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Cloud Cult: No One Said It Would Be Easy

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A cosmological pop band led by an organic farmer from Minnesota, Cloud Cult has developed a passionate following over a decade with its mesmerizing music, lush live shows (including two live painters), and strong ecological commitment.

Cloud Cult: No One Said It Would Be Easy takes fans and the unfamiliar on a journey into the band’s colorful and passionate world, from the group’s painful and powerful origins through its first decade.

The best information on Cloud Cult is at cloudcult.com

“In the crowded genre of indie rock, in which bands typically earn more by touring than selling albums, the painters have helped Cloud Cult’s stage show stand out. While the paintings offer a glimpse into the economics of a working-class rock band, they’re also intimately tied to Cloud Cult’s music, much of which stems from a tragedy that struck Ms. Minowa and her husband, band leader Craig Minowa.”
– NPR

“Almost all the band’s material is written and recorded in a tiny studio made of recycled and reclaimed materials.”
– MTV

“More a family than a band, the Minneapolis collective does everything with purpose, talent and conviction, from its environmentally conscious lifestyle — in which it self-produces and releases albums from its geothermal-powered organic farm — to its charitable efforts to its emotive, even cathartic songwriting.”
– NPR

“…not-quite-precious chamber pop extravaganza, and it’s impossible to not be moved by [Craig Minowa’s] grandiose methods of telling a story.”
– Denver Post

valtari film experiment

join sigur rós fans on all seven continents for a unique program of short films

the weekend of december 7 – 9, a “valtari film experiment” program collects at least 17 commissioned “official” and fan-created short films created to coincide with the album valtari. the program will screen on all seven continents (yes, including antarctica). venues will include cinemas, cinema-like spaces, rock clubs, native american casinos, hardware stores, hairdresser salons, and beyond. with the band’s live film inni, large venues were particularly pursued, but this time, smaller, more avant-garde film-type spaces are sought out, though there will be many exceptions. in addition, we seek to deliver the films to the locations exclusively via the internet, cutting down on shipping drama and further embracing how the internet can connect people working on similar events around the world.

upon the release of their album valtari, sigur rós gave a dozen filmmakers the same modest budget and asked them to create whatever comes into their head when they listen to songs from the album. the idea was to bypass the usual artistic approval process and allow people utmost creative freedom. among the filmmakers are alma har’el, andrea arnold, john cameron mitchell, ramin bahrani, and floria sigismondi. at the same time, the band invited fans to contribute their own personal creations.

here are the confirmed dates. booking for the program continues, and, below this list, we invite you to suggest further ideas, though please accept in good spirits that not everything is going to work out (and, yes, there are some modest fees). you will also note that new york will be at a location yet to be announced, though tickets are for sale, and should be ordered now.

more announcements will be forthcoming as more locations are confirmed.

see the confirmed list of dates.

suggest an additional show.

Images from the Arctic Snow Room

We’ve got photos from the creation of the Arctic Snow Room.  That’s the place in Rovaniemi – the capital of Lappland, Finland, on the Arctic Circle – where Inni recently screened.

Click on each individual image to enlarge.  Flatlightfilms.com made the venue, and you should check out their site, too.
Inni is also up on Youtube and Google Play.  So, we have gone from the release of a mysterious clip, through a world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, to gigantic screens around the world including Nasa við Austurvöll in Reykjavik, the Geode in Paris, the Ritz in Minneapolis, the Michigan in Ann Arbor, the Australian Cinematheque in Melbourne, the Curzon Mayfair in London, Sala Hermilo Novelo in Mexico City, Asahi Za in post-tsunami Fukushima, and the Hanoi Cinematheque, through other big and little cinemas and rock clubs and improvised venues all over the place (including the Arctic Snow Room and also the North House Folk School in Grand Marais), three sold out shows last week in a Buenos Aires shopping mall cinema . . . to you possibly renting Inni right now on your Android phone and on your desktop through Youtube, right here on this page.  Thank you to everyone who has been there, somewhere.

The good word in Memphis

“You got to think ridiculous when it comes to Christ,” insists the title modern-epoch apostle in Preacher, a documentary by Daniel Kraus about 72-year-old Bishop William Nowell, a charismatic, excitable and enthusiastic longtime Pentecostal pastor who gets more exercise at the pulpit than many people get at a treadmill or track.

Preacher screens at the Brooks Museum in Memphis tonight. The screening is loosely associated with professional Renaissance Man Scott Newstok’s “1611 Symposium” at Rhodes College, and across Memphis, celebrating the King James Bible’s 400th anniversary.

Read John Beifuss in the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

And check out that beauty of a trailer again.

