The KPFK Film Club - The Best Deal in Town for Cinema Fans!
What is the KPFK Film Club?
The KPFK Film Club is available to listener-subscribers who, for an annual pledge of $150 to the station, are invited to attend (with a guest) quality, topically diverse films, both contemporary and classic, which we believe will be of interest to the broad range of our listenership.
How do listeners join the Film Club?
Just call our Subscriptions Department at (818) 985-2711, extension 508, during weekday working hours to join the Film Club or make an online pledge of $150 to the station.
How do members find out about screenings?
Screenings are announced regularly on the air, listed online, and by calling the front desk at (818) 985-2711, Dial "0" for Operator, full descriptions and sign-ups are available at the reception desk.
Where are films shown?
Films are shown at various venues throughout the Los Angeles area, including Hollywood, West L.A., Pasadena, Encino, Ventura, Long Beach and Agoura Hills. We hope to expand our range of offerings to accomodate more and more of our Southern California listenership.
How are seats reserved?
By calling the KPFK switchboard -- (818) 985-2711, extension 0 -- during weekday working hours, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, giving your name and Film Club card number to the receptionist at the front desk. If the receptionist is busy, please call back. PLEASE DO NOT SIGN UP FOR A FILM IF YOU DO NOT PLAN TO GO - PASSES ARE LIMITED!
CURRENT OFFERINGS NOW PLAYING:
BEYOND THE HILLS is a starkly beautiful film set in an isolated Orthodox convent in Romania where two childhood friends are reunited. Alina wishes to return to Germany, while her friend finds refuge in faith and her family of nuns. When Alina challenges the priest and the order, she is suspected of being possessed. Based on a case of alleged demonic possession that occurred in a Romanian monastery in 2005, BEYOND THE HILLS was the winner of Best Actress and Best Screenplay at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and was also the Romanian entry for the 2012 Academy Awards. Opens on Fri. March 8th at Laemmle's Royal in Santa Monica.
GREEDY LYING BASTARDS investigates the reasons behind stalled efforts to tackle climate change, despite consensus in the scientific community that it is not only a reality, but an urgent problem placing us on the brink of disaster. Revealing the organizations casting doubt on climate science, it documents the impact of industries that put profits before people. Playing at Sundance Sunset Cinemas, 8000 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.
A PLACE AT THE TABLE reveals that hunger is not just a third world problem. Forty-nine million people in the US (one in four children) don'tknow where their next meal is coming from. The issue is examined through the lens of 3 people struggling with food insecurity: Barbie, a single mother who grew up in poverty and is trying to provide a better life for her kids; Rose, a 5th grader who often has to depend on friends and neighbors to feed her and has trouble concentrating in school; and Tremonica, a 2nd-grader whose asthma and health issues are exacerbated by the empty calories her hardworking mother can afford. At Sundance Sunset Cinemas.
RECENT OFFERINGS IN 2013:
2nd ANNUAL TURKISH FILM FESTIVAL runs Feb. 28th through March 3rd at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. Highlights include "A Butterfly's Dream"; "Mold"; "Inside" and "Beyond the Hill, also a Shorts competition currated by Elvis Mitchell.
MUMIA: LONG DISTANCE REVOLUTIONARY creates an inspiring portrait of a man whose existence tests our beliefs about freedom of expression. Before he was convicted of murdering a policeman in 1981 and sentenced to die, Mumia Abu-Jamal was a gifted journalist and writer. After more than 39 yrs in prison and despite attempts to silence him, Mumia continued to report, educate, and provoke, authoring several books from Death Row. Stephen Vittoria's new feature documentary utilizes archival footage and dramatic readings and features Cornel West, Dick Gregory, Angela Davis, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, among others. Played at Laemmle's Music Hall 3 in Beverly Hills.
KOCH chronicles the personal and political toll of running the Big Appel in a time of upheaval and re-invention. Popular and polarizing, former NY Mayor Ed Koch was the quintessential New Yorker - ferocious, charismatic, and hilariously blunt. With candid interviews and rare archival footage, first time filmmaker Neil Barksy crafts an intimate and revealing portrait of this intensely private man, his legacy and the town he helped transform during his tumultuous three terms. Ironically, Ed Koch passed away on Feb. 1st, 2013, the day the film opened in NY. KOCH opens in LA on Friday, March 1st at Laemmle's Royal, NoHo 7, Playhouse 7 in Pasadena and Town Center 5 in Encino.
AMOUR, winner of this year's Oscar for Best Foreign Language film, the Palm De 'Or at Cannes, the Golden Globe and Independent Spirit award, is the story of an octogenarian couple's abiding love for each other, which isput to the test when one suffers a stroke and is left partially paralyzed. AMOUR plays at Sundance Sunset Cinemas, 8000 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.
JACK THE GIANT SLAYER is an epic adventure in 3D with an all-star cast directed by acclaimed filmmaker Bryan Singer. An ancient war is re-ignited when a young farmhand unwittingly opens a gateway betwen our world and a fearsome race of giants. Fighting for a kingdom and its people and the lvoe of a brave princess, Jack comes face-to-face with the unstoppable warriors he thought only existed in legend.
WAYNE FEDERMAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL runs Feb. 28th through March 2nd at Cinefamily's Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax in Hollywood. Featuring a slate of comedians who select films that have inspired them, this year's participants are Sarah Silverman, The Sklar Brothers, Dana Gould, Nick Kroll and Bill Burr. They introduce the films and take questions afterward about the films they've selected - "Crimes and Misdemeanors," "Raising Arizona," Dr. Strangelove," "Breaking Away, and "The Dirty Dozen."
THE BERLIN FILE, Korea's biggest release of 2013, is a stunning spy thriller which brings North-South Korean tensions to the streets of Berlin with an intensity not seen since the Cold War. Loyalties are questions when an illegal arms deal descends into mayhem after a "ghost" agent appears on the scene, leaving the North Koreans and CIA wondering if there's a more insidious plot at hand. In a tale of redemption where human beings are defined by the dangerous secrets bigger than their own lives. Played at CGV Cinemas, 621 S. Western Ave., in LA.
BESTIARE is a breathtaking exploration of interspecies observation. Shot in Quebec's Parc Safari animal sanctuary over several months, BESTIARE captures a tableau of creatures and their human handlers. In a visually stunning montage with no agenda, no interviews, no narration, and no sentimentality, it is composed like a painting, deep and mysterious, the subjects linger and drift into each other in a startling way. Played at Cinefamily's Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles.
TRISTANA, Luis Bunuel's controversial 1970 masterpiece, stars Catherine Deneuve as an orphaned young woman who becomes the ward of a nobleman (played by Fernando Rey), who seduces her. Leaving him for an artist (played by Franco Nero), she returns to her aging benefactor to calculatingly hasten his demise. Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in 1971, Vincent Candy called it "nothing less that the quintessential Bunuel film of all time." Newly restored, played at the Nuart, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd. in West LA.
