Doc ‘Maybe Next Year’ Coming to DVD and Digital HD Nov. 10 From Virgil

The documentary Maybe Next Year, about Philadelphia football fans, will come out on DVD and digital HD Nov. 10 from Virgil Films.

Since 1776, Philadelphia has existed in the shadows of New York City and Washington D.C. Counted out and overlooked, Philadelphians turned to football as a way to let out their frustrations. After 58 years of coming up short, a Super Bowl title has become Philly’s holy grail. What started out as the most promising year in decades, the 2017 season quickly unraveled with the season ending injury of their MVP quarterback. With the deck stacked against them, an “underdog” city bands together and puts their faith in an unlikely backup.

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From throwing snowballs at Santa Claus to having a jail in their stadium, this fan base has earned their title of “worst in the NFL.” Maybe Next Year peels back the veil and offers an intimate look at the lives of four very different and very dedicated Eagles fans, unified by their commitment to family, unwavering passion, and the common dream of becoming Super Bowl Champions. Eagles fans paint their own portrait of what brotherly love truly means in this comeback sports story.

Election Doc ‘Win, Lose, or Draw Straws’ Due on Digital Oct. 13 From Virgil

The documentary Win, Lose, or Draw Straws will come out on Digital HD Oct. 13 from Virgil Films.

The feature exposes one particular oddity of the U.S election system, the increasing existence of and wildly varied ways of determining elections that end in perfect ties. Told by the people who experienced the emotional highs and lows of a political campaign that was determined by a random game of chance and exposing the way random luck affects our lives from local races all the way to the White House, the film travels the country to uncover the most peculiar election tiebreakers in American history, while exposing the backroom dealing and insider trading of local politics.

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Along the way viewers meet colorful characters who have participated in, worked on, and voted or not voted in real elections that ended in perfect ties. They meet the woman who lost a bowl-drawing in Virginia that shifted the power of government and nearly installed a new governor. The documentary also delves into the Mississippi house election that swung the supermajority control after being reversed three times. It also investigates the coin flips between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Iowa caucus.

Coupled with historical context from the presidential campaign of 1800 to the 2000 Bush-Gore debacle in Florida, and the 2016 Iowa and Nevada caucus coin flips and high-card draws, the documentary explores important themes such as why people want to seek office in the first place and the cultural perceptions of luck, destiny and America itself.

Win, Lose, or Draw Straws from Virgil Films on Vimeo.

 

‘Two Boston Guys’ Comedy Program Due on Digital HD Oct. 6 From Virgil

Two Boston Guys, featuring a pair of Boston comics, will come out on Digital HD Oct. 6 from Virgil Films.

Jimmy Dunn and Tony V., the two comics, met more than 30 years ago while working their way up through the New England comedy circuit. Both are Massachusetts natives, Tony from Charlestown and Jimmy from Beverly. In their very first joint special, they paint a portrait of married life in the suburbs of Boston and crack wise about their wives, their neighbors, and the people they really wish they could punch in the throat. With their combined comedic talents, they represent the very best of what Boston has to offer.

Two Boston Guys from Virgil Films on Vimeo.

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Animal-Rescue Doc ‘Breaking the Chain’ Coming to Digital HD Sept. 1

The animal-rescue documentary Breaking the Chain will come out on digital HD Sept. 1 from Virgil Films.

From executive producer Anjelica Huston, Breaking the Chain follows fieldworkers with PETA’s Community Animal Project as they visit impoverished areas of Virginia and North Carolina to give care to mistreated animals who — without their help — would continue to suffer or even die. The film explores the uphill battle that faces neglected animals and their champions who work on the frontlines of the animal neglect and overpopulation crisis. Forgotten animals rely on PETA’s field team for even the most basic necessities of life as often these are the only humans in their lives providing them with adequate shelter, basic medical care, or even much-needed affection.

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Confronting misconceptions from within the animal sheltering community and beyond, Breaking the Chain celebrates real efforts to change the world for companion animals and the behind-the-scenes work of the people who are making it happen.

Breaking the Chain from Virgil Films on Vimeo.

 

The Blech Effect: The Rise and Fall of the King of Biotech

DIGITAL REVIEW:

Street Date 8/25/20;
Virgil;
Documentary;
Not Rated.

Spectacular highs and lows are the stuff of great stories, and the true tale of investor David Blech spans both — fantastic financial gains and incredible losses.

