‘Who Are You People’ North American Theatrical release on TVOD and Digital today February 24th  


Director and Writer: Ben Epstein
Starring: Ema Horvath,  Devon Sawa,  Yeardley Smith, Peter Parros, Siddharth Dhananjay, Reid Miller, John Ales, Alyssa Milano
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 1 hour 43 minutes
Country: USA
Language: English
Year:  2023

Who Are You People

After a botched attempt to seduce her teacher, 16-year-old Alex (Horvath) runs away from boarding school to seek out the biological father (Sawa) that her mother (Milano) and presumed father (Ales) always kept hidden and learn the dark secret of her roots.

Alex on bus
Alex on bus

About the Director:
Ben Epstein is the writer/director of the feature film WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE. He served as the Creator/Showrunner/Director for two seasons of the Complex series IN THE VAULT. He is also the creator and Co-Executive Producer of the MTV dramedy HAPPYLAND, and currently serves as a Co-Executive Producer on an upcoming series for Netflix.

Ben is currently developing a TV series with Lionsgate and Temple Hill and a feature with John Wells Productions. His screenplay THE PROSPECT, which chronicles Michael Jordan’s baseball career, was featured on the Black List. Ben realized a lifelong nerd dream by writing several issues of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book. His short fiction has appeared in the Rattling Wall Literary Journal.

Ben graduated from the NYU film program, where his thesis film THE REUNION won First Prize Wasserman/King Award at the NYU First Run Film Festival and numerous awards at other festivals. His feature script for WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE was also awarded the $75,000 NYU Columbus/Vague Alumni Production Grant by director Chris Columbus.

Ben is a member of the WGA and DGA. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and never tires of describing himself in the third person.

Writer & Director: Ben Epstein
Producers: Jordan Foley, Toby Louie, Ben Epstein, and Nick Smith
Executive producers: Alyssa Milano, Graham Moore, Yeardley Smith, Ben Cornwell Fred Chandler, Neely Eisenstein, AJ Gordon  Irka Zazulak, Melissa Pianko, and Rod Cooper
Co-producers: Rob Nelson, Benjy Caplan
Cinematographer: Bobby Lam
Editor: Jeff Bernier
Original Music: Aaron Zigman

Zodiac Features’ Captivating Biographical True Crime Docu-Thriller “Lovely Jackson” Screening at Justice Film Festival

Lovely Jackson Poster_Clean 24x36

Director: Matt Waldeck
Writers: Rickey Jackson and Matt Waldeck
Starring: Rickey Jackson, Mario Beverly, Devito Parker Jr., Edward Vernon, PR. Anthony Singleton, Mark Godsey, Brian Howe, Mary McGrath, with Clarissa Jackson, and introducing Lovely Rose Jackson

Country: USA
Genre Docuthriller, True Crime, Biography
Runtime: 1 hour 44 minutes
Language: English
Year: 2022

Justice Film Festival's New York City Premiere of Zodiac Features’ bold biographical true crime Docu-Thriller, “Lovely Jackson,

LOVELY JACKSON is exonerated prisoner Rickey Jackson’s daring first-hand account of the psychology of survival and spiritual fortitude required to withstand 39 years of wrongful incarceration for a murder he didn’t commit.  At the time of his release in 2014, Rickey was the longest wrongfully incarcerated person in U.S. history—spending 39 years on death row and in Ohio’s most dangerous prisons after being convicted solely on the coerced eye-witness testimony of a 12-year-old neighborhood paper boy.

Lovely Jackson sees Rickey return to the prison where he was sent in 1976 on his way to the electric chair where he narrates and stars in reenactments alongside professional actors (one playing his younger self), and the (then) 12-year-old paper boy, now in his late 50’s.

Lovely Jackson is a boldly cinematic, epic journey that begins in tragedy, hopelessness, injustice, and death, but ends in hope, beauty, and new life.

Rickey Jackson’s death sentence is sealed by the coerced eye-witness recounting of the crime by neighborhood paperboy, Edward Vernon.



