Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘Of Medicine and Miracles’ provides a balanced look at the potential and problems of modern medicine.

OF MEDICINE AND MIRACLES

You cannot help but be moved by Of Medicine and Miracles. This is an in-depth documentary of a thrilling achievement: an attempt to cure cancer by using cutting-edge medical science.  This story is told through the prism of one patient, young Emily Whitehead, who was diagnosed with leukemia when she was only 6 years old. When the standard course of treatment fails Emily, her health quickly worsens. Out of options, she is given the chance to enroll in a promising, but risky clinical trial.

The documentary benefits from direct interviews with Emily’s parents. Their emotional re-telling of events is incredibly moving. Their urgency and desperation are palpable. The audience also peers behind the curtain at the vast medical infrastructure supporting Emily’s treatment – the researchers, physicians, nurses, regulators, and the extended care team. The expression “it takes a village” will truly resonate differently for you after viewing this documentary.

You will be inspired, yes, but also frustrated. Of Medicine and Miracles also provides a clear-eyed perspective on the dysfunction plaguing the medical system. While the documentary takes great pains to showcase the innovation at the core of Emily’s treatment, it is equally clear that her life was often in the balance due to incredibly frustrating circumstances. Emily’s local care center does not recommend she seek out a clinical trial – it is only because her family shows the courage to solicit a second opinion from a leading pediatric facility (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) that Emily is even offered a chance at a new treatment. Not everyone has the luxury of such a facility within driving distance. A critical last-minute care decision is shown to be possible only because members of Emily’s care team have read the right medical journal articles. This documentary shows us a miracle, yes, but also demonstrates that this miracle finds the light thanks to a foundation of privilege and luck.

Ross Kauffman’s documentary is an impressively balanced effort. It provides an incredibly intimate look at a family undergoing an incredible challenge, and the way this family is at times equally supported and challenged by our country’s medical structure.  I left it both inspired and enraged.


Available Starting

Tue June 14 – 6:00 PM

At Home

DIRECTOR
Ross Kauffman
PRODUCER
Robin Honan, Nicole Galovski
CINEMATOGRAPHERS
Ross Kauffman, Henry Roosevelt, Naiti Gamez
COMPOSER
Amie Doherty
EDITOR
Hypatia Porter
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS
Sean Parker, Lessing Stern, Babbie Lester, Pam Williams, Geralyn White Dreyfous, Randall Gebhardt, Christopher Gebhardt, Eric Esrailian, Regina Scully, Jamie Wolf, Rusty Robertson
ASSOCIATE PRODUCERS
Gabriela Figueredo, Minoo Allen, Zada Clarke

Bentonville Film Festival 2022 short review: ‘Honey and Clover: A Recipe For Disaster’

HONEY AND CLOVER


SYNOPSIS
Honey and Clover are former child stars from the hit show Rink Inc. where they played crime-fighting sisters whose parents owned a roller-skating rink. Past and future collide threatening to reveal their darkest secrets when the two are thrust back into the spotlight together after years of estrangement. They are forced to accept that the only way they can survive is together. Their timely reconnection teaches them to cope with their new lives while coming to terms with the shocking past that tore them apart in this deeply empathetic and magical portrayal of friendship.


A solid proof of concept short, I found myself wanting more information on both the leads and their manager Max, played spectacularly by actor Ray Abruzzo. I want to know who else this guy represents. Give me an entire BoJack Horseman style section in a series of all his clients. Our leading ladies, Theresa Burkhart Gallagher and Jackie Monahan engaging and complex. The short ramps up about 10 minutes in with a fun action scene mirroring their heyday skills. This was badass. The information we’re missing from their youth and everything in between feels pretty pertinent to the present-day chaos. I was genuinely interested. I’d love to see how Rink Inc. came to fruition, from the girls meeting as teens, cut back and forth their success, and their ultimate fallout. I’m assuming that’s the goal with this short. In its current form, Honey and Clover expertly bate the hook. Get me a pair of skates, I’m ready to roll.

Director:                                 Andrea Maxwell
Writers:                                   Matthew Gallagher, Theresa Burkhart Gallagher, Jackie Monahan
Producers:                             Matthew Gallagher, Theresa Burkhart Gallagher, Andrea Maxwell,
Jackie Monahan, Diana Zollicoffer
Executive Producers:            Emily De Margheriti, Benjamin Sharpe, Greg Tally
Editor:                                     Andrea Maxwell
Cinematographer:                 Sherri Kauk                          
Music:                                     Allyson Newman
Cast:                                       Theresa Burkhart Gallagher, Jackie Monahan, Ray Abruzzo, Dan Lauria,
David Barrera
TRT:                                        14:36 min
Country:                                 USA


Screening information:
Thursday, June 23 at 3:00PM
Awkward At Any Age (Competition Shorts)
Walmart World Room (105 North Main Street)

Ticketing information:
https://www.goelevent.com/BFF/e/AwkwardAtAnyAgeCompetitionShorts

Short films in our competition lineup telling stories at key moments of personal growth from childhood to adulthood and beyond. This program includes THE WEIGHT OF IT (Directed by Olivia Marie Valdez, Einar Soler Fernandez, Sandra Afonso Rodriguez), LOVE’S BABY SOFT (Directed by Lanie Zipoy), AMERIGIRL (Directed by Samina Saifee), ANNIVERSARY (Directed by Lain Kienzle), SEASICK (Directed by Lindsey Ryan), WEI-LAI (Directed by Robin Wang), HOPEFUL ROMANTIC (Directed by Kate Vinen) and HONEY AND CLOVER: A RECIPE FOR DISASTER (Directed by Andrea Maxwell).


Bentonville Film Festival 2022 world premiere: ‘The Seven Faces Of Jane’ is a visionary experiment from 8 filmmakers.

THE SEVEN FACES OF JANE

Eight filmmakers come together to create one genre-obliterating film that centers around a woman named Jane. 

Goodbye/Hello

Gillian Jacobs

Jane drops off her daughter at sleepaway camp.

JaneSquared

Gia Coppola

In search of coffee, Jane encounters her doppelganger. 

Tayo

Boma Iluma

Jane reconnects with a previous lover. With super 8 footage overtop flashbacks, this story is pure romantic nostalgia. 

Guardian

Ryan Heffington

Jane rides an emotional and musical rollercoaster from delight to broken-heartedness, celebrating the friendship between her and a friend named Sybil. 

The Lonesome Road

Xan Cassavetes 

Jane picks up a free-spirited hitchhiker. Their drive is a fantasy sequence in more than one way. 

Rose

Julian J. Acosta

Jane encounters a girl running away from her Quinceanera. Their conversation turns to identity and confessions. It’s a celebration of similarities amongst strangers. As Rose, actress Daniela Hernandez is a star. 

The One Who Got Away

Ken Jeong

Community costar Joel McHale reunites with Gilligan Jacobs when Jane flags down a jogger and old friend sharing an intimate past. Jacobs and McHale have explosive chemistry together. When it comes down to it, McHale completely steals this scene. It is a wow of a turn. 

The Audition

Alex Takacs

Jane attends a call for a mysterious audition that begs more questions than answers. Breeda Wool gives us a manic performance you’ll struggle to shake. 

The only visual throughline is Jacobs and Jane’s all-new Ford Mustang Mach E. The automaker worked with producer Roman Coppola to bring the film to life. The stylistic maneuvering never lets you tune out. As each story differs in length and cinematography, The Seven Faces of Jane is an extraordinary film. Bentonville 2022 audiences are in for one wild ride.


Directed by:

Gillian Jacobs, Gia Coppola, Boma Iluma, Ryan Heffington, Xan Cassavetes, Julian J. Acosta, Ken Jeong, Alex Takacs

Starring:

Gillian Jacobs, Anthony Skordi, Chido Nwokocha, Sybil Azur, Emanuela Postacchini, Joni Reiss, Soledad St. Hilaire, Joel McHale, Caroline Ducrocq, Breeda Wool

Produced by:

Roman Coppola p.g.a., Jason Baum p.g.a. Sarah Park. Allison Amon p.g.a. and Luke Ricci

Executive Producers:

Chris Chang, Duffy Culligan, Tara Schaeffer, Alessandro Uzielli and Jordan Weisman

Editors:

Peter Cabada Hagan, Scott Hanson, Armen Harootun, Niles Howard, Jacob Mendel, Michael Wolfe

Cinematographer:

Andy Catarisano

Runtime:

92 minutes


To find out more about Bentonville 2022 click here!

