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  Summer 2009 Archives  

SEPTEMBER 22, 2009
An interview with CHARLES HAMBLETON the producer of THE COVE — a story that begins in Taiji, Japan, where former dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry has come to set things right after a long search for redemption. In the 1960s, it was O’Barry who captured and trained the 5 dolphins who played the title character in the international television sensation “Flipper.” But his close relationship with those dolphins – the very dolphins who sparked a global fascination with trained sea mammals that continues to this day -- led O’Barry to a radical change of heart. One fateful day, a heartbroken Barry came to realize that these deeply sensitive, highly intelligent and self-aware creatures so beautifully adapted to life in the open ocean must never be subjected to human captivity again. This mission has brought him to Taiji, a town that appears to be devoted to the wonders and mysteries of the sleek, playful dolphins and whales that swim off their coast.


SEPTEMBER 15, 2009
An Interview with JOE BERLINGER the director of CRUDE: THE REAL PRICE OF OIL — the story of a lawsuit by tens of thousands of Ecuadorans against Chevron over contamination of the Ecuadorean Amazon. One of the largest and most controversial legal cases on the planet — an inside look at the infamous $27 billion "Amazon Chernobyl" case, CRUDE is a real-life high stakes legal drama set against a backdrop of the environmental movement, global politics, celebrity activism, human rights advocacy, the media, multinational corporate power, and rapidly-disappearing indigenous cultures. Presenting a complex situation from multiple viewpoints, the film subverts the conventions of advocacy filmmaking as it examines a complicated situation from all angles while bringing an important story of environmental peril and human suffering into focus. Joe Berlinger is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist and photographer, whose films include the celebrated documentaries Brother’s Keeper, Paradise Lost, and Metallica: Some Kind of Monster.


An interview with LAURA GABBERT and JUSTIN SCHEIN the directors of NO IMPACT MAN — a documentary about Colin Beavan who decides to completely eliminate his personal impact on the environment for the next year. It means eating vegetarian, buying only local food, and turning off the refrigerator. It also means no elevators, no television, no cars, busses, or airplanes, no toxic cleaning products, no electricity, no material consumption, and no garbage. No problem – at least for Colin – but he and his family live in Manhattan. So when his espresso-guzzling, retail-worshipping wife Michelle and their two-year-old daughter are dragged into the fray, the No Impact Project has an unforeseen impact of its own. Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein's film provides an intriguing inside look into the experiment that became a national fascination and media sensation, while examining the familial strains and strengthened bonds that result from Colin and Michelle’s struggle with their radical lifestyle change.


An interview with ROBERT STONE the director of EARTH DAYS — a documentary that traces the origins of the modern environmental movement through the eyes of nine Americans who propelled the movement from its beginnings in the 1950s to its moment of triumph in 1970 with the original Earth Day, and to its status as a major political force in America. Drawing heavily on eyewitness testimony and a wealth of never-before-seen archival footage, Stone examines the revolutionary achievements—and missed opportunities—of a decade of groundbreaking activism. The result is both a poetic meditation on man’s complex relationship with nature and a probing analysis of past responses to environmental crisis. Earth Days’ interviewees represent a diverse cross section of American life and politics. Stone is a multi-award-winning, Oscar®-nominated and Emmy®- nominated documentary filmmaker. He gained considerable recognition for his first film, Radio Bikini (1987) which premiered at Sundance and was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Feature Documentary. His work includes Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst (2004), which premiered at Sundance (under the title Neverland) and went on to become one of the most highly acclaimed theatrical documentaries of the year. His most recent film is the documentary feature Oswald’s Ghost (2007).


AUGUST 25, 2009
An interview with OLIVER HIRSCHBIEGEL the director of FIVE MINUTES OF HEAVEN — a unique one off drama that explores aspects of Northern Ireland’s troubled past and the challenges the future holds in coming to terms with it. The film recently won two awards at Sundance, including the World Cinema Directing Award and World Cinema Screenwriting Award. The story begins in 1975 when 17-year-old Alistair Little, a member of the UVF murdered a 19-year-old Catholic, Jim Griffin, in Lurgan. He was arrested two weeks later, along with three others involved in the shooting, and convicted. Jim’s murder was witnessed by his 11-year-old brother, Joe Griffin. Five Minutes of Heaven, directed by Hirschbiegel (Downfall) and written by Guy Hibbert (Omagh) is a fiction inspired by real people. Working closely with both men, screenwriter Guy Hibbert creates a unique and compelling film that moves from a powerful re-enactment of these tragic events to a fictional interpretation of what might happen should these two men ever come face to face. The film explores the impact of the legacy of violence on both men.


AUGUST 18, 2009
An interview with ANDREW BUJALSKI the director of BEESWAX — a story that revolves primarily around a pair of twin sisters – Jeannie, who has been in a wheelchair since youth, and Lauren. (Same face, different bodies...) Jeannie co-owns a used & vintage clothing store with her semi-estranged friend Amanda, while Lauren is between jobs (picking up some days filling in with landscaper friends) and between boyfriends, considering going overseas to teach English. Tensions are mounting between Jeannie and Amanda, their management styles clashing and communication problems getting exacerbated. This is the third feature film directed by Andrew Bujalski (Funny Ha Ha, Mutual Appreciation). Like Bujalski’s previous films, the cast is made up of non-professional (but carefully cast) actors and filmed with a light, fast-moving crew. The goal is to tell an intimate, peculiar story the likes of which one could not achieve via a more traditional, large-scale mode of production.


