September 1, 2015
Directed by Robin Hauser Reynolds
78 min | 2015| USA | Not Rated
*Post-film Q&A with director Robin Hauser Reynolds moderated by Lara Jones, host of KRCL 90.9FM’s RadioActive.
Lara Jones recently talked with director Robin Hauser on KRCL’s Radio Caravan, click here to listen to the interview.
Tech jobs are growing three times faster than our colleges are producing computer science graduates. By 2020, there will be one million unfilled software engineering jobs in the USA. Through compelling interviews, artistic animation and clever flashpoints in popular culture, CODE documentary examines the reasons why more girls and people of color are not seeking opportunities in computer science and explores how cultural mindsets, stereotypes, educational hurdles and sexism all play roles in this national crisis. Expert voices from the worlds of tech, psychology, science, and education are intercut with inspiring stories of women who are engaged in the fight to challenge complacency in the tech industry and have their voices heard. CODE aims to inspire change in mindsets, in the educational system, in startup culture and in the way women see themselves in the field of coding.
Official Selection: 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, 2015 AFI Docs
September 5, 2015
Directed by Alexs Stadermann
89 min | 2014 | Australia/Germany | Rated G
Maya is a little bee with a big heart. While most bees believe that other insects should be feared, Maya can’t help but make friends with Flip the violin-playing grasshopper, Kurt the dung beetle, and even Sting, a young hornet. This group of “fearsome” friends causes some bees to avoid Maya, but when the Queen’s royal jelly is stolen, it takes Maya and her bug buddies to save the day!
September 8, 2015
Directed by Marc Dantzker and Tom Swartout
60 min | 2015 | USA | Not Rated
*Post-film Q&A with director Marc Dantzker
It’s been called The Big Empty – an immense sea of sagebrush that once stretched 500,000 square miles across North America, exasperating thousands of westward-bound travelers as an endless place through which they had to pass to reach their destinations. Yet it’s far from empty, as those who look closely will discover. In this ecosystem anchored by the sage, eagles and antelope, badgers and lizards, rabbits, wrens, owls, prairie dogs, songbirds, hawks and migrating birds of all description make their homes. For one bird, however, it is a year-round home, as it has been for thousands of years. The Greater Sage-Grouse relies on the sage for everything and is found no place else. But their numbers are in decline. Two hundred years ago, there were as many as 16 million sage grouse; today, there may be fewer than 200,000.
The Sagebrush Sea tracks the Greater Sage-Grouse and other wildlife through the seasons as they struggle to survive in this rugged and changing landscape.
In early spring, male sage grouse move to open spaces, gathering in clearings known as leks to establish mating rights. They strut about, puffing up yellow air sacs in their breasts and making a series of popping sounds to intimidate other males. For weeks, they practice their elaborate display and square off with other arriving males, battling to establish dominance and territory. Successful males then display for discriminating females and are allowed to mate only if chosen as the most suitable. The criteria are a mystery to all but the females, nearly all of which select only one or two males on the lek each year. Once they’ve bred, the hens will head off into the protective sage to build their nests near food and water and raise their offspring alone. Within a month, the chicks hatch and follow the hens as they forage for food and keep a watchful eye out for predators. In the summer, the grouse head to wetlands, often populated by farms and ranches, in search of water, only to return to the sage in the fall. Shrinking wetlands that once supported thousands of grouse still manage to provide for hundreds.
Other species discussed in the program include the golden eagle and great-horned owl. Both bird species take advantage of perfect perches on the rocks and ridges sculpted by the area’s constant wind to nest, hunt, and raise their families. Cavity-nesting bluebirds and the American kestrel return each year to raise their young in rock crevices. The sagebrush serves as a nursery for the sagebrush sparrow, the sage thrasher and the Brewer’s sparrow, all of which breed nowhere else.
Sage survives in this arid environment through deep roots that reach to the water below. Like water, however, many key resources are locked below ground in the high desert, bringing an increasing presence of wells, pipelines and housing. As they proliferate, the sage sea is becoming more and more fragmented, impacting habitats and migratory corridors. And of the 500,000 square miles of sagebrush steppe that stretched across North America, only half now remains. For the sage and the grouse, the future is uncertain.
Marc Dantzker is a biologist turned filmmaker for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Marc is part of the Cornell Lab’s media production team which includes cinematographers, producers, and editors. This is the team behind “The Sagebrush Sea.” It is Marc’s first feature-length film. His doctoral research focused on the acoustics of Greater Sage-Grouse mating displays. As part of the Cornell team, Marc has produced media on the BP oil-spill, land loss in Louisiana, conservation along the US/Mexico boarder, and the importance of ocean sounds for marine life.
Science Movie Night is presented in partnership with
September 10, 2015
Directed by Louie Psihoyos
94 min | 2015 | USA | Not Rated
*Post-film Q&A with director Louie Psihoyos, moderated by RadioWest’s Doug Fabrizio.