Runtime: 1 hour 44 minutes 
Distributor: H.E.L.P. in association with Zodiac Holdings
Director: Matt Waldeck

Writers: Rickey Jackson and Matt Waldeck
Production Co.: Zodiac Features
Producers: Rickey JacksonMatt Waldeck Ben Hecht, Travis Killian, and Jillian Wolstein
Music: Jacques Brautbar
Cinematography: John Turk
Editor: Mark Andrew Hamer and Lori Lovoy-Goran 

View New Trailer -LIVING WITH CHUCKY- Cinedigm Release April 4th on VOD  in US and Canada

Cinedigm Logo
Screambox Logo
Living with Chucky Key Art

Director & Writer: Kyra Elise Gardner
Cast: Abigail Breslin, Adam Hurtig, Alex Vincent, Billy Boyd, Brad Dourif, Christine Elise McCarthy, Dan Povenmire, David Kirschner, Don Mancini, Elle Lorraine, Fiona Dourif, James A. Janisse, Jennifer Tilly, John Waters, Kyra Gardner, Lin Shaye, Marlon Wayans, Tony Gardner, Tony Timpone and many more. 
Genre: Horror
Country: U.S.
Language: English

Cinedigm and Bloody Disgusting will premiere the horror documentary Living With Chucky on its horror streaming service SCREAMBOX and on all major digital platforms on April 4 in the US and Canada.

Official Selection: Popcorn Frights Film Festival 2022, Fantastic Fest 2022, and Screamfest Horror Film Festival 2022. 

Living with Chucky takes an in depth look at the groundbreaking Child’s Play franchise from the perspective of a filmmaker who grew up within it. Featuring interviews with cast and crew such as Brad Dourif, Jennifer Tilly, Alex Vincent, creator Don Mancini, and much more, this personal film recounts the dedication, creativity and sacrifice that went into making the franchise and its long-lasting impact on the horror community.

Storming into pop culture in the late 1980s, the three-foot menace known as Chucky, proved that Child’s Play was anything but. The horror film went on to spawn six sequels, a television series, a reboot, comic books, a video game and merchandise.

Written and directed by Kyra Elise Gardner, daughter of legendary special effects artist Tony Gardner, Living With Chucky looks back at the groundbreaking horror franchise by those there from the beginning. The documentary details the history of the Child’s Play films by the cast and crew, in addition to Gardner’s own relationship with the series and the impact it had on her family. Gardner, who grew up alongside Chucky the killer doll, seeks out other families involved with the Child's Play films as they recount their experiences working on the franchise and what it means to be a part of the "Chucky" family.

 LIVING WITH CHUCKY Director Kyra Elise Gardner Headshot
LIVING WITH CHUCKY Director Kyra Elise Gardner Headshot


With a dad in special effects makeup, blood and guts became a normality for Kyra at a young age. Combat nursing was her first goal, but she soon discovered that real blood is way grosser than the fake stuff. She's been pursuing a career in directing since attending Florida State's film program and plans on creating quirky fantastical films from the lore of her unconventional childhood.


SCREAMBOX, which is powered by Bloody Disgusting, features a broad mix of content for casual and die-hard horror fans alike. The service is refreshed monthly with content from the Company’s extensive genre library with films and episodes delivering every type of terror imaginable -- Supernatural, Slashers, Zombies and more. SCREAMBOX currently features classic horror films like Slumber Party Massacre and the original House on Haunted Hill, the blockbuster indie horror films The Outwaters and Terrifier 2 as well as horror series such as “The Island” and “Master of Horror.” Documentaries Pennywise: The Story of It & Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary are also currently available. SCREAMBOX  is available to stream on iOS, Android, Prime Video, YouTube TV, Comcast, Cox and screambox.com


For more than 20 years, Cinedigm (NASDAQ: CIDM) has led the digital transformation of the entertainment industry. Today, Cinedigm entertains consumers around the globe by providing premium feature film and television series, enthusiast streaming channels and technology services to the world’s largest media, retail and technology companies. As a leader in the rapidly evolving streaming ecosystem, Cinedigm continues its legacy as an innovator through its adoption of next-generation technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, through its proprietary, highly-scalable Matchpoint™ technology platform. For more information, visit  cinedigm.com.


