Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Divine Order (2017) opens tomorrow

I bet you didn't know that until the early 1970's women could not vote in Switzerland. They didn't have many rights either since the Divine Order of things was to defer to the men. DIVINE ORDER is a film about the vote to give women the vote in what one would think would have been a progressive country.

Focsing on a woman named Nora who lives in a small town the film is an account of how women who didn't think to much about politics became political and worked to get women the vote.

Tat may sound dry and bumpy, but the truth is the film is a charming tale of one woman, her family and her growing circle of friends at a moment where things changed. While the conclusion of the story may seem like a given one that is not the case. The truth of the matter is that nothing is certain and as the end credits state women were still fighting for ome rights until very recently.

That the film works as well as it does is thanks to the fact that the film is ultimately about characters. Unlike the recent SUFFRAGETTE which at times seemed to be about the poltis more than the people, DIVINE ORDER never leaves its characters. There is more going on than the right to vote, this about one woman and her friends looking to change their lives on all sorts of levels-even sexual. I laughed out loud and I was moved to tears.

This is a wonderful wonderful movie.

Highly recommended

Monday, September 25, 2017

Veronica Ngo’s Tam Cam: The Untold Story

This Vietnamese fairy is a lot like Cinderella, but the slipper is golden rather than glass. There is also more death and reincarnation. As if that were not promising enough, Veronica Ngo (soon to be even more famous as the star of Star Wars: The Last Jedi) adds demons and Braveheart-style battles in her adaptation. The Cinderella step-sister has it particularly hard, but karma will do as it does in Ngo’s Tam Cam: The Untold Story, which opens this Friday in select cities.

Poor Tam is bullied rotten by her nasty step-mother Di Ghe and vain step-sister Cam, but she gets encouragement from a Joel Grey-like Fairy Godfather. There will indeed be a royal ball, open to all, where the disinterested Prince (and acting Regent) will chose a bride. Di Ghe conspires to keep Tam away, but her Fairy Godfather gets her there in time to try on the fateful slipper.

Sadly, even after she marries the Prince, Tam is not allowed to live happily ever after. Prodded by the evil Magistrate, Di Ghe murders Tam and convinces the Prince to allow Cam to care for him, as Tam supposedly would have wanted. However, Tam constantly reincarnates as birds or trees to save the shockingly unintuitive Prince from the Magistrate’s assassination attempts. Unfortunately, all appears lost when the Prince’s trusted lieutenant betrays him in battle, but Tam and the Fairy folk are still looking out for him.

The original tale of Tam and Cam takes a turn that is grislier than just about anything you will find in Perrault, Basile, or the Brothers Grimm. Ngo is probably wise to file down that sharp edge, but she adds plenty of hack-and-slash action and demonic brimstone. Frankly, it is pretty impressive how many narrative balls she manages to juggle, thereby securing a number of featured roles for members of 365, the Vietnamese boy band she produces.

Actually, the boys aren’t bad hacking away at each other. Ha Vi certainly comes across as a sweet innocent as Tam, whereas Ninh Duong Lan Ngoc convincingly plays against type (she was the endearing lottery ticket seller in Jackpot) as the catty Cam, but nobody out vamps Ngo as the wicked stepmother. Forget about Jolie in Maleficent or Blanchett in the recent live-action Cinderella, because they pale in comparison to Ngo’s flamboyant villainy.

She can also direct. Ngo and Diep The Vinh capitalize on Vietnam’s stunning natural vistas (at least as seen from a drone’s eye-view) to give the film a real epic feel. Her war scenes have grit and the CGI is a little wacky, but still better than you would expect.

It is hard to dislike Tam Cam, because it is one of those kitchen-sink kind of film, where crazy stuff is constantly thrown in, for the sake of our entertainment. Arguably, the fact that it maintains a consistent sense of narrative logic is a tribute to Ngo. It is wild, tragic, romantic, melodramatic, sometimes a little goofy, and most importantly fun. Recommended for fans of fairy tales and Ngo, Tam Cam: The Untold Story opens this Friday (9/29) in Orange County at the Regal Garden Grove and in San Jose at the AMC Eastbridge.

literally right before aaron opens Friday

The is a repost of Arielas review from Tribeca

Allison(Colbie Smulders)and Adam(Justin Long) were together 8 years before they split up. Now less than 2 years later, Allison calls Adam and invites him to her wedding. He decides to go. Why? Who knows. He is still completely in love with her and the film shows him remembering times they had together throughout the film. He looks at photos of them together, he cries. But still goes to her dinner party, and then the wedding. His friend, played by John Cho, sets him up with the super quirky Kristen Schall, to take her as his date to the wedding.

It was refreshing in a way to see a guy who's broken hearted, because most movies seem to focus on the woman. The pain that Adam is in is so obvious. I kept wanting to yell "why are you doing this to yourself?!" It seemed so masochistic. I felt so sad for him and he was holding it together fairly well, I kept wondering, when is he going to break?

The film was good, it was sad more than anything(though I didn't actually cry). It's definitely not a must see

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Free State of Jones (2016)

This is nominally the story of Newton Knight who set up the titled area in Mississippi in the middle of the American Civil War. As told here Knight was setting up a free state where all men and women could live freely while battling the confederacy.

Let me start by saying that even with its two plus hour running time the film is not wholly the story of Knight. Even if you do a quick reading on Knight it’s clear that what actually happened and who Knight was not something that could be easily encapsulated. What Knight’s actual motives were are also unclear with some accounts arguing he was a scoundrel others saying he wasn’t.

The film tells the story of Knight as he goes off to fight in the war. Unhappy with the treatment of the men he chafes at the abuse but is willing to put up with it because he feels there might be a reason. He last straw comes when a nephew shows up in camp and is going to be thrown In the meat grinder of battle. When his nephew is killed as he and Knight are trying to escape to safety, Knight deserts in order to bring the boy home. Becoming enraged by the treatment of the civilians he begins to fight back ending up being driven into the swamp before coming out and taking control of a swath of land.