Louie Psihoyos’s The Cove (2009 Sundance Film Festival, U.S. Documentary Audience Award) exposed viewers to the brutal practice of dolphin slaughter. The Academy Award-winning director now bears witness to a global problem—mankind’s role in precipitating mass extinction, potentially resulting in the loss of half of the world’s species.
Believing that images can stimulate empathy and in turn change behavior, Psihoyos joins forces with activists, scientists, nature photographers, and cutting-edge inventors to draw attention to the dangers we face. While covert operations reveal the horrific black-market trade in endangered aquatic species, the film’s broader lens uncovers the even more disastrous consequences of human activity, chiefly the release of ocean-killing methane and carbon from energy consumption.
With stakes as high as the survival of life on the planet, Racing Extinction dispenses with apathy or fatalism to emerge as an urgent, affirming call to action to stem the tide before it’s too late.
Official Selection: 2015 Sundance Film Festival
September 14, 2015
Directed by Morgan Schmidt-Feng
80 min | 2015 | USA | Not Rated
On Her Own tells the story of Nancy Prebilich and her family as they struggle to save their 5th-generation farm during the Great Recession. When both of Nancy’s parents suddenly pass away, Nancy, her sister, niece, and nephews fight to stay afloat in the face of loss and financial instability.
On Her Own represents what is happening all across the U.S. as houses are foreclosed, families are forced to move for purely economic reasons, and small farms face ruthless competition from larger factory farms and land developers. Chronicling Nancy’s personal journey over a 5-year span, this extraordinary story explores the roles that history and ancestry play in our present-day lives, asking: what happens when the cost of preserving family heritage is the family itself?
Official Selection: 2015 Slamdance Film Festival, 2015 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival
September 15, 2015
Directed by Michael Beach Nichols and Christopher K. Walker
86 min | 2015 | USA | Not Rated
Leith, North Dakota is a registered ghost town of 24 people. Its inhabitants are mostly farmers or ranchers, with land passed down generation to generation. The town has an apocalyptic beauty set against a prairie backdrop of wide-open sky and fields of wheat.
In 2012, an outsider named Craig Cobb moved in and started buying up property. He accumulated twelve plots of land, some empty, some with houses in various states of disrepair. People assumed he’d moved in to be close to the Bakken oil fields some 70 miles north. Turns out he was also a notorious white supremacist who was plotting a takeover of the city government. Shortly after his plans were unveiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a family of fellow white supremacists moved in to start fixing up his properties.
Welcome to Leith is a feature film offering a glimpse into a town struggling for sovereignty against one man’s extremist vision. Filmed in the days leading up to Cobb’s arrest for terrorizing the townspeople on an armed patrol and his subsequent release from jail six months later, Welcome to Leith is an eerie document of American DIY ideals played out in one of the most under-populated states in the nation. That it takes place in the shadow of the biggest oil boom in North Dakota’s history makes the film a complex document exploring unforeseen causes and effects.
Official Selection: 2015 Sundance Film Festival
September 17, 2015
Directed by Malcolm Ingram
99 min | 2015 | USA/Canada | Not Rated
Out to Win is an overview and examination of the lives and careers of aspiring and professional gay and lesbian athletes from all over the world. Chronicling the present, framed within a historical context of those that came before, this film highlights the experiences of athletes who have fought and struggled, both in and out of the closet, to represent the LGBT community and their true selves.
Official Selection: 2015 SXSW Film Festival, 2015 BFI Flare, 2015 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, 2015 Outfest, 2015 AFI Docs, and 2015 Frameline Film Festival
September 22, 2015
Directed by Kenneth Elvebakk
73 min | 2014 | Norway | Not Rated
Ballet Boys takes you through disappointments, victories, forging of friendship, first loves, doubt, faith, growing apart from each other and finding your own way and ambition. In short, everything about being a teenager, all mixed with the expression of ballet.
September 29, 2015
Directed by Alex Steyermark
96 min | 2014 | USA | Not Rated
*Post-film Q&A with director Alex Steyermark and producer/Presto recordist Lavinia Jones Wright.
The 78 Project is a journey across America to make one-of-a-kind 78rpm records with musicians in their hometowns using a 1930s Presto direct-to-disc recorder, one microphone, one blank disc, and one three-minute take. Along the way, a kaleidoscope of technologists, historians, and craftsmen from every facet of field recording provide insights and history.
Official Selection: 2014 SXSW Film Festival
September 30, 2015
Directed by Mike Leigh
144 min | 2014 | UK | Rated R
Mr. Turner explores the last quarter century of the life of J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851), the great, yet eccentric British painter. Featuring a wonderful performance by award-winning actor Timothy Spall as Mr. Turner, this illuminating biopic is a beautiful portrait of the artist in middle age.