Austin Film Festival: Transformer

Premiering at the Austin Film Festival, Transformer is a moving documentary telling the story of transgender power lifter Janae Kroczaleski. Michael Del Monte directs the documentary of the power lifter who struggled with her gender identity for many years–as most transgender people have.  When the former US Marine was outed on a YouTube video as a transgender woman in 2015, her life fell apart.  She still had her children, who couldn’t be more supportive, but…

"Austin Film Festival: Transformer"

Austin Film Festival: Quality Problems

Quality Problems takes the true story of Brooke Purdy’s battle with breast cancer and finds a way to turn it into a comedy. Directed by Brooke & Doug Purdy from a script written by Brooke, the film stars Brooke, Doug, Max and Scout Purdy; Mo Gaffney, Chris Mulkey, Jenica Bergere, Ryan Bollman and Michael Patrick McGill. There are not that many comedies about cancer because it’s not really a laughing matter.  The only cancer comedy…

"Austin Film Festival: Quality Problems"

The Switch’s Amy Fox talks Pose, transgender casting

The Switch creator Amy Fox, who I’ve previously interviewed, has released a statement following the news of upcoming FX series Pose casting five transgender actors. Fox’s statement in full: While we applaud the recent press coverage of FX’s forthcoming series,Pose, many of these stories have contained factual errors which misrepresent our company, and we hope to see them addressed or corrected. While Pose will no doubt make a strong case for high quality scripted transgender stories on…

"The Switch’s Amy Fox talks Pose, transgender casting"

Chicago Film Festival: The Rape of Recy Taylor

The Rape of Recy Taylor is one of the timeliest films to screen during the Chicago International Film Festival with two screenings last week. With sexual harassment and assault making the waves in and out of Hollywood, it’s something that has to be talked about.  In this case, The Loving Story director Nancy Buirski brings us Recy Taylor’s story and dedicates the film to those women who haven’t been heard yet. Recy Taylor came of…

"Chicago Film Festival: The Rape of Recy Taylor"

Chicago Film Festival: The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water is perhaps the finest film ever to be directed by Guillermo del Toro and actress Sally Hawkins delivers a top-notch performance in the Cold War-set film. With a screenplay co-written by  del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, the film stars Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg and Octavia Spencer. Set in 1962, a classified asset is brought into a government laboratory in Baltimore where Strickland (Shannon) is hellbent…

"Chicago Film Festival: The Shape of Water"

One Of Us: Ex-Chasidic Documentary is Heartbreaking, Devastating

One of Us is a heartbreaking and devastating documentary that takes a look at three people who made the decision to leave their Chasidic communities. Documentary filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady follow three ex-Chasidic Jews over the course of three years.  With their access over that time span, they give us a glimpse at Chasidic Judaism that many communities are not going to be happy with.  Not with the amount of abuse that’s been covered…

"One Of Us: Ex-Chasidic Documentary is Heartbreaking, Devastating"

Chicago Film Festival: The Ballad of Lefty Brown

The Ballad of Lefty Brown shows that the western isn’t dead and gives actor Bill Pullman a showcase role in the thriller. Written and directed by Jared Moshé, Pullman leads a cast that includes Bill Pullman, Kathy Baker, Jim Caviezel, Joe Anderson, Diego Josef, Tommy Flanagan and Peter Fonda. Edward Johnson (Fonda) gets elected as a senator of Montana and Lefty Brown (Pullman) is by his side when he’s shot to death.  Nobody ever takes Brown–a sidekick for…

"Chicago Film Festival: The Ballad of Lefty Brown"

Jane: An Intimate Portrait of Jane Goodall

Jane, the new documentary from award-winning director Brett Morgen, pays tribute to the life of chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall. The National Geographic archives contained over 100 hours of footage from the last 50 years that had never been seen before.  It’s from that footage that Morgen draws from to bring us this intimate portrait of the acclaimed researcher.  In 1960, when Goodall first made waves, a woman doing this sort of research on chimpanzees was…

"Jane: An Intimate Portrait of Jane Goodall"

Chicago Film Festival: Black Cop

In his feature directorial debut, Black Cop, writer/director Cory Bowles uses unapologetic satire to explore the racial tensions within the police force and communities.  Bowles made this film in response to social media and if not viewed through the right lens, it’s a film that could come off as being absurd. For one cop, who is only known as Black Cop (Ronnie Rowe Jr.), he gets pushed over the edge and decides to target the…

"Chicago Film Festival: Black Cop"

1945: What Happens When The Jews Come Back?

1945 can best be described as a film that examines what happens in a village when the Jews start coming back after the Holocaust. Directed by Ferenc Török and based on the 2004 short story Homecoming by Gábor T. Szántó, the Hungarian film stars Péter Rudolf, Bence Tasnádi, Tamás Szabó Kimmel, Dóra Sztarenki, Ági Szirtes, József Szarvas, Eszter Nagy-Kálózy, Iván Angelus, Marcell Nagy, István Znamenák, and Sándor Terhes. The return of two Orthodox men–Hermann Sámuel (Angelus)…

"1945: What Happens When The Jews Come Back?"