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Women In Film and Television: Honoring Women’s History Month

21 March 2014 One Comment

Cinema Libre is proud to honor Women’s History Month by calling attention to the hard work put forth by women in the entertainment industry. Over the years we have been proud to work with countless women across dozens of projects and continue to work alongside female directors and producers to help get their passion projects seen by the world.

Here’s a look at some of our female led documentaries and narratives:

Teen A Go Go On the evening of February 9, 1964, Ed Sullivan introduced The Beatles to America. With their jaws still on the floor and inspiration stirring within, thousands of youngsters began creating new in their parents garages. Featuring original recordings, rare footage, photographs and interviews director Melissa Kirkendall captures this historic burst of creativity that changed rock and roll forever. Available on DVD.

Lemon A three-time felon and one-time Tony Award winner, Lemon Andersen’s deeply personal art reflects his rough upbringing on the streets of Brooklyn.  Through raw talent and unstoppable drive, he found himself on Broadway, starring in Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam. Directors Beth Levinson and Laura Brownson beautifully crafted this film that features a surprise turn by Spike Lee and music by hip-hop phenoms Kanye West, Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Aloe Blacc. Available on DVD

Inside the Circle Capturing the raw power of a grassroots hip-hop movement this award-winning documentary, directed by Marcy Garriott, tells the story of two strikingly talented b-boys, Josh and Omar, former best friends who become rivals when they join competing dance crews. Immersed in the b-boy culture of defiant creativity, Omar rises to international renown while Josh tangles with the criminal justice system. Available on DVD

Stony Island Filmed on the gritty streets of Chicago’s south side, directors Tamar Hoffs and Andrew Davis tells the story of Richie Bloom (Richie Davis), the only white kid on the block, as he forms an R&B band with his best friend, Kevin (Edward ‘Stoney’ Robinson). With the help of their mentor, aging sax legend Percy (Gene ‘Daddy G’ Barge), they pull together a funky supergroup.  Despite few resources and heavy losses, this resilient group of dedicated musicians — armed only with wit, sleight of hand and outrageous Chicago bravado — must come together to finally make their smash debut. Available on DVD

As High As The Sky Nikki Braendlin directs this charming film about Margaret who after being jilted by her fiancé, manages her loneliness by obsessively and compulsively organizing her already perfect home. But when her older sister, Josephine, and ten-year-old niece, Hannah, arrive unexpectedly for what seems an indefinite visit, Margaret’s carefully structured life is thrown into disarray, forcing her to adapt to the duo’s free-spirited lifestyle and to confront the years of estrangement. Coming to DVD on 5-6-2014.

Red Reign: The Bloody Harvest of China’s Prisoners Masha Savitz directs this powerful and revealing film about the human rights violations of the forced organ harvesting of Fulan Gong practitioners in Chinese labor camps. She exposes these atrocities through interviews with survivors as well as human rights lawyer David Mathas. Available on DVD and on demand.

Lost Angels: Skid Row Is My Home Narrated by Catherine Keener, LOST ANGELS: SKID ROW IS MY HOME takes an uncompromising yet life-affirming look at the lives of eight remarkable individuals, people who have found a way to make a life for themselves within the community of homelessness. The film shows how their descent into society’s basement has been exacerbated by the forces of gentrification and the increasing criminalization of homeless people, while exposing the draconian changes to the mental health care system that have brought us here. Available on DVD and on demand.

The Harvest/ La Cosecha: Every year there are more than 400,000 American children who are torn away from their friends, schools and homes to pick the food we all eat. From the Producers of the Academy-Award® nominated film, WAR/DANCE and Executive Producer Eva Longoria, this award-winning documentary provides an intimate glimpse into the lives of these children who struggle to dream while working 12 – 14 hours a day, 7 days a week to feed America. Available on DVD and on demand.

Kids’ Rights Filmmakers Olga Rudnieva and Michael Dudko investigate if everyone has the right to become a parent after they personally witness Sir Elton John’s own failed attempt to adopt a child.  She learns about the corruption behind adoption practices and the cyclical problems caused by the welfare system.  Available on DVD Starting 5/20/2014;

It’s Better to Jump Mouna Stewart, Gina Angelone, and Patrick Stewart travel to the ancient city Akka, along the northern coast of Israel to film the stories of challenges Palestinian families face daily due to harsh economic pressures and vast social changes. Available on DVD and on demand.

El Superstar: The Unlikely Rise of Juan Frances Orphaned at 3 months old, Jonathan French was adopted by his Mexican nanny (Lupe Ontiveros) and step-father (Danny Trejo) and raised to be a good, God-fearing Mexican with a love for ranchero music. Watch one man’s musical destiny unfold when he hits his “Jesus Year” in this irreverent mockumentary directed by Amy French.  2010, Available on DVD.

Rebuilding Hope Directed by Jen Marlowe, Rebuilding Hope follows the stories of three “Lost Boys” displaced by the civil war South Sudan as they quest to find surviving family-members and rediscover their homeland, shedding a light on the future of South Sudan and its precarious struggle for peace, development and stability. 2009, Available on DVD.

Angels in the Dust is the inspiring story of Marion Cloete who, fearlessly walked away from a life of privilege in Johannesburg to start an orphanage for more than 550 South African children. Directed by Louise Hogarth, the film shows how Marion’s orphanage offers a pathway of hope. 2007, Available on DVD.

