Category: Documentary

 

The mockumentary seems to be a long lost art form. For awhile they were a popular choice for filmmakers wanting to experiment a little with comedy. Films like Kenny made a big splash but now filmmaker Julian Shaw has just delivered a very ambitious project indeed. See Use Me is a mockumentary but it doesn’t deliver comedy – instead it is a thriller featuring a known online dominatrix Ceara Lynch.

To find out a little bit more about Use Me I recently caught up with Shaw while he was in Sydney to promote the film. We started off by discussing where the idea for the film originally came from.

“You know where it came from was I was looking to do a documentary series about internet entrepreneurs ,” he explains. “I was pitching to the ABC because they were looking for series and then I accidentally came across Ceara Lynch through a pirated Youtube clip and there was just something about her that intrigued me. I wanted to know more so I went to her website and my mind was kind of blown. I was kind of familiar with the fetishes that she dealt with but there were things I didn’t know about like financial domination… I didn’t really know about the more extreme kind of fetishes. So that intrigued me.”

“Then there was the fact that she had so much charisma,” he says continuing. “She had real star power and I just thought there was something so intelligent about how she constructed this whole persona so I reached out to meet her and asked about doing an episode of this documentary series. So I went to Portland to film and then we both just knew that there was something bigger there… we knew that right away.”

The unusual nature of the film also seems to be causing a little bit of confusion for people who think that the film is real. “The honest truth is that nobody has been absolutely correct,” he says with a bit of a laugh. “Everybody has these really strong opinions on what is real and what is not. Some say that the first half of the film is a documentary and then he turned it into fiction. But it really isn’t like that at all. I mean it is constructed from the very first scene and I knew after about three days that I did not want to make a traditional documentary. I knew that I wanted to do something different because Seara screamed out for it. I mean her whole career blurs the line between reality and fantasy , you know she makes men’s fantasies come to life – she brings them into reality through a roleplay session.”

“So I thought if I do a regular documentary I am kind of missing out on an opportunity here,” he goes on to explain. “I realised there was something richer and weirder that I could do with a blend of truth and fiction that I thought would capture her and her world more accurately then a documentary would. And I’m not just trying to be cute I sincerely mean that. I think this fictionalised movie gets deeper into who she is and her world than a traditional documentary would have. So I knew early on that I was going to do it that way and she was a great subject right from the beginning. But honestly she is just a really well adjusted person who is pretty down to earth. I just didn’t see it working as a documentary because there was no conflict and she is very confident about her life choices. Not that I would want to make a movie about someone who is a victim of the sex industry or anything like that but you do that conflict that is going to drive it and hold people. In the end I just felt this was the better way to go. Take her reality and turn it on its head a little bit… that felt like the right way to go.”

After success overseas Shaw now can’t wait for Australians to get a chance to see Use Me as well. “I know it looks like a very sexy and titillating movie when you look at the poster or the trailer but this is a movie that does have a heart,” he says. “It does have a through line through it and I think that maybe people who are dragged along to against their will and were like ‘oh I didn’t want to see some movie about some fucking dominatrix bitch from the internet’ will watch the movie and become invested in it. I’ve seen people shedding tears in the cinema watching it  so there is more to the film than it seems. Yes it is a sexy thrill ride but I think it is an emotional film as well. I just can’t wait for Aussies to watch it because this is where I grew up, this is home.”

 

Use Me is available on several streaming platforms right now.

 

Poised to thrill audiences around the nation, the Alliance Française French Film Festival has today unveiled the full line-up for its eagerly anticipated 31st season at www.affrenchfilmfestival.org

Spreading its cinematic stardust across 8 cities and 4 satellite locations, the Festival, which is proudly presented by the Alliance Française in association with the Embassy of France in Australia, Unifrance Films and screening partner, Palace Cinemas, will commence its national tour from 10 March until 19 April and is set to thrill audiences with a stupendous selection of 49 contemporary and classic French films, many enjoying their Australian premiere.

 We’re also delighted to announce that dynamic filmmaker, Justin Kurzel (The Snowtown Murders, Macbeth, True History of the Kelly Gang), who has long taken inspiration from French cinema, will be the 2020 Festival Patron.

 Additionally, acclaimed director/actor, Zabou Breitman, whose lyrical, animated drama, The Swallows of Kabul (Les hirondelles de Kaboul), has won plaudits from critics and audiences alike on the international film festival circuit, will be visiting Melbourne to introduce a screening of this, her latest feature, which she directed with Éléa Gobbé-Mévellec. This special Festival event is slated for the evening of Tuesday 17 March at Palace Cinema Como, and will be followed by a filmmaker Q&A.

