Set against the dramatic backdrop of 9/11, the Arab-Israeli conflict and the tension between Jewish and Muslim students on college campuses, OF MANY focuses on the surprising and transformative relationship between an orthodox rabbi and imam, who serve as university chaplains in New York City. Through a series of voyages tocommunities struck by catastrophe, we witness young religious Jews and Muslimsworking together and overcoming long-standing divides. Timely and funny, this short documentary offers an inspiring and hopeful narrative of friendship and cooperation between faiths.
See the trailer at www.OfManyFilm.com
Director: Linda Mills, in attendance!
Producer: Danielle Emery
Executive Produder: Chelsea Clinton
With a post-screening reception at Bob/Debbie Sharka's home
"Think there's no hope for peace in the Middle East? Think again...and while you're at it, flip a coin for the next political party Sarna/Latif or Latif/Sarna....here's two men who can cross the aisle."
- Bob Sharka, Friends Of Film
NOTE NEW DATE!!!!!
SATURDAY, Oct 11, 2014 2pm
Our first Foreign Language Oscar® Submission from Venezuela
Simón Bolívar fought over 100 battles against the Spanish Empire in South America. He rode over 70,000 miles on horseback. His military campaigns covered twice the territory of Alexander the Great. His army never conquered - it liberated.
Starring Édgar Ramírez, with a soundtrack by Gustavo Dudamel.
Thanks to our Friends Of Film at Cohen Media Group
One of the major French filmmakers of the post-New Wave, Philippe Garrel has belatedly been recognized as a master in America, and JEALOUSY may be his most accessible film in nearly 50 years of filmmaking. Shot in lustrous, widescreen black and white by the great Willy Kurant (Masculin Feminin, Under Satan’s Sun), the film opens with a man leaving his wife and daughter and, in a series of brief conversations, observed gestures, chance encounters and impulsive acts, tells the story of the relationships that flounder and thrive in the wake of this decision. In a autobiographical nod to his actor father Maurice’s abandonment of himself and his mother, the director casts his son and frequent star Louis Garrel as the husband who moves into a garret apartment with his actress girlfriend (Anna Mouglalis) and struggles with fidelity and the temptation to give up their art for an easier life. Shot with Garrel’s celebrated sensitivity and attention to faces, bodies, hands and the intricacies of the human heart, JEALOUSY is an especially intimate, deeply poignant and never less than enthralling tale of love, temptation and betrayal.
Courtesy of Distrib Films
COMING TO LAEMMLE ROYAL!
Sunday, August 24, 2014 - 2pmAdvance Screening
Directed by Michael Berry
Set along the tumultuous Arizona-Mexico border, FRONTERA, starring Ed Harris, Eva Longoria, and Michael Pena, follows Miguel (Peña), a hardworking father and devoted husband who crosses the border illegally and is wrongfully accused of murdering the wife of a former sheriff (Harris). Miguel’s pregnant wife (Longoria) lands in the hands of corrupt Mexican “Coyote” smugglers as she tries to help her husband, while the ex-lawman investigates his wife’s death and unearths evidence that could destroy one family’s future.
FRONTERA examines both sides of the complex issues of immigration and human trafficking that deeply affects both the U.S. and Mexico. It shows that a border might divide two countries, but can’t divide humanity, for good or bad, we are all part of the problem and the solution.
Print courtesy of Magnolia Pictures – coming to theaters September 5, 2014
Sunday, August 31, 2014 - 2pmSundance Film Festival Audience Award - Best Documentary, World Cinema
THE GREEN PRINCE
Directed by Nadav Schirman
Set against the chaotic backdrop of recent events in the Middle East, Nadav Schirman’s THE GREEN PRINCE retraces the details of a highly unprecedented partnership that developed between sworn enemies. In the style of a tense psychological thriller, this extraordinary documentary recounts the true story of the son of a Hamas leader who emerged as one of Israel’s prized informants, and the Shin Bet agent who risked his career to protect him.
