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NYU Celebrates Italian Cinema with International Conference

The reverberations of Italian cinema can be felt throughout the whole world. Whether it’s Anna Magnani bravely defying the Fascists in Rome Open City, Sergio Leone’s revitalization of the Western, and the worlds of shock and schlock from the likes of Argento and Fulci. Now NYU’s Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò (24 West 12th Street), will be examining the effect cinema has had on the Italian identity.

Cinema and Italian Identity (October 8 - 9, 2015) brings together film scholars from the US and Italy to examine Italy’s cinematic history (note: some speakers may be presenting in Italian) and to celebrate the publication of the tremendously large Lessico del Cinema Italiano, edited by Roberto De Gaetano. this festival examines how Italian cinema born out of the ashes of World War II reflected a new national identity, but also how the films of today is looking back at Italy’s history and culture.

Speakers and subjects include:

  • Millicent Marcus (Yale University)
    The Memorialist Tradition in Italian Film through an Unlikely Lens: Pierfrancesco Diliberto's "La mafia uccide solo d'estate"
  • Valeria Castelli (NYU)
    Worker. History, Memory and Found Footage in Andrea Segre's "Il sange verde" and Costanza Quatriglio's "Triangle"
  • Joseph T. Perna (NYU)
    Cinephilia, anni '50
  • Luca Peretti (Yale University)
    The Politics of Italian Industrial Cinema. The ENI Case
  • Francesco Casetti (Yale University)
    Le parole per dirlo [IN ITALIAN]

Closing the symposium is a special screening of Mario Martone’s Leopardi (aka Il Giovane Favoloso), which follows the life of 19th century Italian poet, philosopher, and writer Giacomo Leopardi as he examines the human condition while navigating his own life as he tries to find his place in a stratified society.

Italian cinema produced some of the most deeply affecting films ever made and NYU is celebrating its rich history.

To learn more, go to:

Cinema and Italian Identity
October 8 - 9, 2015

New York University
Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò
24 West 12th Street
New York, NY 10011

Woodstock Film Fest Celebrates Sweet 16 With Music & Cinema

3 Still Standing

With films, panels, and special performances lined up, the Woodstock Film Festival (Sept. 30 - Oct. 4, 2015) is going to have a very sweet sixteenth year in the Hudson Valley. Established in 2000 to provide a venue for independent films and international hits, the Woodstock Film fest this year features world and US premieres of films from around the world.

The festival opens with the premiere of The Poet of Havana, a documentary on the life of Cuban singer/songwriter Carlos Varela, and his long battle against censorship brought down on him by the Cuban government. Following a screening of the film is a performance by Varela himself, along with special guest Jackson Browne (of “Running on Empty” fame).

Panels include examination of women in film, films of social responsibility, and keynote by Josh Fox, director of Gasland.

Along with the plethora of shorts, documentaries, and feature films are a few special screenings too:

  • Hot Type: 150 Years of The Nation (dir Barbara Kopple)
    A vivid look at America's oldest continuously published weekly magazine. With editor Katrina vanden Heuvel (who will be in attendance) at the helm, as well as an impressive array of brilliant and passionate writers, the film takes us on a journey into the soul of American journalism. Followed by a conversation between director Barbara Kopple and The Nation's editor and publisher, Katrina vanden Heuvel.

  • 3 Still Standing (dir Robert Campos and Donna LoCiero)
    Three veteran stand-up comics as they struggle to survive the downfall of comedy in a changing world. Contemporaries of Robin Williams, Dana Carvey and others in the hotbed of San Francisco during the heady 1980s, success seems to be just one great set away for Will Durst, Larry "Bubbles" Brown and Johnny Steele. Now that the heyday is over and comedy seems to have taken a hiatus, the skilled live performers must seek new ways to reinvent their acts in an unfamiliar landscape of social media and online celebrity. With surprisingly serious intent - after all these men are comedians -- the "3" pursue creative ways to make their comebacks. 3 Still Standing is a 30-year roller-coaster ride through comedy's boom and bust, with recollections from contemporaries and close colleagues Rob Schneider and Paula Poundstone. And on a poignant note, we get to hear one of Robin Williams last recorded interviews.

  • Mavis! (dir Jessica Edwards)
    Calling singer/civil rights activist Mavis Staples a living legend is no overstatement. With roots in gospel and a visionary father who molded his family into the Staple Singers, we watch the group go from gospel performances at local churches during the 1960s and '70s to chart-topping mainstream hits. Skillfully combining archival material, new interviews and live performances, filmmaker Jessica Edwards hits all the high notes of the Staple Singers tenure. The movie continues to track the roller coaster of the artist's solo career, including such tender moments as Mavis's visit to the late Levon Helm at his Barn. Julian Bond, Bonnie Raitt, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, and Bob Dylan are prominent among the friends, fellow musicians and civil rights veterans who pay homage to the documentary's star.

  • The Americans: Season 3, Episode 10 "Stingers" directed by Larysa Kondracki
    An episode of the hit FX Cold War spy-thriller followed by a discussion with showrunner Joe Weisberg. Moderated by Indiewire Chief Film Critic and Senior Editor Eric Kohn.

The Woodstock Film Festival kicks off the fall film fest season in scenic Hudson Valley.

To learn more, go to:

The Woodstock Film Festival
September 30 - October 4, 2015

Various Locations

Convergence Reshapes Cinematic Reality at Film Society


While Google Glass may have become associated with “glassholes” and gadgetry purely for the sake of gadgetry, virtual reality is building up steam in the public consciousness, and the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s New York Film Festival is taking part of in this new wave of virtual reality interest. As part of the 53rd New York Film Festival (September 25 - October 11, 2015), Convergence occurs from September 26 and 27th, and examines non-traditional forms of cinematic storytelling including virtual reality and live performances.

