Third Party Films is an award-winning production company based in New York City. We produce dynamic, creative documentaries and innovative media platforms for cinema, television, and beyond. Our films have played in festivals around the world, including winning multiple Special Jury Awards at Sundance and an Emmy.
The Daily Beast
Sundance’s Best Documentary: ‘Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer’
Pussy Riot is "One of the most important documentaries of the year."
Tom Huddleston, Time Out
The story is powerful, the people and battlelines perfectly drawn.
This engaging documentary challenges the hazy moral distinction between state-sanctioned arms dealers and their black-market counterparts.
Impressive: a disturbing and darkly funny portrait of a complex, frightening individual.
A trip down the rabbit hole of fake news, Our New President is a satire about the Russian media and its take on American politics. Moving between Kremlin-controlled network news and colorful reinterpretations of this news diet by average Russians, the film charts Trump’s election with reports produced by Putin’s propaganda machine. Overseen by Dmitry Kiselyov, host of the most watched news program on Russian television, a media empire works overtime to sabotage Hillary Clinton while celebrating Donald Trump. Moving through Trump’s first year in office, one piece of fake news at a time, the film compiles material produced by three channels: Russia-1, Russia Today, and the formerly independent network, NTV. A film about the news that is entirely devoid of true statements, this is a portrait of modern-day propaganda and its dissemination across the world. Brace yourself for the “true” story of Our New President.
Directed by Alexandra Stergiou and Lexi Henigman
Produced by Alexandra Stergiou
Executive Producers Gerasimos Petratos and Maxim Pozdorovkin
Director of Photography Joe Bender
Editor Lexi Henigman
Since 1996, the wonderfully diverse students of a Queens public high school have staged an elaborate mock presidential election for an entire semester, simulating the American electoral process against the backdrop of the real one. In 2016, Ukranian-American Daniel hams it up as a cocky Donald Trump, while Pakistani-American Misbah, an observant Muslim, portrays Hillary Clinton, with also-rans like earthy Jill Stein thrown in for good measure. As the students reenact the rigors of the divisive political campaign, hard truths about politics are revealed, yet hope lives on.
Directed by Victoria Kupchinetsky
Co-directed by Joe Bender
Produced by Misha Gutkin & Maxim Pozdorovkin
Director of Photography Joe Bender
When the construction of a gas pipeline threatens the rural communities of Upstate New York, the residents look to their rebellious ancestors, rise up against corporate power, and score a victory for democracy. The Town that Shot the Sheriff tells the story of modern-day crusaders who resist the corporate forces that threaten their environment.
In the sleepy Catskills mountains, farmers and residents have lived close to the land for generations. That way of life is shattered overnight when a natural gas company announces plans for a pipeline to carry fracked gas from Pennsylvania to the coast. To make room for the pipeline, they will seize hundreds of acres of private land and cut 700,000 trees, violating property owners’ rights in the process. One local landowner puts it in no uncertain terms: “They’re destroying the American dream.”
As the pipeline fight heats up and local residents plan their resistance, they draw inspiration from the Anti-Rent War, a rebellion led by their ancestors in the 1840s. Back then, New York State farmers revolted against aristocratic landlords who held them in indentured servitude. The farmers called themselves “Calico Indians”, invented wild disguises to protect their identities, wore grotesque leather masks and robes of calico. Armed with pitchforks and rifles, they descended from the hills in menacing costumed gangs to harass the authorities in what they called the Second American Revolution. Their flamboyant uprising resulted in one dead sheriff, land reform across America, and the creation of the Republican Party.
The Town that Shot the Sheriff tells a story of modern-day resistance and weaves together vérité scenes, interviews, archive, and animation. It looks beyond media stereotypes to creates a portrait of rural America rooted in history and explores how far people are prepared to go to fight for their home, their land, their heritage, and for justice.
The film could not be more timely. New York State has emerged as a major obstacle for President Trump’s plan to unleash America’s fossil-fuel resources. Through the story of the Calico Indians, rebellious American history becomes a resonant backdrop for the modern shale energy boom, with its stories of prosperity, loss, and economic disparity. At a time of deep division and misunderstanding, this story from Upstate New York celebrates the American spirit and proves that grassroots democracy can win against entrenched economic interests.
A co-production with World to World Productions
A work of science non-fiction
Writing in 1942 and foreseeing a time when robots are everywhere, science fiction writer Isaac Asimov devised a series of laws to protect humans from robots. Asimov’s first law was: “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.” The future that Asimov envisioned is upon us.
