Following a rigorous selection process, AFI selected 25 alumnae from the AFI Conservatory and the AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) to advance to the next phase of the Fox Filmmakers Lab. From a previous post, the Lab is a partnership between Twentieth Century Fox Film and AFI, who will together work to increase the number of female directors working on major studio films by giving the alumnae opportunities to direct short films based on the studio’s film franchises and titles, such as: ALIEN, CHRONICLE, DIE HARD, ERAGON (Fox 2000), THE FLY, THE MAZE RUNNER, THE OMEN, PLANET OF THE APES and PREDATOR.
The 2017 Fox Filmmaker Lab directors/AFI alumnae are:
Alexis O. Korycinski
Rosita Lama Muvdi
Deborah M. Pratt
Following the conclusion of Lab Week at Fox — which provided participants with tremendous access to the process of studio filmmaking — the filmmakers were celebrated at a cocktail party kickoff event in Beverly Hills, CA on Thursday, January 12, with Stacey Snider (Chairman and CEO of Twentieth Century Fox Film) and Bob Gazzale (President and CEO of AFI) in attendance in support of this groundbreaking partnership and to welcome the incoming filmmakers to the program.
In the Spring, following further mentored development of their material, the directors will pitch their franchise or reboot ideas to Fox executives. One or more filmmakers will be chosen to make their concept into a short film.
Fox is committed to providing significant resources to the projects, to reflect the quality and scale of the films that they support. The filmmakers will be able to add the projects to their portfolios and pitch Fox feature films unrelated to the shorts in the future.
Ranked at the top of AFI’s list of the greatest films of all time, Orson Welles’ portrait of newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane (a thinly veiled stand-in for William Randolph Hearst) is brilliant, blistering and beautiful. The story moves through the tragedies and triumphs of Kane’s life, from a happy childhood in snowy Colorado cut short; to a towering ascendance in the newspaper industry; a dysfunctional marriage with a tone-deaf wife he tries desperately to mold into a great opera singer; and a cloistered existence in his palatial home, Xanadu. Welles’ superb cast, many from his own Mercury Theatre, is made up of some of the most vibrant stars of the 1940s, including Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead, Everett Sloane and, of course, Welles himself, who perfectly captures the aging Kane with a deft mix of sensitivity and ferocity. Gregg Toland’s innovative cinematography is now the stuff of legend, putting the deep focus technique on the map with shot after shot of crisply layered foreground and background images. If this is your first or 100th time seeing this landmark film, make sure to catch it at AFI FEST 2016 in a restored DCP, courtesy of Warner Bros. Classics.
The screening will be followed by an AFI Master Class with Welles expert Peter Bogdanovich, who spoke to AFI about CITIZEN KANE ahead of AFI FEST.
AFI: CITIZEN KANE turns 75 this year. Why do we still talk about it today?
Peter Bogdanovich: It’s a landmark film, not just Orson Welles’ best film but a masterpiece. It was a masterpiece then in 1941 and still is. It’s a brilliant symphony, and is exciting to watch. Everything about it is dynamic, and that very dynamism is the camouflage for the extremely sad story Welles tells. You’re not moved to tears by CITIZEN KANE really, except as a kind of thrillingly done film.
AFI: What was it like seeing the film for the first time, in 1955?
PB: I was 16, and I was quite bowled over by it. I thought it was brilliant. I’ve seen it, I think, 10 or 12 times since then. I saw it the other day on television briefly. You can’t resist it. Everything about it is brilliant. The performances are amazing, and Orson himself, his performance is extraordinary. People spend so much time talking about the direction that they don’t notice how brilliant that performance is. It was everybody’s first film, which makes it even more extraordinary. It’s amazing to realize that all those people had never made a movie before.
AFI: Would you say that much of contemporary cinema is indebted to the style and direction of CITIZEN KANE?
PB: It’s funny because it’s not that extraordinary in terms of the technique. He used a pretty simple technique in many ways. A lot of long takes. The scene goes on, and you don’t notice how long it goes without a cut. That wasn’t that common, though a lot of filmmakers in that period did do shots like that, but not to the degree that Orson did. Years later, I said to him, “What do you think is the difference between doing a scene in one shot or in many cuts?” He said, “Well, we used to say that’s what distinguished the men from the boys.” The whole thing, the construction of the story, the flashback structure — it wasn’t any one thing that was unusual. It was the whole production. It’s a very depressing story. There’s not a shred of hope at the end. It’s all very downbeat, but the style of the film, the way he made it, the overlapping dialogue, the flashback structure, some surprising camera angles — the whole thing made a tremendous impression if you were sensitive to what he was doing.
AFI: How was the film received in 1941, versus years later when you first saw it?
It got great reviews in its original release, except in The New York Times. [Critic] Bosley Crowther didn’t care for it much. He thought the central character was shallow. It couldn’t play in a lot of theaters because the Hearst organization had blacklisted it. So, as Orson said, they couldn’t make money if they couldn’t get a theater. That’s why it failed. Orson suggested they open it in tents around the country. It was not shown for many years, but it was brought back to New York in 1955, to a small art house, and that’s where I first saw it. That’s when it started to gain this reputation.
AFI: You had a close relationship with Welles for many years. How did he feel about the film?
PB: He didn’t want to talk about it much. Orson did THE DAVID FROST SHOW [as guest host] in 1970 and I was there. He had a guest, [author] Norman Mailer, and after the show they went to Frankie and Johnnie’s in Manhattan and I joined them for dinner. We sat down and Norman said to Orson, “There’s a great shot in CITIZEN KANE…” and Orson said, “Oh, no, Norman, not CITIZEN KANE.” Norman looked perplexed for a minute and then said, “Oh, yeah, I guess it’s like me and ‘The Naked and the Dead,’” meaning that both Norman and Orson were plagued by the notoriety of their first effort. It was the only picture that anybody ever talked to him about, and he was irritated about it because he’d made other pictures that nobody saw. It depressed him actually. It was a struggle to get him to talk about KANE. Reluctantly he talked about it; I would trick him into it sometimes.
AFI: When Welles began CITIZEN KANE, did he know he was making a masterpiece?
PB: I couldn’t say. I think he thought he was making a pretty good picture. The thing about CITIZEN KANE is it’s very cold, and there are moments that are touching, but they’re few and far between. It’s not an emotional picture. KANE is relentlessly negative, but what makes it exciting is the way it’s told, and the way it’s acted and the way it’s done, really. It’s almost as though he’s saying that it’s only through art that we can really survive. The artistry of the picture is what gives it its lift, because if you examine the story, it’s pretty bleak.
AFI: How has CITIZEN KANE influenced your own seminal work?
PB: I can’t say I was influenced by CITIZEN KANE directly. I was influenced by Orson’s thinking, and things he said to me. But I wasn’t particularly influenced by the film. I wasn’t influenced by the technique of it as much as by the youthful spirit of it. I was influenced by a general feeling of fearlessness. CITIZEN KANE was nominated for Best Picture, but what won was HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY by John Ford, an emotional film about the dissolution of a family. CITIZEN KANE is a cold film about the dissolution and tragedy of a man who loses everything, including his soul.
CITIZEN KANE screens AFI FEST on Sunday, November 13, at 1:30 p.m.
AFI FEST alums Mike Ott and Nathan Silver collaborate on a film that follows an actor, Arthur Martinez, as he hires two indie filmmakers (Ott and Silver playing themselves) to make a film with him as the star. Once on set, the filmmakers decide to scrap the movie that Arthur had planned to instead explore the actor’s real life. As Arthur becomes aware that the film has gotten away from him, his actions and motivations become unpredictable, forcing the filmmakers to question whether what Arthur does on set is real or just a performance. In their first collaboration together, Ott and Silver go to great lengths to merge fiction and nonfiction, resulting in an enjoyable experiment that blurs the lines between documentary and narrative.
AFI spoke to the directors about the film, which screens as part of AFI FEST’s American Independents section.
AFI: This film has an improvised feel, as your two lead actors play characters that share their real names. Did you work from a script or outline?
Nate Silver: We worked from a two-page outline. We drew a lot from Arthur Martinez’s life and Denver in general. We recreated many events and incidents and pulled in a lot of people we stumbled on during pre-production in Denver, and used these elements to dictate what we would shoot.
AFI: How did you juggle directing and acting in the film?
Mike Ott: The way we structured the film was key to getting inside Arthur’s head. We needed to insert ourselves into the movie in some aspect, so it wasn’t a matter of being difficult. It was frustrating, but that frustration made it easy to play frustrated directors.
AFI: Part of the fun of watching this film is trying to figure out what is documentary and what is narrative. How did you approach this as filmmakers?
MO: We knew that it would be a puzzle before the shoot, but how to structure the puzzle, we didn’t know. We didn’t figure this out until the edit. We knew we wanted multiple layers of fiction and documentary elements in the mix, but just what we would do with these layers, we had to deal with in post.
NS: Maybe it’s just that I have a short-term memory, but the interactions you see between us and the actors on screen probably give you an idea of what went down. I no longer remember what’s true or false about the movie.
Free tickets for ACTOR MARTINEZ will be available on AFI.com beginning November 1.
AFI FEST 2016 presented by Audi has announced its annual Cinema Legacy’s lineup. This section highlights classic movies and, this year, is comprised of nine iconic titles from film history, including Orson Welles’ masterpiece CITIZEN KANE (1941), along with films featuring the three female film trailblazers adorning this year’s festival key art: CARMEN JONES (1954), starring Dorothy Dandridge; THE HITCH-HIKER (1953), directed by Ida Lupino; and PICCADILLY (1929), starring Anna May Wong. Additionally, the Cinema’s Legacy section will present AFI Conservatory alumna Julie Dash’s (Class of 1974) groundbreaking DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST (1991).
CARMEN JONES – Dorothy Dandridge stars in the title role that made her the first African-American woman to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar®. DIR Otto Preminger. SCR Harry Kleiner. CAST Harry Belafonte, Dorothy Dandridge, Pearl Bailey, Olga James, Joe Adams, Brock Peters, Roy Glenn, Nick Stewart, Diahann Carroll. USA
CITIZEN KANE – Orson Welles’ classic — number one on AFI’s list of the greatest films of all time — follows the tragic life of newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane. DIR Orson Welles. SCRS Herman J. Mankiewicz, Orson Welles. CAST Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles, Linda Winters, Agnes Moorehead, Ruth Warrick, Ray Collins, Erskine Sanford, Everett Sloane, William Alland, Paul Stewart, George Coulouris. USA
DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST – Filmmaker Julie Dash (AFI Class of 1974) weaves lush imagery and a poetic narrative in this tale of three generations of African-American slave descendants on a journey to the North. DIR Julie Dash. SCR Julie Dash. CAST Adisa Anderson, Barbara-O, Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Cora Lee Day, Geraldine Dunston, Vertamae Grosvenor, Tommy Hicks, Kaycee Moore. USA
FLIRTING WITH DISASTER – In David O. Russell’s sophomore feature, Ben Stiller, Téa Leoni and Patricia Arquette play an oddball trio careening across America. DIR David O. Russell. SCR David O. Russell. CAST Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette, Téa Leoni, Mary Tyler Moore, George Segal, Alan Alda, Lily Tomlin, Richard Jenkins, Josh Brolin. USA
THE HITCH-HIKER – A deranged hitchhiker takes two all-American Everymen as hostages in this gripping film noir classic. DIR Ida Lupino. SCR Ida Lupino, Collier Young, Robert Joseph. CAST Edmond O’Brien, Frank Lovejoy, William Talman, José Torvay, Sam Hayes, Wendell Niles, Jean Del Val, Clark Howat. USA
IL SORPASSO – A classic road trip comedy meets the most fabulous of odd couple pairings in Dino Risi’s IL SORPASSO, considered the holy grail of commedia all’italiana. DIR Dino Risi. SCRS Dino Risi, Ettore Scola, Ruggero Maccari. CAST Vittotio Gassman, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Catherine Spaak, Claudio Gora, Luciana Angiolillo. Italy
MIFUNE, THE LAST SAMURAI – This thoughtful, elegant documentary on Japanese cinema’s greatest actor, Toshiro Mifune, is a cinephile’s dream. DIR Steven Okazaki. SCRS Steven Okazaki, Stuart Galbraith IV. FEAT Keanu Reeves, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Kyôko Kagawa, Toshio Tshuchiya. Japan
PICCADILLY – Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American movie star, is astonishing as a dishwasher promoted to the headlining act at outré London club Piccadilly. DIR Ewald André Dupont. Presented with live DJ accompaniment from Ms. 45s. SCR Arnold Bennett. CAST Gilda Gray, Anna May Wong, Jameson Thomas, King Ho-Chang, Cyril Ritchard, Charles Laughton. UK
SPEEDY – Special engagement of the silent film classic, presented with original live music accompaniment by DJ Z-Trip. The great Harold Lloyd stars in the title role as a man who hilariously tries to save the last horse-drawn streetcar in an increasingly modern New York City. DIR Ted Wilde. SCRS John Grey, Lex Neal, Howard Rogers, Jay Howe, Albert De Mond. CAST Harold Lloyd, Ann Christy, Bert Woodruff, Babe Ruth, Brooks Benedict. USA
Tickets to Cinema’s Legacy screenings will be available on AFI.com beginning November 1.
