The lineup has been announced for Projections, the New York Film Festival’s avant-garde section, taking place from Friday, October 2 through Sunday, October 4. This year’s lineup, which includes 14 programs, presents an international selection of film and video work that expands upon our notions of what the moving image can do and be. Drawing on a broad range of innovative modes and techniques, including experimental narratives, avant-garde poetics, crossovers into documentary and ethnographic realms, and contemporary art practices, Projections brings together a diverse offering of short, medium, and feature-length work by some of today’s most vital and groundbreaking filmmakers and artists.
“We think of Projections, now in its second year, as the festival’s ever-shifting zone of discovery, a survey of inventive and unconventional work that updates and challenges our idea of what constitutes experimentation in cinema,” said Dennis Lim, the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Director of Programming and one of the curators of Projections. “In the spirit of its venerable predecessor, Views from the Avant-Garde, the program remains committed to the experimental film tradition, but it has been no less important for us to bring new voices and fresh approaches into the mix. This year we have a more varied slate than ever, one that I hope audiences will find invigorating in its breadth, and for its implicit assertion that there are still myriad ways to reimagine the possibilities of cinema and its relationship to the world.“
This year, the NYFF welcomes a new collaboration with the curated video on demand service MUBI, which will be a dedicated sponsor of the Projections section. Several titles from past Projections lineups will be made available on MUBI leading up to the festival, and a selection from the 2015 lineup will be offered after premiering. Details on the films and schedule will be announced at a later date.
Highlights in Projections this year include the U.S. Premiere of two new films from Ben Rivers (A Distant Episode, THE SKY TREMBLES AND THE EARTH IS AFRAID AND THE TWO EYES ARE NOT BROTHERS; Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel’s return to the festival after Leviathan with the World Premiere of Ah humanity!, co-directed with Ernst Karel; and World Premieres from previous Kazuko Trust Award winners Dani Leventhal (Hard as Opal, co-directed with Jared Buckhiester), Laida Lertxundi (Vivir para Vivir / Live to Live), and Michael Robinson (Mad Ladders). This year’s recipient of the Kazuko Award, which recognizes artistic excellence and innovation and is awarded to an emerging filmmaker in the Projections lineup, will be announced in early October.
Other World Premieres of note include returning regulars to Projections (and formerly Views from the Avant-Garde): Janie Geiser (Cathode Garden), Jim Finn (Chums from Across the Void), Jodie Mack (Something Between Us), Fern Silva (Scales in the Spectrum of Space), Mike Stoltz (Half Human, Half Vapor), and Vincent Grenier (Intersection).
Directors with medium- and feature-length works in this year’s selection include Nicolas Pereda (Minotaur), whose work has shown in New Directors/New Films and Art of the Real previously; FIDMarseille award winner Riccardo Giacconi (Entangled / Entrelazado); and Isiah Medina (88:88), whose film was a selection at the recent Locarno Film Festival and will screen at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival.
Several esteemed contemporary visual artists will also make their first appearance at the NYFF this year, including James Richards (Radio at Night), Basim Magdy (The Everyday Ritual of Solitude Hatching Monkeys), Simon Fujiwara (Hello), Michael Bell-Smith (Rabbit Season, Duck Season), Takeshi Murata (OM Rider), Jon Rafman (Erysichthon), and Cécile B. Evans (Hyperlinks or It Didn’t Happen).
Discovery and rediscovery will also take center stage throughout the weekend. Among the first-timers at the NYFF are Louis Henderson, who has two films in the festival, including the World Premiere of Black Code/Code Noir; and Nelson Carlo de Los Santos Arias, with his bold riff on Roberto Bolaño, Santa Teresa & Other Stories. Projections will also showcase restorations of the late Chick Strand’s Soft Fiction and Curt McDowell’s Confessions, both on 16mm and restored by the Academy Film Archive.
Projections is curated by Dennis Lim (Director of Programming, Film Society of Lincoln Center), Aily Nash (independent curator), and Gavin Smith (Editor, Film Comment and Senior Programmer, Film Society of Lincoln Center).
Tickets for Projections are $15 for General Public; $10 for Members & Students, and a $99 Projections All Access Pass will also be available for purchase.
Tickets for the 53rd New York Film Festival will go on sale to Film Society patrons at the end of August, ahead of the General Public. Click here to learn more about the patron program. Becoming a Film Society Member offers the exclusive member ticket discount to the New York Film Festival and Film Society programming year-round plus other great benefits. Current members at the Film Buff Level or above enjoy early ticket access to NYFF screenings and events ahead of the general public. Click here to learn more.
