In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve been doing a lot of stuff online lately. So much so, that you can perhaps be forgiven for not being able to keep up with all of it. To help, we’ve compiled this helpful list of every Film Independent Presents Q&A that dropped in the month of November. If you want to see what’s coming up next, find out here. Now, start watching!
Guests of honor: Bonni Cohen (director), Jon Shenk (director); moderated by Lisa Hasko (Director of Artist Development, Film Independent)
About: A search for truth in one of the greatest scandals in the history of U.S. sports. The film follows a team of reporters as they investigate claims of sexual abuse inside USA Gymnastics. Brave survivors step up to expose team physician Larry Nassar’s crimes and unite to fight back against a system of oppression and cruelty.
What critics are saying: “A disturbing and illuminating account of the Olympic women’s-gymnastics sexual-abuse scandal examines how the culture of winning at all cost encouraged a cover-up of crimes.” -Owen Gleiberman, Variety
Guests of honor: Sam Feder (director/producer), Amy Scholder (producer) and Laverne Cox (executive producer/featured subject); moderated by Jennifer Wilson (Senior Programmer, Film Independent)
About: Disclosure is an unprecedented, eye-opening look at the depiction of transgender gender identities in film and television, revealing how Hollywood simultaneously reflects and manufactures our deepest anxieties about gender. Leading trans thinkers and creatives including Laverne Cox, Lilly Wachowski, Yance Ford, Mj Rodriguez, Jamie Clayton and Chaz Bono share their reactions and resistance to some of Hollywood’s most beloved moments.
What critics are saying: “Disclosure makes clear that the conversation about transgender representation is only just beginning, but it offers an incredibly thoughtful opportunity to make more people aware.” -Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com
Guests of honor: Nicole Newnham (writer/director/producer) and Jim LeBrecht (writer/director/producer/subject); moderated by Josh Welsh (President, Film Independent)
About: In the early 1970s, teenagers with disabilities faced a future shaped by isolation, discrimination and institutionalization. Camp Jened, a ramshackle camp “for the handicapped” was their freewheeling Utopia, where campers felt fulfilled as human beings and realized that disruption and unity might secure life-changing accessibility for millions.
What critics are saying: “Ultimately, Crip Camp has a universal message: Inspirations that begin in youth can lead to radical, world-changing results. At the end, a number of former campers reunite at the camp’s unprepossessing present-day site. They see something more, and so will you.” -Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times
THE SOCIAL DILEMMA
Guests of honor: Jeff Orlowski (director) and Larissa Rhodes (producer); moderated by Cooper Hopkins (Digital Communications Manager, Film Independent)
About: We tweet, we like and we share—but what are the consequences of our growing dependence on social media? As digital platforms increasingly become a lifeline to stay connected, Silicon Valley insiders reveal how social media is reprogramming civilization by exposing what’s hiding on the other side of your screen.
What critics are saying: “The single most lucid, succinct, and profoundly terrifying analysis of social media ever created.” -David Ehrlich, IndieWire
THE LIFE AHEAD
Guest of honor: Edoardo Ponti (writer/director); moderated by Maria Raquel Bozzi (Senior Director of Education & International Initiatives, Film Independent)
About: In seaside Italy, streetwise 12-year-old Senegalese orphan Momo (Ibrahima Gueye) has ambitions to make his fortune in the underworld of the town’s shady alleyways. After he robs Holocaust survivor Madame Rosa (Sophia Loren), she reluctantly agrees to take him in temporarily, and the two form an unconventional bond.
What critics are saying: “Director Edoardo Ponti directs his legendary mother as an Italian Holocaust survivor in this sentimental adaptation of Romain Gary’s novel, but it’s newcomer Ibrahima Gueye who really shines.” -Eric Kohn, IndieWire
Guest of honor: Alan Ball (writer/director); moderated by Jeremy Aguilera-Gaudette (Events and Hospitality Producer, Education & International Programs, Film Independent)
About: Writer-director Alan Ball’s heartfelt and hilarious road movie travels from the bohemian scene of post-Stonewall New York City to rural South Carolina, following young Southerner Beth’s quest to reunite her black sheep (re: gay) uncle Frank with the rest of the family—whether he wants it or not.
What critics are saying: “The scene-stealer is Peter Macdissi, whose Wally is twinkly-eyed and witty, gregarious without being a flamboyant caricature.” -Ben Travis, Empire
Guests of honor: R.J. Cutler (writer/director/producer) and Judy Belushi (featured subject); moderated by Judd Apatow (director/producer/comedian/actor)
About: A feature documentary about the too-short life of John Belushi, the once-in-a-generation comedic talent who captured the hearts and funny-bones of audiences worldwide. Told using previously unheard audiotapes, this film examines Belushi’s extraordinary life in the words of his collaborators, friends and family.
