Review: Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez Is Another Netflix Doc Win

It’s no secret that Netflix has been on fire it when it comes to original content these past few years. It’s said that Netflix spent over $15 billion on original content in 2019 and this year for the first time, Netflix-produced films garnered more Oscar nominations (24) than any other studio including Disney which owns nearly everything media-related in the world (take that, Mouse!). As the world’s favorite media streaming service, Netflix is hitting its stride at a time when more and more competition is trying to take a bite out of its market share.

One of the best parts of Netflix’s business model is that because they have millions of users paying a monthly fee to use their service, they have a constant stream of revenue coming in that allows them to take chances on their original content. Because of that, we are able to get content like Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez. Netflix has produced some of the most highly acclaimed true crime series of the last few years in the critically acclaimed Making a Murderer, Evil Genius and their documentary about Amanda Knox. Killer Inside fits nicely alongside these series/films.

Following the demise of once heralded New England Patriots football star Aaron Hernandez, this series tries to put together how a rising football star and role model for the Latino community could be a cold blooded killer off the field. In 2013, Hernandez was arrested initially for the murder of his fiancee’s sister’s boyfriend Odin Lloyd. Over the 3+ hour three-part series, director Geno McDermott unpacks the confounding tale of how this all happened as best as possible. McDermott and the editing team do a masterful job of tracking back and forth in Hernandez’s timeline incorporating interviews with friends, former teammates, trial footage and jailhouse phone call audio from the various people with whom Hernandez spoke while in prison. For a story that twists and turns as much as this one does, they really do a masterful job grounding the viewer and not overloading us with too much or too little information.

Many of the details of this story are very familiar, not just to football fans but to the public at large. This case was a huge deal. It was played out in public and while it wasn’t OJ Simpson-like in scale, it was still a case in the public eye for multiple years. So giving new information or drilling down on points that weren’t already well known was McDermott‘s real challenge here. He did a great job moving both forward and backward in the timeline in particular to incorporate the bombshell news that Hernandez was implicated, later indicted and tried for two additional murders.

I do appreciate that this film tried its best to tackle the why – what caused a high-profile athlete playing for the best franchise in the sport who had yet to hit his peak only being 23 years old to bafflingly murder someone from his own inner circle…and in such a stupid manner that he was so easily caught? The film visits and revisits the claims that Hernandez was gay or bisexual throughout the film with a corroborating interview with his high school quarterback, Dennis Sansoucie, that they were lovers in high school. That shame of who he really was and that should it come out it would ruin him was posited as a possible motive. McDermott interestingly knits the story of former Patriot offensive lineman Ryan O’Callaghan who came out as gay after leaving the NFL throughout the series. His tale demonstrates the weight of what being gay in the macho culture of the NFL is like and what that can do to one’s psyche. It was an interesting take and sadly a perspective that is far too uncommon.

Near the end of the film, it’s revealed that Hernandez definitely had CTE, the degenerative disorder from repeated blows to head/concussions. This, too, was listed as a possible reason. The doctor who examined his brain said it was the worst case she’d ever seen for someone his age. His family life is probed thoroughly and shows that cracks the developed after the death of his father pushed him into hanging out with the wrong crowd at the wrong time in his life. All of these things combined may have been the cause of what pushed him to do the unthinkable for someone who was legitimately on the top of his own world. It’s something that will likely never be known as the true motive died with Aaron Hernandez. The series never comes off as preachy, pushing the viewer in any specific direction as to how this all happened and why.

This is a well-made series and it has a particularly poignant end with his last recorded phone call with his fiancee Shayanna Jenkins and his then 4-year old daughter, a sad end to a life that should have been different. I will give infinite credit to McDermott for not keeping Odin Lloyd, his family and likewise Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, the two victims of a murder for which Hernandez was ultimately acquitted, in the background. They deserved at least that.

Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez premieres today on Netflix.

Here’s the trailer:

Tribeca Film Fest: ‘Love, Gilda’ to open at Beacon Theatre April 18th

An intimate portrait honoring comedy legend Gilda Radner in her own words with readings from her personal diaries and candid interviews with Chevy Chase, Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Cecily Strong and others…

The Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, will open its 17th edition with the world premiere of LOVE, GILDA on Wednesday, April 18, 2018. CNN Films presents the feature length documentary – produced by 3 Faces Films in association with Motto Pictures – which opens a window into the world of celebrated Emmy® and Grammy® award-winning comedian Gilda Radner who became a cultural icon the moment audiences first laughed with her on Saturday Night Live’s debut episode. A trailblazer for female comedians, her impact on the entertainment industry has endured almost four decades. The film will premiere opening night of the Tribeca Film Festival at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, the city she called home when she catapulted to fame. Tickets for Opening Night go on sale on March 20 atwww.tribecafilm.com/festival. The 2018 Tribeca Film Festival runs April 18-29.

LOVE, GILDA is directed and produced by Lisa D’Apolito with the support of the Gilda Radner estate. The film is a true autobiography of a pioneering woman, told in her own words and in her own voice. It weaves together audiotapes, rare home movies, diary entries, and interviews with her friends and those inspired by her including: Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, and Cecily Strong; SNL original cast members Chevy Chase, Laraine Newman, and Paul Shaffer; as well as Lorne Michaels (SNL creator and producer), Alan Zweibel (SNL writer), Stephen Schwartz (Broadway composer); Andrew Alexander (CEO of Second City), and long-time friend and actor Martin Short.

Gilda Radner captivated millions of television viewers as an original cast member of Saturday Night Live from 1975-1980. The popularity of her now classic comedic characters Roseanne Roseannadanna, Emily Litella, and Lisa Loopner fueled the young talent to meteoric fame in television, movies, and on Broadway. After finding happiness in love with Gene Wilder she received the cruelest joke of all, cancer. Her fight against the disease served as an inspiration to people impacted by the illness to stay positive and to keep laughing no matter what challenges life brings you.

“As a Festival that has always supported women’s voices and is largely run by women we are incredibly proud to celebrate the inimitable voice of Gilda during the opening night of our Festival,” said Jane Rosenthal, Co-Founder and CEO of the Tribeca Film Festival. “Gilda Radner was a powerful comedic force of nature who opened doors and thrilled audiences while becoming one of the most prolific comedians of a generation. Her cutting edge humor was only second to her dedicated leadership in cancer care with her eponymous Gilda’s Club.”

“LOVE, GILDA is the right film at the right time and the perfect way to open our Festival,” said Paula Weinstein, EVP of Tribeca Enterprises. “Gilda is a woman for the ages, an extraordinary talent in film, television, and theater who overcame her personal struggles to make us laugh, to make us cry. She understood the healing power of laughter not simply for her audience but in her own life as she struggled with cancer and lead the way for all of us to make the world a better place.”

