Hampton, 19 (played by a very young Bill Paxton), is brainwashed and programmed by militant feminists to assassinate the Welsh minister of prostitution. Lurching unwittingly toward his goal, he makes a series of furtive connections with societal outliers like himself, including a feral child, a gentle prostitute, a sadomasochistic delinquent, a lovelorn androgyne, a hippie dope dealer, and a mute nymphomaniac, while fending off predators who would sell him into sex slavery.  Eventually, he is forced to focus on his mission and face the dreadful dilemma tormenting his psyche: to kill or not to kill.

THE TRAP DOOR AT THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE     –     World Premiere
Director: Noah Warner
Country: USA, Running Time: 90 min
A Private Detective takes a case recovering a priceless stolen heirloom for a mysterious blonde Femme Fatale (Laura Wiggins). He is determined to catch the crafty Gagliano syndicate, who he is convinced has perpetrated the crime, right up until he accidentally discovers that he is a fictional character.

U.S. Documentary Feature Competition
THE DEVIL’S ROAD: A BAJA ADVENTURE  
Director: JT Bruce
Country: United States, Running Time: 98 min
A group of adventurers set out across Baja California on a 5,000-mile journey to recreate the century-old expedition of two prolific and obscure naturalists. Their search takes them on a thrilling quest -by motorcycle, airplane, boat, and horseback- to recreate the historic, unprecedented expedition across Baja. Along the way, they bear witness to the vibrant culture and unforgettable people, endure the challenges of the road, and get a glimpse into this extraordinary place and its uncertain future.

KING OF BEASTS 
Directors: Tomer Almagor, Nadav Harel
Country: United States, Running Time: 85 min
Aaron, an American hunter, enters the dark heart of the African bush, on a surreal neocolonial expedition, emulating 1000s of years of indigenous rite of passage rituals, as he hunts the ultimate trophy – the king of beasts. King of Beasts is an observational portrait that digs beyond sensationalism and politics, observing the facts and the many shades of the truth on the ground in Africa, in regards to wildlife and lion conservation efforts, amidst the ever-declining animal populations. With intimate access and never before seen footage, the film question man’s very nature, as well as our place in the animal kingdom.

THE OFFLINE PLAYLIST 
Director: Brian C. Miller Richard
Country: United States, Running Time: 48 min
A first-of-its-kind concert that paired New Orleans artists on a Spotify playlist with the fans who were listening to it, live at the hallowed Preservation Hall. Staring Jon Batiste, Irma Thomas, Curren$y, Mannie Fresh, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and more New Orleans legends.

THE ONE AND ONLY JEWISH MISS AMERICA        
Director: David Arond
Country: United States, Running Time: 51 min
How Bess Myerson, the talented beauty queen from the Bronx, won the world’s most famous beauty pageant 75 years ago, at the tail end of World War II. The film follows Bess, the middle daughter of poor Russian immigrants, from her childhood in a one-bedroom Jewish housing project apartment through the suspense-filled pageant. On her 1945 Miss America tour, Bess faced anti-Semitism and closed doors at race-restricted venues which did not allow Jews. It is also a story of courage as her disappointment turned to determination, leading Bess Myerson to start her own tour to teach tolerance at high schools and colleges around the country — a tour which launched her lifelong passion for justice.

WOKE THE MONSTER     
Director: Andrew Shebay
Country: United States, Running Time: 57 min
18 months ago, Army veteran Shawn Livingston was strung out on heroin, battling PTSD and addiction, and facing a 20-year prison sentence. Now, he is preparing for the race of his life: a 100-mile trail race through the rugged terrain of the Appalachian Mountains.  The prize: his family, his recovery, his redemption, his life.

International Narrative Feature Spotlight
GETMELOVEDUP.COM   
Director: George Carson
Country: United Kingdom, Running Time: 101 min
Comedy drama set in Scotland. Two young adults embark on a rollercoaster ride involving internet dating. The two lead characters Sharon & Kevin are under pressure from friends and family to find a partner, so they are encouraged to sign up to GetMeLovedUp.com internet dating site. This leads to several different hilarious “dates” which they both find challenging. Egged on by their friends they continue their quest until their separate paths through this adventure finally come together. This leads them to a set of highly unexpected circumstances.

International Documentary Feature Spotlight
FATHER UNKNOWN        
Director: David Quint
Country: Switzerland/United States, Running Time: 70 min
Captured on a camera phone as it happened, FATHER UNKNOWN is the true story of a man’s struggle to face the emptiness he carries inside.  Disconnected from the people closest to him and haunted by the secrecy in his family, he records his desperate search for connection on a journey with the father he’s never truly known.

SHORT FILMS

U.S. Narrative Short Competition
A DRIVERS TALE     
Director: Demarcus Brown
Country: United States, Running Time: 12:34 min

A PLACE LESS COLD         
Director: Anne Johnstonbrown
Country: United States, Running Time: 14:53 min

ALL THAT YOU LOVE WILL BE CARRIED AWAY           
Director: Thad Lee
Country: United States, Running Time: 29:29 min

BURY MY HEART     
Director: Kav Lis
Country: United States, Running Time: 7:09 min

CHERRY        
Director: Stacey Davis
Country: United States, Running Time: 12 min

CRUSH          
Director: Jennifer Floyd
Country: United States, Running Time: 6 min

DIGNITY        
Director: Pat Battistini
Country: United States, Running Time: 25 min

FORTUNE IN GOLD
Director: Anne Johnstonbrown
Country: United States, Running Time: 9:57 min

MY NEW PANTS       
Director: Gerard Zarra
Country: United States, Running Time: 22:30 min

ODD BIRD     
Director: Katy Dore
Country: United States, Running Time: 8:45 min

ONE LAST DROP     
Director: Anthony Alyassi
Country: United States, Running Time: 11:40 min

QUARANTINE NYC  
Director: Alexander Samuilov
Country: United States, Running Time:  4:08 min

STUCCO       
Directors: Janina Gavankar, Russo Schelling
Country: United States, Running Time: 17:29 min

TALK OUTSIDE        
Director: Austin Davison
Country: United States, Running Time: 7 min
TMARAMRLT
Director: Egor Barkanov
Country: United States, Running Time: 7 min

UNICORNS   
Director: Candice Carella
Country: United States, Running Time: 13 min

WAFFLE        
Director: Carlyn Hudson
Country: United States, Running Time: 10:57 min

ZOE & BRYN
Director: Maura Smith
Country: United States, Running Time: 25 min

U.S. Documentary Short Competition
AFFURMATIVE ACTION     
Director: Travis Wood
Running Time: 3:56 min

DIEORAMA   
Director: Kevin Staake
Country: United States, Running Time: 10:17 min

IN THE SAME DIRECTION: JEFF PIFHER & SOCRATES’ TRIAL           
Director: Alexander Craven
Country: United States, Running Time: 17 min

THE KALEIDOSCOPE GUY AT THE MARKET     
Director: Russell Brown
Country: United States, Running Time: 21 min

ONE LAST JOB
Director: Tony Armer
Country: United States, Running Time: 15 min

PIE IN THE PUSS: A BRIEF HISTORY OF PIEING IN FILM         
Director: Stacey Davis
Country: United States, Running Time: 9:27 min

WHAT IF…     
Director: Noah Berlow
Country: United States, Running Time: 7:37 min

International Narrative Short Competition
ANNA
Director: Dekel Berenson
Country: Ukraine, Running Time: 15 min

THE DOE       
Director: Jennifer Lumbroso
Country: France, Running Time: 18 min

DO NO HARM           
Director: Gabriel Horn
Country: Israel, Running Time: 5:40 min

ELEPHANTBIRD      
Director: Masoud Soheili
Country: Afghanistan, Running Time: 15 min

HORSE          
Director: Mohamad Razazian
Country: Iran, Running Time: 13:28 min

MORDECHAI
Director: Andreas Flack
Country: Israel, Running Time: 6:46 min

THE MORNING WALK         
Director: Marc Harpsøe
Country: Denmark, Running Time: 22:18 min

SLAUGHTER
Directors: Saman Hosseinpuor, Ako Zandkarimi
Country: Iran, Running Time: 13:03 min

International Documentary Short Spotlight
CALL CENTER BLUES        
Director: Geeta Gandbhir
Country: Mexico, Running Time: 25 min

