‘THIS REALLY HAPPENED’ (Tribeca 2024) The delirious dating dilemma is REALLY that good

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THIS REALLY HAPPENED

This Really Happened

NOW PROGRAM 
WORLD PREMIERE

This hilariously relatable and immersive short captures the nightmare that dating has become with an added element of surprise. In the Tribeca 2024 short film, THIS REALLY HAPPENED, Kate and Zoe break the 4th wall in one giant fantasy retelling of their unfortunately shared experience.

Abubakr Ali is effortlessly charming as Boy. His authentic interest and quirky, but completely believable, delivery of the dialogue make him a star. His chemistry with AbiAssi and Prosterman is magnetic.

Speaking of our leading ladies, Kallen Prosterman‘s portrayal of Kate fits every characteristic of an actor in NYC. I should know. I too attended a “fancy theatre school.” Olivia AbiAssi plays her brilliant foil in Zoe. Her self-deprecating stand-up routine perfectly captures her personality. It only makes sense that they write the script and play themselves. It is entirely lived-in viewing.

THIS REALLY HAPPENED has all the potential for a spectacular series. It begs for your attention. Director Emily Cohn deserves notice for helming their hilarity. This team of women earns your eyes and time in a slew of great Tribeca 2024 shorts programming. I’m looking at you Tribeca Creators Market. You’ve got potential gold in this one.

27 MINUTES | English | 2024 | NOT RATED

Cast & Credits:
Director: Emily Cohn
Project Creator: Olivia AbiAssi & Kallen Prosterman
Producer: Olivia AbiAssi, Kallen Prosterman, Emily Cohn & Allison Joy Gale
Screenwriter: Olivia AbiAssi & Kallen Prosterman
Cinematographer: Alexander Roque Petersen
Editor: Kate Pedatella

Based on a true story, Kate and Zoe, two young creatives in the throes of new love, have discovered they’ve been dating the same person: “BOY.” Determined to produce some kind of brilliant revenge project, they recount their experiences in filmed interviews and fantastical flashbacks full of (literal) red flags. But will this process turn out to be more cathartic or soul-crushing?

Remaining Screenings of THIS REALLY HAPPENED:

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!

‘Can’ & YATCH- ‘My Idea’ (SXSW 2024) one director, mesmerizing vision

SXSW 2024 color logo

CAN

CAN poster SXSW 2024Filmmaker Kailee McGee shares snapshots of her innermost thoughts on her journey with breast cancer. Tongue in cheek, manic, clever, stream of consciousness, unfiltered, and hilariously meta, CAN feels revelatory. It is celebratory irreverence. McGee makes her situation relatable and palpable. She is raw and funny as hell. I would 1000% watch a feature-length version. It has that “it” factor, and McGee owns every bit of its magic.

Can SXSW 2024 still

Credits

Director:

Kailee McGee

Producer:

JP Bolles, Kailee McGee

Screenwriter:

Kailee McGee

Cinematographer:

Patrick Jones

Editor:

Rich Costales, Kailee McGee

Production Designer:

Rose Curry

Sound Designer:

Travis Prater

Music:

Andrew Orkin

Principal Cast:

Kailee McGee, Mamoudou Athie, Whitmer Thomas, Ellyn Jameson, Greta Titelman, Nori Reed

Additional Credits:

Sound Recordist: Dave McKeever, Art Director: Tahryn Smith, Art Director: Conor Brown, Hair & Makeup: Christina Spina, Additional Editing: Mike Giambra

 

SXSW logo

MY IDEA

MY IDEA poster SXSW 2024

The video features a performer perpetually dressed in a mo-cap suit. It is what my brain imagines Andy Serkis‘ life to be in his nightmares. Alex Karpovsky delivers a charming performance. You can feel the yearning for freedom.

YATCH‘s track is super catchy. Kailee McGee proves, for the 2nd time at this year’s fest, that she possesses unbridled creativity. Reteaming with editor Rich Costales is chef’s kiss. They clearly understand each other’s vision. Give her all the jobs.

Credits

Director:

Kailee McGee

Executive Producer:

Adam Lisagor

Producer:

Kailee McGee, Nichole Luna, Rich Costales

Screenwriter:

Kailee McGee

Cinematographer:

Connor Heck

Editor:

Rich Costales

Production Designer:

Tahryn Smith

Sound Designer:

Dave McKeever

Music:

YACHT

Principal Cast:

Alex Karpovsky, Claire L. Evans, Jona Bechtolt, Rob Kieswetter, Kailee McGee

Additional Credits:

Hair & Make-Up: Christina Spina, 1st AD: Jason Lawliss, Choreography: Maritza Navarro, Color by: Beau Leon, VFX: Sandwich Video, MoCap Costume by: Francesca Roth, Set Dresser: Conor Brown, Prop Master: Graham Anderson, TED Talk Script by: Claire L. Evans

For all things SXSW 2024, click here!


Punk AF ‘Secret Mall Apartment’ (SXSW 2024) Living in art.

SXSW 2024 color logoSECRET MALL APARTMENT

Secret Mall Apartment SXSW 2024

In 2003, eight Rhode Island artists created a secret apartment inside the busy Providence Place Mall and lived there for four years, filming everything along the way. They snuck in furniture, tapped into the mall’s electricity, and even constructed a wall, smuggling in more than two tons of cinderblock. Far more than just a wild prank, the secret apartment became a deeply meaningful place for its inhabitants.


In SECRET MALL APARTMENT, Jeremy Workman brings SXSW 2024 audiences a fun doc filled with hush-hush happenings and punk rock actions. Inside Providence Place Mall, between the years 2003 – 2007, magic happened.

It all started when four artists lost their creative space. Adriana Valdez Young, Andrew Oesch, Jay Zehngebot, and Michael Townsend decided to do something no one had ever thought of. After noticing the odd construction of Providence Place Mall, they took their artistic exploration to an entirely new level, quite literally. Upon discovering unused space in the building, they defied authority and moved into the mall.