Director and Writer: Kyra Gardner
Cast: Abigail Breslin, Adam Hurtig,  Alex Vincent, Billy Boyd, Christine Elise McCarthy, Dan Povenmire, David Kirschner, Don Mancini, Elle Lorraine, Fiona Dourif, James A. Janisse, Jennifer Tilly, John Waters, Kyra Gardner, Lin Shaye, Marlon Wayans, Tony Gardner, Tony Timpone

Emma Griffiths
E: emma@eg-pr.com

Cinematographer: Scott Marino
Additional Cinematography: Evan Butka, Bryan Davis, Tanner Bloom
Producer: Kyra Gardner
Executive Producer: Ash T
Associate Producer: Tony Gardner
Editor: Kyra Gardner
Additional Editor: Dave Terman
Sound Mixer: Jeff Hannan
Boom Operator: Andrew Walton, Tanner Bloom
Production Assistant: Holly Amato
Visual Effects Artists: Andrew Walton, Kyra Gardner
Chucky Doll Manufacturing: Josh Schneider, Day Blackmon, Frank Minaya, Anne Richardson Collection



ANGELES, CA – Due to popular demand, the Pan African Film & Arts Festival has announced a virtual encore of favorites from their annual film festival that concluded on Feb. 20.  The PAFF Virtual Encore will take place between Feb. 21 and Mar. 31 and include festival award winners and films screened to sold-out audiences to give another opportunity for viewing to those who missed it. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at paff.org.  A PAFF Virtual Cinema pass is also available.

“Many films sold out during our in-person run at the Cinemark Baldwin Hills & XD,” said PAFF Head Programmer Asantewe Olatunji. “We want the PAFF community to have another opportunity to watch these impactful films.”

The Festival plans to release new films for viewing every week for the next five weeks.  A full schedule can be found at paff.org.

Films available for viewing beginning Feb. 21 include:

Men Don’t Cheat
Directed by Eric Hawkins

Janae McCrae, a 35-year-old wife has lost trust in her husband Bryson and believes he has been unfaithful. She is further convinced by her best friend Romona that they leave no stone unturned to find irrefutable evidence of Janae’s husband’s cheating.

Fantastic Negrito: Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?
Directed by Rafiq J. Nabali
WINNER: PAFF Executives’ Award for Best Documentary

Beyond the bombastic stage persona of Fantastic Negrito lies a 51-year-old survivor, hustler, and self- described ‘recovering narcissist’ named Xavier Dphrepaulezz. After his improbable midlife transformation from busking bluesman to back-to-back Grammy winner, Xavier is now ready to face his demons. Follow Xavier in his Oakland studio as he creates his newest album, laying bare his extraordinary journey and the many “hallucinations” he has experienced along the way. Following the structure of an album track list and featuring intimate and often hilarious interviews with philosopher- poet Xavier and his brilliant band of collaborators and close friends, the film traces his journey from early isolation as a Black Muslim kid in rural Massachusetts to Bay Area star with a global fanbase. Punctuated with a great soundtrack, this astonishing Madhatter ride transports the viewer through a uniquely mind-bending journey that thoroughly entertains.

Let the Church Say
Directed by Yvan Iturriaga, Francisco Nuñez Capriles

Through the years of oppression and sacrifice one thing has remained: The Black church and its impact on Black culture today. Nevertheless, in the light of the current decline in church attendance amongst Blacks and the loss of its central role in African American communities, some would argue that the Black church is dead. Is it true? Where would the Black community be without the Black church? The perspectives of those interviewed will be the evidence of the investigation. This is the true story of the Black American church through the eyes of a Black American.

The Honeymoon
Directed by
WINNER: Programmers’ Award for Best Narrative Feature

When Kat’s fiancé calls off their wedding the night before the big day, the ambitious but insecure Katya is devastated. Her long-time best friends, Noks and Lu, persuade her to go on her honeymoon to Zanzibar with them. What was meant to be a holiday away from their problems, soon turns to a holiday into their problems – but will their friendship survive a wild time in paradise? A wild, fun chick flick!

Directed by Bill Awani

Tucked in a small shed, Safari’s holiday is shaping up to be the usual routine of not getting out until his neighbor Kiki interrupts his solitude. Kiki, bothered by Safari’s lock up, chatters on about her exploring adventures, imitating both animals she has seen and those yet to be seen. This draws Safari’s attention as he talks of his desire to go see as many wild animals in their natural habitat as possible and above all, Jumbo, his favorite elephant. Excited by their new friendship, Kiki convinces Safari to go travel the country. It’s while on their adventures that Safari learns that Jumbo was killed by poachers. It gets more personal when he learns his former partner is involved in the syndicate and the two children work together to put a stop to it. The tale of Safari and his friend Kiki’s adventure touches on many elements of life in rural Kenya today – from living with disabilities to poaching and yet manages to convey the playfulness of a traditional children’s adventure story.