For even more access, VIP Passes and Subscription Packages give buyers one of the earliest opportunities to purchase tickets and secure seats at some of the festival’s biggest events including Opening, Centerpiece, and Closing Nights. VIP passes also provide access to many exciting events including the invitation-only Opening Night party, “ An Evening With…” Dinner, Filmmaker Brunch, and VIP Lounge. Benefits vary based on the pass or package type purchased. A limited number of VIP Passes and Subscription Packages are still available. For information about purchasing Subscription Packages and VIP Passes, click here.
Friday, October 2, 2:00pm
Friday, October 2, 9:00pm
The entanglement of the psychological and physical worlds, as reflected in architecture, domestic space, and everyday objects.
Neither God nor Santa María
Samuel M. Delgado & Helena Girón, Spain, 2015, DCP, 12m
“Since airplanes did not exist, people moved around using prayers; they went from one land to another and returned early, before dawn. In old audio recordings, the voices of pastors speak of the mythical existence of witches and their travels. In the daily life of a woman, the magic of her tales begin to materialize as night falls. Night is the time when travel is possible.”—Samuel Delgado & Helena Girón
Blake Williams, USA/Canada, 2015, HDCAM, 10m
“Three-dimensional flashes of Victorian domestic surfaces and geometric shadows transform the physical world into a somber, impressionistic abstraction, while elsewhere a specter emerging from the depths of German Expressionism reminds us that what goes up always comes down.”—Blake Williams
Analysis of Emotions and Vexations
Wojciech Bakowski, Poland, 2015, digital projection, 13m
“This movie is a representation of my spirit’s volatile state. I used animation with poetic comment to analyze my emotions and vexations. I used pencil drawings in translucent frames to show a state of lightness. On the drawings you can see the elements taken from imagination and from real external sights. I did so because our mental states are built from what we can see and what we remember or imagine in abstraction.”—Wojciech Bakowski
Scott Stark, USA, 2015, 35mm, 9m
“Discarded Christmas trees, colorfully arranged flea-market finds, a museum of animal kills, microscopic views of kitchenware, and other overlooked cultural artifacts are interwoven with flickering journeys through mysterious, shadowy realms. Traces/Legacy uses a device called a film recorder to print a series of still digital images onto 35mm film. The 35mm projector can only show a portion of the image at a time, so the viewer sees alterations between the top and bottom half of each frame. The images also overlap onto the optical sound area of the film, generating their own unique sounds.”—Scott Stark
Entangled / Entrelazado
Riccardo Giacconi, Colombia/Italy, 2014, digital projection, 37m
“In quantum physics, if two particles interact in a certain way and then become separated, regardless of how distant they are from each other they will share a state known as ‘quantum entanglement.’ That is, they will keep sharing information despite their separation. This theory used to upset Einstein. In his theory of relativity, no transmission of information could occur faster than the speed of light, therefore he couldn’t understand how the two particles could be simultaneously connected.”—Riccardo Giacconi
North American Premiere
Friday, October 2, 4:15pm
Saturday, October 3, 2:00pm
The raw and the cooked: from elemental particles and nature vs. culture to doomed transcendental urges and, out of the ashes, renewal in fresh visions of the material world.