First time feature filmmaker Lisa D’Apolito commented, “I fell in love with Gilda Radner while doing pro bono work at Gilda’s Club, the cancer support organization Gene Wilder founded in honor of Gilda, in Greenwich Village where I grew up. This started my journey to discover who Gilda was as a person and as a performer. Gilda inspired me and many other women with her remarkable spirit and unique talent that changed the world of comedy. I’m grateful and honored to share the extraordinary legacy of Gilda Radner at the Tribeca Film Festival.”

LOVE, GILDA brings audiences into the honest and whimsical world of a beloved performer, whose greatest role was sharing her story. The film is produced by Bronwyn Berry, Meryl Goldsmith, and James Tumminia, with Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn (Motto Pictures), Alan and Robin Zweibel, Amy Entelis and Courtney Sexton (CNN Films) serving as executive producers.

Submarine is handling sales for the film.

The 2018 Tribeca Film Festival will announce its feature film slate on March 7.

Hashtag: #Tribeca2018
Twitter: @Tribeca
Instagram: @tribeca
Facebook: facebook.com/Tribeca
Snapchat: TribecaFilmFest

 

Review: ‘The Family I Had’

The Family I Had

Release Date: December 21, 2017 at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery

Guest review from Reel Reviews Over Brews

Charity walks a fine line between love and fear of her son Paris. It’s been ten years since he killed her daughter and she is left questioning his chance at redemption and her ability to forgive. We peel back the layers to reveal a family history previously marked by intra-family violence as she embraces motherhood for a third time with a new baby boy. Widely varying accounts from family members concerning how this tragedy came about crossed with intimate family videos, diaries and other personal media render a deeply nuanced and complicated portrait of a broken family striving to overcome the unthinkable.

The Family I Had grabs your attention from the first 5 minutes and doesn’t look back. It takes a look into the lives of Charity and Paris Bennett. Paris murdered his younger sister, Ella, when he was 13 and is currently in prison for 20 years until he can be released. In the mean time, Charity has been trying to figure out why. This is the question that follows throughout the movie and every stone uncovered leads to more questions of what Paris’s motive was or even if he is really as empathetic as he seems in the interviews.

If you are a fan of crime documentaries, then this one is a must see. We don’t see a need to watch any more than once, but it’s definitely worth the initial watch. It would have been informative to hear from the psychologists working with Paris (or at least a written statement) explaining to the viewers what a sociopath diagnosis is and how what Paris was presenting to the camera (a high level of empathy and regret) is not true to that diagnosis.

By the end of The Family I Had we were wondering how Paris will actually be upon his release. Will he be true to his word? Or are Charity and her new son, Phoenix, in danger of a repeat from the past. Only time will tell.

Reel ROB Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars

Post Credits Scene: No

We want to thank our friends at Reel News Daily for allowing us to do this guest review!

DOC NYC review: ‘A Murder in Mansfield’ is an emotional gut punch.

A MURDER IN MANSFIELD

WORLD PREMIERE Filmmaker Barbara Kopple explores the legacy of the 1989 murder of Noreen Boyle in Mansfield, Ohio. Her 12-year-old son Collier gave a devastating videotaped testimony blaming his father for the murder. Now, over two decades later, Collier returns to Ohio seeking to retrace his past and confront his imprisoned father, who remains in denial of his guilt. Collier’s depth of character is a wonder to behold from childhood to adulthood. Out of this tragic story, we witness the power of human resilience.
Collier Landry brings us on a journey no child should ever have to go on. 27 years after a horrific crime by the hands of his own father, we learn that Landry had the foresight to keep all the correspondence between the two, adding to the real life, emotionally manipulative drama that endured. This doc has some of the most graphic details shown to an audience as we are privy to the actual crime scene photos alongside Collier. While he attempts to come to terms with the truth about his father, he also explores the greater effect that violence leaves on a community. Through interviews with friends and family, the hold this event still has on so many is more than evident. Landry not only had his mother stolen from his life, not only his innocence, but an adoptive sister. As a viewer, I mourned right along with him at every turn. His determination is contagious and brave. Director Barbara Kopple yet again delves into the lives of people making waves, big and small. A Murder in Mansfield displays a sorrow and engages the detective we all have buried inside. It is both an honest portrait of grieving and a peak inside the chilling mind of a murderer.
Criminal defense lawyers sometime get a not-so-flattering portrayal because people assume that they defend guilty people. However, if you are a defendant in a criminal proceeding, you need the assistance of a qualified criminal defense lawyer, regardless of your guilt or innocence. As the protectors and advocates of the accused, defense lawyers play a pivotal role in the United States justice system to see that everyone charged with a criminal act has an opportunity to defend themselves.

 

Choosing and employing a criminal defense lawyer early on in any case is the best way to increase one’s probability of success in any criminal trial. Many of the more prominent people in society already have a battery of lawyers at their behest that spring into action whenever any legal problem arises. Click here if you want to find out more about deportation defense attorney.

You may not be one of these high profile people, and you may not have employed an attorney as of yet because a) you do not really have a need for them yet or b) they are, of course, too expensive to just have on hand. But even given this you will have to keep in mind that in the case of an impending criminal trial, choosing and hiring a good lawyer early on is your top priority.

In fact, the outcome of your entire case may even hinge on whether this single matter alone. If you hire a lawyer early on, there is a chance that, due to his or her timely actions, there will be no need for any case and trial at all. You might just be able to dodge the bullet on time.

Your choice of lawyer can also affect the amount and quality of evidence that is allowable by law to police and investigators. This alone is reason enough to hire good lawyers with good grasp of such kinds of investigation practice. If you have been watching enough trial TV, you will notice that many trials drag on endlessly only to argue whether an evidence is acceptable in the court of law.

Look at the lawyer’s background. Does he or she have specialization in criminal defense? Just because on is an attorney does not mean that he or she automatically qualifies as a good criminal defense lawyer.

Lawyers are a lot like doctors. And the legal field is pretty much similar to the medical field. There is a host of specializations and fortes making having one lawyer adept at all close to impossible. And in the same wise that you wouldn’t trust a brain operation on a dermatologist, you should stick to a defense crime lawyer when you need such representation in cases.

Also look at past case performance to see if the lawyer is fit to represent you fully in your case. If the lawyer has had experience in cases similar to yours, and has been able to perform well and respectably, then that would be a good thing to look out for.

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MansfieldDocumentary/
Director: Barbara Kopple
Producer: Barbara Kopple, David Cassidy, Ray Nowosielski
Cinematographer: Gary Griffin, Tony Hardmon
Editor: Rob Kuhns
Running Time: 88
Language: English
Country: USA
Year: 2017

DOC NYC review: ‘A Better Man’ is an emotionally raw healing session.

