This program will screen virtually from September 23 at 8pm ET through September 28 at 8pm ET. Get tickets here.

King of Sanwi
Akosua Adoma Owusu, 2020, USA/Ghana, 7m
A companion piece to Pelourinho: They Don’t Really Care About Us (NYFF57), King of Sanwi continues Akosua Adoma Owusu’s exploration of Michael Jackson as a global pop icon. Here, Michael’s long affinity with the African continent—from the Jackson 5’s arrival in Senegal in 1974 to Michael’s coronation as an Ivorian king in 1992—is captured in vibrant, fuzzy archival video, made visceral by Owusu’s funky audiovisual collage and richly material direct animation effects.

– force –
Simon Liu & Jennie MaryTai Liu, 2020, Hong Kong/USA, 9m
Placid views of Hong Kong merge with dizzying, semi-abstract digital animations—avatars in a parable about control. A mesmerizing, menacing voiceover—part body politic regulator, part cyberpunk travel guide—both promises order, accountability, and satisfaction, and  threatens trouble, polarization, and tears. A fire has been started, movement has gone on to reach multiple points of no return.

Letter From Your Far-Off Country
Suneil Sanzgiri, 2020, USA/India, 17m
Drawing upon a rich repository of images—from digital renderings of Kashmir’s mountains to the textured materiality of 16mm hand-processing and direct animation techniques—Letter From Your Far-Off Country maps a hidden vein of shared political commitment and diasporic creative expression, linking a poem by the Kashmiri American writer Agha Shahid Ali, interviews with the filmmaker’s father, and a letter addressed to Prabhakar Sanzgiri, a leader of India’s Communist party and a distant relative of the filmmaker.

Trust Study #1
Shobun Baile, 2020, USA, 15m
English and Urdu captions
Hawala, an ancient informal money transfer system, is a subject of a dialogue unfolding in silence via onscreen text, against the backdrop of lurid off-set color images from an old Pakistani tourist guide. During Operation Green Quest, a post-9/11 investigation by U.S. intelligence into terrorist financing sources, the transit of people and money demanded new conduits of trust, new modes of encryption. Sometimes the unofficial route is more reliable.

Ekphrasis
Riccardo Giacconi, 2019, Italy, 18m
Extending the artist’s research into the complex genealogy of South Tyrol, a province that’s home to Italy’s German-speaking population, Riccardo Giacconi’s film offers a minute, zoomed-in examination of historical photographs, uncovering the markers of an insidious ideological undercurrent—sometimes oblique, sometimes overt—sustained through neo-fascist symbolism, rituals, and terrorist activity into the present.


Note: To the Harbour has been removed from the festival by request of the filmmaker.