The clandestine operation led by Michael, whose footage from an early digital camera comprises most of the film, is nothing short of badass. The never-before-seen footage gives us all the goods, from planning to creation, including the earnest acrobatics of moving furniture purchased at The Salvation Army. With handheld cement blocks, triggered alarms, and pure gumption they created a piece of art and dwelling. The group acknowledges their white privilege in their ability to get away with this stunt.

The film is not simply a story of their mall apartment but the impactful works they created throughout the North East, like making a tape art outline of those lost in NYC on 9/11. This feat took a total of five years. These artists’ cloak-and-dagger work (often fleeting in their existence) taps into humanity at its finest. The irony of The Providence Place Mall’s current state will not be lost on the audience. Most likely, it will give SXSW 2024 a simultaneous headshake and chuckle. SECRET MALL APARTMENT fully embraces the artistic essence of “Damn the Man.”


Director:

Jeremy Workman

Film Screenings

Mar 8, 2024
9:45pm11:16pm
 
Mar 8, 2024
10:15pm11:46pm
 
Mar 10, 2024
10:45pm12:16am
 
Mar 16, 2024
11:00am12:31pm

For all things SXSW 2024, click here!

 

SXSW logo

‘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.

Matt Vesely’s intense ‘MONOLITH’ (2024) takes podcast storytelling to another realm.

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Monolith 2024 poster

One suspect article takes down a once respected journalist. Holed up in her wealthy parent’s estate while they are on holiday, our leading lady tries to revamp her image by creating a conspiracy theory podcast. While wading through emails, she spots one that is particularly eye-catching. Following up on the information, she continues down a path of potential otherworldly objects influencing people around the globe. But truth and lies are closer aligned than you might want to believe. Matt Vesely‘s SXSW 2023 sci-fi feature MONOLITH pulls you into oblivion.

Lily Sullivan in Monolith The film takes place in a single location where The Interviewer records her podcast. The secluded and expansive modern mid-century estate allows her to wander, but most of the action happens at a desk or in front of the wall of windows that contain her discoveries. Our journalist creates an episode of her first phone calls. Editing the calls at her will, the audience questions her culpability. This small moment puts your morality compasses in a tailspin. It is a slick move from writer Lucy Campbell. Podcasts are my nightly ritual, cleaning motivation, and my travel companion. Since SERIAL, the industry has exploded. In MONOLITH, the story goes viral. People begin contacting her directly with their stories, always warning her to stop.

Lily Sullivan in MonolithAt some point, the danger reaches the front door of our journalist’s secluded location when she receives a package related to the mysterious story. The darkness attached to the object feels slightly Faustian and not of this planet. No one remembers how they received their object, but each reaches a point in questioning where they feel compelled to hang up out of fear.

Lily Sullivan plays The Interviewer. Her emotional arc is mesmerizing, acting as a therapist to her callers, a manipulator for personal gain, and a target of the unknown. As the only onscreen actor in the film, her ability to carry such an intense and mysterious film is quite a feat. Sullivan owns the audience.

Matt Vesely's MonolithIs this a case of mass hysteria? In many ways, the plot mirrors today’s conspiracy groups like QAnon. Our leading lady goes down the rabbit hole, and the audience follows. MONOLITH boasts a jaw-dropping final ten minutes. This is one hell of a sci-fi thriller. It is a must-see.

IN THEATERS AND ON DIGITAL: February 16, 2024 

 

For more Well Go USA film reviews, click here!

 

Sundance 2024 review: AI advancements walk a fine line between healing and harmful in shocking doc ‘ETERNAL YOU’

Sundance 2024 logo

ETERNAL YOU

Sundance 2024 Eternal You

Sundance 2024 documentary ETERNAL YOU is deeply disturbing and endlessly intriguing. It is something straight out of a horror sci-fi film. Filmmakers Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck guide audiences through the latest technological advances in AI, where versions of your lost loved ones can interact with you in real-time. The moral and emotional gray area this tech exists in becomes the overarching ghost of this film (no pun intended).

First, we meet Joshua Barbeau, a man who lost his girlfriend, Jessica, and one of the early users of Project December. Founder Jason Rohrer works with the very little information Joshua provided from his viral experience, leading to thousands of requests. User Christi Angel speaks with her ex-boyfriend, Cameroun. Their chat gets darker and darker, and now she’s torn between continuing and walking away from the project altogether. Her journey is the perfect test case for and against afterlife AI.

Jason Rohrer is an open book. He’s transparent with negative reviews, going so far as to read a transcript that went completely off the rails. Interwoven into the narrative are clips from Senate hearings with Sam Altman, the creator of Open AI (ChatGTP), discussing safety. Rohrer admits his disconnection to the emotional impact of his clients while also confessing his intrigue in the eerie side effects. They don’t tackle the danger the VR jump presents. Justin Harrison, creator of YOV, believes in this technology so much that he chose it over his wife. His passion is evident. Harrison’s view on its expansion is, “Fuck death.”

There is no guarantee that a loved one’s data is safe forever. Could it be used to create porn? Ask the filmmakers of Another Body, where a college student found her face deepfaked on multiple sexually graphic videos created by one rejected classmate. Don’t even get me started on the political implications. Wait until you witness the production and results of a 2020 television series titled “Meeting You.” It will wreck you.

Gregor Keienburg and Raffael Seyfried‘s ethereal score makes your heart race and gives you goosebumps. A mix of disembodied voices and ominous strings fill you with dread. Bravo to editors Lisa Zoe Geretschläger and Anne Jünemann for hitting every emotional beat possible. Sundance audiences will undoubtedly feel the gravity of this doc. Is this concept a way to grieve and heal, or are we simply further monetizing the dead?


Check out this exclusive clip:

Remaining Screenings

January 25 – 1:45 PM MST – Holiday Village Cinemas – Park City

Online 
January 25, 7 AM PST – January 28, 10:55 PM PST


Panelist Name

Hans Block

Hans Block

Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck are German directors. Their debut film, The Cleaners, about the shadow industry of digital censorship, celebrated its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and has since been screened at more than 70 international festivals, in cinemas, and on TV worldwide. In their work, Block and Riesewieck question the impact of digital technologies on society.