As a defiant teenager growing up in Palestine, Mosab Hassan Yousef’s fervor against Israel was unquestionable, ultimately landing him in prison. Shaken by Hamas’s brutality within the prison’s walls and a growing disgust for their methods, particularly suicide bombing, he had an unexpected change of heart and began to see Hamas as more of a problem than a solution. Recruited by the Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security agency) and given the code name "Green Prince," he spied on the Hamas elite for over a decade, constantly risking exposure and certain death while grappling with the perception that he had betrayed his own family and people. Along the way, what started as a cautious alliance between Mosab and his Shin Bet handler Gonen Ben Yitzhak grew into an enduring loyalty that no one could’ve ever predicted.
Based on Mosab Hassan Yousef's bestselling memoir Son of Hamas, THE GREEN PRINCE exposes a complex world of terror, betrayal, and impossible choices. Through exclusive first-hand testimony, dramatic action sequences, and rare archival footage, decades of secrets come to light in this unflinching exploration of a profound spiritual transformation and the transcendent bonds of friendship. THE GREEN PRINCE will challenge much of what you know about the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
From the Academy Award® Winning Producers of MAN ON WIRE, SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN and ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER.
Print courtesy of Music Box Films – coming to theaters September 12, 2014
NOW PROGRAMMING FOR OCTOBER
Sunday, July 6th, 2014 2pm
Join Friends Of Film for an intimate sneak preview of
Opening in LA and NY on July 11th
Written and Directed by Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz
Starring: Paul Eenhoorn and Eral Lynn Nelson
*Sundance Film Festival 2014*
*Tribeca Film Festvial 2014*
*Los Angeles Film Festival 2014*
Feeling disenchanted with life after retirement, Mitch, a brassy former surgeon, convinces his mild-mannered ex-brother-in-law Colin to take a trip with him to Iceland. The sixty-something pair set off in an attempt to reclaim their youth through Reykjavík nightclubs, trendy spas, adventurous restaurants, and rugged campsites. But they quickly discover that you can’t escape yourself, no matter how far you travel.
LAND HO! is a bawdy road trip comedy as well as a candid exploration of aging, loneliness, and friendship. Iceland's vast and haunting landscapes--moss-coated cliffs, fog-shrouded mountains, and geothermal pools--form a primordial Eden, the perfect backdrop for Mitch and Colin's escapades.
MPAA RATED R | RUNTIME: 95 MINUTES
Print courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
Sunday, July 20th 2pm, Dick Clark Screening Room
Directed/Produced by Paul Lazurus, Produced by Barry Opper
Iconoclast, Kamen, is a modern hero. His inventions, mostly medical devices, help people in need and ease suffering. There are several documentaries currently being produced about the world’s dire water challenges. SlingShot is a film about an indomitable man who just might have enough passion, will, and innovative thinking to create a solution for a crisis that affects billions.
A quirky genius with a sharp wit and a provocative worldview, Kamen is our era’s Thomas Edison. He takes on the world’s grand challenges one invention at a time. Best known for his Segway Human Transporter, Kamen has reconceived kidney dialysis, engineered an electric wheelchair that can travel up stairs (the Ibot), reworked the heart stent, built portable insulin pumps, founded FIRST robotics to inspire young students, and on and on. Holder of over 440 patents, Kamen devotes himself to dreaming up products that improve people’s lives. For the last 15 years, he has relentlessly pursued an effective way to clean up the world’s water supply.
Fifty percent of all human illness is the result of water borne pathogens. Dean Kamen has invented an energy efficient vapor compression distiller that can turn any unfit source of water (seawater, poisoned well water, river sludge, etc.) into potable, safe water without any need for chemical additives or filters. Kamen has nicknamed his device the SlingShot as in the David and Goliath story. In Kamen’s imagining, undeveloped countries are filled with little Davids, and just like the biblical slingshot and stone, the SlingShot device is the tiny piece of technology that is going to take down the gigantic Goliath of bad water.
The SlingShot machine is capable of producing 1000 liters (250 gallons) of pure, distilled water every day, using only the power of a hairdryer. It is roughly the size of a small college dorm refrigerator. Once installed in a remote village, it can supply the daily water needs for up to 100 people, providing drinking, washing and cooking water. With this clean water supply, general health conditions will improve instantaneously.
