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The Cinema of Northern Europe Comes to Life at the 2018 New York Baltic Film Festival

 

Featuring the cinema of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, the 2018 New York Baltic Film Festival will include 18 films and showcase 8 U.S. premiere screenings and 8 NYC premieres. Running October 18-21 at Scandinavia House (58 Park Avenue, NY, NY), the festival highlights the films of Northern Europe, and will include filmmakers Q&A’s after screenings and after-show networking events, along with the plethora of films, documentaries, shorts, and animation.

 

Films include:

  • The Devil’s Bride
    One of the most startling films to come out of the Baltics in the 1970s, Its Faust-like plot about a demon promising riches to a mill owner in exchange for the hand of his daughter is the most conventional aspect of the picture. Of much more significance is that it is the first Lithuanian musical, often compared to a northern European variation on the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. Its joint creators were director Arunas Zebriunas, composer Vyacheslav Ganelin, and scriptwriter Sigitas Geda.
  • 511 Best Photographs From Mars
    Estonian film makers had a delicious sense of humor even back in the occupation days, and exhibit number one is this droll look at the ladies and their gentlemen at tea in city cafeterias where the condiments included milk, lemon, and airs. Director Andres Soot’s sparkling music track includes the Beatles, Chuck Berry, Handel, and Strauss.
  • Mother, I Love You
    One of the most poignant films ever produced in Northern Europe, this Janis Nords directed feature follows the buffeted relationship between a single mother and her 13-year-old son, whose seemingly slight lie leads to increasing complications with school authorities and the police. Their emotional odyssey gains extra force from players who had never before acted for the cameras, one of the numerous details that have had critics compare the film to Francois Truffaut’s Four Hundred Blows.

  • Running Lights
    The animated short by Gediminas Siaulys is a model of color design in its naif science illustration of what happens to the corpse of a dead hare  after some children bury it in a sandbox. From death comes renewed life.
  • Merija's Journey
    When the Germans retreated from Latvia in 1944, they took with them 700 boxes of art works and ancient manuscripts from the nation’s museums. They also took with them Marija Grinberga, who volunteered to keep her eye on the treasures until they could be returned home. This would end up costing her one tension-filled confrontation after another first with the Nazis, then with Soviet occupation forces in Riga. After successfully shepherding the materials back to Latvia, her reward was to be fired from her museum job. But it has been thanks to Grinberga that many of Latvia’s museums aren’t empty today. Kristine Zelve’s remarkable documentary about a remarkable woman includes a first hearing of diaries Grinberga kept while fending off the bureaucracies of two occupying powers.
  • Rodeo
    If you thought the hardest part of establishing a nation was getting rid of an unwanted occupier, you haven’t seen this startling documentary by Raimo Jõerand and Kiur Aarma. With a humor as frantic as the often absurd situation it covers, the film makers show through period footage and exclusive interviews how Estonia put together a fledgling cabinet in the 1990s with infinitely more goodwill than money, how some of its closest neighbors refused to extend loans for diplomatic reasons, and how the government finally raised survival money through an unorthodox (and ironically vengeful) means.

To learn more, go to: https://www.balticfilmfestival.com/

2018 New York Baltic Film Festival
October 18 - 21, 2018

Scandinavia House
58 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10016

NY Asian Film Fest Unleashes a Tidal Wave of Cinema

 Blood of Wolves

The massive New York Asian Film Festival returns with its slate of drama, horror, comedy, action and classics from East Asia. Running June 29 to July 15, at various theaters in NYC with more film than most cities can handle.