Fox Searchlight’s JACKIE, directed by Pablo Larraín, will screen as a Centerpiece Gala at AFI FEST 2016 presented by Audi. Starring Academy Award® winner Natalie Portman, the film will screen on Monday, November 14, at the TCL Chinese Theatre.
JACKIE is a searing and intimate portrait of one of the most important and tragic moments in American history, seen through the eyes of the iconic First Lady, then Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy portrayed by Natalie Portman. JACKIE places us in her world during the days immediately following her husband’s assassination. Known for her extraordinary dignity and poise, here we see a psychological portrait of the First Lady as she struggles to maintain her husband’s legacy and the world of “Camelot” that they created and loved so well. JACKIE is directed by Larraín and written by Noah Oppenheim. In addition to Portman, the film stars Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup and Academy Award® nominee John Hurt. JACKIE is produced by Juan De Dios Larraín, Academy Award® nominee Darren Aronofsky (AFI Class of 1992), Mickey Liddell, Scott Franklin and Ari Handel.
AFI has announced the films that will be featured in the New Auteurs, Shorts, American Independents and Midnight sections at AFI FEST 2016 presented by Audi. Films in the New Auteurs and Shorts sections are eligible for Grand Jury Awards. The full program information is below.
AFI FEST takes place November 10–17, 2016, in the heart of Hollywood. Screenings, Galas and other events will be held at the TCL Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, the Egyptian Theatre and The Hollywood Roosevelt. The full festival lineup and schedule will be unveiled in October. Go to AFI.com now to purchase Patron Packages, which can include access to Galas and other high-demand films and events. Individual tickets will be available on AFI.com beginning November 1.
Highlighting first- and second-time feature film directors, New Auteurs is the festival’s platform for upcoming filmmakers from all over the world to showcase their new films. This year, the section is comprised of 10 films, seven of which come from female directors.
ALWAYS SHINE – When two actress friends get together for a weekend in Big Sur, their hopes for reconnection spiral into jealousy, tension and fragmented identities. DIR Sophia Takal. SCR Lawerence Michael Levine. CAST Mackenzie Davis, Caitlin FitzGerald, Lawrence Michael Levine, Alexander Koch, Jane Adams. USA
BUSTER’S MAL HEART – Rami Malek plays a man split in two by grief in AFI FEST alum Sarah Adina Smith’s visceral, mind-bending mystery. DIR Sarah Adina Smith. SCR Sarah Adina Smith. CAST Rami Malek, Kate Lyn Sheil, DJ Qualls, Mark Kelly, Sukha Belle Potter, Lin Shaye, Toby Huss. USA
DIVINES – A fearless and ferocious teenager and her charismatic best friend strive for money, power and respect by following in the footsteps of a ruthless female drug dealer. DIR Houda Benyamina. SCRS Romain Compingt, Houda Benyamina, Malik Rumeau. CAST Oulaya Amamra, Jisca Kalvanda, Kévin Mischel, Déborah Lukumuena, Yasin Houicha, Majdouline Idrissi. France | Qatar
THE FUTURE PERFECT (EL FUTURO PERFECTO) – In this whimsical debut, a young Chinese immigrant is determined to assimilate into her new home of Buenos Aires, but her traditional Chinese family and Indian beau complicate things. DIR Nele Wohlatz. SCR Nele Wohlatz. CAST Xiaobin Zhang, Saroj Kumar Malik, Mian Jiang, Dong Xi Wang, Nahuel Pérez Biscayart. Argentina
GODLESS – A nurse running scams on her elderly patients calls her hardened life into question when she strikes up a friendship with a retired choirmaster. DIR Ralitza Petrova. SCR Ralitza Petrova. CAST Irena Ivanova, Ivan Nalbantov, Ventzislav Konstantinov, Alexandr Triffonov, Dimitar Petkov. Bulgaria
KATI KATI – In this beautiful, dreamlike depiction of the afterlife, an African woman finds herself in a resort where every soul has their wishes granted — except escape. DIR Mbithi Masya. SCRS Mbithi Masya, Mugambi Nthiga. CAST Nyokabi Gethaiga, Elsaphan Njora, Paul Ogola, Peter King Mwania. Kenya | Germany
KILL ME PLEASE – In this giallo-tinged meditation on puberty, a 15-year-old girl living in Rio de Janeiro must navigate a wave of murders in her neighborhood. DIR Anita Rocha da Silveira. SCR Anita Rocha da Silveira. CAST Valentina Herszage, Dora Freind, Julia Roliz, Mari Oliveira, Bernardo Marinho. Brazil
ONE WEEK AND A DAY (SHAVUA VE YOM) – A man, grieving the death of his son, befriends his stoner neighbor in this wry and moving dramedy. DIR Asaph Polonsky. SCR Asaph Polonsky. CAST Shai Avivi, Evgenia Dodina, Tomer Kapon, Sharon Alexander, Uri Gvariel, Carmit Mesilati-Kaplan, Alona Shauloff. Israel
OSCURO ANIMAL – This gorgeously shot debut follows three Colombian women who are all brutally affected by the country’s armed conflict. DIR Felipe Guerrero. SCR Felipe Guerrero. CAST Marleyda Soto, Jocelyn Meneses, Luisa Vides, Verónica Carvajal, Josué Quiñones, Pedro Suárez, Lorena Vides. Colombia
STILL LIFE – This simultaneously beautiful and disturbing portrait follows a young nameless worker earning a temporary living in a livestock slaughterhouse. DIR Maud Alpi. SCRS Maud Alpi, Baptiste Boulba. CAST Virgile Hanrot, Dimitri Buchenet, Boston. France
The Shorts selections represent distinct, often far-flung international viewpoints, with 39 films including nine animated films. Shorts filmmakers come from 17 countries, with 12 films from directors who are returning to AFI FEST this year.