The documentary The Blech Effect: The Rise and Fall of the King of Biotech chronicles the journey of man known for starting multiple biotech companies that have helped countless people and generated enormous wealth. As Blech himself admits in the film, if only he were in a coma for the last 15 years, he would be a multi-billionaire. Forbes Magazine once pegged his worth at more than $300 million, and he was on the Fortune 400 list. He became known as the “King of Biotech” and his influence on the market coined the term “The Blech Effect.”

But he couldn’t hold onto it. Bipolar disorder and a gambling addiction — what Blech terms a “manic push” — kept him constantly looking for the next big thing.

“When you do things that are outrageous, outrageous things happen to you,” Blech says in the film, calling his life a cautionary tale.

The documentary catches up with Blech at a low point, $11 million in debt, struggling to keep his family afloat and awaiting a jail sentence for his latest hijinks on Wall Street. His wife also struggles to keep him from spiraling into depression, as she looks after their son, who has been developmentally disadvantaged since birth. At one point, Blech notes that every time he sees one of those ubiquitous Cialis commercials, he is reminded of one of the companies he fostered and the money that eluded his grasp — money that could help him stay in his apartment and take care of his wife and son.

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Blech is looking for another big score with a company working on an Alzheimer’s drug that might just solve all his problems. Viewers experience the hope and anxiety about its success along with the couple — offering a taste of the rollercoaster ride Blech has been on much of his adult life.

Will it be the success that gets him out of the jam he’s in or will he have to face ultimate failure?

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Ultimately, The Blech Effect, like a classic tragedy, celebrates the talents and pride of its hero while revealing his fatal flaws. The fact that Blech ultimately comes to terms with his fate — and his responsibility for it — gives the story an added poignancy.

Doc ‘The Blech Effect’ Coming to VOD and EST Aug. 25 From Virgil

The documentary The Blech Effect: The Rise and Fall of the King of Biotech will come out on VOD and electronic sellthrough Aug. 25 from Virgil Films.

The film chronicles the life of David Blech, who would be a multi-billionaire — if only he were in a coma for the last 15 years. In his early 20s, David was a pioneer investor in biotech companies and helped create an industry that has grown to be on the cutting edge of the world’s greatest medical cures, saving countless lives. Blech’s wealth grew with the industry. According to Forbes Magazine, he was once worth more than $300 million, and he was on the Fortune 400 list. He became known as the “King of Biotech” and his influence on the market coined the term “The Blech Effect.” But Blech struggled with bipolar disorder and a gambling addiction. He once hoped to be remembered for helping to create an industry that saves lives; instead he ended up $11 million in debt, struggling to keep his family afloat and awaiting a jail sentence.

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The Blech Effect follows a protagonist all too self-aware yet still unable to control his worst impulses, a wife and mother who is both a saint and enabler, and a beloved child heartbreaking in his beauty and disability.

Doc ‘Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies’ Debuts on Digital HD July 7 From Virgil

The documentary Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies is coming to Digital HD July 7 from Virgil Films.

It explores the career of Alan Ladd Jr. — known to friends and colleagues as Laddie — the understated studio chief and Oscar-winning producer behind the films Star Wars, Alien, Blade Runner, Chariots of Fire, Police Academy, Braveheart, The Omen, Thelma and Louise, Young Frankenstein, Gone Baby Gone and a staggering 154 more. During his 50-plus year career, garnering more than 50 Academy Award wins and more then 150 nominations, he worked with world-famous filmmakers and actors — many of whom became household names on his watch — and brought to life some of the most influential films of our time.

In Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies, Amanda Ladd-Jones endeavors to better understand her father — to see him not just as “Dad,” the man who spent the majority of her childhood at the office — but the way his collaborators do, as a doyen of modern American cinema.

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The doc includes interviews with Ben Affleck, Mel Brooks, Richard Donner, Morgan Freeman, Mel Gibson, Ron Howard, George Lucas, Ridley Scott and Sigourney Weaver.

Doc ’40 Years of Rocky: The Birth of a Classic’ Due on Digital June 9 From Virgil

The documentary film 40 Years of Rocky: The Birth of a Classic will premiere on Digital HD June 9 from Virgil Films & Entertainment.

The film is narrated by “Rocky” star and creator Sylvester Stallone, who shares insights about his battle to get the story of a down-on-his-luck boxer greenlit and onto the big screen.

