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Podtalk: Noga Ashkenazi of ‘Saints Rest,’ at Midwest Independent Film Fest on June 5, 2018

Saints Rest

CHICAGO – Another new voice has emerged on the film scene, and she is ready for her close-up. The director and co-writer (with Tyson Stock) of “Saints Rest” is Noga Ashkenazi, a filmmaker who grew up in Tel Aviv (Israel), but studied at Grinnell College in Iowa. Her new film is set in Grinnell, and will make its Midwest Premiere at the Midwest Independent Film Festival in Chicago on Tuesday, June 5th, 2018. For more information, including ticket purchasing, click here.

Film Review: ‘Beirut’ is a Superbly Tense Geopolitical Thriller

CHICAGO – The psychological desperation of life-or-death decisions are in play within “Beirut,” the new geopolitical thriller featuring Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”). The various mazes within the story, set during the Lebanon civil war of the 1980s, is comparative to “Casablanca,” especially through the world-weary expression of Hamm’s character.

Film Review: ‘7 Days in Entebbe’ is Surprisingly Effective

7 Days in Entebbe

CHICAGO – What would you expect from an event subject that has been already rendered four times on film, and deals with terrorism, hijacking and government negotiation? “7 Days in Entebbe” contained all of this, and yet still maintained a separate energy and cinematic artistry. In many ways, it’s one of the most surprising films of the young year.

Podtalk: ‘Maktub’ Premieres at 53rd Chicago International Film Festival on Oct. 15, 2017

Maktub

CHICAGO – The world comes to Chicago for the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival, and screenwriters/lead actors Guy Amir and Hanan Savyon has brought their new film “Maktub” for screening on Sunday night, October 15th, 2017 (8pm). The unique comedy is the first film for the Israeli television hitmakers.

Film Review: Gunplay & Violence Fuel Heroics in ‘American Assassin’

American Assassin

CHICAGO – There was another mass shooting (eight dead) in Texas this week, but it was underreported because it didn’t involve “undesirables” and just seemed like another week in America. This blithe attitude towards guns, gunplay and violence continues in the movies, this week with the overindulgent release “American Assassin.”

Film Review: Life in 2016 is Famous in ‘Presenting Princess Shaw’

CHICAGO – Had you told a person 50 years ago that someday we would be able to personally record television and broadcast it to the whole world, they might have laughed and said maybe on the futuristic cartoon “The Jetsons.” But the future is now, and it lives in “Presenting Princess Shaw.”

Interview: Samantha Montgomery of ‘Presenting Princess Shaw’

CHICAGO – There are show business stories, and then there are show business miracles. In the tech age we’re living through, the needle-in-a-haystack hope that a song, video or rant will go “viral” online is part of the experience. Singer Samantha Montgomery was one such singer, and her story is in “Presenting Princess Shaw.”

Film Review: Love, Truth & Dignity in Emotional ‘The Farewell Party’

CHICAGO – As the last cells in our carbon based forms decide to perish, how can our consciousness bear the stigma of that demise? This question is the theme of “The Farewell Party,” a Israeli/German production that combines the mix of feelings that come with old age.

Film Review: Oscar Nominee ‘The Gatekeepers’ is Truth to Power

CHICAGO – Normal job justification makes most people defensive. Imagine justifying an anti-terrorist organization. What weapons – besides the physical variety – would be available to you? Fear, jingoism and marginalizing of the “other” are a few of the defensives used by “The Gatekeepers.”

Interview: Director Dror Moreh of Oscar Nominee ‘The Gatekeepers’

CHICAGO – One of the five documentaries nominated for an Oscar this Sunday is the incendiary story of “The Gatekeepers.” The film goes inside “Shin Bet,” the Israeli secret anti-terrorist agency. By interviewing ex-agency leaders, director Droh Moreh was able to gain insights into the moral failings of their activities.

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