This week we’re excited to present two conversations: the first with Stress Positions director Theda Hammel, co-writer Faheem Ali, and lead actor John Early from Closing Night of the 2024 edition of New Directors/New Films, and the second with The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed director Joanna Arnow and her cast from the 61st New York Film Festival.

The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed will open at FLC on April 26 with Q&As at select screenings opening weekend. Get tickets

The bewilderment of the early days of COVID is given a manic queer twist in Theda Hammel’s propulsive, brilliantly discombobulating Stress Positions set in Brooklyn in the summer of 2020. Feeling the sting from a recent separation from his husband, Terry (John Early) is doing his due, über-masked diligence to watch over his nephew Bahlul (Qaher Harhash), a Moroccan male model who is staying with Terry while nursing a broken leg. Meanwhile, Terry is fearful that his punchy best friend, Karla (Hammel, in a vibrant, take-no-prisoners turn), working through her own relationship chaos, will be a bad influence on Bahlul, who proves to be a lot wiser and less naive than his uncle might think. Hammel’s cinematic approach is thrillingly unpredictable both visually and sonically, alternating between cacophonous volleys of dialogue and meditative journeys into her characters’ subjective states, while the heightened delirium of Hammel and Faheem Ali’s script evokes the hapless rules of engagement in the ever-shifting borders of queer politics.

The conversation was moderated by ND/NF selection committee member Madeline Whittle.

In her unsparing, acerbically funny feature debut The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed, Joanna Arnow stars as an emotionally detached young Brooklynite drifting through unremarkable days and nights. Neither her on-again-off-again BDSM relationship with a mildly disinterested older dom, nor her nondescript corporate job, appear to bring her any satisfaction, and her relationship with her unpleasable New Yorker parents only compounds the tiresome cycle of her routine. Arnow, who also wrote, directed, and edited this sharp and observant take on modern-day malaise, is known for her autobiographically tinged works of brutal honesty and deadpan self-deprecation. Here, she finds a core of poignant truth about the ways people search for those elusive, ever-shifting things like emotional happiness and sexual gratification, refusing to judge them while at the same time unafraid of presenting their flaws. An NYFF61 Currents selection.

The conversation was moderated by NYFF61 Currents programmer Tyler Wilson.

Listen/watch below: