Back at South By: Hunter Gatherer, The Arbalest, Tony Robbins, and the Death of the Theatrical

Hunter GathererSomething was in the air this year at South by Southwest. A number of people I hung out with complained that the films weren’t as good as last year. I didn’t have that experience. As many times as I promise myself I’ll leave time for wildcard screenings (spontaneous choices), I always end up going with my planned selections. This year I reached about half the movies I intended to. That’s not terribly surprising considering I also do a lot of podcasting at SxSW and this year I also attended a few panels and ran one myself. More on that in a bit; first the films. One of my favorite films which had its world premiere was “Hunter Gatherer”, directed by Josh Locy and which stars Andre Royo, Bubbles on the HBO series The Wire. Royo, who won the Special Jury Award for his performance, is unforgettable as Ashley, a recently released ex-con who is ceaselessly hustling in his own benign way to make a few bucks. The movie opens with Ashley’s elderly and cantankerous Mom  setting up a birthday party for him while he fruitlessly calls friends to invite them over. Even though he’s middle aged there’s something innocent, almost childish about him, despite his having served three years in the slammer (reasons which are never quite explained). What we do learn relatively quickly is that he harbors a deep love for the woman he was involved with before he went into prison and who has since moved on to another relationship. Ashley doesn’t stop hustling and when he meets Jeremy (George Sample III), another innocent, the two make unlikely friends. Read more

20th Anniversary Screening of BROTHER’S KEEPER

Before there was a West Memphis 3, there was The Ward Brothers.

Filmwax & 92YTribeca are pleased to present a 20th Anniversary screening of Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s seminal documentary, “Brother’s Keeper”. A heartwarming story of alleged fratricide, this much-acclaimed classic tells the story of Delbert, Bill, Lyman, and Roscoe Ward —illiterate bachelor brothers who never ventured beyond their 99 acre dairy farm in central New York State. Known by the neighbors as “The Ward Boys”, they’ve shared a two-room shack with no running water or indoor toilet for as long as anyone could remember. Their quiet life was shattered on June 6, 1990, when Bill was found dead in the bed he shared with Delbert, and Delbert was accused of his murder. The village’s fervent belief in Delbert’s innocence and the national media attention visited upon a sleepy rural community, make “Brother’s Keeper” a real-life murder mystery that has mesmerized viewers long after they leave the theater. The film provides a fascinating portrait of The Ward Brothers’ eccentric and time-warped existence as it clashes with the modern criminal justice system — from pre-trial courtroom drama to lively village fundraisers; from the initial media feeding frenzy to the explosive trial itself. Upon its theatrical release, Vincent Canby of the New York Times said, “Like fine fiction, “Brother’s Keeper” haunts the mind.”

“Brother’s Keeper”, a Sundance Film Festival winner, was not only groundbreaking in terms of its critical and popular success but it went on to influence a generation of documentary filmmakers. Now you will have the very rare opportunity to see this documentary on a pristine 35mm print followed by a Q&A with both Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky in person.

“Brother’s Keeper” is being presented with the co-operation of IFC Films.