LAND OF GOLD
Land of Gold explores the making of John Adams and Peter Sellars’s outlandish new opera about the California Gold Rush. The film transports us into very funny and very dark worlds, as two versions of the same story march forward 170 years apart: men and women on a collision course in California on the Fourth of July, 1851, and behind the scenes with quick-witted young opera singers excavating that same history in the age of Trump. Whatever you were expecting in a documentary about the Gold Rush, this is not it.
Amid the backstage hubbub, composer John Adams, singers Julia Bullock, Paul Appleby, J’Nai Bridges, and director Peter Sellars wrestle their bittersweet show “Girls of the Golden West” onto the stage. In Jon Else’s third documentary with Adams, Deadwood meets A Night at the Opera, as this rollicking documentary lays bare the flamboyant and brutal roots of modern American excess.
Directed by Jon Else, English, 2021, 73 minutes
The Stand: How One Gesture Shook the World
It is one of the most iconic images of our time: two African-American medal winners at the 1968 Olympics standing in silent protest with heads bowed and fists raised as “The Star Spangled Banner” is played. Fifty years later, that singular event remains deeply inspiring, controversial and even misunderstood as one of the most overtly political statement in the annals of sport. The Stand: How One Gesture Shook the World is a revealing exploration into the circumstances that led runners Tommie Smith and John Carlos to that historic moment at the Mexico City Games, mining the great personal risks they took and the subsequent fallout they endured. Through intimate interviews with the participants and witnesses involved in that moment, along with compelling images and archive, the film explores the 1968 Olympics human rights stand in the context of a critically important and volatile time for the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. While the film documents this lasting moment in American history, The Stand also remains faithful to what was, for athletes and millions of Olympic fans around the world, a riveting 200-meter footrace between the fastest runners of the day, young people in their athletic prime striving to be the best on one October day in Mexico City.
Tommie Smith: 1968 Olympic 200m gold medalist
John Carlos: 1968 Olympic 200m bronze medalist
Harry Edwards: activist and mentor
Ralph Boston: 1968 Olympic team member
Mel Pender: 1968 Olympic team member
Paul Hoffman: 1968 Olympic team member
Cleve Livingston: 1968 Olympic team member
Patty VanWolvelaere: 1968 Olympic team member
Edwin Roberts: 1968 Olympic 200m finalist
Larry Quested: 1968 Olympic 200m finalist
Tom Farrell: 1968 Olympic team member
Richard Lapchick: activist and historian
Brian Meeks: Chair, Department of Africana Studies, Brown University
Francoise Hamlin: Associate Professor in History and Africana Studies, Brown University
From the makers of “Bannister: Everest on the Track,” named by Indiewire as one of the best sports documentaries of all time.
THE SAME STORM
Filmed using iPhones and laptops during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Same Storm is an intimate look into the lives of twenty-four characters as they journey through the spring and summer of 2020. With lockdowns, the Black Lives Matter movement and the looming 2020 elections as key backdrops, the film explores the necessity of human connection, family, love and the ability to find empathy during a fraught, untenable time. Featuring an all-star cast, including Sandra Oh, Mary-Louise Parker, Elaine May, Moses Ingram, Raul Castillo, Noma Dumezweni, and many more, writer/director Peter Hedges crafts a unique piece of hopeful filmmaking that demonstrates and celebrates the ability of art to connect us.
Directed by Peter Hedges, 99 minutes, 2022.
Róise & Frank
Róise is still grieving the loss of her husband, Frank, when a mysterious dog shows up at her door. Mildly annoyed by the canine attempting to disrupt her mourning, she attempts to ignore him. But before long, a series of coincidences convince her that somehow this shaggy dog is her husband Frank reincarnated. Soon the dog will win over others in their small town, as well as becoming the unlikely coach to a shy, hurling-loving local boy, before mysteriously disappearing. Part drama, part comedy, this wonderful Irish film is sure to deliver smiles, tears, and laughs to film lovers of all ages.
