BLUMENTHAL -New York Premiere. USA, 86 minutes. Written and directed by Seth Fisher. With Fisher, Brian Cox, Mark Blum, Laila Robins, Mei Melançon.
Can oversized egos and romance peacefully co-exist in modern-day New York? Manhattan neuroses gets a fresh, bracing new twist in Seth Fisher’s delightfully acerbic Blumenthal. The death of playwright Harold Blumenthal (Brian Cox) sets in motion a tangled web of family and relationship drama in a polished film distinguished by Zak Mulligan’s crystalline cinematography, a strong ensemble cast, and multi-talented Seth Fisher’s razor-sharp script.
HEADFIRST- U.S. Premiere. Belgium/France, 89 minutes. Written and directed by Amélie van Elmbt. With Alice de Lencquesaing, David Murgia, Jacques Doillon.
Two attractive teens meet while hitchhiking across Belgium. Deceptively simple and beautifully made, Amélie van Elmbt’s quietly and deeply observed coming-of-age road movie, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, will linger long after it is seen, thanks to its remarkable lead performances. Rising star Alice de Lencquesaing (familiar from films by Olivier Assayas and Mia Hansen-Løve) won Best Actress at Montreal’s Festival du Nouveau Cinema for this role, and David Murgia won the Belgian Magritte award for Most Promising Actor. Trailer: http://vimeo.com/48008495
HORIZON SKY - World Premiere. Belarus, 133 mins. Written and directed by Dmitry Marinin, AndreyKureychik. With Leonid Pashkovsky, Tatyana Bovkalova, Viktor Rybchinsky, Anna Sirotina.
An exciting discovery from an unlikely corner of the world, Horizon Sky is the first independent feature film from Belarus in a decade. Its theme — the generational battle between rebellion and oppression, played out in the arena of sex and rock music – is universal. Horizon Skytells a keenly dramatized story about a young musician stricken with AIDS who battles discrimination and addiction.
I LOVE YOU ALL (LOS QUIERO A TODOS) -U.S. Premiere. Argentina, 75 mins. Written, directed, and produced by Luciano Quillici. With Ramiro Aguero, Santiago Gobemori, Diego Jalfen, Valeria Louis, Leticia Mazur, Margarita Molfino, Alan Sabbagh.
Imagine some combination of Lawrence Kasdan’s The Big Chill and François Truffaut’s Day For Night, and you’ll have some idea of the exceptional nature of Luciano Quillici’s lyrical and contemplative I Love You All. A group of thirty-something friends reunite for a trip to the country where they mull over lost opportunities and their disaffection with the present, in this accomplished film that offers further proof that Argentina is one of the most exciting hotbeds in world cinema today.
JUNCTION - USA, 90 mins. Written and directed by Tony Glazer. With Tom Pelphrey, Neal Bledsoe, Harris Doran, Summer Crockett Moore, Anthony Rapp, David Zayas, Michael O’Keefe
A group of junkies get more than they bargained for when they rob the house of a man who turns out to be a pedophile. Gritty urban drama? No… the intense action in Tony Glazer’s riveting drama, with a dynamite ensemble cast including Rent star Anthony Rapp and SMASH actor Neal Bledsoe, takes place in the idyllic upscale neighborhood of Verterra Hill, a community full of manicured lawns and sprawling colonials. Along the way, hard choices must be made, and the only certainty is that all decisions come with a price. Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jjwVfBnqk0
MONGOLIAN BLING - U.S. Premiere.Australia/Mongolia, 90 mins.Documentary, directed by Benj Binks.
In an ancient country undergoing a 21st-century identity crisis, hip-hop music is at the center of a thriving music scene in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. Beyond the customary bling of babes, cars, and jewels lie the remnants of a dying culture. Benj Binks’ lively documentary looks at the fascinating tension between Mongolia’s rich musical history and modern-day beats and rhymes.
A Spanish film director obsessed with making a western in Chile travels south to find a story that will salvage his screenplay; a case of mistaken identity makes him a marked man. This gorgeous widescreen film pays loving homage to Sergio Leone while playfully subverting the western genre.
SUBMERGE - World Premiere. Australia, 90 mins. Directed by Sophie O’Connor. With Lily Hall, Christina Hallett, Kevin Dee, Georgia Bolton.
In Sophie O’Connor’s absorbing, sensual drama, an ambitious, beautiful and tightly wound history student – who is also an Olympics-bound swimmer – falls in love with the girlfriend of her thesis advisor. The protagonist is surprisingly drawn into a sexual underworld and is submerged in feelings that she doesn’t understand. Lily Hall’s performance powerfully captures the transformation in this memorable “Generation Y” love story.
SUMMERTIME - New York Premiere. USA, 90 mins. Written and directed by Max Weissberg. With Lethia Nall, Eric Garcia, Rob Hollander, H.R. Britton, James Eason, Jenny Grace, Olivia Horton, Michele Cesari.
