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How Two Bushwick Movies Are Doing at Sundance

Last week, two films set in Bushwick premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Here’s the early word.

Jessica Williams as The Incredible Jessica James

The Incredible Jessica James
Directed by Jim Strouse (New York, I Love You), this is a meandering profile on youth starring Jessica Williams. Jessica is a struggling playwright living in Bushwick who is between relationships and attempting to get a play off the ground. She meets Boone, played by Chris O’Dowd, and after an awkward first date the two slowly fall for each other. Critics seem to agree that Jessica Williams single-handedly carried this movie, which has already been purchased by Netflix.

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The Knitting Factor: New Documentary Weaves a Tale of Yarn Artists

Olek's Yarn People (Photo: courtesy of Matt Hirsch)

Olek’s Yarn People (Photo: courtesy of BOND/360)

At what point does something stop being beautiful once it becomes functional? Can something you use every day be made into art? Does art need to hang in a gallery to be recognized? And, perhaps the biggest question of all, how much can sheep really contribute to the fine arts?

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DV8 Film Festival Calls for Lo-Fi Feeds and Shooting with Speed

(Flyer courtesy of DV8 Film Festival)

(Flyer courtesy of DV8 Film Festival)

Looking back, do you miss the days before everyone had a camera in their pocket? The days when getting your hands on the family camcorders felt so special that they could suddenly turn you into a mini-Scorsese? If you love the idea of movies made with less polish and more graininess, then DV8 Film Festival might just have a movie or two for you. 

Now in its second year, DV8 began when Rebecca Shapass and Gabriela Granada, two NYU film students decided they were sick of being told there was a correct way to make films. “When you go to film school, you’re taught that movies have to be made a certain way,” Shapass said. “We want to do something else.”

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Gather Your Coven, This Witchy Film Series is Required Attendance

You better believe "The Craft" is a part of this lineup. (Film still via BAM)

You better believe “The Craft” is a part of this lineup. (Film still via BAM)

It’s no wonder February is shaping up to be the perfect time to binge on witchy happenings– the start of the month is marked by an important pagan festival, Imbolc, a time of “weather divination” (Groundhog Day!) and looking out for the first indications of spring and omens. No better way to help you seek out those good omens than an esoterica art show, curated by Pat Grossman of Phantasmaphile, a blog chronicling the fantastical. But to avoid the rather hellish indications that winter will continue from here until eternity (guys, that snow is going absolutely nowhere until July) we suggest you hole up at BAM, which will play host to another Phantasmaphile effort, “Witches’ Brew“– a series spotlighting the major cinematic witch tropes throughout film history.

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Week in Film: Count Dracula in 35 mm and a Very 80’s Suburban Desert Noir


Moonwalkers
Friday January 15 through Thursday January 21 at Village East Cinema

It’s about time we got a moon-landing conspiracy theory comedy– I mean, it’s all right there in front of us: everyone’s super loving the ’70s right now (don’t pretend you haven’t seen betches in bellbottoms recently, it’s happening whether we like it or not), cynicism regarding the government and Hollywood is at an all time high, and people are finally realizing there’s a high probability that lizard people rule the world.

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Spectacle Theater Reopens, Shows Off Its New Digs

Spectacle Theater gets a makeover (Photo by Nicole Disser)

Spectacle Theater gets a makeover (Photo by Nicole Disser)

Our favorite lil’ indie theater reopens tonight as a renovation project that choked up the reels for a whole month nears completion. For a brief time last year, the future of Spectacle at South 3rd Street, where it has occupied the ground floor for the last five years, looked like it was in jeopardy. Thankfully, the volunteer-run movie theater successfully raised more than $40,000 through a Kickstarter campaign to fund an overhaul that saved it from being forced out. I popped by this morning to get a peek at what’s new, fingers crossed that the theater had stayed true to its roots.

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Week in Film: STP Freak-Outs Plague the Hippies; an Xmas Demon Stalks ‘Non-Believers’

Silent Night, Deadly Night
Friday Dec. 18 and Saturday Dec. 19, midnight at Nitehawk: $11
Everyone knows the only sufferable holiday films are Xmas-themed horror movies. This 1984 genre classic Silent Night, Deadly Night tells the story of a young boy who witnesses the murder of his parents at the hands of a psychopath dressed as Santa. Traumatized by his exposure to such unspeakable violence, the boy grows into a truly screwed-up young man whose thirst for blood knows no bounds. Oh, and of course he feels the need to don a Santa outfit during his mayhem sprees.

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Film: Jayne County Leads an Outrageous ’80 German Trans Musical and Sisters Buck the Patriarchy

Film still from City of Lost Souls (Via UnionDocs)

Film still from City of Lost Souls (Via UnionDocs)

City of Lost Souls
Friday Nov. 20th, 7:30 pm at Union Docs: $9

Juliet Jacques, the author of Trans: A Memoir, which accounts for her own experiences transitioning from male to female and her life from childhood up to her present 30-something self, will be on hand to present City of Lost Souls, a “trans musical spectacular.” Filmed in 1982, it provides an early look at identity politics and trans identity years before there was mainstream understanding of what it means to be trans. The film is such an early example of gender exploration that it’s lacking in recognizable “transgender” language– in fact, the word is never mentioned in the film (though there are instances of its use at that time).

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Film: 100 Years of Irma Vep, screening of Les Vampires

Musidora as Irma Vep in the original "Les Vampires"

Musidora as Irma Vep in the original “Les Vampires”

Filmmaker Michelle Handelman is spearheading 100 Years of Irma Vep, a several weeks-long series of events celebrating the 100th year anniversary of Les Vampires, an awesomely influential French silent film. OK, yes Les Vampires is seven hours long. But it’s also a ten-part serial, so movie goers wishing to go for, oh I dunno, NOT seven hours can still participate in this event because you can walk in and out pretty much whenever you want.

Read more here.

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Film: 5th Annual Spectacle Theater Shriek Show

Gore, witchcraft, and camp abound at Spectacle’s fifth annual horror marathon happening this weekend. It’s only $25 for 13+ hours of horror and it’s gonna be freaking great. Don’t get me wrong, Spectacle is one of the best theaters in town, but their seats leave a little something to be desired. (Hence the charm, though, people!) So I’m guessing they’re gonna be handing out chocolate medals to people who make it all the way through, or they’ll possibly just kick you out because that’s weird.

Click here to read more about the event and see what films made the cut (get it?!) this year.

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East Punk Memories at the Margaret Mead Film Festival

film still from "East Punk Memories" (Photo via American Museum of Natural History)

film still from “East Punk Memories” (Photo via American Museum of Natural History)

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.

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Film: 100 Years of Irma Vep, Olivier Assayas’ Irma Vep

Filmmaker Michelle Handelman is spearheading 100 Years of Irma Vep, a several weeks-long series of events celebrating the 100th year anniversary of Les Vampires, an awesomely influential French silent film. At this screening, see Olivier Assaya’s ode to the film, Irma Vep. The film stars Maggie Cheung playing Maggie Cheung playing Irma Vep in a remake of Les Vampires. Convoluted, perhaps. But awesomely messy, indeed.

Read more here.