Winner – Audience Choice Award – 2022 Santa Barbara Film Festival
“You’d need a shard of ice in your heart not to be charmed even just a little by this eccentric Irish-language comedy.” – Cath Clarke, Guardian
Directed by Rachael Moriarty & Peter Murphy
Language: Gaelic with English subtitles
Runtime: 88 minutes
Jackie is a fading movie star who has amassed millions of followers who hang on her every word about her conspiracy theory regarding world domination. When an actual communications black out occurs, Jackie finds herself at the epicenter of a series of strange visits that leave her questioning the line between reality and delusion.
Once a well-known singer and actress, JACKIE has transformed herself into an online conspiracy theorist in an attempt to shine her fading star. Going by the pseudonym JAX, she has amassed millions of followers who hang on every word of her frequent, unhinged video blogs dedicated to exposing a powerful secret society known as THE PARLIAMENT. But her second shot at fame did not come without a cost—as Jax gained prominence and influence in the digital realm, Jackie’s life in the real world crumbled around her. She alienated her friends and destroyed her marriage, leaving her alone, bitter, and paranoid.
But finally, vindication arrives in the form of a global communications blackout. Jackie is certain the Parliament is responsible, but since the internet and phone lines have gone dark, she has no way of telling anyone how right she’s been all along. Cut off from the online community she’s grown so dependent on, Jackie becomes more isolated than ever. She starts drinking heavily to numb the pain, and begins recording progressively disturbing videos, sending them out into the ether in a desperate effort to break through the Parliament’s blockade.
As the days pass, Jackie’s grip on reality becomes more and more tenuous. She feels like she’s being watched. She hears noises she can’t explain. And when she finds a mysterious box in her closet, she becomes convinced that she is now a target of the very organization she’s been trying to expose. Feeling as though both her sanity and life are in danger, Jackie is sure she must solve the riddle of this strange box to save herself. But to do that, she must examine who and what she has become, and ask herself some hard questions…
What is real? What is delusion?
And does the difference even matter anymore?
Directed by Laura Russo, 115 minutes, 2022, English, starring Julienne Davis (Eyes Wide Shut)
LOS ULTIMOS FRIKIS
LOS ÚLTIMOS FRIKIS tells the story of ZEUS, Cuba’s most popular heavy metal band, and their 30-year fight to be heard.
When ZEUS formed in Havana in the 1980s, rock music was illegal and rockers were derisively called los frikis—the freaks. Fidel Castro’s communist government saw rock and roll as a mortal threat sent by a capitalist enemy.
Vinyl records were destroyed, concerts were broken up, and the long-haired frikis were thrown in jail. ZEUS’s lead singer, Dionisio “Diony” Arce, spent six years in prison at the height of his career.
Today, ZEUS is part of the communist system as an official band within the Ministry of Culture’s Agency of Rock. The government that once silenced them now pays their salaries and promotes them around the island. These grey-haired rockers traded in their rebellion for the chance to play their music. But at what cost?
For ZEUS’s 25th anniversary, the government gives the band permission to go on their first national tour. It’s a dream come true for the band—a triumph after years struggling to create a space for their music. As ZEUS embarks on the crosscountry journey, they discover that their place at the center of Cuban counterculture isn’t what they once believed. Screaming on stage, Diony is no longer a rebel. Some kids even laugh at him.
Bouncing across the island, ZEUS comes face to face with a changing country and a new generation that no longer tunes into the band’s loud, aggressive music. As Cuba optimistically opens its doors to what many hope will be a more comfortable and secure future, the country’s musical tastes shift to newer, sexier sounds. There is no space left for rock and roll. Once at the forefront of youth culture, ZEUS risks fading into a quiet irrelevance.
Returning to Havana after a heart-breaking tour, Diony and his bandmates must confront whether they have become the country’s last freaks—los últimos frikis.
