2017 Dances With Films Festival Announces Lineup

The 2017 Dances With Films Festival is gearing up for its 20th edition starting on June 1st though the 11th in Los Angeles. This year’s lineup has been announced, which includes 74 world premieres and 36 west coast premieres.
We’ve covered DWF for the past several years, and look forward to sinking our teeth into the great number of indie projects featured in 2017. Take a look below at the full lineup and be sure to head over to the official website at danceswithfilms.com for more.
OPENING NIGHT
AMERICAN FOLK
LOS ANGELES Premiere | USA, 2017, HD, 99 min.
WRITER: David Heinz
DIRECTOR: David Heinz
PRODS: Matt Miller, Fiona Walsh, Samantha Sanders, Aaron Downing
CAST: Joe Purdy, Amber Rubarth, Krisha Fairchild, David Fine, Bruce Beatty, Elizabeth Dennehy
Two strangers, both folk musicians stranded in California, take a road trip to New York in the days after 9/11. A story about the kindness of strangers and the power of music.
MISSING IN EUROPE
WORLD Premiere | USA, 2017, HD, 77 min.
WRITER: Jenny Paul
DIRECTOR: Tamar Halpern
PRODS: Rick Benattar, Milos Dujkalic, Michael Moran, Ivana Panic, Fernando Szew, Nigel Thomas, Kaila York
CAST: Miranda Raison, Emmett J Scanlan, Sophie Robertson
Cyber security expert Sara Woods arrives in Belgrade, Serbia to attend a conference and check on her daughter, Karissa, who is studying abroad. When Karissa and her classmate Lara go clubbing and disappear into thin air, Sara is certain they’ve been abducted. Utilizing her hacking skills and following clues Karissa leaves behind, Sara starts to uncover a major sex trafficking ring. Even worse, it seems the local police are in on it. With nobody to trust, Sara uses every tool at her disposal to locate Karissa before she’s sold to the highest bidder and disappears forever.
CLOSING NIGHT
 
AUSTIN FOUND
WORLD Premiere | USA, 2016, HD, 104 min.
WRITERS: Brenna Graziano, Will Raée
DIRECTOR: Will Raée
PRODS: Robert Ruggeri, Danny Costanzo, Mary Pat Bentel, Gary Ousdahl
CAST: Linda Cardellini, Skeet Ulrich, Craig Robinson, Kristen Schaal, Jon Daly, Patrick Warburton, Chris Parnell, Jaime Pressly, Ursula Parker
A Texas mother who is fed up with her mundane lifestyle enlists her outlaw of an ex-boyfriend and his former prison buddy to join her in a shockingly outrageous scheme that’s sure to make her and her 11 year old daughter instant celebrities.
COMPETITION FEATURES
CASSIDY RED
WORLD Premiere | USA, 2016, HD, 92 min.
WRITER: Matt Knudsen
DIRECTOR: Matt Knudsen
PRODS: Brooks Yang, Matt Knudsen
CAST: Abby Eiland, David Thomas Jenkins, Jason Grasl, Jessy Knudsen, Gregory Zaragoza, Rick Cramer, Lola Kelly
Cassidy Red is a western fable chronicling the struggle of “Joe Cassidy”, daughter of a prostitute and a gunslinger. When she is led to believe that her lover, Jakob has been murdered by Tom, her scornful ex-fiancée, Joe she seeks vengeance. But when she returns to her hometown at the edge of the Arizona Territory, she not only finds Tom to have installed himself as the local sheriff, she also discovers Jakob alive and incarcerated. Soon the lovers are back together but behind bars. Awaiting execution, they must escape, shoot their way out of town, or face the hangman’s noose at dawn.
CHANCE
WORLD Premiere | USA, 2017, HD, 94 min.
