Raya Martin and Mark Peranson's La última película.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced this afternoon that “Art of the Real,” up until now a monthly endeavour, will transform into an annual two-week series in April celebrating the best in nonfiction cinema. The first edition of the relaunched series will take place April 11 – 26.

“Despite its growing popularity, the documentary as we have come to know it, especially in the United States, too often emphasizes content over form, information over aesthetics,” noted Dennis Lim, Film Society's Director of Programming. “We think of 'Art of the Real' as a necessary showcase for some of the most daring and unclassifiable work in contemporary film as well as a call for the documentary to be re-considered as art.”

Although the entire list of films selected for next Spring's series have yet to be announced, some notable titles can now be confirmed. The Opening Night film will be La última película from directors Raya Martin and Mark Peranson. The film, a selection of the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, was praised by Next Projection as “an interesting and amusing observation of the state of today’s cinema as an expressive medium.” Starring New York-based filmmaker Alex Ross Perry (The Color Wheel), the film follows Perry traveling to Mexico to search for potential shooting locations for his latest work; Dennis Hopper's The Last Movie has been cited by many as a direct influence. 

The Closing Night film will be the Brandy Burre (HBO's The Wire) starrer Actress from director Robert Greene (Fake It So Real). Greene, also New York-based, described the film to Indiewire as “a nonfiction/melodrama hybrid,” following Burre as she attempts to re-start her career in the performing arts. Both Greene and Burre will attend the screening on April 26. The film was also just announced as a selection in this year's True/False Film Festival in Columbia, Missouri, where it will be having its World Premiere.

Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor's Sweetgrass

The new and improved “Art of the Real” series will consciously be celebrating documentary works both new and old. Presented in collaboration with the 2014 Whitney Biennial, Harvard's Sensory Ethnography Lab (ManakamanaSweetgrass) will receive retrospective screenings of their work, as will the efforts of filmmakers who inspired them, including Jean Rouch and Jana Ševčíková. Thom Anderson, of Los Angeles Plays Itself fame, will be on hand to present restorations of two of his earlier efforts, Red Hollywood and Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer.

There will be many, many more in-person appearances. Celebrated avant-garde filmmaker James Benning will arrive at “Art of the Real” in April with World Premieres of several new digital works. Avant-garde pioneer Carolee Schneeman, whose life is currently being celebrated in the new documentary Breaking the Frame, will be on hand to commemorate filmmaker Derek Jarman on the 20th anniversary of his death with a screening of his film Blue. If that's not enough, The Flamethrowers author Rachel Kushner will introduce a screening of Anna, the 1975 very hard to find documentary from filmmakers Antonio Grifi and Massimo Sarchielli.

Other filmmakers whose work will be featured in “Art of the Real” will include Eric Baudelaire, Alain Cavalier, Raymond Depardon, Mati Diop, Harun Farocki, Jane Gillooly, Philipp Hartmann, Narimane Mari, Jesse McLean, Corneliu Porumboiu, Davi Pretto, Paulo Rocha, Tan Pin Pin, and John Torres.

“Art of the Real” is co-curated by Lim and independent curator Rachael Rakes. Stay tuned to FilmLinc.com for the full list of films, schedule, and more info.