Free stream from The Afterlight

The beautiful and haunting film The Afterlight is coming up on DVD shortly, and we couldn’t be more proud. The film’s stars include the lovely Ana Asensio, whom you probably recognize from Zenith, and a performance by the amazing Rip Torn, whom you recognize from… well, everywhere.

To celebrate, check out this powerful song from composer Nathan Matthew David.

“Visual artistry . . . nothing short of masterful.”
– Los Angeles Times

“intoxicating beauty.”
– New York Times

“truly poetic… lustrous cinematography”
– Chicago Sun-Times

“Beautifully composed.”
– Chicago Reader

“…cryptic images of ominous beauty, held together by pure surface tension, exert a strange fascination.”
– Variety

“Alexei Kaleina and Craig Macneill’s proudly minimalist affair favors ambiguity over soap-operatics, evoking the inescapable heartache of a loss so great, it cannot be uttered.”
– TimeOut NY

“Stunning cinematic debut … a film guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.”
– i-D Magazine

inni

by Sigur Rós

please be advised – strobe lighting and flashing images are used during sigur rós’ live performance footage

Show this film near you

“dreamlike haze of throbbing black and white . . . eccentric . . . shimmering . . . piquant . . . a burnished collision of the specific and the abstract . . .”
– Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

“haunting, emotion-drenched . . . soul-stirring fusion of joy and heartache . . . usher[s] the listener into a state of near-celestial rapture.”
– Justin Chang, Variety (gathered from two articles)

“something stunning . . . one of the most engrossing concert films in recent memory. . . ”
– Guy Dixon, The Globe and Mail

“German Expressionism on acid… some sort of lost artefact… straight out of [A] Midsummer Night’s Dream… succeeds fully.”
– Todd Brown, Twitchfilm

“Spellbinding.”
– T’Cha Dunlevy, Montreal Gazette

“The ghost-like, ethereal quality of the visuals mixed with the otherworldly sounds can captivate in their intensity as well as carry you to another plane of existence. Let the music wash over you, enjoy the religious experience on screen, and convert all your friends into lovers of uniquely original music.”
– Jared Mobarak, The Film Stage

“Darkly beautiful.”
– Cyn Collins, City Pages

“the band become ghostly apparitions . . . the footage suggests it was filmed in a vast cave or on the Moon . . . an abstract living painting – which looks beautiful on a big screen.”
– Andrew Eaton-Lewis, The Scotsman

Inni is Sigur Rós’ second live film following 2007’s hugely-celebrated Heima. Whereas that film positioned the enigmatic group in the context of their Icelandic homeland, providing geographical, social, and historical perspectives on their otherworldly music, with uplifting results, Inni focusses purely on the band’s performance, which is artfully and intimately captured by French-Canadian director Vincent Morisset (Arcade Fire’s Miroir Noir). Interweaving archive material from the band’s first ten years with the sometimes gossamer light, sometimes punishingly intense, concert footage, Inni is a persuasive account of one of the most celebrated and influential rock bands of recent years.

The best information on Sigur Rós and Inni is at sigur-ros.co.uk

For general questions, get in touch.

For other public screenings, suggest a show.

More dates will be added soon. Hear about them.

Inni premiered in the Venice Days section of the Venice Film Festival, and has gone on to screen in hundreds of movie theaters around the world.

Here and There

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“Superbly played…beautifully executed…deep emotional roots.”
– Natasha Senjanovic, Hollywood Reporter

“has more than a few moments that linger: like slivovitz, it sneaks up on you.”
– Daniel Gold, New York Times

“minor-key romance…has the unadorned integrity of a classic joke…sweetened by an unexpectedly poignant payoff.”
– Eric Hynes, Village Voice

An excellent tale of two cities…right on!”
– Howard Feinstein, indieWIRE

“…recalls early Jim Jarmusch films like Stranger Than Paradise
…a mesmerizing performance [by David Thornton].”
– Kurt Loder, MTV

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Robert, a jaded middle-aged New Yorker, goes to Serbia to make quick cash by marrying someone for U.S. immigration papers.  But the plan goes awry when the promised cash never arrives. At the same time, Branko, a young Serbian immigrant, struggles in a never forgiving New York, desperately trying to reunite with his girlfriend.