Panelist Name

Moritz Riesewieck

Moritz Riesewieck

Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck are German directors. Their debut film, The Cleaners, about the shadow industry of digital censorship, celebrated its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and has since been screened at more than 70 international festivals, in cinemas, and on TV worldwide. In their work, Block and Riesewieck question the impact of digital technologies on society.

Credits

  • DIRECTOR(S)

    HANS BLOCK

    MORITZ RIESEWIECK

  • PRODUCERS

    CHRISTIAN BEETZ

    GEORG TSCHURTSCHENTHALER

  • EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS

    KATHRIN ISBERNER

    ANNA GODAS

    OLI HARBOTTLE

    CHRISTOPHER CLEMENTS

    JULIE GOLDMAN

    JENNY RASKIN

    KELSEY KOENIG

    LIZZIE FOX

    DAVIS GUGGENHEIM

  • CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

    MERYL METNI

  • CO-PRODUCER

    PATRICK M. MÜLLER

  • EDITING

    ANNE JÜNEMANN

    LISA ZOE GERETSCHLÄGER

  • DIRECTORS OF PHOTOGRAPHY

    TOM BERGMANN

    KONRAD WALDMANN

  • MUSIC

    GREGOR KEIENBURG

    RAFFAEL SEYFRIED

  • YEAR

    2023

  • CATEGORY

    FEATURE

  • COUNTRY

    GERMANY/UNITED STATES

  • LANGUAGE

    ENGLISH, KOREAN

  • RUN TIME

    87 MIN

  • COMPANY

    GEBRUEDER BEETZ FILMPRODUKTION

  • CONTACT

    L.RAITH@GEBRUEDER-BEETZ.DE


Sundance Film Festival 2024 runs Thu, Jan 18, 2024, 2:45 PM – Sun, Jan 28, 2024

Eastern Time

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/

 

Now streaming and out on Blu-ray today, Shem Bitterman’s ‘DISTANT TALES’ tackles the good, the bad, and the ugly of humanity and isolation

DISTANT TALES

In a near-future dystopia, when a worldwide event means people can no longer meet face to face, four stories — PLACEBO, PLEASE LOG ON, TOUCH, and R NOUGHT — unfold with unexpected revelations as the screens through which they connect hide the twisted reality of their lives.


Writer-director Shem Bitterman

Writer-director Shem Bitterman taps into human nature with four stories that capture the echoes of the Covid lockdown. The dialogue is theatrical. DISTANT TALES could easily transition from screen to stage. The real-time, intensely intimate vulnerability would be electric. It already pours off the screen.


TOUCHCo-workers surreptitiously connect over late-night Zoom calls. Once discovered by their partners, Ben and Seraphina show their true colors. Samuel Martin Lewis gives Ben a relatable longing. The performance from Tiffany Wolff is chilling.


PLEASE LOG ON
A job interview goes off the rails when the effects of prolonged isolation rear their ugly head. Liz Fenning gives Beth an irritable edge and desperation we all recognized during lockdown. Rupak Ginn is Rohit, a character in the opposite headspace. This segment presents the viewer with an awkward moral dilemma.


PLACEBOThe head of a clinical trial and one of her subjects find common ground through culture and shameless flirting but clash over social distancing protocols and the trial’s progress. Amen Igbinosun plays Ese as a jovial spirit. His physical and emotional journey is heartbreaking. Carolyn Michelle Smith balances skepticism and kindness. It is a nuanced turn.


R NOUGHTThis intense piece explores online extremism and conspiracy theories with phenomenal performances from Ben Bowen and Christoper Curry. An online talking head pushes a grieving husband to take up arms against the government. Can he battle his emotions and resist the influences in his life?


As a whole, DISTANT TALES tackles all the chaos of lockdown in complex ways. Each story gets under the audience’s skin for vastly different reasons. If nothing else, Bitterman’s keen observation of human desperation will undoubtedly have people talking.


“Distant Tales” trailer:


 
IS NOW AVAILABLE ON iTunes, AMAZON.COM, and VUDU
COMING OUT ON BLU-RAY ON DECEMBER 12


The dark psychological thriller, DISTANT TALES, a 4-part anthology from writer/director, award-winning playwright, Shem Bitterman (who, as a young screenwriter, wrote HALLOWEEN 5) and executive produced by Oscar-winner, Tom Schulman (Academy Award – Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen “Dead Poet’s Society”), will be released on Blu-ray December 12.


What’s Your Story?



Los Angeles, CA (November 30, 2023) – After a two-month exclusive run on Cable TV OnDemand with Xfinity, Spectrum, and Contour, DISTANT TALES, from acclaimed playwright and screenwriter writer/director Shem Bitterman and executive producer and Oscar-winner Tom Schulman (“Dead Poet’s Society”), is now available on iTunes, Amazon.com, and Vudu. The film will be available on additional streaming platforms later in December. Pre-orders are now available for the December 12 Blu-Ray release on Amazon.com.


DISTANT TALES, a dark, four-part dramatic anthology where desire, madness and a struggle for love erupt in a dystopic future after a worldwide event prevents people from meeting face to face, was filmed in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.


In DISTANT TALES four individual stories set during a worldwide pandemic unfold with unexpected twists and revelations: an extramarital affair, cut short by a pandemic and continued online; a mysterious job interview, overseen by an unseen judge; a vaccine trial, where a burgeoning love leads to some bad decisions; a grieving dad who finds sympathy from an online advocate for violence.


 

Review: ‘LIBERTY’ is a slick, genre-bending environmental thriller that burrows into your brain.

LIBERTY

A young park ranger with a soulful connection to animals locks a group of eclectic strangers in a cage, forcing them to confront the realities that innocent creatures face daily.

