The documentary Far Out West: Inside California’s Kerista Commune will be available via VOD and digital sellthrough Aug. 17 from Virgil Films.
In the early 1970s, 25 free spirits found each other in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood and formed the Kerista Commune. For two decades, they lived as one family, loving freely, raising children together, and making millions selling Apple computers. But if the alternative society they built was fantastically alluring, it was also fragile, and a quarter century after they voted to dissolve their commune, the former members are still debating what their experiment can teach us about human nature, and whether their utopia was actually a cult in disguise.
The horror film Scare Us will come out on DVD and digital June 26 from Virgil Films.
The anthology follows five short stories penned by an unlikely group of aspiring writers in Sugarton — a small town plagued by the apparent return of an infamous serial killer dubbed “Cutthroat.” The authors have come to share their scary stories with each other and the bookstore owner Peter, who leads the group, but they soon discover they’ve become the stars of a sick killer’s own twisted tale.
Directed by Carl Jensen IV, Ryan Henry Johnston and Ryan Kjolberg, the film stars Tom Sandoval, Charlotte Lilt and Michelle Palermo.
The documentary Her Name Is Chef is coming to digital HD April 27 and DVD May 11 from Virgil Films.
The feature documentary explores the changing of gender roles in restaurant kitchens built around the tragic story of “Top Chef” fan favorite Fatima Ali.
Her Name is Chef showcases the stories of six talented, inspiring, females of the kitchen. Each shares their triumphs in cutting through the clichés of the restaurant industry and explores how they broke down the doors to earn the title of chef.
Host Leia Gaccione sits down with Elizabeth Falkner, Fatima Ali, Hillary Sterling, Esther Choi, Juliet Masters and Caroline Schiff.
The documentary Buster Williams Bass to Infinity will come out on digital March 16 from Virgil Films.
Jazz musician Buster Williams has played with everyone, from Sarah Vaughan to Miles Davis, Nancy Wilson, Art Blakey, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and others. In this documentary, viewers join Williams as he tells stories about his life and the lives of other great jazz musicians, and is joined by, and plays with, some of the greatest living contributors to this music — Benny Golson, Herbie Hancock, Rufus Reid, Christian McBride, Larry Willis, Carmen Lundy, Kenny Barron and Lenny White.
Buster Williams Bass to Infinity is a film about a great contributor to America’s greatest art form, and many other greats — those mentioned above, as well as Monk, Trane and Paul Chambers.
The documentary Ruth — Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words will come out on DVD and digital March 9 from Virgil Films.
The 2019 film tells the improbable story of how Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who couldn’t get a job despite graduating first in her law school class in a tie and making Law Review at Harvard and Columbia Law Schools, became an associate justice of the Supreme Court. It also reveals both the public and private sides of a resilient, resourceful woman who survived the hostility of the profoundly male universe of government and law to become a revered justice and icon for gender equality and women’s rights.
The documentary dramatizes a confluence of factors — personal, psychological, social and political — that impacted the course of her work and life. The film is designed as an immersive experience through the direct words of Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a professor, advocate, judge and justice from the 1970s onwards through the use of animation and illustrations to visualize complex constitutional cases, by the insights of colleagues who have directly worked with or have been impacted by her 40 years as a legal icon, and with an original score by a Grammy winning composer.
The documentary 7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story will come out on DVD and digital Feb. 23 from Virgil Films.
7 Yards is a feature-length film that explores the resilience and perspective of Chris Norton. In October 2010 at age 18, Chris suffered a debilitating spinal cord injury during a college football game. Doctors gave him just a 3% chance to ever move again, but he defied that diagnosis.
After years of physical therapy and training, Norton’s story went viral in 2015 when he successfully walked across the college graduation stage with the help of his fiancée, Emily. Video of Norton walking to get his diploma touched the world, and it received more than 300 million views. Soon after, Chris and Emily set an ambitious new goal: walk seven yards side-by-side down the wedding aisle.
The film features interviews, reenactments and real footage from the couple’s 2018 wedding. It’s the inspirational comeback story of Chris and his journey from college athlete to medical miracle to viral inspiration and now adoptive father.
The documentary Nasrin will come out on DVD and digital HD Jan. 26 from Virgil Films.
