Shocking Tribeca doc ‘DREAM/KILLER’ finally gets released in theaters!

dream killer posterOne of the most acclaimed docs from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, dream/killer,  is being released in NY today and in LA next Friday, Dec 11th. Fans of the podcast Serial and HBO’s The Jinx, this film is right up your alley, I highly recommend  you seek it out!Ryan Ferguson dream killer

In the fall of 2005, 19-year-old Ryan Ferguson was convicted of murder and sentenced to 40-years in prison based on someone else’s dream.  Over the next ten years while Ryan languished in prison, his father Bill engaged in a tireless crusade to find justice.  dream/killer tells the story of this extraordinary father’s journey to free his son.Courtroom still dream killer

When Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt was brutally murdered in the newspaper’s parking lot, the crime went unsolved for two years, leaving the affluent college town desperate to bring home justice. At the time, it was the only unsolved murder in the city. A break in the case lead police to Chuck Erickson, who confessed to the crime, implicated Ferguson as an accomplice and left America with one of the country’s most outrageous miscarriages of justice.The Ferguson family dream killer

The documentary uses archival footage from when Ryan was first arrested, interviews with him in prison, and court hearings that reveal the strengths and the flaws of the American judicial system. The arguments of the ruthless prosecutor and Ryan’s brilliant defense attorney are also depicted to show how easily the system is influenced.  Interspersed with footage from the Ferguson family archive, dream/killer looks at the personal consequences of a wrongful conviction.

dream/killer – OFFICIAL TRAILER (2015) from Bloom Project on Vimeo.

You can check out my original review and listen to my exclusive interview with Ryan and Bill in the link below. This is one extraordinary story and family.

Review/Interview with ‘Dream/Killer’ subject Ryan and Bill Ferguson

Trailer for Tribeca Film Festival’s ‘Applesauce’ has great potential

Applesauce poster

Perhaps too quirky? This trailer for Applesauce does scratch the indie film itch and was one I wanted to see at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. I’m curious to see if it can live up to its potential.


In rising filmmaker Onur Tukel’s latest provocative comedy-drama APPLESAUCE, a married man is severely tested after a string of twisted, mysterious and frightening events. Following a world premiere at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, the enthusiastically reviewed film comes to digital EST and VOD from Dark Sky Films on November 24, 2015.

Every Tuesday night, radio talk show host Stevie Bricks invites his listeners to call in and share “the worst thing they’ve ever done.” Tonight, Ron Welz (writer/director Onur Tukel) is ready to share his story.  But soon after he confesses on the air, someone starts sending him severed body parts. Ron becomes paranoid, terrified. His life begins to unravel. His marriage begins to fall apart. He has no idea who’s tormenting him. Is it his insolent high school student? Is it his best friend? His own wife? In a city like New York, there are eight million suspects and each one could have a bone to pick with someone like Ron.
Take dark comedy, mix it with noir, add a original and unusual movies of the year.
APPLESAUCE, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, co-stars Max Casella(Doogie Howser M.D., Inside Llewyn Davis, Blue Jasmine), Trieste Kelly Dunn (Banshee, United 93), Dylan Baker (Spider-Man 2 and 3, Secretariat, Happiness), Jennifer Prediger(Apartment Troubles, A Teacher) and Karl Jacob (Pollywogs, The Dictator).

Photos from the Red Carpet at the Tribeca Film Festival of ‘When I Live My Life Over Again’ ‘The Wolfpack’ ‘Maggie’ & ‘Anesthesia’

Gallery

This gallery contains 13 photos.

Check out When I Live My Life Over Again Check out The Wolfpack g Check out Anesthesia

Best of the Fest: Liz & Melissa’s 22 Favorite Narratives & Documentaries from the Tribeca Film Festival!

tribeca film festival 2015 logo

It was a fabulous eleven days filled with movies and interviews, and now it’s time for us to reflect on our favorites. Enjoy!

Favorite Comedies

Grandma_Press_1 TribecaGrandma – releasing August 21st

Reeling from a recent breakup and still mourning the loss of her longtime partner, once-famous poet Elle Reid (Lily Tomlin) is surprised to find her teenage granddaughter on her doorstep in need of $600 and a ride. The two embark on an all-day road trip that ends up rattling skeletons and digging up secrets all over town. Co-starring Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, Judy Greer, Laverne Cox, and Sam Elliott.

We’ve only gotten a tease of Tomlin over the past few years, but she’s back with a comedic performance that rivals any dramatic one. So wrong, yet so perfect, her delivery gives the dialogue an extra edge that almost makes you feel guilty as you laugh out loud. I can’t wait to see her and Jane Fonda in Grace and Frankie on Netflix. – Melissa

 

Tomlin is an indisputable legend. Her comic timing is like watching Mozart create a symphony. This film is an absolute gem that tackles so many relevant issues without one ounce of preachiness. I have always been a huge fan and I am crossing my fingers this garners her an Oscar nod. -Liz

Jack (Simon Pegg) and Nancy (Lake Bell) in Ben Palmer’s Man UpMan Up – releasing May 29th in the UK, no US release set

When perpetually single Nancy (Lake Bell) is mistaken for a charming stranger’s (Simon Pegg) blind-date, she just goes with it, leading to a series of escalating adventures for the two mismatched lovebirds in Ben Palmer’s hilarious romantic comedy.

This could have been another boring rom-com, but the trifecta of story, dialogue and performances make it my new favorite “meet cute.” – Melissa

 

Pegg and Bell are an unlikely duo but let me say this is perfect casting. Their chemistry is super believable and laugh out loud funny from start to finish. Do not pigeon hole this flick, it is a riot for everyone. -Liz

OVERNIGHT_Press_2 TribecaThe Overnight – releasing June 19th

Alex and Emily have just moved to LA with their young son. Eager to make new friends, they accept an invitation to a party from the father of their son’s playground mate. After the kids fall asleep, the “playdate” takes a bizarre turn in this racy and hilarious romp. Featuring Judith Godrèche, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman, and Adam Scott.

Filled with many twists and turns, you won’t know where the next laugh will take you as these two couples get to know each other. Sharing their hopes, fears and extracurricular hobbies, it all happens so naturally and with the utmost hilarity. – Melissa

 

This crazy funny adult comedy puts to rest the notion that hyper-sexual has to be boring or slapstick. This is actually a really thoughtful script and with a cast like this, you cannot go wrong. -Liz

Sleeping With Other People_Press_1 TribecaSleeping With Other People – releasing August 21st

Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie star as two romantic failures whose years of serial infidelity and self-sabotage have led them to swear that their relationship will remain strictly platonic. But can love still bloom while you’re sleeping with other people? Writer/director Leslye Headland’s (Bachelorette) sexy romantic comedy co-stars Amanda Peet, Adam Scott, and Natasha Lyonne.

