Dir. Greg Emetaz (USA, 2018) 1 hr 30 min
Nautilus film Zaal Sept 6 6:30 PM
“Somewhere in the 80’s something went horribly wrong…”
This line really resonated with me as I am looking at US, Bumblebee and other 2019 films trying to either to go back to the 80s to rewrite history or relive it. Why? What happened then that triggered a warp in the time space continuum to the postmodern un-reality we experience today? HMMM?….
When I first started to watch thins I was thinking “here is another one of those trying too hard to be quirky and funny films…” but then the humor was really getting spot on…it is her wedding and no one got the “emails”….everyone is on the phone in the car on the way up to the Camp…and I phones are the vortex to hell. And somehow a Teddy Ruxpin has all the answers….a Gen X Valentine…! With the same commentary I try religiously to bestow upon anyone who will listen! The acting was great because all the characters who initially were superficially caricature-ish…ended up to have surprisingly great development and arcs…so we actually care about them. Finally perhaps I am also biased because I can painfully relate to carefully panning an event that is important to me and no one involved got my emails I sent out or are as enthusiastic as I am..(this festival excluded…obviously!) Just come see this film…great schlock…great 80s style…and great humor.
Dir. John Cameron Mitchell (USA, 2001) 1 hr 35 min
Floor 17 at Ramada Apollo Sept 8 8:00 PM
When we watch a film has a significant impact on how it resonates within us. A song comes out during a certain transitional phase of our lives….we see a film that just so happens to be in sync with what we are experiencing in real time…it amplifies our feelings because shared experience is an integral part of what defines us.
People often ask me “What is my favorite film? ” It is infuriating…what decade? What genre? Impossible to answer…but I am going to have to say…Hedwig has always been in my top 5.
“Wig in a Box” from the film is what did it for me. Sitting in painfully suburban Albuquerque I needed to go “out there”…beyond the confines of the Spielbergian 80s to satisfy my Grass is Greener complex…I had to go on a quest to find something that was missing inside of me. I did and it has been the adventure of a lifetime.
“The Strangest Things Seem Suddenly Routine..” Hedwig came along when I had lost my way. On a constant search for something. Not knowing what or whom exactly that something was.
How am I identifying with a German trans-musician a decade older than I?
It was the wig. I have been constructing my identity the entire time.
The identities we form to cope, as Carl Jung would theorize…to discover the Self through individuation…the negotiation of our conscious and subconscious self…
In a way…we all wear a wig, or a mask, or some consciously contrived mechanism to express that extension of us yearning to communicate itself to the rest of the world while still protected behind the safe confines of the construction.
It serves a purpose…and then the time comes to shed the wig…as seen in the dénouement of Hedwig …we find ourselves vulnerable but stronger. That which we are searching for has been with us all along.
Bottom line, Hedwig is about love. And wholeness.
Yet without the capability to laugh and embrace the self-deprecation, we would never heal. Humor is the balm of all ills in the world.
It is an absolute pleasure as a producer and scholar to make this available to people who have treasured this classic since its release…and to introduce it to those that have never seen it for a new wave of appreciation in retrospect. And did I mention the co-writer and one of the stars, Stephen Trask, will be in attendance for more of this conversation? How did I get to be so lucky?!
So it is with great humility and gratitude that I present Hedwig and the Angry Inch as our closing night feature. This is a pinnacle and honor for me in my career, to be able to express my love for this work of art and to be able to share it, is something I will never forget.
Come join us a top the awesome roof top venue of Floor 17 for our spectacular closing night! Q and A with Stephen Trask and Closing Night Party with DJ to follow!
Dir. Serge Ioan Celebidachi (Romania, 2017) 1 hr 40 min
The B George Theater Floor 1 Sept 6 4:00 PM
The storytelling in this film is methodical and beautifully executed. Octav is a homecoming story that can be related to at any age. Homecomings (especially forced) are quiet, personal undertakings that compel us to come to terms with our past experiences and decisions. I felt the uncertainty of Octav’s future while watching him meander through his past. I felt the anxiety of regret as he relived his childhood romance and traumas. But in the end, he moves forward as he must. As we all must.
Dir. Max Carlson (USA, 2019)
Pazzanistraat 4, 1014 DB Amsterdam
Saturday, September 7th 2019
I remember first seeing Carlson’s short, The Troll, back in 2013 screening for the Seattle International Film Festival..It was an instant favorite of mine..I don’t think they ended up screening it, however, it had always haunted me. And I was super excited to finally own my own film festival where I could screen this gem. Thomas Ohrstrom at the Dutch Review came by to write about his favorite shorts at the festival and it impressed him just as much as it impressed me. Fast forward a year… I had seen on Facebook that Max had directed a new feature and I invited him to submit to the festival. WoW…I mean first of all it was mind blowingly awesome..but it also had Martin Sheen in it??! Not to mention an award winning lead performance by both Edi Gathegi and Tayler Buck. This is why I do what I do..because of films like this.
The inspiring tale of a runaway foster child who will stop at nothing to live with the only family she knows: her homeless, mentally-ill veteran father who lives on the streets of LA’s skid row.
Dir. Hique Montanari (Brazil, 2017)
1 hr 28 min
Nautilus Film Zaal: Sept 7 3:00 PM
Yonlu is fiction film inspired by the true story of a 16 year-old boy who, aided by the internet, won over the world with his talent for music and art. Fluent in five languages, Yonlu had a network of virtual friends on all continents. However, no one suspected he was also taking part in a forum for potential suicides.
We had received many submissions this year about true stories that have occurred online and many of us could not even conceive of them…we are so lucky that our resident Constructed Identity Panel member and online expert commentator, Tatiana Pirogova, was here to truly give those of us who are befuddled by the sheer enormity of topics and forums and the like flowing out there in cyber space some clarification….AN
This is an incredibly dark film, but that’s the intentional premise. There is intrinsic meaning behind each component of the film for example, most appropriately, the sets. From the start the contrast of his online and real life showed the dichotomy of those two worlds. When he’s home, he’s “acting” for his parents and the surroundings are blatantly shown to be just a set. The segments that depict his Internet interactions are unique, dark, and unfortunately accurate. I’ve seen forums like this, (especially those where “Incels” lurk), reflecting the darkness of their minds. Getting stuck in this perpetuating spiral of hatred towards themselves, the final outcome is often tragic as Yonlu’s.