Music Video Competition
DREAM          
Director: Maxi Witrak, Jose Muro
Country: United States, Running Time: 3:21 min

LET THERE BE DRUMS      
Director: George Wada
Country: United States, Running Time: 1:30 min

THE SUN WILL FOOL YOU
Directors: Daniel Bigelow, Talon Nightshade
Country: United States, Running Time: 4:42 min

Experimental and Animation Competition
PANCAKES
Director: Chad Briggs
Country: United States, Running Time: 3:12 min

Student Competition
THE HUNT    
Director: Daarya Serji
Country: United States, Running Time: 10 min

THE MARGINS         
Director: Leia Christ
Country: United States, Running Time: 9 min

SCREENPLAY CONTEST

FINDING FREEDOM
Writer: Bristol Mac Donald
Emma Wilson is a timid young woman who escapes a violently abusive relationship and returns to her family’s remote horse ranch where she hopes to find refuge, but tensions run high when she is reunited with her brother, a volatile bully and the reason she left home years ago. Prepared to flee once again, an unexpected kinship with a traumatized mustang helps Emma to confront her past and overcome her deepest fears.

FOREVER YOUNG
Writer: Jason Lor
A young man from ancient times is granted immortality until he finds his true love, no matter how long it takes.

FOUND                      
Writer: Chad Briggs
A troubled American soldier searches for a missing bomber crew while navigating the hostile cultural tensions of post-World War Two Japan.

LAST THURSDAY
Writer: Kevin Machate
When Dennis got up this morning, he wasn’t expecting that his bank would be robbed by a bunch of witless goons, or that they would take him hostage, but hey, it’s Thursday so it’s almost the weekend, right?

MY MISSING YEAR
Writer: Stephen Foster
A coming of age dramedy set in the backwater town of Bedford, Texas in 1979. Stephen a socially awkward, asthmatic, 11-year-old boy, lives with his mother, Patricia, and sister. Patricia’s attempts to make a better life for her kids uproots them and Stephen is separated from both and begins his odyssey of missing a year from his life.

SAINT TITUS
Writer: Dan Bowman
John Titus, a young conman, upon being forced to flee the states by a local mafia family, begins work for a children’s charitable organization in India. Through his skills in extortion, he’s able to make it the largest charity in Eastern Asia. But with prestige comes unwanted attention from governments, rivals, and the mob.

THE CANARY PROTOCOL
Writer: Michael McDonald
A young lady’s curse of being able to see when someone is about to die is ruthlessly manipulated by a rogue CIA agent. A strange turn of events leaves the young lady in a desperate battle to save her own life.

THREE LADIES
Writer: Almudena Rojo Yela
A musical drama

About Big Bear Film Summit
The Big Bear Film Summit was founded in 2020 by local Big Bear Lake, California, residents Gabriel Horn and Michael P. Hanson. The Summit and festival work to encourage artistic production in and around Big Bear Lake while celebrating cinema and music through screenings, concerts, workshops, and educational programs, culminating in an annual three-day festival. The Big Bear Film Summit is in the process to become an independent non-profit organization with 501c3 status committed to celebrating the art of independent cinema and music.

Visit Big Bear Logo 2          The Big Bear Film Summit funding supported by Visit Big Bear. Learn more about Big Bear Lake and it’s history in film-making           BigBear.com/about/filming.

(Source: WildWorks PR Press Release)

 

 

 

Film Festival Alliance teams with Theatrical-At-Home to present inaugural Film Festival Day on April 11

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Proceeds will be shared with over 30 film festivals across the country

Film AllianceNew York, NY (April 6, 2020) – The Film Festival Alliance announced it will team with Theatrical- At-Home to present the inaugural Film Festival Day on Saturday, April 11. 31 FFA member film festivals will participate in a virtual screening of Gary Lundgren’s PHOENIX, OREGON, which will benefit each of the film festivals with a share of the evening’s proceeds.

Film fans from across the country will be able to select their festival of choice when purchasing tickets and box office revenue will be generously split with that organization.