THE BITTER BUDDHA, aka comedian Eddie Pepitone, is a man at war with himself. This humorous documentary takes an unconventional look at an unconventional man as he struggles with career, the past, and the world around him. Through animation, stand-up comedy and interviews with Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, and Marc Maron, among others, Pepitone, one of the best kept secrets on the comedy scene, is revealed in an unhinged portrait of creativity, enlightenment, and rage. Robin Williams calls him "an extraordinary hybrid" with "the comedic content of George Carlin and the vocal volume of Ethel Merman." THE BITTER BUDDHA opens on Friday, Feb. 15th for one week ony at the Downtown Independent Theatre, 251 S. Main St., Los Angeles, CA.
HAPPY PEOPLE: A YEAR IN THE TAIGA is acclaimed director Werner Herzog and Russian co-director Dmitry Vasyukov's journey to an unforgettable, visually stunning wilderness in the heart of Siberia where 300 indigenous people live in a culture virtually untouched by modernity. It follows a trapper through all four seasons through remote and extreme natural landscapes. Played at the Nuart, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., in West LA.
SHANGHAI CALLING is a romantic comedy about modern-day American immigrants in China. An ambitious NY attorney is transferred to Shanghai on assignment (partially because he's Chinese-American). A fish-out-of-water, he stumbles into a legal mess that could spell the end of his career, but with the help of a beautiful relocation specialists, a well-connected foreign businessman, a clever by unassuming journalist, and a street-smart assistant, he just might save his job, discover romance, and learn to appreciate the many wonders Shanghai has to offer. SHANGHAI CALLING opens Feb. 15 at Laemmle's Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
MUGABE: VILLAIN OR HERO? Part of the 21st Annual PAN AFRICAN FILM FEST (running Feb. 7th through 18th at AMC Baldwin Hills, 4020 Marlton Ave., 90008. A British filmmaker's personal journey into the world of the infamous leader, from Mugabe's entourage to Mohmar Gaddafi's private jet, surrounded by a host of prominent African leaders. What began as a 3-month mission became a 3-yr. life-changing project, culminating in a rare interview with one of the world's most controversial, reviled leaders, revealing more than we see on our television screens.
56 UP, chronicles the lives of 14 British schoolchildren from diverse backgorunds, asking them about their lives and dreams for the future. Michael Apted's acclaimed series returns to the subjects every 7 years to examined the progression of theirs lives. From cab driver Tony, to schoolmates Jackie, Lynn and Susan, and the heart-breaking Neil, more life-changing decisions and surprising developments are revealed - successes and disappointments, marriage, divorce, childbirth, poverty and illness - nearly every fact of life is discussed with the group as they assess whether their lives have ultimately been ruled by circumstance or self-determination. The 7 UP series, which Roger Ebert calls, "an inspired, almost noble us of the film medium, Apted penetrates to the central mystery of life." Played at the Arena Cinema Theatre, 1625 N. Las Palmas Ave., in Hollywood.
SAVING LINCOLN tells the story of Ward Hill Lamon, Lincoln's self-appointed bodyguard and the only friend the newly-elected President brought to Washington with him. A banjo-playing, joke-telling former law partner and confidante, Lamon was also handy with a gun, serving Lincoln faithfully throughout the Civil War years, witnessing every aspect of the military & political pressure, as wel as the personal losses of family and friends. Not present on that fateful night at Ford's Theatre, his perspective redefines that tragic event in a surprising and uplifting manner. Starring Lea Coco as Lamon and Tom Amandes as Lincoln, it also features Penelope Ann Miller as Mary Todd Lincoln and Bruce Davison as William Seward. SAVING LINCOLN opens Friday, Feb. 15th at Laemmle's Music Hall 3 in Beverly Hills.
QUARTET, Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut stars Maggie Smith, Billie Connolly, Tom Courtenay and Pauline Collins as retired musicians confronting age and the past in a retirement home for once illustrious performers. With the arrival of a well known operatic soloist, old emotional wounds surface as they prepare for a gala concert. Adapted from a play based upon the documentary "Tosca's Kiss," QUARTET played at Sundance Sunset Cinemas, 8000 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.
PORT OF SHADOWS, lauded as one of Marcel Carne's finest films, established the genre of poetic realism, exploring the fog-shrouded zone between past and future, life and death, and the impossibility of escape. The 1938 classic is presented in a new restoration featuring an all-new translation and subtitles and follows a deserter from the Colonial Army in need of a new life and haunted by his past, wondering if he can leave to a disastrous fate the only person who has made him happy. PORT OF SHADOWS opens on Friday, Feb. 1st at Laemmle's Royal in West LA and Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
OSCAR NOMINATED ANIMATION SHORTS will screen for two weeks at the Nuart, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., beginning Feb. 1st. Get a jump on the the office Oscar pool by catching this year's nominees. This year's program will be hosted by last year's winners: William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, directors of "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore."
STAND-UP GUYS stars Academy Award winners Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin in a tough, but touching action comedy as retired gangsters who reunite for one last epi night. Three former criminal associates reflect on their glory days and freedom lost and who, despite their age, find their capacity for mayhem is still alive and well. When a dangerous secret is revealed, they are faced with an impossible quandary by a former mob boss, forcing them to confront their past once and for all.
NIGHT is a documentary which celebrates the night with stunning city views, country vistas and interview with people from all walks of life about their nocturnal experiences. while some regard the night with fear and the unknown, for others it signals hearth, home, and freedom from the stresses and worries of the workaday world, while for others it is a time to dress up and step out with friends. Part of Film Festival Flix, NIGHT screens ONLY on Feb. 6th at Laemmles Playhouse 7 and on 2/7 at Laemmle's NoHo 7, followed by a Q & A with Australian filmmaker Lawrence Johnston.
2013 SHORT DOC OSCAR NOMINEES include a rich variety of films - "Kings Point" about a senior retirement resort in Florida; "Open Heart" which follows the journey of Rwandan children to get heart surgery at a free Emergency hospital in the Sudan; "Redemption" about New Yorkers who find treasure in trash; "Inocente" in which a young undocumented immigrant dreams of becoming an artist; and "Mondays at Racine" about a hair salon providing free services for women undergoing chemotherapy. OSCAR NOMINATED SHORT DOCS opens on Feb. 8th at Laemmles Music Hall 3, 9036 Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills.
LORE, a 14-yr old German girl, is left to fend for herself when her SS officer father and her mother, a staunch Nazi believer, are interred by the Allies at the end of WWII. Leading her four siblings on a harrowing journey across a devastated country, she meets a charismatic, mysterious young refugee, she finds she must put her trust in the very person she was always taught to hate in order to survive. Played at Laemmle's Playhouse 7 in Pasadena and Town Center 5, Encino.