Kamen has been struggling for well over fifteen years to get his SlingShot machines mass-produced and distributed around the world. He has gone to many organizations for help: the World Bank, the UN, the World Health Organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and many other governmental agencies, and NGO’s. But, these entities are not set up to help mass manufacture the SlingShot technology or distribute Kamen’s machine to the poorest corners of the world.
Recently, Kamen and his company, DEKA Research, formed an alliance with Coca-Cola. Kamen’s technological innovation combined with Coke’s global reach is a powerful force to address this major global challenge.
SlingShot traces the story of Dean Kamen’s water purification machine from its earliest development through recent trials in five schools in rural Ghana and beyond. Kamen’s passion and commitment to the impossible are as inspiring as his revolutionary technology.
Two screenings scheduled already
Saturday, May 3, Noon
Dick Clark Screening Room
2900 Olympic Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Check out their website for one of the best distributors for independent film www.CinemaLibreStudio.com
Saturday, May 3, 2:30pm
Special Screening of South East European Film Festival
Dick Clark Screening Room
2900 Olympic Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Director: Nevio Marasović
Producers: Nevio Marasović, Danijel Pek
Running Time: 80 minutes
Set mostly on the remote island of Vis, the story is about a director who plans to make a movie who travels with his lead actor to the island to work on the screenplay.
But each young man first has his own personal baggage to contend with.
Deadpan humor and top notch cast at crisp 80 minutes give credit to helmer Marasović, a young Croatian director to watch.
Check out their web-site www.SeeFilmLA.org/program
Now accepting submissions for pre-releases, and films looking for distribution, for our June/July/August dates...
If you'd like to screen your film, send Bob Sharka a dvd,
Blu Ray screener/ or file...or email Bob@FriendsOfFilm.com
Congrats goes out to
Belgium's (BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN)
for its Oscar® Nomination
screened on Nov. 24, 2013 at Friends Of Film Foreign Oscar® Submission Series
Bob Sharka programs the Friends Of Film Award-Season Series
Drop him a note if you'd like to attend or screen your film
Friends Of Film welcomes award winning filmmaker Michael Stevens for a one-screening-only of
HERBLOCK: The Black and The White
Sunday, October 20th, 2014
Santa Monica 4-Plex
1332 2nd Street
Santa Monica, CA
Look for HERBLOCK: The Black and the White on HBO starting Monday, Jan 27th and ON DEMAND
Directed by Michael Stevens
Saturday, November 2, 2013
WE CAME HOME
Santa Monica, CA
Directed by Ariana Delawari - in attendance with production team, too!
Afghan-American musician Ariana Delawari shares the unique personal story of how she re-connected with her homeland in this thought provoking documentary. Born and raised in Los Angeles to a loving family that had never forgotten its Afghan roots, Ariana's life is turned upside down after 9/11. When her parents move back to Kabul to help with reconstruction, Delawari spends a decade documenting their transition and her own awakening, through music, to her Afghan heritage.
"Delawari's moving doc takes us to the other side of Afghanistan most don't know and, indeed, it's a wonderful trip." - Bob Sharka, Friends Of Film
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Germany's Official Oscar® Submission
Santa Monica, CA
Directed by George Maas
A former East German spy in Norway has built a family life around a fake identity. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, her happy existence is threatened in this gripping story of trauma, intrigue, and espionage.
It's Europe in 1990. The Berlin Wall has just crumbled. Katrine is a Norwegian "war child," raised in East Germany, who has been living in Norway for the past 20 years. She enjoys a happy life with her mother, her husband, daughter, and granddaughter. When a lawyer asks Katrine and her mother to testify in a trial against the Norwegian state on behalf of the war children, she resists. Gradually, a web of concealment and secrets is revealed, including truths that shake the family to its core. This tense drama addresses an important but taboo topic in Norwegian history: the way Norwegian women who had relationships with German occupation soldiers were treated by their country after World War II, and what happened to them under the Stasi regime in the former East Germany. The film features a rare performance by the legendary Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann.