What critics are saying: “Belushi doesn’t question the industry that propelled its subject to fame, but it helps explain how the same system designed to support unique talent can incinerate it in plain sight.” -Eric Kohn, IndieWire
THE DARK AND THE WICKED
Guests of honor: Actors Marin Ireland and Michael Abbott Jr.; moderated by Michael Lerman (producer/writer)
About: On a secluded farm, a man is bedridden and fighting through his final breaths as his wife slowly succumbs to overwhelming grief. Siblings Louise and Michael return home to help, but it doesn’t take long for them to see that something’s seriously wrong with mom—something far more than her heavy sorrow. Gradually, they begin to suffer a darkness similar to their mother’s, marked by waking nightmares and a growing sense that an evil entity is taking over their family.
What critics are saying: “It’s sinister and certainly one of the scariest movies of the year, elevated by Ireland’s outstanding performance and Bertino’s skill for plunging head-first into some of the darkest spectrums of the human experience.” -Haleigh Foutch, Collider
NO MAN’S LAND
Guests of honor: Maria Feldman (Co-Creator), Amit Cohen (Co-Creator) and actors Félix Moati,Souheila Yacoub and James Krishna Floyd; moderated by Lorraine Ali (TV critic, Los Angeles Times)
About: No Man’s Land dives into the depths of the Syrian civil war as seen through the eyes of Antoine, a young French man searching for his estranged, presumed-to-be-dead sister.
What critics are saying: “Through the lens of No Man’s Land, the conflict becomes a crucible of languages, identities and cultures, which required painstaking work from the series’ creators, performers and post-production team to ensure that no meaning was lost in translation.” -Laura Zornosa, Los Angeles Times
Guest of honor: Actor Jude Law; moderated by Clayton David (Awards Circuit Editor, Variety)
About: Set during the 1980s, an ambitious entrepreneur and former commodities broker persuades his American wife and their children to leave the comforts of suburban America to return to his native England. Sensing opportunity, he rejoins his former firm and leases a centuries-old country manor, with grounds for horses and plans to build a stable. But soon, the promise of a lucrative new beginning starts to unravel and the couple have to face the unwelcome truths lying beneath the surface of their marriage.
What critics are saying: “The Nest Is One of the best films of the year. Sean Durkin’s drama is an acting showcase, and a sneakily profound musing on family.” -Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair
Guests of honor: Liz Garbus (director), Anne Carey (producer) and actor Amy Ryan; moderated by Claudia Puig (President, Los Angeles Film Critics Association)
About: When 24-year-old Shannan Gilbert mysteriously disappears one night, her mother Mari (Amy Ryan) embarks on a dark journey that finds her face-to-face with hard truths about her daughter, herself and police bias. Determined to find her daughter at all costs, Mari Gilbert retraces Shannan’s last known steps, driving her own investigation to an insular gated community near the desolate outer banks of Long Island. Her discoveries force law enforcement and the media to uncover more than a dozen unsolved murders of sex workers; young lives Mari will not let the world forget.
What critics are saying: “As a storyteller, Garbus works with a no-fuss rhythm and flow, holding the audience in the palm of her hand.” -Owen Gleiberman, Variety
FEELS GOOD MAN
Guests of honor: Arthur Jones (writer/director/animator), Aaron Wickenden (writer/producer/senior editor), Giorgio Angelini (writer/producer/cinematographer), Caryn Capotosto (producer); moderated by Katie Rife (Senior Writer, The A.V. Club)
About: The Pepe phenomenon raises a variety of questions—is it possible to reclaim an image from hate-symbol status? How has this surreal turn of events impacted the soft-spoken [creator] Furie and his family? Why does Pepe resonate so deeply with people?—many of which are addressed by first-time filmmaker Arthur Jones in his new documentary Feels Good Man, which above all seeks to provide some much-needed context for the frog and his continuing transformation.
What critics are saying: “Jones’ movie is a beacon of internet literacy about a whole new language—that memes are flexible, omnipotent, and pieces of a phenomenon more powerful than their creators.” -Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com
Guests of honor: Remi Weekes (writer/director), actors Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù and Wunmi Mosaku; moderated by Jenelle Riley (Editor, Variety)
About: After making a harrowing escape from war-torn South Sudan, a young refugee couple struggle to adjust to their new life in a small English town that has an unspeakable evil lurking beneath its surface.
What critics are saying: “One of the best debuts of the year, Remi Weekes’ shrewd, tender, and sometimes terrifying “His House” begins with a clever premise—the immigrant experience as a horror movie—and expands on that idea in knowing and unexpected ways.” -David Ehrlich, IndieWire
Guests of honor: Anna Winger (Creator/Showrunner/Executive Producer), Maria Schrader (Director), Justine Seymour (Costume Designer) and actors Shira Haas and Amit Rahav; moderated by journalist Marisa Mazria Katz
About: Why would you leave the only life you’ve ever known? Unorthodox tells the story of a young woman from the Hasidic community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn who breaks out of her arranged marriage and travels to Berlin to find herself. But just as she discovers a whole new world, the past catches up with her.
What critics are saying: “The new Netflix miniseries Unorthodox, starring the Israeli actress Shira Haas as a young bride named Esty Shapiro, is a delicately balanced tale of leaving religious life.” -Rachel Syme, The New Yorker
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(Header: His House)