LET FURY HAVE THE HOUR looks at the last 40 years of social history to make the case for activism and creative solutions as an antidote to modern cynicism. An exuberant, mixed media collage of music, art, animation and spoken word, it brings together 50 artists, writers, musicians, skateboarders, dancers and rights advocates, including Eve Ensler, Tom Morello, Billy Bragg, Shepard Fairey, Chuck D, Lewis Black and Van Jones, who claim we can re-image the world we live in and take an active role in making that a reality. LET FURY HAVE THE HOUR played at Laemmle's NoHo 7, 5140 Lankershim Blvd.
IN ANOTHER COUNTRY is a laugh-out-loud comedy that plays like a lost French Wave classic. Starring Isabelle Huppert in overlapping stories in which three different French women (all played by Huppert) visit a resort town and encounter a flirtatious director, a love-struck lifeguard and too much soju in a tale of love, lust, and misunderstanding. Opens Friday, 1/11 at Laemmle's Town Center 5, Royal and Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
GANGSTER SQUAD chronicles the LAPD's attempts to keep East Coast gangsters out of LA in the '40s and '50s. Starring Sean Penn as Mickey Cohen, it features an all-star cast including Josh Brolin, Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling and Nick Nolte.
TABU, from Portugal with English sub-titles, is a sumptuous, eccentric two-part tale centered on Aurora, an impulsive, cantankerous elderly woman hospitalized with a grave condition. When her neighbor, Pilar, attempts to contact a mystery man from Aurora's past, it becomes a journey back in time 50 years before the start of the Portuguese Colonial War. A poetic, moving tale of forbidden love, it features a soundtrack of Phil Spector songs. TABU opens on Friday, Jan 25th at Laemmle's Royal in West LA and Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
LET MY PEOPLE GO! is a sweet, hilarious fusion of gay romantic comedy, Jewish family drama and French bedroom farce which follows the travails and daydreams of the lovelorn Reuben, a mailman living in Findland with his Nordic boyfriend. When a series of mishaps and a lovers' quarrel exile the heartbroken Reuben back to Paris and his zany family, the result is a heartwarming, fabulously kitschy and funny celebration which upends stereotypes with wit, gusto, and style. LET MY PEOPLE GO! played at Laemmle's Town Center 5 in Encino and Royal in West LA.
FACE TO FACE, an Australian drama directed by Michael Rymer (of "Battlestar Gallactica" fame) deals with restorative justice in a mediation case involving a fired construction workers, his boss, family, friends and co-workers. What seems to be a simple case of vehicular assault is revealed to be the culmination of toxic work environment, sexual harassment, infidelities and racism, which bring the defendant to the breaking point. Part of the Film Festival Flix monthly screening of award-winning films, it seems one night only on 1/9 at Laemmle's Playhouse 7 in Pasadena and one night only on 1/10 at Laemmle's NoHo 7 in North Hollywood. Followed by a Q & A.
RESOLUTION is a new horror thriller in which two friends confront their personal demons, the consequences of past actions and forces beyond their control. Combining dark humor with thrills and unexpected pathos, RESOLUTION runs Mon - Friday at 7:30 pm and 9:20 pm at the Arena Theatre, 1625 N. Las Palmas Ave. in Hollywood.
MAX AND THE JUNKMEN is a restoration of the Claude Sautet classic in which Max has only one thing on his mind: putting away criminals, knowing that the way to catch a thief is to catch them in the act. When he runs into an old army buddy, he hatches a plan to trick a group of amateurs into committing a major crime by posing as a client of a prostitute, never suspecting that he'd fall in love with her. Opens on Fri. 1/11 at Laemmle's Music Hall 3 in Beverly Hills.
UPRISING tells the inside story of the Egyptian revolution from the perspective of its principal leaders and organizers, depicting their struggle against all odds. From the producing team behind "Taxi to the Dark Side" and the editor of "Inside Job," UPRISING tells the story includes never-before-seen footage, along with interviews with Nobel Peace Prize nominees, Egyptian and Jordanian foreign ministers and presidential candidates and US ambassadors. UPRISING opens on Friday, 1/11 at Laemmle's Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
FRACKNATION explores economic, personal, scientific, political, and historical factors involved in hydraulic fracturing, claiming to uncover facts suppressed by environmental activists and speaking with rural American whose livelihoods are affected by it. With a decidedly different view than "Gasland" or "Promised Land," it claims to ask tough questions and challenge general assumptions telling a story they feel has been ignored. Sure to be controversial, FRACKNATION opens on Friday, 1/11 at Laemmle's Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
RUST AND BONE tells the rocky love story of two independent, strong-willed souls who bond in the aftermath of a tragic accident. Starring Marion Cotillard as a killer whale trainer who loses her former sense of self in order to be reborn. Played at Sundance Sunset Cinemas.
OFFERINGS FROM 2012
PROMISED LAND, directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Matt Damon, John Krasinski, Frances McDormand, Hal Holbrook and Rosemary DeWitt, examines American identity, economic decline, and environmental repercussions in the battle over fracking. When corporate sales people arrive in a rural town seeking to procure drilling rights to local properties, they encounter resistance from a respected schoolteacher and grassroots campaigner. Screened at the Arclight in Hollywood and theatres throughout LA
ANY DAY NOW stars Alan Cumming and Garret Dillahunt in a powerfully moving story of a Down's syndrome teenager who has been abandoned by his mother, taken in by a gay couple, in whom he finds the family he never had. Taking place in the 1970's, it touches on the legal and social issues which are more relevant now than ever. Played at Laemmle Theatres.
THE SESSIONS, based on the autobiographical writings of California-based journalist and poet Mark O'Brien, tells the story of a man confined to an iron lung, but determined to lose his virginity at the age of 38. With the help of therapists and the guidance of his priest, eh sets out to make his draem a reality. Directed by Ben Lewin, with extraordinary performances by John Hawkes and Helen Hunt, it played at Sundance Sunset Cinemas.
HYDE PARK ON HUDSON stars Bill Murray as President Roosevelt, Olivia Williams as Eleanor, and Laura Linney at Daisy, Franklin's neighbor and intimate, for whom a weekend visit from the British Royals looking to FDR for support, provides a deeper understanding of the mysteris of relationships between nations, as well as love and friendship. Played at the ArcLight in Hollywood.
ANNA KARENINA stars Keira Knightley, Jude Law and Emily Watson in a bold adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's timeless tale by renowned playwright Tom Stoppard, from the director of "Atonement" and "Pride and Prejudice". Set in 19th Century Russian high society, it explores the capacity for love that surges through the human heart. As Anna questions her marriage and happiness, changes comes to all around her. Played at The Landmark.