The “platonic friends” comedy is so overdone, but it’s been reborn with Jason Sudekis and Alison Brie. With over-the-top intimate dialogue, honesty is the best policy when it comes to modern relationships. One of the funniest movies of the year. – Melissa

 

This film may appear to be formulaic at first glance, but I assure you, you have no idea what you’re in for. One of the best and most honest pieces of dialogue since This is 40, Sudeikis and Brie kill it with the funny as two people with some serious intimacy issues. -Liz


Favorite Dramas

ANESTHESIA_Press_2 TribecaAnesthesia

On a snowy night in New York City, a Columbia professor is brutally mugged on the doorsteps of an apartment building. Director Tim Blake Nelson’s haunting meditation of city life traces the chain of events that precipitate the attack, examining the inextricable and unforeseen forces that bring a group of disparate individuals together. Featuring a star-studded ensemble including Sam Waterston, Kristen Stewart, Glenn Close, and Cory Stoll.

Make sure you pay attention and get ready for dialogue that is a hyper-intellectual mental workout. It’s heavy but hopeful and filled with brilliant performances.- Melissa

 

This film’s multiple narrative style is something reminiscent of Traffic or Third Person. Beautifully based on philosophical notions, the audience is treated to a peak inside the lives of a handful of New Yorkers. With a jam packed cast of superb talent, Tim Blake Nelson brings everything to the table and succeeds, wildly. – Liz

Bare_Press_1 TribecaBare

Sarah’s (Dianna Agron) mundane life in a Nevada desert town is turned upside down with the arrival of Pepper (Paz de la Huerta), a mysterious female drifter, who leads her into a life of seedy strip clubs and illicit drugs. Their passion inspires Sarah to break free of her past and seek out a new life of her own.

It’s a story that could be told of any small town. It never attempts to explain anything, which actually gives it much more credibility.  – Melissa

 

In Agron’s first truly adult role, she shines as a small town girl trying to find her escape. Big dreams and little self esteem lead to a complex script and a stellar performance.   -Liz

The Driftless AreaThe Driftless Area

Pierre Hunter (Anton Yelchin), a bartender with unyielding optimism, returns to his tiny hometown after his parents’ death. When he falls for the enigmatic Stella (Zooey Deschanel), Pierre is unknowingly pulled into a cat-and-mouse game that involves a duffel bag full of cash, a haphazard yet determined criminal (John Hawkes), and a mystery that will determine all of their fates. With Alia Shawkat, Frank Langella, Aubrey Plaza, and Ciarán Hinds.

To say that The Driftless Area is cryptic is an understatement. I’m still not quite sure what happened, but the characters are so complex and interwoven that even though you’re confused, you can’t wait to see what happens next. – Melissa (read full review here)

Meadowland_Press_1 TribecaMeadowland

Sarah and Phil’s son goes missing, shattering their life together and forcing each to find their own way to cope. Cinematographer-turned-director Reed Morano presents a masterfully crafted contemplation on a relationship strained to the breaking point. Olivia Wilde and Luke Wilson capture the unraveling emotions with remarkable power, alongside Kevin Corrigan, John Leguizamo, Elisabeth Moss, Giovanni Ribisi, Juno Temple, and Merritt Wever.

This emotionally heavy story will kick you in the gut. How does one cope after the loss of a child? Do marriages survive? Can we be saved? These are all questions in an intense script lead by a masterful performance from Wilde. Following up her insane roller coaster role in Third Person, Wilde proves once again that she’s way more than a pretty face. Cast her in all the things, immediately! – Liz

Tumbledown_Press_1 TribecaTumbledown

Years after the accidental death of her folk-singer husband, Hannah (Rebecca Hall) has yet to fully accept her small-town life without him. Then she is approached by a charming New York writer (Jason Sudeikis) intent on penning a biography of her late husband’s life, and Hannah finds herself opening up again. Also featuring performances by Dianna Agron, Blythe Danner, Griffin Dunne, Joe Manganiello, and Richard Masur.

This was a film near and dear to my heart, based on plot and circumstance. The filmmakers and cast hit the nail on the head when it came to recreating a small New England town in Maine and the effect a death has upon it’s entire population. Loss and grief are combined with super smart writing. Sudeikis and Hall own these roles. – Liz

(read full review & podcast of interviews here)

Virgin Mountain TribecaVirgin Mountain

Fúsi is a mammoth of a man who at 43-years-old is still living at home with his mother. Shy and awkward, he hasn’t quite learned how to socialize with others, leaving him as an untouchable inexperienced virgin. That is until his family pushes him to join a dance class, where he meets the equally innocent but playful Sjöfn.

Heartbreaking, yet hopeful, this Jury award winner for narrative and lead performance will grab ahold of you and squeeze. – Melissa

 

This was one of the most endearing films I’ve seen lately. The “I think I can” attitude and transformation of the lead is so compelling from the very beginning. You cannot help but root for this character. -Liz

When I Live My Life Over Again-00002 TribecaWhen I Live My Life Over Again

Jude (Amber Heard) is a would-be singer-songwriter still struggling to make her mark. Cash-strapped and homeless, she begrudgingly returns to the Hamptons home of her father (Christopher Walken), an over-the-hill crooner desperately charting his musical comeback, in this spunky, soulful dramedy about the personal costs of artistic ambition and the bonds that carry us through.

Christopher Walken is charming and tragic. The dialogue is so subtle and natural, you’d think you were watching a documentary. The dining table scene alone is worth the price of admission. – Melissa

 

The tremendously organic dialogue in this film is top notch. It’s an honest portrait of family dynamics we can all relate to on some inherent level. Walken is a gem, as always, and I was blown away by Heard’s level of comfort behind a guitar and piano. Color me impressed.- Liz


Favorite Scary

Backtrack_Press_2 TribecaBacktrack – acquired by Saban Films

In this spine-tingling supernatural thriller, troubled psychotherapist Peter Bowers (Adrien Brody) is suffering from nightmares and eerie visions. When he uncovers a horrifying secret that all of his patients share, he is put on a course that takes him back to the small hometown he fled years ago. There he confronts his demons and unravels a mystery 20 years in the making.

I liked this film as the credits rolled. Speaking of credits, the opening sequence is one of the most beautiful and creative I’ve seen in some time. As I hashed out all the little moments in the script, the makeup, the music, I adored this film. Very smart writing and some really nicely timed jump scares. File this film under paranormal- thriller. -Liz

Hungry Hearts_0341Hungry Hearts – releasing June 5th

After a chance meeting and a whirlwind romance in New York City, Jude (Adam Driver) and Mina (Alba Rohrwacher) become pregnant. Convinced their child will be harmed by the pollutions in the outside world, Mina becomes consumed by protecting her baby, forcing Jude to recognize a terrible truth about why his son’s life could be in danger.