Advertised perhaps a bit too much before it came out (it seemed like the film was running commercials for a good six months before it came out) I know the film suffered from people thinking the film had been released well before it actually showed up. Several people I know didn't go because they thought it was at the end its run and would be on cable shortly.

When the film came out the film reviews were mixed. Most writers I knew were not thrilled with it. Most regular film fans loved it and it s their love that made me want to see it.

An episodic epic covering several years time FREE STATE... is a wonderful film. Its a sprawling tale full of action and suspense. Its a kind of throw back to the epics of the 1950's and 60's. It is a grand historical adventure that's been refashioned for or time.

As much as I love the film my one problem with it is that it is perhaps too episodic and that it should be longer. While there is enough here to drive the story forward, the film does suffer from several plot line seeming rushed or not dealt with. While its okay because of the time jumping nature of the film I would have liked it if things had been allowed to play out a bit more.

Quibbles aside this is a great film and definitely worth a look.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Milwaukee and New York Film Festivals open Thursday- a place holder curtian raiser

Two awesome festivals start Thursdy- the Milwaukee and New York and I am hoping to get full on curtain raisers up in the next couple of days. Bear with me because I have had to delay things because of real world stuff on my part. Until then a couple of quick words on both


The  Milwaukee Film Festival is one of the best programmed festivals you will see anywhere. It is almost perfectly programmed and the perfect place to see great films. How perfect? We have a curtain raiser coming with  about 40 links to the films we’ve already reviewed- most of them highly recommended

For tickets and more info go here.


The New York Film Festival coverage starts toward the end of the week and we’ll be having tons of reports and reviews- and a podcast so keep reading.

NYFF this year is beautifully scheduled and  I have no complaints.

While I don’t have a must a full on must see list (I have only seen a small number of non-revival films so far) I do recommend BEFORE WE VANISH the Kiyoshi Kurosawa film about aliens studying humans before they wipe us out. It’s a the master operating at his high level. The screenings were among th first sell outs but they are worth going standby for.

The more important recommendation is Ena Talakic & Ines Talakic‘s brilliant doc on Edward Jay Epstein HALL OF MIRRORS. A wonderful look at Epstein's life and work, it also follows as he tracks the Edward Snowden case. I can’t recommend it enough. Its something you MUST see at the fest  because the post film talks should be incredible. (The one after the press screening ran almost an hour  and then continued outside the theater as everyone continued discussing the film- I was still talking about it to the point I got on the subway. I’ll be posting the talk down the road because there is so much awesome material in it.)  This is one of the best films at NYFF and perhaps its greatest hidden gem GO BUY TICKETS

For information on the festival go here

44 (2007)

Story of Migs, a kid who just turned 18 who is running his dad's drug business while dad is away in prison. Staying with his Mom, a New York City cop he is forced to try and walk the line between good and bad. Things however get complicated when his father gets out and wants back into the game.

Low budget, low key crime drama that has its limitations thanks to the budget and uneven cast, but the film has a great sense of place and reality that over comes its limitations. Absolutely one of the better "gang banger" low budget films that seem to have been made by people in the know that have appeared over the last few years (actually its one of the better low budget independent films).

While no where near perfect it is good enough to draw you in and keep you interested. Best of all its got an ending that is affecting.

Friday, September 22, 2017

my short review of Bobbi Jene (2017 ) which opens today

This is a repost of my brief review of BOBBI JENE which I saw at Tribeca.

Fly on the wall look at the noted dancer as she leaves Israel to return to the US and begin a new phase of her career. How you react will depend on how much you care about or can connect with Jene. I never connected and after about twenty minutes my attention wandered. Your mileage may vary, but personally I never cared (And I'm left scratching my head how this won multiple awards at the festival when so many other films are soooo much better)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Comin' At Ya!: 3-D on 35mm October 13 - 19 at the Quad

For one week, our repertory screen will be comin' at ya with a selection of genre and cult oddities all in 3-D, all on 35mm

With the World Premiere of a new 3-D print of Frankenstein's Bloody Terror and director Worth Keeter in person to present Hit the Road Running & Rottweiler

With cinema having taken shape amidst such early iconic images as Broncho Billy firing into the camera, a train coming straight for the audience, and a rocket going into the moon’s eye, it was inevitable that features filmed in 3-D would opt for comparable effects so as to show off the wonder of the process. But there were more varied genres explored in the format, and by more eclectic filmmakers from all over the world, than are commonly recalled. With 3-D for today’s movies fully digitized into lockstep with DCP, the Quad takes a look back at some of the more arcane, quixotic, and disreputable uses of the process in the ’80s over-and-under boom, that was heavy on horror sequels, sci-fi adventures, idiosyncratic cult movies, and grindhouse fare. Join us for an all-35mm survey. Programmed by Harry Guerro.

Amityville 3-D Richard Fleischer, 1983, 35mm
A*P*E Paul Leder, 1976, 35mm
The Bubble [original version] Arch Oboler, 1966, 35mm
Comin' at Ya! Ferdinando Baldi, 1981, 35mm
Dynasty Mei Chun Chang, 1977, 35mm
Flesh for Frankenstein Paul Morrissey, 1973, 35mm
Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror Enrique Lopez Eguiluz, 1968, 35mm
World premiere of new 35mm 3D print of the U.S. release version courtesy of Garagehouse Pictures with original distributor Sam Sherman in person!
Friday the 13th Part III Steve Miner, 1982, 35mm
Hit the Road Running Worth Keeter, 1983, 35mm
With director Worth Keeter in person!
Jaws 3-D Joe Alves, 1983, 35mm
Love in 3-D Walter Boos, 1973, 35mm
Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn Charles Band, 1983, 35mm
Parasite Charles Band, 1982, 35mm
Revenge of the Shogun Women Mei Chun Chang, 1977, 35mm
Rottweiler Worth Keeter, 1983, 35mm
With director Worth Keeter in person!
Silent Madness Simon Nuchtern, 1984, 35mm
Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone Lamont Johnson, 1983, 35mm
Starchaser: The Legend of Orin Steven Hahn, 1985, 35mm
Treasure of the Four Crowns Ferdinando Baldi, 1983, 35mm