Among the 31 participating film festivals are; Alexander Valley Film Festival (CA), Ashland Film Festival (OR), BendFilm (OR), Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival (IL), Buffalo International Film Festival (NY), Cambria Film Festival (CA), Cinetopia Film Festival (MI), Cucalorus Film Festival (NC), Durango Independent Film Festival (CO), Heartland Film Festival (IN), Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival (MI), Indy Film Fest (IN), Interfaith Film & Music Festival (NY), Flyway Film Festival (WI), Free State Festival (KS), Golden State Film Festival (CA), New Filmmakers Los Angeles (CA), Orcas Island Film Festival (WA), Oxford Film Festival (MS), Phoenix Film Festival (AZ), Poppy Jasper International Film Festival (CA), San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (CA), Sidewalk Film Festival (AL), Scottsdale International Film Festival (AZ), Skyline Indie Fest (VA), South Georgia Film Festival (GA), St. Louis International Film Festival (MO), Tallgrass Film Festival (KS), The Valley Film Festival (CA), Vermont International Film Festival (VT), and Woods Hole Film Festival (MA).

“We’ve been looking for a way to emulate the iconic Record Store Day idea for years,” said Lela Meadow-Conner, Executive Director of Film Festival Alliance. “It was always a challenge for film festivals since not everyone has access to a theater at the same time. So now, we gladly take this opportunity to bring audiences from across the country together, at home, and celebrate what makes the film festival experience so unique: connecting people communities through cinema.”

Film Alliance 2020

Lundgren’s PHOENIX, OREGON is about two friends, a graphic novelist and a chef, who defy a midlife haze by seizing an unlikely opportunity to reinvent their lives by quitting their jobs to restore an old bowling alley and serve the “world’s greatest pizza.” The film stars an impressive lineup of indie film stalwarts and comedy favorites including James Le Gros (DRUGSTORE COWBOY, LIVING IN OBLIVION), Lisa Edelstein (“House”), Jesse Borrego (“Fame,” BLOOD IN BLOOD OUT), Reynaldo Gallegos (AMERICAN SNIPER), Diedrich Bader (NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, OFFICE SPACE, “Veep”), and Kevin Corrigan (THE DEPARTED, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, TRUE ROMANCE).

PHOENIX, OREGON is being released by Aspiration Entertainment in association with Ryan Bruce Levey Film Distribution and was produced by Joma Films with Pied Piper Productions, Lui-G Films, and Sunset Dynamics.

Film festivals and community cinemas are the backbones of the independent film industry. They introduce audiences to stories which nurture, nourish and encourage new perspectives” said PHOENIX, OREGON producer Annie Lundgren. “Especially at this time, we are excited to partner with Film Festival Alliance to share our film and support festivals who have given so much to us.”

All ticket purchases will receive a one-time link to watch the movie at home as well as a free digital copy upon its official release this summer.

Film festivals across the nation have endured more than 175 cancellations, postponements, and quick pivots in the wake of COVID-19, with an estimated economic impact of more than $1.4 million for this group of organizations alone. Of the participating festivals, which come from 19 states, they have combined audiences of more than 200,000, support more than 5,500 filmmakers and collectively screened over 3,700 films in the last year.

To purchase a ticket, please go to https://shop.jomafilms.com/products/phoenix-oregon-filmfestival-day.

ABOUT FILM FESTIVAL ALLIANCE
Film Festival Alliance creates a collaborative global community for mission-driven film festivals. FFA advocates for a sustainable and inclusive environment for our industry within the cinema exhibition ecosystem and creates a powerful collective voice for film festivals and the people who run them. Founded in 2010 as a program of IFP, Film Festival Alliance (FFA) was established in 2015 as an independent non-profit networking organization, and now serves a membership of more than 180 organizations and individuals – representing a diverse array of size, geographic location, and annual budget. FFA presents year-round professional development, and engagement opportunities around the country offer valuable money-saving benefits and create a collective community for festival professionals. FFA works year-round to celebrate and support the art of film, filmmaking and film presentation by connecting festival professionals with one another, and with other industry stakeholders including the greater filmmaking community.

(Source: Press release provided by John Wildman, Wildman PR)

 

 

SHERILYN FENN, ALAN POWELL, NICHOLAS TURTURRO AND CATHY MORIARTY FILM “SHOOTING HEROIN” PIVOTS TO VOD/SVOD/EST RELEASE APRIL 3

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Note: We present this piece of film and entertainment news with deep respect to the media and individual concerns surrounding the country’s COVID-19 Crisis. We have heard media tell us they want to hear how filmmakers are coping with film releases during this time. We hope it is not perceived as impertinent or inappropriate. Thank you.