Told like a 70s horror flick, this is a Rosemary’s Baby kind of scary. Crazy camera angles and eerie music make this a very unsettling story that will leave you shivering. – Melissa


Favorite Documentaries

Birth of Sake_Press_2The Birth of Sake

Traditional and labor-intensive, the production of Saké has changed very little over the centuries. Erik Shirai’s love song to the artisans who have dedicated their lives to carrying on this increasingly rare artform follows the round-the-clock process for six straight months, offering a rare glimpse into a family-run brewery that’s been operating for over 100 years.

The gorgeous imagery is enhanced by slowmotion and a calming score. Whether you’re a lover of saké or not, you’ll appreciate the amount of work that goes into its creation. – Melissa (3 docs you must see)

 

Visually breathtaking  with a whole lot of heart, this doc was so enjoyable  for me to watch. It is  akin to a work of art and could easily (and should be) shown on a constant loop in museums. -Liz

Code_web_02CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap

At a time in the United States when the tech sector outpaces the overall growth of the employment market, CODE asks the important question: Where are all the women?

Instead of focusing on one aspect of the gender gap in coding, this film really shows that everyone has something to give. The field of information technology is only getting bigger and we need all hands on deck. The more diverse the people building the future technologies are, the better the world is for it. – Melissa (3 docs you must see)

Crocodile Gennadiy imageCrocodile Gennadiy

Crocodile Gennadiy, real-life, self-appointed savior, who works tirelessly to rescue homeless, drug-addicted youth from the streets of Mariupol, Ukraine. At the same time, he challenges dealers and abusers. Despite criticism, Gennadiy is determined to continue his work. Sundance Award-winning director Steve Hoover’s second feature is a bold portrait of a man on a mission.

Doing what’s right is the main point of this extraordinary documentary. Saving the lives of innocent children that are being taken advantage of by a broken system mired in poverty, Gennodiy is the perfect example of what religion should look like. – Liz  (read interview here)

Democrats stillDemocrats

In the wake of Robert Mugabe’s highly criticized 2008 presidential win, a constitutional committee was created in an effort to transition Zimbabwe away from authoritarian leadership. With unprecedented access to the two political rivals overseeing the committee, this riveting, firsthand account of a country’s fraught first steps towards democracy plays at once like an intimate political thriller and unlikely buddy film.

The bravery of these people to be on film, speaking in the manners they do is enough to cheer for. Getting an honest look inside a corrupted political system outside our own is astonishing. Take note America.- Liz  (read review here)

DREAM KILLER_Press_1 TribecaDream/Killer

In the fall of 2005, 21-year-old Ryan Ferguson received a 40-year prison sentence for a murder that he did not commit. Over the next ten years, his father Bill engages in a tireless crusade to prove Ryan’s innocence. Interspersed with footage from the Ferguson family archive, Andrew Jenks’ film looks at the personal consequences of a wrongful conviction.

One of the most frustrating docs to watch, you learn just how lost our justice system can be. Unexpected and shocking, the combination of footage, audio, and interviews makes for one hell of a story. -Liz  (read review & interview here)

Exclusive Closing Night "Monty Python Live (Mostly)"Monty Python: The Meaning of Live

While perhaps best known for its eminently quotable films, Monty Python has performed its signature, surreal humor in live shows since the group’s earliest days. Dive into the history of Python’s stage work and the genesis of some of its most well-known pieces as they prepare for their last-ever live show. Monty Python: the Meaning of Life is a hilarious and illuminating survey of the process behind the Python.

I saw my first Monty Python films at the age of 13. Why it took me that long, I’ll never know. I have my theater friends to thank for introducing me into a world of absolute insanity and brilliance. This is an awesome look inside  the relationships between some of your most memorable laughs and the men behind them. -Liz

Orion is his iconic eagle suit. Photo credit Sun Records

Orion is his iconic eagle suit. Photo credit Sun Records

Orion: The Man Who Would Be King

Millions of Americans clung to the hope that Elvis Presley faked his death. For the executives at Sun Records that fantasy became an opportunity in the form of Orion, a mysterious masked performer with the voice of The King. But who was the man behind the mask? In this stranger-than-fiction true story, Jeanie Finlay explores a life led in service to those who couldn’t let Elvis go.

Everyone has heard of Elvis, but only a fraction have heard of Orion aka Jimmy Ellis. When Jimmy Ellis sang, he sounded like the legendary Elvis. His talent was brought to new heights when Elvis died and people didn’t want to let go. Never an impersonator, Jimmy did capitalize on this coincidence and attempt stardom on his own. – Melissa (read review here)

Artwork from "That Dragon, Cancer".Credit: That Dragon, Cancer

Artwork from “That Dragon, Cancer”.Credit: That Dragon, Cancer

Thank You For Playing

For the past two years, Ryan and Amy Green have been working on That Dragon, Cancer, a videogame about their son Joel’s fight against that disease. Following the family through the creation of the game and the day-to-day realities of Joel’s treatment, David Osit and Malika Zouhali-Worrall create a moving testament to the joy and heartbreak of raising a terminally ill child.

Fair warning: bring an entire box of tissues with you to this truly important and thoughtfully crafted film. If most of us are being honest, usually when we see commercials for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital we change the channel, but in this instance we come to know and love the members of the Green family. Understanding “That Dragon Cancer ” is the only way to help save lives and support those  on their journey. Using art as an outlet for grief is a transformative way to share an experience, good or bad. – Liz

Wolfpack_Press_1 TribecaThe Wolfpack – releasing June 19th

Everything the Angulo brothers know about the outside world they learned from obsessively watching movies. Shut away from bustling New York City by their overprotective father, they cope with their isolation by diligently re-enacting their favorite films. When one of the brothers escapes, the world as they know it will be transformed.

Something about this film grabbed my heart and held it for it’s entirety. These kids are among us here in NYC, but you’d never know since they’ve been essentially held captive their entire lives. The intense detail  in which these brothers re-create their favorite films is unreal. Their passion and intelligence should be on view for all the world to see and enjoy.- Liz

Tribeca Film Festival reviews: Four Fabulous Films From Female Directors – ‘Bare’ ‘Being 14’ ‘Meadowland’ ‘Sworn Virgin’

Bare_Press_1 Tribeca

Bare – tickets available
Director: Natalia Leite

Sarah is a young girl on a path of normalcy and domesticity when she meets a woman who is far from both. Dianna Agron, in 1 of 2 Tribeca Film Festival performances (the other Tumbledown), plays Sarah with a moving innocence and curiosity.

What makes it so good is that it never explains Sarah’s actions at all. We’re merely a fly on the wall as Sarah strikes up a friendship with Pepper (Paz de la Huerta) and tries out a new persona. Is it curiosity? Boredom? A little of both?


Being 14  Tribeca

Being 14
Director: Hélène Zimmer

If you’re a girl and ever have a fantasy/nightmare of reliving the age of 14, then this is your movie. Told with shockingly intimate dialogue, you’ll think you’re watching a documentary. Showing that teenage girls are both innocent and evil, you’ll have a hard time shaking this off.