 On a more sombre note, this year has already experienced horrific bushfires ravaging our land and robbing so many of their lives and homes.  The Alliance Française, and venue partners thereby invite you to join us in helping those impacted by this tragedy by supporting special previews of How to Be a Good Wife and In the Name of the Land (both screening courtesy of Palace Films) to be held in all capital cities on 9th and 10th of March.  100% of tickets sales for these sessions will be donated to the Australian Red Cross Bushfire Appeal and Rural and Remote Mental Health.

And in celebration of mankind’s great capacity for kindness and compassion – which often comes to the fore in times of crisis – the Festival will launch the 2020 season with The Extraordinary (Hors normes)one of the most gloriously uplifting films to emerge from France in recent years, which will screen courtesy of Madman Entertainment.

 The latest feature from renowned filmmakers Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano (who delighted with The Intouchables and C’est la vie!), The Extraordinary is inspired by a true story and was honoured as the Closing Night Feature at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. For twenty years, Bruno (Vincent Cassel) and Malik (Reda Kateb) have run two separate non-profit organizations where they train young people from underprivileged areas to be caregivers for autistic youth abandoned by the state system. But the authorities, concerned that they’ve never sought certification and that many of their carers aren’t ‘officially’ qualified, decide to mount an investigation.

 The result of two years’ immersion in the lives of the two associations, The Extraordinary is a crowd-pleasing charmer, which will have viewers experiencing a gamut of emotions as they fall in love with a host of extraordinary characters in exceptional circumstances.  It’s a testimony to the great things that can be achieved when people support one another in the face of adversity.

 And concluding the 2020 season, on a deliciously whimsical note, will be The Bare Necessity (Perdrix)the directorial debut of Erwan Le Duc, starring Swann Arlaud, Maud Wyler, Fanny Ardant and Nicolas Maury.  Set within a tiny town nestled in the woody mountains of Vosges, this sweetheart of a movie, which delighted hardened cynics when it premiered in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes 2019, looks at the romantic mayhem that ensues when an enigmatic young woman forces a stagnant family to re-define their boundaries and begin to truly live.

 With so many highlights bursting from this year’s programme, it’s impossible to list every film, but read on for some of the delights to be savoured:

 

A FRIENDLY TALE (Le Bonheur des uns)

Director:  Daniel Cohen                                                        

Cast:  François Damiens, Vincent Cassel, Bérénice Bejo

In this delicious tale of tested loyalties, the close friendship of two long-time couples is put at risk when one of the two wives unexpectedly becomes a best-selling author, upsetting the intricate balance of this formerly close-knit quartet.

 

AZNAVOUR BY CHARLES (Le regard de Charles)

A Film by Charles Aznavour, Directed by Marc di Domenico                                                                 

Narrator: Romain Duris

Crooner, Charles Aznavour, beguiled his legions of fans with a dream of romance.  But his life beyond music was even more extraordinary.  An actor, political activist, diplomat and filmmaker, this enthralling documentary, with rare footage, reveals a complicated, multi-talented man who entertained for the greater part of a century.

 

DEERSKIN (Le daim)

Director:  Quentin Dupieux                                                                 

Cast:  Jean Dujardin, Adèle Haenel, Albert Delpy

With his life in disarray, Georges might not be able to control his circumstances but he can control his wardrobe.  Believing that the deerskin jacket of his dreams is the answer to all of his problems, Georges’ delusions gradually increase each time he wears it, edging his obsession closer to a violent delirium.

 

EDMOND

Director: Alexis Michalik                   

Cast: Thomas Solivérès, Olivier Gourmet, Mathilde Seigner, Dominique Pinon

Paris, 1897. Although not yet thirty and clearly gifted as a writer, Edmond Rostand already has two children, many anxieties, but scant literary success.  When given three weeks to write a play for a mercurial star of the stage, all he has is the title, Cyrano de Bergerac.  Can he accomplish the impossible?

 

FAREWELL TO THE NIGHT (L’adieu à la nuit)

Director: André Téchiné                                                                            

Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Kacey Mottet Klein

Muriel, a respected member of her idyllic local community, is horrified to discover that her visiting grandson, who claims to be heading to Canada for work, has in reality been radicalised by Islamist extremists.  His plans to fight for ISIS in Syria expose this ordinary woman to a moral dilemma of heart-breaking proportions.

 

HOUSE OF CARDIN

Directors: P. David Ebersole, Todd Hughes

Synonymous with glamour, refinement and sophistication, this documentary provides a rare glimpse into the world of a 20th century icon. Allowing unprecedented access to his personal archives, we follow Cardin from his birth in the Italian countryside circa 1922, to his move to France where he made his name in fashion.