Welcome to Willits: Fighting Aliens in the Emerald Triangle

Tin foil hats—they’re not just for conspiracy nutters anymore. An alien abduction survivor will deck out his terrified niece Courtney in an aluminum foil skull cap as a defense against extraterrestrial mind control. Clearly, Courtney is one of the few sane ones her family, just as Jeremiah is really the only decent dude in the group of college friends camping not far from Uncle Brock’s cabin. These two kids really ought to get together in Trevor Ryan’s Welcome to Willets, which opens tomorrow in New York.

Old Brock has lost it. Who knows, maybe he really was abducted, but the subsequent post-traumatic stress and paranoia have completely unhinged his psyche. Aunt Peggy either humors him or has come to share his delusions. They hope the “aliens” will not bother them while Courtney is staying with them, but when the obnoxious Zack starts prowling around their Emerald Triangle pot grove, it triggers all the wrong responses in Uncle Brock’s head. Soon he starts to suspect the understandably freaked out Courtney is acting under alien influence, so they tie her up and chuck her into the closet.

Surprisingly, the Ryans, director Trevor and screenwriter Tim, do not play a lot of is-he-or-isn’t-he, are-they-or-aren’t-they games. Notwithstanding his flashbacks, it is pretty clear from early on Uncle Brock is just completely off his rocker. Bill Sage, who is no stranger to horror movies, is perfectly cast as the crazy uncle. You could almost call it a throwback performance that is more sadly tragic (and acutely human) than scary.

However, the real highlight of the film is a series of cameo appearances from Dolph Lundgren as a fictional shoot-first-and-then-shoot-again-later TV cop (on the show Fists of Justice), whom the aliens periodically use to issue threats to Brock, at least in his head. As you would expect, whenever Lundgren is on-screen to lunacy cranks up to eleven. In all seriousness, it is time for the Academy to recognize Lundgren’s contributions with an honorary Oscar. He is a survivor, who has made key contributions to the Rocky, Expendables, and Universal Soldier franchises. He fought commies in Red Scorpion and sharks in Shark Lake. He is also a prominent activist in the real-life fight against human trafficking, which makes him more of a humanitarian and a better actor than that screeching, over-acting Meryl Streep, so there is really no excuse to deny him the recognition he is due.

So, anyway, Willets is basically a crazy-hicks-in-the-woods movie, but it has a great cast. In addition to Lundgren and Sage, Rory Culkin probably takes on the role he was born to play as Possum, the drug-addled, conspiracy theory-spouting drifter, who awkwardly tags along with Jeremiah’s shallow pals. Garrett Clayton is spectacularly obnoxious as the entitled Zack, while Anastasia Baranova and Chris Zylka are appealingly earnest and grounded as Courtney and Jeremiah.

The key art for Willets makes it look larky, but it is very much a human-scale genre examination of human foibles—until Lundgren struts on-screen. It is a relatively simple narrative, but it is distinguished by several memorably colorful performances. Recommended for horror fans and Academy members (who should also check out Lundgren in the sensitive demon-hunting drama, Don’t Kill It), Welcome to Willets opens tomorrow (9/22) in New York, at the IFC Center.

Last Rampage: Robert Patrick as Gary Tison

Gary Tison secured a place in history for his family. Unfortunately, it was with the landmark death penalty case, Tison vs. Arizona. He exerted a dysfunctional Svengali-like control over his sons that made everyone suffer, particularly their victims. With their assistance, Tison escaped from prison, igniting a spectacularly ill-fated flight from justice. If ever there was a compelling argument for the death penalty, it would be Tison, who chillingly comes to life in Dwight Little’s true crime drama, Last Rampage (trailer here), which opens this Friday in Los Angeles.

While doing well-deserved time, Tison was a model prisoner, so he was duly moved to a lower security annex. In retrospect, that was a huge mistake. His three sons just sauntered in on visiting day, just like they always did, except this time they had a picnic basket full of guns. At least Tison was a loving father, albeit in a seriously warped way. His cellmate and fellow escapee Randy Greenwalt was a stone-cold sociopath. Donnie Tison, the only Tison brother exhibiting any capacity to think for himself clashes early and often with Greenwalt. Their father will also try to shift the blame for the worst of the post-escape crimes on his former cellmate, but it is hard for the Tison boys to ignore what they see with their own eyes, especially for Donnie.

Of course, it is not just their father who poisoned his sons’ heads. Their mother Dorothy is sort of like a Lady Macbeth-instigator, who keeps herself in a willful state of denial regarding her husband’s dangerously erratic nature. Sheriff Cooper already lost friends and colleagues to Tison, so he will have Tison’s wife and semi-estranged brother closely watched.

Rampage is a somewhat frustrating film, because it assembles some truly terrific performances in a cookie-cutter TV-movie-of-the-week package. Frankly, Robert Patrick’s charismatic ferocity as Pops Tison will be an out-and-out revelation for those who only know him as the T-1000 in Terminator 2 and subsequent self-parodying appearances. In a more distinctive film, his performance could have been a dark horse awards contender.

