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Sentient.Art.Film’s ’90s Asian American Cinema Series “My Sight is Lined with Visions” Continues

Terminal USA

Sentient.Art.Film's series "My Sight is Lined with Visions," which began on May 29 and continues through June 7, highlights 1990s Asian American independent cinema. As the series continues, the second of two Q&As will take place tonight at 7 EST. From Sentient.Art.Film: Each of the films invites audiences to encounter the diversity, formal experimentation, and personally political tradition of Asian American cinematic visions. My Sight is Lined with Visions will feature a series of live online Q&As with the directors. All programs are accompanied by newly commissioned short essays by a new generation of Asian American writers and curators, with contributions from Phoebe Chen, Ryan Swen, Devika Girish, Theresa Wang, Justin Nguyen, and more. Filmmakers who hold the rights to their films will…  Read more

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“Muslim American Stories Can be Messy, Complicated and Beautiful All at the Same Time”: Zeshawn Ali on his Hot Docs Debut Two Gods

Two Gods

Making its world premiere at this year’s virtual Hot Docs on May 28 and running through June 6, Two Gods (which had also been selected for the canceled Full Frame fest) follows one unlikely trio. Hanif is a devout Muslim, and an African-American man fully committed to his work as a casket maker and ritual body washer in his Newark, New Jersey community. He’s also unwaveringly dedicated to the two neighborhood kids he’s taken under his wing, 12-year-old Furquan and 17-year-old Naz, the former dealing with an unsafe home life, the latter with unsafe streets. But as the story unfolds -- in sumptuous black and white images -- several startling questions emerge. Is it the mentor saving his protégés or…  Read more

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Maniac, Flashdance and Fatal Attraction: Jim Hemphill’s Home Video Picks

Maniac

In late 1979, Joe Spinell was a successful character actor who had appeared in major films by Coppola, Friedkin, Scorsese and Mazursky, but he wanted to go beyond supporting work to make a name for himself as a horror icon. His friend William Lustig was a 24-year old movie fanatic who had directed a couple of adult films and was hungry to graduate to mainstream features. Joining forces with producer Andrew Garroni, Lustig and Spinell scraped together $48,000 and started making Maniac, an extremely unpleasant – and extremely effective – study of a psychotic loner on a killing spree. They never really had a budget, just a general policy of making the movie for as little as they could, and…  Read more

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Canon Reformation (4): Vanilla Sky, Dig!

Tom Cruise in Vanila Sky

Low on the list of "unexpected things in the last two months that wouldn't have occurred under pre-pandemic circumstances" but still notable: Rachel Handler publishing a long interview on Vulture with Cameron Crowe about Vanilla Sky. This is an infamously unloved movie, the beginning of Crowe's decadent phase when he (unjustly) became something of a punchline, and regardless any retrospective defense/look back would logically happen next December, in time for the 20th anniversary. The current prompt, of course, is the eerie opening of Tom Cruise running through a totally empty Times Square, which, as they say, hits different now: "We were told so often when it happened, 'Take a good look. This will never happen again,'" Crowe marvels in Vulture. "It’s…  Read more

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Hot Docs 2020: Doc-Makers Discuss the Newly Virtual Deal Maker and Distribution Rendezvous Programs

#BLESSED

Hot Docs was one of the first of the Spring, 2020 film festivals to forge ahead through the pandemic chaos and reemerge on the online side as a more streamlined event. North America’s largest doc fest took the hybrid approach of postponing public screenings while providing a Hot Docs at Home streaming option to those social distancing in Canada. It also transferred its conference and market to the digital realm. Hot Docs also expanded its industry running dates to a whopping full month (April 30-May 31) of online accessibility, uploading everything from the “Why Art Matters in a Time of Crisis” keynote address by Kenyan filmmaker Sam Soko (director of the Sundance-premiering doc Softie), to live streamed panel discussions like “Surviving…  Read more

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Hot Docs 2020: Decision Makers Discuss the Newly Virtual Edition of the Forum, Deal Maker and Distribution Rendezvous

Hot Docs was one of the first of the Spring, 2020 film festivals to forge ahead through the pandemic chaos and reemerge on the online side as a more streamlined event. North America’s largest doc fest took the hybrid approach of postponing public screenings while providing a Hot Docs at Home streaming option to those social distancing in Canada. It also transferred its conference and market to the digital realm. Hot Docs also expanded its industry running dates to a whopping full month (April 30-May 31) of online accessibility, uploading everything from the “Why Art Matters in a Time of Crisis” keynote address by Kenyan filmmaker Sam Soko (director of the Sundance-premiering doc Softie), to live streamed panel discussions like “Surviving…  Read more

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“I Believe That Post-María Puerto Rico Functions Like a Handbook For Our Times”: Director Cecilia Aldarondo on Her Hurricane María Doc, Landfall

Landfall

2017’s Hurricane María was an undeniable disaster, borne most brutally by the thousands who died in Puerto Rico during the storm and those who were left to mourn them. But as Cecilia Aldarondo’s new documentary Landfall makes clear, there is nothing ‘natural’ about the devastation -- before, during, and after the hurricane -- that the people of Puerto Rico have had to endure. A haunting meditation on the aftershocks of crisis and the trauma of state failure, Landfall is an exquisite film, by turns tender and compassionate, cinematically adventurous and self-assured, and politically unflinching in its indictment of those moneyed interests now feasting on the US colony’s organized neglect.  When the film opens all is silent but for two voices speaking quietly…  Read more

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“The Most Important Thing in an Image is the Feeling That What You’re Seeing is Completely True — Like an Accident….”: Bruno Santamaría on his Hot Docs Digital-Debuting Things We Dare Not Do

Things We Dare Not Do

Executive produced by Charlotte Cook, and making its debut at this year’s (virtual) Hot Docs, Bruno Santamaría’s Things We Dare Not Do is a stunning look at the small Mexican town of Roblito through the eyes of its deeply impoverished, yet happy-go-lucky, youngsters. Serving as mother hen to the carefree kids,  for whom random violence seems no more noteworthy than water delivery day or a taco snack, is 16-year-old Ñoño. Though the vivacious teen’s exploration of his own gender identity forms the basis of the film’s title, Things We Dare Not Do is no mere coming out saga. It’s a visually risk-taking, multilayered portrait of growing up and learning to live out loud. Filmmaker took the opportunity to learn more about…  Read more

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