WRITER: Kenny Young
DIRECTOR: Kenny Roy
PRODS: Phil James
CAST: Will Cannon, Peppur Chambers, Eddie Goines, Kenny Young, Alan Naggar, Joe Grubbs
In the brutal world of underground dogfighting, dogs are trained and forced to fight to the death. Chance is a pit-bull puppy with a peaceful heart and an imaginative mind. Unfortunately, Chance is soon torn from his happy home and purchased by a cruel dogfighting owner. As Chance grows to young adulthood, he manages to hold on to his values despite the fact that he will eventually have to enter the ring of death. Unwilling to betray his peaceful beliefs, Chance plots to escape the yard. Chance soon discovers that the outside world can be just as harsh, as he finds himself even deeper in the bloody world of dogfighting. To stay alive, Chance is forced to betray his own beliefs and fight his own kind. To find redemption, must challenge the system that is causing his own kind to self destruct.
ELIZA SHERMAN’S REVENGE
WORLD Premiere | USA, 2017, HD, 80 min.
WRITER: Gregory Fitzsimmons
DIRECTOR: Gregory Fitzsimmons
PRODS: Gregory Fitzsimmons, Jackie Geary
CAST: Jackie Geary, Kristen Miller, Kiva Jump, Mageina Tovah, Larry Bates, Jamison Haase, Mike Rock
Newly endowed with special powers, Eliza Sherman lures her old nemeses to the Hollywood Hills under the guise of a birthday party for ’80s heartthrob Richard Grieco. Her plans to punish them go repeatedly awry as her powers prove to be no match for fate. She must conquer her ego and stop screwing up the space-time continuum if she wants to finally win the heart of her one true love. A scrappy pitch-black comedy.
GRIEF
WORLD Premiere | USA, 2017, HD, 82 min.
WRITER: Senda Bonnet
DIRECTORS: Kevin Renwick, Chris Mammerarelli
PRODS: Kevin Renwick, Robert N. Klieger, Chris Mammerarelli
CAST: Kevin Renwick, Jackie Moore, Sean Russel Herman, Ken Gamble, Nathan Kehn, Nelson Cheng
After the sudden loss of his young son, Kyle Harden tortures himself day-after-day by returning to his once happy home where he, his wife, and son, all lived. Today he will end the suffering — Today he will be reunited with his son — Today will prove to be the hardest day of Kyle Hardens life as he comes face-to-face with his inner demons in an effort to ‘pull the trigger’ as he slips further and further into a psychological wormhole of love, loss, and self-exploration to answer the real question… ‘Do I deserve to live?’
GAME DAY
WORLD Premiere | USA, 2017, HD, 101 min.
WRITER: John Susman
DIRECTOR: John Susman
PROD: Stuart Wolf, John Susman
CAST: Elizabeth Alderfer, Romeo Miller, Fyvush Finkel, Chris J. Johnson, Jürgen Hooper, Amy Holland Pennell
A basketball-savvy teen reluctantly agrees to coach a brilliant but self-centered tech whiz who has lost everything when her startup goes bust and personal life is left in ruins. Discovering that success at her new job depends on becoming a team player in the office and on the company’s, up till now, all-male basketball team, she enlists his help in a desperate attempt to save her job and her future–an experience that ultimately changes both of their lives forever. With original music by Romeo Miller and Master P.
HOLDEN ON
WEST COAST Premiere | USA, 2017, HD, 102 min.
WRITER: Tamlin Hall
DIRECTOR: Tamlin Hall
PRODS: James Cooney, Tamlin Hall, Jamie Roberts
CAST: Matthew Fahey, Ross Thomas, Steve Ellis, Kelly Finley, Greg Thompson
No longer your average boy-next-door, Holden Layfield weaves audiences through his harrowing tale in this film set in the early 1990s. After succumbing to a secret battle with mental illness, Holden evolves from a beloved, small town Georgia football player to a lost, self-medicating prophet.
IMITATION GIRL
LOS ANGELES Premiere | USA, 2016, HD, 83 min.