Meadowland_Press_1 TribecaMeadowland
Director: Reed Morano

Dark and deeply emotional, this story of a couple dealing with the loss of a child will weigh heavy on you. Olivia Wilde is virtually unrecognizable as a woman struggling to escape from her own mind.


Sworn Virgin  Tribeca

Sworn Virgin – tickets available
Director: Laura Bispuri

Transgender stories are slowly making their way into cinema and this one is introspective and revealing. Alba Rohrwacher, in 1 of 2 movies at the Tribeca Film Festival (other is Hungry Hearts), absolutely stuns as a woman living as a man to survive in her small village. Although it has a slow pace, the story captivates.

Tribeca Film Festival interview: Kevin Pollak talks his new doc ‘Misery Love Comedy’ with expected hilarity.

Misery Loves Comedy PosterSome of my fondest memories as a kid are family game nights, Sunday breakfasts, and dancing in the kitchen. All of these things we still do. We try to outplay each other. We make fun of the everyone’s ever changing diets. We choreograph the best and worst dance moves in the universe. Being the first of 4 children ignites a fire that never quite goes away. ‘Look At Me Syndrome” is something I live and die by. Young performers are like sponges. They listen to every word as a kid. They are bright and observant, perhaps not coming alive at that age, but letting it all seep into what shapes their humor. *And yes, I did just allude to how awesome I have always been. But enough about me.* Kevin Pollak has created one hell of a documentary to share with the planet, MISERY LOVES COMEDY. Rounding up over 60 comedians, both stand up or just plain funny people in the industry, including the likes of Amy Schumer, Tom Hanks, Judd Apatow, Kevin Smith, Christopher Guest, Lisa Kudrow, Bob Saget, Chris Hardwick, and  Kathleen Madigan, just to name a few. Pollak poses the question that performers know to be true; “Do you have to be miserable to be funny?” The answers comes in form of intimate sit down interviews with a cast only someone with Pollak’s clout could get to say yes so quickly. Filmed over the course of 4 weeks in L.A. and NYC, we are privy to family photos, childhood inspirations, and all the mess in between. Pollak even edited the film himself, sharing that experience was eye-opening and surprisingly enjoyable. This film is non-stop funny. I loved every moment of it. Jim Gaffigan sums up the need to entertain others perfectly, it’s a ‘Narcissists Fantasy’. Question it, accept it, then own it. I do. It’s the only way to live.

When Kevin Pollak offers to take a picture with you, you take a picture. Because Kevin  Pollak.

When Kevin Pollak offers to take a picture with you, you take a picture. Because Kevin Pollak.

In honor of the masterful director himself, and the over 600 hours of interviews he had conducted, in true Kevin Pollak Chat Show style, I give you the audio from our roundtable with this comic genius. Welcome to a slice of MISERY LOVES COMEDY.

 

Misery Loves Comedy is available on iTunes !! *Ps- it’s #1 right now* Opens today in NYC (IFC Center) with a national release to follow.

Tribeca Film Festival review: ‘Autism in Love’ puts faces to preconceived notions.

Autism In Love

Lindsey and Dave

Love is something we cannot explain. It is like magic. Isn’t is difficult enough to find love for two average people? What if you were not considered to be average? It can be torturous to express how we feel. What if you add autism into the mix? Autism is on a wide spectrum. Autistic adulthood is not a common topic of conversation. Director Matt Fuller brings us into the world of 4 extraordinary people; Lenny, Stephen, Lindsey and Dave in the new documentary Autism in Love. 

Autism in Love- Lenny

Lenny

Lenny is an unemployed young man, living with his immensely supportive mother. He has a fondness for video games and longing for a girlfriend. He is extremely aware of his autism and believes that it impedes him from finding love. Highly emotional, Lenny’s struggles have a visceral affect on even Fuller. In a moment of breaking the wall, even with the director out of sight, Lenny is visibly upset and tells Fuller not to cry. He says, “I would rather be a normal man than an autistic person with a million dollars.”

Geeta and Stephen

Geeta and Stephen

Stephen is a middle aged savant who knows every answer on Jeopardy before we’ve even finished reading the clue, makes hot dogs for his parents every Sunday, and has a distinct cadence reminiscent of Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. Married to a lovely woman named Geeta, he has a routine that he lives by that has only recently been disrupted by the fact that after 17 years with Geeta, she has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. While Stephen’s autism is much more obvious, you can see the adoration in his eyes even if he is unable to express it verbally.

Dave and Lindsey

Dave and Lindsey

Lindsey and Dave have been dating for years. Labeled “High-functioning”, the two are an endearing match. Both are ready to take the next step, with Lindsey being the more verbal on the subject and Dave taking a seemingly more intellectual route. You instantly fall in love with this couple and cheer them on from the get go. The juxtaposition of these four individuals is a beautifully crafted story. The added struggle of being on the spectrum is something not many of us consider when searching for a mate. I think that Autism in Love is an important doc that let’s us gaze into a world often fraught with misconception, without gawking.

 

Here is a clip from Autism in Love

Tribeca Film Festival review: It’s easier to squirm than to understand ‘A Courtship’, but don’t be too quick to judge.

Courtship_Press_1 TribecaWe’ve all seen The Duggar Family on television. Courting is something that has a tendency to be labeled a bit kooky. No kissing, supervised “dates”, and approval needed from the head of the household (which is a man, of course). While this may seem like something right out of the dark ages, for a percentage of the population, this is an increasingly common practice in the conservative Christian faith. In Amy Kohn‘s film, A Courtship, we meet 33 year old Kelly. At 19, she was away at college when she found out her parents were getting a divorce. This caused Kelly much strife and ultimately she loses faith in the world. So Kelly moves to Michigan, becomes a devout Christian, and embarks on a journey of courtship, led by her “spiritual parents” Ron and Dawn Wright. Ron has a website called beforethekiss.com in which he shares his knowledge on courtship, selling books that help both children and parents, and even recommending a CD called How to Evaluate a Suitor. Even though Kelly had shared kisses as a teenager, since making the decision to find her husband via courting, she is saving her next first kiss for the alter. This is essentially the first rule of courting. Kissing is meant only for a husband and wife. Courtship_Press_2 TribecaRon and Dawn believe that God has called them to find Kelly a husband, which she is 110% on board with. Kelly moves in with The Wrights and Ron meets with potential young men who he thinks might be a good match for Kelly. While on Facebook, Kelly finds a young man named Ross. He lives the courtship lifestyle and truly believes that God has a plan for everything. During the course of Amy Kohn‘s year of filming, we watch Ross, Kelly, Dawn, and the rest of the Wright family interact. Kelly is girlishly hopeful that Ross is the one sent by God. On the flip side of the coin, Kelly’s actual parents, mother Linda and stepfather Bob, think that internet dating might be a better option for their daughter. They try as hard as they can to understand where Kelly is coming from. One of the most touching moments in the film comes when Bob tears up, telling Kelly that if she were to move back to Alabama near the family, he would be her advocate. It’s a beautiful foil, each family with their own faith and views on love and marriage.Courtship_Press_3 Tribeca Ultimately, after speaking with Kohn, I’ve decided that my gut reaction to this film was far too judgmental. I was certain that there was a hidden incident in Kelly’s young past, at college perhaps, that drove her to seek such extreme measures in love and faith. Amy doesn’t there is anything that she is holding back. She is lovely, passionate young woman, who wants nothing more than to be a good wife and mother. You easily fall in love with Kelly as you watch her journey. Who are we to say what is the right way to find who we’re meant to be with. As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else in the process, why should courtship be labeled any crazier than “swiping to the left” or getting a quickie divorce? A Courtship is an intriguing look into a lifestyle that may not be for everyone, but definitely works for some. We wish Kelly all the best and hope that she finds true love, sooner rather than later.