In-Person Festival – June 22 – 26; Virtual Festival – June 22 – July 3

Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: Director Floor Van Der Meulen receives special mention with the Best New Narrative Director Award for ‘PINK MOON’

PINK MOON

Iris (Julia Akkermans) and her older brother Ivan (Eelco Smits) are faced with life-altering news when their father (Johan Leysen) decides to end his life. Iris is confused, devastated, she tries to be a little accepting.. It seems like her father is never been more sure with anything in his life, and that leaves Iris in an emotional shamble.


Tribeca 2022’s award-winning film Pink Moon will undoubtedly strike a chord with Gen X. We currently exist between aging parents and parenthood. Mortality has weighed heavy in recent years. No one gazes into the future to imagine the death of their Mom or Dad, so to be told that death is a choice is an entirely new level of madness. In Pink Moon, Iris and Ivan take two different approaches to their father’s declaration that he is “done living.” Ivan is practical, almost emotionless. Iris, understandably, pushes back with unsurmountable sadness. Doing everything in her power to change his mind, Iris takes leave from work, pretending to plan his final day, only to ditch the plan and kidnap him for one last hurrah. Pink Moon slowly delves into the complex relationship between children and parents. Actress Julia Akkermans tackles the script by Bastiaan Kroeger with humor and heart. Watching her emotional journey unfold feels palpable and grounded from start to finish. To think that this is the directorial debut for Floor van der Meulen blows my mind. I cannot wait to see what comes next. Audiences can watch the film on Tribeca 2022’s At Home option. The film dives into universal truths that will touch the coldest of hearts. I highly recommend you give Pink Moon your full attention. 


Available Starting

Wed June 15 – 6:00 PM

At Home

 

DIRECTOR
Floor van der Meulen
PRODUCER
Derk-Jan Warrink, Koji Nelissen
SCREENWRITER
Bastiaan Kroeger
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Emo Weemhoff NSC
EDITOR
Mieneke Kramer
CAST
Julia Akkermans, Johan Leysen, Eelco Smits, Anniek Pheifer, Sinem Kavus


 

Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘The Integrity of Joseph Chambers’ sparks conversation about machismo and firearms.

The Integrity of Joseph Chambers

I’ve only shot a gun once in my life. I’ll remember it forever. It was 2008, a hot summer day in Idaho. We were on one of those aimless teenage road trips, far from San Francisco and still without any real responsibilities, so when one of our group had a local friend who was willing to take us shooting – well, then hey, why not?! I remember the giddy feeling as we drove out to a dusty side road, and that the pistol I picked up had the Punisher logo carved onto the grip. I couldn’t quite make out the targets we were to aim for, so I gestured with the pistol, seeking confirmation. Suddenly, the fingers of this local friend were clamped vice-like on my wrist, his voice like fire in my ear. “Don’t point. Not a toy.” That giddy feeling? Gone.

This teenage memory caused me to sympathize deeply with The Integrity of Joseph Chambers, which also centers on a goofy man who is both overwhelmed and armed with a deadly weapon. Joe (Clayne Crawford) is an insurance salesman who envisions himself as a survivalist. He leaves his wife and children at dawn to hunt deer. Time to bring home the bacon (or, well, venison.)

The problem is, the emperor has no clothes. Joe is a total fraud. He is basically performing the character of a hunter – shaving his beard into a macho mustache, dressing up in an outfit straight out of a hunting catalog, and trading his shiny BMW in for a mud-flecked truck. The fact that Joe is also hunting on a friend’s private land only adds to the charade. He uses his rifle as a makeshift machete to clear a path through the underbrush. We are not surprised when things go wrong.

Despite what might seem like low stakes, I’m happy to report that The Integrity of Joseph Chambers is one creepy movie! Cinematographer Oscar Ignacio Jiménez and sound designer Peter Albrechtsen deserve tremendous credit for creating this uncomfortable atmosphere, and for sustaining it during the long middle stretch of the film where Crawford is the only human onscreen.

This is the second collaboration between Clayne Crawford and director Robert Machoian (following 2020’s The Killing of Two Lovers.) That collaborative familiarity provides the foundation for a wonderful Clayne Crawford performance. Joe is alone most of the film; the supporting characters are mostly thin after-thoughts. Crawford shines conveying his inner desires and struggles. I loved how deliberate he was with his movements, and the way he ensures Joe often serves as a visual gag against the background of the woods. We manage to learn a lot about Joe despite not knowing him very well by the end of the film.

It is impossible to consider The Integrity of Joseph Chambers without acknowledging the national tragedies and anxieties surrounding the topic of gun control. Here we are presented with a family man whose life is twisted in knots over the course of a single day. Surely, it is not the fault of his rifle? This is not an anti-gun film, but it speaks loudly regarding the power these weapons hold over the male psyche.


DIRECTOR
Robert Machoian
PRODUCER
Clayne Crawford, Kiki Crawford, Robert Machoian
SCREENWRITER
Robert Machoian
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Oscar Ignacio Jiménez
EDITOR
Yvette M. Amirian, ACE
COMPOSER
William Ryan Fritch
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Bo Clancey, Zareh Amirian, John Foss, Kris Towns, Sara Towns, Nancie Plaia, Sammy Plaia
CO-PRODUCER
Laura Heberton
CAST
Clayne Crawford, Jordana Brewster, Jeffrey Dean Morgan


Available Starting

Sat June 11 – 6:00 PM

At Home

Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘LIFT’ is an education and a celebration.

LIFT

Director David Petersen takes audiences on a journey that spans ten years. In his documentary LIFT, he tells the world about the brilliant and titular program here in New York City that revolves around the art of dance. “New York Theatre Ballet’s LIFT Community Service Program provides scholarships for talented at-risk and underserved children at the School of NYTB, as well as programs that champion dance for the greater good.” Housing insecure youth have the opportunity to break free from the circumstances they cannot control. Steven Melendez once lived in a shelter. As a professional dancer and former student of the program, he returns to introduce ballet to other housing insecure children. The discipline and structure that comes along with ballet transcend the stage. It is vital for kids in school or home environments that would otherwise make them victims of socioeconomic circumstances. The purpose of LIFT is to provide a safe place for them to learn and grow. It is a beautiful safety net, but they have to be willing to commit. These kids have so many obstacles in their paths, and Steven does everything he can to push past his own trauma to better the lives of kids just like him.The documentary follows a small group of kids that Steven nurtured over ten years of ballet. Tough love is necessary as these kids get into trouble. Steven does not have time to mince words. It is the honesty they need to survive and a place to put all their unbridled emotions. The culmination of the film arrives with one special performance. Steven creates a new piece of choreography based on his experiences and those of his handpicked students, and my god, it is a revelatory dance. This choreography is therapy. This choreography is healing. This choreography is lifesaving. Steven knows it, and as the credits roll on LIFT, Tribeca 2022 audiences will know it, too.


Available Starting

Tue June 14 – 6:00 PM

At Home

Only available in New York state

BUY NOW

DIRECTOR
David Petersen
PRODUCER
Mary Recine, David Petersen
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Gary Griffin, Alan Jacobsen, David Petersen
COMPOSER
Kathryn Bostic
EDITOR
M. Watanabe Milmore, David Petersen
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Jody Allen, Sam Pollard, Jannat Gargi, Ruth Johnson, Rocky Collins
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
Laura Pilloni
CO-PRODUCER
Martha Southgate, Laura Pilloni
PRINCIPAL ADVISOR
Misty Copeland
ADVISOR
Lourdes Lopez, Wendall Harrington, David Lansky, Nan Roman
CAST
Steven Melendez, Diana Byer, Victor Abreu, Yolanssie Cardona, Sharia Blockwood



Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘CHERRY’ slides by with authenticity.

CHERRY

Stunted adult Cherry discovers she’s pregnant and has 24 hours to decide whether or not to go through with an abortion. The film counts down the day one hour at a time while she encounters all the people in her life; bosses, coworkers, doctors, her boyfriend, and her family. Cherry is a master of bad decisions. Now, it’s time to grow up. 

Alex Trewhitt brings flighty and raw energy to the titular role. She’s comfortable in her skin, and the camera loves her. Her nonchalance compels you to invest in Cherry’s wellbeing, whether because you’re disappointed in her or because you relate. Trewhitt leans into Cherry’s flaws, embodying the coming-of-age spirit of the film.

