Award-winning Film Profiles Five Poets Slamming Truth to Power

Juno Films has acquired the exclusive world-wide distribution rights to Director  Max Power’s Don’t Be Nice. The vérité documentary film had its world premiere at Hot Docs and will premiere theatrically at IFC Center September 20th followed by Los Angeles before it broadcasts on FuseTV in early October. Don’t Be Nice has won numerous awards including Best Documentary at Vail Film Festival, Macon Film Festival, Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival, and Atlanta Docufest, the Audience Award at Roxbury International Film Festival, and directing awards at Port Townsend Film Festival and River Bend Film Festival.

The film chronicles the upstart Bowery Slam Poetry Team, made up of five African-American, Afro-Hispanic and queer poets in their 20s, preparing for the national championships. Their coach pushes them past personal boundaries to write from a painfully honest place, and the poets break down, break through, and ultimately write their masterpiece. Will their soul-searching pieces about police violence and the whitewashing of Black culture be able to compete against choreographed crowd-pleasers for the title? The team braves their inner demons and bucks societal expectations to write truthful poems, and to ultimately celebrate black joy. 

The deal was negotiated between Elizabeth Sheldon, Juno’s CEO and co-founder, and Producer Nikhil Melnechuk on behalf of Radio Drama Network. “Don’t Be Nice is a documentary that shows the intersection between the personal and the political as expressed by the five poets and their tireless coach,” says Sheldon. “We are thrilled to be working with Max Powers, Nikhil Melnechuk, and Radio Drama Network to bring the film to American audiences.” Melnechuk adds, “there’s never been a better time for a film about the power speaking the truth has to change one’s life. The poets in Don’t Be Nice take big personal risk to share their stories with the world, and we can’t wait for audiences to hear what they have to say.


Barbara Rubin and Bob Dylan

Chuck Smith's "Barbara Rubin and The Exploding New York Underground" will open in New York at IFC on May 24th and in Los Angeles at Laemmle on June 12th. 

The NY Times Critic's Pick


Endzeit Ever After

ENDZEIT - EVER AFTER will open in New York at IFC on June 21st and in Los Angeles at Laemmle on June 28th.


Announcements
The Beast in the Jungle US Premier
March 21, 2019

The Beast in The Jungle

THE BEAST IN THE JUNGLE will premier in US at San Francisco Film Festival on April 16th and 17th.


Melding archival material from the last 100 years—from grainy newsreel footage to images of the English countryside—with an original soundtrack from Adrian Utley (Portishead) and Will Gregory (Goldfrapp), Arcadia takes us on a visceral journey through the contrasting seasons, exploring the beauty and brutality, the magic and madness, of our changing relationship to the land and one another.


Barbara Rubin and Andy Warhol

We are thrilled to announce that Barbara Rubin and The Exploding NY Underground will have its European Premier at Rotterdam International Film Festival in the Regained section, a perfect home for Chuck Smith's award-winning film. Congrats Chuck!


Boutique distribution company Juno Films has acquired exclusive U.S rights to “Ever After” (“Endzeit”), a feminist zombie apocalypse road movie hailed as delivering a fresh take on the walking dead cannon.

The deal was negotiated between Elizabeth Sheldon, Juno’s CEO and co-founder, and Andreas Rothbauer, founder of Berlin-based Picture Tree International, “Ever After’s” sales agent.

Read more in Variety


South African Director Jahmil X.T. Qubeka weaves a breathless Western-style epic from the life of legendary Apartheid outlaw John Kepe.

Juno Films has acquired the exclusive North American rights to Sew The Winter To My Skin by South African director Jahmil X.T. Qubeka (Of Good Report). The film premiered at TIFF and is South Africa’s Best Foreign Film contender. The film will open in NYC in 2019 followed by a national rollout in theaters across the US, digital, educational and home video.Based on a true story, John Kepe was an Apartheid-era folk hero who proclaimed himself the  “Samson of the Boschberg.” For decades, Kepe stole livestock and other goods from white colonist farmers and shared his spoils with the impoverished Indigenous population. He inevitably became a political threat to the very fabric of the ruling colonial society. He escaped capture for 12 years before he was brought before a court and sentenced to death for a murder that he might or might not have committed. Sew the Winter to My Skin is a keenly observed epic-adventure drama that captures the horrors of South Africa’s racist colonial regime. Rejecting dialog, Jahmil X.T. Qubeka relies on an immersive score and visual cues and through his evocative formal choices, probes, as he says, "mankind’s inherent need to feed into mythologies that conveniently suit the order of the day.".

The deal was negotiated between Elizabeth Sheldon, Juno’s CEO and co-founder, and Philipp Hoffman, founder of Rushlake Media. “Jahmil X.T. Qubeka’s film weaves the best formal elements of a thriller with the universal themes of oppression, poverty and the quest for freedom and dignity,” says Elizabeth Sheldon. “This is a powerful film that audiences will remember.” Philipp Hoffman comments, “I’m very happy that Sew The Winter To My Skin found a home in North America with Juno Films and that Elizabeth and her team will pave the way to big screens across the country.” Qubeka adds that, “Elizabeth understands the power of film to bring new stories to an American audience. She will be a strong advocate for the story of John Kepe.”


