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COLLECTIVE
COLECTIV
2019, Magnolia Pictures, 109 min, Romania/Luxembourg/Germany, Dir: Alexander Nanau

After an explosive fire claims the lives of 27 people at Bucharest nightclub, Colectiv, officials reassure the public that surviving victims will receive care in facilities that are “better than in Germany.” Weeks later, a rising causality count leads intrepid reporters at the Sports Gazette to investigate. Just as a crucial tip exposes Hexi Pharma, a local firm’s culpability, the firm’s owner dies under mysterious circumstances and the health minister quietly resigns amid the uproar but this is only the first chapter in a thrilling, ever-twisting exposé. Closely tracking the efforts of the Gazette team as they methodically discover layer upon layer of fraud and criminal malfeasance, Alexander Nanau’s COLLECTIVE is a fast-paced, real-time detective story about truth, accountability and the value of an independent press in partisan times.


CRIP CAMP: A DISABILITY REVOLUTION
2020, Netflix, 106 min, USA, Dir: James Lebrecht, Nicole Newnham

In the early 1970s, teenagers with disabilities faced a future shaped by isolation, discrimination and institutionalization. Camp Jened, a ramshackle camp “for the handicapped” in the Catskills, exploded those confines. Jened was their freewheeling Utopia, a place with summertime sports, smoking and makeout sessions awaiting everyone, and campers felt fulfilled as human beings. Their bonds endured as they migrated West to Berkeley, California - a promised land for a growing and diverse disability community - where friends from Camp Jened realized that disruption and unity might secure life-changing accessibility for millions. Co-directed by Emmy winning filmmaker Nicole Newnham and film mixer and former camper Jim LeBrecht, this joyous and exuberant documentary arrives the same year as the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, at a time when the country’s largest minority group still battles daily for the freedom to exist. IDA Award winner for Best Feature.


BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS
2020, Utopia, 98 min, USA, Dir: Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross

In the shadows of the bright lights of Las Vegas, it's last call for a beloved dive bar known as the Roaring 20s. That’s the premise, at least; the reality is as unreal as the world the regulars are escaping from. BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS is a mosaic of disparate lives, teetering between dignity and debauchery, reckoning with the past as they face an uncertain future and singing as their ship goes down.

Filmmaking duo Bill and Turner Ross (WESTERN, 2015 Sundance Film Festival) return with an elegiac portrait of a tiny world fading away but still warm and beating with the comfort of community. Their beguiling approach to nonfiction storytelling makes for a foggy memory of experience lost in empty shot glasses and puffs of smoke.


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