 

HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE (La bonne épouse)

Director: Martin Provost                             

Cast: Juliette Binoche, Yolande Moreau, Noémie Lvovsky, Edouard Baer

In 1968 amidst the lush regions of Alsace, the head of a housekeeping school that transforms teenage girls into ideal housewives, has her pristine life implode when she encounters her long-lost first love whilst simultaneously learning that her business is on the brink of financial ruin.

 

IN THE NAME OF THE LAND (Au nom de la terre)

Director:  Edouard Bergeon                                                     

Cast: Guillaume Canet, Veerle Baetens, Anthony Bajon

Returning to France in the late 70s, Pierre marries his sweetheart and takes over his father’s farm.  But twenty years onwards, Pierre is exhausted.  With mounting debt, what was once satisfying begins to take an insidious toll on his family who risk being torn apart by the property that binds them, in this powerful tale of resilience.

 

LA BELLE ÉPOQUE

Director: Nicolas Bedos                                                                    

Cast: Daniel Auteuil, Guillaume Canet, Doria Tiller

Disillusioned, his long-term marriage on the rocks, a man is given a second chance when he encounters a company offering a unique theatrical service that enables customers to revisit memories through carefully orchestrated re-enactments, thus allowing him to return to 1974 and the peak of his happiness.

 

THE LOST PRINCE (Le prince oublié)

Director: Michel Hazanavicius                                                           

Cast: Omar Sy, Bérénice Bejo, François Damiens

Djibi, a devoted single father, transforms into a heroic Prince in the nightly fairy-tales he tells his beloved 7 year-old daughter, Sofia. But as the years pass, Sofia is ready for her own stories with different heroes.  But is the Prince ready to become just a memory of his daughter’s childhood?

 

LOVE AT SECOND SIGHT (Mon inconnue)

Director: Hugo Gélin                                                                         

Cast: François Civil, Joséphine Japy, Benjamin Lavernhe

After waking in a parallel universe, Raphaël finds his wife, Olivia, is nowhere to be seen and his professional achievements have vanished.  Without Olivia, his life is empty, but winning her back proves harder than he could have imagined – especially when he realises she doesn’t even know who he is!

 

MY DOG STUPID (Mon chien Stupide)

Director: Yvan Attal                                                                             

Cast: Yvan Attal, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Eric Ruf

Henri, a writer in the depths of a mid-life crisis who hasn’t released a successful book in 25 years, strikes-up an unconventional friendship with a stray, bad-mannered dog who inspires him and his dysfunctional family to re-examine their lives and attitudes towards each other.

 

THE MYSTERY OF HENRI PICK (Le mystère Henri Pick)

Director: Rémi Bezançon                                                                                 

Cast: Fabrice Luchini, Camille Cottin, Alice Isaaz

The late Henry Pick, in life an unassuming Breton pizza marker, is celebrated as a brilliant author when a lost manuscript, attributed to him, becomes a literary success.  But one outspoken intellectual thinks the whole thing is a sham, and, after losing his wife, his job and his prominence due to his opinion, decides to uncover the truth.

 

ONLY THE ANIMALS (Seules les bêtes)

Director: Dominik Moll                                                             

Cast: Denis Ménochet, Laure Calamy, Damien Bonnard

Set in an isolated town in the lush, wintery mountains of southern France, the film opens with the departure of Evelyne, a local woman whose disappearance during a snowstorm soon reveals itself as murder. This act of violence gradually unveils the hidden agendas of several locals, setting the unexpected into motion.

 

PROXIMA

Director: Alice Winocour                                                              

Cast: Eva Green, Zélie Boulant- Lemesle, Matt Dillon

As the only woman in the European Space Agency astronaut-training program, single mother Sarah struggles with guilt over the limited time spent with her young daughter, which escalates when she’s invited upon a year-long space mission – Proxima – forcing her to choose between her work and her child.

 

ROOM 212 (Chambre 212)

Director: Christophe Honoré                                           

Cast: Chiara Mastroianni, Benjamin Biolay, Vincent Lacoste

After Maria reveals a long history of affairs to her husband, she opts to spend the night at a hotel opposite their home. But this is a “magical night”, and it’s not long before time collapses upon itself opening a window into the past where young passions are revisited and the very concept of love, questioned.

 

SIBYL

Director: Justine Triet                                                           

Cast: Virginie Efira, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Gaspard Ulliel

Dissatisfied with her life, Sibyl, a psychiatrist, decides to pursue her dream of becoming a writer.  Casting professional ethics aside, she secretly uses the private sessions of her actress patient, Margot, as inspiration for her novel, a decision that irreversibly impacts upon both their lives.