ALL THESE VOICES – A Nazi soldier in disguise encounters a survivors’ avant-garde theater troupe celebrating the end of the war. DIR David Henry Gerson. SCRS David Henry Gerson, Martin Horvat, Brennan Elizabeth Peters. CAST Harrison Thomas, Beata Poźniak, Kristof Konrad, Kinga Philipps, Kasia Kowalczyk, Anthony Nikolchev. USA
BLOODY BARBARA – Barbara roams the streets covered in blood, reenacting the scenes from some of her favorite films. DIR Shawn Bannon. SCR Shawn Bannon. CAST Atheena Frizzell. USA
THE BLOOP – In 1997 an unusual sound was recorded. It lasted one minute and was never heard again. DIR Cara Cusumano. USA
A BRIEF HISTORY OF PRINCESS X – A supercharged history of sculptor Constantin Brancusi’s infamous “Princess X.” DIR Gabriel Abrantes. SCR Gabriel Abrantes. CAST Filipe Vargas, Francisco Cipriano, Joana Barrios. Portugal | France | UK
A COAT MADE DARK – Two burglars strike it rich after stealing a mysterious coat. DIR Jack O’Shea. SCR Jack O’Shea. CAST Hugh O’Conor, Declan Conlon, Antonia Campbell Hughes. Ireland
CRYSTAL LAKE – A group of girls takes over the half pipe. There on the ramp, with no boys around, they are thriving and visible. DIR Jennifer Reeder. SCR Jennifer Reeder. CAST Marcela Okeke, Shea Glover, Sebastian Summers, Kristyn Zoe Wilkerson, Ron Stevens. USA
DEER FLOWER – A family visit to a deer farm results in a peculiar experience. DIR Kangmin Kim. SCR Kangmin Kim. CAST Kangmin Kim. USA
DIRT – Some things must die to live. DIR Darius Clark Monroe. SCR Darius Clark Monroe. CAST Segun Akande. USA
THE DISAPPOINTMENT TOUR – Three generations of women, crammed into a car along with their emotional baggage, experience an unexpected moment of connection on the side of the road.. DIR Erica Liu. SCR Erica Liu. CAST Michelle Farrah Huang, Grace Shen, Cindera Che, Gaby Santinelli. USA
DRAMATIC RELATIONSHIPS – The male gaze inspected through the relationship between a director and his female actors. DIR Dustin Guy Defa. SCR Dustin Guy Defa. CAST Lindsay Burdge, Elisa Lasowski, Hannah Gross, Keith Poulson, Stephen Gurewitz, Agostina Galvez. USA
DREAMING OF BALTIMORE – Freedom means only one thing: riding your dirt bike in the street, front wheel aimed at the sky. DIR Lola Quivoron. SCRS Lola Quivoron, Pauline Rambeau de Baralon. CAST Clark Gernet, Owen Kanga, Jean-Marie Narainen, Sébastien Lecouvreur, Benjamin Fortin. France
E.W.A – Ewa can’t stop bleeding. DIR Gigi Ben Artzi. SCRS Gigi Ben Artzi, Roy Ben Artzi, Adam Horowitz. CAST Alihah Galyautdinova, Gil Abramov. Ukraine
EARS, NOSE AND THROAT – A woman’s testimonial faculties are confirmed through medical examinations before she recites a tragic story, whose horrors we don’t see, hear or smell, but can imagine far too easily. DIR Kevin Jerome Everson. CAST Shadeena Brooks, Dr. Eric Mansfield, Dr. Heather Honeycutt. USA
FATA MORGANA – A grieving couple is forced to examine their marriage when they journey from China to the United States for the funeral for their only child. DIR Amelie Wen. SCRS Amelie Wen, Jon Keng. CAST Mardy Ma, Liu Peiqi, Anita Liao, Anna Pan, Laurie Faso, Dave Bean, Briana McLean, April Moreau. USA
GLOVE – The true story of a glove that’s been floating in space forever since 1968. DIRS Alexa Lim Haas, Bernardo Britto. CAST Henry Parker. USA
HAM HEADS – Larry and Barry are the world’s oldest living conjoined twins. They live in their brother’s basement. DIR Efren Hernandez. SCR Efren Hernandez. CAST Olan Montgomery, Thomas Montgomery, Mike Montgomery, Madeleine Russell, Robert “Lil’ Bob” McCall, Todd Lewis, Corey Pelizzi. USA
HIDDEN – Possessed by sibling rivalry, Parham must face his role in a series of events that have incapacitated his half-brother. DIR Farzad Ostovarzadeh. SCR Farzad Ostovarzadeh. CAST Daniel Zolghadri, Shary Nassimi, Bardia Seiri, Niousha Jafarian. Iran | USA
HOUNDS – On the day of a would-be promotion, a museum worker must deal with an accident involving a prized sculpture. DIR Omer Tobi. SCR Omer Tobi. CAST Orna Banai, Ilanit Ben Yaacov, Eti Levi, Hila Shalev, Dalia Beger, Anat Vaksman. Israel
ICEBOX – A young boy from Honduras finds himself in a difficult situation when he is arrested at the U.S. border. DIR Daniel Sawka. SCR Daniel Sawka. CAST Anthony Gonzales, Lane Garrison, José Alvarez, Jonathan Castellanos, Jeff Houkal, Sisa Grey, Steven Stapenhorst, Tonja Kahlens. USA
THE ITCHING – In this parable, a shy wolf tries to connect with a group of hip, party-loving bunnies, but finds her body is in revolt. DIR Dianne Bellino. SCR Dianne Bellino. USA
JÁAJI APPROX. – The distance between a father and son is narrowed when locations and language meet. DIR Sky Hopinka. SCR Sky Hopinka. CAST Sky Hopinka, Michael Hopinka. USA
KITTY – A young girl finds herself transformed. DIR Chloë Sevigny. SCR Chloë Sevigny. CAST Edie Yvonne, Ione Skye, Lee Meriwether, Jesse Pearson, Luke Adler, M Blash, Andrew Mixon. USA
LIMBO – The leopard shall lie down with the goat. The wolves shall live with the lambs. And the young boy will lead them. Thirteen kids and the carcass of a whale washed ashore. DIR Konstantina Kotzamani. SCR Konstantina Kotzamani. CAST Felix Margenfeld, Aggelos Ntanos, Lucjano Cani, Haris Fountas, Hristos Psihramis, David Szymczak. Greece
LOVE – Affection is described in three different chapters, through an impact on a distant solar system. DIR Réka Bucsi. SCR Réka Bucsi. France | Hungary
MADE. NOT BORN! – A home movie from 1981 turns out far more hypnotic than originally planned. DIR Mike Plante. USA
MOTHER (MADRE) – Sixteen-year-old Andrea travels downtown from her poor neighborhood to audition for a porno film. DIR Simón Mesa Soto. SCR Simón Mesa Soto. CAST Yurani Anduquia Cortés, María Camila Maldonado, Paulo de Jesús Barros Sousa. Sweden | Colombia