The handheld camera work works perfectly for this anxiety-ridden, real-time storytelling. The momentum seems to lull about halfway in, particularly when Cherry arrives home. But, writer-director Sophie Galibert, who co-writes with Arthur Cohen, has a clear vision of the weight of such a decision. I would gladly see what she has up her sleeve next. If you put the film into personal context to realize where you were at 25, Cherry nails it with a messy authenticity. Did Cherry make me want to buy a new set of rollerskates at 42 years old? Absolutely. 


To find out more about Tribeca 2022 and how to watch CHERRY, click here!


DIRECTOR
Sophie Galibert
PRODUCER
Sophie Galibert, Shincy Lu, Philippe Gompel
SCREENWRITER
Sophie Galibert, Arthur Cohen
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS
Sophie Galibert, Matthew Michel, Jacqueline Garcia Ortega
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Damien Steck
COMPOSER
Clémentine Charuel
EDITOR
Camille Delprat
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
Alexander Akoka, Clara Sansarricq, Arthur Cohen
CO-PRODUCER
Cameron Holly Dexter
COLORIST
Lionel Kopp
CASTING DIRECTOR
Jasmine Gutierrez
PRODUCTION DESIGNER
Yuelin Zhao
COSTUME DESIGNER
Gigi Harding
MUSIC SUPERVISOR
Roxanne Oldham
CAST
Alex Trewhitt, Joe Sachem, Dan Schultz, Sandy Duarte, Alice Bang, Hannah Alline, Melinda DeKay, Angela Nicholas, Charlie S. Jensen, Darius Levanté



The countdown is officially on for Tribeca Film Festival 2022. Here are 20 films we’re keeping our eyes on this year.

Tribeca is back in action. The 2022 interaction of the festival will have events including films, talks, masterclasses, immersive selections, and a watch at-home option if you’re not in the city. There is so much to experience this year, but here is a list of films we’re keeping our eyes on. More to come as the festival rolls on over 12 days.


HALFTIME

– Opening Night –

Launches on Netflix on June 14th

HALFTIME offers an intimate peek behind the curtain revealing the grit and determination that makes Jennifer Lopez the icon she is, from her performances onscreen and on stages around the world, to her Super Bowl Halftime show, to the recent Presidential inauguration. The documentary focuses on an international superstar who has inspired people for decades with her perseverance, creative brilliance, and cultural contributions. And it’s only the beginning. HALFTIME serves as the kickoff to the second half of Lopez’s life, as she lays bare her evolution as a Latina, a mother, and an artist, taking agency in her career and using her voice for a greater purpose.

Directed by: Amanda Micheli

Produced by: Benny Medina, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Dave Broome, Angus Wall, Terry Leonard, Jennifer Sofio Hall, Kent Kubena, and Serin Marshall

Screenings: 

6/8 at 7:00pm – United Palace

6/9 at 9:00pm – Village East by Angelika: Theater 1

6/11 at 11:30am – Cinépolis: Theater 4


CAROL AND JOHNNY

The unbelievable, decade-spanning, and surprisingly heart-warming true story of two of America’s most successful bank robbers, Carol & Johnny provides the opportunity for the real-life Bonnie and Clyde to reflect upon and record their unique love story in their own words. Comparing and contrasting the oral histories of both now-elderly ex-cons, Colin Barnicle’s riveting biographical documentary traces the history of the duo with equal intensity and intimacy, transforming true crime into a rich, literary epic. 

If you’re not obsessed with true crime at this point, I don’t know what rock you’ve been living under. This one has an intimate and personal touch to it.

Directed by: Colin Barnicle 

Produced by: Barnicle Brother with Words and Pictures

Section: Viewpoints, Feature Documentary

Screenings:

6/12 a 5:00pm – Village East by Angelika: Theater 2

6/14 at 6:00pm – At-home Virtual Screening  

6/15 at 2:45pm – Village East by Angelika: Theater 6

6/16 at 8:00pm – Village East by Angelika: Theater 2


RUDY! A DOCUMUSICAL

Whether you love, hate, or loved then hated Rudy Giuliani, everyone knows his name. He was “America’s mayor,” Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and a personal lawyer to the former President of the United States. Dissecting the rise and fall of its titular subject with thorough research and an inquisitive eye, Rudy! A Documusical is a political documentary that goes beyond well-known headlines to explore the psyche and circumstances of a man in free-fall.

The downfall of “America’s Mayor” (and yes, we did call him that as someone who experienced 9/11 here in the city as a college student) is one of the most shocking things to witness. Share in the media-frenzied weirdness why don’t you?

World Premiere

Directed by: Jed Rothstein

Produced by: Ross M. Dinerstein and Sarit G. Work

Section: Spotlight Documentary

Screenings: 

6/9 at 8:30pm – SVA Theater 1 Silas 

6/10 at 2:45pm – Cinépolis: Theater 5

6/17 at 8:15pm –  Tribeca Center


FAMILY DINNER

It’s no surprise that the Midnight films happen to be the ones I covet most during Tribeca. This year, Peter Hengl’s film Family Dinner features a young woman named Simi visiting her family for Easter. Seeking the guidance of her famous nutritionist aunt, Claudia, she is introduced to a diet that will take every ounce of willpower. The film simmers in uncomfortable tension. Don’t think that for a moment, I missed  Ant Timpson as one of the executive producers. Family Dinner has all the ingredients for a feast, that might just come back up later.

Fri June 10 – 9:00 PM
Village East by Angelika: Theater 6
 
Sat June 11 – 9:45 PM
Village East by Angelika: Theater 4
 
Wed June 15 – 8:15 PM
Tribeca Film Center

BODY PARTS

This stellar documentary dives headfirst into the “reality” of sex scenes in Hollywood. In conversation with actresses, directors, and intimacy coordinators, Body Parts mixed social relevance and amazing editing to bring you into the bedrooms of some of the most iconic sex scenes in cinematic history. And that’s only the beginning of what this film tackles. Get ready for a lesson in industry intimacy.

DIRECTOR

Kristy Guevara-Flanagan

 
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS
Ruth Ann Harnisch, Abigail Disney, Daniel Chalfen, Adrienne Becker, Roger Clark
 
CAST
Jane Fonda, Joey Soloway, Angela Robinson, Karyn Kusama, Rose McGowan, David Simon.
 
Sun June 12 – 2:45 PM
Village East by Angelika: Theater 1
 
Mon June 13 – 8:15 PM
Tribeca Film Center
 
Tue June 14 – 6:00 PM
At Home

Only available in New York state

Thu June 16 – 9:00 PM
Cinépolis: Theater 6
 

THE YEAR BETWEEN

(US Narrative Competition) – Clemence Miller, played by comedian writer/director Alex Heller, is coming home to live in her family’s basement after dropping out of college with a newly diagnosed mental illness. Having to face her battered relationships and responsibilities of adulthood, she is driving everyone around her… crazy.

Alex Heller is a tour de force in this unapologetic and in-your-face indie. Wearing all the hats in this film as star, writer, director, and producer. 
 
DIRECTOR
Alex Heller
 
PRODUCER
Eugene Sun Park, Amanda Phillips, Sonya Lunsford, Rachel Gould, Caterin Camargo-Alvarez, Alex Heller
 
SCREENWRITER
Alex Heller
 
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Jason Chiu
 
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Adrienne Becker, Susanna Fogel, J. Smith-Cameron, HaJ
 
CAST
Alex Heller, J. Smith-Cameron, Steve Buscemi, Wyatt Oleff, Emily Robinson, Kyanna Simone, Rajeev Jacob, Waltrudis Buck
 
Sun June 12 – 5:30 PM
Village East by Angelika: Theater 1
 
Available Starting
Tue June 14 – 6:00 PM
At Home
 
Tue June 14 – 8:45 PM
Village East by Angelika: Theater 3
 
Fri June 17 – 9:00 PM
Cinépolis: Theater 6

NAKED GARDENS

(Documentary Competition) – An immersive film from filmmakers Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan (Pahokee), about the unseen world of nudism. Set in the Florida Everglades, NAKED GARDENS follows the stories of individuals drawn to this lifestyle and the dilemmas they face, as they prepare for the Midwinter Naturist Festival.

Charming and insightful, push your judgment aside and meet a community attempting to live and accept one another. They just happen to be nude.

