OVID’s December Lineup: Philanthropic Art Forgery, Bill Callahan, Alain Kassanda’s Congolese Family Reckoning, Alex Karpovsky x 2 & more!
OVID.tv is proud to announce its December slate of 16 streaming releases, five of which are exclusives.
Indie dramas include Zach Clark’s Little Sister with Addison Timlin and Ally Sheedy—praised by Richard Brody of The New Yorker as “an instant classic!” Plus two films by and starring Alex Karpovsky: Woodpecker and his debut The Hole Story, praised by Filmmaker Magazine as “equal measures Woody Allen and Werner Herzog… One of the most original American comedies in a long time.”
OVID will also present an impressionistic tour film with enigmatic Drag City singer-songwriter Bill Callahan, and a doc about an under-the-radar post-punk outfit from Kansas known as The Embarrassment.
Exclusive premieres include The New York Times Critic’s Pick Colette and Justin by Alain Kassanda, described by Concepción de León from The Times as “both intimate and political; informative and profound.” Another exclusive, When Banana Ruled, will have you never thinking about bananas the same way again (and possibly never eating them again, either…).
We’ve noticed viewers are fascinated by art forgery, so this month we bring another captivating doc, Art & Craft, about Mark Landis—one of the most prolific art forgers in US history, who crosses the path of a discerning registrar who exposes his antics alongside a chorus of museum professionals urging for him to stop.
Full details on December’s complete lineup are below!
(Image from Alain Kassanda's Colette and Justin, premiering on OVID on December 8th)
Friday, December 1
Amateur on Plastic
Directed by Mark Robinson
Factory 25 | Documentary | USA | 2020
A Washington, D.C. rock legend, Maryland-born Byron Henry “Butch” Willis came of age in the late ’70s post-hippie subculture. After sharing an apartment with infamous local music icon Root Boy Slim, Butch was inspired to become a rock’n’roll star himself. The unique and unusual brand of “outsider music” that Butch Willis & The Rocks created captivated the local music scene beginning with their appearance at the seminal Primitive Night in 1984. Amateur on Plastic chronicles Butch’s life and career from the beginning all the way through to the present day.
“Butch Willis’ quavering bleat evokes a herd of mistreated sheep.” —Washington City Paper
“DC legend Butch Willis is a bit difficult to explain. The long-lost child of Daniel Johnston and Bob Seger, raised in a basement by John Waters.” —Boston Hassle
Apocalypse: A Bill Callahan Tour Film
Directed by Hanly Banks
Factory 25 | Documentary | USA | 2014
This strikingly impressionistic concert documentary follows enigmatic Drag City singer-songwriter Bill Callahan on a two-week tour from California to New York. For the past 25 years, under the Smog moniker and under his own name, Callahan has cultivated a legacy as both a pioneer in the lo-fi movement and one of the country’s finest troubadours. An austere and beautiful portrait of both the musician and the multifarious American landscape.
“A tantalizing glimpse of a determinedly outsider talent.” —The New York Times
“Gorgeous and disarming.” —Spin
“Warm and open.” —Pitchfork
Tuesday, December 5
The Hole Story
Directed by Alex Karpovsky
With Alex Karpovsky
Factory 25 | Feature | USA | 2005
An aspiring television producer cashes in his life savings to produce the pilot to a documentary television series, only to find himself in a battle with nature, reality and his own internal demons.
“Amazing. Hilarious, smart, and surprisingly profound… One of those films that you want to push on people. It’s a fine achievement and a wonderful debut.” —Indiewire
“I fell in love with it and have not been able to get it out of my head…. One of the saddest and funniest debuts I’ve ever seen.” —New York Press
Directed by Alex Karpovsky
With Jon Hyrns and Alex Karpovsky
Factory 25 | Feature | USA | 2008
About an obsessive search through the Arkansas bayou for proof that the ivory-billed woodpecker is not extinct.
“A birdwatchers’ Best in Show, Alex Karpovsky’s mock-doc Woodpecker stretches its single joke to feature length, earning a beakful of yuks.” —Variety
“After 10 minutes, you’re going to be questioning and second-guessing. That’s part of the ass-backwards, off-kilter enjoyment of the film.” —Cinematical
Wednesday, December 6
When Banana Ruled (La loi de la banane)
Directed by Mathilde Damoisel
Icarus Films | Documentary | France | 2018
The story of the men who made bananas the most ubiquitous fruit in the world through a multinational empire that dominated production and sales, overthrew governments, and created a business model still largely used by today’s tech giants.