A BETTER MAN

US PREMIERE  While they were a couple, Steve exposed Attiya to terrifying daily verbal and physical abuse. Twenty years later, they revisit their relationship in an intimate, therapeutic context, walking through the physical — and emotional — spaces they once inhabited together. As Steve is put in a position to acknowledge and take responsibility for the abuse, will Attiya complete her long process of healing and be liberated from her demons? A Better Man explores the revelatory potential of involving the abuser in domestic violence prevention.

If you’ve ever been a victim, A Better Man feels surprising and cathartic. While this is  Attiya and Steve’s story, Attiya becomes our emotional surrogate. With so many victims coming forward in this tumultuous climate, especially over the past year, this film is very timely. 1 in 2 women has experienced physical, verbal, emotional and/or sexual abuse in her lifetime. To have the opportunity to revisit an old relationship in a safe and constructive environment might not be on everyone’s bucket list, but I know from firsthand experience that I would gladly take part in such a chance… but perhaps that is a hasty statement. Until it is real, these are just words. Attiya is a brave woman. Steve is a remorseful man. Let it be known, I am not a fan of Steve here, but do acknowledge that not every abuser would be so open and willing to offer a public apology and seek counseling sitting directly across from his victim. A Better Man is a film that is important for audiences to see and I for one hope that they absorb it for the powerful piece it truly is.

Official Site: https://abettermanfilm.com/

On Twitter: ABetterManFilm
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ABetterManFilm/
Director: Attiya Khan, Lawrence Jackman
Producer: Christine Kleckner, Justine Pimlott
Cinematographer: Iris Ng
Editor: Lawrence Jackman
Music: Lesley Barber
Running Time: 78
Language: English
Country: Canada
Year: 2017

Review: ‘Island Soldier’ Shows Us Difficulty Of Being Micronesian-American Soldier

Island Soldier

Release Date: November 11, 2017

Guest review from Reel Reviews Over Brews

Island Soldier is the untold story of Micronesian citizens fighting America’s wars. Through the personal odyssey of the Nenas, one family experiences the consequences of military service, as they represent a pristine Pacific island on the brink of economic collapse.

Micronesia, a geographically isolated country with minimally developed infrastructure, receives major financial assistance as a US protectorate and as such, these Pacific-Islanders have a right to join the US armed forces to escape a life of poverty in pursuit of the American Dream. However, citizens from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) mostly serve in the infantry and have had high casualty rates. These soldiers have had a death rate five times higher than any US state, per capita, in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, once veterans from the FSM return home , they do not have access to VA health benefits. FSM vets must pay out of pocket and travel thousands of miles to seek help from the nearest VA facility.

Documentaries are usually hit or miss for us… Island Soldier is one of the hits. Not only is it visually a great movie, but very informative. We learned a lot about Micronesian’s that join the American military. We also learned the unfortunate side effects of not having the same benefits of American born military too. The worst part being there is no VA for these veterans to go to on their island and if they get the chance to go they have to travel hours and spend a lot of their money to get there. The only way to help change that will be for more people to watch this documentary and learn about what is happening. Island Soldier is being released just in time for Veteran’s Day. Let’s help these soldiers and spread the word of this documentary because the more people that watch, the better the chances become of getting these flaws fixed.

Reel Reviews Over Brews would like to take a minute to thank all of the humans and animals who have served, who are currently serving, or who have given their lives serving… THANK YOU!

Reel ROB Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Post Credits Scene: No

We want to thank our friends at Reel News Daily for allowing us to do this guest review for them!

Review: ‘The Mighty Atom’ was Mighty Awesome!

The Mighty Atom

Available Digitally: November 14, 2017

Guest review from Reel Reviews Over Brews

Known as “The Mighty Atom,” Joseph Greenstein was, indeed, the greatest and perhaps most unlikely strongman who ever lived. Born three months pre-mature and diagnosed with tuberculosis, Greenstein wasn’t expected to live past his teens. With a competitive spirit that rose above his 5’4” stature, he overcame insurmountable odds to survive to adulthood. The Mighty Atom harnessed the power of his body – and more importantly, his mind – to achieve the impossible. Pulling a train with his teeth, stopping a plane from taking off with his hair, and bending iron bars with his bare hands, he mastered feats of strength, many of which have not been replicated to this day. He also created and sold some of the first health elixirs that were claimed to  increases longevity .

The Mighty Atom’ was a role model to Jewish athletes at a time when there were few and remains a hero to strength and fitness legends of today. An innovator, daredevil, and possibly the inspiration for Superman, he was a man who achieved the impossible.

In our last review we said most documentaries are hit or miss for us… well, they’re 2 for 2 this month! Another hit. The Mighty Atom is a documentary about a strongman named Joseph GreensteinGreenstein changed the strongman game forever. White Vein Malay can also be used for improving energy and focus, click here about his energy and focus. LGD 4033 helps in increasing stamina and endurance, which allows efficient training with better results. Then visit here for more details about the Ligandrol (LGD 4033). However, it’s a lot smoother, and this could actually be a good thing in case you are not interested in something aggressive. As a strongest man, You have to try for red thai kratom. It was pretty awesome learning about the guy who pretty much shaped what it is to be a strongman. We’ve watched some of the competitions over the years and always get caught up in them. In fact, in this documentary they show a clip of The Mighty Atom Jr. (Mike Greenstein) on America’s Got Talent, at the age of 93, pulling a car with his teeth. We remember watching that clip when it aired on TV and were absolutely amazed! So we found it pretty cool that this documentary filled in the backstory on his family’s history of being strongmen. On a side note, we’re also pretty big fans of Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, otherwise know as “The Mountain.” We love him on Game of Thrones and have been following him since his debut. He was runner up in the 2016 “World’s Strongest Man” competition.

We even found the music in this documentary to be enjoyable. Everything blended together so well. We would recommend The Mighty Atom to anyone, especially health/exercise nuts and exercises using an URBNFit exercise ball . There is a lot of knowledgeable things to learn about “strength” and Greenstein was well ahead of the game. Seriously, the guy may have even been the inspiration for one of the greatest superheroes of all time, Superman… how amazing is that!? It doesn’t take long to find out that The Mighty Atom, was mighty awesome!

Reel ROB Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Post Credits Scene: No

We want to thank our friends at Reel News Daily for allowing us to do this guest review for them!