 

SPREAD YOUR WNGS (Donne-moi des ailes)

Director: Nicolas Vanier                                                          

Cast: Jean-Paul Rouve, Mélanie Doutey, Louis Vazquez

Christian, a visionary scientist, studies wild birds. For his son, a teenager obsessed with video games, the idea of spending a vacation with his father in the middle of nature is a nightmare. However, father and son soon bond over a daring project to save an endangered species, which takes them on an incredible journey.

 

THE SWALLOWS OF KABUL (Les hirondelles de Kaboul)

Directors: Zabou Breitman, Éléa Gobbé-Mévellec                        

Voice: Simon Abkarian, Zita Hanrot, Swann Arlaud

Based on the cherished novel of the same name, this critically acclaimed, animated drama follows two couples living in the Afghan capital during the 90s and the impact Taliban rule has on each relationship. Through their individual love stories, unforgettable characters emerge amid the devastating impact of armed combat.

 

THE TRANSLATORS (Les traducteurs)

Director: Régis Roinsard                                                 

Cast: Lambert Wilson, Olga Kurylenko, Riccardo Scamarcio

Nine language experts, hired to translate the final book of a bestselling trilogy, are in lockdown within a luxurious bunker. But when the top-secret manuscript’s first ten pages appear online, their dream job implodes.  The culprit has to amongst them and the publisher is ready to do whatever it takes to unmask who it is.

 

TWO OF US (Deux)

Director: Filippo Meneghetti                                                    

Cast: Barbara Sukowa, Martine Chevallier, Léa Drucker

In this emotionally compelling tale, pensioners Nina and Madeleine have hidden their deep and passionate love for many decades, but their bond is tested when circumstances trigger a series of events, preventing them from moving freely between each other’s apartments.

 

VERNON SUBUTEX

Director: Cathy Verney                                

Cast: Romain Duris, Céline Sallette, Florence Thomassin, Julie Fournier

When Vernon Subutex, an unemployed former owner of a once legendary record shop, is evicted from his flat, he’s helped by old friend rock star Alex Bleach. But Bleach’s sudden death makes Vernon a deadly target when it’s discovered that he’s in possession of 3 mysterious videotapes owned by Bleach.

 

WE’LL END UP TOGETHER (Nous finirons ensemble)

Director: Guillaume Canet                         

 Cast: François Cluzet, Marion Cotillard, Gilles Lellouche, Laurent Lafitte

About to turn 60, nearly broke and estranged from his former friends, restaurateur Max embraces solitude at his soon-to-be-sold beach house.  So when his ex-buddies arrive for a surprise celebration, he turns them away. But this cannot be – something has to be done! The sequel to 2010’s star-studded comedy, LITTLE WHITE LIES.

 

ZOMBI CHILD

Director: Bertrand Bonello                            

Cast: Louise Labèque, Wislanda Louimat, Adilé David, Ninon François

Haiti, 1962…A man is resurrected from the dead and trapped in a nightmare of slavery. Modern-day Paris…Haitian teen Mélissa, the new girl at an elite school, is invited to join a secret ‘literary sorority’.  But the incendiary family secret she harbours becomes a source of fascination to others, who exploit her heritage with shocking results.

 

National dates and venues for the 2020 Alliance Française French Film Festival are:

     

SYDNEY:

 

10 March – 8 April

 

Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona, Chauvel Cinema, Palace Central & Hayden Orpheum Cremorne      

MELBOURNE:

 

11 March – 8 April

 

Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Cinema             Como, Palace Westgarth, Kino Cinemas & The Astor Theatre

PERTH:

 

11 March – 8 April

 

Palace Raine Square, Cinema Paradiso, Luna on SX,

Windsor Cinema & Camelot Outdoor Cinema

CANBERRA:

12 March – 8 April

Palace Electric Cinema

ADELAIDE:

17 March -14 April

Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas, Palace Nova Prospect Cinema

BRISBANE:

18 March -14 April

Palace Barracks & Palace James Street

HOBART:

19 – 28 March

State Cinema

AVOCA BEACH:

19 March – 1 April

Avoca Beach Picture Theatre

PARRAMATTA:

26 – 29 March

Riverside Theatres Parramatta

BYRON BAY:

31 March – 12 April

Palace Byron Bay

BENDIGO:

17 – 19 April

Star Cinema

BALLARAT:

17 -19 April

Regent Cinemas

Created and Directed by Shaun Anthony Robinson and Produced by Lucinda Bruce (Lady of the Light Productions), “That’s Not a Knife; it’s an Aussie Actors Journey to Hollywood” is for anyone with a dream, the underdog story of an actor, who fights back against the odds by overcoming his own fears and creating his own path to Hollywood, documenting his journey along the way. He meets other actors who share their own fears and insecurities with him, helping help him to understand his own journey better and inspire others to do the same. Matt Nable sits down with the team at ‘That’s Not A Knife’ to talk about the highs and lows of his career, his transition from football to acting, mental health, his own demons and the challenges he faced to get where he is today. During the interview, Nable discusses how he got some of his biggest roles, “The Director said to me, do you know why you got the job… You got the job because Vin had seen the tape and said ‘that’s a man with pain in his face, that’s what I want’.”