The clever dialogue juxtaposes the fragility of animals in captivity as Matt assigns an animal to each human prisoner. The underlying theme of Matt’s bullying slyly mirrors the psychological torture of animals and the imprisonment of his captives.

Nicholas Michael McGovern delivers a mesmerizing performance through narration and chilling direct-to-camera fourth wall breaks. His steady voice soothes the audience. It is melodic and informative, making his intentions more frightening. He is magnificent.

The unit set lends itself to a stage play. I would pay good money to witness this on Broadway. It’s immersive enough to captivate a live audience even more. LIBERTY could be a unique opportunity for Gravitas to enter the theatre world. If I were producing a screen-to-stage adaptation, I would edit live audience reactions during each performance, creating a curated, visceral experience for each ticket holder.

Philippe De Witte‘s clever allegory about animal rights takes the audience on an unexpected moral journey. Akin to the strangling anxiety of Saw without the gore, LIBERTY is a one-of-a-kind entry into the psychological horror/ environmental thriller subgenre. LIBERTY is dark and daring. It is an emotional roller coaster that twists and turns, loops and lurches with a quiet, raw intensity. De Witte unlocks a primal fear surrounded by poetic madness. You are not ready for this film.


Available on VOD November 21st, 2023

*Winner of Best Foreign Feature Film, Best Music Score – Musical Composition for a Feature Film, and nominee for Best Feature Film – 2022 Burbank International Film Festival 

*Winner of Best Thriller – 2022 Montreal Independent Film Festival

*Winner of Best Feature Film, Best Thriller, Best Cast Ensemble, and Outstanding Achievement in Production Design – 2022 Lonely Wolf International Film Festival*

*Semi-finalist – 2022 Dumbo Film Festival*

*Official selection – 2022 Wildlife Conservation Film Festival*

Written and Directed by Philippe De Witte 

Produced by Michel Gouzée de Harven, Jean-Christophe Van den Berg, Yves Merlin, and Michael Whalen 

Featuring a breakout performance by Nicholas Michael McGovern  and Starring Alice Barrett (“Another World”), Olan Montgomery (“Stranger Things”), Denny Dale Bess (“Law & Order: SVU”), Samantha Smart (“Katy Keene”), Jonathan Kirkland (“Tulsa King”) and Andrea McKinnon (Boyhood)

In the environmental thriller Libertyan idealistic park guide holds six strangers captive, treating them like caged animals, to deliver his chilling message of freedom to the world. As his hostages run the gamut from confusion and disbelief to anger and hostility to grief and despair, our anti-hero compares their mental and physical breakdown to those of wild animals struggling in captivity.

RT: 103 minutes


 

Review: Ira Rosensweig’s ‘SHARE?’ is one of the smartest genre films of the year

SHARE?

Disturbing, funny, and undeniably thrilling, SHARE? is an intriguing human experiment. The premise is slick, a mix of social commentary, the dystopian role of influencer culture, and the disease of instant gratification. The film opens with a man (Melvin Gregg), dubbed #14, in an empty room wearing nothing but a pair of underwear. Once he hears the ping of a rudimentary computer interface, SHARE? unfolds like gangbusters. 

Bradley Whitford is a veteran “participant” craving interaction. Each man gains knowledge from the other’s vastly different strategies for survival. Gregg discovers rewards flow when he either embarrasses or hurts himself. As one coaches the other, a mutually beneficial relationship develops. Alice Braga enters the scene as a woman on a mission, determined to find a way out. Her fiery passion counters Whitford’s stubbornness and Gregg’s growing popularity. When best intentions backfire, and another very influential participant butt heads with her, the consequences prove unthinkable. 

The performances are magnificent. Whitford’s energy is manic. It is like hypnotic live theatre. Alice Braga brings her usual fierceness, rattling the day-to-day flow of events. Melvin Gregg is a one-man show that gets better and better by the minute. His flawed vulnerability pulls you into this mesmerizing plot. He is magnificent. 

The first feature film to be shot entirely from one fixed camera angle, SHARE? is a wonder. The structure demands your undivided attention, as each captive, like Pavlov’s Dog, learns and responds to obtain food, water, clothing, nonessentials, and social interaction. Desperation, cancel culture, isolation, and voyeurism drive SHARE? headlong like a freight train and with a finale so fitting it’s breathtaking. You’ll scream at the screen.


ARRIVING IN SELECT THEATERS & ON DIGITAL AND VOD

NOVEMBER 10, 2023

 

SHARE?

Directed by: Ira Rosensweig

Screenplay by: Benjamin Sutor

Story by: Ira Rosensweig & Benjamin Sutor

Producers: Carissa Buffel, Kevin Matusow, Ira Rosensweig

Country of Origin: USA

Language: English

Genre: Sci-fi Mystery

Distributor: XYZ Films

Cast: Melvin Gregg (The Way Back, The Blackening), Bradley Whitford (Get Out, The Handmaid’s Tale), Alice Braga (The Suicide Squad, Hypnotic), 

Danielle Campbell (Tell Me a Story)

 

OPENING IN SELECT THEATERS ON NOVEMBER 10th

AND NATIONWIDE ON DIGITAL / VOD

NYC: Alamo Drafthouse, Lower Manhattan, November 6th (one night only)

Philadelphia: PFS Bourse Theater – November 7th (one night only)

Chicago: Alamo Drafthouse, November 8th (one night only)

Austin: Alamo Drafthouse, November 9th (one night only)

San Francisco: Alamo Drafthouse, November 10th

Los Angeles: Arena Cinelounge November 10th (full week run)

Los Angeles: Alamo Drafthouse DTLA, November 11th

Richmond, VA: BTM Movieland at Boulevard Sq, Richmond, VA, November 10th

Columbia, SC: BTM Dutch Square Cinema 14, Columbia, SC, November 10th

Oaks, PA: Oaks Center Cinema, November 10th


 

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


 

Review: Corey Stanton’s ‘TRADER’ is the ultimate disruptor.