Review: ‘Score: A Film Music Documentary’

Score: A Film Music Documentary is an extraordinary look into the work of some of Hollywood’s most iconic film composers. These artists create a sound simply from an emotion described by the films’ directors, and do so within pressing time constraints. Composers who created music from films such as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Titanic, Psycho, James Bond, Social Network, and Mad Max: Fury Road; regardless of the pressure, they have created some of the most memorable scores ever to be heard.

Film composers are, in a way, the director’s therapist. They spend time with the directors, listening to their thoughts and insecurities regarding their film; then take this time to understand and create a sound based off of what was described to them. They must be open to criticism and failure in their line of work. A composer can work days on a piece only for the director to scrap the entire score in seconds, forcing them to start over.

It’s an unfathomable art to create a feeling through sound, and that’s what makes composers so valuable in the world of film. Composers are creatively adaptable, which is such a rare talent that many movie goers probably don’t normally recognize. I not only recommend this documentary for avid movie watchers but I also recommend going back and watching some of the films discussed within ScoreGoing back and watching a film composed from John Williams or Han Zimmer simply made me appreciate how important these scores are to these iconic films; the films just wouldn’t be the same without them.

4.5/5 Stars

Score will be released in theaters June 16th, 2017. 

Score: A Film Music Documentary features:

Hans Zimmer

James Cameron

Danny Elfman

John Williams

Quincy Jones

Trent Reznor

Howard Shore

Rachel Portman

Thomas Newman

Randy Newman

Leonard Maltin

James Horner

Garry Marshall

Director: Matt Schrader

Review: ‘Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation’ – Eat, Sleep, LAX, & Repeat

Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation

Theatrical Release Date: May 26, 2017

Available on VOD & iTunes: June 20, 2017

Guest review from Reel Reviews Over Brews

Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation is a documentary that follows The Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team on the road as they compete in the 2015 World Indoor Lacrosse Championships. For the first time ever, the World Championship Games were hosted by a native nation in Onondaga, New York, the Capitol of the Iroquois Confederacy. The documentary covered the true meaning of the game from the Iroquois, who originated it and called it their “medicine game.” The documentary also gives a bit of history on what this sovereign nation had to go through, to be recognized by the Federation of International Lacrosse. They experienced years of misfortune but always managed to keep the faith and appreciate the game, which is a testament to the type of people the Iroquois are.

We are suckers for documentaries, especially ones about sports. The documentary did a great job showing the Iroquois culture and how important the Iroquois Nationals Team is to them and their history. While countries have national sports for example; the USA has baseball, England has cricket, and Canada has Ice Hockey, the Iroquois have lacrosse. Except, the Iroquois don’t have hundreds of thousands of players to pick from… they have roughly 400 players to create a championship team with. Even at this disadvantage, they were able to compete at such a high level in the 2015 World Indoor Lacrosse Championships. It was truly amazing to watch the Iroquois band together to host the WILC. When they faced Canada in the championship, they didn’t even hold a grudge towards them for “skipping” the passport stamping (the only team at the WILC that did not attend this ceremony), the Iroquois just played the game as they knew… with all of their heart. Throughout the movie, they had us thinking about our own sports memories. Whether it was traveling and playing professional WIFFLE ball with our team, Way Too Beautiful, or having the same mindset as the Iroquois growing up playing baseball and hockey. This movie hit us right in the feels. By the end, not only do we now want to go visit the Iroquois Nation, but we also want to follow them during the next World Championship Games!

Reel ROB Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Post Credits Scene: No

We want to thank our friends at Reel News Daily for allowing us to do this guest review for them!

TITLE: SPIRIT GAME: PRIDE OF A NATION
IN THEATERS: May 26, 2017
AVAILABLE ON VOD AND iTUNES: June 20, 2017
DIRECTOR: Peter Spirer & Peter Baxter

Netflix News: Feel the hope from the trailer for ‘Joshua: Teenager vs Superpower’

A Netflix original documentary directed by Joe Piscatella, Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower, launches globally on May 26.

About Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower: 

When the Chinese Communist Party alters its promise of autonomy to Hong Kong – handed back to the Chinese government from British rule in 1997 – teenager Joshua Wong decides to fight for his homeland.  Rallying thousands of kids to skip school and occupy the streets, and without a long-term plan but with passion to spare, Joshua becomes an unlikely leader in Hong Kong. A remarkable portrait of courage, resilience, and the propulsive power of youthful idealism, JOSHUA : TEENAGER VS. SUPERPOWER, the winner of this year’s Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, is a chronicle of one young man risking his own future for a greater good.

The film won the Audience Award at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival (World Cinema Documentary Competition).

Review: ‘When The Bough Breaks’ takes an emotionally impactful look at PPD.

Presents

I remember the disappointment when after 16 hrs of laboring, I wasn’t progressing with my son. C-section it would have to be. Okay. As long as he’s healthy, that’s all that matters. After what seemed to be a routine surgery, as soon as my husband was about to bring our son around to show me his little face, my body had a reaction to the Pitocin and anesthesia combination and I began getting sick while trapped down and numb. So much so that I was unable to turn to see my newborn son’s face for the first 24 hrs. Getting up after essentially becoming the lady sawed in half is harder than you think, despite the copious amounts of drugs being pumped into your IV. When I did finally shuffle slowly towards the NICU and saw him, so small and helpless and covered in monitors, there was an unfathomable feeling. Nothing. I felt a total disconnect and has no idea why. It took me months to come to terms with having a traumatic birth. Through breastfeeding challenges, a baby that would not sleep (thus Mom and Dad that didn’t sleep either) I was losing it. While I did get into the swing of things, I had other very close friends who were telling me that they were experiencing Post Partum Depression. “Baby Blues” are what I was going through. I wasn’t crying every day or having horrible thoughts. I was getting better. PPD is not something we talk about because of its stigma. That is not ok. 

When The Bough Breaks is a feature length documentary about postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis.  Narrated and Executive Produced by Brooke Shields, this shocking film uncovers this very public health issue which affects one in five new mothers after childbirth.
The film follows Lindsay Gerszt, a mother who has been suffering from PPD for six years. Lindsay agrees to let the cameras document her and give us an in-depth look at her path to recovery. We meet women who have committed infanticide and families who have lost loved ones to suicide.
Babies are dying, women aren’t speaking out and the signs are being missed.  When The Bough Breaks takes us on a journey to find answers and break the silence.  This film also features stories from singer Carnie Wilson, actress Tanya Newbould, celebrity chef Aarti Sequeira and Peggy Tanous of The Real Housewives of Orange County.