Narrated by Academy Award winner Olivia Colman, Nasrin, filmed in Iran by women and men who risked arrest, is an immersive portrait of one of the world’s most courageous human rights activists and political prisoners, Nasrin Sotoudeh, and of Iran’s remarkably resilient women’s rights movement. In the courts and on the streets, Nasrin has long fought for the rights of women, children, LGBT prisoners, religious minorities, journalists and artists, and those facing the death penalty. She was arrested in June 2018 for representing women who were protesting Iran’s mandatory hijab law, and she was sentenced to 38 years in prison, plus 148 lashes. Even from prison, she has continued to challenge the authorities. An Amnesty International petition calling for her release received over a million signatures from 200 countries.
The film features acclaimed filmmaker Jafar Panahi, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, journalist Ann Curry, exiled women’s rights activist Mansoureh Shojaee, and Nasrin’s equally courageous husband Reza Khandan.
Nasrin features an original song by Tony Award-winning composers Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, performed by four-time Grammy winner Angélique Kidjo.
The documentary 21 Miles is traveling to digital HD Jan. 16 from Virgil Films.
From Director Richard Parry (Shooting Robert King, BASE) and executive produced by Coldplay’s manager Dave Holmes and creative director Phil Harvey, the film is the story of a father’s incredible journey to reach his son in England.
Kais, a 30-year-old Tunisian, arrives in the French shantytown with nothing more than the shirt on his back and 21 miles of sea between him and his 8-year-old boy Marcel.
The feature-length drama Trafficked: A Parent’s Worst Nightmarewill be released on DVD and Digital HD Jan. 26, during Human Trafficking Awareness Month, by Virgil Films.
Directed by Joel Paul Reisig and written by Reisig, George Sunders, and Scott Voshel, Trafficked is based on actual stories of American families who have had their lives uprooted after a child has been abducted and trafficked.
The story follows Allison Riley (Sophie Bolen, The Horse Dance, Rodeo Girl), a beautiful young girl with a bright future and a dream of becoming a veterinarian. On the eve of her 16th birthday, she sneaks out of her house to meet a handsome boy she met online and disappears. Her parents, Joanna (Kristy Swanson, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) and Case (Mark Boyd, Whip It, “12 Monkeys”), contact the police who assume that Allison is just out with a boyfriend. They reluctantly hire private investigator John Belton (Dean Cain, “Lois and Clark,” God’s Not Dead), who has a reputation for making his own rules. Belton quickly discovers that Allison has likely been trafficked by a young man she met online and that he’s on a race against time if the Rileys hope to see their daughter again.
“Awareness is the first step towards putting an end to these atrocities in our world,” Bob Elder, president of distributor Collide Media Group, said in a statement. “Trafficked is a heart-pounding feature film reminding us of how urgent this topic is and why we need to act now.”
The documentary Michael Smerconish: Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started will come out on DVD, digital sellthrough and VOD Dec. 8 from Virgil Films.
Smerconish celebrates his 30th year as a talk radio host in this one-man performance, which is both an intimate memoir and a unique explanation of the origin of nation’s partisan divide. He regales viewers with stories that range from meeting Ronald Reagan as a newly minted voter, dining for eight hours with Fidel Castro, entertaining rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Famers’ Yes in his backyard and confronting the living members of Led Zeppelin with a demand that they reunite. Smerconish’s political journey from reliable Republican to one of the nation’s leading independent voices is both personal to him and a compelling explanation of the nation’s shift toward partisanship.
He went to great lengths to ensure his account would come to life. The 2020 outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic coincided with the launch of what was to be a nationwide speaking tour. Tickets for a two-night Philadelphia launch sold-out in under five hours; other dates across country were about to be announced when the world went into lockdown. Undeterred, Smerconish recruited noted television director Chris Strand to oversee the recording of this onetime performance in the empty and historic Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pa., on a stage once graced by theater royalty including Robert Redford, Grace Kelly, Jimmy Stewart, Kevin Kline and Andrea McArdle.
The result is an engaging, informative, humorous and compelling look at America’s political landscape through the lens of a unique observer. In July of 2020, CNN aired a one-hour special featuring some of the material contained in this, the full program.