Here and There is a beautiful, nuanced and artful piece of filmmaking.  It’s one of those rare movies that strikes the perfect balance between wry comedy and delicate drama.”
– Joshua Marston, director, Maria Full of Grace

Tribeca Film Festival * Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

Starring David Thornton
(
Romance & Cigarettes, Family Portraits: A Trilogy of America)

Also starring Branislav Trifunovic and Mirjana Karanovic,
with an appearance by Cyndi Lauper

Played in: New York, New York / Beverly Hills, California / Santa Monica, California / Amherst, New York / Helena, Montana / Key West, Florida / Lake Worth, Florida / Palm Beach Gardens, Florida / Ft. Lauderdale, Florida / Oakmont, Pennsylvania / Napa, California / Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts / Miami, Florida / Cleveland, Ohio / Madison, Wisconsin / San Antonio, Texas / Honolulu, Hawaii / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania / Kansas City, Missouri / North Charleston, South Carolina / Nevada City, California …

Serj Tankian – Elect the Dead Symphony

London, England: University of London, June 2, 2010

Buy a copy.

On March 16th, 2009, Serj Tankian, a Grammy Award winner and one of rock’s most unconventional frontmen, took the stage at the majestic Auckland Town Hall in New Zealand with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra to perform a very special orchestral interpretation of his critically acclaimed debut solo album Elect the Dead. The dynamic one-off performance was recorded and filmed in HD by six cameras, and the dramatic result has been captured in Elect the Dead Symphony.

With the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra at his side, Tankian’s epic songs and operatic vocals take on a whole new sense of grandeur when performed by a full 70-piece orchestra, while the movie’s sweeping edits showcase the drama of the concert. This unique meshing of two very different musical worlds was a vision Tankian has long wanted to make a reality. What sets Elect The Dead Symphony apart from other successful pairings between rock artists and orchestras is that Tankian specifically rearranged his songs to be performed with only orchestral instruments.

(dir. Mitchell Hawkes, U.S.A. / New Zealand, 62 minutes, 2009)

Confirmed dates so far
(Please note: these are movie screenings, not live performances.  As of now, Mr. Tankian is not personally scheduled to attend any screening.)

Not showing near you?
Suggest a screening, and we’ll see what we can do.

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Already screened in:
Portland OR, Indianapolis IN, Bloomington IN, New Concord OH, Providence RI, San Francisco CA, Seattle WA, Iowa City IA, San Antonio TX, New York NY, Brookline MA, Turin ITALY, Edinboro PA, Salt Lake City UT, Cape Town SOUTH AFRICA, Auckland NEW ZEALAND, Katowice POLAND, Boulder CO, Mount Pleasant SC, Syracuse NY, Tempe AZ, New Haven CT, Minneapolis MN, Shreveport LA, Chicago IL, Montreal QC, Olympia WA, Chicago IL, Richmond VA, Frankfurt GERMANY, Yerevan ARMENIA

Musician

One of Movieline Magazine’s
“Seven Masterpieces of the ’00s You’ve Likely Never Seen”

“A masterpiece… Among the most significant efforts of the year – or any year this decade, for that matter.”
– Movieline

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The life and hard work of Ken Vandermark,
legendary avant-jazz saxophonist and MacArthur Genius Award Winner

A unique, essential, and utterly fascinating portrait of life as a professional musician

“Critic’s pick . . . radically fresh . . . shot and edited with the same inquisitive spirit that defined Studs Terkel’s oral history Working.”
– Matt Zoller Seitz, New York Times

“Deceptively simple . . . one of the best films of the year . . . a succession of haunting realities, none more so than a map of the shattered line between so many of our personal and professional lives.”
– S.T. VanAirsdale, The Reeler

“RECOMMENDED. Paints a vibrant but decidely unglamorous portrait. The end result is a strange duality between work and play: Vandermark loves what he does, but because resources for the improvising musician are so limited, he can never rest.”
– Chicago Reader

The second film in Daniel Kraus’ WORK Series, a set of independent documentaries designed to create an on-going record of the American worker.

Common sense says you can’t make a living in America playing avant-garde improvisational jazz. But Ken Vandermark does it anyway.

Among musicians, Vandermark’s work ethic is almost mythic. The Chicago reed player has released over 100 albums with nearly 40 ensembles, spends over eight months per year on the road, and lives every other waking moment composing, arranging, performing — and trying to discipline his two hyperactive canines. Though Vandermark was the recipient of a 1999 MacArthur genius grant, he still spends most of his life in smoky clubs and low-budget recording studios, hoping people will plunk down hard-earned cash to hear his wholly non-commercial music.

Following the artful cinéma vérité style of the internationally acclaimed Sheriff, Musician forgoes all interviews and voice-overs. It is a fly-on-the-wall time capsule that expertly captures every subtle sound and texture of this most American of art forms.

Musician is a precise and insightful cinema verite study of Ken Vandermark . . . Offers an unglamorized portrait of the artist as a purposeful drudge. Well-crafted and compelling.”
– Variety

“Illuminating!”
– Andrey Henkin, The Villager