Charlotte Pryce, USA, 2015, 16mm, 3m
“Delicate threads of energy spiral and transform into mysterious microscopic cells of golden dust: these are the luminous particles of the alchemist’s dream. Prima Materia is inspired by the haunting wonderment of Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura. It is an homage to the first, tentative photographic records that revealed the extraordinary nature of phenomena lurking just beyond the edge of human vision.”—Charlotte Pryce
Vincent Grenier, USA, 2015, DCP, 7m
“On the corner of Brooktondale Rd. and Route 79 near Ithaca is an amazing planting of forget-me-nots and dandelions. An improbable dance between different layers of reality, one organic, the other mechanical, and another the numbing everyday. Timeless fragility jousts with fleeting enamels and the upstanding violence.”—Vincent Grenier
Laura Kraning, USA, 2014, digital projection, 11m
“Within the machine landscape of Terminal Island, the textural strata of a 100-year-old boat shop provides a glimpse into Los Angeles Harbor’s disappearing past. Often recast as a backdrop for fictional crime dramas, the scenic details of the last boatyard evoke imaginary departures and a hidden world at sea.”—Laura Kraning
Centre of the Cyclone
Heather Trawick, USA/Canada, 2015, 16mm, 18m
“‘In the province of the mind there are no limits. However, in the province of the body there are definite limits not to be transcended’ (John C. Lilly). An invocation for the transcendence between the corporeal and metaphysical, the passage is guided by marooned sailors, a moment of celestial chance, demolition derbies, and a slipping into the ether.”—Heather Trawick
Le Pays Dévasté / The Devastated Land
Emmanuel Lefrant, France, 2015, 35mm, 12m
“A look back to the geological age when humans were just starting to learn to control the powers of nature that had dominated them up to that point. Traces—chemical, consumption, and nuclear—of their existence will remain in the planet’s geological code for thousands or even millions of years. Making use of negative images, Le Pays Dévasté presents an ominous picture of Earth’s future.”—Emmanuel Lefrant
Janie Geiser, USA, 2015, DCP, 8m
“A young woman moves between light and dark, life and death; a latter-day Persephone. The natural world responds accordingly. Neglected negatives, abandoned envelopes, botanical and anatomical illustrations, and found recordings reorder themselves, collapsing and reemerging in her liminal world.”—Janie Geiser
Something Between Us
Jodie Mack, USA, 2015, 16mm, 10m
“A choreographed motion study for twinkling trinkets, beaming baubles, and glaring glimmers. A bow ballet ablaze (for bedazzled buoyant bijoux brought up to boil). Choreographed costume jewelry and natural wonders join forces to perform plastic pirouettes, dancing a luminous lament until the tide comes in.”—Jodie Mack
brouillard – passage 15
Alexandre Larose, Canada, 2014, 35mm, 10m
“With this project I fabricate sequences by in-camera layering of repeated trajectories inside a path extending from my family’s home into Lac Saint-Charles. The image-capturing process produces a sedimented landscape that gradually unfolds while simultaneously disintegrating under temporal displacement. Approximately 30 long takes begin at the same frame on the film strip, all shot at a high frame rate. My walking rhythm varies for each trajectory, resulting in the space progressively expanding in depth until I reach the edge of a dock. The duration of the long take corresponds to the length of the celluloid reel, a thousand feet of 35mm film.”—Alexandre Larose
Friday, October 2, 6:30pm
Saturday, October 3, 4:00pm
Disorienting visions, both near and far, of an apocalyptic world reveal the warped landscapes of the Anthropocene.
A Distant Episode
Ben Rivers, UK/Morocco, 2015, 16mm, 18m
“A meditation on the illusion of filmmaking, shot behind the scenes on a film being made on the otherworldly beaches of Sidi Ifni, Morocco. The film depicts strange activities, with no commentary or dialogue; it appears as a fragment of film, dug up in a distant future—a hazy, black-and-white hallucinogenic world.”—Ben Rivers
In Girum Imus Nocte
Giorgio Andreotta Calò, Italy, 2015, digital projection, 13m
“I imagine a wooden boat on fire. A fire that illuminates the night and slowly consumes and transforms the fishing boat into coal. A fire that accompanies the traveling distance of the miners and fishermen. Change of a substance from one physical state to another. An entropic event transforming matter and symbols.”—Giorgio Andreotta Calò
North American Premiere
Half Human, Half Vapor
Mike Stoltz, USA, 2015, 16mm, 11m
“This project began out of a fascination with a giant sculpture of a dragon attached to a Central Florida mansion. The property had recently been left to rot, held in lien by a bank. Hurricanes washed away the sculpture. I learned about the artist who created this landmark, Lewis Vandercar (1913-1988), who began as a painter. His practice grew along with his notoriety for spell-casting and telepathy. Inspired by Vandercar’s interest in parallel possibility, I combined these images with text from local newspaper articles in a haunted-house film that both engages with and looks beyond the material world.”—Mike Stoltz
Ana Vaz, France/Portugal, 2014, 16mm/digital projection, 15m
“Filming in Lisbon in search of the origins of our colonial history, I found copies. Brazilians, the new worlders fluent in glitz, entertain the Portuguese in awe and discomfort, colonial norms applied and reapplied. Chinese porcelain seem to signal hybrids to come: the Chinese dressed as Europeans, the Brazilian maid dressed as a 19th-century European servant. Porcelain from the 15th-century becomes reproducible ready-mades that set the tables for the new colonies—a transatlantic calling. Ouro novo reads new money. As a poem without periods, as a breath without breathing, the voyage travels eastward and westward, marking cycles of expansion in a struggle to find one’s place, one’s seat at the table.”—Ana Vaz
