‘Operation Avalanche’ highlights opening night of Mammoth Lakes Film Festival

Press release

Mammoth Lakes, CA – The Mammoth Lakes Film Festival, taking place in the scenic and majestic setting of Mammoth Lakes, California, has announced its line-up of screenings for the festival’s second year.

Beware the Slenderman

Beware the Slenderman

The five-day festival will take place May 25-29, 2016, on Wednesday presenting the Opening Night Screening of the much anticipated OPERATION AVALANCHE, directed by Matthew Johnson and due to be released later this year by Lionsgate. In 1967, during the height of the Cold War, two young CIA agents (Matthew Johnson and Owen Williams) go undercover at NASA to investigate a possible Russian mole. In disguise as documentary filmmakers, they tap phones and break into offices while purporting to learn more about the Apollo project. But when they end up uncovering a shocking NASA secret — and a major government cover-up — they decide to embark on a new mission that may put their own lives at risk. The screening will be followed by the Opening Night Party with entertainment by Ouroboros Shadow Pictures an innovative shadow picture company.

Friday evening’s Spotlight Screening is the frightening documentary BEWARE THE SLENDERMAN by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Irene Taylor Brodsky, who will be available after the screening for a Q&A. It tells the story of the internet’s elusive Boogeyman and two 12-year-old girls who would kill for him. Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier lured their best friend into the woods, stabbed her 19 times, then set out on an odyssey to meet the tall and faceless man known online as Slenderman. Shot over 18 months with heartbreaking access to the families of the would-be murderers, the film plunges deep down the rabbit hole of their crime, a Boogeyman and our society’s most impressionable consumers of media–our youth.

Saturday evening features A Night with Joe Dante. The evening begins with a screening of his film INNERSPACE (1987) followed by a conversation with Dante and a guest appearance by Robert Picardo (INNERSPACE, GREMLINS 2 and more) who will present Dante with the inaugural Sierra Spirit Award. Dante’s credits include SMALL SOLDIERS, GREMLINS and GREMLINS 2, THE HOWLING and more).

Sunday evening’s Closing Night Screening is a presentation of the inspiring documentary SONITA, followed by the awards party at Sierra Events Center.SONITA tells the inspiring story of Sonita Alizadeh, an 18-year-old Afghan refugee in Iran, who thinks of Michael Jackson and Rihanna as her spiritual parents and dreams of becoming a big-name rapper. For the time being, her only fans are the other teenage girls in a Tehran shelter. And her family has a very different future planned for her: as a bride she’s worth $9,000. Iranian director Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami poignantly shifts from observer to participant altering expectations, as Sonita’s story unfolds in an intimate and joyful portrait. 

Taking place five hours north of Los Angeles by car and thirty minutes south of the entrance to Yosemite National Park, the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival will deliver an intimate and unique experience for festivalgoers, filmmakers, and industry guests, with the opportunity to experience screenings and events in a beautiful mountain setting. The festival presents a diverse collection of feature films – from world premieres to film festival favorites, short film screenings and Q&As over five days. The festival will also include nightly gala events that celebrate the excitement and discovery of visionary filmmaking.

Festival passes and individual tickets are available now.

Ticket sales and additional festival information can be found at:www.MammothLakesFilmFestival.com

Discounted lodging through the festival’s lodging partner Sierra Nevada Resort & Spa can be purchased (get a 20% discount on any room by calling in or booking online athttp://thesierranevadaresort.com/ CODE – Theater)

All screenings and special events will take place in a variety of venues in Mammoth Lakes, including Edison Theatre, the Forest Service Visitor’s Center Theater, Minaret Cinemas as well as Mono Lake Visitors Center.

Mammoth Lakes Film Festival Founder Shira Dubrovner and veteran film festival programmer Paul Sbrizzi, Director of Programming for the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival, have selected an impressive follow-up program for their second festival, including several world premieres, and the introduction of the Sierra Spirit Award.

Our goal is to become a destination film festival. With this year’s and last year’s excellent line-ups and great press response, we are well on our way to making that dream a reality,” said Dubrovner.

Narrative and Competition films will be eligible for multiple awards: The winning Documentary Feature receives a RED Scarlet digital camera; Panavision will provide the winning Narrative Feature with a $10,000 USD camera grant for their next project and a two-day color correction session from Light Iron. Each feature category jury award winner will receive $1,000 USD cash prize.

Jury Awards will be presented to narrative and documentary feature films as well as short films. An Audience Favorite Award will also be presented to feature films in both narrative and documentary categories. The Jury will be comprised of select film industry members, including producer John Fiedler (SERIAL MOM), writer/producer John Wirth (HELL ON WHEELS), Emmy® nominated documentary filmmaker John Scheinfeld (THE U.S. VS. JOHN LENNON), and Amanda Salazar Vice President of Film Acquisitions at Fandor.