DIRECTOR
Ivete Lucas, Patrick Bresnan
PRODUCER
Patrick Bresnan, Ivete Lucas, Tabs Breese, Julia Nottingham, Roberto Minervini, and Denise Ping Lee
SCREENWRITER
Ivete Lucas
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Patrick Bresnan
EDITOR
Ivete Lucas
 
Fri June 10 – 5:45 PM
Village East by Angelika: Theater 3
 
Sat June 11 – 5:15 PM
Tribeca Film Center
 
Thu June 16 – 5:45 PM
Village East by Angelika: Theater 3


AMERICAN DREAMER

Based on a true story. American Dreamer is the story of Dr. Phil Loder (Peter Dinklage), a low- level, adjunct professor of economics, whose grand dream of owning a home is tragically out of reach…until an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity comes his way when a lonely, near-death widow (Shirley MacLaine) offers Phil her sprawling estate for pennies. But Phil quickly learns the deal is too good to be true and the American dream is not quite what it used to be.

You had me and most viewers at Peter Dinklage. The man can do no wrong in my book and we’re beyond excited to see him tackle this role based on a true story.


Directed by: Paul Dektor
Written by: Theodore Melfi
Produced by: Toyo Shimano, Emily Shimano, Theodore Melfi, Kimberly Quinn, Peter Dinklage, David Ginsberg, Paul Dektor
Starring: Peter Dinklage, Shirley MacLaine, Matt Dillon, Danny Glover, Kimberly Quinn, Danny Pudi

RT: 106 Minutes

Public Screenings
Saturday, June 11, 2022, 8:00 PM at BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center
Tuesday, June 14, 2022, 5:30 PM at Village East Cinema: Theater 3
Friday, June 17, 2022, 3:00 PM at Village East Cinema: Theater 3



THERE THERE

World Premiere – Spotlight Category

Directed by: Andrew Bujalski
Starring: Jason Schwartzman, Lili Taylor, Molly Gordon, Lennie James, Avi Nash, Annie LaGanga 
Music by: Jon Natchez, Roy Nathanson

RT: 93 minutes

Ever wonder if falling in love again is worth the effort? If someone you cared about were crazy, or if you were crazy for caring? Could someone you trust destroy you while trying to support you, or vice versa? What if the boundaries were getting awfully blurred? Are we being judged for these choices, and who’s judging? Should we have another drink? Are we even communicating now, are we on the same planet, in the same time and place here?

A lover’s doubt in the cold light of morning leads to a chain of uneasy intimacies–counselors, disrupters, peacemakers, and firestarters–everyone looking to have a little faith rewarded.


Public Screening
Friday, June 10, 2022, 5:30PM at SVA Theater 2 Beatrice
Saturday, June 11, 2022, 6:00PM at Cinépolis: Theater 6
Friday, June 17, 2022, 3:45PM at Village East by Angelika: Theater 4



CORNER OFFICE

World Premiere – Spotlight Narrative Category 
 

Directed by: Joachim Back
Starring: Jon Hamm

RT: 101 minutes

CORNER OFFICE an absurdist tale of a man lost in his own space. Orson (Jon Hamm) is a corporate drone trying to move up in his newly acquired entry-level job who discovers a secret room in his drab, soul-crushing office building; a discovery that causes problems with his new colleagues (Danny Pudi and Sarah Gadon). Director Joachim Back’s Kafka-esque debut feature, adapted by Ted Kupper from Jonas Karlsson’s international best-selling novel The Room, explores how to be sane in a world gone mad.

Public Screenings

Thursday, June 9, 2022, 8:00 PM at BMCC Tribeca PAC
Friday, June 10, 2022, 3:00 PM at Cinépolis: Theater 6
Wednesday, June 15, 2022, 8:30 PM at Village East Cinema: Theater 1



THE COURTROOM

World Premiere – Online Premieres 

Directed by: Lee Sunday Evans
Executive Produced by: Lee Sunday EvansArian MoayedRyan ChanatryGena KonstantinakosAnne Carey
Starring: Marsha Stephanie BlakeMichael BraunKathleen ChalfantHanna CheekMichael ChernusMichael Bryan FrenchMick HilgersLinda PowellKristin VillanuevaBD Wong

 
RT: 87 Minutes
 
In this powerful drama from director Lee Sunday Evans and writer (and Succession breakout star) Arian Moayed, the legal thriller is given a bold and innovative new twist. Adapted verbatim from court transcripts, The Courtroom follows the harrowing journey of Elizabeth Keathley (Kristin Villanueva) a Filipina immigrant who mistakenly registers to vote while on a K3 visa, a crime punishable by deportation. Married with a newborn baby, Elizabeth, with the support of her husband and the tireless efforts of their lawyer, struggles to navigate an increasingly convoluted and nightmarish legal system.
 
Originally presented as a critically-acclaimed off-Broadway play, The Courtroom successfully captures the intensity and intimacy of live theater while also feeling undeniably cinematic. Audiences are thrown directly into Elizabeth’s story and through fluid, immersive direction and striking set design, experience her terror and desperation right alongside her. Evans and Moayed’s fascinating experiment with dramatic reenactment and hybrid storytelling is anchored by standout performances from an accomplished cast of actors – including BD Wong in a moving third act appearance – who bring genuine nuance and emotional heft to an already gripping true story.

Online Screening
Sunday, June 12, 2022, 8:00 PM


THE DROP 

World Premiere – US Narrative Competition

Written & Directed by: Sarah Adina Smith 
Produced by: Mel Eslyn, Jonako Donley, Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass
Starring: Jermaine Fowler, Anna Konkle, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Jillian Bell, Robin Thede, Elisha Henig, Jennifer Lafleur, Joshua Leonard, Aparna Nancherla

RT: 92 Minutes

Lex and Mani’s happy marriage is thrown into a tailspin when Lex accidentally drops their friend’s baby during an otherwise picturesque destination wedding weekend. While the baby is fine, the adults are not.  Lex’s mistake causes a crisis of confidence in those around her, challenging our most primal gender expectations.   

Can a relationship withstand the stress of when things get real? When things get “baby-on-the-pavement” real? 



Public Screenings
Saturday, June 11, 2022, 8:30 PM at SVA1 – Silas
Sunday, June 12, 2022, 9:00 PM at Cinepolis Chelsea -06
Friday, June 17, 2022,  9:30 PM at Village East Cinema -07


 NEXT EXIT 

DIRECTORMali Elfman
WRITERMali Elfman
CAST: Katie Parker, Rahul Kohli, Rose Mciver, Tongayi Chirisa, Tim Griffin, Diva Zappa, Nico Evers-Swindell, and Karen Gillan
 
SYNOPSIS: When a research scientist makes national news proving she can track people into the afterlife, Rose sees a way out and Teddy sees his chance to finally make it. These two strangers, both harboring dark secrets, race to join the doctor’s contentious study and leave this life behind. While Rose is haunted by a ghostly presence that she can’t outrun, Teddy is forced to confront his past. As these two misfits humorously quarrel their way across the country, they meet people along the way who force them to reckon with what is really driving them.
 
This genre-bending road trip film will get under your skin with its incredibly thoughtful performances. Parker and Kohli’s chemistry is cinematic magic. 
 
RUN TIME: 106 minutes
GENRE: Dramedy, Horror, Fantasy
 

TRIBECA PREMIERE DATE: June 10, 2022 / 6:15 p.m. ET / Village East by Angelika Theater 7 


TAURUS

DIRECTOR: Tim Sutton
WRITER:  Tim Sutton
CAST: Colson Baker, Maddie Hasson, Demetrius “Lil Meech” Flenory, Megan Fox, Ruby Rose, Scoot McNairy, Lil TJay, Naomi Wild
 
SYNOPSIS: A rising but troubled musician searches for the inspiration to record one last song, pushing himself deep into the void. A work of fiction that explores fame, addiction, the artistic process, and the music industry, Taurus is a soulful and universal cautionary tale. 
 
 Colson Baker ( AKA Machine Gun Kelly) gives an award-worthy performance. While described as a work of fiction, the story is a cautionary tale. 
 
