September – November 2014
God Help The Girl is a musical feature film, written and directed by Stuart Murdoch, lead singer of the group Belle and Sebastian. It was produced by Barry Mendel and stars Emily Browning, Olly Alexander and Hannah Murray.
Stuart aspired to tell the story of “a better summer, or at least a summer when something happened. It happened to a boy and a girl and a girl in a city roughly the same size and population of Glasgow. Perhaps the canals were a bit grimier, the high-rise buildings taller, the streets emptier when you needed them to be, and the beat clubs busier than the ones around here. But on the whole the city was this one.”
According to Barry Mendel, “It’s a simple story – about the brief moment after you’ve realised what you want to do with your life, before your dream settles into becoming your job, when you’re filled with enthusiasm, meeting like-minded friends and the possibilities are endless.”
The film was shot, edited, scored and mixed in Glasgow over the course of 2012-2013 and is be released in cinemas around the world in 2014.
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Director: Stuart Murdoch, 111 min. 2014
Official Site is here.
Official Selection, Sundance Film Festival 2014
A strange singer with “god given talent” drifts through the mythic city of Memphis under its canopy of ancient oak trees, shattered windows, and burning spirituality. Surrounded by lovers, legends, hustlers, preachers, and a wolfpack of kids, the unstable performer avoids the recording studio and is driven to spend time in his own form of self-discovery. Shown in fragments, his journey drags him from love and happiness right to the edge of another dimension. Featuring an explosive performance and score from the singular recording artist-cum-wizard, Willis Earl Beal, MEMPHIS is a film steeped in folklore, music, surrealism, and the abstract search for glory.
It is legend in Memphis that a blessed and cursed singer by the name of O.V. Wright fell from grace and was buried in an unmarked grave. I learned of his myth around the same time I was brought to Peace Baptist Church, and witnessed a deep spirituality as ancient as the oak trees that dress every street in the city. A true believer in ghost stories and a scholar of African American studies, I was drawn to tell my own folk tale, and there was only one place on my mind. Our film captures the descent of a troubled singer as he drifts through an urban landscape looking to save his very soul. We surrounded ourselves with real Memphians and made a film that hopes to project a cool, beautiful world – as old as dirt and yet entirely new, and deserved of the title MEMPHIS.
Written and Directed by Tim Sutton.
Cast: Willis Earl Beal, Lopaka Thomas, Constance Brantley, Devonte Hull, John Gary Williams, Larry Dodson Music by Willis Earl Beal. Digital. USA 79 mins.
Official Site is Here.
Beginning in 2004, filmmaker/novelist Catherine Breillat had a series of debilitating strokes connected to a previously undiagnosed cerebrovascular disease.During her long, grueling recovery, she became fascinated by international con man Christophe Rocancourt. She decided only he could play the leading part in her next film. Their close friendship ended with a bang in 2009—when Breillat sued Rocancourt for conning her out of nearly $1 million.
No stranger to discomfiting her audience—or herself—Breillat fictionalizes that recent life chapter here, with the inimitable Isabelle Huppert as stroke-felled filmmaker/novelist “Maud Shainberg.” Maud invites into her life notorious celebrity “crook” Vilko Piran (French rapper Kool Shen). The two fast become thick as, well, thieves. The title Abuse of Weakness suggests a simple victimization that is in fact much more complex and ambiguous in Breillat’s queasy, thinly veiled self-portrait.
In Huppert’s fearless performance, Maud is perversely willing prey to “wild animal” Vilko. He’s rude, bullying, seductive—but then she is often demanding, arrogant and contrary herself. Their interdependency has elements of a marriage (though he’s already married) and an affair (though it’s platonic). These are two prickly, high-maintenance people determined to get the most out of each other, for better or worse. The fact that it’s very likely to be “for worse” seems key to their mutual attraction. –Dennis Harvey
Directed and Written by Catherine Breillat,
Casts: Isabelle Huppert, Kool Shen, Laurence Ursino
2014, France | Germany | Belgium, 105min.
Anger rages in Philip as he awaits the publication of his second novel. He feels pushed out of his adopted home city by the constant crowds and noise, a deteriorating relationship with his photographer girlfriend Ashley, and his own indifference to promoting the novel. When Philip’s idol Ike Zimmerman offers his isolated summer home as a refuge, he finally gets the peace and quiet to focus on his favorite subject: himself.
Following up his critically acclaimed The Color Wheel, Alex Ross Perry scripts a complex, intimate, and highly idiosyncratic comedy filled with New Yorkers living their lives somewhere between individuality and isolation. Jason Schwartzman leads an impressive cast, including Elisabeth Moss, Krysten Ritter, and Jonathan Pryce, balancing Perry’s quick-witted dialogue and their characters’ painful, personal truths. With narration by Eric Bogosian, we switch perspectives as seasons and attitudes change, offering a literary look into the lives of these individuals and the triumph of reality over the human spirit.
Directed by Alex Ross Perry 108 min. U.S.A. 2014
Filmmakers in Person!
