SHUDDER CELEBRATES HALFWAY TO HALLOWEEN 2024 WITH A KILLER LINEUP

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SHUDDER CELEBRATES HALFWAY TO HALLOWEEN WITH A KILLER LINEUP OF NEW FILM PREMIERES INCLUDING RECORD-BREAKING HIT LATE NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL, CREATURE FEATURE INFESTED AND SUPERNATURAL HORROR BAGHEAD

Programming Event Timed to Shudder TV Launch on AMC+ with LIVE

Viewing Parties for New Films, Marathons and All-New Episodes of Popular Series The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs
Shudder Halfway to Halloween 2024

NEW YORK, NY – April 1, 2024 – April showers scare up new horror films and series on Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium streaming service for horror, thriller and the supernatural, for its annual Halfway to Halloween horror-thon. Too much fun to celebrate just once a year, the streamer celebrates the halfway point to Halloween every April with a killer lineup of Shudder Original Film premieres, LIVE viewing parties for Shudder’s Original series The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs, and more. The horror celebration is timed to Shudder TV’s launch on AMC+ with new events including marathons of signature series and LIVE watch parties for new film premieres.



Fans are invited to follow along on @shudder social for #HalfwaytoHalloween recommended films to watch all month long.



Shudder’s Halfway to Halloween highlights include:



Baghead (Shudder Exclusive Film)
New Film Premieres Friday, April 5

Following the death of her estranged father (Peter Mullan), Iris (Freya Allan) learns she has inherited a run-down, centuries-old pub. She travels to Berlin to identify her father’s body and meet with The Solicitor (Ned Dennehy) to discuss the estate. Little does she know, when the deed is signed, she will become inextricably tied to an unspeakable entity that resides in the pub’s basement–Baghead–a shape-shifting creature that can transform into the dead. Two thousand in cash for two minutes with the creature is all it takes for desperate loved ones to ease their grief. Neil (Jeremy Irvine), who has lost his wife, is Iris’ first customer. Like her father, Iris is tempted to exploit the creature’s powers and help desperate people for a price. But she soon discovers breaking the two-minute rule can have terrifying consequences. Together with her best friend Katie (Ruby Barker), Iris must battle to keep control of Baghead and figure out how to destroy her, before she destroys them.



The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs Season 6 (Shudder Original Series)
LIVE Watch Parties Continue Every Other Friday, April 12 and April 26, on Shudder TV and AMC+ TV

The supersized sixth season continues with all-new episodes rolling out biweekly on Shudder and AMC+.



Late Night with the Devil (Shudder Original Film)
New Film Premieres Friday, April 19; LIVE Watch Party at 9pm ET

October 31, 1977. Jack Delroy’s syndicated talk show ‘Night Owls’ has long been a trusted companion to insomniacs around the country, but a year on from the tragic death of Jack’s wife, ratings have plummeted. Desperate to turn his fortunes around, Jack plans a Halloween special like no other, unaware he is about to unleash evil into the living rooms of America. Starring David Dastmalchian (Oppenheimer) and Laura Gordon (Reckoning).



Infested (Shudder Original Film)
New Film Premieres Friday, April 26; LIVE Watch Party April 27 at 9pm ET

Director Sébastien Vanicek makes his feature film debut with a story that follows Kaleb, who is about to turn 30 and has never been lonelier. He’s fighting with his sister over a matter of inheritance and has cut ties with his best friend. Fascinated by exotic animals, he finds a venomous spider in a bazaar and brings it back to his flat. It only takes a moment for it to escape and reproduce, turning the whole place into a dreadful web trap. Starring Théo Christine (Suprêmes), Finnegan Oldfield (Final Cut), Jérôme Niel (Smoking Causes Coughing), Sofia Lesaffre (Les Misérables) and Lisa Nyarko.



Other Shudder TV Programming Stunts (all times are ET):
 The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula – All five seasons airing back-to-back beginning 6:00am on April 6 through April 9.

 101 Scariest Movie Moments of All Time – Back-to-back episodes airing 6:00am-9pm on April 13

 Creepshow – Seasons 1-4 airing back-to back beginning 6:30am on April 15 through April 16.

 Hell House LLC and V/H/S Franchises – All films from two iconic film franchises air back-to-back from 1:30pm-1:30am on April 17 and 1:45pm-1:30am on April 18.

 Nature Nightmares – Dig into the scary side of Mother Nature with nature-themed horror in honor of Earth Day beginning April 20 at 6:40am through April 22.

 The Last Drive-In Halloween Special Marathon – Check out all the tricks and treats with Joe Bob Halloween specials all day long beginning 5:30am on April 26, leading up to an all-new episode at 9pm ET.

 Halfway to “Halloween”– Celebrate the six-month countdown to our favorite holiday with two full days of Halloween-themed films beginning April 29 at 6:45am through April 30.



OTHER NEW ADDITIONS TO SHUDDER THIS MONTH



April 1



The Terror Season 2 – Full Series Binge

Set during World War II, the second season of The Terror centers on a series of bizarre deaths that haunt a Japanese American community, and a young man’s journey to understand and combat the malevolent entity responsible. Starring George Takei (Star Trek).



Mute Witness – Streaming Film Premiere

From director Anthony Waller (An American Werewolf in Paris), a mute makeup artist working on a slasher movie being shot in Moscow, is locked in the studio after house. While there, she witnesses a brutal murder and must escape capture.



The Gates – Streaming Film Premiere

A serial killer has been sentenced to death by electric chair in London in the 1890s, but in his final hours, he puts a curse on the prison he’s in, and all of those in it.



Drag Me to Hell

A loan officer who evicts an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse. Desperate, she turns to a seer to try and save her soul, while evil forces work to push her to a breaking point.



Ghost Stories (2017)

After receiving a file with details of three unexplained cases of apparitions, skeptical professor Phillip Goodman embarks on a terrifying trip.



THE RENTALThe Rental

Two couples rent a vacation home for what should be a celebratory weekend getaway.



At the Devil’s Door

A real estate agent finds herself caught up in something sinister when she has to sell a house with a dark past and meets the troubled teen who used to live there.



The Wind

A plainswoman faces the harshness and isolation of the untamed lad in the Western frontier of the late 1800s.



Summoning Sylvia.jpgSummoning Sylvia

A gay bachelor party turns spooky when sinister spirits are suddenly summoned.



Madman

A legendary psychopathic murderer stalks a summer camp.

*The Last Drive-In: Madman episode also available



Spookies

A wicked sorcerer tries to sacrifice a group of people inside his house with the intention of using their vitality to keep his wife alive.

*The Last Drive-In: Spookies episode also available



Creepshow (1982)

Five grisly tales from a kid’s comic book about a murdered father rising from his grave, a bizarre meteor, a vengeful husband, a mysterious crate’s occupant, and a plague of cockroaches.





April 4



Wake Wood

The parents of a girl who was killed by a savage dog are granted the opportunity to spend three days with their deceased daughter.



Emelie

A couple’s replacement babysitter turns out to be more than they bargained for when she subjects their kids to a series of twisted activities.

 



April 8



Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things

Six friends in a theatrical troupe dig up a corpse on an abandoned island to use in a mock Satanic rite. It backfires with deadly consequences.



The Third Saturday in October

When a psycho goes on a murderous rampage after surviving a botched execution, only two survivors of his initial attack can stop him.



The Third Saturday in October Part V

Follow an implacable killer as he stalks and butchers the occupants of houses across the stretch of one lone country road while the residents prepare to watch a yearly college-football bout.





April 15



The Tunnel

An investigation into a government cover-up leads to a network of abandoned train tunnels deep beneath the heart of Sydney. As a journalist and her crew hunt for the story, it quickly becomes clear the story is hunting them.



The Tunnel: The Other Side of Darkness

On the 10th anniversary of the Australian found footage film The Tunnel, this documentary delves into the filmmakers endeavors to challenge how films are financed and distributed, and the lasting impact The Tunnel had internationally.





April 22



The House of the Devil (2009)

In 1983, financially struggling college student Samantha Hughes takes a strange babysitting job that coincides with a full lunar eclipse. She slowly realizes her clients harbor a terrifying secret, putting her life in mortal danger.

*The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Dinners of Death: The House of the Devil episode also available



The Innkeepers

During the final days at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, two employees determined to reveal the hotel’s haunted past begin to experience disturbing events as old guests check in for a stay.



The Changeling (1980)

After the death of his wife and daughter in a car crash, a music professor staying in a long-vacant Seattle mansion is dragged into a decades-old mystery by an inexplicable presence in the mansion’s attic.

*The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Dinners of Death: The Changeling episode also available



Final Cut (aka Death Games)

A reporter and his girlfriend follow around a famous actor/entrepreneur and discover some dirt on him to be made public.



13th Floor

As a child, a girl witnessed her father electrocute a young boy. When she grows into an adult, the ghost of the murdered boy appears to her, and together they set out to expose the crimes of her father.




About Shudder

AMC Networks’ Shudder is a premium streaming video service, super-serving members with the best selection in genre entertainment, covering horror, thrillers and the supernatural. Shudder’s expanding library of film, TV series, and Original Content is available on most streaming devices in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Over the last few years, Shudder has introduced audiences to groundbreaking and critically acclaimed films including Rob Savage’s HOST, Jayro Bustamante’s LA LLORONA, Phil Tippett’s MAD GOD, Coralie Fargeat’s REVENGE, Joko Anwar’s SATAN’S SLAVES, Josh Ruben’s SCARE ME, Kyle Edward Ball’s SKINAMARINK, Christian Tafdrup’s SPEAK NO EVIL, Chloe Okuno’s WATCHER, Demián Rugna‘s WHEN EVIL LURKS, and the latest in the V/H/S film anthology franchise, as well as the fan favorite TV series THE BOULET BROTHERS’ DRAGULA, Greg Nicotero’s CREEPSHOW, and THE LAST DRIVE-IN WITH JOE BOB BRIGGS.


For Shudder reviews, click here!

‘LATE NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL’ (2024) Ratings from hell.

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Late Night With The Devil

Late Night With The Devil IFC Films Shudder

After the passing of his wife and in danger of losing his live late-night hosting gig, Jack Delroy’s plan for ratings goes horribly wrong. LATE NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL unfolds like an “E True Hollywood” exposé, playing the infamous 1977 studio tape of his talk show Night Owls’ Halloween episode. Jack is about to be famous, whether he likes it or not.

The tension increases with each volatile guest, culminating with the young subject of a controversial book. Jack requests a conversation with the entity possessing her, live on air, and “Mr. Wriggles” is more than happy to comply.

Late Night With The Devil IFC Films Shudder still 1Everything from the lighting, the lens, costumes, set design, the score, hair and makeup, and the jokes nail the era. Along with the live tape, black and white behind-the-scenes footage shows us what the at-home audience missed.

Laura Gordon plays Dr. June Ross-Mitchell, parapsychologist, author, and Lilly’s guardian. Her motherly energy and protective nature pour off the screen. She has magnetic chemistry with the rest of the cast.

Ingrid Torelli gives Lilly a shocking presence. Her overconfident air suggests an otherworldly maturity. It is startling, reminiscent of a young Drew Barrymore after E.T. fame. Torelli breaks the fourth wall by constantly gazing into the camera. It is one hell of a turn.

Late Night with the Devil (2023)David Dastmalchian owns every frame as Jack Delroy. A delicious mix of genuine and fame-hungry, his effortless performance is mesmerizing. He has the audience in the palm of his hand. You cannot take your eyes off of him.

Once Mr. Wriggles made their appearance, my heart was in my throat. I left fingernail impressions in my palm. From that moment on, the film leads up to a climax so unreal, I’ve never yelled “Oh F*CK!” so many times in one sitting. With a captivating balance of dazzling production design, jarring visuals FX, and a phenomenally demented screenplay from directors Colin Cairnes and Cameron Cairnes, LATE NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL is damn near perfect.


In Theaters on March 22, 2024

Written & Directed by 

Colin Cairnes and Cameron Cairnes

Starring 

David Dastmalchian, Laura Gordon, Ian Bliss, Ingrid Torelli, Fayssal Bazzi, Rhys Auteri 

ABOUT IFC FILMS

IFC Films is a leading U.S. distributor of independent film, owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc. Its most recent releases include BLACKBERRY directed by Matt Johnson, BIOSPHERE with Mark Duplass and Sterling K. Brown, and the documentary LAKOTA NATION VS THE UNITED STATES directed by Jesse Short Bull and Laura Tomaselli and executive produced by Sarah Eagle Heart and Mark Ruffalo. Forthcoming titles include Amy Redford’s WHAT COMES AROUND and the recently announced documentary THE DISAPPEARANCE OF SHERE HITE from Nicole Newnham and Cannes Award-winner POT AU FEU from Trần Anh Hùng. Some of the company’s successes over the years include BOYHOOD, THE DEATH OF STALIN, FRANCES HA, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, THE BABADOOK, TOUCHING THE VOID, 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS, CHE, SUMMER HOURS, ANTICHRIST, IN THE LOOP, JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK, TINY FURNITURE, CARLOS, BAD AXE and CORSAGE, among others.

 

ABOUT SHUDDER

AMC Networks’ Shudder is a premium streaming video service, super-serving members with the best selection in genre entertainment, covering horror, thrillers and the supernatural. Shudder’s expanding library of film, TV series, and originals is available on most streaming devices in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. For a 7-day, risk-free trial, visit www.shudder.com.


