92YTRIBECA’S POST-MUMBLECORE LA DI DA FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCED
I’ve had wind of this for a while, via both filmmaker Kentucker Audley and programmer Miriam Bale (who has a feature on Beasts of the Southern Wild in our current issue), but now the news is public. On September 14 and 15, the 92Y Tribeca will host the first La Di Da film festival, which takes a look at the recent work of a group of post-Mumblecore figures, including Amy Seimetz, the Safdies, Sean Price Williams, Dustin Guy Defa, Alex Karpovsky, Kate Lyn Sheil, Eléonore Hendricks and Audley.
In the press release explaining the genesis of the event, Bale says, “I’ve programmed mostly classic films for many years, but recently I’ve seen contemporary films that look like new classics. Many were shot on 16mm. They’re simple yet sophisticated, and also experimental and really feel like something new. These filmmakers are using documentary or low-budget methods to film quickly and cheaply in the streets, not to replicate reality but to create new emotionally rich, lyrical worlds.”
At this year’s Maryland Film Festival, Bale was present at the “Filmmakers Take Charge” summit (which Scott also attended) and noted that at the festival “there were great films that weren’t finding the right context to be screened and get noticed in New York. And so, inspired by the energy which with these films were made, with little resources except a good idea and talented collaborators, I realized it was possible to launch a small-scale festival, based in New York but with an international scope. And the intimate, congenial atmosphere of 92YTribeca seemed like the perfect setting for that.”
The line-up is an interesting mix of festival hits (Seimetz’s Sun Don’t Shine, Defa’s short Family Nightmare), underexposed recent premieres (Maiko Endo‘s Kuichisan, starring Hendricks, Stephen Gurewitz‘s Marvin, Seth & Stanley, starring Karpovsky) and even a few world premieres (Audley’s Open Five 2, Sam Fleischner‘s short Circles), and I’ll definitely try to catch as many of these as I can.
The full line-up is below:
Savage Innocence: Shorts Program
A roundup of the some of the best short films of the year, and a glimpse at a promising upcoming feature, all from NY-based filmmakers. Works to be screened include:
The Black Balloon (Directors: Bennie and Josh Safdie, 2012, 21 min.)
A winner of awards at both Sundance and SXSW, this retelling of the “The Red Balloon” follows the sole black balloon in a brightly colored bunch as he breaks free and observes the urban isolation in crowded New York City.
Family Nightmare (Director: Dustin Guy Defa, 2011, 10 min.)
A masterful use of found footage, VHS home movies are dubbed in the filmmaker’s own voice to show a haunting, innocent view of family dysfunction.
Me the Terrible (Director: Josephine Decker, 2012, 11 min.)
Featuring stop-motion animation and a soundtrack made up entirely of audio from early 20th century radio shows, a little girl pirate invades New York where the essential urban turf battle is between the past and the future.
Circles (Director: Sam Fleischner, 2012, 5 min.)
Edited footage from a screen audition of Jesus Sanchez, the star of Fleischner’s new feature Stand Clear of the Closing Doors, about a young autistic boy who runs away from his family and lives on the NY subway for 11 days.
People Parade (Director: Chris Maggio, John Wilson, 2012, 23 min.)
A surreal comedy about the end of the reign of a long-running television variety show (reminiscent of early David Letterman) features Peruvian daredevils The Peanut Butter Brothers, a haggard showgirl named Dee, and more delightfully bottom barrel show business folks.
**North American Premiere**
Gorgeous yet audacious documentary images of Koza — a town in Okinawa, Japan that is not quite Japanese and not quite American — are filmed in 16mm by Sean Price Williams in Maiko Endo’s breathtaking directorial debut. The camera spies on Eléonore Hendricks, as an ill-at-ease American wanderer, and follows a solemn 10-year-old boy who observes in wonder from afar. The little boy also partakes in enchanted mob rituals with other abandoned children, as the film pushes the boundaries of magic, nature, observation and alienation. The Copenhagen International Documentary Festival has called it “the discovery of the year.”
Director: Maiko Endo, 2011, 76 min.
Open Five 2
Made over the course of three years, there is a visible evolution of the content and style in this film as it moves through Kentucker Audley’s roots in the post-collegiate wanderings of mumblecore towards a new deftness in depicting details of intimacy and drama. Audley reveals in his fourth film to be an American director with Rivette’s interests in improvisation and experimentation as well as a Cassavetes’ interests in dangerously utilizing his own relationships to plunge depths of raw emotion. Starring Audley, Caroline White, Jake Rabinbach, and Z Behl.
Director: Kentucker Audley, 2012, 65 min.
Marvin, Seth and Stanley
Good natured Marvin (Marvin Gurewitz) summons estranged sons Seth (Alex Karpovsky), a smug careerist going through a divorce, and Stanley (Stephen Gurewitz), a delicate aspiring actor, for a father-son bonding fishing trip that totally falls apart. Filmed on 16mm, this comedy looks like a lost ‘70s road movie but is the clear inheritor of Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s tonal mixture of upbeat cheer with unbridled narcissism, embarrassment, and painful reveals. Karpovsky–known for his work in Girls, Tiny Furniture and his own films–gives the best performance of his career so far, in a role that was written for him by co-star Stephen Gurewitz. “It’s the kind of observational comedy that most observational comedies aren’t—because this one is based in actual observation, in an unsparing intimacy regarding the characters, a pitch-perfect ear for the lifetime of emotion packed in an offhanded remark, and a patiently avid camera-eye that follows the characters insistently and pounces on quiet moments of revelation.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker
Director: Stephen Gurewitz, 2012, 76 min.
Sun Don’t Shine
A sweaty fever dream, this beige and garish-colored Florida noir was filmed under the oppressive bright light of high noon on 16mm by Jay Keitel. After producing and acting in dozens of indie films, Amy Seimetz makes her directorial debut with this lovers-on-the-run film starring Kate Lyn Sheil and Kentucker Audley, who both give astonishing, unforgettable performances as a couple caught in an electric current of panic while trying desperately to escape everything. “In short, what Seimetz accomplishes is a unity of camera style, acting style, editing style, and narrative rhythm; it’s no small feat to make a small film this smartly assured… All of this is laid out with the efficiency of good cheapo B noir; there’s more than a hint of Poverty Row craft to the way Sun Don’t Shine compacts its pulp premise” Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, MUBI
Director: Amy Seimetz, 2012, 82 min.