The former Rugby League Footballer turned actor, lives in Sydney and is currently in development on his latest project, “A Sunday in the Village”. His journey, and several others are highlighted in the documentary that has traveled to Los Angeles and all around Australia to interview some of our most well known talent, to some of the lesser known creatives making their own way in the industry.

“For every person over there who’s made it really big, there’s lot of people there that are struggling, that are chasing this, their ambition, their dream, and not to say that it won’t happen cos I’m living proof that when someone says he looks that way we want them, so they’re right to stay at it and they’re very, very talented people.” – Matt Nable. “Real. Raw. Relentless.” To date, the documentary has interviewed Aaron Jeffries (X-Men: Origins, McLeod’s Daughters, Chopper);. Shane Connor (Neighbours, Fire); Christian Isaiah (Shameless (US)); Matt Burch and Froylan Tercero (Operation Repo); Kym Jackson (Ten days in the Valley); Craig Bennett (Studio 10 Hollywood Reporter and Gossip Guru); and Orpheus pledger (Home and Away) with many more to come.

A cavalcade of stars, including superstars Ben Affleck, Jamie Foxx, Marlee Matlin, Gary Sinise, Jane Seymour, William H.Macy and Geena Davis, feature in CinemAbility : The Art of Inclusion, releasing October 5 on digital from Leomark Studios.

From Director Jenni Gold, the 1st wheelchair using female in the Director’s Guild, and released to coincide with October’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month,CinemAbility reveals a compelling and often amusing look at the history of disability portrayals in entertainment. From the early days of silent films to present-day Hollywood blockbusters, this historic film takes a detailed look at the evolution of “disability” in entertainment over the last 120 years by going behind the scenes to interview celebrities, filmmakers, and studio executives.

With heart and humor, CinemAbility: The Art of Inclusion utilizes clips from Hollywood’s most beloved motion pictures and television programs to shine a light on how the media impacts society and the  monumental effect  these  portrayals  have  on  inclusion.

Featuring Ben Affleck, Jamie Foxx, Marlee Matlin, Gary Sinise, Jane Seymour, Adam Arkin, William H.Macy, Helen Hunt, Kyle MacLachlan, Daryl Mitchell, Beau Bridges, Richard Donner, Peter Farrelly, Randal Kleiser and many more!

CinemAbility : The Art of Inclusion, written by  Jenni Gold and Samuel W. Reed, releases on VOD October 5 from Leomark Studios.