CHASING ICE is an urgent, undeniable quest to raise awareness about global warming. National Geographic photographer James Balog, once a skeptic about climate change, conducts an Extreme Ice Survey, discovering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras to capture a multi-year record of the world's changing glaciers, his hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds, capturing ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. Startling, powerful, unforgettable, it played at the Nuart in West L.A.
THE TROUBLE WITH TRUTH stars John Shea and Lea Thompson who reunite and dredge up old memories and wounds when their daughter announces her engagement, discovering unresolved issues, that love, marriage and divorce aren't quite as simple as they'd like. Played at Laemmle's Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
THE LAW IN THESE PARTS asks the questions, "What is legal and what is just?" Winner of the documentary Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, it is a pointed examination of the legal system set in place by Israel for the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Through candid, first-ever interviews with judges, prosecutors, and legal advisors, it is a gripping, revelatory investigation of the long-term jurisdiction by an occupying army, unique in the world. Played at Laemmle's NoHo 7.
AMERICAN EMPIRE posits that the country which has nurtured us has now become an economic empire which is slowly destroying us, controlled by a system of debt and inflation, investigating who is benefitting and why, and how their actions have affected our food, health, and freedoms. Including interviews with experts in many field to understand what has corrupted the American Dream, including Vandana Shiva, Charlotte Gerson, Poeter Koenig and other, it played at Laemmles Town Center 5.
THE MAN WHO SHOOK THE HAND OF VICENTE FERNANDEZ, stars Academy Award-winner Ernest Borgnine in his last screen appearance. A retired radio DJ who always dreamed of being a Western movie cowboy becomes the local hero of his nursing home when he leads the staff in a revolt against the tyrannical owner, earning the respect of his family and friends in this homage to the westerns of yore. Played at Laemmle's Town Center 5.
CHARACTER captures iconic actors and directors as they discuss their craft and lives wtih candor and insight. Features Harry Dean Stanton, Dabney Coleman, Mark Rydell, Peter Falk and Signey Pollack. Played at the Arena Cinema in Hollywood.
THE ATHLETE follows the remarkable life of Abebe Bikila, a hero in his natuve country of Ethiopia as the first sub-Saharan African to win an Olymipic gold medal. As a barefoot marathon runner in Rome in 1960, he then repeated the incredible feat in 1964 in Tokyo. Following a devastating injury, with grit and determination and unconquerable optimism, Bikila went on to compete in other sports including archery at the ParaOlympics in England and dogsledding in Norway. Filmed on location from the Arctic to the Equator, this biopic merges newsreel footage and narrative about this true champion. Played at Arena Cinema in Hollywood and as part of the Film Fest Flix series.
THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE, written and directed by Ken Burns, David McMahon, and Sarah Burns examines the devastating miscarriage of justice, the systemtic dysfunction and media frenzy surrounding the wrongful conviction of five black and Latino teenagers for the rape of a white woman in Central Park in 19889. After spending between 6-13 years in prison, they were eventually exonerated after the shocking confession of a serial rapist. Powerful, moving and eye-opening, it played at the Nuart and Sundance Sunset Cinemas.
15th ANNUAL ARPA INTL. FILM FEST, ran Nov. 29th through Dec. 2nd at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. Seeking to cultivate understanding through a dynamic forum for international cinema, ARPA showcased over 60 features, documentaries, and shorts from 17 countries, including Opening Night's "Lost and Found in Armenia, as well as panels.
9TH ANNUAL HOLLYWOOD REEL INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL, runs Dec. 3 through 12 at the New Beverly Theatre. Highlights include a retrospective of films of Tinto Brass with restorations of "La Vacanza" and "Dropout," both unseen in 35 yrs, starring Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero; and winner of the Best Doc, "Bible Storyland," featuring Charles Phoenix about the religious-themed amusement park that never was and one man's search to find out why.
CALIFORNIA SOLO stars Robert Carlyle ("Full Monty" and "Trainspotting") as a former Britpop rock star who works on an organic farm outside of LA by day, and at night records a podcast which recounts the tragic deaths of great musicians. In a tale of post-fame life and personal redemption, he is forced to confront his demons when a DUI dredges up the past and threatens him with deportation. Played at the Nuart in West L.A.
WHO BOMBED JUDI BARI? chronicles the FBI's refusal to investigate the car bombing of environmental activists touring to save the redwoods; its arrest of the victims of that bombing and their successful 1st Amendment lawsuit against the federal government. Played at Laemmle's NoHo 7.
HONOR FLIGHT documents a race against the clock to take every living local WWII vet on a trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorial built in their honor. For veterans reluctant to talk about the war, the honor flight experience brings out the moving stories and wisdom of these humble heroes. Played at Laemmle's Town Center 5.
WAR OF THE WORLDS, THE TRUE STORY, presented as a journalist's first-hand memoirs, assumes there was a war between Earth and Mars in the year 1900 and is presented as the eyewitness account of the last survivor as he struggles to find his wife amidst the destruction of mankind. Played at Laemmle's Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, SINGALONG, a Christmas Eve tradition, is Norman Jewison's adaptation of the Broadway musical, set in the Ukrainian village of Anatevka, starring Topol in his legendary portrayal of Tevye, the milkman, whose equilibrium is constantly being challenged by poverty, prejudice, and the romantic entanglements of his five daughters. Played at Laemmles NoHo7, Town Center 5 and the Royal in West L.A.
THE NUTCRACKER, presented in 3D by the Russian Imperial Mariinsky Theatre, which was its original home in 1892. Screening throughout LA on one night only.
THE PHAROAH'S DAUGHTER, presented as a part of Laemmle's Ballet in Cinema series, was originally a hit in 1862, but fell out of favor with the Soviet regime. Resurrected by the Bolshoi Ballet in 2000, it became a favorite once again. A young Englishman travelling through Egypt meets a caravan of Arab merchants at the foot of a pyramid. when a storm breaks out, they take shelter where the daughter of one of Egypt's most powerful Pharoahs lies in a tomb nearby, relaying her story through the dreams of an opium pipe.
IN THE HOLY LAND OF TYROL focusses on a Bavarian woman married to a Tyrolean furniture maker who accidentally kills a French soldier during the Occupation. Fleeing to her husband's family farm, she finds herself despised by his Catholic family, eventually earning their respect by concocting a drastic plan to keep her husband from returning to the war. Part of Film Festival Flix, played at Laemmles Playhouse 7 and Noho7.
THE NUTCRACKER presented by London's Royal Ballet, a holiday favorite the world over, screens as part of Laemmle's Ballet in Cinemas series. A magician's secrets, an enchanted gift, a guiding angel and a visit through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets, Tchaikovsky's classic is a must-see for audience of all ages. Played at Laemmle Theatres througout LA.
WALTER AND TANDOORI'S XMAS is a 3D animated comedy in which Walter, endearing, compulsive and funny, travels the world with his faithful sidekock, Tandoori, a hyperactive chicken, confronting environmental wrongs which need righting. Played at the Regency, Van Nuys Plant 16.