RUN TIME: 95 Minutes
GENRE: Drama, Music
 

TRIBECA PREMIERE DATE: June 9, 2022 / 8 p.m. ET / Beacon Theatre


FOUR SAMOSAS

*WORLD PREMIERE**
 
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Ravi Kapoor
CAST: Venk Potula, Sonal Shah, Sharmita Bhattacharya, Nirvan Patnaik, Karan Soni, Summer Bishil, Meera Simhan


 
 Synopsis: Determined to disrupt the wedding of his ex-girlfriend by stealing her dowry, underachieving, wanna-be rapper Vinny and his neighborhood pals in LA’s “Little India” concoct a plan to take her family jewels from a supermarket safe.
 

Tribeca Film Festival 2022 In-Person Screening Info
– Friday, June 10th at 6:00pm ET at VEC-06 (181-189 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003) *World Premiere*
– Saturday, June 11th at 8:45pm ET at CIN-04 (260 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011)
– Saturday, June 18th at 2:45pm ET at CIN-04 (260 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011)
 
Tribeca Film Festival 2022 Online Screening Info
– Available online starting on June 12th at 6:00p EST


CHERRY

**WORLD PREMIERE**
 
DIRECTOR: Sophie Galibert
CAST: Alex Trewhitt, Joe Sachem, Dan Schultz, Sandy Duarte, Alice Bang, Hannah Alline, Melinda DeKay, Angela Nicholas, Charlie S. Jensen, Darius Levanté
 
 

Synopsis: Cherry, a driftless 25-year-old young woman discovers she is 11 weeks pregnant and has only 24 hours to make a consequential decision.
 

Tribeca Film Festival 2022 Online Screening Info
– Available online starting on June 11th at 6:00p EST

 


GOD SAVE THE QUEENS

**WORLD PREMIERE**

WRITER/DIRECTOR: Jordan Danger
CAST: Justin Andrew Honard AKA Alaska Thunderfuck, Jay Jackson AKA Laganja Estranja, Kelly Mantle, Jordan Michael Green, Peter Facinelli, Michelle Visage, Joaquim De Almeida, Lunell, Zack Gottsagen

Synopsis: A dramedy about four Drag Queens who find themselves at the very same therapy retreat. In an effort to overcome issues holding them back, they dissect their dilemmas, seen through vignettes of their lives. They discover common ground; Perhaps, it wasn’t serendipity that brought them together. Maybe they’re not alone? 


Tribeca 2022 Online Screening Info
– Available online starting on June 8th at 8:00p EST


YOU CAN LIVE FOREVER

**WORLD PREMIERE**
 
WRITER/DIRECTORS: Sarah Watts, Mark Slutsky
CAST: Anwen O’Driscoll, June Laporte, Liane Balaban, Deragh Campbell, Tim Campbell, Antoine Yared, Hasani Freeman
 

Synopsis: When lesbian teen Jaime is sent to live in a Jehovah’s Witness community, she falls hard for a devout Witness girl and the two embark on an intense affair with consequences that will reshape the rest of their lives. 


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 In-Person Screening Info
– Saturday, June 11th at 5:30p ET at VEC-06 (181-189 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003) *World Premiere*
– Sunday, June 12th at 2:30p ET at VEC-06 (181-189 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003) 
– Tuesday, June 14th at 9:00p ET at VEC-06 (181-189 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003)
 

The Integrity of Joseph Chambers

Desperate to acquire the skills necessary to provide for his family in case of an apocalypse, insurance salesman Joseph Chambers goes deer hunting for the first time ever, alone, when his experienced buddy is too sick to join him.
 
DIRECTOR
Robert Machoian
 
PRODUCER
Clayne Crawford, Kiki Crawford, Robert Machoian
 
SCREENWRITER
Robert Machoian
 
 
CAST
Clayne Crawford, Jordana Brewster, Jeffrey Dean Morgan
 
WORLD PREMIERE – Thursday, June 9th, 5:30 PM at SVA Theater 2 Beatrice

Subject

SUBJECT explores the life-altering experience of sharing one’s life on screen through key participants of acclaimed documentaries The Staircase, Hoop Dreams, The Wolfpack, Capturing the Friedmans, and The Square. These erstwhile documentary “stars” reveal the highs and lows of their experiences as well as the everyday realities of having their lives put under a microscope. Also featuring commentary from influential names in the doc world, the film unpacks vital issues around the ethics and responsibility inherent in documentary filmmaking. As tens of millions of people consume documentaries in an unprecedented “golden era,” SUBJECT urges audiences to consider the often profound impact on their participants.

DIRECTOR
Jennifer Tiexiera, Camilla Hall
 
PRODUCER
Camilla Hall, Jennifer Tiexiera, Joe Caterini
 
SCREENWRITER
Jennifer Tiexiera, Camilla Hall, and Lauren Saffa
 
 
CAST
Arthur Agee, Ahmed Hassan, Margie Ratliff, Michael Peterson, Mukunda Angulo, Jesse Friedman, Elaine Friedman, Lisa Walsh, Susanne Reisenbichler
 
Sat June 11 – 4:30 PM
SVA Theater 2 Beatrice

At this time, SVA Theatre requires proof of vaccination for entry. Masks must be worn at all times. More Info

Mon June 13 – 5:30 PM
Cinépolis: Theater 4
 
Sat June 18 – 3:00 PM
Cinépolis: Theater 6

Don’t forget to check in here at Reel News Daily throughout the fest for reviews, photos, insights, and shared content from our amazing friends at UnseenFilms!

The 2022 Tribeca Festival will take place across the city from June 8-19.


Review: ‘BALONEY’- Joshua Guerci’s documentary about San Francisco’s only Gay All-Male burlesque troupe is magnetic, intimate, and hilarious.

Baloney follows San Francisco’s wildly popular Gay All-Male Burlesque show over 18 months as the group rehearses for New Year’s Eve 2020. Told through the eyes of the group’s co-founders, as well as the larger ensemble, the film contemplates the struggles that come with being a performing artist in San Francisco, the most expensive city in North America. Through a mix of interviews, rehearsal footage, and filmed performances, Baloney captures the group’s unique combination of humor, confession, and sex positivity in ways that directly reflect the private fantasies of people who come to the show. It’s also a story of the people who choose to perform in Baloney who, like their audience, find themselves in a world that constantly silences kinky, queer, and gender non-conforming people. Finally, it spotlights that real failure in life is often not doing that thing you know you need to do or being the person you know you need to be. Even if that thing is daring to be an artist!


Equal parts sincerity, sexuality, and soul – Baloney takes a deep look behind the scenes of San Francisco’s only Gay All-Male burlesque troupe. Joshua Guerci’s documentary follows this scrappy team as they plan, practice, and perform. Led by co-creators and real-life partners Michael Phillis and Rory Davis, the troop crafts performances that delight their audiences while offering insights across the wide spectrum that is the gay and queer male experience.

I marveled at the editing of this documentary (75 minutes!) Guerci’s team seamlessly transitions from practice to performance in a way that energizes the audience while still giving a deep appreciation for the vision and artists involved.

This documentary leaves you asking a lot of questions. Some are likely to be practical and hilarious (like, how do you wash beans out of your hair, or, did you maybe miss all the queer innuendos in Star Trek?) But others are more serious. I left Baloney with one question at the forefront of my mind: what does it mean to really suffer for your art?

Nearly every member of Baloney has a substantial day job. Everyone talks about their passion for the arts and the power of this burlesque troupe and wishes that they could make Baloney their sole focus, if only they could afford it. Now, plenty of people want to quit their day jobs and take off for Broadway or the hills of Hollywood. The context here is important. Baloney’s performance venues are shown to be sold-out, sure, but always humble in size and scale. They even have a great song poking fun at themselves on this. The energy and community of the shows seem to draw the performers back, just as much as it does for the audience members. 

The performers making up the troupe are magnetic. Guerci’s candid style further breaks down walls and makes the interviews feel intimate and informal. He speaks with them as they prepare breakfast or while they lounge together in bed. I particularly loved Andrew Slade, who leverages his past education in animation and video game design to hilarious burlesque effect.

Michael and Rory, who on paper have captured that elusive dream-job as day-job balance, are still shown to wobble. They are, at once, a producer, casting expert, director, and performer. They even provide rehearsal space out of their San Francisco apartment. There is a tragic irony that San Francisco proudly celebrates its queer and artistic legacy while simultaneously making it nearly impossible for those communities to endure and thrive within its borders.

Watch Baloney, and you’ll see some flat-out great burlesque numbers. But there’s much more here that will keep you thinking long after the final curtain call.


Baloney (2021) – Official Trailer from Joshua Guerci on Vimeo.