A NIGHT IN TOKORIKI (O NOAPTE ÎN TOKORIKI) – On Geanina’s 18th birthday, her boyfriend and Alin will give her a most surprising gift. DIR Roxana Stroe. SCRS Ana-Maria Gheorghe, Roxana Stroe. CAST Cristian Priboi, Cristian Bota, Iulia Ciochină, Sorin Cociş, Daniela Elena Preda, Cristian Toma, Costi Apostol, Andrei Ciopec, Tudor Morar, Adrian Loghin. Romania
PEDRO – Pedro gets home at dawn. Before he falls asleep, his lonely mother drags him to the beach. DIRS André Santos, Marco Leão. SCRS André Santos, Marco Leão. CAST Filipe Abreu, Rita Durão, João Villas-Boas, Marcello Urgeghe. Portugal
PUSSY (CIPKA) – A young girl decides to have a pleasurable evening at home, but not everything goes according to plan. DIR Renata Gasiorowska. SCR Renata Gasiorowska. Poland
SCENERY (DECORADO) – The world is a wonderful stage, but its characters are disgraceful. DIR Alberto Vázquez. SCR Alberto Vázquez. CAST Josep Ramos, Mireia Fuara, Angel Gómez, Kepa Cueto. France | Spain
THE SEND-OFF – Emboldened by a giant block party on the evening of their high school prom, a group of students enter the night with the hope of transcending their rural town and the industrial landscape that surround them. DIRS Ivete Lucas, Patrick Bresnan. CAST Tiana Crawford, Chris Burgess, Jr., Jamila Smith-Boyce, Ta’Questa Browning. USA
SPEAKING IS DIFFICULT – Beginning in the present day, a scene of tragedy unfolds, telling a cumulative history that is both unbearable and inevitable. DIR AJ Schnack. USA
A STROLL DOWN SUNFLOWER LANE (ذاكرةعبّادالشمس) – An old grandfather, a little granddaughter, an old house and some glimpses of memory. She was growing up building hers. He was getting old losing his. DIR Mayye Zayed. SCR Mayye Zayed. CAST Ahmed Khalil, Jana Abdel Aziz. Egypt
SUMMER CAMP ISLAND – Oscar has to accept that his totally normal sleepover with Hedgehog isn’t going to be totally normal. DIR Julia Pott. SCR Julia Pott. CAST Ashley Boettcher, Thomas Vaethroeder, Anna Strupinsky, Kathleen Wilhoite, Judd Hirsch. USA
SUPERBIA – In the land of Superbia, strict rules divide the societies of women and men. DIR Luca Tóth. SCR Luca Tóth. Hungary | Czech Republic | Slovakia
TARGETING THE WORLD – In Fayetteville, NC, surveillance technologies are tested. DIR Jesse Moss. USA
A THOUSAND MIDNIGHTS – A lyrical documentary following the social histories of black Americans. DIR Carlos Javier Ortiz. SCR Carlos Javier Ortiz. USA
THUNDER ROAD – Officer Arnaud loved his mom. DIR Jim Cummings. SCR Jim Cummings. CAST Jim Cummings, Melissa Papel, Kitty Barshay, Francesca Biasiolo. USA
UNIVITELLIN – A classic story in a far-from-classic reworking. DIR Terence Nance. SCR Terence Nance. CAST Aminata M’Bathie, Naky Sy Savané, Badara N’Gom, Maman Faso, Igor Tranchot, Raoul Tranchot, Tony Cortes, Florent Toudard, Jonathan Ynsa, Moustapha Sarr, Yanice Haboussa, Anderson Da Cruz Lima. USA
The American Independents section represents the best of independent filmmaking this year. Pushing boundaries of form and content across narrative and documentary cinema, this section includes eight films from both new voices and filmmakers coming back to AFI FEST.
ACTOR MARTINEZ – AFI FEST alums Mike Ott and Nathan Silver play themselves in this enjoyable experiment that blurs the lines between documentary and narrative. DIRS Nathan Silver, Mike Ott. SCRS Mike Ott, Nathan Silver. CAST Arthur Martinez, Lindsay Burdge, Mike Ott, Nathan Silver, Kenneth Berba, Rae Radke. USA
DARK NIGHT – A quiet meditation on the planning and impact of a Cineplex massacre in a suburban town, taking place over one day, from sunrise to midnight. DIR Tim Sutton. SCR Tim Sutton. CAST Robert Jumper, Anna Rose Hopkins, Rosie Rodriguez, Karina Macias, Aaron Purvis, Marilyn Purvis, Ciara Hampton, Andres Vega, Bryce Hampton, Eddie Cacciola. USA
DONALD CRIED – This darkly funny character study centers on former childhood best friends who reconnect decades later in their working-class Rhode Island neighborhood. DIR Kris Avedisian. SCR Kris Avedisian. CAST Kristopher Avedisian, Jesse Wakeman, Louisa Krause, Ted Arcidi, Robby Morse Levy, Kate Fitzgerald, William Billington, Sr. USA
THE EYES OF MY MOTHER – In this enthralling horror debut, a young woman perpetuates the chilling cycle of violence that began with a traumatic event in her childhood. DIR Nicolas Pesce. SCR Nicolas Pesce. CAST Kika Magalhaes, Will Brill, Flora Diaz, Paul Nazak, Clara Wong, Diana Agostini, Olivia Bond. USA
FRAUD – One of the most fascinating debuts of the year focuses on one family — via home video footage on YouTube — who get swept up in American consumerism, recklessly spending money that may not be their own. DIR Dean Fleischer-Camp. SCR Dean Fleischer-Camp. USA
HUNTER GATHERER – Two men living in South L.A. – one recently out of prison and the other trying to save the life of his bedridden grandfather – form an unlikely friendship in this feature debut. DIR Josh Locy. SCR Josh Locy. CAST Andre Royo, George Sample III, Kellee Stewart, Ashley Wilkerson, Kevin Jackson, Antonio D. Charity, Celestial, Alexis DeLaRosa, Jeanetta Arnette. USA
LIVE CARGO – A young couple grieving after a terrible loss escape to the Bahamas, where they are confronted with simmering tensions and dark secrets. DIR Logan Sandler. SCRS Logan Sandler, Thymaya Payne. CAST Dree Hemingway, Keith Stanfield, Sam Dillon, Leonard Earl Howze, Robert Wisdom, Ayumi Iizuka, Frantz Lecoeur. USA
MY ENTIRE HIGH SCHOOL SINKING INTO THE SEA – This painterly mixed-media animated film is a surreal cross between teen comedies and THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE. DIR Dash Shaw. SCR Dash Shaw. CAST Jason Schwartzman, Lena Dunham, Reggie Watts, Maya Rudolph, Susan Sarandon, John Cameron Mitchell, Alex Karpovsky, Thomas Jay Ryan, Louisa Krause. USA
The festival’s Midnight section will captivate and terrify audiences with three genre-bending films from around the globe.