BARRYMORE stars Oscar-winner Christopher Plummer, re-creating his tour-de-force Tony Award-winning role as the acclaimed actor John Barrymore. Set in 1942, no longer a box office star, Barrymore reckons with the ravages of a life of excess. Renting a theatre to raise money for a revival of his 1920 Broadway triumph in "Richard III," he reflects on the highs and lows of his stunning career. Played at Sundance Sunset Cinemas.
A ROYAL AFFAIR, Denmark's official entry for the Academy Awards Best Foreign Film, is the true story of an ordinary man who wins the h eart of a queen and starts a revolution. Centering on the love triangle of queen Caroline Mathilda, it is the gripping tale of not only a passionate and forbidden romance, but the brave idealists who risk everything in their pursuit of freedom for their people. Played at the Landmark.
2012 AFI FILM FESTIVAL, running Nov. 1 through 8 at Mann's Chinese Cinemas at Hollywood and Highland:
KON-TIKI,Based on a true story, Thor Heyerdahl, alone in his belief that Polynesia was first populated by settlers from South American rather than by men from the East, is determined to raise funds for an expedition to prove his hypothesis. Epic in amibition and scale, with stunning cinematography and first-class special effects, the extraordinary journey pits man against shark and storm.
THE HUNT, is about the witch-hunt that ensued when a daycare worker is accused of sexually abusing the young daughter of one of his closest friends. Featuring an extraordinary performance by Mads Mikkelsen, winner of Best Actor at Cannes, as a man whose life is on hold, including his ability to retain friends and family.
THE SAPPHIRES, from the Land Down Under, an inspiring ahd thrilling true story of a later 1960's girl group caught up in the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement. Taking their music on the road, battling prejudice against their aboriginal heritage, with a screenplay by the real-life son and newphew of the four incredible women discovered in an outback pub by an Irish manager with a ear for soul.
CITY PARKING, follows two disparate LA lives which come together in a parking garage late one night. A frustrated graffiti artist and a heartbroken Westside girl break into cars as they get to know each other, scare off her ex-boyfriend and finish a mural. Screens as a part of AFI Fest at Mann's Chinese 2 on Wed. Nov. 7th.
CLOUD ATLAS stars Academy Award winners Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon and Jim Broadbent, based on David Mitchell's bestselling novel where everything is inter-connected across time and space. A single story unfolds in multiple timelines over a span of 500 years with characters meeting and reuniting from one life to the next, born and reborn, having an impact on their past, present and future.
MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, winner of Best Director at Sundance, Ava Duvernay's story of a bright, young medical student who suspends her own hopes and dreams of a medical career when her husband is incarcerated. Caught between two men and two worlds, she struggles to keep body and soul together. Featuring music by KPFK's own Morgan Rhodes, it plays at Laemmles NoHo 7 in North Hollywood.
ARGO, based on true events, chronicles the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis - the truth of which was unknown by the public for decades. In Nov. 1979, as the Iranian Revolution reaches its boiling point, militants storm the US embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage, but six Americans find refuge in the hom of the Canadian ambassador as a CIA "exfiltration" specialist concocts a risky plan to get them out safely.
HOLY MOTORS is an audacious and fantastical cinematic vision in which the City of Light is the backdrop for nearly a dozen surreal adventures throughout Paris in a ravishing, shape-shifting fever dream. A conventional businessman is transformed into a motion-capture acrobat, a sewer-dwelling leprechaun, an assassin and the leader of an accordion marching band. A potent allegory for movie magic itself, it ran at the Nuart in West LA.
TRIAL BY FIRE: LIVES REFORGED celebrates the strength and courage of seven burn survivors who, with the support of their caregivers and families, reclaim their lives after the devastation of fire. Challenging us to look beyond the superficial and redefine our concept of true beauty, it follows the journeys of ordinary people who rise above their injuries and pain to discover new dreams through unexpected insights and a transformed worldview. Featuring actor J.R. Martinez, it was part of DocuWeeks.
THE OPTIMISTS, a universal story, it explores how different communities of ethinic and religious backgrounds stood by each other during the Holocaust offering insights into building bridges and defending human rights. In Bulgaria, 50,000 Jews survived the Holocaust with the help of Bulgarian Christians, as Sephardic Jews were helped by Christians and Muslims from all walks of life. Ran at Laemmles Music Hall and Town Center.
ALL TOGETHER, starring Jane Fonda, in her first French language film since Godard's 1972 "Tout Va Bien," it follows five aging friends who decide to move in together. A crowd-pleasing comedy about the joys of "communal" living, it also stars Geraldine Chaplin and Calude Rich. Playing at Laemmle Town Center 5.
12th ANNUAL HUNGARIAN FILM FEST, which ran Nov. 16th through 22nd at Laemmle's NoHo 7, showcases the richness of Hungarian cinema with this year's highlight "The Door," starring Oscar-winer Helen Mirren and "The Tragedy of Man" winner of the Palm D'Or at Cannes and Oscar entry "Just the Wind."
AN EVENING WITH KYLIAN/INGER/WALERSKI, danced by the Nederlands Dans Theatre, "the most balletic modern dancers in the world." The NY Times says, "If you see one live performance this year, Nederlands Dans Theatre in the one to see." Part of Laemmle's Ballet in Cinema series.
MAN AT WAR takes a provocative look at computer gamers who continue to fight WWII European air battles in the virtual world, trying to change the course of history. For some it's a hobby, but for many it's an addiction consuming most of their time at the expense of family life and social contacts. The film follows the players and their lives, including training courses and rallies. At Laemmles Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
GENERATION P is a political satire centering on a cynical Russian poet who becomes caught up in the world of high-stakes advertisting shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, in a world populated by gangster, new millionaires and advertising gurus. Exploring man's identity in a modern, branded world, it played at Sundance Sunset Cinemas.
SAVING AMERICA'S HORSES is a trenchant expose that reveals how the public has been misled by government agencies and corporate interests disregard laws designed to protect the public, the horses and the environment. Set against sweeping, pristine landscapes, it is deeply passionate look into the world of wild and domestic horses, their connection to history and the future of the nation, offering compelling expert testimony, undercover footage and true life stories to highlight imminent health risks to humans and environment caused by the capture, removal, transport and stockpiling of horses to be slaughtered.
THE REVISIONARIES follows the rise and fall of some of the most controversial figures in America education through some of their most tumultuous battles, including an avowed Creationist of the Religious Right, a Houston attorney and law professor at Falwell's Liberty Unviersity and an anthropology professor from Southern Methodist University, as the highly politicized Texas State Board of Education rewrites teaching and textbook standards for its 5 million schoolchildren. At Laemmles Playhouse 7.