Tribeca Film Festival interview: ‘CROCODILE GENNADIY’ is a modern-day superhero story.

Crocdile Gennadiy poster Gennadiy Mokhnenko is a pastor in Mariupol, Ukraine. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, hundreds, if not thousands of children have become homeless and addicted to a deadly mixture of cold medicine and alcohol that they are injecting like herion. Gennadiy has taken it upon himself to rescue these children, small groups at a time and bring them to his rehabilitation center called Pilgrim Republic. An accomplished and eloquent orator, this strong headed and passionate pastor, sometimes forcibly removes children from sewers, or other filth ridden settings, to set them on the straight and narrow. His aim is to improve their alcohol recovery timeline, get these kids healthy and make them want to be functioning members of society. Confronting abusive parents and taking on the government, Gennadiy is a saint. He has 11 children, most of them adopted from the lot that he has saved over the years. He has a wit and charm that make him one of the most approachable men, and yet he has a tenacity that is also threatening when it needs to be.Crocodile Gennadiy image

This documentary from Steve Hooper is beautifully inter-cut with a Soviet animated TV show, Crocodile Gennadiy from which our pastor gets his nickname. The parrallels between Gennadiy and the cartoon are almost unbelievable. The methods this man uses are far from what would be acceptable for any church in the United States, and as far as I am concerned, we should be taking a page from his playbook when fighting for good. Croc Genn cartoon

I was able to sit down with Steve Hoover and producer Danny Yourd. Find out some of the crazy story behind the making of this film.

 

Crocodile Gennadiy Teaser from Crocodile Gennadiy Documentary on Vimeo.

You can still catch CROCODILE GENNADIY at this year’s festival:

8:00 PM – FRI 4/24  REGAL CINEMAS BATTERY PARK 11-3   –RUSH

Tribeca Film Festival reviews: Docs that will make you face palm humanity. ‘Cartel Land’, ‘Indian Point’, and ‘Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle’

CARTEL LANDCartel Land-#1 - Autodefensa member standing guard in Michoacán, Mexico, from CARTEL LAND, a film by Matthew HeinemanFrom poverty comes desperation and opportunistic turn. The mentality of, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” could not be more true in a new doc from director Matthew Heinman, Cartel Land. Mexican drug cartels are running rampant, killing innocent people in their wake, wreaking havoc on what would otherwise be hard working, peaceful folk. Infuriated by the circumstances forced up them, townspeople have taken up arms of their own and formed a group named the Autodefensa. They side step the government, who deny there is a problem at all, and capture cartel members to be handed immediately to the police. We also meet a group called the Arizona Border Recon. Mostly comprised of neo-con, anti-immigration minded men, they are able to put their politics aside to police human trafficking and cartel scouting groups. Cartel Land-#7 - Meth Lab in Michoacán, Mexico, from CARTEL LAND, a film by Matthew HeinemanThe most unprecedented footage is when the filmmakers were allowed access inside the cartels themselves. The saddest past of the doc, a lot of the present cartel members are former members of the Autodefensa. Money begets power. It remains a vicious cycle. Cartel Land gives us a real time look into the everyday struggle of the Mexican people. While constantly in true physical peril, Heinman and his crew present us with outstanding production value, balanced storytelling, and an insight to what most of us turn a blind eye to. 

8:30 PM – FRI 4/24 BOW TIE CINEMAS CHELSEA 8                  –RUSH
5:00 PM – SUN 4/26 REGAL CINEMAS BATTERY PARK 11-3   –RUSH

INDIAN POINTIndian_POint_Press_3 TribecaAs 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 down graded evacuation plans since the Fukushima melt down. Still no? 6% of the country’s population lives with 50 miles of the plant. You cannot outrun radiation. Indian_POint_Press_1 TribecaThe 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.

6:15 PM – FRI 4/24  BOW TIE CINEMAS CHELSEA 4   – RUSH

TOM SWIFT AND HIS ELECTRIC RIFLETOM SWIFT  TribecaIn the wake of so many tragic police shootings, I posed a question to my husband, “Why don’t they just use tasers anymore?!” I recalled the infamous YouTube video “Don’t Tase Me Bro!”. Without giving much weight to the incident,  when that video went viral, I, like most Americans, brushed it off as internet fodder. What I didn’t realize was just how serious this issue actually was and continues to be. In the doc Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle we learn about the origin of the one single company that created and trains law enforcement on the proper use of Tasers. These “weapons” are meant to incapacitate a subject. Unfortunately, for brother Tom and Rick Smith, tasers also kill people. The two founded Taser International in 1993 and have sold their stun gun to almost every one of the US’ 18,250 law enforcement agencies.

The updated Taser targeting guide issued by Taser International.

The updated Taser targeting guide issued by Taser International.

Between 2001 and 2012, there were 500 taser related deaths reported in the U.S. There are no regulations on the use of tasers. In the film, we are privy to dash cam footage of 23 year old Stanley Harlan. Pulled over in front of his house, the reason still unclear, he is seen complying with officers and then suddenly, off camera, he is tasered 3 times, causing him to go into cardiac arrest. As his parents look on is sheer terror, we witness Harlan’s death. In a deposition following a string of additional deaths, the Smith brothers sit smugly testifying that they have no scientific knowledge that their product contributes to anyone’s death. Ironically, in 2009, Taser International updated their training guide to reflect what they claimed they did not believe. These gentlemen and this company know they are wrong. They know the dangers of their product, but for them, their monopoly grows in spite of the deaths.

Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle is raw and shocking. You will walk out shaking your head. All of that being said, this documentary is incredibly informative and well structured. On the surface, it may appear to be a propaganda piece, so let me assure it, it is well researched and definitely worth your time.

You can still catch Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle at the fest!