Ben Russell, USA/South Africa, 2015, DCP, 7m
“Filmed in the remains of Soweto’s historic Sans Souci Cinema (1948-1998), YOLO is a makeshift structuralist mash-up created in collaboration with the Eat My Dust youth collective from the Kliptown district of Soweto, South Africa. Vibrating with mic checks and sine waves, resonating with an array of pre-roll sound—this is cause and effect shattered again and again, temporarily undone. O humanity, You Only Live Once!”—Ben Russell
Ernst Karel, Verena Paravel & Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Japan/France/USA, 2015, DCP, 22m
“Ah humanity! reflects on the fragility and folly of humanity in the age of the Anthropocene. Taking the 3/11/11 disaster of Fukushima as its point of departure, it evokes an apocalyptic vision of modernity, and our predilection for historical amnesia and futuristic flights of fancy. Shot on a telephone through a handheld telescope, at once close to and far from its subject, the audio composition combines excerpts from Japanese genbaku film soundtracks, audio recordings from scientific seismic laboratories, and location sound.”—Ernst Karel, Verena Paravel & Lucien Castaing-Taylor
Saturday, October 3, 1:00pm
Saturday, October 3, 6:00pm
When the worlds of fantasy and desire collide in a dissociative dance of bodies in motion, what’s love got to do with it?
Hard as Opal
Jared Buckhiester & Dani Leventhal, USA, 2015, digital projection, 29m
“A soldier’s trip to Syria is complicated when he accidentally impregnates a friend. Meanwhile, a horse breeder from Ohio is driven away from home by her own desire to become pregnant. In Hard as Opal the lines between truth and fiction, fact and fantasy, are reined in and treated not as fixed, divisive markers but as malleable threads of narrative potential. Buckhiester and Leventhal perform alongside other non-actors who are filmed in their own varying domestic and professional environments. The result is a rich accumulation of narratives held together by questions concerning the nature of objectification, loneliness, and dissociative fantasy.”—Brett Price
Curt McDowell, USA, 1971, 16mm, 11 min
“How much joy and lust and friendship can be crammed into one 11-minute movie? ‘To put it into words is just not that easy to do.’ After a tearful confession, Curt casts one true love as a leading man and lets the images do most of the talking, so what you know about him is felt. The difference between a messy guy in bloom and a perfect lifeless doll. The beauty of women’s faces and men’s cocks in close-up, and dirty bare feet, stepping forward. A live-wire radio built by editing that switches from folk to blues in a heartbeat. Fanfare, a cum shot, and a burst of applause as the director walks away from the camera, into San Francisco daylight. There’s no happier ending in cinema.”—Johnny Ray Huston, from The Single and the LP
Restored print courtesy of Academy Film Archive. Confessions is the first in a large-scale project at the Academy Film Archive to restore the majority of Curt McDowell’s extant films.
Non-Stop Beautiful Ladies
Alee Peoples, USA, 2015, 16mm, 9m
“I use Super 8 and 16mm film as a vehicle for loose storytelling with history and humor. Simple props and gestures are part of a playful aesthetic. Glimpses into the culture of a place are given while playing with truth and representation. Non-Stop Beautiful Ladies is a Los Angeles street film starring empty signs, radio from passing cars, and human sign spinners, some with a pulse and some without.”—Alee Peoples
Lewis Klahr, USA, 2014, DCP, 5m
“Mars Garden is episode 5 of my 12-film series Sixty Six, which on its most foundational level, splices Greek mythology with 1960s pop culture. In Mars Garden I employ a light box to excavate the chance superimpositions of the two-sided comic book page in vintage mid-1960s superhero comics.”—Lewis Klahr
The Exquisite Corpus
Peter Tscherkassky, Austria, 2015, 35mm, 19m
“The Exquisite Corpus is based on several different films, with reference to the surrealist ‘exquisite corpse’ technique. It combines rushes from commercials, an American erotic thriller from the 1980s, a British comedy from the 1960s, a Danish and a French porn film (both most likely from the 1970s), an Italian softcore sex movie from 1979, and a (British?) amateur “nudist film.” In addition to the found footage, many indexical signs and images are imprinted upon the film. By focusing on these erotic fragments The Exquisite Corpus brings the body of film itself to the forefront and finds its central theme.”—Peter Tscherkassky
Saturday, October 3, 3:30pm
Chick Strand, USA, 1979, 16mm, 54m
“Chick Strand’s Soft Fiction is a personal documentary that brilliantly portrays the survival power of female sensuality. It combines the documentary approach with a sensuous lyrical expressionism. Strand focuses her camera on people talking about their own experience, capturing subtle nuances in facial expressions and gestures that are rarely seen in cinema. The film’s title works on several levels. It evokes the soft line between truth and fiction that characterizes Strand’s own approach to documentary, and suggests the idea of softcore fiction, which is appropriate to the film’s erotic content and style. It’s rare to find an erotic film with a female perspective dominating both the narrative discourse and the visual and audio rhythms with which the film is structured. Strand continues to celebrate in her brilliant, innovative personal documentaries her theme, the reaffirmation of the tough resilience of the human spirit.”—Marsha Kinder, Film Quarterly
Restored by the Academy Film Archive. Restoration funding provided by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and The Film Foundation.
