Program 8: New York Stories
Please note: This program’s limited rental window at NYFF58 has ended. Explore the latest new releases and restorations in our Virtual Cinema.
A message from the NYFF programming team
September 23, 2020
The NYFF programming team has decided effective immediately to remove Oliver Shahery’s documentary Wild Bill Horsecock from virtual exhibition as part of the New York Stories shorts program. The film follows Hayes Johnson, a country singer in Nashville whose unambiguous history of sexual misconduct is referenced extensively. Shahery’s subject is, in part, the professional and personal consequences of Johnson’s misconduct, and the film calls attention to his failure or refusal to demonstrate accountability or remorse. We stand by both the principles guiding our selection process and the film itself, which we feel compels viewers to actively examine their responses to a figure like Johnson, a manifestly unrepentant individual whose victims have suffered further trauma in the absence of institutional justice.
Until individual survivors and their advocates came forward, we did not recognize the real harm that our presentation of the film would cause. In light of this harm, we feel the need to respond by removing it from the program. We came to this decision after much consideration and deliberation, in an effort to reconcile our commitment to freedom of expression with our commitment to supporting and amplifying the voices of survivors of sexual assault.
Sarah Friedland, 2020, USA, 17m
Friedland’s nonfiction dance film filters America’s present-day anxieties through the auditory and kinesthetic patterns of preparatory exercises. Reimagining the government-produced Cold War–era social guidance film, Drills reworks contemporary lockdown and active shooter drills, the 1917 Boy Scouts of America manual, and corporate office meditation guides in ways that subtly interrogate the procedures we follow to anticipate the future.
Drills also screens with Gunda on September 19 at Queens Drive-In.
Object Lessons, or: What Happened Whitsunday
Ricky D’Ambrose, 2020, USA, 15m
D’Ambrose returns to NYFF with an oblique yet penetrating fable about the sociological connective tissue between the scene of a young woman’s murder and much larger ideological and institutional forces—a far-right, xenophobic political party, the estate of a New York art dealer—mapped out across a wordless audiovisual collage of legal documents, archival materials, and upstate location footage.
Object Lessons, or: What Happened Whitsunday also screens with Undine on October 9 at Queens Drive-In.
Shots in the Dark with David Godlis
Noah Kloster & Lewie Kloster, 2020, USA, 7m
Between 1976 and 1980, young Manhattan photographer David Godlis documented the nocturnal goings-on at the Bowery’s legendary CBGB, “the undisputed birthplace of punk rock,” with a vividly distinctive style of night photography. Lewie and Noah Kloster bring his photos to life with electrifying immediacy, bolstered by black-and-white watercolor animation, a rollicking soundtrack, and voiceover narration by Godlis himself.
Shots in the Dark with David Godlis also screens with Slow Machine on October 8 at Brooklyn Drive-In.
Neo Sora, 2020, USA, 13m
English and Japanese with English and Japanese subtitles
On an oppressively hot November day in New York, a Japanese immigrant hosts his visiting cousin, helps his pregnant wife prepare for their move to Chinatown, and makes a rash decision to butcher a live chicken for dinner. Beneath its sun-dappled 16mm images, Neo Sora’s deceptively breezy short articulates an incisive critique of a populace at increasing odds with their surroundings.
In Sudden Darkness
Tayler Montague, 2020, USA,13m
Buoyed by captivating performances and understated period detail, In Sudden Darkness observes the small moments of a young girl and her working-class Bronx family during the 2003 citywide blackout. Tayler Montague captures the memory of adolescent feeling and a sense of place with rare precision, while readily sustaining a mercurial ambience of uneasy suspense, humor, and profound joy.
In Sudden Darkness also screens with Time on September 20 at Brooklyn Drive-In.
Jay Giampietro, 2020, USA, 15m
The Isolated is a seemingly up-to-the-minute documentary that follows Jay Giampietro’s come-and-go meetups with a lonely New Yorker who pines for connections—human and digital—during the city’s COVID-19 shutdown. Giampietro, with his eye for the eccentric and his peerless sense of timing, nimbly renders a pandemic-struck New York City in all its humanity, horror, and occasional hilarity.
The Isolated also screens with The Woman Who Ran on October 2 at Brooklyn Drive-In.
Closed captioning available for Drills, In Sudden Darkness, and The Isolated. An audio descriptive version of Drills is also available.