Uplifting Films ‘Supa Modo’ and ‘Don’t Be Nice’ Available on DVD From MVD and Juno

Two uplifting films, the drama Supa Modo and the documentary Don’t Be Nice, are available on DVD from MVD Entertainment Group and Juno Films.

From first-time feature filmmaker Likarion Wainaina comes the Kenyan drama Supa Modo, about Jo, a witty 9-year old terminally ill girl who is taken back to her rural village to live out the rest of her short life after being diagnosed with cancer. Her only comfort during dull times are her dreams of being a superhero, which prove to be something her rebellious teenage sister Mwix, overprotective mother Kathryn and the entire village of Maweni think they can fulfill. With the entire village’s support, they decide to make dreams a reality and turn Jo into the superhero they know she is. Newcomer Stycie Waweru delivers a captivating and earnest performance, imbuing her character with a subtle strength that ignites the screen. The 2018 film was Kenya’s Oscar submission.

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In the documentary Don’t Be Nice, the upstart Bowery Slam Poetry Team, made up of five young African-American, Afro-Hispanic and queer poets, prepares for the national championships. Mentored by a demanding coach who pushes them past their personal boundaries to write from a painfully honest place, the poets break down, break through, and compose their best work ever. Will their soul-searching pieces about police violence and the whitewashing of black culture be able to compete against choreographed crowd-pleasers for the title? Lauren Whitehead coaches the Bowery Slam Team with the credo “Don’t Be Nice.” She explains that to “be nice” is to stay on the surface of things, is to perpetuate the status quo, and is, for black people, to be what white culture demands. Her team of poets brave their inner demons and buck societal expectations to write truthful poems, and to ultimately celebrate black joy.

‘What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael’ Due on DVD and Digital June 16 From MVD and Juno Films

The documentary What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael will come out on DVD and digital June 16 from Juno Films and MVD Entertainment Group.

The film had its world premiere at Telluride and premiered theatrically at Film Forum in January 2020.

The documentary tells the story of Pauline Kael, tagged by Roger Ebert as the most influential film critic of the late twentieth century, chronicling her turbulent life and work through archival footage, her published writing and personal letters, and interviews with both friends and foes of her pen.

Kael is voiced by Sarah Jessica Parker, and participants include Quentin Tarantino, Camille Paglia, David O. Russell, Molly Haskell, Francis Ford Coppola and daughter Gina James.

Writing for The New Yorker and publishing a dozen best-selling books, Kael ruthlessly pursued what made a movie or an actor’s performance work, or not, and why. Her passion made her both admired and despised amongst her readers and her subjects. Kael’s own story is one of struggle and obsession: the fight to establish her voice and have it heard and to raise a daughter on her own in a time when the obstacles were high. The latter golden age of movies of the 1960s and 1970s are the focus of the film that pursues the question of what made Kael’s work so individual, controversial and good.

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Director and editor Rob Garver also produced for 29Pictures LLC, alongside Glen Zipper, producer of the Academy-Award winning documentary Undefeated, and co-producer Doug Blush (20 Feet From Stardom). Composer Rick Baitz (The Vagina Monologues) wrote original music for the film, and visual effects were created by Minbomb/LA.

“I think Pauline would be amused (and maybe worried) that a movie had been made about her,” said Garver in a statement.

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DVD bonus features include a never-before-released interview of Kael with Alfred Hitchcock, Tarantino interview excerpts, Paul Schrader interview excerpts and deleted scenes.

Classics ‘Conflict of Wings,’ ‘Child’s Play’ and ‘Doublecross’ Available on DVD From MVD and Juno Films

Three classic titles, Conflict of Wings, Child’s Play and Doublecross, are available now on DVD from MVD Entertainment Group and Juno Films.

Conflict of Wings (1954) follows a group of villagers who fight back when the British Air Force threatens to use their bird sanctuary for target practice. Based on the first novel by Don Sharp (The Inbetween Age), the film stars John Gregson (The Longest Day), Kieron Moore (Invasion of the Triffids), Harry Fowler (The Pickwick Papers), Muriel Pavlow (Murder She Said) and Niall MacGinnis (Curse of the Demon).

Child’s Play (1954) explores what happens when a bunch of precocious kids get their hands on an atomic chemistry set. The film stars Mona Washbourne (My Fair Lady), Ballard Berkeley (“Faulty Towers”) and Peter Sallis, who would go on to be the voice of Wallace in the “Wallace and Gromit” shorts and feature films.

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Doublecross (1956) follows a fisherman who ferries two fugitives and a beautiful woman across the English Channel only to suspect them of murder and spying. The classic noir thriller features a cast that includes Fay Compton (The Haunting), Anton Diffring (Where Eagles Dare), Allan Cuthbertson (The Guns of Navarone) and Frank Lawton (A Night to Remember).

Silent ‘Shiraz: A Romance of India’ Coming on Disc Under New Label From Juno Films and MVD

Juno Films has licensed the exclusive North American rights to the British Film Institute‘s 2K restoration of director Franz Osten’s black and white silent Shiraz: A Romance of India.

The film will premiere in the United States at New York’s Metrograph Theater in January 2019 with a DVD and Blu-ray release to follow in May on the new Juno Selects home video label distributed in partnership with MVD.

Shot entirely on location in India and based on the romance between 17th century Mughal ruler Shah Jahan and his queen, the epic tells the romantic tale behind the creation of the Taj Mahal. Produced by and starring Indian film legend Himansu Rai, the film is performed by an all-Indian cast, featuring Rai as humble potter Shiraz, who follows his childhood sweetheart Selima (Enakshi Rama Rau) when she’s sold by slave traders to the future emperor (Charu Roy).

The release features a new digital restoration by the conservation team at the BFI National Archive and a specially commissioned score by the Grammy Award-winning Anoushka Shankar.

“It is an honor to work with the BFI on the release of Shiraz: A Romance of India,” said Elizabeth Sheldon, Juno’s CEO and co-founder, in a statement. “It is a timeless tale of devotion that left humankind with a monument to the inspiration and power of true love, the Taj Majal, and the new score by the Grammy-award winning Anoushka Shankar seals it as a contemporary masterpiece.”

“The restoration of Shiraz was the culmination of thousands of hours of painstaking conservation work by the BFI National Archive to transform this silent classic, thereby ensuring its safe preservation for future generations,” said the BFI’s Violette Martin in a statement. “The BFI therefore is very happy to see Shiraz in the highly skilled hands of Juno Films and Elizabeth Sheldon for its North American distribution, as well as to have the Metrograph Theater on board for the opening week in New York. We look forward to further collaborations with Juno Films around our classic film collection.”

“I’m excited to be teaming up once again with Elizabeth Sheldon and her new company Juno Films for the release of the beautifully restored classic 1928 silent film Shiraz,” said Eric Wilkinson, director of home video sales and acquisitions for MVD Entertainment Group. “Ms. Sheldon and I have had many successes in the past during our time together at Kino Lorber and it just made perfect sense to continue that partnership by pairing Juno Films and MVD. We’re excited to bring this wonderful movie to North American audiences and collectors for the first time.”

Additional home video titles to be released on the new Juno Selects label include Peter Sellers’ debut feature film Pennies From Heaven and his short film Let’s Go Crazy.