FEAR ITSELF – Film essayist Charlie Lyne uses horror film footage to explore why the world’s most popular film genre burrows so deeply into our psyches. DIR Charlie Lyne. SCR Charlie Lyne. UK
THE LURE – Two man-eating mermaid sisters travel through 1980s Warsaw in human form. But time away from the water intensifies their craving for human flesh. DIR Agnieszka Smoczyńska. SCR Robert Bolesto. CAST Kinga Preis, Michalina Olszańska, Marta Mazurek, Jakub Gierszał, Andrzej Konopka, Zygmunt Malanowicz, Marcin Kowalczyk, Magdelena Cielecka, Katarzyna Herman. Poland
PREVENGE – In this pitch-black comedy, a pregnant woman receives murderous instructions from her misanthropic fetus to kill as many people as she can. DIR Alice Lowe. SCR Alice Lowe. CAST Alice Lowe, Gemma Whelan, Kate Dickie, Jo Hartley, Dan Renton Skinner, Kayvan Novak, Mike Wozniak, Tom Davis, Tom Meeten. UK
Have a favorite vintage movie poster? Chances are, it was probably designed by Bill Gold, one of the most prolific designers ever to work in movies. Gaining early prestige working on CASABLANCA for Warner Bros., his legacy of posters spans from Hollywood’s Golden Age through New Hollywood, including a close and enduring collaboration with director Clint Eastwood.
AFI spoke with Gold, now retired, about an illustrious career that has proven as influential as the films for which he’s designed posters.
AFI: Tell us how you got started in the business, and where you are today now that you’ve retired.
Bill Gold: In my wildest dreams, I could not have foreseen the career I would have. As a young child, while other kids were out playing ball and riding their bikes, I was at home drawing. After graduating from Pratt Institute, I got a job in the poster department at Warner Bros. Who would have known that the first film I would work on would be the iconic CASABLANCA? That launched my remarkable career. By the early 1960s, I had started my own company, Bill Gold Advertising.
As a kid in Brooklyn, I started drawing from the age of eight and never stopped. In elementary school I was winning art honors. I was drawn to the movies. I graduated from Pratt Institute and went looking for a job, and introduced myself to the art director of the poster department of Warner Bros. in their New York offices. He sent me away on trial to design posters for four earlier films: ESCAPE ME NEVER and ROBIN HOOD with Errol Flynn, THE MAN I LOVE with Ida Lupino and Bette Davis‘s WINTER MEETING. Afterwards he told me, “You’re hired.” My first assignment was for a film not yet finished: CASABLANCA.
I’ve been retired since 2004 with the exception of coming back to work with Clint on J. EDGAR and Warner Home Video on a special project. I’m currently enjoying life with my wife, Susan, and our dog Willoughby in Connecticut.
AFI: What is “the Bill Gold look”? What is it that makes your work yours?
Gold: I know what movie posters should look like, instinctively. My style is and has always been “less is more.” I don’t like a cluttered look. Clean, simple and to the point. I guess you could say black, red, gray and white are usually my trademark colors.
Years ago, I looked at everything that MGM and Paramount and all the companies did, and I never liked anything that I saw. I always found fault with the fact that they showed three heads of the actors, and that’s about all the concept they would use. And when I started to work, I thought: “I don’t want to just do a concept with three heads in it. I want a story.”
I’ve worked on poster campaigns for films by Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Federico Fellini, but my most significant relationship is with Clint Eastwood. We began working together in 1971 when I created the poster for DIRTY HARRY and continued until I retired in 2004.
AFI: What do you think are the ingredients of a successful/memorable movie poster?
Gold: You’d get an assignment and they’d tell you something of how the movie should be marketed. I’d go see the film (I always got a kick out of seeing people’s reactions to movies), or if it wasn’t complete, I’d look at the stills. You then decide how you want the public to see it, then you think of the best way to communicate that. I had usually at least three art directors working for me in a given year, production people and assistants.
AFI: How has the poster making process changed today?
Gold: Posters illustrations are gone. They only use digital photos now. Anybody who can use a computer thinks they can do this. Having computer knowledge is very different from being an artist or an art director or a marketer. A 10-year-old can do a good job on the computer. With photos today the stars can’t say, “It doesn’t look like me.” We used to have to do it over.
My objective is to “sell” the film, to entice an audience to see it through a revealing and striking image and typography. To provoke an interest in the “story” of the film is what I am able to do best.
AFI: Looking back on your legacy and decades of work, how do you feel you have contributed to the history of American movies?
Gold: It’s remarkable the range of styles I’ve used in creating numerous iconic works. It seems a bit unlikely that the designer responsible for the conventional rendering of James Cagney in patriotic garb in YANKEE DOODLE DANDY could have conceived the frilly pink collage of MY FAIR LADY, the blobbed, multi-colored hippie images for WOODSTOCK and the upside-down nocturnal reflections of Clint Eastwood’s MYSTIC RIVER.