For more IFC and Shudder reviews, click here!

‘EXHUMA’ (2024) Let the dead stay buried.

well go usa logoEXHUMA

Exhuma-Poster-WellGoUSA-1382x2048 An ancient evil affects the firstborn children of a wealthy family with uncontrollable wailing in their dreams. Eager to cash in, a team of macabre experts takes on this new client. As they dig deeper into this unique case, the usually confident group discovers they are in over their heads. In EXHUMA, that’s only the beginning of this horrifying tale.

Exhuma-KHorror-WellGoUSA-1340x754-5Performances are magnificent across the board. This spectacular multi-generational ensemble cast delivers engrossing mystery and terror. The script unfolds in chapters, like a how-to guide dealing with the underworld. Descriptions of rituals and occupational titles come in narration from the team. This creative storytelling immerses the audience in what feels like an inevitable tragedy. Complicating things further are the secrets our wealthy family hides. Genre fans will have a field day with horror canon balanced with the slightest touch of humor and serious gore. It is beyond compelling.

Exhuma Well Go UsaMixing tradition and superstition combined with an ominous score makes the hairs on your arms stick straight up. It’s a multi-sensory watch. EXHUMA deserves your full attention from the very first frame. There is so much meat on the bone. Expanding this world almost certainly feels possible and welcome. At its current runtime of two-plus hours, viewers would eat up more stories from this team. Their chemistry is magic, and a franchise would delight fans. The twists and turns keep coming. EXHUMA is undeniably one of the most intriguing cinematic experiences of the year.


EXHUMA 

Opening in Los Angeles March 15 | In Theaters Across North America March 22

For more reviews of Well Go USA films, click here!

 

All things Horror, we’ve got you covered!


Exhuma-KHorror-WellGoUSA-1340x754-2 Visit the official film page: https://wellgousa.com/films/exhuma

When a renowned shaman (KIM Go-Eun) and her protégé (Lee Do-hyun) are hired by a wealthy, enigmatic family, they begin investigating the cause of a disturbing supernatural illness that affects only the first-born children of each generation. With the help of a knowledgeable mortician (YOO Hai-jin) and the country’s most revered geomancer (CHOI Min-sik), they soon trace the affliction’s origin to a long-hidden family grave located on sacred ground. Sensing an ominous aura surrounding the burial site, the team opts to exhume and relocate the ancestral remains immediately. But as something much darker emerges, they soon discover what befalls those who dare to mess with the wrong grave.

Directed by: Jang Jae-Hyun

Cast: Choi Min-Sik, Kim Go-Eun, Yoo Hai-Jin, and Lee Do-Hyun


Watch more Well Go USA films online: https://bit.ly/WellGoFilmsOnline

ABOUT WELL GO USA ENTERTAINMENT:

Well Go USA, the studio behind TRIPLE THREAT, TRAIN TO BUSAN, and the IP MAN franchise, brings the best in martial arts, action, genre, and independent films from the U.S. and around the world to North America.

FOLLOW WELL GO USA ON SOCIAL:

Facebook:   / wellgousa  

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TikTok:   / wellgousa  

#Exhuma #JangJaeHyun #ChoiMinSik #KimGoEun #YooHaiJin #LeeDoHyun #trailer #horror #thriller #thrillermovies #movietrailer #comingsoon #newmovies #wellgousa #koreanfilm #kmovies


‘CREEP BOX’ (2024) is massively disturbing

CREEP BOX

CREEP BOX Poster

If you’re a paranormal enthusiast, you’ve heard of the average ghost tour. If you’re a little more intense, you download the Ghost Radar app and casually track color-coded spirits wandering in your vicinity. But, if you’re serious about the other side, book a psychic guided tour on the Queen Mary for your first wedding anniversary, paying extra for the EVP Spirit Box seance, like I did. 5 stars. Highly recommend. Patrick Biesemans’ CREEP BOX pits science and grief against each other in a disturbing and psychologically unsettling manner.

CREEP BOXDr. Franklin Caul has created a simulated consciousness with the dead. The DOJ wants it, but Caul has ulterior motives. The tech uses data from the deceased to have conversations or seek answers. In the mix is a swirl of overlapping thoughts and confusion that get under your skin. You cannot help but listen to them, and they are chilling. Caul observes that when suicide is the cause of death, the deterioration of self slows.

Adam David Thompson (Here Alone) plays the voice of Adam. His interpretation of an unseen character gets under your skin. He is nothing short of magnificent. Geoffrey Cantor carries CREEP BOX will ease. As Caul delves into the mind of a particular simulation, closing in on a personal agenda, Cantor’s humanity seeps through the academic shell. Geoffrey Cantor’s stoic nature perfectly matches Caul’s turmoil. He settles into unresolved trauma. It’s a fantastic performance.

CREEP BOX stillWhat might sound crazy is that this tech already exists. Customers can pay several different companies worldwide to build an AI version of their past loved ones. A recent Sundance documentary, ETERNAL YOU, is entirely about these services and their potential effects, good and bad. CREEP BOX takes these concepts down the rabbit hole, gladly stepping into the darkness and staying there.

In CREEP BOX and ETERNAL YOU, things change once the entity you communicate with appears sentient. Questions of ethics and the potential emotional damage of these interactions hang like a black cloud above the viewer. It’s a film that will undoubtedly mesmerize anyone who has suffered from grief. It instills wonder, curiosity, and pure terror. CREEP BOX will haunt you whether you like it or not.


Creep Box next screens at April’s Philip K. Dick Film Festival, which takes place at The Museum of the Moving Image in New York City.

Sundance 2024: Rock & roll down memory lane with ‘DIG! XX’

Sundance 2024 logo

DIG! XX

DIG! XX Sundance 2024

Ondi Timoner‘s Sundance hit returns to the festival for its 20th anniversary with more footage than before. If, like me, you missed its original festival run, you’ll eat up DIG! XX and its quintessential 90s music deep dive into the tumultuous relationship between The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

DIG! XX Sundance 2024 Anton NewcombeTimoner gets a completely unfiltered look inside the magic and mayhem in 7 years of behind-the-scenes footage. It’s a competition between the vibrant, often cocky, argumentative, drug-fueled, genuinely talented musician behavior of BJM versus the chill, business-minded, trustworthy, equally gifted Dandys. Each band pushes the other to greatness with contrasting tactics. Ondi’s handheld freestyle way of shooting is immersive and tangible. With the rapid-fire editing and narration from Joel Gion and Courtney Taylor, you’re entirely entertained. Huge personalities clash, eccentricities push people’s buttons, and childhood trauma rears its ugly head.

Timoner (Last Flight Home) tells the story of frenemies on two vastly different paths to fame. Go ahead and make DIG!XX for personality for the next month. I know Sundance 2024 audiences will.


Sundance Color logo 2024

Ondi Timoner

Ondi Timoner

Ondi Timoner is an internationally acclaimed filmmaker whose work focuses on “impossible visionaries” for which she was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance twice, for DIG! and We Live in Public.

Her most personal film, Last Flight Home (2022), about the extraordinary life & intentional death of her father, Eli Timoner, is Emmy-nominated, Oscar-shortlisted, and received the Humanitas for Best Documentary.


Credits

  • DIRECTOR(S)

    ONDI TIMONER

  • PRODUCED BY

    DAVID TIMONER

    ONDI TIMONER

  • EDITOR OF DIG! XX

    DAVID TIMONER

  • EDITOR OF DIG!

    ONDI TIMONER

  • CINEMATOGRAPHER

    ONDI TIMONER

    DAVID TIMONER

    VASCO LUCAS NUNES

  • NARRATED BY

    JOEL GION

    COURTNEY TAYLOR

For all of our Sundance coverage click here!


 

Sundance 2024: ‘SAY HI AFTER YOU DIE’ is perfect

Sundance 2024 logo

SAY HI AFTER YOU DIE

Say Hi After You Die Sundance 2024

Sundance 2024 short film SAY HI AFTER YOU DIE is a laugh-out-loud look at grief, mental health, and forever friendship. Following the unexpected passing of her best friend, Gloria finds herself talking to a porta-potty. It’s easy to see why the film won the Short Film Jury Award for U.S. Fiction. It is that wonderful. 

Writers Ruby Caster (who hilariously portrays Ruby in the film, and Kate Jean Hollowell, who also stars and directs the film, nail the Gen Z/ Millennial cusp banter and fashion. They are a fierce team of creatives.
Say_Hi_After_You_Die-Kate Jean HollowellGeorge Basil plays Dave, the construction foreman, with a life-affirming kindness. One of his lines perfectly sums up the film’s heart, hitting you square in the chest, “We’re just friends walking each other home.” Hollowell is outstanding as Gloria. Her comic timing is the stuff of the gods, but she also delivers authentic depth. She is a star.

SAY HI AFTER YOU DIE has a smirk-inducing musical sequence. The choreography from Kat Burns is inarguably spectacular. For a 17-minute film, Sundance audiences will laugh, dance, and tear up. This is one of the year’s best.

Sundance Screening Times
Screening as part of Short Film Program 4

World Premiere – January 21st, 12:15PM MST (Prospector Square Theatre)
Public Screening #2 – January 22nd, 5:30PM MST (Megaplex Theatres at The Gateway SLC)
Public Screening #3 – January 25th, 12:00PM MST (Redstone Cinemas)
Public Screening #4 – January 27th, 4:00PM MST (Megaplex Theatres at The Gateway SLC)
Public Screening #5 – January 28th, 1:30PM MST (Holiday Village Cinemas)

Kate Jean HollowellKate Jean Hollowell is a multi-hyphenate director, comedian and musician, who honed her humor, storytelling and visual style by making her own music videos, showcased at SXSW in 2022 and 2023, as well as her short film Are They Smiling?, which premiered at the 2020 Portland Film Festival and won several awards. Taking on narrative, Kate has managed to find a unique voice that balances humor and heart through all her work. Finding ways to insert unexpected musical numbers in everything she does is a trademark all her own.


Director: Kate Jean Hollowell
Screenwriters: Kate Jean Hollowell, Ruby Caster
Cast: Kate Jean Hollowell, Ruby Caster, George Basil
Producer: Miranda Kahn
Executive Producers: Mindy Goldberg, Jacki Calliero, Melissa Culligan
Production Designer: Jenna Tooley
Choreography: Kathryn Burns
Cinematography: Jordan Black
Costume Design: Jordy Scheinberg
Edited by: Talia Pasqua
VFX Artist: Alex Thomas

Year: 2023
Category: Short
Country: US
Language: English
TRT: 17 min

Sundance 2024’s full lineup can be found here!

 

Don’t forget to check out all our Sundance coverage throughout the years

Sundance Color logo 2023

Slamdance 2024 review: Intimate and personal ‘ONE BULLET’ pierces the heart

slamdance 2024

ONE BULLET

ONE BULLET Poster

This story of female friendship forged amidst America’s longest war is told by a filmmaker who spent 18 years in-and-out of Afghanistan. In this war movie, the battlefield lies behind the curtains of an Afghan home as Bibi Hajji struggles to survive the loss of her youngest child, and the impact of a brother’s death on her remaining sons. A haunting image of that boy surviving a bullet wound prompted director Carol Dysinger to investigate, what happened to him, who fired the shot? “One Bullet” evolves from procedural to an excavation of the human experience, of loss and redemption. It asks: how might we make peace across vast social, cultural and religious divisions? Two women drinking one cup of tea at a time.

one bullet - Bibi Bibi Hajji

One Bullet- Bibi Hajji

Who shot Fahim? Filmmaker Carol Dysinger shares how one Afghan family’s loss in 2006 forged a surprising friendship. ONE BULLET utilizes footage from 2005 to 2020 to tell a tale of tragedy, war, and interconnectedness.

Following the incident, Colonel Elliot has the impossible task of finding out who shot Fahim. Although, at times, it appears that his job is more to prove that it wasn’t an American bullet that went astray. The deliberate mistakes by the original interpreter are haunting, promising Fahim he would walk again when we’ve just heard the doctors tell him he will most likely remain paralyzed. The US government promised he would receive fully paid care in Turkey. That is not exactly what went down. In 2011, Dysinger tracked down the family only to discover Fajim had died two years after the incident.

Carol and Fawad

Carol and Fawad

Dysinger does her best to respect Afghan culture, treading lightly, all while trying to make amends on behalf of the US. The evolution of Carol’s relationship with Bibi’s sons is fascinating, moving through anger, curiosity, and respect as the years pass. The passing conversation that goes untranslated ranges from innocuous to well-intended, intrusive to insulting. Bibi’s grace and hospitality are endless. You see, hear, and feel the protective nature of Carol. It is a tumultuous task, one that Bibi covers with food.

The particular ripple effect on one brother concerns Carol. Fawad’s mental and emotional decline intertwined with an eventual religious zealotry. The details from the night Fahim was shot slowly come to light over the years, despite the report essentially not existing in an official capacity today.

ONE BULLET is Fahim’s story. It is Bibi’s, Carol’s, and America’s story. Slamdance 2024 audiences should always keep this film in the not-too-far reaches of their minds.

