There’s such an abundance of film fests coming up that it’s hard to imagine hopping aboard the plagued NJ Transit and heading to suburban New Jersey for one– even if Stephen Colbert did do a Talking Heads cover in support of it. But this seems like a pretty good excuse to check out the Montclair Film Festival next month: a documentary about the making of Lee Ranaldo’s next album will screen May 5 and 6, with tickets going on sale Friday. Best part: The former Sonic Youth singer/guitarist himself will be on hand to play a couple of songs, and for a Q&A with filmmaker Fred Riedel.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that, since sometime late last week, almost everywhere you turn, people are in a rather dour mood. Could it be that nothing feels quite so exciting after watching a limousine burst into flames? Is it all downhill from here? True, Inauguration Day was pretty insane for a lot of people, and as good-quality club drugs have taught us, even the most gorgeously wild highs will inevitably come crashing down.
From what I understand, civic engagement is somewhat different than partying all night, but then again, getting back on the protest pony is just as taxing as snapping out of a hangover stupor– in both cases, technology makes things easier, but also harder. Why not just retweet some sick “Down with Prez Cheeto” slogan? Or if you’re really not in any hurry, there’s always Shia LaBeouf’s anti-Trump livestream— just be sure to get there sometime within the next four years.
But perhaps techy slacktivism really grinds your gears. Maybe you’re convinced that you have more to contribute than turning your body into an object of Monsieur LaBeouf’s amusement, but let’s be real, acting like a Shepard Fairey mural will just get you into trouble. (See, even Shia LaBeouf is not immune.) So how does one avoid either doing too little or going too far, both of which have equally great potential for compounding our current nightmare exponentially forever and ever? City Reliquary is here to help with a new series that promises to make you feel less ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ about democratic citizenry.
I’ll be the first to admit it, my total “experience” with voodoo involves not much more than occasional trips to my local botanica to refresh my incense supply, and subsequently stressing about my decision to go with the “Fast Luck Egyptian Money Drawing” candle (*alleged) over the Reverse Action Evil Eye one (*also alleged). Which is to say, I have exactly no actual experience. I’m totally gonna let the lovely Haitian shop owners dress my devotional candle of choice with what looks like confetti and smells like potpourri, because why not? In my understanding, it’s best to cover all your bases on the warpath to riches, and I’ll take any and all of the help that the Supernatural Powers That Be, whoever they may be, are willing to give me.
The series starts off straight away with a jury favorite: Do Not Resist won Tribeca’s Best Documentary Feature. Craig Atkinson’s directorial debut focuses on the disconcertingly rapid militarization of the police in the United States– a timely subject if ever there was one.
On the 19th, Nitehawk will be screening Jenny Gage’s All This Panic, a coming-of-age story about seven teenage girls in New York. On the 20th, there will be a screening of Maurizio Cattelan: Be Right Back, Maura Axelrod’s portrait of the artist Maurizio Cattelan.
On the 21st, the final film in the series will be Vanessa Gould’s Obit, which takes you into the offices (and yes, “the morgue”) of The New York Times obit writers. We caught that one at Tribeca and can tell you it’s a must-watch if you’ve ever wondered how many obits the Times has prewritten for living people. (Spoiler: about 1,700.)
All screenings will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and will take place at 7:30pm, at Nitehawk Cinema (136 Metropolitan Avenue between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue).
Since first gaining internet stardom as a precocious metal trio, Brooklyn’s Unlocking the Truth has gone through seemingly every loop on the rollercoaster ride of fame. They’ve gone from playing for change outside the subway to booking major festivals; they’ve recorded and now re-recorded their debut album; and, most of all, they’ve dealt with miles upon miles of corporate red tape.