Moving with the times as American graphics began to change in the 1950s, I went from relying on traditional illustration to embracing Modernism, Symbolism, Pop Art and psychedelia. I didn’t forget the early American influences, such as J.C. Leyendecker, or the folksy wit of Norman Rockwell.
BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967)
We got together with Warren Beatty and I believe we had Faye Dunaway at the meeting as well, and Warren was in charge: it was his movie. He wasn’t sure what he wanted, or how to market BONNIE AND CLYDE. It was a sensational, dramatic action-thriller but he also wanted it to look authentic and real and exact — so, looking at the poster, you couldn’t make the mistake of thinking it was just a story. It was about the Depression years, 1930s America. Hence the sepia and the period lettering and those kinds of aesthetic choices. We worked from a specially shot photograph. Beatty was delighted with the final campaign.
My first assignment in 1942 after being hired by the Warner Bros. art department in New York was CASABLANCA. My initial thoughts were to put together a montage showing all the characters depicted in the film. I wanted to have Humphrey Bogart in the foreground and Ingrid Bergman behind him looking on. I didn’t want to give away their romance. The client loved it but said there was no excitement, so I put a gun in Bogart’s hand. The gun was taken from the film HIGH SIERRA.
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971)
Kubrick always wanted to be in control. He wanted to be aware of every step I was taking. He needed to know he had input and was part of the thinking process.
The poster used in the domestic campaign for DELIVERANCE showed hands coming out of the river holding a rifle. But executives in charge of the international campaign wanted something a little more dynamic to represent a movie about a weekend canoe trip from hell. So I thought, wouldn’t it be great if it had a three-dimensional quality, and it looked like it was coming out of the eye of one of the Southern characters? The tag line “What did happen on the Cahulawassee River?” added a final mysterious touch.
DIRTY HARRY (1971)
Clint and I have become very good friends over the years. Professionally, he is as good as it gets. He appreciates everything I have done for him, and has wonderful taste and a remarkable eye for art. Of course, there have been a couple of times when he has asked me to “go back to the drawing board” and investigate another direction. But this is part of the working process, and most of the time we are both on the same page. Clint Eastwood wrote in the foreword to “Bill Gold: Posterworks,” “With Bill I knew he would bring great ideas, and the poster he created would be one less thing we had to think about. He respected the film, he respected the story, and he always respected what we were trying to accomplish.”
THE EXORCIST (1973)
I picked the still of the priest, Father Merrin (Max von Sydow), arriving at the house in Georgetown for the exorcism with a briefcase in his hand because it struck a chord with me. When you looked at this still, you knew somehow that whatever is about to happen inside that house is not going to be good! I adapted it by taking a lot of the detail out of the photo and turning it into a design, and after that no one wanted to see anything else. I’d been specifically told by William Friedkin and Warner Bros. that we must not use an image of the girl possessed, or show anything that had any hint of religious connotation. They were very concerned about that. Friedkin was very involved, and he and Warners rejected all our other comps. They knew what they wanted and certainly picked the right image, which was used all over the world. And the movie, at the time, became the biggest hit in Warners’ history.
MY FAIR LADY (1964)
I had seen the stage musical on Broadway a couple of times, with Rex Harrison as Prof. Higgins and Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle, and I knew it by heart. This campaign is a favorite of mine. With George Cukor directing, the movie had Audrey Hepburn instead of Julie Andrews, and Cecil Beaton’s costumes and sets which were important. Warner Bros. had invested about $17 million in it. Here we began with work-in-progress charcoal drawings, and squiggles to get our juices flowing. Eventually, I was happy with the way both principals looked, and now we had to add some extra elements to embellish it, such as the umbrella. The final poster is a collage of charcoal drawings, with color added on top. I designed the lettering, which has become so symbolic of the movie, inseparable from it almost.
This was directed by Mike Nichols, for Paramount. We used military-style lettering and tried to capture the irreverence of the novel: putting war in its place. I like the clarity of these posters. But none were used in the end. They thought they were too clever. This one presents its message clearly with the overhead shot of a toilet with a toy bomber in the bowl. The tagline underneath the image simply says “The first film to put war in its place.” While that message does work with the film, perhaps it was a bit too risky a venture to go with at the time; or distributors felt that having a one-liner like this (despite the truth in it) wasn’t the best way to sell the movie.
October 2, 2016 – Today’s White House Student Film Festival in Washington, DC, marked AFI’s third annual collaboration on the event, which inspires and celebrates young filmmakers from around the nation. AFI welcomed aspiring K–12 filmmakers to the White House to premiere their work for an audience of special guests and film artists from in front of and behind the camera, including Ty Burrell, Alfre Woodard and STRANGER THINGS creators Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer and star Millie Bobby Brown.
AFI is a founding partner of the festival, which took place this year preceding South by South Lawn, an elaborate outdoor event celebrating the arts to be held on Monday, October 3. As part of AFI’s ongoing mission to educate today’s audiences and tomorrow’s storytellers — a mandate that began when AFI was born in the White House Rose Garden in 1965 — participating filmmakers will continue to learn about the art form after the festival by working closely with AFI Conservatory alumni as mentors.
Open to K–12 student filmmakers, storytellers were encouraged to submit their short film based on this year’s festival theme, “The World I Want to Live In.” Thirteen finalist films were screened at the event, followed by a meet-and-greet with festival attendees. In line with this year’s theme of looking toward the future, and the festival’s annual spirit of innovation, Virtual Reality stations were also part of the experience for guests, filmmakers and their families.
Since the White House Student Film Festival inception in 2014, AFI has worked on President Barack Obama’s program as an advisor and producer, reviewing submissions and creating a celebration that includes educational opportunities for the selected young filmmakers. This year, that partnership continued as the White House Student Film Festival highlighted both the Administration’s commitment to public service and AFI’s ongoing mission to nurture the next generation of storytellers.
All winners, including foreign films from Germany and Israel, are now eligible for the Oscars shorts categories
Posted by Larry Gleeson
By Steve Pond
Films from the American Film Institute, USC, the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University were the gold-medal winners at the Student Academy Awards, which were handed out on Thursday night at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
The 17 winning films were revealed in August, but the Academy does not announce whether each film has won the gold, silver or bronze medal until the awards ceremony, which caps a week-long series of industry events for the student filmmakers.