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT
CinemAbility is in part a love letter to Hollywood, an industry that has consumed my life, and partly a wake-up call. Growing up as a wheelchair user I found many of the representations of people with disabilities on screen to be confusing. I remember every year my family would watch Affair to Remember when it aired on TV and I always found it odd that after Deborah Kerr became a wheelchair user she could no longer pursue the man she loved. I remember hating the sappy Movie of the Week style representations in the 70’s and 80’s. The person in the wheelchair was always syrupy sweet or angry and bitter. It wasn’t until Friday the 13th part 2 came out that I saw a wheelchair user the way I wanted to be seen. He was a cool teenager hanging out in the cabin in the woods just like everyone else, he had a girlfriend just like everyone else, and right before he was about to have the night of his life, he got killed by Jason, just like everyone else. His disability was not the topic and was not a factor in his story line.
As a filmmaker who loves the rich history of Hollywood, I realized that a historical overview of disability portrayals had never been done, and that’s certainly one of the aspects of the project that drew me in. It was fresh and exciting, but as we continued to research and interview more people about their recollections of disability portrayals in film it became clear that this was not the whole story. There was more behind these characters and depictions than the stereotypes that emerged, which in some instances are still adhered to. In fact, what we found was much richer, in that there is a strong correlation between these depictions and how people with disabilities are treated, and as portrayals have become more well-rounded and realistic, actual people with disabilities have become more accepted socially, and more integrated into society.
Being a director with a disability and the only DGA wheelchair using director member, the last thing I wanted to do was make another cookie-cutter documentary about disability. But soon I realized that a film like CinemAbility must be made, and if not by me then who? I knew this story first hand and I knew how to tell it.  So, slowly I started to pitch it and soon I was interviewing A-List Academy Award Winners, Academy of Motion Picture and Guild Presidents, Producers, Studio Executives and the Showrunners of some of the hottest shows on TV.  Hollywood heavyweights came to  the forefront because these are caring people who are interested in good causes, and they realize inclusion is important. They all had something viable and important to say and even had some personal realizations that I caught on camera.
By connecting the dots between how people with disabilities are portrayed and how they are perceived in public, we were able to broaden the story beyond disability, to any minority group that has at one time or other been underrepresented or misrepresented in our media. We show how Sydney Poitier films impacted an entire Civil Rights Movement and how Will & Grace opened the door for homosexual civil rights. But  where did that leave people with disabilities.
I found out very quickly that the changing of portrayals of disabilities in the 80’s lead us toward a major victory in 1990 with the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, but after a backslide in these depictions, we might be able to get into the building, but what was the perception of people like me once we were in it? Would there be job opportunities if perceptions were still based on the understanding one gets from what we see in the media?
It suddenly became clear to me that this film was much more important than just recapping the history of a few interesting characters in the history of film, but about documenting the shaping of perceptions of minority groups through the media. And in doing so, I created a platform to do some reshaping of my own. This film has the ability to break down these stereotypes in a way that had never been done before. And most importantly it is done in a fun and entertaining way! People normally hear about a disability-themed documentary and they run for the hills, but those brave enough to take a peek are shocked to find they have a good time and laugh while also being challenged intellectually. As a storyteller, that is my entire goal.
When we started this project over a decade ago, disability was not included in most diversity initiatives, but that is now changing due to new crop of talented, passionate & determined actors with disabilities who have stormed into Hollywood and aren’t taking “no” for an answer. Enlightened Showrunners and Producers are also starting to take chances on stories, characters, and actors that are “different,” and yet it still remains that hardly anyone with a disability is working behind the scenes in Hollywood. It seems to be the perfect time for CinemAbility to open people’s eyes to something new.
DIRECTOR’S BIOGRAPHY
Emmy Winner Jenni Gold is considered a triple threat in the world of entertainment. Her editing and screenwriting skills serve as a foundation for her directorial efforts which have received multiple awards and have placed her among the best in her field. As the only female wheelchair using Director Member of the Directors Guild of America, Jenni is the co-founder of Gold Pictures, Inc, a development and production company which was established in 2001.
In addition to directing the award-winning film CinemAbility, Jenni has become an expert on the power the media has in shaping perceptions, and is an advocate for total inclusion. She serves on the advisory board of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and has produced a number of films and corporate web series, servicing such well-known clients as The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.
Jenni recently co-produced the soon-to-be-released film Tiger starring Mickey Rourke and Janel Parrish, and she is in post on a horror/comedy film which she directed titled, Aaah Roach, starring Casper Van Dien, Grace Van Dien, Barry Bostwick, and Jason Mewes. Jenni has also co-written and is developing a number of narrative feature films including the suspense thriller Adrenaline and a family film, Lucky. Jenni was also interviewed along with many other high-powered female directors in the newly released documentary This Changes Everything about discrimination in Hollywood.

 

We have been lucky to see some amazing documentaries about famous actors over the past twelve months. There were the sensational I Am Heath Ledger and I Am Paul Walker now comes McKellen: Playing The Part, a documentary that celebrates the life and career of Sir Ian McKellen.

Know to modern day audiences for his portrayal of Magneto in the X-Men franchise and for his legendary role as Gandalf in the Lord Of The Rings and Hobbit films a documentary about this amazing man’s life is a must see.

Opening in cinemas on the 4th October we are giving you the chance to win tickets to see McKellen: Playing The Part thanks to Icon. Simply go to our Facebook page, like the page and private message telling us what is your favourite Ian McKellen role and why.

 

Upstream Flix is partnering again with Award winning producer Adam Scorgie (Ice Guardians, The Culture High, Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo) in conjunction with Oilers Entertainment Group VP Don Metz and Co-Producer Shane Fennessey for Making Coco: The Grant Fuhr Story.  Upstream Flix plan to release the film in late 2018.

Don Metz directs this captivating cinematic chronicle on one of the most celebrated, yet enigmatic goalies in the history of the NHL. The feature has been announced as the closing Gala film at the Calgary International Film Festival.

Featured contributors in the documentary include Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Martin Brodeur, Brett Hull, Chris Pronger and many more of the NHL’s royalty.

Fuhr, along with a number of his teammates, will provide a never-before-seen exclusive look into the high-flying Oilers dynasty of the 80’s, what made them so successful, and the infamous challenges that they faced. All-time rivals will speak to what it was like playing against the greatest goalie on the greatest team in the NHL’s 100-year history. Those closest to Grant will take the audience on a journey behind the mask to understand who the mixed-race superstar truly is.