Opioid Drama, Originally Slated to Open in More Than Two Dozen Cities and at Three Festivals, Goes Day-And Date

Los Angeles, CA, March 20, 2020–Los Angeles, CA, March 20, 2020—SHOOTING HEROIN, one of the first narrative feature films on the current opioid epidemic in America, will debut on all VOD, SVOD and EST platforms on Friday, April 3. The film was originally set for an initial limited national release in two dozen cities and about 100 screens on Friday, April 3rd but quickly made the move to video-on-demand and pay-per-view platforms following the shutdown of almost all movie theatres nationally during the COVID-19 crisis. The film had also been set to premiere at three film festivals in Northern New Jersey, Dallas, and Los Angeles, all of which were canceled.

EST platforms and services will go live on April 3, including, on cable: InDemand and MSOs; Vubiquity; Verizon Fios; ATT U-Verse; DirecTV; Dish Network-IPVOD/EST; and Sling, and on transactional digital including iTunes; Amazon; GooglePlay; Microsoft X-Box; Vimeo; Sony PSN; Fandango; and Vudu.

Director

Director and producer Spencer Folmar, himself a small theatre chain operator and distributor through his company Veritas Films, says, “Like every other filmmaker, we’ve hit a wall with theatrical distribution in these turbulent times, which puts our little indie film on the same footing as Disney as we work to find our audience. And of course that audience is the home viewing audience, hundreds of millions of people who are searching for education and issues-oriented entertainment. We consider ourselves lucky to have VOD distribution of SHOOTING HEROIN in place to offer the public, and hope the media pivots along with us to let the public know we’re out there.” Folmar hopes for theatrical exhibition of the film in the future, and in the meantime is looking at booking the film at some of America’s several hundred drive-in theatres still operating.

Shooting Heroin

SHOOTING HEROIN tells the story of a small-town community that comes together to fight back against the spread of drugs “by any means necessary”—a story of a group of vigilante townsfolk who take justice into their own hands to fight for the heart of America, and save the next generation from overdosing and dying.

The film features Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks), Alan Powell (Quantico), Garry Pastore (HBO’s The Deuce), Nicholas Turturro (SVU), Cathy Moriarty (RAGING BULL), and Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs (Cooley High), among others. Before being programmed in three March film festivals in California, Texas and New Jersey, the film most recently claimed the Best Film, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor (Pastore) prizes at the Hell’s Kitchen Film Festival in New York City last October. SHOOTING HEROIN is being distributed digitally on VOD/SVOD by Stone Cutter Media.

 

The film is written and directed by Spencer T. Folmar (GENERATIONAL SINS). Since Folmar’s last film premiered nationally, he has pursued new ventures in distributing independent films, including WARNING SHOT, starring David Spade, Bruce Dern, and James Earl Jones, and creating a partnership with his own Veritas Theatres chain in major cities. Folmar is undeterred by the current crisis, which he views as temporary, and is confident Americans will return to movie theatres when it has passed. His first movie theatre was in the Pittsburgh, PA region called the Guthrie Theatre (a 600 seat, the single-screen historic theatre now featuring live entertainment, community theatre and a steakhouse in connection with the screening venue). He had also acquired two theatres in the Dallas region and still hopes to purchase and build theatres in Orlando, Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles later in 2020 into 2021. Folmar is building his own theatre chain to give transparency and integrity for indie filmmakers to enjoy their films on the big screen across the country—when it’s safe to do so. All of his theatres are currently shuttered.

Folmar concludes, “Even though it’s being eclipsed by the COVID-19 pandemic, opioid abuse remains a national public health crisis and claims over 100 American lives per day. With a strong cast and a compelling story ripped from daily headlines, we hope SHOOTING HEROIN will shed light on and give hope to those millions affected by it.”