Lindsay Gerszt‘s story is not as uncommon as one might think. PPD is not something we talk about enough. This doc does an exceptional job of mixing intimate sit down interviews and actual science behind this mental illness. There are some interviews with mothers who never got the help they needed. As a mom, it is very difficult to hear and to watch. To be honest, I had to step away for a moment because I started to cry. But, it’s important not to ignore. This is truly valuable information. Treatments, from every kind, are discussed. Groups and reach out programs highlighted. It’s a treasure trove of knowledge in about 1 hour and 30 minutes. The film’s impact will stay with me always and I will now become an advocate for this issue, as it doesn’t just affect the mother and child, but everyone connected to them. If someone you know seems like they are struggling, you need to reach out. Most women will not admit how bad things really. Offer help, check in, be a good friend. When The Bough Breaks is available today on iTunes.

Available on iTunes March 14th  

WRITTEN, DIRECTED AND PRODUCED BY:
Jamielyn Lippman 

PRODUCED BY:
Lindsay Gerszt and Tanya Newbould

FEATURING:
Singer Carnie Wilson
“The Next Food Network Star” chef  Aarti Sequeira 
Real Housewives Of Orange County” star Peggy Tanous

NARRATED BY:
Brooke Shields 

RT: 93 Minutes

Website: 
www.whentheboughbreaksfilm.com

Social Media:
Twitter: @boughbreaksdoc
Official Facebook Page

Review: Hope for peace exists in the documentary ‘Disturbing the Peace’

www.reconsider.org
www.disturbingthepeacefilm.com
Country of Origin: United States, Israel, Palestine,
Languages: English, Arabic and Hebrew w/ English subtitles

***2016 Hampton International Film Festival Winner – Conflict & Resolution***
***2016 Traverse City Film Festival Winner – Best Foreign Language Documentary***
***2016 Traverse City Film Festival Winner – Audience Award Foreign Language Documentary***
***2016 Ebert Fest Winner – Roger Ebert Humanitarian Award***
***Official Selection 2016 Jerusalem Film Festival***
***Official Selection 2016 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival***
***Official Selection 2016 Boston Jewish Film Festival***

sulaimanandcfpatpeacemarchWith the election still fresh in our minds, it’s hard to get perspective. Disturbing the Peace is hopeful, inspiring yet tragic and reminds me that there are many conflicts happening the world and even in the darkest of circumstances, there is hope.

Disturbing the Peace is not a history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, nor does it try to explain it. Instead, the directors, Stephen Apkon and Andrew L. Young focus on the people living on each side and their search for peace.

Through interviews with people on both sides, a pattern emerges and you stop seeing separation and begin to see people just trying to live and raise families. Archival footage is terrifying and brutal. The visualizations and re-enactments are extremely effective and help to underscore the stories of the subjects.

One especially moving scene is a discussion with a man and his wife over whether he should attend a peaceful demonstration. She does not see the point, and he feels he must do something, not matter how seemingly insignificant. Their two daughters watch and it really captures the heart of the issue.

Another particularly eye-opening scene was when a man, describes watching Schindler’s List in prison with other Palestinians. For the first time, they saw another perspective and how Jews had been treated. Suddenly the other side, even the jailers were people. Slowly he and others became enlightened and when released from prison, became part of the moment, Combatants for Peace.

Although the conflict is far from over, there are people on both sides who have hope that there will be peace. This film fully illustrates that and gives hope to everyone who sees it. Be the change you wish to see in the world.

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Review: Unveiling an international empire in the astounding documentary “Tickled”

TICKLED

Catfish meets Compliance in David Farrier and Dylan Reeve’s jaw-dropping documentary Tickled. David Farrier is a New Zealand journalist who stumbled upon what seemed like just an unusual sport of men’s competitive tickling but instead triggered an incredibly, threatening backlash as he decided to dig deeper for more information on this funny entertainment piece.

After Farrier discovered the world of men’s competitive endurance tickling he felt compelled to interview Jane O’Brien Media who hosted the tickling videos. After reaching out, Farrier and Reeve started receiving defensive responses from the company stating that the videos are of an “exclusively heterosexual athletic endurance activity”. Amazed by some of the responses Farrier felt even more compelled to dig deeper into his research. After the two journalists began receiving legal threats, they knew there was so much more to this story; together they unveiled an empire.

I highly recommend this documentary. Not only is this an oddly enticing film, but on top of it all, it has amazing cinematography. It is just incredible how far these two journalists went to understand the world of Jane O’Brian’s competitive tickling only to discover so much more. It is one of the best films that I have seen all year, and for those of you who get reeled in by the trailer, I am certain that you will enjoy it as well. Check out Tickled on VOD, iTunes and Amazon Video on November 1st, 2016. 

4.5 / 5 Stars 

Review” ‘SOUTHWEST OF SALEM’ tells the story of ‘The San Antonio Four’ and their ongoing pursuit for exoneration. #FREETHESA4

SOUTHWEST OF SALEM: THE STORY OF THE SAN ANTONIO FOUR, opening in NEW YORK on SEPTEMBER 16 at CINEMA VILLAGE.SOUTHWEST PF SALEM posterMore often than not, when we think about our legal system today, perhaps the word that comes to the mind of many is “Injustice” How much does personal belief, whether religious or political, sway the decision of a DA’s office or a jury. My husband recently served on a jury here in Manhattan, on a relatively well known case. After his month long ordeal, he stated, “In some alternate universe, if I was ever thinking about breaking the law, well, God help me. A jury of my peers is anything but.” He explained that the particular jury he served on contained individuals who slept during proceedings, doodled in their notebooks, sighed audibly in court, and verbally fought to be excused on a daily basis. He cannot imagine what it would have been like had he been the defendant. In a very important documentary, SOUTHWEST OF SALEM, four women, who happen to be lesbians, were convicted of a heinous crime based upon a modern day witch hunt. In Texas, their jury was most certainly not comprised of their peers. sothwest-of-salem-san-antonio-4

“The San Antonio Four” — Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh, and Anna Vasquez. They are four Latina lesbians wrongfully convicted of gang-raping two little girls in San Antonio, Texas. However, the evidence was never there. The San Antonio Four continues to fight against mythology, faux-science, homophobia, and the prosecutorial fervor in their continuous struggle for exoneration in this riveting ‘True Crime’ tale. The suffering, outlandish, and baseless accusations caught one man’s attention who helped to garner the support of the Innocent Project.

 In 2012, writer Maurice Chammah‘s New York Times coverage “Fighting to Exonerate Texas Women Convicted of Child Sexual Assault ” goes into details of the four women’s ordeal.  In February 2016, Texas-based Judge Pat Priest released the ruling that these women are entitled to new trials but not exoneration. The fight to free the innocent continues.

southwestofsalem3Directed by filmmaker journalist Deborah Esquenazi, this emotional documentary first made its big splash earlier this year at the Tribeca Film Festival and received audience accolades. It recently garnered Grand Jury Award at 2016 Outfest and Outstanding Documentary Jury Award at the 2016 Frameline Film Festival.