The Truth About Killer Robots considers three robot-inflicted deaths as a window into global automation and its consequences. Starting in Germany with the death of a worker at a Volkswagen factory, we hear from auto-workers who sense their numbers thinning. At the Foxconn recruiting center in China, robotic advances in fine motor skills, needed for cell phone assembly, have pushed workers out of factories and into the service sector.
The first of several deaths resulting from self-driving cars have largely been written off as cases of human negligence, but these incidents reveal a legal system ill-equipped to deal with technology’s pace. As the biggest part of the service sector, driving is the profession where economic disturbances begin to be felt immediately. As artificial intelligence scales across the service sector, even jobs requiring college degrees begin to be absorbed by automation.
But the greatest threat that robots pose to humanity goes beyond job displacement. As humans adjust their lives to the rhythm of machines, their faculties atrophy, and human connection becomes ever more remote.
Exploring provocative viewpoints from engineers, factory workers, journalists, philosophers and Asimov himself, The Truth About Killer Robots is a cautionary tale about a world automating beyond control.
Directed by Maxim Pozdorovkin
Produced by Joe Bender, Maxim Pozdorovkin, and Jenny Lim
Director of Photography Joe Bender
Documentary, In Production
After several bank robberies carried out in the name of art (and money), video artist and former MIT professor Joseph Gibbons leaves prison, re-enters the art world, and tries to go straight for the very first time.
— An Artificially Intelligent Program —
Confessional is a social experiment that uses real people to teach a computer program what it means to be human.
Clínica de Migrantes investigates the intersection between immigration and health care through the work of Puentes de Salud, a volunteer-run network of clinics providing preventive care to the Latino community of South Philadelphia.
For updates on screenings and events, visit the film's Facebook page.
Winner of the Jury Award for Best Short at Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.
Winner of the Norman Vaughan Indomitable Spirit Award at Telluride Mountainfilm.
Winner of the Jury Award for Best Documentary Short at Palm Springs Shortfest.
A film by Maxim Pozdorovkin and Mike Lerner
Filmed over the course of six months, this film tells the incredible story of three young women: Nadia, Masha and Katia. As members of the feminist art collective Pussy Riot, they performed a 40-second 'punk prayer' inside Russia's main cathedral. This performance led to their arrest on charges of religious hatred and culminated in a trial that has reverberated around the world and transformed the face of Russian society forever.
With unparalleled access and exclusive footage, this film looks at the real people behind their now famous colorful balaclavas.
From their family and friends we learn what transformed these women from political activists into modern-day icons. As Nadia, Masha and Katia defend their convictions from a cage inside the courtroom, those Pussy Riot members still at liberty plan new guerilla performances and cultivate a protest movement across the globe.
A film by Tony Gerber and Maxim Pozdorovkin
Sundance Film Festival 2014 World Cinema Documentary Competition
2014, 94 minutes, USA/Russia
Viktor Bout was a Russian entrepreneur, a war profiteer, an aviation magnate, an arms smuggler and, strangest of all, an amateur filmmaker. Until three days prior to his 2008 arrest on charges of conspiring to kill Americans, Bout kept the camera running, documenting a life spent in the gray areas of international law. Dubbed the "merchant of death" and portrayed by Nicolas Cage in LORD OF WAR, Viktor Bout can justifiably be called the world's most famous arms dealer. With unprecedented access to Bout's home movies and DEA surveillance material gathered during the sting operation to bring him down, THE NOTORIOUS MR. BOUT is a portrait of a life much mythologized but little understood.
For more information and upcoming screenings, connect with us on Facebook.
A film by Maxim Pozdorovkin and Joe Bender
What does it mean for a nation to start anew? For Kazakhstan, the answer is to build Astana, the world's youngest capital, a utopian city of the future where skyscrapers and cranes stretch as far as the eye can see. Construction workers, TV reporters, and official tour guides spend their lives in the service of this city-in-progress. Capital, a documentary film by Maxim Pozdorovkin and Joe Bender, tells the story of Kazakhstan's new capital as it celebrates its tenth anniversary. Military parades, monumental architecture, song competitions, and human pyramids are only one side of the story; the other tells of thousands of migrants arriving to take part in their nation's new experiment. They come to Astana to build its golden monuments, to keep its markets open long after dark, and to push the city's frontiers deeper into the empty plains. Longtime residents watch as a glistening new city rises up across the river and their dusty Soviet village turns into a "pearl of the steppe." As fear over the global financial climate spreads, leaving construction sites empty and the future of Kazakhstan's dream city uncertain, the residents find themselves caught between the official vision of Astana and the realities of life on utopia's outskirts.