The festival opens with  the North American premiere of Tominaga Masanori’s Dynamite Graffiti, a drama based on the life and times of Japanese porn mag king Suei Akira, who cultivated future artists such as Moriyama Daido while navigating the world of Japanese smut. The Savage Seventeen set of films feature youth in rebellion with the movies Kim Ui-seok’s After My Death, Ogata Takaomi’s The Hungry Lion, and Naito Eisuke’s competition title Liverleaf. Sunny Chan’s Men on the Dragon, starring Francis Ng and Jennifer Yu, represents the proud tradition of Hong Kong cinema in which a group of blue-collar workers who reluctantly join their company’s dragon boat team. On Saturday, July 14 will be a special secret film screening. The film will not be revealed until showtime, but it is confirmed to be a North American premiere.

Seven films will compete for the festival’s Tiger Uncaged Award for Best Feature Film: Shiraishi Kazuya’s Blood of Wolves (Japan), Nam Ron’s Crossroads: One Two Jaga (Malaysia), Naito Eisuke’s Liverleaf (Japan), Dong Yue’s The Looming Storm (China), Sunny Chan’s Men on the Dragon (Hong Kong), Jeon Go-woon’s Microhabitat (South Korea), and Treb Monteras’s Respeto (Philippines). Six of the seven films are receiving their North American premieres at NYAFF, with one world premiere.

The festival closes with the world premiere of Erik Matti’s BuyBust from the Philippines starring Anne Curtis and MMA world champion Brandon Vera as narcs taking down a drug kingpin against insurmountable odds over one unrelenting rainy night.

For a complete list of films and more, go to: https://www.nyaff.org/

New York Asian Film Festival
June 29 - July 15, 2018

Various Locations

Rock 'N' Film Shakes the House at the Anthology Film Archives

 

The Anthology Film Archives (32 2nd Ave, New York, NY) announced a massive slate of movies for it’s Rock ‘N’ Film series, running from August 2 to the 30th. Inspired by David E. James’s book “Rock ‘N’ Film” (published in 2016 by Oxford University Press), the series examines rock music from its black roots to glam to self destruction and beyond.

The cinematic intertwining of visuals and rock music had humble beginnings with the earliest jukebox musicals like Viva Las Vegas but took new forms and sought out new audiences as the likes of DA Pennebaker looked at glam legend David Bowie in Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, and Gordon Parks Jr. brought Curtis Mayfield and Blaxploitation together in Super Fly. One of the highlights of the series is a double bill of the Jayne Mansfield head-turner set to Little Richard’s impeccable performances, The Girl Can’t Help It, with Kenneth Anger’s fetishistic biker joyride, Scorpio Rising; which blended doo-wop, bikers, Jesus Christ, Nazis, and 1960s New York all together for a film that still packs a punch.

To learn more, go to: http://anthologyfilmarchives.org/

Rock ‘N’ Film
August 2 - 30, 2018

Anthology Film Archives
32 2nd Ave.
New York, NY 10003

 

Sun, Sand, & Cinema at the Nantucket Film Fest


Running June 22 to the 25th, the Nantucket Film Festival has a slate of narrative features, documentaries, shorts, and star studded panels coming to the scenic Massachusetts island.

One of the spotlight films of the fest is Burden. Motivated by his girlfriend (Andrea Riseborough) and an African-American reverend (Forest Whitaker), a Ku Klux Klansman (Garrett Hedlund) seeks redemption. In Inventing Tomorrow is a profile of the forward-thinking scientists of tomorrow by inspiring teenagers from around the globe who bring their environmentally-themed projects to the world's largest science fair. Love, Gilda is a documentary following the life of comedy legend Gilda Radner directed by Lisa D'Apolito. The Sentence is a portrait exploring the personal impact of mandatory minimum sentencing laws on the filmmaker's own family, centered on his imprisoned sister and her three young daughters.

The festival has more to offer than just films. Actors and comedians Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) and Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) present a special version of their hysterical improv show, with special participation from Ben Stiller as part of the All-Star Comedy Roundtable. The fest also includes a slate of virtual reality films and experiences courtesy of Samsung.

To learn more, go to: http://nantucketfilmfestival.org/

Nantucket Film Festival
June 22 - 25, 2018

Various locations on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts

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