“An enlightening story, rich in archival footage, about a fruit that has become the symbol of colonialism, corruption, and the advent of capitalism.” —France Inter
“Illustrates the beginnings of American imperialism and reflects on the legacy left by the United Fruit Company in Latin America.” —Le Monde
“A parable on the origins of neo-liberalism. It’s enough to make you a bananaphobe.” —Télérama
OVID EXCLUSIVE – SVOD PREMIERE
Thursday, December 7
Art & Craft
Directed by Sam Cullman, Jennifer Grausman & Mark Becker
Oscilloscope | Documentary | USA | 2014
Mark Landis has been called one of the most prolific art forgers in US history, though he isn’t in it for money. Posing as a philanthropic donor, Landis has given away hundreds of works over the years to institutions across the United States. But after duping Matthew Leininger, a tenacious registrar who ultimately discovers the decades-long ruse and sets out to expose his philanthropic escapades to the art world, Landis must confront his own legacy and a chorus of museum professionals clamoring for him to stop. What starts out as a cat-and-mouse art caper, rooted in questions of authorship and authenticity, becomes an intimate story of obsession and the universal need for community, appreciation, and purpose.
“The story of Landis’ folly is exactly what makes this film so captivating… The viewer can’t help but empathize for the lone man riddled with schizophrenia and other mental handicaps.” —The Daily Beast
Friday, December 8
Colette and Justin
Directed by Alain Kassanda
Icarus Films | Documentary | USA | 2023
Born in Kinshasa and living in Paris, filmmaker Alain Kassanda endeavors to understand the colonial legacy from which he comes, convincing his grandparents, Colette and Justin, to speak about their time living in the Congo as it achieved independence from Belgium. More than a film about family reminiscences, Kassanda reclaims and recontextualizes black-and-white archival footage shot by Belgian colonizers to weave their story, which pivots around the assassination of Prime Minister Lumumba and the seizure of power by Mobutu Sese Seko in the coup d’état of 1965.
“NYT Critics’ Pick! A film both intimate and political; informative and profound.” —The New York Times
“A deeply personal, sometimes poetic, sometimes harrowing (hi)story of oppression, revolution, betrayal, disillusionment and love.” —Business Doc Europe
“Connects Congolese history to family history… a thoughtful debut.” —The Film Verdict
OVID EXCLUSIVE – SVOD PREMIERE
Directed by Zach Clark
With Addison Timlin, Ally Sheedy, Keith Poulson
Factory 25 | Feature | USA | 2016
A young nun avoids all contact from her family until an email from her mother announces her brother has returned from service in Iraq. During her visit, tensions rise and fall with a little help from Halloween, pot cupcakes, and GWAR. Little Sister is a schmaltz-free and pathos-drenched tragicomedy about family.
“An instant classic.” —Richard Brody, The New Yorker
“Channels John Waters and John Hughes.” —Rolling Stone
“Little Sister handles volatile material — the effects of war, cultural and military, on young Americans — with a lighter touch. The movie suggests that some kind of reconciliation might be possible in this deeply divided country, in a way that is funny, disarmingly sincere and forgivably naïve.” —The New York Times, Critic’s Pick
“Addison Timlin and Ally Sheedy lead a pitch-perfect ensemble.” —The Hollywood Reporter
Tuesday, December 12
Down in Shadowland
Directed by Tom Di Cillo
Factory 25 | Documentary | USA | 2016
The film consists of footage Tom DiCillo shot over seven years while underground in the NYC subway system. Using a small, hand-held camera, DiCillo was able to capture moments of intimacy, violence, and beauty.
“Tom DiCillo has made an extraordinary film that is simultaneously meditative and exhilarating, surreal, and often heartbreakingly beautiful, Down In Shadowland is a masterpiece of keenly observed human experience that transforms the subway underground into something deeply mysterious and mystical.” –Steve Buscemi
“If the whole of humanity were marched before our eyes, it might resemble Tom DiCillo’s new film, Down In Shadowland, a descent into the subterranean universe of the iconic New York City subway.” –Barbara Pokras, Woodstock Film Festival
Thursday, December 14
We Were Famous, You Don’t Remember: The Embarrassment
Directed by Daniel Fetherston and Danny Szlauderbach
Music by The Embarrassment
Factory 25 | Documentary | USA | 2022
A long-awaited feature documentary about America’s gawkiest and greatest lost rock band. Surrounded by wheat fields, cowboys, and cars, four bespectacled misfits in Kansas — Bill Goffrier, Brent Giessmann, John Nichols, and Ron Klaus—grabbed instruments and blasted out “a ravenous strain of rock ‘n’ roll” as tuneful, brainy, and enthralling as anything coming from the coasts. Through original interviews, restored concert footage, and appearances by fans including Evan Dando, Freedy Johnston, Grant Hart, and Thomas Frank, this documentary shows how the band rose out of nowhere to become a post-punk legend that’s almost been forgotten—until now.
“Clever and exciting and totally transporting. It profers that the Embarrassment were as good as any rock band out of New York or L.A., and speculates that ‘it seemed to make no sense for them to have existed,’ as Danny puts it. They were a Black Swan.” —Spin
When I’m Done Dying (Bir Nefes Daha)
Directed by Nisan Dag
With Hayal Köseoglu, Ushan Çakir, Oktay Çubuk
Under the Milky Way | Feature | Turkey | 2020
An aspiring young rapper living in the Istanbul slum of Karacinar is addicted to a cheap drug, bonzai, which threatens his career ambitions and his relationship with an upper-class DJ.