"More twists and turns than a Wetzel's Pretzel," - Bob Sharka, Friends Of Film
LATVIA's Oscar Submission
MOTHER, I LOVE YOU
Monday, November 18th
9200 Sunset Boulevard
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Belgium's Official Oscar® Submission
THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN
Santa Monica, CA
Directed by Felix van Groeningen - in attendance, schedule permitting
Didier and Elise’s relationship is stormy and passionate; it’s love at first sight. Didier plays the banjo in a bluegrass band, lives in a caravan in the Belgian countryside and idolises America as the ‘land of the free’. Elise owns her own tattoo parlour. Her body is plastered with images – little mementos of past lovers whose names have been carefully covered up by new tattoos. Before long their two lives are closely intertwined. Elise sings in Didier’s band and they soon have a daughter together, little Maybelle, with whom they move into a lovingly if unconventionally restored country house. This film accompanies Elise and Didier on their rollercoaster ride through life; through days filled with their love of music and their mutual passion.
Based on the stage play by Johan Heldenbergh and Mieke Dobbels, director Felix van Groeningen portrays various episodes in Elise and Didier’s story. The film’s barn-stomping blue grass concert footage and enthralling love story are delightfully reminiscent of the grand old days of American country music.
"One of the best films of the year, not just in the foreign category, but all around...a sure-fire masterpiece of originality." - Bob Sharka, Friends Of Film
Sunday, December 1, 2013
I AM YOURS
Norway's Official Oscar® Submission
Santa Monica, CA
Directed by Iram Haq
A twentysomething single mother in Norway’s expatriate Pakistani community struggles with her dysfunctional relationship with her perpetually disapproving mother, in this startlingly assured feature debut by Norwegian actor, singer and filmmaker Iram Haq.
Twentysomething single mother Mina (Amrita Acharia) is seriously at a loose end. She wants to be an actress but blows every audition. She seems uninterested in, and incapable of pursuing, any other career. And she's in a casual relationship with an already-attached and painfully self-absorbed man. A chance meeting with a Swedish filmmaker (Ola Rapace) opens up new possibilities, but looming over everything is the one constant in Mina's life: her mother's disapproval — a disapproval so deep and so gargantuan it's brought about Mina's relentlessly self-destructive behaviour, which has apparently made her entire family outcasts in Norway's expatriate Pakistani community.
A startling and sure-footed feature debut from Norwegian actor, filmmaker and singer Iram Haq, I Am Yours builds on the work of directors such as Sweden's Josef Fares (Jalla! Jalla!), one of the first filmmakers to deal with the experience of Middle Eastern and South Asian immigrants to the Nordic region. But Haq's film is distinct in the ways it presents the phenomenon through the prism of a mother-daughter relationship, which it deals with in a decidedly courageous, mature way.Haq unflinchingly catalogues Mina's faults. She's a terrible mother, easily convinced to leave her child alone in order to appease a needy lover. Yet, for all that, we sympathize with her, most notably in scenes with her mother, Samina (Rabia Noreen). Acharia is alternately forlorn and infuriating as the confused Mina. Noreen, though her character is monstrous at times, also elicits sympathy as a sad old woman who can't relate to her daughter.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
The Netherlands' Official Oscar® Submission
Santa Monica, CA
Directed by Alex van Warmerdam
Borgman is rousted from his underground dwelling by an angry group of men pursuing him. He escapes to find himself outside a modern country house and decides to beg a family for assistance. The overly aggressive response he receives sets off a chain of surprising events. After this unsettling and unexpected introduction, we follow our titular antihero as he slowly inserts himself into the lives of the suspicious yet unprepared family in their beautiful, rural home. As a dark presence in the house, Borgman exerts an unusual influence over the family. Isolated from the outside world, the manipulation begins as Borgman slowly reveals otherworldly motivations. Reminiscent of DOGTOOTH and FUNNY GAMES, BORGMAN is one of the strangest and boldest cinematic visions of the year.
"From the film's first frame to the last, one of the wildest rides of
WOW on-screen this year." - Bob Sharka, Friends Of Film
Tuesday, December 10th
another special screening
Dick Clark Screening Room
Columbia's Oscar® Submission
LA PLAYA DC
Sunday, December 15, 2013
South Korea's Official Oscar® Submission
Santa Monica, CA
An appeal for societal and personal reform, this intimate crime drama peers into the consequences of cyclical, intergenerational abandonment as experienced by a troubled 16 year old boy named Jang. After falling in with the wrong crowd and committing larceny, Ji ends up in juvenile detention, where he reunites with his destitute mother who gave birth to him as a teenager and left him when he was only three years old. Against the backdrop of Seoul’s affluent metropolis, Ji’s story is as much about social problems as it is about a young outsider’s challenge to rise above his circumstances. Employing natural lighting techniques and the handheld camera, Kang both tenderly humanizes his protagonist’s lamentable journey and breathes life into a subject worthy of the world’s attention.
