Indie Film Release Guide: June 7th [An ONTD Original]

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The first weekend in June is a bit underwhelming from the big studios, who are bringing us a sequel to The Secret Life of Pets and a disastrously reviewed Dark Phoenix. But there are so many indies releasing this week, I couldn’t even fit them all in this post. Read on for info and trailers for Mindy’s new flick, A24’s latest acquisition, a ton of docs and more.

The films listed are from studios other than the “Big Six” - Paramount, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, Universal, Columbia and Disney. Note that some of the movies listed are in their first week or two of limited release in the USA, so it may take them a few more weeks (or months) to show up in your local arthouse theater or on VOD. Check out the posts from the past few weeks for more movies that may have just opened near you: May 31st, May 24th, and May 17th.

Late Night



Stars: Emma Thompson, Mindy Kaling, John Lithgow, Hugh Dancy
Writer: Mindy Kaling
Director: Nisha Ganatra
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Plot: Katherine Newbury is a pioneer and legendary host on the late-night talk-show circuit. When she's accused of being a "woman who hates women," she puts affirmative action on the to-do list, and --presto!--Molly is hired as the one woman in Katherine's all-male writers' room. But Molly might be too little too late, as the formidable Katherine also faces the reality of low ratings and a network that wants to replace her. Wanting to prove she's not merely a diversity hire who's disrupting the comfort of the brotherhood, Molly is determined to help Katherine revitalize her show and career--and possibly effect even bigger change at the same time.
What you should know: Mindy Kaling wrote the role of Katherine specifically for Emma Thompson.
Opens in: Select cities, then into wide release next weekend



The Last Black Man in San Francisco



Stars: Jimmie Fails, Jonathan Majors, Danny Glover, Tichina Arnold
Writer: Joe Talbot, Jimmie Fails, Rob Richert
Director: Joe Talbot
Genre: Drama
Plot: A young man searches for home in the changing city that seems to have left him behind.
What you should know: The film premiered at Sundance 2019, and was nominated for the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize. Director Joe Talbot won the Dramatic Directing Award.
Opens in: Select cities


Papi Chulo



Stars: Matt Bomer, Alejandro Patiña, Elena Campbell-Martinez, Wendi McLendon-Covey
Writer/Director: John Butler
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Plot: A lonely TV weatherman strikes up an unusual friendship with a middle-aged Latino migrant worker.
What you should know: Premiered at TIFF 2018.
Opens in: Select cities


Changeland



Stars: Seth Green, Rachel Bloom, Macaulay Culkin, Breckin Meyer
Writer/Director: Seth Green
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Plot: On the eve of his anniversary, Brandon discovers his wife is having an affair. Rather than confront her, he invites his childhood best friend, Dan, to join him on the prepaid trip to Thailand that he intended to surprise her with as a gift.
What you should know: Seth Green and Macaulay Culkin previously co-starred in the 2003 film Party Monster.
Opens in: Select theaters and available VOD


Leto (aka Summer)



Stars: Teo Yoo, Irina Starshenbaum, Roman Bilyk
Writer: Mikhail Idov, Lili Idova, Ivan Kapitonov, Kirill Serebrennikov
Director: Kirill Serebrennikov
Genre: Biography, Music, Romance
Plot: Leningrad, in the summer, early eighties. Smuggling LP’s by Lou Reed and David Bowie, the underground rock scene is boiling ahead of Perestroika. Mike and his beautiful wife Natasha meet with young Viktor Tsoï. Together with friends, they will change the trajectory of rock n’roll music in the Soviet Union.
What you should know: Based on the memoirs of Natalya Naumenko, the film is in Russian.
Opens in: Select cities


The Black Godfather



Director: Reginald Hudlin
Genre: Documentary
Storyline: Who is the Black Godfather? Witness the exceptional and unlikely rise of Clarence Avant, a music executive who influenced legends such as Bill Withers, Snoop Dogg, Quincy Jones, Muhammad Ali, Hank Aaron, Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and so many more.
What you should know: Clarence Avant is 88 years old, and has a star on the Walk of Fame.
Opens in: Select theaters and on Netflix


The Lavender Scare



Director: Josh Howard
Genre: Documentary
Storyline: With the United States gripped in the panic of the Cold War, President Dwight D. Eisenhower deems homosexuals to be "security risks" and orders the immediate firing of any government employee discovered to be gay or lesbian. It triggers a vicious witch hunt that lasts for forty years and ruins thousands of lives, while thrusting an unlikely hero into the forefront of what would become the modern LGBT rights movement.
What you should know: Based on the book of the same name by David K. Johnson.
Opens in: Select cities


Ghost Fleet



Director: Shannon Service, Jeffrey Waldron
Genre: Documentary
Storyline: Follows a small group of activists who risk their lives on remote Indonesian islands to find justice and freedom for the enslaved fishermen who feed the world's insatiable appetite for seafood. Bangkok-based Patima Tungpuchayakul, a Thai abolitionist, has committed her life to helping these "lost" men return home. Facing illness, death threats, corruption, and complacency, Patima's fearless determination for justice inspires her nation and the world.
What you should know: The film premiered at TIFF 2018.
Opens in: Select cities


This One’s For the Ladies



Director: Gene Graham
Genre: Documentary
Plot: This documentary explores the sexual and social identity of contemporary black America through intimate, eye opening and often hilarious accounts from women and men who find love and community in the underground world of exotic dancing.
What you should know: It's rated NC-17
Opens in: Select cities


The Raft



Director: Marcus Lindeen
Genre: Documentary
Plot: In 1973, five men and six women drifted across the Atlantic on a raft as part of a scientific experiment studying the sociology of violence, aggression and sexual attraction in human behavior. Although the project became known in the press as 'The Sex Raft', nobody expected what ultimately took place on that three month journey. Through extraordinary archive material and a reunion of the surviving members of the expedition on a full scale replica of the raft, this film tells the hidden story behind what has been described as 'one of the strangest group experiments of all time.'
What you should know: Won Best Documentary at the Chicago International Film Festival.
Opens in: Select cities

Also opening: Hallowed Ground (Trailer), Katie Says Goodbye (Trailer), Abduction (Trailer), Framing John Delorean (Trailer), Pavarotti (Trailer), Funan (Trailer)



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What have you been watching lately, ONTD? Seeing anything this weekend?