WRITER: Natasha Kermani
DIRECTOR: Natasha Kermani
PRODS: Forrest McClain, Tim Wu, Claudia Murdoch, Alastair Murdoch
CAST: Lauren Ashley Carter, Neimah Djourabchi, Sanam Erfani, Marsha Stefanie Blake, Catherine Mary Stewart, Lewis Black, Adam David Thompson
A mysterious being arrives on Earth and takes the shape of a young woman. Taken in by Iranian immigrants, a brother and sister living in the American Southwest, the Imitation forms an understanding of the strange species around her, and as she learns more about her new body and her companions, she comes to appreciate the beauty and the sadness of her new world. At the same time, Julianna, Imitation’s world-weary earthly double, knows both glitz and grit working as an entertainer in New York City, where her fraying life and relationships now threaten her dreams for an audition that might finally set her on a happier path. On learning of Julianna’s existence, Imitation heads to New York, where only by sacrificing themselves to each other can the cosmic twins complete a full portrait of a woman.
INHERITANCE
WORLD Premiere | USA, 2016, HD, 92 min.
WRITER: Tyler Savage
DIRECTOR: Tyler Savage
PRODS: Dash Hawkins, JP Castel, Chase Joliet, Tyler Savage
CAST: Chase Joliet, Sara Montez, Dale Dickey, Drew Powell, Jim Ortlieb, Krisha Fairchild, Ashley Spillers, Alex Dobrenko, Tim Abell, Vincent Van Horn
Ryan has just inherited a $2 million beach house on the central California coast from his biological father, a man he’s never known and thought long dead. Arriving in the charming town with his pregnant fiancé, Ryan’s curiosity about his father soon leads him into an introspective investigation. As a looming family presence tightens its grip on him, Ryan detaches, pushing away his adoptive family and expectant fiancé. When he finally discovers the horrifying truth about his birth parents, he might be too late to stop himself from repeating a similar pattern…
JIMMY THE SAINT
WORLD Premiere | USA, 2016, HD, 87 min.
WRITER: Branden Morgan
DIRECTOR: Branden Morgan
PRODS: Branden Morgan, Bruce Witkin, Jason Leibsla, Chris Emerson
CAST: Zach Hursh, Anne Solenne, Brandon Breault, Jeff Murray, Christine Lakin
When a bagman for the Russian mob falls for a fresh-off-the-boat prostitute, the only way to ensure their freedom is to fight for it. Jimmy The Saint offers an unflinching look at the lucrative and dangerous sex trade that claims the lives of anonymous innocents everyday. With a talented cast of newcomers, JIMMY THE SAINT is a powerful film experience that will stay with you long after the final fade-to-black.
LANDING UP
WORLD Premiere | USA, 2017, HD, 98 min.
WRITER: Stacey Maltin
DIRECTOR: Dani Tenenbaum
PRODS: Stacey Maltin, Jessica Kingdon, Marzy Hart, Nikolai Metin
CAST: Ben Rappaport, Stacey Maltin, E’dena Hines, Dov Tiefenbach, Theodora Woolley, Jay DeYonker
CHRISSIE is young, wild, and living on the streets. She and her best friend CECE use their youth and good looks to their advantage, playing a con game with strangers to put a roof over their heads while all the time fantasizing about having enough money to score their dream apartment. When Chrissie meets DAVID, a funny, genuine guy who works his way into her heart, she falls for him and must decide whether to confess the real circumstances of her life or continue her carefully crafted lie at all costs; even the cost of someone’s life.
LORE
WORLD Premiere | USA, 2017, HD, 87 min.
WRITERS: Christian Larsen, Brock Manwill
DIRECTORS: Brock Manwill, Christian Larsen
PRODS: Brock Manwill, Christian Larsen, John Matthews, Polina Gorbacheva
CAST: Lyndsey Lantz, Max Lesser, Sean Wei Mah, Victor Gage
Ann, convinced that God is leading her, embarks on a journey to find her missing son in a remote wilderness with the help of her estranged husband, Rich and John, a Native American who is familiar with the area. As they venture deep into the forest, they witness strange and frightening occurrences that challenge the reality they thought they knew. They hope to put an end to their nightmare, but this could be just the beginning.
THE MIDNIGHTERS
WEST COAST Premiere | USA, 2016, HD, 87 min.