(Unavailable for streaming in Afghanistan)

  • Director:
    Carol Dysinger
  • Screenwriter:
    Carol Dysinger, Steen Johannessen
  • Producer:
    Ashim Bhalla, Su Kim, Carol Dysinger
  • Year:
    2023
  • Runtime:
    93 minutes
  • Language:
    Dari/English
  • Country:
    Afghanistan
  • Genre:
    Documentary
  • Subtitle Language:
    English
This year’s festival runs Fri, Jan 19, 2024, 12:00 PM – Sun, Jan 28, 2024

 

For all of our previous Slamdance coverage, click here!

slamdance 2024

Review: ‘First We Bombed New Mexico’ (2023) a chilling reminder of the hidden costs of the Trinity test

FIRST WE BOMBED NEW MEXICO

First We Bombed New Mexico

Anyone getting ready to vote Oppenheimer for best picture should first have to watch Lois Lipman’s First We Bombed New Mexico. America has much to reckon with when it comes to the legacy of the nuclear bomb – much of it on our own shores. This documentary potently explores further dark shadows this scientific achievement has left behind.

First We Bombed New Mexico still 1 The documentary follows Tina Cordova as she advocates for herself and her fellow “downwinders.” Downwinders are innocent bystanders who may have suffered negative health effects from the Trinity test  – the 1945 detonation of a newly developed nuclear weapon in New Mexico.

Cordova speaks for the many citizens who were unwillingly and unknowingly exposed to the radiation from the nuclear test. She is a compelling lead figure, warm and driven.

First We Bombed New Mexico still 2The anecdotes from the immediate aftermath of the nuclear test are truly horrifying. One particularly striking recounting involves children playing with what they thought was “warm snow, but may have actually been nuclear fallout. Still more disturbing is the potential generational effects of the test. There are recounts of stillbirths, of children born without eyes, and of widespread cases of cancer across the affected communities. Cordova herself is a thyroid cancer survivor, the 4th generation in her family to have cancer since the test in 1945.

The struggles of Cordova and her fellow downwinders seem relentless. Their end goals – formal recognition and an apology from the US government – seem so meager in comparison to the widespread challenges they face. It is easy for the audience to lose hope. Those expecting a neat resolution will be disappointed. But for those willing to explore the messy history behind Trinity, this documentary proves a worthwhile watch.


An inspiring Hispanic cancer survivor bangs on the corridors of power to fight for compensation and an apology for Native and Hispanic communities in New Mexico whose land and water was radiated by the Trinity Bomb.

WINNER OF THE DOCUMENTARY FEATURE JURY AWARD

 AT THE 2023 AUSTIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

WINNER OF THE AUDIENCE CHOICE BEST COMPETITION DOCUMENTARY AT THE 2023

 SANTA FE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Official Film Website: FirstWeBombedNewMexico.com

 

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Sundance 2024 preview: A film for everyone at the festival’s 40th Edition.

Sundance Film Festival 2024 Color Logo
The Sundance Film Festival has launched the careers of indie film directors, writers, and actors now for 40 years. Back with in-person and online screening opportunities, this year’s iteration boasts new and bold storytelling from every genre. Here are a handful of films we’ll track in 2024.

 

For more information and tickets to Sundance 2024, click here! Be on the lookout for shared coverage with our good friend, Steve Kopian, at Unseen Films. To see all of his reviews and what he’s looking forward to this year, head over to his home base.

(World Cinema Dramatic Competition)
SUJO

S till from the Sundance film SUJO
When a cartel gunman is killed, he leaves behind Sujo, his beloved 4-year-old son. The shadow of violence surrounds Sujo during each stage of his life in the isolated Mexican countryside. As he grows into a man, Sujo finds that fulfilling his father’s destiny may be inescapable.

A movie about time and trauma, this beautifully acted and hauntingly written film from the directors of Identifying Features will be sure to captivate audiences. 

This film contains strobe effects.
Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


40th Edition Celebration Screenings And Events

DIG! XX

DIG! XX tracks the tumultuous rise of two talented musicians, Anton Newcombe, leader of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Courtney Taylor, leader of the Dandy Warhols, and dissects their star-crossed friendship and bitter rivalry. Through their loves and obsessions, gigs and recordings, arrests and death threats, uppers and downers, and ultimately to their chance at a piece of the profit-driven music business, they stage a self-proclaimed revolution in the music industry.

DIG! premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Documentary Competition, where it ultimately won the Grand Jury Prize in the documentary category. DIG! XX, which will premiere at the upcoming Festival, is not only a digitally enhanced, remixed, and remastered version of DIG!, but also a special 20th anniversary new edit of the film culled from footage shot over seven years, and brought to you by the original sibling team, Ondi and David Timoner.

*Digitally enhanced and featuring new footage


(Premieres)

And So It Begins

Amidst the traditional pomp and circumstance of Filipino elections, a quirky people’s movement rises to defend the nation against deepening threats to truth and democracy. In a collective act of joy as a form of resistance, hope flickers against the backdrop of increasing autocracy.

Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


(World Cinema Documentary Competition)

Eternal You

Startups are using AI to create avatars that allow relatives to talk with their loved ones after they have died. An exploration of a profound human desire and the consequences of turning the dream of immortality into a product.

“I wanted to see if he was okay,” explains Christi, one of the users of Project December. With this innovative software, users can communicate with a virtual version of the deceased through a chatbot that simulates the dead person’s conversation patterns. Hers was an attempt to check on her first love. Others may simply miss someone, seek permission to move on, or want to rid themselves of guilt.

At this point, I think we’ve all seen the app that turns photos into moving images. The idea feels equally sentimental and disturbing. Eternal You takes this tech further, begging the question, “How far are we willing to go to feel connected to those we’ve lost, and how might that affect our brains?” 

Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


World Cinema Documentary Competition

A New Kind of Wilderness

In a forest in Norway, a family lives an isolated lifestyle in an attempt to be wild and free, but a tragic event changes everything, and they are forced to adjust to modern society.

Silje Evensmo Jacobsen mixes home movies and a carefully intimate approach to the Payne family, whose isolated existence gets shaken up quite suddenly. This beautiful portrait of connection and resilience in the face of grief will touch your heart.

Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


(NEXT)

REALM OF SATAN

An experiential portrait depicting Satanists in both the every day and in the extraordinary as they fight to preserve their lifestyle: magic, mystery, and misanthropy.

Filmmaker Scott Cummings is no stranger to Sundance, having edited many highly acclaimed festival premieres over the past decade, including Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Monsters and Men, and Wendy.

When I tell you that you aren’t ready for this doc, I mean it in the best way possible. Created to ruffle feathers and dispel right-wing hypocrisy, Scott Cummings titillates with gorgeous framing and a touch of tongue-in-cheek magical realism. 

This film contains graphic sexual content. Audiences must be 18 or older.

Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


(Premieres)

My Old Ass

Maisy Stella and Aubrey Plaza in Sundance film MY OLD ASS

Maisy Stella and Aubrey Plaza in the Sundance film MY OLD ASS

The summer before college, bright-yet-irreverent Elliott comes face-to-face with her older self during a mushroom trip. The encounter spurs a funny and heartfelt journey of self-discovery and first love as Elliott prepares to leave her childhood home.

The concept alone should get your butt into a seat, but filmmaker Megan Park casting Aubrey Plaza is chef’s kiss in indie cinema.


(Midnight)

I Saw the TV Glow

Justice Smith and Brigette Lundy-Paine  in I SAW THE TV GLOW

Justice Smith and Brigette Lundy-Paine in I SAW THE TV GLOW

Teenager Owen is just trying to make it through life in the suburbs when his classmate introduces him to a mysterious late-night TV show — a vision of a supernatural world beneath their own. In the pale glow of the television, Owen’s view of reality begins to crack.

Writer-director Jane Schoenbrun’s We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (2021 Sundance Film Festival) gave us one of the coolest genre-bending films with a breakout performance from star Anna Cobb. I cannot wait to see how this one twists my sanity and senses. 

This film contains violence and gore.

This film contains strobe effects.


Sundace Film Festival 2024 Black and White logoTo find out more information on all things Sundance 2024, head to https://festival.sundance.org/

 

DOC NYC 2023 review: Henya Brodeker’s ‘THE THREE OF US’ perfectly captures the complexities of advocating for a special needs child

THE THREE OF US

In a society governed by tradition, a young Orthodox couple defies norms to integrate their autistic son. As they risk everything, their journey explores the delicate balance between love, faith, and self-discovery. Through their struggle, they challenge preconceived notions, embracing parenthood and searching for their place in the world.


Filmmaker Henya Brodbeker turns the camera on her, her husband, and their young autistic son, Ari. Through years of filming, we witness the evolution of relationships in her Orthodox community, her marriage, and with herself. This is one family’s story about belonging. 

THE THREE OF US is one of the most authentic depictions of what it feels like to parent an autistic child. Your unconditional love exists simultaneously with anger, despair, hope, and fear. Henya pulls no punches. Her unfiltered conversations with her husband hit hard. Their raw emotions and vulnerability allow us to sit in their shoes from the beginning. The insulting treatment Henya and Arale receive from their ultra-Orthodox community is infuriating. Arale and Henya invite us to their exhaustive fight for Ari’s integration into a neurotypical classroom setting. The often dismissive responses from community school administrations are outrageous. 

Anyone who follows my career as a film journalist knows I’m a Mom of a young autistic son. I talk about his diagnosis and navigating the complexities of existing in a primarily neurotypical environment. We are lucky in the grand scheme of ASD possibilities. Our son’s cognitive abilities are off the charts. He is loving, funny, friendly, and would not hurt a fly. Dealing with public meltdowns, particularly if those around you do not know or understand, can be a crushing, demoralizing, tear-filled experience. Nothing is easy. It’s undeniably isolating. It’s the outside world we fear most. THE THREE OF US is irrefutable proof of how equal opportunity changes the lives of families. 

The reality exposed in the film may take some viewers off guard. Arale and Henya’s bravery deserves applause and respect. To turn a camera on your lived-in chaos? Wow. I only write about it. THE THREE OF US triumphs in its unfettered honesty and in challenging any preconceived notions of raising a child on the spectrum. Disability representation in film is vital. As an advocate for my child, I thank Henya for making this film. I hope it changes some hearts and minds.


International Premiere of
‘The Three of Us’ at DOC NYC

Thursday, November 9 at 6:45 pm
Village East by Angelika
Director Henya Brodbeker in-person for premiere!
Plus online dates: November 10-26
https://www.docnyc.net/film/the-three-of-us/


 

About the Filmmakers

Henya Brodbeker, Director & Cinematographer
Israeli writer-director and pioneering filmmaker from the ultra-Orthodox community. Her first short film OUR SON (2022) screened at the Cinequest film festival, won the best film award at the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival, and participate in other festivals around the world. Her documentary THE THREE OF US (2023) won the Diamond Award for Best Documentary, Best Director & Best Editing at the Jerusalem Film Festival. The film will be broadcasted by IPBC in 2023. She is currently working on BODILY ENCOUNTERS, a feature film in development with the support of the Israel Film Fund.

Avigail Sperber Producer
Avigail Sperber is a documentary director, producer, and cinematographer originally from Jerusalem. After graduating from Ma’aleh Film School, Avigail has gone on to create award-winning films that have screened at prestigious festivals around the world. Her 2010 film THE HANGMAN received Special Mention at IDFA and went on to screen at Full Frame, Visions du Reel, and more. PROBATION TIME (2014) won the Best Israeli Film Award at Docaviv and screened afterwards at True/False and Krakow Film Festival, among others. In recent years, through her production company Pardes Productions, she has produced and shot several documentary films and series, including THE THREE OF US (Jerusalem FF 2023), Wedding Night (Docaviv 2023), IT’S A WRAP (Haifa FF 2022), COVERED UP (Docaviv 2018), and more.


 

Year Two is a Go! Dances With Films NYC 2023 announces lineup with 64 world premieres

2nd Annual Dances With Films – NYC 

announces films and events

(November 30-December 3)

 

The celebrated true indie-focused film festival returns to New York City
with three times as many films as last year’s debut. 
 
64 World Premiere Screenings Featured
  
Dylan K. Narang’s TAPAWINGO is the Opening Night 
selection, and Nicholas Gyeney’s THE ACTIVATED MAN 
will make its World Premiere as the Closing Night selection.

   

TAPAWINGO

 

New York, NY (November 9, 2023) – Dances With Films announced the film lineup for the return of what has become LA’s largest purely indie film-focused film festival over the past 26 years to New York City (November 30-December 3) for the second time featuring a film lineup nearly three times the size of last year’s NYC debut. DWF alum Dylan K. Narang’s Tapawingo is the Opening Night selection, and Nicholas Gyeney’s psychological thriller The Activated Man will make its world premiere in the Closing Night slot.

 

Among DWF NYC’s lineup of 136 films, including 20 narrative features, 9 documentary features, 19 television and streaming pilots, and 88 short films (73 narrative and 15 documentaries), are an impressive number of world premieres. All screenings will take place at Regal Union Square (850 Broadway).