Two actresses are unknowingly cast in the same role; and that is just the starting point for one of the most enchanting and witty romantic New York roundelays in recent memory. Talented debut writer/director Max Weissberg follows furtive attempts at friendship, love, and sex among eight people including Julia, an actress who lands the role of Anya, daughter of a Russian arms dealer and an unconventional director who thinks she must truly become Anya. This graceful, multilayered film knowingly examines the nature of performance in our “real” lives.
UPRISING - USA/Egypt, 85 mins. Documentary directed by Fredrik Stanton.
As timely as today’s headlines, with the added element of historical context and thoughtful analysis, Uprising is a vivid and much-needed documentary that captures the drama, chaos, and complexity of a revolution in the making. Produced by an extraordinary Academy Award-winning team including the executive producer of TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE and the editor of INSIDE JOB,Uprising looks at the inside story of the Egyptian revolution from the perspective of its principal leaders and organizers, including four Nobel Peace Prize nominees.
URBAN TALE- ISRAEL, Written and directed by Eliav Lilti.
A boy and a girl wake up in bed one morning, naked. The children's mother died a few weeks earlier. Before she died she asked her children to find their birth father who left them when they were still babies. Their quest in search of their father leads them to hospitals, nursing homes and holding cells. In the course of the quest the brother and sister meet people who provide them – like in parallel quantum universes – a glance into what their future lives may hold for them. Is this a world suitable for these two young souls? Will they change their nature in order to survive?Based on a true story, this independent film is unique in its cinematic storytelling, provocative and sometimes non politically correct, yet on the other hand thought provoking and soul penetrating.
ZIPPER - USA, 77 mins. Documentary directed by Amy Nicholson.
The eternal showdown between old-fashioned urban tradition and modern commercial development is played out on an unlikely battlefield—the beloved Zipper ride at Coney Island—in Amy Nicholson’s thoroughly entertaining and engaging new documentary. In 2007, a real estate mogul and the Bloomberg administration begin rezoning the amusement park within an inch of its life. Nicholson paints an intriguing portrait of one of New York City's last cultural enclaves on the cusp of gentrification.
FIRST EXPOSURE FILMS (with more to come!)
JACK GOES BOATING - 2010, USA, 89 min. Directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Amy Ryan and Philip Seymour Hoffman in attendance.
Based upon the Robert Glaudini play, JACK GOES BOATING follows Jack (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a shy and awkward limo driver who lives an unassuming life. His friend and co-worker, Clyde, and his wife, Lucy, set him up on a blind date with Connie (Amy Ryan.) As luck would have it, Connie and Jack's love affair blossoms, but Clyde and Lucy's stumbles in this film that the New York Times' A.O. Scott praised, "finds delicacy and humanity in the give-and-take of daily life."
KILLER'S KISS - 1955, USA, 67 m. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Star Chris Case in attendance.
"Independent filmmaking before independent filmmaking," a 26 year-old Stanley Kubrick borrowed $40,000 from his uncle to make KILLER'S KISS, acting as everything from cinematographer to editor. A New York noir about a boxer at the end of his career, his beautiful taxi dancer neighbor, and her violent employer, the film awakened the world to the man who would become the face of modern 20th century cinema.
THE MALTESE FALCON - 1941, USA, 101 m. Directed by John Huston.
As iconic as Dashiell Hammett's hard-boiled hard-cover itself, THE MALTESE FALCON is one of the most illustrious directorial debuts of all-time. John Huston's adaptation stars Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade, a San Francisco P.I. hot on the trail of three criminals in pursuit of a priceless statuette.
PI - 1998, USA, 83 m. Directed by Darren Aronofsky.
A mad mathematician (Sean Gullette) desperately searches for the number that will unlock the key to his natural universe. Shot on beautifully textured black and white reversal, PI introduced the Aronofsky hallmark of innovative visuals alongside a protagonist, seduced by higher powers, who self-destructs in the name of his art.
POISON - 1991, USA, 85 min. Directed by Todd Haynes. Producer Christine Vachon in attendance.
Seven-year-old Richie kills his father and flies away. A scientist isolates the elixir of human sexuality and drinks it. A prisoner is drawn to an inmate whom he recognizes from a past life. Sex, love, and violence take center stage in Haynes's explosive portrait of lost souls, inspired in part by Jean Genet.
TRUE LOVE - 1989, USA, 84 min. Directed by Nancy Savoca, in attendance.
A nouveau romantic comedy about the trappings of commitment, Savoca peers inside the engagement of Bronx couple Donna (Annabella Sciorra) and Michael (Ron Eldard) as they near their wedding date. Named the best film of 1989 by The New York Times' Janet Maslin and Vincent Canby, TRUE LOVE is remembered for its honesty and audacious filmmaking.
THE UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH - 1989, USA, 90min. Directed by Hal Hartley, in attendance.
Josh Hutton (Robert John Burke) is released from prison after doing time for a murder. Returning to his home town, he strikes up a relationship with Audry Hugo (Adrienne Shelley.) No one seems to recall exactly what Josh did, but everyone is wary of him – especially Audry's father.