2016 EIFF Must See: "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" Trailer

Since I’m having intense withdrawals from my amazing time at the 2016 Edinburgh International Film Festival, it helps to think back on highlights from my jam-packed, film-crazy two weeks in my favorite city in the world. I saw both gems and duds but the one film that definitely stuck out to me as an upcoming must-watch was the New Zealand comedy “Hunt for the Wilderpeople”. Writer/director Taika Waititi’s hilarious yet charming film follows the story of the unwanted, troublemaker orphan Ricky, played brilliantly by young actor, Julian Dennison. When Ricky gets one last opportunity to prove himself by staying with a family situated deep within the New Zealand countryside, it’s not long before his defiance and bad luck streak strikes again. What follows is a misfit adventure through the wilderness that sees Ricky and his “uncle” (Sam Neill) spark a national man-hunt of epic proportions while learning a lot about each other along the way. Watch the trailer for the must see film now!

Writer/Director Tobias Nölle's feature film debut "Aloys" weaves the twisted, unraveling tale of private investigator Aloys Adorn after a life-changing death and the subsequent loss of his surveillance tape collection. The noir style twists and turns of this Kaufman-esque film promise to keep its audience fully immersed in seeing how the plot will play out. Watch the exclusive trailer now on Indiewire and look out for the film's world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival later this month!

A Sundance pick, How To Change the World captures a tale of the ages.  In 1971, a group of friends sail into a nuclear test zone, and their protest captures the world's imagination. Using never before seen archive that brings their extraordinary world to life, How To Change The World is the story of the pioneers who founded Greenpeace and defined the modern green movement.  A must see! 

Trailer of Must-See: Meru

Why is it a "Must See"? Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi's documentary won the U.S. Audience Award for Documentary at Sundance thanks to its exhilarating first-person account of three mountain climbers who set out to conquer the most treacherous and dangerous mountain peak in the world. Aptly named the "Shark's Fin," the peak of Mt. Meru has served as an obsession and unattainable goal for renowned alpinists Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk. After their failed attempt to reach the top of Meru in 2008, the three climbers returned to their respective homes, defeated and still tempted to conquer Shark's Fin. In 2011, Anker convinced his two fellow climbers to attempt the deathly journey once more. "Meru" thus serves as the culmination and documentation of their death-defying and extraordinary second attempt.

Trailer of Must See: "REALITY"

Jason, a quiet cameraman, dreams of directing his first horror movie. Bob Marshall, a wealthy producer, accepts to finance his movie on one condition : Jason has 48 hours to find the best scream in the history of film. During his search, Jason gradually gets lost in a nightmare. Watch this trippy, french film trailer. 

Must See: SXSW Flick "Rolling Papers"

Directed by Mitch Dickman In 2014, recreational marijuana sales began in Colorado. With all eyes on ground zero of the green rush, The Denver Post appointed the world’s first marijuana editor. The Cannabist is covers it as it unfolds. The film used kickstarter funds to get it going and was an official selection at SXSW. This is a true piece of the times and a must-see! 

SXSW Official Selection, Must See: Creative Control

The setting is New York, 5 minutes in the future. In the immaculately composed world of writer/director/star Benjamin Dickinson’s sophomore feature CREATIVE CONTROL (the follow-up to his widely acclaimed debut FIRST WINTER), the glorious technological advances and communication devices of the near future meant to increase connectivity and alleviate bordeom are only increasing the anxiety level of the insecure New Yorkers who’ve inherited them. David (Dickinson) is an overworked, tech-addled advertising executive developing a high-profile marketing campaign for a new generation of Augmented Reality glasses. Feeling stuck in his relationship with yoga teacher Juliette (Nora Zehetner, BRICK, IFC’s “Maron”), he envies the charmed life of his best friend, fashion photographer Wim (Dan Gill, THE WEDDING RINGER) and his entrancing girlfriend Sophie (Alexia Rasmussen, CALIFORNIA SOLO) – so he uses the glasses to develop a life-like avatar of her. Unwittingly, fantasy and reality begin to blur. As passions escalate and things get increasingly out of hand, the friends are forced to deal with the impending collision between their public, private and imaginary lives. A cerebral head-trip told in gorgeous anamorphic black and white cinematography and carefully structured long-take tableaus, the film features unforgettable supporting turns by comedy genius/lunatic Reggie Watts and Das Racist’s Heems. CREATIVE CONTROL is an entirely unique vision of the intersection between the present and the future by one of independent cinema’s most promising new voices. – Indie

Trailer: Bill Plympton‘s Cheatin’ is a must see!

With big-toothed, rubbery people who seem vaguely from the wholesome 1950s and foregrounds that often melt into backgrounds, it’s easy to spot Bill Plympton‘s animation in a lineup. And, let’s face it, if anyone’s animation were ever to be arrested, it would probably be his.

His work has also always had an edge of dark, fatalistic humor to it. There was a time when it seemed possible that he’d remain a relic of the 90s Liquid Television movement, but he’s been on a serious roll lately. He’s prolific as ever.

Plympton made Cheatin’ back in 2013, and it’s finally seeing a release on April 3rd. It focuses on an unbelievably romantic couple who are torn apart by suspicion and jealousy, and the magic machine that allows a woman to take the form of her man’s many lovers. It looks unsurprisingly gorgeous, and the synopsis (as well as the Plympton legacy) promises another wacky, wonderful story.

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Spirit Nominated, Must-See, “Love is Strange”

Nominated for best picture at this year's Spirit Awards, Ira Sach's, Love is Strange, conjures up a tender and melancholic portrait of lives in transition, the catalyst here being intimacy: either enforced in the case of the men and their hosts or lacking, as it is between them.

It’s a gentle film that shies away from obvious dramatics; probably too underpowered for some. Yet it’s beautifully performed by Lithgow and Molina without a whiff of gay stereotype and rather profound.

Spirit Award Nominated, Must-See Film "Dear White People"

Winner of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival's Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent and recent Spirit-Award Nominee, Dear White People is a sly, provocative satire of race relations in the age of Obama. Writer/director Justin Simien follows a group of African American students as they navigate campus life and racial politics at a predominantly white college in a sharp and funny feature film debut that earned him a spot on Variety's annual "10 Directors to Watch."