CURRENT FILM SLATE BELOW:

OPENING NIGHT FILM

OPERATION AVALANCHE

DIRECTOR: Matthew Johnson, USA

In 1967, during the height of the Cold War, two young CIA agents (Matt Johnson and Owen Williams) go undercover at NASA to investigate a possible Russian mole. In disguise as documentary filmmakers, they tap phones and break into offices while purporting to learn more about the Apollo project. But when they end up uncovering a shocking NASA secret — and a major government cover-up — they decide to embark on a new mission that may put their own lives at risk.

Opened at Sundance

NARRATIVE FEATURES PROGRAM

ALL THE COLORS OF THE NIGHT

DIRECTOR: Pedro Severin, Brazil

Iris wakes up in her spacious seafront apartment, discovers a body in the living room and enlists the help of other women, setting off a spiral of redemption in an atmospheric drama of dark imagery and questionable reality.

BABY BUMP

DIRECTOR: Kuba Czekaj, Poland

11-year-old Mickey House is no longer a child. But who is he? He has no clue. He has no friends. His mom is an enigma to him. He hates what’s happening to his body. Reality and imagination blend together in a toxic mix. Events escalate at home and at school – everything becomes the extreme. Mickey has to find the strength within him to put a stop to what’s inevitable. Where will his encounter with his own maturing body take him? Growing up…not for kids.

BODKIN RAS

DIRECTOR: Kaweh Modiri, Netherlands

Bodkin Ras tells the story of a young fugitive in search of a nonexistent home. In his aim to belong somewhere he is a hazard to himself and his surroundings. The film is set in a small town called Forres, a Scottish town well hidden between the Highlands and the North Sea. The characters in this town are all real people with traumas in their past that overshadow their existence. Their stories are incorporated into the film script, in which documentary and fiction are blended together.

BUDDYMOON

DIRECTOR: Alex Simmons, USA

Flula Borg (PITCH PERFECT 2) stars in this buddy-flick comedy. Jilted groom David is convinced by his excitable best man Flula to continue with his planned honeymoon, a backcountry trek in the mountains of Oregon, in a highly comedic ode to friendship and the great outdoors.

MAD

DIRECTOR: Robert Putka, USA

After a late-in-life divorce, and compounded by bi-polar disorder, Mel finds herself in a psych ward. Her two daughters, Connie and Casey, facing varying problems of their own, would rather dodge the responsibility than care for her. Personal grievances, both petty and pointed, bubble to the surface.

LAST SUMMER

DIRECTOR: Leonardo Guerra Seragnoli, Italy

Having lost custody of her six year-old son, a young Japanese woman has four days to say goodbye to him on-board a yacht belonging to her western ex-husband’s wealthy family. Alone with the crew, who are under direct instruction to keep a watchful eye on her, the woman must try to forge a connection with her son before she has to part from him for many years. Starring Academy Award nominated actress, Rinko Kikuchi (PACIFIC RIM and BABEL).

ON THE ROCKS

DIRECTOR: Ariel Gardner & Alex Kavutskiy, USA

ON THE ROCKS is a delayed coming-of-age story of a young married couple struggling against the growing pains of settling down. After his father dies, Dallas convinces his obnoxious wife Karen to move out of their small apartment into his childhood home to take the next step into adulthood. As work, family, and life stressors mount for Dallas, their tumultuous relationship reaches a tipping point.

OPERATION AVALANCHE

DIRECTOR: Matt Miller, USA

In 1967, during the height of the Cold War, two young CIA agents (Matt Johnson and Owen Williams) go undercover at NASA to investigate a possible Russian mole. In disguise as documentary filmmakers, they tap phones and break into offices while purporting to learn more about the Apollo project. But when they end up uncovering a shocking NASA secret — and a major government cover-up — they decide to embark on a new mission that may put their own lives at risk.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES PROGRAM

ATLAN

DIRECTOR: Moeen Karimoddini, Iran

Horses are the most important element in the life of Iranian Turkmen. And horse races are some of the most significant social events in their land, Turkmen Sahara. Ali is a Turkman horse trainer whose horse, Ilhan, has won for him many times. Ali plans to use Ilhan’s and his other horses’ winnings to pay for his wedding. But events don’t go his way.

BEWARE THE SLENDERMAN

DIRECTOR: Irene Taylor Brodsky, USA

BEWARE THE SLENDERMAN tells the story of the internet’s elusive Boogeyman and two 12-year-old girls who would kill for him. Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier lured their best friend into the woods, stabbed her 19 times, then set out on an odyssey to meet the tall and faceless man known online as Slenderman. Shot over 18 months with heartbreaking access to the families of the would-be murderers, the film plunges deep down the rabbit hole of their crime, a Boogeyman and our society’s most impressionable consumers of media. The entrance to the internet can quickly lead us to its dark basement, within just a matter of clicks. How much do we hold children responsible for what they find there?