Saul Levine, USA, 1969/2015, 16mm, 10m
“Scenes drawn from the home and life of Isa Milman (the woman I was then married to) and me, made together with our dog Jesse, our friends Bruce Blaney and Patti Tanaka, their children Sean and Jason, and many others. I began this as a love poem to Isa, but before I finished the film everything had changed. For many of us, 1968/69 was a period of violent transition. The film was formally challenging, editing footage with in-camera superimpositions and cutting black and white with color.”—Saul Levine
Saturday, October 3, 5:30pm
Nicolas Pereda, Mexico/Canada, 2015, DCP, 53m
“Minotaur takes place in a home of books, of readers, of artists. It’s also a home of soft light, of eternal afternoons, of sleepiness, of dreams. The home is impermeable to the world. Mexico is on fire, but the characters of Minotaur sleep soundly.”—Nicolas Pereda
Vivir para Vivir / Live to Live
Laida Lertxundi, USA/Spain, 2015, 16mm, 10m
“The body, a space of production, creates structures for a film.”—Laida Lertxundi
Saturday, October 3, 7:15pm
Sunday, October 4, 5:00pm
Modern conflicts of labor and race, traced from their complex origins to the chaotic present.
Simon Fujiwara, Germany, 2015, digital projection, 10m
“Hello explores changes in the working lives of two people: Maria, a Mexican trash picker who separates and collects recyclable materials from landfills to sell by the kilo, and Max, a German freelance computer-animation designer working for the advertising industry in Berlin. The double interview is controlled and manipulated by a computer-generated severed hand that Maria describes as an object once discovered in the trash while working in the violent northern town of Mexicali. This CGI hand was in turn produced by Max who was born with no arms and sought refuge in computer imaging as a means to operate and manipulate a digital reality.”—Simon Fujiwara
F for Fibonacci
Beatrice Gibson, UK, 2014, DCP, 16m
“F for Fibonacci takes as its departure point William Gaddis’s epic 1975 modernist novel JR. Unfolding through the modular machine aesthetics of the video game Minecraft, text-book geometries, graphic scores, images from physics experiments, and cartoon dreams blend with images from Wall Street: stock-market crashes, trading pits, algorithms, and transparent glass. As well as the writing of Gaddis, the film draws on the work of little-known British experimental educator and composer John Paynter. Gibson worked closely with 11-year-old Clay Barnard Chodzko on a number of the film’s production elements, commissioning him to design an office in Minecraft and develop an existing character of his, Mr. Money. Gibson and Chodzko’s ramblings on the subject of his protagonist lead the viewer through F for Fibonacci’s hallucinatory soup.”—Beatrice Gibson
Black Code/Code Noir
Louis Henderson, France, 2015, DCP, 21m
“Black Code/Code Noir unites temporally and geographically disparate elements into a critical reflection on two recent events: the murders of Michael Brown and Kajieme Powell by police officers in the U.S. in 2014. Archaeologically, the film argues that behind this present situation is a sedimented history of slavery, preserved by the Black Code laws of the colonies in the Americas. These codes have transformed into the algorithms that configure police Big Data and the necropolitical control of African Americans today. Yet how can we read in this present? How can we unwrite the sorcery of this code as a hack? Through a historical détournement the film suggests the Haitian Revolution as the first instance of the Black Code’s hacking and as a past symbol for a future hope.”—Louis Henderson
Lessons of War
Peggy Ahwesh, USA, 2014, digital projection, 6m
“Five little narratives—newsworthy stories from the 2014 war on Gaza—retold in order to not forget the details, to reenact the trauma and to honor the dead. The footage is lifted from a YouTube channel that renders the news in animation, fantastic and imaginative, providing several protective layers away from reality. The footage is repurposed here to critique that safe distance from the violence, foregrounding the antiseptic nature of the virtual narrative. Video courtesy of Microscope Gallery.”—Peggy Ahwesh