Likewise, Heather Graham is unusually intense playing against type as Ma Tison. It is a neatly calibrated performance that leaves viewers unsure to what extent she has been deluding herself about her beloved husband. As always, Bruce Davison is rock-solid as Sheriff Cooper, providing a grounded, moral center to the film. John Heard only appears briefly, but he makes the most of it as the “colorful,” ethically questionable Warden Blackwell. Chris Browning is also all kinds of creepy as Greenwalt, but in a quieter, clammier, low-key kind of way, which nicely compliments Patrick’s flamboyant bluster. Sadly, the Tison brothers are rather dull compared to everyone else.

You have probably seen some of Little’s earlier films, like Halloween 4 or Marked for Death, back when going to the latest Steven Seagal film in theaters was a serious option instead of a depressing joke. Most of his recent work has been in episodic television (Bones, Prison Break, Nikita), so maybe it was inevitable Rampage would have a TV vibe. Nevertheless, Little brings out the best in his cast and the film’s late 1970s period details are spot-on. It is certainly far more polished and professional looking than Do It or Die, another recent true crime indie film helmed by a TV veteran (a comparison only a handful of us truly intrepid film dissectors would ever think to make).

Patrick and Graham really do some first-rate work in Rampage, so it is a shame it will probably not be screened and covered more widely. As big-screen storytelling, it is serviceable at best, but the turns from the two well-known co-leads could change viewer and industry preconceptions of them. Recommended as a future Netflix or Shudder stream, Last Rampage opens this Friday (9/22) at the Laemmle Music Hall.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

MAIGRET SETS A TRAP to play at the Metrograph

October 20-26
One-Week Revival Engagement

Jean Gabin as Georges Simenon's Legendary Detective
Directed by Jean Dellanoy

Beginning Friday October 20, Metrograph will present a one-week revival run of Maigret Sets a Trap. For fans of French film noir, it’s a match made in heaven: Jean Gabin (La Bête Humaine, French Cancan), in the full stoic splendor of his late 1950s comeback, brings his signature seen-it-all sangfroid to Georges Simenon’s famous fictional detective, Jules Maigret, whose vacation plans are spoiled by a serial killer stalking women in the Fourth Arrondissement. Jean Delannoy, though frequently overlooked, gets across both a pungent feel for lower depths Paris, with supremely elegant camera movements, while crafting a startling policier, surprisingly brutal for it’s time. Maigret Sets a Trap, which has slipped through the cracks of film history, and is extraordinarily deserving of rediscovery.

Trailer: https://www.kinolorber.com/film/maigretsetsatrap


WASHINGTON, DC (Tuesday, September 19) – Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival & Symposium launches its third edition with DC premieres of new films that go beyond the headlines to capture riveting stories and confront matters that have been hidden from the public, until now. 
Double Exposure’s film program will kick-off on Thursday, October 19 with its opening night film One of Us, the highly anticipated new documentary from Academy nominated directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp12th and DelawareDetropiaNorman Lear: Just Another Version of You). In One of Us, three Hasidic Jews leave their ultra-Orthodox community to join the secular world. Unprepared for life outside the tightly-knit community, they experience ostracism, lost relationships and even danger. A Netflix original documentary. Oct. 19, 7:00pm, National Portrait Gallery.
No Stone Unturned, the latest work from Academy Award and Emmy-winning director Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark SideEnron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) is the festival’s centerpiece film and will screen on Friday, October 20. Gibney’s documentary re-opens a 1994 investigation into the massacre of six men as they watched a World Cup soccer match in their local Northern Ireland pub. Gibney exposes a complex web of lies and corruption, and reveals something that a criminal investigation spanning over twenty years did not: the identities of the suspected killers. Friday, October 20, 8:30pm, Naval Heritage Center.
And Voyeur, from directors Myles Kane and Josh Koury, is the festival’s closing night film on Saturday, October 21. Voyeur follows journalist Gay Talese as he reports on one of the most controversial stories of his career: a portrait of a Colorado motel owner, Gerald Foos, who spent decades spying on his guests and recording their private moments. A Netflix original documentary. Saturday, October 21, 8:30pm, Naval Heritage Center.
“We are very proud to screen these wonderful, new investigative documentaries,” said Diana Jean Schemo, founder and co-director of Double Exposure. “Each film illustrates a different aspect of investigative storytelling: the first takes audiences deep inside a community usually closed to outsiders; the second investigates a mystery that has gone unsolved for decades; and the third interrogates the investigative process itself.”
“These three extraordinary films from some of today’s most visionary filmmakers embody the very essence of what we aim to achieve at Double Exposure,” said Sky Sitney, festival co-director. “They are works that seek to uncover something otherwise hidden from view, expressed through a distinctive cinematic language.”
The full film program will be announced September 28. 
The Symposium program was announced earlier this month: http://doubleexposurefestival.com/2017-symposium/
About Double Exposure
In recent years, the creative landscape of films inspired by investigative reporting has flowered in unexpected and exciting ways, from Spotlight, which took audiences inside The Boston Globe investigative team, to Blackfish, which exposed mistreatment of orca whales at SeaWorld, to Citizenfour, which gave us a front-row seat on Edward Snowden’s massive release of files on government surveillance.
Yet this flourishing of creativity comes just as the rights of journalists and visual storytellers face unprecedented challenges on nearly every level: politically, socially, legally and financially.
Double Exposure, a project of the nonprofit investigative news organization 100Reporters, showcases the best new films inspired by the investigative instinct, in a bid to raise public recognition of this vital form of reporting that doesn’t just ask tough questions, but delivers answers. It pairs film screenings with a concurrent symposium for journalists and filmmakers to connect with each other, and with the producers, editors, funders, and experts who can advance their work.
Major supporters of Double Exposure include the Reva and David Logan Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundations.
For more information visit: 

Thirst Street (2017)

Quirky director Nathan Silver(ACTOR MARTINEZ) is at it again with THIRST STREET the story of a woman unlucky in love.

