a/perture cinema launches a new signature series in 2021 – LUMINARIES – to celebrate filmmakers and industry professionals who break down walls, challenge stereotypes and lead with originality. These luminaries are legends in the making. Featuring film screenings, q&a’s and panels spread throughout the year which showcase significant works of each honoree. Each luminaries year will be capped off with a visit and community conversation with the honoree.


Iranian-American filmmaker Ramin Bahrani was born in Winston-Salem. His films have won awards and acclaim all over the world, from Venice to Cannes. Bahrani is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Someone to Watch Independent Spirit Award in 2008. His films have won numerous awards: Goodbye Solo won the Critics’ Prize for best film at the Venice Film Festival (2009), and 99 Homes won Michael Shannon SAG and Golden Globe nominations in 2015.

Schedule (will be updated as new events are added):

Ramin Bahrani Shorts Collection

Now playing in virtual cinema

Over his over twenty year career, Ramin Bahrani has written, directed and produced several short films. This compilation will feature several including Plastic Bag (2009), Lift You Up (2014) and Blood Kin (2018).

 Rent Now


Opens in-theater on October 29th


A hardworking Maltese fisherman, Jesmark is faced with an agonizing choice. He can repair his leaky fishing boat in the hopes of eking out a meager living at sea for his wife and newborn son, just as his father and grandfather did before him. Or he can decommission it in exchange for an EU payout and cast his lot with a sinister black-market operation that is decimating the Mediterranean fish population and the livelihoods of the local families who depend on it. Luzzu won a Sundance Jury Prize for its nonprofessional lead actor Jesmark Scicluna, a real-life Maltese fisherman, and heralds the arrival of writer-director-editor Alex Camilleri.

more info

+ MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED including a series of films that inspired Ramin, screenings of other films and a live conversation with Ramin in the Fall.

Past screenings & events

Life Itself (2014)

April 1-30 – now playing in our virtual cinema

Featured In

In 2009, the late film critic Roger Ebert said, “Ramin Bahrani is the new great American director. After three films, each a masterwork, he has established himself as a gifted, confident filmmaker with ideas that involve who and where we are at this time. His films pay great attention to ordinary lives that are not so ordinary at all.” Ramin is interviewed in this award-winning documentary from filmmaker Steve James chronicling the life of Roger Ebert – his career highlights, his battle with alcohol, and his sometimes ruthless rivalry with fellow critic Gene Siskel.

Chop Shop (2007)

April 23 – outdoor or drive-in screening @ INDUSTRY HILL


Rent this movie through our physical ta/ke out library today!

For his acclaimed follow-up to Man Push Cart (see next), Ramin Bahrani once again turned his camera on a slice of New York City rarely seen on-screen: Willets Point, Queens, an industrial sliver of automotive-repair shops that remains perpetually at risk of being redeveloped off the map. It’s within this precarious ecosystem that twelve-year-old Ale (Alejandro Polanco) must grow up fast, hustling in the neighborhood chop shops to build a more stable life for himself and his sister (Isamar Gonzales) even as their tenuous circumstances force each to compete with other struggling people and make desperate decisions. A deeply human story of a fierce but fragile sibling bond being tested by hardscrabble reality, Chop Shop tempers its sobering authenticity with flights of lyricism and hope.

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Man Push Cart (2005)

April 24 – opening in virtual cinema


Rent this movie through our physical ta/ke out library today!

A modest miracle of twenty-first-century neorealism, the acclaimed debut feature by Ramin Bahrani speaks quietly but profoundly to the experiences of those living on the margins of the American dream. Back in his home country of Pakistan, Ahmad (Ahmad Razvi, elements of whose own life story were woven into the script) was a famous rock star. Now a widower separated from his son and adrift in New York, he works long hours selling coffee and bagels from a midtown Manhattan food cart, engaged in a Sisyphean search for human connection and a sense of purpose that seems perpetually just out of reach. A rare immigrant’s-eye view of a post-9/11 city suffused with subtle paranoia and xenophobia, Man Push Cart gives at once empathetic and clear-eyed expression to the everyday drama of human endurance.

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Socrates (2018)

May 7 – opening in virtual cinema


After his mother’s sudden death, Socrates, a 15-year-old living on the margins of São Paulo’s coast, must survive on his own. As he faces isolation because of his sexuality, his search for a decent worthy life reaches a breaking point. Produced by Ramin Bahrani (99 Homes), Socrates is the debut feature from 29-year-old Brazilian-American filmmaker Alexandre Moratto. It is the first feature produced by the Querô Institute in Brazil where it was co-written, produced, and acted by at-risk teenagers from local low-income communities, with the support of UNICEF. From executive producer Fernando Meirelles (City Of God).

Lit/Flix with Bookmarks featuring The White Tiger (2021)

June 6 @ 3pm – virtual (Film is available on Netflix, book is available for purchase @ Bookmarks)


The stunning Booker Prize-winning novel from Aravind Adiga, the author of Amnesty and Selection Day, that critics have likened to Richard Wright’s Native Son, The White Tiger follows a darkly comic Bangalore driver through the poverty and corruption of modern India’s caste society.

Perhaps it was fated that Ramin Bahrani would direct an adaptation of Adiga’s The White Tiger—the book is dedicated to him, after all. As friends and former classmates at Columbia University, Bahrani read drafts of Adiga’s novel four years before it was published and became a New York Times bestseller.

The white tiger of this novel is Balram Halwai, a poor Indian villager whose great ambition leads him to the zenith of Indian business culture, the world of the Bangalore entrepreneur. On the occasion of the president of China’s impending trip to Bangalore, Balram writes a letter to him describing his transformation and his experience as driver and servant to a wealthy Indian family, which he thinks exemplifies the contradictions and complications of Indian society.

Please join a/perture and Bookmarks for a virtual book and film club with special guests Amit Battacharya, Cinematography Faculty at UNCSA and Dr. Tanisha Ramichandran, Director, Religion and Public Engagement at Wake Forest University to compare the book and the film.


Goodbye Solo (2009)

September 10 – outdoor @ MUSE


Solo (Souléymane Sy Savané) is a Senegalese cab driver in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, working hard to provide for his wife and child. When he picks up William (Red West), an old man with seemingly nothing left to live for, Solo makes it his personal mission to convince William that life is worth living, despite William’s insistence that he just wants to be left alone. As they reveal more of their lives, both men realize they need each other more than either is willing to admit.

99 Homes (2015)

Date TBD


Set in Florida, during the Great Recession, the film follows single father Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield) and his family as they are evicted from their home by businessman Rick Carver (Michael Shannon), leading to Nash choosing to help Carver in evicting people out of their homes in exchange for his family’s home. Bahrani dedicated this film to the late film critic Roger Ebert.


Thanks to the following sponsors for helping us make this series a reality. We are looking for more sponsors so if interested in a supporting a/perture and marketing your business/organization in a unique way please email lawren@aperturecinema.com