Scales in the Spectrum of Space
Fern Silva, USA, 2015, DCP, 7m
“Commissioned by the Chicago Film Archive and in collaboration with legendary jazz musician Phil Cohran, Scales in the Spectrum of Space explores the documented histories of urban life and architecture in Chicago. Culled from 70 hours of footage and incorporating 35 different films, Scales in the Spectrum of Space weighs in on the pulse of the Midwest metropolis.”—Fern Silva
Many Thousands Gone
Ephraim Asili, USA/Brazil, 2015, digital projection, 9m
“Filmed on location in Salvador, Brazil (the last city in the Western Hemisphere to outlaw slavery) and Harlem, New York (an international stronghold of the African Diaspora), Many Thousands Gone draws parallels between a summer afternoon on the streets of the two cities. A silent version of the film was given to jazz multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee to create an interpretive score. The final film is the combination of the images and McPhee’s real-time “sight reading” of the score.”—Ephraim Asili
Sunday, October 4, 1:00pm
Isiah Medina, Canada, 2014/15, DCP, 65m
“You cannot pay your bill. – . Your heat and lights are cut off. -. You pay. The clocks initially flash 88:88, –:–. You set the clocks. You cannot pay. -. You pay. 88:88. –:–. Repeat. 88:88, –:–. Cut. -. You stop setting your clock to the time of the world. 88:88, –:– . Subtracted: – : you make do with suspension. 88:88, –:–, -.”—Isiah Medina
Sunday, October 4, 3:30pm
Sunday, October 4, 7:00pm
Life in the Cloud: What are the material and emotional consequences of a digital world that has altered our bodily existence?
Radio at Night
James Richards, Germany/UK, 2015, digital projection, 8m
“Responding to Derek Jarman’s visual strategies and montage techniques, Radio at Night carves out a sensual and sonic space of representation. The video is an assemblage of distorting and looping audiovisual material, including industrial documentation, medical imaging, news broadcasts, and a specially composed soundtrack sung in C minor.”—James Richards
All That Is Solid
Louis Henderson, France/UK/Ghana, 2014, DCP, 15m
“As technological progress pushes forward, piles of obsolete computers are discarded and recycled. Sent to the coast of West Africa, these computers are thrown into wastegrounds such as Agbogbloshie in Accra, Ghana. The e-waste is recovered and burned to extract the precious metals contained within. Eventually the metals are melted and reformed into new objects to be sold—it is a strange system of recycling, a kind of reverse neocolonial mining, whereby the African is searching for mineral resources in the materials of Europe. Through showing these laborious processes, the video challenges the capitalist myth of the immateriality of new technology, revealing the mineral weight with which the Cloud is grounded to its earthly origins.”—Louis Henderson
Michael Robinson, USA, 2015, digital projection, 9m
“A modern prophet’s visions of mythical destruction and transformation are recounted across a turbulent geometric ceremony of rising curtains, swirling setpieces, and unveiled idols from music television’s past. Together, these parallel cults of revelation unlock a pathway to the far side of the sun.”—Michael Robinson
Jon Rafman, Canada, 2015, digital projection, 8m
“Erysichthon is the third and final film in a Dante-esque adventure across the far-flung corners of the Web. Plunging into the depths of Internet obsessions and transgressions, the videos assemble an unsettling parade of images from the mundane to the erotic to the violent, presenting the full breadth and depth of human desires as mediated by the flow of data.”—Jon Rafman
Slow Zoom Long Pause
Sara Magenheimer, USA, 2015, digital projection, 13m
“Q: How do we know it’s real?
A: It feels real
Q: What if fake feels real?
A: Then it’s real
Q: What color is the sound of your name?
Q: What comes next?
Q: Can you think of a thing that itself is a symbol, too?
Q: Do you know anyone whose name is just one letter?
Q: If your first name was only one letter, which letter would it be?
