Indie Film Documentaries, Shorts and Features Shine Through During Awards Season

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As talk of Golden Globes and Oscars fill the air during this awards season, NewFilmmakers LA offers up alternative cinema by independent filmmakers at the January 16th, 2016 film festival in Downtown Los Angeles.

And the Wind Falls (Short Film - Directed by Shuming He)

On January 16th, NewFilmmakers Los Angeles is thrilled to present its latest red-carpet screening event to kick off the new year. The NewFilmmakers LA Film Fest includes a narrative shorts program, a documentary shorts program, and a documentary feature. In between films, audiences can check out check out filmmaker Q&As or meet and mingle with one another in the premium AT&T Center lounge and balcony over cocktails. Details on the featured films playing at the film fest can be found below.

Shorts Program:

The Loyalist - Directed by Minji Kang

A North Korean general checks in on his daughter at a Swiss boarding school to test her loyalty to her motherland.

Film director Minji Kang has directed over thirteen short films, often wearing the hat of writer and editor in addition to directing. Her latest film “The Loyalist” was shot in her home country of South Korea.

Kang says the film is about more than a father and daughter, but also depicts a tormented young woman who stands with one foot in the East and the other in the Western world. She says she wanted the camera, as a silent witness, to ask us why these characters live the way they do, and to prompt us to wonder what we would do if we were in their shoes. She notes that the tragic ending of this short film reflects the continuous tragic reality of the Korean peninsula, which, despite deep family ties, remains painfully divided by irreconcilable ideologies.

Into Memory - Directed by Derek Franzese

When a dying young man is released from the hospital for hospice, his closest friends and family surprise him with a small celebration of his life to create one last memory for him.

Director, Derek Franzese, who has worked on independent films such as Boyhood, Men, Women, & Children, and Machete, said he has always been interested in the realities of life and thought highly of those that were capable of looking at hardships in a different light. The independent film examines the idea of losing someone well before what we perceive as their time and how we can alter those last moments with that person. This bittersweet story is not only touching, but also thought provoking.

The Girl in the Green Dress - Directed by Johanna Goldstein

A surreal drama set in the conservative world of America's 1950s housewives, exploring themes of modern feminism and sexual liberation. Contemporary dance is intertwined with narrative, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy in the vein of The Stepford Wives and Mulholland Drive.

This film, independently written/produced/directed/shot entirely by women, goes behind closed doors to reveal the dark underbelly of a time known for it's picturesque-'Leave it to Beaver'- image. Through a mixture of narrative and dance, the film maker examines the value of feminism and the freedom it allows to explore one's own identity.

The Doctor is In - Directed by Noah Gilbert

A young psychiatrist goes out to lunch with a seasoned colleague. He quickly realizes that his new friend's appetite extends beyond matters of the mind.

This is writer/director Noah Gilbert’s seventh short and third film he’s directed. This quirky comedy features the talents of Jon Beavers (The Fresh Beat Band, NCIS, Gotham) as Hawk and Larry Clarke (Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Contagion) as Goodman.

And the Wind Falls - Directed by Shuming He

Desperate to reunite with her daughter, a cash-strapped motel housekeeper finds a potential answer: a dead guest's bag of money. Millie spends thankless days cleaning up after others as she dreams of overcoming her past and regaining custody of her estranged daughter. When Millie discovers a large sum of money in one of the motel rooms, her apparent good fortune forces her to question the true meaning of redemption.

Director, Shuming He has completed over nine short films and at the moment, he is developing short and feature projects, commuting between California and Singapore. Originally from the tropical island city of Singapore, Shuming resides in Los Angeles, where he is a Directing Fellow at AFI Conservatory.

Documentary Film Shorts Program:

SLAM - Directed by Nick Johansson & Robert Larson

SLAM follows an Asian-American man entering his first ever body building competition. After several years of planning and training, we watch our hero's innate desire and drive to be the best at whatever he does, reaching his zenith as he steps on stage to finally bear his brawn. His name is Ricky, people call him SLAM.

Making both of their directorial debuts, Nick Johansson and Robert Larson follow Ricky S. Lam’s journey from gym-going hobbyist to novice lightweight champion in Venice, California.

Legacy of Exiled NDNZ - Directed by Pamela J. Peters

Legacy of Exiled NDNZ documents the lives of young American Indians currently living in Los Angeles, California, while functioning as a tribute to the first generation of relocated (exiled) Indians as mandated by the United States Congress through the Relocation Act and managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs' (BIA) starting in the 1950's.

First time director, Pamela J. Peters, is an Indigenous multimedia documentarian and film consultant in Los Angeles, California. She was born and raised on the Navajo Reservation. She says she aims to have her own work push viewers to critically analyze the psychological and historical structures of Native Americans in film, television and mass media.

Olga - Directed by Arjun Kamath

On a cold morning in 2004, Olga's mother Irina stood like a pillar of hope under a flickering streetlight to bid her daughter farewell on a journey that would span forty countries and include a terrifying kidnapping ordeal. Olga's unbreakable spirit was pivotal to her survival as she escaped poverty in the old Soviet Union and embraced the bright lights of Los Angeles. Her enduring faith inspired her to master her craft and reach the quarterfinals of America's Got Talent.

Arjun Kamath, the Producer, Director and Cinematographer of the short film Olga, is currently a third-year Graduate Film and Television Production Candidate at the School of Cinematic Arts (USC), Los Angeles. Kamath notes that the music enhances the mood of the piece and evokes a sense of nostalgia, particularly when the film delves deep into Olga's childhood, her emotional journey across continents, her struggle to stay alive, and her rise to the top.

Autonomous - Directed by Per Eriksson and Alexander Rynéus

A new, overwhelming era is approaching from the sidelines. The boundaries between what is real and unreal are becoming increasingly blurred through technological advances. Is there a limit for what can be replaced? Autonomous is an intense, emotional look into a future that is already here.

Directors Alexander Rynéus and Per Eriksson have been friends since childhood, growing up in Sweden. Both studied at Biskops Arnö’s documentary film school and it was there that they shot their first documentary film Malmberget. The duo came together again to make Autonomous.

Feature Film Program:

Air Sex: The Movie - Directed by Jonathan Evans

Part tour documentary, part comedy special, and part exploration of modern sexuality, director Jonathan Evans embarks on one hell of a fun ride as he follows comedian Chris Trew on the raunchy, hilarious coming-to-a-town-near-you social phenomenon known as The Air Sex World Championships.

A midst religious protesters, natural disasters, roach-infested motels, and hordes of screaming audiences, Air Sex is revealed as more than just a silly contest or creepy sex showcase. It’s a magical blend of coordination, showmanship, creativity, and humor that brings people together in a respectfully dirty, unpredictably ridiculous, and oddly touching celebration of total sexual freedom. NewFilmmakers Los Angeles hosts the west coast premiere of Air Sex: The Movie.

Located in Downtown LA, AT&T Center is the Presenting Venue Sponsor of NewFilmmakers LA film festival (NFMLA). Founded in 2007, NFMLA has screened over 1000+ films from over 63 countries. The organization provides a forum where filmmakers can be recognized with title supporters Sony Pictures Entertainment, TheWrap, SAG-AFTRA, and FilmLA.

For information or to reserve tickets to the NewFilmmakers LA January 16th 2016 screening, please visit

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Kimberly Kornahrens
NewFilmmakers LA
since: 08/2013
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