On October 2nd, 1977 Dusty Baker hit his 30th homerun of the season, making history as the 4th player on the Dodgers to hit 30 or more home runs. As Baker rounded the bases, an excited rookie named Glenn Burke met him at home plate, raised his arm high in the air and slapped Baker five. It was the first high five recorded in the history of sports. A year later, Burke was forced about of baseball amid rumors of his sexual orientation. The film takes audiences back to the spontaneous moment between the two men and tells the story of how the celebratory gesture spread throughout the sports world at same time Burke was being forced from the game he loved. The film won the Jury Award and Best Short Doc at the 2014 San Francisco International Film Festival.
10 Minutes, Short Documentary, A Film by Michal Jacobs
Michael Jacobs debut feature Audience of One won awards at SXSW, Silverdocs and screened at New Directors/New Films before going on to theatrical release and a premiere on Sundance Channel. Jacobs has directed documentaries for Sony Pictures, Current TV and Popup Magazine. Jacobs is currently a founding member of Strike Anywhere Films.
Santa Cruz del Islote
Santa Cruz Isolate is less than three acres large and is one of the world’s most densely populated islands. This remote but family-like community resides fifty miles from Cartagena, Colombia. Such isolation has provided a peaceful existence for generations, but sufficient resources are becoming increasingly scarce. This short documentary explores the daily lives of a young boy and a fisherman as they come to terms with their changing paradise.
19 Minutes, Short Documentary, A Film by Luke Lorentzen
Luke Lorentzen is an undergraduate Film Studies major and American Studies minor at Stanford University. He has a particular interest in visually centered stories that explore everyday ways of life. His work has won awards at the San Francisco International Film Festival and Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Luke is currently working on a new documentary about the variety of barber shops and hair salons throughout the five boroughs of New York City.
The Delano Manong
The Delano Manongs tells the story of the Filipino farmworkers who spurred the Great Grape Strike in 1965 and joined forces with the other ethnic workers to create the United Farmworkers Union.
The film chronicles the untold story of the Filipino farmworkers who instigated one of the biggest labor struggles in American history — the Delano Grape Strike of 1965. Led by Larry Itliong, Philip Vera Cruz and Pete Velasco, the Manongs (a Filipino term of respect for an older man) joined forces with Chicano farmworkers, led by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, to create the United Farm Workers Union (UFW). The documentary, compounded by interviews and both archival and present-day footage, sheds light on the lives of these Filipino farmworkers from their arrival into the United States in the 1920s and ’30s to the demise of their assemblage in the 1980s, highlighting their many struggles and achievements. The legacy created by the Manongs — out of a necessity and want for basic equality and humanity — is one still significant to and celebrated by thousands of Filipino Americans today. The Trailer is Here.
27 Minutes, Short Documentary, A Film By Marissa Aroy
Marissa Aroy, director, of The Delano Manongsreceived an Emmy for the documentary “Sikhs in America,” which was shown on PBS. She produced and directed “Little Manila: Filipinos in California’s Heartland” also for PBS and produced “Sounds of Hope” for Frontline World. Aroy holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Boston College and a master’s degree in journalism from University of California, Berkeley. She recently came back from Tacloban where she was filming the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, Philippines for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Aroy was named one of the most influential Filipina women in the US in 2009 by the Filipina Womens Network. She and her filmmaking partner, Niall McKay, founded Media Factory, a media production company in 2004. For more about Media Factory: http://www.mediafactory.tv
As a 13 year-old, Matthew Boger was thrown out of his home for being gay. While living on the streets of Hollywood, he was savagely beaten in a back alley by a group of neo-Nazi skinheads. Boger managed to survive the attack and escape life on the streets. Twenty-five years later, Boger found himself in a chance meeting with a former neo-Nazi skinhead, Tim Zaal. The two men soon realized that they had met before…Zaal was one of the attackers who beat Boger and left him for dead.
With their worlds turned upside down, the two embarked on a journey of forgiveness and reconciliation that challenged both to grapple with their own beliefs and fears. Neither could imagine that it would to lead to an improbable collaboration…and friendship.
23 Minutes, Short Documentary, A Film By Jason Cohen
Academy Award-nominated Jason Cohen has produced and directed all formats of film and television on projects that cover a broad range of topics over the past 20 years. Currently, Cohen is in production on a global film about love and forgiveness that has taken him around the world to highlight stories in Uganda, India, Haiti, Spain and Italy.
Cohen has had an ongoing relationship with Academy Award-winning director Steven Okazaki for over 15 years. Last year he produced the Okazaki-directed APPROXIMATELY NELS CLINE, about the world-renowned lead guitarist of the rock band Wilco. He co-produced HBO’s Emmy-nominated BLACK TAR HEROIN: DARK END OF THE STREET, with Okazaki and was a producer on his Emmy Award-winning HBO doc on the dropping of the atomic bomb, WHITE LIGHT/BLACK RAIN, which also screened at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. *Full Biography
Depressed and frustrated with his life, Dr. John Kitchin abandons his career as a neurologist and moves to Pacific Beach. There, he undergoes a radical transformation into SLOMO, trading his lab coat for a pair of rollerblades and his IRA for a taste of divinity.
18 Minutes, Short Documentary, A Film by Josh Izenberg
Josh hails from Ann Arbor, where he earned a degree in Screenwriting from the University of Michigan. He’s since worked as a copywriter, a cab driver, and a carpenter. SLOMO is his first documentary.