THE ACTIVATED MAN

 

Among the 64 world premieres are Gyeney’s The Activated ManEtana Jacobson’s Advanced Chemistry, Kevin Interdonato’s The Bastard SonsMichael Groom’s Between The Lights, Isaac Hirotsu Woofter’s Bound, Sara Katarina Burke and Aaron Andrew Keene’s Can’t Seem to Make You Mine, Ryan Moore’s Influence, Michelle Bossy’s Nobody’s Home, Brendan Boogie’s Tallywacker, Micah Khan’s The Zombie Wedding, Justin Best’s Sheryl, and Wynette Yao’s District Of Second Chances. Hanna Vastinsalo’s Palimpsest will make its North American Premiere at Dances With Films NYC.

 After becoming the leading beacon for true indie films and filmmakers in Los Angeles over the past 26 years, this will mark Dances With Films’ return to New York City for the second year. Dances With Films’ Founders and Directors Leslee Scallon and Michael Trent, said, “This year’s theme is “the color of imagination” and that imagination, by its various definitions, exemplifies what Dances With Films will be highlighting this December. We could not be more excited to return to NYC and debut so many wonderful films and help provide a platform for all our indie filmmakers and their projects under the spotlight of this great city.”

 Thursday, November 30 will feature the Opening Night presentation of DWF alumni Dylan K. Narang’s Tapawingo. Previously at DWF with his feature All I Need (2016), Narang’s Tapawingo is a lighthearted coming-of-age comedy stars Jon Heder as an eccentric young man who lives with his mother and works in a mailroom. However, when he must pick up his boss’ son from school, he discovers the kid is the subject of relentless bullying. at school, Naturally, he assembles a team of misfits to ensure the boy’s safety, but the good deed takes an unexpected turn when they discover that the network of bullies they are guarding against wields more power and influence than they initially thought. The film also stars Gina Gershon, Billy Zane, John Ratzenberger, and Amanda Bearse.

 As part of DWF NYC’s dedicated programming of horror, thrillers, and genre films, the Closing Night selection also comes from the film festival’s Midnight section. Sunday, December 3, Nicholas Gyeney’s The Activated Man will make its world premiere as it officially closes the film festival. In the film, a man, struggling with the grief from losing his best friend and beloved dog to cancer, begins to have strange visions only he can see. While he questions whether his mind has fractured or if it’s real, a mysterious rise in murder-suicides takes hold of the city, and he becomes haunted by images of a shadowy figure known as ‘The Fedora Man’. To survive, he must face his fears and confront ‘The Fedora Man’ as he uncovers dark secrets from his past, while finally embracing who he really is, and what he is meant to do.

ADVANCED CHEMISTRY

Additional feature films making their world premieres are Etana Jacobson’s Advanced Chemistry about a scientist whose attempt in the lab to help his lesbian best friend stop cheating on her wife backfires when the wife falls for him. Kevin Interdonato’s The Bastard Sons is a story of revenge by a group of men, when the man who raised them – the family boss – is murdered. Michael Groom’s British romantic drama Between The Lights follows askeptical scientist who falls for a reluctant medium, leading them on an odyssey of love, loss and discovery that turns her world upside down. Isaac Hirotsu Woofter’s Bound focuses on a young introvert who flees with her pet pocket squirrel to New York in order to escape her drug-dealing controlling stepfather. Making its North American Premiere is Vardan Tozija’s M. A multi-national production including            

Macedonia, Croatia, Kosovo, France, and Luxembourg, the film centers on a young boy who lives in the forest under the watchful eye of his overprotective and mysterious father. Their sheltered existence is all he knows until an encounter with a kind-hearted, helpless boy may open up a whole new world to him.

 Also making their world premieres at DWF NYC are Sara Katarina Burke and Aaron Andrew Keene’s Can’t Seem to Make You Mine about a recent parolee who tries to make amends with his ex and become a father to his little boy while staying with a stripper he met on a pen-pal website. Ryan Moore’s Influence focuses on a struggling female filmmaker who kidnaps a famous social media influencer to convince them to play the lead role in her latest project. Michelle Bossy’s Nobody’s Home follows the mind-bending journey of a young man after he is released from the psychiatric hospital with his girlfriend who may or may not be telling him the truth about what he is experiencing. Brendan Boogie’s buddy comedy Tallywacker takes us on a trip with 2 bandmates whose relationship gets tested when one of them gets a gig touring with a major rock star. Micah Khan’s outlandish comedy The Zombie Wedding illustrates the challenges one can have at a New Jersey wedding when the groom is a zombie, and the bride is not. Another film in the Midnight Features section making its world premiere is Justin Best’s Sheryl about a woman who goes on a bloody quest to create the perfect face after she’s dumped by her serial killer boyfriend for not being “hot enough”.

Highlights among the documentary section include one feature-length film making its world premiere, and a second making its U.S. Premiere. Making its world premiere is Wynette Yao’s District Of Second Chances, which follows the journeys of three men – all sentenced to life in prison during the 1990s – who have the possibility of being released and starting a new life thanks to sentencing reform. Making its U.S. premiere will be Emilio Di Stefano’s Denim Hunter. The road movie documentary follows a man whose obsession with really old jeans leads him through the deserts of California, Arizona, and Nevada as well as up the snowclad Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Marc Saltarelli’s Studio One Forever is the untold story of America’s iconic gay disco, a kaleidoscopic excursion into LGBTQ+ history through the lens of Studio One and its adjoining live music venue, The Backlot during the 70s and 80s. Hoag Kepner’s Torched – The Story of Austin Torch tells the story of the Austin Torch, a wild and fiery group of women/non-binary athletes in Austin who are trying to legitimize and professionalize their fringe sport of Ultimate Frisbee.

 The television, web series pilots, and episodics also have a healthy number of world premieres. Those include Federica Marchese and Vinusha Sundaresan’s Chinese series pilot The Blind Zone about a faceoff between two teenage sociopaths after they set their eyes on the same target, David Antonio Martin’s absurd comedy The Selectman where two men are trapped in a picturesque world where the forces of learned behavior, arrested adolescence, and the quest for power forever collide, and Henk Pretorius’ British animated series pilot Travel Foxwhich follows the inquisitive Travel Fox and Bogie the Tortoise as they race across the world, chasing rainbows in search of a legendary pot of gold.

 Additional world premieres include Jon Da’s Ülom: The Primary Experiment is centered on a desperate scientist who undertakes a labyrinthian experiment he believes will locate his missing daughter. Jonathan Chao’s Xander teams a lonely high school student with a Genie. However, the student might lose his new best friend if he makes his one wish. Making its North American premiere will be Aaron Lewis’ Moments, a gripping 9-episode digital series, offering intimate glimpses into characters on the brink. Clarissa De Los Reyes’ Hot Angry Mom about a people-pleasing mom who must face her rage, as a video of her epic meltdown goes viral, and Dana Marisa Schoenfeld’s East about a New York City Corporate attorney who suddenly loses her job and catches her boyfriend cheating, forcing her to reevaluate everything and pursue her childhood dream of being an actress.

Highlights among the short films showcased at DWF NYC include the world premiere of Luke Black’s I Keep Bumping Into Candy Maldonado in which a man keeps bumping into the famous baseball player who is his childhood ideal each day until he’s inspired to make some life changes.

Rj Collins’ thrilling Dropping follows a young woman going through the rigorous “dropping” training which may just turn into a fight for survival. Actor Cynthia Gibb takes a turn behind the camera, directing Lux Freer, about a non-binary teen whose humiliating job of delivering a pizza to bully and aspiring prom queen Arabella Astor’s mansion sets in motion a plot to upend the social stratosphere at her high school. Nazrin Choudhury’s Red, White And Bluestars Brittany Snow as a single parent forced to cross state lines in search of an urgent and necessary abortion. Eleanor Morrison’s You Need To Process This stars Mary Holland and Matt Peters as a married couple who must discuss a sexual assault.

 DWF NYC will also present a series of filmmaker panels focused on current real world issues faced by today’s indie filmmakers at The Stand (116 E. 16th Street) Panels will include “Distribution: Navigating the Marketplace as Well as Forecasting the Future”, which will be moderated by Scott Macauley (Filmmaker Magazine), and is slated to include executives from Magnolia Pictures, IFC, and STX Entertainment, “Making the Sale: The Producer/Sales Agent Dynamic” moderated by Kate Erbland (Indiewire), and includes Carylanna Taylor (Head of Sales Film Sales Corp), Josh Braun (Founder & President, Submarine), and Jason Ishikawa (Sr. Exec. & Co-head of Sales, Cinetic Media), and “The Casting Director/Producer Dynamic” moderated by Michael Sladik (SAGindie New York), and includes casting directors Shayna Markowitz, Bernie Telsey, and Paul Schnee.

 

For more information about the Dances With Films NYC film lineup, events, passes, and tickets, go to: https://danceswithfilms.com/.

 

The 2023 Dances With Films NYC official selections:

 

OPENING NIGHT SELECTION

Tapawingo

Director: Dylan K. Narang

Country: USA; Running Time: 109 min

An oddball becomes the bodyguard for a misfit teenager and finds himself in the crosshairs of the town’s family of bullies.

 

CLOSING NIGHT SELECTION

The Activated Man World Premiere

Director: Nicholas Gyeney

Country: USA; Running Time: 115 min

As Ors Gabriel struggles with the grief from losing his best friend and beloved dog to cancer, the trauma brings on strange visions only Ors can see. While he questions whether his mind has fractured or if it’s real, a mysterious rise in murder-suicides takes hold of the city, and Ors becomes haunted by images of a shadowy figure known as ‘The Fedora Man’. Through torments and terror, Ors must face his fears and confront ‘The Fedora Man’ as he uncovers dark secrets from his past, while finally embracing who he really is, and what he is meant to do.

 

 ADDITIONAL NARRATIVE FEATURES

 

Advanced Chemistry                                                            World Premiere

Director: Etana Jacobson

Country: USA; Running Time: 96 min

A scientist injects his lesbian best friend with a compound he’s created to make her stop cheating on her wife (who is bi), but when the wife finds her new monogamous fixation suffocating, he injects the wife too, which backfires when she falls for him.

 

BASTARD SONS

The Bastard Sons World Premiere

Director: Kevin Interdonato

Country: USA; Running Time: 90 min

Life for a crew of organized criminals is disrupted when Vincent Damiano’s father, the family’s boss, is murdered. Vincent’s ‘bastard’ brothers (UFC legend Frank Edgar, Chicago Med star Malik Whitfield), a group of orphaned souls he raised together, have an idea of who killed their father…his partner Rome (TV/Film veteran Al Sapienza). In a valiant and calculated attempt to regain the business and enact vengeance on Rome over the course of one day, the Bastards wage an all-out war to get their pound of flesh.

 

Between The Lights                                                             World Premiere

Director: Michael Groom

Country: UK; Running Time: 104 min

When skeptical scientist Alice falls for reluctant medium Jay, she’s taken on an odyssey of love, loss and discovery that will turn her world upside down. Between the Lights is a romantic drama with a liberal dose of the supernatural, in which we visit our characters over three consecutive Christmases. It is set within the ancient walls of York and the stunning natural beauty of the Lake District.

 

Bound                                                                                    World Premiere

Director: Isaac Hirotsu Woofter

Country: USA; Running Time: 101 min

To escape her drug-dealing controlling stepfather, a young introvert flees to NYC with only her pet pocket squirrel. After successfully reinventing herself, she realizes she must confront her dark past, to truly be free.

 

Can’t Seem to Make You Mine                                            World Premiere

Directors: Sara Katarina Burke, Aaron Andrew Keene

Country: USA; Running Time: 102 min

A man who was just released from prison tries to make amends with his ex and become a father to his 6-year-old son while staying with a stripper he met on a pen-pal website.

 

Daruma

Director: Alexander Yellen

Country: USA; Running Time: 104 min

Patrick (bitter wheelchair user) must enlist the help of his cantankerous neighbor (double amputee veteran) to transport the daughter he never knew he had to live with her maternal grandparents on the other side of the country. 

 

Grounded

Director: Justin Chan

Country: USA; Running Time: 84 min

William Lee, a 30-something Chinese-Filipino American, introduces his Caucasian girlfriend to his overbearing, immigrant parents when a mysterious cosmic force takes hold of their day.

 

Home Free

Director: Aaron Brown

Country: USA; Running Time: 98 min

In 1997, a group of college misfits invite an unhoused professor to crash on their porch.

Home Free is a Trojan horse, a bold coming-of-age comedy aimed at reaching a mass audience, but also intended to be a catalyst for serious social change sharply focused on one of the most pervasive problems across America—the homelessness epidemic. Humor is our spoonful of sugar. 

 

Influence World Premiere

Director: Ryan Moore

Country: USA; Running Time: 83 min

A female filmmaker struggling with her career and her mental health reaches a breaking point and decides to kidnap a famous social media influencer in an attempt to coerce them into playing the lead role in her latest project.

 

Katie’s Mom

Director: Tyrrell Shaffner

Country: USA; Running Time: 111 min

A heartfelt comedy influenced by The Graduate but told from the perspective of a protagonist inspired by Mrs. Robinson. Set in modern-day Pasadena, California. Nancy Rosenfeld (Dina Meyer), a nurturing mom and recent divorcée, whose beloved Jewish/Christmas mashup holiday celebration with her adult children is derailed when she falls for Alex Rojas (Aaron Dominguez (Only Murders in the Building), her daughter’s charming new boyfriend. Their electrifying affair upends her status quo and sets her on a path to becoming who she was meant to be.