Barely 19, Grant ‘Coco’ Fuhr became starting goalie for the most exciting team in NHL history. In his mid-30’s, he played 76 consecutive and 79 total games in an 82-game season to set two league records, then followed that ironman performance by playing 73 the following season on a completely rebuilt knee. During the decade and a half between, he employed his acrobatic style and cat-like reflexes to backstop five Stanley Cup champions and two Canada Cup winners, cementing a reputation as the ultimate “money goalie”. He also got himself demoted to the minors for calling the hometown fans jerks, announced his retirement at the age of 26 in an attempt to force a famously hard-nosed general manager to renegotiate a long-term contract, and was suspended for an entire NHL season for conduct deemed “dishonourable and against the welfare of the league” for substance use, only to return and redeem himself as one of the game’s true greats.

“I think he’s the best goaltender in the history of the NHL.” – Wayne Gretzky.

Dancer

Summary: Sergei Polunin is a breathtaking ballet talent who questions his existence and his commitment to dance just as he is about to become a legend.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 15th December 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: United Kingdom, Russia, Ukraine, United States

Director: Steven Cantor

Screenwriter: N/A

Cast: Jade-Hale Christofi (himself), Sergei Polunin (himself)

Runtime: 85 mins

Classification: M

OUR DANCER REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King:

 

Lovers of classical ballet and dancing have been well served recently with a number of documentaries about famous choreographers and dancers, and there is the wonderful animated film Ballerina due to hit cinemas shortly. In the meantime we have this documentary about Ukraine-born ballet dancer Sergei Polunin, a prodigiously talented dancer who was at one stage hailed as “the new Nureyev.”
This profile from director Steven Cantor (Chasing Tyson, etc) follows Sergei’s career and unfolds in largely chronological order. Dancer is not the first documentary about Polunin as he was the subject of the 2013 short 11 minute documentary The Fragile Balance, from Jem Goulding.

This documentary is an exploration of the artistic temperament, the creative process and the pressures artists feel. It follows him from a very young age, through his meteoric rise to the top and his decision to walk away from it all at the height of his fame. The film highlights the extraordinary passion and talent and the dedication it takes to rise to the top in such a demanding and competitive profession.

From the age of eight it was obvious that Polunin was a naturally talented dancer. His parents made numerous sacrifices in order to ensure that the youngster was able to fulfil his potential. They worked hard to allow the talented youngster to study at Kiev’s prestigious but expensive choreography school. At the age of 13 he auditioned for the Royal Ballet in London and was accepted. But his mother, who accompanied him to London was denied a visa, and he was largely alone.

At the age of 19 became the youngest ever principal dancer for London’s Royal Ballet, and he became ballet’s equivalent of a rock star. But he felt trapped by the adulation and his quick rise to fame, and walked away from it at the age of 22. And he soon became the bad boy of ballet, with the troubled prodigy making headlines for his rebellious behaviour and addictions to drug and alcohol. His body was also covered in tattoos, another act of rebellion. His bad boy reputation meant that no ballet company would offer him a position. He returned to Russia where he headlined a reality tv show about dance, which was a waste of his talent. Then he worked with choreographer and mentor Igor Zelensky, who briefly re-energised his passion for dance.

Polunin’s final dance was for the video Take Me To The Church, which was filmed by David Chappelle and highlights his creative genius and lithe movements. When posted on YouTube it went viral.

Cantor spent five years working on the film and has assembled an extensive a collection of archival footage, home movies and videos shot by his mother, performance footage, newspaper headlines, and candid interviews with some of his peers. This is a fairly sympathetic portrait of the troubled artist as it glosses over much of his bad behaviour and doesn’t offer up too many negative opinions.

 

Stars(3)

 

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating:  Dancer (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Dancer Reviews: You can also listen to our Dancer review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #206

Trailer:

Where To Invade Next

Summary: To learn what the USA can learn from other nations, Michael Moore playfully “invades” them to see what they have to offer.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 14th April 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Michael Moore

Screenwriter: Michael Moore

Cast: Michael Moore (himself)

Runtime: 120 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR WHERE TO INVADE NEXT REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King:

Michael Moore’s first film in six years is another provocative, acerbic and yet somehow entertaining polemic about the ills of contemporary America. As usual he is front and centre in his film, but here he seems a lot more positive and optimistic than he has been in eartlier documentaries. It seems that Moore hasn’t changed his approach to his subject matter, his political or social views – or indeed his clothes by the look of it – since his breakthrough film Roger & Me in 1989. Moore is a provocateur whose other films include the controversial Bowling For Columbine, in which he took a scathing look at America’s gun control laws, and Fahrenheit 9/11, which tackled the war on terror.