The film follows Gina, a flight attendant  who flees to Paris after her boyfriend commits suicide because he was convinced she only traveled to get away from him. Once there she misadventures herself into a relationship with Jerome. She then goes off the rails when Jerome's ex re-enters his life.

Quirky, odd ball and very deliberate film is not going to work for some audiences. With its ever present narration by Angelica Huston and throw back psychodrama lighting scheme this film is not going to  be either as compelling or as funny as intended. You either go with it's off beat and off kilter humor or you walk out of the audience

I liked what it was trying to do but ultimately I thought it wore out its welcome in the opening reel.

To be honest this film premiered at Tribeca early this year and it as the one film I simply refused to see because I disliked the director's earlier films. I agreed to see the film because I didn't realize what the film was. That said this is the first of Silver's films that I kind of liked Not a ringing endorsement I know but there are moments.

THIRST STREET opens in NYC at the Quad today  and on the 29th in Los Angeles


Features More Than 140 Films From 26 Countries Over 6 Days
NewFest Previously Announced Opening, Closing, Centerpiece Films
Festival Runs October 19 - 24 and is Presented by HBO and
Programmed in Partnership with Outfest

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 4.19.29 PM.png
New York, NY (September 19, 2017) – Following the announcement of their Opening, Closing and Centerpiece films, NewFest, which is programmed in partnership with Outfest, today announced the full lineup of their 29th annual celebration of the year’s best LGBT films from around the world. The program of more than 140 narrative features, documentaries, episodic series and shorts runs from October 19-24 at the SVA Theatre, Cinépolis Chelsea, and The LGBT Community Center in New York City.
In addition to the previously announced galas, this year’s festival will also feature a Spotlight Screening & Conversation presentation of Angela Robinson’s PROFESSOR MARSTON & THE WONDER WOMEN, the story of how the superhero Wonder Woman came to be and the secret life of her creator, Dr. William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans), his wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall) and their lover Olive (Bella Heathcote). The screening will be followed by a conversation on bisexuality and polyamory with director Angela Robinson and guests to be announced.
This year NewFest received a wealth of international submissions, with films being submitted from 34 countries spread across 6 continents, and 33 percent of the features were directed by women. Overall, the festival will screen 40 feature length films (including over 20 feature works from first-time feature filmmakers, such as Trudie Styler), 97 shorts and an episodic sidebar featuring 8 web-based projects for a total of 145 selections. The US Narrative, International Narrative and Documentary  Feature sections will include 11 films in each group, with 16 countries represented, including new works from the Philippines, Canada, Chile, Germany, Finland, Qatar, India, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
“This year’s festival takes a cross-generational look at the LGBTQ community through the lens of our history, our culture, and our sexual and gender identities,” said Executive Director Robert Kushner. “Through these established filmmakers and vibrant emerging voices of LGBTQ cinema, we’re given the opportunity to reflect on our progress, highlight our strengths, and illuminate the challenges we experience both as individuals and as a community.”
“We are so proud of the caliber of films in this year's NewFest lineup. The work from this year’s creatives shares a collective queer consciousness--looking at sexual fluidity, the gender spectrum, and resistance as a way of life,” said Director of Programming Lucy Mukerjee-Brown. “We've collected stories from our queer family across the globe in order to inspire New Yorkers for the 29th year in a row. Join us to take part in the post-screening conversations and make a statement about the value of LGBTQ visibility and community.”
“The varied stories and forms from around the world within this year’s electric festival program spiritually emulate the vitality of New York’s LGBTQ cultural and political landscape both past and present,” said NewFest’s Programming and Operations Manager Nick McCarthy. “And with so many New York-set films, we’re beyond excited to provide a space and platform for multiple storytellers to reflect on the LGBT experience through the power of cinema in their hometown. We are all looking forward to sharing the auspicious work of our talented filmmakers with the audiences of New York, and to facilitate engagement between artists and guests--highlighting the unity within community .”
New feature-length work includes narratives DISCREET from Travis Mathews (INTERIOR. LEATHER BAR), Canadian entry PORCUPINE LAKE from Ingrid Veninger (THE ANIMAL PROJECT) and the BBC-produced AGAINST THE LAW from Fergus O'Brien, documentaries MY WONDERFUL WEST BERLIN from German filmmaker Jochen Hick (THE GOOD AMERICAN), OUT OF ORDER from Amanda Bluglass (VIVA) and BONES OF CONTENTION from Emmy-winner Andrea Weiss (U.N. Fever). The festival also includes exciting premieres of debut features such as FREAK SHOW from Trudie Styler, starring Bette Midler, Abigail Breslin, AnnaSophia Robb, Laverne Cox, John McEnroe and Larry Pine, ONE LAST THING from Tim Rouhana, starring Wendall Pierce (THE WIRE) and Jurnee Smollet, as well as Jennifer Gerber’s THE REVIVAL, Mike Roma’s DATING MY MOTHER, Samantha Lee’s MAYBE TOMORROW, Gail Freedman’s HOT TO TROT, and Lara Embry and Carolyn Sherer’s ALABAMA BOUND, among others.
Rounding out the US Narrative offerings are Christopher Schaap’s PROM KING, 2010, David Berry’s SOMETHING LIKE SUMMER, William Sullivan’s THE RING THING, Jenée LaMarque‘s THE FEELS, Albert Alarr’s A MILLION HAPPY NOWS and Anahita Ghazvinizadeh’s THEY, while Itako’s BOYS FOR SALE, Paul Oremland’s 100 MEN, Jeffrey Schwarz’s THE FABULOUS ALLAN CARR, Tristan Milewski’s DREAM BOAT and Arshad Khan’s ABU complete the feature length documentary entries.
The remaining International narratives include Marília Hughes and Guerreiro Cláudio Marques’ THE CITY OF THE FUTURE (Brazil), Carlos Lechuga’s SANTA & ANDRES (Cuba), Darren Thornton’s A DATE FOR MAD MARY (Ireland), Victor Villanueva’s  JESUS IS DEAD (the Philippines, East Coast Premiere), Joselito Altarejos’ TALE OF THE LOST BOYS (Taiwan, the Philippines, North American Premiere), Lokesh Kumar’s MY SON IS GAY (India, North American Premiere), Nicolas Videla’s THE DEVIL'S MAGNIFICENT (Chile, International Premiere) and Nils-Erik Ekblom’s SCREWED (Finland).
Through the film selection process this year’s event, the festival’s programming team chose to highlight several themes, including the history of LGBT activism in New York City, the global condition of LGBT communities and the ways in which different generations of LGBT artists, activists and storytellers influence each other by looking both backwards and forward in time.
To that end, they chose to program a Legacy section of shorts entitled Out of the Archive: Queer New York, containing 7 short films spanning the past 50 years of LGBT filmmaking, including a 2010 short documentary from Ira Sachs comprised of footage of the exteriors of houses where New York artists were living when they died of AIDS; QUEENS AT HEART, a short doc about two pre-Stonewall transgender women; and I NEVER DANCED THE WAY GIRLS WERE SUPPOSED TO, Dawn Suggs’ mediation on black lesbian subjectivity.
The Legacy feature is Hettie Macdonald’s 1996 narrative feature BEAUTIFUL THING. Two decades after its initial release, the film still stands as one of the most poignant and honest depictions of the coming-out process ever presented on screen, and represents this year’s festival’s theme of self-expression.
Considering the massive growth in LGBT-oriented TV and web-based episodic content over the past several years and a successful panel last year focused on Queer Storytelling in a Digital Age,  NewFest decided to add an Episodic Showcase that is comprised of three episodic programs for 2017, and including works such as Brooklyn-local Chanelle Aponte Pearson’s 195 LEWIS; THE T; DARLING SHEAR; Andre Perez’s AMERICA IN TRANSITION; Kit Williamson’s EASTSIDERS; MARICAS; and SNUGGLR.
This year’s lineup of 97 new LGBT shorts have been divided into thematic programs, as follows:
This bold and inventive series of formally adventurous and engaging shorts highlights animation's varied capacity to capture self-expression, identity, and communication. Beauty encompasses the fluidity of everyday life, whether going for a swim, cooking your father’s favorite dish, or reconnecting with a lost love. This eclectic combination of narrative and nonfiction works features stories from all around the world, yet possesses universal qualities and a brilliantly beating heart at its core. Audacious, heart-warming, inspiring, and a little absurdist—get ready for a gorgeously realized emotional roller coaster!

