Documentary ‘The Uncondemned’ Coming to Digital and DVD April 9 From Virgil

The documentary The Uncondemned is coming to EST, VOD and DVD April 9 from Virgil Films.

It follows an underdog group of young lawyers and activists who defied the odds to do what had never been done: prosecute rape as an international war crime.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was understaffed, underfunded and overwhelmed as they attempted to prosecute their first case of genocide in 1997. Then, three heroic Rwandan women overcame their fears and feelings of shame to come forward and speak for all those who could not.

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The film captures the remarkable story — involving secret memos, witness assassinations and other setbacks and barriers — that changed the course of international judicial history.

‘We Are Columbine’ Director Revisits Dark Day With Her Classmates in Virgil Films Doc

Decades after the cameras and the spotlight are gone, those touched by school shootings can continue to suffer as they try to process a day that changed their lives.

That’s the subject of Virgil Films’ documentary We Are Columbine, due on EST, VOD and DVD April 9 and directed by Laura Farber.

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Farber has a unique perspective on the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado; she was a freshman at the school when two students shot and killed 13 people (12 students and one teacher) nearly 20 years ago on April 20, 1999.

“I wanted something to be told by the people that experienced it,” Farber said. “And I felt like I could bridge that gap between outsiders and the people that were there. It’s a lot more difficult than anticipated because a lot of us don’t like talking about Columbine — still to this day.”

It took some convincing, but Farber was able to gather a collection of freshmen at the time of the shooting as well as teachers and administrators to revisit the event.

The director herself wasn’t immune to the effects of recalling such a terrible time when she went back to film at her high school.

“Everything was the same, so much so that the first day of filming —I didn’t know I needed more therapy until I went to film — that first day of filming, thank god, I had one of the producers with me,” Farber recalled. “She had to do that first walkthrough of the school with Gus [former student Gustavo D’Arthenay] because I was emotionally ill, physically ill the entire day because I think just coming back that first time was a lot — not anticipated for sure.”

The first interview subject she was able to convince to participate in the project was her friend Amy Staley.

“I’m doing this only because it’s you, only because of our friendship,” Staley says in the film. “I don’t like talking about it like this. I don’t think anybody likes us talking about it. I don’t like people exploiting our experiences, and I know that you won’t.”

During Staley’s interview, Farber learned just how close she had come to something awful. Bomb equipment had been under the lunch table at which they had sat on that fateful day, Staley recalled in the film.

“I was with Amy on that day, and I didn’t know that until we sat down together and talked about it,” Farber said. “I totally forgot.”

Columbine principal Frank DeAngelis had become wary of students asking to film at the high school, creating another potential obstacle.

“I had to get Frank’s permission, because he’s the principal, and once I told him what I wanted to do, which was not sensationalized, he trusted me to come in and film,” Farber said. “But at the time, there was an issue with a student from an Ohio high school that came to the school, did a tour, asked a bunch of questions, and he said he was doing research for a presentation, and then went and threatened his own school. So after that Frank was like, ‘Hey, I’m not letting anybody in unless they are students from Columbine.’ And that was kind of perfect timing for me.”

“You’re one of my kids; I trust ya,” DeAngelis says in the documentary.

The kids she knew from Columbine were loath to discuss the shooting, though teacher Kiki Leyba (also interviewed in the film) had them write down their thoughts 20 years ago.

In addition to D’Arthenay (a musician who provides some of the soundtrack for the film) and Staley, Farber interviewed two others who were freshmen at Columbine during the shooting.

“I think for our class, for those four years, we got to all be together,” Farber noted. “We were the youngest, and we were there the longest. It was a big part of our recovery being able to go back every day and be with each other.”

But it was different for everyone who experienced the shooting.

“Everyone has their own Columbine,” she said. “I’d love to find out what’s going on with the seniors that had to leave immediately after, and they were surrounded by no one and what that did to their recovery.”

Since the shooting at Columbine High School, which is recognizing a 20th anniversary this year — including a screening of Farber’s film in Colorado on the exact date of the anniversary, April 20 — many other school shootings have dominated the news and then receded.

Though Farber talked to Media Play News before the recent suicides of victims affected by shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., in 2018 and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn., in 2012, she stressed the need for victims to express their feelings.

“We’re going to carry this with us for the rest of our lives, but we can decide what that’s going to look like,” Farber said.

Lionsgate, Virgil Films Join Allied Vaughn MOD Service

Lionsgate and independent studio Virgil Films have signed on to Allied Vaughn Entertainment’s manufacture-on-demand disc service.

The first batch of Lionsgate titles will come out on Blu-ray May 14. American Exit is a crime thriller based on a true story starring Dane Cook as Charlie, a desperate father who steals a million-dollar painting from a shady art dealer. The futuristic thriller Life Like follows a couple who purchase a robot to cook and clean at their sprawling new home that, using artificial-intelligence, starts to anticipate the couple’s needs and desires. Also due are seasons four and five of the series “Power,” from executive producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson.

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From Virgil on DVD April 9 comes the documentary We Are Columbine, filmed by a survivor of the school shooting attack two decades ago who interviews classmates, teachers and administrators about the lasting effect of that fateful day. Then on June 4 on DVD Virgil unveils Brave Girls, a documentary about Indian girls navigating their future, choosing between school, love and marriage.

The MOD service has also added Marshall Publishing, which produces educational and kids content, to its ranks.

Doc ‘A Classy Broad’ Coming to Digital March 5 From Virgil

The documentary A Classy Broad: Marcia’s Adventures in Hollywood, about trailblazing executive Marcia Nasatir, the first female VP of production at United Artists, comes to digital March 5 from Virgil Films.

The film will also have weeklong theatrical engagement at L.A.’s Laemmle Music Hall — in conjunction with International Women’s Day — starting March 8.

A Classy Broad, as told mainly in Nasatir’s voice, is directed by Anne Goursaud, known for her editing work on Francis Ford Coppola’s The Outsiders and Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

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Nasatir’s legendary career as an executive began in 1970s when she was recruited by Mike Medavoy at UA as story editor, a position she negotiated into a VP title, paving the way for women to achieve this executive status quo within a male-dominated movie industry.  While there, Nasatir championed Rocky, Carrie, Apocalypse Now and One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. She later joined Johnny Carson’s production company and fought to produce The Big Chill, which garnered three Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Glenn Close) and Best Screenplay. With Marcia Nasatir Productions, she independently produced the Vietnam drama Hamburger Hill and Ironweed, starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep.

At 92 years old, Marcia is an active member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and serves on the Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee.

Documentary on Son of Holocaust Survivors ‘The Presence of Their Absence’ Coming to Digital Feb. 26 From Virgil

The Presence of Their Absence, a documentary following the investigative travels of a son of Holocaust survivors, is coming to digital Feb. 26 from Virgil Films.

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Director Donna Kanter follows Fred Zaidman on a journey to trace his inherited trauma as he uses scant clues from his late parents, who were Holocaust survivors, to find his roots. While growing up, Zaidman’s mother Renate spoke incessantly of her pain while his father Wolf virtually shut down. In his early sixties, he embarks on a quest to discover what had happened to his family in Poland during the Shoah with one primary goal — to find a single photo of his grandparents. His journey takes him to Poland, Israel, Germany and finally to Atlanta, where he receives a helping hand from an unlikely source – a Baptist minister.

View the trailer here.