The Africologist: Chronicles of Africa

Tanzania, Egypt, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Rwanda, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Angola
Directed by
WINNER: Programmers’ Award for Best Documentary Feature

Africology is an interdisciplinary academic study of the history and culture of African people. This futuristic, highly original documentary swings between two distinct canvases – on the one hand, there is the science-fictional, 3D animated realm of the Africologist, a computer-generated fictional woman; and on the other hand, is the real-world, scientific and factual representation of Africa researched by director Valerio Lopes himself through his travels to sixteen African countries. Together they delve into the true history, science, and technological achievement of Africa. Viewers voyage through space and time discovering Africa’s true past and contributions to humankind. The destination of the journey is an authentic and accurately crafted interpretation of our world constructed from an African point of view.

For more information, please visit paff.org.



Festival Press Contact:

About the Pan African Film & Arts Festival

Taking place February 9-20, 2023, in Los Angeles, the Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF) presents and showcases a broad spectrum of Black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images and help to destroy negative stereotypes of Africans and African-Americans. Since 1992, PAFF has remained dedicated to the promotion of Black stories and images through the exhibition of film, visual art, and other creative expression. Today, PAFF is one of the largest and most prestigious Black film festivals in the U.S. and attracts local, national, and international audiences. In addition, it is an Oscar-qualifying festival for animation and live-action films, and one of the largest Black History Month events in America.

PAFF is sponsored in part by the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell through the Department of Arts and Culture, LA Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, LA Councilmember Curren Price, LA Councilmember Heather Hutt, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, LA Arts COVID-19 Relief Fund with the California Community Foundation, and the LA County COVID-19 Arts Relief Fund administered by the LA County Department of Arts and Culture.

This year’s PAFF is presented by Stocker Street Creative, Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, and FX Networks.

The Pan African Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

For more information, please visit paff.org.

THE FIRST STEP opening theatrically in Los Angeles February 24th

(Photo Credit:Meridian Hill Pictures and Magic Labs Media)Website:https://www.firststepfilm.com
(Photo Credit:Meridian Hill Pictures and Magic Labs Media)Website:https://www.firststepfilm.com

In a divided America, Van Jones controversially works across party lines on landmark criminal justice reform and a more humane response to America's addiction crisis. Attempting to be a bridge builder in a time of extreme polarization takes him deep into the inner workings of a divisive administration, internal debates within both parties, and the lives of frontline activists fighting for their communities.

Facing fierce opposition from both political parties in a climate where bipartisanship has become a dirty word, Jones and his team enlist the support of justice-impacted individuals, faith leaders, grassroots activists and cultural figures — including Kim Kardashian — to pass legislation that would fix some broken aspects of the justice system and bring thousands of incarcerated people home early. The bill’s champions immediately find themselves navigating a high-stakes game of political chess in Washington, D.C. Their quest brings them face-to-face with progressive champions like Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, U.S. Senators Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders, as well as conservative figures like U.S. Senator Rand Paul, Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner — and ultimately, Donald Trump himself.

While trying to pass a bipartisan bill through a deeply polarized Congress, Jones is condemned by the right for his progressive beliefs — and by the left for working with conservatives.  The film reveals an intimate portrait of an activist’s isolation and internal struggles, what it takes to make change in a divided nation, and everyday people in both political parties drawn into a historic fight for freedom and justice.

Van Jones and #cut50 national organizer Louis L. Reed walk through downtown Washington DC in a
scene from THE FIRST STEP.
Image courtesy of Meridian Hill Pictures and Magic Labs Media
Van Jones and #cut50 national organizer Louis L. Reed walk through downtown Washington DC in a scene from THE FIRST STEP. Image courtesy of Meridian Hill Pictures and Magic Labs Media

THE FIRST STEP is an independent production of Meridian Hill Pictures (CITY OF TREES, PBS, Netflix) and Magic Labs Media
(THE MESSY TRUTH, Webby Award Winner), in association with Kartemquin Films (MINDING THE GAP, Hulu, Oscar Nomination)
and Big Mouth Productions (DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD, Netflix) and the editorial talent behind KING IN THE WILDERNESS (HBO,
Sundance) and BIRTH OF THE COOL (PBS, Sundance).