“This is our fourth year as part of the New York Film Festival and I couldn't be more excited about the lineup for 2015. There’s a lot of attention focused on virtual reality right now so we are really pleased to feature the U.S. premiere of The Dog House, a 360-degree film that’s going to start a lot of conversations,”  said NYFF Convergence programmer Matt Bolish.

The Doghouse, created by Johan Knattrup Jensen, Mads Damsbo and Dark Matters, sits users down at a dinner table with four other people, each of whom place on a virtual reality headset that allows each user to experience a family dinner and discussion from the point of view of five different characters.

From the minds of the esteemed, experimental idea house, NYU Game Center, Gamescape is an interactive deconstruction of games in which users can experience “storytelling games” created by game developers that use the medium to examine how storytelling works and affects people.

Along with these “non-traditional cinematic experiences” are a series of panels and workshops examining the relationship between interactive media and cinematic storytelling. A Conversation with Diana Williams has the producer of the acclaimed films Our Song and Another First Step discussing the emergence of new mediums and forms of storytelling.

Producing for Impact: Finding the Story examines how non-fiction storytelling takes on new forms and reaches new audiences with social media, data visualization, and interactive documentaries.

In Pry, Danny Cannizzaro and Samantha Gorman will perform excerpts from Pry, an app experience that fuses cinema, video game, and the novella into what the LA Weekly calls “Charlie Kaufman by way of an acid trip.”

Convergence is looking at the future at how new technologies will reshape stories as we know them

To learn more, go to:

New York Film Festival Convergence
September 26 - 27, 2015

NY Film Fest '15 Announces Main Slate

The Dog House
The Film Society of Lincoln Center has just announced the entire Main Slate for the 53rd New York Film Festival, which opens on September 25th, 2015 with the world premiere of The Walk, a 3-D film directed by Robert Zemeckis about tightrope-walker Philippe Petit, played by Joseph Gordon Levitt. The director was at the Film Festival recently with his very fine Flight, the closing night selection in 2012.
The festival runs through October 11th ending with the world premiere of the closing night selection, the actor Don Cheadle's directorial debut, a biopic about legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis titled Miles Ahead.
The festival Centerpiece will be Steve Jobs, a biopic of the Apple Computers chairman starring Michael Fassbender and directed by Danny Boyle — whose 28 Days Later was memorable — with a screenplay by the brilliant Aaron Sorkin.
The remainder of the Main Slate includes a panoply of many of the finest directors working today the most exciting of which I note below.
Portuguese director Miguel Gomes returns to the festival with the U.S. premiere of his well-received Arabian Nights trilogy, which will be released by Kino Lorber.
For cinephiles, the most anticipated film will be the U.S. premiere of the martial arts epic, The Assassin, by Hou Hsiao-hsien, possibly the greatest filmmaker working today and a Festival favorite. It will be released by Well Go USA.
The world premiere of Steven Spielberg's Bridge of Spies is also highly anticipated — it features a screenplay co-written by Joel and Ethan Coen and stars Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance, possibly the greatest working actor.
Todd Haynes returns to the Festival with an adaptation of a Patricia Highsmith novel, Carol, shot by the great Ed Lachman, and features Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. It will be released by the Weinstein Company.
Another of the best contemporary directors and a Festival favorite, Apichatpong Weerasethakul of Thailand, will be represented by the U.S. premiere of Cemetery of Splendor, which is distributed by Strand Releasing.
Michael Almereyda, who has been much featured at the Film Society, returns with Experimenter, a portrait of social scientist Stanley Milgram, starring Peter Sarsgaard and Winona Ryder, released by Magnolia Pictures.
Guy Maddin, another Festival veteran brings us The Forbidden Room, co-directed with Evan Johnson and released by Kino Lorber.
Philippe Garrel, another supreme artist, also returns to the Festival with the U.S. premiere of In the Shadow of Women.
Another excellent director and Festival veteran, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, delivers the U.S. premiere of Journey to the Shore.
Yorgos Lanthimos has also been featured at the Film Society and his new film, The Lobster, stars Colin Farrell, Léa Seydoux, Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly and Ben Whishaw and will be released by Alchemy.
Another Film Society veteran, Nanni Moretti, returns with the U.S. premiere of Mia Madre, also released by Alchemy.
Michel Gondry, whose work has previously screened at the Film Society, brings the U.S. premiere of Microbe & Gasoline, featuring Audrey Tatou.
One of the best contemporary directors, and a Festival favorite, Jia Zhangke returns with the U.S. premiere of Mountains May Depart, a Kino Lorber release.
Arnaud Desplechin is another superb filmmaker and a favorite of the Festival; he returns with the North American premiere of My Golden Days, starring the director's alter-ego, the wonderful Mathieu Amalric, and released by Magnolia Pictures.
The legendary Chantal Akerman delivers a portrait of her mother in No Home Movie, seen here in its U.S. premiere.
Festival favorite Hong Sangsoo's films are consistently enjoyable; his newest is Right Now, Wrong Then, which will be having its U.S. premiere.
Corneliu Porumboiu, one of the leading figures of the current new wave in Romanian cinema, is another Film Society favorite; The Treasureis his latest.
Also announced is a retrospective of the great American, non-narrative filmmaker, Nathaniel Dorsky, as part of the Avant-Garde Visions sidebar co-curated by Gavin Smith and Mark McElhatten.
To learn more, go to:
53rd New York Film Festival
September 25 - October 11, 2015


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