Now, after months of delays, the band’s first full-length album, Chaos, is finally coming out this Friday through indie music distributor Tunecore. (Watch the video for “Take Control” below.) Plus, Breaking a Monster, the documentary by Luke Meyer that we caught at SXSW, is set to premiere later this month. (There’ll be a preview screening at Museum of the Moving Image on June 21, followed by a performance by the band.) Keep Reading »
Taking a stance against nuclear weapons proliferation might not be as controversial as hating on vaccines– as we saw when Tribeca Film Festival announced it was pulling Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe, the doc made by a disgraced doctor that pushes the dubious theory linking autism to vaccines. But the filmmakers behind The Bomb (premiering Saturday, April 23) are nevertheless hoping t0 strike an equally urgent chord with festival audiences, even if they’re reluctant to call it an “activist” film.
“Well, it’s an immersive film and music experience. It’s a human story, too,” explained Smriti Keshari, one-half of the filmmaking team behind the immersive, multimedia documentary focused on the persistent threat of nuclear weapons. “It’s one that makes you realize just how powerful individuals can be when they care about something. I think all art is political if it’s a reflection of what’s happening around you.”
“The only people who shaved their heads in 1981 were Marines and psychopaths,” laughed Drew Stone, the filmmaker behind one of two new documentaries that focus on the New York City hardcore scene, albeit from vastly different angles. For nearly two years, Stone has been immersed in his project, The New York City Hardcore Chronicles, which touches on the past, but focuses mostly on the persistence of hardcore today. Tonight at 8:30 pm, he’ll screen excerpts from it at Niagara.
At the opposite end is John Woods, a filmmaker who’s concerned with what he calls “a moment in time”– a turning point in the NYC hardcore scene of the late ’80s, centered around the release of an influential compilation tape. The documentary, New Breed, which Woods co-created with Freddy Alva and directed, premieres March 30 at Nitehawk. While Stone’s film aims to be an epic take on the scene’s culture, Woods’s doc focuses instead on a singular event to illustrate the trajectory of hardcore.
“It wouldn’t have happened as rapidly as it happened if it weren’t for all the people that were creating culture on their own terms and making it attractive.” —Kyp Malone, TV on the Radio
“The role of the artist in New York is to make a neighborhood so desirable that artists can’t afford to live there anymore.”—Mayor Ed Koch
Goodnight Brooklyn: the Story of Death by Audio, a documentary premiering today at SXSW, is all of the things you would expect it to be: a historical look at the origins and eventual demise of the Williamsburg DIY venue, a crushing story of scruffy artists’ defeat at the hands of corporate near-sightedness, and a montage of live footage from the final evenings of shows. It’s also a really good movie.
This week, cash in your change jar because you’re gonna need it for the screening of this lost Riot Grrrl film starring Kathleen Hanna. Also, pick from a bazillion or so documentaries this year at Doc NYC 2015, and more. Read on, friends.
Artist Lauren Bon coordinated a spectacular event in the fall of 2013 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the aqueduct, which allowed not only the film industry in Southern California to prosper but the population to swell to where it’s at now. Concerned by the disconnect she felt between the people of LA and their water supply, the artist coordinated a month-long journey across the aqueduct involving a stampede of 100 mules marching from the water source in the Cascade Mountains to the aqueduct intake. See the film at its New York City premiere at Anthology.
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There are almost too many cool movies to pick from at this anthropology-themed film fest (not the store working to make 24-32 year old women look like secretaries from the 1940s! the discipline!) happening Thursday Oct. 22nd through Sunday Oct. 25th at the American Museum of Natural History, but a few stood out from the crowd. East Punk Memories (Friday, Oct. 23, 10 pm) delves into the Eastern Bloc punk scene in Hungary. The film was actually shot in the ’80s on Super 8 by French filmmaker Lucile Chaufor (who was in some punk bands of her own) at a time when Hungarian authorities were all “NO, WTF” about literally everything. The filmmaker recently returned to Hungary and tracked her subjects down. See the full schedule here.
Read more about the fest here.
Let it be known this is your last week to get in anything besides horror films y’all, so listen up. We’ve got an anthropology-themed film fest, a drug-fueled road trip romance, mule-inspired capitalist critique, and ha woops– a horror marathon. Enjoy!