Baloney debuts June 7 across North America and will be available on a number of digital and cable platforms, including iTunes, Amazon Video, Vudu, Spectrum, and inDemand.


Los Angeles, CA – 13th Gen and Gravitas Ventures are proud to present Baloney, Joshua Guerci’s no-holds-barred documentary chronicling 18 months in the life of Baloney, a mostly male, mostly naked, very erotic San Francisco burlesque troupe. The clothing-optional documentary made its world premiere at Frameline and went on to inspire audiences at Outfest Los Angeles, Seattle Queer Film Festival, Cinema Diverse Palm Springs, Winnipeg Reel Pride Film Festival, TLVFest: Tel Aviv LGBT Film Festival, Boston Wicked Queer LGBTQ+ Film Festival, and Tampa Bay International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. At RuPaul’s DragCon Los Angeles, the film is nominated for Best Documentary.


 

Fantaspoa 2022 review: World premiere of Argentinian horror ‘LEGIONS’ is bound to delight Evil Dead fans.

LEGIONS


Antonio is a sorcerer from a powerful bloodline, trapped in an asylum against his will. After an omen informs him that his daughter will be sacrificed by an evil entity, he must use his magical skills to escape and save her.


Writer-director Fabián Forte brings the world premiere of his new film LEGIONS to Fantaspoa 2022. A family line of demon fighters is threatened by the one horror that got away. Institutionalized patriarch Antonio’s stories are written off as delusion. With the help of his fellow patients, he must escape, track down, and protect his estranged daughter, Elena, before it’s too late. 

The film’s structure creates its engrossing narrative with flashbacks. Folklore and mysticism pull you into the characters’ backgrounds. Performances are spectacular. Antonio’s hospital crew will make you grin from ear to ear. Their energy is enchanting. Bravo, to each of them. Lorena Vega as Elena is everything we need her to be. Dripping with trauma, it’s a brilliant turn. German De Silva plays present-day Antonio with ferocious tenacity and innocent charm. I will watch him in anything.

The thoughtful score from Pablo Fuu strikes a perfect balance between playful and dread. The SFX from Marcos Berta Studios and visual effects from Andres Borghi is super cool (voodoo doll, I’m looking at you, buddy.) The script has everything occult, from protection spells to full-blown possession. The dual device of a stage play makes everything more fun, adding levity to the more intense aspects of the story. The unapologetic bits of camp mixed with phenomenal practical FX is a damn delight. Legions will be pure entertainment for Fantaspoa 2022 audiences. 


LEGIONS screened as part of Fantaspoa 2022.

For more information on the festival, please visit www.fantaspoa.com.


Fantaspoa 2022 review: ‘SUBJECT’ is a uniquely mesmerizing fantasy.

SUBJECT

A famous novelist moves into a house near an isolated, strange village in an attempt to break his writers block. Soon, ideas emerge – as do strange sightings and mysterious pages, seemingly written by the former resident of the house


Attempting to ward off writer’s block, Max’s agent rents him a house in a small, isolated village. When Max finds his words in an old notebook inside the writing desk, it’s the beginning of pure chaos. Mystery compounds as the enigmatic yet cheerful townspeople come into contact with Max. Everyone in this town is slightly off-kilter. Writer-director Leo Falcão has done a splendid job keeping you on your toes, playing with language and magical realism. 

Is Max experiencing madness like Jack Torrance in The Shining? Something strange haunts this town, and Max is the only one out of the loop. Performances across the board are wonderful. I felt as if I were attending a ping pong match as I watched these fully fleshed-out characters coexist with Max. I needed to solve the complexities of the story. Falcão understands how to hold the viewer in the palm of his hand.

The costumes are like eye candy. With colors that pop, they have a strategic effect akin to Beetlejuice. The cinematic framing draws you into the already engaging narrative. The camera leads you to clues placing you inside the mystery like a passerby on the street. It’s immersive and ceaselessly intriguing. With an ending I did not see coming, Fantaspoa 2022 audiences will find themselves scratching their heads but unable to take their eyes off the screen. SUBJECT completely enchanted me. 


SUBJECT screened as part of Fantaspoa 2022.

For more information on the festival, please visit www.fantaspoa.com.


Fantaspoa 2022 review: ‘HOLY SHIT!’ is gag-worthy greatness.

HOLY SHIT!

A bloodied architect regains consciousness inside a locked portable toilet and soon realizes that he needs to find a way out of there or he’ll be blown up within the hour.


Ingenuity and one hell of a plot make Fantaspoa 2022 selection Holy Shit! one of the most fun films this year. Frank is locked in an overturned porta-potty, his forearm pierced by a thin piece of rebar. With only his wits about him, Frank must escape within 30 minutes to escape certain death by explosives outside of the four small, grotesque walls he finds himself trapped inside. Grasping anything at his disposal, Frank must MacGyver his way to safety, all while recollecting how he got in this predicament in the first place. 

The visceral tension created by writer-director Lukas Rinker is exacerbated by the superb performance of our leading man, Thomas Niehaus. He is nothing short of captivating. Together, they’ve made Holy Shit! a truly riveting story. You’ll yell at the screen in frustration, sweat as the minutes tick off, and cheer for the small victories along the way. Who would have thought a film about a man trapped inside a porta-potty would ignite that much emotion? It’s bizarrely brilliant.


HOLY SHIT! screened as part of Fantaspoa 2022.

For more information on the festival, please visit www.fantaspoa.com.


HOT DOCS 2022 review: ‘Images Of A Nordic Drama’ pits art lovers against the art world.

IMAGES OF A NORDIC DRAMA

Who would have ever guessed that the discovery of paintings by an unknown Norwegian artist would cause such upheaval in the art world? When art collector Haakon Mehren was led to a barn filled with oversized canvases, his jaw immediately hit the floor. Who was this artist? After some sleuthing, Mehren introduces the world to Aksel Waldemar Johannessen, an unapologetic alcoholic who did the unthinkable. Johannessen painted the poor, often using his image mixed with dark and twisted imagery of inner turmoil.

Self-portrait painted by Aksel Waldemar Johannessen

Art is subjective, but there is undoubtedly a most elite shroud in curating. Norway’s most coveted paintings never before depicted the lower class. Their claim to fame was Edvard Munch. If you know even a sliver about art, you can immediately conjure the image of “The Scream.” The curatorial staff at the National Museum and gatekeepers of the Munch Museum immediately pushed back on adding the works to Norway’s collective narrative. Mehren made it his life’s mission to share Johannessen’s artistic contributions, scheduling exhibitions throughout Europe. The public’s reaction was overwhelmingly delightful. That only fueled the fire from Norway’s elite.

Director Nils Gaup uses a gorgeous score while repeatedly showcasing Johannessen’s paintings. This distinctive choice brings due awe to each piece. There’s no denying that some of the work is frightening, while others are simply breathtaking. The variety of subjects is astounding. You will find yourself lost in them. IMAGES OF A NORDIC DRAMA is the perfect addition to this year’s HOT DOCS 2022 lineup. If you weren’t an art lover before, get ready for your world is about to change.

The painting “Man on a diving board” by Aksel Waldemar Johannessen. This painting was exhibited at The Met.


HOT DOCS 2022 Link to buy tickets:

https://hotdocs.ca/whats-on/hot-docs-festival/films/2022/images-of-a-nordic-drama

@hotdocs #HotDocs22


HOT DOCS 2022 FESTIVAL SCREENINGS:
PUBLIC SCREENINGS:

Saturday, April 30 at 11:30 am
Location: Varsity 8 (55 Bloor Street West)

Thursday, May 5 at 8:45 pm
Location: Varsity 8 (55 Bloor Street West)

Running Time: 71 minutes

Language: English, German, Norwegian

Country: Norway, Germany (Feature Documentary)


Festival review: Kelsey Peterson’s personal documentary ‘MOVE ME’ inspires.

MOVE ME

At 27, Kelsey Peterson dove into Lake Superior, off the shores of Wisconsin, and emerged paralyzed. Now, the former dancer struggles to redefine who she is while adapting to life with a disability. At the intersection of acceptance and hope, Kelsey unexpectedly finds herself facing an opportunity to dance again, showing her a new path toward acceptance, all the while grappling with a decision to participate in a cutting-edge clinical trial that could bring her much-desired change — forcing her to evaluate the possibilities of her recovery, body, and spirit.