An 8 Above Theatrical Release: Opening theatrically in New York on February 17 (DCTV Firehouse), Washington, D.C. on February 19 (JxJ Theater), Los Angeles on February 24 (Laemmle Royal Theater) with additional screenings in key cities in February and March 2023.

VOD Release details to follow.


New York - February 17 - DCTV Firehouse (1 week run)
Washington, D.C. - February 19 - JxJ Theater (1 week run)
Los Angeles - February 24 - Laemmle Royal Theater (1 week run)

Jones, Sheriff Martin West, and Virgie Walker walk through downtown Welch, West Virginia in a
scene from THE FIRST STEP.
Image courtesy of Meridian Hill Pictures and Magic Labs Media
Van Jones, Sheriff Martin West, and Virgie Walker walk through downtown Welch, West Virginia in a scene from THE FIRST STEP. Image courtesy of Meridian Hill Pictures and Magic Labs Media

THE FIRST STEP-Social Media/ Website:

Van Jones, Kim Kardashian, Alice Johnson, Louis L. Reed and 
Alex Guditch of #cut50 huddle over acell phone to watch president Trump deliver a speech on the First Step Act in a scene from THE FIRST STEP. Image courtesy of Meridian
Van Jones, Kim Kardashian, Alice Johnson, Louis L. Reed and Alex Guditch of #cut50 huddle over acell phone to watch president Trump deliver a speech on the First Step Act in a scene from THE FIRST STEP. Image courtesy of Meridian

Director: Brandon Kramer
Producer: Lance Kramer
8 Above Presents A Meridian Hill Pictures and Magic Labs Media Production In association with Fork Films, Artemis Rising Foundation, Hidden Empire Film Group, Kartemquin Films and Big Mouth Productions
Director of photography: Emily Topper
Editors: Steven Golliday, Natasha Livia Mottola, Leslie Simmer
Composer: Joshua Abrams
Executive producer: Jana Carter
Executive producers: Abibail E. Disney, Regina K. Scully, Robert F. Smith, Deon & Roxanne Taylor, Brad Buhr and Bryanna Sapp, Christina & David Arquette, Daniel S.  Loeb
Co-executive producers: Clara Wu Tsai, Felicia & Jules Horowitz
Director of photography: Emily Topper
Original music: Joshua Abrams
Original song: Aloe Blacc
a film by Meridian Hill Pictures, Magic Labs Media in association with Fork Films Artemis Rising Foundation, Hidden Empire Film Group, Kartemquin Films and Big Mouth Productions

Louis L. Reed is the Sr. Director of Membership and Partnerships for the REFORM Alliance. He brings to the REFORM Alliance years of experience in government, criminal justice expertise, policy advocacy, public health, and personal impact, serving nearly 14 years in federal prison and several years on supervision. Louis is a board-certified addictions counselor and licensed alcohol & addictions practitioner.

More information:  https://www.louislreed.org

Van Jones  is a media personality, an entrepreneur and change maker — who has dedicated his career to bringing people together in clean energy solutions, criminal justice reform and racial inclusion in the tech sector. In 2007, Van was the primary champion of the Green Jobs Act, signed into law by George W. Bush. In 2009, he worked in the Obama White House as the Special Advisor for Green Jobs. Over the past 25 years, Van has founded and led social enterprises including REFORM Alliance, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change, Green For All and the Dream Corps. He worked with Prince to launch #YesWeCode (now called Dream Corps TECH) to get jobs in the tech sector for low-opportunity young people. Van is also a CNN host, an Emmy Award-winning producer and a 3X New York Times best-selling author.