Heroin

SHOOTING HEROIN (Drama): Release Date: Thursday, April 3, 2020
Starring: Sherilyn Fenn; Alan Powell; Garry Pastore; Nicholas Turturro; Cathy Moriarty; and Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs
Producers: Spencer T. Folmar, p.g.a., Mark Joseph
Director: Spencer T. Folmar
Writer: Spencer T. Folmar
Cinematographer: John Honoré
Composer: Mike Newport
Running Time: 90 minutes
Rating: R

*Note: We present this piece of film and entertainment news with deep respect to the media and individual concerns surrounding the country’s COVID-19 Crisis. We have heard media tell us they want to hear how filmmakers are coping with film releases during this time. We hope it is not perceived as impertinent or inappropriate. Thank you.

(Source: Press release presented by Henry Eshelman and Media Platform Group)

 

Gwyneth Paltrow to be honored with Vision Award at 2018 Sun Valley Film Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 2018 Sun Valley Film Festival (SVFF), presented by Zions Bank, will honor Gwyneth Paltrow with its Vision Award.  The festival runs March 14-18, 2018.

 

Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 5.33.08 PM
Gwyneth Paltrow, above, will receive the Vision Award at the 2018 Sun Valley Film Festival, presented by Zions Bank.

The SVFF Vision Award pays tribute to an individual who has provided the keen insight, influence and initiative to fulfill a creative vision. Past recipients of the award include Geena Davis, Clint Eastwood and Oliver Stone. Paltrow will be presented with the award on Saturday, March 17 at Sun Valley Resort’s historic Roundhouse on Bald Mountain. She will also be a part of the Coffee Talks series, which is a free and informal gathering, where Paltrow will discuss her career and answer questions from the audience.

 “We couldn’t be happier to honor Gwyneth, who is not only a cinema icon, but a health and wellness guru who has revolutionized the online presence of lifestyle brands,” said Executive Director Teddy Grennan. “We’re thrilled to celebrate her achievements both on and off the screen with SVFF’s Vision Award.”

Oscar®-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow, whose 1998 turn in Shakespeare in Love garnered her Best Actress honors at the Golden Globes®, Screen Actors Guild Awards®, and Academy Awards®, is also a decorated author, singer and entrepreneur. In 2011, she won an Emmy® for Guest Actress in a Comedy series for playing substitute teacher Holly Holiday on Glee, and her song, “Coming Home,” from the soundtrack for Country Strong, was nominated for an Oscar® (the album went gold). In addition, Paltrow has authored three New York Times Best Selling cookbooks, My Father’s Daughter (2011), It’s All Good (2013), and It’s All Easy (2016)—the latter two hit #1.  She also co-wrote Spain, A Culinary Road Trip with acclaimed chef Mario Batali after their PBS documentary, “Spain…on the Road Again,” which was about Spanish food and culture, aired. In 2008, Paltrow launched goop, a lifestyle brand devoted to making every choice count, where food, shopping, and mindfulness collide: In particular, goop has gained acclaim for its focus on health, wellness, and clean eating, as well as its city guides, an insider’s perspective on the very best places to eat, shop, and stay in the world’s most compelling destinations. Goop’s recent ventures include goop magazine in collaboration with Condé Nast, goop Lab, its first permanent store located in Brentwood, CA. In addition, goop has a tightly edited digital shop, a book imprint and its own product lines, including skincare, fragrances, apparel, and supplements.  Other notable film credits include Proof (for which she received a Golden Globe® nomination), Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums, Anthony Mighella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, David Fincher’s Seven, the Farrelly brothers’ Shallow Hal, Alfonso Cuarón’s Great Expectations, Douglas McGrath’s Emma, Sliding Doors and Marvel’s Iron Man franchise.

Passes for the 2018 Festival on sale now at www.sunvalleyfilmfestival.org.

About the 2018 Sun Valley Film Festival

The seventh annual Sun Valley Film Festival, presented by Zions Bank, will take place March 14-18, 2018. A rising star among boutique festivals, SVFF brings together filmmakers and special guests from around the world for an unforgettable weekend of intimate talks with industry insiders, film and television screenings, and fabulous parties. Highlights from the 2018 slate include the Screenwriters Lab, presented by Variety, Nat Geo WILD’s Salon and WILD to Inspire competition, the SVFF Film Lab and more. A combination of cutting-edge content and unprecedented access in Sun Valley’s cinematic setting makes SVFF a “can’t miss” in next year’s lineup of destination festivals.

For Sun Valley Film Festival details and passes, visit: www.sunvalleyfilmfestival.org.