BAMcinemaFest, the summer series that last year celebrated the 20th anniversary of Kids, is back with some equally exciting offerings this year, and tickets go on sale tomorrow. If you thought the Anthony Weiner documentary would be hands-down the best Weiner movie of the year, note that it’ll have some competition when Todd Solondz’s long-awaited Welcome to the Dollhouse follow-up, Wiener-Dog, screens at BAM on June 17.
The film– Solondz’s first since Dark Horse in 2011– features B+B favorite Greta Gerwig as Dawn Wiener, now all grown up into a veterinary assistant who takes a dachshund (“Wiener-dog!”) on a road trip. Zosia Mamet, Danny DeVito, Ellen Burstyn, and Kieran Culkin are also in the mix. The screening will be followed by a rare q&a with the publicity-shy director.
Solondz is considered by some to be a relic of ’90s indie culture, but not as much as JT Leroy is. The mysterious cross-dressing prostitute turned novelist counted people like Lou Reed, Shirley Manson, Tom Waits, and Dennis Cooper as fans before it was revealed in a New York magazine expose that the wig-wearing wunderkind was actually a character fabricated by writer Laura Albert. According to Vulture’s review of Author: The JT LeRoy Story, Jeff Feuerzeig’s new documentary “makes Albert’s case about as thoroughly and eloquently as possible,” in part via recordings of LeRoy’s conversations with fans like Courtney Love and Billy Corgan. The June 17 screening will be followed by a q&a with Albert and Feuerzeig.
While recounting her time as JT LeRoy at The Moth, Albert described the formative experience of watching Streetwise, the 1984 documentary by Martin Bell based on the photos his wife Mary Ellen Mark took of homeless children living in Seattle. As it so happens, Streetwise will screen at BAM alongside a new film by Bell, Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell, which brings us up to date on one of the older film’s subjects, Erin Blackwell, a 14-year-old prostitute who went on to become the mother of 10 children.
The JT LeRoy doc will also be shown at the Rooftop Films Summer Series on August 18. Another film the two fests have in common is Little Men, directed by Brooklyn filmmaker Ira Sachs (Love Is Strange, Keep the Lights On). It’s about two young friends in a South Brooklyn neighborhood whose friendship is challenged when the father of one (Greg Kinnear) raises the rent on the immigrant mother of the other (Paulina Garcia). According to Vulture, the gentrification tale is saved from being a simple good-guy-vs.-bad-guy story by “luminous characterizations and big-hearted filmmaking.” It plays at BAM on June 15, plays again at Industry City as part of the Rooftop Films Summer Series on July 15, and opens wide August 5.
Also intriguing: Nick Kroll’s and Jenny Slate’s latest turns on the big screen, following the stand-up comics’ pairing in My Blind Brother. In Joshy, the titular character (played by Thomas Middleditch of Silicon Valley) gets, well, ditched in the middle of his engagement, but his buddies decide to go through with his bachelor party in Ojai, California anyway. Among these bros is Kroll and, yes, Brooklyn’s own Alex Ross Perry. Vulture spoke to director Jeff Baena and some of his castmembers, including Brett Gelman and Adam Pally, at Sundance in February.
Speaking of Silicon Valley, a writer for the show, Carson Mell, is making his directorial debut with Another Evil, an exorcism horror-comedy that stars another HBO star, Steve Zissis of Togetherness.
Also not to be missed is cult director Werner Herzog’s latest doc, Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World. You’ll recall this one garnered headlines when Herzog railed against social media during its Sundance premiere, so maybe don’t tweet anything about the film unless you want to be scolded in a severe, world-weary German accent.
For the full slate of films, head to the BAMcinemaFest website. Tickets go on sale to the general public May 26.