HELMUT BERGER, ACTOR

DIRECTOR: Andreas Horvath, Austria

A relentless, yet intimate portrait of the legendary actor and former Luchino Visconti “muse” Helmut Berger. At the height of his stardom and handsomeness Berger epitomized the exuberant jet set lifestyle of the 70s. In recent years he has settled for a more secluded and modest lifestyle. The man who embodied King Ludwig II so hauntingly in Visconti’s same-titled film now reigns over a run down two-room apartment at the outskirts of his hometown Salzburg, Austria. In this small hideaway kingdom time seems to have stopped. Berger’s mood swings and sudden outbursts of aggression are reminiscent of actor Klaus Kinski’s tirades. But the film exposes the brusqueness of his character for what it really is: a cry for attention, closeness and intimacy.

LEARNING TO SEE

DIRECTOR: Jake Oelman, USA

LEARNING TO SEE tells the story of insect photographer Robert Oelman. Struggling with a mid-life crisis, he leaves his psychology career to pursue a new path photographing rare and exotic insects. On his journeys through the rain forests of the Amazon Basin, we watch as he forms a special bond with his subjects. Guided by his assistant Christian Lopez, the two men scour the forest and make striking photographic images of new and undocumented species. After more than twenty years of traveling, searching and photographing, his quest culminates with a New York City gallery show where he finally shares his striking and magical images with the general public.

SONITA

DIRECTOR: Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami, Iran

SONITA tells the inspiring story of Sonita Alizadeh, an 18-year-old Afghan refugee in Iran, who thinks of Michael Jackson and Rihanna as her spiritual parents and dreams of becoming a big-name rapper. For the time being, her only fans are the other teenage girls in a Tehran shelter. And her family has a very different future planned for her: as a bride she’s worth $9,000. Iranian director Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami poignantly shifts from observer to participant altering expectations, as Sonita’s story unfolds in an intimate and joyful portrait. English subtitles

UNDER THE SUN

DIRECTOR: Vitaly Mansky, Russia

UNDER THE SUN is one of the most important propaganda films since Leni Riefenstahl’s TRIUMPH OF THE WILL. Despite continuous interference by government handlers, director Vitaly Mansky managed to document life in Pyongyang, North Korea in this fascinating portrait of one girl and her parents as she prepares to join the Korean Children’s Union on the ‘Day Of The Shining Star’ (Kim Jong-Il’s birthday). As the family receives instruction on how to be ideal patriots, Mansky’s watchful camera captures details–from comrades struggling to stay awake during an official event to Zin-mi’s tears at a particularly grueling dance lesson.

About Mammoth Lakes Film Festival

The Mammoth Lakes Film Festival, held in the scenic and majestic setting of Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierra of California, brings together world-class cinema, new filmmaking talent, industry veterans, and audiences from around the world to celebrate films amidst the inspiring natural beauty of Mammoth Lakes. Our intent is to unlock the creative mind of the public by providing unique movie-going experiences and also support emerging filmmakers with the opportunity to be inspired by our natural environment.

Mammoth Lakes Film Festival is proud to partner with sponsors who support the arts and emerging artists.

2016 Mammoth Lakes Film Festival Sponsors include, Honda, RED Digital Cinema, Panavision, Light Iron, GoPro, Town of Mammoth Lakes, Mono County, Paul and Kathleen Rudder, Sierra Nevada Resort & Spa (preferred lodging partner), Eberle Wines, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Blue Moon, and many others.

The Mammoth Lakes Film Festival is a DBA under Mammoth Lakes Foundation—the nonprofit Dave McCoy founded in 1989 (also founded Mammoth Mountain Ski Area in 1953). Dave McCoy turns 101 year old this August and is excited to be a part of the second Mammoth Lakes Film Festival.

Additional Information about Mammoth Lakes Film Festival is available at www.MammothLakesFilmFestival.com

Connect with Mammoth Lakes Film Festival:

http://Twitter.com/ML_Film_Fest

http://facebook.com/MammothLakesFilmFestival

FACT SHEET:

WHAT: Mammoth Lakes Film Festival

WHEN: May 25-29, 2016

WHERE: Various locations throughout Mammoth Lakes, CA

INFO: Films, jury bios, special events at www.MammothLakesFilmFestival.com

TICKETS: Early Bird All-Movie Pass (Max 15 screenings) $99 through April 29

VIP Passes on sale April 30 (Max 15 screenings + All parties)

All parties include beer (sponsored by Blue Moon) and wine (sponsored

by Eberle Winery)

CONTACT: 760-934-7650

 

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