Filmed on location in Astana, Kazakhstan, Capital offers a glimpse into the ongoing development of a metropolis and the symbol of a nation.
Dir. Joe Bender
On 10/18/2014 The Budos Band blazed a trail through Brooklyn on a bar crawl to promote the release of their latest record, Burnt Offering. Set to 'Shattered Winds'.
Shot, edited and released in 72 hours.
Filmed at the site of Eric Garner's murder in Staten Island, NY, the video captures a community in mourning. Members of Eric Garner's family appear throughout. They gather to build a memorial and stage a 'die-in' at the sight where Garner took his last breath. They hold candles and look back at us, continuing to bear witness to the tragedy of Eric Garner's last words.
The documentary feature OUR NEW PRESIDENT will premiere in the World Documentary Competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT. Slated to premiere on opening day of the festival, the film has already been noted as one of "Six Films to Know" at Sundance 2018 by the New York Times!
Idris Elba’s Jamaica-set directorial debut, as well as a documentary on the women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred and an examination of President Trump’s election entirely through Russian propaganda will be among more than 100 movies shown at the next Sundance Film Festival in January.
"Our New President," a comic documentary from Maxim Pozdorovkin, dives into Mr. Trump’s elevation to the White House through the lens of fake news and Russian propaganda.
Read more here.
The jury at the 2016 Palm Springs International Film Festival's ShortFest awarded Clínica de Migrantes: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness Best Documentary Short. Read more here.
Clínica de Migrantes: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness received the Norman Vaughan Indomitable Spirit Award. Read more about the award here.
Third Party Films premiered its latest documentary, Clínica de Migrantes: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina in April, where it received the Jury Award for Best Short.
Here's what the Jury said about Clínica de Migrantes:
“With extraordinary access and moving vérité footage, Clínica de Migrantes tells the powerful story of what happens when undocumented immigrants are denied basic human rights. The film takes us on an emotional journey with the staff and patients at a volunteer-run clinic where undocumented immigrants receive medical care, and addresses a critical issue in a way that is so human and real that we unanimously agreed it must be awarded this year’s Best Short Award.”
We offer a full range of production services for independent filmmakers and content producers, including:
Assembling your production, setting up a solid data management plan for contemporary 4K+ workflows, handling the ins and outs of conform/color/delivery - the devil's in the details, and we can help simplify your process so you can concentrate on creating.
Maxim Pozdorovkin is an award-winning director and producer based in New York City. He is the director of five feature-length documentaries and numerous short films, including The Truth About Killer Robots, Our New President, The Notorious Mr. Bout, Pussy Riot: a Punk Prayer, and Capital. Maxim holds a PhD from Harvard University and was a junior fellow at Harvard's Society of Fellows.
Joe Bender is a cinematographer and producer whose award-winning documentaries have screened in festivals around the world. He most recently lensed and produced The Truth About Killer Robots (HBO), which premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, and The Candidates, which premiered at DOC NYC. He produced the Sundance award-winning Our New President (2018) and was named among DOC NYC's 40 under 40 (2018). Other recent work as Director of Photography appears in documentary films and series for HBO, National Geographic, PBS and TED, among others. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University.
View a sample of Joe's recent work here.
Matvey Kulakov is an award-winning editor and composer. His first feature, Our New President, premiered at Sundance 2018 where it won a Special Jury Award for Editing. As a member of The Presidential Band, he scored both Our New President and The Truth About Killer Robots (TIFF 2018, HBO).
Jenny Lim is an award-winning filmmaker and producer based in New York City. Her first short film, “The Dance,” screened at the Tribeca Film Festival when she was in high school. Jenny graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, from the Visual and Environmental Studies Department at Harvard University in 2012. She has worked with Third Party Films on a variety of documentary features, shorts and series.
Jeanne worked with Third Party Films on the HBO short Clínica de Migrantes and the Pussy Riot music video I Can't Breathe. She edited Tim Sutton's narrative Dark Night, which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and was an additional editor for Joshua Z. Weinstein's Menashe (Sundance 2017) and Sebastián Silva's Nasty Baby (Sundance 2015). Short film credits include Sebastián Silva's Dolfun and Terence Nance's Jimi Could Have Fallen From The Sky.