TRADER

Trader posterA manipulative sociopath armed with a dangerously ambitious spirit, her wits, and an affinity for snorting wasabi voyages into the high-intensity game of stock market trading and wages war against the financial world. When she stumbles upon news of a monumental pharmaceutical trade, she risks everything to complete her ultimate success story no matter the cost.


The script is structured like chapters of a commerce self-help book, not unlike the ones my husband consumes, even ten years deep into the IB world in Manhattan, now top of the food chain. Day trading is grittier, riskier, and with your own dollars, not those of an often faceless whale. TRADER understands the real-life dynamics and injects a magical realism that plays as the trader’s innermost thoughts and motivation. It also directly tackles market manipulation. It’s nothing short of ingenious.

Kimberly-Sue Murray owns every second of screen time. Her manic energy drives the narrative like a runaway freight train. The character is slick, interested only in the genuine long con. Murray masters everything from various accents to grounded emotional release through interpretive dance. She truly is the smartest person in the room. Filmmaker Corey Stanton gives the trader a backstory that slowly reveals itself, adding a new level to the complexity of TRADER. Just when you think you’ve got the story pegged, think again. TRADER is relentlessly tense. It is a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream. 

TRADER is a one-woman show. I would love to see this live onstage, to feel the energy in person. TRADER is an indictment of capitalism and how, with the aid of the internet, the combination of the two may be the undoing of society. This twisted film is a one-of-a-kind ride. It’s an ever-evolving endgame that sucks you in. Don’t forget to unclench your jaw and draw a breath while you watch. TRADER is the ultimate disruptor.

The New Thriller from Filmmaker Corey Stanton

TRADER

Hits U.S. VOD Nationwide on August 10th!


 About XYZ Films 
XYZ Films is an independent studio whose mission is to empower visionary storytellers from every corner of the planet. XYZ was founded in 2008 by Nate Bolotin, Nick Spicer, and Aram Tertzakian and has expanded in recent years into documentary, talent management, and distribution. Some of the company’s classic titles include THE RAID franchise, 2017 Sundance winner I DON’T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE, and Panos Cosmatos’ psychedelic revenge thriller MANDY.


 

Fantasia 2023 review: ‘PIAFFE’ is a surprising tale of obsession, sexual awakening, and otherness.

Fantasia Festival 2023 logo

PIAFFE

Piaffe posterEva takes over as a Foley artist for her hospitalized sibling Zara. With no knowledge or self-esteem for the task, Eva endures shockingly abusive behavior from every angle; Zara, her boss, and the hospital nurse. When threatened with dismissal from Zara’s position, she becomes obsessed with the assigned commercial clip.

The video features a horse. Upon visiting a stable for research, Eva’s determination to perfect the audio ignites an immersive approach. Her relentless work ethic causes Eva to grow a horsetail. As she embraces her newfound appendage, Eva becomes entangled with a Botonist who opens her eyes to different forms of pleasure, increasing her confidence and sparking her sexual awakening.

PIAFFE gives audiences a fever dream of imagery and sound. Music is an eclectic Giallo-inspired mix of ominous cello and techno. The color Red features symbolically in lipstick, a telephone, tinsel, roses, and lighting. Simone Bucio is fearless as Eva. Her palpable anxiety and social awkwardness pour off the screen, making her relatable in the most unexpected ways.

The real star of PIAFFE is Robert Hefter and Jonas Vincent‘s jarring augmented sound mixing. As a viewer with Sensory Processing Disorder, PIAFFE is equal parts hair-raising nightmare and auditory orgasm. The sparse dialogue contributes to the focus on the heightened sound. Writer-director Ann Oren celebrates otherness in all its forms. Fantasia 2023 audiences experienced a sensory explosion with an unpredictable complexity.

Oscilloscope Labs will release PIAFFE on August 25th


Shot on lush 16mm, PIAFFE is a visceral journey into control, gender, and artifice.

The film will open in New York on August 25th at The Quad Cinema and in Los Angeles on September 15th at Landmark’s Nuart Theatre.

DIRECTED BY ANN OREN

STARRING SIMONE BUCIO, SIMON(E) JAIKIRIUMA PAETAU,

and SEBASTIAN RUDOLPH

SCREENINGS:
Mon August 07, 2023
2:15 PM

Salle J.A. De Sève

Fantasia 2023 review: ‘HOME INVASION’ is one of the year’s most upsetting films.

HOME INVASION

Home Invasion stillUtterly fascinating, this documentary horror hybrid effectively puts the fear of God into the audience. The film begins by sharing the history of each incarnation of what we now refer to as the “Ring” security camera, each inspired by a recurring nightmare. Historical recounting gets the creepy treatment with a random subject’s security footage playing in its fisheye lens version behind the storytelling text. There is no formal dialogue. This voyeuristic nightmare is unlike anything we’ve seen before, featuring videos of everything from natural disasters to doorstep theft and animal encounters to delivery people behaving badly and creatively.

The score is bone-chilling, with its piano cords striking. It’s something straight out of hell. But, the film is even scarier than it initially appears when we learn the global and societal impact of advancing technology. Cinematic tropes alone reflect the world’s potential terror. Fantasia 2023 audiences get a taste of a film that would be a perfect Fall statement at MoMA. HOME INVASION is exceedingly disturbing. If anything, it reminds you how quickly the scales of good and evil tip. It will haunt you.


Official selection – Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival 2023
Berlin International Film Festival 2023
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria 2023

DIRECTOR

Graeme Arnfield

PRODUCER

Graeme Arnfield

WRITER

Graeme Arnfield

SOUND DESIGNER

Sarah Naylor, Baudoin Oosterlynck

EDITOR

Graeme Arnfield

Fantasia 2023 review: Run to see the powerful Ukrainian drama ‘STAY ONLINE.’ It will rock you to your core.