 

M                                                                                             North American Premiere

Director: Vardan Tozija

Countries: Macedonia/Croatia/Kosovo/France/Luxembourg, Running Time: 99 min

In a secluded forest, young Marko lives under the watchful eye of his overprotective and mysterious father. Their sheltered existence is all he knows. Marko seeks solace in his cherished picture book, finding comfort and answers within its pages. One day, an encounter with a kind-hearted, helpless boy named Miko, brings a glimmer of warmth and connection into Marko’s isolated world. As his curiosity grows, Marko yearns to uncover the secrets that lie beyond the confines of the wilderness. But, a cruel turn of events grants him his wish sooner than he expects…

 

Nobody’s Home World Premiere

Director: Michelle Bossy

Country: USA; Running Time: 83 min

When Luca is released from the psychiatric hospital where he and his girlfriend Theodora live, she escapes with him. To remain in control, she takes him to his childhood home, the root of his trauma. Time lapses. Consciousness is distorted. A dead body is discovered. Theodora insists Luca committed the murder in his sleep. Is she telling the truth? A knock on the door suddenly diverts them. Angelica and Jeremy show up, high on acid. Theodora invites them in to test Luca’s loyalty. Her jealousy increases to the point of danger. In the end, nothing is what it seems. Everyone has darkness inside.

 

Palimpsest North American Premiere

Director: Hanna Vastinsalo

Country: Finland; Running Time: 109 min

Two elderly roommates are selected for a medical trial that makes them younger. Given a second chance at life, with the memories of their past life intact, they realize that growing young is not just fun.

 

Space Baby

Director: Rex Dean

Country: USA; Running Time: 99 min

Three friends fight fascist Nurse Nancy to rebuild the holy grail and get a new soul for the earth. Each friend is different. 8-year-old Sam (“Mental Man”) is a mad scientist and inventor; 6-year-old Sophia (“Nature Girl”) is a caretaker of the earth; 300-year-old Blue (a great ballplayer like Satchel Paige) was the keeper of the holy grail in Africa before he and his siblings were captured as slaves. With help from a squadron of ladybugs, they fight the “greed, intolerance, and just plain cruelty” that Nurse Nancy and her demonic crow inhabit. A story of courage, friendship, and love.

 

Tallywacker World Premiere

Director: Brendan Boogie

Country: USA; Running Time: 90 min

A rock and roll buddy comedy about 2 bandmates whose relationship gets tested when one of them gets a gig touring with a major rock star.

 

The Zombie Wedding World Premiere

Director: Micah Khan

Country: USA; Running Time: 99 min

A young Cumberland County, NJ couple decides to go through with their wedding – during the Zombie Apocalypse. Unfortunately, he’s a zombie and she’s not. Both families are fearful, but the humans’ behavior is brutish. When the Zombies begin feeling brain-deprived, the ceremony takes a turn for the weird. Weekly World News reporters are there to cover this wild wedding – while trying to get out alive!

 

 DOCUMENTARY FEATURES

 

44 Lights: Music from Ground Zero                                   

Director: Barbara Blackburn Tuttle

Country: USA; Running Time: 68 min

A musical journey to healing in the aftermath of 9/11. A story of pain, loss, and ultimately rebirth through music.

 

American Pot Story: Oaksterdam

Directors: Dan Katzir and Ravit Markus

Country: USA; Running Time: 97 min

This award-winning documentary is a decade-long follow-up of the underdogs who put their blood, sweat, and tears to overturn a 100-year-old policy, proving in the process that “a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world,” to quote Margaret Mead).

 

Brothers Broken

Directors: Geoff Levin, Lily Richards

Country: USA; Running Time: 86 min

This is the story of brothers Geoff and Robbie Levin, who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area as part of the 60’s music scene including Jerry Garcia, the Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin. The brother’s band PEOPLE! had the hit record “I Love You” in 1968 and toured with The Who; then Scientology entered their lives destroyed their band and split up the brothers. After 46 years Geoff despite losing his children and friends to the cult, left the church and reunited with his brother and band. It’s a tale of breaking free from a modern-day prison of belief.

 

Denim Hunter                                                                        U.S. Premiere

Director: Emilio Di Stefano

Country: Sweden; Running Time: 87 min

In the road movie documentary Denim Hunter, we meet Viktor – a regular guy from Sweden but with a burning passion for really old jeans. The film follows Viktor on his wild journey through the deserts of California, Arizona, and Nevada as well as up the snowclad Rocky Mountains of Colorado, where he hunts for denim treasures in hazardous run-down gold mines from the 1880s. On his journey, Viktor comes across an array of unlikely desert characters, like Indiana Jeans, Dynamite Dan, and Redneck-Mike. In various ways, they all lead Viktor from one failure to the next.

 

The Depths of My Despair

Director: Elizabeth Lawrence

Country: USA; Running Time: 68 min

The Depths of My Despair is a visceral rabbit hole toward the authentic self. Filmmaker Elizabeth Lawrence takes an emotional, first-person detour inward. Oscillating through saneness and psychosis; debris and lucidity, the film stares at depression dead-on.

 

District Of Second Chances                                                World Premiere

Director: Wynette Yao

Country: USA; Running Time: 76 min

District of Second Chances follows the journeys of three men from Washington, D.C., all sentenced to life in prison during the 1990s. Now, because of sentencing reform, they have a rare chance at release and new lives.

 

Meet Me Where I Am

Director: Grant Garry

Country: USA; Running Time: 86 min

Meet Me Where I Am explores the topic of grief through individual stories of loss, love, and hope. The film aims to normalize grief in our culture and explores how we can actively participate in helping others through grief. By accepting grief and its impact, we hope to help individuals find new meaning as they move forward with their grief.

 

Studio One Forever

Director: Marc Saltarelli

Country: USA; Running Time: 86 min

The untold story of America’s iconic gay disco, a kaleidoscopic excursion into LGBTQ+ history through the lens of this groundbreaking club. From 1974-1994, Studio One and its adjoining live music venue, The Backlot, became symbols of hope and community for gay men during tumultuous times. Amidst the rise of gay rights, disco’s heyday, and the devastating AIDS crisis, the club offered sanctuary from rampant homophobia and police oppression.

 

Torched – The Story of Austin Torch

Director: Hoag Kepner

Country: USA; Running Time: 66 min

Torched tells the story of the Austin Torch, a wild and fiery group of women/non-binary athletes in Austin who are trying to legitimize and professionalize their fringe sport of Ultimate Frisbee in a historically male-dominated sports industry. As we follow the Torch on the road and at home during their 2022 season, we realize that though the Torch might not always win, they never really lose, because it’s more than a team: it’s a movement.

 

 MIDNIGHT FEATURES

 

Sheryl                                                                                     World Premiere

Director: Justin Best

Country: USA; Running Time: 72 min

After she’s dumped by her serial killer boyfriend for not being “hot enough”, a beauty-obsessed woman goes on a bloody quest to create the perfect face, all while navigating her new relationship with the cop investigating the murders.

 

Wild Eyed and Wicked

Director: G.S. Foxwood

Country: USA; Running Time: 99 min

Lily Pierce is sick of being haunted. She decides to reconnect with her estranged father, a disgraced history professor, and learn how to draw upon a time of steel and blade when armor-clad knights rode out and dueled their monsters to the death.

 

 TELEVISION AND WEB SERIES PILOTS

A Killer Service

Director: Gio Randazzo

Country: USA; Running Time: 25 min

The hapless daughter of an incarcerated con-artist finds she has inherited a substantial debt to a dangerous crime boss. Forced into a corner, Elliott discovers how to take control of her life while helping empower other women. 

Awesome

Director: Paul Munger

Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min

Every night, 20-year-old Joy gets a glimpse of the future. But with a dad on parole, a pill-popping boyfriend, and a recent lay-off, that doesn’t mean she can stop it from being shitty. That is until she foresees an event that will ruin the lives of her loved ones forever. She’ll have to figure out how to change her future–or live with the consequences.

The Blind Zone                                     World Premiere 

Directors: Federica Marchese, Vinushu Sundaresan

Country: China; Running Time: 32 min

Battle of wits and violence ensues when the separate worlds of two teenage sociopaths collide after they set their eyes on the same target.

 

East

Director: Dana Marisa Schoenfeld

Country: USA; Running Time: 32 min

When Ella Goldman, a New York City Corporate attorney, gets engaged to her longtime boyfriend, Josh, she is ecstatic to embark on the next stage of her life. With a wedding to plan and a blossoming career, Ella thinks she has it all. But when she suddenly loses her job and catches her boyfriend cheating, her world comes crashing down. This devastating turn of events forces her to confront the truth about her life – and what it is she really wants. Convinced that this is a “wake-up call,” Ella pursues her childhood dream of being an actress. 

Events At Hemlock Manor

Director: Katie North

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min

At its core, this is a series about underdogs: a ragtag group of spooky weirdos with nowhere else to go. Hemlock Manor is not only a year-round haunted house with a terrible business model; it’s also a home. But what do you do when the thing you love is in trouble? You fight for it. Even when that means throwing a baby shower for a group of rich ladies who thought “the historic Hemlock Manor” was a charming country villa, not a haunted house open in July.

 

For Years to Come

Director: Micah Stuart

Country: USA; Running Time: 27 min

An irreverent and heartfelt romantic dramedy about a gay man who falls in love with his dead mother’s hospice nurse, while struggling to reconnect with his elderly father…who’s secretly a porn director.

Hit Man: Secrets Of Lies

Director: Elias Plagianos

Country: UK; Running Time: 19 min

A reflective hitman from New York City travels to small towns around the country trying to find meaning in his seemingly inconsequential life as he fulfills his contracts and eliminates his targets. 

Hot Angry Mom                                   

Director: Clarissa De Los Reyes

Country: USA; Running Time: 34 min

A people-pleasing mom must face her rage, as a video of her epic meltdown goes viral.

I Could Eat

Director: Rick Bedrosian

Country: USA; Running Time: 28 min

A new TV/Web Series showcasing the cuisine & music that unites diverse cultures. Host, Rick Bedrosian (“George” in a Beatlemania stage show for 7 years, leader of Celtic music powerhouse, Hair Of The Dog, since 1993 and an international tour guide) spans the globe seeking out the finest food and the most interesting music makers.

L.I.F.E.: It’s Wonderful

Director: Dathan Smith

Country: USA; Running Time: 22 min

L.I.F.E. is an anthology series set in the near future where citizens receive a hand-delivered card notifying them the day they will die. Rose feels trapped in her new “home”. Emilia feels trapped by her daughter’s recent news. Bob is forced to deliver a card he has been dreading since joining L.I.F.E. Corp. as Diane adjusts to her new job.

Moments                                         North American Premiere 

Director: Aaron Lewis

Country: USA; Running Time: 23 min

Moments is a gripping 9-episode digital series, each under 13 minutes, offering intimate glimpses into characters on the brink. Driven by black trauma and mysticism, it unravels mind-reading and hidden truths through therapist Dr. Winston. An enigmatic narrator, Rutina Wesley, introduces time travel, adding layers of self-discovery. Momentshints at an expanded episodic journey, diving deeper into characters’ histories and relationships, while authentically addressing themes of healing and transformation within the mystical. Boasting a stellar ensemble cast and profound storytelling.

 

Morse Code

Director: Travis Nicholson

Country: USA; Running Time: 37 min

In the eccentric community of modern-day East Nashville, Simon, a talented but flawed thirty-something indie folk singer finds himself at a crossroads as he struggles to strike a balance between family and career.

Off The Menu

Director: Daniele Sestito

Country: USA; Running Time: 37 min

“Chef” is a perfectionist, Italian cook who works for an unordinary institution. Typically stern and grandiose, a new side of Chef is revealed when he is forced to make a meal that’s beyond his grasp. 

Q Train

Directors: Dionne Van Den Berg, Samantha Tran

Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min

A Brooklyn based DJ explores the queer dating scene.

Roboto

Directors: Mari Madrid, Keone Madrid

Country: USA; Running Time: 18 min

Ky loses his entire career as a highly successful choreographer when AI takes over the dance industry and the world by storm. This throws Ky into suicidal ideations until Mikah, a bright and optimistic 12-year-old boy, decides to disregard the latest craze of dancing with Roboto and instead asks Ky to choreograph for his school performance. While at first Ky reluctantly decides to help the kid, he begins to find a bit of light in his life again. And when it’s revealed that Mikah had a battle with cancer Ky’s perspective is completely shifted.

The Selectman                                       World Premiere 

Director: David Antonio Martin

Country: USA; Running Time: 26 min

In the wake of Selectman Joseph Allenby’s untimely death, this absurd comedy begins amid a memorial service in the small town of Picasquiddy, Maine. Subverting the idyllic nature of small-town New England, our protagonists are trapped in a picturesque world where the forces of learned behavior, arrested adolescence, and the quest for power forever collide. As two unlikely successors emerge as candidates for the Board of Selectmen, the town’s fate hangs in the balance. Does anybody have what it takes?

Travel Fox                                         World Premiere 

Director: Henk Pretorius

Country: UK; Running Time: 5 min

Get ready for a wild adventure in Travel Fox, the pilot episode of an animated series tailor-made for curious kids. Follow the inquisitive Travel Fox and Bogie the Tortoise as they race across the world, chasing rainbows in search of a legendary pot of gold. But here’s the twist – instead of gold, our friends discover something even more precious: a treasure trove of unique characters and unforgettable experiences.