A: I”—Sara Magenheimer
Hyperlinks or It Didn’t Happen
Cécile B. Evans, UK, 2014, digital projection, 22m
“Hyperlinks or It Didn’t Happen is narrated by the failed CGI rendering of a recently deceased actor (PHIL). In an intensification of so-called hyperlink cinema, the lives of a group of digital agents—render ghosts, spambots, holograms—unfold across various settings, genres, and modes of representation. Multiple storylines build, converge, and collapse around overarching ideas of existence without anatomy: the ways in which we live and work within the machine. Throughout, questions are raised about what it means to be materially conscious today and the rights of the personal data we release.”—Cécile B. Evans
Sunday, October 4, 6:00pm
Santa Teresa & Other Stories
Nelson Carlo de Los Santos Arias, Dominican Republic/Mexico/USA, 2015, DCP, 65m
“This film arises from the urgent need to talk about violence from another position, conscious of the over-used statement ‘Third World society places violence at the center of its meaning.’ Accordingly, let’s forget the modes of representation that my cinema has used and consider that where an idea manages to take control and become hegemonic, an anarchic rebellion of multiple narratives, colors, and formats emerges in a drive toward permanent revolution. The Caribbean reinvented European tongues; my montage is inspired by that far-from-standard orality, mutating constantly into different modes of representation as it stalks its freedom.”—Nelson Carlo de Los Santos Arias
Ryan Ferko, Faraz Anoushahpour & Parastoo Anoushahpour, Canada, 2015, DCP, 6m
“Through a flood of images and impressions, a narrator attempts to recall a family holiday. Produced in Berlin and Toronto, Bunte Kuh combines a found postcard, a family photo album, and original footage to weave together the temporal realities of two separate vacations.”—Ryan Ferko, Faraz Anoushahpour & Parastoo Anoushahpour
The Everyday Ritual of Solitude Hatching Monkeys
Basim Magdy, Egypt, 2014, digital projection, 13m
“Layered and manually altered 16mm footage intertwines with the soundtrack and the narrative, presented through subtitles, to tell the story of a man who moves away from the sea to escape death by water. He soon finds himself alone when his co-workers go to the beach and never return. Society becomes a stranger and his imagination becomes his only friend. He dials a random number and a romantic conversation about loneliness and the absurdity of reality ensues. His world starts acquiring meaning as he realizes part-time-singer monkeys are running the show.”—Basim Magdy
Sunday, October 4, 8:30pm
Sunday, October 4, 9:00pm
THE SKY TREMBLES AND THE EARTH IS AFRAID AND THE TWO EYES ARE NOT BROTHERS
Ben Rivers, UK/Morocco, 2015, 35mm, 98m
A labyrinthine and epic film that moves between documentary, fantasy, and fable, shot against the staggering beauty of the Moroccan landscape, from the rugged terrain of the Atlas Mountains to the stark and surreal emptiness of the Moroccan Sahara, with its encroaching sands and abandoned film sets. Rivers’s work contains multiple narratives, the major strand being an adaptation of “A Distant Episode,” the savage short story by Paul Bowles. The film also features the enigmatic young film director Oliver Laxe, whose on-screen presence becomes interwoven with the multiple narratives that co-exist amid the various settings of Rivers’s cinematic exploration.