Brandon Kramer (Director)
Brandon is a Washington, DC-based filmmaker and co-founder of Meridian Hill Pictures. Brandon directed CITY OF TREES (Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, national broadcast on PBS' America Reframed, Netflix); and the Webby Award-winning documentary series   THE MESSY TRUTH. Brandon won Best Director at the 2016 Chesapeake Film Festival and Indie Capital Awards, received the Audience Choice Award at the 2015 American Conservation Film Festival and was a 2022 and 2015 DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities Individual Arts Fellow. Brandon has directed over 30 short documentaries  commissioned by public agencies and nonprofits including AARP and US Institute of Peace. Before starting MHP, Brandon served as a teaching artist for the John F. Kennedy Center’s national media education program. Brandon holds a bachelor’s degree in film and cultural anthropology from Boston University.

About 8 Above (Distributor)

8 ABOVE  is a theatrical distributor and rights management partner dedicated to connecting award-winning independent films with audiences. Working in close partnership with filmmakers, 8 ABOVE develops strategies that build community and social impact around unique theatrical experiences. Founded by distribution pioneer Jon Reiss, 8 ABOVE has developed bespoke audience-building strategies and theatrical campaigns for independent films, specialty films, and documentaries, including Hooligan Sparrow, Two Gods, The Disrupted, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, Sweetheart Dancers, Surviving Sex Trafficking, Nasrin, and No Small Matter.

Publicity/ For further information please contact: Emma Griffiths PR // emma@eg-pr.com

Liongate ‘SISU’ New Clip-Opens in Theatres Nationwide April 28th


Director and Writer: Jalmari Helander
Cast: Jorma Tommila, Aksel Hennie, Jack Doolan, Mimosa Willamo, and Onni Tommila
Genre: Action, War
Rating: Not yet rated
Runtime: 1 hour 31 minutes



During the last desperate days of WWII, a solitary prospector (Jorma Tommila) crosses paths with Nazis on a scorched-earth retreat in northern Finland.  When the Nazis steal his gold, they quickly discover that they have just tangled with no ordinary miner.  While there is no direct translation for the Finnish word “sisu”, this legendary ex-commando will embody what sisu means: a white-knuckled form of courage and unimaginable determination in the face of overwhelming odds.  And no matter what the Nazis throw at him, the one-man death squad will go to outrageous lengths to get his gold back – even if it means killing every last Nazi in his path.

(Photo Credit: LIONSGATE)
Aksel Hennie as Obersturmführer Bruno Helldorf
and Jack Doolan as Wolf in SISU. ©Freezing
Point Oy Photo Credit: Antti Rastivo
(Photo Credit: LIONSGATE) Aksel Hennie as Obersturmführer Bruno Helldorf and Jack Doolan as Wolf in SISU. ©Freezing Point Oy Photo Credit: Antti Rastivo


- Lionsgate – Alex Klenert, Maria Donoso  aklenert@lionsgate.commdonoso@lionsgate.com
- New York National press – Emma Griffiths emma@eg-pr.com
- Los Angeles National press – Annie Jeeves annie@cinematicredpr.com
- Latin press –Inma Carbajal, Chely Acosta inma@holaicpr.comchely@holaicpr.com

Release Date: April 28, 2023 (only in theaters)
Distributor: Lionsgate
Producer:   Petri Jokiranta
Executive Producers:  Mike Goodridge, Gregory Ouanhon, Antonio Salas
Cast: Jorma Tommila, Aksel Hennie, Jack Doolan, Mimosa Willamo and Onni Tommila
Director and Writer: Jalmari Helander
Cinematographer:  Kjell Lagerroos
Editor: Juho Virolainen
Runtime: 1 hour 31 minutes

2023 Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) Films to See: American Outlaws, Commitment To Life, Karen Carpenter: Starving For Perfection and Starring Jerry As Himself

SBIFF logo

“American Outlaws” (Feature Film True Crime Drama)North American Independent Cinema Sponsored By Panavision Selection (SBIFF)

Director & Writer: Sean McEwen
Starring: Emory Cohen, India Eisley, Sam Strike, Tess Harper, Cory Hardrict, and Treat Williams, joined by Mackenzie Graham, Vanessa Giselle, Lance E. Nichols, Johnny Ray Gibbs, and Troy Metcalf
Running Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

West Coast Premiere:
Friday, February 17th at 8:40pm. Followed by Q&A
Location: Metro 4, Screen 3
618 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA

2nd Screening:
Saturday, February 18th at 2:40pm. Followed by Q&A
Location: Metro 4, Screen 3
618 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA

“American Outlaws” is based on a true story and the GQ article "The Whole True Story of the Dougherty Gang" by Kathy Dobie. Written & directed by acclaimed filmmaker Sean McEwen (“Braking For Whales,” “Sick Girl”).