WRITER: Julian Fort
DIRECTOR: Julian Fort
PRODS: Adam Carl, Julian Fort
CAST: Leon Russom, Gregory Sims, John Wesley, Stuart McLean, Costa Ronin, Eve Mauro, Larry Cedar, Charles Dierkop
Expert safecracker Victor Lustig has just been released from prison after a thirty-five-year stretch. Now an old man all Vic wants to do is pick up some money long owed to him and live out his days in peace, quiet and comfort. When his old co-conspirator Louis breaks the news that the cash in long gone, Vic’s retirement plan goes up in smoke. It isn’t until Victor gets a surprise visit from his long lost son Danny that his future begins to become clear. It seems that Danny has followed in Vic’s footsteps, and has gotten himself in heavy debt to dangerous Russian gangsters Orion and Vadik. Now Vic’s got a choice to make: accept his new life playing out the string in a world he no longer understands… or risk his life by utilizing every bit of his old street skills to save the son he never knew.
THE MEANING OF LIFE
WORLD Premiere | Canada, 2017, HD, 90 min.
WRITER: Cat Hostick
DIRECTOR: Cat Hostick
PRODS: Russ De Jong, Cat Hostick, Rona Leon
CAST: Tyler Shaw, Sergio Di Zio, Sadie Munroe, Jean Yoon, Dan Lett, John Boylan, Krista Morin, Jake Raymond
A starving musician Finn Faber (Tyler Shaw) gets a temporary job as a therapeutic clown at a hospital entertaining sick kids. He is assigned a 9 year-old leukemia patient: Sophia Hill (Sadie Munroe). Finn soon learns that Sophia coming into his life was no coincidence, but an important lesson he needed to learn before making a big step forward in life.
ONE LESS GOD
WORLD Premiere | Australia, 2017, HD, 133 min.
WRITER: Lliam Worthington
DIRECTOR: Lliam Worthington
PRODS: Maren Smith, Joel Hagen, Lliam Worthington, Nelson Lau
CAST: Joseph Mahler Taylor, SukhRaj Deepak, Mihika Rao, Kabir Singh, Kieran Kumar, Nathan Kaye, Martelle Hammer, Reilly O’Byrne-Inglis, Igor Kreyman, Joseph J.U. Taylor, Quentin Yung, Jan Langford-Penny, Nicole Fantl, Philip R.K. John, Nicolas Scot Francois, Rhavin Banda
In 2008, a band of young Islamic militants from Pakistan lands in Mumbai, their primary target, the iconic Taj Mahal hotel. With Indian forces unable to regain control, for 4 days the guests must battle to survive as the terrorists seek to drive them from hiding. The harrowing events that follow will come to be known as India’s 9/11 and one of the most audacious terrorist attacks in history. Yet more than a tale of monsters and men, this is a story of our shared humanity at the dark crossroads to which we have now stumbled. Inspired by true events.
TATER TOT & PATTON
WORLD Premiere | USA, 2016, HD, 92 min.
WRITER: Andrew Kightlinger
DIRECTOR: Andrew Kightlinger
PRODS: Adam Emerson, Dohui Kim, Ryan M. Hall, Sean Covel
CAST: Jessica Rothe, Bates Wilder, Forrest Weber
A wayward millennial escapes to her Uncle’s South Dakota ranch, unhinging his placid boozer life.
TOMORROW, MAYBE
WORLD Premiere | USA, 2017, HD, 84 min.
WRITERS: Jace Daniel, Roy Kirk 1st, Robert Blanche
DIRECTOR: Jace Daniel
PRODS: Jace Daniel, Roy Kirk 1st, Robert Blanche, David Brownlow
CAST: Robert Blanche, Bethany Jacobs, Grant Davis, Brian Sutherland
Determined to redeem himself upon his most recent release from prison, a father (Robert Blanche) reconnects with his daughter (Bethany Jacobs), who might not be so willing if her life wasn’t suddenly falling apart.
FUSION FEATURES
ALL I WANT
WORLD Premiere | USA, 2016, HD, 91 min.
WRITERS: West Liang, Melissa Center
DIRECTOR: West Liang
PRODS: Melissa Center, West Liang, Giselle Gilbert, Howard Ginsburg, Ira Wagner, Leah Wagner, Ciel Turich
CAST: Melissa Center, Drew Rausch, Josh Casaubon, Rebecca Larsen, Jonathan Chase, Laura Mann, Susan-Kate Heaney, Bruce Lemon, Renee Threatte, Akemi Look, Giselle Gilbert, Drew Brooks, Kate Mines, Molly Kidder, Jorge-Luis Pallo, Camille Mana, Garrett Coffey, Vivian Bang, Bryce McBratnie
An ensemble drama that explores the anxiety of modern love and life among friends in Los Angeles.