 

Ülom: The Primary Experiment                        World Premiere 

Director: Jon Da

Country: USA; Running Time: 25 min

In Ülom, one can find anything, even meaning. A desperate scientist undertakes a labyrinthian experiment he believes will locate his missing daughter. Journeying ever deeper into the labyrinth, he must confront an invasive, fictional reality. Remember: what feels real, is real. Ülom is here.

Xander                                           World Premiere 

Director: Jonathan Chao

Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min

When lonely high school student Luke befriends Xander the Genie, he’s forced to consider if making his one wish is worth losing his new genie best friend.

 

 NARRATIVE SHORTS

 

(In)Convenience

Director: Alexandra Greenspan

Country: USA; Running Time: 12 min

 

#Pizzagate World Premiere

Director: Danny Piñeros

Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min

 

The 1971 Kitchen Grand Brie

Director: Ian Beckman

Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min

 

Bisected                                                                                 World Premiere

Director: Danny Piñeros

Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min

 

Black Silk                                                                               World Premiere

Director: Patrick Michael

Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min

 

Blight                                                                                      World Premiere

Director: Markus Hoeckner

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min

 

Bloodworm                                                                            World Premiere

Director: Kai Wen

Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min

 

Bounce House

Directors: Callie Bloem, Christopher Ewing

Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min

 

Burraco                                                                                  World Premiere

Director: Isabella Tagliati

Country: Italy; Running Time: 14 min

 

Candice

Director: Tyler Martin

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min

 

Career Day

Directors: Jason Robinson, Chris Hooper

Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min

 

Chauncey                                                                               World Premiere

Director: Reilly Anspaugh & Daniel Rashid

Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min

 

Cheol                                                                                      World Premiere

Director: Yeajoon Cho

Country: USA; Running Time: 19 min

 

Church Camp

Director: Andrew Bourne

Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min

 

The Chat                                                                                World Premiere

Writer/Dir/Prod: Artie Brennan

Country: USA; Running Time: 6 min

 

Clownfish

Director: Clayton Henderson

Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min

 

Dear Owner

Director: Jing Ai Ng

Country: USA; Running Time: 17 min

 

Delta World Premiere

Director: Jonathan Coleman

Country: USA; Running Time: 9 min

 

Detox

Director: Alex Hanno

Country: USA; Running Time: 19 min

 

Dropping

Director: Rj Collins

Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min

 

Echoes Of My Father                                                            World Premiere

Directors: Junko Kajino, Ed M Koziarski

Country: USA, Japan; Running Time: 18 min

 

The Electro-Rocker

Director: Chris Edgar

Country: USA; Running Time: 17 min

 

Entrainment

Director: Bill Prokopow

Country: USA; Running Time: 12 min

 

Esperance To Fremantle                                                     World Premiere

Director: William Sebastian Turner

Country: Australia; Running Time: 18 min

 

Everything Goes Dark                                                          International Premiere

Director: Alex Casimir

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min

 

Fate Vs. Elena                                                                       World Premiere

Director: Laura Sedlak

Country: USA; Running Time: 23 min

 

From The Dark                                                                      North American Premiere

Director: Erika Sanz

Country: USA; Running Time: 7 min

 

Hot Soda

Director: Nello Digiandomenico

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min

 

How To Disappear                                                                World Premiere

Director: Milton Woods

Country: USA; Running Time: 20 min

 

I Keep Bumping into Candy Maldonado                            World Premiere

Director: Luke Black

Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min

 

In The Quiet                                                                           World Premiere

Director: Merle Dandridge

Country: USA; Running Time: 5 min

 

Interracial Couple In A Cheerios Ad

Director: Christine Lakin

Country: USA; Running Time: 4 min

 

The Invaders

Director: Erin Doyle Cooper

Country: USA; Running Time: 4 min

 

Itch                                                                                         World Premiere

Director: Mohammad Anwerzada

Countries: Pakistan/Canada; Running Time: 9 min

 

Letters To the Wind                                                              World Premiere

Director: Terrence Shu

Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min

 

Lux Freer

Director: Cynthia Gibb

Country: USA; Running Time: 21 min

 

Man Baby                                                                               World Premiere

Director: Aaron Murtagh

Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min

 

Music For A While                                                                World Premiere

Director: Kelvin Z. Phillips

Country: USA; Running Time: 6 min

 

Nearly Never                                                                          North American Premiere

Director: Peter Franklyn Banks

Country: UK; Running Time: 15 min

 

Newbie

Director: James Skinner

Country: UK; Running Time: 8 min

 

Portrait Of a Cowboy

Director: Devon Wycoff

Country: USA; Running Time: 17 min

 

Pretty As a Picture                                                               World Premiere

Director: Ryan Nielsen

Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min

 

The Pros And Cons Of Killing Yourself                             World Premiere

Director: Ravi Steve Khajuria

Country: Canada; Running Time: 21 min

 

Piano Man                                                                              

Director: Jay Zaretsky

Country: USA; Running Time: 20 min

 

Purgy’s

Director: Robbie Bryan

Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min

 

Rattled                                                                                    World Premiere

Director: Adam Linkenhelt

Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min

 

Red, White And Blue

Director: Nazrin Choudhury

Country: USA; Running Time: 23 min

 

Revelation                                                                             World Premiere

Director: Libe Barer

Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min

 

Room 107                                                                              World Premiere

Directors: Steve Anderson, Leandro Imaz

Country: USA; Running Time: 17 min

 

Sane Men

Director: Jess Fritz

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min

 

Skateboard                                                                            World Premiere

Director: Peyton Michelle Edwards

Country: USA; Running Time: 7 min

 

Sonshine                                                                                International Premiere

Director: Corey Podell

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min

 

Speak Up Brotha!

Director: Wes Andre Goodrich

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min

 

Sugar                                                                                      World Premiere

Director: Alyssa Brayboy

Country: USA; Running Time: 6 min

 

Three Ways Out                                                                    World Premiere

Director: Lizzie Morgan

Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min

 

Tips Up!                                                                                 World Premiere

Director: Leah Claire Borrie

Country: USA; Running Time: 7 min

 

Tossou                                                                                   World Premiere

Directors: Melisande Mclaughlin, Sika Stanton

Country: USA; Running Time: 3 min

 

Used Chairs For Sale                                                           World Premiere

Director: Dylan Paffe

Countries: USA/Canada; Running Time: 14 min

 

We Love You Ray                                                                 World Premiere

Director: John Hays

Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min

 

You Need To Process This

Director: Eleanor Morrison

Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min

 

 DOCUMENTARY SHORTS

 

13 Driver’s Licenses

Director: Ryoya Terao

Countries: USA/Germany; Running Time: 27 min

 

Brothers For Life World Premiere

Director: Alon Juwal

Country: Israel; Running Time: 17 min

 

The Dancer: The Beautiful and Tragic Life Of Gerard Alexander

Directors: Ryon Horne, Tyson Horne

Country: USA; Running Time: 35 min

 

Family Trip                                                                            World Premiere

Director: Sean Dunne

Country: USA; Running Time: 26 min

 

Finding Fate

Director: Beth Toni Kruvant

Country: USA; Running Time: 28 min

 

How I Roll                                                                              World Premiere

Directors: Brianne Berkson, Miguel Gluckstern, BriGuel

Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min

 

I Can’t Give You Anything But Love World Premiere

Director: Susan Morgan Cooper

Country: USA; Running Time: 34 min

 

Kristin Dan Kuching Kuchingnya

Director: Michael Kam

Country: Singapore; Running Time: 6 min

 

Living Loud                                                                           World Premiere

Directors: Carin van der Donk, Isabella Vega, Sarah Teale

Country: USA; Running Time: 40 min

 

Paper Boats

Director: Jessica Pons

Country: USA; Running Time: 5 min

 

Rebirth                                                                                   World Premiere

Director: Olivia Burgess

Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min

 

Revealing The Impossible World Premiere

Directors: Tony Chong and Marlene Millar

Country: Canada; Running Time: 29 min

 

 

This Is Why We Train: The Sea Girt Beach Patrol            World Premiere

Director: Kevin Nulty

Country: USA; Running Time: 20 min

 

Tracing Imperfection World Premiere

Director: Chehade Boulos

Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min

 

Where Is America the Beautiful?

Director: Fr3der1ck

Country: USA; Running Time: 30 min

 

 MIDNIGHT SHORTS

 

Bastard                                                                                  World Premiere

Directors: Haley Elise Pehrson, Gretta Wilson

Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min

 

The Custodian

Director: Colin J. Mason

Country: USA; Running Time: 9 min

 

D.O.D.

Director: Paul Davis

Country: USA; Running Time: 18 min

 

Dedly Wagons                                                                       World Premiere

Director: Martin Balaguer

Country: USA; Running Time: 4 min

 

Good Girls Get Fed

Director: Kelly Lou Dennis

Country: USA; Running Time: 21 min

 

Hevel                                                                                      World Premiere

Director: David Grace

Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min

 

Inner Demons                                                                        World Premiere

Director: Jasmine J, Johnson

Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min

 

The Mantis

Director: Wylie Rush

Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min

 

Mattress Express

Director: Noah Morse

Country: USA; Running Time: 18 min

 

Night Shift

Director: Karlee Boon

Country: USA; Running Time: 28 min

 

Pee Pee Platter

Director: Jon Conklin

Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min

 

The Spirit Became Flesh                                                     World Premiere

Writer/Director: Jesse Aultman

Country: USA; Running Time: 18 min

 

The Worm                                                                              World Premiere

Director: Cameron A. Tubbs

Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min

 

 

 ABOUT DANCES WITH FILMS

Now in its 26th year, Dances With Films champions the unflinching spirit at the very core of the independent film scene. With most film festivals relying heavily on celebrity, we have relied on innovation, talent, creativity, and sweat equity that revolutionized the entertainment industry. And that reliance continues to prove successful with alumni moving on to write, direct, and produce celebrity-studded vehicles, star in blockbuster movies, and television series, produce multi-million-dollar film and create hot TV shows. 

LA’s Screamfest 2023 review: Banned in Russia, ‘EMPIRE V’ is an original and juicy re-vamping of lore.

EMPIRE V

Based on his novel, author Viktor Pelevin and director Victor Ginzburg deliver EMPIRE V, a twisted tale of succession, seduction, and social satire. Arriving at SCREAMFEST 2023, it sucks you in from the very first frame. Rama awakens to find a masked man holding him captive, briefly explaining that he is the new heir of something sinister. Our protagonist soon learns he is now a child of the night, a revered member of the vampire elite. But the rules of their society are not so simple, and life after death comes with certain sacrifices.

In EMPIRE V, the two primary notions of Vampirism are Glamour and Discourse. They essentially break down to look and influence. Blood holds all the memories of the human it comes from and arrives differently than we’ve become accustomed to.

The CGI transition pieces serve as history lessons and sexy vampire propaganda. I’ve never seen anything like it outside of high-tech, immersive video games. Even the closing credits have an elegance and visual splendor akin only to Netflix’s The Crown.

EMPIRE VThe fight choreography is Matrixlike. The entire film echoes Neo’s training. It holds equal complexities, no doubt captivating a similar audience. If I didn’t know any better, EMPIRE V would fit perfectly into the list of films featured in the new doc SO UNREAL. Had it not been for the pesky detail that it’s 22 years after the latest film in their lineup. With a delicious camp of The Fifth Element and all the hallmarks of an epic sci-fi franchise meets social satire, Ginzburg could seamlessly develop the film into a series or become the latest cult trilogy. Entirely original vampire canon melded with science fiction, EMPIRE V has a built-in audience filled with hungry genre fans waiting to sink their teeth into this story.


Russian-set sci-fi horror film EMPIRE V is set to hold its North American premiere at LA’s Screamfest. The controversial film is directed and written by Victor Ginzburg. 

EMPIRE V is a social parody of modern Russian society being controlled by vampires. The film was set to be released by Sony on several thousand screens across Russia in 2022, making it one of the most hotly anticipated Russian releases of the year. After the start of the Ukrainian war and one week prior to the film’s release, it was pulled from theaters by the Kremlin, effectively making it a film without a country. The film stars popular Russian rapper Oxxymiron, whose anti-war stance has recently led to him being declared a “foreign agent” by the Kremlin, a designation used to attack the government’s critics and journalists. 

Based on the satirical and incisive novel by Victor Pelevin, EMPIRE V was produced by Heartland Films/USA and Kvadrat/Russia, and Andrey Trubitsyn, Maria Kapralova, Alexei Tylevich and James Steele. The film also stars Pavel Tabakov, Taya Radchenko, Miron Fedorov and Vera Alentova. EMPIRE V recently held its world premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival in July and will debut to Los Angeles audiences at Screamfest this October.  
 
In the film, a 19-year-old Moscow nobody is turned into a vampire, and thereby becomes part of an elite and powerful echelon of society who have controlled humanity since time immemorial. EMPIRE V is an astounding visual feast, featuring innovative and propulsive visual effects sequences that enhance and elevate its timely social commentary. 

Brooklyn Horror Film Festival 2023: Filmmaking phenom Alice Maio Mackay’s ‘T-BLOCKERS’ is an invasion allegory with a queer cast and crew that is sickening in the best way possible.