TransNation Film Festival Announces Lineup



Three-day festival features new works and rarely seen repertory gems
that reflect the trans experience.
Highlights include A Tribute to The Cockettes, RuPaul’s THE STARBOOTY TRILOGY, THE LIFE AND DEATH OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON, and STRONG ISLAND.
Los Angeles, CA (September 19, 2017) – The TransNation Film Festival, presented by St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, a community health center in Los Angeles that serves one of the largest populations of transgender patients in the country, announced today its 2017 lineup of narrative and documentary features, experimental films, and shorts for its second annual festival. The festival will run October 13-15at the Silent Movie Theater in West Hollywood (611 N. Fairfax). Tickets and more information are available at www.transnationfestival.org.
Hosted by Zackary Drucker (filmmaker, artist, and producer of Transparent), the TransNation Film Festival is a three-day event featuring an eclectic program of works by emerging and established filmmakers, as well as rare and underseen repertory gems and classics that reflect the trans experience.
“I can’t imagine a more dynamic, challenging, and crucial time for us to build community around art and storytelling,” said Drucker. “Working with a politic of love and unity, we programmed this year’s festival to highlight filmmakers and subjects that keep us critical, galvanized, and empowered. Moving through time and around the world, this year we’re featuring vintage and cult films, alongside subversive and groundbreaking narratives of today.
Festival highlights include A Tribute to The Cockettes, the legendary San Francisco theatrical troupe, which will feature photographs, an art exhibition, and screenings of three rare Cockettes-made films: TRICIA’S WEDDING, ELEVATOR GIRLS IN BONDAGE, and PALACE. The screening of PALACE will be accompanied by a live score by Kristian Hoffman. This exhibition of original Cockettes costumes and photographs will be shown for the first time in Los Angeles, after touring museums around the country. Founding Cockette and photographer Fayette Hauser will be in attendance.
RuPaul Is Starbooty in The Starbooty Trilogy, a cult-classic from RuPaul’s early public access days, will screen with a midnight dress-up party. All those who dress up will be photographed on the red carpet and are invited to attend a pre-party outfit contest on the patio.
Two recent and acclaimed social justice documentaries that explore issues at the core of the mission of St. John’s Well Child and Family Center will screen: THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON andSTRONG ISLAND.
Academy Award-nominated filmmaker David France’s (HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE) THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON will open the festival and feature the film’s subject, trans activist for the Anti-Violence Project Victoria Cruz, in conversation with CEO of St John’s, Jim Mangia, who knew Marsha P. Johnson.
The Sundance 2017 Special Jury Award winner for Storytelling, STRONG ISLAND, will feature the film’s director and subject Yance Ford, who will attend for a post-screening Q&A.
The festival’s ground-breaking shorts program features world premieres and new works by emerging and acclaimed trans filmmakers as well as those working with trans themes, including Rhys Ernst, Luis De Filippis, Rosie Haber, Rain Valdez, Harriet Fleuriot, Sarah Cockings, Wes Hurley, and Nathan M. Mille.
The festival will also screen the West Coast premiere of TRANS YOUTH, a nuanced verité documentary following the lives of trans millennials in Austin, TX, as well as a sneak peek of the forthcoming HBO documentary short film 15: A QUINCEAÑERA STORY. The film will air in 2018 and follows transgender teen Zoe Luna getting ready for her quinceañera in Los Angeles. Luna and filmmaker Matthew O’Neill will be in attendance.
Filmmaker Michael Sarne’s 1970 gender-bending comedy MYRA BRECKINRIDGE, starring Raquel Welch, John Huston, Farrah Fawcett, Rex Reed, Tom Selleck, and Mae West, will have a special midnightscreening.
The special program, West African Spirit Worlds and the Non-binary Experience, will highlight two films that deal with African spirituality and gender fluidity. BIGHT OF THE TWIN features legendary industrial music pioneer and alt-culture iconGenesis Breyer P-Orridgein Benin exploring the Vodoun twin fetish tradition, while OYA: SOMETHING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO WEST AFRICA is directed by Queer Gender-Non-Conforming Nigerian media artistSeyi Adebanjo. Adebanjo will appear in person to present the film.
TransNation Film Festival is part of the TransNation Festival 2017, a week-long celebration of the trans community that also includes ELEGANZA, the official closing gala on Saturday, October 21, and numerous community events throughout the week.
Proceeds from the festival will benefit St. John’s Well Child and Family Center’s Transgender Health Program, which is an independent 501(c)3 community health center that serves one of the largest populations of transgender patients in the country with primary medical, dental, and behavioral health care, as well as support for the community’s unique socioeconomic, legal, and advocacy needs.