This film is so essential in aiding these four innocent women in their complete exoneration. In the 80’s and 90’s there existed this idea that satanic cults were operating inside day cares and preschools. This strange concept infiltrated DA and child protective service offices across the country. The suspects brought forth in these cases were predominantly homosexual or suspected to be so. In this case in particular, the children were labeled as being “offered up” as “sacrificial lambs”. Anna states the bias was ripe through the prosecution, essentially telling the jury, “this is what gay people do.” One man, a professor in the Yukon, gets wind of this story. A man named Darrel Otto, goes to bat for these women, reaching out to Liz Ramirez, then contacting The Innocence Project of Texas. The ball starts rolling. Changes in science, recantations, the changing of the times, people are finally getting on board with the truth. But the road is long and slow. These women need our help.

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Watching this documentary is devastating. The lives impacted by these lies, the damage done. I cannot imagine the heartache of Anna, Liz, Cassie, and Kristie, and their loved ones have endured during these many long years. What these four beautiful, strong women, need more than anything right now, is your support, belief, and fight. Call, text, tweet, share their story. They deserve new trials. They deserve complete exoneration. They deserve justice.

You can find out more about this extraordinary story by seeing the film now in New York, and September 30th in LA. Investigation Discovery has recently acquired the television rights and will be airing the film in October, if you’re unable to make it to the theaters.

Southwest of Salem – Festival Trailer from Deborah S. Esquenazi on Vimeo.

SOUTHEWEST OF SALEM- by Deborah S. Esquenazi

OPENING SEPTEMBER 16– NEW YORK- CINEMA VILLAGE

SEPTEMBER 30– LOS ANGELES – LAEMMLE MUSIC HALL BEVERLY HILLS


HERE ARE SOME CLEAR STEPS YOU CAN TAKE RIGHT NOW TO HELP THE SAN ANTONIO FOUR WITH THEIR EXONERATION BATTLE

 

1.  Call 1-210-335-2311 and ask for District Attorney Nico LaHood’s office.

Here’s what to say: “I am angered by Judge Pat Priest’s ruling to not recommend exoneration for Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Anna Vasquez, and Kristie Mayhugh. I want Nico LaHood and the District Attorney’s office of Bexar County to take a stand on the San Antonio Four case to declare actual innocence and have the women exonerated for their wrongful convictions.”

2.  Tweet/Facebook the district attorney’s office to take a stand!

Twitter: @BexarCounty @Nico4DA Take a stand about the @SanAntonioFour injustice! Recommend exoneration #FreetheSA4 @IPofTexas #southwestOfSalem

Facebook: I am angered by Judge Pat Priest’s ruling to not recommend exoneration for Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Anna Vasquez, and Kristie Mayhugh. I want Nico LaHood and the District Attorney’s office of @Bexar County to take a stand on the San Antonio Four case to declare actual innocence and have the women exonerated for their wrongful convictions. #FreetheSA4 #SouthwestOfSalem

Netflix & New York Film Festival announce opening night film, the original documentary ‘The 13th’ from Ava DuVernay

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The Film Society of Lincoln Center announces Ava DuVernay’s documentary The 13th as the Opening Night selection of the 54th New York Film Festival (September 30 – October 16), making its world premiere at Alice Tully Hall. The 13th is the first-ever nonfiction work to open the festival, and will debut on Netflix and open in a limited theatrical run on October 7.

Chronicling the history of racial inequality in the United States, The 13th examines how our country has produced the highest rate of incarceration in the world, with the majority of those imprisoned being African-American. The title of DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing film refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution—“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States . . . ” The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass incarceration and the prison industry in the U.S. is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity.

New York Film Festival Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones said, “While I was watching The 13th, the distinction between documentary and fiction gave way and I felt like I was experiencing something so rare: direct contact between the artist and right now, this very moment. In fact, Ava is actually trying to redefine the terms on which we discuss where we’re at, how we got here, and where we’re going. The 13th is a great film. It’s also an act of true patriotism.”

From D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915) and the rebirth of the KKK to the Civil Rights Movement, the 1994 Crime Bill, the rise of ALEC, and the Black Lives Matter movement, DuVernay traces a pattern of fear and division that has consistently driven mass criminalization. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimonies from leading voices, including Michelle Alexander, Bryan Stevenson, Van Jones, Newt Gingrich, Angela Davis, Senator Cory Booker, Grover Norquist, Khalil Muhammad, Craig DeRoche, Shaka Senghor, Malkia Cyril, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and a dazzling array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis.

“It is a true honor for me and my collaborators to premiere The 13th as the opening night selection of the New York Film Festival,” said Ava DuVernay. “This film was made as an answer to my own questions about how and why we have become the most incarcerated nation in the world, how and why we regard some of our citizens as innately criminal, and how and why good people allow this injustice to happen generation after generation. I thank Kent Jones and the selection committee for inviting me to share what I’ve learned.”

“Ava gives us a remarkable and ambitious framework for understanding why the U.S. represents 5% of the world’s population, yet is home to nearly 25% of the world’s prisoners. Her work has been tireless and passion-fueled and has resulted in a sweeping view at a tenuous time. We are honored to provide a global platform for this deeply urgent work,” said Lisa Nishimura, Netflix VP of Original Documentary Programming.

The 17-day New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema, featuring works from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent. The selection committee, chaired by Jones, also includes Dennis Lim, FSLC Director of Programming; Florence Almozini, FSLC Associate Director of Programming; Amy Taubin, Contributing Editor, Film Comment and Sight & Sound; and Gavin Smith, who serves as a consultant.

Tickets for the 54th New York Film Festival will go on sale September 11. Becoming a Film Society Member at the Film Buff Level or above provides early ticket access to festival screenings and events ahead of the general public, along with the exclusive member ticket discount. Learn more at filmlinc.org/membership.

For even more access, VIP passes and subscription packages offer one of the earliest opportunities to purchase tickets and secure seats at some of the festival’s biggest events including Opening, Centerpiece, and Closing Nights. VIP passes also provide access to many exciting events, including the invitation-only Opening Night party, “An Evening With…” dinner, Filmmaker Brunch, and VIP Lounge. Benefits vary based on the pass or package type purchased. VIP passes and subscription packages are on sale now. Learn more at filmlinc.org/NYFF.

