Fri. Sept 29th 12 PM In the Shadow of Beirut
ABOUT THE FILM: Four families are followed over several years in two incredibly tough Beirut neighborhoods where barriers exist to education, there is no drinkable water and a heavy paramilitary presence permeates everyday life. Yet there is beauty in the daily rituals – sweeping water over a tiled floor becomes poetic, birds in flight lift us up, a giggling baby gives a moment of relief from the daily battles families endure. “The injustice of oppression can be felt everywhere,” says one father, symbolic of the hundreds of thousands of people living in the most difficult of circumstances in contemporary Lebanon. Impossible choices are made under immense pressure: your young daughter promised as a bride, the inability to secure healthcare for your dying child, having to send your 8-year-old son to work rather than get an education. Yet this film highlights the incredible power of love. At the end we are left with hope for the next generation. – Sabina Barach
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER: Cinematographer and director Stephen Gerard Kelly is an Ireland-raised artist with a sensitivity around post-colonial power structures and a background in development and conflict research. He spent five years living in Beirut, listening, understanding, and filming issues facing vulnerable communities displaced by sectarianism, conflict, and a lack of economic opportunities, particularly in Sabra and Shatila. After directing and filming his debut feature-length documentary film In the Shadow of Beirut, he is continuing to develop impactful, compelling, cinematic documentaries while working with experienced teams on clever independent fictional films exploring social themes.
Fri. Sept 29th 2:45 PM No Right Way
ABOUT THE FILM: Bursting with charm, No Right Way is a funny, sharp drama about trying to do what we think is best for the people we love. Georgie (Ava Acres) is a spirited 13-year-old living with her loving yet neglectful mother in Las Vegas. Harper (Chelsea Bo), her older half-sister, is a sunny and self-disciplined career woman living in Hollywood. Until now, their lives have rarely intersected – but when Georgie is removed from her mother’s home by child protective services, Harper steps in to act as her temporary guardian. As the sisters adjust to their new living situation, they grow closer and Harper takes an increased interest in Georgie’s well-being. But could her best attempts at helping only make a tricky situation all the more complicated? Written and directed with warmth and generosity by co-star Chelsea Bo, No Right Way is an engaging buddy movie that revels in the organic rhythms of family life. – Ben Rendich
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER: Chelsea Bo is a writer/director with a theater and improv background. She graduated from Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film & Television and was selected for both Film Independent’s Incubator Lab and Village Roadshow’s Emerging Talent Program. Chelsea co-founded the production company Paxeros with her husband/producing partner Sean Drummond, and together they have produced three feature films, including Joshua Leonard’s Fully Realized Humans (Tribeca, 2020) and Sarah Adina Smith’s The Drop (Tribeca, 2022). No Right Way is her feature directorial debut.
Fri. Sept 29th 5:30 PM The Listener
ABOUT THE FILM: Actor Tessa Thompson brings a tour-de-force performance to Steve Buscemi’s film The Listener as Beth, a unique kind of crisis counselor. Beth starts her day as the sun is setting, taking calls at her LA home. The entirety of the film is set in this small space and only one actor occupies it. Other characters do populate the story but they come in the form of the callers, often desperate souls who are in one kind of crisis or another: lonely, heartbroken, addicted, or perhaps on the verge of making a costly decision. Buscemi’s film encapsulates a large segment of our world at this particular time and brilliantly scales it down to just two people chatting on a Smartphone. A mesmerizing film!—Adam Schartoff
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER: Steve Buscemi is an actor, writer, director and producer. He starred in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, which garnered him a Golden Globe® Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and two Emmy® nominations. His directing work includes the films Trees Lounge and Interview, and TV series including The Sopranos, which earned him Emmy® and DGA Award nominations, 30 Rock, Nurse Jackie, Portlandia, and Love. He currently co-stars opposite Daniel Radcliffe in the TBS anthology series Miracle Workers.
Fri. Sept 29th 8:15 PM At the Gates
ABOUT THE FILM: This ambitious, unsettling drama debut from writer and director Augustus Meleo Bernstein challenges assumptions about class and cultural divides in America. Ana Ibarra (Vanessa Benavente), a housekeeper from El Salvador, has been working for the Barris family in Los Angeles for eight months when she brings her teenage son Nico (Ezekiel Pacheco) to help her. Told by the family that their home has been visited by immigration agents looking for the Ibarras during a sweeping crack down, the pair is grateful when Marianne (Miranda Otto) offers to let them stay in the house until the situation is sorted out. But Marianne’s attorney husband Peter (Noah Wyle) is reluctant to have Ana and Nico stay and imposes a series of strict conditions: Don’t leave the house, don’t stand near windows, turn over all cell phones, stay out of the home office, and spend nights hidden away in a locked storage space in the basement. After several days without further visits from ICE, Nico begins to bristle under the restrictions. Breaking the rules and wandering through the house at night, he surprises thefamily’s teenage daughter Lauren (Sadie Stanley), who has her own misgivings about the Ibarras’ presence. As time goes on, tensions mount and each family begins to question the other’s motivations in this riveting and emotional thriller.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER: Augustus Meleo Bernstein is a writer, director, and producer from Los Angeles. He has an MFA in directing from the American Film Institute.and graduated with a degree in cinema studies from the University of Pennsylvania. At the Gates is his directorial feature film debut.