T-BLOCKERS

Award-winning trans filmmaker Alice Maio Mackay brings her buzzy genre mashup T-BLOCKERS to the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival 2023. Part queer coming-of-age and part splatterfest, Lauren Last plays Sophie, a filmmaker whose horrible blind date leads her to vigilante killings to prevent hate crimes. Oh, and there are aliens involved. Sophie realizes she is the only one who can sense a body-snatching entity that targets alt-right creeps. So obviously, she and her group of friends must hunt them down and destroy them in the name of their queer community and for the love of cinema. Duh.

Lewi Dawson plays Spencer, Sophie’s best friend and colleague. They are undeniably fantastic in this role. Stanley Browning is Adam, blind date and lead carrier of the infected alien hate worm. Etcetera Etcetera is our hostess with the mostess and hypnotizes with her spooky charm. Lauren Last gives us everything we need to feel grounded, permitting us to laugh at the premise. I would love to see her in more stories. I would welcome a sequel about Spencer and Sophie’s forthcoming shenanigans.

2023 has been a step in the right direction for trans, queer, and nonbinary representation with films like The People’s Joker, Something You Said Last Night, Monica, Theater Camp, My Animal, Barbie, and the upcoming The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. T-BLOCKERS joins the ranks of engaging storytelling that crosses genres and excites. The neon lighting and campy gore have all the markings of Midnight cult classic indies. The J. K. Rowling joke was perfection. T-BLOCKERS is an allegory for the homophobic antitrans movement and their evil online cultlike behavior. It’s a creative call to activism and self-acceptance told through a B-horror-inspired lens. Be prepared to rock out to one hell of a battle cry song and to stand up and cheer for the final scene.


BROOKLYN HORROR FILM FESTIVAL 2023

Review: Festival favorite ‘QUANTUM COWBOYS’ continues to wow wordlwide.

QUANTUM COWBOYS

A mixed media extravaganza, Geoff Marslett‘s genre-obliterating QUANTUM COWBOYS is an indie film fan’s dream. Two drifters find themselves in a time warp as they attempt to help a local woman reclaim her land and right a wrong.

Various animation styles change from scene to scene, from hand-drawn to greenscreen, live-action to stop motion layer and mesmerize, forcing the audience to sit up and pay attention. QUANTUM COWBOYS‘ narrative timeline loops and shifts to give our protagonists a chance at redemption. Butterfly effects cling to each of them as “Memory” plays the storyteller and provides second chances disguised as a mysterious stone arc. This clever device keeps the audience enthralled, wondering how this might end.

The cast boasts faces familiar and iconic. Kiowa Gordon and John Way shine alongside David Arquette and Lily Gladstone ( a near-future Oscar winner IMHO). This one-of-a-kind film will undoubtedly delight with its wacky and meta climax. QUANTUM COWBOYS is an ambitious film that, while currently planned as a trilogy, could easily transition to a series at a major studio. Marslett gives audiences a choose-your-own-adventure-style story whose possibilities are endless.

Quantum Cowboys STREAMING TRAILER from Geoff Marslett on Vimeo.

The movie stars Lily Gladstone (about to break big in Killers of the Flower Moon), Kiowa Gordon (Twilight, Dark Winds), John Way (A Love Song), David Arquette (Scream), Frank Mosley (Upstream Color), and supporting roles by Neko Case (musician), Gary Farmer (Reservation Dogs, Dead Man), Alex Cox (Repo Man, Sid and Nancy), Trieste Kelly Dunn (Banshee, Loves Her Gun), John Doe (X, Roadhouse), Anna Karina (Alphaville, French New Wave), Patrick Page (Broadway star of Hadestown), Devon Wycoff, Antonio Jeffries, Geoff Marslett, Jesse Lee Pacheco and Howe Gelb (musician).

The film has played over 40 international film festivals (including Annecy, Fantastic Fest, Vancouver, Champs Elysees and Atlanta) and won awards at 9 festivals and runner ups and nominations at 6 more.

TRT: 99 minutes
Completion date June 2022


Filmed in 16mm film, 8K digital, Hand Drawn Animation, Paper Cutl Outs, Oil Paintings,
Digital Collage, CGI and Computer Painting

On set for QUANTUM COWBOYS with David Arquette and director Geoff Marslett.

Directors Bio:
Geoff Marslett (born in Texas) is an animator, director, writer, producer and actor. His work
often revolves around the romance of connection and the way exploring your universe changes
you and the place you explore. He grew up a cowboy with an interest in physics, and has
worked in both construction and science before becoming a filmmaker. He adores feral cats and
still genuinely loves making things.
He splits his time between teaching at the University of Colorado and making his own films.

Animators and Artists:
ARTLESS MEDIA
Anna Bradley McCall
Hannah McSwiggen
Russell Schaeffer

MINNOW MOUNTAIN
Nathan Bayless
Inaya C. Bialik
Blue Bliss
Rachel Dendy
Dean Hsieh
Christopher S. Jennings
Leyla Mamedova
Annie B McCall
Craig Staggs
Steph Swope
Lindsey Taylor
Julia Zipporah

SWERVE PICTURES
Myles Aquino
JD Arredondo
Sebastian Bisbal
Javier Bonafont
Madeleine Capen
Gina Marie Cercone
Sarah Connor
Joana Correia
Maxine Curva
Owen DeGroot
Stephan Fonseca
Amanda Julina Gonzalez
Alex Grey
Conner Hagan

Kiera Hagen-Brenner
Mitchell Hawley
Shunsaku Hayashi
Tazio Hilbert
Claire Hsieh
Natalie Johns
Jacq Kirkman
Nic Koller
Michelle Li
Geoff Marslett
Gen Mbesi
Holiday McAllister
Jefferson Melo
Rachel Merrill
Ailin Mo
Xuan Nguyen
Tim Nolte
Rhea Patel
Lucy Scherrer
Leon Simone
Laura Spicer
Sean Tredway
David Vieira
Matthew Wade
Rosie Di Wu
Isaias Yetemegn

MYSTERY MEAT MEDIA
Ri Crawford

All Compositing, Animation Design and
Direction by
Geoff Marslett


 

Brooklyn Horror Film Festival 2023: Amanda Kramer’s doc ‘SO UNREAL’ is a sci-fi cinephile’s wet dream.

SO UNREAL

Cinema and Cyberspace collide in this fascinating study of the effects of the internet. Debbie Harry‘s echoing narration guides us through history and cinematic timelines, how easily we welcomed computers into our homes, and how swiftly technology transitioned from entertainment to an eventual subconscious weapon. Amanda Kramer‘s SO UNREAL reminds us how films push the boundaries of our technological imagination, and they predict them for better or worse.

The film delves into everything from hackers to virtual reality, cyber sex to anxiety-inducing, and the near-future prospect of a potential AI uprising. Harry talks audiences through an eclectic group of films like The Matrix, Tron, Weird Science, The Net, Hackers, The Lawnmower Man (one of my guilty pleasures), and a 1995 film loaded with untold apocalyptic prophecies, Strange Days.

The script could be an audiobook or podcast all its own. Harry describes the entire play-by-play as if creating the alt text of an Instagram post. Jon Cooper’s graphics are a time capsule that comes to life. Enhanced by Josh Ascalon‘s ominous, 80s-inspired score and Benjamin Shearn‘s immaculate editing of sporadic audio clips and archival footage, SO UNREAL is a hypnotic head trip.

You’ll want to rush out and (re)watch every film mentioned in SO UNREAL. At a minimum, Kramer has one hell of a conversation starter across generations of cinephiles and tech users alike. A frightening peak into studio exec minds where actors are rendered obsolete, SO UNREAL is a terrifying and mesmerizing gut punch and navigation through an already curated online reality.


Brooklyn Horror Film Festival 2023


 

Review: Jeremy Pion-Berlin’s ‘Failure To Protect’ exposes a very flawed CPS system.

FAILURE TO PROTECT

FAILURE TO PROTECT follows five parents – Anna, Trish, Rheta, Ernst, and Rosa – as they fight desperately to reunify with their children taken by Child Protective Services (CPS). It’s an unwavering and nuanced look at the child welfare system where criminals have more rights than parents.

 The families’ stories showcase the variety of circumstance that can lead to a child’s removal from the home, as well as the trials and tribulations that inevitably follow. The cases are as complex as they are tragic. They include histories of mental illness, as well as allegations of abuse, neglect, and trauma. Parents are pitted against their own children and each other. Along the way, the parents fight to clear their names, and prove their fitness as guardians.

Through these highly personal stories, we explore many tough questions, such as do parents whose personal struggles compromised their children’s safety deserve a second chance? Is the CPS system biased against minorities, LGBTQIA+ couples, and the economically disadvantaged? To avoid leaving a child in an abusive or dangerous environment, do social workers remove children first and ask questions later?  The film offers an unprecedented, in-depth window into the grim realities of the child welfare system through the often ignored perspective of parents.

The families are eclectic. All shapes, sizes, races, ages, and socioeconomic backgrounds face the challenges of reuniting parents and children. Allegations range from neglect to sexual abuse. Each case is unique, and the system does not exist to react to those nuances.

The film features interviews with parents recounting the circumstances/allegations that caused their children’s removal and social workers explaining how the system functions. Civil rights lawyers and judges speak to the lessened burden of proof concerning children. The film illuminates the parent’s rights, most of whom have no idea they exist. Bodycam footage of children’s removal and news clips of the death of kids in foster care tear your heart out.

The amount of unresolved and generational trauma involved in these cases will not surprise you, but the manufacturing of “facts” by social workers will. When you hear “The Right To Lie” case, your jaw will drop to the floor. Or expletives come bursting forth. *raises hand* Netflix‘s TAKE CARE OF MAYA is a terrific companion film to FAILURE TO PROTECT. Each film shines a light on the faults in the family services system. While the film features a variety of families, the racial biases are pervasive. This eye-opening doc pulls no punches. It puts everyone in the hot seat.

FAILURE TO PROTECT l Official Trailer l from Jeremy Pion-Berlin on Vimeo.


OPENING ON DIGITAL PLATFORMS ON OCTOBER 17

FAILURE TO PROTECT was directed, produced, and edited by Jeremy Pion-Berlin.  It was executive-produced by Jordan Savage, Devon CollinsLisa Pion-Berlin, Jeff Porter, and Sgt. Major Keith L. Craig.  It has a running time of 98 minutes and will not be rated by the MPAA.  The film has screened at numerous prestigious film festivals including Phoenix Film Festival, Julien Dubuque International Film Festival, Atlanta Docufest, and Doc Boston, and has won numerous awards includingBest of Fest“ at Frozen River Film Festival, “Best Documentary” and “Best Director” at Oceanside International Film Festival, “Audience Choice Award” at Atlanta Docufest, “Best Director Documentary” and “Audience Choice Award” at First Glance Film Festival Los Angeles, “Best US Documentary Film” at Doc. Boston, among other awards. FAILURE TO PROTECT will be released on digital platforms by Porter+Craig Film & Media on October 17.

SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES

@failure_to_protect


 

Review: ‘THE ELDERLY’ is clever social commentary wrapped in a terrifying horror film.

THE ELDERLY

Following the sudden suicide of his wife, Manuel begins acting violently strange. Soon a series of paranormal events has all of the local elderly behaving oddly. They all seem to know something the young do not – paired with a lust for blood.

From the directing duo of the gooeytastic Spanish horror film The Passenger, Raúl Cerezo and Fernando González Gómez serve audiences their latest original story, THE ELDERLY.

Family tension grows after the unexpected suicide of the family matriarch. Manuel begrudgingly moves in with his son, granddaughter, and bitter daughter-in-law. As the temperatures outside rise, so does the mind-boggling behavior of Manuel and the rest of the octogenarian population.

Ignacio Aguilar‘s cinematography is breathtaking. Closeups, panning, overhead shots, each take meticulously planned for maximum impact. The visual trickery is out of this world. The score is unsettling, with its string-heavy intensity mixed with hauntingly written love standards.

A shockingly violent moment halfway through jolts an audience now accustomed to the eerie din of quietly disturbing imagery. The Elderly shines in the power of visual suggestion, shadow play, reflections, and long lingering takes.

The slow-burn film boasts a brutal and traumatizing, no-holds-bar climax. Otherworldly communication connects to climbing temperatures. The hotter the temp, the more intense the violence. The Elderly taps into the idea of the older generation feeling unheard and dismissed. It also utilizes classic supernatural tropes, adding one shocking last frame.


Distribution Company: Dark Star Pictures 
Theatrical Release Date: October 13, 2023
VOD & Blu-Ray Release Date: October 31, 2023
Directors: Raúl Cerezo, Fernando González Gómez
Writers: Raúl Cerezo, Javier Trigales, Rubén Sánchez Trigos

Runtime: 95 Minutes
Starring: Zorion Eguileor, Gustavo Salmerón, Paula Gallego, Irene Anula, Juan Acedo, Ángela Gamonal

We’re kicking off the fall festival season with our TIFF 2023 curtain raiser!

Thu, Sep 7, 2023, 3:30 PM – Sun, Sep 17, 2023

TIFF 2023 is coming for you and the films are eclectic as usual. Promising big stars, buzzy indies, cool series, new filmmakers to discover,  and my personal favorite, in the form of the sinister Midnight Madness section, TIFF has all the films you’ll be hearing about come awards season. Here are a handful of things on our radar this year. Look for coverage from us and our main man Steve Kopian at Unseen Films.


