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As the unabashed cradle of Hollywood superficiality and smoggy urban sprawl, Los Angeles has long been condemned as a cultural wasteland. In the richly penetrating documentary odyssey City of Gold, Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold shows us another Los Angeles, where ethnic cooking is a kaleidoscopic portal to the mysteries of an unwieldy city and the soul of America.
Ancient oceans teeming with life, Norwegian settlers, Native Americans and multinational oil corporations find intimacy in deep time. Following up his 2009 feature Crude Independence (SXSW), Deep Time is director Noah Hutton’s ethereal portrait of the landowners, state officials, and oil workers at the center of the most prolific oil boom on the planet for the past six years. With a new focus on the relationship of the indigenous peoples of North Dakota to their surging fossil wealth, Deep Time casts the ongoing boom in the context of paleo-cycles, climate change, and the dark ecology of the future.
In JINGLE BELL ROCKS!, director Mitchell Kezin delves into the minds of some of the world’s most legendary Christmas music fanatics and hits the road to hang with his holiday heroes – including hip hop legend Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons of RUN-D.M.C., The Flaming Lips’ frontman Wayne Coyne, filmmaker John Waters, bebopper Bob Dorough, L.A. DJ and musicologist Dr. Demento, and Calypso legend The Mighty Sparrow. In his search for the twelve best, underappreciated Christmas songs ever recorded, Kezin both asks and answers the question, “Why, when Christmas rolls around, are we still stuck cozying up with Bing Crosby under a blanket of snow?”
This award winning documentary, narrated by Lou Reed, explores the breadth and depth of Occupy Wall Street and how it quickly grew from a small park in lower Manhattan to an international movement. The film highlights why people from diverse age, ethnic and financial backgrounds support the movement and its focus of removing money from politics in order to reclaim democracy from entrenched corporate interests so that critical issues including job creation, affordable access to health and education, protecting the environment and gun safety can be fully addressed. Featuring interviews with a wide range of subjects including Occupiers, economist Jeffrey Sachs and business magnate Russell Simmons.
In this film made over ten years, filmmaker Barbara Sonneborn goes on a pilgrimage to the Vietnamese countryside where her husband was killed. She and translator (and fellow war widow) Xuan Ngoc Nguyen explore the meaning of war and loss on a human level. The film weaves interviews with Vietnamese and American widows into a vivid testament to the legacy of war.
A look into six proud veterans’ experiences with the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Health Administration (VHA) as they seek to manage the mental and physical trauma they sustained in uniform. The film details their experiences with an embattled VA and educates about the fundamental changes that are needed to ensure our veterans are taken care of.
IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE explores identity and legacy in the African-American family, as Grammy award-winning rapper Che ‘Rhymefest’ Smith and his long-lost father reconnect and try to build a new future in Chicago’s turbulent South Side. Himself a child of a broken home, Che hasn’t seen his father, Brian, in over 20 years, and presumes him dead. But after buying his father’s childhood home, Che sets out to find him, and learns that his is now a homeless alcoholic living only several blocks away/ The film offers a probing take on memory and identity in a family two generations removed from slavery as it tracks Che and Brian’s shared journey to create a new legacy for themselves, their community and the next generation of family.
The Invisible Vegan is a 90-minute independent documentary that explores the problem of unhealthy dietary patterns in the African-American community, foregrounding the health and wellness possibilities enabled by plant-based vegan diets and lifestyle choices.