In 1976, a low-budget movie written by an unknown actor was released, inspiring audiences around the world. Rocky became the ultimate underdog film. More than 40 years later, Stallone recounts the making of the beloved classic through rare home movies provided by director John G. Avildsen and Production Manager Lloyd Kaufman.

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Stallone pitched the idea of the film to director Derek Wayne Johnson and producer Chris May after a private screening of their documentary John G. Avildsen: King of the Underdogs, in which Stallone also is featured. The documentary features behind-the-scenes footage that Oscar-winning director John G. Avildsen shot, as well as never-before-seen footage found in “Rocky” production manager and Troma Entertainment president Lloyd Kaufman’s basement nearly 40 years after it was filmed.

Exclusive Interview: Tyler Gildin, Director of Doc ‘The Starfish’

An act of kindness had a ripple effect in Tyler Gildin’s family, and he chronicled it in his first feature documentary The Starfish, available now on digital HD from Virgil Films.

The title refers to a parable about a boy on the beach who throws a starfish into the ocean to help it escape the burning sun as the tide goes out. When a man tells him there are so many starfish that he can’t make a difference, he replies, “I made a difference for that one.”

Gildin’s grandfather Herb retold the parable in 2001 when he reunited with a family in Sweden 60 years after staying with them as a refugee German-Jewish boy. During Nazi persecution in 1938, Herb’s parents sent him and his two older sisters to live with non-Jewish families in Sweden. After living in Sweden for two years, the trio made a frightening and chilling journey to be reunited with their parents as refugees in America.

“Ultimately it’s a feel-good story,” Gildin said. “It’s a story of connection and it’s a story of resilience. My grandfather was given a bad hand at first, but he was so fortunate to be ultimately able to succeed.”

Herb went on to build a successful lighting business in America, not speaking much of his early years or his Swedish family. After hearing of the siblings’ ordeal in Herb’s eulogy for his sister Cele, Tyler decided to tell their story — and to interview his grandfather.

“I was surprised at how forthcoming he was,” said Gildin, who also interviewed his grandfather’s nieces, whose mothers had made that fateful journey with Herb.

“Getting a full story from perspectives of all three children was just really interesting,” he said. “As much as this is my grandfather’s story, it’s also their story as well, so I thought that was important — to let them speak for their parents who are not around to speak for themselves.”

After refuge in Sweden, the journey to America was particularly grueling as, instead of traveling through Europe, the trio crossed Russia and the Pacific.

“Because of the war, I guess they were scared to go across Europe,” said Gildin. “I mean you would think to go the other way to come to the East Coast, it should be significantly easier, but for whatever reason, this was the route that I believe HIAS [the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society] guided them on. This is what they were told was the best, safest way, but took the longest.”

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The director used illustrations to portray the fear of the journey, with silhouettes evoking the inner turmoil of the trio. He also gathered archival footage and family photos, as well as photos from the Swedes who had sheltered his grandfather.

“The Swedish families in their attic kept all these photos,” he said.

The director had not been to the reunion in Sweden in 2001 because he was at a summer camp where, strangely enough, campers often heard the story of “The Starfish.” Luckily, two relatives had recorded Herb’s speech on VHS, used in the documentary.

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“When I saw him tell that speech I got goosebumps,” Gildin said. “Who knows? I could have been told that story at the exact same moment, halfway across the world. When I saw that footage, I immediately knew I wanted to title the film The Starfish, and I wanted to bookend it with that speech.”

Music Drama ‘Broken Poet’ Coming to Digital HD May 15 From Virgil

The music drama Broken Poet will come out on digital HD May 15 from Virgil Films and Entertainment exclusively through music site Backstreets.com.

The site boasts a large fan base for Bruce Springsteen, who has a cameo in the film.

“On Broken Poet we are experimenting with going direct to the actual fan base, releasing before the national release,” said Virgil president and CEO Joe Amodei. “Backstreets.com is the go-to for every Springsteen fan, so we were lucky to get to work with them on the release and offer the exclusive.”

The film will have a wider digital release in the summer.

Broken Poet is the story of the 1970s rock star Jake Lion, who is presumed dead in Paris until a former roadie happens to be riding in the Paris Metro 40 years after his much-publicized suicide and hears an aged street musician who sounds just like him. Rolling Stone sends a rock journalist to investigate, and she uncovered something unexpected.

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Directed by Emilio J. Ruiz, the film stars Elliot Murphy, Joanna Preiss and Marisa Berenson.

Broken Poet – Backstreets Exclusive from Virgil Films on Vimeo.