While the true story of “American Outlaws”  encompasses the proverbial bells and whistles of compelling storytelling -- sex, drugs and rock & roll (the sister, a former stripper now toting an AK47, two brothers with a wild streak and the propensity to live life on the razor’s edge with gunplay, police chases and bank robberies galore) -- at its heart, it’s a story about family.  Three siblings, on a cross-country journey, with the strongest desire to find the simplest element…  Home. A place to be together.  Safe.  Happy.  Free.

Production Co: Narrator Entertainment, Big Cat Productions and Charlie Baby Productions
Producers: ­­­­­­McEwen, Cassidy Lunnen , Alexandre Dauman, John Papsidera
Executive Producer: Takashi Cheng
Co-producers: Danyelle Foord and Jessica Wilde
Runtime: 1 hour 39 minutes

“COMMITMENT TO LIFE” (Feature Film Documentary)


Interviewees: Jewel Thais-Williams Co-founder, Minority AIDS Project; Phill Wilson  HIV/AIDS Activist; Karamo Brown “Queer Eye” Cast Member & HIV/AIDS Educator; Dr. Michael Gottlieb Physician and Former APLA Board Member; Bruce Vilanch  Writer and Comedian; Jeffrey Katzenberg Former Chairman, Walt Disney Studios and APLA Board Member; Bill Misenhimer  Former APLA Executive Director; Robert Contreras Co-Founder, Bienestar; Torie Osborn Former Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Rev. Steve Pieters  Former Field Director of AIDS Ministry, Metropolitan Community Churches; and Bamby Salcedo President, TransLatin Coalitio.

West Coast Premiere:
Saturday, February 11th at 7:40pm followed by Q&A
Location: Fiesta 5 Multiplex, Screen 4
916 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA

2nd Screening: Sunday, February 12th at 10:20am. Followed by Q&A
Location: Fiesta 5 Multiplex, Screen 4
916 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA

Against a rich Hollywood backdrop, “Commitment to Life” documents the true story of the fight against HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles — and how an intrepid group of people living with HIV/AIDS, doctors, movie stars, studio moguls and activists changed the course of the epidemic.

Director & Editor: Jeffrey Schwarz
Producers: Aimée Flaherty, p.g.a. and Jeffrey Schwarz, p.g.a.
Executive Producer: Ron Sylvester,
Co-Executive Producer: Robert James Wood II
Co-Producer: Taki Oldham
Associate Producer: Michael Stabile
Executive Producer: Craig Thompson
Supervising Producer: Craig Bowers
Composer: Allyson Newman
Cinematographer: Adam Jason Finmann
Running Time: 1 hour 55 minutes


“Karen Carpenter: Starving For Perfection” (Feature Documentary Film)


Director Randy Martin
Producer & Writer: Randy Schmidt
Interviewee: Olivia Newton-John, Cynthia Gibb, Suzanne Somers, Kristin Chenoweth, Carnie Wilson, Bob James, Carol Burnett, Belinda Carlisle, Cubby O’Brien, Tom Nolan, Karen Tongson, Cherry Boone O’Neill, Louis Virtel, Randy Schmidt, Barry Morrow, Frankie Chavez, Doug Haverty, Maria Galeazzi, and Mike Curb.

West Coast Premiere:
Friday, February 10th at 8:20pm. Followed by Q&A
Location: Metro 4, Screen 2
618 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA

2nd Screening: Sunday,  February 12th at 11:20am. Followed by Q&A
Metro 4, Screen 2
618 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA

About the Film: Karen Carpenter was the first in a long line of celebrities to suffer from an eating disorder during an era when the vastly misunderstood disease brought shame and public humiliation. For the first time, we hear Karen Carpenter's personal struggle in her own voice through never-before released recordings and through the legendary voices of those who knew her and were inspired by her music. As the #1 American musical act of the 1970s, the Carpenters were on “top of the world," producing a string of pop masterpieces, including "Close to You," "We've Only Just Begun," and "Rainy Days and Mondays." But behind closed doors, Karen's quest for perfection resulted in low self-esteem, a disheartening love life, and a public battle with anorexia nervosa, which ended with her untimely death at the age of only 32. Forty years after her death comes “Karen Carpenter: Starving For Perfection,” a captivating, revealing, and unvarnished documentary providing astounding new insight into the singer's tragically short life and enduring musical legacy.

