By Casey Cipriani | Indiewire June 28, 2013 at 12:00PM
Opening In: New York
Synopsis: "Gideon's Army" follows the personal stories of Travis Williams, Brandy Alexander and June Hardwick, three young public defenders who are part of a small group of idealistic lawyers in the Deep South challenging the assumptions that drive a criminal justice system strained to the breaking point. Backed by mentor Jonathan “Rap” Rapping, a charismatic leader who heads the Southern Public Defender Training Center (now known as Gideon’s Promise) they struggle against long hours, low pay and staggering caseloads so common that even the most committed often give up in their first year. Nearly 50 years since the landmark Supreme Court ruling Gideon vs. Wainwright that established the right to counsel, can these courageous lawyers revolutionize the way America thinks about indigent defense and make "justice for all" a reality?
"How to Make Money Selling Drugs"
Opening In: New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Atlanta (Expanding July 5 and July 12)
Synopsis: A shockingly candid examination of how a street dealer can rise to cartel lord with relative ease, How to Make Money Selling Drugs is an insider’s guide to the violent but extremely lucrative drug industry. Told from the perspective of former drug dealers, and featuring interviews with rights advocates Russell Simmons, Susan Sarandon, and David Simon (creator of "The Wire"), the film gives you the lessons you need to start your own drug empire while exposing the corruption behind the "war on drugs."
"I'm So Excited"
Opening In: New York, Los Angeles
Synopsis: A very varied group of people are in a precarious situation aboard a plane flying to Mexico City. A technical failure (a kind of justifiable negligence, even though it sounds contradictory, but that's what human actions are) has endangered the lives of the passengers on Peninsula Flight 2549. The pilots, hardened, experienced professionals are striving, along with their colleagues in the Control Center, to find a solution. The flight attendants and the chief steward are atypical, baroque characters who, in the face of danger, try to forget their own personal problems and devote themselves body and soul to the task of making the flight as enjoyable as possible for the passengers, while they wait for a solution. Life in the clouds is as complicated as it is at ground level, and for the same reasons, which could be summarized in two: sex and death. The travelers in Business Class consist of a pair of newlyweds, party goers, worn out by their wedding celebration; a financier and embezzler; unscrupulous in business but also a father afﬂicted by his daughter's estrangement; an inveterate Don Juan with an uneasy conscience who is trying to say goodbye to one of his women (girlfriends); a rural psychic; a queen of the gossip magazines and a Mexican with an important secret. Each of them has a project in Mexico City, either to work or to escape. They all have some kind of secret, not just the Mexican. Their defenselessness in the face of danger provokes a general catharsis among the passengers and the crew, and this ends up becoming the best way to escape from the idea of death. This catharsis, developed in the tone of a riotous, moral comedy, fills the time with sensational confessions that help them forget the anguish of the moment.
Opening In: New York, Boston, Seattle, Denver, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, Gainsville (July 5 Los Angeles, San Diego, July 19 Phoenix, Tempe)
Synopsis: Laurence Anyways tells the story of an impossible love between Frederique and her long-term boyfriend Laurence, a man who reveals his inner desire to become his true self: a woman. Set during the late 1980s and early 1990s, the story spans a decade, chronicling the doomed love of Fred and Laurence, as well as the trials and tribulations that they face. The film begins by introducing Laurence, an average 35-year-old man, who is an award-winning novelist and literature teacher in Montreal. He is very much in love with his girlfriend, the fiery and passionate Frederique. On the day of his birthday, he reveals to Fred his biggest secret: he has felt for his entire life that he was born in the wrong body and says that he has been living a lie. He wishes to rectify his situation and restart his life as a woman. Fred accuses him of being gay, and takes the news hard. They separate for a short time, but she arrives at the conclusion, much to the chagrin of her mother and sister, that she must be there for Laurence. Their romance resumes and Fred becomes Laurence’s biggest supporter. She teaches Laurence how to do her makeup and buys her a wig. She urges Laurence to dress as her true self, in female clothing. Laurence shows up to work one day in a dress. All seemingly goes well until she is released from her position at the school due to the negative reception of her transformation.
Opening In: New York
Synopsis: To escape the pressures of growing up, magic-obsessed kids congregate at the one place they can be themselves: Tannen's Magic Camp, the world's oldest and most prestigious training ground for young magicians. They want to prove themselves on the same stage where superstars like Blaine and Copperfield once performed. To get there, they need more than sleight of hand. They have to find the magic inside. "Magic Camp" is an award-winning documentary from two-time Emmy-nominated director Judd Ehrlich ("Run for Your Life," "Mayor of the West Side") and the cinematographer of Sundance favorites "Word Wars" and "American Teen."