“St. John’s is honored to have built a transgender health program serving thousands of trans patients,” said St. John’s CEO Jim Mangia. “And we are extremely honored to sponsor a film festival that gives expression, support, and affirmation of the beauty of trans lives.”
More information is available at the festival website: www.transnationfestival.org
About St. John’s
St. John’s Well Child and Family Center is an independent 501(c)(3) federally qualified health center network of thirteen health centers and two mobile clinics spanning the breadth of Central and South L.A. and Compton. The organization began as a one-room volunteer pediatric clinic in 1964, one year before the Watts Riots, in response to the poverty and lack of access to health services for underserved South L.A. residents. Fifty-three years later, South L.A. remains a region of economic deprivation and social marginalization. In response to the disturbing health inequalities, St. John’s has expanded its outreach and programs over the years to meet the needs of its primarily immigrant Latino and indigent African-American community. Today, St. John’s is one of the most significant safety net providers in L.A. County, offering comprehensive healthcare as well as supportive services to address socio-economic, housing, mental health, and advocacy needs. In 2016, the St. John’s’ network provided more than 261,000 primary medical, dental and behavioral health visits, plus 5,199 supportive services case management visits, to more than 84,000 low-income children and adults—regardless of their ability to pay for services.
In 2013, in response to the alarming poverty, health risks, and marginalization of the transgender community in South L.A., St. John’s launched a comprehensive Transgender Health Program at its Warner Traynham Health Center. In a patient-centered medical home, the program addresses the deep disparities facing the transgender population through the provision of linguistically and culturally competent trans-specific services including primary and preventive care–medical, dental, and behavioral health, including no-barrier hormone therapy, individual counseling, family counseling and support groups; pharmacy; victim advocacy; case management; referrals to trans advocates, legal support and other services; health insurance enrollment assistance; assistance with legal name/gender change paperwork; workforce readiness; and referrals for gender affirming surgeries.
Through comprehensive services for children, families, and adults from all walks of life, St. John’s’ mission is to eliminate health disparities and foster community well-being by providing and promoting the highest-quality care in South L.A.
                        St. John’s CEO Jim Mangia in conversation with subject and activist Victoria Cruz
10:00 pm         SHORTS PROGRAM
                        Rain Valdez and others in person
12:00 am         RuPaul Is Starbooty in The Starbooty Trilogy! With a dress-up party!

4:00 pm           DRUNKTOWN’S FINEST
7:00 pm           STRONG ISLAND
                        Director Yance Ford in person for Q&A
9:30 pm           A TRIBUTE TO THE COCKETTES
                        Original Cockette Fayette Hauser in person and live score by Kristian Hoffman

12:00 am         MYRA BRECKINRIDGE


3:00 pm           IN FULL BLOOM
                        Filmmaker Michael Brewer and cast members in person
5:00 pm           Special FREE sneak preview of HBO short film 15: A QUINCEAÑERA STORY
                        Subject Zoe Luna in person
7:00 pm           TRANS YOUTH – West Coast Premiere
                        Filmmaker Rebecca Adler and cast members in person
9:30 pm           Special program: West African Spirit Worlds and the Non-binary Experience
                        featuring OYA: SOMETHING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO WEST AFRICA and
                                    Filmmaker Seyi Adebanjo in person
                                    Filmmaker Hazel Hill and special guests in person


Director: David France
Logline: THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON reexamines the death of a beloved icon of the trans world while celebrating the story of two landmark pioneers of the trans-rights movement, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.

US/2014/95 min./DCP/Engilsh
Director: Sydney Freeland
Logline: Three Native Americans: a college-bound student, a father-to-be, and a promiscuous transsexual struggle to escape their Indian reservation.

US/2015/90 min./DCP/English
Director: Michael Brewer
Logline: The feature-length documentary follows the journey of thirteen transgender and two gay actors as they prepare for the world premiere of the stage play, “Lovely Bouquet of Flowers: An Exploration of Non-Traditional Gender Voices.”

US, Denmark/2017/107 min./DCP/English
Theatrical Premiere
Director: Yance Ford
Logline: The forces of family, grief and racial injustice converge in this powerful documentary exploring the murder of filmmaker Yance Ford's brother.

Venezuela, Uruguay, Peru/ 2016/110 min./DCP/Spanish w/ English Subtitles
Director: Elia K. Schneider
Logline: The film is based on the true story of Tamara Adrián, the first trans person elected to national office in Venezuela.