Production Co.: AMS Pictures
Director Randy Martin
Producer & Writer: Randy Schmidt
Producer & Editor Brad Osborne
Executive Producers Carnie Wilson  & Andy Streitfeld
Director of Photography: Osman Tello
Editors Chuck Brown & Paul Ellison
Running Time: 1hour 40 minutes


“Starring Jerry As Himself” (Feature Film Docu-Fiction Hybrid)

Recently having won the Slamdance Film Festival Grand Jury Documentary Feature, Audience Award Documentary & Acting Award for Jerry Hsu with sold out screenings and standing ovations, “Starring Jerry As Himself” is a docu-fiction hybrid that blurs the lines of reality while staying true to Jerry Hsu, the title subject and his unique story. Jerry  is the father everyone wants to have as their own, and his journey is one that rivals that of Alice following the white rabbit into another world. Employing a variety of creative filmmaking techniques to capture the world from Jerry’s perspective, the film is a genre bending meta experience as Jerry deals with a wild tale of international intrigue in which he inexplicably finds himself a lynchpin with his family none the wiser...or has he?

West Coast Premiere:
Wednesday, February 15th at 4:20pm. Followed by Q&A
Location: Fiesta 4 Multiplex, Screen 4
916 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA

2nd Screening:
Friday, February 17th at 8;30am. Followed by Q&A
Location: Fiesta 4 Multiplex, Screen 4
916 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA

Director & Editor Lawrence Chen
Co-Writers Jerry C. Hsu  & Lawrence Chen
Producers: Jonathan Hsu & Lawrence Chen
Composer Eric Hölljes
Cinematography by Tinx Chen and Lawrence Chen

Freestyle Media to Distribute Psychological Action Fantasy Thriller “Exceptional Beings” Across North American TVOD & Digital Platform & DVD

Couple poster

Co-Directors: Njedeh Anthony and Christian Kazadi
Writer: Njedeh Anthony
Starring:  Ciarra Carter, Dane Oliver,  Rachel Thundat, Bunmi Famuyiwa, Clark Moore, Chad Sano, introducing Jean Charles, Sarah Bonrepaux, Victoria Antonelli, and Eric Roberts
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Thriller

“Exceptional Beings” tracks the existential crisis of two supernatural beings, as they begin to question their Godhood, when they encounter a woman with an uncanny essence that doesn’t conform with their 4,000 years of knowledge. They journey through her existence, as it relates to their desperate need to understand answers to question, they never believed existed. The movie is a prequel to the book Godhood.

Freestyle Media will distribute the psychological action fantasy thriller “Exceptional Beings” across North American on TVOD, Digital Platform and DVD.

You can find the DVDs at Amazon.com, Bestbuy.com, Walmart.com, and   Barnesandnoble.com.

Find the film on AT&T U-Verse, DirecTV, Dish Network,  Sling TV, iN DEMAND, Vubiquity, Hoopla and directly at the links below:

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Exceptional-Beings-Ciarra-Carter/dp/B0B65CCQ8Z

iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/exceptional-beings/id1665272579


AppleTV https://tv.apple.com/us/movie/exceptional-beings/umc.cmc.fe4tfbhefhrdz01e1x2rg5rw



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The Gestalt Effect

The Gestalt Effect  production company was founded 10 years ago to dive into all aspects of film production. “Creatures of Necessity” was their first North American release, which released in November of 2022. We greatly appreciate your review, interview, and what to watch coverage consideration for this incredibly talented team of black filmmakers and their diverse cast.

Distributor: Freestyle Media
Co-Directors: Njedeh Anthony and Christian Kazadi
Writer:   Njedeh Anthony
Producers: Njedeh Anthony and Justin Morgan
Executive Producers: Njedeh Anthony, Justin Morgan, Christian Kazadi and Kurtis Anton
Director of Cinematography: Christian Kazadi
Editor: Christian Kazadi
Production Designer: Justin Morgan