8:30 PM – SUN 4/26 SVA THEATER 2 BEATRICE $21.50
For more information on all of these films, you can visit the Tribeca Film Festival Guide 2015

Tribeca Film Festival reviews: Adult comedies ‘The Overnight’ ‘Dirty Weekend’ & ‘Sleeping With Other People’

Taylor Schilling (Emily) in a scene from THE OVERNIGHT. Photograph by John Guleserian

Taylor Schilling (Emily) in a scene from THE OVERNIGHT.
Photograph by John Guleserian

Let’s not dance around it – these are good, old-fashioned sex comedies. Remember those from the 80s? And they aren’t just about boobs anymore.

The Overnight – tickets available, also in theaters June 19th

In this hilarious tale of a wild night amongst parental couples, no topic is taboo. What starts out as an innocent dinner ends up in places you could never predict and yet it arrives there so organically that you can’t help but relate.

Alex (Adam Scott) and Emily (Taylor Schilling) have just moved to Los Angeles and are scouting for new friends when they meet Kurt (Jason Schwartzman) who invites them to dinner at his home with his wife, Judith Godrèche. Why end the night when the kids go to bed?

With almost non-stop laughter, each character brings their own brand of humor to all kinds of uncomfortable situations. “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

Dirty-Weekend_Press_1 Tribeca

Alice Eve & Matthew Broderick in ‘Dirty Weekend’

Dirty Weekend – tickets available

Part mystery, part comedy and part drama, this story had so much potential. Natalie (Alice Eve) and Les (Matthew Broderick) are work colleagues stuck in Albuquerque when their flight is delayed. Les mysteriously wants to separate to run some errands, but Natalie tags along.

Even with the sexual escapades, I had a hard time keeping interest with the slow pace and the forced dialogue. Matthew Broderick plays the seemingly innocent “aw shucks” type and it wears thin pretty quickly. Alice Eve ends up playing second fiddle and her character is nothing more than a few charactertures.

Sleeping With Other People_Press_1 Tribeca

Sleeping With Other People – only RUSH tickets available

This and The Overnight are tied for my favorite movies of the festival so far.

After losing their virginity to each other in college and having bad luck in love since, Jake (Jason Sudeikis) and Lainey (Alison Brie) run into each other and decide to keep their relationship completely platonic. Yes, we know what’s going to happen, but as with every good movie, it’s not necessary the destination, but the journey.

Filled with over-the-top sexual references, the first priority is always comedy. The dialogue is brutally funny and hilariously uncomfortable. Get out there and see it now!

Tribeca Film Festival review & interview: ‘DREAM/KILLER’ is frightening for reasons you must see to believe. Liz interviews Ryan and Bill Ferguson.

DREAM KILLER_Press_1 TribecaSome of us have a some pretty wild dreams. Maybe monsters are chasing us, maybe we fly like superman, or just maybe, we kill someone. What if someone else’s dream affected your life? What if their dream took away your freedom. This is was happened to 19 year old Ryan Ferguson. After a friend has a nightmare about a murder case that happened two years prior, he calls 911 to “confess” and once in custody, puts Ryan at the scene. Director Andrew Jenks, brings us a fascinating new documentary called Dream/Killer. Ryan is convicted of murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Let’s be clear, there is zero evidence that Ryan was even in the area at the time. The entire case, if you can call it  such a thing, is based upon a coerced confession of another young man with some serious issues. This is the tragic story of how the American judicial system is beyond broken. We’ve seen numerous young men convicted based on socio-economic background or the color of their skin, but it is still very unlikely that a middle-class white man would be in the same boat.DREAM KILLER_Press_2 TribecaWe follow Ryan’s entire journey, with the help of his extraordinary parents, Bill and Leslie. Bill does everything in his power, including tours of the crime scene to anyone and everyone that will walk with him and listen to the evidence, setting up social media pages in support of Ryan, and tracking down one the most renowned lawyers in the country, Kathleen Zellner. Roadblocked at every turn, this documentary is full of twists and turns in the wake of shockingly awful work by The Ferguson’s first lawyer, witnesses fabricating stories, and the dubious practices of District Attorney-turned-Judge Kevin Crane. If there is one criminal in this entire story, it may be the one presently on a bench in Missouri.

Bill Ferguson‘s tireless efforts are rewarded after his son spends 9 1/2 years in prison. Kathleen Zellner is finally able to get Ryan released. Through years of exasperating setbacks, Bill and Leslie keep up Ryan’s spirits and lead his charge to freedom. Dream/Killer is an eye opening film. The scales of justice are definitely waited against the truth and they need to be fixed. Andrew Jenks agrees that the film is emotionally enraging. As an audience member, you walk away shaking your head and fuming. These are both compliments to the story Jenks is is trying to tell. He and The Fergusons have developed a genuine friendship. Jenks calls Ryan “A bit of a Gandhi figure” for his ability to stay so positive throughout this entire ordeal. The Fergusons love for each other is certainly unconditional. Never once did Bill or Leslie question Ryan’s innocence. Jenks says that he doesn’t think this story is over. There is still a murderer on the loose. DREAM KILLER_Press_3 TribecaWith the popularity of the Serial podcast and HBO‘s The Jinx, there could not be a more timely introduction for Dream/Killer. Jenks also attributes the growing intrigue surrounding documentaries to Netflix. He believes it’s interface and the artistry in docs movie posters are attracting a newer, and perhaps younger audience.

I was fortunate enough to sit down with Ryan and Bill and discuss this film and their extraordinary family. Here is the audio from that interview. *At the very end, you’ll hear my private thoughts as I left the recorder on longer than intended.* I actually ran into Ryan the following day. He remembered me, asked me how I was doing, and we chatted like old friends. Welcome to The Ferguson family. Enjoy.

 

You can still catch two more screenings of Dream/Killer at the fest.

3:45 PM – FRI 4/24 REGAL CINEMAS BATTERY PARK 11-1    RUSH 
9:45 PM – SAT 4/25 BOW TIE CINEMAS CHELSEA 5                RUSH

dream/killer Trailer from Andrew Jenks Entertainment on Vimeo.

To find out more information, you can click the Tribeca Film Festival Guide 2015.

Tribeca Film Festival review: Zooey Dechanel & Anton Yelchin roam ‘The Driftless Area’ of confusion & crime

The Driftless Area

To say that The Driftless Area is cryptic is an understatement. I’m still not quite sure what happened, but the characters are so complex and interwoven that even though you’re confused, you can’t wait to see what happens next.

After he returns home after college, Pierre (Anton Yelchin) meets and falls in love with Stella (Zooey Deschanel). He gets mixed up in some trouble with a criminal (John Hawkes) and circumstances unravel.

Along the way, we meet Pierre’s best friend, the always likeable and honest Alia Shawkat, Stella’s protector, Frank Langella, and the ever-entertaining Aubrey Plaza. I would consider this to be an ensemble cast because of how much they stand out, yet never overshadow.

