Our annual nonfiction showcase, founded on the most expansive possible view of documentary film, returns with new work from around the world and in a variety of genres. This year’s festival includes a retrospective of a titan of the avant-garde film world, Bruce Baillie; New York premieres of new films by Roberto Minervini, Ben Rivers, José Luis Guerín, and Thom Andersen; as well as the usual eclectic, globe-spanning host of discoveries by artists who are reenvisioning the relationship between cinema and reality. With many filmmakers appearing in-person with their work, Art of the Real continues to be one of the essential showcases for boundary-pushing nonfiction film.

All My Life: The Films of Bruce Baillie
Bruce Baillie’s lyrical and keenly observational work evades genre and explores narratives in nontraditional forms—from short films to longer explorations. His film Castro Street (1966) was selected for preservation in 1992 by the United States National Film Registry. His work has been inexpressibly influential to the world of avant-garde cinema, and his role as founding member of both Canyon Cinema and the San Francisco Cinematheque speaks to his importance in creating spaces and systems of support and distribution for experimental filmmakers. But the nonfictional dimension of Baillie’s work remains underemphasized: the documentary aspects of such masterpieces as Castro Street and Quick Billy (1970) are both salient and integral to his career-spanning fusion of the mystical and the mundane, the cosmic and the personal, mythology and autobiography. The selection of Baillie’s films in this year’s Art of the Real pays homage to his body of work, and recognizes his legacy as an artist as well as his outstanding work as a distributor and promoter of avant-garde filmmakers. Organized by Garbiñe Ortega.

“There were ages of faith, when men made natural connections between themselves and the place in which they lived, the plants they cultivated, the fuel they used for warmth, their beasts, and their ancestors. My work will be discovering in American life those natural and ancient contacts through the art of cinema!” Bruce Baillie

Organized by Dennis Lim and Rachael Rakes; Bruce Baillie retrospective organized by Garbiñe Ortega. Presented with support from MUBI.

All films are projected digitally unless otherwise noted.

Special thanks to: Austrian Cultural Forum New York; Harvard Film Archive; Istituto Luce Cinecittà—Film Italia.