G-DOG is what the homies call the priest.
This is the story of a remarkable odd couple. There's Father Greg Boyle, a white Jesuit priest who's spent some 25 years in the toughest part of East LA, and then there's the tough, street-smart, and amazingly sweet young people – all former gang members – whom G-Dog loves and helps, and who love him in turn. For Father Greg's remedy for what he calls "a global sense of failure" for kids at-risk is radical and simple: boundless, restorative love. His unstoppable compassion has turned around the lives of thousands of Latino, Asian and African American gang members.
G-Dog works by a powerful idea: "Nothing Stops a Bullet like a Job." Over the years his Homeboy Industries in LA has become an international model for rebuilding and redirecting the lives of gang members. Kids come in off the street, rival gang members - 12,000 a year - looking for a way out of gang life. Homeboy, located in a gang-neutral area of downtown LA on the edge of Chinatown, takes them in, providing free job training, tattoo removal, counseling, yoga, fatherhood- and substance abuse classes. If they stick with it, the kids get jobs baking, cooking, serving, printing t-shirts and cleaning in the Homeboy businesses – a café, retail store, catering service, a silk screen shop – to learn the soft and hard skills to move on.
In 18 months the homies are ready to go into the world to make a positive difference. For Homeboy has an astonishing success rate – 70% turn their back on gang life, compared to a recidivism rate of 70% of other such programs. Homeboy is the one place in the 'hood that turns lives around: swapping violence for community and building for the first time a sense of the future. We see it happen in G-DOG.
"Jobs not jail"
The film is often hilarious and astonishing but it is not just a poem of sweetness and light. G-DOG chronicles a tough year in the life of Homeboy Industries. 2010 is a year of tumult, change, and pain. In today's straitened financial times, Homeboy faces a bruising battle with the bottom line: one day, as we watch, the fan is hit, and Father Greg has to shut down parts of Homeboy. It's a crushing blow, and it gets worse. East LA is always East LA; death is still out there, and sure enough it comes home to roost. Two people we've seen early in the movie are dead by the time the credits roll. The question is, Will the homies and Homeboy itself survive?
"Homeboy is a therapeutic community – a place of hope and kinship."
Greg Boyle began with the classically humble ambition of devoting his life to the poor. Instead he became a cultural icon -- America's leading gang expert, author of a whopping bestseller, "Tattoos on the Heart," celebrated guest on Dr. Phil and Tavis Smiley.
In 1986 Father G was assigned to the poorest parish in East L.A.'s Boyle Heights. The naïve young priest walked into the middle of a war zone, the gang capital of the country. Gang violence rocked the city in the 90s, dubbed the "Decade of Death," and Father G was astonished to find teenagers planning their funerals and not their future.
"I came from a middle-class Irish-American family," recalls Greg Boyle. "As a kid, I wouldn't have known what a gang member looked like if one hit me upside the head. I couldn't have joined a gang if I'd wanted to. I wouldn't have been able to find a gang if you'd sent me on a scavenger hunt."
But what Father G lacked in experience with gangs, he made up for it in resourcefulness - he quickly partnered with the Latino and black mothers in the rough housing projects and out of the ashes of destruction rose a phoenix of hope – Jobs For The Future - a program that provided job training and jobs, alternative schools, social programs.
As he was launching Homeboy during the worst violence, Father G said, "If we don't address where all this comes from – dysfunctional families, grinding poverty and joblessness – this stuff is going to repeat itself"
Says L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, "You cannot arrest yourself out of a gang problem. You cannot put enough people in jail or prison to solve this problem."
In an era that emphasizes being 'smart on crime,' citizens and civic leaders around the country have come to better understand the complexity of gang life. Father G's years of working in the margins have helped put a human face on gang members and the pull of gang life.
RSVP to Bob@FriendsOfFilm.com