Based on a book of the same name, the author, Tom Drury, also co-wrote the screenplay with director, Zachary Sluser. The beautiful landscapes and minimal score provide a calm ride into the lives of each character. Rather than painting as heroes or villains, all have humor and a grounding in reality that is usually just reserved for comedies.

Anyone interested in the fate versus free-will conversation will love this surreal journey.

One screening left this Saturday!

Tribeca Film Festival review: Jennifer Connelly & Cillian Murphy as Mother & Son in ‘Aloft’

Cillian Murphy as Ivan Photo by Allen Fraser, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Cillian Murphy as Ivan
Photo by Allen Fraser, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

A woman, in search for a cure for her youngest son, discovers her own ability to heal others. However, a tragic accident prevents her from curing him and threatens to break up her family.

Mélanie Laurent as Ressmore Photo by Jose Haro, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Mélanie Laurent as Ressmore
Photo by Jose Haro, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Jennifer Connelly is cold and rigid as the young mother, but Cillian Murphy is bold and emotional as her oldest son in the bleak Aloft. Told through flashbacks mixed with present time, director and Academy Award®–nominee Claudia Llosa tells a complex story through the eyes of Ivan (Murphy), who travels with Jannia (Mélanie Laurent).

Left to right: Winta McGrath as Gully and Jennifer Connelly as Nana Photo by Jose Haro, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Left to right: Winta McGrath as Gully and Jennifer Connelly as Nana
Photo by Jose Haro, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Jennifer Connelly as Nana Photo by Jose Haro, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Jennifer Connelly as Nana
Photo by Jose Haro, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Left to right: Wiliam Shimell as Newman and Zen McGrath as Young Ivan Photo by Jose Haro, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Left to right: Wiliam Shimell as Newman and Zen McGrath as Young Ivan
Photo by Jose Haro, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

The ice and snow provide a perfect backdrop to the chilling tale of how small decisions can have the largest impact. As the story progresses, it only gets colder and it can be hard to tell who you should be rooting for, but Ivan is the most heard. A heart-wrenching story of mother and child, you may have an opinion, but no one knows until it happens to them.

Releasing May 22nd in select theaters, one screening left at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Left to right: Jennifer Connelly and Director Claudia Llosa Photo by Jose Haro, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Left to right: Jennifer Connelly and Director Claudia Llosa
Photo by Jose Haro, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Tribeca Film Festival podcast: From screen to screen – Interview with ‘All Work All Play’ Director Patrick Creadon

All Work All Play_1

Director: Patrick Creadon, photo by Jeff Tomsic

 

 

There’s a huge following for the online game League of Legends, as over 67 million players MONTHLY play the game. Director Patrick Creadon focuses on both behind-the-scenes of setting up the tournaments and the some of the teams that are world champions in his new documentary, All Work All Play.

Patrick gives his thoughts on everything from how he learned about League of Legends to how documentary filmmaking has changed since his Sundance hit, Wordplay.

Check out the audio interview with the Cloud 9 team here.

Tribeca Film Festival podcast: 67 million players per month can’t be wrong – Interview with the Cloud 9 team of League of Legends for the work-in-progress ‘All Work All Play’

All Work All Play Cloud 9 2

 

Whether you’re a gamer or not, you can appreciate the time and talent it takes to become a world champion. In League of Legends, the free-to-play online game from Riot Games, two teams of five compete. One of the top North American teams, Cloud 9, is profiled in the new documentary All Work All Play, screened as a work-in-progress at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. I sat down with the team before any of us had seen the movie, and asked them about their lives, interests and what it means to be part of an emerging sport, well, e-sport, that is.

In Case You Missed It: Tribeca Film Festival Reviews & Interviews so far

 

 

It’s only Tuesday of the festival and we’ve got so much coverage that I thought I’d give you a chance to catch up!
Tumbledown_Press_1 Tribeca

Tribeca Film Festival review & podcast: TUMBLEDOWN will win hearts and fans. Including the audio from our roundtable interview with Jason Sudeikis, Dianna Agron, Director Sean Mewshaw, and Writer…

1211556_BridgendTribeca Film Festival podcast: Liz has tea with Hannah Murray. They chat her new film BRIDGEND, Game Of Thrones fandom, and what’s up next!

FRANNY_press_1 TribecaTribeca Film review: Richard Gere gives and gives as ‘Franny’

Orion is his iconic eagle suit. Photo credit Sun Records

Orion is his iconic eagle suit. Photo credit Sun Records

3 docs you simply must see at the Tribeca Film Festival

Stephen Elliott (James Franco) and Neil Elliott (Ed Harris)Anna Kooris

Stephen Elliott (James Franco) and Neil Elliott (Ed Harris)Anna Kooris

Tribeca Film Festival interview: ‘THE ADDERALL DIARIES’ director Pamela Romanowsky talks fated moments in making the film.

Shia LaBeouf, Love True - Photo Credit: Natalie Samuel, Luna Rouge Pictures

Shia LaBeouf, Love True – Photo Credit: Natalie Samuel, Luna Rouge Pictures

Tribeca Red Carpet Photos: Shia LaBeouf looking angry & Director Alma Ha’rel at ‘LoveTrue’

James Franco - The Adderall Diaries - Photo Credit: Natalie Samuel, Luna Rouge Pictures

James Franco – The Adderall Diaries – Photo Credit: Natalie Samuel, Luna Rouge Pictures

Tribeca Red Carpet Photos: James Franco, Cynthia Nixon, Christian Slater, Amber Heard & Ed Harris in ‘The Adderall Diaries’

OVERNIGHT_Press_2 TribecaCan’t make it to the Tribeca Film Festival? These movies have distribution and will be available to watch soon!

TFF15-King-JackTribeca Film Festival review: ‘KING JACK’ astounds.

Among the Believers-00004 TribecaTribeca Film Festival review: ‘Among The Believers’ will test your faith.

Come Down Molly_Press_3 TribecaTribeca Film Festival review: ‘COME DOWN MOLLY’ is a drug induced introspection

Democrats stillTribeca Film Festival reviews: ‘DEMOCRATS’ and ‘VIAJE’. Both are sweet and sour for drastically different reasons

tribeca film festival 2015 logoTRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL begins tomorrow! RND has a few (40) recommendations

Tribeca Film Festival 4Tribeca Film Festival 2015 Has Begun! Drive-In Movies & Free Events!

When I Live My Life Over Again-00002 TribecaTribeca Film Festival Theme: New York Stories – National Lampoon, James Franco, Christopher Walken & More!

Tribeca Film Festival 2015 MarqueeGet 2 Free Tickets for the Tribeca Film Festival on Friday April 24th – Courtesy of AT&T’s Film For All Friday

Kurt Cobain3 Ways to View ‘Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck’ – Tribeca Film Festival, Lincoln Center or HBO

BACKTOTHEFUTURE_web_1Free Screening of ‘Back to the Future’ and other Free Events of the Tribeca Film Festival

Tickets to the Tribeca Film Festival Now on Sale!

