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Kickstarter Film Fest Shows Shorts & Features Across Country


Over the years the crowdfunding site Kickstarter has grown so exponentially now saying you are going to "kick start" something is synonymous with a brand. The site has attracted artists, programmers, engineers, and everyone in between to implore the public to lend their support to various dream projects. The site has also attracted a number of filmmakers, ranging from first-timers to seasoned directors. Now Kickstarter is celebrating some of the exceptional films that were realized thanks to crowdfunding.

The 5th Annual Kickstarter Film Festival is a one night only event on October 15 in which five films (two features and three shorts) will be screened in 32 theaters across the country. These films encompas animation, doccumentary, and comedy from all over the world, assembled under the umbrella of Kickstarter.

Don Hertzfeldt, known for his darkly comedic cult animated short Rejected and feature length It's Such a Beautiful Day, brings a new short film: World of Tomorrow. World examines human memory and bends science fiction in a way that has made critics compare it to Chris Marker’s La Jetee.

Frances Bodomo’s short, Afronauts, follows a group of Zambian misfits attempting to reach the moon as part of the Cold War space race. The film premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

What We Do in the Shadows does for vampires what Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi did for folk rock in their HBO series Flight of the Conchords. Along with getting accolades at the Toronto International Film Fest and charming horror fans, What We Do was a Kickstarter backed film that places the trope fearsome and romantic vampire on its side, as a group of bloodsuckers adapt to modern life.

T-Rex, directed by Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper tracks seventeen year old Claressa “T-Rex” Shields as she trains to compete in the 2012 Olympics, the first time the games have allowed women’s boxing .

PES’ short animated film, Submarine Sandwich, utilizes stop motion animation to create a charmingly bizarre deli where foods are not exactly, well, food.

To learn more, go to:

5th Annual Kickstarter Film Fest
October 15, 2015

Various Locations

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


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