In Move Me, a first-time filmmaker with a disability simultaneously takes the reins behind the scenes, while revealing her inner revolution through raw storytelling onscreen.


Dancer and choreographer Kelsey Peterson was paralyzed from the chest down after diving into shallow waters. In conjunction with a friend injured in the same manner, Kelsey decides to dance for the first time since her accident by creating a unique piece of choreography. Her documentary feature MOVE ME is a portrait of a woman attempting to reclaim her identity.

The combination of home movies, rehearsals, and scenes from her daily life create a raw picture of Kelsey’s existence. Kelsey explains that after the accident, she realized that the world does not accommodate her current state. This singular statement makes MOVE ME so much more profound for able-body viewers. When you see the rehearsal restroom, the irony is exhausting. 

MOVE ME doesn’t simply tell the tale of a single dance. Kelsey navigates her father’s declining health while simultaneously researching the possibility of joining an experimental trial. She speaks with other participants, discovering that it’s not all positive outcomes. Uncertainty looms large as Kelsey weighs her options. She holds nothing back, tackling everything from bowel function to sexual sensation.

“A Cripple’s Dance” bases pieces of its choreography on Kelsey and Gabe’s moments of impact and what followed in the water. The intimacy of the camera work is visceral. Gabe’s lyrics are profoundly beautiful and hit you in the heart like a dagger. The result will give you chills. 

This film was personal for me. I began dancing at the age of three. Since then, I have competed, choreographed, and expressed myself through movement. When I lost some of my abilities from an emergency appendectomy and then years later, a neck injury, I was devastated. I remember the grief of losing those lifelong skills, talents that came without thought as they were muscle memory. Let me be clear I am able-bodied. You would not know I was in pain by the way I move through the day. I cannot begin to fathom the strength Kelsey Peterson possesses daily. Her positive outlook and relentless optimism drive her film. To me, she’s fearless. She’s sort of my hero. MOVE ME makes me appreciate my body’s movement tenfold.


Co-Directors: Kelsey Peterson, Daniel Klein

Producers: Kelsey Peterson, Daniel Klein, Madeline Brown

Executive Producers: Lois Vossen, Sally Jo Fifer, Joanna Rudnick

Cinematographer: Brennan Vance

Editor: Nico Bovat


Festival Screening Info:
Full Frame Documentary FF (World Premiere)
Streaming April 7 -10, 2022
 
Reel Abilities FF New York
Streaming April 7 -13, 2022
In-Person Screening Tues. April 12, 8:00pm
Film Info:

Cleveland International Film Festival 2022 review: Anna Baumgarten’s ‘DISFLUENCY’ speaks volumes. #CIFF46

DISFLUENCY

SYNOPSIS:
After unexpectedly failing her final college class due to a traumatic personal event, Jane, an aspiring speech pathologist, retreats home to her parent’s lake house in the hometown she grew up in. Her older sister and friends, as well as an old high school crush, soften the burden of failure, inspiring her to embrace the carefree summer as she tries to sort out what to do next. She also rekindles an old friendship with her neighbor Amber, a single mother with a difficult toddler, utilizing her skills and knowledge to help her connect with her son. Jane, however, fights through PTSD and imposter syndrome as she attempts to piece together what exactly happened in order to unravel the emotional and psychological tangle that’s been haunting her as she finds a path forward toward the never-ending process of healing.


Writer-director Anna Baumgarten has a way with words. In her new film Disfluency, their weight is unfathomable. After flunking her final college course, aspiring speech therapist Jane navigates her next steps at her parent’s lake house. Struggling to reveal her motives for failure, she makes her friends and family her test subjects, studying how others use language. Jane slowly works her way to catharsis over the summer months, wearing every possible emotion on her sleeve. Disfluency is the perfect title for a film that’s bound to captivate a massive audience. Words have power and how we express them is life-changing.

Beautifully grounded performances make you fall for these characters. Discovering that actress Ariela Barer is Libe’s real-life sister makes so much sense now. As Lacy, she is hilarious, and I would be remiss not to mention her. Their chemistry is electric. Don’t assume for one second she only exists for comic relief. Lacy is a catalyst for healing.

PTSD is something that never truly leaves you. As a sexual assault survivor, I can attest to the flashbacks and how my trauma affected my relationships moving forward. It’s a permanent piece of my psyche. I understand why women don’t come forward, even to family. Not until #MeToo became mainstream did I reveal my hurt to family, and even that occurred via social media. Jane’s functionality in Disfluency mimics mine. PTSD is often an unseen burden.

Chelsea Alden‘s portrayal of Amber was also personal to me. From the sadness on her face to the eagerness to learn, I felt that performance and the care Alden brings to Amber. As a Mother of a neurodivergent son now in Kindergarten, his language delay was something I suspected early on. I remember the fear in my body when he failed his initial hearing test in the NICU. In the end, that wasn’t the issue after all. Lucky for us, his pediatrician flagged him at 18 months. Two weeks after his second birthday, he had five days a week of ABA and speech services. Now he’s a thriving, sweet, curious, and brilliant little boy. The screenplay utilizes sign language. Featured in an emotionally climactic scene that tears your heart out, it’s one of this year’s most impactful cinematic moments. 

Libe Barer, as Jane, nails every single beat, working through gaslighting, second-guessing, victim-shaming, depression, anger, and everything in between. The script gives Barer the space to explore all the complexities accompanying trauma. In a breathtaking monologue, Barer says it all, quite literally. It’s a wave of emotional nuance that packs one hell of a punch. 

With tight visual flashbacks and accidental therapy sessions in the form of slick dialogue, Baumgarten provides a conversation starter for many. It’s easy to see why it won Best Narrative Film at Oxford FF. Disfluency tackles the boundless intricacies of communication. It’s a must-see.


Screening information (VIRTUAL):
Sunday, April 10 at 11:00AM
Sunday, April 17 at 11:59PM

Ticketing information:
https://www.clevelandfilm.org/films/2022/disfluency?fbclid=IwAR0J0cyFMWDN56qzc0YXuzE-UtazQi9SWpwlxX_RmgDve9SJyMyxEZ3a6mU

ABOUT THE FILM:
Based on the 2018 award-winning short film, DISFLUENCY just won the 2022 Oxford Film Festival Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature, which followed last year’s 2021 Austin Film Festival Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature Film.

Director/Writer:                      Anna Baumgarten
Producers:                    Danny Mooney, Elaine Hastings Edell
Executive Producers:           Ben Wiessner, Jim Cummings, Alex Rudolph, Chicago Media Angels
Editor:                       Kevin Birou
Cinematographer:                 John Fisher
Music:                                     Nathan Alexander
Cast:                         Libe Barer, Ariela Barer, Chelsea Alden, Dylan Arnold,
Travis Tope, Kimiko Singer, Molly Hagan, Ricky Wayne,
Diana De La Cruz, Wayne David Parker
TRT:                                      95 min
Country:                      USA

SXSW 2022 review from Unseen Films: ‘SPAZ’

SPAZ

SPAZ is a portrait of Steve ‘Spaz’ Williams,  one of the forces in computer animation. His work on films like the ABYSS, TERMINATOR 2, and JURASSIC PARK changed movies and the world forever. The doc is good but rather by the numbers tale for a guy who never was by the numbers. A man who loved life and loved doing things his way chaffed in the studio system, and his antics, such as often crashing George Lucas’ office made the suits want to fire him, but his abilities kept him out of trouble. The problem with the film is that much of this is standard issue bio but focused on Williams. Only when we get to Williams chaffing at the suits getting credit and awards for the work of his and other animators that the film comes to life. Legendary filmmaker Dennis Muren comes off looking like an ass since its clear that people like Williams were the real geniuses at work (Muren apparently told Williams not to do the T-rex animation that proved computers could do all the effects on JURASSIC PARK.)

While never bad it is is probably going to be best for animation junkies.


You can see more of Steve’s SXSW22 coverage at Unseen Films


SXSW 2022 review from Unseen Films: ‘CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH’

CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH

My feeling toward Cooper Raiff’s CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH is summed up by the warning one learns very early when going to or following the news out of film festivals, which is beware anything anyone tells you because it is invariably wrong. More times than not writers, myself included, are caught up in the moment and something you see produces a reaction that over-sells the film. Such is the case with CHA CHA, a film many of my friends oversold when it played at Sundance.