5 to 7 AntonBereniceVictor Levin’s ‘5 to 7′ brings Parisian romance to New York City.

TFF 2015: Tribeca Talks Free Events Starting In One Month!

MontyPythonandtheHolyGrail_Press_1Monty Python Cast to Celebrate 40th Anniversary of Monty Python and the Holy Grail at 2015 Tribeca Film Festival

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 1.40.57 PMTribeca Film Festival: Free Program Storyscapes

Tribeca Film Festival review & podcast: TUMBLEDOWN will win hearts and fans. Including the audio from our roundtable interview with Jason Sudeikis, Dianna Agron, Director Sean Mewshaw, and Writer Desiree Van Til.

Tumbledown_Press_1 Tribeca

Music is part of our souls. It can heal, it can hurt, it’s like a sense memory. We’ve lost great artists in their prime like, Leonard Cohen, Kurt Cobain, and Elliot Smith. The impact of their death is felt each time we hear one of their songs. Imagine, for a moment, that your very favorite artist suddenly dies. Now imagine you were married to them. This is the very premise of TUMBLEDOWN. Hannah is the widow of indie folk singer Hunter Miles. She is hounded by gossip seekers on a daily basis. When Hofstra professor and true fan Andrew tries to get in touch with her, she brushes him off… and brushes him off again… and again. Only until realizing that her dream of writing Hunter’s story is one she cannot accomplish on her own, does she let her highly guarded heart open just a crack. Andrew and Hannah strike a deal; Andrew writes a biography on her terms for $50k. With the encouragement of his music industry girlfriend Finley, Andrew drives from NYC to Maine and moves into Hannah’s guest bedroom. He is then exposed to a world a true fan can only dream of, with one massive catch. Hannah will not stop mourning her late husband. Can fan and family see eye to eye. Can trust break down the walls of Hannah’s suffering? Will intellect stifle healing. In a film where it’s head vs heart, who wins?

Rebecca Hall is flawless as Hannah. Witty, independent, strong headed, Hall plays a woman unwilling to move on with her life. Jason Sudeikis as Andrew is unstoppable. Smart, and quippy as ever, this role is something new for Sudeikis. I love this side of him and hope that the industry, and more writers, take note of his innate ability to be funny in a non-slapstick kind of way. These two are an absolute powerhouse as they match wits with one another in each scene. Rounding out an incredible cast is Dianna Agron as Finley. Life after GLEE fame should treat her well if she keeps up such a strong, believable presence on the big screen. Blythe Danner and Richard Masur play Hannah’s parents. Deeply supportive and yet totally realistic, these two are the perfect counter balance to Andrew’s inability to let go of presumption. Finally, Griffin Dunne plays Hannah’s editor and owner of the town beloved book shop. He brings warmth and charm only a small town holds.

The film was 8 years in the making. Writer Desi Van Til thoughtfully crafted this story partly as a personal healing piece for a lost friend. She skillfully captures the heart of New England, the desperation of grief, and the hold that music has on everyone’s heart. For Director Sean Mewshaw, his first feature length film is a total success. It’s shot in such a way that truly shows the quaintness of the area. Finding “Hunter Miles” or singer Damien Jurado was one of his triumphs. He perfectly encapsulates the feel of the character that was created by Desi, Rebecca, Jason, and Sean. Coming in after the film was already in the can, with his music and lyrics, he “created” a musician we’re all discovering for the first time, but feel like we’ve now lost as well. It might also help that Sean and Desi are husband and wife! This team is a real tour de force and without any solid knowledge (only mere mentions) I predict many captivating projects coming down the pipeline from these two.

Grief is something so personal. No matter how big the hit we feel, it still leaves a hole in our hearts and souls. Sometimes music helps. Sometimes it’s a trigger. Either way, the songs live on long after we’re gone. So sing, I say. TUMBLEDOWN is easily in my top three narrative selections to come out the this year’s festival. It is a must see and definitely a must hear.


 

I was fortunate enough to attend a roundtable interview with Dianna Agron, Jason Sudeikis, Desi Van Til and Sean Mewshaw. We talk issues from the film, insight into the project’s journey, as well as Jason and Dianna’s other releases at the fest. Take a listen to the absolute joy around the table: *You can hear me ask a question about journalistic responsibility and one about Dianna’s similarities to the character of Hannah.* Enjoy the voices of TUMBLEDOWN!

You can still catch a screening of TUMBLEDOWN at the fest this Thursday!! I cannot imagine this film not getting distribution. We will most certainly keep you updated here at RND.

3:30 PM – THU 4/23  REGAL CINEMAS BATTERY PARK 11-11Icon-fg-map ADD $13.50
To find out more about TUMBLEDOWN in the Tribeca Film Guide 2015

Tribeca Film Festival podcast: Liz has tea with Hannah Murray. They chat her new film BRIDGEND, Game Of Thrones fandom, and what’s up next!

1211556_BridgendOnce you find out that a film is based on true events, it tends to enter a different realm. What happens when the usual teenage fair in your new town is one of depression and morbidity? Bridgend captures the imagination and haunts the mind long after you leave the theater. It’s a mysterious and ethereal film, from the locations, to the performances, until the very last scene. Hannah Murray talks about what is was like to be in an area where teens feel so hopeless and trapped that suicide is a logical solution. Passionate about a deadly pact, call it peer pressure or perhaps mob mentality, her character Sara is lured into this strange arena. Can she hold onto herself long enough? That’s the ultimate question. Hannah gives us one of  most intriguing performance so far. This is not easy material to tackle, but a real success by director Jeppe Rønde and the entire cast. Take a listen to her thoughts on this unusual phenomenon, what’s it like to be part of one of the biggest shows on television, and what she’s filming right now. For you listening pleasure, we give you a special edition of Girls On Film.

Bridgend  Tribeca

SYNOPSIS: When a police investigator is tasked with investigating a recent string of unexplained tragedies, he arrives in the notorious Welsh county of Bridgend with his daughter Sara (Hannah Murray). Naïve and curious, Sara slowly works her way in with a clique of wild teenagers and discovers what bonds them together so tightly—the ritualistic celebration of their friends’ suicides. Initially frightened by the revelation, her eventual participation in this peculiar observance is cemented when she falls in love with Jamie (Josh O’Connor), another member of the menacing group. The unrelenting darkness that engulfs her peers encroaches on Sara, tainting her relationship with her father and threatening her sanity.

Director Jeppe Rønde‘s debut film is based on a real-life town, which has baffled the world by recording at least 79 suicides since 2007. Darkly lush scenes set in the Welsh countryside are juxtaposed with claustrophobic village twists and turns, creating a sophisticated and gothic depiction of the Bridgend mystery.

 

You can catch the last screening of BRIDGEND at the festival and read more on the film here: Tribeca Film Festival Guide 2015