New York Film Festival Opening Night Films

2015    The Walk (Robert Zemeckis, US)
2014    Gone Girl (David Fincher, US)
2013    Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass, US)
2012    Life of Pi (Ang Lee, US)
2011    Carnage (Roman Polanski, France/Poland)
2010    The Social Network (David Fincher, US)
2009    Wild Grass (Alain Resnais, France)
2008    The Class (Laurent Cantet, France)
2007    The Darjeeling Limited (Wes Anderson, US)
2006    The Queen (Stephen Frears, UK)
2005    Good Night, and Good Luck. (George Clooney, US)
2004    Look at Me (Agnès Jaoui, France)
2003    Mystic River (Clint Eastwood, US)
2002    About Schmidt (Alexander Payne, US)
2001    Va savoir (Jacques Rivette, France)
2000    Dancer in the Dark (Lars von Trier, Denmark)
1999    All About My Mother (Pedro Almodóvar, Spain)
1998    Celebrity (Woody Allen, US)
1997    The Ice Storm (Ang Lee, US)
1996    Secrets & Lies (Mike Leigh, UK)
1995    Shanghai Triad (Zhang Yimou, China)
1994    Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, US)
1993    Short Cuts (Robert Altman, US)
1992    Olivier Olivier (Agnieszka Holland, France)
1991    The Double Life of Veronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski, Poland/France)
1990    Miller’s Crossing (Joel Coen, US)
1989    Too Beautiful for You (Bertrand Blier, France)
1988    Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Pedro Almodóvar, Spain)
1987    Dark Eyes (Nikita Mikhalkov, Soviet Union)
1986    Down by Law (Jim Jarmusch, US)
1985    Ran (Akira Kurosawa, Japan)
1984    Country (Richard Pearce, US)
1983    The Big Chill (Lawrence Kasdan, US)
1982    Veronika Voss (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, West Germany)
1981    Chariots of Fire (Hugh Hudson, UK)
1980    Melvin and Howard (Jonathan Demme, US)
1979    Luna (Bernardo Bertolucci, Italy/US)
1978    A Wedding (Robert Altman, US)
1977    One Sings, the Other Doesn’t (Agnès Varda, France)
1976    Small Change (François Truffaut, France)
1975    Conversation Piece (Luchino Visconti, Italy)
1974    Don’t Cry with Your Mouth Full (Pascal Thomas, France)
1973    Day for Night (François Truffaut, France)
1972    Chloe in the Afternoon (Eric Rohmer, France)
1971    The Debut (Gleb Panfilov, Soviet Union)
1970    The Wild Child (François Truffaut, France)
1969    Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (Paul Mazursky, US)
1968    Capricious Summer (Jiri Menzel, Czechoslovakia)
1967    The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, Italy/Algeria)
1966    Loves of a Blonde (Milos Forman, Czechoslovakia)
1965    Alphaville (Jean-Luc Godard, France)
1964    Hamlet (Grigori Kozintsev, USSR)
1963    The Exterminating Angel (Luis Buñuel, Mexico)

FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER
The Film Society of Lincoln Center is devoted to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema. The only branch of the world-renowned arts complex Lincoln Center to shine a light on the everlasting yet evolving importance of the moving image, this nonprofit organization was founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international film. Via year-round programming and discussions; its annual New York Film Festival; and its publications, including Film Comment, the U.S.’s premier magazine about films and film culture, the Film Society endeavors to make the discussion and appreciation of cinema accessible to a broader audience, as well as to ensure that it will remain an essential art form for years to come.

The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from American Airlines, The New York Times, The Kobal Collection, Variety, Loews Regency Hotel, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts.

Support for the New York Film Festival is also generously provided by Jaeger-LeCoultre.

For more information, visit www.filmlinc.org and follow @filmlinc on Twitter.

‘Indian Point’ reveals the truth about an aging nuclear power plant, just 35 miles north of Times Square

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As a New Yorker, post-9/11, we want to believe that we’re safer. We want to think that the heightened presence of armed guards at Grand Central means something. But, it’s the forces we don’t see that should freak us out. Did you know that just 35 miles north of Times Square is an aging nuclear power plant called Indian Point? I sure didn’t. Not scary enough for you? Alright, the government has downgraded evacuation plans since the Fukushima meltdown. Still no? 6% of the country’s population lives with 50 miles of the plant. You cannot outrun radiation.

The plant was built in the 1950’s and has not been sufficiently updated since. This is not a one-off for the plants across the country. Old technology cannot be applied fast enough for the amount of old cores we are storing on site (encased in cement). The volatility of this waste is unbelievable. When the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, Fukushima’s waste was jostled enough to cause multiple reactor meltdown, something that the industry claims is impossible in the US. That radiation has traveled across the ocean and is now causing birth defects in California. Indian Point shows this issue from all sides; activists, journalists, plants supervisors, residents, and the former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This is an eye-opening doc about money Vs power.  When you get the end of the film, the information provided will downright piss you off more than you ever thought possible. Indian Point should stand as a warning for us all. Complacency is the way we power our planet is no longer an option.

First Run Features announces the US theatrical premiere of Ivy Meeropol’s documentary INDIAN POINT at The Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York on July 8, 2016, with Los Angeles to follow on July 22, 2016 at Laemmle Music Hall.

INDIAN POINT takes an unblinking look at the dramatic debate over nuclear power by going inside the aging plant that looms just 35 miles from New York City. With over 50 million people living in close proximity to the facility, it has stoked a great deal of controversy in the surrounding community, including a vocal anti-nuclear contingent concerned that the kind of disaster that happened at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant could happen here. At the same time, its continued operation has the support of the plant’s operators and the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) as they campaign to relicense Indian Point for another 20 years of operation.

INDIAN POINT presents a complex story through the people who are most invested in the nuclear industry—the owners of the plant, the workers at the plant and the activists who want to shut it down. The film begins inside Indian Point with Brian Vangor, senior control room operator and 35-year veteran who says his job is making sure the plant’s workers “get through their shifts unscathed.” We hear from Marilyn Elie, a leader of the anti-Indian Point group IPSEC and her husband Roger Witherspoon, an environmental journalist. We also meet attorney Phillip Musegaas from Riverkeeper in New York who reveals what few people understand—the enormous damage the plant causes to the water that surrounds it.

As nuclear disaster struck in Japan, Gregory Jaczko, then Chairman of the NRC, was shaken by the news. INDIAN POINT follows Jaczko to Fukushima as he attempts to understand the tragedy no one in his field thought possible.

The debate at the center of INDIAN POINT is more timely now than ever. In February of 2016, news broke that the groundwater below Indian Point had been contaminated with radioactive material, prompting a state investigation.

Filmmaker Ivy Meeropol had unprecedented access to the plant at the center of the most contentious relicensing process in the history of the industry. In the brewing fight for clean energy,INDIAN POINT presents a nuanced argument about the issues surrounding nuclear energy and offers a startling reality check for our uncertain nuclear future.