Fantasia Festival 2023 logo

STAY ONLINE

Stay Online poster

Best served on the biggest movie screen possible, STAY ONLINE takes us on a real-time journey of political mayhem through the eyes and laptop screen of one Ukrainian resister. Switching from tab to app to window, Katya places us inside the war via news popups, video calls, and chats while air raid sirens blare in the background. This coordinated chaos forces you to sit up and pay attention. Following the action takes focus, and there isn’t a moment of downtime.

Stay Online - Ukrainian thrillerThe narrative flips when Katya becomes entangled with the son of the laptop owner. Her online sleuthing would put the cops to shame. It is millennial cyberstalking at its best. Liza Zaitseva gives a heart-stopping performance as Katya. Her relentless emotional investment is a rollercoaster ride. She is simply magnificent.

STAY ONLINE speaks directly to the power of information sharing in a time when news media outlets gloss over images of war in tightly edited clips that run every hour. Grisly is profitable, and so is fear-mongering. The human aspect often becomes a political pawn. Ukrainian filmmaker Yeva Strelnikova‘s feature-film debut leaves your heart in your throat. The film’s premiere comes at a particularly auspicious time, with Ukraine throwing its hat in the ring at NATO. STAY ONLINE is gripping, devastating, and entirely brilliant. It is one of the most powerful films of the year.



Mon July 24, 2023
2:05 PM

DWF LA review: Thriving with anxiety is a challenge in Sara Friedman’s ‘HEIGHTENED’

HEIGHTENED

Neurodivergent behavior manifests in a myriad of ways. Sometimes it rears its ugly head in the form of ticks, rituals, and a short temper, but mostly in weird behavior misunderstood by the general population. HEIGHTENED boasts an augmented sound design that perfectly captures what it feels like to be sensory overloaded. As a fellow SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) sufferer, this film is intentional visceral torture but for a purpose. Although they never explicitly call it that, all the signs, symptoms, and medical gaslighting appear in the script.

Real-life couple Xander Berkeley and Sarah Clarke play Nora’s waspy parents. Their seemingly selfish nature and high expectations explain Nora’s closed-off temperament. They are fantastic additions to the cast. Dave Register is Dusty, the Park ranger who mentors Nora. His genuine sweetness pours off the screen. Register’s performance is grounded in kindness and perfectionism that comes with a backstory.

Writer-director-star Sara Friedman exposes the complexities of neurodivergence, exploring daily life and behavioral origins with heart and humor. Nora’s journey comes in waves of empathy for Dusty’s bullying. His presence calms her. Their relationship takes a natural turn as Friedman and Register have a fun chemistry. They hit the mark with slightly larger-than-life humor leaning into a loveable and quirky side of character-building.

HEIGHTENED is a lovely little film that delicately delves into the minds of those grappling with constant anxiety, capturing the raw emotions without ever daring to overstep boundaries. It sincerely respects our differences and beautifully celebrates the journey of finding a partner who accepts you as you are. Just like the welcoming atmosphere of the stiiizy santa rosa dispensary, where individuals can find solace and understanding, this film embraces the diversity of human experiences.


For all things DWF LA, click here!

Tribeca Festival 2023 Curtain raiser: Films we are putting on our must-see lists before the festival begins

TRIBECA FESTIVAL 2023 brings thrills, mystery, comedy, fantasy, you name it, there is something for everyone. This year’s lineup features Joe Lynch‘s latest, Suitable Flesh, Gabriela Cowperthwaite‘s I.S.S., and David Duchovny‘s Bucky F*cking Dent. Let’s get into a few of the films we are dying to get our eyeballs on this year.

 

THE LISTENER – North American Premiere – Spotlight Narrative 
Directed by: Steve Buscemi
Written by: Alessandro Camon
Produced by: Wren Arthur, Steve Buscemi, Oren Moverman, Lauren Hantz, and Tessa Thompson
Executive Producers: John Hantz, Eddie Vaisman, Julia Lebedev, and Suzanne Warren
Co-Producers: Billy Mulligan, Kat Barnette, and Joyce Pierpoline
Associate Producer: Brian Miele
Starring: Tessa Thompson


An understated drama about a night in the life of a mental health helpline volunteer, The Listener is a stirring testament to the power of empathy.

Tessa Thompson continues her Tribeca greatness in a role that could easily translate from film to stage. This is a character study.


MAGGIE MOORE(S) – World Premiere – Spotlight Narrative 

In Theaters & On Demand June 16th

Directed by John Slattery
Written by Paul Bernbaum
Produced by John Slattery, Vincent Garcia Newman, Dan Reardon, Santosh Govindaraju, Nancy Leopardi, and Ross Kohn
Starring Jon Hamm, Tina Fey, Micah Stock, Nick Mohammed, Happy Anderson, and Mary Holland

When two women with the same name are murdered days apart, small-town police chief Jordan Sanders (Hamm) finds himself wading through an unlikely collection of cheating husbands, lonely hearts, nosy neighbors and contract killers in an effort to put the pieces of the case, and his life, together. The film is inspired by actual events.

The cast alone should get you through the door. This bizarre tale, based on real-life events, is a wacky we-know whodunit, but it doesn’t lessen the impact.



THE MIRACLE CLUB – World Premiere – Spotlight Narrative Category (Sony Pictures Classics)



Directed by Thaddeus O’Sullivan (Vera, Call the Midwife)

Written by Jimmy Smallhorne, Timothy Prager, and Joshua D. Maurer

Produced by Joshua D. Mauer, Alixandre Witlin, Chris Curling, Larry Bass, Aaron Farrell, John Gleeson and Oisín O’Neill


Three close friends who have never left the outskirts of Dublin (much less Ireland) get the journey of a lifetime — a visit to Lourdes, the picturesque French town and place of miracles.

An absolute charmer about healing old wounds and forgiveness set in the gorgeous French countryside. Laura Linney and Dame Maggie Smith? That’s an instant yes.

Check out the trailer below:


SOMEWHERE QUIET– US Narrative Competition

Director/Writer: Olivia West Lloyd

Producers: Emma Hannaway, Taylor Ava Shung, and Eamon Downey

Cast: Jennifer Kim, Kentucker Audley, Marin Ireland, Michéal Neeson

Running Time: 98 minutes

In the ominous and tense Somewhere Quiet, a woman readjusts to normalcy after surviving a traumatic kidnapping — but her grounded sense of reality soon starts to deteriorate when she travels with her husband to his wealthy family’s isolated compound.

This solid thriller will catch you off guard, making you second-guess your sanity along the way.


OUR SON– Spotlight Narrative

Director/Co-Writer: Bill Oliver

Co-Writer: Peter Nickowitz 

Producers: Fernando Loureiro and Eric Binns

Key Cast: Luke Evans, Billy Porter

Running Time: 104 Minutes

Nicky (Luke Evans), a book publisher devoted to his work, lives with his husband Gabriel (Billy Porter), a former actor and stay-at-home dad, and their eight year-old son, Owen. Gabriel loves Owen more than anything; Nicky loves Gabriel more than anything. Despite appearances, Gabriel has been dissatisfied with their marriage for some time and files for divorce, leading to a custody battle that forces both of them to confront the changing reality of their love for each other and for their son.

This beautifully complex story of the growing pains of changing love.


I.S.S. – Spotlight Narrative

Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Writer: Nick Shafir

Producers: Pete Shilaimon and Mickey Liddell

Cast: Ariana DeBose, Chris Messina, Pilou Asbæk, John Gallagher Jr., Maria Mashkova, Costa Ronin

Running Time: 95 Minutes

Tensions flare in the near future aboard the International Space Station as a worldwide conflict occurs on Earth. Reeling from this, the astronauts receive orders from the ground: take control of the station by any means necessary.

A stunning look at loyalty. This intense sci-fi thriller captivates you with Ariana DeBose holding you in the palm of her hand.


SUITABLE FLESH –  Midnight (World Premiere)

Director: Joe Lynch
 
Screenwriter: Dennis Paoli
 
Producers: Barbara Crampton, Bob Portal, Inderpal Singh, Joe Wicker
 
Cast: Heather Graham, Judah Lewis, Bruce Davison, Barbara Crampton, Johnathon Schaech
 
Running Time: 100 Minutes
 

After murdering her young patient, a once-esteemed psychiatrist helplessly watches her life spiral into a nightmarish maelstrom of supernatural hysteria and gruesome deaths, all linked to a seemingly unstoppable ancient curse.

Let Joe Lynch direct all the Lovecraftian weirdness. Honestly, as a genre fan, you had me at Barbara Crampton.


BAD THINGS – US Narrative Competition 

DIRECTOR: Stewart Thorndike
 
PRODUCER: Lizzie Shapiro, Lexi Tannenholtz
 
SCREENWRITER: Stewart Thorndike
 
 
CAST: Gayle Rankin, Hari Nef, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Rad Pereira, Jared Abrahamson, Molly Ringwald
 
A weekend getaway for a few friends at a snowy resort becomes a psychological tailspin and bloody nightmare. Long-deceased guests and the space itself come to life in this haunting thriller.
 

There is always something to be said for a film that gets snapped up by Shudder before its premiere. The platform’s ability to spot great genre storytelling goes head-to-head with the major studios. Gayle Rankin‘s ability to live in whatever role she takes on is astounding. I have no doubt that she’ll kill it. *wink, wink*

**COMING TO SHUDDER (US, UK, IRELAND, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND) 
AND AMC+ (US, CA, ANZ) ON AUGUST 18TH, 2023**


BUCKY F*CKING DENT – Spotlight Narrative

DIRECTOR: David Duchovny
 
PRODUCER: Jordan Yale Levine, Jordan Beckerman, Tiffany Kuzon, David Duchovny
 
SCREENWRITER: David Duchovny
 
CAST: David Duchovny, Logan Marshall-Green, Stephanie Beatriz, Jason Beghe, Evan Handler, Pamela Adlon, Daphne Rubin-Vega
 
Follows Ted who moves in with his father Marty when he develops a fatal illness. To keep him happy and alive, Ted enlists Marty’s grief counselor Mariana and friends to fake a Red Sox winning streak.
 
As a born and bred Red Sox fan, Bucky Dent felt like the modern-day equivalent of “He Who Shall Not Be Named,” long before that reference was a pop-culture reference. I grew up sitting against The Green Monster. You can clock my age in successive photographs. Based on his novel, David Duchovny brings this father-son story to the big screens at Tribeca. I couldn’t be more excited. I’m pretty sure that for true fans, this one is destined to be a home run. 
   OF NIGHT AND LIGHT: THE STORY OF IBOGA AND IBOGAINE – Spotlight Documentary

DIRECTOR:Lucy Walker
PRODUCER:Julian Cautherley, Lyn Davis Lear, Laurie Benenson, Lucy Walker
CINEMATOGRAPHER:Sebastian Denis, Lorenzo Hagerman, Aaron Phillips
EDITOR:Parker Laramie

Of Night and Light: The Story of Iboga and Ibogaine tells the astounding unknown story of what might be the scientific discovery of our generation. Back in 1962, a teenage psychonaut in New York City named Howard Lotsof experimented with an obscure psychedelic from the root bark of a West African shrub and recognized its unique therapeutic potential. Together with his African-American wife Norma, a pair of outsider NYU film students, they dedicated their lives to convincing the scientific community and government agencies to research it, certain that it would be of great medicinal benefit, despite it sounding too good to be true – like the textbook definition of snake oil – and being written off as con artists.

Sixty years later, their dream is now materializing as clinics spawned from their original test sites have treated more than 100,000 people with opiate use disorder and now over 1,000 US Special Forces veterans, who have experienced dramatic relief from a spectrum of problems including traumatic brain injury, depression, anxiety, ptsd, addictions, and physical disabilities through the use of ibogaine. Now jaw-dropping new research, about to be published, is revealing that ibogaine is the most powerful therapeutic ever observed for the human central nervous system.

Psychedelics have a complicated past, but their present-day use is more prevalent than most people know. I can’t wait to dig into the history of this life-changing medicine because that’s what it is. I have family members in the medical industry who use them, and audiences will have family members with PTSD, so this one has the potential to be more personal than anyone expected.


THE FUTURE– International Narrative Competition (World Premiere)

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY Noam Kaplan
STARRING Dar Zuzovsky, Samar Qupty, Reymonde Amsellem
PRODUCED BY Yoav Roeh, Arit Zamir
CINEMATOGRAPHY BY Shark de Mayo
EDITED BY Effi Cohen Vertes
MUSIC BY David Klemes

At 42, Dr. Bloch (Reymonde Amsellem), a profiler, wants a child. A future. Her only way is to find a surrogate mother. At the same time, her groundbreaking algorithm designed to identify individuals planning to carry out terror attacks fails and a young Palestinian woman (Samar Qupty) assassinates the Israeli minister of Space and Tourism. In order to ‘fix the bugs’ in her algorithm, Nurit faces the assassin in person. The sessions between these two brilliant women raise questions about their past, while the sessions between Bloch and the potential surrogate (Dar Zuzovsky) challenge Bloch’s decision about her future.

This near-future femme-centric drama from Noam Kaplan gives brilliant women the chance to challenge one another at every turn.  A futuristic collision within the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, THE FUTURE has more nuance than you are prepared for.


TO MY FATHER – Shorts (World Premiere)

DIRECTOR: Sean Schiavolin
PRODUCER: John Papola, Troy Kotsur, Justin Bergeron
SCREENWRITER: Sean Schiavolin
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Brody Carmichael 
EDITOR: Josh Meyers, Sean Schiavolin
COMPOSER: Hanan Townshend
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: Jessi Bennett
CAST: Troy Kotsur

 

To My Father depicts Deaf actor Troy Kotsur’s journey to winning an Oscar and his father’s inspiring influence on him, despite a tragic accident.

Grab the tissues and be prepared for the beauty presented by Sean Schiavolin. If you haven’t been living under a rock then you are familiar with the extraordinary Troy Kotsur. This twenty-minute short pierces your heart, once again, as we learn more about the deaf actor’s inspiration. Do Not Miss It.


CHASING CHASING AMY – Viewpoints (World Premiere)

DIRECTOR: Sav Rodgers
PRODUCER: Alex Schmider, Carrie Radigan, Lela Meadow-Conner, Matthew C. Mills, Sav Rodgers
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Bill Winters, Bradley Garrison
CAST: Kevin Smith, Guinevere Turner, Joey Lauren Adams, Scott Mosier, Sav Rodgers, Andrew Ahn, Kevin Willmott, Trish Bendix, Princess Weekes, Regina “Riley” Rodgers

 

12-year-old Sav Rodgers watched the film Chasing Amy, and his life was forever changed. Developing a kinship — and maybe a slight obsession — with it as he grew into his queerness, he decides to fund and direct a documentary that examines its role in LGBTQ+ film culture. He makes significant progress, even garnering the support and collaboration of its director, Kevin Smith. However, as the production of the documentary continues, Rodgers realizes that the legacy of the film and his relationship with it might be changing. So where does that leave him?

Chasing Amy was a sexual awakening for more of us than we might like to admit. It felt like a narrative shock to the system in the most welcome way for audiences obsessed with Clerks and Mallrats. We were open-minded Kevin Smith nerds and we were ready to listen. This timely look at LGBTQAI+ issues is sure to spark conversation.


For all things Tribeca Festival, click here!

Keep your eyes peeled for shared coverage from us, Unseen Films, and AWFJ.org!


 

Review: Festival favorite ‘A LIFE ON THE FARM’ is a weirdly moo-ving doc. Yup.

A LIFE ON THE FARM

Somerset, England, and a mysterious VHS tape of a local farmer named Charles Carson. A LIFE ON THE FARM is a documentary feature that has had genre festivals buzzing since last year. Well, the chickens have come to roost, as they say, because the film finally arrives in theaters. You are not ready.

Carson’s tape provides viewers with so much unwanted information and detail. Most notably, a distasteful closeup of a bovine afterbirth and a dead cat. That is only the first taste of weirdness, as images get much darker the longer you watch. Carson’s nonchalant attitude toward everything on the farm feels jarring. His nervous laughter echoes throughout the film and viewers are disturbed. A LIFE ON THE FARM is one of the most bizarre home movies ever discovered. It feels wrong to watch, and yet you cannot look away!

Director Oscar Harding happened upon the tape as a child but had only had the pleasure of watching until his father hit stop on the VCR. It isn’t until the VHS reemerges in his adulthood that he feels compelled to dig deeper into the man beyond the vast amount of background provided by Charles along the way.

Carson’s neighbors and fans of the tape share their confusion, fascination, and shock at the tape’s contents, but I stopped in my tracks and took a step back when I realized the deeper meaning behind Charles’s actions. The films are part of his coping mechanism for loneliness, loss of purpose, grief, and, eventually, dementia. Friends honor Carson’s memory with understanding and respect for his complicated circumstances.

A new chapter to the mystery of Charles Carson occurred in 1996 when a new video appeared on YouTube. Harding and his peers are astounded by the short film’s artistry, story, and editing. Carson’s view of mortality is astonishing. A LIFE ON THE FARM is a creepy, enchanting, unusual, and extraordinary chronicling of a particular life.


** Theatrical tour at Alamo Drafthouse theaters throughout the US
starts April 13th (schedule below); both films available On Demand May 9th **


Fan Favorites from Fantastic Fest 2022, CHOP & STEELE, and A LIFE ON THE FARM will be screened as a double feature, with a theatrical rollout starting on April 13th at Alamo Drafthouse theaters throughout the country. The above special screenings will all precede live comedy shows with Found Footage Festival founders Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher, as well as filmmaker Q&As for A LIFE ON THE FARM in select cities. This double feature will screen as part of the theater chain’s fan-favorite “Fantastic Fest Presents” series and will expand further with additional shows in the weeks following.