 RIDDLE OF FIRE- (Midnight Madness Closing Night feature)Riddle of Fire still

Directed by Weston Razooli
NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
United States of America | 2023 | 113m | English
 
The movie follows three mischievous children as they embark on an odyssey when their mother asks them to run an errand.
 
Screenings:
Saturday, September 16 Royal Alexandra Theatre 11:59pm
Sunday, September 17 TIFF Bell Lightbox 11:30 am


EPISODIC CONTENT

 BAD BOY -World Premiere – Primetime Programme 

 From Ron Leshem (Executive producer of HBO’s Euphoria, Creator of the original Israeli Euphoria series off which the US series is based) and Hagar Ben-Asher (Bosch, City on a Hill)  

Created alongside Daniel Chen, Roee Florentin, Moshe Malka, Amit Cohen (No Man’s LandFalse Flag), Daniel Amsel (EuphoriaValley of Tears).

Starring Bat Hen Sabag, Amjad Shawa, Guy Menaster, Havtamo Parada, Neta Plotnik, Liraz Chamami, Ishay Lalush, Daniel Hen, Ben Sultan

 BAD BOY is a gripping true story about a young boy imprisoned in a chaotic and colorful juvenile detention facility. While in jail, DEAN bonds with ZORO, a mysterious fellow inmate who grows to be his closest friend and lifeline despite the fact that Zoro is serving time for cold-blooded murder. In order to survive the harsh reality behind bars, Dean learns to harness his unique creativity and humor – all while battling his own inner demons. Twenty years later, these traits still define Dean as a star comedian, while his time in jail is a secret that constantly threatens to resurface and tear his life apart.

 Episode Count: 8×40


LIMBO (North American Premiere*)

Section: Centrepiece

North American Premiere

Australia/104 min/English

Directed by: Ivan Sen

Starring: Simon Baker, Rob Collins, Natasha Wanganeen, Nicholas Hope

*LIMBO World Premired at Berlinale Film Festival 2023

Synopsis:

Travis, a jaded detective, arrives in the remote outback town of Limbo to investigate the cold case murder of local Indigenous girl Charlotte Hayes 20 years ago. As truths about the murder begin to unfold, the detective gains a new insight into the unsolved case from the victim’s fractured family, the surviving witnesses, and the reclusive brother of the chief suspect. A poignant, intimate journey into the complexities of loss and the impact of the justice system on Aboriginal families in Australia.

Screening times:

September 12 5:45 pm Public screening Scotiabank 3

September 13 3:45 pm Public screening Scotiabank 9


BACKSPOT – World Premiere – Discovery 

 Directed by: D.W. Waterson

Written by: Joanne Sarazen, Story by: D.W. Waterson

Produced by: Alona Metzer, D.W. Waterson, Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs, Martin Katz

Executive Produced by: Elliot Page, Matt Jordan Smith, J.C. Davidson, Katisha Shaw

Starring: Devery Jacobs (“Reservation Dogs”), Evan Rachel Wood (“Westworld”), Shannyn Sossamon (A Knight’s Tale), Kudakwashe Rutendo, Thomas Antony Olajide, Wendy Crewson

 Synopsis:

A driven cheerleader (Devery Jacobs) struggles to handle the pressure when she and her girlfriend are both selected for an elite cheer squad, in D.W. Waterson’s feature directorial debut.

 RT: 93 Minutes

 Public Screenings

Friday, September 8 at 8:30PM at the TIFF Bell Lightbox

Monday, September 11 at 3:00PM at the TIFF Bell Lightbox

Friday, September 15 at 9:45PM at Scotiabank Theatre


THE CRITIC – World Premiere – Special Presentations 

Directed By: Anand Tucker (Hilary and Jackie)

Written by: Patrick Marber (Notes on a Scandal)

Starring: Ian McKellen (The Good Liar), Gemma Arterton (Summerland), Mark Strong (1917), Romola Garai (Suffragette), Ben Barnes (Westworld) and Alfred Enoch (Foundation

 Gemma Arterton and Sir Ian McKellen star as adversaries forced to take desperate measures to save their careers, in this scintillating tale of ambition and deceit in the theatre world.

 RT: 95 minutes

 Public Screenings

Monday, September 11 at 12:00PM at the Princess of Wales

Wednesday, September 13 at 4:00PM at Scotiabank 2

Saturday, September 16 at 3:00PM at Scotiabank 2


IRENA’S VOW (Quiver Distribution) – World Premiere – Centerpiece Program 

 Directed by: Louise Archambault (Atomic Saké, Familia)

Written by: Dan Gordon (Passenger 57, Wyatt Earp)

Starring: Sophie Nélisse (“Yellowjackets,” 47 Meters Down: Uncaged), Dougray Scott (Mission: Impossible 2, “Batwoman”), Andrzej Seweryn, and Maciek Nawrocki

Produced by: Nicholas Tabarrok, p.g.a, Beata Pisula, Tim Ringuette, Berry Meyerowitz and Jeff Sackman

Through the eyes of a strong-willed woman comes the remarkable true story of Irena Gut Opdyke and the triumphs of the human spirit over devastating tragedy. 19-year-old Irena Gut is promoted to housekeeper in the home of a highly respected Nazi officer when she finds out that the Jewish ghetto is about to be liquidated. Determined to help twelve Jewish workers, she decides to shelter them in the safest place she can think of: the basement of the German commandant’s house. Over the next two years, Irena uses her wit, humor, and courage to hide her friends until the end of the German occupation, concealing them in the midst of countless Nazi parties, a blackmail scheme, and even the birth of a child. Her story is one of the most inspiring of our time.

 RT: 121 Minutes

 Public Screenings

Sunday, September 10 at 3:15PM at TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 1

Monday, September 11 at 3:35PM at Scotiabank 11


KNOX GOES AWAY – World Premiere – Special Presentations 

 

Directed by: Michael Keaton

Written By: Gregory Poirier (Rosewood)

Starring: Michael Keaton (Birdman), James Marsden (“Jury Duty”), Al Pacino (The Godfather), and Marcia Gay Harden (Mystic RIver)

 Michael Keaton directs and plays Knox, a hitman losing his memory, putting him in a race against time to help his estranged son (James Marsden) cover up a messy crime.

 RT: 114 minutes

 Public Screenings

Sunday, September 10 at 9:45 PM at The Princess of Wales Theatre

Monday, September 11 at 5:30 PM at Roy Thomson Hall


SUMMER QAMPWORLD PREMIERE – 2023 Toronto International Film Festival

Directed by Jen Markowitz

Mins 80 | Language English | Year 2023 | Country Canada

SUMMER QAMP is a moving, compelling and joyful documentary following a group of LGBTQ+ youth at an idyllic lakeside camp in Alberta, Canada – CAMP fYrefly. The campers enjoy the traditional summer camp experience in a safe, affirming environment where they deepen their connections with their own community and themselves.

Screenings:

World Premiere – Saturday, September 9 at 12:15 PM at Scotiabank 13 

Sunday, September 10 at 4:30 PM at Scotiabank 12


For more information on TIFF 2023 click here!

The 48th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival takes place Thursday, September 7—17, 2023.


 

News & Review: Winner of Scariest Film at Popcorn Frights 2023, character-driven heart-pounder ‘GHOSTS OF THE VOID’ gets up by The Horror Collective and will release the film later this year.

GHOSTS OF THE VOID Wins Scariest Film at Popcorn Frights

Filmmaker Jason Miller brings Popcorn Frights 2023 audiences GHOSTS OF THE VOID, the story of a newly homeless couple spending the night in their car, navigating paralyzing anxiety, relationship tension, and masked strangers. This character-driven heart-pounder carefully weaves real-world horrors into a narrative that keeps viewers off-kilter. It earns your attention.

Michael Reagan plays Tyler Wilson. Reagan balances a toxic masculinity that hides behind a starving artist’s desire. His dismissive intolerance is loathsome, fueled by Tyler’s not-so-secret problem with alcohol. Tedra Millan gives Jen relatability with her compounding worrying. Jen has a lot on her plate, and like most women, her need to solve all the world’s problems consumes her. Written on her face and the pace of her breathing, it’s a visceral feeling.

The film intercuts brief flashbacks to highlight Jen’s mounting stress, making her the primary focus of our energy. Our emotional investment is essential to the success of the film. It’s a slow burn in which we constantly anticipate the other shoe dropping. Roughly halfway through the film, I audibly exclaimed, “Aw, F*ck.” Profanity is always a sign that the film took me by surprise. Cinematographer Nathan Salter takes advantage of the natural surroundings and produces slickly timed shots. The impactful juxtaposition of light and dark hits hardest in the final scene.  Devin Delaney‘s score elicits chills. Do not for a moment think you know what happens next.

This film is an extraordinary story of a power struggle that takes aim at capitalism and cleverly pits mental health against self-preservation. GHOSTS OF THE VOID leaves us with questions of morality and equal parts relief and dread.


Popcorn Frights announced today that GHOSTS OF THE VOID won the jury award for Scariest Feature Film Prize at the Ninth Annual Popcorn Frights Film Festival. The festival organizers stated: “Jason Miller’s chilling saga is a timely tale that reminds us that true terror often lies beyond the supernatural by capturing the essence of our collective fear.”


Ghosts of the Void was picked up by The Horror Collective, which will release the film later this year.

Ghosts of the Void marks the directorial debut of writer/director Jason Miller, who previously wrote and produced the action film “Echo Boomers,” starring Michael Shannon. Starring Michael Reagan (Lovecraft Country), Tedra Millan (Daddy’s Girl) and is produced by Tony Kamin, Mike Ware, and Speakeasy Pictures’ Seth Savoy. The deal was negotiated on behalf of the producers by Jay Burnley and Chandler Freelander of Slated.

Popcorn Frights will be closing the film’s long festival run including the Midwest Film Festival, Kansas City Underground, Toronto City Horror Fest, LA Shockfest, Macabre Faire Film Festival, Sin Film Festival, Royal Starr Film Festival, and won several awards including Best Thriller at the Crown Point International Film Festival, Best Picture at the Los Angeles Cinematography Awards and Best Sound Editing at the Festival of Cinema NYC.

Speakeasy Pictures is an American independent media company founded by Seth Savoy (Echo Boomers) back in 2019 and based in Chicago Illinois. It actively develops, produces, and finances film and television projects with a social or political through-line. Speakeasy has four projects slated for production in 2024 and Ghost of the Void marks the company’s second acquisition.

The Horror Collective is the genre label of Entertainment Squad — a production and distribution company founded by veteran producer Shaked Berenson (TURBO KID, TALES OF HALLOWEEN). The labels’ latest releases include critic favorite LGTBQ+ horror-comedy SUMMONING SYLVIA and Sonja O’Hara’s Daytime Emmy Nominated Limited Series, DOOMSDAY.

Slated is a film finance marketplace that uses advanced data analytics and a proprietary scoring system to identify outstanding films and connect them with their active investor and distributor community. Upcoming Slated films include The Kill Room, starring Uma Thurman and Samuel L. Jackson; Hazard, starring Alex Roe and Sosie Bacon; The Inventor, starring Marion Cotillard and Daisy Ridley; and Our Son, starring Billy Porter and Luke Evans, all of which were co-financed through Slated’s Executive Producer program that supports high-scoring projects.

Fantasia 2023 review: ‘RESTORE POINT’ is life and death against progress and profit.

Fantasia Festival 2023 logoRESTORE POINT

It’s the year 2041, and humanity has reached the point where it can cheat death. Anyone who dies an unnatural death has the right to be brought back to life. All you have to do is to create a backup of your personality – a restore point – at least every forty-eight hours. But there exists a movement of people who try to sabotage this concept. “Agent Em” finds herself drawn into a case that is not as simple as it first seemed and the consequences of which reach to the highest levels of politics.


A wildly original premise and magnificent worldbuilding send Fantasia audiences headfirst into Robert Hloz‘s sci-fi crime thriller RESTORE POINT. It is 2041, and citizens have gained the right to resurrection if they die an unnatural death, as long as they have backed up their personalities and memories within 48 hrs. This information remains in the cloud. Following the murder of one of the lead scientists and his wife, a detective with a vendetta comes on board to discover corruption on every level.

I kept thinking about the franchise potential of this story. RESTORE POINT’s visual epicness from production designer Ondrej Lipensky is stunning. More reminiscent of Total Recall and Minority Report and less punk rock neon than Blade Runner. Aside from the overarching and mind-blowing plot device, it feels like a logically progressing technological surrounding. Costuming is beautifully subtle, punctuated by small angular details, predominantly around the collars and tailoring.

Matej Hádek plays David with an intentional glitchiness. The physical and emotional choices draw you into the mystery. Andrea Mohylová brings humanity that grounds her performance. You can see the gears turning, the struggle between the personal and principles of the case. Mohylová is badass, effortlessly carrying the action. She is extraordinarily watchable. As a duo, they are inarguably compelling.

The film is a commentary on automation and morality, progress, and profitability. It makes you think. It is a carefully crafted tale filled fueled by both greed and the greater good of humanity. RESTORE POINT will wow Fantasia 2023 audiences, forcing them to answer more than one “what if” long after the credit roll.