BALLET IN CINEMA, continues with "L'ALTRA META DEL CIELO," a contemporary ballet by MacArthur "Genius" Grant winner, Martha Clarke, set to the music of controversial Italian rock star Vasco Rossi, a man known for drug use, racism and misogyny. A groundbreaking piece which transforms hatred into a piec which glorifies the feminine rather than tear it down. Screened at Laemmle Theatres.
LE NOZZE DI FIGARO is one of the finest jewels in the operatic repertoire. Mozart's masterpiece is presented by the Royal Opera House in an illuminating production as part of Laemmle's Opera in Cinema series, revealing the tensions between masters and servants on an estate in the 1820's.
SPLIT: A DEEPER DIVIDE is a riveting investigation into the partisanship paralyzing our politics which looks beyond the rancor to reveal the truth of why our cuntry is more divided and our politics more gridlocked than ever, with unparalleled access to some of the most insightful and recognizable figures in politics and society - ranging from Senators Evan Bayh and Chuck Hagel, Lawrence Lessig, Noam Chomsky, Robert Putnam, Tucker Carlson and Amy Goodman. Played at Laemmles.
ARAB FILM FESTIVAL, ran Oct. 19th through 21st at the Writers Guild, featured films from both emerging and established directors, which provided alternatives to stereotypical images of Arab culture, politics and art. Opening Night's feature was "Man Without a Cell Phone."
5th ANNUAL IRISH FILM FESTIVAL, ran Sept. 26th through Sept. 30th at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, with Opening Night at Linnwood-Dunn, screening of "Jump" a modern fairytale of a New Year's Eve in Derry. Other highlights were "Let the People Sing" a gritty tell-all documentary charting the rise of the legendary music group The Wolfe Tones, and special evening hosted by Fionnula Flanagan, honoring filmmaker Lelia Doolan, director of "Bernadette" Notes on a Political Journey" about Bernadette Devlin, the face and voice of the Civil Rights movement in Northern Ireland.
LEAST AMONG SAINTS, movingly illustrates a veteran's hard-fought road returning from war to face a broken marriage and a broken life. When a troubled ten-year-old calls out for help, he can't turn away and, much to the dismay of an embattled social worker (played by Laura San Giacomo), it transforms his life. At Laemmles Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
WUTHERING HEIGHTS, based on Emily Bronte's classic of star-crossed lovers, receives a radically distinct re-telling in filmmaker Andrea Arnold's adaptation of the epic story of Heathcliff and Cathy, spanning childhood to young adulthood. With a sweeping score, stripped down to its roots of heart-stopping beauty, cruelty, and impulsiveness. Played at the Nuart.
FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS is the touching story of a family tragically divided. A trouble teenager in the 1980's in New York, struggles to discover a sense of self and strength while grappling with her tumultuous relationship with her mother while dreaming of reuniting with her father in Guyana, whom she hasn't heard from in 13 years. Spanning two continents and three decades, it offers a nuanced lense into the plight of displaced immigrant families struggling to create a better future. Played at the Nuart.
WE ARE LEGION: THE STORY OF THE HACTIVISTS, takes us inside the world of Anonymous, the "hactivist" collective which has redefined civil disobedience for the digital age. Exploring its historical roots as it becomes a worldwide movement with the reach and power to transform our time. At Laemmles Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
VERSAILLES '73: AMERICAN RUNWAY REVOLUTION is a documentary about the legendary fashion show, nicknamed the "Battle of Versailles" pitting French haute couture against innovative American ready-to-wear designers, in front an audience of the era, which included Princess Grace of Monaco, Andy Warhol, Christina Onassis and Josephine Baker. Playing at Laemmle's Music Hall 3.
THE AMBASSADOR is a darkly comic, genre-bending documentary which rips the lip off political corruption and exploitation in the Central African Republic. Danish filmmaker Mads Brugger, whom the Huffington Post calls "the most provocative filmmaker in the world," transforms himself into an outlandish caricature of a European-African consul immersing himself in the life-threatening underworld of nefarious bureaucrats where he encounters blood diamong struggling, bribery, and murder. Playing for one week only at Cinefamily's Silent Movie Theatre, 611 Fairfax Ave., in LA.
THE HOUSE I LIVE IN follows the policy failure in the war on drugs. From the dealer to the grieving mother, to the narcotics officer, the inmates and senators, these heart-wrenching stories encapsulate the tragic errors which have earned the US the dubious distinction of being the world's leading jailer and a system of mass incarceration which disproportionately affects the poor. At Laemmle Theatres.
SIMON AND THE OAKS, based on the Swedish bestseller, is an epic drama spanning the years from 1939 to 1952 offering a unique depiction of fate, destiny, and freewill. In a vivide portrayal of the situation for Jews in Sweden during WWII, it is the griping story of an intellectually-gifted, working class boy befriended by the son of a wealthy Jewish bookseller who fled Nazi persecution. At The Landmark.
WAKE IN FRIGHT, one of the seminal films in Australian cinema, tells of a British schoolteacher's descent into personal demoralization at the hands of drunken, deranged derelicts while stranded in a small town in the outback. Winner of the Palm D' Or in 1971 at Cannes, it is one of only two films to be shown there twice. Called by Nick Cave "the best and most terrifying film in Australian existence," Roger Ebert deemed it "powerful, genuinely shocking, and rather amazing." Play at the Nuart.
SAMSARA, from the Sanskit word meaning "the ever-turning wheel of life" is a stunning visual meditation inspired by breathtaking images and natural wonders. Filmed over 5 years in twenty-five countries on five continents, with no narration or dialogue this non-traditional documentary from the award-winning filmmakers of "Baraka" and "Chronos," encourages the viewers' own interpretation, with transcendant music from Lisa Gerrard and Michael Stearns. Playing at The Landmark, 10850 W. Pico Blvd in LA.
LIFE IS STRANGE is a documentary which evokes the vibrant life of Jewish families in pre-World War II Europe, through childhood memories of survivors. Intimate conversations are presented against a tapestry of rare footage that takes us to the heart of pre-war Yiddish culture, as well as a universal experience of carefree childhood and how memory of the past can be retained when the world that created it no longer exists. Currently playing at Laemmle's Music Hall 3 in Beverly Hills and Town Center 5 in Encino.
SUPERCAPITALIST is a financial thriller about a maverick New York hedge fund trader who moves to Hong Kong and orchestrates a mega-deal that switfly escalates beyond his control. Caught between competing American and Asian cultures of profit-at-all-costs, he takes the ultimate risk when his life and Hong Kong's future are staked on a corrupt billion dollar deal. Playing at Laemmle's NoHo 7, 5240 Lankershim Blvd in North Hollywood.