BEING BLACK ENOUGH or (HOW TO KILL A BLACK MAN)
WORLD Premiere | USA, 2017, HD, 92 min.
WRITER: Devin Rice
DIRECTOR: Devin Rice
PRODS: Jacqueline Corcos, Devin Rice
CAST: Devin Rice, Bruce A. Lemon, Jr, Marcus Ajose, Matthew-David Smith, Joshua Walker, Danielle Jaffey, Jacqueline Corcos, D.J. Hale, Mark Ridley, Peter DiVito, Gina Jackson
A Young Black Man, raised in a White neighborhood, ridiculed for not being “Black Enough” decides to go to the hood to hang out with his gangster cousin and discover what it really means to be “Black.” He eventually faces the harsh reality of gang violence, drugs and police confrontation.
D-LOVE
WEST COAST Premiere | USA, 2016, HD, 97 min.
WRITER: Dave Rogers
DIRECTOR: Elena Beuca
PRODS: Elena Beuca, Dave Rogers, Billy Howerdel, Elisabetta Tedla, Veronica Radaeli, John Chidwick
CAST: Elena Beuca, Dave Rogers, Ditlev Dharmakaya, Billy Howerdel
Stefania is working a job she has hated for years. Her husband, Dan, hasn’t worked in years.
They have just landed at Los Angeles airport, returning from Europe, and having one of the worst days of their lives. Stefania is approached by a vagabond – Ditlev, who asks her for a ride to one of the busiest freeways in Los Angeles. She doesn’t want to have anything to do with the wanderer, but her husband Dan, decides to take him home with them. How will this affect the couple? The director invites you on a 3 day journey, seen through Stefania’s eyes, to view and discover that desired change doesn’t always come in the package that we want or expect.
DEVIL’S WHISPER
WORLD Premiere | USA, 2017, HD, 85 min.
WRITERS: Oliver Robins, Paul Todisco, Adam Ripp
DIRECTOR: Adam Ripp
PRODS: Manjoj Punjabi, Mark Stolaroff, Liam Finn, Adam Ripp
CAST: Luca Oriel, Tessie Santiago, Marcos Ferraez, Rick Ravanello, Luna Maya, Alison Fernandez, Jasper Polish, Coy Stewart, Justin Tinucci, Benjamin A. Hoyt
15 year-old Alejandro Duran, who comes from a religious Latino American family, aspires to be a Catholic priest. But when Alex discovers a mysterious box, passed down from his grandparents, he unwittingly unleashes a demonic spirit bent on possessing him. Alex must find a way to defeat this ancient demon, which has been tormenting children since the dawn of man, before it destroys him and everyone he loves. On the surface Devil’s Whisper is a supernatural horror film about demonic possession but at its core it’s a psychological thriller about repressed memories, childhood trauma and the cycle of abuse.
ESPIONAGE TONIGHT
WORLD Premiere | USA, 2016, HD, 85 min.
WRITER: Rob Gordon Bralver
DIRECTOR: Rob Gordon Bralver
PRODS: Amy Child
CAST: Joe Hursley, Greg Davis Jr., Ganna Bogdan, Said Taghmaoui, Alexie Gilmore, Joseph Gatt, Chasty Ballesteros, Lynn Whitfield, Sean Astin
In a time of widespread disillusionment and distrust of our government, a reality TV show about spies is created to win back the faith of the American public. Audiences go undercover on missions around the globe and see real world effects from the narrative the showrunners create. As the first season unfolds, we wonder – how much is real and how much is propaganda? Our charismatic host “Swamp Fox” leads us down the rabbit hole the show runners create, and it becomes impossible to distinguish fact from fiction as the lines blur between reality, television, and movies in an age when everything is on camera.