Juno Films has licensed the exclusive worldwide rights to Barbara Rubin & The Exploding New York Underground. Chuck Smith’s award-winning film brings to life the influential maverick filmmaker who in the 1960s collaborated with Andy Warhol, Allen Ginsberg, the Velvet Underground and Bob Dylan to produce an oeuvre of work that still scandalizes. Filmmaker Jonas Mekas, her close friend and collaborator, collected all of her films and letters which form the basis of the film along with his commentary. The film premiered at DOC NYC where it won the Metropolis Grand Jury Prize and will open theatrically in NYC at the IFC Center in 2019 followed by broadcast, digital and home video release, along with international broadcast sales.

Made when she was just 18 years old, Barbara Rubin’s art-porn masterpiece Christmas On Earth (1963-65) shocked NYC’s experimental film scene and inspired NYC’s thriving underground. For the next four years her filmmaking and irrepressible energy helped shatter artistic and sexist boundaries. A mythical “Zelig” of the sixties, she introduced Andy Warhol to the Velvet Underground and Bob Dylan to the Kabbalah. But beyond shaping the spirit of the sixties, Barbara was seeking the deeper meaning of life. After retiring to a farm with Allen Ginsberg, she shocked everyone by converting to Hasidic Judaism, marrying and moving to France to live an anonymous life. Tragically, she died in 1980 after giving birth to her fifth child.  For years, Jonas Mekas treasured all of Barbara’s letters and films and cherished her memory. Working with Mekas’ footage, the film takes us inside the world and mind of Barbara Rubin; a woman who truly believed that film could change the world.

The deal was negotiated between Elizabeth Sheldon, Juno’s CEO and co-founder, and filmmaker Chuck Smith. “Chuck’s film excavates a figure in film history who has long been overlooked. Her contributions and influence on the underground art scene of the 60s can now find its proper place alongside her contemporaries,” says Elizabeth Sheldon. Chuck Smith comments, “Elizabeth’s passion for the film and Barbara’s story helped convince me that Juno Films is the perfect home for the documentary.  I look forward to working with Juno to share this incredible story with the world.”


Shiraz

1928 silent film features an all Indian cast with a new musical score by Anoushka Shankar

Juno Films has licensed the exclusive North American rights to the British Film Institute(BFI)’s 2K restoration of director Franz Osten’s epic black and white drama, Shiraz: A Romance of India. Based on the romance between 17th-century Mughal ruler Shah Jahan and his queen, this epic silent film is the ravishing, romantic tale behind the creation of one of the world’s most iconic structures: the Taj Mahal.

Shot entirely on location in India, it features lavish costumes and gorgeous settings – all the more impressive in this meticulous new digital restoration by the conservation team at the BFI National Archive which features a specially commissioned score by the Grammy Award-winning Anoushka Shankar. Produced by and starring Indian film legend Himansu Rai, the film is performed by an all-Indian cast, featuring Rai as humble potter Shiraz, who follows his childhood sweetheart Selima (Enakshi Rama Rau) when she’s sold by slave traders to the future emperor (Charu Roy).

The film will premiere in the US at the Metrograph Theater in January 2019 with a DVD and BluRay release to follow in May on the new Juno Selects home video label distributed in partnership with MVD. Additional home video titles to be released on the new label include Peter Sellers’ debut feature film, Pennies from Heaven and his short film, Let’s Go Crazy.

The deal was negotiated between Elizabeth Sheldon, Juno’s CEO and co-founder, and the BFI’s Violette Martin. “It is an honor to work with the BFI on the release of Shiraz: A Romance of India. It is a timeless tale of devotion that left humankind with a monument to the inspiration and power of true love, the Taj Majal,” says Sheldon, “and the new score by the Grammy-award winning Anoushka Shankar seals it as a contemporary masterpiece.”

“The restoration of SHIRAZ was the culmination of thousands of hours of painstaking conservation work by the BFI National Archive to transform this silent classic, thereby ensuring its safe preservation for future generations. The BFI therefore is very happy to see SHIRAZ in the highly skilled hands of Juno Films and Elizabeth Sheldon for its North American distribution, as well as to have the Metrograph Theater on board for the opening week in New York. We look forward to further collaborations with Juno Films around our classic film collection.” commented the BFI’s Violette Martin.

ABOUT THE BFI NATIONAL ARCHIVE

The BFI National Archive was founded in 1935 and has grown to become the one of the largest and most important collections of film and television in the world with over 180,000 films and 750,000 television programs. For over 80 years the BFI has been an international leader in film preservation and guardian of Britain’s unparalleled film and TV heritage. The BFI is an innovator in presenting films to audiences in new and dynamic ways, from cinemas to film festivals, outdoor events to online video-on-demand. At the heart of all its activities is the BFI’s central aim to ensure that everyone in the UK has access to the widest possible range of film and their own film heritage.

That heritage includes all time great British directors Alfred Hitchcock, David Lean and Powell and Pressburger; and the rich vein of documentary filmmaking, in which Britain led the world, including the lyrical work of Humphrey Jennings. The archive also boasts a significant collection of filmmakers’ papers as well as extensive stills, posters and production and costume designs along with original scripts, press books and related ephemera.

Expert teams undertake the time-consuming and complex task of restoring films at the BFI John Paul Getty Jr Conservation Centre in Hertfordshire. The BFI’s most precious film materials are kept in optimum conditions in the world-leading Master Film Store in Warwickshire.

Further details: www.bfi.org.uk

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