Director Cooper Raiff plays a young man, just out of college who is stuck working at Meat Stick and acting as a guy who can get people to have a good time at various parties. He meets Dakota Johnson and her daughter at one and is smitten. They bond despite her having a fiance in Barcelona. What will happen?

How you feel about the film will be determined by how you feel about Raiff as a leading man and his technique behind the camera. Looking like a younger David Tennant but with 50% less charm and zero weight, Raiff wanders through the film in a part that makes him seem like a gee-whiz sweet guy that everyone likes. Gosh darn it, why can’t he get his life together. Its a saccharine part of the sort that only exists in “you can’t be serious” romantic comedies. This results in moments that had they been played by any other actor or written by any other writer might have seemed remotely real instead of artificial.

And it’s a shame because Dakota Johnson and Vanessa Burghardt as her daughter are magnificent. They take roles that shouldn’t work as written and turn them into something special. They are what make the film work as well as it does.

Yes, despite my bitching the film works as disposable romance. But it should have been better. It also should have had a different ending which seems to be there just to give the proceedings weight. Forgive me, while it may be slightly logical, Johnson is engaged after all, it feels out of place. Yes I know it’s the result of the film being from Raiff’s character’s POV, but it seems wrong and out of left field like many serious works of literature that go serious in the final pages/minutes. But what annoys me is the whole thing outside of Johnson and Burghardt are not far removed from a sitcom so it didn’t have to end real. (Yes know it’s foreshadowed in conversations but it still seems wrong to me)

Worth a look for Dakota Johnson fans or those who want to have their socks knocked off by newcomer Vanessa Burghardt. Everyone else you’re on your own.


To see more #SXSW22 coverage from Steve, head over to Unseen Films


CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH will make its global premiere on Apple TV+ later this year.


SXSW 2022 review from Unseen Films: ‘DIO DREAMERS NEVER DIE’ transcends the notion of what a music documentary is supposed to be.

 DIO DREAMERS NEVER DIE

 DIO DREAMERS NEVER DIE was not one of the films I picked for the SXSW dance card. It was so low on my must-watch list as not to be on it. Frankly, I had no idea the film was playing at all. Then somehow I noticed it when I was putting things on and off my must-see list and added it simply because it fits a slot.

As with most of the films I loved out of SXSW which I just added because it fit, it turned out to be one of the best films at the festival. Actually, it may be a top three or four film of the fest for me, and possibly one of the best films of 2022.

The film is a portrait of Ronnie James Dio who was born Ronald James Padavona in 1942. He began playing the trumpet before starting in the sort of bands you’d expect in the 1950s.  Then influenced by Deep Purple he changed the sort of music he was playing before shaking the pillars of heaven in groups like Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and Dio.

This film transcends the notion of what a music documentary is supposed to be. This is a portrait of the man from birth to death with everything in between. All his music is represented, yea even the early stuff, here with a result we truly realize what the man was doing musically. It also is a lovely portrait of the man who is seen to be a guy who stuck to his guns, helped anyone on the way up where he could, even if it was a kind word, and he was a man who loved his fans. The story is told of Dio going on tour and meeting fans and blowing them away by remembering, after years, who they were and what they talked about in prior encounters. He loved his fans and they loved him.

Yes, the film is primarily full of heavy metal music, but don’t let that worry you, it’s never there just to be there. Dio’s music is not used just to play it but for effect and to illustrate what he was doing musically. They pull his lyrics apart and you realize just how stupid the religious nuts who tried to claim his work was Satanic were. Yea it was driving music but he was telling people they mattered.

This film stunned me from the first frames. I expected to like it but I never expected to fall madly in love with the film and the man. It’s so good that I want to know more.  Honestly, I am not more in love with his music, he was never one of my favorites, but I am in utter awe of the man.

This is truly one of the best music docs I’ve seen.

I can’t recommend this film enough. One of the highlights of SXSW


Directors:

Don Argott, Demian Fenton

Executive Producer:

Kathy Rivkin Daum, Wendy Dio

Producer:

Don Argott, Sheena M. Joyce

Cinematographer:

Don Argott

Editor:

Demian Fenton

Music:

Nick Bassett

Principal Cast:

Ronnie James Dio, Wendy Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward, Vinny Appice, Lita Ford, Rob Halford, Sebastian Bach, Eddie Trunk


To read more of Steve’s SXSW 22 coverage, head over to Unseen Films


SXSW 2022 review: ‘JETHICA’ kills it with humor and uniqueness.

JETHICA

Hiding out in New Mexico after a freak accident, Elena runs into Jessica, an old friend from high school. When Jessica’s stalker suddenly shows up at their door, they must seek help from beyond the grave to get rid of him, for good.


JETHICA contains a unique screenplay structure. After the twist comes to light, we slowly realize certain aspects were in our faces from the very beginning. And while we’re dealing with the legit issue of stalking- viewers who’ve experienced any of this behavior will shudder- you’ll simultaneously find your moral compass in knots. This feeling is 100 percent due to the relentless energy of Will Madden. His longwinded, manic dialogue is like watching a tweaker come down from bath salts, sans the eating people’s faces. 

I love how badass Callie Hernandez and Ashley Denise Robinson are together. Their teamwork is all lady power. The relationship between Elena and Jessica is breezy and genuine. Not an ounce of judgy fuckery. As for Andy Faulkner, you’ll fall in love with him. The nonchalance from the entire cast made me guffaw. Writer-director Peter Ohs‘ decision to fully collaborate with his actors makes me love it even more, going so far as giving them writing credit. It speaks volumes to Ohs’ instincts. 

Jethica is difficult to describe in the sense that what I want to say is, “Just shut your stupid mouth and watch this brilliant piece of genre obliterating magic.” (*Insert Futurama Meme “Shut Up and Take My Money”) It’s a film that speaks for itself as it progresses. It’s weird and wonderful and has “cult classic” written all over it. So yeah, I liked it a lot.


Check out  a brand new clip from JETHICA:

A supernatural dark comedy like you’ve never seen, JETHICA was shot in New Mexico in January 2021, in the midst of the pandemic, and world premieres at SXSW in the Visions section. JETHICA boldly blends and bends genres, all at once shining as a sharp comedy and dire stalker thriller with an undead edge.

The third feature from Pete Ohs, one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 2013 ‘25 New Faces of Independent Film’ and co-director of the award-winning Julia Garner lead sci-fi fable Everything Beautiful Is Far Away, the film stars Austin-raised actress Callie Hernandez (The Flight Attendant, Blair Witch [2016]), Will Madden (Beast Beast, The Wolf Of Snow Hollow), Ashley Denise Robinson (Taking Stock), and Andy Faulkner (Youngstown).

Conceived and created through radical approaches to filmmaking, Pete Ohs continues to push the boundaries of indie film, collaborating with his four leads on the script and story of JETHICA, each of whom shares writing credits, and editing the feature live last year on Twitch.


To Learn More About SXSW22 click here!


SXSW 2022 review: Gracie Otto and Krew Boylan take on Dolly Parton, big hair, and even bigger dreams in ‘Seriously Red’

SERIOUSLY RED

This infectious homage to tribute performers focuses on a quirky redheaded young woman whose passion in life has been the songs and personality of Miss Dolly Parton. While she’s has a patterned history of screwing up, Red is a bold, kind-hearted spirit determined to make it as a Dolly impersonator. As her star rises, so does her self-esteem, affecting her personal life, for better or worse. 

Flashy sequins and blonde wings aside, deep down, the film is about self-actualization. The things we try and disguise from others and ourselves. When I was younger, someone asked me why I performed. “Is it because you’re hiding behind those characters?” First, I was offended. Then I thought about it. It was the perfect opportunity to try on someone new. But, Seriously Red is also about having the bravery to do what you love. 

Bobby Cannavale, Rose Byrne, Celeste Barber, Daniel Webber, and Thomas Campbell give superb performances. Seriously Red lives and breathes in screenwriter and star Krew Boylan. She brings unbridled nuance to Red. Comedy timing from the gods, slapstick chops, and a voice for days, Boylan owns every scene. You can’t take your eyes off of her.

The energy never fades, with glorious musical numbers (live and choreographed fantasy sequences.) This film will resonate with an audience wider than Dolly fans. While we revel in the legend’s words throughout the script, the themes stand undoubtedly on their own. Seriously Red will make you smile from ear to ear.


To Learn More About SXSW22 click here!