THE FIRST OF MANY
WORLD Premiere | USA, 2017, HD, 13 min.
WRITER: Pamela Guest
DIRECTOR: Elizabeth and Pamela Guest
PRODS: Elizabeth and Pamela Guest
CAST: Elizabeth Guest, Lawrence Michael Levine, Kristin Slaysman
In 1971 young actress goes on her first audition with surprising, life changing results.
THE MAN FROM EARTH: HOLOCENE
WORLD Premiere | USA, 2017, HD, 99 min.
WRITERS: Richard Schenkman, Eric D. Wilkinson, Emerson Bixby
DIRECTOR: Richard Schenkman
PRODS: Richard Schenkman, Eric Wilkinson
CAST: David Lee Smith, Vanessa Williams, Sterling Knight, Akemi Look, Brittany Curran, Carlos Knight, William Katt, Michael Dorn
Following ten years after the cult sci-fi favorite “Jerome Bixby’s The Man From Earth”, 14,000 year-old John Oldman is now comfortably hiding in plain sight as a college professor in Northern California. However his existence comes crashing down when he realizes that not only is something finally causing him to age, but a group of devoted students have discovered his deepest secret, putting his life in grave danger and potentially destroying the world’s most popular religion.
THE SCENT OF RAIN AND LIGHTNING
LOS ANGELES Premiere | USA, 2016, HDV, 73 min.
WRITERS: Casey Twenter, Jeff Robinson
DIRECTOR: Blake Robbins
PRODS: Casey Twenter, Jeff Robison, Jeff Johnson, Dan Koetting, Kevin Waller, Maggie Grace
CAST: Maika Monroe, Mark Webber, Maggie Grace, Will Patton, Logan Miller, Justin Chatwin, Brad Carter, Aaron Poole and Bonnie Bedelia
When a young woman in the Midwest learns her parents’ killer has been released from jail, rumblings in her small town suggest he may be innocent. She begins questioning the police investigation and witnesses, and uncovers her own family secrets to piece together the shocking truth. Based on the bestselling novel The Scent Of Rain & Lightning by Nancy Pickard.
THE SPEARHEAD EFFECT
WEST COAST Premiere | USA, 2016, HD, 86 min.
WRITERS: Caleb Smith, Brandon Moore
DIRECTORS: Caleb Smith, Brandon Moore
PRODS: Terrence Malick, Alexander Zdzislaw Golubiewski, Jaime Gallagher
CAST: Rane Jameson, Leif Steinert, Caleb Smith
When an online journalist exposes widespread police corruption, he soon finds himself a target of the violent vigilante movement he unwittingly inspired.
MIDNIGHT FEATURES
AWAKEN THE SHADOWMAN
WORLD Premiere | USA, 2016, HD, 83 min.
WRITERS: Woodrow Wilson Hancock III, Skyler Caleb, James Zimbardi
DIRECTOR: J.S. Wilson
PRODS: Woodrow Wilson Hancock III, Skyler Caleb, James Zimbardi, Anthony C. Ferrante
CAST: James Zimbardi, Skyler Caleb, Jean Smart, Emily Somers, Andrea Hunt, Robert R. Shafer, Grace Van Dien, Raam Weinfeld, Carlos Pratts, Sophie Labelle, Casey Kramer
After the mysterious disappearance of their mother, estranged brothers reunite and discover an unknown supernatural force.
CENTRAL PARK
WORLD Premiere | USA, 2016, HD, 87 min.
WRITER: Justin Reinsilber
DIRECTOR: Justin Reinsilber
PRODS: Melissa Chamberlain, Justin Reinsilber, Rachel Brenna
CAST: Justiin A. Davis, Ruby Modine, Malika Samuel, Grace Van Patten, Guillermo Arribas, Deema Aitken, Marina Squerciati, Michael Lombardi, Charles Borland, David Valcin, Nicole Balsam, Justin Reinsilber
Central Park is a feature-length horror/thriller from writer/director Justin Reinsilber. Set in present day New York City the film centers around six high school juniors. Collectively they have done everything there is to do, know it all better than everyone else, and mean the world to each other. When one of their fathers is implicated in a Bernie Madoff-esque Ponzi scheme, the gang rallies around their friend. To blow off some steam, they set out for an epic night in Central Park. Little do they know the consequences of his crimes will go far beyond his client’s bank accounts.