DOWNTOWN EXPRESS is a classic story of youthful rebellion set in the world of Russian immigrants in NYC. Told with a unique voice through music, it explores the clash of old world values with the lure and excitement of a new country as a virtuoso violinist and Julliard student prepares for a recital to launch his career. He careens between the two worlds as he encounters and falls in love with a singer-songwriter. Starring acclaimed musicians Quint and Nellie McKay, DOWNTOWN EXPRESS opens on Fri. August 24th at Town Center 5 in Encino.
SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN, a remarkable documentary of fame-deferred, follows the mystery and mythology of Rodriguez, the greatest '70s US rock icon who never was. Considered by some a "Chicano Bob Dylan," his masterpiece album, "Cold Fact" sank into oblivion in the US, but through a simple twist of fate resurfaced in South Africa to provide a meaningful soundtrack to thelives of young anti-apartheid activists. Amidst rumors of a gruesome on-stage suicide, his parallel life of acclaim and success a continent away is revealed when two South African fans set to find out what happened to their hero. Opens on Friday, July 27th at The Landmark, 10850 W. Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles.
LITTLE WHITE LIES, starring Oscar winners Marion Cotillard and Jean Dujardin, follows a close-knit group of friends whose bonds are tested and strengthened over a summar holiday when one of their colleagues meets with an unfortunate motocycle accident. A heartfelt French spin on "The Big Chill" with a soundtrack ranging from Creedence Clearwater Revival, to Nina Simone, Bowie and Janis Joplin, it's a generational statement of youthful frivolity giving way to middle-aged pleasures and sorrows amid the intricacies and indulgences of contemporary relationships. LITTLE WHITE LIES opens on Friday, August 24th at The Landmark, 10850 W. Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles.
DEATH BY CHINA, from bestselling author and filmmaker Peter Navarro, tackles the destructive economic trade relationship with China. Continuously flooding US markets with illegally subsidized products since 2001, over 50,000 American factories have disappeared, more than 25 million Americans can't find a decent job and America now owes more than 3 trillion dollars to the world's largest totalitarian regime. Through compelling voices across the political spectrum, the US-China relationship is broken and in urgent need of repair in order to further world peace and prosperity. Playing at Laemmles Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
COMPLIANCE, inspired by a chilling true story, it explores just how far one might go to obey an authority figure. When the high-strung manager of a local fast food joint receives a phone call saying her employee has stolen money from a customer, she follows the officer's step-by-step instructions for investigation, no matter how invasive, as the line between legality and reason becomes hauntingly blurred. Screens for one-week only at the Nuart, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd.
THE WELL-DIGGER'S DAUGHTER is an exquisitely-crafted melodrama in which a father in pre-WWI France is torn between his sense of honor and his deep love for his daughter when she gets in trouble with a wealthy pilot. A remake of the 1940's classic, it opens on Friday, July 27th at Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex, Town Center 5 in Encino and Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
16th ANNUAL DOCUWEEKS presents an exceptional lineup of worldwide documentary films over the course of three weeks. This year's highlights include: "Digital Dharma," about Eugene Smith's mission to preserve ancient Tibetan texts; "Once in a Lullaby," about the YouTube sensation choir in the journey to perform at the Oscars, "Garden in the Sea," an artists ecological vision inthe Sea of Cortez, "Holy Man", "La Source," narrated by Don Cheadle, about a Princeton janitor's efforts to bring water to Haiti; at Laemmle's NoHo 7 through August 30th.
WE WOMEN WARRIORS, screening as part of DocuWeeks through Aug. 30th, follows three native women caught in the crossfire of Columbia's warfare, using nonviolent resistance to defend their people's survival. One-third of Columbia's 102 aboriginal groups face extinction, trapped in a protracted predicament financed by the drug trade. WE WOMEN WARRIORS bears witness to neglected human rights interweaving stories of female empowerment, unshakable courage, faith, and endurance.
HEIST: WHO STOLE THE AMERICAN DREAM? exposes the roots of the American economic crisis and the destruction of the American dream. With clearn, fact-driven storytelling, HEIST unflinichingly reveals the results of four decades of de-regulation, massive job outsourcing and tax policies favoring the mega-corporations and wealthy elites. From the New Deal of FDR to trickle down Reagonomics and class warfare, it is a political thriller which posits that those responsible should be accountable with rigorous reform and dismantling entities too big to fall. Played at Laemmle's NoHo 7.
NUIT #1 is Anne Emond's award-winning feature debut in which two strangers meet on a packed, sweaty dance floor at a rave, end up spending the night together, baring their emotions as well as their bodies, with epic conversation, exploring and revealing, attaching and embracing in a powerful, intimate portrait of a one-night stand. An exclusive one-week engagement at the Nuart in West LA.
YOU'VE BEEN TRUMPED is a David-and-Goliath tale of Scottish homeowners who take on real estate mogul Donald Trump, despite legal threats and police harrassment , when he attempts to build a luxury gold resort through one of Britain's last stretches of coastal wilderness. Told without narration, YOU'VE BEEN TRUMPED captures the cultural schism between the media-savvy Trump and a deeply-rooted Scottish community.
UNTIL THEY ARE HOME brings to light the dedication of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command team members who returned to the island of Tarawa in 2010, the site of one of the most horrific battles of WWII in order to recover the remains of fallen heroes and fly them back to American soil. Narrated by Kelsey Grammer. Played at Laemmle's Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
IT IS NO DREAM: THE LIFE OF THEODOR HERZL follows Herzl, as assimilated Jew from Budapest, who, until his late wenties wanted only to be a successful playwright, but after witnessing the court proceedings of the Dreyfus trial in Paris and rampant anti-Semitism, he pursued his vision for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, advocating peaceful co-existence between Jews and Arabs. Initially ridiculed for his political treatise "Der Judenstaat," it later became the foundation for a grass-roots movement of oppressed Jews to join Herzl's Zionist movement leading to the establishment of the modern state of Israel. Featuring rare archival footage, interviews and never-before-seen stills, IT IS NO DREAM played at Laemmle's Town Center 5.
CO-DEPENDENT LESBIAN SPACE ALIEN SEEKS SAME, a tongue-in-cheek cult favorite at Sundance, is a wryly funny romantic comedy mash-up and 1950's sci-fi spoof in which three extra-terrestrials from the planet Zots are sent on a mission to rid themselves of romantic emotions, which are considered toxic to their planet's atmosphere, by having their hearts broken on Earth. Meanwhile, government agents seek to find the spaceship and cover-up the aliens' existence. Deemed by The Hollywood Reporter as "a hilarious date movie for couples of all orientations," it played at the Downtown Independent Theatre.
DARK HORSE, Todd Solondz' examination of the irretrievability of youth and the mercilessness of time passing. An unexpectedly tender, dark comedy starring Mia Farrow, Christopher Walken and Jordan Gelber of "Boardwalk Empire," it depicts the arrested development of a Jewish man in his thirties, in a poignant portrait of a man-child who finally glimpses a chance for true love. A special one-night screening presented by the American Cinematheque, followed by Q&A with the director, at the Egyptian in Hollywood.