TRANS YOUTH – West Coast Premiere
US/2017/84 min./DCP/English
Director: Rebecca Adler
Logline: This intimate documentary filmed over three years centers on seven trans young adults as they navigate growing older in the southern city of Austin, Texas. Trans Youth is a stirring tribute to the courage necessary to become oneself in a sometimes unloving world.


Tribute to the hugely influential 1960s-70s trans-collective performance troupe The Cockettes, with an introduction by special guest and original Cockette Fayette Hauser and a screening of three very rare films: TRICIA’S WEDDING, ELEVATOR GIRLS IN BONDAGE, and PALACE. The screening of PALACE will be accompanied by a live score by Kristian Hoffman.

US/1971/33 min./DCP restoration/English
Director: Milton Miron aka Sebastian
Logline: The Cockettes' hilarious, dazzling underground-film spoof of the wedding of
Tricia Nixon, daughter of President Richard Nixon, in the White House Rose Garden.

US/1972/56 min./DCP restoration/English
Director: Michael Kalmen
Logline: The underpaid staff of a seedy hotel rise up in revolt when head Elevator Girl
Maxine (Rumi) starts a Marxist-Feminist secret association to liberate the girls, followed
by explicit and wildly unconventional sexual encounters.

PALACE (with live score by Kristian Hoffman)
US/1970/25 min./35mm/English
Director: Syd Dutton
Logline: This very rare film, screened in 35mm, is the only recorded live performance of
the Cockettes, at the Palace Theater in San Francisco on Halloween, 1970.

Special Program: West African Spirit Worlds and the Nonbinary Experience featuring OYA: SOMETHING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO WEST AFRICA! And BIGHT OF THE TWIN

US, Nigeria/2015/30 min./DCP/English and West African dialect
Director: Seyi Adebanjo
Logline: Queer Gender-Non-Conforming Nigerian media artist Seyi Adebanjo tells a tale
not often heard about gender and indigenous Yorùbá spirituality as Seyi journeys to
Nigeria to connect with Òrìà tradition, or African God/dess tradition, and the powerful
legacy of the filmmaker's great grandmother, Chief Moloran Ìyá ĺya.

US, Benin/2016/55 min./DCP/English, French, Fon w/ English Subtitles
Director: Hazel Hill McCarthy III
Logline: Takes viewers to Ouidah, Benin, the geographic heart of the Vodoun religion, where legendary musician, cultural engineer and self-proclaimed non-binary “Pandrogyne” Genesis Breyer P-Orridge immerses h/irself in the Vodoun fetish “twin culture” and explores the relationship between Vodoun and Western secular art and performance.

US/1970/94 min./35mm/English
Director: Michael Sarne
Logline: Style, grace, sworn against the male race? Enter ultra-femme, sadistic she-devil Myra Breckinridge, the inaugural trans Bad Bitch, who – in her wicked pursuit of revenge – never fails to properly accessorize and outfit.

US/1987/60 min./DCP/English
Director: Jon Witherspoon
Logline: Long before Supermodel, an unknown RuPaul with gigantic ambition created the unstoppable secret-agent-spy-model Starbooty and made three epic Starbooty adventure movies for Atlanta public access television, treasured for decades by cult-film connoisseurs but rarely seen on the large screen.

15: A QUINCEAÑERA STORY – FREE sneak preview screening
US/2017/27 min. DCP/English
Director: Matthew O’Neill & Thalia Sodi
Logline: 15: A Quinceañera Story is about Zoey, a young Mexican-American celebrating her 15th birthday. Though Zoey was assigned male at birth, she identifies as female and this celebration has special significance for her trans madrinas (godmothers) who couldn't have Quinceañeras of their own.


US/2017/10 min./DCP/English
Director: Rain Valdez
Logline: A woman is “kiss-hexed” by a homeless person and must find another person to kiss by midnightor she expires – an unlikely love story.

US/2017/14 min./DCP/English
Director: Wes Hurley & Nathan M. Miller
Logline: Struggling to survive in the USSR during the turbulent years of Perestroika, Elena and her young gay son escape into the world of pirated American movies. But soon the movies are not enough and Elena decides to become a mail-order-bride and discover America for herself. Saving its most unexpected twist til the end, this is an inspiring and timely story of two immigrants’ take on the American Dream.

USA, Spain, Ukraine/2016/8 min./English, Spanish, Russian, French//English subtitles
World Premiere
Director: Katia Repina, Carla Moral
Logline: A documentary project that aims to explore the intersex identity thought stories of intersex people in USA, Spain, and Ukraine.

Director: Rosie Haber
Logline: This series explores the vibrant and multifaceted queer culture emerging in the American South. Playing against old stereotypes of Mississippi as a state of social conservatism and stagnation, we follow the lives of queer youth to explore the tangled and complex nature of sexual identity in the New Deep South.
FOR NONNA ANNA - U.S. Premiere
Canada/2017/13 minutes/English, Italian
Directed by Luis De Filippis
Log line: A trans girl cares for her Italian grandmother. She assumes that her Nonna disapproves of her – but instead discovers a tender bond in their shared vulnerability.

United Kingdom/2016/7 ½ min./DCP/English
Director: Sarah Cockings & Harriet Fleuriot
Logline: Objects and devices become bodily and manipulative. The magician is a
composed cartoon machine repeating tricks and equations. When products become
prosthetics does the accessory take some emotional control?

Director: Kim Boekbinder & Jim Batt
Logline: Through a collaborative video from the ACLU, “Transparent” producer and artist Zackary Drucker, Emmy-nominated actress Laverne Cox, and the creative team of Molly Crabapple and Kim Boekbinder, we are telling the story of trans history and resistance.

Director: Rhys Ernst
Logline: In 2016, Rhys teamed up with Google to direct a series of three shorts on trans pioneers. That series, #Transvoices, premiered on Google’s home page.