“An intimate look into a reality of Turkish youths living in impoverished communities. Yes, it tells a unique, fictional story but the essence of reality is always present.” —Mettel Ray
Friday, December 15
Football Under Cover
Directed by David Assmann & Ayat Najafi
With Niloofar Basir, Narmila Fathi, Sanna El-Ag
Under the Milky Way | Documentary | Germany | 2008
An amateur female soccer team from Berlin goes on a nerve-wracking journey trying to carry out the first female soccer match in the history of Iran.
“A gripping, finely tooled documentary.” —Variety
“Exciting… A glimpse into Iran that you won’t see on the news.” —KinoCritics
OVID EXCLUSIVE – SVOD PREMIERE
Directed by Isabel Achával & Chiara Bondi
Distrib Films | Documentary | Italy | 2022
On the outskirts of Rome, six teams compete in the women’s soccer championship, the Las Leonas Trophy. All recent immigrants to Italy—the majority from South America—the participants work busy lives as caregivers and house cleaners throughout the city. Las Leonas follows the daily struggles, dreams, and frustrations of these women; each with their own story of emigration and family history, but united by a shared passion for soccer.
“Through football, these women feel like they are worth something, like they are the protagonists of their own lives.” —Isabel Achával & Chiara Bondi, interview in Cineuropa
OVID EXCLUSIVE – SVOD PREMIERE
Tuesday, December 19
Directed by Alexandre Rockwell
With Alexander Alexeieff, Alexander Rockwell
Factory 25 | Feature | USA | 1982
An adaptation of George Buchner’s novella, “Lenz”, chronicling the poet Jakob Lenz’s slide into insanity and madness. The setting is transposed from 18th-century Germany to New York in the early 1980s.
“Georg Buchner’s short story about a young schizophrenic sent to live with a country pastor transposed to a New York punk milieu.” —Jonathan Rosenbaum, The Chicago Reader
Thursday, December 21
Never Too Late for Love (Astolfo)
Directed by Gianni Di Gregorio
With Gianni Di Gregorio, Stefania Sandrelli, Simone Colombari, Agnese Nano, Alberto Testone
Distrib Films | Feature | Italy | 2022
Astolfo, a retired professor evicted from his apartment, decides to move into an old noble but decrepit palace, the last remnant of his family patrimony, in the remote village of Abruzzo, where he hasn’t been for decades. Soon enough, as a newcomer, he befriends a vagabond, a retired chef, and a young handyman. A group of four live harmoniously at his place when he comes across Stefania, a charming and generous woman of his age. Astolfo falls in love and struggles with feelings he thought belonged to the past. Encouraged by his loyal group, Astolfo makes a brave step and learns delightedly that it’s never too late to fall in love.
“A brilliant comedy casting a tender and disenchanted eye over the loves, ailments and infinite annoyances of the third age.” —Cineuropa
OVID EXCLUSIVE – SVOD PREMIERE
Directed by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt
With Catherine Frot, Albert Dupontel, Jacques Weber
Under the Milky Way | Feature | France | 2006
Odette dreams of thanking Balthazar Balsan, her favorite writer, for the optimism which she believes emanates from him. The wealthy and seductive writer is going to land in her life in a totally unexpected way. A story of a meeting between two unusual castaways who have nothing in common.
“A fantasy-laced look at how a mass-market author or a popular song can brighten a mundane existence, Odette Toulemonde is an adorable slice of magical realism that thumbs its cinematic nose at the intelligentsia.” —Variety
Complete list of films premiering on OVID this month (in alphabetical order):
Amateur on Plastic, Mark Robinson (2020)
Apocalypse: A Bill Callahan Tour Film, Hanly Banks (2014)
Art & Craft, Sam Cullman, Jennifer Grausman & Mark Becker (2014)
Colette and Justin, Alain Kassanda (2023)
Down in Shadowland, Tom Di Cillo
Football Under Cover, David Assmann & Ayat Najafi (2008)
Las Leonas, Isabel Achával & Chiara Bondi (2022)
Lenz, Alexandre Rockwell (1982)
Little Sister, Zach Clark (2016)
Never Too Late for Love (Astolfo), Gianni Di Gregorio (2022)
Odette Toulemonde, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt (2006)
The Hole Story, Alex Karpovsky (2005)
We Were Famous, You Don’t Remember: The Embarrassment, Daniel Fetherston & Danny Szlauderbach (2022)
When Banana Ruled (La loi de la banane), Mathilde Damoisel (2018)
When I’m Done Dying (Bir Nefes Daha), Nisan Dag (2020)
Woodpecker, Alex Karpovsky (2008)