In Where To Invade Next he looks at the discordance between American values and actions at home, and he looks at social policies concerning education, health, justice from a unique perspective. He points the finger at the failings in these key social policies in the worls’s richest and most powerful country. Armed with an American flag and a sense of self righteousness, Moore and his regular film crew visit a number of countries which have social policies that instil a sense of compassion, justice and fairness into their society. His aim is to bring some of these “radical ideas” back home to America, which is floundering under a wealth of social problems that no army can fix. His grand idea is to bring these great social policies back home to America and fix the obvious problems. As he ironically points out, it seems that the American Dream is alive and well in other countries except America.

Thus he explores a utopian Europe. He visits places like Italy, where the people seem to live, on average, four years longer than Americans, because they enjoy a genuinely happy lifestyle. Workers are paid a generous salary and have eight weeks of paid vacation per year, and there seems to be harmony between the workers and management. He visits Finland which boasts the best educated students in the world, this despite cutting back on school hours and dropping homework altogether. He visits France, where the people pay a higher tax rate than the US, but where they benefit from free education and health care and a range of other social services. He even visits a school cafeteria to check out what the average French student eats, and is surprised at what he learns, and tastes with a gourmet meal prepared by a chef.

Slovenia has free university education – even for nonresidents! Unlike the US, where the average 22 year old is heavily in debt upon completing college and starting out in the work force. And Norway’s prison system is based on rehabilitation rather than punishment, and apparently has the lowest recidivism rate in the world. Portugal apparently solved its drug crisis by legalising drugs, which resulted in a lower crime rate.

Moore makes his comparisons with the US quite potent, especially when he includes footage of the national guard moving in to quell riots in the town of Ferguson, and footage of prison guards beating on prisoners. And, as he also points out, 60% of US taxes are spent on the military rather than other vital social services. It is all sobering stuff and quite persuasive. And much of its delivered with Moore’s trademark sense of humour and curiosity. He keeps things positive and upbeat with a sort of blind optimism. And his genial humour helps audiences swallow the bitter pill more easily.

But there is also a sense that Moore is cherry picking those social policies that satisfy his own personal outlook, and he obviously has his own agenda to follow. He is often manipulative in his presentation of facts, but it is less obvious here. Moore has a scattergun approach to his material, and he tends to overload the audience with too much information, Ultimately the documentary eventually becomes a little unfocused. This is especially so when he includes women’s rights in his agenda, and when he also visits Iceland, which started the economic collapse of 2008 but which managed to jail many of the corrupt bankers – unlike America, where the government spent billions of taxpayer dollars to bailout the banks.

There is no doubting Moore’s passion for his subject here, but while Where To Invade Next may not his most authoratative or persuasive documentary it is still provocative and entertaining with some eye opening revelations.

 

Stars(3)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating: Where to Invade Next (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Where To Invade Next reviews: You can hear our Where To Invade Next review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep # 172.

 

Trailer:

Wide Open Sky

Summary: Wide Open Sky follows the heart-warming story of an outback Australian children’s choir. Chronicling their journey from auditions to end-of-year concert, the trials of trying to run a children’s choir in a remote and disadvantaged region are revealed. Here, sport is king and music education is non-existent. Despite this, choir mistress Michelle has high expectations. She wants to teach the children contemporary, original, demanding music. It becomes clear for the children to believe in themselves, they all need someone who believes in them.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 14th April 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Australia

Director: Lisa Nicol

Screenwriter: Lisa Nicol

Cast: N/A

Runtime: 87 mins

Classification: G

 

OUR WIDE OPEN SKY REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King:

You can hear Greg King’s Wide Open Sky review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep # 172.

 

Stars(3)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating: Wide Open Sky (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Wide Open Sky reviews: You can hear our Wide Open Sky review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep # 172.

 

Trailer:

Peggy Guggenheim Art Addict

Summary: A portrait of a patron of the arts extraordinaire who transformed a modest fortune and impeccable taste into one of the premiere collections of twentieth century art.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th December 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA, Italy, UK

Director: Lisa Immordino Vreeland

Screenwriter: Bernadine Colish, Lisa Immordina Vreeland

Cast: Marina Abramovic (herself), Peggy Guggenheim (herself)

Runtime: 96 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR PEGGY GUGGENHEIM: ART ADDICT REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Nick Gardener:

You can hear Nick’s full Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #158

 

Stars(4)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)

 

IMDB Rating:  Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict reviews: You can listen to our full Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict  review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #158.

Trailer: