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3rd Annual El Gouna Film Festival: A Socially Conscious Film Fest by the Sea

Beyond The Raging Sea 

Set against the scenic Red Sea’s resort town, the 3rd Annual El Gouna Film Festival (GFF) returns to Egypt. Running September 19th to the 27th, the festival includes shorts, features, and documentaries selected to foster unheard voices in cinema.

Making its World Premiere at GFF, Marco Orsini’s Beyond The Raging Sea follows the harrowing tale of two Egyptian adventurers, Omar Samra and Omar Nour (or O2 as some call them), as they make a perilous 3,000 nautical mile journey from the Canary Islands to Antigua as part of an annual ocean-rowing race called the Atlantic Challenge. Though their challenge in a race would change to become a challenge to face a growing refugee crisis.

In addition, the program in El Gouna will also feature a roundtable discussion: “Refugee Voices in the Film Industry.” This roundtable will look at how to shift the focus to refugees and migrants as audiences of films rather than simply subjects and shed light on how visual storytelling can empower and inform, while expanding the boundaries of humanitarian filmmaking.

The fest also includes 1982, a story of young love set against the backdrop of the military invasion of Beirut, and Adam, in which a single mother finds refuge in a Casablancan bakery.

And while the festival is going on it’s also a great oportunity to tour El Gouna’s coral reefs, sandy beaches, and resorts.

To learn more, go to: http://elgounafilmfestival.com/

3rd Annual El Gouna Film Festival
September 19 - 27, 2019

NYFF57 Convergence: Immersive Storytelling for a Dying Planet

Edgar Allan Poe

VR, AR, 360º Video, Virtual Cinema—in immersive experiences, expect to be an active participant to drive your viewpoint and your narrative. The Convergence section of the 57th New York Film Festival takes place on October 10-13, 2019, at Lincoln Center's Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. For a reasonable $7 to $10, you can experience one of three Virtual Cinema programs. Anticipate wearing headsets and wait times with timed entry, but the interesting interactive installations and people surrounding you will distract.

Convergence programmer Matt Bolish selected the lineup this year to reflect our world crisis happening now. “The work in this year’s edition of Convergence really confronts some of the most pressing issues of the day: humanity’s impact on the environment (Anthropocene Project, Last Whispers), how we care for the most vulnerable among us (Metro Viente, Send Me Home), the terrors of homelessness and the opioid epidemic (Homeless: A Los Angeles Story, Ghost Fleet, Holy Night), with equal measures of pathos and humor (Eyelydian, Your Spiritual Temple Sucks).”

In a narrative, how would virtual cinema add empathy or add another layer of information or provide context? An example is the Anthropocene Project. While you are immersed in a VR headset, the scale of 360º video as the camera pans and zooms out of a manmade disaster in nature is breathtaking yet alarming.

 

Death, memories, and loss extend to a special off-site immersive theater installation of Poe’s The Raven in a world premiere at NYFF57 Convergence. The highly anticipated live theater performances will take place October 10–13 at The American Irish Historical Society’s mansion on Fifth Ave., across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (The Society hosted James Joyce’s play “The Dead” earlier this year, where the audience and actors moved from room to room.)

Live actors and AR headsets emitting audio cues and sonic ambience will guide you through the elaborate interactive installation. The premise is that Edgar Allen Poe has invited you to his wake. Over the course of the performance, you come to realize why you are truly there. Nevermore!

For the 170th Anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s mysterious and destitute death, NYFF57 Convergence team collaborated with Lance Weiler, Ava Lee Scott, Nick Fortugno, and Nick Childs to develop an experimental immersive theater installation with emergent technology. From their production notes, the concept is: “Fifty participants wearing Bose AR glasses will move through the building and ‘Poe’s mind’ with the Internet of Things lanterns in hand.  The experiment will be released under a Creative Commons License. The goal is to develop, document and release our code so others can remix and share.”

Lance Weiler and Nick Fortugno run the Columbia University’s Digital Storytelling Lab and the DSL community collaborators’ meetups (which I do recommend) at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center. Columbia DSL also has a worldwide collaboration community, Sandbox, for prototype developers: columbiadsl.mn.co.  Ava Lee Scott is the founder of Actors Theater of NYC (who will be performing) and specializes in immersive theater as a performer (Sleep No More, Home of Enchantments).

EdgarAlanPoeFrame

 

MAIN SLATE (September 27–October 11)
https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2019/sections/main-slate/

PROJECTIONS (October 3–6)
https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2019/sections/projections/

CONVERGENCE (October 10–13)
https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2019/sections/convergence/

Virtual Cinema: Program One (21 min.)
3 films from the Anthropocene Project

Virtual Cinema: Program Two (43 min.)
Metro Viente, Eyelydian, Ghost Fleet, Send Me Home

Virtual Cinema: Program Three (39 min.)
Your Spiritual Temple Sucks, Last Whispers, Homeless: A Los Angeles Story, Eyelydian

Immersive Theater Experience: Edgar Allan Poe The Raven (60 min)
American Irish Historical Society mansion
991 5th Ave / 81st St., New York, NY

Interactive iPad: Holy Night
The U.S. opioid crisis in a small Rustbelt town through the eyes of a preacher, grandmother, and teen. FREE

To learn more and buy passes/tickets:
https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2019/
Passes on sale now. Single tickets go on sale Sept. 8.

 

Venue & Box Office Information

Alice Tully Hall – for advance in-person ticket purchasing
1941 Broadway (between 65th Street and 66th Street)
Monday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday: Noon – 6:00 p.m.
Also open until 30 minutes after the start of any performance.
212.671.4050

Film at Lincoln Center 
Box offices open one half hour before the first screening and close 15 minutes after the start of the last show.

Walter Reade Theater
165 W. 65th Street, north side, upper level (between Broadway and Amsterdam)
212.875.5600

Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center
144 W. 65th Street, south side (between Broadway and Amsterdam)
212.875.5600

3rd Annual East Village Queer Film Festival: Diverse Voices on Film

 

Now in its third year, the East Village Queer Film Festival (EVQ) hilights films and voices from LGBTQIA+ and POC filmmakers. Screenings are at Wild Project (195 E. 3rdStreet NYC, between Avenues A & B) from August 19 to 24. EVQ and will present 33 independent, self-financed films; 25 short films, 7 music videos and 1 feature film, that explore the vast influence of the queer community throughout the socio-political spectrum.

Films being shown include Where We Go From Here (Official Selection, Outfest 2019), Time and Again (Best Narrative Short Film, Outfest 2019, starring Dame Siân Phillips), and Uniform (starring Laura Gomez of Orange is the New Black).

The EVQ’s mission statement embraces an inclusive Queer identity, featuring films that entertain, explore and promote queer-themed issues, work by and featuring LGBTQ artists, as well as work inspired by the expanded innovative and audacious downtown Queer avant-garde.

To learn more, go to: http://thewildproject.com/performances/evq-film-festival/

The East Village Queer Film Festival
August 19 - 24, 2019

Wild Project
195 E 3rd St.
New York, NY 10009

57th New York Film Festival’s Dark Love Letters to the City

Pedro Almodóvar

The Main Slate of the 57th New York Film Festival (September 27 – October 13, 2019) was announced last week, and feature films set in New York City dominates their most prestigious programming slots.

Opening Night, Sept. 27, 2019
The Irishman
Director Martin Scorsese

Centerpiece, Oct. 4, 2019
Marriage Story
Director Noah Baumbach

Closing Night, Oct. 11, 2019
Motherless Brooklyn
Director Edward Norton

View the Full Main Slate Films Listing
https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2019/guide/

These films from New York directors are in excellent company. Over 17-days of NYFF57, Film at Lincoln Center offers 29 of the best films in world cinema including Cannes award films directed by Bong Joon-ho (Palme d'Or: Parasite), Mati Diop (Grand Prix: Atlantics: A Ghost Love Story) and Pedro Almodóvar (Best Actor for Antonio Banderas: Pain and Glory).

 

Who is a more iconic New Yorker than master director Martin Scorsese? His 26th full-length feature film will have its world premiere at NYFF’s Opening Night, and surprisingly the first time a Scorsese film was selected. Last year's NYFF56 Opening Night selection, The Favourite, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, went on to receive multiple award nominations, and the film industry consensus is that The Irishman will do the same.

“It’s an incredible honor that The Irishman has been selected as the Opening Night of the New York Film Festival. I greatly admire the bold and visionary selections that the festival presents to audiences year after year,” said Martin Scorsese in a statement. “The festival is critical to bringing awareness to cinema from around the world. I am grateful to have the opportunity to premiere my new picture in New York alongside my wonderful cast and crew.”

The 76-year-old Godfather reunited with his gang in 2017-18 to shoot The Irishman in New York City and small towns that resembled the city in 1960s and '70s. Al Pacino was cast as Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa, Robert De Niro as mob hitman Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran, and Joe Pesci as the Bufalino Mob Boss. (Since Casino in 1995, Scorsese has not directed Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in a feature film.)

The stained history of the Teamsters and organized crime spans the several decades of Frank Sheeran’s recollections of his role in the 1975 disappearance of his longtime friend, Jimmy Hoffa, the former president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The cast had to play younger versions of their roles. Industrial Light and Magic provided the special effects to digitally de-age the actors.

The Irishman will have its world premiere at the NYFF57 on September 27, 2019, and have a limited theatrical release, followed by digital streaming in late 2019 by Netflix.

 

Marriage Story

Director Noah Baumbach turns the perspective on divorce from adolescent to adult in his 2019 film, Marriage Story, NYFF57's Centerpiece selection. Fifteen years earlier, his personal experiences of his parents’ divorce were made into the film, The Squid and the Whale (2005). Now his own divorce (from Jennifer Jason Leigh and now partnered with Greta Gerwig) is laid bare in Marriage Story.  His script draws on his own intimate experiences and conflicting feelings, not to mention the legal process of splitting up. However, Baumbach stresses that the film is not autobiographical.

Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson (who has been divorced twice) stars as the divorcing couple with a custody battle. The husband wants to stay in NYC for the theater; the wife wants to move to LA to further her acting career. Laura Dern and Alan Alda play the combatting divorce attorneys.

The director told Indie Wire that he was influenced by Igmar Bergman in Persona’s dramatic confrontations and style of closeups within celluloid’s 35mm aspect ratio. “Noah keeps the many conflicting emotions between his characters flowing into and around and under and over each other, so beautifully that the film achieves the condition of music…It has an emotional complexity that’s worthy of Bergman,” said NYFF Director Kent Jones.

Marriage Story will premiere at the Venice Film Festival on August 29, 2019. It will then be screened in the other September film festivals: Toronto International Film Festival, Telluride, and then as the Centerpiece film on October 4 at NYFF. Netflix will digitally distribute the film in the near future, streaming on all devices.

 

Motherless Brooklyn-453748248-large

 

"Edward Norton has taken Jonathan Lethem’s novel as a jumping-off point to craft a wildly imaginative and extravagant love letter to New York,” effuses NYFF Director Kent Jones.

Motherless Brooklyn, directed by acclaimed Indie actor Edward Norton, will close the 17-day festival. "NYFF has been my hometown festival for nearly 30 years, and it’s consistently one of the best curated festivals in the world…To have this particular film—which grew out of my love affair with New York—selected for Closing Night is just a huge thrill . . . a dream come true, actually,” the film’s director stated in return.

Norton (who is known as a driven perfectionist) wrote the screenplay, directed, and performed the lead role of Detective Lionel Essrog. Bruce Willis played the murdered friend, Frank Minna, and William Dafoe is Paul Rudolph. A Robert Moses type of politician is performed by Alec Baldwin.

Motherless Brooklyn is a Neo-Noir 1950s detective story. Lionel Essrog, a lonely private detective afflicted with Tourette's Syndrome, is drawn into NYC’s corrupt political web in order to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend, Frank Minna. Based loosely on the book, Norton took Jonathan Lethem’s character and changed the setting from contemporary times to the past of the 1950s in New York City.

The film was shot in several locations around NYC, including Washington Square and a brownstone on St. Nicholas Ave, Harlem, that unfortunately caught on fire. The brownstone was the set for the King Rooster Jazz Club. For a Miles Davis vibe in the club, Wynton Marsalis recorded the jazz arrangement of “Daily Battles,” a song by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke that Norton commissioned for use throughout the film. The musician Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers added horns to give dimension to the sound score.

Norton told Rolling Stone, “I thought the idea of daily battles that everyone is fighting, that you’re trying to rise up and out of, was so evocative that I went back into the script and put the phrase [daily battles] into a scene.” And it is a daily battle to produce any film or run a film festival with the high artistic merit of NYFF.

Motherless Brooklyn premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. The film travels south to close NYFF57 on October 11. Motherless Brooklyn is distributed by Warner Bros. and will be screened worldwide starting November 1.

 

To learn more and buy passes/tickets:
https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2019/
Passes on sale now. Single tickets go on sale Sept. 8.

Main Slate Film Listing:
https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2019/guide/

 

Venue & Box Office Information

Alice Tully Hall – for advance in-person ticket purchasing
1941 Broadway (between 65th Street and 66th Street)
Monday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday: Noon – 6:00 p.m.
Also open until 30 minutes after the start of any performance.
212.671.4050

Film at Lincoln Center 
Box offices open one half hour before the first screening and close 15 minutes after the start of the last show.

Walter Reade Theater
165 W. 65th Street, north side, upper level (between Broadway and Amsterdam)
212.875.5600

Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center
144 W. 65th Street, south side (between Broadway and Amsterdam)
212.875.5600

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