DOCUMENTARY FEATURES
CHARLIE VS GOLIATH
WEST COAST Premiere | USA, 2017, HD, 80 min.
DIRECTOR: Reed Lindsay
PRODS: Reed Lindsay, Nicolas Rossier, Kim Borba, Phillip Landrum, Ronica Reddick, Anthony Weldon
Former Catholic priest Charlie Hardy is 75 years old and has no money or political experience. But none of that dissuades this 21st-century Don Quixote from running for the US Senate in his home state of Wyoming. Charlie’s courage to take a principled stand against money in politics attracts a ragtag group of young volunteers and together they jump aboard a 1970 Crown school bus, campaigning across the Wild West state in a bid to shake up this country’s political establishment.
GREEN STANDARD, THE
Los Angeles Premiere | USA, 2017, HDV, 75 min.
DIRECTORS: William Rosenfeld, Jacob Strunk
PRODS: William Rosenfeld, Jacob Strunk
Last year, lawmakers brought a petition before the DEA to loosen federal restrictions on cannabis. It was swiftly rejected, maintaining the plant’s Schedule I classification alongside heroin and PCP on the stated basis of it having “no accepted medical use”. Enter THE GREEN STANDARD: a people’s account of pot, prejudice, and the fight against prohibition. Filmed throughout the U.S., TGS reveals the surprising highs and uncomfortable lows of the men, women, and children on all sides of the issue. From the refugee families of Colorado battling for their kids’ lives to anti-legalization activists decrying the movement as greed-fueled hype, America’s evolving perceptions of marijuana use are revealed, alongside criminalization’s untold societal costs.
THE LAUGHTER LIFE
WEST COAST Premiere | USA, 2016, HDV, 76 min.
DIRECTOR: Juliet Werner
PRODS: Juliet Werner, Jeff Werner
From “Daily Show” producer Juliet Werner, “The Laughter Life” follows a week in the professional life of the young comedians who write and star in “Studio C,” a popular sketch comedy television show with a strong following on YouTube. But theirs is not your typical comedy success story, as the cast and crew behind the program are practicing Mormons living in Provo, Utah. And the network producing their show is run by the LDS Church. The film explores the tension inherent in creating “clean” comedy that will satisfy both the demands of the network and the cast’s desire to generate a funny final product. “The Laughter Life” takes audiences to a world few have visited and demonstrates the unifying power comedy.
RESISTANCE IS LIFE
WEST COAST Premiere | Turkey/USA, 2017, HD, 73 min.
DIRECTOR: Apo W. Bazidi
PRODS: Apo W. Bazidi, Goran Zaneti
From a refugee camp on the Turkish-Syrian border, an 8-year-old girl, EVLIN, characterizes the resistance of her homeland. Her heroes, the Kurdish female fighters, are defending the city of Kobane against the onslaught by ISIS militants. The power of the human spirit emanates through Evlin as she shows us that hope and resilience prevail even in the most tragic of circumstances. Evlin takes us on a journey that introduces the many different faces of the resistance on both sides of the border and provides a unique look at the extraordinary spirit behind the first major victory against ISIS.
TO THE MOON AND BACK
WEST COAST Premiere | USA/Russia, 2016, HDV, 85 min.
WRITER: Susan Morgan Cooper
DIRECTOR: Susan Morgan Cooper
PROD: Susan Morgan Cooper
FEATURING: Jessica Long, Miles Harrison, Carol Harrison, Bill Browder, Gene Weingarten, Boris Altshuler, Sen. John McCain, Sen. Ben Cardin
The political murder of a Moscow lawyer and the cancellation of 259 pending American adoptions have a deep , insidious connection in this emotional expose.To the Moon and Back connects the dots from Russia’s warehousing of abandoned and special needs children to the cross border dealings of a billionaire investment banker to one American family’s tragedy. The film explores how Russian political corruption is linked to the accidental death of one adopted child and becomes Putin’s reason behind the Adoption Ban.