LA FOLIE ALMAYER, co-presented by American Cinematheque and the Consulate General of Belgium, freely adapted from Joseph Conrad's first novel, this hypnotic drama follows a European trader's faded dreams of finding fortunate in Malaysia. Gorgeously shot in the dense, lush jungles, it showcases an aesthetic spontaneity through long takes. The screening was followed by Belgian beer reception.
CHINA HEAVYWEIGHT, from the Award-winning director of "Up the Yangtze," comes a riveting documentary on China's ever-changing economic landscape through the lens of sports. Following a charismatic, former boxing star and coach as he recruits young fighting talent from impoverished villages across Sichuan province, with the hope of discovering China's next Olympic heroes, it is not only sports drama, but astute social commentary and a beautifully crafted portrait of an athlete.
TOP PRIORITY: THE TERROR WITHIN is a new documentary about a national security whistleblower, former Customs & Border Protection Office, Julia Davis, who was falsely declared a domestic terrorist and subjected to retaliation of unprecedented proportions by the Dept of Homeland Security.
PATANG: THE KITE is a poetic journey to the old city of Ahmedabad, weaving together the stories of six people transformed by the energy of India's largest kite festival. Music & fireworks, food and laughter provide healing and renewal when a Delhi businessman takes his daughter on a surprise trip back to his childhood home, an entire family has to confront its own fractured past and fragile dreams. Originally screening at the Intl. Indian Film Fest, it opened theatrically at Laemmle's Music Hall 3.
BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS is a cautionary tale of corporate bullying and media spin by Swedish documentarian Fredrik Gertten asking "What is a big corporation capable of in order to protect its brand?" Following his previous film, "Bananas," which recounted the lawsuit of 12 Nicaraguan plantation workers brought against Dole, the filmmaker was threatened with defamation suits and PR scare tactics. Utilized by law schools and legal experts to teach defense of freedom of speech, it reveals a corporate mindset which believes "It is easier to cope with a bad conscience than a bad reputation." Played at Laemmles Pasadena 7.
AI WEI WEI: NEVER SORRY is a fascinating close-up lok at renowned Chinese artist and dissident Ai Wei Wei and his ongoing battle with the Chinese government. Having helped to design Beijing's iconic Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium, he denounced the Games as party propaganda and disappeared into police custody for three months. With unprecedented access to the charismatic artist, his family and friends, first-time director Alison Klayman filmed when authorities shut down his blog, beat him up, bulldozed his studio and held him in secret detention. A compelling portrait of this passionate dissident for the digital age who blurs the boundaries of politics and art. Played at Laemmles Town Center 5 and Playhouse 7.
THE GREEN WAVE is a powerful documentation of populist protests in Iran following the suspicious victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the presidential election of June 2009. Cell phone videos posted on the internet, Twitter messages, as well as animate blog posts and interviews with human rights advocates and exiled Iranians bear witness to the brutal attacks by government militias to repress a rebellion. Played at Laemmles Music Hall 3.
THE IMPOSTER is based on a true story with the twists and turns of a riveting thriller. In 1994, a 13-yr-old boy disappears without a trace from San Antonio, Texas only to resurface several years later in southern Spain with a story of kidnapping and torture. His overjoyed family finds that all is not quite what it seems when an investigator delves into this strange tale, challenging perceptions at every turn. Played in an exclusive one-week engagement at the Nuart in West LA.
NOOR FILM FESTIVAL, ran Aug. 3 through 8th at Laemmle's Music Hall, celebrating cinematic works by and about Iranians around the world. "Changing perceptions one frame at a time," it reaches out to the non-Iranian community and promotes Iranian-American artists in Hollywood. Highlights included, "The Iran Job," "A Very Close Encounter," and the Oscar-winning "A Separation."
KUMARE is an insightful look at faith and belief in which a seemingly wise guru from the East indoctrinates a group of followers in the West, but who, in actuality, is the alter ego of American filmmaker Vikram Gandhi impersonating a spiritual leader for a social experiment designed to challenge one of the most widely accepted taboos, that only a tiny 1% can connect the rest of the world to a higher power. Asking if illusion can reveal a greater spiritual truth, he must confront difficult questions about his own identity and whether or not his disciples will accept his final teaching. An exclusive one-week engagement ran at Cinefamily's Silent Movie Theatre in Hollywood.
1st KOREAN AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL, ran Aug. 9th through 11th at the Korean Culture Center in LA, featuring themes and talents across the Korean-American diaspora. Highlights include: THE LA RIOTS: REFLECTIONS ON OUR FUTURE, "WEDDING PALACE: BEHIND THE SCENES, a documentary of the triumphs and struggles of financing the first independent US-Korean film co-production, SHOULD'VE KISSED, set in the cut-throat audition world of NY following a confident Korean actor who struggles to find work and "ULTIMATE CHRISTIAN WRESTLING about a group of traveling evangelical pro-wrestlers from rural Georgia.
UNION SQUARE follows the troubled relationship between two estranged sisters on the verge - one of marriage, the other of a nervous breakdown, as they reunite in NY's Union Square. Starring Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino, Tony/Grammy winner Patti Lupone, and Tony-nominee Tammy Blanchard. Opening July 13th at Laemmle Theaters.
TOPANGA FILM FESTIVAL, running July 26th through July 28th in the heart of beautiful Topanga, features a unique roster of socially conscious films. Opening night kicks off with "On Day on Earth", an epic time capsule created from footage collected by amateur videographers around the world on a single day, Oct. 10, 2010; Friday evening, the 27th, celebrates 100 years of dance; Saturday's "Friendship and Community" program features United Nations Shorts Showcase, along with "The Welcome" about a healing 5-day retreat for vets & their families, suffering from PTS; Sunday's "Sea and Sensibility" concludes with "Minds in the Water," a doc which follows a professional surfer's quest to protect dolphins, whales, and creatures of the sea, and Closing Night film, "Gidget: An Accidental Icon," with the real-life Gidget in attendance.
THE FEEL GOOD FILM FESTIVAL, ran Aug. 3rd through August 5th at Laemmle's NoHo 7 celebrating the happy ending with films taht are humorous, inspirational, optimistic and capturing the beauty of our world. Some of this years highlights were "Pad Yatra: A Green Odyssey," about a Buddhist monk's eco-pilgrimmage in the Himalayas; "Beast Wishes" about a unique couple's, love affair with monster movies; and "La Ultima Isla" about a young girls magical life on a remote island with her estranged aunt.
IF YOU MISSED ANY OF THESE FABULOUS FILMS, YOU WON'T WANT TO MISS WHAT'S COMING UP!
MOVIE TRIVIA QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I AM BIG. IT'S THE PICTURES THAT HAVE GOTTEN SMALLER."