Filmmaker Biography

Ivy Meeropol is a producer and director of an array of acclaimed documentary feature films and television series. Meeropol recently directed and produced an episode for CNN’s docuseries Death Row Stories, Executive Produced by Alex Gibney and Robert Redford. Her documentary series The Hill premiered on The Sundance Channel in 2006 and received an IDA nomination for best series. In 2007, Meeropol directed the feature documentary All About Abe and in 2003, she produced and directed Heir to An Execution, which had its world premiere at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and was shortlisted for an Academy Award®. She is currently directing and producing for an Emmy® award-winning climate change documentary series on the National Geographic channel.

INDIAN POINT
A film by Ivy Meeropol
2015, USA, Documentary, English, 94 minutes, Digital

See it if you want to lose sleep.” – Vulture

Must-see.” – New York Post

An effective case study in the long debate over nuclear energy.
– John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

A cautionary tale about a technology once seen as an abundant and non-polluting energy source, but with downsides that could make oil spills and electrical brownouts seem as minor as a fender bender.
– Lewis Beale, The Daily Beast

Nuclear power is incredibly efficient… but highly dangerous if anything goes awry. That looming threat of danger pushes at the edges of the film, threatening rupture like a nuclear reactor. Someone needs to ask questions; here they are.
– Diana Clarke, The Village Voice

Review: ‘Yalom’s Cure’ fights darkness and seeks illumination

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Irvin D. Yalom, is an inspiring, 80-year-old psychotherapist who believes the best cure for many of our everyday concerns are the relationships we have throughout our lives. Irvin studied the many ways of psychoanalysis and came to the conclusion that love is a powerful tool and necessity when it comes to finding happiness. Yalom’s Cure, directed and written by Sabine Gisiger, brings a beautifully constructed film of Irvin’s teachings, written works and practice, all  interwoven into his own therapeutic journey through life.

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The film is calming, moving and beautiful. For a man who puts so much of his personal life out in the open, all for the benefit to others is a selfless thing. This film is therapeutic within itself, by helping audiences realize some of the things we once saw as problems may not be as bad as they seem, and instead opens our eyes to where true life happiness really lies.The US Premiere for Yalom’s Cure is on March 11th at the Laemmle Theaters in Los Angeles.

4/5 Stars

Official Selection Festival Del Film Locarno 2014

See the trailer below!

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Review: Now available on VOD, film festival favorite ‘ANGEL OF NANJING’ soars.

Balance Films and Blue Bus Productions PresentsANGEL OF NANJING

In the US, depression is a subject we either tackle with prescription drugs or after a suicide. Most of us are so consumed with our own lives, we oftentimes fail to look beyond the emotional scope of our own noses. In a new documentary by Jordan Horowitz and Frank L. Ferendo, ANGEL OF NANJING, one solitary man makes it his mission to save the souls on The Yangtze River Bridge.

SYNOPSIS:

The Yangtze River Bridge in Nanjing is one of the most famous landmarks in China. It is also the most popular place in the world to commit suicide. After hearing reports about this from the news, Chen Si, an average man with no professional training, decided to do something about it. On September 19, 2003, he went to the bridge with a heart-shaped sign that read, “Nothing is impossible. When God closes a door he opens a window.” That morning he saved someone, and has dedicated his life to standing vigil on that bridge ever since. Incredibly, he’s saved over 300 lives since he began.

 

Despite all the lives he’s saved, Chen’s mission has taken an unexpected toll on him. He feels incredible guilt when he learns someone committed suicide while he wasn’t at the bridge, and even more when he is there and is still unable to save them. He’s become a heavy smoker and drinker, and often finds himself battling with depression. He is also under growing pressure from his family to quit, who cannot understand why he spends so much time and money helping others when he has his own family to worry about.

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The film has an incredibly organic feeling from its handheld camera work to the pulled back moments when Chen is speaking to the men and women so seemingly desperate to jump. Once rescued, the audience feels as if they’re part of the healing as they are treated to intimate face to face conflict resolution. It is a perfect snapshot into the Chinese culture. Suicide is considered extraordinarily shameful. Chinese media always refers to a desperate or depressed individual as in a “bad mood” in any aftermath coverage. Once you accept the familial implications of a suicide, you begin to understand Chen’s pragmatic approach. Cultural tactics are perfectly balanced with genuine tenderness resulting in incredibly touching rescues. Chen is a complex man, struggling with the sense of responsibility to those in such despair and his own happiness. Horowitz and Ferendo do absolute justice to Chen and this unique scenario. As an added bonus, the film’s score is both haunting and glorious. It is something I would seek out on its own. As a whole, ANGEL OF NANJING is a beautiful story of hope and humanity.

ANGEL OF NANJING

ANGEL OF NANJING is now available! Check out the trailer below…

Award-winning documentary debuted on VOD (iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play) February 16

Winner – Best Documentary, Phoenix Film Festival
Wi
nner – Best Documentary, Catalina Film Festival
Winner – Best Documentary, SaMo Indie Fest
Winner – Best Documentary, Big Apple Film Festival
Winner – Best Documentary, New Jersey Film Festival

Directed by Jordan Horowitz and Frank Ferendo, ANGEL OF NANJING tells the story of an ordinary man doing something extraordinary, and at great personal sacrifice. It is a personal portrait of a man, who in a country of over one billion people, has chosen to dedicate himself to making a difference, one person at a time. 

Review: ‘BECOMING BULLETPROOF’ is a touching and insightful documentary.

Bulletproof posterI went to camp as a kid. It was pretty typical; arts & crafts, team sports, theater, and camp songs. I also remember being integrated with a few kids who has Down syndrome. As a little kid, this was pretty foreign to me, but as I attended high school, some of these same kids were now in my art classes. My mother’s second major in college, I would come to find out, was special education. As time passed and I worked in more and more private pre-schools, I was directly exposed, now as an educator, to a challenging world I had mostly experienced as an outsider. But… nothing was ever akin to the extraordinary summers that must occur each year at Zeno Mountain Farm.  Read More →

Touching documentary I AM CHRIS FARLEY finally comes to theaters today.

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I AM CHRIS FARLEY. Courtesy of Virgil Films

From the directors of A Brony Tale, I Am Evel Knievel, and the upcoming Johnny Cash – American RebelI AM CHRIS FARLEY tells Chris Farley‘s story, from his early days in Madison, Wisconsin and at Marquette University, through his work at the legendary club Second City to his rapid rise to the top of the comedy world on “Saturday Night Live” and in hit films like Tommy Boy and Black Sheep.

I AM CHRIS FARLEY. Courtesy of Virgil Films

I AM CHRIS FARLEY. Courtesy of Virgil Films

Read More →