Director: Nicholas Brennan
Executive Producer: W. Wilder Knight II, Joey Carey, Dave Lombardo
Producer: John Logan Pierson
Cinematographer: Javier Labrador, Nicholas Brennan
Editor: Nicholas Brennan, Hossein Keshavarz
Music: Dave Lombardo
- THE CARAVAN follows Yuri, who is eight months pregnant, her husband Mike and their two-year old son Santi as they travel by foot and bus from their home in Honduras to the US border in 2018 in hopes of a new life for their family.
DIRECTORS: Nuria Clavero, Aitor Palacios
PRODUCERS: Laura Collado, Elizabeth Sheldon
RUNNING TIME: 97 min
IN POST PRODUCTION
Song For Cesar
History will remember the blood, sweat, and tears shed by late civil-rights activist and labor leader Cesar Chavez while standing up for American farmworkers. In Song for Cesar, co-writers and co-directors Andres Alegria and Abel Sanchez build on that legacy and pride through the music of Chavez’s era. Daniel Valdez’s “Brown Eyed Children of the Sun,” Joel Rafael’s “El Bracero,” Little Joe y La Familia’s “Viva la Huelga,” and other songs became the powerful soundtrack for Latino farmworkers who otherwise felt invisible and unheard. Through stunning archival photographs and footage and interviews with icons that include Carlos Santana, Joan Baez, Cheech Marin, Edward James Olmos, Maya Angelou, and Chavez’s United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta, this affectionate documentary hits many inspiring notes, expressing the emotion that flourished artistically during the Chicano Movement of the 1960s. As filmmaker and playwright Luis Valdez (Zoot Suit) says in the film, “Beware of a movement that sings.” –Kiko Martinez
DIRECTOR: Andres Alegria, Abel Sanchez
PRODUCERS: Andres Alegria, Abel Sanchez
CINEMATOGRAPHERS: Andres Alegria, Heath Orchard, Jose Luis Cosme
RUNNING TIME: 85min
Barbara Rubin and The Exploding New York Underground
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.
Director: Chuck Smith
Executive Producer: Chuck Smith
Cinematographer: Andy Bowley
Editor: Chuck Smith
Music: Lee Ranaldo
Running Time: 78
Getting Naked: A Burlesque Story
Uncovering New York City’s neo-burlesque subculture, Getting Naked offers a lingering look at several sexy denizens of the nightlife scene, including Gal Friday, Hazel Honeysuckle and the Schlep Sisters Minnie Tonka and Darlinda Just Darlinda whose acts range from the classic glamorous striptease to more overtly comedic schtick. Followed on- and offstage, these gifted performers reveal the liberation and empowerment they’ve gained from burlesque, even as they contend with the physical and financial demands of their competitive art form.
Director: James Lester
Producers: James Lester, Frank Hall Green. Chandra C. Silver. Susan Wrubel
Duration: 85 min
It’s New Years Eve and unhappily married couple, Benjamin Pax and his wife Katherine, are having one last hurrah with their closest friends before moving back to New York.
Benjamin is a playwright, author of the famous stage play, “Gifts of Truth,” and typically considers himself the most successful person in the room. He is also a renowned NYU acting professor, and the former teacher to Katherine and the rest of their friend group. Katherine is a mother and a successful photographer, and together they have built a nice, yet fragile life for themselves.
Like most friends from college, they have all kept in touch through the years, even though their lives have faded in different directions. As the night unfolds and each guest enters the house, a clearer picture begins to develop. They see who they were to each other, verses who they have become, and they begin to question how much their lives and ideas about one another have changed.
At the end of the night, Ben convinces them all to play a manipulative and destructive game called, “I Love You, I Hate You.” The brutal honesty that spills out as a result of this game causes relationships to fracture, old friends to confront ugly truths, and a gun to get drawn.
"New Year is an exemplary artistic showcase of the power of dialogue and performance, wrapped in a tightly constructed celluloid of truth." -Film Inquiry
RT: 88 minutes, English, directed by Nathan Sutton, starring Neil Jackson, Kyle Mac, Timothy V. Murphy, 2021