David Henry Gerson won the gold medal in the alternative category for “All These Voices,” a short about an SS officer encountering an acting troupe, which he made at AFI. Silver and bronze awards went to Yvonne Ng for “Cloud Kumo” and Johnny Coffeen for “The Swan Girl,” respectively.
Alicja Jacina from USC won the animation gold for “Once Upon a Line” — which, as the title suggests, consists of simple line drawings. Echo Wu won the animation silver for “The Wishgranter,” while Carter Boyce took bronze for “Die Flucht.”
The narrative gold medal went to “Nocturne in Black,” a film about a musician in a Middle Eastern conflict zone by Jimmy Keyrouz from Columbia University. “Art is a mighty tool that helps us fight extremism and terrorism,” said Keyroux in his acceptance speech. Silver and bronze in the category went to two films from Chapman University, Brian Robau’s “It’s Just a Gun” and Brenna Malloy’s “Rocket.”
In the documentary category, the top prize was won by Berkeley student Daphne Matziaraki for a film about refugees in the Mediterranean, “4.1 Miles.” Rongfei Guo won silver for “Fairy Tales” and Elise Conklin won bronze for “From Flint: Voices of a Poisoned City.”
Gold medals in the foreign-film categories went to the University of Television and Film Munich (Alex Schaad’s “Invention of Trust”), the Academy of Media Arts Cologne (Ahmad Saleh’s “Ayny”) and Tel Aviv University (Maya Sarfaty’s “The Most Beautiful Woman”).
The 17 winners consisted of nine women and eight men and made up a distinctly international group: Many of the students from U.S. film schools came from other countries.
Joel Edgerton, Lucy Liu, Daisy Ridley and Parker Sawyers served as presenters at the ceremony. Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs began the program by pointing out that a record 385 Academy members served as judges for the competition, while Student Academy Awards Chairman Gregg Helvey, a past winner himself, said that the Academy received a record 1,749 entries from 381 different film schools.
Winners received cash awards of $5,000 for gold, $3,000 for silver and $2,000 for bronze. In addition, all winners qualified for the 2016 Academy Award in either the live-action short, animated short or documentary short category.
In recent years, a number of Student Oscar winners have gone on to receive Oscar nominations, including Luke Matheny’s “God of Love” and Tanel Toom’s “The Confession” in 2010, Max Zahle’s “Raju” in 2011, Talkhon Hamzavi’s “Parvaneh” in 2013 and Patrick Vollrath’s “Everything Will Be Okay” last year.
Past Student Academy Award winners include Spike Lee, John Lasseter, Pete Doctor, Robert Zemeckis, Trey Parker, Bob Saget.
For the first time, the foreign area also included separate awards for foreign animated and documentary films, with only gold medals handed out in those two categories.
The winners and medal placement:
Gold: “All These Voices,” David Henry Gerson, American Film Institute
Silver: “Cloud Kumo,” Yvonne Ng, City College of New York
Bronze: “The Swan Girl,” Johnny Coffeen, Maharishi University of Management
Gold: “Once Upon a Line,” Alicja Jasina, USC
Silver: “The Wishgranter,” Echo Wu, Ringling College of Art and Design
Bronze: “Die Flucht,”Carter Boyce, DePaul University
Gold: “4.1 Miles,” Daphne Matziaraki, University of California, Berkeley
Silver: “Fairy Tales,” Rongfei Guo, New York University
Bronze: “From Flint: Voices of a Poisoned City,” Elise Conklin, Michigan State University
Gold: “Nocturne in Black,” Jimmy Keyrouz, Columbia University
Silver: “It’s Just a Gun,” Brian Robau, Chapman University
Bronze: “Rocket,” Brenna Malloy, Chapman University
Gold: “Invention of Trust,” Alex Schaad, University of Television and Film Munich (Germany)
Silver: “Where the Woods End,” Felix Ahrens, Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF (Germany)
Bronze: “Tenants,” Klara Kochanska, The Polish National Film, Television and Theatre School (Poland)
Gold: “The Most Beautiful Woman,” Maya Sarfaty, Tel Aviv University (Israel)
AFI announced the four documentary projects that will receive funding from the first-ever AFI DOCS/NBCUniversal Impact Grants. The grants will support the outreach and social action campaigns for the projects, which screened at AFI DOCS 2015 and participated in the inaugural AFI DOCS Impact Lab, a two-day filmmaker workshop that engaged participants with policymakers pursuing social change across a range of issues.
The documentary projects receiving a total of $75,000 in support from the 2015 AFI DOCS/NBCUniversal Impact Grants are:
THE CONVERSATION Blair Foster (Director/Producer), Geeta Gandbhir (Director/Producer), Jessica Jones (Impact Producer)
THE CONVERSATION, a series of short films, uses powerful personal narratives to elevate shared experiences about race and equality that are often only discussed in the confines of like-minded communities. The series aims to foster a deep dialogue around racial tension and polarization in the United States as well as serve as an outlet for more personal and intimate discussions about race relations in America. Each film will be a conversation from a different personal perspective, experience and racial lens within our society.
MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED Greg Whiteley (Director/Writer/Producer), Ted Dintersmith (Executive Producer), Daria Lombroso (Director of Campaign Strategy)
The American education system was developed during the Industrial Revolution to help prepare young people to take on standard jobs of the era, which no longer exist. So why has that system remained virtually unchanged for more than 100 years when our culture and economy have dramatically shifted to an age of information and technology? Filmmaker Greg Whiteley explores this paradox and examines the future of education through experimental schools such as San Diego’s High Tech High, where students, teachers and parents embark on a new path that aims to spark an education revolution.
As a sheriff in the 1970s, William “Dub” Lawrence founded Utah’s SWAT team. Thirty years later, when a police standoff ends with that SWAT team killing his son-in-law, Dub launches a personal investigation into the case. As the scope of his investigation grows to include several chilling cases of excessive force and questionable techniques used by law enforcement, he finds himself confronting a startling nationwide trend of increasing militarization of police forces.
Across the Jordanian border from Syria lies the world’s second largest refugee camp. In an effort to understand the growing crisis, a film team spends one month living in Za’tari. The Syrian families they meet aren’t just displaced, they have no promise of a future with sufficient food, security, education or peace. SALAM NEIGHBOR offers personal insights into the complexities of refugee life and challenges audiences to express neighborly love for people in crisis.