Friday, October 2, 12:00-6:00pm, 9:00-11:00pm, Q&A 9:00pm
TRT: 38m (on loop)
Chums from Across the Void
Jim Finn, USA, 2015, digital projection, 18m
“Little Radek, the step-dancing Bolshevik; Machera, the Andean Robin Hood; and Maria Spiridonova, the Russian socialist assassin are your guides for Past Leftist Life Regression therapy. In this third Inner Trotsky Child video, narrator Lois Severin—a former Trotskyite turned suburban housewife—attempts to radicalize the personal fulfillment and self-help scene. Like the Christian fundamentalist activists in the 1970s who prepared the way for the Reagan Revolution, the Inner Trotsky Child movement was a way to cope with life in the Prime Material Plane of Corporate Capitalism and to create a 21st-century revolution of the mind.”—Jim Finn
The Two Sights
Katherin McInnis, USA, 2015, digital projection, 4m
“Between 1015 and 1021 C.E., the great Muslim scientist Ibn al-Haytham (Alhacen) wrote The Book of Optics (while feigning madness and under house arrest). The Book of Optics debunks theories that the eyes emit rays, or that objects project replicas of themselves, and accurately describes the strengths and weaknesses of human vision. Translations of this work reached the West in the 13th century and influenced Roger Bacon, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, and Descartes. The Two Sights is a false translation of this work, using images from the LIFE magazine photo archive.”—Katherin McInnis
A Disaster Forever
Michael Gitlin, USA, 2015, digital projection, 16m
“Derived from a 25-year-old cassette tape, transcribed and reenacted on a recording stage, A Disaster Forever positions us on the unfamiliar terrain of an idiosyncratic cosmology. Turning between prismatic abstractions and hand-painted entanglements, a world-system is suspended in the play of light by a voice that floats loose in a cinema for the ear.”—Michael Gitlin
Saturday, October 3, 12:00-6:00pm, 9:00-11:00pm, Q&A 5:00pm
TRT: 34m (on loop)
Calum Michel Walter, USA, 2015, digital projection, 11m
“The observations of an object in motion: A mobile device captures the trajectories of objects liberated from and bound to earth, against a backdrop of uniquely human dissonance. Terrestrial is in part an attempt to articulate a desire to transcend bodily limits with things like mobile devices and machines etc. while acknowledging an unavoidable level of dysfunction.The film was inspired by an incident in 2014 where a Blue Line train in Chicago failed to stop at its final destination, the O’Hare airport, and eventually came to a stop halfway up the escalator at the airport’s entrance. Terrestrial reimagines this crash as an earthbound machine’s failed takeoff.”—Calum Michel Walter
Noite Sem Distância
Lois Patiño, Portugal/Spain, 2015, digital projection, 23m
“An instant in the memory of landscape: the smuggling that for centuries crossed the line between Portugal and Galicia. The Gerês Mountains knows no borders, and rocks cross from one country to another with insolence. Smugglers also disobey this separation. The rocks, the river, the trees: silent witnesses that help them to hide. They just have to wait for the night to cross the distance that separates them.”—Lois Patiño
North American Premiere
Sunday, October 4, 12:00-6:00pm, 9:00-11:00pm, Q&A 3:00pm
TRT: 37m (on loop)
Rabbit Season, Duck Season
Michael Bell-Smith, USA, 2014, digital projection, 5m
“In Rabbit Season, Duck Season, a scene from the 1951 Warner Bros. cartoon “Rabbit Fire” is retold as an allegory for the present day. The cartoon’s iconic encounter between the hunter, the rabbit, and the duck frames a web of tightly constructed sequences that move across various forms of video, including traditional animation, live action, and 3-D animation. A loose essay film, the video adopts a variety of tones and genres to touch upon themes of resistance, taste, the construction of meaning, and the exhaustion of choice.”—Michael Bell-Smith
All My Love All My Love
Hannah Black, UK, 2013-15, digital projection, 7m
“In a famous experiment intended to mechanize the procedures of parenting and love, baby monkeys were given ‘wire mothers.’ The experiment failed, just like real mothers sometimes fail. It continues to be cheaper for the complex procedures of care to be performed by women, often impoverished women of color. But the vanguard of tech keeps producing new technologies of love: the Gchat that fills the empty space of a solitary day, for example, or the dancing robot in the video. The ambivalent need for contact remains, as a wound or a breach, threaded through all our relations. The living mother is also a technology, i.e., a social form, and one day she too might be rendered obsolete.”—Hannah Black
North American Premiere
Velvet Peel 1
Victoria Fu, 2015, USA, digital projection, 13m
“Velvet Peel 1 depicts performing bodies in cinematic space interacting with flat layers of digital effects. Featuring performers Polina Akhmetzyanova and Matilda Lidberg, their movements are based on physical enactments of touchscreen interfaces. The figures are composited in a variety of settings—scenes from previous exhibition venues and contexts where the work was installed, the artist’s studio during production, appropriated footage from the Internet, desktop screensavers, and abstracted 16mm color film. Layered together to create a ‘viable’ or ‘habitable’ cinematic space, the scenes are simultaneously deconstructed by making the layers of post-production visible, and the flatness of surfaces called to the fore.”—Victoria Fu
Takeshi Murata, USA, 2014, digital projection, 12m
“In a vast desert bathed in neon hues, a misfit werewolf blasts syncopated techno rhythms into the night. Meanwhile, an old man sits at a large, round table in a void-like space, rigidly sipping coffee and rolling snake-eyed dice as the faint sound of the werewolf’s pulsating, phantasmic synth grows louder. Hopping onto his motorcycle, the werewolf tears full speed ahead over forbidding terrain while his hoary counterpart becomes increasingly anxious…”—Takeshi Murata