In a rare and refreshing reversal of roles, filmmakers put the powerful Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA for short) under the microscope for inspection in Academy Award-nominated director Kirby Dicks incisive look at stateside cinemas most notorious non-censoring censors. Compelled by the staggering amount of power that the MPAA ratings board wields, the filmmaker seeks out the true identities of the anonymous elite who control what films make it to the multiplex. He even goes so far as to hire a private investigator to stake out MPAA headquarters and expose Hollywoods best-kept secret. Along the way, Dick speaks with numerous filmmakers whose careers have been affected by the seemingly random and sexual-content obsessed judgments of the MPAA, including
Director: Kirby Dick
A collection of the animated short films nominated for the 2017 Academy Awards.
In spring 2011, director Stig Bj?rkman meets Ingrid Bergmans daughter Isabella Rossellini and she suggests him to make a film about Mama. Through Isabella, Stig is able to tell Ingrids story through her own words and images. Seven time Academy Award-nominee and three time Academy Award-winner Ingrid Bergman was one of the most talented actresses of Hollywoods Golden Age with great performances in films such as CASABLANCA (1942), GASLIGHT (1944) and and AUTUMN SONATA (1978). Through never-before-seen private footage, notes, letters, diaries and interviews with her children, this documentary presents a personal portrait and captivating look behind the scenes of the remarkable life of a young Swedish girl who became one of the most celebrated actresses of American and World cinema.
In a massive, mysterious chamber, fifty strangers awaken to find themselves trapped with no memory of how they got there. Every two minutes, one of them must die... Executed by an electrical pulse generated from a source within the chamber. At first the attacks seem random, but, soon the strangers realize that they, as a group, have the power to decide who will be the next to be killed: by the power of the vote. Mob mentality at its finest hour. A chance to control the machine. How will they choose who deserves to die? What happens when theres only one person left? Circle is a film about humanity. How we value one another and how people react when they are forced to make decisions under the worst possible circumstances. Its a film that speaks to the very core of what makes us human - Who we are, what we believe and ultimately, the lengths we will go to in which to save ourselves.
WHITEY: United States of America v. James J. Bulger captures the sensational trial of infamous gangster James Whitey Bulger, using the legal proceedings as a springboard to explore allegations of corruption within the highest levels of law enforcement. Embedded for months with Federal Prosecutors, retired FBI and State Police, victims, lawyers, gangsters and journalists, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Joe Berlinger examines Bulgers relationship with the FBI and Department of Justice that allowed him to reign over a criminal empire in Boston for decades. Pulling back the curtain on long-held Bulger mythology, the film challenges conventional wisdom by detailing shocking, new allegations. With unprecedented access, Berlingers latest crime documentary offers a universal tale of human frailty, opportunism, deception, and the often elusive nature of truth and justice.
Two documentary filmmakers are determined to expose the truth about Maggie, the mysterious leader of a secretive cult who claims to belong to the year 2054. Although they believe that everything is nothing more than a fraud, the filmmakers end up driven by her charisma.
For those outside of Southern California, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival is a well-kept secret. Sorry to blow it. Though popular on the weekends (it’s an easy daytrip from Los Angeles), there was plenty of ticket availability during the week. An added screening of the Oscar-nominated Bullhead was held in the cavernous 1931 movie palace the Arlington, capacity 2100. With only about 60 in the audience, it was virtually a private screening—bliss. And with temperatures reaching over 70 degrees in February, and not a cloud in sight, the location is a no-brainer for a mid-winter event, whether for business or a movie binge.
For filmmakers, there are advantages to participating in a regional event, even one without the bragging rights of Sundance. Here, the festival’s the only game in town, affording filmmakers media access that they can only dream of in New York. For example, a Sunday 6:00 PM local news broadcast devoted over five minutes to the distributor-less documentary Pretty Old, about an annual beauty contest for seniors, and the Santa Barbara News-Press offered a full page of activities and articles daily.
This year before packed houses at the Arlington the festival presented its annual American Riviera career award to Martin Scorsese and its Virtuoso Awards to six actors hitting professional plateaus last year: Demián Bichir, Rooney Mara, Melissa McCarthy, Patton Oswalt, Andy Serkis, and Shailene Woodley. (All of the above made it to town except for McCarthy.) Earlier in the festival, Viola Davis won Outstanding Performer of the Year and Christopher Plummer the Modern Master Award. (Most festivals just give out one or two honors.) Year to year, the SBIFF reads the tea leaves and imbeds itself into awards season, and the number of journalists and photographers on the red carpet press gauntlet outmatched those of the Tribeca or New York film festivals.