MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 27, 2022: SINCE I BEEN DOWN

Both infuriating and inspiring, Gilda Sheppard’s documentary Since I Been Down lays bare the fear and institutional racism that drive so much of the United States’ criminal justice system — but also shows how education and understanding can open minds and turn lives around. Focusing on the story of Kimonti Carter, a Black Tacoma, Wash., man who’s been incarcerated for murder since he was 18, it demands that viewers think critically about race, power, rehabilitation, and justice.

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SINCE I BEEN DOWN – Review by Jennifer Merin

Filmmaker Gilda Sheppard’s very sobering and sometimes heartbreaking documentary, Since I Been Down, is about the criminal justice system in the United States, particularly as it raises awareness about the lasting impact of three-strikes laws that have mandated life-without-parole sentences for juveniles, particular children of color, who’ve been convicted of crimes three times.

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SINCE I BEEN DOWN – Review by Leslie Combemale

Since I Been Down is a profoundly emotional experience for those with compassion and concern for where America is in this moment, in terms of the rampant racial inequality and systemic racism continuing to poison the country. Writer/director Gilda Sheppard focuses on Kimonti Carter, who is changing the incarcerated from the inside of the prison system.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 20, 2022 – FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK

If you heard that David Bowie told Rolling Stone in 1999 that a group popular in the 1970s was “one of the finest f–ing rock bands of their time,” who would you guess he was talking about? Led Zepplin? The Who? Deep Purple? Wrong, wrong, and wrong. He was heaping praise on Fanny, the groundbreaking all-female band formed by Filipina sisters Jean and June Millington, whose story is told in Bobbi Jo Hart’s rousing documentary Fanny: The Right to Rock.

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FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK – Review by Jennifer Merin

Fanny: The Right to Rock is filmmaker Bobbi Jo Hart’s completely captivating documentary about the first all-girl rock band, Fanny, and how this sisterhood of talented and tenacious Filipina women musicians almost became the female equivalent of The Beatles — but didn’t. But hopefully this lively film will bring them the recognition — read that as adoration — they deserve.

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FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

There was a time when girl groups like the Ronettes, the Crystals and the Supremes would simply sing, prance and dance while providing eye candy on stage. But everything changed in 1969, when two sisters of Filipina descent, ended up living in Los Angeles and forming a backyard rock band. Lead guitarist June Millington and her bass-playing sibling, Jean, decided to upset the norm, as they strapped on their axes and beat male rock bands at their own game.

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FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK – Review by Liz Whittemore

Sexism, racism, and rock & roll, Fanny: The Right To Rock is the story of how two Filipina American sisters started Fanny, the legendary rock group you may have never heard of until now. Jean and June Millington used to gather a crowd in their California backyard. After they decided to put together a band comprised of extraordinarily fearless and talented female musicians, the road to Fanny began.

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FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK – Review by Loren King

Not only is Bobbi Jo Hart’s documentary Fanny: The Right to Rock an entertaining eye opener about the seminal, ceiling-cracking all-women band, it’s up-to-the-moment contemporary history about how these rock and roll women are still setting a living example and influencing new generations of women musicians.

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Lisa Hurwitz on THE AUTOMAT, Communal Dining and Mel Brooks – Leslie Combemale interviews

Getting a film to any screen is a major undertaking, but finding a loyal, appreciative audience and getting national distribution is a rarity indeed. Lisa Hurwitz, director and producer of the highly acclaimed, perfectly delightful documentary The Automat knows how lucky she is her film is being so well-received and is landing in so many theaters.

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ROCK BOTTOM RISER – Review by Diane Carson

Writer/director Fern Silva’s avant-garde documentary Rock Bottom Riser includes stunning underwater volcanic eruptions and flowing lava, Indigenous society’s protests, an actor promoting a religious breakthrough, science lectures, and more. Plans for installation of a thirty-meter telescope on the sacred Mauna Kea Mountain on the big island of Hawai’i provided the catalyst for this meandering, disjointed series of images.

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