All magicians are actors, but not all actors can make magic. Orson Welles could: he’d dazzle us with his bag of tricks, defy gravity, mesmerize moviegoers, and reveal the human soul. He was a master illusionist, but also a sooth-sayer, one of those rare child prodigies who became an adult virtuoso, a showman and a genius. century from his birth in May 1915, this documentary runs through a glittering and troubled career, and celebrates an artist whom we’re still struggling to get the measure of,some three decades since his passing.
“A bouquet to cinematic history.” Dennis Harvey, Variety
"Fascinating… leaves you hungry for more." Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly
Meet Iris Apfel, doyenne of New York fashion, and more importantly an indomitable and inspiring life force well into her ninth decade. Quick-witted and always flamboyantly dressed, Iris retains her enthusiasm for fashion, art and people. Despite the abundance of glamour in her current life, she continues to embrace the values and work ethic established during a middle-class Queens upbringing during the Great Depression. "I feel lucky to be working. If you’re lucky enough to do something you love, everything else follows."
"A joyous celebration of creativity and razor-sharp wit sustained into old age, as evinced by outspoken nonagenarian fashion icon Iris Apfel." Variety
You’ll believe a man can fly… For sky-diving pioneer Carl Boenish, jumping out of airplanes just wasn’t exciting enough. He wanted to jump off tall buildings, bridges and cliffs too - including Yosemite’s mighty El Capitan. Boenish invented BASE jumping, and he filmed it all too. This may be Extreme documentary making, but Carl’s larger than life personality and his oddball marriage touch on emotions as well as adrenaline.
"Exhilarating." Dennis Harvey, Variety
"Immersive enough to induce panic." Ben Kenigsberg, AV Club
The Citizen Kane of surfer flicks, Bruce Brown’s late sixties opus Endless Summer never gets old. Brown and two surfer buddies set out to traverse the globe on their boards, and found the perfect wave at Cape St Francis, South Africa - a four-foot curl that gave rides of 15 minutes and came in so reliably it "looked like it was made by a machine." Their tour also took in Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti and Hawaii… And if you can’t get there this summer, this languid ode to the ocean might just be the next best thing.
Presented in partnership with The Surfrider Foundation Vancouver.
"The most influential adventure sports documentary ever made." NPR
Try going a day without plastic. In this touching and often flat-out-funny film, we follow “everyman” Jeb Berrier as he embarks on a global tour to unravel the complexities of our plastic world. What starts as a film about plastic bags evolves into a wholesale investigation into plastic’s effects on our oceans, environment, and bodies. We see how our crazy-for-plastic world has finally caught up to us… and what we can do about it.
Like 50 Feet From Stardom this is the story of unsung heroes, the session musicians who made the 60s swing. Guaranteed, you will never hear pop from that era the same way again. Touching on everyone from the Beach Boys to Elvis, Sinatra to Sonny & Cher, this is an astonishing glimpse behind the scenes at the hey day of American pop. "Wonderful, touching and hilarious." Elvis Costello
"A treasure trove of witness-at-creation anecdotes and enduringly potent ’60s pop classics, The Wrecking Crew is a well-nigh irresistible treat for aficionados of music from the era when acts like the Beach Boys, the Association and the Monkees were topping the charts. Pic celebrates a loose-knit group of largely unknown (except by industry insiders) session musicians, many of whom supplied the defining licks and backbeats — and in some cases, actually played instruments for band members — on legendary recordings." Joe Leydon, Variety
1942 was the year everything went wrong for Orson Welles. He couldn’t fight for The Magnificent Ambersons because he was in Brazil at the behest of Nelson Rockefeller, working on a pan-American propaganda piece, an anthology film mixing documentary and fiction to be called "It’s All True". That film was never finished, and Welles’ Hollywood career never recovered - but Bill Krohn’s reconstruction explains why it was such an important project, and recovers more footage than anyone could have imagined.
Welles and Joseph Cotten penned the screenplay (adapted from an Eric Ambler spy story), and while the Great Man didn’t take a directing credit - bowing to his friend and collaborator Norman Foster - the expressionist noir stylings are very much in line with what you would expect from the man who made The Lady from Shanghai, Mr Arkadin, and Touch of Evil. Almost inevitably, the film was butchered in post production, first by RKO (who cut out 20 minutes) and then by the censors. All the same it’s enormous fun, a B movie thriller with sly wit, invention and panache to spare.
Heaven Adores You is an intimate, meditative inquiry into the life and music of Elliott Smith (1969-2003). By threading the music of Elliott Smith through the dense, yet often isolating landscapes of the three major cities he lived in — Portland, New York City, Los Angeles — Heaven Adores You presents a visual journey and an earnest review of the singer’s prolific songwriting and the impact it continues to have on fans, friends, and fellow musicians.
One of the strangest and most twisted films of the silent era. Cheated and cuckolded, a brilliant scientist (played by Lon Chaney, "the man of a thousand faces") takes refuge behind the make up of a circus clown, where his shame can at least inspire laughter in others. He becomes famous, but his hapless love for a bareback rider sends the movie spinning towards revenge tragedy. This first feature produced by the famous studio MGM, He Who Gets Slapped blends naturalism and expressionism with high melodrama - all accentuated in the Alloy Orchestra’s extraordinary live score.
“A picture which defies one to write about it without indulging in superlatives … so beautifully told, so flawlessly directed that we imagine it will be held up as a model by all producers.” NY Times, 1924
Academy Award-winning documentarian Alex Gibney blows the lid off this secretive and sinister organization, a "religion" that incorporates the financial structure of pyramid scheme and bears all the hallmarks of a cult. Gibney talks to 8 former Scientologists, including Crash writer-director Paul Haggis and several senior officials now alienated from the organization. The film gives us the history of its bizarre founder L Ron Hubbard, and examines Scientology’s dubious dealings with the IRS and its disturbing exploitation of celebrities like Tom Cruise and John Travolta.
"Jaw-dropping, scary, unnerving, even disturbingly funny." David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle
"The cult is right to be scared. Going Clear is spectacular stuff." Bilge Eberi, New York magazine
"A heat-seeking missile that doesn’t take long to find the heat." Verne Gay, Newsday
With Orson Welles, there is always the nagging feeling of "what might have been?". Schubert left us just the one Unfinished Symphony. But Schubert only need pen and ink to compose, a filmmaker needs so much more - and Welles left us with myriad incomplete films and projects, including several more stabs at Shakespeare, his long quest to make a movie of Don Quixote, and his film about the "new Hollywood", The Other Side of the Wind. What we are left with are tantalizing fragments, shards of brilliance…