Darfur Diaries: Message From Home is a brutally honest look into the tragedy befalling the Darfur region.  Filmmakers Jen Marlowe, Aisha Bain, and Adam Shapiro filmed the personal stories of those affected by the suffering and countless horrors.  2005, Available on DVD.

Robert Williams Mr. Bitchin’ is a renegade documentary by Nancye Ferguson and Mary C. Reese that explores the decades long career of rebel underground artist Robert Williams and how his controversial works demanded the attention of the modern art world. 2013, Available on DVD and on demand.

Anna Fischer takes us on Lucky Express, where she and aspiring filmmaker Lucky Bahadur through the tough streets of India to document the work of dedicated teachers trying to save the millions of children and teenagers that live on the streets and train platforms of Indian stations, struggling to survive. 2013, Available on DVD and on demand.

Adventures in Plymptoons! Director Alexia Anastasio showcases the unparalled passion and hard work of artist and two time Academy Award nominee Bill Plymptoon, a cult animator whose films have screened around the world, but have the unprecedented distinction of being entire hand drawn – by one person! His illustrations have been featured in The New York Times, The Village Voice, Vogue, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Penthouse, and National Lampoon. 2012, Available on DVD and on demand.

The Forgotten Bomb Although the Cold War ended more than 20 years ago, there remain thousands of nuclear weapons still poised to launch that would completely destroy our planet. Directed by Stuart Overbey, “The Forgotten Bomb” examines the lasting effects that the atomic bomb has had on Japan and explores the inspiring notion of a world free of such catastrophic weapons.

American Zombie Grace Lee directs and stars in this mockumentary about two filmmakers who decide to chronicle the lives of high-functioning members of the disenfranchised zombie population of Los Angeles . Just as they begin to sympathize with the zombies’ fight for equal rights, they stumble upon the darker side of the world of the undead. Available on DVD and on demand.

The Castle Project: Colorado’s Haunted Mansion The 120-year old Croke Patterson Mansion in Denver has recently been restored to its former glory.  It is also believed to be one of the most haunted locations in the United States. Producer Catherine Marcus brings us a truly chilling documentary about the mansion’s new owner and his quest to renovate the house in the midst of ghostly sightings, whispering voices, mysterious illness and more unexplained phenomena that seems to support the century-old folklore associated with this Colorado landmark.Available on DVD and on demand.

Living Things: A Vegan & Meat Debate When a vegan, yoga instructor finds herself entertaining her blue-collar, red meat-loving father-in-law for dinner, what starts out as polite conversation quickly escalates into a heated debate about animal cruelty, climate change, health, and morality.  Produced by and starring Rhoda Jordan, the palpable tension between the two main characters will keep you on the edge of your seat while challenging your own beliefs.

Available on DVD Starting April 15, 2014 Watch the trailer here.

2501 Migrantes: A Journey. Filmmaker and native Oaxacan, Yolanda Cruz, explores the questions of art and an indigenous community in the context of global migration and how that impacts the roots and livelihood of a small village. Artist Alejandro decides to create a monumental installation art piece: 2,501 life-size sculptures – an homage to each individual migrant who left his village. 2010, Available on DVD.

Writer/Director Kindra Ruocco takes the audience inside her struggle in Silence is Deadling: Living With Hepatitis C, a documentary that looks at the nature of the virus, its treatments, prognosis and global impact as well as what it is to live with a debilitating chronic illness and its stigma. 2004, Available on DVD.

BURNING IN THE SUN (Documentary, 2010) – Educated in Europe, Daniel returns to his homeland in Mali and start a local business building solar panels – the first of its kind in the sun drenched nation. Directed by Cambria Matlow (with Morgan Robinson)

CONVENTIONEERS (Narrative, 2005) – At the 2004 Republican Nation Convention, love blooms between a Republican delegate and a Democrat protesting the event. Directed by Mora Stephens.

EYE OF THE FUTURE (Documentary, 2011) – A documentary about five children from around the world who are charged by Mother Earth he earth to share their stories of climate solutions and sustainable designs from their home regions; thereby effectively building trust among themselves and a right relationship with the natural world. Directed by Catherine Cunningham.

MAKE ME YOUNG: YOUTH KNOWS NO PAIN (Documentary, 2009) – An age-obsessed daughter of a plastic surgeon takes a journey through America’s $60 Billion a year anti-aging world. In this Alice-in Wonderland tale, McCabe spends 2 years traveling across America visiting doctors, experts and lives with a cross-section of characters from Minnesota to Texas who’ve gone to varying lengths to “beat the clock”, to paint a funny but troubling portrait of a country that desperately needs to stay young. Director Mitch McCabe

QUEENS OF HEART: COMMUNITY THERAPISTS IN DRAG – This look at the psychology of drag examines the skills needed for men to transform themselves into women and the interaction between performers and audience. Filmed on location in Portland, Oregon at a legendary nightclub. Directed by Jan Haaken.

SMALL VOICES: THE VOICES OF CAMBODIA’S CHILDREN (Documentary, 2008)- The struggles of the street and garbage dump children of Cambodia are examined through the personal stories of five children and their journey toward education. Director Heather E. Connell

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