AUGUST 11, 2009
An interview with MAI ISKANDER the director of GARBAGE DREAMS — a documentary that follows three teenage boys born into the trash trade and growing up in the world's largest garbage village. It is the home to 60,000 Zaballeen, Egypt's 'garbage people.' When their community is suddenly faced with the globalization of their trade, each boy is forced to make choices that will impact his life and the future of his community. Garbage Dreams is Iskander’s directorial debut. The documentary will screen at Docuweeks in Los Angeles from August 14 – 20.


AUGUST 4, 2009
An interview with ARMANDO IANNUCCI the director of IN THE LOOP — a foul-mouthed comedy that draws on non-specific events to create a world that is terrifyingly familiar. Britain and America; friends and allies as far back as anyone can remember. Both the US President and UK Prime Minister fancy a war but not everyone agrees including US Assistant Secretary for Diplomacy, US Army General (James Gandolfini) and a floundering British Minister Simon Foster (Tom Hollander). When Foster accidentally announces on national TV that war is unforeseeable, the British government is sent into a spiral of chaos and spin propagated by verbosely aggressive Director of Communications, Malcom Tucker (Peter Capaldi). Iannucci is a Scottish comedian, writer, director, performer and radio producer. His work includes The Day Today, I’m Alan Partridge and the BAFTA award-winning The Thick Of It.


JULY 28, 2009
An interview with MARK WEBB the director of (500) DAYS OF SUMMER — an offbeat romantic comedy about a woman (Zooey Deschanel) who doesn't believe true love exists, and a neurotic young man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who falls for her. Over a span of 500 days, the story moves in a non-linear style from the man’s perspective, who goes from ecstatic giddiness one moment to crippling depression the next. Marc Webb directs stuff: short films, videos, commercials, drinking games. Whatever. He's made videos with everyone from Santana to Hot Hot Heat, My Chemical Romance, and bands you've never heard of. His short film, Seascape, premiered at the Aspen Comedy Festival, which is weird because he didn't think it was funny. To ensure he wouldn't make another comedy, he went to Baghdad to direct a documentary on the first day of school in postwar Iraq, but people there laughed at him, too. He makes his directorial feature-film debut with 500 Days of Summer.


JULY 21, 2009
An interview with MARK HARTLEY the director of NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD — the first detailed examination and celebration of Australian genre cinema of the 70s and 80s. In 1971, with the introduction of the R-certificate, Australia’s censorship regime went from repressive to progressive virtually overnight. This cultural explosion gave birth to arthouse classics, such as PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK and MY BRILLIANT CAREER, but also spawned a group of demon-children: maverick filmmakers who braved assault from all quarters to bring films like ALVIN PURPLE, THE MAN FROM HONG KONG, PATRICK, TURKEY SHOOT and MAD MAX to the big screen. As explicit, violent and energetic as their northern cousins, Aussie genre movies presented a unique take on established conventions. NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD won both the 2009 Filmink award and the Film Critics Circle Association award for Best Documentary . It will begin screening Friday, July 31 at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles.


JULY 14, 2009
An return interview with TONY STONE the director of SEVERED WAYS. In the year 1007, an expedition of Vikings arrives on the shores of the New World and travels south in search of a fabled Vinland. When their party is attacked by "Skraelings" and must flee to safety, two men who had gone ahead to explore the interior are left behind, assumed dead. Very much alive but stranded on the rocky shore, the two move north in hopes of reuniting with their countrymen. Haunted by memories and visions of the Old World, the Norsemen face the challenges of an unfamiliar landscape in very different ways. And though the terrain seems dense and deserted, they are not the only people in the woods: both Indians and Irish Monks factor in their epic adventure in the Americas. SEVERED WAYS will screen at the Laemmle Sunset 5 beginning Friday, July 17.

JULY 7, 2009
An interview with ANDY ABRAHAMS WILSON the producer and director of the documentary UNDER OUR SKIN — a gripping tale of microbes, medicine & money. UNDER OUR SKIN investigates the untold story of Lyme disease, an emerging epidemic larger than AIDS. Each year thousands go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, often told that their symptoms are "all in their head." Following the stories of patients and physicians fighting the disease, the film brings into focus a haunting picture of the health care system and a medical establishment all too willing to put profits ahead of patients. Founder of Open Eye Pictures, Andy Wilson is an Emmy-nominated producer, director and cinematographer. Past productions include the HBO special BUBBEH LEE & ME, and HOPE IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS, broadcast on the Sundance Channel. Andy was the Director of Photography for the PBS special TWISTED and the award-winning documentary TOUCHED, as well as cinematographer for the Sundance hit DADDY & PAPA.  

JUNE 30, 2009
An interview with CYRUS NOWRASTEH the director of THE STONING OF SORAYA M. - a classic fable of good vs. evil and an inspiring tribute to courageous women fighting against violence all around the world. In a world of corruption and injustice, a single courageous voice can tell a story that changes everything. This is what lies at the heart of this emotionally charged film. Based on a true story, this tale of a village's persecution of an innocent woman becomes both a daring act of witness and a parable about how people react when someone in their community is turned into a scapegoat: who will join forces with the plot, who will surrender to the mob, and who will dare to stand up for what's right. THE STONING OF SORAYA M. is inspired by French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam's acclaimed international best-seller of the same name which first brought global attention to the real Soraya, who in 1986 was stoned to death by her fellow villagers, in the presence of her children.


























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